DT 28251 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28251

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28251

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, with the sun breaking through the early mist.

Not too many anagrams from Giovanni today, though there are the two long ones across the middle to get you started. Your natural history knowledge may be tested by 2d and 5d, but both are gettable from the wordplay.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Fool, silly chap in one type of headgear (5,3)
CLOTH CAP – Another word for a fool followed by an anagram (silly) of CHAP.

6a           Game defender to move towards his own goalkeeper? (2,4)
GO BACK – An ancient Chinese board game followed by a football defender.

9a           Sweet request to note blessing all around (6)
BONBON – The Latin abbreviation for ‘note well’ with an archaic word for a blessing or favour wrapped around it.

10a         Doctors in service taking a long time (8)
MASSAGES – The definition is a verb. A Roman Catholic service followed by ‘a long time’.

11a         Boy with a time at home given a piece to play (8)
SONATINA – Put together a boy child, A (from the clue), Time, a word for ‘at home’, and the second A from the clue.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a         Noticing headless insect in grass (6)
SEEING – Remove the initial letter (headless) from a proverbially busy insect, and put the result inside another slang term for grass or inform.

13a         More trying to set out some mathematics (12)
TRIGONOMETRY – Anagram (set out) of MORE TRYING TO.

16a         Soldiers organise line in conflict (12)
LEGIONNAIRES – Anagram (in conflict) of ORGANISE LINE.

Image result for french legionnaires

19a         Some believers getting back to America (6)
HINDUS – ‘Back’, as in the back legs of a horse, followed by an abbreviation for America.

21a         Gun — method it needs to get duck, but it’s missing duck! (8)
HOWITZER – Put together a word for the way something is done, IT (from the clue), and a word for the number called a duck at cricket, but with the letter which looks like a cricketing duck removed.

23a         Arrogant one laughing in a London art gallery? (8)
CAVALIER – This is a reference to the popular title given to a painting by Frans Hals, to be seen in the Wallace Collection in London.

Image result for laughing cavalier

24a         Decided holy book needs editor (6)
MARKED – One of the Gospels followed by an abbreviation for editor.

25a         Old-fashioned officer, busy type grabbing naughty lad (6)
BEADLE – The same busy insect as in 12a, with its head this time, wrapped around an anagram (naughty) of LAD. Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist was one of these.

Image result for beadle bumble

26a         One’s upset by muck in underground rooms (8)
DUNGEONS – Some farmyard muck followed by an anagram (upset) of ONE’S.


2d           Watch diving bird getting submerged all right (4,2)
LOOK ON – A two-letter expression for ‘all right’ inserted into a diving bird.

Image result for loon

3d           Bone, black one buried in small island to the north (5)
TIBIA – Reverse (to the north, in a Down clue) a small island, and insert into it Black and the Roman numeral for one.

4d           State prisoner getting delivery, about to break free (9)
CONDITION – One of the usual crossword prisoners, followed by vocal delivery or expression, with the Latin abbreviation for about or approximately removed from the middle of it.

5d           Fish in river with member, getting a number (7)
POMPANO – Put together Crosswordland’s favourite Italian river, a Member of Parliament, A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for number, and you get a type of fish commonly found off the US coast.

Image result for pompano

6d           Maybe oxygen starts to prevent such? (5)
GASPS – An all-in-one clue. Put together the state in which oxygen exists at room temperature, and the initial letters (starts) of Prevent Such.

7d           Innocent and weak, restricted by sanction (9)
BLAMELESS – A verb meaning to sanction or approve, wrapped around an adjective meaning weak.

8d           Certain office workers less productive in Civil Service (8)
CLEANERS – An abbreviation for Civil Service wrapped around a word which means ‘less productive’ when referring to a harvest, but which in modern management speak allegedly refers to an organisation which is made more productive.

13d         It’s certainly not new, what some clocks have (5-4)
THIRD-HAND – Double definition: something which isn’t even on its second owner; or what the second hand on a clock may be.

14d         Female involved in a row (9)
OARSWOMAN – This person is rowing a boat.

Image result for oarswoman

15d         Loathing having to be injected with drug, take a seat and dither (8)
HESITATE – A word for loathing wrapped around a single-letter drug and an instruction to take a seat.

17d         Outside this place a theologian held fast (7)
ADHERED – A (from the clue) and the letters after the name of a learned theologian, wrapped around a word for ‘this place’.

18d         River always descending between two points (6)
SEVERN – Another word for ‘always’ placed between two compass points which would be seen as descending on a map.

20d         Filth from birds finally landing on tree (5)
SLIME – The final letter of birdS followed by a species of tree.

22d         Number at that place a bit confused inside (5)
THREE – A word meaning ‘at that place’ with two of its letters transposed.

The Quick Crossword pun TRANCE + MITT = TRANSMIT

53 comments on “DT 28251

  1. 2*/2*. Nothing to frighten the horses today, but equally nothing to excite them either. Today’s offering was however remarkably low in obscurity count – only the fish in 5d had me reaching for my BRB. Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  2. This one took me a little longer to solve than yesterday’s but there was nothing too tricky within. I knew the fish as we’re off to the beach named after it in South Florida in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/3*

    1. I did not get Miami yesterday, (40 miles away) and it was a while before I got Pompano today (11 miles away), so double oops. Hope you have fun there.

      1. We usually go to Orlando and drive out to the Cocoa Beach area and then go and see the Manatees at Merritt island (I hope those wonderful creatures weren’t too adversely affected by the hurricane).

        We’re looking forward to going to Pompano and also visiting the Keys, although I believe there’s a power-boat festival which we may try and dodge!

  3. I quite enjoyed this – I needed the two long anagrams (which were quite nice) to get going. I missed the reference to the fellow laughing in a museum, so many thanks Deep Threat for that. I thought 8d was cute.

    Many thanks Giovanni and DT

  4. The Gt. Northern Diver wasn’t a problem but I hadn’t come across the fish before. Thankfully, the small island turned up only yesterday in the Toughie, otherwise I’d have had a problem parsing that one.
    Took ages to get beyond ‘second hand’ looking for 13d – hadn’t got the 13a anagram by then – and the gun caused another hold up.

    Thought both of the long anagrams were rather good but my top spots go to 23a and 14d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT.

    1. Sorry, did not do the Toughie and my laptop suddenly does not show this site like it used to, so I had the devil of a job even finding this puzzle. (oly use it when I absolutely cannot get a solution).Kicked myself over “Legionnaires” especially as their boot camp is just down the road from us! But, although I got “tibia” I still do not see how “ait” means “a small island”. “ais” I would understand!

  5. A game of two halves today: really struggled to make any headway other than 13a and 13d earlier this morning. Gave it a break for a couple of hours and returned to whizz through everything that had previously defeated me – apart from 23a which required the hint – and is a perfectly fair clue IMO. I just wasn’t on the wavelength there.

    Quite a number of these appealed: 1a is nicely constructed, 14d a clever play on words and I liked 21a – which I guessed from the initial letter and first word in the clue – but then spent a while trying to fit a feathered duck minus an ‘o’ at the end of the word. Actually looked up ‘ozer’ to see if there were such a bird. And then the penny dropped. Doh!

    Favourite, though, is 9a. I haven’t come across that clue to the middle two letters before. Nicely put together.

    Thanks to the setter for an (eventually) enjoyable morning and to DT for the hints.

  6. More enjoyable today. Two long anagrams and three half anagrams to moan about but I am taking my grumpy hat off today and will be back to my radiant self on Monday after a feast of rugby over the weekend. Thanks to The Don for the puzzle and thanks to Deep Threat for the explanations and the piano music at 11ac. I should be listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas but Chopin is a fine substitute.

  7. For me, this was the trickiest puzzle for quite a while, although, because of preparing for a two week conference and convention trip to New Jersey and Florida starting on Sunday, I was trying to multi-task and there are opinions that it does not work, maybe they are correct – ***/***.

    I concur with DT’s comment on the ‘productivity’ word in 8d; interesting how, over time, one word develops opposite meanings.

    Two candidates for favourite, 11a for the number of elements in an 8 letter charade and 16a for an anagram indicator I don’t think I have seen before and which took some time to recognise. Top honours go to 11a.

    Thanks to DG and DT.

  8. Well I thought I was never going to get off the ground with this but then after much cerebration but combined with lots of fun slowly, slowly catchee monkee. Parsing of 9a eluded me. The believers in 19a do seem to make regular appearances. Had to raid the memory bank for the diving bird in 2d and the fish in 35d. I agree with Jane in nominating 23a and 14d (oh that kind of row!) as Favs. Thank you Giovanni and DT. ***/***.

  9. I enjoyed this Friday crossword.
    I spent ages hunting for a reversed lurker for 19a and there wasn’t one.
    When I eventually got the 1d diving bird it reminded me of the very flared trousers we all wore in the late 60’s and early 70’s – I loved them.
    I ignored 4d for a while as ‘delivery’ in a crossword always means cricket to me.
    20d sounded like something from the Two Ronnies crossword sketch.
    I liked 12 and 21a and 14d. 23a was my last answer and might be my favourite – if that one isn’t my favourite then 6d is.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.
    Off to the garden – more digging to do on the veggie patches.

  10. Failed to get onto Giovanni’s wavelength (a fairly common experience). I was close but not near enough with a number of the clues and without DT’s hints I would still be scratching my head. For me this was by far the hardest crossword for some time. Back to the drawing board.

  11. I really enjoyed this Giovanni puzzle, with 23 across my favourite. The fish was obscure but gettable through the wordplay, and overall this was 2*/3* for me. Thanks to The Don and DT for a top review.

  12. On first read convinced myself that this was difficult ,took me a while to tune in and it became easier as I progressed but still a ***, with *** for enjoyment, liked 23a and remember seeing it in the national, many years ago.
    19a made me smile-Question what’s a Hindu-Answer- Lay eggs !
    Agree with Kath over 20d-much missed.

  13. So it took until Friday for a real back page challenge to arrive! And very good it was too!
    23a was my fave, it took me ages trying to work TATE into the grid before the penny finally dropped. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to The Don, and to DT for his review.

  14. I scribbled lad-at-in-a in the margin before I realised how stupid I’d been. I do have a little bit of knowledge on the music front. Worse was yet to come. I had po???arm for 5d, with po??leg pencilled underneath. This week I have gone for all the wrong synonyms, but it’s still been a good week of puzzles as far as I’m concerned. Nothing too obtuse. I liked 23a and like a few others, I had ‘tate’ pencilled in the margin before the penny dropped. Thank you Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  15. Tough but enjoyable, even if it did include music and cricket terms, not my fave. Another dunce day as I did not get the fish at first pass, and we even share a post code with them – which is finally getting corrected after 30+ years!

  16. I found it slightly tougher than yesterday, but unusually enjoyable for a Friday!

    The fish in 5d was new to me too, and it was interesting to see both “this place” and “that place” appearing in the same puzzle.

    I ticked three clues, 23a, 6d and 13d. 4d (my LOI) proved the trickiest to parse.

    Thanks to Mr. Manley and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  17. Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today. Not the easiest puzzle but completed fairly straightforwardly although assistance was called upon for 5d.


  18. I found this pretty tricky to get a toehold, but the ones that DT thought might be tricky, 3d and 5d, went straight in.
    Like others, 23a proved to be my last solve as I was convinced that the Tate was in there somewhere. When I got the answer, I loved it, so it’s my fave.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for his hints.

  19. Word for the day

    Trumpery – from the French dating back to the 1400’s
    Showy but worthless
    nonsense or rubbish
    deceit, fraud, trickery

  20. Only had to check the parish officer in 25a and the fish in 5d but both were fairly clued.
    Couldn’t get Sorbet out of my little head for a while in 9a until I managed to parse it.
    Favourite is 26a.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  21. I found this very tricky after breezing the first days of the week 🤔 ****/*** Thanks to DT for his help in solving it. Never heard of 5d and in 2d they are called divers in the U.K. Liked 9a and 26a Thanks also to Giovanni for a real teaser 😳

  22. We needed confirmation for the fish but did recognise the bird. We also wondered about a ‘hite’ tree but not for long. Good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  23. Not easy , but then crosswords with words in that no one has ever heard of , does have that effect .Thanks to DT for some much needed help / hints , I thought 3d to be a very poor clue but then again agreed with RD , nothing to get excited about in this , except perhaps 23 a.****/**

  24. I found this really quite tough. (I didn’t time either, but wouldn’t be surprised if I spent longer on this than the Toughie – it certainly felt like it.) I think my brain works very differently to Mr Manley’s.

    No complaints though. I failed to parse 23a, which I have no excuse for. I just wanted to put something into a London gallery and was blind to the bigger picture. 5d was new or forgotten but gettable. I’m another one who was drawn by alternative answers for 20d (welcome, Phil). I quite liked a few clues, but think my top three are 12a, 26a and 2d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT. The third movement of your choice of 11a was one of my exam pieces (grade 3 I think). So that’s a bit of a blast from the past.

  25. I rather enjoyed this, despite finding it rather harder than quite a few Toughies and having to invent my own fish for 5d (never heard of it). Call it 2*/3.5*. Either 1a or 21a is my favourite, although 23a raised a smile when I had an “I wonder…” moment. Thanks to the Don, and to DT.

  26. Was this quite tough, or am I just tired at the end of a long week? A little bit of both perhaps looking at some of the comments above. At the end I was left with 7, 16 and 14 that took an inordinate amount of time between them, for no good reason it seems in retrospect, but isn’t that always the way?

  27. This was my first washout for a very long time. After 25 minutes I hadn’t got a single clue so read the paper instead. Having seen the answers, I doubt I would have got more than one or two clues regardless of time spent. I may start buying the Times on a Friday, much easier to read on crowded trains.

  28. I found this pretty awkward today. Just completed it after a solid evening of slog. Phew !

    I thought 21A was clever and had a grin at 23A.

    Thanks to setter and to DT.


  29. 11a and 5d were new words to me – I’ll immediately commit them to the memory banks – no chance!

    Sale v Toulon this evening – a disappointing result!

    West Ham v Sunderland tomorrow at the Olympic Stadium – come on you Irons – I’ll try and get the Saturday Crossword done before departure time!

  30. An enjoyable challenge today, although no need to resort to hints, I did need help parsing my last in 23a. As others have, I wasted a lot of time trying to work Tate into it somehow. Learn several new words, the Florida fish for one. Thanks to all, especially remarks about hite trees

  31. Greetings from Turkey 🍗 all, weather lovely, I am up to puzzle 18 in the DT ultimate cryptic crosswords, it’s a bit out of date as one of the clues in puzzle 16 referred to Ronald Reagan as current incumbent at the White House!!
    Have a good weekend and up the Lions

  32. Late post as yesterday spent 9.5 hours going from one queue to the next on what is the joke we call a road system. What the heck is “upgrading to a smart motorway” that cost nearly an hour on the M5 & M6.? Never has “You have reached your destination” sounded sweeter! Trouble is facing the same again on return on Monday.
    Hopefully Biggles’ will find his first visit to foreign lands worthwhile. Haggis flavour Winalot notwithstanding
    Not exactly in the mood for a solve after that & needed hints to finish.
    Thanks to setter & DT for needed review.

    1. Smart motorways are ones that slow the traffc down to keep it flowing, rather than allowing it to grind to a complete halt, then have to all move off again. (As far as I know) Makes sense if you see how long a line of traffic can take to get moving. Why does the person in front of me always put handbrake on, gears into neutral then fall asleep, wake up then wait until the person in front has moved 50 yards down the road before moving off? Maybe might be fun to set Tom Tom to “shortest routes” and “avoid motorways”, but you need to be driving a Land Rover ‘cos it’ll take you down green lanes!

  33. This was excellent from G – easily best of the week. Reasonably challenging and very enjoyable. 3*/3.5*

  34. Way above my pay grade.

    Is the small island a well known word in crosswordland?
    Never heard of the fish either.

    So, not a good day for me yesterday.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the hints…..I only managed to find 10 answers alone and unaided by hints or electronics….must try harder….

    1. Hi Ora, the small island is an ‘ait’, also spelled ‘eyot’. An example is on the Thames, during the Boat Race, when they pass ‘Chiswick Eyot’.

  35. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. Thought it was going to be very tough when I had a fairy empty grid after the first pass. It all came together fairly quickly after that. Started with 6a, finished with 23a. Favourite was 21a. A lot of very good clues. Was 3*/3* for me.

Comments are closed.