DT 28098 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28098

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28098

Hints and tips by ShropshireLad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Good morning everyone from a sunny, no overcast, no sunny again (you get the drift) Shropshire. OK, hands up who knew it was going to be me from now on in the Tuesday back page blogging chair? I apologise now if you wanted someone different, I will do my best.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gazza for his previous reviews in this spot and I hope to maintain the professional standard he has set. But don’t worry, he will still be blogging in his usual Toughie spot. Thanks again Gazza.

Today’s puzzle has a theme of composers and islands. I fairly raced through it but the SW corner was my stumbling block. Looking back, I can’t see why.

I do hope my hints aid you in solving this puzzle, but if all else fails, you can reveal the answers by clicking on the ‘click here’ button. As usual, the definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Desert  bug (6)
DEFECT: Double definition, the former meaning ‘to leave’.

4a    Careless fielders who’d dropped opener (8)
SLIPSHOD: Cricket fielding cordon (sorry Kath) taken up by players behind the batsman and ‘who’d’ lacking it’s first letter.

10a    Twist Irish county’s team (9)
CORKSCREW: Take a well-known 4 letter Irish county and add the S from ‘S and a ship’s compliment (team).

11a    Concept that could make one more relaxed, we hear (5)
KARMA: A homophone (we hear) of a word that sounds like being less stressed (could make one more relaxed).

12a    Refuse to put a cross in a black spot (7)
ABSTAIN: Take the ‘A’ from the clue, add the abbreviation for ‘black’ and add a description for what a ‘spot’ could be construed as.

13a    Ace perhaps in one of the Armed Forces (7)
SERVICE: I didn’t like this clue when I did the puzzle and my opinion hasn’t changed. What an ‘ace’ could also be called in tennis.

14a    Nymph in folklore, a dryad (5)
OREAD: A ‘lurker’.

15a    A high explosive, and yet I’m being reckless (8)
DYNAMITE: An anagram (being reckless) of AND YET IM.

18a    Other than Ezra, in this biblical location (8)
NAZARETH: Another anagram (other) of THAN EZRA.

20a    Composer left after party (5)
RAVEL: A type of party – no, not an orgy – that people younger than me would attend and add (after) the abbreviation for ‘left’.

23a    Boasting about Olympic sport (7)
CROWING: The single letter abbreviation for ‘about’ and an Olympic sport that ‘Sir Steve’ excelled in.

25a    One who’s stopped working on Hebridean island (7)
RETIREE: ‘On’ as in ‘concerning’ and the most Westerly Island of the Inner Hebrides.

26a    Weapon‘s spike catching knight (5)
LANCE: The ‘spike’ in this instance is something to do with a drink, containing (catching) the abbreviation used for a ‘knight’ on a chess board.

27a    Leading character — I’m lying in state: that’s life for you! (9)
ANIMATION: Take the ‘leading character’ of the alphabet then add IM in a large population (state).

28a    Losing team’s disadvantage (8)
DOWNSIDE: A charade of ‘losing’ and a ‘team’.

29a    Where Diddy Men live, saving remains perplexing (6)
KNOTTY: Start with an area in Liverpool, Merseyside that used to be in Lancashire and take away (saving) a term for ‘remains’.


1d    Tyrant concise dictionary and register of names turned up (8)
DICTATOR: An abbreviation (concise) of what the BRB is an example of and add a 4 letter word for a ‘register of names’ (and it’s not ‘roll’) and reverse (turned up) it.

2d    Envisage opponent capturing rook with check (7)
FORESEE: Take the abbreviation for a ‘rook’ on the chess board and contain it (capture) in a 3 letter word for an enemy (opponent) then add a term for ‘attentive’ (see).

3d    She made predictions treated as canards (9)
CASSANDRA: An anagram (treated) of AS CANARDS.

5d    TV detective with a Rolls-Royce in his part of Scotland (5,3,6)
LEWIS AND HARRIS: At first glance I thought there was a typo in the clue, but upon parsing it I see it isn’t. Take the sidekick of Kath’s beloved ‘Morse’ followed by another term for ‘with’ and finally add the abbreviation for a Rolls-Royce in ‘HIS’ from the clue.

6d    Roger in gym before start of rugger game (5)
POKER: Take the first letter (start) of ‘rugger’ and add what ‘roger’ could signify in radio parlance inside an abbreviation of ‘gym’.

7d    Musician, bit of a laugh, right superior good man (7)
HARPIST: Take a shortened version of ‘HaHa’ (bit of a laugh) add the abbreviation for ‘right’ and the a 2 letter word for ‘superior’ and finally the abbreviation for a ‘good man’.

8d    Merchant, one who can give you a hand (6)
DEALER: The term for ‘merchant’ is one who might be giving you a hand in the 6d game.

9d    Infantryman relaxed reading rude rag (9,5)
GRENADIER GUARD: Anagram of (relaxed) of READING RUDE RAG.

16d    Author of novel ‘Kim’, at end of Afghan war (4,5)
MARK TWAIN: Another anagram (novel) of KIM AT and the end of ‘Afgha(N)’ and WAR.

17d    Island official putting off chap with desire to roll up (8)
ALDERNEY: An Anglo-Saxon noble with the ‘man’ removed (official putting off chap)and a 3 letter word for ‘desire’ reversed (roll up).

19d    Henceforth, woo fans abroad (2,2,3)
AS OF NOW: Another anagram (abroad) of WOO FANS.

21d    Decision made by court after composer appears (7)
VERDICT: Take the abbreviation of ‘court’ and place it after the composer of ‘Aida’.

22d    Like fish, mounted (6)
SCALED: Double definition.

24d    Thoughts of some inside a synagogue (5)
IDEAS: Our second and final lurker.

All in all, I think the puzzle lacked a bit of sparkle and I have no particular favourites. Did any tickle you? I haven’t had the time to search for some ‘Gazza style’ pictures – hopefully that will be resolved next week.

The Quick Crossword pun: grisly+bare=grizzly bear

95 comments on “DT 28098

  1. Good morning everybody.

    A rare early shift here and a mostly straightforward solve. Favourite was 27a. Thought 29a was pretty weak.

    Thanks to setter and new mystery blogger…


  2. Lots of Lego and lurkers in this comfortable Tuesday offering. Nothing particularly difficult, but still quite enjoyable if over a little too quickly. 29 across probably my favourite, because of fond memories of Ken Dodd, and 1.5*/2.5* overall. Thanks to our setter and my fellow Salopian for stepping into Gazza’s shoes.

  3. 1*/2.5*. I found this fairly enjoyable despite being plain sailing – except for 17d, which took me some while to un-20a and was my last one in. I agree with mre about 29a; it seemed rather strange.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron, and many thanks too and welcome to SL.

    1. Seeing Gazza’s comment below has reminded me that I meant to mention that 6d was my favourite too!

  4. Welcome and congratulations to SL on a fine review and thanks to Mr Ron. My favourite clue was 6d for the innuendo worthy of Ray T.

    1. ps I bet that Tstrummer will hate 25a (almost as much as I hate the 11a so-called homophone).

      1. The 11a homophone works for me … but I never roll my “R”s.

        I speak Estuary English – innit?

        Thanks to ShropshireLad for the blog!

  5. A nice straightforward one today. 29a easy as an ex-pat Scouser. I’m actually at 17d on my boat en-route to Brittany. Thanks to Setter and SL.

          1. Merci…you are so kind. :rose:

            Please may I have a bit of the Med though, and some palm trees? You have lots. In return I will send you a patch of snow in the post….with some Moors honey of course.

    1. I remember going in our boat from Portsmouth to Guernsey, we managed to get the tides dead right and shot through the Alderney Race with the tidal stream boiling all around us – good job I had my cycle clips on!


      1. Sitting in Alderney enjoying the clue and the comments; that Race is still boiling!

      2. We honeymooned in Guernsey in 1966, and I remember taking a rust bucket of a ferry boat, with a permanent list to starboard, to Alderney. We met up with an old boy who was a war-time friend of my husband’s family, and he took us on a tour of the island. Magical.

        1. The late, great John Arlott was a resident of Alderney, he was the voice of cricket for many years.

  6. Not too difficult but quite enjoyable.Hardest for me were 22d and 23a. Favourites were the north west corner. Many thanks to the setter and to Shropshirelad for the explanations.

  7. A bit of a Scottish geography lesson for me – I had to check some of the locations electronically although I had some distant memories. A slow start but managed to finish after all in 2* time and all very enjoyable. 2*/4*.

  8. Welcome and well done to SL from me too.
    I enjoyed this one more than 2*’s worth – I agree with 2* difficulty but would say 3* for enjoyment.
    I thought I was going to be in for a battle as I didn’t manage a single answer until I got down to 14a but then got going a bit better after that.
    I don’t care too much for 2d – does ‘see’ really mean ‘check’? I admit that I haven’t read through the whole lot of both in BRB but . . .
    I also got into a bit of a pickle trying to sort out the anagram fodder in 16d – got there eventually.
    I liked 11 and 23a and 5 and 24d. My favourite was 6d – I agree with Gazza that one was worthy of Ray T.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and thanks and congratulations again to SL.

    1. Hi Kath – I had the same reluctance to put ‘see’ for ‘check’ in 2d but having looked at the BRB definition, I can ‘see’ where our Mr Ron is coming from – just. Anyway, the picture for 5d doesn’t really relate to the answer but I couldn’t resist a Mr Thaw ‘moment’ for you.

      1. Hmm – but really only just re 2d. Oh well . . .
        Lovely pic of the wonderful and much missed Mr Thaw – I’d hate to be unpredictable! :cry:

        1. K and SL: Collins Online and BRB (Thesaurus) both give “look at” as synonyms for check. And you could say: “Look at that over there” or: “See that over there” or: Check that over there”. So I think it’s just about OK.

  9. Completed very comfortably before lights out last night further adding to my thoughts that Tuesday has become the easiest day of the week. Only problem clue was 17d which was my last one in and needed electronic assistance. Favourite 5d and */*** for me. Thanks to Mr Ron and congratulations to SL for his first review.

  10. After last week’s surprise announcement, I thought Kitty was going to do the back page and you the toughie. Got it wrong obviously.
    Welcome to the full time job.
    I wasn’t keen on 13a either and left it blank for ages.
    17d took also a while as I was thinking about Scottish islands as in 5d and 25a.
    So annoyed to work on Sundays as I miss Inspector Lewis and the young Endeavour Morse series on TV.
    Thanks to the setter and to SL for the great review.

  11. A nice gentle offering and just right for sleep-deprived me and foggy-brained me. Unlike others, I liked 27A because Ken was my Dad’s favorite comedian and it brought back happy memories. I liked 4A and 17D too. Thanks to the setter and thanks and congratulations to SL.

  12. Pretty good today raced through until SW corner, well done to SL an entertaining blog keep up the good work.
    Favourite clue 7d, a liking for the Marx Brothers helped.

  13. All agreed not too challenging, seemed to be a plethora of ‘islands’ why isn’t there a cloth called Lewis Tweed ? anyway about a */*** for me.
    Thanks Shropshire Lad for the pics-thought we might have had one of the rock group for 18a-one of my favourites.11a raised a smile-glad I had the checking letters.

    1. Hi Beaver, I met and got to know Dan McCaffrey fairly well in the late 70’s – man, what a voice. I believe he retired a few years ago having started up the band in the late 60’s.

      1. Dan did retire a few years ago-what a voice-favourites Broken Down Angel and recently watched the band perform Morning Dew in their prime on u-tube-great performance and guitar solo-don’t miss it! Once met Rod in the crown in Northwich when he was on tour with Long John Baldry-but that’s another story !

        1. I do like Nazareth and my favourite track of theirs is Love Hurts. What makes Love Hurts a truly amazing song is that there are so many very different versions of it which are brilliant: Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Nazareth, Emmylou Harris & Gram Parsons, and several others besides.
          Respect to Felice and Boudleaux Bryant who wrote it (as well as dozens of other great songs). :good:

  14. I almost missed the lovely all-in-one at 3d. This took me a little longer than usual with the GK. I did myself no favours by mixing up the enumeration and trying to find an author in M*R*T *A*N. I was pretty sure Gazza wouldn’t like the “homophone”. Many thanks setter and thank you Shropshirelad for a brilliant review and glad to see you in this regular slot.

    1. 3d very definitely my favourite – Cassandra of course was given the gift of foretelling future but was also cursed that no-one would believe her, so “predictions treated as canards” is just beautiful.

      1. Many thanks for explaining, Dutch, I was too embarrassed to ask what you meant!! Canards being rumours.

  15. Congrats to SL on a fine blog and to the setter for a puzzle that I found easy but enjoyable */*** 😊 Liked 26a & 10a

    Merci to j-l-c for the French name for Alderney, I like to learn a new word a day ☺️

    Does anyone still get the emoticoms that used to form a cheerful line at the bottom of the blog? 😕

    1. The emoticons are now found in FAQ – they were one of the things that were making the blog system work too hard when they were there in full view.

  16. Many thanks SL for the excellent hints, good luck with the Tuesday slot, big boots to fill.
    All done and ok, I needed help with 27a (no idea why) and 17d (again, no idea why). 1a, the BRB.
    Lots of good clues, I liked 4a, 13a, 9d and 23a. Favourite goes to 4a.
    Thanks to the setter (Mr. Ron??) and to BD and all bloggers for the continued excellence of this site.

  17. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. There were at least 10 clues that were a bit GK, but I enjoyed them. Favourite was 27a. Last in was 1a&2d, somehow solved them together. Was 2*/4* for me. Congratulations to SL for landing the Tuesday slot.

  18. Geography central today, but I didn’t need a compass.

    The answer to 18a always makes me smile because I keep thinking ‘Cheeses of….”


    Plenty of anagrams, well there seemed to be and an old chestnut in 20.

    Liked 4a with 15a getting the favourite award.

    Many thanks to the setter and SL for a great blog in your new slot.

    The adverts on the blog are becoming increasingly sarcastic…today has an advert for Sweden with the tagline “The perfect snowy getaway”.

    Seriously….they want me to go somewhere colder!

  19. Mixed bag today both cruciverbally and weatherwise (lovely walk in warm sunshine interspersed with hailstones) but plenty to entertain in the offering from Mr. Ron with SL reassuringly on hand in case of need. Gazza you will be sorely missed here but TVM for all your help in the past. SE corner last to go in mainly due to forgetting KD’s place of birth and residence. Always forget the nymph in 14a. Fav was 22d. ***/***.

  20. Not sure about 13a and 6d and 17a posed problems and a chuckle when I finally got the answers. Otherwise straightforward and good fun. 3d my favourite. Thanks shropshirelad and the setter.

  21. An interestng solve today ; just a couple in the southeast corner had me foxed namely 29a and 17d , last one in . Liked 10 and 11a , there something about Karma that I can’t put my finger on ?? **/**** Thanks to the setter and Shropshire Lad

  22. 8/11 and 17/29 pushed this into *** time for me. I’ll claim that the Diddy Men are before my time and hope I get away with it.

    1. Before my time. I had to Google it.

      In fact the only think that came to mind was this part of Goblin Market by Rossetti. Goodness knows why?

      “We must not look at goblin men,
      We must not buy their fruits:
      Who knows upon what soil they fed
      Their hungry thirsty roots?”

  23. Excellent fun really enjoyable except for putting a D on the end of 25a which made 17d a bit difficult to fit in.

  24. No great problems, nothing to frighten the horses and with some nice clues in 4a and 29a. However, could someone explain to me the relevance of ‘check’ in 2d, can see the answer easily enough just don’t get the check.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, see Physicist’s comment under 9 above or you could check Physicist’s comment under 9 above.

  25. It took a long time for me to get my head in gear for this, but then I did come to it all blogged out. Had to go away and do other things for a while and come back, despite being in a hurry to read the review. Anyway, that did the trick and I enjoyed it, while not being all that fast.

    14a was new or forgotten but I didn’t doubt it even before any checkers were in so I think it was in my head somewhere. On the other hand, 29a required a quick google and I needed SL to explain 4a.

    I never seem to have any problems with the homophone clues, but by now I’d be thoroughly scared of including any if I ever were to get round to trying my hand at writing one of these.

    I liked 1a, 10a and 2d but none of them could possibly be my favourite. That title goes to 6d, which was delightful. Roger that?

    Thanks to the setter and to SL. Congratulations on the regular gig, and well done on an excellent start to it. :good:

    P.S. I’ve just noticed that we both ended with a tickle. Complete coincidence. That tickled me!

  26. Fairly straightforward but not especially rewarding. Thanks to the setter and SL for the review.

  27. Despite the plethora of islands and composers etc., I actually enjoyed this one much more than recent Tuesday offerings.

    My favourite was 13a.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to SL for a fine Tuesday debut.

  28. I liked 5d , 10a, and quite a few others , but 29a still has me baffled.
    I guessed 16 d , but I still think the word play a bit confusing.
    Thanks SL and setter.Nobody appears to have guessed who the setter is. I certainly haven’t a clue.

  29. I’m back, folks, but only temporarily. I was all gowned and ready to go when the surgeon decided one of my lab abnormalities was a no-go. Now rescheduled for next Monday. When will I ever get this new hip!

    Crossword: I enjoyed this, particularly 3D, brilliant.
    I had to google 29a, that was pretty obscure.
    Thanks to setter, and many thanks and congrats to ShropshireLad for the super blog.

    1. Oh – poor you – how totally frustrating – better luck next week.
      Even more difficult when you have to make arrangements for your cats and dog to be looked after. Oh dear!

      1. My neighbour will feed the cats, but Sadie will stay where she is. Her godmother has eight-year-old twin girls and they just adore her. They’ve been so excited that Sadie was going to stay, I didn’t have the heart to take her back. I miss her and Phoebe cat is sulking, she is Sadie’s shadow. I shouldn’t be such a fuss pot, but I’m too old for all this kerfuffle.

    2. How troublesome and worrying for you, Merusa. We’ll enjoy your company for a bit longer then, and hope all goes smoothly next week.

  30. Like yesterday’s I really enjoyed this, found the odd answer a bit obscure but no complaints. SE corner delayed the finish with 25a and 17d the last in. Some excellent clues again today, enjoyed 4a / 25a but favourite 10a.

    Things must be improving no H&T used today. Feeling more confident and really enjoying the crosswords ( even the difficult days.) thanks to this amazing blog. Thanks to everybody for the help it’s changed my retirement.

    Rating 2.5 / 3.5

    With thanks to SL and the setter

  31. Nice one SL and welcome to being a permanent member of the club.

    I’ll agree with your **/** rating as the whole thing went in pretty easily but without a lot of sparkle. Ho hum.

    Probably 6d was fav but only because, like others (Gazza), I’ve got a dirty mind and a schoolboy sense of humour.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and SL.

    BTW, there’s a very good puzzle by Nutmeg in today’s Grauniad.

    1. I’m going to try the Nutmeg crossword later – a friend of mine who does the Guardian ones says he’s only managed one answer so far. Is it difficult?

      1. It was hard to get into but once the theme is cracked it yields nicely. It was 2d that cracked the theme for me because once you get that one it makes 8,17d obvious and you get very nicely sent up a blind alley! Enjoy it, it’s worth the persevation!

  32. Very enjoyable – plenty of anagrams and several ‘lego’ clues – a real good workout for my clouded brain!

  33. Another enjoyable puzzle but rather easy!

    I was slightly puzzled by 16d as I knew the author of Kim was Kipling but eventually the coin dropped – haven’t used pennies for years!

  34. No problem solving today’s offering. I thought that retiree was more of a US terminology – not very keen on this anyway. Difficult to pick a favourite but 6 d made me smile. 18a reminded me of our young Indian protégée whose family name was Nazareth, no doubt a name picked by her ancestors who had to convert to Catholicism when Portuguese invaded the West Coast of India… 2*/2*.

  35. I found the GK rather challenging from this side of the world, particularly 29a, but a bit of Google help sorted it all out.
    Thanks Mr Ron and well done SL.

  36. This one didn’t do it for me I’m afraid. It was easy enough but I agree that it lacked sparkle. 7d and 12a were a couple of the more interesting clues, I’ll nominate the latter as my fave. 2/2* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and well done SL.

  37. Old enough to remember where the Diddy Men came from, but unfortunately put the answer into 22d by mistake. Favourite clue was 6d. Thank you SL for the review and Mr Ron for an enjoyable solve.

  38. Agree with Howitzerx3, really enjoy learning cryptics and feeling more confident because of this wonderful blog. This was my best ever, with SL’s help for just 5.

    Thank you Mr Ron and SL, and, of course, BD.

  39. Please help! I am getting the answer to every clue and I just want your amazing hints, please can it be hidden as It used to be.

    1. Welcome to the blog Elizabeth

      This has been discussed at length. It only affects some users and I can find no explanation.

  40. Not difficult, but lots of fun: 1*/4*. I had little ticks against quite a few clues – 10a, 11a, 16d, 29a) but in the end will go for 17d as favourite clue. That is very generous of me, given that the last time I went there I was delayed in offering succour to a daft Belgian about to go to on the rocks, and only just managed to get round the end of the breakwater before the tidal stream building in the Swinge took me straight back to Guernsey. Thanks to Mr Ron and ShropshireLad.

  41. Very late start today as have been travelling and visiting elderly parents. Found this enjoyable but got stuck in the SE corner. 16d had me stumped and 17d and 27a. Liked 6d. Thanks to SL for the excellent hints and to the setter.

      1. Don’t know if this is helpful, but I use a Mac and the answers were not covered yesterday, but they were the day before when several people on the blog said otherwise.

        1. Possibly down to the version of Java installed locally, I have 8.0.910.14 and it works fine.

  42. Hi Dave,
    I have been a lurker for a few years on this excellent site. I live in Malaysia.
    Regarding the uncovered answers or not. It is not consistent. Puzzle 28098 the answers were uncovered, puzzle 28097 the answers were covered. I do older puzzles these are also covered.. I know absolutely nothing about IT or how the blogs are uploaded but could the error come from different bloggers doing things slightly differently. I haven’t checked this out over a period of time. Just know it is inconsistent over time and having checked these two puzzles one after the other noticed the difference. Hope this might help. Now i’ll go back to lurking.
    B Rgds

  43. I did this yesterday but was too grumpy/tired/Unwell to comment. Just popped in to welcome SL to the Tuesday slot and to confirm Gazza’s prediction re 25a. Spoilt an otherwise decent puzzle for me and I shall therefore deduct a star. 2*/2*

      1. Thank you, Kitty. I’m off sick at the moment and the medication makes me all of the above trio. However, I’m more chipper today

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