DT 28631 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28631

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28631

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  This took me longer to solve and parse than yesterday’s puzzle, but in hindsight I’m not quite sure why.  Perhaps it was all the nice surfaces disguising the wordplay, or perhaps it was just that wavelength thing. 

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    Get below platform (10)
UNDERSTAND:  Put together below or beneath and platform or podium

6a    Lose one's cool  photograph (4)
SNAP:  A double definition.  The second is an informal term for a photograph

9a    People in Berlin failing to grasp an infection source? (5)
GERMS:  A word describing most of the people in Berlin without (failing to grasp) AN from the clue

10a   Working age limited by choice (9)
OPERATION:  An age or long time contained in (limited by) choice or alternative

12a   Weep, having broken last glass (7)
CRYSTAL:  Weep or sob and an anagram (broken) of LAST

13a   Goes by the book for bye-byes, dropping off regularly (5)
OBEYS:  Remove alternate letters (dropping off regularly) from FOR BYE-BYES

15a   Neglected old glove with end cut off by daughter (7)
OMITTED:  Link together the abbreviation for old, a type of glove without its last letter (with end cut off), and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

17a   Work for Labour, for example? (7)
SYNONYM:  Take the “for example” literally.  The answer is a noun that is often found in the hints and tips (but not today)

19a   Fellow with good-hearted people (7)
MANKIND:  Connect together alternative words for fellow and for good-hearted

21a   Hearing discordant noise, about couple of seconds (7)
SESSION:  An anagram (discordant) of NOISE containing (about) a couple of copies of the abbreviation for second

22a   Writer Muriel King resting against box lightly (5)
SPARK:  Find this Scottish author from “box lightly”  or skirmish followed by the chess abbreviation for king

24a   Shriek going to church, avoiding a traipse in mud, by the sound of it (7)
SQUELCH:  Take a word meaning shriek or yelp, remove its A (avoiding a), and append (going to) an abbreviation for church

27a   I'm left with insect of value (9)
IMPORTANT:  Stick together I’M from the clue, the nautical term for left, and crosswordland’s favourite worker insect

28a   Roth novel with new spine (5)
THORN:  An anagram (novel) of ROTH followed by the abbreviation for new

29a   Demand work on radio (4)
NEED:  The answer sounds like (on radio) a word meaning work (bread dough, perhaps)

30a   Complimentary alcohol for maverick (4,6)
FREE SPIRIT:  Another word for complimentary is followed by another word for alcohol



1d    Press rush to dismiss Spain's leader (4)
URGE:  Take a word meaning rush or swell, and drop its S ( … to dismiss Spain’s leader, i.e. the first letter of Spain)

2d    Management's  right, perhaps (9)
DIRECTION:  A double definition.  Left, perhaps would be another

3d    Out of practice in game, feisty after first half (5)
RUSTY:  The abbreviation for the national game of New Zealand, followed by the second half ( … after first half) of FEISTY

4d    Ran last in heat and fell to pieces? (7)
TROTTED:  The final letter of (last in) HEAT and “fell to pieces” or decayed

5d    Almost pointless? These shouldn't be (7)
NEEDLES:  Taking all but the last letter (almost) of another word for pointless gives some objects that should have points

7d    Sound from one getting grabbed by beak (5)
NOISE:  The Roman numeral for one contained in (getting grabbed by) the part of the body for which beak is an informal name

8d    Chaps in his punt adrift, needing correction (10)
PUNISHMENT:  Some chaps or fellows inserted in an anagram (adrift) of HIS PUNT

11d   Numbers adult stuck on horses (7)
AMOUNTS:  The abbreviation for adult, with some horses that are ridden attached (stuck on)

14d   Hire male to support company on pilgrimage (10)
COMMISSION:  Place the abbreviation for male after (to support, in a down clue) the usual abbreviation for company, and then stack all of that on pilgrimage or crusade

16d   Less intelligent trick he played (7)
THICKER:  An anagram (played) of TRICK HE

18d   Sprawling in robe, hug someone close? (9)
NEIGHBOUR:  An anagram (sprawling) of IN ROBE HUG

20d   Hopelessness of French couple following son (7)
DESPAIR:  “of” in French, and the genealogical abbreviation for son with a couple or duo placed after it (following)

21d   Destroy small mollusc (7)
SCUTTLE:  Link together the clothing abbreviation for small and a mollusc able to eject a black inky liquid

23d   Large politician surrounded by drink (5)
AMPLE:  Our usual politician is contained in (surrounded by) an alcoholic drink

25d   Grant at university came to an end (3,2)
LET UP:  Grant or allow, and an adverb meaning at university

26d   Insect bite -- upsetting (4)
GNAT:  The reversal (upsetting, in a down clue) of bite or spice


Thanks to today’s setter.  The standout favourite for me was 17a.  What was yours?


The Quick Crossword pun:  PLANES+PEACH=PLAIN SPEECH

66 comments on “DT 28631

  1. 1.5* / 2.5*. Light and pleasant fare today with 17a my favourite. “Hopelessness of the French couple” would have made a more concise clue for 20a.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

      1. Isn’t it de or des, which both mean “of”. The setter has chosen to go the long way round by using DE + S for son.

        1. Jose,

          “De” means “of”. “Des” means “of the” but the situation with “of the” is more complicated:

          Du = “Of the” preceding a singular male noun
          De La = “Of the” preceding a singular female noun
          Des = “Of the” preceding a plural noun

          P.S. MP spotted my deliberate mistake :wink:

          1. I did have trouble recently explaining the DE in a puzzle when my brain went walkabout. Which is probably why I questioned your clue

          2. Yes, I understand the DES = “of the” in your shorter clue and DE = “of” + S for son = DES in the actual clue – but why is MP harping on about Le, La and Les? Maybe it would help if I knew more than only about 10 French words. :-)

              1. Reminds me of the Frank Muir and Denis Norden play on “patriotism is not enough” on My Word many years ago.

    1. Forgive me, Rabbi D, but isn’t tweaking a compiler’s clue risking going down a dangerous path or does it already go on? (apols, if so)

      Critiquing a clue is, of course, a major part of this blog. But, it’s impossible for a compiler to create 28 perfect clues, week in week out, which they are well aware of.

      I just think that we open the door to everyone throwing their suggestions in to the ring which could result in a clogged blog.

      Saying that, I quite like the expression “Blog Clog”.

      So, on reflection….

  2. Very straightforward and comfortable to solve this morning. No hold-ups or obscurities, with 17a a clear winner as COTD. Overall 1.5* /3*.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  3. I found this a ** for difficulty with the exception of 22a, which even with the clue had me beaten. Overall ***/***

  4. After the first pass , I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this very much, but how wrong I was. Despite having only a few checking letters in, it was enough and I was suddenly on the right wavelength, all fell very nicely into place and every clue suddenly made sense. COTD, definitely 17a, which was also my last one in, I was just about to consult the hints and then the penny dropped.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  5. I thought this would be hard at first but then it all seemed to fall into place. Very enjoyable. 24a favourite. Lovely word.

  6. Enjoyable solve today just enough to stretch the old grey matter, favourite clue17a.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter

  7. A walk in the park for me today, both the crossword and this afternoon’s planned entertainment.

    Finished in ** time with a *** for enjoyment. Other will expect me to complain about the GK requirement in 22a, so I will. COTD for me was 24a. I just love the word.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  8. For me a whisker gentler than yesterday’s and a perfect fit for the early in the week slot. Many thanks. (Glad to see you used my picture for 8d :) .)

  9. Not as tricky as yesterday’s horror but did ask a few questions. Lots of answers that are not what first springs to mind such as Let for Grant in 25d and Spine for Thorn in 28a. Not my favourite crossword but quite OK.
    For me ***/**
    Thx to all

  10. I found this quite tricky but perseverance paid off. Like Mr K (and thanks for the review) it was a wavelength thing. Thanks also to the setter for stretching the little grey cells.

  11. This one put up a bit of a fight, but, with a little electronic help, I prevailed.

    I found some of the clues plain sailing but really struggled with others, possibly because I was looking too hard, if you see what I mean.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  12. Many excellent clues in an extremely enjoyable solve, my favourites were 10a, 17a and 21a.

    Many thanks to both setter and Mr K.

  13. Not a barrow-load of laughs but a pleasant enough diversion on this cold and gloomy day. Tried to work around the wrong kind of box in 22a. Liked 13a and 17a. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  14. Good fun, I had to work for it a bit but not unduly tricky.
    I was stuck on 17a and needed to use electronic help, but why? There was only one word that’ll fit, I felt so dim when I got it, but loved it, and it’s my fave.
    I think that 24a deserves honourable mention, lovely word, like tintinnabulation it sounds exactly what it means.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty for his review and pics.

  15. Reasonable fare from Mr Ron but not to his usual high standard in my humble oplnlon.Enjoyable all the same with quite a few head scratchers for me. No idea regarding the author at 22a, know the book though and got the answer with the word play. Last in 15a struggled to work that one out.

    Clues of the day: Liked 1a / 13a / 23d

    Rating 3* / 3*

    Thanks to Mr K and Mr Ron.

      1. I’m not quite sure how we ended up here, but I think the convention is the following. Samuel/Chris Lancaster adopted the name Mister Ron in his first post on the back page, so the full Mister Ron is now understood to refer to him. However, the shortened form Mr Ron is still used, along with Mysteron, for the generic unknown setter.

        So yesterday was Mister Ron, and today is Mr Ron or Mysteron.

  16. We had a slower than normal start so moved on from the NW and found that the lower clues yielded more easily and gradually picked up momentum from there. 17a gets our vote for favourite. This type of clue always seems to trip us up for some reason. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  17. A straightforward solve today that brightened an otherwise dreary morning.

    Thanks to Mr K and setter 1*/3.5*

  18. Late on parade today – solved early this morning but had to be out before the review came up.

    A most enjoyable puzzle for me with the only slight pause caused by the necessity to check on the 22a author. Shame on me, the film was one of my favourites – Maggie Smith ‘in her prime’!

    17a was clever (and I loved Mr K’s depiction) but podium places went to 1,19&30a plus 7d. Special mention for 24a – wonderful onomatopoeic word.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog.

      1. Only half-clever – I recalled the word but had to check the spelling. I reckon you were using an example of Mr K’s depiction of 17a!

    1. 17a is a great clue and an nice opportunity for a funny picture, but it was hard to write a blog avoiding use of the answer when 17a has no 17as

  19. **/*** Today for me. Can somone explain to me 10a. I bunged it in but wasn’t happy as to fit the definition it should have ended in ING or IONAL which would have been too long. I just can’t think of a sentenice where working could be replaced by…ion.
    Thanks all.

    1. Hi, Graham. The 10a wordplay is ERA (age) in (limited by) OPTION (choice). Regarding a sentence where the answer could replace “working”, how about this from an article in the Telegraph: ‘We understand the working of the brain in rapidly increasing detail and while what Edgar Allan Poe called “the magic pinions and the wizard wheels” are breathtakingly complex, it really does look like it’s just molecules in there.’

      1. Thanks for the sentence, I’m happy now. I got the cryptic side just wondered why it wasn’t OPTING.

        1. I had similar concerns initially, and I needed to find some examples like the one above to get comfortable with the clue and the hint.

  20. Only had to check the writer in 22a in this straightforward crossword. Well, compared with today’s toughie that is.
    Some fun clues in 7d, 14d and 18d but favourite is to be found in the across definitions.
    Roll of drums.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  21. I felt like I had to work to solve every clue today and there was a great feeling of satisfaction as each one went in, so I’m thrilled to see it get *** for difficulty as that’s a personal best for me.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the review, now I’ve finished I can enjoy a well earned drink.

    1. My favourite puzzles are those where each answer is slowly teased out. Because of this site those puzzles are a rarity now. I miss them.

    2. Well done Mr Tub :) . Enjoy your drink, and here’s to more!

      (MP, you might like to try today’s Toughie, which is fun but should provide you with enough of a challenge.)

      1. I have started but as usual the interruptions get in the way. I will finish it in the morning though.

      2. Thank you, Kitty. Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of it; this site and all the support that everyone gives is certainly an enormous help.

        1. Congratulations from me too. If you haven’t already seen it, BD’s Crossword Guide, found under the CRYPTIC CROSSWORD tab at the top of the page, is a very nice concise overview of cryptics. It helped me get up to speed when I was starting out.

  22. No problems today.
    Fav was 17a, very clever, it took all the checking letters before it dropped.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr,Ron

  23. A ** for difficulty here, last in 11d followed by 17ac, which was my favourite clue today.

  24. This was right up my street and I found it so much friendlier than yesterday’s. Still had to put my thinking head one, but only needed 3 hints, thank you Mr K and Mr Ron. Very much enjoyed. Loved picture at 9d. Showed it to our cat and said that would be a good idea when he unrolls and destroys the toilet roll, which he does whenever we leave a bathroom door open. He was not impressed.

  25. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. Some of it was easy, but some of it required a lot of thought. Favourite and last in was 24a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  26. Sorry for the late entry. Post shift!

    I found a few of the clues quite tricky but got there in the end. My favourite was 17a as well but I also liked 25a once it clicked. For some reason I got stuck on 13a because I couldn’t find the right bit to look for “regulars” in…

    I very much enjoyed Mr K’s review and the tale of poor Henri in particular!

  27. Unlike all you clever folk out there, I couldn’t finish this :(

    I got held up in the NE corner, and 11d and 13a stumped me completely.

    I have to say, though, that I really didn’t like some of the clues. I thought they were stretching the credible definitions somewhat. 10a was a prime example of that, although the example sentence from Mr K helps, and 29a similarly – I don’t accept that demand and need are the same thing.

  28. Having been chopped down by the Aussie wotsit for the second time I am three days behind so catching up is now in order. This was quite a reasonable challenge so 2/3* overall and because of what has got me the 9a Berlin has to be my favourite… kind of…
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  29. Liked the “complimentary alcohol” (30A) and being “surrounded by drink” (23D)-also the hints and comments.

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