DT 28292 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28292

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28292

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where the temperature has been hovering around the freezing mark. Mother Nature seems to be toying with us — giving us a few inches of snow, taking it away, giving us a few inches more.

I got off to a slow start with this puzzle but once I had established a toehold, I was able to progress quite rapidly and finished in a very respectable time. I must say that the puzzle is hardly a feast for lovers of anagrams, containing as it does only two full anagrams and three partial anagrams.

As for the setter, I can say with confidence that it is not RayT. For the past month, we have had Shamus alternating with RayT. However, as I admitted two weeks ago when I incorrectly suggested that the puzzle was not set by Shamus, my Shamus radar is obviously poorly tuned. So today I will not venture out on any limbs.

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   Wander about with son in lodgings (7)
DIGRESS — a short Latin word denoting about or concerning and a small son in a slangy home

5a   Starter, perhaps, requiring study to get flavour (7)
SOUPCON — what might be the first course of a meal and an old-fashioned word meaning to study produce a suspiciously French flavour

9a   Drink round lake chap’s left for cold meal (10,5)
PLOUGHMAN’S LUNCH — place an Irish lake, a chap (together with his accompanying S) and L(eft) in a drink that might be served at a reception; you can even throw in the apostrophe for good measure

10a   Mo not leader? Doubtful (4)
IFFY — decapitate a word denoting a short period of time

11a   Hundred students hope to pass this rock? (5)
CORAL — the Roman numeral for one hundred and something that students may sit for which, like Miffypops’ anagrams, involves the use of no pens, pencils or paper

12a   Drooping fruit cut close to shop (4)
LIMP — a detailed citrus fruit and the closing letter of shoP

15a   Improve two bridge players by luck? Not principally (7)
ENHANCE — two abbreviated bridge players (not partners) and a beheaded synonym for luck

16a   Individual entering seaside venue is trail-blazer (7)
PIONEER — a pronoun signifying an unspecified or indefinitely specified individual inside a seaside attraction that is more over the sea than beside the sea

17a   Article on port, town in Hampshire (7)
ANDOVER — one of the indefinite articles precedes a port in Kent in contravention of the convention for the use of on in an across clue

19a   Dry wind is over African country — medic takes flight (7)
SIROCCO — reversal (over) of IS to which is appended a North African country which has had a short term for medic lopped off the front

21a   Drop, we hear, is level among others (4)
TIER — sounds like a drop welling from one’s eye; perhaps due to a 23a

22a   A learner falls behind American university standard (5)
USUAL — A from the clue and the customary learner driver follow short forms for American and U(niversity)

23a   Inflammation? Sadly, yes — temperature must be contained (4)
STYE — an anagram (sadly) of YES into which one must stick T(emperature)

26a   What could be rhetorical skill — or lack of certainty (15)
QUESTIONABILITY — split (8,7) this might equate to rhetorical skill

27a   Support aim by Arab, say, in East End (7)
ENDORSE — an aim or goal followed by a cockney steed

28a   What customers want a shop to be — ‘customary’? Editor needed! (7)
STOCKED — another word for customary (think of the all-purpose answer that conveys no information) and an abridged editor


1d   Strip in seedy joint interrupted by English priest (7)
DEPRIVE — E(nglish) PR(iest) found in disreputable bar (Sun headline?)

2d   Hit the roof? Some do it when diving (2,3,3,4,3)
GO OFF THE DEEP END — where the most confident divers hit the water

3d   Limit club — bar women! (4)
EDGE — a lofty golf club loses its head

4d   Mention of amount secured for an unknown person (7)
SOMEONE — sounds like SUM WON

5d   Tanning device plus man for a massage (7)
SUNLAMP — anagram (for a massage) of PLUS MAN

6d   Like an eyesore, unedifying largely at the edges? (4)
UGLY — the edges (initial and final letters) of the two words at the core of the clue

7d   Unexpectedly eccentric kind of swindle (10,5)
CONFIDENCE TRICK — anagram (unexpectedly) of the three words in the middle of the clue

8d   Loser prone to sprawl around house (2-5)
NO-HOPER — an anagram (to sprawl) of PRONE wrapped around HO(use)

13d   Rogue part of church given hearing (5)
KNAVE — sounds like part of a church

14d   Seek to win over  legal institution (5)
COURT — double definition; the first meaning to woo or curry

17d   What might be quaint and last in furniture? (7)
ANTIQUE — an all-in-one clue in which the wordplay is an anagram (what might be) of QUAINT followed by (and) the last [letter] in furniturE

18d   Gentleman put up with single fried dish (7)
RISSOLE — a reversal of a gentleman (put up in a down clue) and an adjective meaning single or individual (or a fish from the port in 17a)

19d   Soprano with energy, a singer and swimmer (3,4)
SEA BASS — string together S(oprano), E(nergy), the A from the clue, and a singer at the other extreme of the vocal range from the aforementioned

20d   Ace I had cited with singular vision? (3-4)
ONE-EYED — a value which an Ace can have followed by what sounds like a contracted form of “I had”

24d   Revolutionary deserters showing sign of military rank (4)
STAR — reversal (revolutionary) of the first to leave a sinking ship; these are not used in Canada, and if I’m not mistaken, neither are they used in the UK

25d   Lush part of meadow in Oxfordshire (4)
WINO — a lurker hiding the final three words of the clue; Kath, right in your own back yard — or should that be front yard

The review was written while listening to Leonard Cohen, Live in London which was a coincidental but appropriate choice. As for favourite clue, the final tie today pitted 6a against 7d with the former edging out the latter.

The Quick Crossword pun: rose+sigh+din=roadside inn

73 comments on “DT 28292

  1. I thought this was a brilliant crossword, easily the best of the week so far. It was the ideal level of difficulty for me – challenging enough to justify a feeling of accomplishment at the end, but with nothing so complex or obscure that aids were required. There are just too many great clues to highlight them all. I smiled at the homophones of 21a and 20d, I was impressed by the long anagram 7d, and I loved the lurker in 25d and the smooth misdirection of 10a and 4d. The latter clue probably would have been favourite if we hadn’t already seen a somewhat rougher version of it back in September. My last one in, and my favourite today, was 27a. Before it dropped, the penny climbed to great height on that one while I tried to identify the definition and make sense of East End. My rating today is ***/****.

    I did some checking after the crossword was completed and found that variants of the 27a clueing have also appeared a few times before (most recently on October 8, in fact). However, unlike 4d, the construction today was sufficiently novel that I didn’t detect the repetition while solving. It could also be that my memory is really bad. Either way, it seems I got to enjoy the same penny dropping twice.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

  2. I didn’t think I would be able to post today as I will heading off to Twickenham in a couple of hours for the Varsity match, or, more accurately, to have a few drinks, then watch the match and then have a few more drinks. However I was reckoning without Falcon posting very early from a far away time zone.

    I see Mr Kitty couldn’t sleep! I agree with his comment that this was a brilliant puzzle and go along with his 3*/4* rating. I found the NW corner by far the hardest, which always worries me a bit as it is where I tend to start. But all’s well that ends well!

    I’ll pretty much go along with Mr Kitty’s comments about the clues, although, having worked in the East End of London for over 40 years, cockney pronunciation is pretty much second nature to me now.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron (my guess is Shamus) for a lovely and amusing challenge, and to Falcon for a great review (with full marks for getting Miffypops’ apostrophe in the right place!)

    1. We were taught, grant you, many moons ago, that s’ indicates a plural possessive, but if it’s a name, as in M’pops, the s’ indicates that there are more than one M’pops. So, in that instance, you would be required to add the ‘s to indicate that M’pops’s is possessive. As you pedants are far more adept at the English language, please put me right!

      1. There is only one Miffypops (some might say thank goodness) even though his name finishes with an S. Hence the apostrophe goes after his name. If he was Miffypop then ‘s would be correct.

        1. Exactly RD that is the point I was making to MP in my Comment under No. 34 to 28289 on 6/12. Lynne Truss in “Eats, Shoots and Leaves – the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” very articulately covers this ongoing popular booboo. 😜

          1. Of course, it should be Miffypops’s. I refer hon members of the pedants’ club to the Times style guide.

          2. The Royal Park named for St. James is officially called St. James’s Park. That presumably shows how it’s done in the Queen’s English.

            1. Those working in Coventry for The Rootes Motor Car manufacturers were said to wok at Rooteseses or Rootes’s’s.

  3. We are going to stick our necks out too and admit that we have written the name Shamus in the margin. The long five word answer for 2d yielded very quickly and this gave lots of checking letters to help the solving process. Really good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks setter and Falcon.

  4. Some good puzzles this week, but I also agree that this was the best so far. I wouldn’t have a clue who the setter is! Thanks to all involved today.

  5. A brilliant puzzle and a brilliant review. The best reviews must be those written whilst listening to one of the big five, Cohen, Waits, Young, Morrison or Dylan. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. You are right Falcon. No pens or pencils were used to solve the anagrams at 5d and 7d. I didn’t realise that they were anagrams until I read your blog. My money is on Shamus. Such fun. I will watch the Varsity Match on BBC2 this afternoon. I haven’t been since the marketing men moved it from it’s traditional Second Tuesday in December to the second Thursday in order to increase the gate. Fourteen thousand less went the first year it was on a Thursday. Enjoy the match Rabbit Dave.

    1. Hmm, regular attendance at the ‘Varsity match. Did the “poorly schooled orphan boy” get to Oxbridge?

      1. No. A friend and I used to go every year for years. Beer and lunch at The Barmy Arms opposite Eel Pie Island. The match and more beer. A great day out but neither of us has attended since it changed days.

  6. Hard to argue with earlier postings about this one. I completed it in good time, but then took almost as long parsing the three or four clues that I bunged in and to which I then returned for confirmation. 14 down my last one in, 27 across my favourite, and 2.5*/4* overall feels about right.

    Thanks to Shamus, (if it was indeed you), for a thoroughly enjoyable and thoughtful puzzle, and to Falcon for a fine review.

  7. Brilliant puzzle – loved every minute of it. Shamus radar on full alert after first one in – 5a – and confirmed by the Irish lake and the county in the Quickie.
    23a must surely be featuring on Mr. K’s ‘most frequent’ list by now?

    Impossible to pick a favourite but 5a had me laughing out loud.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Falcon for the review.
    Apologies if someone has to rescue me from moderation – as Gazza said last night, I must have upset someone or something!

    1. 23a is indeed popular with our setters, ranking 64th with 34 appearances since 2001. When it came up on Tuesday I had the feeling then that we’d seen a lot of him recently. In 2016 we’ve had:

      Sun 24 Jan 16 CRYPTIC 2832 26a Problem with lid European put on pen (4)
      Sat 27 Aug 16 CRYPTIC 28204 26a It may be involved in nasty eye (4)
      Tue 25 Oct 16 TOUGHIE 1696 23d Remain without a leader in enemy uprising? (4)
      Tue 6 Dec 16 CRYPTIC 28290 12a Inflammation from dusty environment (4)

      So, just two back page appearances this year before Tuesday. I was expecting to find more. Perhaps 23a sticks in the memory because it’s an uncommon word.

  8. Lots of fun to be had today and just enough challenge. Goodies for me were 10a, 12a, 27a, 2d and 3d (bet Kath liked that one!). Appreciated help in parsing 19a (d’oh!). Here we go again (Mr. Kitty?) with 23a. Thank you very much Shamus (?) and Falcon. ***/****. 🙂

  9. Really enjoyed solving this one and got it all alone and unaided except for 21a…..think it’s a bit iffy to equate tear with drop if that’s what was meant by the setter and the hint…..(had figured out the tie bit , just couldn’t see the solution).

    Was held up a little by putting the answer to 25d into the slot for 24d and by bunging in risotto for 18d, but saw the error of my ways.

    Much heartened by today after my failure yesterday.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    1. Forget what I said about 21a…all mixed up.
      Was think tie = level as in level pegging.
      I’m really really rubbish with homophones as first, I am Scottish so they are often not homophones for me and second, I am often confused as to which word is the intended homophone…..bah!

      In this case, just being stupid, I think.

      1. CLUNK! Big penny-drop moment there as I have just realised what your moniker means. Big smile too.

    2. Not only did I put the answer for 25d in the slot for 24d but I then compounded the faux pas by doing the reverse. I only discovered the error when I was unable to fit the Arab steed into his stall. And my first thought was also risotto which fortunately I avoided when I could not get it to parse.

  10. 9a: That Wikipedia ploughman’s lunch looks a bit Spartan – is it an 18th century reconstruction, or what?

    1. Spartan, it may be, but I can envision a ploughman lugging it to the field. Somehow, I can’t do the same for the Food Network’s spread.

    2. The term “ploughman’s lunch” didn’t exist in the 18th century or at any time before the 1950s when it was invented as a marketing ploy to sell more cheese.

  11. A most enjoyable Thursday morning treat.

    My only quibble was going to be 11a – is it really a “rock”? But the question mark in the clue takes care of that.

    There are many contenders for Clue of the Day … but the “Lush” hiding in the Oxfordshire meadow wins by a short head from the East End Arab.

    Thanks to Falcon for the review.

      1. Here in Miami, the original houses were built with “coral rock”, so I had no trouble with that.

  12. Cracking puzzle and review just enough to give the old grey matter a workout. For some reason got hung up on 9a which should have been so easy, but after a little light Christmas shopping came back and of course in it went. Quite a few for favourite 25d does it for me closely followed by 19d it just appealed to me.
    Thanks to Falcon and setter.

  13. Like yesterday a good challenge and very stisfying solve for me. SW corner required re-visit in spite of getting 27a. Like Mr K remembered it from a couple of months back when ‘Aydock was used to signal dropping the “h”.
    Thanks to setter & Falcon for explanations. Re your weather: Sister-in -law is in Calgary on Tuesday it was -21 feels like -30 her comment was “that’s a bit cold for December!”

  14. Another top rate puzzle today by general consent, a ***/****for me.
    Many excellent clues-charades, anagrams, lurkers etc -the full gambit from Shamus, I understand. Last in 14d ,- nearly put board then saw the light .
    Loved 27a and the construction of 9a.
    Thanks to Falcon for the pics.

  15. A very enjoyable puzzle.
    Just looking at the four long ones for the first time scared me.
    It took me quite a bit longer than usual and I needed hints for 11a and 14d.
    Favourites 25d and 27a
    Thanks to setter and Falcon.

  16. What a very enjoyable puzzle. Four 15-letter clues and only one of them an anagram – **/**** for me.

    Here in Winnipeg, after 2 days of snow, the mercury is falling; minus 9 C right now (minus 15 C with wind chill) and it will just keep falling through the day and night so that, this time tomorrow it will be minus 22 C (minus 29 C with wind chill).

    Back to the puzzle. Favourite of the four long clues – 9a, a very good charade; while on the first reading the clue, I automatically thought of ‘L’ for lake rather than the synonym the setter used. Short favourite 6d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon (who I am sure will need his thermal clothing before too long).

    1. After seeing the reports on the weather in Calgary from LabradorsruleOK and in Winnipeg from yourself, I can see that Ottawa is in line to be hit. I’ve made a note to dig out the winter woolies.

        1. … it is very cold for our SW location with temperatures in the Fraser valley down to minus 20 with the wind chill. We’re on weather warning for this evening which doesnt bode well.

          As to the crossword it was tough but very rewarding. I wasnt sure 26a was a vaild word and I will have to look in the BRB to confirm. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review.

  17. A bit chilly down in Hyeres. Only 16 or 17 degrees centigrade. Glorious sunshine and fabulous weather for this time of year.
    Fabulous crossword too.
    Took a while to get a foothold and, as Falcon, everything progressed steadily.
    Found that there was a lot of letter removals and homophones.
    Favourite is 8d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

  18. Very enjoyable puzzle with a fair old smattering of ‘smile’ moments. I agree with Falcon that this definitely not a Mr Terrell production and I venture that it’s got (to me) enough fingerprints on it to merit putting forward Shamus. There is a lot to enjoy in this puzzle and lots of favourites, but I will select 27a as my favourite – it did make me chuckle :nod:

    Thanks to our setter for the fun and to Falcon for his review.

  19. A good fun crossword – my Shamus radar is non-existent so I’m saying nothing but it does feel like his turn.
    I was almost half way through reading the across clues before I had a single answer.
    I had 21a wrong – tied – it seemed to work at the time but oh dear!
    Very few anagrams, particularly in contrast to several crosswords recently.
    I’m not sure about 5a – to me it means a small amount of something – haven’t got round to looking it up yet so I will in a minute.
    I liked 10 and 19a and 25d. My favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to whoever was responsible for setting this one and to Falcon.

    1. You are right, Kath, soupçon does mean a hardly perceptible quantity, a hint or dash. In describing food or drink, it is frequently used to denote a very subtle flavour.

  20. An enjoyable, not too difficult puzzle. Two nice long give-aways at 2d and 9ac opened up the grid very nicely for the rest, some of which, like 11ac, took a little more thought than others. 26ac took every one of the crossing letters before I felt confident enough to fill in the answer. Thanks to both setter and blogger. :-)

  21. Homophones and part anagrams are not usually my cup of tea but this was a cracking puzzle. I finished in good time but thanks to falcon for confirming the reason for the answer to 4d.

  22. Refreshed browser so hope it holds. Loved it, 5ac favourite but hard to choose from so many goodies. Thanks to Falcon and setter.

  23. Nice crossword 🙂 **/*** quite tricky in parts e.g. 4d & 11a 🤔 Like 3d & 9a. Thanks to Falcon and u/i setter. Thursdays are not the same! 😳

  24. 24d officer rank is denoted by use of the ‘Star of Bath’ not ‘pips’ as is commonly used.

  25. I agree, this was loads of fun, though it did take some time to get the setter’s mindset.
    I needed the hints to know why 5d was correct. How many times will I miss “massage” as an anagram indicator before I remember it?
    I needed all the checking letters to get 26a.
    I got 9a and 2d on first go round, so I started out with some helpful letters.
    Loved 5a and 19a, but I’m not going to choose a fave, too many candidates.
    Thanks to setter (Shamus?) and to Falcon. Your weather reports make me feel so cold. Overnight we are going down to about 60F and I’m already dreading it.

  26. Very enjoyable apart from 10a which the answer definitely describes the clue. I put Moot which seemed to answer the clue elegantly but of course none of the other clues fitted. Couple of ‘leap of faith’ clues such as 19a (why is S a shortening for soprano?).
    My favourite was 27a. Shame about 10a.
    Thx to all.

    1. Why is ‘S’ a shortening for soprano? …

      … because the BRB says so. And ‘a’ is a shortening for alto, ‘B’ a shortening for bass, and ‘T’ a shortening for tenor.

      Why the abbreviations are all upper-case with the exception of alto is strange. Perhaps those having musical experience can enlighten us.

  27. An excellent puzzle, marred only very slightly for me by the rather unimaginative use of “hear” and “hearing” as separate homophone indicators.

    I gave ticks to 1a, 26a, 27a, 2d and 5d, but 7d was my overall favourite, when it surprisingly revealed itself as an anagram.

    Many thanks to today’s setter (Shamus?) and to Falcon.

  28. A slow start but the long answers for 9a and 2d gave me lots of checking letters. I liked 4d and 10a made me smile. Didn’t get 25d. Thank you Mr Ron and Falcon.

    1. :good: for your crossword and another one :good: for calling in.
      We all really like it when setters bother to comment.

    2. As ever, it is always a delight to see the setter taking the time to drop in and say ‘Hi’. Had a lot of fun with your puzzle today Shamus – keep up the good work :)

  29. A gentle but satisfying puzzle: 1*/3.5*. l enjoyed 10a and 27a. 9a reminds me of a sketch in a TV show (it may have been the Two Ronnies) in which a pub customer says “I’ll have the Ploughman’s Lunch”, at which a besmocked ploughman pipes up angrily “No you won’t, you buy your own bleedin’ lunch!”. Well, it made me laugh…
    Thanks to Shamus, and to Falcon (and indeed to all my fellow contributors) for an entertaining review.

  30. I have to say that I thought that was a superb puzzle that I managed to finish unaided, what a pleasure to be on the right wavelength (for a change).
    I also put ‘moot’ in for 10a.
    4d held me up for ages as along with 11a.
    23a, as Mr.K pointed out seems to be a regular at the moment.
    5a, 27a, 25d were great clues. Favourite was 5a.
    Disappointed that I wont be able to make it in January.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Falcon

  31. Late in today, as we have been battling the water gods yet again. Last week it was the fridge freezer, which decided to melt the ice and leak it out of the dispenser onto the almost new, expensive laminate floor. A lovely surprise to come home to. This week the water heater tank decided to give up and leak out, thankfully in the garage. And today the AC (air con in Brit talk) decided to back up the condensate pipe and stop working. At least that must be the 3 water disasters we are due. And cat decided to have a bad IBS attack. So only now finishing the crossword. A lot of clues which took some pondering, but satisfying when you got there. Thanks to Falcon as this was not one of my better efforts. I so wish we could get a 9a here 😉

  32. An absolutely splendid puzzle from Shamus, so thanks to him. Far too many top clues even to consider picking a favourite. I did wonder, though, what setters would do if the use of the words “stye” and “tier” we’re banned. Mr K can easily tell us the number of eye infections we’ve had, but there isn’t an abacus in the land that could count the tiers. Thanks to Falcon (my son is in Banff -23C). 2*/5*

  33. V g puzzle done in two chunks but needed Falcon’s help with 11a which stumped me because I had suntrap instead of sunlamp and doggedly hung on to it (I know). Great to see your appearance, Shamus. Thanks for a very enjoyable solve.
    Dinner with friends last night so did not get to it until the wee sma’ hours.

  34. This one caught me on the hop, a real curved ball with an unfamiliar cluing style. I thought it was excellent, a good challenge and very enjoyable – on a par with a medium Ray T with regard to difficulty, enjoyment and I’d be happy to have one of these very other Thursday. 26a: From the word play I was convinced this had to be a 15 letter anagram of RHETORICAL SKILL, but as soon as I got the Q starter from 17d I had a little moment of epiphany. 3*’4*.

  35. Oops! I forgot to post yesterday.
    A smashing puzzle from Shamus with some great clues. I liked 9a best so that’s me fave. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Shamus, and to Falcon for the review.

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