DT 28320 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28320

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28320

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. One of our team of mystery Tuesday setters has given us another solid puzzle. After twelve full or partial anagrams helped establish a base, I chipped away at the rest of the clues and managed to fill the grid without too much head scratching. I thought that the surface readings this week were, with a few exceptions, all very smooth. While I’m not going to speculate on the setter’s identity, I note that the repetitions of words across clues that we’ve seen on a few recent Tuesdays are conspicuously absent today.

This week’s cruciverbal research plan was going to be answering Rabbit Dave’s recent comment asking for the maximum number of multiple definitions that have been packed into one clue. No problem, I thought. Just download the 2.5 million words in the Moby Thesaurus, use them to find all the synonyms of each answer over the years, and count how many of those words occur in its accompanying clue. That strategy turned out to be one big fail. The computer performing that search thinks that, for example, Knave covering king or queen — or ace, or ten … (4) CARD is a quintuple definition. The best way that I’ve found to answer RD’s question is just to search bigdave44.com for “quintuple definition” occurring in puzzle reviews. Which just goes to show that when it comes to solving crosswords and parsing clues, the human brain is much better than any computer. And a very good thing that is too.

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    Honouring BBC boss receives terrible reaction (10)
DECORATING: An anagram (terrible) of REACTION inside the abbreviation for the head of the BBC.

6a    Desire sorceress, not wife (4)
ITCH: A woman who casts spells minus the single-letter abbreviation for W(ife).

9a    Ancient tribe a danger for motorists going to North Island (5)
ICENI: A charade of a hazard found on the roads when the temperature plunges, and the abbreviations for N(orth) and I(sland). Queen Boudica famously led this tribe in an uprising against the Romans.

10a    Mouth passage from violent cartoon by a liberal (4,5)
ROOT CANAL: Two paths to the part of a tooth involved in a reputedly painful dental procedure. The first is a basic cryptic definition. The second is an anagram (violent) of CARTOON followed by the A from the clue and L(iberal).

12a    Clash with minister that’s manipulated restaurant awards (8,5)
MICHELIN STARS: An anagram (that’s manipulated) of CLASH MINISTER. A more reliable predictor of dining enjoyment might be the similar symbols awarded by Google reviewers. Jean-Luc’s restaurant is clearly an excellent place to eat.

14a    Senator briefly judges guards (8)
SENTRIES: The first three letters (briefly) of SENator followed by a verb synonym for judges.

15a    Vicar standing by before worship (6)
REVERE: Follow an abbreviation for a vicar with a poetic word for before.

17a    Catch nurse on break coming back (6)
ENTRAP: The usual abbreviation for a nurse followed by the reversal (coming back) of a word meaning break or separate.

19a    Extinguish prisoner’s cigarette when restraining posh females (5,3)
SNUFF OUT: The prison slang for tobacco contains (when restraining) the letter denoting posh or U(pper class) and two F(emale)s.

21a    Cop with rifle cases manoeuvring secretive fighters (7,6)
SPECIAL FORCES: An anagram (manoeuvring) of COP RIFLE CASES.

24a    Tolerate spoiled anise sauce (9)
BEARNAISE: A verb synonym of tolerate followed by an anagram (spoiled) of ANISE.

25a    Occupied? That is, occupied by students (2,3)
IN USE: The two letter abbreviation for “that is” contains (occupied by) the abbreviation for the N(ational) U(nion) of S(tudents).

26a    Like two (but not three) in a plane (4)
EVEN: A double definition. The first defines an adjective that describes two but not, for example, three. The second is a property of a flat surface.

27a    Money paid for somewhere to live? (10)
SETTLEMENT: Another double definition. The first refers to payment of an amount due.


1d    Physician vacated internship — wimp! (4)
DRIP: Link together one of the usual definitions for doctor and the outer letters (vacated) of InternshiP.

2d    Sailors love leaving newcomer on the rocks (7)
CREWMEN: An anagram (on the rocks) of NEWCoMER minus the letter that looks like a love score in tennis (love leaving).

3d    Being born again, Republican fashioned a nicer country (13)
REINCARNATION: Concatenate* the abbreviation for R(epublican), an anagram (fashioned) of A NICER, and a synonym for country.
*To link together as in a chain; To connect in a series.

4d    Understand journalist’s after traitor being held up and shot at (8)
TARGETED: The reversal (being held up, in a down clue) of a three-letter traitor, followed by (is after) a synonym for understand and the usual abbreviation for journalist or editor.

5d    I grumble over girl (5)
NAOMI: This girl’s name is the reversal (over, in a down clue) of the I from the clue and a verb meaning grumble or complain.

7d    Find fault in character’s weight (7)
TONNAGE: A verb synonym for “find fault” or “annoy continually” inside a noun describing the character or quality of, for example, a sound.

8d    Good Lord tells the drunk to support that chap (5,5)
HELL’S TEETH: An anagram (drunk) of TELLS THE underneath (to support, in a down clue) a pronoun for “that chap”.

11d    Vet office involved with sect saving money (4-9)
COST-EFFECTIVE: An anagram (involved) of VET OFFICE SECT.

13d    Alleged snobs mixed with elite (10)
OSTENSIBLE: An anagram (mixed) of SNOBS ELITE.

16d    Perhaps swimming off Isle of Wight is disrespectful (8)
INSOLENT: Split (2,6) the answer could describe your location if you were swimming between the Isle of Wight and the mainland.

18d    Adolescent upset agent employing two Europeans (7)
TEENAGE: An anagram (upset) of AGENT containing (employing) two copies of the abbreviation for E(uropean).

20d    Cover old bulb at either end with sulphur and salt (7)
OBSCURE: Combine the outer letters (at either end) of Old bulB, the chemical symbol for Sulphur, and a synonym for salt or preserve (meat, for example).

22d    One enters into new role as banker (5)
LOIRE: In Crosswordland banker can refer to a wet thing having banks. Insert the Roman numeral for one into an anagram (new) of ROLE to find this well-known French banker.

Thanks to today’s setter for a very smooth and most enjoyable crossword. I put ticks beside 10a, 19a, 25a, 26a, 7d, and 16d. Of those, the original and previously unseen 25a gets my vote as favourite. Which clues did you like best?



87 comments on “DT 28320

  1. A lovely puzzle despite a lot of anagrams. No real problems but I did need to think a bit, certainly not a R & W for me. 16d has to be one of my favourite clues ever. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  2. Can’t argue with the ratings offered on this one, fairly plain sailing with no hold ups. My favourite goes to 16D but only because I live in the area. Many thanks to the setter & Mr Kitty for the review.

  3. Hells teeth is a new one on me but I had to use it as my first effort, hells bells, didn’t work.

    1. From memory Terry in the likely Lads was always saying Hells Teeth, while Hells Bells is an AC/DC !.

  4. I’d rate this one as mild to average, but with good cluing and certainly an enjoyable solve. 24a is a new word for me, but fairly easy to parse (and then check in the dictionary) from the word play. 2*/3*.

  5. Nothing here to send the nags galloping off to the hills – what with a surplus of anagrams to provide lots of checking letters. However, there are a few very enjoyable clues that brought some lovely memories to mind – 24a for reminding me of ‘Berni Inns’ and 16d for my time spent serving in the Portsmouth area. But I will opt for 19a as my favourite of the day – Porridge and the late Peter Vaughan come to mind. On the down side – not too sure about 10a – both in the clue construct and the definition.

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

    1. I’m not sure I understand the phrasing of Mr Kitty’s explanation of 10a which seems to be suggesting a double definition? I took mouth passage as the (very iffy) definition and the rest as the wordplay. I agree with you that the definition is a stretch but I thought the rest of the construct was fair. I did actually wonder whether the setter might actually have misunderstood the phrase: for many years I thought it referred to the space in the gums into which teeth fit – and the definition would work better for that than for the surgical procedure.

      I like both illustrations for the dental solutions but I’m glad the illustration for 8d wasn’t used for 10a. Makes you wince!

      1. Mark – that was also my reading of 10a – find something in the rest of the clue that meets the (iffy) definition of the first two words.

      2. Yes, I read 10a as a normal cryptic clue with “Mouth passage” as a fairly plain definition, with the rest of the clue as cryptic wordplay involving an anagram. But I’m sure Mr K has thought deeply and possibly sought advice before writing. What do others think?

      3. When writing my comment, I hadn’t noticed Mr K’s interpretation of 10a. I don’t believe it to be a double definition as I took ‘mouth passage’ as the definition and the rest, an anagram of ‘cartoon’ followed by the ‘a’ and (l)iberal from the clue. I am willing to be shown the error of my ways :)

      4. It is not unknown for the bloggers to make an error. For me the clue is definition followed by wordplay. I can put my errors down to a lack of schooling. Not sure what excuses the rest of the team can use. It,ll be dementia for most of us sooner rather than later. Anyway it’s only a crossword puzzle.

      5. This is what happens when a noob writes the hints :) . By “definitions of” in the first sentence of my hint for 10a I meant “paths to”. Apologies for the loose language. I underlined “mouth passage” as well as the last five words because it seemed to me that phrase didn’t pass the test of the definition being interchangeable with the answer in a sentence: “The dentist is going to clean out my mouth passage”? And, I wondered, if we saw just “mouth passage” clueing the answer on a Monday, would there be complaints that it was only a plain definition?

        1. Just as a footnote to this thread, I’d like to further point out that the clue definition and the answer are both nounal, relating to a physical feature of the mouth, and not the dental procedure that has the same name.

        2. PS. Nobody is a “noob” (whatever one of those is). It’s just a bit of a slip, which happens to us all from time to time – I’ve been wrong plenty of times on here. I don’t use the H+Ts to help me solve, but I like to read them afterwards to make sure I’ve parsed everything correctly (and pretty often, I haven’t). So keep up the good, sterling work you do on here and thank you for it all.

            1. Yes, thanks for that – you are a noob, then. I had assumed it meant something more derogatory like a dweeb, dork or something. It just shows – you learn something new on here every day.

  6. Somewhat middle of the road as far as enjoyment is concerned due in some measure to over-anagramming. For God’s sake 8d expression baffled me but presumably Geordies will have no problem. Fav 19a with 16d running up. Thanks Mysteron and Mr. Kitty.

  7. For some reason I was totally convinced that 17a was outran…..why? I cannot think why now….so that totally put out 13d even though I had figured out it was an anagram….I’d like to blame my stinker of a cold, but I suspect that just natural stupidity is the culprit.

    Also totally failed to see 27a despite having all of the checkers. Got hung up on rent being in it somewhere….see what I mean about natural stupidity? Doh!

    Otherwise a very enjoyable solve .

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for his hints and review.

    1. Nothing naturally stupid about thinking that, OM. I spent ages trying to fit ‘rent’ in as well – and there were two places it could fit! I think the misdirection of the surface is very clever. To make matters worse, I was also playing with solutions somehow involving ‘tenement’

        1. Great minds…I spent half an hour trying to shoe-horn ‘rent’ in there either at the beginning or the end, then my good lady walked up to the laptop and said : “Oh, settlement”…grrrr

  8. */** for me. Completed comfortably before lights out last night; partly because of the high proportion of 12 anagram/partial anagrams out of 28 clues, which, for me, reduce the difficulty and the enjoyment.

    No stand-out favourites; although 14a and 27a came close.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  9. As per my confession to Ora Meringue, 27a resisted until the end and is my COTD for the misleading surface. I really like 16d but I do recall having seen that construct used for that solution before. I take Senf’s point about lots of anagrams but nearly the missed the (very) obvious indicator in 8d which, I think, works well. And finally, 20d – whilst a slightly ugly surface – is very clever.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K (whose willingness to undertake convoluted statistical analysis on our behalf, I can only admire)

  10. I thought about a 2.5*/ 4* today ,high enjoyment despite the plethora of anagrams-some were very good.
    Favourite ,and last in was 2d.
    Thanks Mr Kitty for the excellent pics, and just for fun sank a couple of battleships-like shooting a bolting clay pigeon ‘rabbit’ !

  11. Some enjoyable clues here, from my first one in (6a, poor wife), to the anise sauce (24a), the new role as banker (22d) and the restaurant awards that aren’t as good as google (12a).

    Many thanks setter and Mr Kitty – and yes, always worry about dentists with a sense of humour.

  12. Straightforward but enjoyable. As was said on Saturday, if a puzzle has “too many” similar types of clue (Saturday all the legos and this one for the number of anagrams) that, for me, is fine if the surface readings are good, as here, so increasing the overall enjoyment and providing the odd smile. */*** for me last night.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

    Harport, Hells Teeth is definitely a northern expression – although I do not know its derivative. Does anyone?

    1. Matthew Chapter 8 Verse 12, which speaks of people being cast into outer darkness (ie hell) where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

      1. Thanks also to the late Rev Ian Paisley joke – when delivering an apocryphal tale describing the End of Days to his fearful congregation from his pulpit (in a strong Belfast accent) it included:

        ‘Amongst the hellfire and brimstone there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth’.

        An elderly pensioner piped up that she had no teeth.

        Paisley thundered back “TEETH WILL BE PROVIDED!”. :)

  13. Much nicer than yesterday’s offering; all very fair. 16d was my favourite too.
    Pleased to get a Telegraph puzzle prize (fountain pen and notebook) in the post today from the Christmas day’s cryptic; I guess not many people had the chance to do it increasing my odds.
    Thanks all.

  14. Agree with Mr. K that this was a solid puzzle with plenty of anagrams to help us on our way.
    Don’t think I’ve seen 12a as an answer before – although doubtless Mr. K will tell me otherwise!
    I had a slightly different parsing for the first two letters of 20d – O(ver) plus either end of ‘bulb’.

    25a made me smile but I’ll give the top slots to 16d for my daughter’s sake (I understand that pro rata it’s the most expensive stretch of water to cross in Europe) and 24a because I love the stuff!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K – great cartoon at 10a and a nice reminder of a young Johnny Cash at 18d.

  15. Nice crossword **/**** 😳 Thanks to Mr K for the blog and to the setter 😀 Last in 8d &a favourites out of many nice clues were 16d closely followed by 22d 👌

  16. I thought this was going to be a case of R&W as I banged in about seven across clues on the trot. But then my sprint slowed to a trot and ended in a crawl. The plethora of anagrams helped me to finish in an average time eventually.

    **/** for me. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  17. I agree – a good crossword with lots of anagrams – not complaining as I like them.
    For no obvious reason 4d was my last answer.
    I liked 6 and 24a and 8d. My favourite was either 19a or 16d – probably 16d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty.
    Having trouble with the Toughie . . .

  18. I enjoyed this although the solve was interrupted so many times that I could not really get an overall feel for it. I didn’t notice the high number of anagrams whereas if I had solved it at one sitting there would have been grumbles. I did like 2d which was one of my last ones in. Thank you setter and thank you Mr Kitty although you have used that word again albeit with an asterisk and a definition today.

  19. A Big Day(ve) for me – finished without help – my first time as a newcomer (on the rocks). I can see from comments that it was straightforward – no matter – I am delighted. Thanks for the lovely website (which I have been using for a couple of weeks – not needed today – but the reason I’ve managed to finish one – really great method to learn the dark art).

  20. Not bad at all. Anagrams not overly concealed – good encouragement for a beginner like me. 8d was my favourite clue. Try as I might I couldn’t get 26a…..Doh!
    Loved Johnny Cash – not heard that in many a year.

  21. Good afternoon everybody.

    Mostly straightforward but 17a and 27a eluded me entirely so I’ll have to say four star difficulty. To make up for that I’ll have my usual whinge about 22d. Nobody has ever referred to a river as a banker. Please stop it.


    1. Rivers have been called bankers for as long as I can remember in crosswordland. I think it is here to stay mre.

    2. I agree with you, mre. Flower is ok because a river flows, but it certainly doesn’t bank. With luck the usage will die out.

  22. Short and sweet. 2*/3* and just to be different I will go for 12 across as my favourite. Thanks to the Tuesday setter and Mr K.

  23. I normally love anagrams, but twelve full or partial ones was certainly overdoing it, and the repeated splitting of the anagram fodder by “with” became somewhat tedious after it appeared four times.

    Overall though it was enjoyable to solve, and I gave ticks to 13d and 16d as my joint favourites.

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

  24. I found this very difficult. First, I didn’t know the “en” abbreviation for nurse, and secondly, I don’t think I’ve heard of 8d, so I missed that completely.
    My first thought for 12a was with “guide” for the second word, so it took me ages to get the second word and so write it in. I am feeling so dim today, it must be the cold weather. As Kath would say, oh dear.
    I did like 24a and fave was 16d.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for the enlightenment.

    1. My mum is an SRN, so spent ages trying to work that into the answer, in the end, just did a bung-in and got it right.
      EN is new for me too…

    2. EN = Enrolled Nurse SEN = State Enrolled Nurse SRN = State Registered Nurse. I think you get more letters the more you can do. Kath might or might not explain BM later.

    3. Just for the record SRN and SEN are no longer in existence. SRN (State Registered Nurse) is now RN (Registered Nurse) and SEN is now EN (Enrolled Nurse). Many years ago before, in their wisdom, the powers that be decided to make nursing a degree course – don’t even start me on that one – SRN was three years training and had higher entry requirements than SEN which was a two year course.
      I think that anyone can call us anything they like apart from ‘bedmakers’ which was an answer in a Friday crossword almost a year ago – and don’t start me on that one again either! Oh dear! :negative:

      1. After my recent admissions to hospital, I would cringe if anyone called a nurse a “bed maker”. The ones I had were caring, professional and just delightful. Don’t want to go back there, but if I have to, I hope I get the same!

  25. **/***. Enjoyable solve but needed Mr K’s explanation for my bung in at 7d, for which much thanks. Favourite was 16d. Thanks also to Mr Ron for the workout.

  26. A steady plod with no real problems – having said that, very few, if any R&W’s so all in all a good puzzle.
    8d the only guess today; 16d favourite followed by 27a & 19a. Nice smooth surfaces.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr K for the amusement.

  27. 16d was our last one in and favourite. The geography involved was not as obvious to us as to most solvers but by contrast the geography in 9a clue was much more familiar. We too had bells for the second word for 8d at first glance but soon corrected. Nice puzzle.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  28. Good fun, solved during the day to take the boredom out of working from home for the second day, due to the impasse that exists on Southern trains.
    Plenty of anagrams that were not difficult, mentioned in dispatches are 16,24,27,1,10 with top of the form, 16d, doubtless brought a yawn to some as I expect its an old chestnut, but new to me, and very clever.
    Many thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle and Mr.K for a great blog.
    Far more importantly, a big dump of snow scheduled for the Alps next week, just in time for my trip to Meribel. Hopefully both me and my liver will return to crosswordland in one piece in early February…

    1. Like you I encountered and appreciated 16d for the first time today. I just looked into my database and found that 16d is only a chestnut for those who have been solving here for at least seven years. The previous appearances of that construction on the back page are:

      Mon 13 Nov 06 DT25148 Popular channel to exude lack of respect (8)
      Fri 13 Mar 09 DT25875 Audacious between Southampton and IOW? (8)

      It has been seen more recently over on the other side:

      Tue 20 Apr 10 TOUGHIE 339 Abusive where one could be sailing (8)
      Thu 15 Dec 11 TOUGHIE 685 Slagging off Portsmouth? (8)
      Tue 11 Aug 15 TOUGHIE 1445 Lacking respect at sea? (8)

      1. 16d has made appearances in The Times as well as (I trust you Mr K) all of the above. I love clues like that. :smile:

        1. I haven’t collected the Times crosswords into a database yet, but I do have the Guardian. The clue has been seen there too:

          Fri 3 Sep 1999 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 21681 Fresh in part of the Channel? (8)
          Thu 4 Oct 2012 GUARDIAN CRYPTIC 25758 Sailors from Cowes may be audacious (8)
          Sat 28 Nov 2015 GUARDIAN PRIZE 26741 Audacious place to sail off Cowes (8)

          1. That’s astounding, Mr K!!
            Incredible how simple so many clues are when you know it’s the same answer to all; the constructions become crystal clear.
            Thanks for that.

            1. The interesting question that I don’t know the answer to is how many of those constructions were discovered independently. There are only so many ways to deconstruct a word, so I expect many of them are original creations rather than the recycling of a chestnut.

              1. They are all in essence the same clue, ie they all split the word 2,6 and refer to the same bit of water.
                No other mechanism is used in any of them. That’s the chestnut.

                Padding, not empty cheek. (8) – would be a different construct, for example.

                1. Sorry for being unclear. That answer has appeared quite a few times in the Telegraph and the Guardian. I posted only the occurrences that have the same (2,6) deconstruction as the clue above (which is what I meant by “clue construction”).

                  Other deconstructions/clue constructions/mechanisms used to clue that word on the back page include:

                  Thu 18 Nov 04 DT 24528 Rude books supporting part of Oxford (8)
                  Mon 24 Apr 06 DT 24974 At home and alone with good book that’s saucy (8)
                  Tue 10 Jun 08 DT 25639 Elton’s in broadcast getting abusive (8)
                  Sun 12 May 13 ST 2691 Fresh fish secured by pub ahead of time (8)
                  Sun 18 Sep 16 ST 2866 One isn’t perturbed about learner that’s cheeky (8)

                  My speculation was about how often that (2,6) deconstruction gets rediscovered independently by a setter, and how often it’s consciously used as a variation on something the setter has seen before. Since the latter could also be a variation on something the solver has seen before, I’m quite happy to encounter some cases of that kind of repetition in the back page puzzles. Evidence for editors and setters following that strategy is that it doesn’t happen as much in the Toughie (in spite of the particular example that I gave above).

  29. More like a * for difficulty, maybe * and a half. A good, solid, enjoyable puzzle, no complaints. I thought I was the only person still to be using the term 8d in this day and age. :-)

  30. I did not have a good time with this one today, either a wavelength thing, but most likely because I am preoccupied with getting the guest room sparkling clean before our friends from Derbyshire arrive tomorrow, after an overnight near JFK. Guest room is where our Tonkinese spends his nights and most of the day (until he decides it is time for us to sit down for a cuppa), making his furry presence known…

    Favorite was 10a, but shouldn’t definition for 18d be adolescence and not adolescent?

    1. I think 18d is OK because the answer is interchangeable with adolescent used as an adjective.

  31. Quirky in its way, but amusing. Call it 2*/3*. 8d was my favourite, but 10a just reminded me why I hate dentists (at least, since 1985). Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty.

  32. Thanks to Messers Ron and Kitty. Yes there were lots of anagrams. I still enjoyed it. Found it quite tricky. Got there in the end. 16d made me laugh. Last in was 27a. Favourite was 8d. Some nice surfaces. Was 3*/3* for me.

  33. Half done late last night. Rest done on early waking. 27a was my last one in. I too was hooked on Rent and the only other word which kept coming into my head for reasons peculiar to me was the French word hebergement despite it has the wrong number of letters. Only got in when running through the alphabet to see what would fit between the checkers. Thanks setter and Mr K for illuminating hints – not needed but well worth a read.

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