DT 28161 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28161

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28161

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where at the moment the sun is shining after overnight rain. We’re safely back from our French travels, and the lawn and the heap of washing have both been reduced to normal height.

There was one word (21a) which I don’t recall seeing before, but which could easily be deduced from the cluing, and the usual bit of GK, but I didn’t find anything to hold me up today. Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle.

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           Scholarly fellows who may communicate in writing? (3,2,7)
MEN OF LETTERS – Cryptic definition. A phrase describing (originally) literate people could also be read as describing people who communicate by post.

9a           Agent taking money abroad — I am bound to get ticking-off (9)
REPRIMAND – A shortened form of a word for a commercial agent, followed by some South African currency with the short form of ‘I am’ included.

10a         The emotions leaving a French port (5)
BREST – Remove the A (leaving a) from a part of the body said figuratively to be the seat of the emotions, to get a naval base in Brittany.

Image result for brest

11a         A wife guarding American state house carelessly (6)
ANYHOW – A (from the clue) and Wife, placed either side of an abbreviation for an American state and an abbreviation of HOuse.

12a         Plain area with lots of apartments? (8)
FLATLAND – If an area with lots of trees is woodland, then an area with lots of apartments is …

13a         Who might this be on TV? (6)
DOCTOR – This is a reference to the long-running TV series featuring Daleks, Cybermen and a police box that dematerialises.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a         Island resident about to go inside, doing nothing (8)
INACTIVE – An abbreviation for Island followed by a resident (strictly one who was born there) with an abbreviation of the Latin word for about or approximately placed inside it.

18a         Remove religious symbol not favoured (5,3)
CROSS OUT – The first word is a familiar Christian symbol, the second can mean ‘not favoured’.

19a         Moves clumsily, say, rolling around in drinking houses (6)
BARGES – Reverse the Latin abbreviation for ‘say’ or ‘for example’, and put it inside some drinking establishments (or parts of them).

21a         Eastern chaps taking time to put things right (8)
EMENDATE – Put together Eastern, some chaps, and a particular time on the calendar.

23a         Old coin found in country river (6)
STATER – A generic word for a country followed by River, giving us an Ancient Greek coin.

Image result for stater

26a         No such object could convey love (5)
THING – If you put together ‘no’ (from the clue) and the answer you get something which at tennis is called ‘love’.

27a         Milieu of Eton — British here risk looking silly (9)
BERKSHIRE British followed by an anagram (looking silly) of HERE RISK.

28a         Demand esteem having changed course and dealt with financial difficulty (4,4,4)
MADE ENDS MEET – Anagram (having changed course) of DEMAND ESTEEM.


1d           See me with jolly folk help female in Copenhagen (7)
MERMAID – Put together ME (from the clue), the initials of the military organisation whose members are known (in crosswords, anyway) as ‘jollies’, and some help. You get the statue of the Hans Christian Andersen heroine found in Copenhagen.

Image result for little mermaid copenhagen

2d           Refusal to keep very quiet? That may have to be changed (5)
NAPPY – The musical symbol for ‘very quiet’ wrapped in a word of refusal, to get an item of baby clothing that has to be changed frequently.

3d           Short day, very short, nothing on — see us being silly (9)
FRIVOLOUS – Put together an abbreviated day of the week, Very, the letter that looks like zero or nothing, a word for ‘See!’, and US (from the clue).

4d           Welshman last to take advantage (4)
EVAN – The last letter of takE followed by tennis jargon for ‘advantage’.

5d           Ultimately that Heather, having drunk rum, is walking unsteadily (8)
TODDLING – The last letter (ultimately) of thaT and another word for heather, placed either side of a word meaning rum or peculiar. The unsteady walk is that of a young child rather than a drunk.

6d           One sailor hugged by another revolutionary in capital (5)
RABAT – One of the usual crossword sailors wrapped in the reverse (revolutionary) of another crossword sailor, giving a North African capital city.

Image result for rabat

7d           Once again capturing ruler, led by soldiers, volunteers (8)
RETAKING – Put together the initials of a regiment of engineers, the former initials of what is now the Army Reserve, and a monarch.

8d           Street party set up — get mostly awful grub? (6)
STODGE – Put together the abbreviation for STreet, the reverse (set up) of one of the usual crossword parties, and the first two letters (mostly) of GE(t).

14d         Near awful noise and unable to escape? (6,2)
CLOSED IN – Split (5,3) we have a word for ‘near’ and an awful noise.

16d         Reformers sit around surrounded by maps (9)
CHARTISTS – Another word for maps, especially nautical ones, wrapped around an anagram (around) of SIT, to get the members of a 19th-century reform movement.

17d         Fit one American up with item of furniture (8)
SUITABLE – Put together the Roman numeral for one and an abbreviation for ‘American’, reverse the result and add an item of furniture.

18d         Island embracing adult fashion (6)
CREATE – A Greek island wrapped around Adult.

20d         Rising artist’s fellow becoming notable portrait painter (7)
SARGENT – Take the usual crossword artist, plus the ‘S, reverse the lot, and add a decent fellow.

Image result for sargent


22d         Code of principles to bother mum (5)
DOGMA – A word for ‘bother’ or ‘follow persistently’ followed by a familiar form of ‘mum’.

24d         Food providing energy after journey (5)
TRIPE – A journey or pleasure jaunt followed by Energy. Not a foodstuff I’m fond of.

Image result for tripe a la mode

25d         I hunted in the country (4)
IRAN – I (from the clue) followed by a word which, well down the list of definitions in Chambers, can mean ‘hunted’. Fortunately, the answer is a country name, and the choice of four-letter countries beginning with I is limited.

The Quick Crossword pun FLECK + SIBYL = FLEXIBLE

73 comments on “DT 28161

  1. 2*/3*. Another relatively mild but enjoyable offering from the Don today. The answer to 21a was a new word for me (or, to be more precise, I had never before come cross the verbal form used), and 25d involved a new meaning (ran = hunted) which had me reaching for my BRB.

    Anagram lovers will be disappointed today. I had found none until two finally popped up in the SE, which was my last corner to be completed.

    26a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    P.S. The economy must be picking up again – the back-pager has been relegated from the back page for the second day running.

    1. I agree, except that 26a was rubbish. You can’t put the answer in the middle! That clue needs emendating!

      Easy for a Friday, and yes, I am one armed atm, and so turning the paper over was a nightmare!

      cheers nico.

      1. Welcome to the blog Nico

        The clue is fine as far as I’m concerned. It’s a very simple example of a complex (composed of more than one, or of many parts [Chambers]) definition.

  2. Giovanni certainly seems to mellowing these days – thanks to him and to Deep Threat for the usual excellent review.
    Fans of our esteemed Sunday setter Virgilius may like to know that his alter ego Brendan has a delightful puzzle in the Guardian today.

  3. Well, airport run done (pommette currently at 38,000ft over the Bay of Biscay), shopping done, crossword done so what now? It’s either the Elkamere Toughie or the Brendan (Virgilius) in the Grauniad, or perhaps both – while the cat’s away :grin:

    This puzzle didn’t frighten the horses but was a bit of fun. I’ll agree with RD’s **/***. Also agree about 26a.

    Ta muchly to the Don and DT.

      1. I will be on FR2902 ALC-NQY at 1755CEST on Sunday, returning FR2903 NQY-ALC at 1055BST Wednesday.

        Not sure when pommette’s coming back but I think she’s on FR4007 MAN-ALC on Monday at 1830BST.

  4. Nearer a ** than a *, so agree with RD on a **/***, seat of the emotions was a new one for me -thanks DT and 21a too.
    Last in 25a produced the D’oh moment when the penny dropped.
    Good Friday entertainment. Tarporley Carnival tomorrow-weather forecast changed for the worst- not for the first time lately, at least it will be dry in the beer tent.

  5. An enjoyable puzzle but not remotely a *. If more than one sentence is required to express the “hint” the puzzle deserves at least **.

  6. Good fun – thanks Giovanni and of course DT. No problem in the West then slowly, slowly catchee monkey in the East paid off with 7d/19a last to fall. 21a and 23a new to me so needed confirmation. RD, I hadn’t thought about paucity of anagrams but no complaints about that from me. ***/***.

  7. You used to be able to fly from Brest to Exeter, arriving half an hour before you took off.

  8. Started off well within the 1* quoted by DT but then got into something of a ‘two-and-eight’ in the lower reaches, due to not knowing the verbal form of 21a (thanks for the description, RD), the coin at 23a and getting an attack of anagram blindness re: 27&28a.
    26a certainly gets high marks but I rather liked 1a as well.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for the review – so long since I’ve watched 15a that I’d forgotten what a nice piece of music the theme tune is in its own right.

  9. 2*/2*. Pretty straightforward and enjoyable if fleeting.

    Thanks to DT for the review and Giovanni.

    Are Giovanni and Elkamere the same person or are the connections between Back-pager 13a and 18d vs. Toughie 2d and 21d respectively simply coincidental?

    1. No, Giovanni and Elkamere are not the same person – they couldn’t really be more different.

  10. i came back from holiday on Sunday, hadnt done the DT puzzle for a couple of weeks. I think I must be very rusty, most people on here seem to think today is fairly simple, I certainly didnt. Only managed to get half way before resorting to the hints. Hope I can get back on track for next week.

    1. I didn’t think that it was easy either – it’s a Friday – wrong wave length completely. I always am on Fridays so another bit of company.

    2. Not easy for me either, some easy to solve, but a few stinkers in this one…

  11. I thought this was one of the most difficult Giovannis ever!
    Could some please explain why Thing (26a) and Van (4d) has anything to do with tennis? Complete mystery to us. The BRB defines breast as where emotions come from not emotions per SE so 10a is sloppy.
    IMHO really not up to Giovannis usual high standard.
    Thx to all

    1. I thought van was just lead = advantage

      26a is beautifully explained in the hint: no + thing = nothing = love in tennis

  12. Brian…..Deep Threat has explained ‘van’ in the hints, and done a good job with ‘thing’ too.

    Mind you, I agree with you about today’s puzzle being difficult. I struggled through and only needed help with 15a, but had to look up 21a and 23a to be sure they were words and not something I had made up because they fitted.

    Many thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.

    1. Sorry but as I said Van means nothing to us, is it some form of slang? Can see that 26a is Nothing without No but where in the clue does it give you any hint that it something to be taken away. Very very sloppy for Giovanni.
      Overall I thought this was a poor offering.

      1. As Deep Threat says, ‘van’ is tennis jargon.

        Time you cricketers brushed up on other games!

        See dutch above for 26a

      2. ‘van’ as used in tennis terminology is simply a short form of the word ‘advantage’. When the score reaches deuce (40 all) the next point is given as an ‘advantage’ to whichever player won it. They then require one more point to win the game.

        26a has been explained to you a couple of times. The clue states ‘no such object’ – substitute ‘thing’ for ‘such object’ and you are left with no + thing which gives you ‘nothing’. The score for a player in a game of tennis who has won no points is given as ‘love’.

        If you’re still in the dark then look up the rules of tennis – Mr. Google knows them all!

        1. Jane – nice to see your explanation of tennis scoring. I thought that with some effort you could have made it a bit more complicated and unintelligible and more along the lines of when the chaps (or chapesses, so’s not to be sexist as was suggested on the Tuesday blog) try to explain cricket stuff to us. :smile:

      3. When all else fails, try looking in Chambers:

        van (tennis) n short for advantage

  13. Certainly more than a 1* difficulty for me today – at least a 2* and maybe 3* for enjoyment.
    I always find a crossword with very few anagrams tricky – makes me realise how much I rely on them to get going.
    I’ve never heard of the 10a seat of the emotions or 21a and didn’t know where Eton is but I do now and at least that was a fairly obvious anagram.
    I didn’t know about the 1d female in Copenhagen.
    I liked 19a and 8d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. I missed the anagram but knew what county Eton was in and that county fit so it was bunged in. As for the lady in Copenhagen harbour. She has been there is 1913.

  14. I’ll go along with the majority view thus far and rate this 2*/3* as well. Fairly typical Friday fare from the Don, with lots to like and very little, if any, with which to take issue. Just to be different I’ll nominate 14 down as my favourite. Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    Mrs YS and I are just about to leave to drive to Worcester to watch a T20 against Lancashire this evening. Not real cricket but great fun.

  15. I started well but then slowed down quite a bit. Certainly not below average difficulty for a back page puzzle in my opinion.

    21a was a new one for me too. With reference to the Edwin Abbott Abbott book, I thought “plane area” would also work in 12a. The reminder of that, which I so much enjoyed reading many moons ago, makes 12a my favourite today.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  16. I found this at 1.00am so did it then. Quite enjoyed it although I missed both anagrams and worked out the answer from the checkers and the wordplay. As for 1d I used to go steady with one. Lovely long blond hair. Her vital statistics were 36 – 24 and 99 pence a pound.

  17. I’m beginning to miss the old Giovanni! This one was a steady solve, with only 21A and 23A sending me to the internet to check. 12A was a new expression for me, but readily solvable. Thanks G. and DT.

  18. My favourite was 2d. Thanks deep threat for explaining 10a – I should have looked in brb.

    Thanks giovanni and DT

  19. I found this a bit of a slog today at least ** for difficulty but ** for enjoyment, I think. I couldn’t quite seem to get on the right wavelength, although I can’t really see why. 23a was new to me, 12a seemed vaguely familiar from a long time ago (possibly another crossword?). Looking at it all again with hindsight, I think it must be me!
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  20. I didn’t have any real problems with this crossword. Maybe I am a little too forgiving!
    I liked Eton’s milieu best because it was different. 2/3* overall for sure.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for his review.

  21. A nice puzzle today. I’ve never heard, in four down, that term for ‘advantage’, despite years of playng tennis !

    **/**** from me. Thanks to all.

    1. I believe it is quite old-fashioned now, I don’t think it is used much these days. I seem to remember it from when I was at school – nuff said!

      1. I think “van in” is old English usage, whereas “ad in” is American, and now the American form is always used now.

        1. Yes – it used to be ‘van in’ (if the server had the advantage) and ‘van out’ if the other one did. Now they just say ‘Advantage’ followed by the name of the player who won the point.

  22. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, needed the hints for 12a, I had flatlets, 19a, 7&20d, never heard of the latter. Remembered 16d from the other day. Favourite was 21a. Was 4*/2* for me.

  23. Nearer *** for difficulty for me. I think I was being a bit dim until a got a few checkers in. Enjoyable nonetheless so thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  24. Rats!! Federer just lost, am in deep mourning.

    Really, DT, just 1* for difficulty? I struggled with this, more so than yesterday.
    I never did get 28a or 7d, but have to admit that not getting 7d was sloppy on my part. I was so sure that the last word in 28a was “debt”, having fixated on that, I missed it completely. I must learn to be more flexible in my thinking.
    I liked 27a, but fave was 26a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the hints – I forgive you for the 1* difficulty!

    1. Sorry, Merusa. My difficulty markings are based on the time taken, and if the little clock on the Telegraph Puzzles site is working properly, this was * for me. There are weeks when I take my *** time and most commenters give it ** or fewer.

    2. Yes Merusa – I’m in deep mourning too as is the friend who watched the match with me although she had predicted it. :cry: He’s just so lovely and the perfect gent.

      1. He must still be kicking himself for serving two successive double faults when serving to save the fourth set. Up till that point, the momentum was with him, but then it all changed. Fair play to Raonic, he can have rarely played better.

        1. Absolutely! I like Raonic and he is a very good player, I suspected he may win – new blood and all that. Hope Andy carries it off in the final, but what a boost for Canada if he wins!

  25. Ooops! Missed the anagram at 28a and rushed in with ‘earn ones keep’.

    Did manage it except 4d & 20d. Just for the record, 26a is an untidy clue, even if it does just about work.

    **/** for me. Thanks to all as ever

  26. I much prefer these type of Giovanni puzzles, just one obscurity for me today – the artist in 20d. Never heard of the gentleman. I hadn’t previously encountered the synonym for “emotions” in 10a either, but the answer couldn’t have been anything else.

    Favourite clue was 2d, as it produced the widest grin.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat, I hate to think how tall your grass must have grown while you were away!

    1. 2d produced the widest grin? I can only wonder how many you’ve changed! I’m only joking, honest guv . . .

  27. One new word, two unknown place names, but a pleasant breezy solve where all the unknowns were impeccably clued. A confidence boosting end to the working week.

  28. The geography in 10a and 27a was a bit trickier for me than most of you but they were gettable from the wordplay. Both 21a and 23a needed confirmation by BRB. No scribbles in the margin, a sign of a gentle puzzle. I enjoyed it.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  29. Good evening everybody.

    Despite having more time than usual this puzzle defeated me with five unsolved.

    21a and 23a, both of which seemed clear but knowing neither word I didn’t write them in. I never hear either word spoken round here. I thought the solution to 26a was the solution but couldn’t see why. Perhaps these would have led me to 22d but I’d also convinced myself that 28a was something ones debt so I’d have been no better off.

    In short, a Hodgsonesque performance.


  30. More than * difficulty for me, especially as I have never come across 21a, or 23a. Was certain 28a was Paid ones debts and never recognized it as an anagram, a shame as I do like solving them. Favorite for cleverness and smile provoking was 13a across.

  31. Right on the 1/2* cusp, and 3* for enjoyment. 13a was my favourite – I didn’t spot it straight away but when I did it elicited a smile. I’ve been a fan since I first hid behind the settee in the William Hartnell years, and still await each new series eagerly. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  32. Certainly easier than Thursday, which as usual had me flummoxed 😕 But more ***/** I did not like 26a but liked 13a & 17d 😕 Thanks to DT and to Giovanni

  33. Had to check a couple of my possible answers in the BRB and on the web too in an otherwise very straightforward and agreeable crossword.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

    1. Ps: It’s almost 1am and still over 25 degrees Celsius outside. Not going to sleep very well.

  34. For the second day running had to depend largely on the clues and explanations. So even though very late calling in, wanted to say thank you to DT and Pommers for the help and to the Giovanni and Ray T respectively who are both doing a great job of over heating my old brain!

  35. After two disastrous days, a day when I finish without hints, a rarity!!
    Lovely cluing, I was fine with ‘van’, I recall it goes with ‘van-in’ and ‘van-out’ to indicate which way the advantage is going.
    Many thanks to DT, I needed to parse a couple of answers.
    Thanks to the Don for a puzzle I could complete unaided, for a change.

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