DT 28481 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28481

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28481

Hints and tips by an over-the-moon Miffypops

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BD’s Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Thank you to Rufus for today’s chance to solve a cryptic puzzle. Congratulations to both Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s winners at Wimbledon this weekend. The smiles of the Ladies’ winner were the highlight of the weekend

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Targets that could be a mistake (5,3)
TAKES AIM: Anagram (that could be) of A MISTAKE

6a    Stick unusually hard with twice initial efficiency (6)
ADHERE: Anagram (unusually) of HARD EE. The two Es being twice the initial letter of Efficiency

9a    Concede mixing up East with South and North at intervals (6)
ASSENT: Anagram (mixing up) of EAST with S and N (the abbreviations for South and North) inserted into different places (at intervals).

10a    Articulate fib about arranged treat (8)
LITERATE: A fib or untruth is placed around an anagram (arranged) of TREAT

11a    Those performing for pleasure are a must to broadcast (8)
AMATEURS: Anagram (broadcast) of ARE A MUST

12a    Moaned about guardian spirit (6)
DAEMON: Anagram (about) of MOANED

13a    Pelt the principal of the school you attend? Show some shame! (4,4,4)
HIDE YOUR HEAD: Use another word for a pelt or the skin of an animal and add two words that describe what the principle of one’s school is to you. I feel this will trip a few people up for two reasons. 1. There is a more common term used which fits the definition here. 2. Where one has a choice in a puzzle between using the word YOUR or the word ONE’S it is nearly always ONE’S



16a    Two things a fiddler may do to appear excessively deferential (3,3,6)
BOW AND SCRAPE: Two verbs that might describe how a violinist produces a sound from his instrument together describe an action showing deference. This reminds me Dicken’s of Uriah Heep.

19a    One whose leader goes out every morning (6)
EDITOR: This leader is the leading article in a newspaper.

21a    Trouble is found in small change perhaps (8)
NUISANCE: Place the word IS from the clue inside (found in) a small change or subtle difference

23a    One usually gets into a flap at its opening time (8)
ENVELOPE: A cryptic definition of an item of stationery which one may use to put a letter into

24a    Boring plant (3-3)
OIL-RIG: For plant read industrial and for boring read drilling. Now think what we might drill for from an industrial site. Or do what I did and wait for the checkers

25a    One is not keen to show it (6)
APATHY: A cryptic definition which should lead to a noun meaning a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern

26a    More than one beastly food container — that depends! (8)
NOSEBAGS: The plural of an item used to feed horses which appears to hang (depend) from their heads


2d    Suppose idiot must go to university, supported by yours truly (6)
ASSUME: Begin with our usual word for an idiot. Add the abbreviation for University. A word meaning Yours Truly goes at the end therefore support the letters above in a down clue

3d    Appearing upright before getting caught (5)
ERECT: Use the poetic form of the word before and the abbreviation for caught

4d    ‘Dead? Not us!’ — becoming disturbed and alarmed (9)
ASTOUNDED: Anagram (becoming disturbed) of DEAD NOT US

5d    Drunken males getting stuck into my wine (7)
MALMSEY: Anagram (drunken) of MALES inside the word MY generously given in the clue [George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was convicted of treason against his brother, Edward IV, and was executed (allegedly by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine).  BD]

6d    Bill, joining Edward, performed on stage (5)
ACTED: Begin with a written law passed by government and add Edwards shortened form. Ted Ned or Ed?

7d    It may be cast in two ways, so he or she may make it (9)
HORSESHOE: Anagram (may make it) of SO HE OR SHE [Presumably the two ways of casting are 1) by the blacksmith and 2) when cast or thrown in a game – BD]


8d    Well-founded desert isle with lake (8)
RATIONAL: A three-part charade of a clue. 1. An informal verb meaning to desert. 2. An island somewhere in the world. 3. The abbreviation for a lake

13d    Courage perceived to be genuine (9)
HEARTFELT: The answer split 5,4 combines a noun meaning courage and a verb meaning perceived

14d    Sum a union distributed as agreed (9)
UNANIMOUS: Anagram (distributed) of SUM A UNION

15d    It may produce winter ailments leading to little sleep (4,4)
COLD SNAP: Split 5,3 use the plural of an ailment so common that the word common often precedes it and add a short sleep.

17d    Cannot even contract for an eating place (7)
CANTEEN: Begin with the shortened form of cannot and add the contracted / poetic word used in place of even

18d    Silver’s hiding part of face in pain (6)
ACHING: Place a facial feature in between (hiding) the chemical element for silver.

20d    With lots of space, tie a ship up by end of day (5)
ROOMY: reverse (up) a word meaning to tie or secure a ship or any other boat and add the last letter (end of) the word day

22d    Bit of speech the actor didn’t rehearse (2-3)
AD LIB: A cryptic definition of an unscripted line used by an actor for comic effect.

I do like Tom waits.



88 comments on “DT 28481

  1. Not much to say about this very easy to solve Monday offering, thanks to the setter & to MP for his review.

  2. I quite enjoyed this one, so thanks to Rufus and MP.

    It made me wonder, you horsey types, why a horse would wear the feeding contraption instead of having it in a bucket on the ground. Is it because the horsey might have a sore neck? Or because another greedy horsey might steal its friend’s dinner? I’ve often wondered (well, not that often or I would know by now)…

      1. But he doesn’t – I only use my horsey speed terms as a ‘cryptic’ indication of solving time (partly related to the points scoring system on the DT puzzle web site).

        I suspect that the devices are/were convenient for a working horse when out and about during its working day.

        Nowadays, some cities require that working horses pulling carriages full of tourists have a ‘convenience’ bag at the other end.

    1. What is a nose bag?
      A feedbag, feed bag, feeding bag, nosebag, or morral, is a bag, filled with fodder, and attached to the head of a horse, enabling it to eat. The main advantages are that only a small amount of the feed is wasted, and it prevents one animal consuming the ration of another.

  3. Right, I have a problem with 13a – I can see the pelt=hide and principal=head stuff but the phrase itself is just a bit wierd. The fact that I’ve never heard it used is neither here nor there but I just think it’s a very odd one.

    Having said that this was a very enjoyable puzzle – loads of anagrams and no obscure words (apart from 13a naturally!) – good fun!

    1. I think it’s just a truncated version of the common saying “hide your head in shame”.

  4. 1*/4*. Lovely jubbly with nothing to frighten the horses apart perhaps from the garish 26a shown in MP’s picture.

    24a was my favourite, just edging out the inventive 7d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  5. Home again, home again and in a rather perverse way I’ve even missed your musical offerings, MP, although I’m sad to see that you have yet to change your avatar back to something more universally acceptable.

    Good Monday fun from Rufus in which I did need to check that 12a was one of the good guys. I liked 21a & 2d (some truth in the latter, I suspect!) and my favourite both for the clue and the clip was 16a.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.
    PS I think the second meaning of 7d is more likely to relate to a horse ‘casting a shoe’ i.e. losing it.
    PPS For those who may have the time, today’s Rookie setter has excelled himself.

    1. Re 7d. I only underlined the words ‘It may be cast as the definition. Our leader has altered it to include the words ‘two ways’ I think these things are forged not cast. I will ask Gavin the farrier. when he is in next. I tried to change the avatar to a cute one of Harrison with a Labrador. WordPress refused my login and I have not got time to investigate as we have an event to do with choosing our new Vicar being held in our pub. i have to keep The Sainted one on her toes

      1. I also think that 7ds are forged – so, I take the two ways to be as described by Lady Jane and as in the game in BD’s note to the hint.

        Hmm – choosing a new Vicar in a pub – that sounds like a very democratic process, will the Bishop be in attendance?

        1. Hi Senf,
          Looked up this forging/casting stuff and would agree with you except to ask – wouldn’t the bar from which the shoe is forged have been cast in the first place?

        2. It was an opportunity for anyone interested to meet the prospective Vicar. The PPC and the interviewing team get their chances later. That won’t be in the pub. The candidate and her husband are now being shown around the village. I bet they don’t take them to see the girls at Diamond Lils.

      2. Hi MP,
        I’m constantly amazed at how you clever devils ever manage to change your avatars at all, but am pleased to note that you’re trying to do so. I had to enlist the help of our ever-patient BD to get mine in the first place and can promise you that it will never change – fortunately, I really like it!
        By the way – forgot to say that I loved the cartoon at 25a.

        1. I want to change mine too . So I googled how to do it and I think the problem for me is how to get the pic I want into the correct file or something.I’ll just have to await the assistance of someone younger than me.

        2. Lady Jane, please believe me that I’m the least techie person on this site and I figured it out from BD’s instructions. Give it a go!

        3. I keep meaning to have a go at changing mine but it never gets to the top of my to do list… probably because I know I will mess it up.

          Welcome back. How was Bembridge and the cuddly bundle?

          1. Hi Lizzie – thank you for asking.
            Bembridge was almost insufferably hot (still 25 degs at midnight on a couple of occasions) and the ‘cuddly bundle’ has chronic colic and is therefore not at all cuddly at the moment! Ah well – at least I can enjoy the peace and quiet now, unlike his poor ‘panda-eyed’ parents!

      3. I think the two casts are,1, In a game. 2 When the horse looses, throws, or casts a shoe.

  6. A lovely crossword to do whilst sitting in the Dingle.
    Mind – the Dingle was a bit of an distraction – it’s going to win every prize going on Wednesday!

    1. Your comment about the Dingle made me smile. We have a Dingle over here on Anglesey which is a delightful wooded valley on the outskirts of the busy market town of Llangefni – home to a tumbling stream, wonderful wild flowers, many species of birds and families of red squirrels. I’ll award it a prize on Wednesday or any other day of the week!

  7. */*** – yet another straightforward and very enjoyable Rufus Monday, with a typical Rufus anagram count, completed at a gallop with no major problems.

    Many candidates for favourite – 16a, 19a, 21a, 24a, 17d, 18d, and 22d – and the winner is 24a.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP, especially for the usual tasteful illustrations.

  8. Liked the ‘daemon’ today, it reminded me of the Philip Pullman trilogy.Ta to Rufus and MP .. another entertaining blog. Am currently battling with the Indie, which seems pretty good so far.

    1. Why? Why is there this tradition of easier puzzles on a Monday? I’d rather have Thursday level puzzles all week.

      1. Hi Toadson,
        1. Not everyone finds Monday puzzles easy – wavelength ‘thing’ and so on.
        2. If all back-pagers were pitched at a higher level of difficulty (often, but not always true of a Thursday) then newcomers might become totally disheartened and give up on the whole idea of solving cryptics. We do need to encourage others to the ranks, wouldn’t you agree?

        1. I don’t always find them easy myself Jane, sometimes ‘frustrating’ would be a better description as I sit there waiting for a cryptic or double definition to dawn on me. (That was not particularly the case today). But the popular view seems to be that they are easy, and I always assumed that it was to ease people back into the working week – perhaps not necessary given recent discussions about the age of the readership. However, I take your point about encouraging newcomers – myself not so long ago after all. And fair enough, for ‘Thursday’ read ‘typical Thursday’.

        2. After struggling last week I quite appreciated an ‘easier’ solve even though though 8d and 23a held me up for quite some time even with all the checking letters in place and an obvious end to 8d. My wife appreciates easier puzzles as it means I get more done around the house. I had not heard of 12a so perhaps just as well it was an anagram which with checking letters in place and the help of BRB to confirm was solvable.

        3. Spot on Jane, as a recent newcomer, if all the crosswords were like a Ray-T (****) crossword, I would have given up two years ago.

      2. I know I’m going to be the odd one out – I usually am on Mondays – I didn’t find today’s plain sailing at all. Dim or wrong wavelength.

        1. I didn’t find it easy either and am still waiting for the day when I find a R&W puzzle, but then I don’t suppose I would enjoy it very much…

        2. It’s all wavelength! You whiz through RayT and I tear my hair out. I can’t seem to get the hang of him. I thought I had twigged it once, but, alas, it seems to have got lost again.

      3. Maybe not everyone is as good as you (myself included)???
        I find it a bit odd that if Monday is an easy day, that there is no ‘Toughie’??

  9. A bit heavy on the anagrams (10). Not that I dislike anagrams , they provide a way in to difficult puzzles , but I think 10 is overdoing it.
    I liked 16a.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Rufus.

  10. Re 7d when a horse loses a shoe it is referred to as having cast a shoe, I think this is the ‘second way’?
    Thanks to setter and Miffipops

  11. Apart from failing to parse 26a-still think it’s very iffy even after Miffypops explanation how does a horse get it on and off ?. Going for a */**** like most others, I certainly appreciated an easy solve today after a somewhat excessive weekend, I had always thought that setters bore this in mind !
    Thanks M for the pics.

    1. Online dictionary. Definition No 3

      hang down.
      “his tongue depended from open jaws”

      1. Thanks Miffypops , I thought that it must be hang/hung in the sense that say a outcome hung or depended on an external factor .Do chandeliers ‘depend ‘ from ceilings ?

        1. Yes, unless Del Boy and Rodney are working on them in which case they descend.

  12. A lovely and gentle start to a sun-drenched Camden Town. We don’t have much work to do today so Paso will be playing bowls and Doble will be sticking sequins on ladies garments in a bid to sell the items on eBay.
    */**** Many thanks to Rufus and miffypops!

  13. Nice ‘n easy did it for today’s joyful ride for which many thanks Rufus and also MP particularly for parsing 21a for me. Fav was 24a followed by 19a (chestnut?).

  14. Always thought that nosebags are only any use when filled to one precise level – otherwise the food is either up the horses nose or the poor thing is just teased by not being able to reach the rest? One of life’s mysteries I will never work out.

    I looked up cast/forged horseshoes and discovered, (just before I lost the will to live), that they are mostly cast these days.

    Monday’s puzzles are never a struggle but always a bit of fun.

    6d I parsed as ‘AC’ for bill, as in account, then ‘TED’ slightly more cryptic than the other way, but both good.

    Thanks to Rufus for the light entertainment and MP for the ‘I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure’ cartoon. */****

      1. Thank you so much, M’pops, you know how we love Harrington pics, and now the added pleasure of a yellow Labrador. Oh joy!

  15. I agree with the * rating for difficulty, but, of all things, I struggled over 1a, probably the easiest. I knew what the answer had to be but completely missed the anagram bit. Oh brain, please come back to me, all is forgiven!
    Fave was 16a, but I also rather liked 24a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his hints and pics.

  16. Not so much an anagramfest as an anagram overdose today, Una is so right. I can’t recall the first six clues of a puzzle all being anagrams before, his longevity and eminence mean that Rufus is the only regular setter who would get away with this I reckon.

    My personal favourite was 24a.

    Many thanks to Mr Squires and to MP, a much improved avatar picture today I think we’d all agree!

    P.S. Welcome back to Jane, who even when distracted by her new grandson, still managed to find the time to enjoy my recent Indy puzzle (thanks to Kitty for that info!). I’m honoured. Another is scheduled for 10 August by the way (puzzle that is, not grandchild!).

  17. Pretty much a R&W, my only comment concerns 26a, depends meaning something that hangs, weird!
    For me */**
    Thx to all

    1. I hmm’d too, but as in ‘…the outcome hangs(depends) on the referee’s decision.’ it does work.

  18. Just like to say hello and thanks for this group . I’ve enjoyed the DT for years and (still) at a relatively young age think this is a brilliant pastime.
    Enjoyable paddle through this today. Did have to double check 5d. Not a grape I’ve encountered.

  19. Nice to be back on dry land again after sailing round Greek islands no jealousy now.
    Good puzzle and a good way to get in the groove again.
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  20. Late today as we have travelled to a delightful hotel in rural Wales for a few days. Luckily it has wifi. This was certainly a gentle yet fun start to the solving week, with lots to enjoy and nothing too obtuse. 16a was my favourite of many, and overall this was 1.5*/4* for me.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  21. We are on a farm in Cornwall and at last some sunshine today. A surfeit of anagrams today helped a routine solve.

  22. I knew it – I didn’t find this particularly easy – knew I’d be the only one. :sad:
    1a was my last answer having missed the anagram indicator.
    I don’t think I’ve heard of 12a and I’d forgotten about 5d.
    I dithered about the middle word of 13a and, having been caught out before, left it until I had some checking letters.
    I was completely fooled by 24a for a ridiculously long time.
    I liked 23a and 1 and 15d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Too hot and too much to do – haven’t even had time to look at Mr Rookie.

    1. Evening Kath I didn’t find it the” shoe in ” that everyone else did either ; e.g. 23 and 8d didn’t sit easily with me , despite the obvious answers .Sometimes the ease of the answer , as seen by the given letters , obscures the lack of precison of the clue .

  23. Finally finished over lunch, thanks to Miffypops. Enjoyed this Rufus puzzle, but I am definitely not in the group that found it easy. Nothing really obscure here though, never heard of the wine in 5d, and I’ve always thought one hung ones head, not hid it. But that’s just me. Missed the anagram indicator in 1a. Just having a dim day I guess.

    1. I’ve never heard of the wine either. I have probably drank it though. Easy solve from the checkers.

  24. **/****. Very enjoyable although for reasons I can’t fathom I struggled with the SW corner for far too long. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  25. About *** for difficulty here, but I never have managed to get to grips with Rufus. Last in 25ac.

  26. 1*/3*. I liked 8d but am not convinced by 13a. Still, a nice enough way to start the week. Thanks to Rufus, and to MP.

  27. If I had a guardian spirit, I would like to think that it was an angel rather than the answer to 12a. Sorry Miffypops, the song freaked me out. I don’t do spooky things very well…..and because I enjoyed the music, I listened all the way through to the crunch line. Glad of the cartoon for 25a to make me smile. All in all an easy solve today over breakfast, with a good smattering of anagrams to help along the way. Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. My very own fount of musical knowledge, Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan sang a beautiful rendition of a version The Daemon Lover known as The House Carpenter. I could not find the version I wanted to illustrate the clue but I would like to think that after a listen even Jane would admit that Dylan can sing. Clinton Heylin wrote a whole book about this song. It is as old as the hills. I do like the opportunities to illustrate.

  28. I know it’s not the same (even I’m not that dim) but 12a reminded me of the christian name Damien. When the Younger Lamb was in her first year at school there were two little boys called Damien. To distinguish between them one was called ‘Damien’ and the other one was called ‘naughty Damien’.

  29. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. It certainly was an anagramfest, but nonetheless very enjoyable. I found this very tricky in parts. 18d made me laugh, but my favourite and last in was 1a. Took me ages to realise that it was an anagram. Was 3*/3* for me.

  30. Filled this one in with a colleague who was new to the cryptic. Nice and easy with some nice clues, particularly 1a. The thing that moved me to comment (its v late and I have no time to read the whole blog) is the clip of Hillary Hahn. My goodness!
    Thank you MP.

  31. Many thanks MP, unlike others, I miss every anagram indicator going, I think I am going approach Monday’s with a view that every clue is an anagram until proved otherwise!!!
    Thanks MP and Rufus.

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