DT 28484 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28484

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28484

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where we have endured an incredibly wet spring and summer to date. However, we may have finally turned the corner and hopefully dryer weather is ahead. We would gladly send our surplus rain to aid our fellow citizens in British Columbia where much of the province is literally in flames.

Are the several Irish references a clue to the identity of the setter or merely a false trail laid by Mister Ron?

The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers can be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   In which one sees fish thus given new flavour (6)
SEASON — string together a place where fish may be seen, an alternative word to “thus”, and N(ew)

4a   Look like rowdy males lacking a beer (8)
RESEMBLE — anagram (rowdy) of MaLES (lacking A) and BEER

8a   A formal garment, American — time for change? (6)
ADJUST — another charade; this time composed of the A from the clue, a shortened item of formal evening wear, a two-letter abbreviation for American, and T(ime)

9a   Accusation after having been elected and bearing authority? (2,6)
IN CHARGE — an official accusation follows an adjective denoting the status of someone who has been elected

10a   Erudite argument behind school book (8)
HIGHBROW — a noisy quarrel follows on the heels of a grammar school and B(ook)

11a   Financial means of explorer that’s lost weight (6)
LIVING — this explorer lost about fourteen pounds during his trek through darkest Africa

12a   Informal essay overlooking core department of hospital (8)
CASUALTY — an adjective meaning informal or without commitment followed by a verb meaning essay or attempt without its middle letter (overlooking core)

13a   Bemoan what’s in the heart of bitter German from the East (6)
REGRET — our first lurker of the day tries to fool us by also facing the other way; take the 6 middle letters (heart) of “bitTER GERman” and reverse them (from the East)

15a   Hard-up eccentric in seclusion (6)
PURDAH — an anagram (eccentric) of HARD-UP produces a custom practiced in some Muslim and Hindu societies requiring the seclusion or veiling of women from public view

18a   Local wearing something revered in Ireland, say (8)
REPUBLIC — a local watering hole is placed inside a revered religious object

20a   Call policy restricted in European capital (6)
DUBLIN — a verb meaning to confer a title (or a nickname) on someone followed by a policy or prescribed course of action without its final letter (restricted)

21a   Shoot perhaps in small film location revealing particular expertise (5,3)
SKILL SET — a hunter’s objective is inserted between S(mall) and a place where films are shot

23a   British firm backed about new-fangled oil as healthy food (8)
BROCCOLI — in this hybrid charade, we have BR(itish), a reversal (backed) of a shortened business firm, a very short Latin abbreviation for about, and an anagram (new-fangled) of OIL

24a   Exile might request it, given year in a poor district (6)
ASYLUM — Y(ear) resides in an area of run-down, dirty and overcrowded houses

25a   Bit of spirit’s shown by victory, say, somewhere in Canada (8)
WINNIPEG — start with another term for a victory, then place by it a bit of spirit (but not a dram), and follow up with a Latin abbreviation meaning say or for instance

26a   Increase unknown number occupying former flat (6)
EXPAND — place a letter used to represent an indefinite, unspecified, or unknown number between the usual suspect for a former husband, wife, or lover and a hippy-esque description of a place of residence


1d   What smoker’s left with after street drugs haul? (5)
STASH — the residue of a cigarette following ST(reet)

2d   Source of corruption in opulent sport dividing southern Germany (5,4)
SLUSH FUND — an adjective denoting luxurious or opulent and a noun meaning sport or enjoyment are placed between S(outhern) and the IVR code for Germany

3d   Sincere // kind of note (7)
NATURAL — double definition; the first an adjective denoting without affectation and the second a musical note that is not to played sharp or flat

4d   Gary is in slow car moving around transport intersection (7,8)
RAILWAY CROSSING — an anagram (moving around) of the first five words of the clue

5d   For this, a clue’s devised ‘with minimal sign of religion’? (7)
SECULAR — I see this as a semi-all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is intended to provide the definition and the wordplay is embedded within the definition; for wordplay, we have an anagram (devised) of A CLUES followed by (with) R (minimal sign, or initial letter, of Religion); I’m afraid that the clue does not quite work for me, I would prefer it to start “For this group, …”

6d   Advocate dropping good man, an impediment (7)
BARRIER — someone who represents clients before a judge appears without the usual suspect for a good man

7d   Name grand Frenchman on the rise that’s very active (9)
ENERGETIC — start with a charade of a word meaning to name or mention as an example , G(rand), and the most frequently cited Frenchman in Crosswordland; now reverse the lot (on the rise in a down clue)

12d   Part of mug I’d put amid trophies, sign of respect? (6,3)
CUPID’S BOW — fill trophies from which victors might drink with ID and follow with an inclination of respect

14d   Fail in devious ploy with bugle (2,5,2)
GO BELLY UP — an anagram (devious) of PLOY and (with) BUGLE

16d   Dry food, not good at a reduced price (3,4)
RUB DOWN — a slangy term for food without its initial G(ood) and an adjective denoting reduced in price gives what a rider should do to a horse following a brisk workout

17d   Home where the residents lay on straw beds (3,4)
HEN COOP — a cryptic definition of a residence for egg producers

19d   Soldier‘s retiring? (7)
PRIVATE — double definition; the first a low-ranking member of the military and the second an adjective denoting quiet and reserved by nature

22d   Shrinking section of government? I’m idealistic! (5)
TIMID — our second lurker today is hiding in the final three words of the clue, shrinking like a violet

Standing on the podium today I have 11a, 13a, and 12d with the reverse lurker 13a getting to drink from the victor’s cup. I must add an honourable mention for 25a which I expect Senf got without trouble.

The Quick Crossword pun: Halley+facts=Halifax

69 comments on “DT 28484

  1. I found that this came together fairly steadily. I didn’t much like the grid with all its double unches, I mostly liked the puzzle, and I loved Falcon’s concise and humorous explanations. Ticks today for 10a, 21a, 2d, 16d, and 17d. I was expecting to find that 17d was chestnutty, but my database says that that clue construction has not been seen here before. It’s my runner-up today, with the top spot going to the very smooth 16d. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  2. I agree with Falcon’s 2*/3* rating for a steady and enjoyable solve. On my podium today are 15a, 12d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

  3. I’m not happy about the use of “unknown number” to define N in 26a. The unknown numbers are X, Y and Z. N is used in mathematics to represent any number. Chambers gives “an indefinite number, esp in a series (mathematics), often (informal) implicitly a large number”. As N is the abbreviation for number anyway the clue would have worked perfectly well, and possibly better, as “Increase number occupying former flat”

    1. I can’t be the only person who started wondering whether I needed a Y, for example, before I’d read to the end of the clue and realised that the setter meant us to use N

      1. As a fellow mathematician I totally agree with BD. It’s certainly not the first time ‘n’ has appeared (incorrectly) as an unknown number.

        1. You are quite correct Penelope about the previous appearance of ‘n’ as an unknown number. In fact, it showed up as such in DT 28420 (published Saturday, May 6, 2017 in The Daily Telegraph) which appeared only yesterday here in Canada in the National Post — so was very fresh in my mind. At the time, Big Dave had very similar comments regarding this usage.

          1. Yes, I remember BD’s comment at the time, just thought I would add support today! Thank you for the hints

              1. I, too, was looking to place an “x” or “y” initially. However, I’m not convinced that unknown numbers have to be “x”, “y” or “z”. I seem to remember the formula for solving quadratic equations involved “a”, “b” and “c” as unknown numbers and Σn meaning the sum of any number. This raises a question of how rules-based our crossword clues have to be. I like them to stretch our imagination (Ray T?!) and they are more fun for that!

                1. a, b and c are just the coefficients, x is the unknown in a typical ax(squared) + bx + c quadratic equation. Anyone know how to make a squared sign on an iPad?

                  1. I’d say that what’s regarded as unknown depends on what one is trying to do,

                    If the goal is to find the parabola passing through three points then {a,b,c} in the quadratic become the unknowns. If I care only about the second derivative at the turning point then a on its own is the unknown to be solved for.

                    And while n usually stands for a general integer, often one needs two of them, which brings in m. And so on.

                    In my opinion this really comes down to a crosswording convention, not a mathematical one. And in that sphere the BRB is the law and it says what BD wrote at the top of this thread.

                    I don’t know if you can do a superscript on an iPad, but for posting here it works to use the HTML sup tag, which gives ax2

                    1. Never forget the wise words of Donald Rumsfeld: “…there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

                    2. :)

                      I don’t often agree with him, but in this case Rumsfeld was right. Those unknown unknowns are frequently the ones that bite you.

                      The same idea applies to people: It’s the ones who don’t know what they don’t know that you have to worry about.

                      One scary example comes to mind …..

  4. 21a was new to me although. I only solved it because nothing else would have fitted in.

  5. I took a while to get going on this one and even I (a famed non-noticer of grids) spotted the double unches 3*/2* from me. Thanks to Falcon and the Thursday Mysteron

    The Micawber Toughie is one that HIYD should try ;)

    1. Strangely, I didn’t notice the double unches until I was transferring my ‘paper’ solution into the puzzle web site for submission.

  6. Phew, I’m quite relieved to complete this. The East was painless but I struggled with the West for some time. No additions to my vocabulary today. Fav 8a or 16d. Thanks Mysteron and the early-bird Falcon.

  7. Like Crypticsue, I was slow to start and for some reason filled in the complete left hand side west of ,and including, 4d first.
    I did find some of the parsing ‘tricky’ and steadily completed the remainder of the puzzle . Going for a *** /**** as I did enjoy the solve, last in was 21-might have struggled without the checking letters.
    Liked the charades in 12d and 10a.Thanks Falcon for the picks ,especially 12d.

          1. To be pedantic (I like to think of it as rigorous), “two adjacent unchecked letters”.

  8. Surely as clued 1across should be seasoned? The clue says given new flavour not give new flavour?

    Quite quick today and only stalled a while at Dublin!

    1. Welcome to the blog, John.
      “given new” is just telling us to add the N. The definition is just “flavour” (which is what Falcon has underlined).

  9. I found this really tough and came to dead stop in the SW corner and needed help with 21a – tough enough for me!

    Golf, golf and more golf for the next few days – I’ve had a little flutter on John Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood.

  10. I did not find this all that easy and got there in the end only after a struggle. Thanks to Falcon for his explanations. I liked 2d and 6d best.

  11. Come on, Shamus, out with you!
    Enjoyed this one even though I did have to work at the left hand side. 8a & 3d held out for the longest time.
    For once, the game in 2d wasn’t Rugby Union – that threw me a bit.
    Like others, I wasn’t too happy with 5d but that was a minor complaint.
    Quite a few American terms today, I thought.

    15a gets my vote for the laurel wreath.

    Thanks to the leprechaun and to Falcon – Senf will be pleased to see the maple leaf!

      1. That was amazing, Senf. Never occurred to me that it was a ‘living’ maple leaf! What a fantastic concept.

          1. Nice try for the record, MP but it appears that Winnipeg had 3,600+ folk in their maple leaf. Also, since when did the legion poppy have a blue stalk?

  12. Like CS and Beaver I was slow to get going today – at least I’m in good company and for once even I noticed all the double unchecked letters.
    I spent an unreasonable length of time trying to justify ‘Berlin’ for 20a but getting 12d sorted that out.
    I don’t think I’ve heard of 21a and can’t spell 23a – the number of ‘C’s and ‘L’s always have a bit of a fight with each other.
    My main problem was 2d which was my last answer and one that I almost gave up hope of getting but did in the end.
    16d also caused a spot of bother.
    I liked 21a (eventually) and 1d and my favourite was 12d.
    With thanks to whoever set this one and to Falcon.
    I want to try the Toughie but have stuff to do first.

  13. Another Thursday puzzle completed at a fast canter, which I thought was very enjoyable with only a small amount of head scratching – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 2d and 7d – and the winner is 25a – well it would have to be wouldn’t it!

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  14. Very slow start with this one, started with SE corner and expanded from there, nothing too difficult no favourites – just took longer than normal.

  15. Must be a wavelength thing, and I wasn’t on it for a while. Having retuned myself, it all finally fell into place quite nicely, with 16d the pick of the clues. The slightly slow start pushed this into a 3*/3* puzzle for me.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron and to Falcon for his concise explanations.

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one. Needed the hints for 1,8,12a and 3d. I always seem to be beaten by double definitions, I wish I could do them. I liked 18a & 14d, but my favourite was 24a. Was 4*/3* for me. I think it’s a wavelength thing, but I found it very tricky.

  17. I, too, took forever to get started, but, once in and on wavelength, it went pretty smoothly.
    I’ve never heard of 21a, so was a bung in and last one in.
    I rather liked 11a and 15a, but fave was 12d.
    Thanks to setter, I really enjoyed this, and to Falcon for his review.

  18. I am with Mr Kitty re: the grid. I thought I was going to struggle but reasonably swift. A number of times I hit upon the answer but struggled to work out why. Got there without any help however but glad to read the hints to confirm and the comments. 25a was a given because of the first three letters but I was mystified as to why for far too long. I was left with the NW. Thought I may be in for a long haul but 8a appeared before my eyes when I was trying to justify August. This led to 2d swiftly followed by 1a, 3d and finally 12a. Held up by 12a as looking for the usual hospital department when could not find that had been looking to end with try before I got 3d. No complaints – thanks setter and Falcon. The ones I have circled are 8, 11 and 18a and 14d.

  19. Bit of a struggle ***/** 😏 I felt it was a little over contrived! 😬 Favourites were 8a & 11a 😃 Thanks to the setter and to DT for his blog. The two least liked answers were 12d & 3d (which after much deliberation I spelt with an “e”) 😕

  20. Like others, I was quite slow to tune in to the setter’s wavelength, the NW corner taking the longest time to unravel.

    It was interesting to see that others had already raised my doubts concerning “unknown number” in 26a and the construction of 5d.

    My top three clues were consecutive ones, 16d, 17d and 19d.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Falcon.

  21. A bit of a strange one today, quite a plod. I am another who completed the right side entirely before any of the left.

    There are some debatable clues, and I agree with the nose-wrinkling regarding 5d & 26a. I would add 1d to that; a drugs ‘stash’ is slang for a small amount hidden away for personal use – a drugs ‘haul’ is a seizure of a large quantity intended for distribution. (Not that I’m an expert on the issue…)

    Many thanks to setter and to Falcon for the review. X/Y

  22. Steady but quite arduous progress with this one. Had the whole RHS from 4d eastwards filled in in no time, but struggled with the LHS. Getting 12d proved to be key that unlocked the door and the rest fell into place, so I’m putting that at the top of the leaderboard. Thanks to Shamus (?) or whoever set the challenge and to Falcon, our man in the sou’wester and wellingtons. 2*/3*

  23. Unusual for me I have to admit that I did not enjoy this but suspect it was a wavelength thing. Thanks to setter for bamboozling me and Falcon for sorting me out.

  24. I appreciate underlining the definitions especially 16d and the explanation of how 20a works.
    18a is my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  25. Anybody know what the picture is of at 1a? Looks remarkably like a plate of ‘skinny fries’ covered in yoghurt!

  26. Glad I wasn’t alone in getting off to a slow start. 2d, 12d and 16d held me up longest, so thank you Falcon for the hints. Not being a musician, or paying attention in that class in school, 3d did not come naturally to me either 🙂

  27. A proper Thursday job. Like others I had the entire right hand side filled and the left with only one answered. A tussle ensued and I won in slightly longer time than usual. Thanks to our setter and thanks to Falcon

  28. Very enjoyable, and not too tricky. Someone mentioned the ‘s’ word (Shamus), if so I shall be delighted as I usually struggle with his clues.
    25a was my favourite today, thanks setter and Falcon
    Rant of the day : It is NOT “The British Open”, it is “The Open Championship” at least the BBC should know that!

    1. Don’t celebrate just yet, Hoofit. He hasn’t popped in to claim it despite my pleas. I’m presently staring dolefully at the only hats I have left – the waterproof bird-watching ones. I somehow doubt that they’ll prove to be very edible……….

  29. This didn’t pull up any trees for me I’m afraid. Nothing wrong with the puzzle, it just didn’t inspire me somehow. Oh well, such is life sometimes.
    2d was probably favourite, and 2/3 overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review.

  30. Perhaps I’m just off form today, but I really struggled, a definite **** for difficulty. Last in the NW corner.

  31. E side of crossword flowed very smoothly – getting 4d in first was a real help! W side a real slog – had to resort to BD to complete – a misentry for 1d didn’t help!! Some fun clues – 2d a favourite.

  32. Right on the 1/2* cusp, and 3* for enjoyment. My favourite was 21a, but 2d merits an honourable mention. Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Falcon for the review.

  33. I flunked today. I found this way too difficult. So many clues involving lopping off letters, which regular readers of my words will know is not my favourite type of clue by an ocean’s breadth. I found the synonyms tough to fathom too. Hey ho. Tomorrow is another day.

  34. Enjoyable stuff but we are clueless as to the setter’s identity. 2*/3* from us.

    Liked the reverse lurker, but 2d is our clear favourite.

    Thanks to Falcon (btw, isn’t ‘dryer’ in your preamble a noun rather than an adjective?) and the mystery setter.

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