DT-28253 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28253

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Miffypops has thrown last week’s grumpy hat into the bin and has been rewarded with a very enjoyable offering from Rufus. I particularly liked the anagram at 17ac and the lurker in 23ac.

Cryptic Sue deserves a mention for reaching the final round of The Times Crossword Champion which was won by Mark Goodliffe for the tenth time. Now Sue modestly want’s us all to shut up about it.

Our own Shropshire Lad has compiled today’s Rookie Corner puzzle. Have a go at it, I believe it contains a Big Dave’s Crossword Blog theme. You may make an appearance.

The hints and tips below have been written by a poorly schooled orphan boy who is not an expert. Mark Goodliffe is an expert. Definitions are underlined and the hints and tips should point you in the right direction and enable you to solve the clue. The click here banner will reveal the answer but should only be used as a last resort.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Alcoholic drink, cold, can go the wrong way (6)
COGNAC:  Named after a town in France this type of brandy can be derived from the clue by using the letter C from c(old) and then reversing (the wrong way)the words CAN GO lifted directly from the clue. I always like a drop of alcohol early in the solve. Thank you Rufus.

4a    Kind of race problem? (8)
OBSTACLE:  A double definition. The first a type of race described by James Joyce as  “In and out of sacks over barrels, through wirefences, obstacle race. Time makes the tune” Here is a picture of my team after our local Wolf Run

9a    Useless — do go on revising (2-4)
NO GOOD:  Oh Lordy Lordy an anagram (revising) of DO GO ON. 

10a    Little rest, sadly, for one having entered the church (8)
MINISTER:  Firstly find a word meaning small. This word became  popular in the sixties to describe,the length of a very short skirt and was the name of a popular small car. Now solve an anagram (sadly) of REST. Oh Lordy Lordy 

Image result for vicar

12a    Bird from higher nest (4)
ERNE:  Our first lurker of the day indicated by the word from. Hello little lurker, you will have company soon.

13a    Skirt’s end elevated somewhere above the knee (5)
THIGH:  Use the final (end) letter of the word skirt and add a word meaning elevated to find the part of the body just above the knee.

14a    Silver wrapped up in note for priests (4)
MAGI:  Place the usual symbol for silver inside the third note of a musical scale

17a    His rapport with me may lead to a life of pleasure (8,4)
PRIMROSE PATH:  Well golly bongs another anagram (may lead to) of HIS RAPPORT with ME. This one nearly had me looking for a pencil. Only nearly mind.

20a    London profits from this form of taxation? (7,5)
CAPITAL GAINS:  A word which describes what type of city London is has to be followed by a word meaning profits

23a    They often have to kneel in an unsophisticated life (4)
NUNS:   This is a cryptic definition which very cleverly includes our second lurker of the day indicated by the word in. 


24a    Shelter behind this person in affray (5)
MÊLÉE:  This person is how the setter refers to himself. The shelter is the sheltered part of something away from the wind. Placed together in the right order they solve the clue.

25a    I object to Scripture lessons being simple (4)
MERE:  I here refers to how one refers to oneself. Scripture lessons are R(eligeous) E(ducation

28a    Burly but brainless group (8)
THICKSET:   This brainless group need to be Split 5,3 to satisfy the clue. Together they satisfy the underlined definition 

29a    Students of the past (6)
ALUMNI:   The former pupils of a particular school, college or university. 

30a    Long time in short trousers and spectacles (8)
PAGEANTS:    Place a word meaning a short time inside a word for short trousers to find these colourful spectacles of public entertainment 


31a    Its captain was really put off by the crew (6)
BOUNTY:  The name of the ship where a famous Mutiny took place


1d    Deceive and attract scorn (8)
CONTEMPT:  A three letter word meaning to deceive is followed by a five letter word meaning to attract usually in a sinful way as the devil did to poor little Eve.

2d    Huge lark following carriage (8)
GIGANTIC:   A frolic or jape follows an old fashioned horse drawn carriage 

3d    Occupying a pre-eminent position at work (4)
ATOP:  At, directly from the clue is followed by our usual suspect for work which is op(us)

5d    One who may have to make several calls before getting the contract (6-6)
BRIDGE PLAYER:   One who has to call or bid before cards can begin to be laid out (in silence)

6d    Excursion and dance (4)
TRIP:  A double definition, the second being what we do with the light fantastic in the song A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum from the last century


7d    Animal food given to horses in China once (6)
CATHAY:  A domesticated animal is followed by a foodstuff for horses. Together they form an old name for China the country not china the porcelain.

8d    A six-footer from near Wigan (6)
EARWIG:   Twos company three’s a crowd. The cosy companionship of our two previous lurkers is about to be spoiled by the appearance of our third very clever lurker of the day. It is often said that if the clue makes no sense at all then look for a hidden word. Lo and behold such is the case here. A hidden word indicated once again by the word from.

11d    Mate snitches, possibly resulting in a beating (12)
CHASTISEMENT:   And another anagram (possibly resulting) of MATE SNITCHES

15d    City game to lift boycott (5)
URBAN:   We have here a game to find followed by a boycott or embargo. Which game I hear you ask, there are hundreds of games? Well in this case the game is Rugby Union and we only want it’s initials really. Also we need to reverse them as indicated by the word lift. 

16d    It has wings and flies behind curtains (5)
STAGE:   A cryptic definition of a raised floor or platform, typically in a theatre, on which actors, entertainers, or speakers perform. 


18d    One who calls out at court (8)
LINESMAN:  This court is a tennis court. The caller assists the umpire by calling “out” when a ball is out during play.


19d    Cooking tripe, say, may lead to acrimony (8)
ASPERITY:   Anagram (cooking) of TRIPE SAY

21d    Popular move, building arch (6)
INSTEP:  Our two letter favourite word for popular is followed by a word meaning move as in a dance. The resulting arch is part of your feet.

22d    No parking for waiting in terminal (6)
ENDING:   Remove the letter P from an adjective meaning awaiting a decision or settlement 

26d    Bird seen when others rise (4)
SKUA:   Oh dear. We have seen this clue before. These birds when reversed give us more birds. We are being asked for the singular not the plural so that should tell which way round it is.. Checkers will help too. The bird we want is an aggressive kleptoparasitic pirate of the air which steals food from other birds

27d    Further chaos in Laos (4)
ALSO: A rhyming clue which pleased my ear. It is an anagram though (chaos) of LAOS. My grumpy hat s in the bin so no further comment will be forthcoming.

A very enjoyable crossword to solve and review. Life has begun again in the Miffypops household. It is Autumn. I feel a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum is on the cards.

The Quick Crossword pun: mow+Sam+beak=Mozambique

61 comments on “DT-28253

  1. Well done Cryptic Sue, nice offering this morning, again a nice gentle start to the week.
    Being of a nautical bent I stuck in fathom for 8d then suddenly realised!!!
    Many thanks to Miffypops and Rufus.
    ***/*** for me.

  2. A very enjoyable start to the week. I found this one lots of fun with no problems at all. I did need a pencil for 17a. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for his usual entertaining review. Also congratulations to Cryptic Sue for her achievement.

  3. This was, for me anyway, a bit stiffer than I’m used to on a Monday but I really enjoyed it. Those pesky five letter words didn’t cause the pain that I feared they might, though I had an inexplicable blank at the four letter one at 3d. How silly of me. I also thought of every sense of contract but the one required in 5d. So I did enlist just a smidge of electronic help to finish.

    I was going to say I’d never heard of 17a, but the brb tells me it features in Macbeth, which we did many moons ago at school, so I suppose I’ve just managed to thoroughly forget it. With my talent for forgetting things I shouldn’t be surprised.

    My favourites today were 1a and 1d – in fact, I really liked the whole of that little corner. I smiled at 23a and 8d and, chestnut or not, I liked the accurately illustrated 26d as well. 27d pleased my ear also and raised another of those smiles.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for a great start to Monday. Now I have to go off and do something less fun but more useful.

  4. 1*/4* for another in a long line of fun Monday puzzles.
    I’m far from being a bird expert, but I’d venture to suggest that, whether you enter 26d the right or the wrong way, MP’s picture is neither :wacko:
    But hey, nice to see the video of The Band! :good:
    The carriage in 2d was new to me. I particularly liked 13a (what – no picture?!), 5d & 18d, but 8d was my favourite.

    I have a small niggle regarding 30a. The article of clothing in 30a is not “short trousers”. It is either underwear on this side of the Atlantic or long trousers across The Pond. It did give me a happy reminiscence though. On my first trip to the USA in the 70s, I was met at the airport in foul weather by a colleague and his wife, who was wearing slacks. She stepped into a large puddle and exclaimed “I’ve just wet my pants”!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. My mum used to tell us that men wear trousers and women wear slacks, and pants are what both wear underneath!

      1. Knickers!

        As far as this most enjoyable puzzle is concerned, it was over all too soon. Silly grins were elicited by 8d and 28a, but my favourite was 7d. Thanks to Rufus and MP, and congratulations to CS.

  5. One of those crosswords where I often seemed to find the answer then worked out the parsing ! Agree with Miffypops **/****, loved the pics; didn’t seem right to see Mr Christian flaying an officer.
    Not sure if I’d heard of 17a before, guessed the second word then ‘anagrammed ‘ the first.
    Amusing clues a plenty like 30a,7d and a good start to the week, remembered 26d, and liked the lurker in 23a.

  6. Enjoyable start to the week, if a bit on the easy side. 1*/3.5* Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  7. Rufus at his excellent best. A lovely crossword. Take a leaf out of his book, you stodgy setters whose names I won’t mention

  8. Oh dear. :sad: I’ve just had the worst attack of ‘wrong wavelengthitis’ ever – marmalade on the crossword didn’t help.
    This one has taken me ages and now I really can’t see why.
    I’ve never heard of 17a although, like Kitty, we did Macbeth at school – rather longer ago than Kitty.
    Anything to do with bridge always causes problems for me so I was slow with 5d.
    The flies in 16d foxed me but I’ve looked them up now so that’s OK.
    All this sounds as if I didn’t enjoy the crossword – I did but just had trouble with it.
    I liked 13 and 23a and 7 and 18d. My favourite was 28a mainly because I’m clearly one of that particular group today.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.
    On to have a go at Mr S. L. Rookie now.

  9. Very enjoyable but felt really silly to be stuck on 3d – thanks to MP for the tip that made it click finally! Managed to work out the anagram at 17a but never heard of it – obviously lacking in Shakespearean knowledge!

    Thanks to MP and Setter.

  10. For some reason this didn’t really appeal but pressed on regardless and got it done. Surely 17a clue would better infer a bed of roses rather than the solution which isn’t exactly unending pleasure. After much cogitation eventually dragged 19d from the memory bank. Stupidly failed to pass 15d – always forget the two letter city when it’s not NY or LA. Joint Favs 18d and 26d. Thank you Rufus and Miffypops. ***/**.

    1. Had problem sending a Comment and then obviously delete of the first one didn’t work hence duplication.

  11. Another gentle kick-off to the week but for some reason this didn’t really appeal however pressed on regardless and got it done. Surely 17a clue would better infer a bed of roses rather than the solution which isn’t exactly unending pleasure. After much cogitation eventually dragged 19d from the memory bank. Stupidly failed to pass 15d – always forget the two letter city when it’s not NY or LA. Joint Favs 18d and 26d. Thank you Rufus and Miffypops. ***/**.

  12. Aren’t there 2 clues in 10a? Miffypops has mentioned the first one. The second is “one in church”. (i.e. The number one contained in a word for a church).

  13. Got a bit thrown off course by ‘object’ in 25a and tried to find something more in 31a than was apparently there!
    Also came within an ace of looking up towns near Wigan………
    The penny dropping over 5d elicited several expletives!
    Didn’t think I’d come across 17a before but, in common with Kitty, I’d just forgotten my Shakespeare.

    Podium places go to 20&28a plus 7d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review. Much as it probably pained you to include it, I did enjoy the music choice for 6d and was pleased to see that your bird ID skills are progressing well.
    By the way – how come you look by far the most dishevelled member of the team in 4a?

    1. I am always the most dishevelled in any group. It matters not how you dress me up, I always look like a bag of rubbish tied in the middle with string. The look on Saint Sharon’s face when she saw that I had worn that suit was priceless. I just thought that as she had bought it for me I ought to wear it at least once.

  14. Many thanks Miffypops especially for the Band in their Last Waltz concert, brilliant, and also for your wolf run picture which never ceases to amaze. Surprised to see Procol Harum though.

    I like Chaos in Laos, it’s reminding me of something I can’t quite put my finger on, and I liked the London profits and the captain that was put off.

    Many thanks Rufus

  15. As enjoyable a Monday puzzle as I can ever recall, so many of the clues had even more immaculate surfaces than usual it seemed.

    16d and 18d are probably old chestnuts in the Rufus cupboard of clues, but I loved them. Like Jane, 8d nearly deceived me too!

    Huge thanks to Mr. Squires and the Bard of Long Itchington. Congratulations too to CS for a sterling effort in the Times Crossword Championship.

  16. An enjoyable puzzle, but blimey wasn’t it difficult? I never really got on Rufus’ wavelength and struggled from start to finish. My last in, as so often seems to happen, a hidden word. It’s probably a bit of a chestnut, but I still liked 4ac.

  17. Having battled with SL’s Rookie, give it a try if you have a moment, and battled to cheer up OH who has birthday today I picked up my trusty pencil. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for another great Monday treat, never heard of 17ac but sorted it out, got in muddle misreading clue numbers but all came good. Quickie pun made me smile.

  18. Enjoyable as ever from Rufus. Straightforward solve apart from 15d which I needed mp hints,not quite sure why I struggled with it. I hadn’t heard of 17a but solved it because of the check letters. 8d my favourite for it’s elegant simplicity.

  19. “Primrose Path” – Is that from a dusty old book or poem, or an old b&w film or what?

    1. From Hamlet
      I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
      As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
      Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
      Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
      Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
      Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
      And recks not his own rede.

  20. “primrose path” – is that from a dusty old book or poem or an old b&w file?

    Had me flummoxed I can tell you

  21. I thought this was going to be difficult. However after getting a few the rest fell into place really easily. It was enjoyable as well. Unfortunately, I hit the finish and reveal tab with two easy clues to go. Very annoying. Loved 8d, 26d.
    Did not object to 30a short trousers. Knew the flowery route to take even though I can’t remember it from school. (Hamlet, Ophelia to Laertes). I did Macbeth so that explains it.

  22. Happily on the wavelength this morning when I completed this with just the one coffee. All the anagrams fell into place easily – quite easy to spot. 7d had me trying to use Siam for a while and I’m another who filled in 17a from the check letters and a process of elimination from the anagram.
    1a, though it solved quickly, is very neat – cunning for the setter to spot the potential in the letters of the answer. 18d is a very elegant misdirection. I agree with those who like 8d and, like Jane above, got as far as calling up Google Maps but not as far as perusing the NW before the penny dropped.
    31a gets my vote for the day: made me laugh.

  23. It’s all about wavelength, isn’t it? As usual, I was dead on Rufus’s today and fairly whizzed through this.
    I did have to write a lot of circles for the anagram at 17a, but it fell into place when I started to get the checkers.
    There was so much to like, it’s hard to find a fave, but I did like 7d. The six-footer held me up for a bit, but it came out and hit me eventually.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his hints, and education on birds!

  24. Trickier than of late, the SW with a solitary ‘e’ for a checker was last to fall.

    A very inventive puzzle, which is great. Also pleased to see an SL offering in Rookies Corner so if you haven’t had a go, do; it’s themed, and rather fun.

    Also pleased MP’s cheered up! (Grauniad, indeed!)

    Thanks to all as ever.

  25. With thanks to Rufus & Miffypops, a most enjoyable start to the week. Although I was unable to complete it on my flight to Glasgow this morning.

    Never heard of 17ac either but worked it out from the anagram.

    Surely it’s **** the light fandango, isn’t it ??

    1. Nearly Hangman. The lyric says “We skipped the light fandango” It was of course Dante who wrote “Com and trip it as ye go. On the light fantastic toe”
      Which means the hint for 6d is rubbish. That’s what Big Dave gets for allowing a poorly schooled orphan boy to write the hints. It isn’t even my deliberate mistake of tha day.
      Welcome to the blog.

        1. Oops. No. I never noticed that. Todays deliberate mistake is the picture used to illustrate 26d. It is not an auk at all. I am surprised nobody noticed.

          1. RD did:

            “I’m far from being a bird expert, but I’d venture to suggest that, whether you enter 26d the right or the wrong way, MP’s picture is neither”

            Thanks MP

            1. I noticed that Merusa. I am glad the hurricane was not as bad as predicted. My brother and sister in law on Merritt Island escaped too. The bird illustrated is of course an English Magpie Not a Skua

  26. Thank you to a certain gentleman for putting me right when I got my first clue wrong. I gave up and downed tools far too easily. If I’d just been a bit more patient, and carried on with a few more clues, I would have been ok.The rest of the puzzle turned out fine, although I filled in 17a then had to check the meaning. Hadn’t heard of it. 5d was almost instant, being a bridge player, but I scribbled in bridge partne first before realising I had too many letters and changed it to player. I think my two favorites are two of the lurkers, 23a and 8d. Thank you Rufus, Miffypops and BD.

  27. Thanks to Rufus and Miffpops for an entertaining puzzle today. Although definitely not burly I was a bit 28a at the first pass, but it gradually came together. Never heard of the bird in 26d but what a lovely fellow. Fave was 6d, mostly for Miffypops nostalgic clip, but also because I had seen dance connected with this definition recently in another puzzle, and “trip the light fantastic” was how I justified it then.

  28. Lots of happy stars for todays puzzle as I stormed through apart from 16 down which completely stumped me and even after a ‘hint’ haven’t worked out where flies fits in. Favourite 1a.

    1. The Fly system backstage is a series of pulleys, ropes, blocks and counterweights used to hoist curtains, scenery, lighting and stage effects quickly quietly and safely. If you do not know what you are doing keep away from the flies. keep out of the wings and do not ever ever let yourself be seen by the public. The backstage world is not for the feint hearted.

    2. Hello Maggie, I believe that the fly system is a collection of rigging/ropes to help move props / lighting and people around on the stage ( think of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying around in pantomime) . If I am wrong I am sure that someone will correct me.

  29. Was slow to start and then progressed slowly but surely. Never heard of 17a
    COTD was 27d as it appealed to my simple mind.

    Thanks to Rufus & MP for bonus entertainment, the Procol Harum and the well disguised 26d.
    BD, Is there some reason why the format on my tablet has changed?

    1. BD sorry ignore last query. Too late saw comment at the top of Homepage. Good luck with sorting the problem.

    2. Technical issues, LrO apparently due to the WP them upon which the blog is based. Mine doesn’t refresh, I have to go back to the home page. Patience my friend…

      1. Similar LBR , can’t edit etc or see the post but font much more tired-eyes friendly.
        I changed the template on a site I edit result: chaos ( in Wales not Laos).

  30. Finished this before I’d finished my whisky tonight. (Hope saying that isn’t against the rules BD!) A very enjoyable solve – thanks to the setter and Miffypops. Also, congrats to Cryptic Sue for being able even to do a Times crossword!

  31. A lovely start to the week. I know it was fairly (in fact very) gentle, but it did make you feel good as the answers went in! 28a was definitely my favourite and overall 1.5/3*
    Thanks as ever to Rufus, and to the bard himself for the review.
    Well done BD on the change, fingers crossed……

  32. As usual I do the DT crossword with a cup of tea the morning after its issue and what a treat to look through your answers today and see a clip of The Band singing the stupendous Stage Fright, thank you for making the tea taste so good

    1. My pleasure Martin. I do try to get some quality music in there where I can. I also put some pop pap occasionally to appease those with poor taste.

  33. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. What a great start to the week. A really fun puzzle, lots to smile about. I’d never heard of 17a, but got it from the fodder. 18&27d made me laugh, but 28a was my favourite. Both lurkers were very hard to spot. Last in was 22d. Was2*/4* for me.

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