DT 28579 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28579

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28579

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****


Kia ora from Aotearoa.                
We’re back home again after an amazing three weeks in India. We spent most of our time in Delhi staying with family and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this huge teeming city but did make two trips to other places. The first one was to Shimla which is up in the foothills of the Himalayas and is where, in the days of the Raj, the seat of government was located during the hot Delhi summers. The second trip was to Agra, specially to be at the Taj Mahal for our 50th wedding anniversary. What a truly awe-inspiring place it is. Everyone knows from photos what the Taj looks like but the experience of actually being there is just so much more.

It is nice to be back home now and we have lots of wonderful memories to cherish.

Thanks to the fellow bloggers who kept our seat warm while we were away. We did have internet access for most of the time so were still able to do many of the puzzles and did some sneaky lurking just to make sure you were all behaving yourselves.

Jay has supplied another fun puzzle this week.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Rely on nerve in place of vessels being abandoned? (6,4)
BOTTLE BANK : A word meaning rely on follows nerve or bravado.

6a     Doctor imprisoned by a king out of control (4)
AMOK : The abbreviation for an army doctor is enclosed by ‘A’ from the clue and the chess notation for a king.

10a     Alarm caused by article about photo? On the contrary (5)
PANIC : The article is one of the variants for the indefinite article. It is surrounded by an abbreviation for a picture. ‘On the contrary’ is there as the rest of the clue implies the photograph is inside the article.

11a     Object to test (9)
CHALLENGE : A double definition. Object here is a verb and not a ‘thing’.

12a     New Delhi may be occupied by the French sex kitten (7)
DELILAH : An anagram (new) of DELHI includes a French definite article.

13a     Moved aside, chased by son (7)
SHUNTED : The abbreviation for son and a word for chased or sought as prey.

14a     Sharpe conceivably offering way of expressing things? (4,2,6)
TURN OF PHRASE : A reverse anagram. The first two words of the answer instruct you what to do with SHARPE to give you the answer.

18a     Fool — he’s covering small business supplying dryers (7,5)
CLOTHES LINES : A synonym for a fool and then ‘he’s’ from the clue surrounds the abbreviation for small and a word for business (as in what xxxx are you in?).

21a     Traveller sees Prime Minister hugging single girl, shaken (7)
PILGRIM : The abbreviation for Prime Minister surrounds (is hugging) the number represented by single and an anagram (shaken) of GIRL.

23a     Business custom is to share accommodation (7)
COHABIT : The abbreviation for a company (business) and a word for custom or usual behaviour.

24a     Celebrate in song after the end of shambolic eatery (9)
CAFETERIA : The last letter of ‘shambolic’ and then an operatic song includes a word for celebrate.

25a     Appearing in court, group may be distressed (5)
UPSET : A two letter word meaning appearing in court and then a synonym for a group.

26a     Belt of lava with sulphur at the head (4)
SASH : The chemical symbol for sulphur and effluvia from a volcano. (We think this clue is not quite right, as lava is discharged in a molten form).

27a     Servers with first-class locks (10)
WAITRESSES : The abbreviation for with, then the two letters denoting first class and locks of hair.


1d     Offers must incorporate exercises for people, perhaps (6)
BIPEDS : The abbreviation for physical exercises is found inside offers that may be placed at an auction.

2d     This, if ignoring his approach, is a mess (6)
TANGLE : The first four words of the clue is a long way of giving us a single letter. This is followed by a word meaning approach or viewpoint.

3d     Council putting writer in place (5,9)
LOCAL AUTHORITY : A word for a writer is included in a word for a particular place.

4d     Support workers making plays in court (9)
BACKHANDS : A word meaning support or sponsor and then workers or employees. 

5d     Gets close to answer, resolved to avoid women (5)
NEARS : An anagram (resolved) of ANSwER after the abbreviation for women has been removed.

7d     Details of independent article in ‘Time’ (8)
MINUTIAE : The abbreviation for independent and an indefinite article are inside a time that is one sixtieth of an hour.

8d     Heavily involved with requirement in castle (4-4)
KNEE-DEEP : A word for a requirement is inside  another word for a castle or stronghold.

9d     Southern Comedy Store is a shambles (14)
SLAUGHTERHOUSE : The abbreviation for southern, then the response that comedy elicits and a word meaning store. (If you haven’t encountered this definition of shambles before it is worth a quick dictionary check).

15d     Insolence, interrupting fine talk about Republican in part of presentation (4,5)
FLIP CHART : Start with the abbreviation for fine, then a three letter word for insolence or cheek.  Next the abbreviation for Republican is inside a word for idle talk. 

16d     Circle regularly selects requirements for mountaineers (3,5)
ICE PICKS : The second, fourth and sixth letters of circle (regularly) and a word meaning selects. (BRB doesn’t support this definition. The following pictures might elucidate things).

17d     Criminal types may be terribly slow to accept prison sentence (8)
LOWLIFES : An anagram (terribly) of SLOW surrounds a long prison sentence.

19d     Humiliates military settlements, under attack at the outset (6)
ABASES : The first letter (at the outset) of attack and then military settlements.

20d     Standing of university in branch of maths (6)
STATUS : The branch of maths that Mr Kitty uses to inform and entertain us includes the abbreviation for university.

22d     Mum looks down on tune used over one from a musical (5)
MARIA : An alternative familiar term for Mum precedes (looks down on) the reversal (over) of a tune.  (Take your pick  for which musical)

We selected 12a, 1d and 3d for special mention but will have to go with 12a as favourite because we were so recently there.

Quickie pun     thumb    +     oust    +    rap    =    The Mousetrap

79 comments on “DT 28579

  1. Good morning everybody.

    A bit of a struggle with the stragglers today but overall a nice puzzle. I had similar difficulty completing yesterday’s but for reasons I can’t fathom I didn’t find that one at all enjoyable.


  2. Welcome back – I’m glad you had a really lovely time.

    The crossword was definitely back in the ‘start with the Downs’ today but as enjoyable as ever. Thanks to J and the 2Ks

  3. Really enjoyed this one, no leaps of faith and some well constructed clues esp 14a. Needed some exercise of the grey matter but well worth it. Didn’t get to comment yesterday but I have found both days excellent.
    For me **/****
    Thx to all

  4. The usual Wednesday high quality, perhaps a touch harder. Thanks to Jay. Thanks also to the 2Ks, and a big welcome back too. Happy to hear that you had an amazing time. A belated Happy Anniversary to you – congratulations. :rose:

  5. Must be on the same wavelength today. Had trouble with 18a. Tried horse and airer before the penny dropped. Thought 14a was very clever.

  6. Pretty tough going today, thesaurus and blog needed to complete. Really must get acopy of Chambers.
    Thank to 2Ks and setter.

    1. Amazon have it at £26.99 with free delivery if you’ve got prime. I would also recommend Chambers Crossword dictionary.

  7. 4* / 5*. Another superb Wednesday offering but one which I found more of a 11a than usual. But I didn’t 10a and got there in the end with 8d my last one in.

    As always with Jay, my page was littered with ticks. 14a was my favourite and double ticks were also awarded to 3d, 5d, 8d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the returning 2Ks.

    P.S. I couldn’t fathom the Quickie pun at all but I see from the review that it is three words which is not indicated by the usual italics in the paper when it is more than just the first line.

  8. Welcome back. Thanks for the opportunity to blog a Jay puzzle last week. I seemed to roll along just fine with this very enjoyable puzzle. Right up my street. 14ac was my favourite clue. I wanted to put HORSE at the end of 18ac but could not justify it from the wordplay. A lovely way to kickstart the day. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and thanks to the lovebirds for the blog

  9. Really struggled today after doing very well yesterday. Needed great help from the kiwis. It is 57 jyears ago that I lived in India and saw my first Telegraph Cryptic but did not become hooked until many years later. Thank you to the setter and the Kiwis.

  10. Some of those who attended the York bash may have visited the 9a which is now just a tourist trap but did once have a butcher’s shop when I was a lad.

  11. Today was a welcome respite after yesterday’s challenge. All of Jay’s trademarks, neat, precise cluing and few (in this case no) obscurities.
    As others have mentioned, 14a is a superb clue.
    One question for the intelligentsia…As a relative beginner, I get confused by ‘on’ in an across clue. In 1a, we see ‘Rely on nerve’ meaning nerve + rely in the wordplay, is this a standard convention??
    Thanks Jay and the 2xK’s

    1. I believe that the convention about “on” in an across clue follows from the argument that it should be making a distinction. Hence, since “A B” always means “A followed by B”, “A on B” should indicate “B followed by A”. But it’s just a convention and it’s not uncommon to see it violated.

  12. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary – lovely photo. I am a novice at all this but I love your site – couldn’t do the puzzles without you help. Thank you!

  13. A pretty straightforward but very enjoyable puzzle. 1.5/4. I liked 1a 18a and 1d with 14a topping the pops. I wasn’t sure about 9d being a synonym for shambles though, but I bet the complier is correct..

    1. If you called something a shambles, my mother would always say a ‘shambles is a 9d’ so it is a connection that is firmly stuck in my memory banks

  14. Jay at his best, a very enjoyable puzzle, slowed down to a fast canter at the very end with some final head scratching on 8d – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 3d, and 15d – and the winner is 27a, my first one in.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks (welcome back)

  15. Definitely a few head-scratching moments – can’t tell you how long it took me to get 1a. I had the second word settled but that took me off down Jay’s garden path in the direction of reefs and other places where ships might get wrecked or abandoned. Then, like MP, I tried very hard to justify HORSE in 18a. The ‘O’ it put into 15d worked fine so I persisted despite there being no way it would ever answer the clue. Ho hum…….

    14a put me in mind of Tom Sharpe – loved his books and he certainly had a novel 14a!
    I didn’t know that definition of 9d – rather sorry that I do now as I used to quite enjoy using the word.

    Top three places going to 14a plus 3&8d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks – nice to have you back home safely and pleased to hear that you had a wonderful holiday. Jay came up trumps with a picture opportunity for you at 12a, didn’t he!

    1. If anyone out there hasn’t read some Tom Sharpe novels – then don’t unless you want to die laughing.

  16. Lots of pleasure in solving this puzzle. The paucity of anagrams made it a bit more difficult for me. There were several standout clues- 14a, 8d,15d but 9d get my vote for top clue.

  17. The superlative 14a was easily my COTD. I got it early on and nothing else came close. I thought this was Jay at the very top of his game and was everything a good cryptic crossword should be. 2* /5* overall for me.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the returning 2Ks. Welcome back.

  18. The usual Wednesday treat from Jay did not disappoint. 1a and 14a were among some lovely clues but for me 3d was tops. 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2K’s for their review. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time in India. It really is an awesome country.

  19. Congrats on your anniversary , 50 years ! And delighted to see you back.
    Perfect Goldilocks of a puzzle.I took quite a while to get 1a .I hadn’t heard of that shambles before , but it couldn’t be anything else.
    Thanks to Jay and the two love birds.

  20. Nice Wednesday puzzle 😃 **/**** I was another one who struggled with the second word in 18a 😬 Favourites 1a, 1d & 4d. Thanks to Jay and welcome back and thanks to the 2 x Ks

    1. You’re very welcome – and welcome to the blog too – keeping people sane when they are solving cryptic crosswords is our speciality.

  21. Welcome back Kiwis and congrats on the anniversary, glad you had an enjoyable time. Jay seems to have saved his best puzzle for some time for your return.

    Too many good clues to pick a favourite but overall I’ll give it **/****.

    Many thanks to Jay and the Kiwis.

  22. Trickier than yesterday, but oh so much fun. 1a and 14a raised the biggest smiles, and I’d have to go with 14a as favourite because we don’t see too many reverse anagrams on the back page. Thanks to Jay for the fun and thanks, welcome back, and anniversary congratulations to the 2Ks.

  23. Very enjoyable , some really interesting and funny clues 1a ,14a, 4d ,8d and 15d all worthy of a mention . Needed hint for 8d even though ” keep ” was obvious .Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks .**/****

  24. I’m another who found it trickier than a normal Jay puzzle, much of the right-hand side took considerably longer to yield than the left. A lovely 11a overall.

    The two stand out clues for me were 14a and 9d. Full marks to Jay for resisting the urge to use “aria” to clue 22d having already used it in 24a.

    Many thanks to Mr Mutch, and a warm welcome back to Colin and Carol.

    1. Silvanus, although aria does appear in 22d, the answer is actually derived from “air” reversed which I don’t think is a real repetition violation.

      1. Whoops, very sorry Silvanus, mea culpa. I didn’t read your comment properly. I should have known better! :oops:

  25. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Jay. Quite tricky in places. Favourite was 27a, last in was 15d. Was 3 ✳ / 3 ✳ for me.

  26. Loved this, Jay really gives us some fun puzzles.
    I don’t know why, but 1a was the last one in. I kept thinking it was “battle” something, when will I remember the correct answer. I had to use electronic help for that.
    Like others, I thought 14a took the cake! Now I have Tom Jones in my head singing 12a.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis for the review. It sounds as if you had a great time, can’t wait to see more pics!

  27. All good for me – 14a the favourite as for others….about right in terms of difficulty, all clue-ing fair, thank you v much!

  28. Excellent, really enjoyed this Jay puzzle. Is it me or has there been less anagrams used in recent offerings?

    Guess Mr K will know what the average number of anagrams is per puzzle over a period of time?

    Clue of the day is 1a but so many to choose from. **/*****

    Thanks to the 2K’s glad you enjoyed the holiday, and thanks to Jay

    1. Computing the average number of anagrams over time is a hard problem, because computer programs (at least the ones I can write) are not good at parsing clues. Which is of course a very good thing – it is much more satisfying to solve a problem that would defeat a computer than, say, complete a sudoku which the Google Googles app on your phone can solve in a couple of seconds.

      Computer analysis of clues is not completely hopeless – a program can identify potential lurkers by looking for the answer to appear in consecutive letters somewhere in the clue, although that process still throws up false positives that need to be rejected by a human. But I can’t see how a computer could make any sense of most other clue types. In the case of anagrams it’s hard because setters love to misdirect us with apparent anagram indicators that aren’t, and they also like to use novel or hidden anagram indicators. The best I could do is to look back over my 50ish blogs and count in each one how often I said “anagram” in the hints. But I’m up against a deadline at work so that’s probably not going to happen right away.

      I do know that minimum number of anagrams can be zero because I blogged a Beam Toughie recently that had no anagrams at all (Toughie 1874).

      1. Not a problem Mr K thank you for the reply that does make sense although a good bit over myy head. It’s not essential that I know the stats ‘re the anagrams, but I knew you would be interested in what is purely an observation by me. More of a gut feeling in fact ‘re the anagrams?

        Thank you again for taking the time to explain, that’s why this blog is such a great help.

        1. I appreciate questions like that – several of the crosswordy analyses that I’ve done have been in response to questions asked on the blog.

          My point about computer parsing is that computers are really good at simple repetitive tasks, like identifying a lurker by simply examining each letter in a clue to see if the following letters spell out the answer. However, they don’t do lateral thinking or have a sense of humour or recognize misdirection, so they would struggle to even identify other clue types.

          I looked at my last six blogs. Going backwards from yesterday’s DT 28578, the number of anagrams was 5, 5, 7, 6, 6, 6. Today we have five. So there don’t appear to have been any big recent changes in the number of anagrams.

          1. Thanks for that Mr K understand you’re explanation now. Just goes to show you can’t always trust a gut feeling, but the stats here don’ lie.

            Appreciate your time and effort.

          2. Mr K. Can you use your physics/mathematics knowledge to work out the best solution to Hector Pascal’s serious thermometer problem at #43, below? :-)

          3. I was only joking, of course – I knew you wouldn’t have time for such things. But I do like a good science riddle – how does anybody know if their greenhouse thermometer (which usually are only calibrated up to 50 – 70c) is exactly accurate if they can’t plunge it into boiling water to check? I’ll ponder it myself…

  29. An uplifting piece of work from my point of view! Have to admit that 1a had me flummoxed for a bit, until a couple of checkers put me on the right track. Favourite: 9d – very nicely constructed clue.

  30. Not much to add really.
    I agree a bit trickier than sometimes on Wednesdays and, as CS said, definitely a day to start with the downs.
    My favourite was 14a.
    Thanks to Jay and thanks, welcome home and glad you had a wonderful time to the 2K’s.

  31. A most enjoyable challenge, more of a 3* for me, not helped by the fact that I had flow chart for 15d, which threw me for 18a. Relieved to see that I was not alone in not knowing the 9d definition – another one for the word bank! Really appreciated 14a – a most elegant clue. Many thanks to the setter and the 2 Kiwis.

  32. Good morning all and thanks for all the anniversary wishes.
    An interesting thing about 22d was that although we solved it together as we always do, it was only when we were looking for pics to use that we realised that we each had a different musical in mind. That is why we used two pictures for that one. When we were writing the bit in italics we did consider saying take your pick or your axe to refer back to the other hint with two pics, 16d. Which leads to the next bit of trivia we looked at. The weapon that is associated with the assassination of Trotsky is usually referred to as an ice pick. In fact it was actually an ice axe that had been modified by having its handle shortened so it could be concealed. Obviously the two terms have been confused for a long time and we were surprised that BRB did not acknowledge this.

    PS We have just heard on our news here that all the schools in Delhi are closed this week as the ‘smog’ is so thick. It is a real problem all over that northern part of India that was with us all the time we were there. The haziness in the photo of the Taj that we used shows this and Agra is more than 3 hrs drive from Delhi.

    1. Have just added a photo taken just a few days ago taken in centre of Delhi. It is a very thick haze as you can see.

  33. Sounds like a great trip, particularly Shimla. Did you get the Indian Summers tv program in NZ? Loved that.
    Found this tough going today, as I took the wrong fork in the road at least three times and never made the u turns to get me back on track.

    1. Yes we had seen the TV programme and that had reminded us that it might be a good place to go. It was quite a lot bigger than we were expecting for somewhere that is so remote. Will sort out a pic or two for next week’s blog.

  34. A lot to enjoy about this one: */****. I particularly enjoyed 14a and 9d. Many thanks to Jay; many thanks and congratulations to the 2 Kiwis. I envy you your visit to India – l spent a couple of weeks there nearly 20 years ago and have never forgotten the shock to the senses (all of them at once!) it involved. A beguiling place indeed.

  35. If I ever go to India I would just love to get on one of these trains.
    Glad you had a great time.
    The second word in 18a took a while as I thought 15d was a flow chart.
    Thought of Tom Sharpe too in 14a.
    Loved it all.
    Thanks to the setter and to 2ks for the review.

  36. I find this quite tricky, definitely a *** for difficulty, if not more. A case of the setter being on one wavelength, and me on another entirely. Last in 19d, which I really shouldn’t have found as hard as I did, because, well, it wasn’t!

  37. Yet another midnight finish, but actually the first 100% finish from a weekday puzzle in 10 consecutive attempts, (this weekend’s ones oddly enough flew in).
    Of even more consternation is the fact that today was the first day back at work – after (yes) 10 days off?!

    Everyone seems to be in almost total agreement today, viz:
    – 14a was ace
    – 1a, (and various others) worthy of notable mention
    – Quite a few of us (myself included) didn’t know what a shamble was.
    – **/****
    – Good blog and very enjoyable puzzle.
    – The Taj Mahal really is better in the flesh
    – welcome back to the 2Kiwis
    – thank you Jay.

  38. Checking in. Late again due to reconstructing a rainwater drain, raking leaves and playing 12 holes (and being beaten by lady wife). During and not after the golf.
    Not ideal mental prep for crosswords that require thought like this one.
    Enjoyed it though NE corner just would not die.
    Congrats on the half-Century and Thanks.

    PS – bought two greenhouse thermometers by different makers. They differ by about 2 degrees C. Now I’ll have to buy a third to see which one is erroneous. Daft.

    1. …and if you end up being even more unlucky, and two of them turn out to be equally wrong…?

    2. What happens if the third thermometer gives a different reading to both those you’ve already got?

  39. I found this this one a bit tricky – more challenging and therefore better than the normal Wed puzzle, taking at least twice as long to solve. Very enjoyable! 3* / 4*.

  40. Didn’t get round to this until today but enjoyed it so much I thought I ought to say so. Thanks J, you’ve made an old Mann happy. Thanks also to the Ks. 3/4

    1. In the hope that you catch this, TS, very best of wishes for ’round four’ – I was so sad to think of you going through such difficult times.

      1. Difficult yes, also bloody awful – but they have produced a poem you may like. Coming soon, when I’m happy with it x

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