DT 28309 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28309

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28309

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
We are  home again now after living a nomadic existence for the last couple of weeks visiting various family members. It’s good to be back on familiar territory, and not having to cope with all the mad holiday traffic. We can also fully appreciate our pohutukawa trees, (New Zealand’s native Christmas tree) that are having a particularly spectacular blossoming this year.
We found this one to be at the gentler end of Jay’s spectrum.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     A county cricket club holds record: beat Spain, getting favourable reaction (10)
ACCEPTANCE : A from the clue, and then county cricket club gives us three C’s. Use two of them now, then a record that was played at 45rpm, next a synonym for beat or hit, then the C that we kept in reserve, and finish with the IVR code for Spain.

6a     A military force backed at a distance (4)
AFAR : A from the clue and then the reversal of an airborne military force.

9a     Steps idiot takes in answer for university (5)
DANCE : A synonym for idiot has the abbreviation for university replaced by the one for answer.

10a     Takes part in training loyal reps at work (4-5)
ROLE-PLAYS : An anagram (at work) of LOYAL REPS.

12a     Unprotected fund grew in value without recognition (13)
UNAPPRECIATED : The two central letters (unprotected) of fund, and a word meaning increased in value.

14a     Broadcast source of malicious lies about old rewards scheme (3,5)
AIR MILES : A word meaning broadcast or publicise, then the first letter of malicious and an anagram (about) of LIES.

15a     May is able to dance (6)
CANCAN : There is one word that is used as a synonym for both ‘may’ and ‘is able to’. Use this word twice.

17a     Family court proceedings admitting bishop (6)
TRIBAL : The chess abbreviation for bishop is inside a hearing in a criminal court.

19a     Quiet ones steal such mushrooms (8)
SHIITAKE : A direction to be quiet, then a repetition of the Roman numeral One, and a word for steal or appropriate.

21a     Guess how film noir may have been produced? (4,2,3,4)
SHOT IN THE DARK : A literal translation of film noir should help you to understand this cryptic description.

24a     Sail with a king taken in by fisherman’s lure (9)
SPINNAKER : A from the clue and the chess abbreviation for king are inside a type of fishing lure that rotates.

25a     Still at home — ends in strife after breakfast (5)
INERT : The two letter word for at home and then the final letters from the last three words of the clue.

26a     Fat solidified across middle of cup (4)
SUET : Solidified as a jelly would be, includes the central letter of cup.

27a     Brought up to date, way diners must change (10)
MODERNISED : A synonym for a way or method and then an anagram (must change) of DINERS.


1d     Whispered comment dismissing second political adviser (4)
AIDE : A whispered comment often made on the stage loses the abbreviation for second (which also happens to be the second letter).

2d     Overcome argument against short question (7)
CONQUER : A three letter word for an argument against any then a question or enquiry loses its last letter.

3d     Adjusted pro rata invoice knocking off one zero causes quibbling (13)
PREVARICATION : An anagram (adjusted) of PRO RATA INVOICE after one of the O’s has been removed.

4d     Shorter able-bodied man serving on game point, about given up (8)
ABRUPTER : The two letters for able-bodied men serving on a ship, then the national game of New Zealand, the two letter abbreviation for point and the reversal (up) of the two letters for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’.

5d     Typical vegetarians keeping produce young (5)
CALVE : A lurker hiding in the first two words of the clue.

7d     Loud rave, sick at heart and agitated (7)
FRANTIC : The musical symbol for loud, a synonym for rave and then the central letters (at heart) of ‘sick’.

8d     Houses team in new centres with no end of cost (10)
RESIDENCES : Another word for a team is found inside an anagram (new) of CENtRES , after the last letter of cost has been removed.

11d     Government action, as it develops in hardship (13)
PRIVATISATION : A word for hardship or making do without contains an anagram (develops) of AS IT.

13d     Supporter has time and gives help on the radio for make-up people (10)
FANTASISTS : The supporter is not a bra but an enthusiast, then the abbreviation for time and something that sounds like a word meaning ‘gives help’.

16d     Misshapen toes here, and this may be in Oxford (4,4)
SHOE TREE : An anagram (misshapen) of TOES HERE.

18d     One complete fabrication about son’s hero-worship (7)
IDOLISE : The Roman numeral one, a short word meaning to complete or carry out, then a fabrication or untruth contains the abbreviation for son.

20d     Chains of soldiers holding deer up (7)
ANKLETS : Soldier insects contain a type of deer (related to a moose) that is reversed.

22d     Ridiculously crossing borders for key capital (5)
TOKYO : The two external letters (borders) of ‘key’ are inside a word meaning ridiculously or overly.

23d     Set fund using odds for stallion (4)
STUD : The first, third, fifth and seventh letters found in two words in the clue.

We enjoyed the two complicated charades in 1a and 4d today and the Quickie pun put up quite a fight too.

Quickie pun    foray    +    know    +     fees    =     Foreign Office

68 comments on “DT 28309

  1. 2*/2.5*. Well, that was a real surprise – although there was a lot to enjoy, for the first time I can remember, I thought this was a slightly disappointing Wednesday puzzle. For me the key to charades and Lego clues is to maintain smooth surfaces. This is normally something at which Jay excels which makes his puzzles a real treat. Today however several of the clues seemed uncharacteristically clunky, e.g.: 1a, 24a, 4d, 23d.

    I did however particularly like 12a & 13d. 21a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks, whose help I needed to unravel the wordplay for 2d. I couldn’t get beyond the fixation that “short question” must be “q” or “qu”!

    1. Forgive me for gently pulling your leg, RD, but I simply couldn’t resist it: ‘clunky’ says he who, yesterday, came up with ‘originally hot gospeller originally’!

      But completely agree with your observations today.

  2. I found this one decidedly tricky and sorry to say a bit dull. A lot of the same type of clues, I dont really understand the cryptic for 2d. I usually struggle with Jay’s puzzles, probably just on a different wavelength. 4*/1.5* Many thanks to Jay and to 2Kiwis for the much needed hints.

  3. I had the same reaction as Rabbit Dave, I found myself asking is this a Jay crossword ?
    Clunky is the word with 4d being the clunkiest.
    I liked 14a and 15a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  4. Did not enjoy this one much…but not being able to spell the mushroom certainly didn’t help.

    Several of my teachers would have been appalled by the use of the synonym in 15a.

    And 20d was very contrived to my mind……but what do I know.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis .

  5. I reckoned this must be the product of a rookie setter rather than Jay in view of several really clunky clues (RD took the exact words out of my mouth) but perhaps it is just due to everyone being in the “festive twilight zone”. I know 19a is essentially phonetic but that spelling is new to me. Guessed 5d without parsing it – d’oh. Thanks 2Ks and the setter (Jay?). ***/**. 🙁

  6. Mmm. I don’t like to offer negative criticism to our setters, particularly one as consistently clever and entertaining as Jay, but this did not have his usual smoothness and top wordplay. It just goes to show how good his puzzles normally are when one falls a little short of his high standards. I, too, liked 21 across as my favourite.

    Overall this was 2*/2.5* for me, with thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for their review.

  7. Finished it without help 😊. Struggled with 4d and last in. Agree about comment on 15a. **/*** Thanks all.

  8. While some of the clues lacked elegance, I’d give it 3* for enjoyment because of the absence seasonal references for a change. Thank you 2Ks and setter.

  9. Another curate’s egg & not as enjoyable as usual.
    Expected 15a to get the can / may usage back on the agenda. Makes for a more Interesting blog so not a bad thing perhaps.
    Thanks to setter & 2Ks for parsing 9a & 2d both of which couldn’t really be anything else but the why escaped me

  10. I’ll go along with the general consensus of opinion on this one, particularly 4d which I thought was really poor – would anyone actually say that?
    21a was the one bright spot on the horizon and I did smile over 14a – anyone else remember sticking vast quantities of Green Shield stamps into little savings books?!!

    Thanks to our setter (apologies if it was you, Jay) and thanks to our 2Ks – I rather liked the pictured 20d.

    1. My mate stole rolls of Green Sheila stamps from our local Co-op. He was caught eventually. If my memory serves me correctly he got six months and an electric kettle

      1. Very funny.Brightened up my horrendous day of trying to get to Burford and back with the A40 closed in both directions west of Oxford.

    2. I have the clearest memory of these little green stamps being carefully put into a wallet whilst on a drive straight to the maternity hospital.After that , we were so busy, I don’t they ever got redeemed.

  11. While I agree with RD et al, I found no real reasons to grr and still much to appreciate. Hardly any of the causes of my current bad mood are crossword-related, so I shall go away and do my scowling quietly off-blog.

    I liked 12a, 21a (I took a stab first, but soon chose the right weapon), 5d and 13d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis – particularly for the quickie pun which had me beat.

  12. A touch repetitive in style but just what I needed to get the little grey cells working this morning. I enjoyed 19a and 2d. Thanks to the 2Kiwis.

  13. I found this to be pretty tough, most unlike Jay. I agree that some clues did not quite as well, but not every puzzle can be a classic.
    Many thanks to 2Ks and of course Jay.

  14. After a fourteen hour flight with two short ones to go (for those interested, this can be decoded at the BB), this was just what I needed to make sure I was not brain dead – not too easy and not too difficult. Although, I did need some electronic assistance here and there. Overall, **/***.

    Not sure that I agree with some of the criticisms of clue construction, except, maybe, 4d and 20d.

    Stand out favourite, 21a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  15. Dull in places but challenging , last in 4d , had to look up mushroom species to get the answer. ***/** . 14a took me back into the sixties ? ; it was a national obsession at the time , aka the present day lottery . Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I did struggle in places. All the better then for finishing unaided, apart from some spellings as usual.

  17. Whilst generally agreeing with those who found this rather clumsier than usual, for me it was a puzzle of two halves. I didn’t like the construction of many of the down clues but many of the across clues were much better. Three exceptions in the down half: 2d and 11d, I liked and 13d was very nice. 10a, 12a and 19a were all very good, I thought, and I’m with many others in awarding COTD to 21a which wasn’t difficult to solve but is a lovely play on words.

    Thanks to both setter and 2K

  18. I’d assumed someone was on holiday and we had a different setter. I wasn’t on the wavelength and the clues seemed a bit verbose here and there but I got there in the end. Many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  19. Started this morning after completing the very friendly toughie and continued where I left it only to write the same answer in 3d and 11d! D’oh!
    Bung in abridged in 4d didn’t help either! Double d’oh!
    12a took a while to unravel.
    Should really concentrate a bit more.
    Fave is 21a.
    Thanks to Jay and to our 2kiwis for the review.

    1. Did exactly the same for 4d! Quite nippy in Sussex. Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année, Jean-Luc!

      1. AB is able bodied seaman, Rugby Union is the game, Pt is the abbreviation for point and about is RE which needs to be reversed (up in a down clue).

        1. Sorry, misread the clue and thought about given up was the definition, and then couldn’t see how the answer meant that….

  20. I’m with those that doubt this is a Jay puzzle. I needed copious help from my gizmo. I had the wrong answer in 2d so never solved 9a, now I know the answer I thought that was pretty good.
    I agree that the 15a synonym doesn’t work for me.
    Fave was 21a, head and shoulders above the rest.
    Thanks to the setter (Jay?) and to 2Kiwis for so much help unravelling today. How on earth did you solve the quickie pun??

  21. Until reading the comments I wondered if it was just the after effects of too much turkey and alcohol as well as just returning from a festive celebration of 22 people with a boisterous clutch of children in one house that led me to struggle with the surfaces of this puzzle. Finished in a reasonable time, and I enjoyed parts of it but not as consistently good as Jay normally is.

  22. Until reading the comments I wondered if it was just the after effects of too much turkey and alcohol as well as just returning from a festive celebration of 22 people with a boisterous clutch of children in one house that led me to struggle with the surfaces of this puzzle. Finished in a reasonable time, and I enjoyed parts of it but not as consistently good as Jay normally is. Thanks Jay and 2ks.

  23. A rather odd puzzle today, and a very odd quickie pun (not very good, is it even a pun at all?).
    I agree with those who have posted that some of the clues/surfaces are quirky/clunky – but they do work for me, so fair play.
    I couldn’t fathom 4d, but can see it now. Many thanks to all as ever.

  24. Today I found myself deducing a few answers from just looking at the checkers, and then working out the wordplay afterwards. That doesn’t usually happen on a Wednesday. I didn’t believe that 4d could be a word, but it’s right there in the BRB so I suppose it’s legal. Smiles from 12a and 21a, with 15a favourite for having a smooth and plausible surface.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  25. Struggled a bit and had to have two stabs at it before finishing it. Talking about ‘stab’ had put in stab in the dark instead of shot giving imagine for 18 which of course was completely wrong – no wonder I could not parse it! 21a could be my favourite even though I did not get it right first time. I remember the Green Shield Stamps, something completely new to me coming from France… We did collect them and got an Alfred Meakin tea set with orange flowers I think. Long gone but I believe it is now collectible! Oh dear… Thanks to setter and to the 2Ks whose help I needed to parse a few of my answers.

  26. It didn’t have the usual feel of a Jay puzzle to me either, if it was one of his then I don’t consider it one of his better ones. Unusual to have two backpagers in successive days where several of the surfaces left something to be desired.

    I found quite a few clues in the bottom half of the grid quite tricky to nail, so I was a little surprised when our Antipodean friends described the puzzle as gentler than normal for a Wednesday.

    Two clues earned ticks, 19a and 21a, my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr. Mutch (if indeed it was him) and to Colin and Carol, and thanks too for all the respective entertaining Wednesday puzzles and excellent hints and tips during 2016.

    1. I’m pretty sure that this is by Jay. Only Jay and Ray T produce really clever Quickie puns like the one we have today. Thanks to Jay for today’s puzzle (favourite: 21a) and to 2Ks for the usual impeccable review.

  27. I am trying to learn how to solve cryptic crosswords and I found this endlessly helpful, so thanks very much.

    1. Welcome to the site Al. Glad that you are finding it helpful and we look forward to following your progress as your solving skills grow.

    2. Keep coming Al you will find the learning curve is considerably flattened if you do. And it’s fun!

    3. Welcome Al, I was where you were a year ago, enjoy the journey, a bit bumpy along the way, but well worth it…

  28. Good afternoon everybody.

    I’m on a run of not quite being able fully to complete the puzzle. Today’s blockage was 19a. That turned out to be a word unknown to me and, doubtless, millions of others. I also failed on 20d though thought it must be the solution it was without being able to see why.

    The obscure 19a aside the puzzle was straightforward and reasonably enjoyable.


  29. I enjoyed this puzzle and found it quite tricky in places, but I put that down to PTSD from Xmas.

    I completed the Toughie in less time than this one so I’d suggest having a look at that for those wondering whether or not to have a go.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis 2.5*/3.5*

  30. I liked this grid and feel that other comments are maybe a bit harsh. What is did find is that I repeatedly put incorrect answers without taking care to completely fathom the wordplay and therefore verify. This meant, of course, it was a bit trickier but I got there unassisted with the last in being 4d. Yes, there was a lot of lego and these can be quite hard to parse. I ultimately found it satisfying and would say **/*** and ***. I liked 15a for some reason – maybe it’s elegance. Loved the lateral thinking in the Blog today too. Thanks everyone.

  31. Good morning everyone. Jay seems to have produced a very mixed reaction with this one. When we were solving we had no doubts that it was our usual setter and this opinion was confirmed when we got to the Quickie pun. This was quite a challenge and, solving from the puzzles website, we don’t have the italicised words to tell us which particular answers are involved in the pun. We were just about to send out please help texts to our two sons when the penny dropped with an almighty thump. Coincidentally one of our sons works for, and the other one’s wife works for, the NZ equivalent of the answer to the pun.
    Cheers :bye:

  32. 4d. Really? It’s not in my Chambers, not even in the abrupter version. Otherwise a nice challenge, ***/***. Thanks everyone.

  33. Yes, a bit tricky with some convoluted clues – struggled a bit and can’t really say I enjoyed it.

    Played golf earlier, really needed the Under Armour, boy was it cold and my game was pathetic!

  34. Toward the gentler end of the spectrum but good fun mostly, so agree with the 2Ks’ rating of 2*/3*.

    Favourite clues today were 13d for the penny-drop moment when we realised what a make-up person was, and 21a which is just great.

    The one black spot was 4d – what a horrid word!

    Thanks to the 2Ks (has spring arrived there yet?) and Jay.

    1. We have had some good summer weather but over all it has been rather unsettled with much more rain than we often get. You seem to have caught the worst of it while you were here. We felt for you.

  35. So relieved on reading the comments that some of you also found this tricky. Of course everything was pretty obvious after I gave up half way and read 2Kiwis hints. Have a quibble with 15a, surely that should be a 3-3 word, and not 6? Favorite was also 21a, good cryptic clue. I’m not adept at picking out the identity of the setter, but this one did seem different. But a good brain exercise.

    1. For 15a. The BRB, which with all its faults, is still the authority for Telegraph puzzles lists the un-hyphenated version as the only option.

  36. Well, I won’t try to guess who set it, but I rather enjoyed the puzzle: 1*/3.5*. A couple of clues caught my eye. 6a describes the RAF as a military force. Well, I suppose it IS the season of goodwill, so I’ll let that pass. 23d made me think of my dear, innocent horse-mad young wife when we bought our first PC. She typed “Arab studs” into a search engine. You should have seen her face!

    My thanks to the setter, and to the 2 Kiwis, and my heartfelt apologies to my erstwhile colleagues in light blue. Honestly.

    1. OK – I’ll TRY not to bite over your RAF comment but what would prompt you to dismiss that wonderful service as being a military force?

      1. Sheer habit, formed in donkey’s years in a darker shade of blue. And – as long as they haven’t pierced my disguised identity – I count many former officers in that rather younger Service among my dearest friends.

      2. Having seen the headline in todays DT it looks like none of our services will be a military force by the time the bean counters have finished with them.

        1. You may be right. The Navy I joined was 88,000 strong, not counting the WRNS which was a separate service. I think it’s about 34,000 now, but I retired more than 10 years back so my guess may be unduly optimistic.

          1. When I was serving in BAOR in the 1980s the the Rhine Army was almost double the strength of the entire British Army in 2016.

  37. I’m convinced this was not a ‘Jay’ – usually I am unable to get very far and marvel at the cleverness of the clues when going through the hints. Today I did neither, finished with several clues not parsed and a slightly dissatisfied feeling.
    That said, 21a was very good and reminded me of the film of the same name, which was, I think the first in the ‘Inspector Clouseau’ series, The scenes where Peter Sellers plays snooker against George Sanders and the trip to the nudist colony are absolute classics.
    Thanks to whoever and to the 2k’s

  38. I’m afraid to say that this was not one of my favourite puzzles from the Wednesday Wizard and I don’t know why :(. It did seem to be a tad clunky on some of the surfaces and constructs. Anyway, it’s probably down to me being a bit ‘crossworded out’ as Mrs SL has bought me some ST crossword books to keep me going (some 500 puzzles in all).

    Anyway, thanks to Jay for the enjoyment throughout 2016 and to the 2K’s for their continuing insights of their country and their consistency in providing top class reviews throughout the year.

  39. Did about one third then got up at 04.00 and finished it off. Agree with general opinions above that several clues did not flow as smoothly as usual.

  40. Hmmm, I eventually completed this but I must say it was a bit of a struggle. 4d is not a word that I have in my vocabulary and I know my dear mama would disapprove!
    21a – yes, fave by a mile. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Jay(?) and to the 2K’s for yet another brill review.

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