DT 28287 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28287


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28287

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs where the frost of the last few days has been replaced with a thick cloud cover.

Nothing too difficult from Giovanni today: the bits of General Knowledge are easily determined 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           Fifty in female group in NY community (6)
HARLEM – A set of wives and concubines in an Eastern potentate’s palace, wrapped around the Roman numeral for fifty, giving us a major African-American area of New York City. Here’s some music of the sort the area was once famous for.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a           Separated group needing a role (3,5)
SET APART – A group or clique followed by A (from the clue) and a stage role.

9a           Resolution to get legal decision (13)
DETERMINATION – Double definition: steadfastness, or a finding by a court.

10a         Thoroughly idle, ain’t moving (2,6)
IN DETAIL – Anagram (moving) of IDLE AIN’T.

11a         Bring out priest to meet leading trio of citizens (6)
ELICIT – An Old Testament priest who regularly appears in crosswords, followed by the first three letters (leading trio) of CITizens.

12a         Home Counties woman and a lady from Spain (6)
SENORA – The compass direction where the Home Counties are to be found, followed by a woman’s name.

14a         Refuses products sold for the Christmas market? (8)
DECLINES – Split (3,5) we have an abbreviated form of the month containing Christmas and some product ranges – hence, arguably, products for the Christmas market.

16a         Reason in short supply — argument within becomes hardened (8)
STIFFENS – Remove the final letter from the sort of reason which is often preceded by ‘common’, then insert a minor argument.

19a         Opening bank’s initial scope (6)
BREACH – The first letter of Bank followed by scope or range.

21a         Weapons carried by tribal ancestors (6)
LANCES – Hidden in the clue.

23a         Old bishop visiting unfamiliar alien part of France (8)
LORRAINE Old and the letters which are an abbreviation of the honorific form of address for a bishop, with an anagram (unfamiliar) of ALIEN wrapped around it.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a         One moving from party to party? (8,5)
FLOATING VOTER – Cryptic definition of someone whose political sympathies are not fixed.

26a         Something that can cut hard surface to a greater degree (8)
CLAYMORE – A soil surface which is hard when dry, and extremely sticky when wet, followed by a word for ‘to a greater degree’.

Image result for claymore sword

27a         What has lots of little holes? It’s a puzzle (6)
RIDDLE – Double definition, the first being a garden tool used for sifting soil.


2d           Article on famous Italian movement (7)
ANDANTE – One of the forms of the indefinite article followed by an Italian poet of the late Middle Ages. This gives us a musical tempo, which by extension is used to refer to a movement played at that tempo.

3d           Underground flow of water coming from toilet here (5)
LETHE – One of the rivers of the Underworld in Greek mythology is hidden in the clue.

4d           Sweet food mum and boy fed to horse (9)
MARMALADE – A short word for mum and another word for a boy, with a female horse wrapped around them.

Image result for marmalade

5d           Expert runner was first to embrace learner (7)
SKILLED – The sort of runner used (in pairs) for sliding down snow-covered hills, and ‘was first’ (in the race), placed either side of Learner.

6d           Guy drinks, from what we hear (5)
TEASE – The definition is a verb – to guy or make fun of. The answer sounds like (from what we hear) some common hot drinks.

7d           Ancient VIP I repeatedly term ‘doddery’ (9)
PRIMITIVE – Anagram (doddery) of VIP, I, I (repeatedly) and TERM.

8d           Scottish engineer looked after cows (7)
RANKINE – ‘Looked after’ or ‘managed’ followed by another word for cattle. The answer is a 19th-century Scottish scientist known, apparently for inventing a temperature scale which, like the Kelvin scale, starts at absolute zero, but then proceeds upwards in degrees Fahrenheit. He is also known for a model used to predict the performance of steam turbine systems (Thank you, Wikipedia).

Image result for Rankine

13d         Smelling nothing, left workplace (9)
OLFACTORY – The definition is an adjective, hence relating to the sense of smell. Put together the letter which looks like a zero, Left, and an industrial workplace.

15d         I’ve drab car, not a flashy type to give others a ride (3-6)
CAB-DRIVER – Anagram (flashy) of I’VE DRAB C(a)R with one A removed (not a), giving someone whose job is to drive others around.

17d         Emotional time, being given rebuke (7)
TEARFUL Time followed by an informal word for a rebuke or telling-off.

18d         Awfully senile, being about 100 and quiet (7)
SILENCE – Anagram (awfully) of SENILE, wrapped around the Roman numeral for 100.

20d         Trick monster briefly used for domination (7)
CONTROL – A three-letter word for trick or cheat, followed by the monster who took on the Billy Goats Gruff, with his final letter removed.

22d         Argument getting some Scot testy, upset (3-2)
SET-TO – Hidden in reverse in the clue.

24d         Bill and Edward participated in panto maybe (5)
ACTED – An abbreviation for a bill or account, followed by a short form of Edward.

The Quick Crossword pun HISS + PANIC = HISPANIC

68 comments on “DT 28287

  1. I found this puzzle mostly straightforward except for the Scottish engineer; I’d never heard of him or the cow so had to look them up.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 1.5*/3*

  2. 2*/2*. Business as usual for a Friday puzzle, today’s having a slightly Scottish flavour.
    The cows in 8d were knew to me, but I found them in my BRB.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. I’ve just enjoyed the video for 1a although watching the two dancers come down the stairs made me wince.

    2. Good morning RD>. Does your post mean that :

      a. you knew the cows personally
      b. you knew of the cows
      c. you understood that the word Kine related to cows
      d. you wrote new and predictive text put knew.
      e. you accidentally wrote knew
      f. you had never met those particular cows before
      g. the word kine, relating to cows was new to you
      h. you meant none of the above
      J. you meant all of the ebove of the above.

      1. :lol:
        I wondered who would be the first to pick up on my mistake – deliberate, of course, just to see who is paying attention!

        P.S. I know no cows personally.

    3. We have a family will dated 1594, in which one of the items specified (and everything, down to “pygges”, feather beds and butter IS specified) is:

      20 Kyne – value given as £67.

  3. One of those very rare ‘who is this and what have they done with Giovanni’ days as this was a 1* R&W for me. Thank you to him and DT too

    1. I’m with you CS in finding this more or less R & W but entertaining enough while it lasted. The Scottish engineer was new to me as was the lurker in 3d. My Fav LOL moment was 17d. Thanks Giovanni and DT. */**.

      1. Meant to say DT how nice it was to hear/see your example of some of the 1a Cotton Club-type music/dancing. Memories of Satchmo, Ella et al. TVM for that.

  4. I enjoyed quite a lot of this crossword during the solve, which wasn’t too taxing (for a Friday) thanks to a generous sprinkling of straightforward clues and Giovanni’s typically precise wordplay. I then enjoyed it some more after consulting the BRB on the obscure (to me) answers: 2d, 3d, and 26a. That made it a good day for learning new words, although I’m not sure how useful they will be in everyday conversation. I was familiar with Mr 8d from his contributions to thermodynamics, although not with his cows. In addition to that clue, I smiled at 16a and 5d. But my favourite, by some distance once I’d looked up the answer in the BRB and fully understood the parsing, is 27a. Big smile for that one.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

    1. Mr K – re your query about the usefulness of some of these words in conversation. As I found when querying iliac the other day, there are communities everywhere who use these words regularly even if us mere mortals (well I’m a mere mortal, at least) know no better. Musicians will certainly use 2d and historians and armourers 26a. As for 3d, it seems to be regularly in use on the railways as an excuse for slow running, when on the line…

      1. Agreed, Mark, the degree of obscurity all depends on one’s experience and interests. The Scottish engineer is well-known to most physicists, for example, and I knew iliac when it came up because of discussions with a surgeon about the artery bearing that name.

        Big :) for your comment on 3d. That’s inspired.

  5. Like others, 8 down was my only stumble, although the wordplay and a quick bung-in got me home. Otherwise an enjoyable and not overly taxing Friday puzzle from Giovanni. 2 down just took the top of my podium. Thanks to The Don and DT. 2*/3*.

  6. More education from Giovanni in the shape of the underground water, the engineer and his cows.
    As usual, somewhat lacking in humour although I rather liked 14a & 17d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the nicely illustrated review.

    Four answers into the grid of the proXimal – about par for the course!

  7. I know we are not allowed to insert solving times (I think I got away with it yesterday) but compared to yesterday this was a walk in the park. Still at least I can look forward to a weeks worth of crosswords that I can understand.
    Learned a new word in 3d, a new Scotsman in 8d and a new slang word in 6d at least the BRB says it is slang.
    All were easily attained however from the excellent clues. A pleasure to solve this puzzle.
    Thx to all.

  8. Definitely a very gentle Giovanni, even a delayed start because of evening activities did not stop me from completing the puzzle before lights out last night – **/*** for me.

    Favourite 13d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  9. A breeze to solve. Even the more obscure clues are solvable via the wordplay. Thank you DT for the stuff above. I shall annoy Saint Sharon by playing Avec Mon Sabots over and over again today. Thank you Mr Manley for the walk in the park. It is our annual Christmas tree festival this weekend. Saint Sharon is busy at the church putting two trees up. One for The Green Man and one for her Monday night Knit and Natter (Stitch and Bitch) group. If you play nicely I may provide some photos on Monday.

  10. Pretty good for a Friday, again like most people 8d threw me.i even resorted to Hoyles games for -7a then had a “doh” moment.
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  11. A **/*** to complete a week of similar standard- for difficulty that is-what has become of the Friday brain teaser ? does anyone else think that the current crop of puzzles are less demanding- I am ignoring Brian’s 7 hour slog of yesterday !
    Remembered the old cow in 8d and the greek river, which helped .No real favourites.
    Thanks to DT for the blog ,thought 25a would provide a wonderful opportunity for a ‘pic’-not quite sure what !.

  12. As a new girl on the block could someone please tell me what BRB stands for? It seems a very useful addition to crossword knowledge. Like most others the Scottish engineer had me baffled.

    1. Jen – FAQ 12 – Chambers Dictionary. As the FAQ states there is also a Small Red Book – Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

    2. BRB stands for big Red Book. As Senf kindly says it is the Chambers Dictionary. The fount of all knowledge for all things crosswordy to do in the The Daily Telegraph. A browse through The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on the bar at the top of this page might prove interesting and if you want to see what some of us look like click on Gallery in the features section.

    3. Welcome, Jen from the block. The BRB is also available in app form for iOS and Android. Those electronic versions have search functions that can be helpful when one is stuck staring at checkers.

    1. Welcome from me too. This isn’t a criticism at all so please don’t take it as one but if there is a thread of comments on the go it’s quite a good idea to press the ‘reply thingy’ because then everything stays nice and tidy and all up together.

        1. No – probably not. When I worked in the cardiac dept the expression was always, “If in doubt blame Kath”. I can’t see any reason why that shouldn’t work just as well here.

          1. Well, I’m glad I didn’t work with your colleagues. In most hospitals I worked in it was “Whose turn is it for the blame today?”

              1. No – it was usually Kath but, in reply to MalcolmR, it was always in a jokey kind of way – at least I think, and hope, that it was! :unsure: it was a very good place to work.

  13. Hmmm – it’s Friday so no walk in the park for me. :sad:
    The first female group that sprang to mind was witches and you’ll all just have to believe me when I say that ‘Cloven’ isn’t a NY community and neither is ‘Colven’. Oh dear!
    I got into a terrible pickle with 8d – I’ve never heard of him and had forgotten about the blasted cows.
    I’ve never heard of the 3d river or, as above, had forgotten about it.
    I had to check in the BRB with 26a – for some reason I thought it was a kind of pipe.
    As always the fewer the anagrams the harder I find a crossword.
    I liked 7 and 17d and my favourite was 27a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. It might be regarded as syspicious, Kath, that both you and I first thought of
      “coven” …………🎃

      1. I went for Salem and checked if Sallem was in NY. As you often say: The mind boggles.

      2. OK – let’s be the witches of the blog. Glad to have some company.
        A long time ago when I had been deemed fit to do hints on my own but hadn’t quite sussed out how to do the pics I used to send my hints to BD and he put in the picture hints – he found a wonderful one of a little witch stirring a pot – someone very kindly said that it was nice of me to put in selfie.

  14. I found this trickier than most of you seem to have…but very enjoyable.
    Didn’t know the river or the engineer, but did know the cows and the guy at 6d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  15. Well I didn’t know the river, the cows or the engineer. Apart from those, a pleasant enough jaunt.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  16. Once I got going this became a fairly gentle challenge (for the Don).
    16a was just about my favourite and overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his review.

  17. Was this really a Giovanni puzzle?

    Is it really Friday?

    Other than that I’m speechless …

  18. I liked this one. The usual Friday arcane-ities but easy enough to solve but needed confirmation with Wackipedia. Thanks for a good one today Mr Don. In particular, I loved the clip for 1a. Wow! I’d like to see Mr Balls try that. Must show the family later. Thank you DT for the entertainment.

  19. This was the easiest this week but enjoyable neverthless. A few new words for me which required a little research. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the review. Yet another day of rain – deep joy.

    1. We, too, had rain last night, even more joyful, but not enough to satisfy my really thirsty garden.

  20. Like many others, the Scottish engineer in 8d was a new one on me, likewise the cows. Would never have got there without Deep Threat’s hint on that one. A pleasant puzzle today.

  21. I enjoyed today’s puzzle and solved some of it whilst waiting for breakfast at Claridges! Which made for a pleasant upgrade from my usual burnt toast.

    I’d never heard of the engineer though I had heard of the cows. (Though I did start off looking to see if I could incorporate ‘Neat’ which is, so often, used when cattle are quoted). I’d heard of the Greek river – but I forget how……(!)

    I’m sure I’ve seen 13d in another puzzle recently with the same sort of approach taken to the second ‘half’ of the word.

    Nothing stood out as a COTD to treasure for the future – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. 25a is neatly done, I liked 2d (though started off trying to fit in Verdi) and 14a made me smile.

    Thanks to setter and to DT whose reports on the weather of South Staffs have become essential reading

  22. I agree, the easier end of the spectrum for Giovanni.
    I didn’t know the engineer but knew the cattle, they’ve come up in crosswordland from time to time. The river in 3d is the root of the word lethargy, that’s how I remember it.
    I quite liked the part of France at 23a and the Scottish cutlass at 26a, though I suppose the Scots might take exception to calling it a cutlass!
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  23. This must have been more enjoyable than an average Friday puzzle, as I actually ticked four clues!

    Well done to anyone who knew the Scottish engineer (I didn’t). The Underworld river does crop up in crosswords from time to time and is well remembered by this solver from Virgil’s Aeneid at school. I’m always glad when the religious references are kept to a minimum, like today.

    My four ticks went to 14a, 25a, 4d and 5d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  24. A bit benign for a Don a puzzle methought, and somehow more than usually enjoyable. I must have done too many crosswords over the years as I knew all the obscure bits and |I can’t think of any other way I would have come across them.
    I’ll give it */**** with no particular favourite.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

    Might not be around for the next few days as I’m off to the UK on Sunday to visit aged parent and young sister at said sister’s new house in Great Malvern – about 5 miles from where Big Dave lives. Spooky or what? Sister doesn’t do crosswords often but as she’s now retired she’ll have the time so who knows?

  25. We surprised ourselves by knowing the 3d river and the Scotsman with his cows so reference sources had an easier time than they often do on a Friday. An elegantly clued enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  26. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very gentle Giovanni which I enjoyed. I was left with 8d&23a,and I’m pleased to say that I guessed them both. Had never heard of the engineer, the cows, the old Bishop or the region in France. Heno 2 obscurities 0 :-) My favourite was 14a. Was 1.5*/3* for me.

  27. Not that well up on Scottish engineers, I’m afraid, but it was pretty obvious what the answer was. This was pretty straightforward – particularly for a Friday – but by no means without its charms: say 1*/3.5*. 14a made me smile, so gets my vote for best clue. Thanks to the Don, and to DT.

  28. Pretty much what you would expect from our usual Friday setter although I must say I didn’t find any obscurities. Being Scottish 8d was a pretty much a gimme and the rest of the clueing wordplay was very gettable as DT has already said. No particular favourite today.

    Thanks to Mr Manley for the puzzle and to DT for his review.

  29. Pretty straightforward apart 8d which I didn’t get.
    The other one that held me up was the sword in 26a until I managed to parse the clue and memories of Highlander and Braveheart came to mind.
    Favourite is definitely 17d.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  30. Knew engineer because I have temperature app on tablet which includes his scale, unusually for Friday I did surprisingly well with only small amount of assistance. Thanks to DT and The Don. I now have avec mes sabot going round and round in my head, loved illustration for 1a my sort of music. Hard to choose favourite so I’m staying quiet.

  31. For the most part pretty straightforward, apart from 8d which wasn’t. If you didn’t know the engineer, or the synonym for cows, both of which were pretty obscure, you were a bit stuck. Was it just me or were there a lot of hidden clues today? All in all an enjoyable end to the week.

  32. Bula from Fiji where we are resting for a week before heading off for Brisbane. We had torrential tropical rain for several hours overnight which makes it quite muggy now. At any rate it’s lots warmer than New Zealand, where they seemed to have mislaid spring.

    Like most contributors we found this at the easier end of the scale and we also wonder where the harder puzzles towards the end of the week have gone. 1.5*/2*

    Thankfully we knew the cattle and the underground river. No overall favourite.

    Thanks to DT and the Don.

  33. very late in the day, needed the usual couple of hints, one day I will finish a crossword unaided, but I think that;’s a long way off!!
    I though 8d was a bit unfair, an obscure engineer an an equally obscure synonym for cows.
    13d was a new word for me, even with all the checkers, I could not get it.
    Fav was 6d, thanks to Giovanni and DT for the hints

  34. Ticks against many of the clues in this enjoyable puzzle-6D stands out for me.
    Definition of “hard surface” in 26A seems a bit doubtful.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the hints.

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