DT 28557 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28557


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28557

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a blustery October day. Triskaidekaphobics should remain under the duvet until tomorrow.

Today was perhaps the fastest that I have ever completed a Giovanni crossword, so definitely * for difficulty from me. Others may have different views but, as has been said before, it is all a question of whether or not the setter’s mindset is in tune with the solver’s on a particular day.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a           Mountains around indicated — avoid finally in that landing (10)
SPLASHDOWN – Start by reversing (around) a European mountain range, then add a word for ‘indicated’ with the last letter of avoiD inserted.

Image result for splashdown

6a           Support location for holiday entertainment? (4)
PIER – Double definition: a support for a building or structure; or a seaside place built over the sea.

9a           Exceptionally arty bairns, a couple shining (6,4)
BINARY STAR – Anagram (exceptionally) of ARTY BAIRNS. This is a term for two heavenly bodies orbiting a common centre of gravity.

10a         Animals appearing in tapestry (4)
APES – Hidden in the clue.

13a         Objections restricting second person in business deals (7)
BUYOUTS – A type of objection often paired with ‘ifs’ wrapped around the second person pronoun.

15a         Charge again presents terrible ordeal (6)
RELOAD – Anagram (terrible) of ORDEAL.

16a         Female full of trouble as one in direct confrontation (4-2)
HEAD-ON – A female bird wrapped around some trouble or commotion.

17a         Expression of ambition inadequate for the likes of 21? (3,4,3,5)
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT – Cryptic definition of a phrase expressing overwhelming earthly ambition. The person in 21a went beyond this, of course.

18a         Underground activity fashionable during Chinese dynasty (6)
MINING – A two-letter word for ‘fashionable’ inserted into a Chinese dynasty noted for its porcelain.

20a         Old bird facing terrible end cried in pain (6)
MOANED – An extinct flightless bird followed by an anagram (terrible) of END.

21a         Traveller in new enterprise wildly enthusiastic, one recruited by the navy (7)
GAGARIN – A word for ‘wildly enthusiastic’ (or ‘senile’, though I doubt that the singer of that designation intends the latter meaning to apply), followed by the initials of the Royal Navy wrapped around the Roman numeral for one. The answer is the first person to orbit the earth in a spaceship.

Image result for gagarin

22a         Rubbish? The last thing to see in art gallery (4)
TATE – Some rubbish followed by the last letter of seE.

25a         Time’s up here (5,5)
CLOCK TOWER – Cryptic definition of a high place showing the time to the public.

26a         Utter oath, dropping small treat (4)
CURE – Remove the Small from a verb meaning ‘utter an oath’.

27a         Seafood for which crispbread would be out of place (6,4)
SPIDER CRAB – Anagram (would be out of place) of CRISPBREAD.

Image result for spider crab


1d           Cries when boss is nasty (4)
SOBS – Anagram (is nasty) of BOSS.

2d           Country boy ensnares maiden finally (4)
LAND – Another word for a boy, wrapped around the last letter of maideN.

3d           Town street half cut off has upset couple (6)
STROUD – The first half of STReet followed by the reverse (upset) of a pair of performers, giving us a town in Gloucestershire.

4d           Wicked conduct, as in Eden, not approved of (15)

5d           Condition of fat cats breaking the law (6)
WEALTH – Anagram (breaking) of THE LAW.

7d           This person’s architectural feature creates an obstruction (10)
IMPEDIMENT – A short way of writing ‘this person is’ followed by a triangular architectural feature.

Image result for pediment

8d           Seaside experience? Celebrate during course of it, having journey round (6,4)
RISING TIDE – This is a bit of a Russian doll clue. Start with a word for ‘celebrate’ or ‘praise’, then wrap IT (from the clue) around it, Then wrap a journey (perhaps on a seaside donkey) around the result.

11d         Time chart I constructed — it involves working out numbers (10)
ARITHMETIC – Anagram (constructed) of TIME CHART I.

12d         Change international organisation? Right, it can be part of a power system (10)
ALTERNATOR – Put together another verb meaning ‘change’, an international defence organisation, and Right. The result is the device which charges the battery in your car.

13d         Supporting vehicle turning up ahead of ruler (7)
BACKING – Reverse (turning up) a variety of public transport vehicle, then add a monarch.

14d         One with deep pride? (3,4)
SEA LION – Cryptic definition of an animal. The second word is a land animal which lives in a pride. The first word is ‘the deep’.

Image result for sea lion

19d         Bitterness over work that goes at a fast pace (6)
GALLOP – Another word for bitterness followed by the Latin abbreviation for a (musical) work.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d         Common man from Birmingham is terrible (6)
MISTER – Hidden in the clue.

23d         Vessel with the Queen’s designation — you and I will go aboard (4)
EWER – Insert the pronoun for ‘you and I’ into the letters denoting our Queen.

24d         Immature insect‘s food (4)
GRUB – Double definition. There’s not much I can add.

The Quick Crossword pun MALI + FACTORS = MALEFACTORS

56 comments on “DT 28557

  1. 1*/2*. Much easier than last Friday but similarly lacking in sparkle with a lot of very wordy clues again.

    Sorry to sound like Brian but, although the wordplay is precise, I thought the definition for 21a (my last one in) is awful. 17a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. I rarely comment on clues, but I too did not like 21a at all.

      Enjoyed the rest, though, perhaps with the exception of 8d which took me ages to figure out.

      Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threa.t

    2. Re wordy clues, 21a is perhaps surprising when Giovanni has in the past said ‘Anything over ten words can make for indigestibility’ although to be fair he did go on to say ‘but I wouldn’t rule out clues that are slightly longer’!

  2. For some reason all this weeks puzzles were on the on the easy side with a consequent lack of enjoyment-Wednesday being the exception for me.
    Agree with RD on the wordy clues-1a and 8d for example and I too did not like 21a.
    Going for a 1.5*/2*.
    Favourite 14d-thanks DT for the pics.

  3. Yes, the back-pagers have been pretty poor this week and now we have a below-average one from the usually excellent G. I can only look forward to next Thursday’s Ray T. 1.5*/2.5*.

  4. Good fun with just enough challenge. Top beat bottom half to it. I wholly concur with reservation about 21a clue which was my last to go in after seeking help but then I was able to fully parse my bung-in (later Fav in spite of apostrophe) for 17a. Unlike yours truly I presume the 2Kiwis will not have had to think much about the first part of 20a. 9a new to me.
    TVM as always Giovanni 👍 and also DT.

  5. Very straightforward, very enjoyable, and completed at a gallop, almost didn’t feel like a Giovanni – 1.5*/3.5*.

    Standout favourite – 17a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  6. 21a was last one in for me too. I see 1a, 9a, 17a, 21a, all with a theme, but today doesn’t appear to be an anniversary.

    Really only a */** for me today.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  7. It took me a tad longer than earlier commenters but only pushed me out to 1.5* time, with 3* for enjoyment. Just to be awkward, I really enjoyed the 17/21 combination and they were my favourites on the day.

    If, as some have indicated, the week has seen some below par crosswords, that only goes to highlight the good quality we normally enjoy.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  8. Easy-ish for me too and generally enjoyable marred by a couple of poor clues, 21a in particular…

  9. I agree with Ora about 21a. The rest was straightforward with plenty of helpful anagrams. 17a gave me some pause for thought until I realised that an abbreviated is was needed. I liked1a the most.

  10. Pretty straightforward today and like others, lacking in a bit of sparkle.
    I understand the objection to 21a, I did not find it quite so bad, as I quite enjoy GK clues, but agree that the surface is pretty mediocre, but I did learn a new definition for the first part, I only associated it with an old person loosing their marbles.
    I’m not sure the definition for 20a is quite right either, I don’t think it is a ‘cry’.
    Can’t single out any real favourites today, sorry, but as ever thank to G and to DT.

    1. It is indeed not a cry – but when one cries one also could be said to be doing this.. he/she cries or he/she ****

  11. Weh-hey!! Stroud got a mention … how weird is that?
    Big fave clue today though was 13a

    All good fun – thanks all

  12. This was my typical Curates egg, good in parts, 12d was my typical “doh” moment I’m afraid I agree about 21a but then how would we all get on if we had to produce crosswords on a regular basis. I got 6a wrong which held me up for a while but mr Google helped me out in the day. Good anagrams though.
    All in all a pretty good week for me.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and to Giovanni.

  13. I think this is the first time I have finished all 5 Monday to Friday crosswords, usually due to not having the time. I suspect Thursday’s and Friday’s are different setters as I often struggle with them but they were as easy as Monday’s. Favourite clues 17a and 27a.

  14. Certainly an easy run today with the exception of 21a (which took as long as the rest of the puzzle put together) and a slight delay in finding the 20d lurker.
    9a prompted me to refer to Mr Google – I’d got the answer but don’t think I could have described the phenomenon.

    Can’t recall ever seeing 27a on a menu – anybody know what it tastes like?

    I liked the surface read of 18a and my favourite was 14d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT.

      1. According to that nice Mr Google, it has ‘chunkier, sweeter meat than the common edible crab’. I was just wondering whether the flavour was appreciably different.

    1. It’s lovely Jane. Saint Sharon gets it for me when Costco have a seafood spectacular. Where shellfish is concerned I am a bit of a fan. I have to go to Birmingham tomorrow so will leave early to visit their excellent fish market. Shellfish surprise for breakfast dinner and tea for the next few days. Ooh la la.

  15. Interesting puzzle given 1a I supposed 21a should not be a surprise although clue is a little strange.
    Plenty of anagrams for me, thanks setter and DT for hints

  16. Is it only me who is baffled by the surface read of 1ac? That would be pulled up in our own Rookie Corner. I’m surprised it got past the editor. Ta to all as usual. See you all on Monday.

    1. I think the surface is intended to be a warning to a pilot making an approach to an unfamiliar airport.

    2. Miffypops, you are not alone!

      The surface reading of 1a put me off the rest of the puzzle – the setter & editor are equally to blame.


  17. On the trickier side of straightforward 😬 **/*** 1a took some figuring and not a big fan of 21a but quite enjoyable 😜 Favourites 12 & 17d. Thanks to DT and to Giovanni

  18. Just to be different, I found this tricky and I was way off wavelength today. I found myself using electronic help far too much.
    My only real complaint is that I dislike clues where you have to solve another clue in order to solve it, e.h. 17a/21a.
    My fave was 14d, with 3d running fast on its heels. I have cousins there.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  19. I seem to be in agreement with many of the comments here. I didn’t mind 1a but 21a and 8d seemed a bit clunky to me. I managed to work them out with DT’s hints. They were the last on for me but the rest was an enjoyable romp. I have enjoyed this weeks crosswords with the exception of Wednesdays which I couldn’t get on the right wavelength of the setter.
    Thanks for the hints even though I am having to use them less and less it’s good to know they are here when I suffer from a brain fade now and again. (Insert alternative four letter word beginning Fa** if you like)

  20. Jumping on the bandwagon, I didn’t like 21a at all – not helped by my not spelling 4d correctly ‘ence’ instead of ‘ance’ idiot!! However, I liked most everything else. **/***. Is the lack of an apostrophe in the second word of 17a acceptable? And is 5d quite right – feels like it should have a ‘y’ or ‘iness’ at the end. My favourite today was 13a.

    1. Me too with the spelling of 4d, but as I’m usually rubbish with spelling, I used the anagram to check my letters!

    2. Ah, apostrophisation, or lack of, in enumeration – apparently lack of is more than acceptable in 21st century crosswords, part of the downward spiral of grammar and punctuation.

  21. Definitely a space thing going on. I think that someone spent far too long looking at last weeks draconid meteor shower- me perhaps. I looked at 8d and immediately put in ‘donkey ride’ without trying to work anything out. Serves me right. Many thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. Oh dear, you are a grumpy lot (many of you) today! Add to that the fact I discovered the death of an old schoolmate in the main paper ( hadn’t seen him since 1962 though) and there seems to be a bit of Friday 13th about. Let’s cheer up, please!

    1. I’m not grumpy! I only said it was tricky, and it was for me, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. My only complaint is what I said above, needing to solve one to get the other. I loved 14d!

    2. As per Comment 4 above, I am not at all grumpy today thanks to another of your enjoyably enigmatic exercises.

    3. Not grumpy either and always particularly enjoy your Friday crosswords. I needed a letter hint and the parsing of 21a. Thanks to you and DT.

  23. In defence of 21a. Yes it does require some GK and the definition is rather loose, but in an answer where 5 of the 7 letters are checked, the level of challenge was fine. Once we had seen the second part of the wordplay being I inside RN there was only one missing letter to sort out. It was our last one in and the clue we will remember most from this puzzle which we enjoyed solving.
    Thanks Giovanni (see, we aren’t grumpy) and DT.

  24. Definitely not grumpy.
    Really enjoyed it. Even the Rufuesque 14d made me smile.
    The “boss is nasty” in 1d made me smile too.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  25. Bit of a doddle for a Friday, what’s going on? My grey cells yawned and went back to their hibernation. 21a was a funny old clue. My top clue was…er….17a.
    But hey, it was fun while it lasted!
    1/3* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  26. Good stuff as always on a Friday from the Don. Bit of a space theme going on today, though there doesn’t seem to be any relevant anniversary looming. Edging perhaps into ** territory for difficulty here, but then again I never really got stuck, just sort of ambled through the grid.

  27. Good evening everybody.

    To be contrary I thought this was a fine back page puzzle with a brisk start but enough tricky clues to make a good tussle.

    Liked last in 1a, 9a. 13a, my favourite, 4d and 5d. Agree 21a was a bit rum but the solution became clear enough.


  28. 13d did for me thinking the vehicle was car. Struggled on 4d and 9a unusually for me as anagrams are normally my strong point. 10a was easiest for obvious reasons. **/***

  29. I’m not grumpy. Completed without assistance of any kind. Could not parse 1a (my fault) but when I read the hint I thought nothing wrong with the clue at all. 21a last one in. I was looking for a word to do with galaxy. Started going through the alphabet and got it as soon as I got to G. It is not wrong to have a proper noun and hardly needed reaching for Wikipedia. Is there anyone who has not heard of the first man in Space? Favourites 5, 7 and 12d. Thanks Giovanni.

  30. 1* difficulty? Not for me it wasn’t – clearly a case of, to quote DT’s preamble, my mindset being out of tune with the setter’s.
    Double unchecked letters didn’t help much.
    I don’t like clues where you have to solve one to get another.
    I’ve never heard of the first bit of 21a meaning wildly enthusiastic.
    I did get there in the end but really not one for me today – and, no, Giovanni, I’m not grumpy at all.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  31. I also disliked 21a, but my main problem was putting in RACKING for 13d, which is just as good a fit with the clue as the correct answer (arguably better given 21a’s tenuousness), and this made 13a impossible. Again sadly not a huge surprise given the error rate in recent times.

    1. This went into moderation because you’ve changed your email address. Both will work from now on.

  32. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it much more difficult than 1*. Took me ages to get the two anagrams in 9a&4d. I liked 25a, but my favourite was 12d. Last in was 21a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  33. I wish I had been able to stay under the duvet yesterday. Not through any fear of day/date combinations, just a distinct preference for bed over work!

    That said, I was quite grumpy after many minor irritations, and when late on I found time to look at the blog I was still grumpy … until I reached all the comments following Giovanni’s, proclaiming “I’m not grumpy!” That made me laugh.

    A bitty solve in snatched moments so I can’t really comment about difficulty other than to say it was definitely Giovanni in kindly mode. I liked the space theme and haven’t any grumbles – I’ll echo the Kiwis’ comment at #25 about 21a, and am happy to forgive the surface of 1a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  34. Thought 17A, 20A, 25A, 1D, and 4D all very good amongst others
    2#/5# for me
    I seem to like puzzles differently from my fellow commenters-Sunday is normally my grumpy day.

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