DT 28649 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28649

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28649

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone, and welcome to an enjoyable Tuesday back-page puzzle.  I found this more straightforward than recent Tuesdays, so I have lowered the difficulty rating to a below-average 2*.

Last year we ran two surveys to learn more about the demographics and solving habits of the BD community.  Since then we’ve been accumulating suggestions for questions to include in a third survey.  So far, we have: number of puzzles solved per week, other puzzles solved regularly, puzzle filled out in newspaper/app/online/printout, ownership of a BRB, left/right-handed, male/female, working/retired, prize puzzle entry attempts and winnings, opinion of Spoonerisms.  If there’s anything else that you’d like to know about or from your fellow solvers, please mention it in a comment below and we’ll consider it for inclusion.

In the following hints underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and most indicators are italicized.  The answers will be revealed by clicking on the 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    Artist in state at flipping opera (2,8)
LA TRAVIATA:  Insert our usual artist in a Baltic state, and then append the reversal (flipping) of AT

6a    Fish, black as soot initially (4)
BASS:  Link together the pencil abbreviation for black, AS from the clue, and the first letter (initially) of SOOT

9a    Having head of security inside gallery makes sense (5)
TASTE:  Put the first letter of (head of) SECURITY inside a London art gallery

10a   One under no compulsion to release spy (4,5)
FREE AGENT:  Follow a word meaning to release by a noun synonym of spy

12a   Blandishments, fine lines describing former queen (7)
FLANNEL:  The abbreviation for fine, followed by two copies of the abbreviation for line that sandwich a former Queen of Great Britain and Ireland

13a   Danse macabre in saloon (5)
SEDAN:  An anagram (macabre) of DANSE

15a   Teacher in a flap, recalled coffee shop worker (7)
BARISTA:  Insert a term used to address a male teacher into A from the clue and a flap or tag.  The answer is then given by that lot reversed (recalled)

17a   Send male out to get carriage (7)
TRANSIT:  Send a radio message (for example) with the abbreviation for male deleted (male out)

19a   List that is full of incorrect times (7)
ITEMISE:  The Latin-derived abbreviation for “that is” containing (full of) an anagram (incorrect) of TIMES

21a   Writer with firearm bagging one bird (7)
PENGUIN:  Something you write with, followed by a firearm containing (bagging) the Roman numeral for one

22a   Log that may be turned into treen (5)
ENTER:   The clue says that the letters of the answer can be rearranged to give (may be turned into) TREEN, so the answer is an anagram of TREEN

24a   Person going to Margate perhaps runs into truck (7)
TRIPPER:  The cricket abbreviation for runs is inserted into a type of truck with a platform that can be tilted upwards for unloading

27a   High-flier's stand-in car I parked in allotment (9)
AUTOPILOT:  A generic car, followed by I from the clue inserted in (parked in) an allotment or piece of land

28a   A British national racecourse (5)
ASCOT:  A from the clue and a British national who is not English or Welsh

29a   Take home unopened tea service (4)
EARN:  Stick together TEA without its first letter (unopened) and the abbreviation for a British military service

30a   Stuffing not put back in bear (10)
PADDINGTON:  Follow some stuffing with the reversal (put back) of NOT



1d    Instrument female dropped for another one (4)
LUTE:  A wind instrument without the abbreviation for female (female dropped) is a string instrument

2d    After time, request church working party (4,5)
TASK FORCE:  The physics symbol for time, a (3,3) phrase meaning request, and a usual abbreviation for church

3d    Scene of conflict in region housing indefinite number (5)
ARENA:  A synonym of region containing (housing) a letter used in mathematics to represent an indefinite number

4d    From Spain, fantastic royal daughter (7)
INFANTA:  The answer is found hiding in (from) the remaining words of the clue.  In addition to being royal, this daughter is indeed also Spanish

5d    A kind of racing article having little depth? (3,4)
THE FLAT:  A grammatical article with an adjective meaning “having little depth”.  The answer is a type of horse racing

7d    At Hogwarts, Dumbledore was one up (5)
AHEAD:  Split (1,4) the answer could describe Dumbledore’s position in the hierarchy at Harry Potter’s school

8d    Schedule this month, one no longer changeable (3,2,5)
SET IN STONE:  Concatenate a synonym of schedule, an abbreviation for this month, and ONE from the clue

11d   Do without it, as ban involved (7)
ABSTAIN:  An anagram (involved) of IT AS BAN

14d   Destroy old book, well-read (10)
OBLITERATE:  Link together the abbreviation for old, the abbreviation for book, and an adjective meaning well-read

16d   It's to be raised, bishop winning support for a jockey (7)
STIRRUP:  Combine the reversal (to be raised, in a down clue) of IT’S, the usual abbreviated title used by a bishop, and a synonym of winning (seen in a clue not far from this one)

18d   Maybe four, score for stroke made by batsman? (6,3)
SQUARE CUT:  A type of number of which four is an example (maybe) and a score or incised line.  The answer is crickety

20d   Young Miss Havisham set off with Miss Fitzgerald (7)
ESTELLA:  An anagram (off) of SET, followed by (with) the first name of the Miss Fitzgerald also known as “The First Lady of Song”.  The young lady of the answer is a character in Dickens’ “Great Expectations”.  Here is Miss Fitzgerald:

21d   Trained and incisive (7)
POINTED:  A double definition.  Trained a weapon on a target, for example

23d   Coach tour rearranged to take in Turkey's capital (5)
TUTOR:  An anagram (rearranged) of TOUR containing (to take in) the capital letter in Turkey

25d   Flat's electric current shown in diagram (5)
PLAIN:  The physics symbol for electric current inserted in (shown in) a diagram or blueprint

26d   Shock caused by dangerous feat? No end (4)
STUN:  Take a five-letter dangerous feat and remove its last letter (… no end)


Thanks to the setter.  Today I particularly enjoyed 12a, 15a, 19a, 29a, 8d, 14d, 18d, and the Quick Crossword pun.  If I had to pick a favourite from that lot, it would have to be the smooth 19a.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  MINE+DHOW+HUGO=MIND HOW YOU GO

69 comments on “DT 28649

  1. Good fun with a pleasing new feel about several clues. Unopened tea service failed to ring a bell although solution obvious. Fav was 4d. Thank you Mysteron and Mr. K.

  2. I think that the setter must be a horse racing fan. This was easier than I was expecting, but still enjoyable. I had to do a Mr Googly thing for 18d and 20d just to check, as I hadn’t heard of the answers. 30a brought a smile. I made one for a best friend when I was at school, and bought it some little wellies to complete the outfit. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  3. A toss up between 29a and the Quickie pun for my favourite today. I found the whole puzzle comfortable to solve with lots to enjoy along the way, so 2* /3.5* for me.

    Thanks to both Misters.

  4. Harder than today’s toughie with some Dickens characters and tricky sporty things for me

    I really liked 13a, 19a and 30a.

    many thanks setter and Mr K.

  5. 1* / 3*. Very light but fun. The answer to 29a was obvious from the definition and checkers but the wordplay “unopened tea service” eluded me so I was very grateful for Mr K’s explanation.

    My favourite was the Quickie Pun.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  6. Very enjoyable 😃 **/*** I thought the Quicky Pun was great 👌 Favourites 27a and 20d Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter

  7. Gentle but enjoyable – 1.5*/3*. Not convinced about 5d, rather think the first word is unnecessary. Favourite was 23d – easy but just read so well. Thanks to setter and Mr. K.

  8. This took ** time today, but only, I think, because the builders next door think the best way to remove bathroom tiles is to blast Radio 2 at them at full volume.

    I was going to have a slight whinge about three Spanish words amongst the answers, but then I guessed one might be Italian, and that some GK was needed; but as I solved it anyway . . . .

    29a COTD for me. Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

    WRT the Quickie, my on-line Collins says the plural of 18a ends in an ‘i’.

  9. Gosh must have really been on wavelength this morning. Really pleasant offering and finished in good time. Dogs even got to go out early. Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  10. I enjoyed this crossword but do hope we are not expected to have a working knowledge of The Harry Potter series in crosswords of the future. 21d was my Belle of the ball. **/***
    Thanks setter and Mr K

    1. Generally, Harry Potter characters are probably better known these days than Dickens characters. I have read none of either, but I have heard of more of the former – a sign of the times, perhaps.

      I just wish we could avoid all this names and characters business and stick to vocabulary based puzzles. That would unquestionably be fairer to every solver.

  11. Bit of a mixed bag for me today. On the plus side, a cricketing clue 😀, on the other I had no idea who Miss Faversham was. Did learn today that Inst meant this month, I always thought it meant Instance.
    Did think 29a was a rather poor clue.
    The top half was */** and the bottom **/***.
    Thx to all

    1. I’m assuming that you didn’t go to school in UK! The mind boggles that, if you had, you are not familiar with the most famous book by the most famous English author.

      1. Are you implying that every child who went to school in England (uk?) read Dickens. I didn’t, only Thomas Hardy and Shakespear. I still haven’t read anything of Dickens.

        1. Me too, just Hardy and Shakespeare. I’ve never taken to Dickens, find his plots depressing and just so glad I didn’t live then…

      2. I went to one of the most famous grammar schools in the UK and I didn’t know this one either. Only a small proportion of us read Eng Lit.

        1. Oh dear, I did start a firestorm. I consider myself corrected. In the colonies we read so much Dickens and loved it. the chill when Magwitch appears out of the marshes to Pip, I still feel the excitement. Good stuff.

          Loved Shakespeare, had to read Hardy but never really “took” to him.

          1. Dont worry about it Merusa. I left school two weeks after my fifteenth birthday. My school was pre comprehensive – a sec mod in fact, but even we studied Charles D’s works. Not all of them of course, but most certainly Great Expectations and Oliver Twist which we read in turn aloud around the class.

            1. Great, now I don’t feel so bad, as I left at 15 too (but was allowed to go back and sit my GCEs), as my parents thought education was wasted on a girl. I thought it was a fine idea at the time, but have long since wished I could have stayed on as some of my teachers urged.

    2. Like Shakespearean characters those of Charles Dickens should be easy enough to work out. Those who have not read the book may have seen the film. A good memory from any type of quiz is helpful too. Remember her. She gets about a bit. Brian, you say that 29ac is a ‘poor’ clue. You really should say why you think it is poor. I think it is very good. The definition is not obvious The words tea service go together naturally. The misdirection is easily foisted upon us. The clue is succinct. Not a word is wasted. Your turn Brian.

      1. My turn first – I think that 29a is a clever clue for a common answer – took me ages to see why it was right. :roll:

  12. Some nice clues in this crossword which I found very much on the gentler side of the Telegraph’s range.

    (The Toughie is friendly too and I’d recommend it, especially to northerners.)

    Many thanks.

  13. Short but very sweet solve – I do like the style of this Mr Tuesday.

    Managed the cricket clue OK – RD will hopefully be proud of me – but the description of said stroke left a very weird mental image!

    Podium places awarded to 10,12&29a along with 14d. 29a took the laurels for being one of the best clues I can remember for a pesky 4 letter answer. The Quickie pun was excellent – perhaps we should have a competition for ‘pun of the year’!

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K for the blog. Hope Miss K will master the art of 15a before her next visit!

    1. I thought of you, Jane, when I solved that clue but I had confidence that you would manage it. You are a star pupil!

      1. I might just have to clarify, that wasn’t actually by me! Courtesy of Mr Google, and to my surprise, the worst example I could find. I thought there’d be some real howlers around. I might have a go for real … in that case I promise you the results would be laughable. Blessed with artistic talent I wasn’t.

  14. No problems, and no favorites…apart from the Quickie pun, which is brilliant. Thanks to Mr. K for the blog and to the setter for a pleasant outing.

    1. If you feel inclined to have a go at today’s Toughie, there is one clue which might have been included just for you.

  15. As it held me up the longest, I’ll have to choose 5d as my favoufite clue. Otherwise all very straightforward making for a very enjoyable solve. Wasn’t completely certain about my answer to 21d, but no other word seemed right. Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K. Btw, I loved the Quickie pun. Nice one :-D

  16. Very enjoyable indeed, I dare say had this one been earmarked for a Monday slot it would have fitted in seamlessly.

    My top three clues were 19a, 14d and 21d. Like RD, the parsing of 29a eluded me too initially, but unlike Brian, I thought it far from poor.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K, very nice to meet you at last on Saturday.

    1. Thanks, silvanus. I enjoyed meeting you and several other blog regulars at the bash last Saturday.

  17. Not as hard as I usuallY find tuesdays offerings. Started with a bung in of the only opera I knew that fitted (2,8) then a bit of musing to parse it. The top half flowed quite quickly but an error with Miss Havisham held The SW up a bit. I had a similar bung in and parse later with the tea service.
    14d and 8d tied for COTD IMO.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the hints and the 15a who drew your portrait in the coffee deserves praise too.

  18. I surprised myself when I got the cricket reference.
    Thanks , Mr K , for the proper explanation of 20d, I just googled and guessed.
    A very enjoyable puzzle , fun while it lasted.

  19. Well what a super puzzle brilliant from start to finish with so many outstanding clues. Right on the wavelength with this one, but don’t know anything about Harry Potter but got 7a from the word play. Last in 29a more of a bung in that one, sorry to say. Thanks Mr K for the explanation in the hints.

    Clue of the day: 2d I reckon is a star liked 14d as well.

    Rating 2.5* / 4.5*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  20. First time with this blog Stuck on 1a, 18d and 5d. 20d ok because I’m a Dickens fan!. Very enjoyable – thanks Mr, K.

    1. Welcome to the blog, bryngwyn. Did the hints above help get you unstuck on those three clues, or do you need more assistance?

  21. Another treasure, loved it. I did need to refer to BD’s crickety file for 18d, not at all surprising.
    So many good clues it’s hard to choose a fave, so I’m going for 30a because I love him.
    Thanks to our Tuesday setter and to Mr. Kitty for his hints and pics, particularly at 15a.

  22. This was over way too soon, in fact almost a dreaded R&W! I’ll take 14d as fave clue, and 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

  23. Pretty much what Silvanus said at #18, apart from meeting Mr K which I haven’t.

    Thanks to Messrs Ron and K.

  24. Very enjoyable.
    I don’t think I found it quite as easy as everyone else but the routine is up the spout as I’ve been out all day.
    Sorting out why 1a was what it was caused trouble briefly and so did 29a.
    I tried to make an anagram out of 18d for a while but that wouldn’t work – then had a guess and googled it – it’s not in the BRB.
    I liked 10 and 30a and 1 and 2d. My favourite was 20d.
    Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K.

  25. A bit more GK than we see in many cryptics but all of it was stuff that we did know at least vaguely. We did confirm that we had the 20d name correct after we had got it from the wordplay. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  26. I thought this was pretty straightforward but got held up on 18d 21d and 30a. I was fixated on bearing up, for 21, and felt that padding was something you stuff rather than stuffing. I liked the answer when I twigged. Needed the explanation for 15a so thanks for that.

  27. Thoroughly enjoyable, and most definitely on the easy side, say * for difficulty? Last in the SE corner.

  28. I found this very straightforward. I blame Big Dave’s Blog for teaching me so well. If you are a newcomer to this site leave now. Life might never be the same again. Thanks to today’ setter and thanks to Mr Kitty. Your chosen illustration for 4d has fascinated me since I was a very little boy. It still does. What on earth is she hiding beneath that skirt? Look at her face. Guilt is written all over it.

  29. Took me a long time to get 7d for some reason.
    A great clue.
    I believe that on Thursday we celebrate 20 years of HP.
    The library next door to the Jardin is having a late night extravaganza Cocktails at 6.30pm if anyone is interested.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  30. Great stuff.
    I’m not sure the article is necessary in 5d, other then to fill the spaces!!
    I had a punt that Dumbledore was the headmaster, I have never read a Harry Potter book.
    Miss Havisham was a shoe-in for me being a Dickens nut, currently re-reading Nicholas Nickleby.
    Hard to pick a favourite, but if you insist, 30a.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr.Ron

  31. I found some of the clues rather tricky though got them by logic. I’ve not read Dickens or Harry Potter, never heard of ‘Inst’. So a **/** for me.
    I find these crosswords a great source of completely useless information. Useless other than for solving more puzzles that is :-)

    1. Surely the intention of BD and his cohorts is indeed to provide useful cruciverbal solving assistance sometimes with a bonus of some GK thrown in for good measure? 🤨

  32. This one took me a while…but I started late in the day so may have had a bit of brain fade.
    Got there in the end.
    Bunged in 29a, so very glad to get the parsing from Mr K.
    Haven’t read any Harry Potter, so another bung in at 7d.
    Knew the Dickens, though.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K..

  33. Some very elegant surfaces (eg 1a and 19a), and I thought the quickie pun was excruciatingly brilliant! 😀

  34. Not quite as much fun as Monday but another quick solve. Did not parse fully 29a. No problem with the literary clues. Not read or watched Harry Potter so looked up Dumbledore and when I saw his role at the school the answer was obvious. I have read Great Expections and it has been a number of film and television versions. The name was easy to get as most people would have heard of Miss Fitzgerald plus the partial anagram. Estella was Old Miss Havisham’s niece (hence Young Miss Havisham’s played by Jean Simmons in the 1946 film and by Holliday Grainger in the 2012 version. Favourites 21 and 30a for simplicity. Also 8d. When I first started work (before the plain English campaign) inst. was routinely used in business letters as was ult. for last month. Thanks all.

  35. Started yesterday at breakfast and only now getting back to finish. Thanks Mr K for excellent hints, loved pictures at 15a the and 21a. Favourite clue was 30a.

  36. Suggested Question for survey:

    How many % better at solving crosswords is your early morning brain than your late evening?

  37. Liked the picture in the hint to 21A
    Agree quickie pun is very good
    1.5*/3* for the puzzle

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