DT 28302 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28302

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28302

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone. Compared to recent Tuesdays I found today a step up in both difficulty and enjoyment. While solving this crossword I found myself laughing out loud several times, which is a first for me. If I had to guess the setter, I’d say this is Shamus at his best.

Before moving on to the hinty part of the blog, I’d like to briefly address Jose’s recent question about whether there are any clues where “-” in the wordplay is used to clue the letters DASH. As with most questions about cryptic crosswords, the answer is found in the super-helpful Big Dave’s Little Guide to Cryptic Crosswords. BD gives a couple of nice examples there under the entry for Punctuation. In my spare time I’ve been trawling the archives looking for other clues where punctuation is a component of wordplay or definition. Here are a few examples which made me smile nearly as much as some of today’s clues:

ST 2243

– – flies! (6)



Language – around centre of Venice (6)


DT 27245

Smallest break in sentence, in fact? (5)


DT 26053

Miracle taxman OK to fiddle! (11,4)



#stew? (4)



0.9 (3)


Now, on to the hints. 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.


1a    Take over from journalist one judge initially gets imprisoned (6)
HIJACK: The Roman numeral for one and the first letter (initially) of judge are inserted into (gets imprisoned) an unflattering description of a journalist.

4a    Backing students is mistake (4-2)
SLIP-UP: The reversal (backing) of some school-age students.

8a    Small pronged thing used in ear-piercing (8)
STRIDENT: The abbreviation for small followed by Neptune’s favourite pronged thing.

10a    Pageant in August at Tooting (6)
TATTOO: A spectacular pageant of the type hidden inside the clue does indeed take place in August, just not in Tooting.

11a    Annoying child making racket? That’s about right (4)
BRAT: A racket of the sort used in cricket contains (that’s about) the single letter abbreviation for right. The BRB says that the piece of cricketing equipment is also an informal term for the racket used in tennis. That might be what the setter had in mind.

12a    Not fit, being ill, i.e. needing exercise (10)
INELIGIBLE: An anagram (needing exercise) of BEING ILL IE.

13a    Mushroom cap (6,6)
SCOTCH BONNET: A double definition. The answer is both a type of mushroom and a head covering traditionally named for Tam o’Shanter.

16a    I deem cavalry ludicrously reckless (5-3-4)
DEVIL-MAY-CARE: An anagram (ludicrously) of I DEEM CAVALRY.

20a    Light user of alcohol, an item associated with Aladdin? (6,4)
SPIRIT LAMP: Two cryptic definitions of an alcohol-fuelled heat source found in chemistry laboratories. I had a hard time deciding where to put the underlining in this clue.

21a    Fellow in hospital wearing hat (4)
CHAP: The single letter abbreviation for hospital is contained by (wearing) a type of hat.

22a    Alternative route after onset of digging? (6)
DETOUR: A wonderful all-in-one clue. The first letter (onset of) Digging followed by an anagram (alternative) of ROUTE.

23a    American word for journey’s end? (8)
TERMINUS: When split (4,2,2), this word for the place where a bus route ends might mean “American word”.

24a    Governess of the French princess returned (6)
DUENNA: The French word meaning “of the” followed by the reversal (returned) of, e.g., the Princess Royal. This governess chaperones young ladies, especially in a Spanish family. However, I’ve only ever encountered her in cryptic crosswords.

25a    Patient with it seen first, as a precaution (2,4)
IN CASE: A short word meaning “with it” precedes (seen first) a term used by a doctor to describe a patient and their medical issues.


1d    Bit of magic involving a bowler? (3,5)
HAT TRICK: The cricketing achievement of dismissing batsmen on three successive balls could literally mean a conjuring act using the headwear of which a bowler is an example.

2d    Meet on time in disreputable bar (5)
JOINT: A charade of a synonym for meet and T(ime).

3d    Nurse, that woman one’s seen in church (7)
CHERISH: Put a pronoun for “that woman” the Roman numeral for one and the S from ‘S inside (seen in) one of the usual abbreviations for church.

5d    European, valiant invalid (7)
LATVIAN: An anagram (invalid) of VALIANT.

6d    Flag-waving threesome in pact, I fancy (9)
PATRIOTIC: A four-letter threesome inside an anagram (fancy) of PACT I.

7d    Dog lead for Dalmatian got in Dorset resort (6)
POODLE: The first letter (lead for) of Dalmatian is inserted (got in) into a seaport in Dorset to get a dog that comes in sizes of standard, miniature, or toy. These alpacas have copied the hairstyle stereotypically associated with that dog.

9d    Collected another belt, boxing (3,5,3)
THE NOBLE ART: An anagram (collected) of ANOTHER BELT results in a somewhat euphemistic description of boxing.

14d    English emblem out of order to us abroad (5,4)
TUDOR ROSE: An anagram (abroad) of ORDER TO US is an enduring symbol of England first introduced by Henry VII.

15d    Wealth may provide endless delight, of course (8)
TREASURE: This wealth often associated with pirates is a charade of a delight or pleasure missing its last letter (endless), and a four-letter word meaning “of course”.

17d    Animal doctor near sick warhorse (7)
VETERAN: Join the abbreviation for an animal doctor and an anagram (sick) of NEAR to get an old warrior.

18d    Bad sprain? I could get you this? (7)
ASPIRIN: An anagram (bad) of SPRAIN I gives something one might want after suffering such an injury.

19d    Study after odds get bigger (6)
SPREAD: A charade of a two-letter abbreviation for betting odds (derived from Starting Price) and a synonym for study (at a university).

21d    Check in with a mate from Bow? (5)
CHINA: A charade of the chess abbreviation for check, IN from the clue, and the A from the clue delivers a Cockney (from Bow) expression for mate or friend.

Thanks to today’s setter for a delightful puzzle. I particularly liked 8a, 11a, 12a, and 22a for their smooth surfaces. My favourite is the previously unseen 23a because that’s the clue where the penny dropped furthest today. Which one was your favourite?

The Quick Crossword pun: QUAY+PER+WHEY=KEEP AWAY


84 comments on “DT 28302

  1. Very much on the easy side today, no real problems but quite enjoyable. Not sure about 13a, isnt the answer a chilli pepper not a mushroom? 2*/3* Many thanks to Shamus and to Mr Kitty.

    1. pete – apparently 13a is both. I googled just the answer and got the pepper. But, when I googled the answer with mushroom, I got what the setter must have had in mind.

  2. After a long day of travelling, the last thing I needed was a real head scratcher; and, this met my requirements – */*** – completed comfortably before lights out last night. I also completed Monday’s Rufus, which I had not had chance to look at earlier, in the same session.

    Plenty of good clues, but my favourite is 1d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  3. Like Pete, I thought it was mainly straight forward with a more difficult SE corner, but a **/**** overall.
    I simply thought that 15d was a double meaning, as a treasure could be described as a lasting or endless delight- I see from Mr Kitty’s blog how the answer was intended to be derived , as I did think that ‘of course’ was superfluous to my reasoning-thanks Kr K.
    Favourite 9d, and 1d brought a smile-until I checked the test score !

  4. This was R&W today apart from 13a due to my non-existent knowledge of mushrooms but the concise and accurate cluing made it a very enjoyable diversion whilst having my breakfast.

    For 13a, as soon as I had all the checking letters I checked Google for what I felt had to be the answer, only to be thrown off course by finding it described as a variety of chili pepper. On rechecking Google later, I found the first mention of the mushroom of that ilk on page 10! Guess who should have checked the BRB first?!

    23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Messrs R and K.

    P.S. Mr K, for 1d I think “bit of magic” may be the definition as the enumeration for the cricketing feat is (8) not (3,5), or perhaps this is covered by the question mark? Although, as Beaver says, the less said about cricket today the better.

      1. Yes, you’re right Jose. On reflection, (3-5) is the most common enumeration. I have come across it as (8) as well, but never (3,5).

        1. The BRB has (3,5), so I was OK with it when I wrote the hints. But looking now at websites such as the BBC I’m only seeing (3-5).

          1. Yes, I checked online where Collins, Wiki and other websites all show 3-5 with the hyphen but when I got home to look in my (rather old) BRB it only shows 3,5 – so you and the setter were right.

      1. in my opinion, Cook has been and still is a great opening batsman but he has always been a poor captain when the going gets tough. I also think Strauss as Director of Cricket should consider his own position.

        1. Agree with both of those comments, RD. I also think the selectors who chose the touring party have proved they are not fit for purpose either!

  5. 2*/4* overall for this very enjoyable little tussle. I thought the clue mix, humour and fun were top drawer. 6 down my favourite of many fine clues. Many thanks Shamus, if it was indeed you, and MK for a fine review.

  6. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. Some really well crafted clues such as 22a and 19d and I learnt that a scotch bonnet was a mushroom as well as a chilli!
    My favourite was 20a, it made me smile.
    No. Real problems so for me **/****
    Thx to all.

  7. Nice crossword pleasantly straightforward */**** 😊 Liked 13a & 24a Thanks to Mr Kitty and to Shamus 🍀

  8. Quite a difference between a very hot chilli and a mushroom. I did eventually find it myself but thanks anyway, learn something new everyday.

  9. Encountered the same problem with 13a using modern technology rather than the trusted BRB.
    The rest was pretty much a read and write job. Almost wrote jobbie but yet again Chambers suggested I shouldn’t.
    Favourite 23a also.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  10. An enjoyable puzzle with a few ‘smile’ moments during the solve – albeit not too difficult. The only thing that I would take umbrage with is the term ‘Scotch’ bonnet – yes, I know it’s there in the BRB as a hat – but to a Scotsman the only use of ‘Scotch’ is for a drink :cool: The only mention of a hat in Tam o’ Shanter is his ‘blue bunnet’ which was a precursor of the many variables on sale today. I think if you went into a hat shop in Ayrshire and asked for a ‘Scotch Bonnet’ you would be directed to the nearest grocery store :). Rant over.

    Thanks to our Tuesday Mr Ron for the puzzle and to Mr K for his review. Nearly forgot – I will opt for 8a as my favourite of the day.

        1. How about …?

          – Scotch Eggs
          – Scotch Pancakes
          – Scotch Gambit (a chess opening), and even …
          – Scotch Corner

          1. Hi RD – Isn’t it time you had a new cricket team – let alone a new captain? :) :whistle: Are you attending the BB in January?

            1. SL, I think much of our team is reasonably OK now but we desperately need a new captain, a top class solid middle order batsman, and a world class spinner. Getting KP back in the fold as well for a couple of years wouldn’t hurt, although with Strauss and Cook in charge that will never happen.

              I’m hoping to get to the BB in the afternoon for a couple of hours. How about you?

              1. I’m there for the long haul – going to London on Friday lunchtime and going home Sunday morning. I may see more than one of you – hic :)

      1. Sorry guys, I refer to my previous statement – ‘to a Scotsman the only use of ‘Scotch’ is for a drink’ :cool:

        Not ‘scotch mist’ (driech) or ‘scotch tape’ (brand name) and my Mother always had a pot of ‘rib sticking’ soup on the hob – called ‘Broth’ (never ‘scotch’ broth). Hopscotch? Nope :scratch:

        As my Mother used to say ‘Am a right or am a wrang’ :unsure:

        1. I’ve never heard a Scot ask for “a Scotch” – far too vague. My father would always ask by brand name, as do I. Bell’s or Grouse for everyday; Glenmorangie for high days and holidays; Glengoyne if someone else is paying.

          1. Hi Ts – Being born and bred in Kilmarnock the only whisky that was served in virtually every pub was either Red or Black Label. Sadly that man has departed from Kilmarnock and is no longer ‘going strong’. :(. I take it that I should check if the Birthday Bash venue keeps Glengoyne? :)

            1. Sadly, and to my bitter disappointment, I am not allowed alcohol for the forseeable future, so I’ll be the sensible one with a Diet Coke and a glum expression

  11. I agree with Mr Kitty that this was a step up in enjoyment but not in difficulty. **/***** from me.

    23a my favourite as well but there’s lots of other good stuff.

    Many thanks to the setter for the best back-pager for some time and also to Mr Kitty for the review.

  12. On a completely off-topic subject , pommette and I have survived the worst four days of rain in the Vega Baja for over thirty years! Between 2000 Saturday and 2000 Sunday was the worst with over 120mm (5″) of rain but God only knows the total between early Friday and yesterday evening when the rains been pretty constant.

    This film taken from a drone yesterday is the countryside around our village which was lucky and didn’t flood.

    “Hace un mes” means a month ago and shows what the Rio Segura usually looks like.

    1. Oh dear, being flooded has got to be one of life’s most miserable experiences. Hope you continue to stay dry.

  13. I wasn’t knocked out with today’s offering I’m afraid; it was alright but hardly challenging. 23a read nicely so yeah, my favourite. 2/2.5* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and also to Mr K. Incidentally I thought the Independant 9400 example was very clever.

  14. I found it much easier and more fun than some recent Tuesdays – I wonder if the setter’s changed. Thanks to Mr K for the interesting punctuation piece, and review, and the setter for the enjoyment.

  15. Entertaining puzzle. No problems, no favourites. Agree with comments on captain cook, but being a stubborn character he may need some persuading that now would be a good time to hand over the reins to root.

    1. With only seven tests between now and The Ashes next winter, with the first I think in July, early in the new year would seem like a good time for Root to take over.

  16. Thought this wasn’t too hard – either that or I was on the setters wavelength. I parsed the clue correctly but had to then check the answer to 24a as I had never heard of it – but none the worse for that – good to learn new words. Favourites were 4a, 13a which was wonderful, 20a and 1d. Didn’t much like 12a as I thought it was more inelegant than what it turned out to be.

    Many thanks to Mr K for the hints which happily for once I didn’t need and Shamus if indeed the setter.

  17. A very gentle solve, helped in no small part by the large number of anagrams, I’m sure.

    The clues generally had a fun quality about them, I especially liked 8a, 23a and 7d. I didn’t understand the point of “initially” in 1a, since “judge” can be abbreviated quite happily without it, and it added nothing to the surface.

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

  18. Enjoyed this one very much…until I got stuck on 15d and 23a for which I needed the hints.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the hints.

  19. I just spotted this:

    I like chilies a lot (up to a point), but in the case of “Scotch Bonnets” it would seem wise to stick to those which are mushrooms.

    1. Eating them raw like that is sheer madness. The scotch bonnet has a lovely flavour and I use them all the time. It’s knowing how to handle them.

  20. I found this for the most part pretty straightforward, though I couldn’t remember how to spell 24ac, and 13ac was a bit of an educated guess.

  21. Hugely enjoyable I thought, many fun clues.
    Google was reluctant to give up the information that 13a was a mushroom, but I got there eventually.
    Much good stuff here, but I think I’m going to choose 23a as fave.
    Thanks to setter (Shamus?) and to Mr. Kitty for his entertaining review.

      1. Thanks, Dutch. I liked them because they show a side of Bowie that I’d not really seen before. And the performances are great, of course.

  22. Really late today, had to check moorings in light of heavy weather that may arrive, I found this puzzle pretty straightforward but enjoyable nonetheless. The only one that held,e up was 24a where I needed electronic help.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and setter,

  23. Thanks to Messers Ron & Kitty. I found this quite straightforward, last in was 15d, favourite was 23a, which made me laugh.Was 2*/3* for me.

  24. I enjoyed this. There are many clues on my shortlist for favourite, but I will agree with the other kitty, the rabbit and the other animals who picked 23a. I liked the quickie pun too. :)

    Thanks to the setter and the hinty person. Loved the spirit lamp.

  25. Late again – I agree with the rest of you that this was a really good crossword.
    I came completely unstuck with 9d – I don’t think I’ve heard of it, or have forgotten it which is more likely – and I missed the anagram indicator.
    Like others I’ve only ever heard of 13a as a kind of chilli and I didn’t spot the subtlety in 23a – dim, seriously dim.
    I liked 8 and 22a and 2 and 17d. My favourite is probably one of those.
    With thanks to Mr Ron, whoever he may turn out to be, and to Mr Kitty.

  26. A R&W today but very enjoyable. Like many others I needed Mr Google to confirm 13a – you live and learn. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review. Off to see Star Wars today at our VIP theatre – no children allowed in as they serve alcohol 😄 and it will be in 3d. Bring it on.

  27. PS – I’ve just had a thought. Ray T was last Thursday so if this one was set by Shamus who are we likely to get this Thursday? :unsure:

    1. That’s an excellent point Kath. If it’s not Shamus then today’s crossword shows that the Tuesday setting team is even better than I thought.

      1. Yes, Merusa – I had the same thought just a few minutes ago. Now I have a cunning answer – Shamus always pops in to lay claim to his crosswords so if he doesn’t then it probably means that it’s not him today in which case it could well be Samuel’s second outing on the back page. There again if Shamus reads this and today’s is one of his he could choose to be devious/bloody minded – oh dear, it just gets worse and worse . . . again :unsure:

  28. I must confess I am primarily a blog follower and brilliant the site is too. This however deserves mention, what a delightful example of the art. Haven’t read the hints as I didn’t need to (today!), but I hugely enjoy the comments to see if others see things as I do. Keep up the good work and a very happy Christmas to all. */*****

  29. Let us scotch this argument and have a scotch and soda for a Happy Christmas to all setters and bloggers.

  30. We slowed down a bit with some of the clues lower down in the grid but over all it was a smooth solve without major hold-ups. For some reason that we find hard to put our fingers on we did not think it was by the setter that most people are guessing, but we have been wrong before. If we are really lucky someone ‘in the know’ will pop in and enlighten us. Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  31. I found this the most straightforward puzzle for ages and completed it on one pass. No quibbles, several splendid clues and fun anagrams. I can’t believe this is Shamus, he usually has more tricks up his sleeve than shown here. Thanks to Mr K, who continues to infom and entertain, and the setter. 0.5*/3*

  32. Satisfying puzzle, with just 3 clues slowing me up – didn’t know the mushroom answer, never heard of that governess, and no knowledge of betting, despite having a Dad who liked to have a flutter on the gee gees. Rest fell into place relatively easily. Yet another hot and sticky day here in S. Florida. When oh when will our cooler season arrive, 87F out there today and I need to go and spread 6 large bags of red mulch…

  33. Late on parade today but what fun I had with this one. Definitely enough humour for Shamus but not quite as devious as I expect him to be so I’ll side with the 2Ks and say probably not him.
    So many ticks – 4,8,11,16&23a plus 1&2d but plenty more contenders.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for the not needed but always enjoyable review.

  34. Unusually, did this puzzle after dinner instead of before breakfast. It’s because I’ve had to spend 2.5 days building my daughters new high-sleeper bed with desk & sofa underneath from an Argos flatpack. Next time I’ll have Arighi Bianchi deliver (which is a macclesfield firm, incidentally). Suffice to say my intentions of a few alcohol-free days have gone out the window – flatpacks will do that.

    I loved 22a.

    I didn’t know 13a except as a hot chilli, as mentioned previously.

    In contrast to Kitty (unusually), I winced a little at 20a – I think the Aladdin was a total give-away, the clue should have simply been “Light user of alcohol?”

    Many thanks Mr Kitty for a superb review especially the Bowie, and thank you setter

    1. Hi, Dutch. I’m pretty sure that Kitty was loving the picture illustrating 20a, not the clue itself.

      1. Ah, yes of course – it did seem unusual to refer to a clue by its answer (which is what the other sites do)

  35. Pleasant enough but nothing about which to get over excited. Involved in hectc pre-Christmas activity so came back to this on and off during day. SE corner was last to be solved plus the 24a chaperone which dawned on me belatedly. Favs 1d and 19d. IMHO 9d definition somewhat of a misnomer! Thanks Mr. Ron (hope your identity will be revealed) and also to Mr. Kitty whose hintings certainly contribute to an upping of the number of bloggers’ comments. ***/**.

  36. Solved this one at about 5:00 am while listening to the cricket from Chennai.

    Every time I filled in a clue another English wicket seemed to fall … went back to sleep … woke up only to discover that it really was a nightmare!

    Thanks to all involved.

    (Mr Kitty: clues where punctuation is a component of wordplay or definition: Have you tried “colon”?)

    1. The only example of colon I could find is one of the two given in Big Dave’s Little Guide:

      Tue 6 Jan 09 DT 25818 Settlement: unknown figure (6) COLONY

  37. I was also only aware of the chilli,(schoolboy error eh, jonp).
    My local library has the bible (camra), world atlas, Collins book of European birds, road atlas,Guinness book of hit singles and an Lbb.
    Oh! did I not mention T.T.Landlord and one other guest.
    This library is equipped to settle 99% of disputes.O.J.

  38. Too late for this due to (final) office do last night, but enjoyable going through the hints.
    Thanks Mr.K and setter

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