DT 28403 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28403

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28403

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Big Dave’s Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

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On the fourth day of the Easter break we have our fourth puzzle without a single reference to the most important time of the Christian calendar. Interesting! I don’t remember Christmas being mentioned during the Christmas period either. Is this political correctness gone mad?

Today’s puzzle proved to be rather gentle with a real sting in its tail. I enjoyed revisiting my travels around the Greek islands from many years ago.

The hints and tips below have been written with love by Miffypops from his home right at the heart of Downtown LI. The hints and tips are there to help those who need a gentle nudge in the right direction. If the answer is required it can be found by clicking on the greyed-out box marked click here. Definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Give way under pressure and opt out — it’s laughable (8)
CRACKPOT: Begin with a verb meaning to give way or cause to give way under torture, pressure, or strain and add an anagram (out) of OPT

6a    Place and time for an insect (6)
LOCUST: Use a noun which describes a particular position or place and add the abbreviation for T(ime)

9a    Make attractive object — listening device (6)
ENDEAR: Split 3,3 we have a word meaning objective followed by the organ we use to listen with

10a    Fruit that was once revered in China (8)
MANDARIN: This type of orange is also an official in any of the nine top grades of the former imperial Chinese civil service

11a    Got there, unusually, but not by oneself (8)
TOGETHER: Anagram (unusually) of GOT THERE

12a    A very loud manner, yet one may find romance (6)
AFFAIR: This clue is a charade. Do what it says step by step to build up the answer. Begin the letter A lifted directly from the clue. Add the musical notation that describes very loud. (The word pianoforte translates as soft/loud). Having the first three letters in place we now need a short word meaning manner an impression of a quality given by someone or something.

A woman was cleaning her husband’s dresser drawers when she found 3 golf balls and a box with £2000 in it. She waited for him to come home from the golf course to ask him why these things were hidden in his dresser drawer.
The husband said I’m sorry I hid this from you but the truth is every time I cheated on you over the last 30 years I put a golf ball in the drawer.
The wife was very upset at first but after thinking about it said “I guess 3 times in 30 years is really not that bad! Oh by the way what is the £2000 in the drawer.
The husband replied” Well every time I got to a dozen balls I sold them.

13a    Unswerving with determination to stay unmarried (6-6)
SINGLE-MINDED: The first word meaning unmarried and the second meaning to think in a particular way

16a    Union demonstration? (7,5)
WEDDING MARCH: A typically Rufus like cryptic definition. The union is one of the seven sacraments and the demonstration is a procession organised as a protest

19a    This by itself would be in a gradual process (6)
LITTLE: The answer here when repeated with the word by placed between both words describes a gradual process

21a    Prepare to create a scene (8)
REHEARSE: What actors and actresses do in advance to make sure a scene works once an audience is in place

23a    Terrible outcome for lad Freud confused (8)
DREADFUL: Anagram (confused) of LAD FREUD

24a    Pretentious air put in as private remarks (6)
ASIDES: Place a word meaning a pretentious air or a particular aspect of a situation or a person’s character inside the word AS FROM THE CLUE

25a    Give the call sign (6)
BECKON: A cryptic definition of the act of making a gesture with the hand, arm, or head to encourage or instruct someone to approach or follow.

26a    Embark on an expedition — or an explanation (3,5)
SET FORTH: A double definition the first being more accessible than the second


2d    And nothing in Royal Marines is left to chance (6)
RANDOM: place the word AND from the clue together with the letter that looks like a zero (nothing) inside the abbreviation for Royal Marines

3d    Firm’s con supported by this island? (5)
CRETE: This Mediterranean island needs the word con in front of it to make a word meaning firm, fixed or solid.

4d    Ruined temple right in way, nobody turns up (9)
PARTHENON: We can find this ruined temple by placing the abbreviation for R(ight) inside a way or track laid down for walking upon and adding the reverse (turns up) of a word meaning no one. Otherwise we can go to Athens and see it for itself

5d    Met Blur, excitedly — many were carried away by it and lost their heads (7)
TUMBREL: Anagram (excitedly) of MET BLUR.

6d    Fashionable lad welcomes in girl (5)
LINDA: Anagram (fashionable) of LAD with the word IN inside (welcoming)

7d    Measure husks first for the bird (9)
CHAFFINCH: Take a measure (one twelfth of one foot) and place before it a word meaning husks or the outer dry covering of seeds

8d    Animated by pride — it’s not right (8)
SPIRITED: Anagram (not right) of PRIDE IT’S.

13d    Divert from byway (9)
SIDETRACK: A double definition. The second being a road off of a main road

14d    Parade, seeing April here (5,4)
MARCH PAST: The demonstration already used at 16ac has gone by. If April is here this is what has happened to the third month of the year

15d    High-class sports science award, we hear (8)
PEDIGREE: Our usual two letter suspect for sports or physical education is followed by a homophone of what those at university are seeking to achieve. Coincidentally it is also the name of one of my favourite beers.

17d    Ball game lost by the witless? (7)
MARBLES: This ball game is played with glass alleys. Those suffering the effects of senility are said to have lost theirs.

18d    Maintain a lock that must turn (6)
ASSERT: Use the letter A straight from the clue and add the reverse (that must turn) of a lock. Not one with keys but one that might be kept in a locket.

20d    Small arch (5)
ELFIN: A double definition small and mischievous

22d    Foreign friend and another on leave (5)
AMIGO: The whole is Spanish for friend. The first three letters are French for friend and followed by a word meaning to leave

19 across took me longer to get than the rest of the puzzle put together. How did you get on?

The Quick Crossword pun: diverse+city=diversity

58 comments on “DT 28403

  1. All was going well the SW corner, with 19a and 15d holding me up and pushing me into a 2.5*/4* rating. Once the penny dropped, 19a quickly became my clue of the day.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the entertainment and to MP for his usual fun review.

  2. The majority of this crossword was read and write and then I met the SW corner – working out what was going on there took me longer than the rest of the crossword!

    Thanks to Rufus and MP

    Fans of our Sunday setter would do well to pop over to the Guardian today

    1. The Brendan puzzle in today’s Gaurdian doesn’t seem to work on the iPad. Those who comment on the other side are saying it is best solved in the newspaper. I gave up with the iPad version.

  3. 2*/4*. Similar to other commenters’ remarks, I was flying along only to come to earth with a bump in the SW corner with 19a & 15d my last two in. 19a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the usual Monday fun puzzle and to MP for the usual Monday fun review. Let’s rename today as Funday.

  4. 19a was a write-in for me, I needed the explanation. Overall an enjoyable puzzle for me this morning. No particular favourite. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for his explanations.

  5. Again like others above, I found this fairly straight forward apart from the SW corner. 19a, 15d & 20d completely stumped me. Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  6. Yes, it was that SW corner that did for me as well. 19a plus 15d and also 20d which stubbornly resisted even with the middle letter in place!
    At the end of the day, 19a definitely came out on top with a mention for 2&17d and the amusing surface read of 5d.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review and the birdy pic.

  7. SW corner did for me too.
    Liked 15d when the penny eventually dropped.

    Thanks to Miffypops for his excellent hints and to Rufus.

  8. Rufus has come up to expectations again. His cryptic definitions and humour have him topping my list of favourite setters.

  9. Ditto – some major head scratching in the SW corner.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 13a and 16a.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  10. A lovely Bank Holiday treat, I agree with others that the SW corner offered the most resistance.

    There may not have been any specific Easter references, but 14d comes close, and, even if it as something of an old chestnut, it earns top spot for me alongside 5d for its inventiveness.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops.

  11. Lovely start to the day. Add a rising sun in a blue sky for the early dog walk, & it was nearly as good as it gets.
    Like others stumbled through SW corner but make 19a my COTD.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP. Nice to see the old golf joke again Your profession labels you more expert than I, but is Pedigree not a pale ale? My grandfather always used to point out that it was Boddington’s Beers and other brewery’s Ales. I have never really found out why. Google now points out the difference between Ale & lager beer being the yeast. Is it the same between Ales & “proper” Beer?

  12. The bottom left made this into a **** for me for difficulty, very tricky indeed. Real shame as it spoilt an otherwise very enjoyable crossword.
    20d doesn’t work at all, 18d was just too hard for me and would someone please explain 19a as I don’t get the hint at all.
    Once I understood it, 14d was my favourite.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Brian the expression “19a by 19a” means a gradual process. So this (19a) by itself….

      1. Streuth, too cryptic for me by half. The sort of clue I would expect to find in the Toughie not the backpager. Thx for the explanation.

        1. Brian,
          No problem.
          Yes the SW corner was tough for me. But when I solve it (albeit after a struggle) & see the likes of CS say it caused them to stop & think then I realise I am improving 19a by 19a.
          Reading the hints every day is teaching me that nearly always every word in the clue is there for a purpose, particularly with Rufus. Trying to work out the significance of “by” was what released the penny for me.

  13. Agree with all other comments. Can someone please explain where the arch comes in to 20 d

  14. Struggled with 19a until penny dropped and I put in TIPTOE! D’oh! Seemed reasonable at the time – gradual process and all.

  15. Thank you once again for your invaluable help.
    I love attempting the cryptic but without my Mum’s help I always get stuck on a few. Luckliy I can click on this site!
    Worst ones today: 19, 18, 26, 8 and 12. Got 6 straight away. Had fun doing it ( with your help after xxxxxxxxxxx of cudgelling my addled wits). Thanks again

    1. Sorry but however long you spent cudgelling your wits, addled or otherwise, the convention here is that we don’t mention solving times

  16. I found this rather odd, and not too pleasing. Not at all keen on 20d, but the likes of 17d & 19a *just about* make up for it.
    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.
    PS Have I missed the Bash puzzle?

    1. Hi LbRoy,
      I assume you’re referring to the puzzle that Tilsit was trying to get everyone to write clues for? He was hoping to have it ready for Easter but a) found himself a little short on submitted clues and b) has apparently been far from well recently.
      Worry not, I’m sure it will surface sooner or later.

  17. The bottom left corner caused trouble for me too with 19a and 15 and 20d being to blame – well, suppose I also need to take a bit of the blame.
    For no good reason I was slow with 6a and 6d and couldn’t get the second until I got the first – not sure that makes sense but I know what I mean.
    I liked 1 and 16a and 7 and 14d. My favourite was 13a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.
    Off to do more digging and planting on the veggie patches and then Mr Rookie after that. :bye:

  18. Totally agree with MP **/**** and I too was sailing along until I ran aground in the SW 😰 There were some really good clues today: 14d, 17d, 16a & 21a 😃 19a would have been my favourite, but unfortunately I had the answer as “tiptoe” as in through the tulips 🙁 Many thanks to MP and to Rufus for brightening up an otherwise gloomy Easter Monday

  19. I didn’t find this read and write like others. I read the clue, worked out the answer, then panicked. Clicked on the review to check,which confirmed I was right most of the time. Talk about lack of confidence. I couldn’t get 19a or 25a, despite getting 15d. I’m not sure I was on the right wavelength at all today. Thank you Miffypops for your much needed review, and thank you setter for the challenge.

  20. Not the gentle Monday I was hoping for, and got stuck with few left to solve. Haven’t looked at the down hints yet, and husband is figuring out some for me, while I finish off his Quick. They don’t have Easter Monday over here, just a normal day. Hope to finish when we get back from our walk.

  21. Please when did “elfin” mean small or arch? Liked the misleading “by itself in 19a.

  22. Like most folks here, the SW corner was last to fall, and, natch, 19a was my last one. I’m going to nominate that as my fave, but there were many others in contention; 6a, 10a, 5d and 17d in particular.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to M’pops for his review. BTW, where on earth did you get that suit???

        1. The statement that the pink suit will “give you confidence at any job interview” might be stretching things a little I think.

  23. *****/* for me. As for many others, I came to a shuddering halt in the SW corner, and for me, it prevented me from finishing. It spoiled what was otherwise an enjoyable puzzle for me. Of the ones I did not get, 19a I though was an excellent clue, and one that is one that I certainly should have been able to solve. Even with all the explanations, the double meaning in 20 doesn’t completely work for me, and I am not sure where the ‘science’ comes in to 15d.

    1. Tony,
      PE could loosely be said to be the forerunner of Sports Science – thats how I saw it

    2. A science award is a degree. The we hear part of the clue indicates the homophone hence digree.

      1. I worked mighty hard (or at least my memory tells me so) for my degree, but it didn’t have anything to do with science!

      2. MP I think PE is not the “usual suspect” for sport in this case ( the clue says “sports”), but as I said to Tony comes from Sports Science as a subject of study in itself – thence sports science award = PE degree. Elder son graduated in it 20 years ago (then went to work in a bank).

  24. Not much to add today. The Kitties each had a similar experience to the majority and we put our furry heads 11a to get the last bits.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  25. Didn’t get 19a period.

    Got most of them but would have helped if I could spell Parthenon😳

    No matter, 3 points for the bluebirds today🍻👍😄

  26. SW corner, had 23a and 13d, had inspired guess for 25a checked 20d in supertoy. Remembered book title Eric or 19a by19a and 15d dropped into place. Thanks to MPs and Rufus for a great start to the week. Favourite probably 13a because that is me solving crossword.

  27. Like almost everyone, a great solve until I hit the SW corner. All the comments have been made but am I wrong in thinking that ‘firm’s’ in 3D should really be just ‘firm’? Because of the SW it’s ****/*** for me. Many thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  28. Had to look at the blog for the SW corner. Feeling a bit thick because I don’t understand the explanations for 19 across and 20 down 😀

  29. Found three quarters of this to be pretty straightforward, but the SW corner, that ranked as **** for difficulty on its own… Now decidedly dazed and confused.

  30. The top half went in easily, then a round of golf followed by five hours digging the garden and that put an end to any thought of finishing the crossword, so i made good use of MP’s hints.
    Thanks MP and Rufus
    Work tomorrow, what an awful thought

  31. I’m with SW stumblers, but I am perhaps the only one who hated 19a. Very much. Spoilt an otherwise excellent offering from Rufus. I’ll give 15d 1st class honours and 19a a Fail. Ta to the cerise-suited sylph for the hints and the track from far and away the best Dylan album. 2*/3*

  32. Did anyone else get tiptoe for 19a? I reckon it fully fits the clue, but how I did not see the more obvious answer I don’t know

  33. Seems I was in the same boat as most people. Did get 20d eventually after I got the F and looked up synonyms. I found the answer to be a synonym for both small and arch. This left me with 15d and 19a. Resorted to the comments and when I saw PE mentioned quickly decided it started with those letters and it came to be in a flash. Having contorted over it I thought it a very good clue. Did then get 19a having written down all possible combination of letters. Could not see why but now understand it having seen the hint. A marmite clue. Which side am I on – on balance very clever but too subtle for many of us obviously. Incidentally subtle was one of my possibles for the answer until I got 15d. Thanks Rufus and MP and all. May I simply ask Rufus to use that clue again relatively soon while I still remember it.

  34. Oops, forgot to comment. I liked this crossword; I find Rufus adds an extra twist to his BH crosswords, so the SW corner was no real surprise and 19a was last to fall.
    16a was my fave and 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for his usual hi caliber review!

  35. On the contrary David Jefferson. You have misread the clue. Endear is, as you say, a verb and a synonym for MAKE attractive. I do not think Rufus with all hus experience would make such a basic mistake.

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