DT 28120 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28120 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28120 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by crypticsue

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Big Dave and a number of our bloggers and commenters are in Derby today for an S&B gathering, which I might have attended, had my ‘entertainment budget’ not been committed to the S&B in London next Tuesday.    I’m a stand-in for the stand-in for Big Dave and so in the time I’ve available at the moment, I have  provided some hints but, as usual, if you need more help, do let me know and I’ll add some more in between the other tasks I’d allocated for today.  I was going to be rash and say that, looking at the clue mix, I’m sure you’ll all be fine, but that might be famous last words!

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.


1a           British tree with start of Dutch tree rot (10)
A nice surface reading for a different sort of rot –  the abbreviation for British, a tree, the start of Dutch and another tree.


17a         Coarse humour to tease hard-line Tory about a Liberal (8)
A verb meaning to tease and the aforementioned hard-line Tory go ‘about’  A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Liberal.    One for Brian to check in the dictionary (which is what I did as I didn’t know the last part of the solution referred to someone who favours strict adherence to hard-line right-wing Conservative policies)  

22a         He exchanged letters to correspond aimlessly about nothing (6,7)
Another nice surface reading –   an anagram (exchanged letters aimlessly) of TO CORRESPOND around the letter that represents nothing.

27a         Checks little fellow’s piece of embroidery (4,6)
A piece of embroidery obtained from another way of saying checks and an informal term for a little fellow.

stem stitch


1d           Youngster born in stall (4)
The abbreviation for born inserted into a stall

3d           List of people to make cross (9,4)
A cryptic definition of something we should be checking we are on before 23 June!

electoral roll

7d           One dances around — unknown needing to get in programmes (7)
A reversal (around) of the letter that looks like a one and some formal dances into which is inserted one of the mathematical unknowns.

20d         Something tempting passed without hesitation (7)
A tempter  is obtained by putting an interjection expression hesitation into part of a verb meaning passed (time)


21d         Decoration for two Englishmen in Perth (6)
How someone in Perth, Australia, might refer to two Englishmen.

pompom23d         Eat out and so on with husband (4)
The abbreviation we use to mean ‘and so on’ and the abbreviation for husband.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: Waugh+keys=walkies!

64 comments on “DT 28120 (Hints)

  1. Quite tricky for me with five unanswered clues (17a, 19a, 13d, 20d, and 23d) at lights out last night which somehow fell into place this morning.

    17a solved without understanding the hard-line Tory part, but, with CS’s comment above, it now makes sense.

    Favourite 1a – well constructed with appropriate mis-direction.

    Thanks to the setter and CS.

    1. I agree with you but sadly we can’t say that out loud as it is Saturday and a Prize Puzzle.

      I presume you didn’t read the introduction to the hints ?? ;)

  2. Solid entertaining fare for a damp and drizzly Marches morning. Not the easiest Saturday prize crossword, but all the more enjoyable as a result. Lots of elegant clues, but my favourite was 3 down because it made me laugh. 16 down was my list one in, and I’m still trying to parse 13 down. I can see it’s a part anagram, but the rest is currently eluding me. I’ll work on it.

    This was 3*/4* for me, with thanks to our Saturday setter and CS fit standing in.

    1. 13d isn’t a part anagram which is probably why you are having trouble parsing it. Try looking the fourth word of the clue up in Brian’s favourite book

      1. I was just coming back to say that I have looked at it again and now have it properly parsed. Thanks anyway CS.

  3. I found this a tad stiffer than the normal Saturday offerings & I have one last clue to solve 20D if any one can guide me? Thanks to the setter & crypticsue for standing in for BD.

      1. It has just come to me in a flash,but many thanks anyway as I’m sure others will benefit.

  4. It’s raining again in South Cheshire – but fortunately not at Headingley – and so I’ve spent a pleasant morning finishing off the puzzle while listening to the cricket. I agree with the observations that this was a little trickier than normal Saturday puzzles and I was perhaps fortunate that I identified the anagrams fairly quickly.

        1. This is something to take up with BD not me. Interestingly when I hover over the pictures, I don’t get any display at all.

  5. I thought this was brilliant – really good fun and several that made me laugh.
    Like others I’d never heard of the 17a hard-line Tory but I suppose it makes sense if you think what the opposite means.
    I had to check 20d to see why he (or she) was tempting.
    Missed the 22a anagram for a stupidly long time.
    I always forget the one letter abbreviation in 13d – don’t know why – and I’m not good on the 16d muscles either.
    Took me ages to realise that 21d Perth wasn’t in Scotland.
    I liked 12 and 25a and 13d. My favourite was 1a – it’s what my Dad always used to say if he thought we were talking a load of tosh.
    With thanks for such a good Saturday crossword to Mr Ron and thanks to CS for standing-in for the stand-in.
    I hope that everyone in Derby has fun and behaves nicely, or is that too much to hope for? :unsure:

    1. The one letter abbreviation in 13d was completely new to me. I wonder if I will be able to remember it in the future.

      1. I hope you have better luck than I do – it’s one of the ones that catches me out with boring regularity. Maybe writing all this down will fix it in what passes for a brain.

      1. Welcome. Apologies for the delay in replying but I had to check you weren’t someone else of the same name!

        Interesting how many pennies have dropped today for commenters waiting for a reply.

  6. As the first clues fell in very easily, I thought it was going a walk in the park.
    Not so!
    Got harder but finally finished with the NE corner.
    Loved 22a.
    Thanks to the Saturday setter and to CS for the hints.

  7. Where are you all today? I don’t believe that you’re all in Derby. I’m getting a bit lonely. :sad:

    1. I just popped out to rescue the nearly dry washing from some spitty drizzle and to have a riveting conversation :roll: about slug pellets but I’m back now.

    2. Sorry Kath, been out since early morning but back now in time to catch the end of the cricket and the Cup Final. Then out for dinner at a local Italian place. It’s a busy life.

      1. Oh – you’ve been out all day, now you’re going to watch cricket and football (?rugby) and then you’re going out for dinner – can’t expect any company from you then, and it’s raining here. :sad:

  8. Terrific – one of the best Saturday puzzles ever. So good to be tested. Too many clever and amusing clues (including 10a, 17a, 27a, 3d and 21d) to single out an overall Fav. Haven’t heard of 5d (a muffin equivalent, yes, but that term – no) or the abbreviation in 13d. TVM Mysteron and CS for nobly standing in on hints. ***/*****.

  9. Tricky little devil the bottom of which needed electronic help. Contained three irritating clues where one has to use the starting letter of a word in the clue with no instruction to so do, 1d, 13d and 19a, to my mind the refuge of a sloppy and desperate setter.
    Best clue by far for me was 22a, l love puns and the word play of this chap.
    I enjoyed the top, the bottom half less so.
    Thx to all.

    1. All your ‘first letlters’ are abbreviations which are used in crosswords on a very regular basis.

  10. Oh dear. Not one to do on very little sleep! my brain has retired I think! I definitely needed the hints today…..and that was to get me started!! Thanks Cryptisue 🙂

  11. Thanks to the setter and to crypticSue for the hints. I enjoyed this one a lot. Some very good clues 22&24a, but my favourite was 1a. Last in was 7d, which I couldn’t get from the hints, so had to use electronic help. Was 3*/3* for me. Hope all those in Derby have a great day.

  12. Thank you CS for your great review of a more than usual for Saturday tricky crossword. Worked up from SE corner and back down. Wandered off to write long overdue email and when I returned the rest of the answers dropped into place. Loved several but as I do not want to get smacked legs I will go for 22a which made me giggle. :phew:

  13. I watched Saracens v Leicester whilst doing this one – a couple of slightly obscure words in 7d & 18d but not too bad – now Exeter Chiefs v Wasps and then the FA Cup Final – I’m like a pig in the smelly stuff!


  14. I’m more than a little preoccupied by sporting matters at Headingley and Sandy Park, but this successfully prevented me from gnawing my fingers off. 2*/3.5*, and my favourite clue was the first one I filled in – 1a. Thanks to the setter and to CrypticSue.

    Now then – COME ON, YOU CHIEFS!!

    1. Chiefs are going to Twickenham – really tense towards the end but a brilliant result.

      1. Not if you are a Wasps supporter. Having said that, Saracens and Exeter have been the best two teams in the Premiership.

  15. The top half went in without any trouble, but I was at an impasse with the bottom half, even with my gizmo. I looked at the hint for 22a and that got me started again.
    Fave was 1a but 22a deserves an honourable mention.
    Thanks to setter for an enjoyable solve, and to CrypticSue for helping me to get going again.

  16. This was not a cake walk but gradually came together. Never heard of 27a but fortunately mr Google had. Thanks to the setter and CS for the review.

  17. Did this in a bar over a mid-morning coffee and seemed to make heavy weather of it for some reason. I’d give it ***/**** were I to be asked. Probably 1a was favourite and, fortunately, pommette knew the embroidery bit.

    TVM to Mr Ron and crypticsue.

  18. Most unusually I thought this was the hardest puzzle of the week! Very enjoyable, even the more obscure answers. I liked 20d the best. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to the setter (any ideas as to whom this might be?) and thanks to CS for the hints.

  19. Great puzzle! 1a was brilliant and 21d made me laugh. 22a took a while to decrypt but I was very pleased to eventually crack it especially as I always struggles with his sayings. Took a while to understand why 20d was indeed tempting… The bottom half was trickier than the top for me but in all it was a very satisfying exercise. 2.5*/4*

  20. A good puzzle, a little more difficult than usual for a Saturday. 14ac and 7d in particular gave me pause for thought.

  21. A most satisfactory day. England won the test match, Man U won the Cup – all kicking off with an enjoyable and reasonably gentle crossword. It’s even stopped raining. Favourites today were 22a and Jesse Lingard’s volley.

  22. Also got off to a good start, but screeched to a halt in the SW corner. Definitely hardest one for me this week, just when I thought I was on a roll.

  23. Did anyone else see the Telegraph article today that said crossword solvers are mostly scientists, people who like equations and not people who are interested in words? Very odd. I am sure there are some bright scientists on the blog. I’m definitely not and get brain freeze at any non accounting math. Hubby thought article hilarious as a retired engineer, very good at maths, but spelling never his strong point…

    1. Don’t know whether you will see this reply busylizzie but yes we were discussing the article with friends last night. My business has been words all my life with teaching languages and a facility with words and their connotations, associations and ability to enhance experience is not a great help in my experience. It’s much more about clear analysis and cool logical thinking…which is why I find it such good brain training because I can’t do it very well!

      1. Insofar as scientists do a lot of analysis and synthesis ( the epitome of word puzzles) then you can see why it might be so.
        Breaking things down to their constituent parts and mucking about with them is common to most sciences isn’t it? Equations are also about the rearrangement of component parts.

        On the whole I agree with you that crosswords are for people who like both logical processes and reading.

    2. I think there are more of us ‘exceptions that prove the rule’ than people realise.

  24. Quite tricky but enjoyable.The lower half took longer than the top half, especially 22a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

    1. Just my experience (a slower bottom half) but thrilled to complete it before looking at CS today as I usually struggle on through Sunday. Thanks to setter for good clues this week (I’m a Saturday only puzzler!)

  25. Very late with my comment which is a reflection on the trickiness of this one. Pleased to be able to get some hints and combine brain power with “him outdoors” to finish the puzzle this morning. Learned a lot in the process.
    Thanks to CS and the setter…a good challenge greatly enjoyed In the end!

  26. Excellent puzzle, very enjoyable, 1a, 3d and 21d for me, great clues. Now for the Sunday one. Congrats and thanks to all concerned.

  27. I’ve finished,eventually, and I’m happy it’s all correct but I cannot understand 8D. Can anyone shed light on those lights for me?

    1. Your solution for 8d should have a nuclear missile inside a word meaning behaving in a crafty manner.

      1. Thanks CS. Now you’ve said that I can see it instantly and wonder why it too k me 2 days. The only way that I managed to get it was by the letter pattern. In retrospect an enjoyable puzzle and now I can see it, 8D has to be the best clue. Thanks also to the setter for giving me something to think about.

  28. A very belated thanks to Sue for the hints and to whoever wrote that website to solve the clues with missing letters. I needed both.
    There seems to be a bit of a weird pattern where one half (in this case the top half) is much easier than the other half?? Perhaps it’s just me.
    1a was my favourite clue.
    This was a good learning exercise.
    Thanks to the setter.
    Now for Sunday…

  29. Late as usual. Had to travel north all day Sat,but enjoyed tHe puzzle. Bottom bit was slower, but luckily didn’t need the hints. Good result in tHe cricket, they managed to avoid Sat ‘ s heavy rain, car was covered in flies.. Thx to Sue & compiler!

  30. I’ve never commented here before but I’d like to say many thanks – it’s a great site. I found this puzzle more difficult than usual and needed several of the hints. A minor point but in the hint for 22a isn’t “aimlessly” the anagram indicator and “exchanged letters” what the solution did? It was my favourite clue.

    1. Welcome from me too. That’s what comes of hinting in a hurry – but it was a good way to get you to comment!

  31. Thanks for the welcomes. Looking forward to commenting in future although I only attempt the Saturday puzzle.

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