DT 28385 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28385

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28385

Hints and tips by a happy Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Well what a weekend. My rugby watching pals and I visited Grantchester on Saturday morning and all agree what a beautiful village it is. Particularly The Orchard Tea Garden, The Red Lion, The Green Man and The Blue Ball. We then watched Coventry RFC beat Cambridge in the sunshine.

In yesterday’s preamble Senf mentioned the high cost of tickets to see the Nobel Literature Laureate when he appears there in July. I arrived home to find my tickets for the great man’s concerts had safely arrived. Five pairsof tickets for Cardiff, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Liverpool and London in May. Deep joy.

Then we have our annual tradition that bemuses me. Every year I set the alarm for 2am so Saint Sharon can put the clocks forward at the right time. Now please explain this. All over the country we mess with mechanical devices that have no physical connection to the sun. So how does it know to shine for an extra hour? It beats me but it always knows what we expect of it.

Rufus seems to know what we expect of him and he does just that today. If you do as the clue suggests you should solve this puzzle in reasonable time.

These hints and tips have been written on the fly as both Big Dave and I are going walkabout. Hopefully these hints will lead you the solution if you are struggling with a particular clue. As usual the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden beneath the spoilers. Have a nice day everybody.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    To order cab is essential (5)
BASIC: Anagram (to order) of CAB IS

4a    Shoe that’s in snakeskin (8)
MOCCASIN: A double definition. One being a simple shoe and the other a venomous American pit viper.

8a    Ian, bored, that could be carefree (8)
DEBONAIR: Anagram (that could be) of IAN BORED

9a    Takes in summer visitors (8)
SWALLOWS: Another double definition. The first a verb meaning to take in, engulf and cause to disappear and the second being winged, feathered and delightful

11a    Overweight boss is a fool (7)
FATHEAD: Take word that might describe an overweight person and add another word that describes the person in charge (of a school for instance)

13a    One is well rid of it (3,6)
ILL HEALTH: if one suffers this one is poorly. Rid of if one is not.

15a    Just a footballer playing the game (15)
STRAIGHTFORWARD: Begin with an adverb meaning based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair and add a footballer who is supposed to score goals

18a    He doesn’t have to be smart to fool the birds (9)
SCARECROW: A cryptic definition of a humanoid bird scarer

21a    The French prohibition on Middle East republic (7)
LEBANON: Use the French masculine word for the, add a three letter noun meaning a prohibition and use the word ON directly from the clue.

22a    It should make a Mexican less hot-headed (8)
SOMBRERO: A cryptic definition of a Mexican’s hat

24a    Liable to get broken English with unusual dialect (8)
DELICATE: Anagram (unusual) of DIALECT and the E from E(nglish)

25a    Clothes for soldiers cleaning drains? (8)
FATIGUES: A word used to denote a soldiers battledress is also a verb meaning to drain or tire somebody

26a    Old aircraft, many of them flown by youngsters (5)
KITES: A word used by early pilot to describe their aeroplanes is also the word used for a toy that flies in the air controlled by string


1d    A blooming comfortable place to be (3,2,5)
BED OF ROSES: this term used to describe a situation that is comfortable and easy has a floral allusion as indicated by the word blooming. It is a fair and honest description of Saint Sharon’s life with me.

2d    Disposed to use bar, he vandalises (8)
SABOTEUR: Anagram (disposed) of TO USE BAR

3d    Paper thrown at union meetings (8)
CONFETTI: As is often the case in crosswordland the union is a marriage and this clue refers to the ridiculous practice of throwing litter over the bride and groom as they leave .the church. For why? Lets hope the groom has more luck than this poor fellow

4d    Has a damaging effect on a heavenly body (4)
MARS: A double definition, the second being one of our solar systems planets.

5d    Army officer with what may be an excuse for a dog (6)
COLLIE: The abbreviated form of an army officer is followed by what may be a falsehood (excuse)

6d    List, with or without two opening items (6)
SCROLL: The whole answer here is a type of list. The answer without its first two letters is also a type of list.

7d    None of it is good, it’s said (4)
NEWS: The saying referred to here is No news is good news

10d    One might see flow in this game (8)
WILDFOWL: A strange clue the answer is a gamebird with the first four letters indicating an anagram of FLOW

12d    One can’t quite make up one’s mind to represent the rider (8)
DITHERER: Anagram (to represent) of THE RIDER

14d    She and Gary disastrously will make bloomers (10)
HYDRANGEAS: Anagram (disastrously) of SHE AND GARY

16d    Ruddy good fellow, but not Oxbridge material (8)
REDBRICK: The colour associated with ruddy is followed by a dated word describing someone who is a generous, helpful, and reliable person.

17d    Ample coming from British sailor and German worker (8)
ABUNDANT: Our usual abbreviated form of a sailor (able bodied seaman) is followed by the German word for AND plus a worker insect

19d    Approaching resort of St Malo (6)
ALMOST: Anagram (resort of) ST MALO

20d    I grew agitated about a little pest (6)
EARWIG: Anagram (agitated) of I GREW around (about) the letter A from the clue

22d    One’s among lesser fellows (4)
SERF: A lurker. Hiding away inside the letters of the clue.

23d    Does translating into verse (4)
ODES: Anagram (translating) of DOES

Thanks to 1d I have written this listening to Elvis Costello. What a fun way to start the day.

The Quick Crossword pun: cat+err+wall=caterwaul

70 comments on “DT 28385

  1. Definitely a 15a puzzle. Some may think it was too easy, but I thought that it was fun, and produced a few smiles. A couple of flowering things going on to brighten our day and a reminder that all being well, better weather will soon be on the way. I liked 1d and 3D, but not 20d …just for what it was. We used to call them a ‘forkytail’ in our part of the country. Glad you had a nice weekend Miffypops, and thank you for the review. Thank you too setter for a gentle start to the working week.

  2. Well that really was as easy as pie – possibly the most 15a ever – hence not much satisfaction to be had. A few lighter moments such as 3d, 7d and 16d. The Quickie was just that too. Look forward to a bit more of a challenge tomorrow. Thank you Rufus and MP.

  3. My word – what a difference it makes when MP is happy! The clip for 26a was quite the best you have ever given us and the Elvis Costello was listenable as well.
    As for the puzzle, I really enjoyed it and ‘ticks’ went to 25&26a plus 16d, with a special mention for Kath’s sake to 5d.

    Thanks to Rufus for a pleasant start to the week and to MP for being on fine form.

  4. I found this very amusing and enjoyable. Certainly on the easy side. I thought 7d and 8d were the trickiest to solve. Favourites were 1d and 9a. 1.5*/3.5* Many Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for explaining 7d for me.

  5. Bob Geldof used to sing about not liking Mondays. He had obviously never experienced the joy of a Rufus crossword on a Monday morning. Today’s offering was a light delight – 1*/4* – only pausing to check my BRB to find out what 4a had to do with snakes.

    Lots of smiles along the way with 25a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and the magnificent MP.

    1. I think 4a is a particularly serious beastie, can be fatal if bitten (by them, not if you bite one)

  6. Enjoyed this very much, though was held up by thinking that 4d was an anagram of star pretty stupid of me.

    I think the German word for ‘and’ is what you are looking for in 17d, not der, die or das.

    Thanks to Miffypops and to the setter for a lovely start to the week marred only by my dense-ness.

  7. 17d. I spotted your deliberate mistake! It’s the German word for “and” that’s needed. 😯

  8. Normal service has been resumed now that BST has started and ‘normal’ time zone differences have been ‘restored.’

    Rufus at his most benign, or, perhaps, it was the very pleasant Mouton Cadet Blanc that I finished off while completing today’s puzzle.

    Perhaps there were too many anagrams, but 10a was very clever.

    In the final analysis, favourite is 22a, a somewhat cryptic lurker.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  9. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, quite gentle except for 7d which defeated me. So much to smile about, 15,22,25a and 1&22d. My favourite was 6d. Was 1.5*/4* for me.

  10. For a couple of weeks it appeared that I was sort of on Rufus’ wavelength at last, but back to business as usual today with a time well into ***, if not **** territory. Oh well… Favourite clue today 10d.

  11. I had to look up the reference to snakes too, but otherwise an entry level puzzle. Preferred the AIO clues – 9a, 3d, 7d etc since ‘translating’ ‘does’ with three checkers is hardly a quiz.
    22d is neat so gets my vote. */***

    Thanks to setter and to MP; glad you’re evidently feeling better.
    PS The Sun doesn’t know when to shine, because it can’t tell the time – the Kremlin moves the Sun forward in the night.

  12. Despite my dislike of the grid and its four large black squares, this was a lovely anagram-fest and Rufus at his gentle best.

    My joint-favourites were 25a and 10d. 13a reminded me of an oxymoronic snippet of conversation between two teenagers I overheard on a bus a few years ago. Yoof 1: “I didn’t see you around yesterday?” Yoof 2:” No mate, I was well ill”.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops. I can confirm that Grantchester is very pleasant indeed, within walking distance of Cambridge too.

    P.S. Whether by accident or design, I do prefer the larger font used today.

    1. Similarly: ‘Who’s that girl I seen you wiv at the weekend?’
      ‘It’s I saw…’
      ‘Oh, right; who’s that eyesore I seen you wiv at the weekend?’

        1. On a vaguely related basis, Frank Carson circa 1982

          Sergeant-Major : “Private Carson!! I did not see you at camouflage practice today!!”
          Private Carson : “Thank you, sir”

  13. That was a walk in the park! I do enjoy a Rufus puzzle.
    Last in was 7d, and fave was 5d, particularly the pic.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for the fun.

  14. Rufus and the sun is shining; a nice combination to start the week! 7d was my last one in so therefore my fave. 1.5/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to man from L.I.

  15. Quite 15a with a lot of anagrams, but still a good start to the week. Favourite for me was probably the reverse anagram 10d, with 7d as runner-up. Thanks to Rufus for the fun and to MP for the amusing blog and the Elvis Costello.

    1. I have absolutely go idea why 10d is what it is, it was an obvious bung-in.
      I have tried several times to understand what a ‘reverse anagram’ is and failed every time. There is not even a ‘d’ in the clue??

      1. Anagram indicator is ‘wild’. So the reversal bit is ‘w******l’split 4,4 = ‘flow’

        1. Thanks both yes, I got there in the end.
          Out of interest, did either of you get it from the wordplay, or like me, bung-in what it obviously was and then work out why??
          MP – Cheers for the blog, hope you are on the mend.

          1. I remember a long time ago a clue being ‘Gegs?’ 9,4: it stuck in my memory as a rather clever device. So yes and no; I bunged it in but recognised the mechanics of it with a smile immediately.

              1. It is scrambled ‘eggs’ though, is it not? – so it is a definition in itself.
                Nice to hear from you. Maybe Mr K will have a look…?

                1. Hi, LbRoy. I can’t find anything like that in my database. Perhaps it was somewhere other than the Telegraph?

          2. Often reverse clues do get bunged in and then worked out, but pleasingly for me today it went the other way: I thought, “it is clearly somethingfowl … now what anagram indicator will go before that? Oh yes.”

  16. A lovely Rufus start to the week, and thanks to Miffypops we will be googling Grantchester to see if we can include it on our next trip home. Already have Long Itchenor and the b&b by Hadrian’s wall on that list. Favorites today were 15a and 3d.

    1. As MP says Grantchester is a lovely spot on the river. In fact it is possible to hire a boat (punt) to go there from Cambridge City Centre and then afternoon tea is a must as Rupert Brooke of course wrote his poem “The Vicarage, Grantchester” when he was in Berlin in 1912. The poem ends by saying “In Grantchester ………….. Stands the clock at ten to three, And is there honey still for tea?” Beware the village/Tea Room get very busy in summertime.

      1. Thanks. As our friends are planning on moving, perhaps, from Chesterfield to Stamford, this should be a good outing for them, and us when we next visit.

  17. It was an easy start to the week with eight anagrams, no obscure words – easy-peasy, lemon squeezie!

    I was listening to Radio 4 Extra on Sunday morning when my DAB Radio went from 0.59 am straight to 2.00 am – it seems to me one of the very few benefits of DAB Radio – they’re definitely not all that what they were cracked up to be!

    I watched Saracens v Bath yesterday – a great game – Saracens are really strong, it’ll take a good team to beat them!

  18. Easy as pie but a very enjoyable puzzle from Rufus…*/****
    Thanks to Miffypops for his always entertaining blog!

  19. */***. By far the most benign puzzle for a Monday in ages. Pleasant if too many anagrams. Thanks to Rufus and MP for the hints which were not needed today. I did like MPs clip for 26a. The music is BA’s theme tune and is always the beginning of our next adventure which this week begins on Wednesday as we head to Abu Dhabi to start a voyage ending in Athens. Bring it on!

  20. Well I’m a bit of a beginner at cryptic xwords so this gave me plenty of confidence! Just the NE corner flumoxed me, I was sure that 4d was tars, [anagram of star] D’oh! Once that was corrected the rest was 15a, ha ha. 7d was a good ‘un.

    1. I’m using my tablet so can’t tell if you have been here before. Anyway, welcome. I hope you’ll come back again with more comments

  21. Lovely and 15a.
    The double-unches of 6d an 7d were difficult to finish and both were wild guesses that happened to be correct.
    Re an earlier comment, i understand 10d now, but I would never be be able to spot one in a crossword, I would always have to work back from a bung-in.
    This was Rufus at his best.
    Fav was 3d,
    Thanks Rufus and MP

  22. I have been following this site for several years. I only ever seem to buy the Telegraph on a Monday and the crossword sees me through most of the week! With the help of the Monday crew I sometimes get it finished but never without having to resort to the assistance of this great site. However, today I completed the whole thing without visiting BigDave and his assistants. The first time I have ever managed this! Sitting in the van in the site carpark at lunchtime (I am site chippy), sun shining and a stupid grin on my face.

    Sorry for the ramble but I had to tell someone!

    1. Congratulations Chippydave. Very well done. Feel free to reward yourself with something nice to celebrate.

    2. Well done. Hope tomorrw’s customers will be impressed by their fish & chips wrapped in the Telegraph with the crossword completed!

  23. Lovely start to the week 😊 Nice and straightforward and very entertaining */*** Thanks to Mp and to Rufus. Liked 21a & 9a “The welcome guest of settled Spring” 🌼

  24. A nice gentle start to the week, all really well clued and 15 across. 6 down last in and the only one to give me any moments of hesitation. Favourite clue was probably 10 down. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  25. Whizzed through it but never got 7 Down (news)
    that’s the beauty of crosswords

  26. I can’t really add much today. I’d echo the comments and favourites of most, only I’m a bit confused as to what possible justification there could be for the “cleaning” in 25a. (Well, other than making a nice polished surface, of course.)

    9a generated by far the biggest smile.

    Thanks to Rufus and the happy one. I liked the 3d cartoon.

    1. Put a comma after ‘cleaning’ = clothes worn for regular tasks; chores/cleaning?
      I may be wrong, I am currently suffering from a bout of moderation*. No change there, then.

  27. Fun, enjoyable hassle-free the epitome of what Monday should be.
    No real favourites.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP: the puzzle and blog / illustrations up to usual high standard.
    MP, in case you didn’t see my late post.
    Really? Yes really
    Who? Sir Martin Evans NL for Medicine in 2007. His golf is of a somewhat more modest standard however.

  28. Very 15a except 7d, which I guessed at (and got wrong). Overall, 1*/3* looks about right. My top two clues were 10d and 17d. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  29. Enjoyed this, though i stupidly misspelled 4a.

    was pleased to see the country where i grew up – I went to an American High School in Beirut, Lebanon. I loved it, I spent lots of time hiking and camping, following rivers from their source in the mountains until they met the sea. I was lucky to be there in a time of peace – I had left before the civil war started, and I haven’t been back. One day.

  30. As always with Rufus, a lesson in how to set a crossword. Short, neat clues and invariably fair. I thought 19d was a very nice little anagram. The surface reading was particularly good

  31. The weekly cryptic prize puzzle in the DT online website is a great puzzle this week, for anyone who is bored.

  32. Was storming through this one – enjoyed the penny-dropping moment with the reverse clue in 10d.
    Finally was stuck on 7d, until my eleven year old son got it – the crossword will never be just mine again!

  33. Lovely crossie. Agree with MP’s rating. Ex YT clip on the Kites – kept thinking ‘he’s gonna schtoof one in’ but happily he was more skilled than that. Tick to 17d.

Comments are closed.