DT 28628 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28628

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28628

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning and Happy New Year from a damp South Staffs.

I shall be interested to see what the reaction is to today’s Giovanni. I was held up in the SW corner but still managed ** time. Others may find the Biblical references and occasional less common words producing more of a challenge.

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           Spring garment top lady discarded (4)
JUMP – Remove the letters associated with HM the Queen, our top lady, from a woolly garment.

3a           Repeated ceremony outside front of embassy highly thought of (10)
REITERATED – Another word for a ceremony or ritual wrapped around the first letter (front) of Embassy, followed by ‘highly thought of’.

8a           Sort of Egyptian policeman with stick bounds off (6)
COPTIC – A familiar word for a policeman followed by (s)TIC(k) with its first and last letters removed (bounds off).

9a           Bishop to sin in famous wedding location in Aussie city (8)
CANBERRA – Put together the chess notation for a Bishop and ‘to sin’, then wrap a Biblical wedding venue (the one where water was turned into wine) around the result.

10a         Remain cheerful as listener in inn being bowled over (4,2)
BEAR UP – Reverse (bowled over) another word for an inn, then insert a bodily organ which may be described as a ‘listener’.

11a         Guide one vehicle around to face entrance (8)
NAVIGATE – Put together the Roman numeral for one and a small commercial vehicle, reverse (around) the result, then add an entrance (to a field, perhaps).

12a         Sign given by a queen, a king, and one leading American (8)
AQUARIUS – This is a sign of the Zodiac. Put together A (from the clue), an abbreviation for QUeen, A (from the clue, again), the Latin abbreviation for king, the Roman numeral for one, and the two-letter abbreviation for part of North America.

Image result for aquarius

14a         Nothing for securing a collar (4)
NAIL – A (from the clue) inserted into another word for nothing (think football scores). The definition is an informal word for ‘catch’ or ‘arrest’.

16a         Weep, having not finished work for harvest (4)
CROP – Another word for ‘weep’ with its final letter removed (having not finished), followed by the Latin abbreviation for a (musical) work.

18a         Set off to see sweetheart maybe outside school (8)
DETONATE – A word for when you might see your sweetheart, wrapped around the top English public school which appears regularly in crosswords.

19a         Phoney copies us, phoney looking good initially (8)
SPECIOUS – Anagram (phoney) of COPIES US.

20a         Dish youngster eats quietly behind house (6)
HOTPOT – An abbreviation for HOuse, followed by a small child wrapped around the musical symbol for ‘quietly’.

21a         Communication signal from character at back of group (8)
RINGTONE – A group or gang followed by ‘character’ or ‘style’, giving us the all too familiar sound of a mobile phone.

22a         Male like Uriah Heep to talk indistinctly (6)
MUMBLE – Uriah Heep in David Copperfield always described himself as this (complete with the missing H at the start of the word). Put Male in front, and you get the answer.

Image result for uriah heep dickens pictures

23a         Sweet container taken around and held up (10)
BUTTRESSED – Put together a seven-letter word for a sweet or pudding, add a three-letter container, then reverse the lot, to get an architectural term for ‘held up’ or ‘supported’.

24a         Native skirts round island, holy place (4)
SION – Another way of describing someone born in a particular place, wrapped round Island, to get a Biblical holy mountain.


1d           400-year-old material, account old boy’s hidden away (8)
JACOBEAN – Start with a twilled cotton cloth (denim is an example) which in the plural describes a pair of trousers made from the material. Then insert the abbreviations for ‘account’ and ‘old boy’ (of a school), to get a historical period named for the king who ruled England and Scotland at the time.

Image result for jacobean

2d           The old man’s alert, nap having been disturbed (8)
PATERNAL – Anagram (having been disturbed) of ALERT NAP.

3d           Get back, using transport outside city area (9)
RECAPTURE – A transport of delight wrapped around the postcode for the city of London and Area.

4d           Absurdity of cunning ruse, so, so misguided (15)

5d           Popular novelist to steal from rubbish containers (7)
ROBBINS – Another word for ‘steal’ followed by some rubbish containers, giving us the surname of Harold, who was a popular novelist of the Fifties and Sixties, though whether this is still an accurate description may be open to question.

Image result for harold robbins

6d           Fighter in Carmen hurried, having met love briefly (8)
TOREADOR – Another word for ‘hurried’ or ‘ran’, followed by another word for ‘love’ with its final letter removed.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d           Bird landed finally on slope (5)
DRAKE – The final letter of landeD, followed by the sort of slope found on a stage or in the seating in a theatre.

13d         Has man due to be disciplined to be repentant? No (9)
UNASHAMED – Anagram (to be disciplined) of HAS MAN DUE.

15d         Facility of some cafés in Bury, without any charge (8)
INTERNET – Another word for ‘bury’ (ignoring the false capitalisation) followed by a commercial term for the price of something clear of any charges.

16d         Money section’s last bit in church newspaper (8)
CENTIMES – The initials of the Church of England and the name of the newspaper for which our late contributor Tstrummer worked, placed either side of the last letter of sectioN.

17d         Criticise article about building in Rome (8)
PANTHEON – Put together ‘criticise’, a definite article, and about, to get a Roman building which has (still, after two millennia) the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.

Image result for pantheon rome

18d         Wanderer has feet keeping less wet? The opposite! (7)
DRIFTER – ‘Less wet’ wrapped around (keeping) an abbreviation for feet.

19d         Please say nothing when given Polish drink (5)
SHRUB – A two-letter instruction to ‘say nothing’, followed by ‘polish’ (false capitalisation again), giving us an alcoholic drink commonly seen in the works of Dickens, involving rum and lemons.

The Quick Crossword pun HACK + RIMINI = ACRIMONY

70 comments on “DT 28628

  1. I too wondered as I was solving this crossword what the reaction from certain commenters might be – time will tell

    It took me quite a while go get going so I was surprised to find that I ended up finishing in my usual time for a Giovanni

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT too

    1. I too was held up in the SW corner – having to put it down and pick it up an hour later. I had shrub from the cryptic but I really had never heard of it as a drink before – back to the Dickens for me I think!

  2. I was held up by a couple in the SW corner which pushed my solving time up a star. I thought the puzzle was well clued and enjoyable to solve.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT **/****

  3. I found this fairly hard work, especially the SW corner, as mentioned by DT. 5d reminded me of Mrs Fawlty talking to the Americans. Liked 23a when I eventually got it. Also liked the Uriah Heep image. Thanks to all. Incidentally, the reference to our ‘late’ contributor Tstrummer is not to be taken literally I hope?

      1. Oh no .. I hadn’t seen this sad news. Always an entertaining contributor here. Condolences to Tom’s family.

  4. I thought that some of the parsing was quite difficult today with many original clues and am going for a ***/***.
    Like DT, I too was held up by the SW corner-did 19a require the additional ‘good originally’?-also the drink in 19d was new to me-bush would have done!.
    Favourite 1d with 15d close.
    Thanks all.

    1. The “good originally” had me perplexed too, but the dictionary definition is “apparently correct or true, but actually wrong or false”. (Collins)

  5. By far and away the best back page puzzle of the week. 9a, 16d, 21a & 8a are just a few of my favourite clues. In all a super and very entertaining solve. Thanks to the Don and to DT of course.

  6. I found this one quite difficult but struggled through to the end with many bung-ins.
    Like others, the SW corner was hardest for me.

    Had never heard of the drink at 19d but bunged in the answer which was accepted.

    Can someone explain “The opposite!” in 18d please?
    I can see less wet and feet and the definition meaning wanderer but ‘the opposite’ has got me bamboozled.

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to Deep Threat for sorting out a lot of the parsings (if that is a word) for me.

    1. It’s “The opposite” because it is not the feet keeping less wet, but the less wet keeping the feet.

    2. Most pubs in the 70s and 80s had a bottle of Shrub and a bottle of Lovage on the top shelf. Never tried either of them, but far too many years sitting at bars have therefore not been wasted !!

      1. Gosh…..never heard of SHRUB but my brother tells me it figures in the Patrick O’Brian books….

  7. Well I finished but it was a bit of a struggle. 19a caused raised eyebrows like Beaver @ #4 and, like others, the SW proved tricky. Plenty of good clues to enjoy, with 9a just my favourite. Overall 3.5* /3* for me.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  8. Like everyone else, it was the SW corner that did it for me. (Mind you, the NW wasn’t too easy. Did anyone else bung in the wrong anagram for 2d?). This easily came into ***** time for me.

    I too don’t know the drink in 19d. Overall, a bit too much GK for me, but there have been worse!

    Many thanks to DT and the setter.

  9. I am usually right on Giovanni’s wavelength but today he gave me a really hard time and in the end I needed a bit of help with a couple in the SW. My Fav was 22a. I failed to recall drink in 19d. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  10. A good job 5d is so simple – ‘popular’? I’ve only heard of him in Pulling Mussels by Squeeze, and that was released 37 years ago! Total bung-in at 9a – the geography is no problem, but….
    Otherwise all well clued as usual. Many thanks to The Don and to DT for the review.

        1. It was one of those novels that definitely had to be kept out of sight of the parents – ‘raunchy’ perhaps best describes it!

          1. Oo-er Missus! That would make me cringe – think I’ll stick to the reference books.
            I used to think my Mum was a bit weird reading Mills & Boon.

  11. Yes, it was the SW corner that also brought me to a shuddering halt. I really needed those initial letter checkers for 21&23a but didn’t know the 19d drink, despite registering the false capitalisation in the clue. Having exhausted all other possibilities I finally asked Mr Google who verified its existence. Surprised to read DT’s comment about it having been a common tipple in the works of Dickens – I’ve obviously managed to skim over it in my readings!

    When all was finally done and dusted, I awarded podium places to Uriah Heap in 22a along with 23&24a.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog. Enjoyed the clip from Carmen but, try as I may, it always reminds me of the old advert for Esso!

  12. Definitely a curate’s egg and, even for a Friday, perhaps bordering on a wrong envelope day – especially in the SW – ***/***.

    Joint favourites – 11a and 3d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

      1. Because of the continuing cold weather, it refused to leave the stable. I might have to consider another metaphor for solving speed.

  13. 4* / 3*. It took me a while to get started and I found it quite tough in parts but mostly very enjoyable. I wasn’t keen on the use of obsolete currency in 16d nor the unusual spelling for 24a.

    23a was my favourite and 22a raised a smile.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, particularly for explaining which of my possibilities for 19d based on the checking letters was correct.

  14. That was quite a struggle with a few bung ins the blog now explains (9, 22 and 24a). Thanks. Otherwise quite enjoyable ***/***.

  15. I can’t say I enjoyed that, not sure why I stuck with it to be honest. As often happens on a Friday I just wasn’t on DG’s wavelength so *****/** for me. Many thanks to DG and DT whose help I needed today.

  16. I found this quite challenging and was eventually held up in the sw corner. Was i alone in finding the wrong use of a capital letter in 19 and 15 down irritating,time consuming and frustrating? Thanks for the hints.

  17. Hells bells that was difficult! No way was it a ** for difficulty, for me and I suspect the majority of solvers ****. So many tricky clues it’s diff to know where to start, 18d, never heard of the drink, why opposite in 18d, where does the on come from in 1(d, who is the native in 19a, why looking good initially in 19 and 23a is a complete mystery.
    Ended the answer to 23a in the hints, all the rest were solvable using bits of the clue and a considerable amount of guesswork.
    So for me ****/**
    Thx to all.

  18. Yes, the SW corner was definitely the trickiest part, not helped by ignorance of 19d as an alcoholic drink. The wordplay generally was more intricate than recent Fridays I felt.

    My ticked clues were 23a (good reversal), 2d and 3d.

    Any grid with such large black squares and numerous double unches normally dampens my spirits before even starting to tackle the puzzle, and today was no exception.

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

  19. I am also in the ‘very tricky’ camp today and for me certainly ****. The SW corner had me completely stuck. It is good to get the brain cells churning and I enjoyed it but it borders on the edge of too difficult. I am still learning the crossword trade so this was certainly a good work out. I must remember yet again the other meaning of ‘transport’ as this catches me out every time. Help needed today and gratefully received.

  20. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it! I echo Brian’s comments and scoring very grateful for the hints. ****/**
    Thanks to all.

    1. I agree with Brian ( I often do ) – a long hard slog but then DG is such a devious compiler.

      So it took me longer than I like. If only I had more time to devote to crosswords without feeling guilty it would be ok, but when one’s retired the days are so full!

      ****/*** from me.

  21. Hard work for me surprised myself by completing without any help from the blog, although had to use reference help for quite a few clues. Definitely more than ** difficulty for me. Enjoyed the challenge today and like a lot of others SW corner held me up, last in 17d. Again another new word at 8a but sorted it from the clue.

    Clue of the day: Liked 15d and 19d both nicely constructed clues.

    Rating **** / ***

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  22. Enjoyable, but like a lot of you I found the SW corner very tricky until I bunged in 19d in the hope that it was correct and this unlocked the rest. Never come across that drink before which surprised the wife! ***/****. 23a (eventually) and 1d were joint stars for me. Nice one Don!

  23. Truce!! I’m usually on Giovanni’s wavelength but not today. I think the cold has frozen my brain as I did have a few answers but couldn’t parse them, e.g. 3a, 5d and 19d.
    I would have said that I didn’t know 19d as a drink (shudda googled), but I’ve read all Dickens books at one time or another so I must have heard of it.
    My fave was 22a but 9a was close behind.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for sorting that lot out for me.

    1. Glad to see you aren’t frozen solid like the Florida reptiles (lizard type creatures) they showed on our breakfast news today

      1. I have the heaters on but, being an old house, there are lots of drafts. Not least the cat flap in the sitooterie. Those poor iguanas just plop out of the trees onto the ground, but they recover if it doesn’t stay cold too long. They’re not native to Florida, they’re pets that have been jettisoned once the kids get bored or the iguanas get too big. Ask me about my pet peeve, they’re eating all the native birds and their eggs, not as bad as the pythons, they’re killing off the keys deer.

  24. This one certainly took us much longer than usual with the SW putting up the biggest fight. This grid with its sixteen double unches might have had something to do with that. Had a lot of trouble convincing ourselves that 24a had to be correct. Our BRB (12th edition) lists the name we knew with a capital Z but makes no mention of possible alternative spellings. Wikipedia does however list it among 5 transliterations of the name. It is not as if there were not plenty of other possibilities available to the setter for the two unchecked letters.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. I only remembered that spelling of 24a from having been force-fed the Song of Sion (Rev. Joseph Golding) back in schooldays.

      1. We just Googled the said ode. Must have been a real highlight of your schooldays, no wonder you remember it fondly. We feel so lucky that our teachers never found it.

  25. Me too I’m afraid. Just not on the Don’s wavelength. Usual mixture of the brilliant, 23a and the deeply obscure, 19d which surely belongs on the Toughie if not for the parsing which is straightforward but for the drink which I would imagine 99% of us hadn’t heard of. Always happy to expand my GK but that is a stretch too far even for the Don, IMHO.

    Many thanks to the Don and to Deep Threat for the assistance.

      1. Thanks for the welcome and thanks for the hints which were very much needed today. I will persevere with the Don as he is clearly the capo di tutti capi of compilers. I suppose my concern today is around a situation with 19d where you correctly parse the clue, work out the answer and then still have to go to the dictionary/electronic help/blog to see if you are correct which doesn’t feel quite right. Whilst there will likely always be a need for GK in a crossword the answer to a clue shouldn’t be a test of such. Anyway all above very much IMHO. **** for difficulty for me but I can see if you are on the Don’s wavelength it would be a **.

  26. 19d had to be what it was but I didn’t know that it was a drink. However it certainly unlocked that SW quadrant for me. My top clue was 16d although I admired 4d also. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni for making my grey cells be active. And thanks to DT for the review.
    I am sorry to hear about Tstrummer.

  27. That was tough! In keeping with others the SW corner took ages to sort out.
    Lots of clever wordplay the grid made it hard too.
    Thanks all.

  28. A similar experience here – ** for time overall, but bits felt tricky, particularly the SW corner. The drink threw me for a while, but in the end I trusted the cryptic, and all was well. A pretty horrible grid may not have helped matters… I enjoyed this, though it did feel like a slightly odd solving experience, and unlike Giovanni in many ways.

  29. Well I had the benefit of what most people would consider to be a reasonably classical education and so I am deeply embarrassed to admit that I spent some time trying to fit “Vegas” into my answer for 9a. Ahem…

    Like almost everyone else here I struggled with the SW corner and unlike most, I was unwilling to bung in my (correct) answers to 19a, 19d, 21a and 24a until I could understand why they were what I had as an answer (so thanks to DT for confirming my doubting suspicions!)

    Despite the struggle, I enjoyed the battle so thanks as well to Giovanni.

  30. Happy New Year to everyone.

    I’m struggling to get back into a normal routine after the Christmas and New Year festivities, so I’m late on parade for a Friday and therefore can only echo most of what’s been said above. I love Giovanni puzzles but he certainly gave me a run for my money today. Like others I must have read about the drink at one time or another but it made no sense to me, however I bunged it in and am grateful to DT for the explanation.

    Took longer than a normal Friday, but no less enjoyable for that. Many thanks to all.

  31. What a struggle. 1a,1d and 2d were straight in, so I thought that I’d be finished after breakfast. I had to chip away at this on and off all day. It was a challenge to say the least. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  32. I just could not get to grips with this one, and very unusual for me, I lost interest and gave up. Perhaps as Merusa said it is this unusually cold weather we have right now. Brain freeze. Had to give in and put the heating on last night – it’s horrible blown hot air – and prefer to bundle up as long as possible. My budding orchids are sulking in the guest bathroom, safely out of the cold and out of munching reach of our cat. He’ll eat anything green, roses, tulips, geraniums… with the expected results.

  33. Held up by the 19d/23a combo, and l took a while to spot the latter even when l had cracked the down clue. Still, completed well within 2* time. I liked 3d particularly, and bet l was not alone in assuming that the transport being used was of a more prosaic nature. Thanks to the Don, and DT.

  34. Too late and too tired – I’m never on Giovanni’s wave-length at the best of times – this was not the best of times.
    As usual on Fridays I missed anything to make me laugh which is always the difference between enjoying a crossword and not particularly enjoying it.
    More of a Toughie than a back-pager I thought but that’s probably due to gaps in my knowledge of biblical stuff.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT and night night to all.

      1. Agreed, M’pops. I found that so interesting, let’s see if my aging memory can retain it.

      1. Did you notice “sitooterie” in Merusa’s comment at #23. That’s a new one on me. It means just what it says on the tin – in a Scottish accent! Maybe a setter should create some “obscurity controversy” by sneaking it into a puzzle?

  35. Excellent again from the consistent G (yes, I know I always say that). Great clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable. Too many cracking clues to pick out a favourite. 3.5* / 4.5*.

  36. Needed the hints for SW so thanks to the blog for easing my frustrations yet again! Like many, had not heard of 19d being drink but love the explanation that comes from ‘sharab’, thanks Christopher Klinger! And also not heard of ‘popular’ author in 5d though had to be what is was from wordplay.

    I did the same as hint for 3d and took the A from ‘area’ but looks like the A actually comes from the word for transport so is ‘area’ superfluous? Thanks to setter and all

  37. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Fantastic puzzle, very tricky. Needed the hints to parse 1&3d. Was completely beaten by the SW corner. Needed electronic help for 23a, only word I could think of was interposed. Needed the hints for 19d, which I’d never heard of. Favourite was 18d. Last in was 21a. Was 4*/4* for me.

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