DT 28114 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28114 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28114 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


7a    Piffle I spread about love story (4,2,2)
An anagram (spread) of PIFFLE I around O (love) gives a story that some said couldn’t be made into a film – they were wrong!

10a    At university, rower across river causes pandemonium (6)
The usual two-letter word meaning at university followed by an implement used for rowing a boat around R(iver)

11a    Parsimony of girl in canteen (8)
A girl’s name inside a canteen, especially one in the armed forces

15a    Genius present (4)
Two definitions – genius or a special talent and a prezzie

20a    Direct action film (5,9)
A verb meaning to direct or prepare and a military action

23a    Short programme on British dessert dish (8)
A programme without its final letter (short) followed by B(ritish)

27a    Sound part of Britannica? (6)
A part of a large encyclopædia – is the omission of the word encyclopædia justified by the question mark?

28a    A plucked instrument enthralling bishop — so perfect (8)
The A from the clue and a plucked instrument around (enthralling) B(ishop) and SO


1d    Women’s group member gets wet (4)
A women’s group, thought by many to have originated in the UK but actually founded in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, followed by the usual member gives a wet or an ineffectual person

2d    Pardon being absent after service not quite right (3,3)
A three-letter word meaning absent follows a tennis service that has to be retaken

6d    Small home on estate I’m getting converted (10)
An anagram (getting converted) of ON ESTATE I’M

8d    Medical tool perhaps originally carried by troops (7)
The initial letter (originally) of P[erhaps] inside (carried by) armed troops

16d    Operate following hearing test (5,3)
A verb meaning to operate or manage preceded by a hearing in court

22d    Slight criticism of soldier over entering foggy glen (6)
The reversal (over) of a US soldier inside an anagram (foggy) of GLEN

24d    Lover from London district, it’s said (4)
Sounds like (it’s said) a district in East London

26d    Brief written record of college uprising (4)
The reversal (rising in a down clue) of a college for posh boys who don’t know the price of milk

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: cocker+teal=cockatiel / cockateel

74 comments on “DT 28114 (Hints)

  1. Game of two halves, Brian!!
    Top half was a one pinter, but the bottom half, definitely a three pinter, particularly the SW corner. Lots of head-scratching moments, and on a couple of occasions the BRB had to leave the book case.
    Is the the first word of 20a in the BRB as a synonym?? I could not find it!! Anyone under the age of 50 is unlikely to heard of the film. Great film though it was.
    I liked 13d, it took me ages to spot the anagram, something that happens too regularly.
    Other ones I liked were 17a, 23a, 27a, but 13d was my favourite.
    Hope I got the etiquette of the prize crossword comments correct?? I usually don’t!!

    1. HIYD. Is that Brian Moore or the famous Brian on here? So that’s 4 pints, then. Exactly how long does it take you to drink a pint? Actually, better not answer that or we’ll both be in trouble :-)

    2. Exactly what HIYD said! Top half straight in, bottom half (particularly SW) a long time.
      I thought the synonym in 20a was slightly strained, but I put it more down to my annoyance that it took me so long. I think the film is well known to all, though.
      Thanks to BD and setter.

    3. 20a does appear in the chambers thesaurus as synonym (can’t expect the dictionary to list synonyms), but even if it weren’t, the definition in the dictionary says “to issue instructions to” which I would say is fine.

    4. HIYD. You were asking the other day about clue surfaces and I found this, which is a pretty good/clear explanation:

      Surface Meaning

      The surface meaning (often shortened to surface) of a cryptic clue is its apparent or literal meaning.
      The surface meaning should always be coherent. In the best cryptic clues the surface meaning conjures up an amusing or intriguing mental image, although this is totally irrelevant to the true import of the clue.
      What this means is that, if we forget for the moment that this is a crossword clue and just read it as a phrase or sentence we might encounter in a passage of prose, it should be coherent.
      For example:
      A member of the opposition in Victorian times? (4)
      If you allow yourself to be led astray by the surface meaning, you may be racking your brains for the names of 19th century politicians, whereas in fact it is a simple hidden word clue.

    5. Given the time stamp on your posting, I have to assume that you are using the number of pints as a metaphorical measure of time – or do you really start this early?

      Then, if I had consumed 4 pints while solving the puzzle, it would have taken me considerably longer than it did and I may not have completed it at all as hand/eye coordination might have been impaired!

      1. While at Bristol Uni, John Byatt-Smith and I won the three-legged beer race during rag week in under 30 minutes, and that involved two pints and eight halves at 10 different pubs in or near Whiteladies Road – and the prize was another four pints. One of those was bought for me by David Hunt, now Baron Hunt of Wirral – I wonder if he ever reads the blog.

        1. But could you do that today? When I was wearing Her Majesty’s uniform I used to participate in ‘Schooner Races’ (beer drinking relays) after formal dinners – I don’t think I would even consider doing that now.

          1. Undoubtedly not – especially the running bit. You should have seen the look on the faces of the other competitors when John and I sank our pints straight down in the first pub. We never saw any of them again until well after we had finished.

        2. So you managed to drink the equivalent of 6 pints whilst tied to someone else and presumably ‘running’ between all the 10 pubs in under 30 mins? I am not sure I could drink 6 pints of anything let alone with my leg strapped to another girl. That is is rather impressive BD :yes:

          I dare not ask what a ‘Schooner Race’ is Senf! Beer drinking relays?

          1. Teams of 6 plus people drinking in turn; next person could not lift his/her glass until the preceding person had put glass back on the table. No idea why they were called Schooner Races.

        3. In the RN – we used to have ‘golfing tournaments’ on a 9 hole course or an 18 hole course. The ‘holes’ on these courses were of course pubs. This was quite easily managed as Portsmouth and Plymouth had a lot of pubs close to each other. At each hole, the drinks were served to the ‘golfers’ by their ‘caddies’ who also kept the scores.

          At the ‘tee off’ each golfer nominated his chosen drink – it had to be either a bottle or half pint. If the drink was downed in one – it was considered to be par for the hole, if more than one gulp was needed to finish the drink then those gulps were counted as over par. The winner of the tournament was the golfer who had the lowest par for the course and his drinks paid for by the rest of the golfers.

          The Country’s security was in very capable hands, don’t you think? :cool:

          1. I have every confidence in my Armed Forces SL. Always have done, always will. Just hope my two sons don’t read this review. Living in London they would not only get drunk very quickly but I think they would be made bankrupt. Sounds like a good game though. Perhaps the ladies could play a shorter course and drink Prosecco.

      2. This didn’t take long at all but I really enjoyed the surface readings.

        Two sips of wine at “wine o’clock” and it was all over!

      3. As I understand, ‘pints’ are used to give some idea, but not an exact measurement of time taken.
        In my cricketing days, we used to have ‘boat races’ – five of us drinking halves up the table then back, with a sixth at the end, the ‘anchor’. I was the ‘anchor’ and used to be able to down a pint in about 3/4 seconds. If I tried that now, I would end up in hospital!

  2. Not very demanding today which is a good thing as I am building up a small backlog of unsolved crosswords.
    Liked 6d (small home) the most.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the weekend blog.

  3. A bit of a R&W for me today, which is rare, so I was quite pleased with myself when I finished in very good time. However, I then realised I hadn’t really enjoyed it that much. Only a couple of smiling moments…
    Back to the MPP then – I’m still stuck on the same last 3 in the NW corner that seemed to trouble everyone else…

    BD – a question for you – do you differentiate between programme and program (see your hint for 23a)? I always thought the latter was the American spelling.

      1. We Yanks speak both thankfully. (But still can’t find Translation for green shield stamps).

        1. Green Shield stamps peaked with quadruple stamps on petrol and went out with the petrol crisis in 1973 – their redemption shops morphed into Argos stores.

  4. Oh gosh!! All over so quickly before the toast got cold and second cup of tea. No complaints from me though. Nice smattering of everything for me to remember…. Anagrams, lurkers, things to insert. Can’t remember if there were things to chop off. Husband gone off to hardware shop and just asked me if I wanted anything. Told him that I wasn’t in the market for a hard hat and a pair of steel capped boots. Not this week, anyway. Off into the kitchen. Nothing to do with 23a. Going to make the family favourite…Tiramisu. Thank you BD and setter. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

  5. I thought that this was a lovely puzzle for a Saturday morning but, like Florence, I found that it was over too soon. I’m curious about the wording of your clue for 27a, Dave, because you’ve used the word ‘encyclopædia’ – with a ligature – which is the way I’d spell it too. It begs the question whether, like me, you were obliged to study Latin at grammar school?

    1. While I did do Latin at school, in this instance I actually checked the relevant website to see how they spelt the word.

  6. Minor tussle with 23a, else seemed to flow ok – oh, except I tried two other words for the last word in 16d before finally getting it right.

    I don’t think 23a would look very nice with the word ‘encyclopaedia’ added, so i’m sympathetic with the omission – sometimes there are (not) implied words in clues – so yes, I think adding the question mark is adequate compensation, and I’m sure there will be other views.

    Many thanks setter and BD

  7. For me this was very easy to the point that (and I hope that I am not breaking any crossword rules of etiquette), and for the first time, I qualified for maximum points on submitting my solution through the DT puzzle web site.

    I have to have two favourites today – 12a and 20a.

    To comment on BD’s question on the use of a question mark at the end of 27a rather than including encyclopædia, I consider that this is justified and is the setter saying you work out what Britannica I am talking about as part of solving the clue.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

      1. Composing a comment in MS Word using “Insert Symbol” for the diphthong, and then copying from MS Word and pasting here will also work.

      2. Hold down the Alt key, type 0230 on the numeric keypad then release the Alt key – works in MS Word and in comments. æ

  8. Lovely solve which I found relatively easy for a Saturday. Loved 11a and 12a, lots of “Doh” moments. A puzzle to give newbies some confidence with some excellent wordplay.

    Thanks to setter and BD for hints (not required today!).

  9. Another all too brief Saturday romp but entertaining while it lasted. I too query the absence of the full title for Britannica in the clue for 27a. No Fav to nominate today. Thanks Mysteron and BD. Beautiful sunny day in West Sussex – much warmer than forecast so several gardening jobs pleasurably achieved. */***.

  10. Trickier than usual for a Saturday I thought. Still can’t quite get my head around the answer to 15a, can see the prezzie alright but not sure about the genius bit at all, talent yes but genius?
    Apart from that an OK effort with no outstanding clues.
    Thx to all.

    1. Just before I get my bottom smacked by CS, I have looked up both the clue and the answer in the BRB and neither mentions the other!

    2. The Small Red Book (Chambers Crossword Dictionary) does have the answer in the entry for genius, and, in my experience, it is not uncommon for a genius to be described as ****ed (as well as talented).

          1. CS. You lured me into enthusiastically posting a better (well an alternative at least) clue, forgetting it was a prize crossword. Luckily, I realised a few seconds later and requested that it be deleted. Sorry if it was on view for a short while.

  11. Yep! A game of two halves definitely! I really enjoyed this today. THanks to the setter and BD. A happy Sarah now 🙂

  12. This was a 20a for me today. I’ve seen 12a before, somewhere.Thank you BD and setter.

  13. Easier than usual, until ground to a halt with 14 and 17. Mainly because thought of wrong word for 17. Ho hum.

  14. Hard to get cracking but when we got a few in, everything fell easily into place.
    Thanks to setter and BD.
    The male half of Paso Doble will be going to Stamford Bridge tomorrow
    and then up to Leicester on Monday to photograph the celebrations.

  15. This was a joy after my miserable attempt yesterday, enough said. Although I think the Giovanni must have been good training as this did seem so friendly in comparison.
    My absolute favourite film at 20a…so of its time, a classic. Such tight lipped emotion and angst.

    Liked 17a, 10a, 14d and 24d.

    Thanks to the setter and to BD, but I have to say those glorious words…hints not needed today! Yay!

  16. Must have been totally tuned in as this was R&W throughout, left to right, top to bottom, with the strange exception of 27a which retired some deeper thought, and a solo effort to boot.

    Favourite clue was 13d.

    Thanks to BD and to the setter. Out of interest, do we ever know who the Saturday setters are?

    1. It used to be Cephas alternating with a mysteron but I don’t know if that’s still the case. I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t Cephas.

  17. A straightforward write-in puzzle that I found much easier than the last few Saturdays.

    Thanks to BD and setter */***

  18. Quite straightforward but enjoyable too. I didn’t think much of 27A, though. Loved 20A. Thanks BD and setter.

  19. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very nice puzzle that was a read & write. Favourite was 23a. Last in was 25a.Was 1*/3* for me.

  20. I agree with HIYD and others, this was a puzzle of two parts, could even have been two different setters. The hardest was the SW corner, 27a in particular.
    Without doubt, fave was 20a, I can remember that film as if I saw it yesterday. Oh, the joy of that lovely weep!
    Thanks to setter, and many thanks to BD for the hints. I am all admiration for your ale consumption capacity!

  21. Great fun, mostly doable in ** time for me.
    But 27a – kept toying with the lady on notes who holds something, a trident?
    Penny took simply ages to drop.
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the pleasingly illustrated review.

  22. Over much too quickly for me… what shall I do for the rest of the day? Mow the lawn perhaps. Hmmm……
    Like others have said a crossword of two halves but it still capitulated too easily! 1/2.5* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for his drinking exploits…

  23. ***/***. This started easily but became much more of a challenge as I moved down the grid. Enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  24. Three quarters complete in next to no time. And then there was the SW corner. 23 and 27ac were both quite tough I thought, and I still didn’t understand the latter even after I’d got the definition, so thanks for the explanation.

  25. Like some of you, got off to a romping start with the top half, but slowed in lower half. Agree that it felt like two different setters. Only needed hints for 3 clues to finish, so a very enjoyable puzzle today, unlike yesterday for which I deserved the dunce’s cap.

    1. Where in S. Florida are you? I’m in Miami Springs, just north of the airport. All fingers crossed for rain.

      1. We are in Coral Springs, north west of Fort Lauderdale and south west of Boca. Yes we can certainly do with some rain. Last evening’s promised storm was a mere shower and lakes and ponds are at low levels again. Still summer is lurking and we should get plenty then. Hope you are recovering and feeling better.

        P.S. Better half says we should get some this evening and 80 per cent chance next week…

  26. Found this a R and W. Nothing to enthuse and the least challenging of the week by a country mile.

  27. Nearly broke my duck on this apart from 27a (no looking at books, dictionaries, thesaurus and BD’s hints)

    Top half went in like a dream, bottom half needed time

    One day this duck will be broken

    Thanks as ever to BD for his continued sterling work and setter too

  28. One glass of chilled white wine, a Marsanne from Aldi’s signature collection actually, and very nice it was too.
    The puzzle was also very nice.Short and sweet.The only problem was whether we hear the lover or the district in 24d.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. It had to be the lover didn’t it? The number of letters….or perhaps you had more than one glass of the wine? I confess I never know which alternative to put in the “sounds like” clues when I don’t have the checkers.

      1. Both have four letters or more likely I had misspelled the district in my mind. And no, just one glass of wine.

        1. You have misspelled the district – it has only three letters. Ironically the famous Cockney church is not, as many think, in said district but in Cheapside in the City of London.

  29. Did this late after a dinner party away with friends. I can only assume that alcohol oiled my brain because I found this at the easier end of the spectrum. Admittedly, like others, the top half went in quicker than the bottom, but that was relative. Was 1.5*/3* for me with thanks all round.

  30. Very interesting reading BD’s hints and all the comments after I did this in bed this morning. Really was almost a read and write. Flabbergasted by Brian’s comment – not for the first time. My last in which I thought I may struggle with was 27a but the checkers solved it for me. Otherwise no problems with the SW. The second letter made 23a obvious and I worked out why afterwards. I cannot say that this was a puzzle of two halves. Groaned when I saw a film as not my specialist subject but surely everyone of whatever age has heard of this film. I doubt that many of us apart from Derek saw it the first time round (I now await comments from other octogenarians and nonogenarians.)

    1. Brian is so flabbergasting that I sometimes think he is an alter-ego of somebody else, having a little fun , just to keep things interesting.

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