DT 28398 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28398

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28398

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello everyone. I found today’s crossword mostly straightforward except for a handful of clues clustered together in the NE that required a little more thought. Those clues raised my enjoyment level to about average for the Tuesday slot.

Last week, while counting the number of Es appearing in Quickie solutions, I uncovered a puzzle (Quick 26732) that contained no Es. I’ve now repeated that exercise with the back-page puzzles, and it revealed something quite remarkable. The Telegraph Cryptic published on Thursday, 31 August 2006 (DT 25085) not only has no Es in its answer grid, it’s also missing any Is, Os, Us, and Ys – the only vowels appearing in the solution are 70 As. It’s rather a good puzzle, but if you’d prefer to just see the completed grid . I now want to look more generally into puzzles where setters make life harder for themselves by imposing some constraints on the puzzle. Pangrams are a well-known example of this (more on them next week). Does anybody out there know of any other interesting cases of crosswords composed with constraints?

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Click on pictures to enlarge them. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Quick pint after concert (6)
PROMPT:  The abbreviation for pint follows the informal term for a concert in which part of the audience stands and hence can move about.

4a    Struggle in motorcycle rally (8)
SCRAMBLE:  A double definition. This type of motorcycle rally takes place off-road.

10a   A poet and artist following true drama series (4,5)
SOAP OPERA:  A two-letter synonym of true, followed by the A from the clue, a poet famous for his use of the heroic couplet, and our usual artist.

11a   Answer bank privately (5)
ASIDE:  A charade of the A from the clue and a synonym of bank (of a river, for example).

12a   Meal brought in almost hot in French manor house (7)
CHATEAU:  A British evening meal inside (brought in) the first four letters (almost) of the French word for hot.

13a   Copes as guy gets older (7)
MANAGES:  A simple charade of a synonym of guy and a word meaning “gets older”.

14a   Take it on before performance (5)
REACT:  One of our usual short words for on or concerning, followed by a performance.

15a   Untruth about fine female in work, one supplying novel (4,2,2)
LIFE OF PI:  Put F(ine) inside a three letter untruth, followed by F(emale) inside our usual musical work. Then append the Roman numeral for one.

18a   US city scores freely in contact sport (8)
LACROSSE:  The initials of the second most populous US city, followed by an anagram (freely) of SCORES.

20a   ‘Dr No’ shown coming over by English aircraft (5)
DRONE:  Link together DR from the clue, the reversal (shown coming over) of NO, and E(nglish).

23a   Notice dad in study, poker-faced (7)
DEADPAN:  Put two-letter informal terms for notice and for dad inside a study at home.

25a   Spanish guy grabbing at politician (7)
SENATOR:  A Spanish gentleman contains the AT from the clue.

26a   Look after harbour (5)
NURSE:  A double definition. The second as in “harbour a grudge”.

27a   Designer, last of many in list (9)
INVENTORY:  A charade of a designer or creator and the final letter (last of) manY.

28a   Sees term changed for an academic term (8)
SEMESTER:  An anagram (changed) of SEES TERM.

29a   After church, honest-to-goodness breakfast dish (6)
CEREAL:  The abbreviation for the Church of England, followed by an adjective meaning honest-to-goodness.



1d    Communication from witty type after appointment (8)
POSTCARD:  An appointment or job followed by a witty or eccentric person.

2d    New arrangement of a coda an anthem required (1,6)
O CANADA:  An anagram (new arrangement) of A CODA AN.

3d    Cot porter assembled for guard (9)
PROTECTOR:  An anagram (assembled) of COT PORTER.

5d    Damage after Conservative goes on disagreeable mission to gain favour (5,9)
CHARM OFFENSIVE:  Concatenate the single letter abbreviation for Conservative, a word meaning damage or hurt, and an adjective synonym of disagreeable.

6d    Popular range, first seen in another time (5)
AGAIN:  Range here is clueing crosswordland’s favourite cast-iron oven. Start with it (first), and then append our usual word for popular.

7d    Group filling flipping bar in rear (5,2)
BRING UP:  Put a group (of criminals, perhaps) inside (filling) the reversal (flipping) of a drinking establishment. The answer provides an opportunity to use a photo of mine.

8d    Quits circle, nevertheless (4,2)
EVEN SO:  A synonym of quits (think “call it quits”), followed by the letter that looks somewhat like a circle.

9d    Liqueur, asset in exotic cocktail (7,7)
TEQUILA SUNRISE:  An anagram (exotic) of LIQUEUR ASSET. A recipe can be found here.

16d   One restricted by munitions regulation (9)
ORDINANCE:  Put the first Roman numeral inside (restricted by) a word meaning munitions.

17d   Sell-out Pinter play (8)
BETRAYAL:  This synonym of sell-out is also the name of a Harold Pinter play. You’ll find a list of his works here. The relevance of the picture is explained here.

19d   What can get schoolmaster out of the classroom? (7)
ANAGRAM:  The answer describes a familiar operation that transforms THE CLASSROOM into SCHOOLMASTER.

21d   Published, being supported by advance — result! (7)
OUTCOME:  A word meaning published or released, followed by (being supported by, in a down clue) a verb synonym of advance.

22d   I’d a son, remarkably handsome young man (6)
ADONIS:  An anagram (remarkably) of I’D A SON. The original Greek handsome young man was born of a tree and killed by a wild boar, as depicted in this sculpture:

24d   Iron newspapers! (5)
PRESS:  And we finish with a straightforward double definition.


Thanks to the setter. Today I had ticks next to 10a, 12a, 15a, 5d, 9d, and 19d, and I’m choosing the smooth 6d as my favourite. Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun: ROUX+BRICKS=RUBRICS

72 comments on “DT 28398

  1. Fairly straight forward with 19D being my star pupil today. Many thanks to the setter & to Mr Kitty for his review.

  2. Bordering on R&W, with some oldies, and some not-so-oldies, but goodies, completed at a gallop – */***.

    Favourite 5d. I suppose I should have chosen 2d, but it is a 19d so it lost a few points.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  3. Agree with Mr Kitty on a **/***.
    Thought the cluing was a bit ‘clunky’ to day-ie 10 and 15a.
    Last in was 19d and with the checking letters in place there could only be on solution which was quite clever and easily the clue of the day for me.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty- pic for 4a looks like the 1960’s bikes.
    Oh I guessed 2d.

  4. Some old chestnuts but pretty enjoyable NE corner held me up a bit. Glorious day here in North Cornwall but breezy.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and setter. **/*** for me.
    Like others favourite 19d closely followed by 18ac.

  5. I will join the club and nominate the excellent 19d as my favourite. For me, it was the NE corner that held me up, pushing the difficulty quotient a tad, although, having finished, I cannot see why I was held up. I will have to go 3*/3* on this one, and say thanks to both Misters involved.

    1. Lost my sense of direction writing the intro – I meant to say NE, not NW. I’ve changed it now.

  6. An easy solve this morning racing the battery on the ipad. (I won but only just). Tanks to the setter for the gentle excercise and thanks to Mr Kitty for the Dylan clip from October 15th 1987. I was there at Wembley Arena that night which was the night of the great storm of 1987. The rest of the night was interesting to say the least and the devastation next morning was extreme. Thanks for the memories

      1. Great shows if a little short on Dylan. Eddie Brickell and the New Bohemians opened up. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers then came on to play a few numbers before being joined by Dylan for about an hour. Roger McGuinn joined the ensemble to bore us all with his Chestnut Mare ditty. I saw the show Three nights running at The NEC and twice more at Wembley. Happy days

  7. 2*/2.5*. I thought this was a pleasant Tuesday diversion with nice surfaces except for 7d.

    I’m struggling to convince myself that “take it” is a sound definition for the answer to 14a.

    19d was my runaway favourite with 5d in second place.

    Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K.

      1. Mmm… I’m still not convinced. Can you construct a sentence please where 14a and “take” (or even 14a and “take it”) are interchangeable?

          1. Many thanks, Kitty and Gazza. “Take it” works.

            P.S. I can’t believe anyone would send you a snarky e-mail, Kitty. But isn’t “snarky” American slang? :wink:

    1. Hi, first time to post on here. I parsed as re = on before performance with thus leading to the answer. Love this site btw.

  8. Needed the hints and some electronic help for my last three of this one.
    Would never have got 11a….which always decreases the enjoyment level.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for his much needed parsings and hints.

  9. Ok, I know it was a fairly run-of-the-mill puzzle for the experts but I’m very pleased with myself for finishing quickly without using any help! NE corner was last to go in with 19d favourite. Thanks to all involved.

    1. Not “experts” Jim. More experienced perhaps at best or fiendishly devious with twisted minds.

  10. Counting the number of e’s in the Quick Crossword – eh?

    I had a bit of trouble in the NE corner – my brain was a bit befuddled this morning – still recovering from an excess of Rioja at the weekend not to mention the beer!!

    Very enjoyable – 15a is getting to be a regular.

  11. Very straightforward except for 14a, I can see the performance is Act but why is RE on and what has react to do with take it?
    Probably just me being thick but don’t get it at all.
    Thx to all

    1. Oh Brian – oh dear! Re is one of the most common abbreviations in crosswordland – it means concerning or with reference to.
      Other people have already explained the ‘react’ bit.

  12. It sounds as if I found this a bit trickier than the rest of you and enjoyed it more too.
    It took me ages to get started but now I can’t see why.
    10a was my last answer and I didn’t see 19d for far too long – dim.
    I thought there were some good clues – 20 and 23a and 17d. My favourite was 5d.
    With thanks to Mr (or Mister?) Ron and to Mr Kitty as well.

  13. Again a most pleasurable crossword with 19d my favourite by far. **/****. Many thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  14. Although we are both perfectly fluent in French, we couldn’t parse 12a. Great puzzle from Mr Ron and thanks to Mr Kitty!

  15. A pleasant solve with a few old friends popping in to say hello, one of which, 19d, earned my favourite’s vote just ahead of 9d (which was a lovely 19d!).

    I’m not sure whether I was more surprised that the setter included “after” as many as four times as a positional indicator, or that the editor waived it through, but from a fellow setter’s perspective I’d have not been happy at such repetition being in the published puzzle.

    Thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr. K.

  16. Not too much to hold me up this morning although I was somewhat slow to get 6&7d and hesitated over committing to 14a. The comments from Kitty and Gazza left me far happier about that one!

    19d raised the biggest smile but 5d takes the honours.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K both for the blog and the latest round of fascinating crossword facts.

  17. Enjoyed this, but, like Kath, I found it harder than most, the NE corner holding me up. I got two wrong answers, 6d and 11a, both bung ins because I couldn’t think of the right answer.
    Fave was 19d but 5d was right up there with it.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for the hints and putting me right with my wrong ‘uns.

    This one is for you Mr. Kitty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaElH0EHjIs

    1. My sentiments (and exactly the same 2 failures). Not missed Aga before so disappointed. Took 6d as a lurker, Arran as a range of hills first seen in another time. Then couldn’t parse 11a so knew it must be wrong.
      COTD was 19d but getting a sensible clue for 15a earns a mention.
      Thanks to setter & Mr K for pointing me in the right direction.

        1. It took me a while to parse 6d. I thought the misdirection there was smooth and clever, which is why I chose it as favourite.

  18. All good fun – a few conkers and nothing too taxing. No stand-out clues, but I do like the oxymoronic 5d phrase, so it wins for that alone.
    Thanks to Mister/Mr Ron and to Mr K for the info.

  19. Another very enjoyable crossword with some clever clues. 1,8&19d were my favourites.

  20. Reasonably straightforward but NE corner was tricky in places **/*** Favourite again 19d 😉 Thanks to Mr K and to setter (strangely no one has hazarded a guess as to who it might be) 🤔

    1. I think Kath suggested Mister Ron in her comment and I am almost tempted to agree with her – except for the fact that a few of the answers seemed too straightforward to be from his pen!

      1. I agree about the straightforward clues and, unlike last week, this didn’t feel like Mister Ron to me.

      2. Oh well – only one chance to be right so I’m probably wrong given my track record of spotting setters.I didn’t find it all plain sailing which is why I came up with the idea of Mister Ron.

        1. The proven way to find out if it’s a Mister Ron puzzle is for Jane to enthusiastically thank Shamus for it. :)

          1. OK – that’s two of you off my Christmas card list…………

            Speaking of my little Irish leprechaun and where this particular pseudonym actually came from – if the original was Shamus Town in the detective novels, was it a representation of ‘sham U.S. town’?

              1. An interesting read, Mr. K – thank you for that. Your ability to get so much pertinent info from the internet so rapidly amazes me!

  21. And I’m not going to try!
    Nice, simple and straightforward crossword. 19d out and out fave. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to today’s Tuesday man, and to Mr K for his review.

  22. NE corner was last to go in. I had to go out, but a fresh mind sorted it when I came back. Either that, or the glass of red wine in the pub on the way home. 19d was favourite. Thank you setter, and a big thanks to Mr Kitty for reviewing two crosswords.

  23. We hesitated for a while over 14a as ‘take it’ implies ‘accept’ to us and ‘react’ implies ‘oppose’ but eventually decided that it had to be right and do agree that one can find examples where they can be substituted. 6d took some head-scratching as at first it looked as if ‘popular’ was clueing ‘in’ in the answer. Soon sorted though. Enjoyable to solve. We did give some thought about a possible setter but none of the usual suspects seemed to fit the bill with this one.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. Hi 2Ks – I’m with you on ‘accept’ being my uppermost definition of ‘take it’ but not so sure about ‘react’ necessarily implying ‘oppose’. ‘To react favourably’ is used on a regular basis over here but perhaps not in NZ?

  24. Everybody’s favorite of 19d was my last in, and only after reading the hint. I could see it was an anagram, but not being an imbiber, I’m not familiar with the names. Well I do like half a shandy on trips home, but anything stronger or larger will make me fall right over 😏 I thought 15a was good, also 10a. Went on to tackling an old Toughie (1786) while waiting for car to be serviced. That was definitely a gentle version as even I could do it, yay!

  25. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. Nice puzzle, was beaten by 11a, wouldn’t have thought of that. Apologies to any Canadians, I’m afraid I’d never heard of 2d, but got it from the fodder. Favourite was 8d. Was 2*/3* for me.

  26. I too was held up in the NE corner, but 2*/3* seems about right. I enjoyed 16d and 6d. Thanks to the setter (l won’t try and guess), and to Mr Kitty.

  27. Great fun today, reasonably straightforward, 19d was very clever but probably an old chestnut to the experts.
    2d was last in, I missed the anagram in 9d, and that was my favourite.
    Thanks to messers kitty and ron

  28. Fairly standard fare from whoever our Tuesday Mr Ron is who has set our puzzle today. I thought there were quite a few clues that were very clever and I thoroughly enjoyed the solve and the challenge. I particularly enjoyed 18a as I spent far too much time trying to find an American city – cute misdirection. I did lose count of how many times the letter ‘J’ appeared though. I wonder if any one could tell me? Mmmmm

    Thanks to all involved Jim.

  29. Thanks for the words of the anthem in 2d. Can never understand why we don’t get the words (or translation) of the anthems sung before Six Nation matches. Ref 2d, I had the wrong letters, (OF instead or AN), so was looking for something from Carmin Burana.

  30. Straightforward and not too taxing at all. Just as well, as I’m feeling tired, old, fat and feeble tonight. I’m a bit puzzled by the question marks being raised over “take it” – surely we’re all familiar with the expressions: “I told him he hadn’t got the job but he took it well” & “I told him he hadn’t got the job and he took it badly”? No standouts, but I’ll pick 4a for mention because I used to go and watch these at the old Hare and Hounds circuit North of Newbury, where the commentator was Murray Walker, star rider was Jeff Smith and the bikes were BSA, Greeves, Husqvarna, Matchless and the like. It was always cold, wet and muddy, and so was I waiting for a bus home. Thanks to the ever-informative Mr K and our mystery setter. 1*/3*

  31. How frustrating that I can only look at the answers of the Telegraph Cryptic published on Thursday, 31 August 2006 (DT 25085) which only has one vowel. Is the original crossword available anywhere?

Comments are closed.