DT 30477 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30477

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,477
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Our more experienced solvers will know the identity of our setter from his use of “sweetheart” in 17a. Ximenean sticklers will tell you that sweetheart cannot represent E, in much the same way as Maidenhead cannot represent M, but Libertarians will say that the intent is clear and therefore it is acceptable. I am experienced enough to know that this is a debate worth avoiding!

Another trademark of this compiler is brevity. Why use two words, when one will do? No clue today has more than 6 words and the average clue length is just a fraction over 5. A remarkable achievement.

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 Strangely brusque about using force (12)
SURPRISINGLY: a synonym of brusque outside (about) a synonym of using force or levering

9a Queen surrounded by knaves and jokers (5)
CARDS: abbreviation for Queen inside (surrounded by) an archaic term for knaves.

10a History is deplorable with the French (9)
CHRONICLE: a synonym of deplorable + “the” in French (male definite article).

11a Strong material rejected after check (10)
DETERMINED: material (think jeans) reversed (rejected) after a synonym of check

12a Vehicle engine finally getting maintenance (4)
CARE: a type of vehicle + the final letter (finally) of engine.

13a Unpredictable change about charge (7)
CAPRICE: abbreviation for about + synonym of charge (as in expenditure)

15a The French sex joke reversed wedding (7)
NUPTIAL: a reverse lego clue – “the” in French (female definite article this time) + informal term meaning sex + synonym of joke – join that lot together and turn it around (reversed). Note the definition here is an adjective, although it looks like it should be a noun.

17a Mistake from sweetheart, curious embracing rogue (7)
ERRATUM: the heart of sweet + a synonym of curious outside (embracing) a synonym for rogue.

19a Blokes, they sometimes spout in speech (7)
GEEZERS: homophone (indicated by “in speech”) of natural phenomena that spout hot water and steam up into the air.

21a Regretted being offensive to the audience (4)
RUED: another homophone (indicated by “to the audience”) – we are looking for something that sounds like a word meaning offensive.

22a Dismay of single daughter in private (10)
INTIMIDATE: single = I + abbreviation for daughter inside (in) a synonym of private.

25a Drunk in club ultimately having runs? (9)
BLADDERED: final letter (ultimately) of club + a synonym for having runs (think stockings)

26a Casting, otherwise containing metal block (5)
INGOT: hidden word (containing) within the first two words of the clue.

27a Excess of permanent ice melting (12)
INTEMPERANCE: our first anagram! Mix up the letters (melting) of PERMANENT ICE.


1d Street groove causing swaggering walk (5)
STRUT: abbreviation for street + synonym of groove.

2d Control of others taking Express? (9)
RESTRAINT: synonym of others outside (taking) synonym of express (think transport, not newspapers – the capital E can be ignored here).

3d Lie about Conservative row (7)
RECLINE: a lego clue: abbreviation for about + abbreviation for Conservative + synonym for row (as in rank).

4d Increase overwhelming working doctor (7)
SURGEON: a synonym for “increase overwhelming” + a word meaning working. The doctor here is an army or naval doctor.

5d Relatives in earnest now and then (4)
NANS: the even letters (now and then) of “in earnest”.

6d Profitable vital cure is synthesised (9)
LUCRATIVE: anagram (is synthesised) of VITAL CURE.

7d Sharp detectives in top case’s opening (6)
ACIDIC: three-letter abbreviation for detectives inside (in) alphanumeric abbreviation for top (originating from a first-class vessel in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping apparently) + initial letter (opening) of case.

8d Take pleasure catching a show (6)
REVEAL: a synonym for take pleasure (think celebrate) outside (catching) A.

14d China core thrown with simple exterior (9)
PORCELAIN: anagram (thrown) of CORE with a synonym of “simple” outside it (exterior).

16d Quiet homework producing foresight (9)
PREVISION: my first thought was that homework might be DIY, but we need to think back to schooldays on this one. Musical abbreviation for quiet + what one should do before an exam.

17d European transported over dress (6)
ENROBE: join together a single-letter abbreviation for European + a synonym for transported or carried and turn it around (over – note this is a down clue).

18d Delilah perhaps cut hair, bit upset (7)
MANTRAP: synonym of hair (think lion) without the final letter (cut) + synonym of bit reversed (upset – this is also a down clue!). The inclusion of “perhaps” indicates that this is a “definition by example”.

19d Former capital of the Netherlands? (7)
GUILDER: don’t worry about looking for wordplay here – there isn’t any! This is a cryptic definition clue. Capital here refers to currency.

20d Shut up keeping warm inside cover (6)
SHEATH: two-letter abbreviation for shut up (or be quiet) outside (keeping inside) a synonym for warm (a noun).

23d Debate fever gripping Republican (5)
ARGUE: a word meaning fever outside (gripping) a single-letter abbreviation for Republican.

24d Indolent, dull, lacking energy initially (4)
IDLE: A triple definition or an all-in-one clue – take your pick. The wordplay asks us to join together the initial letters of the first four words.

Quickie Pun: SIGH + GONE = SAIGON

60 comments on “DT 30477
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  1. Perfection.

    Nearly every surface is a winner with Ray T’s humour at its very best on a friendly grid.

    My podium is 10a, 15a and 25a with the other 27 being tied for 4th.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Shabbs.


    1. Tom. On Tuesday you used the word pleonasm. This morning, quite by chance, I came across the word neoplasm and realised – they’re anagrams.

      Well, I thought it was interesting! :-)

      1. ….and the meanings couldn’t be more different!

        Pleonasm has the same root as plenty which makes sense, i.e superfluous.

        Talking of which, has anyone seen the film ‘Plenty’, other than our resident Barry Norman, ‘Hintsman, of course?

        I haven’t but the line-up looks fab.

  2. Quite a teaser from Ray T but enjoyable, nevertheless and laced with humour. I cannot pick a favourite because all were great and singling one out would seem detrimental to the others. However, if I were pushed, I would go for the French sex joke at 15a.

    Thank you, Ray T for the fun guzzle. Thank you, Shabbo for the hints.

  3. Shabbo marks this one correctly and what a great puzzle. I laughed at 19a and thought 14d tough. So many excellent clues with ample anagrams complete and partial. I think given in honour of our setter’s abode it appropriate to award 15a COTD. I wish every day was a RayT day! Thanks Shabbo and to himself.

  4. 2*/4.5*. I thought this was excellent and would have deserved 5* status apart from the two instances of “the French” – admittedly “le” in one case and “la” in the other.

    In terms of difficulty, for me three corners were less than 2* but the SW at least 3* standard.

    Without the repetition, I would have agreed with TDS65’s podium choices so I’ll simply settle for 25a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo.

  5. One of this site’s favourite setters on top form this morning with a well-clued, concise array of teasers to cheer up a dismally damp Shropshire morning. As is usual, I find it hard to pick a podium let alone a favourite as there are simply too many contenders, but my trusty pin fell upon 25a.

    My thanks to Mr T and Shabbo.

  6. A tricky one from our maestro today but full of his trademark innuendo. So many clues worthy of mention and I think I’ll give the nod to the upset hairdresser!

    Devotions, of course, to Mr T and many thanks to Shabbo for the review.

  7. A truly excellent puzzle from the great Ray T (not that I’m biased or anything). Fine clues, a decent challenge and a very enjoyable/entertaining solve. Of a top-notch bunch, I’ll give special mention to 15a and 25a – mainly for the mischief/humour. 3*/4.5*.

  8. I didn’t think that I was going to finish this one. Impatience got the better of me and I resorted to electronic assistance rather than wait for the hints. The hints were later needed to clarify a few answers however.

    Favourites 9a, 25a and 20d but I enjoyed them all once a few pennies dropped.

    The cold has moved from the invalid’s chest to her head now. Instead of a rasping cough there is now much sniffing and nose blowing.

    Thanks to Ray T for the challenge on this horrible wet and windy day. Thanks too to Shabbo for the parsing of several answers.

    1. Hi DP. I too was getting a bit bogged down with this excellent puzzle and so I turned to something that always seems to help me … an apple! In my case always Fugi. With about a dozen clues to go I finished before the last bite of the apple!

      The apple has done this for me on many occasions. I wonder if others have resources to go to that stimulate the grey matter?

      On a cold day here in the Gargano I thank RayT and Shabbo for the blog.

  9. I do hate the solution to 25a but needs must? Found it very hard to get on the wavelength here in general .
    Love anagrams but cheated for 27a and blame the definition!
    Didn’t really enjoy this so I envy those above.
    But, as ever, thanks to compiler!

  10. Excellent guzzle. The trickiest back-pager of the week thus far & agree with RD that the head scratching was in the SW. Last in for me was 18d which prompted me to visit You Tube to watch the marvellous Sensational Alex Harvey Band doing a great cover of the Tom Jones hit so that’ll do as my fav.
    Thanks to Ray T & Shabbo.
    Ps The Scorsese film about to start so the challenge will be getting through the 3hrs + having just had a coffee without the need for a comfort break.

  11. Well after racing through last week’s Thursday offering I had to work really hard at this one.
    Some real stumblers for me, and I still can’t parse 17d as I seem to have more Es than I know what to do with…
    My favourite today was 19d.

    1. It is as Shabbo hinted a reversal of one E for Europe then a synonym of transported that has a terminal E of its own, turned over in a down clue
      The whole being a verb to dress not just the last 4 letters

      1. Ahhh…
        Feeling rather foolish.
        The combination of a mental blockage that would not let me think of the European E any where other than the start coupled with a very basic spelling oversight did the damage for me.
        Many thanks SJB for the enlightenment!

  12. Enjoyable stuff from our regular Thursday setter – thanks to Mr T and Shabbo.
    My co-favourites (I hope Kath isn’t watching) were 25a and 18d.

    1. I am watching (and I think you’re pushing your luck)! :smile:
      Going to have a try at the Toughie – even if I can’t do it I can look at your cartoons!

          1. Have a go at a Toughie by Chalicea, Merusa. She is quite friendly and offers a good start for those of us taking our first faltering steps into Toughie solving.

  13. A real Ray T winner and very enjoyable it was too. The N was more accessible than the S, which took me twice as long as the top half. The best of thecclues for me was the 19d cryptic definition but there were two lovely and well misdirected anagrams at 27a and 4d and a good homophone at 19a. Thanks to Ray T for a varied andpolished puzzle and thanks to Shabbo for the hints.

  14. Ray T not at his best today because I managed about 5/6ths of it. Either that or I am getting much better at this pastime. If any of you believe that there are thousands who would fall about laughing.

    My podium has three standing there: 11 and 15a together with 16d. There could have been others but after the brain exertions I am too tired look further.

    Thanks to Shabbo for unlocking the clues I could not solve and to Ray T for giving me a moment of exhilaration thinking I was moving out of the crossword novice stage. Common sense took over and I realised that the puzzle must have been super friendly so many thanks Ray T.

  15. Usual often impenetrable clues from Ray T, the marmite of setters.
    Finished understanding about half the clues as usual.
    Not too difficult if you ignore a lot of the wordplay but little fun for me.
    Thx for the hints

  16. Classic Ray T
    Steve C has put his finger on it so I will ditto his comment and Thanks to RayT and Shabbo too

  17. For me, this week, the puzzle was in Beam territory, rather than RayT. Found this very difficult to get started and very slow getting any momentum at all. Still unfinished at this point with about half a dozen I am clueless on. This will be a learning puzzle for me and likely a DNF.

    3.5*/2* for me so far

    Favourites of the ones solved include 9a, 13a, 17a, 27a, 1d & 4d — with winner 4d

    Thanks to RayT & Shabbo for hints/blog

  18. Only 18 numbered comments on a Ray T back-pager – extraordinary! I guess everydody is busy watching BJ getting a right ol’ grilling on TV? Well, at least it’s 19 now …

  19. I always think a nice long answer straight across the top is a good start – today wasn’t one!
    In fact 1a was one of my last answers and I needed lots of extra letters before I got there. Dim, I think!
    Today has been quite difficult, for me anyway, and I’ve only just realised why – there are only three anagrams and I know that I rely them as ways into a crossword.
    Difficult or otherwise it was a very enjoyable crossword.
    I particularly appreciated 10 and 25a and 2 and 20d. My favourite was 15a.
    With thanks to RayT for the crossword and to Shabbo for the hints.

    1. I too love anagrams and often as I am writing the component letters into a ring the answer jumps out before I have finished!

  20. Very tricky, but, heck, it’s Thursday and supposed to be more difficult. I was able to solve enough to get checkers spattered throughout the grid, then I had to rely on my trusty word search to get more checkers, and so on. In the end I had one unsolved, 25a, and had to get the hint; what a dreadful word, I think I’ll forget that one. I’ve never heard 16d but easy enough to work out. I liked 19d, you didn’t fool me RayT, but fave was the French sex joke at 15a.
    Thanks RayT for the fun and breviloquence, and thank you Shabbo for your invaluable hints.

  21. Somehow I found this a bumpy ride with some rough surfaces – so unlike the usual RayT. SE was last to come aboard. Always forget the 5d word which is/was not used in my family. Surely 25a relies on knowing what these kinds of runs represent in USA. Liked 19a when the penny finally dropped but Fav has to be 18a – thanks to Shabbo for that and indeed TVM RayT for the workout.

    1. I’m “Nan” to our three varying sized tiddlers mainly because the other lot are called “Granny”. Also my Dad’s mother was called Nan – can’t remember why!

  22. I found this very tricky, I think due to a few unusual words and some even-more-stretched-than-usual for RayT synonyms. “Beam with anagrams” really.


  23. Not sure about 22a. To intimidate someone is to make them feel timid or afraid with a view to controlling them. Dismay is perhaps a slightly different emotion from fear and does not necessarily include the element of control. I am happy to be corrected and would welcome comments.

    1. I can only quote Collins Online (Thesaurus section):


      Frighten, scare, dismay, plus others.

      I guess it depends on the specific context …

  24. At the more straightforward end of Rayt’s spectrum particularly in the north with a few head scratchers in the south. Enjoyable as ever though. Another vote for the French sec joke as cotd. Thanks to Rayt and Shabbo, my text autosuggest still got to grips with your name yet.

  25. Good evening
    Pleased, and somewhat relieved after being defeated by the Mighty Mr T last Thursday, to have got ’em all. But crikey, it was hard work! I genuinely believed earlier that I would have to hoy the sponge in as I approached the SW quadrant. That, though, is the mark of a challenging crozzie, for which I thank Ray T. Thank you also to Shabbo for your help with some of the parsing.

  26. Only just got to this and was really too tired to do it justice. I managed the North and most of the south but then hit a wall. The hints got me going again and I have now finished. As ever I am in awe of someone consistently producing such high quality but brief clues. 15a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Shabbo for rescuing me

    1. I am another late starter having had an exhausting day yesterday. Just finished over breakfast – quite satisfying!

  27. If I hadn’t known it was Thursday I would have thought it was Friday because making headway was hard. It seemed harder as one went down so somewhat discouraged. Worked at the grid whilst at the hairdressers and at least the new haircut was a success.Glad to see many people enjoyed the challenge but for me it was a 4 star for difficulty. Many thanks to all and tomorrow is another day.

  28. As usual totally baffled by this RayT offering, beaten into a quivering heap I shall crawl away and lick my wounds. Thanks to all

  29. Needed quite a few reveals and also hints for half a dozen clues.

    13a is that awful word no normal person has used un centuries that comes to haunt me every few years in crosswordland.

    Kudos to the geniuses that can solve the likes of 14d and especially 18d.

    Thanks to all.

    PS: let me pay to avoid the ads. We all pay loads to get the DT, so I suspect we can afford a few quid a month.

  30. I found this to be a real stinker. Doing the crossword in bed I only found four answers before Morpheus took me in his arms. Awoke betimes and slowly slogged away to completion. Was glad of Shabbo’s parsing to confirm some answers but Ray T has woken me thoroughly! It’s satisfying to complete a crossword i thought would be beyond my abilities. Usual thanks…

  31. So late today that it is now tomorrow if you see what I mean – but no one’s reading this now. Just wanted to say thankyou to RayT and Shabbo.

    1. Good day, Mr T, many thanks for another splendid puzzle but your tardiness has been duly noted in the ‘late book’!

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