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DT 28437

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28437

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *****

Good morning from Warrington with the sun beating down and almost tropical weather! While our Friday blogger is on a break, I’m covering today. Today’s backpager is a very enjoyable and accessible piece of work from Giovanni with precise clues and a couple to make you scratch your head.

Favourite clues were in abundance today. 8 across, 1 down and 21 across all stand out.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    None blathers yet? This could change that! (3,7,5)
THE BLARNEY STONE:    We start with a nice all –in-one clue. Part of it is an anagram of the answer and because of the nature of the clue the second half is a sort of indicator that it is one. In other words, you are looking for something that would help a situation where no one is talking. The answer is a famous location where kissing it gives you the gift of the gab, and it’s an anagram of NONE BLATHERS YET. As you can see below, it’s not an easy job to do that!


9a    Unconscious lager hooligan? Not the first (3)
OUT:    A word meaning unconscious is found by taking a word which forms a phrase with ‘lager’ to make a type of drunken bad boy. Remove the first letter and you have the answer needed.

10a    Father full of energy meets a miserable old party totally lifeless (4,2,1,4)
DEAD AS A DODO:    An expression that means completely lifeless is found by placing the abbreviation for energy and putting it inside a word for Father. The rest is a word sum A + something meaning miserable + an abbreviation for old + a short word for a party.

11a    Vehicle getting near – see it on ceremonial occasions? (5)
BUSBY:    The name for a type of hat often seen at Royal occasions such as Trooping the Colour. A simple word sum of the name of a method of transport plus a shorter word meaning near or at hand.

12a    Sardonic aristocrats said to be ones no longer fit for purpose (5-4)
WRITE-OFFS:    A phrase that means things (especially cars) that are no longer usable is revealed by taking what sounds like (said) a word that means sardonic or using dry humour and a slang word for those in the upper class.

15a    Piece of hair girl managed with net (7)
RINGLET:    A word for a piece of curly hair is revealed by making an anagram (managed with) of GIRL and NET. Unusual to see the anagram indicator in the middle of the words to be unscrambled, but as usual it’s completely fair.

17a    Leaves behind places of solitude (7)
DESERTS:    Double definition here. A word meaning leaves behind can also mean places where you see no-one or nothing.

19a    Team is on fire — they are hairy (9)
SIDEBURNS:    A type of hair found on the face is made up of something that means a sporting team, plus a word that means is on fire

20a    Composer the French hear, but not English (5)
LEHAR:    The name of a famous Austro-Hungarian composer is revealed by taking the word for the definite article in French and adding the word hear, minus the abbreviation for English. Time for some music and instead of the usual pop or rock anthem, let’s have one of this composer’s most famous works, an aria sung by La Divina.

21a    Sessions of deep thought meant idiots would be transformed (11)
MEDITATIONS:    The name for those occasions when calm reflection occurs is found by unscrambling the anagram (transformed) of MEANT IDIOTS.


24a    Independent politician seen as troublemaker (3)
IMP:    The name given to someone (usually a child) who is naughty is found by taking an abbreviation for Independent and adding one for a political representative.

25a    Helpful female? One could possibly see ogre outsmart her (9,6)
SURROGATE MOTHER:    The question mark here means our definition is slightly cryptic. The name for a woman whose role is to help others is found by unscrambling (possibly) OGRE OUTSMART HER.


1d    Ditched plane has done its flying (10)
JETTISONED:    This was one of my last two in. Afterwards, I wondered why. Take the name for a type of plane and add an anagram (flying) of DONE ITS to give you a word meaning ditched or thrown off.

2d    Good woman accommodating learner happily (6)
GLADLY:    Something that means happily is revealed by taking the abbreviation for good and adding a word for a woman. Put inside this the standard abbreviation for a learner.

3d    A feature of a seaside holiday with rain? (10)
BREAKWATER:    Something found on a beach is made up of a word meaning a holiday and add to it what rain is.


4d    A jewel has turned up — it’s huge (4)
MEGA:    A word meaning huge is found by taking A plus something that is a synonym for jewel and reverse it (turned up).

5d    Analysers of metals, like author Dorothy? (8)
ASSAYERS:    The name for people who test the quality of metals is found by taking a short word meaning like and adding the surname of the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey.

6d    Charm shown by two little women (4)
MOJO:    This was my last one in and again held me up longer than it should have done. A word that means a charm or magic talisman (I didn’t realise this!). it’s made up of two shortened girls’ names, although I took it as looking for characters in the book Little Women; in fact, one of them is.

7d    The fellow with a great deal gets serfs (6)
HELOTS:    The name for ancient Greek slaves is made up of a pronoun that means the man and add to it something that means a great deal or abundant.

8d    Artist and bishop with money set up computer facility (7)
TOOLBAR:    The name for something found on a computer that provides help (especially in browsers, etc.) is found by taking the standard abbreviation for an artist, adding the chess notation for a bishop and a word meaning money. Then reverse the lot!

13d    At home daughter is model daughter too unwell to help? (10)
INDISPOSED:    If someone is too ill to attend or help, they are often said to be this. Another wordsum: something that means at home + an abbreviation for a daughter + is + something that a model does + the daughter abbreviation again.

14d    Blunt form of defence, hard, on one side (10)
FORTHRIGHT:    And another word sum. A type of building that’s a defence + the abbreviation for hard + one of two sides.

16d    Drink in one club, being entertained by hero (8)
LIBATION:    A word not frequently used, but one I recall from learning Latin at school under the benevolent Mr Burrows, who also taught me to do cryptics. It’s a word for a drink offered to the gods. The abbreviation for one and a synonym of club or sporting equipment. Place a word for someone brave around this and you have the name of the drink.

18d    Abrasive type that joins fight with little hesitation (7)
SCRAPER:    The name for a tool that works as an abrasive is made up of something that means a fight and added to it is a little word that represents hesitation in speech.

19d    Prophet in Christian army provides a bit of food (6)
SAMOSA:    The name for a small item of (Indian) food is found by taking the name for a biblical prophet and placing it inside the abbreviation for the organisation that has members known as soldiers of God.


20d    Opening of Louvre is good for the French capital (6)
LISBON:    the name for another European capital is found by taking L, the first letter of Louvre and adding IS and a French word meaning good.

22d    Prepare small room and big room for sleeping in? (4)
DORM:    A word meaning prepare goes before an abbreviation for room to give a place of sleeping.

23d    Meal with king in the wood (4)
TEAK:    A type of wood is found by taking the name for a meal and adding K (king)

Thanks to Giovanni for a lovely pleasant solve.

I’m off to go and face a tribunal later today. As some of you know I’m not the most mobile and rely on my Motability vehicle as I find it tough using public transport. I had a medical last year which decided I had no disabilities and the car went back. I appealed and now have to go in front of a judge and a couple of medical professionals to prove I need the higher allowance which in turn allows me to rejoin the Motability scheme. So fingers crossed, please!

60 comments on “DT 28437

  1. Some head scratching, especially in the NE, with some electronic assistance; completed at a slow canter – 2.5*/3*.

    Immediate favourite – 12a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Tilsit – fingers crossed for the tribunal.

  2. Enjoyable, liked 8a and 12a. I also circled 3d as it took me back to Aldeburgh and ‘Adnam’s country’. Hope you manage to conquer the red tape, Tilsit.

      1. A long time ago now Elcid, so can’t remember the pub names, but will look that one up for future reference!

  3. 2*/2*. I found this formulaic and a bit uninspiring today, although I did like 8a & 12a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Tilsit.

  4. 11a. Your picture shows Guardsmen wearing bearskins, not examples of this answer!

    1. just KNEW someone would have to mention this common misconception. So who DOES wear the answer to the clue? Is it the Horse Artillery? Must Google it!

    1. P.S. I once performed the act in 8a- I was so overwhelmed by the experience I was speechless.
      Knowing what I know now about how the staff prepare it for the American tourists before they open I wish I hadn’t.

      1. My wife and I visited this place once. She queued up to kiss the thing, though she has no need of it, as don’t I, but while she did, I went on a hilarious tour of the castle led by a most irreverent and amusing, not so say loquacious, young man, which I would not have missed for the world! Don’t suppose he is still doing it, shame! (he might have got the push if someone ratted on him!)

  5. The ‘new’ Giovanni again today – and very pleasant it was to solve his puzzle.
    Did need to confirm the serfs in 7d but 6d caused no problems – still got the ear worm from Muddy Waters!

    Liked quite a few of these – top scores went to 12a and 1d.
    Thanks to DG and to Tilsit – good luck with the ‘powers that be’ today.

    PS Off to lie down in a darkened room having actually managed to fill in all the little squares in the Elgar! May well not be 100% accurate but – who cares!

      1. Hi CS – 15a also needs correcting, the anagram fodder is girl + net. Tilsit obviously had the answer in mind!

  6. Pleasant solve sitting in the shade 😎 But quite tricky in parts ***/**** 7d was new to me 😳 Liked many with 1d, 3d and (last one in) 12a 😃 Thanks to Tilsit and to Giovanni for supplying another enjoyable and amusing puzzle 👍

  7. Id was the last one in for me, the anagram is of DONE ITS, though. I threw 7d in, but I don’t think I have come across the word previously. Overall ***/*** for me. I did like 12a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Tilsit.

  8. A ‘marmite’ of a puzzle today from the bloggers comments.
    started slowly and held up by 8a until some checking letters went in, then a steady solve .
    Some excellent cluing and made a note of the surface of 17a which brought a smile.
    Going for a 2.5 */4 *
    Thanks Tilsit for the pics-8a looked a recipe for disaster, thought a photo of Sir Matt would be opportune for 11a.

  9. This was a Delia Smith meal of a crossword – simple,wholesome and enjoyable. Liked 12a and 19a. Thanks to the stand in blogger- Tilsit and to the setter.

    1. SIMPLE? Never head of 7d, or 20a, and “computer facility” is so vague it could have meant anything from “switch” to “internet café”, “internet facility” might have been a bit fairer, altho I feel all is fair in love and crossword clue writing!

  10. Enjoyable as usual. A couple of new words. I hope you get your allowance back Tilsit. It has made a world of difference for my Sister in Law. Particularly after my brother died. 7d in The Quickie is new to me. Have a great weekend everyone. I will see you on Mondays

  11. 12a was my fave in this lovely crossword from the Don. Precise clueing made it a pleasure to solve. 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit for stepping in.

  12. First of all Tilsit a big thank you for making my day with Maria Callas performing “Vilja Lied” by 20a. Tut tut however for wrongly identifying 11a as Household Division headgear. 💂🏻‍♀️ For me 12a takes pole position. Thanks Giovanni for a good fun puzzle. Good luck Tilsit with rejoining Motability (I have bought several of their cars which are usually in excellent condition).

    1. I think the error has more to do with Google Images Search facility than Tilsit’s knowledge of military headgear

  13. Managed to get 7d from the clue, but had to googlething it as I hadn’t heard of them. The rest was plain sailing and finished over breakfast. 12a was my favourite.Thanks go to The Don and Tilsit. Off to buy some beer to make beer can chicken in the smoker.

  14. I don’t have much to say about this offering from Giovanni.

    Maybe, I should visit 8a?

  15. A bit of pondering required, but all good. 12a made me smile so it gets top spot.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit.

    BTW Tilsit – the boss of Atos got a £1m bonus for exceeding ‘targets’ for cutting people off disability allowances etc – somewhat galling. Good luck.

  16. As Jane says, the “new Giovanni” again in evidence, but even then we had a smattering of religious references and 7d was a new word to me.

    I warmed to 12a, but my overall favourite was 3d as it evoked memories of weather-ruined family holidays of bygone days.

    Thanks to Mr. Manley and to Tilsit, and a good weekend to all.

  17. Like most here, I really enjoyed this Giovanni today.
    I remembered Dorothy, loved her books, knew 6d and 7d – I live in a Spanish-speaking part of America, so 6d is quite common.
    My fave is 12a, I think there’s consensus on that one, but lots of others deserve mention.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit for the hints. I hope you get your transport sorted. As you say, it can be difficult to manage if you have mobility problems.

    1. I too faltered on 1d, but eventually the penny dropped. 16d evaded me altogether even though I did Latin at school. Picture of breakwater brought happy memories sheltering from the wind on the North shore.
      I hope you have success before the beak Thankyou all.

  18. I always find it difficult to get on Giovanni’s wavelength so this took much longer than it should have done. Some very clever clues, just my fading grey cells so a 3*/3* for me. Best clue has to be 1d. Many thanks to DG and Tilsit.

  19. Another great puzzle. The week gets better and better. I too have done the 8a bit, but if I tried

    it nowadays I’d never get back up. Does the first little woman at 6d refer to the tennis champ.

    1. …or the “lil” version, of her. Both are/were “little women” but only one came from Louisa Alcott’s book!

  20. Tilsit, do let us know how you get on . We all care for each other on this site. Hope that you get your higher allowance and motabililty car back. Thinking of you.

  21. A nice one from the Don but not one to frighten any horses. **/**** from me. I like this “new” Giovanni.

    There’s quite a lot of good stuff but my favourite was 8a closely followed by 1d.

    Thanks to the Don and Tilsit.

    BTW, it’s going to be a busy weekend. Amongst other stuff no doubt we will have the Monaco Grand Prix, the FA Cup Final, the last two stages of the Giro D’Italia, the start of the French Open Tennis and a cricket ODI against South Africa. Think I’ll be knackered by Monday :lol:

    1. My nephew’s just finished the 5 day dragons back race – 5 days running up and down mountains from Conwy to Llandello. I’m worn out from just tracking him

        1. Just looked for it on t’interweb can’t find “LEGENDARY RACE” from Conway to Llandeilo. Help please.

          1. Hi Tonto,
            It’s called the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – runs down the ‘backbone’ of the Welsh dragon!

  22. I enjoyed this and only had a couple of minor spots of bother.
    I could see 8a was an anagram but it took me an age to get it and 12a also held me up.
    Oh yes, and 8d – all would have been fine with that one but my last letter looked like a ‘B’. :roll:
    I liked 9a and 1 and 3d. My favourite was 12a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit for standing in to do the hints and pics.

  23. Am amazed that so many gave this only a ** as I found it very much a *** plus **** for enjoying the brain-taxing !! 1d was my last one in, too. 12a definitely the cleverest clue. Hadn’t heard of 1d, 20a or 8d : (

  24. We needed quite a few of the checkers before the anagram in 8a revealed itself and seemed to open up the rest of the puzzle. A precisely clued enjoyable Friday puzzle once again.
    Thanks Giovanni and Tilsit.

  25. Thoroughly enjoyable, with a big smile for 12ac. About ** for difficulty sounds right.

  26. Tricky today, I am on the train to Devon, so plenty of time for the crossword. Makes all the difference.
    Thanks to Tilsit and the Don.

  27. A good mix today, all succinctly clued as one would expect from Mr M.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Giovanni **/****

  28. We got one wrong because I’m a bit of a nincompoop. Otherwise, a very pleasant sail through a very pleasant puzzle from Giovanni and thanks to Tilsit for the hints.
    The wrong was do do l’enfant dort, l’enfant (dorm)ira bien vita…..

  29. A steady solve and in common with others 7d was a new word for me although easy enough to work out from the checking letters and the clue. I had not heard of 20a but again the clue was sufficiently clear to get the name. The illustration for 3d is for a groyne rather than a 3d. Groynes are built with one end on the shore and their primary function is to control the movement of the beach. 3d are often parallel to the shore although they can be attached to the shore but would be far more substantial than what is shown in the picture as their primary function is to stop the waves. Landlubber dictionaries do not always make this clear. Thanks to Tilsit and Giovanni and I hope that the appeal was satisfactorily resolved. I would agree with BD rating of **/****.

  30. Thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle with some really difficult clues. Just needed the hints to solve 12a, which I didn’t realise that the answer was a homophone. Also to parse 16d. Favourite was 3d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  31. Been very busy so only got round to this tonight. Well worth the wait – quite the most enjoyable Giovanni back-pager I can remember. Thanks to him and to Tilsit, for whom my fingers are crossed. 2*/5*

  32. Hi Tilsit, speaking as a carer for my wife who could have had a motability car but discovered all she had to do was to drive an automatic, I sympathise deeply with anyone who is threatened with having it removed. The only thing to say is that converting an ordinary automatic, which is what they always used to do in the old days, is not too hard and if the right foot or leg is the problem, swapping the accelerator over to the other side, is easy-peasy usually, so if the left leg works ok, then problem solved. If both legs are not up to it, then converting the car to use a ring below the steering wheel to act as brake and accelerator is what used to be done and again this should not be difficult. But then who knows what else the govt will come up with to make handicapped peoples’ live more difficult. Like making these modifications impossible, why they would do that I do not know but I would not put it past them.

    1. Thanks. I should update you all in that I was successful in my appeal and barring any last minute appeal from DWP, I should be mobile again in around 2-3 weeks.

      The judge, doctor and disabled lay person that made up the tribunal were fair and asked a great many questions.

      1. That’s a relief, Tilsit. Hopefully, the DWP will accept the panel’s judgement and you’ll soon be back behind the wheel.

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