DT 28151 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28151

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28151

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Good morning. The turfing team are busy laying turf in our bar ready for Wimbledon Fortnight.

Stuart Lancaster’s men have proven themselves in Australia under Eddie Jones.

I cannot understand how the England football team will manage to win any games without scoring any goals. A radical rethink is urgently needed but I fear we will be congratulating mighty Iceland later tonight.

Rufus has once again charmed our lives with a gentle cryptic crossword puzzle. All seems well with the world.

If you cannot understand or solve a clue my comments may or may not help you to a solution. If you still need help please click on the greyed out box and the answer will be revealed.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    A word of twenty-six letters (8)
ALPHABET: A word which collectively describes all twenty six letters of the English language

6a    Release will be subtle with later time (6)
SUBLET: Move the letter T(ime) in the word Subtle to the end (later) of the word.

9a    Trapped and dismissed as a batsman (6)
CAUGHT: A double definition. The second being one of the ways in which a batsman may be dismissed in cricket

10a    Head initially greatly put out by state of apathy (8)
LETHARGY: Anagram (put out) of GREATLY and the first letter (initially) of the word H(ead)

11a    Boss organised Conservative bid for sympathy (3,5)
SOB STORY: Anagram (organised) of BOSS and our usual Conservative party member

12a    Jabbing petty officer with ruler (6)
POKING: P(etty) O(fficer) and a male monarch

13a    Serve alcohol mixes for one no longer in form (6,6)
SCHOOL LEAVER: Anagram (mixes) of SERVE ALCOHOL. I hope he is old enough to purchase it.

16a    Obstruct mail in capitals (5,7)
BLOCK LETTERS: Take a word meaning to obstruct and add a word meaning the contents of a postman’s bag. How many letters? Hundreds. Together they give a style of writing often needed when form filling

19a    Exist with just a part interest (6)
BEHALF: Split 4,2 we need a word meaning to exist and a word meaning a part or fraction thereof.

21a    David and Sam split change (8)
PSALMIST: This is more to my liking as an anagram (change) of SAM SPLIT. Did you try to (split) the civil union of DAVID and SAM? I did, but only for a tiny time.

23a    Scholar more tidy in crocodile, for example (3-5)
MAN EATER: Split 2,6 The initials used by one with a degree followed by a word meaning tidier will give an example of what a crocodile might be when split 3,5

24a    Sounds like a tugboat, but isn’t (6)
LUGGER: this small two or three-masted sailboat with a lugsail on each sounds as if it should be a tugboat but it isn’t. It is a small two or three-masted sailboat with a lugsail on each.

25a    Built a home for good man in want (6)
NESTED: place our usual good man inside a word meaning to want

26a    County players dejected (8)
DOWNCAST: This Irish county is followed by the word for a list of actors (players) in a play


2d    Persuade to believe dog’s ready for walkies (4,2)
LEAD ON: if your dog is thus equipped he is ready for a walk.

3d    Meteorologists enjoy these feelings of elation (5)
HIGHS: Meteorologically these good feelings also bring good weather

4d    Harbottle is thrown out by union (9)
BETROTHAL: Anagram (is thrown out) of HARBOTTLE. Mr Harbottle’s only reason to appear in a crossword clue is as an anagram of this answer.

5d    Cry when people meet (5-2)
TALLY HO: The meet here is the hunt and this is one of the Huntsman’s cries

6d    Upset, having to switch arrangement (3-2)
SET UP: Anagram (having to switch) of UPSET

7d    Diabolical service! (5,4)
BLACK MASS: A cryptic definition of a service to worship the devil

8d    Technician in control (8)
ENGINEER: A double definition.

13d    Religious rite holds a thousand in strange trances (9)
SACRAMENT: An anagram (strange) of TRANCES contains A from the clue and the Roman numeral for one thousand.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d    Decline to join ring with women supporting fiction, and remain uncultured (3,6)
LIE FALLOW: Follow the instructions given to solve this clue. Take a word meaning decline and add the round ring shaped letter and W(omen) to make a word. Place this word below (supporting) a word meaning a fiction or untruth. Uncultured here is a synonym for uncultivated

15d    Foreigner satisfied his appetite only to lose friendship (8)
ALIENATE: There are two words to find from the clue here. Split 5,3 we need a foreigner, possibly from outer space like ET. We then need a word meaning ‘satisfied his hunger’. I eat to satisfy mine but the cluing is in the past tense so we need the past tense of the word eat.

17d    Came to the point: red tape requires a new order (7)
TAPERED: Reverse the order (requires a new order) of the words RED TAPE straight from the clue. You may have thought that this is an anagram (requires a new order) of RED TAPE but it isn’t.

18d    Judge the fools will accept direction (6)
ASSESS: our usual crosswordland fools need a direction adding. One of the compass points will suffice

20d    Destined, we hear, to be honoured (5)
FETED: A homophone clue. We can find two definitions in this clue. Destined. To be honoured. The same sounding word fits both but they have a different second letter. The first being an A and the second being an E. Which does the setter want. In this case it’s the second which sounds like the first as confirmed by the ‘All Answers Correct’ banner on my iPad.

22d    The art of spelling (5)
MAGIC: Not spelling as in grammer (sic). Spelling as in sorcery.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

I found this to be an easy puzzle to solve. The delight came in writing the review which gives a fresh insight into how each clue works.

64 comments on “DT 28151

  1. The easiest Rufus for some time, but enjoyable. Thank you MPS and setter.
    Now that the stock market is in retreat the adverts for luxury goods have deserted the pack page, so every cloud has a silver lining.

  2. Easiest for a long time for me. Briefly held up in the SE corner, but not for long……generally good puzzle – for me the only slight hesitations were re 24a (which was for me at least obscure) and 19a (which was easy to get but not so sure why it means ‘interest’)…..

    1. Hi Omar, if you do something on someone’s ‘behalf’ then you could perhaps say that you’re doing it in their ‘interest’?

  3. MP. I’ve just enlarged your new photo in Meet the Bloggers and it rather looks like you’re wearing a nice suit, shirt and tie and have been drenched in liquid mud! Was it taken at Glastonbury? What’s the story?

    1. What else does one do between the end of the church service and pub opening time on a Sunday morning in rural Warwickshire.

      1. Presumably, stand underneath a liquid chocolate hopper – that’s what we do in rural Derbyshire!

  4. Some strange clues in 6a, 6d and 17d I thought.
    Is our Monday setter getting a bit lazy?
    Hesitated between the A and E also in 20d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.
    That Dynamo is really clever.

  5. Agree that this was a gentle start to the week – top half was R & W but bottom half took me a little longer to decipher. Shame the rain washed out the England innings yesterday after such a splendid result on Friday.
    Thanks to Rufus for an enjoyable start to the week and to MP for the entertaining blog.

  6. A refreshing dose of normality which went down a treat. Thanks to Rufus for that. Many thanks also to MP for the usual entertaining review with its touch of 22d.

  7. Light hearted Monday romp ,a */*** for me.
    Pleased that Miffypops brought up the ambiguity of 20a, as you could certainly fit in either homophone, and the checking letters were in the wrong place! a bit like Mr Corbyn !. Enjoyable start to the week, lets hope Roy continues the trend.

  8. Rufus has kicked the week off gently for us so only call on MP for me today was to completely parse 14d although I had struggled to sort 7d mainly due to having overlooked clever subtlety of 6a. Joint Favs 23a and 22d. Thanks Rufus and MP. **/***.

  9. Yes, easy but enjoyable with a few new words/meanings for me. I paticularly liked the 2 6s – staring you in the face but didn’t get on first pass. I’d come to expect that in the 10a construct the H should have gone at the beginning of the answer so was thrown for a bit with it being part of the anagram. For 20a it had to be the E version because of the second comma.
    Thanks all.

    1. Agreed. I often struggle to know which version is the right one but this one was crystal clear.

  10. Light fun as usual on a Monday, but unchallenging with virtually everything R&W today. It took me a little time to come to the decision that “destined” was the homophone and “to be honoured” was the definition for 20d on the basis that, if it was intended to be the other way round, the clue would have been: “destined to be honoured, we hear”. I also needed to check my BRB for my answer to 24a which was a new word for me.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Rd. 20a: I sometimes get confused with these homophone clues – working out which is the actual definition. But you’ve explained this one lucidly. Just incidentally, for the clue to work the other way round (with destined as the definition) all you need to do is remove the second comma as in: Destined, we hear to be honoured.

      1. I agree absolutely. Just said as much in answer to Graham above before reading your answer. You put it perfectly.

  11. Rufus takes a litle of the sting out of Mondays for me.. He adds pleasure to my morning coffee break. Thanks, Rufus

  12. Back home with Wi-Fi after an extended stay in Devon. A nice puzzle to start the week. A lovely variety of clues from Rufus has made for a good morning. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for his entertaining review.

  13. Wow, the only delay for me was having to fit a water-cooler to my pen half-way through. That’s put me in the mood for a Toughie. Damn, it’s Monday!

  14. Well I thought this was a little trickier than usual for a Monday. A fine selection of clues and 7d was my favourite. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and MP for his review.

  15. Regarding “Difficulty” asterisks………if a Toughie is a five star what time zone are we in? Curious too about the back-pager. I would never mention about how long it takes me to finish a puzzle…..(forever sometimes)….. but I would like to know the “Asterisk Value”…….
    Many thanks BD et al. England dv tonight then you can go and stitch the French!!

    1. Welcome to the blog Nadine

      Please don’t use capitals, it’s the internet equivalent of shouting. I’ve changed the case of your name.

      The star ratings are meant to be relative not absolute, with *** representing your mean solving time. A toughie that takes the same time as a back-page puzzle would usually be rated at least one * less.

    2. Surely the asterisks are really a personal opinion, for instance once person might find an hour really long time, another might well be very pleased to finish within that time. As with enjoyment, sometimes you just get on a setter’s wavelength, another time it can be a hard slog, although of course that can be enjoyable too.

      1. they are personal opinion, but BD said *** is your mean solving time, whatever that is. the enjoyment is also subjective, but for me that is what counts.

  16. One star, I completely agree, although 24a held me up for a while.

    But how on earth can this be one star, but Friday’s crossword, which I thought a stinker, with all its foreign words & phrases, and toughie-style clues, also be one star?

    I appreciate the star-ratings are subjective, but to justify Friday’s one star, you’d have to give this one minus three stars!

    Or are the stars basically meaningless?

  17. I thought this was more straightforward than the last few Rufus Mondays have been.
    I didn’t put 1a in until I had a few checking letters as I thought it could be a trap – it wasn’t.
    I’ve never heard of 24a but it had to be what it was.
    I take the point that MP made about reversing the order of two words in the 17d clue but it is still an anagram.
    I liked 11a and 2 and 7d. My favourite was 22d.
    With thanks to Rufus and MP.

  18. Found this fairly straightforward although I also fell into the David/Sam anagram trap for a bit. I enjoyed the rest of the anagrams which I obviously used a pencil for. I think 17a would be classed as an anagram too. 24a was only a tiny bit familiar so I looked that up.

    My favourite by a mile, (I measured) is the lovely 22d. I like 22d things.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for fantastic blog as always.

    Thank goodness for Wimbledon starting and well done Owen Farrell (and the rest of the team).

  19. I loved it as I can’t spare much time to tackle it. One easy one a week seems reasonable to me.
    Favourites were 6a and 13a.

  20. Yes a gentle start to the week and 21a in as I had it as a 3,5. Doh…thanks to Miffypops and Rufus.

  21. The customary enjoyable and fairly gentle introduction to the crossword week.

    Unusual to see two “reverse order” clues such as 6d and 17d in the same puzzle, and I think 21a may have been borrowed from Mr. Manley. Needed to check on 24a.

    My favourite clue was 7d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  22. Unfortunately there are no grey covers for the answers, so I shouldn’t use your help today as I like to try and solve answers first and use the help for the ones I can’t do. I also like to check my answers before continuing. However big Dave, thanks for being there!

    1. Welcome to the blog Jacki

      Try setting the url to http:// not https:// – and then bookmark the blog instead of coming here via a search engine like Google.

  23. Hi MP, your advice about improving one’s ability to work out synonyms by doing the ‘quickie’ is excellent. It has made a noticeable difference when doing the cryptic.
    Only one problem, I have turned the ‘quickie’ into the ‘slowie’, as sometimes it’s blooming difficult!!!!

  24. The prettier half of L’Equipe Paso Doble had got this done and dusted by the time I’d got back from the shops this morning!

    She agrees with the Right Honourable Monsieur Miffypops that it was a */****

    Therefore, many thanks to MP and to Lord Rufus himself…

  25. Lovely start to the week. Only 24a held me up, but once I had the checking letters, it was easy enough to google.
    Fave was 22d, but close runner up was 21a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his review.

  26. This was one of the easiest puzzles this year but enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review. Will need to water the vegetable garden today as our temperatures are soaring.

  27. Nice and easy does it, which was much appreciated on a busy day.
    Fractional hesitation over which of the two possibilities was required for 20d and again with the anagram fodder for 21a, but both reconciled in fairly short order.
    Top three for me are 11&26a plus 22d.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – particularly for the clip of the unbelievable Dynamo.

  28. I thought this was very gentle today but very enjoyable, */***.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  29. Oh so good to be able to write in one after the other…er, some of the time. Not exactly Rand W but getting there! But frustration upon frustration when I had to resort to the clues for 6a and second part of 7d.
    I liked lots of these but 23a was my favourite, mostly because I solved it!
    I’m getting the benefit of the “slowie” too, Hoofit. Often seems more difficult than the cryptic..which doesn’t say a lot about my expertise with synonyms.
    Thank you to MP and the setter.

  30. Late in today so pleased to find Rufus in relatively benign mood. My equine friends remained untroubled by this one, although I liked several of the clues, notably 22 down. Was 2*/3* for me, with many thanks to Rufus and MP for his entertaining comments.

    Will I watch England play the international footballing powerhouse that is Iceland?Probably, mainly because there is not much else on. Some goals from our forwards would be nice.

  31. Fairly straightforward, though 24ac was a bit of a guess. Couldn’t quite believe what a giveaway both 6ac and 6d were, and spent far too long looking for something more complicated.

  32. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. I was beaten by 24a, I must brush up on my seamanship, I suppose I’m a landlugger :-) Favourite was 6a. Was2*/3* for me.

    1. Surely you mean ‘landlubber’ Heno :whistle: You wouldn’t want people to think you were a tractor.

  33. A fairly gentle start to the week from my neighbourly record holding crossword setter with the horses calmly grazing in the meadow without a care in the world. Thought that 7, 14 & 22d were good, but I also thought that 24a was a bit woolly.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and MP for his enlightening review.

  34. I had a plan this morning. Drive to London then come home and watch the football, followed by puzzle time. I have watched some of the football, and decided that I would rather do the puzzle. Managed to finish it during half time, and now I really don’t know if I want to watch the second half of the football. A gentle start to the week with the puzzle.Thank you setter and
    Miffypops. Need to find something else to do now.

  35. The usual Monday struggle, I just don’t get on to this chap’s wavelength.
    I have spent more time doing half of this than I spent doing both the week-end’s prize puzzles.
    Utterly flummoxed.
    PS Bad luck England against the mighty Iceland

      1. Possibly, sometimes the ole brain just does not function.
        Still recovering from last night at the moment.
        Thanks very much for the amusing blog, btw.
        Thanks to the setter too.

  36. I didn’t find this one very satisfying to be honest . Some of the clues I agree seemed a bit lazy and not very cryptic 6a ,9a 1a ,3 d 12a etc. then I got mixed up with 10 across because I didn’t get the fact that the h from head should be in the middle of the anagram rather than at the start of the word which irritated me tbh . Also what are block letters ? We say block capitals don’t we . I’ve never heard of block letters . Also agree about 20 d and I’ve clearly been pronouncing feted wrongly all my life . Wasn’t my cup of tea overall I have to say but it’s interesting to read the views of others . Having said that I loved the anagram in 13a really made me smile JLO

    1. My understanding of block letters is that they may be either upper or lower case, as given in the SOED:

      * letters written without serifs and separate from each other

      Chambers and the Oxford Dictionary of English only seem to allow capital letters.

  37. I did this one yesterday afternoon – marginally more difficult/enjoyable than Saturday’s, so a very gentle start to the week. 2*/2.5*

  38. Late on parade. Whistled through on Monday but left with 6a, and 19 and 23a with intention of doing it while working yesterday. Slipped in quickly when found it this morning. So clever. I feel sorry for those who are not on same wavelength. Luckily for me I am. Thanks Rufus, Dave et al.

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