DT 28518 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28518

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28518

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***/****


[Jump to Across or Down Hints, Quickie Pun, or CommentsHello, everyone.  Today's setter has created a pangram in just 28 clues.  I think that the puzzle is mostly straightforward, although there is a sprinkling of general knowledge that may cause some grumbles.  My opinion of the puzzle rose steadily as I wrote the hints and came to appreciate how the setter had constructed satisfying and entertaining clues from simple ingredients.  While enjoyment was at least average, I've lowered the difficulty rating a bit because it was a fast solve for me.  (By the way, I strongly recommend the toughie to anyone looking for a ***/**** back page level challenge today.  It's both accessible and filled with smiles.)

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it (or possibly do something else.)  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Instant credit check (4)
TICK:  A triple definition.  The third could be an Americanism.

3a    In New York, an opening for nurses, say, in a regime fixated by health and safety? (5,5)
NANNY STATE:  Insert AN from the clue and the first letter of (opening for) Nurses into the abbreviation for New York, and then append a synonym of say.  The answer is a Britishism for a government that introduces unnecessary and excessive regulations intended to protect people from themselves

9a    Paraquat found in water? On the contrary (4)
AQUA:  On the contrary instructs us to invert the preceding words to read "Water found in Paraquat", which is a hidden answer clue:  the answer is lurking in (in) the last word of the clue.  This is one of those rare cases where the definition does not appear at one end of the clue.

10a   These protect against spills in streets I've repaired (10)
SERVIETTES:  An anagram (repaired) of STREETS I'VE

11a   Son, scolded, drank from a bottle (7)
SWIGGED:  Link together the abbreviation for son and an informal verb meaning scolded

13a   Witty reply about securing independent job (7)
RIPOSTE:  One of the usual abbreviations for about or concerning contains the abbreviation for independent and a job or a position

14a   Film romance with young boxer perhaps embracing student at the start (4,7)
PULP FICTION:  A romance or tale preceded by (at the start) a young dog (boxer perhaps) containing (embracing) the usual abbreviation for a student or learner driver.  The film is a remarkable 1994 masterpiece created by Quentin Tarantino

18a   Welsh boy overcome by win in final (11)
VALEDICTORY:  A four-letter Welsh boy's name contained in (overcome by) a noun synonym of win

21a   Left with an escort, lacking energy and listless (7)
LANGUID:  Chain together the abbreviation for left, AN from the clue, and an escort or an advisor minus (lacking) the physics symbol for energy

22a   Children's author in vehicle, luxury one no end (7)
CARROLL:  Stick together a generic vehicle and all but the last letter (no end) of the informal name for a particular luxury vehicle (one)

23a   Criminal count had shot is critical (5-3-2)
TOUCH-AND-GO:  An anagram (criminal) of COUNT HAD followed by a shot or a turn (in a game, for example)

24a   Animal from heart of Tibet getting cross (4)
IBEX:  The interior letters of (from heart of) TIBEt followed by (getting) the cross-shaped letter

25a   Expression of annoyance by the old man, generous benefactor (5,5)
SUGAR DADDY:  A saccharine euphemism for a mild expletive, followed by a childish term for father.  There are some interesting web sites out there catering to these "generous benefactors"

26a   Leaders of junket accept vodka and coffee (4)
JAVA:  Take the initial letters of (leaders of) the next four words in the clue



1d    Time artist spent unwisely in part of church (8)
TRANSEPT:  Concatenate the physics symbol for time, our usual artist, and an anagram (unwisely) of SPENT

2d    Pot seen in snooker theatre? (8)
CRUCIBLE:  The Sheffield theatre that hosts the World Snooker Championship is also a type of pot able to withstand high temperatures

4d    Change the last word and penultimate of words (5)
AMEND:  Join the last word in a prayer and the penultimate letter of worDs

5d    Flipping lair contains rats and the like -- it doesn't matter (5,4)
NEVER MIND:  The reversal (flipping) of an animal lair contains the generic term for rats, etc.

6d    Berths here for the rest of the travellers? (8,3)
SLEEPING CAR:  A cryptic definition of the section of a train where travellers may rest lying down

7d    Act as witness at examination (6)
ATTEST:  Glue together AT from the clue and another word for examination

8d    Start of European flower festival (6)
EASTER:  Connect the first letter of (start of) European and a flowering plant to get the festival associated with eggs and bunnies

12d   Vogue, FT? Rich sorts present! (4,7)
GIFT VOUCHER:  An anagram (sorts) of VOGUE FT RICH

15d   Clubs enticed one in AA in Scotland (9)
CALEDONIA:  The playing card abbreviation for clubs, followed by AA from the clue containing a (3, 2) phrase meaning enticed and the Roman numeral for one.  The answer is ancient name for Scotland that is still used poetically

16d   Old doctor and I splitting fizzy drink somewhere in South America (8)
COLOMBIA:  The abbreviation for old, one of the usual doctors, and I from the clue are all placed inside (splitting) a brown carbonated drink

17d   Edited daily sex problem for readers (8)
DYSLEXIA:  An anagram (edited) of DAILY SEX.

19d   Ready for a trip to Warsaw? (6)
ZLOTYS:  A barely cryptic definition of the Polish currency (ready) one would need in Warsaw

20d   Overlooked a Parisian intimate being twisted inside (6)
UNSUNG:  Connect together a French indefinite article (a Parisian) and an adjective synonym of intimate or cosy with its interior letters reversed (being twisted inside)

22d   Imprisoned, Conservative put on years (5)
CAGED:  Follow the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative with a verb meaning "put on years"


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I enjoyed the mix of clue types coupled with some stealthy misdirection.  I thought there were a lot of clues with great surface readings, including 3a, 14a, 21a, 22a, 25a, 2d, 5d, 17d, and 20d.  Of those I have 20d in the runner-up spot and 17d in first place.  Which clues topped your list?


The Quick Crossword pun:  JUNK+SHUN+BOKS=JUNCTION BOX


69 comments on “DT 28518

  1. An enjoyable pangram – thanks to setter and Mr Kitty (Tuesday back-pagers certainly seem to have improved over the last year or so!). Top clues for me were 1a, 14a and 20d.
    I second Mr Kitty’s recommendation for the Toughie which is not too difficult but great fun.

  2. A toss up between 1a and 14a for my COTD. I thought this was a very enjoyable pangram but at the easier end of the Tuesday spectrum, so 1.5*/4* for me. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  3. I haven’t started this one yet, but not only isn’t it on on the back page or the inside of the back page – it is on the antepenultimate page! Has this occurred before, Mr K? :-)

    1. I’m afraid the pedant in me must disagree, Jose. Todays print edition happens to have a dust-jacket around it, but the crossword appears on the page which is on the reverse of the page with the masthead, and is therefore the back page.

      Oh, and the SW corner stumped me, so **** from me.

      1. My comment/question was tongue-in-cheek and rhetorical, as indicated by the :-) – I knew Mr K wouldn’t know such a thing. But the “dust-jacket” contains editorial and has its own masthead, so in my book is part of the newspaper. But maybe you are technically correct…

    2. Hi, Jose. I don’t have access to the printed versions of the puzzles so unfortunately I can’t answer that particular question.

  4. Completed at a gallop, except for 19d which held me up for quite a while until the grosz* dropped – 1.5*/2.5*.

    Favourite – 6d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    * One grosz is 1/100th of the answer, a Polish penny?

  5. 1*/4*. This was a straightforward solve, close to R&W, but still very enjoyable with accurate cluing and smooth surfaces, and a pangram to boot.

    We had a great triple definition in 1a to get things started. 26a was a new type of coffee for me. 17d was my favourite, with 1a & 14a running it close.

    Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K.

  6. 19d may well have been ‘barely cryptic’, Mr. K, but I’m ashamed to admit how long it took for the penny to drop. That plus the generous benefactor were my last ones in – how stupid is that!

    Very much enjoyed this one (Mister Ron perhaps?) and awarded ticks to quite a large number of the clues. 18a, 7,8 &17d all get podium places with the gold medal going to 3a – both for the clue and the brilliant depiction.

    I think that, particularly on ‘Kitties’ days, we should perhaps instigate a ‘favourite’ vote for illustrations as well as clues! So many goodies here – including the crossword setters’ mantra at 22a.

    Many thanks to whoever the setter may be and to Mr. K for an extremely enjoyable blog.

  7. Solve of two half’s for me, top straight forward *, lower half much more difficult ***, so a ** with a **** for enjoyment.
    Lots of imaginative charades today, my favourites-thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the blog pics-especially Miss Thurman .I loved this film which seems to split opinions- a celluloid ‘marmite’ .Watched the Hawkins film last night but couldn’t wait for it to end.


  8. I agree with RD on the rating of today’s puzzle and no clue stood out for me. That having been said I do admire the skill that has gone into the creation of the pangram.

  9. Re 18a I don’t have this meaning to mean final in my Chambers. What am I missing here?

    1. Welcome Sarah

      I think a ‘farewell’ is supposed to be fairly final – although saying that I have know people leave work and then return!

    2. Welcome from me too, Sarah.

      In the US an 18a address is a speech given at a graduation ceremony marking the end of a stage of education.

      Writing that has made me realize that there are a few words in today’s puzzle that are perhaps more widely used in America than in the UK (in addition to the third definition of 1a, 26a is a generic term for coffee in the US). I wonder if that’s where our setter hails from?

      1. Love the way you’ve rounded off the Americanisms for today by citing a US film rating for 14a in your reply to Angellov!

        1. Oops. I try to write here in British English and when I use Americanisms it’s usually deliberate, but that was just a tiredness-induced oversight. My bad :)

          For anyone unfamiliar with the US film rating system, R = 18 in the UK.

          1. It wasn’t intended as a criticism, Mr K – just made me smile. ‘my bad’ is a completely different matter though…………

  10. Great – I really enjoyed this kick-off to the cruciverbal week. Had forgotten the 14a low quality literature and was not aware of the film. Needed help parsing second part of 20d. Like RD I thought the synonymous trio in 1a clever and also liked 19d – probably both chestnuts? Thank you Mysteron and Mr. Kitty.

    1. As Beaver says, the 14a film tends to divide opinions (it does have an R rating). I think it’s brilliant. And watching it will provide context for those Direct Line TV ads featuring Winston Wolf.

      I too had expected that 1a would be a chestnut, but that particular clue is not found anywhere among the 410,000 clues in my database. It has come up several times with the first two definitions, but it looks like today is the first sighting of the triple definition. Same thing for 19d – I have no record of that currency appearing as answer in a cryptic. It seems like a godsend to a setter going for a pangram, but perhaps it’s hard to clue well.

      1. The only film I have ever found more confusing than 14a, is a film called ‘Memento’ with Guy Pierce, once you get it (which takes about three goes), you realise it’s brilliant.

  11. Great puzzle, definitely **/*** for difficulty for me and *** for enjoyment…..lots of great clues, so spoilt for choice re COTD

  12. A very enjoyable crossword – missed the pangram as usual.
    I was slow with the 2d snooker theatre – silly as I know it – Elder Lamb was at university in Sheffield and my sister lives there.
    Untangling 20d took a while – don’t know why – and 19d also took ages and I don’t know why for that one either.
    I liked 18a and 5d. My favourite was 3a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.
    Thanks also to Mr K and to Gazza for the Toughie recommendation – I loved it and if I could do it most of the rest of you will be able to as well.

  13. Also missed the pangram but very enjoyable. Although not strictly part of the clue I did like the thought of Pulp Fiction being described as a romantic film! Great movie once you have unravelled the weird time frame. His best though was Django Unchained IMHO.
    No great probs so for me **/****
    Thx to all

  14. A pleasant solve for the first day back at work. Some nice clueing and some smiley moments. My widest smile was for 19d when I realised what was required to provide the pangram, so that was my favourite. 2/4* overall.
    That’s to Mr Ron, and to Mr K for his review.

  15. I thought this was easy but was held up by 19d because I had not twigged that it was a pangram 🙁 */** Favourites 11a and 21a 😃 Thanks to Mr Kitty and to Mr “X”

    PS Had a little trouble with the Quicky as I had not come across 8a before, it must be Rugby slang 😳

  16. Last night I was listening to Radio 4 Extra, ‘A Good Read’ was on with Sue McGregor and her guests – Lord Carrington and Clare Francis – Lord Carrington chose a Lewis Carroll collection including ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – I was doing this crossword at the same time and did I get 22a – did I fairy-cakes – it didn’t help that I spelt ‘Colombia’ with a ‘u’ – doh!

  17. Had I realised we were heading for a pangram, I would have saved myself a lot of head scratchng trying to get 19d.
    Didn’t like 20d but enjoyed the rest .
    Thanks to all.

  18. If any one is interested the slightly tricky Quickie is a pangram too. More kudos for the ingenious setter

  19. Very enjoyable after yesterday’s struggle with Rufus. I would have said that this was actually a better crossword for the less experienced than yesterday, as there was such an good mix of clues, and not too tricky.
    23a was a bung in, until I read Mr.K’s hint, and 19d took some head-scratching until I saw that this was a panagram, and the misdirection of ‘ready’ finally cause the penny to drop.
    14a was a great clue for a great film, if it does need watching a few times.
    I had to check the definition of 18a.
    Thanks Mr.K.for a typically entertaining blog and to Mr.Ron for a super crossword.

  20. Totally agree with Mr Kitty, today’s puzzle definitely satisfying and entertaining. More so for me, as I was able to complete without a single hint or aid. Deliciously cryptic and no cricket knowledge required. 1a went straight in, starting me off with a smile (although that usually backfires), and is my favourite.

  21. Enjoyed this muchly. Annoyingly I couldn’t think of the right coinage to take to Warsaw. Other than that, no problems but not no smiles. :)

    Many thanks.

    1. Many, many moons ago, when I worked for BEA, I was sitting next to a wag who was on the phone. He was quoting a fare to Madrid to a caller and was asked if that was in British pounds, and he said, “no, madam, Polish zlotys.” I’ve never forgotten the Polish readies ever since.

  22. Like Jane, 19d had me flummoxed for a good while until the penny dropped (excuse the currency pun!) and I remembered that a “z” was left to complete the pangram.

    Good, entertaining stuff on the whole, although sixteen word clues like 3a aren’t really my cup of tea. Most appropriately I gave a 1a to 1a (!), but also to 18a, 23a, 17d and 19d.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Mr K.

    1. Interesting that you gave a 1a to 23a, Silvanus. I thought the surface read for both that one and 12d was fairly dire.

      1. I agree about 23a and 12d. They’re odd aberrations in a puzzle packed with smooth surfaces.

      2. Jane & Mr Kitty, I agree that the surface of 12d was a bit iffy, but I think 23a is fine as long as you treat criminal as a noun not as an adjective, i.e. “criminal (whom) count had shot is critical”. The whom doesn’t need to be explicit for the clue to make sense.

      3. I agree about 12d, Jane, but I interpreted 23a exactly as RD did and thought it quite clever. Hey ho.

        I was more shocked that you awarded your “douze points” to 3a! I thought you shared my dislike for such prolix (not Prolixic!) clues ;-)

        1. Quite right, Silvanus, but the picture it conjured up was so ‘grin-worthy’ that I just had to forgive Mr Ron for going two over the Mr T limit!

          1. 3a certainly would have been improved by a crisper definition. But what I find surprising about it is there have been only three clicks on the link to the Wikipedia entry explaining the answer, while the link to the Polish currency has almost 200. I was sure some non-UK folk would want an explanation of 3a, but evidently not.

        2. Now I’ll reply again with the right puzzle in front of me!

          You’re quite correct, Silvanus, and I did waver a little. I was eventually won over by the neat way in which the answer married with clue.

    2. I rarely bother to read the longer clues. The solution will usually come from the checkers.

  23. This one required some thought but not unduly difficult.
    I did have some difficulty with 25a expression of annoyance, didn’t know that. I also didn’t know the theatre in 2d, but bunged it in anyway.
    Fave was 3a, 19d came very close.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for the most amusing review and plethora of adorable kitties.

  24. Enjoyable and not too difficult. Setter a mystery to me but I agree about the Americanisms. 18a is from the Latin for farewell and in the legal profession in this country is used for farewell speeches/celebration given to a retiring Judge in Court (usually followed by a good lunch). I don’t think Final is quite right. No great problems but was not helped by the fact that I also put a U rather than an O in 16d and the wrong second word in 6d. My word worked I think but perhaps more usually used by campers and the homeless as well as travellers. SW was my last corner. Took me a while to remember ready= ready money. Words ending u – d and u – g alway have me going through the alphabet. I have circled 1 and 25a and 2 and 4d as my favourites. Thanks all.

  25. Oh dear. A complete can of worms of my own making. It was not a difficult puzzle. I just did some really stupid things. I had 18a beginning with ‘v’ and ending with ‘o’, and couldn’t for the life of me see where I’d gone wrong. I had to check Mr Kitty’s very helpful review to work out that I’d put 16d into 17d. I’d split 23a into (5-2-3) instead of (5,3,2), and 19d was a non-starter. It’s not been my day today…. I shall console myself by eating a large piece of courgette and date tray bake. ( Thank you Cryptic Sue). Many thanks Mr Kitty and thanks too to the setter. I don’t usually make such a mess of a Tuesday crossword. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

    1. Oh – poor you. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who puts right answers into wrong places – I do it all the time.
      I also split 23a into 5,2,3 – how did we do that? Oh well, as you say, tomorrow is another day.
      Really not sure about this courgette and date tray bake – sounds a bit odd to me – :unsure: – but hope it cheered you up.

      1. No idea what made me split 23a the wrong way. Unfortunately the tray bake didn’t cheer me up. I obviously didn’t make it as well as well as Cryptic Sue makes hers. My husband enjoyed it though, which is just as well, as there’s lots of it in the freezer. I do make other nice cakes, but this courgette cake was not my best. I still have lots of courgette left so maybe I could try a different recipe. Tomorrow I might be better off concentrating on the crossword rather than my baking efforts.

  26. A mixed bag for me – mostly very enjoyable, but there were a couple of nose-wrinklers, too.
    Many thanks to setter and to Mr K for the review (had to laugh at the sign :smile:)

  27. I’ve got two notes in the margin of this one. One says Pangram which I know is correct and the other says Shamus which, this morning, I am not so sure about. Nothing too tricky here and lots of fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

  28. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle that I found quite straightforward. Realised too late that it was a pangram, which might have helped me with my last one in and favourite 19d. Some nice clues, very entertaining. Was 1*/3* for me.

  29. Fun while it lasted: 1*/3.5*. My favourite was 19d – my last in. Thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  30. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle and even spotted the pangram although despite that needed the hint for 19d like several others. Favourites 17d and 20d. Thanks to all contributors.

  31. As I popped in to see if anyone found things difficult today, my interweb provider informed me that someone has just opened a bridge 48 times higher than a double decker bus.
    Please could someone inform me how many Peruvian rain forests the size of Wales you might fit into an Olympic swimming pool on top of these.

    1. Ps . Re17d. As no-one complained about the image, it appears dyslexia is humourous to all.

  32. Never got 19d. I thought the money in Poland was Euro anyway. Would never have thought otherwise.Not that it matters as I didn’t get the gist and didn’t spot the pangram either.
    Thanks to the setter for the challenge and to Mr Kitty for the review.

    1. But looking at your comment above at 31/2 maybe that provoked the change. We are not blogging to annoy or to upset anybody.

  33. Completed late last night except for 19d, which for the life of me I couldn’t work out. Readies rather than ready would have been more obvious :) Otherwise very enjoyable crossword.

  34. I liked it – but found it was not taxing to solve ! My favs were 3a and 5d !! You state –” ……I have…..17d …” which makes your solve all the more remarkable !!! :o

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