DT 28656 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28656

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28656

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****


Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Greetings, greetings, greetings to you all.

As yesterday was Waitangi Day for us we have given a more formal Maori introduction than our usual cheery Kia ora. The largest of the gatherings to celebrate what is regarded as New Zealand’s founding day, was at the site in the far north of the country where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. It was a very joyful, peaceful occasion (it hasn’t always been) held in ideal sunny conditions.
Once again Jay has given us a delightful clever puzzle, and in what seems to be a pattern this week, a little trickier than they often are.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Decorate popular curry place to get new look? (8,4)
DRESSING ROOM : Decorate as you might with clothes, then the two letter word for popular and curry as you would a horse.

9a     Sandown empty and a Grand National winner that gets beaten! (5,4)
SNARE DRUM : The first and last letters (empty) of Sandown, ‘A’ from the clue and, probably the most famous horse to win the Grand National.

10a     Pace of study after tea being delivered (5)
TREAD : Tea ‘being delivered’ gives us a homophone of a letter that sounds like the drink and then study a subject at a university.

11a     Changes the last word — ‘dust’, oddly (6)
AMENDS : The word that is used to end a prayer and then the first and third letters of dust.

12a     Relation may garage freezing cold vehicle for one (8)
UNICYCLE : A relation who could be a brother of one of your parents contains (garages) a word for freezing cold.

13a     Canopy of trees disturbed by what, ultimately? (6)
TESTER : An anagram (disturbed) of TREES comes after the last letter of ‘what’.

15a     Plant a parliamentarian in county (8)
           Newspaper version: Plant a representative in county (8)
SAMPHIRE : ‘A’ from the clue and a parliamentarian are inside a county or even a place that hobbits call home.

18a     Fools rest, covered in burns (8)
CHARLIES : A three letter word for rest or be prone is inside a word for burns or singes.

19a     Starting late, imagine tricky puzzle (6)
ENIGMA : An anagram (tricky) of (i)MAGINE once you have ignored its first letter.

21a     Determination shown by ‘X’, a population centre (8)
TENACITY : We’re used to seeing written numbers giving us Roman numerals, this time we see a Roman numeral giving us a written number. Then ‘A’ from the clue and a population centre such as Wellington.

23a     Unpleasant experience of gold trade (6)
ORDEAL : The heraldic symbol for gold is followed by trade or bargain.

26a     Coffee — the second of two unfinished (5)
LATTE : Remove the last letter from a word meaning the second of two.

27a     One plying craft made of log going after fish (9)
CARPENTER : Log or record in a ledger follows a freshwater fish.

28a     Factor in school session with European journal (12)
INTERMEDIARY : String together ‘in’ from the clue, one of the sessions that the school year is divided into, the abbreviation for European and a journal like the one kept by Samuel Pepys.


1d     Melody making cast end in chaos? (7)
DESCANT : An anagram (in chaos) of CAST END.

2d     Offer a service collecting excise (5)
ERASE : A lurker hiding in the first three words of the clue. (We spent time looking for a tax).

3d     Plant rush successfully (9)
SPEEDWELL : Rush or move quickly and then successfully or in an accomplished way.

4d     A right to be in US city? Never! (4)
NARY : ‘A’ from the clue and R(ight) are inside a US city situated on the Hudson River.

5d     Capital Italian island with a new following from another country? (8)
ROMANIAN : Put together; somebody from Italy’s capital city, the one letter abbreviation for island, ‘A’ from the clue and the abbreviation for new.

6d     Cop worried about note one found behind bars (5)
OPTIC : One of the notes from the sol-fa scale is inside an anagram (worried) of COP.

7d     Attractive engraving with female head (8)
FETCHING : The abbreviation for female precedes an art work formed by engraving.

8d     Stick diamonds in a present! (6)
ADHERE : The card suit diamonds is surrounded by ‘A’ from the clue and present or in this place.

14d     Stand still, seeing a gun unloaded in Texas, perhaps (8)
STAGNATE : What Texas is an example of surrounds ‘A’ and gun without its central letter.

16d     Corral beast grabbing Republican correspondent (3,6)
PEN FRIEND : Corral or put in an enclosure and then a beast or evil being contains the abbreviation for Republican.

17d     This might hold lace worked under canvas structure (8)
TENTACLE : An anagram (worked) of LACE follows a canvas structure used when camping.

18d     Farm stock let out by lion? (6)
CATTLE : An animal of which a lion is an example and then an anagram (out) of LET.

20d     Cause of reaction that’s largely violent (7)
ALLERGY : An anagram (violent) of LARGELY.

22d     How one might come for confession? (5)
CLEAN : An all in one clue that leads us to a 4,5 phrase meaning make a confession.

24d     Surplus old paintings put up (5)
EXTRA : Old as a former partner is often described, then reverse a word for paintings or creative works.

25d     Earliest form of human transport? (4)
PRAM : A cryptic description of transport for the very young.

We felt spoilt for choice for a favourite today so will leave the field open for you to pick from.

Quickie pun     axes    +    hurries    =    accessories


72 comments on “DT 28656

  1. 2.5* / 5*. In a word – brilliant!

    Once again on a Wednesday I feel spoilt for choice for a favourite but 22d just noses in front of 25d on the finishing line.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    P.S. Making Wednesday even more special, there’s yet another Petitjean in the Toughie slot.

    1. Thank you RD (and CS, below) – I’m now going to obtain the Petitjean Toughie before I leave for home.

  2. I’d go for enjoyable but possibly less tricky than some Jay puzzles – it was possible to start this one half way down the Acrosses for a start.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks – I’m not going to pick a favourite either.

    PS I do recommend today’s Toughie – another posthumous Petitjean treat –

  3. I found this a bit tricky today and only finished 22d and 25d after a lot of thought! Very enjoyable.

  4. 2.5* /5* from me for this terrific offering from Jay this cold morning. I agree with RD at #1 with his choice of favourites but would add 9a to the mix. A joy from start to finish, Jay may have been feeling benign when he set this, but he did not stint on the humour and enjoyment. Wonderful.

    Thanks to all three birds.

  5. So that is the third consecutive crossword this week that is trickier than usual but a joy to solve. Great stuff!
    My inability to read ‘excise’ made 2d very difficult to parse but having finally realized my stupidity I’ll rate this as favourite. 2.5/4* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the Kiwis for their review.

  6. Not as difficult as yesterdays puzzle, but top draw cluing throughout and like others I too am going for a 2.5*/5*.
    Liked 1a as I was nicely lead astray by the curry, and as usual misread county for country in 15a, which did not help.
    Each clue was beautifully constructed and an example for all setters- particularly yesterdays ‘toughie setter’
    Thanks also to 2K’s for the pics.

  7. What a joyful puzzling week we are having. That is three corkers in a row. Last two in were 18ac and 2d which took some staring at. They only fell when I started glaring menacingly at them. Thanks to The 2Ks for the review (nice pics, I remember my little sister in the one at 25d). Thanks to Jay for the fun and the workout.

    1. Me too. Then, with the checking letters in, this was the last to do. I tried looking up alternative meanings for “tram” – how sad is that. Well done the setter!

  8. Wow that was a toughie for me. Took ages to get going but did then manage to bumble through it. I notice representative in 15a was made more obvious online. My Fav was the succinct 22d. Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  9. Jay maintaining his usual high standard and he did lead me briefly astray when, like the 2Ks, I was looking to fit a tax into 2d.

    Top three for me were 1&15a plus 22d.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for also maintaining their high standard of blog.

    PS The paper version has ‘representative’ as the third word of the 15a clue.

    Do try the PJ Toughie – lots of fun and games in there.

  10. Great puzzle, I too was looking for a tax in 2d and it was ages before I spotted it was a lurker. Favourites 9a and 25d. Some real head scratching for me today , but got there eventually.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

  11. Much head scratching this morning. It took me ages to think of the required synonym for curry in 1a and I needed the blog to remind me the answer I had for 13a really does fit the definition. However, none of my dictionaries or thesauri give the answer to 28a as a synonym for the definition. Maybe my books aren’t large enough! Thanks very much to 2ks and the setter for a real workout to keep the little grey cells functioning.

  12. Usual fine stuff from Jay on a wednesday, very entertaining with a few brain teasers thrown in. Lots of great clues but for mr 21a and 27a.
    Thanks to 2Ks and to Jay.

  13. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. What a wonderful puzzle. I thought 12a & 6d were very original. 25d made me laugh. Enjoyed 3d as it reminded me of the Post office telecoms, when I first joined, some of the exchanges in London were name after plants, Primrose, Juniper, and Speedwell to name but three. Last in was 13a, which I’d never heard of, but got it from the wordplay. 18a&22d were both penny drop moments. Favourite was 9a, super horse racing clue. Was 3*/5* for me.

  14. Quite a lot of head scratching for this one, and, when I had finished, I couldn’t really understand why. Completed at a fast canter – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 27a, and 4d – and the winner is 4d, what a delightful four-letter word.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Ks.

    (I started on the Toughie but, now I see that it is a Petitjean, I can understand why I didn’t get very far.)

  15. For me this was a return to Jay as I know him: a good back page level challenge requiring proper use of the cryptic muscles.

    I couldn’t quite equate groom=curry in 1a until I checked the dictionary and wasn’t sure about the indicator “being delivered” in 10a. I was slightly surprised by the definition of 1d as I’d thought it a range of pitch rather than a melody. It’s a good thing that all the letters for 13a were clearly provided because I only just managed to remember that meaning of the answer.

    9a amused me because the clue immediately gave me SN and brought to mind the correct horse too (it’s not like I know that many) … but it still took me some time to get it!

    I liked the unloaded gun in 14d. My favourite was 22d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  16. What a wonderful puzzle today. Why oh why did I jump at tram rather than pram? I smugly thought that am had given me the answer.

  17. That was difficult – much more so than an average Wednesday – but just as good as ever.
    Usually I get about half or three quarters without too much trouble, then a few more just leaving me with the last two or three answers – today it all took ages.
    I was completely thrown by the ‘curry’ in 1a.
    I didn’t see ‘icy’ in 12a, I saw 1C which left me with a ‘Y’ that I couldn’t explain – how dim is that? :roll:
    15 and 18a took a long time too.
    I particularly liked 9 and 18a and 14d. My favourite was either 22 or 25d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.
    Stuff to do now – I’m going to save the PJ Toughie for later.

  18. Still tricky but a million times better than that horror on Monday or indeed yesterday’s difficult offering.
    Some really clever clues such as using curry for groom and 26a which I needed the hint to explain. Learnt a new word for a 4 poster canopy too.
    Very enjoyable so for me ***/****
    Thx to all

  19. Very pleased with myself for having solved this alone and unaided.
    Definitely needed the 2Kiwis to help me with some of the parsings, though…..but what a delight after 2 days of struggling when I thought that my brain was fading faster than I would like.

    When my Mum described anything I wore as 7d, she always added…be careful what it fetches you…..which cast a bit of a blight……

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  20. The superb standard of puzzles already exhibited this week was more than matched today, yet another corker.

    I loved the use of “being delivered” as a homophone indicator in 10a, but my ticks went to 1a, 9a, 2d, 20d and 25d.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks, now to tackle Petitjean…

  21. Brilliant crossword ***/**** 😃 You can see from the comments just how many good clues there were from the number of different favourites selected 😉 Mine were 9a by a short head 😬 and 15a ! Big thanks to the 2x Ks and to Jay. Will tomorrow bring a Ray T ? we certainly have had good practice for one this week 😳

  22. Some very enjoyable clues. 2d also fooled me for a long time as did 6d. Had to check the meaning of 13a. Favourite clues 28a and 6d. Thank you to the 2Ks and Jay for an excellent crossword.

  23. Wow, that was a challenge. It was a tussle rather than a struggle which is what a good crossword should be. Many thanks to Jay and our antipodean friends.

  24. This was a Jay puzzle like the ones he provided when I used to do the Wednesday blog. The saying then was, “It’s Wednesday, it’s Jay so start with the downs”. Well, on this one I got only four of the acrosses on first pass but then I got all but two of the downs – I rest my case.

    **/**** from me, only ** difficulty because the downs came to the rescue :smile: Can’t pick a favourite from so many great clues.

    Many thanks to Jay and the Kiwis.

  25. I was just hopeless today and I don’t know why. I hope to God that Alzheimers has started to set in.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  26. Outstanding puzzle from Jay absolutely great. Fantastic clues so many favourites too many to mention such as 9a / 15a / 18a / 5d goes on and on. I often struggle with Jay’ s wavelength but no problems today on it from the off. However a tricky area for me was the SE corner and that delayed finishing considerably. So not a stroll in the park by any means. 1a fooled me for sometime and last in 15a was the same.

    Clue of the day: Out of all of them think 9a is the winner a brilliant clue.

    Rating 3* / 4.5*

    Thanks to 2K’s and Jay for a great puzzle.

  27. Once again another super puzzle from Jay. I began a list of favourite clues then gave up after listing ten or so. However I wil mention 16d & 9a as being a bit special. A most entertaining solve – thanks Jay and 2Ks.

  28. I had a few problems starting in the NW so I decided to go elsewhere and didn’t encounter too much resistance. Excellent puzzle.

    Thanks to the 2Kiwis and Jay 1.5*/4*

  29. A had a real ‘not on the right wavelength’ day yesterday and found more entertaining things to do. This was much more up my street, a challenge but enjoyable. . I needed help for two. I missed the lurker at 2 down despite much pondering and couldn’t get 18a. Given my name which can be guessed from my nickname no excuses for that!

  30. Quite tricky today. Had much trouble with 1a. Catch was to realise it wasn’t an Indian curry! Good fun though. Thanks Jay and the Kiwis

  31. Great fun. Fav was 27a.
    Nightmare trying to solve on a phone as I managed to leave my tablet on the plane to France.
    No skiing today as La Plagne is fog bound.
    Millwall lost in the FA Cup last night so still have the right hump.
    Thanks all.

  32. For the third day in a row, a really tricky puzzle, though I did finish today with some electronic help for the last three holdouts.
    My first in was 9a and that’s my fave, with 22d running close.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis, am off to google Waitangi.
    P.S. Thanks for explaining the Quickie pun, would never have got that.

  33. Morning all.
    Just been reading through everyone’s choice of favourite and there does seem to be a huge range today. That must be very satisfying for the setter to see that so many of his clues gave such pleasure.
    It was a good thing that Jay had chosen the horse he did for 9a. We would have been hard pressed to think of another and we are the people who, just a few weeks ago, had mistakenly attributed Ascot as the venue for this race.
    We have a beautiful, calm Thursday just dawning here. Enjoy what is left of your Wednesday.

  34. ***/**** as well, from a contented solver today, after a bad start to the week ! Managed without any hints except for 1a and 6d- which I don’t understand though I guessed the answer……

    Favourites were 17d and 9 a

    Many thanks to Jay and 2 Kiwis !

    1. Optic (one found in bars – measure/dispenser of alcoholic drinks) is anagram (‘worried’) of cop round (‘about’) ti (note – from sol-fa scale)

  35. Very tricky but completely fair. Needed the help of this blog. Out foxed but not due to esoteric biblical references etc, which us how it should be.

  36. It was a tricky one but the clues were all superb. The lurker (2d) eluded me and I’d 4d heard of that US city! ****/****

    1. You’ve not heard of New York (NY)? I couldn’t get past LARA for ages (LA as city) – only checker from 1a helped to steer me in right direction

  37. Decidedly tricky in places, a plant I didn’t know, with a few easier clues thrown in. But it was a half hearted attempt on my part as feeling very sad as our beloved 17 year old cat passed away yesterday, after struggling with poor health for the past 8 months. Hopefully he is now off enjoying himself and reunited with his brother who he has sorely missed. Heart breaking.

    1. i am so sorry to hear that, you must be heartbroken. How well I know the feeling when you lose a furry family member, please do consider getting a kitty, there are so many looking for homes.

    2. So sad for you, Lizzie, but you must feel proud of yourself for everything you did to make his last months with you as comfortable as possible. No doubt he is revelling in being reunited with his brother.

    3. Thank you ladies for the kind comments. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown us, at our veterinarian’s office, friends and even the on line company where we bought our pet supplies.

    4. I’m so sorry – I know how hard it is to lose such a much loved pet/member of the family or however you think of him.

  38. Heartfelt commiseratiions BusyLizzie and a sincere hope that there has indeed been a joyful reunion in feline heaven.

  39. As woolgatherer it took me ages to get tram out of my head in 25d.
    The lurker in 2d was last in.
    10a was another that took some thinking.
    But I ticked so many clues.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis.

  40. Anyone else doing the paper version get a different answer for 15a?

    I had “PP” for representative (instead of “MP”) and there is a plant with the resulting name…

  41. Done in two chunks today due to work. Bottom half went in quite nicely. Top half much harder. I did not seem to get the same fun from this as most bloggers perhaps because of the disjointedness. Fiendishly lurkery lurker so that’s my bestie today. Like Kitty I did not think a descant was a melody.
    Now it’s lights out. Thanks Jay and Ks. ***/***

  42. A very good puzzle, and very challenging.

    Finally fell at 27a and 28a because I had LEGS for my 25d. (To be fair I probably would not have got 28a anyway).

    Otherwise quite pleased with myself as I had never heard of either of the plants (as usual), 13A or of 1D.

    Many thanks J&2K

  43. An excellent puzzle, better than the usual Wednesday. In fact, for me, all three back-pagers this week have been a significantly higher standard than the typical Mon-Wed offerings and let’s hope it stays that way. Good clues, a good challenge and good enjoyment. 3.5* / 4*.

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