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DT 28374

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28374

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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


Hello, everyone. In the crosswording literature one often reads that a cryptic clue should have a unique solution, so that if your answer fits both definition and wordplay you can feel confident that it’s correct. On the other hand, we hear here from time to time that the only rule is that there are no rules. Embracing the latter viewpoint, last Tuesday Mister Ron used a clue, Boring book about Kindles missing the beginning (8), which had two possible solutions (TIRESOME and MINDLESS). His goal was to use that clue twice in the crossword, but sadly the second answer did not make it into the final puzzle. Anyway, that set me off looking for other violations of cruciverbal uniqueness. I found an impressive example here, in a non-cryptic crossword published in the New York Times on the morning of Election Day 1996. Seven clues in it each admitted two answers in just the right way to allow the answer to Lead story in tomorrow’s newspaper (7,7) to read either BOBDOLE ELECTED or CLINTON ELECTED, thereby covering both possible outcomes. Then Kitty pointed me at the quite amazing Independent 8498 by Donk, in which each of the seven rows contains two answers that each solve the same clue. I can’t find the original puzzle online, but it is discussed in a blog on www.fifteensquared.net. Does anybody out there know of any other good examples of crosswords employing this multiple answer device?

Fortunately, nothing that devious was employed by this week’s setter. Overall, it’s another crossword that I’d describe as solid. I found most of this puzzle fairly straightforward, except for a couple of clues where the answer was clear but Mr Google was needed to untangle the wordplay. There’s also a homophone I thought was a bit dubious, although that could just be my accent.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Lacking detail of brief encounter by stretch of water in Norfolk (10)
BROADBRUSH:  Follow the East Anglian name for a lake-like section of a river with a word meaning a brief encounter.

6a    Boss axing one restaurant worker (4)
CHEF:  Delete the Roman numeral for one from the boss of a tribe.

9a    Small border plant (5)
SEDGE:  Combine S(mall) and a synonym of border to get a grass-like plant.

10a   Writer‘s tip after social function (9)
BALLPOINT:  A social function involving gowns and dancing, followed by the tip of something sharp, such as an arrow.

12a   I search out purser (7)
CASHIER:  An anagram (out) of I SEARCH.

13a   A key passage (5)
AISLE:  The A from the clue followed by a key that’s surrounded by water (Florida has some well-known ones).

15a   Stop a black bull heading off (7)
ABOLISH:  Bull here is military slang for what one does to make boots shine. Remove the first letter from the usual word for that action (heading off) and put it after the A from the clue and the single-letter abbreviation for black. The video shows what’s involved in bulling one’s boots.

17a   Intimate  intercity train (7)
EXPRESS:  A double definition. The first is a verb, the second a noun.

19a   Case: travelling sort he left inside (7)
HOLSTER:  An anagram (travelling) of SORT HE contains the abbreviation for left (left inside).

21a   The old lady eating with the Spanish statesman (7)
MANDELA:  A two-letter informal term for mother containing (eating) a synonym of “with” plus a Spanish definite article. The statesman hails from South Africa.

22a   Dramatist and writer for children almost returned (5)
IBSEN:  Start with the surname of an early English children’s author who wrote The Railway Children. Drop its last letter and then reverse it (almost returned) to obtain the Norwegian playwright who created Peer Gynt.

24a   Biased against fine amusement park (7)
FUNFAIR:  A charade of the abbreviation for fine used on pencils and an adjective meaning “biased against”.

27a   Duke is to retire in ruin (9)
DISREPAIR:  A charade of D(uke), the IS from the clue and a verb meaning to retire or to go.

28a   Bit of help on getting out of bed (3-2)
LEG-UP:  The usual cricketing synonym for “on”, followed by (getting) a short word meaning “out of bed”.

29a   To attack king, assistance is required (4)
RAID:  The single-letter Latin abbreviation for king followed by assistance or help.

30a   Child in joint with unruly tribe (5-5)
ANKLE-BITER:  Follow a joint at the bottom of the leg with an anagram (unruly) of TRIBE to get a slang Australian term for a small child.



1d    Smashed  sculpture (4)
BUST:  A straightforward double definition.

2d    Traditional dolls Choo designed (3-6)
OLD-SCHOOL:  An anagram (designed) of DOLLS CHOO.

3d    Clean  frock (5)
DRESS:  Another double definition. Clean as in prepare a chicken for the oven, for example.

4d    Hurry to secure books I dismiss as worthless (7)
RUBBISH:  A synonym of hurry contains two copies of the abbreviation for book along with the I from the clue.

5d    Spend lavishly in plant skirting lake (7)
SPLURGE:  Insert the single-letter abbreviation for lake into a large and diverse family of plants that includes poinsettia, the crown of thorns plant, and the candelabra tree.

7d    Those who have inherited pretentious manners, by the sound of it (5)
HEIRS:  These beneficiaries of a will are a homophone (by the sound of it) of pretentious manners that often come paired with graces.

8d    Annual pop celebration? (7,3)
FATHER’S DAY:  Pop here is an informal (and mostly American) term for the parent feted on the third Sunday in June. The whole clue is a cryptic definition of that day.

11d   Drama training by new enclosure (7)
PLAYPEN:  Concatenate another word for a drama, the two-letter abbreviation for physical training, and the single-letter abbreviation for new.

14d   At hospital, female wearing brooch, attending the German pioneer (10)
PATHFINDER:  Link together AT from the clue and the usual abbreviations for hospital and for female. Put that combination inside (wearing) a three-letter brooch, and then append (attending) a German definite article.

16d   Extremely earnest in past, perhaps (7)
INTENSE:  IN from the clue and a thing of which past is an example (perfect is another).

18d   Observes appropriate military command (4,5)
EYES RIGHT:  Link together synonyms of observes or watches and of appropriate or correct.

20d   Do without  chorus (7)
REFRAIN:  Another straightforward double definition.

21d   Pitman with a large soft drink (7)
MINERAL:  Assemble together a coalpit worker, the A from the clue, and L(arge).

23d   American brought over his cracked Oriental dish (5)
SUSHI:  The two-letter abbreviation for American reversed (brought over) followed by an anagram (cracked) of HIS.

25d   Spontaneous remark from daughter in ‘Ali Baba’, at the start (2-3)
AD-LIB:  The first four letters (at the start) of ALIBaba contain the abbreviation for daughter.

26d   Box son on equal footing (4)
SPAR:  The abbreviation for son followed by a short word meaning “equal footing” or equality.

Everybody knows the original recording of this song illustrating the definition, so I’m linking instead to a great cover version.


Thanks to today’s mystery setter for an enjoyable solve. This week I’m choosing as favourite 30a because it produced by far the biggest smile during my solve. What was your number one?


The Quick Crossword pun: LAID+EASE+MADE=LADY’S MAID


68 comments on “DT 28374

  1. So, I am little confused – with an all but useless setter detector radar, was today a Mr Ron or a Mister Ron puzzle?

    Whatever it is, **/** for me.

    Two potential favourites – 14d and 18d – and with one of the time honoured methods of selection, the winner is 14d for its high degree of lego-ness.

    Thanks to the setter and

      1. There may be a hint to today’s Mr Ron at comment #6. Allan Scott is the name of a well known compiler who sets the Everyman crossword in the Observer as well as several others.

        1. Interesting. If that is indeed the case, then thank you Allan for an enjoyable puzzle.

  2. Pleasant and straightforward. 1.5*/3.5* (to be overly precise!). I liked 8d with 30a being my favourite today.

  3. Took a while to get in tune with this one, but straightforward enough in the end. Needed clarification of ‘bull’ and ‘spurge’ was new to me.Ta to the setter and Mr K. Incidentally, the name of the folk band is not shown on the clip (not on my phone anyway).

    1. According to u-tube the artists are Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin. Good version, isn’t it.

      1. Good, but not a patch on the original. Alison Krauss is excellent. Her collaboration with Robert Plant is one of my favourite CDs.

        1. Completely agree about Raising Sand, RD. Brilliant album. I shall use it when the opportunity arises.

          I started out looking for a good Simon & Garfunkel live rendering of their song, but the versions I found were all underwhelming.

        2. One of my favourites is Carolina in my mind when accompanied with Jerry Douglas, also like her version down by the river to pray-what a voice

        3. I agree – not a patch on the original and even the original version doesn’t beat the last track on that album – my favourite of everything they ever did.

        1. Hi, Toadson. On my phone, tapping on the YouTube logo at lower right on the video opens it in the YouTube app where the title and other information are visible.

          As RD says, Alison Krauss is excellent. Definitely worth looking into.

          1. Thanks, that worked. And what should come up in the list of suggested clips underneath, but Ella Eyre! (Relates to something Senf said yesterday). I seem to remember someone I know talking about a Robert Plant collaboration a couple of years ago – probably the same thing.

  4. Pleasant walk in the park this morning with only the NE not quite R & W. Plant in 5d new to me. 15a Fav. The mute ‘h’ in the homophone surely validates it. Thank you Mr. Ron and Mr. Kitty.

  5. I’m in pretty bad form ( I have that cough thing that’s going around) so perhaps I shouldn’t post today.
    A good sprinkling of old chestnuts ( 29a ) and other clues which relied on the solvers familiarity with X-word conventions (13a ) and some dodgy synonyms (3d).
    I should be a lot more grateful as it has helped pass the time between coughing.
    So my thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty who’s notes I read without becoming any wiser.

  6. “Solid” an apt description of today’s offering. Few hold ups though never heard the 30a expression wrt children (dogs yes).
    COTD for me was 22a with 8d running it close.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for explanations.

  7. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. A very enjoyable puzzle, but very tricky. Needed the hints for 1,19,21,22,27a and 14d. As for 27a how can repair mean retire? Favourite was 5d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  8. Straightforward fare from Mister, or Mr, Ron this morning. I thought it lacked a bit of sparkle, with no particular outstanding clue to set the pulse racing. I rated it 2*/2* overall, with thanks to both Misters involved.

  9. 2*/2.5* today for a pleasant and untaxing puzzle spoilt slightly for me by two clues: 30a (which seems to be Australian slang and should be indicated in some way) & 14d (a Lego clue of the worst type IMHO).

    My top three were 15a, 21a & 18d.

    Many thanks to Ron (I suspect Mr. rather than Mister) and to Mr. Kitty.

  10. I would doubt that this was from the pen of either of our known Tuesday setters although I may be proved wrong – my success rate on that score hasn’t been too good recently!
    For once I found the 4-letter answers more of a help than a hindrance and the only surprise came with 1a – made it up and then looked it up. Certainly didn’t think that it would be all one word.
    Fortunately, we’ve come across 30a quite recently – otherwise I wouldn’t have known it – and I did have to ask Mr. G to confirm the military term in 15a.
    The cricket element in 28a passed me by – didn’t matter, as it happened.
    My top two were 24a&8d with a mention for 5d as it’s such an expressive word.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr.K for the review, the lovely musical clip and the pic of the 11d occupant. I rather think Kitty would fall for one of those!

    1. Ha, Ha!! Jane,the cricket bit eluded me until I read your post!! I had just bunged 28a in (slap wrist)

      1. It almost eluded me too. For the longest time I was thinking that clue was just a rather unsatisfactory cryptic definition. It was only near the end of preparing the blog that the penny finally dropped and I realized how clever it is.

    2. Glad that you liked this week’s music, Jane.

      That panda is unbelievably cute. When I first found the picture I doubted that it was real. But I found the original source, and it really is a baby panda escaping from a playpen.

  11. Intriguing puzzle today, I thought. Polished off all but one clue in xxxxxxx and then ground to a halt on 10A, with N?L?P?I?T. Racked my brains for most of the morning in search of obscure authors that would fit the pattern. Looked again at my down clues. I had 4D as RUNTISH, which fits the clue perfectly.

    Is 4D then another sneaky TIRESOME/MINDLESS, I wonder???

    Btw, on the question of the multiple answer device, @Mr Kitty, here’s my recent US Election Predictor http://crossword.info/alvsmith/uselectionpredictor
    Not strictly speaking the same methodology as in the examples given, but take a look and you’ll get the idea.

    Ashley Smith (Hasslethymi)

    1. we don’t quote times whether long or short for fear of upsetting people who might take even longer. Better to quote cups of tea/pints of beer drunk, or something similar

    2. Now I look at it again, the ‘dismissed’ makes ‘RUNTISH’ impossible, so there seems to be only the one answer to 4D, unless anyone else spots another possibility.

    3. I loved 30A, btw, and 8D made me smile. 13A also v good. All clues v well-crafted and fair IMO.

  12. I had a couple of bung ins, needing the hints to know the “why”. I knew that 15a and 22a had to be right, so thanks to Mr. K for unravelling those.
    I really enjoyed all of this, my pick for fave is 30a though I had to google it.
    Thanks to setter and Mr. Kitty for the review.

  13. Very straightforward, but very good, too. 15a fave today, 14d least so. Did ponder at 27a ‘retire’ but it’s in the book so fair enough. */***
    Many thanks to setter and to Mr K

  14. It was a bit like a Wednesday – should have started with the down clues as I had very few across answers having read all the clues once.
    None of the meanings of ‘bull’ that I knew were any help at all so in desperation I looked in the BRB and it was there.
    Like Jane I missed the ‘crickety’ bit of 28a – luckily it didn’t matter.
    14d took a while to untangle.
    I liked 22 and 30a and 7d. My favourite was 8d – my Lambs call their Dad ‘Pops’ and he hates it.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty.
    Might have a go at the Toughie then more gardening.

  15. Pretty straightforward */*** though convoluted does come to mind 😏 Liked 9a and 21d 😊 Thanks to Mr K and Mr Ron

  16. Some interesting constructions in an enjoyable puzzle, but I’m definitely in the RD and LetterboxRoy camp rather than the Senf camp regarding 14d. Like Kath and Jane, I really liked 8d and that gets my favourite vote today.

    Thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr K.

  17. ***/***. Extra difficulty star as I spent far too long working out the SW corner. Good fun nevertheless. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review. It is persistently precipitating but better than snow 😎

  18. Found this one pretty plain sailing except for parsing 15a, part of which we had never heard of. Favourite clue, 8d. Many thanks to Mr Kitty and the Setter, whoever he/she may be. 1.5/3 from us.

  19. Very enjoyable puzzle – a nice easy jaunt even pour moi!

    Particularly liked 22a but got stuck on 30a – couldn’t believe that what I thought was the answer would be used in reference to a child. So googled and sure enough!!

  20. 30a familiar as OH used it when I first met him light years ago about annoying small boy in shop so has to favourite. Great review Mr Kitty and thanks to setter for a nice brain workout while I recovered from shopping expedition.

  21. Another **/** from me. I found it rather dull, all in all. Wish we could have Rufus on Mondays and Tuesdays. Nevertheless, thanks setter – and thanks Mr Kitty (not dull)

  22. This was a pleasant walk in the park! No hiccups (for a change) and generally a good bunch of clues. 30a was my favourite; I haven’t heard the term used for ages. 2/2.5 overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for his always interesting review.

  23. The right hand side went in quite quickly, but struggled with the left hand side. Favourite was 8d. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  24. The 15a meaning of bull was new to us but after sorting out how the wordplay could work a check in BRB was all that was needed, We also pondered who the setter might be and none of the usual suspects seemed to fit the style. It would be good if Allan Scott would confirm whether Gazza’s detective work is correct as we don’t recall knowingly solving one of his puzzles before. A pleasant puzzle to solve with just a few stumbling blocks along the way to delay us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  25. Apart from wondering how the expression ankle biter could be linked to a child – more suited to a puppy like our Fifi I thought ! – no trouble completing today’s offering. Guessed 15a as had forgotten about ‘bull’ also meaning to polish boots in the military. In all it was pleasant and satisfying. 2*/3.5* with 8d as my favourite. Hoping to start our trip back to Hyères in three weeks’ time in our new car – Fifi’s limo – which will accommodate all her tackle! Many thanks to setter and to Mr Kitty.

  26. I found this one quite tough and had to resort to the electronic aid for my last 2 in, 8d and 13a…..then felt a bit dim.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  27. ** for difficulty sounds fair, for an enjoyable challenge. The NW was last to fall, hung up as I was on some unknown stretch of water in Norfolk. 8d tickled my fancy today.

  28. A suitably gentle starter for the week: 1*/3*. I enjoyed 18d, and resisted the temptation to shout it out loud, as I often did in days of yore. Thanks to setter and Mr K for the review.

  29. Once again a very enjoyable and straightforward puzzle from MrRon, but for me, Mr Kitty provided the highlight of the day with his musical clip for 26 down. Excellent stuff. I saw Jerry Douglas with the Transatlantic Sessions in Birmingham recently and for the sixth year running. Thanks Mr K, much appreciated and thank you Mr Ron also.

    1. Thanks for that, Shropshirebloke. It seems that we have a few Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas fans here on the site, so in future puzzles I’ll be looking out for illustration opportunities for her and Union Station.

  30. Thanks Mr.K. for another typically excellent set of hints.
    Not needed today, but always thought provoking and enjoyable to read.
    I enjoyed this rather, some new words to savour.
    Brooch = Pin was new to me as was bull=polish.
    Fav was 8d
    Thanks to Mr/Mister Ron too.

  31. Thanks Mr.K. for another typically excellent set of hints.
    Not needed today, but always thought provoking and enjoyable to read.
    I enjoyed this rather, some new words to savour.
    Brooch = Pin was new to me as was bull=polish.
    Fav was 8d
    Thanks to Mr/Mister Ron too.

  32. Found this easier than yesterday, and some great clues. Favorite was 11d, made even better after I saw the picture. Unfortunately put in broadsided for 1a which threw me off for 4d and 5d. Mr. Kitty’s hints put me back on track, thanks. Having no military experience 15a was beyond me. My old dad used to refer to his days in the army and cleaning his boots as spit and polish. Never heard of the 30a answer before we set sail and landed in the US. Over here they are called rug rats!

  33. Just dropping in to say thanks for the kind comments about the blog and the directions to crosswords with multiple-answer clues, and to wish a very good night to those members of the commentariat who will soon repair to their beds.

  34. Likeable, but unchallenging, I thought. Clues were so well constructed that they almost seemed to answer themselves. If pushed, 22a would win the Tony for COTD. 0.5*/3*. Thanks to the setter and Mr K, who was as informative and entertaining as usual – although I always thought that H, HH and HHH were fine pencil indicators, at least they were when I was at school back in the days of (compulsory) fountain pens, logarithms and blackboards.
    BTW, there is (or was) a splendid full concert of Ms Krauss and Union Station with Jerry Douglas on YouTube, the highlight for me being her rendition of Ghost in This House. Saw them at the Festival Hall a couple of years ago. Marvellous.

    1. Hi, Ts. I looked F up because I got tired of repeating “the usual single letter abbreviation for…” in the hints. The BRB says F = Fine (on lead pencils). I googled around and it looks like H indicates hardness and F the capacity to be sharpened to a fine point. So I guess a 3HF pencil would be really hard and could be made very pointy. And probably impossible to use because it’d keep puncturing the paper.

      I’ll look for that Krauss + Union Station YouTube video. I have a live double CD of theirs which has a great “Ghost in This House”. I wonder if it’s from the same concert.

      I do like that T-shirt you’re wearing in the photos from the bash. And since you seem to have seen live pretty much every act that I’ve ever chosen for a video illustration, it’s obviously true. :)

  35. Not done the crossword for a while (or read the paper) as I’ve been doing other things. Picked up this one this morning for a bit of light relief. It was a first for me. Now not only know what R & W means but actually achieved it. I had to pinch myself and wonder whether I had actually solved it before as the answers wrote themselves in. Therefore surprised that some found difficulty – usually there is a consensus between the majority. Not quite sure of the wordplay for 21a so about to look it up. If I do get a straightforward one I then usually spend an inordinate time filling in the last two. Not the case here. I do not know who the setter is but thought it all read beautifully. Thank you. Thanks Mr Kitty – will now look at your hints.

  36. I thought 17a was a bit dodgy for a double definition, given that “intimate” means to hint at something and “express” to come right out and say it. Not being from the UK 1a was my last in, then I realised I’d looked up this particular watery word before.

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