DT 28625 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28625

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28625

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hello everyone, Happy New Year, and welcome to the first Tuesday back-pager of 2018.  I'm rating it average for difficulty and average for enjoyment because on both counts it felt just right for a Tuesday.

I'd like to offer a last look back at 2017 with this word cloud of the answers that entertained us throughout the year.  Font sizes are proportional to number of appearances, from seven (ACHE, APSE, and ERROR) down to three.  The picture doesn't have any deep significance because answer repeats are just random coincidence, but perhaps it can serve as a reminder of some enjoyable solving experiences.  Click on it to open a larger version in a new browser window.

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 ANSWER buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will usually enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Sweet shot with son wearing black hat (10)
GOBSTOPPER:  A shot or attempt in a game, followed by an abbreviation for son that's been placed inside (wearing) the abbreviation for black and a tall cylindrical hat

6a    Scene right out of play (4)
SPOT:  A synonym of play, minus the abbreviation for right (right out)

9a    Dealing with a bishop, exposed ... (5)
ABOUT:  Concatenate A from the clue, the chess abbreviation for bishop, and another word for exposed

10a   ... on the other hand, the knight gets a win (4,5)
THEN AGAIN:  Concatenate THE from the clue, the chess abbreviation for knight, A from the clue, and another word for win

12a   Isn't one suffering stress? (7)
TENSION:  An anagram (suffering) of ISN'T ONE

13a   Old region producing gas (5)
OZONE:  Stick together an abbreviation for old and a synonym of region

15a   Date of surveillance operation leader overlooked (4,3)
TAKE OUT:  A (5,3) surveillance operation without its first letter (leader overlooked)

17a   One may be raised with pride (4,3)
LION CUB:  A cryptic definition of a creature shown in the picture

19a   Friendly ball? Want a dance? (4,3)
LONG HOP:  Connect together want or yearn and an informal name for a dance party.  The answer is a type of cricket delivery that's easy for the batter to hit

21a   Roughly fifty, having fizzy lemon in Irish town (7)
CLONMEL:  Cement together a single-letter abbreviation for roughly or approximately, fifty in Roman, and an anagram (fizzy) of LEMON.  The answer is the county town of County Tipperary

22a   Caught by river, fish in basket (5)
CREEL:  Find a basket for fish by linking together the cricket abbreviation for caught, the map abbreviation for river, and a long, thin fish

24a   Harshly criticise article about superb wonder drug (7)
PANACEA:  "Harshly criticise" and one of the grammatical articles are wrapped about an informal adjective meaning superb

27a   Dramatist chooses LP in new compilation (9)
SOPHOCLES:  An anagram (in new compilation) of CHOOSES LP.  This ancient Greek dramatist wrote Oedipus Rex

28a   It's farewell to the French as one departs a rejected European Union (5)
ADIEU:  Stick together the Roman numeral for one, the timetable abbreviation for departs, and A from the clue.  Then take the reversal of that lot (rejected) and append the abbreviation for European Union

29a   Volatile oils in storage chamber (4)
SILO:  An anagram (volatile) of OILS

30a   Sort of daily gamble crossing street with female (10)
BROADSHEET:  A gamble or wager containing (crossing) both a synonym of street and a female pronoun



1d    Object found in circle, pocketed by girl (4)
GOAL:  The circular letter is contained in (pocketed by) an informal term for a girl or young woman

2d    Reserve ten, about right for a present perhaps (4,5)
BOOK TOKEN:  Reserve or arrange in advance, followed by TEN from the clue containing (about) an informal term for right or satisfactory

3d    Great figure of Italian cast in bronze (5)
TITAN:  An abbreviation for Italian inserted in (cast in) a synonym of bronze

4d    Country lover quiet at rising (7)
PATRIOT:  Chain together the musical abbreviation for quiet, AT from the clue, and rising or revolt

5d    Eastern aquatic bird, on a lake unaffected by time (7)
ETERNAL:  A charade of the abbreviation for eastern, an aquatic bird somewhat like a gull, A from the clue, and the map abbreviation for lake

7d    Very good on a revolutionary instrument (5)
PIANO:  Take the colloquial contraction of a word meaning very good or saintly, and append the reversal (revolutionary) of ON A from the clue

8d    Fairy ring sat on by mischievous child (6,4)
TINKER BELL:  A verb synonym of ring is preceded by (sat on by, in a down clue) an informal term for a mischievous child or rascal.    The Disney version of this fairy has inspired a few fancy dress costumes …

11d   A sherry in the morning? Approximately two, ultimately, downed (7)
AMOROSO:  The Latin-derived abbreviation for "in the morning", followed by a (2,2) phrase for approximately with the last letter of twO inserted (two ultimately downed).  The answer is a type of dark, sweet sherry.

14d   Incredible payments must be made to support area, no matter what (2,3,5)
AT ALL COSTS:  Connect together incredible or unbelievable and a synonym of payments, and put it after (must be made to support, in a down clue) the abbreviation for area

16d   More or less shut up upon greeting jealous husband (7)
OTHELLO:  A short adverb meaning "more or less shut" is reversed (up, in a down clue) and followed by (upon, in a down clue) a common greeting.  The answer is a fictional tragic jealous husband

18d   Tower in settlement above a river (9)
CAMPANILE:  Link together a temporary settlement, A from the clue, and an Egyptian river.  Venice has a particularly fine example of this type of tower

20d   Appealing to the general public, united in London area (7)
POPULAR:  A single-letter abbreviation for united inserted in a residential area in London named for a tree

21d   Game American, a stalwart in essence (7)
CANASTA:  The answer is a card game.  It's hiding as part of (… in essence) the rest of the clue 

23d   There's training, after ten, in the Spanish bar (5)
EXPEL:  Place the usual abbreviation for training or exercise after the Roman numeral for ten, and then insert that letter combination in a Spanish definite article (the Spanish)

25d   Utter confusion caused by a seaman once church is over (5)
CHAOS:  A from the clue and the abbreviation for an Ordinary Seaman are preceded by an abbreviation for church (once church is over, in a down clue)

26d   Only  fair? (4)
JUST:  A double definition.  The first is an adverb meaning only or barely, the second is an adjective meaning fair or impartial


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I particularly enjoyed the 9a/10a combination, 30a, 11d, 16d, and 23d.  Which clues did you like best?


The spoiler box below hides a comment box/suggestion box for readers who aren't yet ready to go public.

Suggestion Box



The Quick Crossword pun:  TORE+NEEP+OUGHT=TAWNY PORT

45 comments on “DT 28625

  1. Nice and meaty today. Although I enjoyed yesterday’s there was must more satisfaction in solving this one. Favourites 1 10 and 15a and 2 4 8 and 18d. Also liked the hidden answer which was well hidden. Last two in 21a and 11d. I did not know the town but could work out. Not sure a out the sherry as amontillado is more to my taste. Got it but could not parse. Shall now look at Mr K’s hints to see what I missed. Thanks.

  2. I thought it was going to be a pangram. Needed help with11d and 21a. Otherwise very enjoyable.

  3. Good fun, slightly harder than yesterday’s but still fairly gentle. Is it just coincidence that 2 of the 3 most popular answers last year have 4 letters, with 2 vowels sandwiching 2 consonants? “Echo” and “Asti” were also very popular.
    Thank you Mr K and setter.

  4. A comfortable solve this morning with only a couple of sticking points. I particularly enjoyed the 9/10 combo. I can’t disagree with the official rating of 3* /3* .

    Thanks to both Misters involved.

  5. A comfortable solve indeed. I just needed to verify 11D. 15A was my favorite. Thanks to Mr. K and today’s setter.

    If anyone’s New Year resolution is to try the toughie puzzles, today would be a good day to start. It’s very doable.

  6. Not sure about 19a, seems a bit clunky to me. I needed the clue for 11d too.

    Other than that an enjoyable solve.

  7. An enjoyable, steady solve which provided a much needed bit of exercise for the grey matter following the comings and goings of the festive period . 9/10 made me smile and I too hadn’t heard of the Irish town, but it could be worked out quite readily. Needed the hints for the parsing of the sherry, so thanks to Mr K and also the setter for a good start to 2018.
    Happy New a Year to all.

  8. Ah, that’s better! A crossword requiring a bit of thought. An enjoyable solve with some good clues involved including the 9/10a combo which were favourite. Agreed with
    Mr K’s 3/3*.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K. Fascinating Word Cloud by the way; interesting how the most popular weren’t the ones on my radar!

  9. i’m not sure that the image for 30a is entirely appropriate given the photograph & the circumstances surrounding it. just saying, that’s all.

    1. Your comment went into moderation because of a typo in your email address. Good point about the image. I didn’t look at the content when I made the small screenshot of today’s paper. I’ve now changed it to yesterday’s front page.

  10. Whilst enjoyable to solve, this one didn’t quite hit the 6a for me. Perhaps it was the surprising discovery that “a” in the wordplay was used no fewer than six times to clue “a” in the solution that put me off, I’m not sure.

    My single tick went to 17a, even if it does probably qualify as an old chestnut.

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K. As ever, the statistical analysis was very interesting, my money would have been on “ASTI” appearing in the largest font in the 2017 word cloud, but perhaps setters are beginning to reduce its frequency.

  11. I filled in the grid fairly quickly, but, Boy, did I struggle with some of the parsing. Got there in the end, without the need to sneak a peek here. ***/*** rating from me.

    I’ve made a start on the Toughie, so far, so good.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  12. Definitely a couple of notches up from yesterday’s puzzle and I did have to ask Mr G to verify the sherry, the Irish town (which it would seem I really should have known) and the wretched cricket term – don’t think you’ve covered that one with me as yet, RD!

    Quite liked the 9/10a combo but the biggest ticks went to 1a&8d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog and the 2017 reminders. BTW – the caption you’ve attributed to 16d is interesting but I doubt that it’s historically accurate!

  13. Got there after an enjoyable struggle. 3.5*4* for me. I thought the fairy was one word – but as usual, the setter was correct!. Didn’t know the Irish town and it was the last one in, but it couldn’t be anyting (that’s Irish, you see) else. I liked 10a and 4d with 30a coming out on top.

    On the subject of Mr K and his statistics, do we have stats on how many of us enter the weekend prize crosswords and how many have actually won anything??

    1. I don’t have any official data on the prize crosswords, but I could make an order of magnitude estimate. I could also include those questions in the next survey.

        1. OK. I’ll ask the question in the next survey to get proper data. In the meantime, while there is lot we don’t know, we can try to estimate the statistics.

          The first number we don’t know is how many entries the Telegraph gets for each prize puzzle. However, we do know that every Saturday the blog sees an extra 10,000 visits, presumably from people looking for help with the prize puzzle. Not all of them will send in an entry, but that deficit will be compensated by those who enter without visiting the blog. Let’s just call it a wash and estimate the number of entries each week at 10,000. Most submissions will be correct because solvers aren’t going to submit a solution they know is wrong. So the prize puzzle is a lottery where the odds of winning are about 1/10,000.

          The blog has been running nine years, which is roughly 500 Saturday prize puzzles. So the probability of someone who enters every week winning during the lifetime of the blog is about 500/10000 = 1/20.

          If by “us” you mean regular commenters on the blog, there are a few hundred of those at any time. I don’t know how many submit the prize puzzle each week, but it’s probably more than 1% and it’s definitely less than 100%. Let’s call it 10% = 20 regular commenters regularly entering the prize puzzle competition. Multiplying that by 1/20 suggests that of order one blog regular has won over the lifetime of the blog.

          I know that what I’ve done here is crudely estimate a bunch of numbers and multiply them all together. However, since some estimates will be too high and some too low the final error is less than one might expect. Based on it I’d be surprised if no blog regular has ever won or if ten blog regulars have won, and I’d be astonished if a hundred blog regulars have won.

          1. Blog regular Dennis has won at least twice. Several others have won and posted their thanks on here. I have never won, but the fact that I have never submitted an entry could have something to do with it.

          2. I have not entered for several years and only did so intermittently. I won once and only knew when Inread my name in the paper. The prize – a pen and notepad arrived a couple of days later. Once years ago I won a prize (cash I think) with the Observer Sunday puzzle which again I did not submit on a regular basis. I am very jealous of a friend of mine in St Mawes Cornwall who has won on a number of occasions including the Mont Blanc pen. The last time was a few months ago when I spotted his name in the paper. At one stage he was embarrassed by the number of his wins and submitted in the name of his 95 year olds uncle. I have always been fascinated by the (undisclosed) number of entries. I would be particularly interested to know whether there is a surge on an easy week.

          3. By the way, you may be confusing page views with visitors. The former are recorded in a reasonably scientific way, and WordPress calculate the latter by a method of which I am not aware. The number of page views for the last three Saturdays – 20,642, 22,271 and 24,037; the estimated number of visitors for those days – 7,856, 8,281 and 8,820.

            1. I don’t think I am, because I’m considering total page views for a blog, not for the site as a whole (which is what I think those 20,000ish numbers represent). Last Saturday’s back-page blog got 8897 views on the day, but its total page view count is now around 16,400. Measured in the same way the Friday before has acquired about 9000 views, for a difference of 7,400. Over the year that difference has averaged closer to 10,000, which is the number I quoted. The number of visitors to a page will of course be somewhat less than the number of views of that page because some visitors will load it more than once, and that fraction we don’t know exactly. But whatever the right number is, it is certainly impressively large.

              It’s clear that my estimate is too low, presumably because the number of submissions is much lower than 10,000. I don’t know why so many of the Saturday-only visitors don’t go on to submit an entry, but colour me surprised :)

  14. An ok puzzle. Like malcolmr I struggled with the parsing after filling in the boxes. I never seem on the same wavelength on a Tuesday and it is a bit of a chore after the breeziness of mondays and the more enjoyable fare of the rest of the week. Funny, but that’s the way my crossword week usually out. Perhaps it’s just me!

  15. Not my favourite, too many wordy bitty clues that only half made sense. I needed the blog to explain 11 answers which were correct.
    For me ***/**
    Thx for the hints

  16. I liked this one. My last in was 21a; I needed a few permutaions of the anagram fodder to get the Irish town, which I had never heard of.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to Mr K.

  17. Not a straightforward solve for me but enjoyable. Regarding 21a and 27a not familiar with either answer so needed electronic help for those two. Had difficulty figuring out 8d but penny eventually dropped. Overall like others found the parsing really tricky on some clues. 30a last in.

    Clue of the day joint winners 1a / 30a both excellent I thought.

    Rating 3.5* / 3.5*

    Thanks to Mr K for his word cloud that can only be described as a work of art that should hang in the Tate. Thanks also to Mr K for the blog and the setter for the puzzle.

  18. I found this decidedly tricky but enjoyable. I thought I’d learned everything crickety but 19a needed sorting. Likewise 8d, I knew the answer had to be that, but it took some research to learn that’s Britspeak for mischievous child.
    I’d never heard of the Irish town but easily worked out. I knew the sherry, I remember it as we’ve had it before.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty, especially pic at 12a, looks like my Phoebe.

  19. We probably have the best excuse (because of distance) for not knowing the Irish town. Worked it out though. 27a took longer than it should have as we kept looking for someone more recent. We enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  20. Took some time to find 19a as I wrote At Any Costs in 14d before realising my mistake.
    Had to Google the Irish town to be sure.
    Liked the charade in 22a.
    Thanks to the setter and to MrK for the review.
    Our local paper had the same headline as the DT. Flu and Gastroenteritis are paralysing our hospitals in the south.

  21. Good evening everybody.

    One or two trickier ones. Had to find 11d from first principles. Took much too long to see 3d so I’ll put that down as favourite.


  22. 1*/3* by my reckoning, and l particularly liked 11d and 30a. Thanks to the Mysteron, and to Mr Kitty.

  23. I’m the odd one out today as I definitely did not find this “easy peasy”, and needed too many hints to feel satisfied with end result. Didn’t know the tower or Irish town, so I probably need to go in the dunce’s corner. Hopefully it’s just a wavelength problem.

  24. I am with Brian on this, far too many bung-ins which needed Mr.K’s excellent hints to parse. Not the way it should be.
    No favs and looking forward to Jay tomorrow.
    Thanks all.

  25. More like a **** for difficulty here, with particular difficulty at the close on 6ac / 8d, and finally 19ac which was new to me, and caused much confusion.

  26. I’m with BusyLizzie on this one. Too much head scratching going on. My own mistake re 11d. I saw lots of Os and bunged in Oloroso, without thinking of the Am for ‘in the morning’. Still, it was good to give the old brain cells a little workout. Thank you setter and thank you too Mr Kitty. I liked the word cloud. I liked the last one you did too.

  27. I am not desperately keen on long rarely used foreign words even though I have seen the tower depicted. Cheers to all

  28. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, there were some nice clues. I wonder what the non-cricket solvers made of 19a?I thought 21d was well hidden. Last in was 30a,which was also my favourite. It almost defeated me. The answer had two types of female, a street, an abbreviation of street and almost an anagram of street. Whether this was deliberate, I’m not sure, but it certainly confused me. Was 3*/3* for me. 

  29. Thanks to everyone who posted today, both here and in the suggestion box (please consider delurking and posting here). Special thanks for the kind comments about the word cloud. I’m not sure that the Tate would want it, but I do appreciate the sentiment.

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