DT 28381 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28381

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28381

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
We’re about to start our time hopping season again. In a few days when UK Summer Time starts we will get the puzzles one hour earlier than at present and the following weekend we end our own Daylight Saving Time and move another hour. For us this means that our solving and blogging time changes from being an early afternoon activity to a late morning one. None of this makes the slightest difference to most of you though as the blogs will still be scheduled to appear at morning coffee time if that is what you have for elevenses.
Jay has given us a feast of enjoyable clues again with a few such as 9a that we liked especially.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Treacherous person upended Scotsman’s stuff on the road (6)
TARMAC : A treacherous person or deserter is reversed (upended) and the cryptic crossword Scotsman when it is not Ian.

5a     Inflates benefits to include everybody (8)
BALLOONS : A three letter word meaning everybody is inside a word for benefits.

9a     Mostly firm rear — hard to express disapproval! (8)
HARRUMPH : A word meaning firm (that actually also occurs later in the clue) loses its last letter. Next we have a word for rear or hind quarters and the abbreviation for hard.

10a     High-ranking officer dismissing line in groups (6)
GENERA : These are biological groups. Remove the abbreviation for line from a senior army officer.

11a     Navigator chap welcomes legal wrangling (8)
MAGELLAN : A chap or adult male surrounds an anagram (wrangling) of LEGAL.

12a     Glutton needing long time to get responsibility (6)
PIGEON : The animal that we associate with gluttony and a long period of time.

13a     Dramatic summoning by old flame (8)
EXCITING : The two letter word for a previous lover and then a word for summoning or legally calling to account.

15a     Sort of hug stomach? (4)
BEAR : Stomach here is a verb and the hug is ursine.

17a     Diplomatic approach sees bill on time (4)
TACT : This bill is not one that you pay but a parliamentary proposition. It follows the abbreviation for time.

19a     Flag of current Queen (8)
STREAMER : A current of flowing water and the Queen’s regnal cypher.

20a     The French will get fit for this sporting competition (6)
LEAGUE : The French definite article and another word from the French for a fit as a medical condition.

21a     Church must accept shortly one’s to make saint (8)
CANONISE : The abbreviation for the Anglican Church surrounds a word for shortly or soon and ‘one’ written as the Roman numeral with the ‘S.

22a     Gives a lift to American country folk full of love? (6)
HOICKS : The letter for love as a tennis score is inside an American equivalent of a yokel.

23a     Little songbird making teachers brood? (8)
NUTHATCH : The three initials that represent teachers as a group and then a brood of poultry.

24a     Sporting meet worried slimy cop (8)
OLYMPICS : An anagram (worried) of SLIMY COP.

25a     Feel an aversion towards international following first couple of defeats (6)
DETEST : The first two letters of defeats precede an international sporting fixture.


2d     This list should show the fare for Paris (1,2,5)
A LA CARTE : The fare here is not the cost of travel , but sustenance.

3d     One makes a killing twice regarding instrument that’s beaten up (8)
MURDERER : We need to work at this one from the bottom, clued by the word ‘up’. We have the abbreviation for regarding, or about, repeated and then the instrument that’s played by being beaten.

4d     Firm with politician within the law, but sharing guilt (9)
COMPLICIT : The abbreviation for company or firm, then the one for a member of parliament and a word meaning within the law.

5d     Posterior and chest seen, sadly in secret (6,3,6)
BEHIND THE SCENES : A word for posterior or rear and an anagram (sadly) of CHEST SEEN.

6d     Liberal European circle supports end of inane ogling (7)
LEERING : Abbreviations for Liberal and European and the last letter of inane are all before a word fo a circle.

7d     Little work of note? (8)
OPERETTA : A cryptic definition of a short, light musical drama.

8d     Inactive sort of party needing new worker (8)
STAGNANT : This sort of party signifies the end of bachelorhood, then the abbreviation for new and a worker insect.

14d     Proposed to show agreement with poor inmate locked in (9)
NOMINATED : An anagram (poor) of INMATE is inside the head movement made to show agreement.

15d     Times grabs a couple of students who heard commotion (8)
BALLYHOO : A two letter word that is the equivalent to ‘times’ in Maths surrounds ‘A’ from the clue and the repeated abbreviation for learners. Finally we have three letters that sound like ‘who’.

16d     Financial check covering account year — that’s daring (8)
AUDACITY : A check of one’s finances surrounds the abbreviation for account and then the abbreviation for year.

17d     Discharge business coaches with one missing turn (8)
TRANSACT : Coaches can be railway carriages or teaches (either meaning works here). Remove the Roman numeral one from this word and then a term for a turn as seen on stage.

18d     Greek island fires cavalry (8)
COSSACKS : A three letter Greek island, and then fires or dismisses from employment.

19d     Snobbish — and mystified at university (5-2)
STUCK-UP : Mystified or immobilised by confusion, and then a two letter word meaning at university.

We had ticks beside 9a, 22a, and 17d, and from that we picked 9a as favourite as it was our last one in.

Quickie pun   parcel    +    owner    =    Barcelona

79 comments on “DT 28381

  1. 4*/5*. Tough but very enjoyable today, this was one of those puzzles that needed persistence but which all gradually fell into place with lots of smiles along the way. Any puzzle that is able to include words like 9a, 22a & 15d without sacrificing smooth surfaces deserves the highest praise.

    My only slight concern is, can “upended” in an across clue really be used as a reversal indicator?

    I needed to consult my BRB twice: firstly to confirm that my answer to 12a could mean “responsibility”; and secondly to check that the first word of 19d is synonymous with “mystified”.

    Choosing a favourite from so many excellent clues was tough too but I’ll settle for my last one in, the wonderful 9a, plus a special mention too for 15d.

    Many thanks to Jay (not only for such a splendid puzzle but also for clearly indicating that the word for country folk in 22a is a US term!) and to the 2Ks.

    P.S. Now for yet another Petitjean Toughie. It’s great to see that the DT Crossword editor has so many of these up his sleeve.

  2. Fully agree with the 2Ks views on this one, and their favourite, although 24a came close because I loved the idea of slimy cops which made me laugh. Two or three words are not in common use, but fun nonetheless.Thanks Jay for a splendid start to a damp Marches Wednesday, and to our friends down under. 2*/4*.

  3. Plain sailing apart from 9A & 22A which put it into ***/**** territory for me. Thanks to the setter & the 2 K’s for their review.I do believe the rain is stopping at long last.

  4. I didn’t find this particularly difficult, though I was ready to deep six my print-out when I came to 22A. I dislike Americans who live in rural communities often being referred to in crossword -land as hicks or rednecks every bit as much as RD dislikes “Americanisms” in general. On the plus side, I singled out 1A, 9A and 15D for special mention. Thanks Jay and the two Ks.

    1. Am I the only one on this side of the pond who had to look in the BRB for the meaning of “deep six”?

      “Two nations divided by a common language”?

  5. Quite straightforward but great puzzle. 2*/4* for me. I especially liked 9a, 15d and 22a. I had to check 12a in the dictionary.

  6. **/*** for me. I made a ‘fist’ of the NW by ‘solving’ 1a for a treacherous person (sort of) rather than stuff on the road. Got it right in the end. Like Rufus on Monday, Jay ‘imitating’ Ray T in 19a.

    Favourite, 9a, although 23a came close.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. Colin Dexter was a charming man. I met him a few years ago and we subsequently corresponded briefly. He wrote 2 general studies textbooks with my old history master, before he turned to fiction.I have an autographed copy of his book on solving cryptic crosswords.
        One of his best jokes was: “Wagner is not as bad as he sounds.”

        1. That Wagner joke has certainly stood the test of time. It was popularized by Mark Twain, who apparently got it from Bill Nye.

  7. Middle-of-the-road difficulty for me. Took two visits, mainly because of a mis-spelling. Liked the little encountered words (cue Mr Kitty) so 9a my COTD.
    Couldn’t see pigeon as responsible in my BRB or my Collins Thesaurus, probably just me being slow.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks for the explanations

    1. It’s in my Chambers Thesaurus. I had to check it, never heard that other meaning. I was also amazed at how many synonyms there were!

    2. Here are some past appearances of 12a. The third uses another unusual meaning of the word, namely to hoax or gull. The last one has nothing to do with today’s usage, but it’s in because it made me smile (for those who don’t know, Sergio Aguero is a striker who plays for Manchester City Football Club).

      Mon 27 Jan 03 CRYPTIC 23962 Concern for bird (6)
      Thu 21 Jun 07 CRYPTIC 25336 Responsibility of carrier, perhaps (6)
      Tue 22 Jun 10 TOUGHIE 375 Busman Gull. Yes and no! (6)
      Fri 31 Oct 14 TOUGHIE 1285 Osmosis One fancied Aguero to score regularly during leg (6)
    3. And here are past appearances of the obscure ingredient of 20a as it’s used today.

      Thu 5 Feb 04 CRYPTIC 24282 Fit for university in time (4)
      Thu 3 Apr 08 CRYPTIC 25581 Fit to contend without run (4)
      Sat 14 Jul 12 CRYPTIC 26918 Fit in extra guest (4)
      Sat 2 Jan 16 CRYPTIC 28000 Fit time around university (4)
  8. Very enjoyable and fairly plain sailing I thought. My favourites were 9,10 and 12a. I dont think I have heard of 22a since my childhood, which was a very long time ago. 2*/4* Many thanks to Jay for an excellent puzzle and to 2kiwis.

  9. Enjoyed this and was feeling rather smug until I checked this great review from the 2Kiwis. I’d put a question mark against my answer for 13ac to check the parsing and realised that I was on a loser the moment I’d convinced myself that the answer to 4dn was “compliant”. This led me to “exalting” for 13ac – should have risked the back and picked up the BRB from the floor! So, I can’t claim 2 days running now. Many thanks to the 2Kiwis and Jay – I’ll try harder with next weeks.

  10. Very much enjoyed this one – particularly the delightfully old-fashioned words used in 9&22a plus 15d. All of them are so expressive!
    Also noted 15a & 16d as worthy of mention.
    Wonder whether it is entirely coincidental that 12a appears on the same day as we get another treat in the form of a PJ Toughie?

    Thanks to Jay and also to 2Ks for their usual high standard review.

    1. Jane, the only problem with your 12a theory is that Petitjean’s surname is spelled differently.

        1. Thanks, RD – that’s exactly what I was thinking. Today’s Quickie pun demonstrates that almost anything is permissible!

          1. Does RD do the Quickie?

            He has not yet expressed disapproval of 3d (in the Quickie)

            1. I only do as much as I have to in order to work out the pun. Occasionally that involves doing one or two of the intersecting down clues but I didn’t need to today, and I’m not going to look now as Jay is in my good books at the moment …

  11. Must have my kleenex hat on this morning but I cannot see a responsible pigeon. Easily conned yes

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment so this one needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

  12. Much better than yesterday’s offering, very enjoyable especially 9a and 4d.
    I think this is verging on ****/**** for me enough head scratching to make it entertaining.
    I must ask my daughter who knows about how the brain works why some days it’s a walk in the park and on others a real struggle.
    Thanks to the 2Ks and to Jay.

  13. Our dictionary shows “pidgin” as meaning ” responsibility” not ” pigeon” ?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Pat.
      The ODE gives this example: Hermia will have to tell them first, it’s her pigeon.

  14. Good Wednesday fare with the three unusual clues making for a fun solve. 9a was favourite and overall 2/3.5*.Incidentally, surely the expression ‘Hicks from the sticks’ has been around in this country for yonks hasn’t it?
    Thanks to Jay, and the 2K’s for their review.

    1. What about Tony Hicks from The Hollies? He’s been around for yonks. In any event it’s a good excuse for this:

      For those who don’t like the music, you might like the picture …

      1. Remember regularly going to see them at Altrincham town hall and Sale RAF club. Think the admission charge was between 2s 6d and 5s in those days!

  15. Well I solved this in 1* time, but the unusual words make it a 3* for enjoyment. I cannot understand how I manage to solve ones that others find difficult. I’ll probably now spend 3 hours on the Quick Crossword.

    1. Same here. In fact I think this was a record solve time for me and yet I’ll usually flounder for ages with the Monday offerings that so many find very straightforward.

  16. We fairly flew through this. Having seen the comments so far, it seems we must have been totally on message with Jay, unusually. 1*/3* we thought.

    Favourites were 9a and 15d. Saw no mention of that meaning of pigeon in the BRB which, we thought, is meant to be the gold standard for solving DT puzzles.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay.

    1. Try this for 12a:

      BRB second definition of pigeon ‘same as pidgin’

      BRB definition of pidgin includes concern

      Small Red Book listing for responsibility includes both pidgin and concern

    2. Glad it’s not just me! If we are really meant to equate Pidgin with Pigeon and then discover the meaning, then in my book it’s a dreadful clue!

  17. Had this puzzle down for a **/**** on completion and thought the cluing was top drawer.
    Loved the surface of 11a, and 9a was a new word for me, 15d also stood out.
    Thanks 2K’S for the pics -we’ve got a 23a in the garden, tell tale shape, looks like a triangle with legs !

    1. We’re glad we got the 23a pic right. We do not have the bird in our part of the world and had to trust that Google Images were telling the truth.

  18. A hat trick of enjoyable and solveable crosswords! Hurrah 😃 */*** I am not sure of the relationship between pigeon and responsibility 🤔 Big thanks as always to Jay and the 2xKs, liked the photo at 23a. Favourites 21a and 15d 😉

  19. Love Jay’s puzzles – almost R&W but smiling all the way through, and we’ve got PJ to look forward to. Fab.
    Thanks Jay for yet another very nice puzzle, and to 2ks for taking the time to do the blog.

  20. Lots to enjoy from Jay. 9a 22a and 15d particularly made me smile as I don’t come across these words much these days!

  21. I could just combine RD’s and LetterboxRoy’s comments but I’ll do it ‘my own self too’. 2* difficulty and 5* for enjoyment.
    What a fabulous crossword and just what was needed on the miserable kind of day that it is in Oxford.
    Jay does go in for words that were used often by my Dad such as 9 and 22a – I’ve also seen ‘poppycock’, ‘baloney’ and ‘balderdash’ in his crosswords in the past.
    I needed the BRB for 22a as I don’t think I’ve ever written it before but, if I had, I probably wouldn’t have had a ‘C’ in it.
    Also needed the BRB to check Expat Chris’s ‘deep six’ which is something I’ve never heard of.
    So many good clues today that I’ll just mention my favourite which was 9a.
    Thanks to Jay and to the Kiwis.
    Now on to the PJ Toughie.

  22. Found this one from Jay a little tough and needed a few hints from 2Kiwis to finish, thanks. Hadn’t heard of that Greek island in 18d, and wanted to put hoists in 22a, but could see it wasn’t quite right. Favorite was 5d. Off to walk the mall, and perhaps a Starbucks break and a stab at the Toughie.

  23. **/****. Very nice mix of clues with some making the premier league. 9a was my favourite. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for the review.

  24. Like everyone else, found this a super puzzle, but I thought it was Jay at his most benign.
    I loved the “rum” answers. I used to subscribe to Punch and 9a was the sort of word they used. I do miss Punch. The other day I remembered Clement Freud describing high-fibre bread as like eating toenail clippings!
    My fave was the wonderful 9a, but almost any other would qualify.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the fun.

  25. Yet another superb Jay puzzle. We are so spoilt.

    I’m firmly with the majority it seems in nominating 9a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and the 2Ks.

  26. A good puzzle with the clues in the bottom left corner pushing it into 3 star difficulty for me , even though 15d is a word I use .
    Thanks to the kiwis and Jay.

  27. No great problems and good fun but 12a still has me puzzled. Not sure I understand why Pigeon is Responsibility. Nothing in the BRB seems to fit, so a bit of a mystery.
    Thx to all.

    1. Brian,
      I guess that “concern” is responsibility as in “It’s your concern”.

      However having to go from pigeon to pidgin then concern to responsibility is stretching synonyms to their elastic limit (assuming Hooke’s Law applies to synonyms) to me.

        1. Thanks Stan,
          If it’s not clear in BRB try the small print, or another dictionary or another. Question is when do you stop?

      1. Clues only have to suggest a word. It becomes a bit boring when the clues are all anagrams, instructions and usual suspects. I enjoy that extra bit of imagination sometimes, they are often the best penny-drop moments for me :smile:

  28. Just looked up Pidgin in the BRB and it gives:
    A Chinese corruption of business (also pidgˈeon or pigˈeon)
    Affair, concern (also pidgˈeon or pigˈeon; informal)
    Any combination and distortion of two languages as a means of communication
    Once more no mention of responsibility.

  29. Had to check the responsibility in 12a, the lift in 22a and the bird in 23a.
    Hesitated on the first letters of 9a as they appear in the clue.
    We usually see ague as a disease or a fever if my memory serves me right but didn’t know it was a fit.
    Favourite 8d. Smooth.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks.

  30. Some strange words today 9a & 15d plus some rarities 11a & 23a

    Never heard pigeon in that sense 12a

  31. Morning all.
    We have just woken up to hear the news of the horrendous events that have been happening in London. Our thoughts are with you all.
    Can’t remember a time when there has been such universal agreement on a favourite clue. 9a seems to hit the spot for everyone. Surprised at so much discussion about pigeon for responsibility. We use BRB a lot when we are writing the hints to make sure we have our definitions correct but we had not considered that that one needed checking. Perhaps it is in more general use here. In contrast the ‘deep six’ that Expat Chris used in her comment was totally new to us.

    1. Yes, it seems that nowhere in Europe, indeed, in the world, is safe from these dastardly brigands. It’s really sickening and I hope they have found them all.

    2. Incredible – what a small world. I have been out all day so haven’t heard any news but I have just read about the dreadful incidents in London in your Comment 2Ks so will now switch on the BBC News.

  32. Another straightforward offering, * for difficulty, top marks for entertainment value. Last in 16d and 20ac. One unknown for me at 11ac, but the cryptic part left little doubt as to the outcome.

  33. Lovely crossword from Jay, though my thoughts turn to my fellow Londoners caught up in today’s tragedy.
    I have never seen so many police at London Bridge carrying M16’s tonight.
    As for the crossword, favourite was 9a.
    Thanks Jay and 2xK’s

  34. Can’t add much about the puzzle to what has already been said. Thanks to Jay for the crossword and to the 2Ks for a great review.

  35. Once again a nice gentle puzzle from Jay, with some entertaining clues. I liked 9a, having been caught out by the word in a crossword once before. Favourite was 18d, but 12a quite appealed. Thanks to Jay and to 2Ks.

  36. Omitted to comment earlier but for me this was one of the best and I really enjoyed every minute of the solve. West beat East to the finishing post. So many smooth surfaces and original clues but agree 9a has to be Fav. Thanks Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  37. Compared with this, pie is difficult, for me at any rate. Which is good because I’ve had a trying day and tomorrow will be tryinger. Ta to Jay and the Ks. 0.3*/3*

  38. Slogged a2ay all day at this but could not get pigeon at all, despite ‘it’s your pigeon’ ringing a bell. However, pleased that I got the rest.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis for the hints.

  39. This one was very good – fairly challenging and an enjoyable solve; significantly better than the first two of the week. I can’t find pigeon = responsibility in the BRB, LRB or the SOED but it is in Collins Online and I have often heard expressions such as: “That’s his pigeon”. 3.5*/4*.

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