DT 28306 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28306 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28306 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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Merry Christmas to all our readers. We will be here tomorrow with two special Toughies and the usual Sunday cryptic puzzle.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Father with part in panto perhaps — it’s a promise! (6)
A two-letter word for father is followed by a part in, for example (perhaps), a panto

10a    Moans about fool’s revels (8)
A verb meaning moans or complains around a fool

14a    Ice in the drink (4)
A cryptic definition of a large mass of ice found in the sea (drink)


17a    Waits to do it! (5-7)
These people welcome in Christmas by singing out of doors at night

23a    Forget start of carol, being confused, it’s not written down (4)
An anagram (being confused) of [C]AROL without (forget) its initial letter (start)

28a    Steadily as Christmas guests might once have travelled (2,6)
A cryptic definition of how guests might once have travelled – often depicted on Christmas cards

29a    Commercial song that one often hears with bells (6)
What’s needed is the start of a song title that ends with Bells

31a    Spirit of Noel follows this? (6)
This Noel is Noel Coward! Find his play that ends with the word Spirit.


1d    Bearing gifts, we hear (8)
This bearing or aura sounds like (we hear) some gifts

5d    Figures are cut on them by blades a foot long (7,5)
A cryptic definition of a place where figures are cut by the likes of Torvill and Dean

7d    It’s suspended when it is very cold at Christmas (6)
A cryptic definition of a hanging piece of frozen water

11d    Revises match arranged for today (9,3)
Tough luck if you try and solve this on a different day, if so remember that this puzzle was published on 24th December, which is an anagram (arranged) of REVISES MATCH

16d    Article being cut out of yearbook creates void (5)
Drop one of the indefinite articles from a yearbook to get a verb meaning to void

19d    Start off Happy New Year in fancy dress — no special venue (8)
An anagram (in fancy dress) of the initial letter (start off) H[appy] with NEW YEAR

22d    Pub’s bill for wine (6)
A pub and the S from ‘S are followed by a two-letter bill

27d    She joins Jack climbing nursery slopes (4)
Our final cryptic definition, of many today, involves a girl who went up a hill with Jack in a famous nursery rhyme

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: pan+toe+mime=pantomime

59 comments on “DT 28306 (Hints)

  1. R&W/3*. A light festive delight with a few old chestnuts, but if you can’t have chestnuts at this time of the year when can you?

    Merry Christmas everybody, and many thanks to Mr Ron and to Saint Dave of Hanley Swan.

  2. A very Happy Christmas to one and all.

    A very enjoyable puzzle to start the special weekend off. No problems with it for me, with the Small Red Book being used only once (in the solving of 10a), and full on-line bonus points easily collected. Some cleverly constructed clues, 14a and 31a for example, not exactly misdirection, but not the seasonal answer that might be looked for first.

    I did not get the parsing of 17a, although the answer has to be what it is, and, even with BD’s hint, I am still not certain of it.

    My first thought on reading 28a was that it might be something to do with Southern Trains (apologies to those who live in the Southern Trains service area).

    Long favourite – 5d – a great clue. Short favourite – 14a – for the reasons above.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

      1. BD – Thanks. One (minor) problem. I do not yet have ownership of a BRB, something I think I will have to correct fairly soon (I know Santa will not be bringing me one tonight, but my birthday is in January).

          1. I thought you had cut one up into maneagable segments.
            Very happy Christmas, MP and Saint Sharon, and also to BD, bloggers et al.

        1. I don’t have one either, costs too much, but I do have the thesaurus in my tablet, which I find useful.

          1. You can find them cheap. We got three (older editions) for about £2.50 each – one for home, one for a friend and one for holidays!

  3. Like Rabbit Dave, I thought that the compiler was being kind to us on a gloomy Christmas Eve morning and I don’t anticipate that anyone’s going to have too many problems with this puzzle. Happy Christmas!

  4. Not a Read & Write for me – because I’m slow, and because I quickly forget the taste of chestnuts. Also, because I bunged in another answer that fit (but not with the checkers) at 14a. There were a couple of other hold-ups, but can’t remember them now as I did this by humbuglight last night. I did note down 3d and 21d as ones that I particularly enjoyed.

    Thanks to the setter, and many, many thanks to BD for bringing us the blog throughout the year, and providing hints on busy days such as this.

    I plan to repeat this message verbatim tomorrow, but for those who won’t be coming here then:

    A Very, Very Happy Christmas to all you good folk. [Crappy Hissmas to the trolls, hackers and saboteurs, not that they’re worth mentioning, but to any reading, my message to you can be enumerated (4,3).] I will be wishing you all the best for 2017 in due course, but for now I’m hoping you have a great end to 2016 – may you celebrate in the style in which you prefer, or if that is not possible, enjoy whatever celebrations come your way.

    1. Happy Christmas to you, KItty and thanks for all your blogs over the year, indeed thanks and merry Christmas as well to all those who provide hints, users and especially Big Dave for being one of those things the Magi followed.
      Note to self, 1710, C5, the genius that was Alistair Sim as ES in the definitive version of ‘A Christmas Carol’, not to be missed.

    2. Have great Christmas Kitty thanks for all your insight over the year. That I can’t yet tackle the Toughie with any regularite is down to my ineptitude & slow brain.
      Hope you wear your Christmas hat with a little more apparent joy than your Avatar feline!

    3. I also had the (an) alternative to Kitty’s 14a, but decided to go xxxxxxxxxxx Some great ones, some on the edge but enjoyable none the less. Thanks for a good year BD and Mr. Ron. And once again all the very best to all our readers!
      Let’s hope no more leeches trying to mess things up.

    4. I endorse most heartily all your sentiments, the Crappy Hissmus one with knobs on. Have a wonderful time with lots of cheer, and I don’t mean cups of tea! Thank you for your most enjoyable blogs.

  5. Whoops Badger! Knees firmly smacked!
    With all the things left to do thank goodness this was a gentle challenge! Pleasant to solve with no particular favourite. 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter and of course to BD for his hints.
    Merry Christmas to everyone.

  6. Another helping of seasonality – easily solved whilst daughters set about ‘improving’ my computer! If I’m not here tomorrow, you’ll know why!
    Top three for me were 25a plus 1&18d – I’m obviously getting into the Christmas spirit.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD for working yet more overtime – hope you’re getting at least time-and-a-half wages today!

    A very merry Christmas to everyone who contributes to the BD blog in whatever way – this is a brilliant community and I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it at the Birthday Bash next month.

  7. Piece of (Christmas) cake. Now to get wrapping, accompanied by the relaxing jollity that is Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thanks to setter, BD and Santa

  8. Yes a gentle but pleasant start to the day:
    Thanks to Mr Ron & BD for the entertaining hints.
    Over before it began almost so had time to make my Christmas list (unfortunately no time to buy):
    BD: a bottle of your favourite tipple and the program that will stop all these Russian cyber attacks at the press of a button
    MP: a table with extra long legs so you don’t have to descend from your pedestal to eat
    Mrs & Mr Kitty: a years contract with a house cleaner – you can’t have time for housework
    2Ks: a large handkerchief ready for the Lions Tour
    DT: still thinking
    CS: a diamond encrusted monitor’s badge & honorary posting in the diplomatic service
    Kath: Ted
    Merusa: A luxury back massaging chair for the sitooterie
    Brian: A paid for dinner with Ray T with a couple of bottles of wine
    RD & Gazza: Some blank paper so that they can write a crossword book (if they haven’t already)
    SL: continued improvement
    HIYD: a heat resistant red card (sounds like your present ne may melt).
    To all whatever you would wish yourselves for Christmas and may 2017 be a better year than 2016.

      1. Given the pleasure you have given me over the last six months any time you come to South Wales it would seriously be my pleasure. I know there would be many others who would say yhe same.
        Not come across your tipple so went on to their website, sadly they closed for Christmas on the 17th.
        Years ago my daughter was in a three peaks race off the Scottish West coast sponsored by Bruichladdich: must admit Islay not to my taste.
        Perhaps a visit to Penderyn distillery(20 miles up the road from here) might tempt you to try a single malt Welsh whisky.

        1. If there was ever a case for a new spelling variant it should be for Welsh Whisky.
          Whisgy for North Wales and Whisgey for South perhaps?

          Mr T

  9. Tea and mince pies this morning – the mince sticks to the sheets! Mrs T sending me out to get ingredients for beef Wellington recipe by Gordon Ramsey. Is the swearing and shouting really necessary ?

    Happy holidays (Merry Christmas). Lovely puzzle to start the week off.

    Mr T

    1. Good of you to drop in. Derek stopped by yesterday. I hope you aren’t too, too frozen and snowed in. Have a very Happy Christmas, hope you manage to unlock the tantalus!

  10. 🎄⭐️⭐️🎄 More jolly festive fun which fortuntely didn’t delay gift wrapping, etc. too much. 17a foxed me due to unfamiliar spelling. Fortune teller led me to a different solution to 26d – nothing like so appropriate as the correct solution. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. My best wishes for a very Happy Christmas to all the ingenious setters, BD and his merry band of smart hinters and my fellow bloggers. What joy this site gives us all day in day out. **/****. 🎄⭐️⭐️🎄

  11. Another easy puzzle for Xmas eve.
    Why is the third word of 10a in the genitive case? Perhaps my English has become out of date – 93 next month!

    Must now get ready to spend Xmas chez my daughter.

    Merry Christmas to all crossword solvers and setters.

    1. Derek, in 10a the wordplay is “moans about fool is (i.e. equals) revels”. “Fool is” is then shortened to “fool’s” to give the genitive needed for a smooth surface. Your English is impeccable. You’ve had many years’ experience!

      RIP Rick. Keep on rocking in heaven!

      1. Very sad news about Rick Parfitt, we’d seen the Quo loads of times – maybe not the most musically gifted but always put on a really entertaining show.

        Keep on Rocking all over the World!

  12. I really enjoyed this themed puzzle. I wondered how many bah humbugs would be out today, objecting to the Christmassy theme!
    Piece of cake, it was almost over without my knowing it.
    I’m going to choose my fave as 31a, with 17a a close runner up.
    Thanks to setter, and to our stalwart BD for all his hard work for us this year.
    All my best wishes for a Merry Christmas, good cheer and good friends.

  13. Nice puzzle which gave me a bit of trouble in the SW corner but with perseverance and BD’s help for 28a I got there in the end. Merry Christmas to all! Planning to come to the bIrthday Bash next month. Many thanks to Mr Ron and BD. Joyeux Noël Jean-Luc!

    1. Joyeux Noël à vous aussi.
      Don’t know yet if I can free myself at the end of January. It’s going to be a last minute decision but the jet I ordered from father Christmas is probably on the tarmac at Hyères airport. I wish!

  14. Late again today.
    A few of these held me up but not too many or for too long – I thought it was a good crossword.
    I liked 17 and 25a and 11d. My favourite was 14a.
    With thanks to whoever was responsible for this one and to BD.
    A very Happy Christmas to you all particularly BD for keeping this amazing show on the road even at difficult times.
    I think a mention and a :rose: to Mrs BD is also in order for her tolerance of all the time that BD must spend here.

    1. Please don’t SHOUT

      What is the BRB is a Frequently Asked Question so you will find the answer under the FAQ tab at the top of the page.

      2d is an anagram (being rebuilt) of the first two words in the clue which if you rearrange them correctly, and with the checking letters there isn’t a lot of choice as to where to put the letters you’ve got left, you should have a synonym for 10a

      PS if you are a ‘new’ Sue, you’ll need to find another alias as I’m not the only Sue already commenting here.

  15. Nice, straightforward puzzle – no real problems – I really enjoyed it.

    I did it while watching Wasps v Bath – a very good game. No sport tomorrow, I remember there being a tradition where there was Professional Football on Christmas Day – I remember my Dad taking me to the Orient on Christmas Morning, the smell of Wills Whiffs and Tangerines, I don’t remember when and why it was stopped, maybe something to do with the introduction of floodlights or something.

    The boss had us out at 7.30 this morning for some more urgent supplies, I waited up the road in the car – the car park was chocker at that time of the morning – there’s no talking to her!

    Merry Christmas to all members of the site particularly BD who’s hard work is really appreciated – it’s been a great if at times difficult year – let’s hope it’s even better in the New Year!

    1. Article on Christmas Day football in Saturday’s Telegraph sport section. The last full League programme was in 1959 but the last Christmas Day game was Blackpool v. Blackburn Rovers (then both in Division 1) in 1965. Amazingly, the return game was to be played on Boxing Day (what would Mourinho say?) but was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Ewood Park. The writer of the article suggests that the absence of public transport was the reason why Christmas Day football ceased.

  16. Thanks to our benign setter for a lovely almost R&W crossword for Christmas Eve, lots of lovely old chestnuts with just a minor pause while I worked out the ice. Thanks to BD for taking time out to write the blog and, once again, many thanks to him for this magic place where confused old ladies can get all the help they need to solve the wonders that are the DT crosswords.
    Have a super splendid day tomorrow. Off to do GK biggie.

  17. A nice simple puzzle to enjoy before the guests arrive and the festivities begin.

    Thanks to all concerned in this production. Have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are.

  18. That was a pleasant solve, just right for this time of year. A new word in 10a, a new word meaning in 17a, and quite a few smiles.

    On another day I might have a small grumble about “start off” in 19d indicating a word’s first letter rather than the word without its first letter but, hey, it’s Christmas. On which note, I wish everyone out there in the BD community a most wonderful holiday season.

  19. A pleasant and seasonal solve.Wishing all the posters and Bloggers a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

  20. A fairly straightforward puzzle, though I did make hard work of some of the cryptic clues, always my weakest point. Merry Christmas everybody!

  21. A jolly little festive puzzle. I enjoyed 27d, at least once the penny dropped. Many thanks to the setter (indeed to all DT/ST setters), and to Big Dave. Now for a seasonable noggin, which I shall raise to the health of all reviewers and contributors to this peerless site.

  22. Merry Christmas BD and setter. Computer and printer both had gremlins this week. Hope to catch up soon. Seasons greetings to all.

  23. Oops, very late to this. A nice romp and thankfully relatively simple at this time of day. So it’s now Christmas…..

    Thanks to BD, the setter, and all of you.

  24. Merry Christmas to the entire crossword solving fraternity.
    Yours puzzlingly,
    Chadwick Ong’ara,

  25. Merry Christmas. Most of it a very easy solve and good for those with a sore head. 27d for example but some others at the bottom took more head scratching eg 19 and 22d and 31a. Thanks all,

  26. I’ve changed my name and thanks for the help. sorry ’bout the shouting, I didn’t mean to, the letters went capital by themselves’ happy Christmas and have a great 2017

    1. Sliz,
      Its not By themselves’ it is you accidently hit caps twice or inadvertently press caps after a full stop when the tablet has auto-done it. Happens to me & I have to delete it or get my knuckles rapped.
      Welcome from a relative newcomer & season’s greetings.
      Father Christmas (aka daughter) has just arrived so pressie time! Can’t wait for my new socks & hankies.

  27. Late on parade as I was far too concentrated on the lovely double alphabetical jigsaw from Maskarade in the Guardian. I just love those.
    By comparison, this one didn’t take very long but was very enjoyable to solve.
    Favourite is 3d. Bought a lovely Kilkenny Xmas pudding from the Irish shop in Toulon. Can’t wait.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog.

  28. May be just me, but found the quickie rather cryptic today-I approach the main puzzle with trepidation …
    Many thanks to all those involved with this blog over the year-for both the hints and the comments.

  29. Completed this last night by the dying embers of my Yule log. Fun and not too taxing but I did need BD’s hint for 1a. Favourite 14a. Merry Christmas to BD and all on the site (there are still 11 days left).

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