DT 28031 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28031

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28031

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I found this to be slightly tougher than most weeks but entirely fair. A masterclass in setting from a man fast approaching his eighty-fourth birthday. Thank you Rufus

Today’s hints and tips have been created with love and care by Miffypops, a man who has no beginning to his talents. Together with the underlined definitions they should lead you to the answers you may be struggling with. If you are completely bamboozled befuddled and bewildered click on the greyed out box to reveal the answer.

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    Brief edition with coverage of tidings from the east country (6)
SWEDEN: Reverse (from the east in an across clue) a noun meaning tidings and wrap it around the shortened (brief) form of ed(ition)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4a    It’s impressive-looking, but it’s not working (8)
STRIKING: A double definition, the second describing being off work due to industrial action. A national pastime back in the nineteen seventies. Who remembers Aurthur Scagill? He started out with a small house and a massive union and ended up in a massive house with a small union.

9a    Start off with a meal outside (6)
LAUNCH: Place a midday meal around the letter A from the clue.

10a    Goes down as original organisers (8)
FOUNDERS: Another double definition the first being of a nautical nature

12a    Aim, when near (4)
MEAN: And a third double definition. Near here means tight or stingy

13a    Bawl half-heartedly downstairs (5)
BELOW: Remove one of the two middle letters of a deep roaring sound or shout

14a    Joy, for example, over capturing the French (4)
GLEE: Reverse (over) the two letters that mean for example and place them around the masculine word for the in French.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17a    Designs wrong sort of robe (8-4)

20a    New Year activity with original basis (5-7)
FIRST-FOOTING: This new year activity is popular with those who live north of the border and can be found by using similes of the words original and basis

23a    They look and sound agreeable (4)
EYES: The organs one uses for sight are a homophone of a word used to describe those in agreement, particularly in parliament.

24a    Kind of public transport coming back into fashion? (5)
SMART: Reverse a type of public transport that runs on iron rails.

25a    Highlight of the show? (4)
STAR: This highlight can be the leading actor or a fixed luminous point in the night sky which is a large incandescent body like the sun. Cheers Google.

28a    Being fertile for most of one’s existence, I should reach 100 (8)
PROLIFIC: A charade, building block or lego clue. Take a three letter word that means in favour of and add the first three letters of a word that describes one’s existence. Now add the letter I directly from the clue and the Roman Numeral that denotes the number one hundred

29a    Group that is to make attack (6)
SORTIE: Add the Latin for that is (Id Est) to a verb that means to group together.

30a    Journalist following Marxist study became embarrassed (8)
REDDENED: Our usual colour for a Marxist, communist or Russian is followed by a study, lair or hideaway and the shortened form of the journalist with overall control of a newspaper

31a    Pursue   programme of studies (6)
COURSE: A double definition. The first being to pursue game (usually hares) with greyhounds. There is a lot of this around these parts. Large lawless groups driving 4 x 4s trespass onto farmland and just get on with it.


1d    It may describe one who has been singularly successful (4-4)
SELF-MADE: A cryptic definition of one who has become rich and successful by one’s own efforts

2d    Was coach  learned? (8)
EDUCATED: To have been coached, schooled, or taught

3d    Treatment for ache in a head (4)
EACH: Anagram (Treatment for) of ACHE

5d    Complete meals for the road (12)
THOROUGHFARE: Split 8,4 we have a word meaning complete in every detail and a word that means food that when put together give a road or path that links two places

6d    Stops for refreshment in Nova Scotia (4)
INNS: These houses that provide food and accommodation for travellers can be found by using the IN from the clue and the initial letters of N(ova) S(cotia)

7d    Naughty ladies which men dream of (6)
IDEALS: Anagram (naughty) of LADIES will give model of perfection which the clue suggests men may dream of. I prefer to dream of the naughty ladies

8d    Fuel that man would cut (6)
GASHED: A fuel many of us use for our central heating is followed by the shortened form of He would

11d    High court official (6,6)
TENNIS UMPIRE: This court official might sit in a high chair to adjudicate a sporting contest at Wimbledon. Those of you who have applied for tickets through the public ballot should be receiving news of your success this month.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d    Moving a jug (5)
ASTIR: The jug in this clue is a prison. Take a slang term for a prison and place it after the A from the clue

16d    Now so upset as to faint (5)
SWOON: Anagram (upset) of NOW SO

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Secretary’s boss can be a tyrant (8)
DICTATOR: This secretary’s boss may say aloud words for her to type or write down

19d    In time, giver suffers torment (8)
AGGRIEVE: Place an anagram (suffers) of GIVER inside a word meaning a long period of time

21d    Shower  season (6)
PEPPER: A double definition. This season is not spring, summer, autumn, winter or salt.

22d    You once turned in a spy on the other side (6)
BEYOND: Reverse (turned) an old fashioned of saying YOU and place it inside the name of a spy created by Ian Fleming and made popular by a series of ridiculous cheesy films.

26d    Fortune pocketed by Disraeli Parliament upheld (4)
PILE: A reversed lurker. The word pocketed tells us it is a hidden word and the word upheld indicates it is reversed

27d    Mad kind of motive? (4)
LOCO: These four letters can be placed in front of the word motive to make another word for a steam engine

I liked all of these clues. How about you?

The Quick Crossword pun: loo+brick+ate=lubricate

102 comments on “DT 28031

  1. Brilliant but soooo tough. Two sittings needed to finish off that pesky top left corner. Best clue for me was 27a and the only one I found slightly dodgy was 8d. Def a 3.5 diff and a 4 for enjoyment.
    Amazing how often those little four letter words present the greatest challenge as in 12a the last in.
    Thx to all.

  2. 3*/4*. Today provided wonderful examples of both Rufus’ unique cryptic style and Miffypops’ unique blogging style. Rufus’ puzzles are unfailingly amusing, and I agree with MP that this was at the tougher end of his spectrum. The SE corner was the last to fall with 31a & 27d my last ones in.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for such splendid entertainment.

  3. Not too taxing but very enjoyable – thank you Rufus. Thanks also MP particularly for parsing my 22d bung-in. Liked 11d and 5d. ***/****. :good: s

  4. Found this quite a tough ‘Rufus’ today with the top left corner being the last in …thanks for blog MP … managed to finish without but not one of the most enjoyable ‘Rufus’ for me … at least 3* for difficulty … stay safe everyone, hope ‘Imogen’ isn’t affecting you too much :bye:

  5. Agree this was harder than normal – i ended up doing the middle bit first then the corners. I’ve only just got my head around “was coach trained”.

    Many thanks for the review miffypops, after all these years the muppets are still as funny as ever.

    Many thanks Rufus

  6. I found the top half very difficult, far too clever for me. Thebottom half I found quite straight forward. A hard one for a Monday, hopefully I will do better tomorrow.

  7. As MP said – slightly more tricky than we’ve come to expect on a Monday. Most enjoyable though – only 12a left me a little cold.
    Pick of the bunch for me were 4a & 5d – still a while to go before Kath gets back. :wink:
    Thanks to Rufus for the work-out and to MP for blogging. I didn’t know that the Green Man offered ‘food & accommodation’ – or are you referring to a bag of pork scratchings and a field in which to pitch a tent? :smile:

  8. What a wonderful start to the week. 10a and 15d my favourites today. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops

  9. MP, you’ve underlined the wrong part of the clue in 24a. And, shouldn’t the underlining in 2d be continuous, as it’s an “all-in-one” clue?

    1. Agree with 24a, now changed.

      I still think 2d is a double definition – was coach (educated as a verb) and learned (educated as an adjective)

      1. Dave, “was coach” doesn’t make sense. “Was coached” would, but wouldn’t make sensible surface reading. Am I making sense??

  10. There’s nothing like a brisk workout on a Monday morning! Most of this was just that for me but the NW corner proved a stretch too far.
    Some excellent clues. Thanks to setter and MP.

  11. Pretty tricky today but SW corner caused some delay, thanks to Mifftpops and Rufus.
    No dog walking on cliffs today to dangerous. Dogs looking very disappointed. Really strong winds, worst this year so far.

    1. Welcome to the blog Ian

      I’ve changed it, and I’m sure Miffypops would say you are right. It’s a very easy mistake to make when writing hints under the self-imposed constraint that words that are in the answer but not in the clue can’t be used.

      1. Mea culpa. The whole blog was written while I was asleep . Those who know me will realise that weekends filled with Rugby are not conducive to Miffypops being totally alert for a Monday morning blogging duty. While we are about it 6d needs an s at the end of the word house.

  12. Rather more challenging than the usual Monday puzzle. Our performance was distinctly average…

  13. Enjoyable and satisfying tussle.
    *** for difficulty for me.
    Nice to meet old friends eg 9a, 23a and 15d.
    Perhaps they should now be superannuated.
    Many thanks Rufus, and Miffypops for the review.

    1. 9ac was one of the last ones in for me. I have seen it many times before so the Doh! moment was probably heard in Oz by Kath. The London Pride has a lot to answer for

  14. To start with I’ve just laughed myself silly at The Muppets. I love Swedish chef. So funny.

    Nice solve at stupid o’clock this morning. No horses were upset, although my has vet emailed me my most recent bill and I was upset.

    Plenty to like with 4a, 10a, 12a and 16d standing out. I miss Kath but it’s lovely having lots of favourites.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to our resident publican for a great blog. Nice holyhocks. I’m so good at horticulture.

  15. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. What a super puzzle from Rufus to start the week. I had an absolute nightmare with this. I had redfaced for 30a, though fac might equal study. This stopped me getting 26d. Needed the hints for 22d. Failed to get 12a, yet another double definition from the setter that I couldn’t get. Needed the hint for 4a, which allowed me to get the rest. Was 11 answers short when I first looked at the hints. Last in was 28a. Favourite was 18d. Also needed the hint for 2d could only think of erudite, which was a letter short. Was 5*/4* for me. Blowing a gale all day in Central London.

    1. When you have an answer that is a letter short put it in and blank out the remaking white square. On Friday I had to add a square so that Santorini would fit at 17d

  16. I put “stonking” for 4a, which I’m still rather attached to , even though it’s completely wrong, and foils several other answers.

    I didn’t know that “near” meant stingy.

    Can anyone believe that, in terms of storm names, were already nearly halfway through the alphabet?

      1. No; hurricanes used to be all female names, but that was deemed to be non-PC, so now male and female names alternate. The UK Met. Office has followed the same pattern. The storm preceding Imogen was Henry. I’d prefer they didn’t name them; the weather seems to have got worse since they started.

        1. Thank you. I do take your point about the weather being worse since they started naming them.

          1. They alternate boys’ and girls’ names. We started with Abigail … So it’ll be a girl when we get to Q, which may be interesting

            1. Queenie from Blackadder? Other than that possibly some Arabic ones but Gazza may know better…maybe skip onto R?

  17. Agree was more difficult than the normal Monday puzzle, but very enjoyable ***/**** against the run of the majority I struggled with the NE corner :cry: After an epic struggle I managed to end 8d with an “s” rather than a “d” :wacko: Thanks to MP for the blog and to Rufus on a very windy day here in Cambs. Liked 1 & 4a :bye:

  18. Got a bit help up in the middle by putting “fresh footing” in 20a. Soon realised and finished with 15d.
    The secretary’s boss in 18d made me laugh. So did the locomotive in 27d.
    28a absolute favourite.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Muppetpops for the Miffies.

    1. OK that’s made me laugh J-L…fresh footing, the Muppetpops and the Miffies. The Miffies sound like an obscure broadcasting award.

      I want to go fresh footing.

  19. I put redfaced into 30a, then changed it when the penny dropped for 26d. Spent far too long in the NW corner. 1a and 9a first in but took ages to work out 1d. Convinced it started with ‘sole’ something. 5d was my favourite. Thank you to Rufus and to Miffypops. Loved the muppet pics.

  20. Had a late start today as I had to fight my way across island for a doctor’s appointment through Force 9 gales so was very glad to get home and spend some time on this. Slightly more tricky perhaps than the usual Monday ( was stumped for ages on 22d) but all in all a good workout so many thanks to Rufus. BTW the hostelry run by Miffypops and Saint Sharon looks most attractive and well worth a visit if I am ever down your way (wherever that is) ***/***

  21. That was a tough one, and I can’t put it down to a dose of “man-‘flu'”.
    Thanks to the setter and the much-needed hints.

  22. I liked 28a and 27d best.I, like everyone else , found it quite tough.
    I noticed Miffypops is taking a great interest in Sesame Street, no prizes for guessing why.
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  23. Three quarters of the puzzle was fairly average Monday fare, but the NW corner took considerably longer than the rest combined. Not as enjoyable as most Rufus offerings I thought.

    Favourite was 4a, I didn’t particularly warm to 2d or 7d though.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops.

  24. ***/***. Quite tricky for a Monday but enjoyable. 12a last one in after consulting the BRB. Liked 10a and 21&22d. Didn’t think 24a needed “kind of”. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  25. Tough but enjoyable. Did not like 12a, I thought goal was a better double definition which gave me no chance with 1d.

  26. 12 and 24ac were the two that gave me problems. Slow but steady progress across the rest, distracted by howling wind and torrential rain.

  27. Most definitely a tad trickier than the usual Monday fare from Mr Squires, but my trusty steed and his friends are nice and settled in the garage. There are a couple of clues that don’t quite sit right but that’s probably just me. 20a was a gimme (obviously) and there were quite a few ‘smile’ moments – but my favourite is (NB Kath 1 favourite) is the excellent 11d.

    Thanks to Rufus for getting the old grey matter up and running this dull Monday morning and ,of course, thanks to the young landlord of the Green Man in downtown LI for his usual humorous review.

  28. Just goes to show -“different strokes” etc. My first one in was 12a! I didn’t do too well with first reading of the across clues, but once I started with the downs, it all started to fall into place very quickly.
    Favourite was 11d, but many more were on my short list.
    Thanks to Rufus for another super puzzle, and to M’pops for his review.

  29. Perhaps it was the fact that I came to this one straight after a huge battle with Rookie Corner, but it all fitted together very smoothly for me. Top quality clues once again from our Monday setter and plenty to enjoy. Interesting to see that the four corners of the puzzle are each connected to the centre part by only one common letter. Maybe this has something to do with why many people found it trickier than usual. Good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

  30. Yes, a bit tougher than the usual week-starter, and the NE corner took me not far short of 3* time. Say 2.5*/3*. I enjoyed the said corner, which contained the 10a/8d combo – both clues which featured on my list of potential favourites. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops. Like you, I was glued to rugby over the weekend (and am still smarting over the wrongly-disallowed try which cost Chiefs so dearly against Saracens!).

  31. Found it a bit tricky but nonetheless very enjoyable. Putting ‘stopping’ for 4a did not help me at all. 10a remained a mystery till I read Miffipops review!!! 18a mad me laugh but my favourite clue was 27d. 3*/4*. Flying back to UK for three weeks tomorrow. Many thanks to wonderful Rufus – having a go at today’s Guardian Cryptic also set by him – and of course to Miffypops for his help. Big Dave, I do not understand why for the past few days I have had to fill in every time my name and email address before posting my comment. Before it was there all the time… Am I doing something wrong?

      1. Me too – I’ve been moaning about it for over a week now – very frustrating!

        I use Safari on my iPad and Internet Explorer on my Dell Laptop – on both browsers I have to reenter my details each time so you can probably rule out the browsers being the problem – IMHO


      2. Thinking about this ‘losing userid and email’ problem – I reckon the Big Dave site must be doing something to the Cookie where the info used to be stored – again it’s only my opinion but it seems likely.

        I’m just relieved that it’s not only me who’s having this aggro!


      1. You have to look in the advanced options in your navigator and somewhere you should have “remember passwords”.

  32. Good evening everybody

    Got nowhere at all with this puzzle and soon gave it up in favour of a crack at the puzzle in another place (that also proved beyond me).


  33. Tough – I don’t understand 3d – what’s ‘each’ got to do with ‘head’?

    I didn’t really enjoy this – very bitty and without any real flow – ah well, tomorrow is another day!


  34. I gave up after looking at 2 clues … Since when did ” mean ” mean near ??? – 12 a…. Since when did “each ” mean head !!?? – 3 d… V Poor crossword …. Please ask the compiler to try his / her hand at something else… Gardening perhaps…

    1. I’m sorry but this is very unfair…and it takes a lot to bother me. Roger Squires aka Rufus is one the worlds most prolific setters and has entertained and amused solvers for a remarkable amount of time. We might not always like a puzzle, there may be some setters we prefer to others but to suggest that someone take up gardening is unnecessary.

      I for one cannot set a single clue let alone a whole grid and appreciate and admire anyone that can.

      Read the hints..ask for more help if needed..but don’t dismiss a setter who has more skill than most.

      1. Well said, Hanni. Pete Smith’s comment was totally unnecessary, especially when it was aimed at one of my fave setters!

        1. Thank you Merusa. :rose: I’m a big fan of Rufus too.

          Pete I hope you stick with the blog…people will always help.

    2. It did take me a while to reconcile mean=aim which was indeed listed as a synonym. The other part of the clue is mean=near when it comes to money.
      In The Jardin you can eat for 25€ a head or if you each give me 25€, I ‘ll feed you.

      1. Can you do deliveries to the Moors svp? Something with honey and a delicious cheese? And maybe a bottle of wine?

        1. I sincerely think you deserve a goodie bag as you missed the birthday bash.
          We need BD’s help so I can have your address.
          Don’t worry ! There will be no stalking.

          1. I was so disappointed to miss out! And I heard about the beautiful treats in those gorgeous boxes. BD can you pass my email onto J-L?

          2. Jean Luc, Hanni lives in Yorkshire. In England it is customary to put (where strange people live) after the word Yorkshire when writing an address

            1. Once again there are no words MP..Unbelievable.

              Although right now there is an unbelievable amount of noise as there seems to military aircraft zooming around? And nothing on Planefinder. How strange?

    3. Good evening Pete. As I said in my preamble to the blog this was entirely fair. Chambers dictionary is your first and final reference point and both words will be clearly defined within its pages. Near has meant miserly since Middle English was used and can be traced back to Old Norse. English is a wonderful language and Cryptic Crosswords are a marvellous and enjoyable way to learn more about it. The people on this blog will explain whatever you want to know but please ask nicely.

      1. Dear MP,

        Please can you explain fizzy drinks, igloos, Ralph Fiennes and televisions?

        Kind regards


        1. Fizzy drinks – carbonated water and a post mix, sold by unscrupulous landlords for about 5000 % profit

          Igloos – houses built of ice

          Ralph Fiennes – intrepid explorer who started his travelling after failing to be cast as James Bond

          TV – another invention amongst many by Scottish people



          1. An interesting read…but the best alcohol in the world? What with a what now?

            Nope that still doesn’t explain igloos.

              1. OK then explain Ice hotels?

                And being totally childish…at least I know the difference between Ranulph Fiennes and Ralph Fiennes.

                You’re never going to help me on another S.Times puzzle again are you?

            1. All four of them are awful things Hanni. If you think Igloo is another name for Thermos Flask you may get a better understanding. Actually I am sure Ralph Fiennes is a nice geezer who understands azimuths.

              1. I thought real ale had some sort of fizz in?

                I have a few flasks…some for brandy, some for hot drinks. Non look like an igloo. Igloos are inexplicable.

                Azimuths..an angle?

    4. Pete. Mean quite simply does = near and each = head as in a head-count of each person present for example. The setter cannot possibly take the vocabulary limitations and solving expertise of each and every unknown, individual solver into consideration. I’ve always used crosswords a learning tool to test/practise my existing vocabulary and expand it as I progress.

  35. Very enjoyable start to the week but I did need the hints for the two four-letter ones at 9d and 12a. I’ve resolved to buy a BRB which I hope will yield those elusive answers. Hard to choose a favourite from so many clever clues. Loved 17a. Thanks to setter and MiffyPops.

  36. I though this was an excellent crossword. Tough maybe, strange perhaps, but very good.
    1d was my fave, and overall 3/4* overall. Long time since we have had a serious challenge on a Monday.
    Thank you Rufus, and thanks to MP for his review.

  37. Yup, tougher than usual for Rufus, and all the better for it. Much to like and little to grumble at. 4a and 10a breast the tape together as joint gold medalists, 28a hard on their heels. 2*/4*

    Thanks to Rufus and The Pub Landlord

  38. Did this yesterday teatime. After Saturday’s easy one, this was excellent. Slightly above average difficulty and very enjoyable to solve. 3*/3*

  39. It beat us – struggled with the clues that have already been mentioned an didn’t have the courage of our convictions for the top half of the puzzler where we had most of the clues penciled in but couldn’t quite see the whole picture.

    We try and do it at work to spice up out tax jobs


  40. Only had a chance to do this excellent Rufus puzzle this afternoon, Tuesday. I think it’s all been said, so I shall move on to what is now today’s offering.

    3*/3* with thanks all round.

  41. Either I’m getting much thicker or this was a lot more difficult than the usual Mondat crossword. After solving about a dozen clues, it was slow progress, and I needed a hint from Miiffypops for on a number of occasions. Much appreciated, or otherwise I’d still be struggling away. Some clever clues (and too clever for me) and very enjoyable, as ever.

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