DT 28299 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28299


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28299

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where after a damp, grey start to the day the sun has put in a welcome appearance.

Today’s Giovanni didn’t take me very long at all, hence the * rating. Nothing too obscure, and the usual scrupulously fair cluing from our Friday setter.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ 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           Wittier men reassembling when it gets cold? (10)
WINTERTIME – Anagram (reassembling) of WITTIER MEN.

6a           A good journalist over the hill? (4)
AGED – Put together A (from the clue), Good, and the usual crossword journalist.

9a           A very great and eccentric bohemian (5-5)
AVANT-GARDE – A (from the clue) and Very, followed by an anagram (eccentric) of GREAT AND.

10a         Palm Sunday’s collection for gifts for the poor (4)
ALMS – Hidden in the clue.

13a         Country worker gets game bird — not hard (7)
PEASANT – Remove the H(ard) from a game bird shot in large numbers between 1 October and 1 February.

15a         Crazy Merton tutor (6)
MENTOR – Anagram (crazy) of MERTON.

16a         Lordly type will appear in Paris tomorrow (6)
ARISTO – Hidden in the clue.

17a         Being opposed to any priest or saint I call ‘crime’ ridiculously (15)
ANTICLERICALISM – Anagram (ridiculously) of SAINT I CALL CRIME.

18a         Keep quiet in delightful meal (6)
SUPPER – Put the musical symbol for ‘quiet’ inside a word for delightful or great.

20a         Came across house by the end of cobbled way (6)
METHOD – Put together ‘came across’, an abbreviation for house, and the last letter of cobbleD.

21a         Punished for second parking offence? That’s nice! (7)
REFINED – This word for ‘nice’ or ‘genteel’ could also be a description of someone who has had to pay a monetary penalty for a parking offence or other minor transgression, not once but on a second or subsequent occasion.

22a         Cheese cut short (4)
BRIE – Remove the last letter from a word for short (in duration) to get a French cheese.

Image result for brie

25a         Oh, the crime can be so alluring! (4-6)
COME-HITHER – Anagram (can be so) of OH THE CRIME.

26a         So there is an attempt after a bit of hesitation (4)
ERGO – A short word expressing hesitation in speech, followed by an attempt or a turn in a game.

27a         A railway needs to go east of somewhere like Paddington still (10)
STATIONARY – A place, like Paddington, where trains stop, followed by A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for railway.


1d           Northern river sport (4)
WEAR – Double definition: the river that runs through Sunderland, for example; or the act of wearing something as a statement.

2d           Grandma eats a sort of bread (4)
NAAN – An informal word for grandmother wrapped around A (from the clue), giving an Indian bread.

Image result for naan bread

3d           One of two I plunged into volatile liquid (6)
EITHER – A volatile organic compound which was used as an anaesthetic in the past, with I (from the clue) inserted.

4d           Trained athlete is trim, OK? I’m pleased by the improvement! (5,4,4,2)
THAT’S MORE LIKE IT – Anagram (trained) of ATHLETE IS TRIM OK.

5d           Fellows carrying little girl, coming to a holy city (6)
MEDINA– Some fellows wrapped around a short form of a girl’s name, followed by A (from the clue), giving us a Muslim holy city.

7d           College people dealing with precious material (10)
GOLDSMITHS – Double definition: a constituent college of the University of London; or people who work precious metal.

8d           Two males interrupting party poem, creating inconvenience (10)
DISCOMMODE – A party involving recorded music at high volume, and a poem, placed either side of two examples of the abbreviation for Male.

11d         Troublemaker on a ship, sailor the French blocked (10)
IMPASSABLE – Put together a supernatural troublemaker, A (from the clue), the usual crossword steamship, one of the usual abbreviations indicating a sailor’s rating, and the French definite article.

12d         International organisation’s excellent opening to provide wine? (10)
UNSTOPPING – Put together the initials of an international political organisation, plus the ‘S from the clue, and another word for excellent, to get a generic word for removing the cork or screw cap from a bottle of wine.

13d         Breakfast cook who intrudes on another’s territory? (7)
POACHER – The breakfast cool here has a limited range, offering only one way of cooking eggs. The chap who intrudes on another’s territory may well be after the game birds in 13a.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d         Given medical care, as discussed (7)
TREATED – Double definition, the second referring to, for example, the discussion of a topic in an academic paper.

19d         Come back with vessel for chemistry lab (6)
RETORT – double definition: a robust reply; or the exotically-shaped piece of glassware which probably has a brightly-coloured liquid bubbling in it in any mad scientist’s laboratory in film.

Image result for retort

20d         Country team that’s taken care of, led by this person (6)
MEXICO – Start with (led by) ‘this person’, then add the Roman numeral for the number of players in a football or cricket team, followed by the abbreviation for ‘care of’.

Image result for mexico flag

23d         Summer heat is too much for this bird (4)
RHEA – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for rhea

24d         King entertained by poet and elegist (4)
GRAY – The poet who wrote The Beggar’s Opera, wrapped around the Latin abbreviation for king, producing the chap who wrote Elegy written in a country churchyard.

The Quick Crossword pun VAULT + AIRE = VOLTAIRE

63 comments on “DT 28299

  1. Well here’s a scary thought. I seem to be totally on the same wavelength as Giovanni (for today and the last couple of weeks at least). Completed this one very comfortably before lights out last night and claimed the full bonus points with on-line submission – */****.

    Last one is was 12d, with a bit of a groan when the penny dropped, and the parsing became clear. Candidates for long favourite – 27a, 7d, and 12d, short favourite – 2d and 13d. And, the winners are 27a and 13d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  2. Certainly gentle for a Friday but an enjoyable diversion nonetheless. A couple of clues just took me over 1* time overall.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 1.5*/3.5*

  3. Enjoyed this puzzle very much…..and solved it in record time for me. Hurrah!
    So, am encouraged to continue with cryptics after the mess I made of yesterday’s puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the hints…..one of the rare days when I did not need them.

  4. Quite enjoyed todays offering from Giovanni, not as hard as most of his puzzles. I couldnt get 8d, never heard the word before. Favourites were 17a, 25a and best of all 12d. 3*/3.5* Many thanks to both Giovanni and DT.

    1. I’ve always thought of 8d as the verb describing the denial of toilet facilities. Decidedly inconvenient!

  5. I found this fairly easy, got stuck on 21a and 13d, just not thinking outside the box, so was grateful for the hints. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat, I can now start writing the Christmas cards!

  6. After a really good night’s sleep last night, all a puzzle had to do to keep this kitty purring was to lack anything unfair. Tick. About average difficulty for a DT back pager, even if gentle for the later part of the week. Thanks to the Don and to DT.

  7. That country worker is certainly getting a few outings recently!
    Two very easy anagrams at1&15a – in fact, I left filling in 1a until there were checkers in place in case DG was fooling us.
    17a I have to confess to making up as I went along – not a word in my regular vocabulary.
    Last one in was 21a – for no good reason!

    Favourite was 4d.
    Thanks to DG and to DT for the review.

    1. My usual thanks to all who express their views, but especial thanks to Jane for her comment on 17, which raises an interesting point. There is no need for a confession whatsoever. In fact I am delighted you made up the answer as you went along, All three components (anti, clerical, and ism) seem to make sense when combined, so although you may not have seen the word before, you should feel confident about your answer and (who knows?) glad that you have met that new word.. For many, that is one of the joys of solving crosswords. If we knew all the words or could get them from the definitions without any parsing, crosswords would (for me, at any rate) be a duller pastime. So confess not — rejoice!

      1. Giovanni (and Jane) – Firstly it is good to see a posting from the setter, thank you. For 17a, although, like Jane and probably others, it was a new word for me, I easily identified that it was an anagram and what the ‘fodder’ was. Then, with the checkers I had, the penny dropped quite quickly (without any form of assistance), with, I think, ‘anti’ going in first. Finally, my thought was if I have got it wrong I will find out when I submit my solution through the on-line system.

      2. Thanks for dropping in. Likewise, I had never heard of 17a, but I knew it began with anti, then the rest went in by elimination. I like when I can solve a clue when I’ve never heard the word before.

      3. and me Giovanni, once I spotted it started with ANTI and ended in ISM it fell into place.
        Thanks for the puzzle and thanks for popping in.

      4. G. I wrote this comment on DT 28234

        There’s quite a lot of talk on here about stretched synonyms and obscure words, so I penned this pertinent adage: Lament not at the of reading an unknown word – but rejoice that it can be yours on a later day.

        But I only got castigated for it…

  8. Certainly the gentlest Friday puzzle for a while but containing some elegant clues.

    25a particularly so, along with 8d and 12d.

    4d was my LOI: clearly a long anagram so I left it until I’d got a fair number of cross checkers. When I scrolled up to 4d to finish it, for some crazy reason I didn’t scroll far enough for the enumeration to appear and sat pondering a 15 letter word that could result from the anagram and meet the definition. Doh! Once I looked again, given the cross checkers, the answer was staring me in the face.

  9. I found this solve to be quite difficult, unlike most of the bloggers-must be the party season ! a ***/*** for me.
    I enjoyed the charades like 20a and 8d- not a word you see very often theses days, also liked 21a and 19d.
    Thanks DT, 22A pic reminded me I’ve an opened slice in the fridge.

  10. Probably the easiest Giovanni ever apart from 21a as I just don’t see why the word parking, surely it is totally irrelevant to the clue/answer? A little bit sloppy for someone as precise as Giovanni. Having said that 11d is the perfect example of one of his excellent clues, everything relevant, in order and with no redundancy, superb!
    Lots of lurkers today and a weird word in 17a. Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all.

    1. Perhaps 21a had some editorial involvement. I would be really interested to know how much of that there actually is.

    2. I think the parking along with the question mark are just indicators that it was a minor offence.

      In accord with most others, this was a gentle offering today. */**

      Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    3. I think parking indicates a low-level offence for which one can be fined, rather than something more serious which might lead to a community sentence or prison.

  11. I agree with DT a nice gentle solve but I needed the hint for 9a 🙁 and I knew that it was an anagram 😳 Ergo **/*** Liked 21a & 8d 😄 Thanks to DT for the blog and to Giovanni for the puzzle 😍

  12. I would go a tad over the one star for difficulty as this not a read and write, and also a star over the three for enjoyment, as so many of the clues were an absolute delight. Hard to single out a favourite, but if pushed I would nominate 21 across.

    2*/4* from me with grateful thanks to The Don both for the puzzle and his comments at #7. Thanks, too, to DT for his review.

  13. Bish, bash, bosh – done in the blink of an eye with the exception of 17a. Is it really a Friday? Is it really a Mr Manley production? If it is, then he has been in a most benign mood. Not a lot more can be said about it – very straightforward I thought.

    Thanks to DG for the puzzle and to DT for his review. I will now set off to Toughieland to see if Notabilis is also in a benign mood – although I doubt it :cool:

    Have a great weekend everyone :)

  14. Maybe it’s me but I found this tough, although I usually start crossword around 0700, when I do they usually fall into place quite quickly. When I don’t get down to it until later in the day then they seem to become harder. I ideally limber up with the polyword and the same rules apply. I will have to consult with my day gather who knows about these things.
    Thanks to DT and the Don for making my brain ache.

  15. This was another excellent puzzle from Giovanni but now that I am more fluent in the language of the cryptic puzzle the constructs or what you need to do to solve this clue are becoming stand out obvious so even the obscure words fall quickly. With reference to being fined I recently had a fine for driving through a bus lane in Coventry using a route I have used for fifty odd years. I went to check out where I thought this was and today I got another fine for driving through the very same bus lane. Doh!

    1. I feel for you MP. I have a feeling I may have been caught out this week, as I saw the camera flash in my rear mirror. I’ve travelled along the same bit of road for thirty years, but when I googled the road when I got home I discovered the speed has just been reduced from 30 to 20. I dread what might be mixed in with Christmas cards. I guess it’s a lesson in not being too complacent.

  16. Giovanni has made my day. Possibly the whole weekend!

    I thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle. I solved most of the clues on first reading. And that’s a first for me. Somehow I wanted 17 to be antidisestablishmentarism, but it didn’t fit in.

    Many thanks Giovanni and DT (for the hints not required today), and of course BD for providing the blog

  17. Not one of Giovanni’s hardest puzzles I would say. Some nice concise clueing as per usual and the odd new word too. 25a was my favourite simply because it made me laugh once I realized it wasn’t ‘HOME’ something. 2/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the Don, and also to DT for the review.
    Oh dear MP, getting caught by bus lanes twice over. The bane of the city driver.

  18. */***. Finished this over a cup of tea in bed this morning. Very fair clueing exemplified by 11d which fell into place as i read it. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the review.

  19. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, especially discovering a new word when I solved 17a. Nice to see Giovanni pop in. I liked 20d, but my favourite was 13d. Last in was 4d. Was 1*/3* for me.

  20. This was an absolute treat, not just because it was easy peasy, but as YS said at 12, some of the clues were delightful.
    The obscurity at 17a was solve able by just elimination of the anagram letters.
    There was so much to like here, 20a, 25a, 27a, and so on, but the outstanding fave was 4d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  21. Thanks to Giovanni for dropping in. I enjoyed the puzzle and finished it , although I wouldn’t say it was his easiest ever! Tussled with 8d and 17a and solved them only by parsing as I’ve never encountered the words before, but as the man himself said that’s part of the joy of crosswords. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  22. Certainly there have been harder Friday puzzles, but I didn’t think this one was a read and write by any means. The two long anagrams were far from obvious, especially 17a, which I hope Mr. Kitty may confirm is making its first appearance? If 17a was going to be clued by anyone, it was most likely to come from the crossword editor of the Church Times!

    I always give a wry smile when I see comments praising the “fair cluing” in a Friday puzzle. Today for example, one could well argue that if you didn’t know either the poet or the elegist involved in 24d, how could you possibly get to the answer from the wordplay alone? Apart from perhaps RayT’s stretched synonyms, I don’t consider any of the other regular compilers are any less fair to the solver than Mr. Manley.

    My two ticked favourites today were 4d and, for its cleverly concealed lurker, 23d.

    Thanks to Giovanni (and for dropping in) and to Deep Threat, and a good weekend to all.

    1. Yes, silvanus, this is the first appearance for 17a.

      I’m impressed by how week after week Giovanni is able to offer us brand new words clued in a way that always allows the grid to be filled. And I agree with what he says above about learning new words (and new meanings of familiar words) being one of the joys of solving crosswords.

  23. Got about 13 answers at the first pass, so thought I was flying along. Then took quite some time to finish. Not sure why, other than that I just couldn’t ‘see’ some answers. Anyway, thanks to DT and The Don. And yes, a new word or two is always ok, there is no need to object to them as ‘obscurities’.

  24. A pleasant solve of well constructed clues. Just what we have come to expect and appreciate every Friday.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  25. Speaking as one who often/usually struggles on Fridays I’d say this was the most straightforward Friday for a very long time.
    Like others I’ve never met 17a but by the time I had as many letters in as was possible there weren’t many spare ones waiting for somewhere to live so it was just a case of playing put and take.
    I’m not sure that I’ve met 19d with the second meaning before either but I’ve probably just forgotten it.
    My last answer was the other long anagram, 4d, which I just couldn’t see for ages.
    I liked 20a and 7d. My favourite was the, for me anyway, troublesome 4d anagram.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  26. I liked 20a for packing so much into a short but smooth surface and 12d because it made me smile. 17a and 8d were gettable from the wordplay but needed a visit to the BRB afterwards to verify the definition. I didn’t know Mr 24d, but with the checkers in place and it being clear that two surnames were required it wasn’t hard to get the right answer and then look them up afterwards. The solve was educational and great fun. **/***

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. As a new boy on this (my wife and I have been doing them for about 4 weeks now and very slowly snd painfully getting better) I got about 60% really quickly and then struggled badly. Just couldn’t get 21a as my mind didn’t click with nice and that meaning – doh. However as a fan of Graham Greene 17a was the third one I got as the catholic background to his novels means it gets mentioned quite regularly particularly in The Power and the Glory. Shows how people’s minds work differently

      Many thanks to Giovanni for a most enjoyable test and to DT for the invaluable hints.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Mark. It sounds as though you’re doing pretty well after just four weeks. Stick with us and you’ll soon be doing even better.

        1. Many thanks Gazza. Have to say hugely enjoy them as they take away the stress of travelling (or not as the case may be) on Southern Rail. Reading the comments the blog is full of some of the nicest people on the web.

          Very envious the other day of the solver who had celebrated his 60th with a crossword a pint and a ploughman’s. Sounded idyllic

          1. Great progress Mark, welcome from me too, a fellow Southern struggler.
            60% is very impressive, you will be setting them in a couple of years at that rate!!

            1. I think the relatively large number of anagrams and lurkers helped enormously. Struggled somewhat yesterday due to the absence of many of the former. I remember a friend who was an addict showing me a clue a few years ago which made me think I needed to start doing them. It was “confirms what Goldilocks discovers” (5,4). Answer “bears out”. Thought that was brilliant and made me laugh out loud and convinced me that one day I had to have a go at solving .

      2. Wow! Only four weeks and completed 60%? That is brilliant, even with the benign Giovanni today! Congratulations!

  27. A nice finish to the week with a cheeky red wine and cigar. Needed the críptic clues to define unfamiliar words in 17a and 8d.

  28. An enjoyable warm-up for the evening’s mental exertions (I did this before my abortive run at the Toughie). 1*/3.5* seems about right. I enjoyed the simplicity and elegance of 22a. Ta to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  29. 24d was a complete guess based on a vague recollection of the author of the elegy in question, but the rest was pretty straightforward. An enjoyable puzzle to end the working week.

  30. Nice little treat while having a light dinner.
    Not surprised that most found it easier than usual as I didn’t need to check any of my answers either. Even managed to remember the poet and the elegist in 24d.
    Definitely a confidence booster.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review. Favourite clue and hint is 27a.

  31. Nice, non too taxing crossword. Giovanni’s crosswords are usually a struggle for me, but today’s was ok for me, working at home due to the rail strike, so plenty of opportunities to snatch a quick 10 minutes…
    I liked:=
    1d, a penny drop moment…
    7d, I go past it every day when Southern and ASLEF can deign to run a train service
    15a, was a bit confused how the answer = “so alluring”
    4d and 17a, two great anagrams
    24d, I read his “Elergy in a Country Churchyard” once, it was utterly lost on me.
    Favourite was 1d.
    Note to self, must start Christmas shopping!!
    Thanks to the Don and DT

  32. I was relieved to find there were kindred spirits including Beaver and Spook who hadn’t found this all plain-sailing. For me it was the SW corner which delayed things hence after a tiring day entertaining chez moi I threw in the sponge and turned to DT for help so thank you for rescuing me. Thank you also Giovanni for the challenge. ***/***.

    1. I think that The Don has been very kind to us today. Just what I needed. All the clues were very fair. I didn’t know 17a, but worked it out from the anagram, then had to check that it was really a word. Thanks go to Giovanni and to DT.

    2. Oops ! Sorry Angellov. I posted in the wrong place. Everything seems to be going wrong at the minute.

  33. **/*** today. Only got round to this after dinner whilst listening to Sarah McClachlan. Good fun and yes, easy-er for a Giovanni it still put up a fight. All done in one go and had to check the blog answers to see why my iPad was still saying ‘some answers incorrect’ – it still is (?). Quite liked 17a and 4d forming the shape of a cross in the centre. Thank you for a very good crossword, Giovanni (nice to ‘see’ you today)
    thank you bloggers and ‘hello’ to the new folks! I have just read Gray’s Elegy for the first time too. Every day is a school day!

    1. Thomas Grays Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard was my fathers favourite poem. It has become my favourite poem. I love every verse. Perfect iambic pentameter.

  34. This was about average from G, but still very good by comparison. That’s three really good cryptics on the trot this week (Wed – Fri). 2.5*/3.5*.

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