DT 28658 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28658


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28658

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a damp grey February morning.

It’s Friday, it’s Giovanni, and there is the usual mix of references to religion, science, classical mythology and General Knowledge, all perfectly fairly clued.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Civilised European embracing modern form of technology (6)
POLITE – An Eastern European person wrapped around the two-letter acronym for computer systems and the like.

4a           Critical point when Catholic is bowled over by goddess (6)
CRISIS – Reverse (bowled over) the abbreviation for a Roman Catholic, then add an Egyptian goddess.

8a           Something attractive has Heather speaking slowly (8)
DRAWLING – A term applied to something which brings in an audience, followed by another word for heather.

10a         Viewer sees lord outside gym (6)
PEEPER – A two-letter acronym for ‘gym’ lessons at school, with a member of the House of Lords wrapped around it.

11a         See ship dropping (4)
LOSS – ‘See!’ or ‘Behold!’ followed by the usual crossword steamship.

12a         Sailor outside port with fishing item is entertaining little figure (10)
MARIONETTE – Put together the usual South American port and something used by fishermen, then wrap a merchant captain’s deputy around the outside.

Image result for marionette

13a         Female dancer gets word of understanding when awful snigger goes round (6,6)
GINGER ROGERS – A word used in radio communication to indicate that a message has been received, with an anagram (awful) of SNIGGER wrapped around it. This is the dancer who, as she pointed out, did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a         Party with any number under canvas makes one unhappy (12)
DISCONTENTED – The sort of party which has loud recorded music and (probably) flashing lights, followed by the algebraic symbol for ‘any number’ and ‘under canvas’.

20a         Criticising fizzy drink offered by the French doctor — no good (10)
LAMBASTING – Put together one of the forms of the French definite article, one of the sets of initials indicating a medical doctor, and the usual crossword fizzy wine, then add No Good.

21a         Club housing old vessel (4)
BOAT Old inserted into a type of club.

22a         Tiny piece of music with a final twist (6)
MINUTE – A dance popular in the 18th century with its two final letters swapped over.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a         Get a lute to play? You need instruction (8)
TUTELAGE – Anagram (to play) of GET A LUTE.

24a         Types of exams offering breaks around lunchtime? (6)
RESITS – The Roman numeral for the hour which is often lunchtime inserted into some breaks or relaxations.

25a         Having not looked at words, not prepared, falling short (6)
UNREAD – Remove the final letter (falling short) from a word meaning ‘not prepared’ (like King Ethelred?). In the definition, ‘not looked at’ is an adjectival phrase qualifying ‘words’.


1d           Like a table needed by chemist — I will contribute to it (8)
PERIODIC – I, in this case, is the chemical symbol for iodine, and is one of the list of all the chemical elements arranged by atomic number in this tabular form.

Image result for periodic table

2d           Scottish location has women wearing garlands (5)
LEWIS – Some Polynesian flower garlands wrapped around Women, generating a Scottish island.

Image result for isle of lewis chess set

3d           One attempting to keep two maidens more tidy (7)
TRIMMER – Put together two examples of the cricketing abbreviation for a maiden over, then insert the result into a word for someone making an attempt.

5d           Show convincing evidence once more for rebuke (7)
REPROVE – The prefix for ‘once more’ followed by ‘show (by) convincing evidence’.

6d           Scottish storyteller in street service finishing prematurely (9)
STEVENSON – The abbreviation for STreet followed by an afternoon church service with its final letter removed (finishing prematurely). The author of Treasure Island.

Image result for robert louis stevenson

7d           Shelter in piggery — is weather like this outside? (6)
SLEETY – Shelter from the wind inserted into the place where a pig lives.

9d           Various Tobago girls — one ‘talks rubbish’ (11)
GARBOLOGIST – Anagram (various) of TOBAGO GIRLS, giving us someone who makes a scientific study of waste material.

14d         Restless types chat about expert not in favour (9)
GADABOUTS – Put together a three-letter expert or skilled person and a three-letter word for ‘not in favour’ (with, rather than of). Then wrap another three-letter word for ‘chat’ or ‘gossip’ around the result.

15d         Crazy act — one’s called to interrupt it (8)
DERANGED – ‘Called’ (on the telephone) inserted into an act or action.

17d         South American favourite about to be nabbed as one sought by police (7)
SUSPECT – Put together South, one of the abbreviations for ‘American’, and a favourite person or animal wrapped around the cricketing abbreviation for a synonym of ‘nabbed’.

18d         Sound of giant to be more constrained (7)
TIGHTEN – This is a homophone (sound of) the old gods, children of Uranus and Gaea, overthrown by Zeus in Greek mythology.

19d         Sword Rear Admiral placed on support (6)
RAPIER – The abbreviation for Rear Admiral followed by an architectural support.

Image result for rapier

21d         Lines penned by queen maybe, a beautiful person (5)
BELLE – Something that may be queen of the hive wrapped around the abbreviation for ‘lines’.

The Quick Crossword pun IMPEL + HEIGHT = IMPOLITE. There’s a nice contrast between this and 1a above.

56 comments on “DT 28658

  1. A nice straightforward start to my Friday solving – I’d met the rubbish person in 9d in another crossword earlier this week, so he wrote himself in.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat

  2. 3* / 2.5*. Parts of this were quite challenging especially in the bottom half but there was not much fun to be had.

    For 11a, I can come up with several constructions where “dropping” can be replaced by “11a of” but can anyone please provide an example to show how it can simply be replaced by “11a”?

    Similarly for 18d the answer appears to be active and the definition “to be more constrained” is passive. It would seem to me to work fine if the definition was “to make more constrained” but that would render the surface nonsensical.

    Isn’t “one’s” in 15d simply padding? If so, that is as rare as hen’s teeth for Giovanni.

    1d was my favourite.

    Thanks to DG and DT.

      1. Nice one, thank you, DT, although the pedant in me is still not fully convinced of the equivalence of “tighten” and “be more constrained”.

        But, hey-ho, it’s only a crossword. :wink:

        1. Tight = constrained. Tighten (ie, to increase the tightness) = more constrained. Does that make it clearer?

  3. Fairly straightforward solve today. Nothing too taxing, but very enjoyable nevertheless. I particularly liked the female dancer which was my last one in and a big penny drop moment. Many thanks to G and DT

  4. Pleasantly testing this morning from The Don. As one not averse to some GK I always enjoy his puzzles, and this was no exception. 22a came a close second to 6d as my favourite. 2.5* /3.5* .

    Thanks to Giovanni for cheering up this snowy corner of the Marches, and to DT.

  5. Another excellent Friday puzzle from the Don. Nothing too obscure, except 9d is a new addition to my vocab. I loved 13a, 1d, 6d & 4a. Most enjoyable. Thanks Mr Manley and DT :-D.

  6. I am always happy when I can complete a solve using only neurons and no electrons. A very enjoyable puzzle all told, and even I couldn’t complain about the level of GK in this one.

    I was left with two that I couldn’t completely parse, 1d and 14d, so thanks to DT for the explanations, and thanks to The Don, of course.

  7. One of those coincidences but we had the giant, subject of the 18d homophone, in yesterday’s puzzle.

    I enjoyed this one and will go for **/***.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

  8. A really slow start until I solved the 9d anagram. Completion at a canter required quite a lot of head scratching – ***/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 6d and 18d – and the winner is 18d – a nice homophone.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  9. A fitting end to a fine puzzling week. A weekend of beer and Rugby Football awaits. Bring it on. Play nicely children See you all on Monday.

  10. More good clean fun from Giovanni. West stiffer than the East particularly as regards 13a which, as for Margaret, was my last one in. Needed help to parse the ‘i’ in 1d. I had similar thoughts to RD re 11a and 18d. Am surprised to know 14d is a dictionary word. Fav was 6d. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  11. Another fine crossword to end a week of great puzzles.
    This one was a classic from the Don.
    Favourite 9d and 8a.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and the Don

  12. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, must be the best week of puzzles that I can remember. I liked 21a&6d. Last in was 13a, which made me laugh. Favourite was 9d, which I’d never heard of, but I remembered a book by Tony Robinson called Archaeology is Rubbish, so that helped me solve it. Was 2*/3* for me.

  13. Friday solves used to be the most difficult of the week, but this was the simplest after four ***/**** star days.
    This was a **/*** for me( like DT), that’s not to say it was not enjoyable, but like RD I immediately thought the tensing was amiss in 18d and 11a loss was ‘iffy’.
    Excellent otherwise.
    Like Miffypops , a weekend of beer and rugby looms-do I stay in or go to the pub ?

  14. As usual I completely agree with Rabbit Dave. I am nearly always slightly scratched by these little barbs but never think to flag them up rather just pass over them thinking ‘its probably just me’ – partly because of the imperative of getting the puzzle finished. I am glad you do though RD.
    9d – love that word and have never seen it.
    Fell like a blind zombie into the traps that were 5d and 22a confidently appending the wrong endings to the words with the resultant snash.
    Liked this though an for me a fair bit easier than all the rest of this week.
    Loved, loved the Dance clip and will urge my wife and Mother-in-law to view it.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat. **/***

  15. As usual for me on Fridays this was the most difficult of the week – the scarcity of anagrams is today’s excuse.
    13a was my last answer and 9d wasn’t far ahead – I only got that once I had alternate letters in – never heard of it.
    Like others I wasn’t too sure about 18d.
    I needed the hint to understand the last bit of 1d – it’s the kind of thing I always miss.
    I particularly liked 13 and 22a and 6d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  16. Enjoyable stuff on the whole, I was surprised that RD didn’t label 9d an “unindicated Americanism” as the BRB clearly puts (US) before listing its definitions. A new word for me, certainly.

    My ticks went to 13a, 22a and 2d. I’m in company with Angelov and Kath at missing the subtle use of “I” in 1d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

  17. Had the same misgivings as RD and others about 11a & 18d and had the wrong ending for 6d until 13a showed me the error of my ways.

    Not much humour to be found but I did like 9d, not an occupation I’ve come across before but a most satisfyingly descriptive word.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – particularly for the 13a clip and the 22a music.

  18. Ah, at last, after struggling all week I have completed with only one hint needed, which would have been unnecessary had I put in the correct ending to 5 d. My faith in my ability has been slightly restored as I seemed to be
    The only blogger having such a bad week. My thanks to the setter and DT.

  19. I also was very unsure about the legitimacy of 11a but am more convinced about 18d following comment 2 above. However enjoyable all told and IMO a bit trickier than usual. Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  20. Wotta deference a day makes, the first puzzle this week I’ve been able to finish, and without electronic help to boot! I’d never heard of 9d, but with the checking letters I was able to work it out and look it up.
    Lots to like, but fave has got to be 13a for the memories as a young girl going to the movies and seeing the magical dancing of those two.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, much enjoyment.

  21. Not the toughest puzzle or the most entertaining this week, but another good one nonetheless. The bottom half more tricky than the top with a brief hold up in SW corner. Enjoyable, but not a Giovanni sprinkled with star dust, as his often are. Agree with RD lacking a bit of fun. Last in 11a.

    Clue of the day: 1d and 6d, both nicely structured clues.

    Rating 2.5* / 3*

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  22. Yep, definitely a Mr Manley day. All perfectly reasonable and gettable from the wordplay and checkers. I particularly enjoyed 13a – good surface and wordplay. I haven’t read the review yet, but I’m pretty sure that Silvanus might not be too happy with 4a.

    Thanks to the Don for the puzzle and DT for his usual excellent review. I am off to gird my loins for this weekend’s 6 Nations matches. I will say ‘bon chance’ to J L for Sunday but I don’t think his team will need it.

  23. All fair and above board as ever from the Don, finished in about ** time. One new word learnt as is often the case on a Friday, 9d, which I really should have been able to guess without all the checking letters, but didn’t. For a long time I thought that the female dancer would be a mystery to me, but as it turns out she’s rather well known :-)

  24. This was the easiest of the week for me, but I still enjoyed it. 1d and 11a were the last ones in. I got 13a quickly as the first word jumped out of the anagram part. Needed Deep Threat’s help to fully parse 1d. Favourite clue was 6d. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

    1. Given up in disgust, apart from yesterday’s I have found this weeks puzzles way too difficult for backpagers.

        1. Isn’t it amazing how we all change from week to week, though, in all fairness, I have never, ever been on RayT’s wavelength. All in good fun and it keeps the brain ticking over.

  25. very enjoyable but had to check in Chambers to see if 9d really existed! Thanks G and T – sounds like a well known drink!

  26. It all slotted together smoothly and a very pleasant solve for us. The 13a dancer took us longer to twig than it should have done.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  27. Enjoyed this crossword, late on parade but **/*** 😬 My favourites 13a & 20a thanks to DT and to Giovanni as has already been said what a good week for enjoyable back pagers 😃 I too couldn’t believe 9d but there it is in my 1999 OED, perhaps I should have studied the subject at University because it is said that I am very good at talking it 😏

  28. Unusual for the Friday crossword not to be the high spot of the week but we have been well spoilt these last few days. This one was still good but as already said, lacking a little sparkle. I know it was a lego clue but 20a was my favourite. 2/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  29. Good evening everybody

    Mostly straighforward today although I didn’t understand why 2d.


    1. You would certainly understand 2d had you been to Hawaii for instance!

  30. Brian, I found it hard too & yesterday was the first time this week I was able to finish without help. Was trying to get OK into 9a, & only when I asked daughter for another word for understanding did penny drop – & I was an ATCO !!!
    More constrained 18d suggested it should be “—–ER” which didn’t help with 25a.
    Definitely getting too old – but pressing on !!!!

  31. Well this week’s crosswords seem to have been in tune with the stock market since Monday… not had any luck with either, yet both last Saturday and Sunday were great puzzles, at least for me. Have never used 7d to describe the weather, ending with ing, yes, ending with y, no. And I had problems with equating 11a with loss. Hmm, just a bad week here (not crossword related) so hopefully I can get back on form next week, or at least closer to,it.

  32. Horrible puzzle with nothing to enjoy. Too many clues which are not credible with some esoteric GK thrown in to spoil it further.

  33. Not sure about 2* difficulty. It’s 5-30 am (Saturday) and I’ve just finished with ‘gadabout’.

  34. Another excellent puzzle from G. That’s 5 cracking back-pagers in a row, making it the best week for some months – let’s hope the Saturday Prize is in the same vein. I’d rate it as a tad above average difficulty, so 3* / 4*

  35. Managed to do all the week’s crosswords but didn’t get a chance to post a comment on a daily basis.
    Thanks to all.

  36. Agree with those who think 11a is a poor clue.
    Out of interest, does anyone else find the so called ‘quick” crossword harder than the cryptic variety?

    1. Found them both tricky, but the quickies do seem to have become more difficult of late.
      2.5*/3* for the cryptic.

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