DT 28642 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28642

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28642

Hints and tips by a rather tardy Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Before speaking or commenting ask yourself three questions. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If the answer to any of the three questions is no do then do not speak out or comment. This rule has worked well for me and my two daughters.

I have reviewed the Monday puzzle for four years and had a lot of fun along the way. Last week one person posted a very rude comment that really upset me. It was neither true, kind or necessary As this is one of the friendliest blogs I have ever seen that comment had no place here (this is a friendly site for friendly people). If you do have any negative points to make please make them but do back up your point of view and present your thoughts in a logical way. Think before ink.

We are basking in the sunshine here in the heart of Downtown LI. Both Coventry RFC and The Sky Blues won their games this weekend. The Cuckoos up at The Ricoh beat Ulster. Hello to the large number of Ulster supporters who made a weekend of it and came to watch Coventry v Esher. If you do return to Coventry do some TripAdvisor research. Your choice of Hotel was appalling. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g186403-d193204-Reviews-Hylands_Hotel-Coventry_West_Midlands_England.html

As this is a cryptic Crossword blog maybe I ought to comment upon Mister Ron’s puzzle today. Truly and kindly of course.

Well, what a difference a setter makes. With Rufus puzzles I was totally on wavelength solving quickly and easily recognising wordplay. Today’s puzzle from Mister Ron took more passes to solve and included several bung ins which I still have to work out so that you have a hint or a tip. There were several smiles along the way and a couple of corking anagrams. Doable but not easy. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    The old man’s fur is okay (8)
PASSABLE: Your Ma is your old woman. Begin with what your old man might be. Remember and use the possessive as suggested by the apostrophe S in the clue. Add the fur of a marten native to Japan and Siberia. Google amazes me. Why Japan and Siberia and nowhere in between. How did this happen? God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

6a    Surprise a married former President (6)
AMBUSH: Use the letter A gifted to us from the clue. Add the abbreviation for married. Finish off with the name of an American President, one of two actually. There have only been four presidents with four letters in their surname. Taft and Polk are not it. This father and son were either side of the only American President I have shaken hands with. Outside the centre court at Wimbledon

9a    Little woman on the bottle is cheerful (6)
JOVIAL: Begin with the name of one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Add a small container, typically cylindrical and made of glass, used especially for holding liquid medicines. (thank you google)

10a    Actor in a play getting protection from cats and dogs? (8)
RAINCOAT: A very clever anagram (play) of ACTOR IN A. The definition is pleasantly quirky

11a    If this rule is transgressed, it’s the player’s fault (8)
BASELINE: A mark where a serving fault might be made in tennis

The serve is a fault if:
    1    The server foot faults.
    2    The server misses the ball when trying to hit it.
    3    The ball touches a permanent fixture, singles stick or net post before hitting the ground.
    4    After serving the ball touches the server’s partner, or touches anything the server is wearing or carrying.

It is not a fault if the server tosses the ball in the air and then decides to catch it.

A cryptic definition of the above fault in a tennis match. Did I mention that Bill Clinton once shook my hand at Wimbledon

12a    You look, we hear, for African country (6)
UGANDA: Begin with a single letter homophone of the word you. Add another homophone of a noun meaning a look or a glance. If you are really struggling with this think of a male goose.

13a    After setback, setter perhaps grasps anagram of pedometer as easy to get on with (4-8)
GOOD TEMPERED: reverse (setback) an example of what a setter might be. Think four legged, red or Irish. Place an anagram (Anagram Ha Ha) of PEDOMETER inside (grasps) this word. A War And Peace clue.

16a    My incendiary instruction (6,1,5)
STRIKE A LIGHT: A cryptic definition of how to make a matchstick burst into flames using the sandpaper on the side of the box. With just three words this clue is the exact opposite of the clue above

19a    Reluctant to put on church robe (6)
CLOTHE: Start with the abbreviation for Church of England). Put it around an adjective meaning reluctant or unwilling

21a    Track force (8)
RAILROAD: A mighty fine double definition of what HS2 is and how it has been forced upon us.

23a    Flamboyant performer must have time for clubs, being free (8)
LIBERATE: To solve this clue I advise that you get all of the checkers and bung one of the eight words that fit the definition at the end of the clue. Not easy as the checkers are all vowels and we do not have the luxury of a start letter. Find a flamboyant performer born in America 1919 and dead for nearly thirty years. He was the epitome of flamboyance. Change the letter C (clubs) in his name to the letter T (time).

24a    Revise and rearrange a duet to include piano (6)
UPDATE: Anagram (rearrange) of A DUET which includes the abbreviation for piano

25a    New journalist follows posh students (6)
UNUSED: Begin with our Crosswordland letter that denotes posh. Add the abbreviation or initials of The National Union of Students. Finish off with Crosswordland’s favourite journalist.

26a    On the course, it’s 18 and dry (8)
TEETOTAL: Split 3,5 a cryptic definition of the number of cleared spaces on a golf course, from which the ball is struck at the beginning of play for each hole. As a whole what Saint Sharon would like me to be. No chance.

‘Twas an evening in November, as I very well remember,
I was walking down the street in drunken pride.
But my knees went all a-flutter, so I rested in a gutter,
And a pig came ’round and laid down by my side.

Yes I laid there in the gutter thinking thoughts I could not utter
when a colleen passing by did softly say:
“You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses”
And then the pig got up and slowly walked away!


2d    Left bouquet upside-down? That’s wrong! (6)
AMORAL: Begin with the abbreviation for Left. Add a distinctive, typically pleasant smell. Reverse the lot as indicated by the words upside down

3d    Meet about trendy French banker (5)
SEINE: Whenever the word banker appears in a clue think of rivers. I only know of two French rivers and the Loire isn’t it. Place a word meaning trendy inside (about) a rather stretched definition of a verb meaning to meet.

4d    Aggressive black beagle finally upset collies (9)
BELLICOSE: Begin with the abbreviation for the word black. Add the final letter (finally) of the word beagle. Now add an anagram (upset) of COLLIES.

5d    Sincere answer received by Hemingway? (7)
EARNEST: Place the abbreviation for answer inside (received by) the first name of the author Hemingway

6d    ‘Farewell’ bill island’s presented by Brussels (5)
ADIEU: Use the shortened form of a bill, poster, or advertisement. Add the abbreviations for Island and the European Union

7d    Work as butcher in city (9)
BUCHAREST: Anagram (work) of AS BUTCHER.

8d    Covered seat occupied by wife and daughter (8)
SWADDLED: Find a seat sat on by horse riders. Insert (covered) the abbreviation for wife and append the abbreviation for daughter. What a divine clue.

13d    One student wearing yellow is innocent (9)
GUILTLESS: Find a synonym for yellow or cowardly and insert the Roman numeral for one and the regular crosswordland abbreviation for student. The letter a novice driver displays whilst practicing for their driving test

14d    Model tug made in scale (9)
MAGNITUDE: Anagram (model) of TUG MADE IN

15d    Hold up what might be charged for ride (8)
STALLION: Begin with a verb meaning to stop or cause to stop making progress. Add an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons.

17d    Most enormous rat’s leg, broken (7)
LARGEST: Anagram (broken) of RATS LEG

18d    Phrase repeated again and again in Roman tragedy (6)
MANTRA: One of the last ones in and only solved by the advice that if all else fails look for a hidden word. So off you go to look for hidden words. Some bloggers will tell you exactly where to look. Not me though. I have done enough work. It is your turn now.

20d    Animal from Africa seen in European region (5)
ELAND: This animal is only seen in crosswordland. I don’t believe it exists anywhere else. Use the abbreviation for European and add a noun meaning a country or state.

22d    Set that’s home to 1, 2, 3 and 4? (5)
RADIO: In the good old days we had The Light Programme, The Home Service and the Third Service. These became 2,4 and 3. 1 was added to cater for youngsters. Eventually 1 turned into 2 and became a parody of itself. 2 became bloody boring and insignificant. Along came Matthew Bannister in 1993. 1 was reinvented and returned to what it should be. 1 also became 2. 3 and 4 remained true to their origins. The answer is what we listen to these stations upon. Simple.

A total joy to solve from start to finish. A total joy to review.

The Quick Crossword pun: dish+cushion=discussion

76 comments on “DT 28642

  1. That was a pleasant way to kick off the cruciverbal week with just enough of a challenge. Several goodies including 12a, 26a and 6d. Unusual spelling in 19a held me up for a while and I needed help to parse 15d. Thank you Mysteron (Dada?) and MP (better late than never!).

  2. 3* / 3*. A bit of a curate’s egg for me today which was mostly very enjoyable but there were a couple of dodgy surfaces, particularly 13a, and I don’t think that 11a is a rule.

    26a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP.

    P.S. What about 5 (and 6) in 22d?

    1. There is a tennis rule that deals with the baseline/server (see below) and if this rule (ie, the baseline rule) is transgressed it is the “players fault”:

      Rule 3. The server shall stand behind the baseline on the deuce court within the boundaries of the singles court when playing singles and within the doubles sideline when playing doubles. See court dimensions. All even points are played from the deuce court and odd number points played from the advantage court.

      1. Thanks Jose, but my (very minor) quibble was that, although it concerns a tennis rule involving the baseline, I don’t believe it is called the “baseline rule” which is what the clue is implying by saying “this rule”.

    2. Hi RD (and others),

      I originally had doubts about this one too, but its very last definition in the BRB is “a standard of comparison”.

  3. This was a bit of a hooligan not the usual monday fodder so thanks to Mr Ron. Favourite clues must be 26a and 22d. Why do some people like to make snide and hurtful comments. Always treat others as you woukd wish to be treated.
    Sermon over.
    Sadly Exeter Chiefs lost over the weekend.
    Many thanks to Miffypops and again to Mr Ron.

  4. A bit of a brain teaser today for me, I found most of the puzzle ** with a sting in the tail lurking in the SW corner ****, once I hit on the first word of 16a,15d and 19a fell into place, so overall I am going for a ***/*** as per Miffypops.
    Favourite 23 a which provided an overdue smile .Thanks again to MP, for the key to 16a.

  5. 2* /3.5* for this pretty straightforward and enjoyable first solve of the week. I felt that putting ‘anagram of’ in 13a was weak when there are dozens of other words that could have been used to indicate an anagram, or am I missing something? That apart, all good fun. I had 1 and 23a with 15d on my podium.

    Thanks to our Monday setter and of course MP. I smiled when you referred to Wasps as the Cuckoos at the Ricoh. They do own the nest, of course.

  6. I’m mostly busy with other things this week, but it’s never a chore to find time for a Mister Ron puzzle.

    Favourites today are 10a, 24a and 2d.

    Thanks to Mister Ron and MP.

  7. I enjoyed this. It took me into 3* time and I did think 13a was definitely straying into War and Peace territory

    Thanks to Mister Ron for the crossword and Mister Pops for the explanations and the exhortation for everyone to be kind in their comments – hopefully something yesterday’s birthday boy will take on board before putting fingers to keyboard

  8. I’m not sure what the comment that caused the furore last week was about but I would defend MP & his Monday reviews to the hilt. They are always amusing & well explained & let’s not forget he does it for Yorkshire’s favourite price – namely nowt!

    In addition he also runs a successful pub with Saint Sharon, looks after his two grandsons & finds time to support Coventry RU team. As my lads would say – “awesome, what a legend!”

    1. The furore was nothing to do with our blogger more a commenter whose words had to be redacted

  9. Thought this was definitely a little trickier than the average Monday puzzle – the last few took quite a while for the penny to drop.
    Like others, I wasn’t keen on the surface of 13a – didn’t feel at all like a Mister Ron style of clue.

    Favourite was 16a with 21a edging into second place.

    Thanks to the head boy in waiting and to MP for the blog.

  10. Not too keen on 11a.

    But I liked the Quickie pun – Sean Connery comes to mind – with or without a few drinks.

  11. Started off thinking this was going to be easy peasy. Came up short in bottom half. Missed the canine in 13a. Had a job to get 19a and 23a. Missed the anagram in 14d but got it anyway. So thanks to MP and the red dog.
    Ps. Not sure about 11a.

  12. Bit trickier than usual for a Monday (for me, anyway). Got there in the end. Got a bit held up with 15 and 16. Lovely puzzle. 2.5*/****. 22a amused me. 22d was my favourite. Don’t let the odd idiot put you off, Miffypops. I think the rest of us appreciate your and the other bloggers’ efforts, as well as the setters’.

  13. I’m another one who enjoyed this.
    I got in a muddle with 11a – completely forgot about tennis and thought it had to be something footbally that I didn’t know.
    22d confused me – kept looking at clue numbers 1,2,3 and 4 until the light dawned – dim!
    I specially liked 9 and 16a and 4d – any clue with a collie, or several, in it is good enough for me.
    With thanks to Mister Ron and to MP.

    I can’t do Mr Rookie at all which means I’ll have to find something useful to do. :sad:

  14. I couldn’t do these crosswords without the help that you give and particularly Miffypops who always makes me smile. Some people don’t know when they are well off.

  15. Even if you had realised that 11a was not footbally but rather tennisy you would be forgiven, as RD says, for not solving it as solution is hardly a “rule” .
    Sorry this was meant to be reply to Kath’s No. 14 Comment.

  16. Well above my paygrade today.
    Barely managed to complete half of it without resort to electronic assistance and the hints.
    So, not enjoyable for me I’m afraid.

    Thanks to Miffypops for the hints.

  17. Is my brain malfunctioning or is there misdirection via excluded punctuation in 16a – with My as the definition instead of My! As in the exclamation (the answer): ****** * ****!

  18. Completed in **/*** time. Can’t see what the fuss is about 11a, seems like a perfectly good clue to me. I got 10a instantly, because I had spotted the current UKIP leader wearing one in the paper, and thought that they really were out of fashion. (Perhaps he is in need of a good woman to give him some fashion advice). I haven’t owned one for years.

    COTD definitely 16a.

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  19. A nice and gentle start to the cryptic week. I did begin wonder whether Rufus had left a few puzzles to print after his departure, but straightforward as this was I’m unconvinced. Loved 1a, 6a, 16a (one of my old dad’s favourite expressions when he chose not to use a swear word) and 22d. Great fun and most enjoyable. Thanks to setter and MP. Incidentally, I agree 100% with your opening couple of paragraphs.

  20. Not sure what happened Miffypops, don’t want to know details but I do want to say how much I enjoy reading this blog and the witty comments. I like to visit every day even when I have (rarely!) managed to complete a crossword without your (all of you!) lovely assistance. I certainly would never have got 23a without help, I was steadfastly ambling down an entirely wrong path there. Love the War and Peace comment though the length did help this addled brain to a solution on that one.

    As I am in rural Ontario I get to tackle the crossword after 7.00 p.m. – well except when the flipping time change messes it up for a week or two a couple of times a year. But I actually try not to do too much so that I have it to wake up to with a nice cup of tea. Hubby reads his books, I do the crossword, in companiable silence. Well except for my occasional ‘Oh flip, of course it is! So obvious now!’ or an out loud chuckle, I do so love the punny ones.

    Speaking of awful jokes – our grandchildren are American and we only get to see them about once a year but still manage to tease them. They are avid Minnesota Vikings fans. Last Christmas I told them that ‘Nana found the perfect book in a second hand store but decided not to buy it, when I opened it there was only one page and that was blank.’ Kids puzzled. Sure enough one asked ‘What’s the name of the book? “How to win a Superbowl by the Minnesota Vikings.”

    Which is actually a bit rich coming from me because what I know about American Football can be written in the margin of the average crossword.

  21. I remember the comment last week and it was unusually unkind.
    Today’s puzzle is not the gentle Monday offering I was hoping for, only about half done so far. Will have another stab at lunch time, when brain might wake up.

  22. A few clues that caused a little more head scratching than I was expecting for a Monday puzzle, which was very enjoyable to solve.

    My podium three were 23a (great substitution clue), 26a (clever) and 7d (lovely anagram and surface). The least said about 13a the better I think!

    Many thanks to Mr Lancaster and the tardy one.

  23. Enjoyed both puzzle and blog. 10a and 7d were my favourites. Many thanks Miffypops and Mr Ron

  24. Very enjoyable. I too made steady progress and then stumbled for a while in the SW corner.
    If I put myself forward for the “Pedant of the Day” award should 15d not read “what is charged” ? MP has given an excellent definition of the word to be added. The particle, by definition, cannot be uncharged which the clue possibly implies. Here endeth the Chemistry lesson……sorry.
    Thanks to all involved.

  25. It will take a while getting used to the new Monday regime. Enjoyable for all that even though 26a defeated me. Any reference to golf usually involves my brain seizing up, and this was no exception. Had a little Titter when I saw the answer.

  26. Fair comment re the blog MP it needed saying. Fun puzzle that is different, but not easy and certainly a wavelength thing for me. Entertaining with lots to test me from the off. Needed to sort the anagrams to get a foothold and pleased to have finished without the hints.

    Clue of the day: 13a because I got it without having to work it out?

    Rating *** / ***

    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  27. A very taxing puzzle for me not helped by a far to quick to insert “genial” for 9a which held me up no end until I spotted my mistake. My favourite was 23a. Thanks to MP and the setter for starting my week with a head scratcher.

  28. This started off at a romp and then I bogged down and stuck.
    I bunged in 11a and it was wrong, natch.
    My 13a, another bung in, was right, thanks M’pops for the explanation.
    I never did get 15d, which I was convinced was “hold up”, silly me.
    Fave was a toss up between 16a and 26a, both smile worthy.
    Thanks to Mister Ron and M’pops for the enjoyment.

  29. A puzzle of two halves today. The east went in without taxing the brain too much but I needed your help to get the NW corner so thanks for that and all the other help you have given. I didn’t like 23a and that was my LOI but that gripe apart a nice start to the week.

  30. I really enjoyed reading your review. Many thanks.i experienced rudeness and unkindness at a recent meeting of which i was Chair. If the person had thought your 1,2,and 3 he would not have continued with his manner. I support Toulon.

  31. Sadly, I missed the blog last Monday so I don’t know what the issue was. As far as I’m concerned all our setters and reviewers have my admiration for their efforts. I was on today’s setter’s wavelength and found this fairly straightforward with the exception of the parsing of 8d, for which thanks to MP. I have a slight issue with 2d as in my view the answer does not mean “wrong” but otherwise an enjoyable puzzle. Now back to the dreaded tax return!

  32. I loved this puzzle, and having read through the blog enjoyed MP’s poetry. There must be more verses! Just out of interest which pub is his in/near Coventry?

  33. My wonderful mother-in-law and I finished this fairly comfortably, but we had to bung-in 15d from the checking letters, then take a peak at the review. We had the ‘hold up’, but had forgotten the last three letters could mean ‘what might be charged’. Thank you setter and Miffypops.

  34. Found this tricky but enjoyable 😃 ***/*** with above average number of “bung ins” Lots of amusing clues but I particularly liked 1 & 28a 🏌🏽Thanks to MP, always enjoy your blog, and to the setter 🤔

  35. Just into 2* time, and 4* enjoyment. My favourite clue was 23a, with an honourable mention for 12a. My thanks to the setter, and to Miffypops for his usual entertaining review. I wholeheartedly echo you views on what should and should not be said or written. And thanks for one of my favourite ditties – accompanying the hint for 26a. I often sing it to myself, usually alone and well offshore (for which the rest of humanity should be very grateful!).

  36. Lots of fun, something like * for time here. I often struggled with Rufus – so far I’ve found his replacements to be more on my wavelength. Finished in the NW corner today, 9ac and 11ac last of all. No matter how many times I meet the “little woman” in question, the name never leaps to mind.

  37. African animal – there IS such an animal called the ELAND. He is a large antelope with black patches behind the knees and terrific horns. Where’ve you been ???

    1. LOL Kathy I only knew that because it had been part of a clue a short while back and for a change my short term memory actuatually worked. Long term memory no problem, today my husband wandered by singing …..’ who put a real live toad in the ‘hole’, my brother’ and I followed up with ‘oo drew fings on the garden wall!’
      Tragic I guess.

  38. About half went in fairly quickly and then everything came to a halt. An iced latte (its warm again here) didn’t help, and I managed to get two wrong, just to make matters even more difficult. Add to that tennis, cricket and science clues … only Miffypops hints helped me finish. Oh well, hope to do better tomorrow.

  39. At this rate I will be retiring any day now, struggled with Thursday, Friday and Saturday, didn’t even look at yesterday and failed abysmally today. See you in the cupboard under the stairs bring your own tissues.

  40. God works in mysterious ways indeed.
    To find my missing Bucharest from Radler’s monthly prize in this crossword certainly proves it for me.
    And why did he put the only colony of wild monkeys in Britain in Coventry’s cemetery? Still boggles me.
    Shame that the only cryptic clue in 11a had to require so much knowledge… Which I did not have.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review

  41. I really enjoyed today’s back pager as it contained quite a few clue constructions / synonyms / wordplay that were inventive and clever – especially in the NW / SW corners.

    Many thanks to our Monday Mr Ron for the puzzle and to MP for his review.

  42. Certainly more of a challenge today but satisfying. Would have made a good Saturday crossword. Took me at least twice as long as all last week’s. Clues all capable of being worked out without assistance. Last two in were 19a and 15d. I am pretty hot on church vestments which I was looking for in the latter. The spelling of the middle of the answer held me back but decided it must be right. 15d swiftly followed but I did not fully parse. Perfectly happy with 13a and 11a. Lots of favourites which I shall limit to 9 10 12 16 and 23a and 3 4 5 13 and 22d for simplicity and amusement

  43. Good evening evertybody.

    Mostly straightforward but held up by 19a, 15d, 2d and last in 11a.

    If there is such a camp I’m in the 11a was not a very good clue camp.


  44. We liked it better when you had to click to see the answer – was distressed to see them!

    PS don’t let the rude people get to you.

      1. It turns out it’s Tim’s phone that does the awful thing. Never to be used for crossword hints again!

        Thanks for making us look further.

  45. Very enjoyable puzzle which I found much easier than a Rufus whose mindset I can never achieve. A pleasent start to the week.
    For me **/***
    Thx to all.

  46. We liked it, except for the use of ‘anagram of’ as an anagram indicator. Really?

    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  47. Nope. Another DNF.

    Thought I was doing really well at first – got loads. Second half took a lot of head scratching with occasional seeing the light. But 11a and most of the SW corner stumped me.

    Thanks for the hints, Miffypops

  48. I know I am very late in posting for which I apologize. I did enjoy the puzzle, but for me no puzzle would be as enjoyable or enlightening without the magnificent blogs to which we have been treated for a very long time. Thank you to all, and thank you Miffypops for yet another excellent review.

    1. It is never too late Tony. The blogger gets a notification when a new comment is added. Thank you for your kind words

  49. I found this crossword one of the hardest I have tried possibly because it is a new compiler or is it because I’m a Moseley rugby supporter

      1. Moseley are a fine club with a great tradition. I had many good days out at The Redding’s and now at Billesley Common. I didn’t like the Universty days too much though. I remember watching Jan Webster at Cardiff Arms Park. In 1974 or thereabouts. Sam Doble was a giant of a player. Do you remember The a Boxing Day derby matches against Coventry. A highlight of Christmas for me.

  50. By hook or by crook…. I’ve just finished this crossword. Pretty awkward for a Monday but quite satisfying to complete. 16a was top clue and 2.5/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to MP for his review. Come on MP, don’t let a ******* get to you! Monday’s wouldn’t be the same without you!

  51. Enjoyed Miffypop’s poem to 26A
    **/**** for the puzzle-liked the flamboyant performer in 23A

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