DT 28217 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28217

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28217

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good Day from the most westerly point on the British mainland where Saint Sharon and I are enjoying our holiday. The weather is mixed but mostly dreich as they say in these parts, it hasn’t stopped us enjoying ourselves though. We may take the ferry to Mull tomorrow and eat at The Cafe Fish in Tobermory.

Today’s puzzle took a little more teasing out than usual although once I got going it soon fell into place. There are a couple of clues I didn’t enjoy parsing but hey, they got me to the answer.

Today’s Rookie Puzzle has something familiar about it. In the absence of a toughie you might like to give it a try.

The hints and tips are here to help you. If you are struggling for an answer or if you want an answer explaining have a look. I do my best but I am not perfect. Definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    An odd escort for an older person (8)
ANCESTOR: Lift AN straight from the clue and add an anagram (odd) of ESCORT

6a    Saucy antics? (6)
CAPERS: These antics, frolics or escapades are also the pods used as a base for sauces mainly used to flavour fish.

9a    Squirm and wither, wanting right to advance (6)
WRITHE: Advance the position of the letter R(ight) within the word WITHER in the clue until you have a word meaning to squirm. The words wanting right to advance tell us to do this. To advance means to move on for me but I suppose it is moving towards the head of the word.

10a    Talk of cut after backing strike (8)
PARLANCE: To cut as a doctor or trained nurse might do to a boil comes after reversing (backing) a word meaning to strike or hit sharply

11a    Their job is to certify, not sign (8)
NOTARIES: NOT lifted straight from the clue is followed by one of the signs of the zodiac

12a    Keep thanks in check (6)
RETAIN: Place a short word meaning thanks inside a thin leather strap used by a rider to check or guide a horse

13a    Confidence shared by the whole house (5,7)
STAGE WHISPER: This aside from an actor is meant to be heard by the whole audience.

16a    Got up and blushed pink (4-8)
ROSE-COLOURED: A word meaning got up from bed is followed by a word meaning blushed. Together they describe the word pink

19a    Fly in different directions after trial’s overturned (6)
TSETSE: Place two compass directions after a reversed word (overturned) meaning trial or exam

21a    Blunt criticism of decent chap joining club (8)
BRICKBAT: Take a word meaning a reliable generous and helpful person and add a club. The club used to hit the ball in cricket will do.

23a    They are empowered to go over our heads (8)
AIRCRAFT: Things with engines (empowered) that fly overhead.

24a    Song about sailor in desert land (6)
ARABIA: place our usual abbreviated sailor inside an operatic song

25a    For one to laze is unusual (6)
ZEALOT: Anagram (is unusual) of TO LAZE

26a    Olympic riding event outfit will get silver with ecstasy (8)
DRESSAGE: One’s outfit or one’s attire is followed by the chemical element symbol for silver and the common name used for the drug ecstasy


2d    Raced over line with not much room to spare (6)
NARROW: Reverse (over) a three letter word meaning raced and then put another three letter word meaning a line as in the way we are supposed to place our little ducks in management speak

3d    Non-striking bonus (5)
EXTRA: This non striking bonus is a run scored at cricket without striking the ball.

4d    Mike had to play leading part in operetta (3,6)
THE MIKADO: Anagram (play) of MIKE HAD TO

5d    A verbal thrust? (7)
RIPOSTE: A quick thrust in fencing is also a quick verbal reply.

6d    One provides seedless apples for cooking (5)
CORER: This kitchen implement removes the central part of an apple removing the seeds. (Fill with golden syrup and dried fruit and bake for a delicious dessert or fill in the same way and wrap in tinfoil and place on the edge of the barbecue until after you have eaten the vegetable kebabs and fish.

7d    Perfectly proficient? (9)
PRACTISED: Expert at something particularly after much training and experience

8d    Criminal set? (8)
RECEIVER: Double definition. The criminal takes in stolen goods. The set takes in radio or television signals

13d    Unwilling to give credit (9)
SCEPTICAL: My online dictionary gives two definitions for this answer. 1. not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations. 2. relating to the theory that certain knowledge is impossible. Maybe the BRB gives more. One of my last in which suited the checkers I had.

14d    WWII fighter that gets the wind up (9)
HURRICANE: This aeroplane which flew from 1935 is also the name of the highest wind on the Beaufort scale coming in at force 12

15d    Plan to study piece of church architecture (8)
CONSPIRE: Take our usual suspect for study and add the tall pointy thing on a church.

17d    Journeyed round the world? (7)
ORBITED: To have journeyed around the world in this way would have required a spacecraft.

18d    Phone about account that’s for betting on? (6)
RACING: Place a verb meaning to telephone or call somebody around (about) our usual abbreviation for account to find what sport we might be betting on or at.

20d    Compel payment to be precise (5)
EXACT: A double definition. The first being to demand payment

22d    Cook steak for a poet (5)
KEATS: Anagram (cook) of STEAK

Solved in silence looking out at stunning scenery and amazing wildlife. It reminded me of my schooldays staring vacantly out of the Windows.

The Quick Crossword pun: trance+sport=transport

87 comments on “DT 28217

  1. I found this puzzle very difficult. It is not the style of puzzle that I enjoy much being largely one of double definitions and no logic puzzles to unwrap. Some of the clues I found very obtuse if not downright dubious.

    4*/1* for me today.

      1. Well, I don’t really like crosswords that become an exercise in using a thesaurus rather than solving a clue by thought. Double definition clues tend to drive me, anyway, into constant reference texts such as Chambers’ or Roget’s texts as I struggle to understand some extreme meaning. That is also why I dislike RayT or Beam in either of his guises. At least an anagram becomes and exercise in thought rather than knowledge and the answer is clear.

    1. I totally agree. This is not my sort of puzzle and whilst I’m sure that many will enjoy these voyages into obscure double definitions I don’t. I could not have finished this without help from MP (for whom my thanks and admiration).

  2. **/*** for me today.

    A good job we aren’t all alike! I actually enjoyed a leisurely early morning stroll through this one – good biorhythms again I suspect. Lots of small smiles along the way.

    Just had physio, which was a pain in the neck, though.

    Thanks to the compiler and MP for ( unused, for a change) hints.

  3. Not for me, no real variety in the cluing, far too many double meanings. I couldnt find anything much to work on from the clues.Many thanks to Miffypops for his much needed help.3.5*/1*

  4. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I don’t agree at all about the level of difficulty. I found this one of the hardest back pagers I’ve ever seen. Was 16 answers short before resorting to the hints. Had to look up 1,6,10,19,23a & 8,13d. Managed to get 11,13a & 15d from the hints. Was 5*/1* for me.

  5. Like George found this one a struggle, well the NE corner anyway. Annoyed I missed 13a & needed the hint. Convinced the first word was “state”.
    Not really my cup of tea though can’t really say why.
    Thanks to setter nontheless. Also to MP for needed hints: those I needed were perfect enough for me.

  6. I am devastated! I missed the cricketing clue in 3d😟
    Apart from that no great problems but all a bit leap of faith type clues for me.
    So **/**
    Thx to all

  7. I felt like this was a bit of a pain in the neck. Lots of clues which you either see or not, and if you don’t, not much else to go on. Is 6d even cryptic? Liked the ‘all in one’ 25a though. Thanks to all anyway.

    1. I think 6d when first read suggests a person offering cooking apples that are genetically seedless or something. The description of an instrument that removes seeds from apples before cooking takes a while to see – in that sense it is cryptic.

      If you saw the second meaning first, respect.

  8. This WA like the curates egg good in parts, mostly entertaining depending I suppose on your outlook there were a couple of aaaaaaargh moments. Therefore **/*** for me, favourite clue 19a.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Rufus.

  9. Rufus is famed for his ‘cryptic definition clues’ but he appears to have used more than usual in today’s crossword and I’m wondering whether that’s why so the commenters so far appear to be having problems.

    1. CS – what exactly is your definition for a ‘cryptic clue’? I would say few of these clues are cryptic in my understanding of the term.

        1. OK – I was not aware of an official definition. I interpret the word ‘cryptic’ as coming from the Greek kryptikos meaning ‘hidden’ (Thank you high school classics!). When the construction of the clue is obvious, as most are in this puzzle, but rely on finding synonyms that complete the clue construction, I see little hidden about it.

          For example, take 24a, the construction of the clue is obvious, so now we run though all the words meaning ‘check’ and the words for ‘sailor’ to construct the answer. In other words it requires absolutely no thought but a word search for the synonyms. How is this in the least ‘hidden’?

          One can say the same of many of the clues in this puzzle. hence I do not regard them as cryptic even if that is the official definition.

          1. But George, you can’t have it both ways. In your first comment at No. 1 above you complain that this one was very difficult and you didn’t like it, but here you say that the clues are mostly “obvious” and 24a as an example is particularly elementary. When related to describing cryptic clues, difficult and obvious are not synonymous. 24a is a good, archetypal “cryptic clue”, with some cryptic wordplay plus a precise definition. Also, the word cryptic doesn’t just have the single, narrow, specific meaning of “hidden” (I would prefer camouflaged myself), but it also means puzzling, mysterious, perplexing, obscure, strange, equivocal, etc. And those definitions just about cover the construction of most of the cryptic clue types – which, after all, are all mere word puzzles.

          2. Also, 20d is a typical “double definition” clue (double straights, as they used to be called) but at first sight it isn’t immediately obvious as such (especially to an inexperienced solver). The crypticness or mystery of this clue isn’t identifying the two synonyms after you’ve twigged, but sussing out what type of clue it is in the first place. That is why they qualify the description of being “cryptic”.

  10. About the right degree of difficulty for a Monday, and a**/*** for me.
    Initially spelt 9d with a ‘C’ instead of a ‘S’ which made 13a somewhat difficult-never quite worked out which spelling to choose to this day.
    Assume the anagram in 25 a is also an ‘ all in one’ as a Z never idles- nothing relating to this in Miffypops blog ? Clever clue.
    Anyway ,enjoyed the solve-liked 6d-picked mine on Saturday before the match.

    1. I took 25a as a semi all-in-one as “for one” is not part of the wordplay. I did the underlining for MP today and you will notice that I underlined the whole clue.

          1. I thought that ‘for one’ was the definition; a person who is solely fixated, on one person/idea/belief, is the anagrammatic answer to the clue.

  11. Definitely Rufus at his trickiest for me, but, even with a later than usual start, I still managed to complete it before lights out last night with considerable head scratching and electronic searching (while watching Churchill’s Secret on PBS television, which I thoroughly enjoyed – Michael Gambon at his best).

    So, ** – *** for difficulty and *** for enjoyment. Favourite 13a – this was my last one in and took the most electronic searching. But when the penny dropped it was a real doh moment. I had not considered ‘the whole house’ as referring to the theatre.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.

      1. Absolutely. And, I thought that one of the best parts was that the exterior scenes were filmed at the ‘real’ Chartwell House.

      2. We recorded Churchill and looking forward to watching this tonight. Been waiting a while for this to air.

  12. Didn’t find this easy and needed help from MP, but enjoyed it anyway.My favourite today, 19a. Thanks to setter and MP.

  13. Yep, I think Rufus was a little more devious than usual today. I groaned at 23a, but I quite liked 25a where a simple anagram indicator takes on a nice surface meaning.

  14. I also found this tricky but I quite often struggle a bit on Mondays – today’s had fewer anagrams than usual which, for me anyway, added to the difficulty as I find them a good way in to a crossword.
    I agree with those who have said that with a lot of the clues today you either see it or you don’t and if you don’t you’re sunk as there’s nothing else to go on.
    My last answer was 14d.
    I liked 13 and 24a and 13d. My favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Off to do useful stuff for a while and then going to have a go at Mr Rookie aka MP.

    1. Do comment on my rookie puzzle Kath. Did you notice how I bigged up the nurses role in my hint for 10ac?

      1. Congrats, well done, and thank you for the entertaining Rookie. Mostly fairly easy, with some thorns!

      2. Yes – thank you MP – I did notice that the qualified nurses in your hint for 10a were given something other than bed-making or toast-making to do! :smile:
        Just about to comment on Mr Rookie – rather later than I’d meant to be but . . .

  15. Thanks to both. Found this easy once we got started . */** here. Favourite clue probably 19a. Found this a bit unsatisfying. Too few anagrams and too many clever definitions for my taste. Finished quite quickly and it is not raining. The garden beckons

  16. Great start to the week with plenty of truly cryptic clues. Three quarters presented no problems but NW corner was a different kettle of fish in spite of getting 4d at the outset.
    Always have doubts about 19a spelling but overturned trial and 20d solved that. Surely 6a are components rather than a sauce itself but perhaps saucY gets over that – whatever, raie au beurre noir is one of my Favs. As MP says, spacecraft required to orbit the world whilst presumably sailors circumnavigate it but we ordinary travellers merely go around it. TVM Rufus and MP. ***/***.

  17. The top half was tricky. Unlike a lot of people I’ve found a lot of Rufus puzzles difficult recently. This one was a bit of chore to do. Hopefully I’ll find tomorrows more to my liking.

  18. A tad trickier than normal from my Ironbridge neighbour I thought – nonetheless, very enjoyable stuff. I have no particular favourite but I do like a good ‘cryptic’ clue – and to that end I’ve been spoiled.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to mp for interrupting his holiday to send his blog. And well done on your rookie puzzle – lovely.

    Btw – The weather here in my part of Shropshireland is also very ‘dreich’.

    1. The weather in East Kent is verging on the tropical and apparently it is going to be even hotter tomorrow

      1. Very windy, overcast and raining hard at the opposite end of the country CS. Enjoy the tropicality while its here

  19. Oh dear, I have just had a senior moment and have been frantically trying to make a pun out of 1a and 6a in this Cryptic rather than the very obvious one in the Quickie!

  20. I can’t say I enjoyed it much, especially the NE corner – synonym gulch, as I termed it, as well as too many other synonyms elsewhere. If you don’t get ’em quite quickly, you probably aren’t going to. Fair dos, as anagram haters might say the same about NW.

    I also didn’t appreciate 11a. I mean, really…..

    It probably didn’t help that I had “state secrets” at 13a for far too long…..


    1. Same here with state secrets. Just couldn’t get rid of it even though I knew as a plural it was wrong so did resist the bung-in. Typical Confirmation Bias on my part I’m afraid.

  21. I was going to comment on the negativity further up the page, but life’s too short!
    No real problems; a couple of ‘stretches’ involved with ‘apples’ and initially I thought ‘unwilling’ but on reflection perhaps not the latter. 23a was my favourite because the penny did not drop for a very lng time! 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and the intrepid traveler for his review.

  22. OK, I’m going to buck the popular opinion here, I loved this and it all slotted in like clockwork. I love Rufus puzzles, I’m right on his wavelength, got 13a on first read through. 6a and 6d were my last ones in.
    I loved 21a, but I think my fave is 4d, I’m a great G&S fan – my wonderful Dad used to sing the songs on long car trips.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to M’pops for his hints, enjoy your wet holiday.

  23. Gave myself problems in the NE corner by bunging in ‘propound’ at 10a without checking that it answered the wordplay. 6a/d took a bit of cogitation, so that square remained somewhat empty for quite a while.
    Missed the cricket reference today but that was the only word that would fit and it did answer the ‘bonus’ part of the clue!

    Liked 11&16a but top place goes to 13a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – really good of you to take time out from your hols to bring us the review.

  24. As has been said before, it’s a good thing we all differ – I rather enjoyed this one. It would be dull if there wasn’t variety from the setters, so although I agree one or two clues are a bit uncomfortable, enjoyable nevertheless.
    Particularly liked 25a, very tidy. **/***
    Thanks to all as ever.

  25. Good evening everybody.

    This puzzle proved much trickier than is usual for a Monday. After much wrangling I eventually solved all but 8d. Liked 10a and 13d most of all.


  26. ***/** for me today as I squirmed and almost withered even over that clue – gah . 6a foxed me, too, and indeed most of the top half. Oh dear, a dull morning in the NW and a dull brain accompanied it. A few clues were boringly easy, eg 16 and 23 a and 12 d but others had me rushing to the dictionary.

  27. Well, I agree this wasn’t one for those who don’t like cryptic definitions. I don’t mind them in moderation when they’re really good (though I still have my previously stated preference for some additional supporting wordplay) but today’s caused me more trouble than usual, even having identified the clue type. There were many instances where I struggled more than I thought in retrospect that I should have. Like Jane, I missed the crickety meaning of extra in 3d but that’s by the bye.

    As ever, when Rufus is good he is very, very good and there are plenty of fine clues here. None are jumping up and down, hand in the air, shouting “pick me, pick me!” though.

    Thanks to Rufus and to the multi-talented MP.

      1. Purr! I wouldn’t penalise a wide smile: it certainly doesn’t overstep the mark. Punning is a no-ball endeavour, an extra bonus to be enjoyed by all and sundry.

  28. Well, it provided a bit of mental exercise. 2*/3* or thereabouts, and 21a my favourite clue. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  29. I was absolutely rubbish at this…right back to the days before I found this blog.
    Thanks to Miffypops for the hints…but I needed so many of them that I gave up.

  30. Not really my cup of tea, lots of cryptic definitions that passed me by, but your mileage may vary of course. :-)

  31. I struggled with this today. Not sure if it was the difficulty of the puzzle or the brain tired from jet lag. Couldn’t even do 1a. Tried to do lots of things with the odd letters. Thank you setter for reminding me that I still have a brain, and thank you Miffypops for the review. Very much appreciated, especially as you are on holiday. Enjoy your meal out tomorrow. I love fish. Thrilled that my local supermarket now sells Craster kippers.

    1. Ahhh! Crafter Kippers. We used to have boxes sent to us through Robsons of Craster. I am after shellfish tomorrow. Oysters, langoustine, mussels, scallop, clams, oh Lordy Lordy

      1. Sounds like fruits de mer. Hope you can wash it all down with a nice chilled bottle of something. Enjoy.

  32. Not sure why I found this hard going at the first pass. Fell into place after lunch, but would not have got there without Miffypops hints, thanks! When I reread the clues could not see why they did I not jump off the page at first attempt. Probably a brain dead day today. Ironing can do that to you…

      1. I avoid wearing clothes that require ironing. (Mainly because they’re all creased.) Still struggled with today’s puzzle though.

        1. A friend of mine says she irons only on a ‘need to wear basis’ – if it needs ironing she doesn’t need to wear it.

  33. Spent a bit of time on this one.
    Did get my head in Rufus mode but the NE corner was hard to get into.
    Last one in was 23a though. That plural was driving me mad.
    Wasn’t keen on 7d and 13d.
    When I checked the BRB for the pink in 16a, I saw there was a Rose of Sharon. How lovely.
    Thanks to MP for the review, Rufus for the crossword and all the contributors for a witty blog.

  34. I normally whizz through a Rufus, but not tonight. It was all a bit of a struggle with few moments of light relief. I have grumbles about many of the clues, for once, especially the 6a/6d combo. If there has to be a winner in this two-horse race, 13a pips 9a at the post. VMTs to MP (&SS for letting him) for taking the time and trouble while in god’s own country. 3*/1*

  35. I am sceptical about 13d being a good cryptic clue/answer. Even now I know it l don’t like it. Also didn’t like 23a clue – too boring a clue – not cryptic enough. But thanks for hints. Now I’ve discovered this site, I’ll be back.

  36. Congrats to anyone who could untangle this lot. I needed several hints and sort of retired hurt eventually as I was unable to get to it yesterday and fancied a punt at Tuesday’s offering.
    I am normally OK with the Monday puzzle, so not sure what happened here.
    Thanks to MP for untangling, I hope the holiday is going OK, and to Rufus.

  37. Did this late last night and forgot to comment.

    I seem to be in a minority as I found this Rufus offering not too difficult and quite enjoyable.

    2*/3* from me with belated thanks all round.

  38. Didn’t get to look at this one till this morning, and then only filled in 3.5 answers on read through. I’ll give it another go soon, and no doubt be needing loads of hints on the way, judging by the majority of comments. Many thanks in advance to MP and setter.

  39. I can’t believe this was a Rufus. I just could not do it. I got about a quarter in yesterday and then woke up to it this morning. Usually my subconscious brain has worked overnight and the rest fly in. On this occasion I managed one. Not yet had time to have another go (and perhaps attack the hints). Usually I am pretty good at the all in ones but clearly failed this time.

  40. MP. Just a belated technical enquiry: shouldn’t 25a be annotated thus – For one to laze is unusual. With the definition meaning “a pro individual” and the rest being wordplay to give the anagram? That’s how I read it, anyway.

    1. Please refer technical enquiries to the technical. Poorly schooled orphan boys will struggle with those. I think I read it as an all in one anagram.

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