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DT 28088

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28088

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja and welcome to a very enjoyable puzzle. I’m pretty sure it’s a RayT production – it’s all short clues, some slightly stretched synonyms, a couple of lurkers, Charles’ mother makes an appearance, there’s a bikini almost covering the top and a son chasing skirt.  It’s gotta be a RayT with all that hasn’t it?  It was heading for a comfortable ** difficulty but then I stalled a bit in the NE corner so *** it became.  I’ll be interested to hear what you all make of it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  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           Dangerous guns a fellow’s carrying (6)
UNSAFE:  Today we start with a lurker.  The answer’s hidden in (carrying) GUNS A FELLOW.

4a           Get date with girl as naval weightlifter? (8)
WINDLASS:  This nautical or naval weightlifter is usually used to lift the anchor.  It’s a charade of a word meaning get or acquire, D(ate) and then one of the usual girls.  We didn’t have one of these on Firenze, I had to pull the anchor up by hand, phew!

9a           Tell Eastern story, reading over (6)
RELATE:  Take E(astern), a story and then R(eading) and reverse the lot  (over).

10a         Dish, possibly Roman, that’s devoured around Italy (8)
MACARONI:  Start with an anagram (possibly) of ROMAN and insert into it (devoured) two letters for around or about and follow that lot with the IVR code for Italy.  And of course the dish is devoured in Italy!

12a         Wholly English triumph left out in story (8)
ALLEGORY:  A charade of a word for wholly, E(nglish) and a word for to triumph or exult but with the L removed (Left out).

13a         Lots of dogs getting face trimmed (6)
OODLES:  Some dogs without the first letter (face trimmed).  Isn’t this acquiring ‘old chestnut’ status by now?

15a         Form of enquiries, not bothered about answer? (13)
QUESTIONNAIRE:  This is a form with a lot of questions on it so it could be described as a ‘form of enquiries’.  It’s an anagram (bothered) of ENQUIRIES NOT placed around (about) an A(nswer)

18a         Imagined upset stomach with spicy starter of olives (13)
PSYCHOSOMATIC:  An anagram (upset) of STOMACH SPICY and an O (starter of Olives).  I had some spicy olives with a pre-prandial beer or two last night.

22a         About face leading to lie (6)
RESIDE:  This is lie as is ‘lies in’ or ‘is vested in’.  It’s two letters for about followed by a face, of a cube perhaps.  At first I couldn’t see how this works but Collins give this usage example:-  ‘political power resides in military strength’. 

24a         Fish one cuts open, taking time (8)
STURGEON:  Insert (taking) a T(ime) into someone who might cut you open.

26a         Voluntary work — it set back loan being arranged (8)
OPTIONAL:  Start with the usual two letter work, then TI (IT set back) and then an anagram (being arranged) of LOAN.

27a         Approached artist that captures image (6)
CAMERA:  A word for approached or arrived followed by the usual artist.

28a         Son’s changed despite chasing skirt (8)
SIDESTEP:  Skirt as in go around or avoid.  It’s S(on) followed by an anagram (changed) of DESPITE.

29a         Insect larvae cleared on vegetable (6)
BEETLE:  Remove all the inner letters from larvae (cleared) and put what’s left after a vegetable.



1d           Unusually passionate row or awful rumpus initially (6)
UPROAR:  First letters (initially) of all the other words in the clue.

2d           Talk to yourself? (9)
SOLILOQUY:  A sort of Rufusesque not very cryptic definition.  Or am I missing something here?


3d           Blubber that is enveloping bloke nearly producing lethargy (7)
FATIGUE:  Take some blubber and then the usual ‘that is’ and insert (enveloping) a bloke without his last letter (nearly).  Not MAN but another three letter term for a bloke.

5d           Character initiating insurrection led Islamic republic (4)
IRAN:  The letter that starts the word Insurrection followed by a word meaning led as in managed.

6d           Doctor previously dealing with pressure (7)
DRAGOON:  One of the two letter doctors followed by a word for previously or in the past and then two letters for dealing with and you get a verb meaning to pressure or coerce.

7d           Bikini, say, completely covering most of top (5)
ATOLL:  What Bikini in the Marshall Islands is an example of.  It’s a word for completely placed around (covering) the first two letters of (most of) TOp.

8d           Rests when smashed over leg for one single (8)
SPINSTER:  This one single is a woman.  She’s an anagram (smashed) of RESTS placed around (over) a slang term for a leg.

11d         Gripe pain eating rhubarb (7)
PROTEST:  Gripe as in complain.  A pain or nuisance goes around (eating) a word for rhubarb or rubbish.

14d         Travel to work and arrive practically speechless (7)
COMMUTE:  A word for arrive without its last letter (practically) followed by a word meaning speechless, not surprised but literally having no voice.

16d         Rough hip join round top of leg (9)
INCLEMENT:  Rough as in rough weather.  A two letter word for hip or fashionable is followed by a word which can mean join or glue together placed around L (top of Leg).

17d         Box put on column’s for birds (8)
SPARROWS:  A word meaning to box followed by some columns, of people in a queue perhaps.

19d         Shocking retreats abandoning leader of Tories (7)
HIDEOUS:  Some retreats where outlaws might lurk but without the T (leader of Tories)

20d         Dash to catch Queen in spectators’ area (7)
TERRACE:  A word for dash, as is a very small amount of something, is placed around (to catch) the usual two letters for the Queen to give the part of a stadium where spectators stand.

21d         Chain’s a necessity to restrain lunatic (6)
INSANE:  The second lurker.  It’s hiding (to restrain) in CHAINS A NECESSITY.

23d         Full smorgasbord is empty and sandwiches consumed (5)
SATED:  Take all the inner letters (is empty) out of smorgasbord and place what’s left around (sandwiches) a word meaning consumed.

25d         Bra dried oddly sheer (4)
BARE:   Alternate letters (oddly) of BRA DRIED.  I’m not convinced by this one. I looked up the answer in Collins thesaurus and it lists sheer as a synonym but not the other way round.

There’s a lot of good stuff here but for me it’s 21d that wins by a short head.

Quick crossword pun :   NUMB + BUTT + TEN = NUMBER TEN 


98 comments on “DT 28088

  1. Three quarters of this puzzle yielded quickly but I was held up for quite a while in the NE corner.

    Enjoyable solve with thanks to pommers and RayT ***/****

  2. Cracking puzzle from Ray T today – tough but fair, clever and entertaining. 28 across just gets to the top of the podium beating 10 across into the silver medal positon.

    2*/4* seems fair, with thanks to RT and Pommers for early hints.

  3. Enjoyed most of the puzzle with the clever clues and wordplay. Got stuck in the NE and needed hints for a few words there.
    Thanks to setter and pommers.

  4. Pretty difficult but managed in the end,I stuck in retina for 27a which held me up.
    Since when did logic apply.
    The rest went in after a bit of a struggle.
    The windlass brought back memories of trapped finger.
    Thanks to Pommers and RayT
    ***/**** for me

  5. Found this difficult in parts, mainly because I misspelt 15a-too long a word! which compromised 6d and 16d-never mind got there in the end. Agree with Young Salopian that it was tough but fair. Thought 25a was a bit ‘iffy’ -must get a Collins , presume 1d was a dreaded ‘all in one’ which never sit well with me .Thanks setter and pommers,going for a ***/***

  6. Really enjoyed this one today. I needed a couple of visits to finish the last handful, but most satisfying.
    3*/4* for me. Many thanks to RayT, y muchas gracias a pommers también.

  7. Took me a while to complete the top right and bottom right corners. I liked the long 15 and 18a as well as 28 and 29a. I thought 21d was well hidden (i.e., I should have seen it earlier).

    Many thanks Ray T and pommers

  8. My trouble was with the NW corner unlike most others it seems. I found the puzzle to be a typical RayT so did not enjoy it much – although not as bad as sometimes.

    4*/1* for me.

  9. :phew: I thought that was tricky – at least 3* for difficulty, maybe a bit more, and 4* for enjoyment.
    The first read through of all the clues only gave me a handful, a very small handful, of answers.
    Needless to say I missed the lurkers to begin with.
    For no very good reason I spent a while trying to make 18a ‘psychological’ which wasn’t a good idea and didn’t work anyway.
    The top right corner took the longest with 4a being my last answer – couldn’t see why ‘wind’ meant ‘get date’ for ages – how dim can I be?
    I agree that 13a is becoming an old chestnut – I think 24a is too.
    I liked1 and 18a and 11 and 19d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers, and well done too – difficult.
    While I was doing this one I was wondering how the Ray T phobes would get on with it – we’ll find out later . . .

    1. I’m neither a RayT-phobe nor a RayT-phile … but this was definitely one of his best puzzles.

      I might join the fan club.

  10. Excellent puzzle, really enjoyable and a good challenge.Got held up in the north east corner, but got there in the end without any help. Many thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the hints.

  11. i must be on a roll today because I didn’t have any real hold-ups. I also had a question mark beside 22A regarding how it worked. Favorites are 18D, 28A and 16D. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review.

  12. A really enjoyable puzzle from RayT – 15a & 18a are particularly clever.

    Thanks to Pommers for the review.

    Is the Scottish lady pictured in 24a telling a whopper? It couldn’t have been that big – but politicians never lie!

  13. I have never come across 13a before , so for me its not an old chestnut and was my last in ! Possibly because I have only been doing crosswords for about 18 months (on a regular basis) This was quite benign by RT’s standard. Some super clues today 19 and 20d and 29a but others e.g. 25d not for me .
    Thanks to setter and Pommers 2.5*/2.5*

    1. I’m not sure about 13a being an old chestnut as such – it is a candidate for setters’ word of the month as it seems to be in different crosswords at least once a week at the moment, which for me made it ‘groan of the day’.

  14. Got a bit held up by writing 2d the French way.
    Soon corrected as there was no “e” in the anagram fodder in 18a.
    Last one in was 11d. Don’t like when the definition and part of the wordplay are synonyms.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for the review.

  15. Slightly trickier than normal from Mr T. The hiddens caused me a few problems and I had to look up the IVR code for Itatly, again.

    Really enjoyed 15 and 18a. Other highlights are 28a, 7d, 11d and 19d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for a top notch blog…excellent pics. Sure SL will appreciate 24a :-)

    As always spring is late on the moors so cold and rainy again. However I got to ride out super early today and that was fantastic. Wonderful wake up call.

    Pommers…don’t think I’ve ever seen a pic of the Firenze?

    1. Don’t know how to put a picture in a comment so I’ve changed the picture for 4a.

      She’s at anchor in Moelfre Bay on Anglesey. About 10 mins after this picture was taken the lifeboat went past doing about 20 knots!

      1. Oh wow. Cheers Pommers. She’s brilliant. I think I remembered you saying something about Anglesey.

        Occasionally at the Gare the RNLI practice drills that seem to involve throwing people overboard, speeding away and coming back for them. That or it’s some sort of hazing initiative.

        She does look good.

        1. With hindsight I should have taken the photo from the seaward side. Then we’d have the beach, lifeboat station and perhaps even the pub in the background :smile:

            1. Don’t know what it’s like now but 15 years ago it was a bit scruffy but did pretty good basic pub grub and the beer was excellent. To be honest it was the only reason you’d want to pump up the dinghy and row ashore at Moelfre. One-horse towns are exciting in comparison. Ask Jane, she lives not far away.

                1. I haven’t a clue how to write it phonetically but it’s not too bad. At least it’s not one of those Welsh places with LL’s everywhere – you need about half a pint of phlegm in the back of the throat to do those properly :lol:

                  1. Jane can say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Apparently. Next time I speak to her I ask her to say it. :cool:

                    1. Does she have about half a pint of phlegm in the back of her throat? There are various expectorants and suchlike that can help with that.

              1. Hi Pommers – the pub hasn’t changed at all! Think it only survives by virtue of being the only one in town!

  16. Very tough for a backpager, harder than anything offered up last week in my opinion, but providing 13a of entertainment along the way.

    So many brilliantly crafted clues it was hard to select favourites, but I’ve ticked four in particular, 15a, 28a, 7d and 16d.

    I hope that Shropshirelad won’t be too aggrieved at seeing his least favourite politician making yet another appearance at 24a!

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers.

    1. Given the typo he made in an email to Jane and I earlier I’d say it’s having one h*** of an affect on him. :yes:

        1. Just waiting for him to log onto the blog now. :cool:

          He’s going to kill me a little bit for mentioning it but I don’t care.

  17. Finally saw the lurkers although nicely hidden. North East corner also was challenging. Quite enjoyed 12 and 18 across and 2 and 16 down

  18. Glad to see it wasn’t just me stumbling a bit in the NE corner.

    BTW, I’ve added the Quickie pun in case anyone’s missing it.

  19. Good afternoon everybody.

    First pass drew a blank until 7d making me fear the worst but four more downs then went in. Pass two produced ten solutions. A bit bitty after that but completed. Didn’t understand rationale for 10a at the time and still don’t. Favourites were 13a and 19d. Decent puzzle.


  20. Unlike most of the above posters, we didn’t find this too tough (perhaps because we were wide awake having got to it early in the day), but very nice and enjoyable all the same. We’d give it 2*/3*.

    Favourite was probably 18a. Since when does ‘reading’ equate to ‘r’ please, anyone? A new one to us, but it clearly had to be.

    Thanks as ever to Pommers and Ray T.

    1. I guess it’s because the basics of a child’s education are known as ‘The three R’s’. They are Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

  21. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very difficult. Needed the hints to get the right anagram fodder for 18a, I was googling types of olives for ages. Couldn’t parse 16d. Couldn’t do 1&8d or 4a. Favourite was 21d, so well hidden. Was 4*/3* for me. Black clouds clearing in Central London.

  22. I always enjoy a RayT and this was no exception. Didn’t spot the anagram at 15ac and spelled it incorrectly to begin with. Thanks to RayT and thanks to pommers. What a gorgeous couple of days. I’m knackered

  23. Phew,
    Got there in the end.
    Certainly **** for difficulty for me.
    Some really brilliant clues eg 6d, 11d
    Wholly satisfying.
    Many thanks RayT and pommers for the review.

  24. ***/****. Quite tough to begin with but perseverance paid off. Enjoyable as well so thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review.

  25. I don’t often get time to comment on anything online but I enjoyed completing this one so much this lunchtime, I thought I ought to do so. I really enjoy the ones where an initial perusal leaves you wondering how you are going to get a single clue, but by getting a foothold in the puzzle more and more becomes solvable. Great fun!

  26. He’s a tricksy little devil today and no mistake. This took me way longer than today’s Toughie and that wasn’t that easy. Strangely, both crosswords were solved virtually the same way. Both LH sides were first in then the SE corners, finishing with NE corners. Anyway, lots of good clues to admire and I will opt for 4a as my favourite.

    Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and to pommers for an amusing review. I will NOT mention 24a except to say, isn’t it time that particular fish was laid to rest. Bring back the ‘id’ & ‘ide’.

  27. A nice meaty RayT to enjoy. Slipped most of it in nice and smoothly, but had to put some effort in at the end. For me as for many, the trouble spot was in the NE, but I faced it down.

    Favourite is 21d, just beating the skirt chased in 28a.

    Many thanks to RayT for the puzzling fun and to pommers for the entertaining decryption.

      1. That sounds like good advice, Ray. Seems like people already are. I’ve no idea why… :eek:

  28. Out of my depth with this one and not got enough time to stick at it. Knew after thirty minutes I needed a different approach. So took Gazzas advice from last week and filled all the down clues in using the hints and tips, not the answers. Then filled the across clues in without any help and completed them all apart from 12a. Did guess 4a and never heard of it possibly due to living in landlocked Derbyshire?

    H&T used: Too many to mention Not heard of 12a / 7d

    Favourite clues 10a Kath Rating 5/2.5
    A big thanks to Gazza for this tip when totally foxed, At least I got to understand some of the clues and answers. Many thanks again for the help Gazza.

    1. Well done Hx3. That’s a good tip from Gazza and eventually you’ll be able to get away with just using hints for alternate downs and then . . . none at all.

      1. Apologies Pommers completely forgot to thank you for all the hints and tips I used and the setter (I think)

    2. I’m delighted that you’re benefitting from that technique, Howitzerx3, but, as pommers says, you should think of it as just a short-term crutch during your learning process when you’re totally stuck, not as a long-term solution.

  29. Guess what, the only clue that resisted solving was the old chestnut for 13a!!! I am not going to be caught again. Lots of clever clues and much enjoyment all round. Many thanks to Ray T and to Pommers. 2.5*/4*

  30. Well above my pay grade, about half done, I shall adopt Gazza’s tactic and use the hints from the across clues….
    So a pre-emptive thanks to Pommers for the hints….
    In spite of being unable to finish. some excellent clues

  31. I thought this was Mr. T being a little tricky today. No particularly difficult corner, just oddments dotted around the grid.
    Very relieved to learn that I’m not the only one who didn’t pay enough attention to the anagram fodder in 15a and botched the spelling first time round!

    Loved the long anagrams at 15&18a – particularly for the surface reads and also ticked 28a plus 14&17d.

    Devotions to Mr. T as always and many thanks to Pommers for the excellent blog. I’ve sent Hanni a phonetic of Moelfre and a description of the village – including that brilliant bronze sculpture of ‘Dic’ Evans by Sam Holland that overlooks the harbour.

  32. 3*/5* for me. I’m an unashamed RayT-ophile and this was one of his best – tough but great fun.

    I had to think very hard about how to spell 18a & 2d. Picking a favourite is extremely difficult but I’ll settle for 28a in view of the wonderful image it conjures up.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

  33. Been pretty easy all week, then this.
    Gonna find something else to do on a Thursday.
    Life’s too short.

  34. I started quite slowly, but once I had a foothold everything fell neatly into place. Very good entertainment – definitely 4* for enjoyment. Thank you RayT and Pommers.

  35. A tricky little number. Problems too in the NE corner too, but my LOI was 11d, which took a while at the end. I just couldn’t see it…

  36. When 15a is spelt correctly it still looks to have too many Ns, so we are also in the club that needed to check it off letter by letter and then confirm in BRB. Good fun as always from this setter and the clue word count has been checked and found to be in order.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  37. I thought today’s challenge was a bit spesh. Some lovely clues of which for me the chestnut at 13a and the hip join at 16d were prime examples. The latter is my favourite, and overall 3/4*.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Gazza for his sterling work. (I hate Spellcheck… it wanted ‘stifling’ and I didn’t think Gazza deserved that)

    1. I didn’t deserve anything at all today, Gwizz. It was pommers who did the sterling work.

  38. My scoring criteria must be based on rather more generous time minima, because I can’t score this at more than 2* for difficulty. Or perhaps I was just on Mr T’s wavelength. I enjoyed it, though, so 4* for that. The NE corner was rather stiffer than the rest, I thought, and included my last in (and favourite clue) the splendid 6d. Many thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

    Nice boat, Pommers. My old Rustler 31 is now back in the water, and I’m itching to return to my preferred summer occupation of interfering with safe navigation around the coasts of SW England!

    1. Rustler 31 eh? Nice boat. Where do you keep her?

      You probably recognise Firenze as a Westerly Fulmar 32. We used to moor her in Conwy in N. Wales but she now lurks in Pwllheli under a different name.

        1. Spent the summer of 1974 at a friend’s place in St Budeaux. I seem to remember there was a pretty good pub down by the water more-or-less under the A38 Tamar bridge. Happy days.

  39. Total respect to anyone who can make head or tail of today’s clues.
    I can’t help thinking I am pursuing the wrong pastime.
    Many thanks to Pommers for the hints and the setter.

    1. Fit of pique, should have done better, now where’s Friday’s offering…

  40. Failed to solve NE corner, but then I generally fail,the Thursday puzzle 😪 Far too clever for me ****/** . Liked 20d & 12a 😉 Thanks to Pommers & Ray T for a real test!
    Once again answers not covered up 😩

  41. OnLy started on this late in the day, so once again I will risk turning into a pumpkin before I post my comment.
    Sympathise with Hoofit…found it obscure too. Clues such as 8d make me want to throw the paper to the other side of the room…but then gradually after much staring, the answer emerges from the ether and you wonder what all the fuss was about.
    Completed three quarters before having to resort to the hints. Some very clever stuff, even I can see that…liked 19d, 23d, never heard of the nautical term.
    Thanks to Pommers for the hints and the setter for some good fun.

  42. As usual with RayT, I found this hard. My problems lay in the SE corner and my last one in was 21d – I just didn’t see the well-disguised lurker. I also wanted 27a to begin RA…., so that held me up until the penny dropped like a cartoon anvil onto a railway line. I’ll go for 16d as my pick of the pops. 3*/3*
    Ta to Ray and to Pommers for parsing a few bung-ins

  43. Had to sleep on this one as I watched the fantastic Liverpool match and then found it harder than usual. I got well and truly stuck in NE corner. So many good clues as usual with Ray but 8 really rocked my boat. Also liked the bras and skirts and 4 and10. Thanks to RayT for a near Toughie.

  44. A slog for me after Tues and Wed offerings. Not on the wavelength at all but got a few in. Then to my surprise this morning all the rest wrote themselves in. I had difficulty with some of the parsing but in hindsight I do not know why. Completed without the hints but thanks anyway Pommers. Oddly enough 1a and 1d were the last in for me. Doh! Looking at the comments we are all very different. 15a was easy to guess as a “Form of enquiries” but it took me ages to get the anagram.. Thanks Ray T for the challenge

  45. I am with Hoofit, but will persevere – look forward every day. Thank you, Pommers – couldn’t have done it without you.

  46. Busy day yesterday, but realising it was a RayT day, I had to give it a go this morning. Thank you RayT for another delightful puzzle. The second one I’ve been able to finish. Thank you too Pommers.

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