DT 28592 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28592

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28592

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. This isn’t a Ray T crossword and I don’t know who did set it – at one stage I thought I had an idea but I’m not sure enough to even suggest it as I’m so hopeless at the setter spotting game.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under the things that say ANSWER so only do that if you want to see one.


7a            More than one serviceman remains unreliable (7)
MARINES — A nice straightforward anagram (unreliable) of REMAINS – so nice and straightforward that I missed it completely – not a good start.

8a            Yet to admit beer finally finished (7)
THROUGH — A synonym for yet or even so contains the last letter (finally) of beeR.

10a         Defender, bit of a pig, in game (10)
BACKGAMMON — A defender in a game of rugby is followed by a cut of cured pork.

11a         Place in faculty under discussion? (4)
SITE — A homophone (under discussion) of one of our senses.

12a         Person calling to restrict a newspaper, more scheming (8)
CRAFTIER — Someone who calls, specially to make an official announcement, around ( to restrict) the A from the clue and a specific newspaper.

14a         Friendly male interested in painting, say? (6)
HEARTY — The masculine form of a personal pronoun is followed by how someone interested in painting in a rather pretentious way could be described.

15a         Merry king inspired by victories in game (11)
TIDDLYWINKS — A slang term for merry or a little bit drunk is followed by a synonym for victories or successes which contains (inspired by) the one letter abbreviation for king in chess and cards. This one was much easier once I realised that the ‘merry king’ wasn’t ‘Cole’.

19a         Careless about girl (6)
REMISS — The usual two letters that mean about or concerning are followed by a girl or young single woman.

20a         Dog shown, bitter (8)
AIREDALE — A word meaning shown or made public is followed by bitter or a kind of beer.

22a         End in Indian state, heading for Lucknow (4)
GOAL — A western Indian state is followed by the first letter (heading for) of L(ucknow).

23a         Dessert wine getting another little shake? (10)
AFTERSHOCK — A slangy word for dessert or pudding is followed by a white wine.

25a         Tricky grasping instrument suddenly (7)
SHARPLY — A word meaning tricky or artful contains (grasping) a large stringed instrument.

26a         Sob loudly, seeing whaler’s product (7)
BLUBBER — A double definition



1d            Hansom going into horse, ghastly (7)
MACABRE — A light two wheeled horse drawn carriage inside (going into) a female horse.

2d            Second mark of approval (4)
TICK — A double definition – the first one being a short space of time.

3d            Asian plane diverted over capital in Iran (6)
NEPALI — An anagram (diverted) of PLANE which contains (over) the first letter (capital) of I(ran).

4d            Metropolis in saga composed around two hospitals (8)
SHANGHAI — An anagram (composed) of IN SAGA and two one letter abbreviations for H(ospital).

5d            Knocked sideways, as mouth punched? (10)
GOBSMACKED — A slang term for mouth is followed by another word for punched or hit.

6d            Stir it into stone (7)
AGITATE — A semiprecious stone contains (into) the IT from the clue.

9d            Wise guy in sting, spy out to trap soldier (11)
SMARTYPANTS — A synonym for sting or tingle is followed by an anagram (out) of SPY which contains (to trap) an insect of which soldier is an example.

13d         Kept in order, drawer showing butterfly (10)
FRITILLARY — A drawer, the kind that might be used for holding money, goes inside (kept in) a religious order where monks might live.

16d         Old PM, Democrat from the Middle East (8)
DISRAELI — The one letter abbreviation for D(emocrat) is followed by a Middle Eastern national.

17d         Nation in trouble, so thoughtless (7)
LESOTHO — Our one and only lurker or hidden answer which is indicated by IN – it’s hiding in the last three words of the clue.

18d         Frozen mass that’s large, ice endlessly shifting (7)
GLACIER — An anagram (shifting) of LARGE and IC[e] (ice endlessly).

21d         Seldom opening in reality, a bank (6)
RARELY — The first letter (opening) of R(eality), the A from the clue and a synonym for bank or depend on.

24d         Goddess has essentially brought enlightenment, primarily (4)
HEBE —The first letters (primarily) of the second, third, fourth and fifth words of the clue.

I liked 10 and 15a and 5d. My favourite was 23a.

The Quickie pun took me ages as I didn’t realise that it had four parts to it.


70 comments on “DT 28592

  1. A straightforward Thursday offering – I’m not going to guess the setter either but thank you to them and Kath.

    Apologies to Kath too – I did mean to email you and tell you there were four words in italics but someone came into the office and wanted me to do some work (cheek!) and by the time I’d done that, I’d forgotten all about the pun

  2. :phew:

    5* / 2.5*. Definitely a wrong envelope day today as far as I am concerned! Although, looking at Kath’s rating and CS’s comment, so far I am in a minority of one. I found this really tough and a very mixed bag as far as enjoyment goes. The cluing was brief (only one over the eight!) but at times this was to the detriment of the surfaces (e.g.: 20a, 23a & 13d).

    I particularly liked 8a, 15a (my favourite), 16d & 18d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath. I need to go and lie down now.

    1. Found it impossible! For the first time since I started blogging, could only manage the top west corner. ‘Have I lost it’ I asked myself? This was enough to send me back to sleep. Better luck tomorrow!

  3. I’m with RD , this was tough , although I missed one or two obvious ones early on e.g. 7a , once I neared the end it all fell nicely into place . Liked 9d and 15a , but needed electronic help for a couple . Thanks Kath . Not sure about this one Mr Ron grrrr . *****/**

  4. Found this one quite testing in places, although now I have solved it I’m unsure as to why I found so many clues troublesome as it all makes complete sense…. Didn’t get off to a good start as I totally failed to see the anagram at 7a! Why? Very enjoyable though, 15a made me laugh .
    Thanks to setter and Kath.

  5. “Fairly straightforward” I should cocoa, this took as long to do as the three puzzles this week combined.

    Cue, sound of grown man sobbing. :-)

    Thanks to setter and Kath for review.

  6. I thought this was good fun and for me at the other end of the difficulty spectrum from yesterday’s, so for me it was */****, but maybe I was just lucky to get on the setter’s wavelength, to whom my thanks, and also to Kath.

  7. This needed some head-scratching, certainly, but I found it reasonably straightforward after a slow start, so 3* /4* for me. There were probably better clues but I really enjoyed 23a and 15a. 22a was my last one in.

    Many thanks to the Thursday setter and to Kath.

  8. Tough, tough, tough – I struggled throughout, I needed help for 13d – which I wouldn’t have got in a month of Sundays otherwise.

    Very enjoyable but at the limit of my ability, which isn’t saying much!

  9. Oh – apologies if I’ve screwed up the difficulty rating. I hate to think that I’ve been discouraging, especially to newer solvers. As always it’s all to do with wavelength and whether or not you’re on the same one as the setter.

    1. I started off thinking it was a tricky one but then the appearance of several old friends helped me get going and I definitely would agree with your rating. Cue loads of ‘but you’re an expert’ which I really am not – I’ve struggled mightily with two other puzzles ‘elsewhere’

  10. I can’t wait to get home to do this one later, it sounds intriguing – we’ve already got two 5* for difficulty (one from a veteran/regular) and one 1* for difficulty from a newcomer! All human life is here, apparently…

  11. Made a note of **/*** on completion, must have had a relatively good day as I found this puzzle straight forward, no doubt nemesis awaits .It’s not often that ratings of * and ***** difficulty/time appear on the blog on the same day as there were no new or obscure words and quite a few old chestnuts like 16d and 23a.
    Anyway thanks to Kath for the blog picks-thought we would have had Bet for 5d instead of Gale ! as she was often thus.
    Bit behind today as I watched the ashes -or some of it-late for work.

  12. I certainly found this tough. It took me well into ***** time, and I threw in the towel with two to go.

    I had parsed 25a correctly, but could only think of HORN. Kath’s hint put me right on that one but unfortunately, that was no further help with 13d which is certainly a new one on me.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Kath.

    1. Before the penny dropped, I did wonder for a moment if there might be an instrument called a “hort” …

  13. Amazing, this wavelength thing. I’m certainly in the ‘quite easy’ brigade today. Only slight hold up was, like Kath, trying to get King Cole to fit into 15a.

    Had a lot of fun solving this and the podium beckons for 10&15a along with 5&9d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the well-illustrated blog.

    PS My come-uppance has arrived. The Firefly Toughie is proving to be an uphill battle!

    1. On the subject of books yesterday, have you read “A Man Called Ove”? I recently read it and loved it, by Frank Backman, a Swede.

  14. RD you are not alone, definitely a wrong envelope day.

    I needed some assistance from Kath’s hints to finish.

    Favourite 23a – which I think I recognise as an oldie but goodie.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  15. My only real problem (apart from taking too long to recall the name of the 13d flutterby) was a complete mental blog in the extreme NE, with the intersecting 8a/6d stubbornly eluding me. No idea why.

    I always enjoy this setter’s puzzles — thanks to him and to Kath.

    1. Hi Kitty. Do you know who the setter is, or is it just that you recognise the style? If the latter, do you happen to know the puzzle number for any recent offerings?

      P.S. What is a mental blog? Is it one where the contributors are all a bit potty? In that case our blog could fit the bill nicely.

      P.P.S. How is your Dad doing now?

      1. Hi RD,

        It’s a Halpern production or my name’s not Kitty.

        Argh. Mental blog! I’m not sure about all of the contributors to BD’s block, but this one is clearly not currently quite with it.

        Dad finally made it home this morning, thanks for asking.

  16. I was into 3 for time with one to go (15a) last night when I gave up as it was late. I just didn’t get that one.

    Thanks for the explanation Kath but I still do not see how “inspired by” is a direction to insert the K into the second synonym. If anything it would be the other way round if you know what I mean.

    Thanks to setter for what was an enjoyable puzzle.

  17. Well, reading the blog was interesting; so many different views about today’s challenge. For me a slow start but thereafter things improved and I finished at a pace.
    15a was my favourite, once I had realized that the old king had nothing to do with it.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to MrRon, and to Kath for the review.

  18. I found this reasonably tough going – but I was doing it between overs watching the cricket. ***/****. Very enjoyable with some lovely clues and answers. I liked 10a, 15a, 9d, 5d, 13s, with 25a being last in and my favourite.

  19. I don’t rate puzzles. I’ll just say that I was on wavelength today. My only hold-ups were 22A and 25A which took a bit of time to unravel. I did fail to get the Quickie pun though! My favorite is 23A. Thanks Kath and the setter.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to Merusa and anyone else from our side of the pond!

    1. Completely forgot, Chris. Hope you enjoy Thanksgiving Day and don’t have any disasters with plates of food this year!

    2. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Merusa et al. Started to do this yesterday but too tricky for limited time available.

  20. I found this a lot easier than yesterday’s puzzle. The only clue I had difficulty with was 5d and the answer is a word that for some reason I dislike intensely. Very surprised at RD’s rating because he polishes off more difficult puzzles easily. Must be a wavelength issue.

    1. I remember a clue in the DT about 60 years ago, “an idiot consumed and was disturbed” or something like that!

  21. It’s always interesting to read the comments, but especially today when there seemed to be a wide divergence of views about the level of difficulty.

    I’m somewhere in the middle, parts of the puzzle were very easy (like 19a, 26a and 18d for instance), but I tried to over-think some of the longer clues like 20a and 5d, when, in reality, there was very little or no wordplay involved, merely exceptionally clever juxtaposition of synonyms for the words in the clue.

    Overall I really thought this a superbly entertaining puzzle with the pick of the clues for me being 15a, 20a, 23a (my favourite), 13d and 21d.

    Full marks and thanks to the setter and thanks to Kath too.

  22. Lucky me – I’m in the ‘tuned-in’ gang. I thought it was nicely crafted and thoroughly enjoyable. 13d last in, liked 15a & 5d just because I like the words, but favourite is 6d for the mental image it evoked, and for being so nifty.

    The illustration for 10a is puzzling me – I play all the time and that’s not how I was taught to set up the game – a bit like Radler’s last puzzle it seems upside down and back to front to me. Ne’er mind, I’m probably wrong.

    Many thanks to Mr Halpern(?) and to Kath for the review.

    1. Oh dear – these illustrations. Some time ago I asked Mr Google for a pic of a particular Italian city – someone commented telling me that it wasn’t right – he’d been there only last week and it didn’t look anything like my pic.

      1. Not your fault, Kath – Mr Google is not very reliable at all. The number of ‘discussions’ I’ve had with people who back up their case with ‘I found it on Google, so it must be true’, is countless. About as reliable as the Daily Mail in my view.

  23. This was a real head scratcher, and I have no idea why. My last one in, a bung in, was 11a, which I got right but had no clue why. Thanks for that Kath.
    I found lots to like here, 15a was a real smile, and 20a, of course, and you know why, but fave was 16d, my house at school (aeons ago) was named that.
    Thanks to setter, it was hard but fun, and to Kath for her review.

    Off piste, I was so sorry to read about the flooding in UK this morning. My thoughts go to those affected.

  24. This was perfect for me today. I had a hospital appointment after lunch, had to wait for ** minutes and the puzzle just lasted. Didn’t help myself by putting Nagasaki for 4d (I mentally blocked out the hospitals as I was in one)! Lots of great clues but have to go for 23a. Many thanks to Kath and Mr Ron.

  25. This was the hardest for me for ages, yesterday was a breeze compared to this. I got 8 answers and could have stared at this until doomsday and not finished. I had absolutely no idea what the clues were all about.
    Luckily I am off to see my new grandson this evening so wont have any more time to spend on it anyway, so I can consign to history, but not before I have gone through Kath’s hints.
    Thanks all.

    1. No, you won’t get away with it! It’s tradition and a requirement that you give a name for our approval!

        1. Hey, Paul. My brothers name. Sadly gone now but we did have a nice day at a memorial service for him at Kings College Chapel at Cambridge University.

  26. Not on the case with this one. Completed but needed loads of reference help and a hint from the blog for 17d missed that one completely. Very tricky today. Thought it wad a Ray T Thursday special but apparently not. Bet you thought the same Hoofit?

    Rating 4 / 2.5

    With thanks to Kath and the setter.

  27. Oh no! 😟 Completed before lights out only to discover that it is not a Ray T 😳 ****/*** Found it very tricky but enjoyable 😬 Favourites 23a, 12a and 25a (last in) Thanks to Kath and to Mr “X”

  28. At first glance this looked like a RayT puzzle to us, all single word answers and short clues. When we did a count of the clue words found that 9d exceeds the limit by having nine words and then there is no mention of Her Majesty. Solving the puzzle had us laughing out loud, particularly some of the longer answers like 15a and 9d. We eventually decided that if it were not by RayT it was by someone deliberately writing a puzzle for a Thursday that mimicked his style. After reading Kitty”s comment above agree with her conclusion that Dada could well be the setter. He has one of the greatest abilities to tickle our ribs. Really good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron (Dada?) and Kath.

  29. To mix several metaphors – made heavy weather of this over breakfast, particularly in the North, but abandoned ship for the rest of the day and then a recent return to the fray gradually yielded the whole thing. Can’t believe, like PLR, it took me so long for the 5d penny to drop however I do agree the word does jar a bit. 23a standout Fav. Thank you Mysteron (any more ideas on identity?) and Kath.

  30. An interesting and quite tricky puzzle:**/****. My last in was 17d – a sneaky lurker l took ages to spot – but l liked 20a, 23a and 17d. Thanks to the setter (l won’t even try to guess) and Kath.

  31. Quite fun puzzle. Took me ages to parse 20a, doh!
    Bit too many heads off and tails off for my taste but loved 15a and 9d.
    Thx to all

  32. A very teasing puzzle which fell slowly and gave me a great smile of satisfaction upon completion. Only 26 clues today but 18of them had an unchecked first letter which always increases the difficulty level. Thanks to the setter. I really enjoyed this. Thanks to Kath to whom I owe an email.

  33. I’ve not read the blog yet, but I doubt if this was a RayT. Like the previous ‘inside’ back pagers this week it was very entertaining and very straightforward. I needed three visits to this one as I had to fit it in between other things that wanted completion today. Lots of smiles in this one and I particularly liked 23 across, but is that really a wine? I was under a the impression it more of a spirit. I liked 13 down too. Thanks to today’s setter, good fun indeed.

  34. A *** for difficulty here – so easier than yesterday’s offering, but still not a walkover. Last in 13d, which added a * to the difficulty level all on its own.

  35. Good evening everybody.

    A very good puzzle. Unfortunately the solution to 13d is a word I didn’t know so I was unable to complete the grid.


  36. I’m off to bed so night night everyone – thanks again to the setter, whoever he may be, and to all for their comments. :yawn:

  37. Well, well,well. Perhaps we should all donate our brains for medical research (but not before we have finished with them). Did not know the butterfly and could not be bothered to Google it but apart from that everything went straight in. Definitely 1*/4*. Cannot remember solving one any quicker. Fascinating. Thanks to setter whoever you are and Kath. Hints looked pretty. Did not use apart from the aforementioned butterfly:

  38. This was a decidedly Ray T-esque puzzle, with its succinct clues and only one-word answers and a very worthy substitute. I’d say it was comparable to an average Ray T offering. A good challenge, great clues and very enjoyable with a distinct sense of achievement on completion. 3* / 4*.

  39. This one took a few sittings.
    Only managed to finish it this morning.
    5d took forever for the penny to drop.
    Writing 11a with a C didn’t help.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath.

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