DT 28389 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28389

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28389

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs this Spring morning.

Quite gentle from Giovanni today, so far as I was concerned, though the times reported so far on the puzzles website leaderboard suggest others may find it more taxing.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


4a           Proceed enthusiastically with Dorothy’s dog wrapped in garment (2,2,4)
GO TO TOWN – Wrap a formal garment, perhaps worn for a ball or an academic occasion, around the name of the dog which accompanied Dorothy on her adventures in Oz.

8a           Friends at home entertained by Charles (6)
CHINAS – These friends are in Cockney rhyming slang. Wrap a short form of Charles around ‘at home’.

9a           Small room backing on to bigger one, a blissful situation (8)
VALHALLA – Reverse (backing) a three-letter abbreviation for the smallest room in the house, add on a bigger (perhaps a great) one, than add A (from the clue), to get the place where Norse warriors earned their eternal reward.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a         Lords showing discrimination against the elderly? (8)
BARONAGE – Split this (3,2,3) and you could get an expression indicating discrimination against the elderly.

11a         Look after troublemaker creating damage (6)
IMPAIR – A mischievous child followed by a look or aura.

12a         Preservative that is starchy much favoured (8)
FORMALIN – Another word for starchy or stiff, followed by a two-letter word for ‘much favoured’.

13a         One male beast repelled the enemy by the sea (8)
MARITIME – Put together the Roman numeral for one and a male sheep, reverse the lot and add ‘the enemy’.

16a         Like seeker of knowledge producing coarse material, penning article (8)
FAUSTIAN – A coarse, twilled, cotton fabric wrapped around an indefinite article. The seeker of knowledge was a fictional one who made a pact with the Devil.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a         Disloyal type‘s act against company — heartless act (8)
TURNCOAT – Put together another word for a stage act, an abbreviation for company, and the outer letters of AcT.

21a         Goodness repeatedly shown by runner in race? (3-3)
GEE-GEE – A three-letter exclamation like ‘Goodness!’, repeated to give a childish word for a quadruped which may race at Cheltenham or Ascot.

23a         Love and money enthralling hero in the west (8)
OCCIDENT – Put together the letter which looks like a love score at tennis and a small American coin, then wrap the result around a Spanish hero.

24a         Very little for learner in place offering career? (8)
VOCATION – Start with another word for a place, then replace the Learner with an abbreviation (little) of Very.

25a         Quiet dog without lead seen in conference (6)
POWWOW – The musical symbol for quiet, followed by a childish word for a dog without its first letter.

26a         Places with fine material where trolls will not be welcome? (8)
WEBSITES – Put together some fine material, perhaps produced by a spider, and some places. What you are reading at the moment is on an example of the answer.


1d           Deceive with trick to ensnare heart — not right! (5,2)
CHEAT ON – Remove the R (not right) from HEA(r)T, then wrap a word for trick around it.

2d           Rats risen from ground (9)
INFORMERS – Anagram (ground) of RISEN FROM.

3d           Country is given king coming from the south (6)
ISRAEL – IS (from the clue) followed by the reversal of a Shakespearean king.

4d           Devon-born gents in new deal to secure thousand financial certificates (10,5)
GOVERNMENT BONDS – Anagram (in new deal) of DEVON-BORN GENTS, with the Roman numeral for a thousand inserted.

5d           Everyone involved in rows? They should know the score (8)
TALLIERS – Another word for everyone is inserted into some rows of seats in a theatre.

6d           Male put into prison as one of no fixed abode? (5)
TRAMP – Insert Male into something used to imprison an intruder.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d           Man and wife not well very early in the morning (7)
WILLIAM – Put together Wife, ‘not well’, and three letters which may be read as showing a time in the small hours.

Image result for william richmal crompton

14d         Land that gives a player a try (9)
TOUCHDOWN – The act which gives a rugby player a try is also (split (5,4)) ‘to land’ an aircraft.

15d         After success, priest goes on street — one may have champagne (4,4)
WINE LIST – Put together a sporting success, crosswordland’s favourite Old Testament priest, and an abbreviation for STreet.

17d         Chemical that gives one brilliant mood (7)
ACETONE – Split (3,4) you have ‘brilliant’ and ‘mood’. Put together you have nail-varnish remover.

18d         Artist in part of London producing something very colourful (7)
RAINBOW – Put together the usual crossword artist, IN (from the clue), and a part of London, the bells of which are essential to the traditional definition of a Cockney.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d         Directions fit for use to bypass capital’s business area (6)
RECIPE – ‘Fit for use’, especially where fruit are concerned, wrapped around the letters of the postal district of the City of London.

22d         One of 2 providing marijuana (5)
GRASS – Double definition, both being slang: a singular example of the answer to 2d; or another word for marijuana.

The Quick Crossword pun MAXIM + MILLION = MAXIMILIAN

78 comments on “DT 28389

  1. I’m finding it very difficult to assess this puzzle today. The top half was a write in. The SE corner was challenging and the SW corner very tough indeed, with the doubly obscure 16a my last one in. I was disappointed to see an unindicated Americanism in 21a. Overall then I’ll settle for 3*/2*.

    I was thinking that the enumeration for 25a should have been (3,3) but my BRB tells me this is not the case.

    22d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. Interesting – I found it harder than usual for a Giovanni, with the NW corner being the last to fall – I’d give it 3*/3*

    Thanks to Mr M and Mr DT

  3. What an absolute nightmare, I only managed to get 6 answers. I think I must be way out of form, ive struggled with a few of these puzzles over the last 10days or so. Didnt get far enough to give any ratings.Hopefully next week I will be more in tune.

  4. Favourite puzzle of the week by some distance. LOI 16a ( I suspect I’m not alone)
    Strange solve as a mix of write ins without thinking and then moments of panic.Got there little by little.
    Thanks very much to DT and of course to Giovanni.

    Have a great weekend all

  5. I pretty much concur with RD at #1 as regards the bottom half/SW corner difficulties. For a Giovanni, I found this more difficult than usual, but some of the constructs took away a bit of the enjoyment, so 3*/3* overall. I particularly liked the link between 2 and 22d.

    Thanks to The Don for a tough workout on this sunny Friday, and to DT for his review.

  6. I have to disagree with DT, Giovanni has upped the difficulty level once more – ***/*** for me.

    The NW and NE went in reasonably quickly; for example, no problems with Dorothy’s dog. They were followed by the SE; but the SW needed some electronic assistance, especially with the coarse material in 16a. I will have to try and remember that one.

    Favourite 4a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  7. ***|* curiously unsatisfying, and not really worth the effort. 5D seemed to be a case of the compiler finding a word to fit the space rather than a convincing answer of a word in popular usage. 21A seems laboured and I would struggle to find a favourite. Thanks to all involved.

    1. So glad it wasn’t just me Heinz. I don’t mind a good, difficult puzzle where I marvel at the cleverness of the setter, but this one didn’t jell with me at all.

  8. Can’t say I liked that too much, but not because it beat me. The use of nursery words for horse and dog I can’t say I am keen on. Even the BRB says “childish” for bowwow and gee-gee is a child’s term for a horse.
    Never heard of the cloth in 16a so failed there, & needed hint for 24a.
    Thanks to setter & DT for needed explanations.

  9. North east and south west OK. The other two quarters harder.

    Interesting clues though – the usual surface elegance as expected from Giovanni.

    2d misled me as to anagram choice – I made ‘strainers’ from the first two words, but not quite a synonym of ‘ground’. Ha ha.

    17d took me ages – wanted to put ‘steroid’, but that wouldn’t have been cryptic.

    Favourites were 21 and 25a.

  10. Apart from 16a which defeated me, I found the rest quite steady to solve. I enjoyed the puzzle.2.5*/3.5*. I liked 9a and 24a was my favourite.

  11. Along with some others I found this a real struggle and at least ***/**** difficulty. Top half went in quickly but bottom half put up a fight and the SW corner really had me scratching my head for ages. Never heard of the coarse material in 16a and so even though I eventually worked out the correct answer I was not sure until I saw the hints. I still found it an enjoyable puzzle though. My faves were 25a and 15d with 24a getting a merit too.

  12. ***/* from me.

    Oh dear, I was distraught when I read DT’s marks, even after spending more than my allotted time finishing the puzzle, albeit without recourse to the hints. I found it a drag from start to finish and, like some others, quite hard but not particularly satisfying.

    The unpredictability of the daily challenge is a large part of its appeal, though, and I have had to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

    I still wish we could get the Toughie on the online version, but the DT won’t comply.

    Spring has at last sprung in the Peak District National Park.

    1. Not sure I understand, I can get the Toughie on my iPad? But I have to pay extra to be able to print the crosswords, very strange.

      1. Could you tell me how please – I have an annual online subscription but the paper I get is a shorter version than the paper one, and doesn’t include the Toughie, or General Knowledge at weekends etc. Thanks in anticipation.

        1. Hi John Your Online subscription will get you The Cryptic The Quickie A Sodoffku and a Codeword. For The Toughie you have to subscribe to the Telegraph Puzzles site with which you don’t get any of the newspaper. Just puzzles.

          1. I don’t read the DT (most definitely a Guardianista), so I subscribe to the puzzles and enjoy the Toughie every day.

          2. Thanks – that was my understanding too. Just doesn’t tie in with BizzyLizzie’s comment above.

            1. That’s because I subscribe to both the DT on line, and the Telegraph puzzles. Strange but necessary.

  13. Really enjoyable if a little tougher than others from Giovanni of late.
    Needed the hints to fully unpick 12a (got hung up on FOR meaning favoured), 13a (missed the enemy of us all!) and 16a where I still haven’t discover the material.
    However, after the horrors of the backpagers this week, I was so grateful for a puzzle from a master setter. Here’s hoping for a gentler week next week whilst the experts feast on the Toughie.
    Thx to all.

    1. 16a Remove the indefinite article from your solution and look the word made by the rest of the letters in the BRB

    2. in 12a the last two letters in the answer mean favoured and the first six mean starchy.

  14. Well, that’s finished me off for the rest of the day. :phew:
    It’s taken me ages and I almost gave up with my last four answers which were all in the bottom left corner – I never give up on a back pager.
    It took me a long time to remember the name of Dorothy’s blasted dog which was silly as it was Younger Lamb’s favourite film when she was little.
    I had to check 5d to see if it really is a word – it is.
    Just realised how few anagrams there were which could, at least for me, account for how difficult I found it.
    I liked 10 and 23a and 18 and 22d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to DT (and congratulations for finding this one straightforward)

  15. Definitely felt as though the Don was upping the difficulty level – had to check on the 16a material and (as always) left anything that looked suspiciously science based until all the checkers were in place.
    Thankfully I remembered Dorothy’s dog from his last outing and the guess for 10a turned out to be OK – can’t say that I’ve ever heard the word used.
    Really didn’t like 5d but there were many others that earned a tick – 9,13,24&25a plus 14&18d.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for a very musical review.

  16. 13a – Sorry, for the hard of thinking, why are the last four letters ‘the enemy’??? Apologies, I am a beginner!!

    1. Hi HIYD,

      You’ll also find it listed under BD’s extremely useful “Usual Suspects” under the “Cryptic Crosswords” heading at the top of the page.

  17. I am always in awe of the skill shown by the setters to craft a cryptic crossword – so I feel a bit bad saying that I didn’t enjoy one. But in this case I just didn’t like it at all.

    No favourite- all a bit of a slog for me.

  18. SW corner was **** but the rest was <* so I guess on average it's a **/**** from me. Some good stuff on offer but I think 22d just edges the top spot of the podium from 7d and 17d (as an ex-chemist I'm rather embarrassed at how long it took me to spot the chemical, d'oh!).

    Many thanks to the Don and DT.

  19. Only managed to solve 11 without aids and hints.
    A washout for me.

    Thanks to the setter and thanks and congratulations to Deep Threat for finding it straightforward.

  20. I had a vey similar solving experience to RD by the looks of things.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni ***/***

  21. Same as RD – top half wrote itself in, bottom half a different story. I first put ‘joint’ for ‘one of two’ for 22d; made sense to me. SW corner therefore held me up for some time. I am warming to G’s style of late but have to admit 21a & 25a were ‘Really??’ moments. Not the most enjoyable puzzle for me, but to be appreciated as it was engaging.
    Many thanks to The Don and to DT for the 16a hint.

  22. Just as I was thinking that this was a rather gentle one, I became totally becalmed in the bottom left corner once again. It took me almost as long to come up with answers for those seven clues as the rest of the puzzle did. Once 15d dawned, the remainder soon followed, with 16 last in – with electronic help. Favourites were 15 down, 19a and 25 across. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  23. Well, I said in my opening remarks that I thought some might find this more taxing than I did. From the comments above, it looks as though I should have said that nearly everyone would. To thise who express discouragement at my difficulty marking I say: don’t be discouraged. It’s all a question of being on the right wavelength for a particular puzzle. There was one recently where I gave it *** for difficulty, and most commenters then gave it rather fewer.

    I use the time taken as recorded by the puzzles website to generate the difficulty marking, so it’s objective as far as that goes: but the marking still only applies to my personal experience of solving the puzzle.

  24. Can’t say I enjoyed this one today. At first I thought it was going great, with first 7 clues I attempted going right in. Liked 4a. But then ground to a halt and very slow to the finish, and then only with help from Deep Threat’s hints. Too laborious and I agree with LabradorsruleOK regarding use of childish words, not a fan. Got misled in 9a as thought the 3 letter word was loo and forgot about lav. Interestingly, in the US a lav is a sink, not a toilet. So if you want to use the lav over here, well the mind boggles ☺️

  25. Wow, I can’t recall a backpager that has varied in difficulty so much between its constituent parts. For me, it was the entire right hand side that went in fairly quickly, the NW corner then held me up for a while, but the SW corner was genuine Toughie standard, in particular 16a. As is often the case, the lack of anagrams contributed to raising the difficulty level. Overall one of the most challenging puzzles so far this year.

    Like Kath, my favourite was 7d, interesting to see both “fine material” and “coarse material” used in clues for the same quadrant.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat, and a good weekend to all.

    1. I noticed that at one time I had the central 15 lettered down clue and everything to the right of it completely filled in whilst everything to the left was emptying. Strange.

      1. Perhaps because that 15 lettered one gave you the first letter for 5 of the right hand side across clues but only 5 last letters for those on the left?

        1. Exactly the same for me the whole of the RHS completed, none of the LHS, it looks difficult to get a foothold

      2. Exactly the same… I thing The Don is playing with us all. Having toned down his offerings of late, he thought it might be fun to have the East as newDon and the west as oldDon. It might have been fun for him.

  26. Hmmmm…could not get into this site for some time.
    First time of my life I have been called a ‘crawler’…………………………

    1. I was called a ‘crawler’ too but it was several weeks ago and I didn’t understand so ignored it and tried again later by which time he, she or it who’d thought I was some beastly insect had changed his, her or its mind.

      1. I may be wrong, but it is probably just the site protection software checking you are a real user. Nothing to do with insects :smile:

  27. I, too, had the right-hand side filled in and the left unsullied. I ended up with the SW corner unsolved, hugely difficult. I made the mistake of putting “Ganga” in 22d, had no idea of the other name for it, it began with “g” so I put the only word I knew.
    I did know the coarse material, so that helped a lot.
    I gave up on 24a and 26a, I needed the hints.
    I didn’t mind the childishness of 21a. When I lived in London, fluttering on the “gee-gees” was a common phrase, but not so sure about the 25a.
    Liked 4d as it gave me an “in”, but fave is 4a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the help.

    1. Gee, I’ve been pretty wordy today. Apologies, I’ll try to be more succinct in future.

      1. I enjoyed your comment Merusa. I have noted your love of gambling and drugs and look forward to hearing of more of your vices in the future.

        1. Me? Drugs? I must be the only Jamaican who has never smoked the weed! Note to self: Remember to buy lottery ticket.

    2. 25a’s are – or were – frequent occurrences in the Scouting world, not to mention Indian camps!

  28. We always love e Giovanni puzzle so we’ll agree with Pommers with **/ ****
    Thanks to the Don and Deep Threat!

  29. Maybe I am tired after a week’s puzzling and marking, but I really struggled today. When the answers then came, either through labour or assistance from crosswordsolver or here, I didn’t find myself nodding in great appreciation, but rather thinking, “Oh.” 10a beat me, as did 24a and 3d. I liked a few, but “lav” is an ugly word best avoided. I did like 14d and 15d. ****difficulty and **enjoyment from me.

  30. Very enjoyable – the only one that held me up was 16a and I needed the hints to set me straight but apart from that I found in pretty straightforward.

    There’s been some good’uns this week.

  31. Had to check the blog to see if my answers in 12a and 16a were right as I didn’t know the preservative in the first and the material in the second but the parsing and definition kind of made sense. Glad I got it right.
    Remembered 25a from other crosswords.
    10a made me laugh. I wonder what the average age is in the house of lords.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT.

  32. Oh good – at least we are, mostly, agreed that this one was a little piglet.
    I’ve been doing stuff in the garden for much of the day and, at the same time, counting marbles – I’m going to stop now.

  33. We made this one unnecessarily difficult for ourselves by not checking the anagram letters for 4d and putting in a wrong second word. This gave us a real struggle with 24a until we checked whether our checking letters were correct and sorted the problem. However even disregarding that, we still found it took us longer than most Giovanni Friday puzzles. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  34. The editor of the crossword has definitely got the setters to up their game.
    This was very enjoyable as for a change I had a slow day at work and a chance to spend some time. The RHS was fine, the LHS a bit of a sod, I missed the anagram indicator for 2d, which made it hard.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT, no worries about how many stars, I always multiply them by 3 Anyway!!

  35. I found this extremely difficult, a definite **** for difficulty. The RHS to be fair went in fairly quickly, but the rest, and the SW corner in particular, took an absolute age.

  36. Good evening everybody.

    Forgot to post this afternoon but couldn’t let this second fine puzzle of the week pass without comment. Favourite was undoubtedly 14d with 25a and 17d mentioned in dispatches. Last in was 24a that I couldn’t rationalise at the time but my brain was pretty much addled by then…


  37. I am new to this but have been following the comments.
    Delighted it is not just me who struggled with 28,389. “An absolute rotter” as Basil Fawlty said to Lord Melbury. (Could have been ‘utter rotter’)

  38. So glad to see the above comments. Was unable to access the site yesterday to say it took me a very long time to complete three quarters of the puzzle and the south west corner, well, I thought I had really lost the plot! 5 * difficulty for me.

  39. Count me in as a member of the fallen-in-the-SW club. I needed help to unlock that, and totally flunked the devilish 16a. I was annoyed at myself for not doing better.

    Not much else to add at this late stage, but wanted to own up and add my name to the failures list!

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  40. Needed the hints to complete left hand side, for which Thanks
    Liked 2D and 22D

  41. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, managed to complete entire right hand side very easily. Next to fall was the NW corner, then was held up by 16a. Had to look this one up, I’d heard of Fault, but didn’t know he was a seeker of knowledge, and I’d never heard of the fabric. At least I understood how the clue worked. Favourite was 23a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  42. Late on parade. I enjoyed this the more I got into it. Yes, there were a few tricky bits but it all came together eventually. My fave was 4a. 3/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  43. Even later on parade. We seem to be a homogenous bunch of C-verbalists with the East = easy-ish and the West was a grind. Got there in the end but, like Giovanni of old – tough, obscure and not the greatest of fun. Overall an odd cookie today. Ratings would be East **/*** and West ****/* – a game of two halves.

  44. I didn’t get round to doing this one till Sunday afternoon and I thought it was excellent. A good challenge, very enjoyable and best of the week by far. 3.5*/4*.

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