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DT 28482

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28482

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello everyone, and welcome.  Thanks to BD for standing in last week when travel took me out of internet range for several days.  I’ve now had a chance to solve last Tuesday’s puzzle and, like many of you, I wondered what it was doing in that slot.  I would have given it at least four stars for difficulty.  On the other hand, there were several great clues so I’d be happy to see another puzzle from that setter if it came with a sprinkling of easier entries.  Today, I’d say that we’re back to normal Tuesday levels of difficulty.  I found this puzzle a curious mix of clues so simple that I wondered if I was missing something and of complex clues so original and so enjoyable that they generated very big smiles.  I did wonder if the setter has been paying attention to recent discussions of solver demographics because pensioners and senior citizens both make appearances in the clues, and we also have a song that became popular decades before I was born.  Or perhaps, like many seemingly unlikely crossword coincidences, it really is all just a coincidence.

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.



7a    A centre in the Parisian ball game (8)
LACROSSE:  Join the A from the clue and a football pass from out wide to the middle of the pitch, and put that combination inside a French definite article (the Parisian)

9a    Closer game? Lose out, but well done! (6)
CRISPY:  The outer letters of CloseR (lose out) followed by a (1,3) guessing game

10a   Remarkable reign associated with a queen (6)
REGINA:  An anagram (remarkable) of REIGN followed by (associated with) A from the clue

11a   Tall tale about king causes disagreement (8)
FRICTION:  A tall tale or untruth containing (about) the Latin abbreviation for king

12a   Very imposing -- that's how actors are on the cinema screen (6,4,4)
LARGER THAN LIFE:  Taken literally, the answer describes the dimensions of actors viewed on a cinema screen

15a   Not even second chances (4)
ODDS:  “Not even” in a numerical sense, followed by S(econd)

17a   Strange, the two of us following one road? On the contrary (5)
WEIRD:  Inverting the word play (on the contrary), we want both the first Roman numeral and the usual abbreviation for road following a pronoun for “the two of us”

19a   Dog story heard (4)
TAIL:  A homophone (heard) of story.  Dog here is a verb.

20a   Pensioners initially sang in tune in minstrel style (3,5,2,4)
OLD FOLKS AT HOME:  Concatenate a (3,4) phrase describing pensioners, the first letter (initially) of Sang, and a (2,4) phrase we often encounter clueing “in”.  The answer is the title of a minstrel song written in 1851 and possibly better known today as “Swanee River”

23a   Deliberate trick by team on right (8)
CONSIDER:  A charade of a trick or scam, a sporting team, and R(ight)

25a   Sordid Greek partner, according to a Cockney? (6)
GRUBBY:  The two-letter abbreviation for Greek, followed by the Cockney pronunciation of a male partner

27a   Hit rower (6)
STROKE:  Double definition.  A hit in cricket or golf, and the rearmost rower in a boat.

28a   No thanks! Great! Don't mention it! (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL:  Link together NO from the clue, a short informal word of thanks, and a synonym of great or high



1d    Centre of inferior quality (4)
BASE:  Another double definition.  A centre of operations, perhaps.

2d    Making mistake chopping head off fish (6)
ERRING:  A common food fish without its first letter (chopping head off)

3d    Insect landing on fine meat (4)
BEEF:  Link together a busy insect and the pencil abbreviation for fine

4d    Fighting court case (6)
ACTION:  A straightforward double definition

5d    Area DI observing rules very closely (8)
DISTRICT:  Join DI from the clue and a word meaning “observing rules very closely”

6d    Promises no changes -- an error in speech (10)
SPOONERISM:  An anagram (changes) of PROMISES NO.  This error in speech enables a type of crossword clue that seems to polarize the solving community.  But how could anybody not love this clever clue for the same answer by Kcit in Toughie 776:  No promises to arrange bird-watching? (10)

8d    Bird in spring on river bank (7)
SPARROW:  A charade of a mineral spring, the map abbreviation for river, and a synonym of bank (of switches, for example)

13d   Also short of bubbly, etc (3,2,5)
AND SO FORTH:  A word meaning also, followed by an anagram (bubbly) of SHORT OF

14d   Hitch up in Hawick, they say (5)
HOICK:  The answer sounds like Hawick spoken out loud (they say).  If, like me, you were perplexed by this clue, it might help to listen to the pronunciation given here

16d   Reconstructed Swedish boxing ring is minor attraction (8)
SIDESHOW:  An anagram (reconstructed) of SWEDISH containing (boxing) the ring-shaped letter

18d   Current doctor caught head of clinic out (7)
DRAUGHT:  The usual abbreviation for doctor, followed by cAUGHT without its c (head of clinic out)

21d   Senior citizens love stories about duke (6)
OLDIES:  The letter representing a love score in tennis, followed by some untrue stories that contain (about) the abbreviation for duke

22d   Husband and his mother's sisters could be locals? (6)
HAUNTS:  H(usband) and the relatives that are one’s mother’s sisters.  Locals here are places, not people.

24d   Amphitheatre in Trier, in Germany (4)
RING:  The answer is lurking inside (in) the last three words of the clue

26d   Ointment from research centre spilled over motorway (4)
BALM:  A short word for a research centre reversed (spilled over) and followed by the single-letter abbreviation for motorway


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  The list of clues that I particularly enjoyed includes 9a, 20a, 28a, 6d, and 13d.  I smiled muchly at 9a, but my top spot this week goes to the clever and original 13d.  Which clues did you like best?


The (pangram) Quick Crossword pun:  PICKLE+OWES=PICCOLOS


93 comments on “DT 28482

  1. The laugh out loud d’oh moment when I realised what the game was in 9a means that this is my favourite today

  2. 3*/4*. This was very enjoyable and nicely challenging with great surfaces throughout. The NE corner proved to be fairly tough with a handful of answers there taking quite a bit of teasing out. There were several “mad hat” moments (e.g. 20a) so I wonder if this is the handiwork of Mister Ron? 14d will probably divide opinions but I thought it was great. 20a was my favourite with 9a hard on its heels.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron (?) and to Mr Kitty.

    1. I agree on 14d (I should have had it on my favourites list but I was ‘mesmerised’ by the two long non-anagrams). I ‘got it’ immediately, but I did have to check the spelling of the answer. As MP says below, Hawick was the home town of ‘The Voice of Rugby.’

  3. I needed help on 13D but loved 9A which gets my COTD. Many thanks to the setter & to Mr Kitty for the explanations.

  4. Enjoyed this, liked several clues, but for the life of me could not get the last clue (20a), so thanks to Mr K for the hint. Also liked the dog clip, and the ‘painful to look at’ illustration for 2d.

  5. Great puzzle today. The game at 9ac also made me laugh out loud. I wondered hor Mr K might get on with 14d which I believe was Bill McLaren’s home town. Ta to all

    1. Yes, after homophoning hay-wick and har-wick led nowhere, I realized that I needed to look up the pronunciation.

    2. Pommette read out the clue thusly – “Hitch up in, however it’s pronounced, Ha-wick they say”.
      To which I replied, “It’s pronounced Hoick – oh, that’s the answer!”.

    1. Yes indeed, so perhaps thanks are due to BD for helping us bloggers to improve our brain function.

    2. If just doing the DT back pager every day means your brain is ten years younger than your body then, with the number of crosswords I do every day, I’m in the weird position of having a body which is 64 years of age but my brain hasn’t been born yet :lol:

      1. P.S. Does anyone know who today’s Toughie setter is? Web site hasn’t been updated. Whoever it it it’s a very nice puzzle.

      2. Hmm – that sounds like fuzzy math to me – are you sure you weren’t sniffing too many chemicals when you were studying.

  6. Plenty of fun and no aggro today. Concentrated for sometime on champagne=bubbly in 13a and needed parsing help with 9a. 14d and 22d probably Favs. Thanks Mysteron and Mr. Kitty.

  7. Most enjoyable and even better knowing my brain could only be 80 this year. (Editorial comment) todays Daily Telegraph.

    1. You’ve left off part of your alias this time. Both should work from now on

      Like Pommers, given the number of crosswords I do each week, my brain is probably minus something in age, unlike the rest of me!

  8. I am afraid I didn’t like either 9a (got it, but the expression is very obscure for me at least) and 20a, again worked it out BUT also very obscure for me….rest fine, but these 2 greatly detracted from the enjoyment…

  9. Have now looked at 9a and realised my stupidity ie well done in cooking rather than congratulations!! Comment on 20a stands, though…..

  10. Don’t really know why but I didn’t enjoy this one at all. The easy clues were a bit facile and the complex ones not quite right. 1d was an awful clue. Not difficult but not for me.
    Thx for the hints

  11. Nothing too taxing, but the ancient song is a ‘don’t know don’t care’ job as far as I’m concerned.
    Lots to like though, with top spot going to 13d. Thanks to Ron and Mr K.

  12. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I found this quite enjoyable, but very tricky in parts. Was completely beaten by 1d, I always struggle with double definitions. Also needed the hints to parse 9&20a, and for the correct spelling of 14d, I thought it was “hoik”. Favourite was 9a, which I managed to guess. Was 3*/3* for me. At least my brain is now younger than my body 😁

  13. The illustration at 9ac looks like a map of North America. I am going to ask Saint Sharon to arrange my food to look like a map of the UK

  14. Advice please…
    When I have a good day and finish the back-pager after breakfast, I fancy doing another…The toughie is beyond me, so from the dailies, which is the next hardest, FT, Guardian or Times???

    1. Today I’d say FT then Times then Graun – but that’s just how I found them, others may disagree

        1. You can buy the paper – I know someone who lets me do the crossword in theirs

    2. Hi HIYD,

      On Mondays, there is always the Rookie puzzle on this site, yesterday’s was very solver-friendly too.

      In terms of dailies, could I suggest the Independent as well? Trying to put aside my own vested interests (!), their Monday and Wednesday puzzles in particular tend to be not too dissimilar to an average DT backpager in terms of difficulty, although other days can be more challenging. It doesn’t require a subscription either.

      1. I shy away from all the other crosswords on this excellent site (Rookie, Monthly and NTSPP) as they are usually written for the experts

        1. Beg to differ, Hoofit – the Rookie puzzles and Prolixic’s dissections of same can teach you a great deal whilst the MPPs and NTSPPs are great fun. Does it actually matter if you don’t always cross the finish line?

          1. I always go through the hints, Jane, of all puzzles, including the Toughie. I agree, it’s a great way to learn. The problem I always have is not finishing, but starting!! Once I can get half a dozen clues, I am ok, but I can never get that far!!!

            1. OK – then try Gazza’s suggestion – wait until the review appears and then use the hints to get the across clues answered before tackling the downs on your own.
              Worked for me – well, up to a point, I still fail miserably from time to time!

        2. The Rookie puzzles are certainly not written for the experts, Hoofit. As the name suggests, they are submitted by inexperienced and often first-time setters, although the difficulty level can vary considerably.

          As one of those who now has the good fortune to submit puzzles in the NTSPP slot, I can confirm that their target audience is far from expert solvers either, and again there is a wide range available from the not too difficult to the fiendish.

          I think if you tried some of them from BD’s index page, you might be pleasantly surprised at how well you do. If the ones you choose turn out to be too tricky, you can always try others. Mine are usually fairly solver-friendly, I promise!

          1. Thanks Silvanus.
            My skill levels have perhaps improved since last time I attempted one of the aforementioned puzzles, I will try again this weekend.

  15. Pleasant enough solve and I’ll agree with **/***. Fav has to be the Spooner clue. Nice to see the rev in the answer for once.

    Thanks to Messrs Ron and Kitty.

  16. Agree with Mr Kitty on the two levels of cluing today.
    I singled out 9a,20a and 13d as difficult to parse before reading the blog.
    I too had a d’oh moment when I saw through 9a, seems to be favourite for the clue of today !
    I was a tad perplexed too with 14a, thought it must be the Scottish pronunciation.
    Going for a 2.5/ 3*.
    With regard to 8d, no decline in the Tarporley population I’m pleased to say-several families empty the seed feeder every day.

  17. Some cracking clues today and ultra-smooth surfaces in what was an excellent puzzle I thought. I really liked 6d and 13d, but my overall favourite, because it was my LOI and provided a real “d’oh” moment, was 9a.

    Did anyone else notice what I tend to call “subliminal crossovers” in today’s puzzle? For example, the homophone in 19a is part of the clue for 11a, the Cockneyism in 25a is part of the clue for 22d, the answer to 20a is part of the clue for 21d and the answer to 24d is part of the clue for 16d. It’s not unusual to see one or two such examples in a puzzle, since a setter will have recently drafted clues fresh in his/her mind, but four or more is rare to see I’d suggest. Even if nobody else finds it interesting, I hope that Mr Kitty will!

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to the peripatetic Mr K.

    1. Yes, those links between clues are certainly interesting, and one has to wonder how many are coincidence and how many are, as you put it, subliminal. Unfortunately, I can’t see an easy way to examine that question quantitatively.

  18. Completed at a trot except for 20a. Can’t say I have ever heard of it. Otherwise */* for me.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  19. That was fun but lots more than 2* difficulty for me and I never did get 9a or the last two bits of 20a. :sad:
    It’s taken me a long time to realise it but I’m sure that I depend on anagrams to get me started – the fewer there are the more difficult I’m likely to find a crossword.
    I liked 28a and 6 and 14d and my favourite was 13d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K.

  20. **/**. Bit of a mixed bag for me. Some were just easy (e.g. 15&17a) but others were vague (e.g. 1d). Nevertheless thanks to the setter and Mr K. Today is our 43rd anniversary – as the old joke says you get less for murder 😀 – so we’re off to see Phantom of the Opera which we last saw in London many moons ago.

  21. Most enjoyable puzzle, though I never did get 13d. I couldn’t get “and to boot” out of my mind but not enough letters, missed the anagram bit.
    My Fave was 9a, but 20a was right up there. I love Stephen Foster songs.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his hints, particularly 13d!

      1. It is indeed.

        (Clicking on the YouTube icon appearing at lower right on blog videos should open them in a browser window that shows the caption and other information about the video)

  22. Back in radio contact after a week or so away on the boat. Enjoyed this one and found a handful of clues quite tricky, not helped by an unfriendly grid, but altogether a rewarding solve. Thanks to Mr K and our setter. 2*/3*

  23. Lots to like in this puzzle – 9a being a stand-out. However, it was spoiled for me by the 14d and 20a combination. I hadn’t heard of either, and I wouldn’t begin to know how Hawick might be pronounced. Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K for the enlightenment!

  24. Found this tricky, needed the hint for 9a ***/*** 😳 Favourites 6 & 8 down 😃 Loved the blog so big thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 😉

  25. Reassured about my brain function. Saturday’s completely had me floored. Yesterday’s good as I expect on Monday’s. Today also. Got 20a straightaway without many letters but could not parse. 9a very clever and different. 1a had me scratching my head. Resorted to the hint as I really could not be bothered on a hot day to go through the alphabet or the BRB. Apart from that one all very fine. Thanks setter whoever you may be and Mr K for hint to 1d and explanation of 20a.

    1. The BRB lists 167 words fitting the checkers for 1d, so even going through the alphabet takes a long time.

  26. I should have given 14d an honourable mention. Easy to get with the checkers even if you did not know the pronunciation of the town. Clever.

  27. I didn’t enjoy this as much as usual,but it was just about the right degree of difficulty for me. Glad I wasn’t the only

    one not to get 1d.

    Thanks to Mr.K for the review.

  28. Completed over breakfast but had to go out before the review came online.
    Really didn’t care for 20a – my own lack of knowledge of the song certainly didn’t help but, if you trawl through the lyrics, the phrase that is the answer doesn’t actually appear in it.
    I certainly did like 23a & 13d but the laurel wreath goes to 9a.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron – like RD, I’m tempted to lay the blame at the feet of Mister Ron although Paul is perhaps another possibility.
    Many thanks to Mr. K for the blog – loved the ‘agility’ clip and the ‘school report’!

    1. I fear that Mister Ron has moved from today to the Saturday slot. I also felt that some of the easy clues were not really his style, but if I’m wrong I hope he’ll drop in to claim it.

  29. I found this relatively straightforward yet struggled to parse a couple of clues, especially 20a, which pushed out my solving time if I include working out the bung-ins. Like many before me, 9a was worthy of a good laugh when the penny dropped, and was the clear winner as my COTD. Last one in was 1d. Overall this was 2.5*/4*.

    Many thanks to the Tuesday setter and to Mr K.

  30. In the illustration to 12a – is Trump saying to Merkel;
    ‘I don’t know how to break this to you………..our hairdresser has died’.

    1. :) Or perhaps he has said that Frau Merkel is not in as great shape as Mme Macron.

      1. You chaps are getting away with murder. I’ve been threatened with excommunication and I dare not say anything. Not to worry, you’ve said it all and I love it!

        1. Good point, Merusa. Perhaps next week I’ll be blogging from the naughty corner. Hmmm. I wonder if it has internet? :)

          1. I’m reliably informed that it does have comfy armchairs, scrummy cakes and a limitless stock of booze – who cares about internet connection!

            1. With no internet, there’ll be no blog.

              Ah – so there must be a connection, since people have commented from the corner. No probs then.

              1. As there are more and more of us being sent there, we won’t need the internet – we’ll just be able to talk to each other. A bit like a never ending Birthday Bash!

    2. Poor woman, she obviously was beside herself at whatever he said, now there’s a shock…not.

      1. I hope you’re on Medicare and not dependent on the ACA. At least they’re delaying it, unless, of course, they repeal without replace. I’m on Medicare and am concerned that the donut hole is coming back, so I hope repeal is delayed forever.

        1. Medicare thank goodness but who knows what they’ll try to mess with next. If they really want to help American businesses stay in the US they should go for a universal type of healthcare, such as they have in France, and lighten the load for the employer. On our recent vacation a German lecturer told us their citizens pay 300 euros for a single and 700 euros per month for family health care. Sounds like a deal to me.

          To be without insurance here is a really scary thought.

  31. Hmm, not sure what to make of this puzzle. I completed it without too many holdups and had to look for a COTD. Finally decided on 14d and 2/2* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

    1. Agreed – I got this clue from the crossing letters and didn’t have a clue (ha ha not) as to why it worked

    2. Many things it may be but it is certainly not beyond obscure – not even obscure. You only have to google it to find out. Many well known recordings by the likes of Paul Robeson and Louis Armstrong. The lyrics have changed over the years to become more politically correct. Some of the original lyrics would be considered racist these days. I could not parse it but got the answer from a few checking letters. I am certainly no expert on old minstrel/slave songs.

  32. Loved this one today, and would have finished much sooner if I had realized 13d was part anagram, and in 9a had not spent ages wondering what type of game “ispy” was – some new Brit game, and then I read Mr. Kitty’s hint… smack me on the head please. COTD was a tie between 12a and 20a.

  33. Nice to see a local town get name checked (14 down) and thought today’s puzzle was excellent.

  34. A very quick start, but the combination of 20ac (a song new to me) and 9ac put this in the upper realms of ** territory. Enjoyable throughout.

  35. Very enjoyable, lots of great clues…Unfortunately fell at the last as I did my usual trick and totally missed the anagram indicator for 13d
    9a – I Needed the hint to parse the answer, so a bit of a bung in
    20a – Had not heard of the song
    24d – Bit disrespectful!! OAP’s seem to have figured a lot in today’s crossword.
    My favourite was 6d.
    Thanks to Mr.Kitty and the setter

  36. Top end of 1* difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment. 25a made me smile. Thanks to the setter, and Mr Kitty.

  37. I liked 14d just because it was familiar territory. Although I had the ‘k’ as a checking letter I couldn’t work out 20a. I’ve just managed to get my electronic gizmos back after all the thunder and lightning, so many thanks go to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  38. wow – lots of comments on this puzzle. Along with others I loved 9a.
    Posting this a day late – today’s (wed) puzzle was a romp and finished at breakfast. So I’m expecting that the reviewer will conclude that its a mere *

    Now what to do for the rest of the day ?

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