DT 28176 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28176

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28176

Hints and tips by ShropshireLad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

Good morning from a ‘non-scorchio’ Shropshire. The weather is back to its low 20’s and I, for one, am quite glad it has cooled down.

I don’t think that the puzzle today will hold many of you up as it was pretty much a R&W although the SE corner was my last in and edged me towards 2* territory. There are a few old chestnuts but, all in all, it was quite enjoyable while it lasted.

As usual, the definitions are underlined to help you on your way and combined with my tips and hints (if needed) you’ll be finished in next to no time. I’m sure they won’t be needed but you can also activate the ‘click here!’ button to reveal the answers. Happy solving.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Name behind hand puppet (4)
PAWN: Take the abbreviation for ‘name’ and place it after (behind) a term for a hand used in boxing circles.

3a    TV drama series provided that about Father Time? (4,6)
SOAP OPERAS: You will need a term for ‘provided that’ (2,2) and put it around (about) two synonyms for ‘father’ and ‘time’.

9a    Correct current flowing back (4)
EDIT: A synonym for ‘current’ is reversed (flowing back).

10a    Watch and record in paper covering American parade? (6,4)
TICKER TAPE: A colloquialism for a ‘watch’ or heart combined with a verb to ‘record’.

11a    Obscure English pieces of jewellery taken to Spain (7)
ECLIPSE: Lego clue. Take the abbreviation for ‘English’ followed by a particular part of a necklace or bracelet used to secure it to your neck or hand pluralised (pieces of jewellery) and (taken to) the IVR code for ‘Spain’.

13a    Embarrassed about attention after hospital listened to again (7)
REHEARD: The colour normally associated with ’embarrassed’ goes round (about) a synonym for ‘attention’ after the abbreviation for ‘hospital’.

14a    Idealists seeing sign (11)
VISIONARIES: A charade of a synonym for ‘seeing’ followed by a horoscope ‘sign’.

18a    Novel from Hardy, for example, with surprise ending (6,5)
OLIVER TWIST: Take the first name of Stan Laurel’s co-star (Hardy for example) and follow it with a synonym for a ‘surprise ending’ in a novel or a film.

21a    Top expert on the crest of a wave? (7)
SURFACE: An expert preceded by the crest of a wave.

22a    Number with forwards displaying well-developed abs … (3-4)
SIX-PACK: Take a number (between 5 & 7) and add the term used for players who form the scrum in a rugby team. This is a ‘selfie’ btw.

23a    … dictates changes after their game suspended (10)
RUSTICATED: You will need the abbreviation of the ‘game’ that the forwards play in (from the previous clue) and follow that with an anagram (changes) of DICTATES. I can’t remember the last time I saw the continuation of consecutive clues actually being ‘linked’.

24a    To gain access to computer, short symbol required (4)
LOGO: Split 3,2 – what you need to do to get access to a computer, with the last letter removed (short).

25a    Cause of structural damage in digs angrily received by artist and one sitting (6,4)
RISING DAMP: An anagram (angrily) of IN DIGS is contained in (received by) the standard abbreviation for an ‘artist’ and what someone who ‘sits’ in the Houses of Parliament is called.

26a    International try (4)
TEST: Double definition, the former being a cricket match between countries.


1d    Keep up with twelfth man after start of point-to-point (8)
PRESERVE: The twelfth man here is someone who takes over for and injured player placed ‘after’ the first letter (start of) point-to point.

2d    Injury caused by a couple of cats (8)
WHIPLASH: There are no domestic or wild cats involved in the clue. You will need two synonyms for an instrument used to as punishment.

4d    Girl charged nothing at first (5)
OLIVE: Take ‘nothing’ written as a digit and place it before (at first) a synonym for ‘charged’. I still don’t like this type of clue where you have to find the name.

5d    Cried out after prod in game (5,4)
POKER DICE: An anagram (out) of CRIED follows (after) a synonym for ‘prod’. I believe it’s something you can do in ‘facebook’.

6d    Starch up? Axe ridiculous old levy (8,3)
PURCHASE TAX: An anagram (ridiculous) of STARCH UP AXE.

7d    Uncontrolled anger involving a former president (6)
REAGAN: Another anagram (uncontrolled) of ANGER containing (involving) the ‘A’ from the clue.

8d    Soon achieved in property originally having shabby exterior (6)
SPEEDY: Take the first letter (originally) of ‘property’ and a synonym of ‘shabby’ is placed around it (exterior).

12d    Expert calling for action intended to cause anger (11)
PROVOCATION: A three letter abbreviation of ‘expert’ followed by an old fashioned synonym for a ‘calling’ or a profession.

15d    Canal bed I treated for lock-keeper? (5,4)
ALICE BAND: An anagram (treated) of CANAL BED I.

16d    Sleeveless garment stocked by shop in a forecourt (8)
PINAFORE: Our one and only ‘lurker’.

17d    Seconds to destroy place under surveillance (5,3)
STAKE OUT: Take the standard abbreviation for ‘seconds’ a follow it with term (split 4,3) to destroy or obliterate.

19d    Loan shark certain to be found in ancient city (6)
USURER: A synonym for ‘certain’ is contained in (found in) Crosswordland’s favourite ancient city.

20d    Conservative makes progress in times of intense trouble (6)
CRISES: The abbreviation for ‘conservative’ is followed by a single word synonym of ‘makes progress’ in an upward manner.

22d    Energy shown by head of search party (5)
STEAM: Take the first letter of ‘search’ (head of search) followed by a synonym of ‘party’.

There we are – another Tuesday puzzle. I have no particular stand out favourites today, did any bring a smile to your face?

The Quick Crossword pun: core+Dunn+doff=cordoned off

95 comments on “DT 28176

  1. I thought this was an enjoyable puzzle. I think 21a is an all-in-one, or semi all-in-one, (or whatever you call them). If the answer is split 4,3 it fits the whole clue rather nicely. Thanks to the creator (Shamus?) and the deconstructor.

      1. One wonders, then, why the setter included a question mark at the end of the clue – it must have some significance, surely?

    1. Isn’t 21a just a bog-standard “cryptic clue”, with a (precise) definition and some indicative word play?

        1. Yes, but now Alec’s got me wondering more about the question mark? Those A-I-O’s often come with a ? or ! at the end. But I suppose there’s no reason why a normal cryptic clue couldn’t be presented in the form of a question (the ? might be pesky misdirection!). I’ll leave it up to you experts, think…

          1. That’s why BD vets my blog before posting otherwise I’d be in a ‘world of ***’ ‘ :)

          2. I’m no expert, Jose, an enthusiastic amateur at best. I was merely expressing my thought processes at the time I solved that particular clue.

    2. I also do not think this is an all in one. There is a clear definition (top) and the rest is clear word play. The whole clue does not define the answer. However, the surface reading of the clue is nice, suggesting a surfer.

  2. There’s clearly something wrong with me, as I could hardly do any of this one.
    It was as if I was back to where I was before finding this blog.
    Not a happy morning.

    Many thanks to ShropshireLad for the much needed hints.

    1. I found this really difficult too – it’s all to do with wave-lengths – no reception today. Cheer up. :smile:

      1. I don’t often put puzzle comments as ‘R&W’ – I should have said for the most part. The SE corner (bottom right hand corner Kath) took me longer than the rest of the puzzle as I just couldn’t see the lurker. I’ll no doubt get my come uppance next week :)

      2. I’m with you Kath and Ora, this is a monster!!!
        I have started on the Toughie, much easier than this!!!

    2. Although it didn’t take long it took more passes than normal and a number of answers were bunged in because they fit and deconstructed afterwards.

    3. I’m definitely in your camp, I had too many unfinished. Not my wavelength at all.

      1. Glad to see a fair number of you did not find this easy, not feeling quite so stupid now.

  3. Don’t panic! I’m the same; finished it and gave it 3 ***. Then to see others call it a R&W

    1. Thank you . Seeing people say it was R&W is rather depressing.
      Nil desperandum. There’s always tomorrow.

      1. Don’t worry Ora, I’ve been doing these for donkeys years and was definitely not in tune with this one. Kind of expected as last 3 days were lovely. Didn’t help that I had Sagittarius for 14a (idealist is one trait) and thought Hardy clue was of the Thomas variety, and tried to make Wessex Tails fit. Finished in Starbucks and tried to comment via my iPhone but would not go through… And air conditioning was down in Starbucks (91 C outside) which I did not realize until I ordered a nice big cappuccino. Just not my day 🙁

  4. Nothing is ever a read and write for me and this one didn’t even come close to it – at least 3* difficulty and the same, or a bit more, for enjoyment.
    I got into a terrible muddle trying to untangle 3a; I know we have 10a from time to time but I always forget it; spent too long trying to make the first word of 22a ‘sex’; I’ve never heard of 5d and neither has the BRB and, last of all, I completely missed the one and only lurker.
    24a caused trouble too – it had to be what it was but, rightly or otherwise, I’d always say ‘log in’ not ‘log on’.
    Not my greatest ever attempt at the crossword – oh dear!
    I liked 1 and 23a. My favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to SL. Much cooler here too – wonder if the brain is up to trying the Toughie or shall I just cut the grass . . .

    1. We used to play poker dice – you have 5 dice with cards ( ace king queen Jack ten nine) instead of 1-6, and you play exactly as you would poker.

      1. My misspent youth included playing this with my father and sometimes it was liar dice – great fun too.

        1. ‘Lie dice’ was brilliant – nearly as good as ‘Uckers’ or even ‘spoof’.

    2. Always say log in, so that went in too until I could see it had to be log on.

  5. Not a lot to hold me up with this Tuesday Mysteron offering. I liked 15 down as it made me smile, and overall I cannot disagree with SL’s ratings, although I might nudge up the enjoyment by half a star.

    Thanks all round. Feels downright cool to me up in the hills, barely 17C and damp in the air.

  6. Try the Toughie Kath. I found it easier than this one and you should be able to cut the grass as well before the rain comes.

    1. OK – thanks – the only problems are that I’m very slow with Toughies and we have lots of grass!

  7. I enjoyed it a lot. I know some of them are old chestnuts, but I like stuff like ‘lock keeper’ and the Dickens novel ( that Laurel and Hardy guy has been about a lot lately, pretending to be a novelist, I think?)

    Anyway, it was fun. I was held up by 2d trying to get a charade of two actual cats but there we go.

    Was the quickie a pangram?

  8. Yes I think more ***/*** very clever in parts 🤔 Liked 2d & 14a, thanks to S. Lad and to the setter 😀

  9. 2*/2.5* for me today. I found this mostly plain sailing, although, like SL, I got held up in one corner. Unlike SL, the NW was my last area in. I thought 18a was very good and it gets my vote as favourite, but, oh dear, can a clue get any more clunky than 25a?

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to SL.

    1. 25ac. Bunged in from checkers. Re read the clue, raised my eyebrows, shook my head and moved on. It is awful isn’t it?

    2. I solved this pretty much as RD did so not much more to add. And I agree about 25a and 18a!

      Many thanks to setter and to SL for a great blog. Nice selfie.

    3. 25a got bunged in although I couldn’t quite make it fit the clue, but “awful” ranking for me goes to 23a.

  10. Most of thiis was relatively straight forward but the bottom section took a bit more thought. My last entry was the ‘lurker’ – how on earth did I miss that? Nice surface read has to be why I guess. Makes it my favovourite because of that. 2.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to SL for the review.

  11. This was on my wavelength today.

    RD/MP: I quite like 25a – I wouldn’t call that overly clunky (no more so than 3a?).

    Agree with Jose/BD re 21a, a straightforward cryptic clue.

    Enjoyed this, a nice variety of clues */***. Thanks to all as ever.

  12. I found this more ** difficulty – quite slow to get going, defo not r/w. Perhaps I keep forgetting old chestnuts. 2d my favourite with 23a which cleverly refered back to 22 for part of the answer. Thanks all.

  13. I often read and write in the wrong answer.
    As long as the grid is filled, I’m Ok with it.
    Miffypops taught me.
    Joking apart, I spent more time on 10a than the rest of the crossword.
    Liked the misdirection in 1d ( start of point-to-point) and not sure that a visionary is an idealist in all cases.
    Also think that drinking 22a prevents you from having those.
    Liked the link to the next clue.
    Thanks to the Tuesday setter and to SL for a refreshing review.

  14. 1/3. Enjoyable while it lasted. Favourites were 2a&3&16d. 22a reminded me of a birthday card from a friend showing me at the doctors with him saying “I know you have a six pack – it’s just that it’s in with all the other shopping”. I say friend loosely 😀
    Thanks to the setter and SL for the review.

  15. Well I enjoyed todays puzzle and a **/*** for me.
    Guessed the solution to 16d- failed to spot the lurker.
    2d brought a D’oh when the ‘cats’ came in !
    Am I missing something-was the to-point necessary after point in 1d ?
    Being a Thomas Hardy fan, could not think of a novel ’till the penny dropped, reminded me of the great John Arlott , especially in the cricket season.

    1. What cricket season? It lasts from January to December in the DT crosswords.

      1. Speaking of cricket – can one of our fans explain to me why only an international match is referred to as a ‘test’?

        1. Jane, I not a cricket fan but I thought I’d be a gentleman and actually answer your question – I’ve just c/p it from Yahoo! Answers (so if it’s wrong, it ain’t my fault):

          The use of the word ‘Test’ in international cricket matches originated in a match between England and Australia. The name “Test” is thought to arise from the idea that the matches are a “test of strength and competency” between the sides involved. It seems to have been used first to describe an English team that toured Australia in 1861-62, although those matches are not considered Test matches today. The first ever official Test match commenced on the 15th of March 1877, contested by England and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the Australians won by 45 runs

  16. I’d definitely give an extra * or so for enjoyment – I though this was good fun.
    I was slow to find the lurker and guessed the game in 5d but no other problems to report.
    Podium places go to 18&21a plus 2&15d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to SL – hope you enjoyed your weekend away?

  17. Not too difficult for me However I’m sure Nemesis lies in wait.

    1.5* / 2.5* (0.5 off for 25a)

    Thanks to setter & SL for an interesting (& obviously stimulating) blog.

  18. I think I should have gone and read Hamlet on my own rather than struggle with this today. I did finish, but not without looking at the review for 3a, 2d and checking a few things. Should have got 2d. Hindsight is a great thing. My final year primary school teacher had a cat o’nine tails in her desk. It was brought out on the first day of the Autumn term and shown to us. She then proceeded to whack it against her desk so that we knew what it sounded like. I never saw her use it, but guess what, she never had any discipline problems. Thank you Shropshirelad for your terrific review and thank you setter.

  19. I couldn’t get a clear run at this as I was doing a number of things today and have been distracted by worries, so maybe that’s why I didn’t find it at all easy. A sudden spurt at the end, just as I was about to throw in the towel and look up Shropshirelads hints, and I found I had finished. Quite like the twist in 18a as my original thought was wessex tales! I had not heard of 5d and 23a but I worked them out from the clues and check letters. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  20. This took me longer than the Toughie, but then I didn’t have quite the same motivating pressure. It very much took second fiddle to foraging for food and generally faffing about, so had to fit into the gaps. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    The lurker in 16d was beautifully disguised, as was the definition in 18a. Naturally I liked the two cats in 2d, which has to be my favourite. 3a was my last one in – I spent simply ages trying to think of a (single) TV drama, and was expecting a pa in there too.

    Many thanks to the setter and to SL. Who is 22a a selfie of?

    P.S. The Toughie is well worth a go for those usually shy of them, and I’m not just saying that to drum up commentage!

      1. Haha – couldn’t resist. You didn’t specify who took the photo, after all.

        I actually included a genuine selfie (taken by myself) in one of my reviews, but I had my T-shirt on.

        1. I never claimed to have invented it but, at the time, BD doubted its existence – nice to have come up with a real word that he’d never heard of – I was quite proud! :smile:

  21. I was so dumb today, just not on this setter’s wavelength, the NW corner was where I had most difficulty. I lost interest when I had nearly half unfinished and decided to get on with my dull life!
    “Reheard”? I can’t think of a time when I would use the word, I suppose a judge would rehear a case, so maybe I take that back.
    Fave was 23a, just ‘cos I like it.
    Thanks to setter, and to ShropshireLad for his hints. In fact, there were a couple I couldn’t get even with your hints and I had to click on the answers – dumb, dumb, dumb! I hang my head in shame.

      1. 1d, 11a, 25a, 3a and 8d. See, I told you, too many! Just had an email from my pal in Wales and she was dead on wavelength!

  22. I enjoyed this. Can’t believe my last one in was the lurker.

    Unlike SL, I thought the girl in 4a was perfectly fair because it was indicated by wordplay. The girls I don’t like (not many!) are those where ‘girl’ is part of the wordplay and you’re meant to guess one of three thousand names.

    I liked 2d when I Sussed the cats, and I liked 14a as well as 18a.

    Can never remember how to spell the president

    Many thanks setter and thanks SL for a sterling review

  23. Fairly enjoyable stuff although the overall pleasure was definitely tarnished by the clunkiness of 25a – if ever there was a clue that needed redrafting, this was it.

    My joint favourites were 2d and 15d (I loved the use of “lock-keeper here).

    Many thanks to today’s setter and SL. I’m totally with you in being glad that the heat of last week has now dissipated.

  24. Spent nearly as much time on 2a and 16d as on the rest put together, which took me into **/***. I wouldn’t have described 16d as a sleeveless garment – well it is but it isn’t – but what a fantastic lurker and I also liked 2a, despite it being my last in. I also liked 15d.
    I was on a train journey so had some spare time and tackled the Toughie. I usually stall after the first few but today I completed it so it might be worth having a go if you don’t usually.
    Thanks to setter and SL.

      1. Thanks but I’m not sure I should spend more time on crosswords even if I would like to!

  25. Good evening everybody.

    Mostly very straighforward. Favourite was 16d, an above average lurker which also lit up last in 24a.


  26. 2*/2*, and finished in the NW corner. Favourites were 18a and 12d.

    25a brought back for me the clue that cemented the process of me getting hooked on cryptic crosswords. It was Grauniad puzzle from 1977 or 1978. The clue had the same answer as 25a. It was, simply, PMAD (6,4) Marvellous.

    We have no quibble with 4d, Mrs Sheffieldsy getting it in an instant. If 21a isn’t some form of all-in-one it’s damned close to being one.

    Thanks the SL and Mr Ron.

    1. Hi Shefieldsy – My initial thought for 21a was along the lines of an ‘all in one’ and that was what I submitted to BD as I was a bit stretched for time.

      Having had the chance to sit down and read the clue properly – I agree with BD, José, Dutch et al that the definition is quite clearly ‘top’ and that the word play meets that definition. I think it’s quite a clever clue for that subterfuge and with the ? at the end leading you along the lines of an ‘all in one’.

      1. Call the clues whatever you will. BD is a good editor with endless patience. At least I have the poorly schooled excuse

      2. I think the question mark has to do only with the ‘SURF ACE’ as a non-straightforward answer to ‘expert on the top of a wave’. Arguably, the QM isn’t needed. I don’t think it has anything to do with an all-in-one suggestion.

      3. I wasn’t going to weigh in about this clue, but what the hey. Yes, there’s a simple split between definition and wordplay, even though it blends into a smooth surface (so to speak). The confusion has arisen because there are two elements to the wordplay: a simple charade as given in the hint, but also the fact that the answer split (4,3) is as defined by the wordplay (and indeed by the whole clue). It is this additional element that gives the thing an &littish feel and which I’d guess the question mark is there to point to.

        (In short: I agree with Dutch above.)

      4. Perhaps we should call an end to the discussion on the rights and wrongs of parsing 21a – after all we don’t want to be confused with 16 cubed :)

        I think we all agree that BD’s take on the parse is the correct one and I just thought the picture was rather cute. Cue the Hawaii 50 theme tune.

        Life is too short to debate about crossword clues.

        1. Agreed.

          16 cubed indeed. Can you imagine a puzzle of those dimensions?

          I’m guessing that your 9 Out of 10 Cats the other day was a similarly deliberate mistake.

  27. NW corner had me stumped for a while. Got 11a through guesswork. The rest was tricky at the start until I picked up the setters line of thinking. Liked 23a.

  28. Just into 2* territory for difficulty. I didn’t spot the significance of the dots linking the clues for 22/23a, so although I could see what the answer to 23a was, I didn’t understand the “their” in the clue. Quite clever, that. I enjoyed 3a and 18a as well, so gusting 4* for enjoyment. Thanks to the Mysteron and ShropshireLad.

  29. Weird.
    As a relative beginner, initially I found this a real struggle.
    Then I clicked in to the wavelength and things started to fall into place.
    I thought 21a was very good, but I expect that more experienced cruciverbalists have seen it before.
    Thanks AN Other and SL for the hints.

  30. I did have to rely on a bit of electronic help but all in all didn’t find this too testing. Like SL SE corner was last to go in even though I did have 16d which possibly, as with 15d (my Fav), might occur more readily to ‘gals’ Having lived in NYC for several years 10a brought back memories of these celebrations on Fifth Avenue, etc. This was a very pleasant exercise. Thank you Mysteron and SL. ***/***.

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