DT 28655 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28655

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28655

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Today's crossword offers us pretty much everything on the cryptic menu: anagrams, lurkers, a homophone, cryptic definitions, double definitions, and some wonderfully complex charades.  Adding smooth surfaces and some masterful misdirection to the mix resulted in a puzzle that I found more challenging than the Tuesday norm.  I can't decide if it's by a setter that we've met before or if, having been told that at least one new-to-the-Telegraph setter is testing the back-page waters, it's somebody new.

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    Glib revolutionary's plots (7)
PATCHES:  Connect together a synonym of glib and our usual revolutionary with his 'S from the clue

5a    Loudly upset about term used in Scrabble? It's inventive (7)
FERTILE:  Concatenate the musical abbreviation for loudly, the reversal (upset) of a usual word for about or concerning, and the term used in Scrabble for the game pieces marked with letters

9a    Biting  piece of fried potato (5)
CRISP:  A straightforward double definition

10a   A leopard nearly injured one loveless jumbo? (9)
AEROPLANE:  Link together A from the clue, an anagram (injured) of LEOPARD without its last letter (nearly), and ONE without the letter that looks like a love score in tennis (loveless).  The ? at the end of the clue indicates that jumbo here is a definition by example

11a   Request popular vitamins with 50 per cent off? Note: no returns (10)
INVITATION:  Combine our usual word for popular, half of the letters in VITAMINS (… with 50% off), a note on the sol-fa scale, and NO reversed (returns)

12a   Element's piercing buzz in cooker (4)
ZINC:  The answer is hidden in (piercing) the remainder of the clue

14a   New tennis player touching the man -- to a smaller degree though (12)
NEVERTHELESS:  Another mega-charade.  Cement together the abbreviation for new, the player who ruled women's tennis from 1974-1982, a pronoun for "the man", and an adjective meaning "to a smaller degree"

18a   Tiny scuffle involved restraining one adequately (12)
SUFFICIENTLY:  An anagram (involved) of TINY SCUFFLE containing (restraining) the Roman numeral for one

21a   Almost flawless plan (4)
IDEA:  All but the last letter (almost) of flawless or impeccable

22a   High price often reveals excellence (10)
PERFECTION:  An anagram (high) of PRICE OFTEN

25a   Charmed editor after a short time with paper (9)
ATTRACTED:  Our usual abbreviation for editor comes after all of A from the clue and the physics symbol (short) for time with paper in the form of a leaflet or pamphlet

26a   Cross Italy with speed (5)
IRATE:  The abbreviation for Italy with a synonym of speed

27a   Old tree left in front of yard (7)
ELDERLY:  A tree related to honeysuckle and the abbreviation for left followed by (in front of) an abbreviation for yard

28a   They support layabouts getting browned off (7)
SUNBEDS:  A cryptic definition of what people trying to get brown might lie on



1d    Dine out? (6)
PICNIC:  A cryptic definition of eating in the open air

2d    Criminal I've put in the nick (6)
THIEVE:  An anagram (criminal) of I'VE put in THE from the clue

3d    Injection before the son is 21 (10)
HYPOTHESIS:  Place a noun that's short for injection before THE from the clue, the abbreviation for son, and IS from the clue

4d    Found second pastry (5)
START:  A charade of the abbreviation for second and an open pastry 

5d    Lost in mist -- bad when two characters swap places (9)
FORGOTTEN:  Connect synonyms of mist (3) and of bad (6).  Then swap two letters to create a synonym of lost

6d    King inclined to be fascinated (4)
RAPT:  Fuse together a Latin abbreviation for king and inclined or likely

7d    Fancied one martini, initially? Edward's after a drink (8)
IMAGINED:  A five-part charade:  The Roman one, the first letter (initially) of MARTINI, A from the clue, a juniper-flavoured drink, and a contraction of Edward

8d    Work out tax cut by the Queen (8)
EXERCISE:  A type of tax containing (cut by) the usual abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth

13d   Cook left rice on -- something sent back (10)
REFLECTION:  An anagram (cook) of LEFT RICE ON

15d   Plunge upside down, softly -- no good, obviously (9)
EVIDENTLY:  Start with the reversal (upside down, in a down clue) of plunge or plummet, and append an adverb meaning softly.  Then delete the abbreviation for good (no good)

16d   Guess this person's coming into property (8)
ESTIMATE:  "This person's" from the perspective of the setter is inserted into (coming into) a large property

17d   Studied what could be achieved with new leader (8)
AFFECTED:  Changing the first letter (with new leader) of a word meaning achieved gives (what could be) a synonym of studied.  Initial doubts about the definition were erased by checking the Chambers and Oxford online thesauri

19d   Attack island in craft (6)
TIRADE:  Insert the map abbreviation for island in craft or vocation

20d   French city  displeases (6)
ANGERS:  A double definition.  The city is in north-western France

23d   Back in house, daffodil loses colour (5)
FADES:  The answer is lurking reversed in (back in) the rest of the clue

24d   Reasonable price by the sound of it (4)
FAIR:  The answer sounds like (by the sound of it) the price of a bus ride, for example


Thanks to today’s setter for a very enjoyable tussle.  Please consider taking a bow for it in the comments below.  My favourite today was the clever, concise, and original 2d.  Honourable Mentions go to 11a, the lurkers 12a and 23d, 14a, 22a (great anagram indicator), 27a, 1d, 8d, and 17d.  Which clues appealed to you?


The Quick Crossword pun:  PLAICE+ MATTE=PLACE MAT

75 comments on “DT 28655

  1. Most of this puzzle went in fairly smoothly, but a was held up by a handful of clues that needed quite a bit more cogitation on my part.

    Thanks to Mr K and setter 3*/3*

  2. I agree that this was a tad tougher than recent Tuesdays have been but that’s not a bad thing. I enjoyed the brain workout so I’ll go for ***/****.

    Not sure about a favourite but it’s either 2d or 10a.

    Perhaps this is a new setter as the style didn’t ring any bells with me, but then I’m about the worstsetter spotter there is :sad: Anyway, thanks to whoever did set the puzzle and to Mr K for the review.

  3. The setter’s bark was worse than his/her bite – slow start and then a pleasant stroll through the park finishing in the NE. I had similar doubt to Mr. K about 17d. My Fav was 14a for its veritable cryptic nature. Thank you Mysteron (perhaps a female setter on this centenary day?!) and Mr. K.

  4. Well I’m not sure whether to give this 4 or 5 stars. I was left with 6 clues when I had to resort to electronic means. Some of the definitions are a little stretched for me, and I didn’t know the city.

    I think this was a Toughie in disguise.

    Many thanks to Messrs K and Ron.

  5. This was a step up in difficulty from the usual back-pager and very enjoyable – I agree with the ****/**** rating. Thanks to the (new?) setter and to Mr K. The clues I liked best were 14a, 2d and 5d.

  6. I have really struggled again today and found it impossible without Mr K’s invaluable assistance. It must be a new setter!

  7. Concise, tricky clues and only one-word answers – it couldn’t be, could it? No, it’s not a Ray T but it’s certainly on a par with that great setter. Somebody new? – I can’t guess this one at all. Excellent, the best Tuesday puzzle for ages – good, challenging clues and a very enjoyable solve. Let’s have one of these every week! 4*/ 4.5*.

  8. 3.5* / 4*. Very enjoyable and quite tough in parts with accurate and mostly brief cluing. As Mr K says there was a lot of variety included which adds to the interest when solving. The only clue I didn’t like was the very wordy 14a.

    2d was my favourite, with 11a in second place.

    Many thanks to Mr Newman and to Mr K.

  9. I found my usual starting place in the NW corner somewhat elusive, so instead of being organised carried on with a ‘scatter gun ‘approach which eventually produced the desired result.
    Failed to complete the solve with the breakfast tea and toast and was driving off to work when I suddenly twigged 1a and 1d- the rest is history !.
    All in all a very good crossword and a***or****/**** , thanks to setter for the pleasure, and Mr K for the pics..
    Not attempting a single favourite- just the charades in general

  10. I wasn’t sure what to make of this at first. It was certainly at the tougher end of the setting spectrum, and it took me a while to get going. That said, I was rewarded with a fairly complex but enjoyable tussle that kept me interested throughout. 2d was my COTD and overall I felt that this was worthy of a 4* /4* rating.

    Thanks to our Tuesday setter and to Mr K.

  11. This one took me double normal time sorting out the 6-7 remaining clues. Sort it I did though and without any assistance which was massively satisfying. An excellent puzzle with a very well concealed anagram at 22a which gets a medal from me.
    Not only coffee disappeared but the pot had gone cold too and Radio 3 had to go off.
    A great workout. Loved it and agree with Mr K’s grading of ****/**** and maybe even a tad more for enjoyment.
    Liked the amusing blog pictures
    Whomever set this, thanks!

  12. I enjoyed this. Interesting to see the multiplicity of favourites already emerging.

    Last in was 5a which shares my podium with 22a (something I always seek even though it doesn’t exist).

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  13. Definitely a stretch but very achievable. It is time we were more challenged. Thanks to the setter, i like your style. Thanks too to our blogger, The pet shop is looking a bit sparse today Mr K.

  14. I agree that this was a good crossword, that it was trickier than usual for a Tuesday and that the style felt unfamiliar.
    1a and 1d were my last two answers – I was thinking of the wrong kind of ‘plots’ for 1a and I don’t have an excuse for 1d.
    I missed the anagram in 22a so that took a while.
    I’m not keen on 3d – hypo isn’t short for injection – it’s a prefix that means, among other things, under. In this case it’s short for hypodermic meaning under the skin – it’s not an injection per se. Rant now over!
    I particularly liked 14a and 2d. My favourite was 5d.
    With thanks to the setter, whoever he or she may be, and to Mr K.

    1. I was also perturbed by that usage of hypo in 3d and I can’t recall ever hearing it used in that way. But, to my surprise, I found it listed in the usual dictionaries as an informal short synonym of injection. I’ve added a dictionary link to the hint.

      1. I know what the BRB says but I’m still going to argue about it if only because it’s just plain wrong – hypodermic is an adjective.

        1. “administer an injection of saline”, “administer a hypodermic syringe of saline”, “administer a hypodermic of saline” all sound fine to me, and having realised that, I suppose I’m also OK with “administer a hypo of saline”. It’s not something I would say though.

          1. At the risk of sounding bloody-minded here, and I’m really not trying to be, no! Administer a syringe of saline hypodermically as opposed to intramuscularly or intravenously.
            Forget it – we’re not going to agree on this.

          2. Mr K. I’m with you on “hypo”. There are many informal/colloquial words/terms that are in common use and have found their ways into dictionaries – but, of course, most professionals/academics in a particular field will insist they they are “wrong”, but they are not. Lexicographers don’t list them just for “fun”. Another example is castle as an alternative (colloquial/informal) term for rook.

  15. Don’t know who this setter is but if this is an example of his/her clues, I can live without them. Clues like 14a have no place in a backpager in my opinion, save them for the Toughie. All you are doing with complex backpager s like this is alienating new solvers. Far too tricky for the backpage.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Well I thought ‘things are looking up’ today Brian. (I particularly liked 5d). You may have a point though. The fact is, we are not newcomers any more. I suppose it is possible to take that for granted.

    2. Agree about alienating new solvers…I like the skill level to build up through the week. When I struggle on a Tuesday my confidence is blown for the week.

    3. I have to agree with Brian on this. Several clues had very loose connections to their definitions, albeit in some dictionaries. And if this was my first day I probably wouldn’t return. I had problems and being doing these for donkeys years. Doubt I will ever rise to the proficiency of the advanced solvers. Felt this one was closer to a Toughie. Thanks for the hints Mr K, otherwise I would have thrown in the towel long ago.

  16. Thanks for the difficulty rating Mr K, usually when I struggle I’m greeted by one star and a succession of R&W claims from the usual suspects.
    Took ages to do, but an enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks to compiler.

  17. I must have been right on wavelength, then, because the only one that gave me any trouble was 19D. 5D is my pick today. Thanks to Mr. K and the setter.

  18. The first time I have solved a **** without the hints for a very long time, if ever! I must grown some new brain cells or something…

    Favourite was also my last one in 5d. I often struggle with this type of clue so was particularly satisfied to solve it without help.

    For once I agree with the rating.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  19. Phew! That was a work out and a half.
    I only managed to complete this one by inserting the clues in the electronic paper tben checking how many letters I had wrong. (quite a lot).

    A bit too hard for me today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his admirable hints.

  20. Affect v Effect is a problem for many people

    Though they can be both a noun and verb, the usual one is Affect/Noun and Effect/Verb.

    I used to hesitate before using them until I was told this handy way to remember it….



      1. The mnemonic I use for the colours of the rainbow is “Ron Of the Yobs Goes Bundling In Venice” – you won’t find that on the internet (until now!).

      1. Hi Angel Lov.

        I always tell children, when I do my school presentations, that if they use RAVEN they will be right 9 out of 10 as it’s not nailed on which I mentioned above.

        I am amazed you missed it.

        1. Yes indeed, Sir L, but even so Raven didn’t help you in your preamble where you got them the wrong way round! Your secret is safe with us; we promise not to tell your pupils.

          1. That’s more like it, Rabbi D. Someone who reads before they speak goes to the top of the class.

            C minus, Angel, Lov(e).

            Could do better.

            Just to let you know that I am not a teacher, in case you thought I was. I tour the UK, under the guise of Sir Linkalot, spreading the joy of linking to the kiddywinks, their pedagogues and parents. Bizarrely, I have never taught in my life.
            P.S I can’t believe I typed them the wrong way round…..doh!

            1. You are obviously very tough on your kiddywinks if a C Minus (could do better) is the result of repeating a correct comment!🙁

    1. As is often the case with the English Language there are differing opinions. My source of reference in these situations is the wonderful Usage and Abusage – A Guide to Good English by Eric Partridge:

      “affect and effect as verbs are frequently confused, both in pronunciation and in spelling. Effect is ‘to bring about’, ‘to accomplish’; affect is ‘to produce an effect on’; ‘to attack, move, touch’. (S.O.E.D.) … Even the nouns are occasionally confused, though only effect is in common usage.”

      1. I read a study once that the verb Affect is used 85% of the time when the verb Effect is 15% but I don’t know how comprehensive the study was. So, I tell children to go with the odds, if they forget which is which.

        I would love to be called Eric Partridge….a tremendous name.

  21. A bit rich for my blood. Without mr Ks help I would have been sunk with some of these. A pleasing challenge though.

  22. A very enjoyable puzzle.

    17d proved most problematic … even after much “research” I still couldn’t decide what the first letter should be.

    Favourite amongst many was 2d.

    Further contributions from this compiler will be most welcome.

    Thanks to Mr K for the blog.

  23. That was great! A good challenging crossword and on a Tuesday too! Excellent stuff. 6d was my favourite and 3/4* overall. More please!
    Thanks to the setter, and to MrK for the review.

  24. Phew! I’m ready for a lie down in a darkened room after that one. :-D For me it was the most difficult solve of the year to date, but that’s no criticism, as testing the old grey matter occasionally is no bad thing. Clue of the day for me was 5d and convoluted as it was, 14a wasn’t far behind. Thanks to the setter and special thanks to Mr K – I certainly needed your help with some of the parsings today.

  25. Kept going back and forth between this one and the toughie.
    Quite a challenge today.
    Didn’t get 19d. Couldn’t think of the right island and the right craft let alone the right attack.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  26. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. Whoever this setter is, I would like more of the same. Really made me think. I liked 1a&23d. Last in was 2d, which had me baffled for a while. I thought 5d was a bit clunky, but my favourite was 3d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  27. Quite a steady solve for me although, like Kath, I wasn’t at all happy with the first part of 3d – even the entry in the BRB didn’t convince me.
    Don’t remember thinking that it was particularly tough for a Tuesday but perhaps it’s down to that wavelength thing. Whichever, I thought it was a very good puzzle.

    Hard to pick a favourite but it’s probably a tie between 1a&4d.

    Thanks to Mr Newman (?) and to Mr K – loved the sunbathing seal.

  28. Tough solve for me with a puzzle of two halves, half the clues straightforward and the other half very challenging. About the maximum level of my ability to complete without the hints and tips. Struggled with 10a but so obvious when it finally dropped. Never felt quite on the setters wavelength today? A good test anyway. 19d last in.

    Clue of the day: 3d is today’s star.

    Rating **** / ***

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  29. I found this quite difficult ***/** 😳 There were some very nice clues but some thaI thought a little contrived 😬 Thanks to Mr Kitty for explaining my couple of “bung ins” and to the Setter 😏 Favourites 10a, 6d & 19d

  30. Heavy reliance on thesaurus today but 14a I got there. Don’t usually do Tuesday’s crossword so was pleasantly surprised to find it was possible. Thanks to setter and Mr K, am hoping tweaked little grey cells will assist me further with MPP.

    1. Given that many found today’s puzzle tricky, I’d say that your grey cells can’t be in such bad shape at all, Annie – well done!

  31. Blimey, that was hard. I failed with four in the NW corner, though I should’ve got 1d, we’ve had it often enough. My brain was fried by then perhaps.
    There were many that I enjoyed, but 10a ended up as fave.
    Thanks to the Tuesday setter and to Mr. Kitty, I was so glad to see your **** rating for difficulty. The pic at 2d was really smile worthy!

  32. A second puzzle this week that was of very high quality in my opinion. Some extremely clever and interesting wordplay on display, and, if it was from a new setter, then I hope that we will see much more of their work. I didn’t find it as tricky as some, the NW corner excepted that is, but for me it was tuning in to the setter’s wavelength that took the time.

    My only reservation was that, after yesterday’s puzzle being tougher than normal for a Monday, perhaps today wasn’t the best slot for this one.

    Top clues for this solver were 10a, 2d and 17d.

    Many thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr K.

  33. We’re in total agreement with Mr K’s ratings with this one. We had a thought quite early on when we found an X and a Z in the NE that we were heading for a pangram but that did not happen. We also pondered on the setter but no name came to mind. Perhaps Mr Newman is correct. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  34. I and my wife seem to be in the minority today. We really enjoyed this workout, some of the wordplay and misdirection was very clever and we thought this was 2* maybe bordering on 3* for difficulty but definitely 4/5* for enjoyment. I really enjoyed 14a because it was made up of so many carefully intertwined elements but the two favorites among many are 2d and 17d, the latter making me smile because I get really angry when I see affected and effected so often wrongly used in organs including the DT.

    1. I agree with you, Sylvester, about affected and effected. It can be confusing and it’s a pity that some journalists don’t make the effort to understand the different meanings:

      Effect (noun) = The result of an action
      Effect (verb) = To make something happen
      Affect (verb) = (1) To influence; (2) To adopt (a characteristic)
      Affect (noun) = Emotion influencing behaviour (a term probably only ever used by psychologists)

      Sir Linkalot is of course correct above when he meant to say above that “effect” is more often a noun and “affect” is more often a verb but here is paragraph which uses them all including both meanings of affect as a verb:

      One EFFECT of too much alcohol is to AFFECT reaction time adversely. This has led to changes in the law designed to EFFECT a reduction in alcohol consumption. According to some psychologists (who may AFFECT a foreign accent to make themselves sound more like Freud), excessive drinking can cause people to confuse feeling with AFFECT.

  35. Tougher than many a Toughie (2/3* difficulty) but very engrossing (4* enjoyment). My favourite was 3d, with an honourable mention for 14a. One wonders how the graceful Miss Evert would cope with some of today’s Amazons. Thanks to the setter, and Mr K.

  36. Into *** for difficulty here, with 5ac and 19d causing real problems at the close. Enjoyable and inventive throughout.

  37. Very enjoyable. Started before dinner (roast beef Yorkshire puddings leeks in cheese sauce roast spuds etc) finished after pudding ( home made lemon meringue pie and cream) We were joined by our daughter who is just getting in to cryptics. “Why is it that the answer?” “Because it fits!” Don’t think she’s quite got the cryptic nature yet.

      1. May I point out that I was the one saying, “Why is that the answer?”, and my parents were the ones saying, “Because it fits”…..

  38. I was definitely on right wave length and I solved more methodically than usual starting NW and working round clockwise. SW last to fall. I was left with three. Last one in 17d which took a little longer to make sure I had the right first letter (I did). Enjoyed Mr K’s hints and all the comments after the event but managed without aid and without sleeping on it. Favourites include 5. 10 28a and 5. 8. 15 and 16d. Top marks for 28a. I hope setter reveals him/herself. Could it be someone we know? More please! PS Nothing wrong with 14a.

  39. Far, far too late to be doing the crossword. Should have kept this until tomorrow. Oh, it is tomorrow. Many thanks setter and Mr Kitty. I had to check 17d

  40. I did not attempt this as I am on holiday skiing but it seemed like a wrong envelope day to me.
    Enjoyable as ever to go through the hints though. Thanks Mr K.

  41. A really great crossword. So many memorable clues but if I picked one it would be 14a. Thank you to the unknown setter and Mr K.

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