DT 28560 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28560

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28560

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another fine Tuesday back-page cryptic.  I thought I detected a lot of originality and creativity in this puzzle, and a scan of my database confirmed that several of the answers and many of the constructions have not been seen here previously.  That made for an entertaining solve.  I hope that you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Regular readers may have noticed that I have a thing about data.  Well, for my next endeavour in that direction I need your help.  I’d like to understand the demographics of visitors to the site, and so I have put together a little poll with four simple multiple-choice questions.  It shouldn’t take more than a minute to complete, so while you’re here please click on the spoiler box below and fill it out.  I’d particularly like to get responses from the many visitors to the site who haven’t posted comments.  I’ll present the results next Tuesday.

Click here to open the survey. There are four questions. Please click the 'Finish Survey' button at the bottom when you're done.


In the hints below underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  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 or do something else.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Skill fixing fence, if icy (10)
EFFICIENCY:  An anagram (fixing) of FENCE IF ICY

6a    Bound  to leave (4)
SKIP:  This is a double definition.  Bound like a kangaroo.

9a    Vehicles, vehicles — about time! (5)
CARTS:  Wrap some common vehicles around the physics symbol for time

10a   Select Poe works to shorten (9)
TELESCOPE:  An anagram (works) of SELECT POE.  The product in the picture can be seen in action here

12a   Old bishop and minister in study (7)
OBSERVE:  Stick together the abbreviation for old, the chess symbol for bishop, and a verb synonym of minister

13a   Rushed for instance towards the West’s diversity (5)
RANGE:  Rushed or hurried, and “for instance” abbreviated in Latin and then reversed (from the West, in an across clue)

15a   Agitated conductor leading band’s climax (7)
RATTLED:  A famous English conductor followed by (leading) the final letter of banD (…’s climax)

17a   Former lover suggested getting bare (7)
EXPOSED:  Join the usual former lover and a verb meaning suggested or put forward

19a   Country retreat with distinguishing characteristic (7)
DENMARK:  A retreat or hideaway and (with) a distinguishing characteristic or stamp

21a   Hearing sounds back, son must be captivated (7)
SESSION:  The reversal (back) of some undesirable sounds with the abbreviation for son inserted (must be captivated

22a   Model of car and every train (5)
TEACH:  Combine the model designation of the first mass-produced car and a synonym of every

24a   Business skill returned: very loudly in charge (7)
TRAFFIC:  A three-letter synonym of skill is reversed (returned), and followed by the musical abbreviation for very loud and the (1/1) abbreviation for in charge

27a   Keeping in power involved keeping quiet (9)
OWNERSHIP:  An anagram (involved) of IN POWER containing (keeping) an informal demand for quiet

28a   Say nothing in sin (5)
VOICE:  Put the letter that looks like nothing or zero inside sin or depravity

29a   Holy man, the old thing that’s painful to see around (4)
STYE:  Glue together a usual abbreviation for a (dead) holy man and an archaic form of “the”.  Not sure that around is an appropriate preposition here

30a   Fired up, 50 per cent of encounters were angry (10)
ENCOURAGED:  Stick together the first half (50%) of ENCOUnters and another way of saying “were angry”



1d    Branch of sweet chestnut’s cut (4)
ETCH:  The answer is part of (branch of) the remaining words in the clue

2d    Catch up after pro got left behind (9)
FORGOTTEN:  A synonym of pro, GOT from the clue, and the reversal (up, in a down clue) of catch or trap

3d    Charges people from the Highlands leading southern moves? (5)
COSTS:  Take some people from the Highlands and move their first S [leading s(outhern)] down a couple of places

4d    Went in hospital department before daughter (7)
ENTERED:  Concatenate a usual hospital department, a poetic form of before, and the abbreviation for daughter

5d    Company suggest leaving a place of learning (7)
COLLEGE:  Put together the abbreviation for company, and a synonym of suggest minus its A (leaving a)

7d    Recognised kind of wine regularly taken out (5)
KNOWN:  What remains from KIND OF WINE when the even letters are removed (regularly taken out)

8d    Putting on an act before start of theatrical finale (10)
PRETENDING:  Connect together a preposition meaning before, the first letter (start of) of Theatrical, and a finale or conclusion.  The story behind the picture is here

11d   What person in the Navy could want rubbish on board ship? (7)
STRIPES:  An informal word for rubbish is placed inside (on board) a usual abbreviation for ship   

14d   Customs raid — it’s not unusual (10)
TRADITIONS:  An anagram (unusual) of RAID IT’S NOT

16d   Mad king wielding the whip (7)
LEATHER:  A Shakespearean mad king containing (wielding) THE from the clue

18d   Some tailors initially longing to finish this? (9)
STITCHING:  The first letters (initially) of Some Tailors, with a synonym of longing appended (to finish).

20d   Thick stews in French cuisine, as they say in Paris (7)
KITCHEN:  Join an anagram (stews) of THICK and the French word for in.  If the definition is unclear, consulting a French-English dictionary like this one should help

21d   Head cleaner has mop bent over (7)
SHAMPOO:  An anagram (bent) of HAS MOP, followed by the cricket abbreviation for over

23d   Refusal to tuck into any bug (5)
ANNOY:  A short word of refusal is tucked into ANY from the clue

25d   Female continually creating state of excitement (5)
FEVER:  Join the abbreviation for female and an adverb meaning continually

26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
DEED:  Whichever way you look at it tells us that we’re looking for a heroic exploit that’s a palindrome


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun tussle.  I ticked 9a, 12a, 15a, 22a, 28a, 3d, 8d, 16d, and 20d.  My favourite was the clever and original 20d.  Which clues topped your list?


The Quick Crossword pun:  AIR+ROW+PLAIN=AEROPLANE


75 comments on “DT 28560

  1. I totally agree with Mr Kitty, this was quite an enjoyable solve.

    I found the SE quadrant a little harder than the rest, with 21a really taxing me. 21d on the other hand was an absolute DOH! moment.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  2. Blooming heck. MP answering a survey. There is a first. Having slept from 8.30pm last night to 8.30am this morning I was fresh enough to tackle today’s back pager which tumbled easily. Outside of Read and write but not by much. I got into a pickle attempting to spell 1ac for no apparent reason. perhaps a pencil would help but that won’t happen Enjoyable clues. Thanks to Mr K for the blog and thanks to our settter for the brain exercise. I am now going to spend all day doing nothing unless my best mate comes to take me for a recuperative pint this afternoon.

  3. I do not have a lot to say about today’s puzzle. It was straightforward and enjoyable. I completed Mr K’s survey but I generally visit the site once a day and comment once a day but as those options were not available I had to say that I visited the site a few times every day and comment few times every day neither of which is true and might affect the survey.

    1. Hi, PLR, and thanks for filling out my survey. As Kitty says, it’s approximate. Individual decisions about rounding up or rounding down will all average out in the end.

  4. 2*/3*. I agree with PLR that this was straightforward and enjoyable. 21a was my last one in and 20d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr Kitty.

  5. Enjoyed this, but don’t have much to mew about. I did like the head cleaner and the choosiness about which bugs one might eat — though I’d probably opt for French cuisine sans insects! Thanks.

  6. I thought this was something of a curate’s egg, with a sprinkling of recent repeats, completed at a canter, but not overly enjoyable – **/**.

    Favourite – 15a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  7. No problems with this, apart from the conductor at 15a.
    Not too many comments about this to make, apart from a welcome relief after yesterday.
    No great favourites, thanks all.
    Can someone advise if the Toughie is doable for a relative newcomer?? Thanks.

    1. It is set by Dada who i think is Paul who sets in The Grauniad. I like his puzzles but they always take longer than anybody else’s and I nearly always think them worthy of a toughie slot. Have a go. I will have to try to solve without a pen as I refuse to move from the settee.

        1. SS is out. There are pens aplenty but my mind is made up. I have five (possibly six) after the first read through and a few ideas.

    2. Not the easiest Tuesday Toughie, but worth having a look at. I’d recommend you make a start, stop if you’re not having fun, and join me in a couple of hours for the decryption party.

      1. Thanks Kitty, I look forward to your hints, the jump between the back-pager and the Toughie is still far too wide for me.

    3. There are four 15 letter answers in the Toughie – get those and you’ve got plenty of checkers to help with the rest of the puzzle.

  8. I have done the survey, Mr.K.
    I hope this does not mean I am about to go on the Readers Digest mailing list!!

  9. I really liked some of the clues , such as 18d, 20d and 21d.
    Other clues struck me as ,graceless such as 29a .I also dislike clues that rely on general knowledge such as 15a , although I had heard of him.
    Everyone feel free to tell me how wrong I am.
    Thanks to Mr kitty and the setter.

  10. Save for 9a, which I thought very weak, this was an enjoyable and entertaining solve which I found more straightforward than yesterday, oddly.

    My three ticked clues were 15a, 27a and 11d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K. I look forward with interest to the survey’s results, I suspect the age demographics won’t throw up any surprises, but I hope I’m wrong!

  11. All plain sailing today with just a quick pause to check that my definition of 20d was accurate. Have to admit that I didn’t particularly notice the unusual constructs or answers, with the exception of the afore-mentioned 20d. Just as well you’re there to check up on these things, Mr K!

    Top two for me were the agitated conductor in 15a and the 21d head cleaner.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for an excellent blog and good choice of music clips. The cartoon at 22a made me smile!

  12. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with some very good clues. 21d made me laugh. Last in and favourite was 20d, I wondered how this clue worked, and didn’t realise it was a partial anagram until I read the blog. I found this mostly read and write. Perhaps I was on the right wavelength for once 😁. Was 1*/3.5* for me. It was interesting to complete the survey. I like the stats from Mr Kitty.

  13. Like most bloggers this was a steady solve for me , top half first then bottom half-both right to left.
    Going to agree with Mr Kitty on a **/****.
    Have to say that 20d was new to me, the construction was as I expected from the clue.
    Thanks Mr K, no sound on my work computer, assume Miss Lee is 25d.
    No real favourites, 21a was different but I saw it straight away.

  14. A comfortable solve, enjoyable throughout and a lovely mix of clues. I thought 20d was very original and clever and worthy of the COTD accolade. 2*/4* overall with many thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  15. I wonder if anyone else happily bunged in skipper for 11 down! Held me up for a while in the top right corner! Very enjoyable thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

    1. I did, but knew it had to end in “s” so the thought only crossed my mind for a nanosecond.

  16. I agree with the rest of you – enjoyable and fairly straightforward. 2*/4*
    I had trouble with a couple of the anagrams – 10 and 27a – which is quite unusual for me – I normally get them quickly.
    5d had to be what it was but it took me ages to see why – how silly is that? :roll:
    Clues that stood out for me today include 15a and 2, 11 and 20d. My favourite was 18d.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to Mr K.

  17. Very nice puzzle, really enjoyable. Nothing too daunting, just about the right level for me.

    I completed Mr Kitty’s survey, I hope it helps him in his thirdt for dsta – incidentally I like the sound of his database of crossword data – would it be possible to get access to it?

  18. Quite easy today … but very nicely clued.

    Looking forward to the results of the survey.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty (aka Statto).

  19. Reasonable crossword ***/** Am I being a little dim but if the answer to 11d is Navy slang then it is new for me 😳 Liked 27a & 29a 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the setter

    1. 11d refers to indications of rank on a military uniform, so getting 11d = getting promoted

        1. Yes, it would apply to any of them. Presumably the setter chose Navy because that creates the best surface reading.

          1. Yes, 11d. The definition is a sort of obscure one by (unindicated) example and the setter has used Navy mainly (pun intended) to maintain the general naval/maritime theme of the clue surface.

    2. Re 11d, I think the answer refers to good conduct badges, which used to carry a small amount of extra pay, but no longer do.

      1. Thanks for that, Physicist. I didn’t know that aspect of 11d, but now I see that the definitions in the BRB include “2.A chevron on a sleeve, indicating non-commissioned rank or good behaviour”

  20. No great holdups today. **/*** . I liked 12a, 15a, 18d and 20d with 21a getting top spot. Exception of a lifetime – I have completed the survey!!

  21. It really was a R & W for me today with the exception of 11d and 17a. Once I had clicked the former (I had been trying to put the ship at the end) I immediately got the latter. I think 21d takes the prize quickly followed by 18 and 20d and 29a. No terribly complicated clues and, sadly, has not distracted me from my chores for long enough. Done my best with your survey Mr K although difficult as I am very inconsistent. Will the setter please allow himself to be 17a. Thanks to him (her) and Mr K. Sorry I did to need your hints.

  22. Not easy for me but hugely enjoyable. I agree Mr. K, a bit different, wonder who the setter is.
    We’ve had the conductor before and I remembered him, miracle.
    Solved 20d from the anagram, but I needed the hint to understand the cuisine bit.
    So much to like, the head cleaner brought a smile, can’t choose a fave, too many choices.
    I know I’m predictable, but the enlightenment at 8d was right up my strasse.
    Thanks to setter, come back soon, and to Mr. K for the review, and the Peggy Lee at 25d, she’s fabulous.

  23. Enjoyed today’s crossword and now solving virtually every day with only the occasional help of this excellent blog. However I do visit the blog every day to read and enjoy all of your comments. Completed the survey and put that I have been solving for about eighteen months (thanks to the blog.) However I have been trying to solve the puzzle for over 30 years, so hope this will not skew Mr Kitty’s outcomes?

    2/4 for me, with thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

    1. Hi, Hx3. Thanks to you and to everybody else who has completed my survey so far.

      There’s really no need for anybody to worry about giving an incorrect answer that might affect the outcome. Just bung in whatever answer feels most appropriate after a few second’s thought. Some will round up, some will round down, and it will pretty much all average out in the end.

  24. An undemanding but pleasant exercise. Failed to parse 3d or 21a. Liked little 29a for its simple surface. Thank you Mysteron and the irrepressible “Statto” 🐱.

  25. I had this down as a doddle until l got into the SE corner. Then the unwisdom of my thoughtless “skipper” for 11d became obvious! I bunged it in on the grounds that rubbish goes in a skip and ships have skippers (memo to self – read the damn clue, thicko!). Anyway, l went just into 2* by the time l had unscrambled the mess. I enjoyed 20d, though. Thanks to the setter, and Mr Kitty.

  26. I did survey and would like to point out that I do not comment much in the years I have been coming here is because everything has been said and I see no need for tautology. As this is my once yearly comment, I would just love to thank Big Dave for a truly amazing site that has become legendary. Also the helper outs and posters who have beat me to what I would have said.

    1. Thanks for completing the survey, Captain. What you say about commenting makes perfect sense. I put that question in just to get an estimate of how many visitors to the site are lurkers or almost-lurkers.

    2. Don’t be so lethargic, Sir! Your comment may well occasionally mirror what another commenter has said but, believe me, having someone else back up your opinion can be extremely heartening – particularly when you’ve admitted to making a complete whatsit of something!

      1. Thank you Jane, I quite often make a complete hash of it and find it remarkable that so many wrong”right” answers can be made to one pilot error. However that is part of the enjoyment.
        Most of the comments though are compliments to the setter and BD. I echo them but don’t feel the need to post them.
        One other thing I like is watching comment writers rise through the ranks to become today’s clue posters. I think that is an overlooked offshoot of BDs work. Your turn soon?

  27. Careful thought required throughout for an inventive, enjoyable puzzle. Last in the SE corner as it was for many others it appears. ** for difficulty overall, not helped by a wild stab in the dark at KETCHUP for 20d. Why? Because it fit, and I panicked at the mention of French cuisine.

  28. Liked it but I rated it 2.5/3.5. No particular favourites. Took me longer than it should have. I think I have become a bit rusty due to life getting in the way. I have not finished Sunday’s for instance and that is one I seldom miss. Thanks to the setter and Mr K. (Survey done btw)

  29. This comment invalidates my survey input in which I said I never post…

    Actually, the survey gave me a nudge to say thanks for the help this site has given me. It is much appreciated. Over the last couple of years I’ve gone from brow scratching to finishing most days and this blog has been key to learning the ropes.

    1. Welcome from me too, Patrick. Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks for filling out my survey.

  30. Late on parade again! 19d was my fave in a nice puzzle which warranted overall 2/3.5*.
    Thanks to the setter and to MrK or the review which I shall read in a minute.

  31. Good evening everybody.

    Very good puzzle today. Not unlike yesterday for overall difficulty but managed to finish this.

    Favourite 21d. Last in 30a.


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