DT 28542 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28542

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28542

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, and welcome to a back-pager that might be described as Tuesdayish, since it has everything one might want on a Tuesday.  There are simple clues that provide a foothold and lull you into thinking that it'll be a read and write, there are a handful of trickier ones that get you scratching your head, and then the solve is rounded off with more pondering and big smiles when you realize that some of the bung-ins aren't that simple to parse after all.  At least that's how it was for me.  I look forward to hearing about your experiences with it.

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



7a    Prediction concerning English players (8)
FORECAST:  We start with a straightforward charade.  Concatenate a three-letter synonym of concerning, the abbreviation for English, and a term for the players in a theatrical production

9a    Cooked piece following right set of instructions (6)
RECIPE:  Put an anagram (cooked) of PIECE after (following) the abbreviation for right

10a   List of charges resulting from spat about a Republican (6)
TARIFF:  A spat or minor disagreement contains (about) A from the clue and the abbreviation for Republican

11a   Pause at these, I suspect (8)
HESITATE:  An anagram (suspect) of AT THESE I

12a   What sales rep wants in embassy? (4,10)
HIGH COMMISSION:  A part cryptic double definition.  An embassy of one Commonwealth country in another could also be the goal of somebody in sales

15a   British vessel, sailing ship (4)
BARK:  Link together the abbreviation for British and a biblical vessel laden with animals.

17a   Children's game next to American river (5)
TAGUS:  Prepend a children's game involving chasing to an abbreviation for American.  The answer is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula

19a   One in lobby nearly manages to get flag down (4)
HAIL:  Insert the first Roman numeral in all but the last letter (nearly) of a lobby or passage

20a   Game of catch, then rest (8,6)
CONTRACT BRIDGE:  The first word of the answer is a synonym of catch (an illness, perhaps).  The second is a rest for a snooker cue, as shown in the picture.  The whole is a card game

23a   R&A 'links'? Wrong area in country (3,5)
SRI LANKA:  An anagram (wrong) of R A LINKS, followed by the abbreviation for area

25a   Sieve and cooking device, but no opener (6)
RIDDLE:  This coarse sieve is used with soil.  Find him by deleting the first letter (. . .  but no opener) from a flat metal cooking surface

27a   Fix waste pipe at the end (6)
SCRAPE:  Stick together a synonym of waste and the last letter of (. . .  at the end) of pipE

28a   Chief villain in film may be unbalanced (3-5)
TOP-HEAVY:  The answer without its hyphen could describe the chief villain in a film



1d    Piece of furniture, as yet incomplete (4)
SOFA:  A (2,3) phrase meaning "as yet" without its last letter (incomplete)

2d    Rather natural, conceivably, without a distinctive taste (6)
RELISH:  Invent an adjective that could mean (conceivably) "rather natural", and delete its A (without a)

3d    Long hold-up heading off (4)
ITCH:  Remove the initial letter (heading off) from a hold-up or problem

4d    Conservative rebels in moments of truth (6)
CRISES:  Follow the abbreviation for Conservative with a verb synonym of rebels

5d    Glaswegian, perhaps, given to habitual drinking round clubs (8)
SCOTTISH:  An adjective meaning "given to habitual drinking" contains (round) the playing card abbreviation for clubs.  I initially thought that this adjective was also invented, but it does in fact appear in Chambers

6d    Honest and winning still (10)
UPSTANDING:  Combine a synonym of winning (as in "United are winning 4-0") and an adjective meaning still

8d    Offend a female head (7)
AFFRONT:  Assemble the A from the clue, the abbreviation for female, and a synonym of head (of a queue, for example).  The picture shows one of several spoof plaques attached to benches in Chester and later removed by the Council for fear they might offend people.  The full story is here

13d   Cold clerical office -- that's after wearing a slip (10)
INACCURACY:  The water tap abbreviation for cold and the office of a C of E cleric are placed after a short synonym of wearing and the A from the clue

14d   Wonderful  conjuring tricks (5)
MAGIC:  A simple double definition

16d   Play surprisingly large family put on (4,4)
KING LEAR:  Obtain a Shakespearean tragedy from a word for family above (put on in a down clue) an anagram (surprisingly) of LARGE

18d   Awful bores at university become more realistic (5,2)
SOBER UP:  Glue together an anagram (awful) of BORES and a usual short word meaning "at university"

21d   Forest officer in rage after third of fires (6)
RANGER:  Place a synonym of rage after the third letter of fiRes

22d   Certainly popular feat (6)
INDEED:  Follow a usual word for popular with a feat or an act

24d   Stake partly guaranteed (4)
ANTE:  The answer is hidden in (partly) the last word of the clue

26d   Adore unlimited spices (4)
LOVE:  Remove the initial and final letters (un-limited) of some spices made from the dried flower-buds of a tree (and shown below)


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I liked 20a for its smooth surface, I enjoyed 13d for its complexity, and I thought 2d was cleverish.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  SOUP+URN+OVER=SUPERNOVA



62 comments on “DT 28542

  1. Completed at a gallop, quite enjoyable – 1.5*/2.5*.

    I thought that 2d was somewhat ‘clunky.’

    Favourite – a toss-up between 12a and 13d – both good clues.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  2. 2*/2.5*. Not too difficult and quite pleasant.

    I always thought 15a ended in …que, but my BRB gives both spellings. I didn’t help myself initially by thinking that 15a might be “brig” and 16d might be “gang show”.
    The “the” in 27a seems surplus to requirements, and I can’t decide at all if 2d is awful or very good. :wacko:

    My podium selection today is 12a, 20a & 13d.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    1. I went the same route on 15a. Started out with brig, and then when I couldn’t come up with any sensible way to parse it I concluded that a homophone of the familiar six-letter French word for the boat had to be a valid alternative spelling.

  3. I will go with the current flow on this one and nominate both 12a and 13d as co-favourites. I am also in the camp that thinks 2d is possibly the worst clue of the month. That aside, this was a pleasant enough exercise and not too difficult, so 2*/2.5* overall.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

    1. Agree about 2d, SL. Surely if setters start inventing words, we might as well all give up! Well done to Mr.K for unraveling it.

  4. Not all taxing to solve or parse today’s puzzle. I too thought that 12a was the top clue but I liked 20aand 23a as well.

  5. I was slow with a couple in the SW, but otherwise found this very nicely pitched for the slot. As for 2d, well, I never did solve it as I got tangled up trying to parse FETISH …

    Thanks to the setter etc.

  6. More good fun today – TVM Mysteron and indeed Mr. Kitty. I’m with majority opinion so far in picking 12a as Fav. I hesitated a bit on 15a as together with RD I too would spell it with a ‘que’ ending. Not too keen on 6d. For a moment I thought that a naughty 4-letter word had been used in 27a!

  7. You can add me to the 2d dislikers. Other than that, a fairly enjoyable solve. *** for me.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  8. Nice puzzle completed a quite a quick pace. Would have been quicker if I hadn’t put SCOTSMAN in for 5d to start with. **/****. I, too, didn’t think much of 2d. I liked 12a and 13d with 20 being my winner.

  9. A tad peculiar, definitely not one of my favourites (but that could simply be down to one too many Glenmorangie nightcaps).

    The illustration at 20a is a pool rest. A snooker bridge is a raised arch, used to ‘bridge over’ an obstacle ball in order to cue the white.
    I’m being grumpy and pedantic, so I’ll shut up now.

    Many thanks to setter and Mr K. **/**
    Amusing plaque!

    1. Thanks for the clarification on the snooker accessory, LbRoy. The internet has lots of opinions on the names of the various rests, and I just believed Google image search on that one. I’ve always called the rest you’re describing a spider.

      1. I do poke a little white ball around a baize covered table with a leather-tipped Ash stick, badly, on a regular basis.
        Some people call it snooker, but I don’t think what I do warrants that title. :smile:

  10. I found that difficult and unable to complete without a couple of Mr.K.’s hints.
    It was a curious mix of good and bad, my favourite being 12a.
    I keep forgetting the ‘winning’ usual suspect, they are slowly sinking in.
    Thanks both!

    1. Hoofit – Nil Desperandum – your favourite setter in the Guardian makes an appearance in today’s DT Toughie.

  11. I agree with most in not liking 2d and am with Hoofit so far as setter’s inventing words is concerned. Thought 13d was just a bit too clever and convoluted, and getting 27a would have been easier if I hadn’t made a slip and put an inaccurate answer down for it. Really liked 24d for it’s elegant simplicity. ***/*** for me; many thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  12. Fairly straightforward I thought; a little uncertain about 2d but then, it’s just one clue of many so no complaints. 11a hit the sweet spot for me and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

  13. It appears that on this one I was on a different wavelength to much of the commentariat :)

    2d made me smile, and I don’t see a problem with realish. The suffix -ish is listed in the BRB as forming adjectives meaning somewhat or approximately, where Chambers give the example sixish = roughly six. A few weeks ago (DT 28525) when Jay clued vanish as “like a commercial vehicle” several posters picked that as their favourite. Is this so different?

    1. I had no problem with 2d, rather liked it. You are quite right about ‘vanish’ etc – similar construction to adding -ette to indicate feminine.
      That’s a bit of humour in my book – gotta give the setters some slack for toying with us, surely.

          1. Quite true, hoofit. Humour is a personal thing, but in my opinion the inclusion of conceivably in the wordplay to indicate that the setter is taking liberties makes realish as it’s used here acceptable (and funny). It wouldn’t be OK as a standalone answer, of course.

            1. Yes fine Mr.K., we all see things differently and thank heavens for that! Perhaps if I had actually solved the clue I would have seen it differently lol

          2. Hiya Hoofit – It doesn’t mean like a van though, it’s just a little joke – which we all got.
            That aside, the suffix ‘-ish’ can be colloquially appended to just about any adjective, of which ‘real’ is one.

            Admittedly, it’s difficult to imagine what one could describe as ‘realish’ – slightly realistic?

            It may appear in the dictionary one day, given that half the stuff we’re flogged these days isn’t quite what it should be. :smile:

    2. I loved 2d – made me laugh – all the ish’s do that to me. The best one ever, in my opinion anyway, was in a Gazza NTSPP. It was “Looks like Gregory’s after a nibble” (7)

  14. I suspect it’s horses for courses but I really disliked this puzzle. Lots of obscure and often not quite right definitions together with convoluted clues made solving this a real drudge. As for 2d, oh come on! Dreadful.
    Needed lots of electronic help to complete this one.
    For ***/*
    Thx for the hints

  15. On the tricky side I thought, a *** if not more for difficulty. 2d was my LOI, and a bit of a guess to be honest. Top marks for invention, but I don’t think the cryptic in any way really helps the solver.

  16. Ah good there you are 🙂. I have been getting a “Host Error – Bad Gateway 502” message indicating that the “server failed to fulfil an apparently valid request” possibly because of an “overloaded site” 😟.

  17. Phew – finally managed to access the site. Like Angellov, I’ve been plagued by the 502 error both yesterday evening and tonight.

    Have to say that I didn’t have any particular objection to 2d but perhaps that’s because it occurred to me almost immediately – and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t usually think much of ‘ish and similar endings.

    Top two for me were 12&28a.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for the review. Smiled at the plaque – wish there’d been another one for ‘Mums who’ve lost the will to live after spending 13 hours in the Trafford Centre with a daughter looking for a pair of black trousers’. To add insult to injury, said daughter finished up buying the first pair she’d tried on at the start of the day!

    1. Clearing your browser cache, or history, may help. Restarting your router may also help.
      Shopping with my daughters is a total no-no.

      1. We hinters can see a little histogram of hourly site traffic. It dropped to near zero for a few hours this evening, so I believe that the problem affected pretty much everybody trying to access the blog. Interestingly, it did much the same thing yesterday evening. I hope it’s not going to be a regular occurrence.

        1. Same thing last night ( I got a 502 error message) We hinters vary in what we can see. Some of us do not look.

  18. Aren’t crosswords (or is it our brains?) strange – my wife and I found yesterday’s relatively easy, mostly r&w, while today’s was well into *** territory for us which appears to be the opposite to most of the bloggers here.

  19. We’ve also been plagued by the 502 error blocking access to the site. Cause for some anxiety as we will need to be blogging the Jay puzzle in a few hours. Fingers crossed that it all holds together for that.
    We got 2d without much delay and then thought long and hard about what to make of inventing new words to fit the wordplay. Interesting to read the discussion above with arguments from both sides.
    The rest all fine and good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  20. Looks like I have the same problem here in S. Florida. Strangely I could not access the site around 7pm UK time yesterday, same again today, with “host error” message. But I was able to open around 1pm UK time this morning, just not this afternoon. Now I can. Thought I was the only one. Fingers crossed for tomorrow

  21. Really glad that all seems to be OK again – I’ve tried several times to get here between about 4.00pm and can’t remember when.
    Don’t want to push my luck so I’ll keep this short, for once.
    Good fun and not difficult.
    I didn’t check the second word of 20a and assumed it was something to do with a musical instrument – oh well, too bad.
    I really loved 2d – made me laugh – I also liked 12 and 28a.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K.

  22. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A really nice puzzle, most enjoyable. I messed up at the end, by not reading 13d properly, and put the wrong ending, thus making 25a impossible. Favourite was 5d. Was 2*/3* for me. Glad the site is back up. Many thanks to BD.

  23. 5d – I’ve read (several times !) what’s written above about this clue – still don’t understand – someone please help !

    1. Hi Almo,
      You need to take a 7 letter adjective to describe a person given to habitual drinking (which, like me, you possibly didn’t know existed!) and place inside it the single letter abbreviation for clubs to give you a type of person of whom a Glaswegian could be an example.

      1. many thanks, Jane – I was totally unaware of this adjective, although I knew the noun it derived from – what an awful word !

    2. Hi, Almo. You want to start with a 7-letter adjective derived from a 3-letter noun for a habitual drinker. The adjective is formed from the noun by appending the suffix that was the subject of much discussion above regarding 2d and which is abused in my intro and outro. Then insert the single letter for clubs seen on a playing card into that adjective to get another adjective that could describe somebody from Glasgow (or Edinburgh or Aberdeen or ….). Does that help?

      1. many thanks, Mr Kitty – I was totally unaware of this adjective, although I knew the noun it derived from – what an awful word !

  24. Still don’t understand 28a.
    Looked at the answer but still doesn’t make sense. The hint says to remove the hyphen but that’s even worse. Who is Topheavy? And in which film are we supposed to see him?
    27a took a while too as I was wearing the cleric in 13a and not his office.
    Understood the logic behind 2d but that doesn’t make me a fan.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr kitty for the review.

    1. Hi, Jean-Luc. What I had in mind is what the 2Ks say below. I saw top-heavy as two words joined by a hyphen, and so in my mind removing the hyphen would give the two-word phrase “top heavy”. With heavy being a villain on stage or screen (that’s the BRB definition), the top heavy could be the leader of a gang of villains in a film. Apologies for the confusing hint.

      1. Thanks guys.
        Should have checked heavy in the BRB.
        Never knew a heavy was a baddie. Actually now you mention it I know the song ” he’s not heavy, he’s my brother”. In France we say someone is heavy when he or she goes on and on. Always thought it had the same meaning in English.

        1. I believe that the “not heavy” in the song lyrics means “not a burden”. But something close to the French meaning also exists in English, where heavy-going means “difficult or boring to deal with”.

          To confuse things further, heavy can also be positive: a person important in their field might be referred to as a heavy (short for heavyweight, which is probably the more common form in that application). My ODE gives the example “music business heavies”. I suppose Sloggers & Betters might be regarded as a meeting of crossword heavies.

  25. Movieland speak for a villain is a Heavy. Mr Kitty, when he says to remove the hyphen means to make the answer two words, Top and heavy.
    Hope that helps.

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