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DT 28214

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28214

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I don’t have the first idea who today’s setter is but I found it quite difficult – there were a lot of things that I didn’t know so Mr Google has been working overtime. As usual, I’m perfectly happy for you all to disagree with me and say it was a doddle. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought and how you got on today.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see them.


1a            Dog savaged Republicans and odd characters in melee (7,7)
CLUMBER SPANIEL — An anagram (savaged) of REPUBLICANS and alternate letters (odd characters) of MeLeE. I’d never heard of this dog – they’re bred for stamina rather than speed and apparently dribble a lot – think I’ll stick to collies.


9a            Ministers enact legislation carrying half of Conservatives (7)
PASTORS — A verb that means to make a new law around (carrying) three of the six letters (half of) another word for Conservatives.

10a         Superb vehicle overturned by tree (7)
SUBLIME — A reversal (overturned) of a large vehicle is followed by a tree that can be ornamental or fruiting.

11a         Captain Cook’s equipment (3)
AGA — This is a double definition – the Captain is a Turkish commander or chief officer and the Cook’s equipment is a large oven – the false capitalisation of ‘Cook’s’ is just to confuse us.


12a         One doing more good deeds in beauty spot (6,5)
KINDER SCOUT — The equivalent organisation for boys that, for girls, is Girl Guides are known for doing good deeds. If one of them was feeling particularly good humoured he could be said to be in a better mood or ****** and therefore even more likely to do even more good deeds. One of those that’s no easier to give a hint for than solve.


14a         Still batting with no suggestion of criticism bagging duck (3,3)
NOT OUT — The NO from the clue is followed by an exclamation of disapproval or impatience (they often come in pairs) which contains (bagging) the letter which looks like a zero or a duck in cricket terms.

15a         Venue for performing music — ole! (8)
COLISEUM — An anagram (performing) of MUSIC-OLE. I’ve never seen it spelt like this.

17a         Change meat, put in starters of aloo and insalata (8)
MUTATION — Change here is a noun. You need a kind of meat from an animal which is not in the first flush of youth which contains the first letters (starters) of A(loo) and I(nsalata).

19a         Girl — I turn with repulsion, embraced by the opposite sex (6)
IMOGEN — Start with the I from the clue – then a reversal (with repulsion) of another word for a turn in a game which is contained in (embraced by) some chaps (the opposite sex from the girl).

22a         Engineers scrap European steamship, showing no respite (11)
REMORSELESS — One of the usual abbreviations for a kind of engineer in the army is followed by a scrap or small piece of something, often food, the abbreviation for E(uropean) and, finally, another abbreviation, this time for S(team)S(hip).

23a         Worried about Greek character (3)
ETA — A reversal (about) of a short word meaning worried by or niggled away at.

24a         Administrator reduced men serving round Royal Academy (7)
CURATOR — A word meaning reduced or pared down and a two letter abbreviation for one of the many kinds of ‘serving men’ or soldiers contain (round) the abbreviation for R(oyal) A(cademy).

26a         Japanese art of note shown by old Baltic city (7)
ORIGAMI — Begin with the O(ld) and follow that with the capital of Latvia (Baltic city) – finish off with the third note in a musical scale.


27a         Old king could become glad thereafter (6,3,5)
ALFRED THE GREAT — An anagram (could become) of GLAD THEREAFTER



1d            Superhero playing a cinematic part endlessly, top class (7,7)
CAPTAIN AMERICA — An anagram (playing) of A CINEMATIC and PARt (part endlessly) and the letter that is used to denote top class which will give you a fictional superhero in some US comics – I’d never heard of him.


2d            Pretentious type bitter after good times (7)
UPSTART — Begin with some good times – presumably the opposite of bad times which could be referred to as downs – and follow that with a word that means bitter or sharp.

3d            Popular film? Ban one about train robber (11)
BLOCKBUSTER — A ban or obstacle is followed by the first name of one of the Great Train Robbers – I’d never heard of him either.

4d            One’s in group carrying out rebellion (6)
RISING — A group or gang contains (in) the letter that looks like a one, with the ‘S.

5d            Out-of-date teacher departed (6,2)
PASSED ON — Split 5,3 this could be an old-fashioned or antiquated teacher at a university.

6d            Nick‘s suspension overturned (3)
NAB — A reversal (overturned) of a suspension or an exclusion.

7d            Perfect example of Eastern book with religious content (7)
EPITOME — Begin with E(astern) and follow that with a large book – in between the two you need a short word that means religious or sanctimonious (with religious content).

8d            Romantic laments tiniest failing (14)


13d         Scrapping briefly, risk rough Russian fighter holding part of leg (11)
SKIRMISHING — Start off with an anagram (rough) of RISK and follow that with a Russian aircraft which contains (holding) the lower part of your leg – the bit at the front.

16d         Shabby old Italian leader, a communist (3-5)
DOG-EARED — A four letter old Italian leader – not a politician but a chief magistrate in Venice and Genoa – follow that with the A from the clue and finish off with the colour often used to mean a communist.

18d         Cart in which acrobat swaps sides (7)
TUMBREL — Start with another word for an acrobat or a gymnast and change around (swap) the fifth and seventh letters.


20d         Small space in standard egg (7)
GRENADE — A two letter printing term for a small space is contained in (in) a standard or level. I always forget this slang meaning of ‘egg’.

21d         In a series, preceding first prize Rotherham holds (6)
ZEROTH — Our one and only lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘holds’ – it’s in the middle of the sixth and seventh words of the clue. Yet another thing that I’ve never heard of.

25d         Become high climbing to achieve peak (3)
TOR —A reversal (climbing) of a word that means to become high or go off.

I liked 11a and 5 and 16d.


89 comments on “DT 28214

  1. I’d agree with ***/*** . Didn’t know 21d, but guessed it, otherwise a steady plod.
    No real favourites, quite a lot of anagrams it seemed.
    Thanks to all as ever.

  2. I agree certainly not a doddle today Kath. A very slow start for me and then much head-scratching but that made for an entertaining challenge. Dog species in 1a, beauty spot in 12a and the lurker in 6d all new to me. Last to go in after assistance were 19a and 20d – both rather tortuous clues IMHO. Thanks Mr. Ron and Kath whose hints I will now enjoy reading. ***/***.

    1. As I was told I didn’t “have permission to edit” my comment I will in this way correct my above reference to 6d when I meant to say 21d.

  3. For me, the best puzzle for a while. Too many ‘aha’ moments to list. A couple of new words, but all able to be worked out. Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  4. Lots of new things learnt today 1A, 12A, 18D & 21D. But all solved with a bit of electronic help.Agree with the ratings, many thanks to the setter & Kath for the review.

  5. The four long anagrams were a good start

    I liked captain cook and the out of date teacher.

    I’d never heard of the old italian leader

    Many thanks Kath and many thanks setter

  6. We printed this one out and solved it on a train journey. This meant we had no reference books for 1a 12a and 21d that were all new to us. We are very pleased with ourselves that when we met our sons with their more clever devices than we use, we were able to confirm that we had them all correctly sorted. Certainly quite a challenge and lots of fun to distract our attention from the dreadful weather that was raging outside.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  7. I enjoyed this one today. A couple that required some cogitation, but nothing that was beyond reach.

    2*/4* for me. Thanks to setter, and to Kath.

  8. I found it hard too but managed to get stumped on 20d only so not too bad. Had never heard of this breed of spaniel or this super hero – fortunately Mr. Framboise came to the rescue! Had never heard of 12a either but was able to work it out. So grenade is a slang word for egg, ah! Lots of excellent clues – 11a made me smile. 3*/4*. Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for her excellent review.

  9. 5*/3*. Was it a wrong envelope day today? I found this very, very tough but mostly enjoyable. There were some excellent clues peppered with a few obscurities (dog breed, beauty spot, the word preceding first), and it was a shame that the first word of the answer to 1d appeared in an intersecting clue. Like Kath I had Google working overtime to help me today.

    I liked 20d although I’m not quite sure that grade is synonymous with standard. Once again today I have joint favourites – 5d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron (Shamus?) and to Kath.

    P.S. Kath, a week’s leave of absence requested please. I’m off to Tenerife tomorrow.

    1. Perhaps in egg terms grade is /was a standard. To be Grade A eggs have to meet certain criteria thus Grade means they meet a certain standard I guess.

  10. Agree with Graham on the new words list but excellent puzzle as all of the clues could be worked out. ***/*** for me too. Thanks to setter and Kath.

  11. I found this a little trickier than usual, but for some reason I didn’t enjoy it so much. Perhaps some clues were too contrived, or maybe I just lost interest and bunged in the answers without necessarily parsing them fully. Either way, this was 3*/2* from me, but thanks are due to the Thursday Mr Ron and Kath for her perseverance and excellent review.

  12. I found this very hard, but plodded on largely without electronic help until I ran aground on 23a and 20d.
    Not sure about ate = worried, though I suppose something can eat away at you and had no idea that egg was slang for grenade.
    Had heard of the dog and the beauty spot, though.

    Too clever for me, this one.

    Thanks to Kath for the hints.

    1. The grenade – egg combo turns up quite a lot in crosswords – perhaps BD ought to add it to the Wolves in Sheep’s clothing list

      1. A more common slang term for a grenade is “pineapple” – I reckon both should be in the WISC list.

  13. Comments will be interesting today, lots of “wavelength” issues perhaps. Having nearly finished the easier- level Toughie yesterday I found this probably harder.
    Completed after ages. Mind a couple of spelling mistakes (too embarrassed to say where) didn’t help.
    20d a bung-in as never heard of ******* / egg.
    Knew of the spaniel : they obviously dribble better than England footballers. Have job to beat Biggles (aka Niagara at signs of food coming) though.
    Thanks to setter & Kath for entertaining & needed explanations.

  14. At first glance I almost threw in the towel , but one or two clues later things began to improve and in the end I found this a very enjoyable solve ; although I did need help with 19a and 20d . Thanks Kath and setter ****/**** . Favourites 3d, 17and 27a but others could have been mentioned

  15. The old adage read the question twice or of course clue perhaps even several times and of course putting in the correct spelling helps. I found this quite difficult with the last one in 21d with of course some electronic help. Favourite though must be 16d for the wordplay. Dog walking calls on the windy cliffs we need a good blow after that muggy spell. Many thanks to Kath and setter.
    Definitely ***/*** for me.

  16. For me, this was a good cranial work out which started very slowly, but then I got onto the setter’s wavelength and managed to complete this one comfortably before lights out last night. The only assistance needed was heavy usage of Chambers Crossword Dictionary with after the fact Google confirmation of 1a.

    Favourite a toss up between 12a and 18d, with any or all of the circumferential 14 letter anagrams close behind.

    **/*** – thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for excellent illustrations.

  17. Had to check a list of spaniels for 1a, the beauty spot in 12a and the series in 21d.
    Didn’t know the slang term in 20d nor the cart in 18d.
    In fact I know nothing!
    But managed with a little perseverance.
    Hope that Kath has a go at the toughie. The SW is right up her street.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review.

    1. That pretty much sums it up for me, too, but since it’s extra candle day for me I’ve decided to have a bung-in fest. Waiting for the Toughie review to see how many I’ve got wrong!

      1. Sorry to be tardy with the best wishes but hope you had a lovely day and have a super meal to look forward to this evening.

    2. I remember the cart at 18d, per Dickens, that’s what they used to take the people to the guillotine!

  18. Definitely a slog today. Stuck on three and needed hints. Never heard of the slang for egg and couldn’t get it even with K’s hint. Also needed help with 17a which helped with 18d. Still it was very enjoyable Thanks to setter and K.

  19. Trick but not toughie. Got beaten by 23ac and 20d combo so thanks to Kath for sorting those out. The anagrams went straight in which helped everything else. 12 across is just one of many places where my pals and I have battled the elements and won. It is persistently raining over Loch Awe so we are just busy doing nothing. Thanks to the setter. Thanks again to Kath. Lovely blog today, especially the hint for 12ac

  20. I found this very hard with several answers ive never heard of before. Never heard of an egg being called a grenade before either.Maybe I am a bit rusty, been on holiday for the last ten days, hopefully I will be more in tune tomorrow. Many thanks to the setter and especially to Kath for the explanations.

  21. The second half of 3d is the name of an eponymous film (‘one’) about the great train robber in question.

    1. Welcome from me too. The eponymous film can be added to the increasingly long list of things that I didn’t know/hadn’t heard of in the crossword today.

        1. Thank you – anyone who tries to grind me down will have their work cut out!
          Illegitimi non carborundum. Alternatively (husband says) Nil carborundum illegitimi – but who cares as it’s all spoof stuff.

  22. What a ‘belter’, best back page puzzle for ages, going for a ***/****, loved 12a and 5d, in fact the cluing throughout was excellent . Nearly put bat in for 11a until I solved 2d, again a super clue, lovely surface.
    New dog for me in 1a and also the 21d lurker-remembered the ‘egg’ which was apposite as I’ve got the sandwiches for lunch, with Bettys proper tea!

  23. I was OK with the dog and the beauty spot (used to live quite close) but didn’t know either the ‘egg’ or the ‘preceding first prize’.
    Only vaguely heard of 1d and, whilst I appreciate that it’s necessary for the surface read, I thought an 11a was a rather more senior officer.
    Think I’d have had a slightly different spelling for 15a as well, Kath!
    I did enjoy this one – top of the pile being 7d and, strangely, the cricket clue at 14a.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Kath for all her hard work.

    Off to tackle Mr. T in the other place now.

  24. Definitely the toughest back pager for some time. Having done the one inside as well I could make a strong case for swapping them around. Kath’s description at 1a made me wonder if I’ve got a bit of Clumber in my family tree. Thanks to her for the review and the setter for a pleasant surprise.

  25. Phew! This one took a bit of teasing out and if 21d had not been a lurker, I’d still be scratching my head now, so a good tactic by the setter to give us a gettable obscure word. So thanks to him/her and to the indefatigable Kath for her efforts. 3d & 13d floated my boat. 3*:3*

  26. I really enjoyed this – what a thoroughly pleasant way to spend a Thursday afternoon. I saw that 1a was an anagram so I tussled with that first – I have heard of the dog somewhere before but can’t remember where. That then coughed up 1d and a quick glance at 27a revealed the answer.

    With so many letters, the puzzle then gave up it’s answers from the NW corner down to the SE. For once, I have no complaints about a girl’s name at 19a as the word play was there to solve it. 21d was my last one in – couldn’t have been anything else really. I’ll have 12a as my favourite as I’ve been there several times.

    Thanks to our Thursday Mr Ron for the puzzle and to Kath for her fine blog.

  27. Definitely seem to be at odds with most people this week. Fairly straightforward puzzle for me except 20d which I needed Kath’s hints. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

  28. I had a real struggle with this, but relieved to see some people found it tricky too. After getting 14a, 15a, 8d, had to resort to Kath’s hints for nine of the remainders. Like others, have never heard of ‘clumber’, or 12a. Last in was 16d, where I had to cheat. (Still, I’m only about 2 years into cryptics, so have a bit of work to do!) 5*/3* for me. Many thanks to Kath and setter.

    1. 2yrs? You’re doing well then. Don’t worry, it does become more intuitive over time – until you hit a ‘not on my wavelength’ brick wall, which even the most seasoned solvers do at some point. That’s why the ‘ratings’ are rather meaningless fun.

    2. I found it tricky and been doing these since soon after England won the World Cup, so don’t despair. You are doing great and LR is right about the wavelength thing.

  29. Also reasonably straightforward here, but some coincidences helped greatly. There’s a park near Worksop, where we have stayed, whose first name is also the first name of the dog breed, and so that word jumped out of the anagram and Mrs Sheffieldsy then owned up to knowing the dog. The beauty spot is within a few miles of home so that dropped in OK. Finally, I did maths at university so 21d was known to me. If you count backwards – 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 – these are cardinal numbers and their associated ordinal numbers are 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st & 0th if that makes sense.

    Overall, then 2*/4* because we really enjoyed it. 13d was our favourite.

    Thanks to Kath for the review and to Mr Ron (can we have some more of his/hers, please?)

    1. Re your explanation of 21d, not only was it understandable, but will help me to remember it in the future! That is, if we ever get it again.

  30. Tricky in places, especially the SE corner where 20d was my last one in. There were some excellent clues such as 12a, my favourite, but equally one or two that grated, particularly the awful contrived anagram of 15a. 21d was a new word, and one I’m not keen to see again in a hurry.

    Being a hybrid of two spaniels himself, our friend Sprocker would no doubt enjoy 1a!

    Like Beaver, initially I thought the answer to 11a was “bat”, continuing the cricketing theme of 14a, but I soon realised my error thankfully.

    I could just about excuse the setter for the repetition of “holds” and “holding” as containment indicators, but for two instances of “overturned” (in 10a and 6d) as reversal indicators, there is no excuse, especially as its use in an Across clue is debatable anyway. The Chambers Crossword Dictionary specifies it for Down clues only. Lazy cluing, I’m afraid.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  31. It did cross my mind that this might possibly be the work of the late, lamented Petitjean. I certainly found that the slightly mad hat came in useful.

    I enjoyed it and had heard of the obscure bits so it’s ***/**** from me. I think 5d was probably fav but there’s a lot of good stuff in this one.

    Anyway, thanks to whoever it was by and also to Kath for the blog.

    1. pommers and Jezza – I’m just beginning to wonder about Shamus. My first thought was definitely not one of his but now I’m not so sure.

      1. I think I will play safe and say that whether PJ, Shamus, or whoever it was… thank you, I enjoyed it :)

  32. I knew the dog in 1a and once I had eleminated the letters of the second word, it solved itself. I then thought that this was going to be easy peasy, no such luck. Some were gimmes, e.g. 27a was so obvious, but others were decidedly tricky. Like Kath, Google was doing overtime. I never did get 20d and am not likely to remember it.
    There were some really clever clues in this lot, the ones I didn’t know, like 12a, were workable and then a quick google sorted it. My fave has to be 1a, yeah, I know, predictable.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for her entertaining blog.

    1. This dog was a question (answer) on Jeopardy this week and I had never heard of it. Had already forgotten it by the time I attempted this puzzle….oops.

      1. My goodness! I watch Jeopardy, the only game show that makes sense, the others are twaddle, but I don’t remember it! Must have had a bathroom break or drink refill. Memo: Pay more attention!

          1. Amongst our ‘ordinary everyday friends’ I only have one who is as obsessed with crosswords as I am. Many years ago, and I mean very many years ago, he said to me that he loved doing crosswords and he thought it was a good way to keep his brain going – I replied that it was one of the reasons that I liked doing them too. His reply was, “Oh, so it doesn’t work then”. Surprisingly he is still a very good friend!! I reminded him of this conversation only yesterday – he didn’t remember it!
            Jeopardy? I think it must be an American ‘thing’ – I’ve never heard of it.

  33. Having thought that 11a was a reference to the blessed Alistair (the capital C led me in that direction) my cricket-related answer got me off to a bad start.

  34. Definately ***/***. Liked the 4 anagrams around the edge which went in quickly (after looking up different types of s*****s). Top half was fairly quick but then ground to a halt in the bottom half. Gradually picked them off to end up with 20d which was a bung it in. Liked 12a and 22a.
    Thanks all.

  35. Not exactly a doddle (I’d score it 2*/3.5*) but not a cluing style I found easy to pick up. All in all, well worth the effort. 5d was my favourite, but I enjoyed 12a, 2d and 16d as well. Thanks to today’s Mysteron, and to Kath for the review.

  36. Quite a challenge today for me, but I got there, although had to guess at 20 d. I didn’t know the printing term ! Also 21 down is a lurker of course, but had to look it up. Not a word I’ve ever come across, it has a fascinating definition !

    Thanks to setter and Kath, whose hint I needed for 20 d.

    ***/**** from me.

    1. I wonder how many fellow bloggers were familiar with 21d other than as a lurker? I certainly was not.

      1. No – I wasn’t familiar with it either.
        I can tell a crossword is difficult when the ‘lurkers’ – my betes noir – seem easy! Husband thinks 21d is likely to be an American term (BRB doesn’t back that up) which is making me think that our setter today could be someone who has set some Tuesday crosswords with an American flavour . . . just a thought.

        1. Pure Mathematics is certainly above my pay grade but there is no end to the knowledge one can pick up from DT Cryptics and BD bloggers.

    2. This was one I actually got, but only because it looked like a lurker, and I had to google to confirm that it actually was a word. Something learned at least.

  37. Definitely into ***/**** time for me. Lots of unknowns, in particular 12ac which was my last one in. The first word was pretty obvious, but nothing made much sense to go with it. Geography’s not my strong spot…18d was a good example of how to clue an obscure word in a pretty fair way.That’s two Thursdays in a row now that haven’t felt like our usual DT fare.

  38. Good evening everybody.

    A joint effort today. Mostly straightforward enough bit a handful of trickyish clues delaying proceedings. Although it was obvious enough from the clue my co solver was not persuaded and consulted a computer before accepting 21d. Tsk!


  39. Hats off to you Kath, and others who did not find this too difficult. I only managed half of the clues, and had to resort to Kath’s hints for the other half. Favorites were 26a and 27a. Don’t think I would have ever got hooked on these puzzles if this was the first I tried. Not on my wavelength today clearly.

  40. Much too difficult for me.
    I shall enjoy going through Kath’s excellent hints and look forward to tomorrow.

    1. Thanks for the hints, Kath.
      Among other things I missed every anagram indicator going…

  41. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. A wonderful puzzle, a lot to get the Grey matter churning. I’d never heard of 1a, but managed it from the anagram fodder. The four long clues were a great help. 16d made me laugh. Favourite was 17a, as it led me up the garden path for ages, thinking that it started with an anagram of meat. Last in was 21d which I guessed. Was 4*/4* for me. Back in the Smoke now, after all the fresh air and sunshine in Cumbria.

  42. I found this one difficult too and hadn’t heard of the same words as you. Thanks for illumination!

  43. Off to bed soonish so night night to everyone and sleep well – I’m certainly going to, partly because I’m knackered and partly because it’s so much cooler. :yawn:

  44. Another very good one! For me, about the same difficulty/enjoyment as yesterday’s so 2.5*/3.5* again.

  45. Phew! That were tough going. Took me ages to get a decent foothold and thereafter had to chisel out the answers! Eventually succeeded; in spite of 1a, 12a, 23a and 20d.
    3/3.5* overall, and because it was so simple I’ll nominate 10a as favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for her terrific blog.

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