DT 30617 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30617 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30617 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

I started this grey and misty morning with a text from a friend just as I was leaving the house to go shopping including buying the paper.  He was definite as to who the setter of this Saturday Prize Puzzle had to be and, once I’d eventually got home and solved the crossword, I have to agree with him.

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.


1a           English wearing sacks for clothes (5)
The abbreviation for English ‘wearing’ sacks in the sense of plunders

4a           See 17 Down

9a           Sausage with it dunked in drink? Thanks! (9)
An informal word meaning fashionable (with it) ‘dunked’ in a fizzy drink, the result finished with an informal word of thanks

10a         Riser lively at last – whence comes the dawn? (5)
The last letter of lively and the direction to face if you want to see the dawn

15a         Severe reprimand in court for 29 hero (8)
An informal severe reprimand inserted into an abbreviated court will give you both the solution and, if you are the right age, an ear worm!

24a         Talk tediously about old Queequeg’s weapon (7)
Talk tediously or repeatedly ‘about’ the abbreviation for Old – a character from the book named in 26a

27a         Where fare goes down, Iago hopes when travelling (9)
An anagram (when travelling) of IAGO HOPES – there is nothing in the definition to indicate that the solution is plural, but once you realise that, the letters all rearrange themselves in a satisfactory manner

29a         All lost after Mexican offensive – leaders herein? (5)
The leaders of the first five words in the clue give the name of a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution in 1836


1d           Who’s Tommy, having wobble over quiet period? (4,5)
A verb meaning to wobble, the cricket abbreviation for Over, the musical abbreviation for quiet and a  period of time

4d           Dodger Luke finally seen with Anakin? (6)
The final letter of Luke and the surname of Anakin the Star Wars character

16d         Sailor and social worker, in love, shooting American? (9)
A sailor, one of Crosswordland’s social workers, IN (from the clue) and the letter representing nothing (love) – this ‘shooter’ isn’t a user of a gun in his work

17d and 4a Whitehall head once spoiled everything (3,5,9)
The second cause of muttering in the Rabbit Hutch – a North American informal expression meaning everything – an anagram (spoiled) of WHITEHALL HEAD ONCE

21d         Roman general in a thrilling production on the radio? (7)
This Roman general from the time of Emperor Augustus sounds like (on the radio) a production that might hold your attention

22d         Cold chicken stuffed with duck son selected (6)
The abbreviation for cold and a female chicken ‘stuffed’ with the cricket score of a duck and the abbreviation for son

25d         Honshu port: good enough area encloses it (5)
An informal way of saying good enough and the abbreviation for Area ‘encloses’ another informal word for sexual attraction (it)

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The Quick Crossword pun:    PLANES + AILING   = PLAIN SAILING


91 comments on “DT 30617 (Hints)
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  1. This made up for the last two days. I loved the linked clues and there were a few but I especially liked that of 24a and 26a. It took me a while to get the final word of the 17d/4a combo but once I had checkers it could be nothing else. I vaguely recall the term. I’m not sure I understand 27a because, if it’s an anagram, it doesn’t work for me. Or I have the wrong answer. My COTD is the dunking sausage in 9a.

    Thank you to the setter for the fun challenge. Thank you, CS for the hints.

    PS Just realised what I did wrong in 27a. 😊

    1. I think I’ve probably made the same mistake because I still don’t know why. What else can it be?

  2. 2.5*/3*. This was a very pleasant puzzle and one which required plenty of GK, which fortunately I happened to know. It was a shame however that there were two hmms which took the gloss off it for me.

    As a lifelong cricketer, 20a brings me out in spots and always will.

    I noticed that 17d/4a was likely to be an anagram and I was quickly able to guess the two words needed for 17d. The nine remaining letters could only be rearranged to make one seemingly absurd word for 4a but, without much hope, I thought I should check Google for the whole phrase – and yes, it exists, BUT it is 100% North American slang (Chambers and Collins agree!) All it needed to have been fine was to have added “across the pond” to the end of the clue.

    My favourite was 1d.

    Thanks to the setter and to CS.

    1. I agree re 20a; such a horrible word!
      I can only assume that it is intended as a gender neutral word.
      Thanks to the setter for the puzzle, and ti CS.

      1. Yes, not only intended as gender-neutral, but is! Other terms in cricket have changed over the decades — for instance, those on the other side to the 20a are referred to by the gender-neutral term and it now sounds ridiculously old-fashioned to use the gender-specific one. Presumably when that changed, there were people used to the old term who objected to the new one.

        Anyway, I’m off to Headingley tomorrow to watch England with the 11-year-old, for whom terms such as “firefighter” and “headteacher” are just the normal words to use. In another generation, 20a will probably be the everyday word — and they’ll all cope just fine with it, just as we do with language changes that those before complained about.

        In this weather, do you think we should have an iced cream?

        1. I try not to get involved in modern terminology, but my pet hate is actresses calling themselves actors. An acceptable word that would apply to the whole cast would be acters. Nuff said

    2. I kept thinking of you while solving this one RD, all good thoughts and hoping you survived the puzzle.

  3. Well, I’ve submitted it but I’m not sure now that I’ve got 25d correct as I can’t seem to justify the very last word of both the clue and the explanation in my solution. Ah well – we shall see :P

      1. No, I can’t justify letters 2 and 3, even though 3 is from 27a. The two letters I have don’t seem to correspond to “it” unless it’s a known abbreviation in crosswords I’m not familiar with.

          1. A new one on me. It may be in the BRB but I have never come across this before, in or out of crosswordland.

      2. I’m 75 years old and I’ve never in my life heard anyone use those two letters to indicate Sexual Attraction or even Sex Appeal and I don’t mean “it”.

    1. A very GK rich crossword, which I enjoyed, although I had t check the character in the book, which I tead some 60 odd years ago. The 17d/4a combo was good fun and my COTD. The 15a character and 29a event remindwd me of rhe film, popular in my youth and the daft hats allthe children were wearing Happy days. Thanks to the compiler, the clues in this guzzle made a welcome change from the over-complicated wordplay, which is fashionable at the moment. Thanks to CS dor the hints, which must have bewn a bit tricky to construct without giving the game away.

  4. Had to dig into the memory banks to unearth a couple of the answers but rather enjoyed much of this one. Particular favourite was 11a.

    Thanks to our setter – NYDK? and to CS for the hints.

    PS Think you may be dunking in the wrong drink, Sue!

  5. Absolutely brilliant! So many fabulous clues it’s hard to know where to start but I suppose COTD must go to 21d with MiD to 4d and 4a. This for me made up for the disappointment of the last two days which were just puzzles in the wrong place.
    DT more like this please.
    Thx to all

  6. All finished and thoroughly enjoyed. The required general knowledge in some linked clues was not up my street but fortunately hubby has his uses and explained why my answers worked. It is always nice when you can get an answer from the wordplay even if you aren’t sure of the GK. There was a lot to like and even the anagrams needed a bit more thought than sometimes! I had heard of the 17d/4a term but it’s not in common use where I live in the Chilterns!! My daft moment of the day was misreading Iago for Lago which really did no help in 17a.

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

      1. Great minds……or maybe not!

        And of course it was meant to say 27a not 17a, that gin stuff really addles the brain, and I haven’t even had any yet today.

  7. Well, this was rather jolly after two days of brain-mangling. For me, and I stress for me, (™ ® © Senf) my favourite crosswords are not those where one can chuck in a load of lemon-squeezeys straight off the bat; I really enjoy those where one nails one answer and that gives a starting letter for another and so on. The Sherlock Holmes approach, if you will.
    This was one of the latter and a satisfying challenge.

    We are orf out for a lovely walk and some luncheon, but the destination is yet to be decided.

    Thanks to the setter and Super Sue.

    1. Have a look at an alternative definition for it.

      Very enjoyable. If you want a fun puzzle, todays Guardian is by the wonderful Brian who used to be round these parts on a Sunday.

    2. Tilsit, thanks for the recommendation.

      Mr Greer aka Virgilius at his very best … as always!

      Still much missed on Sunday mornings in this household.

  8. This was enjoyable and spot on for a Saturday: some fine cluing with plenty of neat surfaces.

    The GK is always a cherry on top for me: 5d was a nice touch and 1d was a pleasant trip down memory lane The 17d/4a expression is outstanding but I agree with RD about the lack of indicator (I smiled when I saw 20a, picturing RD’s ‘Grrrr!’) .

    My podium is 9a, 7d and 19d.

    Many thanks to the setter and CS.

    2*/3.5* (it would have been 4 but for 17d/4a)

  9. What fun! 2.5*/4.5*

    No problems with 27a, once, as our beloved blogger says, I realised that the answer is a plural.

    Candidates for favourite – 28a, 7d, and 25d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to whomsoever, presumably NYDK, and to CS

  10. That was very enjoyable indeed. I think we all knew that RD would have an issue with 17d/4a. But his gentle disapproval is admirably restrained. And it is a great spot. I see Jane – Senf too – has suggested NYDK. I’m not convinced. I think I know who it is (Id sounds very much like somebody else) but, as always, it’s better to say nothing and be thought a fool rather than say summat and prove to be one! 7d was excellent – clean as a whistle. Many thanks to the setter and CS.

  11. Very enjoyable. I completely gave up on yesterday’s which I never do however long it takes. I did struggle with some of the parsing eg 17/4 combo. I also knew the Honshu port but not the alternative abbreviation for you know what. Having heard many severe reprimands in Court in my time, and not necessarily to the defendant, it took me an age. I put together the answer to the other clue mentioning 29a but don’t get the connection. Thanks setter and Sue. 15a was a favourite when I got there. So was 2d at the opposite end of the scale.

  12. Such a relief after the last two days. 9a took me ages to parse although it had to be what it was.
    27 a was quite an anagram wasn’t it? My COTD

  13. Definitely a relief after Thursday and Friday.
    A lot of general knowledge today….not my favourite kind of clue.
    However, lots to like too.
    Thanks to crypticsue and to the setter, whoever they are.

    Enjoying an extra day on our jaunt to Toulouse courtesy of British Airways who yesterday evening cancelled our flight due out this morning.
    However they have rebooked us on better flights tomorrow, avoiding a 6 hour layover in Heathrow which we were dreading.
    And we have booked ourselves into a very nice airport hotel which we have high hopes of BA paying for.
    Only problem really is a shortage of underwear……
    Still snuffling and coughing with this unending cold……but not as bad as before I left UK…..

  14. A lovely puzzle and as predicted by CrypticSue I now have a certain 15a related earworm!
    Top picks for me were 10a, 4d and 16d.

    Thanks to CS and the setter.

  15. Another lovely Saturday outing (they do occasionally let me out). Work is such a bother at the moment: perhaps I shouldn’t wish away the precious years, but someone please remind me to retire ASAP.

    I’m another who thinks this sublime stuff is the work of NYDK. The amusing Melville combination more or less confirms it for me, but there is further evidence dotted about the grid. I think I will go for that pairing as top of today’s dizzying tree, with the 29 triptych providing a nice interlude, but the answer to 17 is pretty good!

    Thanks CS for the hints, and (presumably) NYDK for the enjoyable work-out.

  16. I had to get a little bit of e-help with 4A as despite having read countless American novels, I don’t remember ever coming across that expression. Also, my obviously sheltered upbringing that although I knew the port in 25D, I couldn’t for the life of me parse it.

    Thanks to the setter and CS for the hints.

    ***/*** for me.

  17. I positively refuse to use the word in 20a unless women are involved. Totally and irrefutably ridiculous. Rant over.

    As for this delightful puzzle, GK heavy but not impenetrably so, and enormous fun. The linked clues gave it a nice feel, and 1d was terrific and my favourite.

    My thanks to our Saturday setter and Sue.

    1. Why would you presume a woman wasn’t involved? The clue doesn’t specify either way, so the cricketer in question could well be female — I’m choosing to believe it’s Heather Knight, who started playing in Devon, so could well have been drinking in a pub outside Totnes!

  18. I had never come across the 17/4 expression – how very bizarre is that? Otherwise I liked the connected clues and the bung. There were some cunning misdirections which needed to be winkled out but altogether a satisfying solve. I do hope Terence enjoys his lovely walk, I wish my knee would allow me to walk more. Flipping arthritis. But I am definitely going to do the splits on my big day. Many thanks to the indefatigable SeeSoo and to the witty setter.

    1. You aren’t alone regarding the 17/4 expression Daisy. There are quite a few expressions that mean the same thing which start with the same first two words, and I suspect the 17/4 combination might be the least used, even in America. Although I’ve seen an American film that’s titled after a four word version of the phrase, which may be what’s giving me that impression.

  19. A much nicer puzzle than the Friday offering as far as I am concerned. This Saturday puzzle was a joy to tackle and had fun doing so.

    2.5*/4* for me

    Favourites include 20a, 27a, 1d, 5d & 17d/4a — with winner 5d as I laughed out loud when the penny finally dropped and it hit me!!
    Others that amused were 9a, 1d & 4d

    Thanks to setter and& CS for hints/blog

  20. Enjoyable Saturday Prize crossword with a lot to like in a good assembly of clues. No problems with Americanisms or with xxxxxx. The latter is just another example of the delight of the English language. Multiple meanings abound which make for wonderful wordplay Imagine the Germans thinking of clues for Krankenwagen. I suppose some anagrams might be availble but with such a structured language I am not sure that cryptics are very possible. Favourite is the 23d/29a combo.

    Many thanks to CS again and to the setter who has not revealed themselves at the time writing.

  21. Haven’t posted for ages due to normally attempting the puzzle at very unsociable hours, so a blanket thank you to setters and most particularly bloggers who put in so much effort to help my befuddled brain.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one, and a very welcome relief after the last two painful days.

    Many thanks to CS and the mystery setter.

  22. Had to check the 17d/4a phrase which I’d never heard of or ever likely to use now that I have, had to check the 24a character as well and didn’t know the alternative abbreviation for it. Apart from those plus my dislike for the 20a term we rather enjoyed this clever crossword. Favourite was 1d. Thanks to the setter and CS.

  23. What a relief after the last couple of days. I didn’t know the 17d/4a phrase either but most filled in quite nicely so thanks to the setter and CS. Sea fret has finally lifted from the North Sea coast and I have finally taken off two of my 5 layers – just in case you were interested!

  24. I can’t confidently identify the setter whose product I made heavy weather of today. The jarring cricketer is becoming rather a chestnut. Didn’t know about Tommy although I believe we have seen 1d previously. Had rather forgotten 17d/4a which I see only originated in the 1970’s. Thank you to whomever may be the setter and also, as ever, to CS for helpful hinting.

    1. Hi, Angelov. I’d forgotten 17d/4a as well, but I see OED has a citation from 1951 (in Mississippi), so it sounds to be older than the 70s.

  25. Wotta treat! I loved it all. I struggled mightily with 27a for the same reason as others. An American leaning puzzle. I think 17d was a Clint Eastwood quote. I liked the 24/26 combo, though I’m usually agin linked clues. I think 5d is fave, how slick is that? Lots more could qualify.
    Thank you setter, you made my day, and to our CS for the explanations for some.

  26. A light and very enjoyable afternoon solve, and though 4a was not the word I would generally use – I prefer xxxxxxx
    – it was a lovely combined surface read and anagram. COTD 21d, closely pursued by 4d and 1d.

    Thank you setter (Donny?) and CS.

  27. Good to see a more varied use of ‘American’ in a clue … and what (redacted – alternative clue) he is! Thank you compiler and CS

  28. Lots to enjoy here with some trips. down memory lane.
    Recognised the 17d/4aexpression, but can’t remember ever hearing it in 30 years of travel to the SW USA!
    I do remember the 15a ear-worm, but had forgotten the 29a connection – likewise 23d.
    Took a while to get 9a as was looking for it on its own as in 25d in stead of with it.
    And enjoyed the talking tediously in 24a haven’t heard that in ages either.
    As faves going for 16d closely followed by 21d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to the hard-working CS.

  29. I have a feeling this might have been written by someone with NY in his name, which seems fitting. Not allowed to say much on prize puzzles, but I recall Smylers saying that when the anagram indicator comes after the anagram letters, the setter is entitled to leave out the word ’is’. I won’t say which clue that helped with! Overall nicely doable notwithstanding the GK (and fortunately I have seen the (PLEASE read the red instructions) film).

    1. That’s the second time this week somebody’s made a comment with something they remembered me saying — I’m going to have to be more careful what I write if you lot are going to go around remembering comments and quoting them back at me!

  30. Thank you to the setter, and to CrypticSue for the hinting: a glance at the underlining in the clue for 1d was enough for me to suddenly realize what was going on! I had to consult a specialist reference source for one clue, but I’d better not say the source’s name before Friday.

    My favourite was either 24a’s tedious talk or 11a’s Old English poetry.

  31. I have been out since before the blog (Mama Bee and I went to Whitby and Sandsend but High Tide and a sea fret obscured the view so we came inland a bit and had a lovely sunny time investigating the Roman Road at Wheeldale and Tea and fruitcake with Wensleydale cheese at Mrs Botham’s in Pickering on the way home)
    I did enjoy this puzzle before we went, particularly the themed clues – Thanks to setter and CrypticSue
    Did you know that Wensleydale is the only one of the Yorkshire Dales not named after the river that runs through it?
    I can’t tell you the river until Friday though

    1. I did know that — but only as of a few hours ago The 11-year-old is revising for exams this week, which for geography includes learning the rivers in the Yorkshire Dales, and they happened to mention that about Wensleydale to me this afternoon! If only you’d mentioned that yesterday, I could’ve looked really knowledgeable to the 11yo …

      Glad you had a good time in the sunshine and at Botham’s (who, unlike Bettys, have managed to hold on to their apostrophe).

        1. I have just remembered that the Geography teacher who taught me that 50 yrs ago was from your neck of the woods – he lived in a nice row of terraces in Ben Rhydding and we went orienteering in Denton Woods and back to his place for tea

  32. Yes an NYDK production. I’m thankful for the many kind comments! Thanks to ‘Super Sue’ :D as well for the hinting.


    1. And thanks from Daisygirl to Not Your Daughter’s Jeans ( other brands are available but not so nice). Great guzzle.

  33. Apologies to the setter, but I did not enjoy this much.

    Far too many clues relied on knowledge of one battle and one book. Also never heard of the general, even when a search revealed the answer.

    Never heard the expression in 17d/4a despite living in Canada for over 2 years and many visits to the US.

    Despite my grumbling above, glad to have solved as much as I did.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Hi, Bananawarp. I disagree that it relied on that knowledge: I haven’t read the book and didn’t know who Queequeg was, nor the names associated with the battle, but I found it was solvable anyway from the other parts of those clues and the crossing letters. I thought NY Doorknob did well at making those clues look like they needed that knowledge while not actually doing so!

  34. Lost confidence
    Really terrific
    Such clever wordplay
    Can the podium
    Take the weight?
    Very many thanks
    Setter and CS.

  35. After Friday and 5 answers, what a joy, a thoroughly enjoyable solve, only done today after being floored by the new COVID variant at the weekend. Loved the historical references!

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