DT 28400 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28400

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28400

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. As usual on a non-Ray T Thursday I’m not going to make any guesses as to who set today’s crossword although I do wonder if the answer to 1d is giving us a hint. I thought it was good fun and fairly straightforward but I’m more than happy for any or all of you to disagree so please leave a comment telling us how you got on.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answer is under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.


8a            Hint: this could be left in potter’s equipment (4)
CLUE — The ‘sticky’ thing that someone playing snooker or billiards (potter) uses to hit the ball contains (in) the abbreviation for left.

9a            Various establishments bottling milk (3)
USE — Our first lurker or hidden answer – it’s in the middle of the first two words of the clue.

10a         Volunteer army retreats, or appears before and after Churchill, say (6)
ORATOR — A reversal (retreats) of the now outdated two letter abbreviation for the volunteer army is preceded and followed by the OR from the clue (before and after).

11a         Guide offering massage with first of rises in charge (6)
RUBRIC — Massage or knead is followed by the first letter of the last three words of the clue.

12a         Spend horrible time in warm climes mostly (5,3)
SHELL OUT — A horrible time or a time of suffering is contained in (in) the warmer part of a country or area (if you’re in the Northern hemisphere) without its final letter (mostly).

13a         Prisoner held amid best threat he devised for prevailing authority (3,6,4,2)
THE POWERS THAT BE — The initials of a prisoner taken during a battle goes inside (held amid) an anagram (devised) of BEST THREAT HE.

15a         Powerful businessman, a great knight, entertained by partner (7)
MAGNATE — The A from the clue and the two abbreviations for great and knight are contained in (entertained by) a partner or other half.

17a         Idiot, mature, going round university in temper (7)
ASSUAGE — An idiot or someone not very 3d and a verb to mature or ripen contain the one letter abbreviation for university. This kind of ‘temper’ isn’t a paddy – it means to moderate.

20a         Intern or handler disorientated in part of the UK (8,7)
NORTHERN IRELAND — An anagram (disorientated) of INTERN OR HANDLER.

23a         I’ll go by ship to make speedy delivery of comic? (3-5)
ONE-LINER — How someone could refer to him or herself is followed by a large passenger ship.

25a         Pick house in Greek island close to shore (6)
CHOOSE — The two letter abbreviation for house is contained in one of the many Greek islands and that’s followed by the last letter (close to) of shore.

26a         Reportedly preserve French resort (6)
CANNES — A homophone (reportedly) – a method of preserving by putting in a tin sounds like a French resort on the Mediterranean coast.

27a         Regular portions of plaice or pork pie (3)
LIE — This ‘pork pie’ is Cockney rhyming slang – you need the alternate letters (regular portions of) plaice.

28a         College with celebrity backing (4)
ETON — A reversal (backing) of a word that means celebrity or fame gives the name of a well known boys public school.



1d            Detective in criminal hustle (6)
SLEUTH — An anagram (criminal) of HUSTLE.

2d            Aquatic animal keeps quiet in habitat (8)
TERRAPIN — Another word for habitat or environment contains the letter that is the musical instruction to play quietly (keeps quiet).

3d            Ready source of evidence about Edward showing mental agility (5-10)
QUICK-WITTEDNESS — Another word for ready or prompt is followed by a source of evidence – someone who saw a crime being committed and is called to give evidence in court – which contains (about) one of the abbreviations for the name Edward.

4d            Fool perhaps taking sun in arid environment (7)
DESSERT — This fool is a different kind to the one in 17a – it’s a kind of pud usually made from fruit and cream. You need a very dry sandy place where cactuses grow inside which (taking) is the abbreviation for Sun.

5d            In need of very top dancing hit (7-8)

The Telegraph subscriber version is ‘In need of hit after volume in verse’. Thanks MP. I assume this was changed as it doesn’t quite work.
POVERTY-STRICKEN — The first word is an anagram (dancing) of VERY TOP and the second is the past tense of a verb to hit or whack.

6d            Plant laid curiously around a hotel (6)
DAHLIA — An anagram (curiously) of laid goes around the A from the clue and the letter represented by Hotel in the phonetic alphabet. I quite like some of these plants but so do the slugs and snails and the frilly ones (the plants not the slugs and snails) are always full of earwigs which I hate.

7d            Asian food is served in front of union (4)
TOFU — The second lurker indicated by served in – it’s inside the last three words of the clue. I didn’t spot it for ages although the answer had to be what it was.

14d         Chatter over person’s particular interest (3)
BAG — A reversal (over) of an informal word for chatter or idle talk.

16d         Fuss in a social function (3)
ADO — The A from the clue is followed by crosswordland’s favourite party.

18d         Tortured soul none set free (8)
UNLOOSEN — An anagram (tortured) of SOUL NONE

19d         Cricket side topping a list having continued success (2,1,4)
ON A ROLLOh dear – here we go! A little two letter ‘crickety’ term which I don’t understand and am not even going to attempt to explain is followed by (topping) the A from the clue and a list or register.

21d         Skill shown in continental enterprise (6)
TALENT — Our third and final (thankfully) hidden answer – it’s in the last two words of the clue.

22d         Pained expression after food, restaurateur’s nightmare? (2-4)
NO-SHOW — If you split this the other way round ie 4,2 you need a slang word for food followed by (after) what you might say if someone trod on your toes (pained expression) Other versions could be possible if that person trod very hard on your toes.

24d         Clean without water (4)
NEAT —A double definition – the second is a drink taken without water.

I liked 25 and 27a and 5 and 14d. My favourite was 22d.

The Quickie pun:- SPIN + ACRE = SPINNAKER


88 comments on “DT 28400

  1. 2*/4*. Nothing too challenging and good fun all the way. My only slight reservation is the “warm climes” bit of 12a.

    Like Kath, 7d was my last one in even though the answer was obvious. I’m normally pretty good at spotting lurkers but this one proved very elusive for some reason. I particularly liked 9a as a nice example of this ilk.

    Top spot today goes to 22d with 5d in second place.

    Many thanks to Shamus (?) and to Kath.

    Now for a Beam Toughie :smile:

  2. I don’t normally notice the grid, but today a number of relatively easy long clues provided a route in. It took me the whole puzzle to see the ‘tofu’ lurker! Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  3. Another very enjoyable puzzle albeit not too difficult. Very thoughtful cluing and a lot fun solving. A new word for me in 12a, favourites were 13a and 5d. 2.5*/4.5* Many thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  4. That pesky lurker evaded me until long after I had finished this enjoyable puzzle.

    5d takes the top of my podium (subscriber version) and overall I cannot fault the official rating of 2*/4*.

    Many thanks to our Thursday setter and to Kath for her review.

      1. I think when I did the puzzle, I saw what I wanted to see. Kath is correct, as I thought I saw the letter ‘v’ in poetry, which is clearly not the case.

      2. Could we be clear what is meant by “subscriber version” – the online version I use is only available to subscribers so I think a different form of words is required in order to remove the ambiguity.

        1. I subscribe to the newspaper via my iPad. This gives me access to the quickie, the cryptic, a sudoku and a codeword, but no toughie.

          1. As I said above, the newspaper subscription which gives me the paper plus the four puzzles listed.

          2. Correct and you need both if you are a stick in the mud like me and prefer to print the puzzles to fill in rather than do on line. Had the puzzles subscription for a long time and naively thought when I added the newspaper subscription I would have the same puzzles/printing access and could save the puzzles fee. Wrong. So have to pay for both. Still worth it though.

  5. K. 19d. The cricket side is defined as a particular half of the field, either ** (leg) side or off side. From the point of view of a right-handed batsman facing the bowler, the ** (leg) side is the left hand side of the field and the off side is the right hand half. Come on, RD, you’re supposed to be the resident cricket expert :-)

    1. Well I would say that from a batsman’s point of view “back” and “front” side are probably more accurate than “left” and “right” as most face the bowler from a side-on stance (although Peter Willey and Dennis Amiss are among notable exceptions).

      1. The batsman’s stance is immaterial, the ** and off sides are defined by an imaginary line drawn from one end of the field to the other, passing through both middle stumps.

        1. And of course, at the end of each over when the fielding team switches ends, the ** and off sides of the field are reversed.

            1. Which means if a left-handed batsman was facing the bowling immediately after a right-hander and just finished at the other end and not scored off his last delivery, then the ** and off sides would not, in that instance, be reversed. You got all that, Kath :-)

        2. The batsman’s stance is not immaterial in the example you have given by trying to define the left and right sides in relation to the batsman. Kath will probably be totally confused now …

          1. The relevant two words here are ‘totally’ and ‘confused’. You can both forget the ‘probably’ and ‘now’. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear . . . :sad:

            1. Worry not, Kath – they lost me somewhere around the point of the field reversing its sides. What does it do – pick up its turf and run?

            2. Kath, there is an easy way to remember it (and it could well sum up your feelings about this sport):

              ‘Cricket left on? Right I’m off’!

              1. :smile:
                What about all the ‘legs’ though – that’s another bit that confuses me – oh dear, yet again.

          2. The batsman’s stance is completely immaterial – the only thing that determines the ** and off sides is whether they are batting right or left-handed, not the body posture when facing a delivery. There is no such thing as “back” and “front” sides in relation to this – just ** and off.

            1. To simplify, specially for Kath: For a right-handed batsman (irrespective of his stance), when facing the bowler, the ** (leg) side is the side of the field to his left and the off side is the side of the field to his right. For a left-hander, the opposite.

              1. Jose, I think you are pushing against a closed door here, with notable exceptions women and cricket are about as compatible as water and sodium.

                1. I was just trying to help. Perhaps I should try and explain the offside rule(s) in football instead…

                  1. Oh goodness, that takes me back. A very patient (and football mad) boyfriend once spent an entire afternoon trying to drill that one into me. All I can remember now is the bit about there having to be a defender between the goal taker and the goal itself. Or something like that……….

            2. Sorry, Jose, you are wrong on this one. Right and left only matter in this context in terms of whether the batsman is right- or left-handed.

              You can’t use right and left in relation to the batsman unambiguously to describe the sides of a cricket field unless the specific batsman as your point of reference has a square-on stance. For a right-handed batsman with a traditional stance, the bowler is to his left and the wicket-keeper to his right. You need to stick to on/leg and off to describe the sides of the field. I was trying, unsuccessfully it seems :-( , to make a joke when I referred to “back” and “front”.

              1. Yes of course, the on/leg and off sides are determined only by the batsman facing the bowling – whether they are right or left-handed. On a cricketing diagram (which would reflect a real situation), the whole of the field semi-circle to the left of a right-handed batsman is the on/leg side and the whole of the semi-circle to the right is the off side. The batsman’s stance (whether square-on, side-on or anything inbetween) does not affect the on/off or left/right sides of the field. The batsman’s batting posture doesn’t come into the equation at all.
                I did not realise you were making a joke about back and front, but I have found on here that if you are joking it’s best to add a smiley emoticon (like I did when I was pulling Kath’s leg about her “getting” all the confusion of the matter) to make sure everybody knows you aren’t being serious.

    2. OK chaps – I now admit defeat. This is something I’m never going to understand, not because I couldn’t if I chose to but because there are more important things that clutter my brain. To quote our wonderful Elder Lamb whenever I moan at her about something, “Honest Mum, I’m just good at different things”.

  6. Reasonably straightforward, but more challenging than the last couple of days, with extra head scratching in the NE even for the 15 letter clue up there, **/***.

    One reasonably easy crickety clue, but, thankfully no clues based on knitting.

    Candidates for favourite – 8a, 10a, and 11a – all very good clues; and the winner is 11a.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  7. We only had a couple of answers in when we confidently wrote the name Shamus in the margin and did not change our minds through the rest of the solve. The four full length answers, apart from the second word in 5d, all yielded quite quickly giving lots of checkers to work with. Kath has already pointed out that 12a does not really work for us but we’ll forgive the setter for that as there are so many really good clues to enjoy.
    Thanks Mr Ron (Shamus) and Kath.

    1. Nice to hear from you!

      You have survived Cyclone Cook!

      One question … the last cyclone in the Southern hemisphere was called Debbie … do you name them in reverse alphabetical order?

      1. Yes Stan, cyclone Cook passed to the East of us overnight so we were spared the torrential rain and strong winds that caused all the trouble further North. We were very lucky.
        We also wondered why Debbie preceded Cook but have no explanation for this other than conjecture that Cook might have actually been identified and named earlier and then spent slow-moving time in the tropics before moving south. (But that is just uninformed guessing).

  8. Most of you seem to think that Shamus is today’s setter and I sort of agree. My only reservation is that, apart from the beastly 7d ‘rubber’ which took me ages to see, I found this pretty straightforward and I usually have a spot of bother with him. We’ll see . . .

    1. Soya bean curd should be anything but rubbery. Such a delicate product in Japanese cuisine. The little white cubes in a miso soup melt in your mouth.
      Mind you. It’s a bit like mozzarella. Either you get the real stuff or the Danish alternative which also feels like rubber.

  9. Very enjoyable and I agree with the ratings. Wasn’t the clue for 4d (or something very similar to it) used in one of last week’s crosswords? Could have been a different paper though, my memory is shocking. 5d and 22d were my favourites. Thanks to setter and Kath.

  10. Agree with Kath on the **/**** and with Rabbit Dave on the 12a ‘heat ‘.
    I too had 7d as my last in , I think that the break in the sentence at front confuses the eye !
    Puzzles so far this week seem to be all around the ** difficulty for some reason with a ***/**** enjoyment rating.
    No stand out clues for me today.

  11. Thanks to all, but must disagree. Did not enjoy this at all. Curious mixture of very simple, obvious clues and some impenetrable ones. Very little satisfaction to be had.

  12. As usual for a Thursday we have an excellent puzzle. Not too tricky but just enough difficulty to keep ones interest. Surely the work of Shamus as I smiled throughout the solve. Thanks to the setter and thanks to Kath for explaining 7d which has had me wondering all morning.

  13. I found this one quite challenging, but very enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for the parsings…..in particular, 12a had to be what it is, but I could not for the life of me see why.

  14. Despite the ribbing from Mr. K and LBRoy on Tuesday, I shall ‘enthusiastically thank Shamus’ for this one and wait to see what happens! Surely the likes of 8a,1d & 20a must point to the twinkly-eyed leprechaun, unless he and Mister Ron are in cahoots to confound us all. As Kath said, it was certainly a relatively easy solve – but none the less enjoyable for that.

    Came through the cricket stuff with flying colours and spotted that dreadful foodstuff with no problem so at least the grey cells are functioning well for tackling the Beam Toughie!
    Dithered a bit over a favourite but think I’ll award the honours to 22d.

    Thanks to Kath for blogging when you’re doubtless expecting a houseful over the weekend and thanks to Shamus for the 3d. If you pop in later, can you let us know why you never seem to put in an appearance on your Toughie days?

    1. Many thanks to Kath for her excellent blog and everyone who commented. In answer to Jane, I hadn’t really thought about it but i suppose it’s partly because Toughie setters are already attributed that I don’t make as many comments on the blog there – but it doesn’t mean I’m any less appreciative of them or the effort that goes into them. Happy Easter to all!

      1. Many thanks for setting our minds at rest, Shamus. It’s so nice to have our setters pop in which was why I commented on your absence on Toughie days. No satisfying some of us solvers, is there!

        1. Oops – tried to add an extra comment before the edit time ran out and obviously didn’t quite make it! Not sure why that makes me ‘undefined’ but it obviously does.
          Don’t know whether you watch Eggheads, Shamus? One of tonight’s questions asked contestants to pick out an alternative name for a detective from three possibilities. Answer = Shamus!

  15. Put the H in the wrong place in 6d. That will teach me for not reading the clue properly.
    Once that was sorted I managed to finish with 10a and 5d.
    Very enjoyable crossword on the whole.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the fun review.

  16. Thanks to Shamus? Also to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable very straightforward puzzle with some really good clues. Nice to see 2d again. A new word in 11a for me, but very gettable from the wordplay. Really enjoyed 5d, but my favourite was 22d. Last in was 7d. Was 2*/4* for me.

  17. Super puzzle for a Thursday. Many thanks to the setter for some challenging, but doable, clues and many thanks to Kath for the clear hints. I think that ‘on’ should be ‘in’, which wouldn’t fit the clue

  18. 10a took a while to sort out having put Attlee (churchill was PM before & after him) and AT is TA reversed – got the complete wrong reading of that doh!
    Generally an excellent workout – loved 3d, 13a & 20a – thanks to the setter and Kath for help with 5d.

  19. Not difficult but with some horrible clues in 12a (why should south be a warmer clime, certainly isn’t in NZ or OZ), 28a (celebrity for note is not in my copy of the BRB so very sloppy), 5d( hit=stricken is very weak) and 22d which is just a poor clue.
    No favourites, thought this a somewhat turgid effort.
    Thx for the hints.

  20. Who’s the compiler?

    As Kath says 1d might be a bit of a clue.

    Shame on us if we are wrong?

  21. Interesting comments from Brian again and I thought he had mellowed. I found it quite hard but possible without hints. There were a few I thought I would never get but did without recourse to the hints or BRB or even Google. One has to think outside of the box. Silly but 27a was my last in, preceded by 24d. 25a was obvious but could not parse until I started pronouncing close in another way. Clever misdirection. The other one that caused me trouble was 22d. I liked 17a when the penny dropped 2d and 14d. Thanks Shamus (if it is you) and to Kath for the hints which I always enjoy reading to check I am right.

  22. I was a bit too quick to put rice as the answer to 7d which messed things up for a while.

    Nevertheless a very enjoyable challenge.

  23. Not my cup of tea today, and I made heavy weather of it. Don’t know why as with Kath’s hints nothing was that hard. It was just one of those days when I had little confidence that my answers were right.

  24. I’d like to be daring and say that I thought this had too many ‘old friends’ to be the work of our 1d

    1. We’re both wrong Sue, but our reasons for thinking that it wasn’t Shamus were different.

  25. Pretty straightforward but needed hint for 5d 😬 **/*** Favourite was 10a with 17a in 2nd 😀 Thanks to Kath and to the setter for a relaxed Thursday 😜 Next Thursday will doubtless be a different story 🙁

  26. Fairly straightforward on the whole, solidly clued, with 27a and 3d earning my ticks.

    For once I have some sympathy with Brian regarding his first comment, “warm climes” for “south” did seem rather subjective. I see we are far from alone in that view. I’m surprised that nobody yet appears to have questioned “great” abbreviated to just “g” in 15a, as the BRB seems to sanction “gt” only. I’m assuming Collins must allow it, although it doesn’t immediately show up on Collins Online.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

    1. We were happy with g for great, as in GB = Great Britain. No dictionary necessary!

      1. Abbreviations have to ‘stand alone’ eg you can’t have R for Royal just because it means that in RAF

    2. O for a beaker full of the warm South ,
      Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
      With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
      And purple-stained mouth;
      That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
      And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

      Keats: Ode to a Nightingale

  27. Not too taxing and lots of fun. No standout favourite, but I did like the 1d/8a pairing. I also loved the picture for 2d because it looks so happy. Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  28. I thought this was an ok sort of puzzle. It was straightforward and not particularly challenging. 22d is the clue of the day. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Kath.

  29. Cos? Surely it’s Kos.

    What cricketing term is ‘on’ – ‘in’ or ‘out’ or ‘off’or ‘leg’ ( I know they’re 3 letters but still….) but ‘on’ 😯

    1. Oh no – not more cricketing terms. I think if I see any more today I’ll cry – in fact I might as well anyway.
      As for Cos/Kos it didn’t occur to me to question it but, apparently, it’s an alternative spelling.

  30. I found it difficult to get started, but once in, it went very smoothly.
    I liked the long clues, they give a lot of help with solving.
    I, too, missed the lurker at 7d and had no idea why it was correct, but it had to be.
    Fave was 22d, but I rather liked 13a and 3d.
    Thanks to setter, and to Kath for help in getting 7d.

  31. An enjoyable romp, * for difficulty. A pity about the confusion over 5d, as that was my clue of the day…

  32. I knew it was Shamus from the start as he is the only setter whose clues are completely beyond me. He is definitely FM and I am on AM.
    Luckily I always keep the weekly prize online DT puzzle in reserve and that is very enjoyable.
    Give me another 50 years and I will be able to complete one of Shamus’s puzzles.
    Thanks Katherine and to Shamus.

      1. It’s fine – I’m actually a Kathleen but have only ever been called that if I’ve been really naughty – anyway, as long as I’m spelt with a K and not a C I don’t care.

  33. Late in today so not much to add. I did notice the possible setter clue in 1d, but had similar thoughts to Kath about finding it easier than normal for a Shamus (even with my fuzzy head). That notwithstanding, I am another victim of the tofu. [Pained expression!]

    Many thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and for saying hello, and to Kath for the lovely review.

    With other stuff taking up time, I’m now behind on Toughies. I want to use the weekend to catch up, but we have invaders, so … I’ll be back when I can, but in case I don’t make it, let me wish you all a great Easter weekend.

  34. 10a is a beauty, in my opinion. Nice puzzle today. There was only one answer which included a word cut short. I still think that this type of clue is a cop-out. Yes, very enjoyable today. **\****

  35. Good fun from Seamus as usual. I particularly liked the long clues, but I’ll pick 14d as my special one. Thanks to Seamus and to Kath (although I’m not convinced by the hint that the second word in 5d is the past tense of a verb to hit or whack). 2*/3*

    1. I wasn’t convinced by the past tense bit either but couldn’t think what it was – it would probably have been better to say nothing! :oops:

        1. I think “adjective” is the word we’re after here, although “stricken” can rarely be a PP of “strike”. We would always prefer “struck”

  36. Enjoyable-could not see 9A or 28A, so ***/****
    Thought 10A, 27A and 4D very good.

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