DT 28618 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28618 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28618 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

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Merry Christmas.  As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Problem, queen possibly admits, is gossip (4-4)
A five-letter problem goes inside what could be (possibly) a female domestic animal

12a    Tinseltown broadcaster with excellent backing in country (6)
The two-letter abbreviation of the US city known as Tinseltown followed by a broadcast medium and the reversal of an adjective meaning excellent

13a    Very cold energy to give away? (8)
Split as (4,4) this could be energy to give away

20a    Worker flush, perhaps? (4)
… a flush is five cards of the same suit in poker

21a    Given guidance, American English grasped by the masses (7)
A two-letter abbreviation for American followed by E(nglish) inside (grasped by) the masses

28a    Number in round, unknown figure (6)
A three-letter number and IN from the clue reversed (round) and followed by a mathematical unknown

29a    Scoundrel heading for bar before match? (8)
The initial letter (heading) of B[ar] followed by a match or vesta

30a    Attempt to impress that man with old supposition (6)
An attempt around the male pronoun and O(ld)

31a    By the sound of it wet, beloved animal (8)
This animal, topical at this time of year, when split as (4,4) sounds like wet weather and beloved


1d    Pretty modest about me getting first in linguistics (6)
A three-letter adjective meaning modest around ME from the clue and the initial letter (first) of L[inguistics]

2d    Native visited restaurant after pub (6)
A verb that says what one did when visiting a restaurant preceded by a pub

6d    Country that’s a let-down? (6)
Two definitions – the second being a play, film, etc. that is a complete failure

8d    Breaking metal chains say, right message (8)
An anagram (breaking) of METAL around (chains) the two-letter Latin abbreviation for say (for example) and R(ight)

17d    Horse, old joke (8)
Two definitions

18d    Oz girl leads state (8)
The measure of weight that is abbreviated to oz preceded by a girl’s name gives a verb meaning to state

22d    One slipping on ice takes off, ending on floor (6)
An anagram (off) of TAKES followed by the final letter (ending) of [floo]R

27d    Fruit that takes time, we hear? (4)
If you “bunged in” a fruit that is also a time, then you didn’t read the clue – this fruit sounds like (we hear) an adjective meaning takes time or unhurried

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: bran+deep+utter=brandy butter

38 comments on “DT 28618 (Hints)

  1. Unusual style (setter?) but entertaining enough. I had fair number of bung-ins particularly in the NE so appreciated BD’s hints. No particular Fav today. Thanks Mysteron and BD.

  2. Merry Christmas! It was a pleasant way to start the day but, to my mind, it was over too quickly – a little like Christmas. As usual at this time of year, there were quite a few old – but, no, I can’t use the plural of that particular word because the singular form is one of the answers…

  3. I was held up a bit in the NW as I wanted to put a different answer for 2d. Overall I found this puzzle to be straightforward and enjoyable.

    Thanks to BD and setter 1.5*/4*

  4. Reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable, slightly disappointing that there were not more seasonal references – **/***.

    Standout favourite – 18d – quite brilliant.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  5. 2* / 3*. There were a few dodgy surfaces (e.g.: 10a, 16a, 31a, 8d) but apart from that this was an enjoyable and not difficult solve. I couldn’t quite get my mind round the parsing for 28a so I was relieved to see this was one that BD has given a hint for.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  6. BD must have been looking over my shoulder – came very close to bunging in the wrong fruit at 27d, just as he predicted.
    Also wanted 1a to contain a queen of the flying variety but couldn’t get her to fit the wordplay.

    No other issues to report although, as RD said, there were certainly a few dodgy surfaces.

    18d takes the laurels – my last one in and a loud clang as the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD for the Saturday Club and the fairy lights!

  7. A bit tricky, but enjoyable I thought. I’m too new to this to know if a clue is an old 17d, but I really liked 1a, 12a, 3d and 18d. Thanks to the setter and BD as always and thanks to you all. I hope you all have a very happy Christmas.

  8. I did not find this as easy as some earlier commenters. I suspect I was looking for it to be harder than it really was, due to some of the surfaces being a little awkward. That said, it was enjoyable enough, so 3* /3* for me with 18d a clear favourite.

    Many thanks to the Saturday setter and BD.

  9. A tricky one for me, needed a few hints and yes, Guilty of the wrong fruit at 27d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave and a very Merry Christmas to all.

  10. Like Young Salopian I did not find this easy and struggled with some surfaces, but got there in the end.
    29a was my last in by then I did not have the energy to kick myself.

    Many thanks to BD. and his merry band of helpers.

    Happy Christmas to everyone.

  11. Coo it’s quiet here today, I expect everybody is busy dashing about travelling to visit family or filling shopping trolleys with goodies. As I am not doing anything much else i just got on and fought my usual Saturday battle with the crossword. Not easy but I persevered and got there in the end assisted by a cup of peppermint tea. A couple of ankle kicking moments but no favourite identifiable.
    Thanks to BD and setter and to all of those who have cheered me up through the year.
    Happy Christmas to everyone.

  12. Fairly enjoyable but I see I am not alone in wanting more Christmas references. NW corner the last to be filled in but I am just pleased that I have had time to have a go this close to Chrismas. Have a great one everyone. 😊😊🎉

  13. I felt today’s puzzle was a bit more like a prize puzzle ought to be – not impossible, but provoking more head scratching than some have done. It took me ages to fathom 20a, maybe because I’m not a card player or more likely because I have my mind in the kitchen with Christmas preparations. Lots of favourite clues, but will only pick out 1a, 10a, 31a & 18d for special mentions. Thanks to setter & BD. Most entertaining.

  14. Thanks for the hints. I am afraid I needed a few today (1a 21a 1d and 8d needed your nudge in the right direction). Took a while to get the penny to drop on 18d and to be honest 3d still eludes me maybe I have a checker wrong but I think I’ll get that penny to drop too.
    Sorry I missed mondays blog and didn’t spot it was MASTERS CHOIRS last crossword. I wonder how many people here and elsewhere made their first successful solve to one of his puzzles. I imagine we wont see a monday puzzle again until 8th Jan, I hope the new setter keeps up the standard set by him.

      1. Thats one for breakfast and one for a post lunch ponder and one for when my brain is up to a double toughie!

  15. Have had to do this one in bits and pieces of time amidst a very busy day. Guilty also of the wrong fruit and it held me up for ages with 29a until I eventually realised the error of my ways. Lots to like – 9a and 31a to name but two.

    Merry Christmas to all and a huge thanks to all the setters and in particular to BD for this marvellous site

  16. I had trouble parsing 29a, thanks for that BD. I struggled with one or two others, 18d being the last one in.
    Some clever clues all the same.

  17. Really enjoyed this, some easy peasy, others not so much.
    I rather liked 29a, but fave has to be 18d, a bung in that took ages to “get”. Otherwise, I found it on the gentler side.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter.
    Thanks to BD, his elves and all the setters for all the fun throughout the year, and our friendly commenters who now feel like family, have a very, very Merry Christmas.

  18. I’m in the not too tricky camp today although I did have trouble sorting out why a couple of my answers were what they had to be.
    I got in a bit of a muddle with 21a and in an even worse muddle with 28a.
    I was completely fooled by the Oz in 18d.
    10a gave me my usual football/rugby blindness to begin with.
    I’m mystified by the mystery of the bung-in wrong fruit in 27d.
    My favourite was, eventually, 18d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

  19. 1a and 18d put up a bit of a struggle but I found the challenge very enjoyable. I wasn’t bothered by the absence of Santa Clues.
    Thank you BD and setter.

  20. A festive treat, full of fun with lots of great clues – a few made me laugh out loud. Quite tough too as ShropsireBloke says, “just like a puzzle ought to be”. I’m afraid I was guilty of being lured by the forbidden fruit even finding a word for 29a to fit to Thanks Dave for sorting that little mess out. Brevity of the clueing is always a good sign and each quadrant of the grid had a nice ‘gimme’ to get you going with the ultimate gimme being 25a.

    I thought this was indeed a Christmas 11d. Thank you to the setter, to Dave and, well, everyone. ***/***** with a spangled bauble going to 28a.

    Happy Christmas everyone! Oops, cant say that anymore… Seasonal best wishes everyone.

  21. A different type of Saturday puzzle with some slightly awkward reading clues. Of course I had the wrong fruit and thus the wrong rogue so thank you BD for straightening me out.
    Like a lot of people 18d floated my boat. 2.5/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and thank you BD for the hints.

  22. I got it into my head that 28d was ‘????’ and this reallly screwed me up for 29a, after much head scratching and soul searching I asked for help and got it. The rest went in fairly straightforwardly – a very nice puzzle, very enjoyable!

    I’ve been to the Olympic Stadium for West Ham v Newcastle this afternoon – it was just about the worst game I’ve ever seen with West Ham being marginally poorer than Necastlle – we are doomed I tell you, doomed!

    Merry Christmas and all that swaddling to everyone associated with this site, let’s hope for a peaceful New Year!

  23. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle that I found quite tricky in places. Needed the hints to parse 28a. Was completely beaten by 18d, which I was convinced was about the Wizard of Oz or Australia, but neither was correct. Favourite was 1a. Was 2.5*/3*for me. Merry Xmas 🎄 to all.

  24. An enjoyable challenge, a little tricky in the SE corner and at 18d, which was my LOI. Should I have got it sooner? Of course I should. Merry Christmas everyone. :-)

  25. I did post a comment but it didn’t get on…? So I don’t want to repeat myself
    See Kath at 18 as I agree with her. Thanks BD for your hints much needed today.
    Didn,t like American surely should be America in 21a?

    Will finish by wishing all very merry Xmas and a v happy NY!

  26. A very enjoyable crossword. Initially, completed several clues on the trot however progress was much slower thereafter, although with hindsight I’m not sure why. Still can’t totally understand why the answer I have to 10a is correct. Pleased not to have fallen for the fruit trap! Best clue for me as for others is 18d. Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave and team for this great resource.

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