DT 30401 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30401 (full review)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30401

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 9th Sep 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. A very friendly and straightforward Saturday puzzle from Chalicea that I highly enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a review of the same for your kind perusal and significant feedback.

I felt this time to know more about ‘czar’, the answer to the clue of 11a and so visited the net. While I was aware of its more commonly-spelt ‘tsar’, I found out, to my surprise, that it can also be spelt as ‘tzar’ and ‘csar’. The word ‘czar’, a borrowing from Russian originally referring to the emperor of Russia, is a cousin of the German word ‘kaiser’, both words descending from the name of the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. The spelling ‘tsar’ is preferred in most Slavic conventions of Russian transliteration. Be whatever, the Russians were not the first to use the word ‘tsar’. The first person to adopt the title ‘tsar’ was Simeon I, the 10th-century king of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian emperors continued to use the title ‘tsar’ until the 14th century. However, in the 20th century, beginning 1908, they again began to call themselves ‘tsars’. The last king of Bulgaria with the title ‘tsar’ was Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha aka Simeon II, who ruled from 1943 until 1946. Two Serbian monarchs also used this title. Stefan Uroš IV Dušan aka Dušan the Mighty was the ‘tsar’ from 16 April 1346 until his death in 1355. His son Stefan Uroš V aka Uroš the Weak was the next but also the last monarch to use the title. In course of time, the title of ‘tsar’ became especially associated with Russia and its powerful monarchs. Ivan IV Vasilyevich, infamously known as Ivan the Terrible, was ‘Grand Prince of Moscow’ and ‘Sovereign of all Russia’ from 1533 and the first crowned ‘Tsar of all Russia’ from 1547 until his death in 1584. By 1894, when Nicholas II ascended the throne, the full title of the Russian rulers was “By the grace of God Almighty, the Emperor and Supreme Autocrat of all the Russias, Tsar of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Kazan, Astrakhan, Poland, Siberia, Tauric Chersonese and Georgia, Lord of Pskov, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Białystok, Karelia, Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Nizhny Novgorod, Chernigov; Ruler of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all northern territories; Ruler of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories; hereditary Ruler and Lord of the Cherkess and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg.” ‘Emperor’ remained the official title for subsequent Russian rulers, but they continued to be known as ‘tsars’ in popular usage until the imperial regime was overthrown by the Russian Revolution of 1917. The last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, was executed by the Soviet government in 1918. Interestingly, both ‘tsar’ and ‘czar’ have been used in English as a metaphor for positions of high authority since 1866. In the United Kingdom, the term ‘tsar’ is more loosely used to refer to high-profile appointments who devote their skills to one particular area. In 2013, both the Guardian and Independent cited nearly 300 ‘tsar’ appointments made between 1997 and 2013. In the United States, President Andrew Johnson was often referred to as the ‘tsar’ for his dictatorial style of functioning. Similarly, Thomas Brackett Reed, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, was called ‘Czar Reed’ for his dictatorial control of the House in the 1880s and 1890s. In course of time, ‘czar’ became a colloquial term for certain high-level civil servants. For instance, a ‘drug czar’ is the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a ‘terrorism czar’ is a presidential advisor on terrorism policy, a ‘cybersecurity czar’ is the highest-ranking Department of Homeland Security official on computer security and information security policy and a ‘war czar’ was given to the one who oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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1a    Bow, having cut short nonsense (11)
FIDDLESTICK: FIDDLESTICK[S] (nonsense) as an interjection used to express disagreement or to say that something is nonsense is subject to the removal of the last or final letter (having cut short), leading to the definition of a bow used in playing the violin

9a    Waste found in area by northern river (4)
UREA: The definition of a waste product in the body with no physiological function is arrived at from A (area) as the abbreviation for area placed after (by) URE (northern river) as the name of the river in North Yorkshire, England

10a    Troublesome current item: finding new employees (11)
RECRUITMENT: An anagram (troublesome) of CURRENT ITEM leads to the definition of the process of actively seeking out, finding and hiring new employees for a specific position or job.

11a    Last letter in vehicle for emperor (4)
CZAR: Z (last letter) as the last letter of the alphabet placed inside (in) CAR (vehicle) as a four-wheeled road vehicle that is powered by an engine and is able to carry a small number of people guides to the definition of the title of the emperors of Russia until the 1917 revolution

14a    Right part sent back — time to find proof of purchase (7)
RECEIPT: R (right) as the abbreviation for right, PIECE (part) as an item forming part of a set returning from the other end (sent back) as a reversal in the across clue and T (time) as the symbol for time in physics yield the definition of written or printed statement acknowledging that something has been paid for or that goods purchased have been received

16a    Decide to crack this crossword again? (7)
RESOLVE: The definition of a verb meaning to decide firmly on a course of action is cryptically arrived at from RE (again) as a prefix denoting once more, afresh or anew and SOLVE (to crack this crossword) as to clear up to explain a mystery or puzzle that might include a crossword puzzle such as this one

17a    Hang about in seaside resort before run (5)
HOVER: The definition of an informal term meaning to hang about or to move about nearly is arrived at from HOVE (seaside resort) as a seaside resort spread over two main parts of the city of Brighton and Hove, in East Sussex, England preceded by or coming before (before) R (run) as the abbreviation for run or runs scored in cricket

18a    Occasionally shout very loudly in fit of anger (4)
HUFF: The occasional or alternate letters (occasionally) of sHoUt followed by FF (very loudly) as a written abbreviation, in a piece of music, for the adverb ‘fortissimo’ meaning ‘very loudly’ guides to the definition of noun denoting a fit of anger, sulks or offended dignity

19a    Alpine transport except after end of snowmelt (1-3)
T-BAR: BAR (except) as a preposition meaning except, but for or other than preceded by or coming after (after) the concluding letter (end) of [SNOWMEL]T takes to the definition of a type of transport in the form of a series of inverted T-shaped beam for towing two skiers at a time uphill that can be found in the ski areas of the Alps almost only on flat practice slopes or as short connecting lifts

20a    With change of top, stomach is wobbly! (5)
JELLY: [B]ELLY (stomach) as a person’s stomach or the part of the body that contains the stomach as the receptacle of the food having undergone a change of the leading letter (with change of top) from B to J yields the definition of an informal noun meaning a state of fear or irresolution

22a    Make firm points to clinch argument (7)
STIFFEN: S,E and N (points) as the three compass points corresponding to the direction indicating the South, East and North respectively to secure (clinch) TIFF (argument) as a slight or petty quarrel or argument, especially one between friends or lovers, arriving at the definition of a verb meaning to harden or toughen or to make or become rigid

23a    Link part of South American custom (7)
SAUSAGE: A charade of S (South) as the abbreviation for south, A (American) as the abbreviation for American and USAGE (custom) as a habitual or customary practice, especially as creating a right, obligation or standard leads to the definition of sausage that is mixed pork, beef or other meats, often combined, together with various added ingredients and seasonings, usually stuffed with a prepared intestine or other casing and often made in link; link being a chain of long thin sausages, so link part is a single sausage

24a    Has some downsides (4)
OWNS: Part of or hidden inside (some) DOWNSIDES guides to the definition of a verb in the third person singular form meaning possesses or has in possession

28a    Surprisingly outraged don’s benevolent (4-7)
GOOD-NATURED: An anagram (surprisingly) of OUTRAGED DON is the formation of the adjectival definition meaning amiable, friendly or having or showing a pleasant, kindly disposition

29a    Man perhaps lies badly (4)
ISLE: An anagram (badly) of LIES guides to the definition of a literary term for an island or peninsula, especially a small one, an example of which can be the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland

30a    English country squire welcomes a property dealer (6,5)
ESTATE AGENT: E (English) as the abbreviation for English, then STATE (country) as a nation or territory considered as an organised political community under one government and AGENT (squire) as a country gentleman in England, especially the main landowner in a rural community takes in (welcomes) A from the clue, taking to the definition of a person who arranges the selling, renting or managing of properties and other buildings


2d    Plan one beloved king ignored (4)
IDEA: The definition of a suggestion, thought or plan for doing something is arrived at from I (one) as the Roman numeral for one followed by DEA[R] (beloved) as an adjective meaning regarded with deep affection having R (king) as the abbreviation for rex, the Latin word for ‘king’ removed or not taken into consideration (ignored)

3d    Lacking energy, had a go at turning over soil (4)
DIRT: TRI[E]D (had a go) as made an attempt to do something going upwards (turning over) as a reversal in the down clue without (lacking) E (energy) as the symbol for energy as a quantitative property in physics leads to the definition of a noun meaning soil or earth

4d    What’s written after passing rubbish heap outside mine (7)
EPITAPH: The definition of a phrase or a short composition written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone is arrived at from an anagram (rubbish) of HEAP placed around (outside) PIT (mine) as a coal mine or an area of land from which a natural substance is taken by digging

5d    Spiritless team thrashed (4)
TAME: An anagram (thrashed) of TEAM guides to the definition of an adjective meaning lacking spirit, zest, interest or the capacity to excite

6d    Overcome hard nut, we’re told (7)
CONQUER: CONKER (hard nut) as the hard, shiny dark brown nut of a horse chestnut tree serving as a homophone the audience felt told (we’re told) guides to the definition of a verb meaning to overcome and take control of a place or people by military force or to successfully overcome a problem or weakness

7d    Large carnivore‘s frightful, we hear, to tolerate (7,4)
GRIZZLY BEAR: GRISLY (frightful) as an adjective meaning causing horror or disgust serving as a homophone heard by the audience (we hear) followed by BEAR (to tolerate) as a verb denoting to endure an ordeal or difficulty takes to the definition of an animal of a large race of the brown bear, Ursus arctos, that is native to North America

8d    Prickly shrub surrounding a river bank in underwater structure (7,4)
BARRIER REEF: The definition of acoral reef roughly parallel to a shore and separated from it usually by a channel of deep water is arrived at from BRIER (prickly shrub) as a prickly plant or shrub, such as a rose, blackberry or greenbrier going round (surrounding) A from the clue and R (river) as the written abbreviation for River, used especially on maps and followed by REEF (bank) as a sandbank or a ridge of jagged rock or coral just above or below the surface of the sea

12d    Heroic trips organised before records were kept (11)
PREHISTORIC: An anagram (organised) of HEROIC TRIPS guides to the definition of an adjective relating to or denoting the period before written records

13d    Nod fiercely, surprisingly in environmental harmony (11)
ECOFRIENDLY: An anagram (surprisingly) of NOD FIERCELY takes to the definition of an adjective meaning having a beneficial effect on the environment or at least not causing environmental damage

15d    Symbolic number accepting fine (5)
TOKEN: The definition of an adjective denoting merely symbolic or done as an indication or pledge is reached from TEN (number) as a number between nine and eleven taking in (accepting) OK (fine) as all right, well or fine

16d    Fishing equipment rocks! (5)
REELS: Double definition; the second being a verb in the third person singular form meaning loses one’s balance and staggers or lurches violently that takes to the first a noun denoting the plural of a device for winding and unwinding a line as required, in particular the line attached to a fishing rod

20d    Resentful of Jack, a six-footer cycling (7)
JEALOUS: J (Jack) as the abbreviation for jack as a playing card ranking below a queen, followed by A from the clue having LOUSE (a six footer) as a small insect with six legs that live on the bodies of people or animals and bite them in order to feed off their blood going around (cycling) as cycling to have its last letter E placed before A, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions or perceived advantages

21d    Distance, for example, a cart must reverse (7)
YARDAGE: A combo of EG (for example) as the abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia meaning ‘for example’, A from the clue and DRAY (cart) meaning a low horse-drawn cart, often without sides, and used especially for heavy loads must go up (reverse) as a reversal in the down clue to arrive at the definition of a distance or length measured in yards

25d    Editor with deal, oddly, for literary collection (4)
EDDA: ED (editor) as the abbreviation for editor followed by (with) the oddly-placed letters (oddly) of D[E]A[L] gives rise to the definition of a collection from ancient Iceland literature comprising two 13th-century books, viz. the Prose or Younger Edda and Poetry or Elder Edda

26d    Celebrated wildebeests turning up (4)
SUNG: GNUS (wildebeests) as a large African animal that has a long tail and horns that curve to the sides and lives in areas covered with grass going upwards (turning up) in the down clue takes to the definition of an adjective meaning honoured or praised someone, especially in verse or song

27d    Piercing lamentation (4)
KEEN: Double definition; the second being a noun referring to a lamentation for the dead uttered in a loud wailing voice or sometimes in a wordless cry that leads to the first an adjective meaning extremely cold or biting, especially of the air or wind

The clues that I liked in this puzzle were 1a, 16a, 18a, 22a, 23a, 30a, 4d and 6d; 23a being the topper. My prayers to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of BD and my thanks to Chalicea for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a good day.

7 comments on “DT 30401 (full review)
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  1. Interesting how many lands were claimed by a tsar in his titles. One wonders if an invasion of Norway would be justified by the “believers” on the basis that it once belonged to Russia, as was Ukraine! History can often justify anything if you go back far enough.

    1. Indeed, very true, Merusa. More specifically, it’s the power that ventures to seek justification, even though the act or action may or may not be justified.

    1. Thank you once again, Chalicea, for your kind words of appreciation on my detailed reviews that included some info on the Czars. I have always enjoyed solving your crosswords.

  2. Although Barrier Reef was the obvious answer I was mystified as I have never seen the prickly thing spelt that way. I have always known it as briar.

    1. Weekend Wanda may note that BRB displays both the two spellings ‘briar’ and ‘brier’ for the prickly shrub. Originally, in Old English, particularly during the Spenserian era, the form was ‘brere’, sometimes written as ‘breer’ or ‘brear’.

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