DT 28323 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28323


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28323

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs where there’s a dusting of overnight snow, but nothing to cause any great problems.

As usual, Giovanni requires us to have a certain amount of general knowledge to solve today’s puzzle, and there are some less common words. But overall, this didn’t give me any great difficulty. 6d took the longest to parse.

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. 


1a           Ill-feeling heard to reach the highest level (4)
PEAK – This sounds like (heard) a five-letter word for ill-feeling, but refers to reaching the highest level of performance or of a mountain.

3a           Scamp, I soon reform to engender pity (10)
COMPASSION – Anagram (reform) of SCAMP I SOON.

9a           Dad not right in the head (4)
PATE – Start with the Latin word for father, then remove the R (not right).

10a         Artist keeping maximum speed comes to land aircraft (10)
MICROLIGHT – A Spanish (Catalan?) artist wrapped around the letter which is used to denote the fastest possible speed, followed by a word for ‘to land’.

Image result for miro  Image result for microlight

11a         Sound of American soldier in pub (7)
LOGICAL – The usual American soldier placed inside another word for a pub.

13a         What cricket captain may do, say (7)
DECLARE – Double definition, the first being the act of bringing an innings to an early conclusion.

14a         Use sedan maybe to convey someone who is in charge of assembly? (11)
CHAIRPERSON – Split (5,6) this would be the act of transporting someone in a sedan or litter.

18a         Disaster when jazz fan leads a Greek song (11)
CATASTROPHE – A slang term for a jazz fan – possibly 1950s vintage? – followed by A (from the clue) and part of a Greek chorus.

21a         Seller initially taken in by customer, a joker (7)
PUNSTER – A (bookmaker’s) customer wrapped around the first letter of Seller.

22a         My friend, former runner? (3,4)
OLD BEAN – A Bertie Woosterish expression meaning ‘my friend’, which could also describe something which was a scarlet runner in the vegetable patch.

23a         Electronic device for fortune-teller? (4,6)
CARD READER – Double definition, the second being someone who may use the tarot to tell your fortune.

Image result for card reader

24a         Part of another expensive present (4)
HERE – Hidden in the clue.

25a         Girl brought to head after Religious Education for negligence (10)
REMISSNESS – Put together the initials of Religious Education, a term for a young woman, and a geographical headland.

26a         Second-rate idiot as a singer (4)
BASS – A second-rate mark, perhaps on a school paper, followed by an idiot.

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d           The old man of the upper class to reprimand common people (8)
POPULACE – Put together another informal term like ‘the old man’, the letter denoting upper-class activity, and a word for reprimand or tear into.

2d           West Indian not favouring endless natural fertiliser (8)
ANTIGUAN – Start with a word for ‘not favouring’ add the natural fertiliser produced by seabirds, remove its final letter (endless), and you get a compatriot of Sir Vivian Richards.

Image result for viv richards

4d           College educator, i.e. lecturer, putting lots off (5)
ORIEL – This Oxford college is hidden in the clue.

Image result for oriel college

5d           Mickey-takers offering censure upset poets (9)
PARODISTS – Reverse (upset) a three-letter word for ‘censure’ popular with tabloid headline writers, then add some poets – strictly those writing a particular form of poetry.

6d           What you see in Gregory, being inconsiderate of others (4-7)
SELF-CENTRED – This is one of Giovanni’s Dingbat clues, where you have to ‘say what you see’. What do you see in GrEGOry? Where is it in the word?

7d           Surrounded by equipment and ready to go? (2,4)
IN GEAR – This describes a car which is ready to move off, or someone among a pile of kit.

8d           Catch the female going down under (6)
NETHER – ‘Catch’, as a fisherman might, followed by a pronoun for ‘the female’.

12d         Distorted images at circus are funny (11)
CARICATURES – Anagram (funny) of AT CIRCUS ARE.

15d         Come on stage — short spot — to bring delight (9)
ENTERTAIN – The stage direction to come on, followed by a spot or mark with a letter removed. There are two words which would fit the bill, one where the first letter needs to go, one where the last is removed. I assume that ‘short’ in the clue means we should be going for the second option, but I think the former is valid.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d         See them heading off in record time — they won’t last long (8)
EPHEMERA – Remove the first letter (heading off) from (t)HEM, and put the result between a type of vinyl recording and a period of time.

17d         Way in which you see revolutionary left-winger rambles (8)
MEANDERS – Reverse (revolutionary) the colour word used to describe left-wingers, and put it inside a word for way or method.

Image result for meanders

19d         Astronaut in secure capsule ascending (6)
SPACER – Hidden in reverse (ascending) in the clue.

20d         Worker on edge somewhere in NI (6)
ANTRIM – One of the usual worker insects followed by the edge of a cup or pot.

22d         ‘angs around for at least a dozen deliveries (5)
OVERS – These deliveries are on the cricket field, and come in batches of six. If there are at least a dozen we know we are looking at a plural word, and it could also means ‘angs around.

The Quick Crossword pun GRATE + KNEES = GREAT NIECE

98 comments on “DT 28323

  1. 2*/2*. I found this a rather workmanlike puzzle – OK, but not a lot of sparkle. 6d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, whose idea of the most famous 2d is clearly the same as mine!

  2. 2*/3*. No problems with this Giovanni offering. I really liked 10 across, having seen something of the artist’s work in Barcelona. 6 down was very clever, and took some parsing even though the answer was obvious.

    Thanks to The Don and DT. I agree it is hard to look beyond Sir Vivian as the greatest all rounder in WI cricket, with apologies to Sir Garfield Sobers.

        1. Sir Viv was of course a great batsman, but the greatest all-rounder? He was at best an occasional bowler, with only 32 wickets in his 121 tests, at an average of over 60. Sir Garfield took 235 wickets in his 93 tests, averaging 34. He was equally adept at bowling fast-medium or slow left arm, a rare talent. No contest, I think.

          1. If you’re sticking to the island in question today, doesn’t Curtly Ambrose deserve a mention?

            1. Jane, I think your comments today have removed your right to object to any future cricket-related clues! ;-)

              1. I knew someone would say that! I recognise a lot of the names – it’s just the wretched game I have a problem with……….

    1. Leary Constantine possibly the greatest ever WI cricketer. The 3 W’s, Wes Hall, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney & Curtly and ors all on a par IMO.

      Pity they don’t produce cricketers of that calibre any more, rather they play basketball etc. cricket is a lot worse off without a strong WI team

      1. The players you have listed were certainly great, but Sobers (as the pre-eminent all-rounder of all time) and Richards (the pre-eminent batsman of his generation) were the best in my opinion.

        Brian Lara shouldn’t be forgotten either.

        1. Needless to say, I concur. Sobers is as far ahead in the global all-rounders’ ratings as Bradman is as a batsman.

  3. I sometimes struggle with Giovanni’s offerings. I didn’t know the artist in 10a nor the song in 18a, and I have never heard 19d used to mean an astronaut. ***/** for me today.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  4. The hardest puzzle of the week for me, although I did finish without any help. I know 10a is an aircraft but the rest of the clue is still baffling to me even with DT’s explanation. 6d was a case of just filling in the missing letters, I would never have managed to work it out from the clue. 3.5/3 Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his contribution.

    1. 10a. The artist is Miro, wrapped around C (the speed of light, hence highest possible speed). To light upon something is to land on it.

      1. Thanks DT got the light part but ive never heard of Miro or C for the speed of light. Something for me to remember for future puzzles.

        1. E = MC^2, possibly the most famous equation of modern(ish) times. Kinetic energy = mass X the speed of light squared.

  5. Thanks to Giovanni (who seems to have mellowed and cut down on the obscure religious terms recently) for the puzzle and to DT for his usual excellent explanations.
    I thought that the quickie pun related to a distant female relative but I can see that the alternative also works.

    1. Thanks, Gazza, I think you’re right about the pun. I wasn’t very happy with what I’d put, but couldn’t see an alternative.

  6. A walk in the park without a lot of fun apart from a smile at 22a but a compensation was the smattering of GK which is always appreciated – 👍. 2d fertiliser new one on me. Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  7. Plenty of gently amusing clues. Thought the answer to 25a seemed a bit ‘clunky’, but perfectly fair. Needed the blog to fully justify 10a. Thanks to DT and DG.

  8. I thought that some of the clues were quite tricky and a ***/*** for me ,last in 22a which seemed to take ages and a large d-oh when I saw the light.
    Have to admit that I failed to parse 6d, although the solution was obvious given the available letters-thanks DT-and some brilliant pics too- nice to see Viv in his pomp! and the Miro -one of my favourite surrealists- 10a probably my favourite clue..

  9. I quite enjoyed this one – rather more humour than usual from DG.
    Did have to check on the artist and the Greek song and haven’t heard of that term for an astronaut before today.
    17d was my last one in – read it entirely the wrong way!
    16d seems to have become flavour of the month.

    Podium places going to 13,22&23a along with 6d.

    Many thanks to DG and to DT for the blog – nice to see ‘the boys’ entertaining again.

    PS Think I find Gazza’s interpretation of the Quickie pun rather more likely.

  10. ***/**** for me. A very enjoyable puzzle ompleted with the assistance of a cheeky little cabernet, some head scratching, and a little electronic assistance. My list of candidates for favourite is 9 clues long, so it is too difficult to declare a winner.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    PS – Minus 32 degrees C (minus 43 degrees C with wind chill in Winnipeg this morning, warming up to minus 19 degrees this afternoon).

  11. Must be getting better this was almost an R&W struggled with 8d then as others have said the Doh moment happened.
    Favourite clues 28a and 12d.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and the Don

  12. Spook – Do you mean 26a as one of your Favs? – sorry should have been under “Reply” to Comment 11.

  13. Possibly the easiest of the week 😳 */*** 19d, 25a & the second half of 18a were new to me but not needed to get the answer 😄 Favourites 1d & 23a Thanks to DT especially for explaining 10a and of course to Giovanni 🤗

  14. A gentle fill today. Those that could have put up a fight were let down by their checkers. Those were the aircraft and the egoist. I have learned this week that the first pilot to use a Martin Baker ejector seat landed near to the canal in Long Itchington (LI village limits) Nothing at all to do with crosswordland but of interest to me.

  15. An odd one this full of obvious clues and ones such as 6d and 10a which were very tricky. I would not have got the Gregory reference in a 1000 years! Good job the rest of the clue was easy.
    Thx to all.

  16. 17d put me in mind of my old Geography teacher, Mr Margetts. He was a teacher for whom the phrase ‘pedantic pedagog’ was invented – he wore a belted raincoat with the belt done up and talked with a nasal twang.

    The first half of the lesson was taken up with him talking about the subject in hand and then during the second half he would dictate the notes for us to take down. He had done the same lesson for years and he never wavered from his routine.

    Getting back to 17d, what sticks in my mind was what Mr Margetts said about a meandering river – ‘an example of a meandering river is the River Po – spelt P O’. I still remember that getting on for fifty years later so maybe his technique wasn’t as bad as we thought it was at the time.

    Another thing he did was make us queue in silence outside his classroom, and when the bell went at the end of the lesson, we would have to file out by rows, again in silence – there was never any rowdiness in his lessons!

    Very nice puzzle today, very enjoyable!

    1. Your Mr Margetts sounds remarkabky like several of the teachers I was unlucky enough to have crossed swords with. In particular a chemistry teacher who would apologise for his lessons being ‘mostly talk and chalk’ whilst hardly ever organising any experimental work for us to do…..lighting a bunsen was a major event.
      Mostly, his lessons began ‘Here we have the periodic table of the elements and today we will discuss’ ……at which point almost all of the class started their snooze.
      He was rather old. In fact someone worked out that he had started teaching chemistry before the discovery of the neutron.
      I did not do well in chemistry. Got a C and was lucky to get it. (Scottish Highers, not A levels. Grades were and still are A, B, C and fail.)

          1. I’ve just looked that up, Bluebird……have to agree with you, good job it wasn’t

          2. I used to play cricket against Maidenhead & Bray for the FUBAR trophy. The trophy was two cricket balls and a cricket bat handle arranged as you might imagine…

  17. Struggled top left and a few others. Got some without knowing why eg 6d & 18a as they fitted.
    Thanks to the blog for explaining the route to the answer👏
    Missed a few lurkers which always annoy me😕

  18. Thanks to Deep Threat for the parsings….could not unscramble my bung-ins.

    Afraid I am at a bit of a loss to understand what you mean about 15d, though. ???

    Thanks also to the setter.

    1. The first half is a stage direction: “Enter Hamlet, Ophelia and Laertes”, for example. The second half is a word for a spot which could, I thought, be either (s)TAIN or TAIN(t).

  19. Not too difficult today. I had them all in, but didn’t parse 6d. Looking at the hint gave me a chuckle, very clever. I did like that. Also must confess to not knowing the letter for speed of light in 10a.

    Missed the quickie pun, I had ness not niece !

    **/*** for me. Thanks to setter and to DT.

  20. I had no problems with this enjoyable crossword. I thought that 6d was clever. I’ve never tried the quickie. I usually find quick crosswords take too long.
    Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  21. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Very gentle fare today, with no obscurities, but a couple of unusual words in 21&25a. Had no problem with the speed of light, but had never heard of miro, solved 10a from the checkers. Favourite was 18a, had heard of a strophe. Last in was 24a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  22. Good afternoon everybody.

    Mostly straightforward but ultimately foxed by 17d and 22a. Couldn’t see why for 10a and 6d. 14a was probably favourite.


  23. I thought this yet another of the surprisingly enjoyable Friday puzzles that we have been served up of late, I hope I’m not speaking too soon in hoping this style has now firmly become the new norm.

    I picked out three clues for special praise, 2d, 6d and 16d. Unconvinced by the old-fashioned sounding answer to 19d being a synonym for “astronaut”, and surprised it’s attracted little comment, Jane apart that is. it’s not even listed in the Small Red Book as a synonym.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat, and a good weekend to all as the brief cold snap begins to abate.

    1. I was going to comment about 19d, but, before doing so, I checked my BRB and it is, somewhat surprisingly, there ascribed to science fiction.

      1. Thanks, RD, to describe Dan Dare, perhaps?! It sounds like the sort of term prevalent in the 1940s or 1950s….

        I’ve decided to treat myself to the latest BRB, as my old abbreviated version is fast becoming very dog-eared, and, as this particular answer proves, obsolete!

  24. I found this difficult in parts. Firstly, I didn’t know the speed of light, so 10a was a bung in as I could see the artist so felt it had to be correct, 5d was my second bung in and 6d my third.
    Lots to like; 18a deserves mention, as does 22a, but fave, now that I’ve seen DT’s hints, is the clever 6d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for helping me to see the light.

    Folks, it’s worth a look at yesterday’s blog to read Brian’s comment.

    1. Thanks, Merusa – I’d have hated to miss that one.
      Think it needs printing out and saving for posterity!

    2. Yes, thanks indeed for mentioning it, Merusa.

      Having read it, I’ve just uttered Victor Meldrew’s famous catchphrase and checked my calendar to confirm it’s not 1 April!

  25. Lots to like in this Giovanni offering. 10a is clever, and it has the physics correct. I enjoyed the struggle to parse the very original 6d, and I admired the smooth construction of 16d. Before the penny dropped, I fell into the trap laid in 17d of thinking that “Way in which you see” must be the definition. I wasn’t sure about 19d as an answer but it is indeed right there in the BRB, and 22d was another impressive clue. But top spot today has to go to the part-feline 18a, where fortunately I remembered the Greek song from DT 28233 last September and from an illustration in a Kitty Toughie blog a month before that ( http://bigdave44.com/2016/08/02/toughie-1648/ )

    Thanks to Giovanni for a fun solving experience, and to DT for an entertaining blog.

      1. Jane, you’re too modest. You can recall the names of all those strapping Caribbean sportsmen that I have long since forgotten.

        1. My aged godfather lived with us for a while and was always glued to either tennis or cricket on the TV. There was only one TV in the house so that’s how I picked up what bit of knowledge I have of cricketers.

  26. I suffer from triskaidekaphobia especially on Fridays.

    However, 13a – My favourite today!

  27. I enjoyed this an average amount. “An average amount” is still quite a lot when it comes to crosswords (something to do with why I do them).

    Though I can’t recall having previously encountered the 10a artist, my problems were crickety. They really shouldn’t have been, but I was slow to see 22d – and worse, I completely forgot 13a even though I’ve met him before. Bunged in “dictate” instead. :oops:

    Ah, yes – 19d is from sci-fi. Thanks Gazza! I can lower my eyebrows.

    As did the other Kitty, I remembered the 18a Greek song from one of “my” Toughies. I shall, just for a while, reinstate the avatar that that inspired.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat. Have a great weekend everyone.

  28. Have we moved into a parallel universe?

    Jane is an expert on cricketers from the West Indies.
    Brian has enjoyed a Ray T puzzle.
    Friday’s puzzles are light and enjoyable.

    What is going on? …

    1. Jane is also lucky enough to have been on holiday to 2d and Brian’s head is probably battered from the house move.
      Worry not, RD – normal service on those fronts will be resumed shortly.
      As for Giovanni – I couldn’t possibly comment, but let’s hope it continues!

  29. Right on wavelength today.
    The artist in 10a is also one of my favourites and we are lucky to live not far from the Fondation Maeght where we can admire a lot of his work.
    Last one in was 5d as I thought the def was.poets.
    Favourite 6d and favourite hint 22a and d.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  30. Enjoyable, but needed BD to understand a few of the bung-ins 5d, 6d, 10a.
    Still do not know the sounds-like in 1a.
    Favourite is the 4d lurker from the other place….
    Good debate on best ever Antiguan/WI – has to be Sir Viv, first ever match – Viv and Beefy playing at Trent Bridge circa ’76.

  31. Defeated by the NE corner.
    10a – Who is the artist and what is the letter that means the fastest possible speed?? Not come across that before.
    Without that, I was pretty much stuffed in the NE corner.
    The rest of it was fine.
    Thanks to the Don and DT…

    1. HIYD

      re iPads and crosswords and helplines.

      Thank you. The helpline was indeed very helpful and I can now use the puzzles app fully on my iPad.

  32. We really enjoyed 6d for the penny-drop moment it gave us. That was the last bit for us to sort out. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  33. We’re in the pub celebrating the end of the week. We did the Toughie first and that as a warm-up plus some excellent beer and just the right amount of it freed up the brain. We hammered this one (can’t say the same for the Toughie) – R &W throughout. 1*/3*.

    Thought 6d and 19a were excellent.

    Thanks DT and the setter.

  34. I really enjoyed this, not least because it’s the first one I’ve ever(!) been been able to complete without the extra help. Although I still needed to consult the clues to work out a few elements of why the answer was the answer, such as c for the speed of light.

    Thanks to Giovanni (I love the general knowledge element) and to Deep Threat.

  35. 6d was the standout clue in today’s offering. A little on the gentle side I thought.
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  36. Many thanks for all feedback. The clue containing MIRO shows exactly why a setter cannot ever win with all solvers. I have been to an exhibition of this artist’s work and have long known about him — and someone else here evidently enjoyed meeting him again. On the other hand, there were some here who had never heard of him — this can be a chance to learn something new or a source of irritation, much depending on the temperament of the solver. That said, this was a good and fair way to clue an awkward word (MICROLIGHT) that doesn’t fracture easily. Avoid those tricky words and avoid the remotest chance of a word someone hasn’t heard of and you could finish up with hundrreds of dull words with recycled clues in very dull puzzles. At the risk of brickbats about ‘obscurities’, that is something I will always try to avoid. Happy new year!

    1. I didn’t know Miro, but no complaints from me, a gap in my knowledge filled, albeit probably temporary…it’s an age thing!!
      Thanks for the puzzle…

    2. Thanks for dropping by, and Happy New Year to you.

      I agree with the sentiment in your post. In a blog intro a few weeks ago I outlined a back of the envelope estimate which showed that common words have on average already been clued over a hundred times. So it’s clear that creating brand new clues is often going to require using an “obscure” word somewhere. And obscurity is all relative anyway. Today I would have been heading to the dictionary to parse 18a if I hadn’t previously learned the Greek song in your DT 28233 a few months ago. With that knowledge in hand the clue was solved in a few seconds. Nothing obscure there now.

    3. I don’t mind obscure words and artists I’ve never heard of as long as the clue gives me a chance which all yours did. Thanks very much for an enjoyable puzzle Mr Giovanni!

    4. No complaints from me, Giovanni, but I do like that you’ve started to include a little more humour in your back-pagers. Even better, it’s nice to have you drop in from time to time – very much appreciated.

    5. Looking back through the blogs, as I sometimes do for smiles etc. (I often do the crossword but don’t have the time to do the blog justice) it’s much appreciated to hear the views of setters when they drop by. Btw.. thank you for so many good puzzles over the years.

  37. Well done Giovanni and thanks to Deep Threat.
    We used to own a dog called Miro named after
    the talented Spaniard himself.


  38. Managed to finish this one but there were several answers I didn’t understand so I’m grateful to Deep Threat for the explanations. I didn’t follow 6d at all but, having seen the parsing, I think it was a brilliant clue. I must make a note to look out for this type of clue in future!

    1. Sincerest apologies for confusing you on your DT28322 post33, you were concerned that Ray T would not be able to complete, N- E- I, naevi. This is why I gave another example Balinese day of silence ,NYEPI. Not being critical, just having a bit of fun, as some say. oj
      Ps fastest ever for a Fri, Speed of light.

      1. No need to apologise oj – I didn’t think you were being critical. I was just puzzled by your comment so thank you for the explanation. I reckon it won’t be long before a setter uses NYEPI, if they haven’t already

  39. Came to this a day late, for many reasons. Putting SOAR for 1a (sore) had me puzzling over 1d for a while.

  40. 1d …lace… ” to reprimand” NEVER HEARD OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviously did not stop me finishing the puzzle and “light” is a more obscure version of “alight” but I suppose it is what a “lighter” does, on the river Thames and elsewhere. To me a “spacer” is an engineering or other form of craft term, but I am open to other ideas, as it is obviously correct. 6d I got, the answer being obvious from one part of the clue but totally incomprehensible from the other part. I was thinking of Pope Gregory, Gregory Peck- neck in Cockney rhyming slang, even Gregory’s Girl, so I am obliged for the answer! Am I the only one to constantly make basic mistakes e,g, for 17d I could not get past thinking “Way” must be rd or st. To me both left-winger and revolutionary mean “red” so I got overkill there, fortunately once I had all the cross letters I could match it with “rambles” but it took you to put me right! I agree with Attila the Hun as for 1a I thought of “sick” as it means ill-feeling and also really good (highest level) in modern youthful parlance.

    Took a while but got there in the end!

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