DT 28399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28399

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28399

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
    Last week’s rain eventually moved off the country leaving the small town of Edgecumbe, where a river broke its banks, in a state of devastation. Much of the water has now been pumped out and people starting to return to those homes that were not too badly damaged or destroyed. We had a few days fine weather but today the remnants of another tropical weather system are arriving and we are likely to have a repeat dose of the medicine. We missed the worst of it last time and have our fingers crossed that we will be far enough south to miss the worst of this one too.
     The four long clues in this Jay puzzle fell easily for us which gave plenty of letters to work with and a trouble free solve.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Apprentice that reveals lack of grip? (6)
NOVICE : We need a 2,4, phrase that says that we lack a tool used to hold things firmly.

4a     This might have made woman something to eat (5,3)
SPARE RIB : The part of Adam that, according to the story in Genesis, was used to create Eve.

9a     Old burial site featuring in pub argument? (6)
BARROW : A pub or watering hole and then an argument or disagreement.

10a     Letter like ‘O’ (8)
CIRCULAR :Double definition. The letter is one that is sent to many people.

12a     Stage set to see fall by defender (8)
BACKDROP : A defender in a sporting team and then a word meaning to fall.

13a     Paid companion — his age is variable (6)
GEISHA : An anagram (is variable) of HIS AGE.

15a     Victim as result of ‘Comedy Store’? (8,5)
LAUGHING STOCK: The sounds one makes when one finds something funny, and then a word for store or supply.

18a     Relish errors by a person following mild punishment (5,4,4)
SMACK ONES LIPS : A mild punishment administered with a flat hand, then how a person might be referred to and errors or lapses.

20a     Part of play about fighting (6)
ACTION : The first major part of a play and then a two letter word meaning about or concerning.

22a     Neat changes in wordless performance one should see in the intervening period (8)
MEANTIME : A type of wordless performance we associate with Marcel Marceau contains an anagram (changes) of NEAT.

24a     Understand restaurant booking is achievable (8)
GETTABLE : A three letter word meaning understand and then the item of furniture that one books in a restaurant.

25a     Fodder is turned and left to mature (6)
SILAGE : ‘Is’ from the clue is reversed, then the abbreviation for left and a word meaning to mature or get older.

26a     Reject drink after performance on stage (4,4)
TURN DOWN : Drink or swallow follows a performance on stage.

27a     Witness‘s source of tension during a trial (6)
ATTEST : ‘A’ from the clue, and a trial or exam include the first letter (source) of tension.


1d     Arrest old boys and rich influential people (6)
NABOBS : Arrest or apprehend and the abbreviation for old boys.

2d     Shot cavalier infected by Latin disease (9)
VARICELLA : This medical term for chickenpox is an anagram (shot) of CAVALIER which includes the abbreviation for Latin.

3d     Obscure sort of clock light is an escape from reality (5-6-4)
CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND : Obscure or make less clear, then the sort of clock we associate with Switzerland and light or come down to earth.

5d     Penny’s on edge, being prudish (4)
PRIM : The abbreviation for penny and a synonym for edge.

6d     Very clever person notes it’s cricket to be played (6,9)
ROCKET SCIENTIST : An anagram (to be played) of NOTES IT’S CRICKET.

7d     Turns over parts in play to be broadcast (5)
ROLLS : A homophone (to be broadcast) of parts in a play or movie.

8d     Military quarters forbid instruments of torture (8)
BARRACKS : A three letter word meaning forbid and torture instruments that stretch the victim.

11d     Dressed in thong, zip to the USA (7)
NOTHING : An anagram (dressed) of IN THONG.

14d     A requirement to include one’s flavouring (7)
ANISEED : ‘A’ from the clue and a word for a requirement surround ‘one’s’ written as the Roman numeral one with the ‘s.

16d     Pig-headed and old, at best in being treated (9)
OBSTINATE : The abbreviation for old and an anagram (being treated) of AT BEST IN.

17d     Set out to impound consignment — French delicacy (8)
ESCARGOT : A consignment or load carried by a ship is inside an anagram (out) of SET.

19d     Elite religious body infiltrated by the Spanish (6)
SELECT : The Spanish definite article is inside a branch of a religion.

21d    Coach and team’s leader in heavy defeat, having been set up (5)
TUTOR : The first letter of team is inside a reversal of a word for a heavy defeat.

23d     Punch that makes one black and blue (4)
BLOW : The abbreviation for black and a word meaning blue or depressed.

Our favourite today is 18a

Quickie pun     sane    +    home     +    awe    =    say no more


67 comments on “DT 28399

  1. 2*/4*. Nothing too difficult here but the whole thing was extremely enjoyable as usual for a Wednesday.

    My podium places in reverse order are awarded to:

    3) 3d – a lovely answer but missing out on the top spot due to its slightly strange surface
    2) 18a – excellent
    1) 23d – elegant simplicity

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  2. Lots to enjoy in this Jay offering this morning. Although the four long clues formed a solid base, it was one of them, 18a, that was my last to complete. My favourite was a toss-up between 4 and 15a, with the latter taking the prize.

    Overall this was 2*/4* for me, with many thanks to all bird species involved.

  3. Was held up for a while by thinking that the first word of 4a was Adam’s ….but once that sorted itself out so did everything else.

    Very enjoyable crossword.

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis……hope the next storm misses you.

  4. Lovely crossword from Jay today. Some excellent clues of which 3D and 18a were prime examples. The latter is my COTD. 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2K’s for their review.

  5. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Not very difficult but highly entertaining and a lot of well devised clues. I have never heard of 1d before but easily worked out. 2*/5* Many thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis.

  6. Quite a bit easier than some recent Wednesdays, but enjoyable enough. Jane, I think I remember seeing plenty of the burial mounds in Anglesey many years ago. Ta to Jay, and the 2Ks.

    1. Yes, you’re quite right. A veritable plethora of burial mounds, standing stones and places of Druid worship.

  7. Held up by one down getting nobbles as the answer for arrest/nobles and therefore needed hints for12ac. Otherwise straightforward today 2/4 for me. Thanks to Jay and 2 Kiwis

  8. Same as yesterday, and, for me, unusually for a Jay puzzle, bordering on R&W; certainly helped by the two 13 letter across, and the two 15 letter down clues, completed at a gallop – */***.

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 18a, and 3d – all very good clues; and the winner is 18a.

    Thanks to the Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. Another lovely crossword from Jay – I thought it was a good bit easier than some of his recent offerings.
    I only had one problem – in 20a I thought the ‘play’ was to do with rugby or football or anything else that I don’t understand so my original answer was ‘attack’ which scuppered 3d briefly.
    For no reason at all 19d took a while.
    Got a bit tangled up with the 11d anagram because of US ‘zip codes’.
    I liked all the long answers and my favourite was 23d for the same reason as RD.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s – I hope the next storm doesn’t bash you around too much – an answer in the Toughie reminded me of you!

    1. Kath, thx for your reply yesterday, sorry I didn’t pick it up until v late.
      However, whilst I agree that re is synonymous with on in crosswordland, I still haven’t seen an explanation as to why!

      1. Thanks for your reply Brian – all I can do is quote CS and suggest that you look it up in the BRB.

      2. Re: your comment. A lecturer gives a talk on a subject = speaks about [whatever], concerning [whatever] the subject.; or Re: with reference to, in a reply.

  10. A */**** for me today as no hold ups and I liked the cluing .Everyone so far has given a two line comment which indicates that not much to say really about this enjoyable Wednesday romp.

  11. Pretty straightforward but fun I’ll give 1* for difficulty although I hadn’t heard of that disease before and had to find it in the dictionary. 4* for enjoyment. I agree with others’ comments about the long answers – clever. But first place goes to 4a.

  12. Enjoyed this very much. A nice solve done with a smile. Thanks to the setter and 2k’s.
    Just one thing, is the clue for 7d correct? Shouldn’t it be a homophone not simile?

    1. Thanks for that Magichatuk. 7d has now been corrected and the proof-reader has been suitably reprimanded. :smile:

  13. Very entertaining if not quite hitting the same heady heights of recent Jay puzzles.

    My two favourites were 11d and 23d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and to Colin and Carol.

  14. Like Kath, I tried to make zip codes relevant to 11d. Doubtless unlike Kath, I also discovered that I didn’t actually know the medical terminology in 2d despite being as familiar as most Mums with plastering lotion on chicken pox spots!
    6d almost had me running for the hills – I’m sure these setters chuckle to themselves and use the word ‘cricket’ as often as possible to frighten the crosswording ladies.

    Lovely puzzle with podium places going to 1a plus 1&23d.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – hope you stay safe and dry.

    1. Jane – as I recall, some time in the last twelve months – you did admit to having some cricketing knowledge – or am I confused?

      1. No, you’re not confused, Senf, but there’s so much of the wretched stuff to learn………..

          1. Exactly – and those are the worst of the lot. I spend ages looking for some obscure ‘cricket’ terminology and it turns out to be nothing more than anagram fodder!

              1. Wed 31 Jul 02 DT 23809 Teasing whilst knitting the welt (7)
                Thu 29 May 03 DT 24067 Try and help out storing English type of knitting wool (5-3)
                Thu 26 Jul 12 TOUGHIE 813 Knit circular shape enclosed by pocket (7)
                Wed 7 May 14 TOUGHIE 1183 Tug left to right inside to form loop (4)
          2. It happens all the time – I see references to cricket, rugby, golf, motor/horse racing etc (please feel free to add your own here) and then find that they’re all red herrings. Oh dear!

  15. Enjoyed it while it lasted. 1a or 10a, can’t decide.

    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks, though the pic for 17d turns my stomach.
    (I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the day a French hunter-gatherer got home with a bag of those for dinner.)

      1. Well… on a camping trip once, I got up in the middle of the night and bit the end off a skewered kebab from a cold BBQ.
        In the morning, yes, there was the end of a kebab missing, plus half of a large slug atop the remainder.
        Agreed: garlic butter is lovely.

          1. One less to bother a garden, and probably a more fitting end than a jar of salt water or blue pellets, or drowning in beer.
            Yuk – yes, 89 000.314159% to be precise.
            Don’t recommend it, unless it’s in garlic butter? Nooo! :smile:

            1. Many years ago a friend of mine and her family were staying with an ancient great-aunt who prided herself on her garden and home grown veg. In the middle of lunch, complete with home grown salads, my friend’s husband spotted a large slug in the middle of his plate – when great-aunty had popped out to the kitchen and he thought she couldn’t see he picked it up and was about to hurl it through an open window when this voice shouted, “Well don’t throw it out there – it’ll only find another lettuce to eat”.

              1. Rinsing home grown salads in ever so slightly sated water usually does the trick. I remember slugs and caterpillars amongst the salads of yesteryear

    1. LR. That slug anecdote reminds me of this old poser: Question: What’s worse than finding a maggot in the apple you’re eating? Answer: Finding half of one!

  16. 7d is a homophone(broadcast) NOT a synonym I’d get out more but too busy doing telegraph crossword !

    1. Welcome to the blog – this was pointed out earlier today and as I said, the 2Ks will change their hint once they wake up!

  17. Another sparkling puzzle from Jay. My vote for favourite would go to 2d as nostalgia for my previous life, but having just spent a great fortnight in Japan where one of the many sights was a genuine geiko being attended by a maiko in kyoto my vote has to go to13a.

  18. A pretty swift solve, 1*/3*.

    21d was probably our favourite.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay.

  19. I enjoyed this a lot, although my solve was probably not as fast as some because in places pondering was required between the reading and writing stages. I smiled at 11d when I realized that I should have seen it sooner. Ticks also beside 18a, 1d, 3d, and I’ll go with the majority in picking 23d as favourite. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  20. Another splendid Wednesday puzzle. So many clever clues,with 4a being my pick.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  21. Very enjoyable, clever and not too taxing. Managed to do the crossword every day while on holiday in Cornwall, despite the presence of grandchildren! At first glance I thought it was going to be difficult. Not helped by wanting 4a to be Apple Pie. Clearly have not paid enough attention to the Scriptures. Did not have too much trouble with the long ones apart from 6d which was the last to go in. Could not parse 23d and had not heard of the word zip with that meaning. Once I had checked that I thought it was a clever misdirection. Thanks Jay 2Ks and all.

  22. Loads of fun, most enjoyable. I can’t choose a fave, too much good stuff, but honourable mention goes to 18a, 3d and 23d.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.
    You might send us some rain. We had some today but it was more like Scotch mist and we need inches.

  23. Made trouble for myself by having “licks” to start 18a. That messed up the NW for too long. Other than that made steady, if not spectacular, progress.
    3d my COTD. SWMBO says I live there most of the time so it just has to be.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks.

  24. At first read I thought I would find this quite tricky, but once I got the brain in gear everything soon fell in to place. I remember looking at 10a thinking “I’ll never get that” and it was one of the first in.

  25. Closest puzzle to a R&W for me. I think the DT are being kind after the horrors of 2 weeks ago.
    My fav was definitely 4a, a real ‘smiler’
    Thx to all

  26. Morning all.
    A weather update. Tropical cyclone “Cook” is due to arrive in the far north later today with its very strong winds but has already been delivering heavy rain up there. Aucklanders are being urged to stay at home today because of the conditions. We, in the lower part of the North Island, are still just slightly damp but calm here and it is likely to be this evening before any of the serious weather gets to us. We’re hoping that it will have lost intensity by then.

  27. Got off to a good start and then needed hints to finish, must be having a dim day. Never knew the name for chicken pox. Younger daughter had literally 6 spots, and even doctor thought they were insect bites. So she went to play school, parties etc and innocently spread it around entire village. Our elder daughter succumbed 3 weeks later with spots everywhere, including in her hair and ears… 15a was favorite today and 24a last in as not a word I ever use. Hope the 2Ks miss the coming storm and stay dry and safe.

    1. The Younger Lamb had these ‘bites’ on her back – just a few. I noticed them when I was getting her dressed one morning – husband also noticed and, as I said to him that I really should put new flea collars on the cats, he said, “She’s got chicken pox, dumbo”.

      1. When I was about five, I was attending a kindergarten that was boarding. When a kid developed CP after the holidays, my Mum, who was a nurse, suggested keeping all the children there and letting them all develop it. So, 8 little boys and 8 little girls were itching and demanding calamine lotion all the time.

        When we all recovered, “Fairy Godmother” presented us with a magic pumpkin vine, duly planted in the front garden. Miss Jacks, a teacher, went to the movies that night, and when she came home there was a HUGE pumpkin vine knocking at the doors and windows, demanding to be let in.

        The next morning we woke to a pumpkin vine all through the house, with a little present for each child growing on it.

        Sorry this was so long, but it’s one of my happiest childish memories.

  28. Aggh for some unaccountable reason I bunged in ‘cloud number nine’ for 3d, disobeying the golden rule. I was then left with the first word of 18a ending in ‘B’!! Eventually sorted it out.
    Last in was 19d, mainly because of the order that I did it.
    I missed the anagram at 6d and 18a was my favourite.
    Many thanks to Jay and 2xK

  29. **/*** from me. A few very nice ones today. I applaud 10a, 25a, 6d, 11d, and 23d. I think 10a or 23d is the best. Donaldo

  30. Did this over coffee after mucking out 6 nags this morning. My notes say 1*/3* and 18a was my pick of the clues. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  31. Jolly fun with plenty of smiles along the way. 15a and 6d in a play-off with 15a finally taking the Green Jacket. Ta to the K’s and J 2*/4*

  32. The usual Wednesday quality and much enjoyed.

    My thought are the same as RD’s in the first comment, including the podium positions,

    Thanks Jay, Kay and Kay – stay dry.

  33. Found this one of the more enjoyable for a while.
    Specially liked 11D and 17D

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