DT 28549 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28549

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28549

Hints and tips by KiwiColin

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
                 School holiday time here and Carol is away in Wellington on Grandma duties again, so a solo flight this week.
  I found this one quite a lot more difficult than usual and it took me right to the top of what for us is the time for *** difficulty.
The Quickie pun also presented a challenge and I ended up sending out an SOS to all family members for suggestions. It was many hours before I realised that I only needed two words and not three for the pun.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Run off one final check, complying with the law (10)
LEGITIMATE: A 3,2 phrase meaning to run away, the Roman numeral one, and the final check in a chess game.

6a     A few heard about Chaplin’s first dirty film (4)
SCUM: A homophone of a word meaning a few contains the first letter of Chaplin.

9a     Answer by sailor offering forgiveness (10)
ABSOLUTION: The sailor is represented by the initials for able bodied and then a synonym for an answer.

10a     Piece of slate worn by women (4)
PAWN: The abbreviation for women is inside slate or criticise.

12a     Pull a face seeing weapon carried by leader of rebels (4)
GURN: The first letter of rebels is inside a weapon or firearm.

13a     Chicken stuffed with digital application in grand event (9)
HAPPENING: The three letter digital application that we all have several of on our mobile devices is inside an adult female chicken. Next we have IN from the clue and the abbreviation for grand.

15a     Relaxing by empty pool must be agreeable (8)
PLEASING: Empty pool gives us its first and last letters and then a word for relaxing or being at leisure.

16a     Pole on yacht keeping dry posterior (6)
BOTTOM: The two letters that describe a non-drinker (dry) is inside a pole on a yacht that helps to position a sail.  (I decided not to use a picture for this answer)

18a     Misery mostly seen in island’s northern blockhouses (6)
IGLOOS: The two letter abbreviation for island surrounds a word for misery or darkness after its last letter has been removed.

20a     Offload one lad by pier after docking (8)
JETTISON: The pier gets docked by having the last letter removed from a synonym for it. Then the Roman numeral one and another word for a lad or boy.

23a     Pat is a person too eager to advance (4,5)
SOFT TOUCH: Double definition. The advance here is a loan.

24a     Leave be, having no end of business (4)
EXIT: The last letter of business is removed from inside a word meaning ‘to be’.

26a     Instrument of joy — booze oddly absent (4)
OBOE: Every alternate letter from the third and fourth words in the clue.

27a     Porter seeing soldiers glance back with hesitation after party (10)
DOORKEEPER: Start with a two letter word for a party, next the two letters for lowest ranked soldiers, then the reversal of a glance or quick look and finally, one of the sounds made by someone hesitating.

28a     Cost of upkeep will be inclusive of veggie food (4)
TOFU: A lurker hiding in the first three words of the clue.

29a     Setter upset about bolshie image, that’s cool (6,4)
STREET CRED: An anagram (upset) of setter, the abbreviation for the Latin circa or about and the colour associated with bolshie.


1d     Burden of son to hold onto love (4)
LOAD: The tennis score love is inside a son or boy. Yes, the one from 20a.

2d     Get user rebooted with such a handy expression (7)
GESTURE: An anagram (rebooted) of GET USER.

3d     Manoeuvre scuttles NATO spotters (6,6)
TALENT SCOUTS: An anagram (manoeuvre) of SCUTTLES NATO.

4d     China welcomes view with no leader being equal (8)
MATCHING: We need a type of pottery named for a Chinese dynasty. This surrounds (welcomes) a word meaning to view once the first letter has been removed (no leader).

5d     Soldiers needing time on track going north (6)
TROOPS: Start with the abbreviation for time and then the reversal of a word for an animal’s track.

7d     Carriage giving church a laugh? (7)
CHARIOT: The abbreviation for church, A from the clue and a laugh or hilarious time.

8d     Those in charge of soldiers wearing sort of name tag (10)
MANAGEMENT: An anagram (sort of) of NAME TAG contains another word for low ranking soldiers.

11d     Dirty teeth wobble loose biting end of drill (5,3,4)
BELOW THE BELT: An anagram (loose) of TEETH WOBBLE includes the last letter of drill.

14d     Rewards of victory, plus drink? Misery! (10)
SPOILSPORT: A six letter word for the rewards of victory and a type of fortified wine.

17d     So here’s a strange sort of fish (3,5)
SEA HORSE: An anagram (strange) of SO HERES A.

19d     Launch unfinished biography on posh chap (4-3)
LIFT-OFF: A biography is the story of someone’s ****. Remove the last letter from this and then add a posh chap or swell.

21d     Mate’s superior and singular cure (7)
SKIPPER: The abbreviation for singular and cure as one could with a herring.

22d     Place for coach‘s rudimentary craft (6)
DUGOUT: Double definition. The first is where you might find a coach and substitute players at a sports event.

25d     Network routine with no name (4)
GRID: A routine or onerous task looses the abbreviation for name from within it.

I put ticks beside quite a few of these but eventually decided to go with 21a for favourite.

Quickie pun     stake     +   Asian    =    staycation (a holiday when you stay at home)

67 comments on “DT 28549

  1. 3.5*/5*. I do like Wednesday’s back-pagers, and this one was no exception. I found quite a range of difficulties here with my first handful of answers going in as R&W, then some more followed with a bit of thought and finally the last half-dozen or so proved to be quite tricky, but all beautifully clued as ever.

    The brilliantly disguised 10a was my last one in and favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and half of the 2Ks.

  2. A great early start to the day but almost forgotten now. Reading the excellent blog I could no longer solve or remember 6ac or 10ac but then there are no checking letters on the blog. It took a bit longer than normal but I won the race to solve both this and The Quickie before running out of battery on the ipad.Thanks to jay for the puzzle and our solo Kiwi Colin for the blog. and the very suitable illustrations.

  3. This was more challenging/better than the normal Wednesday puzzle – took me twice as long to solve than usual. An excellent and very enjoyable crossword. 3*/4*.

  4. I finished it but included a couple of ‘bung it ins’ that I didn’t really understand the ‘parsing’ of – 13a for example, thanks to the blog for straightening me out.

    A very fine puzzle with a variety of clues – enjoyable!

  5. I may be missing something, I may be getting pedantic, but I don’t understand the ‘s in 22d. Shouldn’t it be coach or coaches?

    In any event I needed a letter clue to get it. I’ve got a feeling one or two will explain it to me.

    Good fun though.

    Una, I trust you are working on it.

    1. As shown by Kiwi Colin, the possessive ‘S’ serves as a link between the two parts of the double definition, so it is not included in the first part.

  6. Phew – was this a ‘wrong envelope’? Nevertheless very enjoyable and a very good cranial work out – 3.5*/4*.

    Joint favourites – 6a and 10a.

    Thanks to Jay and the single K.

  7. I finished this eventually , but needed the blog to explain several clues. Essential to make it fully enjoyable. Some a bit convoluted for my liking (like 13a).

    I rally thought 24a was something to do with the negotiations in Brussels!

    Salute to KiwiColin for sheer dedication – but aren’t you tempted to “Show Solution” on the iPad, rather than agonising for hours, or “phoning a friend” ?

    1. I have no idea how other bloggers go about things (Kath solves on paper) but I use an ipad to solve the puzzle and also to write my blog. I have never ever used the Show Solution facility. Most days I solve completely using just my finger and my brain. If I use outside help I will always credit the source. Occasionally an email will do the rounds but that is a rarity.

      We don’t like to put solving times as it may deter or discourage those who take longer but Monday’s puzzle and blog generally take about two hours to complete together.

      Perhaps other bloggers might like to comment.

    2. I am a paper solver, printing the puzzles from the puzzle website (on a laptop). I find it easier that way as my solving technique is somewhat random and it is easier to move around the clues on paper than scrolling up and down on the screen. I do fill in and submit my solution through the web site for two reasons:

      1. Any incorrect answers are highlighted (important for a Sunday puzzle for me), but it does not show the right answer.

      2. Supposedly there is an ‘on line’ prize for the weekend puzzles – I’m still waiting!

    3. I print it from the Puzzle Website shortly after 12pm and try to complete it before going to bed – the Boss has normally been knocking out ‘zeds’ for a couple of hours before I join her. As an insomniac I find the solving of the puzzle before attempting to get some sleep helps a lot. Three hours a night is a luxury!

      I use paper, pen and my Wordsearch and Anagram programs on my iPad – I have used Answerbank when I’m completely stumped but only as a last resort!

  8. Unable to parse the following clue from Telegraph X word book no 9, puzzle 60
    Clue is “Bad character hanging around end of street is a professional killer”
    Answer “Rat-catcher”
    Any ideas please ??

    1. If I tell you that ‘bad’ is an anagram indicator, and ‘hanging around’ an insertion indicator, would that help?

      1. Thanks CrypticSue-as Brian says, it sounds so easy, but I was puzzling over it for ages!

  9. Certainly a step up from the weeks puzzles so far, going to start with my favourite 10a,which was last in and took an age, excellent misleading surfaces throughout and agree with Kiwi Collin with a ***/****, special mention for 29a.
    Thanks to all, failed with the quickie pun!-not a ‘real’ word anyway.

  10. I thought this was a terrifically enjoyable tussle this morning, and had the perfect balance between straightforward and downright awkward. I cannot look beyond the excellent 10a for my favourite of many great clues, as the disguise and misdirection were so clever in such a short clue. A top puzzle and 3*/5* from me overall.

    Thanks very much to both birds involved in today’s production.

  11. This was a major DNF and our first for some time. Thanks for the explanations always very helpful on days like this.

  12. Usually with Jay puzzles I start off staring blankly at the clues and then begin to accelerate. This was the other way around. Usually I enjoy them immensely. This was the same, but probably even more so.

    Many contenders for favourite but I will settle on 18a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 1Kiwi.

  13. I agree with most of the rest of you – really good and really difficult, and I also had trouble with the Quickie pun.
    This seems to have taken me ages but I never time myself so have no idea how long it actually took.
    I was so convinced the ‘China’ in 4d was ‘mate’ that I made the whole thing impossible until I had another think about it.
    13a was another one that caused trouble, and so was 22d – I didn’t know the ‘sporty’ definition.
    I particularly liked 6 and 23a, thought 11d was a good anagram, however horrible the clue sounded, and my favourite was 14d.
    Thanks to Jay and thanks and much admiration to Kiwi Colin for sorting it all out.

    1. With M and T being the 1st and 3rd checkers we had most of the word MATE. Then we had CHIN which is most of the word CHINA so my attempts to work out just how this solution worked fair baffled me for a while.

    2. I was convinced it was mate also, but I also could see what the right answer would be, just couldn’t figure out why.

  14. I an surprised that nobody has mentioned 12A. It held me up for some time as although I thought the answer should be what it I couldn’t understand why. Surely the weapon is not carried by the leader of rebels but the other way round. (10A is an excellent example of what I mean). ‘…..seeing leader of rebels wearing a weapon ‘ would be more accurate, or have I missed something?

    However, a very enjoyable romp. Thanks to Setter and KC

      1. I feel the same as Rod. The clue says weapon carried by R(ebels), however I just put the answer in and thought no more about it.

  15. Smashing crossword from Jay today! A wee bit harder than usual but very satisfying to solve. 18a was my top clue. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Colin down under for his review.

  16. I really enjoyed today’s but I did need the excellent hints to fully understand 16a, 26a and 4d. Some super clues I thought in 1a (leg it indeed!), 17d and my fav 18a.
    Did anyone else find my last in particulary difficult in 10a or was it just me?
    Thx to all

    1. I agree. I gave up with that one.
      It was like it was too hard for the back-pager “head” I had on – if you get my drift.
      Perhaps that’s why I struggle with Toughies – a back-pager head is the only sort I own (mind you I finished yesterdays).
      The rest of it was cracking, with 6a a fine example of surface and misdirection (for me anyway).

  17. Had a very satisfactory tussle with this one. Last one in was 10a. I keep forgetting the connection between chess and piece. There were several clues that made me applaud the setter. 1a raised a smile. Out of a shortlist of seven I chose 23a as my top clue.

  18. I think this must be the hardest cryptic I’ve managed to complete and parse without external aids.

    Last ones in for me 21d and 22d.

    Favourite 16a closely followed by 10a

    My mate was in 6a so got that fairly quickly

  19. Due to having non-crosswordy visitors here and then me making a visit to the aged parent I’ve not been on parade with the DT for a couple of weeks. Now back in crosswordland to find this brilliant offering.

    Favourites were 10a, 6a and 21d in that order but there’s plenty of other good stuff.

    Many thanks to Jay and the solo Kiwi.

  20. Really good puzzle that ultimately beat me at 10a so thanks to KiwiColin for the explanation (that made it embarrassingly simple). Thanks to the setter as well for the cerebral tussle.

    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment needed moderation. Both versions will work from now on.

  21. Thanks to Jay and to Kiwi Colin for the review and hints. A very good puzzle, that I whittled down to 4 answers left. I was completely beaten by all of them. Can’t believe I couldn’t get 7d, even though I thought it began with “cha” and had the other two checkers! Also needed the hints for 10a&21,22d. Just wouldn’t have thought of any of them. Well done to Jay. Favourite was 6a, which was also the name of a very violent film. Was 4*/4* for me.

  22. Got the answer to 10a without twigging the ‘piece’ connection. As that was the last one in, perhaps a little impatience got in the way of clear thinking? (let’s face it, it was a bit obvious). The favourite had to be 29a, since it raised a smile by virtue of an imagined connection with the picture on the front page of the D.T. today (it’s also a chestnut – which I’m pretty sure appeared quite recently).

  23. Back on blog after 3-4 weeks. Having been extraordinarily lucky health wise, I’ve just acquired a diagnosis. …pending further investigation. I only say this because I’m on some meds which, while significantly interfering with sleep, seem also to be enhancing my intellect……..weird or what?
    Anyhow, doing lots of puzzles and finding them rather straightforward – perhaps it’s all a dream?
    Thanks to setters and bloggers.

  24. I agree that it was trickier than an average Wednesday puzzle which made completing the grid even more satisfying. My repetition radar bleeped a couple of times (“end”/”no end” and “wearing”/”worn by”), but Jay’s excellence usually means any such instances are automatically overlooked!

    My ticked clues were 12a, 16a, 23a and 22d.

    Many thanks to Mr Mutch and to Colin.

  25. Brilliant stuff as usual, particularly like the ‘handy expression’. ***/****
    Thanks Jay and Colin

  26. 2.5 for difficulty, 4 for pleasure ! Sailed through the top half then stalled at 29a , 22d, 25d . Favourites 1a and 11d . Love the Wed. crossword !

  27. Started like a normal Wednesday puzzle but suddenly became very tricky 😳 ***/**** I needed the hint for 10a, but at least I now know quite a lot about slate production etc. 😬 Favourites 16a & 11d 😃 Thanks to Jay and to Colin

  28. Looks as though I’m the only one who tried to use the wrong fodder for the 3d anagram!
    To continue in the ‘just me’ vein (with the exception of Mary Mary) I’m also going to nominate 1a as my favourite with a mention for 17d because I think they’re adorable. The sea zoo over here (famous for rescuing Menai the olive-backed turtle)breeds 17d’s and I love going to watch the baby ones learning to propel themselves through the water.

    Thanks to Jay for the work-out and to Colin K for the blog – enjoy the rest of your ‘quickie pun’ whilst Carol’s on grandmotherly duties.

      1. I started off looking at the wrong fodder but I had an L as a checker so had a second look.

  29. I’m in the hugely enjoyable but very, very tricky camp.
    I never did get 10a, rats, somehow just had a blank.
    I liked so many, hard to choose a fave, maybe 16a, but 14d and 21d deserve mention.
    Thanks to Jay and the 1Kiwi for the hints, particularly help with 10a.

  30. Plenty to get one’s teeth into today and I enjoyed doing just that. My vocabulary benefitted from addition of 12a, word comprising last 5 letters (in reverse) of 5d and 22d in that context (I was only aware of the wartime underground shelter). Thank you Jay and solo Kiwi. The Quickie pun certainly didn’t spring immediately to mind!

  31. Morning all.
    There seems to be general consensus that it was trickier than usual which is reassuring as I am never quite sure of timing when it is a solo solve. Like many others, I had 10a as my last one in. An interesting spread of clues for favourite today, a sure sign that there were plenty to choose from.

    My story of the quickie pun continues. When I sent out my SOS on the family network, I had included the first three across words from the puzzle so not surprisingly, nobody could help. Then I had a flash of inspiration and remembered that we had an address for Jay somewhere. I found it and sent off a query. Then the inevitable happened and I realised that I only needed two words instead of three and the penny dropped. So another email to Jay to apologise for the query. Jay sent a very friendly and gracious reply.
    So, another little lesson that the experience of being a blogger is always interesting and never dull.

  32. Definitely on the tricky side today, a joy obviously for the smarter folks, but above my pay grade for sure. Only got 7 answers at first pass and would have given up without this blog and the hints. Never heard of 12a and had a total blank over 10a. Hope to do better tomorrow.

    1. We had 12a some weeks ago, don’t remember when, and it was new to me then, strange sort of word. As soon as I read the clue, I thought, oh-oh, I should remember that.

    2. Gurning championships were a regular event on TV during my childhood, and I think they used to have them at summer camping venues such as Butlins. Maybe NHS dentistry has made it more difficult for people to gurn successfully, or perhaps people are looking for more sophisticated humour these days!

  33. 2*/3.5*, and my favourite was 1a, which made this grumpy old sea dog smile immoderately. Thanks to Jay, and to Colin.

  34. The NE corner felt a little tricky, pushing this maybe into a *** for difficulty. Agreed with the comments above about 12ac – surely it was the wrong thing being carried?

  35. Enjoyed this, haven’t been in crossword land for a while, and this is no excuse for failing on only 10A despite having 50% of the four letters; never occurred to me that women might be an abbr.
    My favourite of many good surfaces is 6A, and thanks to KiwiColin in my other country of citizenship.

Comments are closed.