DT 28017

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28017

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dark, rainy morning.

A few bits of General Knowledge needed today, and one or two slightly unusual words, but otherwise I found Giovanni’s puzzle reasonably straightforward.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Treat with contempt a pre-exam test (4)
MOCK – Double definition, the second being a dummy run of an important examination.

3a           Initially going head first, changing to become shrewd (3-7)
FAR-SIGHTED – Anagram (changing) of G(oing) HEAD FIRST.

9a           Phoned and spoke (4)
RUNG – Double definition, the second being a spoke or rail in a piece of furniture or a ladder.

10a         Attendant making little display of anger crossing street (10)
MINISTRANT – A prefix signifying ‘little’ and an angry outburst placed either side of the abbreviation for STreet.

11a         Become strange, always offering greeting (4,3)
GOOD DAY – If you split this (2,3,2) you get three words meaning become, strange and always.

13a         Italian in pain having a rest? (7)
SITTING – An abbreviation for ITalian inside the sort of pain you get from a nettle or a wasp.

14a         Hostile little bugs in destructive action? A farmer grew unhappy (4,7)
GERM WARFARE – Anagram (unhappy) of A FARMER GREW.

18a         Disposition to show rage — be regretful losing head (11)
TEMPERAMENT – A word for rage followed by ‘be regretful’ or ‘bewail’ with its first letter removed.

21a         Description of a Charlie in inferior part (4-3)
TAIL-END – This Charlie was the rear gunner of a bomber in WW2 RAF slang.

22a         Nut to satisfy the boy at 23, by the sound of it (7)
FILBERT – This is a homophone (by the sound of it) of a word for ‘satisfy’ and a boy’s name which also appears in 23a.

23a         Dissolute types given punishment at school, one boy included (10)
LIBERTINES – The Roman numeral for one and a boy’s name are inserted into a school punishment consisting of writing out a sentence a set number of times or, in the Greyfriars School stories I read as a boy, of writing out chunks of the Aeneid.

Image result for lines bart simpson

24a         Leave with quiet expression of surprise (4)
GOSH – Another word for leave or depart, followed by an instruction to be quiet.

25a         Fool around, trying to be like Billy? (3,3,4)
ACT THE GOAT – … or like Nanny if you’re female?

26a         Foreign money haphazard — order lost (4)
RAND – Remove the initials of an honour awarded by the Queen to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science from a word for haphazard or chance.


1d           Bankrupt’s ultimate joke, involved in extra money being borrowed (8)
MORTGAGE – The last letter of bankrupT and a joke told by a comedian, with a word for ‘extra’ wrapped around them.

2d           Study French city features on map (8)
CONTOURS – To study or read over, followed by a city on the Loire.

Image result for contours map

4d           Cordial disposition — it is evident in Jo’s sister (5)
AMITY – One of the Little Women wrapped around IT (from the clue).

5d           What nave of church has, being well-kept (9)
SHIPSHAPE – This one is easy if you know the Latin word from which ‘nave’ is derived – one possible origin being that the roof timbers of the nave of a church may resemble an upturned boat. The expression meaning ‘well-kept’ is completed by ‘and Bristol fashion’.

6d           Fail to prepare for game at Eton? (2,2,3,4)
GO TO THE WALL – This expression for a business failure could also describe what the players do to begin a game played only at Eton.

Image result for eton wall game

7d           Disastrous time with student event undermined by one head of college (6)
TRAGIC – Put together Time, a student carnival, the Roman numeral for one, and the first letter of College.

8d           Senility of Venice’s bigwig entertaining volunteers (6)
DOTAGE – The chief magistrate of the Venetian Republic from 697 to 1797, wrapped around the initials which used to designate what is now called the Army Reserve.

12d         Having both feet on the ground — as, say, after parachute jump? (4-2-5)
DOWN-TO-EARTH – A figurative expression which literally describes the position of someone who has completed a parachute jump.

15d         Putting right a part of the Army that’s withering? (9)
REMEDYING – The initials of one of the engineer regiments of the Army followed by what’s happening to a plant which is withering.

16d         Leo has this place with wild animal getting horrible disease (8)
DENEBOLA – The answer is a star also known as Beta Leonis. A place where a wild animal may live, followed by a viral disease which has recently killed a lot of people in Africa.

Image result for denebola

17d         Good person felt irritation as one post-operation? (8)
STITCHED – An abbreviation for a recognised holy person followed by ‘felt irritation’ (the sort which is cured by scratching).


19d         Woman given command in Salvation Army (6)
STELLA – A verb for ‘command’ inside the initials of the Salvation Army, giving us a woman’s name.

20d         Projecting beam or stake buried under rocky territory (6)
GIBBET – The rocky bit of the Iberian peninsula which the UK holds, followed by a gambler’s stake.

Image result for gibbet

22d         Goddess elevated in prayer festival (5)
FREYA – A Norse goddess is hidden in reverse (elevated, in a Down clue) in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun HOLED + FOURTH = HOLD FORTH


  1. Young Salopian
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    The iPad version has 7 down as CLUE TO COME which does not help, even though the answer had to be as in the hints given the checkers.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      I spent more time trying to parse CLUE TO COME with the answer tragic than I did on the puzzle itself. The lack of an all bloggers help email made me think the unraveling was there to find. Not that there are many help emails sent out

      • Kitty
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink


  2. Spook
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Bit of a stinker for me had problems with SW corner not helped by putting Barbra in 19d and making a hash of 15d. Still all part of the learning process in crossword land. Also no idea about 16d
    Many thanks to Deep Threat and to Giovanni for making my brain ache.

  3. JonP
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Well into 3* time for me today but an enjoyable tussle.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 3.5*/3*

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    3*/2*. I thought this as going to continue the easy-peasy trend when my first 10 or so answers were R&W. However after that it proved to be much more challenging with the rather obscure 16d my last one in.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Like MP, I spent far too long trying to work out how the answer could possibly fit the clue to 7 down. I thought the Don was being incredibly cryptic and clever (which he is anyway), but this would have beaten Alan Turing.

    Anyway, taking that out of the equation, this was a good solid 2* for difficulty, possibly worthy of an extra half a star, but hugely enjoyable, and a 4* from me. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    Next week sees Mrs YS and I staying with friends in Tenerife as I celebrate my birthday the day before the site celebrates its big day. Congratulations in advance for this milestone in case the wifi is poor over there and I can’t access the site. I hope all who attend the London bash on the 30th have a wonderful time


    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I quite liked 7d.
      At least the the charades were in order, what defeats me is when you have to shuffle them about!!
      Very hard today, and beyond a beginner like me, hit the wall after about half way. Great that I can use the hints to learn and continue with the puzzle.
      Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat (why do I keep writing ‘Throat’)!!

      • Young Salopian
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I liked 7 down once I had read the clue in the hints (see my earlier comment)

  6. pete
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    First time in a long while since I finished a Friday crossword. Really enjoyable challenge, never heard of the answers for 10a and 16d but got there via the cryptic clues.

  7. Jane
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Least enjoyable puzzle of the week for me – 3*/1.5*
    No doubt it was right up Brian’s street!
    11a raised a smile, but little else particularly appealed.
    Rather unhappy about ‘spoke’ = ‘rung’.

    Thanks and apologies to DG along with thanks to DT for the superior GK.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Look in the BRB under ‘rung’: ‘spoke’ is the first definition.

      • Jane
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        That certainly surprises me, DT – I only think of a spoke in relation to a wheel. Thank you for the info.
        Not to worry – my very own copy of the BRB is due to arrive any day!

    • neveracrossword
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I concur with Jane’s assessment.

  8. Paso Doble
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable challenge from the Don and thanks to DT for helping us to parse several clues, including 26a and 20d. We really liked 11a.

    Here is a great tune from the 80’s for 12a ………

    • Beaver
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes one of my favourites , remember the lead singer had a name sounding like an Italian wine and the rumour was that he had a liaison with a certain Ms Yates!

      • Paso Doble
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        I think he called himself Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot, and yes indeed, there were certain romantic links to the late Mrs Geldof. Valpolicella is probably the wine in question.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted January 23, 2016 at 2:06 am | Permalink

      I took my elder two to see them when I had to review a slew of Stock-aitken-Waterman “artists” for the DT in 198?. They mimed – quite blatantly – disappointing my kids. The only artist on the bill who didn’t mime was Sonia. An afternoon wasted and the review, as I remember it, was quite scathing and attracted much hate mail from 11-year-olds (who weren’t there).

  9. Hanni
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much everything Jane said. Didn’t spot the hidden reverse in 22d. 22a raised a smile along with 11a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a great blog.

  10. Wahoo
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Was well into ** time last night when the internet went down and I lost the lot, with 3 answers remaining (18a, 21a, 15d – all of which I thought were tough). Harder than usual the Friday offering I thought but thanks to the Don.

    Technically, I would have said that the answer to 1d is security for a liability and is not, simply of itself, evidence of borrowed money. Not having a BRB I don’t know what its says of the word.

  11. Beaver
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was a ***/***, and the most difficult for me for a while, SW corner seemed to take ages, fell into place when I solved 20d ,after the ‘rocky territory ‘dawned. Favourite has to be 16d, masterly misleading surface,was sure I was looking for a disease-never mind , got there in the end.Thanks DT for the entertaining pics,loved Barts lines!

  12. Michael
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    A very nice puzzle – my Wordsearch program doing overtime today – 10a and 16d were new words to me!

    No builders shown up today yet – aarrghh!


  13. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. All went well until I got to the SE corner which required lots of electronic help to get Leo and DTs help to explain why my bung in for the currency was what it was. Many thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  14. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Quick question…It says at the top of the blog : “You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post”. I have not done so, as I am not sure if I am assessing the crossword or the blog.
    Which is it??

    • Jose
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      HIYD. You’re assessing the crossword. I know parts of the blog can sometimes be a little trying, but I don’t think you could ever assess it as ‘difficult’.

      • HoofItYouDonkey
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes thinking about it, it was a bit obvious.

  15. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    First comments got lost when the site went down, so here we go again. This was, we felt, the hardest back-pager of the week. We enjoyed it for that, and give it 2.5*/3*. We’ve had a good week back-pager-wise, so long may that continue. After finishing the first three Toughies we hit a brick wall with today’s so we’ll have to return to it later.

    Favourite clues were 1d and 22d, but not by much as almost all clueing was high quality.

    The star in Leo and the nuts were new words to us, but both accessible from their respective clues and a checker or two.

    Thanks to DT for the review and The Don for the pleasure received.

  16. Crowlegs
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Time to join in the fun. I remember when doing this crossword was just me, the paper and a pen. We all need a bit of electronic help these days. Had no idea who Jo’s sister was. Good job I watched Jaws. Toughest of the week as most agree. I do find it interesting though that on days when I struggle others say it was R and W (which winds me up) then maybe next day the roles are reversed. Ho hum. Happy days.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Crowlegs.

  17. Brian
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    7d was tricky on the online version as it said CLUE TO FOLLOW. Apart from that an excellent crossword.

  18. mre
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A tricky one today with 16d and 26a defeating this solver.


  19. silvanus
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Until I came to 10a and 16d I thought that Giovanni might have kept his box of obscurities unopened for once, but no such luck. Only one ecclesiastical clue this time I think (5d), and it actually turned out to be my favourite!

    Overall I thought it wasn’t as hard as some Friday puzzles can be, and with a number of clever constructions.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat and a good weekend to everyone.

  20. Merusa
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I found this really, really difficult, I was waaaaay off wavelength.
    I had to use my electronic gizmo far too much, and I still had four clues unsolved for which I needed the hints. One of those was 16d, my own fault as the clueing was very clear, but in my stupidness, I never googled it as didn’t think there was ever a word like that.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza, particularly for bailing me out for missing answers.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      It is Deep Threat to whom thanks are due, not me.

      • Merusa
        Posted January 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Rats!! I’ve done it again. Please accept my sincere apologies DT and thanks for your help today in solving this puzzle.

  21. kartoffel kopf
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Think my brain is wired funny. 22d was first in, got the star on my own, got 22a before 23a and put the spoke straight in. Still only completed about 3/4 of it so very grateful to the blog to continue the learning. Thanks to all….

  22. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Football cancelled again, grrrr

  23. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    We found this one quite tricky, in fact it took us longer to solve than the Giovanni Toughie we had recently. 10a, 16d and 22a were all new to us and needed electronic confirmation and it took some time for the penny to drop for the first part of 20d. A significant challenge and good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. Hrothgar
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    5d was far too obscure, although I constructed the word without knowing the why.
    16d was unknown to me.
    The rest fairly run of the crossword mill.
    Thanks to the setter and DT

  25. Whybird
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Overall, good fun. Enough satisfaction from coming up with 22a unaided (only associated with football grounds until today) to make up for the obscurity of 5d and a lack of precision in 16d, coupled with obscurity. Thanks to the Don for the puzzle, and DT for the enlightenment.

    • Jane
      Posted January 22, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi Whybird, Had to consult with Mr. Google to find out about your reference to football grounds. Another bit of info to add to the memory bank!

      • Tstrummer
        Posted January 23, 2016 at 2:12 am | Permalink

        Think of our sometime commenter Filbertfox (the Foxes are Leicester City, who used to play at Filbert Street before sponsorship took over).

  26. Jaylegs
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I found this tricky but enjoyable :good: ***/*** Thanks to DT and to Giovanni for brightening up a wet miserable morning :scratch: Liked 10a & 16d both new words to me :bye:

  27. Kitty
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    The hints were very useful today, as well as very welcome and much appreciated – which they are every day.

    I was convinced I was going to like 7d, that it was something clever and different and not just what it appeared at first to be. That’ll teach me for being in a rare optimistic mood. Why on earth did I have so much faith in the accuracy of the published puzzle given the evidence of history? There’s at least one other mistake in the tablet version (26a omits the “foreign”) but I can’t be bothered to check all of the clues now.

    I shall have another go at being optimistic, this time backed up better by real-world data and predict that tomorrow will be much better. Roll on tomorrow :) .

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to DT.

    • Jane
      Posted January 23, 2016 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      You could always buy the paper, Kitty – if you have time, that is. :wink:

  28. Angel
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Thought I was never going to get off the ground with this one and then when I eventually did I found the whole thing a bit of a slog with not much to amuse or to recommend it. 7d was first word to dawn on me. SW corner was last to go in mainly caused by putting Sheila as woman’s name in 19d. Needed help with 10a, 23a and 16d. Thanks Giovanni and DT. ****/*. :negative:

    • Jane
      Posted January 23, 2016 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Hi Angel,
      Just to confirm – if you’re still remotely bothered – your comment on the Ray T is no. 41 on the blog from the previous day.
      Thank you for backing me up over my feelings about today’s offering from DG. At least Brian was reasonably happy so we have to be thankful for small mercies!

      • Kitty
        Posted January 23, 2016 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        Hanni backed you up too, Jane (and, well, I didn’t disagree). Oh well, I hope Brian liked his belated birthday present anyway.

      • Angel
        Posted January 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jane – silly me! I do in fact sometimes have problems accessing BD so I end up trying various means.

  29. Heno
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. I was completely beaten by 21a,15&16d, none of which I would have got in a million years. Favourite was 23a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  30. Tstrummer
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I didn’t like this much. I found it hard and unrewarding even when I finally managed to divine the answers. His Toughie the other day was infinitely more fun – and, to me, easier. Thanks to DT, and the Don 3.5*/1*

  31. Gwizz
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Apart from 16d which I decided had to be a terrible disease everything (eventually) slotted in successfully. CLUE TO FOLLOW couldn’t be much else so ultimately a good Friday challenge for me. 3/3.5* overall, and too many good clues to pick out a favourite.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for his review and sorting me out with 16d.

  32. Jose
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    A cracking crossword – very enjoyable! ***/***. I sporadically solved this yesterday afternoon whilst watching Judge Rinder then Dickenson’s Real Deal (well, somebody’s got to). I had one clue unsolved at he end (16d) and had the part answer: _E_E_O_A. I noticed that from the clue ‘has this place’ = HERE and ‘wild animal’ = TOGA (an anagram of goat, with wild as the angrind). So I recklessly bunged in the answer HERETOGA, which fitted perfectly, because I wanted to watch the Countdown final. I quickly checked my 1998 BRB to find heretoga not listed but it is in the OED(S). Although it didn’t parse completely, I half thought that it might be correct – but of course the actual answer is DEMEBOLA. Incidentally, a heretoga is (hist) a leader of an army or shire militia. And the moral of the tale – I’ve learned two new words and unearthed a good obscure one that might appear in a later puzzle if any of the setters read this (although I bet they probably already know it). Thanks to G and DT. ***/***.

  33. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    The Bit Well I Like First Least A Pretty Was Thought A All Quick First Time.
    7d Good Until I Think Football.
    We 5d Overall I The Thought.
    Thanks I Apart A.
    And that’s exactly what I felt when trying to solve this Giovanni crossword.
    Thanks for the review and help.

  34. maarvarq
    Posted February 7, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    A few too many obscurities piled atop one another to be very enjoyable for me. 4*/1* Also, I guess no-one else put in RANG for 9ac – one can say that a bell speaks when it rings.