DT 28131 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28131

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28131

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Bonjour from Les Gorges du Chambon, near Montbron in the Charente. We’ve been here since Sunday and have yet to see the sun – and there’s not much prospect of it appearing over the weekend. It’s rather like caravanning in England in November, except that it doesn’t get dark so soon. On the other hand, we’re nowhere near the floods that have affected parts of central France, so it’s not all bad.

I found today’s Giovanni to be on the tricky side, with the NW corner last to yield. Since I usually start there and work down, that may have affected my impression.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Medical preparation that may create row in a part of the hospital (10)
ASTRINGENT – A row, perhaps of horses or beads, placed between A (from the clue) and one of the usual hospital departments.

6a           Permit for mountain route (4)
PASS – Double definition, the first being either a noun or a verb, the second a route running through a mountainous area.

9a           Grown-up to rave about drug being a corrupt influence (10)
ADULTERANT  – Another word for a grown-up and another word for rave, placed either side of crosswordland’s favourite drug.

10a         A good artist in an Indian city (4)
AGRA – Put together A (from the clue), Good, and the letters after the name of a prominent artist in Britain.

Image result for agra

12a         Pick up courage no end (4)
HEAR – Remove the final letter (no end) from an organ of the body associated with courage.

13a         Deserving of an accolade, fantastic Beatles — this person’s getting enthralled (9)
ESTIMABLE – Anagram (fantastic) of BEATLES wrapped around another way of saying ‘this person is’.

15a         Arrays of food covered by pieces of fabric (8)
MATRICES – Some small floor coverings wrapped around a food which is the staple diet of large parts of the world.

16a         A lake by which dad hugs a cold animal (6)
ALPACA – Put together A (from the clue, Lake, and another short word for dad wrapped around A (from the clue) and Cold.

Image result for alpaca

18a         Bit of food is hard to cook (6)
RADISH – Anagram (to cook) of IS HARD.

Image result for radish

20a         Act involving alcoholic drink gets one banned (8)
DEPORTED – A fortified wine inside an action.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a         Traveller given company car (VW) at end of month (5,4)
MARCO POLO – An abbreviation for one of the months of the year followed by an abbreviation for company and one of the types of car made by VW.

Image result for marco polo

24a         Opposing characters with imagination (4)
AGIN – Hidden inside imAGINation.

26a         Labour‘s reverse of fortune enthralling one (4)
TOIL – Reverse a word for fortune or fate and insert the Roman numeral for one.

27a         Light blue fairy gets victory against returning beast (10)
PERIWINKLE – Put together a fairy (as seen in Iolanthe), a victory, and the reverse of a large deer found in North America.

28a         Famous Elizabethan heading off, dissolute type (4)
RAKE – Remove the first letter (heading off) from the chap who played bowls while waiting for the Spanish Armada.

29a         Tired men at work stopped (10)
TERMINATED – Anagram (work) of TIRED MEN AT.


1d           Notice a maiden — and the one she led astray? (4)
ADAM – The answer is a biblical character who ate something he shouldn’t have, then blamed the woman for making him do it. A PR notice followed by A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a maiden over on a cricket scorecard.

Image result for adam bible

2d           Greek character facing ordeal is most tense (7)
TAUTEST – The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet followed by an ordeal or trial.

3d           Bury lass and I getting on — time for an ice cream? (12)
INTERMISSION – Put together another word for bury, a form of address for a young woman, I and ON (from the clue).

4d           Forest in Germany with many getting lost — e.g. 1 Down? (8)
GARDENER –Remove the ‘many’ from GER(many) and wrap the result around a Shakespearean forest. This gives us a profession of which 1 down is said to be the first exponent, and Alan Titchmarsh is a more recent one.

5d           Musical pieces requiring no practice for players (6)
NONETS – NO (from the clue) followed by cricket practice sessions.

7d           A large beast’s beginning to stir — there’s something symbolic in that (7)
ALGEBRA – Anagram (to stir) of A LARGE and the first letter (beginning) of B(east).

Image result for quadratic formula

8d           Show violence towards workers or indicate friendship? (5,5)
SHAKE HANDS – A customary form of friendly greeting could also be a physical assault on some manual workers.

11d         In the morning priest with sermon shows improvement (12)
AMELIORATION – Put together the Latin abbreviation for ‘in the morning’, an Old Testament priest who is a crossword regular, and a sermon or speech.

14d         Troublemaker, Irish revolutionary, with age almost getting approval (10)
IMPRIMATUR – Put together a small troublemaking spirit, the reverse (revolutionary) of an abbreviation for IRish, and all but the last letter of a verb meaning to age. This give us the Latin for ‘let it be printed’, which is the official approval by the Catholic church of the publication of a religious text.

17d         Explosive fellow is male seeking excessive pleasure (8)
HEDONISM – Put together an abbreviation for some explosive, a university fellow, IS (from the clue) and Male.

19d         Richard admitting mistake as crane man (7)
DERRICK – A familiar form of Richard wrapped around ‘to mistake’, giving us a sort of crane or an alternative spelling of a man’s name.

Image result for derrick crane

21d         Bulky alien found in copse (7)
THICKET – Bulky, as in ‘a —– book’ followed by the usual crossword alien.

22d         Stick of explosive hidden in central part (6)
COHERE – The same explosive as in 17d is inserted into a word for the central part of something.

25d         Small ball, article buried in garden plot (4)
BEAD – A garden plot where flowers or vegetables may be found, wrapped around the indefinite article.

The Quick Crossword pun CENTRE + MENTAL = SENTIMENTAL

78 comments on “DT 28131

  1. Reasonable straightforward for me today. II don’t usually mention a favourite clue, but I did like 4d today. 2*/3*.

  2. A little tricky in places but not too difficult.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/3*

  3. The review proves my initial feeling that there was a lot of “Put together”. 7 in all.
    Liked the surface in 29a ( tired men) and 23a ( traveller).
    16a (a lake by which) made me laugh.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  4. A bit too tricky for me, above my pay grade unfortunately. 11d, 14d and 15a are words I have never heard of and I dont understand 4d. Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the much needed hints.

    1. Adam is said to have been the first gardener.

      Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
      That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees,
      So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
      For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!

      The forest is Arden (as in As You Like It) with GER(many) wrapped around it.

      1. Our England is a garden and such gardens are not made
        By singing, “Oh how beautiful” and sitting in the shade

        Also Kipling and there’s more to it that I can’t remember!

          1. Thank you for that, I remember trying to learn it for a competition at school which needless to say I did not win.

  5. 3*/2.5*. I found this reasonably enjoyable today, with only the colour in 27a causing me to check my BRB. My time stretched above 2* as a result of how long it took to solve my last two in: the interlinked 15a & 14d.

    19d strikes me as a bit odd. Not only does it have an unusual combination of wordplay and double definition, but I also can’t reconcile how “mistake” can lead to “err”. Mistake can be a verb, but surely to err means to make a mistake, and I can’t construct a sentence in which one can replace the other. However, I have no doubt someone can – Gazza, there’s your challenge for today!

    Many thanks to DG and to DT.

    1. Where is Gazza when you need him?

      The best I can come up with is, to misquote Alexander Pope: “to mistake is human; to forgive, divine”, which doesn’t seem very convincing despite what the BRB and Oxford Thesaurus say.

      1. I can’t think of an example in modern English but Thomas Hardy wrote “You mistook when you thought I laughed at you.” (Return of the native).

      2. It was the only thing I could think of..that and the Seneca one…which I can’t remember without looking it up. You’re right…where is Gazza when we need him?

        Edit…sorry Gazza, didn’t see you had posted. :rose:

      3. This precision is just one of the attributes that would make you an excellent blogger, RD. :yes:

        On a completely different note, I was musing on the Pope quote. I am very human and errant, but in my defence to the gods I am also a very forgiving soul. With an explanation and an apology I am ready to forgive an awful lot.

  6. To mistake is to err in judgement according to Chambers, Mistake is also given as synonym fro err in the Oxford Thesaurus. Uncommon maybe but fair. Just off to Jeremy Morse’s memorial service in Oxford

  7. Much the usual fare from the Don with one new word for me at 14d and a plural I always forget at 15a.
    Liked the surface reads of 3&5d and give a mention to 27a simply because it’s a lovely word!

    Thanks to DG and also to DT – I won’t regale you with how fed up I am getting with the constant necessity to water the garden during the current heat-wave on Anglesey!

    1. Presumably you aren’t still wearing your winter clothes, taking your mac everywhere with you and having to persuade someone that just because the calendar says June, it doesn’t mean we don’t need the central heating on in the evenings. :(

      1. Same here, central heating has automatically come on every day this week. Absolutely miserable.

        1. Oh, Andy, super gravatar – who are those? Also, need an update on Lupo, how is he doing?

      2. Absolutely not, CS, but – to be fair – it’s rare for us to be able to brag about having all the sunshine on the NW coast, so we have to make the most of it!

        1. It is lovely in Northern Ireland too at the moment but I’d bet when I go there in a couple of weeks time,I’ll need my mac and full winter gear in my suitcase.

          1. Are you going via Holyhead? If so, you’re more than welcome to stay here overnight en route.

            1. That’s very kind of you but I’m getting the silly o’clock in the morning flight from Stansted.

      3. I’m in shorts and t-shirt but the heating is cranked right up! But some good news, the fog is really going to hit later..makes a change from the rain. Silver linings etc. :yes:

      4. We’ve lit a fire for the last three evenings and today isn’t much better – grey and chilly but, on the plus side, the wind seems to have gone, for the moment anyway.

  8. Are there any smart people who are able to solve the equation in 7D?
    Hated the things at school (when I went)!

    1. There was a time when I could have done it, but those days were over 50 years ago.

      “The Quadratic Formula is derived from the process of completing the square, and is formally stated as:

      For ax^2 + bx + c = 0, the value of x is given by: x = [ -b ± sqrt(b^2 – 4ac) ] / 2a “

        1. Me too! No wonder I have recurring nightmares…….

          1. Glad it wasn’t just me. It brings a whole new meaning the phrase “I could do it in my sleep”.

    2. Those bloody things still appear in Leaving Cert Chemistry, in the equilibrium section,to find out how much of a mole is left, etc. I have always had an aversion to that equation but the students seem to find it no bother.

      1. I used to enjoy being in the pool, we didn’t call it quadratics though – we called it ‘swimming’ :smile:

  9. Struggled big time on this one, never heard of 11D 14D, but did like 23A &3D thanks to the setter & DT for much needed review.

  10. A bit tricky this morning but got there after a bit of a struggle. Fav 4d. Thanks to The Don and to Deep threat for the review.

  11. Pleasant solve with only 19d having to be dragged from the memory banks.

    Favourite by a long way is 5d..just appealed to me for whatever reason.

    Definitely a bit of a gardening theme going on today!

    Many thanks to the Don and to Dt for a great blog. Sorry your holidays are not going to plan.

    I’d like to report it is glorious sunshine on the moors but that would be ridiculous. Stopped raining mind. The tourists are in their shorts and t-shirt. I’d say this was madness I’m wearing them too ….just on general principle. Then again I’m inside with the heating on.

  12. Not too tricky for a Giovanni – 2*/3* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I didn’t know 14d so admit to using a thesaurus for that one.
    23a caused trouble as I was thinking more along the lines of gypsy = traveller for 23a and don’t know anything about cars – they either go or they don’t as far as I’m concerned.
    I couldn’t see why 1d was 4d.
    I seem to have anagram blindness today – missed both 18a and 7d – don’t know why.
    I liked 9 and 27a (they’re trying to take over part of our garden) and 8d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat – I spoke to my brother-in-law in Paris yesterday – he says it’s dreadful there – Seine flooding and some of the RER’s have stopped running, and it’s still raining with no sign of a let-up.

  13. Pretty much a standard but enjoyable Friday (nearly) back page puzzle from Mr Manley. I thought it all fairly clued, but I would like to bet that Silvanus will have something to say about that, especially with 17 & 22d :smile: Lots of good surfaces but I have no stand out favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and to the new French citizen ‘Profonde Menace’ for his review. Au revoir.

  14. My three months holiday has just started and I feel the same as I always do ,it is a bit of an anticlimax, and I found myself getting a bit fed up . So , half way through, I looked at the hints which I found to be very clear and quickly finished.
    I liked 7d and 23a .
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  15. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but was beaten by the religious clues. I didn’t know that Adam was a gardener, and had certainly never heard of 14d. Missed the lurker in 24a, & needed the hints for 15a, I could only think of lattices, but knew that was wrong. Favourite was 23a. Was 3*/3* for me. Cold and miserable in Central London.

  16. Not a quick solve for me, today’s answers needed to be coaxed out slowly, especially 14d and 15a (like RD my last two) which held me up for quite some time.

    A very enjoyable challenge though, my two favourites being 5d and 23a (was it necessary to add the vehicle manufacturer, or was that just to help the solver?).

    SL is absolutely right – I winced when seeing the same abbreviation for “explosive” used in both 17d and 22d, tut tut Mr. Manley!

    Many thanks to Giovanni and our intrepid caravanner, and a good weekend to all.

  17. Good afternoon everybody.

    Typical Friday fare with a lot going straight in followed by a real tussle. Got 27a but didn’t know why and the same for 14d. Wasn’t impressed by 15a. Favourite was 22d although HE also being used in 17d removed some of the gloss. Finished with 4d and 25d unsolved.


  18. I was so far off wavelength with this one, particularly the NW corner.
    I liked 23a and 4d, but fave was 27a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the hints, many needed today.

  19. Forgot to mention earlier on – didn’t really care for the definition in 18a. Surely there’s an alternative that would have been better – ‘salad item’ maybe?

  20. Most went straight in but a wee bit tricky In the NW corner. I now can’t get the song or picture out of my head for a certain character from the Wizard of Oz. 12a set me off. Really wanted to put ‘Tinkerbell’ into 27a, but thought better of it. Thank you DT and setter.

  21. ****/*. This was a real chore for me and lots of issues with the east portion. Maybe next time. Thanks to the setter for bemusing me and DT for enlightening me.

  22. I found this Giovanni offering far easier than yesterday’s little teaser, but, as always, his puzzles are a delight to solve and this was no exception. I thought there was a fair bit of Lego in the clueing, but some of them were so clever that I didn’t mind.

    I’ll nominate 14 down as my favourite of many and say thanks to the Don and DT.


    On the weather front, we have enjoyed sunny days here in the Marches for the last eight or nine days. It makes a change to look at the forecast and see the Eastern side of the country, and London in particular, getting the bad stuff. I doubt it will continue.

  23. I think my brain decided that the weekend had started early, so I found this crossword a stiff challenge. I eventually completed it and realised I had rather enjoyed it.
    Adam the gardener; there used to be a column in …the Express I think. There was this sketch of an old bearded man with string around the knees of his trousers. Why on earth do I remember that? On that vein, 27a was fave and 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT over there for the review.

    1. Goodness, I remember him as well! My dear old Dad used to get the Sunday Express (for the Skeleton crossword) so perhaps the column was in there?

      1. My Dad also had SE and as he was a keen gardener used to cut the columns out and stick them in a scrap book for future reference.

      1. That’s the fella, DT. How long ago was that, or is the column still running?

  24. Really struggled with this one…above my pay grade I’m afraid….I knew I was getting too cocky yesterday.

    Many thanks to Deep Threat for the much needed hints.

  25. 14d needed a confirmatory check in BRB but as is usual with Giovanni obscurities, readily worked out from the wordplay. Plenty to enjoy and a good level of difficulty for a Friday.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  26. For my part the less said about this the better I just could not begin to get onto the wavelength so have admitted defeat and chickened out. Thanks anyway Don Giovanni and indeed hinting DT, thanks to whom I at least could fil it all in. *****/**.

  27. Every time I started to look at this I got distracted, so I can’t form a very coherent opinion. (No replies saying as per usual please!) Seemed pretty tough to me, but then I seem to be having a slow day. Slow evening ahead too – I’m in definite need of a nice relaxing one.

    I also noticed the double incidence of HE. The NW was the last part to go in. I didn’t know 14d and totally failed at 24a – :roll:.

    I liked the mathsy ones: 15a, and especially 7d which is my favourite.

    With thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  28. A little tricky in places, with the hidden word at 24ac as ever causing me trouble. Lots of good clues, especially liked 4d.

  29. I struggled with this one today and I admit it exceeded the time allowed at a very early stage so I took advantage of the excellent hints. I was careless with the wrong form for 9a – I should have realised that this setter is always forensic in his surfaces – that’s meant to be a compliment :-) of course.

    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the hints.

    1. There’s a time limit? I’m doomed. I’m lucky some days to finish it at all. Not to mention driving husband slightly up the wall when an answer suddenly pops into my head at 2.00 a.m. and I flip the light on to fill it in. Still as vices go the DT crossword is fairly tame I think…………

      1. Hi Carolyn…I never worry about times.

        However I have suddenly “said” an answer at inappropriate times when I have been stuck on something…out with friends…video call to my boss (who knew fine well I had the crossword just out of sight)…he then just shouts inappropriate words at me, I take no notice. So you suddenly filling in clues at 2 in the morning did make me smile.

      2. Carolyn – what I meant was that my attention span (no staying power) and other demands mean that I sometimes get to a point where I either lose interest or have to move on to something else… surely others here must do the same? Thank heavens for Big Dave.

        The DT ‘s been part of my life for over 50 years but if I can’t solve it in a reasonable time (“time allowed”) I come here.

        By the way a couple of years ago I failed miserably with a Giovanni puzzle (not the first or last time) which I thought was way too esoteric for a DT and I said so here… The Don, gentleman that he is, took the time to respond in an encouraging but unpatronising way – thank you Mr Manley.

        1. Oh that is such a lovely story! What a gentleman.

          Ah I am relieved to know there is no time constraint. I too have increasing problems with attention. I am sure (maybe, kind of) I remember being quite disciplined and meticulous in my horribly self opinionated and daft youth. But having found this little piece of paradise 18+ years ago and now being well and truly rural and I spend 2/3 of the day in the company of nobody except cats, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and the occasional bear (seriously, usually come through around 6th June) I find myself increasingly scatty and it takes next to nothing to distract me.

          Oooh look! Hummingbird!… Squirrel! erm… where was I?

          Just think, it’s only the DT crossword that is keeping me sane…

          Who said that?

          Luckily my husband of brumpty-mumble years thiks my ‘going-off-at-a-tangentness’ is endearing. And lets not disabuse him of that notion.

          1. It sounds sublime Carolyn. It’s like that here in Birmingham but without the hummingbird… erm… perhaps not :-)

            1. But you have very cute accents…. and memories of Jasper Carrott…. oh and…David Gunson, I just listened to that tape again the other day. And I am going waaaayyyy off at a tangent. And that crazy multiple roundabout thing. We lived in Oswestry for a while so I have been to your neck of the woods.

  30. Friday is my day of rest (soon to include Monday to Thursday too), so I always look forward to a good challenge. Unfortunately that was the crossword equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade with me leading the 600 against the canons.
    Well over my head, too many words I had never heard of and wordplay I could not fathom. Respect to anyone who could complete this without a hint.
    I used it as a learning exercise, though I am beginning to wonder if shove-halfpenny might not be a better pastime.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and DT for the hints.

  31. Completed in 2* time, but call it 3* because I had “adulterate” for 9a, even when I could see 5d had to be “nonets”. 3* for enjoyment too. I loved 3d, which took me back to delights like Kia-ora (and others, which I won’t specify) in the back rows of the Essoldo in Westcliff in the 1960s. Be still, my beating heart!

    Thanks to Giovanni, and DT.

  32. Just seen crypticsue’s posting of 2.02pm and think that she should recheck the Ryanair flight she is planning to catch from Stansted to Northern Ireland. I don’t think there are any.

    1. I can’t see any mention of an airline in my comment. I have never travelled with the one you mention.

      1. Funny how people associate Stansted with Ryanair.
        They do occupy most of it though.
        That Michael O Leery is a clever little fellow.
        When they flew to Hyeres, Ryanair used to say it was St Tropez.

  33. Found this tricky at breakfast, so gave up and went shopping. Got back in time for tea but still struggled, but did eventually finish with hints from Deep Threat. Some were obvious once I read the hint, but some I would not have got if I stayed up all night…hoping to be on the right wavelength tomorrow.

  34. Needed many hints for this one, found it a bit of a struggle, so thanks to DT for putting me out of my misery by explaining the answers and of course to the setter.

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