DT 28280 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28280

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28280

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** / ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where autumn held its ground until a week ago but has now finally succumbed to the first advances of winter. The ground is covered with a few inches of snow and more is promised this coming weekend.

Today’s puzzle is definitely not by RayT and it doesn’t strike me as the work of Shamus — but my Shamus radar has not been nearly as well tuned as my RayT radar. The puzzle was an enjoyable enough solve but it was a delight to blog — with lots of opportunity to inject gratuitous comments.

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   Bishop is interrupting a QC, fearful creature (8)
BASILISK — start with the symbol used for bishop in chess; then add the A from the clue and a name for a QC (arising from their attire) into which IS (from the clue) is inserted; you will then have a mythical reptile with a lethal gaze or breath, hatched by a serpent from a cock’s egg; I think I was more surprised to learn that cocks laid eggs than I was by the beast

5a   Odds on tour being disrupted to grow (6)
SPROUT — the odds at the start of a race are followed by an anagram (being disrupted) of TOUR; here the setter flouts the convention for the use of ‘on’ in an across clue

9a   Last month, salesman appears with that thing like a crate? (8)
DECREPIT — string together a shortened form of the month that will be upon us in a week, a small salesman, and a pronoun used to refer to an unspecified or implied antecedent


10a   Show area swamped by merrymaking (6)
REVEAL — the mathematical symbol for area finds itself in the midst of an occasion of noisy lively enjoyment (although as a noun the latter term usually appears in the plural)

12a   Sister enthralled by fake drink? That’s puzzling (9)
CONUNDRUM — a religious sister is taken in by a fishy hoax; what follows then is a spirited (rather than spiritual) drink

13a   Put below ground part of main terminal (5)
INTER — you will find the solution buried in the final two words of the clue

14a   With leader gone, supply witticism (4)
QUIP — remove the initial letter of a word denoting to outfit or supply

16a   Gastronome encountered behind a lot of fruit (7)
GOURMET — a more concise word for encountered follows a type of fruit related to the cucumber from which the final letter has been chopped off (still leaving a lot, though)

19a   Pastry consumed by most rude Londoners (7)
STRUDEL — this pastry, more likely to be consumed in Berlin than London, can be found wrapped in the final three words of the clue

21a   Submissive male with frightened sound (4)
MEEK — abbreviated male followed by a scream from the comics

24a   Cruise maybe in Cadillac to resort (5)
ACTOR — concealed in the final three words of the clue is the profession of a heartthrob who made his first stage appearance while a student in elementary (primary) school here in Ottawa

25a   Dominant in fight, concealing worries to make comeback (9)
MASTERFUL — a one-sided fight is wrapped around the reversal of a verb meaning worries unnecessarily

27a   It indicates pressure exists over legal profession (6)
ISOBAR — a charade of a verb meaning exists, the symbol for over on a cricket scorecard, and a collective term for lawyers gives us a line on a weather map


28a   Attractive sign nearly seen behind workers (8)
HANDSOME — a sign of things to come (usually bad) minus its final letter (nearly) follows some manual workers

29a   Aristo discontented everyone? That could be tough to swallow (6)
TOFFEE — a derogatory term for a rich or upper-class person precedes the first and last letters (discontented) of EveryonE to give a sweet that’s tough to swallow (likely because your dentures are embedded in it)

30a   Partner carrying bottle for artist (8)
MAGRITTE — one’s other half embraces courage and determination

René Magritte in front of his painting The Pilgrim


1d   Basque old boy’s given up gambling game (6)
BODICE — a reversal (up in a down clue) of the customary old boy and a game of chance involving the rolling of numbered cubes


2d   Back  boxer’s assistant (6)
SECOND — double definition; the first to lend one’s support to a motion at a meeting

3d   Extended period for kippers? (3-2)
LIE-IN — these kippers are found between the sheets rather than in a tin

4d   Riding support purist designed is about right (7)
STIRRUP — an anagram (designed) of PURIST surrounding R(ight)

6d   Foreshadow physique to be displayed after runs in gym (9)
PREFIGURE — another word for physique (one usually applied to females and not usually focused on athletic attributes) follows the cricket symbol for runs which is placed in the middle the abbreviation for gym class; I certainly hope that the runs in gym class were not the result of eating a tin of bad kippers

7d   Clear this person’s energy will lead to extra work (8)
OVERTIME — connect the following lego pieces: a synonym for open or public, the pronominal version of “this person’s”, and a physicists symbol for E(nergy)

8d   Put up with muddled role in gallery (8)
TOLERATE — an anagram (muddled) of ROLE in Crosswordland’s most visited gallery

11d   Conceited son supported by fool (4)
SMUG — S(on) precedes (supported by in a down clue) a possibly beer-filled dupe

15d   Set about  what indisciplined motorway driver might do? (9)
UNDERTAKE — double definition


17d   State is probing established writer (8)
ESSAYIST — another word for state or utter and IS from the clue insert themselves in EST(ablished)

18d   Remove debt straight away, we hear (5,3)
WRITE OFF — this sounds like straight away or immediately

20d   This could be standard place for filming politician (4)
LAMP — start with a US West Coast city (in which you will find a neighbourhood that is synonymous with the American motion picture industry), then append a British (or Canadian) politician

21d   Cosmetic allowing the old woman to hide a blemish (7)
MASCARA — a less slangy term for “the old woman” encompasses the A from the clue and a mark left after a wound has healed

22d   Two notes on stronghold in struggle (6)
EFFORT — two musical notes sit atop a military enclosure

23d   Charge more than normal for thermal garment (6)
FLEECE — double definition; the first denoting the act of financially shearing someone

26d   I’ve noted down wine that is served up (5)
EIDER — start with a type of wine (a Burgundy, for instance) and a Latin abbreviation for “that is”; then reverse the lot (served up in a down clue); the definition is a terse expression of what could be stated more verbosely as “I am a bird whose down is well-known”; I only managed to decrypt the definition as I was writing the review, having initially taken it to be merely “down” and as a result struggling to explain the first two words in the clue

I am usually enamoured of clever wordplay, but having finally deciphered the clever definition in 26d, I’m going with it as my favourite today.

80 comments on “DT 28280

  1. Apart from 26d, this was a particularly friendly crossword and like Falcon, I’ll pick it as my favourite because of the d’oh moment when I ‘saw’ the definition

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and Falcon

  2. I’ve just posted my comment and when I hit the button the screen showed the Flare stuff, went blank and hung. And now it’s lost everything I’d written! No idea if it’ll work this time.

    I agree 26 was hard to parse. Bunged in the answer suggested by the wordplay but couldn’t understand it until I read Falcon’s review. Can’t complain though: fair clue.

    Good fun this morning with lots to like though most answers went in fairly swiftly. 1a is a lovely word to find in a puzzle and, if the QC jumps quickly to mind, leaps out. I suspect that, if it doesn’t, one could go up plenty of blind alleys. I guessed that 1d was not going to be about the European ethnic minority but then I got BODY in the mind – which, of course, has the upwards old boy so mislead me for a while. I feel I’ve encountered 2d and 23d several times in recent puzzles.

    Favourites today are 17d: simply but cleverly constructed beneath a misleading surface and 20d which is just brilliant. A joy to re-read in the light of the answer.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon and to BD for his continuing battles with the bugs.

  3. Oh dear :sad:
    Just when it looked as if the site was working fine again with the advent of the CloudFlare DDoS checks, this morning I have been receiving Site Certificate warnings which pop up every few seconds making navigation through the site almost impossible. This has happened to me before the current hacking problems but with nothing like the frequency of this morning and it mysteriously disappeared after a few days.

    I didn’t feel as if I was particularly enjoying today’s puzzle while I was solving it but with hindsight I’m not sure why. The SE corner took me longer than the rest put together with 26d my last one in. 6d was a new word for me and I was expecting my BRB to tell me it was an Americanism but that appears not to be the case.

    26d was my favourite too, with 20d a close second.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

  4. At first sight the grid gave me the shivers but everything fell into place quite smoothly.
    Last in was the homophone in 18d.
    Liked 26d too but favourite is 25a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

  5. With the exception of 26d, which completely flummoxed me, a fairly straightforward solve today.
    26d gets my vote as favourite too.

    Many thanks to setter, and to Falcon.

  6. 26d second to last one in which gave up the painter at 30ac. I cannot see why 26d should have fooled us so. Otherwise quite straightforward.Ta to all.

  7. A straightforward solve but very enjoyable. The parsing for 26d eluded me too. **/*** from me today. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for his review.

  8. Good to be back , like meeting an old friend!.
    Bit of a R and W for me today, but well clued, so a */***.Liked 26d.
    Thought we might have had a pic of Mr Faulty for 1a- or perhaps Sibyl would have been more appropriate.
    Mr’s B has solved the past two toughies by herself, much to her own amazement-she can now access the blog ratings and see what everybody thought.
    Thanks Falcon-is the Duck an Eider or a Mandarin ?.

  9. Like others 26D tripped me up & I have never heard of the beastly in 1A but managed to solve with a little electronic aid. The site seems to be working for me alright at the moment so fingers crossed.Many thanks to the setter & Falcon for his review & special thanks to BD.

  10. An enjoyable little tussle this morning. Some lovely clues, a couple of oddities but overall time well spent. I particularly liked 1 across, and predictably perhaps 26 down was my last one in the grid.

    Thanks to whoever compiled this and to Falcon. 2*/3*.

  11. Posted yesterday but I think it disappeared into the black hole that is server world, glad to see everything is back to nearly normal, many thanks to Big Dave.
    Today’s crossword very good a two coffee cup puzzle, some clever word play and a few lurkers. Favourite 4d it just appealed to me.
    New boxer Deefor, has been exploring the delights of the cliffs and taking to the sea, especially when the weather is awful. How like his predecessor Boot.
    Thanks to Falcon and setter whoever it may be.

  12. Most of this fell nicely into place although I did have to check 6d with the BRB and thought the ‘filming’ reference in 20d was a bit oblique.
    Parsing 26d caused much head-scratching but, in company with others, I’ll nominate that as favourite.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon – laughed over the banana crate and the 15d cartoon.

    Now then – will this post, I wonder…………..

    1. Hi Jane
      I thought the reference in 20d was fair: it is, after all, the home of Hollywood and all of the big film makers are based either in Hollywood itself or in the larger city. Mind you, it’s always easier to decide a clue is fair when it worked for you, which it did for me.

    2. Hi Jane,

      It would seem that the motion picture industry is no longer based in Hollywood — or even LA for that matter.

      Of the Big Six major film studios, Paramount is the only one still based in Hollywood, and Paramount and Fox are the only ones still located within the Los Angeles city limits, while Disney and Warner Bros. are located in Burbank, Columbia in Culver City, and Universal in the unincorporated area of Universal City.

  13. **/** for me – completed comfortably before lights out last night. Plenty of Small Red Book usage, but minimal electronic assistance such as confirming that my answer to 1a was a ‘fearful creature.’

    I think 2d and 21d must be prime candidates for Mr Kitty’s study; I am reasonably certain that they were used within the last three weeks or so.

    Three candidates for favourite – 1a, 27a, and 30a; perhaps 1a by a nose.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

    1. 21d appeared just two weeks ago in DT 28266 (8 Nov.): Cosmetic the old lady’s used to hide a disfigurement (7)
      It’s appeared seven times since 2010, each time as some variant of that clueing.

      The last appearance of 2d was DT 28220 (15 Sep.) as: Back in a moment? (6)
      It’s been seen more recently as an answer ingredient:
      DT 28236 (4 Oct.): Alternative choice in back row (6,6)
      DT 28254 (25 Oct.): Back to win against silver medallist (6,4)

  14. Many thanks Falcon. I’ve in Basel for 7 years where they have lots of statues of 1a. And it’s nice to hear some Bob Seger, even if I have to watch Tom Cruise for it (I remember the movie).

    This puzzle had the misfortune of following yesterday’s excellent puzzles, and in comparison it did not feel as exciting – though a pleasant solve nonetheless
    I liked 20d, 21d, 22d

    26d I wanted to like and now that Falcon’s explained the ‘I’ve noted’, perhaps I can.
    and I liked 29a.

    Many thanks setter and Falcon

  15. 26d was my last one in too. Who would have thought that such a little word could fox so many of us?!
    Enjoyed this puzzle very much and managed without hints, but loved the video and other pictures.
    Thanks to setter, falcon and of course BD for his remarkable efforts to keep us all on this site.

  16. A gentle challenge for a Thursday. No problems once the penny dropped with 26a.
    Favourite was 1a and overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.
    BD I just have to say that I am in admiration of all your efforts!

  17. An enjoyable puzzle…..I seem to be getting better at these having completed all this weeks so far as well as the quick ones and two Toughies!! I particlarly liked 26d and 30 across…’.ceci n’est pas une pipe!’ **/***

  18. It is now morning in Ottawa. Outside my window the snow is falling gently. The radio is reporting chaos on the highways as drivers fail to adjust to winter conditions. I have perused the comments, had breakfast and am now settling down with my second cup of coffee secure in the knowledge that I have nowhere I need go until late afternoon. Glad to see that people enjoyed the puzzle and the review. For once, I seem to be part of the consensus for favourite clue.

    1. Just a quick and belated visit to thank Falcon for his entertaining and comprehensive blog and everyone for taking the time to comment

      1. Good of you to pop in and own up, Shamus. Bet you thought you should acknowledge a visit from royalty!

  19. Torrential rain continues. No sunset beers on the beach for a while. I bunged a few of the answers in and only then saw why I was right. Like many others, 26d was the last one in – and couldn’t understand the “I’ve” until I came here. Also the expression for “odds” in 5a was new to me, but I presume it’s a usual suspect… (anyway, gambling is illegal here..) Oh, 16a tricky too. I liked 1a, and thought 17d and 30a were clever. Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

    1. Re; the “odds” in 5a

      “Starting Price” seems to be a British term. The British site A Glossary of Betting Terms tells us that “Close” is the US term for the “final odds on a horse (e.g. “closed at 5 to 1”). Confusingly equates to “Starting Price” in the UK.” Thus it would appear that the US term refers to the close of betting and the British term to the start of the race (which happen to be one and the same). I have no idea what term is used in Canada, but would suspect it may be the same as in the US.

      The terms may not be entirely equivalent. Collins English Dictionary says that starting price is the latest odds offered by bookmakers at the start of a race. However, I believe in North America that parimutuel betting is used where the odds are determined by the amount of money bet on each horse and not set by bookmakers.

      However, I haven’t spent enough time at the track to be very knowledgeable in this field.

  20. I thought at first sight this was going to be quite difficult, but it was easier than I thought.. Never heard of the creature in 1a but it was easy enough to work out from the clue.Favourites were 6d and 29a. 2.5*/2.5* Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for his hints.

      1. That’s how I knew about it. Until I saw the picture accompanying the hint I’d thought it was a JK Rowling creation.

  21. Very pleasant run out today I thought. So nice to have the blog back, can never see why they do a DDOS on a non-commercial site, makes no sense to me.
    For me **/***
    Thx to all

  22. 1st thought when I repeatedly couldn’t get onto the site:
    “Oh no, please let it be temporary, I love that site”

    2nd thought:
    “Oh no, I never even took the time to say thank you.”

    So, thank you, better late than never, for all the hard work of the team. I don’t think I’d have got into crosswords without this site, and I get a lot of pleasure from the hobby and the site.

      1. In which case, perhaps you’d agree that BD is a suitable candidate for the next honours list?

      2. If it is, I am already to go into curtsy mode 😊

        And ditto to Mr Kitty’s suggestion, very deserving.

      3. If you’re going to blow my cover like that, the least you can do is call me Ma’am.

        PS thanks all in advance for picking up the building repair tab. Last time I let Harry have his mates round for a few beers.

  23. Great puzzle, like others was foxed by 26d and definitely my favourite…..also great to have the site up and running again – I certainly missed it when unable to access, so thanks to all involved…

  24. Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today and a surprisingly gentle puzzle for Thursday. 1a was a new word to me although the solution was fairly clear from the clue.


  25. I’ll join the majority needing Falcon’s hint to understand 26d. I knew it had to be correct as I solved that corner early on, it just had to be!
    I had great difficulty with 17d and 29a and needed the hints for the answers.
    I liked 1a, solved it by doing exactly what the setter told me to do, but I had to look it up, new to me.
    I’m torn between 20d and 26d as fave, I’ll just toss a coin.
    Thanks to setter, so many enjoyable clues, and to Falcon for helping me to finish this.

  26. The site worked well for me today, the first time for a while, just typed in DT28,280 and bingo! 😄 Liked the crossword **/***, like many others last in 26d, I must admit I stumbled or in truth fell flat on my face with Elder (obviously thinking of Elderberry wine 😳) Thanks to Falcon for the blog and the nice picture of a King Eider, quite a rarity this side of the pond 😉 Liked 1a a new word for me and thanks to the setter whoever he may be?

  27. Needed help to get 30a. Just couldnt unravel it. Got 26d but it wasnt until i read the hints i realised I hadnt parsed the clue at all. Overall an enjoyable challenge so thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review.

  28. I found this decidedly tricky in places, not so much because of the wordplay (26d excepted), but I think because I often struggled to get on to the same wavelength as the setter.

    It was a very enjoyable solve overall, however, with my ticks going to 24a, 25a 30a, 1d, and, of course in pride of place, 26d which was exceptionally clever.

    Delighted that all seems to be working well today, hope that doesn’t jinx things!

    Many thanks to today’s compiler and to Falcon.

  29. I found this decidedly tricky in places, not so much because of the wordplay (26d excepted), but I think because I often struggled to get on to the same wavelength as the setter.

    It was a very enjoyable solve overall, however, with my ticks going to 24a, 25a, 30a, 1d, and, of course in pride of place, 26d which was exceptionally clever.

    Delighted that all seems to be working well today, hope that doesn’t jinx things!

    Many thanks to today’s compiler and to Falcon.

    1. Not at all like you to repeat yourself, Silvanus :wink:

      … yet another unwanted side-effect of the current problems.

  30. The SE corner took much longer than the rest of the puzzle to sort out and we were also confused with the definition for 26d. Yes it is very clever. A pleasant solve but we have no idea who the setter might be.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  31. Happy Thanksgiving to all this side of the pond, (US – Canada had theirs last month I think). Thanks Falcon for the hints, and BD for manning the turrets. Good fun today, with just a couple of hold ups. 1d was Mr BL’s favorite – perhaps Falcon’s picture might have had something to do with that…

    1. Pardon me for failing to extend Thanksgiving Day greetings to those of you south of the border. Yes, we did celebrate our Thanksgiving Day on October 12 while you were marking Columbus Day.

    2. Although we obviously don’t have Thanksgiving in the U.K., you may be surprised to learn that we seem to have adopted “Black Friday” here in the last few years sadly, even though there is no logical or cultural reason to do so, except as an excuse for greedy retailers wanting to become even greedier.

      The number of ads for it each year on TV and in the printed media seems to grow exponentially. There was even one on Page 2 of today’s Telegraph to my dismay.

      A Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating it today.

      1. As Black Friday is the day after Thansgiving, I was puzzled how that suddenly started up in the U.K. I totally ignore it over here, and would never go shopping on this awful day of crowds. Already done all my Christmas shopping anyway, 85% of it on line. Soooooo relaxing.

  32. Could not get either 26d nor 30a, so thanks to Falcon for the hints for those.
    Otherwise a very enjoyable, if for me quite hard, puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter.

  33. Managed to fill the grid unaided, but couldn’t parse everything on my own. So I appreciated Falcon explaining the odds in 5a, the fake in 12a, and the wordplay in 26d.
    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable solve and to Falcon for his entertaining and enlightening hints.

  34. Nicely demanding. Thank you Mr. Ron and Falcon. Reassuring to know I wasn’t alone in needing a bit of a prompt to completely parse 26d. Took a while to figure out how to use all the components for a word in 1a – unsurprisingly as it is new to me. 3a amused the most. ***/***.

  35. The first half slipped in almost imperceptibly during a very quick gulp down of breakfast, without any tea or coffee to lubricate the brain cells. I had a little more time at lunch (and was fully caffeinated by then) so expected to polish off the rest, but to my annoyance I returned to my desk with three in the SE unfilled (not 26d, funnily enough). I didn’t have much patience when I returned to the puzzle much later and decided that since we are lucky enough to have the blog I may as well make use of it.

    I liked 29a and 26d, but my favourite just because it made me grin is 21a.

    Thanks to the setter for a pleasant if unevenly challenging puzzle, and to Falcon for the gratuitously annotated review. At 1a, I wondered if a cock egg might perhaps be something like a dog egg.

  36. Very late here today – just for a change the lateness wasn’t caused by ‘bloggy problems’ but by trying to teach Elder Lamb how to use a sewing machine – oh dear – dim, not me this time but her.
    Most of this one seemed fairly straightforward but then I ended up in the bottom right hand corner.
    I couldn’t get 28 or 30a for ages and then, when 26d finally had to be what it was, I couldn’t see why.
    A good and enjoyable puzzle, I thought, with some fun clues – 1a and 1 and 11d. My favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon – I’m all for some gratuitous comments!
    Also with thanks and admiration to BD for dealing with all the trouble – I’m SO glad to have the blog back – solitary cross wording just isn’t as much fun.

  37. SE corner was tricky, probably more so than the rest of the puzzle.
    24a was very clever and my fav.
    Hopefully now, all the sites troubles are in the past, it’s great to have it up and running again.
    Thanks to Mr.Ron and Falcon, especially for the photo for 1d

  38. Been painting my daughter’s house today so only just got to grip with the crossword and after half a bottle of wine (maybe a bit more!). Finished with no hint or other help apart from confirmation of the artist in 30a. 14a was last one in. 26d was a bung it in and 2nd to last but now explained, very clever. They are my favourite ducks at Slimbridge – I just love their call.
    Thanks all.

  39. Well, thanks to a typically awful “service” from Southern Rail, I started and finished this offering from Shamus standing amid the grumpy crowd at London Bridge waiting for the 23.42, which eventually turned up significantly after midnight (with no accompanying apology – or J J Cale). I liked it very much but am baffled by Falcon’s decryption of 26d. I’m still in the dark as to what the first two words of the clue signify – I just went with RED and IE reversed to get DOWN. Help anyone? Favourite has to be 19a – watching my mother and aunt making one on the kitchen table in Alt Aussee is an enduring childhood memory. Thanks to Falcon and his gratuity and Shamus for the challenge. 2*/3*

    1. I interpreted Falcon’s 26d hint like this: The first three words are a bird speaking about its plumage. The bird noted for its down is the Eider.

        1. I’ve noted down is just another way of (the bird) saying “I have well-known down”. And the bird that statement most obviously applies to is the eider. The setter has used that rather unusual/cryptic definition to fool you into thinking about noting something down in writing or similar. It’s just a bit of misdirection in the definition.

  40. Hats off to Falcon and everyone else who got 26d! I would never have got this diabolically obscure clue without your help. 9a was my favourite because it went in so neatly, though i still don’t understand what a crate has to do with it!

    1. It has been a while since I’ve had to say ‘have a look in the dictionary’ but here goes. Look up crate in the dictionary and you’ll see it is a slang term for an old worn out car

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