DT 28584 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28584

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28584

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  I found today’s puzzle easier going that the crosswords that we’ve faced on recent Tuesdays.  It was a most pleasant solve, due in part to several clues that had very smooth surface readings.

On his blog last Thursday, pommers observed that the regular cryptic and the Toughie had an answer in common and he wondered how often that had happened before.  The short answer turns out to be 54 times.  For the long answer, click the spoiler box to see both the data and the statistics that address the question of whether those repeats could just be coincidence.

Click here for statistics on how often an answer appears in both the Toughie and the Cryptic on the same day

I examined every Toughie published since the start of 2009 to identify those containing answers that also appeared in the regular cryptic published on the same day.  The chart shows the result of that exercise.  The average rate of same-day repeats is six per year.  Click on the chart for a larger version.

To estimate how many repeats would be expected if puzzle answers were simply chosen at random, I made use of two lists that respectively contain all answers ever used in Toughies and all answers ever used in regular back-page cryptics.  A pair of simulated puzzles can be generated by drawing at random 30 answers from the Toughie list and 30 from the back-page list.  208 pairs like that simulate a year of toughies.  I created many such years, and then computed the statistics of the number of same-day repeats per year.  That distribution has a mean of 6.5 repeats/year and a standard deviation of 2.5 repeats/year.  Those numbers are completely consistent with the observed rate of repeats, meaning that there is no evidence that the repeats are anything other than random coincidences.


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 buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will usually either enlarge it or do something else.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Pretty energetic after a bike race with Queen (10)
ATTRACTIVE:  Put a synonym of energetic after the concatenation of A from the clue, the abbreviation for a famous motorcycle racing event, and the Latin-derived abbreviation for Queen

6a    Protest show, Claude Monet’s included (4)
DEMO:  A show of protest is hidden inside (… included) the remaining words of the clue.  Since protest and show on their own can each define the answer, the clue could also be viewed as a double definition with a hidden word as wordplay.  But I haven’t seen anything like that before and so I’m not sure if that interpretation satisfies cryptic convention.  Can an expert comment?  The story behind the picture is here

9a    Temperature best for fish (5)
TROUT:  Follow the physics symbol for temperature with a verb that means best (or worst) in battle

10a   Looking round with bishop helping (9)
OBSERVING:  Link together the round letter, the chess abbreviation for bishop, and a helping or portion (of food, perhaps)

12a   One tough, difficult group of teachers (4,3)
HARD NUT:  Construct the answer from a synonym of difficult and the abbreviation for the National Union of Teachers

13a   Pick up grand English film director (5)
GLEAN:  Combine the abbreviation for grand and the English director of films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India

15a   Regularly get seen without cloak one’s got free (7)
ESCAPEE:  Here “without” is being used to mean “on the outside of“.  So, the clue is telling us that a person who has got free is found by wrapping the even letters (regularly) of GET SEEN around the type of cloak favoured by Superman

17a   Artist is held back by old-fashioned depiction of women and money (7)
DOLLARS:  The usual abbreviation for an artist is reversed and inserted into (held back by) an old-fashioned term for attractive women (that I would have said is an Americanism)

19a   European agreed mineral deposit is blot on the landscape (7)
EYESORE:  Join the abbreviation for European, a word of agreement, and a short word for a mineral deposit that’s usually the source of some valuable material

21a   A Roman’s at sea — one’s likely to be rowing (7)
OARSMAN:  An anagram (at sea) of A ROMAN’S

22a   Sea captain died, womaniser (5)
DRAKE:  Assemble the abbreviation for died and a womaniser or debauched person to get a 16th century English sea captain who famously defeated the Spanish Armada

24a   Tell sir to change climbing-frame (7)
TRELLIS:  An anagram (to change) of TELL SIR

27a   Mine’s a nightmare — it has probably gone off (9)
BOMBSHELL:  Connect together a generic term for an explosive mine, the ‘S from the clue (ignoring the apostrophe) and a place that could be a synonym for “a nightmare”.  The answer can represent a few things that might be described as explosive

28a   Very old diamonds, say (5)
VOICE:  Glue together the abbreviation for very, the abbreviation for old, and a slang term for diamonds (as gemstones)

29a   Finishes repairs without beginning! (4)
ENDS:  All but the first letter of (without beginning) a verb synonym of repairs

30a   Sulk before ball? Daughter’s rejected sobriety (10)
TEMPERANCE:  A sulk or mood is placed before a ball or party with the abbreviation for daughter deleted (daughter’s rejected)



1d    Wine when it gets served up (4)
ASTI:  Start with a  word meaning “when” and then append the reversal (gets served up, in a down clue) of IT from the clue

2d    Ooh, the cat is worried — it could be a canine problem (9)
TOOTHACHE:  An anagram (is worried) of OOH THE CAT

3d    A cold starter of turkey or ham? (5)
ACTOR:  Concatenate A from the clue, the abbreviation for cold, the first letter of (starter of) Turkey, and OR from the clue

4d    Recount rambling stuff (7)
TROUNCE:  An anagram (rambling) of RECOUNT.  Stuff here is being used in its slang sense of defeat heavily.  An example would be when an entire cricket innings can be described in a single 140-character tweet:

5d    Looked up six new diets (7)
VISITED:  The Roman numerals for six, followed by an anagram (new) of DIETS

7d    Flower in Devon borders one left to uproot (5)
EXILE:  Recall that in crosswordland a flower can be something that flows, i.e. a river.  So here the wordplay says that a Devon river contains (borders) the Roman for one and the abbreviation for left

8d    Sorting out musical instrument before I blow the whistle (10)
ORGANISING:  Cement together a musical instrument associated with cathedrals, I from the clue, and a word meaning “blow the whistle” or act as an informer

11d   Soldier‘s  routine (7)
REGULAR:  A double definition.  The soldier is permanent, not volunteer or territorial.  Routine here is being an adjective meaning steady or habitual

14d   Ben pleaded to be free, being trustworthy (10)
DEPENDABLE:  An anagram (to be free) of BEN PLEADED

16d   Method from company rising in demand (7)
PROCESS:  Insert the reversal of (rising, in a down clue) the abbreviation for company into demand or insist on

18d   Notice embassy’s entrance (9)
ADMISSION:  Link together a short word for a notice selling something and another word for embassy

20d   Last former lover — tremendous? Not half! (7)
EXTREME:  The usual former lover with the first half (not half) of TREMEndous appended

21d   Bit of cricket and bit of a race have something in common (7)
OVERLAP:  The bit of a cricket match that consists of bowling six deliveries, followed by the bit of a race that consists of one circuit of a track 

23d   Injured leaving hospital with weapons (5)
ARMED:  Take a word meaning injured and delete the abbreviation for hospital (leaving hospital)

25d   Always supporting Liberal — anything that can be used to gain an advantage (5)
LEVER:  An adverb meaning always is placed after (supporting, in a down clue) an abbreviation for Liberal

26d   Festival payment — it’s about time (4)
FETE:  A payment for services contains (…‘s about) the physics symbol for time


Thanks to today’s setter.  My favourite, for its amusing surface reading, is 2d.  Which clue topped your list?


The spoiler box below hides a comment box for readers who aren’t yet ready to go public.  I’ve titled it “Suggestion Box” because I’m also always interested in hearing suggestions for making my hints more effective.  Thanks to everyone who used it last week.

Suggestion Box



The Quick Crossword pun:  MAY+KIT+PLANE=MAKE IT PLAIN

59 comments on “DT 28584

  1. 1* /3* for this straightforward and enjoyable puzzle. Nothing obscure, just fair clueing all round. 2d was also my favourite for the fun and the smooth surface. Thanks to both Misters involved this morning.

  2. Agree with YS.
    Like Mr.K. observed, easier than recent Tuesdays, though the neat cluing made it a pleasure to complete.
    I enjoyed 22a, took a bit of time for the penny to drop.
    I hope the Toughie is not too bad as i am stuck in all day waiting for someone to come and fix my son’s immersion heater.
    Thanks to the Misters K and Ron.

    1. Oops, just seen the Toughie has been given ***** for difficulty by the DT website, so time to head for the Indy.

      1. That early Telegraph rating isn’t accurate. I have it on good authority that the Toughie today is doable.

            1. I did and could not get one answer. I have a big mental block with the Toughies unfortunately.
              Will look forward to the hints later.

  3. As always, Mr. K, your stats are fascinating – thank you. I must have been completely on wavelength this morning as it was a quick and enjoyable solve. Thanks to all.

  4. Needed help for 4d as I used the past tense of the verb for 15a and didn’t spot my error! Very enjoyable solve today and pleased I actually remembered the ‘flower’ in 7d.
    COTD between 30a and 2d.

  5. 0* / 3*. That was all over in a flash but nevertheless I did enjoy it thanks to the accurate cluing and good surfaces.
    2d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr R & Mr K.

  6. A very gentle bit of exercise for the grey matter to kick off the week. Struggled to justify best synonym in 9a. 12a was Fav for me. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  7. 2D was my favorite too. Not too challenging, and none the worse for that. Thanks to the setter and Mr. Kitty.

  8. I think this will be the first time that I have ever given a Tuesday offering just 1*.

    I just love your statistical analyses, Mr. K. They bring back all those light-bulb moments on the maths corridor at school. Unlike geometry . . . .

    Many thanks to Messrs R&K.

  9. Pleasant and easy today. My top clue was 21d which I liked for its surface and also because I did a bit of both sports mentioned at school. Thanks as always to Mr K for his illuminating review.

  10. Over in a twinkling but plenty to smile about along the way.
    19a is apparently flavour of this month as well, it would seem.
    7d was my last one in – wanted the ‘borders’ of DevoN to appear somewhere in it.

    Top three for me were 1&27a plus 21d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the interesting blog and the latest selection of crossword stats – oh, to have your analytical brain!

  11. Very enjoyable, extremely straightforward – I did it virtually in order which is rare. Finished wel before lights-out last night – I started the new Quintin Jardine book afterwards and got well into it.

  12. Very enjoyable, completed at a fast gallop, helped by what seemed to be a sprinkling of oldies but goodies – */****.

    Favourite a toss-up between 28a and 18d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

  13. Over far too quickly but fun while it lasted. 12a was my fave and 1/3* overall.
    Thanks to Messrs R and K

  14. A * R and W today and so only a ** as not a great deal of satisfaction.
    I generally feel that there are too many unchallenging solves these days and the bar should be raised higher.
    I preferred the old system where the Monday crossword was straightforward leading to the Friday ‘toughie ‘
    Thanks Mr K for the pics.

  15. More like a Monday than a Tuesday. All over too quickly, but enjoyable nonetheless. */****. 22a was my favourite.

  16. Today’s was the very definition of a R&W but enjoyable nonetheless.
    I’m sure we will pay for it later in the week😀
    Thx to all

  17. Like yesterdsy’s cryptic, very pleasant whilst it lasted, but as another on here would say, “nothing to scare the horses.” Thanks to today’s setter and also to Kitty.

  18. I’m wondering if I misjudged the difficulty of this crossword.

    To my mind terms like “read and write” and “over quickly” imply completion times in the four to eight minute range that is typical of our most accomplished solvers. I rated this crossword’s difficulty higher than the zero to one stars quoted in several places above because I took considerably longer than that to get the grid filled and everything parsed.

    1. Another piece of enlightenment from this excellent blog – I thought an easy solve was 48 minutes! This was a delightful solve however and might even have been sub 40 had I not had a tiny eye closing moment along the way. Favourite among many is 1a. Many thanks to Mr. Ron and Mr K.

      1. For me too, but there are plenty of solvers out there completing puzzles like this in under eight minutes, including a few regular commenters on this site.

        1. Really? Reading the clues, writing the answers, even on an iPad. I thought I was fast today but the time taken to read a clue, sort a clue, write an answer in took longer than that. Four minutes? Unlikely.

          1. There was a 4:50ish time posted within 15 minutes of the puzzle being released at midnight. I posted a link to a video a while back of Mark Goodliffe solving the more difficult Guardian cryptic in under five minutes while explaining the parsing as he made the video. The record for solving a much more difficult Times Championship puzzle is under 3 minutes. Four minutes is certainly outstanding, but it’s not at all unlikely.

            1. Mr K have you discovered the excellent Crossword SNITCH site for the Times puzzles? I think you would find it fascinating.

              1. Thanks, Rick. I’ve looked at that site. Very interesting. While I do love data, it does make me glad that posting solving times is not allowed here :).

                We do have one measure of puzzle difficulty available to us, namely the number of times the corresponding blog is viewed — unsurprisingly, more people view the hints and tips for harder puzzles. At some point I might try to quantify that relationship.

      2. Me too. At my age I could never read and write at that speed. My personal definition of an r & r or soon over is much slower. My yardstick for those solvings would be closer to the half hour mark. A difficult one for me is probably around a couple of hours. I really don’t have the time or the patience to spend much longer than that.

    2. My subjective comments on completion rate are ‘linked’ to my ability to qualify, or not, for the time bonus points on the DT web site.

    3. I’ve been tied up all day and unable to post until now. Perhaps I reacted strongly to all the “over quickly” comments because the survey told us that there are many lurkers out that who are discouraged by seeing a stream of comments implying that the puzzle should be easy. I’m sure that was not the intention of those posting their satisfaction at their solve, but I worry about how it comes across.

    4. I’m asking myself: what’s the point of an “expert” doing a very easy cryptic crossword in 3 or 4 minutes, then immediately posting the “achievement”? For me R&W means most of the clues are solved immediately after reading the clue (or even before you’ve finished reading it), a few need a minute or two and one or two a little bit longer – the whole thing taking, say, 20 minutes.

    5. Good discussion – thanks to everyone contributing to it.

      It’s evident that “read and write” and “fast” can mean very different things to different people. While there are many commenters here who aren’t bothered by such terms, we know from the recent survey that there are also many lurkers who are discouraged by them (which may explain why they are lurkers). In those circumstances it seems to me that the best way to keep everybody happy is to just avoid using them. So if R&W to you means three passes through the puzzle with some head-scratching at the end, perhaps it’s better to just say that? Similarly, relative assessments of difficulty (“less difficult than usual”, “a quicker solve than usual”) are probably preferable to absolutes (“easy”, “fast”).

      1. Thank you for the lesson in diplomacy, Mr K! But I do think you are right. I don’t particularly like the term R&W either (it is a terse/convenient abbreviation though) and 2 or 3 years ago I “admonished”a regular commenter on here (I won’t say who) for using it regularly. But not because I felt it discouraged “lurkers” from joining in with the dialogue, but because I thought it was rather disparaging to the setter (I did succumb to using it myself later, however). But considering the recent survey information, I’m quite happy to refrain from employing it in the future. Indeed, I’d be happy for it to be officially banned…

  19. One from the milder end of the spectrum, but nicely done.
    Don’t do zero stars or solving time and R&W has been retired. I’ll leave it at that.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K for the blog and background info.

  20. Another exceptionally good puzzle, I felt, in what I hope, whisper it quietly, may turn out to be a vintage week.

    I’m firmly of the belief that a puzzle doesn’t have to be particularly challenging to be enjoyable, providing it is well-clued, humorous and with excellent surfaces, and this one had all such attributes and more. My top three clues were 9a, 2d and 3d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  21. I wouldn’t call this R&W or easy peasy, I’ll leave that to the experts, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable solve and quite benign.
    I did make one error at 13a, I forgot all about David Lean, so I put my answer as “green” knowing that it probably wasn’t right.
    Hard to choose a fave but I think 2d has to be it.
    Thanks to our Tuesday setter and to Mr. Kitty. I’m so glad that Kitty’s Dad is doing well.

  22. A straightforward solve as many have already remarked but I certainly enjoyed the puzzle.

    Thanks to Mr K and setter 0.9 * / 3 *

  23. Agree with all the other comments. A great crossword with excellent clues.

    Clue of the day 8d but many others to choose from.

    1.5 / 4

    Thanks to Mr K for the blog and the excellent information once again. Thanks to the setter as well.

  24. Enjoyable puzzle and a pleasant solve **/*** 😃 I liked 1,17 & 19a Thanks to Messrs K and Ron 😉

  25. Rather a doddle (but l certainly couldn’t have put it together): */***. No particular favourite clue, however, except that l drove through Tavistock this afternoon, so 22a was on my mind. In fact, l recited “Drake’s Drum” to myself just to prove the old grey cells were still in working order! Thanks to the Mysteron, and Mr Kitty.

  26. Thanks to messers Ron and Kitty. I must have been on the right wavelength today, didn’t have any problems until I came to 17a, which was last in and my favourite. I kept thinking it was to do with Salvador Dali, but eventually got the answer. Was 2/3for me.

  27. Fairly straightforward, though I did manage to spend a quarter of my solving time on 7d alone at the close, determined as I was that the wordplay was trying to tell me something different to what is, now, patently obvious.

  28. Agree with the consensus in finding today’s crossword quite straightforward.
    In fact I don’t remember having to check anything anywhere.
    Very satisfying.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  29. Well, I suspect that Black Beauty and chums are genttly reclining on sun-loungers, sipping cocktails, after that fun puzzle.

    Only 3 went in on the first pass of the across clues, so no R&W, but once checking letters were revealed by a successful sortie on the down clues, all the remainder went in at a gallop. A record time, by some distance.
    Just a question of being perfectly on wavelength, no doubt. And as a result, I pretty well enjoyed all of the clues.
    Thanks to Mr x 2.

  30. An enjoyable puzzle with just 3 clues holding me up at the end, one of which was a director I didn’t know, and the other two were pretty obvious when I read Mr Kitty’s hints, thank you. For the most part this was one of those days when if you kept revisiting the blank squares they filled in sooner or later. Of course it would have helped had I remembered that flower is not always a bloom…

  31. Mr K, 6a. I’m certainly not an “expert” but I’ll comment anyway. I think you’ve got it right – it is an unusual construction and you have to take the definition as a phrasal one (as you’ve underlined) rather than a double one. But I have been known to be wrong… What we need is Gazza’s verdict.

Comments are closed.