DT 30469 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30469

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,469
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **  –  Enjoyment ***

Having hardly ventured out during yesterday’s thoroughly miserable day the sun is shining here in Harpenden today so an opportunity to catch up on some much needed exercise beckons. After 3 weeks of the same grid we’ve a different one today but unless Senf tells me otherwise I reckon this is another Anthony Plumb production & another pretty gentle affair. As ever precisely clued with the odd misleading surface or not so obvious definition context, some touches of humour & nice surfaces. Perfectly enjoyable without being in my view up there with his very best. I’ve awarded an extra * for difficulty on account of 15a so it’ll be interesting to see if it was just me head scratching over that one.

In the following hints definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual. Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle.


1a Each jogger not half keen! (5)
EAGER: link 50% (not half) of each of the first two words in the clue.

4a Insult is, for Macron, least significant (9)
SLIGHTEST: a synonym for insult + the French for IS.

9aBewilderment about manoeuvring of unions (9)
CONFUSION: the usual single letter for about + an anagram (manoeuvring) of OF UNIONS.

10a Server in restaurant leaving one something to drink (5)
WATER: remove the letter that can represent the number one from the server.

11a Martial artist next to group staring suggestively (7)
LEERING: the surname of the Hong Kong born actor chiefly responsible for the kung fu craze of the 70s + a synonym of group or cartel.

12a Embraced old man, embarrassed (7)
COVERED: a somewhat old fashioned term for a man (not necessarily old) + the colour of embarrassment.

13a The most suitable time to depart ancient city (6)
THEBES: THE from the wordplay + a word for most suitable with the single letter for Time removed (to depart) giving you a powerful city in Ancient Greece that Alexander the Great destroyed in 4th century BC.

15a Now line up (8)
INCREASE: a two letter synonym (I think) for now in the sense of fashionable & trendy + another word for line that you’d find on a cricket pitch or pressed trousers for example. Last in for me & a parsing head scratch.

18a Improved figure cutting grass (8)
REFORMED: insert (cutting) a synonym for figure or shape into a tall grass-like wetland plant.

20a Drunkard – she regularly conceals bad smell (6)
SPONGE: place the exterior letters (regularly conceals) of ShE around a word for a malodorous smell.

23a Birds out of one’s tree beginning to sing (7)
CUCKOOS: another informal expression for the idiom out of one’s tree or crazy + the first letter of Sing.

24a Cover porridge (7)
STRETCH: double definition – the first in sense of spread over a period of time the latter as experienced by Norman Stanley Fletcher.

26a Visitor’s supposed to be heard (5)
GUEST: a homophone (to be heard) of a synonym for supposed or estimated.

27a Surgery alternative? About time (9)
OPERATION: a synonym for alternative or choice placed around a long period of time. Very topical.

28a Cleaner put off by chap (9)
DETERGENT: link synonyms for put off + chap.

29a Looks for small expressions of surprise (5)
SEEKS: the single letter for Small + a wonderfully onomatopoeic word for expressions of surprise. Can I be the only one who immediately thought of Scooby-Doo?


1d Cares a lot about powered flight (9)
ESCALATOR: an anagram (about) of CARES A LOT. A clever definition.

2d Hollywood actor assuming grandma’s middle class (5)
GENRE: insert (assuming/middle) the central letter of graNdma into a much underrated Hollywood actor

3d Hiding in Spain? Typical! (7)
ROUTINE: another word for a hiding or comprehensive defeat + IN from the clue + the IVR code for Spain.

4d Throws fish in ship (6)
SLINGS: place a cod like fish into the usual ship prefix.

5d Child at home with no money (8)
INNOCENT : the usual for at home + NO in the clue + a monetary unit. Not so sure there’s the same level of innocence nowadays.

6d Hang around wife with little energy still (7)
HOWEVER: insert (around) the single letter for Wife + that for Energy into a word for hang.

7a Please tan entire bust (9)
ENTERTAIN: an anagram (bust) of TAN ENTIRE.

8d Runs inside bound to make you worn out (5)
TIRED: insert the single letter for runs (cricket) into a synonym for bound.

14d Order fence if it’s cost-effective (9)
EFFICIENT: an anagram (order) of FENCE IF IT.

16d Apparently these never forget the planes up in the air (9)
ELEPHANTS: another anagram (up in the air) of THE PLANES. Clever anagram indicator.

17d Beach view certain to be mentioned (8)
SEASHORE: link two homophones (mentioned) of synonyms of view + certain to be.

19d Chicken roll with nothing inside (7)
ROOSTER: insert (inside) the letter that can represent nothing into another word for a roll or register.

21d Gateways from harbour too short (7)
PORTALS: another word for harbour + a truncated (short) synonym for too.

22d Snake European caught with tense face (6)
ASPECT: the snake that did for Cleopatra + the single letters for European, Caught (cricket) & for Tense.

23d American composer died in prison (5)
CAGED: an avant-garde 20th century composer + the single letter for Died.

25d Rubbish holiday ending in Scunthorpe (5)

TRIPE: a synonym for holiday + the last letter of ScunthorpE. With apologies to anyone from that neck of the woods but I can think of better holidays.


No standout fav today but I did like 27&29a plus 16&17d. Which ones, if any, ticked your boxes?


Today’s Quick Crossword pun: FOR+ WED+ ROLES = FORWARD ROLLS


79 comments on “DT 30469
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  1. First, my grateful thanks for everyone’s good wishes for my recovery from shingles. They lifted my spirits tremendously. I still have the rash but the itching is not as bad although the post herpetic neuralgia still keeps me awake at night. I’m not sure how long it will continue. My GP says it could last for months or even for life. Ho hum!

    If you have the chance do get the vaccination. It is a most debilitating condition.

    I also see that Corky has also been in the wars and so my very best wishes to him on his recovery. I agree with you, Corky. This is an incredible blog.

    On to the guzzle. A bit of a teaser for me but my brain has been somewhat addled of late so I’m not surprised. I’ve not heard of 27a and had to use Mr G to suss that one out. 16d is another of those words, such as “orchestra”, that can be clued in so many ways. I have never associated 12a with embracing except in the biblical sense. My COTD is 3d for no other reason that it came with a massive dropping penny.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and the same to Hintsman for the hunts.

    We’re all set for freezing weather here in The Marches but I’ve lifted the dahlias so I think I’ll just stay by the warmth of the Aga.

    PS The answer to 21d is not covered, Huntsman.

    1. Sorry to hear about the shingles Steve. A friend of mine contracted it recently – not nice. Good luck with the recovery.

      1. Glad to hear the itching is subsiding if not the pain, Steve. My Dad had it, when he was 80 and it indpired me to get vaccinated, when it was offered. GET Well soon .

        1. I still get a tiny tingle over the eyebrow where it started many years ago. Nothing to worry about either then or now. I was very lucky All the best for a speedy recovery

    2. I had not heard about your illness Steve since I have only just returned but sympathy to you and god wishes. Hope you see the back of all the symptoms soon. I had it at 15 very mildly but had a fortnight off school ordered by the doctor. It was welcomed as I never liked school which probably accounts for my leaving as soon as I could persuade my mother to let me. Not a good idea in retrospect.

    3. Wow! You’re back! So nice to see you feeling a little better Steve, we missed you, here you are again in the top spot!

    4. Good to hear that you’re on the road to recovery Steve. I went down with shingles in February last year and didn’t feel well enough to return to the golf course for three months, only to get a dose of Covid a month later. I contacted my GP’s surgery earlier this year in order to get vaccinated before I reach eighty, who checked their records and subsequently informed me that I had already had the vaccination in April 2020, which I had forgotten about. Perhaps the vaccine stopped me from getting the disease as severely as you !

  2. I started quickly, and so with optimism, then came to a shuddering halt with some anagrams getting in the way. Not helped by missolving 4d as ‘throws’ indicating ‘fish in’ is an anagram of ‘finish’ (as in “We need to finish/ship the project by Friday”). And then, after realizing, picking the wrong fish and desperately trying to think of how ‘spikes’ can mean ‘throws’ (maybe like an editor spiking an article is throwing it out?).

    My favourite was 1d’s powered flight, and 29a’s small expression of surprise is cute.

    I haven’t worked out what accent 17d’s ‘certain’ needs to be said in to sound like the answer. Does Belfast work?

    Thank you to Huntsman for the explaining, especially 15a and 23a.

    1. No, Belfast doesn’t work for 17d, the words are said completely differently here. No idea what the accent is either!

      1. Thanks, MerryRose. And apologies to the citizens of Belfast with their fine accents.

        It’s belated occurred to me that I’m married to somebody for whom the words ‘more’ and ‘moor’ are homophones (we live in a town where the moor is our biggest and best-known feature!), so maybe 17d would work for them. I’ll check after work.

        Huntsman and Senf both plaudited 17d, so presumably it works in their accents.

          1. Sorry to hear you have post herpetic neuralgia, Steve. That is really bad luck.
            Try to get the strongest painkillers from your GP that you can ( and take them regularly as prescribed , don’t wait until the pain is “bad enough”. No brownie points for suffering.) Being kept from sleep by pain is no joke.
            I also got some cream called Dermacool which helped with the burning pain.
            Good luck.
            Really good to see you back.

  3. Unlike Smylers I started slowly and then picked up pace. Loved the misdirection in 1d but COTD for me was my LOI 15a where I needed Huntsman’s hint. Thanks setter, thanks Big H for the hints.

  4. I sometimes find the rationale behind this compiler’s clues hard to fathom even if most of them are fairly straightforward. Today, the top half of the guzzle, particularly the NE, took ages to unravel and I found it less enjoyable than usual, with 5 bung-ins that I couldn’t parse. The ho.ophone clue, 7d, was the best of tthe bunch many thanks to Huntsman for the hints (much needed today) and to the compiler. Not my cup of tea today, sorry

  5. Much, much easier today, except perhaps for 15a which was last in for me, just couldn’t see it at all for ages. The town in 25d reminded me of a joke involving tea, if you remember it, best keep it to yourself in these sterile PC days where comedy will soon disappear for fear of offending just one person in the whole country.
    Favourite for me was 13a, great clue. Many thanks to our setter today.

  6. Bang on wavelength this morning, with a good steady solve needing very little head-scratching to complete this most entertaining puzzle. I ticked 1 and 16d as favourites, along with 15a.

    Thanks setter for a fun challenge, and thanks too, to The Hintsman.

  7. Typically Tuesdayish with a grid that seems to be ‘based’ on the Quickie grid so I am going all in on this being an Anthony Plumb production – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 29a, 2d, 17d, and 21d – and the winner is 17d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman, I agree with your interpretation of the 15a ‘now’.

  8. Got a bit held up in the NE corner. Bunged in 15 across and was waiting for the hints to enlighten me. Alas I’m still no clearer as to why it is what it is!

    1. It’s the first bit that’s the head scratch I assume ( well it was for me). I thought in = fashionable as in all the rage or very now. Bit tenuous I know but if Senf agrees that’s plenty good enough for me.

        1. Hmm… I was going to ask if anyone could come up with an example illustrating the equivalence of “now” and “in”. If that’s the best suggestion from a dictionary, I’m less than impressed. (Gazza, did you mean OED, or is ODE another reference work?)

          In my opinion, “new” would have been much better without affecting the wordplay or surface reading.

          1. Hi RD

            ‘Now’ meaning something is ‘in’ or ‘current’ is certainly an oft used term.

            Simon Cowell is forever using it when he critiques an act.

          2. ODE is Oxford Dictionary of English. I agree that the example is not great. As you say ‘new’ would have been better in the clue (as would other possibilities such as popular or home).

            1. I do wonder how OUP ended up with both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of English as two separate publications, with different words in each. What were their marketing team thinking of when they named whichever one came second?

              Are the two dictionaries created by entirely separate teams, based on opposite sides of the same building, conducting long-running bitter feuds, like the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front in The Life of Bryan?

  9. Really enjoyed this! However, like Huntsman, struggled with 15a. Needed to look this one up as could not solve it – my knowledge of cricket terminology is obviously sadly lacking! Otherwise finished in reasonable time. Thanks to Huntsman and Mr Plumb(?)

  10. Superb. What a corker.

    The surfaces are outstanding, they really are and the humour is up there with the best. It’s like a ‘SilvaRay Lite’

    My very strong podium comprises 20a, 1d and 7d.

    Many thanks to AP and the man with the hints.



  11. I made heavy weather of this today. I got off to a slow start at the top but did rather better when I began again at the bottom of the grid. 11a was a new synonym for me and that at 24a was not one that sprang immediately to mind as a synonym for cover. I enjoyed working out Grandma’s class though there are more Hollywood actors beginning with G than you might think. Favourite today was 15a for the pat on the back that I gave myself when the penny finally dropped. Joining it on the podium are 3d and 6d, both my sort of clue. Thanks to Mr Plumb for the workout and Huntsman for confirming a couple of parsings.

  12. Got as far through the review as 2d when, seeing the ‘still’ Huntsman had pictured, I had to break off in order to trawl through the various clips from one of my all-time favourite films and listen to Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes singing the main track – heavenly!
    The puzzle was enjoyable – Mr P does seem to have a penchant for placing the definition at the beginning of a clue – but I really didn’t like 15a which felt like a real stretch.
    Tops for me were 13a & 1d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman for the review.

  13. 2*/3.5*. This was very enjoyable apart from the dubious 15a. 1d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Hintsman.

  14. Last week Tuesday was an easier ride than the previous day but today that was reversed for me as I found this more of a challenge than yesterday’s exercise. North came in ahead of South. I agree with Huntsman as 15a was last to acquiesce just preceded by 24a. 23d composer new to me. Fav 4a. Thank you AP and Huntsman.

  15. This was great fun. First pass was very sparse due to brain-fog (works party) but a brisk and chilly cycle to/from work this morning put paid to that and the pennies dropped with a satisfying clunk. Many thanks setter for 2, 3 & 5d and LOI 15a. And thank you Huntsman.

  16. Nice puzzle. Had to do it in two session for logistical reasons, with just a few at the bottom left for lunch and quickly disposed of. Had queries about parsings for 15 & 24a, but Huntsman confirmed my guesses. (Didn’t know he knew cricket and golf!)
    Two equal faves are the wonderfully onomatopoeic 29a and 16d, both for the clue and the fact I’d not seen that anagram before.
    Many thanks to Mr Plumb and to Hunstman, particularly for his picture of the fish, which while enormously popular in xwordland, I’d never bothered to look up. Had no idea it was so big!

  17. Like others I struggled with 15a and 24a, but they eventually fell into place. A good way to start a Tuesday as I sipped my early morning tea.
    It’s a lovely day here in The Cotswolds. Sheep are happily munching and goldfinches and blue tits are making merry on the teasels. I’m glad I resisted pressure to remove the teasels when I moved in.

  18. Thought this Tuedsay puzzle was a little trickier this week with some clues that required a bit of lateral thinking and some that needed careful reading between the lines.

    2.5*/3.5* for me.

    Favourites include 1a, 20a, 29a, 1d, 16d & 25d — with winner 1d/16d toss-up … both good clues.

    Thanks to AP & Huntsman for blog/hints

  19. Nice one today. Favourite 1d once the penny dropped,. My struggle with cricket clues meant 15a was the last one in for me and needed the hints. Thanks to Huntsman and the Setter.

  20. Well the western side seemed to go in with no problems but the east was a bit harder to crack. I think 1d has to be my favourite it was so misleading. I also liked 2d ( what woman would not!) and the planes up in the air. I did not know that 24a meant cover. Thanks to Messrs Setter & Hintsman. Glad to hear that some of our sufferers are no longer suffering so much – George has now abandoned the zimmer frame and bravely went out to the dustbin this morning unsupported so things are looking up. The Lovely Mark is coming to screw S/S handles into his shower this afternoon but I shall draw the line at a handrail down the front steps.

    1. Glad to hear that George is doing better and made it out to the dustbin. But we need to know — has he also made it safely back? Or has he just set up camp by the dustbin, postponing the return journey for another day?

      1. Is he waiting for a handrail down the front steps? I’m not sure you should resist that. I’m very glad now of aids I ridiculed a few years ago!

        1. I agree. I had to add a handrail a few years ago, am I ever glad I did so. No question I would fall if I didn’t have it.

  21. Nice and Tuesdayish. 15a was my last one in, those lines can appear on a face as well as a cricket pitch, unfortunately. Thanks to the setter and hinter.

  22. As Andy predicted – 15a the last one in and I needed his explanation to fully understand why it is what it is.

    Good to know that Steve Cowling and Corky are improving. What a treat for George to venture out to the dustbin. He must be overjoyed.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Cleo Sol – Airplane

    Thanks to the setter and Hintsman On The First Tee

  23. We are spoilt this week, another great puzzle, providing enough of a challenge without driving one nuts. 28a gets my COTD just because it made me laugh. Didn’t know the 23d composer and almost forgot the smell word in 21a as I don’t think I’ve ever heard it over here. Thanks to setter and Huntsman. Mr Lancaster, keep this trend going and you will make a lot of people very happy.

  24. Nice crossword today except for 15a which I guessed but could not parse…but I see I am not alone there.

    Thanks to the setter and to Hintsman.

    Another Baltic day here but at least no white stuff…yet.
    Mr Meringue has had his jags. I chose 1 arm for both, he chose 1 in each arm….and is now rather regretting it as he can raise neither arm……..

  25. Wotta lotta fun! I really enjoyed this. I had no problems with 15a, am I the only one? I did have a ?? If 24a was cover, but I suppose it can be. Lots to like and I had a problem choosing a fave, but 1d really stood out, with 13a as runner up.
    Thank you Mr. Plumb for the fun, and to Hintsman for his hints and pics.

  26. I finished this in two goes as I left it unfinished to go for a delightful lunch in Marlborough. 15a was my last in, I didn’t register the two letter word for ages (nothing to do with large glass of red wine). Good fun crossword, thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  27. I know this one only ‘allowed’ 2* for difficulty today but that’s good enough for me to feel smug.
    Like everyone else I came a cropper with 15a and couldn’t work out 29a for ages – how silly!
    Nothing else caused too much trouble – two days in a row – things seem to be looking up!
    I liked 20 and 23d and 3 and 14d. My favourite was 16d.
    Thank you to whoever set this one and to Hintsman for his hints.

  28. The best thing about Tuesday’s is the crossword, it boosts my confidence before the trials in store later in the week.
    I had not come across the composer in 23d before but helpfully the crossers made the answer unmistakeable.
    Best clue for me today was 1d – I was suitably misdirected.
    Happy Tuesday one and all.

  29. My first unaided finish for a few days…..hooray!
    Frustratingly, the bottom half went in quite quickly and I then had to work my way up slowly. A 2 mile river walk and non-calorie filled ciabatta with chunky chips helped.
    Like others,15a was my last in, mainly by inserting random letters between the checkers until the penny dropped when I put the third letter in….double hooray!!
    Thanks to the setter and for the clues (if only to confirm my parsing of 15a).
    Best wishes to everyone suffering from ailments. I hope you feel better soon.

  30. Good evening
    Regarding the debate on 17d: I’m from Northumberland, where you’ll hear “shooah” for sure; my Nan was from County Durham and said “shewer”; “shaw” is pure RP!
    On to today’s crozzie: some nice pieces of misdirection and some general wit in play, which is good. Particularly liked 12a, 20a, and my COTD, 3d.
    My thanks to our compiler and to Huntsman

  31. Rather enjoyed this solve. Held up in the NE corner, but once the penny dropped for 4a, it all fell in to place. 15a was LOI unsurprisingly.

    1d was a fabulous clue!

    Thanks to all.

  32. My initial go through this morning revealed only a few answers but when I returned I had a lot more success apart from 15a. My favourite was 1d. I thought this was a fun puzzle.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman for the hints, which I
    needed to check the parsing of a couple.

  33. I found this considerably harder than the Dada toughie. 15a and 24a were in unparsed bung ins, the last half a dozen or so taking as long as the rest of the puzzle. Led up the garden path by 1d so cotd. Thanks to the setter and Hintsman.

  34. Well at least I wasn’t alone with 15a. The puzzle seems generally to have got the 👍 so thanks to AP. Wonder if he ever reads the feedback.

  35. No difference here in the East Midlands I am sure even 70 miles away from
    the shore. Ditto me with 15a but pleased to get it finally. I would have been quicker in NE had I not mistaken the W in 10a for a N. 1 and 28a and 17d favs.

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