DT 28208 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28208

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28208

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hola peeps, long time no see!  For whatever reason I seem to have been busy on Thursdays this summer so the last blog I managed was DT 28160, way back on 7th July. Thanks to Kath for standing in.

It’s back to normal now and I’m greeted by what has to be a RayT production. All the hallmarks are there.  Short clues, synonyms stretched till they squeal, two lurkers, a first letters clue and Her Majesty making an appearance.  I thought it a bit tricky in places and somehow lacking some of the usual RayT ‘zing’, but perhaps that’s just me after a break from blogging.  I’ll be interested to see what you all make of it.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  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.


7a           Religion’s leader always facing extreme cleric (8)
REVEREND:  A charade of R (Religion’s leader), a word for always and an extreme or finish.

9a           Assumes trouble approaching uneven bits of paths (6)
ADOPTS:  The usual crosswordland trouble followed by the odd letters (uneven bits) of PaThS

10a         Breathe in and talk softly (4)
GASP:  A slang word for talk or gossip followed by the letter indicating softly or quietly in a musical score.

11a         Fit old man’s back caught in elastic (10)
APPLICABLE:  Reverse (back) a two letter word for your old man or father, follow with a word meaning elastic or bendable and insert C(aught).

12a         Loosely could give large hint (6)
LIMPLY:  L(arge) followed by a word meaning to hint or suggest.

14a         Puzzle of fleece uncovered (8)
CONFOUND:  Fleece as in defraud (3) and uncovered as in discovered (5).  Put the two together and you’ll get a word meaning to puzzle.

15a         Vinegar needed to trap flipping bug (6)
ENRAGE:  A lurker lurking in vinegar needed (to trap) but it’s backwards (flipping). Our vinegar quite often traps flipping bugs if it’s left for a few days with the cap off.

17a         Dashes, holding iron over suits (6)
BEFITS:  Reverse (over) the chemical symbol for iron and insert (holding) into a word for dashes as in small amounts.

20a         Fall backwards clutching old useless support (8)
ESPOUSAL:  Start with a word for a fall or failure and reverse it (backwards). Then insert (clutching) O(ld) and two letters for useless or unserviceable.

22a         Pong, a not quite fresh kind (6)
HUMANE:  Charade of a slang term for a pong, A (from the clue) and a word for fresh without its last letter (not quite).

23a         On a sea trip waving farewell (10)
SEPARATION:  An anagram (waving) of ON A SEA TRIP.

24a         Sailor heading north for mountain lake (4)
TARN: One of the usual sailors followed by N(orth).

25a         Prattle endlessly, detaining former PM (6)
ATTLEE:  Another lurker (detaining) but this time it’s the right way round in prattle endlessly.

26a         Ran humiliated being a non-starter (8)
HASTENED:  A word for humiliated or subdued without its first letter (being a non-starter).


1d           Refusal, say, to be put in home (8)
NEGATIVE:  Take the usual two letters for say and insert (to be put in) into a word which can mean home or indigenous.

2d           First of parr following river leading to ocean (4)
DEEP:  P (first of parr) following the river which flows through Chester, or Aberdeen if you prefer.  There’s also one in both Cumbria and Galloway and one in Ireland.  There’s a couple in Australia too but this is getting silly.

3d           Gift‘s frilly, capturing bridegroom’s heart (6)
LEGACY:  This is a gift you might get from someone who’s just died.  You need a word for frilly and insert (capturing) the two central letters (heart) of bridegroom.

4d           Panic with tee shot in game (8)
PATIENCE:  A card game you play on your own is an anagram (shot) of PANIC TEE.

5d           Stay quiet, taking in speaker and this writer (10)
MORATORIUM:  A stay as in a cessation.  Take a public speaker and the way the writer of this puzzle might refer to himself and insert (taking in) into a word for quiet as in not speaking.  At first I had the right speaker but thought the quiet would be SH and the writer ME, it’s the right number of letters but doesn’t get you anywhere!

6d           Surreptitiously taken or lifted, even nicked initially (6)
STOLEN:  The first letters (initially) of all the other words in the clue.

8d           Show of French dive around beginning of cabaret (6)
DEPICT:  The French word for ‘of’ followed by another word for a dive or seedy place around a C (beginning of Cabaret). 

13d         In the flesh, ‘tight’ describes Queen’s playing (10)
PERSONALLY:  A word for tight as in friendly is placed around (describes) the usual two letters for the Queen, S (from the clue) and a word for playing as in ‘the radio’s playing’.

16d         Fine work about block being turned (8)
GOSSAMER:  Start with a word which can mean work or function (2) and follow with a reversal (being turned) of the usual two letters for about and a word for a block or lump of something.

18d         Small smalls protecting right stuff? (8)
SUNDRIES:  S(mall) and a colloquial term for bras and pants etc (smalls) are placed around (protecting) an R(ight)

19d         Turn red accepting one’s a bit obscene (6)
BLUISH:  The word for your face turning red has I inserted (accepting one).

21d         Shut up keeping warmth in cover (6)
SHEATH:  A two letter command to keep quiet is placed around (keeping) a word for warmth.

22d         Sharpens head of tool getting blunt (6)
HONEST:  Blunt as in frank.  A word for sharpens is followed by a T (head of Tool).

24d         Precious time with two sweethearts? (4)
TWEE:  Sweetheart gives us an E, the heart of sweet. Take two of these and put them after T(ime) and W(ith).

Some good stuff here but favourite is 6d with 25a and 2d on the podium.

The Quick Crossword pun: cue+brute=cube root

88 comments on “DT 28208

  1. I think this was a Beam puzzle that got into the wrong envelope as it took me a proper Toughie time to sort it out, so 4*+ /3* from me. Thanks to Ray and Pommers too

    Anyone looking for a back page level puzzle will find it in the middle of the paper!

  2. I found this a tricky puzzle to solve and it took me into 4* territory which I put down to me having a bit of an off day. However, reading the above comment from CS makes me think my solving problems are somewhat justified as I kept thinking that it was more like a Beam.

    Thanks to pommers and RayT ****/****

  3. I don’t think I have ever seen much ‘zing’ in a RayT puzzle – more of a dreary grind while wearing out my Thesaurus. This one is no different.

    4*/1* for me.

  4. We totally agree that this was a Toughie level puzzle and asked ourselves the same question as Crypticsue about whether it was a Beam one in the wrong place. However it does have a couple of anagrams and we don’t usually see these in RayT ones. The SW corner was the last to yield but that might just have been because we work clockwise around the grid and none of it went in without quite a bit of head scratching. Tricky but lots of satisfying enjoyment. We checked the clue word count and all found to be within Ray’s self-imposed limit of 8 words max once again.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  5. Loads of fun, and whilst some might find this difficult, as did I, well worth the time spent on it for the chuckles it inspired. Couldn’t afford to invest so much time every day though! Luckily had to be around waiting for Smart meters to be installed but when he eventually arrived the fitter told me there was nowhere near enough signal strength around here. Thought they might have sussed that before. Hey ho.
    ****/**** from me ( for the crossword, that is, not SSE).

  6. Wow ! have to go with a ****/****,what was this doing on the back page ?
    Not many gifts today, virtually every answer had to be teased out from the excellent clues, liked 5d.
    Thanks setter and Pommers for the pics.
    Need a strong coffee.

  7. A real struggle with much reaching for Roget. Not much fun today some old favourites but no really clever word play.
    Thanks to Pommers and to RayT for making it a three cup puzzle.

  8. Now half way through what is probably going to need at least hints at some stage. Not given up yet though. Read comments & view confirmed. I will struggle.
    Back to the other half later when the headache subsides!

      1. :D – although if you hadn’t clarified, I’m not sure anyone would have read anything vaguely naughty in your original comment.

          1. Have a go at the “Toughie” – its very ‘comfy’ today and may restore some confidence in your cryptic grey matter

            1. Thanks CS: just one hint & half the time, so comfier yes.
              Think the dogs would have preferred I spent the time walking them on this lovely day though.

  9. I needed a lot of 4 down to finish this one. Never mind, Brian – Giovanni tomorrow. Thank you Pommers and setter.

    1. N. At least have the patience to commiserate with Brian after he’s posted his comment of condemnation. :-)

      PS. The capitals are not shouting, just humorous emphasis (can someone change them to italics, please?). [Done, BD]

  10. 2d is a classical example of why I detest Ray T crosswords, what sort of mind would associate Deep with Ocean, crazy!
    Mrs B says he is a Marmite setter, you either love or hate his puzzles.

    1. That is not the example I would use as they are associated. I would argue more that the word in 11a does not mean elastic. Elasticity and flexibility if used exchangeably would mean your pants would fall down.. They are just not synonyms and should not be used as such in a crossword..

      1. G. Pliable, elastic and flexible are all synonymous with each other – just look in the dictionaries and thesauri. You seem to be suggesting that the elastic in your pyjama bottoms waist should be a steel hoop instead. How would elastic work if it were not flexible or pliable?

  11. :phew: definitely a Beam – glad that others agree as I was beginning to think it was me.
    This one has taken me ages – good fun ages but still ages – had to go and have a walk round the garden twice in the middle of doing it.
    15a caused trouble mainly because I had an earwig in my head – well, it is a bug – and having thought of that couldn’t think of anything else.
    I think I’ll leave it at that as if I went into detail of all the others that I struggled with I’d be here for the rest of the day.
    Lots of good clues – 10 and 22a and 3 and 18d. My favourite was 19d.
    With thanks to Ray T and to pommers – standing in for you on your busy Thursdays has been a pleasure but I’m glad that you copped this one!

  12. Can someone explain to me why ‘US’ in 20 across equates to useless or unserviceable. I cannot find any reason or examples of this abbreviation.

    1. I’ve just checked and U/S or u/s is in the BRB – I don’t think I’ve ever looked it up before but it really is in there.

    2. i suspect that U/S for unservicable comes from WWII RAF parlance. Perhaps one of our military poster could confirm or otherwise.

      1. I think you’re right but didn’t have time to go digging. It’s definitely an expression that my Dad and Mum used when something wasn’t working so the right generation.

      2. I’m not sure it’s of RAF origin (after all, they’ve only been going since 1918, so haven’t really had time to contribute to the BRB). Seriously, though, the expression is widely used across all three services – even if more lately supplanted by “t*** up”.

        As for this out-of-place puzzle, l can’t remember when anything other than a Friday Toughie gave me such a struggle. Gusting 4* difficulty, and about the same for enjoyment. I enjoyed 18d. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  13. Well I found it less of a struggle than usual with Mr T. A couple of gimmes got me started and thereafter it was a question of grinding out the answers. All done while waiting to entertain Australia. Thanks to Pommers for some parsing aid and to Ray for the battle.3*/3*

  14. I said in the intro that it was a bit tricky in places but I’m a bit surprised you all found it quite,so hard. I must be getting on Ray’s wavelength.

    1. Hush, Pommers. You know he’ll look in later and he strikes me as the sort of man who might well get his own back on you in a future offering!

  15. Oh – those stretched synonyms, Mr. T! However, all duly checked out and correct.
    Definitely took a little longer than usual but well worth the effort for the sense of satisfaction on achieving a completed grid.
    Plenty of contenders for podium places – mine are 10,14&25a plus 5&19d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr. T and many thanks to Pommers – nice to see you back in harness and loved the ‘monster’ pic!

  16. Thank you .We don’t aspire to the toughie very often and now understand the reference to the wrong envelope
    Mrs.Bluesking who NEVER uses electronic aids or dictionaries or thesauri and always completes the puzzle was complaining how long this one took to solve so 4*/2*

  17. Definitely a wrong envelope day for me – the toughie was a breeze in comparison. I’m not complaining but it is unsettling when you quickly scan the puzzle and identify it’s going to be a Ray T day and then have to go and get your ‘Beam’ hat on. Thankfully I found it.

    Lots of nice clues and his ‘lurkers’ are getting really difficult to spot.

    Thanks to ‘Beam’ for the puzzle and pommers for his review – nice to see you back in the chair sir :yes:

  18. The trickiest backpager for some time, I thought, a number of the answers needed to be doggedly prised out so I can understand why some have found it rather a grind.

    I ticked four excellent clues (11a, 5d, 18d and 22d), but my main bone of contention with the puzzle was the overuse of containment/insertion clues. I counted eleven (eight out of fourteen in the Down ones), although thankfully no indicators were repeated! It became a little tedious however to see, for example, “protecting” “accepting” and “keeping” in three successive clues.

    Thanks as ever to Mr. Terrell and to the returning Pommers.

  19. Am so glad it wasn’t just me. Have recently moved house so am only just getting time to crossword again. This was an up-hill struggle and had to throw in the proverbial towel. Moving is traumatic but I was seriously worried about my brain when I opened this one up this morning.😖

  20. What a struggle!! 5d was my favourite, 1d last in and not so keen (not convinced re the synonym for home)…..****/**

  21. Stuck at it but 20a & 16d completely 14a’d me. Would never sorted them without the hints.
    Thanks to setter & pommers for hints. Picked a good day to shake off the cobwebs! Perhaps Mr T knew something.

  22. Well, no wonder I struggled with this and couldn’t finish. I got close, missing only three at the end – 15a, 20a and 16d, I’m with you, LRO. I also needed extensive use of my electronic gizmo.
    “Synonyms stretched till they squeal”, you said a mouthful there, pommers. I also did the same thing as you at 5d.
    My only thoughts at this time are, “well, that’s it for the next fortnight!”
    Thanks, maybe, to RayT, and a thousand thanks to pommers for the unravelling.

  23. Phew! Well I’m glad that having struggled to complete this one, I see that I am not alone. There is some comfort in that fact. I agree with the overall tenor so far that this was as tough a back-pager as we are likely to find all year. I can’t make up my mind whether or not the difficulty made this more or less enjoyable, so I think I will have to mark this 4*/3*. Lurker in 25 across my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T for the tussle and to Pommers for his review.

  24. Many thanks to Pommers for the hints.
    Only managed about half of this one….but don’t feel so bad about it now when I see that many struggled with it.

  25. Another wrong envelope day here. Founds bits of this tricky indeed. 25a gets the favourite award…blimey that took me a long time to ‘spot’.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for a top blog.

  26. I actually managed to decypher the wordplay for most of this, but as ever ran aground with my inability to get the right synonym. 12a a good example…
    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for the hints.

      1. I’d say very little dissension – we all pretty much agreed that it was on the tricky side. Surely we can’t all be having a diim day. :unsure:

    1. It’s not that we mean to be unkind, but this was a bit OTT! On the other hand, I’m sure you had endless fun setting it!!

    2. As usual, lovely to see you drop in – it’s always appreciated. Enjoyed the puzzle but I had to go and search for my ‘Beam’ hat.

  27. Wow! That was some battle! By the time I finally completed this I found I had forgotten what the early clues were. At times I thought I would never finish, but every time the answer revealed itself thank goodness. 4/4* overall, and 18d for being a ray of sunshine amongst the grind.
    Thanks to Ray T for giving me an excuse to have an.early nip of brandy, and thanks to Pommers for stirring work on his first day back in the chair.

  28. Hmphhh. Not even done half but will keep going before I look at the hints. Glad to know others thought it tough.

  29. Was relieved at all your comments today as I would give this at least a ***** difficulty rating, and did not get any satisfaction from clues solved. When they are clever and you get that ah hah! moment, it adds to the fun, but none of that today. So not an enjoyable puzzle for me. Thanks to Pommers without whom this puzzle would have gone in the circular file about 6 clues in.

  30. Came to this late today after a very busy day and must admit it had me beaten. Either because I’m tired, it is unusually hard, or both!

  31. Blimey, that was a task and a half. I’ve seen US for useless before, never remember it, and still don’t like it. :-) One of those weird crossword abbreviations that nobody ever comes across in real life and is off-putting to outsiders…Lots to like as well, but this did feel more like a Toughie than a DT back-pager.

  32. I agree this was tricky, but for me it was – mostly – a steady solve and not slow by my usual standards (though I’m pretty sure I’m by far the slowest of the hinty people).

    Just as with the Toughie, I found myself unable to finish unaided: stare as I might at the interlocking 20a and 16d I just couldn’t get there. Frustrating!

    I liked the pictures created by 3d, 18d (with the small smalls) and 24d. The flipping bug in 15a made me smile when I caught him/her. I also particularly appreciated 10a, the colourful 19d and 13d.

    Many thanks to RayT and pommers.

  33. The toughest Ray T I can remember in the last year – I needed the hints for 15a, 17a and 16d – but no less enjoyable for being so. Loved it!

  34. Sorry but I just can’t solve these Thursday puzzles, after breezing through the ones earlier in the week I am on the rocks and shipping water fast 😩 ****/** so a big thanks to Pommers to helping me understand most of the clues🤔 And to Ray T for bringing me down to earth with a bump. Any landing you can walk away from is acceptable and if you can use the airframe again it is a bonus 😉
    Quite liked 3 & 5 down. Reverse lurkers not my cup of tea 😳

  35. OMG what a slog. I have come back to it on and off all day and can’t really believe I have at last beaten it but not without much gizmo assistance. Certainly no Fav but I could nominate several as Least-Favs. Now for the Toughie. Thank you RayT and Pommers. *****/**.

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. The most difficult back pager ever. Was 12 answers short, got one from the hints, had to look up 11. Favourite was 19d. Was 6*/2* for me. Must be the fresh air, I’ve been useless at solving all week :-(

  37. That was an ordeal and, sadly, not overly enjoyable for once. 4*/1.5*.

    No favourites!

    Thanks to Pommers and Ray T

  38. Good evening everybody.

    A joint effort today but found this too tricky and finished with five unsolved. Enjoyable enough though.


  39. I thought this was a typical RayT.
    Not the first time I comment on the endless search for the right synonym.
    Just getting used to it.
    The only problem I had was to think that the container in 1d was “nation” until I spotted the lurker in 15a.
    Favourite is 10a.
    Thanks to RayT and nice to see pommers back in the chair although I feel sorry for Kath for not having the chance to review a RayT during the summer..

  40. I thought at first it was just my slow brain, but relieved to see others found this one tricky. Got a couple in the NW to start off, then needed tips for most of the rest. A good cerebral workout! ****/*** for me. Many thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  41. A fantastic effort from Ray T, significantly challenging and very enjoyable – just the way I like ’em. I started this yesterday teatime, had several goes at it, including a session in bed, and finally solved the last 3 over breakfast. An absolutely cracking crossword! 4*/5*. And that’s the first time I’ve given anything a 5*.

  42. Very very enjoyable. A grind and a battle. Just the way I like my RayT puzzles. Thanks to RayT and thanks to pommers. Rather you than me. Solved a day late due to babysitting duties.

    1. Yes, many weekday cryptics are a fun stroll in the park but to outwit Mr. T you usually have to embark on a gruelling war of attrition. But that’s just what I want from a DT back-pager.

  43. Thought I was having an off day until I read the comments.
    I see the Telegraph rated it 5*/3* which seems about right to me.

  44. We (my wife and I) picked this one up out of our pile today… an absolute cracker, mystifying and thoroughly enjoyable! If you completed it but found little pleasure you surprise me. Started on these puzzles in the early 1960’s… hardly missed any since. This puzzle is as rewarding as any. I have never felt anything less than total respect for the setters. Thanks!

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