DT 28083 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28083

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28083

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a soggy South Staffs. My thanks to Kath for standing in last week while I was tied up with last-minute running around for my daughter’s wedding last Saturday. All went well, and I’m now recovering.

Giovanni has thrown in some unusual meanings today, and it took me ages to parse the last two in, 20a and 19d, hence the difficulty marking bordering on ****.

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.


7a           Talk from head of college about poetry (8)
CONVERSE – Put together the first letter (head) of College, another word for about, and some poetry.

9a           Tree providing fruit, no end, east of river (6)
POMELO – Crosswordland’s favourite Italian river followed by a large fruit with its final letter removed (no end).

Image result for pomelo tree

10a         and 24 Down: Busy type, awfully smart — they’ll get put down in the pub (4,4)
BEER MATS – A proverbially busy insect followed by an anagram (awfully) of SMART.

Image result for beer mats

11a         Adds different colours to very small sign around entrance (10)
VARIEGATES – Start with an abbreviation (small) of Very, then add a sign of the Zodiac wrapped around a field entrance.

12a         Composer among rich and elegant characters (6)
HANDEL – Hidden (among) in the clue.

14a         Not appropriate to be wearing informal attire? (8)
UNSUITED – A businessman going to the office on ‘dress down Friday’ may be described as this.

15a         Cook with herb — a specified health-giving amount? (6)
DOSAGE – A two-letter word for cook followed by a herb often found in stuffing.

17a         Swimming gear in luggage (6)
TRUNKS – Double definition: a man’s swimming costume; or some large pieces of luggage.

20a         Instrument is one not working — engineer needed (8)
ORGANISE – A large musical instrument found in a church or concert hall, followed by IS (ON)E(from the clue) with the word that means ‘working’ removed.

22a         Areas of interest for comic actor (6)
FIELDS – Double definition, the second being a comic actor who died in 1946, known for one-liners like “I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.”

Image result for w c fields

23a         Fervour of old lover getting recognition (10)
EXCITATION – The usual former lover followed by the formal recognition statement attached to the award of an honour.

24a         and 2 Down: Crazy English sweetheart heading off to be given new look (4,4)
MADE OVER – Put together a word for crazy, English, and a sweetheart with the first letter removed.

25a         French in charge? There’s bitterness to begin with (6)
GALLIC – A bitter substance followed by an abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

26a         Twist that surprisingly brings Tory gain (8)
GYRATION – Anagram (surprisingly) of TORY GAIN.


1d           Tennis stroke bringing advantage (8)
FOREHAND – Double definition, the second being one I hadn’t come across before: I suppose it’s the opposite of being on the back foot.

2d           See 24 Across

3d           Journey over lake reveals rubbish (6)
DRIVEL – A journey in a car followed by Lake.

4d           Conciliator to pop up around the Home Counties (8)
APPEASER – A word for ‘pop up’ or manifest oneself, wrapped around the compass point which refers to the geographical position of the Home Counties in England.

5d           Restlessness evident in self-identification of G&S character (10)
IMPATIENCE – Split (1’1, 8), this could be the title character of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera introducing herself.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d           Rob‘s warm garment (6)
FLEECE – Double definition, the second being the warm garment which has virtually eclipsed the knitted sweater.

8d           Reprimand that comes with the bashing of drum? (6)
EARFUL – The drum is part of the organ of the body which gets a metaphorical bashing in this reprimand.

13d         Naughty Sal I beheld in a state of undress (10)
DESHABILLE – Anagram (naughty) of SAL I BEHELD. No, I’m not putting up an illustration.

16d         Soldier on the ball having accepted top-class advice (8)
GUIDANCE – An American soldier wrapped around the letter indicating top or upper class, followed by a musical ball.

18d         Team getting cross, upset, making emergency exit? (4,4)
SIDE DOOR – Another word for a sports team, followed by the reversal (upset) of an archaic word for the Cross of Christ.

19d         This person leading the side is crying (6)
MEWING – A pronoun for ‘this person’ followed by the side extension of a large house, giving us the crying of, for example, seagulls.

21d         Feline once caught rodent outside (3,3)
REX CAT – The Latin word meaning ‘once’ or ‘former’ and the abbreviation for Caught on a cricket scorecard, with a common rodent wrapped around both.

Image result for rex cat

22d         Knight gets irritable going around in splendour (6)
FINERY – A word for irritable or short-tempered wrapped around the chess notation for a knight.

24d         See 10 Across

The Quick Crossword pun DOUGH + MINION = DOMINION

125 comments on “DT 28083

  1. After yesterday’s exertions this was much easier. */***. I also took a while to parse 19d and 20a where i spent a while trying to justify Treatise.
    8d was my favourite.
    Thanks to setter and DT

  2. I enjoyed all of this, in a large part simply due to having the time to do it. This is not to be taken as a slight towards the crossword though – I have no grumbles and the solve produced quite a few smiles.

    No favourites today, but not for a lack of contenders.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT. I left 20a half parsed, so thanks for sorting me out with that. Glad to hear you’re recovering form the wedding – and indeed, that it all went well.

  3. The ones which took me a while to parse were the 22s.
    Wasn’t very keen on 8d.
    The rest was pretty mechanical.
    Quite liked 15a though.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  4. Much more to my liking than yesterday and Tuesday. Never heard of 13d before. I found this a good challenge and very enjoyable. My thanks to the setter, Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the hints.

      1. You hear of people cooking the books or fiddling the books, but I’ve never heard of anybody doing the books.

        1. Surely, if you cook the books you’re ‘doing’ somebody out of something – be it the Inland Revenue or the company you’re working for.

          1. I think that cook is being used in the more conventional sense, e.g. I’m doing a roast for Sunday dinner.

            1. I follow your example, Gazza, but I feel that we sometimes make the definition of synonym a little more elastic than it should be. Using your example, we could say that go = walk, as if I’m going to the pub, I’m walking to the pub. Ergo go = walk! Or am I being too pedantic!

                1. But, that’s doesn’t really work, as you’ve got a synonym of a synonym. Anyway, probably enough has been said on the subject. We should move on.

                  1. Cook = do – as in “I’m going to do bangers and mash for tea”. It’s as simple as that, nothing to discuss at all.

  5. Thought DG definitely back-pedalled on the obscurities today – just needed to check on the alternative definition of 1d and justify 20a where I was trying to fit in ‘re’ for engineers.
    Don’t quite see where ‘small’ comes into 11a.
    Loved the clip at 5d – thank goodness we came across that particular G&S offering recently! Thought we might have got a Beach Boys number to go with 23a.
    No particular favourite although the 10/24 combo made me smile.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for the blog. Glad the wedding went off well – we’re on a little over two weeks and counting to my younger daughter’s big day.

    1. I see you are thinking of Good Vibrations for 23ac Jane. Better vibrations can be enjoyed listening to Dylan’s masterpieces

        1. You could have a listen to Perry Como Jane. One of my all time favourites surprisingly

          1. and mine, brought up on Mr Como was I. He and Matt Monroe were the best.

            1. Now we’re talking – Matt Monro, My joint favourite singer ever along with Nat King Cole. :)

              1. Difficult to think of too many other bus drivers who have achieved such fame and fortune (and no, Reg Varney isn’t allowed!)

                1. Silvanus – I’m distraught that you’ve mentioned Matt and Mr Varney in the same breath. :(

                  1. Sorry, SL, I’m quite a fan too as it happens. He left us at a tragically young age. I’ve always thought he was very underrated, possibly because he was a late starter.

                    1. Only having a bit of a laugh about Mr Varney, although he never did make me laugh.

                      With regard to Mr Terence Parsons, absolutely wonderful diction and could he hold a tune or what. Indeed, he was far too young when he died but he left a legacy that many modern singers cite as an inspiration.

    2. Just in case anyone cares the funny noise on Good Vibrations (the whoo-whoo machine) is an instrument called a theremin – it was in a crossword ages ago and caused a few problems I seem to remember.

      1. The theramin was first fully electronic instrument. It’s fun to play with, but not to be in the same room as someone else playing it.

    3. Re; 11a, I think ‘small’ is indicating that ‘very’ is to be abbrieviated.

  6. Standard stuff from the Don. Some obscurities but all fairly clued. Not heard of 21d before but like I say…gettable. 9a was only vaguely familiar.

    10/24 made me smile along with 26a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a great blog. Glad you have recovered from the festivities and congratulations to all concerned.

    No riding today…pity as it’s actually stopped raining. Most odd. Today’s ads on the blog. German cruises…in German.

  7. I didn’t help myself by inserting a few rogue letters and incorrect tenses, e.g. 24a and one spelling mistake @13d, which was just careless anagramming.

    Cannot put the blame on Giovanni – that chap is never unreasonable..

    Thanks to DT for the explanations. We are caught up in planning a daughter’s Autumn wedding. Can anyone explain the current obsession with canvas, bales of hay, bunting and when did the drinking of cocktails out of jam jars happen?
    I’m assuming it’s the festival generation 🎪

    For me, it smacks of scout and guide camping and finding interesting and occasionally unpleasant things in the woods (but without the benefit of cocktails).

    1. I can’t explain it Bluebird but it is certainly on the increase. Possibly something to do with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Jamie Oliver.

      1. Last time I ate in one of Jamie’s restaurant, food was served in camping metal plates and dish towels for napkins.
        Felt very bucolic.
        My thought was: Have you ever been to a Harvester?

        1. And slabs of wood. Getting your dinner on bits of wood. When did that start. And slate. Often you get stuff on slate..beautifully presented and nice but on slate.

          In the last year I have been to wedding where there was pie and peas and a funeral that had Champagne and oysters.

          1. This afternoon, I was shopping for gifts and saw Kilner jars with lids on and a hole drilled through the centre of the lid………I assumed this was for a drinking straw😟
            For goodness sake……….

      2. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is always called Fumbley-Wumbley in our family but can’t quite remember why or who started it!

    2. Thankfully, mine is sticking to conventional glassware – but she’s getting married in a boathouse and having her reception in an orangery so it’s still a little unusual for most of us oldies!

    3. Saint Sharon and I arranged for plates of bread and butter to be put out during our night time bash and sent the kids to the Chippy to buy loads of chips. Chip butties all round. Does anybody remember the posh expensive stuff from earlier in the day. No. The chip butties are all they ever talk about.

      1. MP, is there a vegan version of a hog roast, do you think? My son in law-to-be thinks they should just have the bread…..

    4. The flowers on the tables at the reception were in Mason jars, which are like big jam jars, but otherwise plates, glasses, etc were entirely normal. and it was my daughter who chose the Mason jars (flowers were mainly daffodils)

      1. Well, daffs are lovely – my daughter is threatening to crochet mushrooms as a table decoration….

  8. Well it was easier than yesterdays puzzle but for me the SW corner put it up to *** with another *** for enjoyment .Never heard of 21d,wanted to put sex cat in ! well logically if there’s a sex kitten, then it must grow up into one- finally parsed 20 across and all fell into place .Time to relax, Thanks DT for the blog- 1d seemed a bit ‘iffy’ -backhand or bribe would fit advantage better for me, never mind ,beer and curry night coming up.

      1. Thought Bluebird had a better username ! My favourite bond girl is in Gold finger.

  9. New to this blog, but enjoying the comments. Also held up by 20a. Enjoyed today’s clues and learned another cat variety, as with chickens yesterday! Thank you and hope the wedding went well

    1. Welcome from me too – please keep commenting – it’s always nice to have some new-comers.

  10. Took a while to get going and unusually fora Giovanni there were clues that I just could not parse and the hints don’t help.
    For instance, why is Do cook in 5a? Don’t understand the hints for 20a. Where does the ‘ful’ come from in 8d? Usually everything you need is in the clue in a Giovanni puzzle but not quite today. For me ***/**.
    Thx to all

    1. B. 5a: See my and other comments at no.5 above. 20a: Can’t make the hints given above for this clue any clearer – the explanation is completely lucid. 8d: Reprimand is the definition (ie a reprimand often comes in the form of an”earful”) and the rest of the clue is just a cryptic definition, or cryptic wordplay, of how the reprimand might be delivered – via a “bashing” of (ear)drum. The “ful” doesn’t come from anywhere specifically or separately – it’s just part of the word earful. If I’m wrong, then BD or Gazza will correct me, I’m sure.

  11. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Got there in the end. The last few clues took me ages. No particular Favourites. Was 3 */2* for me. On the Severn Valley Railway now.

  12. I’d say slightly easier than usual Giovanni – based on the fact that I kept writing solutions in the wrong places (I don’t often blame a grid but …???0 but took the usual time for a Giovanni.

    Thanks to him and DT too.

  13. Too difficult for me again today, so needed a lot of hints and electronic help…..but when the clues were explained, I did have one or two doh! moments.

    Am, however congratulating myself on getting 19d alone and without a leader….sad as the youngsters used to say…..even my slang is out of date.

    Many thanks to the setter and even more to Deep Threat.

  14. I came to a complete stop about two thirds through and struggled with the rest. Can’t see what the fuss was about. 1 plum tree planted. Three Damsons to go. Thanks to all concerned

  15. Very enjoyable, after a slow start, it fell into place nicely, once we’d stopped trying to convince ourselves 6d could be sleeve! Well it fit, so we bunged it in! Thankyou DG & DT.

  16. I’ll have to go for a 3* for both today.
    I never did get 20a – thought I was after an instrument – dim and oh dear!
    It’s a good thing that we’ve had numerous references to the G & S opera recently – there’s nothing like repetition to fix something in the memory.
    Didn’t know the cat but it wasn’t too difficult to work out from the clue – the one in the piccy looks as if he needs to grow into his ears.
    9a caused trouble – wanted to make it begin with an R and I’ve never heard of that meaning of 1d or the 22a comic actor.
    I liked 17 and 25a and 6 and 19d. My favourite was 26a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat – glad that the festivities went well.
    Off to the garden – just hope the black clouds aren’t telling me something . . .

  17. I actually found this one quite tricky (the third this week), especially the SW corner.

    Thankfully the obscurities were reined in for a second successive Friday, although I couldn’t recall encountering the tree in 9a before. Interesting that the G & S opera made its second appearance of the week, albeit this time as part of the answer rather than as part of a Rufus clue.

    Three clues received ticks, 11a, 16d and 22d, although the latter was slightly tarnished for me by the repetition of the same containment indicator as in 4d.

    I thought “health-giving” in 15a was superfluous and the clue would work better without it. Conversely, “old” deserved to precede “comic actor” in 22a for someone who died almost seventy years ago.

    An enjoyable tussle overall, so thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat, and a good weekend to all.

  18. 3*/3*. Like Miffypops I made good progress at first and then took longer to complete the NE than the other three corners put together. The tree in 9a and the second definition in 1d were new to me.

    Coincidentally (see comment 8 above) when I was in Dubai earlier this week I was served a cocktail in a jam jar for the first time and I thought, how strange. It did taste good though!

    Many thanks to DG & DT, and to everyone else for all the humorous comments. Where else could you find a cougar and a beaver together on a Friday?

        1. I’ve reinstated the emoticons on a trial basis. If it looks like they are affecting the performance then I’ll have to disable them again. :yahoo:

              1. I’m going to try leaving them active but not showing below the comments. It could be that downloading 36 images every time the page is displayed is what is hitting the performance. You can use the shortcodes like [:yahoo:] (without the brackets). There must be a space before the code. :yahoo:

                1. So what happens if we have the memories of fleas and can’t remember what each emoticon is ‘saying’?

  19. Last two in 20a and 21d. Spent ages looking for some sort of surgical instrument. Why surgical for goodness sake? Just had a bee in my bonnet over it. 3*3*. Thank you DT, and Giovanni. New baking tin just arrived in the post. Off to make a cappuccino cake.

  20. Interesting to read that people found this easier than Tuesdays and yesterday’s. I really struggled with this but finished on the other days. Needed the hints on half a dozen. Not keen on 20a and had no favourites although there were some clever clues just not on my wavelength today.
    The answers on the blog are uncovered on my tablet and I couldn’t get on via my laptop.
    Thanks to dg and DT.

  21. Tough in places but as always with the Don, if you follow the wordplay to the letter, you get the right answer. I thought 16down was the pick of several good clues, and overall this felt like a 3*/3* in common with earlier bloggers.

    It’s good that we haven’t yet picked up any overly negative or petulant comments today. One can be critical without being downright rude.

  22. ****/**. This was harder for me than yesterday’s offering. Needed help with a few so thanks to DT for the explanations. Thanks also to the setter for baffling me on a few. BD, my iPad 2 IOS 9.3.1 is showing the answers without click here. 2 days running. Not sure what’s changed since Wednesday?

  23. Got nowhere with Tuesdays and Thursdays which for the first time in a while I had struggled to get more than a few clues. I could do (surprisingly controversial word) this one though and enjoyed doing it. Many thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  24. I found this a bit tricky, in fact, I never did get 20a and 19d and I needed DT’s answer for that.
    I had never heard of the cat in 21d, easy enough to work out.
    I needed my gizmo to get the tree at 9a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and also many thanks to DT for giving me the missing answers.

  25. Lovely crossword for me today after yesterday.
    SW corner was a bit of a nuisance, mainly due to 13d and 23a which refused to budge until a nudge from the BRB.
    Some of this was difficult to parse, so a number of “chuck in’s”, which turned out to be correct, I shall have to check DT’d words of wisdom to fill in the missing bits of the jigsaw.
    As I get in to this more, I find I can tune into individual setters much better than others, this had the same stars as yesterday, yet this was far easier for me, mainly because the wordplay was was so much simpler than yesterday.
    Good to see Patience making another appearance, a stroke of luck as along with the Mikado and Nanky-Poo, she is just about the only G&S character I can remember.
    Thanks to DT and the setter.
    I have ShutTheFrontDoor in the office sweep for the National tomorrow, so steer clear of that, my last winner was L’Escargot about 30 years ago!!!

      1. Good grief, 41 years…. Dick Pitman wasn’t it??? Never forgave him for hitting Crisp just before the last fence a few years earlier.

        1. According to Google, it was Tommy Carberry. I do recall Richard Pitman riding Crisp though and later becoming a BBC commentator.

    1. I’ve got Gallant Oscar in the pub sweep. Not sure where my actual bet will lie. The Last Samuri…Morning Assembly..who knows, yet.

    2. Sweepstakes don’t go down very well in The Green Man. We tried one for The boat Race last week and only sold two tickets.

    3. I hate the Grand National SO badly that I will probably be absent from the blog tomorrow. :-(

  26. I found this a tad trickier than yesterday’s. My smattering of Spanish helped with the tree ( pomelo is Spanish for grapefruit).
    Thank you DT and Giovanni.

  27. Oddly enough I found this one more difficult than yesterday’s and not as satisfying. Also Big Dave advised me to try flushing my dns which sounded rather rude and a bit painful and various other things which could have been in Mandarin (not really a techie). Anyway today I’m not seeing the answers as I didn’t go through Google so that’s good – thanks.

  28. Found this much tougher than I ought to have done and slightly annoyed I had to use Deep Threats H&T. Some clues just did not click with me as they should have. Full marks to the setter it was a fair puzzle. It must be me that’s wilting after Tuesday and Thursday’s effort.
    Thanks Deep Threat with the help for 20 a / 25a / 5d / 21d Never heard of the answer for 13d but got the anagram.
    Favourites 10a & 24d My first one in, also liked 15a.
    Rating 3.5 / 2.5
    Thanks to DT and the setter

    1. Giovanni’s puzzles leave a lot of us pondering for far too long. Hx3. He had me at a full stop for a while.

      1. Once again it is great Mpops that your support is there.Enjoy being part of this. Had a special week never completed as many as this in a single week, had a beer or two to celebrate. Feel privileged to be part of it!

  29. Come on people !
    A’rex cat’
    ‘Sid Fields’
    All a bit left field I think !

  30. Overwhelmed with and by (can’t decide which preposition to use!) all the lovely welcome back comments you wrote yesterday! Thank you. Did not find today’s offering quite as fiendish as yesterday’s. In fact managed to finish it although needed DT’s help to parse 9a, 20a and 5d(not very good on G&S’s characters, in fact pretty useless, each to their own forte!). Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT. Jean-Luc, I’ll be in touch soon.

    1. Let me add my welcome back too, Framboise, since I wasn’t around yesterday evening. I was sad to hear your news but very glad to see you back. All the best. :rose:

    2. Didn’t read all of the blog yesterday – so I missed your comments and those from the blog community. A belated welcome back Framboise.

  31. Hello. My iPhone doesn’t cover the answers. Can you tell me why? Thank you! Gillie

  32. The top half couldn’t have been much easier, but the bottom half pushed it into *** for difficulty for me. I’ve not seen that spelling of 13d before, though Google has. :-) Tried both FIRE and BACK for 18d before the correct alternative.. Finished in the SW corner, with 20ac holding out until the bitter end.

  33. Not a quick solve for me but slowly and surely it all slotted into place. 4d and 11a were the last ones to slot in but looking back I cannot see why that was. Thought it was an interesting way to deal with the 4 letter answers by making them combination ones. Enjoyable to solve.

  34. Oh dear, back to having all the answers revealed today, it has been fine for a couple of weeks

  35. I was going through this in 2* time until I got stuck in the NE corner. On balance, then, 2.5*/3*. My favourite clue is 13d – perhaps it’s a sad old git thing. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  36. Nice stuff. 2*/3* we thought. 22a, now there was a funny guy.

    Favourite clue for cleverness was 14a.

    Thanks to DT and the Don.

  37. Not easy 😳 ***/** 9a & 21d were not for me, thanks to DT & Giovanni Liked 17a & 3D 😍

  38. Odd… most here found this easier then yesterdays, but I fell about 10 short of finishing it, and I couldn’t get anywhere near those, yet I finished Tuesday and Thursday most others found hard…. I must have a twisted mind…..!

  39. I was not expecting an easy ride from the Don tonight, and he didn’t give me one. I found it harder than Tuesday and Thursday, which I found very hard indeed. Have I lost my mojo, or is it just not working? Last one was 20a which I would never have fathomed without the checkers. Many thanks to DT for explaining a couple of bung-ins and to the Don. 4*/3*
    BTW My favourite W C Fields quote: “I don’t have a drink problem. I drink. I fall over. No problem”

  40. Finally got this finished, fiendish little beast. Not helped by grumpiness over some of the answers – 1d, 21d – they were just Devon or Cornish in *my* day ;) 16d – that ‘u’ again.
    Still, no help and no parsing required so it has to be a 3* though it felt like more, and 2* for enjoyment – mainly for the sense of satisfaction in completion.

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