DT 28023

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28023

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where the wind is howling round the house.

I found today’s Giovanni pangram quite difficult, with the last couple of four-letter answers pushing my time well towards the top of my *** difficulty range. As usual, there are some unfamiliar terms and some of the General Knowledge required may test our overseas contributors.

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           Collapsed, having lost spark in performance (8)
DEFLATED – A word for a performance or action wrapped around an adjective describing something (champagne?) which has lost its sparkle.

Image result for deflated

5a           Little son worries — sudden attacks of fear (6)
SCARES – An abbreviation for Son followed by ‘worries’.

9a           Way-out assessment at election time (4,4)
EXIT POLL – Cryptic definition of the process involved in asking a sample of voters how they voted as they emerge from the vote.

10a         Base character in Shakespeare play (6)
BOTTOM – Double definition, the second being one of the rude mechanicals from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Image result for bottom shakespeare

12a         One dying in his ship‘s hold (6)
NELSON – Double definition: an English admiral who fell in battle aboard his flagship; or a wrestling hold.

13a         Plant coming from Cuba is so unusual (8)
SCABIOUS – Anagram (unusual) of CUBA IS SO.

Image result for scabious

15a         Five children in the Home Counties getting glittery little bits (7)
SEQUINS – The initials for the part of the country where the Home Counties are to be found, followed by five children born at the same time.

16a         Leader falling off step — one on the floor? (4)
TILE – Remove the initial S from a step over a wall in the country, to get something which may be used to cover the floor of a house.

20a         Man desperate for food taking some of the sausages (4)
ESAU – The Old Testament character who sold his birthright to his younger twin brother Jacob in return for a mess of pottage: he’s hidden in the clue.

21a         Chemical in an hotel getting sprayed (7)
ETHANOL – Anagram (getting sprayed) of AN HOTEL.

25a         Fellow finally achieved an eminence as issuer of orders (8)
MANDATOR – Put together a fellow or chap, the last letter of achieveD, A(n) from the clue, and an eminence to be found on Dartmoor, for example.

26a         Fervent enthusiast gets to laze around (6)
ZEALOT – Anagram (around) of TO LAZE.

28a         Shrew in need of taming interrupted by a king in unarmed combat (6)
KARATE – A (rom the clue) and the Latin abbreviation for king, inside the female protagonist from Shakespeare’s play.

29a         Inveterate and bluff king keeps somewhat unfriendly at first (8)
HABITUAL – An expression (1,3) meaning ‘somewhat’ and the first letter of Unfriendly, placed inside the short form of the name of the English king to whom the adjective ‘bluff’ has often been applied.

30a         Hesitation about stage act coming back (6)
RETURN – Reverse (about) a hesitation word, and add a stage act, especially in a variety show.

31a         Raise bird for laying eggs with number inside (8)
HEIGHTEN – The bird usually kept for egg production wrapped around the written-out form of an integer.


1d           Governess expected to get girl set up (6)
DUENNA – ‘Expected’, as in ‘the baby’s — in 9 months’ time, followed by the reversal (set up) of a girl’s name.

2d           Quite an insect that seems to have breathed! (6)
FAIRLY – … because what you take in when you breathe is found inside a variety of insect.

3d           A very quiet ramble daughter agreed to (8)
APPROVED = Put together A (from the clue), the musical symbol for ‘very quiet’, a verb for ramble or wander, and an abbreviation of Daughter.

4d           Jazz singer offers uplifting ‘Alleluia’, not half! (4)
ELLA – Remove half of ‘Alleluia’ and reverse the remainder.

6d           Singer from Merseyside area (6)
CROSBY – Double definition: a famous crooner; or a town between Southport and Bootle.

7d           Characters in riot fret about something modern being introduced (8)
RETROFIT – Anagram (about) of RIOT FRET.

8d           Academic course seems terrible? Cut period of learning! (8)
SEMESTER – This academic course, or the period over which it is taught, is made up of an anagram (terrible) of SEEMS followed by an academic period with its final letter removed.

11d         Look at contrary boy creating shame (7)
SCANDAL – A verb for ‘look at’ followed by the reversal (contrary) of another word for a boy.

14d         Fair had success after being set up very recently (4,3)
JUST NOW – A word meaning fair or right followed by the reversal (set up) of a verb meaning ‘had success’.

17d         Ward nurse perhaps bringing glass, interrupted by doctor turning up (8)
BEDMAKER – One of the sets of letters which a medical doctor may have after his or her name, reversed and placed inside a glass or pottery drinking vessel.

18d         Knight or a pair of knights in French headgear? (8)
BANNERET – Two examples of the chess notation for a knight, placed inside an item of headgear traditionally worn by Basques, and by stereotype Frenchmen in English cartoons. The result is a historical term for a higher-grade knight, with other knights under his command on the battlefield.

19d         Get in row, stupidly looking down on others? (8)
TOWERING Anagram (stupidly) of GET IN ROW.

22d         Loud performer that has to be taken into account (6)
FACTOR – The musical symbol for loud followed by a stage performer.

23d         Female learner and relation in parade (6)
FLAUNT – Put together Female, the symbol for a learner driver, and a female relative, to get a verb meaning ‘parade’ or ‘show off’.

24d         Garment on middle of bench pinched (6)
STOLEN – A garment worn around the shoulders followed by the middle letter of beNch.

27d         Feature on map indicated by blue or red pigment (4)
LAKE – Double definition: an inland feature conventionally coloured blue on a map; or a red pigment, which was always preceded by ‘crimson’ in the paintboxes of my childhood.

I hope to see some of you at the Birthday Bash tomorrow.

The Quick Crossword pun BERTH + MARX = BIRTHMARKS


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    2*/2*. This felt a bit flat today. Nothing to frighten the horses but nothing to excite them either.

    1d and 18d had me reaching for my BRB, and I had to think for a bit to understand how the answer to 30a is derived from the definition “coming back” before I realised that both the definition and answer could be nouns.

    I liked 12a and the clever 27d. Unlike DT I always expect 27d to be preceded by Emerson, not Crimson :wink:

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Are you coming along tomorrow RD?

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    • Jose
      Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Yes RD, I too would expect Lake to be preceded by Emerson and Crimson to be preceded by King.

  2. bifield
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    A really enjoyable puzzle this morning. A bit tricky but certainly do-able. No particular favourite. Thanks to The Don and to Deep Threat for the review.
    Looking forward to the Birthday Bash tomorrow.

  3. Jane
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Nothing too scary here but, equally, an absence of ‘ticks’.
    I did need to check on the spelling of 1d and confirm the second definition of 27d (you must have had a far more upmarket paintbox than I ever did, DT!). 18d was new although quite easily worked out from the word play.
    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog. Off to get packed now, hope to see you all tomorrow. :bye:

  4. Beaver
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Agree with DT’s***/***, last in 27d being mainly responsible ,finally remembered the blue version and DT confirms the existence of a red one-had ‘Face’ pencilled in if all else failed! SW corner generally difficult,17 d produced a smile when I finally twigged, and I think18d was a new word but might have forgotten. Good to get a challenging Friday crossword for a change, thanks to setter and DT

  5. Michael
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I had a bit of trouble in the NE corner – mainly because I put ‘Formby’ into 6d, what a mistake to make!

    The blog put me right on that and the rest of that corner came about quite straightforwardly – thanks for that!

    18d was a new word to me which I got via my Wordsearch program and the checkers – a very good puzzle which was more than a little tricky – IMHO


    • pommers
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Last time I saw that clue the answer was Formby. :smile:

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Me too wit Formby until I realised no words begin SF

      • Deep Threat
        Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        What about sforzando? OK, I know it wouldn’t fit :smile:

  6. Clarky
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Flying start followed by a slow finish. ***/** for me. 1d, 18d and 27d are all new to me. No particular favourite.
    Hoping the 100′ pines that border my house remain upright in these winds.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  7. Paso Doble
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    We took a bit of time doing this – not because it was particularly difficult but because our houseguest wouldn’t stop talking while we were trying to do it and kept suggested ridiculous answers for the clues! Thanks to The Don and DT. Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. ***/***

  8. Ora Meringue
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Above my pay grade and didn’t particularly enjoy the bits I could do.
    Banneret? really?
    There’s setting clues and there’s showing off.
    Maybe the weather is making me grumpy.

    Thanks to Deep Threat.

  9. Ridgerunner
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I hope Giovanni isn’t admitted to hospital soon as 17d will really annoy the nursing profession. Any words I didn’t know were easy to parse and overall very ennjoyable. 27d last one in. Thanks to DG and DT

  10. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. Quite tricky in pats although it eventually fell. Favourite was 18d and 6d where I lived for about 10 years of my youth. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review and explains my bung ins from the checkers. Enjoy the birthday party.

  11. Kitty
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I got there with a little help from my friends. Enjoyed the ride, but said help was integral to that enjoyment. It’s nice to get my money’s worth from my BRB anyway :yes: .

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  12. Miffypops
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I resorted to DT’s excellent hints for 29ac and 27d. I probably wouldn’t have got them without help. 1960s paintbox colours were almost surreal. Raw Umber. Cerise. Burnt Sienna. Azure Blue. Lapis ?

  13. Florence
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    North west corner had me 1a. 1d and 18d were new words for me. The rest I just seemed to plod along with. Thank you to the setter and to DT for the review, which I needed today. I am in London tomorrow for an exhibition at the British Museum. Egypt:Faith after the Pharoahs. Will try and pop in to the birthday bash with husband if it’s not too late to sign up.

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      You don’t have to sign up, just turn up!

  14. crypticsue
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Average time for a Giovanni and I did notice that it was a pangram.

    Off topic – can I just ask is the whole page consultation about a new Lower Thames Crossing just in the SE editions of the paper (on the page facing the inside back page, which sadly is where the crossword has ended up again), or all over the country? Just wondering, you understand.

    • bifield
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s in my copy in Bristol.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      and mine in Staffordshire.

    • Michael
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I had a Dart Tag, the system has now changed to something called Dart Charge and via this I’ve I been through this Consultation stuff last year – now it starts all over again – no wonder things take so long to happen in this country!

      The changes that have recently been made to the Dartford Tunnel/Bridge don’t seem to have made the slightest difference – if anything the whole mess has got worse!


      • judetheobscure
        Posted February 4, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        I disagree. Whilst there are still problems they are not as bad at the times I travel as they used to be.
        Certainly travelling north to south is usually much better.

    • Killer Watts
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sue,it’s in my East London copy (Waitrose E18), us only 30 miles from the proposed site.
      Concur with your sadness re the crossword being relegated to the inside back. Couldn’t choose a worse location if they tried. Somehow ruins my day when this happens, but cheers me when it is actually on the back ! Sad, eh ?

    • mre
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      It was in the newspaper here in Yorkshire.

  15. pommers
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Pretty good stuff I thought. Liked the fly that had been breathing and had come across the obscure knight before. Didn’t fall into the Formby trap as we got 5a on first pass so had the C in place by the time we got to 6d..

    **/*** from me.

    Thanks to The Don and DT. Hope you enjoy the bash.

  16. Angel
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This was just my cup of tea, thanks Giovanni. Not sure about 2d; is it really a ” garment”/item of clothing in 24?, guessed “French headgear” in 18d but needed help to solve clue – thanks DT. ***/****. Hope for more good fun with Saturday challenge. :good:

  17. Steve in St A
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Yes hardest so far this week for me. I agree with the comments about banneret which I did get to but couldn’t believe that it was a real word. A crossword full of such words would be impossible for me and little fun for most I suspect. Thanks to Deep Threat

  18. Killer Watts
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    **/*** today. Quite enjoyable, new words for me at 1d and 18d, and wasn’t aware of the use of the answer to 27d, not being much of an artist.
    Thanks to setter and BD.

  19. Killer Watts
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi all. Am using ipad, today it seems to have given me BD in tablet version. Anybody know how to choose desktop version ! I’ve had a butcher’s, but can’t see an instruction !
    Thanks in advance.

    Wait ! After posting this, it seems to have gone back to normal !

  20. Merusa
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I never did get 27d, but I do remember crimson lake in my paintbox as a child.
    18d was a new word for me but easy enough to work out.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  21. Jaylegs
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Overall relatively straightforward although I needed hint for 27d and have not come across 18d before **/*** :whistle: not too sure about a tor being an eminence in 25 a :scratch: Liked 28a & 24d. Thanks to DT and to Giovanni. Hope everyone has an enjoyable time at the Birthday Bash :bye:

  22. Salty Dog
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    This could easily have been a Toughie on most days of the week. Quite testing, but good crack: 3*/3.5*. 6d was my favourite – simple once you made the connection but bound to make the solver smile. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT.

  23. Heno
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it slow going. Got there in the end by guessing 27d, had never heard of the red pigment. A new word in 18d, managed to solve it from the wordplay. Favourite was 12a. Was 3*/3* for me. I hope everyone enjoys the Birthday Bash tomorrow. Unfortunately I can’t attend, due to organising the Squash Tournament Finals.

  24. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    New words for us at 25a and 18d. Only Mrs Sheffieldsy had heard of 13a. Favourite probably 12a.

    Are we alone in hating a grid where each quadrant has just one connection to the centre?

    Thanks to DT for the blog and Giovanni for the puzzle. We’re in the pub so now it’s Toughie time…..

  25. KiwiColin
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I needed to use Google for the geography in 6d and also for confirmation of the unfamiliar words in 13a and 18d. Not a rapid solve but I found it a very satisfying one that I enjoyed. And I had noted that it was a pangram.
    Really envious of all you lucky people who will be at the birthday bash. Have fun and I won’t even bother to exhort you to behave yourselves as that might not be the object of the exercise. Best wishes from both of us.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  26. Brian
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Bit tougher than usual today but as usual very enjoyable. Only thing that bothered me a little was using eminence to suggest a tor, bit of a stretch surely? Also perhaps some indication that 1d had a Spanish connotation would have been appreciated. Did like 12a though, v clever. Can I say thank you to Giovanni for only the one religious clue and that was a lurker, much appreciated.
    Thx to Giovanni and to DT for the hints.

    • Jose
      Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Brian, may I respond. Eminence is a fairly common term for a ‘high place’ such as a peak, mountain or tor – especially in crossword puzzles. Just thought I’d mention it….

  27. mre
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon evrybody.

    A comprehensive biffing for this solver with seven unsolved when the white flag went up.

    What was completed was enjoyable enough, with 15a being noted as favourite, but looking at the hints for the rest has left me feeling that this puzzle was too clever by half and more in Toughie than back page territory.

    Thanks to setter and especially DT for analysis.


  28. pedant
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoy the Blog and couldn’t resolve everything without the excellent assistance. Many thanks to all concerned. Sadly I will be working in Lancashire tomorrow so will have to miss the birthday bash. Best wishes to everyone and for those that can attend, Dry January ends at midnight tonight.

  29. silvanus
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Tricky in places certainly, with the usual Friday obscurities. I had encountered 1d before, although 18d was entirely new.

    I can’t quite decide whether I like 2d for being clever or dislike it for being too clever.

    Favourite was 6d, Formby hadn’t even entered my thoughts!

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat and I look forward to chatting to a few of you tomorrow. To the others, have a great weekend.

  30. Kath
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s 8.00am in NZ – just packing up and heading off to the airport to fly to Oz.
    Not much time but I just had to pop in to say how appalled I am by 17d. I did not spend three years of my life training at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, one of the top hospitals in the UK, to be referred to as a ‘bed maker’ – there’s a bit more to being a nurse than that! :negative: Thanks to Ridgerunner for making the same point.
    Thanks anyway to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

    • pommers
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      “As subtle as a flying mallet”.

  31. Robin Newman
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    thought 9A was good/apt


  32. Hilary
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    First time for ages had to resort to blog to complete, think my little grey cells have shriveled up. Spotted pangram but in the end that did not really help and there were several I was flummoxed by. Have a totally super splendid time tomorrow. :yahoo:

    • Hilary
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      P S thanks to DT and the Don.

  33. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Happy to admit that this was beyond me today, but the use of DT’s excellent hints allowed me to complete. Many thanks, and to the setter.

  34. Tstrummer
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    The Don has achieved the unenviable position of being simultaneously difficult and dull, with seldom a smile. 13a was a new word for me, I thought it just meant scabby – which it does – and I was unaware of the floral connection. I vaguely liked the two Shakespearean clues but that’s about it. Thanks to DG and DT. 3*/2*

  35. Jose
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Excellent crossword: best of the week. 2d and 27d were especially great clues. 17d was a new word to me. How anyone could complain (even mildly) about this cracking effort is way beyond me. 3*/4*

    • Jose
      Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      PS. That should be 18d was a new word to me.

  36. Gwizz
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Making a word like BAKKERET didn’t help things particularly I must admit. And strangely enough,17d did make me wonder whether there might be a response from Kath. There was I see.
    A pretty tricky challenge and as others have noted, not a lot of smiles. 15a was my favourite just because it did make me smile.
    3/3.5 overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  37. Maarvarq
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Wow, that was a real “Non-UK solvers can go get stuffed” puzzle.