DT 30611 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

DT 30611 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30611 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A lovely warm and gloriously sunny morning (although there’s a mist building up across the marsh) and a Saturday Prize Puzzle which will, I think, divide opinions but as long as everyone’s comments obey the RED instructions, that’s fine by me  

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1 and 5 Across Elegant work yet to come from the retired Laureate? (6,2,6)
This expression meaning exceedingly beautiful or elegant could describe that a former Laureate still had some verse to come

10a         Female in good shape backing little Barney? (4)
A reversal (backing) of the abbreviation for Female and an adjective meaning in good shape

15a         No odd number in service (8)
The opposite of odd (no odd) and a musical number

25a         Copy something tried and trusted primarily (4)
The primary letters of words 2 – 4 in the clue

26a         Secret affair an elusive universal presence (4,6)
A synonym for secret and an affair

27a         Engineer‘s instrument is one not working (8)
An instrument, IS (from the clue) and one without the two-letter synonym for working

28a         Dundee changed strip (6)
An anagram (changed) of DUNDEE


2d           Gas ring section (5)
The ring-shaped letter and a section

4d           Zulu follows this Union soldier (6)
The first part refers to the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, the second to a soldier from the union of North American states

5d           Hot sauce ideal or otherwise, snack won’t satisfy me! (1,5,3,1,5)
An anagram (otherwise) of the first four words of the clue produces an expression one might use when feeling extremely hungry

6d           Second one leaving African countries to avoid duty (8)
Two African countries – one of four letters, the other five – the second country omits (one leaving) the Roman numeral for one

8d           Bad luck is remote possibility (3-6)
A synonym for bad or rotten and something that happens fortuitously (luck)

17d         Silver reworked used in Christian emblem (5,3)
The chemical symbol for silver and an anagram (reworked) of USED IN

20d         Row in which Frenchman died, shot (6)
A row or line into which is inserted the abbreviation for a Frenchman, the result followed with the abbreviation for died

24d         Very much lacking in purpose? (2,3)
Without having a purpose or aim in mind


Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.


The Quick Crossword pun:    FREEZE + PEACH   = FREE SPEECH


67 comments on “DT 30611 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Really nice puzzle but I was defeated by just one clue 27a despite having all the crossers. I think I can see it now but the ‘s confused me and for ages I couldn’t see why the answer shouldn’t end in an s too.
    Loads of good clues but I really liked 5d 1a 20a and 26a. Thanks to the setter and cryptic sue.

      1. You changed your alias since you commented last August – you were originally Parky

        In this clue, engineer is not a noun!

  2. There was some clever misdirection today and it took a while to find my way into this puzzle. However, whilst tricky, the clues were not as opaque as yesterday ‘s and perseverance paid off. 18a and 23a were clever lego clues and 1a a brilliant cryptic definition, once the penny dropped. Thanks to CS for the hints and to the compiler for a challenge worthy of a prize puzzle but giving a very enjoyable experience to the solver.

  3. Not having access to a printer whilst on holiday in Cephalonia, I tackled this using the app on my phone and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use.

    The parsing of 27a put up a struggle but I got there in the end. Favourite by a distance was 5d.

  4. Thanks CS for the hints.

    There are many classy clues here for me, including the great d&cd at 1 5A, while the amusing 5D nudges me in the direction of who might be the setter. 27A was a cunning little device, which Sue has hinted very nicely. I went ‘aha’ as that one revealed itself, even though I’d already written the answer in. Thanks to whoever for this, which I found very doable and nicely pitched for a Prize puzzle.

  5. Nice one today, fairly steady from start to finish. **/****

    I still don’t understand why ‘retired’ is needed in 1a. Does it refer to a specific poem?

      1. Apparently he is the only one ever to have retired, after stipulating a 10-year term as a condition of his employment. Since him the term of office seems to have been set at 10 years. John Dryden (Catholic convert) is another exception, having been sacked in 1689 by the king (heavyweight Protestant).

  6. Not quite as terrifying as yesterday’s guzzle, but a challenge nontheless. Some very clever clue construction today.

    Last night we popped out to support a local drama group – Peaslake Players – and thoroughly enjoyed their production of an Agatha Christie play, ‘Go Back For Murder’. As someone who has only ever worked in the professional world of tv, film, theatre and radio, it is so often a humbling experience to see the talent that exists in amateur productions.
    I’d recommend this to anyone in the area, but its last performance is tonight!

    Thanks to the setter and Super Sue.

  7. A very entertaining SPP. When I had finished the solve last night I was thinking NYDK as the setter but while reviewing my candidates for favourite and getting my ideas together to make my comments this morning I started having second thoughts. Then I saw that the NTSPP was by Chalicea and it wouldn’t be the first time that she had the SPP and NTSPP on the same day. Hmm.

    So while I continue thinking, that dangerous occupation, candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 6d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Decision time – a Toonie on NYDK. So, thanks to him, or whomsoever if my Toonie goes down the drain, and thanks to CS.

  8. Took me quite some time to nail all the intricate footwork by our setter but it was certainly a satisfying challenge. 5d raised a smile and I particularly liked the Qantas hotel.
    Thanks to our setter – NYDK gets my vote, and to CS for the hints.

  9. This took a bit of work and was therefore very satisfying to solve.

    Lots of fun to be had: 1a was a splendid effort; the construction in 4d is always a goodie and 6d made me smile. I had to look up 11a, thinking…surely not?

    My podium is the neat 18a, 21a with top honours going to the brilliant 12a.

    Many thanks to the setter and CS.


  10. Great puzzle which I managed to finish all by myself despite the clues having several tripwires built-in. Thinking of 1a reminded me of a review in the TLS of a new edition of the Canzoniere by Petrarch. The headline for it was ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ : brilliant.

    27a was difficult but the instrument helped but my favourite today is 26a.

    Thanks to CS and the setter. Now for lunch after a very productive morning in the garden.

      1. Thanks for the emoji Daisygirl. I rather liked Byron’s lines in Don Juan ;

        ‘Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch’s wife,
        He would have written sonnets all his life?’

        I used to write poems for my wife before we married but after it rather dropped off.

        Hope you and George are well

  11. A lovely guzzle for a sunny afternoon. Last one in was the clever 27a.
    Lots of ticks with top picks for me being 1a, 27a, 4d, 20d and 16d.
    Thanks to the setter and CS.

  12. A nice puzzle for a sunny Saturday. Nothing to scare the horses today.


    Favourites include 23a, 27a, 4d, 14d & 20d — with winner 14d
    Chuckles for 23a, 26a, 5d & 14d

    Thanks to setter & CS for blog/hints

  13. Tough in places. On the wrong wavelength for LOI 27a for a considerable time until the penny dropped. Favouritewas 12a. Thanks to the setter and CS.

  14. A sunny Saturday indeed. We had just got back from Coffee Stop when DD2 arrived with the dogs, out came a bottle of fizz and a nice family chat. Then she went off home, George went to sleep and I felt obliged to tackle the guzzle. A nice tussle with 27a the last to fall. 1a my favourite. Is there anything nicer than to sit in the garden with a gentle breeze, birds singing and a completed prize puzzle? Only the arrival of another pen!

  15. I found this very tricky, I followed every red herring there was, but lots of good stuff. I’m DNF with 11a, I can’t get that and, natch, it’s not hinted. I needed the explanation for 27a, a bung in ‘cos it fit! Honorary mentions to 23a, 4d and 14d, but tops was 5d.
    Thank you setter, why did I find this so tricky? I needed you today, CrypticSue, to help with the understanding of a few.

      1. I received a very kind hint and got it eventually. Sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland!

      1. Really tranquil and a place of rare beauty. Don’t. mention weeds Daisy, nine are winning at the moment.

  16. I found this very taxing with many osbscure clues, and I still don’t understand what 27a has to do with the definition in the clue. So *****/** for me. thanks to the setter and to CrypticSue for the hints, which definitely helped!

  17. I really enjoyed this guzzle but spent hours and hours on 11a. Had a go at cleaning the pond, did some pruning and came back to it. Finally realised I had put in a wrong letter in 4th position – why don’t I check these things first! Yesterday saw that you can microwave a fried egg in 30 seconds on high having pricked the yolk first and then let it rest for 1 minute. DO NOT try this at home. Thankfully had covered the container with the egg as it exploded everywhere. That’ll learn me. Thanks to the setter and to CS.

    1. Ouch! I have yet to be convinced that it is a good idea to get a soft boiled egg in the Ninja in 6 mins when I can boil it for 5. (Yes, I know I have to boil the water but I take from the hot tap).

      1. Trouble is it takes an entire sink load for the water to come through hot. Put the air fryer on 160, pop egg in 1 minute later and take out after 6 mins. Horses for courses hey, but don’t try the micro fried egg!

    2. It is possible to poach eggs in a microwave but it’s more like a scientific experiment than cooking. You crack the egg into an accurately measured amount of water in a small bowl and microwave on full power for a carefully defined time. The water should cover the egg. You need to determine the time for your specific dish and microwave by experiment but once you know it then you can repeat the process at will and it only takes about a minute. Use the same bowl each time. A starting point is 125ml of water and 50 seconds for an 800W microwave.

  18. I think I must be getting stale because recently I have found wavelengths hard to access as per today’s challenge which I didn’t enjoy at all so once again will refrain from individual comment. Thank you Mysteryone and CS for making things easier.

  19. After solving 8 clues I called it a day on this one. Not on the wavelength at all.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Plans changed and I decided to tackle this again. Still a dnf thanks to 11a and 27a.

      The answer to 11a is an absolutely horrible expression that I hope to never hear again. Like something US primary school children may use.

      Still not convinced of 27a across having been an engineer…

      Rather enjoyed solving 5d and particularly 1a. Well worth a second attempt.

      Thanks to all.

  20. Completed but not without a peep at the comments and then the hints for 27a. This was a very hit and miss one for me where I kept getting stuck and then on returning managed a few more, and so it went on. There were some great clues and the long ones helped get me to the end.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS for the hints.

    1. Great puzzle Donny. Thought it had to be one of yours after completing it early doors today. Loved 1a.
      Thanks & to Sue

  21. Definitely more fun than yesterday. I will to try solving each day on line while we are away, who knows I may even be a convert by the time we get back. Having reached a 323 Wordle streak today I am more concerned that if I cannot access for one day during our holiday, apparently streak resets to zero 😢. Also can be complicated by time changes, oh dear. It is what it is. Pleased to see there is a Chalicea NTSPP as well, which I have printed up for the first flight. COTD for today’s cryptic is 15a so far, but that may change if I get to fill in any more. Might not get a chance to comment until we get back, depending on internet. Thanks to setter and CS as always.

  22. Very late today. This was good fun 2*/4*.

    I don’t much like the synonym for “copy” in 25a but I see it’s in the BRB.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS.

    1. If you go to 15sq and look at the second comment on the Guardian Quick Cryptic, you may be pleased to read the second part of the first paragraph

      1. I’ve tried to reply to you but get told “duplicate comment detected” but I still can’t see it!

    1. You need to find a verb that can mean ‘engineer’ and the rest of the clue hints the construction of the answer.

  23. Last in 27a
    There is stretching
    It and stretching it
    To breaking point!
    Otherwise, a pleasant
    Smooth SPP.
    Thanks setter and

  24. Can some kind person please put me out of my misery over 20d which so many of you liked. I’m afraid that I just don’t ‘get’ Sue’s clue. Thanks.

    1. The answer is a word that can be mean ‘shot’ (though not by a gun). The answer contains a single letter that is the short form of a man’s title in French.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.