DT 28175 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28175

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28175

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Big Dave’s Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good day to one and all. Today’s puzzle is not too testing but just over half of the answers begin with an unchecked first letter which always raises the difficulty level. There are also eight four letter words which are often trickier to solve than longer words where an abundance of checking letters help the job along. 29ac was a bit of a stickler for me until I remembered the late and great Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and the penny dropped

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. Definitions are underlined. 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    Pig had trapped tail (6)
SHADOW: A female pig contains (trapped) the word HAD straight from the clue.

4a    Soccer player gets the bird for impudent retorts (8)
BACKCHAT: This football player is a defender. He is followed by a type of bird which Google describes as a European Robin

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Current binder for correspondence (6)
ACCORD: One of two electrical currents is followed by a thin flexible string or rope.

10a    Hard to fathom corruption engulfing good man and king (8)
ABSTRUSE: A word meaning corruption (of power perhaps) is placed around (engulfs) our usual canonised good man who is followed by a single letter for King R(ex).

12a    Induce the French to go round ancient city (4)
LURE: Place the French word for THE around the usual suspect for ancient city. If you are new to the blog The Usual Suspects can be found under the heading Cryptic Crosswords on this site’s home page.

13a    Clergyman inwardly pious? The reverse — a treacherous type (5)
VIPER: Place the shortened form of pious inside a shortened form of clergyman. Reverse the whole lot to find a spiteful or treacherous person.

14a    Party back in power for old Scandinavia (4)
ODIN: Another usual suspect and another reversal. This time a word for party is reversed and followed by a word we use to indicate a party in power. A little like the cricketing terms which differentiate between the side batting and the side not batting.  [I think the intended definition may actually be “power for old Scandinavia”.  BD]

17a    You may be well-advised to act on his spot judgment (5,7)
WATER DIVINER: The well in this clue might be dug out. This person points out where to dig using dowsing rods.

20a    Thrice curate in turn, a constructive way to make a living (12)

23a    A London orchestra as well (4)
ALSO: A from the clue and the initials of The London Symphony Orchestra which gives me another chance to play this wonderful piece of music.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a    Previous head of a religious body (5)
PRIOR: Double definition. The second being the head of a house of Friars

25a    Leave out large container (4)
SKIP: Another double definition. The large container is often used for rubbish or builders waste and often worth a root-around in.

28a    One-time party animal backing words to music (8)
LIBRETTO: The abbreviation for a minor political party is followed by an aquatic mammal which is reversed (backing)

29a    Such a means to an end barely contemplated by Hamlet (6)
BODKIN: The means with which Shakespeare’s Hamlet threatened to take his own life when saddened by the death of his sister Ophelia. After all these years this poorly schooled orphan boy can still recite this word for word.

To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane,
But that the fear of something after death
Murders the innocent sleep,
Great nature’s second course,
And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune
Than fly to others that we know not of.
There’s the respect must give us pause:
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take,
In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn
In customary suits of solemn black,
But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,
Breathes forth contagion on the world,
And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage,
Is sicklied o’er with care,
And all the clouds that lowered o’er our housetops,
With this regard their currents turn wry,
And lose the name of action.
‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
But soft you, the fair Ophelia:
Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
But get thee to a nunnery — go!

Mark Twain

30a    PM’s diary set out high points of Egyptian tour (8)
PYRAMIDS: Anagram (set out) of PM’S DIARY

31a    Retiring worker’s seen in humble dwelling (6)
SHANTY: place one of our regular workers inside an adjective meaning timid or retiring. After all the reversals already seen I did try to reverse the two regular workers but not necessary in this case.


1d    Reluctantly accepts criterion that summer has arrived? (8)
SWALLOWS: To reluctantly accept is to half-heartedly believe an unlikely story of the type your reviewer today might tell such as follows. These birds that herald the beginning of summer were flying over my pub last night catching insects and delighting us with their aerobatical prowess. A group of eight or so were clearly playing tig up there high in the sky. Yes tig, just like our kids do on the ground, these birds were playing tig up in the air. A total delight to watch.

2d    Bill supported by clergyman is correct (8)
ACCURATE: An abbreviated bill is followed by a clergyman. Not the one at 13 ac. The one with the egg.

3d    They enable backward-looking people to progress (4)
OARS: These backward looking people are messing about on the river and these are their means of propulsion

5d    E.g. for example? (12)
ABBREVIATION: An example of what E.G. is. We have used them thus far in several clues today.

6d    Toy that needs a wind to get going (4)
KITE: This toy needs a wind. Not a wind as in winding up a clockwork toy. A wind as in a breeze or a gale.

7d    Possibly Hudson Bay may have come from one of these (6)
HOUNDS: Anagram (possibly) of HUDSON. The Bay refers to the sound one of these may make.

8d    He’d ten unusual words to finish a book (3,3)
THE END: Anagram (unusual) of HE’D TEN

11d    Not allowed to succeed? (12)
DISINHERITED: A cryptic definition of what one who has been denied a share in the family fortune has been

15d    Cornish city organised tour crossing river (5)
TRURO: Anagram (organised) of TOUR around (crossing) R(iver) (Three sets of brackets in one hint which contains only seven words. That reminds me of Schuua. Remember him)?

16d    Holy city came about, within century (5)
MECCA: An anagram (about) of CAME and the Roman numeral for one hundred (century)

18d    County relatives will supply leather (8)
BUCKSKIN: This ceremonial county in the south east of England is followed by one’s family and relations

19d    Armaments open war clashes before end of July (8)
WEAPONRY: Anagram (clashes) of OPEN WAR followed by the last letter (end of) July

21d    Ring to summon for service (4,2)
CALL UP: Double definition the second referring to military service.

22d    Boris strangely takes a pressurised line (6)
ISOBAR: Anagram (strangely) of BORIS and A

26d    Word or sentence (4)
TERM: A double definition. The second might refer to a prison sentence

27d    Collectively neither one thing nor the other (4)
BOTH: The answer is used for emphasis to refer to two people or things, regarded and identified together. Or an adverb used before the first of two alternatives to emphasize that the statement being made applies to each

Reviewed to the sweet tones of Van Morrison’s Orangefield High School concert.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

The Quick Crossword pun: dire+tribe=diatribe

80 comments on “DT 28175

  1. 2*/4*. Here we have the usual very high standard of Monday entertainment from Rufus with a splendid puzzle and from Miffypops with a splendid review.

    My short list for the top honours is 17a, 5d & 27d.

    Just one question. In 16d does “within century” really mean insert a C into the anagram fodder?

    Many thanks to Rufus and MP.

    1. 16d – A very good question?

      I don’t know the answer … but I’m sure that others will explain it in full … ?

      1. D: that is correct. But to confirm the construct, the clue should have read: Holy city came about – within, century.

  2. Archetypal Monday fare from our Monday architect. There were quite a few disconnected clues that held out for some time longer than the others. I caught them all in the end, though 29a required checking.

    I think BD is right about 14a – the definition is power for old Scandinavian, and it’s a reversal of the party followed by IN from the clue. I also think that in 28a the party must be referring to the historical (pre-1989) Liberal party for the wordplay to make sense (one-time party).

    My favourite clue today is 1d. Many thanks to Rufus for the ride and to Miffypops for the après ski party. There is a lot of partying in this comment.

  3. I thought this was a good one from Rufus although I wasn’t too sure about 14a until I parsed it the same way as BD and I shared RD’s slight concern over 16d.
    Podium places go to 1&17a plus 1d. I have a professional 17a as a close neighbour – well into his 90’s he is still in regular employ by building contractors needing to determine underlying water courses on their sites. A fascinating person to engage in conversation.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP. By the way – I think there’s an extra ‘H’ been put into the answer for 20a and all the answers were uncovered in the review as it showed on my screen.

  4. Lovely Rufus puzzle .I liked the word pictures conjured up by 1d, and 30a for example.
    Terrific review , Miffypops, and congratulations on finding that quote from Mark Twain.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  5. Needed the hints for 3d and 9a…followed by forehead-slapping and shouts of Doh!!!

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the hints

    1. Isn’t it amazing how hard a clue can seem, until you read the hint and eureka, and definitely head slapping and doh sighs follow…

  6. I’m afraid I just can’t see how the clue to 29a leads to the wonderful Mark Twain quote. Help!

    1. Harport, the clue relates to Hamlet’s soliloquy. Mischievous Miffypops has seized the opportunity to quote Mark Twain’s brilliant Shakespearean pastiche which is a soliloquy from Huckleberry Finn combining quotes from Hamlet, Macbeth and Richard III.

      1. Yes, I appreciate all that but I just can’t what there is in the clue to lead me to the well known Huckleberry Finn version.

        1. Hi there Harport. Whilst being poorly schooled I taught myself a fair bit of Shakespeare to compensate for the dreadful standard of what passed for education in Coventry in the 1960’s. When I read Huckleberry Finn much later the antics of The King and The Duke and their production of The Royal Nonsuch” had me in stitches. The mish mash of the three different plays actually made me laugh out loud. It is preposterous. Whenever the word bodkin appears it always makes me,think of Twain before it makes me think of Shakespeare. The hint (with this weeks deliberate mistake) refers to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The illustration to the hint refers to Twain’s pastiche. I did learn that the use of multiple exclamation marks should be limited to comedy writing but I doubt that was learnt at school.

          1. Having only covered Henry IV Part I in high school, unless an answer is Falstaff, I am out of luck. Learnt more from Jeopardy answers on US tv than I ever did in school in the 60s.

    1. Hi dcc,
      I think the ‘Ophelia’ comment was this week’s deliberate mistake from Miffypops – see his reply to Harport at no.8.
      He’ll be so pleased that you noticed!

          1. Stop it, MP!
            For the record – Ophelia (as you jolly well know) was the daughter of Polonius and sister of Laertes.
            Hamlet’s poor mother was Gertrude.

          2. Yeah, course I knew that… I know Shakespeare was a writer, and I’ve hear of Mark Twain, otherwise..erm.
            A Hamlet’s a small village or a brand of cigar isn’t it?

            Sorry, my education was terrible in the 70’s and my fascination is with etymology, not history (or media).

            Why learn something that’s made-up, said Mr. Ignoramus.

  7. Thought this was terrific. For some reason my solving went hither and thither rather than the usual section by section. 29a foxed me. Lots of “Favs” including 9a, 17a, 3d and 11d. Thanks Rufus for much fun and MP for “all that jazz”, etc. Drat, I seem suddenly to have joined those for whom solutions are automatically revealed in the hints – annoying when added to a morning of on/off power cuts (due to acverse weather conditions”!).

    1. Unusually this appeared without delay for moderation – not complaining at all but was unable to to modify typos.

      1. I find when the site comes up as https, not only are all the answers revealed but my comment is not moderated. Otherwise, it is moderated every time, which is useful as you say for edting.

        1. I have seen replies previously by CS and others advising change on site from https to http but I’m damned if I can fathom how to do that and in any case I don’t understand why it should suddenly have changed. Too hard! In future I wiil just have to wait until I am ready to have solutions revealed before I go to BD’s site.

          1. Open your internet ‘page’

            In the address line at the top type http://bigdave44.com

            If it remembers you’ve used https before and wants to go there, just delete the ‘s’ and refresh the site address.

              1. BD, you’re a star for fixing it. Thank you so much. My fingers are crossed that all will now be well.

            1. Sue, all seems to be well now after BD’s intervention but I have kept copy of your guidance as to what to do should the problem reoccur. TVM for your help.

  8. Enjoyable Monday fare – however I did need help with 29a as my English Lit. ‘O’ Level was a long time ago. Just to prove that I read the reviews for which many thanks to MP, I think the underlining in 7d is wrong. Possibly Hudson is the anagram not the answer.

  9. I couldn’t answer 29a ( despite thinking of the word bodkin) and my feeble attempt at 1d was “shallowy” ( shy with allow inside!) Enjoyed the rest.

  10. V enjoyable Monday offering a couple of really clever clues in 23a and 3D. I often struggle with these short clues as the checking letters are usually unhelpful vowels but these were fine.
    Can’t say that 14a was too well clued given that Odin was (or is if you are a believer) a God and as such Scandiavian not Scandinavia. I can see what Miffypops is getting at but I am more inclined to think that it’s a typo.
    Thx to all

    1. I took it that the “power” in the clue indicated a God for Scandinavia so it worked for me.

  11. A Rufus crossword and Pachelbel’s Canon – what a delightful combination………..
    Thank you MP!

  12. I happily let MP solve 29a for me. I’m a generous kind of guy.
    The rest didn’t put much of a fight.
    Thanks to Rufus for a very pleasant Monday treat and to MP for the excellent review.

  13. Back to seven full or partial anagrams this week by my count, five in the down clues.

    I suppose 29a is one you either know or don’t know (I didn’t), as there is no wordplay as such to help.

    Many potential favourite clues, but in the end I’ve opted for 3d and 7d.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  14. Really enjoyed both the challenge & the blog.
    To have Pachebel’s Canon & Yakety Yak shows an eclectic musical taste I might suggest. Unfortunately my mis-spent youth meant I knew the words to the latter but not enough Shakespeare to get the answer to 29a: it was clear from the hint, though.
    Thanks setter & MP for a bright start to the week. Time to bring in the dog (no cat to put out).

    1. I see that Biggles has made an appearance! He’s black, like Sadie, but our Sadie has a tinge of something else in her that makes her extra long and feathery tail curl upwards, otherwise she’s all Labrador and I love her.

      1. It is the late (very) lamented Tysoe didn’t have a picture of Biggles. Both field trial labs. but as different as chalk & cheese.

        1. Coincidentally, I sometimes feature my “late and very much lamented” chocolate Labrador whose name was Rufus! Not to take anything away from Sadie, but he was a very special fellow.

  15. Took longer than it should have for some reason. Didn’t even understand the question for 29a!

    Very enjoyable to solve except 13a – thought that was rather mundane compared the inventiveness of the rest. Ne’er mind.
    Thanks to all.

  16. Held up just into 2* territory, mainly by 13a which for some reason eluded me for some time. 28a was my favourite. Right – now to pull up yet another floorboard in my unceasing quest for a leak in the water system!

    Oh, thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  17. I always love a Rufus puzzle to start the day and this was super!
    I, too, was held up by 29a as I thought the answer meant a needle, so I looked it up and, sure ’nuff, it can also mean a dagger.
    There were so many good clues, I loved 17a, 20a, 3d and 7d, but fave is, without doubt, 29a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his review – and bringing back the splendid Mark Twain.

  18. A Rufus puzzle is usually a delight and this was no exception. Got held up trying to parse 14a and struggled with 29a somewhat. All in all good stuff.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a top blog. Nice Van.

  19. Didn’t realise Hamlet was having an affair with his sister…Ophelia.Time to reassess the play.Was the incest with his sister in conflict with the lust he had for his mum?i feel a thesis coming on.

  20. This was pretty straightforward apart from 29a which I totally guessed as I couldn’t think of any other combination of letters. No one else has mentioned this but is this actually a cryptic clue, unless I’ve missed something, as surely it depends on a knowledge of the play and if you aren’t familiar with it, then you would never get it from the rest of the clue. Otherwise, some great clues.
    2*/3*** with thanks to Rufus and MP.

  21. A little more difficult than the last few Monday’s ***/*** not having a Classical education I was stumped by 29a 😥 I liked 1a & 3d 😍 Thanks to MP and Rufus nice to see “The welcome guest of settled Spring” getting a mention at 1d 😄

  22. I didn’t do Hamlet at school, so not sure how I was supposed to get 29a. Thank you for the review Miffypops. I have a soft spot for Pachelbel’s Canon. It was my first grown up piece to play on the piano (Grade 3 I think ). Favourite was 17a. Thank you setter.

    1. It’s not too late Florence but don’t start with Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet is quite accessible. There may be free courses with The Open University. Open Learn is free. Mind you there are so many choices you may have trouble choosing. How is the car hunting going?

      1. I did do Midsummer nights dream for ‘o’ level, and Romeo and Juliet for ‘A’ level. I’ve been to Stratford several times. I just haven’t read or seen ‘Hamlet’. I have the complete works of Shakespeare, but not sure it’s bedtime reading. Need to put Hamlet on my ‘must go and see’ list. Car hunting is over. Thank you for asking. Now proud owner of low mileage ‘twiggy skirt’. Much easier to drive and park round London.

  23. Great crossword to start the week! I did enjoy today’s offering. Some very good clues of which the deceptively simple 3d was my favourite. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus for providing an excellent challenge, and to the mischievous poor orphan boy for supplying the hints.

  24. For some reason that we can’t quite understand now, it was 7d that had us head scratching for longest. Took ages to see that it was basically a simple anagram. Our brains must have seized up somewhat from being without our regular fix of puzzles for a week. Good Monday fun as usual.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

  25. Truly enjoyable puzzle today, thanks Rufus and Miffypops. Third day in a row where clues have made sense, so holding breath about what may be in store for us tomorrow.

  26. Thanks for the explanation of 29a. Never read Hamlet nor Mark Twain. Thought the rest was fine although not convinced I had the right answer for 27d.

  27. 29 a was my last one in but I couldn’t see why so came on to check. Thank you MP for the explanation and all the extras. I’ve been thoroughly entertained and educated! My favourite was 28a but is now 29a.

  28. Good evening everybody

    Seemed straightforwrd until I was unable to solve 13a, 29a (rereading that clue and looking at the hint it seems to be a question of general knowledge rather than a cryptic crossword clue) and 1d (not sure that was a very good clue either).


  29. Superb entertainment, both from Rufus for a great puzzle which I very nearly finished; and Miffypops for fab hints and clips. And a huge thank you to BD and all contributors for this blog – I have come on in leaps and bounds because of it. Hugely enjoyable. Just love it.

  30. Hi everyone! Have been absent for a while but I am back after travelling through France to get back to West Sussex, slowly coming to terms with the results of the referendum… Needed help with 27d and 29a so many thanks to Miffypops’ excellent review and to Rufus for a gentle working out of my English grey cells. Favourite clue was 17a.

  31. 29a – Is it possible to find the solution from the wordplay?

    What wordplay?

    I don’t like using the”F” word … but Fardels seems appropriate.

    Mr Squires, please, give us a clue in this sort of clue!

  32. Well, I am dead chuffed. Normally Rufus’ puzzles make as much sense as Ray-T;s. Not today.
    I still needed a couple of hints, 11d and 29a, but much better than most Mondays.
    Favorite clue was 28a.
    Thanks to MP for the usual excellent, amusing hints and to Rufus for a very challenging, but enjoyable crossword.
    Belated congratulations to Chris Froome on another amazing performance.

  33. I tried to fit “Ridiculously to be banned by Government Digital Service” into 5d, but ran out of boxes.

  34. Too late and too tired now but briefly, just for once . . .
    3* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment too.
    I thought this was quite tricky and was defeated as to the ‘why’ of 29a – I didn’t get it anyway, husband did.
    The other two that held me up for ever were 9a and 3d (husband got 3d too).
    Having ‘yoyo’ for 6d did nothing to help with 4 and 10a until I saw the problem some time later. :roll:
    Enough – need to go to bed.
    I liked 17 and 31a and 1 and 7d. My favourite was 25a – it’s what my Lambs call my handbag because it’s always so full of junk!
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  35. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but quite tricky puzzle to start the week. I was completely beaten by 29a&27d. Must brush up on my Shakespeare! Favourite was 7d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  36. Completed this little gem on Tuesday morning. Rufus at his best and very enjoyable. 29 across confused me, as did the back and forth about Mark Twain above. Never mind, all in all a solid 2*/4* from me with belated thanks all round.

  37. Definitely well above 2* for the average solver like myself. Would never have got 13a without looking it up. And 29a evaded me as I have never read or seen Hamlet even though Macbeth and Lear are two of my all time favourite plays. Must make an effort to put that right.
    Having said that, overall enjoyed it.

  38. A very gentle start to the week, quite enjoyable though. I did get 29a from the checkers but had to Google it to confirm it was a hamlet character. 2*/3*

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