DT 28053

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28053

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright, sunny morning. I’m still unable to get any useful access to the site, so I’ve had to send this to Big Dave to post for me. This means that I haven’t been able to add any pictures or video clips, and it’s uncertain whether I’ll get to see any of your comments, let alone reply to them.

There are some unusual words in today’s Giovanni which could cause a hold-up in the NW corner if you are unfamiliar with them, but otherwise things seemed to me to be quite straightforward.

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

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


1a    Behind inspirational words note dangerous women (8)
MANTRAPS: – A Hindu or Buddhist incantation followed by a note added to the end of a letter.

5a    English female with little energy, confined to bed, grumbled (6)
BEEFED; – Put together English, Female, and Energy, then put the result inside BED (from the clue).

9a    See very distraught loner in need of affection (8)
LOVELORN: – Put together an exclamation meaning ‘See!’, Very, and an anagram (distraught) of LONER.

10a    Weeps when son is in unstable situations (6)
CRISES: – Son inside another word for weeps.

11a    Chief commander soon to be imprisoned according to the law (7)
CANONIC: – The abbreviation for commander in chief wrapped around an archaic word for soon or presently.

12a    Giving asymmetrical pattern to grass round London gardens (7)
SKEWING: – Grass here is the criminal slang for informing the police. Put another slang word that means the same around the botanic gardens in Surrey.

13a    Show modern state to be in need of reform (11)
DEMONSTRATE: – Anagram (in need of reform) of MODERN STATE.

16a    No longer tight-lipped person, a politician becoming emphatic (11)
EXCLAMATORY: – Put together a prefix meaning ‘no longer’ or ‘former’, the shellfish used to describe a tight-lipped person, A (from the clue), and a politician from the Right.

21a    Attempt to keep one diary in series of books (7)
TRILOGY: – The Roman numeral for one and the sort of diary kept by a ship’s captain, placed inside an attempt.

22a    Sing wildly at back of pub — bit of a game (7)
INNINGS: – A variety of pub, traditionally one which offered accommodation to travellers, followed by an anagram (wildly) of SING.

23a    Number engaged in interior design (6)
INTENT: – A cardinal number inside an abbreviation for INTerior.

24a    I will get work, I being limited by terrible heat in the country (8)
ETHIOPIA: – Put together I (from the clue), the Latin abbreviation for a musical work, and the second I (from the clue), then wrap an anagram (terrible) of HEAT around the result.

25a    This person died, country woman becoming a monster (6)
MEDUSA: – A pronoun for ‘this person’, Died, and the initials of a large country.

26a    Ornament of exceptional age incorporating representation of glory (8)
GARGOYLE: – Anagram (exceptional) of AGE, wrapped around an anagram (representation) of GLORY.


1d    Spite of married woman (6)
MALICE: – An abbreviation for Married followed by a woman’s name (she went through the looking-glass when she was young).

2d    Religious devotion of old archdeacon in North America (6)
NOVENA: – Old and the abbreviation of the title given to an archdeacon, placed inside the initials of North America, giving us a religious devotion popular in some parts of the Catholic Church, where a set of prayers is repeated on nine successive days.

3d    Left-winger keeping course of action given backing again (7)
RELINED: – The colour attributed to the Left, wrapped around a course or plan of action.

4d    Separate division at the top of firm (4,7)
PART COMPANY: – A division or section followed by a firm.

6d    Eastern riots becoming serious (7)
EARNEST: – Anagram (riots) of EASTERN.

7d    Fat Elvis performing in pop event? (8)
FESTIVAL: – Anagram (performing) of FAT ELVIS.

8d    Row makes little girl flop, always getting upset (8)
DISAGREE: – Put together a short form of a girl’s name, a word for flop or droop, and the reversal (upset) of a poetic word for ‘always’.

12d    New nonet is a fit little musical composition (11)
SINFONIETTA: – Anagram (new) of NONET IS A FIT.

14d    Foreign currency is held by troops — nothing extreme in that (8)
CENTRISM: – Small change in the USA or Eurozone, followed by the initials of a regiment of troops who serve both on land and sea, wrapped around IS (from the clue).

15d    After turmoil, predicts what a speech may be (8)
SCRIPTED: – Anagram (after turmoil) of PREDICTS.

17d    Thrives when spring is coming in (7)
ABOUNDS: – A spring or leap inside a word for ‘when’.

18d    After end of ceremony a new ruler is twitching (7)
YANKING: – Put together the last letter (end) of ceremonY, A (from the Clue), New, and a monarch.

19d    Leader of society, a bit cold and curt (6)
SNIPPY: – The first letter of Society followed by ‘a bit cold’.

20d    Heading off with a will in car (6)
ESTATE: – Remove the first letter (heading off) from a word describing someone who has made a will.

The Quick Crossword pun SCORES + HAZY = SCORSESE


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    2*/2.5*. I found this to be reasonably enjoyable with a few smiles along the way despite the obscurities in 11a, 2d, 12d & 19d, which were all fairly clued. I flew through the first three quarters of this in record time for me on a Friday, only to get held up in the SW corner. The surface readings were mostly smooth, but 25a reads very strangely to me.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. bifield
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    A good puzzle with plenty of fun. The right hand side went in very quickly and after a bit of headscratching everything else soon fell into place. Thanks to The Don and to Deep Threat for the review.

  3. Jane
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    For once I was OK on the obscurities with the exception of 12d – which, although I think I’ve heard of before, I had to confirm with Mr. G. Doubt I’d have got the correct spelling by myself.
    Given the checkers I had in place for 24a it took a long while to convince myself that the answer really couldn’t be ‘stripper’!
    Not a huge amount of laughs but I did rather like the tight-lipped person in 16a and the London gardens.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – managed to log onto the site at the first attempt today, hopefully that’s a good sign.

  4. Clarky
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Very slow to get started today followed by steady progress then help required to finish. Some fine clues, looking back but not on my wavelength today.
    Thanks to Giovani , nonetheless and DT for the hints.

  5. Brian
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable but def trickier than a 2 star for me, verging on a 4 star. Very tricky indeed.
    Best clue I thought was 25a with MiD for 26a and 1d.
    Although as everyone knows I am a great fan of Giovanni, I do wish he would keep the religious clues for the Church Times, I do find them tedious.
    Thx to all

  6. Kath
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    No major problems for me today – very unusual for a Friday.
    I thought there were quite a few anagrams, or part anagrams.
    I didn’t know 14d.
    Glad to see the 12a gardens in a clue, if only because it’s reminded me that it’s a very long time since I went there.
    I liked 5 and 16a and 1 and 17d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.
    Friends coming for supper – off to do cooking now.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Somewhat belatedly, welcome back from me too. If this reply posts it may suggest that my site access problems are on the way out :yes:

      • Kath
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks DT – the welcome back is nice even though I feel a bit like a test case!!

  7. Young Salopian
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    2.5*/3.5* for this enjoyable Giovanni offering. Several fun clues, among them 25 across which I feel was a cracker. I did like 11 and 12 across, but will go for 1 across as my favourite. Like RD above, the SW corner pushed me out of 2* time.

    Many thanks to DG and DT. Trying to snow in the Marches, though hopefully not as much as in Lancashire and Yorkshire who seem to have it quite bad in places.

  8. Hanni
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully this will post.

    I fairly straightforward solve although I got held up with 9 and 16a. I had heard of some of the more obscure words which was a relief. Quite a few smiles with 12a and 12d standing out. Favourite goes to 19d.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for a great blog.

    Wild on the moors today (mooers for Spindrift’s benefit) but I am perfectly toasty. Final day of the Home Made Toffee Vodka Experiment…testing. Give some to friends and if after half an hour they are not unconscious or bleeding from their eyes of anything then it is ready. I like the scientific approach.

  9. Heno
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot. Went in four chunks, NE, SE, NW, SW. Favourite was 12a, last in was 15d.. At Newbury races. Was 3*/3* for me.

  10. Angel
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    O.K. but not scintillating. 2d new to me and also 19d (is that really a word?). No real Fav. Liked the Quickie pun. Thanks Giovanni and DT. ***/***. I don’t any more get e-mail prompts when hints have been posted so have to access BD via his 44 – are others in the same boat I wonder? :unsure:

  11. Florence
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I really struggled with this at first, but managed to speed up towards the end. Most difficult one of the week for me. That’s saying something after a RayT Thursday. Thanks to the setter and to DT for the much needed review. No favourite clue today. Could be a late start tomorrow. Off to a quiz supper tonight with friends from my choir. One friend is bringing her home made raspberry vodka. Husband has agreed to come and collect me afterwards. Quiz team has already agreed.. We all need new wooden spoons.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Florence. What is the purpose of the spoons? Homemade raspberry vodka. Now there’s an idea, bring on summer.

  12. Merusa
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I got stuck in the NW corner, as predicted by DT, so I had to look at the hint for 1a. Once I got that, the rest fell into place nicely.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his very helpful hints.

  13. Miffypops
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    My anagram hell continues. I completely failed to spot 15d as an anagram. Woe is me. The bottom left corner needed a couple of hints so thank you DT for those. Thank you Mr Manley for the excellent puzzle which took me right back to the struggling days.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Man with ham allergy is confused and leads to Miffypops’ declaration of his worst nightmare (2,7,4)

      • Hanni
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha ha ha ha.

        Oh I love it RD. Well done. :good:

        And yes I wrote a letter circle to solve it.

      • silvanus
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Very clever!

        Or alternatively “Ah, Mr. Manley left a good puzzle to highlight Miffypops’ personal woe” ?

        • Hanni
          Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Oh my goodness. there are some clever setters on this blog. Well done!

      • Chris
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Excellent! (As is the Silvanus alternative.)

        • Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          You;ve made a small change to your email address.

          • Chris
            Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, my fault – I forgot the ipad capitalises the first letter.

  14. silvanus
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Like RD, I was held up by the SW corner and 14d took ages to decipher for some reason. Disappointing to see that the seam of religious obscurities had been mined again (2d) but the cluing was fair as always.

    Favourite clue was 9a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat and a good weekend to all.

  15. KiwiColin
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    25a became my favourite clue once I persuaded myself that ‘sadist’ was not going to fit the wordplay and 14d gave me the starting letter. Not a quick solve for me but an enjoyable one.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  16. Hilary
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Greetings from the cupboard under the stairs with an extra large box of tissues. It is ages since I have had such a disastrous day, at least ***** stars for difficulty roll on tomorrow. Thanks to Giovanni and DT off to console myself by doing the washing-up. :cry:

  17. mre
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Good evening everybody.

    Found this puzzle quite tricky and the south west pretty much eluded me so I put the newpaper back on the rack with five unsolved and (it transpired) having got 17d wrong.

    Eventually solved the remainder with help from my sometime crosswording partner who made an unexpected late show.


  18. TheTeesdale2
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Toughest of the week for us. Thanks for the hints DT!

    • Kath
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Fridays are almost always the trickiest of the week for me.
      I really like your ‘picture’ – where is it?

  19. Scousegit
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Well I though I was getting somewhere but the SW corner had me stumped. I suppose that I’ve heard of people clamming up but I wouldn’t describe a tight lipped person as a ‘clam’.
    What I meant about identifying setters was not necessarily knowing that Ray T generally sets the Thursday crossword but being able to recognise the setter from the style of clue. Meanwhile I’ll concentrate on solving the puzzle.

  20. Oastdweller
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    We seem to have struggled all week – the most difficult today by far. Difficulty ** is for the birds!

    • Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      You’ve changed your alias since your last comment which was nearly four years ago.

  21. Chris
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    When I zoomed through the right half over a cup of coffee, I thought The Don must be away on holiday.
    Once I had started on the left half, I realised he wasn’t.

  22. Michael
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard of 19d and feel a bit short changed when you get a word like this!


    • Kath
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Why are people picking on 19d? I quite liked it – short tempered/grumpy – a bit like me at the moment! :sad:

      • Hanni
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        It was my favourite clue Kath..note just the one. :wink:

        Hope dinner went well this evening and the jet leg is improving?

        • crypticsue
          Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          Can the other leg keep up with it?? :wink:

          • Hanni
            Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Just seen this and burst out laughing! Honestly…those pesky jet legs. :good:

  23. Jon_S
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Slow to get going, reasonable progress, and then slow to work out 14d. I knew 12d had to be something like that, but did I know how to spell it? Needed every one of the checking letters.

  24. Terryfromslough
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    After getting on quite well this week, I found this a real stinker. RH side O.K. after spelling 12d correctly, but needed to be led by the nose for most of left !!!

  25. JonP
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I found this to be on par with most of Giovanni’s Friday puzzles. However, I failed to spot the pluralisation in 1ac which held me up considerably with regards to solving the NW corner..

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/3*

  26. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Too difficult for me, but enjoyable to go through the hints.
    Thanks DT

  27. Cryptor
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Approaching four stars for time taken, but thoroughly enjoyable. I for one appreciate the occasional obscure word – a learning opportunity. I plan to introduce 19d into a conversation just as soon as I can. Favourite 26a. Thanks to the Don and DT and everyone.

  28. Wolfson Bear
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    This took a fair bit longer than a typical 2* back-pager. I never understand DT ratings as they are consistently low. The Toughie was a proper stinker so together the two DT crosswords were a reasonable level of difficulty for Friday

  29. Gwizz
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Well, that was fun. Took me ages, but I think the earlier four days this week had numbed my little grey cells a bit. The right hand side went in relatively easily but the left hand side was a bit like pulling teeth! However, I got there eventually. 24a was my favourite and overall, perhaps 3.5/4*.
    Thanks to the Don and DT for his review.
    I’m now off to a darkened room for a little lie down….

  30. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this crossword.
    Thought the clueing was very smooth and clear as spring water.
    The four distinct corners made it a bit harder than usual.
    Quite a few favourites but as I see that Kath is roaming around, I shall keep shtum.
    Thanks to the Don for this excellent puzzle and to DT (who’s also watching afterall) for the review.

  31. Jaylegs
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    No smugness today, brought on by putting in two incorrect answers, so have to thank DT for his excellent hints :scratch: so ****/*** 14d was a new word for me and 18d. Liked 16a & 12a :yahoo: and of course thanks to Giovanni

  32. Tstrummer
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    This was hard work, not helped by putting DE instead of EX as the first two letters of 16a (it worked for me until I was left with an unsolvable 14d). Sorting that out took an entire pint of London Pride. 25a was top of the bill for me. Thanks to the Don for the brain-ache and to DT for his efforts (but those gardens are, as the clue states, in London, not Surrey). 4*/3*

  33. Kitty
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    It was all perfectly pleasant. I was ego-pleasingly non-slow until I hit a block at the last two: 1a/2d – I was convinced that 1a was going to be something that I’d never heard of because I could see what the last two letters were likely to be but just couldn’t find the inspirational words. Nor could I do it the other way round and find an answer to fit the definition. I was wrong about 1a being beyond me, but right that 2d would be a combination of things I didn’t know, even with the right first and last letters. No matter, but I have to be honest and declare those unsolved.

    On the other hand, the SE was no problem even if 12d was a constructed semi-guess. I am really surprised by peoples’ problems with 19d :unsure: .

    Favourites today are 9a and 25a. I am not scared of Kath!

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.