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DT 28303

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28303

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
Today’s blog comes from Wellington where we are staying for a few days looking after eight year old grandson Sam. Sam says Hi to everyone. We are in the suburb of Miramar, probably best known to the outside world as the location of Peter Jackson’s film studio and also the headquarters of Weta Workshop, the special effects wizards.

Jay has given us a tougher than usual puzzle this week and we even considered giving it 4 stars for difficulty. He also has, without overdoing a theme, included a couple of seasonal clues to go with the Nina that we failed to spot when we were solving the puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


6a     Outrageous figures clad outrageously (11)
DISGRACEFUL : An anagram (outrageously) of FIGURES CLAD.

9a     Entertain royal equerry, just needing introduction (6)
REGALE : A synonym for royal or relating to the monarch and the first letter (just needing introduction) of equerry.

10a     Pictures mostly universal church returning and promoting unity (8)
ECUMENIC : The whole clue works as a reversal indicated by ‘returning’. Pictures is the place where you go to see movies. Remove its last letter then the one letter abbreviation for universal and the abbreviation for the Anglican Church’

11a     Junior to avoid such a slip (10)
UNDERSKIRT : A word meaning junior or subordinate, then a word to avoid or circumvent.

14a     Long golf shot topped (4)
ITCH : Find a golf shot that is usually used to propel a ball high into the air towards a green, and then remove its first letter (topped).

15a     Dejected, seeing hundred others killed in battle (11)
CRESTFALLEN : The Roman numeral for hundred, then a word meaning others or the remainder and a descriptive word for war casualties.

21a     Block promotion (4)
PLUG : Double definition. The first might be found in a kitchen sink.

22a     Smoother wave on the way (4,6)
ROAD ROLLER : The way could be where you drive your car, and is followed by a wave before it becomes a breaker.

25a     Hungry and keen to join group (5-3)
SHARP-SET : A synonym for keen or having a good edge and then a group.

27a     Opera singer left Italy for festival (6)
DIVALI : A leading female opera singer, then the abbreviation for left and the IVR code for Italy.

28a     True love’s present result voted invalid? (6,5)
TURTLE DOVES : A seasonal anagram (invalid) anagram of RESULT VOTED.


1d     Illusion of sticky situation surrounding a head of government (6)
MIRAGE : A sticky situation or boggy morass includes ‘A’ from the clue and the first letter of government.

2d     Gallons put on board before ship’s departure (6)
EGRESS : The abbreviation for gallons is put inside a three letter poetic word for before, and then the abbreviation for a steamship.

3d     Cutting from heather, a keen gardener’s requirement (4)
RAKE : A lurker hiding in the third, fourth and fifth words of the clue.

4d     Last of a cigarette, in true denial (8)
REBUTTAL : The last part of a cigarette that was left in the ashtray when such things existed, is inside a synonym for true.

5d     Say you’ll diet about this time of year (8)
YULETIDE : A homophone (say) for ‘you’ll’ and an anagram (about) of DIET.

7d     Intends to indicate wealth (5)
MEANS : A double definition. The second can be resources.

8d     Pastry chef oddly featured in article in newspaper (5)
PIECE : The first and third letters (the odd ones) of chef  are inside follow a filled pastry dish.

12d     Got up, rejecting small eggs (3)
ROE : The abbreviation for small is removed from a word meaning got up.

13d     See below part of mainframe (5)
INFRA : A lurker hiding inside the last word of the clue.

16d     Strictly accurate equipment letting in water, though no opening (8)
RIGOROUS : A three letter word for equipment or gear, and then remove the first letter from a word that means letting in water or not waterproof.

17d     South American rasta found outside old city in Florida (8)
SARASOTA : The abbreviation for South America and then the abbreviation for old is inside the word ‘rasta’. (By a strange coincidence the suburb where we are staying is also a city in Florida.)

18d     Ladies perhaps left, ducks! (3)
LOO : ‘L’ for left and then two cricket ducks.

19d     A greeting from Spain reciprocates one from across the seas? (5)
ALOHA : We know this Spanish greeting from blogs by pommers. It follows A from the clue. Reverse this to get a greeting from a place in the Pacific.

20d     Love may come after chamber music produced by this? (5)
CELLO : The chamber here is a small room and love is the tennis score.

23d     Maitre d’hotel keeps blistering (3-3)
RED-HOT : A lurker hiding in the first two words of the clue.

24d     Struggles to support the French taxes (6)
LEVIES : The French definite article and then a word for struggles or competes with.

26d     Those people will be tense initially, on edge (4)
THEM : The first letter of tense and then a word for edge or rim.

We are going to respect the seasonal traditions and nominate 28ac as our favourite.

Quickie pun    sorely    +     sitters    =    solicitors

88 comments on “DT 28303

  1. 2*/4* for this excellent Jay puzzle. I really enjoyed 20 down; such an elegant and simple clue, and my favourite of many. Even the couple of oddities that had me scratching my head fell into place due to the accurate word play.

    Thanks indeed to Jay for the Wednesday workout, and to the 2Ks for a fine review.

  2. Hello to Sam from murky chilly East Kent.

    I’m going to be contrary and say that I thought this was Jay in friendlier mode – 2* time to solve whilst in the dentist’s waiting room. No special favourites just the usual good entertainment.

    Thank you and season’s greetings to setter, bloggers and grandsons everywhere

    PS: The puzzle in the middle of the paper took me exactly the same time to solve and that was with a numb jaw and sore gum!

        1. The boy on the tricycle. With my elder brother and sister Neil and Susan. Hayling Island 1958 or 1959.

  3. **/*** for me with no real head scratching, which was just as well after another day of travelling.

    I was initially surprised to see the difference in the quantities of across and down clues. However, there were plenty of good ones with several candidates for favourite. I finally settled on 11a for a long favourite, and 14a for a short favourite.

    No travelling today, but tomorrow I embark on a journey to complete an item on my ‘bucket list’ with details at the BB for those interested.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  4. The bottom half put up a great fight and 28a completely defeated me despite having all the crossing letters.

  5. Not busy today, so had time to do this before going home. It was fairly tame, solved in quick time and quite entertaining – sorry I can’t be more enthusiastic than that. Collins Online has 22a as one word, but everywhere else it’s two words. What does BRB say? Mine’s at home. 2*/2.5*

  6. This one put up more of a fight for me than the ‘Toughie’ and I didn’t spot the Nina until I’d finished it, so that didn’t help. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis for the review. Best clue for me was 19d.

  7. Grr! I just typed a long reply and it’s completely vanished! I’ll try and remember it …

    3*/5*. This was a real treat. As soon as I saw the grid and solved 6d I suspected a seasonal Nina might be on the cards, although I’m not sure if the (half?) spurious word in the left hand column is supposed to be part of it.

    I struggled to parse 9a and I much prefer the 2Ks’ version to my interpretation which was to put an archaic word for “just” inside a presumed abbreviation for “royal equerry”.

    New to me but easily derivable from the wordplay were the answer to 25a and the city in Florida.

    I’ll go along with Gazza’s choice of 19d as my favourite but 28a & 23d ran it close.

    Many thanks to the three birds.

    1. RD – the same vanishing trick happened to me. I have taken to composing my (longer) posts in MS Word and then copying and pasting.

      1. I had been doing exactly that, but, having not had any such problems for quite a while, today was the first time I didn’t do it since the evil hackers started to interfere with our wonderful site. Typical!

  8. I thought this was gentle but quite enjoyable, the bottom half put up a bit of a struggle but was vanquished in the end.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2ks

  9. Unlike most , found this very difficult today, particularly the lower half and so a ****/*** when I eventually completed it.
    Nothing wrong with the clues ,never heard of 25a for hungry but guessed it from ‘keen’ and have a feeling that I’ve seen 27a before-thanks to 2K -22a pic looks like Fred Dibnah’s original.

  10. Duh didn’t spot the Nina either, thanks Gazza. Don’t know about the half spurious word.

    loved 11a (junior), 5d (seasonal diet), & especially 23d (maitre-d’hotel)

    Wouldn’t adding the ‘see’ in the 13d definition require an extra word ‘vide’ in the answer? I think “See below in part of mainframe” might have worked, but then the definition would be only ‘below’ and the see would be part of the hidden instruction (see … in part of…)

    Many thanks Jay and 2Kiwis

  11. The hint for 8d isn’t quite right. The odd letters of chef come after the pastry dish. Sorry to be pedantic!!😊

    1. The word Nina means Miffypops will search for some hidden message in the filled grid and totally fail to spot it. Every time. Without fail I fail. Today is no exception. They are like unicorns. Nice to think of but non existent in MP’s world

  12. I wasn’t on Jay’s wavelength today and found this one a bit of a struggle. (Senf – given that we both appear to take a modest degree of satisfaction in completing online within the time allowed for the bonus – you might be amused to hear that I missed the cut by precisely one second!)

    Not that I’m complaining about the puzzle! Some very clever clues – and a Nina I didn’t even know existed. I liked 11a and 15a; 22a is elegant; 18d short but witty. COTD is 14a for its simplicity.

    25a was a new phrase in the context used here and I needed electronic help to find 17d. I wonder if Jay had to resort to similar to find a word that met the cross checkers???

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s as always.

    1. Mark – I have also been close on occasions. But, I solve on paper and then enter my answers when I have completed the puzzle, which takes a bit of time. Achieving the on-line time bonus is my criterion for one * for difficulty (and is a way of talking about solution time without being specific).

  13. As Gazza, this offering from Jay took longer than the toughie.
    9a, 11a and 2d were the last to fall.
    Favourite 10a. I love that word.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.

  14. The south left had me foiled for a while , needed hints for 16d and the ” hungry ” clue : not a good clue in my opinion ? Some clever clues , as usual, liked 11a and 22 and 28a .Thanks for the hints and to Jay ***/***

  15. Nothing too difficult although 16d foxed me for a while and I hadn’t come across the 25a definition of hungry before today.
    Thought 15a was clever and 18d raised a smile.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – and Hi to Sam!

  16. 3*/3* for us – but just like a Jay of old “Start with the Downs” !!!!
    We didn’t get many of the across clues but then got all but 2 of the downs – and we half got one of those!
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis fro a good puzzle.

    I don’t post on here very often these days but just thought I would today and say

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone that remembers me.

    We’re off to Benidorm on Xmas Eve for our annual “retreat”.
    4 nights in a WARM & DRY hotel where we’ll be fed and watered – warm being the operative word as our house is currently still drying out after the storms and is never very warm at the best of times.

    1. Of course we remember you, and I miss your comments too.

      Have a lovely warm dry Christmas . We could do with a bit of warm and dry here – it is very grey and murky, with very chilly drizzle too :(

      1. Thanks Sue – nice to know that I haven’t been totally forgotten.
        Work as the auditor for the community at Roda (where our apartment is) seems to gobble up all my time these days.

        Hope the storms that are expected in the UK & Ireland aren’t as bad as those we’ve had here.

    2. We have missed you, though pommers drops in now and then with some updates. Have a very merry Christmas, keep warm.

    3. Of course you are not forgotten Pommette. We particularly remember the friendly help and guidance you gave us when we first started writing blogs, Merry Christmas to both of you.

  17. Very enjoyable – and I am very grateful to be told about the Nina (which I’d missed completely). I did the lower half quite quickly but the top was a much longer prospect. Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks, and to Gazza.

  18. Enjoyable puzzle as usual from Jay. I liked the festive clues, especially 28a . Thanks to 2k for the blog.

  19. Kia ora 2Kiwis and Sam. :bye:

    Another great puzzle from Jay, which I too found a little tougher than usual. I needed a hint as I never did work out what to put in 9a – grr. I thought of the right answer for 25a and it rang a faint bell, but did check it out in the brb while I was still pondering 16d (which took me longer to get than it should have), just to check the checker. 17a went in from wordplay only, sounding plausible enough.

    I liked 19d, but spent a while wondering what I would have underlined as the definition if I’d been in the 2K’s place. I share the Kiwis’ favourite of the delicious cute 28a.

    Many thanks to the three birds (not French hens).

    1. P.S. – and thanks to Gazza for mentioning the nina, which I really should havve spotted, and to RD for his “half spurious” comment. :)

  20. This was decidedly at the tricky end of the Jay difficulty spectrum – but most enjoyable nonetheless. Lots to get the old grey matter tramping around in the skull with a lot of ‘smile’ moments. Living in the Midlands – 27a easily came to mind as it is always well covered by the local news. However, it did lead me to thinking how often it appears in crosswords – over to you Mr K. Too many favourites to try and pick one so I will refrain. :)

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

    1. Hi SL. The only previous appearances of 27a in my lists are:

      Fri 8 Apr 2016 QUICK 28083 Hindu festival; via lid (anag.) (6)

      Tue 8 Mar 2005 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 23396 Prima donna gets a quid for appearing in lights (6)

      So it hasn’t been used on the back page before (since 2001). Perhaps you’ve seen it repeated in some other publication’s crosswords?

        1. Thanks, MP, that explains it. For the alternative spelling, which I didn’t know, we have:

          Fri 10 Apr 09 CRYPTIC 25899 I’d wail horribly in religious festival (6)
          Thu 22 Jul 10 TOUGHIE 393 One regulation I’d promoted for Indian festival (6)
          Wed 30 May 12 TOUGHIE 780 Festival raises aspect of Hindi law: idolatry (6)
          Thu 13 Sep 12 TOUGHIE 841 Festival traditional group promoted is captured by artist (6)
          Fri 20 Dec 13 TOUGHIE 1105 Light festival, one with surrealist veils (6)
          Wed 2 Dec 15 TOUGHIE 1510 Festival’s uplifting part of Hindi law, I daresay (6)


          Tue 24 Sep 2002 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 22633 Caribbean characters promoted in surrealist’s festival (6)
          Wed 25 Mar 2009 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 24656 One rule I had set up for Indian festival (6)
          Fri 28 Oct 2016 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 27027 One rule I had lifted for religious festival (6)

          Still a long time since it’s been on the back page though.

      1. Sorry Mr K – I should have explained that it has an alternative spelling :) Still this comment allows me to ‘air’ my festive gravatar – not 4 candles :)

  21. **/****. The bottom half went in quickly but slowed down with the rest. It took me a while to parse 10a. Favourite by a whisker was 19d. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. Most of our snow has now gone but we have a chance of a white Christmas.

  22. For the very first time I noticed the nina in time to help with the solving process … but who is “spur”?

  23. For me a very poor puzzle. Full of leap of faith clues which are clumsy and need guesswork. Why should gallons be a single G, why is hungry sharp-set?
    All in all a very clumsy effort. For me ***/*
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Before CS tells you off … look up “sharp-set” in the dictionary!

      I’ve never heard of it either !

  24. I, too, found this trickier than usual. I did finish but some were bung-ins, 25a, never heard that before.
    I always knew 22a as a steam roller, I suppose a hangover from when they were powered by steam.
    There were so many goodies here. We’ve had 27a before, and I remembered it by a miracle. I’m with M’pops, I’ve not spotted a Nina before and am not likely to spot one in the future. That’s very clever.
    My fave, and last one in, was 28a, struggled with that anagram.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis, high-fives to Sam.

    1. Agree, even when I saw the picture I thought steam roller. Never heard of a road roller. Age talking.

  25. For some reason I found this easier than yesterday’s. Must be that wavelength thing.

    I appreciated Jay’s restraint with seasonal clues. Enjoyed almost all of it, and I particularly liked 4d and 28a.

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks. I liked the 18d pic. Not too many unches in that grid.

  26. I suspect that everything has already been said but that doesn’t usually shut me up so here I go.
    I’m in the much trickier than usual camp.
    I didn’t spot the Nina either so well done to Gazza – and he’s one of the ones who says he always misses them.
    9a took for ever and I’d almost given up on it.
    I had 21a as ‘flag’ – a paving stone and flag something up? Well, that’s my excuse anyway.
    I’ve never heard of 25a meaning hungry.
    Didn’t know 13d either – I’ve heard of ‘infra dig’ and know what it means but had never really thought about it – now I know having looked it up.
    I liked 11a and 2d and 18d made me laugh. My favourite was 16d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2 K’s and hello and Happy Christmas to Sam.

  27. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t notice the Nina until accessing the blog jut now, although the unusually lopsided grid (only eleven Across clues) should have alerted me to something.

    I’m normally a big fan of Jay’s puzzles, but I didn’t think today’s was one of his best. I found the bottom half fairly straightforward, but the top was quite a bit trickier. The first part of the wordplay and the definition in 25a seemed a little too similar for my liking, and for the second day running, a superfluous “initially” made an appearance, this time in 26d. The surface in 10a was a tad clunky too I felt.

    Thanks to Mr. Mutch and to the 2Ks. My diary tells me that on this day in 1913 the first modern crossword puzzle was published, in a diamond-shaped grid, by Arthur Wynne in the New York World. We have a lot to thank him for.

  28. PS – I’m not sure that I like this sneaky way of having two favourites that’s creeping in – one long one and one short one.
    It’s a contravention of ‘Kath’s Rule’! I’m sure you know who you are. :negative:

        1. The song is, of course, titled using the foreign language in which it was composed. :)

          But your observation may explain the apparent inconsistency with Kath’s Rule. While only one favourite may be permissible, perhaps it’s OK to have multiple favorites? My web browser certainly permits it.

  29. I am in trickier crowd to , particularly the south east corner.I never heard of that city in Florida.
    I liked 5d, and 28a .
    Hi to Sam ! And thanks to both his grandparents, and to Jay.

  30. Confession time. It was only when we woke up this morning and looked at the comments that we found the Nina. We don’t remember ever having one from Jay before so it never occurred to us to look. We went straight on to working out the Quickie pun and that took us a bit of time and head scratching too.
    Merry Christmas everyone.

  31. Breakfast fare for this solver. Nice crossword in **/*** territory had to chew 10&11a for a while though. Are we not all lucky to have this fabulous diversion and entertainment each day? National Treasures seem all too numerous these days but the DT Cryptic is a genuine one.
    Thanks – as someone said amusingly, to the ‘three birds’.
    The Nina? Well it was Nina obscura for me as well.

  32. I found the Nina. How could I have missed it. SPUR = Special People You Are. Thanks to the 2Ks. Hello Sam.

  33. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. An excellent puzzle from Jay, but not one I could get to grips with. Needed the hints for 9,11,15,21,25a and 16&17d. I’d never heard of hungry meaning sharp set, or the Florida city. Curse of the double definition struck with 21a. Favourite was 10a, which I actually solved. Last in was 28a. Was 4*/4* for me.

  34. I’m in the ‘slightly trickier than usual’ group. I enjoyed the challenge and I liked 15a best as I just like the word. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and the birds down under for their review.
    Ps. Nina? Where? D’oh! I agree with MP; they are something that I never ever see….

  35. Got about half done and then struggled for a while. Perked up after second coffee (iced as we are still waiting for a cool snap), and managed to finish, albeit with the 2Kiwis help, thanks! Favorites were 6a and 15a. Didn’t know 27a. Yay, AC chap turned up today and fixed the drainage pipe (he was fully booked into the New Year). Happy day!

  36. I definitely found this on the trickier side – didn’t get any of the across clues on the first pass, and then made slow if steady progress after that with the help of the downs, that I found to be a lot more user friendly. Spotting the Nina helped at the end, though not with 25ac and 9ac which were my last two in, unless I’m missing something. :-)

  37. Oh well; I can do every other setter’s back pagers, except Jay’s.
    Got nowhere with this as is the norm for every Wednesday, no idea why. 6 answers and I was finished. I go through the hints and think “it will be OK next week…but it never is”
    luckily I have the online DT weekly prize crossword to do.
    That said, when I go through the hints, I always acknowledge what a great setter Jay is, great clues that just don’t seem to register.
    Thanks to 2xK and Jay.

    1. Don’t worry, we all have setters that are sent to try us. My thorn is RayT, but I am getting better. Keep at it, somehow you’ll make it. Just have another glass of cheer!

  38. Yes, my favourite setter seems to be flexing his setting skills. I found this very hard indeed, and the really difficult ones were disappointing when they finally tumbled: 10a, convoluted for convolution’s sake; 14a, just a poor clue; 25a, hmmmm. Some goodies, too: 23d; 11a, and the star at the top of my tree, 15a. As for the Nina, it seems a poor excuse for such an unfriendly grid and he even left the S off the nation’s greatest football team. Still, thanks to Jay and the Ks. 4*/3*

  39. Good but…
    Agree 10a is convoluted and not pretty, agree with the hyphen critics at 22a, 25a sounds made-up, and I personally don’t like names in crosswords at 17d. Names can be almost anything so always smack of desperation; no matter whether it’s authors, composers, cities or dishes. As for second-guessing the spelling of foreign words (27a), well: ’nuff said. Not entirely sure about ‘spur’ either?
    Fairly enjoyable and a clever Nina. Perhaps that explains the odd choice of a few answers.

    That’s enough of being Brianesque, it was enjoyable all the same. 5d fave (Kath). Best wishes to all you wonderful folk in crosswordblogland.
    Thanks to all as ever.

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