DT 28249 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28249

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28249

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa. 
We have an overcast Wednesday here with a light drizzly rain to make everything damp and soggy. Just the weather to be sitting inside working on cryptic crosswords.
Jay continues the pattern for this week with a relatively gentle but still good fun offering.
Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Popular flower used as avatar, perhaps (11)
INCARNATION : A two letter word for popular and a flower often known as a pink.

9a     Fail to pay for fallback position (7)
DEFAULT : A double definition.

10a     Plod‘s correct about Director-General! (6)
TRUDGE : The letters denoting a Director-General are inside a word for correct or real.

12a     Personal promotion of European tour about to advance (3,4)
EGO TRIP : The abbreviation for European and a word for a tour or journey surround a small word for advance or move forward.

13a     Fighting fund, etc, now no longer in use (7)
DEFUNCT : An anagram (fighting) of FUND ETC.

14a     Criminalised, and collecting litter (5)
SEDAN : A lurker hiding in the first two words of the clue.

15a     Protest at fitted carpet being dumped in river (9)
DEPRECATE : A river (take your pick whether it is the one in Wales or in Scotland) surrounds an anagram (fitted) of CARPET.

17a     Quickly prepares to take stock and drink (7,2)
RUSTLES UP : A word to steal livestock and a verb meaning to drink.

20a     Language of trade union after veto (5)
BANTU : The abbreviation for trade union comes after a word for a veto or prohibition.

22a     Runs out due to error in case of employees (7)
ELAPSES : The first and last letters of employees surround a word for an error or slip.

24a     Dry spell giving daughter difficult time (7)
DROUGHT : The abbreviation for daughter then a word meaning difficult and the abbreviation for time.

25a     Border — a record spinner no one backed (6)
Amended online clue –   Border – a record spinner, with number turning to trap one
ADJOIN : Border here is a verb. ‘A’ from the clue, and a record spinner who might be at a disco, then the Roman numeral One is inside the reversal of ‘no’ from the clue. (We can’t see exactly how this works with the clue written in this way. Perhaps we have missed something.)

26a With penetrating look, hence changing formation (7)
ECHELON : A two letter word for look is inside (penetrating) an anagram (changing) of HENCE.

27a     Half-heartedly passed a Merc stupidly conserving energy — one could be caught by it? (5,6)
SPEED CAMERA : To get the fodder for this anagram remove one of the S’s from the heart of ‘passed’ and add the abbreviation for energy. We then have an anagram (stupidly) of PASsED A MERC E.


2d     Temperature found in nerve cell particle (7)
NEUTRON : The medical word for a nerve cell contains the abbreviation for temperature.

3d    Worker poised to move down under (9)
ANTIPODES : A worker insect and an anagram (to move) of POISED.

4d     Took account of empty theatre in sign of agreement (5)
NOTED : How one moves one’s head to show agreement surrounds the first and last letters of theatre.

5d     Fretful about such a thing being sought by pigs (7)
TRUFFLE : An anagram (about) of FRETFUL.

6d     Soldiers new in Palestinian area must get material (7)
ORGANZA : Lowly ranked soldiers, then the abbreviation for new is inside a ‘strip’ area of Palestine.

7d     Sign supporting mostly inauspicious opponents (11)
ADVERSARIES : The zodiac sign represented by a ram follows a word meaning inauspicious without its last letter.

8d     Manage to pay for a car touring France (6)
AFFORD : The IVR code for France is inside ‘A’ from the clue and a popular make of car.

11d     Agent at unit being treated is getting weaker (11)
ATTENUATING : An anagram (being treated) of AGENT AT UNIT.

16d     A smoker’s fancy castle in Spain? (4,5)
PIPE DREAM : Double definition. Castle in Spain is a figurative way of describing this.

18d     Miss a date with joker (5-2)
STAND-UP : This joker is a type of comedian who you would not expect to be in a chair.
19d     A few, after fifty, will accept one’s able to move gracefully (7)
LISSOME : The Roman numeral Fifty, then how you would write “one’s” using the Roman numeral one, and a word for a few or several.

20d     Ally‘s trouble about end of war (7)
BROTHER : The last letter of war is inside a word for a trouble or nuisance.

21d     Flipping short leg’s silly complaint (6)
NIGGLE : A common type of alcoholic drink that could be called a short is reversed and then an anagram (silly) of LEG.

23d     Young man in charge creates kind of boom (5)
SONIC : A male offspring and then the abbreviation for in charge.

Very obvious what we would pick for favourite this week – 3d of course.

Quickie pun    myrrh    +    keep up    =   mucky pup

64 comments on “DT 28249

  1. A pleasant and fairly straightforward puzzle, although not sure about the parsing of the end of 25a.

    Thanks to Jay, and to 2Kiwis

    1. Jezza – I agree with your comment on 25a, and so do the 2Ks. It will be interesting to see/hear if there are any late breaking editorial amendments.

  2. Greetings from Perth, WA, the second stop on our long holiday. Motorhome tomorrow then we head north for a few days.

    We found today’s puzzle quite simple, on a par with yesterday’s yet enjoyable in the round. Overall rating 1*/3*.

    We thought the same about 25a – as clued the answer should be ***ION, but the required answer is clear.

    Favourite clue 26a, with the very coincidental (we only arrived from Singapore 18 hours ago) 3d close behind.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay and any other letters of the alphabet involved in this puzzle.

  3. For me, a very gentle and enjoyable offering from Jay – */*** – completed comfortably before lights out last night.

    Favourite 1a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for helping me to understand the parsing of a couple of clues and a very appropriate illustration for 3d!

  4. Pleasant and gentle solve

    since “no one backed” is often used to clue the ends of words ending in ION, perhaps we have a wee bit of dyslexia in 25a

    Many thanks Jay and 2Kiwis

    1. You’re probably right, Dutch, but isn’t there a proof-reader/editor involved as well as a compiler? It must need all of them to be asleep at the switch for this to sneak through.

  5. For my part this required a little more application than for the two previous days but it was the greatest fun. All good clues so no particular Fav although I could pick 17a. My thought on 25a is in line with several who have commented above. ***/****. TVM Jay and the 2Ks whose comments I will now read and doubtless enjoy as always.

  6. 25a has now been changed online to:
    25 Border — a record spinner, with number turning to trap one (6)

    1. Can’t seem to get mine to change once loaded .
      Had same last time the clue was changed a week or so ago.
      Perhaps it is because I use the App?

  7. Morning all – and my apologies for the error in 25a. New clue online will reflect the change needed

    Border – a record spinner, with number turning to trap one

  8. So far this week has for me felt a lot easier than usual. Last one in was 25a, other than that no real problems. 1.5*/2* Many thanks to Jay and to 2Kiwis.

  9. I very much enjoyed this one – particularly liked the anagram indicator in 15a and was slow to find the hidden in 14a. 25a was my last one in for reasons already stated by others – nice of Mr. Mutch to drop in and apologise for the error.
    From amongst the goodies, I’d select 1&17a along with 3d for the podium.

    Thanks to Jay and also to 2Ks – no surprise at all in your choice for favourite!

    Many happy returns to Kitty – off to tackle the Toughie now so see you later on the ‘other’ side.

  10. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. Great to see Jay popping in to remedy 25a. Favourite was 1a. Was 1*/3* for me. I must’ve been on the right wavelength for a change.

  11. Since last Saturday’s Prize Crossword I think that we have had a pretty gentle run with clues not being too difficult. I was tripped up today and had to revert to the blog for two answers. 1A I could not make any sense of and did not know where to begin and I fell foul of 25A as did many of us. All the same an enjoyable romp. 1.5 for difficulty and 3.5 for enjoyment. My thanks to the 2Ks for providing the aid required.

  12. A Jay puzzle is always a pleasure. My favorites today are 12A, 17A, 2D and 21D. Thansto himself and the 2Ks.

  13. Another Wednesday, another quality offering from Jay. 25 across aside, this was a straightforward but rewarding puzzle to solve. Several good clues, my personal favourite being 17 across. Many thanks to Jay and the 2 Ks for their review. 1.5*/3*.

  14. Maybe ** or *** for difficulty, though I was struggling with my laptop at the time so I claim a handicap. 25ac had been corrected by the time I got to it, so I can’t use that as an excuse, though it was still my LOI.

  15. Thought this was going to be a tricky one after staring at it for 5 minutes without a single answer! However when I did manage to start it was very logical and all fell into place nicely except the ref to Spain in 16d which puzzled me as I though the phrase was a castle in the air. Not familiar with a castle in Spain.
    My fav was 27a, complicated but logical.
    For me 2.5*/***
    Thx to all.

    1. B. 16d: Yes, a new one on me too – never heard that saying before. After research, the full saying is “build castles in Spain”. Interesting…

  16. A good fun crossword.
    I confess to missing the 25a problem – the answer was clear and I didn’t look any further.
    My last answer was 11d – could see the definition and the letters that went into it – just couldn’t get it for ages.
    I had a couple of minutes of ‘cricket panic’ with 21d – any clue with a leg in it has to be cricket to me these days – wrong.
    I liked 26a and 16 and 21d, eventually. My favourite was 17a.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.
    Happy Birthday Kitty. :rose: I hope you’re doing something nice to celebrate – oh yes, of course, the Toughie hints.

  17. Had a struggle with 7 down, will now be more aware of star signs in crosswords! I was delighted that I had been puzzled as to how I had reached the answer to 25 across, so many thanks for the apology.

  18. Trend of enjoyable if fairly gentle solves continues. Nemesis will surely arrive for me, hopefully not with too much of a vengeance.
    Hadn’t heard of the expression Castles in Spain but answer obvious.
    Post #7 appreciated although I got there without the amendment. It shows the views on the site are respected and 4d by the setters, in addition to being educational and entertaining for the likes of me.
    Thanks to Mr Mutch, 2Ks for review and BD the site & its management.

  19. Very straightforward but enjoyable. Aren’t pinks a different species from carnations? I think they are known for their scent. Thank you setter and 2 Ks.

    1. Pinks, carnations and sweet williams are all kinds of dianthus and they all smell nice (but not as nice as sweet peas – my favourites).

  20. Thanks to Jay for an entertaining puzzle. So many good clues it’s difficult to highlight one, but 17a just takes the prize.

  21. A gentle stroll today for sure. 25a apart where I started to put ION in and then took it out again when I reread the clue. But the answer was obvious so I went with it.
    Favourite? 17a at a push, and overall 1/3*.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the Antipodeans for their review.

  22. Agree with the 2 Kiwis on a **/*** and Kath had it about right that it was a fun crossword, nothing very difficult this week so far- could be tomorrow !.
    The solution to 3d reminded me of the time I was at a dinner party and the lady on my left enquired ‘are marsupials indigenous to the antipodes ?- in the words of the immortal Bet -I was gobsmacked !.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2 k’s, liked 1a, thought of the blue people.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, although I did need help parsing 21d. I second the comments re 25a. Thanks to all.

  24. Late to this today and found it more of a test than the last two days which were both R&W (now I know what that means!). Needed the hint for 1a – I’d guessed very early that popular would give the start but couldn’t think of the flower for love nor money. And 6d was a new word for me so, again, needed the hint. Thanks 2K for the help.

    Inconsequential observation – lots of occurrences of the letter ‘p’ today!

  25. Good afternoon everybody.

    Mostly straightforward puzzle today. Liked 1a. 6d was new to me but clear enough from the clue. 14a remains a mystery. Favourite must go to 20a which delayed completion for quite a while.


  26. An enjoyable solve at the more benign end of the Jay spectrum. My favourite clue was top of the shop, 1a.

    Irrespective of the confusion about 25a, I’m still trying to get my head round the surface reading. Is it meant to refer to Allan Border, the cricketer? If so, he was no “record spinner”, even if he did take over thirty Test wickets during his career.

    The anagram count for the week has now risen to 28, a pretty good chance that we’ll hit 40 plus by Friday methinks. Interesting that today’s puzzle had only one anagram fewer than yesterday’s, but unlike poor Mr. Ron, Jay seems immune from the same criticism I see!

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and the 2Ks, and many happy returns to Kitty.

    1. Hi Silvanus
      I’m never sure – when comments indicate confusion as per yours re 25a – whether I’m in danger of appearing patronising if I explain. Though the 2K’s did a great job. The “record spinner” is the one you’d find in a night club and “border” is a verb here meaning to be next to or joined with. Apologies if all was now clear and you needed no further enlightenment

      1. Of course I get that Mark, no need to explain! The point I was trying to make was that the setter presumably was trying to weave a cricket allusion into the surface reading, otherwise the juxtaposition of “border”, “spinner” and “trap” together in a sentence would make little or no sense in any other context I would suggest.

        1. M+S. 25a: I reckon the cricket theme is purely coincidental or assumed by the solver and if it isn’t, it’s pretty clever surface misdirection (as S suggests).

    2. I have given up commenting about anagrams. It is as much a waste of time as they are when they fill a puzzle.

  27. I drew a blank at first read, then I rebooted my brain and found it just perfect.
    Had no problem with 25a as it had already been corrected by the time I printed it.
    I’m really having a hard time choosing a fave, all so good. I did need the hints to know the “why” of 21d.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2Kiwis for the hints.

    A very Happy Birthday, Kitty, I hope you have some celebrations planned tonight. Loved the pic for 13a in the toughie, I don’t know who was more mesmerized, me or the cat!

  28. Very nice, as I have come to expect on a Wednesday. It’s a shame about 25a but mistaeks are easy to make.

    5d is my favourite today because it conjured up to my mind a different kind of piggy scoffing a different kind of treat.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay.

  29. Jane’s perfect comment no. 9 above sums up precisely what I wanted to say, so she has very kindly saved me the trouble!

    However I will just repeat many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks, and a VERY Happy Birthday to young Kitty :rose:

  30. I agree with Jane and Rabbit Dave about 15a having a very smooth surface. A lovely puzzle.
    Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay.

  31. Three in a row 😜 If only the Canaries could have had a hat trick last evening 😰 **/*** Bring on Thursday! Thanks to Jay and 2x Ks ( I liked the illustration for 3D) plenty of good clues to choose from 🤔 Photo finish between 17a & 6d 😀

  32. Good morning all. A busy day coming up for us as we are attending a grandparents’ day at granddaughter Beatrice’s school in Wellington. That means a couple of hours travel each way by car and train so an early departure. We have been given strict instructions that we have to dress properly and behave ourselves appropriately for the occasion. We hope we can manage that.

    1. I hope you enjoy Grandparents Day. My children banned me from parents evenings and I cannot see them changing that for any grand parental events. Thanks for today’s blog. Always a pleasure to read.

      1. Thanks MP and Graham. Even the weather looks like it is going to behave itself so we will too. Must go and get ready now.

  33. Could also copy and paste Jane’s comment and add that this crossword took longer than the toughie.
    Didn’t know there was anything North of Perth.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.
    Very interesting sculpture for 19d. More information always welcomed.

      1. And to think I have been to Australia.
        Always get confused. If you give me a blank map, I would always put Perth where Darwin is.

    1. I’d like to know more about that sculpture as well – really caught my eye. I wonder whether 2Ks can tell us any more about it?

      1. All we did was put lissome into Google images and that was one of the options that came up. We also rather liked it so just bunged it in. That is as much as we know. Sorry.

  34. Well that was a nice one from Jay today, especially as I was expecting it to be hard after a few gentle days. Only needed to click here twice, thanks 2 KiWis. Did this while waiting at car dealership for service. In and out in promised 1 hour, another pleasant surprise.

  35. As already discussed, 25a makes no sense and I don’t think Deprecate (15a) means Protest at. Bit disappointing.

  36. 1*/3*, and I was tickled by 17a and 6d. Tickled by 3d too, when I saw who was doing the review! Thanks to Jay, and the 2 Kiwis.

  37. Many thanks for the birthday messages Kath, Silvanus, Merusa, LabradorsruleOK, Una and Rabbit Dave – each brought a smile to my face. I’ve had a nice low-key day, much needed after my recent excursions and exertions. :yes:

  38. Better late than never – just finished this enjoyable puzzle and we give it a **/***. Belated happy birthday to Kitty, glad to hear it was a good one. Thanks to Jay and the 2KS.

  39. Another Jay gem, with 18d in the winner’s enclosure. Had no trouble with 25a as the answer was obvious so I just bunged it in (wasn’t he in Carry on up the Khyber?). Many thanks to Mr Mutch for the amusement and the Ks for their efforts. Must to bed now as I too will be in 3d in the morning – without leaving my desk. 2*/3*
    PS Many happy if belated returns to Kitty. I hope you are still having them

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