DT 28614 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28614

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28614

Hints and tips by Mr K

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


Hello, everyone.  We have another fine puzzle today.  It’s sprinkled with general knowledge included in what I think is the best way, namely with the answers being gettable from the wordplay and the post-grid fill research on the unfamiliar ones presenting an opportunity to learn something interesting.  Enjoyment was further increased by battling with some nice examples of misdirection.  I look forward to hearing what you made of it.

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 enlarge it or reveal a bonus picture.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Layer pastry in turnover included in amount (7)
STRATUM:  One layer of several is found as the reversal (in turnover) of a pie-like pastry  that is inserted  in (included in) an amount (of money, perhaps).  I got off to a slow start because I initially accepted the setter’s invitation to bung in STRUDEL.  I hope I wasn’t the only one misled like that

5a    A Slav describing British trick cyclist? (7)
ACROBAT:  A from the clue, followed by a Slavic country national containing (describing, as in delineating) an abbreviation for British.  I’m not sure if the surface refers to the usage of trick cyclist as slang for a psychiatrist or to its more literal interpretation, but it’s the latter that we want to describe the answer

9a    Utterly depressed? True (9)
DOWNRIGHT:  Connect synonyms of depressed or unhappy and of true or correct

10a   An effervescent beer in village restaurant (5)
LAGER:  The answer is hidden in the remainder of the clue

11a   Satirical drawing showing face of Onassis on board container (7)
CARTOON:  The first letter of (face of) Onassis is inserted into (on board) a container typically made of cardboard

12a   Join together to thoroughly search home, last in terrace (7)
COMBINE:  Do what it says in the clue:  Join together “to thoroughly search”, the usual word for home, and the last letter in terracE

13a   Scoundrel in favour of cutting repayment (9)
REPROBATE:  A word meaning “in favour of” is inserted into (cutting) a partial refund or discount

16a   Drank to excess back in warehouse (5)
DEPOT:  The reversal (back) of an archaic word, still used in crosswordland, for “drank to excess

17a   Operatic heroine, not quite conventional (5)
NORMA:  Take all but the last letter (not quite) of an adjective meaning conventional.  The answer was gettable from the wordplay, but I needed Mr Google’s help to connect it to an opera

18a   Place that may suit one in Mayfair? (6,3)
SAVILE ROW:  A cryptic definition of a street in London’s Mayfair district famous for bespoke men’s tailoring

21a   Trade unionist perhaps runs into trouble (7)
BROTHER:  Insert the cricket abbreviation for runs into trouble or annoyance 

22a   Dodges in game (7)
RACKETS:  A double definition.  Dodges here is a noun.  The game began as an 18th-century pastime in debtors prisons

25a   Rule changed to accommodate married primate (5)
LEMUR:  An anagram (changed) of RULE that contains (to accommodate) the abbreviation for married

26a   Lively exchange of opinions might make one angry before launch (9)
CROSSFIRE:  One can make the answer by placing a synonym of angry before another word for launch (a missile, perhaps)

27a   Singular desire before appearing live as one working in theatre (7)
SURGEON:  Link together the abbreviation for singular, a desire or impulse, and a short word for “appearing live”. I once again took the setter’s bait and started out thinking of the wrong kind of theatre

28a   Attempt to deceive, positioning moon round far side of Mercury (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON:  Here we want the largest moon of the planet Neptune containing (positioning…. round) the last letter of (far side of) MercurY



1d    Cocktail, as mixed with cider (7)
SIDECAR:  An anagram (mixed) of AS CIDER

2d    Someone involved in boating commotion on East River (5)
ROWER:  A commotion or argument, followed by the abbreviations for East and RiverThis week’s cat picture shows that our Tuesday Toughie blogger is also a capable 2d

3d    Trunk and spreading roots (5)
TORSO:  An anagram (spreading) of ROOTS.

4d    Male representative before a battle (7)
MAGENTA:  Concatenate the abbreviation for male, a representative or intermediary, and A from the clue.  The answer is a specific battle, whose name was later given to a reddish-purple dyestuff discovered around the same time

5d    Object of performing recital (7)
ARTICLE:  An anagram (performing) of RECITAL

6d    English method appearing in list as a good example to follow (4,5)
ROLE MODEL:  An abbreviation for English and a method or way of doing something are inserted in (appearing in) a type of list (of those eligible to vote, for example)

7d    Thrilling ride, first in Blackpool — one going on gripped tightly (3,6)
BIG DIPPER:  The first letter in Blackpool and the Roman for one are followed by (going on, in a down clue) an anagram (tightly, as in drunkenly) of GRIPPED.

8d    Anxiety of soldiers caught in wrongful act (7)
TORMENT:  Some generic soldiers are inserted in (caught in) a legal term for a wrongful act

14d   Agent set up one-time entertainer (9)
PERFORMER:  The reversal (set up, in a down clue) of a colloquial word for a sales agent, followed by one-time or previous

15d   Accused over an assault (2,1,6)
ON A CHARGE:  The (2,1) phrase means “over an” and the (6) is assault or attack.

17d   Bishop imprisoned by peers — dopes! (7)
NOBBLES:  The chess abbreviation for bishop is contained in (imprisoned by) some peers or aristocrats.  Dopes as in drugs

18d   Medieval warrior from small tribe featured in article (7)
SARACEN:  The abbreviation for small, followed by another word for tribe inserted in (featured in) one of the indefinite grammatical articles

19d   Cover Montana? Not all of that state (7)
VERMONT:  The answer is hiding as part of (… not all of that) the remainder of the clue

20d   We back Lone Ranger film? (7)
WESTERN:  WE from the clue and the nautical term for back.  The question mark indicates a definition by example

23d   Copper with cast, undemanding (5)
CUSHY:  The chemical symbol for copper and (with) cast or throw 

24d   Live way out, across sierra (5)
EXIST:  The way out, containing (across) the letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet corresponding to sierra


Thanks to our setter for a fun solve.  I liked 12a and I smiled at 7d because, as shown in the picture, there really is a 7d in Blackpool.  But I liked 1a even more, and so it gets the honours today.  Which clues thrilled you?


The Quick Crossword pun:  RAY+DART+WRAP=RADAR TRAP

47 comments on “DT 28614

  1. Finished in a *** time, but again, too much general knowledge required for me to be sure of my answers. 4d, 17a & 18a fell into this category.

    I’m not sure that 26a is simply an exchange of opinions, just like 1914-1918 wasn’t a border dispute.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Mr K.

  2. Quite enjoyable, required some head scratching to complete at a gallop (just) – **/***.

    There did appear to be a sprinkling of oldies but goodies – the operatic heroine, the theatre performer, and the trade unionist for example.

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 14d, and 19d – and the winner is 18a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  3. A joyful pastime to take mind off feeling below par thanks to the dreaded lurgy (presumably not ‘flu after having had the injection – or is it?!). Altogether a fun challenge with nice surfaces. 18a definitely Fav and 27a runner-up. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K. 🤧.

  4. A straightforward and enjoyable solve this morning. I have no problem with GK as long as the emphasis is on the ‘general’ which in this case I felt it was. I particularly liked 16, 17 and 18a as a top three, and overall this was 2* /3* for me.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

    As an aside, it was good to see so many positive comments relating to Rufus’ retirement present to us yesterday.

    1. The comments keep on coming including one from Mr Squires himself. There are lots more on yesterday’s Gaurdian puzzle (a revisit to the first puzzle set by Rufus for the Gaurdian back in 1982. There are more comments still on fifteensquared on both the Rufus Gaurdian puzzle and the Dante Financial Times puzzle. These show what a much loved settter Roger Squires is.

      1. Good afternoon Miffington Popsicle (I refer to your full name when making a serious point).

        You may not be a Radio 2 listener but on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show, there is a ”Three Worder” slot where people text in with three words that sums up their day, e.g ”Christmas wrapping – disaster”…..or…”Eight sleeps left”….or…”A whitewash – inevitable”…..etc. And I texted one yesterday about Roger The Dodger with this follow-up email sent to him and Chris Evans (I hope you don’t mind me doing it but I just feel his work needs to be acknowledged – forgive me, if it was the wrong thing to do). I’ll let you know if they respond….

        Good morning Simon and Chris and respective teams.

        My three worder was ”Prolific cruciverbalist retired” and was in reference to the world’s most prolific crossword compiler, Roger Squires, aka ‘Rufus’ (all compilers have an alias) who retired yesterday. This octogenearian (85 in February) has been plying his trade for over 40 years, having crafted 70,000+ works of magic in various newspapers, notching up his two millionth clue in 2007….two millionth!!! *

        Here is his Wiki entry….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Squires

        This actor and qualified magician became a cruciverbalist in 1977 and was asked to compile 40 a week which is madness. I once tried to compile a cryptic, unpatterned crossword and it took me forever. Note that I said ‘unpatterned’. ‘Patterned’, i.e symmetrical, is so much harder, especially as he had no electronic aids pre-2000 like this Godsend….http://www.crosswordsolver.org

        40 a week, even though many of them were probably concise not cryptic ones? Respect.

        You will see from his profile that he is the Daily Telegraph crossword compiler on a Monday and I have known about him for the last four years, thanks to an excellent daily blog called ”Big Dave’s Crossword”. Different people write a blog about the day’s crossword that gets uploaded around midday that contains hints for each clue which you can click on if you want the answer.

        Here is yesterday’s entry which was his last ever crossword…http://bigdave44.com/2017/12/18/dt-28613

        NB The answer to the last ‘Across’ clue was Samuel Pepys’ oft-used expression – a beautiful sign-off. You can see scores of tributes below the hints.

        I have only known about the blog for the last three years. So, I think it would be worth you talking to Big Dave or Miffypops as they may have some stories about this legend.


        I think Roger is a modest man so he may not want to talk about himself but I reckon it’s worth you trying to see if he will appear on one of your shows (phone or in person).

        Chris, being a Telegraph crossword lover, I’m sure you’ll find him an extremely interesting person to talk to about his mastery.

        I have attached yesterday’s tribute by the Telegraph.

        Have a splendid Christmas and a linking good New Year

        Kind regards

        Andy Salmon (aka Sir Linkalot – as I like to link….a lot)

          1. The pleasure was all mine. I am in awe of a compiler’s relentless, work ethic, day in day out, without losing the plot.

  5. 9 and 23 down sum up this puzzle for me. I had a feeling of deja by during the solve. As Senf noted above but add the game and the long tailed animal and the well used anagrams at 1d and 3d. Also 6d 18d and 20 down have all been seen before in one form or another. That is what a lifetime of solving Cryptic Crosswords brings to the table. I truly hope that newcomers find this a challenge and that it helps them recognise clue types and different wordplays. Sorry to grump. Thanks to the setter. And thanks to Mr K. I included a picture of myself in yesterday’s blog. Now we have a pretty Kitty. Could this be the beginning of a trend?

  6. Almost tripple the usual number of comments yesterday was great to see.

    Todays grid filled in steadily after a wee bit of a slow start. Had a Q-mark against 26a but somewhat grudgingly accepted. Fav 18a. I liked this crossword and agreed with Mr K about the level of GK. Learned a bit more about being nobbled by cocktails in battles.

    Took 12 yr-old mini schnauzer to the vet this am for a dental audit under a general anaesthetic poor thing. He thought he was off for another walk.

    Thanks setter and Mr K. **/***

  7. Very pleasant. 1.5*/****. I, as is my wont, enjoyed the GK content. I liked 22a, 27a, 1d with 18a being my favourite.

  8. Seemed to be on the right wavelength today and so a **/****,maybe a bit too predictable, but good fun.
    I thought the trick cyclist was bound to be a ‘shrink of sorts’ as per Mr K but it was more straight forward-never mind ,
    Also strudel initially was favourite for 1a, again as per Mr K,
    Apart from 16a being the wring way round all went swimmingly!
    Thanks all.

  9. Not keen on 5a (trick cyclist not really a synonym for the answer and as Mr K notes has another slang meaning) or 4d (v obscure, at least for me) or 18a (hardly cryptic)…otherwise enjoyable, and *** for difficulty overall

    1. Don’t agree that 17a is “hardly cryptic” the answer could be anywhere in Mayfair apart from “suit one” which is cryptic surely?

  10. 2* / 3*. A pleasant workout with nothing too taxing and only 17a needing the assistance of Google.

    18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr R & Mr K.

  11. Very nice puzzle and well illustrated blog , so thanks to both setter and Mr K.
    20d was my favourite.

  12. A little slow to start, but once I had a few answers in the grid filled quickly, finishing in perhaps */** time. Last in 27ac and 18d.

  13. Not my favourite, too many wordy contrived clues with little humour. Nothing stands out and certainly no smile clues.
    For me ***/**
    Thx to all

  14. On right wavelength today. Enjoyable puzzle, only needed to check the battle, but from the wordplay it couldn’t really be anything else. I agree with Mr K, it had just the right mix of general knowledge.12a my favourite.

  15. A pleasant solve with a smattering of humour 😃 **/*** Learnt something new from 4 down 😳 Favourites were 5a and 26a Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🎄

  16. I enjoyed this one a lot, solidly clued with only 1a having a less than convincing surface for me.

    My top two clues were 18a and 7d.

    Is Kitty purring away today, finding herself in such close proximity to Aidan Turner? ;-)

    Many thanks to setter and Mr K.

  17. I thought that was rollicking good fun – not to mention pictorially excellent (thank you, Mr K!).

    Tops for me was 9a with a nod to the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to Mr Ron (any guesses?) and to Mr K for brightening a fairly rotten day.

  18. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot. Lots of good misdirection, didn’t mind the GK content. 5a made me laugh, but I think the definition is a bit stretched. I liked 17d for the misdirection. Favourite was 28a, very original. Was 2.5*/3.5* for me.

  19. Really very, very enjoyable and straightforward. I think that we had more in-depth English/European history at school in Jamaica, mother country and all that, certainly I was very familiar with 4d. I think today there’s more emphasis on Caribbean history.
    So many good clues, no obscurities for me, I think my fave was 18a, not sure, too many choices.
    Thanks to whomsoever and Mr. Kitty, nice pic of Kitty, but you could have given us just one kitty.

  20. A very entertaining puzzle full of good clues, and agree with Mr K you can work out the GK ones and that’s fair enough in a cryptic crossword. Last in was 4d don’t think I’ve come across that before? Overall a good Tuesday puzzle following Rufus yesterday. Well done to all of you for the fantastic tributes on here yesterday it was a privilege to be part of it.

    Clue of the day 26a closely followed by 18a

    Rating 2.5 / 4

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  21. Getting there! Three months of learning how to do them and I’m happy with my results.
    Just wish it had been under better circumstances

  22. An undemanding doddle, but not unamusing in its way: 1*/3*. I liked 17d. Thanks to the Mysteron and Mr Kitty.

  23. Fairly undemanding with no real stand out clues for me I’m afraid. 18a at a pinch perhaps. Maybe it’s just me having an off day…
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Misters Ron and K.

  24. After struggling yesterday (an enjoyable struggle I hasten to add), today it just flew in – in record time I believe. And not that it was a doddle – just that wonderful thing, wavelength.

    Very enjoyable, with the warrior being my favourite, because this time the rugby-inspired option was the right one.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  25. Another day, another lovely puzzle. Enjoyed although I am struggling to make a large batch of mince pies. Running short on mincemeat and it isn’t as if I can just pop to the supermarket and get more – they mostly point me to the meat counter if I ask for help 😊. No time to get more from Amazon so will have to ration them this year and not give too many away. Strangely no one fights for a helping of Christmas pudding, without which it just wouldn’t be Christmas for us.
    Have to confess didn’t know battle at 4d. Thanks to Mr K for hints.

    1. I agree about Christmas pudding. We have a Jamaican who makes them and they are delicious, though seasoned with rum instead of brandy!

    2. I think that Christmas pud is best served on a separate occasion – not when everyone is already stuffed with turkey etc. As for the alcohol – brandy every time please!

      1. Our Jamaican lady puts so much rum in it, when it’s lit and brought to the table, the damned thing won’t go out! I love our Chriastmas traditions.

        1. We’ve always used brandy, but when we found yesterday that we had only the decent stuff left we broke with tradition and used whisky. No complaints from me — the pudding flamed well and tasted great, and I had some of the brandy afterwards in a glass instead.

  26. Pretty straightforward solve completed without too much trouble. Not to sure about 17a but – hey ho – it’s a fair clue in its (sic) parsing. No stand out top clue I’m afraid, but thanks to our blogger and our unidentified setter.

  27. Very good. I did not think of strudel for 1a though- only word I could think of at first was a part of the male anatomy. Confess to googling in to see if there was a second meaning. Answer negative so had to think of the correct answer! All clues involving general knowledge were easily solvable from the wordplay so fair. Favourites 18 21 27a and 14 20d. Last one in on the western side was 27a. Like others I expect I was in the wrong theatre. Last corner in was SE which fell into place once I cracked 26a. Thanks.

  28. I made a right meal of this one. I just wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength. However in the end there were some nice clues and none which were at all obtuse.
    I must try harder having had so many gentle puzzles in the last week or so.

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