DT 28401 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28401

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28401

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs this Good Friday morning.

There are no seasonal references from Giovanni this morning – in fact this puzzle is resolutely secular. It took me a little while to get into, but once I’d spotted the anagram in 1a answers fell into place steadily.

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           Like fighting citizens — primarily a new volunteer force being introduced (12)
PARAMILITARY – Anagram (new) of PRIMARILY A wrapped around the initials of the former name of the Army Reserve.

9a           They slide downhill to marshy area with problem turning over (9)
TOBOGGANS – Put together TO (from the clue), a marshy area, and the reverse (turning over) of a problem or hitch.

Image result for toboggan

10a         Bright vehicle carrying the Parisian (5)
CLEAR – Put the French definite article inside a motor vehicle.

11a         Country girl entertained by a queen maybe (6)
BELIZE – A short form of a girl’s name placed inside something which may be a queen, but could equally be a worker or a drone, to get a Central American country.

12a         With crowd outside, is quiet show to be impossible? (8)
DISPROVE – An unusual word for a crowd, originally of cattle but by extension of people, wrapped around IS (from the clue) and the musical symbol for quiet.

13a         Part of bank’s business, not the first or last act (6)
ENDING – Remove the first letter (not the first) from what a bank does.

15a         Writer providing a series of reminiscences, say, is thoughtful (8)
ESSAYIST – Hidden in the clue.

18a         Stolen goods brought back and got rid of in garden building (4,4)
TOOL SHED – Reverse (brought back) some goods stolen by an invading force, perhaps, to get the first word. For the second, ‘got rid of’, as perhaps a snake might slough its skin.

19a         Anxiety of female lover, maiden one discarded (6)
STRESS – Start with a female lover, then remove the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over and the Roman numeral for one.

21a         Piece of music with unusual tempo entertaining one (4,4)
TONE POEM – Anagram (unusual) of TEMPO wrapped around ONE (from the clue).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a         Fulmar originally left by top of cliff to get ready to fly (6)
FLEDGE – The initial letter of Fulmar followed by Left and the top of a cliff.  There are some cameras following nesting peregrine falcons in Brussels here.

26a         Consider love and feel longing (5)
OPINE – The letter that looks like a love score at tennis followed by ‘feel longing’.

27a         Treading quietly, Heather is behind vehicle (9)
TRAMPLING – A road and rail vehicle followed by the musical symbol for quietly and another word for heather.

28a         A fresh peril’s nasty for folk farming the seas (5-7)
PEARL-FISHERS – Anagram (nasty) of A FRESH PERIL’S.

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d           Like drinking water poured out initially on flat surface (7)
POTABLE – The first letters of Poured Out, followed by a flat surface you might eat your dinner at.

2d           Revolting type to lurch outside entrance to bar (5)
REBEL – To lurch or stagger wrapped around the first letter of Bar.

3d           Mum stares, absorbing fashionable publications (9)
MAGAZINES – Another way (2,5) of saying ‘Mum stares’ wrapped around a two-letter word for ‘fashionable’.

4d           Metal attachment to dog? (4)
LEAD – Double definition, where the two answers are pronounced differently.

5d           Match with restrictions introduced becomes most bad-tempered (8)
TESTIEST – An international sports match wrapped around the restrictions that bind someone.

6d           Repeat run’s beginning with speed going up (5)
RECAP – The first letter of Run followed by the reverse (going up, in a Down clue) of a word for speed.

7d           Son I deem to be wayward put into ‘evil’ category (8)
DEMONISE – Anagram (to be wayward) of SON I DEEM.

8d           Old city chap, desperate (6)
URGENT – An old city of the Chaldees, followed by the archetypal City chap.

14d         Proverbially lifeless type attached to a swinger (8)
DOORNAIL – Cryptic definition of something found in the proverbial expression ‘as dead as a ——–‘.

16d         Beastly bounders escape to match in ‘ampshire (9)
ANTELOPES – The short form of ‘ampshire wrapped around ‘escape’ (usually to get married).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d         Firearm agent, one sitting at table? (8)
REPEATER – A short form of an agent or commercial traveller, followed by what someone sitting at table is likely to be.

18d         Result of needle that hospital brought out excessively (6)
TATTOO – Remove the Hospital from T(h)AT, then add a word for ‘excessively’.

Image result for tattoo maori

20d         From what we hear, gets rid of 9 (7)
SLEIGHS – Another word for the answer to 9a, which sounds like ‘gets rid of’ or ‘kills’.

22d         Newspaper article, ‘the absence of war’ being reported (5)
PIECE – A homophone of something which may be characterised as the absence of war.

24d         Road submerged by flooded river (5)
DRIVE – Hidden in the clue.

25d         Hard little fellow, one of two getting together for a pint? (4)
HALF Hard followed by a diminutive form of a man’s name (perhaps the one who burned the cakes?).

The Quick Crossword pun GOFER + BROKE = GO FOR BROKE

41 comments on “DT 28401

  1. I was really struggling with this to start with, but it slowly dropped into place. 20d was last in for me, I was stuck trying to fit a cricketing term for “insults”.

    ***/*** rating for me.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  2. 2.5*/2.5* for me – considerable head scratching required, especially in the SW which also required some electronic assistance. For example, I know the answer to 26a but it was too deep in the memory recesses when needed during the solving process.

    Favourite – 16d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  3. Very enjoyable puzzle. Nothing too taxing. Unlike a certain other puzzle, of which more later…..

    1. I noticed that you gave it ***** for difficulty! I never do the toughie but seeing that would surely put me off.

  4. I agree with DT, both with my rating (3*/3*) and in terms of it taking a while to get started after which it all fell into place nicely. 17d was my last one in. Overall this was enjoyable stuff, but I had no particular favourite.

    When I was a child my father often used the expression “deaf as a doorpost” referring to me if ever I stubbornly chose not to reply to him. I misremembered that today as “dead as a doorpost” leading me initially to put in the wrong second half for 14d.

    21a was a new expression for me, but easily derived from the wordplay.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  5. What a difference a day makes. No work today, so able to tackle the crossword with a fresh brain this morning. I rattled this off in xxxxr. The fortnightly loosing struggle with Shamus yesterday a distant memory.
    I assume this is Giovanni, but unusually I found the clues very understandable.
    Lots of great clues, my favourite was the lurker in 15a.
    Thanks all.

  6. Thanks to schooling from all the contributors to the blog over time – e.g. I now know what two letters an old city usually refers to! – I was about 90% of the way with this one but was glad to be helped over the line, especially with12a. Favourite clue 9a. All posters have my appreciation for your expertise which is gradually increasing my own.

  7. I don’t know whether it is because he’s put down his Book of Obscure Words but I am finding Mr M very ‘solver-friendly’ and this one didn’t take long at all. I’m still waiting for him to include a female bell ringer!

    Thanks to him and DT. Lovely start to the day in East Kent, including hearing the first cuckoo of the year – but it is starting to cloud over now :(

  8. Like others found it a bit of a tussle to start with but nothing to complain about.
    COTD was 16d for me with 14d close behind.
    This site has made me more curious about derivations & didn’t realise where 16d came from (why was the doornail singled out?) Now I know my life is more complete ( or is it?).
    Thanks to Giovanni & DT

    1. according to my favourite reference book “Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable”, ‘the doornail is either one of the heavy-headed nails with which large outer doors used to be studded, or the knob on which the knocker strikes. As this is frequently knocked on the head, it cannot be supposed to have much life left in it’ – so now you know.

      1. CS
        According to the source I found it was likely to be because the pointy bit of the nail on the inside was “clenched” or bent over so rendering it “.useless”.
        However it offered the thought perhaps it should be updated and suggested it might be time for a modern-day upgrade & suggested “As dead as a DVD”.
        Mine would be “As dead as a tungsten filament light bulb”

    2. The first recorded use of “dead as a door ail was not Shakespeare, despite what Bernard Levin said. It is from the first translation of the Old English poem Piers Plowman: “Faith without works is feebler than nothing, and dead as a doornail”. Blimey, that takes me back – we had to do the damn thing in the original

  9. Wrote in 1a long before I realised it was an anagram (lucky to get away with that!) and spent a while trying to justify ‘sledges’ for 20d. No real problems elsewhere – 13a and as a result, 14d were the last to fall.
    Think 18a takes pride of place for its amusing surface read.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for a most enjoyable blog. Loved that piece from the ‘Africa’ series and the 28a duet brought back a fond memory. A friend of mine sings in the Macclesfield Oriana Choir and some years ago I attended a performance they were giving in a makeshift concert hall housed in the Mercedes car showroom on a nearby trading estate. The highlight of the evening was a performance of 28a given by their choirmaster, Keith Yearsley, and his old chum Bryn Terfel. Magical – and the acoustics were splendid!

  10. Just to be different from everyone else seemingly, I found this decidedly tricky and much harder than the last couple of days. 13a and 14d proved to be my stumbling block. Cleverly constructed but quite hard work. 4*/2.5* Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  11. 2*/3* overall for this fairly benign Giovanni offering. 21a just about my favourite of many fun clues. The lurker at 15a was quite well hidden. I have to thank this site for teaching me that if you cannot parse a clue, look for a lurker (or a rekrul).

    Thanks to The Don for the workout, and to DT for his review.

  12. Failed on 14d. Didn’t know the expression. Was trying to get the dodo somewhere in there but couldn’t work it out.
    The rest fell in without any problems.
    Two clues to go in the toughie but have to go to work. That’s my lot for today.
    Thanks to all concerned.
    Have a good Easter weekend.

    1. Really enjoyed this today. Spent sometime working out 14d, got the answer but couldn’t see why, the penny eventually dropped !
      Thanks to setter and DT.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed this despite arguing with other half about doornails and dodos. I too had never heard of tone poem. I needed deep threat to explain why I had put in disprove so thank you to him and Giovanni, now back to the garden.

  14. As DT points out, a secular puzzle (slightly surprising given the date and the setter) in the new Giovanni style which I much enjoy. I smiled at 16d, the last to jump into place, but my favourite by a leap and a bound is 14d.

    Now back to the visitors. The backlog of Toughies will just have to wait.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT. Have a great weekend everybody.

  15. We found this untaxing and were rather disappointed not to be more challenged – 1.5*/2.5*.

    21a was a new expression for us, but it was pretty clear from the clue. We had no particular favourite.

    Thanks to DT for the write-up and Giovanni for the puzzle.

  16. Enjoyable end to an enjoyable week of puzzling. Like a lot of others I like the new style of Giovanni crossword. Secular is also fine with me. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  17. Slow to get going. Deep Threat’s hint for 1a got me moving again, but needed too many hints to feel satisfied with my work today. Definitely a *** difficulty for me.

    Don’t see 2Kiwis yet today, hope they are ok re the cyclone hitting New Zealand.

    1. We’re here and OK. Cyclone Cook weakened and slid down the east coast of the country. We live on the west coast and missed the worst of it. Lots of damage and flooding in the northern part of the country where the storm first came ashore but mercifully it moved away fairly quickly.
      We’re touched that you were concerned for us.

      1. Good news. Living in a hurricane zone we know only too well what havoc bad storms can bring.

  18. Very enjoyable for me and managed to do it unaided by electronics or hints….except I have to confess to putting in ‘sledges’ for 20d….I don’t know why, but there it is, as Harry Worth used to say. (Anyone remember Harry Worth now?)

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  19. Nice end to the week as usual from Giovanni, SW corner the most tricky **/*** 😏 Favourites were 11a, 23a & 16d 😊 Thanks to the Don and to DT for the blog 😛

  20. What a corker! Spent ages and only achieved a few answers. Much, much harder than those earlier in the week. Anyway, after a snooze, I had another look and a magical hand guided my pen. Got them all in. Only spent an extraordinary amount of time on 14d. Had to write it out and go through the possible letters which could fill my gaps. Loved it and it whiled away a not so nice day down her in the SW.

  21. Nice to get a copy of the Telegraph today after having to settle for the Times for most of this week. Nothing too taxing in this one from Giovanni, making for a solve in even time. No special favourites in an enjoyable solve. As for the Times? I managed a couple their puzzles this week in my average Telegraph solving time, which pleased me, but I have to çonfess that I still prefer the Telegraph overall. Happy Eastertide to setters, solvers and bloggers.

    1. The DT puzzles may suit you better, but The Times is a much better – and far happier – newspaper

  22. I didn’t find this as difficult as many of Giovanni”s Friday offerings.
    I had to look up 21a, easy enough to work out. I wrote in the answer to 1a because of the checking letters, missed the anagram completely. I also missed that 15a was a lurker but I knew the answer had to be correct.
    Fave was 16d but 14d was close behind.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for his explanations; also the clip of the nesting falcons, loved it.

  23. Like several here I was slow to get going but once I did the rest seemed to flow a bit more readily. I blame the cold I picked up from my dentist.
    14d was my fave and overall 3/3*.
    Thanks to DG and to DT for his review.

  24. It looks like we were not the only ones to explore various options before finding the right answer for 14a but not a major delay. Such well put together clues made it a real pleasure to solve as we find most Friday puzzles.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  25. It took an age to get the first three or four clues in, but once I had a foothold the rest went in apace, maybe ** for difficulty overall? Having to retype a quarter after accidentally refreshing the web page probably didn’t help…

  26. Yes, I too enjoy the new-style Giovannis, although the odd obscurity is missed. However, I find him more fun, with plenty of opportunities to appreciate the clever clueing rather than cursing my lack of biblical knowledge. In this offering, for example, the lurkers were so well hidden that I had the answers before realising their lurkerhood – especially 24d, my LOI. Too many excellent clues for me even to hazard a favourite, so thanks to the Don and DT for his efforts on all our behalfs. 2*/4*

  27. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, no obscurities. Good fun. Finished the top half first. Took a while to get 13a. Favourite was 23a. Last in was 26a. Was 2*/3* for me. Late commenting due to my attendance of the Margate beer festival yesterday.

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