DT 28587 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28587


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28587

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a gloomy November day.

Though I solved today’s Giovanni in what is a record time for me, I was aided by one piece of good fortune, in that I had just watched a programme on BBC4 where members of the RSC were working on Ovid’s Metamorphoses as translated by Ted Hughes, and that gave me the answer to 17a straight away.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


7a           Were nine players coming back to present cutting-edge piece? (5,3)
TENON SAW – Start with the word for a group of nine musicians. Put the correct form of ‘were’ in front of it, then reverse the lot.

Image result for tenon saw

9a           See any number going to cathedral location wanting company? (6)
LONELY – Put together ‘See!’ or ‘Behold!’, the algebraic symbol for any number, and the location of an East Anglian cathedral beloved of crossword setters.

10a         St Francis’s friend first to taste wine (6)
CLARET – The name of the woman who set up the order of nuns which parallels the Franciscan monks, followed by the first letter of Taste.

Image result for claret

11a         Ghosts in quiet county enthralling old maiden (8)
PHANTOMS – The musical symbol for quiet and the abbreviation for a South Coast county, wrapped around Old and the abbreviation for a maiden over on a cricket scorecard.

12a         Sort of manoeuvre requiring time — Ruth struggling with tin-opener (5-5,4)
THREE-POINT TURN – Anagram (struggling) of T(ime), RUTH and TIN-OPENER.

15a         Wine that’s nastier putting some characters off (4)
ASTI – Remove three of the outer characters of NASTIER to get a fizzy wine which comes regularly to the aid of crossword setters looking to fill a grid.

17a         Stony woman from province given birthday honour? (5)
NIOBE – The abbreviation for the province which is part of the United Kingdom but not of Great Britain, followed by the abbreviation for an honour that may be awarded in the Birthday Honours. The answer is the female protagonist of a Greek myth who saw her 14 children killed by Apollo and Artemis, and was turned to stone. The full details can be found here.

Image result for niobe

19a         Holiday providing ‘adult entertainment’ — keep son away! (4)
TRIP – Remove the Son from the front of the form of ‘adult entertainment’ provided by an ecdysiast.

20a         Like close pals unintelligent in respect of wrongdoing? (5,2,7)
THICK AS THIEVES – Put together an informal word for ‘unintelligent’, ‘in respect of’, and some wrongdoers rather than wrongdoing.

23a         Peacock to make spasmodic sounds blocking entrance to rockery (8)
STRUTTER – A speech impediment wrapped around the first letter of Rockery.

25a         Move slowly in fringes of wood within valley (6)
DAWDLE – Put the outer letters (fringes) of WooD inside another word for a vallry.

27a         Tree trunk in which is found dry container (6)
BOTTLE – Another word for the trunk of a tree, wrapped around ‘dry’, as in abstaining from alcohol.

28a         Phoney ‘diamond’ produced by plant (8)
SHAMROCK – Another word for ‘phoney’ followed by an informal word for a diamond or other gemstone.

Image result for shamrock


1d           Business arrangement is perfect, but one loses out (4)
DEAL – Remove the Roman numeral for one from the front of a word for ‘perfect’.

2d           Gruff ace grabbed by hack maybe (6)
HOARSE – The sort of animal which may be a hack, wrapped around the abbreviation for Ace.

3d           Hands going up for mutually acceptable 1 Down (4)
SWAP – Start with some animal or (informally) human hands, then reverse the result.

4d           Flexible article wedged into short block at base (6)
PLIANT – Start with the word for the block on which a statue or trophy is mounted, remove its last letter (short), then insert an indefinite article.

5d           Rustic not losing heart, but tricky to teach (8)
INSTRUCT – Anagram (tricky) of RUSTIC N(o)T (not losing heart).

6d           Attlee elected, source of embarrassment for his rival’s wife (10)
CLEMENTINE – Put together the first name of Mr Attlee, a two-letter word for ‘elected’, and the first letter of Embarrassment, and you get the first name of Lady Churchill.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d           Attack puts one out (3,4)
SET UPON – Anagram (out) of PUTS ONE.

13d         This person in Euston, say, follows the chap shilly-shallying (10)
HESITATION – The pronoun for ‘the chap’ followed by the thing that Euston (or Liverpool Street) is an example of, with the pronoun for ‘this person’ inserted.

14d         Jeremy‘s items in golf bag? (5)
IRONS – Double definition: the surname of actor Jeremy; or some golf clubs.

Image result for jeremy irons

16d         Home I abandon, the ultimate in cruelty and wickedness (8)
INIQUITY – Put together a two-letter word for ‘home’, I (from the clue), ‘abandon’ or ‘leave’, and the last letter of crueltY.

18d         Cain — he’d turned into a beast (7)
ECHIDNA – Anagram (turned) of CAIN HE’D.

Image result for echidna

21d         Young animal in trap set up under equipment (6)
KITTEN – Some equipment or gear followed by the reverse of a sort of trap (for fish, perhaps).

22d         Royal personage? Journalist must take care (6)
EDWARD – The usual crossword journalist followed by a word for care or guardianship, often seen followed by ‘of court’. The Royal personage could be one of eight kings of England or various princes.

24d         Stay to offer support (4)
REST – Double definition, the second being the support snooker players use for their cue when a shot is out of reach.

26d         Chance bottle won’t open (4)
LUCK – Remove the first letter from another word for the slang term ‘bottle’ or ‘courage’.

The Quick Crossword pun PORES + ELAINE = PORCELAIN

65 comments on “DT 28587

  1. 2* / 3*. This proved to be a pleasant untaxing puzzle on a cold morning. I kept trying to justify Naomi for 17a until I solved 18d which showed me the error of my ways and I needed to Google what seemed like an unlikely answer to check if it really did exist.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. More new words today – 17a and ‘Bole’ – even the Quick Crossword had a new word for me today.

    I’m not sure I really favour obscure words appearing in Crosswords, does the Compiler trawl through the BRB to find an obscure word and fit the Crossword around it – seems like a cheap shot to show how clever he is. IMHO.

    Having said that, I enjoyed this but had to work hard to complete it – a real feeling of accomplishment!

    1. I very much doubt any dictionary trawling goes on at all, except perhaps to be absolutely certain of a definition, or to find a twist on a definition. Setters are invariably very clever masters of English.

      Take an empty grid and try filling it with your own words – it’s darned difficult, let alone including a Nina, theme etc.

      Then all you have to do is clue them all accurately, succinctly and smoothly (avoiding anagrams if possible). Then do that consistently for years… it’s something to be admired in my opinion.

      Giovanni ‘cheap shot’ – that’s a definite no-no.

  3. If what is ‘obscure’ is defined by a word a particular solver may not know, then there will often be obscure words in crosswords. As it happens, I learned many ‘obscure’ words as a teenager from solving the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword, and I am grateful for the education. I am prepared to take small risks in order that some others may have a similar experience, whatever their age. I am not one for ‘cheap shots’, thank you.

    1. One person’s obscurity is another person’s ‘word filed away for future reference’. I didn’t have any problems with today’s crossword, even the stony lady just wrote herself in.

      Thanks to you for the crossword and DT for the hints

    2. Quite right, I enjoy the obscurities. I read up on 17a, 18d and St.Francis’ friend, all of which expanded my GK.
      Fine crossword today Mr.G.

      1. I am of the same opinion.
        As long as the clueing is sufficiently unambiguous to compensate (which in this case – once I had Googled and confirmed the non-existence of any “Nimbe” – I felt it was), I am more than happy to have my hard drive enriched.

    3. I quite agree, one is never too old to learn new words and meanings. Thanks for the entertaining crossword and also to DT for the explanations.

    4. While I appreciate that we all learn from obscure words, and hopefully file them away for future use, if I have to use any help to find a word I could not have come up with on my own (2 already today) this detracts from my satisfaction overall. Much happier when I can solve unassisted even if it takes several passes. Thought this one was at least ** difficulty today. Will now try to finish.

      1. Actually if I correctly work out a word I hadn’t heard of before from the cryptic part and then look it up I feel especially pleased with myself :)

        On the whole I agree the answers should mostly be fairly normal words but I didn’t think there was anything too obscure in this puzzle. My favourite was 7a, which was also the last I got.

    5. Well said, one man’s meat… Etc. None of these words were obscure for me, whereas when scientific knowledge or football is called for, I’m totally lost. It all depends on what you like to watch/read etc.

    6. Think you played a blinder today Giovanni, obscure words or not. It’s all part of the”fun.”

      Thanks again.

    7. I am always pleased to increase my vocabulary so thank you Giovanni for contributing to that today. The BRB comes in handy on these occasions.

    8. I have no wish whatsoever to appear sycophantic, but this puzzle in my opinion carried no obscurities at all. Well clued and completely understandable throughout. I didnt have time to begin solving until after lunch today, but I had it put to bed well before the grand children came home from school. Thanks Mr M – good fun indeed. The masochist in me is telling me to try the Elgar. Hmmm, not holding my breath though. ;-)

    9. Absolutely, G. Obscurity is in the eye of the beholder and I’m quite happy for a cryptic crossword to contain 1 or 2 rare words, though I have to say that “bole” is not at all obscure to me (I first saw it in a puzzle about 45 years ago). These crosswords are a great way to exercise and augment your vocabulary and that’s one of the reasons I love solving them.

  4. Nice puzzle but over far too quickly. */***. Like RD, I had bunged in Naomi to start with which was pretty dim since I knew the correct answer. Also, I had -ice ending in my head for 28a for a while. A few bits of general knowledge required, which I quite like. My two favourites were 27a and 28a today. Toughie time now. I hope it’s as benign today as yesterday’s.

  5. Very enjoyable, completed at a fast canter, a very good end to the work week – **/****.

    Some new words offset by some oldies but goodies.

    Joint favourites – 20a (started off thinking anagram) and 28a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  6. Well, I thought this produced a few smiles along the way – I liked the ‘strutter’ , 19a and3d. Thanks to all.

  7. From habit I always start in the NW corner but several scans needed before a start was made and then no further hold ups as I set off in a clockwise direction.
    Quite a lot of general knowledge input today, ie 10a,6d,17a, which is unusual.
    Bit of a ‘left field ‘ puzzle all round , I had no idea who the setter was until I read DT’s blog but I did enjoy the solve and so going for a **/***.
    Liked 27a, as I remembered the word for a trunk!.and the surface of 7a.
    Thanks all, ready for the rugby and can’t wait for Brisbane.

  8. Heaven knows why or how I knew 18d, but I dragged it up from somewhere.

    I don’t often make a fuss but 6d is about as unfair a clue as they get.

    For the definition I need the name of the wife of an old politician’s opposition. Really? Why not define it as the fruit or simply a girl’s name?

    I find clues such as that unnecessary and more than a little annoying, personally. It’s supposed to be a crossword, not a memory test for the over 70’s. I know I’m in the minority, but it doesn’t do much to inspire younger solvers. Makes me feel like I’m positively excluded in a peculiar way.
    Rant over – you can all beat me up now if you wish! :smile:

    Otherwise quite enjoyable, so thanks to The Don and to DT for the blog.

    1. I certainly wouldn’t beat you up, but exercising the old grey matter cells with a bit of a memory stretch is fine by me and it was satisfying to recall Winston’s wife in order to solve the clue. But that’s just my opinion.

    2. There’s a lot of topical stuff in crosswords to appeal to the younger set, a clue here and there that is a given for us in our dotage is OK by me!

      1. Fair enough, I just think it’s a tad convoluted. Even ‘a darling’ would have been a preferable definition for me.

      2. I agree, there is some advantage to being “mature”, even if one hasn’t acquired much sports or science knowledge en route. Just got Churchill movie from Netflix today, so looking forward to that.

        1. As one of the older brigade, I knew at once the first names of both Attlee and Churchill’s good lady. But in the sixty odd years since they faced each other across the Dispatch Box, the similarity of those two names had never occurred to me. And for that, I thank you, Giovanni!

  9. I am all for a little obscurity from time to time, as long as the words are fairly clued, which they always are with The Don. How else do you broaden your mind or your vocabulary? I did not find this as easy as some, but that generally increases my enjoyment, so 2.5* /3.5* from me. To be different, I liked 7a the best.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  10. Back to form after two poor days, though one of those was the fortnightly Ray-T horror.
    Very enjoyable crossword, lots of super clues and some GK to expand the brain.
    I stupidly wrote ICE in for the last three letters of 28a, that will teach me. Eventually the penny dropped. Fav of the day for me.
    A few were bung ins, I have no idea why Churchill’s wife was right so looking forward to the hints.
    Thanks all.

    1. Thanks for the hints DT, there is a typo in the hint for 25a, I did not know the nine musicians, so thanks for that.

  11. Stony lady notwithstanding this was as easy as a Friday puzzle gets. I love obscurities and I look forward to learning about people, things and expressions I do not know. The DT cryptic has certainly expanded my knowledge. I did derive 17a but look forward to finding out more about the lady in question.

  12. I really enjoyed today puzzle but I thought the official rating of 1Star for difficulty was a little insulting to the setter and perhaps also smug! Most people would give it at least two stars and I would give it three for 17a alone. I thought parts were distinctly tricky but I did love 28a which was a real ‘smiler’.
    I struggled with7a as I missed the nonet, 10a as I had no idea who Clare was, 23a and 26d which I assume is missing the first P but surely that is not slang.
    I agree with the Don that to include obscure words is perfectly fair as long as the clue is well structured as his always are.
    Thxt to the Don for an excellent Friday crossword.
    PS I really enjoyed yesterday’s Ray T but didn’t have the time to comment😀

    1. The ‘bottle’ is the slang not the solution with a P added at the front

      Seeing as you really enjoyed yesterday’s Ray T, I feel you really should pop over to that puzzle’s post and say so.

        1. You can comment on last posts. The blogger gets email notifications and there’s always other people who look at all comments

    2. I rated it 1 start for difficulty – no offence in tended to the Don. Just on the right wavelength today.

  13. A nice little brain teaser although i like many others was thwarted by 17a not a clue(sorry).
    However / for me. Thanks to Deep Threat and the Don

  14. Enjoyable crossword today. Hardest bit was getting going in the first place. Went through until I got to 14d, after that things got easier. The NW corner was the last to fall and 7a needed the clue. Had to dredge deep into Sunday school memories to find St Francis’ pal. 17a was a learning moment to me too but well clued so answer was obvious. A trip to mr google after filling it in refreshed my classics education too. I like the learning moments and would hate it if setters only used well known words. In my imagination setters start with a grid and put in long,themed and linked words then fill in the gaps. It’s good for me when these little words can still be a learning moment.
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  15. As Senf commented – some oldies but goodies in this one along with the likes of 17a, which I needed to check on with Mr Google. Thankfully, the lady in question was fairly clued.
    Quite liked 28a but top slot goes to 20a.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for the blog. Ecdysiast was a new word for me, thank you for that one!

    Managed five in the Elgar – will now check in with Dutch for the full story!

  16. A bit later today because we’ve been out and about looking for a mini greenhouse. However I had to drop in and have my say on the conversation about obscurities as I felt a comment above was very unfair. For my part, I love it when the clever wording of a clue leads me straight to a word I’ve never heard in my life, as in the case of 17a today.

    Also I was not around in the time of Attlee or Churchill, but the answer to that one came to me immediately as surely when one hears the name Attlee the first word that comes to mind is Clement, the rest is given in the clue.

    I loved this today, I think probably Giovanni is my favourite setter so sorry for the rant but I had to say my piece.

    1. I agree the clue is straightforward enough, but there’s no way I could check the answer in the dictionary, which is the recommended resource.

      I also love to find a hitherto unknown word from wordplay, look it up and to my delight, find it. However, having to Google Mr Attlee’s opposition, then find his wife’s name is a step too far for my liking.

  17. **/***…. liked 12A.
    several words/names were new to me but I managed to complete without using hints as they were all fairly clued-interesting as well.

  18. A very pleasant Friday offering, gentle but satisfying. Some excellent clues with great surface reading. Really enjoyed it.

    Clue of the day 7a closely followed by 28a. With many others worthy of a mention.

    Rating **/****

    With thanks to DT and Giovanni

  19. I thought this was a super puzzle -oh, all right, maybe that’s because I’m feeling smug as I knew what others call obscurities. It makes up for the days when I’m totally lost in scientific discussions.
    Dear Clemmie was such a rock for her Winston, who wouldn’t love her.
    My fave was 20a but lots of others to like.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his review.

  20. Late to post as Spring bulb planting had to take priority over crosswords with it being such a delightful day in my part of the world at least.

    More GK involved than recent Friday puzzles, only the “friend” in 10a was unknown to me though. Favourite was 26d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  21. This one flowed very smoothly for us so left us plenty of time to work on the Toughie. It was certainly needed there. All the GK was familiar to us so no references were needed today. A pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. I really enjoyed this crossword, **/****. Several excellent clues, favourite was 12a. Last one in was 28a as I thought it was going to end in ‘rice’ for some time.

  23. This was a bottom upwards puzzle for me. After failing to find an in until 20a opened things up everything began to make sense. A great selection of clues, all absolutely fair made for a very pleasant solve. 2/4* overall and Jeremy’s golf bag was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his review.

  24. Thanks to all. This one saved what little remains of my sanity after my unaided attempt at Elgar’s Toughie yielded just 26a-Pagoda. The southern half of DT 28,587went well but for a long time I had “AYES” at 3d which slowed things up.

    Ah well, I solved (as I almost always do) the Killer Sudoko and Kakuro opposite the Toughie. Dutch (our esteemed Friday Toughie expert) and I -we meet in our local – discuss the difference between these different puzzles from time to time. He is certainly right-the crosswords are much more “sociable”. -you can discuss them without algebra (in brief). I still wonder as to the wirings of human brains that favour one sort of puzzle over the other.

  25. A pleasant little puzzle, right on the */** cusp for difficulty, and **** for enjoyment. 7a was my last in, and my favourite. Thanks to the Don, and to DT.

  26. Good stuff but. . . 9a, Pedantically, in algebra x is any number. N is always an integer (a subset of numbers)

  27. I’ve often wondered what possessed me to do Greek Literature in Translation as the optional 10th O level all those years ago! Well I remembered 17a because of that so now I know. However my favourite was definitely 16d – nicely put together.
    Very enjoyable puzzle, solved a lot earlier than usual for me.
    Thank you to Giovanni and DT

  28. An enjoyable puzzle that I made heavy work of – I got badly stuck in the NW corner, completely failing to notice that I’d made a complete hash of 1d. Oh well… Yes, 17ac was new to me as well. No, it wasn’t that difficult to get from the cryptic, and a few checking letters to confirm.

  29. Terrific – another really enjoyable outing with The Don pleasantly including a bit of GK. Needed help with 17a, 27a and 18d but hopefully stored for future reference. Thanks as always Giovani and DT.

  30. Having tried my first Toughie this week and failed miserably, thanks Giovanni for a puzzle I could do. Like many comments, I had no Idea what Niobe meant but Northern Ireland and the honour made it relatively simple. Did spend far too much time trying to make “course” work for 2 down.

  31. I thought this was very good and more tricky for me than some others found it. That’s 3 great crosswords we’ve had on the run now – let’s hope today’s Prize is in a similar vein. 3* / 4*.

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