DT 28493 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28493

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28493

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

Sorry for the late publication.  This was down to what turned out to be self-inflicted email problems.  BD

Another very nice puzzle today from Rufus. The most prolific of setters.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Go after funds to take in United (6)
PURSUE: We begin today with a rarely used noun meaning funds available for spending which contains the abbreviation for united. The answer should be easily obtainable from the definition used

4a    Good man joins other ranks backing ruler — it’s touching (8)
STROKING: A three-part charade. Begin with the usual good man. Reverse (backing) the abbreviation for Other Ranks and add a male ruler. Easy when you know how.

9a    Producing endless dried fruit (6)
RAISIN: Producing as in bringing up a family or maybe bringing up an issue minus it’s last letter (endless) will give this dried fruit.

10a    Look smaller, though unique (8)
PEERLESS: Begin with a verb meaning to look and add a word meaning a smaller amount or not as much to find a word that describes Big Dave’s blog.

12a    Failed Eastern hombre (4)
DUDE: Begin with a word that means failed, often used to describe a firework that has not gone off. Add the abbreviation for eastern.

13a    Wood works in church (5)
COPSE: Place our usual suspect for works inside our usual abbreviation for The Church of England.

14a    A shade too near the knuckle? (4)
BLUE: This shade is a colour. One that is used to describe a risqué style of comedy.

17a    Spirited relations (5,7)
GHOST STORIES: Spirited here refers to an imagined afterlife. Relations are narratives. Here is such a story.

My daughter was 4 years old. One morning I heard her door open and shut. That usually meant that she would be coming to our room to lay down with us. She never came in, but shortly after I heard her voice. Hoping she would go back to sleep I let her be for a bit. Then I heard the door open and shut again. This time I decided to go into her room and see why she kept getting out of bed.
I walked in and she had her eyes closed.
“Yes, daddy.”
“Why did you get out of bed?”
“I didn’t, I was trying to sleep but he wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept talking to me and asking me questions.”
“He? Who is he?”
“The little boy that was in my room.”
“Umm, sweetie that was just a dream. There is no boy in your room.”
“I know that. He just left.”
“Ok, well what was the little boy doing?”
“He was hanging from the fan and asking me a bunch of questions.”
“How was he hanging from the fan? With his arms?”
“No, with a rope.”

20a    Frowning with alarm — no time to reveal obvious mistake (7,5)
GLARING ERROR: Take a synonym of the word frowning and add a word meaning alarm or extreme fear without the abbreviation for time.

23a    A B C D F or G (4)
NOTE: What these letters are an example of musically. The E is missing from the list. Split the answer 3,1 to understand the clue.

24a    Change of heart for space traveller (5)
EARTH: Anagram (change) of HEART

25a    Lorry driver (4)
DERV: A cryptic definition of the awful fuel used in lorries

28a    Rickshaw operators who run the business? (8)
CHAIRMEN: A double definition. The first being iffy in my opinion, the second being perfect.

29a    He spoke famously of Circe corrupting love (6)
CICERO: Anagram (corrupting) of CIRCE followed by the letter that looks like the love score in tennis

30a    Tries to consume the whole vegetables (8)
SHALLOTS: Find a word that means tries, attempts or goes and insert (to consume) a word meaning the whole of something.

31a    Pitch a tent on American college grounds (6)
CAMPUS: Find a word that means to pitch a tent and add our regular abbreviation for America or United States. I don’t think there will be many takers for this hint.


1d    Showing off, scrapping knight with maiden and model (8)
PARADIGM: Find a word that means showing off which is generally associated with military might. Remove (scrapping) the chess notation for a knight and add the abbreviation for a maiden

2d    Gunners parachuting? Bit of a shower (8)
RAINDROP: The gunners here are the Royal artillery. Begin with their initials. Add an odd way of saying parachuting which is split 2,4

3d    University can upset this group (4)
UNIT: begin with the abbreviation for University and add the reverse (upset) of a word meaning a can. A can of baked beans of course.

5d    Crooked attorney sure to make legal tender? (8,4)

6d    Bellows, losing head in rows (4)
OARS: Take a word meaning bellows or shouts loudly and remove the initial letter (losing head). The result gives a word describing a means of propelling a boat

7d    Reformed ladies show the highest standards (6)
IDEALS: Anagram (reformed) of LADIES

8d    He’s after fuel cuts (6)
GASHES: Lift the word HE’S directly from the clue and place it after a type of fuel. The fuel used to fire up your central heating.

11d    One will provide care for a small charge (6-6)
FOSTER PARENT: A cryptic definition of those wonderful selfless people who provide care for children in need. Those who read John Timpson’s column in the business section of the DT will know that his wife provided such care for hundreds of children. Such people are society’s greats.

15d    Climbing frame — for ramblers? (5)
STILE: A cryptic definition of a device used to climb over fences or walls on footpaths. Mostly replaced by kissing gates now.

16d    Column seen in flight (5)
NEWEL: This flight is a staircase. This column is its supporting pillar

Image result for staircase nomenclature diagram

18d    Suddenly stop leading? Time to get your skates on (6-2)
FREEZE-UP: To suddenly stop followed by a word meaning leading gives an extremely cold snap.

19d    Former vicar in holy surroundings (8)
PREVIOUS: Place an abbreviation for a man of the cloth inside a word meaning devoutly religious

21d    Reduced fare for buffet users? (6)
SNACKS: A cryptic definition of a light meal or finger food typically served at buffets.

22d    A sweet’s served up in layers (6)
STRATA: A from the clue, a type of dessert, a small pastry, and the S from ‘S all reversed (served up)

26d    Lower section of natural river (4)
URAL: The lower section (last four letters) of the word natural in the clue. Although this word appears within the clue it is not a hidden word or lurker.

27d    One’s needed to travel and is in Virginia (4)
VISA: Place the word IS from the clue inside the official abbreviation for Virginia.

That’s all folks

The Quick Crossword pun: ducked+aisle=ductile

58 comments on “DT 28493

  1. A very pleasant and gentle start to the solving week from Rufus. Some nice misdirection, and a good clue mix. 11d just about my favourite and overall I agree with the ‘official’ BD rating of 2*/4*.

    Thanks Rufus and MP.

    1. Beware of official ratings.
      I’m watching a so called French comedy rated 2 stars. Haven’t even smiled once and it’s almost the end.
      I hate being off work with nothing planned. French TV is dire.

  2. I really enjoyed this although it took a while to get into the SW corner. Favourite clue has to be 1d and overall **/****. Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  3. A lot of head scratching for me, especially on 17a and 11d, and an unusually low anagram count for a Rufus; but still very enjoyable – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Favourites have to be the aforementioned head scratchers.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  4. good puzzle, certainly **/***, 16d was a new word for me but hey ho, 5d amused me for some reason……

  5. Rufus is the perfect antidote to Monday blues. His crosswords always put a smile on my face

  6. Well seem to be one of the first to comment today.
    Had trouble parsing 1d, was thinking of paladin and maidens when I saw the definition , not a word
    commonly seen in print.
    Thanks to MP for the blog pics – thought we might have seen Mr Bridges for 12a-loved the film.
    Agree with a **/****,
    Favourite 17a.Liked 29a, there was a female assassin called Cicero in a film , but the title eludes me..
    Last in was 16d, played around for ages until I remembered the ‘stair ‘ part.

  7. 2*/4*. Another good fun puzzle. I was slowed down in the NW corner having initially put “fairy stories” in as my answer for 17a but it all came out in the wash. 16d was my last one in; I realised at an early stage that it must be something to do with stairs but it took a while before the penny finally dropped.

    Special mentions go to 10a, 31a, 2d & 8d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  8. I managed to put the singular answer into 28a instead of the plural which threw my 11d. I then misread ‘layers’ for ‘lawyers’ in 22a so that gave me another set of problems. All sorted before the review went up. I think 23a was my favourite. Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops. Is this a new trend having a spooky question or has it always been there on a Monday ?

  9. Hoŵ nice it is to be back in Blighty although great sailing around the Aegean it was nice to feel rain on the face again. Dogs ecstatic and retirement looms for the second time. It will be nice to have a pit of goods beer.
    This was bit of a struggle having been away, but I triumphed over adversity 1d caused me some grief and 21d as I had Keys.
    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  10. Now I imagine 23a is a popular clue – but I’m sure it appeared in The Times last week.

    1. Variations of this clue appear regularly – my favourite version is in Toughie 770

        1. Just a coincidence with the timing. I’m sure Mr Kitty will be delighted to search out all the variations but they’ll never beat my favourite Elgar one.

        1. Me too…………I’ve just had to read The Owl and The Pussycat to fully understand!

          1. That takes me back to my childhood. I loved the Lear nonsense poem, especially the runcible spoon.

    2. 23a might be popular but I did myself no favour by opting for keys which of course ignores the “or” in the clue.

  11. Rufus being a tad more tricky (for me) which I for one am pleased to see. Agree with MP that the first part of 20a is very iffy; and with Anfield that 23a appeared somewhere recently. Thought 18d slightly dodgy too. 11d/20a held me up because I wanted to put ‘blatant’ in for the first word of the latter. Quite liked 8d & 1d but 2d just pips at the post.
    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  12. Enjoyable puzzle, liked 17a and 11d. Also liked the simple ghost story and the Dylan clip (stop yawning at the back!).

  13. I found this just nicely testing. Did myself no favour by ignoring “or” in the 23a clue and opting for ‘keys’. Favs 10a and 28a although they’re probably both old hat. Realise 4a is recognised by BRB, etc. but IMHO it’s hardly a synonym. I didn’t notice the late publication as I was hooked on all the touching (not stroking!) tributes from Passchendaele/Tyne Cot. Thank you Rufus and MP.

  14. Doubted for a while that this was penned by Rufus. I’m not entirely sure why but some of the definitions didn’t seem quite up to his standard – 21d for example.
    Nevertheless, there was plenty to enjoy – the penny drop moment at 16d for one.
    17a took first place for me with 13a a close second.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the blog – interesting clip at 14a, shame no-one told him to wash off the Factor 50 before he went on stage.

    1. I don’t think anybody can tell Dylan what to do Jane. It is a wonderful rendition of one of his best songs.

  15. Very enjoyable except for top left corner which really took some getting. Lots of clues where having got the answer you need to work out the question!
    Last in was 1d. Best clue for me was 25a. For me probably ***/** due to the top left.
    Thx to all

  16. Great puzzle and I found it slightly more difficult than the blog’s rating. Completed only by cheating and using electronic aid for 16d. I never knew that a staircase had parts other than steps and a bannister. Thanks to MP for enabling me to appreciate the cleverness of 23a. I liked 11d and 17a but my top clue was 28a.

      1. Just to be irritatingly pedantic, the newel posts don’t “support” the staircase (which would happily support itself without them) – they provide solid stability for the handrail/balusters (or balustrade).

  17. Nice start to the week; just a bit trickier than usual with some good misdirection involved. 25a was my favourite after it had held me up for longer than it should have.
    2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to a truncated MP for the review.

  18. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very good puzzle, to start the week. I just couldn’t get on the right wavelength, really struggled. Needed the hints for 12,28,30a and 18&21d. I liked 25a,but my favourite was 23a. Was 4*/4* for me.

  19. For the second week in succession, the Monday anagram count was well below average, which contributed to the puzzle being slightly less straightforward than normal. It was as enjoyable as always however.

    Interesting to see a wide range of favourite clues being nominated, mine were 17a and 28a.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  20. No complaints at all. Was a bit different for a Rufus I thought. There were some clever misdirections. For example at 15d I was sure I was looking for a synonym for trellis. This was one of my favourites when I got it together with 10 and 28a and 6d. Do not agree with Bluebirds re: poor clues. Only poor if not parsed correctly. I confess to failing to notice the missing E in 23a and only understood the clue at its best when I read the hints after completion. Ia Ib 2a were the last in before getting 17a. I had been in doubt for some time. Thought first word was right but G seemed unlikely for a penultimate letter for 1d. Did not get that meaning of relations. Satisfying once the penny dropped. Thank you Rufus and MP.

  21. I’m a great fan of Rufus, so no surprise that I loved it. We are in the outer bands of a tropical storm, dark and overcast with oceans of rain, so this was a nice distraction.
    I had to congratulate myself for remembering 25a, we don’t call it that here.
    Last in was the SW corner, 21d and 28a to be exact.
    Lots to like here, I’m going with M’pops and choose 11d as fave ‘cos they’re such lovely people, runner up is 17a.
    Thanks to Rufus and M’pops.

  22. Late again today – too much stuff to do.
    I enjoyed this one a lot.
    16 and 21d were my last answers – knew I was after something to do with a staircase but . . .
    I don’t think I’d have got 19d without the ‘V’ which was already in.
    Spent quite a while trying to make 26d ‘bull’ – well, he’s a ‘lower’ and so I looked it up to see if it was a bit of a river that I didn’t know. Oh dear.
    I was very slow to get 28a too.
    I liked 14 and 17a and 18d and my favourite was the 15d ‘climbing frame’ – made me laugh.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – who is it in you latest piccy?

    1. Eldest daughter Rosie. Saint Sharon. Younger daughter Joni. A very pretty trio.

      1. Lovely photo – I recognised Saint Sharon but only assumed the daughters – left to right or tother way round? Doesn’t matter – they’re both beautiful.

  23. Breezed through this lovely offering from Rufus **/*** until I ran aground on 16d 😬💨 A word that I know 😢 favourites 26 & 30a thanks to MP for the blog 😉

  24. Got beaten by the staircase thing. Thought it was level. Wasn’t surprised to find a horizontal column in Rufus’ world.
    Took a while to get the last two in 20a and 18d.
    Putting “short stories” first in 17a didn’t help either.
    19d favourite.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.

  25. I didn’t know the fuel or the column so came up short as there wasn’t any wordplay to get one to the answer – mostly GK required. I was able to see what the cryptic definition was asking for but simply didn’t know the terms (hopefully will be able to remember in the future). Apart from those two, it was all reasonably straightforward and enjoyable.

    Thanks to MP and Rufus **/***

    1. I agree with you – I did, eventually, get the answers but you either know the words or you don’t and there’s nothing from the clue to help.

      1. Indeed – maybe something along the lines of “Duke and Her Majesty against lorry driver” (pretty lame and probably contravenes setting law) but at least a couple of ways to get to the answer. Anyway, I think Rufus is a superb setter but if one doesn’t have the GK then it’s reference books required.

  26. I was completely off-wavelength and needed many of MP’s excellent hints, so many thanks.

    Thanks also to Rufus of course.

  27. Some beauties on parade here. 23a is wonderful. And I admire 17a, 28a, 29a, and 22d. SE corner gave me the only trouble. **/****

  28. Didn’t know the staircase thing. Otherwise no problems.
    Thanks MP and Rufus.
    Fav was the a,b,c etc clue.

    1. There is a difference between “fits in the space available” and “works”. Rainfall satisfies the former, but not the latter as it is not a “bit of a shower”.

  29. Enjoyable and slightly frustrating, as usual. Referring to 9a I would suggest that producing is more to do with giving birth rather than ‘raising’ which tends to come after production. Also in Miffypop’s description there should be no apostrophe in ‘…minus it’s last letter….’ since it is a possessive pronoun.
    My favourite was 23a although it took a while to connect it to music.

  30. Hello from me too. Not only do we have to solve a puzzle we then have to write a review. Predictive text makes a mess of some of our comments so we also have to keep an eye on that. I often say that I am a poorly schooled orphan boy. It is true. I am a poorly schooled orphan boy.

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