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DT 28678

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28678

Hints and tips by a xenophilial Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Good morning from the heart of Downtown L I. Today’s superb puzzle is from our Daily Telegraph puzzles editor Chris Lancaster. Given the recent weather conditions I have another puzzle for you. Can you name the two worst winters we have ever experienced in the British Isles? The answer is greyed out at the end of the hints just before the Quickie Pun.

Your hints and tips have been written today by Miffypops. They are here to help you solve clues you cannot solve or to explain how a clue works when you just cannot see it for yourself. The explanations of the clues will always be done accurately to the best of my ability. The comments afterwards will reflect my light-hearted nature and may or may not amuse. After all, it is only a crossword puzzle.

Happy solving.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Stopped reading mystery (6,4)
CLOSED BOOK: A double definition. The second, a mystery is a subject or person about which one knows nothing. The first is a term describing what one might do when finishing reading a volume or tome. I find it easier to tear out the pages one has read and throw them away. The volume or tome gets lighter and easier to read as you progress towards the end. Once finished there is nothing left to clutter up your house.

6a Vow to meet large star (4)
IDOL: This vow 1,2 is the one best uttered with crossed fingers at a wedding and said by both the bride and the groom. It is followed by the abbreviation for large

10a Do detective’s business (5)
DISCO: This do is a party with awful music and a cheesy light show. Begin with a senior ranking policeman. Add the possessive S from the clue and the abbreviation a business might be known by

11a Rude about Verrocchio’s first bust (9)
INSOLVENT: Place an adjective meaning impertinent, ill mannered, impudent, or impolite around the letter V. The first letter of the word Verrocchio. An artist and sculptor known for his sculpture of David. Verrocchio has a double letter R as well as a double letter C which nearly put me off finding out more. Who said Cryptic Crossword solving was educational?

12a Genuine backing over offer to sell plant (8)
LAVENDER: Reverse (backing) a word meaning genuine and wrap it around (over) a verb meaning to sell.

13a Coffee ultimately follows wrong dessert (5)
TORTE: The final letter (ultimately) of coffee follows a legal term for a wrong or to put it precisely a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability. The answer is one of those desserts I dislike seeing on a menu as I have no idea what it is. I came from Stoke Heath in Coventry where bananas and custard or rice pudding were the norm. We called it pudding not dessert. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the French are to blame as they introduced the word dessert into English usage after the Norman Conquest. The OED also has this ‘In the United States often used to include pies, puddings, and other sweet dishes’ (Cent. Dict.). Now also in British usage. If you have not fallen asleep already may I just say that the above mutterings are those of a person who enjoys the English language in all of its varieties. Not the mutterings of a xenophobe.

15a When students can be seen rattling tins, making music (7)
RAGTIME: The rattling of tins suggests charitable fund raising. Traditionally University students have set aside a particular week for charitable fund raising. The answer describes what this may be known as. It is probably easier to concentrate on the musical element of the clue. A type of piano music evolved by black musicians in the 1890s

17a Rubbish close to house, ‘Two Trees’ (7)
EYEWASH: A welcomed return of a favourite clue. Begin with the last letter (close to) of the word house. Add two trees. One a churchyard favourite from Gray’s Elegy and the other a weed favoured by Goldie in the poem of the same name written by Leo Larry Amadore

19a Ivan set out to find locals (7)
NATIVES: Anagram (out) of IVAN SET

21a Quiet auntie fabricated what’s seen in bed? (7)
PETUNIA: Start with the letter than signifies quiet in musical notation. Add an anagram (fabricated) of AUNTIE to find something that might be found in a bed in your garden

22a Country reportedly took action on article (5)
SUDAN: Begin with a homophone for a word meaning took action in a court of law. Add an article. The one I have just used will do.

24a Such as John Lennon display fit of temper in review (8)
AIRPORTS: Begin with a three-lettered synonym for display. Add the reverse (in review) of a fit of temper. Itself an abbreviation of an abbreviation of the adjective obstreperous with an altered stem vowel.

27a One defends Murray’s penultimate game point (9)
APOLOGIST: A three-part charade. 1. Begin with the penultimate letter from the word Murray. 2.Add a game that may be played in water or on horseback. 3. Add a synonym of the word point. One that means the substance or general meaning of a speech or text.

28a Night out perhaps with daughter, 25 (5)
DATED: Begin with a word meaning what a night out with a girlfriend or boyfriend might be known as. Add the abbreviation for the word Daughter. If this is not enough we can refer to the answer to 25 down for a definition

29a Run section of haberdashery (4)
DASH: The answer is hidden within one of the words of the clue and indicated thus by the words section of

30a Modern Christmas? (7-3)
PRESENT-DAY: We need a synonym for modern. Without the hyphen these words then become a cryptic definition of Christmas based upon what we give and receive on that day


1d Final passage from programmer, reportedly (4)
CODA: The closing passage of a piece of music is a homophone for a programmer, one such as Alan Turing perhaps

2d Offensive lout hangs about (9)
ONSLAUGHT: Anagram (about) of LOUT HANGS

3d Bring to mind agreement accepted by the First Lady (5)
EVOKE: Place a two-lettered word for agreement inside the bible’s first woman

4d Spotted hack, maybe, playing blinder (7)
BRINDLE: Anagram (playing) of BLINDER

5d Watch old boy produce an ace? (7)
OBSERVE: Begin with the common abbreviation for Old Boy. An example of what an ace is in tennis

7d Dull terror with Republican replacing last Democrat (5)
DREAR: Begin with a word meaning dull terror. This can be an adjective noun or verb. Replace it final letter which just happens to be the abbreviation for the American Democratic party with the abbreviation for the American Republican Party.

8d Landlord with brain printed paper (10)
LETTERHEAD: Begin with a six-letter word that describes what a landlord is and add a synonym for the brain.

9d Abuse something that cheers patient? (3-5)
ILL-TREAT: To act cruelly towards a person or animal can also be an example of giving something of pleasure to a poorly patient

14d Place for spectators to show off (10)
GRANDSTAND: A double definition, the second being to seek to attract applause or favourable attention from spectators or the media

16d Creative person reduced stock (8)
INVENTOR: A creative person such as Thomas Alva Edison is also a list of stock minus its last letter (reduced)

18d A news journalist under contract regularly added text (9)
ANNOTATED: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation for news which sneakily is NN. Add every other letter of the word CONTRACT. Add our favourite journalist.

20d One’s more uncertain on this ground (7)
SHAKIER: One who is uncertain (or likely to fail) is said to be on a certain type of ground. Those more uncertain would need a comparable adjective for this type of ground.

21d Very good prices for those from Penzance? (7)
PIRATES: Use a two-lettered term for very good as in saintly. Add a word meaning prices to find Gilbert and Sullivan’s chaps from Penzance

23d Lawrence has nameless ships (5)
DHOWS: Use the initials of the novelist Lawrence and add a word meaning has or possesses but minus the letter N as suggesting by the word nameless in the clue.

25d Look up and study antique (5)
OLDEN: Begin with the reversal (up) of a two-lettered word meaning look. Add a study regularly found in crosswordland

26d Nervous on the border? (4)
EDGY: A double definition

A great fun puzzle which was very entertaining.

The two worst winters ever experienced in The British Isles were Mike and Bernie.

Quickie Pun. Singer+Poor=Singapore


64 comments on “DT 28678

  1. A very pleasant start to the week, with nothing to frighten any equine associates. SW corner was the last to fall, with 27a COTD. Without that, I would never have got 23d. Is it normal to use just initials in that manner? All over in */** time.

    Many thanks to CL and MP.

  2. Like MalcolmR at #1, a couple in the SW held me up and pushed out my solving time for this delightful and very entertaining puzzle from CL. I also thought 27a was worthy of the COTD accolade, and overall this was 2.5* /4.5* for me.

    Many thanks to Mr Lancaster and MP who, according to my dictionary, seems to have an unhealthy sexual appetite for aliens. Each to his own.

  3. 2* / 4*. A splendid puzzle which was great fun from start to finish. Many thanks to the setter with more pseudonyms than Prince.

    I had to bung in 23d based solely on the checkers and definition, so many thanks to MP for explaining the wordplay.

  4. Slow start in the NW corner, always seem to forget the final musical passage term, once remembered the solve went smoothly and concur with MP’S **/****.
    Favourite was 24a,brought a smirk when the penny dropped and I twigged the parsing, 17a was an original clue as was 23d.
    Enjoyed this excellent start to the week, thanks all.

  5. Perhaps it was the result of having to come to work after working from home all last week, but I found this quite tricky, ending up on the cusp of a Samuel time rather than a Mister Ron one.

    Thanks to Mr L and Mr MP

  6. I was lulled into a false sense of security at first, then had to do some thinking.

    Wanted 10a to be ditto before 2d went down.

    Did a quick dictionary check of my answer to 4d to confirm the adjective.

    Last in was 23d, as I failed at first to think of the right Lawrence and couldn’t bring to mind the ship either. So I needed the crossing 22a (another I was slow on for some reason) before I got it.

    Lots of likes, including 1a, 27a, 2d and 7d.

    Thanks to Sir Ron and MP. (And to Young Salopian for the laugh.)

  7. A good start to the work week, very enjoyable and completed at a gallop – **/****.

    If it is not already, 7d is rapidly becoming an oldie but goodie and 27a cannot be far behind.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 30a and 14d.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI.

  8. Our new editor does come up with some good puzzles – much enjoyed this one.

    I haven’t previously come across 4d in relation to horses, I think it’s more commonly associated with dogs, and I don’t think I was aware of the abbreviation for ‘news’ – what a strange choice!

    Top three for me were 11&30a plus 21d.

    Thanks to Sir Ron and to MP for the blog – loved the 10a cartoon.

    1. I’m sorry but ‘Sir Ron’ sounds like one of those 1970’s Trade Union leaders who got ennobled for services to trades’ unions or industrial harmony or something along those lines.

      1. OK – I thought it was brilliant when RD first suggested it as a nod to Mister Ron’s elevation to the hierarchy but I shall desist from using it in future.

    2. Hi Jane,
      I think you’ll find that the abbreviation for new is N but as it is plural it turned into NN. Could be NNN or more if words contained such a set of letters.

      1. Which word has seven N’s two G’s and an H?


        Sends himself to the naughty corner

  9. The crossword was great fun to solve and the hints helpful as always in explaining those answers that were put in because they ….. fitted? Thanks therefore to setter Chris Lancaster and to Miffypops. Special thanks for the “laugh out loud” answer to the two worst winters. That will keep me giggling all day having fallen hook, line and sinker and looking up 1963 etc. More like that please!!

  10. Took a while 30a was cruel…Had a struggle with17a and 22a, Still don’t understand: Is sud a homohone for said? Anyway thanks for the hints, as ever they really help the slow of brain out here to understand this crossword business.

  11. Have to say I struggled with this and had to have some electronic help.
    Not quite on the wavelength I think .

    Still, enjoyable all the same.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  12. Very enjoyable puzzle today, good start to the week, thanks all. [**/****]
    Wasn’t entirely confident with 20d so thank you for confirming. :)

    30a looks to be my favourite, got a little chuckle out of me.

  13. Try again, my previous comment vanished into thin air – 💨. I said something like there were not many hold-ups today but, as per MP, it was ‘happy solving’. Enjoyed jigging to Satchmo and was prompted to look up precise difference between 15a and jazz. 6a, 10a and 8d were simple but also equal Favs for me although they may all be chestnuts? Thank you to the cruciverbal honcho and MP.

  14. I thought this one was quite “quirky” some went in quite quickly and others the usual head scratching. Come the last few clues I finally got on setters wavelength. A cracking start to the week.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Mr Lancaster as Oliver Twist said can we have some more.

  15. Absolutely brilliant puzzle from our Mr Ed, I hope the rest of the week continues in such vein.

    My podium is on the point of collapse today with ticks going to 24a, 27a, 30a, 18d and 21d.

    My biggest laugh came from our blogger’s “two worst British winters”, utterly superb MP!

    Many thanks to Mr Lancaster and to the xenophilial one.

  16. I really enjoyed this and agree with those who said they needed to put their thinking caps on.
    I’ve never heard of a 4d horse – dogs, yes – cats, yes but not horses – so I left that one until it couldn’t have been anything else.
    I missed the significance of the ‘news’ in 18d which was silly so that one remained a 1a until I read the hint.
    23d was my last and favourite answer and I also liked 1 and 30a and 21d. I thought the clue for 16d was unusual.
    With thanks to our setter and to our hinty person.

  17. Excellent puzzle. Monday’s seem to be getting a little trickier lately – or am I slowing down? 2.5*/4* for me. Went in steadily, but fairly slowly. Lot’s of good clues amongst which, 1a, 17a, 22a, 27a, 8d, 23d with 24a in top spot.

  18. This was excellent – not massively difficult but the clues were all great, well-constructed and very entertaining. Too many good ones to pick a favourite. A very enjoyable solve. 2.5* / 4*.

  19. Yep! As has been said, a good start to the week. 23d was my top clue and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to er, Mr Ed, and to the OMOLI for the review and joke (ugh!) and music.

  20. Very pleasant and not too taxing. **/**** from me with 1a favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Ed and to MP.

  21. I too thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s nice to have a challenge on a Monday morning – long may this continue. I now know more about Renaissance art than before, even if I was being led up a blind alley. Many favourites but 24a wins by a short head for me.
    Thank you to Mr Ron – please don’t hide behind your editor’s desk too much and to MP, whose reviews are a joy in themselves – even with the joke😂

  22. All good, very enjoyable. I did think of teows for 23d at first (never read any DHL), and 4d is new to me.
    Many thanks to CL & MP

  23. All good fun, about */** for difficulty at the close. LOI 23d where I thought, surely not, but it was.

  24. Loved it, finishing with a long list of ticks: 12a, 13a, 24a, 30a, 3d, 9d, 18d (where I recalled meeting news in BD’s list of Usual Suspects), 21d, 23d, and 26d. Of those 30a was the standout favourite for me. Thanks to Sir Ron and to MP & BD.

  25. A lovely puzzle – thanks again – love 30 a – brilliant; aren’t words amazing!!

  26. This was a very rewarding puzzle given my struggles with the eastern half. Got there in the end. I liked 11a (for the educational content) and 1&18d. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review and the winters 👌

  27. Loved this one, great start to the week, lots of lovely clues to bring smiles, last one in was 20a as I couldn’t get ” stonier” out of my head , but the penny dropped eventually. 27a and 30a were my two favourites from many .
    Thanks to all

  28. Left hand side went straight in. Not so the right. Some of it my own fault. I was rather a wee bit slow concerning 21d. Not only have I sung in the comic opera, but I actually went to the Alexander Armstrong rendition. Shame on me. Not for going. Just not recognising what the clue wanted. I couldn’t get Cornwall out of my mind. Worse still, I couldn’t get Melania out of my head for 3d. Many thanks setter and Miffypops.

  29. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops for the review and hints and the joke about winters. A very enjoyable puzzle, great fun to brighten up Monday. I remembered a Brooke Bond picture card which mentioned the brindled gnu, otherwise I wouldn’t have solved it. Last in was 24a which was also my favourite. Needed my mad hat on for some of it. Was 3*/4* for me.

  30. A good fun exercise this morning, loved it all.
    I can’t choose a fave, so much good stuff – maybe 21a is worthy of mention.
    Thanks to our crossword editor and to M’pops for his review, which I’ll read later as have to dash out now.

  31. I thought that 6a was a nicely constructed clue – thus chosen favourite. I must say that I have not come across the second meaning of 9d before – very tempted to ‘do a Brian’ on that one – hrrmph. Overall, too much 17a in this puzzle to appeal to me personally. Sorry if that sounds negative (maybe this bronchitis thing is getting me down – in which case, blame last week’s rotten weather). Anyway, I am nevertheless happy to acknowledge the hard work put in by setter and reviewer.

  32. Well I found this much more tricky than other bloggers and struggled to get on the wavelength. Although saying that I felt it should have been a lot more straightforward than it was. Needed to use MP hints for 23d new to me that one and last in. A clever puzzle with some clues that really foxed me. Note to self – must do better. Missed Rufus today.

    Clues of the day: 9d / 14d

    Rating 3.5* / 3.5*

    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  33. I enjoyed this , in many ways a smashing puzzle , but I have 2 quibbles.
    I really didn’t like 18d and I wish that setters would remember that many of the solvers are not in fact from the South East of England and continue ti pronounce their “r”s at the end of words.
    The homophone in 22a worked perfectly for me and 17a is a delightful clue.
    Thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

  34. Didn’t have any trouble with the plural News in 18d but wasn’t expecting the answer in 24a to be a plural. Does this mean there more than one called John Lennon. I’m confused.
    Didn’t get the shaky ground in 20d. Is it cryptic or all in one?
    Apart from that, everything else made sense.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

    1. Glad you mentioned the John Lennon airport.
      Same thought about shakier.
      That totally threw me.

    2. Hi JL,
      I think that the words ‘such as’ at the beginning of the clue illustrate that John Lennon is a definition by example – we actually do have quite a few 24a’s!

      Being on shaky ground is an idiomatic phrase used to suggest that the speaker is not sure of his facts.

      1. The first one kind of makes sense but I feel the second implies that the expression should be “on shakier ground”

        1. I guess that if you’re on shaky ground you’re uncertain of your facts whilst if you’re on shakier ground you’re more uncertain. Does that work for you?

          1. There I was thinking that English was a primitive language. This is getting very complicated.

    1. Hi RichC.

      Pi is slang (or an abbreviation) for pious.

      It’s rarely seen outside crosswords which is often the case. But, if it helps compiler when setting a clue then it’s mighty fine by me.

  35. Found this crossword tricky and very clever ***/**** 😏 Had trouble with 22a ergo also with 23d. Favourites 1a and 30a 😃 Snow all gone here in the East Hurrah! 😜 Thanks to MP and the compiler

  36. Left it late to buy the paper – last one phew!

    On first read I thought it looked quite tough but it unfolded nicely, very enjoyable as are your hints, couldn’t see the extra N in 18d till I read the above. 21a and 27a were my favs.

    Thank you

  37. Worked my way through slowly. Had trouble with the SW corner as was using initials of the wrong Lawrence.
    had to look at the hints to put me on the right path.

  38. Nice start to the week.
    30a LOI as I had wrong last letter to 26d.
    Wrong last letter to 1d held up getting the all answers correct thingy too. Thanks to miffypops for the hints and the belly laugh. Thanks to Mr Ed for the setting too.

  39. Gusting 2* difficulty but lots to enjoy. I particularly liked 24a, 21d and 23d. Thanks to Mr L and MP.

  40. very good quick solve in the middle of the night having looked briefly last night and drawn a blank. I would not describe 4d as spotted however. Did not have a problem with 23d initials. Had to be what it was or TE. Did. Not understand the other letters however although I knew the ship. A lot of favourite across clues including 27a which I have seen recently and 30a. Thanks.

  41. Well I found that quite a challenge – albeit an enjoyable one – and was pleased when I finished, except I didn’t. I was held up by 17a, where despite having the opening E, and the two appropriate trees (there aren’t that many three-letter trees), I didn’t “sound” right in my mind, so I didn’t bother to write it in! Doh.

    Particularly enjoyed 30a – to me the kind of clue that really hits the cryptic button. But not so 10a – which seemed somewhat tenuous.(If invited to a “Do”, I would expect a party of some description, not the assault on the ear-drums as appropriately described by MP).

    Elsewhere some parsing was necessary – e.g.. for the John Lennon (made unique by having its very own yellow submarine outside), and 27a – the first of the tennis-themed clues.

    I then needed some help parsing the parsing, or whatever – i.e News is not the Angela Rippon variety, but New + New.

    So this week, thanks to practically everyone.

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