DT 28578 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28578

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28578

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello, everyone.  I solved this one under non-ideal conditions that made it hard to judge difficulty, but my feeling is that it’s more straightforward than last Tuesday’s adventure.  I found it good fun, and if you enjoy charades and double definitions this puzzle should make you smile.

In the hints below underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and most indicators are italicised.  The answers will be revealed by clicking on the Get well soon, Jane! buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will either enlarge it or do something else.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Diplomat‘s mother backing singer on road upset (10)
AMBASSADOR:  Link together the reversal (backing) of an informal term for mother, a singer with a deep voice, and an anagram (upset) of ROAD

6a    Pole free? Almost (4)
SPAR:  All but the last letter (almost) of an adjective meaning free or unused

9a    Advertise opening of tapas bar (5)
TRAIL:  The first letter of (opening of) Tapas and a bar or rod.  The longer noun form of the answer (the thing that does the advertising) might be more familiar

10a   Handicapa golfing term (9)
ALBATROSS:  A double definition.  As a handicap it’s metaphorical.  In golf it’s the missing member in the sequence birdie, eagle, …, condorUnfortunately, the best video I could find of the obvious musical accompaniment is mimed.  Oh well.

12a   Factor in a small amount (7)
ELEMENT:  Another double definition.  Also an essential part of something, or a determining fact or condition in a problem.  I’ve expanded this hint and the one for 20d in response to a suggestion that sometimes just hinting “double definition” is not enough.  Thanks for that feedback

13a   Splendid inside picture gallery (5)
REGAL:  The answer is hidden inside the remainder of the clue

15a   Horse, calm before short session (7)
EVENTER:  Join a synonym of calm and all but the last letter (short) of a long session at school, for example

17a   Young animal always allowed outside (7)
LEVERET:  Another word for always has a short synonym of allowed wrapped round it (outside).  The animal in question is a hare

19a   Popular firm close to another one providing protection (7)
INSURER:  Stick together a usual word for popular, a synonym of firm or certain, and the last letter of (close to) anotheR

21a   Subject to work experience (7)
UNDERGO:  “subject to” or “subordinate to”, followed by work or operate

22a   Eastern lake’s not natural (5)
EERIE:  Connect the abbreviation for eastern and a US Great Lake

24a   Time to face reprimand, about to cry (7)
TEARFUL:  The physics symbol for time is followed by (to face) a verbal reprimand

27a   Legendary beauty broken man adored (9)
ANDROMEDA:  An anagram (broken) of MAN ADORED.  For more on the legendary Greek beauty click here

28a   Ring any number in locality (5)
ARENA:  The letter used in mathematics to represent “any number” is inserted in locality or vicinity

29a   The last word from leader of Assamese soldiers, … (4)
AMEN:  Combine the first letter of (leader of) Assamese and one of the usual words for soldiers

30a   … enlisted troops from separate castes (5,5)
OTHER RANKS:  Linking synonyms of separate and castes gives some soldiers who often appear in crosswordland in their abbreviated form 



1d    Singer in rehearsal, tone-deaf (4)
ALTO:  The answer is lurking in the remainder of the clue

2d    Be grateful for securing weak upright (9)
BLAMELESS:  “Be grateful for” containing (securing) weak or implausible

3d    Work out alone around five (5)
SOLVE:  A synonym of alone containing (around) the Roman numeral for five.  The complete newspaper article is here

4d    A subtly different mature ham (7)
AMATEUR:  Take A from the clue and append a slight rearrangement of the letters (subtly different) in MATURE

5d    Examination involving segment of a ring road? (7)
ORBITAL:  The answer is obtained from crosswordland’s favourite type of examination containing (involving) a segment or piece.  The junction depicted in this road sign was once voted the fourth scariest in Britain

7d    Point in river offensive smell has enveloped (5)
PRONG:  An informal term for an offensive smell contains (has enveloped) the abbreviation for river

8d    Formal proposal about compound (10)
RESOLUTION:  A usual short word for about or concerning, followed by something loosely synonymous with compound

11d   Half of them playing Verdi did well (7)
THRIVED:  Link together half of the letters in THem and an anagram (playing) of VERDI

14d   Wants information about English team, first in race (10)
DESIDERATA:  Some information (of the type your reviewer collects) contains (about) the concatenation of the abbreviation for English, a synonym of team, and the first letter of (first in) Race.  The answer may be best known as the title of a 1927 prose poem

16d   Danger at sea — opted out, or in? (7)
TORPEDO:  This threat to shipping is obtained from an anagram (out) of OPTED, with OR from the clue inside it

18d   Member of the clergy and a ruler abroad (5,4)
RURAL DEAN:  An anagram (abroad) of AND A RULER

20d   Take flight in retirement (7)
RETREAT:  Another double definition.  Retirement for religious meditation, possibly.

21d   Oblivious, a female in Paris about a state of conflict (7)
UNAWARE:  The feminine French indefinite article contains (about) A from the clue and a state of conflict

23d   Escarpment, cold place once Fahrenheit’s dropped (5)
RIDGE:  Remove (once …’s dropped) the abbreviation for Fahrenheit from an informal name for a cold place in the kitchen

25d   Learner in market showing natural ability (5)
FLAIR:  The symbol for a learner driver is inserted in a market or bazaar

26d   The old lady’s small service (4)
MASS:  A short form of “the old lady’s”, including the ‘S, followed by the abbreviation for small


A comment on the demographics survey a couple of weeks ago suggested that we provide a way for readers who didn’t want to comment in public to indicate that they’d been here.  The spoiler box below hides a text box that can be used for that purpose.  I’m interested in hearing any suggestions for how my hints could be made more effective, so feel free to use it for that too.

Suggestion Box



Thanks to today’s setter for a fun challenge.  Today I particularly enjoyed the clever indicator in 4d, the well-hidden anagram in 18d , and the Quick Crossword pun.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  HISS+TORY+ANNE=HISTORIAN

84 comments on “DT 28578

  1. Completely agree with MrK’s assessment of difficulty and enjoyment /. I thought that this was going to be fairly straight forward until I got stuck in the SE corner looking for hidden meanings that weren’t there! Clue of the day was 30a – might have been 10a but for a dreadful round yesterday when that particular golfing term was never going to be needed. Thanks to setter and MrK.

  2. 8d A pedantic quibble. Meeting Chairmen often say Resolution when they mean a Proposition.
    Resolution is the determination following the vote on the proposal.
    Clearly the compiler is not a chemist !

      1. After some of the responses to the mentioning of the physics inaccuracy yesterday, I’m reluctant to say anything. Let’s just say that I don’t disagree with you. :)

      2. Indeed – in a scientific context they are quite different. I commented yesterday on how I feel about clues that do such things.

        The Chambers Thesaurus does list the required word as a synonym under compound, which presumably either means there’s a context in which they are the same (compounded drugs, maybe?) or that it gets misused so often that Chambers have given up. So, today I settled for adding “loosely” to the hint.

    1. I do agree – a proposal is put to a board or committee – the resolution is whatever they vote upon and therefore surely not a synonym?
      Lovely to have mention of that most amazing 10a bird – Mr Charlie’s favourite, second only to the emperor penguin.
      An enjoyable and varied puzzle. Thanks to all concerned.

      1. Are you aware of this live web cam feed from what I believe is the only site where 10a breed near civilization? It looks like the last chick has just departed, but there are recorded highlights available until the next nesting cycle begins.

        1. Oh gosh, no, I was not aware but thank you! Aren’t they wonderful! They hatch and grow and then take off and stay airborne for several years until it is time to mate and nest. Quite extraordinary, but so endangered now. The things one learns on BD’s blog!

  3. I really struggled to get this one off the ground. In my first reading of the across clues I managed to solve 2. Thankfully the down clues were more forthcoming, and I got there in the end.

    Are we going to have another science based discussion on whether the second half of the answer to 8d is in fact a compound? My ‘O’ level chemistry (Grade 3) says otherwise.

    Many thanks to the setter and MK.

  4. 2* / 3*. I thought this enjoyable puzzle was going to end up at around my 1* time until I got held up in the NW corner. 18d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Messrs R&K.

  5. No real difficulties this morning with this pretty straightforward and enjoyable Tuesday puzzle. Not many different clue types which took the edge off the fun, so 2* /3* for me. I did like 16d, and I also enjoyed the surface of 2d.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  6. I did this under ideal conditions and still found it tricky. I got held up by 2a though the answer was obvious from the word play because I did not know bxxxx connoted ‘be grateful’. 14d and 30a also defied me for a while. I have no favourites today. MrK I loved the take on diplomacy. Is it from The Devil’s Dictionary which lies unopened on my bookshelf.

    1. The internet says that the diplomacy quotation originated with Winston Churchill, who may have first said it as “Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

  7. Just popping in to say Hi and apologise for having been AWOL recently. It seems that a particularly nasty virus decided that my body would make an ideal host with the result that, since a couple of days prior to the hour change, I have done little beyond drink copious amounts of boiled water and lie in bed with a hot water bottle clutched to my poor old tummy. GP assured me yesterday that the ‘acute’ phase is now over – I hope to goodness that it is! Thank you to those who have sent messages, they were much appreciated.

    I quite enjoyed this one and will put 24a in the top spot for its amusing ‘reprimand’.
    I did wonder whether 8d would give rise to some comments on a couple of counts – I see that it has!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog – I must try to remember that superb definition of diplomacy.

    1. Welcome back, Jane … I did wonder why you were absent without filling in the necessary paperwork.

    2. Hi Jane. We did miss you. Here’s hoping you make a return to feeling fully OK very soon. :rose:

    3. And here was me thinking you were visiting your family. Ah well. I hope you continue to improve.

    4. Like Miffypops, I had assumed that you were away again visiting your grandson, Jane, especially as I hadn’t seen any reference that you were poorly, so I was very sorry to read you have been under the weather. I was tempted to post something yesterday to the effect of “where is Jane?”, but I didn’t wish to appear foolish if I had missed the answer previously.

      Very glad to see you posting again, as the Blog is always the poorer whenever you are absent. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

    5. I find a good loud dose of Tom Waits to be just the thing to cheer me up at such times Jane

      1. I can imagine that you would, MP, but forgive me if I don’t go along with the notion.
        By the way – who is that absolutely gorgeous young bride in your current avatar? She really looks quite stunning.

            1. 5 years ago on November 2nd. Harrison’s Mother. She chose ‘Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings Of Your Love) by Tom Waits for me to walk her down the aisle to. Clever girl

    6. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re hors de combat! Please get well soon, regularly brightening our lives with your fun posts.

    7. Nice to have you back Jane. It sounds awfully familiar, I’ve had similar suffering over the weekend. Thankfully short but horribly sharp.

    8. Sorry to hear you have been poorly – i always enjoy your contributions to this blog. Just a thought . . . you hadn’t recently had a ‘flu jab, had you?
      Anyway, so good you are rallying.

  8. I found this a little harder than normal for Tuesday, while staying in the normal range.

    My favourite was the mature ham (4d).

    30a was last in. Gah!

    Thanks to the setter and blogger.

    P.S. The Magic Roundabout is familiar to me, but I’ve only been round it as a passenger because I’m a chicken.

  9. A great rainy-day puzzle. / for me with some proper thought required here and there. Ticks against 2d and 28a. Never heard of 18d.
    Thanks to Mr K for the entertainment. I have already resent a few of your selected images to the absent family.
    I read somewhere that an Albatross is 50 times rarer than a hole in one. Anybody had one of these rare birds?
    Thanks to setter for the fun.

    1. Regarding 10a, whilst I am not a golfer, the statistician in me would believe that it could well be 50 times rarer than a hole-in-one. To achieve the large sea-bird, you would either have to hole-in-one from a par four, or get a two on a par five. Getting a hole-in-one from a par three would be so much easier, as they are roughly half the length of a par four.

      1. According to the page that I linked to in the hint, “The National Hole in One Association, which tracks holes-in-one and sets odds for the feat, states that an albatross is less likely than an elusive hole-in-one. The association sets a golfer’s odds of making a hole-in-one at 12,700 to 1 or, for a professional, 3,700 to 1. The odds of achieving an albatross, meanwhile, are set at 6 million to 1.”

        1. I got very close once, a foot away from the hole with my second on a par 5. Never had a hole in one either.

  10. Nice puzzle although for some unknown reason we struggled in the SW corner having completely done E side. So 3/3 for us.
    Currently having lunch and then about to start scaping lounge walls to get rid of flaking plaster. The joys of owning an old Spanish house.
    Thanks to Mr K & Mr Ron for today

  11. Fell 4 short today, but not too disapointed as 14d was the key and that is a Toughie level clue, so well beyond me. Once I had cheated on that the rest fell into place.
    Lots of good clues though, favourite was 30a.
    That was another difficult Tuesday workout, just right as I am on the train back from Devon.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr.Ron.

  12. 10a – a reference to a work I have studied and is my absolute favourite.

    “One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
    Too quick for groan or sigh,
    Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
    And cursed me with his eye.”

    Just in case you haven’t come across it before and you’ve got 20 mins spare, it’s worth a read (You may need to settle down with a fresh cuppa!) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner S T Coleridge (1797-8)

    Not surprised you passed on Iron Maiden’s version, Mr K!

    1. Re Iron Maiden, since my recent Black Sabbath clip didn’t get much response, I decided to try Fleetwood Mac today

        1. I really was disappointed at the lack of acclaim for the Black Sabbath, especially because I thought it impressive that they sounded so great way back then playing live with no help from any studio trickery. But I can see how the Fleetwood Mac might be better background music for pondering crosswords.

          1. I like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Fleetwood Mac, the latter in both their Peter Green and Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks incarnations. (And lots more besides …)

            1. :) Then when an opportunity presents itself I shall use another clip from that 1970 Sabbath concert in Paris.

              Did you click on the “Oh Well” link in 10a? I thought that performance was excellent.

              1. :good:

                From that era, Black Magic Woman, The Green Manalishi and Man of the World are other particular favourites (sorry Kath) of mine.

      1. Who is the exquisitely lovely lady in your gravatar?

        I can’t wait to slip “festoons” into a conversation!

        1. “He holds him with his skinny hand,
          “There was a ship,” quoth he.
          `Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
          Eftsoons his hand dropped he.”

          Seem to remember it means ‘then’ derived from ‘soon after’

  13. I had to work a bit to solve this crossword. I think I liked it but I didn’t find it scintillating at all. No real out and out favourite and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

  14. An excellent puzzle I thought, made even more enjoyable by the smoothness of the surfaces, that brightened a grey London day.

    Some of the clues had a Rufusesque quality, although it was clearly not a second one of his in succession.

    My top two were 20d and 23d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K.

  15. ues, I liked it. Top spot goes to 24a but there were other contenders too, notably 30a and 14d. Thanks to Mr K and our setter. Good to see Jane on the mend too. 2/3

      1. The most encouraging thing I can say is that I’m still alive, gearing up for my fourth cycle of chemotherapy on Friday, after which I know that I’ll feel like I’m not. Still, I screw my courage to the sticking place and soldier on. Thank you for asking

  16. Quite tough today – loved the use of “subtly different” as the anagram indicator in 4d.

  17. Bit of a struggle today, but got there in the end. 24a and 21d were my favourites.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  18. Got there in the end. 2d and 14d took me as long as the rest of the crossword! Never heard of the latter although my wife had. Techie education I suppose. Both very fair and worked out through the cryptic side they are my favourites.

    Thaks all.

    1. I knew 14d because at one time it seemed like the poem with that title was everywhere: posters, cards, and this spoken word version:

  19. I would agree with the comments regarding 8d.

    I can find a connection between ‘compound (2) = something composed of two or more ingredients or parts’ and a ‘solution (3) = a homogeneous mixture consisting of a solid or gas (the solute) and the liquid (the solvent) in which it is completely dissolved’. I Suppose that’s getawaywithable.

    It took a bit more digging to find proposition listed in the thesaurus for resolution (though not vice-versa), even though it doesn’t make sense to me, and there is a clear distinction in their respective dictionary entries. Strange.

    Goes to show, the English language is not an exact science.

          1. We had ASSERVATION in a weekend puzzle recently. According to the OED obsolete and last known use in 1657. I wouldn’t have it taken out of the Dictionary but I would not allow it in crosswordland

  20. I found this decidedly tricky and had some unsolved, needing the hints. One of those was 10a, knowing bodiddly of anything golf. I should have got it nevertheless, am very familiar with the famous Ancient Mariner, the golf bit confused me.
    Lots to like here, 24a amused but I think fave has to be 30a.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his blog, particularly the diplomacy clip.

  21. Obviously the answer in 10a made me think of Charles Baudelaire and his poem of the same name. A French classic from “les fleurs du mal” collection.
    Very fair cluing made this crossword a real joy.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

  22. Back home and back into our usual solving routine. Really enjoyed this one and it all fitted together smoothly for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

      1. Thanks RD. Yes we had a great time. Just about to sort out a pic or two to put on the blog when we put it together later today.

  23. I found the NW corner to be quite difficult, with 2d / 12ac / 4d holding out to the bitter end. :-) 14d made me check I wasn’t accidentally solving the Toughie (it has happened before), we don’t usually get such obscure vocabulary on the back page.

  24. I thought Andromeda was a type of camel – until I discovered Smirnoff (too late getting on here to say something sensible). Very good crossword.

  25. Relieved to see the *** difficultly rating, as I struggled for a little less than half of this puzzle. The answers either came to me quickly or the mind went blank. Would never have got 9a (never used this word in this context without the additional er), nor 14d, my education having being sadly lacking. Or perhaps I wasn’t paying attention. 10a also gave me grief although I should have got it once I had the checkers in. Was very grateful for Mr Kitty’s hints.

  26. Upper ** difficulty (l found it a bit harder than the Toughie) and *** enjoyment. 10a made me smile. Thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  27. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do but was completely destroyed by the curse of the disastrously debilitating death by double definition. It’s entirely down to me, I just cannot do double definitions, even if I recognise them as such. Well done to the setter. Needed the hints for 10&12a and 2,14&20d. Favourite was 30a. Was 4 ✳ / 3 ✳ for me.

  28. I find your clues very helpful as I don’t do the DT crossword every day. However, could someone explain why some clues end ………and the next one starts ……. . I have NEVER worked it out.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Phyllis.

      In answer to your question, Prolixic has this to say about the … … in his excellent A brief guide to the construction of cryptic crossword clues:

      “Ellipses at the end of one clue and the beginning of another clue can usually be ignored. Setters often use them to run two clues together as a coherent sentence where it is not possible fit the required wordplay together in two independent clues. In rare cases, where there is a strong link between the two answers, the answer to one clue might be indicated as a definition to the second by the use of ellipses.”

      In this puzzle they can be ignored. I suspect that since 29a and 30a both reference soldiers the setter included ellipses just to enable a smoother surface reading and to add a little extra misdirection.

Comments are closed.