DT 28529 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28529

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28529

Hints and tips by a Relaxed Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Written on South Loch Aweside (Uptown LA) where we are on holiday as guests of the wonderful Cliff and Janet who run Loch Awe Boats. Their TripAdvisor comments are Loch Awesome. I found this puzzle to be a little tricksier than the usual Monday offering. Thanks to Big Dave for fitting these hints to the blog template and underlining the definitions which he has to do all too often when I forget.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Take out and clean (5)
SCRUB: We begin today with a double definition. A lovely little word which evokes memories of my childhood. After a day out playing this defines how Mum or Dad would wash us kids. Always kinder by Mum and rougher by Dad. Also a winner word when playing hangman

4a    Newly-built homes, accommodating and attractive! (8)
HANDSOME: Anagram (newly built) of HOMES including (accommodating) the word AND from the clue. This word describes how my wife Saint Sharon sees me

8a    Pointless massacre produces funny reaction (8)
LAUGHTER: Take a word meaning massacre and remove its first letter which just happens to be one of the points of the compass

9a    Late item for the Press (8)
OBITUARY: Late here means dead, departed or pushing up the daisies. This clue refers to an item in a newspaper typically including a brief biography of the deceased. The Daily Telegraph does these well but only three words are ever needed ‘born blinked died’ such is lifeClick on the image for more examples.

11a    Unusually bad sign for the corporation (7)
ABDOMEN: Anagram (unusually) of BAD followed by a word meaning a sign or portent

13a    Watchful braves not taken by surprise (9)
OBSERVANT: Anagram (taken by surprise) of BRAVES NOT

15a    Sheds tears often, contrived to show compassion (4-11)

18a    Go to bed in rough sea, gloomy (9)
SATURNINE: Place a term meaning go to bed (4,2) inside (in) an anagram (rough) of SEA

21a    Little thing that makes pet run, we hear (3,4)
DOG FLEA: This parasitic insect can be found by using pet known as man’s best friend and a homophone based upon the word run meaning to run away from or to escape from.

22a    Digs seen in disarray produces extreme irritation (8)
EDGINESS: Anagram, yawn (in disarray) of DIGS SEEN

24a    In robbery, assume one does things for fun (8)
HEDONIST: Place a verb meaning to assume or put on inside a noun meaning a robbery

25a    Determined journalist following female donkey? (8)
ASSESSED: Please clue me in if I am missing something here. The Donkey we know. The journalist we know so well he must be nearing retirement age (as is the Donkey) To make anything feminine we can use a three-lettered suffix ESS. So the clue asks for a donkey, the female suffix and the journalist. I often say to new solvers stop reading the clues. This is exactly why.

26a    Icing the problem? A rug’s potentially the answer (5)
SUGAR: Anagram (potentially) of A RUG’S


1d    Sally is involved with transport curriculums (10)
SYLLABUSES: An anagram (involved) of SALLY followed by some transport

2d    Complete section of boxing match spoilt (5,3)
ROUND OFF: A boxing match is split into several sections. Use the name of one of these sections followed by a term meaning spoilt or when describing food, rotten

3d    Monster insect, with another, seen around hospital (8)
BEHEMOTH: find the names of two insects and place them around the abbreviation for hospital. One insect makes honey and the other usually flits about at night

4d    Object of the lady’s love? (4)
HERO: The female pronoun followed by the letter that resembles the love score in tennis

5d    One who might try a DIY cure? (6)
DOCTOR: “Physician heal thyself” The physician in question.

6d    Capital working unit set up in middle of road (6)
OTTAWA: place the reversal (set up) of the SI unit of power named after one of the inventors of the steam engine (the one with the statue in St George’s Square, Glasgow) inside the middle two letters of the word road.

7d    See agent keeping up energy (4)
ESPY: An agent of M15 (James Bond) is placed below (keeping up) the abbreviation for Energy

10d    Intoxicated, so Ted bet foolishly (8)
BESOTTED: Anagram (foolishly) of SO BET TED. I am amused by the use of foolishly when placed together with the answer. It describes Saint Sharon’s feelings towards me.

12d    Their job is to administer oaths, not sign (8)
NOTARIES: Split 3,5 begin with the word NOT generously given. In the clue with one of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

14d    Teacher after job for demanding employer (10)
TASKMASTER: Place a word meaning a teacher after a word meaning a job. Simples

16d    Cavalry forces (8)
DRAGOONS: A simple double definition The first being cavalry regiments and the second being to coerce. Don’t forget the letter S (forces)

17d    Developing and going round topless (8)
EVOLVING: Remove the first letter of a word meaning going round to reveal another word meaning developing as described by Charles Darwin

19d    Drunk’s in ladies’ garment (6)
TIGHTS: The ladies garment that superseded stockings. A word meaning drunk with the letter S as indicated by the apostrophe S appended to the word drunk. This clue seems clumsy to me

20d    They’re used for shooting varieties of products (6)
RANGES: Another double definition. Where people fire off guns in an organised environment or a set of different things of the same general type

22d    Exile’s home should be fit for revolution (4)
ELBA: The island of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte when reversed means fit

23d    Slough farm building perhaps (4)
SHED: Slough as in the removal of dead shin is also a farm building or a place of retreat for henpecked husbands

Solved and blogged in silence today. Such is life.

The Quick Crossword pun: DOUBLE+ACROSS+TICKS=DOUBLE ACROSTICSacrostics in which the first and last letters of each line form a hidden word or words

42 comments on “DT 28529

  1. I wasn’t very busy this morning, so had time to do this one early (which is unusal for me). I found it slightly better than the usual Monday offering and it was an enjoyable but only mildly challenging solve. It was good to see that obscure definition for abdomen again (11a), which all the regulars will know by now. 2*/2.5*.

  2. I am really not very good at spotting the partial anagram, eg 11a. And I needed the hints to get the female in 25a. Apart from that, a reasonable start to a Monday Morning.

    Many thanks to the setter an Miffypops.

  3. 25a. MP, no I don’t think you’re missing anything – the ? is there to indicate that “assess” is a contrived/humurous/daft synonym for female donkey.

  4. Even though I had some difficulty in the SW, especially with the ‘manufactured’ meaning for an existing word in 25a, this was completed at a gallop – */***.

    Two days in a row with double unches, not that they caused any problems on either day.

    Candidates for favourite – 3d, 6d, and 22d – and, even though I consider that 3d is an ‘excellent’ word (with very good cluing here), the winner has to be 6d.

    Thanks to Rufus(?) and MP.

      1. Two white squares together or double unchecked letters. Most puzzles have alternative checked and unchecked letters (white black white black white black) I never notice the grid. Others do.

  5. A very pleasant and diverting puzzle for a blustery Monday morning. Nothing too obscure or difficult, just good wordplay. 18a my favourite from the two insects in second place. Overall this was 2*/3* for me, with many thanks to Rufus, if it was he, and MP.

    We had two glorious weeks in a cottage on the banks of Loch Awe many years ago. Our border collie loved being in the water, and since that loch is freshwater, his craziness determined that was our holiday destination.

  6. Well, for me, ass-ess was the crossword ‘laugh of the year ‘. Enjoyable blog too – especially the clip of one of my favourite Dylan songs.

    1. The clip was meant to be ‘Brown Eyed Hanson Man’ by Buddy Holly. Goodness knows how we ended up with the master

  7. I found this more tricky than the usual Monday fare **/*** was it Rufus🤔 Failed with 21a not realising that there was a specific canine variety 😒 Quite liked the humour in 25a 🤗 Favourites 18a & 22d Thanks to MP for his blog which was awesome 😬 And to the setter

  8. Usual Monday Rufusfun. I was sure we’d seen the 25a lady donkey before and so asked the man with the data. The short answer is yes, it’s been well-used.

    (Re the italicised bit of the 25a hint: the trouble with such tongue-in-cheekery is that sometimes people might do something idiotic like take you seriously.)

    Thanks to Rufus, thanks to MP – and sympathies to Cliff and Janet! ;)

    1. Here is that data. It shows that the female donkey in 25a does appear to be something of a chestnut:

      Sat 12 Jan 2008 Telegraph Cryptic 25511 Estimate value of female donkey (6)
      Sat 3 Jul 2010 Telegraph Cryptic 26283 Work out value of she-donkey? (6)
      Fri 28 Jul 2017 Telegraph Toughie 1855    Sparks Fine female donkey? (6)
      Sat 29 Jan 2005 Guardian Prize 23364 Bunthorne    Size up Jenny? (6)
      Tue 7 Feb 2006 Guardian Cryptic 23683 Paul Judge foolish woman? (6)
      Sat 16 Oct 2010 Guardian Prize 25143 Paul Analyses dumb ladies? (8)
      Fri 14 Jun 2013 Guardian Cryptic 25974 Araucaria Rates for female quadrupeds? (8)
      Thu 19 Dec 2013 Guardian Cryptic 26135 Paul Judge the character of Jenny? (6)
      Mon 18 Jan 2016    Independent 9129 Knut Carries out tests on female donkeys? (8)

      Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to MP for the blog.

    2. The italics in the final part of the 25a hint were added by me – what I thought MP was trying, in his inimitable way, to say was that until you learn to ignore the surface reading of a cryptic clue you will struggle with solving them.

  9. Nice puzzle finished pre dog walking so they had an extra blustery walk.
    11a held me up just couldn’t parse it but Mrs Spook sorted it out.
    Favourite for me 3D and 21a.
    Thanks to a relaxed Miffypops and to Rufus.

  10. Enjoyable start to the week. All easy enough, but it took a while (as with some of you) for the penny to drop for 25a. */***. No standout clues for me today, best of the bunch maybe 25a, 6d and 3d.

  11. Slightly trickier than the usual Monday puzzle. No standout clues for me either but I will nominate 18a simply because it defied me the longest.

  12. Unfortunately we had EXPOSING for 17d so we couldn’t solve 21a. It seemed like a good answer – reference to photographic development and all! Pah.

    Thanks to MP, BD and the setter.

  13. Enjoyable Monday morning fare. All going swimmingly until I hit 18a which I became obsessed with fitting some version of “retire/retiring” into the answer because of the nicely spaced “T” and “R”. Errr …. not the sharpest knife in the draw.

  14. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. I was beaten by 6d for which I needed electronic help. I knew middle of the road was OA, but I kept thinking working=on, rather than a working unit. Knew it was a capital, but still couldn’t get it. 1-0 to Rufus! 25a made me laugh, but my favourite was 18a. Was 3*/3* for me. After surviving 10 days of hillwalking in the Lake District, I fractured my metatarsal walking to the pub 😪

  15. Didn’t enjoy this much today. Found it a bit clunky and half hearted. Maybe it’s the bad weather in the shires

  16. An undemanding and pleasant ride today. 22d was obvious but perhaps clue might have been a bit more specific although double entente of revolution perhaps suffices. Not keen on 25a or 5d. Thanks Rufus and MP.

  17. Well, 25a made my day, so I’m obviously a very sad person. An interesting start to the week and a little trickier than usual into the bargain. Fave already mentioned, and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to MP for his excellent review.

  18. I found it marginally trickier than a standard Monday puzzle, but full of the usual lovely Rufusesque touches.

    Plenty of candidates for clues of the day, I ended up selecting 15a, 12d and 17d as my personal favourites.

    It doesn’t seem quite right somehow not to see any comments from RD, Jane or Kath, but I’m sure normal service will be resumed soon! My thoughts are with our friends such as Merusa in Florida at the moment, I do hope that she and the others are all safe, and will contact us when they can.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Jane is drooling over her grandson on the Isle of Wight so we may not hear from her. My brother in law got through Irma ok but has debris to gather and dispose of so hopefully Merusa is ok too.

    2. I have heard from Busy Lizzie who has an intact house and roof but may be without power for several weeks. No news from Merusa yet

  19. Like heno, my last one in was 6d.
    Sorry to hear that he will have to limp to the pub for a little while.
    Not so many cryptic defs for a change.
    I like that.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.

  20. Late solve for us today after a bad day at bridge 😥 and we were being thick I think.
    Having only got 4 of the across clues we started to wonder if it was a “wrong envelope” day. But then we virtually cleaned the downs.
    Oh well – c’est la vie.
    Thanks to miffypops & Rufus.

  21. I got through it, but no laugh out loud moments. A slight smile at 25a. Thank you Rufus? and Miffypops..

  22. As ever, the least enjoyable of the week.
    90% takes the time it takes to drink a glass of Moroccan beer. The last 10% take until my patience runs out, no favourites.
    Thanks Rufus and MP

  23. An enjoyable start to the week, into *** for difficulty here. Last in 21ac and 17d, both of which I should have got quicker.

  24. Hello everyone. Been using the site for quite a while. At last moved (and have time) to say hello. Thanks so much to Big Dave, the bloggers and contributors for all I’ve learned from you. For example, ignoring the surface reading is a crucial skill as mentioned earlier. Have to say that the site is such a pleasure and perhaps the best example of criticism always being constructive and downright all round politeness on the internet!

    My friend who introduced me to cryptics is now in his 80s and recovered from severe post op problems via getting back into the crossword. Even he (who says he can’t use computers and doesn’t know what the internet is and doesn’t realise he’s using both on his phone) is a regular visitor here when he gets stuck.

    Loved today’s puzzle and the blog as usual. Thanks again from both of us! Keep up the excellent work!!!

  25. An interesting and enjoyable puzzle to start the week: 1*/3.5*. I liked 24a – and once enjoyed sailing a yacht of that name – but 3d was my favourite. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  26. Lovely stuff as ever from both Rufus and Miffypops. You must come to Ireland , sometime, Miffypops , and try the Beara peninsula , the place has been left behind in time ( except for fancy foods) in the most beautiful way.

  27. A bit late here – a whole day late as I didn’t have time to do the crossword yesterday – the story of my life at the moment.
    I thought this was straightforward but maybe I’m just particularly wide awake today.
    My last answer was 5d which was rather silly. :roll:
    I liked 8a and 17d even though I’ve seen similar clues/answers before.
    Thanks to Rufus and to the holidaying Miffypops.

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