DT 28179

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28179

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cool, cloudy day.

Three-quarters of today’s Giovanni went in very quickly, but then I ground to a halt in the SW quadrant, hence *** for difficulty. The puzzle is a pangram, and there are the usual bits of General Knowledge thrown in, fairly clued as ever.

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.


1a           Annoyed old boy returning to that place died (8)
BOTHERED – Put together the reverse (returning) of the letters denoting an old boy of a school, the adverb meaning ‘to that place’, and Died.

5a           Fight doctor wearing his white garment? (6)
COMBAT – One of the sets of letters a doctor may have after his or her name, wrapped in the garment which a hospital doctor may well wear on duty.

9a           Supporting English actors, making prediction (8)
FORECAST – Put together a word for ‘supporting’ (the opposite of ‘against’), English, and the collective noun for the actors in a play.

10a         Course of godly soul getting about in the morning (6)
STREAM – Put together the abbreviation of the title of a holy person, the Latin word for about or concerning, and the Latin abbreviation for ‘in the morning’.

12a         Sound in street restricted by regulation (6)
RUSTLE – A law, order or regulation wrapped around the abbreviation for STreet.

13a         Quiet men line up for traditional prison food (8)
PORRIDGE – Put together the musical symbol for ‘quiet’, the military abbreviation for men who are not officers, and a raised line of earth in a ploughed field.

15a         Archdeacon attached to friend in a corrupt fashion (7)
VENALLY – The abbreviation for the honorific title given to an archdeacon, followed by a military or political friend.

16a         Ornament to corrode (4)
FRET – Double definition: to ornament with interlaced work; or to rub, chafe or corrode.

Image result for fret work

20a         Just out of bed, we hear, and off (4)
AWAY – This sounds like (we hear) the word used to describe an anchor which has just been hauled out of the seabed.

21a         In a circle you and I will lead (7)
WEARING – Another way of describing the clothes someone has on. Start with the pronoun for ‘you and I’, then add A (from the clue) and a circular object.

25a         Attacks made by idiot with a lust out of control (8)
ASSAULTS – An idiot, followed by an anagram (out of control) of A LUST.

26a         A coin’s tossed in a place for gambling (6)
CASINO – Anagram (tossed) of A COIN’S.

28a         Support needed by Elizabeth, contrary nut (6)
BRAZIL – A lady’s supporting garment, followed by the reverse (contrary) of a diminutive form of ‘Elizabeth’.

29a         Writer and performer entertaining old crooner? (8)
SALINGER – A vocal performer wrapped around the first name of a 1930s crooner, giving us the author of The Catcher in the Rye.  With a couple of checkers in, I thought the crooner was going to be ‘Bing’: it isn’t.

30a         Component of 17 right to put on a plate? (6)
RADISH Right followed by A (from the clue) and a sort of plate, giving us one of the items which may be found in the answer to 17d.

31a         One may have several shrubs — how to handle garden tool? (8)
HEDGEROW – A garden tool used to produce neat boundaries to a lawn, with HOW (from the clue) wrapped around it.


1d           Eastern female entertained by tedious person earlier (6)
BEFORE – Start with a word for a tedious person, then insert Eastern and Female.

2d           Bird in this grass-like plant is escaping (6)
THRUSH – Remove the IS from TH(is) (from the clue), and add a plant found in boggy or watery environments, which may look a bit like grass.

Image result for thrush bird

3d           Did well, no longer having prison-style accommodation? (8)
EXCELLED – This word for ‘did well’ could be read as a prefix meaning ‘former’ or ‘no longer’, followed by an adjective which could describe the sort of accommodation a prison has.

4d           Characters at the edges of empire reported peace (4)
EASE – This sounds like (reported)what you might say the letters at the beginning and end of EmpirE are.

6d           Animals to rest after swimming (6)
OTTERS – Anagram (after swimming) of TO REST.

Image result for otters

7d           Those that mix in British libraries? (8)
BLENDERS British, followed by what one of the functions of public libraries is.

8d           Storms encountered going north — things that bother you (8)
TEMPESTS – Reverse (going north, in a Down clue) a word for ‘encountered’, then add some annoying creatures.

11d         Lines penned by directors offering a post (7)
BOLLARD – The collective noun for the directors of a company wrapped around the abbreviation for ‘lines’.

14d         Showing dignity, this person’s stifling a joke (7)
MAJESTY – The pronominal adjective for ‘this person’s’ is wrapped around A (from the clue) and a joke.

17d         Feature of restaurant that could be drab, alas (5,3)
SALAD BAR – Anagram (could be) of DRAB ALAS.

18d         Feature of foyer with tiles? (8)
HATSTAND – This is something on which you may hang what was once called in slang a ‘tile’, typically found in the foyer or entrance hall.

19d         Requiring, by the sound of it, the action of a masseur (8)
KNEADING – What a masseur (or a baker) does, which sounds like a word for ‘requiring’ or ‘lacking’.

22d         More than one little bird flinches (6)
QUAILS – Double definition. The little bird’s eggs may be served as a canapé.

23d         Good US soldier turning up in pub in Scottish town (6)
BIGGAR – Start with Good and the common abbreviation for a US soldier, reverse the lot and put it inside a pub. You get a town near Lanark (or a Welsh outside half).

24d         Quarrel after cheat turns up to use bank facility? (6)
BORROW – Reverse (turns up) a word for ‘cheat’ or ‘steal’, than add an argument or quarrel.

27d         Word of warning in underground venue (4)
CAVE – Double definition: the first is a Latin word meaning ‘beware’, once used by public schoolboys to warn of the approach of a master.

The Quick Crossword pun SUCK + SESSION = SUCCESSION


  1. JonP

    I found the top half of this puzzle went in quickly but i slowed considerably in the bottom half and required a bit of electronic help to sort it out.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni ***/***

  2. Young Salopian

    A sparkling Giovanni puzzle for a damp Friday morning. A couple of obscurities but fairly clued so very doable. 5 across a candidate for my top spot, but that goes to 31 across.

    2.5*/3.5* from me with thanks to the Don and DT.

  3. Rabbit Dave

    4*/1*. I found this pangram difficult and humourless with Lego galore. I am not keen on the use of the first name of an old crooner as part of a clue nor, with profuse apologies to those who live there, the reference to a rather obscure Scottish town to boot.

    I’m sorry to say this was not my cup of tea at all, but nevertheless thanks to Giovanni. It must take an enormous amount of work to set any crossword and I hope that others (including, I feel sure, Brian!) will have enjoyed it. Thanks too to DT for the review.

  4. fran

    Having put “budges ” for 22d , I subsequently found the lower left difficult to parse , also hindered by by being obsessed with bing crosby in 29a . A quick look at the hint for 22 sorted things out very rapidly , thanks to DT and the setter ***/ ***

  5. LabradorsruleOK

    SW beat me even though there were a couple of straightforward clues.

    18d was too clever for me but seeing DT’s hint reminded me that grandad called his cap a tile so brought back fond memories (extra * for that).

    *** / **** for me. Thanks to setter & DT for much needed hints.

  6. Jose

    I’ve just read the early comments and am now relishing doing this one later at home – Giovanni is my second favourite compiler. I quite like Lego clues – BD, am I correct in assuming that they are the same as “charade” clues, please?

  7. pete

    I started off quite well, got about two thirds done without any problems and then I hit a brick wall. The Scottish town was easy enough to work out but I’ve never heard of it. Not sure about 21a, never heard of 15a before. Got the answers for 4d, 16d and 20a but only understood the cluing with the help of DT. All in all a bit of a strange puzzle in my opinion, not sure I really enjoyed it. Many thanks to Giovanni and especially to DT for his help.

  8. Miffypops

    Arrived home last night at 1.30am to find I could get the puzzle so a nice unwind after the drive home from a couple of days away in our capital city. One of my last ones in was 29 ac and I too was going with Bing Crosby but knew Al Bowlly from The Richard Thompson song below and Dennis Potter’s Pennies From Heaven which featured several Al Bowlly songs. Al Bowlly is currently having tea with Archbishop Laud in Heaven’s obscure crossword personality corner. A Thoroughly enjoyable unwind. Thanks to Mr Manley and thanks to DT.

    • LabradorsruleOK

      I thought of Al Jolson then realised he was jazz/ blues but by then I had the answer so passed on which Al it was.

      • Big Dave

        My first thought was Al Jolson, but this extract from the entry for Crooner in Wikipedia explains why Al Bowlly is more likely:

        “This dominant popular vocal style coincided with the advent of radio broadcasting and electrical recording. Before the advent of the microphone, popular singers like Al Jolson had to project to the rear seats of a theater, as did opera singers, which made for a very loud vocal style. The microphone made possible the more personal style. Al Bowlly, Gene Austin and Art Gillham are often credited as inventors of the crooning style but Rudy Vallée became far more popular.”

      • Kitty

        If nobody can agree on exactly which Al it should be, dare I suggest that this is poor cluing? I expect the setter might say that it’s clearly Al ****** who anyone with a tiny bit of education should be expected to know …

        • Miffypops

          It is a Giovanni puzzle. i will bet a pound to a pinch of snuff that he is referring to the late great Al Bowlly,

        • Jose

          I assumed it had to be Jolson, as he’s the only “Al” crooner I could think off. We have a choice of at least three, but the surname is pretty immaterial because it’s only AL that is used in the word play. Can’t we ask G who he had in mind?

  9. Kitty

    More like the Giovanni of old: a mix of simple clues with elements requiring less common knowledge. I did not finish alone, and didn’t feel compelled to try too hard to do so. Horses for courses and all that.

    My favourite today is the quickie pun. :)

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT. Have a great weekend all.

  10. jean-luc cheval

    The pangram helped me get 22d as I didn’t know the second meaning of the clue.
    Didn’t get 18d though.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  11. Dutch

    I found this quite hard, with the pesky double definitions like 16a and 22d requiring dictionary searches. I started off with BING but that got me nowhere, I don’t think I would have found AL except in the completed answer.

    I liked 11d and 21a

    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat

  12. AnntheArt

    I continue to be surprised by this cryptic thing. Have not been commenting lately because of a commission keeping me busy and when you take as long as I do to do a puzzle, there are not enough hours in a day! But I have continued to read the blog and am eternally grateful for the reviews, thank you all!
    But here’s a thing, suddenly I could do this one and got through without hints…why? Wavelength? Or perhaps it was easier than people are suggesting?
    However did need help to parse 21a and 20a and 15a needed a bit of gizmo aid.
    Thanks to DT for the hints and to the setter.

    • Rabbit Dave

      Well done, you! Wavelength is important, but the more cryptic crosswords you do the better you will get and I’m sure that’s a big part of the explanation.

      • AnntheArt

        Hi RD, thanks for the encouragement! Perhaps it’s a question of having been on a plateau for a while. All I know is that I have found the last two weeks really tough apart from last Saturday…we shall see. Onward and upward!

  13. George

    I found this a strange mix of the obvious and the baffling. Most of the puzzle went in very quickly but then I was left with 29a and 16a which ended up being bung ins and a great loss of hair from scratching my head. So after all that it definitely pushed me into 3* time for difficulty and I would say 3* for enjoyment as I thought there were a few clues a bit lacking.

  14. Jane

    Got off to a bad start by trying to justify ‘scrubs’ for 5a, followed by a mental workout to recall 15a and a need to look up definitions of 16a.
    Took ages to parse 20&21a and then had to check that 23d is indeed a Scottish town.
    Thought I’d done really well with 29a – Messrs. Baer, Crosby and Babinger seemed to fit the bill rather well – apparently not!

    No particular favourite, although I’ve certainly some across some fairly drab looking 17ds, so that raised a smile.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for the enlightenment.

  15. HoofItYouDonkey

    I’m astonished.
    It shows how different we all are.
    I thought this was the easiest one for ages!!

    • HoofItYouDonkey

      I wrote this having R&W the first three quarters of the crossword before a game of golf. Talk about being previous, I naively assumed the rest would go in the same way.
      When I picked it up again, ulp!!
      I needed hints for 29 and 23, so apologies for the original comment.

  16. Paul Smith

    Crosswords are supposed to be fun, aren’t they? This one was deceptive insofar as several clues were answered very quickly, before I came to a halt. I accept that the puzzle should challenge too, but found this one as difficult as they come.

    Many thanks to Deep Threat for the explanations

  17. cat

    I thought this was very difficult today, 3.5*/1.5* for me, I’m afraid. I’d never heard of the Scottish town, although you could work it out, or Al Bowlly, like others I thought maybe Al Jolson. I had heard of a ’tile’ but surely it is pretty archaic nowadays. I got several answers without any idea why, 20a, 21a among others so thank you DT for the explanation. I did like 31a though, I thought it was very witty.
    And I did realise it was a pangram, a first for me, and am I right in thinking the Quickie is also a pangram?
    Thanks also to setter.

  18. Kath

    Definitely a very Fridayish crossword – 3* for difficulty and about the same for enjoyment.
    The bottom right corner took ages.
    I did eventually get the 29a writer but never got as far as who Al was – all the Al’s I could come up with didn’t feel very Giovanniesque.
    I’ve never heard of the Scottish town.
    Spent far too long thinking that the 24d cheat turning up had to be ‘noc’ which didn’t seem very likely.
    And so it went on really!
    I liked 12a because it reminded me of a very funny joke – perfectly clean but too long to tell here.
    I thought 21a was clever – it took me ages.
    11d was my favourite. Some months ago I was driving in London with younger Lamb – she knew the way but I didn’t. At some stage she told me that I needed to turn right when we got to the boulders. As I sailed past the 11d’s she said, “Mum, those boulders”. :roll:
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  19. Steve in St A

    Yes that was tough and I needed the clues – but it was not all hard for which much thanks. Makes 4 in a row of tough ones for me – roll on the Saturday prize crossword. 16a eluded me completely but is presumably a definition of corrode I haven’t come across before.

  20. Shahriar Bader

    Yes, the SW corner; specifically 29 a. Almost all there in B & W and I couldn’t see him!
    Thanks all but mostly BD for creating this wonderful refuge.

  21. Shahriar Bader

    Shaky hands in late youth make one click twice and then it’s best to clear the second and offer an apology.
    Perhaps a way might be found to simply delete the second and avoid the blushes. Thanks again.

  22. Merusa

    Decidedly tricky, I missed two! I was so hung up on Bing, I missed 29a, and 21a completely flummoxed me.
    I did remember the slang for hat in 18d, from not too, too long ago I believe.
    I didn’t know the Scottish town, but I did work it out and google it.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat, great blog today!

  23. mre

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A brisk start augured well but the pace eased off quickly and I was soon struggling, eventually finishing with 11 unsolved – easily my worst attempt at a back page puzzle for a very long time. Generally speaking the outside clues went in fairly straightforwardly but the interior was an unfathomable morass.


  24. Vancouverbc

    4/2. Quite tough today and even guessing it was going to be a pangram didn’t help me finish without hints – many thanks to DT for explaining my lack of insight. Thanks also to the setter for the test.

  25. Ora Meringue

    Difficult today for me, but not as baffling as Tuesday’s one was.

    Needed the hint for 16a as I was unaware that it was a synonym for corrode.
    The Scottish town was far too obscure for me, and I suspect is unknown to most people unless they live in or around Lanarkshire….

    Also struggled with the post in11d….too tied up with thinking about director’s notes after a performance .
    Didn’t like 21a at all.

    Other than that it was enjoyable. (My first thought was of Bing too for 29a, but I think he was the ‘Old Groaner’ rather than the ‘old crooner’.)

    Many thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  26. LetterboxRoy

    Hmm. Not keen on 23d nor 29a, had to wrinkle my nose at too many clues to enjoy it, really. Got 7d wrong ( ‘breeders’, obviously couldn’t make sense of it so a poor bung-in ). Getting the answer, then writing it down incorrectly held me up on a couple today too, probably because I wasn’t overly gripped by the puzzle.
    I’m with RD. Whatev’s, move on…

    Thanks to all, all the same.

      • silvanus

        Are Latin expressions (or abbreviations for that matter) really high-brow? I’d beg to differ.

        Obviously the Government thinks so, as it is planning to phase out the use of i.e. and e.g. in official forms “because foreigners find them confusing and difficult to understand”. I joke you not.

  27. silvanus

    Not for the first time, Friday has thrown up the least enjoyable puzzle of the week unfortunately.

    Not especially difficult at all, but the solving was more mechanical than pleasurable and as for “Al” – where do I start? Bing would be fine for numerous reasons, but was Mr. Bowlly really identifiable by just his first name alone? I realise that “gangster” and “al” are now considered interchangeable in crosswordese, but I found today’s usage very questionable.

    I ticked two clues today, 11d and 18d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat and a good weekend to all.

  28. Collywobbles

    I don’t understand the description of 21a. To me it has no meaning!

    PS. Many thanks DT for the song from AB

    • Kath

      Collywobs – DT has done a good job with 21a.
      The definition is IN. An example:- She was IN jeans and a T-shirt. She was WEARING jeans and a T-shirt.
      I confess it took me ages too so you’re not alone. :smile:

  29. mary mary

    ***/*** for me today, too. Why does the top half often seem easy then the bottom half maddeningly difficult ? As I drive up to Scotland regularly, via the M6, I know Biggar well and there is a very nice café there, ideal for a pit-stop en route ! Does anyone else also remember the joke about Mr and Mrs Biggar at the Zoo with their children ? Ours used to giggle hysterically when asking innocent adults “Who was the “biggar”, when riding on the camel ……….
    Thought 28a was clever — short and sweet !

  30. Gwizz

    A Friday curate’s egg crossword. From the weird to the wonderful, all were on display!
    I liked 11d whereas 23d left me cold. And so it went on…. 3/3* overall..
    Re: 29a, I thought Al had to be Martino as surely Bowlly and Jolson didn’t croon….
    Anyway, thanks to the Don, and to DT for his review.

  31. Peter strudwick

    I agree with most people. A brisk start but slow at the bottom. I have never heard of this Al chap and I thought fret was a bit weak. Great fun though but my worst result for a long time

  32. Graham

    Hmm. Gave up on 29a. Don’t like names. Never heard of the guy. Didn’t get 22d even though my father in law used to keep them! And thanks for the explanation of 20a.

  33. 2Kiwis

    21a was our last one to parse. It took a long time to realise that IN was the definition. 20a was only just ahead of it as we did know the subtlety of the meaning of ‘anchors aweigh’. The Scottish town was new to us too. With all of that it was not a quick solve for us but certainly an enjoyable one.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  34. BusyLizzie

    Ditto to most of you above, most.answers went in fairly rapidly and then stumbled at the end. Got the Scottish town from the clue, but had to Goggle to verify as I had never heard of it. Al Bowlly, really? As my late mum-in-law would have said “Who’s he when he’s at home?”. Like others tried to make this about Bing. 21a beat me even with the hints. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat for excellent puzzle and hints, making for an enjoyable Friday.

  35. Angel

    Started this over breakfast and then abandoned it for a thoroughly enjoyable (and reasonably prifitable!) day at Goodwood. Have just managed to complete thanks to considerable help from my electronic friends combined with DT. I agree with Gwizz’ in referring to this as a curate’s egg of a puzzle. Didn’t like 21a at all. Never heard of 23d Scottish town. As with other bloggers I too tried for ages to work around Bing for the old crooner in 29a. ***/***. Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  36. Tstrummer

    I rather liked it. Started on the train home and managed about three quarters before trudging off into the night for the sanctuary of the sofa, where the rest fell without too much of a fight. I found some clues so R&W that I doubted that the Don was the setter. 21a gets the golden ticket for magnificence, with 28a taking silver and 29 the bronze. Ta to Giovanni and DT, who was not needed but nonetheless enjoyed. 2*/3*

  37. Jose

    This was excellent from G. Quite tough and very enjoyable. 3*/4*

    PS. I don’t understand how cryptic fans can rate this as 4*/1*, 3.5*/1.5*, 4*/2*, etc. – thus more difficulty = less enjoyment. Does this mean that easy ones are preferable? To me, tough and challenging = more enjoyment. It’s a funny old World, ain’t it…

  38. DevonDays

    Didn’t enjoy this, some of the usual very clever clues but just got the impression it was all a bit out of date.

    • Big Dave

      Our Rookie Corner every Monday features a number of up-and-coming younger setters whose puzzles are refreshingly more up-to-date than those of many of the Telegraph’s regular team.


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