DT 28311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28311

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28311

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cold, foggy morning.

The last Giovanni of 2016, and still in fairly gentle post-Christmas mood, though there were a couple of answers which eluded me on the first pass. No real obscurities though – unlike 19a in the Quick Crossword, which was a word I had to look up in the nice new BRB that Mrs DT gave me for Christmas.

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           Pointed comment by squire finally — hint to provide party food (8)
BARBECUE – Put together a pointed comment or jibe, the last letter (finally) of squirE, and a hint given to an actor whose turn it is to speak.

Image result for barbecue

9a           Lack of interest in a course leading to the unknown (6)
APATHY – A (from the clue) followed by a course or route and an algebraic unknown.

10a         Uncontrolled or organised party attracting thousand? (6)
RANDOM – Put together a word for ‘organised’ or ‘managed’, one of the usual crossword parties, and the Roman numeral for a thousand.

11a         Hellish situation — love’s going wrong — collapse emotionally (8)
DISSOLVE – An alternative name for Pluto, god of the underworld, and hence his kingdom, followed by an anagram (going wrong) of LOVE’S.

12a         First opportunity for panto actor to get into gear? (5,9)
DRESS REHEARSAL – Cryptic definition of an occasion when pantomime actors may put on their costumes for the first time.

15a         Missile starts to seem costly — unwanted deterrent? (4)
SCUD – Initial letters (starts) of the last four words of the clue, giving the name of a missile made by the former Soviet Union.

Image result for scud missile

17a         Worried and frightened leader getting put off (5)
CARED – Remove the initial letter from a word for ‘frightened’, and you get a word for ‘worried’ (about).

19a         Set out to give help to learner (4)
LAID – The symbol of a learner driver, followed by some help.

20a         Exercise influence to withdraw an orchestral section (4,3,7)
PULL THE STRINGS – If you stopped the violins, violas, cellos and basses from playing in the orchestra, you might be said to do this.

23a         Not one of us will change our diets (8)
OUTSIDER – Anagram (will change) of OUR DIETS.

25a         Bug in weed (6)
NETTLE – Double definition, the first being a verb, the second a noun.

27a         Get away and pray sixty minutes after midnight? (6)
BEGONE – To pray or implore, followed by the time the clock strikes 60 minutes after midnight.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a         After strike, seek men’s submission (8)
MEEKNESS – Anagram (after strike) of SEEK MEN’S.


1d           Grand, in the manner of festivity (4)
GALA – An abbreviation for Grand, followed by a French expression (1,2) meaning ‘in the manner of’.

2d           Tolerates biased rambling (6)
ABIDES – Anagram (rambling) of BIASED.

3d           Boss appearing in the advertisement (4)
HEAD – Hidden in the clue.

4d           An upset you finally might get on the briny? (6)
NAUSEA – An all-in-one clue. Reverse (upset) AN (from the clue), then add the final letter of yoU, followed by ‘the briny’, and what you get is what you may feel if you are a poor sailor.

5d           What may move our case (last bit of travel)? (8)
CAROUSEL – Another all-in-one. The piece of kit where you recover your baggage at the airport is made up of an anagram (may move) of OUR CASE, followed by the final letter of traveL.

Image result for carousel baggage

6d           Put pitch on the outside of shed, using a particular tool (10)
SHOVELLING – A word for ‘pitch’ or ‘throw’ wrapped around a shed or other poor-quality building.

Image result for men at work road sign

8d           Material at bottom of river is mostly hardened clay (7)
CAMBRIC – An East Anglian river, followed by the first four letters of a baked clay building material.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d         Takes back city area with feeling of delight beginning to spread around (10)
RECAPTURES – A feeling of delight or ecstasy and the first letter of Spread, wrapped around the postal district of the City of London.

14d         Arab maybe sounding croaky (5)
HORSE – A quadruped which may be an Arab, and sounds as if it has a sore throat.

16d         False belief has us taken in by priest — academic holds that (8)
DELUSION – Start with US (from the clue). Wrap our usual Old Testament priest around it, then wrap a university academic around the result.

18d         Relaxation of French and English outside temporary accommodation (7)
DÉTENTE – The French word for ‘of’ and English, placed either side of the sort of temporary accommodation which may be found on a campsite.

21d         Getting properly organised, I tried to be less messy (6)
TIDIER – Anagram (getting properly organised) of I TRIED.

22d         Aim to undermine international plan (6)
INTEND – An abbreviation for INTernational, followed by an aim or objective.

24d         Play or concert quietly proceeding to end (4)
ROMP – Perhaps one of the series of concerts held in the Royal Albert Hall each summer, with the musical symbol for ‘quiet’ moved from the beginning to the end.

26d         This clue is a sort of model (4)
LAST – Double definition: the first describes this clue’s position in the list of clues; the second is a model used by a shoemaker.

I noticed the other day that I have now passed 200 postings on this blog. A swift wave of the bat towards the pavilion, and on to 2017.

The Quick Crossword pun TACKS + PAIRS = TAXPAYERS

51 comments on “DT 28311

  1. 1*/3*. I feel as if I have moved into a parallel universe where Friday puzzles are light and fun. That’s two on the trot. Long may it continue!

    I particularly liked 20a and the seasonal messages in 12a & 23a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, with many congratulations on your unbeaten double century.

  2. Light and fluffy indeed. I thought this well-crafted and much enjoyed it, with laughs at 11a (for which “life” has too few letters to fit) and my favourite, 16d.

    Many thanks to the Don, and many thanks and congratulations on the double century to DT.

    P.S. Speaking of laughs, the Toughie is not Friday difficulty but published today for a different reason. If you attempt one Toughie a year, I’d heartily recommend it be this one.

      1. Biggles keeps telling me god is merely an anagram of dog: seems Mr Dawkins has found that out too.

              1. Not a lot Bastet the Cat Dog was originally a warrior god.
                They had Anubis a Dog God they just backed the wrong horse to mix metaphors.

    1. Thanks, Kitty, for the reminder that today’s Toughie is Micawber’s review of the year.

      But there are many of your reviews that also fall into that category!

      1. Aww, thanks Stan – I don’t quite know what to say to that. :oops:

        (It’s probably not gracious to enter into a discussion about whether one can have more than one of those …)

  3. Struggled with NE corner as was convinced 6d was chiselling & spent far too long trying to get to it from the clue. 11a LOI thanks DT for the “Why”
    As a result above average time but enjoyable.
    Thanks to setter & DT for hints. Congratulations on 200 no: only another 302 to go!

  4. A lovely puzzle to end the year with, some funny and some quite clever clues. Definitely on the easy side for a Giovanni crossword. Favourites were 12a, 20a and best of all 27a. 1.5*/4* Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT. Happy New Year to everyone.

  5. I, too, found The Don in benign mood this morning with the excellent 20 across my COTD. Overall this was a 1.5*/3.5* puzzle for the penultimate back-pager of the year.

    Thanks as always to Giovanni for this and all his creations during 2016, and to the double centurion.

  6. Somewhat self-inflicted because I had written the solution to 14d incorrectly which caused me to have problems with 17a and 8d, so this was **/***.

    Long favourite, a toss-up between 12a and 20a. Short favourite 26d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  7. A gentle final midweek backpager of 2016, a year when nothing much of note happened really (I jest!)

    I gave ticks to 4d and 24d, I can’t quite decide whether I like or dislike 26d, the jury’s still out.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT- congratulations on reaching such an impressive milestone. A very Happy New Year to everyone.

  8. I am new to this site. it is a delight and a splendid antidote to frustration, thank you all.
    Simple question: How do you know the identity of the compiler ?

    1. Welcome to the blog Riley.

      The identity of the setters is a Frequently Asked Question, and if you go to the FAQ tab at the top of the page, and select number 28, you’ll be as well-informed as the rest of us.

  9. Seems to me that since the Friday back-pagers have been getting easier, the Friday Quickies are getting harder!

    I enjoyed this one. I’m picking 6D as my favorite in solidarity with the folks in New England who are going to be doing a lot of that this weekend. Thanks to Giovanni and DT, and a very happy New Year to all!

    1. Yes, when I saw the weather forecast, I immediately thought of Tantalus. I gather you haven’t been too, too bad, but good luck.

  10. For me this was one of the more tricky Giovannis mainly because it was a lot sloppier than his usual immaculate clueing. For instance panto in 12a is completly irrelevant as is the properly in 21a. Nettle for bug doesnt work for me as neither does hovel and shed. Best clue for me was 16d as it was a more typical Giovanni with everything there in the clue to find the answer. However, I have learnt that Dis is the name for Pluto hence hellish.
    So my rating is ***/***
    Thx to all.

    1. Brian – you may not agree but nettle/bug and shed/hovel are in the Small Red Book, and my guess is that they are also in the BRB. As to the ‘redundant’ words, I found that they contributed to the surface reading of the clues. So, when will see your contribution as a setter of, say, a Rookie crossword?

  11. I think the setters have been kind to us this week since it’s Christmas. Every day has been pretty easy – even the Toughies. I think I liked 20A the best..

  12. As RD said, Fridays have recently become light and fun – which apparently doesn’t suit Brian!
    Lots to enjoy, my top three being 12&20a plus 4d.

    Many thanks to DG and to DT. A very happy new year to you both and long service medals all round!

  13. First and foremost may I wish absolutely everybody involved in any way with BD’s magic crossword world a Very Happy New Year. I am sure that there are many here today who would echo my words – thank you a million times to BD and his merry band of helpers. Love from OA

  14. Good afternoon everybody.

    Mostly straightforward although couldn’t solve 24d at all and there were a couple of others whose logic escaped me. Despite not finishing the remainder was pretty much two star difficulty.

    Thanks to all of the reviewers for their efforts through the year.


  15. I thought this was a very good crossword providing much pleasure in solving. Not overly difficult maybe but still thought provoking. 20a was my favourite, but 26d ran it close.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT on his 200’th.

  16. Wow, another gentle offering from Giovanni! There were so many fun clues, I’m going to be hard pressed to pick just one, and I don’t want to incur Kath’s wrath.
    The outstanding ones for me were 12a and 20a, and 4d, 24d and 26d. Flip a coin for fave. I also rather liked 27a.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment throughout 2016, and to Deep Threat for his excellent blogs, also congratulations on attaining a double century!

  17. A delight from beginning to end. A so many have already observed, elegant surfaces on the whole and well sprinkled with wit and guile.

    I’d love to be different – but can’t and have to agree that 20a deserves top marks today. Each of the subsequent across clues is a belter. Amongst the down clues, credit goes to the sublime 8 and the last three are all superbly clued.

    Didn’t want this one to finish, I was enjoying it so much.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and congratulations to DT on his double century.

  18. :phew: and :yawn: Ten grownies and a four and two year old for several days is too many for too long. What a good thing the crossword wasn’t a tricky one.
    25a was my last answer and I took a long time to untangle 6d for some reason.
    Having done wardrobe and make-up for hospital pantos I have slight issues with 12a – if that was the first time they all put their costumes on I’d have been frantic.
    I liked 11a and 8 and 14d. My favourite was 26d.
    With thanks to all concerned.

      1. Sorry YS, for the hard of thinking, beneath ‘what’?? Isn’t the wordplay just a three lettered river + hardened clay minus the last letter.
        If I am too stupid, don’t reply, just laugh and shake your head!!!

        1. HIYD: I see it as ‘at bottom of’ (‘beneath’) in a down clue is under, thus the abbreviated baked clay object comes under the 3 letter river.

          1. Fair enough, I still have ‘L’ plates on, so something else to add to the cranial database.

  19. Very enjoyable, just utterly confused by 8d as I was looking to put ‘R’ (bottom of river) into it somehow.
    Lots of great clues though, I especially enjoyed 20a, 4d, 24, lots, in fact. 20a fav.
    Thanks all….

  20. What a huge range of favourites people have nominated today. Our choice was the delightful all in one 5d. Surely this must indicate a top quality puzzle that could be enjoyed at many levels. We thought so.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.
    Happy New Year everyone.

  21. Having been doing these for about a year now and made great progress, all thanks to the hard work of BD and the ‘hinters’ (and bloggers), I have wondered when DISS would finally make an appearance as kit seems an obvious crossword candidate. Finally, it made it!!

  22. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Too tough for me. Needed the hints for 11&28a and 4,6,24,26d.

  23. I found this pretty difficult and struggled for quite a while.

    A bit like hitting yourself over the head with a hammer, it’s a real relief when it stops – I’d be a liar if I said I enjoyed it.

    Rugby and Football on tonight – which one to watch and which to record – a dilemma – or should I do what the Boss wants and take her out – no choice really!

  24. The last Giovanni of the year? What a fantastic sign-off that was. 2/*/4*. We loved 24d, 10a and 4d but place 5d ahead by a length.

    Thanks to DT (congratulations on the double century) and Giovanni. Thank you Brian for being such a curmudgeon.

  25. Very enjoyable. Some very good clues. I really liked 4d,5d and18d. Iseem to have had a good week and only really struggled once.

  26. Very difficult for me today – I never quite get on Giovanni’s wavelength unfortunately, yet I much enjoyed this puzzle. My favourite clue was 26d. Brilliant. Many thanks to Deep Threat and The Don.

  27. This Site is as irresistible as a good DT back-pager – well, almost. Thank you to all who have a hand in its continued existence. For all the fun, wit, banter and lashings of ‘Englishness’. here’s to year Seventeen!
    Liked The Don’s offering today and much prefer his lighter side. 27a had me trussed up though and the best I could come up with there was ‘remove’ so I failed again and thanks to DT for freeing me. **/***

  28. Very late in today, too many errands. Delightful puzzle, all done yay! Also double yay as we had a rare cool day today, with a predicted high of 67F and low of 55F, a very welcome respite…

  29. Only wanted to say that I haven’t seen 15a since Saddam Hussein.
    Not that I miss him or anything but that made me think about him.
    Favourite clue 13d and favourite hint 14d.
    Thanks to the Don for popping in and congratulations to DT for all the reviews so far.
    Happy new year to you both.

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