DT 28395 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28395

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28395

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright, sunny morning.

Plenty of General Knowledge needed this morning, with perhaps an emphasis on matters nautical and ornithological. But the wordplay from Giovanni should enable solvers to reach the right answers.

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. 


1a           Very good holes in the ground for birds (6)
PIPITS – A two-letter word found in crosswords meaning ‘very good’ or ‘pious’, followed by some holes in the ground, possibly the sort you get coal out of.

Image result for pipits

4a           Tea is provided by mum — an appealing quality (8)
CHARISMA – Put together an informal word for tea, IS (from the clue), and another informal word for mum or mother.

9a           A crowd crossing middle of field by a very small animal (6)
AMOEBA – A (from the clue) followed by a disorderly crowd wrapped around the middle letter of field, followed by the second A (from the clue).

Image result for amoeba

10a         Susan’s about to be entertained by European ballerina (8)
DANSEUSE – Reverse (about) a shorter form of ‘Susan’s’, then wrap a Scandinavian national around the result.

11a         Bird, one a short time outside church at end of street (9)
STONECHAT – Start with an abbreviation for STreet, then add ONE (from the clue), A (from the clue) and Time, wrapped around an abbreviation for CHurch.

Image result for stonechat

13a         Message over the air, star’s last farewell cut short (5)
RADIO – The last letter of staR followed by a Spanish farewell with its last letter missing.

14a         Minutes north or south on a sea journey (8,5)
NAUTICAL MILES – Cryptic definition of a measure of distance at sea, historically equal to one minute of latitude north or south of the Equator.

17a         Way to go that’s briefly provided by seven experts (4-5-4)
EAST-NORTH-EAST – Another nautical reference, this time a compass bearing, the short form of which is found in sevEN Experts.

21a         Attack supported by 13? (5)
ONSET – Split this (2,3) and you get ‘supported by’ and a way of referring to the answer to 13a.

23a         Follower of Moses — a sir possibly ‘chosen’? (9)
ISRAELITE – The name given in the Old Testament to the people who followed Moses out of Egypt. An anagram (possibly) of A SIR followed by ‘the chosen’ or ‘the cream’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a         Capital in trouble is suffering setback after initial support (8)
BRASILIA – Start with a support undergarment word by many women, then reverse (suffering setback) another word for ‘trouble’ and IS (from the clue. The result is a purpose-built capital city in South America.

Image result for brasilia

25a         Nothing looked for after initial change of direction (6)
NOUGHT – Start with a word for ‘looked for’, then replace the initial letter with one suggesting a 180 degree change of direction.

26a         Without hesitation, put up with anger — it’s sort of right (8)
SUFFRAGE – Remove a word expressing hesitation from one meaning ‘put up with’, then add another word for anger.

27a         Season in which lord keeps very quiet (6)
PEPPER – This is not a season of the year but a culinary operation. Put the musical symbol for ‘very quiet’ inside a generic word for a member of the House of Lords.


1d           Quietly step up for worship (6)
PRAISE – The musical symbol for ‘quietly’ followed by ‘step up’.

2d           Sets forth as defender of imperial units (9)
PROPOUNDS – A three- letter defender, one who is not ‘anti’, followed by some imperial units of weight.

3d           Picture of item of furniture with gold (7)
TABLEAU – A common household item of furniture followed by the chemical symbol for gold.

5d           A hated No. 2 in school here replaced his/her boss? (4,7)
HEAD TEACHER – This is a sort of all-in-one clue. An anagram (replaced) of A HATED, the second letter of sChool, and HERE.

6d           Platform with men turning up to play guitar? (7)
ROSTRUM – Reverse (turning up) the military abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers, then add a technique of guitar playing.

7d           Group of soldiers in snake-like formation on square? (5)
SQUAD – The letter which looks vaguely like a snake, followed by the internal square found in, for example, an Oxford college.

8d           Pub, a terrible hole to resort to (8)
ALEHOUSE – A (from the clue), followed by an anagram (terrible) of HOLE, followed by ‘resort to’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12d         Scary procedure to create a beehive? (4-7)
HAIR-RAISING – This phrase meaning ‘scary’ is also a literal description of what has to be done to create the 1960s hairstyle of, say, Helen Shapiro.

15d         Piglet struggling with nut is slackening (7,2)
LETTING UP – Anagram (struggling) of PIGLET and NUT.

16d         Beset by awful brutes, act to construct defences (8)
REDOUBTS – Anagram (awful) of BRUTES wrapped around a verb for ‘act’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d         Smarter gossip that takes one in (7)
NATTIER – The Roman numeral for one inserted into another word for a gossip or chat.

19d         Chemical one found outside school (7)
ACETONE – The sort of ‘one’ found in a pack of cards wrapped around a famous public school. The second Friday in a row to feature this chemical.

20d         Writer of detective stories? Right! (6)
DEXTER – Double definition: the Latin word for ‘right’ is also the surname of a recently-deceased writer of detective stories and prominent cruciverbalist.

Image result for colin dexter

22d         Stick people in a firm? (5)
STAFF – Double definition: a walking-stick; or the people employed by a firm.

The Quick Crossword pun FAUX + GNOME = PHONE HOME

51 comments on “DT 28395

  1. I would agree with the rating given in the preamble of 2*/3* for today’s Giovanni offering. 12d just about my favourite, and overall I thought this an enjoyable and thoughtful puzzle. Nice to see 20d given a mention.

    Thanks to The Don for a fun Friday and to DT for his review.

  2. Really enjoyed this one. **/****. Some excellent, fairly worded clues. 20d my favourite.

    Loved all the video hints in the blog today, especially Desmond Dekker. Baked beans for breakfast and his ears are alight!

  3. A steady solve for me today. Not quite as sparkling as the usual Friday offering but still enjoyable. Thanks to The Don and to Deep threat for the hints.

  4. It took me ages to get going, I just couldn’t see anything – a very good puzzle that I found a real tough challenge.

    I must be getting better at this lark because I saw the old ‘PI = Very Good’ wrinkle again and actually spotted it!

    ‘Propound(s)’ was only used yesterday – it took me ages to see it though!

    I really enjoyed it!

  5. 4*/2*. I found this a slightly disappointing end to the week after a great run of first rate puzzles. The SW proved a tough nut to crack and took my time up to 4* but, unlike recent Fridays, there were not many smiles and a lot of the clues seemed a bit formulaic. I thought 23a & 15d were notably clunky.

    17a was clever and 12d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  6. Like Bifield, a steady solve for me today and going for a 2.5*/3*.
    Thanks DT for the ‘minute of latitude’ explanation and the parsing of 17a which eluded me.
    Liked the surface of 10a, nice to hear Mr Dekker again.
    Loved the ET quickie pun !

  7. A lovely well clued and extremely straightforward puzzle with which to end a working week. Completed in a personal best time, so I really must have been on the setter’s wavelength this morning. Thanks to the Don, I assume it is one of his? And thanks to DT also.

  8. Finished after a mild tussle with no idea why 14 and 17ac were correct and only half understanding 5d. Actually I never finished it. Saint Sharon knew the crime writer but I new why he was RIGHT. Thanks to DT for the explanations and thanks to The Don for the puzzle. Will we see a return of the religion next week for Good Friday? We went to see The Leamington & Warwick Musical Society’s production of Legally Blonde last night. Superb all the way through. Very funny. Thanks to all involved in that. You may be amateurs but you can give the professionals a run for their money.

    1. You’ve not been paying attention to this blog if you didn’t know Colin Dexter MP!

  9. This took ages for me to get into, and a hard slog all the way through. I was beaten by 16d and 20d, I managed everything else but for the life of me I could not understand 5d, 17a and 10a without the explanations provided by DT. Sorry to say not a big fan of this one. 4*/1.5* Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  10. Less head scratching than yesterday and parsing was not too difficult – a very enjoyable puzzle to finish the work week **/****.

    Although I was considering 17a for clue of the day, an innovative lurker, that was before I solved 20d which has to be the absolute standout favourite (schoolboy Latin dragged from the deepest memory recesses) and I am sure Kath will agree.

    Thanks to the Giovanni and DT.

  11. Beaten by a few yesterday, but made it today. Needed hints to fully explain a couple of answers, so thanks to DT. I remember seeing Zulu at the cinema when it first came out, particularly the moment when the young lads look up at the ridge and see what awaits them. A massive ‘lump in the throat’ moment.

  12. Nice crossword from Giovanni but ***/*** mainly because I had thought that 2d was all for ounces 🙁 Which meant that 17a had me going in the wrong direction 😬 Plenty of nice clues, my high fliers were 1a & 11a 😜 Big thanks to Giovanni and to DT. I did wonder if the expression “Big up to” is allowed in the blog 😳

  13. Nice one, and challenging enough but not too much. Loved the Desmond Dekker clip. No guesses for Kath’s favorite clue. Thanks Giovani and DT.

  14. One of those where it easier to get the answer than understand most of the clues. 17a left me speechless, I can honestly say that if I lived to be a 1000 I would not have solved this clue! Very clever but so far above my ability as to be stratospheric.
    For me *** (************ for difficulty if you include 17a) and *** for enjoyment.
    My favourite was 20d.
    Thx to all

  15. Yet again it took me ages to spot the extended lurker in 17a.
    11a was quite hard to parse with all these repeated letters ( a short (t)ime, at, one=a, end of stree(t), got really confused but managed to get the bird eventually.
    That was also the only word I didn’t know.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  16. Nice puzzle. Answers went in steadily. 2.5*/4*. I particularly liked 29a and 20d, but 17a was my favourite. I knew the answer but it took a while for the penny to drop about the abbreviation lurking. Very clever.

  17. Didn’t manage to parse 17a despite getting the answer in quite early on and also had a bit of a fight on my hands to justify 5d.
    Obviously enjoyed the ‘birdie’ clues but my top slots went to 12&20d.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT – I’d still have been puzzling over 17a without your help!

  18. What a comedown for me after my joy yesterday.
    Really struggled with this one, needed several hints as well as the electronic gizmos.

    Cannot say I enjoyed the ones I managed to get as I could not properly parse them.

    Not my finest hour.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  19. I thought this one was quite hard work and not a lot of fun – maybe it’s just how I feel today.
    The bottom left corner took a very long time.
    I needed the hint to understand 17a – all I could think of was something to do with the seven dwarfs which chucked anything sensible out of the window.
    I got into a muddle with 5d although the answer was obvious.
    I liked 12 and 20d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to DT.
    Off to play in the greenhouse.

    1. If I may make a précis of my earlier comment:

      I thought this one was quite hard work and not a lot of fun.
      The bottom left corner took a very long time.

      So it’s not just how you feel today, Kath.

      1. Oh good – that’s all right then!
        Because I have the attention span of a gnat by the time I get to writing my comment (the 19th) I’ve already forgotten the earlier ones even though I do always read them all – oh dear. :sad:

    2. Hear, hear – I’m afraid I threw in the towel for the first time in ages but congratulations to you for persevering.

  20. I echo Katherine in that I found this one hard work and not a lot of fun. Didn’t know either bird. Also wanted to put in pronounce but could see it wasn’t right. Likewise tried for ages to make charming in 4a but again could see it didn’t work. And must be really dim today as I couldn’t get brain to let go of a season being weather related.

    9a was a reminder of first term in high school, when biology teacher spent the entire term on the life cycle of the amoeba… making me lose interest in biology for ever. What a shame.

    So not my best effort, and only finished due to Deep Threat’s hints. Well I guess I exercised a few of the old grey cells. Hopefully they will work better tomorrow.

    1. We are even getting the smoke down here, I hope you are not suffering too badly, particularly as you are quite far west. Keep us up to date.

  21. A bit of a grind today especially the south left , but it didn’t help when I put beset into 22a . Not keen on 9a . its a life form but (not as we know it Jim), to say animal where protists are concerned is stretching it ! Anyway methinks I protist to much. Quite liked 14a and 17a , and off to 8d tonight .***/**
    Thanks to DT needed a couple of hints and an explanation

  22. Steady but perhaps less inspiring than usual from the Don, although I did like 17a and 20d very much. Not so sure about 10a; where’s the instruction to shorten Susan? Thanks to DT and G. 2*/3*

    1. The only reference to shortening ‘Susan’s’ is in my hint. Would you be happier if I had put ‘another way of saying ‘Susan’s’?

    2. Hi, TS – nice to see you reporting in early. Short day at the office?
      I did enquire a while back as to whether your recent trip to the Algarve had been undertaken to visit Paul but it was in a reply to one of your late night posts so you’d probably switched off by then. Anyway – did you pay him a visit and, if so, did you find him in good health?

  23. I found this quite gentle and enjoyable, I’m definitely warming to The Don of late – used to dislike his puzzles.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the music – great stuff.

  24. I finished this in average time, but some were blatant bung ins, not having a clue why, 17a and 5d were prime examples.
    Fave is 12d, who can forget those awful hairstyles, but 20d and 17a (now that I understand it) were right up there in the running.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the enlightenment!

  25. A couple took an age to parse (17a and 5d), but there was one I didn’t get which I really should have. I don’t think I have to admit which that was – so I won’t. Never mind. On the whole I found this quite slow-going, but don’t have any complaints other than with my own slow 9a-like brain.

    The 1a birds were new to me but they sound delicious cute and I’m pleased to meet them.

    My favourite could have been 17a for the penny-drop, but 8d’s surface appealed enough for me to award that the honours.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT. Happy weekend everybody. Oh – and if any of you are about in London on Wednesday and fancy a drinky or three, you can join a kitty and a few other crosswordy types at the George.

  26. For the second successive day I found the SW corner the most reluctant to yield and was glad when reading the earlier comments to see I wasn’t alone!

    I thought this continued the run of enjoyable Friday puzzles, and 17a was superb, I doff my cap to Mr. Manley for that one which inevitably was my favourite. I also liked “snake-like formation” to clue “s” in 7d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat, and a good weekend to all.

  27. I really don’t like crosswords that require a great deal of general knowledge, particularly that of which is not very relevant today. I think today’s puzzle betrayed the age of the setter. Perhaps young people no longer do crosswords.

    1. I know what you mean; my eyes roll as soon as I see ‘old [insert – celebrity, politician, cleric, statesman etc – here..]’ . I just reveal the answer, bung ’em in and think no more of it – or just chuck the paper away. I like words, not names form the past I cannot possibly know, or want to know.

  28. The SW corner was the last and longest for us and the clever wordplay for 17a made that one our favourite clue today. Nice to see the tribute to the late writer in 20d. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  29. More like *** for difficulty in this corner with, yes, the SW corner putting up the most resistance. The parsing of quite a few, 14ac and 17ac in particular, completely passed me by on solving, so that I never felt completely confident about some of the answers. 20d could be nobody else, but again I didn’t know why. Enjoyable, then, but quite a tricky end to the week.

  30. I found this puzzle pretty tricky to gain a foothold and I nearly chucked the towel in after a short while having only solved a handful of clues. I’m glad I persevered though, because I only needed to solve a couple more before I had enough checkers for the rest to yield.

    I always find Giovanni a fair solve and the GK is not necessarily required as the wordplay should get one to the finishing post. That said, if one knows the GK and is familiar with checked crossword grids, it’s a considerable advantage.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni – a solid 3*/3* for me.

  31. A slow and steady solve for me. It was to my mind a bit ‘flat’ for a Friday puzzle. 10a was my favourite. 3/3* overall. Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  32. As usual, Giovanni’s puzzles are beyond me, give me Ray-T’s puzzle yesterday any day, at least I can understand Ray-T’s clues!! Thanks all.
    17a – A great example…

  33. I did this one yesterday afternoon and thought it was excellent, as usual from G – reasonably challenging, with good cluing. I got held up for a while with the SW corner and my favourite was 17a – an original and innovative clue and those are always welcomed by me. 3*/4*.

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