DT 28424 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28424

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28424

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja on a cloudy but warm morning.  This one doesn’t feel to me like a RayT production but all bar one of the clues fit his word count limit, Her Majesty makes an appearance and there’s a reversed lurker so you never know.  Whoever the setter is he or she has given us an enjoyable puzzle which won’t frighten too many of the horses and will raise a smile or two.  If you like double definitions you’ll be happy because there’s five by my count.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Ground amid spring, moisture inside (6,4)
RISING DAMP:  An anagram (ground) of AMID SPRING.  A good excuse for an episode of one of my favourite sitcoms . . .

6a           Ultimately, self-righteous face shown to be this? (4)
SMUG:  Start with the last letter (ultimately) of self-righteouS and follow with a slang term for your face and you get a word describing the expression on the face of someone who is self righteous.

10a         Characteristic of a city viewed from either direction (5)
CIVIC:  This word describing characteristics of a city is a palindrome so can be viewed from either direction.

11a         Massive  binding material (9)
STRAPPING:  Double definition. A word describing a large, muscular young man is also the bandage you might use to support a sprained wrist for example.  I’m not convinced that this is exactly massive but I guess it’s near enough for a crossword.

12a         In a gale, struggling to maintain cold plant (8)
ANGELICA:  An anagram (struggling) of IN A GALE with C(old) inserted (to maintain).

13a         Standard scheme ending in betrayal (5)
IDEAL:  A scheme or thought with L (ending in betrayaL).

15a         Coming down hard, leaderless regiment gets beaten (7)
TEEMING:  A word to describe very hard rain.  It’s an anagram (gets beaten) of EGIMENT (leaderless regiment).

17a         Stupid, as I figure (7)
ASININE:  AS and I (from the clue) and then a number between one and ten.

19a         Get loan out to acquire fruit (7)
TANGELO:  Anagram (out) of GET LOAN gives a fruit that’s a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit.

21a         God longing for spirit (7)
PANACHE:  Spirit as in dash or elan.  Start with the Greek god of nature and follow with a longing.

22a         Pensioner keeps books handy (2,3)                      
ON TAP:  Put three letters for a pensioner around (keeps) the abbreviation of part of the bible (books) and split the result (2,3).

24a         Possible description of sudoku, kind of finished (8)
FIENDISH:  A possible description of an extremely hard sudoku puzzle is an anagram (kind of) of FINISHED.

27a         Vegetable that’s popular restricted by hotel (9)
AUBERGINE:  Start with the usual two letters for popular or fashionable and around them (restricted by) put a sort of small hotel or inn.

28a         Message of some vitriol I am expecting back (5)
EMAIL:  A lurker (some) but it’s reversed (back) in vitriol I am expecting.

29a         Measure  enclosed area (4)
YARD:  Double definition.

30a         Short distance putting fourth dimension in focus (10)
CENTIMETRE:  A short distance (there’s 2.54 of them to an inch) is formed by putting the fourth dimension (4) into a word for the focus or middle of something.


1d           People  hurry (4)
RACE:  Double definition.

2d           Number observed hosting sporting competition, perhaps (9)
SEVENTEEN:  Start with a word for observed or spotted (4) and insert a word for a sporting competition, equestrians have just been doing a three day one at Badminton.

3d           Mother-of-pearl in new area of land (5)
NACRE:  N(ew) followed by a unit of land area.

4d           Stylish  sprinting (7)
DASHING:  Double definition.

5d           Bar with style of Italian drink (7)
MARSALA:  This bar is a chocolate bar and it’s followed by a French term (1,2) meaning “in the style of”.  It seems a long time since I’ve seen the chocolate meaning of bar.

7d           Chief over European state (5)
MAINE:  Chief as in principal followed by E(uropean) gives a state of the USA.

8d           Staring wildly given crack, goods you popped in Leeds when not all there (6-4)
GOGGLE EYED:  Start with a word for a crack, as in have a crack at something, and follow with GG (Goods – plural). Then take an archaic word for you (2) and  insert (popped in) into LEED (Leeds when not all there).  As if all that wasn’t enough you have to split the result (6,4) to get a description of someone who is staring wildly.  Phew!

9d           One’s patients may not be looking well (8)
OPTICIAN:  A cryptic definition of someone who might help you to see better.

14d         Still writing stuff for the radio? (10)
STATIONARY:  This word for still, as in not moving, sounds like (for the radio) some stuff used for writing.

16d         Get in old forward, appearing as amateurish (8)
INEXPERT:  Start with IN (from the clue), then two letters for old, usually used to indicate an old spouse, and finally a word for forward as in cheeky or saucy.

18d         Unfortunate instances, uninterrupted (9)
INCESSANT:  An anagram (unfortunate) of INSTANCES.

20d         Rotten team illegally positioned (7)
OFFSIDE:  A word for rotten as in mouldy followed by the usual team, not eleven but the other one.

21d         Something to open  here (7)
PRESENT:  Double definition.

23d         King Edward, perhaps, taking bath with the Queen (5)
TUBER:  A King Edward potato is an example (perhaps) of one of these.  It’s a slang term for a bath followed by the usual two letters for the Queen.  This conjured up a rather bizarre mental image! 

25d         Fantasy — in short, ecstasy (5)
DREAM:  This is a bit Yoda-speak but you need to insert E(cstacy) into some whisky (short).

26d         Dirty colour (4)
BLUE:  The colour used to descried something dirty as in pornographic.

Quite a few good ones here but my favourite was 23d with 9d and 14d on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:   KERMIT   +   ANNA   +   FENS   =   COMMIT AN OFFENCE


49 comments on “DT 28424

  1. Certainly not a RayT. I’ve only just noticed that he’s in the Toughie slot today, d’oh!

  2. Enjoyable and completed at a gallop – */*** for me.

    Until I became a real crossword ‘nut’ I would probably have spelt 17a with two Ss.

    Favourite a toss-up between 21a and 30a.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers – I agree, even with HM making an appearance, it didn’t ‘feel’ like a Ray T.

  3. Best of the week so far for me, liked ‘marsala’ and ‘goggle eyed’ (for which I nearly resorted to the hint, but got there in the end}. Nice to see Marty Feldman – that takes me back!

  4. It started well but I then got stuck on 6 & 8d, both of which I eventually got but couldn’t justify completely. A very mixed bag for me. ***/***. Favourite clue 30a.

  5. Good interesting clues. Finished the top right hand corner once I had help from pommers re 8 down and I removed my guess of glassy eyed! Thank you again to both setter and Pomners.

  6. 2*/4*. This was reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable. 5d, with the very clever use of “bar”, was my favourite, with 8d & 14d running it close.

    I’m plumping for Shamus as the setter, so many thanks to him and to pommers.

  7. I found this really tough as have been the last couple of puzzles, maybe brain fade is taking over. However struggled through but still needed some hints to finish.
    Thanks to Pommers and setter.
    Off to RHS Malvern tomorrow. Mrs Spook can indulge her passion for gardening.

  8. Off to a slow start, then got on the wavelength and finished quite quickly. Best of the week so far. I got 15a but couldn’t work out why. Thanks for the hint pommers. 2*4*.
    I liked 11a, 21a with maybe 16d best.

  9. What a joy – I absolutely loved this one. 5* for enjoyment, right down to the Quickie pun.
    I did so want ‘mother-of-pearl’ to be ‘oyster’ but of course it couldn’t be!
    All the clues that Pommers gave ‘blue’ status figure in my hit parade, along with 22a, 20d and most others that anyone might care to mention.

    Many thanks to our setter – I’m torn between Shamus and Mister Ron. If RD is correct and it is the work of the former then where’s my Irish reference?
    Thanks also to Pommers for a great blog – rather hoped that you’d make room for Leonard and his lodgers!

  10. Enigma of a puzzle today, seemed quite difficult but didn’t take long to complete as confirmed by the bloggers.
    Excellent cluing throughout going for a **/****
    Last in 26d mainly because I had 30a ending in RE Not ER, wanted to put BLUR or SLUR until I realised my unforced error.
    Thanks Pommers , haven’t seen Marty for a while, what a convoluted clue..

  11. I’d just like to say the crossword is a lot harder if you put in martini for 5d. It fits and parses – mini (bar) round art- it takes quite some time to realise that one is wrong.
    Just to let you know.You may think it isinine of me.

  12. Needed Pommers to explain the bar in 5d. Lots of favourites but 9d and 30a stood out for me. Might have a go at the toughie. I seldom finish it.

    1. Welcome

      Chambers dictionary defines it as ‘the egg-shaped fruit of an annual Asian plant’, and a fruit is defined as part of the plant which carries the seed which this particular fruit indeed does

  13. I have to confess I struggled to get on the setter’s wavelength for a time with this one. The NE corner was the part of the grid that yielded last, although once completed I could not really see any reason why I should have been held up. Anyway, finally finished it, with the excellent 5d my COTD.

    The slow start made this a 3*/3* for me, with many thanks for the challenge to our Thursday setter and to pommers.

  14. 2*/3*, and 5a my favourite. I won’t try to guess the setter, but thanks to him/her anyway. Thanks to Pommers too.

  15. Having completed the crosswords this week, I found this really challenging. Eventually completed with rather a lot of help from the Blog. :) As I usually do them late in the evening, perhaps it was the lack of liquid refreshment! I did notice there’s a letter missing from the answer to 27 across.

  16. Best of the week so far although I wasn’t keen on 8d. I knew the drink at 5d but didn’t appreciate the clue until I read
    the hint. Wonderful.

    Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  17. There has been a Twitter tip-off as to the setter – you will be used to his Toughies, but it is a first back-pager.

    1. That’s just mean, Snape! Come on – out with it for those of us who don’t/can’t/won’t use Twitter.

      1. Well, I would say that at his first attempt he has pitched it just right for a back-pager.

        Many thanks for an excellent puzzle, Dada (if that is not specifically a Toughie name), or John, if you prefer!

  18. Really, really enjoyable but not as easy as some found it.
    I didn’t get 15a, though I felt the answer had to be, but why? Never thought of rain, clever that.
    Fave was 23d, remembered King Edward by a miracle, but I also liked 5d and 21a.
    Thanks to whomsoever, come back soon, and to pommers for his hints.

    1. P.S. As I’m not allowed to mention you-know-who, I want to thank pommers profusely for his hint and pic at 6a.

  19. A beautifully crafted puzzle. Just right for a short break. Thanks to pommmers for the hint to 5d and to Dada for setting it.

  20. As an oldie I appreciated the greater use of imperial rather than metric measures especially as the metric was the lesser used cgs unit. Can we ditch the metric after Brexit? Ca5d was the last one in with the help of Pommers so ** for difficulty. Never been to Italy at ground level except for a refueling stop in Venice in the middle of the night as the plane we were in was struggling with a headwind. Didn’t even get off the plane. Thank you Pommers and Dada/John.

    1. No more metric – what a blissful thought. Whilst we’re about it, can we also have our lovely thick black passports back, please?

  21. The answer to 27A is missing a “G”. Apart from 27A all done at a gallop.

  22. Quite taxing but certainly worth the effort. Don’t talk to me about 1a! NE corner last in. 9d Fav with 25d running up. Needed help with parsing 5d and 8d. Thanks John H for a change from the usual fare and Pommers for your help with a couple of parses.

  23. I enjoyed today’s crossword immensely; it was different and only when I read the blog did I realise why. 23d was my favourite clue and overall 2/4*.
    Thanks to Dada (more please), and to Pommers for the review.

  24. Now two things become clear for us. Firstly, why we could not pick who the setter was and secondly why we enjoyed the puzzle so much. Good fun from start to finish.
    Thanks Dada and pommers.

  25. Light and fun, with a playfulness that was also very much in evidence in the quickie.

    My biggest smiles were at 6a (but unlike Merusa I can offer no thanks for the picture), 28a, 8d and 23d.

    Thanks to John/Paul/Dada and to pommers.

    1. I dunno, I thought the pic matched the answer perfectly – perhaps you meant you have had a surfeit recently!

  26. Another lovely puzzle, and big thanks to Pommers for the picture for 6a, quite made my day. We certainly need all the humour we can get right now over this side of the pond. 8d was favorite. Silly me, I plugged in tater for 23d so that held me up. Second time this week 19a fruit has shown up, in a Quickie earlier.

  27. I knew who the setter was before solving, so wasn’t sure what to expect – his puzzles elsewhere can be quite tough (though always enjoyable). Pleasantly surprised then to find that this felt much like a Thursday back-pager usually does – a little tough, but not Toughie tough. That said, I ground to a halt in the NE corner where about three quarters of my time must have been spent! The unknown (to me) 5d just wouldn’t shift, and 8d perhaps felt more like the setter’s usual style. Solving 11ac proved to be the key to getting the rest.

  28. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, most enjoyable. The NE corner was the last to fall, and last in was 5d, which was also my favourite. 23d made me laugh. Was 2*/3* for me.

  29. I found this quite challenging at the end of a 16-hour day with a streaming cold and racking cough. Lots to like, though, and no complaints. 5 & 14d were outstanding, but I also liked the idea of sharing a bath with her maj – she can have the taps end. Thanks to Pommers for helping with a couple of untanglings and to Dada – you can come again. 3*/4*

  30. I didn’t have time to look at this one yesterday (Thursday) so did it first thing this morning.
    I really enjoyed it but would never have guessed the setter – I find his Toughies some of the trickiest so I’m glad he toned down the difficulty level for his first back-pager.
    The 5d ‘bar’ was a bit of a mystery for far too long and untangling 8d also took a while.
    I liked 21a and 9 and 26d. My favourite was either 6a or 23d but it’s still far too early to make any major decisions!
    Thanks to Dada and to pommers.

  31. Thank you very much Pommers for the explanation of 8d! I got the answer but couldn’t work out why.

  32. Certainly didn’t flow in for me, all a bit stop-start. Didn’t know 5d, had to resort to blogucation. Fave 21a, I think…

    Having had to learn both imperial and metric at school, and god knows how many conversion formulae, I for one certainly don’t want to go back to dividing things by sixteenths, twelfths and all those other daft fractions. Hooray for metric say I – apart from “568ml of lager, please.”

    Many thanks to Dada and to Pommers for the blog. ***/***

    1. I always feel short changed when I want a quarter pounder and get 100g; or find that I thought I had picked up four pints of milk only to discover it was two litres. I understand miles per gallon, litres per 100km leaves me completely cold. I suppose it’s all about obesity cutting chocolate bars and sweets down to 100g, but I still hanker after meaningful measures. Does anyone measure horse heights in metres? When my granddaughter was born the nurse had to weigh her in kilograms but immediately converted the weight to pounds and ounces to tell her parents. (They had to ask to get it in Kg!) Think of the saving to the NHS in not having to carry out the conversions.

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