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DT 28553

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28553

Hints and tips by a table-topping Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Good morning from the heart of Downtown LI. I cannot let the moment pass without mentioning that only two Rugby Union teams are unbeaten in the top three divisions. Coventry and Bristol. Six games played and six wins. This pleases me as does todays crossword from our Monday maestro Rufus.

The hints and tips are here to help point you towards the answers you may be having trouble with. The answers are hiding beneath the click here boxes. Definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Giving up work and going to bed (10)
RETIREMENT: A nice double definition to begin the day our only decision is whether it is the adjective or the noun. The adjective didn’t have enough letters so go for the noun

9a    Vagrant joins fireside circle (4)
HOBO: This word is of Western US origin first recorded in 1889 (OED) To Find it we need to take an archaic name for an oven or fireplace and add the roundest letter of the alphabet

10a    Infuriated when pact with police is broken (10)
APOPLECTIC: Anagram (broken) of PACT and POLICE

11a    Paper required that’s first edition (6)
TISSUE: Take the first (first) letter of the word That’s from the clue and add what an edition or publication for sale such as a newspaper or magazine can be known as

12a    Perform in the theatre? (7)
OPERATE: What a surgeon might do in his theatre of the medical arts

15a    One’s success may be in the balance (7)
ACROBAT: A highly-skilled balanced bouncy person whose employability is limited to that of the big-top kind

16a    Listener gains two points and makes money (5)
EARNS: Ones organ of listening requires two points of the compass.

17a    Found and thrown out (4)
CAST: Found here is a verb and refers to that which takes place in a foundry. Doubly defined with thrown this makes a superb clue

18a    Board contest that calls for a series of counter-moves (4)
LUDO: A cryptic definition of a game played with dice and counters on a printed board. We played as a family on Sunday evenings. I always chose the green counters. Great fun. Reinvented as Sorry in the late seventies it became a firm favourite of my two daughters.

19a    Exclude from French licensed premises (5)
DEBAR: Begin with the French word for from (French isn’t my strongpoint) and add the place you might buy a beer from

21a    One’s choice will get cross (7)
ELECTOR: This person with a choice will place an X beside his or her favoured candidate in an election

22a    Dialect around the Kremlin? (7)
CITADEL: Anagram (around) of DIALECT

24a    I had to stand in line — it’s neater (6)
TIDIER: Place the contracted form of I had (which is also the contracted form of I should or I would) inside a word meaning a row such as rows of seats in theatres

27a    Made a claim that should be upheld (10)
MAINTAINED: Another fine double definition. Fairly clued and rather obvious

28a    Area of Israeli city (4)
ACRE: This area is doing duty today as a land measure used by farmers. It is also the name of a city in Israel which sounds very nice and interesting. I won’t be visiting though.

29a    Temple altar, perhaps, inlaid with sort of nacre (10)
TABERNACLE: Anagram (sort of) of NACRE placed inside (inlaid) a very basic word meaning an altar


2d    Eastern agent gets notice (4)
ESPY: Use the abbreviation for Eastern and add an agent of the James Bond variety

3d    Undermine brat with look (6)
IMPAIR: Begin with our usual naughty child and add a word meaning the impression or quality or manner we exude

4d    Team endlessly receiving rising cheers gets lift (7)
ELEVATE: The number of players in a football team minus its last letter (endlessly) has an informal word of thanks (cheers) upturned and inserted as instructed by the words receiving rising.

5d    Some at school may hoard tuck (4)
EATS: A lurker hiding within the words of the clue. Most bloggers are kind enough to tell you exactly where to find it and some even highlight it in by using a different colour for the text. I prefer to let you do the work.

6d    Ecstatic, heading off madly to make plans (7)
TACTICS: Anagram (madly) of ECSTATIC minus its first letter (heading off)

7d    Going home and staying in? (10)
HOUSEBOUND: Split 5,5 where we are heading if going home. As a ten-letter word what we become if we cannot physically leave our homes

8d    Genuine hard work — to the lions anyhow (6,4)
HONEST TOIL: Anagram (anyhow) of TO THE LIONS

12d    Bands of gold put on box by artists (10)
ORCHESTRAS: Begin with an abbreviation for gold (I don’t know the origin of this abbreviation) add a synonym for a box or container and the abbreviation used for an artist who is a member of The Royal Academy. Add an S as theartist is in the plural

13d    Long-running TV programme possibly needs a rest (10)
EASTENDERS: Anagram (possibly) of NEEDS A REST will lead you to a ridiculous television programme which I have never watched.

14d    Keen to show hesitation about decline? (5)
EAGER: We are blessed with two words for hesitation in crosswordland Um and Er. Pick one and place it around a word meaning to decline because of advancing years. Providing you have chosen well and worked out the correct synonym for decline you will have a real word that matches this clues definition. If not. Try again until you do. The use of the word to mean decline is the opposite meaning to the same word used when describing wines which may improve over time. Just like us.

15d    Extravaganza composed to entertain WWI troops? (5)
ANZAC: Our second lurker of the day. The boys who fought at Gallipoli

19d    Step on it before the opening (7)
DOORMAT: A cryptic definition of what lies before a buildings entrance to facilitate the wiping of one’s boots or shoes before entry

20d    A hot rod driver (7)
RIVETER: This hot rod is a metal rod or bolt used to join two plates of metal together. The driver is the person using it. Here is Rosie

23d    CIA and RAF in collusion? A film was made out of it (6)
AFRICA: Anagram (in collusion) of CIA and RAF with a reference to one of Meryl Streep’s finest films

25d    Branch member (4)
LIMB: A classic double definition. A branch of a tree or a member such as an arm or a leg

26d    Have some sense, charge learner (4)
FEEL: A payment made to a professional person or to a professional or public body in exchange for advice or services is followed by the abbreviation for a learner.

Have fun everybody


65 comments on “DT 28553

  1. A very straightforward but enjoyable romp from Rufus this morning. I loved 13d just for the sentiments involved, with which I wholeheartedly agree. I also agree with the 1*/4* rating. Unusual for me to enjoy such a relatively comfortable puzzle, but the clues are fair and well put together.

    Many thanks Rufus and MP.

  2. 1*/4*. As YS says, very straightforward but very enjoyable. My only query is does the rod in 20d need to be hot (although it does of course for the wordplay)?

    Favourite 7d with 13d in second place.

    Many thanks to Rufus and the TT MP.

      1. I can confirm that the rivet has to be red hot to make it malleable before it is driven into the ‘hole’ in the metal sheet , the person catching the rivet I believe had special gloves!

      1. Aha – knew that I should have remembered the ‘hot’ bit from somewhere. What an unlikely subject for a video!

  3. 8d was a good anagram, as was 13d which made me laugh.

    I revealed the 28a city even though it’s come up before, and also 20d, even though I could see the rough kind of thing that was going to be required.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

    P.S. There’s a brilliant – and very accessible – Rookie Corner puzzle today which I highly recommend to all.

  4. Straightforward-ish, in my book – I always seem to have more problems with double definitions that I probably ought to.

    Completed in reasonably good time, but that definitely was due to help with the checking letters for quite a few.

    COTD – 13d, for its surface. Last one in 28a.

    My rating 2/3

    Thanks to Rufus, and to MP for the amusing blog – although Monarchists might not take kindly to the panning (13d) of what is apparently one of HRH’s favourites.

    1. When I was little television was a window to education and should be so today. I rarely watch any of the drivel that is put on. I truly feel sorry for today’s youngsters

      1. Speaking of which – are you watching the 3-part documentary on Russia by Simon Reeve? Riveting stuff.

        1. I’ll second that, all his travelogues are immensely watchable and he makes a very engaging host.

      2. ……”television was a window to education”…………I suspect that, in a slightly perverse kind of way, that is why the Queen watches Eastenders….!

      3. I was always thankful that our girls got to enjoy Blue Peter. John Craven’s Newsround, Jackanory, etc on the tele before we moved across the pond, as there was and is nothing to compare over here, unless you like the Muppets and they never did. Having said that I do watch EE every weekend on our public tv station, we are up to 2009 right now. 🙂 Nothing like being away to make you nostalgic for all things British…

      4. I don’t. They’re spoilt for choice. Wish BBC 4 had been around when I was young (let alone SkySports).

  5. Enjoyable way to start the week. I particularly liked 8d as it was a while before I realised it was an anagram. Thanks to Miffy and Rufus lets hope I can maintain the success rate during the rest of the week.

    1. and the heraldic term for gold too (which is the definition usually referred to in crossword hints)

    2. Thanks. I remember that now. I hope things are better for you now Spindrift. How is that grandson / grandaughter of yours.

      1. Henry or (The H Bomb as I call him) has just left the care of his grandparents leaving behind a wasteland of toy animals, books and a go kart. We are mow retiring to the living room to partake in an early doors snifter before we tackle the carnage. He is just one year old so I am dreading what he is going to be like when he hits the Terrible Twos”. Not really as he is an absolute joy and too beautiful to be a boy.

        How’s your grandson? he must be three or so by now.

        1. Four in February. A total delight. He makes me smile all day long when we look after him on Thursday’s. He has recently learnt to ride his bicycle so we have a ride out most weeks
          on the disused railway nearby

    3. A very enjoyable start to the week. Thanks MP for your analysis. Sorry to nitpick but I think your solution and comment for 12d are missing a couple of “s”s 😩

  6. Very straightforward – fun – but it didn’t last log. */**** 13d definitely needs a rest. 28d gets the gold today.

  7. Good Monday fare although, despite its value to the wordplay, I thought ‘entertain’ was somewhat inappropriate in 15d.
    Like RD, I had a query over the ‘hot’ part of 20d – looks as though that has now been answered by RayS.

    For once, I had the right sort of theatre in 12a and the 18a game was very familiar (in its original form!).

    17a took the top slot for me with a mention for a word I like at 10a.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the blog and the most acceptable video clips. So – Mr Dylan could actually sing in tune some 50 odd years ago! Have to take you to task a little over 15a – they’ve also done quite well for our medal tally in recent Olympics.

      1. Think you’ll have to take that up with the BRB – first definition for acrobat is given as ‘a performer of gymnastic feats’.

        1. From The Oxford English Dictionary


          An entertainer who performs spectacular gymnastic feats. Also in extended use: an animal which climbs or perches nimbly

  8. A typical Rufus, very straightforward with some oldies but goodies, and completed at a gallop, making a good start to the work week, oh wait, today’s a holiday over here – 1.5*/3*.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 21a, and 20d – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  9. The usual gentle but very entertaining Monday treat from the doyen of setters.

    13a is possibly Rufus’s Clue of the Year, so amusing and I think many will share the clue’s sentiments, I certainly do!

    Excellent stuff, many thanks to Mr Squires and the table-topping one.

  10. I agree this was very straightforward but good fun too.
    I spent too long trying to make 27a an anagram and couldn’t make much sense of 22d until it couldn’t have been much else.
    Just for once I saw the 15d lurker almost immediately – my grandfather was one.
    I liked 9 and 29a and 3 and 23d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  11. After the weekend challenges today’s crossword was a whole different ballgame! Over far too quickly but fun while it lasted. 10a was my top clue, only cos I like the sound of the word, 1/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to MP for his review.

    1. Funny, I am finding this much harder than both weekend puzzles, I completed them both, albeit they were tricky.
      Rufus and I are from different planets.

  12. I bought the paper today for the first time in a long while – surprised to see it now costs £1.60 … even more surprised that the first three clues in the Quickie were not in italics

    1. Happens quite often, Stan – obviously £1.60 isn’t sufficient to pay for decent proof-readers!

    2. Don’t buy the Saturday issue as you will need a bank loan but you will be contributing a substantial amount of unread dead wood to the recycling bin.

  13. I had to be very disciplined today, and only started this Rufus offering once I’d emptied the suitcases and finished the washing. I was held up momentarily with 2d as I tried to put ‘lo’ in somewhere for ‘look’. Apart from that it was all plain sailing. I look forward to the Monday puzzle so much, and to the entertaining review. Thank you Rufus and Miffypops. The pic for 19d raised a smile.

      1. I saw a funny one this morning. ‘Welcome…if you’ve brought the prosecco.’ I couldn’t put it outside my door though. My friends are welcome any time. With or without goodies.

    1. Did more than just raise a smile here, Florence. Gave me a ‘fun’ Christmas present idea for my son-in-law (Mathew spelled with one ‘T’!).

  14. Well, it’s all been said, hasn’t it! Hugely enjoyable walk in the park. I don’t think there was one clue that really caused any problems.
    We even get 13d over here on Saturday mornings. I only watched it once but didn’t fancy it, so never again. Someone must watch it, but who? Apart from HM, if that’s true. That’s my fave, for the cleverness.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops, wotta fun morning all round.

  15. Usual nice Monday offering **/*** 😃 Favourite 20d with 12a as runner up 😜 Thanks to MP for his usual entertaining blog and to Rufus

  16. As ever, Rufus sets much the hardest crossword of the week for me.
    I needed three hints to complete, double definitions are without doubt the hardest type of clue for me to solve, I could have stared at 25d for the rest of my life without getting it.
    Thanks MP for the hints and Rufus for the continued challenge.

    1. You need a good memory for Cryptic solving. I have seen the branch / limb used before so I was quick to twig this one.

      1. Funny you should say ‘twig’, I was convinced it was the answer until I found that the last letter ended in ‘b’!
        I have definitely seen 12a before!

  17. Enjoyable today. Anyone else put ‘REACTOR’ in for 20d. – well, it kind of works except that it’s barely cryptic. Firm fav was 13d and I have to say I agree. Needed to look up a list of Israeli cities at 28a.
    */*** and thanks to Rufus and MP (I always watch your vid clips except the one’s featuring a certain Troubador!)

  18. Thank you Rufus for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I was beginning to think my brain was AWOL the last few days. Today’s was right up my street, although still needed a couple of Miffypops hints to put me on track, thank you.

  19. A Rufus I found fairly straightforward, so it must have been on the easy side. :-) At 7d I stymied myself for ages assuming the answer must end …ED. A little knowledge, etc. 13d was spot on, and my favourite clue today.

  20. A bit of a doddle, but l enjoyed 20d and 18a (a game played at sea in HM ships, where it is known as Uckers and for some reason takes place to the accompaniment of traditional cries like “Out piece!”, “Steam piece!”, and “Blob up!”). Ta to Rufus and MP.

  21. An easy ride today after a couple of recent head-boilers. Needed MP help (thanks for that) with 20d where, like Hector Pascal, I came near to bunging in ‘reactor’. Had forgotten about 18a game so settled for Judo. NE corner was last to fall. Surely 19d is usually after the opening. Fav was 23d. MP – I wonder if 4d hint should read ‘word’ of thanks. Thank you Rufus for a pleasant start to the week.

  22. Failed on 20d but completed the rest without too much trouble.
    Just the right amount of cryptic definitions for a change.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review and to remind me of Sorry in 18a. Used to play a lot.

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