DT 28169 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28169

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28169

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from Downtown L I where the sun is warming the earth making everywhere look good. Today’s puzzle put up a bit of a fight but the boy done good and won out in the end despite being pulled beneath the water by the current in 18d.

If you like anagrams there are seven today. Together they fill 60 of the 158 lights in today’s grid or 37.9% of the whole puzzle. I think that this is a tad excessive.

The hints and tips below are my attempt to guide you through this puzzle and cut through the mystery that surrounds the cluing of cryptic crossword puzzles. If you are still bamboozled after reading the hints and tips then click on the greyed out box to reveal the answer.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Throws away useless bits? (6)
SCRAPS: A trademark double definition to start us off. …

4a    Averts bias with vote that’s free (8)
OBVIATES: … followed by an obvious anagram (that’s free) of BIAS and VOTE

9a    Get a point too soon? Not quite (6)
NEARLY: One of the points of the compass precedes an adverb meaning before the usual or expected time.

10a    Computer programs for waste removing (8)
SOFTWARE: If you can recognise anagrams they lead you easily into a puzzle. This is an anagram (removing) of FOR WASTE

12a    Novel girlfriend for Nelson (4)
EMMA: This book written by Jane Austen is also the first name of Admiral Lord Nelson’s favourite squeeze

13a    Poisonous creeper (5)
SNAKE: Not an Adder or Viper but what one of those is an example of. Not all of these are poisonous.

14a    Such a diver is not suited for the work (4)
SKIN: This deep sea diver wears little in the way of clothing whilst working

17a    Scornful of fashionable costume put on (12)
CONTEMPTUOUS: Anagram (fashionable) of COSTUME PUT ON

20a    Ensured train is rescheduled but not properly checked (12)
UNRESTRAINED: Anagram (rescheduled) of ENSURED TRAIN

23a    Winter coat (4)
HOAR: This coating of frost is generally seen in the wintertime.

24a    Like whiskey, if rye is used to make it (5)
FIERY: Anagram (is used to make it) of IF RYE

25a    Notice a large number appear (4)
SEEM: To notice with one’s eyes followed by the Roman Numeral which depicts one thousand

28a    Indirect moves to get out of debt (2,6)
IN CREDIT: Anagram (moves) of INDIRECT

29a    Woman in the bar getting drunk (6)
BERTHA: Anagram (getting drunk) of THE BAR

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

30a    Setting alight race with swimmer (8)
KINDLING: The word race here means each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics. The first half of this answer can be found within that sentence. The swimmer can be found in The Usual Suspects section under fish but not under swimmer. This hint satisfies me because it gives you some work to do but leads you gently on.

31a    Casually raise the volume? (6)
BROWSE: An act of casual reading of a book tome or volume


1d    A few words posted in French church (8)
SENTENCE: Take a four-letter word meaning posted. Add the French word meaning IN and finish off with the initial letters of the C(hurch) of E(ngland)

2d    What’s behind China preparing for new conflict? (8)
REARMING: split 4,4 we have a word meaning the back of something and some mighty fine Chinese porcelain

3d    Whence dates are taken in hand (4)
PALM: The source of the date fruit from whence it was picked. My favourite is Medjool but the Barhee, Halawy and Khadrawy are fine to eat as well.

5d    They are very successful — in clearing obstructions? (12)
BLOCKBUSTERS: A cryptic definition a thing of great commercial success such as a film or book.

6d    Just a little letter from Greece (4)
IOTA: A double definition. The ninth letter of the Greek alphabet.

7d    Dogs making footprints in the snow? (6)
TRACKS: Dogs as in follows the trail of someone, possibly by following these in the snow.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d    Observing and understanding (6)
SEEING: Another double definition. I think this one is too easy to need any further hint.

11d    Immediate outcome of a photo finish? (4,8)
SNAP DECISION: Begin with an example of what a photo might be called. Then add a noun meaning a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration

15d    Girl‘s trousers (5)
JEANS: These denim trousers are also a girl’s name.

16d    There’s money in education (5)
DUCAT: This coin (money) is hiding away (in) within the clue.

18d    Do we turn switches to get current? Yes (8)
UNDERTOW: Anagram (switches) of DO WE TURN

19d    The first man with market for water (5,3)
ADAM’S ALE: Our biblical first man is followed by an example of what a market is.

21d    Psychiatrist‘s contract? (6)
SHRINK: A double definition the first being an informal noun or slang term for a psychiatrist

22d    May could dance! (6)
CANCAN: A word meaning May is followed by the same word meaning could. Together they make a lively, high-kicking stage dance originating in 19th-century Parisian music halls and performed by women in long skirts and petticoats.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d    Quite a lot of business (4)
DEAL: Another double definition perhaps quite a lot of business selling a fir or pine wood as a building material.

27d    Standone on four legs? (4)
BEAR: To carry or support the weight of a Grizzly animal perhaps.

Too many anagrams. Grrr.

The Quick Crossword pun: pet+you+lance=petulance

77 comments on “DT 28169

  1. Didn’t get 23a and 31a….well I mean I could see the answers , but definitely couldn’t justify them.
    So, thanks, Miffypops.

    Thanks to the setter too.

  2. Just come back from the opticians and printed this off. I may be wrong, but should 19d be (4,1,3), or something else, rather than (5,3) ?

  3. 16d is my favourite , I only wish there was more .
    Re 29a , I know someone by that name , otherwise I might never have guessed it and no, she doesn’t , as far as I know.
    Thanks to Rufus for his usual enjoyable puzzle and to Miffypops for his enjoyable blog .

  4. An easy enough solve, but not very exciting. Too many similar clues for my liking. 2*/2* Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed the usual Monday offering from Rufus. Thought 27d was a bit vague but enjoyed the resr. Thanks to Miffypops and Rufus

  6. 13a went straight in with an alternative answer we knew to be wrong but was so apt it made us laugh. Unfortunately it didn’t fit with those it crossed so had to go. The pedant in me wants to point out that these can be venomous, not poisonous, even if the result is much the same.

    31a was our last in of a few stragglers. No favourites, but more purrs than grrs, and the puzzle was ok too.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to MP for the usual great job of multiplying the fun factor.

  7. Rufus is a big favourite of mine but today’s effort is not one of his best. Definitely too many anagams . No doubt he’ll be back on song next week

  8. Must admit I didn’t notice the anagrams till it was pointed out. Nice and relaxing start to the week.
    23a was the last in – a real ‘Doh’ moment.
    Favourite was 21d , which quite appealed to me for some reason.
    Very hot and sticky here in deepest Gloucestershire. Have to go and do something useful now which maybe quite energy sapping.
    Thanks to both

  9. Firstly agree with Miffypops rating of **/***, initially thought the solution to 23a was ‘snow, viz a coating and that 31 across was clever, glad I had the ‘w’ in.
    No sound on my computer at the office, making a guess that Miffypop’s 7d pic is Smokey R and tracks of my tears- nearly put trails in for this clue !
    Fine for a Monday, shame about the cricket, why did’ nt we pick our ‘leggy’ Rashid instead of an innocuous off spinner ?

    1. Yes to last weeks query about music and yes to this weeks query. Why don’t you connect speakers to your computer?

        1. Surely it must be against your Human Rights to be deprived of the great gift of music Beaver. Tell me who you work for and I will sort this sorry mess out for you.

    2. I think the Pakistan team would be licking their lips at the thought of Rashid’s selection, considering he conceded more than five hundred runs in just three Tests to them last winter!

      1. Whatever we do, we clearly need some changes before you and I go to the Oval in August!

  10. I agree with MP’s 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    Given the temperatures in the UK this week 23a and 7d seemed a bit inappropriate.
    The 13a creeper took a while, as did 31a.
    Having got the first and fifth letters of 5d I convinced myself that it was going to begin with ‘break’ – then couldn’t get that out of my head.
    29a made me laugh – neither of my Lambs were spotty teenagers but younger one once had an enormous zit – her sister called it 29a – not popular.
    No other real problems.
    I liked the two that took me too long – 13 and 31a and 15 and 21d. My favourite was 22d – reminded me of long ago hospital Christmas shows – can even remember all the words!
    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  11. Two stars is probably about right with perhaps a 2.5 for the SW corner. On the whole very enjoyable part from 30a and 31a both of which I thought were poor.
    My thanks to Mrs B for the novel in 12a but my fav was 10a.
    Thx to all

  12. 2*/3* for some good Monday fun on a lovely day here in London – at long last! My joint favourites are 21d & 22d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. I was so sure that you would point out that “may” suggests permission and “can” suggests ability!

      1. Merusa, I did think about it but I liked the clue so much I decided to turn a blind eye.

        The difference between “can” and “may” was always drummed into us at school so I was surprised when I checked my BRB a few minutes ago for “may” that it says “… auxiliary verb expressing ability, possibility or contingency, permission or competence …” My English teacher will be turning in his grave!

        1. My English teacher must be spinning like a top! I remember so well the admonition, if you say can I help you?, people will think you can’t! Thanks for the enlightenment.

          1. On reflection I think the point that our pedagogues were trying to get across was that “can” can’t mean “may”, but “may” can mean “can”! Hence any poor pupil who asked, “can I go to the toilet?” was treated with a derisive reply such as “I am sure you can unless are you suffering from a medical condition that is preventing you, but you may not until I give you permission”.

            Isn’t the English language wonderful?

            1. Or as a child wanting to leave the family dinner table and asking “can I get down” and being told by the parents “you can but the question is whether you may”.

  13. Not my favourite Monday puzzle, seemed a bit lacklustre, but maybe that’s just me!
    5d raised a smile but that was about the height of it.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the blog – loved the 7d clip but, my word, that stage act needed a bit of an overhaul!

  14. The longer the answer the easier it is seems to be true for me. Four letter answers often the last to go in; in today’s case 14A and 27D.

    I’d give today a **/** in my opinion. I felt the puzzle missed a some forehead slapping or Homer Simpson “doh” moments and 23A was ripe for a more interesting clue of the radio/broadcast type.

  15. As usual an enjoyable puzzle from Rufus. With a relative dearth of anagrams in some recent puzzles I won’t complain about their abundance here. In the Saharan weather today it’s far too hot to be overtaxing the brain. Enjoyed all the clues but especially 31a and 11d. Thanks no for the blog.

  16. Agree with MP rating but didn’t warm to the puzzle overmuch. Fortunately the day has here in S. Wales (at last)
    Liked 11d
    On a pedantic note – do snakes creep? Not sure.
    Thanks to setter & MP for blog

  17. I still rankle at the many varied pointers for anagrams.

    What is Adam’s Ale?

    Wonder whether there have been any infant girls named Bertha since the 1930’s?

    1. Adams ale is water. The only Bertha’s that I know of are the big ones used by golfers

  18. Not much to be said on this one – no stinkers, no corkers, a gentle start to the week.
    21d raised a modest smile. Thanks to all.

  19. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. All quite straightforward apart from the bottom of the puzzle. I took ages to get 22d,27d,30&31a, but got there in the end. Favourite was 21d. Was 3*/3* for me. Weather has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of 2 days. Hooray!

  20. Good old Rufus, good old Miffypops, a **/*** from us also.
    I’m the proud possessor of a big bertha golf club
    which is also the nickname of one of our neighbours..

  21. Well I counted eight anagrams rather than seven (seven alone just in the Across clues) but maybe MP got bored adding them all up….

    One of the gentlest Monday back-pagers I can recall, even for those who perhaps struggle with Rufus I hope they will find this more up their street. Favourites for me were 5d and the delightful 31a. 22d is quite topical, so long as she’s not wearing her kitten heels maybe?

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to MP.

    1. I think I mixed up the total and the number of across anagrams. Not only are they boring to solve they are boring to review. I get a double dose on Mondays.

  22. I don’t agree about the anagrams – after all, this means that 75% of these clues ARENT anagrams. And at least none of them were Legos.

    Having said that, I tried for a long time to make another word out of “obstructions” for 5d- right numbers of letters and I had at least 8 of those letters in, waiting for the ideal solution……..

    Tracks of my Tears is, IMO, the post perfect pop song ever written.

    Thanks to MP and Rufus.

      1. There can’t be dozens that are the most perfect!
        There can only be one, which is why I put IMO………😬

  23. 4a – isn’t the anagram indicator “that’s free”? rather than “averts” which is the definition?

    Not my favourite Rufus puzzle … but 11d was brilliant!

    Thanks to all !

  24. From Stroller: I’m a new boy to this but I made it 8 anagrams – i agree, it’s too many.

    1. Welcome from me as well Mike. It is eight anagrams. I missed poor old Bertha out. The mathematics changes though. This moves it to 66 of the 158 lights filled in or 42% of the puzzle.

  25. I enjoyed this one, but I usually do enjoy Rufus’s puzzles.
    No problems, though 23a took me rather a long time to get.
    Fave, I think, was 31a, but 5d is not far behind.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his review.

  26. As usual a nice gentle start to the week 😊 Thanks to MP and Rufus, **/*** Liked 15d & 31a 😍 Lovely sunny day here in East Anglia 😎

  27. Tougher than 2 stars for me but enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to the setter and MP for the hints.

  28. Not a lot to get excited about with todays puzzle. Maybe it’s the oppressive heat and lack of any wind to speak of that has put me in a lackadaisical mood, but I’m afraid Rufus hasn’t produced anything of note to lighten it. A couple of nice clues but, all in all, too many anagrams for my liking.

    Anyway, thanks to Mr Squires for the puzzle (sorry its not one of my favourites) and to MP for his usual professional review.

    Now, back off into the garden where there is a large bowl filled with nice, cold water that I can stick my feet in – bliss.

    EDIT I forgot to ask – has anyone else noticed that quite a few setters are producing anagram themed clues where at least one word from the fodder appears in the answer unchanged? 20a is an example.

  29. First time in a long time since I have been able to have a go at the puzzle. Thoroughly enjoyed it but am a bit rusty, thanks to Miffypops for supplying the much needed lubrication to get the cogs turning again. With regard to 13A the adjective should be venomous. Poisonous snakes are those which are toxic if eaten. I did find this hard after a bit of a lay-off so will rate it 3.5 for difficulty but a good solid 4 for the enjoyment it has given me.

    1. It is nice to hav you back Graham. I remember how supportive you were when I began reviewing the Monday puzzles.

      1. Thanks MP I have responded to treatment well so hope to be making an appearance on a more regular basis.

  30. A relatively easy start to the week and enjoyable *** . Dates in hand , 3d , led me into palmistry territory , life lines etc . !!! Anyway it worked out fine in the ” hand “.

  31. Held up on 14a as I’d put ‘trails’ into 7d. 18d was last in as I’d tried to turn ‘switches’ into something else. Couldn’t remember 23a. Could only remember ‘rime’ from geography lessons even though I know I learnt both words together. Thank you Miffypops for the review. I love dates and will put a box on my shopping list for tomorrow. Hope you are still enjoying your new car. Thank you setter for a puzzle that was enjoyable to relax over in the garden.

  32. An enjoyable excursion into Rufus-world. The majority of it went in quickly and I was held up (as is usual for me) by a few of the cryptic defs. Didn’t get Blockbusters: needed electronic help for that one.

    Thanks to MP and Rufus **/***

  33. As I love anagrams this was very agreeable today, except I had swarming for 2d and rime for 23a, which held me up until I read Miffypops hints, thanks!

  34. Unlike most, I found this quite difficult. Unfortunately, the answers were revealed before I realised but I’m not sure I would have got them anyway. Perhaps the heat has melted my brain!
    Thanks to setter and MP.

  35. A very gentle start to the week, apart from TRAILS causing a bit of havoc for a while.
    No real favorites and 2/3* overall with Monday in mind.
    Thanks to Rufus and also to MP for his usual sterling work.

  36. Just short of 2* difficulty by my (highly subjective) scoring system, but mildly diverting so 3* for enjoyment. My favourite clue was 2d. Thanks to Rufus, and MP for the review.

  37. Apart from an almighty struggle with 23ac, 27d and 31ac this was mostly straightforward. :-) I don’t mind a surfeit of anagrams on a Monday, it being a Monday, just cryptic definitions I can’t get my head around.

  38. No great hold ups and I enjoyed the anagrams.

    Really liked 16 and 22d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a top blog!

  39. Re 13 across. Snakes are not poisonous. There are eaten all the time in China and Hong Kong. What harms people is the venom from snake bites. They should always be described as venomous, not poisonous. My favourite clue was 30 across. It was the last and although I got it quickly on the ‘set alight’ part of the clue it took time to work out the rest

  40. Did this in the middle of the night – couldn’t sleep after driving from Sussex to/from a funeral in East Anglia where yes, Jaylegs, it was indeed a lovely sunny day. On the whole I didn’t enjoy the puzzle and did begin to wonder whether it was perhaps some kind of Rookie offering rather than Rufus. Too many anagrams didn’t add to the amusement. Liked 2d and 5d but didn’t like 13a, 24a, 31a, 22d and 27d. Thanks Rufus (?) and MP. ***/*.

  41. Hi – your page is really helpful for someone trying to learn how to do crosswords! (Sadly today the greyed-out area were absent so the answers were there already – or am I doing something wrong?)

    1. Welcome to the blog Ian

      Google is serving up incorrect links. Try using http: instead of https: – then bookmark the site for future visits.

  42. 4a – obvious anagram???
    I miss every anagram going…4a, 10a…there must be more…

    1. add to it 29a…
      Thanks MP for the hints, I have finally caught up…
      Thanks also to Rufus

  43. This was very, very mild and elementary. The clues were fine structurally but so simple to solve – I reckon it was the easiest back-pager I’ve seen in the DT since I started in 1970. But I’m sure the setters are under instruction to vary the difficulty so that all grades of solver get a fair crack of the whip – so I’m not complaining. 1*/2*

  44. Was wondering what the Yes was for in 18d. Nothing apparently. Could easily have been ” we do turn switches to get current”.
    The only Bertha I knew was the big gun used by the Germans.
    Favourite is 10a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.

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