DT 28617 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28617


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28617

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from foggy South Staffs. Today is the calm before the storm: almost all the Christmas supplies have been brought in, and the first of our guests fly in from Belgium tonight, the first instalment of the eleven (plus a baby) people who will be with us for the festival. Happy Christmas to everybody, and I hope to be back next week.

There is a seasonal flavour to Giovanni’s puzzle today, and it didn’t take me very long to solve (unlike the Quickie, which I found a bit of a beast, though I wasn’t helped by misspelling the first part of the pun). Thanks to Giovanni for another year of quality puzzles.

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           Material left by a church (4)
LACE – Put together Left, A (from the clue), and the letters signifying the Church of England.

3a           Seasonal food that comes with a sign of emotional stress? (10)
GOOSEFLESH – Double definition, the first being one of the traditional roast meats for Christmas (what the Cratchit family were going to have before Scrooge sent round the big turkey).

Image result for gooseflesh

9a           Paintings in works defaced (4)
OILS – Remove the first letter (defaced) from a word meaning ‘works hard’.

10a         Traitor involved with men becomes killer (10)
TERMINATOR – Anagram (involved) of TRAITOR and MEN.

Image result for terminator

11a         Boy overwhelmed by a noise in pantomime (7)
ALADDIN – A (from the clue) and a loud noise, placed either side of another word for boy.

13a         Girl attending university having endless 6 — like a bit of a target? (7)
ANNULAR – Put together a girl’s name, University, and a synonym of the answer to 6d with its last letter removed.

Image result for pistol target

14a         Infernal place, Herts town, in which to perform — it’s off-putting (11)
DISTRACTING – Start with an alternative name for Pluto, the Greek god of the Underworld, hence by extension the Underworld itself. Then insert ‘to perform’ into the name of a town in Hertfordshire 30 miles north-west of London, and add the result to the first part of your answer.

18a         Celebrating the season? Starchy miss is otherwise (11)
CHRISTMASSY – Anagram (otherwise) of STARCHY MISS.

21a         Once again embrace silly pater outside party (7)
READOPT – Anagram (silly) of PATER wrapped around one of the usual crossword parties.

22a         Make painful sound about donkey in carol-singing (7)
WASSAIL – A cry of pain wrapped around another word for donkey, This sort of carol-singing is not what goes on in church: it’s rather boozier than that.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a         Bouncer at annual event in London SW? (6,4)
TENNIS BALL – Cryptic definition of a piece of sports equipment used in large numbers during the fortnight in summer when Centre Court becomes a focus of attention.

24a         The damsel supplies this cheese (4)
EDAM – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for edam

25a         Eldest maid travelling round Egypt etc (6,4)
MIDDLE EAST – Anagram (travelling) of ELDEST MAID.

26a         Loveless grumble coming from senior family member (4)
GRAN – Remove the letter which looks like a love score at the event in 23a from a word meaning ‘grumble’.


1d           Man sits on magical phone box, one coming out in panto gear? (8)
LEOTARDS – A man’s name (or his star sign?) followed by the iconic police box from Doctor Who with its I removed (one coming out). The answer is some kit worn by dancers in panto or other forms of entertainment.

2d           To south of Scottish island see part of church crumble (8)
COLLAPSE – An island in the Inner Hebrides followed by a part of a church building which appears regularly in crosswords – the last time was in yesterday’s back page.

4d           Once a tempestuous expanse of water (5)
OCEAN – Anagram (tempestuous) of ONCE A.

5d           Brief statements from married stars putting tot to the fore (9)
SUMMARIES – Start (to the fore) with a word for ‘tot (up)’, then add Married, and a star sign attributed to people born in March and April.

6d           Manage funds reallocated for recreational activities (3,3,5)
FUN AND GAMES – Anagram (reallocated) of MANAGE FUNDS.

7d           Praises partner of yesteryear, sadly lost (6)
EXTOLS – The usual former partner, followed by an anagram (sadly) of LOST.

8d           Hurry to entertain artist turning up in African city (6)
HARARE – The usual crossword artist is reversed (turning up) and placed inside ‘hurry’ (like a fast, furry animal). The answer is to be found in Zimbabwe.

Image result for harare

12d         Face tackling minister, beginning to irritate in the role of boss (11)
DIRECTORIAL – Another word for ‘face’ (of a clock, perhaps) wrapped around a minister of religion and the first letter of Irritate.

15d         What supplies support for bridge? (4-5)
CARD-TABLE – Cryptic definition of what may be found underneath a game of bridge, or whist, or cribbage…

16d         Man’s man? (8)
ISLANDER – Cryptic definition of someone who lives on a place called Man.

17d         Plant fellows found submerged under cold nasty clay (8)
CYCLAMEN – Put together Cold, an anagram (nasty) of CLAY, and some chaps.

Image result for cyclamen

19d         For now, Prime Minister must swallow rubbish meeting European (3,3)
PRO TEM – The answer is a Latin abbreviation. Some rubbish and European are put together and placed inside Prime Minister.

20d         Group in the auditorium stopped from playing? (6)
BANNED – A homophone (in the auditorium) of a musical group.

22d         Home Counties rule set up for whole country (5)
WALES – Put together a geographical indication of where the Home Counties are to be found and another word for a statutory rule, then reverse the lot.

The Quick Crossword pun DEKKER + ASIANS = DECORATIONS

48 comments on “DT 28617

  1. Another cracker – a brilliant puzzle with the right degree of severity to cause some head scratching and a real feeling of achievement.

    I had a problem with 14a because I didn’t know about the alternative name for Pluto etc and had to request assistance to understand my answer, confirmed by the BRB.

    Great fun!

  2. That’s better; after the last two days, a ‘proper’ back pager to end the work week, very enjoyable and finished at a gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 15d, and 22d – and the winner is 15d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  3. Not one of my Giovanni favourites. 23a was Fav once I gave up thinking around a chucker-out. NE corner last to fall. Failed to parse 13a and 12d. The 16a island seems to make regular appearances in various guises. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  4. 2.5* / 2.5*. I found this OK but there was nothing either to excite or to frighten the horses. The NE corner was the last to fall and took my time up to over 2*.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  5. For me this was at the simpler end of Giovanni’s spectrum but no less enjoyable for that as his clueing is always so well crafted. Last one in was 16d and my favourite. Also really liked 1d – and 23a for its clever misdirection. Actually there were none that I didn’t like, but that is always the case on a Friday. Many thanks to all.

  6. Seems to be a theme for me this week, all completed bar one. perhaps I am just becoming impatient in my old age, and jump in here too soon. It was 1d today. Magical phone box? Really!

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  7. Still very new to this. Stormed Monday and Tuesday, but the rest of the week has been tough for me

    1. The general consensus is that Weds Thurs and today’s puzzles have been on the more difficult end of the spectrum. Perseverance and regular visits ti this site should improve your skills. Good luck

      1. Glad to hear that. This site definitely helps. And reading all your comments it would seem a very friendly place as well.

  8. Found this a very steady solve except for the NE corner which took me longer than the rest of the puzzle. 3a and 5d eluded me for quite some time despite having four checkers in 3a , but once the penny dropped this allowed me to complete. 23a and 16d are my two favourites.
    Thanks to all.

  9. 2.5* /3* for this straightforward and seasonably enjoyable romp. Like others before me, 16d stood out as the COTD. The Quickie wasn’t today, and the cryptic was done in less time.

    Thanks to The Don as ever, and to DT.

  10. At the friendly end of the Giovanni spectrum. I’m a little disappointed that the ‘don’t like seasonal references in a crossword’ people haven’t arrived yet, but they may be ‘weekend’ people.

    thank you and Season’s Greetings to Deep Threat and Giovanni. We only have one person staying for a couple of days over the festive period but as he hasn’t been home for Christmas since 2013, we’re quite excited to say the least.

    1. Bah Humbug !

      Today’s Giovanni wasn’t too bad. But I’m sure that things will get worse over the week-end.

      Happy Xmas !

    2. Probably not enough seasonal references today to upset the grumpies, but I am sure that there will be a lot more in the weekend prize puzzles that will tip them over the edge.

  11. Nice 18a touches from the Don – even though it did take longer than it should have done for the penny to drop over the seasonal food!

    1d gets a spot on the podium for originality and is joined by 3&23a plus 16d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – best of wishes to you both for the festive season. Greetings also to Mrs DT – sounds as though she’s going to be one busy lady over the next few days!

  12. That’s more like it with a festive sprinkling of goodwill too. Bit chilly in the NE though as others seem to concur. Double ticks against 3a and 5d but a tripple-tick against last one in 16d a lovely example of a beautifully brief clue where lateral thinking is the key to unlock it.
    Thanks for a nice puzzle Mr Giovanni and to DT who seems always to find them a notch easier than I do. **/***

    What I would like for Christmas is to be able to ALWAYS remember to touch the clue first before typing in the answer and avoid writing in my answer down when I mean it to go across and vicky-verky thereby erasing previously entered answers. If you are reading this and you don’t use an iPad, you won’t have any idea how annoying that is.

    1. Sounds to me as though Santa should treat you to a 12 month subscription to the dead tree format of the DT!

        1. I always print it, and have to pay extra for the luxury of so doing. No interest in actually solving on my iPad. But then I don’t read books on it either.

    2. I have to admit, it’s always a luxury when I get hold of a paper copy. It’s like playing a old LP, or picking up your dusty 35mm camera with a B&W film loaded.

  13. It all went very well – until 16d where I needed electronic help to get light finally to dawn. So easy when you see the answer . . And 1d where I needed the hints to relieve my frustration in trying to parse the only possible answer (My brain had refused to budge from a decision it was Leonardo!).
    So 1d gets the award for best surface and 16d for the best clue. Many thanks for the year of enjoyment from Giovanni and thanks DT for the hints.

  14. An early Christmas present from the Don. Much festive cheer and a nice change from the tussle of yesterday.

  15. For some reason I didn’t find this as straightforward as some appeared to, but there was a nice sprinkling of seasonal references.

    Interesting to note that 8d would work equally well without “turning up”, so I’m presuming it was present more for the surface reading.

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

    1. 8d. That’s an interesting point. It would work with the artist as a straightforward RA as: Ha(RA)re, but the setter has chosen to add a bit more confusion by having the artist as an indicated reversal (turning up) as H(AR)are or even Har(AR)e. I know you realise that – I’m just explaining for the benefit of others reading this.

  16. A pleasant puzzle with a nice 18a feel to it.

    Off to Benidorm for the excesses of the season tomorrow so might not be around the blog. Therefore, a very merry Christmas to you all. Enjoy, but not too much :wacko:

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

    1. A very merry Christmas to you as well, Pommers, but if you’re off to sample the excesses of Benidorm tomorrow, then I think you are the last person to be reminding the rest of us not to over-do the celebrating!

  17. Great treat today, much enjoyed. I love the seasonal touch.
    We haven’t seen the Herts town for a while, welcome back.
    Fave was 16d, succinct and to the point, but lots more to like.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat, nice start to the 18a weekend.

  18. Nice puzzle but the top left makes it *** for difficulty for me.1d, 9a and 2d were so tricky I needed to consult the excellent hints. Never heard of 22a before but Mrs B had.
    My favourite clue was 13a followed by 10a (one of my all time favourite movies except T2 was better).
    For me ***/****
    Thx to all

  19. Very enjoyable.
    For the 200’th time I was defeated by ‘man’ for 16d. One day I will learn!!
    Lots to enjoy though.
    Ta DT and Giovanni.

  20. Loved 1d. Many thanks DT and Giovanni. I’m off to bake chocolate brownies, mince pies, Bakewell tarts and meringues.

  21. Like other thought Leonardo was 1d, got the answer but struggled to parse it until reading DT hints. A good work out but not a walk in the park for me. Sometime find Giovanni straightforward other times not. Got a little stuc6k in NW corner. Last in 16d for some reason? Enjoyable Friday puzzle.

    Clue of the day 15d thought that was a super clue.

    Rating 2.5 / 3.5

    Thanks to DT and Giovannni

  22. Wavelength time for me today as I rolled through this crossword. Only held up briefly by Goosebumps and Leopards before a brain cell momentarily woke up.
    19d was my top clue and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni for today’s and all his contributions this year. Wonderful stuff!
    And thanks to DT for his review.

  23. The Scottish island was new to us but easily guessed and we did remember the Herts town, the 16d island and the 23a and 22d locations so we were not delayed by the UK geography in this one. It all slotted together smoothly with plenty of smiles along the way.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  24. The Tardis is a Police Box not a Telephone Box…….Bah!

    Not on the wavelength today so needed a few hints, but, other than 1d (bah again) I really should have done better.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

    1. Aha – a Police Box is a Telephone Box for use by the police and for members of the public to contact the police. Mr Google says so!

  25. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle that was quite 18a. A bit on the gentle side, very enjoyable though. I liked 1d, but my favourite was 13a, had the wrong ending for a while, then corrected it, and was then able to solve 8d. Last in was 21a. Was 1*/3.5* for me.

  26. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat for a very pleasant puzzle. Last in was 8d and favourite was 15d. Ha ha, iPad has finally given and stopped correcting my spelling of favourite…😊

  27. Giovanni rarely or never disappoints. His offering today was as enjoyable as ever – a treat from start to finish. Nothing obscure and everything well clued. It took me a moment or two to actually put pen to paper, but once light dawned on 1a,9a & 2d the rest of the answers very quickly fell into place. 15d & 23a were my favourites with 1d not far behind them. Thanks to both setter and DT. Happy Christmas to setters and solvers alike.

  28. A fun festive treat. I failed at the close on 3ac, simply because I didn’t know the term, even if I got the gist of what I was looking for. Never mind… Other than that clue, overall probably * for difficulty.

  29. I thought this was very good – about average for a G, but still well above average for the back-page norm (especially the Mon-Wed offerings). A reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. 3* / 4*.

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