DT 30645 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30645

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30645
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We seem to have brought the Seville weather back with us – it is another glorious day here in Welwyn Garden City, so the garden beckons as soon as I have finished writing these hints.  No prizes for “Guess the Setter” today – the usual calling cards can be found in 18a and 29a, albeit the latter is not what one would usually expect.  Add to this a miserly word count of a smidgen over five words/clue and this has to be the work of RayT.  Most enjoyable, as ever.  Thank you Ray.

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 Turf out of small hospital room (5)
SWARD: abbreviation for small + synonym of hospital room.

4a Tough train set’s broken (9)
RESISTANT: anagram (broken) of TRAIN SETS.

9a Whimper for mercy catching clown, perhaps (9)
PERFORMER: hidden word (catching) – our answer can be found within words 1 to 3.

10a Central character in Medea? (5)
DELTA: cryptic definition (?) – Medea is a Greek play by Euripides (no “Carry On” type jokes, please), so the central character will be the middle (Greek) letter of MeDea.

11a Rude former pupil facing stage (7)
OBSCENE: abbreviation for former pupil (don’t tell the gender police) + old meaning of stage.

12a Support section of church reflecting gospel (7)
EVANGEL: synonyms for supporter (think tripod or easel) + part of a church both reversed (reflecting).

13a Orders sex, getting rejected, then wilts (6)
TIDIES: informal two-letter term for sex backwards (getting rejected) + synonym of wilts.

15a Completely closed atheist taking Mass (8)
HERMETIC: synonym of atheist outside (taking) abbreviation for mass.

18a Check Queen backing melody (8)
RESTRAIN: the regnal cipher of our late Queen reversed (backing) + synonym of melody.

20a Empty pub about now’s opening (6)
BARREN: synonym of pub + two-letter word meaning about + the opening letter of Now.

23a Fast one from con artist, say (7)
CHEETAH: homophone (say) of a synonym of con artist.

24a See ever so worried about bishop (7)
OBSERVE: anagram (worried) of EVER SO outside (about) chess abbreviation for bishop.

26a Check pot and stir (5)
CHURN: abbreviation for check (chess again – RD will be pleased) + three-letter synonym of pot, as in vase.

27a Illiterate mugs on air broadcast (9)
IGNORAMUS: anagram (broadcast) of MUGS ON AIR.

28a Snack of fennel, even sesame cakes (9)
ELEVENSES: another hidden word using “cakes” as the indicator, which I don’t think I have seen  before. Our answer is lurking within words 3 to 5.

29a Dalliances and trysts embracing sweetheart, initially (5)
DATES: initial letters of the first 5 words of the clue. I could probably underline the whole clue as the definition.



1d Drink after drink for fan (9)
SUPPORTER: two synonyms for drink (one a verb, the other a noun).  Fingers crossed that the England fans behave themselves in Frankfurt this afternoon.

2d Lands winning serves holding racket’s head (5)
ACRES: a timely reminder that Wimbledon starts on 1st July.  A word meaning “winning serves” holding the head of Racket.

3d See over Church saint in decline (7)
DIOCESE: a six word clue made up of four separate parts: cricket abbreviation for over + abbreviation for church + single letter abbreviation for saint inside a word meaning decline.

4d Swindled a politician embraced by socialist (6)
RAMPED: A + abbreviation for politician inside (embraced by) the colour associated with socialism.

5d Checked long passage checking index periodically (8)
SCREENED: synonym for long passage (spoken or written) outside (checking) alternate letters (periodically) of iNdEx.

6d Weapon is excessive in video game (7)
SIDEARM: synonym of excessive (think price) inside a type of computer game which “replicates the sort of events encountered in the real world”.  Needless to say, I have never heard of it. Dinosaur?  Me?!

7d Ace to grill a fresh snapper? (9)
ALLIGATOR: abbreviation for ace (as in cards) + anagram (fresh) of TO GRILL A.

8d Investigate large growth rising (5)
TRAWL: this is a down clue, so “rising” is a reversal indicator. Abbreviation for large + an unsightly growth joined together and turned upside down.

14d Turbulent priest due for infamy (9)
DISREPUTE: an anagram (turbulent) of PRIEST DUE reveals a word meaning infamy. Kenneth Williams makes a welcome return!

16d Fake intelligence curtailed American agreement (9)
CONSENSUS: synonym of fake + synonym of intelligence without the final letter (curtailed) + US. Following the wordplay carefully should avoid any possible errors with the fourth letter – or maybe that was just me?

17d Nearly fastens gear for bed (8)
NIGHTIES: dated synonym of nearly + synonym of fastens.

19d Regret admitting sweetheart can escort (7)
RETINUE: synonym of regret outside (admitting) the heart of swEet + synonym of can (as in container).

21d Certain fool embarrassed about United (7)
ASSURED: synonyms of fool + the colour of one’s face when embarrassed outside (about) abbreviation for United.

22d Issues drinks, possibly purchasing round (6)
POINTS: drinks (possibly beer?) outside (purchasing) a round letter. The definition is a noun masquerading as a verb.

23d Declared money reserve (5)
CACHE: homophone (declared) of money.

25d Brief stretch Republican brought up (5)
REMIT: synonym of stretch (think prison) + abbreviation for Republican upside down (brought up). The definition is a noun, even if it looks like an adjective.


Quickie Pun:  SOON  +  ARMY  =  TSUNAMI

58 comments on “DT 30645
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  1. What great fun this was. I agree with Shabbo all the hallmark of a RayT production. I think 6 anagrams and the two lurkers eased this into a ** with **** for excellence. The clue to 13a was amusing and my favourite was 10a for its ingenuity. Never heard of 12a but easily parsed. Thanks to the production team.

  2. Is it my imagination, or has RayT been (ever so slightly) more Beam-ish of late? Great puzzle this, one of his best: ie, very good indeed. A fair few anagrams but they were all crackers – 7d et al. 23a was very pleasing, 13a’s chucklesome and 26a’s a lovely surface. I could go on (and on) but 20a was my favourite: such simple yet clever misdirection. Many thanks to him and Shabbo.

  3. I found this quite hard. Obviously not how my brain works. I had to look up 12ac and didn’t even bother with 22d. It was at least a *** for me.

  4. 75% of this went in pretty briskly but then the struggles began in the NE – completion of Django’s Toughie marginally the quicker of the two guzzles. The long passage, the growth & the church section all took longer than they ought to have done to twig. I missed the excessive synonym so didn’t parse 6d though I hadn’t heard of the computer game either & the swindled synonym was a new one on me. Enjoyed the guzzle though maybe not quite as much as NAS & ALP did.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Shabbo – you bringing the weather back is very much appreciated & will make this afternoon’s round at the delightfully scenic Mid Herts all the more enjoyable.
    Ps today’s solving soundtrack has been a Chicago Plays The Stones compilation

  5. I enjoyed this guzzle a lot but read the hints to parse a couple. Didn’t know the video game either. Will try and attach a photo of myself having a drink with an old friend of this site who was staying nearby. Great to catch up with MP and we had a lot of laughs!

      1. Thanks for posting Manders – empty pint in hand true to form. Very impressed that he’s embarked on an Open Uni degree course in English Language & Lit. Trust he told you all about it.

      2. Lovely to see him, and you of course. Give him my best wishes when you are next in contact. A great loss from this blog.
        Guess he’s been “cancelled” 😂

      3. Late as usual to comment but in case he reads this really wish MP would return – gave so much insight and advice to new solvers learning the ropes. Great photo thank you

  6. Don’t worry, Senf I’ve never heard of the computer game either, which meant 6d was a bung-in that happened to be correct. I’m afraid I still don’t quite understand it even after having seen the hint. How does the “I” fit in? Other than that, a great solve with all the usual RayT tricks and signs. My COTD is 10a because I spent ages going through Greek mythology! 😁

    Thank you, RayT for the fun (apart from 6d but that’s not your fault). Thank you, Shabbo for the hints.

    Good to see MP. Thanks for posting, Manders.

      1. As you say in your hint it’s more a kind of game, a ‘simulation’ than a game itself. The nearest Mr G found was the The Sims series.

    1. In 2001/2002 when she was 8 or 9, my goddaughter used to spend hours up in the attic playing the Sim video games on my (then) desktop computer. She loved them. Seems like just a few months ago – oh, where has that time gone?

  7. This was, to coin a timely phrase, a game of two halves: the south was a breeze but the north took a while until I spotted the fabulous lurker in 9a.

    I do need to remind myself that a lurker is in the neighbourhood when I see phrases like ‘whimper for ‘mercy’. I kept trying to think of a five letter word for ‘clown’ that was going to go inside ‘pity’ as I had the p from 1d (great clue).

    The one negative, which is extremely rare for this setter, is the word check(ed) being used three times.

    Not easy to pick a podium, as is always the case with Arty, but I’ll go with 1d, 16d and ‘Wey hey!’ 13a.

    Many thanks to RayT and Shabbs.


  8. Despite enjoying the reference to Thomas Becket, I struggled today. However, I did drop off at my desk, and woke up suddenly to notice I had scrawled the pencil across the page in the manner of a fake ouija board. Tiredness due to ludicrously late night and then an extremely early rise to enable me to drop H off at her conference, so that The Youngster can borrow H’s car. Keeping up? Good because there is more. The Youngster only revealed last night that her brakes have been dangerous for “months” (WHAT?), so we have banned her from using her car and she is to ‘borrow’ H’s Toyota. I just know that this will lead to us buying The Youngster a new(er) car as we won’t be able to survive with three people sharing two cars. I know – first world problem.

    Thanks to RayTee and Shabba-dabba-doo – I needed his help in huge helpings today.

  9. I’m with ALP – Ray T appearing to be ‘Beamish’ but at the end I looked at the completed grid and thought why did it take that long? A most enjoyable cranial exercise and I hope that I have some brain cells left.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 26a, 3d, and 23d – and the winner is 3d.

    Thanks to Mr T and Shabbo.

  10. I found this a bit of a struggle today, albeit a thoroughly enjoyable one.The new to me synonym at 4d required a trip to the BRB but was so beautifully clued and my first one in. My little grey cells got a good workout in the NE corner with great satisfaction when the penny dropped on 10a just before I began trawling through Euripides! No overall favourite today. Take your pick from 12a, 15a, 23a,16d and 19d, with special mention for the quickie pun. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  11. A lovely mixture of write-ins and thinkers, full of nice misdirections. Like 1a, took forever to realise it referred to the green stuff! Liked 13a, 20a and, being thirsty, will go for 22d as fave.
    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo.

  12. Not my favourite puzzle from my idol – too much ‘seeing’ and ‘checking’ going on. Ah well, we all have ‘off’ days, even crossword gods!
    Top bananas here were 23&26a and I’m relieved to note that I wasn’t alone when it came to having to guess the video game…….

    Devotions and a slap on the wrist to Mr T and thanks to Shabbo for the review – don’t overdo it in the garden!

  13. I’m with those who found Ray T a bit trickier than usual but as enjoyable as ever. Thanks to him and Shabbo.
    My ticks went to 13a, 20a, 26a and 17d.

  14. I’m definitely a 27a as far as this guzzle is concerned! Didn’t seem to be able to get on wavelength at all. I’m going to have to rely on Shabbos hints. So thankyou and thankyou also to RayT for the challenge.

  15. Another cracking Ray T production. Great clues, a decent challenge and much enjoyment. Difficult to pick a favourite clue but I’ll go for 13a, which I’m sure raised plenty of schoolboyish titters from those of us who haven’t yet grown up. 3.5*/4.5*.

  16. I’m with Disappointing Tom on this one. The West just fell i to place but tge NW, with its esoteric synonyms took longer than the rest of the guzzle put together. 16d and 1d were nice lego clues and there were some good anagrams , notably 12a and 15a, which took me ages to fathom. Thanks to Ray T and to Shabbo for the hints.

  17. Thankfully this Thursday is a RayT puzzle and I always like his offerings. This week, more to the harder end of his spectrum, but not quite to the Beam level.

    2.5*/4* for me

    Favourites include 1a, 13a, 23a, 19d & 21d — with winner 13a
    Smiles for 4a, 28a, 7d & 17d

    Thanks to RayT & Shabbo for hints

  18. Now that crosswords don’t appear in the digital edition I have taken to printing from the app. Horror of horrors my printer is totally uncooperative today, so I used the app on my iPad. Never again! Tomorrow I will venture out for my paper edition before breakfast.
    Ah yes, the crossword, whose clue numbers are too small to read on iPads. It was quite a struggle, with NE causing the greatest challenge. Should have worked out 10a and didn’t know the video game, of course.
    There were some ‘delicious’ words to roll over in the mouth. Good fun.

    1. Pip it is still in my digital edition, there was one day it wasn’t but then it returned much to my relief.

  19. I had a bit if a tussle with the NE corner of this and gave up trying to parse 6d. Didn’t spot the synonym for excessive in my answer so thanks to Shabbo for sorting that out for me.
    I also thought there was an abundance of checks and sees but it may have been the haphazard approach I took to the clues meaning they appeared one after the other.
    Top picks for me were 23a, 28a and 10a.
    Thanks to Shabbo for the blog and RayT for the mental gymnastics.

  20. This crossword illustrates perfectly why dad jokes are considered awful by their children and their friends. nothing else to say. ******/0.

    Thanks to RayT and Shabbo.

  21. Like many others I too found this tough to crack, especially in the NE. Without Shabbo’s hint for 6d I’d still be floundering, but it then provided enough of a foothold to enable completion of the grid. For me, cotd is 15a. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  22. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so totally at sea with a backpager! Just when I had become a huge RayT fan. I needed so much help from Shabbo in the NE as I had only solved 7d! I was able to solve the West on my own, thank goodness, otherwise I would be totally gutted. Fave was 23a with 23d fast behind.
    Thank you RayT, my brain is now mush, and Shabbo for your solving this for me.
    Please tell me that the Stonehenge vandals just arrived by raft across the channel and are not Brits! I think I’ve lived too long.

    1. Problem is, nothing much will happen to those vandals. The British police and courts seem to go very easy on them. What a shame.

  23. If I had guessed 6 d I just might have got 10 a. That’s life. Lots of “ what ifs “. Rest of the puzzle went in reasonably. COTD was 17 d. Brace up for tomorrow.Many thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  24. 2*/4*. For me, this was a typically enjoyable RayT offering. I didn’t know that “swindled” could be the definition for 4d, so that needed a BRB check after I had worked out what the answer must be.

    I ticked 10a, 15a, 23a, 16d & 17d.

    Many thanks to Mr T and to Shabbo.

  25. By comparison, this Ray T was a huge relief after yesterday, although IMHO it is at least a ***. I was merrily sailing along, but the NE corner did me in. In my thickness, I didn’t know that form of 12a. And of course video games are a complete mystery, despite having one daughter and son in law who are avid gamers. Zero chess knowledge so was never going to get 26a either. Always thought 19d needed to be more than one person, so doesn’t quite fit escort. Other than those quibbles, I did enjoy this puzzle as there was much to like. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

    1. Good evening, Mr T, sorry not to have been as complimentary as usual but I did rather think you deserved a less than perfect score today! By the way, I did wonder whether your son is a fan of those video games?

      1. No need to apologise! Now that he’s older he doesn’t play much whereas I have acquired the taste!


    2. Thank you, RayT for a great guzzle. Not your fault I am a total Neanderthal when it comes to video games.

  26. I thought this was going to be a did not start for a while until I gradually worked my way through the grid. I then realised I may actually finish a crossword for the first time in a while. Then 3d came along.

    I have never seen saint abbreviated to a single letter. I may actively avoid religion, but how have I missed this.

    To nearly solve a RayT is still a result for me though.

    Thanks to all.

  27. Good evening

    Having got started on the crozzie just after 11:00, and having instantly spotted the trademark of the Mighty Mr T, I thought that a) I’d be in for a challenge; and b) I would be done by teatime. Yes, definitely, to a) – but b): no chance! I’ve only just put my pen away. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve picked up and put down the crozzie today.

    So, all done, albeit with help parsing 3d, and help also in the confirmation of 12a, which is an unfamiliar word.

    I can’t agree with Shabbo’s assessment of 2*; this one is a fourser! Without a doubt!

    Thank you to The Mighty Mr T and to Shabbo.

  28. I did eventually manage to finish this but definitely found it tricky. I must have left my brevity brain somewhere as I needed multiple visits over the day to finally finish and there was a bit of e help involved and a bit of peeking at the comments! The lurkers were well disguised and the anagrams helpful in getting a toe hold. I am pleased to have completed it.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo for the hints which helped me understand a couple of my answers

  29. After watching a rather disappointing and inept performance by the England football team I managed an equally disappointing and inept attempt at solving this crossword. There were some mitigating circumstances in as much as not having heard of 12a, 4d or the video game. The rest I put down to incompetence. I’m pleased I wasn’t the only one who didn’t find it easy. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to Rayt and Shabbo.

  30. After a stressful day decided to unwind with this exercise but doubtless it will in fact be counterproductive and cause insomnia even at this ungodly hour! Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzling with completion of most of the South ahead of the North. Not sure what 28a has to do with cakes? 3d was unparsed by me but it had to be as was the case with 6d. 4d a new swindled meaning for me. Thank you RayT and Shabbo. Night, night or rather good morning everyone.

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