DT30639 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,639
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from sunny Sevilla.  Our second visit here and what a beautiful city.  The weather has been sensational, the architecture is stunning and the food and drink offer is first class.  What’s not too like?  We have seen lesser kestrels circling the cathedral and loads of screaming swifts.  Yesterday we took the train down to Cadiz and had a great day exploring this fascinating seaside city which is steeped in history.  The cathedral is breathtaking.

I cannot possibly let the BD solving community down, so I have obtained special permission from Mrs Shabbo to take the morning off sightseeing to write this blog.  I found the puzzle to be a curious mix of some very basic clues and others which required a bit more head scratching.  I also thought some of the surface reads were a bit clumsy.  Sorry setter – perhaps it’s just me.  I loved the Quickie pun.

In the blog below, the definition element of each clue has been underlined, anagrams are CAPITALISED and the crossword technique “indicator words” are in brackets. The answers are concealed under the “Click Here” buttons.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.


1a Conquering savage circling rocky hill (10)
VICTORIOUS: synonym of savage outside (circling) synonym of a rocky hill.

9a Seabird shot according to report (4)
TERN: homophone (according to report) of shot (think go or opportunity).

10a Agent making for unlikely setting in winter? (10)
ANTIFREEZE: cryptic definition.

11a Rugby students perhaps that were in maul, rolling? (6)
ALUMNI: an anagram (rolling) of IN MAUL reveals a synonym of former pupils.

12a Be left at home, by husband, with back strain (7)
INHERIT: two-letter word meaning at home + abbreviation for husband + synonym of strain backwards.

15a Tax period (7)
STRETCH: double definition

16 and 17 Across Land in Spooner’s municipality in Holland? (5,4)
TOUCH DOWN: Spoonerism of a municipality in Holland reveals a synonym of land (as in come back to earth). We had a virtually identical clue last week, I think. At least the setter has spared us the discussion about scoring in rugby and American Football!

17a See 16 Across

18a Kippers found here: tucked in? (4)
BEDS: cryptic definition – “kippers” here means people who are asleep.

19a News boss trapped in vehicle in Lebanese wood? (5)
CEDAR: abbreviation for editor inside (trapped in) a type of vehicle.

21a This for leverage in constant dispute with lawyers (7)
CROWBAR: abbreviation for constant + synonym of dispute + generic term for barristers.

22a Communists to miss a broadcast (7)
MAOISTS: anagram (broadcast) of TO MISS A.

24a Incredibly small alpha male in charge (6)
ATOMIC: letter signified by alpha in the phonetic language + random male name + abbreviation for “in charge”.

27a Odious sailor: another interrupts oilmen working (10)
ABOMINABLE: two-letter abbreviation for sailor + the same two-letter abbreviation for sailor inside (interrupts) an anagram (working) of OILMEN.

28a Let us discuss our starters – here’s game (4)
LUDO: initial letters (starters) of the first four words of the clue.

29a Slowly move cart back for logging business (10)
LUMBERYARD: synonym of “slowly move” + synonym of cart (think brewer’s old delivery vehicle) reversed (back).


2d Legal institutions in north and south (4)
INNS: IN + N + S

3d Left-winger hiding short-lived pain (6)
TWINGE: hidden word (hiding) – the answer is concealed within the first two hyphenated words of the clue.

4d Unusual coin in dish (7)
RAREBIT: synonym of unusual + synonym of coin.

5d Sign enigmatic sea captain put up (4)
OMEN: fictional sea captain created by Jules Verne (and much beloved of crossword compilers) upside down (put up).

6d Concealment the last resort? (7)
STEALTH: anagram (re-sort) of THE LAST.

7d Sewer from Main Street runs through dining room (10)
SEAMSTRESS: synonym of main + abbreviations for “street” and “runs” inside (through) synonym of a military dining room. The sewer has nothing to do with drains.

8d Opposition wants taxes introduced to an island (10)
ANTITHESIS: synonym of taxes inside (introduced to) AN + abbreviation for ISland.

12d Broken cabinet lid giving grounds for charge (10)
INDICTABLE: anagram (broken) of CABINET LID.

13d Difficult situation for an opener? (3-2-3-2)
HOW-DO-YOU-DO: I am struggling a bit to explain this. I think it must be a double definition, the first being a difficult situation and the second being a greeting (something said as “an opener”). STOP PRESS – the solution is hyphenated and as such it is defined as “an awkward, messy or annoying situation”.

14d Cosmetic lotion not rejected by the late monarch (5)
TONER: “not” is reversed (rejected) + regnal abbreviation of our late queen.

15d Sons with 100 sheep get lost (5)
SCRAM: abbreviation for sons + Roman numeral for 100 + a single male sheep. Sons in the plural is not usually permitted to signify S.

19d Boo queen on visit? (7)
CATCALL: the queen here is a domestic pet.  Add that to a synonym of visit.

20d Skin not tanned? (7)
RAWHIDE: a cryptic definition, which is barely cryptic (no pun intended).

23d Disrepute in Football Association? Well I never! (6)
INFAMY: IN + abbreviation for Football Association + two-letter word meaning “well I never”. I can’t help thinking of the classic Kenneth Williams line in Up Pompeii, which I cannot repeat here without giving the answer away!

25d Middle of plot with American soil (4)
LOAM: central two letters of pLOt + abbreviation for American.

26d Speak as drunk in Paris on consuming litres (4)
SLUR: “in Paris on” means “on” in French – put this outside (consuming) abbreviation for Litres.



80 comments on “DT30639
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  1. Much more fun than the mongrel we had yesterday, just seemed to roll off the pen ………….until 10a.
    Stared at it for ages, but couldn’t even see where to begin, but suddenly the unconscious part of the brain (the bit that always wants to make order out of chaos) came up with a word that fitted the spaces but not the clue. Then I had to go back to see how the answer fitted the clue, and what a clever clue it turned out to be.
    One query though, did we have the Spooner one last week? seemed very recent anyway.

    Two favourites today are 8d and the brilliant 10a. Many thanks to our setter today, a gem!

    1. I found this exactly the same – 10a LOI and top of the list and the Spoonerism was a very quick return but I still had fun Thanks to Shabbo and Setter enjoy your break

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth, Shabbo. This was indeed a curious mix of gimmes, tricksters and even oddities. I was certainly surprised to see this Spoonerism again, almost word from word, so soon after its last appearance. And 10a is, frankly, strange. I wouldn’t have got it in a month of Sundays without all the checkers in place and it reads horribly, to boot. I did admire 11a’s definition though and 19d was fun. Thanks to the setter and Shabbo. Enjoy Seville!

  3. I thought the BD rating was a little low for what I perceived to be a terrific puzzle with some superb clues. There is no doubt that 10a was my favourite, although 8 and 13d ran it close. I also really enjoyed 21a and 29a. Great stuff.

    Many thanks to our setter and Shabbo.

  4. This was 3*/3.5* for me with the NW corner being the most challenging sector.

    Some of the surfaces were a bit strange.

    Unusually, the Spoonerism was my favourite today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Shabbo. I’m very envious, I love Sevilla.

  5. I couldn’t find a start either, then got one clue in the SE and tthe whole corner fell into place. However it took a long time to work my way into the Nw corner, in which some clues were quite tricky. Definitely harder than a 2* but better than yesterday’s, which I finished but didn’t really enjoy. I liked the misleading 12a and the cryptic 13d, the 3d lurker and the 29a lego clue. Thanks to the setter and to Sabbo for interrupting his holiday to do the hints.

  6. Very benign for this late in the week, with almost all completed by the end of the first pass. Enjoyable, though, and a satisfying completion. 18a was ambiguous without the checker from 7d (could as easily have been cots); a few strained / awkward surface reads, a nice variety of clues, and in general a good “follow the instructions” puzzle. Highlights for me were the lurker in 3d, the PDM of my LOI, 10a (despite the surface), and 8d.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter (I have no idea today, having got it right yesterday, so will keep the fiver in my pocket) and to Shabbo – enjoy the trip, it sounds fabulous.

  7. Pfffft, struggled with this one!
    re: hint for 24a – I wouldn’t say it was a random male name, especially in the context of the hint for 19d :-)

    1. Re 24a – indeed, and my first thought during completion was male as in cat, which went nicely with the intersecting feline queen in 19d a short while later.

  8. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to our setter and Shabbo (and the tolerant Mrs Shabbo).
    I know we had it recently but I do like the 16/17a Spoonerism. Other clues that I liked included 10a, 21a and 13d.

  9. Something of a struggle for me. Not on the setters wavelength and found some of the clue hard to parse. Not that hard as I could guess at some of the more obtuse. **/**

  10. Well 10a was last in & took longer than the rest of the puzzle even with 5 checkers. The penny dropped while I was putting on the kettle having switched off the iPad & not even consciously thinking about the clue. 20d was the other slight head scratch & immediately reminded me of Jake & Elwood. Enjoyed the puzzle.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mrs Shabbo for allowing her man to fulfil his blogging duties. Enjoy your holiday.

      1. Totally agree. I could watch it again and again – especially the car case through the shopping mall. The posters in the shops are hilarious.

  11. I thought this was going to be really tricky as I only had a couple to start with but slowly it all fell into place with only 2 to go when I finished my cuppa. The little 26d held me up for ages but it was obvious. Anyway, thanks to the setter and Shabbo – I guess we are all envious of your visit and the lovely weather – I’ve got 4 layers on and am still cold.

  12. Most enjoyable puzzle of the week (so far!). Almost wrestled into place with the NW corner the toughest, before being *completely* stumped by the delightful 10a. ***/****

    Shabbo – I think you need to amend the underline in 13d, as the first half of the clue is the definition.

  13. Unfortunately another DNF, did not enjoy. Even with the help of Shabbo I struggled to parse 7d. I thought 10a was impossible without the checkers. Despite having T**N as the obvious answer to 9a I struggled to understand why, until Shabbo came along. Perhaps the return of the spoonerism is an apology for the previous, incorrect attribution of the answer to a rugby union action as opposed to one in an American Football game.

  14. Thought this was a curious selection for a late-in-the-week back-pager but note that others have experienced a few problems so perhaps I’m just having a good day – how unusual! No particular favourite but I quite liked 21a and 7d.

    Thanks to our setter – no guesses here, didn’t feel like any of our regulars, and to Shabbo for the review. Thank you so much for sparing the time from your holiday, that will no doubt cost you a ‘slap-up’ meal for Mrs Shabbo this evening!

      1. Still don’t really know but the spots seem to be fading. Latest theory is that it could be something they picked up from the swimming pool where they both have lessons.

  15. For the 23d hint, I feel it is important to point out that the quote is from Carry On Cleo, not Up Pompeii. The latter, of course, starred Frankie Howard, though there was representation from the Carry On crew through Barbara Windsor who appeared in a couple of episodes.

    1. Anorak, the anorak in me feels obliged to mention that Frankie changed the spelling of his surname to Howerd as he thought it would stand out better on publicity posters.

  16. Shabbo, I read your hint about ‘sons’ in the plural, and also thought it was a mistake by the setter, but after a while I came to think it might mean ‘Son is with 100 …etc, but without an apostrophe. Just an idea……

      1. It does, but I think Shabbo is invoking Chris Lancaster’s Single Letter Abbreviation Guide for Telegraph crosswords (Appendix 1 in his fine book), which includes under S: “son (but not sons)”.

          1. From a discussion years ago on fifteensquared (in case anyone here doesn’t know, that’s a crossword blog where people don’t tend to blame compilers and editors if they don’t complete a puzzle!), I think it’s generally thought that “son(s)” in Chambers is an error (they have daughter only under d), which is why Chris Lancaster flags it in his Appendix. It looks like it slipped through the net.

            I thought this was fun overall and had a lot of the hallmarks of an X-Type production.

            1. we could do with a bit of the same approach here

              “From a discussion years ago on fifteensquared (in case anyone here doesn’t know, that’s a crossword blog where people don’t tend to blame compilers and editors if they don’t complete a puzzle!”

  17. I really enjoyed this finding the lower half somewhat less taxing than the upper. I couldn’t get going at the top of the puzzle so completed it in a very haphazard fashion finishing in the NW corner where I had to resort to the hints for 10a, Thank you for that pic Shabbo. I’d have been several months of Sundays left to my own devices. A very clever clue indeed. I do like the lego clues and favourite today is 7d with podium places for 12a and 8d. Thanks to our setter and Shabbo.

  18. Spot on for a Thursday: a bit of thinking required, some of it lateral, with a nice mix of clues. Those pesky four letter jobbies!

    I love expressions like 13d for a difficult situation. There are so many of them: kerfuffle, melee, brouhaha, fracas, scuffle, ado, squabble, free-for-all and tumult. Such fun.

    I’ll go with 21a, 7d and 19d as my podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and Shabbo.


    P.S Many of you wouldn’t have seen my post late last night about the irony of a part of Brian’s ‘polite’ post getting redacted. I chuckled.

      1. Quite a few of his comments have had “redacted” in them recently. If it’s Brian himself typing it, he’s overdoing the joke!

    1. Re your PS – I saw your comment but did wonder if Brian had redacted it himself! (I’ve tried adding this comment 3 times and each time I get the message to say I’ve already made the comment but it doesn’t appear so apologies if 3 now turn up at once like the proverbial buses).

      1. To quote Droopy, it makes you mad……flower.

        Talking of which…is there a good story behind your alias, MF? If not, then make one up.

        1. I think I’m going to disappoint you! My nickname is just because I’m mad about flowers! Mind you, others think I’m just mad :-)

          1. Sure enough, MF, Tom is truly disappointed.

            I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to flora, fauna and feathers: my Achilles heel in a crossy wossy.

  19. I can see that this is a very cleverly constructed crossword but it proved a little beyond my ability.

    The Youngster is not a football fan. With all of the understatement of her generation she says “I hate football!” I have tried bribing her to come to Stamford Bridge with the promise of tip-top hospitality, but nothing will persuade her.
    So with the Euros starting tomorrow evening, it has been an ordeal trying to explain why three games every day for the following week are each a ‘MUST WATCH’.
    “Three games? EVERY DAY?”

    Thanks to the setter for the challenge and Shabba-dabba-doo in Andalucía.

    1. I feel for The Youngster as, yet again, I shall be scrolling through the channels to find something else to watch! Either that or pick out one from my current pile of ‘must read’ novels.

      1. Something that irks me during football tournaments is that all the breaks get filled with adverts from companies desperately trying to claim some tenuous link to football. Fair enough for the ads shown during the football programming, but it makes no sense when they’re on other channels at the same time.

        Surely anybody actually interested in football would be watching the match being broadcast on one of the big channels, not this old episode of Poirot on ITV3?!

  20. A mixed guzzle for me today with some very simple (for me) clues and some real brainteasers.
    My top picks were 10a, 19d and my LOI 4d.

    Thanks to the setter and Shabbo. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

  21. Just as you love Seville so we love Maastricht. And with the lure of meeting up with old friends DD2’s early birthday present was a cracker. Home safely now it seems nobbut a dream. So good to get back to a pood guzzle, I don’t have the on line app so have had 5 days absence. Of course I have to pick 16/17 as favourites. Many thanks to Shabbo for his dedication and to the setter.

    1. Glad you’re having a blast, Day Zee.

      You have an excellent knowledge of words and expressions (way ahead of me).

      Nobbut is another new one for ‘Disappointing Tom’.

  22. A tougher than normal Thursday this week for me as RayT is on his off week.


    Several that I could not work out the parsing and better version of the Spoonerism clue than in a previously recent puzzle.

    Favourites 1a, 18a, 4d, 15d & 23d — with winner 1a
    Smiles from 15d, 16/17a, 3d & 4d

    Thanks to setter & Shabbo

  23. I found this puzzle a bit of a slog but, at the same time, engrossing. Can’t claim an unaided finish as needed a couple of Shabbo’s hints and confirmation of parsing especially for 8d (somewhat embarrassingly). My podium comprises the three clues that made me smile the most, being 19a, 21a with top spot to 24a. Thanks to compiler and Shabbo.

  24. A splendid Thursday puzzle with great clues providing moderate difficulty and an enjoyable interlude. Fav: 21a. 3*/4*.

  25. I thought this very similar to yesterday’s in enjoyment (high), in time (longer than usual), and difficulty (it took a while, but a steady rate of answers being filled with each pass, and able to be completed without the hints). Though I did find the language slightly more obscure, such as the “queen” in 19d.

    The black squares in the grid made me think of Space Invaders, and I thought it made a nice change to have some words with 2 crossing and 2 uncrossing letters next to each other (but still at least half the letters crossing in every word).

    My favourite clue was 17d for “Main Street”, and there were so many good ones that I don’t have time to type them all out here. I learnt that the 19d wood is Lebanese. Well, I say ‘learnt’; I’ll probably have forgotten again by this time next week.

    Thank you to the mystery setter — more like this, please — and to Shabbo for the safety net.

      1. Yeah, it isn’t outrageously obscure, and of course it’s in dictionaries But it feels a bit ‘crosswordese’ to me, in that I don’t think I’ve heard it in ‘real life’ outside of crosswords. Ditto for the pair of sailors in 27a.

        (And correcting a typo above: the reference to the wood was supposed to be 19a not 19d.)

  26. Spoonerisms began long before the dawn of cue knowledge – sorry, don’t know how Ronnie O’Sullivan got in there.
    Shakespeare invented a good one for the name of Falstaff’s local. Now why is that never pointed out in the Eng. Lit. course?
    Thanks to setter and solver.

  27. Not as tough as yesterday’s ghastly offering but it will do. Needed quite a bit of thought to get into the way the setter was approaching the clues but came together nicely in the end.
    Thx to all

  28. Oh setter, where were you yesterday? This was such a treat, solved with just the minimum help. I had “abed” for 18a, which I thought was better for “tucked in”, so that held me up for 7d and 8d, but I resorted to ehelp and that sorted it. Our illustrious congresswoman, MTG, pronounces 12d as “indicktable”, Trump has been indickted, she says, and I suppose he has. I liked so much, 13d was tops, but 23d also amused.
    Thank you setter, you’ve restored my humours, and Shabbo for the hints and tips. Enjoy your break!

  29. I got to the end of the road but I can’t say I enjoyed the trip. For me it was definitely a ***, but at least better than yesterday. Was reluctant to pen in 16/17 as it was so soon after last time. Smiled at 28a, must be 65+ years since we played that game. Would have loved to have seen a picture of Clint at 20d, my heartthrob at the time. But COTD to 4d, a favourite in our house, especially since I concocted my own version of Betty’s, including their apple chutney. Yummy. Thanks to setter and Shabbo, especially for giving up some of your precious time in Seville. That’s what you call dedication 😊.

  30. 13d as the last one in as I searched for a pangram. Hope beautiful Seville continues to enthrall Shabbo and thank you setter

  31. Finally completed, I have definitely left my brain on holiday. Needed a couple of hints in the top half, not really sure why. I did enjoy the spooner today, maybe because I remembered it from the recent puzzle, so it will be my favourite which is a first.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Shabbo for the hints, welcome back and many congratulations to Daisygirl and George.

  32. Slow start but it gradually came together with NW last on board mainly due to my having for some reason put 27a answer into 10a (same number of letters!). Tried for ages to make 13d start with “how to …..” – d’oh! 10a only just holds up. Trio of goodies – 11a, 13d and 26d. Thank you Mysteryone for a great workout and hasta la vista Mr. & Mrs. Shabbo – enjoy.

  33. This was a two-mealer for me, but mainly because she who must be obeyed said to cut brekky short as she had visitors coming.
    Liked the 16/17 Spooner, also 19a, and the pair of sailors in 27a. In the downs took forever to see the 3d Lurker (ever since I unlurked!)
    Impressed by the feline duo 19d/24a! And 26d held me up as I was looking for the Crossyland French ‘in’ instead of ‘on’.
    In the end I think I’ll opt for the Spooner as fave du jpi.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Shabbo for interrupting his hols and for a fine blog!

  34. At least I could do some of today’s which I couldn’t yesterday.
    I liked 24 and 27a and 13 and 23d. My favourite was 15d.
    With thanks to Silvanus for the crossword and Shabbo for the hints.

  35. I was really struggling then had a break for a g&t, after which all the remaining answers flew off my pencil. Must buy another bottle. It’s clearly the answer to getting on the setter’s wavelength.

  36. Well, what a difference a day makes! I used to dread Thursdays not Wednesdays.
    This was a delight to solve but I realise now that I don’t like double unches.
    Thank you to the setter for the fun. Thank you, Shabbo for the hints.

  37. Good evening

    After yesterday’s abysmal showing, with just 15 correct solutions entered, I was determined to get today’s crozzie done, and when I started this morning, and the grid began to fill, I thought perhaps it would be fairly straightforward. But we all know that we should never think that!

    As evening drew closer, that NE quadrant with its empty squares showed no signs of revealing itself. Until – CLUNK! – the penny finally dropped and the solution to the sublime 8d came to me!

    Last to fall was 10a, in common with many others. That is runner-up today, but 8d is undoubtedly COTD.

    Many thanks to our compiler and to Shabbo.

  38. Way off the pace on the north, got there in the end. I have an answer to 13d but I’m not sure it’s correct, if it is it’s a phrase I’ve never heard of. Not my favourite puzzle of the week. I’ll leave it there. Thanks to the setter anyway and Shabbo.

    1. How do you do. I thought opener was to do with cricket but perhaps old fashioned now but what you say when you are introduced to someone.

  39. I thought this was very hard but I persevered or persevated as I think Mary used to say. Last quadrant in was NW and to my shame I missed the lurker until I’d gone through the alphabet for the answer to 3d.

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