DT 28339 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28339

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28339

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
The beginning of February always means the start of a new school year in this part of the world. We have been particularly aware of it this year as four of our six grandchildren have started at new schools. One of them is starting her first year at High School in Wellington and the other three are all starting not just a new school but one in a new country. We plan to visit them later in the year.

Jay has come up with an enjoyable puzzle to entertain us again. We completed it with 2** time but there were some tricky clues in this one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Company progress should include medium range (7)
COMPASS : The abbreviation for company, then the one for medium and a word meaning progress, as one might with an exam.

9a     Continue being in favour of diplomacy when interrupted by king (8)
PROTRACT : A prefix meaning in favour of, then a synonym for diplomacy contains the regnal cypher.

10a     Warm layer for person not of the faith (7)
HEATHEN : Warm here is a verb, and the layer is an egg producer.

11a     Preference for swansong being split in two? (8)
PENCHANT : Split swansong 4,4 and we want a female version of the first word and a five letter direct synonym for the second.

12a     Go away with best Italian (4,2)
BEAT IT: Best is a verb meaning overcome, and then the abbreviation for Italian.

13a     Seafood platter? (4,6)
MAIN COURSE : A cryptic description of part of a meal that sounds like it originates from the ocean.

15a     Game politician gets seat (4)
RUMP : New Zealand’s national game and a member of parliament.

16a     Looking around the outskirts of Tintagel is surprising (9)
STARTLING : A word for looking or gazing intently includes the first and last letters of Tintagel.

21a     Country gent chasing love (4)
OMAN : A synonym for gent follows (chasing) the tennis score love.

22a     Make sense of reporting to base (10)
UNDERSTAND : A word meaning reporting to or subservient to and then a base or pedestal.

24a     Pale, but superficial cut by hospital (6)
SALLOW : Take a word meaning superficial and remove from it the abbreviation for hospital.

25a     Relevant information (8)
MATERIAL : Double definition. The first meaning is an adjective, the second a noun.

27a     Soft soap that may be used on the face? (7)
FLANNEL : Double definition. The first concerns unctuous behaviour.

28a     Laughs, seeing time left during tasks (8)
CHORTLES : The abbreviations for time and left are inside a word for routine domestic tasks.

29a     Views mineral deposit as a blight (7)
EYESORE : The synonym for views refers to the organs responsible, and then a three letter mineral deposit.


2d     Revealed work developing need to increase (6,2)
OPENED UP : The abbreviation for an artistic work, an anagram (developing) of NEED and then a short word meaning to increase or raise.

3d     Worst and best breaks a driver may get (3,5)
PIT STOPS : The answer when split 4,4 gives slang words for ‘the worst’ and ‘the best’.

4d     Charming encounters on air must be such treats (10)
SWEETMEATS : A word for charming or delightful and then a homophone (on air) of a synonym for encounters.

5d     Right time on road to Paris? (4)
TRUE : The abbreviation for time and the French word for a road.

6d     Wounds used up commanding officer’s plaster (6)
STUCCO : A word for wounds or gashes is reversed and then the abbreviation for a commanding officer.

7d     A sailor runs into church, showing evidence of cold (7)
CATARRH : ‘A’ from the clue, then a three letter word for a sailor and the abbreviation for runs are all inside the abbreviation for church.

8d     Complete support for good man’s struggle for words (7)
STUTTER : A word for complete or total is found underneath (supporting) a saint.

11d     War game is agony, and unlikely to include bishop (9)
PAINTBALL : Start with agony or severe discomfort, and then a word meaning unlikely, as an unbelievable story might be, includes the chess abbreviation for bishop.

14d     Peter Pan perhaps is a piece of cake (6,4)
CHILDS PLAY : How J. M. Barrie’s work could be described with reference to its target audience.

17d     Young birds shot with catapults (8)
GOSLINGS : A shot or turn and then another name for catapults.

18d     Doctor bears out destroyer of schemes (8)
SABOTEUR : An anagram (doctor) of BEARS OUT.

19d     Murmur and ridicule such a hill (7)
HUMMOCK : A murmur or constant low noise and then a word to ridicule or make fun of.

20d     Tide turns and no one is up — that’s the issue (7)
EDITION : Reverse the word ‘tide’, and then the Roman numeral one,  followed by ‘no’ reversed.

23d     Right pretentious, clutching one’s unusual find (6)
RARITY : The abbreviation for right and a word meaning pretentious, often accompanied by the same word with an ‘f’ in front of it, contains the Roman numeral one.

26d     Amazed to be united under America’s leader (4)
AWED : The first letter of America, then united by matrimony.

Plenty to choose from but our favourite today is 10a.

Quickie pun     hell    +    ocean     =     illusion   hair lotion
   Not totally convinced with this one. Any better ideas?
Thanks to those who pointed us in the right direction with this.

92 comments on “DT 28339

  1. 3*/4* for another top notch offering from our Wednesday setter. As the 2Ks say there were some tough bits to unravel but it was all great fun. I initially put in fish course for 13a and was going to say that I thought it was a poor clue, but (of course!) my answer was wrong and it turned out to be a very good clue!

    Once again picking a favourite from such a fine selection is not easy, but I’ll settle for 12a. 19d gets a special mention as it’s such a lovely word even though the surface is not one of Jay’s best.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. Me too, but I didn’t put it in until I had more letters. I thought it was too weak for Jay, and I was right. Like RD, I now think it’s so clever.

        1. Me too until the penny dropped 😀. Very enjoyable if a little more challenging for me than **. Really liked 9&11a amd 7d. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for the hints.

        2. Ditto – very clever clue. My favourite with 3d. Thanks to 2K’s for the explanations and also of course to the setter.

    1. I wonder if there were many solvers who did NOT slap ‘fish’ in there? A big old trap and we all fell for it!

    2. I wanted to put in ‘fish supper’. I now crave fish and chips and will have to put up with lentil soup, sadly. I am trying to convince myself it will be better for me in the end.

    3. Feel free to tell me to mind my own business RD, but as the author of these daily detailed critiques, have you never thought of doing a review? You must be half way there anyway most days.

      1. Toadson, thanks for the thought. I have been asked if I would like to become a reviewer but, even though I am semi-retired, I know I’d find it too time consuming I’m afraid. I’m very happy just to keep chipping in with my daily comments.

    4. Being a fairly new boy, some of the terms you use I don’t fully understand – in this case the use of the word “surface” (19d) which you criticised – I thought it was a very good clue !

      1. Hi Almo. There is some information about surfaces in Tuesday’s comments (see comment 26):

        DT 28338

        I agree with you though that 19d is a good clue in spite of its surface.

    1. What IS hair lotion anyway?
      Is it Bay Rum, which I remember my father using? Or is it Brylcreem left too long in the sun…..

    2. I didn’t fathom the Quickie pun but agree with you Leswood and Co. that hair lotion would have been a better alternative

  2. An enjoyable romp this morning with lots of good clues, I agree with the ratings offered & my favourite of the day goes to 13A but only by reason that I put fish for the first part, 10A was also on my list.Many thanks to the setter & to the 2 Kiwis for their usual excellent review.

  3. Very enjoyable puzzle today. Lots of good clues to keep the brain working. Favourite 13a, fish was my first choice too. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis for the blog.

  4. Unusually I am reporting in a bit earlier today, normally I wait until I get the thing completed (can take a while and several re-visits to the grid throughout the day) so there are two that I have not sussed yet 1a and 26d. Another fine crossword though and much enjoyed. Both 11s were great clues with 11d being my favourite. Now to get those waterproofs on (again) and let the dog give me some exercise.
    Thanks Jay and NZ contingent – for the de-code (which I am hoping not to need).

    1. Doh! now have 26d. Double Doh! – had to resort to 2k’s hints for 1a. Should’ve had that. Now I’m embarrassed. Not enough ‘latarality’.

  5. Almost home, reached Fargo (North Dakota) on schedule last night. So, with time zone changes, I did two puzzles in one day – Tuesday’s in the lounge at Heathrow and today’s on the flight to Fargo, with final few completed after I got to my hotel (because I needed some electronic assistance especially on 19d).

    I also started with ‘fish’ in 13a, but that was before the penny dropped on 4d.

    Joint favourites, the aforesaid 19d, and 28a – two words I have not seen for quite a while.

    Essential shopping today before I drive north (Balvenie or Dalwhinnie?).

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. I have another ‘cross border’ trip at the end of the month; so, one today and the other one then.

  6. Really enjoyed this puzzle, quite tricky but some great clues and real fun solving them. Too many good clues to have any favourites and more puzzles of this standard please. 4*/5* Many thanks to 2Kiwis and especially to Jay for setting such a wonderful puzzle.

  7. For some reason this completely foxed me, just couldn’t get a start.
    I picked out the longest number of letters for electronic help, still mystified.
    So for the first time I have abandoned it for later perusal, maybe a glass of Laphroaig in the evening will help.

  8. I solved 4D before 13A so didn’t fall into the fish trap. 17D made me wince, because one of the beautiful pair of breeding swans in my home town park was recently shot through the upper neck with a crossbow bolt that also damaged his eye socket. Fortunately he is recovering and the despicable person who did it has been caught. Anyway, I enjoyed the puzzle and my favorites today are 29A, 3D and 14D. Thanks Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. Prime candidate for population control. RD’s presumed targets should be removed altogether.

  9. Very enjoyable, nice cluing but quite straightforward today. 2*/4*. I was lucky with ‘fish’ solved 4d first and escaped the trap. I liked 1a, 13a 17d and 19d.

  10. Fell into the trap with 13a, but agree it was a clever clue. Wrote down ‘sees’ and ‘ore’ for 29a and thought it didn’t look right. Soon corrected. Lovely pic for 17d, and reminded me that spring is on its way. I look forward to the arrival of two ducks, George and Mildred, as I have done for the last eight years. They fly in for a few weeks every spring, and then disappear. Thank you for the review 2K’s, and thank you setter.

  11. Thought today’s puzzle was somewhat ‘left field ‘, either the solution went in straight away or the solve seemed to take longer than expected to unravel -no bad thing as I really enjoyed this crossword and am going for a 2.5 /4*.
    Loved the surface of 10A and 11D.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2 K’s.

  12. A very enjoyable Wednesday puzzle, with a few smiles along the way. I also went for ‘fish’ at first. Thanks to Jay and 2Ks.

  13. A lovely crossword.
    The only reason I didn’t put ‘fish’ for the first bit of 13a was that I already had 4d.
    With alternate letters in for 1a all I could see was ‘compost’ – oh dear – got there eventually.
    I was terribly slow to get the 6d ‘plaster’ and the 11d ‘war-game’ – no excuses really.
    I can’t spell 7d which made it tricky to untangle.
    Very few anagrams – I made it two.
    I liked 10 and 28a and 3 and 17d. My favourite was either 27a or 23d. 23d made me think of my sister who is very arty (and the K’s second bit too) but she’d flip if anyone, specially me, told her that she was pretentious.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

  14. 3.5*/3.5* here. Enjoyable but it took me rather longer than usual to finish, probably twice as long as yesterday’s toughie. In retrospect I couldn’t see anything which was unduly tough so perhaps I’m just having a slow brain day.

  15. 11a my favourite in this tricky in places Jay offering. 10a had me scratching my head for far too long, and 19d was my last one into the grid. A thoroughly enjoyable exercise worthy of a 2.5*/4* rating. Many thanks to the aforementioned and the 2Ks.

  16. Lovely crossword to chase away the Wednesday blues with lots of good clues – as you would expect from Jay. The one and only fly in the ointment might possibly be the answer for 1a – as it uses the same 5 letters seen in the clue. I have several ticks besides lots of clues but I will opt for 11a – very smart. I also loved seeing the answers for 19d & 28a – lovely words.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to the 2K’s for their review.

  17. Well, I did it without any extra help, but the fact that it’s in two different coloured inks tells its own story…. the first bit in bed and the second after an infusion of caffeine.

    I quite enjoyed it, though, especially 6 and 14d and 27a (favourite).
    Thanks to 2Ks anyway.

  18. Superb stuff from Jay, even if there seemed to be several old chestnuts peppering the grid. Lots to enjoy with plenty of humour, 11d produced the widest smile from this solver. I had the same slight reservation about 1a as SL. Having just one full anagram and one partial anagram is extremely rare.

    My ticked clues were 10a, 13a and 17d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and the 2Ks.

  19. Greetings from drizzly Derby (although the sun is trying to break through). I’m an infrequent contributor, but I’d like to thank the solvers and everyone else who comments, as I managed to complete today’s puzzle with no help at all. :-) It did take a while, and the aid of a flat white, but most satisfying. I had to check 15a answer as I’d not heard of the NZ game, but other than that all my own work.

      1. Not at all. I’d guessed the answer as I had the letters from the other clues, so your hint explained what the mystery first two letters were about

  20. Minor error – the heading should read 28339.

    Enjoyed the puzzle, but just could not see 11D. Some clever clues, such as 11A.

  21. Once I changed the fish course , it all fell into plaice . A super solve .Thanks to the 2K’s and Jay.

    1. Very good – reminds me of the “Fish with 11 letters, begins and ends with ‘W’ ?” conker.

  22. I totally agree about the enjoyment of this puzzle. I found it to be on the benign side, though being in the “fish” camp slowed things up somewhat.
    Last in was 11d, why? I dunno, it’s not that difficult.
    My fave was 12a, but many to like here; 11a, 28a, 17d, all lovely words.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2Kiwis, love your snapshots of NZ life.

  23. Nothing too demanding. I avoided the ‘fish/main’ by dint of having 4d solved. 11a was probably clue of the day for me. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2K’s for their revue.

  24. I never change a fish course especially a shellfish course. The usual excellence from Jay. 14d in The Toughie used to be a regular commenter. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  25. This wasn’t exactly 14d but it was a joy to do battle with it. NW corner presented the most resistance. Stupidly needed 2Ks’ help to parse 24a – d’oh. So many nicely demanding clues that I can’t pick a Fav. Thanks Jay and the 2Ks. 😐

  26. Didn’t even think of ‘fish’ (13a) – certainly not a phrase I’m familiar with.
    This was one of those ‘felt difficult at the time’ puzzles. Lots to like, 11a fave.
    Now I’ve got ‘trying to say ‘hair lotion’ with a Kiwi accent’ stuck in my head… :smile:
    Thanks to Jay and to 2K’s

  27. I had to put this puzzle aside for a bit and come back with a refreshed brain to get it filled in, but that extra challenge just increased the pleasure of completion.

    At 4d I needed to pause to recall the big and very important difference between sweetmeats and sweetbreads. Having 11d in place first allowed me to avoid the fish course. I didn’t know the range definition of 1a so that required a trip to the BRB for verification.

    So many nice clues today made it impossible to pick a favourite. Thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks.

  28. Very nice puzzle from Jay and – yes – I did go swimming round the fish pool for a while.
    Followed the instructions very carefully to get 7d – not a word I can ever spell with any confidence.
    24a was my last one in – got the wordplay somewhat A over T!

    Hard to choose a favourite but I had ticks alongside 10,11&27a plus3,14&20d. Special mention for 28a – lovely descriptive word.

    Thanks to Jay and our 2Ks – those grandchildren of yours are certainly growing up quickly!

    1. Yes they are growing up quickly and having lots of adventures. Ollie, who we did not mention in the intro, is currently half way through a student exchange visit to Thailand and having an amazing time.
      By the way. Did you ever sort out the Mister Ron identity yesterday?

  29. Good morning all.
    We spent ages saying the quickie pun over and over again and still missed it. Thanks for helping us.
    We are surprised at the number of people who went for fish in 13a. It never occurred to us but maybe we had checkers for the first word by then.
    The proof-reader is in for a severe talking to. Missing a D from a word last week and this time forgetting to change the number in the heading. Tut tut tut.
    Cheers. :bye:

  30. The only thing I remember about this crossword is that I didn’t make sense of 22a, failed on 27a and that we were asked to insert the same set of letters in 16a and 28a.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.

  31. Nice smile one from Jay today, keeping up our good run. 1*/3.5*.

    Enjoyed 11a, 24a, 28d but best was 14d.

    Not sure if we will even have time for solving in next few days. It’s my sister’s 60th on Friday. My brother-in-law has hired a huge house and the family is converging there tomorrow to surprise her. My job is to bring my 95 year old mother, and Mrs Sheffieldsy of course, which involves going from Sheffield, to Deepest North Wales and then down to the venue outside Leominster.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay.

  32. Thank you to everyone who answered my cry for help yesterday, I have now concocted my clue and sent it off to Dave. Love OA

  33. Went for ‘fish’ too till I solved 4d! My 10a was heretic to start with but I knew it was completely ‘farfelu’ – layer had to be ‘hen’ so it could not fit. Did not find it plain sailing but thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. Liked 11a – this turns up regularly, doesn’t it? 27a made me smile. This is a word that my French Maman knew – when she needed Mr Framboise to do some repair or odd jobs in her flat, she would go quite lyrical about the quality of his workmanship – we would then chant ‘flannel’ to her! 7d was very clever. Many thanks to 2Kiwis and to Jay. 2.5*/4*

  34. I’m afraid I was back to being rubbish with this one. Needed lots of electronic help and several hints. Sigh.

    We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but it will be Thursday, so I am not hopeful. Double sigh.

    But I will persevere.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis.

  35. Pleased to finish this in about ** time, while feeling tired and a little out of sorts. Some of the wordplay felt quite difficult, but I got lucky and spotted the definitions for those with a few checking letters. Tempted by FISH…. at 13ac, but luckily couldn’t think of anything likely to follow it.

  36. A lovely crossword, albeit tricky in places. Only half went in over breakfast, with more coming in at lunch. Did need help for some, thanks 2Kiwis. I bunged in 1a, and still not sure how it fits. 28a was easy as we just had it in the Quick version this week. I liked 27a, probably because they don’t call it that over here, it’s a “wash cloth”, but will forever be a flannel in our bathroom 😊

  37. Much trickier than yesterday, i needed a few hints.
    Good, challenging crossword though, thanks to Jay and 2xK’s.

  38. Enjoyable but tricky today. Interesting the variety of favourites today. Mine were 27a 29a 3d and many more. Great clueing. Also fell into the fish course trap. Thanks to all.

  39. I too fell into the fish trap at 13a, until I saw the light. I scored this at the top end of 1* for difficulty, and 3.5* for jollity. I enjoyed 11a and 24a; in fact, the former made me 28a (although I hadn’t actually solved that clue at the time). Many thanks to Jay, and to the 2Ks.

  40. I was slow in getting going on this one and when i did i wasn’t terribly inspired by some of the clues. It just felt a bit dreary to me – not nearly as enjoyable as the last few days offerings

  41. Well I found it 14d – which is a relief as the Australians are back from their summer holiday and broadcasting to their nation starts again in the morning and I have homework to do (good of them to give me as much as 24 hours’ notice) – and lots of clues to like, with 11a taking the chocolate Hobnob. Thanks to the Ks and Jay for not holding me up. 1*/3*

  42. We enjoyed that one. A fairly quick solve, but some entertaining clues, and worth 4* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis. Apropos of the latter, I was interested to see that one of your grandchildren is starting at a high school in Wellington. The son of some close friends of ours from Macclesfield teaches maths/science at such a school. His name is Philip Kendon. Is this a small world moment? :-)

    1. Hi Carmen. A quick search on Google and we found a Phil Kendon teaching science in Wellington. It is not the school that our grandkids are at but another one that is nearby, within easy walking distance actually. Guess it almost qualifies as a small world moment. Cheers.

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