DT 28567 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28567

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28567

Hints and tips by Digby

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Hello from Heavenly Henfield on the Sussex Downs.

Recent joiners to Big Dave won’t have met me, as my last blog was over a year ago, but the 2Kiwi’s adventures on the sub-continent have dragged me out of semi-retirement.

It is to be hoped that they are having a marvellous time, and meanwhile my pre-dawn brain-engagement was a relatively straightforward experience, fortified by several brews of India’s finest.   

I am not equipped to identify individual setters, but assume this to be a Jay production, which I found to be fair, well-clued, but perhaps lacking in any stand-out or penny-drop moments.

However, I am always delighted to be challenged by differing views or tastes.

Please let me know how you got on.


1a           Shifty last retailer picked up tableware item (4,6)  .
               SALT CELLAR     Anagram (shifty) of LAST followed by a homophone (picked up) for a retailer.

6a           Pity, for the most part, is pretence (4)
                SHAM     A synonym for pity with its last letter removed (for the most part) 

9a           Flier confined by ambassador to land (7)
                ORTOLAN   A flier that is new to me is hidden (confined) in the last 3 words of the clue.








10a         Adopt mainly dull and nice changes (7)
                INCLUDE    Anagram of DUL(L)  (mainly) and NICE

12a         Traditionalists sign after performance by soldiers (13)
                REACTIONARIES  Start with the well-used abbreviation for soldiers, then a synonym for a performance or deed, and finally the oft-seen Sign of the Zodiac. These traditionalists are typically politicians opposed to change.

14a         Observer in privy meeting with broker, half cut (8)
               ONLOOKER    Split 2/3, think of a description for being in the privy.  Follow this (meeting) with the last half (cut) of broker.

15a         Remain absorbed by tatty rug that’s not as attractive (6)
                UGLIER    Take a word meaning remain and place inside (absorb) an anagram of RUG

17a         Shape a student in accordance with convention (6)
                FORMAL   A  synonym for shape followed by A (from the clue) and our usual notation for student, or learner

19a         Independent female protected by friendly source of power (4,4)
                WIND FARM  Insert (protect) the 3-letter abbreviation for independent and F(emale) into a synonym for a friendly feeling.

21a         Head of government permits spirits, showing such wit (7,6)
                GALLOWS HUMOUR    Build this answer from G (head of government) and synonyms for permits (as a verb) and spirits (not the alcoholic variety)  

24a         Calls and records a sale (5,2)
                RINGS UP    Double definition, the second possibly a shop-keeper using their till. Like Arkwright!

25a         Wrong in law to accept soldiers suffering (7)
                TORMENT    The legal word for wrong with a group of soldiers inside (accept)

26a         Crush fly (4)
                DASH   Another double definition – the first word relating to hope or enthusiasm

27a         Count Basie perhaps vetoed broadcast, needing editor’s opinion (10)
                BANDLEADER   The Count was one of these (perhaps) in the 1950s. Take a homophone of vetoed and add the editor’s column in a newspaper.


1d           Weep, hugging Liberal — a slovenly type (4)
                SLOB   Another word for to cry containing (hugging) L(iberal)

2d           Former king with a line on the side (7)
                LATERAL  Former, as in passed-on; the Latin abbreviation for King,; A from the clue; and L(ine)

3d           Speakers supporting company dance set up as partners in crime (13)
                COLLABORATORS  Think of Guy Fawkes and his mates for this answer.  Start with the usual short form of company; the reversal (set up in a Down clue) of a word for a dance; and end with (supporting) usually famous speakers.

4d           Extend stage to include end of apron afterwards (8)
                LENGTHEN  Insert (include) the end of apro(N) in a synonym for stage (as in a part of) and then (!) a word meaning afterwards.

5d           Friend from Spain making a motorway turn (5)
                AMIGO  A frequent visitor to Crosswordland is here again! Need I go on?

7d           Entertainer who was bound to show unconfined relief (7)
                HOUDINI  Cryptic description of  a famous escapologist (who died 91 years ago)











8d           Mass with moral sets off destructive situations (10)
                 MAELSTROMS  An anagram (off) using the fodder M(ass) and the 3rd / 4th words of the clue.

11d         Put on new clothes with fashionable source and did a turn? (7,6)
                CHANGED COURSE    A gentle piece of mis-direction here – the turn is something a boat might do. After the past tense of getting dressed add an anagram (fashionable) of SOURCE

13d         Set up as prisoner and judged (10)
                CONFIGURED      One of our stock words for prisoner followed by (a US?) term for judged, as in “thought so”.

16d         Located audit set for revision (8)
                SITUATED    An anagram (revision) of words 2 and 3 from the clue.

18d         Softens, finding the French trapped in leases (7)
                RELENTS   Take a synonym for leases and insert (trapped) the male French definite article

20d         Draught beer’s top for this idiot (7)
                AIRHEAD    Split 3/4 –  what causes a draught and what you should find on top of a well-pulled pint.

22d         One cuts copies up in colour (5)
                SEPIA  Reverse (up in a down clue) a word meaning copies and insert (cuts) a letter meaning one.

23d         Prison involved in raising of merit systems (4)
                STIR  We finish with another chestnut. A reverse lurker (involved in raising) from the last 2 words of the clue.

My favourite clue today, for its touch of lavatory humour,  is 14a. Which is yours?

Quickie pun       Thumb  +   Hind  +  Sigh    =     The Mind’s Eye

41 comments on “DT 28567

  1. 1.5* / 3.5*. I always enjoy Jay’s puzzles and this was no exception although I did feel it was a little below his normal excellence and was slightly less challenging than usual.

    14a was my favourite with 4d in second place.

    Many thanks to Jay and welcome back to Digby.

  2. Early solve today, I thought some clues were quite difficult, but overall enjoyed the puzzle and so going for a three/three*/ /
    Not seen the homophone indicator ‘picked up ‘ before, does not work for me.
    Favourite 7d for the surface , 14a brought a smile. Thanks Digby-welcome back to the blog!( if I remember he was Dan Dares friend )
    Quickie pun very ‘iffy’.

    1. The homophone indicator “picked up”, as in captured / received / heard, has been used several times before. The most recent example that I can find is from DT 28436 (25th May 2017) “18a A North African picked up for affair (5)” where the MOUR part of the answer sounds like (picked up) MOOR (North African).

        1. I have 24 synonyms for the phrasal verb “pick up” on my iPad software, all with different meanings. Only one of those (hear) has anything to sound, so this seems a weak and tenuous homophone indicator. Thanks to BD for explaining this.
          I note that 27th May was a Saturday, so presumably a different setter.

  3. Lots of ‘bung-ins’ without really understanding the wordplay – 14a, 15a, 19a, 26a, 4d, 20d, 22d for example – quite tricky and ultimately unsatisfying IMHO

  4. Good morning everybody.

    Very gentle. Couldn’t rationalise 4d, 20d. 9a was new to me. Favourite 19a.


  5. Thanks Digby, I agree with you on this one /. No favourite clues though – as to 14a I am not a big fan of lego clues. Otherwise enjoyable enough so thanks to the setter.

  6. Well this was an R&W for me, but a slow one, so became a (3asterisk/3asterisk). Couldn’t find the first syllable of 14a, so thanks to Digby for that one. Last one in, therefore COTD, was 11d which even when I had spotted the first word, took me a while to salvage.

    Many thanks to Digby and the setter.

  7. 9a was part of the last meal of Francois Mitterand. The bird is prepared by drowning it alive in Armagnac, cooked and then served whole, eaten bones and all. Mmm…nice!

      1. …not only is it illegal (I think) but the thumb sized bird is an endangered species. Extract from n interview with a French chef:

        “People typically will eat it under a white napkin. And part of it is to create a little capsule for yourself so that all of the aromas and tastes are captured in the space before you. But also people traditionally ate beneath the cloth napkin because they didn’t want to have God see them eating these little songbirds.”

  8. Thanks Digby.
    Not too many problems with this today. I missed the anagram indicator in 11d.
    Fav was 9a as I have been lucky enough to tick the said bunting on my local patch. Good lurker too.
    Thanks to Jay too.

  9. I found this a bit tricky today. I worked mainly from the bottom up and I’m afraid my little electronic friend got quite warm today from overuse 😄.

  10. I think this puzzle shows what a high standard Jay normally attains on a Wednesday, as inevitably we tend to judge each offering by what we expect to find. This was a fair and well-clued crossword, but not up to his usual excellence, so 2/3 for me. I quite liked 9a as a well disguised lurker.

    Thanks Jay and to Digby.

  11. Jay as good as ever, straightforward, very enjoyable, and completed at a gallop – 1.5/3.5.

    9d – new word of the day.

    Favourite – 21a.

    Thanks to Jay and Digby.

  12. Quite enjoyable, but not our usual Wednesday treat which I look forward to; just seemed a tad clunky here and there – so much so that I’m not convinced this is a Jay puzzle. Clues such as 1d fail to impress. A generous 2/2.

    Thanks to setter and Hello to Digby, thanks for the blog.

  13. Very gentle today – enjoyable, but didn’t last long enough. */***. 20d was the only stand out clue for me today.

  14. Not bad, but not quite hitting the high spots as the Wednesday puzzle usually does.
    19a I think is my fave, and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Digby for the review.

  15. Didn’t feel particularly ‘Jay- like’ to me today – not sure why.

    Kept looking for something more in 7d using ‘HO’ as ‘SHOW’ unconfined – but couldn’t justify the last five letters of the answer!
    Took me a while to twig the lavatorial part of 14a (silly girl) and 13d was the last to fall for no good reason.

    I liked the feathered friend at 9a and gave top marks to 2d for the surface read.

    Thanks to Jay (?) and also to Digby – nice to see you back in the chair again and thank you for the enjoyable clips in the blog.

    PS Mr K put up some remarkable figures about our wonderful reviewers in answer to a question I posed on yesterday’s blog. He posted them quite late in the day so, if you missed them, do go back and take a look. What a dedicated bunch we have on the BD team!

  16. I agree with the consensus, a solid if unspectacular Jay puzzle, but Wednesday crosswords never fail to be enjoyable.

    My two ticked clues were 1a and 7d.

    Many thanks to Mr Mutch and to Digby.

  17. Phew! After yesterday’s gruesome effort. when I began to think I’d completely lost the plot, this was a very enjoyable puzzle. Just got stuck on 25a, never having heard of the 4 letter synonym for “wrong in law”.

    1. Hello Jeseyboytoo, and thanks for your vote of confidence!!
      (we 2 go back to the good old days of the Fleet Air Arm in the 1970s)

      1. If you’re still around, Digby – thought you might be interested to know that the RAF guy who took the photo you use as your avatar got well and truly lambasted by his superior for being so foolhardy. One of my neighbours was that particular superior officer!

        1. Yes, the RAF were great flyers, but tended to do everything by the book,
          We threw the book overboard !

  18. 2/3. Fairly gentle challenge and some good clues. Favourites were 8d and 9a which rang a bell but needed Mr Google to confirm. Strange weather recently – we had lunch on the top of Grouse Mountain in perfect sunshine but in the north of BC they had 200mm of rain.

  19. Just back from a day trip to sunny Birmingham. This puzzle did not detain me long and though enjoyable it was not special. Thanks to the setter and the reviewer who has stepped in for the holidaying Kiwis.

  20. I found this a little tricky, don’t know why. I needed to use some electronic help for a few.
    My fave was 21a, with 14a hot on its heels.
    Thanks to setter. Nice to see you again, Digby, thanks for the clip of Count Basie.
    It’s just been announced that Fats Domino has died, another iconic musician gone.

  21. Thanks to Jay and to Digby for the review and hints. A nice puzzle from Jay. Quite gentle, but still good fun. Favourite was 9a. Was 2/3 for me.

  22. This was for me a puzzle of two halves with the South completed relatively quickly followed by a busy day and then a wind-down with the fun Northern challenge. Joint Favs were 14a and 27a (the hint for which added to the day’s delectation). Thank you Jay and also Digby from a nearish neighbour in Warnham.

  23. ** for difficulty overall for a puzzle that proved to be perfectly solvable, but kept me on my toes throughout. Quite a few chucked in on definition alone, or bits of the word-play. 9ac I thought, surely not, but lo and behold it is a bird. Last in 12ac.

  24. Needed quite a bit of help with some of the across clues, which then helped me fill in the remaining down clues on my own. Thought the setter had a good sense of humor at 14a but wish he hadn’t used 9a, at least not since I learnt how it is cooked and served. Oh dear.

  25. An unusual after dinner solve for me. Maybe it was the digestion leaving little blood flow to the brain, but I didn’t find this as easy as commenters suggest. At least averagely challenging, both for Jay and for a back page puzzle, by my reckoning.

    9a vas only vaguely familiar, but so too was Count Basie. Hurrah for friendly wordplay.

    My favourite today was definitely 20d. (Don’t know what it might be about beery idiocy that might appeal to me …)

    Thanks to Jay and to Digby – good to see you in the chair. If it was a pre-dawn solve, I assume that the India’s finest you spoke of was tea and not anything stronger. :)

    1. Indeed it was Kitty – masquerading as having been made in Yorkshire, though on my many visits back to God’s Own County I don’t ever recall seeing tea growing.

  26. Very enjoyable on the whole, though 1a and 4d were Ray T standard and it’s not clever (9a) to use words that most people don’t know; the dictionary is full of them. 14a made me smile 😊 when I eventually saw it.

  27. Well, I found this more enjoyable than most commentators;
    14A very good;
    ***/***** for me.

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