DT 28181 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28181

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28181

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good day to one and all.

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    Quick answer for invitation to return (8)
COMEBACK: A comedian’s reply to a heckler’s call could, if split 4,4, be an invitation to return.

6a    Workers going to a Scottish island (6)
STAFFA: A noun for all of the people employed by a particular organisation is followed by the letter A lifted directly from the clue to give the name of an Inner Hebridean island. Fingals Cave is a feature of said island and that Mendelssohn geezer wrote this piece of music in 1832. For why? Best switched to anything by Tom Waits which is what I did

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Jellyfish in sea to west of America (6)
MEDUSA: Last one in for me. Apparently there is a species of jellyfish (they are neither jelly nor fish) with this name. The abbreviated big sea to the north of Africa is placed to the left (west) of the United States of America


10a    Union celebrations (8)
NUPTIALS: The union here is a wedding. These are the celebrations of such. A quick google for the definition of the answer provided this ‘A wedding’ How I love this job.

11a    A payment covered by friend of mother perhaps (8)
PARENTAL: Wrap a term for a mate, chum, buddy, compadre, friend or oppo around A from the clue and a payment made when leasing a property

12a    Ma’s hat might cause complaint (6)
ASTHMA: Anagram (might cause) of MAS HAT

13a    Extract cruel newspaper article (5,7)
PRESS CUTTING: A belter of a clue. To extract as in extracting juice from apples to make cider followed by an adjective describing a hurtful remark capable of causing emotional pain.

16a    Support life in the wild — it’s instinctive (6,6)
SECOND NATURE: To support as in those in a boxers corner followed by “the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations” Thanks to Google

19a    A dandy, too (2,4)
AS WELL: Split 1,5 we have a fop, a beau, a rake, a bright young thing, a boulevardier, a toff or a dude

21a    Take-away Chinese place? (8)
SHANGHAI: A double definition. The second being the most populous city and port in the world. After a visit to stinky London last week I realise just how much I much prefer village life

23a    Turmoil and ferment heard before laughter (8)
BROUHAHA: A soundalike word for the fermenting of alcohol is followed by a childish term for laughter to produce this marvellous Miffypops favourite word synonymous with another favourite, kerfuffle. You may not be surprised that Miffypops has been involved in a few of these during his lifetime. Most recently on Friday night about salt. Salt. I ask you?

24a    Legendary victim of soaring ambition (6)
ICARUS: This Cretan geezer’s dad made wings out of feathers and wax so he could fly. His poppa advised him not to fly too low nor to high but he ignored his dear father’s advice and flew so high that the sun melted his wings and he fell into the sea and drowned. We should all remember and act upon the advice of our fathers.

25a    Nod when told to go (6)
ASSENT: Here we go two three four. Your answer needs to be split 2,4. The second word (told to go) is the past participle of send. It is also one hundredth of an Estonian Kroon just in case you needed to know. The first word of our 2,4 split is often used in crosswordland as a substitute for the word WHEN. I can see why from googling the definitions of both words but as a poorly schooled orphan boy I will pass it on to anybody who wants to explain further.

26a    Number of bonds for a ten-year period (8)
NINETIES: A number (between one and ten) is followed by a word meaning bonds or shackles to get the name of the decade preceding the millennium.


2d    Singular method of dealing with a traffic problem (3-3)
ONE-WAY: A word meaning singular and a method combine to give a traffic system.

3d    Music study in France (5)
ÉTUDE: A short musical composition is also the French translation of the word school.  Edit. A short musical composition is also the french translation for study. Thanks to those who pointed this out.

4d    Colour scheme that’s properly out of date (9)
APARTHEID: Not the easiest to bung in from the checkers is it? This abhorrent colour system discriminates against those with darker skins. Protesting against this was the reason for my deportation from South Africa many years ago. I do not travel well. I don’t think I am welcome in the USA either


5d    The French class must go over ways to read novels nowadays (7)
KINDLES: Place the French plural for the after a word meaning class sort or type to find a modern gizmo that can be used to read books.

6d    Cuttlefish very good in its environment (5)
SEPIA: Place crosswordland favourite for very good Pi(ous) inside the environment that a cuttlefish lives in to find another name for a cuttlefish.

7d    Philosopher is to alter in translation (9)
ARISTOTLE: Anagram (in translation) of IS TO ALTER

8d    If mantle breaks, get part from an electric bulb (8)
FILAMENT: Anagram (breaks) of IF MANTLE

13d    Reproduce new way to get things done (9)
PROCEDURE: Anagram (new way) of REPRODUCE

14d    Woeful sound shows Lulu is up and getting into a shambles (9)
ULULATION: The reverse (getting up) of LULU followed by an anagram (shambles) of INTO A

15d    Fruit and nuts, say, from wastelands around South (8)
DESSERTS: I don’t know about you but I cannot think of fruit and nuts being a pudding but you need to place a sandy wilderness around the compass point for south

17d    Disgrace after sailor will not drink (7)
ABSTAIN: Place a blot upon one’s character after an A(ble) B(odied) seaman

18d    Raise a hand to a superior? (6)
SALUTE: Make a gesture of respect or polite recognition, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing.

20d    Inclined to have a fast round (5)
LEANT: Put a period of fasting around the A from the clue

22d    Political corruption that’s done in the nursery? (5)
GRAFT: One lives and learns. A double definition. The first being bribery and other corrupt practices used to secure illicit advantages or gains in politics or business and the second, a shoot or twig inserted into a slit on the trunk or stem of a living plant, from which it receives sap.

Just when I thought we were safe from anagrams along came four in a row. Oh dear.

The Quick Crossword pun: cull+Dee+sack=cul-de-sac

88 comments on “DT 28181

  1. As usual, the last few took the bulk of my time, but at least this week they weren’t those pesky under-checked five letter words. I had to cheat to get 4d as all the trees I barked up were wrong. (Yes, kitties can bark: they just usually choose not to.)

    Checked a couple of definitions I wasn’t sure about, but other than that no real problems. Or favourites.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  2. Got through most of the puzzle without too much difficulty. Needed help with the NW corner, never heard of 9a or 3d and 4d was way to clever for me. Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the hints.

  3. The usual light fluffy fun we have come to expect every Monday.

    I needed my BRB to confirm two answers: 6d (new word) & 22d (new meaning).

    4d was my last one in and favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  4. Nice straightforward Monday crossword */*** 😊 Quite liked 11a & 16a Thanks to MP & setter 👍

  5. No real problems today. Had to look up 9a as I had never heard of it except in mythology. Favourite 14d. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  6. Couldn’t get the cuttlefish or jellyfish clues, it was driving me mad! Thanks for your answers.

  7. Held myself up in the NW corner by dashing off palimony for 11a with no real thought, once I had seen the error of my ways the rest of the crossword went in quite smoothly, had to check 9a and 6d. Favourite was 4d.

    Thanks to MP for the enlightening hints and tips.

  8. Not too difficult but it took me some electronic help to demystify 4d. Racked my mind for some time struggling with the concept of a colour scheme ! Also pondered on hecuba for 9a but then cuba is not really west of America, perhaps and could not make it really fit.

  9. Thank you for the music from Fingals Caff.
    Do hope you are joking about Tom Waits.

  10. I managed pretty well on this one with a minimum of electronic help but definitely needed the hints for some of the parsing.

    As to dessert….I was always led to believe that pudding was U and dessert was non U if pudding was being described. Dessert to the U means fruit and /or nuts served after a meal.

    The musings of a state schooled non orphan.

    Many thanks to Miffypops and to the setter.

      1. Except have lived in US for 30 plus years and never been offered nuts at the end of a meal.

      2. A new expression for me..but I have made a note of it and will attempt to shoehorn it into conversation if the opportunity arises….

  11. A new definition for me at 22d and I needed to check on 6d – thought it only referred to the ink from a cuttlefish.
    4d was the last one in by a long way.
    Top marks go to 13&16a.

    Thanks to Rufus for a good Monday puzzle and to MP for the review complete with great piece of music.

  12. Miffypops, you should be proud of getting thrown out of South Africa and banned from the US. I am proud of you anyway…

    1. I managed to make the whole family stateless and trapped in no mans and betwixt the USA and Canada with no passports not being allowed into either country. What fun

  13. Thanks Rufus for a delightful kick-off to the week. No problem in the North however South was a bit more testing with SE corner last to fall. Tried to justify ‘gambit’ for 24a as it’s hidden in the clue. Needed help for both sixes. 23a Fav with numerous runners-up. Thanks MP also. ***/***.

  14. A gentle introduction to the week. I guessed 6d and had to check the answer. Have to confess to not having met the name before. Favourite clue was 21a . Easy once I stopped trying to fit Chinese dishes into the answer! */*** here I think. Thanks to both

  15. A few tricky ones today – well, for me anyway – so 2*+ a bit for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    Last in were 4 and 15d.
    I spent too long trying to make 11a ‘maternal’ which was silly – I had the ‘friend’ but . . .
    I didn’t know the corruption bit of 22d.
    I’m suspect others will disagree with me but I’m not sure that answers such as 21 and 24a are fair in a cryptic crossword – I’m all for a bit of general knowledge but you either know these or you don’t – there’s no way you can work them out from the clue.
    I liked 13 and16a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Raining – at last – the garden needs it badly so :smile: and it means that I can have a go at Mr Rookie with a clear conscience.

  16. All fine except for 4d for me too (which I wasn’t keen on even when I finally saw it)…..otherwise good puzzle though with more than a smattering of old chestnuts…

  17. Got totally bogged down in the NW corner, finally cracked 9a which was new to me as a jellyfish, but had to resort to electronic help for a couple, which then helped to finish the rest. 5d was so obvious once I’d got the first letter but I spent a lot of time thinking colour scheme began with red, don’t ask me why!
    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  18. I had also tried to fit maternal (mate + some payment I’d never heard of) into 11a which made 4d impossible – fixed eventually.

    I enjoyed the chinese take-away.

    Many thanks Miffypops and Rufus

    1. I tried to shoe horn maternal in too but couldn’t really see why. No idea about 4d and annoyed at 26a which I put as nineteen (it’s a number!)

  19. 2*/3* for me.
    Favourite was 4d (where I needed electronic help even with all the checkers).
    Agree with PJ re your stand on 4d.. It was surely worth it in the end.
    Thanks to setter & MP

  20. I don’t know why on a Monday I should be trying and failing to work out clues with answers like Sepia for a fish; Medusa for another sea creature; Staffa for an obscure Scotch island and asking myself why Shanghai means take away and what puddings the setter eats with nuts & fruit.

  21. NW corner was confusing and MP’s school/study compounded the problem!

    Agree with Kath about non-cryptic clues; I find that very frustrating too, particularly with celebs, authors etc.. Those clues go in the’ don’t know, don’t care’ bin.

    Didn’t know 9a 6d 6a 14d or 23a, but at least they are work-outable, but 21a ‘take-away’? I obviously struggled more than most – not much fun.

    Regardless, thanks to all as ever.

  22. I thought i would struggle with this when first viewed , and was not wrong . 4d (brilliant clue ) 15d and 26a held me up for quite a time before eventually looking at the hints.Thought 13a and 16a were very clever .Thanks to MP for the explanations . ***/***

  23. Plain sailing until the last two (11a and 4d) caused a certain degree of head-scratching. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to think “maternal” was the answer initially to 11a. I wonder if the juxtaposition of “ma” in the following clue had an effect on the subconscious somehow.

    The anagram count was certainly below par for a Monday at 5, odd that four of the five were in consecutive clues. 9a was new, but clearly derived from mythology.

    The stand-out clue for me was the excellent 4d, looks like I’m in good company there.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops. Kath’s Oxfordshire rain has now reached London.

  24. With the exception of 4d, which took me an age to see, even with all the checkers, this slipped in like ignition key to a 1954 R-type Bentley. I’m a bit baffled by those who think 21a is just general knowledge: it’s not, it’s a double definition. The verb is used less frequently these days, but here’s one example.

    Otherwise, thanks to MP (any Tom Waits, except perhaps those bits that sound like an empty dustbin being kicked down a lift shaft) and to Rufus for a task to occupy the mind between hospital appointments. 2*/3*

    1. OK – I give in about 21a but I’m sticking to what I said about 24a. If you don’t know it you can’t work it out from bits in the clue.

  25. Having lurked around this blog for ages it’s time to offer a comment.
    What happened to the old scheme of things where Monday’s crossword was easy?
    This was enjoyable even though some obscure answers for me, I’m afraid
    Still thanks to Rufus for the workout and MP for the answers

  26. I always feel frustrated when there are words I’ve never heard of – today ululation (even my spelling checking was trying to correct that), sepia, medusa in that context, graft in the political context. I guess I should be grateful to be extending my knowledge but I do feel disgruntled!

    1. Welcome to the blog

      I did know all the words you mention but I’m always interested in, and keen to learn, new ones

    2. Welcome from me too.
      I think that all the words you’ve mentioned are possible to work out from the clues (call it ‘invent’ if you like) then you can look them up to make sure that they exist.

      1. . . . but not so good for either the typing or the spelling – not sure which – maybe both.

    3. The same three words stumped me also, but at least I’ve learnt something so the day is not a waste 🙂

      Also tried to make palimony fit in11a, but rest was a pleasant solve. Thanks Miffypops for hints.

  27. Rufus is amazing. At an age I can only aspire to, he produces surprise after surprise. I was quite taken with 14a in the guardian.

  28. I found this a sterner test than the usual Monday offering. Fell down on only 3d however. I liked the anagram at 13d.

    ***/*** from me. Thanks to setter and Miffypops.

  29. A stern(ish) test for a Monday! I enjoyed it; the mix of clues was intersting. They were for the most part logically solvable… Surely Shanghai/ shanghai has been around long enough to be known in the latter format? I’m surprised. But there you go…
    3/3* overall and 4d wins fave of the day.
    Thanks to Rufus and to TPLOB for his review.

  30. A shame.
    Mondays and Rufus is always a mystery and today was no exception. It’s a wavelength thing. He is on medium wave and I must be on long wave. 14d is a good example. Probably a good clue (I have not checked the hints yet), but utterly meaningless to me.
    BTW, I mentioned on Sunday’s blog but got no reply…I have a birthday coming up, and a few months ago there was a recommendation about the best dictionary to get. Can some kind person remind me???

    1. The one you need is The Chambers Dictionary. Think that the latest edition is the 13th. This is the one referred to as BRB because it is big, red and a book.

    2. Going through MP’s excellent hints confirmed how far away I am from solving Rufus’ puzzles.
      Luckily I have the DT online weekly puzzle to keep me going.
      It’s a wavelength thing.
      Thanks MP for the hints.

  31. Good evening everybody.

    A joint solve today. Mostly straightforward enough although the last few needed some work. Neither of us could see the logic of 4d if there was any.


    1. The “scheme” about colour has no part in modern society (or any society for that matter) therefore it is ” properly out of date” is how it struck me.

  32. 4d was our last in and favourite. Took us a long time to see through the misdirection.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

  33. Had to check quite a few things today, despite filling in the answers. I didn’t know that ‘pi’ meant ‘very good’. Also didn’t understand the take-away bit of 21a, but I do now. Thank you for the much needed review Miffypops, and thank you setter.

    1. No, I never understood ‘pi’ either – I suppose if you take away the ‘-ous’ adjective suffix from pious..?
      I didn’t know or like Shanghai, but it is apparently known and correct. Just not known by me until now!

  34. Struggled with 4 and 22d…the rest was OK but certainly trickier than normal for a Monday!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a great blog.

  35. Behind schedule today and not helped by this puzzle which I found trickier than most. Enjoyable nevertheless so thanks to all.

  36. A good puzzle from Rufus to start the week, perhaps a little harder than par? Liked 14d particularly. Last ones in 4d and 16ac.

  37. I loved this puzzle. Some charming clues. None of this part of a word rubbish, just proper crossword clues. Not very difficult, but a few nice testers. A few delightful words as answers, especially 23a . My favourites today were 1a (always like a good start), 13a, 16a, 23a and 26a. ** Difficulty **** Enjoyment.

  38. I was on the wavelength more or less with this, started very late this evening. Could make headway but got in a pickle with 11a (I had maternal too) which made 4d tricky…had to resort to the hints for that and the blooming jelly fish. Got 14d, I vaguely knew the word but had to check it as well as 22d and 21a and 6d. So quite an instructive puzzle all in all!
    Enjoyed it though and thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the hints.

  39. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Just couldn’t get near this one at all. Very enjoyable. Needed the hints for 1,9,10,11a&4,5,6d. Favourite was 21a. Was 4*/2* for me.

  40. Challenging for a Monday so thanks to the setter….and thanks to Miffypops for edifying blog…except I much prefer Fingals Cave to dull old Tom Waits…

  41. The usual excellence from Rufus. Nothing terribly challenging and I would go with the majority view at 2*/3* I really loved 4 down, very elegant I thought. Belated thanks to Rufus and MP.

  42. Didn’t need to write down the anagrams this time as they were very straightforward. Specially 13d.
    No problem with 9a, jellyfish is meduse in French and 6d is the Italian and Spanish for cuttlefish.
    However I had problems with Shanghai = take away.
    4d and 18d are so Rufus.
    Thanks to him and to MP for the review.

    1. J-LC. 21a: Shanghai is a well-known verb which means to kidnap (or abduct, take away) a man or seaman for forced service at sea, especially on a merchant vessel. Similar to what press-gangs did in the West.

  43. I like this setter, always feel you have a chance with him and always an enjoyable solve.

  44. This, as usual, was a flippant and informative synopsis by ‘Miffypops’. However, I do think that it is rather inappropriate to use it as an excuse to insult composers such as Mendelssohn (which is spelt with TWO S’s, by the way – I would have thought a ‘Crossword solving expert’ would have known that!). I found that distasteful.

    1. I find aggressive comments distasteful – the same comment could have been phrased differently. Consider this as a yellow card.

    2. No offence meant or intended. Rest assured I will not be disrespectful to Mendlessohn in future. I like the light hearted tone of this blog rather than the stuffy seriousness of other sites.

  45. Very helpful. Now finished this one. Only had five to do. So thanks very much. I only resort to the blog if I am really stuck but it nearly always sorts me out!

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