DT 28305 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28305

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28305

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where there are only two sleeps until Christmas.

Another gentle Giovanni today, with a distinctly seasonal theme, which probably won’t keep you away from the Christmas chores for too long.

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.


7a           Described ancient British resident in heroic exploit? (8)
DEPICTED – An action or heroic exploit wrapped around one of the chaps who used to live in a broch in North Britain.

9a           Number classically in exile (6)
ELEVEN – The Roman version of this number (classically) can be found in eXIle.

10a         Celebrity that looked down on humble birthplace (4)
STAR – A seasonal reference to the celestial object followed by the Magi on their way to Bethlehem.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a         Blasted to Saturn as space travellers (10)
ASTRONAUTS – Anagram (blasted) of TO SATURN AS.

12a         Mother in big building is one serving drinks (6)
BARMAN – A large agricultural building wrapped round an informal word for mother.

14a         Silly things on the festive table (8)
CRACKERS – Double definition: mentally disturbed; or part of the table decoration at Christmas.

Image result for christmas crackers

15a         Like Scrooge, liable to cause pain (6)
STINGY – Double definition, the second being an adjectival formation from a verb meaning to cause pain (like a nettle?).

17a         African finishing at end of month repeatedly (6)
BERBER – A North African people can be found by taking the last 3 letters of one of several months of the year, then repeating it.

Image result for Berber

20a         This writer’s going round church with holy Christmas fare (5,3)
MINCE PIE – A possessive pronoun for ‘this writer’s’ or ‘belonging to this writer’, wrapped around the initials of the Church of England and a two-letter word for holy or sanctimonious.

Image result for mince pies

22a         Brussels sprouts? Good and never sent back by son! (6)
GREENS – Put together Good, the reversal (sent back) of a poetic form of ‘never’, and Son.

23a         It may be strange to us, a Latin greeting (10)
SALUTATION – Anagram (strange) of TO US A LATIN.

Image result for angel gabriel's salutation

24a         Location with pull, attracting any number (4)
TOWN – ‘To pull’ (a trailer, perhaps) followed by the algebraic symbol for any number.

25a         Trouble ends in Christmas boozers being overwhelmed by hard drink (6)
HASSLE Hard and an alcoholic drink popular with many crossword enthusiasts, wrapped around the final letters (ends) of ChristmaS boozerS.

26a         Fellows serving lord, chaps in Belgian location? (8)
LIEGEMEN – A word for some people in a feudal relationship, which could also describe the townspeople of the Belgian city which is at the start and finish of a cycle race which goes to Bastogne.


1d           Plants Scotsman placed in lavatory (8)
GENTIANS – Colloquial name for one of a pair of public conveniences, wrapped around one of the usual crossword Scotsmen (not Mac, the other one, as Kath said yesterday).

Image result for gentian

2d           Row in Roman river, avoiding its middle (4)
TIER – Remove the middle letter from the river which flows through Rome, to get a row of seats.

3d           Student’s beginning school creates emotional tension (6)
STRAIN – The first letter of Student, followed by ‘to school’.

4d           Month men put away ornament (8)
DECORATE – Put together the short form of the current month, the abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers, and ‘put away’ (Christmas dinner, perhaps).

5d           A rebel converted having absorbed gospel? Extraordinary (10)
REMARKABLE – Anagram (converted) of A REBEL wrapped around the name of one of the four Gospels.

6d           Exhibition centre with sailor providing sweet drink (6)
NECTAR – The acronym for a large exhibition complex near Birmingham, followed by one of the usual crossword sailors.

8d           Take away the cad getting drunk (6)
DETACH – Anagram (getting drunk) of THE CAD.

13d         A consumer, I munched turkey at Christmas? (4,6)
MAIN COURSE – Anagram (munched) of A CONSUMER I.

16d         Close gap when running to achieve personal success (2,6)
GO PLACES – Anagram (when running) of CLOSE GAP.

18d         Possibly wonder about one exuding love becoming famous (8)
RENOWNED – Anagram (possibly) of WONDER, wrapped around (o)NE from the clue, leaving out the letter which looks like a love score at tennis.

19d         Servant upset home interrupting dinner maybe (6)
MENIAL – Reverse (upset) a word for ‘at home’ and insert it into something of which dinner is an example.

21d         Book is excellent, that’s surprising (6)
ISAIAH – An Old Testament book. IS (from the clue), followed by two letters which look like a letter and number combination signifying top condition, followed by an interjection expressing surprise.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22d         Look — is this a seasonal bird? (6)
GANDER – An informal word for a look, which could also be an alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner.

24d         Something that could now be decorated in street (4)
TREE – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for christmas tree

Happy Christmas to all of you. Let’s hope for a peaceful celebration. I’m off to help collect the turkey and the ham this morning.

The Quick Crossword pun REIGN + DEAR = REINDEER

68 comments on “DT 28305

  1. A gentle Christmas treat from The Don this morning. 22 across made me smile as a lover of sprouts, especially home grown, but 18 down was my favourite. Thanks Giovanni, not just for this one but for every Friday of the year. Thanks, too, to DT. 1.5*/3* overall.

    Season’s greetings to all.

  2. 1*/4*. That was light, fun and obscurity free – just the job for the Friday of Christmas week.

    I always struggle to spell 21d but it was made easy here simply by following the instructions in the clue.

    The picture conjured up by 1d made me smile, as did 22a. 9a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and Merry Christmas to the wonderful Big Dave, all the setters, and everyone who contributes to or visits this site.

  3. This was more of a mulled punch than a mulled wine, but flavourful enough. I can start on the hard stuff later. RD has picked out the best ones, saving me the bother, but 15a is my favourite today – it made me smile a little.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    Have a wonderful weekend, all you lovely BD-ites.

  4. Easily finished prior to dog walking, nice to have a themed puzzle had a real doh moment with 1d, but Mrs Spook who is the gardening expert supplied the answer, then came the doh moment.
    Once again a merry Christmas to you all, thanks to bigdave for sorting out the trials and tribulations, thanks to all the setters for sometimes wanting us to pull our hair out, and finally all to bloggers in crossword land.
    Let’s hope for a peaceful Christmas and hopefully a pecefull new year.
    Spook, Mrs Spook and of course Deefor.

  5. Giovanni in both friendly and seasonal mode – thank you to him and DT

    The Toughie today is very friendly with seasonal moments too

  6. Certainly on the easy side for Giovanni, having said that it took me a while to get 25a. Favourites were 22a and 13d. 2*/3* Many thanks to Giovanni and DT and a very Merry Christmas to all.

  7. I’ve done part of this before I go home. 1d: I love a bit of “toilet humour” from G. This one reminds me of another funny clue of his from DT 27479: Yob outside toilet possibly revealing too much? (3-3).

  8. BD will know, because he’s ace, for how long I have been posting on this blog, a year or so. In that time and with thanks to all the contributors my enjoyment of and ability to solve the crossword have increased considerably. There was a time when Fridays were high on impossible, not any more. What a wonderful community we have here. Best wishes to you all.

  9. Certainly DG being kind to us again – much appreciated in the midst of the festive bustle.
    Like RD, I can never spell 21d correctly – the only other slight hold-up was trying to take ‘T’ (the middle of ITS) from a Roman river.
    No particular favourite although 22a made me smile.

    Thanks and the very best of Christmas wishes to DG and also to DT.

  10. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for my favourite day of the week throughout 2016. It makes up for my rarely completing the diabolical Sudoku on this day so…

    My favourite today was the African at 17a.

    Christmas wishes to everyone here 🎄.
    Eat, drink and be merry for a few days and may your God go with you in 2017.

  11. A very easy puzzle that certainly shouldn’t hold too many people up from getting into their Christmas preparations. No particular favourite, just a bit of fun (the same can be said of Elkamere’s themed Toughie – although it is a tad trickier).

    Thanks, not just to Giovanni, but to all the setters for a year of keeping the old grey matter in good nick on both the back page and Toughie puzzles. Thanks also to all the reviewers for giving up their time to bring enlightenment to new and old cruciverbalists throughout 2016. My best wishes to you all for a peaceful and enjoyable festive period. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas :)

  12. We are being spoiled, two excellent puzzles on the trot. Whilst I agree it’s on the gentler side, it was nonetheless very enjoyable. Two clues held me up and pushed it into the ** bracket, 25a and 21a (the latter probably due to my phobia of all things religious). My favourite was definitely 9a.
    A very Merry Christmas to all our Bloggers and setters (even Ray T!) but my special thanks to CrypticSue for her help and patience as my mentor in crosswords. ☃️

    1. I agree. That would be a wonderful new year’s gift, especially as the on-line price increased by 25% on renewal.

    1. Thank you for dropping in, we miss you when you don’t. Have a very Merry Christmas, lovely meal and wine to go with.

  13. Thank you all again…. lovely mix. And music too .what a brilliant web site.. which I appreciate every day… but don’t always thank you… we are so blessed. Christmas greetings to all involved

  14. A gentle puzzle needing just a small period of calm to complete. Nothing too challenging with 9a being favourite and overall 1.5/2.5*.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.
    Now what was I trying to do before I got waylaid…..?

  15. I agree – not too tricky for a Friday although I did grind to a halt for a while in the bottom left corner.
    A minor and luckily brief hiccup was putting ‘misery’ for 15a – well, he was a misery and misery could be pain . .
    It took me for ever to see why 9a was what it had to be.
    I liked 9 and 23a and 22d. My favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat and seasonal greetings to all – I’ll probably say that again tomorrow.
    Right – off now to carry on doing invisible things – everything I have to do today is only noticeable if it’s NOT done.

  16. Fairly benign but with a pleasant seasonal flavour. */*** from me too.

    Fav was 9a but 1d runs it a close second.

    Off to Benidorm tomorrow for four days R & R so, in case I don’t get on here while I’m away, I’ll wish you all a Very Merry Christmas now. Hope you all have a good one. :yes:

    Thanks for today to the Don and DT.

  17. The Don seemed to have put everyone in a good mood by offering us a straightforward crossword.
    But the quality of the clues reached the usual high standards that we expect from him.
    Favourite clue is 22a and favourite hint 25a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  18. Nice end to the week **/**** 😄 Thanks to DT and to Giovanni Favourite was 1d, very nearly put Gannet in for 22d (it being the season of much feasting 🍰)

  19. Oh dear, guess I must be having a brain freeze as I could not get on the wavelength today and needed Deep Threat’s hits way too much. Contrarily I found yesterday’s **** easier than today’s *. Lots of cooking to do tomorrow, so Happy Christmas to all in case I don’t get a break tomorrow.

    1. Your not alone. I am still going, no hints needed yet, but agree, yesterday’s was much easier than this.

  20. Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks to Giovanni for a nice straightforward Friday puzzle and to DT for the review.

  21. Much more entertaining than the majority of Friday puzzles with a charming seasonal touch. It didn’t prove difficult to unlock, as at this time of year one is accustomed to having a little Don key ;-)

    1d produced the widest smile, but my overall favourite was 9a. I did wonder if there was a Nina of sorts along the bottom of the puzzle to describe how Mrs. Corbyn remembers what wine Jeremy prefers at Christmas, but I doubt it was intentional.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat, and a Merry Christmas to all.

  22. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very gentle, very enjoyable puzzle. I liked 17a, but my favourite was 1d. Last in was 24a. Merry Christmas to one and all. Was 1*/3* for me.

  23. Although I haven’t commented for a long time ,I do the crossword and read the blog every day . With heartfelt thanks to all the setters and bloggers and commentators and of course most especially our hero BD who worked so hard to overcome the difficulties in keeping the blog running I wish you all a great Christmas and all the very best for 2017. Felices Fiestas.

  24. Today’s seasonal challenge was even more entertaining and satisfying to solve than yesterday’s. No real hitches apart from 21d/25a with both of which I needed help so added a difficulty star and I failed to parse 9a – triple d’oh! ***/****. Thank you Giovanni and DT for today and for a year of similar fun. 🎄🙂🎄

  25. We liked this and agree with other comments that it was light and gentle. 22a was great as in Rapscallions and Ne’erdowells.
    Merry xmas to all and thanks to Giovanni and DT….1.5*/4*

    1. And to you my “Friday adversary”. Thank you for the many hours pleasure you have given me and many others over the past year.
      May 2017 allow you to being us many more of them.

    2. Al the very best of wishes, Giovanni and thank you for the education over the past couple of years.

  26. Found this tricky today (‘cos I’m rubbish!!!), needed a couple of hints, 1d as I had never heard of the flower, and 25a as I didn’t get the reference to ‘ends in Christmas Boozers’, and if you don’t get that the wordplay is impossible to fathom.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. All referees are rubbish- well according to everybody at almost every football match, and of course that fount of all knowledge, and self-confessed messiah Jose Mourinho.

      Like you I had never realised gentian was a flower but remembered when I cut myself Mum used to paint on gentian violet by the gallon.

      1. Mourinho certainly puts the ‘arr’ in arrogance!!
        Apart from not knowing the flower, I did not know the crossword use of *** as a Scotsman, apart from that I had the clue cornered.
        My red card count has now exceeded last season’s already.

        1. And the £ in bank account!

          Is the red card count rise due to Southern rail making you grumpier?

          Re *** Ithink of **i* as the Scottish ***.

        2. Hi guys – Ian is a favourite ‘name’ that appears quite regularly along with:
          Rene, Otto, Mac, Pat to name a few :)

  27. Happy Christmas everyone.
    A gentle seasonal puzzle that was a joy to solve from start to finish.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  28. Anagram city – right up my street! I do love an anagram and I loved this puzzle, no help required and all done at one sitting.

    The boss is round Tesco’s again, she phoned to say she’d been round the car-park three times before finding a spot – remind me again, how many days are the shops closed?

    I’m under orders to pick up the chicken from Sainsbury’s – I wonder if I should fill up the car first, I wouldn’t want to run out of juice on my circumlocutions of the car-park!

  29. Nice and gentle. Completed with not too much 25a
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for hints. 9a explanation needed to unravel a “bung-in in”.
    Nadolig Llawen to everyone

  30. Really enjoyed this, there was so much to like.
    I loved 1d, but I think fave was 22d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the hints.

    Happy Christmas to all, but I’ll see you again tomorrow.

  31. Thanks to DT and Giovanni. Christmas greetings to all my fellow participants on this magic place, setters and reviewers and all those who have encouraged me and all the other junior apprentices as we gain in confidence and even find that we can solve a crossword before we look at the hints. Lots of love from OA.

  32. Thanks to The Don for a years worth of excellent puzzles. This was a little too easy but took over eighteen hours to solve having been disrupted by deliveries, catering for a funeral, two visits to the car wash (The car is still filthy) an afternoon nap, loading and unloading the dishwasher several times (likewise the washing machine) and paying the staff wages which I always do on a Thursday but forgot yesterday. Only one more sleep until Miffypops begins shopping for Christmas before going to see Coventry B team Wasps play Bath at The Ricoh Arena. Named after Rico Rodriguez. The legendary trombonist

  33. An enjoyable, fairly light puzzle from the Don. I struggled with 17ac at the end, even though I had the right idea, but the rest fairly flew by.

  34. Guess i must have been the only one to put MISERY for 15a !!! But found my error.
    Didn’t find it as easy as most, & needed some help. Must be getting too old !!!
    Was looking for a Latin greeting !!!!
    Happy Christmas to all.

  35. A delightful doddle: 1*/4*. I loved 9a – the penny dropped with a particularly resounding clang. Thanks to the Don, and to DT.

  36. An lovely crossword, if not overly taxing. Favourites were 1d and 25a. 1*/3.5*

    Thanks to DT and DG.

    Season’s greetings to all. 🎅🏻🍺🥂🍾
    (I just got loads of new emojis with my latest iPad IOS. Now there’s a Christmas treat!)

  37. A lovely Christmas present from the Don which I enjoyed very much as I raced through. I don’t have a festive tree, but if I did, 1d would be the star at the top. Many thanks to him for this and for another year of brain straining, and to DT for taking the time and trouble to produce a set of most readable hints.
    I’ve been sent two sets of pics: my younger daughter is in St Vincent with the rock star boyfriend who is playing there every night (think Caribbean beaches, cocktails, sunshine) ; my youngest son is in Banff, where the Mercury has risen to a heady -19C (think snow, woolly hats, cocktails, sunshine).
    I may not get a chance tomorrow, so let me spray out a few random thoughts: thanks to all the setters for fun, entertainment, education and brain-battering; thanks to all the bloggers who freely give their time to make this whole project work; thanks to all who contribute their thoughts, pedantry, prejudices, phobias and gardening news; thanks to MIffypops for the music, Mr Kitty for the analysis, Ms Kitty for the innuendo, Kath for the unconvincing impersonations of a scatterbrain, Gazza for the wisdom, Jean-Luc for the macarons, Jane for reading stuff I recommend when she doesn’t like the stuff I recommend, Shropshire lad for returning from the dark side and, most of all, to Big Dave for setting it all up and keeping the wheels turning against all odds while retaining his sanity, allowing us to keep ours. To you all, and everyone else who I read at the end of every trying day, have a marvellous few days while I’m at work: drink too much, behave badly, love your children and don’t forget to take the giblets out.

    1. And, even if no one’s interested, here’s the rock star boyfriend’s band at a gig in the summer. They are very, very good. He’s the beardy singer/guitarist/pianist/lyricist and musical arranger. I was in the second row and had never seen them before. Blew me away – he was making me a cup of tea the day before

Comments are closed.