DT 28470 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28470

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28470

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Welcome to another Tuesday blog, and to those across the Pond, Happy Independence Day.  Yesterday Rufus offered us a semi-all-in-one clue.  Today’s setter has gone four better than that by including two complete all-in-ones.  There is nothing too antiquated or particularly obscure (ignore the misdirection in 5a - you won’t be needing a list of T S Eliot’s plays today) and the difficulty is about average for recent Tuesdays.  I enjoyed it a lot.

I have a question for the commentariat.  A couple of weeks ago I used a picture of what turned out to be a Hindi crossword to illustrate SANSKRIT.  That has got me wondering about the challenges of setting cryptic crosswords in languages other than English.  Can anyone enlighten us about such cryptics?  For example, are there constructions that work in English that don’t work in other languages, or constructions possible in a different language that wouldn’t work in English?

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    Remarkable cue (6)
SIGNAL:  Double definition.  The first one might prefix “accomplishment”

5a    Weapon bringing about Becket's end in play of T.S. Eliot? (8)
STILETTO:  The last letter (‘s end) of BeckeT inserted into (in) an anagram (play of) of T S ELIOT

10a   A socially prominent person, moreover (2,4)
AS WELL:  Split (1,5) the answer is an old slang expression for a socially prominent person

11a   Amuse daughter with one's leaflet (8)
DISTRACT:  Chain together the abbreviation for daughter, the first Roman numeral with the ‘S from the clue, and a leaflet that’s often political or religious

12a   How to get pear juice in a meeting arranged for journalists? (5,10)
PRESS CONFERENCE:  The (10) is a variety of pear, and the (5) is how one might extract its juice

16a   Phone system company installed during elected period (8)
INTERCOM:  A (2) synonym for during elected, followed by the usual abbreviation for company inserted into (installed during) the period for which an MP is elected.  Thanks to Gazza for the correction.

18a   Politically extreme? No Conservative spoke (6)
RADIAL:  This word describing a spoke in a wheel is found by deleting (no) the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative from an adjective meaning politically extreme

20a   Unusual scene involving a meeting with spirit? (6)
SEANCE:  An anagram (unusual) of SCENE containing (involving) A from the clue

21a   Instrument that's blown with lips to make glasses (4-4)
HORN-RIMS:  An instrument that’s blown, followed by a synonym of lips (on canyons, for example)

22a   Rocket heading for asteroid in what could be scariest flight (6,9)
SPIRAL STAIRCASE:  A synonym of rocket (… out of control, maybe), followed by the first letter (heading for) of Asteroid inside (in) an anagram (what could be) of SCARIEST.  This fine example is found in the Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe:

27a   Perturbed, third of class confined to school over it (8)
AGITATED:  The third letter of clAss, followed by an adjective meaning “confined to school” containing (over) IT from the clue

28a   Very famous fraud infiltrating cricket team caught? (6)
ICONIC:  A fraud or swindle placed between (infiltrating) two letters that look like the number of players in a cricket team, followed by the cricket scoreboard abbreviation for caught

29a   One called after another select Oriental drink (8)
NAMESAKE:  A verb synonym of select or choose, followed by a well-known Japanese alcoholic drink

30a   Water heater man heard (6)
GEYSER:  In British English, this source of subterranean hot water is a homophone (heard) of a slang term for man.  In New Zealand English or American English, it’s not.  The UK and US/NZ pronunciations are contrasted here.  This photogenic and accidentally man-made 30a is found in Nevada:



2d    Cover home? Sure can, if worried (9)
INSURANCE:  The usual synonym of home, followed by an anagram (if worried) of SURE CAN

3d    A white wine that may be seen in Trier (11)
NIERSTEINER:  An anagram (that may be) of SEEN IN TRIER.  This wine comes from vineyards on the banks of the Rhine

4d    Ring up about island flower (5)
LILAC:  The reversal (up in a down clue) of another word for ring (on the phone) containing (about) the map abbreviation for island

6d    One apprehended by the force? (5)
THIEF:  The Roman numeral for one inserted into (apprehended by) THE, followed by the physics symbol for force.  A clever all-in-one clue, where the entire clue serves as both definition and word play.

7d    Following behind king (5)
LATER:  Behind schedule, followed by the Latin abbreviation for king

8d    Order to work out (5)
TRAIN:  Another double definition 

9d    Porridge or nothing at breakfast? (7)
OATMEAL:  Concatenate the letter than looks like zero, AT from the clue, and what breakfast is an example of (?)

13d   New York representative with the novel Lolita, perhaps (7)
NYMPHET:  Link together the abbreviation for New York, an elected representative, and an anagram (novel) of THE

14d   Blunder in fear, losing head (5)
ERROR:  A noun synonym of fear, minus its first letter (losing head)

15d   Unlisted? Former partner and board member, number unknown? (2-9)
EX-DIRECTORY:  Assemble the usual short word for former partner, a company board member, and a variable used in mathematics to represent an unknown number

17d   Indian on lake producing fish basket (5)
CREEL:  A member of one Native American tribe followed by the map abbreviation for lake

19d   Ceasefire in Crimea? It's fragile (9)
ARMISTICE:  An anagram (fragile) of CRIMEA IT’S

20d   Spot inhabited by American bear (7)
SUSTAIN:  An unwanted spot on clothing containing (inhabited by) an abbreviation for American

23d   Turn of phrase used in papers I’m carrying round (5)
IDIOM:  Identity papers, followed by I’M containing (carrying) the letter having a roundish shape

24d   Collect lot once first of auctions is over (5)
AMASS:  A synonym of lot, preceded by (is over in a down clue) the initial letter of (first of) Auctions

25d   Grass snake uncoiled (5)
SNEAK:  An anagram (uncoiled) of SNAKE

26d   Initially, it covered invitingly naughty gateau? (5)
ICING:  Take the initial letters (initially) of the remaining words in the clue.  Another nice all-in-one clue.


Thanks to today’s setter for a most enjoyable solve.  I liked the misdirection in 5a, admired the all-in-ones 6d and 26d, and smiled at 13d.  My top spot today goes to 23d because there our setter has found a neat and original way to clue a frequently-used answer.  Which clues did you like best?




81 comments on “DT 28470

  1. I had never heard of the wine in question in 3d and got somewhat ‘animated’ about 27a. Thank you Kitty for pointing out the interpretation. Otherwise ‘after’ finally getting 7d once the penny dropped on 5a all was straightforward and I could get to weeding the front garden. Thank you Rufus for another entertaining puzzle.

    1. Hi Unicorn. Rufus set yesterday’s puzzle, but we don’t know the identity of today’s setter (unless they pop in later). Kitty is blogging the Toughie today. I overlooked that other possibility for 27a, so thanks for pointing that out. It doesn’t fit the word play though, so there’s no real ambiguity there.

    2. In the days when affordable white (and some red) wines were grim and Spanish, we served the 3d wine at our wedding.

      We don’t seem to drink much German wine these days…….luckily, there are much better Spanish whites to choose from now. I’m very fond of a nice Albariño. One from Aldi is particularly good for well under a tenner.

      1. I get my plonk from Chateau Trader Joe, same company as Aldi, and I pay $2.99 a bottle!

    3. I knew the wine, though I didn’t solve the clue. Wasn’t this stuff the hock that was hauled over the coals as it was laced with anti-freeze??

    4. We hadn’t heard of it either, and coincidentally visited a winery during a Rhine trip last month. But it was actually on the Moselle and we were given tastings of various Reislings so that may explain our ignorance.

  2. After yesterday’s hold up with Ararat, this felt like it came together pretty quickly. Very enjoyable, I thought, with almost too many good clues to list. Mr K, your question about foreign languages is – as some say here – ‘above my pay grade’. Nice to see some dogs though!

  3. Thanks to the setter for a pleasant puzzle and to Mr Kitty for his customary excellent blog. My favourite was 6d.
    For 16a I think that elected = IN and period = TERM.

    1. Thanks, MalcolmR, that’s an interesting read.

      The statement about there being only English cryptics was probably true back in 2005, but that recent Hindi puzzle I stumbled upon is actually a cryptic. That’s what got me wondering if there are others and how they can possibly work.

      Digging a little deeper I found this describing the challenge of creating a cryptic in Hindi, and this about the Hindi cryptic puzzle in that blog illustration. It looks like a 1a accomplishment :)

    2. I’d love it if the writer of that piece encountered Jean-Luc over a Toughie. He’d get more than he bargained for!

  4. A very enjoyable crossword.
    I read the 6d clue slightly differently : insert the letter i between” the ” and “force ” .A near lurker.
    I also really liked 12a and 18a and 9d.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and the setter.

          1. If you were to watch QI, and to believe Stephen Fry, there are more words that disprove the rule than prove it.
            It is no longer taught in schools.

              1. I accept the rule is not scientific and depends a bit on the pronunciation but it does help as a guideline. What makes you think I don’t watch QI? It’s the exception that proves the rule. I do however have to say I certainly wouldn’t fiendishly believe all that Stephen Fry said and do regard Sandi Toksvig as an able successor.

  5. Going to start off with a **/***, no one so far has given a rating for some reason, Agree with Gazza on a ‘pleasant ‘puzzle.
    With regard to 6d,I just thought that it was simply a cryptic definition of someone the police would be expected to apprehend..
    Read one across as ‘clue’ which did not help.
    Thought spiral for rocket was a bit weak to say the least. Watched top gun last night great flying sequences!
    12A amused and liked the surfaces of 9and 16A.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty for the 20A pic-brilliant.
    Must award ***** for the quickie pun.

  6. A fair crossword in my humble opinion, fav clue 12a, some took me a while but the one I don’t like/see is the double def in 8d? Train = order? 3 star difficulty for me as I needed help with 6 clues but did manage to finish without the blog, thanks Mr Kitty for explaining 23d, I had the answer but stupidly couldnt work it out!!!

  7. Would not have got the wine without checking letters though I could see it was an anagram. An easy solve otherwise. Did like both 12a and 22a but 21a was my favourite today. Thanks you Mr.K for that uplifting picture of canine harmony.

  8. Terrific stuff, full marks and thanks to the setter for an excellent puzzle. Thanks also to Mr K for some great illustrations!

    Much as I liked the reference to “Murder in the Cathedral” in 5a, my top three clues were 12a, 21a and 6d.

    For those of us of a cryptic persuasion, the 4th of July is not Independence Day, it’s actually just “y” ;-)

  9. Afternoon to you all from a VERY windy Mar Menor. Had to do the crossword online as the wind is REALLY blowing here on the balcony – about a force 7/8 I reckon – blew my phone and mouse off the table !!!!
    2*/4* for us – some lovely enjoyable clues. Last one in was 1a, just couldn’t see it at all.
    Knew 3d was an anagram but took ages to spot the fodder. Doh !!!! :(

    Thanks to Setter and Mr Kitty for some lovely piccies. Loved the one for 20a and especially 14d.
    My felines love boxes – so can just imaging them coming out like that.

  10. 21a different in online version: ‘Specs needed for instrument’s carrying frame.’ I think the paper one is better clued. 12a my COTD and overall this was 2*/4* for me. A pleasantly diverting puzzle.

    Thanks to both Misters involved.

    1. YS, that’s interesting about the clue differences.

      The clue I quoted above in the hints is what appears on the telegraph.puzzles.co.uk web site – does it match what’s printed in the paper?

      I’m told that the Telegraph App on Android has the alternative version that you gave.

      So it appears that the two electronic versions are different, which I find surprising.

      1. I am really puzzled by the way the clues are often so different between the paper and electronic versions. Perhaps someone from the DT could enlighten us.
        Mrs B usually does the iPad version and today she pointed out that 26d had ‘d at the end of gateau, why?

      2. I made an assumption that your clue was in the paper. Mine was from the paper subscription version that I access through the iPad.

        1. Ah. I solve on the Telegraph puzzles website, usually when the crossword becomes available at midnight in the UK.

          It’s odd that they can’t get the app version and the web site version in sync.

  11. I enjoyed this puzzle this morning. I especially liked 22a. That use of flight never ceases to fool me.
    I do wish, though, that setters would stop using the word Indian to clue a Native American as in 17d. It is really not acceptable anymore.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  12. Another interesting solve. Not too taxing but felt real satisfaction when I got some of them. I was trying to make a full anagram of 22a until the penny dropped. I do not have a problem with spiral/rocket. Prices spiral/rocket out of control. I left 18a till last largely because I was bored with it. I was trying to make it start with Red. Got there in the end. Apart from that SW was last in. Quickly came together after I got 22a. Last one to get in that corner was 23d. I had the word early on but could not parse. My favourite was 29a. Mr K – I got 29d without difficulty but by thinking of our source of hot water by gas when I was a child which was called either a water heater or a geyser. Enjoyed checking my parsing with the hints and thanks to the setter.

    1. Thanks for the background on 29a, Wanda. Since I’m foreign I did not know that usage of geyser, but it works nicely as a straight definition. It’s probably what the setter had in mind.

      1. Yes another word/meaning which would only be familiar to the older setter/solver (folllowing on from an earlier thread)!

        1. I can assure you geezer is still common parlance as common as bloke, and I’m closer to 35 than 61.

          1. That’s not disputed Letter Box Roy. We were talking about a geyser as a source of hot water in the home (fired by gas). Mr Kitty (not being from these shores) had not heard of it and referred to the subterranean source of water, which of course is perfectly correct. Apparently Kitty being a young person (from these shores) had not heard of a domestic “geyser” either but it has been checked in the dictionary. I remember they were also called “Ascots” which was a trade name of a popular model. They provided constant hot water over the sink or bath and were sometimes the cause of fatalities if poorly installed or maintained by landlords.

            1. You are perfectly correct about the danger of those heaters in bathrooms once the door and windows were closed. Tragically, it killed a friend of mine when I was just seventeen.

    2. Geyser is very much a London term although it is usually spelt Geezer.
      According to English Language and Usage:
      Originally, a geezer seems to have been ‘someone who went around in disguise’. The word probably represents a dialectal pronunciation of the now obsolete guiser ‘someone wearing a masquerade as part of a performance, mummer’. This was a derivative of guise (13th c.), which, together with disguise (14th c.), goes back ultimately to prehistoric Germanic *wīsōn, ancestor of archaic English wise ‘manner’.

      1. It is always spelt “geezer” so far as I am aware whether in London or elsewhere in the country. Thats the point of the clue- it’s a homophone. Nothing wrong IMHO with 22a and 23d.

      2. Here’s what Chamber’s 21st Century Dictionary has to say about geyser: Link

        I see now that if I’d looked there, or in the BRB, I’d have found the usage that Wanda mentioned.

  13. I agree with 2*/4* – no major hold-ups apart from being unable to read my own writing.
    I read my ‘F’, the last letter of 6d, as an ‘E’ – can’t even blame my specs as they’re quite new so not yet scratched or grubby.
    I bunged in ‘after’ for 7d – should have thought first but sorted that one out fairly quickly.
    I’ve never heard of the 3d wine and spent too long trying to fit an ‘X’ into 28a – though the cricket team was XI. Oh dear.
    I liked 12 and 21a and 9 and 20a.
    With thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to Mr Kitty.

    Some friends of ours had two of our umpteen kittens many years ago – one of them came through their cat flap with two fish still in their bags – they always blamed me for their bad upbringing! :sad:

    My bilingual French sister-in-law says they don’t really have cryptic crosswords in France – that’s probably why she always pinches mine.

  14. Firstly to Mr K’s question, the cryptic crossword seems to be uniquely related to the English language and Commonwealth countries. According to Wikipedia it’s hallmark is “You need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean”. I’m not really surprised given the number of ways you can say “no” in English.

    To the crossword, what an enjoyable romp if a tad on the easy side. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review.

  15. I liked this crossword but as so often happens on a Tuesday I completed it in rather a sleepy daze and so don’t have much to say now. Great quickie pun too. Many thanks.

  16. Tricky little beggar today I thought. Would take great issue with 22a in the use of and really didn’t think 23d worked at all and was poor.
    No great problems but no great enjoyment either, bit of a slog.
    For me **/**.
    Thx for the explanation for 22a and 7d (just me being thick here).

  17. I agree, Mr. Kitty, delightful puzzle, enjoyed every minute.
    Didn’t know the wine at 3d and needed gizmo to solve that, put it down to peasant palate.
    Those two long across answers helped a lot, I think, but they were all very logical.
    I remember 27a many, many years ago, clued “a twit had lunch…”
    Fave was 12a, but 14d pic wins the gold.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for the review.

  18. Quite a pleasant puzzle and not too difficult.
    I managed to finish it before Doble got back
    from walking the dogs on Hampstead Heath
    where I will be returning to play bowls now.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  19. According to a Dutch acquaintance, they have cryptic crosswords, “In Dutch they’re known as Cryptogram – plural Cryptogrammen.”

  20. Oh well, a theme emerging here…
    Everyone finds it easy, i find it difficult, 3d in today’s the Evening Standard is more up my street “Feline animal(3)”, hopefully if I can get a couple of checkers I will be ok.
    Thanks for the hints, Mr K. and Mr.Ron.

      1. Kitty!!!!
        Now you have given the answer in the Standard away!!
        I was waiting for a hint.

  21. Nothing to get angsty about with today’s offering. It was OK but it didn’t really sparkle as far as I was concerned. No real fave clue and 2/2* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the review.

  22. Yes, HIYD, not as easy as the blog would suggest for me, too.
    Today’s mistake was getting the N and R the wrong way round at 3d (it does exist), thus 1a last in. Also made Una’s error. Oh dear.

    An enjoyable if not sparkling puzzle so thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K. ***/***

  23. Struggled to finish today, so thank you to Mr Kitty for his hints. Favorite was 15d, even though I did not solve it, husband did, which pleased him no end. Likewise 18a and 21a 😊 1a stumped me also, never would have thought that meant remarkable, but I’m sure it says so in the BRB.

    Going to be a quiet 4th for us today, apart from the sound of our hacking coughs,, the result of airline travel for sure. Family/friends would not appreciate us sharing over the hot dogs 🌭

    1. I’m staying quiet today. The dogs and cats don’t like the noise of the fireworks, it’s just easier (and nicer) to stay here with them to assure them that all’s well.

  24. This felt on the tricky side when solving, especially with that wine, and I got quite stuck more than once. Looking at the clock at the close, though, it appears it was only a ** for difficulty. Lots of good, moderately challenging clues then…

  25. Re 6d, I always remember the physical symbol for force as ‘p’ as in p=ma. So seeing ‘f’ used put me for a few seconds…
    Anyway fun stuff, and thanks to Mr K and A.N. Other.

    1. Hello Lnm. In physics p is usually reserved for momentum, defined as p=mv, and F reserved for force, so that Newton’s Second Law is F=ma. It’s all just arbitrary conventions of course, but the BRB does give F as the symbol for force.

      1. Being a chemist* I confess to a very ‘impure’ recollection of these things. You are of course right, and I’ve been misremembering this for ever 😟 (and unfortunately will probably continue to do so)
        * wife being a physicist and daughter a mathematician should have put me on the path of righteousness before now but obviously without success….

  26. From the style of some of the clues we thought that the setter is someone we are more used to meeting on the Toughie page, but which one? Dada was the first name that came to mind but we thought the same thing last week. Maybe there is still time for the setter to drop in and fess up.
    We thought it was a very clever and well put together puzzle that we enjoyed a lot.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

    1. Oh – maybe you’re right although I didn’t think it was difficult enough for Dada.
      Perhaps he’s being saved up for the Thursday back pager . . . :unsure:

  27. An enjoyable doddle, as befits a Tuesday back-pager: 1*/3.5*. I enjoyed 13d. Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty.

  28. 12a is a gem. 28a does not meet with my approval. ii for a cricket team? Tut tut.

    1. II has been used for cricket team since Nelson Mandella was only in borstal!

  29. Finished in one pass, starting with the down clues, and enjoyed it very much. Sometimes, after hard graft at the coalface, a straightforward solve is the most appreciated. I loved 5a, so that wins the biscuit, but 22a made me curl my lip – yes things can spiral upwards, but they can just as easily spiral downwards. I put it down to lazy journalists writing that the cost of something has “spiralled” when they they just mean it has increased. I’m deducting a star for that. Thanks to setter and the ever-attentive Mr K. 1*/3*
    Ps Spanish, French and German (the limit of my polyglotism) do not have cryptic crosswords, possibly because of accents and genders.
    PPS Thanks to all who offered birthday greetings yesterday. Greatly appreciated

  30. Haven’t done the puzzle, but I do often get asked if the Dutch have cryptic crosswords. Malcolm@20 has already answered that, yes they do have them, and they are called Cryptogrammen, or singular cryptogram. They appear in puzzle compilations and I think I have occasionally seen them in newspapers.

    However Dutch has less vocabulary than English – there is nowhere near the redundancy of having umpteen meanings for every word, or umpteen words for every meaning that makes English so nice for cryptic crosswords. Hence, it’s harder in Dutch to disguise definitions or find misleading synonyms that fit beautifully into the surface, etc. Also Dutch is phonetic – the spelling dictates the pronunciation. Any diphthongs are defined by vowel combinations. This makes it hard, for example, to think up funny homophones. Furthermore Dutch is plagued by an abundance of vowels including the trademark double vowels, which tends to result in a lot of vowel checkers, making our normal sparsely-checked 15×15 blocked grids unsuitable, as solving these would be a nightmare with mainly vowel checkers – so you tend to see grid variations.

    Obviously people have managed to work within these constraints and produce results, but there is not the richness, elegance and variety that comes with English crosswords and, perhaps as a result, the dutch cryptic crossword culture is not as strong as it is here.

Comments are closed.