DT 28517 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28517

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28517

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

Good Morning from a sun kissed Downtown LI. Miffypops has cheered up and become verbose again This was an easy Rufus puzzle which should give newcomers a welcome sense of achievement.

Following on from yesterday’s comments about cheating when solving these cryptic puzzles I have this to say.

The aim is to complete the grid with all of the right letters in all of the right places.

Use whatever means you need to solve a clue. Surround yourself with the following. A dictionary, a thesaurus, an atlas and an encyclopaedia,

Pens or pencils and a notepad are useful for anagrams and writing out checking letters with spaces)

Familiarise yourself with online help such as Crossword Solver and an anagram solver.

Anne Bradford’s Crossword Solvers Dictionary is a useful tool.

Refer as often as you need to any of the above and also Big Dave’s site for the hints and tips

But please aspire to using these artificial aids less and less with the aim of completion using definition and wordplay alone with only occasional visits to your abandoned aids.

Please comment on your progress on the blog. We love to hear from you. One of my greatest pleasures is seeing a beginner progress through to tackling The Toughie.

Remember. It is only a crossword puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Orchestrated and recorded (6)
SCORED: A nice double definition to begin with. The first, orchestrated being written out in musical notation and the second, recorded being to have written and kept a record of the scores during a game such as cricket as did the late Bill Frindall. You can also have acquired drugs or had an enjoyable end to a night out which you can record with a notch on your bedpost.

4a    Sweet account I would pursue no further (4,4)
ACID DROP: Once you have ascertained that the first word of this clue is the definition you can unravel the wordplay thus: Begin with the abbreviation for the word account. Add the way you would shorten the phrase I would. Then add a word that means a failure to pursue, what you would do with a hot potato perhaps. This is a boiled sweet with a sharp taste.

9a    Improves compensation (6)
AMENDS: A double definition. To improve the texture or fertility of a soil or to make up for a wrongdoing

10a    What’s inside is revealed by bird in nest building (8)
ENTRAILS: An anagram (building) of NEST has inside it a bird, a member of a large cosmopolitan family of small- to medium-sized ground-living birds. The family exhibits considerable diversity and also includes the crakes, coots, and gallinules. They may or may not live on 18d. The answer is synonymous with gizzards which is a far more interesting word

12a    State in readiness to move in agreement (4)
PACT: The word state at the beginning of this clue suggests a homophone. What we say when we are all suitcased up and ready to go on holiday can sound like a word that means a treaty such as the one signed on May 14th 1955 in Warsaw. I have verbalised a noun in this hint and care not one jot.

13a    Have a good career as a traveller (2,3)
GO FAR: To have achieved success in the workplace is also to have travelled a good distance.

14a    Measure police service’s taken with energy (4)
METE: The abbreviation for London’s police service followed by another abbreviation, this time of energy

17a    I must enter complicated reading test, but go to pieces (12)
DISINTEGRATE: Anagram (complicated) of READING TEST and the letter I (I must enter)

20a    One looking for scraps may show it (12)
BELLIGERENCE: A cryptic definition of a noun describing hostile or aggressive behaviour.  Scraps here is synonymous with fights

23a    In a high position at work (4)
ATOP: We are gifted the word AT by our generous setter. We need to add the abbreviation for a musical work to complete the answer

24a    Want, we hear, to work as a baker (5)
KNEAD: A verb meaning to desire something is a homophone of another verb describing what a bread maker does to dough in preparation for baking.

25a    Fool left in bed (4)
CLOT: Place the abbreviation for left inside a small bed

28a    Pains gripping sick Greek hero (8)
ACHILLES: This child of the immortal nymph Thetis and the mortal Peleus can be found by placing a three-letter word meaning sick inside a word meaning dull prolonged pains. If ever I perfect the time machine I have been building and succeed in travelling back to the time this chap lived I have made a mental note not to mess with him.

29a    Selected socks needed in cold North (6)
CHOSEN: Place a word meaning stockings socks or tights inside the abbreviations of Cold and North

30a    Reduction, as included in order (8)
DECREASE: Place the word AS from the clue inside a word meaning an official order that has the force of law

31a    Pattern of Campbell being a follower of Plymouth? (6)
ARGYLE: This pattern made of diamonds or lozenges was used by the clan Campbell. The reference to Plymouth clues the second part of their football team name. After Saturday’s result they could append a third part. Nil.


1d    Stock reaction to panic (8)
STAMPEDE: Stock here refers to livestock and cattle in particular. This is what they might do if panicked. If you are in front of a herd that is doing this and in danger of death by trampling merely shoot a couple of the beasts directly in front of you. The rest will career around them leaving you safe and sound. Well that is how it happened in the westerns of my childhood.

2d    Not very bright getting on top of the players (8)
OVERCAST: Being above the players in a theatrical production or just being dull and cloudy

3d    Boy in a whirl (4)
EDDY: A watery whirl is also the shortened form of a boys name. Which boys name. Well it’s not difficult as the watery bit gives it away.

5d    Harvard graduate shows hypocrisy on a ship with Scotsman (12)
CANTABRIGIAN: A four-part charade. 1. Hypocrisy (4) 2. The letter A from the clue. 3. A two-masted square rigged ship (4) 4. A Crosswordland favourite Scottish chaps name (not Mac) (3)

Presumably this defines a graduate of Harvard university but it also describes a graduate of Cambridge University where my late brother went. This is an English crossword in an English newspaper. I would have preferred the English reference.

6d    It’s not fair — to be kept in it? (4)
DARK: If it is not fair it must be the opposite. To be kept in ignorance is to be kept in the *****

The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
“Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.”

Shel Silverstein

7d    Knocked down in rude dancing (6)
RUINED: Anagram (dancing) of IN RUDE

8d    Succeeded in exam in oral history (6)
PASSED: Golly bongs a third homophone. (You have to watch out for predictive text corrections when keying in homophone) To have succeeded at an exam can also be a description of the times history refers to

11d    They advance and charge (12)
MONEYLENDERS: A cryptic definition of those who advance loans and charge interest on their repayments

15d    Mountains in Arabian desert (5)
ANDES: This lurker can be found within the words of the clue. The word IN suggests a hidden word

16d    Begin to show surprise (5)
START: A double definition which should be obvious to all

18d    Welsh island fish definitely looking up (8)
ANGLESEY: This island off the Welsh coast is apparently ‘ jam-packed with things to do’ such as ,Explore Anglesey’s beautiful landscapes, hit the coastal path, relax in a spa and take in the sights, To find it use a verb meaning to fish and the reverse (looking up) of a positive word meaning definitely. Alternatively you can follow the A5 to the Menai suspension bridge.

19d    Words which carry conviction? (8)
SENTENCE: A set of words or a term of imprisonment

21d    Brief message about an unfounded report(6)
CANARD: Place the word AN from the clue inside a word meaning a brief message such as one written from the seaside on a Welsh island.  In France La Canard Enchaine is a similar paper to our Private Eye.

22d    This style of architecture had its points (6)
GOTHIC: A cryptic definition of a style of architecture noted for its pointed arches

26d    Fuel designed that deals with smoke problem (4)
FLUE: Anagram (designed) of FUEL

27d    Deity that’s witnessed in purest horror (4)
THOR: Another lurker (that’s witnessed) hiding within the words of the clue

The Quick Crossword pun: cock+owe+van=coq au vin

59 comments on “DT 28517

  1. Started at a gallop out of the gate but slowed down to a canter about a third of the way through – **/***.

    I wasn’t sure if it was a Rufus – there didn’t appear to be enough anagrams.

    I agree with MP’s comment on 5d; however, Harvard University is in Cambridge, Massachusetts so I suppose they considered it was permissible to ‘borrow’ the terminology. And, it became my favourite – with some of the checkers it was easy to put the lego pieces together with a Google check for confirmation.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  2. Even if Senf wasn’t sure it was a Rufus, I was! The anagram count might have been low, but there were too many other typical trademarks on show for it to be anyone else I reckon. Nice to see him back in his customary Monday slot after a short sabbatical.

    My two favourites today were 1d and 11d.

    Many thanks to Mr Squires and to MP.

  3. Maybe it’s just bank holiday oranges but I enjoyed this much more than the usual Monday back pager.

    Had a silly fail on 31a, leaving it until later and then forgetting there was a gap remaining when I checked my answers. I would have had to have solved it from just the pattern and the pattern though!

    The answer to 18d went straight in with a big smile.

    I liked 8d, and more.

    Thanks to Rufus and the cheerful MP.

        1. Not me – what on earth are you two rambling on about?
          Aha – just looked up the team. Are you perhaps referring to their scoring ability?

              1. Where did you pinch the white cat from – I don’t recall either of your felines being white?

                Still think my idea was OK – the team’s ability to finish with a ‘nil’ score does seem to be something of a pattern.

              2. Hah. I hadn’t even looked at your gravatar pic. All I meant was that oranges could be thought of as the opposite of blues. Coincidence!

                Nice cat, but I thought they weren’t keen on citrus (says she, munching on her third of the day).

    1. My OH is a supporter of the said team, so info flowing about the origin of the name etc. WW2 did for the street.

      I do remember the memorable occasion at Villa Park where we lost an FA cup semi final to Sir Elton John’s mob.

      Come on you Greens!

  4. 2*/4*. Great fun and nice to see Rufus back where he belongs. I was going to question 5d but MP has already done that for me. The Cambridge England reference predates Harvard by several hundred years, and is presumably slightly less obscure for those of us in the UK.

    Like Kitty, 18d brought a smile to my face and I have little doubt that it will be the favourite of one of our regulars. I can’t do better than endorse Silvanus’ choice of 1d & 11d as joint favourites.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  5. **/***. Liked 29a. MP, should ‘unfounded’ be included in the definition at 21d, otherwise it’s superfluous? Glad to see you verbose and happy again. Thanks.

  6. The usual gentle and pleasant start to the week. Did not know the pattern but familiarity with the lower reaches of the football league helped. 1d and 13d were tops for me. MP, I started out with no crossword knowledge at all in my middling years and have progressed to tackling the Toughie with little success so far.

  7. 1.5*/4* for this and a warm welcome back to Rufus and to a more verbose MP. Like others, I cannot see beyond either 1 or 11d as co-favourites. A perfect start to the crossword week.

    Many thanks to all concerned.

  8. Welcome back, Rufus – I’m sure that Merusa in particular will be delighted by your return, as indeed we all are.
    A gentle Monday solve from which I learned that I didn’t actually know the meaning of 21d.

    I liked 4a&5d but my favourite has to be 18d, of course! I’m not sure that the conservationists here would agree that the stock of fish in our waters is ‘looking up’ but I can definitely confirm to MP that we do have plenty of the 10a birds.

    Thanks to Rufus and also to a much cheerier sounding MP – St. Sharon must be mightily relieved.

  9. Enjoyable Monday crossword sitting in the sun at Towersey Folk Festival. Music obviously inspired me to finish quickly but needed blog to understand a couple of answers

  10. A pleasant Bank Holiday crossword to solve in the sun which is something you can’t say very often! 2/4* overall, and nice to see Rufus back in place. Favourite clue? Maybe 31a, just for old times sake.
    Thanks to Rufus and to the verbose mp for his review.

  11. 5d confused me, I couldn’t understand the ‘Harvard’ link – finding out later that Harvard is in Cambridge, Massachusetts put my mind at ease but I’m still a bit dubious about it.

    Apart, from that I enjoyed it enormously!

  12. Agree with rating today. Very enjoyable esp my fav 31a, had to Google the Campbell reference but the Plymouth part was obvious. Thought it was a lot easier than the ‘Quickie’.
    V pleasant in the NE today, sunny but not too hot, the dog likes it!
    Off to watch the cricket, it’s very exciting, good to see the Windies making a fight of it.
    Thx to all

  13. Nice one just at my level – easy and quick but with enough thought required here and there. Loved the ELP clip at 3d, haven’t heard that in years. Saw them live in Dundee in the early ’70s – one of the best concerts I went to , up there with Led Zeppelin and Stackridge (remember them?)
    Thanks to MP and Rufus

  14. Nice to be back from my travels 😃 I found it on the tricky side ***/*** I agree with the comments re 5d 😳 Among many I have selected 3 & 18d and 29a. Thanks to MP and to Rufus enjoyed the Quickie phrase 🐓🍷 😬

  15. Oh, Rufus, why did you forsake me? All is forgiven, lovely to see you back.
    I have to agree with M’pops re 5d, I had no idea it applied to Harvard grads as well; maybe it was Rufus trying to confuse us!
    I agree that 1d was clever, but I’m going with Jane and choose 18d as fave, remembering a super holiday there many moons ago.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for a cheerful blog.

  16. Three hours was too long yesterday.

    Today I cut at ** minutes and looked at your help for the remaining five.

    For the moment that must be my strategy before the bug (and that is what it now is) takes too much time out my days.

    Sorry to offer no comments to support your comments – again time is pressing if I am to retain domestic harmony

    1. Hi Tony. we ask people not to mention solving times in case it makes anybody feel inferior. Alas I feel it is too late for you to be able to please yourself and still retain domestic harmony. I had to get in quick and show Saint Sharon that the key to domestic harmony is free rein for husbands. She is far happier understanding this simple fact

  17. Nice crossword although 5d and 21d were beyond me. Loved the hint for 1a still smiling now. Thank you so much to setter and blogger.

  18. I have never actually completed a Rufus crossword and today followed the usual pattern of competing 80% of the crossword in the time it takes to drink two cups of coffee, the rest of it is a complete mystery.
    Thanks to all. I for one much preferred last Monday’s crossword, at least I could do it.

    1. Me too! Completed 80% of it and then ground to a halt and had to resort to the blog! Plymouth put me on the wrong scent, but as a Rugby League supporter I miss the football references :)

      1. Football is a no no for me too. As for Rugby League I cannot watch it and cannot see the point of it. I played Rugby Union for far too long and have been a season ticket holder at Coventry for ever it seems. I regularly steal time off to watch random games

  19. I’ve never heard anybody from Harvard refer to themselves as a 5d. The term is mostly used by their Yale rivals to teasingly imply that Harvard students are pretentious (see e.g. this in the Harvard student newspaper.)

    Thought the crossword was solid and the blog extraordinary. I believe that it now holds the record for greatest number of words. I agree with the sentiments in the intro: the best way to get better is to solve as many clues as possible, and aids make that process much more efficient for the beginner. That said, to progress it is essential to understand the wordplay, which is where this site comes in.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. The app I used to write it says 1139 words but there were edits aplenty when I cut and pasted it to the blog. I don’t think I have a final word count. I’m sure I have written more in the past. Some clues lend themselves well to a comment or a rant or a joke or a poem and some clues (anagrams especially) don’t. The main thing is to explain the clue presicely and correctly. The padding is just me having a natter hoping to amuse or annoy.

      1. A few hundred words above that, I think – but yes, I can well believe you have written more, MP!

        I agree with you that the main job is to explain the clue correctly and clearly. That’s surely what the vast majority of the visitors to the blog use it for. So hints come first.

        Those done, I too like to add extra titbits which some might find interesting or entertaining. I’ll settle for my wittering at least not getting too boring, though … and I definitely hope not to annoy! :scratch:

  20. Perfect peace for the first time in a week – need to go into hibernation but think it’s too early.
    I enjoyed this but, as always on Rufus days, got a bit hung up on a few answers.
    I spent far too long on 10a trying to make an anagram of BIRD and NEST before I finally saw the light.
    I’ve never heard of 5d but it had to be what it was however long it took me to get there – brain not fully functioning.
    I liked 13a and 21d. My favourite was 29a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – nice to hear you sounding ‘normal’ again although I can’t help feeling that could be an oxymoron.

    1. PS – Do we know for certain that last Monday’s crossword wasn’t a Rufus? I know that two weeks ago – well, I think it was two weeks ago – he denied any responsibility but did anyone own up last week?

  21. Enjoyed this today, wish I could say the same for the photo of ‘entrails’! ELP Tarkus .. that takes me back.

    1. I can only illustrate from the words provided. A search on Google images provided the image used. I had a very funny cat image but willl leave cats to the kitties.

  22. Was tricky at first and 5d bugged me too but hey ho. Shel Silverstein? Wrote some great lyrics for the early Dr Hook (Freakers Ball) and America’s answer to Vivian Stanshall (Bonzos) I think. Neither on Spike’s level though!

    Thank you setter and Miffypops

  23. Slow start at breakfast-time but gradually picked up thrust and then finished off the stragglers over a cup of tea sitting in glorious sunshine in the garden after returning home from a day out. (Now for something a bit stronger to round off the Bank Holiday weekend – cheers!). All in all not much for me to write home about but in line with several comments above I would select 1a and 11d as dead heat Favs. Thank you Rufus and MP.

  24. Beaten by 13a – won’t even mention daft answer I proposed for that one! Favourite 5d (made me think a little on an unthinking day). Rufus puzzles have a sort of ‘chummy’ feel!

  25. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week, not too tricky. Last in was 21d. Favourite was 5d. Was 1*/3* for me. Up in the lake district, cool and drizzly so far. Probably a scorcher down South!

  26. Welcomed your introduction, MP, and, of course, your hints. Listening to the bloggers can make one feel a real greenhorn. But I imagine there are many like me – still learning, and enjoying enormously. Thank you to Rufus too.

    1. Your hinty people have so much experience Jan. You can find photos of us in The Gallery with our grey hair. Except for Mr Kitty who is quite new to cryptic solving but has taken to it well and Kitty who I think is still a teenager and has little experience of very much at all but does so well. Our collective aim is to help you all along the way not to make you feel like greenhorns

  27. A pleasant mix of clues, some easy and some tricky. Living here in the US I had the advantage of knowing where Harvard is, but the disadvantage of never having heard the 5d term before. Wanted to put Cambridgeman, but it’s just didn’t work. 4a was definite favourite – I often spent my pocket money on 2oz of these (that’s all we could afford back in the dark ages 😢).

  28. Watch out! I’m in a silly mood today.
    Overworked and underpaid as they say.
    If today’s is not a Rufus, then it’s even worse than I thought.
    Had major problems with the long clues in 5d, 11d and 20a where I bunged in désespérance as I couldn’t get it. For 5d I thought I was looking for a Scotsman like a Caledonian or something but the only word that fitted at the time was cumbrian prat. Not very Scottish I thought.
    Talking of which, couldn’t see the title of the Dylan song as it was hiding behind the play button but the only word that came to mind was Twit… Or was that spelled with an A? I’ll never know.
    13a least favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  29. Well I thoroughly enjoyed this

    Got stuck with four clues. But that’s what it’s all about for me. I’m forever grateful for miffypops help and enjoyable blogs. Three days off now
    What a joy. Back pager before I get up. Spectacular fail with the Times later. What more could you want

  30. 1*/3*, l think, and a nice gentle start to the week. My favourite was 21d. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  31. Thank you Miffypops for your encouraging intro. I have days when I manage to finish on my own, and days when I use every gizmo going. I’m just delighted when I finish by any means. Who’s judging? Thank you for the review, and thank you Rufus for another fun offering. I loved 31a.

    1. Thank you Florence. I love the words ‘Who’s judging” Unless I hear otherwise I may use them in future. Although we have no job description from Big Dave I feel that if one were written then the word encouraging would be in there. Hopefully the word fun would also appear

  32. I just could not get on the wavelength of thus puzzle, (not starting until 21 30, when getting home from work, probably did not help)

    A shame, as a read of MP’s very entertaining blog showed what a very good puzzle it was. As usual my favourite clues were the misdirections, (looking for scraps; and, stock reaction)

    I didn’t have any idea about the Harvard graduate, and I thought the answer to 9a meant to modify (in any manner), not simply to improve.

    That said, an excellent puzzle.

    1. HJ. 9a: It depends on the context, amend can mean to alter or revise (legislation, for example) generally, but it also means simply to improve; change for the better.

      1. Thank you for the clarification Jose.

        I assumed what you say to be the case, but my experience is limited to reviewing contract amendments, where any intepretation of “improvement” is very much dependent upon which party is the beholder…🙄

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