DT 28029

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28029

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where it’s dry and breezy at the moment.

I raced through the top half of today’s Giovanni, but any thoughts of a record time were brought to a halt in the bottom half, where I took a while to get a foothold, and spent ages over 17d, my last one in. There’s something of a geographical theme, with four towns or cities and one county among the answers (plus another in the Quick Crossword pun).

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           See alley cat skit around in state capital (4,4,4)
SALT LAKE CITY – Anagram (see … around) of ALLEY CAT SKIT, giving a US state capital.

Image result for salt lake city

9a           Dodgy steeple held together by firm device pointing upward? (9)
TELESCOPE – Anagram (dodgy) of STEEPLE, wrapped around an abbreviation for a firm.

10a         Passion of some woman I adore (5)
MANIA – Hidden (some) in the clue.

11a         Lucy’s little case (6)
LOCKET – The little case here is also the surname of Lucy in the nursery rhyme who lost her pocket.

12a         Censure is delivered in hurry after third-rate grade (8)
CHASTISE – IS (from the clue) placed inside a word for hurry, with a third-rate exam mark placed before the result.

13a         Retrieve good article that’s been given external restriction (6)
REGAIN Good and an indefinite article inside a restriction used on a horse.

15a         What is faced by uphill walker, treading awkwardly (8)
GRADIENT – Anagram (awkwardly) of TREADING.

18a         Row about to impede girl and wise man (8)
DISAGREE – We start with Giovanni’s favourite shortened form of a girl’s name, followed by a wise man. Then the Latin word for about or concerning is dropped into the result.

19a         Idiot in school who betrays classmate? (6)
SNITCH – An abbreviation for school wrapped around an idiot or fool, giving another word for a sneak.

21a         Our Upper House is not of course unrivalled (8)
PEERLESS – Since the Upper House is full of these, it is not —–.

23a         A Head of University positioned in neat courtyard (6)
ATRIUM – A (from the clue) followed by a word for neat or tidy wrapped around the first letter of University.

26a         Leftie, the Parisian about to become a church figure (5)
ELDER – Put together a word used to describe a Left-Wing political persuasion and a French definite article, then reverse the result.

27a         One in a hand-to-mouth situation in which eventual outcome is uncertain (4-5)
NAIL-BITER – Two cryptic definitions: someone who puts his fingers in his mouth for a particular purpose; or, say, a sports match where there is a close and exciting finish, which may prompt the nervous behaviour exhibited by the first definition.

Image result for nail biter

28a         Scented aisle laid out in shop (12)


1d           Colonial type with dog crossing lake (7)
SETTLER – A breed of dog, perhaps Irish, wrapped around an abbreviation for Lake.

2d           Phone up around lunchtime maybe for something from the garden centre? (5)
LILAC – Reverse (up, in a Down clue) what you do when you contact someone by phone, then insert the letter which looks like the Roman numeral for what may be lunchtime.

Image result for lilac

3d           Gun I found hidden in heather, being attentive (9)
LISTENING – Put together a type of submachine gun and I (from the clue), then wrap a word for heather around the result.

4d           Be aware of refusal being broadcast (4)
KNOW – This sounds like (being broadcast) a word of refusal.

5d           Church shut up in old Ireland or part of England (8)
CHESHIRE – An abbreviation for church followed by the Irish word for the island of Ireland with an instruction to be quiet put inside it.

6d           What is symbolised in mathematics periods (5)
TIMES – This word for some temporal periods is also an arithmetical function which has a symbol commonly used.

7d           Ray hitting something is such an event (8)
INCIDENT – Cryptic definition of an event, n this case one referring to a ray of light falling on a surface.

Image result for incident light

8d           The old man needs shelter, that’s clear (6)
PATENT – Familiar term for ‘old man’ or father, followed by a canvas shelter.

14d         Behave as faithful sweethearts, so get day fixed? (2,6)
GO STEADY – Anagram (fixed) of SO GET DAY.

16d         Little daughter getting wobbly in town (9)
DUNSTABLE – Abbreviation for Daughter followed by wobbly or likely to fall over, giving us the name of a town in Bedfordshire near Luton.

17d         European city to descend into bottomless abyss on island (8)
HELSINKI – Another word for ‘descend’ placed between the ultimate abyss with its final letter removed, and Island, giving us the venue for the 1952 Olympics.

18d         Birdbig one seen in sky at night? (6)
DIPPER – Double definition: a bird that can swim underwater; or part of a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Image result for big dipper

20d         Poet leading international organisation — a big hit (4,3)
HOME RUN – Split (5,2) we have an Ancient Greek poet and the initials of an international organisation. Split (4,3) we have a baseball term for a fair ball hit out of the ball park.

22d         Generous contribution from popular gents (5)
LARGE – Hidden (contribution from) in the clue.

24d         Foreign characters given one endless job, receiving nothing (5)
IOTAS – Put together the Roman numeral for one and a particular piece of work with its final letter removed, then insert the letter which looks like a zero, to get some Greek characters.

Image result for iota

25d         Mostly green, a foreign capital (4)
LIMA – Remove the final letter from a shade of green, then add a (from the clue) to get a South American capital city.

The Quick Crossword pun SIRENS + ESTHER = CIRENCESTER


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    2.5*/1.5*. What a dreary puzzle for a dreary day. The SW corner pushed me above my 2* time.
    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  2. Heinz
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I found this puzzle difficult as I couldn’t tap into the setter’s wavelength, but when I did solve a clue I felt a sense of achievement. So, in my judgement, difficult but not dull.
    Having written off a puzzle as “dull” why then thank the setter for failing to please you?
    Equates with apologising when someone steps on your foot perhaps?

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I disagree, Heinz. The setter has gone to considerable effort to set this puzzle, and he deserves thanks for that. It’s a shame I didn’t enjoy it much, but I am glad that others have/will.

      • Angel
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear! I criticise but I do try not to overlook acknowledging the setter’s work in compiling the puzzle for us. Today is such an instance. :yes:

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      The setter deserves our thanks whether we like the puzzle or not. One mans meat is another mans poison. e are a very polite bunch on here although I nearly always forget to thank anybody

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Thank you, MP.

    • Jose
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Heinz. I absolutely agree! I cannot understand why people write in to criticise the setter and then go on to thank them. It just seems a very strange practice to me. I’m guessing that the setters are not particularly wanting or expecting thanks (they are doing a job that they love), but I’m certain that none of them will welcome blunt criticism. Thanking them is good if that is your wont, but mild displeasure can easily be conveyed by polite comments.

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      I find Friday’s puzzle a total no-starter every week. I rattled off yesterday’s, but I just don’t tune in to Friday’s clues. Having written in 7 answers in 5 minutes, I then stared blankly at it for an hour, but hey, that’s what the hints are for. Hopefully Friday’s penny will drop, some day.
      That does not stop me thanking the setter though, and the excellent hints by DT.

  3. Giovanni
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Whether or not this is a dreary day (made drearier or not by my puzzle) it is indeed a very sad day. Please do look at the paper’s obituary of the prominent banker Sir Jeremy Morse who died yesterday. He was an outstanding Ximenes and Azed Observer clue-writing competitor over many decades, a wonderful inspiration, a very kindly man, and a good friend to many of us in the crossword world.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right. I came across him in the 80s when he was responsible for Lloyds Bank sponsoring junior chess which benefitted my son and many, many others enormously. He was able to be a great business man while remaining a true gentleman. RIP.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink


      A very decent gentlemen. I followed his fortunes in the Azed slip with interest. RIP.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      A very interesting obituary – I particularly liked the way he was a ‘composer’ of crosswords.

      • Hrothgar
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        I read the obituary yesterday.
        What an accomplished man.
        A virtual brain box.
        We owe him a debt of gratitude

  4. Heinz
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Had already read the mentioned obituary and noted that he was an enthusiastic doer of cryptic crosswords. I had no idea that he was so involved in the crossword world so thank you for the insight and respect to Sir Jeremy Morse.

  5. williamus
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I often find Giovanni’s puzzles difficult and sometimes a tad esoteric, a criticism of me rather than the setter. Today, dreary as it certainly is here in the West Midlands, I was a bit sharper and got this finished without too much difficulty. Like DT the top left-hand of the puzzle was almost read & write but then I quickly got bogged down in the bottom half. Some tasty anagrams and a couple of hints from here saved the day for me. There are some lovely clue surfaces here, some humour and some misdirection, so I liked this a lot ***/**** for me. 21a made me chuckle and for all it’s simplicity was my favourite. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the review.

  6. neveracrossword
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I know Lucy Locket from the Beggar’s Opera. Quite a tough one today. Thanks to DT and setter. Sorry to hear about Jeremy Morse. I know that Colin Dexter was a fan of his – hence the name of his detective.

  7. Miffypops
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Peter for writing the blog. (I hope all was as well as it could be in Kenilworth on Monday). Thanks to The Don for an enjoyable puzzle which I still have not finished due to being poorly schooled and poorly travelled. Alas the great european city at 17d eludes me. Thanks especially for the fantastic Rosemary and Chilli Olives from the shop at 28ac. Mmmn

  8. pete
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    i thought I was in for a comfortable ride when I finished the top half quite quickly. The bottom half was far harder for me, but some excellent clues although hard to solve. Particularly liked 18d, 21a and 23a.

  9. Hanni
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Nice solve. Didn’t know 18d was a bird but there was nothing else it could be. Enjoyed the anagrams…I always do and 17d made me smile.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for blogging.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I did! I did know 18d was a bird. Ha! I’m good at birding.

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Golly Bongs. You can even argue with yourself

        • Hanni
          Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          I’m not arguing with myself am I? Hang on…I’m not argumentative.

          Williamus..I like astronomy too.

      • williamus
        Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Good at astronomy but not so hot on birds. I missed the “big” bit altogether and tried putting “corvus” (as indeed the Two Kiwis might have done) … didn’t help with the checking letters until I had the doh moment.

        • 2Kiwis
          Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          Well actually we had just read the clue and written the correct answer in. To our shame we have never heard of ‘corvus’ and have just now looked it up in BRB. :unsure:

  10. Spook
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Not quite a write in but found it interesting in places. Always easy to criticise but think of the work that goes in to the crossword construction. Thanks to Deep Threat and Giovanni.

  11. Wahoo
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Cheer up RD! Surely Spring is only just around the corner?

    I will try to send over some glorious clear sky and sunshine from the West Indies?!! :cool:

    **/*** for me last night. 24d and 27a made me think harder and then 17d went in.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT

  12. Jane
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Found this quite a gentle offering from the Don, although definitely a ‘start at the top and work down’ experience. Only the parsing of 7d took a while – those sort of rays don’t figure too largely on my radar!
    Top marks to 27a followed by 21a and a mention for 19a because it’s so long since I’ve heard the word used and it made me smile.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT – the pic at 7d was most informative!

  13. Sheffieldsy
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Agree with DT’s ratings for this.

    We thought that the ‘See’ in 1a was superfluous, but DT has ‘see ….. around’ as an anagram indicator. This is new on us; has anybody else seen this anagram indicator before? 17d was our LOI too, having convinced ourselves it had to be an Italian city because it f the final letter! D’oh.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  14. Angel
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This wasn’t exactly a bowl of cherries for me but managed to battle my way through. Certainly needed help parsing 7d. IMHO 12d is not really synonymous with censure. Thanks Giovanni (not as enjoyable as usual!) and DT for help particularly with 7d. :negative: ***/**.

  15. Young Salopian
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Giovanni offering. It had a good balance to the clueing, and enough head-scratchers to keep me honest. I particularly liked both 7 and 17 down (once I had parsed it), and another city, 25 down, was my final entry.

    2*/3* from me today, with grateful thanks to the Don and DT.

  16. Penky
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this, **/****. Currently watching a pair of 18d’s in the stream in my garden. Thanks to the Don and DT for brightening up a gloomy afternoon.

  17. stanXYZ
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    The Don seems to have given up trying to improve our vocabulary.

    I miss the obscurities on Friday.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Try last Sunday’s Mephisto by him. There’s plenty in there.

  18. silvanus
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m in agreement with Deep Threat that the top half is easier than the bottom, although my initial progress was slightly delayed by erroneously thinking that “terms” was the answer to 6d.

    Five place names was perhaps a little excessive, but I certainly prefer this sort of puzzle to the obscurity-laden or ecclesiastically referenced grids with which we are sometimes presented on a Friday.

    My favourite clue was 20d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  19. Heno
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but was completely beaten by the SE Corner. Failed on all the geographical clues. Needed 6 hints to finish. Had never heard of Lucy Locket. Guessed 5&7d. Favourite was 21a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Needed the review to understand 11a.
    Apart from that the rest made complete sense.
    Favourite is 19a.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the enlightenment.

  21. Hilary
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Read obit and wondered about Colin Dexter and Morse connection, thank you for clarifying this. Second day running failed abysmally this morning but after nice lunch most of it dropped into place. Electronic help with spelling in a couple of places, interesting to have heather two days running, loved 16d because a very dear friend lives there. Thanks to Giovanni and DT off to get a nice cup of tea.

  22. dutch
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I thought 22d was lovely. I’m not very keen on some of the looser definitions, e.g. device pointing upward (9a). I recognised 17d quickly because I remember a brilliant down clue by Giovanni (I think!) with the answer “Bottomless Pit”, can’t remember the exact clue but had something to do with hell possibly becoming good – bottomless pi(t).

    Many thanks DT and Giovanni, and thanks especially for dropping in and alerting us to the obit – very sad.

  23. dutch
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Nearly every answer (maybe every answer, if i missed one or two) of today’s toughie is part of a theme!

  24. Jaylegs
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I found this puzzle quite tricky in parts :mail: most of them mentioned already in the blog. ***/*** Really liked 17 & 18d, when the penny finally dropped :scratch: Thanks to DT and to Giovanni. Really liked the picture of the “Plough” :smile:

  25. Una
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I liked 27a and 17dand 11a and quite a few others(24d, 20d etc.)
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  26. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    ***/**. Not my favourite puzzle as I didn’t get into the setters wavelength for a few of these particularly in the southern half. Nevertheless thanks for the work out and to DT for the review.

  27. Young Salopian
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    There is a fifth town mentioned in the last two syllables of 28 across.

  28. Merusa
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot, geography is my good subject.
    My last one in was 7d and I needed DT’s hints to know why.
    Fave was 21a, runner up 20d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his hints.
    Off to read the obituary now, thanks for the heads up, Giovanni.

  29. pommers
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ve not always been the biggest fan of the Don’s puzzles but I did enjoy this one. Nothing very obscure for once and fair clueing. Can’t ask for more so it’s **/*** from me.

    No stand-out fav out of a lot of good clues but 19a certainly raised a smile when the penny dropped.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  30. Hrothgar
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle, *** plus for difficulty for me.
    Guessed 7d, new meaning for me.
    And kept wanting to put in OSPREY for 18d.
    But got there unaided in the end.
    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  31. Florence
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    NW corner straight in today, but held up in the NE . Like Silvanus, I had put ‘terms’ into 6d so struggled with 10a. At least 11a made me scurry off to find same gift given to me by my grandmother for my 21st. Now found, I shall wear it for the rest of the evening. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review. Our 2d tree blew down in the wind a few weeks ago and is no more sadly.

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    The geography did not give us any problems today, we even had heard of 16d. It was a good thing that we had not tried the Quickie pun as that one would have stumped us. We rattled through the puzzle without any significant hold-ups. A pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  33. Framboise
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed Giovanni’s offering for today. Obviously on the same wavelength, hurrah! Many thanks to setter and to DT as I needed some help in parsing some of my answers. 21a and 19a made me smile but too many clever clues to name a favourite – perhaps 17d? 2*/4*.

  34. Owdoo
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I was held up by the 18s as, whilst there are several names for that particular constellation, that is the last one that comes to mind as I never use it myself. Also, I mis-parsed “impedes” as constraining by enclosure rather than insertion. Got there in the end though.
    3*/2* for me today. Thanks to both Gianni and DT.

    I have worked for Lloyds Bank for the last 23 years and I remember Sir Jeremy Morse as chairman when I joined back in 1992 so was sorry to hear of his death.

  35. Brian
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Super Giovanni today, very enjoyable indeed. Not sure if 7d counts as his obscure clue of the day but seemed quite obvious. So many good clues it would be invidious to single out one.
    I do look forward to Friday puzzles esp after a Ray T Thursday torture.
    Thx to all

  36. Michael
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Quite tough, a bit of a struggle – I only needed assistance to get 18a, I knew ‘sage’ was in there somewhere but just couldn’t see it.

    I’ve been laying carpet and laminate flooring in a ‘buy-to-let’ property today – boy that’s a young man’s game, I’m cream-crackered!

    Bath v Gloucester on my Sky planner – don’t tell me the score!


  37. Paso Doble
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    We have done 4 back-pagers over the last 24 hours as we have fallen behind due to the acquisition of 2 puppies on Tuesday – from a place near 16d in fact! They get us up at 6 in the morning so have had plenty of time to get solving. We liked all of them but found this Giovanni quite difficult but interesting. Thanks to DT and The Don. Come on you Foxes against Man City tomorrow.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully the Foxes will prevail tomorrow!

      Leicester must be a very difficult word to pronounce for both managers … si … non?

    • Jane
      Posted February 6, 2016 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      TWO puppies – that’s just greedy! I thought you were planning on one ‘rescue’ sheepdog?

      • Paso Doble
        Posted February 6, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        We got a bit side-tracked and ended up with two little border collie/jack russell crosses, an accident between an ancient lady jack russell and the farm collie! They are like tiny wind-up toys – so sweet and so exhausting! We would put up a picture but don’t know how.

        • Merusa
          Posted February 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Go to FAQ and look for “can I have my own avatar”, then just follow the directions. You can have as many pictures of the toddlers as you want and we can get to see them!

  38. Jose
    Posted February 6, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Did this one yesterday afternoon. Good crossword of average difficulty but enjoyable to solve. 2*/3*

  39. Tstrummer
    Posted February 6, 2016 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Did this at 3am on the boat. Came up after work, going to theatre in Stratford on Saturday. Maybe I was too tired but I struggled with the last couple and Tinternet wasn’t working so I couldn’t use the hints. Finished this morning. No faves. 3*/2*