DT 28417 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28417

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28417

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
       Winter has arrived here. A cold blast from the South has been enough to persuade us that a cosy wood fire in the evenings is a good idea and we have lit one on the last few nights. We’re both home again now so the regular team is putting together the hints for today’s Jay puzzle. He has given us an exceptionally excruciating Quickie pun today.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Sort of loaf around quietly — and get married (7)
SPLICED : The sort of loaf for which you don’t need your own knife contains the musical notation for quietly.

5a     Inspiration found in most of top puzzles (7)
BEMUSES : The inspiration from a Greek mythological being is inside a synonym for top that has lost its last letter.

9a     Flier seen as headless chicken (5)
RAVEN : Chicken or cowardly loses its first letter (headless).

10a     Handling speech about evacuation of Prague (9)
OPERATION : Evacuate Prague by removing all but the first and last letters and put these inside a formal speech.

11a     Rest, seeing two score 1,000 in victories (5,5)
FORTY WINKS : The number that is two score is followed by a word meaning victories which contains one of the abbreviations for a thousand.  (The one that represents kilo….. ) 

12a     Football team ultimately lacking incentive (4)
SPUR : The familiar name for the football team that comes from Tottenham loses its last letter.

14a     Poet’s trembling after damn lad loses cool (5,4,3)
BLOWS ONE’S TOP : A mild expletive that can be used instead of ‘damn’, then a word for a young male and an anagram (trembling) of POETS.

18a     Mechanic‘s musical brother with the old-fashioned backing (6,6)
GREASE MONKEY : The musical that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, then a brother in a religious order and the reversal of an old fashioned version of ‘the’.

21a     Tropical plant depicted by fine artist (4)
OKRA : The two letters that represent fine or satisfactory and a royal academician.

22a     Speak sharply, confronting monster one’s found in the garden (10)
SNAPDRAGON : A word meaning speak sharply and a monster that St George encountered.

25a     Precedents set in cricket trials? (4,5)
TEST CASES : We have three parts for this one. Two definition precedents and trials. The word play gives a synonym for set inside international cricket matches. (BRB uses ‘pistols’ as the example for this synonym of set.)
             A word for an international cricket match followed by one that describes court trials.  (Thanks Jay for popping in and putting us right .)

26a     Showing a tendency to be lying (5)
PRONE : A double definition. Lying here has nothing to do with falsehoods, but being in a resting posture.

27a     Insensitive Opposition leader with American chasing visit (7)
CALLOUS : The first letter of Opposition and the abbreviation for United States follow a word meaning visit.

28a     Disgusting display following outside broadcast (7)
OBSCENE : The two letter abbreviation for  an outside broadcast and then a display or view.


1d     Plan faster attack from the air (6)
STRAFE : An anagram (plan) of FASTER.

2d     Left one extremely irritable (6)
LIVERY : The abbreviation for left, then the Roman numeral one and a word meaning extremely.

3d     Scold fans rioting about end of fancy sugar (10)
CANDYFLOSS : An anagram (rioting) of SCOLD FANS includes the last letter of fancy.

4d     Banned hot issue revealing Indian attire (5)
DHOTI : A lurker hiding in the first three words of the clue.

5d     Analyse sudden failure to work (9)
BREAKDOWN : Double definition. The second is what we do not like to experience with our motor vehicles.

6d     Mare rears up, taking in energy drink (4)
MEAD : Another word for a female horse is reversed (rears up) and includes the abbreviation for energy.

7d     Bargains will include favourite pieces (8)
SNIPPETS : A word for favourite or a domestic animal perhaps is inside an informal word for bargains.

8d     Stars must welcome role turning up in such hot spots (8)
SUNTRAPS : Stars like the one that our planet orbits contains the reversal (turning up) of a role in a dramatic production.

13d     Signals get her pals to change (10)
TELEGRAPHS : An anagram (to change) of GET HER PALS.

15d     Chap is beset by troubles and has casual affairs (9)
WOMANISES : A word for a chap and ‘is’ from the clue are inside a word for troubles.

16d     Carol upset during a nervous reaction? Don’t know (8)
AGNOSTIC : ‘A’ from the clue and a nervous reaction surround the reversal of a musical piece of which carol can be a Christmas version.

17d     Voting system is set in genuine retaliation (8)
REPRISAL : The voting system here is the abbreviation for Proportional Representation and is followed by IS from the clue. This is all found inside a word meaning genuine.

19d     Resign or expect to take cut (6)
IGNORE : A lurker, once again in the first three words of the clue.

20d     A former girlfriend’s rumoured extension (6)
ANNEXE : This word sounds like (rumoured) how one could refer to a former girlfriend.

23d    Bother! Last of tomato sauce (5)
PESTO : A bother or nuisance and then the last letter of tomato.

24d     Trace ring (4)
ECHO : Double definition.  The first is the signal generated on a radar or sonar screen by a scanned object and the second describes what is left after an initial sound has gone.

We rather liked 18a so it gets our vote for top spot today.

Quickie pun    Amin    +     dumb     +     Annie    =     I’m in the money

47 comments on “DT 28417

  1. Jay returning to the days when he definitely required us to ‘start with the Downs’.

    Thank you to him and the 2ks

    1. I must have the attention span of a gnat, I can never remember that and spent far too much time getting started. Darn it!

  2. 2.5*/4*. Yet another splendid puzzle from our Wednesday Wizard. The top half went in smoothly and the bottom half needed more teasing out particularly in the SE corner.

    I thought 20d was a great homophone although I’m sure not everyone will agree, and 11a was my favourite with a special mention for 18a despite its slightly dodgy surface.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  3. Thanks to Jay for a really good puzzle and to 2K for the equally good write-up. My favourite was the Quickie pun, an area where Jay is excelling these days.
    I parsed 25a slightly differently, thinking that ‘trials’ was not a second definition but part of the wordplay (in a legal sense).

    I recommend the Micawber Toughie. It’s not too difficult but a joy from start to finish.

    1. Hi Gazza. For 25a that is what we started off thinking but then we changed our minds as we considered this left ‘set’ stranded as only a link word and we thought it looked lonely. Perhaps first thoughts were right after all.

      1. Your second thoughts could be right, Colin, though if set = case (which is a bit obscure) then I would expect the ‘tests’ to be ‘cricket trials’ (i.e. trials of strength between countries). On balance I prefer cricket = test and trials = cases with the ‘set’ being just a link word.
        It would be good if Jay looked in to give us the definitive answer.

        1. 25a: I can only make this work as a standard cryptic clue, with one definition and some wordplay: Precedents (definition) = set (CASE, as in set/case of pistols or cutlery) in (inside) cricket trials (TESTS): TEST (CASE)S.

          1. I know the setter has given the intended parsing (below), but this seems to be one of those rare clues which can, by pure coincidence, be justifiably parsed in two quite different ways. But, to be fair, set = case is a probably a bit too obscure for a back-pager.

    2. Late to this, I’m afraid – the SET is there just for the surface reading (hence the question mark), and TEST CASES wordplay for cricket trials. Many thanks to 2Kiwis and to all for comments which are always appreciated and noted

      1. Thanks very much for dropping in Jay and clearing that up for us.

  4. The coffee pot ran out with this one and almost returned to room temp before all the parsing was finished. Not too keen on the def. for 19d but it was a cheeky little lurker so I forgive. Finished in the end and, honestly, I did have fun. **/*** for toughness and *** for enjoyment. A nice ensemble but no star player today.
    Thanks Jay and the two Ks.

    1. Mcmillibar, re 19d, the BRB has “to pass intentionally without greeting” as one of the definitions for “cut” so on that basis I think the clue is fine.

      1. Absolutely, RD. Cut = snub, avoid, spurn, ignore – as in “cut someone dead”. See – we don’t always disagree! :-)

  5. Jay once again proves that it doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable.
    Thanks to him and to 2ks for the fun.

  6. I thought this was fairly difficult but enjoyable. Didn’t see the case/set thing until reading the blog, nor the link between trace and echo. Thanks to all.

  7. Made a note on completion of a */*** today and that my favourite was 18a for the surface read, I prefer charades to anagrams .
    Always have to think if the Indian attire is dhoti or dhobi for some reason , last in was the lurker in 19d, probably because it was located in the SE corner and I always start in the NW, I suppose most solvers do as this is the logical place to start reading a page.- I could be wrong !

  8. Excellent solve that I took too long to complete. No real issues just not enough oxygen getting to the brain I guess.
    Lots to like and 11a my COTD.
    Thanks to Jay and 2Ks for the review.

  9. 10a seems to be a bit tenuous IMHO, I don’t really feel comfortable with ‘handling’, the ‘parsing’ of the word is fine but does it really mean ‘handling’?

    Apart from that I enjoyed the puzzle, good fun!

  10. Lots to enjoy on this sunny morning from Jay, who I thought was on top form with this excellent and enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked 5a, and the lurkers were clever.

    Overall this was 2*/4* for me, with many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for a fine review.

  11. I thought this was very straight forward for a Jay puzzle, until I came to the SW corner and I hit a brick wall. Favourites were 11a & 3d. Many thanks to Jay and especially to 2Kiwis for their much needed help in the bottom left corner.

  12. Pleasant canter through this puzzle, for some reason 9a tickled my fancy.
    Why do down clues always seem easier?
    Thanks to 2 Kiwis and to Jay.

  13. Needed to adjust my thinking cap a little for this one. In fact, if 1d hadn’t given me the initial letter of 1a, I might still be wading through various types of loaves!
    Had a question mark alongside 10a – think I’d be more likely to refer to a ‘handling 10a’ than to substitute one for the other.
    I parsed 25a in the same way as Gazza did and completely missed the second definition in 24d.

    Nevertheless, this was all good stuff from which I gave top marks to 11a and place points to 18&22a plus 15d.

    Thanks to Jay and to 2Ks – as you said, a really excruciating (but hilarious) Quickie pun!

  14. Very enjoyable and pretty straightforward. 1.5*/4* maybe. I rather liked 11a and 18a with 20d being my favourite.

  15. I thought it was slightly harder than 2 stars.
    Lots and lots of great clues, so I have difficulty deciding between 18a or 11a.
    Thanks to our two Kiwis , I now know what a dhoti looks like.
    Summer has arrived here at last , well the sun shinning though it is not exactly hot.

  16. What a good crossword.
    I missed both the lurkers until the very last moment but at least I did remember the term for a mechanic in 18a.
    My first thought for 3d was an anagram but the collection of letters that I wrote down looked so unlikely that I changed my mind for quite a long time.
    I explained my 25a the same way as Gazza and Jane and needed the hint to justify what had to be the right answer for 24a.
    11a took for ever – the picture for that one looks just like my Younger Lamb.
    I liked 9 and 18a and 5 and 15d. I think my favourite was 22a.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s – enjoy your cosy evenings by the fire.
    Off to finish pressure cleaning our ‘sitooterie’ – didn’t quite manage to do it all yesterday – will keep the Micawber Toughie as a reward for when I’ve finished.

    1. PS The right hand side looks different – the recent posts bit has the dates as well as the numbers of the crosswords – I noticed it yesterday but forgot to say anything.

  17. Well I found this decidedly tricky but once off the ground I did enjoy every step of the challenge although no stand-out Fav to nominate. Don’t think I had come across 4d before. I think the Quickie pun is quite dreadful so I don’t feel quite so bad for not having sussed it in spite of shouting the words out loud numerous times. Thank you Jay and the 2Ks. Wintry feel to the weather in West Sussex today but gather a bit more warmth is promised for the weekend – hope so.

  18. I found this very difficult ***/*** a remark I normally reserve for Ray T on a Thursday 😰 I got bogged down in the SW corner 😳 Favourites 11 & 22a Thanks to Jay and both the Ks. Grey and quite cold again here in the East 🙁

  19. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Jay as usual. I was on the right wavelength for a change, and didn’t really need to think. I liked 3d,but my favourite was 11a. Last in was 20d. Was 1*/4* for me.

  20. No problem today, **/**** for me.
    Another great example of the crossword setter’s art. Great clues, smooth surfaces with not an unnecessary word or letter to be seen.
    My last in was 19d, it was ages until I saw the lurker. My favourite was 18a, great use of the word ‘brother’, though as an expression, I think it is somewhat disparaging to a mechanic!!
    Thanks to Jay and 2xK’s.

  21. A truly enjoyable puzzle. I could not get a foothold at first, until I started doing the downs. I do wish I could remember crypticsue’s hint to start Jay puzzles with the downs.
    Last in was 18a and it’s my fave, fast on its heels are 11a and 22a.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis; your wood fire sounds so cosy!

  22. Most difficult puzzle for ages, needed lots of hints. Not enjoyable. Not on same wavelength.

  23. Other than being humiliated by 24d, this puzzle was an entertaining crawl through the park.

  24. Good afternoon everybody.

    Surprisingly gentle for Wednesday puzzle but enjoyable enough. Favourite clue 7d.


  25. Lovely stuff of the high quality I expect on Wednesdays – from setter and reviewers. Thanks to both (all three).

  26. Good morning everyone.
    A brief comment about the Quickie pun. It was most appropriate for me (Colin) as on Saturday I read in the paper that I had won a $50 gift card for the prize puzzle that they publish each weekend. It is was only the third time I had entered as we don’t normally get the paper. We are haunting the letter box every day waiting for it to arrive so we can start the celebrations.

    1. I can “outpun” you as I won the April monthly prize on the Telegraph Puzzles site – apparently my cheque for £100 may take up to six weeks to arrive :(

  27. Maybe ** for difficulty for a puzzle that was challenging enough not to be a R&W, but still fell fairly graciously. Last in 19d where, yet again, I totally failed to spot the hidden word and ended up guessing.

  28. I found this more of a *** difficulty, particularly in the south west corner, when I had answers but just not the right ones. Like Katherine, I spent too long trying to think of different types of loaves for 1a. Favorite was 18a.

  29. Another great Wednesday puzzle. Favourite was 12a just because I love the 12as.

    Thanks to the setter and 2Kiwis.

  30. Really enjoyed this one – just the right degree of challenge and very satisfying solutions (had 5 stars by clues, i.e. ones I particularly liked, which is a lot for me). Liked the quickie pub too, as did my 10 year old son – thanks to his love of street lingo I was on the right wavelength! Thanks as always to setter and bloggers.

  31. I seem to have found this harder than most. Got bogged down in the far north before stumbling across the line, feeling somewhat sheepish, as it wasn’t really that hard. Thanks to J and the K’s, who follow each other in the alphabet. 3*/3*

  32. really enjoyed this one .
    defeated by the quickie pun though !

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