DT 28004 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28004

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28004

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. This is the last time I’m doing the hints for a while – we’re off on a long trip on Sunday and not back until the beginning of March so I’ll ‘see’ you all then. Today’s crossword is the first Ray T production for about three weeks – I thought it was quite tricky but, as I keep saying, I find it almost impossible to judge difficulty or enjoyment when I’m doing the hints.

In the hints the definition is underlined and the answer is hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you want to see it.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            Put off, seeing pop style madness surrounding ‘Posh’ (10)
DISCOURAGE — A style of music, usually played very loudly in clubs, and a word meaning madness or temper are split by (surrounding) the usual one letter word for ‘Posh’.

6a            Members with Air Miles both gutted (4)
ARMS — The first and last letters (both gutted, or having the middles removed) of AiR MileS.


9a            Reserve holding opener for lotion or ointment (5)
SALVE — A word meaning reserve or keep back contains the first letter (opener) of L(otion).

Container with salve near fresh plant and dab of salve on tip of female finger

10a         Wine in imitation piece of glass, we hear (9)
CHAMPAGNE — Two homophones (we hear) – the first is one for imitation or fake and the second is a piece of glass – the kind you might find in a window.


12a         Make-up artist‘s alien accepted by astronomer (13)
COSMETOLOGIST — A general term for someone who studies the universe contains (accepted by) the usual crossword land alien who was the star of a 1982 Steven Spielberg film.

14a         Novel and elves — bound to work? (8)
ENSLAVED — An anagram (novel) of AND ELVES

15a         Violent explosion under the bridge? (6)
SNEEZE — The bridge is part of your nose . . .


17a         Scathing about for instance flipping butt (6)
TARGET — Another word for scathing or acid contains (about) a reversal (flipping) of the usual two letter abbreviation for for instance or as an example.

19a         Possibly sew name right in trousers? (8)
MENSWEAR — An anagram (possibly) of SEW NAME is followed by R(ight).

21a         Painter, I rework Monet’s ‘Irises’, power replacing energy (13)
IMPRESSIONIST — Begin with the I from the clue and follow that with an anagram (rework) of MONET’S IRISES with one of the ‘E’s (energy) being swapped (replacing) for the one letter abbreviation for P(ower).

24a         Financial paper’s in crisis with new document-writer (9)
DRAFTSMAN — A crisis or a touch of the histrionics contains (in) the two letter abbreviation for a financial newspaper – the pink one, and don’t forget to include the ‘S – follow that with N(ew) from the clue.

25a         Ace bed after taking in second course (5)
ASCOT — Start with A(ce) and follow that with a bed for a child which contains S(econd).

Dress Length Royal Ascot

26a         River duck going to east (4)
NILE — Another word for a duck or no runs in cricket is followed by (going to) E(ast).


27a         Fondle embracing the French lovely ends with haste (10)
CARELESSLY — Begin with a word meaning fondle or cuddle which contains (embracing) the word for the French definite article and follow that with the first and last letters (ends) of L(ovel)Y



1d            Destroy tree that has died first (4)
DASH — A well known timber tree is preceded by the one letter abbreviation for D(ied) (has died first).

2d            Singles out for empty love in groups (7)
SELECTS — The first and last letters (empty) of L(ov)E are contained in (in) some groups or cults.

3d            Old lines blokes tell originally about junk’s exaggeration (13)
OVERSTATEMENT — Start off with the one letter abbreviation for O(ld) follow that with some lines or a poem and the first letter (originally) of T(ell) which contain (about) some blokes, or chaps and some junk or rubbish. That’s a bit of a dog’s dinner – sorry folks!

4d            Rose quickly and staggered clutching edges of table (8)
ROCKETED — Another word for staggered or swayed containing (clutching) the first and last letters (edges) of T(abl)e.

5d            Fertiliser gathered under avian nests, organic initially (5)
GUANO — The first letters (initially) of the middle five words of the clue.

7d            ‘Jazz‘ by Queen, a grand release in comeback (7)
RAGTIME — The one letter abbreviation of the latin word for queen, the A from the clue, another one letter abbreviation, this time for G(rand) and then a reversal (in comeback) of a release or discharge.


8d            Where test involved grasping a flame (10)
SWEETHEART — An anagram (involved) of WHERE TEST which contains (grasping) the A from the clue.


11d         Divine erotic snap got hacked (13)
PROGNOSTICATE — An anagram (hacked) of EROTIC SNAP GOT.

13d         Finest travelled by horse and dominated (10)
BESTRIDDEN — A word meaning finest or of the highest quality is followed by another way of saying rode on horseback.

16d         Run down wildcat beneath lair (8)
DENOUNCE — A lair or hideout is followed by (beneath) a wildcat otherwise known as the snow leopard and only ever encountered in crosswords.

18d         Artist’s music style, heavenly on and off (7)
RAPHAEL — Start with a style of music which has a silent C at the beginning and follow that with alternate letters (on and off) of HeAvEnLy.

20d         Apprentice stupidly holding leads on (7)
ENTICES — A lurker or a hidden answer (holding) – it’s in the middle of the first two words of the clue.

22d         Country, in origin, somewhere around Micronesia or Australia (5)
SAMOA — The first letters (in origin) of the last five words of the clue.


23d         Endure time in express (4)
STAY – A short word to express or put into words contains (in) the one letter abbreviation for T(ime).

I liked 15 and 24a and 4 and 16d.


56 comments on “DT 28004

  1. 2*/4*. This was hugely entertaining but I found it at the easier end of Ray T’s spectrum. 12a was a new word me for me. 26a was my last one in simply because I was convinced it must begin with one of R, O or E until I solved 12d, my second last one in! 11d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath.

    Bon voyage, Kath! Have fun! I’m on holiday for two weeks in March, so “see” you around Easter time!

  2. Thanks Kath – I liked the editorial in 18d. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable journey.

    I thought 5d and 22d, both semi-all-in-one acrostics, were interesting with a preference for 5d – it can be quite hard making this type of clue sound natural.

    I liked 2d for surface (singles out for empty love in groups), 8d was very nice (where test involved grabbing a flame) and I think my favourite is 14a (novel and elves – bound to work), great twist in the definition.

    Many thanks RayT and thanks again Kath, already looking forward to having you back with us and just realised this means we’ll miss you at the birthday bash – all the best.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle from RayT (as usual). I found most of it fairly straightforward but there were a few head-scratchers in there.

    Thanks to Kath and RayT **/****

  4. Hi Kath. Have a lovely time down under. I hope that you’ll be able to access the blog regularly to keep us up to date with what you’re up to.

    1. I’m just waiting to see if she’s appointed a locum “favourites monitor” to keep us all behaving during her absence. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      1. I’m still thinking about that little problem – suppose it’s too much to hope that everyone will behave nicely . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  5. Completed this while the weather continues to get worse. More rain and strong winds. Just what we need for golf! Ah well, at least the offering from Ray T was up to scratch, if at the easier end of his spectrum. Hugely enjoyable, with too many good clues to pick a favourite. (Most have already been mentioned). As stated by dutch, thought 18d was greatly enhanced by the hint. Well done Kath. Have a good break, and also thanks to Ray T.

  6. Nice steady stroll only snag was 13D where I had the wrong tense for the word which messed up the SW corner for me. Agree with the ratings from Kath, many thanks to the setter & to Kath & hoping that you have a very pleasant break.?⛷??

  7. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with a couple of new words for me in 12a&13d. I was much amused by 15a, but my favourite was 11d. Last in was 17a, which I got, but needed the hints to parse. Was 3*/3* for me. Hope you have a great trip Kath.

  8. Really enjoyable puzzle for me, 12a and 13d were new words to me but did work them out. I got stuck on 15a, which was probably one of the easier clues.

  9. We’re certainly going to miss you, Kath, but great that you got to blog a puzzle from ‘The man’ as your last for a while.
    2*/4* for me with the honours going to 10&15a plus 8d. A mention also for 1d – very pertinent in light of the wretched Ash dieback that has affected so many trees in recent times.
    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Kath for a super blog with some lovely pics.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    PS A bit of trivia for you – the logo of ‘Twitter’ is a stylised representation of a Mountain Bluebird, a bird which is prevalent in the state of Arizona from where the founder hails.

  10. I enjoyed today’s puzzle but it put up a terrific fight. My dictionary was well thumbed and my electronic helpmate is glowing hot.

  11. Excellent crossword entertaining and a brain teaser at the same time, best clue 16d.
    Enjoy your long trip, if you are going down under try to ride the Gan great experience lots of characters.
    Many thanks for the great blogs,thanks also to Ray T for those head scratching moments.
    Have a great trip.

  12. When I first looked at this one I saw all the long words and knew it would be tricky – and the first pass throgh proved that to be the case – it was a bit of a slog but it eventually came together very nicely.

    Some very good clues and really enjoyable – 15a was my favourite.


  13. Having problems posting the last couple of days. I keep getting error messages. If this works, thanks to Kath and Ray T for a real gem of a crossword. 3.5*/4*.

    Have a safe trip Kath.

  14. Last in was 18d, but it was also my favourite!

    I usually struggle with Mr. T’s offerings and this one was no exception, sadly ;o(

  15. Another ‘lurker’ emerges from the shadows! I’ve been doing the Telegraph cryptic for a long time now and chanced upon the blog a few years ago, it’s great and I appreciate the hard work you all put in. Since I retired in April I’ve got into the habit of doing the crossword in the evening after most of the comments have been made but today is an exception so I’m grasping the nettle!
    Can I just mention that I had a chance encounter with the legend that is Miffypops while on holiday in Cornwall last year. The Miffypops and PVilly families were staying in adjacent apartments, I left the completed crossword in the communal recycling bin……and the rest as they say is history. Needless to say I was in awe of the great man!
    Today’s crossword was very enjoyable, I like 13d – not a word you hear much these days!
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    1. Good to hear from you. Keep coming back. It doesn’t matter how late you post your comments. They will be welcomed and I’ll read them, even if no one else does. Sorry about your holiday.

  16. Not sure who to address this too. I think the performance problem with the site is down to the number of scripts and style sheets you are using, especially downloading from Google APIs. Being a bit of a techie I looked at the source code and there are loads of them. As regards the crossword I am afraid I regard RayT’s efforts as 5d :)

  17. you can’t beat a ray t on a thursday when the weather is rap (silent c omitted).

    kath – enjoy your sojourn in the antipodes

  18. I’m glad this puzzle received most solvers approval as I thought it was excellent-if occasionally the clues were somewhat convoluted., about ** time and **** enjoyment for me . Liked the surface of 7d and favourite was last in 13d.
    Thanks Kath for the blog-have a nice trip.

  19. Enjoyed this one a lot. We got 7 acrosses and then 11 downs on first pass so we thought it was going to be easy -peasy but no, the rest of them certainly put up a fight. We give it ***/****.

    Fav has to be 5d and LOI was the make-up artist, not a word I’ve ever come across before.

    Thanks to RayT and Kath.

    Have a great time on your travels Kath and say hello to the 2Kiwis for me. See you in March.

  20. Having finished the toughie in good time(ish), had a chance to solve my second daily crossword directly afterwards.
    Slowed down on 10a as I thought the piece of glass was a shard so chardonnay would have been good if it fitted and made sense.
    Took a while to untangle the anagram in 11d.
    Last one in was 15a. My d’oh moment and therefore favourite.
    Thanks to RayT and I wish Kath a great time in the southern hemisphere.

    1. Ditto 10a, 11a and 15a! Que Dieu vous benisse! Lovely sunshine in E Devon, I’m afraid, for the second day running.

  21. First of all best wishes to Kath and Mr Kath have a simply wonderful time and don’t worry about us we will be as good as gold in your absence. So who are you appointing as good conduct monitor? Lovely Ray T to send you off, yes I did complete but not without an enormous amount of electronic help. Dreadful day here, teeming with rain and blowing a gale. Thanks to Ray T for a serious brain workout but I must be getting better because I did not give up and resort to the tissues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  22. I had the same D’oh moment with the splendidly unexpected 15a as did J-L, so that’s my favourite. Overall, something like 2*/3.5*. 10a – surprisingly, in view of recent excesses – failed to bring on a headache, so I’ll start looking for a reason to crack another bottle. Not that I need a reason, of course, other than the possession of said bottle. Thanks to RayT, and thanks and happy landings to Kath.

  23. At last!! A Ray T puzzle that I completed without having to use any of the hints. Loved 17A.

    1. We are watching the grass grow, Brian,
      Very irritating in this mild, wet winter.
      It has to be mowed every other day.

  24. I enjoyed this one. Didn’t think it was that hard, more *** territory for me. Had to leave it at the start of the day and came back to finish off the north east corner.

    Last in was 15 across when the penny dropped. Didn’t need any electronic or dictionary help which pleased me.

    Thanks to setter and Kath for hints.

  25. This wasn’t just enjoyable – it was absolutely fantastic!! Comfortably the best back-pager of the fledgling year so far.

    So many superb clues to admire, the very clever anagrams (especially 21a and 11d), and 1a, 14a and my favourite of the day, 15a, were exceptionally brilliant.

    Take a huge bow, Mr. Terrell, I am in awe.

    Best wishes Kath on your “sabbatical” down under – I hope that you have a great time. You will be sorely missed, not least in Rookie Corner.

  26. Good evening everybody.

    Second time I’ve knowingly completed one of Mr T’s puzzles and with just four passes! I may need to go for a lie down…

    All very clever but 4,11,8d and 15a were my favourites.


  27. ***/****. Read through the first time with no solves. Started again this morning and it almost fell into place. Bizarre. Very enjoyable in the end. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review. Enjoy your trip.

  28. Evening all. Very many thanks to Kath for the review and to everybody else for your comments. As always, much appreciated.

    A happy and peaceful New Year to all.


    1. I’m a lurker, but don’t often comment. By the time I’ve found time to do the puzzles, it’s usually all been said.

      However, I didn’t think it wasa waste of good newsprint, I enjoy your puzzles, perhaps because I usually get on the wavelength, unlike some other setters. And a Happy New Year to you, too.

    2. I love your puzzles Mr T. I can’t always finish them, although I did this time. I find your clues are always fair and, even if the answers are words I don’t know, they can usually be worked out from the wordplay, even if I don’t always see it! Many many thanks to you for the mental challenges.

  29. Evening Ray T. Many thanks for a fantastic puzzle – we especially enjoyed 3d. Many thanks to Kath for the review and we hope you have a brilliant holiday.

  30. Just because this post is next to Mr Terrell’s has no bearing on my saying that I really enjoyed this crossword! 15a was the stand-out for me and overall 3/3*.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for her review. Have fun down under.

  31. As a novice, I got about half way before I ran aground and had to get help from the hints.
    However, this was an excellent crossword, quite the best since my return to the DT crossword fold (after a break of about 35 years!!).
    Conrats to the setter and the excellent blog.
    PS Does the answer to 27a really mean ‘with haste’??

    1. Hmmm – I would never question a Ray T synonym – just because I wouldn’t – although I think that he does sometimes stretch things just a little a bit.
      ‘With haste’ = a letter or note, or, God forbid, an email dashed off 27a? Just a thought . . .

  32. IMHO OK but nothing special. I managed to complete thanks to a couple of helpful nudges. East was trouble-free but SW corner called for a bit more head-scratching. 5d new to me. Thought 15a rather far-fetched. Fav was simple 10a. Stupidly failed to identify artist in 18d. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  33. I found 1a very difficult to solve and , although I usually have little bother with hidden clues , 20d eluded me this time. Otherwise, it was pleasantly challenging.
    I’ll settle on 16d as my favourite.

    Thanks to Kath and I hope it’s all going to be smooth sailing or flying.They have the internet down under, as the Kiwis prove.
    Thanks also to Ray-T.

  34. **/****

    A very nice solve, from what I can remember! It was awhile ago. Enjoyed the anagrams, 11d standing out. Favourite goes to 14a, just because.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for blogging. Enjoy your much earned holiday. You will be missed here.

  35. A late solve for me today because I got distracted earlier playing with a spreadsheet.

    Maybe it’s because I’m an owl, but I was on wavelength for this delightful RayT, though the last handful took some beavering away at. Smiles from beginning to end. And from ear to ear.

    I even liked the quickie pun (and one or two of the other bits as well).

    I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but 11d would be a contender. 13d may have been done a few times but still generated a grin. It was nice to see 8d in the grid for once rather than in the clues.

    Thanks to RayT for the joy and to Kath for the review. We will miss you, but I hope you have a wonderful trip.

  36. Busy day followed by meal out, so only half way through this one. Just wanted to say thank you to the setter, and to Kath for the review. I will probably have to finish in the morning. Have a terrific holiday Kath. I am very envious.

  37. Hi TS, off to bed shortly so just popping in to say how relieved I am that you’ve managed to keep on posting and, as of yesterday, commented in your usual humorous fashion. Sounds as though your family issues are likely to be on-going so it’s good to see that you can still smile from time to time.
    Your latest recommend should be here any day now – you can look forward to my ‘no holds barred’ review in a few days time! Meanwhile, I have re-read Far from the Madding Crowd, which quite restored my liking for Mr. Hardy.

    1. Thank you for thinking of me, Jane, you’ve no idea how just a simple comment can buoy the spirits during a trying time. I look forward to your review of Mr Toibin.

  38. As always with Ray, I found this a tougher challenge than most. What I did like, was the fact that I was able to parse all my bung-ins correctly, which proves that he is hard, but fair – although I quibble with tense of 13d. I think the clue should have said “had travelled” for the answer to work. I too had never heard of 12a, which caused much cig sucking before I finally twigged (although it’s not in my BBB). Last in was 26a, because I kept wanting to put a O at the end. Still, three different types of music, a couple of artists and the splendid anagram at 11d made this an enjoyable tussle. I think I may just have shaved a points decision. Ta to Ray and best wishes to Kath for the forthcoming expedition to the land down under. We shall expect a Hakka at the next gathering you are able to attend. Give my regards to K-squared. 3*/3*

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