DT 28428 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28428

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28428

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  - Difficulty **/*** - Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday back page blog.  My first pass through the acrosses this morning yielded only a couple of answers and a growing feeling of panic.  Fortunately the downs were more friendly, and they provided a foundation on which to fill the grid from the bottom up.  I did find a few clues quite tricky to parse, which bumped up both my difficulty and enjoyment ratings.  The smooth surfaces, avoidance of obscure general knowledge, and use of a few complex clue constructions have me thinking that today’s setter might be Mister Ron?

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will usually enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Famous explorer, by Jove! (5,5)
GREAT SCOTT:  Link together a synonym of famous and an Antarctic explorer to get an exclamation of surprise.

6a    Celebrity of American shows (4)
FAME:  Hidden (shows) inside the clue.

9a    He or she maybe died after Church passed judgment? (10)
PRONOUNCED:  Combine a thing of which he and she are examples (maybe), the abbreviation for the Church of England, and D(ied).

10a   Space mission finally leaves ground (4)
AREA:  A large sports ground with the final letter (ultimately) of missioN deleted (leaves).

12a   Singer keen on retirement (4)
DIVA:  The reversal (on retirement) of a word meaning keen or enthusiastic.  I don’t remember everything about the 1981 French film named 12a, but this amazing performance from the opening scenes is unforgettable (the video window is intentionally squashed to avoid revealing the answer).

13a   Question again regarding African dictator found in river (2-7)
RE-EXAMINE:  Insert a Ugandan dictator into Devon’s main river, and then place that after a usual short word meaning regarding or about.

15a   9 gifts for company (8)
PRESENCE:  A homophone (9a) of a synonym of gifts.

16a   Associate's not entirely sweet -- hard to get backing (6)
HOBNOB:  Chain together all but the last letter of a confection or sweet (not entirely sweet) and the abbreviation for hard used on pencils.  Then reverse the lot (to get backing).  Look here if the connection of the picture to the answer is unclear.

18a   Ultimately abandon one fool for another (6)
NITWIT:  Join together the last letter (ultimately) of abandoN, the Roman numeral for one, and a fool.

20a   TV bulletin, perhaps, wants majority of sect shot (8)
NEWSCAST:  An anagram (shot) of WANTS and all but the last letter (majority) of SECt.

23a   Fashionable area enveloped by evil -- to criminal that's pure (9)
INVIOLATE:  Crosswordland’s usual word for fashionable, followed by an anagram (criminal) of A(rea) inside (enveloped by) EVIL TO.

24a   Part of church fails when not taking sides (4)
APSE:  The inside letters (when not taking sides) of a six-letter synonym of fails (LAPSES).

26a   Terrible anger shown by daughter (4)
DIRE:  The abbreviation for daughter followed by a synonym of anger.

27a   Crowd, late in the evening, have a ball (10)
ATTENDANCE:  A (2,3) phrase specifying a time late in the evening, followed by what one does at a ball.  Since Brian is off somewhere playing some game perhaps I can get away with another cat video.  This Superbowl ad shows how to handle a crowd of felines.  Evidently herding cats is not that difficult.

28a   Record some police about to arrest son (4)
DISC:  A usual abbreviation for a police organization, reversed (about) and containing (to arrest) the abbreviation for son.

29a   Overwrought doctor eats richly (10)
HYSTERICAL:  An anagram (doctor) of EATS RICHLY



1d    Look amazed and go crazy without love (4)
GAPE:  A (2,3) expression meaning “go crazy”, minus the usual letter associated with love.

2d    Book promoted by the setter's controversial (7)
EMOTIVE:  The reversal (promoted, in a down clue) of a weighty book, followed by how the setter might write “the setter’s”.

3d    Inventor's mistaken: atoms do shine (6,6)
THOMAS EDISON:  An anagram (mistaken) of ATOMS DO SHINE.

4d    Catch Bond? (8)
CONTRACT:  A double definition.  Catch a disease, perhaps.  Bond is capitalised to misdirect the solver.

5d    Weary, saving energy in rows (6)
TIERED:  An adjective meaning weary containing (saving) the physics abbreviation for energy.

7d    Prosecute a rule in hearing (7)
ARRAIGN:  The A from the clue and a homophone (in hearing) of rule (as a monarch, say).

8d    Aggravate former partner over account and berate in error (10)
EXACERBATE:  Put together our usual former partner, the abbreviation for account, and an anagram (in error) of BERATE.

11d   The Genesis version of Stairway to Heaven (6,6)
JACOB’S LADDER:  A cryptic definition of a route to Heaven dreamt up in the first book of the Bible.  The surface refers to this band and this song.

14d   Liberal old writer cared (4-6)
OPEN-MINDED:  Fuse together the abbreviation for old, something that writes, and a synonym of cared.

17d   Backtrack about bridge opponents showing respect (8)
REVERENT:  A synonym of backtrack containing (about) a pair of compass points that label opposing bridge playersNot this kind of bridge.

19d   Stave off entertaining sailors in bars (7)
TAVERNS:  An anagram (off) of STAVE containing a usual abbreviation for sailors.

21d   Poison's drunk in scare (7)
ARSENIC:  An anagram (drunk) of IN SCARE.

22d   Poor attempt to support friend (6)
PALTRY:  A synonym of attempt following (to support, in a down clue) an informal word for friend.

25d   Concrete coin once used in Madrid (4)
REAL:  A double definition.  The answer is also the prefix of a Madrid football team that’s quite good.


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Lots of ticks today, with the biggest smiles for the clues that took the longest to parse: 10a, 12a, 16a, and 7d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  GHOST+ EDDY=GO STEADY

71 comments on “DT 28428

  1. All done in ** time today, but I did need the hints to parse 20a and 17d. I got the wrong idea for the bridge opponents, thinking E had to be with W.

    Many thanks to Mr Kitty and the compiler.

  2. I very much enjoyed this. I lingered awhile in the NE, with 10a my last in, and managed to be a 18a by not spotting the 6a lurker.

    I loved 11d and also liked 9a and 18a (and not just cos I are one). Now I want a 16a. Instead I shall prepare to 16a – I look forward to seeing some of you at The George later (and if there are any ditherers, stop dithering and just come along!) :) .

    Many thanks to setter and blogger.

    P.S. today’s Toughie comes recommended. It’s not too tough and it’s Warbler’s 100th.

  3. A small amount of head scratching, completed at a canter – **/***.

    Immediate favourite – 15a, really liked the way it ‘called in’ 9a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  4. An enjoyable puzzle and blog. Liked 9a, 27a and 11d. I also failed to spot the lurker – thought ‘of’ was the indicator rather than ‘shows’.

  5. 2*/4*. A very enjoyable puzzle which I would imagine came from the pen of Mister Ron. It all fell into place quite smoothly except for 10a & 17d, which, for reasons which are unclear with hindsight, took a while to unravel.

    My podium choice today aligns exactly with Toadson’s: 9a, 27a & 11d.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron and Mr Kitty.

  6. Enjoyable. Favourite is 11dn

    Wrote in relevant for 17dn without thinking and had to backtrack and realise I was wrong.

    Thanks to all.

    Today’s Times is also very very enjoyable, as is the Graun. Hurtling through Rugby en route to the London meet.

  7. Please explain to this idiot how emotive (2D) means controversial. Got it by process of elimination but could not substantiate in my thesaurus!

    1. Emotive = controversial is listed in both Chambers and Collins Online thesauri. But, interestingly, not vice-versa.

  8. Something that stirs up emotions could be controversial; and, controversial is in the listing for emotive in the Small Red Book.

  9. Satisfying solve with North first to yield apart fron parsing 15a (d’oh) Fav 9a or 27a. Thank you Messrs. Ron and Kitty.

  10. Slow start for me as the NW corner proved tricky until 4D gave me the ‘C’ and a D’oh moment arrived for 1A.
    Going for a 2.5/4 ****.Thanks Mr Kitty for the blog pics-loved 17D.
    Had troubler parsing 10A, only one word seemed to fit the checking letters and I thought the solution was derived from the ARIANE space mission rocket letters with ‘IN’ missing-thanks Mr Kitty for the correct parsing !
    Like others 11D my favourite although I think it’s been in before.

    1. I’m not finding any previous appearances of 11d in my database of Telegraph clues used since 2001. Perhaps you saw it in another puzzle series?

      1. Database of clues since 2001 – eh!

        Blimey, you really need to get out more – ah well it’s good for a man to have a hobby!

  11. I, too, have to go with 11d as my COTD. Overall, this was a very enjoyable romp through crosswordland, and I would rate this 2.5*/4*, as I was slightly held up in parsing one or two, even though they were correct. 10a springs to mind in this respect.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron, if it is indeed he, and to MK for a fine review.

      1. Hi, Tilsit. If it’s not one of our regular Tuesday setters, can you tell us who it is?

        1. I don’t like outing when the setter has not indicated whether they are happy to be.

          However I am told it is Mister Ron rather than Mr Ron.

          1. Thanks for that, and I understand.

            Mister Ron is who several of us had in mind. Perhaps he’ll drop in later to confirm that it’s one of his.

  12. I struggled with this puzzle but 6a was too easy. With this answer, I knew I was in for a treat at this blog. Thank you for the hints and the video.
    Mr Kitty…..you seem like an avid Bowie fan. Have you ever heard of the Bowie song “Fall Dog Bombs the Moon”? Bowie is being very cryptic here….there is a message in the title of this song. Can you solve it? The numbers are (3, 3, 4).

    1. I haven’t heard of that song, but I will look into it when I get done with work. I do like Bowie, and I picked him today partly because Mister Ron is a fan.

  13. Ceratainly not a canter for me but got there in the end without help. 11d was dredged from some distant memory. Several favourites but liked 9a the most

  14. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for a very entertaining review. A super puzzle, so many brilliant clues, and smooth surfaces. I liked 9&16a and 1&11d, but my favourite was 18a. Last in was 5d. Needed the hints to parse 6a & 17d. Was 2*/5* for me. Wonderful entertainment.

  15. I found this harder than most although enjoyable moments when pennies dropped. 11d was my favourite also. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for a number of explanations.

      1. Damn – this wasn’t meant to go where it’s ended up – oh well, too bad! :roll:

  16. Blimey – I found that difficult – don’t know how long it took as I never time myself but probably a lot longer than most back pagers.
    I tried to make 1d ‘agog’ which would have messed things up – didn’t put it in because of BD’s principle, “If you can’t explain an answer it’s probably wrong”.
    Never did see why 10a was what it had to be but that one was right.
    I didn’t know the biblical bit of 11d but love the Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” and the answer is a very nice plant too.
    9a was my last answer.
    I liked 13 and 29a and 11 and 14d. My favourite was 18a.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to Mr K, specially for explaining 10a.

    1. I had exactly the same first thought about 1d, and held off writing it in for exactly the same reason. BD is a wise man.

    2. I like that plant too, Kath and always enjoy looking at them on NT visits, although I’ve never been able to grow it myself. Any tips?

      1. No tips really – they just seem to like it here. We’re on very sandy soil – maybe that’s what they like so if you’re on clay than perhaps we have the answer!

        1. I’m thinking of the “ladder to heaven” Solomon’s Seal plant, which I now realise is not quite the same as JL.
          My garden is on clay, but does have some cool shady parts.
          My allotment is on lovely ground – 3ft of loam on a sandy base, but the Solomon’s Seal is probably a bit grand for that place…..👑

          1. Ah – I also have Solomon’s Seal which always reminds me of lilies of the valley x about ten – a friend gave me a bit not very long ago – a couple of years perhaps – they seem to spread really fast but I agree, probably would have the old men on the allotment frowning and saying that allotments are for spuds and rhubarb etc – don’t want to be sexist here?

  17. Mr Kitty’s introductory five lines reflect my thoughts exactly, as does his star rating. I could not put it better. Many thanks to him and Mr Ron.

  18. I really enjoyed this, not a walk in the park though.
    I’m ashamed to say that 6a was my last in, I’m getting as bad as Kath.
    I got 1a immediately, which helped enormously.
    Fave was 11d, closely followed by 1a and 7d.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his hints.

  19. I solved this very early this morning as we would be busy for most of the day. I have just returned to it and read the blog. Golly bongs one forgets a lot in the course of a day. I failed to parse 10 ac as I was trying to make ground into an anagram indicator. It isn’t.

    It’s nice to see the return of the clip at 27ac. The last time I saw it was on National Cat Herding Day 2014. December 15th. Thanks to all as usual.

    1. Hi, MP. I just looked up that blog of yours. I didn’t know you’d already used the clip because of course back then I barely knew what a cryptic crossword was and I wasn’t following the site. Clearly you have excellent taste in cat videos. Have you used the running with the squirrels one as well?

      1. Loved the herding cats, just had time to look at it. Don’t let Brian put you off, we love the kitties.

        1. Thanks, Merusa. Don’t worry, Brian’s grumbling won’t stop the cute animal videos and pictures.

      2. I do not know the running with the squirrels one. I just saw somewhere that it was National Cat Herding Day and googled to see what I could find. I think I had Fame the other day but strangely never thought of Bowie.

  20. Struggled with this one today and didn’t complete. Needed the hint for 10a and messed up by putting in
    concrete for 4d.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty for the hints.

  21. Yes, pretty tricky today, I had two anagrams on my first pass and struggled from there on – very enjoyable though and a real feeling of accomplishment when I finally completed it!

  22. Thanks for another excellent blog (and pictures), and for the comments. Quite happy to be outed as the setter of a puzzle!

    I’m intrigued by the allusion in the comments to a cryptic reading of the Bowie song title “Fall Dog Bombs The Moon”. As some may know I’m a big Bowie fan, but other than knowing the song is about the West making war on Islam (the Moon being the crescent moon), I didn’t know there was a cryptic interpretation of the title. Great song from a great album, btw; there’s a tendency of critics to write off Bowie’s output from around 1983 onwards, but both Heathen and Reality from the early 2000s are excellent albums.

    1. Thanks for dropping in, and thanks for another excellent crossword.

      I hope AMan will return to explain the interpretation of that title, because I’m not seeing it.

    2. Here goes….
      “Fall” could indicate a reversal of dog.
      “Bombs” could indicate an anagram of “the moon”.
      “God, not home!”
      I believe it fits the song.
      Let me know what you think about this.
      Have you seen the play “Lazarus”? We saw it in NYC on the second night of it opening there…brilliant! Little did we know Bowie would pass away exactly a month from then.

      1. Hope I am not alone in being completely bewildered by this brainteaser and indeed the solution. 😰

        1. No, you’re not alone. Perhaps if I knew more about Bowie I’d see it.

          I’ll delete the comment above that you wanted gone.

  23. A very enjoyable and well-constructed puzzle I thought.

    My favourite was 10a, but many others ran it close.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron and to Mister Kitty.

  24. Solved this one with the early morning coffee before going out to meet up with ‘the girls’ for lunch. Think I only had about four answers in before confidently writing ‘Mister Ron’ in the margin – glad to see that he’s popped in to confirm.
    So many laughs along the way (including the Quickie pun) and it’s hard to pick out just one favourite. In the end I gave podium places to 1,9&13a plus 14d and saved the gold medal for 11d.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron and to Mr. K for the words and music. I was really hoping for the film theme tune for 6a but should have known it wouldn’t feature in your playlist! Loved the bridge sign and the cat herding clip though, so you’re almost forgiven.

    1. Hi Jane, re 6a, do you mean the Irene Cara song? It’s not really my thing, but I’ll bear it in mind for future opportunities. Or perhaps Senf will see this and pick it for his Sunday slot.

      1. That’s the one! I’d be quite happy with her rendition of either that or ‘What a feeling’ – or even both……….

        1. Needless to say – it wont be featured by me. I do try so hard to please you though Jane.

  25. Good crossword! 11d was fave and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Mister Ron, and to Mr K for the review. (Great clip by the way!)

  26. We had correctly picked the setter and found it a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. A couple of the four letter answers gave us the longest head scratching time, 6a where it took a while to spot the lurker and 1d to remember the 2,3 phrase.
    Thanks Mister Ron and Mr K.

  27. Very slow to get a foothold in the grid, but once I did, in the SW corner, things moved on apace and I finished in ** time. And a thoroughly enjoyable time it was too.

  28. Struggled to finish today, and only got there with Mr Kitty’s hints, so thanks. Had open handed for 14d so that held me up for a while, making 23a impossible. Luckily 1a went straight in. 3d was probably COTD.

  29. All good, 18a fave. Thanks for the puzzle and for dropping in Mister, and thanks for the blog, Mr K.

  30. Great crossword, I found it tricky in places, the last 5 took as long to crack as the rest put together.
    For 11d I could not get the Tower of Babel out of my head, eventually the penny dropped, though for the life of me I don’t remember the story.
    I though 18a was very clever too.
    Many thanks to Misters K and Ron.

  31. Found this very difficult 🙁 Needed several clues to complete ***/*** Liked 13a & 9a 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the setter

  32. I enjoyed this puzzle, giving it ***/****. Among those I particularly liked were 1a, 9a, 18a and 17d. My fave was 16a.

    Thought I had all the right answers, but not so! I had the wrong ending of one which upset another. Very careless of me.

    Big thanks to Mister Ron for the thought-provoking entertainment. And big thanks to Mr Kitty for very the enjoyable enlightment and for the super cat video. Great fun!

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