DT 28375 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28375

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28375

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
It is a busy day for us today. An eye clinic appointment for Colin had inconveniently been scheduled for the time we are usually working on the blog but we still have plenty of time to get it all together before it is due to be posted on line. We did still manage to fit in our estuary and beach walk earlier too and noted that the godwits, although they have probably got all their bags packed by now, still have not left for their annual long flight to Alaska. It must be due to happen fairly soon.

A quality puzzle once again from Jay.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a Run with pack, causing arterial blockage (7,3)
TRAFFIC JAM : Run or trade and then a word meaning pack tightly together.

6a     Argument of water suppliers rejected (4)
SPAT : Reverse a word for the water suppliers found over a sink.

10a     Sort of house — one with mostly depressive atmosphere (5)
IGLOO : The Roman numeral one and the depressive atmosphere one associates with Eeyore, loses its last letter.

11a     Travel across west of Germany with European item of camping gear (9)
RIDGEPOLE : The first letter (west) of Germany is inside a word meaning travel on a horse perhaps, and then a person from a particular European country.

12a     Case of cosmetic agreement (7)
COMPACT : A double definition. The second could be a mutual bargain.

13a     Beams, seeing pudding following starter of risotto (7)
RAFTERS : The first letter of risotto and then an informal word for food that is served following the main course.

14a     Hierarchy of kissing brothers? (7,5)
PECKING ORDER : Kissing that has happened in a perfunctory way and then a group of religious brothers.

18a     Service outlets are unsettled after redevelopment (12)
LAUNDERETTES : An anagram (after redevelopment) of ARE UNSETTLED.

21a     Note about fire-raising priests (7)
PARSONS : The two letters for a note added as an afterthought are separated and surround a word for the crime of fire-raising.

23a     Tired and worn out, in summary (7)
RUNDOWN : We need to find a 3,4 phrase meaning tired and worn out and then put the two words together.

24a     Outstanding features of stricken ghost ship (4,5)
HIGH SPOTS : An anagram (stricken) of GHOST SHIP.

25a     Index tracker sheltering surplus (5)
EXTRA : Today’s lurker, hiding in the first two words of the clue.

26a     Reversing a touch to get information (4)
DATA : Reverse A from the clue and a touch or very small amount.

27a     Basic practicalities of supporters going to masses (5,5)
BRASS TACKS : The supporters here are items of women’s underwear and then a word for masses or large quantities.


1d     Nervous reaction from bad speller after beginning of term? (6)
TWITCH : The first letter of term is followed by the sort of bad speller found in the opening scene of the Scottish Play.

2d     A celebrity crossing lake makes one very excited (6)
AFLAME : ‘A’ from the clue and celebrity as a state of importance includes the abbreviation for lake.

3d     Waste energy and try to sell Trigger? (4,1,4,5)
FLOG A DEAD HORSE : An informal word for try to sell and then the departed Trigger that we associate with Roy Rogers.

4d     Custodian is a king lodging in ramshackle terrace (9)
CARETAKER : ‘A’ from the clue and the chess notation for king are inside an anagram (ramshackle) of TERRACE.

5d     Creature seen in summer? (5)
ADDER : A double definition. The summer here is a person doing arithmetical calculations.

7d     Starts wanting cash from sale (8)
PROCEEDS : Another double definition. Starts here means sets forth.

8d     Value certain to be seen after rate changes (8)
TREASURE : An anagram (changes) of RATE and then a word for certain or definite.

9d     What people may seek, as a rule? (4-10)
SELF-GOVERNMENT : A cryptic definition of what many Scottish people are reported to be seeking.

15d     Officially substantiates its reason for a change (9)
NOTARISES : An anagram (for a change) of ITS REASON.

16d     Slide, wearing shoes, being careless? (8)
SLIPSHOD : A synonym for slide and then a word that describes somebody wearing shoes.

17d     Dismissed legality without reservation (8)
OUTRIGHT : A  cricket word meaning dismissed or no longer batting, is followed by a word for an entitlement within the law.

19d     Officer’s on credit, we hear, from this church (6)
COPTIC : An informal word for a police officer and then three letters that when spoken sound like an informal term for credit.

20d     Records of non-u plants? (6)
ANNALS : Remove the letter U from plants that have a limited lifetime.

22d     Clean comb (5)
SCOUR : A double definition. The second meaning is to search thoroughly.

It is amazing how often we go to the NW corner for a favourite. It is 1d today.

Quickie pun   nose    +    hike    +    cling    =    no cycling



69 comments on “DT 28375

  1. ***/** for me, – one of the trickiest puzzles of the last couple of weeks, which needed considerable head scratching and some electronic assistance to complete.

    Stricken as an anagram indicator in 24a was somewhat unusual, and it took me a while to ‘believe’ it.

    Favourite 14a – a four word clue, and a big smile when the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  2. 1*/4*. Very unusually for a Wednesday I flew through this today. Even so it came with the usual very high entertainment value and 14a was my favourite of many excellent clues.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle. Have seen 12a and 19d either here or elsewhere recently. 11a was new to me, but had to be. I couldn’t quite remember where trigger was from as well. Thanks to Jay and the 2 Kiwis.

  4. Very enjoyable and quite tricky I thought. Last in was the SW corner. Favourites were 9d and 14a. 3.5*/3.5* Many thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis

  5. I enjoyed this puzzle. It all went in pretty easily except 20d for some reason. Took a while for the penny to drop, but it did. 2*/4* for me. I liked 5d, 24a and 27a with 14a being my favourite.

  6. Excellent puzzle, I thought. Challenging but enjoyable: ***/**** Favourite clues were 1A, 10A, 14A, 118A & 3D. 11A wasn’t in my working vocabulary but made and educated guess and got it right.

    Thanks for the pleasant distraction on an otherwise dull Wednesday at work.


    1. I’m pretty sure that if you write your link in the field required, your name turns blue and becomes a permanent link… I think :smile:
      Went on your site the other day. Latest crossword No 99. Well done. Almost a century. Started but haven’t finished. Very enjoyable.

  7. Like RD, I fairly flew through this one – and an enjoyable flight it was.
    1a didn’t occur until 3d went in but the only other possible stumbling block at 19d was avoided owing to our recent encounter with the same word.

    Podium places go to 10,13&14a along with 1d.

    Thanks to Jay and to the busy 2Ks – glad you still found time for your morning walk.

  8. Like the lovely sunny weather very pleasant whilst it lasted.
    My COTD was 14a with 27a a close second.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. This is a nightmare! 2 hours and I have managed 4 answers!
    By far and away the most difficult backpage for me for a very long time. V little makes sense in the clues!

    1. This must be the only DT crossword I have ever done where I needed the hints for all but 5 clues. Almost impossible for me, just could not see what the setter was getting at.
      For me *************/-1
      Thx for the hints

      1. Me too Brian, just not on the same wave length today, not helped by putting a couple of wrong answers in.

      2. Perhaps I’ll just ‘borrow’ (plus change a little bit) from Lewis Carroll:-
        “You only do it to annoy
        Because you know it teases”

  10. Well, that really was a one banana 🍌 puzzle but nonetheless enjoyable for that. NW caused just a slight hesitation however not for long. Goodies for me included 13a, 14a, 3d, 16d and 20d with 14a probably Fav. Thank you Jay and the 2 Kiwis. Unusually the Quickie which was fun yielded a couple of new words for me.

  11. Apparently, Trigger was flogged by Christies some years ago for a not inconsiderable sum.

    1. There is a great Elton John song ‘Roy Rogers’ hidden away on side 3 of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’

  12. Pretty good puzzle apart from making a complete hash of SE corner but after two cups of coffee dog walking and a few over writes I managed it.
    This was on the good side of tricky, lots of good clues so no favourites.
    Thanks to the 2ks and to Jay.
    Definitely ***/*** for me.

  13. Back to form for Jay after a rare misfire last week. Splendid puzzle. Liked it from start to finish. 11a last in, too much good stuff for a favourite.

    1. Welcome to the blog Phileas.
      Not sure how to answer your question but we had not noticed an increase as you suggest. It might just be a case of the more crosswords one does, the more often the same sort of clues appear. It would be interesting to hear other opinions on this.

    2. Welcome from me too, Phileas.

      The short answer is that repeats are almost all just random coincidence. One can show that if answer choice is random then we expect to see a repeated answer roughly every nine puzzles.

      Last year I analysed the data on repeated answers and clues over the past 16 years of Telegraph crosswords. There are some topical words such as MAY and STURGEON that are obviously being favoured by setters. But apart from those special cases, the data shows that short-term repeats actually occur slightly less often than one would expect by chance, suggesting that setters and editors make an effort to avoid them.

      The analysis of clue repeats is found in http://bigdave44.com/2016/11/15/dt-28272/ and http://bigdave44.com/2016/11/22/dt-28278/

      There’s a word cloud showing the most repeated answers of 2016 in http://bigdave44.com/2017/01/03/dt-28314/. In any year’s worth of random answer selections there will always be a handful or words that repeat six or seven times.

      I also pondered the challenge of creating brand new clues in http://bigdave44.com/2016/12/27/dt-28308/. There’s a back of the envelope estimate there showing that on average every word we know has already been clued a hundred times. While there are clearly some certified chestnuts that setters recycle [e.g. Blue feathers (4)], it’s also likely that even brand new clues might resemble something that’s been seen before.

  14. I think it’s all been said – a lovely crossword and I’d give it one more * than the Kiwis have for enjoyment.
    27a was one of my last answers as we’re all so well trained to think of ‘masses’ being church services – they often are.
    Only one lurker and, true to form, I missed it for ages.
    I got into a muddle with 11a for no particularly good reason.
    I liked 10 and 13a and 1d. My favourite was either 14a or 3d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.
    Another lovely day in Oxford so off to the garden now.

    1. Kath – Slightly tongue in cheek, does ‘My favourite was either 14a or 3d.’ break your single favourite principle? :unsure: :smile:

        1. And even if you had decided, surely it’s a woman’s right to change her mind – or so I’ve been led to believe :wink:

  15. Three stars for each category .
    3d is my favourite.
    Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay for this mornings entertainment.

  16. 2*/4* from me for this hugely enjoyable romp through crosswordland. 14a the outstanding clue, quite possibly of the whole week. Thanks to Jay for a lovely puzzle, and to the 2Ks.

  17. It’s all been said, super puzzle that I fairly romped through, dead on wavelength.
    I got 14a and 3d right away, that gave me a huge start.
    I’m so sorry it’s over, so hard to choose a fave. Top of the pops were 14a, 27a, 3d and 16d.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis. How do you pronounce Aotearoa?

    1. How to pronounce Aotearoa? Now there is a challenge.
      Like most Maori words, there is a general rule that equal emphasis goes on each syllable. Here we have 6 syllables a-o-te-a-ro-a. It gets a little complicated in our national anthem where to fit the tune there is an extra o syllable added after the ro.
      Hope that makes sense. Maybe some clever techie person can come to the rescue with an audio link to the correct pronunciation.

      1. I’m not remotely techie but I do know that if you put ‘pronounce Aotearoa’ into Google it brings up a you-tube audio.

      2. Thanks! I’ve been rolling it around on my tongue today and I think I got it right!

  18. **/*** for me. A few aha moments with favourites 11a&20d. Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay for a good cerebral workout.second day above 10c so spring is on the way. God bless those on the East coast.

  19. I’m with Senf on this, very tricky today and I’d give it a ***/*. Felt like Jay had a different hat on today, and I was definitely not on the right wavelength. I’m going to blame it on the possum in our back garden this morning, lying on his side, back legs twitching and a visibly racing heartbeat. Our local Humane Society came out within 20 minutes, but he had disappeared just before they got here. We thought he was on his way to possum heaven. They thought perhaps he had been hit by a car and was in shock, but then recovered. Hope so. And that was the start of our day… Thanks to 2Kiwis for the hints, otherwise I would have given up. I could have spent hours like Brian on this.

    1. We have a rabies scare in the Kendall area, please be careful about approaching a sick possum!

      1. Thanks Merusa. We took care not to get close, and thankfully our local Humane people are very quick to respond, this is the 3rd time we have had to call them, for different events.

  20. 14a – Nice to see a variation on the theme but “Kiss me, Hardy” (7,5) will always be my favourite clue!

    Many thanks to Jay for the puzzle and the 2kiwis for the blog.

    1. I know I had 14a as my clue of the week, but had your remembered version been used it would have made the shortlist for clue of the year. Very neat, very funny.

  21. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found quite straightforward. Except for 18&27a, where I needed the hints to parse them. 14a made me laugh, but my favourite was 3d. Was 2*/3* for me.

  22. Clean comb could have been groom (?) and I also got stuck with judgment for 17d which i now see was less than adequate as a solution – but that got me stuck on the priests !! Thanks to the hints I got the priests but still needed some help. I liked 5d

  23. Lots of great definitions like the bad speller in 1d, the arterial blockage in 1a or the kissing brothers in 14a made the solve a pleasure.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks.
    The preamble brought shivers down my spine. Very brave to go to an eye clinic. I couldn’t let anyone touch my eyes. Always wondered how people with contact lenses can put their fingers on them. Urghh.

  24. Morning all. There does seem to be a huge range of opinion on how difficult this puzzle was. We found it went together readily for us but opted to go with our gut instinct instead of just the clock in awarding difficulty stars. This is one aspect of blogging that seems to get more difficult to judge as one gets more experienced. We have now become accustomed to locking in to Jay’s wavelength very quickly but do appreciate that this is not the case for all solvers.
    Much of our country, especially the north, has had horrendous weather for the last week but it all seems to have passed on again now. Clear skies here but there is a definite autumnal feel to it. It has been a very short summer.

    1. You make an interesting point about degrees of difficulty and their marking. I have found that my average times have come down over recent years, but I’ve adjusted my ‘average’ down from three to two stars to reflect this.

      How does it work with two of you doing the puzzle? Does it speed it up, or slow it down? Two heads are not always better than one, especially if a wrong answer is inserted.

      1. We do the puzzles together because we enjoy the shared process. When we solve individually the time it takes is usually about the same or even a little shorter as we always ensure we have both understood each answer before we move on to the next one. We carefully note the time when we are doing the blog but normally we pay it very little attention. We compare solving crosswords to eating gourmet meals and see little merit in striving to finish them as quickly as possible.

  25. I cannot lavish enough praise on today’s puzzle, for me it was a sheer joy from start to finish and, in this solver’s humble opinion, as close to perfection as I’ve seen in a DT backpager. I was a little surprised to see that the level of difficulty has divided opinion, as I felt that, in common with everything else about the puzzle, it was pitched just right.

    The quality of the cluing was staggeringly good, and I’ve found it hard to single out particular favourites, but I believe 10a, 14a, 24a, 27a and 20d are worthy of special mention.

    Rufus was once my clear favourite of the regular weekday compilers, but in recent years Jay has seized that particular baton, and his level of consistency is so admirable.

    Huge thanks to Mr Mutch and to the 2Ks, whom I know from past comments are very grateful to have such quality gracing their usual Wednesday slot.

  26. Maybe ** for difficulty, this was a good mid-week puzzle that gave in gracefully, but not without the odd challenge. 5d’s sure to be an old one, but it still head me up for more time that was reasonable. Last in 23ac, where I’ll ask for a second opinion – I reckon it needs a hyphen at the very least, if not two separate words. No doubt the dictionary says otherwise. :-)

    1. The BRB has all three versions – hyphenated is adjectival (in poor health), two words is verbal (pursue), and one word is nounal (summary) – so it looks as though Jay mixed adjectival and nounal in his clue, but opted for nounal in the answer.

  27. Finished quite quickly for me, and enjoyed it. Had dilemma at 23a because ‘and worn’ is an anagram (out) of ran down, and although I couldn’t see how it fitted with ‘in summary’, I popped it in. Idiot.

  28. I rarely read the comments before I post my own, but for no particular reason, today I did. After reading a few, including those from Brian, I began to wonder if I’d just finished a completely different puzzle. I’d found little in the way of hold ups and was about to post to say how straightforward and enjoyable a solve it was. My thanks to the setter, I guess I must have been on your wavelength today. That said, I’m taking far too long with solving today’s Elkamete Toughie, having completed less than half so far.

  29. Well I had no problems with this, apart from 20d, which was a new word for me and I had to have a peek at the hint.
    I don’t think this was a monster by any means, but so much of this is about wavelengths..
    I liked 5d, probably an old fav for many.
    Thanks to 2xK’s and Jay….

  30. Surprisingly I disagree with Brian 😬 */*** for me Favourite 1a & 1d 😜 Lovely sunny day in the east of England 😎 Long may it continue, as always big thanks to the 2xKs and to Jay. Keeping a lookout for the north bound godwits 😉

  31. Splendidly doable challenge from the midweek master. Loved every clue. 11a reminded me of the tent my brother and I used to sleep out in the garden under, which attracted a jackdaw which used to bring us scraps of silver paper early every morning. Best puzzle for ages. Grateful thanks to Jay and the Ks. 2*/5*

  32. All over too quickly for me-quite surprised at myself seeing some of the other comments.

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