DT 28496 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28496

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28496

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I don’t know who set today’s crossword and I’ve been wrong too many times to make any guesses but what I am sure about is that it’s not Ray T. Once I got onto the right wave-length I didn’t find it too difficult – a sensible number of anagrams, not too many and not too few, no obscure words and no sport.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            Broken-down gents is man’s task (10)
ASSIGNMENT — An anagram (broken-down) of GENTS IS MAN

6a            Hit book, ‘Mary’s Little Friend’ (4)
LAMB — A verb to hit or batter followed by B(ook) gives us Mary’s Little Friend in a nursery rhyme.

9a            Very stuck in one crack (5)
SOLVE — The abbreviation for V(ery) inside (stuck in) a word that means one or only.

10a         Undergarment itches when worn by Cleese? (4,5)
LONG JOHNS — The first name of the actor whose surname is Cleese is contained in (when worn by) itches or yearns.

12a         Unusual place is … unusual (7)
SPECIAL — An anagram (unusual) of PLACE IS

13a         Tor in African country (5)
BENIN — A Scottish word for a tor or mountain peak is followed by the IN from the clue.

15a         Tommy’s secret (7)
PRIVATE — A double definition.

17a         Type that is within parameters (7)
SPECIES — An abbreviation for a word meaning parameters or guidelines contains (within) the two letter abbreviation for the Latin ‘that is’.

19a         Feels sorry for river birds (7)
REGRETS — R(iver) is followed by some birds in the heron family.

21a         Cannot stand, and old Penny is similar (7)
DISLIKE — The one letter for Penny in pre-decimal currency (old), the IS from the clue and a word that means similar or resembling.

22a         Cold fish? Hold on! (5)
CLING — C(old) and a fish in the cod family.

24a         Disorder returns in Angola, I mean Algeria (7)
ANAEMIA — Our first lurker or hidden answer – he’s hiding at the end of the clue

27a         Soldier in appropriate American gear (9)
APPARATUS — A short word meaning appropriate or suitable contains (in) the abbreviation for a soldier carried by air and the usual two letters for American.

28a         Rule check announced (5)
REIGN — A homophone (announced) of a check or restraint.

29a         Fish doze endlessly going round (4)
EELS — A reversal (going round) of a word to doze or nap without its final letter (endlessly).

30a         Niece slept badly, getting sickness (10)
PESTILENCE — An anagram (badly) of NIECE SLEPT gives us sickness or a deadly epidemic.



1d            Father raises feet of pews inside part of church (4)
APSE — A reversal (raises) of a short affectionate way of calling your father is followed by the last letters (feet) of [pew]S and [insid]E.

2d            Washing part of leg — good after climbing mountains (9)
SPLASHING — A reversal (climbing) of some high mountains is followed by (after) the front bit of your lower leg (part of leg) and the one letter for G(ood).

3d            Grebes seen regularly, and other birds (5)
GEESE — The alternate letters (regularly) of Grebes seen.

4d            Doctor emails about a debility (7)
MALAISE — An anagram (doctor) of EMAILS containing (about) the A from the clue.

5d            No new benefit surprise (7)
NONPLUS — The NO from the clue, the abbreviation for N(ew) and a benefit or bonus.

7d            The woman in North America turned pale (5)
ASHEN — A pronoun meaning the woman goes inside (in) a reversal (turned) of the two letters for N(orth) A(merica).

8d            I spit in vehicles, creating concerns (10)
BUSINESSES — Some very large passenger vehicles contain the I from the clue and a noun meaning ‘spit’ or projection of land.

11d         Out of work? Jack has nothing to be thankful for (7)
JOBLESS — This ‘Jack’ isn’t our usual sailor – he’s a playing card – the one letter abbreviation for him is followed by the letter that looks like a zero or nothing and then a verb that means to be thankful or grateful for.

14d         Grasp treasure (10)
APPRECIATE — A double definition – which, for some reason, took me ages.

16d         One gets even angrier, initially, with five green bananas (7)
AVENGER — The first letter (initially) of A(ngrier) is followed by (with) the Roman numeral for five and then an anagram (bananas) of GREEN.

18d         Fake obstacle left out (9)
IMITATION — An obstacle or restriction that starts with an L is missing its first letter (left out).

20d         Alarm‘s gone off, keeping right time (7)
STARTLE — An adjective meaning ‘gone off’ or past its best contains (keeping) the one letter abbreviations for R(ight) and T(ime).

21d         Determined, seeing conked-out TV (4-3)
DEAD-SET — I’m not sure if this is a double definition or if the last part of the clue is just a cryptic way of saying the first bit – whichever it is the answer is pretty clear.

23d         Press: ‘Politician admitted to awful lie’ (5)
IMPEL — Our usual ‘Politician’ goes inside (admitted to) an anagram (awful) of LIE.

25d         A drink’s raised in front of Raphael’s last work of art (5)
MURAL — A reversal (raised) of the A from the clue and a drink is followed by (in front of) the last letter (last) of (Raphae)L

26d         Stake used in plant extension (4)
ANTE — Our second lurker – the answer is hidden in the last two words of the clue.

I liked 6 and 12a and 8 and 21d.

The Quickie Pun:- NOH + ARM + DONNE = NO HARM DONE

51 comments on “DT 28496

  1. Liked this one – needed the blog to fully justify every letter in ‘apse’, so thanks to Kath for that, and the rest of the review. Have been busy this week and have just read the Tuesday blog. What is going on? And where in God’s name has this inane ‘like’ button come from??

  2. Another very enjoyable Thursday puzzle completed at a gentle gallop – 1.5*/3*.

    Favourite – I don’t normally consider anagrams for favorite but today 12a is absolutely superb and takes top honours.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  3. 1*/4*. Although this was not at all difficult I really enjoyed the brevity of the cluing coupled with very smooth surfaces throughout. 12a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron for the fun and to Kath for her review.

  4. A veritable R & W for me today but no less entertaining for that. Had to check 13a. No stand-out Fav but thanks Mysteron for the fun and Kath for the hints.

  5. A toss up between 12a and 8d for the COTD. I will go for the latter. I agree with Kath that this was a very straightforward puzzle with little or no head-scratching involved, which does slightly reduce the enjoyment, so 1.5*/3* from me overall.

    Thanks to the Thursday setter and to Kath.

  6. I’m gutted Kath, I thought i had just rattled off a Ray-T!
    Very enjoyable, I thought it was a great crossword.
    1a was a bit cheeky, to drop the ‘s off the anagram.
    I liked 10a, but thought the clue should have two tall John’s to work properly!
    Fav was 19a.
    Thanks Kath and setter.

  7. Like RD thought the surfaces were excellent throughout , favourite 27a and 14d , obviously a DD, but I ,like Kath, took a while to see it.
    Going for a 1.5*/3.5* for a change. Nothing obscure as Kath says.
    Thought 20d was going to be an anagram until a few checking letters went in.
    Loved the quickie pun.

  8. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. A nice puzzle with some good clues. A bit on the gentle side. I needed the hints to parse 1d, the last two letters. I also got 21a wrong, with “despise”, no wonder I couldn’t parse it! Last in was 20d. Favourite was 13a, so subtle. Was 2*/3* for me.

  9. As RD said, this offering has concise cluing throughout and decent surface reads. Not a difficult solve but quite satisfying.
    Top two for me were 17&19a.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Kath for the nicely illustrated review.

    PS I was really hoping that when I logged in this morning those wretched ‘Like’ stars would have disappeared. Ho hum…….

  10. This was a joy on such a wet and miserable day. Lots of good clues, too many to mention. Thankyou Kath and setter.

  11. For the third day in a row I have completed at a fair canter and unaided, (or so I thought until the enjoyable blog showed the error of my ways with my careless bung-in for 21a.)

    Apart from that blemish, the good run this week goes against the grain and I can only put it down to some benign setting, or the fact that I am on holiday. Probably both, to be fair.

    Thanks to Kath for the blog, and to the mystery setter for the puzzle.

    COTD – 21d. Always my favourite type of clue, (unless of course the penny doesn’t drop, when I hate them!) 

      1. Thank you!

        I came across the blog shortly after entering the world of crosswords, and have to hold it largely responsible for turning me into the addict that I now am.
        Thanks to bloggers and contributors alike.

  12. I would like to propose a solution to the ‘stats’ problem: Mr K. could simply start his excellent breakdown of past crosswords with a statement to the effect that ‘only those keen on statistical analysis need continue beyond this point’ (or something to that effect). That way, any disinterested party can move straight on to Rabbit Dave (?). As for the ‘likes’ issue, I find this an entertaining feature on Youtube – but I personally think that it’s not really appropriate for the BD blog! (enter John Cleese with one of his ‘this is silly’ monologues) PS: I guess I was in the first trickle of folks joining this site – thus, apologies for having said nothing until now!

  13. There was a good variety of clue types, although a couple were old chestnuts (15a and 14d). I liked the misdirection in 9a (COTD) and 8a which vied for COTD. 9a won because it made me laugh. Thanks to Kath and the setter, what a nice way to while away some time.

  14. Like Kath, I have no idea why it took me so long to see 14d, my last in. All good, no stand-outs today.
    Many thanks to setter and to Kath for the blog. **/***

  15. No problems with this one. I agree with RD that the clues were clear and brief. But Oh Wise one aka Rabbit Dave could you explain to this greenhorn what is meant by ‘a smooth surface’.

    1. I’m neither a wise one nor Rabbit Dave but a smooth surface is a clue that sounds like a reasonably sensible sentence all on its own rather than just a jumble of words that somehow take you to the answer.

  16. I had to go to the dentist this morning, and as he is usually running late, I took the crossword with me to fill in the time. Today was the day he wasn’t running late, and I’d forgotten to take a pen with me anyway. Still, I was able to remember a couple of answers to start me off when I got back. 24a was my last in as I missed the reversed lurker. I ticked 16d, and 27a as favourites. Thank you Kath for the review and thanks also to the mystery setter.

  17. After Tuesday which left me seriously disheartened I ventured back to find that, apart from the Like thingies, normality had been restored. Well perhaps I should say what passes for normality in the magic world of BD’S blog. Enjoyed today’s offering because apart from a slight problem reading my writing I managed to complete it without too much external help. I rather liked 8d because it made me smile.

    1. Thanks to setter and most of all thanks to Kath for her explanation of my brainwaves. Hope to hear about George at some stage from his Grandma.

      1. Georgie, as he’s now being called, is lovely. He’s six weeks old tomorrow and very smiley and generally pretty good although he does have his moments! I see a fair bit of them all and have been up every week so far. Thanks for asking.

          1. No, it isn’t – he no longer has that much hair as all the stuff on the top has fallen out so he now looks a bit like a little monk – I keep telling his parents that the word is ‘tonsure’ and they both look at me as if I’m barking.

  18. Very gentle again today */***. Like some others I couldn’t fully parse 1d. I like the reverse lurker in 24a. 1a made me smile. 5a was a good one. But I think 17a did it for me today.

  19. Thanks to Kath for the hints which I needed today after I stalled. 1a went straight in and that is always a bad sign for me – I always start to stumble when that happens. Did my usual of looking at the across hints where I was brain dead, and then the downs fell into place on their own. Last in was also 14d. Don’t know why I couldn’t see it earlier.

  20. A fairly gentle work-out, but exceptionally enjoyable with highly-polished surfaces. Excellent stuff.

    My top three were 21a, 8d and 20d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath (I just knew 6a would be to your taste!)

  21. Lovely puzzle so thanks setter. It took a few more passes than usual which I always enjoy. Lovely blog as usual Kath so thank you. Not much more to say really.

  22. What a strange thing wavelengths are? I started in with dread thinking it could be RayT, but I was dead on this setter’s wavelength immediately.
    I liked so much, I find it difficult to pick out one as fave, but 10a, 13a and 8d stood out for me.
    Thanks to setter, please identify yourself, and Kath for the blog.

  23. Oh dear oh dear, a Tor is a hill and a Ben is a mountain, the setter needs to look at the BRB. If he thinks Ben Nevis is a hill, he wants to try climbing it!
    Apart from that, not bad if a little weak on occasion such as 14d.
    For me **/**.
    Thx to all.

      1. Rocky height=mountain, that’s a real stretch given that it derived from the Latin for Tower, hardly a description of a mountain!

  24. I have struggled with cryptic crosswords for years and found this website so helpful. I only had to click on the answers for 4 of the clues so am very pleased with myself. Dry enjoyable.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ann. Stay with us and soon you won’t need to click on any of the answers.

      1. Welcome from me too. As Gazza says stick around here and soon you won’t need the answers.
        If or when you don’t understand something all you need to do is ask and someone will reply, very quickly usually.
        Keep going and good luck.

  25. Nice puzzle today, nothing too demanding, once I got going! 8d was the clue I liked best and overall a solid 2/3* .
    Thanks to not Ray T and to Kath for her normal excellent review.

  26. I liked this puzzle very much. **/**** from me. I found it full of fun.

    I haven’t singled out a fave as I liked several clues, especially 10a, 22a, 24a, 5d and 21d. Many appreciative thanks to the setter.

    6a was tailor made for you, Kath, and the illustration you’ve chosen for it is delightful. I wasn’t sure if I had parsed 1d correctly, but I see from your explanation that I have, which pleases me. Many appreciative thanks for your lovely blog.

  27. It all went together smoothly for us with plenty of smiles along the way.
    For those people who want to check whether a puzzle is by RayT there are a couple of quick things you can do before even starting to solve the puzzle. 1) Glance through the enumeration. Ray never uses multi-word answers. 2) Look for the longest clues and count the number of words in them. If it is more than 8 then Ray is not the setter. Works every time.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

    1. I hope you don’t mind my adding just a few more Ray T indicators, Kiwis.
      He usually includes Queen – or the Queen – just a one letter abbreviation of the Latin word for queen or the two letter regnal cipher for our Queen.
      The real giveaway for me is that all the clues and answers in the Quickie are single words.
      Oh – and there’s quite often an old flame, or something similar which is ‘ex’.
      Of course the real giveaway is that Ray T usually does alternate Thursdays.

  28. Another enjoyable crossword – some fun clues along the way and nothing too challenging! 10a made me chuckle but 16d a real classic!

  29. Reporting in from the colonies. Telegraph cryptics also appear in Canada’s National Post – usually 8-10 weeks later.

    I just got round to doing this one and had a delightful time … mainly because this is one of the few that I have ever been able to solve in a single sitting. 27A and 20D were a challenge for me.

    I wish I knew who the compiler was because I would search out his/her puzzles since they seem to be at exactly the right challenge level for me.

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