DT 30636 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30636

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30636

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from Almoradí where summer has now arrived.  We had 34°C yesterday and it’s staying around 20°C overnight. We had the A/C on to cool our bedroom last night before getting on the bed without a sheet over us.

I think today’s puzzle is by the same setter as the last one I blogged two weeks ago.  Like that puzzle it’s not too difficult and there’s a couple of gimmes and six anagrams to get you off to a good start. Again, I don’t think many of you will need these hints.

As usual my podium three are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Understood American historian of the ancient world (7)
TACITUS:  A word from Latin meaning understood or taken as read followed by the usual two letters for American gives you a Roman historian.  I’ve heard of this guy but don’t know anything about him.

5a           Quirky like a bobby having a rest? (7)
OFFBEAT:  This word meaning quirky or eccentric if split (3,4) would be a phrase which might describe an off duty policeman.

9a           I’m leaving university, following crazy idea (5)
ADIEU:  Anagram (crazy) of IDEA and followed by a U(niversity).

10a        Crude tea brewed by head of Eton school again (2-7)
REEDUCATE:  Anagram (brewed) of CRUDE TEA followed by an E (head of Eton).

11a        Work in tense police series? Take a starring role (3,3,4)
TOP THE BILL:  Start with a T(ense) and then a long-running TV police series. Into that put the usual two letters for work and split the result (3,3,4).  I’ve never watched this programme but it ran for 26 years!

12a        Learners getting 50% off an earring (4)
STUD:  Another word for learners, as in people at University, without half its letters gives a sort of earring.

14a        Two right-wingers hosting wild raves in sunny room (12)
CONSERVATORY:  Two different words which can both refer to the conservative party (right-wingers) placed around (hosting) an anagram (wild) of RAVES.  Conjures up an interesting mental image!

18a        Sinatra’s confused with beer and cryptic crosswords, say (12)
BRAINTEASERS:  Anagram (confused) of SINATRAS BEER.

21a        London transport still heading west, then east (4)
TUBE:  A word meaning still is reversed (heading west) and followed by (then) an E(ast).

22a        Troublemaker with funny dialect is incriminated (10)
IMPLICATED:  The usual troublemaker or naughty child followed by an anagram (funny) of DIALECT.

25a        One guilty of dodgy dealing when giving others a hand? (4-5)
CARD SHARP:  A cryptic definition of one who may do dodgy stuff while dealing a hand of cards.

26a        Furious criminal in the main losing power (5)
IRATE:  A criminal who operates at sea (in the main) without his P (losing P(ower)).

27a        Rot in English tree remains after burning (7)
EYEWASH:  Start with an E(nglish) and the a type of tree commonly found in churchyards and finally what’s left after a fire.

28a        Do some carving in French tomb (7)
ENGRAVE:  The French word for IN followed by a place where dead bodies are buried.


1d           Where pigs may be going, that’s cosy and warm (6)
TOASTY:  Split the answer (2,1,3) and you’ll get a phrase telling you where the pigs might be going.   I’d never have got this without the checkers!

2d           King, tucking into fried food, sends out tweets (6)
CHIRPS:  Sends out tweets like a bird is an R for king in some fried food commonly eaten with fish.

3d           Rugby scores from urban areas in Holland, as Spooner says (10)
TOUCHDOWNS:  You need a two word phrase describing urban areas in Holland, Spoonerise it and then put them together as one word.  I think that strictly speaking these are American football scores. In rugby they are called tries.

4d           Personnel in U-boat getting broom, say (5)
SHRUB:  You need two letters for the Personnel Department and put them in an abbreviation of a boat which goes under water.

5d           Masters a bit of cricket by place where it’s played (9)
OVERLORDS:  Six deliveries in cricket followed by a cricket ground in London.

6d           Supporter defending United, a goatish fellow (4)
FAUN:  A supporter placed around (defending) a U(nited).  Mr Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia is one of these.

7d           Demanding old lover with lawsuit (8)
EXACTION:  The usual old lover followed by another word for lawsuit or even a military engagement.

8d           Eccentric stayed with us in parts of the week (8)
TUESDAYS:  Anagram (eccentric) of STAYED US.

13d        Jeering Republican interrupts Obama during start of gala (10)
BARRACKING:  Take President Obama’s first name and insert (interrupts) an extra R(epublican).  Follow by a two letter word which can mean during and then a G (start of Gala).

15d        Some in Windies team bat heroically in sweaty environment (5,4)
STEAMBATH:  A lurker hiding in (some in) Windies team bat heroically.

16d        Hindrance that stops cruel cats bounding up (8)
OBSTACLE:  Another lurker (stops) in cruel cats bounding but this ones backwards (up in a down clue).

17d        Jim almost welcoming dullard in grand party (8)
JAMBOREE:  Take Jim’s full name  but without his last letter (almost) and insert a dullard or tedious person.

19d        Extravagant whiskey drunk by sober people in capital city (6)
OTTAWA:  Take three letters for extravagant or too much followed by the two letters for the people who have given up alcohol and insert (drunk by) a W(hiskey) to get the capital city where your other Monday blogger resides.

20d        Stick marketing material in this place (6)
ADHERE:  Two letters for some marketing material followed by a word meaning in this place.

23d        Friend upset by case of severe blunder (5)
LAPSE:  A friend reversed and followed by SE (case of SeverE).

24d        Two areas around southern India – in this region? (4)
ASIA:  Two A’s (areas) placed around S(outhern) and the letter represented by the word India in the phonetic alphabet gives the region where India is.

Difficult to pick out just a top three as there’s a load of good stuff here. However, after much deliberation I’ve gone for 11a, 14a and 25a with 25a on the top step.

Quick crossword pun:

VERY     +     FIRE     +     BULL     =      VERIFIABLE

75 comments on “DT 30636
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  1. The historian of the ancient world beat me but he shouldn’t have done because the clue was quite straightforward. My heart sank when I saw the dreaded reverend but once I got it I quite liked it. Lovely misdirection in 27a making me think that the remains after burning was the tree. My COTD simply because it made me smile is the warm and cosy porkers at 1d.

    Thank you to the setter for the fun. Thank you, pommers for the hints.

    1. As soon as I saw the dreaded at 3d, I took a black marker and erased it. All Tikal babu, solved in a trice!

  2. A lovely puzzle today which made me smile in places. Didn’t know the historian but it was gettable from the cluing.
    Top picks for me were 27a, 1d, 4d and 16d.
    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  3. At first the top half looked tricky so I worked from the bottom up having filled in the anagrams and it did flow very well at top end */**** for me. I thought 1d, 3d and 19d all excellent and well constructed my fact being 3d. Like SC I groan when I see mention of the Spooner but on this occasion he wasn’t really needed and caused a smile afterwards. Thanks pommers and the setter.

  4. A great way to kick off this week’s proceedings with nothing to trouble the ungulates.

    One question: Is the word ‘say’ in 18a necessary as the surface would be a smidge smoother without it? I appreciate that not all ************ are crossies but all crossies are ************. Is it therefore a must?

    Lots of excellent surfaces makes it tricky to pick three but I will go with 22a, 1d and 15d.

    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon.


    1. I think if you replace “Cryptic Crossword” with “Puzzles”, the “say” becomes superfluous. CC’s are a type of puzzle, an example thereof, so the “say” is required.

      1. A question mark can also be used to indicate a “definition by example” and this might have worked better here?

        1. Thank you to you both.

          If it was ‘puzzles’ it may throw the solver a tad as they will probably think of jigsaws which doesn’t immediately come to mind as the answer.

          So, it looks like the setter must include ‘say’ or a ‘question mark’ or maybe your suggestion is perfectly valid, A.

          1. It’s a mild Monday puzzle, so you can expect all the indicators going. In a Friday back-pager or in a Toughie a ? would suffice to hint a definition by example.

  5. Terrific kick off to the new week. As our reviewer says not difficult but very enjoyable indeed & with ticks aplenty.
    Thanks to the setter (Robyn methinks) & to Pommers.
    Ps 3 layers & umbrella at the ready as our tee times beckons – so much for June….

  6. A very gentle start to the week with only a couple holding me up. Although I had the answer to 19d I took a whole moment to realise that TT were not the abstemious folk mentioned. LOI was the cleverly misleading 27a and that became my favourite. I also liked 25a and 1d as well as the Spoonerism. Thanks to our setter and pommers.

  7. Not a walk in the park but in the end I didn’t really know what had delayed me. Anyway it was an enjoyable solve with the NW holding out longest mainly due to my needing help with 1a which is cunning. The 2-letter French in as in 28a often takes a while to dawn as a 4-letter alternative occurs to me first. Joint Favs 1d and 3d even if that’s not strictly a rugby term. Thank you Mysteryone for a fun-time and pommers for being on hand.

  8. A top-notch puzzle that’s very enjoyable. Thanks to our setter (my guess is the same as Huntsman’s) and to pommers.
    My podium hosts 11a, 25a and 1d.

  9. A very good start to the cruciverbaling week – **/****

    The only real pause for thought was on 1a but with the checkers it seemed to be fairly obvious and other than the annoying female telling me it was correct on overall puzzle completion I did not consider it needed any verification.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 27a, 1d, and 4d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to whomsoever and pommers.

    1. P.S. In case you missed it, from yesterday’s Puzzles Newsletter from our esteemed editor:

      We are working on more printing options, including the ability to change the font and greyscale settings of clues and grids respectively, so watch out for those features arriving in the near future.

      Not holding my breath!

  10. Very straightforward and very enjoyable. Perfect for a Monday.
    Ticks for 1a, 14a, 27a, 15d and 20d, with COD going to the Spoonerism at 3d, despite sharing Pommers’ reservations about the definition.
    Thanks you setter and Pommers.

      1. The odd thing is that in Rugby you do have to touch the ball down to get a try. In American football you don’t have to touch the ball down to get a touchdown! How weird is that?

        1. I agree with you completely, pommers. The American term seems utterly contradictory.

          However, although in the World Rugby Laws, “try” is mentioned on its own on 135 occasions, “try or touchdown” actually gets a single mention!

        2. Maybe the setter should have put ‘American Football’ as opposed to ‘Rugby’ as they are both minority sports in The Netherlands.

      2. Also supported by Collins and Oxford. You used to see it in rugby reports quite often, but less so these days with the growing popularity of the US game in Britain.
        Fun puzzle. Possibly Robyn, but had an X-Type flavour too.

        1. Indeed. I don’t understand the discussion re 3d. The BRB supports the synonyms and you often heard rugby commentators use the 3d answer (back in the day). Maybe they still do, I never watch it these days.

          1. I am accepting it as an ‘answer’ but I have never heard it used.

            However, I am only 58. A whippersnapper!

      3. 1A is one of the big ones. These are the major historians on Rome in order of their histories with exception of Plutarch.

        Livy – Hannibal
        1A – 1st Century emperors after Caesar August

        Plutarch (parallel lives – source of Shakespeares Roman plays)
        Beyond these it would be unfortunate to find any others in a crossword.

        1. Thank you for this, Andy.

          In my Latin A Level we studied the Annals of Tacitus, which was fascinating, along with Virgil’s Aeneid. I know a tiny bit about Livy and Suetonius but nothing about Polybius and Sallust which, I assume, I’m missing out on.

          I only did Latin as I liked the challenge of hunting the verb. I saw it as a puzzle. I did Ancient History to go with my Double Maths which is all I was good for.

          An odd comby, admittedly.

          Thanks again.

  11. Hi Pommers, thank you for all the tips. Thanks too to the setter.

    10a needs an extra letter which is perfectly clear but I guess you would wish to be exact

  12. A most enjoyable Monday puzzle.
    My first thought when I saw 1d was blankets, despite the extra couple of letters…
    It would be interesting to see Spooner clued as part of a lurker one day; I wonder if he has ever been clued in that way before.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers. We’ve also got our a/c running during the night, and we are further up from you in Valencia…a little earlier than last year.

  13. Not as straightforward for me as some recent Mondays but lots to like, 1d my favourite once I realised with 27a a close second. The spooner was last in and needed a prod from Pommers, I could not get tries out of my head.

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

  14. Often, when pommers writes, “Again, I don’t think many of you will need these hints” I have strived and strived and wept over my gruel and orange juice with no bits. However, today, all was well as this guzzle was (spendidly) right at my level and had several glues that led to a smile as each was solvidged.

    We had an awful English master who would throw, literally, our homework books back at us; each fling accompanied with “BALDERDASH!” or “POPPYCOCK!” or 27a. Any minor misdemeanour in the class would result in the wooden blackboard wiper being bowled in the direction of the miscreant. (Un) happy days.

    Thanks to the setter and to pommers from the Vega Baja del Segura.

  15. Phew thank goodness for a gentle start to the week ,especially after yesterday’s brain ache which I dipped into all day and managed to finish off this morning. Today’s favourite is 27a my last one in . One of those clues that having parsed and slotted in all the letters , out pops a rather unexpected and wonderful word , one which I’ve never used but think I’ll be adding to my lexicon ! Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  16. A really enjoyable start to the non-working week with a plethora of ticks on my paper. On balance, I’ll award the rosettes to 11&14a plus 1&3d although several others came into contention.

    Thanks to our setter – Robyn? and to pommers for the review – we don’t need any A/C here at the moment, it’s positively chilly………

    1. My iPad tells me it’s 58F in London today … for heaven’s sake, it’s June, didn’t they tell them?

  17. For Terrece’s English master, read my history one. He could hit a boy at 50 paces with a blackboard rubber. Surprised that any of us had any brain cells left! This puzzle, though was a witty gem to start the week. 1a and 1d were great, but my cotd goes to 13d. Thanks to compiler and Pommers.

  18. Despite first upbringing 1a (thanks to 100% in O-level or Common entrance) the puzzle turned somewhat curate’s eggish. Usually manage to parse things by myself, but definitely needed Pommer’s help today. E.g. I had CR ( common room) for the personnel in 4d instead of the obvious HR.)
    And in 16d, got the answer, with the felines in it, before realising that it was a lurker.
    I’ve already mentioned my confusion of aa and tt holding up solving 19d, not helped by the fact that I usually (mis)spell it with an O in the middle. (Luckily 26a corrected that!) It also took me a while to remember that Obama’s first name has a C in it.
    Lots of other likes: 9a, 27a, 17a, but in the end will go for 22a as the fave.
    Very many thanks to the setter of the day and especially to pommers for the needed hints!

  19. An absolutely superb puzzle that was a perfect example to prove that a cryptic doesn’t have to be fiendish to be highly enjoyable. Much as I hate to admit it, the Spoonerism was quite superb and my favourite.

    Many thanks to our setter and pommers.

  20. For me, this was a 2*/4* puzzle providing a delightful start to the week with 11a & 14a my top two.

    As the definition in 7d is an adjective and the answer is a noun, I presumed that the intention must be for the definition to be a gerund. However, I can’t construct a sensible sentence which doesn’t come across as clunky when you replace one by the other.

    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers.

      1. I’ve restored the ‘C’ to your alias to prevent your getting confused with other commenters named Sue. I’ve also fixed the typo in your email address.

    1. RD, 7d. I’m not much of a grammarian, but I’ve always presumed that a gerund is a noun formed from only a verb ending in “-ing”. So, I’m puzzled too.

  21. I found this enjoyable and largely straightforward — thank you to Robyn (or whoever is pretending to be Robyn). I did require electronic assistance for the 18a anagram though, even with most of the crossing letters (though not the first one).

    5a’s resting bobby made me smile the most. Plaudits also for 3d being the first Spoonerism I’ve ever got instantly, and 6d for the supporter being neither the golfy one nor the underwear.

    Thank you to Pommers for explaining that 16d is a lurker. I feel particularly foolish for failing to spot that!

  22. Didn’t know 3d was a rugby term and never heard of 25a – I thought of the fishy equivalent, so had to look it up to make sure it was right. Some clues, such as 28a, had me chuckling. A gentle ride today, I thought.

  23. A nice gentle start to the week and like many others the annoying reverend made me smile for a change.
    Thanks to all, and Pommers – it had been a long time since I heard Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and upon listening to it again I have decided that it was not long enough! But thanks for the ear worm that’ll be with me all day 😩

  24. What a lovely puzzle !
    I liked 1d, 3d, 5d, and 14a is my favourite
    Thanks pommers and the setter.
    BTW that virus is doing the rounds again.

  25. Another good start to the non-work week with this amusing and full of grins and smiles puzzle. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    1.5*/4.5* for me

    Favourites are really hard to decide as there were so many good ones … 14a, 18a, 21a, 1d, 2d & 5d — with no winner as they are all great.
    So many smiles throughout too.

    Thanks to setter & pommers for blog/hints

  26. Perfect start to the week, that was so much fun I didn’t want it to end. Nothing esoteric or obscure, wotta dream after the 18a of the last couple of days. I have three 11a, but many more could have qualified; 14a, 1d and 13d, couldn’t leave out my hero. Not being an authority on Rugby, I wasn’t even held up by 3d.
    Thank you setter, Robyn? Thanks pommers for the hints and tips, when the temp is 20C, we turn off the a/c! During the day we’re now in the high 30Cs, with humidity to match, great in the pool.

    1. We don’t run the aircon overnight, just for half an hour or so to cool the bedroom before we go to bed.

      1. You would not sleep here in South Florida without the AC. Unfortunately we don’t have cool mornings or nights, it’s just hot and very hot, made worse with the high humidity. But we revel in our winter temps when we can be fortunate and experience 20C, and the added benefit of turning off the AC. Last month we were lucky enough to spend a week in Bermuda and reveled in the cool beginnings and ends to each day.

  27. Thought this was going to be trickier than it turned out to be. Some very clever clues elegantly put together such as 1d and 12a. Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all
    PS Thx to Senf for sorting out yesterday’s clue that foxed me (really annoyed that I missed my favourite type of clue Grr🤨).

  28. I am a subscriber to Telegraph Puzzles.
    I am always signed in.
    I cannot access the puzzles today via the Telegraph main site.
    It has been quite OK up to now.
    Extremely annoying
    Have e-mailed them, has been acknowledged.
    Any suggestions?

  29. Whatever pommers thinks about no-one needing his hints I’ll just let him know that I needed three today! Dim or what?
    Several of these answers made me laugh – not sure they will meant to but they did!
    I liked 14 and 25a and 4 and 13d. My favourite was 17d.
    Thank you for today’s setter for the crossword and to pommers for the hints.

  30. Was awake for ages at silly o’clock, couldn’t put down “The Wide, Wide Sea” about Cook’s last trip. So much I didn’t know including that the poor man suffered with sciatica. It’s a page turner. I’m going to blame the lack of sleep on my ineptitude today. I found this much tougher than everyone else, especially 1a, 7d and 13d. Everything else was straight forward but I managed to make it difficult 😩. Plus a day when Wordle almost, almost defeated me. I think I had better go back to bed. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  31. A great Monday guzzle. 5a was my favourite. Unusually I used the guzzle site and when I completed the guzzle I was ‘blessed’ with the strange lady waving a flag. I would have thought as Senf mentioned we are not in need of verification.
    Thankyou Pommers and compiler.

  32. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle after struggling with yesterday’s. My heart sank when I saw 3d but needn’t have worried as it was quite straight-forward. I can remember watching ‘the Bill’ but certainly not for 26 years! Many thanks to the setter and Pommers. We in the NW could certainly do with some of your heat!

  33. Good grief….two spoonerisms in two days and both of them made me chuckle. Whatever next!
    Another enjoyable Monday, thanks to the setter and Pommers. I’m envious of your warm temperatures, it’s been blooming cold in Lancashire and everything on my allotment seems weeks behind, tatties excepted.

  34. Good evening

    Today has been a bit of a mess at work, so the crozzie has proved an invaluable help in terms of winding down on the way home.

    Fairly straightforward, with just the right amount of taxing of the braincells for a Monday.

    1d made me laugh, so 1d takes COTD.

    Many thanks to our compiler and to Pommers

  35. Not too difficult but not entirely straightforward either. Only left myself one to do before having to go and run my dog training class where we got cold and thoroughly wet and gave up halfway through. Enjoyable though. Favourite was the two right wingers who will not be very right wing after the election. Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

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