DT 28204 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28204 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Followers of star, K Hepburn’s partner — they’re trying people (10)
Those who followed a star all the way to Bethlehem are followed by the initial and surname of Katherine Hepburn’s partner (both on and off screen)

10a    Black bird in wood (4)
B(lack) followed by a bird gives a wood, a wooden ball used in a game

12a    Rudest officer commanding ruler, a brainy type (12)
An adjective meaning rudest or most pornographic followed by the abbreviation for Officer Commanding and a ruler

15a    James goes after port and Spanish wines (6)
A three-letter shortened form of James (not you Jim!) follows a South American port

16a    Determined that chap will be joining conservationists (4-4)
That chap will (2’2) followed by BE from the clue and our usual conservationists

18a    Put night out on Facebook, perhaps, and mark for attention later (8)
Split as (4,4) this could mean to announce (put) a night out or assignation on Facebook or other online site, which is why it says perhaps

19a    A quick look round hospital — refuse to go in it (3-3)
The A from the clue and a quick look go around H(ospital) to get a receptacle for rubbish

27a    Old Middle Eastern country’s lacking a shelter for carrying on (10)
Start with the former (old) name of a Middle Eastern country and the S from ‘S, drop (lacking) the A and finally add a temporary shelter


1d    Make fun of topless dress (4)
Drop the initial letter (topless) from a dress

3d    Manager sacked as clearly mad (3,9)
The name of the current England football manager, the latest in a long line of no-hopers, is an anagram (sacked) of AS CLEARLY MAD

4d    Nasty chap makes Del Boy lose his head (6)
Our second consecutive UK-centric clue – drop the initial letter (loses head) from the surname of Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses

Was this really twenty years ago – it seems like yesterday?


5d    Messenger taking time for a hanger-on (8)
A messenger around (taking) T(ime) gives someone who is a hanger-on in royal circles

8d    Revelling in making it dark apparently (10)
Split as (2-8) this could (apparently) mean making it dark

11d    Book as place for cakes and teas is chaotic (12)
This book of the bible is derived from a place famous for its small cakes filled with raisins, currants, etc. followed by an anagram (chaotic) of TEAS IS

14d    Plot with prisoners making illegal copies (10)
Some of our usual prisoners followed by the act of making illegal copies of recorded media

20d    Makes obscure university dons bumpkins (6)
U(niversity) inside (dons) some bumpkins

23d    Attend club (4)
Split as (2,2) this can mean to attend

The Crossword Club is now open. Although it’s the last Saturday in the month, there’s no Café and Market today – we have the Annual Village show instead.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: perry+green+Asian=peregrination


  1. JonP

    Quite tricky in places I thought. Some good clues requiring a fair amount of cogitation on my part.

    Thanks to BD and setter 2.5*/3.5*

  2. Angel

    This called for a bit more application than is sometimes the case on Saturdays. What a clot – 23d was my last to fall. Not sure about bumpkins in 20d. Bunged in but failed to parse 12a. Can’t decide between 16a and 8d for Fav. Thanks Mr. Ron and BD. ***/***.

    • Badger

      Like you Angel my last was 23d-the only one I needed a hint -12a was got by a synonym search and parsed after. It helped to know military rank abbreviations.
      Agree that it required a lot of work, but some lovely anagrams eg 9a and 3d!
      Thx to BD and Mr Ron.

  3. Jose

    BD. Your comment about Only Fools and Horses prompted me to do a little research and, incredibly, it began in 1981 – a staggering 35 years ago! Where, oh where, has all that time gone…

  4. Spook

    Pretty tricky but definitely ***/*** for me. Plenty of head scratching especially for 1a never hard that term before. Also not sure about bumpkins 20d or having looked again and referred to Rogets I can now see it. This could now be my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD.
    Grandchildren coming today so chaos will reign thank goodness.

  5. Faraday

    Good steady progress to begin with but then struggled a bit to complete the RHS. I too finished off with 23d and failed for a long time to understand its logic. 16a amused me.
    Thank you BD for this excellent blog.

  6. Nic

    A very enjoyable start to the day before settling in at Lords – three down already.
    A few sticky ones. My favorites were 12a and the delightful 11d.
    Thank you BD for the hints.

  7. Rabbit Dave

    3*/3*. This proved to be a very enjoyable challenge with clues ranging from easy to difficult. The SE corner was the last to fall with 11d my last one in, spelling which proved to be a bit of a test.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  8. George

    I had lots of trouble with this puzzle – who on earth are 3d and 4d? Never heard of them – I had to use electronic help there. I also had never heard of the phrase in 12a.

    So It took me some help and time to figure this one out. 5*/3* for me.

  9. Caravaggio

    What a terrific puzzle! I loved it and particularly 3d – that was a revelation – because I totally agree with Dave’s comment ‘the latest in a long line of no-hopers’ which I’d guess was typed with feeling as the writer sucked on a piece of raw rhubarb…

  10. Mary

    Methinks this was quite tough today and couldn’t get 23d … thanks Dave for blog and hints, enjoy village show, I should be playing in a local(ish) show today but feeling ‘fluey’!!!! Don’t know about the rest of you but definite Autumnal feel here today and summer hasn’t even arrived yet!!!!

  11. bifield

    Definitely trickier than usual for a Saturday but I enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks to the setter and to Big dave for the hints.

  12. crypticsue

    If you are looking for the clue for 53d in the GK Puzzle today, an apology and the clue are on page 2 of the main paper, and it is also on the Puzzles site. If you can’t be bothered to search further, the clue you need is

    53 — Island; another name for Banaba (5)

    • Caravaggio

      Thank you, Sue, because I’ll be starting on that soon and I’ll admit that I wouldn’t have thought of looking at page 2!

      • crypticsue

        I couldn’t find it on page 2 so it is a good job I’ve given the clue here! Haven’t had time to look for it elsewhere in the paper as I’m currently dealing with the East Kent tomato mountain/measuring Mr CS for the hire suit for No 1 son’s wedding and trying to get everything done so I can go outside on the swing hammock and solve today’s Times puzzle and a puzzle I’ve been sent to test.

  13. Ora Meringue

    Very pleased with myself for finishing this alone and unaided.
    I thought it was hard….but I am but ‘entry level’.

    I thought that 3d was a bit unfair to non English.

    Didn’t like 11d either but won’t say any more for fear of banishment.

    Very much liked 8d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints.

  14. LabradorsruleOK

    Excellent with some really good clues & took longer time than usual for a Saturday.
    10a not made from wood for, probably over 50 years now: high density “plastic” these days.
    I hope the clue for 3d is not prescient (although he may have been certifiable to take the job in the first place).
    Thanks to setter & BD for hints.

  15. Kitty

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting to have to do so much thinking on a Caturday morning! Very enjoyable.

    Some of the clues (11d chief among them) made me wonder if they’d drafted in Giovanni to set today’s.

    Got there under my own steam, though I wondered how the definition of 10a worked, and had to dig deep to recall some of the proper names required.

    12a was my last in. 8d must have been done before but still brought a smile to my face. I hung out with a lot of goths in my youth.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD.

  16. Kath

    Good – I’m relieved to find that others found this trickier than usual for a Saturday – was beginning to wonder about the marble count.
    I just managed 3d but only after deciding what the first bit had to be and enlisting Mr Google’s help and I only know 4d from previous crosswords – I agree that those two are a bit unfair on non-UK people.
    10a caused a spot of bother too as did 22d.
    All good fun though.
    I liked 1 and 12a and 23d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.
    Off to have a go at Alchemi’s NTSPP – really wet here – thunder and lightening and torrential rain earlier but seems to have gone for the moment.

    • Big Dave

      From the secret minutes of the Committee to select the England Manager:

      Who’s next?

      We’ve got this guy who won the League of Ireland First Division with Limerick in 1992 and then the old Football League Third Division with Notts County in 1998.

      What else has he done?

      He specialises in saving teams from relegation.

      Sounds like our man – let’s offer him the job.

      • HoofItYouDonkey

        At a cost of £6M.
        Yet at grass-roots, clubs have to fork out £120 per game to play on a cabbage patch.

        • LabradorsruleOK

          Should that not be cabbage roots?

          Is HIYD not Big *’s mantra?

          Sadly when a pen-pusher agent wants €15m for the Pogba deal £6m for a manager is almost Poundstretcher money.

          The whole picture now is just obscene. I can’t see any way back to sanity though. Must be depressing.

      • Michael

        He got Bolton promoted from Division 1 to the Premiership in 2000-1, oh and he got West Ham promoted back to the Premiership in May 2012 despite protests from the punters against his ‘style of play’.

  17. Jeroboam

    I certainly agree that this was harder than usual. Although a Friday night trip to the local hostelry probably didn’t help matters. I’ll be leaving today’s NTSPP until later on.

  18. BusyLizzie

    Phew me too, this was hard work and I’m only half done. Will have another go at lunch time. Already used BD’s helpful hints which I try not to do until after lunch, and used Mr Google for manager (!) and Del Boy (!) clues. Been gone from UK too long obviously.

    • Merusa

      Are you prepared for the deluge later? I’m lucky, my house is 90 years old and was built on the original dry ground, also an adobe style so about two feet above ground.

      • BusyLizzie

        I don’t think it is coming as far north as us, although garden could use it. Hope you don’t get too much rain.

  19. Michael

    3d is a shocker – don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad clue, he’s just a terrible Manager, after a couple of years of seeing him serving up dross at West Ham I think I’m qualified to pass judgement!

    Apart from that bit of nit-picking this was a nice puzzle, not too difficult, lots of lovely anagrams – normal Saturday fare!

  20. Merusa

    Definitely off the chart for me and I lost interest, leaving 3d and 11d undone with quite a few bung ins, not sure they’re correct. I knew 3d was an anagram, but with a name, where do you start? Del Boy was googled and I think we’ve had him before.
    Having said all that, I belong to the school that believes it’s a Brit puzzle, they can use all the Brit speak they want.
    There were some good clues, 12a and 13d come to mind, but fave is 8d.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints, needed today!

    • LabradorsruleOK

      Cheer yourself up by reading “Labrador” by Ben Fogle (if you haven’t already) through your storm (it’s available on Kindle – here anyway).

        • Merusa

          Rats!! It’s only available to UK customers on Amazon.co.uk and my US Amazon.com doesn’t have it in Kindle. I’ll put it on my wish list and keep looking.

  21. Graham Wall

    Very much enjoyed this Saturday offering although it needed a bit of brain power to accomplish the task in hand. There were some very good clues, I particularly liked 1A and 12A. I needed the help with 3D and even then had to Google as I do not do football – I believe it should be turned into a sport. My rating is 2.5/4 My thanks to BD for his very helpful blog.

  22. Hilary

    Beaten by thingy-whatsit at 3d, don’t have television, don’t read the sports pages so thanks to BD for putting me out of my misery. Apart from that it felt like a typical Saturday crossword, no particular favourite but nothing to hate. Off to try GK. Have a great Bonk Holiday weekend.

  23. Heno

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Had never heard of 12a or 11d. Couldn’t get 23d, I always struggle with double definitions. Still can’t get 22d. Any help would be much appreciated. Favourite was 10a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  24. HoofItYouDonkey

    Enjoyable, but very difficult for me.
    Needed all the help from BD’s excellent hints, a couple of revealed letters and internet word finder. I’m not proud!!
    Was confused by the ‘commanding’ bit, shouldn’t there have been an indicator to reverse it??? Anyway, had never heard of the word!!
    Fav was 1a…

  25. Jane

    Never mind 3d being unfair to non-Brits – it was also pretty unfair to any Brits who don’t follow football!
    The 10a wood took a bit of working out as did the 11d book – the last to fall.
    Top three for me were 16&24a plus 8d, despite the feeling that we’ve met the latter before.

    Certainly harder than usual for a Saturday – someone will deserve their Telegraph pen today!
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD whose hints have probably been well-used on this occasion.

  26. Brian

    First Saturday for a long time that I haven’t been able to finish.. 22d and 23d have both got me completly baffled.
    Very difficult, the DT must be running short of prize money.

  27. Gwizz

    I thought this was a very good crossword, so what’s it doing here on a Saturday?
    Great fun and lots of head scratching involved. 11d was my favourite and overall 3/3.5*.
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD for the hints.

  28. Salty Dog

    Yes, I enjoyed this one too. 2*/4* by my reckoning. A few too many anagrams for my taste, but I appreciate that some other contributors love them. As for a favourite clue, I can’t really choose between 12a, 16a and 11d. VMTs to the setter, and to BD for the hints.

  29. Dottie

    Started this afternoon and almost gave up, only half done! Carried on this evening and eventually managed all but two. Thanks BD for the last two, 20 and 23 down.Phew! I think a little liquid refreshment is in order.

  30. Una

    Finally got 22d, not a great clue in my opinion.
    Actually , now that I have figured out which star , it is a good clue.
    Thanks Setter and BD .

    • Weekendwanda

      Ditto Una. I was looking for ******************** and could not understand my (correct) answer. The penny finally dropped.

  31. Framboise

    Like quite a few of us found today’s offering tricky. 3d was my last one in – fortunately Mr Google came to my rescue. 4d made me smile. Thought those two clues were unfair for non UK solvers… 11d was my favourite: what a clever clue. I have been rather absent of late – sadly not much time to blog. Returning to Hyères next week. 2.5*/3*

    • Weekendwanda

      For me not as unfair as those containing Americanisms. Must admit was surprised by the name at 3d but simple to get when realised what the first word had to be.

  32. jean-luc cheval

    Even when searching a list of English managers in 3d, his name didn’t show. Had to write what first name he was likely to have with my two checkers before he appeared.
    The book in 11d was new to me.
    Favourite is 19a.
    Great crossword.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.
    Looking forward to seeing Framboise again soon.

  33. Weekendwanda

    Now I have enjoyed reading the comments and commenting upon them – here is my view. Enjoyed it yesterday whilst looking after grandchildren. No time to finish NE corner. Head scratching necessary. Finally got to bed having had a late dinner with friends to spend two hours awake from 3 am due to yet another accident outside the house. Once younger gs came into bed at 6 am was able to finish. I was particularly dense with 7d but got eventually after 6 and 10 fell into place. Don’t particularly like 6a. Fav was 18a for novelty. Thanks setter BD et al

  34. almo

    no one appear to have mentioned 9a – I got the answer early on but don’t get the crypticism (is that a word ?) of it

  35. Callmethickbut

    Surprisingly for me I got most of this fairly easily, even the infamous 3d. But I’m really struggling with 17d. What on earth? I think the answer is one of those things you get xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx but can’t square this with the coach, opposition and top trio bit. Help please!

    • crypticsue

      17d Arrest is the definition. You need a type of coach ‘carrying’ the top trio of the letters of the word opposition. Your guess at the answer is a bit into ‘too much wrong information’ territory so I’ve edited it.


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