DT 28173 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28173

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28173

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where some overnight rain has reduced the temperature a little.

Actually solving today’s Giovanni didn’t take me long, hence ** for difficulty, though in some cases it took me rather longer to sort out the explanation so that I could write the hint.

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.


8a           Hands no longer cold? Let’s get on with it! (3,6,3,3)
THE GLOVES ARE OFF – An expression which, taken literally, would suggest what you do when your hands no longer need protection from the cold.

9a           Idiot knocking container over (3)
NIT – Reverse (knocking … over) a metal container.

10a         An altercation if meal is terrible? I don’t know what to say (5,4,2)
WORDS FAIL ME – A five-letter altercation, as in ‘Mrs Smith and her neighbour had —– over the garden fence’, followed by an anagram (terrible) of IF MEAL.

11a         Many in relapse, falling back, looking less well (5)
PALER – Hidden in reverse (falling back) in RELAPse.

12a         Former British firm getting irritated moved abroad (9)
EMIGRATED – The three-letter acronym for one of Britain’s biggest record companies, which folded in 2011, followed by ‘irritated’ or ‘jarred’.

15a         See bird lay egg possibly after crossing river (7)
GREYLAG – An anagram (possibly) of LAY EGG wrapped around River, giving a variety of goose.

Image result for greylag

17a         Last character to leave Cornish place in act of atonement (7)
PENANCE – Remove the final letter of the alphabet (last character) from a Cornish town with Gilbertian pirates.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a         ‘Setter-off’ finally reached school by a hill (9)
DETONATOR – Put together the last letter of reacheD, a well-known public school, and a West Country hill.

20a         Monk not wanting important lady’s soup (5)
BROTH – Remove the letters denoting Queen Elizabeth from the title given to a monk.

21a         Inadequate deputy is given different duties for a change of fortune (11)
VICISSITUDE – Start with the word used for a deputy President or chairman, remove its last letter (inadequate), then add IS (from the clue) and an anagram (different) of DUTIES.

24a         Factory laying off a thousand? That is unfortunate (3)
ILL – Remove the Roman numeral for a thousand from a sort o factory.

25a         Situation when hanging’s left hanging? (4,2,9)
STAY OF EXECUTION – Cryptic definition of what happens when a death sentence is postponed.


1d           The details being spelt out will be most ghastly (10)
DEATHLIEST – Anagram (spelt out) of THE DETAILS.

2d           Rose, maybe, is fine cow (6)
FLOWER Fine followed by a term for a cow based on the noise it makes.

3d           Fat maiden, maybe, needing rest by the sound of it? (10)
OVERWEIGHT – A four-letter word which may be a maiden at cricket, followed by a homophone (by the sound of it) of a rest or pause in the action.

4d           Goddess that moves through Oxford (4)
ISIS – An Egyptian goddess, whose name is also given to the river through Oxford, and to the Oxford reserve crew in the Boat Race.

Image result for isis goddess

5d           Ordeal having to manage drive in a car of uncertain reliability? (5,3)
TRIAL RUN – The first word is an ordeal or test, the second is ‘to manage’.

6d           Scientific man of law said to seethe (4)
BOIL – A homophone (said) of the 17th-century physicist who formulated a law governing the behaviour of gases as pressure, volume and temperature change.

Image result for boyle's law

7d           Sin unacceptable — stop! (6)
OFFEND – Put together two three-letter words, the first being ‘unacceptable’ as in ‘that’s a bit —‘, the second being a command to stop.

8d           In camp the connection one gets is ropey (4,3)
TENT PEG – This is what a tent’s guy rope is attached to.

13d         Petitions to get resumption organised (10)
IMPORTUNES – The definition is a verb, and is an anagram (organised) of RESUMPTION.

14d         Sort of inflammation — nurse is pressing on it (10)
TENDONITIS – Another word for ‘nurse’ or ‘care for’ and IS (from the clue, placed either side of ON IT (from the clue).

16d         It might get a six? It’s very unlikely (4,4)
LONG SHOT – This is a figurative expression for an end which is unlikely to be achieved. Literally, it refers to the fact that the further away a target is, the less likely you are to hit it. The expression could also cover what you have to hit to score a six at cricket.

18d         Level of command in military formation (7)
ECHELON – Double definition: a group of people at a particular level in a hierarchical command structure; or a formation of troops (or the peloton in the Tour de France in a cross wind) as if in steps.

Image result for echelon cycling

19d         Scheme essential to revolutionary fancies I’ve ditched (6)
DEVISE – Hidden in reverse (essential to, revolutionary) in the clue.

20d         Add strength to complaint at university (4,2)
BEEF UP – A complaint or grouse followed by a word for ‘at university’.

22d         Eat greedily from hamper, but not quietly (4)
CRAM – Remove the musical symbol for ‘quietly’ from a word meaning ‘hamper’ or ‘confine’.

23d         Plan that helps to give side advantage (4)
IDEA – Hidden (helps to give) in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun FORCE + ACHE = FORSAKE.

51 comments on “DT 28173

  1. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but found it very difficult. Needed the hints for 21a, which I’d never heard of. 25a,22d. To parse 19d. Favourite was 8a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  2. 3*/2*. I found this quite tricky in places and a bit uninspiring.

    I had a false start as my cricketing eye spotted 16d first and I wrote in dice roll immediately. That caused quite a bit of head scratching with the surrounding answers.

    Why does 11a need the word “many”? Doesn’t the clue read just as well without it?

    I thought the definition in 5d was rather strange.

    25a & 7d were my joint favourites.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. It was my newly found ‘cricketing eye’ that gave me 16d – why did you go for dice roll?

      1. Because a roll of the dice means taking a chance, and you could get a six but it’s unlikely.

        1. OK, I can see that but thought the actual answer would have been foremost in your cricket orientated mind!

          1. Yes, but I thought Giovanni might have been trying to mislead solvers into thinking it was a cricket related clue. :scratch:

    2. I think the ‘many’ is pointing to the need to use some but not all of the letters of ‘relapse’. It is therefore not a redundant word, though the clue could, as you say, work without it.

    3. Yes, agree with DT – but I think it is needed because a hidden word ought not extend to the boundaries of the fodder, else it isn’t really hidden (or hidden only on one side).

      So if you read “many (characters) in”, you move it away from a strict hidden clue type.

      Some might still object saying there is no clarity exactly how many, but that would apply more if it were only part of the solution – here we have the enumeration

  3. Took me a little while to get going with this but then it all flew in. I think maybe some of the cross-checking letters were giveaways. My difficulty rating relates to how many cups of coffee I get through while solving and this was just a ‘one-cupper’ today :-) Still enjoyable though. I agree with Rabbit Dave about 11a. The word ‘many’ seemed redundant. Fave clue was 18d (as I’m a cyclist).

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  4. No problems to report although, like RD, I was a little sceptical about 5d.
    Assumed ‘many’ in 11a simply referred to the need to take many of the letters from ‘relapse’ to get the answer.

    Favourite slot goes to 25a.

    Thanks to DG, particularly for the lack of obscurities, and to DT for the usual high standard review.

  5. Agree with RD regarding 5d and ‘many’.
    Lacking a bit of spark today for me and a **/**.
    Liked the surface of 21a and 6d brought a chuckle.
    18d seems to be in every other week these days, with 4d not far behind.

  6. Pleasantly testing but not over-inspiring. 5d prompted me to acquaint myself with the relevant thermodynamics law of which I was unaware. I agree with RD and Jane on two counts in that 25a was my Fav and I thought 5d clue not really representative of the solution. Thank you Giovanni and DT. ***/***.

  7. Found this difficult and a bit uninspiring. Definitely 3 or almost 4 for difficulty which affords only 2 for enjoyment. 5d is unconvincing for me, and I could find no favourites today. However, thanks to all involved for the effort.

  8. I also found it very very tricky but more humorous than usual and I liked what I could do.
    I liked 8a , 19a, 25a, and 20d.
    Thanks DT and Giovanni.

  9. I found this very tricky, got about a third of the puzzle done before I had to resort to the hints. Some very strange answers, and in my opinion not up to Giovanni,s usual standard.Too much like hard work and little in the way of entertainment. 4*/1* Many thanks to DT certainly needed his help today.

  10. I shall be doing this one later, but have read the early comments and quickly pre-solved 11a and 5d – both clues are fine by me. 11a is OK, as explained by DT and Jane – brief clues are desirable, but absolute brevity is not compulsory every time. The definition in 5d is also perfectly valid – if you were viewing a used car and you became a little dubious about it, then a “drive in a car of uncertain reliability” would be advisable and would = the answer.

  11. First class puzzle, an excellent Giovanni although I must admit it took me a while to get into. After 10 minutes I had 1 definite and 1 possible answer! However, a bit of perseverance soon got things rolling. I esp liked 19a which I thought was a trademark Giovanni clue, everything you needed to solve it was there, you just had to unpick it.
    No odd words today but spelling 21a was a challenge.
    So would agree with the rating and add **** for enjoyment.
    Thx to all.

  12. This enjoyable puzzle took more,passes than usual to complete. I resisted the temptation to reach for pen and paper for the anagram at 13d. Such stubbornness held up the lower third of the puzzle. Got there in the end. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  13. No problems on this end, though 21A did take a bit of extra working out. 15A was last in and my favorite. I also liked 8A and 25A . Thanks Giovanni and GT

  14. More difficult than 2* for me today – at least 3* and maybe a bit more – probably 3*ish for enjoyment.
    I’ve never heard of 8a and although I have heard of 21a I didn’t know its meaning let alone how to spell it.
    23d was my last answer :roll: with 21a not far behind it.
    I liked 12 and 25a and 14 and 20d. My favourite was 10a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  15. No real problems with this Giovanni offering today. Like DT, I shot through the puzzle at a good lick, then spent some time scratching my head trying to parse a couple of the trickier ones. A dead heat on the podium between the two long across clues, and 2*/3* overall.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  16. Found it a bit tricky but finally managed everything apart from 6d.
    Definitely a bit more humorous than usual. Giovanni heard my plea.
    Big smiles at 2d, 3d, 14d and 20a.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  17. I had NUT for 9a which I think works equally well.

    I liked 25a (hanging’s left hanging) and 19a (setter-off…)

    I thought the MANY in 11a was necessary as per comment answering RD@2

    For the answer in 5a, I guess the thinking is that if there is something to test, then there must be some uncertainty

    I did think some of the clues were loose, but solvable – Giovanni sometimes goes for tight wordplay with looser definitions

    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat

    1. I agree re 11a, that’s how I read it,even if the ‘many’ is slightly superfluous it adds to the clue.

      However, ‘nut’ and the answer mean slightly different things (anyone got a BRB to hand?). A ‘nut’, ‘nutter’ or ‘nutcase’ to me is mildly deranged or a fanatic, whereas the answer is the plain ‘idiot’ from the clue, no?

      1. LR. Yes, I agree – a nit is a plain stupid person (an idiot), but nut implies patent eccentricity or mental disturbance.

    2. So did I for 11a. If I am starting to think like you Dutch, I must be getting better!!!

  18. I have to admit I got bored with it half way through, but just about filled it in anyway – wasn’t fond of some of the more clunky clues. No real light-bulb moments, nor intrigue.

    Maybe I just got up too early! ***/*

    Nevertheless, thanks to all as ever.

  19. Found this on the trickier side for the Don and never did figure out why 23a was right (thanks DT), although I got the hidden reverse in 11a..go figure.

    A pencil was used for all anagrams and the taps and boiler are fixed.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for a top blog.

  20. Well I liked this puzzle. I thought it had a good variety of clues all reasonably solvable with a little bit of cogitation. The two long clues unusually for me took a while to make themselves known, so I was held up for a while there. 3/3* overall and fave was 8a. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  21. SW corner gave problems; mainly with 21a know the word vaguely but don’t think I have ever used it – so a first. Didn’t see much connection between the answer & the clue in 5d.
    Like Dutch I had nut for 9a – a tun being a container so enter a plea of mitigation.
    A curate’s egg for me ** / **.
    Thanks to setter and DT for instructive blog.

  22. I found this very tricky but got there in the end.
    Like others, I left 5d until the very end when I had all the letters before putting it in. Pretty obscure for me.
    I had to google 6d, he’s not the sort of gent I would know, not at all scientific.
    I thought there were some clever clues, e.g. 20a, 10a, 8a and 3d. Fave was 15a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for unravelling some for me.

  23. My soulmate RD hit the nail on the head as ever with his description of this one as fairly uninspiring, it certainly didn’t make my cruciverbalistic juices flow either.

    My only tick was beside 14d. I can understand the logic behind 5d, but thought it could have been much better.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT and a good weekend to all.

  24. Pretty much what you would expect from the Friday back page setter with everything fairly clued but lacking a bit of sparkle. Didn’t particularly enjoy the 4 letter solutions with the exception of 6d – but there you go. No major standout favourite today but I thought Hanni would have particularly enjoyed 10a :)

    Thanks toy Mr Manley for the puzzle and to DT for his excellent review.

    Mrs SL & I are off this weekend to see ‘Guys and Dolls’ at Wolverhampton, then down to Evesham for an overnighter at our favourite hotel and then down to Stroud for Mrs SL’s brother’s wedding. We’ll have a super weekend and I hope you all have one too. See you next week – liver permitting :wacko:

  25. I was tempted not to comment today because I’m a bit of a Grumpy Cat. But I thought that some people might take heart from hearing that I struggled quite a bit with this, so I’m happy to come here and confess. I may have used a few letter hints and I may have kicked myself a few times. Never mind – we’re all allowed the odd off day. Many thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. Don’t beat yourself up so much, Kitty. I thought this one was pretty tricky too – almost as difficult as Ray T’s on Thursday and certainly harder than many on the back page. 3*/4*

  26. I think this may be the first Friday puzzle that I have managed to solve without electronic aids or the hints.
    So….very enjoyable for me.

    I did, however, need help with parsing, so many thanks to Deep Threat…and of course to the setter.

    1. Well done, Ora, it’s a good feeling, isn’t it. I think that’s the joy of this site, you can share your pleasure/disappointment and if you’ve managed to get the answer but not known why, it’s great to sort it all out.

  27. I found this very difficult initially but had to go out and it all seemed to go better later on, 3*/3*. I see what people are saying about some of cluing but there was a good variety of different types. I was held up on 12a by getting fixated on ‘ex’, which was probably the intention, and particularly liked 9a and 25a.
    Thanks to setter and DT.

  28. A few problems in the SW corner today with 21/22/23/25 refusing to budge for a long time at the end. The rest fairly flew by, so perhaps the change of gear just threw me.

  29. Most comments today include the word “uninspiring,” but I loved it. I love how many of the clues’ different parts connect so well e.g. 15a, 21a and 14d. My favourite one is 25a. I agree that 11a doesn’t need the “many.” I did today’s like a sprint relay i.e. lots of powerful short bursts. Enjoyment **** Difficulty *** 3rd star added just for “vicissitude.”

  30. Just short of 2* difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment. I suppose 19a is the nearest I have to a favourite clue, but none of them really rang my bell, l’m afraid. But then, I’m a miserable old git and need a scotch. I shall have one now, before taking a peek at the Toughie. Thanks to the Don, and to DT.

  31. Slow to start, 17a was first to go in. Tricky today but pleased I got both cricket related clues, 3D and 16d without the hints. That’s a first.

  32. Like GWizz I found the a couple of the longer clues required a bit more time to sort out until the pennies dropped. On the whole I found the puzzle very well clued and fair as always from DM.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni **/***

  33. Oddly, reading the comments, I found this ok. 3/4’s of it was fine, the SW corner held me up. I needed a hint for 21a, a word I knew but could not work out.
    19a was fav.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the usual excellent, amusing set of hints.

  34. Did enjoy the variety of clues. Last one in was 1d – just could not solve the anagram even with all the checkers. Favourite and penultimate in was 25a. Thanks to setter and DT for hints

  35. Pretty straightforward although I struggled with 1a. Even with the down clues I couldn’t see it. My 16 year old son got it!!!

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