DT 28166 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28166

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28166

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. It’s a lovely morning in Oxford although it looks and feels very autumnal – I’m beginning to wonder if summer’s by-passed us this year. This isn’t a Ray T Thursday – I’m not going to pretend that I have much of an idea who set today’s crossword. It could be Shamus but I’m really only saying that because it’s about his turn. There’s a fair mixture of clues including a few trickier ones so I’ve given it 3* for difficulty but, as always, I’m more than happy for anyone to disagree with me. I enjoyed it. Please leave us a comment telling us how you got on today.

In the hints that follow the definitions are under-lined and the actual answers are hidden under the things that say ANSWER so only do that it you need to see them.


8a            Versatile comedian holding surprised expression — it’s pretension (8)
FLUMMERY — This well known comedian is also an actor and presenter (versatile). He has a short surname into which you need to put a fairly unusual surprised expression – the BRB tells me that it means ([Lord] love me).

9a            Elevated figure dividing US city almost (6)
NEARLY — The figure in the clue is elevated because he’s a member of the nobility – he’s sitting in the middle of two initials that are the abbreviation for the largest city in the USA.

10a         Fuss overshadowed boxing (3)
ADO — This is a ‘lurker’ or a hidden answer – it’s in the middle of the middle word of the clue indicated by the word ‘boxing’.

11a         Firm backed gambling site with a final twist in time (8)
OCCASION — Begin with a reversal (backed) of the usual two letters for a firm or a company and follow them with a place where roulette and other gambling games are played – then another reversal (a final twist) of the last two letters.

12a         Resources the law distributed (6)
WEALTH — An anagram (distributed) of THE LAW

13a         Standard adhered to in the US? (5,3,7)
STARS AND STRIPES — This standard is a flag.


15a         Uncle, face of 13, and young reporter knocked back a drink (7)
SAMBUCA — This ‘uncle’ is the personification of the US government or its people (face of 13 ie the previous clue). Follow that with a reversal (knocked back) of a word that means a young or inexperienced reporter and finish it off with the A from the clue. With a bit of luck you’ll end up with an Italian liqueur which is made from aniseed – sounds ghastly.


18a         Paint special number on car carrying chaps (7)
PIGMENT — The special number here is a mathematical symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter – begin with that and follow it with two letters that mean a car designed to travel in comfort and at high speed – those last two letters contain (carrying) some chaps or blokes.

21a         Capital band going round district with tune and ballad (11,4)
SCARBOROUGH FAIR — The ballad is a very well know one. Start off with a piece of clothing – a long narrow piece of material that can be wrapped around your neck or head (capital band). This contains (going round) a local government division of a city and then you need a short word for a tune or melody – one of those that’s easier to do than it is to write a hint for.

24a         A hut is renovated in short break (6)
HIATUS — An anagram (renovated) of A HUT IS.

25a         Means of transference between banks for an estate? (3,5)
CAR FERRY — Nothing to do with finance – the banks are river banks and the estate is a vehicle.



26a         Sack fellow thrown out in rage (3)
IRE — Another word for sack or dismiss from employment without the abbreviation for F(ellow) – fellow thrown out.

27a         Accepted rule, we hear, as part of snooker? (6)
CANNON — This one is a homophone of an ecclesiastical rule or law – the answer is a stroke used in snooker and billiards. I think we could probably add snooker to the ever increasing list of things that I don’t know anything about.

28a         Dejected, as large number have figures one could see on stage (8)
DOWNCAST — Start off with the letter that means 500 in Latin (large number), follow that with a verb to have or possess and finish off with a group of actors (figures one could see on stage). The answer was pretty clear but the ‘why’ took a bit of sorting out.



1d            Bring to light what’s allowed on the internet? (6)
ELICIT — A word meaning allowed or legal is preceded by the letter that is used for everything electronic or to do with the internet.

2d            Damage independent politician before broadcast (6)
IMPAIR — The one letter abbreviation for I(ndependent) and the two letters meaning a politician or member of parliament come before a word meaning broadcast or make public.

3d            Substitute circling — one pass and it could be a walkover (7,8)
PELICAN CROSSING — An anagram (substitute) of CIRCLING – ONE PASS.


4d            Extremists in country support East acquiring new deadly material (7)
CYANIDE — Start with the first and last letters (extremists in) of C(ountr)Y, and follow that with a word for support or assistance which contains (acquiring) the one letter abbreviation for N(ew) – finish it all off with another one letter abbreviation, this time the one for E(east).

5d            Understand very few articles, yet be shrewd (4,1,5,2,3)
KNOW A THING OR TWO — A verb to understand or be familiar with is followed by not many (very few) articles or items. This is the kind of expression that your Dad might have said to you, “I’ve been around for a while and I **** * ***** ** ***”

6d            Soldier like Montgomery principally as example (8)
PARADIGM — Begin with the soldier from the clue – he’s one who is carried by air – follow him with a verb to like or be a big fan of something and finish off with the first letter (principally) of Montgomery. None of you would believe how much I now know about Field Marshall Montgomery.

7d            Dishevelled woman, second of two sitting between poles (8)
SLATTERN — Not the first of two, or former, but a word for the one that came after (no – not the second) is contained in (sitting between) the abbreviations of the poles of the earth.


14d         Division of company getting damage in East End (3)
ARM — A word meaning damage or injure without its first letter – as we all know anyone living in the East End of London always drops an H at the beginning of a word.

16d         Leading opponent, heartless regarding records (8)
ARCHIVAL — A leading opponent or enemy number one without it’s middle letter (heartless).

17d         Singer from Italian city with colour (8)
BARITONE — Begin with an Italian city in Apulia and on the Adriatic sea and follow that with a colour, or depth of colour or shade.

19d         Period of years, limitlessly confused (3)
ERA — An anagram (confused) of the middle three letters (limitlessly) of YEARS

20d         Allow case against top player reportedly (7)
CONCEDE — Start with a contraction of the Latin word for against and follow that with a homophone (reportedly) of a top tennis player – a word that gives them their positions in the world, I think.

22d         Charge excessively for thermal coat (6)
FLEECE — A double definition, the second meaning a nice warm fluffy coat or jacket.

23d         Sudden arrival sadly ruins start of holiday (6)
INRUSH — An anagram (sadly) of RUINS followed by the first letter (start) of Holiday.

I liked 8a and 1 and 6d. My favourite was 5d.

The Quickie Pun:- HEIR + BORN = AIRBORNE

68 comments on “DT 28166

  1. I’ll go along with Kath’s 3*/3* rating and her choice of 5d as favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron for an enjoyable challenge and to Kath for an entertaining review.

  2. Sitting overlooking a lovely Greek bay with a stinking cold! At least this gave me something else to think about: it required a lot of thought and a little electronic help. Definitely **** difficulty for me. Thanks to Kath for the entertaining blog and explaining 8a for me. Favourite was 21a as it always takes me back to happy days in folk clubs. Thanks also to the setter whoever it turns out to be.

  3. Two new words learnt today in 8A & 6D for which I am very grateful for the hints.Many thanks to the setter & to Kath for her review.

  4. No real sweat today but plenty of pleasant food for thought. Thank you Mysteron and Kath, particularly for parsing 18a for me (quite convoluted!). Wot no musical hint for 21a. ***/***.

    1. Sorry about the lack of the musical hint for 21a – it’s one of the many things that I haven’t quite learnt how to do – it took me long enough to be able to do the pics! :sad: One day I’ll get one of the clever ones to teach me.

        1. Thank you – you’re right – someone had to do. My next mission, apart from cutting the grass, again, weeding the veggie patch, keeping up with picking beans, courgettes, tayberries, spinach, red currants etc, and then doing something appropriate with it all, is to learn how to do this.

          1. Kath, I was merely making an observation but in no way casting aspersions because I am utterly in awe of your very capable blogging activity. I certainly could not begin to do as much. Many thanks for all your help past and present.

            1. I will learn how to do it, very soon – thanks for the push that will make me do so and don’t worry, no offence taken. :smile:

            1. Thank you, MP – the problem for me is not the suitable suggestions, although I think mine could be very different to yours, it’s how to get what I want where I want it. Oh dear – don’t worry about it – if I can’t do it I probably know a man who can.

  5. A bit tricky but I got there in the end. Like Kath I now know a lot about the Field Marshall. Took me a while to parse that one. Thanks to Setter and to Kath for the review.

  6. Again I started at the bottom of the grid and worked upwards. 8a was my last one in; I had completely forgotten that word of surprise. Once I realised, I just liked the word so it is favourite. A good challenge and enjoyable too so 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for her usual top notch review.

  7. Very tricky, could only manage about half before resorting to the hints. Too complex for me. Never heard of 8a before , still trying to work out who the actor is?

    1. The 8a comedian/actor/presenter, and probably lots of other things too, is Stephen Fry – at least I hope he is!

    2. Pete – guess it’s Stephen Fry.

      Thanks for the hints, really struggled with some of the clues, and would never have finished it without

  8. Easier than usual for Thursday for me. Unusually finished in one sitting.
    For 3rd time this week NW corner last.
    Wonder if setters “packing that corner to get headscratching going early?
    Thanks to setter & Kath. 21a as difficult to describe as it is to whistle

  9. Thanks to Mr Ron, perhaps Petitjean? Also to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it really difficult. Was 4*/3* for me. I was defeated by 8a, had heard of mummery but not flummery. Trying to parse it was almost as hard as the clue, but I thought of Mr Fry in the end. My favourite was 21a, I remembered Simon & Garfunkel. Last in was 1d. Thought 6d was very clever. Most enjoyable. I got the answer to 25a, but needed Kath’s hint to parse it.

  10. I bunged in 8a – I hadn’t come across the answer or the expression of surprise, and I was trying to get a much bigger word for the comedian – so many thanks Kath for the correct parsing of that.

    I liked the cryptic definitions 13a (standard) & 25a (means of transference)

    Many thanks Kath and setter

  11. A bit of a tussle for me. 8ac. Was impossible so thank you Kath for the answer. I still don’t understand the parsings. To my mind there should have bee a Scottish chimney reeking lang somewhere in there. Thank to the setter.

  12. Certainly a *** for difficulty today for me as I teased out the answers and a *** for enjoyment, looking at the blog, this seems about right.
    I thought 21a worked very well.
    Thanks Kath for the pics -liked 3d.Reminds me of the two hedgehogs surveying a zebra crossing, one says to the other-” if the Zebra couldn’t make it, what chance have we got !

  13. Was also flummoxed by 8a.
    Didn’t get it from the hint either but Kath was sweet enough to make it clear later on the blog. Thanks for that.
    Found it harder than the toughie with a lot of misdirections.
    Thanks to the setter for the tussle and to Kath for the help.

  14. Blimey I found bits of that tricky. 8a just passed me by so thanks Kath

    Favourite is 5d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a top blog!

  15. I needed the review for 8a and 6d so thank you Kath for coming to my rescue. I can’t stand 15a. Hate aniseed. The rest was quite good fun. Favourite was 5d. Thank you setter.

      1. Oh Merusa, I love cinnamon. Have a tiny sprinkle on my cereal. It’s supposed to keep sugar levels low, but you mustn’t have too much of it.

      2. Yuk, cinnamon. I hate it when foods/drinks are unexpectedly flavored with stuff…

        1. My real yuk is fennel. Can’t stand it when restaurants seem to throw it into half the dishes on the menu.

    1. Flaming Neros……enjoyed with gusto at the end of delicious Italian meals out in my youth…..happy memories. (That’s what we called them anyway.)
      When it has been set fire to, it doesn’t taste so aniseedy.

  16. Completely missed the anagram at 3d so never did manage to parse that one despite getting the answer in fairly early on.
    A lucky guess at the soldier in 6d saved me from having to read up on Montgomery’s history and the comedian presented few problems for this avid follower of QI.
    5f gets my vote for favourite with 8a hard on its heels.

    Thanks to the setter (I’ll go for Shamus, if only because I think 8a is a traditional Irish dessert), also to Kath for a great review and particularly for showing me how I should have arrived at 3d.

  17. Agree with Kath’s rating and thanks for explaining 18a which eluded me as did 6d. I enjoyed the rest so thanks to the setter. Another pleasant day in prospect and having cut the lawns yesterday quite a lazy one 😊

  18. Again I failed on one clue today (yes, that one) and again it was the last of a tricky few in the NW which put up some resistance.

    The rest was all good fun, but I don’t have any particular favourites. Many thanks to the setter and to Kath. A big well done to you on sorting out 8a!

  19. I spent more time on 8a than the the rest put together – never heard of it, and I was trying to work ‘my’ into it. Didn’t get the hint either but since I have never owned nor watch a TV, ‘celebrities’ are really not my thing.
    Otherwise pretty straightforward I thought 1.5/3

    Thanks to all as ever.

  20. Once I had the letters for 8a, I had no problem with that.
    For some reason I fixated on Londonderry Air for 21a, but once I got the letters it just fell into place, but I needed Kath to explain it to me.
    Fave was 5d, but many other fun clues, seems unfair to single out one.
    Thanks to setter, and to Kath for sorting out the “whys” of a couple.

  21. No RayT withdrawal symptoms for me, I thought that this one was exceptionally good, with lots of clever deception and much to admire in terms of construction that provided the little grey cells with a thorough work-out.

    Three clues stood out in particular, namely 13a, 25a and 1d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

    1. This isn’t exactly a reply, more a ‘Hear, hear’. My sentiments exactly. Favourite clue definitely 25a.

  22. For me **/*** took a while to understand the case reference in 20d and I missed the lurker in 10a completely although got the answer easily enough. Don’t remember coming across overshadowed as a lurker indicator before. Thought the e ref in 1d was a bit weak. Best clue for me was 25a, very clever.
    Didn’t get a chance to thank Kath for her splendid explanation in yesterday’s offering.
    Thx to all.

    1. Thanks for the thanks, Brian. I have to say that you never fail to amaze me – I’d rather thought that you would have had the screaming hab-dabs about some of todays clues.

  23. I agree with the assessment of Sylvanus – this was much more to my liking than the usual Thursday fare. Thank you Kath and setter.

  24. love this setter, totally on my wavelength. Thanks to Kath, as I would not have got 8a, never heard of him, and 27a knowing zero about snooker. Also 6d was a struggle.

  25. Found this quite difficult and needed some elctronic help.

    Liked it, though.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the hints which I needed, especially for 8a.

  26. Late today due to LeTour so it was done over the pre-prandial, and very enjoyable it was. I’ll go for **/*** and a guess at Shamus.

    Nice blog Kath so thanks for that and thanks also to the setter, who may yet reveal himself.

    P.S. Nice to be back in the warm after a couple of freezing days in Cornwall. Why does my sister want to sit outside the pub when it’s only about 16C and there’s a nice warm seat by the bar?

    1. Was stuck on the box and arrived late for work.
      What an étape! To see Chris Frohme running without his bike and probably losing the Maillot Jaune in the process.
      140 km/hour winds and all the falling.
      Suspense all the way. Great entertainment.

  27. Quite tricky in places and a lot of fun. 8a was the last one for us to sort out. We changed our minds several times as to who the setter might be and eventually decided that, because of 8a and 21a, PJ was the more likely. However we would not put money on it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  28. All pretty straightforward, apart from 8ac which was far from being so. Versatile comedian and an obscure expression to clue an even more obscure answer could have been anything, really, without crossing letters…

  29. We had an interesting walk from Barmouth to Dolgellau today – 10 miles in the most astonishing scenery. When we got there, we found out that apparently the local bus company had gone into receivership last night, so they could not guarantee a service back to Barmouth………..so we walked back again. My brain is the only part of me still in working order, so this was a pleasant challenge and worthy of a 3*/3* score.

    Thanks to the Mysteron and Kath for her review.

  30. Aaaaaaah. My heart sinks. Nice has been victim to a dreadful attack with a lorry on the promenade des anglais. More than 60 victims.

    1. Jean-Luc – What sadness again. Woke up to this news. Have happy memories of Nice and feel desperately sorry for Nice, all those involved, and the Rest of notre chere amie France. Bisesxx

    2. Dreadful, dreadful news J-LC, my thoughts are with the French people this morning.

    3. I can’t get my head around all this horror, whatever did the French do to deserve all this hatred? God bless you all.

  31. Good morning Kath….just caught up after a busy day yesterday..
    Due to my ignorance I have never heard of the word Flummery……(8a)….also..which bit is surprised expression….and which bit..a comedian
    Sorry for being so dim..

      1. Lumme!!!…I consider myself appropriately chastised…again.

        Thanks Big Dave for your speedy reply

  32. Amazing, I haven’t been able to do any of the recent ones rated one star but was proud as punch to manage this (all be it after a lot of effort), despite its three star rating. There’s hope for me yet

      1. Thank you, I’ve been following it for several months, gradually improving my “solving skills” but still in awe of the likes of miffypops, Kath etc

  33. I found this very difficult, I had answers for everything but couldn’t see why for most of them, plus I got two wrong because I bunged in archives, not reading the clue properly. Not helped either by the fact that I would never, ever describe Stephen Fry as either a comedian or versatile. 4*/3*, interesting how mixed the blogs were on this.
    Thanks to setter and a big thank you to Kath.

  34. liked 25A (amongst many others)-never would have got it without the hint !

  35. Very late to this due to:=
    Preparing for family BBQ
    Helping no 2 son erect a marquee (it’s his line of work)
    Having said that, I think it was probably too difficult for lille ‘ole me anyway.
    Thanks Kath for the hints and to the setter

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