DT 28356 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28356

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28356

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello again from Enzed, and welcome to another enjoyable offering from one of our Tuesday setters. I’m back to blogging solo this week, but fans of Kitty should not fret because you will find the other half of the KitKat over on today’s Toughie blog. And speaking of Toughies, please join me in offering hearty congratulations to our Friday Toughie blogger Dutch, whose brilliant debut puzzle in the Independent was just recognized by the Guardian as providing their Clue of The Fortnight.

I know we have a few bird lovers here so I thought I’d also take this opportunity to share three photos I took yesterday at a gannet breeding colony near Auckland. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. Click on the image for a larger version.

In the hints below 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    Brawl resulting in no charges (4-3-3)
FREE-FOR-ALL: A literal interpretation of the answer is an activity where anyone can participate without paying admission.

6a    On retirement, cry with son and employer (4)
BOSS: The reversal (on retirement) of a word meaning cry, followed by S(on). Today is the sixth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the New Zealand city of Christchurch. The artist whose nickname is the answer to this clue dedicated his song “My City of Ruins” to the people of Christchurch at this performance in Auckland. He’s returned to NZ and is performing in Christchurch as I write these hints.

10a    Dread losing time in blunder (5)
ERROR: A synonym of dread without its T (losing time).

11a    One fights boy going to island captured by dangerous American creature (9)
GLADIATOR: A slang name for a swamp-dwelling carnivore contains (captured by) a three-letter synonym of boy and the single-letter abbreviation for island.

12a    Normal behaviour at home (7)
HABITAT: A noun describing a “normal behaviour” followed by the AT from the clue. Getting a feeling of déjà vu with this clue.

13a    Perhaps soldier adopts terribly nice veteran (7)
ANCIENT: A working creature, of which soldier is one type, contains (adopts) an anagram (terribly) of NICE.

14a    Rumble abbot stoned on hard grass? (12)
BLABBERMOUTH: An anagram (stoned) of RUMBLE ABBOT followed by H(ard). The surface and the great anagram indicator reminded me of this strip from a very old New Zealand cartoon called Bogor (he’s the woodsman).

18a    Suspect online assent is unimportant (3-9)
NON-ESSENTIAL: An anagram (suspect) of ONLINE ASSENT.

21a    Changing to spin restricts amateur’s start on a sticky wicket (2,1,4)
IN A SPOT: An anagram (changing) of TO SPIN contains (restricts) the first letter (start) of Amateur.

23a    Opening offer disheartened journalist having to leave building (7)
ORIFICE: Link together the outer letters (disheartened) of OffeR, and a word for an imposing building without the usual two-letter abbreviation for journalist.

24a    Exaggerate love with rubbish in poem (9)
OVERSTATE: The letter that looks like the love score in tennis, followed by a synonym of poetry that contains a three-letter word meaning cheap rubbish.

25a    Acknowledge passage with marks to be taken in (5)
ADMIT: An entrance passage to a mine contains the single-letter abbreviation for the currency used by Germany before the introduction of the euro. The word for passage was new to me, and it needed post-solve verification in the BRB.

26a    Amount of money earned in a certain period (4)
YEAR: Hidden inside (amount of) the clue.

27a    Outsmart rep number one (10)
BESTSELLER: A charade of a verb meaning outsmart and the role of one who represents a product or service gives something found at the top of the charts.


1d    Plump supernatural creature’s raised feeling timid (6)
FLESHY: Follow the reversal (raised, in a down clue) of a supernatural assistant to Santa with a word meaning “feeling timid”.

2d    True-born Englishman turned up carrying dress (6)
ENROBE: The answer is hidden inside the reversal of the first three words of the clue (turned up, in a down clue).

3d    Top job that one expects to get next day (5-5,4)
FIRST-CLASS POST: A charade of synonyms for top and job gives a service promising next day delivery.

4d    Conservative, clever and open to being corrected (9)
RIGHTABLE: The handedness associated with conservative politics followed by a synonym of clever.

5d    Wool supplier a series of shops promoted (5)
LLAMA: The reversal (promoted, in a down clue) of the A from the clue and some shops joined together to provide convenient pedestrian access.

7d    Where chickens may lay eggs at large? (2,3,3)
ON THE RUN: The answer could be the status of a fugitive. Read literally it describes where hens might live and lay.

8d    Irritable cats cry, running wild around hospital (8)
SCRATCHY: An anagram (running wild) of CATS CRY containing H(ospital).

9d    Go round stirring up a civic argument (14)
CIRCUMNAVIGATE: An anagram (stirring up) of A CIVIC ARGUMENT.

15d    Outgoing leader leaves message: ‘Resistance is supported by public’ (9)
EXTROVERT: Concatenate a short mobile phone message without its first letter (leader leaves), the one-letter abbreviation for electrical resistance, and a word meaning public or visible.

16d    Element against capitalism, not English (8)
ANTIMONY: Take an 4-5 phrase that could mean opposed to capitalism and drop from it (not) the single letter abbreviation for English. The result is an element adjacent to tin in the periodic table.

17d    Being filmed ruined a romance (2,6)
ON CAMERA: An anagram (ruined) of A ROMANCE.

19d    Ring about manuscript being twisted and miserable (6)
DISMAL: A word describing how one made a call before the days of push-button telephones contains (about) the reversal (being twisted) of the two-letter abbreviation for manuscript.

20d    Gambler improved (6)
BETTER: A straightforward double definition.

22d    Run rising European business (5)
TRADE: The reversal (rising, in a down clue) of a word meaning to run about, followed by E(uropean).

Thanks to today’s mystery setter for a fun solve. Halfway through the acrosses I started to worry that we were in for a deluge of anagrams, but the puzzle turned out to offer a nice balance of different clue types. I thought that many of the surfaces were exceptionally smooth, and I smiled at 6a, 11a, 1d, 2d, and 16d. Runner up for this week’s honours was 15d, with top spot going to 23a. Which clues did you like best?


65 comments on “DT 28356

  1. ** – *** – completed at a gentle canter, without any form of assistance, while instructionally talking through some of the clues with friends I am visiting in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario.

    Favourite 3d – 14 letter non-anagram, no contest.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. I found Niagara-on-the-lake a very unusual although interesting place. Unique. The crossword was about a ***/*** for me. Favourites were 27a&3d. 15d was obtuse. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review.

  2. Fairly straight forward, no hold ups. Favourites were 3d and 11a. 2*/2.5* Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty.

  3. An average back-pager with OK but very conventional and mostly transparent clues. No stand-out or favourite clues for me in this one, but quite enjoyable nonetheless. 1.5*/3*.

  4. After yesterday’s walk in the park this was slightly more of an uphill task. However completed with only a cursory ramble through the thesaurus.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.
    Loved the Gannets by the way.

  5. Agree with the ratings,my two standouts were 14A & 16D which I remembered from my Tech college metallurgy lessons some 47 years ago. Many thanks to the setter & to Mr kitty for his review.

  6. I have posted on this thread once before but when I pressed ‘Post Comment’ the screen went blank and never came back to me!

    Anyway, a pretty straight-forward puzzle completed before lights-out – although I thought 4d was ‘clunky’ and I don’t really understand 7d.

    1. Re The White Page – this used to happen to me regularly using Chrome; Firefox appears to be more consistent. (But the avatar doesn’t appear to work!)

      Re the ‘run’ – to me the run is the tract of land, usually fenced, set aside for animals/chickens to scratch around or graze (Def. 8, CED. BRB, Anyone?). The eggs are laid in a coop or roost or presumably, once, in a nest. That’s my gripe with that clue.

      1. We have had chickens for years. Where they live in five star accommodation has always been referred to as the chicken run.

  7. Missed the lurker in 2d.

    Spelled 15d with an A instead of an O which put 23a out completely. (Yes, it was a bung in)

    Failed to solve 12a…..as another blogger would say, dim ……
    Also failed to solve 4d…doh!

    Otherwise got there OK and enjoyed what I could do.

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

  8. Thought 23A was the standout clue today, took a while to parse .- no other holdups so a **/**** for me . Thought the cluing was inventive throughout-thanks to setter and Mr Kitty for the excellent pics

  9. After the twin talents of yesterday’s blog, might we see a return to the quiet understatement and normal refinement of the parish. We shall see. This crossword today was a nice continuation with guest star being 9d which was my last in. */***
    Thanks all.

  10. SE corner beat me and needed hint for 23a to complete.

    Enjoyable with 23a my COTD even though it beat me.

    Thanks to setter & MrK for needed hints.

  11. All good fun and no problems to report.
    Liked 14a for the image it conjures up but my podium places went to 1a plus 1&3d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to half a KitKat. So pleased to learn that you enjoyed your visit to the gannet colony – amazing to watch them diving into the sea for food.
    Loved the hedgehog cartoon!

  12. I totally agree with Mr. K that the surfaces were ultra-smooth and that it was an extremely enjoyable solve.

    My four ticks went to 1a (great start), 14a, 5d and 15d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr. Kitty.

    1. 2*/4*. What can I say but “ditto”?

      Many thanks to Mr Ron for the enjoyment with a special mention for indicating an Americanism in 11a. Many thanks too to Mr Kitty.

  13. Not too difficult apart from trying to parse 15d which must be a contender for one of the daftest clues of all time. Several clumsy clues in part but quite enjoyable.
    For me **/**
    Thx to all

  14. A good crossword – not too easy and not too tricky – just about right and on the back page too.
    My last answer was the last word of 7d – I don’t think I’d say chickens lived in runs – don’t know what they do live in – ours lived in the garden.
    I think the feeling that there were quite a few anagrams was because there were four on the trot in the across clues.
    Lots of good clues – 1 and 14a and 3 and 15d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K.

    The pic for 24a reminded me of a long time ago when I had the worst cold that I’d ever had. I suggested on the blog that I might have got ‘man flu’. Gazza replied that ‘girls’ can’t get it and that the worst they ever have a ‘girly’ sniffle. He went on to say that the difference in size between mens and womens hankies proved it.

    1. I’d always wondered what was behind the hankie size difference. So thanks, Kath and Gazza, for the explanation :)

  15. Enjoyed the puzzle and review today. Having had some ‘computer problems’ recently, I looked at yesterday’s review this morning, and I have to say it was the funniest review I have ever seen on this site. I was still laughing about it when out walking the dog some time later.

  16. All good with the exception of 7d; it’s just a loose clue in my view. Only 14a briefly stopped me writing and so gets my vote today.
    Other picks would be 3d, 9d & 17a for their tidy surfaces.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr K for the pics and write-up.
    PS – Congrats to Dutch – very good.

  17. I found this heavy-going and I needed a lot of help. Building in 23a clue prompted me to plump for edifice. 16d is new to me but when I had some crossers it had to be and then became a joint Fav with 27a. Here’s to more fun tomorrow. Thank you Mysteron and is it Kit or Kat?

  18. A tricky Tuesday teaser for me, but I got there in the end.
    Last in was 27a, but I didn’t know it could be one word, so I used my gizmo and it showed it was correct.
    Fave was 14a, runner up 3d.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his review, loved the gannets!

  19. Nothing to rock the boat today. 14a probably my fave, 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Tuesday setter and to The single K for the review.

  20. A nice gentle puzzle with which to relax and enjoy a coffee and a bite after a morning shopping in nearby Kidderminster. Two stand out clues for me; 15down, which I thought was very clever and 3down which made me chuckle. Thanks to setter and Mr Kitty

  21. Plenty to keep us smiling in this one with a satisfying level of difficulty too. Our list of good ones was too long for us to single out a favourite.
    We loved the gannet pictures and the Bogor cartoon took us on a trip down memory lane (pun intended).
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. Mr Kitty. If you are going to be anywhere near our part of the country on this trip home, please get in touch as we would love to meet you.

      1. Thanks, Kiwis. It would be great to meet up. Sadly on this particular trip I’m only in and around Auckland, but next time I hope to get further south.

  22. Failed on the last word of 7d looking for a part of a ship that could also be a place to lay eggs.
    8d made me think of itchy and scratchy from the Simpsons.
    Liked the smoothness of 5d.
    Great fun all round.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  23. As a newcomer I am really excited that today I completed my first crossword without needing any help from this page. It makes me chuckle reading how you lot race through it – maybe one day! But thank you to everyone who contributes to the daily clues. I am gradually learning. My favourite was 15d.

    1. Well done! The more you learn, the more there is to enjoy, so stick at it!
      15d is one of the trickier clues, so good on you.

  24. From what I remember of this it was a nice solve with an orifice/edifice to sort out and an unparsed 2d. Couldn’t see how the clue worked at all and meant to look later but forgot.
    Thanks to the mysteron for the tussle and thanks to Mr K for the explanation to 2d and for bringing us all back down to earth.

  25. Agree with Mr K ***/*** found it quite tricky in parts 😳 Loved the Gannet photos, always thought of them as a North Atlantic seabird 😏 Favourites 27a & 19d 😄 Thanks to the Mr Ron & Mr Kitty 👌

    1. Thanks, Jaylegs. I remember being surprised to discover that gannets existed outside of New Zealand. :) I found out only after my visit that somewhere in that host of gannets is a lone red-footed booby who somehow ended up there instead of in the Galapagos.

  26. An enjoyable, fairly straightforward solve. Last ones in 4d and 14ac, the latter because I can’t count and couldn’t work out where the H could possibly come from. Doh. Only one unknown at 16d, but the cryptic part left no doubt at all. Good stuff.

  27. What a relief after yesterday’s stinker!! The only issue I had was the breaking of BD’s golden rule. 11a, I had the last to checkers _ T _ R…no problem..Alligator…Doh!!
    Apart from that all ok, though I did not know where the manuscript came into 19d, would be grateful if someone could enlighten me.
    I did not know the metal at 16d, but worked it out, eventually.
    11a was my fav, even though it caused me no end of problems.
    Many thanks to Mr.K. and to MR.Ron.

          1. Thanks Mr.K, I have browsed that excellent resource many times, and must have missed ‘manuscript’.
            Thanks for your hints and comments today (yesterday)

            1. It’s a bit hidden because it’s mentioned under “writing”, which I think is the last entry in the list.

  28. 3d the stand out clue for me in this excellent Tuesday crossword. Lots to enjoy, great fun to solve and a delight from start to finish. 2.5*/4* overall.

    Thanks to Mr Ron for the challenge and to the jet-setting MK for a fine review.

    The international spread of this brilliant site never fails to amaze me.

  29. Thanks for the blog and to all who commented. Some solvers will be pleased to hear that I’m planning a family trip to the farm this weekend in order to see precisely where chickens lay their eggs! Oh well…

    1. Evening Mr Ron, Thanks for popping in. It’s great to hear from you Prima Cruciverbalists. Thanks for all your work creating these things.

    2. Thanks for the puzzle, Mister Ron, and for dropping in too.

      (Just in case Mrs Ron is interested, there are a few cat pictures on today’s Toughie blog.)

      (… and here’s a chicken with her eggs:)

      1. Mrs Ron is always very interested in cat pictures (we have four cats), so I’ll point her that way in the morning. Speaking of cats, Mrs Ron and Teenage Miss Ron are off to Newcastle on Friday to have lunch at a cat cafe called “Mog on the Tyne”! This may just be the best name for a business ever.

    3. Thanks for dropping in. We had not twigged that this was one of yours this time but, as we said above, really enjoyed it.

  30. Thanks to messers Ron & Kitty, a very enjoyable puzzle. A lot of good surfaces, and a few to make you think. Nice to see a science clue in 16d.I can why 7d had a question mark. 4d was a new word for me. Last in was 23a, favourite was 14a. Was 3*/3* for me.

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