DT 28115 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28115

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28115

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I don’t attend many football matches, indeed before yesterday you would have to go back to January 1995 (Coventry City 1 – 1 West Bromwich Albion) and before that to 1973 (Coventry City 2 – 1 Everton)to find me watching live football. Yesterday I made the long journey to Manchester to eat fish and chips in the street and watch ten minutes of AFC Bournemouth doing ridiculous warm up exercises involving giant elastic bands, prancing like gazelles and hopping like frogs before being asked to leave my pitch side seat and go home. I did get to return a stray ball to a Bournemouth player. The whole evacuation was done calmly and professionally. All credit to the stadium security and the Manchester Police Force.

Today Rufus has set the bar a little higher than usual. For some reason 7d took me an age to see even with all of its checkers in place. I very nearly reached for a pencil but as usual no artificial aids were required or used. Rufus has also used several stretched double definitions which required the help of checking letters to solve.

The hints and tips below are here to give a nudge if you are having difficulties. Definitions are underlined. If they don’t lead you to the answer then click upon the greyed out box and all will be revealed.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Tie up troops in creating chances of advancement (13)
OPPORTUNITIES: This straightforward anagram is indicated by the word created and the anagram fodder are the words TIE TROOPS UP IN

10a    Transport system that’s essential to divers (7)
AIRLINE: This transport system uses aeroplanes. It is also the means of life support for somebody under water

11a    This month, everyone is to get ready to work (7)
INSTALL: Use the abbreviation of this month as used in business letters and add a three lettered word meaning everyone

12a    A slow mover that may be fired (4)
SLUG: A slang term for a bullet is also a slimy garden creature.

13a    They don’t do themselves any good when they come to light (5)
MOTHS: These insects are similar to butterflies and may harm themselves as they fly into the bright lights that they are attracted to.

14a    To describe someone thus is hardly fair comment (4)
UGLY: A cryptic definition of somebody who is not pretty.

17a    Made provisional arrangements (7)
CATERED: The provisions provisionally provided here are foodstuffs.

18a    Work in the dark to get negative results (7)
DEVELOP: What one does in a darkroom to process film. (Not in this digital age we don’t)

19a    Moral support (7)
UPRIGHT: A double definition, the second being a vertical support

22a    Leave with music playing (7)
ABANDON: Split the answer 1,4,2 to fit the clue

24a    Eastern agent gets notice (4)
ESPY: Use the E(astern) and add a secret agent, James Bond maybe.

25a    Charming woman but bad speller (5)
WITCH: This member of a coven might use charms and bad spells

26a    Capital required, so backed with a pound, nothing more (4)
OSLO: This Scandinavian capital city can be found by reversing (backing) the word SO, adding our usual suspect Latin abbreviation for one pound sterling and then adding the letter that looks like nothing or zero

29a    A couple of students entertained by exam topping the rest (7)
TALLEST: Place the letter A from the clue and two of our usual learners inside an exam to find the highest example of something

30a    Denied a civil education (3-4)
ILL-BRED: A cryptic definition of somebody badly mannered or rude.

31a    Soft-centred? (6-7)
TENDER-HEARTED: Use synonyms of both words in the clue to find a description of somebody having a kind, gentle or sentimental nature.


2d    Job seeking (7)
PURSUIT: A double definition

3d    Leader of Opposition, jerk, is of concern to the listener (4)
OTIC: Use the first letter (leader) of the word O(pposition) and add a word meaning a jerk or a spasm

4d    Tool he’d fashioned, something of use to climbers (7)
TOEHOLD: Anagram (fashioned) of TOOL HE’D

5d    Tangled in hedge, sounded like a farm animal (7)
NEIGHED: Anagram (tangled) of IN HEDGE

6d    You can catch trout in it, or try (4)
TEST: The name of this trout fishing river is also a type of exam last seen at 29 across

7d    Gave Len unusually good news! (7)
EVANGEL: anagram (unusual) of GAVE LEN

8d    The full version of Mass (13)
MASSACHUSETTS: The Mass here is the abbreviation of one of the United States


9d    Pun, or a charade perhaps (4,4,5)
PLAY UPON WORDS: A double definition of one of the things we find so enjoyable about cryptic crossword puzzles.

15d    They’re taken for trips? (5)
DRUGS: Substances taken for their narcotic or stimulant effects, often illegally.


16d    Ian follows a number of birds (5)
AVIAN: IAN from the clue is placed after A (also from the clue) and one of the seven Roman Numerals.

20d    Rebuff salesman going to one university after another (7)
REPULSE: Our usual suspect for a travelling salesman is followed by the U of U(niversity) and a second university The L(ondon) S(chool) of E(conomics)

21d    Pontoon player who cheats? (7)
TWISTER: A double definition the first being one who calls for extra cards whilst playing Pontoon which is also known as twenty ones or Blackjack

22d    Assign work to a writer (7)
ASCRIBE: A definition with wordplay. A from the clue and a person who copies out documents, especially one employed to do this before printing was invented.

23d    Justify rate (7)
DESERVE: Another clever double definition

27d    Quarrel that can be relatively bitter (4)
FEUD: This family quarrel is also known as a vendetta

28d    Mumble an insult? (4)
SLUR: and to finish off we have yet another double definition

Overall I found this to contain too many stretched double definitions. Still a pleasant solve though.

The Quick Crossword pun: cop+pea+rite=copyright

89 comments on “DT 28115

  1. I found this one immensely difficult. It all seemed to me to be about synonyms and not much else – so unable to complete it today. I seem very weak at this style of puzzle and prefer those with clues which require unraveling more than knowledge.

        1. Nowadays the typical message board reply would be ‘this’

          …….or possibly ‘this this’

    1. I couldn’t agree more. This was difficult and not very enjoyable. Thanks to MP for the review and the setter for a tough workout which I couldn’t complete unaided.

  2. Enjoyable kick-off to the week – thanks Rufus and MP to whom I didn’t need to turn today. Joint Favs 25a and 21d (memories of childhood games of vingt-et-un and not bridge as was my initial thought). ***/***.

  3. ***\*** Didn’t find it as easy as Miffypops but I don’t have his expertise. 7d is a new word to me but solvable. However, 27d was a bung in, but I can’t justify it other than the obvious meaning. Good puzzle, enjoyed it. Enjoyed Miffypops more. Thanks to all.

    1. Miffypops doesn’t set the ratings, he always leaves that to me. Vary rarely does a Rufus puzzle take me into *** difficulty, and that didn’t happen today.

  4. I have to agree with George. I found this very difficult and a lot of the answers seemed tenuous to say least. I usually get on well with the puzzles set by Rufus, but not today.

  5. Had to remember how to spell 8d (mass), and I don’t think I’ve used the pontoon term for dealing a card face-up. I liked ‘topping the rest’ in 29a.

    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops – The BeeGees song was one of the first I learned on guitar. Is the jury still out on what Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about? Apparently Lennon claimed it was nothing more than a picture his daughter had drawn – when he asked ‘what’s that?’, she replied ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ – they were probably both on LSD.

      1. Yes, was Julian – Wikipedia confirms. Amazingly I’ve carried the image of a girl making this drawing in my head for years, while also knowing Lennon had sons

    1. I didn’t even bother trying to remember how to spell 8d…just looked it up. :yes:

    2. When I first heard that song, and for a few years, I thought it was ‘Lucy in disguise’…….

  6. Agree it was a step up from most Monday solves and I concur with Miffypops on a **/****.Made a note on completion that it was ,as Bilko would say, that the cluing was-‘short and snappy’ no overlong ‘lego’.
    Last in 27d, seemed to take ages ,as I was looking for a double meaning instead of a plain cryptic definition .Thanks to setter and MP.

    1. I liked your comment on cluing. I always print the puzzle from the DT puzzle web site and when it runs onto a second page (typically on Wednesdays and Thursdays) I have an inward groan.

  7. For me, this was less tricky than most recent Mondays and was completed comfortably before lights out last night – 1.5*/3.5*.

    7d was a new word for me, and I had to smile when I finally understood the slightly unusual use of provisional in 17a and got the connection with provisions which I am familiar with.

    Three nominations for favourite 18a, 31a, and 8d and I cannot decide on the winner.

    Finally, what would we do without 26a – a real oldie but goodie. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  8. A nice little reminder that I have a long way to go. With time ticking away, and my toast toast, I reached for electronic help with, umm, quite a few left. Partly because of a case of anagram blindness in a critical spot, partly because I don’t know my pontoon terminology. Mainly because I must have shrunk my cryptic hat in the wash. Looks like I might have to shrink my head to fit. :wacko:

    My favourite is probably 14a. Let me just say to all of the kind and sweet people on this blog: you are all beautiful.

    Thanks to Rufus for keeping my feet on the ground and thanks to MP for the review. What a shame about your trip to Manchester. I hope you managed to find a way to enjoy the day anyway.

  9. 21 and 25 gave me a fair old run. I was undecided about the ” speller” – I thought it might be inviting us to spell the charm woman incorrectly i.e. which.
    Then I spent some time trying to find another word for something that you walk on to get to boats………until the penny dropped. Me trying to be too clever again.

    That then became my favourite. I also liked 20d.

    I thought there were rather too many synonyms, charades and double definitions, but some folks may prefer that. Three of the four long ‘edgers’ were a bit obvious, the fourth one was also obvious until I tried to make it complicated.

    Thanks to setter and to MP for the 22 explanation ( NOT my favourite).

  10. Had a blind spot over 8d which meant that the left side took a while to complete. Like MP, I found some of the double definitions a bit of a stretch and the whole puzzle a little more time-consuming than the usual Monday offering.
    Leader board shows 31a&9d.

    Thanks to Rufus and also to MP. Bet there’s a security firm in Manchester getting a bit of a rollicking today!

  11. I really enjoyed this one.
    I got quite stuck with the last few – 30 and 31a and 27d and confess to having 22d completely wrong – didn’t spot it as it didn’t mess up anything else.
    I still think that we don’t seem to be having as many anagrams as we used to.
    12a’s are not slow movers in my garden – they seem to go like greased lightning.
    Can’t spell 8d – maybe I’m a 25a. :sad:
    I liked 13 and 25a and 6 and 16d.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops – sorry about yesterday but that’ll teach you to go to a football match.

  12. Took me a while to get into this but I enjoyed it fine.

    However, did anyone else have Circe for 25a? I think it works.

  13. Only liked 28d.
    But that’s just the mood this crossword put me into.
    I was perfectly happy before.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  14. Nearly gave up on this one but once I’d got 8d (Massachusetts) the rest came thick and fast. If I can complete a crossword it has to be a ** for difficulty!

  15. I quite enjoyed this but messed up a few times by putting right words in wrong places.

    Last one in was 20d as I forgot about LSE…how many times has is come up in puzzles before and yet it dropped out of head for awhile. Glad it came back.

    All anagrams were solved with my ‘artificial aid pencil’…mostly on general principle.

    Liked 8 and 9d the best.

    The football fiasco beggars belief. How do you ‘forget’ that you left a fake bomb? Sounds like an unusual day out MP.

      1. That’s quite good!

        When they first said they had found a suspect package at Old Trafford I thought, “Is it a trophy?”

        I don’t quite get the joke but there have been a frightening amount doing the email/text rounds today.

    1. Forgot to offer my thanks to Rufus and to MP…sorry about that. Good job as always.

  16. Sorry about your football fiasco Miffypops – what a pain.

    We got totally stuck in SE corner with 23d, 30a and 31a holding us up.
    I don’t like 23d – as I just can’t see why Justify = the answer.

    Hey Ho.

    Thanks to MP and Rufus – although I can’r say we enjoyed the crossword today. Maybe tomorrow will be better

    1. Pommette – for 23d, as tenuous as it may be, I think it is one of those clues where you have to willingly rely on/accept what is in the BRB or (in my case) the Small RB where justify is listed in the entry for the answer.

        1. I can see that all three sentences make sense, but I still do not think that ‘rates 9/10’ means the same as ‘deserves 9/10’.

    2. His behaviour deserves/justifies praise or the award was well-deserved/justified

  17. Rufus at his scintillating best I felt, certainly more satisfying to solve than one of his read and writes, but nothing really to warrant anyone having to utilise Miffypops’ excellent hints.

    Difficult to pick a favourite, but I’ll opt for 13a as it produced the widest smile when I solved it.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and the aforementioned MP. Really bad luck to choose that match yesterday as your first live game for over 20 years, and although you were very charitable about the evacuation process, the club must feel hugely embarrassed for the circumstances which led to it happening.

      1. Perhaps “most people” would have sounded more inclusive! Sorry if you needed the hints, HIYD.

  18. I found this difficult, but enjoyable when the answers clicked into place.
    I’m not sure that 23d means ‘rate’ though, but I don’t have a BRB to check.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops .
    Sorry about the footie, but very glad that the security people found the device and evacuated the stadium efficiently, even though it was a leftover phone from a previous exercise.

    The police come in for a lot of stick, but they’re the ones going towards danger whilst getting the rest of us away from it. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) do their job for all the tea in China.

  19. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. I was beaten by 30a, which I still don’t really understand, even though I’ve read the hint. I always struggle with double definitions and couldn’t get 2&23d either. Last in was 17a. Favourite was 21d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  20. I was so surprised to see so many negative comments, as is usual for me, I just loved this Rufus. He completely foxed me with 23d, but I had “ill-said” in 30a, which was so wrong – silly, I know.
    At the end, I only had 23d and 8d left to go, and eventually the answer for 8d popped up, and now that’s my fave by a long shot.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to M’pops for the blog. Shame that some lout ruined a day out for so many people.

  21. Not overly enjoyable but that’s probably down to my mood today and nothing to do with my neighbour. There are certainly a few stretched definitions but enough anagrams to give you some checkers. Not too sure that 9d works for me but 8d made up for that. I felt there were a couple of ‘question marks’ missing from some of the clues and 10a was a bit confusing as I think it could be read as either a DD or a cryptic – as an ‘a*****e’ could be construed as a system used to transport an essential element to a diver.

    Anyway, 21d.was my favourite Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to MP for his review.

    There is nothing on this earth that would entice me to a football stadium to watch 22 overpaid boys running around a pitch for 90 minutes. Lorenzo Dallaglio had it spot on when he referred to the Football Premiership as the ‘Andrex League – Soft, yet inexplicably expensive’. :cool:

    1. I spent ten years avoiding this invitation SL. I had a good day away from the pub in marvellous company. The sun shone. I have a story to tell and the locals enjoyed a bit of landlord bashing when we returned which probably serves me right.. I rue not getting to hear the roar of such a big crowd. Again I praise all involved in the evacuation process . There was not a single sign of bad behaviour, just an air of resignation and a determination to get on with going home. I felt for the Scottish youngsters we chatted to in the car park before and after the match. It had taken them seven hours to get there.

        1. I agree. Instead of ranting and raving over the disappointment and inconvenience, as I am wont to do, M’pops took the high road and praised those who deserved it. I hope I’ve learnt a lesson here.

      1. I’m not saying that attending a sporting event along with 20, 30, 40 or 50000+ like minded supporters is not a great experience. I love going to watch both my local amateur rugby teams home fixtures but nothing compares to the ‘big match day’ feeling you get at professional fixtures – that’s when you get the goosebumps and neck hair ‘standing on end’ feeling. I thought it sad that a major match had to be abandoned for what now appears to have been a hoax.

        I also applaud everyone involved at Old Trafford – the supporters, the authorities and the emergency services – for their calm and professional behaviour. What I was saying – you’ll never get me going to a Football Premier League match, no matter what the enticement :smile:

  22. I’m with George in finding this immensely difficult, and with SL about stretched definitions.
    I liked 8d, 22a , and 31a.
    Thanks Miffypops, and Rufus.

  23. I found this quite difficult.
    A really good hard struggle.
    Got there in the end.
    Before, though, left with 8d and 17a.
    Could have kicked myself when the pennies dropped, especially 8d.
    I must be thick.
    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops for the review.

  24. I thought this was quite difficult today, more so than usual for a Monday. I liked 7d, 13a, 22a and 25a particularly but agree with others about some of the double definitions. ***/** for me today but thanks to setter and MP. Sorry your rare outing was spoilt MP but it does seem that the club and the supporters have come out of it well, the security firm will have questions to answer though.

  25. Good afternoon everybody.

    I’m afraid I really struggled with this puzzle and finished with many unsolved. I didn’t finish Wednesday, Thursday or Friday either so I seem to be in a bad run of form.


  26. It was only when we read the comments that we realised we had 23a wrong. We had put in Circe. It fitted the checking letters and we think actually is a better fit with the clue. Literature has examples of both bad and good witches and Circe certainly is portrayed as one of the former. We rest our case.
    8d needed a spelling check but we’re sure we’re not alone with this.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

    1. My iPad threw up the words ALL ANSWERS CORRECT with witch so I am sticking with that

  27. I was surprised that quite a few found this tough going today. I must just have been on Rufus’ wavelength as it proved a pleasant solve, and mostly finished over breakfast, and last ones went in during lunch. 7d held me up as I have not run across that as a word before, and 30a I am still not comfortable with as I thought ill bred had to do with family and upbringing rather than education. Also wanted to use ill read there. A good start to the week, thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

      1. My brother in law lives on Merritt Island Merusa. His name is Rob. Do you know him?

        1. I’ve visited Merritt Island a few times in the last couple of years. Didn’t meet Rob but saw a few Manatees.

        1. Aha, not that far away, but not exactly next door! I’m in Miami Springs just north of the airport. Once I get over this hiccup, maybe we could meet for lunch. Cheers.

            1. The physio was here today and was much pleased with me! Not exactly active yet, but I can get around the house with the zimmer. I’m having one drink a night, what a treat! My Sadie is a real princess. Her dog walker is my minder, so she is in seventh heaven!

              1. That sounds really positive! Although I can imagine you will be wanting to do a lot more but really glad that Sadie is back with you..and that you can have the a ‘sundowner’.

  28. My usual Rufus experience – a fair few I found easy, some more that needed a bit of head scratching, and four or five at the end that I really struggled with. As regards Rufus’ wavelength, I never seem to be on it, but quite look forward to my weekly tussle with him.

  29. I got stuck in the SE corner 22a 30a 22d and 23d completing a square with few checking letters. Had to turn to the hints here. Fortunately the hint for 22a gave the first letter away as there are few one letter words enabling 22d to be solved and then the rest unfolded. 3d was a new word for me but 17a was the most ‘doh’ word. Once played against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a world club tiddlywinks championship. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  30. Strange. Three-quarters went in fine, but the SE corner was difficult (still don’t get the double definition for 23d), I needed MP’s hints to help me finish.
    No doubt that was a hard one today, and I have to say that I did not enjoy it very much.
    Again thanks to MP for the hints, sorry about your trip to Old Trafford, think about that couple who flew in from Dallas for the game!!
    Thanks also to the setter and BD for the continues excellence of this site.

  31. 2*/3*, I think. I pondered upon 8d for a while, which made the LHS more difficult, but just happened to hear a radio news item mentioning Boston. Then it all fell into place nicely. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  32. I found this tres difficile 😥 ***/*** attempted on train to Penzance to await Scillion lll to the Isles of Scilly tomorrow! Used to visit in the autumn but thought a Spring visit would be interesting if weather reasonable 😩 Still do not get 23d. Liked 8d & 29a. Thanks to Rufus and MP 👍

  33. We found this one relatively easy yet strangely unsatisfying for a Rufus puzzle. It began with a flurry of anagrams, all rather obvious (1a, 4d, 5d, 7d), then morphed into a flurry of double definitions. Really didn’t like 23d or 30a. Favourites were all around the centre – 13a, 15d,16d.

    1*/2*, we’re afraid.

    Thanks to MP for the nice words about my team of nigh-on 50 years, but when you have to cater for over 75,000 spectators every week or so, you’d think they would show rather more gumption and be better organised than that fiasco which, ultimately, was avoidable.

    Thanks to Rufus too, of course, and hope that the less than sparkling comments are taken the right way.

  34. I must have been the only person stuck in the SW corner. Had to look at the review in the end to see where I’d gone wrong. 21d was my downfall. As a Bridge player couldn’t get tricks out of my head so bunged in ‘tricker’. Couldn’t remember how to play Pontoon, so just guessed it was a trick winning game. If I’d searched first I would have got there. My own fault. 20d was my favourite. Thank you setter and Miffypops.

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment (in 2012) so this one required moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

  35. Oops! I forgot to comment when I finished yesterday.
    I enjoyed this crossword solve… once I had 8d everything sort of came together quite easily. I’ll stay with 8d as favourite and continue to hum the quavering BeeGees for the rest of the day. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and MP for the review.

  36. Urgh. Too many feeble double definitions (you say 23dn is clever; I say the two words basically mean the same thing, which is the worst kind of “double”) and “read my mind” cryptics. I had to look up the rules of Pontoon to assure myself that I had the right answer for 21dn- does that word really mean “cheat” too? Rufus at his worst. ***/*

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