DT 28380 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28380

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28380

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hello everyone. Today we have no obscure plants, words, or historical figures, no cricket, and a great mix of clue types with some very smooth surfaces. This was probably my fastest solve of all the Tuesday puzzles I’ve blogged so far, but I’m putting that down to luck because there were definitely a few places where I know I would have been stymied not so long ago. While I’m giving it 2* for difficulty, I don’t have a lot of confidence in that rating and I look forward to hearing what everyone else thought of it. No problems with the enjoyment rating though, since this was a most entertaining tussle with some very clever clue constructions. As usual, I’m not brave enough to suggest a setter, but I do hope that they will drop in later to take credit for it and allow us to thank them in person.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons. Several of crosswordland’s usual suspects are hyperlinked to fuller explanations elsewhere on the site. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Cave if fool goes berserk in leader’s workplace (4,6)
OVAL OFFICE:  An anagram (goes berserk) of CAVE IF FOOL. The story behind this iconic image can be found here.

6a    Sailor the Spanish portrayed as murder victim (4)
ABEL:  A charade of one of the usual two-letter sailors and a Spanish definite article. This victim was murdered by his brother.

9a    Pretty thing in garden‘s become tedious after photo (10)
SNAPDRAGON:  Link together a casually-taken photo and a (4,2) phrase meaning “become tedious”.

10a   Sell loud record (4)
FLOG:  A charade of the musical abbreviation meaning loud and a written record.

12a   Hostility shown by bowler, perhaps English (4)
HATE:  The generic headwear of which bowler is an example (perhaps), followed by E(nglish).

13a   Sensitive about male emotion (9)
SENTIMENT:  Insert M(ale) into an adjective meaning sensitive or capable of sensation.

15a   Allow island journey? Go for it! (3,2,3)
LET IT RIP:  Assemble a verb synonym of allow, I(sland), and a four-letter word for journey.

16a   Shout about being taken in by fraud (6)
SCREAM:  A fraud or swindle containing (being taken in by) a standard abbreviation for “about”.

18a   Books bishop to visit area with dreadful slum (6)
ALBUMS:  Put B(ishop) inside the A from the clue and an anagram (dreadful) of SLUM.

20a   Doctor Smooth on mission to attain heavenly body? (8)
MOONSHOT:  An anagram (doctor) of SMOOTH ON.

23a   Uncompromising line by hospital department (9)
STRINGENT:  A noun synonym of line, followed by one of the usual hospital departments (not the emergency one).

24a   Promise ‘Road to Hell’ in prime locations (4)
OATH:  Prime here is being used in its mathematical sense. The word play is instructing us to extract the characters located at the prime number positions in ROAD TO HELL.

26a   Scrap coming back by motorway for test (4)
EXAM:  The reversal (coming back) of a verb meaning scrap, followed by M(otorway).

27a   Standard moan about current legislative body (10)
PARLIAMENT:  Follow a standard (score on a golf course, for example) with a synonym of moan that contains (about) the physics symbol for current.

28a   Support southern banker (4)
TEES:  A ball support used by golfers, followed by S(outhern). “banker” here means something with banks. This one is found in the north of England.

29a   Dear God! Man engineered the end of the world (10)
ARMAGEDDON:  An anagram (engineered) of DEAR GOD MAN.



1d    Evict rogues regularly behind in rent (4)
OUST:  Combine the even letters (regularly) of rOgUeS and the final letter (behind in) of renT.

2d    Some dread a man temping for firm (7)
ADAMANT:  Hidden inside (some …… for) the clue. The answer provides justification enough, I think, for this song from Alison Krauss and Union Station.

3d    Writings that could become modest talent (3,9)
OLD TESTAMENT:  These religious writings are an anagram (could become) of MODEST TALENT.

4d    Important part of body tires first (8)
FLAGSHIP:  A synonym of tires or grows weak precedes (first) a major skeletal joint.

5d    Jokers and clubs depressed bridge partners (6)
CLOWNS:  Assemble C(lubs), an adjective synonym of depressed or sad, and the abbreviations for one possible partnership of bridge players.

7d    Accept busy person embodies terrible evil (7)
BELIEVE:  The stingy insect often invoked to describe a busy person contains an anagram (terrible) of EVIL.

8d    Run off with one friend that’s genuine (10)
LEGITIMATE:  Concatenate an informal (3,2) phrase meaning “run off” or “run away”, the Roman numeral for one, and a good friend.

11d   Down one last rum after dance (12)
DISCONSOLATE:  A genre of dance associated with the late 70s and early 80s, followed by an anagram (rum) of ONE LAST. This calls for a sad song, so here’s Alison Krauss again, doing what she does best.

14d   Wash bedding that team wants to keep? (5,5)
CLEAN SHEET:  The answer is what a football team has if they didn’t concede any goals in a game. Taken literally it could mean “wash bedding”.

17d   Wrap run up with ailing leader in agony (8)
TORTILLA:  Link together the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a leisurely run, an adjective meaning ailing, and the first letter of (leader in) Agony.

19d   Gunners on board boat continued attack (7)
BARRAGE:  The two-letter abbreviation for the artillery arm of the British Army is placed inside (on board) a large flat boat.

21d   One’s short-tempered, a result of too much sun? (7)
HOTHEAD:  Split (3,4), the answer might describe a consequence of spending too long in the sun without a hat.

22d   Patch up and get married again? (6)
REPAIR:  Split (2-4), the answer might mean “getting married again”. Question for the experts: Is there an official name for clues like this and 21d, where the answer must first be split in some way to generate a cryptic correspondence with the part of the clue that isn’t the straight definition?

25d   Shock Scot and Ulsterman on vacation (4)
STUN:  “On vacation” here refers to what remains when the internal letters of a word are removed. So, we are being instructed here to combine the outer letters of ScoT and UlstermaN. This device is not uncommon over in Toughieland, but previous research suggests that today might be the first time that it’s been used on the back page.


Thanks to today’s setter for a very enjoyable solve. My favourite clue today was the clever and original 24a, with ticks for 6a, 29a, 5d, 8d, 11d, and 25d. Which clue topped your list?




The quickie pun brings to mind the classic album containing this fine track.


62 comments on “DT 28380

  1. 1*/3*. I enjoyed this. The top half was R&W for me but a few clues in the bottom half needed a bit of teasing out. Some of the surfaces were good but I thought that some were a bit iffy, e.g.: 1a & 17d.

    I thought 24a was very clever and would have liked it to have been my favourite, but I felt it was let down by the surface. Top spot today goes to 25d.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

  2. Good Heavens, are we the first in! This was a really quick solve for us but very enjoyable none-the-less. Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K. */****

  3. I thought this was slightly better than the usual Tuesday cryptic, so getting up to a rating of almost average. The clues are generally fine, but designed to be relatively mild/unchallenging with quite a few where the answer leaps off the page at you. But quite enjoyable – sorry I can’t be more enthusiastic than that. 2*/3*.

  4. Talking about sad songs by Alison Krauss, here’s one of my favourites from her 2001 album New Favourite, featuring the band Union Station. It’s called Momma Cried and it is a very sad song about a mother losing her daughter who was “snatched away”.

  5. Unlike RD at #1, I really liked 1a, reading ‘cave’as the Latin for care which made it work better with Trumpian undercurrents. That said, it is hard to look past 25d as the COTD. The construction is a newish device for me, and I thought it clever and concise. A couple of sticky clues in the SE corner pushed me into two star territory for difficulty, and overall this was 2*/3.5* for me.

    Thanks to both Misters involved.

    1. YS, I did consider the school slang use of “cave” in the sense that one of a group is asked to “keep cave” meaning to keep guard. But the surface only works if you use the precise translation from the Latin (“beware”), which I think is a step too far without indicating that the solver is looking for the translation of a foreign word, particularly one in a language which is extinct.

      1. I need to eat humble pie. I did what I should have done in the first place and checked my BRB to find “cave” is there as schoolboy slang for “beware”. So I can declare that I too now like 1a!

  6. I enjoyed this, if we ignore the banker. North went in almost of its own accord but the south needed me to locate my brain in its hidey-hole and ask it a couple of questions.

    I smiled to see 11d make its second Tuesday appearance in a row, and I like the clue too so that’s my favourite. Cheers!

    1. I couldn’t find 11d in DT 28374, did you mean a different clue or was it in a Toughie?

  7. Many thanks to the 2 Misters for an enjoyable and not too taxing puzzle..I got held up slightly in the SE corner because I had mi-spelt 29a and had 17d ending in an E. 1.5*/3*

  8. Quite enjoyed this. Made it more difficult by at first putting ‘stay’ in 28a. Needed the blog to fully understand ‘oath’, very good though. Thanks to the setter and MR K (by the way, Raising Sand has just dropped through the door – no doubt I will get to listen to it at some point when I am allowed access to my own cd player).

    1. When you work out just how good the track Trampled Rose is on Raising Sand you might enjoy it by its writer Tom Waits on the studio album Real Gone or the live album Glitter and Doom.

      1. Thanks for that MP – just played it and liked it so I’ve now got Real Gone on my playlist thingy! My favourite track on Raising Sand is “Sister Rosetta goes before us”. Don’t know why I’m telling you that – just felt like telling someone!
        Loved the crossword, managed to complete it unaided eventually. 24a was my favourite. How opinions differ! Just got to “Through the morning, through the night” – I now think this is my favourite track on the album. Ah well. Many thanks to Mr Kitty and Mister Ron

        1. Goodnight. I meant to say earlier that I think your answer STAY for 28a is actually a better fit to the clue, because “support” is a dictionary definition for it while “banker” is not a dictionary definition for the actual answer. If I hadn’t already had 14d in place when I got to that clue, I expect that I would also have written in STAY.

  9. */** for me, not too challenging and not too exciting with no standout favourite, although 14d raised a smile.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  10. An effortless exercise today but several nicely cryptic clues and not too many old chestnuts. Bunged in wrong second word for 14d so in 28a missed ‘banker’ and settled for pier. Thank you Messieurs Ron & Kitty.

  11. I agree with 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    Like most others so far I thought the top half was straightforward with a few at the bottom that needed thinking about.
    I always have to check the spelling of 29a although I’m not sure why.
    I would never ever have untangled 24a ‘all my own self’.
    I’ve never heard of 14d meaning anything other than its literal meaning but it’s in the BRB.
    17d was much easier once I realised that the ‘wrap’ was something you eat not something that keeps you warm.
    I liked 15 and 29a and 5 and 11d. My favourite was 27a.
    With thanks to whoever was responsible for today’s production and to Mr K, especially for the Lou Reed which I love.

  12. I enjoyed this one – as a relative newby, it’s nice to motor through half the clues before hitting a brick wall or two!

    I agree with previous posts noting that the south was more challenging.

    I admit that I reached out for assistance from Mr. K to finish the last couple of clues.

    Good fun – thanks!

  13. Well I must be in the minority I found it pretty tough. Couldn’t get on setters wavelength which is odd for Tuesday’s as usually they fall into place quite well.
    I look forward to a write in tomorrow. Thanks to Mr Kitty and to the setter.

  14. A very enjoyable workout for me. **/****

    I couldn’t parse 24A, but now that I know the logic, I think it’s my favourite clue. Also liked 27A, 1D, 11D, 14D, 25D. As with @Toadson above, I had ‘STAY’ in 28A for most of the time, which held me up – nice, as always, to see a clue with two possible valid answers.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K :-)

  15. Some excellent clues such as 14d and 4d but the second half of 24a leaves me speechless! Life is just too short for clues such as this, ridiculous! And can I respectfully suggest the device in 25d be left in Toughieland, ghastly.
    So because of those two clues which ruined an otherwise excellent crossword I must give it a miserly 2* for enjoyment.
    Thx for the hints

  16. For me there was no familiar ring to this puzzle and indeed even less so the Quickie so I would be fascinated to know who the setter is. 🤔

  17. Thanks for the blog (especially for the Lou Reed song), and to those who have commented.

    Apologies to those who weren’t happy with the surface to 1ac; I think this clue and the symmetrically-opposite answer at 29ac came about as a result of feeling concerned about the result of a recent election.

    Regarding 24ac and 25dn, it’s always challenging to clue short words in a way that perhaps hasn’t been seen too frequently before. If one takes 25dn, for instance, there are many obvious treatments, but one sees them all the time — reversal of a synonym for “mad”, removing the last letter of a word that means to limit the growth of, referring to “a good man, one in France”, inserting “you French” into something made of tin, putting an abbreviation for S onto a barrel, and so on. Whilst it’s good to see old favourites sometimes, I think it can get a bit tedious for both the setter and solver to use the same treatments over and over again. I agree that the very unusual treatments should stay in Toughieland, however!

    1. I had a feeling it was you, confirmed when I looked at a certain social media site this morning ;)

    2. Hello, Mister Ron. Thanks for posting and thanks for the fine crossword.

      Re 1a, I did appreciate the contemporary ingredient to the surface but, as one living it first hand, when it came to an illustration I decided to just go with something from happier times.

      Both 24a and 25d were highlights for me today. Great to see something new that requires some head-scratching to untangle. Please keep doing that.

    3. Mister R,
      Thank for the insights. The device in 24d was new to me, but legitimate. As you say life is about learning new things
      24a not as much for – I would say it was a “cricket clue” for mathematicians. However the answer was doable without understanding,
      17d deceived me & held out to last.
      Thank you for the enjoyment.

    4. Thank you Mr. Ron for (almost) coming into the open. Perhaps I will recognise your style next time!

    5. 1a went straight in for me, and one of my favorites for today. Made even better by Mr Kitty’s delightful picture which I had not seen before. Doubt we will see similar shot from current Oval Office occupier. 😊

  18. Top half virtually R&W, bottom half needed the brain to work a bit. 25a was favourite, a clever clue once I understood it. How often have I said that?
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mister Ron for calling in, and to Mr K for the review.

  19. I thought this was a first-rate puzzle, full of interesting and original constructions and clever wordplay. 25d was one of my favourites for the very reason that the setter gave, and I also warmed to 27a and 4d.

    9a has now featured twice in backpagers in 2017.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron and to Mister Kitty.

  20. Just heard that Colin Dexter, creator of the much-loved Morse and its offshoots, Lewis and Endeavour, died today.

    1. How sad.
      Young Morse is on French TV every Sunday night.
      So naughty.
      In the last two episodes he was on LSD, almost having it off with Mary Whitehouse daughter and then with the daughter of inspector Thursday.

    2. Yes – I heard that on the radio too – they played the ‘Morsey music’ which always reduces me to shreds.
      Colin Dexter was a lovely shy and retiring man – we (my collie, Annie, and I) used to bump into him sometimes if we went for a walk in the Oxford University Parks.

      1. Sorry to hear that RIP – Loved Morse and Endeavour, never got on with Lewis though…

    3. Very sad. We get Morse, Endeavour and Lewis on our public TV stations here in South Florida. Record and watch them all. There’s no detective tale quite like a British one.

  21. Really enjoyable puzzle, top half was so easy but bottom half was very tricky. I, too, put “stay” for 28a, that held me up far too long and put the difficulty rating up a * for me. Eventually I realised what 19d had to be, so I rethought 28a. I must say that I prefer our answer, Toadson.
    Fave was 1a, no prize for guessing why.
    Thanks to Mister Ron and to Mr. Kitty for the hints – particularly explaining 24a!

  22. */**-****. Very enjoyable if all too brief. My favourites were 9a&8d mainly because I like lego clues. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review.

  23. I did wonder about Mister Ron but, given my recent form, wouldn’t have been brave enough to commit had he not popped in before me!
    Some nice clues here but have to confess that ‘prime’ went over my head and I had a question mark alongside my answer.
    Top three places went to 23&27a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Mister Ron and to Mr. K for a very musical blog. Loved the pic of the church notice board!

  24. Oh what a perfect day and a perfect crossword.
    Tuesdays never fail.
    Nice anagrams in 1a, 3d and 29a.
    Liked all the 4 letter clues.
    Thanks to Mister Ron & Mr Kitty.

  25. We had the other alias of Mister Ron written in the margin as our guess on the setter. Nice to see that we got that right. Don’t remember encountering the way of identifying letters in 24a being used before, so that one gets our vote for favourite. 17d was our last in as it took a while to pick the definition. Good fun.
    Thanks Mister Ron and Mr K.

    1. I hadn’t seen the 24a device before and I couldn’t find it used in any back page clues. But I’ve now had a chance to look at toughies, where I find that it has been used a few times before:

      Fri 9 May 14 TOUGHIE 1185 Sparks Prime bits of hearty feed (3) EAT
      Fri 11 Sep 15 TOUGHIE 1464 Sparks Prime characters among lawmen, not a little inspiring (7) AWESOME
      Fri 18 Nov 16 TOUGHIE 1711 Notabilis Prime bits of Seattle found demolished (5) EATEN
      1. Thanks Mr K. We had probably done all those puzzles too. The Notabilis one is particularly clever in that he managed to use successfully the first five prime numbers and still keep a sensible surface reading. Very smart people these Kiwis!

  26. Thanks Heavens for this blog, having got 24a (it could not be anything else), I could have stared at that for 20 years and never parsed it!!! Thanks Mr.K.

    1. Lovely crossword, lots of great clues.
      13a held me up as I did not know the word for ‘sensitive’ and 4d as ‘tires first’ suggested the letter ‘t’, not to put a synonym for tires before he part of the body. Must remember that for the future.
      Fav was 1a, very clever.
      Thanks to the two “Mr’s”, great blog and great crossword, thanks…
      Took me five stabs to get this comment to load…

  27. Like several others the top half wrote itself but the lower half needed more consideration.
    29a is my pick, for the surface reading.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  28. Colin Dexter died today . I loved the way he included crossword clues in his books .May he rest in peace.

  29. Must admit I had no idea how ‘on vacation’ translated into take all the middle letters out.
    That’s probably why I never stray into ‘toughieland’!

    Enjoyed this very much and thanks for the hints.

    As for the music in 11d – I would’ve said it was more 70’s (Saturday night fever etc) however I’ve been wrong before!

    1. Yes, now that I think about it, I guess that music did start in the late 70s. I’ll update the hint.

  30. An enjoyable, pretty straightforward offering that must be close to a personal best for the Telegraph. If I hadn’t sensed that and began to panic towards the end it might have been faster still. :-)

  31. I find myself in complete agreement with Jon S, because I too found this Mister Ron so straightforward that it became one of my quickest back page solves ever. Unlike Brian, I liked both 24a and 25d if only because they were quite different to the sort of cluing we normally expect here. Top marks for enjoyment Mr Setter and also top marks to Mr Kitty for more Alison Krauss. Thanks both :-)

  32. As others North in in no time but a few in South had to be coaxed out. A couple of bung-ins ( 24a & 25d of course) then wrapped up in the wrong wrap for 17d, which was my LOI & gets COTD.
    Thanks to Mister Ron & Mr K for hints, needed to parse the two b-i’s.

  33. I struggled a bit more than warranted, probably because I started late in the day after appointments and errands. Not enough coffee this morning clearly.

  34. Enjoyable. My favourites are 6a, 9a, 29a, 7d, and 14d. My liking of photography and football might well have affected my judgment. Thanks for the hints. I needed them in the southern hemisphere. ***difficulty from me, but I plead a day after migraine as mitigation.

  35. Have had terrible trouble posting. Can’t be bothered to do it all again for the fourth time. Just to say ta to Mr K and Mister Ron for s lovely puzzle well reviewd.

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