DT 28026

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28026

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

It was lovely to see so many familiar and new faces at Little Venice on Saturday on what was a thoroughly enjoyable day.

We have another fairly straightforward Tuesday puzzle which is quite pleasant. Do let us know how you fared and what you thought of it. I’m afraid that I can’t live up to Kitty’s brilliant blog yesterday – there’s no theme today. There is a word in row 8 (the middle row) of the grid but I suspect that it’s accidental rather than being a comment. The other slightly unusual thing about this puzzle (which I realised when I was hiding the answers) is that every answer is a single word – there are no phrases.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Does view oddly cut off blossom? (7)
DEVELOP – the odd letters from the first two words are followed by a verb to cut off or crop.

5a Exceptional charm almost taking in agents (7)
SPECIAL – a charm (of the sort that Harry Potter uses) without its last letter (almost) contains the abbreviation for the USA’s secret agents.

9a Coal, no scuttles? After five it’s probably covered in ash (7)
VOLCANO – an anagram (scuttles) of COAL NO comes after the Roman numeral for five.

10a Feeling nothing, bolt attached to one leg (7)
OPINION – there are several bits to assemble here. Start with the letter that resembles zero or nothing then add a bolt or peg, the Roman numeral for one and another word for the leg side in cricket.

11a Government fellows given time to provide formal account (9)
STATEMENT – string together a word used for the civil government of a country, fellows and the abbreviation for time.

12a Cross I value highly (5)
IRATE – I (from the clue) followed by a verb to value highly or esteem.

13a Welcoming knight, stops working and eats (5)
DINES – a verb meaning stops working or conks out contains the chess abbreviation for knight.

15a American city removing old religious symbol (9)
SACRAMENT – a US city on the west coast loses the letter that is the abbreviation for old.

17a Playing this, is ball I’d planned to pot right? (9)
BILLIARDS – an anagram (planned) of IS BALL I’D contains (to pot) R(ight).

19a Moved slowly and didn’t middle the ball (5)
EDGED – double definition, the second how a batsman hit the ball with the outside of the bat.

22a A waterway initially remains flooded (5)
AWASH – A (from the clue) is followed by the initial letter of waterway and powdery remains.

23a Inflammation resulting from cold? Doctor best for it (9)
FROSTBITE – an anagram (doctor) of BEST FOR IT.

25a Lay a rug, with regret, the wrong way round (7)
AMATEUR – string together A (from the clue), a rug or floor covering and the reversal of a verb to regret.

26a Former lover with sufficient warning (7)
EXAMPLE – the short informal word for a former lover is followed by an adjective meaning sufficient or plentiful.

27a A conclusion to act is seen in there (7)
THEATRE – insert A and the concluding letter of act in the last word of the clue.

28a Defendant: ‘PC set us up!’ (7)
SUSPECT – an anagram (up, i.e. in an excited state) of PC SET US.

Down Clues

1d Heroic exploit about start of victory is made up (7)
DEVISED – a word for an heroic exploit or feat of derring-do contains the starting letter of victory and IS.

2d Proud to capture bad criminal (7)
VILLAIN – an adjective meaning proud or haughty contains (to capture) a synonym for bad or sick.

3d Abandon    holiday (5)
LEAVE – double definition, the second meaning permitted absence from one’s place of work.

4d ‘Journalists outside Foreign Office turned up gold,’ one declares (9)
PROFESSOR – a word for journalists viewed collectively contains the reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of the abbreviation for our Foreign Office. Finally add the usual tincture of gold.

5d Second drink for fun (5)
SPORT – the abbreviation for second followed by a fortified wine.

6d In wrapping of parcel I’m in a temper, getting stamp out (9)
ELIMINATE – the smooth surface is hiding the answer.

7d Ape? I’m worried to follow it (7)
IMITATE – start with I’M and add IT and a verb meaning worried or gnawed at.

8d Forgiving Russian leader neglecting latest new hospital department (7)
LENIENT – an old Soviet leader without his second N(ew) is followed by our usual hospital department.

14d Tiniest moan about large cricket match (9)
SLIGHTEST – a verb to moan or lament contains L(arge). We finish with the word for an international cricket match. The BRB doesn’t have the abbreviations for large or small but it does list m for medium – very odd.

16d Curse most wicked clients (9)
CUSTOMERS – an anagram (wicked) of CURSE MOST.

17d Liberal seen in club with six-footer, unashamed (7)
BLATANT – insert the abbreviation for Liberal (i.e. the political party) into a club or racket and finish with a six-footed insect.

18d Loss of water, perhaps, could come from e.g. a lake (7)
LEAKAGE – an anagram (could come from) of E.G. A LAKE.

20d See good politicians getting trapped by falsehood (7)
GLIMPSE – when the word ‘see’ appears at the start of a clue we should immediately think of diocese, but that would be wrong here. Start with G(ood) then insert the abbreviation for elected politicians into a falsehood.

21d Flower with blight — that’s most serious (7)
DEEPEST – charade of the name of a river (there are several with this name in the UK) and a blight or nuisance.

23d Pressure in support of church (5)
FORCE – a preposition meaning in favour of followed by the abbreviation for the established church in England.

24d Slice over small bunkers (5)
TRAPS – these bunkers are found on a golf course. Reverse (over, in a down clue) a slice or portion and add the abbreviation for small. See my comment at 14d.

My favourite clue was 6d. Which one(s) grabbed you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: SEVERN + SEIZE = SEVEN SEAS


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    2*/2*. Today’s puzzle was just about OK but unexciting and I didn’t really warm to it. With apologies to the setter, I also have a couple of niggles:

    26a – is the answer really a synonym for “warning”? I know it’s in my BRB but I can’t construct a sentence where it’s possible to substitute one word for the other. You can “make an 26a of someone” as a warning to others, but that doesn’t make the two words synonymous.

    7d – how does “worried” lead to “ate”? My BRB gives “worry” as a (colloquial) meaning of “eat”, but I don’t see how the two words are synonymous for which, as mentioned above, the acid test is to be able to compose a sentence where you can make a 1:1 switch of the two words. You can say “it ate me up” meaning “it worried me” but that isn’t a direct replacement and so doesn’t make “worry” and “eat” synonyms.

    I’d be more than happy if someone (a challenge for you, Gazza, perhaps?) can prove me wrong by coming up with sentences showing that the words involved are truly synonymous.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Let that be an example to you.
      What’s eating you?

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Well done, Gazza! I knew you could do it. Can you manage an example with the past tense “ate”?

        • Gazza
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          His recent lack of success ate away/worried away at his confidence.

          (Not very good but best I can manage).

        • Bluebird
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          Well, when animals chew away at something, e.g. A branch, a bone, or their own tails,they are said to be worrying them….

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Yesterday’s praise for Kitty’s blog ate away at Miffypops confidence.

          • Kitty
            Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            I have every confidence that your next blog will earn much praise, MP :yes: .

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Thanks very much for all for your suggestions. Sorry but I remain unconvinced that “ate” can be a synonym of “worried” without adding another word like “away”.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            By al means RD, please stay as pedantic as you wish – wouldn’t be the same without you :yes:
            Pssst… between you and me – I agree with you.

            Great to see last Saturday, however briefly. Just to let you know, my cat is still breathing – she hasn’t left my side since Sunday afternoon, but I am still in her ‘bad books’ :sad:

            PS – please feel free to attack my non existent grammar :good:

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted February 2, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

              I wouldn’t wish to attack anyone who agrees with me!

              It was great to meet you too, and I do hope your dear cat will be OK for a considerable time to come.

  2. Faraday
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Waterlogged golf course = extra time for the crossword! Much less frustrating than the applied physics of golf. Definitely a **/*** for me. 24d amused as I would have undoubtedly visited the solution today. I don’t think the young lady in your hints is a member at my club. I’m sure I would have remembered seeing her there…..?

    • Michael
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      They say that Golf is struggling to get people to take up the sport, the membership figures are dwindling and the age profile is going up etc etc, if we had more members like this there’d be no problem with recruitment!


    • Brian
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      My course is playable (just) but slow greens and hairy fairways don’t make for a great game. Ah well at least it was a good walk carrying a heavy bag. :smile:

  3. Angel
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Almost R & W but 2 or 3 in SE bunkered me mainly due to missing 23a indicator, bunging in pince for 23d and trying for bloomer in 21d – all elementary mistakes for a seasoned cruciverbalist! :oops: I agree with RD’s two niggles re synonyms. No Fav. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza. **/**.

  4. pete
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Fairly straight forward, not very taxing, did get slightly held up by putting the wrong answer in for 7d, i had the wrong sort of ape.

    • Bluebird
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Was that primate? I had that for ages…

  5. Jane
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I think we can take it that today’s Mr. Ron is rather fond of 5d, particularly golf and cricket.
    Just an OK sort of puzzle for me and I had question marks alongside both of the clues mentioned by RD.
    6d probably takes the honours although, unlike Gazza, I wasn’t very keen on the surface read.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to ‘the knight in shining armour’ for the review – it was lovely to finally get to meet you on Saturday.

    • Kitty
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I never did get to see your gift to the knight in shining armour which you presented him with at the bash. I am rather intrigued having heard Toro’s description of it!

      • Gazza
        Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I’ll bring him along to the next birthday bash so that you can admire him!

        • Kitty
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink


  6. Michael
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Nice and straightforward today, no problems and no assistance required but very enjoyable.

    Incidentally, the quickie pun is being displayed – shoorly shome mishtake!


    • Gazza
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Thanks – now fixed. I knew I’d forgotten something!

  7. Beaver
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Agree with R D on the **/**, and I thought that 26a had a touch of ‘setters licence’ about it . In my reference book, example had warning as one of its many synonyms, but warning did not have example as one of its ! so I tend to agree that the two are not actually synonymous .
    Not sure about 7d either as R D postulates that it isn’t a direct replacement either-lets see what the bloggers think.
    Apart from the above no other comments.

  8. Young Salopian
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    This was a little harder than yesterday’s offering, and it took me a tad longer than it should have done to complete. 2 down and 13 across were my last two in, yet there was nothing terribly difficult about either. Strangely, I completed the bottom half in its entirety before the top fell into place. 23 across perhaps the pick and a 2*/3* rating. Many thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza, if only for the picture for 24 down.

  9. Spook
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle today especially 15a was trying to solve with “icon and usa”
    Never mind practice makes perfect until a stinker comes along.
    Many thanks to Gazza and setter.

  10. dutch
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Gazza. I had missed the 2nd definition in 19a. My favourite is 27a (A conclusion to act is seen in there)

    Thank you setter

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    No hold ups, but no stand-outs either. Still, I couldn’t possibly aspire to setting a puzzle so I tip my hat to anyone who can. Thank you Mr. Setter, and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  12. omar
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Rabbit Dave that 7d doesn’t really work…..I also didn’t think 10a was quite right – opinion/feeling?? Otherwise fine with nothing obscure – I particularly liked the lurker in 6d….so thanks to all

  13. Shropshirelad
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Late to start on both puzzles today due to unforeseen circumstances. Sorry to say that this didn’t quite ‘float my boat’ purely for the poorly disguised anagrams. I couldn’t believe 17a when I glanced over it – no need for a letter circle there. I also can’t recall having seen ‘up’ as an anagram indicator before. There were a couple of good clues (6d & 27a) but for me the anagrams took the enjoyment out of it – sorry setter.

    Thanks to all involved.

  14. Brian
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Struggled rather with today’s offering. Needed lots of hints and electronic help to complete. Just could not get on the setters wavelength at all. I’ve heard bunkers called a sand traps but never just traps. 27a and 1a are poor clues in my 10a.
    No standout clues and by and large little fun today. Sorry.
    Thx to Gazza for the splendid hints.

    • Michael
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      ‘Traps’ referring to bunkers are more of an American thing.


  15. Jaylegs
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Gazza’s rating **/*** thanks for blog and thanks to mystery, or should it be mysteron, setter :good: Liked 9a & 14d

    Very impressed with the photos, what a good looking bunch of cruciverbalists I know ” should have gone to Specsavers” :whistle:

  16. Peta
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Mum and I would give it 5 for difficulty and 0 for enjoyment… Yes, we could not to grips with it at all. Often the case for us on a Tuesday. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. I am off to look at the Toughie on the grounds it can’t be any more confusing…or can it?

  17. Ivor White
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Got tied up with 2d,but other wise ok.

  18. Kitty
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Not hard but that was very welcome in Kittyland, after all the excitement and excesses of the last few days.

    I did find it enjoyable and didn’t share RD’s niggles. I wish the quickie pun had been yesterday’s – it would have fitted in nicely with my theme that everybody missed!

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the usual flawless review and also for the extra help given in the comments.

  19. silvanus
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t exactly share RD’s niggles, but I do have some sympathy with his comment that the puzzle was somewhat lacking in entertainment. My own niggle concerns 4d – as mentioned in “Pedant’s Guide” at the top of the blog, the Foreign Office (FO) no longer exists as such, it’s now the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

    Favourite was 25a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza (sorry I didn’t have the chance to say hello on Saturday).

    P.S. Although the abbreviations for “large” and “small” are not in the BRB, I think that everyone now accepts them as being completely valid, no?

    • pommers
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      I have no issue with 4d. OK, the Foreign Office no longer exists but the abbreviation “FO” applied to it when it did and must be still valid. If you were to refer to something done by it in the past it would still be the FO. Referring to them as the current FCO would be wrong as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office didn’t exist at that time.

      I’m more against the use of “volunteers” to indicate TA without there being an indication that the TA is now the old name for said volunteers..

  20. Una
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I liked this puzzle, not too hard . My favourie is 6d.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for his review.

  21. Merusa
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I agree, this was a very strange puzzle; not difficult, just strange.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza for his review and enlightenment for some clues.

  22. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    1.5/3. Fairly straightforward with a mix of clues – some good, some less so. Favourite was 25a. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review.

  23. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Halfway back.
    Waiting at Orly airport for my connection.
    Flight AF 7508 if pommers and Hanni want to follow my progress.
    Taking off at 17:25 GMT.
    Managed to smuggle Miffypops Honey as I only have hand luggage.
    Hid it with the cheese I bought in Neal’s Yard.
    I rather enjoyed today’s back page and 25a is probably the best way to define that old chestnut of a word I’ve ever seen.
    The NE corner was the last to yield and very enjoyable it was too.
    Haven’t finished Dada yet. Shall do it on the flight.
    Thanks to the Tuesday setter, to Gazza and to everybody for the wonderful extended weekend.

  24. fran
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward but not particularly inspiring . The golf clue was not up to scratch ! although the lady was off putting in a nice kind of way . **/** Thanks to Gazza and the setter

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Forget about my flight home. It’s just been cancelled. Might get the next one or land in Marseille. Everything goes so well in France. I’ll keep you posted.

  26. KiwiColin
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be brave and suggest that Shamus set this one for us. It felt like his style to me and he did mention in a recent comment that he was considering putting some little signature in his puzzles. I think that Gazza has spotted this with the single word answers. Now I will sit back and wait to be shot down in flames. Agree with the ratings on both counts. I enjoyed solving it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m not convinced that this one is by Shamus, but we’ll definitely have one by him tomorrow because he’s providing the Toughie.

    • Jane
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I do hope that it wasn’t a Shamus. :cry:

  27. Robin Newman
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    could not pick out any really good clues today


  28. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    News update.
    I’m on flight AF 7504.
    I knew it was a good thing to book through the Irish branch of Cityjet.
    Thanks a million. Should be home at 20:30 GMT.

    • Jane
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi JL – thought I was going to be last one home, but you beat me by the proverbial country mile. Hope you know just how much we all appreciated having you there for the birthday bash – wouldn’t be the same without you. :yes:

  29. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    There is a weekly pattern emerging here, and it seems to occur every Tuesday at about 1800
    Saturday’s prize crossword – Finished
    Sunday’s prize crossword – Finished
    Monday’s crossword – Finished
    Tuesday’s crossword – Total mystery
    Roll on Wednesday’s puzzle

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      It would be nice to see Sundays puzzles

  30. Sheffieldsy
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm. Not sure how to describe this one – bland, maybe? It certainly didn’t leave us wishing for more. No real favourite clue.

    Played golf this morning in 40-50mph wind and that was more enjoyable!


    Thanks Gazza.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 2*/3* is about right. I can’t really identify a favourite clue, though. Thanks to the setter (I won’t try and guess who it is), and to Gazza for the review.

  32. AnntheArt
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I liked this puzzle, but that’s because I could do it! (Well, apart from 5 hints, my thanks to Gazza). I found 25a and 27a really obscure, but on understanding how they work, really clever…the learning curve continues.

  33. Florence
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Held up in the NE corner. Didn’t spot the lurker in 6d. Tried to make an anagram of several combinations of words. As a cricket fan, should have got 19a but didn’t. I have had better days. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review. It was nice to meet you on Saturday Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      … and it was nice to meet you, Florence.

  34. Heno
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very straightforward puzzle, nothing to put the equines on edge. Favourite was 1a, last in was 24d. Just back from the Goonerium, very frustrating 0-0 draw. Was 1*/2* for me.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted February 3, 2016 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      And how frustrating, too, for you to see that London’s premier football team has leapfrogged you on account of its (vastly) superior goal difference

  35. Jane
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Hi TS – it was lovely to finally get to meet you on Saturday, despite your appearance sans promised rolled up copy of The Times and pink carnation! May I also say how delightful your boating companion is – and weren’t you the lucky one to have a guaranteed lift home!
    Please tell Jan that I have ordered the books she recommended and will pass back via your good self my doubtless eagerly awaited opinions on same.
    So glad to hear that the Strummer deep waters are receding somewhat – I trust that progress continues and that you will be able to enjoy your holiday in the pleasure lands of Canada, which I appreciate you are only venturing into in order to visit your son. :wink:

    • Tstrummer
      Posted February 3, 2016 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      … and what a joy it was finally to meet you too – as ebullient in the flesh as in your online personality. I may have had the lift home, but I secretly wish I could have stayed to misbehave with the other miscreants, although my liver approves of my choice. Jan reads far more than I do and, being a woman, possibly has more of a feeling for what that intriguing species looks for in fiction – then again, she loves Gatsby, Thurber, PH and that harrowing Narrow Road to the Far North, so maybe we are closer than it sometimes seems.

      • Jane
        Posted February 3, 2016 at 1:16 am | Permalink

        Swift reply because I’m having one of those wide awake nights. I’ll go along with your joint choices, particularly the PH and Narrow Road (all excellent) and Gatsby, despite having a rather different perspective on it. Just the Thurber that is so far not really hitting the spot – I will try some more.
        Yes, you missed out on a superb meal (JL in the chair on wine choices!) but perhaps the sojourn with the night porter at the hotel was something the remaining party-goers should have passed on!

  36. Tstrummer
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Not sure about this Mysteron’s offering. I agree with RD and others about 7d and have doubts about a few others. Not that they posed too many problems, they just didn’t really click with me. I’m giving it an extra star for the one stand-out clue, 7d, which took me ages to spot. 1/*/2*

  37. Alex
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    **/*** for me. Needed hint for 1a before NE corner completed puzzle. Favourite was 6D. Thanks to Gazza and setter.

  38. Gwizz
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    finally caught up yet again! I quite enjoyed this crossword; it had a few nice clues of which 6d was my out and out fave. Overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his review.