DT 28278 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28278

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28278

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment **

Good morning everyone. I am typing this hoping that BD has finally repelled those who would deny us service and feeling very grateful to him for the massive effort he puts into keeping this site running. Today’s crossword is the type that I enjoyed when starting out, offering us straightforward examples of most of the standard clue types. For those who found it insufficiently challenging I have it on very good authority that today’s Toughie is not, so you might consider a visit to the other side. There is one clue today that I can’t fully parse. After looking at it long and hard I believe it’s an error, so either it will have been updated by the time this blog appears or I will be feeling very foolish all day.

Last week I mentioned that the question “Are the repeated answers seen in crosswords separated by a short time just random coincidence” provided the motivation to get 15 years’ worth of back pagers into computer-searchable form. In addition to providing data and statistics about repeated answers, that database also reveals some interesting facts about clues which I may inflict on you in the future. For example, we now know the longest clue used on the back page (and it proves Miffypops right – when it comes to clues, longer does not mean better). Returning to the coincidence question, the short answer is that there are about 20% fewer repeats within a week than would be expected if answer selection was random. Perhaps an indication that editors and/or setters sometimes make adjustments to avoid closely-spaced repetitions? If you want the long answer with details of the analysis and a graph you’ll find it beneath the following spoiler box.

Click here for technical details

Since topical words (such as STURGEON) have periods of popularity that are clearly not random, only the 1000 most repeated words were considered. They are all common terms which have appeared in a back page puzzle more than 20 times over the past 15 years. For each word the intervals between successive appearances were found. Those 1000 lists of intervals were combined and then plotted as a histogram (the orange bars in the graph below). The same procedure was applied to many groups of 30 clues selected at random from all answers used in the past 15 years. That’s the set of purple bars. While the data from the real crosswords is close to the “data” from of the sets of clues drawn at random, the real crosswords exhibit fewer repeat appearances than the random model for repeat intervals up a few weeks.


In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the Click Here! buttons. If you’re already seeing the answers uncovered, click http://bigdave44.com/2016/11/22/dt-28278/ or type that link into the address box of your browser.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    I am meeting criminal person I’d put behind bars (10)
IMPRISONED: The contracted form of I am followed by an anagram (criminal) of PERSON ID.

6a    Female with diary to sell (4)
FLOG: F(emale) with a type of daily record.

9a    Holed in one around start of tournament? Player did it (5)
ACTED: A word meaning holed in one on the golf course enclosing (around) the first letter of (start of) Tournament.

10a    Fine tonic cured disease (9)
INFECTION: Anagram (cured) of FINE TONIC.

12a    Lace — it’s unusually stretchy (7)
ELASTIC: Anagram (unusually) of LACE ITS.



13a    Anxious period in American hospital department (5)
EAGER: A three-letter period of time inside the American equivalent of A&E.

15a    Snubbed westbound US soldier on retreating, blushing (7)
IGNORED: Combine the reversal (westbound) of a US infantryman, the reversal (retreating) of ON, and the colour associated with blushing.

17a    Man determined to secure right type of vehicle (7)
SERVANT: A three-letter word meaning determined contains (to secure) the abbreviation for right and a vehicle that is often seen in white.

19a    Poaches fish with leeks, regularly chopped (7)
Revised online version: Poaches fish — add leeks, regularly chopped (7)
CODDLES: Start by following a well-known fish with the odd letters (regularly chopped) of LeEkS. That recipe left me a letter short and wondering if the clue should have read something like “Poaches fish with Dutch leeks, regularly chopped (7)”.
The online version had now been revised to take the even letters (regularly chopped) of aDd LeEkS – BD

21a    Storm‘s too darn wild (7)
TORNADO: Anagram (wild) of TOO DARN.

22a    Reluctant to forget a short bit of the Bible (5)
VERSE: A word meaning reluctant minus (to forget) the A from the clue.

24a    Perhaps lead part (7)
ELEMENT: Double definition. The part is a component or an ingredient.

27a    The Queen returns with gift to exhibit (9)
REPRESENT: Reverse (returns) the usual two-letter abbreviation for the Queen and append a gift.

28a    Thread in skirt hem entangles (5)
THEME: Hidden in (in) the clue.

29a    Herb could make daughter poorly (4)
DILL: Single-letter abbreviation for daughter followed by a word meaning poorly.

30a    Kind author that has characters making an impression (10)
TYPEWRITER: Join synonyms for kind and for author to get a device, now old-fashioned, that impresses characters upon the page.


1d    Country one governed (4)
IRAN: The first Roman numeral followed by a word for governed or operated.

2d    Fancy study being held up after sales spiel (9)
PATTERNED: The story one might hear from a salesperson followed by the reversal (held up in a down clue) of one of the usual three-letter studies.

3d    Country tipped to help Northern Ireland (5)
INDIA: Take a short verb meaning to help and the abbreviation for Northern Ireland and then reverse (tipped) the combination.

4d    Hand in dictionary — it’s left out (7)
OMITTED: An informal word for hand is placed inside the abbreviation for one of the well-known big dictionaries (not the BRB).

5d    Carries out belongings (7)
EFFECTS: Double definition. The belongings are often preceded by “personal”.

7d    A romancer specialises in this position in bed? (5)
LYING: Likely behaviour of a cad or a rake trying to get what he wants.

8d    Argentine novel about old age (10)
GENERATION: An anagram (novel) of ARGENTINE enclosing the one-letter abbreviation for old.

11d    Easier to understand nurse perhaps restricting the French (7)
CLEARER: A person who could be a nurse (or a relative) contains (restricting) a French definite article.

14d    Detective’s reported on being found out (10)
DISCOVERED: The usual two letter abbreviation for a detective, S from the clue, and a word meaning reported on (by, e.g., a newspaper).

16d    Take away relic, even ignoring conclusions (7)
RELIEVE: Delete the last letters (ignoring conclusions) of RELIc EVEn

18d    Digs both ends of allotment, entertaining some chaps (9)
APARTMENT: The first and last letters (both ends) of AllotmenT contain synonyms for some and for men. Digs is being a noun here.

20d    It’s what’s behind ham aroma mainly found on Eastern Railway (7)
SCENERY: A word for aroma missing its last letter(mainly) followed by the usual abbreviations for eastern and railway yields the backdrop to an over-actor.

21d    Threaten manoeuvres circumventing new base of operations (7)
THEATRE: An anagram (manoeuvres) of THREATEN without (circumventing) N(ew)

23d    Taking spin around, quietly drive back (5)
REPEL: A four-letter spin encloses the musical abbreviation for quietly.

25d    Engage in new project? Not half! (5)
ENTER: Delete the second half (not half) of a ten-letter new project or venture.

26d    Animal‘s adorable, it’s said (4)
DEER: Spoken aloud (it’s said), this animal sounds like a synonym of adorable.

Thanks to today’s mystery setter. While writing the hints I smiled at 24a, 30a, 4d, 20d, and 25d. Which clues appealed to you?


65 comments on “DT 28278

    1. I can’t work out if that is fun memories about a servant, or fun memories about a man?
      If you have any memories, fun or otherwise, about servants, does this mean you are an Aristo-cat?

      1. Sadly not, Bluebird. The memories pertain only to the surface reading and car enthusiast friends. How I would love to have a servant or two though.

  1. I am glad that the online version of 19 across has been changed to allow accurate parsing. This was not a terribly difficult tussle this morning, but diverting enough. 20 down my favourite and overall I found this to be 1.5*/3*.

    Thanks to the Tuesday Mr Ron and MK for his review. I hope all readers and contributors have come through yesterday’s appalling weather unscathed.

    1. Likewise re 19a. I put in the answer on the online version and was relieved that it didn’t flag up as a wrong answer when I pressed Submit. It was clearly the intended result but certainly not correctly parseable from the original clue.

  2. Gosh. This is a first. No postings shown yet as I start to type this. I might be #1 today.

    An enjoyable romp this morning. I agree with Mr Kitty – not too challenging but plenty to smile at and some nice wordcraft to acknowledge.

    1a and 6a were an excellent start to the across clues. Both nicely constructed. 7d made me smile and 16d was clever. COTD shared between two, both of which had lovely misdirection: 18d and 20d.

    One wonders whether 30a will be viewed as an archaic term before too long.

    Thanks to setter, Mr Kitty and all involved in beating back the hackers. I can’t see why the North Koreans or the Russians have got it in for BD.

    1. Should’ve typed my comments earlier and cut ‘n’ pasted. Still # 3 is earlier than any of my other postings.

  3. Thank heavens this site is up & running again, Big Dave deserves a medal for all of his efforts. Back to the matter in hand I needed help on three clues which put the ratings up for me to **/*** I managed to Bing in 19A but couldn’t parse where the extra letter came from, liked 30A which is my favourite of the day. Many thanks to the setter & Mr Kitty & a special thanks to BD.

  4. All easily worked out today. Agree that 20d is a fine clue. Hands up if you put SHED at 6ac. Easily sorted as there is no letter D in the anagram fodder for 8d. The only thing harmed by yesterday’s weather was the nights takings. The river is up but poses no threat as yet. Thanks to all concerned.

    1. Funny how the mind works: I couldn’t see how you got SHED when I went back to look. Then the penny dropped. Not sure I’d have been that happy with it as a definition of ‘sell’ though.

      1. Me too, MP.

        Mark, when one follows the “bung it on first read through” it doesn’t always have to make sense!

        1. Oh yes it does always have to make sense – one of BD’s mantra is, ‘If it doesn’t make sense then it’s probably, or at least likely to be, wrong’. He is so right, just for a change.

  5. quite tricky, started off on the wrong foot trying to make an anagram of I AM MEETING to no avail (1a)

    I’m glad Mr Kitty wanted to see Dutch leeks

    Liked 9a, but “….as Player did” might make better use of the false capitalisation.

    Enjoyed 10a, 13a, 17a (my last one in), 22a, 30a, 7d, 8d, all nice surfaces.

    Many thanks Mr Kitty and setter

    1. I mentally ran through D abbreviations:
      Dead leeks – unappetizing
      500 leeks – silly
      German leeks – never heard of them
      The main ingredient of Dutch leek soup – that’s the one. :)

  6. Did anyone else spend time trying to find out whether the Elizabethans (for example) had 2 D’s in the spelling of that fish before realising that the clue didn’t work?

    1. I discovered the twelve rules of database management are actually thirteen rules because they run from nought to twelve.

    2. I just decided that life was too short and that I’d wait for the blog to explain the extra consonant. Thanks, Mr Kitty and the setter.

    3. No – I just got grumpy and decided that, in the absence of the blog – more about that in a later comment – I was just having yet another dim day.
      A :rose: for you, CS.

  7. I didn’t find this all that easy particularly in the South where I did need a couple of nudges from Mr. Kitty. Was wondering how only a male 17a could be justified and then remembered use of “my man”. Thanks Messrs Ron and Kitty. ***/**.

    1. Thank you for your little note the other day! Where are you in W Sussex? We are in Billingshurst.

  8. Many thanks to BD for managing to keep the blog going. I dont understand why anyone would want to attack something which is just a bit of fun. I thought today was pretty plain sailing. Not sure where the second D comes from in the clue for 19a, but still quite enjoyable. 2*/2.5* Many thanks to Mr Kitty and to Mr Ron. Hope to be back tomorrow.

    1. Blimey, mate – might be ‘just a bit of fun’ to some but, having been commenting pretty much daily for a very long time, probably seven years plus – in the absence of the blog and all the cheerful and sometimes silly and humorous comments, I feel absolutely lost and totally bereft. How sad does that make me sound? :unsure:

  9. Today’s toughie by Warbler is at the gentler end of the toughie scale with about seven anagrams to give you a leg up.

  10. As with many previous bloggers, I am very grateful to BD for sorting out the problems. I really missed the couple of days without the blog.
    I almost completed today’s puzzle – just couldn’t get 17a. I was sure that I was looking for a vehicle! Favourite 30a.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  11. Finished with the fishy fishy clue in 19a. Knew that something was amiss.
    Proves again how useful this blog is to put our minds at rest. Thanks BD.
    Quite a 21d 28a in this offering I thought.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

    1. Hi Jean-Luc! John had his last session radiotherapy today. We’ll come to le Jardin for lunch before we leave for Sussex on 10 December, ok?

  12. I wondered where the site had gone. Didn’t know there had been problems. Glad it is back. Thanks to BD and all.

  13. Fairly easy today but I did need some help with 17a as I was convinced the answer was a type of vehicle. I also did wonder about the “D” but bunged it in anyway.

  14. Thanks to BD for getting the blog up and running once again 🤗 I certainly missed it yesterday. **/*** today Favourite is either 18d or 9a 🤔 Thanks to Mr Kitty & to the setter 😄

  15. Thanks to Messers Ron & Kitty, for the puzzle and the review and hints respectively. All read and write except for the SE Corner, which took me ages. Favourite was 20d & last in was 25d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  16. I agree with Mr. Kitty’s 1* difficulty rating but hugely enjoyable, nonetheless. I could even do the anagrams in my head instead of writing circles of letters.
    I’m hard pressed to choose a fave, there are so many that I liked.
    Thanks to setter and to MK for his review.

    As ever, kudos to BD for keeping this site going. I always worry that one day he’ll throw up his hands in despair. Perhaps it’s not the Russians but Trump in retaliation for Mrs. May not choosing Farage as Ambassador to the US.

    1. Trump? Would he know what a cryptic crossword is? I saw that somebody proposed Farage for Ambassador to the Moon, now there’s an idea…

      1. What a thought – perhaps as quid pro quo we might choose Mr. Trump’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He would love that! 😋

  17. Good afternoon everybody.

    Rather too gentle today for a Daily Telegraph puzzle but a good puzzle for beginners perhaps.


  18. Pretty straightforward and 19a had to be what it is but the clue didnt parse. So a bung in and glad to see it made sense when corrected. Thanks to Mr Ron for a gentle challenge, MK for the review and BD for getting the site back up.

  19. Our only mark in the margins of our printed out puzzle was the big question mark beside 19a and this is now not needed. We did spend a bit of time consulting references looking for an alternative spelling of the fish. On the gentle end of the spectrum and a pleasant solve for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  20. Our mild November came to an end overnight, several inches of snow in Eastern Manitoba. After shovelling 3 driveways, I’ve logged into today’s Blog. I start this crossword last night and finished over breakfast this morning. Thanks for the parsing of 19 as I couldn’t figure out where the extra d came from. I had one of my persistent mental blocks with 20d, tried last letters, then focussed on odour even looked up smelery before the penny dropped. As many have said, a comparatively easy puzzle while being very enertaining.

  21. Much enjoyed today’s puzzle. Not difficult but so what. I feel there should be more of these to encourage beginner cryptic solvers! Wondered where that spare d came from in 19d! 17a made me smile! Will be more present from now on now that Mr Framboise’s treatment is over. Well done BD for your hard work on getting the blog on line again! Many thanks to setter and Mr. KItty for an enjoyable review.

  22. Three cheers for BD – not that that’s anything new – I think we all take the smooth running of this site for granted until stuff goes, excuse my language please but I could use worse, ‘tits up’.
    Well, am I grumpy or what? Not with the crossword but because I still can’t get here – i.e. onto the site – on my laptop which is what I normally use.
    I wrongly assumed that nothing was working until husband came home and it’s all fine on his computer – why? Can anyone tell me – I just don’t understand, and neither does he.
    Next problem – I’m now using his computer which means that I’m using an unfamiliar keyboard so I end up typing a load of gibberish – oh dear!
    Right – on to the crossword.
    I enjoyed it and thought that it was pretty straightforward – my only problem was the 19a extra letter.
    No particularly outstanding clues – just a generally good and not too tricky Tuesday crossword.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K, particularly for being brave enough to take this on today with all the problems.

    1. PS – From the number of regular commenters who are absent today I think that I can’t be the only one still having trouble.

      1. I think that’s true. There are recent posts on the Facebook page from people saying that they still can’t get to the site.

  23. Greetings from Dunedin, our latest stop. We haven’t posted for a while – a mixture of time zone differences (and maybe some later mornings), internet connectivity and site unavailability having conspired against us. On the last of these, I echo the huge thanks to BD – several years of phone calls in the middle of the night give me some insight here!

    The South Island of NZ is gorgeous, although the weather has not been kind. It’s not possible to describing be the majesty of Fjordland or the beauty of the Otago Peninsula and do them justice; you just have to be there.

    The crossword we thought was 1*/1.5*. We too struggled with the eggy clue and found the database rules!

    Thanks to Mr Kitty and the unknown compiler.

  24. Almost didn’t dare to see if the site was back up today, as I was so disappointed that the nasty people appeared to have stopped it opening up again yesterday. I did manage to open in the evening but only with the previous day’s blog. So very relieved that everything seems to be well again. Big, big thanks to Big Dave for making us all so happy. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. Not sure that an infection is a disease though, but I am sure Kath can put me right on that 😊

    1. Yes – I agree with you, BusyLizzie, that a disease is not an infection – setter’s licence, perhaps. I suppose you could be infected with an infectious disease – measles, chicken pox etc. I spent far too long trying to think of a specific disease. :smile: to you too..

  25. 1*/3* – a good warm-up of a puzzle, in preparation for more strenuous mental activity later in the week no doubt. My favourite was 20d, even if I did try “smelery” at first (well, you never know). Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty (who logically ought to be called Tom).

  26. I’ll start by repeating what I just wrote in my comment for Monday’s puzzle because it needs to be said time and time again!. What a relief to find the blog operating again this morning. I am sure I am one of many who have felt bereft by its absence. Heartfelt thanks to BD for working so tirelessly to fight off the morons and to keep us happy.

    My rating for this puzzle is the same as Mr Kitty’s 1*/2*. I found it virtually R&W (apart from struggling to find the extra D in 19a).

    Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K.

  27. Well, catch up time. Simple, easy challenge that took little time to complete. Pleasant enough with 30a as favourite. 1.5/2.5* overall.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Ki for his review.
    Now catch up on Monday to be be done…..

  28. Sudden return of access to the site, so I’m playing catch-up on the reviews from the last few days before it goes again – definitely having hiccups when I try to post!
    Can’t recall having any problems with this beyond the obvious one at 19a and – yes, I looked for a word from yesteryear to fit the bill.
    No real stand out clues but I’ll settle for a top three of 6&30a along with 4d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and special thanks to Mr. K for keeping the faith and producing the review in the full knowledge that none of us might ever see it! Thought your animals pictured at 26d were indeed adorable!

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