DT 28611 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28611


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28611

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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

Good morning from South Staffs. Another dusting of snow in the night, followed by a bright start to the day.

We have a pangram from Giovanni this morning, with nods both to the Ashes cricket and the approach of Christmas. With the right set of General Knowledge, there are no particular problems.

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. 


1a           Bishop comes to unusual Serbian city (8)
BRISBANE – The chess notation for a Bishop followed by an anagram (unusual) of SERBIAN, giving us an Australian city.

5a           Sealing device for cleaner (6)
WASHER – Double definition: something to ensure that a joint in pipework is leakproof; or a household appliance.

9a           Grade C is terrible shame (8)
DISGRACE – Anagram (terrible) of GRADE C IS.

10a         Pub with group of miners who provided fair entertainment? (6)
BARNUM – Another word for a pub or part of a pub, followed by the initials of the miners’ organisation once led by Arthur Scargill. The answer is a 19th-century showman who, inter alia, ran a circus in partnership with Mr Bailey.

Image result for p t barnum

12a         Fellow attached to many different clubs (6)
CADDIE – Cryptic definition of someone carrying golf clubs for a living.

13a         City resident presenting three articles about province (8)
ATHENIAN – The province is the part of the UK which is not in Great Britain. Take an indefinite article, a definite article and another indefinite article, and wrap them around the initials of the province to get someone from a Greek city.

15a         The French and British soon to meet in the country (7)
LEBANON – Put together the French definite article, British, and an archaic word for ‘soon’, to get a Middle Eastern country.

Image result for lebanon flag

16a         Mist with tree not totally visible (4)
HAZE – Remove the final letter (not totally visible) from a nut-bearing tree.

20a         Criminal who robbed the rich? (4)
HOOD – Another word for a criminal which is also the surname of the legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest.

21a         Butterfly — something flying up, keeping very quiet (7)
SKIPPER – A cricketing term for a ball hit high in the air, wrapped around the musical symbol for ‘very quiet’.

Image result for skipper butterfly

25a         After study look for mastery (8)
CONQUEST – Another word for ‘study’ or ‘read over’, followed by ‘look for’ (the Holy Grail, perhaps).

26a         Spite shown by nasty little creatures following mum (6)
MALICE – A familiar short word for mum followed by some insects which are parasitic on animals, including the human one.

28a         Obsequious host following modern miss around (6)
SMARMY – Reverse (around) the prefix used in an address by a woman who does not wish to be categorised as ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’, then add an armed host.

29a         Circumspection of one head backing conflict (8)
WARINESS – Put together a conflict, the Roman numeral for one, and a head or promontory.

30a         Some monument undraped and plain (6)
TUNDRA – Hidden in the clue.

31a         Receiver of holy letter about hostelry gets unpleasant sensation (8)
TINNITUS – One of the recipients of an Epistle from St Paul wrapped around a hostelry or pub, to give us a ringing in the ears.


1d           Ornament Edward found in stream (6)
BEDECK – The definition is a verb. Insert a short form of Edward into a Northern dialect word for a stream.

2d           Imprisoned at home, expressed grief audibly (6)
INSIDE – Put together ‘at home’, and a homophone of ‘expressed grief’ or ‘expressed frustration’.

3d           Be joining skipper finally on ship — a German (8)
BERLINER – Put together BE (from the clue), the last letter of skippeR, and a large passenger ship. The answer is a German or a doughnut.

4d           Pleasant member of family becoming heartless (4)
NICE – Remove the middle letter (becoming heartless) from a female relative.

6d           More than one saw notice over long period (6)
ADAGES – The short word for a commercial notice, followed by an indeterminate long period of time.

7d           General as one who would eat human flesh hot not cold! (8)
HANNIBAL – Start with the term for someone who eats people, then change the Cold to Hot to get a Carthaginian general who brought his elephants over the Alps into Italy.

Image result for hannibal carthage


ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d           Those left, having ignored a prompt (8)
REMINDER – Remove (having ignored) the A from a word for ‘those left’.

11d         Agent having imbibed drink, upset, bad-tempered (7)
STROPPY – Reverse (upset) a fortified wine from the Douro valley, and insert the result into a secret agent.

14d         Sailor on a steamship, incompetent fool (7)
JACKASS – One of the words for a sailor followed by A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for SteamShip.

17d         Stocky England batsman once in tricky test (8)
THICKSET – Anagram (tricky) of TEST, wrapped around the surname of a cricketer who came from Zimbabwe, qualified for England, and made huge numbers of runs in domestic cricket while never quite establishing himself as a Test batsman.

Image result for graeme hick

18d         Huge quantity swirling in a tum, no? (8)
MOUNTAIN – Anagram (swirling) of IN A TUM NO.

19d         Vet, I will struggle with an ox creating bother (8)
VEXATION – Anagram (will struggle) of VET I and AN OX.

22d         Seabird spotted in wonderful Margate (6)
FULMAR – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for fulmar

23d         Boss dismissing men is not mincing words (6)
DIRECT – Remove the military abbreviation for men who are not officers from the title given to someone on the board of a company.

24d         Big meals, fine food, with seconds devoured (6)
FEASTS Fine and an informal word for food, wrapped around Seconds.

27d         Christmas visitors marvellous? Not entirely (4)
MAGI – Remove the final letter (not entirely) from a word for ‘marvellous’ to get another word for the Three Wise Men.

Image result for magi christmas

The Quick Crossword pun KEW + TICKLE = CUTICLE

46 comments on “DT 28611

  1. 3* / 3*. This proved to be a nicely challenging and pleasant pangram which was obscurity free (except perhaps 17d for non-cricket lovers). The LHS put up much more of a fight than the RHS, with 12a my last one in.

    28a was my favourite with 7d in second place.

    I didn’t help myself by trying to solve this initially without wearing my reading glasses. This led me to believe that “turn” was the penultimate word in 18d, and I was going to complain that the surface was nonsensical. Finding my specs put me straight. Talking of surfaces, I did think 19d was a bit strange – with and without glasses.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. It is very disheartening when the blog gives a tricky puzzle a * rating!
    I would have rated it as *** as it was definitely not easy. Very enjoyable to finish a typical Giovanni pangram with well constructed clues. My main struggle was 31a as I had no idea who the letter receiver was. I wonder how many people remember Graham Hick, great batsman who we could do with in Perth at the moment.
    For me ***/****
    Thx to all

    1. I doubt it Brian. The West Indies fast bowlers worked him over as would the present day Aussie bowlers. I would be happy with Alistair Cook from 10 years ago

      1. I’d describe him as a ‘flat-track bully’ – a really heavy scorer in County Cricket but when it came to Test Cricket particularly against short pitched bowling he was found wanting.

        A very fine player but not of the very highest class.

    2. Prolific batsman at County level certainly, but one who couldn’t translate that to the Test arena. Very similar to Mark Ramprakash in that respect.

    3. B. DT has rated this one as * / ** for difficulty, which equates to 2.5* on the official rating system (0* – 5*). He’s rated it 3* (out of 5*) for difficultly. I reckon everybody should stick to the official system – less confusing that way.

  3. Yet another very enjoyable end to the work week, slowed down in the NE corner at the end to finish at a fast canter – **/****.

    As usual, I missed the pangram.

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 31a, and 23d – and the winner is 31a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  4. Very enjoyable. I initially missed the misdirection in 1a and tried to make Belgrade fit the clue with an obvious lack of success. Once the penny dropped the rest gave me no problems. The cricketer was obvious from the checking letters but needed confirmation as did the butterfly. Altogether, a lovely solve. Many thanks indeed to the setter and to DT for the blog.

  5. Pleasant, enjoyable and fun to solve with just the right amount of difficulty to stretch the grey cells. Several good clues, but 7d gets my nod, and overall this was 2.5* /3* overall.

    Thanks to The Don for the challenge and to DT.

  6. A very good puzzle yet again from Giovanni.10 across reminded me of this strange but true story.

    When I was very young I was taken to the funfair by by father. In the early sixties they still had sideshows, boxing booths, bearded ladies and suchlike. One booth proclaimed to have the worlds oldest living Indian brave who had such an amazing memory he could answer any question asked.

    As my early TV viewing was all Cowboys and Indians I pestered my father to take me in to see The Worlds Oldest Indian Brave, Big Chief whatever. It did not disappoint. There sat a wizened old Indian brave in full costume, tomahawk in one hand and a pipe of peace in the other. He sat by a genuine tepee and as an impressionable eight year old I was astounded. We filed past and as I got to the head of the queue he asked if I wanted to ask a question. All I could think to say was “What did I have for breakfast today?” As quick as a flash the Indian said “Eggs” which was the correct answer. How on earth did he know? I walked on air or months afterwards.

    Fast forward to 1981 with this Indian only a faded memory I went to the premiere week of the musical Barnum in London’s west end. The theatre foyer had been decorated to look like Barnum’s travelling show. A strongman here a juggler there and in a corner in full costume sitting by a teepee, tomahawk in one hand and pipe of peace in the other was my Indian. The very same man from my childhood. Still alive almost twenty years since I first set eyes upon him. Fascinated I walked over. i was as excited as i had been all those years ago. I held out my palm and said “How”
    Quick as a flash came this reply. “Poached”

    1. As usual started off in the NW corner, assumed the solution was a city of B and seven other letters, correct on the third and final attempt from comesto/unusual/Serbian !.No problems after that.
      Wrote down **/*** on completion, last in 31a, glad I had all the letters in place.
      Liked the wordplay of 13a and 20a.

  7. My confidence is restored a bit after my failure yesterday, but I just did not get 12a and even now cannot see it.
    I can see that a caddie carries golf clubs it’s the ‘is attached to’ that I don’t understand.

    Other than that, though, a great crossword…even though I missed the pangram.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

    1. OM – I too questioned the “attached” bit. Caddies are certainly not attached to clubs in the bag and neither are they normally attached/associated with more than one Golf or Country Club.

  8. 2 or 2.5 * I’d say for difficulty. But 3 for enjoyment. Bottom left was hardest for me. Must remember the epistles from St Paul. 19d took a bit of untagling before penny dropped. Thanks all.

  9. No real problems today which is not usually the case for me with Giovanni’s puzzles. Lots of great clues and had a quiet chuckle with 3d remembering President Kennedy’s doughnut bloop. 12a the hardest and last one in and have to agree with Ora Meringue on the wording. 1.5*/4* for me. Many thanks to the Don and Deep Threat.

  10. Very satisfying and enjoyable. As ever, wasn’t keen on the four (guessable) names required to complete the puzzle, but otherwise nicely clued. Thought the definition for 31a somewhat vague.

    All in all a nice level of difficulty so thanks to Giovanni and thanks to DT for the review.

  11. Not sure that the cricketer would have come to mind so easily without some checkers in place although I certainly recognised his name – same goes for the receiver of the holy letter in 31a – but Giovanni’s clueing was, as always, scrupulously fair.

    The surface of 27a raised a smile – 23d took the laurels.

    Thanks to DG for the puzzle, DT for the words and music and BD for the snow!

  12. This was very pleasant and would have been easy if I had better eyesight and less stupidity. I couldn’t parse 18d because I read ‘turn’ instead of ‘tum’ and I could not get 28a because I had ‘thickest ‘ for 17d which was sloppy. Spotted pangram quite early on. **/***. I liked many including 10a, 12a, 6d and 23d with my favourite being 31a.

  13. Very enjoyable indeed, with some nice seasonal touches.

    My top three were, in solving order, 17d, 24d and 10a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  14. A real cracker today, the full gamut of clues – anagrams, lurkers, general knowledge and even a bit of Cricket – perfect!

    My last one in was 8d – a great clue.

    It’s been a very good week some real crackers, the only problem is that they’re over too quickly.

    1. A pangram (in crosswords) means that there is at least one of each letter of the alphabet in the completed grid. See FAQ #30.

  15. I get most of what your contributors are saying … but by no means all. Bearing in mind that on average I usually complete only 85%/90% of all DT cryptics, would you please explain what are ‘pangrams’ and why do some of the faithful keep ‘missing’ them. I understand the meaning in the literal sense, but would very much like to hear the cruciverbalists’ explanations.

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment (in 2015) so moderation was required. Both aliases will work from now on.
      See my response to Veronica at comment #15 above.

    2. Mike,

      You don’t NEED to know a crossword is a pangram to complete it. Some people simply notice it and comment as it is not common.

      However, if you are struggling to get solve the last few clues, for example 16 and 25a in this puzzle (as I was), and you suspect it may be a pangram, then it’s handy to know that the answers may include (in this case) a Q or a Z.

      If you see what I mean

  16. A most enjoyable puzzle, and I even twigged the pangram!
    I, of course, didn’t know the crickety person at 17d, but a quick google sorted that, nor the seabird at 22d but it was plainly a lurker.
    My fave was 31a with 7d running close on its heels.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for his fun review.

  17. Not straightforward by any means but finished, fortunate I had a good lot of checkers in. Last in 31a just couldn’t see it. Not my favourite Giovanni puzzle but enjoyed it and some excellent clues. Certainly not a */** difficulty for me.

    Clue of the day: 17d

    Rating *** / ***

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni

  18. We totally missed the pangram. Usually when we come across a Q and an X in a crossword it alerts our radar but not with this one. We had to check the butterfly but had vaguely heard of the cricketer. A pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  19. My comments today are exactly in line with those of the 2Kiwis in all three respects. I too enjoyed the whole exercise as is usually the case for me with Giovanni’s offerings so many thanks to him again and likewise to DT for your hints on which I didn’t have to rely today.

  20. Giovanni in a somewhat benign mood today! Nice puzzle but over too soon. 28a was top clue for me and overall 1.5/4*.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review. And to MP for making me laugh out loud.

  21. Overall ** for difficulty, though I did get a little stuck on 12ac and the crossing of 14/21. I see that our first seasonal reference has crept in with just over a week to go. :-)

  22. They have becks in England too. I remember them from Arthur Ransome.
    18a I, too, read “tum” as “turn”.

  23. Having visitors yesterday meant saving what I believe was a Ray T until today. Coupled with a Friday Giovanni it was a perfect crosswording day for me. Both puzzles were thoroughly enjoyable and very well clued. I stymied myself with 5a in today’s by first entering VACUUM until the penny dropped. Thanks to both setters and both hint providers. Santa runs this weekend will result in three cryptics to enjoy on Monday – if time allows.

  24. I have to agree with Brian in that I found this definitely harder than a one star, but enjoyable nonetheless. 21a stumped me, pun intended, as I didn’t know the cricket term, nor the butterfly come to that. I didn’t know the seabird in 22d but as I figured it was a lurker I did manage to get that at least. Would have been happier if 1d was defined as decorate rather ornament. A tricky Giovanni for sure, and grateful for DT’s hints.

  25. Another cracker from the very consistent G. A decent challenge, excellent and concise clues, very enjoyable and generally on a par with yesterday’s Ray T. 3* / 4*.

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