DT 28623 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28623 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28623 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

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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.  There are 30 clues in the average crossword puzzle and I have provided hints for around half of them – if you need help with any of the others, just ask.

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    Alternating study and employment in place of golf in Kent? (8,6)
This process that involves alternating study and work could also describe the Royal St George’s golf facility in Kent

9a    Riddle: what’s at head of stage coach? (8)
The initial letter (head) of S[tage] followed by someone who coaches

15a    I speak ill of key resident (8)
The I from the clue followed by a verb meaning to speak ill of gives the resident of a “key”

16a    Outlaw bishop with vermouth (6)
B(ishop) followed by a word meaning with and the abbreviation used for a type of vermouth when added to, for example, gin

20a    Frivolous satirical sketch — this upset (8)
A satirical sketch followed by an anagram (upset) of THIS – this looks to be a bit same-both-sidesy

23a    Two pieces of furniture I must move, being kind (10)
Take two items of furniture and move the I along

24a    Mostly pick up title role in Shakespeare (4)
Most of a verb meaning to pick up or get to know gives the name of this tragic Shakespearean King

28a    Criminal hated brother’s accepting of honour (5,2,3,4)
An anagram (criminal) of HATED BROTHER around (accepting) OF from the clue


2d    Note talented performer (7)
A deceptive double definition

3d    River erosion (4)
… for solvers outside of the UK, this river is in NE England

4d    Cut off electric power after criminal’s perplexed (8)
What used to, in the days before contact breakers, cut off electric power is preceded by one of our usual criminals

6d    Briefs international agency soldiers about communist uprising seizing power (10)
Briefs here is a noun – an international agency and some six-legged soldiers go around the reversal (uprising)of our usual communist and P(ower) – the wordplay incorrectly suggests that the P(ower) is inside the communist

7d/8d    Songbirds caught sight of cobwebs perhaps (7,11)
A verb meaning caught sight of is followed by how cobwebs might be described


11d    The holy see it appearing both ways in job opportunity (7,4)
Insert IT and TI (it appearing both ways) into a job opportunity

17d    What you need for job putting first drop of sauce in pan (5,3)
Put the initial letter (first drop of) S[auce] inside a pan

22d    60 per cent flummoxed seeing what pandas eat (6)
Start with a ten-letter word meaning flummoxed and take the first six letters (60 per cent)

25d    Axe tree with energy (4)
A type of tree followed by (with) E(nergy)

The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

The Quick Crossword pun: inured+reams=in your dreams

66 comments on “DT 28623 (Hints)

  1. Enjoyable with a good mixture. Last in was 28a. just couldn’t see it. Cleverest clue which I have never seen before has to be 1a

  2. I found it hard to choose between 11d and the 7/8d combo for my COTD. I thought the puzzle was a joy from start to finish, with just enough head-scratching to increase the enjoyment, so 2.5* /4* overall.

    Thanks very much to the Saturday setter and BD.

    1. Depends how your mind works YS. I got it after reading the first three words which took some of the fun out of the clue for me. Some of the other great clues eg 15a and 19d took me much longer to fathom, 9a also similar. Thanks to setter whoever you are and BD

  3. Took me a little while to spot the talented performer but everything else proceeded quite smoothly.
    The outlawed bishop rather amused but first place for me obviously went to the 7/8d combo.

    Thanks to Mr Saturday Ron and to BD for the club – I note that it’s snowing in the place of golf!

  4. **/**** for me. Lots of great clues. Favourite across clue 23, which made me smile, as did the bird combo for favourite down clue. Also liked quickie pun. A good day!

  5. The 7/8 combo is my pick for top spot also. Thanks to the Saturday setter for an enjoyable solve and to BD for the blog, and a very happy new year to all!

  6. There is a good headline for Miffypops on the first page of the Telegraph: “Storm Dylan blows in with hard rain”. Perhaps we could have the song referred to in the blog on Monday?

        1. MP would be disappointed if I didn’t make some sort of remark along those lines – and I’d hate to upset him!

  7. V enjoyable puzzle today.
    A 2 brew day, bottom half went in quite quickly and the rest followed after a big penny drop moment on 1a.
    6 7 8 and 11d were my faves and I am just going to give 6d the edge as my COTD.
    Thanks to BD and setter.

  8. I think I made this more difficult, and less enjoyable, than it actually was, especially in the Western half and 11d in particular, which slowed me down to a fast canter – **/***.

    Favourite has to be the aforementioned 11d.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  9. What an enjoyable puzzle, so many great clues it is hard to pick a favourite, but 1a, 11d, 7/8d all gave me a smile. Last in was 28a, took me a long time to realize that it was an anagram.
    Thanks to the setter and all involved at BD

    Happy New Year to everyone

  10. The first puzzle I’ve looked at for a few days; I liked it. Favourite clue, 11d.

    Thanks to setter and to BD.

  11. Like those who’ve commented before me, I too thought that this was a wonderful puzzle and I really enjoyed the battle of wits with the setter. There were a lot of lovely clues but, if I had to pick a favourite, then, like Weekendwanda, I’d opt for 1a. I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy 2018.

  12. What a brilliant crossword today. We are very fortunate to do battle against such a great team of setters.
    Somewhat indecorous to choose a favourite, but it is between 1a as I have played there and the the 7/8d combination as my local patch has an annual visit by this now rare visitor to the SE.
    Many thanks all.

  13. Unusually for a Saturday I had a very slow start, it was only when I got the bird (7,11) did the pace pick up. 26a was a new word to me, it was only when I did a Google search for tropical fish did I realise it was a hidden word.

    The other one that I was dubious about was 24a, I couldn’t think what else it could be and I could nearly see it as a hidden word but I had no idea about the verb – the blog says it means to pick up or get to know and my BRB says to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx – all new to me!

    Very enjoyable, a cut above the usual Saturday fare.

    I’ve sold my West Ham v West Brom tickets on 2nd January – the first game I’ll miss this Season, but when the Boss says ‘jump’, I ask ‘how high’ – I’m not as stupid as I look!

    1. … oh yes, I meant to add I’ve played Royal St Georges, it’s a marvellous xxxxxx. The bunkers are brutal, the fairways were hard and fast and the rough was a nightmare – a real test which defeated me completely, I was well pleased to break a hundred!

    2. I’ve had to edit your first comment as you included the word most of which has to be used to get the solution and then I noticed you’d included part of the solution to 1a in your second comment.

        1. It clearly says in red font at the bottom of the hints “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”

          1. I hear what you say.

            I’d be interested in knowing how many correct answers get submitted – I’d guess it’s thousands, which would turn it into a lottery!

            But fair enough if that’s your thinking!

            1. It’s got nothing to do with the number of correct answers that the Telegraph receives – we have operated for nearly nine years with those simple rules, and if you don’t like it then don’t comment on weekend prize puzzles.

    3. Hello Mick The Miller. I rarely comment on the weekend for fear of breaking the rules. The rules are outlined in red to accentuate their importance. Whilst I understand the need for ‘the rules’ there is no explanation of why they are needed. Perhaps if this was explained there might be fewer transgressions. Over to you BD.

      1. I’ve added a bit to the page on Comment Etiquette. If some people wish to ignore these very simple rules then I will close these posts to all comments, which would be a shame.

  14. tough for me and not wholly enjoyable – 26a obscure (though easy to guess), 1a involved general knowledge I didn’t have and 11a too obvious from first 3 words….very very cold here in Boston (getting into negative figures in F)

    1. I would not say that you have to have specific general knowledge to get 1a. I thought you did and googled accordingly before realising that the first part of the clue gives the answer. I thought it was a very fair crossword. What I do not like in a cryptic crossword is obscure general knowledge or obscure words which are not easy to ascertain from the wordplay.

  15. Like Weekendwanda and Plodder I was nonplussed by 28a- my line was ********* it lasted until the end and read BD’s hint -thx BD! As also noted there were some excellent clues especially 6d 7d & 11d!
    Took me a while to get into it -especially the west side, and family visitors….!
    Thanks to the compiler and a happy new year to all.
    Now for a cuppa!

  16. Quite liked this one. Altough I’m not sure 7d is a songbird as such. Had a job to get started until 13a helped me out. Then it all fell into place.
    Liked 1a a lot when I finally twigged, thus saving a fruitless search for golf clubs in Kent. Thanks to all

  17. I found it difficult to get on wavelength here, but once I twigged it, I was away.
    Last in was 1a as I didn’t know the term and I had to resort to gizmo help for that.
    I got 5d but have no idea why it means bottle, I need to do more research.
    Much too much good stuff to choose just one as fave, Kath would get cross with me.
    Thanks to Saturday setter and to BD for his hints.

        1. I could tell you that we had it on a Sunday fairly recently and that I remarked on it in the introduction to my review (hoping that someone would actually comment on a review by asking me what I was talking about, but as usual, no-one took up the challenge.

          That’s all I’m going to say for now as we are going next door for supper in a couple of hours and that’s going to be more fun than spending a chilly evening in the Naughty Corner.

          1. Oh, CSue, I don’t remember it at all, and I probably didn’t know it then. As I rapidly approach my four-score years, I find I’m forgetting more than I’m comfortable with! Taking such a long time to get on wavelength today, I worried a bit, but the relief was huge when I started to come to.

  18. Thought this was an outstanding effort by setter, this week’s best in my humble opinion.Good clues all over and a great mix of various types of clues. Thoroughly enjoyed it. No real hold ups just some head scratching moments before the penny dropped.

    Clues of the day: So many to choose from but for me 7/8 d and 11d both outstanding.

    Rating 2.5* / 4.5*

    Thanks to BD and the setter.

  19. I thought this was a really good crossword – perhaps a bit trickier than usual for a Saturday.
    There weren’t very many anagrams which, as I seem to say quite often, always ups the level of difficulty for me.
    I got into a terrible muddle with 28a which was silly – because I can’t count today I’d decided it couldn’t be an anagram. :roll:
    I particularly liked 16 and 23a and my favourite was either the 7/8d combination or 11d.
    With thanks to whoever set today’s puzzle and to BD for the hints.

  20. Almost a unanimous thumbs up I see for today’s puzzle. ! It was very good I must say. The 7/8d combo did the business for me and overall 2.5/4.5* especially as it’s a Saturday Prize Crossword.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

  21. I enjoyed this too, but needed help with the birds, thanks.
    Thanks to all and an early Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.

  22. A fantastic puzzle for the last Saturday of the year. The longer answers looked intimidating for a long time but turned out to not be particularly so, thankfully, though my last but one in was 28ac, though the cryptic was clear enough. Last in was 5d, a new word to me. ** for difficulty overall.

  23. I enjoyed this, well mostly, in that I am still struggling to finish. 11d for one is still eluding me, despite being many people’s favorite today. Along with 2d. Perhaps brain will kick in later over a cup of tea – if I don’t fall asleep then 😊
    People used to ask me what I looked forward to in retirement, and I told them honestly two things. Firstly not to get woken by a darned alarm clock, and relaxing in the afternoon with a good book and a cup of tea. Sometimes followed by a refreshing nap. Simple pleasures, but oh so delightful,

    1. I don’t want to jump in and spoil the fun but do you want a hint for 2 and 11d or would you rather mither away? Off to have supper now but back later.

        1. Hi Lizzie does my comment for 2d below help?? For 11d BD’s hint should help. Try and find an alternative for job opportunity. Sorry I can’t help more but rules is rules!!

      1. I think I give in – HIYD’s comment for 2d is at least as good a hint as I can give but it’s someone who has a flair for something.
        I can’t better (and wouldn’t dare try) to give a better hint for 11d than Head Honcho has already done specially as he seems to be on fighting form today!

  24. Well, as with almost everyone here, I thought that this was a cracking puzzle.

    Can we have this mysteron as our regular Monday setter please?

    Just one thing for me… I have an answer for 2d which, assuming I have all the checkers correct, can be only one thing. However despite BD hinting that it is a “deceptive” double definition l can only say that it is far too deceptive for me… Can anyone explain in more detail why it it what it is please?

    Thanks as ever to the setter, and to BD and his team who have helped me progress from getting only the occasional answer, to now regularly completing the back-pager (and even – on one momentous day – the Toughie!).

    1. Hi there. I was puzzled for a while and then thought ‘music’.
      BD and CS – I hope the above is ok.

  25. Had trouble too with 2d and needed the hint from BD.
    Apart from that everything went smoothly.
    Thanks to the Saturday setter and to BD for the club.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I thought this was a very good puzzle. I found it very tricky and needed the hints for 9,15,26a and 2,4,11d. Would never have thought of any of them. Most irksome was 7&8d, where I got the first word, but got 8d horribly wrong. Had never heard of 26a, and still don’t understand it. I thought the surfaces of 23a & 17d were superb, my favourite just being the latter. Was 4*/4* for me. I wish people would follow the rules. It would make the blog much more harmonious.

  27. Unlike most of your bloggers we only tackle the Saturday crossword and we do that on a Sunday morning. Most of the times we manage to finish without Big Dave’s assistant although his help is sometimes required but we always read the blogs to find out how other people found it. Following your comments regarding lurkers we thought we would raise our heads above the parapet. We found this crossword very enjoyable and finished it in record time. Thanks very much Dave and colleagues for all your hard work and a happy 2018.

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      Now you have made yourselves known, I hope you’ll comment again.

      Happy New Year to you too

  28. I have only just got around to this one but as it was so hugely enjoyable (best I can recall) I just wanted to place on record my appreciation to the setter – a veritable cornucopia of smashing clues. Hard to single out a Fav but would nominate 16a, 6d and 11d amongst so many others. I note everyone’s comments about 2d but I still can’t really parse it. Many thanks indeed setter and BD.

      1. Not BD but me

        I’d suggest, as I used to do to Brian, that anyone not being able to parse 2d looks up the solution in the dictionary.

        1. Indeed, you taught me that very early on and my dictionary has been very well-thumbed ever since. I always double-check.

          PS – Sorry I fudged my thanks for reviewing Prolixic’s NTSPP – I meant thanks for sorting that lot out!

          Many thanks for all your help and best wishes, crypticsue.

  29. We nearly always complete the Prize Crossword without assistance but 28623 was one of the best for a long time. Well done to the setters! We used to send in our entry but gave up when so much ‘help’ started to appear online making it a lottery rather than a competition.

  30. This must rate as the best crossword in the six months that I have been doing the Saturday challenge.
    One wonders if the DT appreciates how valuable the crossword is, in ensuring that we continue to buy the DT?

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