DT 28608 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28608

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28608

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello, everyone.  Today’s puzzle features several cleverly-constructed and smooth clues which took some pondering to unscramble and which delivered smiles when understood.  I have set the difficulty and enjoyment ratings accordingly.

In the hints below underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and most indicators are italicized.  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 enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Bless errant ancestor entering church … (10)
CONSECRATE:  An anagram (errant) of ANCESTOR is placed inside (entering) the abbreviation for the Church of England

6a    … part of which is despairing somewhat when backsliding (4)
APSE:  A part of the church in 1a is hidden reversed (… somewhat when backsliding) in the remainder of the clue

9a    Criticise guests on vacation — they’re painful (5)
PANGS:  Join a verb meaning criticize and the outer letters of GUESTS (on vacation, interpreted here as “after being vacated”)

10a   Deserve to bust docker (9)
STEVEDORE:  An anagram (bust) of DESERVE TO

12a   Support for Cable from newspaper, European (9,4)
TELEGRAPH POLE:  Take our favourite newspaper, and then append a native of a particular European country. The setter has capitalized Cable to mislead us – the answer has nothing to do with Vince or anybody else named Cable

14a   Firm regularly gets past deadlocks (8)
IMPASSES:  Link together the even letters (regularly) of fIrM and a word meaning “gets past” 

15a   Lacking muscles, went topless (6)
ABSENT:  A short informal name for some particular muscles, followed by all but the initial letter (topless) of WENT

17a   60 per cent of routine is odd (6)
UNEVEN:  The six-letter answer is found as the first 60% of a longer word meaning routine or not surprising

19a   Ink and water ruined jumper, perhaps (8)
KNITWEAR:  An anagram (ruined) of INK WATER

21a   Wheel tiny dodo out — it’s incurable (4-2-3-4)
DYED-IN-THE-WOOL:  An anagram (out) of WHEEL TINY DODO

24a   At intervalswalked unsteadily (9)
STAGGERED:  A fairly straightforward double definition.  The first is an adjective, the second a verb

25a   Force terrible lie about politician (5)
IMPEL:  An anagram (terrible) of LIE containing the abbreviation for a member of parliament

26a   French cheese, but not posh part (4)
ROLE:  A type of French cheese (illustrated below), minus (but not) the usual letter that can represent posh

27a   Child has good accent, one warbles (10)
SONGSTRESS:  Concatenate a male child, the abbreviation for good, and accent or emphasize



1d    ‘Carry On Constable’ goes over expert’s head (4)
COPE:  An informal word for a police constable precedes (goes over, in a down clue) the first letter of (… ‘s head) Expert

2d    Vernon’s to perform in part without a break (3-4)
NON-STOP:  The answer is hidden in (in part) the remainder of the clue

3d    Musical style is gentle, say, in broadcast (4,9)
EASY LISTENING:  An anagram (broadcast) of IS GENTLE SAY IN

4d    Stood down, and joined again (8)
RESIGNED:  Delete the hyphen from a word meaning “joined again”

5d    Article cheers Greek character (5)
THETA:  Stick together a grammatical article and a short word of thanks (cheers)

7d    Suggest writing about work (7)
PROPOSE:  Some writing containing (about) the usual abbreviation for a musical work

8d    Fundamental  part of detective’s catchphrase? (10)
ELEMENTARY:  A double definition.  The detective is fictional, originating in a series of short stories

11d   Former teetotaller, not professional, is show-off (13)
EXHIBITIONIST:  Glue together the usual word for former and a person opposed to alcohol, and then delete (not …) an informal contraction of professional

13d   Kitchen gadget — 51 nicker is ultimately expensive gear (10)
LIQUIDISER:  Concatenate the Roman numerals for 51, an informal monetary unit equivalent to nicker, IS from the clue, and the final letters (ultimately) of expensivE geaR

16d   Cook too little grub initially for such as David (8)
UNDERDOG:  Find a noun that could describe the David who faced Goliath by fusing together “cook too little” and the first letter (… initially) of Grub

18d   Observe energy’s needed to lead the old dance (7)
EYEBALL:  The physics symbol for energy is placed before (needed to lead) an old form of “the” and a formal gathering for dancing

20d   Obscure cuttings found in empty envelope (7)
ECLIPSE:  Some cuttings or excerpts are inserted between the outer letters of (found in empty) EnvelopE

22d   Keep side-splitting introductions for Stan and Ollie in trunk (5)
TORSO:  Remove the outer letters (side-splitting) of a synonym of keep or retain, and then append the initial letters of (introductions for) Stan and Ollie

23d   Positive place, America (4)
PLUS:  Cement together the map abbreviation for place and an abbreviation for America


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I found a lot to like here, including 12a, 15a, 17a, 11d, 13d, and 22d.  They all generated smiles.  The standout favourite for me was the smooth and clever 3d.  Which clues did you like best?


The spoiler box below hides a comment box for readers who aren’t yet ready to go public or who have suggestions for making my hints more effective.

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86 comments on “DT 28608

  1. 11d and 20d were favourites in this entertaining and tricky in places Tuesday puzzle. As is often the case, solving some of the clues was what they had to be, but parsing took a little longer. Having finished I felt it had been a real mixture, but thenI went through them again and saw it in a different light, so 2.5* /3.5* for me overall.

    Many thanks to both Misters.

  2. My enjoyment of this puzzle increased the further I progressed; 2*/4.5*

    My favourite clue, 3d.

    Many thanks to setter, and to Mr K.

      1. It’s a blue sky day here in L’Eliana, Valencia and that’s a good enough reason for a smile today :)

            1. Yes, I like it cold enough to turn the Ac off and have the doors open, but this is too chilly for that. Our cat is following the sun around the house and giving us dirty looks because of course it must be our fault it’s cold 😊

  3. All completed in ** time, but I really couldn’t parse 22d. The best I could manage was: the keep was a tower, and the side splitting was removal of west and east, plus the Stan and Ollie.

    One of the last in was 6a, so that gets my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

          1. Yes, and thanks for sharing that. I responded because 22d was a tricky clue and I wasn’t absolutely sure Mr K was correct, so I was relieved to see hoofit viewing it the same way :)

  4. I thought that this was an excellent crossword.
    13d was my favourite clue, I enjoyed the use of ‘nicker’ though younger folk (if there are such things that do the DT crossword), could be excused for not knowing this.
    26a was a bung is as I had not heard of the French cheese, one to remember.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr.Ron.

    1. I remember the sweet young girl in St Trinians laying a bet by saying “Fifty nicker on the nose”

  5. Finished with electronic help but IMHO one of the most horrible puzzles to ever appear on the back page. Clumsy poor clues, lots of leaps of faith, complex and wordy.
    For me ****/minus ***
    Thoroughly nasty!
    Thx for the hints.

          1. And as no doubt some of us have said many times before – the fact that you cannot do it does not make it all of those things, or, indeed any of them. I am afraid you have to be able to think outside of the box to solve a puzzle like this and once you have mastered that you will find that you can solve in double-quick time. Extremely clever clueing and only regret for some is that it was all over in a blink.

    1. Brian, if I were a crossword compiler I would find many of your comments quite offensive and insulting. You clearly haven’t the ability to work these clues out, so please don’t blame the setter. I would politely suggest you try the less demanding puzzles contained within the pages of the Sun or Daily Mirror for instance as they may be more to your taste and understanding. This was a superb puzzle that gave me huge enjoyment after my annual fight with our christmas tree and its lighting this afternoon. So many brilliant clues. I certainly appreciated you efforts Mr or Mrs Setter.

      1. Don’t be so hard on the boy, he might take his ball and go home, then where would we be without Brian.

      2. I think he can work them out, he just doesn’t like some of it. Brian has a right to voice an opinion, even if he does so in a somewhat brazen fashion. I don’t like the use of the word ‘nasty’ – that’s plain daft, but if that’s how he feels…

        Don’t rise to it – he’s probably being deliberately contentious; besides, it’s just a crossword. Had I set this puzzle, that sort of baseless (in my view) comment would be shrugged off like water off a duck’s back.

        Perhaps a little more blog etiquette could be observed – ‘Not my cup of tea’ springs to mind, Brian.

  6. Enjoyable puzzle with a good mix of clues some of which I found quite tricky to parse. Particularly liked 22d and had quite a few light bulb moments with several which made me smile. Despite not seeing the light at first with quite a few, I managed to complete without the hints , as some answers had to be what they were. Needed the explanations for 17a and 22d – I couldn’t work out where the “tor” came from – I too wondered if it was tower/keep. Reading it again now, it all makes sense, but it didn’t feel like it whilst solving….does anyone else ever find this?
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  7. Enjoyable puzzle with a good mix of clues some of which I found quite tricky to parse. Particularly liked 22d and had quite a few light bulb moments with several which made me smile. Despite not seeing the light at first with quite a few, I managed to complete without the hints , as some answers had to be what they were. Needed the explanations for 17a and 22d – I couldn\’t work out where the \”tor\” came from – I too wondered if it was tower/keep. Reading it again now, it all makes sense, but it didn\’t feel like it whilst solving….does anyone else ever find this?
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  8. A nice start to a beautiful day. Thanks to Mr Kitty for the explanation to 22d, I couldn’t get away from Castle for keep. Thanks to the setter for the fun.

  9. A fun run with one or two humps to overcome but nothing serious. Thought 17a a bit contrived and I failed to bring to mind the rectus abdominis in 15a and stupidly needed help parsing 11d. Amazing the variety of contexts in which Mr. K’s four-legged friends can be used to illustrate a hint! Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  10. Slow burner for me with some enjoyable clues. Completed without recourse to any aids but 1d, 22d and 17a needed the blog for parsing.

  11. Couldn’t quite decide which to opt for as favourite but Mr K made up my mind for me – 22d by a mile although that has little to do with the clue and far more to do with the illustration!
    Of the remainder I would make mention of 15a plus 1&3d.

    Thought 12a might have been calling out for a reprisal of Glen Campbell in Wichita – goodness, that was a long time ago.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for another most enjoyable blog.

    PS If anyone has time on their hands, Alchemi has a really good puzzle in today’s Indy.

    1. Hi Jane – Not sure a reprisal is called for – it wasn’t that bad a song. Let’s reprise instead?

  12. I thought this was an excellent puzzle – can’t agree with Brian’s rant above. 2.5*/*****. Joint first prize to 16d and 18d. Thanks to the setter. Do we know who?

    1. Except in a few cases where they post here or on Facebook, the identity of the Tuesday setter is a mystery. It’d be great if the creator of this wonderful crossword revealed themselves here and took a bow.

  13. Tale of two halves for me today, top half straight forward **, bottom half was teased out one at a time and a ****, so going for a ***.Last in were 17a and 22d, managed to parse 17, but not 22 (the first three letters).Not sure about the enjoyment factor as I was glad when I eventually completed the puzzle but appreciated the complexity of the cluing so a ***.
    Liked11d- my favourite and a brilliant pic by Mr K, hope the window doesn’t spring open as those hens look purposeful !

  14. Interesting – a distinct sparsity of ‘usual suspects’ which I’m certain is deliberate.
    There are some nasty things in the world we live in today – but a crossword isn’t one of them.

    Many thanks to setter and to Mr K for the review.

  15. Of course clues should be misleading but I don’t like false capitalisation as 12a with Cable. This is just bad grammar. Many compilers work their clues by making the name the first word. Otherwise a very enjoyable solve

  16. My only real problem with this one is that I was convinced that 1d was Cape (Head). I should have thought of Cop but then any rank of Police Officer is a Cop. Apart from that all clues excellent and most went in almost on auto-pilot as if Mr Ron was whispering in my ear. Like some others needed the hint to completely parse 17a and 22d. My slowest corner was the SW. Took me a while to get 21a partly because I am always expecting the letter Y to be at the end of a word. Once that was in the rest fell – the last two being 18d and 26a. Just could not get beyond Brie and Camembert and French words are always difficult to see without the accents. My favourites – and I did have to stop circling them because there were so many – were 21 and 27a and 13 and 16d. Please reveal yourself Mr Ron (perhaps you and Brian would both like to come to the Birthday Bash) and thank you Mr Kitty for help with the parsing.

  17. 2* / 4.5*. I finished this early this morning and have been out since playing squash and then enjoying the squash club’s Christmas Lunch. Very good it all was too.

    It took me a little while to drop onto the right wavelength after which it all came together nicely and what a brilliant crossword it was. As others have said, it would great if the setter could pop in and take the credit for it.

    Picking a favourite from such a good selection is not easy but I am going to settle for 20d.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    1. Much better to play squash followed by Christmas lunch rather than the other way round methinks!

      Unusual to have such differing opinions about the same puzzle, as we are normally singing from a pretty identical hymn sheet! As Mr K is blogging today, perhaps he would refer to it as a statistical outlier?

      1. Yes, today’s value of the Rabbit Dave-silvanus correlation coefficient would definitely be classed as an outlier.

  18. Although I’m definitely not in the Brian camp, for once I do have some sympathy with his comments about “leaps of faith” as I did think one or two clues weren’t very solver-friendly. The two-step 17a, i.e. think of a synonym for “routine” but then only use 60% of it, is a case in point, as is 22d. I was unfamiliar with the French cheese (sorry Jean-Luc) and interestingly it isn’t listed amongst the dozens in the Small Red Book either.

    I couldn’t get as enthused as many others seem to have been, but I did tick 27a.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  19. I just loved this and whizzed through it, until I got to the SW corner, three took as long as the rest of the puzzle.
    I spent a long time googling the answer to 26a with a “u” in it and nothing came up. I’d never heard of the French cheese but it looks deelish.
    Like most of you, I needed the hints to parse 22d, but it had to be that.
    No faves today, the plethora of choices makes it impossible.
    Thanks to you Tuesday setter, please come back soon, and to Mr. Kitty for the review.

  20. Another great offering from Mr Ron some lovely clues with lots of smiles. Found it reasonably straightforward.without using the hints and tips.Two terrific DT crosswords so far this week long may it continue. We will see?

    Clues of the day: 12a along with 21a

    Rating 2.5 / 4

    Many thanks to Mr K and Mr Ron

  21. Well I thought this crossword was ok. A few clues led me astray but all were ‘gettable’ so all in all no real problems. I’ll be different; I’ll take 8d as favourite. 2/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Mssrs Ron and K.

  22. I have recently discovered that if you stare at an anagram for a few minutes it rearranges itself into the correct word. Is that weird?
    Enjoyed this one.
    Loved the illustration for 21a
    Thanks to both.
    Why have people started trying to tell us their time for completion?
    I thought that was banned!
    It takes me most of the day by the way…😎

    1. Yes, posting solving times is not allowed and they will be redacted. But I’m not seeing times given in any of today’s comments?

  23. This one proved to be a good tonic for a very bad weather day. I would give it 1* – most unusual for me on a Tuesday (possibly assisted by high caffeine content ‘energy drink’?). I believe that the fair number of easy-to-spot definitions was the crucial factor in solving this crossword. No special favourite here. Many thanks to all concerned.

  24. Greetings from a rather chilly and snowy Ottawa.

    Well, after at least 7 years of lurking, I am emerging to say how much I enjoy this blog, and the virtual company of the inhabitants!

    And the crosswords are good too! This one is exemplary – fair clues, challenging, educational (at least one new word for me), and definitely fun.
    My thanks to the setter, and to Mr K – whose help was not needed on this occasion.

    And of course a big thank you to Big Dave and his team for making it all happen. My progress in the world of cryptics has been much accelerated by your efforts.

    1. Welcome to the site, Boocwyrm, and thanks for sharing your experience solving this one. I’m glad that you find the site helpful, and I hope that you’ll keep commenting.

  25. Really enjoyable & passed away time on the tain that stops at every house between Crewe and Cardiff. Better so far though than yesterday’s 5 hour “effort”
    Like others was spoiled for choice with COTD.
    This morning”s Matt made me smile re MP”s chosen nom de plume of yesterday.
    Thanks to Mr X, come again soon & Mr K for pparsing 22d.

    1. Having regard to #22, yesterday’s 5 hours referred to the Cardiff to Crewe journey time not the solve time.

    2. MP’s chosen nom de plume of yesterday? Nowt to do with me mate. All down to Frosty. I think he will be doing the 25th as well.

      1. Apologies I was just confused, thinking the “me” in the hint for 5d referred to the distant figure of the landlord of the local. Obvious, now, you were camouflaged against the snow & the figure was not you at all.

  26. Enjoyed this puzzle **/*** surprised at the controversy it elicited 😳 Favourites 13d, 15a and 26a 😃 Thanks to Mr Kitty and unknown setter

  27. As is often the case for us, the clues where one has to think of a synonym to get the wordplay rather than a word that is actually in the clue, always take a bit more effort. 17a and 22d are both examples of this and were our last two to parse. At the time we were solving we did think it was a pity that the setter hadn’t said ‘beyond’ instead of ‘past’ in the clue which would have made the answer a bit less obvious. We thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle and agree it would be nice if the setter owned up.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  28. A jolly little puzzle, which l was bolting through in * time until l got to the SW corner. I needed a hint for the French cheese, and only then cracked the excellent 18d. So **/**** seems about right. My favourite was 16d. Many thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  29. I really enjoyed this puzzle and found it very doable. Had never come across 21a but discovered it in my Chambers Crossword dictionary! Favourite was 18d. 8d made me smile. Leaving Hyères next Sunday to get back to West Sussex hoping we shall not have to battle with wintry weather! A lot of rain here these past few days, much to Fifi’s joy as this little dog adores paddles! Many thanks to setter for a very pleasant exercise and to Mr Kitty who helped me parse a few of my answers.

    1. It has been a cold/frosty couple of days in West Sussex but we are fortunate to have been spared the heavy snowfall and disruption which regions further North have been experiencing – travel problems, school closures, etc. – unfortunately the UK still doesn’t “do” snow!

  30. An enjoyable, very easy puzzle, a definite * for difficulty here. Seems I’m much more on the wavelength of today’s setter than yesterday’s… :-)

  31. This was a very pleasant mix of easy and tricky clues, with anagrams thrown in, so very enjoyable. Didn’t know the cheese at 26a and made heavy weather of 17a and 27a, so thanks to Mr K for helping me keep going. 13a was favourite by a mile today.

  32. I really enjoyed this puzzle and solved it without any clues. Parsing the answers was the hard part which I also managed without help. Favourite clue 16d. Thank you to the setter and Mr K.

  33. I missed the reverse lurker in 6a so a bit cross with myself. Also had to check on 11d as I bunged in the answer, which I got right , but didn’t quite know why.The second part of the word didn’t make sense, but it did once I’d removed the ‘expert’, following the hint. Thank you Mr Kitty for the review, and thank you setter for the brain workout.

  34. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. What a super puzzle, the top half went in very quickly, but I was a bit held up on the bottom half. Got there in the end. Needed the hints to parse 17a. Last in was 26a, I’d never heard of the cheese. Favourite was 13d, which made me laugh. Was 2*/4* for me.

  35. This was a curate’s egg today. Some very simple clues and some much harder ones laid as trip-wires. No one else has mentioned 1a as a fine clue so I shall. **/*** for this humble solver. Had to finish off later because of chores and visiting D1’s new home.
    -5.5 last night and +7 tonight – ahh… the joys of the Gulfstream.
    Loved the cat-on-the-mat image.

  36. Thanks for the blog and to those who commented. I’d intended to add a comment on Tuesday, but it’s been rather a busy week!

    A very wise man (who may or may not have won the Times Crossword Championship about a million times in a row) said to me years ago that when looking at feedback on a puzzle, I’d you ignore the four or five most positive comments, and the four or five most negative ones, that what you are left with is a good reflection of the true worth of the puzzle. Wise words that I am pleased to heed here!

    1. Thanks for dropping in, thanks for the excellent puzzle, and congratulations on your new position.

      I believe, although I haven’t done any analysis :) , that another indication of the worth of a puzzle is the number of clues nominated as favourites. In a puzzle with many great clues, like this one, there’s never going to be agreement on which clue was best,

      (you went into moderation due to a typo in your name, which is now fixed)

    2. Thanks for popping in to claim ownership, Mister Ron. Hardly surprising that you’ve had a busy week – I think you’ve probably got many more to come!
      Hope you find time to take up the invite to the BD birthday bash in January – we’d love to meet you.

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