DT 28238 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28238

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28238

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where we seem to be having a short return of summer, forecast of 28C this afternoon.  It was a bit chilly this morning when I started on the puzzle though.
I’ve an idea who might have set this one but I’m keeping quiet as I’m usually wrong about setters. Whoever it was has given us an enjoyable puzzle which I don’t thing will frighten too many horses, although I was very close to three star time. 

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.


1a           Military resources quite heated before a check in East (3,7)
WAR MACHINE:  Start with a word describing something which has been quite heated (but isn’t very hot) and follow with A (from the clue), the abbreviation of check, IN (from the clue) and finally E(ast) and then split all that (3,7).

6a           Horrible little container for water in sound (4)
VILE:  This word sounds like (in sound) a small glass bottle, often with a lid that can be pierced by a hypodermic needle.

9a           Figure getting order from archaeologist on site? (5)
DIGIT:  If the answer is split (3,2) it is indeed what an archaeologist might tell you to do to the site.

10a         Fruit cultivated in a tree, no good inside (9)
TANGERINE:  Anagram (cultivated) of IN A TREE with NG (No Good) inserted (inside).

12a         Drink in county house consumed by everyone (7)
ALCOHOL:  Abbreviations of county and house inserted into (consumed by) a word for everyone.

13a         Mayhem mostly engulfing retreat in battle site (5)
SOMME:  The answer is hidden in (engulfing) MAYHEM MOSTLY but it’s reversed (retreat).  I’ve been to the place in the picture and it’s really quite poignant. There’s over 72,000 names engraved on the walls and they’re those of soldiers who died on the Somme battlefields and have no known grave.

15a         Decorative work of note, first time out (7)
CROCHET:  A musical note with the first T removed.

17a         What you do with books of tradable status? (7)
SOLVENT:  What you and I do to crosswords followed by the abbreviation of a part of the bible (books).

19a         Library perhaps to be renovated any time (7)
AMENITY:  Your local library is an example of one of these and it’s an anagram (to be renovated) of ANY TIME.

21a         Track  what a computer user may require (7)
MONITOR:  Double definition. The second is a bit of computer hardware.

22a         Staff will support this  country, say (5)
MUSIC:  Another double definition.  The staff is what this stuff is written on and country is a genre of it.

24a         One bag I sent for recycling plant (7)
BEGONIA: Anagram (for recycling) of ONE BAG I.

27a         Spell inside suit in cycling event (4,5)
TIME TRIAL:  Take a word for a spell inside prison followed by a lawsuit and split the result (4,5) and you’ll get the type of cycle racing in which Sir Bradley Wiggins was world champion in 2014.

28a         US sect going wrong under the influence of drink? (5)
AMISH:  You need a word for wrong and change the ending to SH so it sounds like how you might pronounce it if you had consumed a large amount of 12a.

29a         Charge  that’s put on commercial vehicle (4)
LOAD:  Double definition.  Charge as in charge a firearm and what lorries and vans carry around.

30a         Thief’s sins might be represented as trickery (10)
SHIFTINESS:  Anagram (might be represented as) of THIEFS SINS.


1d           Western fish is extra (4)
WIDE:  W(estern) followed by a popular crosswordland fish gives an extra in cricket.

2d           Doctor and scholar with part in boring series (9)
RIGMAROLE:  A charade of a word meaning to doctor or falsify followed by a Master of Arts and then a part in a play.

3d           Prank opposing foremost sign of corruption (5)
ANTIC:  A word for  opposing followed by the first letter (foremost sign) of Corruption.

4d           Axe Argentine guerrilla over time lying under sombrero maybe (7)
HATCHET:  Start with what a sombrero is an example of and after it (lying under in a down clue) you need our favourite guerrilla (who happens to have been Argentinean) and a T(ime).

5d           Surprise soon evident, missing a bonus (7)
NONPLUS:  A word for soon without the A (missing a) followed by a bonus or a gain.

7d           Prestigious award? I had one first, in a manner of speaking (5)
IDIOM:  Start with the abbreviation of an order conferred on civilians and servicemen for eminence in any field and before it (first) put a short way of writing I HAD and an I (one).

8d           It features in table before a year is up — like some schools? (10)
ELEMENTARY:  Something which features in the periodic table is followed by A (from the clue) and the abbreviation of year reversed (is up) gives you a type of school for young kids.

11d         Rambling spiel working in foreign letter (7)
EPSILON:  The fifth letter of the Greek alphabet is an anagram (rambling) of SPIEL followed by a word for working.

14d         Fight with others about motorway — it’s unwanted by industry? (5,5)
SCRAP METAL: A fight (5) followed by a Latin tag meaning with others (2,2) with M(otorway) inserted (about).

16d         Musical curtailed style for shock (7)
HAIRCUT:  A famous musical followed by a word meaning curtailed gives a style for the shock that grows on your head.  Well, not so much on mine nowadays.

18d         Hand over abroad text I read needing revision (9)
EXTRADITE:  Anagram (needing revision) of TEXT I READ.

20d         Hobby is strangely characteristic of a lout (7)
YOBBISH:  Anagram (strangely) of HOBBY IS.

21d         Magazine article almost jammed up holiday resort (7)
MAGALUF:  Abbreviation of magazine followed by an indefinite article and then a reversal (up in a down clue) of a word meaning jammed or packed without it’s last letter (almost).  I wonder if this and 20d are next to eachother on purpose?

23d         Savoury snack son’s avoided in island territory (5)
SAMOA:  Take the S out of (S(ons) avoided) an Indian savoury snack to get an Island country located in the Pacific Ocean.

25d         North American fellow gets into first-rate mess (5)
NAAFI:   Start with the abbreviation of north American and after it insert (gets into) an F(ellow) into two letters representing first-rate.

26d         Enthusiast boxes in this way (4)
THUS:  The answer is hidden in (boxes) the first word of the clue.

A pleasant enough puzzle with some good clues but my favourite is 26d for its simplicity.  

Quick crossword pun :   COME  +  PEWTER  =  COMPUTER


83 comments on “DT 28238

  1. I enjoyed this crossword. Lots of clues to admire, like 13a as one example. I’m going for Shamus as setter, but I’m not putting money on it.. Thanks to all concerned

  2. Thought that that some of the parsing was difficult today, and looking forward to the Blog comments as it was a bit of a ‘ mish mash’ Agree with Pommers on the difficulty-between ** and ***( *** for the SW corner ) ) and **** for the diversity of clues giving good entertainment all round . Liked the surface in 22a, and a bit of ‘setters licence in 28a-what will Brian think !

  3. Favourite is 22a for the penny drop moment, which needed the checkers, so this was one of the last ones in.

    Many thanks pommers for the parsing of 29a where I was trying to use AD for the commercial, and for ”spell inside” (27a) where I was trying to use ‘inside’ for insertion (it’s already split 4,5 isn’t it?)

    6a, does it have to be water? 14d maybe some industry might want it?

    Many thanks setter

    1. Same here with the AD. Convinced it was the commercial but couldn’t see any way of getting the LO bit, then suddenly the penny dropped with a clang you probably heard in the UK.

    2. Yes, I think you’re right about 6d. Most of them contain medicinal liquids or perfume, etc. I suspect that water would be quite rare – perhaps “liquid” should have been used in the clue?

  4. 3*/4*. This was very enjoyable. Three quarters went in fairly quickly on track for 2* time then I came to a juddering halt in the SW corner which pushed my overall time up to 3*.

    22a was my last one and favourite. Although I could see immediately what the answer must be from the checking letters, it took an age for the penny to drop regarding “country”.

    Many thanks to Shamus (?) and to pommers.

  5. I just thought load was the cryptic definition for what goes on the back of a wagon-didn’t see the double definition !

  6. Had to put in quite a bit of effort with this one so I’d opt for Shamus as the setter.
    Missed the cricket thingy in 1d but managed to justify it anyway!
    27a fooled me for a while – tried to put a ‘spell’ inside a ‘suit’. Quite a good moment when the penny dropped.

    I liked 9&22a plus 26d – top spot goes to 28a.
    Many thanks to Shamus (?) and to Pommers for a great review.

  7. Nice clues (except for 28a – needed the hint to parse) and continues the week’s run of enjoyable puzzles for me.
    Needed BRB for 2d as have never connected with boring.
    Although less satisfactory, could 29a not be lead?
    Like others 22a caused head scratch ’til the penny dropped.Was COTD for me.
    Thanks to setter & pommers for the explanations especially those that eluded me.

  8. I found this very difficult and still struggling to understand some of the answers. I thought 26a was an awful answer, dont understand 22a or 29a. 6a would be unlikely to contain water. Really not my cup of tea. Many thanks to Pommers for his much needed help. 3.5*/1*

  9. 3*/4* from me for this testing puzzle from our mystery setter. 22 across my favourite by a country mile, especially as we are going to Symphony Hall in Birmingham tonight for a concert (definitely not country and western).

    Many thanks to the compiler and Pommers for his review.

  10. Rashly bungling in ‘epistle’ at 11d put me into a world of trouble that I never got out of…….
    As a result, most of the answers in the NE remained blank

    Oh dear…..

    1. Me too with epistle but it didn’t square with the clue so out it went. Couldn’t spell 25d either

  11. **/*** for difficulty but **** for enjoyment. Lots to like here 1,9,15,22a and 2&16d. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and pointing out the lurker in 26d which I didn’t see but the bung in was right.

  12. Miffypops, the clue to 25d is not strictly accurate. The solution, NAAFI is the acronym for Navy Army and Air Force Institutes and while NAAFI does, amongst other things, provide civilian-run canteens on service bases, such a canteen is not by any stretch of the imagination a mess. Even less is the organisation that is identified by the clue.

    A wonderful blog.

        1. Count me in with the double-F crowd. Thank goodness for 28a!
          Any more news on Matthew, Merusa?

  13. Very enjoyable solve and for me the best back pager this week. I flirted with epistle but in the end stuck to my own rule – “if in doubt put nowt”. Thanks setter and Pommers.

  14. Well, a delightful puzzle. I marked three as particularly clever, 17,28 a and 8 d. Nice lurker at 13 a, or “revurker” as I’ll now call these.

    Thanks to setter and to Pommers.


  15. I’m in the Shamus camp for two reasons – I really enjoyed it and I found it very difficult – got all the way down to 24a before I had a single answer.
    I’m ashamed to say that I never did get 28a or 26d.
    22a had to be what it was but it took me for ever to see why.
    I liked 1 and 9a and 20d.
    With thanks to whoever set this one – really think it’s Shamus – and to pommers.

    1. I am impressed you got as far as 24a before working out your first clue. I had to go down to the anagram at 30a.

        1. Pommers, 9a was one of my favourites in the end along with 22a. I made a comment further down, but it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps I forgot to post it, so I’d just like to give my thanks again to you for the review, and to the setter for giving me such a difficult challenge. Lots of bung-ins.

        2. 9a was my first in also, but sadly not many others followed. Thanks to your lovely hints it was a pleasant solve, and cannot understand why I struggled so much. 14d was my favorite. Thanks again for the hints.

          1. I must be in a different mindset, 1a was my first in but then everything ground to a halt with the down clues.

            1. and me!! 1a jumped straight out at me. Isn’t it funny how we see things so differently.

  16. Bit of a mixed bag with 6a and 28a not really doing it for me. 1a and 22a were clever. No real enjoyment in solving this one, my least favourite this week.

  17. I found the lower half pretty hard and never did get 22a or 25d.
    Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  18. 22a threw me completely. I knew music was written on staves but never knew a singular was a staff.

  19. Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky. Needed the hints for 6,17,29a, and to parse 22a. I can never seem to do double definitions. Had penny drop moments with 1a & 14d. Spent many a good holiday in 21d in the seventies. Favourite was 27a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  20. Decidedly tricky for me, and I never did get 21d, a bit silly of me as it was quite fairly clued, but, Miss Know-it-All, I didn’t google it as I thought it was impossible.
    I remembered the fish in 1d so in it went, missed the crickety bit.
    I loved 24a and 28a, the latter winning out I think.
    Thanks to setter, and to pommers for his hints.

    We have about another two hours before this thing hits us, but, thank goodness, we are not going to get the extreme weather as Palm Beach and points north. We’ll get enough to wipe out the power, I believe, so I might be out for a couple of days. I am so thankful for the dogs (Sadie has a houseguest) and cats, I really wouldn’t like to go through this alone. I can now hear thunder and it’s getting very overcast. Spent this morning trying to fine a radio that works! Most of them had corroded batteries in them they hadn’t been used for so long.

    1. Good luck for the next 24 hours. This Matthew sounds a right nasty piece of work and apparently strengthening :phew:

    2. Can’t believe how awful it must be for you. Every day now watching the track with you & BusyLizzie in mind. I’m sure Sadie will sense you need her. Stay safe.

      1. Thanks for both your good wishes. I had hoped that I had seen my last hurricane, but no, apparently Big Massa sends them to torment a body no matter how old or infirm you get! This is the price we pay for not having to endure cold and snow! I hope Busylizzie is doing well, she is north of me and will possibly be in more powerful winds. I wish she would drop in.

          1. No, I’m quite far south, just north of Miami Airport. Jupiter and Merritt Island are both going to be hit very badly with category 4 hurricane, winds from 150 mph. If they’re near the coast, they are under mandatory evacuation with storm surge up to 9 feet. I hope they’re going to be all right. It’s forecast to go up the east coast and then make a U-turn and come right back to bite us again! They’re not sure whether central or south Florida.

        1. Hi Merusa. Nothing much to speak of here yet, just exhausted after 3 days of hauling everything inside. Cat is confused in a dark house with windows he cannot look out of. As long as power stays on, fingers crossed, and for you too. Found this crossword tough today but going to look at Pommers hints now.

          1. Yes, we are pretty calm here but they are telling us that we should start getting the winds shortly, and you are more to the north, so you are probably about an hour behind us. I still have power but if we get the promised high winds, I don’t think that will last. Sadie went wild last night, don’t know why, maybe all the activity here. Alas, she chose 0200h and went on till 0400h, leaping off the bed, running outside, barking, then coming in again and repeating it all over again. She is always so good, but all the strange activity.

      2. Thanks for thinking of us. We are 12 miles from the coast so will be spared the worst of it. We are all shuttered up and outside items all in the garage. Cat is totally confused.

  21. Not sure what to make of this, but let’s say 2*/2* for starters.

    Boring in 2d felt misleading but, on consulting the BRB, there it was. Just never used the word in that sense. Thought 29a was a little weak. Like other contributors, we wonder about the specific use of water in 6a.

    Favourites were 17a and 28a.

    Thanks to Pommers and Mr Ron.

  22. quite unlike the usual Telegraph cryptic but some good clues e.g. 29a, 17a
    rigmarole is an elaborate or complicated procedure – why boring?

  23. I really enjoyed this one as well, it had a certain refreshing feel to it somehow. Interesting to see that it has divided opinion though.

    I ticked four clues especially, namely 15a, 28a, 5d and 25d.

    Many thanks to the compiler and to Pommers.

  24. This one took us more than average time for a backpager and was a real pleasure to solve. Our guess at the setter is also Shamus so expect he will pop in with a confirmation soon. 21d was a place we had never heard of and needed a Google check and we had the double A or double F discussion with 25d.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    1. That sounds like too good an invitation to turn down! Anyway, many thanks as usual to Pommers for his colourful blog and everyone for their comments.

  25. Have been thinking all day about what to say about this crossword but my mind is totally blank.
    Well not blank really but after finishing both DT crosswords, I had a go at Screw in the Guardian and the enjoyment factor was so high that it completely overshadowed the previous two.
    I should try to avoid temptation as I have been faithful to the Telegraph for the last 30 years or so.
    Blame it on modern technology and instant access.
    Thanks to the setters and to BD’s bloggers for their sterling work.

    1. Please, JL – don’t even think about defection, the blog wouldn’t be the same without our favourite Frenchman.

  26. I really struggled with this. It simply didn’t ring any bells. I sought help from all over. Relieved there were fellow bloggers who did not find it plain-sailing either. Like Bluebird and others epistle was first thought for 11d. I agree 6a homophone is rarely a container for water. *****/***. Thank you Shamus and Pommers.

    1. I agree with you. Some of the connections were tenuous I thought. For the first time in months I had to resort to the blog to a) find 3 answers, and b) confirm that some of my answers were correct.

      To top it all, it’s graded at 2*. I blame it on the solvent that the workman’s using on the kitchen.

  27. I really enjoyed today’s challenge, although it took me quite a while before I completed it. 16d was my favourite but there were others that certainly had the little grey cells scrambling for an answer! 3/3* overall. I must say it was a pleasure to do just simply because it wasn’t so straightforward or easy as has been the case more often than usual recently.
    Thanks to Shamus, and to pommers for his review.

  28. Struggled with this today, a let down after yesterday. Fell into the NAAFI trap, using FF, oops. Will need to use Pommers hints to finish, thank you. 24a was easy for me as stuck a small cutting of one in the garden and it is now 6ft wide and 4ft high, covered in white flowers. One of the plusses of living in the sub tropics.

  29. Just edged into ** for difficulty for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Never really got stuck, just steady progress throughout.

  30. This one was way way above my pay grade.
    Only managed 10 answers off my own bat.
    And I thought I was getting better …..

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    1. Don’t give up, Ora. I’m still learning after 30 odd years ! And I bet that goes for most on here……

    2. Ora, stay with it, last Monday I could only get 10 answers, yet managed this one ok. It goes like that, Friday you will whizz though it and complain it was too easy!

  31. I really enjoyed this and managed to get it done over a much shorter breakfast than usual. It was one of those puzzles which felt like it was harder than the solving time would suggest, and those are good (or should that be bad?) for the ego. I didn’t even have any trouble with the F in 25d.

    In 15a the setter takes the trouble of indicating which T is removed, but not so with the S taken from 23d. It’s of no consequence but I noticed it so thought I would mention it.

    My favourites are 9a, 28a and the musical clues. Speaking of music, I still have Tuesday’s music reverberating around my head. Time to put some new stuff in there, I think.

    Thanks muchly to Shamus and pommers.

    After a couple of days with limited crossword time I now have some Toughies to catch up on, but think I might leave those until tomorrow or Saturday.

    I’m keeping all my fingers crossed for Merusa and BL and other good people in the path of storms. Stay safe and warm.

  32. First time for several weeks I failed to complete so thanks to Pommers for filling in the gaps, thanks also to Shamus for spoiling my unbroken sequence of completed crosswords. :phew:

    1. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the hurricane, sitting here quietly in Suffolk it is impossible to envisage the turmoil that you are experiencing.

  33. Tilsit and the Cruciverbalists just got through to the next round in Hive Minds – well done, guys!

  34. A good puzzle. Most of it was pretty gentle, but I found the SW corner quite a bit stiffer. On balance, 2*/4*. 22a was my last in – positively fiendish. Thanks to Shamus, and Pommers.

  35. Late in the day, but a good excuse, I managed to get a job!! Woo-hoo!! Would love some of the hard stuff to celebrate, but I’m on a diet????
    Was it me or were there some weird clues in this?????
    Thanks to Shamus and Pommers.

    1. Really good news. What with the PIP & this it must be your week. Celebratory meal called for I think; the diet can just be extended. Enjoy what you have sometimes is my motto.

      1. Thanks, yes, my week, I won the premium bonds too…with trembling fingers I looked in my account….Million pounds, million pounds….£25!!
        Oh well, pay for the end-of-diet curry

        1. I was going to say I wonder what the third thing will be.
          Could get some Pro V1s with the £25, easy come easy go

          1. ProVI’s are certainly easy come easy go, normally into the woods!!
            Great golf ball though

  36. This one was excellent – about the same difficulty and enjoyment as yesterday’s. 2.5*/3.5*

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