DT 28343 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28343

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28343

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Yesterday I went Hacking in a party of twelve at The Derbyshire Trekking Centre. By a bizarre co-incidence my horse was named Rufus. (Quickly renamed Fireblade The Destroyer) and here we are on the left third from right of the picture.

Rufus the crossword setter (not the horse) has set another nice puzzle to ease us gently into the crosswording week. I found this quite easy once I spotted the right anagram fodder for 20ac.

The hints and tips below are written to help you find the answers to the clues and to understand how the clue works. The answer itself is hidden beneath the greyed out box that reads click here

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Saw, only to become a prisoner (6)
BEHELD: A neat double definition. The first being the past tense of a word meaning to have seen something awesome and often used biblically. The second definition needs to be Split 2,4

4a    Don’t weary everyone being boring (8)
TIRESOME: Split 4,4 this is how you would bore many in earshot but not all.

9a    Hidden talent for demolition (6)
LATENT: Anagram (for demolition) of TALENT

10a    Vertigo surprises (8)
STAGGERS: A double definition of which the second will be more obvious

12a    That man heads the Spanish list (4)
HEEL: Take a two letter word for that man and add the Spanish word for THE to make a verb meaning (of a boat or ship) lean over due to pressure of wind or an uneven load

13a    Beautiful girl one may ring, we hear (5)
BELLE: This word for a beautiful girl (pictured) sounds like something that goes ding dong.

14a    Winger who is easily outwitted (4)
GULL: This annoying seabird sounds like somebody easily duped

17a    Spiteful functionary, one with position on board (5,7)
PETTY OFFICER: A word meaning spiteful followed by a word meaning a functionary will lead to a man on board who ranks above the ordinary seaman but below the higher ranks. The man on board may misdirect you towards chess pieces.

20a    Creating pure liquid is improving (12)
RECUPERATING: Anagram (liquid) of CREATING PURE. Not as I thought at first, an anagram (improving) of pure liquid is

23a    Expert seen about new ailment (4)
ACNE: Place a word meaning expert around N for new.

24a    Order of letters in the dictionary (5)
EDICT: A hidden word or lurker. The answer is hidden away within the letters of the clue.

25a    Bit of light timber (4)
BEAM: A double definition and a Toughie setter.

28a    Criticism for decent chap leading strike (8)
BRICKBAT: Split 5,3. We have an all-round good chap ahead of a strike in cricket perhaps.

29a    Quit school subject and make one’s name as a writer (6)
RESIGN: To quit one’s job or position. Split 2,4 to get a school subject and a verb meaning write one’s name.

30a    Article seen in French newspaper — it’s refreshing (8)
LEMONADE: Take the name of France’s best selling newspaper and, insert the letter A.

31a    Country where you may see us in exotic sari (6)
RUSSIA: Anagram (exotic) of SARI is wrapped around the word US from the clue.


1d    They may call for you at an American hotel (8)
BELLHOPS: This is the American term for a lowly hotel employee who may carry your bags to your room for you and attend to minor needs such as calling for a taxi.

2d    Up to now, best-seller is followed by other novel (8)
HITHERTO: An anagram (novel) of OTHER follows a word meaning a best seller or chart topper

3d    Very small part for an actor, but it’s a job (4)
LINE: The smallest speaking part an actor might have or one’s type of work.

5d    News that the teacher would welcome in any form? (12)
INTELLIGENCE: The term applied to the collection of information of military or political value would please a schoolmaster if his pupils showed signs of it.

6d    Extremely nervous? (4)
EDGY: A double definition. I cannot think of any other help I can offer

7d    Speak freely and reveal what’s there (4,2)
OPEN UP: To freely reveal something orally or to take the cover off something to show the contents

8d    They play supporting roles in the studio (6)
EASELS: The stands artists place their drawings upon

11d    Settled after fresh start somewhere in N America (12)
NEWFOUNDLAND: Use a three letter word meaning fresh and a phrase (5,4) meaning settled.

15d    Neat residences (5)
BYRES: Neat hear is a word meaning cattle. Old hands at crosswords will groan and write in the answer. Newcomers may struggle.

16d    Don’t allow untidy beard (5)
DEBAR: An anagram (untidy) of BEARD.

18d    Symphonist, British, is turning up with English composer needing no introduction (8)
SIBELIUS: Reverse (turning up) the B from B(ritish) and the IS from the clue. Now add an English Composer minus his initial letter as in the instruction “needing no introduction”. Thanks to Big Dave for assistance in parsing this one.

19d    This can provide an image that includes love — for oneself? (8)
EGOMANIA: Anagram (this can provide) of AN IMAGE with the letter that looks like the love score in tennis included.

21d    Medical man imprisoned for harmless frolic (6)
GAMBOL: One of our regular abbreviations for a medical man is placed inside an old fashioned spelling of the word JAIL

22d    Not well employed? (6)
INFIRM: A double definition with the second needing the answer to be split 2,4 to make sense

26d    Not unlike a spill of ink (4)
AKIN: A from the clue is followed by an anagram (spill of) of INK

27d    List of items available for males thought socially acceptable (4)
MENU: The collective term for males is followed by the letter U meaning acceptable. Unacceptable is Non U.

A great weekend of Rugby. Bring on the next round.

The Quick Crossword pun: autumn+attic=dddd

93 comments on “DT 28343

  1. Completed this at a fast canter (apparently, an appropriate metaphor today), quite tricky for a Rufus or my brain was on a go slow – **/***

    For favourites, while I would normally consider the three long non-anagrams, 15d and 18d are joint winners. 15d for the use of ‘neat’ that we all know and love(?). 18d for the clue construction, even though it is quite long.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  2. Quite tricky for a Monday but very enjoyable. I got stuck on 18d and 29a, managed with the hint to get the answer for 18d, still not sure I like 29a very much. Favourites 14d and 2d. 3*/3* Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the hints.

  3. Like MP needed to sort out anagram fodder in 20a. My take was “Creating” as the fodderr. Very clever with 3 possible indicators so my COTD, joint with 4a. Lots to enjoy, if not overly taxing. Perfect for a Monday.
    Thanks to Rufus & MP. Presume the equine Rufus is 20a after yesterday.

  4. I did this before going to sleep, but perhaps should have remembered that I’m always woken well before my alarm on Mondays. :yawn:

    Lots to enjoy in this crossword. I can’t pick a single favourite, but I can choose one to illustrate: 30a (link).

    Thanks to Rufus for the quality entertainment and to the poorly-schooled boy for taking the time out of his full life to enrich empty minds. :)

  5. A very mild start to the week, as usual, but quite enjoyable. 14a was easy to guess with the checkers in but I didn’t know it meant that – so I’ve learned something new. 1.5*/2.5*.

      1. 14a is in the office Collins dictionary – both the bird and the archaic easily duped person

      2. Oops, sorry – I just couldn’t resist the slight variation on the old “gullible isn’t in the dictionary” …

        I am a Bad Kitty and will take myself off to bed with no supper forthwith.

            1. And that aw definitely isn’t the same meaning as the US aw in the clue for 24a in Toughie 1755 :-)

              1. From what I’ve seen in the two decades I’ve spent there, it’s exactly how “aw” is used in the US.

                1. They do use “aw, thanks” in the US that is true, but that aw (an interjection implying understanding/ appreciation) is not the same as the aw in that Toughie; there the aw is an interjection of surprise/frustration as in jeez or shucks – or as we would say fancy that or gosh. There is an obvious distinction between the two – which you and others seem to have missed.

                  1. Isn’t ‘Aw’ simply a colloquial bastardisation of ‘Oh’ or ‘Aah’; don’t think it has any deep and meaningful roots per se, nor a proper definition. Depends how you say it – ‘aw’ can also be sarcasm and any number of other things.
                    As my English teacher used to tell me: “The meaning of any word is it’s usage.”

                    1. Mr K and LR. I have fully explained/justified how aw = fancy and the inclusion of US in that particular clue (because EC questioned it). If you guys can come up with a better/different reason, then let’s hear it.

        1. D’oh!! Yes, I went and looked it up and wondered what you were on about… stupid boy.

  6. Liked this start to the week and on completion made a note of **/***, which is close to Miffypops – thanks for the pics and the Who cover, which I still have. Remember Sting as the ‘ bellboy ‘ -liked the film- my favourite track is 5.15 by the wayward genius Mr T.
    Last in was 18d which needed the checking letters, probably because the answer was unexpected on the back page puzzle.
    Liked 17d, my uncle was one and was awarded the DSM for helping to sink the Scharnhorst he was on a destroyer -there is a letter from the palace signed by the king.

      1. Thanks Kath I do,, my uncle was on HMS Scorpion- as well as the medal, there is a signed list of all the German survivors who were picked up.

  7. Oh – I thought this was very enjoyable but tricky – maybe it’s another ‘just me’ day – I seem to be having quite a lot of them at the moment.
    I also got into a muddle with 20a – wrong definition and wrong anagram fodder to start off with.
    18d was my last answer – I thought the ‘English composer’ was German. Oh dear.
    For no good reason I was slow with 1a and 1d.
    I liked 10 and 28a and 2 and 21d. My favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Looking up my solution to 16d in the quickie in the aforementioned office dictionary just to confirm my initial thoughts, I think you are alone in finding fault with the clue/soluiton

            1. ‘Tis proven – I am a pedant and will withdraw :(
              (I can still take the moral high ground when people write ‘ims’ as a plural though……)

    2. Chambers Thesaurus gives the following (in alphabetical order):

      “The nine orders of angels are: angel, archangel, 16d, domination/dominion, power, principality, seraph, throne, virtue”.

  8. 2*/4*. Usual Monday fun. Not much time today or tomorrow as I am working in Paris. The French aren’t very happy after the rugby but at least the sun is shining.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  9. Just overcoming square eye syndrome after the past three sporty days. Well done England for somehow getting there. 🏸🏉🇬🇧. Super way with which to kick off the cruciverbal week – look forward to more similar fun as the week progresses. Fav was 18d with 15d running up and then 6d. Special thanks go to MP for his examples of musical delectations bestowed upon us from the Fatherland and Finland. Missed the pointer for 20a. TVM Rufus. 🙂

  10. This took me far too long for no good reason. Liked 30a but top clue is 24a, very tidy.
    I thought the last letter of 27d came from the ‘universal’ film rating.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for one or two pointers.

  11. Into *** territory for difficulty today, especially in the NE corner which took an age. I thought of about half a dozen other appropriate answers to the cryptic definition at 8d before I found one that fitted in with 4ac and 10ac. Regarding the latter, the dictionary supports the first definition, but they’re not really the same, are they? Perhaps I was too hung up on vertigo as a medical condition.

    1. If you suffer from vertigo, you are likely to stagger: it means a kind of dizziness. It has nothing to do with heights. I blame Hitchcock

  12. I’m in the ‘trickier than usual’ camp today – I’ll blame it on being several degrees under at the moment.
    Liked 17a – favourite was 5d.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – nice pic of Saint Sharon!

  13. The Monday back page crossword is always good fun, and this one was no exception. Many thanks Rufus and MP.

      1. Very true. Most irritating – and all too frequent. (As is, he said – warming to his theme – those advertisers peddling their wretched unwanted wares in my anagram solving space.)

        1. I asked the advertising department how much that space was. They came back with £750. i know from experience that they will lower that price but I doubt I could get it for less than £500. It would be nice to Hi-Jack it to advertise Big Dave’s Blog. I cannot see the 0900 number making much in these days when we are wise to scams.

  14. I didn’t feel that this was one of Rufus’s best puzzles by a long chalk, unusually quite a number of the surfaces lacked their customary sparkle and a few felt contrived.

    My single tick went to 8d.

    Thanks as ever to Mr. Squires and to MP.

  15. Very tricky and not very enjoyable. What has Staggers to do with vertigo, I thought it was a disease of cattle? Far too many answers that need splitting to make sense for my liking. Liquid as an anagram indicator, poor! 18d was a complete mystery as was 15d. Needed the hints to unpick those.
    For me ***/*. This was not a patch on yesterday’s super crossword IMHO.
    Thx for the useful hints. Could I perhaps make a request of the hinters, when it is obviously a double definition as in 10a, is there a chance you could provide a hint for one or other answer. It would be much appreciated.

    1. Brian – vertigo is a type of dizziness, which may lead to staggering around, suffered by humans (and maybe cattle).

      1. I don’t stagger, I fall straight to my knees and belly-crawl back under my stone.

        Got out of a lift at a shopping centre once, which I immediately discovered had glass flooring. I laid down in the lift and refused to move. I was promptly escorted off the premises.

    2. Brian, I’m with you on this one. There were a few bright spots, like 4a and the well-worn 21d, but most of this was not fun. The obscure residence in 15d and the obscure English composer in 18d would not have been out of place in a Friday crossword, except that there they would at least have been gettable from the wordplay (I just checked, and Giovanni has in fact done exactly that, in Toughie 1672 and DT 26857, respectively). I get of course that vertigo might result in the answer to 10a, but can anyone provide a sentence in which the two words are interchangeable? I dislike winger for bird as much as I dislike banker for river. Grumble, grumble. Nonetheless, thanks to Rufus and to MP.

      1. Mr K. 15d answer obscure? Have you never worked on a farm? Admittedly “neat” in the clue is a bit obscure (but it crops up in cryptics quite often). 10a. The answer and vertigo are synonymous – see my reply to Brian, below. And the sentence – he was suffering from vertigo/staggers.

        1. No, never worked on a farm. Neat comes up all the time so it was clear some kind of bovine housing was required, but at that point one either knows the answer or, as in my case, one doesn’t. I didn’t know about the decompression illness, so thanks for that explanation.

          1. I am very familiar with the word byre, more commonly used with the word cow, as in cow byre, but I think it is rather outdated. I don’t think it would be well known by the younger ones amongst us! Be thankful you’re too young to know it.

      2. Vertigo (or 10a solution) is a disease of the central nervous system in humans and cattle usually caused by larvae of certain nematodes. 😏

        1. Thanks for that, Angellov. Seems like I would have had fewer complaints about this puzzle if I’d spent some time on a farm :)

    3. My bugbear is anagram indicators. Every week there are a couple of new ones eg today we had “this can provide” 19d 😒

      1. Probably a bit straightforward to say “anagram”. As I said there were three possibles in 20a. (“Creating”, “liquid” and “improving”) plus two 10 letter combinations. To me it adds to the fun. Good job we are all different – it’s what makes the blog what it is.

    4. B. “Staggers” is a form of vertigo, associated with decompression sickness. So staggers and vertigo are directly synonymous.

    5. B.”Liquid” is an excellent and very popular anagram indicator – the setters have been using it for decades.

  16. **/****. Enjoyed this puzzle. Some quite interesting parsing. 18d was my favourite and 11d a close second. Thanks to Rufus and MP for the review. Time to clear the snow from the sidewalk again ☹️

  17. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable start to the week. Found this quite tricky in places. Had link for 2d, silly me. Liked 31a&16d, but my favourite was 11d. Last in was 22d which took some time. Needed the hints to parse 18&19d, haven’t a clue who the English composer is in 18. Was 3*/3* for me. Just got back from a walk over Kenwood, feet up and a cup of tea, luxury. ☺️

  18. As is usual with a Rufus puzzle, perfect start to the week. I fairly romped through this until I had just one left, 29a, and I think it took as much time to solve that as the rest of the puzzle, it certainly felt like it. Was just about to look at the hint when I tumbled.
    I loved 11d (specially the pic) and 18d, but fave has to be 4a – hands up who tried to fit “all” in there?
    Thanks to Rufus and M’pops, particularly the musical choices.

  19. Strangely I found this tougher than either of the weekend puzzles, and not the usual gentle start to the week. Husband is muttering dark thoughts on today’s Quick also. Thanks for all the hints very much due to Miffypops as I would not have finished on my own. 14a did fall into place although I didn’t care for it as an answer. But 10a is what happens when you have vertigo so that made sense. Off to get some eucalyptus oil to try and clear head and sinuses. Hopefully brain will work better tomorrow.

  20. I thought this was much trickier than the usual Monday fare. I only had a few answers on the first pass and I really had to slog my way through the rest. 28a was my favourite. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and to the man from LI for his review.

  21. Nice puzzle today. I found it a little trickier than normal for a Monday but got there quite steadily. 2*/4* for me. 18d was new to me, but I managed to work it out before I confirmed electronically. No particular favourites today. Toughie time now – wish me luck.

      1. I think RayS means Mr Rookie which, as far as I’m concerned anyway, might as well have called itself a Toughie and had done with it.

        1. Hi Kath – Agreed, and an awkward one at that.
          Please don’t mention the ‘have done with it’ thing though, I’m still in recovery from white/grey-gate and don’t want to even think about’ aw’, ever again. :smile:

  22. I thought this was right up to the usual high Rufus standard and perfect for a Monday morning. Many thanks to one of my favourite setters

  23. We took a little time to get going in the NW corner which is our usual starting point but once we had momentum it all flowed steadily. 18d gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

  24. Well! Rufus said it himself in 4a.
    Didn’t quite hit the spot for me.
    Wanted 17a to be civil servant. That’s the only thing that brought me a smile.
    Thanks to MP for the review.

  25. A lovely blog from Miffypops and a slightly tricky puzzle from Rufus.
    Last week my card was “denied” at the supermarket (though they very kindly let me take the groceries and pay the next day). The bank had cancelled my card because I was supposed to move on to a touch type of card which they hadn’t actually sent me.When I complained the next day at the local branch, I was told , among other things that I am supposed to have a back up.What is the point of cards if I have to have a wad of cash as well ? And my online Telegraph is cancelled as well . All very annoying.

      1. Whoever she banks with, her nearest actual bank where she can speak to someone about her account.

  26. It didn’t help that I stuck bellboys into 1d.Looks as though I was the only one. I chewed my way through this. Took me a while to get the school subject in 29a as we called it ‘RI’ at school, and I also convinced myself that because the clue ended in ‘a writer’, I thought that the ending to the answer would be ‘pen’. Still, I did manage to get 15d, and it made me smile. Thank you Miffypops and setter.

    1. I messed up with 29ac. Totally missed the ‘school subject’ which we also knew as RI. The RI teachers were the among cruelest of a cruel bunch. Thanks to Big Dave for altering my hint

  27. Late on parade, as I have only just completed the puzzle from my nearby neighbour. Hard or what :whistle:

    Maybe I’ve just been celebrating too much after an excellent win on Saturday.

    An enjoyable solve with some lovely clues – 5 & 8d are hard to prise off the winner’s podium – so I won’t try.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and our LI landlord for his review.

  28. More divided than usual tonight, I see. I’m in the tricky but splendid camp. I took longer than usual for a Rufus because I feel very porridge-brained today, but I thoroughly enjoyed grappling with some of the trickier ones. In fact, I reckon I probably enjoyed it more than any BD buddies. No one singled out for honours (although I have a sneaky fondness for 11d simply because it has made me take John Donne off the shelf to read To His Mistress Going to Bed). Thanks due to MP, of course, and thumbs up to Rufus. 2*/4*

  29. 5d took me ages or some reason and was my favourite once the coin hit the floor. Everything has already been said this far down the comment list so I will merely rate this 2*/4* and offer my thanks to Rufus and our man in the saddle.

  30. Crossword 28343
    15down. I think there was a misprint in the question – not “Neat residences” but “Near residences”, this gives “by” and”res”, thus “byres”.

    1. Welcome to the blog Pozzy

      In Crosswordland “neat” often refers to cattle – see the second definition in Chambers:

      neat 2 (archaic or dialect)
      noun (plural neat)
      An ox, cow, bull, etc

      I’m sure the clue was correct, as per the above hint.

  31. I’ve been reading your tips and hints for years and years.

    Our local newspaper has printed both the quick and cryptic as long as I can remember.

    I started doing them circa 1970!

    As you can no doubt deduce we only get them about six weeks after publication

    This comment is merely to thank all for the help provided over the years

    By the way this was nowhere near 2stars, more like 3/4 (ha ha)

    1. Welcome to the blog. Circa 1969/70 was a very good time to start doing the DT cryptic ;)

    2. Thanks for the thanks Jedi Stu. That’s all I need to keep on keeping on with the hinty job. Don’t worry about late comments, we will still see them. So if you have any queries please ask away.

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