DT 30638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30638

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30638

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.
A busy time for us as we have just returned from a trip to Wellington. Yesterday’s puzzles were solved in a hospital waiting room as Carol was having an eye cataract procedure. It all went perfectly and we stayed last night with family near Wellington. The big removal of ‘pirate patch’ this morning and then the drive home
marvelling at how bright and crisp the whole world had become. Can’t wait to get the second one done now.
Back home in plenty of time to tackle today’s puzzle. Some GK required in places and we found it quite a challenging solve.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a    Theatre worker possibly crediting actors (7,8)

9a    Second leg, be brilliant or rubbish (9)
MOONSHINE : A two letter familiar word for a second, the cricket side ‘leg’, then be brilliant or glow.

10a    Left cold wine after first couple of bottles (5)
BORED : The first two letters of bottles and a wine described by its colour.

11a    When tense, Charles, say, could be wrong (6)
ASTRAY : A synonym for when, then T(ense) and the first name of musician Charles.

12a    Give up drinking in flat? Impossible! (3,3)
DRY OUT : Flat or tedious and impossible or not an option.

15a    Long-term strategy of teacher, with student into pot (6,4)
MASTER PLAN : Formal title for a male teacher, then a cooking vessel contains the student driver letter.

17a    This insect used to be first to picnic! (4)
WASP : A word meaning ‘used to be’ and the first letter of picnic.

19a    Eat sparingly, cut out tons (4)
DIET : Cut out as a failing engine might , and T(ons).

20a    Compatible and kind, emailed about leaving area (4-6)
LIKE-MINDED : An anagram (about) of KIND EMaILED with its A(rea) removed.

22a    Pressing remote initially ought to change channel (6)
TROUGH : An anagram (to change) of OUGHT contains (presses) the first letter of remote.

23a    Ignore fool behind X with power (6)
BYPASS : X as to multiply, then P(ower) and an equine animal fool.

28a    Mother-to-be likes going around Marks (5)
OBELI : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

29a    What Russian church might have – two heads (5,4)
ONION DOME : Two slang words used for heads.

30a    Problem for Forest and Chelsea: muddiest pitches (5,3,7)


1d    Breathing space for butterfly (5)
COMMA : A double definition. The breathing space is a punctuation mark.

2d    Film Speaker’s opening utterance in parliament (5)
SHOOT : The first letter of Speaker and the sound made by creatures collectively found in a parliament.

3d    Positively well when restricted by trendy diets occasionally (2,6)
IN SPADES : A well or water source is contained by the two letter trendy and the first, third and fifth letters of diets.

4d    A lot of tripe upset Pat (4)
GLIB : A word for nonsense or a lot of tripe loses its last letter and is reversed.

5d    Reserve holiday on QE2 or another ship (10)
ICEBREAKER : Reserve or coldness, a holiday or vacation, and the late Her Majesty.

6d    Nurse head cut all together at the same time (2,4)
EN BLOC : The two letters for an enrolled nurse, then a slang word for a head loses its last letter.

7d    The Sun? Something clairvoyant will read (5,4)
TAROT CARD : The wordplay points us towards a newspaper. We need a different definition for what the Sun here is an example of.

8d    Britt E’s ex struts? (4)
RODS : The name of one of Britt E’s former husbands also written as first name and initial.

13d    Chinese food to appear unexpectedly on list (6,4)
SPRING ROLL : Appear unexpectedly or rise suddenly and then list or roster.

14d    Maybe Charlotte tucked into Christmas pudding (4)
SPUD : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

15d    Perhaps Hoover up last of grime produced (4)
MADE : Reverse (up) what Hoover on the Colorado is an example of, and then the final letter of grime.

16d    Delicacy of virtuous person eating minute steak? (9)
SWEETMEAT : The two letters for a virtuous person surround minute or small, and then what steak is an example of.

18d    Unknown bores in bar ordered starters of Indian samosas and rice dishes (8)
BIRYANIS : An anagram (ordered) of IN BAR contains a mathematical unknown, then the first letters of Indian and samosas.

21d    Nothing left in wrecked ship from Gdynia? (6)
POLISH : The letter that looks like zero and L(eft) are inside an anagram (wrecked) of SHIP.

24d    Salute at Pearl Harbour? (5)
ALOHA : A greeting from the place where Pearl Harbour is located.

25d    Kid rocked, we hear (5)
SUEDE : A homophone of a synonym for rocked or wobbled.

26d    In Paris, good day for relationship (4)
BOND : The French word for good plus D(ay).

27d    Discover flipper and cap for diving (4)
FIND : Another word for an animal’s flipper and the first letter of diving.

Quickie pun    thief     +    fought    +    ops    =   The Four Tops

98 comments on “DT 30638
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  1. Needlessly tough for a Wednesday in my opinion, more like a tough Toughie.
    Can’t see why ‘pressing’ is in 22a, perhaps I’m missing something.

    Some good clues though, my two favourites today were 2d and the very convoluted 5d.
    Off to the bike gathering at Blackbushe now, hope the weather holds before the deluge we’ve been promised for the next god knows how many days🤞.

  2. I thought that this was a cracking puzzle with some well-disguised definitions. Thanks to the setter and 2Ks.
    I have ticks for 10a, 1d, 2d, 3d and 4d but my favourite, for the excellent surface, is 23a.

    1. Not a walk in the park, but I can’t see anything inexact. Any examples, or are you keeping your expertise to yourself?

  3. What a difference a day can make. I managed about half of this and simply didn’t enjoy the struggle😨. I just knew I wasn’t going to finish so here I am early on at my port in a storm to seek help to complete. I do however agree with Tipcat that there are indeed some good clues. I will refrain from detailed comment to avoid imprudence! Sort of thank you to the setter (!) and particulaly to the 2Ks. Best wishes to Carol for enjoyment of your new-found 20/20 – I’ve been there and done that successfully for both eyes.

    1. Which is better, this puzzle, pulling teeth or cataract surgery?
      Best wishes to Carol. Been there with a brilliant surgeon but I had to pay.
      Please explain pressing 22a

      1. Having experienced all of your three alternatives including recent extraction of 7 teeth I too think I would certainly discount this puzzle and make my Fav the cataract surgery (one NHS, 20 years ago, the other one private, 10 years ago) and both still very successful.

  4. Not the best mid-week challenge but not the worst. For example, it took a long time for the penny to drop on ‘a lot of’ in 4d meaning the truncation of the synonym for tripe. 2.5 */2.5*

    Smiles for 9a, 23a, and 2d.

    Thanks to whomsoever and the 2Kiwis.

  5. Well, I thought this was tremendous, the best in a while. Sharp and original. Great spots in 1a and 30a and adorable surfaces throughout: 23a is hilarious. The shorties – 4d etc – were particularly strong. Even the two clues I wasn’t crazy on (29a and 8d) were brilliant. And the one that even approached a chestnut (25d) was smart and fresh. Impossible to pick a favourite – loved it all. Huge thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  6. This was a beast of a midweeker but a hugely enjoyable solve.

    So many good clues that were beautifully constructed with my LOI being 4d which was a goodie. I biffed 28a but the answer makes sense as it’s the root of a well-known seven letter word.

    Nigh on impossible to pick a podium but I’ll opt for 9a, 5d with the gold going to the truly outstanding 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.


  7. 3*/4*. I found this challenging but I did enjoy the solve with 23a, 30a & 2d making it onto the podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

    1. I agree..save those for Friday…Not enjoyable at all…And im not unhappy i didnt solve it…It was just ridiculous…How do 2kiwis solve it in such short time…To clever for me..cheers…Doug

  8. This was certainly pretty tough, but very fairly clued throughout. It took me a while to get going, and several clues needed to be read a few times before the meaning was clear. Plenty of clever misdirection, which always stretches the solving time, but increases the number of PDMs. 2d was my favourite of many.

    Thanks to our setter and the 2Ks.

  9. Sorry, setter but I had to give up on your offering. I just couldn’t get into it.
    Thank you for your time and effort.
    Thank you 2Ks for making sense of it for me.

    I did like the Quickie pun.

    1. Completely agree with Steve, just couldn’t get into it, only managed about two thirds. Thanks to all.😒

    2. Agreed! Well into **** time I only had 6 clues solved, with a low level of confidence in one of those! I have many other things to do rather than stare at this for longer, but thanks to all concerned anyway.

      Maybe tomorrow…

    3. I just wasn’t on the same wavelength as the setter and really didn’t enjoy it much.

      However, reading some comments it seems that others did enjoy it.

      Horses for courses…..,

      1. When you’ve been on this blog long enough, you’ll learn that some, not all, you learn which ones, commenters post with a lot of bravado to impress.

        1. That sounds much more plausible than the idea that some people might just like crosswords with different levels of difficulty and enjoy a challenge.

  10. Fell a few short of completing, and needed a couple of extra checkers on the app to round it out. 12a, 4d and 25d were the holdouts (I really don’t like 12a). All-in-all a very challenging puzzle, I thought, for a Wednesday, but some lovely clues including 2d and 7d.

  11. Gosh, I wonder what the curate had to say about scrambled eggs!
    Thanks to the 2Ks for helping with the parsing of 9a,and particularly 8d. (Did not know ex-boyfriends counted as well as hubbies so didn’t Google enough!) And when will I remember all the different kinds of nurses?
    My reference work for Asiatic cuisine is Indian Cookery by Dharamjit Singh, who spells the 18d rice dish with no unknowns, so I started putting it in the wrong place!
    Had to go back to the internet to find the clue for 27d, as it was on the second page that I didn’t print. Setter being verbose on the downs?
    Got to nominate 2d as fave, particularly as that was one of my first guesses for a parliamentary synonym!
    A v enjoyable mixture so many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks, for the help in parsing and for the pic of the Russian churches; love them!

  12. Lost the will to live after an hour. It was doubly annoying as the printer version needed a second page just for one clue.

  13. Challenging guzzle, to say the least.
    Having received our renewed season tickets for The Mighty Chelsea this morning (another season of angst in store, no doubt), 30a had to be the first one in.

    However, the committee met this morning and unanimously agreed upon the placement of 28a on to THE LIST. Welcome indeed! Please sit next to The Hanseatic League right over there. That’s it, there is a space over there in between nacelle and dhoti.

    Because we had a little time before our supper in Eton last night, we took a stroll, over the bridge, around Windsor. I hadn’t been for a number of years. So disappointing to see grubby streets, closed up shops, and a general air of decay mixed in with a hint of menace from people behaving in a peculiar way around a bus stop opposite the castle. A substantial, unwelcome, change from a generation ago.

    Thanks to the setter and The TwoKays – good news about Carol’s procedure!

    1. It’s a funny old world crossword-land….I did some research on 30a back in the 1980s, so the answer jumped off the page! Anyway, I’m sure it will be very happy on The List! I’ve only had a quick look through, so can’t comment on the rest of the crossword.

      1. Slight misreading of El Tel’s post there, Moonraker – like you, 30a leapt off the page for him (as a long-suffering Chelsea fan) but 28a made the List.

  14. I didn’t enjoy and didn’t finish this puzzle. I also had to rescue the second page from the waste paper basket as I had assumed the printer had printed a blank page in error.
    An added complication for me was that I have only ever encountered the abbreviations for nurses with a leading S so I thought I had performed the instruction to cut in getting EN and thus was looking for a complete word for the second part. For 2d I had heer as a homophone for hear, (”hear hear”, being regularly heard in parliament). This gave me sheer as the solution which seemed to fit at a push.

    1. I assumed from the clue that the first two elements were cut. I print my crosswords out using PressReader via local library membership, getting four back page crosswords one one sheet of A4.

  15. I found this hard going and at one point checked that it wasn’t Friday today. I got there in the end but my enjoyment was tempered by the struggle.
    Totally agree that 28a should be added to The List.
    There were some good clues though and my top picks were 2d, 3d, 8d and 14d.
    I wonder if the setter became hungry with all the foodie clues.
    Thanks to the 2Kiwis and the setter.

  16. Typical Wednesday puzzle for me in that it took a while to get going and some clues/parsing that just don’t gel for me.


    Favourites 1a, 17a, 30a, 1d, 15d & 21d — with winner 17a

    Thanks to setter & 2K’s for blog/hints

  17. An excellent midweel puzzle! Great clues, tougher than normal for this day and a very enjoyable tussle. I have ticked a fair few but will pick 22a and 23a for special mention. 3.5*/4.5*.

  18. Initially I felt that would not have been out of place as a mid-week Toughie, but as progress was made from S to N it became faster – on balance maybe more like a good old-fashioned challenging Friday backpager from the Don Days, but certainly much stiffer than is usually encountered on a Wednesday. Lots to like – cracking anagrams at 1a & 30a, and generally good surfaces – but some quite obscure clues, too.

    The Telegraph IT department’s continued inability to master the basics of generating a one-page print-out is extremely frustrating. With such blithering incompetence on frequent display they evidently couldn’t run a whelk stall, let alone a bath.

    3* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter (Twmbarlwm?) and the 2Ks – glad to hear that CK can now see the light (or indeed the lights), at least through one eye!

    1. Agree, what are they doing with the paging? I’ve been so pleased that every puzzle on the new site has printed on one page. Today it didn’t, 27d using a whole separate page. We used to be able to reduce to fit but can’t do that now. I tried reducing the font which didn’t help either.

      1. No, they’re employing some strange method which results in the text and grid being fixed in relation to each other regardless of the scale chosen for printing – if it goes on to 2 pages when they set it up, it stays on 2 pages.

        When I raised this with them in early May I was told to use the “fit to page” function within my browser when printing. A good idea, other than it not working in Firefox, Edge, Opera or Chrome … I was told “[…] you are quite right that the “Fit to page” option on Google Chrome does not function as assumed. Unfortunately, the team has been unable to find a temporary workaround that would allow a puzzle spanning two pages to be neatly arranged on a single A4 sheet. “

        As I said, whelk stalls, baths, and even drunken parties in breweries: all must be beyond the DT’s website developers!

    2. It just had to be Twmbarlwm, didn’t it? And you were, of course, right … it was. No one else splits the pack quite like him!

  19. Classy puzzle!! Very cleverly clued, and though the answers came pretty slowly many of them were straightforward when they finally dawned on me. Couldn’t parse 6d, and I must remember the nurse bit… Many thanks.

  20. Fantastic! Just enough straightforward (to me℠) clues to ensure a good smattering of answers on the first pass, and plenty of ongoing humour and entertainment to provide motivation to keep going. I was surprised when I finished and saw how long it had taken — I was having so much fun, it really didn’t feel that long.

    I had to look up who Britt Ekland was, and I didn’t know that 25d was specifically ‘kid’, even though we’re going to see them in Leeds next month:

    I think I’ll go for 9a’s rubbish as by favourite, but there were so many good clues that I stopped marking them after a while, so it could easily be one of many. Thank you to the setter for the puzzle, and the Kiwis for providing the safety net that gives me the confidence to attempt things like this.

    (℠ = SenfMark, in case anybody was wondering. Handy that computers have a symbol especially for it.)

  21. Feel as though I should have enjoyed this far more than I actually did – plenty of cleverness on display but somehow it didn’t hit the mark. Perhaps it simply wasn’t in the right slot for such a tricky offering?
    Top clues for me were 15a plus 1&2d with a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to our setter – Twmbarlwm is my guess, and to our 2Ks for the review. So pleased that your cataract op went well, Carol, our eyes are such special things.

    1. I think it’s The Welsh Mountain as well, Jane. There is a quirky streak to his clues I cannot grasp. Not yet.

  22. You must be joking – this one is way beyond me.
    I’m sure that some have really enjoyed todays crossword but it’s far too difficult for me.
    Thanks to today’s setter and well done and thanks to the 2K’s.

  23. A dnf from me having ground to a halt after about 2/3rds. 28a was a new word to me. Difficult to pick my favourite today, but of those that I did complete unaided, 29a made me smile. Thanks to the compiler for the beating, and 2K’S for the hints which were much needed.

  24. Definitely swimming in molasses, this might as well have been in Sanskrit. I was totally lost, only being able to solve six before deciding I’m not going to live long enough to complete it. And it’s only Wednesday! I’ve got Chalicea’s yesterday Toughie all ready for Friday. What on earth were they thinking when they offered this on a Wednesday?
    Congratulations 2Kiwis for being able to translate this and giving it only ***. Cataract surgery is a miracle, I couldn’t believe it when I opened my eyes!

  25. Some extreme opinions so far, 9 x for, 15 x against and 6 x in the middle including me, as I liked the two thirds I did and Colin’s hints helped with the rest. Gratitude to him and to our compiler. Must echo MG’s comments about the poor pagination. Now to tackle the Toughie.

  26. This was a huge let down after yesterday. Clearly a Toughie and certain to scare away any first time solvers. That added to printing problems today, makes this a waste of time and paper. Not blaming the setter, as we have been told in the past that they have no control over where their compilations land. Wet and gloomy here today, with desperately needed rain, which matches my mood after attempting this one. Thanks to setter and to the 2Ks, clearly brilliant to have solved this for us.

    1. P.S. Congrats to 2Kiwis on the cataract surgery. Peter had both his done 20 years ago and still fine, me just last year. It’s a wonderful thing to see the world bright and crisp again 😊.

      1. And congrats from me. Had first cat op 5 years ago and second the following year. I had long distance lens put in first one and near in second. After 60 years I no longer need glasses for anything and at my last eye test was told that I had better than 20/20 vision, he said I could fly a plane!
        Brilliant, if anyone is having two done, think about this rather unusual way. The brain compensates and uses the appropriate eye for clear vision.
        ….gave up on this crossword and let my mind wander.

  27. Didn’t get very far with this today. I’m trying to be positive and looking forward to tomorrow. 22 and 29a were worthy of a star maybe! Thankyou 2Ks for the hints. Hope your second operation happens soon Carol. It’s amazing to be able to see so clearly afterwards.

  28. Just dipped in to look at the comments to see if others are finding this as tough as I am , so feeling a little encouraged that I’m not alone. Not looked at any hints yet though. Dog walk may yield some brain power but I’m doubtful. Will see

    1. So had the walk and giving it another go and still resisting hints. Slowly slowly catchy monkey …maybe

    2. So dipped in and out before , during and after dinner and managed to finish – had to ‘phone a friend ‘ for the last couple. Probably wouldn’t have persisted if I wasn’t on holiday. I resisted the hints except checking some parsing. Thanks to the setter for a very challenging and mind bending solve and the 2s.

  29. Too polite to give a review of this puzzle. Suffice to say it has no place on the backpage. *********** {Redacted].

    1. Probably one of the toughest of all times. Did I really have to utilise five hours of my life? This crossword had undergone an enjoyment-bypass ****/*

  30. For me, too chewy to be enjoyable. Too many trips to various dictionaries to justify answers, and I’m still not convinced that kid, as opposed to kidskin, means suede.

  31. I looked in as I thought I was making heavy weather of this one and was blaming my addled post holiday brain, I am sure it is not helping but I can see that many people think this is tough so I will just keep chipping away. I have done about half and some of the clues are very clever particularly the 4 letter ones, not something I say often.

  32. Morning all.
    Obviously it was not just us who found this one trickier than usual. As we were out of our usual routine we did wonder if it was just us being slower than the norm.
    Another busy day coming up as Carol has her post-op appointment with the surgeon today.

    1. Hope the appointment goes well.

      Though it feels weird talking to somebody for whom it’s already Thursday! I mean, I know how the maths of it works, but I still struggle to get my brain to understand it …

    2. Best of luck to Carol. I had mine done about a year ago and the improvement is amazing.
      I realised I should not have been driving!

  33. Trouble- with many barking angrily regarding latest Welshie masterpiece!

    I am firmly in the “enjoyed the challenge” camp. I like one or two modern cultural references. 11a, 17a, 22a and 30a were great clues- and that’s just the first half.
    Good variety of clues and some cunning misdirection

  34. Definitely hard work – but clues like ‘Problem for Forest & Chelsea … ‘ always add a laugh. Many thanks, 2K, and trust the op went well.

  35. I’m afraid I also threw in the towel on this one with not even half completed.
    Thanks and well done to the 2 Kiwis and apologies to the setter.

  36. I’m afraid I also threw in the towel on this one with not even half completed.
    Thanks and well done to the 2 Kiwis and apologies to the setter.

  37. Well done you 2 Kiwis..I have no idea how your brains work and solve some of these…What on earth makes a 4 star for hardness with you guys…
    How long did it take ya….? I’ve had 2 hours and did half..lol.
    Thanks for tips…lost without you 2…

    1. We did start off giving this one four stars but then thought that maybe our other distractions might have slowed us somewhat and altered our rating. In retrospect we should have left it at what out timing told us and stayed at four.
      Pretty sure that having two brains helps and we have been doing these together for a long time now.

  38. Work intervened but the top half was fair enough for I Weds, the bottom half had to wait for hometime and I was grateful for help from the 2K’s (all the best to Carol – Mama Bee had hers done a couple of years ago so as well as ears like a bat she has eyes like a hawk. I can’t get away with anything!)
    Glad to see 28a on THE LIST

  39. Lulled into a false sense of confidence by Monday and Tuesday, I looked forward to another do-able solve only to end up throwing in the towel having managed just two of the short clues. I was pleased to see that others found it a very tough nut to crack.

  40. Solved in the very early hours of a lousy night’s sleep. Add me to those who found it chewy (certainly more than ***) & a rude shock after the preceding couple of gentle back pagers. Completion extended into Toughie time however I needed the review to fully understand some whys – can’t believe I missed Ray at 11a & the sun context at 7d even though I know nowt about tarot cards. The lurker also needed a check with Mr G.
    Enjoyed the solve. 23a just pips 30a for top spot with ticks also for 1,9&12a along with 5&18d.
    Thanks to T & to the 2Ks for the explanations

  41. For me this was definitely a toughie. Solved two thirds on the clues in a daft amount of time. Apologies to the setter, but I didn’t enjoy this at all

    At least I wasn’t the only one who found this difficult.

    Thanks to all.

  42. Finally finished but needed the hints to get over the line with the last 4. I would not have got 25d or 28a without help.
    I think this was an excellent puzzle with some brilliant clues eg 30a but it probably was put a bit early in the week in my opinion, which is not the setters fault.

    Many thanks to Twmbarlwm and to the 2 kiwis for the hints, I am glad you had 2 heads and at least 3 functional eyes to tackle this one. All the best with the recovery post surgery.

  43. Oof – thanks to 2Kiwis for shedding light on this one! Took some time to crack the more accessible clues but others were fiendish! Liked 6D , 15D , 26D. 27D was a grrr. Always enjoy the challenge – thanks to the setter.

  44. An escaped toughie, completed with a lot of electronic help to look at my options to clues I could not fathom. I’m pleased to see I was not the only one to be losing the will to live and did not enjoy the experience. At least I had a favourite 30a, Elms die back then regrow from their roots and look like they’ve been planted in rows only to die again when they turn into trees and the process starts again so all is not lost. Thanks to the setter anyway and 2K’s.

  45. Thanks to 2Kiwis for the blog (in 8d the S is from the surname, like Britt E, not the apostrophe S). I’m glad some people here enjoyed it, as others did elsewhere.
    And to think I even made sure I didn’t repeat my clue idea (or anybody else’s) for 5d, a Telegraph clue competition word in 2021.
    28a has turned up a few times before, eg Chalicea’s DT29891 a couple of years ago. Maybe it’s already on the list.

    1. Hello! A challenge but liked! (Including 28a, which was easy – once upon a time I was a printer/editor/publisher!)
      Looking forward to the next one…

  46. Good morning

    I couldn’t get on the blog yesterday. Clearly some technical issues, which prevented me from having to own up to the worst showing ever on a back pager! 15 solutions entered, and after several hours, the sponge was hoyed in. Not even my lucky green pen saved me.

    I’m now going to read the hints and explanations, which I couldn’t do last night. That just added to the frustration!

    Many thanks to Twmbarlwm for the challenge; I WILL get the better of you next time, bonny lad!

    Many thanks also to 2Ks

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