DT 28071 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28071

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28071

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Greetings from South Staffs this Good Friday morning.

We have a very gentle offering from Giovanni today, with nothing particularly obscure (3d probably comes closest) and a lack of Scriptural references (perhaps surprising for a day which forms part of the greatest festival in the Christian calendar).

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.


5a           Revolutionary with fate sealed beginning to shred garments (7)
CLOTHES – Wrap Crosswordland’s favourite Socialist revolutionary around a word for fate or fortune, then add the first letter of Shred.

7a           Alien has this extra rest (3-2)
LIE-IN – The middle three letters of aLIEn are LIE, so you could say that ‘alien’ has …

9a           Leaving with Her Majesty’s presents (6)
OFFERS – A three-letter word for ‘leaving’, as in ‘I’m —‘, followed by the Queen’s regnal cypher and the ‘S from the clue.

10a         Gold label at the front of books for decoration (8)
ORNAMENT – Put together the heraldic term for gold, a label or title, and an abbreviation of one of the sets of books in the Bible.

11a         Star no more after explosion? That interests me (10)
ASTRONOMER – An all-in-one clue. Anagram (after explosion) of STAR NO MORE.

Image result for patrick moore

13a         What some unfortunately have in their hair, idiots! (4)
NITS – Double definition, the first being the egg cases of head lice.

14a         A mere idealist forced to disappear (13)

16a         Mess food? (4)
HASH – Double definition. The second might be preceded by corned beef, or followed by browns.

17a         Degenerate academic left one by entrance (10)
PROFLIGATE – Put together a short form of an academic title, Left, the Roman numeral for one, and the entrance to a field.

19a         Performance is given energy after pair warm up? (8)
PRACTISE – Start with an abbreviation for ‘pair’, then add a performance, IS (from the clue) and Energy.

20a         Firm joins US university engaging a thousand in effect (6)
COMMIT – An abbreviation for a firm or corporate entity and a US university known by its three-letter acronym, placed either side of the Roman numeral for a thousand.

22a         Chaps eating half the bread and fruit (5)
MELON – Another word for ‘chaps’ wrapped around the first half of a quantity of bread.

23a         Problem group given support (7)
SETBACK – Split (3,4) you have a group and a verb meaning ‘support’.


1d           Severn phenomenon that fails to generate interest? (4)
BORE – The tidal surge which races up the Severn every so often, or something which leaves you yawning.

2d           Brown box sitting on upturned cask (8)
CHESTNUT – A box which may contain treasure, followed by the reversal (upturned) of a sort of barrel.

3d           Flat, as revealed by map, overlooking a river (6)
PLANAR – A map or sketch followed by A (from the clue) and River.

4d           Separating English and US agents participating in swindle (10)
SEGMENTING English and some FBI agents, with a swindle (possibly a trap set by law enforcement agents to catch criminals) wrapped around them.

5d           Panic — a festival needs these places for refreshment (5)
CAFES – Hidden in the clue.

6d           Reports most agitating about soldiers, assault forces (5,8)
STORM TROOPERS – Anagram (agitating) of REPORTS MOST, wrapped around the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers.

8d           Name of woman that’s a little granny, one might surmise? (7)
NANETTE – If a cigarette is a little cigar, a little granny might be… (You may be tempted to cry No! No! to this).

Image result for nanette newman


12d         Farm animal needing restraint, liable to collapse? (10)
RAMSHACKLE – An ovine male followed by a metal restraint.

14d         Illustration of Indian city, dingy on the outside (7)
DIAGRAM – The Indian city where the Taj Mahal is to be found, with dingy or gloomy wrapped around it.

15d         Hand out drink — see cat dipping into it (8)
ALLOCATE – A word meaning ‘See!’ and CAT (from the clue) with CAMRA members’ favourite drink wrapped around them.

17d         Adaptable factory once head of industry gets stuck in (6)
PLIANT – Put the first letter of Industry into a factory or industrial complex.

18d         Sign of approval about hospital being very friendly (5)
THICK – The mark a teacher puts by a correct answer (not the one that looks like a kiss!), wrapped around Hospital. See also Kath’s hint for 8d in DT 28070.

21d         Nothing about which fellow gets to complain (4)
MOAN – A fellow or chap wrapped around the letter which looks like a zero.

The Quick Crossword pun WREATH + AUGHT = RETHOUGHT

86 comments on “DT 28071

  1. I agree, a very gentle offering completed (very) comfortably before lights out last night. Favourite is 8d which I thought was quite ‘cute’ (hope that is an acceptable comment). I wonder if there will be any discussion on the US alternative spelling for 19a; although it has to be that way for the word play. Thanks to the Don and to DT – */*** for me.

    1. I took the spelling of 19a being that the verb is spelled with an ‘s’ while the noun is spelled with a ‘c’ in the UK I believe – and warming up is an action thus I thought the verbal spelling was appropriate. Both are spelled with an ‘s’ in the US it is true.

      1. Thanks George. However, confirmed by a quick bit of on-line research, both noun and verb can be ‘c’ or ‘s’ and, for me, the ‘s’ version just does not look right (even though I have been living in the US for 16 years – but then there are lots of words that are not spelt correctly over here).

        1. Interesting. I’ve been in the US for 35 years. I have never noticed it spelled with an ‘s’ and it’s a word that comes up a great deal in my work. MS Word spellcheck (US) rejects the ‘s’ version also.

  2. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle for Good Friday, very gentle for Giovanni. Favourite was 11a. Off to the Margate Beer Festival.

  3. No way is this a one star for difficulty! Granted it is not the most difficult Giovanni but come on!
    Must satb7a beat me all ends up and needed the hint to get ET out of my head.
    My rating would be **/****
    Thx to all

    1. Pretty-much in agreement Brian. I’ve probably over-egged it with *** difficulty. I too tried to go with the ET route. Nice misdirection I guess but I the parsing is a bit obscure.

  4. Not very difficult for a Friday, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. I was a bit confused by 16a, I had the right answer but also thought the first letter may have been an M? Many thanks to both Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    1. I used the M word when I first solved the puzzle, but the website told me I’d got it wrong.

  5. Well DT I didn’t call this a gentle offering. In fact I began to think I would never get underway so decided to take a breather and do the Quickie first which somehow boosted the grey matter and the Cryptic then began to fall into place starting in the South. Think 8d a bit pathetic and I didn’t know about 1d or indeed 3d but as always it’s good to live and learn. Thank you Giovanni and DT. ****/***. Nice to know that the 2Ks fellow countrymen have voted to keep their “British” flag.

    1. We did expect that result but are disappointed with it. It seems that most people are still in favour of having a new flag but are not keen on the option offered by the referendum. In retrospect, if the whole selection process had been handled differently, a more satisfactory result could have been achieved.
      So it looks like we will continue, in the eyes of most of the world, to be confused with that lot across the ditch and still appear as a dependent vassal state. We much prefer the image of a vibrant, independent nation, which is what we are.

      1. Whilst we in GB are pleased about the flag I appreciate there are two sides to the story however most of us do regard New Zealand and your “neighbours” as completely separate entities. Happy Easter.

  6. I found this to be quite straightforward – 1*/3* for me today. I agree that 16a could be either – I used the M too but I agree H is better probably because that is what is on my bag of chicken food!.

  7. Fairly plain sailing although I did check on the def. of 3d, left 7a until it couldn’t be anything else and used the ‘M’ for 16a.
    8d gets my vote for the day with 19a coming in second for the nice surface read.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the review. Enjoyed our second reminder of the Newman/Redford partnership.

  8. The day I find the Don’s puzzles “gentle” will be the day I start doing the Mephisto… fortunately that day is not today. I found this thoroughly enjoyable but a bit of a challenge in places: ***/**** for me. In spite of DT’s assurances, I still managed to find a few (for me anyway) obscurities including 3d, 7a, 20a… not complaining… on the contrary. Heard of 3d but I’ve never had cause to use it. 8d made me chuckle, and 4d was my favourite. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, without who’s help I’d have struggled to finish. Cheers

  9. Hi all. I’ve been lurking for a couple of months and would like to thank everyone for the explanations puzzle by puzzle. I know today’s is quite gentle, but I was delighted to finish it on my own (with only a slight mix up in the SE corner).

  10. Without the religious references and vocab lessons, I wasn’t convinced this was Giovanni.
    Straightforward with some nice clues, e.g. I enjoyed 11a.

    Great vid for 6d

    Many thanks Giovanni (?) and DT

  11. Agree with DT, gentle but enjoyable last night with a good variety of clues. I particularly liked 11a and 14a for the surface reading (even if “only” anagrams) and the lego clue (17a) for the same reason and the image it conjured up. But I’ll plump for 7a as favourite; simple but brought a smile. */***

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  12. I agree with Brian and williamus that this is no way a 1* !

    Maybe 2.5* or at least a 2. Very enjoyable (3*) for the most part but didn’t like some of the clues in the top half like 8d and 7a.

    Thanks to Setter and DT

  13. I agree with 1* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    4d was my last answer – I forget those US agents about as frequently as I forget sex = it. Dim!
    I was also slow with the bit of bread in 22a for no obvious reason and spent too long trying to fit ‘DY’ (dingy on the outside) into 14d.
    I can’t quite make effect = commit in 20a – probably just being dim again but have looked up both and still can’t make sense of it.
    18d seems to be this week’s answer!
    I liked 7a (although I just bunged the answer in thinking, if I thought at all, anagram) and 1 and 8d. My favourite was 13a because it made me laugh although I seem to be remember that it’s really not funny!!
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat – have a good weekend, everyone – off to the garden.

  14. Why are the answers no longer cached when looking for hints?This has been the third day running.
    I agree today’s puzzle w as very gentle

    1. Welcome to the blog Jennie

      As I’ve said many times elsewhere, the answers are still covered and it works for most people. If anyone can identify why it doesn’t work for some, please let me know.

  15. Nice crossword for a sunny morning */*** unfortunately I did not know (or have forgotten) the acronym MIT in 20a😒 So I put in campus at first 😰 Liked 17a & 5a Thanks to DT & Giovanni

    PS The cover over the answers have once again gone AWOL along with the emoticoms 😳

  16. At times this seemed more like a Rufus puzzle than a Giovanni one and, like our reviewer, I was very surprised not to see the trademark religious references on this of all days. I’m not complaining though!

    Very benign with a nice polish to the cluing as ever. Wouldn’t “pet” or “animal” have been better than “cat” (i.e. part of the answer) in 15d? I’m with those who originally spelled 16a with an initial “m”.

    My favourite was undoubtedly 7a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat, and a Happy Easter to all.

  17. I agree with Dutch about this not feeling like a Giovanni. No obscurities and nothing scary.

    Really enjoyed the anagrams and some very nice surfaces.

    Hot cross buns for 11 and 14a with 7a getting the top spot.

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

    It’s Good Friday so I actually managed a good ride out this morning.

    The sun is shining so I’m taking Sparks to the Gare.

  18. I’m in agreement that this was Giovanni allowing us plenty of time for other activities this weekend. Bible study and acts of worship ahead?

    I liked the wordplay in 7a, and enjoyed 15d.

    The NW took longest to crack.

    In other business, I’ll be heading in to town tomorrow – if any London-based friends are about and free for a drink, do drop me an email.

  19. P.S. I began 16a with an H, but considered continuing through the alphabet to see if there was a better fit.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT and a very Happy Easter to you all.

  20. From the word play 19across is practise (the verb) to try something new ,or warm up.I Don’t think telegraph setters would use Americanisms unless they warned us in the clue

  21. I agree that this was very gentle. Didn’t feel much like a Giovanni. He has been on the mellow side recently, though. 4D was my one and only pick. Thanks to the Don and DT. Enjoy your Easter weekend, everyone, and have an extra hot cross bun for poor deprived me.

        1. That’s a shame, Chris. I am a hot cross bun monster. You could maybe bake your own. Home-made ones are something else – though we tend not to bother with the crosses, and I call them hot heathen buns.

  22. A rare completion without hints for me, so gentle indeed. I was another who started with M for 16a. I think having two possible answers must be the hardest thing for a setter or editor to spot, because there is nothing wrong with the clue so there is no way you can tell without happening to think of the other answer.
    I didn’t get 5a until the hints (D’oh! – I like it) and was amused by the silliness of 8d.
    Happy Easter and thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  23. We have to admit that for the first time in ages we got three letters wrong, therefore three answers wrong.
    We made a mash of 16a, put planer in at 3d and couldn’t decide between the verb/noun for 19a and opted
    for the wrong one.
    Otherwise,it was a gentle and enjoyable puzzle but if this had been a weekend puzzle, there would be no
    fountain pen winging our way up to Camden.
    Thanks to the Don and DT..

  24. Even though I parsed 19a correctly, I still wrote it with a “c”. Dim or what?
    Put me in the Mash club too for 16a.
    No other mistakes were to be found.
    Liked 8d. Good laugh.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  25. I found 18d a tad tricky as my schoolwork was only ever rewarded with little red kisses. I Hashed at 16ac but only because it came before mashed in the alphabet. The sun is shining here in downtown LI and it seems that everybody with a horse, a bicycle or a tractor is using it along the lanes around here. Thanks to the don for a stroll to the garden gate and back and thanks to DT for the worlds most succinct review. My only worry (and it is worrying the hell out of me) is your clip at 6d. I stopped it at four seconds in and feel my life will never be the same again. Oh dear

    1. Re 6d.
      Even with such an awkward costume, Beyoncé managed to wiggle her bottom.
      Worth it just for that.

  26. Good afternoon everybody.

    Very gentle stuff today with only 7a, 4d and 15d holding matters up. I didn’t think 7a an especially good clue. 4d and 15d must go down as favourites today.


  27. As gentle as gentle can be. My only problem was the literal head-scratching caused by the thought of 13a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  28. Hi
    The site no longer seems to work using 3G or 4G but only with wifi. Has something gone wrong? Also the answers are no longer hidden, it shows them straight away!
    Ian Rennardson

  29. Finally able to get on the site and hopefully post after a week of gremlins stopping me, although the answers are still uncovered on both my laptop and tablet (I finished unaided so no problems).
    A straightforward but enjoyable puzzle. I also started off with mash, not sure I like 8d. Last in was 7a but I had to smile when the penny dropped. Favourite was 4d, oh those g men. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  30. Not a very mind-boggling puzzle today, nothing too obscure, though 3d was new to me it was easy enough to work out and check.
    I remember visiting England in 1949 and staying with my Gran in Saul, Glos., near the Severn. My Mum and Dad woke us up at crack of dawn and took us to watch the Severn bore. I found it so exciting!
    Loved 8d, but I think top prize goes to 1d for the memories.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. I’d love to see it Merusa…actually I’d love to surf or canoe it. Such a strange phenomenon.

    2. My next door neighbour worked for Severn Trent for many years fixing pumps and generally maintaining the water supply. Given the chance, he will bang on about anything to do with the company and its product, at seemingly infinite length, so of course, we unsportingly refer to him as the Severn Bore.

    3. We grew up around there, as you know. We were about seven miles from Tewkesbury – I think that’s about as far as the bore gets – if I’m wrong I’m pretty sure someone will tell me!

    4. We have the same phenomenon on the Dordogne near Bordeaux. It’s called the Mascaret.

  31. Pretty much R and W today from the Don, but no less enjoyable for that. 4 down probably the pick of several worthy clues. 1*/3* seems about right, with thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  32. I’m back! I’ve missed you all – but temperatures of nearly 30C every day and sipping Tequila while watching pelicans diving into the clear blue Caribbean Sea to catch fish provided some compensation.

    This proved to be a gentle reintroduction to the crossword scene. Only the parsing of 7a held me up, and I was grateful to DT for the explanation. My rating is 1*/2.5*.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Welcome back RD! We missed you too. :-)

      It sounds like you had a pleasantish time. Is pleasantish a word?

    2. Welcome back! Glad to hear you had a good time.

      “A wonderful bird is the pelican, his bill can hold more than his belican…”

      I’m so glad that your reintroduction to cruciverbalism was today rather than last Tuesday – I think you might have had a few more things to say about that one!

    3. And about time too is all I can say! We’ve missed you – Mr Head Honcho Pedant is definitely necessary and I was really sorry to miss the chance of meeting you at the Birthday Bash. 30C sounds perfect – I have to say that 42C is too hot! :-)

    4. Yeah – RD’s back! Things around here haven’t been quite the same whilst both TS and your good self have been away.
      As Hanni said – sounds as though you’ve had a ‘pleasantish’ time.

  33. Have completed in slow traffic on M5 going to Cornwall. I am the passenger.Took ages to get 5a because I did not think to split the usual revolutionary. Needed Google for 1d. Was in the M camp for 16a and convinced myself there was a woman called Nanatie!. Last in by far was 4d. My only excuse is that I was looking for a synonym for participating in a swindle

  34. Anyone know why the “Click Here” option has gone missing, to reveal the answers?
    I can see all the answers as soon as I access the page, but as no one else seems to have mentioned it, it must be me. It has been like this for a couple of weeks now, using ipad with Safari browser.

    1. Welcome back to the blog andydextrous

      You used a different alias last time. I am working to find out why this is happening but iPads and iPhones seem to be most affected. For whatever reason they are ignoring the commands to hide the answers, which are present.

      1. I was just plain old Andy, but was told that there was already someone else with that alias on the blog. It is a relief that it is not my ipad causing problems. Normally I only look at the answers when I have completed the crossword, as there is often an answer I have correct, but don’t understand the derivation. There are days though, when it is so difficult that I need some help (Ray T?).

      2. I’m using an iPad and yesterday the answers were revealed but today they weren’t. Very puzzling.

        The site is also responding erratically and I even got a message suggesting a precaution regarding a denial of service issue. Even more puzzling.

        By the way 6 attempts required to post this comment.

  35. I found this more straightforward that the usual Friday fare. I did need the helpful “you have 1 wrong answer” response from the Telegraph Puzzles site to get H instead of M in 16a. Favorite became 7a once DT’s hint above had explained the wordplay. Must remember to look out for those reverse clues. Thanks to the Don for the puzzle and to DT for the great blog, especially the video for 6d.

    All the talk of hot cross buns earlier has got me thinking about doing some baking. Can anybody recommend a good recipe?

    1. All I can say is there are loads of good recipes for hot cross buns but, whatever they say, you need to allow at least twice as long as they tell you for the rising.

  36. A time that was about a * or **, possibly, but I always felt that I needed my wits about me, especially in the SW corner. Does anything 14ac these days apart from the TARDIS? Did anything else ever, for that matter? Liked 8d.

    1. Oh good heavens, yes! Socks, handkerchiefs, cuff links, earrings, school reports, homework – the list is endless.

  37. Unusually soft for a Friday. Apart from ‘s’ and ‘m’, or perhaps that should be ‘m’ and ‘s’ so as not to upset anybody…
    Favourite hmmmm …12d because I love the sound of the answer.
    1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  38. 10 hours of DIY on a beautiful spring day had turned my brain to mush.
    I found this much harder than yesterday.
    I needed several hints, didn’t know the G Men.
    Thanks to DT for the hints and to the setter, I shall attack tomorrow;s with a fresh brain!!
    Happy Easter to all…

  39. Gentle but quite enjoyable: 1*/3.5*. 8d was my favourite; I didn’t spot it at first – I was looking for something to do with knots! Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  40. Friday means I get out of work early, so more time to devote to the Don, who usually involves much head scratching while trying to dredge once-heard words from the pit of the brain and remember strange mythological people only ever covered at Sunday school. However, today was, as has already been noted, more like a Monday Rufus and I shot through this like a dose of salts. Thanks to DT and the Don. 1*/3*
    PS on my iPad, all the “click here” answers are covered

  41. Just popped in again before bed to add a couple of big welcome backs:

    Welcome back Rabbit Dave, our resident pedant, who is usually first to comment.

    Welcome back Tstrummer, wordsmith extraordinaire, who is usually last to comment.

    You have both been missed. With the top and tail of the comments section restored, and all present and correct in the body too, it feels like things are getting back to normal. Yay.

    (Above the line, we will have to wait, but the bloggers have to be allowed their holidays too!)

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