DT 28388 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28388

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28388

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. As usual on a non-Ray T Thursday I’m not making any guesses about who set today’s crossword. I found it quite tricky to get started, which is why I’ve given it 3* for difficulty, but most things fell into place once I got a few answers in – a couple of them made me panic a bit.

There didn’t seem to be very many anagrams but there are quite a few that involved removing first letters.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            Musician’s recital stint broadcast (12)
CLARINETTIST — An anagram (broadcast) of RECITAL STINT

9a            Rural traveller seeing someone taking risks by river — not good (7)
RAMBLER — Begin with a person taking risks often of the financial kind and swap its first letter for the usual one letter abbreviation for R(iver) – (River not Good).

10a         Booze, old style, and stagger — trouble by the sound of it (4,3)
REAL ALE — Two homophones (by the sound of it). The first sounds like stagger or lurch and the second like trouble or afflict. I’m not sure about the old style unless it’s that there are fewer and fewer pubs serving it – anyone got any better ideas?

11a         Top arguing in court, rejecting pressure (7)
LEADING — A verb meaning arguing in a court of law without its first letter (rejecting P[ressure])

12a         Italian singers in operas composed with no end of style (7)
SOPRANI — An anagram (composed) of IN OPERAS, without the last letter or end of styl[E]

13a         Distortion in soft sweet (5)
FUDGE — A double definition.

14a         A crew lent out for community service (3,6)
LAW CENTRE — An anagram (out) of A CREW LENT. This is something I’ve never heard of.

16a         Make stronger use of religious education? (9)
REINFORCE — The two letters meaning R(eligious) E(ducation) are followed by seven more which, if split 2,5, can mean ‘use’ or ‘apply’. Sorry – this isn’t the best hint ever and explaining the answer caused me some trouble. Thanks to the 2Kiwis for the moral support.

19a         Gentleman confronting two bridge players — one sounds the alarm (5)
SIREN — A respectful way of referring to a man or one who has been knighted is followed by (confronting) two opposing bridge players.

21a         Drunk needs bit of advice, getting escorted after parking (7)
TIPPLED — Begin with a bit of advice or a hint, follow that with the one letter abbreviation for P(arking) and finish it off with the past participle of a verb meaning to escort or guide.

23a         Mistake regarding small footwear (4-3)
SLIP-ONS — A mistake or blunder is followed by a short word meaning regarding or concerning and then the one letter abbreviation for S(mall).

24a         Work extremely large amount to see marsupial (7)
OPOSSUM — Lego time – begin with the abbreviation for a musical work, follow that with two letters that mean extremely large or outsize and finish it off with an amount or total.

25a         Curious dance card (7)
ODDBALL — A word meaning curious or a bit strange rather than inquisitive is followed by a formal dance.

26a         Pugilist with sweat covering face — ‘Hang on!’ we hear (12)
WELTERWEIGHT — Two parts to this one – a word that means sweat or endure great heat without its first letter (covering face) is followed by a homophone (we hear) of an instruction to ‘hang on’ or ‘don’t do anything for the moment’.



1d            Understanding group of high-ranking officers (7)
COMMAND — A double definition – they’re both nouns.

2d            What late-night barman will do clearing clubs is unsurpassed (3-4)
ALL-TIME — Something that a late night barman or pub landlord does in order to get rid of everyone when it’s very late and he needs to close without the first letter (clearing or removing the one letter abbreviation for C(lubs).

3d            Mercenary perhaps in Irish uniform (9)
IRREGULAR — The two letters for IR(ish) are followed by a word meaning uniform or even.

4d            Precious items not given introduction but they have titles (5)
EARLS — Some semi-precious jewels formed in oysters without their first letter (not given introduction).

5d            Long walk exciting a priest (7)
TRAIPSE — An anagram (exciting) of A PRIEST.

6d            Builders’ material is transported round a US city (7)
SEALANT — The A from the clue and an abbreviation for a US city – not NY this time but the other one in California – go inside (round) a word that means transported or dispatched. I had no idea that I knew as many kinds of building materials until I went through several before I hit on the right one.

7d            Public relations speech about biography’s rapid growth (13)
PROLIFERATION — The two letters for P(ublic) R(elations) are followed by a speech or an address which contains (about) someone’s memoirs or history.

8d            Incandescent with rage referring to others? (6,7)
BESIDE ONESELF — A double definition.

15d         Eccentric owns teeth sharpener (9)
WHETSTONE — An anagram (eccentric) of OWNS TEETH.

17d         Young offender to stray — or get better? (7)
IMPROVE — This young offender is a naughty child rather than one likely to end up in the juvenile courts and he, or she, is followed by a verb to stray or wander.

18d         Site of professional shooting? (4,3)
FILM SET — The professional shooting here produces something likely to end up in the cinema.

19d         Asian language retained by extremists in struggling party (7)
SHINDIG — An Asian language of Northern India goes inside the first and last letters (extremists in) of S(trugglin)G.

20d         Olympic city with diplomatic approach that’s read as a severe warning (4,3)
RIOT ACT — The city that hosted last year’s Olympics is followed by a diplomatic approach or handling with kid gloves.

22d         Object shown in streetside murals (5)
DEMUR — Our one and only lurker or hidden answer – he’s hiding in the middle of the last two words of the clue – I caught him before he had a chance to catch me.

I liked 9 and 21a and 2d. My favourite was 17d.


79 comments on “DT 28388

  1. Note to self learn how to spell opposum x opossum. Thanks to the setter & Kath for her review. Favourite clue today was 10A for obvious reasons.

  2. Today’s crossword gave me some difficulty. Having got the nice 1a quickly, I then took a long time to get the ones coming down from it. I like the majority of the clues; they read nicely and work well. Historically, I have not been a fan of missing-letter clues and substitutions, but when clues read this well I am somewhat won over. ***/*** from me.

  3. Quite a boozy crossword today with 10ac, 21ac and 19d. I have issues with 2d. I often stay open late and it is unheard of for me to do as the clue suggests. Lots of light hearted fun in this puzzle. Thanks to Kath for unravelling 9ac and thanks to the setter.

  4. Quite straightforward – held up in the SE corner for a little while. Enjoyable puzzle. I like 23a and 25a with 8d being my favourite today. 1.5*/3.5* for me. Now for the Toughie.

  5. Agree with Kath – took a while to get going but then things began to fall into place

    An enjoyably challenging puzzle

    Particularly liked 20d

  6. If only I’d remembered how to spell 1A correctly, I wouldn’t have had such trouble with the NE corner, but got it sorted eventually. Last bit was parsing 12A. No favorites, just all-round enjoyment. Thanks to Kath and today’s setter.

  7. In common with others, I had a slow start then accelerated nicely, only really held up by a couple in the SE corner. Plenty of fun clues with 8d just my pick of the day. Overall 2.5*/3.5* with thanks to the Thursday setter and to Kath for her review.

  8. Not as much fun as, and more difficult than yesterday – ***/** for me.

    Although I solved them correctly, I did not ‘get’ the sweat part of 26a and I thought 8d was not a particularly good clue. So, thanks to Kath for those explanations

    Favourite, without question, 7d.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  9. A struggle to begin with , and not particularly enjoyable . Don’t ike issing letter lues .Thanks to Kath for her review . 10a favourite had some last night which might explain my slow start today. ***/**

  10. There seems to be general agreement that todays puzzle was difficult to start and quite tricky in parts once you did – I agree and can’t quibble with Kath’s ***/***.
    Last to fall was 26 as I could not parse the ‘first half’ -thanks Kath.
    Never heard of 14a, 8d my favourite but would have struggled without the checking letters.

            1. Mmm….! I’m not convinced that it’s a good clue! I suppose you can’t please all the people …etc.

  11. Lots of stumbling over obstacles in the road today……

    Misspellings – opposum etc
    Poor handwriting – struggled with 1d for ages before realising that I’d written the C of 1a to look like an L
    Writing reel ale instead of real ale, because I was thinking of ‘stagger’ as I did it and failed to look back.
    Not knowing that “covering face” was some kind of indicator.

    Liked 3D and 26a.

  12. Slow to start like some others, but quite enjoyed it. ( Sometimes I wonder why I bother posting these comments, but have to remember how useful the hints are when needed, as 26a was for me today, so thanks to Kath).

      1. I’ll have to explain that now .. my first posting (before moderation) showed ‘Toadsin’.

    1. Just in case you were wondering why you’d been ‘moderated’, you put Toadsin not Toadson!

  13. A struggle for me today and was finally defeated by the builder’s material.

    Got 26a but could not parse it and am still not understanding why ‘covering face’ means to drop the first letter.

    Probably being dim, but would appreciate guidance.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath .

    1. Re 6d – if the fellow in the pic finished off my kitchen like that, I’d sack him.
      As for 26a – it’s a pretty poor device.

  14. Hi Ora, Face is a synonym for front, so covering the face is covering the first letter or front, I failed to parse this too and don’t think I’ve seen it before as an indicator, more suited to a ‘toughie’

  15. I found myself working from the bottom upwards for this crossword. No real problems once I got going though. I liked 2d so that is my fave. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for her review.

  16. Apart from 7d and 8d, I’m afraid I found this a little bland overall ( */**) but thanks to the setter anyway (and Kath).

  17. I must be on a wavelength with the setter as I really enjoyed this and completed without too much difficulty **/**** for me

  18. Yet another excellent puzzle in what has been a vintage week thus far, with a particularly fine selection of deletion indicators today I felt.

    My two favourite clues were 8d and 19d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  19. 2*/4*. Silvanus is spot on when he says that this has been a great week so far. This applies whether you subscribe to the view that the week starts on Sunday or on Monday. Surely this puzzle today has more than a hint of Shamus about it?

    Once again it’s quite a struggle to pick up a favourite with so many good clues to choose from but I’ll just mention 10a, 2d, 8d, 15d & 19d.

    Many thanks to Shamus (?) and to Kath.

    P.S. Kath, CAMRA’s definition of 10a is that it “is a beer brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops water and yeast), matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide.” So I think that “traditional ingredients” justifies “old style”.

  20. I too was slow to get the ball rolling but quite soon grey matter kicked in and much fun was had in solving this excellent puzzle. IMHO 6d isn’t perhaps the first thing that comes to mind for builders’ material! So many great clues that I don’t want to single out a Fav. Thank you Mr. Ron and Kath.

  21. A little slow to start, not helped when I discovered that I’d been spelling 1ac incorrectly for the past 47 years. Once I got going, though, it was fairly smooth progress, finishing in maybe **/*** time. I will claim a handicap – struggling with some new reading glasses, which for the moment at least make for an… interesting solving experience. Top marks overall for enjoyment value.

    1. Jon_S – if by mis-spelling of 1a you are referring to the number of Ts – the BRB shows both the 3T (as used today) and the 2T version. I prefer the 2T version.

      1. I’m with you, Senf – two Ts are quite enough.
        Not too keen on that particular pluralisation of the singers either!

      2. And, it gives the compiler flexibility if he/she is looking for a 12 or 11 letter word!

        1. I did wonder about that but the BRB doesn’t refer to it as such and only gives the instrument as a clarinet or (arch) clarionet.

          1. Strange …

            My ancient dog-eared BRB shows only the 3Ts version of the word for the musician (but oddly without any definition) almost as an afterthought under the entry for the instrument.

            I have just found quite an amusing thread on this subject here:
            With apologies to our contributors from across the pond, this comment raised a wry smile: “These things are often contaminated by the Americans”.

            1. My BRB (the latest and greatest) shows both versions but does not identify ‘nationality’ other than 3Ts comes first.

              As an expat, I have had plenty of examples of two nations divided by a common language. At least, in Canada, words like colour, honour, etc are spelt correctly.

      3. Phew. I thought senility was setting in. Even if it is an Americanism, that’ll do for me.

    2. However 1a is spelt I really quite liked it – it was one of the only two answers that I got on the first quick read through of all the across clues and it gave me lots of starting letters for the downs.

  22. Put me down on the list of slow starters – that, plus the Irish reference, would lead me to back RD’s suggestion of our twinkly-eyed leprechaun as today’s setter. If it is indeed him, he will no doubt pop in to own up at some point in the day.
    No outright winner of the laurel wreath but ticks went to 21&25a plus 2,7&8d.

    Thanks to Shamus (?) and also to Kath for taking over the hot seat.

  23. We are sitting outside in the sunshine in a cafe in Pommersland, listening to birdsong. A steady solve for me today.
    Thank you Kath and setter.

  24. A lovely crossword to do in the sun – we agree with Miffypops about the booze! Thanks to the Setter and to Kath for her usual delightful blog. A little tune for 4d …

  25. Mostly good and enjoyable, though I agree with those not keen on the 26a device. Not sure I like 16a, either.
    Some familiar clues too – 8d, 17d, 18d, 13a … (not necessarily in DT, admittedly).
    I’d call this a pretty bog standard puzzle but I did enjoy it, so thanks to setter and to Kath for putting the review together.

  26. I found this very hard, even though I got 1a on first run through, the downs gave me grief. I don’t know why I found it difficult, so I’m glad that I’m in good company.
    I never did get 2d and I got 18d wrong, having just bunged in an answer.
    Fave was either 7d or 8d, haven’t made up my mind yet.
    Thanks to setter (I agree, probably Shamus) and to Kath for unravelling so much.

  27. Another work out of a puzzle today. Some went in easily and some took longer, and needed to resort to Kath’s hints to finish. Glad it wasn’t me doing the solving for the blog. I got 1a straight away, although I do confess to being surprised at the three “ttt” And despite being a pretty good speller at school, didn’t know about the “h” in 15d, so didn’t see the anagram at first. Two,things learnt today. But at least I knew how to spell opossum.

  28. I thought this was the proverbial curate’s egg. Some really lovely clues (20d and 26a were fantastic) but (for me) too many clunky ones – e.g. ‘old-style’ didn’t seem necessary in 10a; similarly ‘long’ in 5d and probably ‘rural’ in 9a. Didn’t particularly like 6d, 16a or 18d either and, like Kath, I’ve never heard of the answer to 14a :-( Oh, and I spelled 24a incorrectly too, which didn’t help. Overall it left me a bit cold but was a good challenge nonetheless. ***/** Maybe I’m just in a grump.

    Thanks to the setter for frustrating me and Kath for the review.

  29. Not as good as yesterday for me but enjoyable and satisfying. Didn’t understand fully why 26a was right until explained. New device “covering face” but not unfair to me. Think perhaps 21a should have been drank & not drunk
    Was in the opposum club but not the 2t 1a club. Realised for the first time that what I had always thought was “wetstone” had an “h” in it. You are never too old to learn.
    19d my COTD as I like the word & haven’t heard it for some time ( or been to one for even longer).
    Thanks to setter and Kath for shedding light in a couple of places.

  30. Last weekend, having got 21ac on my 2dn favourite 10ac at a local 19dn, I was 8dn at being read the 20dn by Mrs Longers. Let’s hope things 17dn or I may have to 5dn to the 14ac! Only kidding. Many thanks to another great review Kath and to the Setter – I enjoyed your crossword.

    1. Well posted Longer, however, like me you are a bit of a 9a, perhaps also a 25a ; your 7d of references to today’s clues is most 3d and tends 16a my opinion.

  31. 6d gave us a bit of a run around. With the first and third letters in we saw US city and tried to make Seattle fit the wordplay. The answer is not one that comes to mind quickly as a builders’ material either but a fair enough definition. Not a rapid solve for us but good fun all the way. We agree with RD and Jane that it is probably a Shamus puzzle.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  32. I have no idea at all if this is a Shamus production or not as I’m a very bad Shamus spotter.
    I nearly always have at least a spot of trouble with him and, at the risk of turning into Mr K, statistically it should be him as, at the moment, we seem to alternate Ray T and Shamus on Thursdays.
    Who knows? I hope we find out.

    1. I’m sure it’s Shamus as I can’t do his puzzles.
      The Toughie is much easier than this, I got more answers in 5 minutes than I did staring at this for an hour.

    1. Of course, you’re always right! Thanks to Kath for her splendid blog as always and everyone for their feedback – everything duly noted for future puzzles! Greetings from an unseasonably warm SW London.

      1. Far from always right, Shamus – but thank you so much for calling in and for all the great puzzles.

    1. Hoofs,
      Cheer up you’ll be off the back tees on Saturday, not playing Stablefords off the winter tees & you proper golfers will be in with a shout.

      1. Yes, first medal of the year, looking forward to it. Putting is very poor at the moment though.
        Millwall look as though they have blown the play-off’s now, what with the crosswords, a depressing week.

        1. Don’t look forward to it too much, except that it will obviously be more enjoyable than you found today’s offering. Even as a single figure player statistically you are only expected to play in your Buffer Zone or better 40% of your rounds. Still better than standing on the terrace at the Den with a nail in your shoe

  33. What a week! Some really tough crosswords. Never had to use the hints more than this week. Please DT could we have some respite next week?
    I always struggle with Shamus crosswords, he has a very strange mind.
    Thx for the hints

  34. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. I made a pig’s ear of this by misspelling 1a, I knew I should have written the fodder down. Then put the answer to 5d in where 6d went, convinced that the editor had mixed up 5&6d. Had to look at the blog to correct things. Couldn’t do 6d, just couldn’t fathom out the definition. Was also completely beaten by 8d, I always struggle with double definitions. Really enjoyed it though, it felt like a Shamus to me. Favourite was 19d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  35. For some reason I couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for this in the morning, even taking a break midway to do something more interesting. I’m sure this was just me though, since there was lots to appreciate.

    I’m late in again as I’ve been busy eating and drinking (things which I usually have much enthusiasm for!) to help celebrate an anniversary (not mine; I don’t have any).

    14a was new for me too. I think my favourite is 17d.

    Thanks to Shamus and to Kath.

  36. I am a pretty good Shamus spotter, but never get any Brownie points for it because I always comment after he has fessed up, as I once heard a young person say. I’m good at it because I like his puzzles and this one was no exception – lots of misdirection which had me wondering what was the answer and what was fodder. 7 & 8d battling it out for the crown. Thanks to Kath for a fun blog and to Shamus for the challenge. 2*/4*

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