DT 28476 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28476

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28476

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Mr Kitty is off on his travels.

I thought this was a straightforward puzzle but have no stand-out favourite, although I do like single-word anagrams like the one in 12a

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Like that country, a nation in Africa (7)
SOMALIA: an adverb meaning “like that” followed by a country (in Africa) and the A from the clue gives another African country (nation)

8a    Sea found by fish, unusually lucky (7)
CHARMED: the three-letter abbreviation for a well-known sea is preceded by a type of fish

10a    One goes either way, as in my gym (10)
PALINDROME: “my gym” is an example of this

11a    Food in Salerno, shocking (4)
NOSH: hidden (in) inside the clue

12a    Old musician butchers new composition (8)
SCHUBERT: an anagram (new composition) of BUTCHERS

14a    Colour indigo’s sixth on spectrum (6)
ORANGE: the sixth letter of [indig]O followed by a spectrum

15a    Pineapple, some bananas with syrup, not popular (4,7)
HAND GRENADE: pineapple is a colloquial word for this weapon: a bunch of bananas is followed by a type of syrup from which IN (popular) has been dropped (not)

19a    Unproductive mogul, by the sound of it? (6)
BARREN: sounds like (by the sound of it) a mogul or business tycoon

20a    European college student welcoming recess, finally (8)
ESTONIAN: a student who attends a well-known public school around (welcoming) the final letter of [reces]S

22a    Joker, say, witty type (4)
CARD: this joker is one of many to be found in a pack

23a    Strange sap on cream cheese (10)
MASCARPONE: an anagram (strange) of SAP ON CREAM

25a    Vulgar woman partly regretted always being laid back (7)
LADETTE: hidden (partly) and reversed (being laid back) inside the clue

26a    Most within range are in tree-house (7)
NEAREST: ARE from the clue inside a house built by a bird in a tree


1d    Sovereign working in part of spring (7)
MONARCH: the usual two-letter word meaning working inside a month in Spring

2d    Vehicle ranked? Try one (4)
TAXI: a verb meaning to try or test followed by I (one)

3d    Toy instrument (6)
FIDDLE: two definitions – the first being a verb

4d    Force in garden tool, then cut round it (8)
SHOEHORN: a three-letter garden tool inside an adjective meaning cut or cropped (like a sheep)

5d    Relief in strong competitors? That was designed to be torture! (4,6)
IRON MAIDEN: a three-letter word meaning relief inside some strong competitors (4,3)

6d    Note dog’s breakfast time (7)
MESSAGE: a state or condition commonly known as a dog’s breakfast followed by a long period of time

9d    Labour leader I greet sadly in job, knocking spirit? (11)
POLTERGEIST: the initial letter (leader) of L[abour] and an anagram (sadly) of I GREET inside a job or position

13d    Guard in bed, suffering complete (10)
UNABRIDGED: an anagram (suffering) of GUARD IN BED gives an adjective meaning complete, when referring to a publication

16d    Magic! That will bring the house down (8)
DYNAMITE: two definitions – an exclamation similar to magic! And something that will bring the house down – this was a bit too “same both sides” for my liking as the definitions are from the same source

17d    Wheels off in plant (7)
CARAWAY: “wheels” is a colloquial word for this vehicle – follow it with a word meaning off or elsewhere

18d    Doctor sharing extra food (7)
GARNISH: an anagram (doctor) of SHARING

21d    Kid brother’s heart in China? (3,3)
TEA SET: a verb meaning to kid followed by the middle letter (heart) of [bro]T[her]

24d    Catch up and split up (4)
PART: the reversal (up in a down clue) of a verb meaning to catch or snare

Normal service should be resumed next week.


66 comments on “DT 28476

  1. Maybe it was just me, but I found this one quite tricky. My last three in the NE took as long as the rest of the puzzle to complete.
    12a got a tick against it as my favourite.

    4*/4*. Many thanks to setter, and to BD.

      1. Ditto for me too – 18d, 24d and 26a were my last one’s in – definitely quite tricky!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. The weapon had me stumped for too long before my memory kicked in.

  3. I found it quite tricky too, judging by the time I took to solve it.

    I wonder how many people we’ll get saying that they didn’t know a pineapple was a 15a? :scratch:

    Thanks to BD and Mr Ron

  4. To say that I was rubbish at this is a compliment to rubbish.

    I was way beyond rubbish.

    Either I am on the decline or this puzzle was very difficult.

    Thanks for the review and the hints.

    Pineapple = hand grenade???? who knew?

      1. Egg on my face, then.

        Let’s hope I will remember this time.

        Or I may be in decline.

  5. I found this puzzle very difficult .Some of the clues seemed excessively vague , such as 15a, where you are expected to know the nickname of a weapon without any hint that you should be thinking about a weapon. Similarly , 17d , there are obviously millions of plants .
    12a had a very well disguised anagram indicator.
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

    1. It’s actually the last two words of the clue that I have now underlined – the answer is defined in Chambers as “A noisy ghost”.

  6. A very tricky puzzle I thought. Needed help to understand 15a. 10a was my favourite clue (and also one my last in) ****/*** for me.

  7. I found this decidedly tricky today, not helped by spelling 23a incorrectly. Despite the problems I enjoyed the struggle. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter for the workout.

  8. I was interrupted when I commented earlier. What a great puzzle which upped the difficulty level and made me work hard to solve to completion.
    I only had six in after the first pass. Sixteen words without checked first letters was always going to cause problems. The long anagram at 13d stumped me for too long but The Doctors food and the Old Musician were fine. Thanks to today’s setter and Thanks to Big Dave for standing in.

  9. 4*/4*. I agree with Jezza that this was tricky but very enjoyable although the SW corner was the last in for me. 12a was my favourite too, and, like Bifield, I misspelt 23a. The cluing was commendably brief.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron (perhaps Mister Ron?) and to BD.

  10. My first thoughts were that this was a difficult puzzle, and indeed I was.
    I know that ‘pineapple’ has been used before as a grenade , but no chance for a newcomer.
    Last in was 17d when I finally managed all the checking letters ,the d’oh moment for 26a just preceded it -nest was good ,but I thought the definition itself was poor.
    Going for a ****/**,thanks to BD for the pics.

  11. I was a bit worried to see BD’s assessment of ‘straightforward’. Like many others I found it difficult (but enjoyable). Fortunately, I eventually remembered the pineapple/grenade. The ‘brother’s heart’ reminded me of Ray T’s ‘sweetheart’. Half expected to see Tara Palmer-T as the illustration for 25a. Thanks to all.

  12. Very enjoyable but quite tricky, the brevity of the clues was very good (even if there were only 13 in each direction) – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Last one in was 17d which took quite a while and caused some splinters from the amount of head scratching it took.

    The list of candidates for favourite is quite long, but I think 15a comes out on top.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  13. It is rare to see a 4* for difficulty from our more experienced solvers, but I am happy to join that section of the blog that found this one of the hardest back-pagers for some time. There was some real head-scratching involved, and a few that took a while to parse once I had bunged them in. That said, the struggle was worth it, and I rated this 4*/4* overall. I had a toss up between 12 and 15a with the latter just shading it as my favourite.

    Thanks to the Tuesday setter for a severe workout, and to BD.

  14. We agree with Big Dave that it was fairly straightforward with relatively easy anagrams which provided suitable checkers for the rest of it.
    We have a Parisian friend who is terribly keen on Bruce Dickinson and his cohorts and every time he visits, we (or I) have to accompany
    him to a pub in the East End to see ‘The Birthplace of Iron Maiden’ and what a dreadful racket it is. However, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    were on fine form in Hyde Park on Sunday supported by a never ageing Stevie Nicks. Next gigs on the horizon are Ladysmith Black Mombazo,
    Madness then the Libertines.

    **/**** Thanks to BD and presumably Mr Ron.

  15. Hola from Torrevieja, we’re getting out and about this week.
    I thought it was a tad on the hard side today so will go for 4*/3* but pommers agrees with BD on 3*/3*.
    Also can’t spell 23a so that held us up for s while and struggled in the SW corner too.
    Thanks to Mr Ron for s good workout and to BD for standing in for Mr Kitty

    1. I’d better warn you then that my boss and his extended family are holidaying in Torrevieja from today!

  16. This was far more challenging than the normal Tuesday back-pager!

    Also, far more enjoyable!

    Really struggled with my last three in – 10a, 4d & 16d – so they are my triumvirate for the podium today!

    Definitely a ****/**** for me. Hopefully, this setter will return in the near distant future.

  17. More odd than classically difficult for me.
    Started off badly by wanting to write Assyria for 1a, but knew it couldn’t be right unless there was some obscure crosswordland reasoning.
    There were some peculiar, slightly vague clues – 16d, 8a, 15a which I wouldn’t have worked out without the checkers.

    Quite liked 10a, 12a, 26a & 1d. Many thanks to Mr Ron, and to BD as ever.

  18. We guess the fact that BD found this straightforward explains why it’s his crossword blog and not ours. Perhaps more in the order of 3*/4* – lower end of difficult, but really good fun.

    We selected 5d, 15a and 9d as clues to savour. Top of our shop today was 14a, when we realised that in the normal “Richard of York…” mnemonic indigo actually IS the sixth colour! Sooo clever.

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to BD.

    1. That exposed the fact that my wife and I have different mnemonics for the spectrum. My wife is a traditional Yorker, but I favour VIBGYOR, which by coincidence puts the answer in 6th place. Win win !
      Yes, a fun puzzle and thanks to BD and the setter.

  19. Did the DT mix up the envelopes again. This was an absolute pig!
    Most clues were totally incomprehensible and certainly it was no fun at all as far as I was concerned. Gave up long before the end.
    For me *****/* or even -1 for enjoyment.

  20. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle but so difficult. Needed the hints to parse 7&10a, and for 8,25,26a and 6,17,21d. I had heard of 15a, but the rest of the puzzle seemed like a Toughie. Favourite was 4d. Was 5*/3* for me.

    1. Pineapple is a slang word used in the forces for the answer. Sign of a lazy setter using colloquialisms IMHO.

      1. I agree entirely with you, Brian. After a wet mornng’s golf in the Peaks, this was a second hard, frustrating slog I could have done without. Sorry to be a killjoy but I wouldn’t want one like this very often! The variations in difficulty assessments by so many contributors say it all.

  21. I found this puzzle more tricky than a normal Tuesday one and unfortunately never come across the pineapple weapon. Thought some clues too vague. Thanks BD

  22. A puzzle that required some lateral thinking and an interesting deviation from what would normally be expected. Overall I enjoyed it, but I can understand it dividing opinion.

    Top two clues for me were 12a and 5d.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to BD.

  23. ***/****. This all went in neatly until I got to the SW corner where I ground to a halt for ages with 17d and 25a causing the most problems. Favourites were 12&14a and 9d. Thanks to the setter for the crisp clueing and BD for the review.

    No sign of rain in the SE of BC so more fires from dry lightning and over 14000 people have had to leave their homes.

  24. After yesterday I concur with some of the other respondents this one was a bit tricky. Maybe its the gloomy weather but I missed some of the wordplay. Might have got 6D quicker if it had been a dogs ‘dinner’ rather than breakfast. bought 14A was very clever too.

  25. Far from straightforward for me.It took me a while to unscramble even the anagrams. Knew the pineapple but not the syrup. Thanks to the blog my knowledge of food and drink is expanding.

  26. I’m with the tricky crowd, I confess I gave up half way through and had to use Big Dave’s hints, realizing that I was on the wrong wavelength and/or this one was above my pay grade. Oh dear, disappointing after yesterday. Never heard of 25a, nor of that use of pineapple.

  27. Yes on the tricky side of tricky ****/**** but very enjoyable 😀 I was another who found the SW difficile needed hints for 17d & 25a. 😬 Though much to enjoy: 15a, 10a, 1d & 9d to name but a few 😉 Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter on this 🌨🌨 afternoon 😜

  28. I’m with BusyLizzie with this one. I was about halfway through when I had to resort to the hints. Waaaay above my pay grade, BusyLizzie!
    I enjoyed the ones I solved, Fave was 12a. I had to check the spelling of 23a, I always want to put the “r” in the wrong place, so checked before writing it in.
    Thanks to the setter, and many thanks to the locum BD for his hints, much needed today.

    1. Interestingly it was showing under the blog on my PC at work but isn’t visible on my tablet now I’m at home :scratch:

    2. I’m sure that BD put it up earlier but it seems to have disappeared so I’ve reinstated it.

      1. Thanks for that.

        I think I may have accidentally deleted the pun when I used the edit screen for an earlier version to add the underlining to 9d.

  29. I thought this was an excellent crossword! Tricky and challenging certainly, but isn’t this what crosswords should be all about? I liked 4, 18 and 21d, but my favourite was 15a. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to the setter (Mister Ron perhaps?) and to BD for the review.

  30. Top end of 3* difficulty, l think, and 3* enjoyment. I liked 5d and 17d. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  31. I think this was the hardest back-pager I have encountered. I made it even more challenging for myself in entering RATTLE for 3d which I thought worked well as a double definition. I was unfamiliar with the pineapple in 15ac. I thought some of the word-play was toughie-worthy. I did manage to finish – but only just! Many thanks to all.

  32. Wasn’t expecting such a difficult one on Tuesday. I enjoyed the ones I managed to solve, but I didn’t quite complete.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  33. Thought the quickie was tricky, that was before I tried the cryptic; which was enjoyable however if using several of the the hints.
    Liked 24D, 10A and 12A.

    1. I’m in your court today, Hoofit. See what I mean? Different strokes …
      I found this incredibly difficult, having to use my electronic toys far too often. I just couldn’t sort what the answer was supposed to be – sometimes even with BD’s excellent hints. Tomorrow is another day.

      1. Yes Merusa, I spent little time on this as I could tell from the outset that it was a fruitless exercise.
        Fortunately the Guardian today was much easier

  34. We are definitely in the trickier but fun camp with this one. Initially misspelling 23a did not help us but we did check that one fairly promptly as it had given us a very difficult checking letter for 21d.
    Thanks Mr Ron and BD.

  35. Definitely on the tricky side. LOI 7ac, which also gets my vote for best clue today.

  36. Beaten by 4d and 15a.
    Really enjoyed the short clues but was so flummoxed sometimes that I thought the definition or the wordplay was missing.
    Definitely toughie level for me.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  37. I was sooooo pleased to discover I was not alone in finding this to be just not my scene at all. I simply couldn’t get on the right wavelength and I am afraid I threw in the towel with little accomplished. I did however get some entertainment from reading the hints and comments. I do wonder who the setter is (so as to be forewarned in the future?!). Thank you anyway Mysteron whoever you are and also thanks BD for being on call once again and enlightening me on so many counts.

  38. I found this one excellent, much better than the usual Tuesday offering. A decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. 3*/4*.

  39. It’s very easy to be wise after the event – having read the comments on today’s blog (Wednesday 12th) about this one I was ready for a right royal battle.
    I didn’t find it that difficult but got completely stuck with 25a – stupid – I knew it was a lurker and still didn’t see it.
    I couldn’t do 17d so thanks BD for the hint for that one.
    I think my favourite was 4d. I also liked 15a.
    Thanks to BD and to the setter, whoever he or she may be. I thought it was a good crossword.

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