DT 28448 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28448

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28448

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. I don’t know who set today’s crossword but it’s definitely not Ray T – I do have my suspicions – any ideas anyone? I really found it quite difficult so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone else gets on.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the actual answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so try not to do that by mistake.

Please leave us a comment – the more the better.


1a            Part of ship in port? (4)
HOLD HULL — This is a double definition. The first part is easy enough but I’d never heard of the second one – it is in the BRB [Corrected.  BD]

3a            Part of a US locomotive that’s for rolling stock? (10)
COWCATCHER — This is the American equivalent to the Australian ‘roo bar’ – a strong metal grid on the front of a car or a train to protect against collision with animals or, as in this clue, to ‘roll’ animals (stock) out of the way. Phew – not an easy one to give a hint for.

9a            Mistake in party politics (4)
TYPO — Our only lurker or hidden answer – he’s hiding in between the last two words of the clue.

10a         One who’s retiring that sits up in bed? (10)
WALLFLOWER — An informal word for a shy or retiring person (usually a woman) who does not take part at a social event is also a spring bloom – the bed is in the garden.

11a         Drunk, vermouth bottle empty? (3,2,2)
OUT OF IT — If all the vermouth had been consumed you might say you were *** ** **. Oh dear – another one that’s jolly difficult to give a decent hint for.

13a         Torn bags date, revealing chemical substance (7)
REAGENT — Another word for torn or ripped contains (bags) a date or time.

14a         With nothing admitted, malice said to circulate in networking platforms (6,5)
SOCIAL MEDIA — An anagram (to circulate) of MALICE SAID contains the letter that looks like a zero (with nothing admitted).

18a         Sweet crackers switched on facing page (6,5)
BANANA SPLIT — An informal word for crackers or insane and the one letter abbreviation for P(age) is followed by (facing) a way of saying switched on or having light.

21a         Bad publicity getting fraction of the number? (7)
ADVERSE — The usual abbreviation for publicity is followed by a part (fraction) of a musical number or song.

22a         Bash breaking twine that’s loose, making secure (3,4)
TIE DOWN — This bash is a party so you need the crosswordland little word for a party contained in (breaking) an anagram (that’s loose) of TWINE.

23a         Disguise not on, as pal in trousers (10)
PANTALOONS — An anagram (disguise) of NOT ON AS PAL.

24a         Sounding important, lesser bird (4)
KIWI — Two homophones (sounding) – the first is one of important or essential and the second is lesser or small.

25a         Narrativ? (5,5)
SHORT STORY — If the ‘word’ in the clue had an ‘E’ on the end what would it be? Since it doesn’t have that ‘E’ it’s an abbreviated tale. And another one that’s really hard to think of a hint for.

26a         Back with first of girlfriends, very excited (4)
AGOG — A word meaning back or past is followed by the first letter (first of) of G(irlfriends)



1d            You must plug water source where heat encourages growth (8)
HOTHOUSE — A source of water in the garden contains (must plug) an archaic pronoun meaning ‘you’.

2d            Cosmetic put under cheek (8)
LIPSTICK — Cheek or impertinence is followed by (under in a down clue) another word for put or install.

4d            Old piece, modern style (2,3)
OP ART — The one letter abbreviation for O(ld) and a piece or a bit.

5d            Mark welcomes actors from somewhere in America (9)
COLORADAN — The mark here is a punctuation mark and it contains (welcomes) some actors – not specific actors but where they are trained.

6d            Unlikely admirer initially has date in US city (11)
TALLAHASSEE — Begin with a word for something unlikely – a **** story perhaps, then the first letter (initially) of A(dmirer), the ‘has’ straight from the clue and finish off with a verb to date or go out with someone.

7d            Hard twisting wears rope (6)
HAWSER — H(ard) is followed by an anagram (twisting) of WEARS.

8d            Wonder if ceremony mainly is about fish? On the contrary (6)
RARITY — Wonder here is a noun. Most of (mainly) a four letter word for a ceremony is contained in a large edible fish. We’re told that the ceremony is about the fish but the last bit of the clue (on the contrary) tells us to do the opposite.

12d         Shock, as fat brute eats starters of raw greens (11)
FLABBERGAST — Some fat or blubber is followed by a brute or monster which contains (eats) the first letters (starters) of R(aw) and G(reens).

15d         Vegetable extract crushed by hand (9)
MANGETOUT — A verb to extract or remove (3,3) is preceded by (crushed or underneath) a hand or a worker.

16d         Jolly healthy (8)
BLOOMING — A double definition – the first is an informal euphemism.

17d         Fetid eggs coming up, majesty! (8)
STINKING — These eggs are those laid by head lice – reverse them (coming up) and follow with a male royal person (majesty).

19d         Plain fool with plan drawn up (6)
PAMPAS — Start off with a fool – not the usual ass but another one – and a plan or chart and reverse the whole thing (drawn up).

20d         Decent chance with love, all the same (4,2)
EVEN SO — A decent chance in betting terms is followed by the letter that looks like a love score in tennis.

22d         Singer‘s important number — ‘Gold’ (5)
TENOR —Think of a number from one to *** and follow that with one of the usual two letter words meaning gold. I’m not sure why this number is important – maybe because it’s the number that the decimal system is based on. Does anyone have any other ideas – over to you.

I liked lots of these clues so just a few are 10 and 11a and 5, 12 and 17d. My favourite is one of these.

The Quickie pun:- WATER + DISC + RACE = WHAT A DISGRACE A brilliant pun.


88 comments on “DT 28448

  1. The hardest and the best of the week so far for me.A few in the top right corner were the last in. Particularly liked 3a, 20a and17d. Have been busier than usual this week, but just wanted to say that it was good to see SL back yesterday. Thanks to all.

  2. First to comment today, I suspect there won’t be many R and W solutions today, definitely some of the cluing was in toughie territory.
    Slow to start but picked up as my brain tuned in to the wavelength and I thought that the puzzle was the most difficult solve for a while, basically agree with Kath and a ***/****- ****.
    Difficult to have a favourite but liked 25A and 24A for its brevity.
    Thought 21A took liberties.
    Thanks Kath for the excellent blog pics.

  3. I wonder how many others put Hull in for 1A ? Seems to fit in quite well. Found this quite difficult but got there in the end.Many thanks to the setter & Kath for her review.

    1. Hi Graham,
      If you enter the answer given by Kath into the online version (puzzles.telegraph.co.uk) you receive an incorrect answer but the website accepts your answer?

    2. Hull, yes! – I never even thought it might be wrong until I just read your comment. I did not submit my solution online.

    3. Put me down for ‘Hull’ which, as others have said, was accepted on on-line submission. However, I understand Kath’s answer as back in the very, and I mean very, early days of my service to HM I remember the instruction to ‘port arms for inspection’ which meant to hold them per the definition of hold in the BRB.

    1. Welcome to the blog Gerald

      Please read the Comment Etiquette page before posting again, particularly point 9. Bluntness may be appropriate on some platforms, but this is not one of them.

  4. Quite difficult I thought (4* at least for me) but most enjoyable – I’ll plump for Mr Halpern as the setter. Thanks to ??? and Kath for the review.
    I too had Hull for 1a. I’ve just checked on-line and Hull is what is accepted.

    1. Oh – Hull didn’t occur to me – eventually, and in desperation, I found the fifth entry in BRB under port and it says, “to hold in a slanting direction upward across the body (milit)” so I reckoned that was OK.
      I was half wondering if we had another posthumous PJ.

      1. Rick, do you have inside information?

        You seem to know who the setter is without guessing.

                1. I can find only two previous appearances of clues with wordplay like 24a, and they’re both by Shamus:

                  TOUGHIE 1038 It’s said to be vital with small fruit (4)

                  TOUGHIE 1626 Mention important small product of labour? Nutritious food (4,5)

  5. Blimey – that was tough! The top right took me ages to complete.
    Very enjoyable. Thanks to setter, and to Kath for the write-up

  6. ***/** – some head scratching and electronic assistance required, average enjoyment. Pleased to see that there was no ‘topical’ content.

    10a was heading to be favourite until I solved 24a – no question.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath – I agree not a Ray T.

  7. For difficulty, somewhere between a back pager and a toughie. A mixture of satisfaction and relief when I finished it. My first thought for 1a was “hold” but “Hull” seemed better.
    Thank you to Kath and setter.

  8. Hi Kath – perhaps the importance of the number at 22d is a reference to a certain address…

      1. I see that, but I then thought something along the lines of ‘Looking after number 1’ – number one being the most important!
        Can’t see it’s really definitive either way. :scratch: :unsure:

  9. I put Hull for 1a, and it seems ok to me. Have to say I found this extremely difficult, only managed about half before having to resort to Kath’s hints. Not my cup of tea at all. Many thanks to Kath for the excellent explanations.

  10. Streuth, that NE corner was tough! 1d was a bit odd and 6d is just plain bizarre. Struggled with 8d and 15d as well, could get the answers but seeing why was tricky.
    Enjoyed the rest esp 18a. Bit too much US today for my taste. Never mind off to vote in the pouring rain.

    1. Sorry forgot my manners in the excitement of finishing this brute 😀, thx to all concerned

  11. I suppose I’m getting fussy but isn’t 5d more someone in America rather than somewhere in American ?I needed the hint for that one.
    Otherwise I agree it was quite difficult .Quite a few of the solutions were arrived at by looking long and hard at the checkers and waiting for a suitable word to float up from the depths of memory.
    That’s how I got 1d, 12d and 15d.
    I enjoyed it though, in particular 11a, 24a and 25a.
    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  12. I was in the Kath camp for 1a but now agree that Hull doesn’t involve stretching anything. Found it tough & needed electronic help for 15d (we only have frozen peas). Just over my limit but extremely enjoyable and, mostly, fair I thought
    24a my COTD (showing no hard feelings for yesterday) with 11a R/U.
    Thanks to setter and Kath; not the easiest of tasks today. Was it you who was praying for rain a couple of weeks ago?

      1. Kath,
        Until the next time we have easterlies & no rain in April.
        My solar panel-o-meter says in S. Wales we have had less sun every month this year compared to last year & the year before!

  13. Relieved to find out that everyone else thought it was a bit of a snorter.
    I have not been on the case full time but I expect to be roundly defeated by this.

  14. Thank goodness you all found it difficult.
    I thought I was back to my pre-Big Dave days.

    Many thanks to Kath and to the setter.

  15. Yup, didn’t enjoy that one as much as yesterday. I don’t even think I managed half the puzzle today. I’m satisfied I wasn’t the only one who found it challenging.

  16. Great puzzle that might have put the frighteners on at least a couple of Senf’s nags. So many wonderful clues – 3a, 10a, 18a and 25a. 5d and 6d. But for me the winner by a short head is 5d. Thanks to the setter, whoever you are for the helpful anagrams without which I would not have made headway and to Kath for her colour filled blog.

  17. I will go along with the overall view that this definitely at the tough end of the solving spectrum. I thought 5d was brilliant, and became my COTD as soon as I solved it. There were many other fine clues, and overall this was a 3.5*/4* for me.

    Many thanks to the Thursday setter, and congratulations to Kath for making sense of some of the more difficult clues.

  18. What a struggle, after attempts at breakfast, coffee break and lunch time had to look to Kath for assistance, I give you 4 stars for the explanations. I found 6 d and 8 d very confusing. My wonder is , is this setter a rarity? Many thanks to Kath and the setter.

  19. Cor…very hard for a bear. Even with your excellent help I still think the clues were a bit obscure in places…vote penguin!

  20. Well done, Kath!

    The fact that you had an alternative answer to 1a seems to indicate that you don’t verify your answers by pressing the “Submit” button. All your own work! Very brave!

    This one reminded me of yesterday’s Toughie setter – so my guess at the compiler is the Marathon Man – Dada.

    10a was outstanding despite being “retiring”

    1. I do the crossword in the paper so when I screw something up, such as 1a, I have no way of knowing that I’ve done it. Apologies to everyone. :oops:

  21. I had to resort to a few ‘bung ins’ to complete this crossword, but once I read the review I kind of wondered why. Oh well.
    11a was my favourite and overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for the explanations.

  22. Wow that was hard going. Enjoyable for all that though.thanks to Kath and the setter.

  23. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but so difficult. Needed the hints for 10,13a & 5,6,8,15d. Particularly gutted that I couldn’t get the latter as I’ve just returned from the south of France. Couldn’t get the 2 American down clues. Was 4*/3* for me.

  24. From an earlier era 11a: IT is short for ITALIAN Vermouth as in a once favoured drink, Gin and It.

    1. Welcome

      I can’t check while using my tablet but I think this explanation is already to be found in either Usual Suspects or Wolves in Sheep’s clothing in the tabs at the top of the page

  25. I can recall making a comment about a relatively recent back-pager to the effect that some of the surface reads would have been criticised in one of our Rookie puzzles. I thought this was of the same ilk – 18a & 21d for example – and that rather spoiled my enjoyment.
    Having said that, I did have ticks for several – 11&25a plus 2&18d. Laurel wreath goes to the Quickie pun – excellent!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron (Dada?) and an enormous ‘well done’ to Kath – that can’t have been easy to hint!

  26. So far over my head that I got neck-ache looking for it.
    Spent a good hour going through Kath’s excellent hints, but now have double neck-ache from shaking my head in wonder.
    Many thanks Kath, and to the setter, but next time give me a day’s warning so I can go to the newsagents and get the Guardian!!

    1. If the setter is who we think he is, going to the Graun today won’t help ;)

      1. See my replies to Gazza and Jane above – you need to be thinking more Old Testament than New

        1. I am surprised – I thought that this one was much trickier than his most recent Toughie.

              1. Me too although unlike most people I’d only give it 2.5 for difficulty but 4 for fun

                1. Rick (who seems to know the setter ) mentions the Old Testament – Samuel?

                1. I think you ‘peaked too soon’ – I am assured that this one is definitely “New Testament”

                  1. Thanks for confirming, CS.

                    (I wonder why this setter never comments here, though he does sometimes on other blogs. Oh well, it’s no biggie really.)

  27. I had lots of fun with this, very enjoyable. A couple of quirks in the surfaces and some well hidden definitions made it all the more engaging for me. Picks include 16d, 25a, 24a – top spot today goes to 15d, if a little odd (‘crushed by’?).
    Many thanks to setter and to Kath for some rather tricky hinting. ***/****

  28. Good afternoon everybody.

    Hard work today with a bit of a mental block at nine remaining. Eventually got there. Good puzzle but couldn’t ultimately explain the logic of 12d. Very enjoyable tussle though.


  29. Way out of my depth with this one today, but I did pick 8d and 25a as excellent clues.

    Thanks to Kath for the hints.

  30. Well, i had four unsolved clues at the end, I hang my head in shame that 6d was one of them – oh dear! I got 1a (I put Hull) and 3a on first read and thought it was going to be a walk in the park, not so.
    I didn’t get 15d, I keep forgetting that’s what you call them, and 14a was another one, don’t know why as it’s obvious.
    I loved 25a, but 5d was up there as well – lots of good stuff.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for a brilliant effort, well done you!

  31. I reckon that this puzzle falls into the ‘wrong envelope day’ category, it certainly wasn’t a R&W – that’s for sure. It took me a bit to get into the head of the setter and once there, managed to plod through it. Unfortunately, it didn’t give me any smile moments as a lot of the answers had to be really teased out. No particular favourite today I’m afraid.

    Thanks to the setter for the mental workout and to Kath for her excellent review – well done :)

  32. A brilliant blog Kath. This wasn’t what we had in mind when we cajoled you into the blogging chair. I found this puzzle to be a bit of a stinker which took several visits to crack. The actors (always the cast) from The Royal Academy of Doing Acting took some finding. The American based clues were evasive. The greens too. Thanks to the setter for this beast of a workout. More of the same please.

  33. I’m glad I wasn’t alone in finding this extremely tough and, like Jane, I did raise an eyebrow or two at some of the surfaces.

    It had some good clues however, 10a being my favourite. 25a is an example of my least favourite cryptic device, and it coloured my overall judgement of the puzzle. It’s interesting that some seem to like it though!

    Thanks to today’s compiler and to Kath, whose task today I didn’t envy. I’m now five or six clues away from finishing the daunting MPP, I’m determined to finish it before the weekend.

  34. *****/**. Above my pay grade and consequently little joy for me. Thanks to Kath for explaining my puzzlement and to the setter, you win.

  35. Had a good go at this one but found it very difficult, in fact I gave up and read the blog instead. Thanks Kath for an excellent blog.

  36. I thought this was just brilliant. It was challenging – I had to crack open the crossword dictionary with about a third to go, and then turn to electronic help for the last couple up in the NE, where I did not expect to meet so many words from the US. But the struggle was so, so rewarding. Lots of ticks: 3a (where I smiled at the image of rolling stock), 11a, 18a, 21a, 24a, 25a, 26a, 4d, 8d, 12d, 15d, 17d, and 19d. I put 15d in the runner-up spot, and pick 24a as my favourite of a very strong set of clues. Thanks to the setter and thanks to Kath for a great blog.

  37. Thanks BD for sorting out my mess-up (that’s the polite version) of 1a. I dithered about doing it but decided not to as it would have, to quote you, ‘orphaned’ so many comments and I don’t know how to do what you did.

    1. Hi Kath- thanks very much for your voluntary work, don’t forget mother said there’d be days like this. More power to you. and those of your ilk.

  38. I too found this trickier than your average back page bear. Much to enjoy. The quickie is similarly quirky.

    25a put me in mind of one of Tuesday’s Toughie clues. 24a is my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  39. Did they print the Toughie on the back page by mistake? ;-) To be fair a lot of this felt much like business as usual, but the NE corner was almost impenetrable for far too long. 24ac raised a smile.

  40. Too hard and no fun so I have thrown in the towel however I am reassured that I am not alone in my lack of enthusiasm. 👎👎Sort of thanks to Mysteron and admiring thanks to Kath for coping with a ginormous task on our behalf.

  41. Getting towards the top end of 2* difficulty, and 3.5* enjoyment. I enjoyed 10a. Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Kath for the review.

  42. Unquestionably the toughest backpager for many a year for me. Relieved to see most others found it a stonker ! Has to be Hull for me. About twelve hints needed.

    Tried to stay awake for the election, woke up to gloom and disappointment.

    *****/** from me. Thanks to Kath, white flag to setter.

  43. I thought this one was excellent, just about on a par with a Ray T – and that is praise indeed. It was good challenge, very enjoyable and a few clues that had me head-scratching for quite some time. 3.5*/4*.

  44. For me this was blooming tough a real stinker had me tied down for a while i was out of it flabbergasted

  45. Yes. Very hard. Well done Kath. Took me two days! Thanks to Samuel (?) and Kath. 4*/2*

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