DT 28291 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28291

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28291

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
We seem to have been talking about significant shake-ups in New Zealand lately and we have had another one this week. It was not an earthquake this time but the unexpected resignation on Monday of John Key who has been Prime Minister for the last eight years. It seems to have taken everyone by surprise and the news media have been totally absorbed by it. There is much speculation now on who will be his successor and what effect it will have on next year’s elections.
Jay has given us plenty to keep us smiling once again.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Let off extra duties at first (6)
SPARED : The first letter of duties follows a word meaning extra or in reserve.

5a     County game is cut short before reserve appears (8)
CHESHIRE : Remove the last letter from a board game and then a word meaning reserve or rent.

9a     Politicians who can’t abide changes finish in Lords (6,7)
SHADOW CABINET : An anagram (changes) of WHO CAN’T ABIDE plus the last letter of Lords.

10a     Abandon plane and sit back working (8)
JETTISON : A type of aircraft, then sit from the clue is reversed and a two letter word for working or in operation.

11a     Ambush means gamble (6)
WAYLAY : A means or method and then a word meaning to gamble or place a bet.

12a     Con trendy officer on board (6)
INMATE : A short word for trendy and then a senior officer on a ship.

14a     Carrots perhaps in cooked pot roast? (8)
TAPROOTS : An anagram (cooked) of POT ROAST.

16a     Spain therefore accommodates journalists, getting coffee (8)
ESPRESSO : The IVR code for Spain and a synonym for therefore surround a description of journalists generally.

19a     Get at person entitled to entertain bishop (6)
NOBBLE : A member of the peerage includes the chess abbreviation for a bishop.

21a     Guard fuel, needing area for energy (6)
PATROL : The fuel known to Americans as gasoline has the abbreviation for energy replaced by the abbreviation for area.

23a     Treat with discretion (8)
DELICACY : A double definition. The treat here is a noun meaning something good to eat.

25a     Dinnertime is fixed, and tea flexible, not exactly fixed (13)
INDETERMINATE : An anagram with the fodder coming from (is fixed) DINNERTIME and (flexible) TEA.

26a     Turn right in passage for ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, for example (8)
ALLEGORY : A passage or narrow street surrounds a two letter word for a shot or turn and the abbreviation for right.

27a     Rise to welcome Queen in maroon (6)
STRAND : Rise or get to one’s feet surrounds the the one letter regnal cipher.


2d      Dad perched on rear part of horse (7)
PASTERN : An alternative short name for a father and the rear, usually referring to boats.

3d     Joint in carpet (5)
ROAST : This joint may appear for Sunday lunch, and the second meaning is to berate.

4d     Thresholds in approaches, journalistically? (9)
DOORSTEPS : How a journalist, seeking an interview, pesters someone.

5d     Fruit firm fiddle just using regulars (7)
COCONUT : The abbreviation for a firm or company, a word meaning to fiddle or trick someone and then the second and fourth letters of just.

6d     Joint push (5)
ELBOW : This joint is found half way down your arm.

7d     Pet goes on search for source of sweetness (9)
HONEYCOMB : Another informal familiar word for a loved one or pet and then a word meaning to search thoroughly.

8d     Withdraw religious education pamphlet (7)
RETRACT : The abbreviation for religious education and then a pamphlet or treatise.

13d     Sky link confusing brigadier (3,6)
AIR BRIDGE : An anagram (confusing) of BRIGADIER.

15d     Match in Naples fragmented, occasioning such kicks (9)
PENALTIES : An anagram (fragmented) of NAPLES surrounds a type of sporting match.

17d     King Charles cross that is start of line? (7)
SPANIEL : Cross or bridge, then the abbreviation that signifies ‘that is’ and the first letter of line.

18d     Well-behaved worker in hospital (7)
ORDERLY : Double definition.

20d     Liberal changing recent stand in church (7)
LECTERN : The one letter abbreviation for Liberal and an anagram (changing) of RECENT.

22d     Fortune to come from this game? (5)
LOTTO: A word for fortune or fate is followed by ‘to’ from the clue.

24d     Preside over key and locks (5)
CHAIR : A musical key and the locks that grow on one’s head.

We can’t decide whether 5d or 26a is our favourite today.

Quickie pun     reaper    +    rubble    =    repairable

73 comments on “DT 28291

  1. 3*/4.5*. Even by Jay’s normal high standards I thought this was an exceptional puzzle.

    I’ve deducted half a star for enjoyment because I don’t think 9a quite works with the anagram indicator in the middle of the fodder. I would be very happy to be proved wrong but it seems to me that you would need to add “first” at the end of the clue (which would destroy the surface) to indicate that the “finish in Lords” is to be placed in front of the anagram.

    In terms of difficulty I started as usual in the NW corner and struggled to get more than a couple of answers, but the other three quarters fell into place quite smoothly. I needed a good wrestle to finish off the NW (and 21a, which was my last one in – that type of clue is a real bogey for me; it always takes me ages to spot one) taking my total time up to 3*.

    I felt spoilt for choice in trying to pick a favourite, but I would exclude 4d, which is a simply ghastly verb (albeit well clued), and 9a from my list of candidates. In the final analysis, I will go for 25a, which is a real treat.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. Re 9a, I just took it to be that the ‘finish in Lords’ was, a somewhat ‘clumsy,’ part of the anagram fodder, with a hint (sic) of potential editorial involvement.

  2. I surprised myself with this very enjoyable puzzle completing it within the on-line bonus time limit, so */*** for me.

    Long favourite 16a, and short favourite 19a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  3. After my first pass I thought this was going to be decidedly tricky, but it soon fell into place. This was a terrific puzzle from Jay, right up there with the best. A good clue mix, just the horsey answer that was new to me but obvious by the wordplay (a mark of a good crossword), and several vying for the podium spots. My favourite was 19 across for no better reason than it was concise and made me laugh.

    2*/4* from me overall, with thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  4. My notes on completion was that it was quite a difficult puzzle with careful parsing required. Seemed to solve it in quarters ,going clockwise from the NE corner-like RD the NW corner was initially elusive.
    I didn’t read 9a too carefully as the answer was apparent from the second word, but on reflection I take RD’S point about the anagram indicator.
    Liked 26a and 22a.My rating a ***/****.Thanks setter and the 2K’s-now I know where 2d is located !

  5. I found this quite tough today and had to tease it out clue by clue. Just like the old days before the blog. Thanks to Jay for the struggle and thanks to the 2Cs for the equine education.

    1. Now I’ve finished it without any hints but using the electronic aid, I agree with Miffypops. The clues needed teasing out one by one. A 3*/3* for me

  6. Not to my taste, too many airy fairy clues such as 21a and 7d.
    Would take issue with HIRE meaning reserve, not in my copy of the BRB.
    Always seem to struggle with Jays puzzles, can’t get on his wavelength at all.
    For ***/**
    Thx to all

    1. Did you do a ‘reverse’ look-up? In the Small Red Book, the listing for ‘reserve’ does not include ‘hire,’ but the listing for ‘hire’ does include ‘reserve.’

  7. I share RD’s feeling about 9a but overall an enjoyable solve. A slow start but quickly went at a run. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis for the blog.

  8. This was more like it 😀 Thanks to 2 x Ks for the blog and to Jay for nice Wednesday fare 😍 **/*** Liked 12a & 7d

  9. A toughish test that went in fits & starts. Enjoyable solve with varied mix of good clues (share others’ thoughts on 9a though). COTD was 26a as it forced me to remember about Gulliver’s Travels (one of the “fits”.)
    Thanks to Jay & 2Ks for the hints.

  10. This took me well into toughie time.
    Looking back at it, I can’t really see why.
    Jay is always fair apart from 9a maybe but the anagram was quite obvious.
    13a was a new word for me.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.
    Always thought that 13d was a kind of safe flight corridor over a dangerous zone.

    1. Hi JL,
      Still battling away with the Paul ‘bird’ puzzle you suggested – definite wavelength issues, I fear!

  11. Pretty enjoyable for me , after several years I seem to be getting on setters wavelengths. Having said that then tomorrow’s will hoist me by my own petard.
    Thanks to 2Ks and to Jay.

  12. Off topic, I’m afraid, but I’m meeting Kitty and possibly others for a drink in London this evening, if anyone wishes to join us. Plan is to meet under the clock at Waterloo at 6.30. We have no plans other than that, but Kitty will be checking her e-mail [email in Gravatar profile] and we will look out for you if we know you are going, or can update as to where we have gone.

    1. I’m relaying a message from Kitty because she is currently having problems posting to the site:

      “Thanks for posting that, Snape. Do come along if you’re around. So far we have Verlaine joining us too, but the more the merrier.”

  13. Took me a while to crack 27 across as maroon is the emergency signal, and I wanted to put in sirens! Good puzzle and also we had not heard news of NZ prime minister,

  14. I thought this was at the easier end of Jay’s spectrum of difficulty apart from a couple of crossed wires that I managed to tangle up ‘all my own self’.
    12a took too long as I interpreted ‘con’ as cheat rather than the answer and with 27a I was thinking of the noisy kind of maroon – as always it’s tricky to change something once you’ve thought of it.
    5a sounded, on first read through, a bit like cricket or one of the other things I can’t do.
    I thought 10a was going to be an anagram.
    I didn’t know the journalist bit of 4d.
    King Charles seems to be ‘it’ at the moment.
    I liked 9 and 23a and 17d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

  15. I’m rather surprised at 9a which doesn’t work for me, especially since changing the word order (to, e.g. “Politicians who finish in Lords can’t abide changes (6,7)”) makes it work and also makes good sense. I wonder whether something like that was the original intention and the clue got changed late on?
    Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

  16. HI Everyone. I’ve been doing this crossword on and off for a number of years. I stumbled across this site a couple of weeks ago. I don’t usually need hints but now and again I do. It seems like a very nice club. I found it relatively easy today and quite enjoyable even if maybe a few too many anagrams.

    1. Welcome, if you felt today’s anagram content of six was high, I suspect that you would have shuddered at Monday’s thirteen!

  17. Really enjoyed this, no standout clues, all read nicely. Actually found it quite straightforward which is something I never thought I’d say about a cryptic crossword and finished comfortably before the train reached Kings Cross. Last in was 27a despite having all the letters and it made me chuckle when I finally twigged the answer was at the end of the clue and not the beginning.

    Thanks to all bloggers and the setter whose wavelength I tuned to quite quickly on this occasion.

    1. You’ve changed your email address so this comment needed moderation. Both addresses should work from now on.

  18. I’m posting on behalf of Kitty.

    Kitty has tried has tried to post today, but been thwarted. The office network is blocking access and she’s not getting the Cloudflare five second delay on her phone until after trying to submit a comment, at which point it just hangs.

    So she says grr, but sends thanks to Jay and the 2kiwis.

    1. Can someone please explain in terms a layman like me can understand why this CloudFlare lot have suddenly inserted themselves into our lives? They are sticking their nose in every time I log in & were responsible for my 2 weeks in solitary.

      1. I’m not at all an expert, but here’s my take on it.

        The recent problems were because of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, in which a large number of hacked computers and devices connected to the internet were commanded to access the site simultaneously and repeatedly. That huge amount of traffic overloaded the server hosting the site, making it difficult to impossible for most of us to connect.

        I believe that the fix implemented by BD is to route all incoming connections through the CloudFlare service. CloudFlare has such a high capacity connection to the internet that it is very difficult to DDoS. It looks like CloudFlare is taking a few seconds with each new request to access the site to verify that the request comes from a person with a web browser and not from a hacked computer (I don’t know how it does this).

        I’m sure that we all agree that a few second’s delay is a very small price to pay for uninterrupted access to the site.

        1. Thank you I understand that explanation.
          Yes the wait of 5 seconds is fantastic compared to no access – it is infinitely preferable to watching the whirly wheel whirl interminably. I was just concerned that CloudFlare could have been part of the problem not the solution.
          It appears to me from looking them up they don’t come free.
          Should we not make a donation or does the ads revenue cover it?

  19. This was probably as close to R&W as I’ve ever come with a Jay puzzle. Think it took me longer to get the Quickie pun!
    First time I’ve ever thought about a carrot being a 14a – obvious in retrospect but perhaps not an appetising advert!
    Favourite was the concise 23a.

    Thanks to Jay for the easy run and to 2Ks for the blog and the NZ updates.

    Like to bet Elkamere doesn’t prove to be as easy………

  20. A high ratio of reward to effort today, with so many great clues that I can’t pick a favourite. I particularly enjoyed the pair of joints 3d and 6d, along with 26a, 27a, 4d, 5d, and 24d.

    As with RD and Gazza, 9a gave me pause. Jay’s clueing is usually very precise and so on the first pass I confidently inserted an S in the grid as 9a’s final letter. That left me stuck until 8d was in place and it became clear what was required.

    My final hold-up was parsing 1a. The definition and answer were clear enough, but for a long time my brain was fixated on finding some military or nautical jargon for “extra duties”. Strange how that happens sometimes, but hopefully with time and practice the grey cells will become more flexible.

    Thanks to Jay for the fun and to the 2Ks for the entertaining blog.

  21. Not on the wavelength at all today so needed lots of the hints.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  22. Nice puzzle, I liked 5a because its where I live, and I liked14a and 15d.

    I also like 24d, just because I’ve always said I find it far more clever to come up with an interesting clue for this word than one for an obscurity.

    re 9a – these days you seem to be able to include abbreviations, first or last letters, and even odd or even letters in anagram fodder – the suggestion being that as long as you can see the letter indicated, it’s not indirect. But the anagram indicator being in the middle, as RD highlights, makes 9a problematic I agree

    Many thanks 2 Kiwis and setter.

  23. Unlike all you clever bods, I found this quite tough, only solving 4 clues at the first pass. I am a pen rather than pencil solver, but today I didn’t feel confident in my answers, for the most part, without checking them on the blog. Conversely I found 9a one of the easiest to solve. Didn’t know that part of the horse, and was at the real rear end! And got stuck on maroon being a colour…oops. Thanks to 2Kiwis for enlightenment, and for NZ news. Is there any country that is not having a shake up at the top this year?

  24. It’s always satisfying to complete a puzzle which looked daunting at the start. Today was just such an instance then the Southern half went in first and eventually “patience gained the day” in the North. 2d has enlarged my vocabulary which is always appreciated. No outstanding Fav but several really clever clues. Thank you Jay and the 2Ks. (The resignation of John Key would seem to be par for the course in these turbulent times in politics worldwide). ***/***.

  25. Smashing puzzle today, though I found it at the upper end for difficulty, it was just the right amount for me. A good brain workout.
    Last in was 21a, I always forget the Brit form of “gas”, despite my mother’s instilling Brit words and phrases into us. She was always worried that being brought up in the “bush” we would turn out to be savages, not knowing the niceties of life! It was a losing battle as the Americanism was used in Jamaica.
    So much to like, 5a and 5d were special, but fave has got to be 19a.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2Kiwis. Yes, I did read about your PM’s resignation, a surprise.

  26. Fascinating to observe how the difficulty level seems to have completely divided the regular contributors. I’m in the “Kath and Jane camp” with this one, I suspect those who found it tough may struggle to get on Jay’s wavelength, as I didn’t think that there was anything particularly tricky in terms of the constructions or wordplay.

    Much to enjoy, the clever double “joints” (covering four separate meanings in total), plus the second reference to Dutch’s county in successive days, and the second mention of the dog-breed in 17d this week. Very odd how these coincidences seem to occur more often than one might suppose. I totally agree with RD, Gazza and others about 9a, there’s no instruction to the solver that the “s” from “finish in Lords” should go at the beginning of the solution.

    My favourite was 25a, in agreement with my soulmate once again!

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and the 2Ks, hope you get a replacement Key soon.

        1. :) Thanks, dutch. If I weren’t a scientist I might do better with the intricacies of language.

          Although, of course, you’re proof that’s a pretty poor excuse.

  27. ***/****. Excellent puzzle but on first read through yesterday not a single answer! This morning a much better start with the puzzle finished in the order SE, SW, NE and finally NW.. thanks to the setter and the 2Ks for the review.

  28. Late on parade today due to having spent too much time sorting out our annual sojourn North of the border for the rugby next February. Anyway, I think that Jay is probably up there with those few setters for his consistency in producing really good puzzles. I enjoyed this one even though I was in a grumpy mood after dealing with Murrayfield’s online ticket centre – Grrr. It was, for me, solved from the bottom to the top and having glanced over it just now, I have no idea why. Lots of fun was had, so I will restrain myself and not single out any particular clue as a favourite.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and the 2K’s for their review.

  29. 17d – I seem to be bumping into King Charles quite frequently these days!

    Maybe Mr Kitty could explain how often?

    I’m sure it’s a conspiracy!

    1. Prior to Monday’s “King Charles’s residence where one is in disgrace? (8)”, the last time the canine King Charles appeared in a clue was “King Charles’s residence? (6)” in DT 26559 on 23/05/2011.

      The non-canine version was last seen as “Obvious snub includes King Charles, initially (5-3)” in DT 27716 on 04/02/2015.

      The 17d answer has been used eleven times since 2001, but today is the first time His Majesty has been part of the clueing.

      1. Not to mention the one from yesterday’s Toughie!

        Toughie 1720 by Giovanni – 06 Dec 2016

        19a – King Charles, dog held to be superior? (8)

        1. :)

          Expanding the analysis to include the Toughie also adds “Nick grabs a lead from room, getting approving cry of King Charles (8)” from Toughie 1213 on 27/06/2014.

          King Charles has never appeared in a Quick clue.

  30. I enjoyed this puzzle, smack in the middle of Goldilocks territory.
    23a is my favourite .I had to look up the part of a horse.
    I also googled John Key . His children have made interesting career choices.
    Thanks to both the Kiwis and Jay.

    1. Our Queens children have been successful too. Each of them has made it to be a Prince or a Princess. Well done to them I say.

  31. Good morning everyone. Well almost good morning as we have had overnight rain that is still hanging around as occasional showers. Today’s activity plans will have to be on hold until it makes up its mind what it is going to do.
    We did scratch our heads a bit about whether 9a really worked too.
    Enjoy the Kitty mini-gathering those of you who can make it. Expect we won’t be able to make it in time but will be there in spirit.
    Cheers :bye:

  32. Solved in dribs and drabs between tea, a visit to Mr Claus himself, and then the trauma of childrens’ bath-times. Hard to gauge difficulty then. As for entertainment value, top marks, if only for keeping me sane this evening.

  33. A bit late to comment now as I’m sure that those of us who aren’t insomniacs, in a different time zone or TS aren’t going to read this but I’ve just remembered a different clue for 9a which I saw a very long time ago – can’t remember where but it was “Delighted MP’s”. I really liked it then and I like it now too.
    Night night all, :yawn:

      1. Jane, you’ve obviously upset someone or something because all your comments are going into moderation and need to be rescued.

  34. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I was completely beaten by 3d, just couldn’t see it. Favourite was 13a, from which I learnt about taproots. Was 2*/3* for me.

  35. Great crossword from Jay, perhaps the most consistent of our setters. I’m going for 17d as top dog – not just because it’s a good clue, but especially because my partner has three King Charleses and they add to the gaiety of nations when we take the boat out. Thanks to C&C and, of course, Jay. 2*/4*

  36. Very enjoyable, I needed a couple of hints to get me going, I thought it was at the tougher end of the scale for Jay.
    Oddly, the ‘carrots’ answer jumped out at me without having to write it down. Apart from that, I managed to miss most of the anagram indicators!!
    Thanks to 2xK and Jay

  37. Great puzzle-lots of ticks
    Found 17D difficult, until I got it out of my head that it was nothing to do with Charing Cross station

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