DT 28149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28149


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28149

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Bonjour from La Grande Sologne at Nouan le Fuzelier in Central France, where after two days of 30° temperatures we have a rainy morning with the threat of thunderstorms later. This will be our last stop before coming home next week. I shall be travelling next Friday, and I believe that Hanni will be here instead of me.

After a hot, sticky night with limited sleep I was expecting more of a tussle with Giovanni this morning, but found that everything fell into place remarkably quickly – possibly the fastest time I have recorded while doing these blogs.

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           Old boy returning to gambling game in woman’s waistcoat! (6)
BODICE – Reverse (returning) the initials identifying an old boy of a school, and add a gambling game involving cubes.

4a           Notice the fellow getting torn apart as a partisan (8)
ADHERENT – Put together a sort of notice, the pronoun for ‘the fellow’, and ‘torn apart’.

9a           A bit of work on toy (6)
DOLLOP – A toy (usually seen as for girls) followed by the Latin abbreviation for a musical work.

10a         Remove misbehaving sergeant (8)
ESTRANGE – Anagram (misbehaving) of SERGEANT.

11a         Girl’s first — paid attention and shone (9)
GLISTENED – The first letter of Girl followed by ‘paid attention’.

13a         Mechanical component to corrode, getting yellow (5)
ROTOR – Another word for ‘corrode’ followed by the heraldic term for yellow.

14a         Drunk arrives insane for special celebrations (13)

17a         Drama not easily understood? Pretend to lack interest (4,4,2,3)
PLAY HARD TO GET – This phrase, describing how a young lady (typically) may strive to keep the attention of her suitor, literally describes a dramatic work which is difficult to understand.

21a         Odd sailor rolling over in dance (5)
RUMBA – Another word for ‘odd’ followed by the reversal (rolling over) of one of the usual crossword sailors.

23a         The most important thing on our menu possibly (6,3)
NUMERO UNO – Anagram (possibly) of ON OUR MENU.

24a         How to provide tips for cooking device (8)
TURNSPIT – The answer, split (4,4) could be read as a way to generate ‘tips’. It is also a device (and originally a person) engaged in the process of roasting meat.

Image result for turnspit

25a         Bothering about a piece of jewellery (6)
CARING – The Latin abbreviation for about or approximately, followed by a piece of jewellery.

26a         Funny Leo, great friend to be trusted (5,3)
ALTER EGO – Anagram (funny) of LEO GREAT.

27a         Fairly good journey down mountain but without sun (6)
DECENT – Remove the Sun from a word for coming down a mountain.


1d           Person over time built up wine store (6)
BODEGA – A person or chap followed by the reverse (built up, in a Down clue) of a period of time.

Image result for bodega

2d           I, a boy going the wrong way, hit a religious leader (5,4)
DALAI LAMA – I and A (from the clue) and a word for a boy, all reversed, followed by ‘hit’ and the second A (from the clue).

Image result for dalai lama

3d           Prisoner admitting defeat? One may be in the soup (7)
CROUTON – A massive defeat placed inside one of the usual crossword prisoners.

Image result for crouton

5d           Mister, a dude, contrived to get something much wanted (11)
DESIDERATUM – Anagram (contrived) of MISTER A DUDE.

6d           Old region‘s old city in a rite, dancing (7)
ETRURIA – Anagram (dancing) of A RITE, wrapped around the old biblical city in the Chaldees.

7d           Artist and group of sailors occupying estate briefly (5)
ERNST – An abbreviation of ‘estate’ wrapped around the initials of the group of sailors who man our warships.

Image result for ernst

8d           Suppose duck has got into the tower (8)
THEORISE – THE (from the clue) and a tower or uplift, placed either side of the letter which looks like a cricketing duck.

12d         Reaching no conclusion, like two getting upset and separating (5-6)
NEVER-ENDING – A word describing a number like two, reversed, then a word for separating or tearing.

15d         Meddlesome at home — endless responsibility yours truly has (9)
INTRUSIVE – Start with a word for ‘at home’, then add a responsibility with its final letter removed, and follow it with ‘yours truly has’.

16d         Old father in Paris staying off booze before a musical show (8)
OPERETTA – Put together Old, the French for father, the letters indicating someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, and A (from the clue).

18d         He roars awkwardly, having a rougher voice (7)
HOARSER – Anagram (awkwardly) of HE ROARS.

19d         Material from European country ending in Chile (7)
GERMANE – An adjective describing someone from a particular European country, followed by the final letter of ChilE.

20d         Looked for nothing, after initial change of direction (6)
SOUGHT – Start with a word for nothing, then change the initial letter from one direction to its opposite.

22d         Goodness me — solver finally has got it! (5)
MERIT – Put together ME (from the clue), the final letter of solveR, and IT (from the clue).

The Quick Crossword pun CASQUE + AIDES = CASCADES

48 comments on “DT 28149

  1. 1*/2*. Lots of Lego bricks out again today. I agree with DT that this was at the easier end of the Don’s spectrum although I did need to check two answers. I was going to question 23a but the BRB confirms it is an acceptable phrase. I also didn’t know that 26a could refer to a confidant but that too is in the BRB. 22d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Chambers only has “one’s second self” as a definition for 26ac, which sounds far from something to be trusted.

  2. Needed a careful read of the clues and then straight forward, agree with D T’S rating .No 5 was new and I made the SE corner difficult by putting number one for 23a- not very careful ! Thanks DT for the blog pics,have seen the photo of the Dalai Lama before-I always thought he looked somewhat incongruous wearing spectacles and a watch ,not quite right for an Ascetic.

  3. Another straightforward one from the Don – this is definitely getting worrying!
    Only slight hesitation was wanting ‘toy’ to be the definition at 9a and taking a while to see the relevance of ‘two’ in 12d.

    Favourite is 17a for its surface read.

    Thanks to DG and also to our soon to be homeward bound DT. Hope you have a trouble free journey back.

  4. Please avoid politically motivated comments. I have already deleted one, and others will suffer the same fate. This is a crossword blog, not a forum for views on the verdict of yesterday’s referendum.

  5. Rather over-anagrammed but plenty of other engaging cryptic clues. Tried for a while to use bolero for 1a until penny dropped. Was of course aware of Etruscan art but not the 6d name of region whence it came. 24a simple to guess even if full name of the device new to me. Thanks Giovanni and DT. ***/***.

  6. As I needed hints on a couple of clues I will go for **/*** rating today 5D & 6D were new words for me & I had to google the artist in 7D apart from that it was fairly plain sailing. Many thanks to the setter & DT for his review,wishing all a splendid weekend.

  7. The Don is being kind to us! No great problems solving this…. except how I quite managed to make 23a into Number One with the letters that were available I’ll never know! So that has to be my favourite. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his review.

  8. Held up with 4a. I had the right person for 2d, but unfortunately it was incorrectly spelt. Tricked a bit with 13a as I put in ‘rusty’ and had to check the review. The rest was plain sailing. 23a was my favourite. Thank you DT and the Don.

  9. Definitely a gentle Giovanni but very enjoyable.
    Could have done it even if Britain left the internet.
    No pencils needed either for the anagrams and the BRB wasn’t opened once.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the blog.

  10. OK – one of those ‘just me’ days. I found this tricky and my last few answers took ages.
    Like Angel I tried very hard to justify ‘bolero’ for 1a – even got as far as looking in the BRB to see if ‘lero’ is a game – it isn’t.
    Like Florence I thought about ‘rusty’ for 13a but couldn’t make it work – luckily I didn’t put it in.
    Really not my day – Fridays never are – thank goodness for the anagrams.
    I liked 14a and 15d. My favourite was 17a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  11. Got to a full grid ok, but 6d was an educated guess. The mountain seems unnecessary in 27a. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  12. Would have been a * but for 24a and 12d. Got the answer to each but needed the hints to parse the answers. Giovanni has excelled himself with weird words today in 5d, 7d and 6d at least they are unknown to me. All were there in the clue but needed the BRB to confirm. By far the best clue for me was 17a, a real smile clue.
    Such a relief after yesterday’s tedious slog. Got enjoyment I would give it ****.
    Thx to all.

  13. This was 2*/3* for me. Comfortable, enjoyable and not too taxing. A reasonable mix of clue types, and 17 across was my favourite. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  14. I agree that this was on the gentler side for the Don but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I had to check 6d was right and it did take a bit to parse 8d. All anagrams were dispatched with a pencil…today’s colour is yellow.

    Liked 10a, 14a, 17a, 23a and 18d. Favourite is 22d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a great blog. Enjoy the rest of your travels.

    It’s sunny again on the moors. This worries me.

  15. Very enjoyable and very solveable 😊 */*** 5d & 6d were new words for me 😁 And Iwould never have thought of that meaning of material in 19d but all the answers were evident from the clues 🤔 Really liked 17 & 26a. Thanks to DT and Giovanni 👍

  16. Like Beaver and Gwizz I also put ‘Number One’ for 23a as it both fit the clue and the letters already in situ. Thanks Deep Threat for putting me straight.

  17. Once I got on the right wavelength for 23a, not realising until afterwards it was an anagram – doh, I found this straightforward, **/***. A nice mix of clues and I particularly liked 17a, which made me smile, and 24a, which ‘did what it said on the tin’, very witty.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  18. I found this a bit tricky, but only because I made stupid mistakes.
    Like Angel and Kath, I put “bolero” in for 1a, but I am sure I wasted far more time trying to find the game “Lero”.
    I didn’t get 6d, but I should have gnawed at it a bit more as I am aware of Etruscan art, I just lost interest.
    Apart from that, no problems
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the hints. Off to google where you’re at now.

  19. Nice puzzle and doable for me, but saying that, the last few were a struggle. I reacted in exactly the same way as Merusa with 6d, just couldn’t bring it to mind but glad to have worked out the wordplay. Also needed help with 7d and 13a.
    Proud to have made an effort with 1a and rejected bolero for the correct answer eventually.
    Liked 9a, 17a, and 23a. Thanks to the setter and DT for the hints.

  20. Good afternoon everybody.

    Not even the mysterious absence of the caff’s Telegraph’s back page could take the gloss off this day. I hope that wasn’t the mystical EU benefit I’ve heard about this last 43 years…

    I had a stab at the puzzle in another place and that proved too tricky by half for this sleep deprived cruciverbalist.


      1. I didnt want this blog to descend to the same depths as Facebook.

        Here are two comments from “friends”, both of whom I am embarrassed to say are setters, one on the Telegraph, the other on the Guardian etc.

        “Gratifying to know I live in a country where more than half the population is thick as shit”

        “I’m privileged in knowing lots of smart people. I haven’t heard one of them state they’re in favour of leaving the EU”

        I really thought that they ought to have behaved better than that and didn’t want the same thing happening here.

        1. Absolutely agree. I keep off Facebook but often see comments on ‘serious’ newspaper websites that astound.

          I post and then look at hints if I need to before reading others’ comments. I should have looked at the comments before posting today!

  21. At the more enjoyable and straightforward end of the Giovanni spectrum, freed as it was from obscurities and religious references which seem to be making fewer and fewer appearances lately.

    Favourite clue was 17a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and La Menace Profonde, hope you have a safe journey home. A good weekend to all.

  22. Straightforward puzzle from Giovanni which I enjoyed solving.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni */***

  23. Definitely on the easier side for a Friday. Having both 5d and 6d in the same corner did though cause me some difficulties. LOI 24ac, which is one of those you kick yourself when you finally spot it.

  24. Anyone care for a quick game of Lero? We could set up the gear and the rules shouldn’t be too hard to learn. Glad we weren’t the only ones to go down that path and we also, without thinking it through, started with number one for 23a. The setters farewell note in the clue for 22d rather appealed to us. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. Not sure that I could learn how to play Lero. I can, just about, manage snap . . .

  25. Been for a walk in the Cotswolds today so only just finished. Several new words but managed to work them out. 5d just weird. Thanks for the parsing of 24a and 12d. And putting me straight on 25a (yes, I’d put earing in!). 2/3 for me. Thanks to Giovanni too.

  26. Very straightforward: 1*/3*. I’m not sure I appreciate my Service being referred to as “a group of sailors”, but I enjoyed 9 and 24 across. Thanks to the Don, and DT.

  27. Very enjoyable, late on parade though.
    Fav was 1d.
    Thanks to DT and the Don.

  28. I’ve been doing the Telegraph crossword for more than 25 years now, and do not consider myself to be an accomplished solver by any means, but your assessment of this puzzle to be one star of difficulty has, frankly, left me bewildered.

    Of the answers, a third were either foreign words or Latin or proper names (countries/persons). I’d certainly never heard of Etruria before. 24a deserves to be in the Toughie, not the back page. Partisan does not mean adherent as far as I am concerned, remove = estrange???, and I didn’t know that an alter ego is a “friend to be trusted”.

    I am much disheartened by this review.

    1. Hi Kell – don’t think I’ve seen you post before. So if this your first comment welcome to the blog. Regarding DT’s 1* assessment for difficulty – it’s purely his assessment of a puzzle by a setter he reviews every week. I would have given it a 2* but I’m not always on the Don’s wavelength. It’s purely subjective.

      Mr Manley is renowned (in this blog anyway) for his religious and obscure answers and I think 6d is a typical example. However, his clueing is always fair and ‘gettable’. The style of clue for 24a is becoming quite regular (again) in cryptic crosswords and is possibly an acquired taste.

      I think that you’ll find that the combination of – remove = estranged & alter ego = a friend to be trusted – are definitions virtually copied from Chambers.

    2. Cheer up! I’ve been doing the crossword for a very long time too. I’ve also been reading and commenting on this brilliant blog for a long time and have learnt a huge amount from it.
      I found this much more than a 1* difficulty – it really is all to do with whether or not you’re on the same wave-length as the setter.
      Please don’t be disheartened. :smile:

    3. Hi Kell,

      As others have said, the ratings are entirely subjective. I enjoy RayT/Beam but I am so far off wavelength with him whereas others can often fly through a puzzle.

      I agree with SL though, that even if you don’t know something, Giovanni is usually very fair with his clues…plus it’s always good to learn new stuff, well I like it anyway. :smile:

  29. Got to this late as our daughter has come home for a couple of days of company while her boyfriend and his mate are at Glastonbury.

    Enjoyed this. We too took the bolero red herring for a little while. Nevertheless an enjoyable solve. 2*/2* with 24a our favourite clue.

    Thanks to DT and the Don. Special thanks to BD for keeping the blog on message and free of referendum comments.

  30. Late on parade, again. My days seem to be a bit topsy turvy at present (damn predictive stuff, wouldn’t accept ‘topsy’ and kept on coming up with ‘tipsy’ – it knows me so well :smile:)

    Mr Manley has certainly been in a benign mood over the past few weeks and that’s not too a bad thing imho. The only one that needed all the checkers was 6d – but I’m sure I’ve come across it before. A tad too many anagrams for my taste but, all in all, a good Friday puzzle that a sleep deprived solver managed to get through.

    Thanks to the Don for the puzzle and our intrepid travelling reviewer for his review. Hope you manage to get back to dear old Blighty.

  31. I liked this a lot. It mostly went in smoothly, with a couple of hold-ups (24a, 6d) but they soon leapt out at me as the London Pride slipped down like the room-temperature ambrosia it is. Liked the anagrams, which I think made it a satisfying solve. Too many good ‘uns to nominate a favourite. Ta to the Don and DT 2*/4*

    1. How are things progressing TS? Obviously one arm must be working to allow you to quench your thirst. Good to see you posting :smile:

    2. Hi TS,
      You’re sounding much more ‘like yourself’ – hope the same is true of all the rest of you.
      I’ve missed your regular updates on the state of the city’s rail system and the variable condition of your fellow passengers!

    3. Thanks for thoughts, chaps. I am getting very much better, although I’m still on many pills, and am back at work. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I have glimpsed the sunlit uplands ahead.

  32. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Yes, I would agree, very gentle for a Giovanni. Still, I needed the hints for 24a, which I really should have got, no excuses! I’d never heard of 5d, but managed to guess it from the fodder and the checkers. As for 6d I’d never heard of it either, but had the wrong fodder, so it was impossible, although fairly clued. Being an occasional hill-walker, my favourite was 27a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  33. I did this Fri aft and though not particularly difficult, thoroughly enjoyed it. I managed to get 5d just using the checkers and a dictionary, but it was a new word for me. Etruria was an ancient region of Italy but it is also a suburb of present-day Stoke-on-Trent. 2*/3*

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