DT 28250 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28250

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28250

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been experiencing a spell of unusually warm autumn weather which is apparently near an end.

I can say with confidence that today’s puzzle is not a RayT creation but beyond that I can offer little insight as to the setter. It did seem to take me quite a while to get onto the setter’s wavelength. Progress was initially painfully slow but picked up as the grid began to fill in.

The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers can be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons (so please don’t click if you don’t want to see the answer).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Prim celebrity cautious after losing a right (7)
STARCHY — another term for celebrity and a synonym for cautious or wary with the A and R(right) removed

5a   Clubby sort at home with alcoholic drink, outspoken (7)
INSIDER — the usual suspect for at home followed by what sounds like an apple tipple

9a   Pass safely through gate I note that’s rickety (9)
NEGOTIATE — anagram (that’s rickety) of the preceding three words

10a   Trouble around park oddly in showery period? (5)
APRIL — a verb used in an old fashion sense meaning to cause pain or trouble to someone is wrapped around the odd letters of PaRk

11a   Old, old soldier protecting King? That’s obvious (5)
OVERT — O(ld) followed by an old soldier into which is inserted an abbreviated Latin king

12a   Advice about United enlivened short instructor’s role? (9)
TUTORSHIP — a piece of advice (perhaps concerning which horse to back) envelops U(nited) and an anagram (enlivened) of SHORT

13a   Charm of sea in fact being at sea! (9)
FASCINATE — anagram (being at sea) of the three preceding words


16a   Enthusiasm over velvet coats (5)
VERVE — lurking (coats) in the clue; I bet Kath may have spotted this one before I did

17a   One usually requires the presence of a copper  battery, say (5)
CRIME — double definition; the second being an example of why the copper would be summoned

18a   Move sign agitating about right to rule, unfairly (9)
MISGOVERN — anagram (agitating) of the first two words of the clue into which R(ight) is introduced

20a   Event on course before dance that goes to and fro? (5,4)
ROUND TRIP — the first word is what often occupies Brian’s time on Thursday mornings when he suspects that a RayT puzzle may be on tap; the second is a verb meaning to dance with short light steps; the solution relates to the travel industry

23a   Eastern religious followers heading off for Asian river (5)
INDUS — remove the initial letter (heading off) from a word denoting the followers of India’s main religion to get Pakistan’s longest river

25a   Identical notes about a US city (5)
MIAMI — the A from the clue is bracketed by two instances of the third note of the major scale in tonic sol-fa — appropriately using the US spelling


26a   Dispose of story about bit of money, a source of tension (9)
LIQUIDATE — string together a colloquial term for a pound, the A from the clue, and the initial letter of Tension; then wrap the entire thing in an untruth

27a   Temporary residence for a queen? (7)
CATTERY — where you might board your unspayed feline


28a   Old drivers in races making passage in volume (7)
EXTRACT — to a prefix denoting old or former append one of the usually suspected motorist organizations which has infiltrated the Isle of Man motorcycle races


1d   Valedictory party in dens, possibly? (4-3)
SEND-OFF — this is what is commonly known as a reverse anagram (although I personally believe that “inverse anagram” would be a more appropriate term); the solution to the clue consists of anagram fodder and an anagram indicator which produces a result DENS that is found in the clue itself

2d   Row in a river with stick left out (5)
ARGUE — a charade of the A from the clue, R(iver), and a verb meaning to stick two things together with adhesive with L(eft) removed

3d   Give a flyaway hairdo and act just in time (3,2,4)
CUT IT FINE — an expression denoting to do something at the last minute could literally describe a hairdresser creating a hairdo that is difficult to control; in reality, I suspect that the inherent nature of the subject’s hair has more to do with it than any actions taken by the hairdresser

4d   It’s needed in the brewery — yard’s first right on the map (5)
YEAST — start with Y(ards) and add the cardinal point associated with the right hand side of a map

5d   Folly having nine steps redesigned (9)
INEPTNESS — anagram (redesigned) of the two preceding words

6d   One hears what a rude person will do in part of flight (5)
STAIR — this sounds like what a gawker does

7d   Candidate that’s unknown in bay, maybe (4,5)
DARK HORSE — double definition; one example of the second is a bay, another example is a chestnut


8d   Meal rep’s prepared with minute gone — not what patient wants? (7)
RELAPSE — anagram (prepared) of (m)EAL REPS with the M(inute) removed

14d   Slope around rising university college in Boston getting drug? (9)
STIMULANT — reverse (rising in a down clue) U(niversity) and the abbreviation for an institution of higher learning located in Boston (the one in Massachusetts); then place this inside a sloping surface; of the more than 50 institutions of higher learning to be found in Boston, this one alone regularly receives mention here

15d   Daily tram for transport in naval jurisdiction (9)
ADMIRALTY — anagram (for transport) of the first two words in the clue

16d   One having a scrape performing? (9)
VIOLINIST — cryptic definition of an orchestra member who manages to scratch out a living, just scraping by

17d   Care deployed by host holding single plate? (7)
CERAMIC — anagram (deployed) of CARE followed by the Roman numeral for one embedded in a short announcer at a formal dinner or stage entertainment


19d   An untroubled athlete may show that it’s not a problem (2,5)
NO SWEAT — an expression used to convey that something is not difficult or problematic might also describe the appearance of an athlete who remains cool under pressure

21d   Impetus in charity event? (5)
DRIVE — double definition

22d   Resentment in summit discussed (5)
PIQUE — sounds like the top of a mountain

24d   Small measure anticipating a tense situation (5)
DRAMA — a wee amount of whisky with a chaser of the A from the clue

As favourite clue, I will opt for 16d as I do like cryptic definitions.


74 comments on “DT 28250

  1. I found this puzzle to be reasonably straightforward although it took me a little while to get a foothold.

    Thanks to Falcon and setter **/***

  2. I shall be so disappointed if the usual “experts” says this a R&W. it’s not; surely it is a ****?

      1. I think that this puzzle has demonstrated how differently people think. I don’t think it has much to do with how brilliant you are, rather how you see words and process them.

  3. 4*/2*. I thought this was a curate’s egg puzzle. I found parts of it tough, particularly the NW corner (where I instantly spotted the device in 1a to remove AR from a word meaning cautious but the synonym I couldn’t get out of my head until right at the end was wARy). There were some fairly good clues (although I had no particular favourite) and some dubious; some had smooth surfaces and some were clunky. 1d was a nice idea but the surface seemed a bit iffy to me. The old soldier in 11a is a uniquely American term and should have been indicated as such.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    1. I overlooked the fact that “vet” in Britain refers to a veterinarian rather than a veteran. In North America, it can mean either. The word veteran is also used differently on either side of the pond. In North America, it is a former soldier whereas, in Britain, I understand that it refers to an experienced soldier still serving.

  4. I sailed through three quarters of this and then ground to a halt in SW corner but now can’t believe my stumbling blocks. In haste as out for day hence good to find Falcon on hand with timely help – thanks for that. I question whether 5d is folly and I was unaware of queen usage in 27a (sorry Kitty). Thank you Mysteron. ***/*** (but not sure one should allocate stars if hints have been sought or possibly should use ***** on those occasions?!).

  5. Bit of a struggle this morning but got there in the end, Needed a bit of electronic help but found it quite entertaining overall. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the blog.

  6. Eight anagrams. The Grauniad. Great Cryptic Crosswords. Rubbish crossword blog. The Daily Telegraph. Rubbish Cryptic Crosswords. Great blog.

  7. All went very well until I came to the SW corner which took me a long, long time! I just had no cross checking letters for the longest time and could not get a foothold. I finally remembered about what a queen can be, and then I gradually filled in the corner.

    Enjoyable if a bit of a struggle at the end.

  8. Completed comfortably before lights out last night, but I did get somewhat unnecessarily ‘stuck’ in the SW corner until I remembered the feline connection for queen in 27a and the two letter version of host in 17d.

    So, at the risk of upsetting Domus, for me this was almost a R&W – 2.5*/2*.

    Favourite 16d, closely followed by 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  9. 2*/3* I thought for this very straightforward (for me) Thursday puzzle. It really has been an anagramfest this week, which certainly makes solving a lot easier once they are identified. I couldn’t identify a particular favourite, but 16 down made me smile.

    Thanks to our setter and Falcon for his review.

  10. Sailed briskly through the top half of this one then slowed considerably towards the bottom.
    No particular favourite although 6&16d raised a smile.
    Hard to believe that setters can continue to find more ways of cluing 11a!
    The type of construct used in 1d seems to have become very prevalent in recent times – I rather like it, despite the frustration it can sometimes generate!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon. We’ve also been enjoying a very pleasant Autumn but, as you say, it can’t last much longer.

    PS Think the Quickie pun might make Kath a little sad.

    1. Message for JL when you pop in.
      The sculpture we admired in yesterday’s blog is a small bronze work called Lissome III by Guy J. Bellaver – it is currently available to purchase from his gallery in the US. No price stated!

    2. Yes – a lovely Quickie pun – very :cry:
      I’ve only just focussed on yesterday’s pun – a good one.

  11. I have to say I’m more convinced than ever that I’m surrounded by a load of insomniacs – whatever time do you all get up? The first comment was only just after 6.30am. :yawn:
    Right – moving on to the crossword – I thought it was really good and enjoyed it very much.
    I had a few problems which I made “all my own self”.
    12a was tricky having got the wrong kind of 6d – seriously dim – and no, Falcon, I wouldn’t mind betting that I didn’t spot 16a before you.
    17a took a while – wanted CU to come into it somehow and the only kind of battery I could think of was where some poor chickens live.
    I got 4d eventually but for one who doesn’t know left from right, let alone being able to sort out the cardinal points, it made me think.
    I liked 5a and 2d. My favourite was 27a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron for the crossword – could it be Shamus? Thanks too to Falcon.

    1. I had to be up extra early for work today – I don’t normally solve puzzles at that time, but I thought I’d check to see if Falcon was blogging as the time difference allows early posting UK side. An early night for me tonight *yawns*

  12. I found this one of the toughest for a while, for me verging on **** and I needed the hints to explain the answers to 12a, 26a and14d.
    Not sure I found this fun but it was certainly satisfying to complete it.
    Best clue for me was def 27a which made me smile.
    Thx to all

  13. Struggled to get to grips today. SW corner gave problems due to me not remembering associating the Institute with Boston. No excuse just a block. At least Day 4 of ‘anagram week’ over.
    Curate’s egg for me but more good than bad.
    COTD was 25a , only because it conjured up a picture of Merusa in her sitooterie solving it!
    Thanks to setter & Falcon for hints. Missed parsing 1d although there have been a couple similar recently that I did spot.

    1. Thanks for the mention! That’s exactly where I am, bright sunshine, with Sadie and three cats in attendance.

  14. Hardest of the week so far for me, but also the most enjoyable. SW corner last to be completed. If ‘rubbish cryptic crosswords’ above refers to this one, then I am quite surprised!

    1. My comment is just me venting my frustration at the high number of anagrams this week. They are so easy to spot and once spotted one only needs to stare at the fodder letters for a few seconds in order to solve them. The grid is then full of checkers making the rest of the puzzle a read and write. The Toughie is not available to those who subscribe otherwise I would have a go at those.

      1. MP it must be frustrating for experts like you. However ‘rubbish cryptic crosswords’ is a difficult argument to sustain I would say when 3 out of your last 4 reviews have given **** for enjoyment.
        However the quality of the blog is partly due to sometimes controversial remarks provoking discussion. To be balanced I’m sure the post also went on the other blog too.
        Anagram Week has suited the less able solvers like me as the posts have show. One man’s meat etc.
        Incidentally my Subscription means I get hard copy vouchers, didn’t know there are those that only give access to the App – could save me money now other puzzles & the extended content at the weekend now available.

        1. I never alter the difficulty/ enjoyment rating. Big Dave adds them after I send him the review (at the same time he is underlining the definitions after I have forgotten to do them again) if you get the vouchers booklet you will have a subscriber number. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can register and add your subscriber number and the paper will be delivered to your device on a daily basis at silly o clock in the morning. Solving on a tablet will sharpen your skill with anagrams as you will not be bothered getting up to find a pen and paper. Alarmingly you can reveal every answer before you even begin. The best bit of solving on an iPad is being able to read my own writing.

          1. MP
            Seem to remember you issuing a disclaimer about the BD notation system.
            I have always been a silly o’clock riser (probably
            very silly in your terms) & see the paper boy when on the dog walk.
            Thank you for the tip re the benefit of tablet solving. Since finding this site I usually start on my tablet at extremely silly early & my anagram solving has come on very significantly.
            There are often occasions when my writing increases my solving time. However hitting the wrong key leads to “incorrect answer” on my tablet too.

          1. The vouchers are still good for the paper. We give them to the newsagent who delivers the paper to the pub long after I have read it and solved the puzzles.

    2. Rubbish is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think they are rubbish at all, but I can understand the frustration – apart from every Friday and every other Thursday the back-pagers seems to be very mild and unchallenging (notably the Sat Prize) these days, especially for the veterans and experts/academics on here (many of them are just “fun” crosswords). I’m convinced that the setters are generally under instruction to provide thus for the benefit of the thousands of casual readers/solvers who like to have a daily crack at the cryptic – all to do with marketing, I reckon. That’s just my rather World-weary personal opinion – others will disagree I’m sure.

  15. Best of the week so far if perhaps still a few too many anagrams, but what the heck they always help.

    **/*** for me last night. Agree with others that SW corner took the longest time.

    I’ll say favourite was 17a; lovely surface for a simple clue.

    Thanks to setter and to Falcon. If you have been an unusually warm autumn in Ottowa, we have had an unusual October – between 95 and 100 every day of the month so far, no wind and no rain! I see the UK has been warm as well as have parts of Europe. Global warmng?

  16. Well I found it hard and not very rewarding, with too many clunky surfaces and a few dodgy synonyms thrown in. I only got 27a as it was the only word I could think of that fitted. 3*/2* (If this is Shamus, I’m sorry, as I usually love his puzzles – but not this time I’m afraid) Thanks to Falcon and the setter

    1. I agree with you about Shamus. I would be rather surprised if this was one of his, but you never know!

  17. Must have had a good day as I put down a */*** on completion, no hold ups at all.
    Thought there were an excess of anagrams, but enjoyed the cluing in general, liked 17a and 11A, thanks setter and Falcon.
    Turned out to be an expensive day as Mrs B lost the diamond out of her engagement ring somewhere in the house ,and it’s not insured !

    1. Oh – what a shame about the engagement ring – I do hope one of you finds the diamond. On the plus side if you’re sure it’s in the house somewhere it sounds like a pretty good excuse not to hoover for a while.

      1. Thanks Kath, went through the hoover bag contents as this seemed the best bet-found a glass bead ! Sink traps next.

    2. I hope it turns up. Saint Sharon is having a new ring made at a very expensive price using money her Father gave her as a gift. I have made a casting and have some old rings with which I intend to melt down cast myself a signet ring.

  18. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but got completely stuck in the SW corner. I’m not a cat person, so would never have got 27a. The curse of the double definition struck again in 17a. I liked 13&26a, but my favourite was 28a. Too many anagrams for my liking, counted 6 and 2 partials and one indirect. Was 4*/3* for me.

  19. Second time this week that I found the back page harder than the toughie.
    Didn’t help by writing 16d the French way with a O in the middle.
    Lots of clever misdirections made some clues difficult to parse.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

  20. Good afternoon everybody.

    I was looking forward to Ray T puzzle today, no really, so this puzzle was consequently something of disappointment. Nevertheless, it had its moments and the bottom left corner proved trickiest for me. I could see the solution to 27a but couldn’t for the life of me see how it derived from the clue so I didn’t write it in the grid only in the box below with a big question mark next to it.


  21. I knew we were due for a more difficult puzzle after several gentle days when I didn’t need too much help. Screeched to a halt today with this setter’s effort, but obviously a good day for the brighter folks. I even needed the hint for 25a, which is only about 40 miles from our house. Got the parsing of the clue, but could not come up with the notes. That comes from not paying attention during music lessons. Hanging my head in shame, Merusa. Thanks Falcon, really needed your help today, to finish and verify answers I had but was not sure enough to put it.

  22. I really enjoyed this, some good fun clues.
    Last in was 17a, like Kath I wanted it to start with “cu”, at least it gave me the first letter of 17d. That was a pretty clever clue.
    I liked 15d and 16d, but I must choose 27a as fave, the cats made me do it.
    Thanks to setter and to Falcon for his review – loved the pic at 7d.

  23. Like falcon it took me an age to get started but once I got going it all slotted into place and unusually for a Thursday I enjoyed it. Not sure about 17a , it doesn’t really work for me . 27a my favourite. Thanks to the setter and falcon.

    1. Re 17a, Further explanation may not cause you to warm to the clue, but anyway here goes. The commission of a crime will result in the police (coppers) being called in and battery (as in ‘assault and battery”) is a crime.

  24. I liked this, although I agree the anagrams are a little tedious this week. (Wouldn’t quite say ‘rubbish’ though, MP)

    Not sure I like 19d much but apart from that all pretty straightforward.

    Thanks to all as ever.

    PS – Don’t think this is one’s from Shamus – a bit too clunky.

  25. Proud of myself for completing this one. Got stuck in the SW corner until the penny dropped on the queen clue. Some of the word play was lost to me but got the solutions.
    3* \ 4*, thanks to setter and Falcon.

  26. 1d gave me a problem today. Every time I see the word ‘party’, I pencil ‘do’ in the margins. I already had 9a and 13a, so wanted to write ‘done off’ for 1d but couldn’t justify it. All came right as I remembered ‘star’ for celebrity in 1a. I should have remembered that a queen is a female cat but I didn’t, and only twigged once I’d solved 17d. The rest of it was quite good fun. Thank you Falcon and setter.

      1. I think one clue last week had Tory in the answer somewhere. Right, enough said, before we both get sent to the naughty corner for talking about stuff we’re not supposed to talk about. Thank you for the help. I will have to write four words in the margin now when I see the word ‘party’.

          1. I have an iPad, but I can only do the grauniad on it. DT crossword asks for Adobe Flash Player ?

  27. Didnt find this too bad. Got stuck a bit in the SW corner as did others. Completely stumped by 17d and 25a so had to use the clues. Otherwise OK. No particular favourites and nothing to make me smile! ***/** a bit boring I thought!

  28. For once I’m not in agreement with RD on this one (shock!), I really enjoyed it and felt the surfaces were fairly smooth on the whole. Like others, I found the SW corner distinctly the trickiest. My one bone of contention naturally was the repetition of “right” as an abbreviation, once to remove it (1a) and once to insert it into an anagram (18a).

    Yes, anagram week continues unabated with the average per puzzle so far this week now at a remarkable 9.25. I suspect Giovanni will reduce the average tomorrow though, I’m sure Miffypops can’t wait to find out!

    My favourite clues today were 5a, 17a, 25a and 27a.

    Many thanks to today’s compiler and to Falcon.

  29. We seem to have avoided the problems in the SW as 27a just needed a quick glance for the right answer to come to mind and this gave a couple of useful letters. No major hold-ups anywhere for us and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon

  30. I didn’t spot 27ac quickly, so ended up in real problems in the SW corner. :-) The rest fell quickly enough, but that one quarter definitely pushed this into a *** for difficulty. If I hadn’t spelt 14d with an E then perhaps it would have been a little quicker… Thanks for another good puzzle, and for the blog for explaining the bits I couldn’t.

  31. It all slipped in smoothly this morning until I came to the lower regions, which I found much meatier. For me, as for others, the SW was last to capitulate, 27a providing my in. I enjoyed it despite being underwhelmed by some of the surfaces.

    Rather unusually I really quite liked the cryptic definitions today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon – a couple of good illustration choices there. :)

    1. Kitty,

      Thank you for your comment regarding the choice of illustrations. The setter really didn’t provide many good opportunities today. In fact, most of the clues defied illustration and I struggled to come up with ideas.

      1. I could find some bizarre music and a very inappropriate joke which of course I would not use

  32. An interesting selection of comments on today’s puzzle. I’m in the ‘curate’s egg’ category. There were some good clues including 14 and 19d but the anagrams were a bit much by the end. I’ll have 26a as my favourite. At least it was a serious enough challenge! 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review.

  33. Had quite a tussle with this one, but got there with a bit of electronic help.
    Very relieved to find that most folks seemed to have found it difficult too.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter.

  34. Odd, isn’t it? Plenty of contributors seemed to find this quite stiff, but it was at the top end of 1* for me. On other days the opposite will be the case. 1a was my favourite. TY to the setter, and to Falcon for the review.

  35. Oddly, I found this to be quite easy. It must have just suited me whereas I usually find Monday’s puzzle very difficult. We’re all very different! However, I did need the hints to explain 14d. I’m not sure the abbreviation for a college in Boston has a place in an English cryptic crossword!

    Many thanks to Falcon for the explanations!

    1. MIT is surely one of the pre-eminent institutions for technical education in the world. Does it not rank in a class with Oxford, Cambridge and the Sorbonne?

        1. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (a British rating organization), MIT has been one of the top four Engineering and Technology schools in the world for the last seven years (the period for which data is available on their website). In three of those years, MIT was first, in one year it was second, in two years it was third. This year it fell to fourth place behind CalTech, Stanford, and Oxford — and ahead of Cambridge.

    2. MIT has been used as a device in cryptic clues for decades – a right old chestnut. Along with Oxford and Cambridge, MIT is one of the most famous educational institutes in the World.

  36. I thought this was the best of the week so far (hopefully to be bettered by today’s G) and worthy of a bit of a mention – but it still only attained the giddy heights of “average”. I’ve given it an extra 0.5 for difficulty because the SW quadrant was quite challenging and held me up for a while. Overall, reasonably enjoyable. 2.5*/3*

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