DT 28434 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28434

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28434

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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


Hello, everyone.  I solved today’s crossword right after it came out (midnight in the UK, 5 pm here), and then checked the news and saw what was happening in Manchester.  I feel for everyone affected by that terrible event.  Not surprisingly, today’s hints were written in a sombre mood.  No cat videos this week.

This week, I believe, sees the return of the Mr Ron who is fond of testing (or, in my case, expanding) our general knowledge.  Since the answers in that category were gettable from the checkers and the wordplay, I have no complaints this time.  There were a few clues with complex wordplay that I enjoyed unravelling, which bumped up my enjoyment rating, while a healthy sprinkling of anagrams pushed the difficulty rating down.

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 enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Hunted animal in deep pit (6)
QUARRY:  A straightforward double definition.

4a    Signal to go south for vegetables (6)
GREENS:  The signal that tells a driver to go, followed by the single-letter abbreviation for south.

8a    Incendiary device and axe British gang brought over (8)
FIREBOMB:  Follow a synonym of axe or dismiss with the reversal (brought over) of B(ritish) and another word for gang.

10a   Play part in saving Oscar's operation (6)
ACTION:  A verb meaning “play part”, followed by IN from the clue containing (saving) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Oscar.

11a   Army entertainer (4)
HOST:  Another double definition.

12a   Innovative Reagan TV ad broadcast (5-5)
AVANT-GARDE:  An anagram (broadcast) of REAGAN TV AD.

13a   Text boss if he fails to give punishment (3,2,3,4)
SIX OF THE BEST:  An anagram (fails) of TEXT BOSS IF HE.

16a   Young man in job, scared on moving staircase? (6,6)
JACOB’S LADDER:  A young man inserted into (in) an anagram (on moving) of JOB SCARED.  As I explained when it appeared last week, the answer is a stairway to Heaven dreamt up in the first book of the Bible. 

20a   Standard Shakespearean jester (10)
TOUCHSTONE:  A double definition.  If, like me, you need a list of Shakespeare’s fools, you’ll find one here.

21a   Understand wife interrupting children's game (4)
TWIG:  W(ife) inserted into (interrupting) a children’s game of pursuit.  I wasn’t familiar with this spelling of the game.  Nor did I know that it has been banned in some schools.

22a   Circular diagram, old, found in Cadiz, specially designed (6)
ZODIAC:  The abbreviation for old inserted into (found in) an anagram (specially designed) of CADIZ.

23a   Traveller's bag ultimately stuck down by fire (8)
KNAPSACK:  A charade of the last letter (ultimately) of stucK, a noun synonym of down (as in a soft covering), and a word meaning fire or dismiss.

24a   Fame in future? Now none (6)
RENOWN:  Lurking inside (in) the remaining words of the clue.  First 16a, and now this.  Today’s setter obviously read last week’s blog and saw Jane’s request.  So, for the first, and probably last, time in a blog of mine, here is Irene Cara:

25a   A daughter at this point gives stick (6)
ADHERE:  A charade of the A from the clue, the abbreviation for daughter, and a word meaning “at this point”.



1d    Unrealistic cox quit, I suspect (8)
QUIXOTIC:  An anagram (suspect) of COX QUIT I.

2d    Fend off a check pinning rook (5)
AVERT:  The A from the clue, followed by a verb synonym of check or examine containing (pinning) the chess abbreviation for a rook.

3d    See 5
RIOT ACT:  See 5d.

5d and 3Give a severe warning that something has to stop a dictator there abroad (4,3,4,3)
READ THE:  An anagram (abroad) of A DICTATOR THERE.

6d    Former plot to get editor removed (9)
EXTRACTED:  A usual prefix signifying former and a plot of land, followed by (to get) the usual abbreviation for editor.

7d    Inferior rum imbibed by cast (6)
SHODDY:  An adjective synonym of rum inserted into (imbibed by) a verb meaning cast or toss.

9d    Work hard on bird book beforehand for famous publisher (11)
BEAVERBROOK:  A charade of an animal associated with hard work, the single letter abbreviation for book, and a bird similar to a raven.  If, like me, you hadn’t heard of this publisher who was famous in the first half of the 20th century, his Wikipedia entry is here.

14d   Item number one raised protest (9)
OBJECTION:  An item or thing followed by the reversal (raised, in a down clue) of a (2,1) expression representing “number one”.

15d   Ordinary wine I must get imported, mostly red (8)
MEDIOCRE:  A wine from a region near Bordeaux, with the I from the clue inserted (must get imported), and followed by all but the last letter (mostly) of REd.

17d   Money-spinner? Caught a cold when invested in gig (4,3)
CASH COW:  The cricket abbreviation for caught and the A from the clue, followed by a synonym of gig containing (when invested in) C(old).

18d   Attract fish over to the sheltered side (7)
LEEWARD:  Link together a synonym of attract and a fish that is sometimes jellied.  Then reverse the lot (over).

19d   Paint company on left of us (6)
COLOUR:  A charade of the abbreviation for company, the abbreviation for left, and a pronoun meaning “of us”.

21d   Sample some ragout, a stew (5)
TASTE:  Hidden inside (some) the last three words of the clue.


Thanks to today’s setter for a most enjoyable solve.  I liked the misdirection in 6d, where I at first I thought removed was a deletion indicator, and I smiled at the smooth surfaces of 7d and 18d.  My favourite this week is 15d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  SHOE+TOUT=SHOOT-OUT

51 comments on “DT 28434

  1. 3*/4*. This was a fairly tough but very enjoyable pangram. When I was about ¾ of the way through I was starting to suspect a double pangram but if I’ve counted correctly four letters were not repeated.

    I haven’t come across that specific spelling of the children’s game in 21a before and 20a was my last one in requiring a big dive back into my memory banks to retrieve the name of the character concerned. I know it’s the convention but personally I don’t like clues like 16a enumerated without an apostrophe.

    I would have thought 23a should say “struck” not “stuck” to give a more meaningful surface. Presumably this is a typo although it doesn’t affect the solve. Apart from this the surfaces were generally very good indeed.

    Lots of clues came into consideration for favourite. 1d is a great word to be able to include; 12a has a super-smooth surface; 15d came into contention; and there were two nicely concealed lurkers. But, overall, I’m going for 13a as my number one today.

    This was great fun and many thanks to Mr Ron for the entertainment. Thanks too to Mr Kitty for the review.

    1. In 23a I read “stuck down by” as “placed beside”, but I think that struck would also work, perhaps using “soldier’s” instead of “traveller’s” as well to smooth the surface a bit more. I agree that the other surface readings were excellent.

      Having written extensively about unique letter counts, I’m a bit embarrassed that I missed the pangram. I blame the jet lag.

    2. I know it’s a bit late, but I didn’t get round to solving this puzzle till today. I took this to be k (last letter of stuck) nap (fine hairs or “down”) sack (dismiss).

  2. Not too taxing but had not heard of 20a. Foot was obviously wrong for 11a but took ages to work out the correct word. My thanks to Ron and Kitty. Manchester another tragedy, perhaps the Sinai is not so dangerous after all.

  3. I got myself in a right old muddle with this one. Cant remember the last time I put in so many wrong answers. 13a, 16a & 14d, I had hit on the head, escape ladder and operation, no wonder I struggled, should have read the clues properly. Ive never heard of the childrens game in 21a and couldnt get the publishers in 9d. All in all a pretty poor showing from me, hope to better tomorrow. Many thanks to the two misters.

  4. Once again the grey matter took a while to get on stream but once off the mark no real problems. Never come across that version of game in 21d. Fav 15d. Can’t believe 9d took so long to dawn on me. Thank you Mysteron and Mr. Kitty.

  5. Completed at a gallop – */***.

    A selection of candidates for favourite – 10a, 9d, and 15d – and the winner is 9d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  6. 21ac. Always Tig in Coventry where I grew up. I could not understand why it was always Tag in books and comics. Great work out this morning at 5.30am. So long ago I cannot remember much about it. Ta to all as usual.

    1. Never heard of tig, always tag when I grew up in the Home Counties. And now they’re banning it! Words fail me.

      1. Perhaps we could take up tig in the South East in place of the banned tag? :wacko:

    2. We didn’t play ‘tig’ or ‘tag, we played ‘it’ as in “You’re It”. I shan’t disgust readers with further elaboration except to say it involved a stick.

  7. I managed barely a quarter of the answers on my first read through, but as soon as I got onto the second pass, they seemed to fall into place. Have to admit, I didn’t know either of the meanings for 20a.

    **/*** for me. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

    On a personal note, being a Manc, I have had no bad news this morning. Prayers for those who have.

  8. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I thought at first was going to be an anagramfest. They were all in the top half, with only one partial anagram in the lower half. 16a & 15d were slightly different versions of clues I’ve seen recently. Last in was 20a, which I had to Google, must brush up on my Shakespeare. Had never heard of tig in 21a,but it had to be. My first two answers were 1d&1a, so I was thinking pangram. Then after a while, was thinking double pangram, but it turned out to be a single. Favourite was 18d. Needed the hints to parse 23a. Was 3*/3* for me. My sympathy is with all those affected in Manchester.

  9. A very enjoyable puzzle. I got 3 and 5d in the wrong places at first which didn’t help and can’t help thinking the word ‘must’ in 15d is superfluous but it was still my favourite clue. 2*/4* for me and many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

    1. I think 15d would work without the “must get”: Ordinary wine I imported, mostly red. Presumably the extra words were introduced to obscure the wordplay.

  10. We really enjoyed this one – some lovely lego clues. Need Mr Kitty’s help in parsing a couple of answers, though. A 2.5/4 from us. Many thanks to the Mister Ron and Mister Kitty.

  11. Like Blackbaron I had 3 and 5 in the wrong place which slowed things up considerably. In the North we always played Tig and when you were tigged you were “it”. My thoughts and prayers are with all those in the North this morning. Hard pangram but mist enjoyable , my thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty

  12. I seem to say this almost every day at the moment but I was very slow to get going.
    Once off the starting blocks, whatever they may be and assuming it’s the right expression, all was fine apart from a couple.
    As always whenever I start to think that it might turn out to be a pangram I’d forgotten the thought by the time I’d finished.
    Not sure that I’d have got 16a if we hadn’t had it last week.
    My last two were 20a and 15d.
    I liked 21a and 7d. I also thought there were a couple of very good anagrams today – 12 and 13a.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr Kitty.

    1. PS – In Worcestershire we always played Tig so that makes three of us, so far, all from different bits of the country.

  13. On this sad day the crossword seems irrelevant. My thoughts are with those affected by the terrorist outrage.

  14. Good afternoon everybody.

    Struggled with this and failed on the simple in retrospect 4a and on 15d. On the upside my guess at 20a proved to be correct.


  15. I would call this crossword quirky 😏 Took a while to get started **/*** Plenty of lurkers Favourite 18d & 21a 😃 Thanks to Mr Kitty and to the setter. A distraction from the events of this awful day

  16. Hard to believe my luck – a Dylan-free Monday AND a request played on Tuesday. Can’t wait to see what Kitty has in store for me on the other side!
    A most enjoyable pangram today, the only couple of holdups being a desire to put ‘firework’ in 8a (yes, I know it doesn’t fit the wordplay!) and a total lack of recall over the 20a jester.
    Seem to remember that we called the 21a game ‘Tiggy Relievo’.

    Top two for me were 15&18d.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K – taking the literal translation of 12a, the young lady’s ‘gown’ would need to have been constructed out of barbed wire!

    PS On a more sombre note – my neighbour’s granddaughter was due to attend the M/cr concert but was let down by transport problems. I think it will be a long time before her family sanction her attendance at another one.

      1. No – please don’t do that. I have no doubt that ‘normal’ Monday homage will resume only too soon!

    1. Hi Jane, glad you liked the music. That is quite the gown in 12a. I studied the picture quite closely, and I don’t see how she got into it. Like you, I pencilled in firework for the unfortunate 8a on my first pass through the puzzle, wondering if I was missing something about the wordplay.

      1. I reckon it’s probably positioned around her from the front and then fastened up the back – or heat-sealed!

  17. What a sad day for Manchester and the U.K. Loss of life is always terrible, but when it involves children it is sad beyond belief.

    Struggled to get going with this puzzle, and had to google a couple of the general knowledge clues. Thanks to Mr Kitty I was able to get back on track.

  18. This was very enjoyable but certainly no cakewalk. My knowledge of Shakespeare is very limited, so I needed help
    with 20a. Favourite was 4a.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  19. I found this very enjoyable, started late it was nearly R&W but got held up on a couple.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and Mr Ron.
    Our thoughts are with Manchester may they all pull together at this time.
    May your God go with you.

  20. I loved this one, the less familiar letters in a pangram can often pose difficulties for a setter, but Mr. Ron (if it is he) has handled them with aplomb. In addition, as RD has already mentioned, the surfaces were first-rate.

    My top three clues were, in solving order, 9d, 13a and 4a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron (?) and to Mr. Kitty.

    My thoughts are with all those affected by Manchester attack, and in a totally different context, RIP Sir Roger Moore.

    1. I was also impressed by the relatively low number of usual suspects employed by today’s setter.

  21. A relatively quick solve, although I doubt I would have solved 16a except that it came up in some other crossword recently.
    20a is new to me but the BRB came to the rescue.
    The horror of the event in Manchester ….. no words.
    Thanks to Kitty and the setter.

  22. First of all, my deepest sympathies for all those affected by that horrendous act in Manchester.

    I found it very difficult to get onto this setter’s wavelength, but once I found it, it was all smooth going. I spotted the pangram early on and that helped a lot.
    I remembered the jester, I’m sure we’ve had that before, and I remembered the publisher. Maybe a lot of people don’t remember that Lord 9d was a publisher; was it the Daily Express?
    Loved a lot of this, 13a and 7d stood out, but fave was 15d.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his hints.

  23. 1a made me think pangram and so it was. Very enjoyable if a little bit of a head scratcher in parts. Thanks to Messrs Ron and Kitty.

  24. Lots to like but no stand out favourites today as I’m not really in the mood. Deeply saddened. Heartfelt condolences to all.
    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the review.

  25. Late on parade today, but still glad I made the effort to complete this terrific puzzle. I did not find it too taxing, but it was hugely enjoyable. Loved 13a, and overall 2*/4*.

    As many others have mentioned, some events are just too awful for words; last night in Manchester was one of them.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and MK.

  26. A slow start but once i went to the bottom of the grid everything started to come together. 22a was my favourite, 2/3.5* overall. Today wasn’t quite the day for crosswords somehow.
    But thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his review.

  27. We were on the look out for a pangram as soon as we got 1a and 1d so were not surprised when it was one. 8d needed most of the checkers before our memories were jogged for the answer. Plenty to enjoy.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

  28. Well done Mr Kitty for writing the review with jet lag. I too have jet leg so blame that for writing ‘exraacted’ into 6d. Thank you setter for your crossword. I am of the ‘tig’ and ‘it’ camp so was fine with 21a. Deeply saddened by today’s events. Manchester is a wonderful city.

  29. Finished yesterday’s in record time and this was just as enjoyable, despite deciding early on that 13 across had to contain the words ‘hit on the head’ :( , the answer finally brought back memories of my old grammar school. It’s only at the end of the week that I normally begin to despair! :)

  30. A little on the tricky side I thought, with a couple of unknowns to me at least. Finish time about **/***.

  31. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t feel like doing any crosswords today – sorry to both setters and reviewers as I’m sure you have all done a super job. However, after the atrocities of last nights cowardly and reprehensible attack on young children on our shores I have been left drained.

    For those that know me well (and possibly those who don’t) please be assured that I plan to be about for quite a long time. I have to be, as BD has slotted me in to cover the 2K’s when they are on holiday in June :)

    I hope you are all well.

      1. As we mourn the dead it feels right to cherish friends who are alive and well and to be happy about that. And to defiantly keep doing crosswords. Welcome back SL.

  32. After a long rather distressing first day back after a short break, this splendid puzzle was just the therapy I needed. So thanks to our setter and the ever-informative Mr K. 2*/4*

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