DT 28506 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28506

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28506

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty */** –  Enjoyment **/***


[Jump to across or down hints, quickie pun, or comments]  Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday Telegraph Cryptic.  We’re back in straightforward and solid territory this week.  Nothing too taxing in the solve and a few smiles along the way, although no real laugh out loud moments for this solver.  Surprisingly, we have just three anagrams today, and they’re all found among the down clues.  But for me the most striking feature in today’s puzzles was the pattern in the Quickie answers.

Click here for some musings about alcohol and crosswords

A few weeks ago Senf alerted us to a report that crossword solving helps keep one’s brain healthy.  Then last week CS mentioned a claim that beer aids crossword solving ability.  That reminded me about a recent study in the US which found that moderate to heavy drinking wards off cognitive decline.  Unfortunately, further research on that topic unearthed a slightly earlier UK study which found the exact opposite.  I suppose that combining the data could mean that, on average, drinking has no effect on brain health.  Or perhaps the crafty Americans partnered their drinks with a decent crossword.  Just to be safe, I think I’ll adopt that strategy.  Cheers!


In the hints below definitions are underlined and answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Sorceress standing by small birch (6)
SWITCH:  The abbreviation for small, followed by (standing by) a common synonym of sorceress.  Birch as shown in the picture

4a    Tea without milk or sugar for minister (8)
CHAPLAIN:  A three-letter word for tea, followed by an adjective describing tea served without milk or sugar

9a    Certainly not name of listener (2,4)
NO FEAR:  Concatenate N(ame), OF from the clue, and the organ that listens

10a   Blunt criticism from stalwart that goes to club (8)
BRICKBAT:  A stalwart or a rock, followed by (that goes to) the club used to hit a cricket ball

11a   Heather cuddled by Bill without hesitation (9)
WILLINGLY:  Crosswordland’s usual heather is contained in (cuddled by) an informal name for a Bill or a William

13a   Argument made by group against (3-2)
SET-TO:  Link together synonyms of group and of against

14a   Wallpaper may be put in one’s place? (3,4,2,4)
CUT DOWN TO SIZE:  Interpreted literally, the answer could describe the fate of old wallpaper in a room being prepared for new wallpaper (less cryptically, the answer could also describe what must be done to a piece of wallpaper to make it fit)

17a   Blubber’s found by obscene killing — complain very loudly (3,4,6)
CRY BLUE MURDER:  Blubber or sob, followed by (found by) a colour synonymous with obscene and a word for killing

21a   Complete shock when female is fired (5)
RIGHT:  Delete the single-letter abbreviation for female (when female is fired) from a shock or a sudden fear

23a   Quarrel after religious edict brings one to this Spanish spectacle (9)
BULLFIGHT:  A common synonym of quarrel follows (after) a religious edict issued by the Pope.  I’m not going to illustrate the Spanish activity.  Instead, here’s a fun song which also fits the answer

24a   Press dogged by one caller, not half sarcastic (8)
IRONICAL:  A synonym of press (clothes), followed by (dogged by) the Roman numeral for one and the first half (not half) of CALLER

25a   Liquid measure, litre, swallowed by girl, working (6)
GALLON:  The abbreviation for litre placed inside (swallowed by) a short word for girl, and followed by our usual word for working

26a   Date one person regularly in travel firm (2,6)
GO STEADY:  A charade of synonyms of travel or proceed and of firm or resolute

27a   Passionate tale gripping millions (6)
STORMY:  A tale or yarn containing (gripping) the abbreviation for millions



1d    Strong wines drunk, unknown number (6)
SINEWY:  An anagram (drunk) of WINES followed by a usual letter for a mathematical unknown or variable

2d    A pack of hounds may be completely confused, initially, over tracks (2,4,3)
IN FULL CRY:  Stick together a (2,3) (2,4) phrase meaning completely, the first letter (initially) of Confused, and an abbreviation for (railway) tracks

3d    Check on a dazzling display in ceremonial carriage (7)
CHARIOT:  Glue together the chess abbreviation for check, A from the clue, and a dazzling display (of colour, perhaps).  Who needs a ceremonial carriage when you have a cardboard box?

5d    Plant book under author’s name (5,6)
HARDY ANNUAL:  The surname of the author of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, followed by (under in a down clue) a book published once a year.  This classic Monty Python skit showcases the author hard at work

6d    Artist‘s picture — seeing that, what of it? (7)
PICASSO:  Chain together an informal contraction of picture, a two-letter conjunction meaning “seeing that”, and a short synonym of “what of it?”.  Information on the painting shown below is here

7d    A couple of books on Old Testament religious leader (5)
ABBOT:  Put together the A from the clue, two copies of (couple of) the abbreviation for book, and the abbreviation for Old Testament

8d    Element of unusual ringtone (8)
NITROGEN:  An anagram (unusual) of RINGTONE

12d   Fall from vessel and get carried away? (2,9)
GO OVERBOARD:  A double definition.  The first is literal, the second isn’t

15d   Rough Irish professional soldier (9)
IRREGULAR:  Fuse together the abbreviation for Irish and a full-time soldier

16d   Son worrying about rook showing sign of injury (8)
SCARRING:  S(on), followed by a synonym of worrying that contains (about) the chess abbreviation for rook

18d   Framework of room locked up by the Parisian (7)
LATTICE:  The room under the roof inserted into (locked up by) a French definite article

19d   Uncooperative suspect fainted (7)
DEFIANT:  An anagram (suspect) of FAINTED

20d   Having an unpleasant smell, writing fluid in pen (6)
STINKY:  Some writing fluid inside (in) a pen for pigs

22d   Unattractively large total before deductions (5)
GROSS:  A double definition.  The second is a noun and the first is an adjective (which I think would work better with extremely instead of unattractively)


Thanks to today’s setter.  There did seem to be a lot of charades and insertions in this puzzle, but it was still a pleasant solve.  No standout favourites for me today, but I smiled at 14a and I liked how the answers emerged from the word play in 4a, 18d, and 20d.  What was your favourite?


The Quick Crossword pun:  WAITER+WILE=WAIT A WHILE



79 comments on “DT 28506

  1. No problems but I don’t understand either the clue or the hint for 13a and 21a. What has TO to do with against and why is RIGHT complete?
    Some nice clues in 4a, 10a and 17a.
    I am sure the more knowledgeable amongst you will explain.
    Thx to all

    1. I don’t know about being more knowledgeable but I did think I’d got you to look at the dictionary where you’ll find both those definitions. The ‘to’ meaning against has been discussed more than once (and that’s an understatement)

      1. Ok I give you that the 18th definition for TO is against which I missed when looking in the BRB but nowhere does it give RIGHT as complete.
        So despite your apparent frustration I do look up these things in the BRB.

        1. Completely agree. Right = complete is a rubbish clue irrespective of dictionary definitions.

          1. Informal intensifier meaning ‘total, utter or complete’ according to my dictionary.
            “Irrespective of dictionary definitions”? Without dictionary definitions, crosswords would be a nonsense, let alone cryptic crosswords, surely?

    2. And 13a: If you’re listening to the neighbours arguing you might put your ear to/against the wall.

  2. Somewhat daunting first impression but then gradually began to see the light. Fav 4a hotly pursued by 17a. Thank you Messrs. Ron and Kitty (amazing the varied contexts for feline references you manage to drum up – love the 3d illustration!). What am I missing re Quickie answer pattern? – in fact made deciphering pun difficult for myself by settling on ‘ploy’ for 5a.

  3. A great shame the graffiti vandal in the picture at 24a didn’t add, ” 4. Innumeracy”.

  4. I agree this wasn’t difficult – thought there were some nice clues.
    I liked 14 and 17a and 12d. My favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty.

  5. Well I liked it a lot. It was solvable and fair. Thanks to the setter and thanks to our reviewer today who must wrestle with cryptic crossword puzzles as much as Jean Luc Chevalier with English English being his second language after American English

    1. Guess what I am having for supper. Cromer crab fresh in today from World of Fish in Lowestoft. Super visit but all our pocket money spent, saving up for next time.

        1. No they come in three sizes ready dressed, B also found some smoked eel and I bought some brown shrimps. Definitely Yum Yum.

  6. Solved whilst sat in the car at the local supermarket where her in doors was busy spending my pension. Almost a R&W for me, top honour goes to 17A,many thanks to the setter & Mr Kitty for his review.

  7. 1.5*/2.5*. I agree with Kath, even down to the choice of 5d as my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr Kitty.

    P.S. I agree very much with Mr Kitty’s conclusions from his musing on alcohol and crosswords.

  8. 1.5*/3* for this pretty straightforward but enjoyable offering from Mr Ron. 5d my COTD, the video of the cat the best hint, and the cleverness of the Quickie a work of art.

    Thanks to the Tuesday setter and Mr K.

  9. Horses for courses and all that – I really enjoyed this one and it got my day off to a good start.
    Podium places went to 4,10&14a plus 2,5&20d. 5d took the gold medal.

    My only slight hesitation was over 17a. I’ve never heard the phrase used with that particular first word.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for a fun blog. I did recall the 23a clip and love the bit where the chickens enter the fray! On the other hand, I hadn’t seen the Monty Python clip before – must check on the first words in my copies!
    The 9a feline looks decidedly regal – inspecting the troops, maybe?

    PS Thanks for the heads-up about the Quickie – I’m often guilty of only getting as far as the pun. Mr. Ron set himself quite a challenge with that one.

    1. Hi, Jane. I believe that the 9a picture shows trainee German Shepherd police dogs demonstrating that they have learned self-control. Which makes the cat even more fearless.

        1. Our old cat Charlie was as cool as a cucumber around dogs however fierce they were. Never backed down. Never lost if it came to nastiness. Not sure how he would have fared against these odds though but my money would be on Charlie.

          1. In a real set to I think I’d back a cat against most dogs. When we first had Annie she was six weeks old and tiny and we already had three ‘don’t mess with us’ cats. They taught her that cats needed some respect and in the first few weeks a very small puppy, with her tail between her legs, was often seen being chased round the garden by three much bigger cats. She learnt very fast.

            1. We used to have an 80lb lab who was totally controlled by our 12lb cat., who used to herd him into a corner and make him stay there …

  10. 5d proved difficult for me to begin with but when the penny finally dropped it became my favourite. Altogether a good backpager. Thanks to setter and blogster. What a witty, wordy, wonderful quick crossword.

  11. Oh – various comments have pushed me into doing the Quickie – like Jane I usually only get as far as the pun.

    1. Oh dear – that’s proved two things to me – I can’t spell 2d (never could but always forget that) and I didn’t know the capital of Canada. :roll:

      1. For once I was ‘with the programme’ on the spelling of 2d but I tried to give Canada the same new capital as you probably did!

    2. I thought parts of the Quickie were more difficult than the cryptic, xxxx – miserable person, v poor. I also couldn’t spell that garlic concoction!

    3. Just a gentle reminder that discussing the Quick puzzle (and other crosswords too) is discouraged by BD as it may spoil the solve for those who have yet to do the crossword in question

      I too was moved to look at it and thought the ‘special thing’ was very clever

      1. Thanks for saying that CS. I do not usually do the quickie but am moved to because of the positive comments and premature eradication of the cryptic.

        1. You should definitely do it – the quickie could have been inspired by your blog name :) . I love “premature eradication”. Might have to steal that one.

          1. That reminds me of the wonderful, possibly apocryphal, exchange between James Whistler and Oscar Wilde after Whistler had made a quick witted comment –

            Oscar Wilde: “I wish I’d thought of that”.
            James Whistler: “You will, Oscar, you will”.

  12. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very straightforward puzzle, that had some nice clues. An enjoyable solve. Liked 11a, which was last in, but my favourite was 14a. Reminded me of learning to decorate under my Dad’s supervision, he always said “Don’t forget to size the walls first.”
    Was 1*/3* for me.

    1. We used to help our Dad strip the old wallpaper off, great fun. Then when we went to bed, he would stay up all night until the room was done and ready by the time we all woke up.

  13. Well, well, well, we wish we were watching with wisdom when we worked on the Quickie. We had not noticed the clever setting, being too pleased with ourselves for completing the cryptic. Thank you to setter and Mr K.

  14. I thought this was excellent, great fun and full of entertaining clues.

    The Silvanus podium isn’t as large as Jane’s (she’s more generous with the medals obviously!), but today’s occupants of it are 14a, 17a, 26a and 20d.

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

    1. Not really, Silvanus – only the top three get medals, the rest just get a bunch of flowers and a handshake!

  15. Nice straightforward solve **/*** 😃 Favourites 4a & 5d Thanks to Mr K and to the setter 😜

  16. Over too quickly but nevertheless most enjoyable. Loved the long ones – only 17a of the long ones held me up a little. I got it after I got 19d. Last on in was 18d. Stupidly could not parse because I was not splitting the French word. Favourites 10 and 14a and 2, 5, and 15d. Thanks setter and Mr Kitty. No hints needed apart from the aforementioned parsing which I should have spotted!

  17. Much the hardest for ages, much harder than yesterday. On first reading I knew I was in big trouble, and so it proved.
    Bottom was fine, but the top was utterly unfathomable.
    Been through Mr.K’s excellent hints, and pleased I retired hurt early.
    Thanks all.

  18. Loved it 😍 Right up my street today. Clues I could figure out without any hints or electronic help. Jumping up and down day. Of course it is a 1* difficulty, but I’ll take it nonetheless. Favourite was 4a, followed closely by 5d and 6d. I realize that many of you will have found this one too easy, but definitely a pleasure for us dimmer folk, and such a relief after yesterday. Thanks to the setter for upping my morale. Just looked at the pictures and 3d looks just like our Rupert, but he would not be that brave. Thanks Mr Kitty and for the pic at 9a. Going to share both with grandkids later today.

  19. I thought this was a rather splendid crossword. I had to start at the bottom of the grid as I wasn’t getting anywhere at the top end but once underway all made sense. 5d was my favourite and overall 2.5/4*.
    Thanks to the setter (no idea whom after yesterday!) and to Mr K for the review.

  20. Very enjoyable, but I wouldn’t call it easy.
    I missed 3d, just couldn’t get it – dim or wot?
    Fave was 5d, but 17a was hot on the heels.
    Loved the clip at 23a. I don’t eat cow, or any mammals, so I don’t think of them as hamburgers.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr. Kitty for the super blog. I found the bit about alcohol and crosswords most enlightening. I believe I’m called a binger here in the US, I buy my Famous Grouse by six botts in the 1.75L size and it never seems to last very long! Oh well, at my age I’m allowed.

  21. Got around to doing this later than usual because of grand parenting duties. It was not taxing but enjoyable all the same. Following in the illustrious steps of RD I too nominate 5d as my top clue. Mr K, thank you for the wonderful Monty Python skit and the photo of the fearless feline though I am a dog lover myself.

  22. My dearly beloved wife did most of this one – and asked me to say that she liked it because it was so very doable. I won’t give a rating based on an unbalanced joint effort, although I can happily confirm that we both liked 14a and 17a on account of an entertaining streak of originality.

  23. I found it quite tricky to get started. I think 17a was my first one in.
    26a is very a dated phrase .
    Overall very enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty .

    1. I agree with you about 26a. These days (sounding like Methuselah here) they start off ‘seeing someone’ and then they become boyfriend and girlfriend but apparently, and according to my Younger Lamb who is in this position, there has to be a ‘conversation’ first. When they become ‘partners’ is still a mystery to me but I live in hope! Can anyone else, perhaps of the younger generation, cast any more light on this?

      1. I don’t think anything has changed since the dawn of man, Kath. Pregnancy?
        I’ve got a funny feeling I’m going to be ‘Grandad Roy’ in the not-too-distant, but I think my daughter is still considered a ‘girlfriend’ by her ‘partner’.

      2. Elder daughter only began referring to her man as her ‘partner’ once they started living together on a full time basis – not sure that’s a ‘rule’ though!

  24. A little slow to get started, but once I did I swiftly finished, in about */** time. :-) Nice pic from Doctor Who!

  25. It all slotted together smoothly for us with the two long answers across the centre of the grid taking the top spots. Not sure who the setter is. It could be the same as last Tuesday but we’re far from confident about that guess as he’s usually trickier than we found this.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  26. Hallelujah!! We’ve just completed our first cryptic crossword with your help! Your clues helped us home in on the important bits, and how to work out the answers. We didn’t cheat, much, but your explanations made things much clearer.

    1. Welcome from me too, Em, and thanks for that. Congratulations on your first completion.

  27. A difficult one to get started but then flowed reasonably well. Some excellent clues – favourites being 5d and 14a.

  28. 1*/3*, and my favourite was14a. Gentle, but not without its charms. Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty.

  29. Enjoyed this one, although not tricky. Liked all the clues, disliked none. Ta to all. 1*/3*

  30. My cat certainly had 9a. It could see off the neighbour’s corgi any day of the week. 14a was my favourite clue. It reminded me of the time when I was newly married and my husband and I both travelled around a lot with our jobs. We didn’t have time to decorate and got someone in…. I wouldn’t have called him a decorator. I’d forgotten to take one of the pictures off the wall, and when I eventually got home, I was impressed he had taken the picture down, and put it back. Only he hadn’t. He’d cut round the picture, leaving a rectangular hole in the wallpaper. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty

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