DT 28458 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28458

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28458

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hello everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday blog.  I enjoyed this puzzle.  Initially it made me worried because no answers leapt out at me in the first few rows, but that concern was soon relieved by the healthy dose of anagrams encountered in the middle sector, and then it was banished by meeting several usual suspects in the nether regions.  There’s something of a right vs wrong theme going on in the NE, and there’s also reading material scattered throughout the puzzle.  Two plants as well.  One of our regular setters has been known to use themes in his back-page puzzles.  I wonder if this is one of his?

The setter’s use of publications whose heyday was long ago got me thinking about the demographics of cruciverbalists, and whether setters are creating puzzles thinking that they have an older audience.  Many of our hinters and regular commenters have said that they started solving some time ago at a rather young age.  I’m hoping that’s still happening, so if you’re a youngish solver reading this, please post a comment to tell us how and when you got started solving cryptics (and also what you made of 1a and 11d).  Commenting is easy – just write it in the box at the bottom of the blog, put a pseudonym and an email address in the relevant boxes, and press submit.

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    Magazine features extraordinary pair's wedding (5,5)
PARIS MATCH:  An anagram (extraordinary) of PAIR’S followed by a synonym of wedding or pairing.

6a    Telephone put back (4)
DIAL:  The reversal (back) of a word meaning put or placed.

9a    Food flavouring for fans, fishy (7)
SAFFRON:  Ignore the admirable alliteration.  What you’re seeking here is actually an anagram (fishy) of FOR FANS.

10a   This may reduce sound of organ stop (7)
EARPLUG:  Chain together the listening organ and a synonym of stop (a leak, perhaps).

12a   Turning one's back on crime -- working, even (5,8)
GOING STRAIGHT:  A charade of synonyms of working or operating, and of even or flat.

14a   Arranged to repeat work by Offenbach, perhaps (8)
OPERETTA:  An anagram (arranged) of TO REPEAT.

15a   Criminal blamed for pandemonium (6)
BEDLAM:  An anagram (criminal) of BLAMED.

17a   Shock fine just? (6)
FRIGHT:  The single letter indicating fine on a pencil, followed by just or fair or appropriate.

19a   Snark and its peculiar language (8)
SANSKRIT:  An anagram (peculiar) of SNARK ITS.

21a   Getting agreement (13)
UNDERSTANDING:  A double definition.  One which will make sense once you get it.

24a   Melting ice does in parts around cathedral (7)
DIOCESE:  An anagram (melting) of ICE DOES.

25a   Rest unhappy following cock-and-bull story (3,4)
LIE DOWN:  A (3) word for “cock-and-bull story”, followed by a synonym of unhappy.

26a   Splash of colour in heart of cedar wood (4)
DASH:  Link together the middle letter (in heart) of ceDar and a type of wood used to make axe handles and the like.  Chambers also lists just “splash” as a definition of the answer.

27a   Covert charge in bargain basement's ending with husband on duty (7,3)
STEALTH TAX:  It’s time to concatenate .  Assemble a shopping bargain, the last letter (‘s ending) of basemenT, H(usband), and a duty or levy.



1d    Stake large sum of money, holding Spades (4)
POST:  A large sum of money, possibly found in the centre of a card table, containing (holding) the playing card abbreviation for spades.

2d    United following umpire -- gosh, he's fleeing (7)
REFUGEE:   An informal (3) term for an umpire, followed by U(nited) and an interjection quite similar to gosh.

3d    A restaurant may make this accusation after function (7,6)
SERVICE CHARGE:  Join a function or ceremony to an accusation levelled in a court of law.

4d    Deny oneself information offered up during decline (8)
ABNEGATE:  The reversal (offered up in a down clue) of a short informal word for information, placed inside (during) a synonym of decline or subside.

5d    Talk about energy fraud (5)
CHEAT:  A informal talk containing (about) the physics abbreviation for energy.

7d    Against the rules, off-colour English girl used (7)
ILLEGAL:  Link together another word for off-colour, E(nglish), and an informal term for girl.

8d    Authorised to run away with current partner (10)
LEGITIMATE:  Assemble a (3,2) phrase meaning “to run away”, the physics abbreviation for electric current, and a partner or friend.

11d   Family magazine disagreed, for a change, with others around (7,6)
READER’S DIGEST:  An anagram (for a change) of DISAGREED contained in (with… around) a synonym of others.  The magazine’s internet address( http://www.rd.com/) really should belong to Rabbit Dave.

13d   Bewildered prisoner set up (10)
CONFOUNDED:  One of crosswordland’s usual prisioners followed by a word meaning set up or established.

16d   Periodical trouble working over in plant (8)
MAGNOLIA:  Start by joining a synonym of trouble and a usual word for working.  Reverse that combination (over) and put it after an informal contraction of a type of periodical.

18d   Fashionable small cross -- upset it's under cover? (7)
INDOORS:   Start by joining the clothing abbreviation for small and a type of religious cross.  Reverse that combination (upset in a down clue) and put it after a usual word for fashionable.

20d   I'm toxic to livestock, and grow wild in desert (7)
RAGWORT:  An anagram (wild) of GROW placed inside (in) a verb synonym of desert or, as Chambers puts it, “change sides for unworthy motives”. In the US, this plant is also known as Stinking Willie.

22d   Inside centre, a trained nurse (5)
TREAT:  And here is this week’s lurker.  The answer is hidden inside the remaining words in the clue.

23d   Soundly criticises Scottish reformer (4)
KNOX:  Spoken aloud (soundly), this Scottish reformer sounds like a word meaning criticises.  The name was familiar because for several years I passed this church on the way to school.


Thanks to today’s mystery setter for a very fun solve.  I ticked several clues during the solving and the hinting, but today I’m going with the quickie pun as my favourite.  Which clues did you like best?

P.S. If you’ve made it this far, you may be ready for another crossword.  I’m told that today’s Toughie is special:  it’s one more delight from the collection that Petitjean left behind, scheduled to coincide with a memorial event for him.  I hear that it is fairly gentle and lots of fun.  So, if that appeals, don your mad hat and head on over to the other side where, after 2pm, you’ll find Kitty lurking with hints and entertainment.


The Quick Crossword pun:  WRING+OWES+TAR=RINGO STARR



72 comments on “DT 28458

  1. 1*/4*. I found this very straightforward but a lot of fun. Now for the Petitjean Toughie.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    1. RD. I’m surprised you didn’t comment on 2d – gosh = gee seems like an “unindicated Americanism” to me (not that I’m bothered about such things). Are you mellowing? :-)

      1. I wondered about just that when writing the hints because it is certainly a common expression in the US. So I checked in Chambers. It doesn’t label it as an Americanism, so I assumed it’s also used widely in the UK.

        1. There are a few meanings of gee used in the UK, such as to “gee up” a horse or worker. But it’s use to emphasise a reaction or remark, such as “Gee, it’s hot” (from Collins Online) is listed as US, informal (in CO). That was the basis of my comment – maybe it’s one of those subjective issues?

        2. Mr K. Just as a footnote and incidental information to this thread, my (20 year old) BRB at home gives 6 separate listings for gee – 1 is listed as NA slang and another as a NA interjection, which is synonymous with the UK “gosh”.

          1. Hi, Jose. I am American and I too thought gee was an American equivalent of gosh, but the latest BRB has no qualification on gee = an interjection “expressing surprise, sarcasm, enthusiasm, etc.” So I assumed when writing the hints that it had been absorbed into British English. The same BRB does list gee= “To go, suit, get on well” as US dialect or slang.

            1. Thanks for that. Although I bought my BRB in 1997 it is actually a revised issue of the edition first published in 1994, so it’s generally 23 years out of date. I think I’ll treat myself to a new one…

  2. I’m not sure that youngish solvers will need instructions on how to post, Mr K!

    More ish than young these days, but anyway, about those publications. I had no probs with 11d – it’s something of an institution here – but I’d never heard of 1a, which was my last in. At least it was gettable from the wordplay.

    I didn’t know about the alternative name of 20d. That doesn’t sound very nice.

    Things I liked were many and included the alliteration in 9d and 12a. Loved the quickie pun too!

    Thanks to setter and blogger, and I’ll see one of you tomorrow. :yahoo:

  3. I’m with Rabbit Dave on this one, all fairly straightforward with no need for outside help. Quite a high anagram count, but COTD was 27a.

    Many thanks to Mr Kitty and the compiler.

  4. Completed at a fast gallop (just) – */***. I was beginning to think pangram, but a check at the end showed three letters ‘missing’ – J, Y, and Z.

    4d is a new word for me (I think) which after solving needed a BRB check.

    Three candidates for favourite – 10a, 21a, and 8d – and the winner is 8d, even if it is an oldie but goodie.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. . . . and Q? Well, I haven’t got one anyway – at least I don’t think I have.

  5. even if you’ve never sold a Petitjean Toughie, you’ll definitely have solved some of his back page puzzles.

    As part of today’s memorial event, there are three Just Giving fundraising pages, one for each of the charities

    The links are as follows

    Pilgrims Hospice:


    Cancer Research:

  6. Mr Kitty’s comments re the crossword demographic echoes my sentiments. Although not in the 1st flush etc myself, I often feel that the setters are somewhat mature in years and when they do attempt a modern synonym, it’s often not quite right.
    I too found this a bit slow to start but then it all got going and apart from 4d which I had to look up, all was quite straightforward. Not sure I am wholly comfortable with Gee for Gosh in 2d and I had to look up Offenbach. Still I have learnt that a rood is a cross.
    Thx to all.

  7. Made a note that this puzzle was a */*** on completion.
    Straight forward cluing and enjoyable.
    Liked 1a.
    Thanks Mr Kitty-not seen Donovan for a while.
    Loved the quickie pun!

  8. An enjoyable stroll – just right for another hot day by the seaside.
    I’ll give my vote to 21a although 5d earned a wry smile!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K – happy landings!

  9. Thankfully managed this with ‘no sweat’ before mad dogs’ and Englishmen’s time – my thermometer currently reading 84 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade (can’t cope with Centigrade!). Joint besties are 10a (probably an oldie) and 8d. North preceded South to the finish. I too liked the Quickie pun. TVM Mysteron and MisterKitty. When considering age of DT cruciverbalists it could be relevant to also relate that to the demographics of the setters and indeed the newspaper’s readership as a whole.

    1. Someone told me to translate C to F, all you have to do is double it and add 30, for F to C, just reverse it. Not totally accurate but close enough!

  10. Like most others found this straightforward but enjoyable. Ideal for another sticky day here.
    For its brevity 13d my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K.
    I remember when every visit to the doctor or dentist was an “opprortunity” to see how many out of 20 you got in the “improve your word power” in 11d. Also the invitations every year to win a fortune if you subscribed. They seem to have goven up on me, thankfully.

  11. Have to go with the resident Eminence Grise of this bog aka Rabbit Dave on this one.and yes Mr.K the friendly anagrams helped me too.

  12. Having got a bit frustrated with a so-called gentle Sudoku (my little warm up), I hopped straight over to the Toughie before going to main puzzle.
    Most of this completed, (don’t normally do the Toughie), I went to the back page in a v good mood.

    Re younger solvers, answers like 6a are already redundant and at least half the answers quite old fashioned………why not have someone under the age of 30 setting a puzzle once a week and see how the rest of us like it! 😜

    ………maybe this already happens?…..
    ……….then again…..No.

    1. Hi Bluebird,
      There are certainly a few setters about in other places who would almost qualify for the age range you mention. Sadly, a lot of them tend to rely on slang and lavatorial humour which gets my back up a bit. I guess the same is true of many of today’s so-called comedians?
      Oh dear – age is really showing…………

    2. I generally manage to mess up the mini sodoffku on the Toughie page. It didn’t take me long to put the number 6 twice in he same square today.

    3. While not exactly old myself, the thought of a millennial setting a back pager fills me with dread.
      Although they would probably create an app which fills in all the answers as well!

      I find much pleasure in discovering old (but new to me) terms and their entomology.

      I’ve learned far more about churches, military ranks, and religion here than I ever did in school!

  13. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. A very enjoyable puzzle, mostly straightforward, but there was a few to make you think. I would think that I’m one of the more senior solvers, but I’d never heard of 1a,but was able to solve it from the wordplay. However, my parents used to get 11d’s publication on a regular basis. Last in and favourite was 2d. Was 2*/4* for me. Not quite as hot as yesterday in central London.

  14. So nice to have time to do the cryptic and comment early. Typically I go for the toughie first and sometimes that takes a of of time, but not today. I did enjoy this one and being an older solver I was familiar with 1A. I started solving the DT puzzles when I was 17, with a long dry spell between moving to the USA and the newspaper going on line. I find that being both older and and expat does make some of the newer British slang difficult so I think that there are some drawbacks for we more mature folks as well. Thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for a very entertaining blog.

    1. The DT cryptic was, and still is, reprinted in the Jamaican Gleaner. When I moved to the US and I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have access to it any more, my Mum used to cut them out daily and post them to me!

  15. I believe !a is still going – with a similar content to yesteryear, albeit dressed up in more modern language (“Le Royal Blog”). But where was the National Geographic today?
    I can but echo Jane’s words – an enjoyable stroll for another warm seaside day. I’ve pulled down the blinds and shall try to stay awake for the Toughie. Thank you Mr K and setter.

  16. I thought this was a first rate puzzle, with entertaining and well-constructed clues and very smooth surfaces. Congratulations and thanks to the setter. I selected three clues for special mention, 12a, 2d and 20d.

    Thanks also to Mr K. Although he and Kitty are two notable exceptions, the vast majority of setters, solvers and bloggers are either of pensionable age or close to it, and although I would desperately like to think that there will be a new generation coming through, I don’t think that there will sadly. Those of us in our fifties and above were brought up on clever wordplay on radio and television, and these days that has become unfashionable and is pretty much non-existent, save for something like I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. In addition, the younger generation has a vast array of alternatives to cryptic crosswords for entertainment, and I fear that most do not have the attention span or inclination to want to sit down and use their brains in the same way as we do.

    On that depressing note, I’ll now cheer myself up with the Petitjean Toughie…

  17. Agree with Rabbit Dave. */**** Completed at a gallop but some nice clues. 27a was my favourite.

  18. Agree with Beaver on the rating of */*** so a read-and-write but no less enjoyable for that. I also agree with Magichatuk about the likely result of Millennial setters. This crossword may prove to be the last bastion of traditional english and english tradition.
    ‘As is’ is just fine. Just off to smell the roses with my hands held behind my back.
    Thanks for a good puzzle and to Mr K for entertaining images and blog.

  19. I’m 43 and have been cryptic cross wording for about 20 years so I’m guessing I qualify as youngish . . . . I was taught by a friend’s mother who helped me navigate lots of the archaic references you take for granted after a while (rood = cross, for example 18d). I was familiar with both magazines (1a and 11d) but I have worked in publishing for many years and spend quite a bit of time in France. I know my plants too (16 and 20d) but my knowledge of Scottish reformers is pretty scant (23d) . . . but then that’s the beauty of cryptic crosswords – you can still work the answer out without knowing all the facts. I feel that my vocabulary improves every time I finish a puzzle.

    Anyway, it isn’t the cultural references that make me wonder if I’m the only ‘young’ person who loves the Daily Telegraph crossword, it’s the adverts for Stanna stair lifts and beginner bridge weekends that take up the scribble space!

    I’m a regular visitor to the site and have learnt so much from the hints. Thanks and keep it up!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Whippersnapper. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

    2. Welcome from me too, Whippersnapper, and thanks for sharing your story. I completely agree about the joys of learning new words through solving cryptics.

    3. I fear you may be in a demographic minority, Whippersnapper (may we call you WS for short?).

      You’ve set me looking at the commercial slots in the paper and, apart from many, many, many ads for cruises to cold-ish parts of the world, with Culture added, (65+yrs), the rest seem to be for under 25 maths and science teachers, who live in inner cities, drink wine and want a Vauxhall Corsa ( and therefore need insurance for under £1000).

      So, a U-shaped curve maybe?

    4. Hi Ws- a good game to play is any halfwit company that intrudes on the scribble space is to order their catalogue.
      This also keeps your postman in work.
      If you need any catalogues for ladies shoes, let me know before they help my compost heap.

      1. Re feeding the compost, Is that the catalogues or the ladies’ shoes?

        If the latter, and they work, let me know. I have hundreds.

        1. Sadly it’s the former, I do however have a large selection of Parker pens and more recently “quality pens”, as advertised by a very wealthy northern con man. It’s really satisfying when anagrams of Elvis Presley ,Shergar, Dali lama Ronnie Biggs, Lord Lucan and at least a dozen others, get you a pen that has about one weeks worth of ink in it and the replacement refill is about £3.50

  20. Hi,

    With reference to the image of my crossword used by you under 19 across, may I point out that my crossword is in Hindi and not Sanskrit. 😀

    The said crossword was set by Shuchismita Upadhyaya and me and was published on her blog CrosswordUnclued

    1. Welcome to the blog

      I wonder if that was an instance of Google thinking that something in one language was actually something else.

      1. It was indeed. It come up in a google image search for “Sanskrit crossword”.

    2. Sorry about that, Kishore, and thanks for the correction and the attribution. Thanks also for mentioning http://www.crosswordunclued.com/ , which looks like a very useful site.

      A warm welcome to the blog. I’m afraid that I know almost nothing about Hindi, but I’m intrigued by the challenges of setting crosswords in it. Is word play similar to English, with, for example, analogous devices for indicating single letters?

      1. Isn’t that one of the wonders of this site – post a copy of a crossword in a foreign language and – hey presto – its compiler comes online!
        No wonder BD’s blog gets so many ‘hits’ every day.

  21. I didn’t find this as easy as the rest of you seem to have done – I was half wondering if we had two of PJ’s today because of the memorial event.
    I was terribly slow to get anywhere near being on the right wave-length but thought it was a really good crossword.
    I liked 1 and 12a and 8 and 20d. My favourite was 27a.
    Thanks to whoever and to Mr K.

  22. I loved this, I wonder who the setter is? I hope he/she comes online and takes ownership.
    The only thing I was not familiar with was 27a, however, very easy to work out, especially as I knew the Scottish reformer, what else could the second word be?
    I find it difficult enough to keep up with Britspeak as it is, heaven help if we go to young setters with their techie speak as well.
    Thanks to setter, please visit again, and to Mr. Kitty for his informative blog.

  23. Another pleasant and gentle puzzle. Last one in was 18d. Favourite 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  24. No probs with this one. Pleasant enough for a hot day; I’m not sure I could have dealt with anything too hard! 11d possibly my fave. 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

  25. */****. Very enjoyable if over far too quickly. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  26. 1.5*/4* Enjoyable, fun and not terribly difficult. I’m sure we will have a much tougher challenge over the next couple of days.

    Many thanks to all concerned.

  27. Happily completed in the sunshine, no doubt things will get more difficult when the clouds and rain come back. Many thanks to the setter, a thoroughly enjoyable solve. :)

  28. An enjoyable and pretty gentle offering, a definite * for difficulty. Last in 23d who, to my shame, I’d never heard of.

  29. Like Mr Kitty, I found this slow to get going and then everything began to fall in place. 4d was last in as I rarely use or run across that word. Plus somewhat out of practice as we just got back from Rhine vacation. I did pack and use one of my DT cryptic puzzle books however. Now I really must get on with all the laundry, another reason to try to pack lighter next time…

  30. Very enjoyable, just needed a hint for 19a as I had never heard of the answer.
    I remember 1a, is it still going?
    Thanks all

  31. Took me a while to get going but then raced across the line as I got the hang of the setter’s style. If I’m not mistaken, we had 8d with very similar clueing not that long ago. I liked it then and I like it now. Raised an eyebrow at the number of people who had never heard of 1a; we used to get it at school and it’s still going strong. Thanks to Mr K and our setter. 2*/4*

  32. At 36, hope I still qualify for the ‘young’ stakes – took up cryptic crosswords about 4 years ago – influence of my now husband! I did grow up with my Dad doing them but never succeeded in getting anywhere with them! Can now manage the odd ones pretty much alone – no mean feat for a dyslexic.
    Even I’ve heard and Read 11d – brings back fond memories…..

    1. Welcome to the blog, Cryptic Mummy. 36 is a mere child! Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll comment on a regular basis.

    2. How kind! I hope to comment more – just have to do them closer to publication date!!

      1. Welcome from me too, Cryptic Mummy. Thanks for sharing your story and I also hope that you’ll keep commenting. Given the responses above 36 certainly counts as young. Kitty is the only solver I know who is (slightly) younger than that.

  33. Started solving in the school library at 17 – in 1956 !! This one was a very pleasant Sunday midday’s mind workout !! :)

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