DT 28296 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28296

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28296

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. Complementing yesterday’s puzzle, today we have a crossword that’s heavy on the charades and light on the anagrams. As I composed the hints I found myself writing “usual” over and over, and I recalled that cryptic clue ingredients only become “usual” once you’ve seen them a few times. To help new solvers in that regard here’s the guidance that Big Dave offers in his weekend blogs: “Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.” All those pages are well worth a visit.

While some of today’s answers have been seen on the back page quite a few times before, both fifteen letter answers (12a and 19a) make their debuts today, as, to my surprise, does 13a. I’m impressed by that. I didn’t encounter any serious holdups in the solve, so I’m rating this crossword a shade under average for difficulty. Enjoyment-wise I’d say it’s about average for a Tuesday.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    One giving gratuity, swallowing litre in boozer (7)
TIPPLER: Insert the single-letter abbreviation for litre inside a person who leaves a gratuity.

9a    Fresher‘s daily (7)
CLEANER: Double definition, the first being an adjective and the second being a noun.

10a    Feeling of insecurity in Penang state (5)
ANGST: Hidden inside the clue.

11a    Soldiers in mixed US team causing diversion (9)
AMUSEMENT: Insert (in) a generic term for soldiers into an anagram (mixed) of US TEAM.

12a    Needing exercise, a learner in sport and fitness specialist (8,7)
PERSONAL TRAINER: An anagram (needing exercise) of A LEARNER IN SPORT.

13a    Happy Mondays, highly energetic people? (7)
DYNAMOS: Another anagram (happy) of MONDAYS. For those unfamiliar with the Madchester genre of music, the surface refers to influential 80s Manchester band the Happy Mondays.

16a    Embarrassed female, girl that’s rejected political symbol (3,4)
RED FLAG: A charade of the colour associated with embarrassment, the abbreviation for female, and the reversal (rejected) of an informal synonym of girl.

19a    Itinerant actor in street with extremely rich musician (9,6)
STROLLING PLAYER: Another charade, this time composed of the abbreviation for street, a noun adjective (sometimes preceding “… in money”) meaning extremely rich, and a musician who uses an instrument.

23a    Instrument that’s captured the spirit of Jamaica? (5,4)
SNARE DRUM: Concatenate a synonym of captured and the alcoholic beverage associated with Jamaica.

24a    Good run for famous cricketer (5)
GRACE: Take the abbreviation for good and append a competitive run, like a marathon.

25a    A lot’ll back daughter, taking everything into account (3,4)
ALL TOLD: A from the clue followed by the reversal (back) of LOTLL and the single-letter abbreviation for daughter.

26a    Home wound up burning (7)
INTENSE: Crosswordland’s usual short word for home followed by an adjective meaning wound up or anxious.


1d    Son caught badly in need of money (8)
STRAPPED: A charade of the usual abbreviation for son followed by a synonym for caught or confined.


2d    Campaign promises from rostrum? (8)
PLATFORM: A cryptic definition of the promises and policies espoused by a political party during an election campaign.

3d    Naval force heading for Algiers — not all there captured by artist (6)
ARMADA: Start with the first letter (heading for) of Algiers. Then attach our usual two-letter artist after inserting (captured by) an adjective meaning “not all there”.

4d    Info on short road up in lakeside city (6)
GENEVA: Our usual short word for information followed by the reversal (up in a down clue) of the abbreviation for a tree-lined road.

5d    Reason North American lake must be blasted (8)
INFERNAL: A verb meaning reason or deduce followed by the abbreviations for North America(n) and lake.

6d    Speaker in second of Houses runs over list put up (6)
ORATOR: Join the second letter of hOuse, the cricketing abbreviation for runs, and the reversal (put up in a down clue) of a list or roster.

8d    A nurse may carry this on break coming up (5)
PAGER: Combine one of our usual short words meaning on or about with a break in something continuous, like traffic. Then reverse it all (coming up in a down clue).

9d    Bar opposite (7)
COUNTER: A double definition. Bar here is something that Miffypops might be found behind.

14d    Mean, partner? As a rule (8)
NORMALLY: A charade of the mean or average and a partner or supporter.

15d    Agitated in prison, revolutionary (7)
STIRRED: A slang term for prison followed by our usual generic revolutionary.

17d    Representative from East on stage during meeting (8)
DELEGATE: Join the abbreviation for East to a stage of a journey. Then insert that combination into a meeting of prospective romantic partners.

18d    Perhaps Jekyll and Hyde — only one half seen in store (8)
GARDENER: Put half of HYDE inside a verb meaning to store or accumulate. The result is (loosely) the occupation of Gertrude Jekyll. Gertrude’s younger brother Walter was a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, who borrowed his family name for the novel alluded to in the clue.

19d    Flounce gracefully, say, round wood (6)
SASHAY: Insert a three-letter type of wood or tree inside SAY from the clue.

20d    Fabricate beastly sound and try to avoid notice (3,3)
LIE LOW: A three letter word meaning to fabricate a story, followed by the sound made by a beast of the bovine variety (not moo, the other one). The video shows their reaction to some other sounds.

21d    Opening carriage containing doctor (6)
GAMBIT: A synonym for bearing or deportment contains one of our usual abbreviations for a doctor.

22d    Long story about ending of marriage (5)
YEARN: Insert the last letter of marriage inside a story or tale.

Thanks to today’s setter for the fun. Highlights for me were 12a and 19a for their originality, 18d because I learned something new parsing it, and 8d, which is my favourite, because it took a little pondering to unscramble. Which clues did you like? And what song would you choose to accompany 1d?

The Quick Crossword pun: BANNED+SORE=BAND-SAW


69 comments on “DT 28296

  1. **/*** – completed comfortably before lights out last night. Although I did get stuck on 5d and 18d because I had got the second word of 16a incorrect. Once that was fixed, no problems with the other two.

    21d is definitely an oldie but goodie having also ‘appeared’ in a Tuesday puzzle two weeks ago.

    Favourites 12a and 19a – 15 letter non-anagrams will always get my vote.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  2. Needed help for 18D not a very nice clue in my opinion others will probably disagree, apart from that it was plain sailing, no outstanding or favourite today but 23A raised a smile. Thanks to the setter & to Mr kitty for the review.

  3. Plain sailing with the exception of 18d, I agree with Graham, not a very nice clue at all. Favourites were 11a and 5d. 2*/2* Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty especially for explaining 18d.

  4. We seem to have been let off lightly again today with little to stretch the grey matter. North went in speedily but the South, particularly SE, was a little slower. Guessed 23a, suppose 21d is an opening, failed to identify anagram for 13a, Favs 5d and 18d. Thanks Messrs. Ron and Kitty. **/***.

  5. No real problems once I realised that my initial thought for the second word of 16a wouldn’t parse and that PE wasn’t representing ‘exercise’ in 12a.
    Quite a few goodies – my top three being 12&23a plus 18d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K – especially for the extra info on 18d regarding Mr. Stevenson and the reminder of the Happy Mondays – I’d completely forgotten about them!

  6. This was a pleasant solve with only the flouncing and the groundwork at 18 and 19 down needing a bit of extra thought. I missed the anagram at 12 ac but succeeded using the checkers. I liked the wealth allusion in 19ac. Thanks to Mr Ron for the entertainment and to Mr Kitty for the review. The musical clip at 1d lacks a bit of rawness for my taste and at 20d I prefer Dixie and Be-Bop to Trad.

  7. I enjoyed this one.
    I missed the anagram in 13a but got there eventually and spent a bit of time trying to make the obvious, but wrong, answer work for 16a.
    I liked 19 and 23a. My favourite was 18d even though it took for ever to work out why it was right.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K.

  8. I found myself rattling along, getting most of these from the checkers and parsing afterwards, which is always slightly disappointing. I also thought the use of the same word in both the clue and the solution at 19d was a bit limp.

    But I don’t want to moan as, for the second day running, I found it pretty quick and easy and, when that happens, I “bank” it so I can make a “withdrawal” of goodwill on days when I want to chew off my own arm. Hurrah!

    I liked 18d a lot and, after a brief flirtation with ‘good’ at the start, I had a ‘doh’ moment. Most keen gardeners will certainly know about Gertrude Jekyll…….why do we always pronounce her name one way and the Edinburgh doctor the other way?

    1. How many had a bit of crossing out to do after rushing to write ‘steel drum’ for 23a, having only the single letter M, without bothering to work it out properly?

      Possibly just me………

      1. I tried oh so hard to make steel drum fit. Even googled it to find out if there was another name for a steel drum. There is but that is steelpan so that didn’t help. Finally saw that I was not reading the clue properly.

  9. Nothing here to send Aldiniti and his mates rushing off to the hills and I think (although I may be mistaken) that this may be from the same setter from 2 weeks ago. Anyway, a very pleasant solve with a good selection of clue constructs and a solver friendly grid. The top half went in fairly quickly but the bottom required a fresh cup of coffee to get the grey matter up and working again. No particular favourite but I did like 17d for it’s pithiness.

    Thanks to our Tuesday Mr Ron for the puzzle and to Mr K for his review and the information on 18d.

    Edit: The picture for 4d brought back to mind ‘The Champions’ from the late 1960’s with Alexandra Bastedo.

  10. 1.5*/3* for this comfortable solve. Nothing too taxing but plenty to enjoy. 18 down my favourite of several fun clues, especially the long non-anagrams.

    Thanks to the Tuesday Mr Ron and Mr K for a fine review.

  11. Fully agree with Mr Kittys rating, not difficult but enjoyable for all that. 19a was my favourite although. Did like 5d too.
    Thx to all.

  12. Pleasant crossword puzzle. Nothing too difficult or outstanding, but 10a takes the prize as it mentions the land of my birth. Thanks to the two misters Ron and kitty.

  13. And the prize for the year’s most contrived clue goes to …….you guessed it 18d! 😕 I originally thought it was going to be R & W until I initially put rose in the second half of 16a 😳 That slowed me down! **/*** Liked 23a & 11a 😄 Thanks to Mr K for the nice blog and to today’s setter 🤔

    PS Really wanted to put “Bedder” in 9a, having worked for a few years in a Cambridge College !

    1. Never heard of the person in question either, but learnt something new after working out the clue. That’s what I love about crosswords. That and having an extended vocabulary of words that I never use in common speech :)

  14. Needed lots of hints today, but looking back, I’m not sure why. I guess some days the brain doesn’t get it.
    Thanks to Mr K for the much needed hints
    As for the hint in 13a – I don’t recall them being ‘rave’ music – dance or Madchester in my book.

    1. Thanks for the clarification on 13a, Magic (apologies if your name is parsed as magi chat rather than magic hat). The hint’s been updated.

      1. Just to change the subject – in your archive, do any clues use a dash ( – ) as a device to represent itself as a word? For example (another of my amateur efforts): Less hair – rubbish! (10). (Balderdash). Though I’m not sure if the exclamation mark is necessary?

        1. That’s an excellent question – I will look into it.

          I’m still getting to grips with when a question mark or exclamation mark is needed at the end of a clue. There must be a rule written down somewhere.

          1. This is what Prolixic has to say about them:

            A question mark (?) usually indicates that there is a definition by example, that there is something slightly unusual about the clue or that there is a cryptic definition.

            Exclamation marks (!) should be used sparingly. There can be a temptation to scatter them throughout the clues. Ximenes guidance is apposite here:
            As to exclamation marks, I am grateful to a solver who once wrote (none too politely) saying, in so many words, that I sprinkled my clues with them with no other purpose than that of crying out “Aren’t I clever – isn’t that a good one? “. I was irritated, as one is apt to be, at first; but on further thought I had to admit that he had got something. Now I try to use much more restraint in this matter and to use them only when I really am exclaiming or for a technical purpose, to call the solver’s attention to the fact that I’m doing something particularly outrageous, perhaps by deliberately misunderstanding the meaning of a word.

          2. Thank you Mr K (and G). I think the clue would be OK without the exclamation mark, but on the other hand it’s not particularly doing any harm either. I’ll have to ruminate about it – but will probably always be undecided. I suppose it you can’t come up with an objective, definitive reason to have it in, then maybe you should leave it out? Can you please answer the “dash” question to a later comment of mine – I might not see it here in retrospect.

            1. I’m hoping to discuss the dash question in next Tuesday’s blog. BD gives some related examples in his Little Guide (CRYPTIC CROSSWORDS in the menu at the top of the page, then CROSSWORD GUIDE).

  15. Thanks to Messers Ron and Kitty. A very nice puzzle, which the top half went in very quickly, but the bottom half took me ages. Last in was 18d, which was a complete guess, thanks to Mr Kitty for the explanation. Favourite was 23a, which was a complete penny drop moment, although I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve seen this before. Was 3*/3* for me.

  16. I was dead on wavelength today, although some were complete bung ins, e.g., 18d as I saw the name Jekyll and immediately thought of the answer.
    The anagram at 13a went in right away too, I remembered it from a puzzle some time ago and learnt that Monday only has that one anagram.
    Lots of good stuff here, but I’m going to choose 23a as fave ‘cos of the Jamaican spirit, and my Dad was engineer in charge of a sugar factory which made that.
    Thanks heaps to setter, and to Mr. Kitty for the very informative review.

  17. 2.5/3.5 for me. The top half went in fairly quickly but slowed a lot for the bottom. My favourites were 13a and 18d once the penny dropped. Stopped snowing but very low temperatures in the province and even for us on the southern “riviera” 😀

  18. I agree with those who weren’t that convinced by 18d, but I actually thought the “not all there” in 3d was even more clunky.

    An enjoyable puzzle overall, although naturally I was disappointed to see “up”, “put up” and “coming up” used as reversal indicators in the space of four clues. A little more imagination could have been utilised methinks.

    The two clues I ticked were 19a and 23a.

    Thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr. K.

    1. S. What is “more clunky” about the “not all there” for mad in 3d? I don’t read it as being clunky at all.

  19. This took longer than the toughie (which is easy today)

    I thought 18d was a fine clue, always good to misdirect with names like that – and I like the “only one half” reference which itself is kinda Jeckyll/Hydish.

    I liked the long clues though I hadn’t come across the answer to 19a before.

    I also liked the way the definition is worked into 5d.

    Many thanks setter, and Mr Kitty for a fine blog

  20. Strapped for time today, so just a quick comment to thank the setter and Mr Kitty. I enjoyed most of this apart from 18d for which I bunged in the answer without having a clue what how the definition worked.

  21. Almost a R & W today though I filled in several answers without being sure why they were right. 18d is a case in point and I needed Mr Kitty’s explanation for this one and several others.

  22. Quite enjoyable, no real promlems apart from 18d!! How obscure is that?? Never heard of Gertrude Jekyll…….let alone knowing her to be a gardener…….rotten clue IMHO! Otherwise**/***

    1. No – not a rotten clue at all – just because you don’t know it doesn’t make it a rotten clue.
      She comes up fairly often so read about her and remember her.

      1. I am no 18d but have heard of Gertrude Jekyll and have visited gardens she designed. Particularly impressive is an English garden near Dieppe in Normandy. Le Bois de Moutiers – house by Lutyens and garden by Jekyll. I got the answer but could not work out the parsing – it was just the “de” in the middle I could not place in the end.

      2. How patronising! I consider myself to be reasobably well educated, but with absolutely no interest in gardening, …although I have heard of Capability whatshisname! …oh and Monty thingy! Still there are probably lots of things I do know which others may not…….!

        1. Kath is one of the least patronising people I know. She was merely pointing out that just because you can’t solve a clue doesn’t make it a rotten clue. She was also trying to help you by suggesting that, since this lady’s name comes up on a fairly regular basis, it would be a good idea to remember it.

  23. We had learnt 18d from a puzzle some time in the fairly recent past which meant that it was not the problem it could have been for us. The musical allusion in 13a was a total mystery but did not hold up the solving process. It all went together without significant hold-ups and plenty of smiles.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  24. It took me a while to get on the setters wavelength.I completely failed on 18d.
    19d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty for the amusing illustrations and also to the setter.

  25. Favourite today was 23a until I realised that I had the wrong answer.
    I had Space Drum and thought it was a kind of all in one clue.
    Checked it on Google as I didn’t have access to my BRB and of course it wasn’t in the latter.
    18d didn’t cause any problems as she appeared not long ago.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty for the review.

    1. J-L, I laughed out loud at your first sentence :)

      I didn’t remember a previous appearance by 18d, but after looking through my list I see that she was in a Toughie about two weeks ago. I should pay more attention to what goes on over on the other side.

      1. A bit of Googling told us that the Toughie was number 1717 on 30th November. It was by Osmosis. We just wondered if he might be the Mr Ron for this one but that is pure speculation based on nothing more than the name popping up again.

  26. Disappointingly a few short as I am going through a ‘useless at working out synonyms’ phase, which is, let’s face it, something of a drawback. In pretty much every case, I can work out the wordplay, but even with all the checking letters…
    5d – No idea of a synonym for reason
    9d – No idea of a synonym for bar or opposite
    2d – No idea of a synonym for rostrum
    Rubbish!! I could have stared at those until 2017…
    And talking of rubbish…18d…
    Thanks to Mr.K for a great set of hints and Mr.Ron.
    Finally a plea….Southern/RMT/ASLEF – SORT IT OUT!!!

    1. These have come along before Hoofityoudonkey and they will turn up again. Having a good memory is essential to the task

      1. Yes, MP, as long as when remembering something, it does not push something important, like where I live out the other side…
        I need to follow your earlier sound advice about doing the quick crossword, trouble is Southern and work gets in the way.

    2. Feel so bad for those poor commuters, and especially for those with unsympathetic bosses. And now the PO at Christmas time. Would think Brexit would be enough of a challenge without these to deal with. Speaking of challenges, part were easy today, but like some others, found 18d trying, and 19a was an age before the penny dropped. Thanks Mr Kitty for the hints.

    3. hoofit, I think you’d be justified in allowing yourself a few glances at a thesaurus as partial compensation for having to solve on a Southern train.

  27. A gentle but enjoyable stroll: 1*/3.5*. 18d was a cracker – a clue well worthy of a Toughie towards the end of the week. Thanks to today’s Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty.

  28. I was rubbish at this one…and having seen the hints can certainly say that I would not have worked out the ones I didn’t get….so not much pleasure to be had for me today.
    I got the bottom half Ok but just could not figure out the top half at all.
    My worst performance for some time, I think.

    Thanks to Mr Kitty for the hints and to the setter.

  29. The top half fairly flew in, but the rest took twice as much time again. I just couldn’t get 19ac for a long time, and that proved key to getting the rest.

  30. Hmmm – it’s a very long time since I’ve seen a clue as divisive as 18d – some seem to think it’s ‘rubbish’, ‘a rotten clue’, ‘not a very nice clue’, ‘the most contrived clue of the year’, ‘a preposterously bad clue that shouldn’t have got past the editor’ etc etc – yet several others have called it their favourite. I loved it – it was my favourite.

    1. Kath, like you I’ve been surprised by the intensity of the reaction to 18d. While I could get the answer to that clue from the wordplay I had to use Google to fully parse it, and that was certainly a bit frustrating. So I can see where those who disliked it are coming from. On the other hand it meant I learned something new, and expanding my knowledge is one of the reasons I like solving cryptics. It’s also not very different to 24a, where the answer can be obtained from the wordplay but parsing it requires some general knowledge about cricket. But there don’t seem to be any complaints about that clue.

      1. I mentioned the groundwork involved in solving this clue in my comment at no 6 above. The answer was my last one in and as often is the case the checkers suggested an answer which required me to bungitin and reverse solve. It took some time to do so but I was aware of Jeykll and her Titchmarsh like qualities. So the wordplay fell. Your bloggers ability to parse such a clue deserves acclaim particularly as he is not native to these shores. Clue of the day. Clue of the week. Clue of the month.

  31. I failed to comment yesterday, despite finishing the cryptic, the quick and most of the GK while being shunted from stationary train to stationary train by Southern Rail, who seemed to have trains galore but no drivers – and it wasn’t even a strike day. So after taking two and a quarter hours for a 25-minute commute, I was too grumpy and just went straight to bed. Tonight, I realised that if God had meant us to use Southern Rail, he would never have given us the Overground.
    This Tuesday challenge was a breeze. No hold-ups and finished in one pass (bar 18d, which was clue of the day. Re pronunciation, I guess most English people say Jekyll, but many Scots prefer Jeekyll).
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K, whose informative preambles have become required reading.1*/3*

    1. Bluebird pointed out in Comment 8 that the name of the gardener is pronounced differently by most people (the “Scots” way) from that of the RLS character. Strange but true.

  32. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty. Have thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments and finding I was not alone with 18d. It all went in very quickly but my only complaint would be that the answer was pretty obvious in most of them without working out why. I did of course work out why for self-satisfaction and succeeded save for the aforementioned clue, I think it is probably not considered good form to have too many clues which can be solved ahead of working out why. I can see why there is a divergence of opinion. I love the charades but some solvers find them impossible – marmite clues.

  33. Just a further comment on Gertrude Jekyll, who I am ashamed to say I had never heard of. However, my wife is a keen gardener and was amazed at my ignorance. By the way, she hates cryptic crossroads.
    Why is it we have all heard of Jethro Tull, Capability Brown etc, but Gertrude is known only to keen gardeners and crossword nerds? I’m sorry to say it’s probably because she is a woman and so in the past was not regarded as highly as a man. Certainly when I read up on her, she was a towering figure in her field.

    1. Am I the only one who was reading your comment thinking “Of course everyone’s heard of Jethro Tull. ‘Aqualung’ and ‘Thick as a Brick” are classic albums, but what does a rock band have to do with gardening?”

      Anyway, I checked Wikipedia and now I’ve learned something else new. Thanks for that :)

  34. Grrr! I’ll try again…..
    18d was very divisive I must say. I thought it was great and made it my COTD. I really can’t see why just because a clue is deemed difficult it has to be ‘rubbish’. Gertrude Jekyll is up there with Capability Brown as far as reputation and renown is concerned.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter for an interesting solve, and to Mr K for the educational review.

Comments are closed.