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DT 28314

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28314

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone, and welcome to 2017. After searching for an adjective to describe today’s puzzle I settled on “solid”. It’s a typical Tuesday crossword, with enough straightforward clues to enable most solvers to get a foothold, along with a few that might require a little head-scratching. No real laugh out loud moments for me, but there were some appreciative smiles for several very smooth charades.

Year-end lists are everywhere at the moment– best albums, worst movies, etc., etc.. There’s even a list of the best lists. They naturally got me thinking about how best to reflect, analytically, on a year of cryptic crosswords. There’s no way to create an objective “100 best clues of 2016” list. But I was able to generate this word cloud containing all answers featured on the back page at least three times last year. The biggest font goes to IOTA (seven appearances). Because our puzzle answers appear to be chosen at random this is in some sense a meaningless picture. But despite that I still like studying it because it serves as a reminder of many enjoyable tussles with the 2016 puzzles. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Click on the image for a larger version.

Now, on to the hints. The definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought.


1a    Give prisoner commendation (10)
CONTRIBUTE: Join the informal contraction of one convicted of a crime to an act or expression of approval.

6a    A revolutionary in pain (4)
ACHE: A from the clue followed by one of crosswordland’s favourite revolutionaries.

9a    Dashed artist died, buried in church? On the contrary (5)
RACED: “On the contrary” here inverts the wordplay to become “church buried in artist died”. Accordingly, we must insert the abbreviation for the Church of England between the abbreviations for an artist who is a R(oyal) A(cademician) and for D(ead).

10a    Returning to that woman’s sensible — or else! (9)
OTHERWISE: A charade of the reversal (returning) of TO, a pronoun for “that woman”, and a synonym for sensible.

12a    Central figure in Parliament, one declares (7)
SPEAKER: A not very cryptic double definition.

13a    Careful cleaner? Unknown (5)
CHARY: Follow a cleaning woman with a letter sometimes used to represent a mathematical unknown. According to the BRB this cleaner is always a woman. Is there a word for the male equivalent, I wonder?

15a    Given a hospital room with bed? Not at first (7)
AWARDED: A charade of A from the clue, a large hospital room typically containing many beds, and bED without its first letter (not at first).

17a    Bear‘s appetite (7)
STOMACH: A double definition. Bear here means tolerate, and appetite means inclination or enthusiasm.

19a    Passages from Gove, say, getting circulation (7)
VOYAGES: An anagram (getting circulation) of GOVE SAY.

21a    Is able to cheat — sport goes west, and honesty (7)
CANDOUR: A charade of words meaning “is able to” and “cheat”, followed by the reversal (goes west, in an across clue) of the abbreviation for a sport at which the New Zealand team is quite good.

22a    Stay in Schatzlod, Germany (5)
LODGE: Hidden inside (in) the clue.

24a    Begged deputy to come back, holding influence (7)
PLEADED: The reversal (to come back) of a three-letter abbreviation for deputy, containing (holding) a verb synonym of influence or guide.

27a    Casino’s con almost spoiled parties (9)
OCCASIONS: An anagram (spoiled) of CASINOS and COn minus its last letter (almost).

28a    Book every 12 months to avoid a void (5)
ANNUL: A book that appears every 12 months, with its A deleted (to avoid A). Void here is a verb.

29a    Where one might see pig cross river (4)
STYX: An enclosure for pigs followed by the letter that looks like a cross gives a river that in Greek mythology forms the border between the Earth and the Underworld.

30a    Rags badly sewn, and perhaps strangely hard to take off (10)
NEWSPAPERS: Join an anagram (badly) of SEWN to an anagram (strangely) of PERhAPS without its H [H(ard) to take off].


1d    Comical or eccentric person? Trump, perhaps (4)
CARD: A double definition. Making each definition into its own sentence creates capitalization intended to mislead the solver into thinking of the US politician.

2d    That must be cash for the job? (9)
NECESSARY: Another double definition. The first non-cryptic, the second a slang term for the money needed for some well-defined purpose.

3d    Cross when top leaves wrinkle (5)
RIDGE: Delete the first letter (when top leaves, in a down clue) from a verb synonym of cross to obtain a wrinkle, perhaps like those of 21d.

4d    Catch editor after book’s checked (7)
BLOCKED: A charade of the single letter abbreviation for B(ook), a catch that might secure a door, and the usual two-letter abbreviation for editor.

5d    Garments that sir’s ordered? Article’s missing (1-6)
T-SHIRTS: An anagram (ordered) of THaT SIRS without the A (article’s missing). Until I had a few checkers in place I had no idea how I was going to construct a 7-letter answer from fodder containing a single vowel.

7d    Mate at home drinking tea? On the contrary (5)
CHINA: This Cockney term for mate or friend is fast becoming a usual suspect. He’s obtained from the inversion (on the contrary) of “at home drinking tea”, which directs us to a three-letter informal term for tea containing (drinking) our usual short word meaning “at home”.

8d    Remarkably, taken in by pair of bridge players present throughout (10)
EVERYWHERE: Start with a well-worn synonym for remarkably placed between (taken in by) a pair of bridge players (or opposing points of the compass). Then attach a word meaning present or in attendance.

11d    Regularly bring round cocoa prepared for animal (7)
RACCOON: The alternate (regularly) even letters of bRiNg enclose (round) an anagram (prepared) of COCOA.

14d    Great savage mauls lover (10)
MARVELLOUS: An anagram (savage) of MAULS LOVER.

16d    Grow furious over restricting good students’ qualifications (7)
DEGREES: The reversal (over) of a (3,3) expression meaning “grow furious” contains (restricting) the abbreviation for G(ood).

18d    Five-nil, with one intercepting a ball and sidestepping (9)
AVOIDANCE: The Roman numeral representing five, the letter that looks like the number corresponding to nil, and the Roman numeral for one are placed between (intercepting) the A from the clue and a function where couples move to music. I enjoyed Miffypops’ Elvis Costello video yesterday, so here’s another. It’s a 1978 live performance of a song whose title is appropriate for this clue.

20d    Fancy model is after drink (7)
SUPPOSE: A verb synonym for model follows (is after) a verb synonym for drink.

21d    Cold water ultimately softens wrinkles (7)
CREASES: A charade of C(old), the last letter of wateR (ultimately) and a verb meaning softens or makes less difficult.

23d    Rot from European Community within 24 hours (5)
DECAY: Place the abbreviation for E(uropean) C(ommunity) inside (within) the word describing a 24 hour period.

25d    Daughter hit a tense situation (5)
DRAMA: A charade of D(aughter), a verb meaning to strike or dash into violently, and the A from the clue.

26d    Swanky husband abandoned? That’s a positive sign (4)
PLUS: Delete H(usband) (abandoned) from an adjective meaning swanky or luxurious. The answer is a symbol used to indicate that a number is greater than zero.


Thanks to today’s setter for an enjoyable crossword. I liked the smoothly assembled charades 10a, 13a, 15a, 8d, and 18d. 16d got a smile because while the answer was obvious, it resisted parsing for a while. My favourite is 28a for a surface that so cleverly disguised a clue construction last seen on Christmas Eve that I didn’t recognize it at first. Which clues topped your list?

The Quick Crossword pun: BAKER+LIGHT=BAKELITE

67 comments on “DT 28314

  1. I cannot disagree with Mr K’s ratings this morning. Straightforward enough, and plenty of fun to be enjoyed during the solve. 26 down my favourite though 30 across was a close second.

    Thanks to the Tuesday Mr Ron and MK for an entertaining review.

  2. Nice and straightforward 😄 */*** Could not see the reasoning behind 3d, but if the word fits use it 😬 Favourite a tie between 8d & 10a 🤔 Thanks to Mr K and to the setter

  3. Like yesterday, I found this an easy puzzle to solve. I agree with Mr Kitty on the smoothly assembled charades, they werent difficult to work out, but still quite enjoyable. My Favourites were 2d and 8d. 1.5*/3* Many thanks to Mr Kitty and to the setter.

  4. */** for me. Although I finished comfortably before lights out last night, I did not really enjoy this puzzle and I thought it was somewhat below par. There appeared to be a number of ‘contrived’ clues; for example, several of the charades relying on reversal of clue content for one of their elements.

    Favourite 29a, with 1d a close second.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  5. 2*/2.5*. I thought this was reasonably enjoyable on the whole but it was a pity that the same device was used for 9a & 7d. I agree with Mr K’s choice of 28a as favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

  6. Like Senf found this a little disappointing. A few clues didn’t really appeal & there were no really good clues to redress the balance.
    Thanks to server & MrK for hints. Liked the underground map.
    Surely the male equivalent of “char” is husband.

      1. The reason for the question was as clear as your hints. Glad I could make a comment you didn’t dare make yourself. I told Lady LROK who responded “That’ll be the day!”

  7. Senf makes a good point – I was surprised to find ‘On the contrary’ used twice within two clues if one tackled them in order. And ‘wrinkle’ also appeared twice although I guess that’s not too much of a criticism. Both 17d and 20a seem to be old chestnuts. I agree with Mr K’s rating as ‘solid’.

    I’m surprised 6a doesn’t feature in the word cloud – it seems to pop up quite often, as does 28a. I’m certainly not surprised to see ‘iota’ writ large (which sounds like a contradiction in terms) and I think I commented quite recently on how frequently ‘sturgeon’ rises to the surface.

    Nothing particularly leapt out today: I did like 1d, 8d is a tad clumsy but the solution is neatly constructed, the surface of 14d made me smile. COTD goes to 29a which was LOI and took more pondering than anything else.

    Thanks to setter and to Mr Kitty for amusing review and interesting word cloud.

    1. Repetitions within clues have featured in several Tuesday puzzles of late. There’s not enough data yet, but I’m starting to wonder if that device might be a signature of one of our Tuesday setters.

      6a only appeared as a standalone answer once this year on the back page, so it didn’t make it into the word cloud.

      20d appeared almost verbatim in DT 28116 last year and with similar clue constructions in DT 27901 (2015) and DT 27225 (2013).

      1. Thanks Mr K. I’m surprised about 6a but wouldn’t query your stats. I must have come across it in non-DT puzzles.

        I do recall the similar clue to 20d but probably not from as far back as 2013!

        1. 6a might feel familiar because in addition to its single 2016 appearance as a standalone answer

          DT 28073: Teacher has internal pain (4),

          it was also an answer ingredient twice last year:

          DT 28129: In court, long for prestige (6)
          DT 28276: Constant pain in store (5)

  8. Fairly straightforward, I just wanted to say that I knew RD would comment on the double use of ‘on the contrary’! I too liked the underworld map.

  9. 22a must take a prize for one of the most obvious lurkers ever. Prizes for the most obscure words appearing in crosswords last year go to the following (amongst others):-
    !. Schipperke (clue to meaning: dogged research will stop you barking up the wrong tree.)
    2. Stotinka (clue to meaning: this is, of course, one hundredth of a lev and might come in handy if you wanted to buy a schipperke in Bulgaria).
    Thank you setter and Mr T.

    1. I recall stotinka – and it came to mind when there was the recent Jekyll-inspired debate about what one should know, what one can look up etc. I had vaguely heard of the lev but would have had no chance of getting its junior partner.

      My own favourite obscurity – which I now try to use whenever the opportunity arises (!) – is Callipygian, meaning ‘possessed of well shaped buttocks’. Our modern equivalent is, I guess, bootylicious (which inspires the possible clue “Bootylicious Greek (11))

    2. “Most obscure clues” is on my list of things to research. I just have to figure out how to quantify “obscure”.

        1. Excellent suggestion, Jane, although they might eventually tire of me asking them “Do you know this word?”

        2. The list of things I don’t know would be beyond even Mr Kitty’s capability to analyse.

          1. You’re being too modest, Gazza, and in any case it would certainly be a great deal easier to analyse the gaps in your knowledge of obscurities than that which is held by of most of us.

      1. You might have a real challenge on the proposed research. Having just reminded myself of the definition of ‘obscure’ in an on-line search, all crossword clues are obscure to some degree. So, how would you attempt to be objective in what is a subjective ‘world’? And, no doubt, for any given clue, different solvers would have different opinions on its degree of obscurity. Ask three people and get at least four answers.

        1. There exist some good lists of word occurrence frequencies for various sets of source literature, most notably the Google Ngram Viewer https://books.google.com/ngrams. The challenge is making that information computer accessible in a reasonable time. I’ll probably have to download the massive Google dataset and parse that to rank all 48,000ish answers used on the back page.

  10. Thanks to the setter and MrK…….today the review turned out to be a bit more entertaining than the puzzle.

  11. Nice to be back on terra firmer after some sailing round the western isles, a bit lumpy to say the least but beautiful scenery and Ospreys and Golden Eagles.
    Back to the real word, I struggled with this one, not a sign of things to come hopefully.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and setter.

  12. 28ac. I have taken the A away which leaves nnual which is a new word to me. Another easily solved enjoyable puzzle. Thanks for the map of my inevitable future and the EC clip Mr K. Thank you setter.

  13. 3 days into New Year Resolution and still on target – we are even commenting in good time! An enjoyable and gentle solve today. Thanks to Mr K and to Mr R.

  14. Enjoyed doing this one very much . Here’s hoping it is a good omen for the rest of this year….or even this week.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for his hints and particular thanks for the Underworld Map…..loved that!

  15. Pretty much what is expected of a Tuesday back pager with a fair amount of different constructs and devices used throughout (although I’m pretty sure that Silvanus will disagree regarding 9a & 7d). I initially thought that the clue for 30a didn’t work as the fodder appeared to be ‘sewn and perhaps’ with ‘badly’ as the indicator and the fodder to be removed (to take off) was ‘hard’ with the indicator as ‘strangely’. That’s what happens when you go waaayy toooo lateral. :cool:

    Anyway, thanks to our Tuesday Mr Ron and to Mr K for his review.

  16. A strange mixed bag of clues today making for a slightly underwhelming solve. I won’t list the ones I thought were a tad unimaginative – 16d is the exception.
    Thanks to Mr K & Mr Ron.

  17. This one seems to have garnered rather mixed opinions – I rather enjoyed it.
    Like Mr. K – I worried about the potential for the 5d garments. That will teach me to pay attention to the stated enumeration! I also gave myself a hard time with 16d by wondering whether ‘seered’ actually could mean ‘grow furious’. How dim was that!!!

    1a & 1d both appealed – my favourite is a dead-heat between 10&29a.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for all his hard work. Loved the cloud and the cartoons, willing to overlook the noise at 18d and think we should get one of those 5ds for BD.

    1. Jane, I just noticed your categorization of Mr Costello as “noise”. I’m sorry that you didn’t like it. To make up for that, at the next opportunity perhaps I’ll use a song that Kitty told me you couldn’t stop talking about a few weeks ago.

  18. Nice and straightforward, no problem at all, really enjoyable!

    I was at the West Ham v Man U game last night – the Ref spoilt the game with some ridiculous decisions but the overall result was fair enough. The sooner they bring in video technology the better.

    1. As a Man U fan I absolutely agree about video challenge for sending someone off.
      It spoiled the game The refs have an unenviable task and simply cannot be expected to make instantanious decisions that consistently withstand video replay secrutiny
      Hoofit will probably disagree but so early in the game there should be certainty by the referee the decision is correct so he & the 4th official should run a video check. It is simple
      Agree about the crossword too.

      1. It works pretty well in rugby – though it does take up time. The best refs – and you can hear them on the ref-mike – ask the 4th official to check whilst letting the game play and only bring it back if the 4th official agrees, normally at the next break in play.

        Sometimes commentators observe that refs can be over cautious and the availability of video leads to them abdicating responsibility for making their own decisions.

        Of course – and you may disagree as a fan of the round ball game – but we do have an advantage in rugby in that the culture has always emphasised that the referee’s decisions are not to be disputed. Except occasionally by the team captain. I have never been able to understand the acceptance of – sometimes extremely pronounced – disagreement with the ref in football.

        1. I have been a fan of soccer & rugby league (not a swear word anymore) for as long as I can remember. I have observed the divergence of attitudes to referees grow over the years. (League was as strict on referee respect as Union). Soccer tries to retrieve the situation with “respect” iniatives every couple of years, that slowly deteriorate as the season progresses.
          The number of players now in the referees ear in rugby is increasing as are the number of players pointing out offences to officials. This is how things started with soccer.
          The instances of “cop out” referrals is I feel on the increase too.As the commercial pressure increases so the idea portable of reaching the correct decision increases. Witness Scotland in the semi-final at the Millenium.

    2. Enjoyable solve today couple of favorites. 18d and 30a.
      Agree with comments about the football. The game was spoilt by the early sending off which was a poor decision by the referee. Also the second Man U goal was plainly offside. The FA stalled for years on goal line technology saying it would slow down the game which it hasn’t. I think we need a video referee as per Rugby.

  19. I think I probably enjoyed this one more than most of you from the sound of the comments.
    It took me longer than it should have done as I was doing other stuff at the same time.
    I completely missed the ‘grow angry’ bit of 16a which was dim.
    I liked 10, 13 and 15a and 1d. My favourite was 29a and there are no prizes for guessing what I’m singing all the time today.
    With thanks to Mr Ron, whoever he may be, and to Mr Kitty.

  20. I liked this too, Kath, but I did get held up with some “whys”, and I couldn’t see why seered meant angry. Put it down to busy past few days as Godson’s sister has been staying with me on her way to Jamaica.
    I quite liked 1d and 11d, but fave was 29a.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for the entertainment.

    1. P.S. Here’s a song from Godson’s sister Jo. She’s from Scotland so many of her songs refer to that.

  21. **/***. Started slowly but once I got on the right wavelength it fell into place very quickly. Liked 18&25d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review.

  22. “Solid” is a very fair description I think, Mr. Kitty. Mostly a set of good clues, but with a few that were a tad disappointing, such as 22a for instance.

    I suspected that others would also remark on the duplicated device used in 9a and 7d, what was wrong with making one of them “just the opposite” I wonder? My repetition radar bleeped additionally at the use of “after” as a positional indicator in both 4d and 20d.

    I gave ticks to 29a (lovely visual image), 1d (undoubtedly the first of many in similar vein during the year), 7d and 16d. I hope Shropshirelad has by now recovered his composure after seeing his least favourite Scottish politician right at the centre of the 2016 Word Cloud. It may not be mere coincidence that, given her predilection for soundbites, she is bordered by “oral snap” ;-)

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr. K.

    1. Hi Silvanus. You’re so right about the Trumpish clues we’ve already seen as well as those that no doubt lie in store. I’m only mentioning another publication here as it’s pertinent to your point but I suspect setters will have to go some way to beat Paul’s beauty in a recent Guardian puzzle: Tycoon requiring a wig, lacking leadership: a word of caution about this arse (6,5). Almost &littish and I laughed til I cried.

    2. Well noticed Silvanus – it was the first word that ‘shrieked’ at me when I glanced at Mr K’s ‘cloud’. :(

      1. It might be some consolation to know that it’s unlikely that sturgeon will reappear in the 2017 word cloud.

        Every year there are about 80 words that repeat four or more times on the back page. But the three lists of those answers covering 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively have only two words in common.

        It’s all random.

        1. Not a political statement Mr K but the word ‘sturgeon’ may not appear as regularly in crosswords this year – but I bet the ‘woman’ appears just as regularly, if not more. I despair.

          On a similar vein, I must congratulate you on your choice of visual clue for 12a – good old Betty. I was really hoping the ‘poison dwarf’ wouldn’t appear – and for that, I thank you :)

          1. Re 12a, you’re welcome, SL. I enjoyed watching Betty in action again.

            I suspect that in 2017 clues like 1d may present an exception to the randomness rule. I wouldn’t mind if they were now simply declared chestnuts and retired.

          2. Well said SL, Mr K’s choice had my approval too. Although dwarves may well object having associated the little B associated with them.

            George Thomas (with whom I shared a barber) will be turning in his grave at the man’s posturings I’m sure.

    3. I wonder if the other coincidence is, reading top to bottom we have:

      Trivial garbage; glamour parlance stream. Sturgeon – indeterminate iota. Arrange theatre assessment.

  23. 29a and 18d were my favourites – I was pleased to see these had my favourite illustrations too.

    Many thanks Mr Kitty & setter

  24. It all went together smoothly for us with enough smiles along the way to keep us happy.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  25. Quite a pleasing solve, just short of 2* time (so call it 1*/3*). I enjoyed 18d, and thought 30a one of the neatest anagrams I’ve come across for a long time. Thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  26. Fairly straight forward with no real hiccups. 29a was my favourite once I had got over momentarily trying to make SOW and R into something…anything!
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Mr K for all his input.

  27. I liked your meaningless picture Mr Kitty. On the contrary, it was quite meaningful. Perhaps you can turn it into a poster. Thank you for the review. I found this puzzle easier than yesterday, but still needed to check a couple of answers.I think that 17a was my favourite. Thank you setter for today’s offering.

  28. I really enjoyed this, and loved that there were slightly more clues I could manage before needing the extra help. I also enjoyed the comic strips.

    Thank you, Mr Kitty, and thank you, Mr Setter.

  29. The NW corner I found quite tough, I just couldn’t get a toe-hold there. So * for difficulty for the rest, *** overall.

  30. Not in the best frame of mind having spent all morning jumping through hoops to get a specialist referral, so found today’s puzzle *** for me. Couldn’t fathom 9a at all, and tried to make a great savage out of 14d anagram. 11d was easier as we often have to chase one of these out of the back garden. He is obsessed with taking our small fountain apart and distributing it all over the place.

  31. Have just returned from fabulous few days in Cornwall seeing the New Year in with much merriment and over-indulgence! Today’s Cryptic offering was perfect material with which to while away the hours on the train journey (surprisingly uneventful) back to Sussex. I made a slow start but soon all began to slot into place and I did get there in the end “by my own self”. Thank you Messrs. Ron and Kitty. IMHO none really qualifies as a Fav. ***/**. I belatedly wish all at Big Dave’s Good Fortune and Much Happiness in 2017.

  32. Thanks all, needed a couple of hints to stagger over the line as my brain was totally addled by a combination of work and Southern trains. Did most of this in the waiting room at Purley station.
    Fav was 15d…

  33. Thanks to Messers Ron and Kitty for the puzzle and review respectively. I found this very difficult. Needed the hints for 1,10,30a and 4d. Was 4*/3* for me. Favourite was 29a.

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