DT 28172 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28172

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28172

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa where we are enjoying a spell of hot, mid-summer weather with temperatures headed for the 30°-plus range for the next few days.

There is no doubt whatsoever that today’s puzzle is the creation of RayT. My last blogging assignment occurred on the day of the Brexit vote. Ironically several clues in today’s puzzle allude to the ramifications of said vote. I found the puzzle to be fairly difficult with progress grinding to a virtual halt about half way through. Then the logjam suddenly cleared and I made rapid progress until only a couple of clues remained unsolved. However, those holdouts put up a spirited struggle, pushing me well into four star territory. It was fun though — and it lasted.

The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers can be revealed by clicking on the Click here! buttons (so please don’t click if you don’t want to see the answer).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Balance cost in Europe being reorganised (12)
COUNTERPOISE — anagram (being reorganised) of COST IN EUROPE

8a   Inspirational passage? (7)
NOSTRIL — cryptic definition of a passage through which we inspire (and expire)



9a   Carried on quietly, perhaps? (7)
PLUGGED — this is a semi-all-in-one with embedded wordplay; the solution is typically — but not necessarily — an action that is done quietly; as for the wordplay, place a synonym for carried after (on) a musical direction to play quietly

11a   Actor Hardy taking lead in ‘Inception’ (7)
OLIVIER — insert the initial letter of Inception into the first name of the American half of a famous British-American comedy duo

12a   Demanding euro’s scrapped after negative vote’s returned (7)
ONEROUS — anagram (scrapped) of EUROS following a reversal of a negative vote

13a   Power push producing witch hunt (5)
PURGE — string together a physicist’s symbol for power and a word meaning to push or encourage



14a   Almost tense and hurt bearing ordeal (9)
NIGHTMARE — a charade of an old-fashioned or poetic term for almost, a grammarian’s abbreviation for tense, a synonym for hurt or damage, and a compass bearing

16a   Grass accepting villain’s regret backing storyteller (9)
RACONTEUR — we have a verb meaning to inform on someone to the police wrapped around a villain serving time and followed by a reversal of another word for regret

19a   Small prongs urging rider’s steed initially (5)
SPURS — the initial letters of the first five words in the clue; this style of clue is becoming just as much a staple of a RayT puzzle as Her Majesty



21a   Shot — remain in sack (7)
BLASTED — to endure between the sheets

23a   English meat and French ‘appellation‘ (7)
EPITHET — start with E(nglish), follow with the most important part of an argument, finally append a French conjunction meaning ‘and’

24a   Pay for former wife, French dish squeezing one (7)
EXPIATE — the usual former wife, husband or lover (as you will) and a French spread wrapped around the Roman numeral for one

25a   Cool iron leading to oddly random blaze (7)
INFERNO — cool or trendy, a chemist’s symbol for iron, and the odd letters of RaNdOm



26a   Changing line electing wit (12)
INTELLIGENCE — anagram (changing) of LINE ELECTING


1d   Bank clerk in middle of stick-up, looking greyer (7)
CASHIER — the middle letter of stiCk-up and a comparative adjective denoting looking greyer

2d   Country leaving EU shower — start of European state? (7)
UKRAINE — a country leaving the EU, a meteorological shower, and the initial letter of European give us a state desiring to enter the EU



3d   Leniency later on dispensed by Church (9)
TOLERANCE — anagram (dispensed) of LATER ON followed by the abbreviation for the English state church

4d   Come-uppance for Queen virtuoso’s imitation (5)
REPRO — a reversal (up in a down clue) of Her Majesty’s regnal cypher and a person who is accomplished in their field of endeavour

5d   Rich, old and posh covered with endless wealth (7)
OPULENT — start with O(ld), then add a synonym for wealth or sufficiency from which the final Y has been removed; finally insert the usual single letter designation for posh

6d   Foreign lady dressed up in sarong, I suppose (7)
SIGNORA — this Italian lady is well-hidden (dressed) as she is standing on her head (up) in the final three words of the clue

7d   Detailed interest over lesson’s unmatched (12)
INCOMPARABLE — here “detailed” is an instruction to remove the final letter from a word which could denote interest (or dividends, salary, etc); then append the type of lesson frequently given by Christ

10d   Special permission over wearing fashionable pants inside (12)
DISPENSATION — a cricketer’s abbreviation for over is contained in (wearing) an anagram (fashionable) of PANTS INSIDE

15d   Finally digging a hole within enclosure? (9)
GARDENING — this all-in-one clue suggests a pastime engaged in by those with green thumbs; the wordplay is a charade of the final letter of digginG, the A from the clue, and finally the hole in which an animal such as a fox might live which is contained in an enclosure where a boxing match would be held

17d   Spiked attachment‘s trick to take on slope (7)
CRAMPON — a trick or swindle containing a sloping surface



18d   Fertiliser can’s tipped controlled amount (7)
NITRATE — another word for a can or metal container is reversed and followed by a price or charge fixed according to a standard scale

19d   Reinforce part of post if fencing (7)
STIFFEN — our second lurker, this one standing straight up

20d   A French redhead in stockings upset by stallion (7)
UNHORSE — start with a French indefinite article; then add another term for stockings into which you have inserted the initial letter (head) of Red



22d   Stay fit to support daughter (5)
DWELL — D(aughter) supported by a word meaning fit or in good health

The puzzle is a treasure trove of great clues making it difficult to single out any particular ones for special mention. I liked 8a as it made me laugh when the penny finally dropped, I enjoyed the menu entry at 23a, but I will give top honours to the Italian lady in the oriental garment at 6d.

The Quick Crossword pun: born+sigh=bonsai

83 comments on “DT 28172

  1. We woke early and did this over breakfast. It is beginning to seem that starting early (or being alcohol-free – could be either to be honest) means we solve better. 3*/3*.

    We especially liked 8a, 9a and 2d but pick of the bunch for us was 19a (where did you find that lady rider picture, eh?). Last one in was 15d, which we didn’t recognise as an all-in-one style clue for far too long.

    Thanks to Falcon and to RayT.

    1. Falcon or anyone with the access to fix it – If there’s meant to be a picture with 20d, it isn’t working. Instead I see the answer in clear.

  2. A bit of a headscratcher this morning but got there in the end. An enjoyable start to the morning. ***/*** today. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the hints, I just needed some help with the parsing of a couple of my answers..

  3. Not as mean as the usual RayT, I thought. Some good anagrams and an enjoyable puzzle all round. Fairly straightforward solve for me today. 2*/3*.

  4. Very enjoyable and I liked the Brexit theme – not often we have a back page themed puzzle. It was fun also trying to relate the answers to the theme (perhaps not 19a – especially with that pic – though maybe he’s an MEP) – my guess is it’s all intentional, no doubt RayT had fun putting this together.

    Falcon, I think your clue for 21a is as good as RayT’s, he’d better watch out

    I liked the extended definition in 17d (I think) and the all-in-one in 15d.

    Many thanks Falcon & RayT

    1. What am I missing regarding 21a? The clue in Falcon’s review is what is in the paper and presumably set by Ray T.

      1. He is referring to the “hint”, which does in fact make quite a nice clue in itself.

  5. I found this puzzle on the tricky side for a RayT and was held up in the NW for a while.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT ***/****

  6. Putting ‘trachea’ confidently as my first answer in at 8a did not make life easy for me, but fortunately I realised early on that it was wrong.
    Quite a stiff challenge for me today…. a little under 4* for my time, and a little over 4* for my enjoyment.
    Many thanks to RayT, and to Falcon.

  7. Just clicked over into **** time for me today. As others 15d last one in – still not completely sure about the clue. Also struggled with 14a. 2d has to be the favourite, just for the concept of a EU shower!

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT

  8. Another helping of joy from my favourite setter (please note, Kath, just the one favourite!).
    Like Dutch, I enjoyed the Brexit theme which puts 2d in the top slot, closely followed by 8&9a.

    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Falcon for the review – not sure what to say about the pic for 19a!

    By the way – the back-pager flowed smoothly but the Quickie was a different kettle of fish. Had to work my way through the entire puzzle from bottom to top before the pun revealed itself!

    1. The quickie pun. I knew a man who opened a shop selling ****** trees. He was so successful that he was quickly able to move to smaller premises.

      1. And whilst we’re on the subject, that origami is catching on – in the last year its popularity has inCREASED tenFOLD!

    1. Sorry pressed the wrong button!
      Certainly needed a great deal of lateral thinking today and a ***/**** for me, last one in was 9d as I found the parsing elusive , thanks Falcon for ‘ quiet action’ explanation, the wordplay was not the problem.
      No particular favourite as the cluing was tricky and diverse throughout-thanks Mr T.

  9. 4*/4*. This was all going steadily but I got held up by the last few in the SW corner plus a couple of others (9a & 15d) that I struggled to parse.

    It’s also a struggle to choose a favourite, but I’ll settle for 8a.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon, particularly for explaining the wordplay for 9a & 15d.

  10. Another slow start but all soon fell into place even though I failed to notice the Brexit theme. NW corner last to go in. Fav definitely 8a. Thank you RayT for great challenge and Falcon for your “nicely” illustrated hints. ***/***. Another bootiful sunny day in West Sussex but it seems tomorrow may well be another matter – fingers crossed.

  11. Well, I’ve just photocopied this one in the library and had a quick read of the comments above. The consensus is 4*/4* and Ray T is my absolute favourite – I can’t wait to tackle it at home later!

    1. I did it in the afternoon and although average for a Ray T compilation it was, compared to most other back-page efforts, decidedly excellent! And with that general comparison in mind, I’ll rate it 3.5*/4*.

  12. Pretty difficult but got there in the end, very enjoyable, 8a and 2d were my favourites. I needed the explanations to understand 9a and 14a. 4*/4* Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the hints.

  13. An enjoyable struggle today. 8a is the favourite clue for me. I hope the photo for 19a doesn’t provide an insight into the private world of Falcon!

    1. I couldn’t work out why, if the ” horsey” is so keen on the pain caused by the spurs, he bothered wearing knee pads……….I would say more commitment to the challenge is required!

      I wouldn’t want this to sound as though I have any knowledge of these sorts of hobbies……….

  14. Just my cup of tea. (Or two) I liked all of the clues. Thanks to RayT and thanks to Falcon for the explanations and the selfie illustrating 19C

  15. Quite a spiky puzzle in more ways than one!

    Enjoyed it a lot more as I went along, ( especially those cheeky indicators like ‘fashionable’ and ‘detailed’, although the difficulty of the Quickie put me in a pessimistic frame of mind…..
    I rated it a bit lower **, as I needed help with only one, but in terms of time taken, I expect it was a good ***.
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon.

  16. A really enjoyable tussle from Ray T this morning. 2 down my absolute favourite from many fine clues. I thought the whole puzzle was at the harder end of Ray’s spectrum, but, as always, the clues and wordplay were fair so no quibbles from me.

    3*/4* seems about right, with grateful thanks to the Thursday maestro and Falcon.

  17. **** difficulty mainly because I didn’t spot c as the centre of stick-up in1d amazing how I then get a loop.
    Enjoyment **** with Brexit theme adding another * for ingenuity.
    8a favourite.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon for blog. Was expecting a Cockerel on a football visual for 19a. Won’t comment further for numerous reasons.

  18. I agree this was quite tricky and also agree with the 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    I totally missed the Brexit theme – I always miss that kind of stuff – themes, pangrams, Ninas – you name them, I miss them.
    I also missed the anagram indicator in 10d so never did manage to untangle that one although the answer was obvious – dim.
    The right hand side took far longer than the left with 9a and 15d being my last ones to sort out.
    Trachea for 8a wasn’t helpful.
    I liked 25a and 7d. My favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to Ray T and thanks and well done to Falcon.

    1. PS – There’s nothing like finding an alternative to the perennial trouble that I have with lurkers – my 6d foreign lady was an anagram! Oh dear – what a good thing I wasn’t doing the hints today.

  19. Hoorah it’s a Thursday and I have completed before the witching hour 😊 ****/*** Liked 11a & 14a Thanks to the falco and to Ray T. I cannot see a Brexit theme either 🤔

  20. A **** Ray-T!!! Boy, I’m in trouble!!!
    I have a feeling that the hints are to play a large part in finishing this!!!

    1. Don’t get into a fluster, Hoofit. Just have a bit of faith in yourself and you might be pleasantly surprised.

    2. I know exactly how you feel! Cheer up. As soon as I knew it was RayT day, I unearthed my trusty electronic gizmo.

    3. Dear HIYD – I felt like you in the beginning, I was renowned for heading for the cupboard under the stairs accompanied by a large box of tissues. After a fair amount of practice and an enormous amount of encouragement from people on the blog I now have courage to pick up my trusty pencil and not be intimidated by the mention of Ray T.it will come good take it from me. Love Hilary. :rose:

      1. Thanks so much for your encouragement, ladies. I am persevering and making progress, albeit slow progress. Was held up by ‘retro’ for 4d, but following recent advice of ‘if you cannot parse it, it is probably wrong’, got the correct answer.
        Lady Hoofit cracked the 1a anagram, much to her amusement.
        No Gizmos or hints needed yet…
        I have a mental picture of Robert The Bruce’s spider and he is holding me in good stead.

  21. Phew ! Have to confess to this being an all-dayer for me, but just got there.

    Will go with ****/**.

    Many thanks to all.

  22. A little more benign than a usual RayT backpager I felt, and with fewer strained synonyms than normal which probably contributed in no small part to making it more fun to solve. There were many clever constructions, even if there seemed to be a lot of charade-type clues.

    Like RD, I thought the SW corner was marginally trickier than the others. Two clues stood out for me, 8a and the topical 2d.

    Many thanks to Mr.Terrell and to Falcon.

  23. I cannot believe it but I have completed a **** Ray T crosswords with only two checks in the thesaurus, no Spellchecks and no lead expended on the anagrams. I started, as always in SE corner and steadily worked my way up, then back down again.. Quickie was mind-boggling so off to have lie-down with ice pack on my frazzled head. Thanks to Falcon and Ray T was beginning to lose heart but I might carry on now. :phew:

    1. Great news, Hilary! I hope Hoofit reads your post and redoubles his efforts.
      By the way – how’s Al?

  24. I have never heard of “ashier ” meaning greyer. So I dislike this clue.
    Otherwise I liked 13a, 21a, 23a,
    Thanks to all concerned.

  25. Very, very hard, but with copious use of gizmo, I managed to finish all but two clues; 24a and 17d. Not bad, methinks, especially as my heart sinks when I know it’s a RayT day.
    My fave was 16a because I just like the sound of that word.
    Thanks to RayT, and to Falcon for the parsing of numerous answers!

  26. Thanks to RayT for a very topical puzzle. Many many good clues with favourite 20d for the image that it produced.. 2 very well hidden words as usual . Also liked 1d 2 4 8 9 12 14 15 16 17 etc etc

  27. The clue to 14a should have been “today’s crossword is a……” I started with 26a and struggled all day. Many I got only from letters from other answers and single words in the clue, such as 8a “passage” starting with the “n” from 7d and the third letter “s” from 1d. I have seen the hint but I still can’t get “inspirational” to fit. Let’s hope I do better tomorrow.!!

  28. Phew. Finished. That’s the first 4* puzzle that I’ve finished unaided, let alone a RayT one, so something must be happening in my head. Many thanks to RayT for an enjoyable, but difficult, crossword. However, in 7d I don’t understand why ‘detailed’ asks one to take away the last letter from ‘income’. Also many thanks to Falcon for explicit hints

  29. That was fun, loved nearly all the clues and just got the wavelength again. Sometimes it seems to click. Helps when 17d could go on before I worried about the word play. liked the Brexit theme . Thanks again to all for cheering up a dull train journey…

  30. A second challenging crossword in a row. Brilliant! Ray T doing what he does best; twisting and turning the solver’s thought processes to finally come with the answer and then wonder why it took so long.
    I liked 14a best and overall 3/4*.
    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for his review.

  31. Got there with a lot of electronic help, especially on the W side.
    The down clues seemed easier than the across ones.
    Relieved to see that many of you on here also found it tricky.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falccon for his wonderful hints.
    (Best draw a veil over 19a, I think. Enough to send a person into a fit of the vapours.)

  32. Late today because being back in the suburbs has given me a headache and is (literally) a pain in the neck. I’m slow for the same reason, or perhaps just in general. Still, what a great puzzle to distract me from real life.

    I too thought first of TRACHEA for 8a. Fortunately I already had a checker. My last in was 9a which was a bit of a guess.

    My favourite by a nose is 20d. As for Falcon’s similarly-themed pic for 19a – :eek: … When I first saw that I thought, “but she’s not a redhead!” then realised I was confused and thinking of the wrong clue.

    I’m another who liked the hint for 21a. The hints for the lurkers were also good. Falcon is on fine form today!

    The themed ones were also good. I associate this setter with trademarks rather than themes.

    Many thanks to RayT for an entertaining puzzle and to Falcon for the entertaining hints.

  33. Very difficult but a great puzzle 4*/4*. Thought I’d never get started, got 3d and progressed slowly from there. The Brexit theme was totally over my head (still not entirely sure), how can anyone think of all these words, all these different clues and produce a topical theme at the same time.
    Ray T you are a genius, thank you also to Falcon.

  34. Hats off to all of you who enjoyed this one, cos it was definitely a **** for me, with less than half going in without Falcon’s hints, and even with I still struggled. Ray T is usually that way for me. Bunged 10d in without even knowing it was one of the dreaded cricket related clues, ugh…

  35. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the decryption and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Even though you torment me, I really, really appreciate that you pop in from time to time. Somehow it’s such a nice thing to do, thank you!

  36. When I completed this, and clicked on the Big Dave icon on the trusty iPad I had to double-check the puzzle number in case I’d opened the review for the Toughie by mistake. I just can’t see why this should be more than 2* difficulty, if that. Please believe me when I say I’m not being smug, merely confused. Either I allow myself far more generous time criteria than the rest of you, or I was on the setter’s wavelength with a vengeance. Anyway, I liked 8d and 9a but not 15d. I felt the latter – even though clearly an all-in-one – needed something to indicate the meaning of the solution. Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  37. Fell at Valentine’s, second time round…
    I finished it, but only with the help of a few of Falcon’s excellent hints, but I was pleased with what I managed to achieve.
    Lots of very clever clues, some of which were beyond me.
    Many thanks to Ray-T and also to Falcon for an excellent set of hints.

  38. Good evening everybody.

    A joint solve today and not very long to finish. I can’t recall much of the detail but I’m sure we didn’t have that in mind for 19a. Maybe next time…


  39. Definitely one on the trickier side, though thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying to solve. The anagram at 1ac took me far too long to get and slowed down progress in that part of the grid. Thought 2d was very nicely done.

  40. Good Heavens, where has the day gone? V V late on parade – this would have cost me some liberty and a bit of dosh out of my pocket if I’d still been serving in the RN :)

    This was certainly at the ‘Beam’ end of Ray T’s difficulty range but very enjoyable. We had the usual tell tale trademark clues – lurkers, Her Maj, initialised clues etc, but I do think that there was a lack of his usual ‘subtle’ innuendo…. I liked the 6d reverse lurker as I was certain that it was one but I just couldn’t ‘see’ it – if that makes sense.

    Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and to Falcon for his splendid review.

    Totally off blog subject. If you haven’t seen the ‘promo’ on Channel 4 for the forthcoming Paralympics – you need to. Soooo inspiring.

  41. Only hesitated between Plunged and Plugged in 9a.
    The rest was quite straightforward and successfully parsed.
    Thanks to RayT and to Falcon for the fun review.

  42. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, pretty tricky. Managed it in two sittings. Favourite was 8a. Last in was 7d. Great entertainment. Was 4*/4* for me. Off to Bristol tomorrow.

  43. 9a – still don’t get it properly – I can see the first letter (Musical instruction) and the word for “carried” , but putting it together gives………… what ? What does a “semi all-in-one” mean ? Someone please help !

    1. An all-in-one clue means that the definition is the whole clue and the whole clue forms the wordplay. In this case the definition is the whole clue (i.e. plugged means carried on doggedly) but only the first three words of the clue form the wordplay – so we call this a semi-all-in-one.

      1. Gazza – many thanks for replying to my query, and for explaining “semi-all-in-one”‘ but shouldn’t the clue have included the word “doggedly” to make sense of it ?

  44. I hope Friday’s is easier than this (where I got about 6 answers) or Wednesday where I got 3….. brain appears to have switched out of crossword mode this week!!

  45. 19a: That bloke in the photo – taking being a “Spurs fan” a bit far, isn’t he!

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