DT 30616 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30616

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No Crossword 30616

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty **** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday. I found it tricky to gain a foothold in this puzzle’s grid, perhaps because there are a lot of answers with unchecked first letters and that’s combined with a low anagram count. But the struggle was worth it because there were several smile-inducing penny-drop moments encountered on the way to a fully solved puzzle. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



7a    Twigs maybe Billie Jean keeps Nadal fit regularly (8)
KINDLING:  The surname of Billie Jean the tennis player contains (keeps) alternate letters )regularly) of NADAL FIT

8a    Tablet's good, no question, for dog (6)
PLAGUE:  A tablet that might commemorate something has the single letter for question replaced by the single letter for good (… has good, no questionin PLAQUE change Q[uestion] to G[ood]

9a    Failing to start standard treatment (4)
DEAL:  A synonym of standard or model minus its first letter (failing to start

10a   Tape of girl performing in Don Juan (10)
PROFLIGATE:  An anagram (performing) of TAPE OF GIRL 

11a   Trophy fool rejected previously as paltry (6)
TINPOT:  An informal synonym of trophy comes after the reversal (… rejected previously) of a fool or twit 

13a   Salt in Spooner's food recently (7)
LACTATE:  Apply the Spooner treatment to synonyms of food and recently Spoonerising turns TACK LATE into a homophone of LACK TATE 

14a   Labour MP perhaps that's quit is malcontent ultimately (7)
LEFTIST:  Quit or gone with IS from the clue and the final letter (ultimately) of MALCONTENT 

16a   Play  board game (7)
OTHELLO:  A double definition. The play is by Shakespeare and the board game is a board game (but not the one in the picture)

19a   Issue revolutionary pamphlet an American collects (7)
EMANATE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (revolutionary … collects) of PAMPHLET AN AMERICAN 

20a   Responsible for tie retired ambassador is wearing (6)
BEHIND:  The reversal (retired) of a usual abbreviated ambassador is inserted in (wearing) tie or secure with rope 

21a   Assist worker indirectly (6-4)
SECOND-HAND:  Assist or support and a worker on a ship, for example 

22a   Politically moderate newspaper, as has been stated before (4)
SOFT:  An adverb meaning “as has been stated” comes before a usual abbreviated newspaper printed on pink paper 

23a   Memory of everybody on sports field (6)
RECALL:  A synonym of everybody comes after (on in an across clue) an informal word for a sports field 

24a   Sunak's minister with Conservative ally occasionally outside bar (8)
CLEVERLY:  The single letter for Conservative and alternate letters (occasionally) of ALLY sandwiching (outside) a bar that might be used with a fulcrum 



1d    Most energetic person in Britain, it's Brown usually (4,4)
LIVE WIRE:  The wordplay is a cryptic allusion to the colour code used for UK mains cables 

2d    Star is vain, we hear (4)
IDOL:  A homophone (we hear) of another word for vain 

3d    Clingy sort, lady primarily this writer's indulged (6)
LIMPET:  Link together the first letter (primarily) of LADY, a contraction of a phrase for “this writer’s” from the perspective of the setter, and a synonym of indulged 

4d    Extremely interesting old coin that's worthless (7)
IGNOBLE:  Outer letters (extremely) of INTERESTING with an old coin 

5d    Country clearing mum seen to support outlaw (10)
BANGLADESH:  After outlaw or cancel comes a clearing in the trees and an interjection for quiet or mum 

6d    Some misspelt subtitles put up in haste (6)
BUSTLE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of (some … put up, in a down clue) MISSPELT SUBTITLES 

8d    Creature European roughly treated at first (7)
POLECAT:  A national of a European nation is followed by the Latin abbreviation for roughly or approximately and the initial letter (at first) of TREATED 

12d   Gosh, a party organised for polymath! (10)
PYTHAGORAS:  An anagram (organised) of GOSH A PARTY 

15d   Disgraceful thing, boys raised to eat little peeled (7)
SCANDAL:  The reversal (raised, in a down clue) of some boys containing (to eat) a little or a bite minus its outer letters (peeledS [s]NAC[k] DALS = the reversal of LADS containing [s]NAC[k] 

17d   Refuse student daughter sufficient amount to purchase article (8)
LANDFILL:  The fusion of the single letter for a student or learner driver, the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, another word for sufficient amount (perhaps in the context of having eaten enough) contains (to purchase) a grammatical article 

18d   Male stops right cheat transforming return contest (7)
REMATCH:  The single letter for male is inserted in (stops) the single letter for right followed by an anagram (transforming) of CHEAT 

19d   Number emerging from taxi expressing thanks (6)
ELEVEN:  The interpretation as Roman numerals of TAXI minus (expressing) a short word of thanks

What is the number of cats here?

20d   Invited Democrat visits top man in Washington (6)
BIDDEN:  The single letter for Democrat is inserted in (visits) the leader of the USA (top man in Washington) 

22d   Tailor leaves wife for clairvoyant (4)
SEER:  Another word for tailor has the genealogical abbreviation for wife deleted (… leaves wife) 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was either 1d or 19d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  WHIST + EERIER = WISTERIA

89 comments on “DT 30616
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  1. Sorry but, like yesterday, I found this almost impenetrable and gained little enjoyment from it. I realise Friday’s are supposed to be tougher but this was off the scale for me.

    Thank you, Setter for the brain mangling. Not your fault I made a mess of it. Thank you Mr. K. for explaining it for me and cheering me up with the pusskits.

    Ah well! Tomorrow is another day. 👍

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Steve. I could get only 7 clues and could make neither head nor tail of the rest. There’s a lot to do in the garden, which offers more enjoyment, so its a DNF for me.Thanks to Mr K for the hints, which I shall now read to find out what it all means. Thanks to compiler for the wffort involved

      1. You solved SEVEN clues?? Welcome to MENSA. I also agree with Steve, and he says it so nicely, wotta gent!

    2. I wouldn’t beat yourself up Steve. It’s not really anyone’s ‘fault’. It’s more a question of taste. Some people like a mellow red wine, some like avéze.

  2. 4*/5*. This was very challenging, particularly on the right hand side, but it was an absolute joy to solve with 1d my favourite.

    Many thanks presumably to Mr Smooth, Silvanus, and to Mr K.

    1. That is very tactful and I applaud you for not attacking the setter! I cannot imagine what it is like to have to keep on producing these guzzles week after week then being castigated ( I had to think hard before I typed that). But then maybe these setters are sensitive creatures who think their manhood is being threatened when their offerings are rejected. Let’s Be Kind To Setters – I shall have lapel pins made.

      1. I never attack setters, DG. Having tried to compile a couple of crosswords it is definitely not easy. I admire anyone who can produce them day in and day out.

  3. Oh dear another escaped Toughie a bit like yesterdays which I was too late completing but did agree with most of the remarks. This is worse in all senses of the word. I get really grumpy (surely not I hear you cry) when the majority of the clues make little or no sense even when you get the right answer.
    All in all very difficult and very poor. No idea who the setter is but smacks of Zandio in a very bad mood.
    No fun at all.

  4. That was a challenge and no mistake … Chewiest of the week for me, and I found some of the answers rather difficult to justify until seeing their definitions word-for-word in the BRB, though with one or two I might still struggle to use them as the required synonym in a sentence. For example 9a, over which I pondered for many minutes because I could only come up with one 5-letter word for standard that had a 4-letter word which even fitted the checkers. COTD 8a, with runners-up 10a and 19d

    4* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the setter (Zandio was on my list, not Silvanus, so I’m doubtless wrong) and MrK.

  5. I found it very difficult today, but regarding 15d I used a word starting with S and ending in T with the same middle letters for little..

    1. So did I – the way I read the clue the reversal (raised) did not include the contained (to eat) ‘little peeled’ – reverse first, contain second.

    2. This was one of the few clues I got – I had ‘lads’ ok, but my ‘little peeled’ in the middle was (s)can(t).

  6. Well, after the last couple of days this was a breath of fresh air. Still quite a challenge however but very enjoyable. The quality of the clues suggests that I should put my Toonie on Silvanus – ***/*****

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 1d, and 19d – and the winner is, my LOI with a tea tray sized PDM, the outstanding 1d.

    Thanks to Silvanus, or whomsoever if my Toonie (by the way Smylers, it’s also in the BRB) goes down the drain and thanks to Mr K.

    1. Thanks. You always write it with a capital letter, so I wasn’t sure if it would be allowed. Or indeed if it would be too foreign for Countdown, which doesn’t allow words Oxford label as being solely from any region variant of English other than British.

  7. Compared to yesterday which was a breeze this was like spending some time in the ninth circle of hell. A DNF which I am not ashamed to own up to and willingly acknowledge the further shores of ability in crossword solving are tortuous and not worth the disruption of neural networks. Strange many posters yesterday complained about its difficulty which I could not see.

    Thanks to MrK for providing what enlightenment there was available and to the setter who should adopt the name Dante or The Ninth Circle to make clear what we are going to find.

  8. An excellent Friday puzzle – just up my street! Can’t decide if the setter’s moniker begins with Z or S. Great clues, a pleasingly tough challenge and a very enjoyable scrimmage. Favourites of a fine collection: 8a, 15d, 17d. 4*/4.5*.

  9. Another Friday puzzle that was a struggle.
    Many unfinished at this point and will likely stay this way. This is a toughie IMHO

    Did not enjoy what I did get and parsing nowhere to be seen.


    No favourites in this one
    Thanks to Mr K for his work

  10. I’m not sure which amuses me most, the thought of Billie Jean getting it together with Nadal, Gordon Brown being the most energetic person in Britain, or breast-feeding mums filling their offspring with salt! Sorry, just the idle thoughts that went through my mind whilst unravelling this Friday-level challenge from Mr Smooth.
    Having finally decanted all those folk from the taxi and brushed off the clingy lady, I did finish up with a podium selection of at least 10 clues but I think the image of Gordon Brown just about tops the lot.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K with his line-up of adorable kittens for the review.

  11. A proper challenge which is what we’ve been promised on Fridays – thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    There are lots of top-notch clues here with the two which stood out for me being 1d and 19d.

    1. I’m with you on 1 and 19d but would also add 5d and I love the idea of ‘Gosh a party’
      becoming the renowned polymath. That is an anagram to go in my Commonplace Book.

  12. Tricky for sure but there were some very good clues 7a 1d
    Some poor clues 15
    And one dreadful clue 13a – I’d ban Spooner given the choice 😀

    Thanks to all

  13. Another tricky one for me with the hints being needed for parsing so thanks to Mr K.
    Top picks for me were 1d, 15d and 19d.
    Thanks to the setter for the second brain mangling this week.

  14. I am sorry if this is the wrong place but can someone help me, Cryptic 30613 I have completed, the answers are correct but on The Telegraph website it says I have not started it yet, I have emailed The Telegraph and am awaiting their response., has this happened to anyone else. again I am sorry if this is not the correct place to bring this up.

    Thank you Worworcrossol

  15. Setter here, many thanks to Mr K for his Hints and Tips and to everyone commenting.

    I did mention a fortnight ago that my next one would be quite a bit trickier, I do think the choice of grid plays a part in that. But a) I think it’s good to throw in a more challenging puzzle from time to time and b) I believe in using a variety of grids (although my colleague Mr Plumb may disagree!). I hope Merusa will like 1a, even if the rest of the puzzle might have been “like swimming in molasses”.

    My intention for 15d was “scant” without its outside letters, but I can see why Mr K thought it was “snack” instead.

    May I wish everyone a good weekend.

      1. That’s an easy mistake to make with that grid! :wink:

        P.S. Thanks for popping in as usual and many thanks too for an absolute gem of a puzzle.

    1. I went for scant 🥰 This was a real teaser but I slogged away with a few lucky guesses and only needed to reveal 13a which I would not have got in a million years and 8a, I really was looking for a canine. Thank you for keeping us on our toes. Just think how smug we would all be if we had it all done and dusted every single day. Life ain’t like that.

    2. S. It’s got to me “scant”, hasn’t it? The position of the reversal indicator (raised) only applies to “lads”.

    3. How did you guess? That was one of my five solved! Loved it. I see Nadal is looking quite strong, considering his woes.

    4. Found this a great puzzle. I did about 2/3 but the clues were very fair. 1d was my favourite. Thanks to setter and to Mr K.

  16. I found this extremely tricky but I have managed to finish it although I don’t know how. I shall now read the hints as there are several I couldn’t parse but my machine told me they were correct. I can’t say I enjoyed the slog of this one, sorry Silvanus but thanks Mr K.

  17. Thanks, Silvanus. Tricky, but with some help from Mr K (thank you) I got there in the end. I concur with his choices of favourites: 1d’s brown and 19d’s number.

  18. I have to say that yesterday’s puzzle was a walk in the park compared to this headbanger.

    I only managed to finish with assistance from Mr K and his cat friendly hints.

  19. Well, I’ve already had my two penn’orth. I also really liked the number emerging from the taxi. We finally had the Eon man here today for two hours and he has left us a machine telling us how much money we are burning. George is going to be walking behind me switching everything off. Oh dear. I want to show you the blackbird feeding her baby but it keeps being rejected despite me putting it on ‘small’. I shall have another go. We have our Cinema Night tonight- The Holdovers. Many thanks to Silvanus and Mr Kitty. Happy weekend everyone.

  20. I thought this was absolutely brilliant with no dud clues anywhere to be seen. It may have been a bit more challenging than of late, but how else do we improve as solvers if we don’t test ourselves?For a favourite I don’t have to look beyond 1d, although 19d was only a short distance behind.

    My thanks to Silvanus for a most entertaining and enjoyable challenge, and to Mr K.

  21. This was tricky for me too, and like DG I relied on a few lucky guesses with post parsing applied, and some for which the parsing eluded me – thanks Mr K for your help.
    1d, 5d and 6d got my vote today, but 1d would have been very tough for our overseas solvers.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the challenge.

  22. Even harder than yesterday, but what a classy puzzle! Challenge throughout, lots of clever constructions and I really enjoyed it, though it took me much longer than usual to finish. Though I was thinking along the right lines quite quickly it took me AGES to solve 8a – simply couldn’t see the right letter swap, and I’ll remember this clue for a long time! Many thanks.

  23. Well, we certainly know it’s Friday but that works for me.

    Some of these bad boys took some teasing out but, as always, they were extremely fairly clued.

    1d was fun and 5d was nicely constructed. I’ve learnt a new term for an old coin and I applaud SV for not opting for the obvious definition with 24a.

    As ever, it’s never easy to decide which ones get the spoils but I’ll go with 7a, 20a and 12d.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and Mr K.


  24. So like yesterday another one that I am struggling to progress but after lunch yesterday I suddenly got going and managed to finish . Eaten lunch today – no brain food so maybe that’s why I’m getting nowhere . Not ready to quit or look at the hints yet , just dipped in to see how others feel about it ,so that’s comforting. I’ll stare at it a bit longer.

  25. Too difficult for me the relative novice, which is a shame as love the feeling of the lightbulb moment, which I am definitely not getting with this one 😟

    1. I agree with DG, Graymatta. Keep at it. We need the occasional curve ball to keep us on our toes and to enable us to learn a bit more about cryptics.

  26. Quite a week Couple of times I didn’t think I was going to complete the puzzles. This one not as hard as yesterday IMO but still rough.

  27. Every day is a school day sums up this challenging puzzle for me. I managed over half unaided, mostly the left hand side but needed one or two hints to get going on the right. I have decided, like others, that I am developing a phobia of the word spooner! I am glad I persist with using the hints to help me complete puzzles as often I find having only used one or two I do manage to finish. My favourite was 1d but I also liked the 12d anagram. Puzzles like today show me how far I have come in the last year.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K whose hints and detailed explanations are always appreciated

  28. Very tough but some really bright moments in this one especially liked 1d and 19d . Needed a couple of hints Inc 9a .
    Can’t say I enjoy these ultra tough offerings but if they are there then it’s over the top lads!
    Thanks to Mr K

  29. Haven’t got time to read all the comments but suffice to say I found this difficult but doable unlike yesterday’s dnf. I managed to complete it but made hard work of parts of it and enjoyed the journey. Favourite was 1d, there were numerous contenders. Thanks to Silvanus SMS Mr. K.

  30. I failed to attempt this one due to other commitments but the joy of BD is that you can see what it would have been like: tricky it seems.

    I doubt I would have finished it unaided from the comments but I suppose the bar has to be lifted high occasionally if we are to improve.

    1. My thoughts exactly, NAS. if every guzzle were easy to solve we would soon get bored and give up. I didn’t get on with this offer from Silvanus but I have done with others of his with no problems. It’s not the setter. It’s just me needing to gain more experience.

  31. I, natch, found this impenetrable. On reading Mr. K’s hints, I have to admit it’s all fair clueing, as is the modus operandi of this setter. I now realise how much knowledge I lack, I had no idea of the salt (the Spooner was enough to put me off) and only knew one meaning to that word, 1d is something I think is pretty much Brit knowledge, and so on. Some clever stuff here, I wish I’d solved 19d, that was clever.
    Thank you Silvanus, I must try harder, and to Mr. K for the hints and tips. The 19d pusskits are adorable, I want one!

    1. So, initially little validity and now- utter stress.

      However got there in the end. A real challenge.
      1d and 19d – the popular favourites- topped my list too- the ta-less number was utterly brilliant.
      12d and inspired anagram as well
      Thanks to Silvanus and Mr K for their considerable efforts

  32. There is not enough time in my day to crack such a puzzle. Called quits when 19 answers were put in. The car has packed up so walking and waiting at bus stops swallows time. I use the puzzle to give pleasant distraction and the odd whoop of joy. Not so today . It left me sad and feeling a failure. It is not the setter’s fault – just too difficult for me.

    1. Fridays have become rather tiresome in recent weeks. I’m a 40 year veteran of the back pager and don’t ever remember feeling like that before. I do the DT because I’m busy and it has been a quicker solve than the other broadsheets.Perhaps I’ll come back when I retire in 5 0r 6 years.

  33. Well I managed to complete this even though I don’t understand some of the clues. The taxi number leaves me cold but it couldn’t be any other number. Needed quite a bit of electronic help and if I directly relate the solving time to my usual solving time this would have to be 10* difficulty! And probably 2* for enjoyment, there was not that much of that today. But not to worry, I got there.

  34. Managed to solve all but 4 unaided.

    Needed the answers to be revealed to get 9a, 13a, 16a and 19d.

    With 13a I cannot see any connection between salt and the answer.

    Never heard of the board game, and couldn’t find it with Google and the first few lists of games that came up.

    Spent way too long on this. In hindsight maybe I should have abandoned the rhs, which was the side that I spent 80% of my time solving (or not).

    Thanks to all.

  35. Good evening

    Although I’ve survived several tussles with the Brain Of Silvanus in the past, I simply couldn’t get away with this one. A DNF with bells on!
    15 solutions entered before the sponge got hoyed in.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K

  36. This was waaaaay above my pay grade and should, I think, have been a Toughie rather than a Back Page. Thanks (I think) to the setter, and Mr K deserves a medal.

  37. I like challenging crosswords. Lots of good clues, like 4d, 19d, 24a. It took getting into so started with an easy one (6d). 9a meaning slightly stretched lateral thinking! All in all enjoyable.

  38. DNF after a good try but so agree with Silvanus’ comments about a tricky challenge being needed now and then. Thank you MrK for explaining some clues, four of which I answered correctly but not understanding why!

  39. Definitely quite difficult as was yesterday’s but I still managed to solve it all. To everyone thinking it might be “too hard”, hang in there. It’s just practice. I never would have been able to solve this a few years ago, but I appreciate the challenge!

  40. I got the spoonerism other than didn’t know why the “tack” bit. Still can’t find a definition where tack means food?

    1. The third of four definitions of tack in Chambers dictionary is “food generally, fare, especially of the bread kind such as hard tack or ship’s biscuit

      1. Thanks, had just used a Google dictionary which only had 3 definitions. Have now downloaded the Chambers app which has 7 definitions for Tack!!

  41. This has been sitting around for over a week with 2 of us putting a couple in from time to time! Finally resorted to the hints today to (almost) finish. Many thanks for the challenge and for the hints.

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