DT 28653 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28653 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28653 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Very end of May — that comes after May (6)
According to Chambers the definition is an “adverb (now informal, usually with a tinge of irony except in US)” – put the final letter (end) of [Ma]Y after a word meaning may, without the deliberately misdirecting capital letter

9a    Not far off being involved in barney (6)
An anagram (being involved) of BARNEY – the enumeration could equally have been (4,2) or (4-2), all are valid

10a    Generous worker foregoes a certain amount (8)
A worker in front of (foregoes) a certain amount – it’s no wonder that foreigners have difficulty with the English language when to forego can mean either to go before or to go without

14a    Chap after dieting who’s often seen in dock? (10)
Split as (7,3) this could describe a chap after he has been dieting – it’s not a prisoner but someone who might be found working in a dock

22a    Biased, but perhaps wholly right (3-5)
… it can also mean wholly left, but that wouldn’t achieve the misdirection of right meaning correct

23a    Get one’s case cleared … (6)
A cryptic definition of what one might do to one’s case when arriving in a holiday destination

24a    … if served (8)
My “clue of the day” is a simple but effective double definition

25a    Bump mum off for estate? (6)
… closely followed by this one which needs to be split (2,2,2) in order to understand the wordplay

27a    Scattered tattered trews — new to follow (6)
A very simple anagram (tattered) of TREWS followed by N(ew)


1d    Kind of record set ahead of college game (8)
A kind of vinyl record with only one sound track followed by a shortened word for a college traditionally offering a wide variety of vocational courses

2d    Short woman is teasing in party clothes (4,4)
The short version of a woman’s name followed by a verb meaning is teasing

The royalties from this song by Mike d’Abo (at the time the lead singer with Manfred Mann, having replaced Paul Jones in 1966) have kept him comfortably off for life

3d    Catalogue not allowed after the usual time (8)
The definition here is a verb – a word meaning not allowed is followed by one meaning after the usual time

8d    Read about my being vague (6)
An anagram (about) of READ followed by MY from the clue

15d    Make an impression and refuse to agree (5,3)
Chambers has these two definitions of this phrasal verb

16d    Adventure in our time, boarding flight (8)
The non-pc suffix meaning in our time (oh how I dislike the phrase Common Era) inside a flight or getaway

19d    Metal detector? (6)
Note that detector is followed by a question mark to indicate that it is not the actual word used for this person who detects – I loved this story of the metal detectorists who thought they had unearthed a stash of Roman gold coins only to find that the “coins” were a prop for a TV sitcom

21d    Revolt is encircled, apparently (6)
Put IS in a word which indicates that it is encircled

The Crossword Club is now open.

I would like to echo what Senf said last weekend – we try to select the more difficult clues for these hints, but any clue is only easy if you know the answer.  Feel free to write to me (use the Contact page) on Saturday morning to suggest a clue or two for inclusion.  I’m sorry, but I can’t answer queries directly, only via the hints.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

The Quick Crossword pun: pill+gramme+age=pilgrimage

70 comments on “DT 28653 (Hints)

  1. Great diversion to kick off the weekend. SW corner last to go in although now I can’t understand what the hold-up was. Fav was definitely 25a. Thank you Mysteron and BD.

  2. This puzzle, for me, was pretty tricky to gain a foothold. It certainly seemed a step up in difficulty compared to ‘normal’ Saturdays or maybe I was off wavelength. Either way, I really enjoyed solving this one.

    Thanks to BD and setter 3*/4*

  3. Well that was a good mental workout, I got there in the end without having to revert to the hints. 14A floated my boat but clue of the day was 25A not only did it raise a smile I thought it was brilliant. Many thanks to the setter & to BD for the partial clues.

  4. I, too, found this at the harder end of the setting spectrum, but that is fair enough for a prize crossword, and certainly cheered up a cold and wet Saturday morning. 25a has to take the top spot for me, and overall this very enjoyable, testing puzzle was 3.5* /4* .

    Thanks to the Saturday setter and BD. Bring on the Six Nations.

  5. I am having considerable difficulty in rating today’s offering which was a real curate’s egg for me. Some clues almost answered themselves and others put up quite a fight. Some clues were excellent, e.g.: 24a, 25a (my favourite) & 21d (although I’m not sure if “apparently” is really necessary) but the less said about some others (most notably 26a) the better.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron. Also to BD – particularly for the music clip for 2d. I didn’t realise it was written by Mike d’Abo.

    1. In 21d you have to read the clue in a particular way to get the IS encircled, which is why the setter has added the word apparently. It’s difficult to say much more without breaching my own guidelines!

  6. This one was about average for a weekday back-pager, slightly above average for a Sat Prize and enjoyable enough. 3d: nice to see a rare alternative 4-letter spelling of “not allowed”, rather than the usual 5-letter one – probably only known to us crossword enthusiasts. My favourite clue was 14a, although I did get held up for a while because I was thinking of the wrong “dock”. 2.5* / 3.5*.

  7. Oh my goodness, firstly BD thanks so much for the treat of one of my favourite ever songs – apologies to Mike D’Abo, but far better done by Rod Stewart closely followed by the Stereophonics.

    Anyway, back to the crossword which I enjoyed as always. I really liked 14a (chap after dieting) and 19a (metal detector). I missed the anagram for far too long in 9a (barney). I thought 12a and 26a were a bit clunky, but having said that, it’s fun unravelling them.

    All in all a nice and not too difficult challenge. Many thanks to the setter and BD

    PS. I don’t know whether other iPad solvers have the same problem, but I really find it a bind flipping from this site and back to the crossword when either writing a comment or reading others. Apart from resorting to making pen and paper notes, does anyone have any tips?

    1. My ranking is The Stereophonics closely followed by Sir Rod but they both owe a debt of gratitude to Mike d’Abo for a great song.

        1. Nice one, Gazza. I didn’t know that he too had recorded a version. I’ve just listened to it and very good it is too. That prompted me to indulge in a spot of nostalgia and listen to one of my (many) favourite tracks (sorry, Kath) from the 60s – Out of Time.

        1. That’s a very interesting comment, Brian, and I’m just wondering whether some other contributors have actually missed it. Rod first came to my attention with Steampacket although I was more interested in Julie Driscoll, who had the most mesmerising eyes…

    2. Double click the home button and it will show both sites then it’s easy to switch between them.

      1. Thanks Brian, I’ll give it a go. I’ve just done it and it turns out that that’s what I do already, but sometimes the crossword has to reload and it’s a real nuisance. Still never mind, it’s worth it.

  8. It took me a while to get into this, but then all was fine. My favourites were 22a, 24a and 25a.

    I like the Detectorists story (and the show too).

    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  9. Super puzzle today, not easy but very satisfying to complete. My favourite was def 14a, it made me smile.😀
    The top left was last in but once seen it was obvious – hindsight is a wonderful thing!
    Needed the hint to explain my answer to 16d, I totally agree about BCE etc to that extent that I refuse to use it when I do talks. Interestingly enough I find the audience usually in total agreement. I suspect a case of the political tail wagging the dog.
    Thx to all.

      1. Oooh wait a minute, it’s not the one in the answer is it? It’s the other one!

        Still, it’s madness anyway

  10. I’ll be interested to read Gnomey’s review on Friday to see whether or not he found this four-separate corner inside back pager a birthday treat – I’d call it a mix of R&W and clues that took a bit more work.

    Thanks to the Saturday setter, BD and, in advance, to the birthday boy

  11. I found this quite straightforward for three-quarters of it although some took a bit of head scratching. Then I was left with a completely empty SW. This took ages but got there in the end. 24 and 25 my favourites.
    Hope you had a good party last weekend.

  12. Thank you for your hints today, Dave, because I had a problem with 1a and, as a consequence, it was the NW corner which was filled in last. I’m relieved to have got the puzzle out of the way before lunchtime because I can now indulge myself by watching this afternoon’s rugby without having incomplete answers nagging away at the back of my mind.

  13. A very enjoyable puzzle of four corners completed at a gallop one at a time – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 13d, 21d – and the winner is 13d.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  14. After an iffy week all came good today. I loved 25a because it made me smile and was rather 5d at the amount of time I spent disentangling the NW corner. Hope weekend going well for you, weather in East Anglia is cold and dry.

  15. Sorry forgot my manners thanks to BD and setter. Please when are we going to get some pictures from last week’s Big Bash?

  16. Found this a little difficult and needed some electronic help and perservation with it! Thanks for hints Dave
    Happy Birthday to Gnomey!!!
    Now lets get ready for the Rugby … Come on Wales … Or should I say … Come on Scarlets!!!!

  17. 25a has an excellent chance of being COTY (Clue Of The Year). Truly outstanding.

    BD, how about, at the start of December, you throw 10 clues in to the ring which we vote on to get the COTY?

    In the words of a TV resident of Peckham…you know it makes sense.

    1. There was a similarly good clue fairly recently – Start restaurant review (8) (It has to be split 2,2,1,3 for the D’oh! moment)

  18. Could someone please explain the link between 23a and24a ……
    Enjoyed the crossword, thanks to the setter and BD. This is a terrific site which I look at everyday.

        1. They link the two surfaces to make sense ie as one sentence. ‘If served’ would not be an adequate surface on it’s own.

          1. The dots confused me too – I got 24a but not 23 without the BD hint and still couldn’t see a connection. Needed the hint for 25a too – a real groaner!

              1. People have tried to explain the dots to me too.
                Even using their posh name which I have now forgotten.

                I’ve never ‘got it’ so tend to ignore them.

  19. Very satisfying solve if quite a struggle at times. I think too many G&Ts last night didn’t help. Favourites were 14&25a. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  20. I thought that was good fun and didn’t have too many hold-ups.
    I was stupidly slow to get 1a and then, having got it, carried on being stupidly slow to see why.
    I had no idea that the suffix used in 16d was now considered non-PC – why?
    Like others I love the 2d song and didn’t know that Mike d’Abo wrote it.
    I liked 1 and 22a and 19d. No question about my favourite – it’s got to be 25a because it made me laugh.
    A thoroughly miserable day in Oxford – very cold, grey and drizzly – on to NTSPP and MPP now.

    1. Some consider the 16d suffix to be offensive to those of other faiths. Personally, I am in total agreement with BD.

      1. I’d never heard it was considered non-PC! How bizarre. I think i’m living in an alternate world.

    2. Oh dear – my manners have deserted me – thanks to whoever set this one, to BD for the hints and to Senf for answering my question.

  21. It was all swimming along nicely until I hit the SW corner which caused a bit of head scratching. Eventually the lightbulb switched on. Favourite clue was 25a followed by 24a. Thank you setter and BD

  22. A super puzzle full of smiles and a lot of fun from start to finish. The fun is an important part of the crossword for me and this was very entertaining and that equals fun. Loved loads of the clues but actually had a slow start, then it all came together really nicely. Another great puzzle to finish off an excellent week.No need for any help I’m pleased to say.

    Clue of the day: 1a (Last in, easy when the coin dropped) and 25a are in pole position today.

    Rating 2.5* / 4.5*

    Thanks to BD and especially the setter.

  23. Top half took ** minutes, bottom half required another pint and a half!

    18a – have the answer but can’t for the life of me work it out.

      1. Duh! It really is mystifying how sometimes it can be staring you in the face but one still can’t see it.


    1. Re 18a fear of naughty corner prevents me giving a real hint but think about a frequently occurring cryptic device.
      Oh, Kath beat me to it and she somehow avoided the naughty corner!

  24. Late on parade today – my turn to host the ‘girls lunch’.

    Stupidly slow to get 23a and thought the misdirection in 3d was a clever touch.

    Top three for me were 24&25a ( is the latter a chestnut, I wonder?) along with 2d.

    Many thanks to Mr Saturday Ron and to BD for the club – great set of hints and some enjoyable music to accompany them.

    Thank goodness there’s no compelling viewing on TV tonight – could be busy with the NTSPP and the MPP!

  25. Well that was a puzzle of 4 distinct quarters. First pass got me very little but once I got going NE was done before any where else followed by all in the SE then SW leaving me a big void in the NW. I had to go on a little trip to B&Q which was a complete nightmare and my karma was completely ruined by horrible weather and inconsiderate motorists. When I returned I turned to the hints and I agree with others that 14a and 25a were pretty equal contenders for COTD.
    The 1a and 1d combo completely eluded me until I looked at the hints 1a in particular was def not my sort of clue so thanks to BD for nudging me in the right direction and to the setter for a chance to calm myself with the last few clues.

  26. Does anyone have a hint for 13d please? The last one (apart from that) was 1a – didn’t click that the definition was very.

    1. 13d – the definition is ‘advanced position’ and I can’t really elaborate much on that but you need a card game with four players followed by a top master, maybe in a school.
      Sorry that doesn’t sound very helpful but I hope it is.

  27. I was held up for ages in the SW corner, last in was 20d.
    My fave, without doubt, was 25a, but 1d was good too.
    Thanks to Saturday setter and to BD for his hints.

  28. A good prize puzzle that one. A wee bit more difficult than some recent Saturdays have been, but very enjoyable for all of that. I marked five clues as my favourites . . . . 14 & 25 across and 20, 21 & 26 down. Thanks to setter and BD.

  29. This sort of grid with four isolated corners always makes me feel a little uneasy, because if you get stuck somewhere then you really get stuck. Thankfully that didn’t happen today and I managed, despite feeling that this was a little tricky, to finish in * time. Favourite clue among many enjoyable ones 21d.

  30. A nice diversion from a thoroughly grotty day’s weather: 2*/4*. I had little ticks of approval against quite a few clues, but 14a and 25a vie for favouritism. Thanks to the setter, and to Big Dave.

  31. Just right level of difficulty for a prize puzzle. On first look it seemed too complicated to me. However I got cracking and soon filled in most of the grid. The four separate quarters were not too much of a difficulty once one of the answers was solved. My last corner in was the SW and the last clue in was 26a. In view of the way it is printed I missed the last line of the clue.25 and 24a have to be the best clues with 13 and 19d. Not too happy with 1d although I got the answer. So far as I know in this the second part of the answer is no longer a college in this country. “Old college” would have been good and a nice misdirection.I did not think there was much cryptic about 23a. All in all enjoyable, thanks Setter. Thanks also BD got 1a without help but hint handy with the parsing.

  32. The North half went in relatively quickly, but the South put up a good fight.

    23a defeated me completely for some reason and I needed the hint.

    14a was my favourite.

    A much more enjoyable Saturday than normal…!

    Thanks to all.

  33. I was also in the group that ground to a halt when I got to the SW corner. Everything else completed but that corner held out for a long time. Actually 13d is still puzzling me, but I hope the light bulb goes on soon. Thanks for the hints BD. Enjoyed the challenge today.

  34. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, as most people have said, it was a real mixture of easy and difficult clues. The SW corner was last to fall. 1d,14&25a all made me laugh. 23a was last in. Favourite was 19d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  35. A bit trickier than usual for a Saturday I thought, but I got there in the end with a wee bit of help from hints and the electronic devices.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  36. Last as often.. Rugby and household duties delayed getting on the blog, but got there in the end thanks to BD. There were a few that I thought were more difficult than they actually were! Like most I was impressed by the clue for 25a!
    1a was not a good one to start- somewhat convoluted- and a few jump off the page when one had a few letters, like 19d for instance!
    Thanks to setter for an interesting puzzle.

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