DT 28061 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28061

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28061

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***


Happy Pi Day!

For our friends across the pond, who write their dates not so much backwards (yy/mm/dd is a perfectly logical and useful format) as inside out, today is 3.14. This is approximately the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter: delicious, irrational, pi (π).  Today is a rare Rounded Up Pi Day, since 3.1416 is pi rounded to 4 decimal places.  Not to be confused with Pi Approximation Day, 22/7.

Todays blog comes with thanks to Miffypops.  I was getting itchy-pawed and in need of something to get my teeth into, so on this very special day he very generously let me have the reins.

Thanks to Rufus, who has given us a puzzle that was not (for me at least) as easy as π.  A little more to chew on than average, but it all slipped down in the end and was pretty tasty too.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below. The answers are hidden under the 3.14159 boxes.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – only click if you wish to reveal the answer.

Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.


1a    Skill that was required to bring Egypt’s gift to London? (11)
NEEDLECRAFT: The skill is sewing or embroidery; the supporting cryptic definition could describe the vessel (called the Cleopatra) that was required to transport a massive obelisk from Alexandria to London. It was not a smooth trip

9a    Sailor told to go on return watch for missing persons (9)
ABSENTEES: Put together a sailor, a word meaning told to go or posted, and the reversal (on return) of watch or view

10a    Quarter past twelve and not a soul to be seen (2,3)
NO ONE: One of the four major divisions of the compass after (past) another way of saying twelve o’clock.  (Not midnight – that has too many letters)

11a    I shall employ abuse (3-3)
ILL-USE: A contraction of I SHALL (with the apostrophe conveniently dropped as is allowed in crosswordland) followed by a word meaning employ.  Three letters of the answer being in the definition slightly marred this for me

12a    It’s crazy, using hard and soft drugs together (8)
CRACKPOT: Eccentric, nutty, screwball …  Formed of two drugs of different classes (A and B) side by side

13a    Going round the world, smashing opportunity for girl to take in (6)
GLOBAL: I like the use of smashing opportunity here.  That is a high tennis shot which if not perfectly executed might set up a smash for the opponent.  Wrapped around it is a word for girl (for girl to take in)

15a    It offers firm support for those who’ve retired (8)
BEDSTEAD: We’re meant to think of a pensioner, but seasoned crossworders will not be fooled: this retiree has simply turned in for the night.  We’re looking for a frame supporting a bed

18a    They can get hot  weather (8)
ELEMENTS: These can be the resistive bits in heaters or kettles that heat up when electric current is passed through.  Or the weather or the powers of nature

19a    Analyse a sentence with English – one from a Persian religion (6)
PARSEE: A word that gets used a lot on this blog (but don’t get into a discussion on how to pronounce it!) which means to analyse (a sentence, computer code, or a crossword clue).  Then add E(nglish) to get a member of a sect of Zoroastrian origin, descended from the Persians and now found in western India

21a    Dollars stolen to obtain ammunition (8)
BUCKSHOT: Informal words for dollars and for stolen or illegal placed one after the other

23a    Soldier returns to scene of mutiny and neglect (6)
IGNORE: A member of the US military reversed (returns) followed by a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, the site of a mutiny in 1797.  I don’t know my mutinies and had to look this one up to fully understand my answer

26a    Muscles needed to hold mother taking turn for a dance (5)
SAMBA: The short form of some muscles around (holding) a word for mother, all reversed (taking turn)

27a    There’s no reason to be so  spontaneous (9)
INTUITIVE: Arrived at not by clear reason but more nebulous means.  Instinctive

28a    Sounds like narrow ocean waters, but don’t be confused (3,8)
SEE STRAIGHT: A clearly stated homophone of a large body of water and a narrow passage.  To view clearly


1d    Getting closer, wandering in range (7)
NEARING: Our first anagram of the day: it’s of (wandering) IN RANGE

2d    It lends support to an artist’s views (5)
EASEL: A gently cryptic definition of an artist’s stand

3d    One may paint it, and in a variety of places (9)
LANDSCAPE: A representation of one of these may be created on the above.  AND (from the clue) inside (in) an anagram (a variety of) of PLACES.  I was slow to notice the anagram and spent a little while trying to justify this as a composite of the first five and last four letters of the answer.  D’oh!

4d    What you have here, we hear, is for hanging a hammock (4)
CLEW: A word I had to dredge up from somewhere within and then verify in the dictionary.  It is one of the chords by which a hammock is suspended, and sounds like one of these: a hint or a tip, a thing that points to the solution

5d    Variegated asters do spread (8)
ASSORTED: Anagram (spread) of ASTERS DO.  It took a little thought to work out which was the definition and which was the anagram indicator

6d    Medicine  that may be mixed with gin (5)
TONIC: A medicine that invigorates and strengthens.  Or, if gin is your restorative, the aerated quinine water you might take it with

7d    Gave patient attention (7)
TREATED: The surface meaning is meant to lead the solver to think of patient as an adjective, but they’re a living being.  Attended to medically.  I had no idea which of the possible interpretations of the clue was meant to mislead and which was the right one, and this one took me longer than I am prepared to admit

8d    Pad or shorten a story? (8)
COMPRESS: A pad to apply pressure to the body or to condense or concentrate (e.g. a story)

14d    Finished and arrive exhausted (8)
OVERCOME: Take a word for ceased or at an end and then one that means arrive or reach.  The whole means defeated or conquered.  The simplest of constructions, but beautifully put together, and it made me smile

16d    Girl has an unusual idea of earthly paradise (7-2)
SHANGRI-LA: It’s an anagram (unusual) of GIRL HAS AN

17d    I meant to upset? Never! (2,2,4)
AT NO TIME: Another letter scramble (upset) of I MEANT TO

18d    Doctor’s poor essay about foreign mission abroad (7)
EMBASSY: Like buses, they come in clusters.  A third anagram (poor) of ESSAY surrounds (about) an abbreviation for doctor

20d    Always set out for the highest peak (7)
EVEREST: Always or eternally and then an anagram (out) of SET

22d    Closes with performing animals (5)
SEALS: Fastens shut or makes tight.  The animals are pinnipeds, semi-aquatic marine mammals that have often been made to perform in captivity.  I opted for a picture in the wild instead

24d    Outstanding old part of building (5)
OWING: The first letter of the answer denotes old; the rest is a part of a building.  The whole refers to debt

25d    Instruction indicating second thoughts aren’t always best (4)
STET: A written instruction to cancel a correction or deletion on a proof.  Indeed, sometimes the original is best


This blog was brought to you by the number π, your Kitty, and the monumental magnanimousness of Miffypops – and all made possible by Big Dave.

My favourite today was 14d. Which one(s) did it for you?



Roger Squires (Rufus) added a comment last Tuesday which some of you may have missed, so I have reproduced it here.  BD

I should like to express my belated thanks for all the lovely tweets on my recent 84th birthday – very much appreciated – and, an added delight, a poem by Miffypops! I feel I am very lucky to have my puzzles explained by him with so many interesting photographs etc.

My wife Anna whisked me off for ten days to enjoy the Cotswolds and visits to family in the area,which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were based at a hotel in Stow on the Wold but we covered the whole area – little knowing that Big Dave is based near there. It would have been nice to see him again! I didn’t take my IPad so missed the blogs until we returned home.

So thank you all for making my special day even more special!


56 comments on “DT 28061

  1. The mind boggles. Thanks to My lttle kitten pie and thanks to Rufus. A tad tricky today

  2. I would agree with MP that this was a little tricky, but completed comfortably before lights out last night (even though there was an hour less because we sprang forward this weekend). Last one in, and probably the favourite, was 22a, I had to stare it down for quite a while before the penny dropped. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty.

  3. Fooled myself on 1a putting second part of answer as “point” and was also sure that a mattress gave firm support in 15a. Got those sorted eventually but needed hints for 4d, didn’t have a clue! Thanks to all.

  4. I often struggle on Mondays – today was no exception. 3* difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    Not a single anagram, unless one has sneaked past me, in the across clues and then seven in the down clues – almost half.
    1a took me ages, as did lots of these clues.
    Like crowlegs I thought that a mattress gave firm support in 15a – wrong.
    Like Kitty I wasn’t sure which was the definition and which was the anagram indicator in 5d and I didn’t understand the mutiny bit of 23a.
    I’ve never heard of the thingy that holds up a hammock – to me it’s just a bit of rope.
    I liked 12 and 13a and 8 and 25d. My favourite was 28a.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Kitty.
    Lovely day – garden is calling. I’m having a big battle with Mr Rookie but he’ll have to wait . . .

    1. I meant to ask, Kath, how are you recovering from your holiday? Are you feeling like you’re in the right time zone yet?

  5. I found this pretty straightforward, but ggod puzzle with no obscure words etc….4d was also my last in, though it is obvious once you get it (the mark of a good clue, I suppose)…..I liked 12a though I imagine it is an old chestnut……*/***

  6. Tad tricky but thoroughly enjoyable. Would have been easier had i not insisted on ‘point’ in 1a or relied on my gut instinct for 27a as was way too impulsive on that one! Fave was 28a. Thanks to Kitty.

  7. I found this a strange mix of easy clues and some very difficult ones. Ive never heard of 4d before and while I managed to get 25d and 27a not sure how the clues work.Many thanks to the setter and for the hints.

  8. Like others I went for MATTRESS at first but I did know the bit of a hammock and the mutiny. Comes from being a sailor I guess.

    Splendid stuff from Rufus so I’m not going to pick a favourite.

    Thanks to Rufus for a super puzzle and to Kitty for a super blog.

    P.S. Don’t think much of the pun as it isn’t one, just two words that go together to form a third.

  9. So glad that Rufus enjoyed his 10 days away – but so glad he left his iPad at home – how civilised!

  10. As is often the case on Mondays here we are eased gently into the cruciverbal week. Don’t think I have met 4d previously – longest clue for a mere 4-letter word. Surely the abbreviation part of 26a is a birth defect rather than the muscles themselves? Fav 25d. Thanks Mr. Ron and Kitty. */**. :neutral:

  11. Lovely Monday workout. Thank you Rufus and many more happy birthdays. There were some real d’oh moments for me. Not enough lateral thinking on my part. Also thanks to Kitty. I really needed you towards the end. :wacko:

  12. Nice start to the week had a few troubles with SE corner but won through in the end.
    Thanks to Kitty and Rufus for entertaining blog and puzzle. Beautiful day in North Cornwall dogs looking for a run, we also have gardening chores but hey ho tomorrow is another day.

  13. The crossword was great but I’m afraid all these PI references have long left me floundering. Maths never was my strong suit, give me biology anytime.
    Nothing to frighten the horses today except for perhaps a little rearing at 4d which was a clever clue but I had to look up Clew in the BRB, don’t remember coming across this before.
    Thx to all

  14. A couple of tricky clues e.g. 4d(didn’t know) also struggled with 8d grrr and some corkers as well e.g. 13a and 28a . Thanks to Rufus and Kitty **/***

  15. Being ex RN 4d was no problem for me. I thought it was quite a gentle start to the week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to admit that Rufus is my all time favourite compiler. Thanks to him and Kitty.

  16. Happy Pi day everyone. I must have been on the right wavelength today as I finished quite quickly despite also putting mattress in 15 (having a new one delivered today probably a Freudian slip). Despite working in healthcare inexplicably 7d was last in. Favourites were 13 and 26 across. A lovely playful puzzle. Thanks to Rufus and Kitty.

  17. 7d, you and me both Kitty spent a long time at it, as well as 18a and 25d which I always forget.
    Otherwise , the same sense of humour and light touch I adore.
    Thanks Rufus and Kitty.

  18. All Rufus’s puzzles are a treat for me, I love them.
    My only real problem was that I wrote the answer for 19a in the 23a line, that completely threw me when it came to 16d which was so obvious. Once I had corrected that, everything just fell into place.
    It seems unfair to pick a fave with so many good ones to choose from.
    Thanks to Rufus, and thanks to Kitty for the entertaining blog – in particular the history lesson for 1a, who knew!

  19. Sorry, Kitty – rather late in today.
    Nice Monday puzzle from Mr. Squires with no problems beyond being somewhat slow with the two ‘cross-over’ clues at 27a&25d and needing to check 4d with Mr. Google – a new one for me.
    Top three places go to 10a plus 14&25d.

    Thanks to Rufus and to Kittty – what a treat to see you back in the chair, although I’ve given up on your pi ‘stuff’! Certainly hadn’t appreciated the cleverness of 1a until your history lesson and shamefully have to admit that I guessed at the scene of the mutiny.

    1. By the way, Kitty – never occurred to me that there’s more than one possible way to pronounce the ‘analysis’ part of 19a. Care to enlighten me?

  20. I normally fail to finish the Monday Rufus – but today I solved it all without any help from Kitty’s hints.

    I made no serious errors – so I have no need to eat Humble Pie?

    1a – my favourite!

  21. Very nice and trickier than Monday’s offerings often are. Like many others we mis-inserted needlepoint and mattress to leave us some mid-solve debugging later.

    Favourite was probably 21a. The mutiny and the hammock-hanger were new to us. 11a was an ugly clue.

    2.5*/3* for us.

    Thanks to Kitty and thank you, and belated birthday wishes, to Rufus.

  22. We had to wait for a second checker before we could work out what was the homophone and what the answer for 4d but soon sorted. Needed to Google the mutiny in 23a to confirm that what was only a faint ‘inkle’ in the back of one mind was correct. All good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Kitty for a very clever themed review.

  23. I think it has all been said this late in the day. 3*/3* with thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for an informative blog. Favourite 1 across.

  24. Eh! My userid and email address are already there?? Something strange going on here!

    Todays effort was fine – no anagrams but nevertheless quite straightforward, no real problems!

    Big game for Newcastle tonight against Leicester City – I’ll be glued to it!


        1. Oops, what was I thinking – maybe it was about the sort of Pie that I like – from Waitrose called Moo or Moo and Blue!!


  25. Good evening everybody.

    Seem to be in a minority who found this more straightforward than recent Monday puzzles with only the excellent 4d briefly holding up proceedings.


  26. For the most part very straightforward, but then I was left with 15ac, 27ac, 25d, and at the last a dismal failure on 4d which was, in retrospect, not only pretty straightforward, but also quite clever.

  27. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for the review and hints. Back in the Smoke after a lovely week in Cumbria walking in the fells. Great puzzle to start the week. I was on the right wavelength, only problem was 4d,but it fairly clewed :-) and I remembered it from a previous Rufus puzzle. Favourite was 1a, last in was 27a. Was 2*/4* for me.

    1. Glad you had a good time Heno :).

      I had a quick google and found a very similar clew in the Guardian cryptic 26,646. I also discovered from our very own BD that the collective noun for worms is a clew.

  28. Thanks to Rufus for his usual smooth clues and to Kitty for the excellent and very pious blog. The top clue for me was 1a.

  29. Many thanks Kitty, great stuff.
    Weirdly for me (a relative beginner), I found this one of the easiest for a while. Either I am getting better or I will wake up in a minute.
    I knew the mutiny (Nore and Spithead mutinies occurred during the Napoleonic wars – from memory).
    I did not know 19a, I needed Kitty’s hint.
    I thought 10a was clever, the reference to ‘noon’ went right over my head, but the answer was pretty obvious.
    Favourite was 12a, Mentioned in despatches were 1a, 21a, 3d.

    1. Hi, Hoofit. I’ve no doubt you are getting better. You have earned your pie today, or perhaps a pint if you’d prefer.

      Where Rufus is concerned, I fear I’m getting worse. No idea why :unsure:. It matters not :).

      1. A pint sounds like a wonderful idea, but I am on the wagon (“TT”, I guess – lapsing into crossword mode), due to an expanding waistline.
        Oddly, PI was 22/7 when I was at school.
        Thanks again for your hints and thanks to Rufus for the puzzle.

  30. Unlike Kitty (but like mre) I thought this was very much a typical read and write offering from Rufus, delightful to solve as ever even if it was later than usual in the day for me.

    Joint favourite clues were 10a and 13a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Kitty.

  31. I made this a pleasant 2*/4*. 4d wrinkled the brow a bit, but I got there eventually. For a favourite clue, I will go for the nautical connection – either 4d or 23a. I rather take issue with 22d, because the performers are usually sea lions rather than seals (but I admit I’m no expert on performing pinnipeds). Thanks to Rufus, and to Kitty.

  32. Got into a bit of a pickle with this today. I put needlepoint into 1a and mattress into 15a, so gave myself a bit of a headache. I wouldn’t have got 4d anyway. Still enjoyed it once I had unscrambled everything. Thank you Rufus for today’s offering, and to Kitty for the much needed review to set me on the right track. I was offered Homity Pie in a pub in Somerset last week. Had to ask what it was. Never heard of it.

  33. Great puzzle. Some tricky ones that foxed me including 4d. 13a my favourite. Overall a hapPI solve.

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