DT 28461 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28461

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28461

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello from a rather warm Los Alcázares.  Actually I say it’s rather warm, which it is, but the UK seems to have been a degree or two hotter than here for the last few days. The difference is that here we have another twelve weeks of the hot stuff to look forward to.

This puzzle is definitely one from the “new” Giovanni as there are no obscurities and little or no religious references. It’s a pangram but I didn’t notice until I’d completed the puzzle so it didn’t help me in the slightest.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It’s got a few tricky bits but it fell together reasonably well so I’ve gone for two star difficulty. I’m sure some of you will disagree.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Element opposing this person’s carrying on (8)
ANTIMONY:  You need a word meaning opposing (4) followed by aword for “this person’s” as in “of this person” and insert (carrying) ON (from the clue) and you’ll get a metalloid element with the symbol Sb and atomic number 51.

5a           Hit squashes a big stomach (6)
PAUNCH:  Take a hit, by a boxer perhaps, and insert (squashes) the A from the clue.  No references to the shape of today’s blogger please – it’s all paid for!

9a           King getting happiness in telling of story (8)
RELATION:  A single letter for King followed by some happiness.

10a         Attack  one hitting nail on the head? (6)
HAMMER:  Double definition.  Usually with me it’s hitting the thumb rather than the nail, ouch!

12a         Article produced by diocese making one boil (6)
SEETHE:  Start with the diocese and after it (by) put a definite article.

13a         Sets of flags showing birds (8)
BUNTINGS:  Some decorative flags, remember it’s plural, are also some song birds.

15a         Factory discovered by railway (7)
FOUNDRY:  A word for discovered followed by the usual abbreviation of railway gives you a factory where metal castings are produced.

16a         It contributes to nasty eye (4)
STYE:  A lurker lurking (contributes to) in nasty eye.

20a         One of four on board is cheat (4)
ROOK:  There’s four of these in the corners of a chess board and it’s also a word meaning to cheat.

21a         Projecting structures needing black strings? (7)
JETTIES:  These structures project into the sea.  You need a word for black (3) followed by some strings or tethers.

25a         Words at bottom of page giving business information (8)
TURNOVER: If you split the answer (4,4) and put the word please in front of it you would have some words on the bottom of a page. Otherwise it’s some information about the health or size of a business.  Not keen on this clue at all.

26a         Be delayed after setback of one country or another (6)
KUWAIT:  Reverse (after setback) the country where most people on this blog live and follow with what you have to do if you are delayed.  You’ll find you’ve now got a country in the Middle East.

28a         Hesitation about a fellow Nato country, in truth (6)
REALLY:  Take one of the usual hesitations and reverse it (about) and follow with what the NATO countries are to eachother.

29a         PM given brief line in new collection of diaries (8)
DISRAELI:  L (brief Line) inserted (in) into an anagram (new collection) of DIARIES.  Here’s a blast from he past . . .

30a         Like some lines Dorothy sent to Edward (6)
DOTTED:  Nickname for Dorothy followed by (sent to) a nickname for Edward.

31a         Plant explorer found to east of isle (8)
MANDRAKE:  Start with the isle in the Irish Sea and follow (found to east of) with an Elizabethan explorer who was fond of bowling.


1d           What this answer isn’t — a sign of something wrong? (6)
ACROSS:  This is a down clue, need I say more?

2d           Inclined to be formal in speech, no leader (6)
TILTED:  A word for formal in speech without its first letter (no leader).

3d           Strikers may be in this seated enclosure after game (8)
MATCHBOX:  Start with a game, of football perhaps, and after it put a place to watch said game where you would be seated in comfort and even waited on.

4d           Lack of approval for sheltered space (4)
NOOK: Split (2,2) you have a phrase meaning lack of approval.

6d           Changes notices to include a small point (6)
ADAPTS:  Into the usual notices, remember it’s plural, you need to insert (to include) the A from the clue and an abbreviation of point.

7d           Put up brief observation about mother keeping home (8)
NOMINATE:  A brief observation or jotting is placed around (about) two letters for mother which is itself around (keeping) the usual word for at home.  I guess this is a classic example of a Russian Doll clue.

8d           Firm endlessly dealt with idiots — troubles at a personal level? (8)
HARASSES:  A word for firm as in not soft without its last letter (endlessly) is followed by some idiots.

11d         Queen to make a speech, having sufficient number in attendance (7)
QUORATE:  Abbreviation of Queen, not ER or R but the other one, is followed by a word meaning to make a speech.  Fairly topical I suppose.

14d         One expecting a blessing after expulsion? (7)
SNEEZER:  This is the person who has done the sort of expulsion that causes you to say “Bless you”.  I think this saying might come from the time of the Black Death as this sort of expulsion is one of its first symptoms.

17d         Container of a certain colour with big dents (8)
CRATERED:  A container, often made of wood, followed by a primary colour.  Bit like the back of my car until I got it fixed last month.

18d         Cook using unusual root in days gone by (3-5)
POT ROAST:  Take a four letter word for days gone by and insert (using . . . in) an anagram (unusual) of ROOT and split the result (3-5)

19d         Introduction of rule queried, dubiously mandatory (8)
REQUIRED: Anagram (dubiously) of R (introduction of Rule) with QUERIED.

22d         Footballer somewhere in India has story (6)
GOALIE:  The footballer who can handle the ball is a bit of India followed by a false story.

23d         Picture-taker arrived, distinguished academician (6)
CAMERA:  A word for arrived followed by a distinguished academician who is more commonly clued just as “artist”.

24d         Conflict — condition requiring street soldiers around (6)
STRIFE:  Start with the usual condition and around it the street and one of the many two letter soldiers.

27d         A lass left out, upset in foreign capital (4)
RIGA:  A (from the clue) followed by another word for a lass with the L removed (left out) and then the whole lot reversed (upset in a down clue) will give you the capital of Latvia.

Quite a bit of blue but 14d has to be favourite with 16a coming a close second.  Which ones got your blessing?

Quick crossword pun:   PLAQUE    +    EIGHT    =    PLACATE


75 comments on “DT 28461

  1. 3*/4*. I really enjoyed this pangram which I found nicely challenging with a broad spectrum of difficulties ranging from straightforward to quite tough. Persistence paid off in the end.

    The topical 11d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to pommers.

  2. I found this challenging but satisfying once solved.

    Thanks to pommers and Giovanni 3.5*/4*

  3. ***/** from me. Top half splendid, cruised it, then had to go out and was looking forward to the second half over a cup of coffee. But no such luck – a real challenge and not really enjoyable.

    How do people recognise a pangram when they see one? I had to look up the meaning of the word, then of course plough through the completed grid to make sure Pommers and Rabbit Dave were right, which of course they were.

    Summer’s disappeared in the Peak District – that will probably be it for this year.

    1. Talking of short summers and cool/cold weather in the Peak District (where I live, too), how does that quaint little outdoor swimming pool in Hathersage keep going?

      1. It’s great, thanks. Well supported by season ticket holders, guests and local fundraising. A good, cheapish, Pool Cafe. Brings a lot of people to the village.
        Loved the Pangram debate!

    2. It is always worth keeping the possibility of a pangram in mind once letters like q and z turn up, especially when other letters like k and w then arrive

    3. For me, a pangram is something of an enigma, and, hopefully, without sounding too curmudgeonly:

      1. Unless you have already read a blog, like this superior one, before you start the puzzle, you don’t know that it is a pangram when you start out on the solving trail.

      2. Does a setter start out with the intention of ‘this puzzle is going to be a pangram’ or does it ‘just happen’?

      3. The solver is probably so close to completion of the puzzle when the pangram ‘penny drops’ it probably does not matter (although I agree with CS’s comment on ‘letter’ indicators).

      1. Hi, Senf. I think that the data on the number of unique letters used in a puzzle (third chart under the spoiler box in the intro of http://bigdave44.com/2017/04/18/dt-28404/ ) answers your question about whether most pangrams are an accident – they’re not.

        You’ll see that the number of unique letters used in a puzzle is distributed like a bell curve around 21 and 22, with one notable exception: There are many more puzzles using 26 letters (pangrams) than there are using 25 unique letters. I take that occurrence of more pangrams than would be expected by chance to indicate that setters are making an effort to explicitly create pangrams.

        The second chart on that blog, showing that almost every Friday quickie is a pangram and almost every Thursday quickie isn’t, is more evidence that most pangrams are set deliberately.

        1. There’s still a little part of me that would like to believe that setters, like many solvers, start at the top and work down and that, having reached a point where they think ‘ crikey, I’ve used a lot of the high-scoring Scrabble letters’, decide to have a go at making it a pangram.
          OK – I know it’s not true but it’s a nice thought – makes them seem almost human like the rest of us!

          1. That may well happen – there’s no way of knowing from the data if the decision to go for a pangram is made right at the start or part way through. The only thing we know for sure is that we end up with many more pangrams than would be expected by chance.

            Perhaps a setter will post and tell us how they do it?

    4. Wish summer would disappear in South Florida… just got back from Europe where we hoped to enjoy some cooler weather, but they had a heatwave instead…at least it didn’t rain.

    5. Can’t say for sure but I think Crossword Compiler has an automatic grid fill pangram button.

  4. This one took a whole pot of black coffee to sort out. Fun it certainly was and the best of the week by a mile. Firm favourite was 25a with 26a and 17d in close contention. Spooked myself a bit by trying to make ‘barcodes’ fit for 25a and I had to go back to basics as it were. Also, I could not for the life of me find the ‘Z’ – as I suspected a Pangram – and the blog revealed all as I had ‘Kneeler’ in for 14d which I was quite happy about.
    Friday fun from The Don – excellent. ***/****
    Thanks to Pommers for the guidance.

  5. ***/**** – completed at a slow canter with some electronic assistance, very enjoyable.

    Standout favourite – 1d, with 21a not too far behind.

    Thanks to Giovanni and pommers.

  6. 14d my standout favourite in this slightly tougher than usual Giovanni puzzle. Hugely entertaining and beautifully clued as always. As is often the case, I didn’t realise it was a pangram until I’d finished, which doesn’t help much during the solving.

    That aside, this was 3*/4* overall from me, with many thanks to The Don for a fun and diverting tussle, and to pommers for a fine review.

  7. Whizzed through the top half and then crawled slowly through the remainder – a fair old tussle from the ‘new’ Don.
    Don’t recall coming across that ending for 11d before but it was clear from the wordplay.

    Many clues that earned ticks but I’ll give the honours to 21a plus 14d – the last two to fall.

    Thanks to DG and to Pommers for the colourful review – beautiful bird, one that I haven’t been fortunate enough to observe.
    The Cream clip at 29a doesn’t want to play – I’ll ask Mr. Google about it!

  8. This test stretched the loaf rather more than some but I enjoyed tackling it with an easy run in the North. Can’t say I have heard of 17d or the 11d adjective. Not too sure about synonym (?) for ‘be delayed’ in 26a. Particularly liked 3d, 4d and 14d. Thanks Giovanni and pommers.

  9. I didn’t notice the pangram, I was far too busy trying to figure this one out, I found it pretty tricky.

  10. Probably nearer 3* difficulty for me – I found the top half easier than the bottom.
    26a was my last answer – don’t know why.
    It being Friday I spent far too long thinking that 14d might be some obscure religious ‘blessing’. Dim.
    I’ve never heard of the 11d adjective but it had to be what it was.
    Missed the anagram indicator in 19d – missed the pangram too although I had started to think about it earlier on.
    I liked 20 and 31a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was 14d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to pommers.

  11. North section completed quite easily but Mummy duty calls so will have to save joy of South for later! 1d & 3d definite favourites so far…..

    1. Congratulations Kath and new Mum and Dad.

      As Wogan used to say – is it a boy or a child?

      1. It’s both and, by the way, I never heard my favourite ever presenter say that.
        Two of the many things that he used to say that I remember so well are a) in this country you’re never more than six feet away from a rat – that’s unless you work in the BBC in which case it’s more like six inches and b) how he used to refer to his wife as the ‘present’ Lady Wogan – he said it kept her on her toes.
        What a great man – funny, clever and one of life’s genuinely good guys.

    2. I should also have been one by today but you’ve beaten me to it! Many congratulations to all of you.

    3. Thanks to everyone – all very exciting.
      I don’t know any details yet other than that we have a grandson.
      If any more “Lambs” enter the 2d from Tuesday’s Toughie we might have to think about another Collie to keep them all in order.

    4. Congratulations, one of life’s true blessings. Grandkids are the best gift of all.

    5. Kath,
      Delighted that, to quote Margaret Thatcher, “We have become a grandmother”
      Felicitations. 🍾💐

  12. Hi all. I’ve been dragged out to do some work on friend’s apartment but at least I got lunch out of it!

    Looks like I should have gone for three star difficulty judging by the comments so far. Oh well, c’est la vie and all that.

  13. I’m also in the ***/**** club. Some great clues and surface readings. 25a last in, made me laugh and therefore favourite. Not sure why Pommers not keen on it?

  14. I thought this was going to be fairly straightforward until the SW corner took me twice as long as the rest of the puzzle combined.

    Some great clues, I particularly liked 14d and 18d, but I’m with Pommers regarding 25a.

    Thanks to both setter and blogger, congratulations to Kath, and a good weekend to all.

  15. 9a did for me as I had it ending in ‘ING’, made 4d impossible without the hint.

  16. This pangram caused me considerable difficulty. 11d was a new word for me and my knowledge of songbirds was enhanced by 13a. 14d raised a chuckle and was my favourite clue. Thanks to the clever clueing I was able to deduce answers which I was unfamiliar with.

  17. ****/****. Tricky challenge but very enjoyable. I usually spot pangrams but not until I read the blog. Favourite was 11d. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review.

  18. Failed miserably with this…..Black Friday for me ! Didn’t know 1a or 11d and became fixated on 20a being something on the line of “memorandi” ! Do others find that once you’ve got an apparently sensible answer in mind, the brain refuses to acknowledge an alternative ? Or have I got dem…… ? Oh no, refuse to accept that word either ! Enjoyed 13a but aother blank with the Biblical aphrodisiac.
    ***/*** but well-done to all the successful solvers. You have my admiration

    PS Perhaps it’s the humid weather …? ;)

    1. I don’t think you have that d-word.

      My first thought on 25a (words at bottom of page) was footnote and it took a while to ‘delete’ it – checkers are a great help in the ‘deletion process’.

  19. I agree with RD that this one had a nice difficulty gradient, and I enjoyed it.

    11d is beautifully topical but 8d is perennial and so has to be my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to pommers.

    And many congratulations to Kath and her flock. :)

  20. Very enjoyable, though I struggled with 24d, my last one in, and it was incorrect! Pretty dim considering I had all the checking letters.
    I had to check BD’s “mine” for the element. I decided it was a pangram when 11d fell early on, that helped a lot.
    Fave was 26a with 1d coming close
    Thanks to Giovanni and to pommers. Don’t worry, those of you who suffer from the heat, Wimbledon is coming soon, you’ll get all the rain you can handle.

    1. Anyone struggling with heat probably won’t have to wait another ten days for Wimbledon – don’t forget that this weekend is Glastonbury.

  21. Thanks to Giovanni and to Pommers for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Giovanni, quite tricky in places. I had 12 left to solve, and ground to a halt. I eventually managed to finish it on the fifth sitting. Last in was 2d. Favourite was 11d, which was a new word for me. Was 4*/4* for me.

  22. Fail for me – had “kneeler” for 14d & at a stretch can justify it (in my mind at least) esp wrt Giovanni.
    Very good puzzle, enjoyable but annoyed I didn’t see 14d nor then the pangram.
    1d COTD although probably used before.
    Thanks to Giovanni and pommers for needed review.

  23. Being a total numpty, l didn’t realise this was a pangram until l opened the blog. I made it 2*/3.5* or so, with the only query being 11d – a word l guessed at (correctly) but hadn’t come across before. I loved 25a, and enjoyed the reminder in 13a of a fine body of men who used to be called “Radio Operators (Tactical)”. There was always one on the bridge, and one of his responsibilities was flag signalling. Hence they were also known as “bunting tossers” or just “bunts” for short. Thanks to the Don, and to Pommers.

  24. Into *** for difficulty here, mostly as a result of 14d and 25ac that both took an absolute age to get. Guessing it might be a pangram was the breakthrough. Enjoyable as ever from the Don.

  25. This was one of the rare occasions when spotting a potential pangram helped us. We had everything sorted apart from 17d and 25a so we checked the grid and found that we were one particular letter short for a pangram which was enough information to help with 25a and then 17d slotted neatly in. All very satisfying and contributing to the good fun we had from this puzzle.
    Thanks Giovanni and pommers.

  26. Holy smoke, I hope there are not any more ** puzzles like that for a while!!
    That was the toughest for ages and well beyond me.
    Thanks Pommers for the hints and Giovanni for the head scratching.

  27. What a smashing puzzle! Unlike Pommers I found it pretty tough going but very satisfying to complete. 21a was my favourite and 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Pommers for the review.

  28. Half went in and half was a struggle. Would have given up without Pommers hints, thank you. Never heard of 11d. Even when I need help, these puzzles are always an important part of my day, even if they do take up too much of my time ( ask my husband 😊)…

  29. I do enjoy this new ‘Don’ on a Friday – but I think that this has been one of his more difficult puzzles for some time. The top half went in quite quickly apart from 4d as I had initially thought that 9a ended in ‘ing’ D’oh! Lots to smile at and I think I’ll opt for 1d as my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Manley for an enjoyable puzzle and to pommers for his excellent review. I only have one question – and I might still instigate legal action – how did you manage to find the picture of my ‘corporation’ for 5a? :cool:

    Have a good weekend all – come on you Lions – Grrroowl.

    1. As an aside – has anyone heard from Bifeld recently? I know that he had some health concerns when we spoke at the last Birthday Bash and I think he commented round about April time. It would be good to hear from him :)

  30. Yes, this may be the new Don, but I found it enjoyably hard. My LOI was 24d, which I bunged in on the definition, didn’t get the wordplay at all. I’m afraid that when I looked to Pommers’s hint, I was – and still am – none the wiser. Ho hum. Thanks to P & G for their efforts – and many congrats to all new parents/grandparents. 2*/3*

    1. I too was a bit baffled but I eventually justified the solution by ‘street (abbrev.) then Royal Engineers (abbrev.) around if’?

  31. Got theret in the end. Good job it was a pangram because I couldn’t see 14d but since it was the last one for me to put in and there was only one unused letter left, that was enough for the penny to finally drop. Finished it this morning. SW corner proved tricky for me. ***/****. I liked 3d, 26a and 22d with 22d being my favourite.

  32. South a stinker but got there in the end thanks to BD – thank goodness for my husband and my stubborn streaks!

  33. Needed the help of BD for the bottom half, but really enjoyed the clues, even the ones I struggled with. :)

  34. I do so love trying to do the DT cryptic crossword – the only one for me. Thanks for the clues and the answers. I am learning all the time. Daily Telegraph that gets here, is printed in Spain now…before it was often impossible to get it at all. Thanks to all. Sue

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