DT 30459 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30459

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,459
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *****

Welcome to Thursday’s puzzle, which I think is of the highest order, but that is just my opinion! Please let us know what you thought of it.

Plenty of football, music and TV/cinema in the clues, but before you complain, no specialist knowledge of these subjects is required! I was only vaguely familiar with the expression at 1a but, other than that, there is no obscure vocabulary. Instead, an array of very smooth “surface reads”, with all definitions readily attainable, provided that one follows the clever wordplay. What’s not to like?

In a blatant bit of self-publicity, a puzzle of mine will appear in the Independent on Sunday. If you find yourself at a loose end, you can find it online at: https://puzzles.independent.co.uk/games/cryptic-crossword-independent

In the blog below, the definition element of each clue has been underlined and anagrams are CAPITALISED. The answers are concealed under the “Click Here” buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.


1a Why keep stale bread? It’s of little value (3,3,5)
FOR THE BIRDS: a double definition to get us started today.

7a Checks parts of chair moggy originally scratched (7)
ARRESTS: take parts of a chair and remove the first letter (originally scratched) of moggy. “Checks” here means “stops” rather than “inspects”.

8a Retired soccer ace disinclined to accept cocktail (7)
SIDECAR: a hidden word (to accept) backwards (retired) clue. The answer is concealed backwards within words 2, 3 & 4.

10a Model, one on short-term contract possibly, departed (8)
TEMPLATE: a synonym for someone working on a temporary basis + a synonym for departed (as in passed away).

11a Comes across European about to get honour (6)
ESTEEM: a reversal clue (about). Take an abbreviation for European + a synonym for “comes across” and turn the whole thing round.

13a Visiting Northumberland area, working for nothing (4)
NONE: a two-letter synonym for working (think an electric light, perhaps) inside (visiting) the part of the country where one will find Northumberland.

14a Vegetable banger isn’t cooked! (6,4)
STRING BEAN: our first anagram (cooked). Mix up the letters of BANGERISNT.

16a One predicting exciting future perhaps, right after great solo plays (10)
ASTROLOGER: London bus time – here is another anagram (plays). Rearrange the letters of GREATSOLO and add the abbreviation for right at the end.

18a Contends movie star is inspiring (4)
VIES: another hidden word clue (is inspiring). You will find the answer hiding in plain sight in words 2 & 3.

21a Popular breakfast TV programme broadcast (6)
CEREAL: “broadcast” here is a homophone indicator. Think of a genre of TV programme (shown weekly or daily, perhaps?) and then spell it differently to find the definition.

22a Friend of bully I’d avoided (8)
INTIMATE: bully here is a verb masquerading as a noun. Think of a word meaning to bully and omit (avoided) ID.

24a Sausage made from veal, liberally dipped in sauce (7)
SAVELOY: anagram (liberally) of VEAL inside (dipped in) a dark, salty sauce.

25a Not keeping time musically? That’s unusual (7)
OFFBEAT: double definition.

26a Attractive sort, just acquiring oddly vacant bedsit using deceit (11)
DISHONESTLY: a word meaning an attractive person + a word meaning “just” outside (acquiring) the even letters (oddly vacant) of “bedsit”.


1d Sack employee, old member of train crew (7)
FIREMAN: a verb meaning sack + a synonym for employee.

2d Final score left United going over amongst support (6)
RESULT: abbreviations for “left” and “united” reversed (going over – note this is a down clue) in the middle of (amongst) a word meaning support (think snooker?).

3d Delay ambassador appearing on TV channel outside Italy (10)
HESITATION: abbreviation for ambassador (His/Her Excellence) next to a generic term for a TV channel outside the abbreviation for Italy. The definition is a noun, even if it looks like a verb!

4d Forest player on the bench, upset, attracting Hearts? (4)
BUSH: don’t worry, you don’t need to trawl through a list of past or present Nottingham Forest players! Forest here is the definition. Take the abbreviation for a player starting on the bench and turn him upside down (upset). Then add the abbreviation for hearts (the capitalisation can be ignored).

5d Style differently flag British vessel flies, removing name (8)
REDESIGN: you need to take the two word name for the British naval flag, remove the abbreviation for name and join the result together.

6d Hide from view regularly car seat’s splits (7)
SECRETE: a three letter verb meaning “view” outside (splits) every other letter (regularly) of CaRsEaTs

7d Numbers turning up taking part in several discos? (11)
ATTENDANCES: join together synonyms for “taking part in” + “several” (a number) + “discos”.

9d Nostalgic of late describing archetypal 1960s cars (11)
REMINISCENT: a word meaning late (or modern) outside (describing) iconic 60s cars.

12d Ahead of Cup winger shows class (10)
PIGEONHOLE: we can again ignore the capitalisation here. A synonym for cup (think golf), ahead of which is a bird (winger). The definition is a verb as in “classify”.

15d Sign of maybe permanently closed restaurant for celebrities (8)
NOTABLES: a double definition – the first bit being cryptic.

17d Got on with extremely top-notch diver at sea (7)
THRIVED: take the first and last letters (extremely) of top-notch and add an anagram (at sea) of DIVER.

19d This writer’s indeed including German figures of speech (7)
IMAGERY: take a two-letter word meaning “this writer is” + a two letter-word meaning “indeed”, join them together and insert (including) a three-letter abbreviation for German.

20d Almost fail to get strong fish out of water (6)
MISFIT: a synonym for “fail” without the final letter (almost) + a synonym for “strong”.

23d Key error admitted by party-pooper (4)
TYPO: a hidden word clue. You will find a keyboard error hidden inside party-pooper


83 comments on “DT 30459
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  1. A real Joe Bugner of a puzzle today, can’t see Friday’s offering being much harder (famous last words!)
    I always thought 1a was an American sort of term, with the last word pronounced with an ‘i’ in it, but maybe that’s just me.
    Hardest part was the SE corner, with 22a being the very last one in.
    Absolutely great clueing throughout, with some very clever misdirection.
    Loads of favourites today, but if pushed for a top two, it would have to be 7a and the brilliant 15d. Many thanks to our setter today, spot on.

  2. A rare dnf for me today. The culprit was 12d; with all the letters in place I still could not see it. I always try and spell the “winger” with an extra letter.

    Thanks to the setter and to Shabbo.

  3. Very enjoyable!. LOI 12d extended my solving time somewhat but a great clue.
    I also particularly liked the excellent 1a along with 7a plus 4&20d and my favourite, the very Dada-like 15d. Good stuff indeed.
    Thanks setter and Shabbo.

  4. Quite riveting. My favourites were 21a 4d and 15d was top of the tree for me. I thought ***/*** overall. I spent a fair amount of time on 15d which was the hardest clue I thought. Thanks Shabbo for the hints helping me to fully understand 11a and the setter.

  5. A xhallwnging and difficult guzzle, which I evenrually completed, with a lot of guesswork, without understanding some of the clues. 12d would have been a complete mystery to me if it weren’t for realising what the winger was. I could not imagine in what universe ‘cup’ was synonymous with ‘hole’ until I read that wily golfer, Huntsman’s, hint. 1a was nice cryptic definition, 16a a good anagram and 9d a good lego clue.However, there was too much impenetrable parsing for wholehearted enjoyment. Thanks to Huntsman for the much-needwd hints and to the compiler for the intellectual gynastics session

      1. Well they both know a lot more about golf than I do, which is not difficult. Apologies to a shabbo. I think Huntsman was on my mind because he has been missing his golf due to an injury!

  6. With Ray T’s alter ego on Toughie duty we have another ‘guess the setter’ Thursday. A splendidly entertaining puzzle that created plenty of pauses for thought, 13a for example, so I have to think that this is the work of Ray T’s ‘regular’ substitute. Just what I needed after ‘missing’ yesterday’s puzzle because of, by my standards, being ‘out on the tiles’ on Tuesday evening – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, the aforementioned 13a, 25a, 5d, 9d, and 20d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Silvanus, or whomsoever if it is not he, and thanks to Shabbo.

  7. 3*/5*. What a wonderful puzzle in every respect.

    I’ve never come across 1a without the phrase being preceded by “strictly”, but I see that the BRB advises that it is fine both with and without.

    I’m not sure why “exciting” is needed in 16a. Am I missing something?

    I am not even going to attempt to pick a favourite from such a splendid selection.

    Many thanks to presumably Silvanus and to Shabbo.

    1. I think maybe they only predict ‘exciting’ futures because if they predicted dull ones, their business would soon dry up, just a thought.

    2. I had exactly the same thought. My guess it’s in there to help the overall surface read/meaning, the “perhaps” doing enough to justify its inclusion…nothing to do with business models Tipcat!

  8. On first read through I was stumped but the sausage and breakfast favourite in the SW corner saved me and things began to fall into place. I’ve never heard the expression at 1a, and spent a while trying to equate stale bread with old money! Not too many anagrams, smooth surface reads and some clever misdirection today. What’s not to like. Favourite was 3d supported on the podium by 26a and 15d. Thanks to today’s setter and Shabbo.

  9. This required a second sitting to get across the line, the first attempt yielding only ten or so answers. A quick trip to the off licence for supplies and I whizzed through it upon my return. In common with earlier commenters, I can only endorse their very positive thoughts, and select 15d as my favourite.

    Thanks to, presumably Silvanus, and Shabbo.

  10. A top-notch puzzle – many thanks to our setter and Shabbo.
    I could perm any three from 1a, 8a, 11a, 4d, 12d and 20d for my podium.

  11. Very difficult today we thought, not helped by putting “porage” initially for 21a. Last in was 15d (gave us a smile). Agree SE corner was a battle and even though I play golf 3 times a week I didn’t get the “cup” for a long time in 12d. Thanks to all concerned.

  12. Completed all bar 12d in under ** time & only scraped in just shy of double that by the time that reluctant penny eventually dropped having wrongly convinced myself the wordplay required a 5 letter winger. Even then the cup bit was a head scratch believe it or not. Top drawer offering with ticks all over the shop – 1,22&26a along with 3,5,12&20d the ones that particularly stood out for me with I guess top spot having to go the one that gave me all the trouble.
    Thanks to the setter (Silvanus presumably) & to Shabbo – will be sure to check out your Indy guzzle on Sunday.

  13. Cor! That was a battle royale where I came slightly second with 12d and 22a defeating me. Tough, tough, tough. Such a grind but………………..I loved it!

    My faves are 1a, 24a & 12d (I would never have got the synonym for ‘cup’ even though I’m a golfer)

    Many thanks to The Shabster and, I’m guessing, Silvy Wilvy.


    I need to lie down….nurse!

    1. Tom, whilst you are lying down being soothed by nursey (Hattie Jacques?) be reassured that you were not alone in being defeated by 12d and 22a.
      Disappointed you may be, but surely not disappointing?

      1. Good call, Pipsqueak!

        Isn’t is great that ‘I am disappointed’ and ‘I am disappointing’ have completely different meanings?

        I find the English language fascinating but it must be so hard for those whose mother tongue is another language.

        It was always the trombone that was played when Matron Hattie walked down the hospital corridor. It’s such a comical instrument to look at and hear.

        Good, good times.

        Some of you may have seen this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSZUaCNX_ZA&ab_channel=lolvidz

  14. Looks as though CL has treated us to another ‘Dream Team’ day which is always very welcome from my point of view. Also welcome was the advent of stringless 14a’s – I can still remember mum toiling over a colander full of the pesky things with sharp knife in hand!
    So many worthy clues in this smooth collection – favouritism going to 24a plus 9,12&20d.

    Thanks indeed to Silvanus and to Shabbo for the review.

  15. The greater challenge posed by this puzzle was welcome, but I shall go against the grain here and say that I didn’t enjoy it that much: some odd/rough surfaces, and a bit dated in places. Podium for me occupied by our old friend 15d.

    3* / 1*

    Thanks to the setter – sorry, maybe I’m just feeling grouchy this morning – and to Shabbo.

  16. That was a bit of a struggle, albeit an enjoyable one. The SW stayed blank for a time until a small foothold was achieved and then it all fitted in.

    Favourite 15d with 9d not far behind.

    Thanks to the setter and Shabbo for a couple of parsings.

  17. An excellent Thursday puzzle. Great clues, a toughish challenge and a pleasing tussle. I’m useless at guessing setters (except Ray T) but this one does have a feel of Silvanus about it (bet I’m wrong!). Top two of a fine set of clues: 12d and 19d. 3.5*/4.5*.

  18. This started out v well, and I thought we were going to have an easy Thursday for a change; but not a bit of it. Ended up with a v long breakfast, but a most enjoyable one.
    I thought that that the 12d cup was an americanism, but apparently not – my excuse is that I play in France and haven’t played in the UK for 40 years!
    Look a long time to remember the 24a sausage, perhaps because the setter was telling porkies when he said it was made of veal. Joint faves are the four outsiders 1&26a and 7&9d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Shabbo.

  19. A cracker of a puzzle ,lets see what Friday will produce.
    Have to agree with Shaboo and a ***/*****
    Favourite was 7d followed by 17d, not seen 1a before in a crossword -clever.
    Anyway back to the cricket!

  20. For a non RayT Thursday, this was for the most part quite do-able, but once again I had trouble parsing 5 or 6 clues. Seems to be the norm with me these days. Not sure why, but the word fits so it is correct. Will look at hints and see what I am missing.

    2*/3.5* today

    Favourites include 1a, 26a, 1d, 5d, 6d & 9d — with winners 1a/1d … but could have been any of them, quite frankly.
    Both 1a & 1d made me laugh.
    New word for me in 24a that was quite gettable.

    Thanks to setter & Shabbo for hints/blog

  21. Great guzzle today and 12d also my LOI – in fact 12d took longer than the rest of the guzzle, mainly because I was trying to put the winger after the cup. What idiot puts their hand on top of a lit wood burner to get up from a kneeling position? Mr M that’s who – what some people do to get out of the washing up! Thanks to the setter and Shabbo.

  22. I got a stern talking to from crypticsue in my last comment for shouting. So I have changed my cognomen to a lower case alias in order to sneak in under the wire. I am part way through the puzzle which is a bit of a tinker in places. Thanks to Shabbo and setter, I have tried to think of a collective noun for those gallants who have taken over from BD.
    How about “thanks to crux”

    1. Please could I come and join you on your planet – it’s either that or trying to have a go at the Toughie which must, surely, be easier than this little piglet! :sad:

  23. Not quite sure how to describe this puzzle **********************************************
    For pity’s sake leave these for the Toughie.
    Thx for the hints

    [Redacted. Please abide by point 4 of the Comment Etiquette, i.e.
    Do leave comments about what you like or dislike about a puzzle, but please try to justify any negative comments – comments such as “rubbish puzzle” will be deleted. Gazza]

    1. It took me ages to finish, Brian – during which time I was itching to view your comment on the puzzle. I don’t think you are far wrong, it was an almost indestructible challenge in parts. Maybe, we were just off-colour on the day. ****/*

    2. I could have looked at 22a, 15d and19d until the cows come home, and not get them. Surely it’s me not the puzzle. Onwards and upwards.

  24. Took a while to get a toehold until I solved a couple of anagrams, then all went steadily until 12d stumped me for ages. I suppose cups are used in ‘office golf’ 😁.
    Not sure that 4d constitutes a forest either.
    Great puzzle though. Thanks to Silvanus and Shabbo..

  25. Good afternoon everyone,

    Interesting to see a wide range of adjectives used in the comments today, from “riveting”, “top-notch” and “wonderful” to “diabolic” and “ghastly”! Perhaps I should change my setter name to Marmite ;-)

    Stephen is absolutely correct about the rationale behind “exciting” in 16a. When constructing 12d I said to myself “well, at least Huntsman will find that one easy”. How wrong I was!

    Many thanks to Shabbo for his Hints and Tips and to all commenters.

      1. Had it on toasted multi seed sourdough while scratching my bonce trying to figure out 12d.
        He’s still my fav though Robyn right in the slipstream. We’re very fortunate to have such accomplished setters

    1. Thanks for dropping in. Add me to the list of fans of your puzzles. I loved solving and blogging it.
      Please keep them coming!

      1. I spent a couple of years or so working for Marmite in Burton Upon Trent some years ago, every week I’d come back with a tray full that I’d bought at the staff shop for half price then sell it to my friends an family at cost. Don’t worry about the best before date, it’s advisory. It sits in sealed tubs for at least 6 months ‘debittering’ before it’s bottled.

  26. I couldn’t do this either but it doesn’t matter, it’s the taking part. Just to add another word to “your list” I think you’re amazing to be able to compile such a creative guzzle. Many thanks to you and Shabbo.

  27. Not a hope in hell – I was completely sunk – this one is way beyond me.
    I managed three answers – if you count 14a as two! Oh dear – dim, or what?!!
    Thanks to Silvanus and to Shabbo.

  28. Found this puzzle pretty hard but kept at it and managed to do all except 12d. I did get 4d wrong though! I put in Best, thinking that old George certainly attracted hearts and maybe he played for Forest?? Perfect puzzle for a rainy day!
    Thanks to Silvanus and Shabbo

  29. All went well (albeit not very quickly) until 12d and I’m still puzzling! Thank you Silvanus for another struggle and to Shabbo for explaining the construction of 5d. Still cannot see how a 4d is a forest but it must be in the dictionary that I don’t have 😁

  30. Not for me I’m afraid. I managed it but with far too much eHelp for me to claim I “solved” it. I had three on the first pass and not many more on the third, fourth, fifth……!

    Thank you for the challenge, silvanus but your offering was beyond my grey cells (what’s left of them). I do like Marmite, however. 👍

    Thank you, Shabbo for the hints and explaining much of it.

  31. I must be very slow today, although I loved the rest of today’s puzzle and filled in the obvious answer to 7a, I can’t make head or rail of the clue. How does Moggy fit in please?

    1. I think Shabbo is saying think of parts of a chair (for supporting something other than legs or back), then delete the first letter of moggy (i.e. ‘m’) from that word.

    2. In 7a the ‘parts of chair’ are ARMRESTS. You then have to remove (scratch out) the first (original) letter pf Moggy to leave the answer ARRESTS.

  32. Good evening
    By, that was hard work! I have to admit to having had e-help with 12d, which was the last to fall. Joint COTD: 15d, what a belter; and the superb reversed lurker in 8a!
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Shabbo; I couldn’t quite parse 6d, so your explanation was very useful.

  33. Started late and managed two answers before deciding to abandon this puzzle and have a go at the Toughie instead. I haven’t finished the Toughie yet, but have solved about three quarters without hints. Seems strange that I should find the back pager harder than the Toughie, but there we go!

  34. A dnf for me with 7 clues in the south so far beyond my abilities they may as well have been in Greek.

    How is a mere mortal is supposed to solve 19d?

    Also, who knew the hole for people who ruin a good walk is called a cup…

    All those who solved this are crossword gods or goddesses.

    Thanks to all.

  35. I needed the hints to parse 12d and 19d, I still don’t quite get the latter. With the rest I made steady but slow progress to the conclusion. Favourite was 9d. Thanks to Silvanus and Shabbo, my predictive text still hadn’t cottoned on to your name.

  36. I managed all but 6 on my own, then used the hints to finish. Lots to think about and many clever clues, just a bit too clever for my little brain.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the challenge and to Shabbo for the hints

  37. Whew … some clues just too tough for me but others brilliant especially the popular breakfast and the reverse lurker. Thank you ‘Marmite’ Silvanus and Shabbo

    1. Welcome, Zakalwe – if you take the definition as being “numbers”, than “taking part” /could/ mean the two elements of the answer share the mutual ‘d’. Otherwise, as you say, there would be too many “d”s. However the clue reads better in the context of the answer if the definition is “numbers taking part”, at which point the cryptic is “taking part in several discos”, which becomes “at ten dances” – and no problems with superfluous “d”s.

  38. It has taken me a full day and an alphabet trawl to solve 12d, but I was determined not to be defeated. I understood the construction of the clue but couldn’t for the life of me think of the bird!
    Fine crossword; tough but fair. Many thanks.

  39. 4*/3* …
    fancied the bread of little value in 1A …
    regarding Marmite, a surfeit of it some years ago may have given me an attack of gout ..be warned !

  40. This is one I saved for later — an excellent move. I enjoyed it immensely.
    I have several ticks, among them 1a, 10a, 7d and 15d. I also liked the anagrams.
    12d was my last in. I looked up ‘Cup’ and the last four letters of my answer in BRB. What an interesting synonym — but its patently clear once one knows about it!
    Many thanks to those whom Jane calls ‘the Dream Team’ for a lovely puzzle and excellent review.

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