DT 28464 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28464

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28464

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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


Hello, everyone.  Perhaps I’m still a bit down after last week’s discovery that there is apparently nobody aged under 35 solving the back-page crossword, but I didn’t find a lot of sparkle in today’s puzzle.  There are several stretched definitions, more repetition than normal, and the US President makes yet another appearance in a clue.  On the other hand, there’s nothing too difficult here and it’s a puzzle that I would have appreciated back when I was starting to learn about cryptics.  I’m interested to hear how others found it.

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    Shaken after meal -- I had to embrace that woman! (10)
FLOURISHED:  Meal here is referring to grains that have been ground into a powder.  After a word for that substance, place the contraction of “I had” containing (to embrace) a pronoun for “that woman”.  The definition, while legal, feels stretched to me, perhaps to get a word which looks like an anagram indicator.

6a    Pirate caught wife (4)
CRIB:  The cricketing abbreviation for caught followed by a usual Old Testament term for wife.

9a    Fat-free drink here? (5)
LOCAL:  Splitting the answer (2-3) gives an adjective that might be applied to foodstuffs from which the fat has been removed

10a   I see MP has exotic accent (9)
EMPHASISE:  An anagram (exotic) of I SEE MP HAS

12a   Former nobleman -- one with the Queen (7)
EARLIER:  A charade of a nobleman ranked between a viscount and a marquess, the Roman numeral one, and the usual abbreviation for the Queen

13a   Friendly group you and I should enter (5)
SWEET:  A pronoun for “you and I” inserted into (should enter) a group or collection

15a   A European god embraced by American writers (7)
AUTHORS:  The A from the clue followed by a Norse god contained in (embraced by) an abbreviation for American

17a   Descartes perhaps backing principle's revival (7)
RENEWAL:  Descartes was many things, but here he is being an example of (perhaps) people having his first name.  Follow that name with the reversal (backing) of a principle

19a   Craft, if prepared, provides transport illegally (7)
TRAFFIC:  An anagram (prepared) of CRAFT IF

21a   Jerks getting hold of a court's plans (7)
TACTICS:  Involuntary muscle jerks containing (getting hold of) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for court

22a   Painful condition I caught after school, ignoring the odds (5)
COLIC:  The I from the clue and that cricket abbreviation for caught, preceded by (after) the even letters (ignoring the odds) of sChOoL

24a   Amusing to get rid of large boor (7)
PEASANT:  A word meaning amusing or agreeable, minus the clothing size abbreviation for large (to get rid of large).  This felt like another stretched definition, but Chambers does list the answer as an obsolete definition of boor

27a   Reprobate left single beer tin for recycling (9)
LIBERTINE:  Link together L(eft), the Roman numeral for one (single), and an anagram (for recycling) of BEER TIN

28a   Old hat initially tarnished ceremony (5)
TRITE:  The first letter (initially) of Tarnished, followed by a (usually) religious ceremony

29a   Luxury car missing second wheel (4)
ROLL:  The first part of a (5,5) British luxury car, minus the abbreviation for second (missing second)

30a   Entertainers almost cocky in front of previous head of state (10)
PERFORMERS:  Concatenate all but the last letter (almost) of a word meaning cocky or bold, a synonym of previous, and the first letter (head) of State



1d    Female poorly making jam (4)
FILL:  F(emale) followed by a synonym of poorly.

2d    Musicians offering choir a rest if one joins in (9)
ORCHESTRA:  The clue says that CHOIR A REST is an anagram (offering) of the answer plus the Roman numeral for one (if one joins in).  Hence the answer must be an anagram of CHOiR A REST without that Roman numeral

3d    Manager left in regret before start of relegation (5)
RULER:  L(eft) inserted into (in) regret, followed by the first letter (start of) Relegation.  Another less obvious definition

4d    Order agents to infiltrate City? On the contrary (7)
SPECIES:  On the contrary instructs us to invert the wordplay, to become “City infiltrating agents”.  So, we are to put the two-letter postcode for the City of London inside (infiltrating) some agents of, for example, MI6

5d    Rome on the rise -- gripping for a leader such as Nero (7)
EMPEROR:  The reversal (on the rise in a down clue) of ROME containing (gripping) a short word meaning “for a”

7d    Build and demolish, we're told (5)
RAISE:  The answer is a homophone (we’re told) of a word meaning demolish or flatten

8d    Dead tired? (10)
BREATHLESS:  A double definition

11d   Crane is poisoned -- with this? (7)
ARSENIC:  An anagram (poisoned) of CRANE IS

14d   Demanding detail (10)
PARTICULAR:  Another double definition

16d   Policeman runs holding up abandoned diamonds (7)
OFFICER:  The cricket abbreviation for runs preceded by both (holding up in a down clue) a synonym of abandoned and a slang term for diamonds

18d   Wife is lean -- it works to reduce this? (9)
WAISTLINE:  W(ife) followed by an anagram (works) of IS LEAN IT

20d   Trump measure creates upset (7)
CAPSIZE:  A charade of synonyms of trump and of measure

21d   A bit of a brew? One tries to avoid stir (3,4)
TEA LEAF:  The answer is Cockney rhyming slang for a person who steals things, and who presumably wishes to stay out of prison (stir).  Taken literally it’s also an ingredient in a brewed drink

23d   'Some alcohol!' I belligerently slur (5)
LIBEL:  The answer is hidden inside part of (some) the remaining words in the clue

25d   Flower expert removing head (5)
ASTER:  This flowering plant is obtained by removing the first letter (removing head) of an expert

26d   Views looking north and south (4)
SEES:  Looking north and south in a down clue indicates that we’re looking for a palindrome


Thanks to today’s setter.  Research shows that the amusing 21d has appeared several times previously, but today was my first encounter with it.  I’m choosing it as favourite.  Which clue did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  MAN+TAR+RAISE=MANTA RAYS


76 comments on “DT 28464

  1. As Mr Kitty says, too many stretched definitions but nonetheless somehow pretty straightforward….9a is a case in point, but still my favourite

  2. As a beginner I found it rather difficult. There were no “obvious” clues to get me started. I always feel depressed when I struggle with one across.

    1. Welcome from me too, Trevor. I know that 1a feeling, and I thought 1a today was one of the more challenging clues because of the stretched definition of the answer. Most cryptics are going to be difficult for a beginner, but as you attempt more puzzles you will find many of these clue constructions and setters’ tricks becoming more obvious.

    2. I had nothing in until 19ac and only three across clues in after the first read through of across clues. They were my way in today

    3. Don’t be down if 1a stumps you – contrarily I have found that if I immediately solve 1a I quickly come to a halt…. and today’s was a very stretched definition, albeit in Chambers. As Miffypops says, sometimes you can get a long way in before you get a toehold, and sometimes that is all you need to get going.

    4. I always start in the SE corner. Endings of words are perhaps more suggestive of the answer.

  3. Certainly simpler than yesterday’s grind but for me no real brio. Not fully versed in rhyming slang so didn’t parse 21d or 1a – note to self ‘must try harder’. No Fav. Imagine not a lot of under 35s read the DT hence paucity of cruciverbalists among them. Thanks Mysteron and Mr. Kitty.

    1. I think you’re probably right about the age profile of the DT readership. I do hope that somewhere out there is a community of young solvers who will keep cryptics going.

      1. I entertained our 15 year old granddaughter over a breakfast visit recently with an introduction to the DT cryptic, don’t think she was hooked, but you never know. At least she knows what Nanny and Grandad get up to over breakfast 😉

      2. The young band Blaenavon (ages 21) are quite keen cruciverbalists, and often do cryptics between gigs. Its the new rock and roll.

    2. I’m closer to 35 than 61, and I’ve been doing cryptic crosswords since my teens (DT, Times, Grauniad) – never actually read the paper though, just the chess columns and the crosswords… but then I’ve never owned a TV either, so maybe I am an exception to the norm!

  4. I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate the subtlety of 9a. I bunged in the right answer, on the basis that beer is fat-free. In fact, low-fat foods are often highly calorific, since the manufacturers compensate for the reduction in fat by adding sugar.
    Thank you setter and Mr. Kitty.

  5. Well, I found this rather more enjoyable than others have apparently done and the only synonym that troubled me a little was the ‘manager’ in 3d. Perhaps it’s down to cheerfully accepting that type of ‘stretch’ from Mr. T! It will be interesting to see what Brian makes of it!

    Satisfied customer here with 21d taking the honours.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for the review – pleased to see that you managed to get some cats involved!

  6. This took a bit longer to sort out than it should have because the biblical wife eluded me for a bit. My cruciverbalist English friends tell me that they learned the art from parents or older relatives. If this is true then one can only surmise that the older population that reads the DT and is into crosswords is dwindling. Teaching myself to solve cryptic crosswords was far from easy especially as there was no Big Dave then to facilitate the learning process.

  7. Lets just call the clue for 1 across ‘iffy’.I’m pleased that Mr Kitty referred to ‘stretched definitions’-like 16d
    I am going for a **/** as I thought this puzzle was lacking in humour and no D’oh moments for me.
    Best clue 9a didn’t see this until I had written it in ! .
    Liked the quickie pun.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty-loved the pic for 18d-must diet.

  8. A recent survey by theMediaBriefing states that the average age of DT readership (print version) is 61 and only 15% is under 34. Male/female division is 51%/49%. Not sure about digital version.
    Sorry this should have been response to Mr. Kitty’s Comment under 3 above.

  9. First I had a minor panic when it appeared I wasn’t going to start it then I found 22a and things began to move. All in all a pretty dismal puzzle that one finishes despite the setter. Many definitions where stretched to breaking point (1d, 28a, 29a etc), sign of a setter trying too hard to be clever.
    Fair to say not my favourite Tuesday puzzle.
    Thx for the hints to confirm the contorted definitions.

  10. 1.5*/2.5*. I found this straightforward and reasonably enjoyable despite being a bit lacking in sparkle.

    In 2d, why is offering an anagram indicator?

    9a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    1. My question is why is 2d clued like that at all? I rarely criticise a clue because there maybe something I have missed. Mr K had done his best but I am not convinced.

    2. “offering” as an anagram indicator is perhaps another stretch. I read it as shorthand for “offering the set of letters in the answer”

    3. 2d. Offering is being used to mean “providing” as: choir at rest is offering/providing/giving the anagram letters for ORCHESTRA after I (which needs removing to give the answer) has joined in. Which is a slightly expanded version of Mr K’s explanation, but attempting to illustrate that it’s not really a stretched indicator.

  11. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. I agree with Mr Kitty that there were too many stretched definitions. I liked 12a,but 21d was my favourite. I was beaten by 30a, and needed the hints for it. I also missed the Subtlety of 9a. I was twenty when first started doing the cryptics, but sadly 35 is now a distant memory. Let’s hope some of the younger generation take up the baton. They’ll surely get a lot out of it, as I have over the years. Was 3*/2* for me.

    1. My Dad started me off when I was just in my teens. He had to explain all the Britspeak phrases and I still remember most of them, adding more every day, I read the DT online and learn a lot there. I’m in my 80th year now, and I’ve enjoyed them ever since.

  12. Three quibbles :1a since when does shaken mean flourished ?, or friendly mean sweet ? The Irish are considered friendly but we’re not exactly sweet .Taxonomic classification : Phylum, class, order family, genus , species.
    I also didn’t like rib as a synonym for wife , after all there is no evidence that Adam and Eve got married.
    I found the Toughie much easier and more fun.
    I liked 8d and 21d. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty .

    1. Young couples are said to be sweet on each other. It’s only after marriage that the friendliness ends and the big stick gets shaken

        1. Of course not. A simple raised eyebrow is all it takes after all these years.

    2. Hi Una, I though that, but maybe flourish as in ‘flourish a sword’, for example??

    3. Well, take it one step further, and there’s no evidence Adam and Eve even existed!

      1. For the purposes of Cryptic Crosswordland , we suspend all disbelieve , as a great many clues would suddenly become meaningless.

  13. I’m not given to critical analysis this early in the morning. I’m just happy to complete the cryptic and the toughie before my work day begins. My favorite is 8D. thanks to Mr. K and the setter.

    1. Welcome from me too, Dr B.

      Chambers Thesaurus lists shake under flourish and vice versa, which makes equating the two legal in crosswordland, as I said in the hint. However, I visualize flourishing as large elaborate movements, while shaking implies a simple small back-and-forth oscillation (the BRB has flourish = “to brandish in show, triumph or exuberance of spirits”. ) So I viewed the definition as a stretch because they represent quite different motions. Perhaps a simple small flourish is equivalent to a complex large shake :) .

  14. I found this one really hard, needed a lot of help with the clues, whereas yesterday’s I could do almost all of (with a little help from my dad!) I just couldn’t get into this compiler’s mindset. I’m 21 and I do the crossword every day! (For the last little while anyway!) So don’t despair!

    1. Welcome from me too, Jessica, and thank you (and the others posting above) for giving us older solvers hope that there’s a next generation coming through. I hope that you’ll keep commenting and sharing your progress.

  15. Back from my hols 😄 Obviously out of practice as did not get the best clue 6a 😬 also liked 8d. Thanks to Mr Kitty and the compiler. Some welcome rain here in the East ⛈🦆

  16. 2*/2.5* seems about right for this one. I am afraid I have to side with those who found the stretching of synonyms and the rather awkward clueing on occasion that made this rather less enjoyable than usual. That said, if it meant I had to test the grey cells to get on the setter’s wavelength that is probably no bad thing. I did like 9a once I had looked at it long enough, and 21d.

    Many thanks to the Tuesday setter and to Mr K.

  17. I don’t have much to add, perhaps because I’m 8d. I did raise an eyebrow in a couple of places but had no real grumbles. Thanks to Mr Ron and the other Mr.

  18. Yes, I agree “stretched definitions” pretty much sums it up today, with the obsolete 24 being totally out there. Favorite was 9a.

  19. I thought this was fairly comfortable today, although 6a & 8d took me as long as all the rest. 22a & 20d were my favourites.

    Thanks to Mr Kitty. The illustration for 23d made me chuckle.

  20. I thought this was quite pleasant, not, say, in the Sunday league, but good.
    I agree, many very stretched definitions. I couldn’t think why “meal” was in 1a, so thanks to Mr. K for that. The answers weren’t really difficult, the difficulty was trying to figure the “why”.
    My Fave was 21d, but I did have to consult my cockney dictionary to understand it.
    I agree with Jane, so glad you found room for cats, but where on earth did you find 18d, that must have been such a painful dive.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his review.

    1. Glad you liked the cats. I don’t remember where I originally found the 18d illustration. I’ve had it filed away for a while, just waiting for a suitable opportunity to arise.

  21. For once I won’t comment on the actual puzzle, but I just wanted to congratulate Mr Kitty on selecting the cutting for 23d, absolutely hilarious.

    I’m sorry that our blogger is still depressed one week on about the lack of younger solvers, but it surely shouldn’t come as a surprise. Even if the UK national print media wasn’t in decline, and the reverse applied, I still believe that cryptic puzzles would struggle to enthuse the Internet generation for the principal reason that their attention span has been conditioned to demand an instant “fix”, not something that may take a long time to decipher or unravel. I realise that may be considered a sweeping generalisation, but you just have to look at the way the audience for modern films, music, TV and the like expects immediate gratification. Cryptic crosswords are the antithesis of that, I’m afraid.

    1. Thanks silvanus, glad that you enjoyed the picture.

      I’m really heartened by the many responses today either from or describing younger solvers.

  22. I think commenters have been a bit hard on this one. Sometimes definitions reached the limit but not excessively. I did not get 6a because I did not know how ‘Rib’ = wife and I still don’t.
    **/**-*** . 8d was probably the most ‘sick’ in the modern parlance.
    I enjoyed the pictures in the hints and appreciate the effort taken to put these together each day. Thanks to Mr K et al.
    Cloudy in Boston right now – rain later.

    1. RE 8d, I was so fixated on the idea that it was a word for a shroud or something that you might “tire” a corpse in! How macabre.

  23. To reassure you, while I’m 39, my wife and I regularly solve the crossword together, and she is but 33.

  24. For some reason I stumbled my way through the first half of this puzzle before suddenly everything became easier from there on out. One or two interesting clues of which 1a was my personal fave, even though it took me a while to realize the version of ‘meal’ was a little different from usual.
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review..

  25. Take courage about young people, my nephew and godson, 40 ish, is teaching his 11 year-old son, often on a Saturday after music school. Good progress is being made.

  26. We found this one quite challenging for a back-pager and had a discussion as to who might have set it. The best that we could come up with was Dada but we’re not very confident that we have that right. 21d needed all the checkers before we could make sense of it and gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  27. Well, I liked this. Pretty straightforward until I got to the SE corner, which took a little more thought. 30ac last to fall.

  28. 1*/3*, l think, and 21d was my favourite. Thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  29. I didn’t get 24 across even though I just typed that very word to someone in messages! Today’s was an ok crossword but no biggie. Thanks for your help. Ivan. London.

  30. I enjoyed this, though I did need a hint for 6a, the wife bit eluded me.
    Thanks Mr’s K and Ron.

  31. This seemed a bit like RayT with a hangover – all the irritating stretched synonyms with little or any of the sparkle. I agree with all the commenters’ quibbles, although I did like 17d and 9a. 2*/2* Ta to all

  32. I find I am in agreement with the majority of the bloggers and will say no more on the subject. With regard to the age profile of enthusiasts I remember doing the Observer in my late teens. I cannot recall how I started or why I bought the Observer as we had the News of the World at home! I got a prize once and still remember being congratulated by someone who had seen my name in the paper (he looked surprised). Some years later I started doing The Times when away at College and sharing a house with a chap who had a classical (Rugby/Oxford) education. We made a good team. The DT came later and has been intermittent but my favourite despite idiosyncrasies of setters bloggers and solvers, myself included.

  33. Only a day late – hard going and definitely lacking sparkle – Glad not alone in finding this! Did spot the lurker in 23d before husband – so a little satisfaction there!!

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