DT 28681 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28681

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28681

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where the rain has just stopped and the sun’s trying to appear.  Looks as though Spring might have sprung around here as we’re forecast 22°C this afternoon. I’m not sure about the setter of this one.  It has some of the hallmarks of a RayT but it didn’t really feel like one of his so I’ll leave it up to you to make up your own minds.  It was quite a pleasant solve while it lasted but that wasn’t for long and it would have been a clear * difficulty if it hadn’t been for 3d where the word meaning “taken for granted” stubbornly refused to reveal himself.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Swears at cricket matches (7)
ATTESTS:  AT (from the clue) followed by some international cricket matches.

5a           Criminal admires weapon (7)
SIDEARM:  Anagram (criminal) of ADMIRES.  I’m sure I’ve seen this clue quite recently but I can’t remember where.

9a           Ray seen in river? On the contrary, another fish (5)
BREAM:  “On the contrary” means it’s not “ray seen in river” but “river seen in ray”.  Therefore put R(iver) into a ray (of light).  Here’s a bit of Julian of that ilk . . .

10a         Back exercises before I rehabilitate an individual fond of food and wine (9)
EPICUREAN:  Reverse one of the usual exercises and follow with I (from the clue), a word which can just about mean rehabilitate or more likely restore to health and finally AN (from the clue).  I’m not convinced that rehabilitate quite works here.

11a         Local community land chaps hated at heart (10)
SETTLEMENT:  Land as a bird or flying insect might followed by some chaps and finally a T ( haTed at heart)

12a         Christmas sometimes involves a church service (4)
MASS:  A lurker. It’s hidden (involves) in Christmas sometimes.

14a         Party supporter? Now and then (12)
OCCASIONALLY:  A word for a party or special event (8) followed by a supporter (4).

18a         Disturbance after prisoners start to trash building (12)
CONSTRUCTION:  Some of the usual prisoners (don’t forget it’s plural) followed by a T (start to Trash) and then an old-fashioned word for a disturbance usually seen in the plural.  Haven’t heard this word for disturbance for ages.

21a         Abandon work after dark on a regular basis (4)
DROP:  Start with  the alternate letters (on a regular basis) from DaRk and follow with the usual two letter work.

22a         Poor trip abroad, on balance (10)
PROPORTION:  Anagram (abroad) of POOR TRIP followed by ON (from the clue).

25a         A revolting slum? He’s encapsulated old, poor residence (9)
ALMSHOUSE:  Start with A (from the clue) and follow with an anagram (revolting) of SLUM HES and insert (encapsulated) an O(ld).  I always thought this was hyphenated but apparently its preferred spelling is as a single word.

26a         Information about style (5)
GENRE:  Style as in class.  It’s the usual information followed by two letters for about.

27a         Common sense keeps the Queen very worried (7)
NERVOUS:  Start with a word for common sense and insert the two letters for Her Majesty and a V(ery).

28a         Motorcycle passenger gets in this drink (7)
SIDECAR:  If he doesn’t want to ride pillion a motorcycle passenger will have to sit in one of these. It’s also a cocktail made from brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice in equal parts.


1d           Mother upset by American president’s surprise attack (6)
AMBUSH:  Reverse mother and follow with the name of a US president. There have been two of this name during my lifetime.

2d           Have a meal in attempt to get agreement (6)
TREATY:  A word for to have a meal or consume inserted (in) into a word for attempt or have a go.

3d           Unpretentiousness taken for granted in outskirts of Salisbury (10)
SIMPLICITY:  Take a word for taken for granted or implied and insert it into SY (outskirts of SalisburY).

4d           Small Earl Grey? Maiden put on kettle to make this (5)
STEAM:  A charade of S(mall), what Earl Grey is an example of and an M(aiden).

5d           Hawking, perhaps, is nicest organised before ornithologist’s back (9)
SCIENTIST:  Nothing to do with falconry, clearing the throat or offering goods for sale.  This is what Professor Stephen Hawking is an example of.  Disguising the necessary capitalisation by putting the name at the start of the clue – a common trick but sneaky!

6d           Dan ignoring an alcoholic drink — beat that! (4)
DRUM:  Dan ignoring an leaves you with a D. Follow that with a drink beloved of sailors and pommette.  I have a nephew called Dan and you don’t often see him ignoring an alcoholic drink!

7d           Easily persuaded, this writer is captivated by an expert (8)
AMENABLE:  Start with how the setter might refer to himself and insert it into (captivated by) the AN from the clue.  Follow with a word meaning expert or at least capable.

8d           May denies reforms — article’s dismissed, displaying imagination (5,3)
MINDS EYE:  Anagram (reforms) of MAY DENIES but without the A (article’s dismissed).

13d         Doctor argued once fired up (10)
ENCOURAGED:  Anagram (doctor) of ARGUED ONCE.

15d         Water plants inside these? (9)
AQUARIUMS:  You don’t just get water plants in these, you also get fish.

16d         Harmful drops from out of the blue? (4,4)
ACID RAIN:  Cryptic definition of polluted water falling from the sky.  Difficult to hint without using the second word of the answer.

17d         Fashionable old spy (8)
INFORMER:  Two letters for fashionable followed by a word meaning old or earlier.

19d         Photograph pleasant, unfinished meal outside (6)
PICNIC:  A slang term for a photo followed by a word meaning pleasant without its last letter (unfinished).

20d         Make more attractive organ with object on top (6)
ENDEAR:  Start with an organ, you have one each side of your head, and before it put an object or aim.

23d         Diarist, we hear, giving looks slyly (5)
PEEPS:  Sounds like (we hear) the famous diarist Samuel.

24d         Expression of triumphant surprise going round one American state (4)
OHIO:  An expression of surprise around I (one) gives one of the three four letter US states, the others being Iowa and Utah.

An all-round pleasant puzzle with no real stand out clues for me.  Perhaps 3d is my favourite simply because it put up something of a fight.

Quick crossword pun:     COUNSEL     +     TACKS    =     COUNCIL TAX


71 comments on “DT 28681

  1. Definitely not a Ray T – most of the Quick clues are more than one word, – so I’ll just say thank you to the Thursday Mysteron and Pommers – we have sun but have only reached the dizzy heights of 6 degrees this morning so far

    I can highly recommend today’s Toughie – Micawber on top form

  2. 1.5* / 3*. A light but pleasant puzzle with a couple of misleading indicators (Ray and the Queen) that RayT might have been the setter, but it was definitely not his style and a few long clues over eight words confirmed it was Mr Thursday Ron today.

    A few slightly dodgy surfaces aside, this was good fun, and my only difficulty was in deciding whether the answer to 23d was the “diarist” or “giving sly looks”.

    Quite a coincidence to see a reference to Salisbury today.

    My favourite was 1a.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to pommers.

    P.S. I can endorse CS’s recommendation for today’s Toughie. It’s not too tough but great fun,

    1. Re 23d, I assumed the definition was “looks slyly”, otherwise would “giving looks slyly” not be peeping ?

      1. The first three words of the clue are indicating that the answer is a homophone of the diarist, and not the diarist himself.

    2. P.P.S. I meant to say thank you too to pommers for a better looking choice of drummer today. Not only does she look good, she is an excellent drummer too. Against my better judgement Mrs RD persuaded me to see The Corrs recently at The Albert Hall, and I was very pleasantly surprised how good they were.

    3. As well as Salisbury, harmful drops and spy are mentioned!
      Enjoyable solve, thanks to setter and Pommers.

  3. Easily completed in * time. Only 15d raised any problems for me, I wasn’t aware of the “other” meaning.

    COTD 18a, the very idea of prisoners having that sort of disturbance brought a smile to my face.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  4. A very enjoyable solve, and probably because of Mouton Cadet assistance*, completed at a fast gallop – **/****.

    So, the misleading indicators, identified by RD above, and the speed of solve (definitely a personal best for a Ray T if he had been the setter) left me confused as to who the setter might be.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 10a, 14a, 3d, and 4d – and the winner by a nose is 9a.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

    * – I needed the Mouton Cadet to replace the armful of blood ‘surrendered’ at the doctor’s during my annual check-up.

  5. 2* /3* from me for this straightforward Thursday puzzle. It didn’t quite hit the heights enjoyment-wise, but it was fun while it lasted. 14a just my favourite from 3d.

    Thanks to our setter and to pommers.

  6. A pleasant puzzle without any real elephant traps – thanks to whomsoever and to pommers for the blog. My favourite clue is 4d.

    I’ll add my voice to those recommending the Micawber Toughie – it’s a joy from start to finish.

  7. Going to agree with Pommers on a */** ***, a light hearted puzzle today.
    My favourite was 28a for the excellent surface, thanks Pommers for the pic, the passenger was on the limit-always lean to the inside of the bend, and the driver was looking the wrong way !-reminder, must tax the Ducati.
    Thought 15d was a tad iffy.

  8. After two days without a puzzle (work and golf) this one was a breeze – An easy Thursday puzzle xxxxxxx- Back to yesterdays now.

    1. The convention is that we don’t mention actual solving times – you can however express your time in, for example, cups of tea or pints of beer consumed during the solving process

  9. Definitely not a Mr T but an enjoyable if somewhat short-lived solve.
    Tops for me were 1&14a.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the blog – nice to hear Mr Bream again.

    1. My favourite classical guitarist, apart from a guy known as El Torero (Antonio Fernandez) who comes from Torrevieja and sometimes has a jam session in a bar down the end of my street. This is the chap . . .

    2. Julian Bream used to be a very keen cricketer and continued playing despite his professional advisers suggesting that exposing his fingers to the possibility of damage from a cricket ball might bring his career to an abrupt end!

  10. Wot, no Ray T! This one was very straightforward and mild but with well-written, though generally easy to parse/solve, clues. My only small quibble (and my pet hate) is 14a, which has really excellent word play followed (and made redundant) by the most obvious/transparent three-word definition imaginable. 1.5* /3*

  11. Off out to lunch soon with pommette’s step-cousin who’s over here at her apartment in Torrevieja for a few weeks. Can you have a step-cousin? Whatever, the lady in question is the niece of pommette’s step-father so step-cousin looks about right to me :grin:

    Back about 1500GMT so play nicely while I’m away.

    1. Saint Sharon had three mothers and three fathers when I met her. Also a sister who was no relation whatsoever.

      1. When my youngest had to write a paragraph about her family, she stated that she had one grandpa, two grandmas, one and a half sisters and three quarters of a cat (poor thing was run over).

  12. A very straightforward solve, especially the top half, but extremely entertaining with some excellent clues. My top two were 14a and 18a.

    Many thanks to both setter and pommers.

  13. Nothing extraordinary today but a pleasant pastime. NW corner was last to go in. Lovely to hear JB in 9a hint – think he probably just outranks John Williams but of course Segovia beat them both. El Torero seems great too. Didn’t parse 7d as was concentrating on the ‘am’ rather than ‘me’ – silly me. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

    1. I saw Segovia at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in the seventies when he was over 80 years old. Absolutely brilliant.

      El Torero is top class but it’s even better when he’s sat in a small bar with a few mates and they just start playing after they’ve finished dinner. He always ends up doing about 20 mins or more solo. Happens about twice a year and the bar owner usually lets me know when Antonio has booked a table.

      John Williams I thought was great in the band Sky.

  14. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, nothing too drastic. Not a Ray T, although 9a, which was my favourite, and 27a, were trademarks. Took a while to get 3d,14a&15d, all long words. Was 2*/3* for me. Wind chill factor very high in Central London.

  15. No problems here, a nice warm up for the toughie.
    Can’t help not being comfortable with the plural of 15d. Too old fashioned maybe
    Thanks to all

    1. Another voice from Sussex agrees with you re 15d but there it is in dictionaries, etc.

      1. I’m sure it’s right enough, just doesn’t sit well with me.
        Which bit of Sussex? We’re in Pulborough

        1. Be careful starting conversations like this as they might lead to unexpected results. A few years ago I did just this sort of thing and it transpired the other guy had sold me his house way back in 1978! How spooky was that? Can’t remember exact details but I’m sure BD could find the appropriate post if anyone’s interested

            1. I wasn’t really being serious but that conversation has stuck n my mind all these years and it all started with a simple mention of the Manchester suburb Cheadle Hulme.

              Haven’t heard from Denis again and he soon disappeared from the blog.

        2. Perhaps forewarned is forearmed so I will just say I’m in a village some 3 miles from Horsham – almost on your doorstep!

  16. Must add my voice, although not quite in accord with all you clever bloggers. As a relative newbie, this was enormously enjoyable, not least because I could do it and with no electronic help. Thank you to the blog for teaching me, and to today’s setter and Pommers.

  17. Over too soon but pleasant while it lasted. No real favourite and 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the review.

  18. This was a super puzzle, translated means I completed it without help! I liked 1a and14a, and many others. Obviously 1* is my forte and hoping to rise to 2* soon. My thanks to the setter and pommers.

  19. Unusually an afternoon solve and again an excellent crossword. No real favourites but nice to see Her Majesty in 27a. Thanks to setter and of course Pommers.

  20. Nice, brief puzzle today. [*`/***]
    Apart from my initial attempts to squeeze ‘Stephen’ into 5d, all went fairly smoothly.
    15d is my COTD purely because I failed to recognise why it was in a cryptic crossword at first glance!

    Thanks to pommers and the setter.

  21. **/****. Enjoyable solve while it lasted. No standout clues for me. Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  22. Nice puzzle definetly not Ray T because I managed to complete it🤗 */*** I liked 28a and 5d Thanks to Pommers and to the Compiler 😃

  23. A good puzzle that hit the right spot a very pleasant solve. Only really held up in SE corner and that fell fairly rapidly with 13d last in. Plenty of varied clues with a a good few smiles. A Ray T free Thursday glad I have made the best of it before next Thursday, at least the brain was in gear for today’s puzzle.

    Rating 2* / 4*

    Clues of the day: For me 10a / 13d are the stars today.

    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  24. Enjoyable puzzle albeit over too quickly. */****. 1a and 3d joint favourites. Thanks for the Julian Bream excerpt, Pommers.

  25. After a poor run on Monday through Wednesday, this was a comfortable stroll with top half straight off and the bottom half providing a few pencil-chewers. */** : ***

  26. Enjoyable solve, and less challenging than your typical Thursday. Curious that the setter has adopted some but not all of RayT’s signatures. I hope that they’ll also adopt his tradition of commenting here to claim it. Favourite was 3d for the extra cogitation required. Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  27. I bunged Allotments in at 11ac. It had some men (chaps) in it. I realised it was wrong when I started solving the down clues and 1d put paid to the letter A. I crossed the wrong answer out using the same fingertip that I put it in with. No Tippex, no erasers and no overwriting. When complete the puzzle was as neat as neat as can be. That is the joy of iPad solving for you. Not like the Toughie which is an illegible mess most days. Thanks to today’s setter and thanks to pommers. Off to see Slim Chance tonight.. Ronnie Lane’s old band.

  28. The Chartists post made me laugh out loud. That’s just the sort of squeezing I try to do .
    I agree with *rating..over in a flash.

  29. After a poor run on Monday through Wednesday, this was a comfortable stroll with top half straight off and the bottom half providing a few pencil-chewers. 1.5 */3*
    I have really enjoyed return to CrypCross puzzles after many years away, and really glad I found this site. Thanks to all who provide hints so quickly, and to everyone else for community spirit.

  30. Well, that was a longer lunch than expected but a very pleasant afternoon. No, it wasn’t a liquid lunch as I was on driving duty.

    Glad to see that, for once, most of you have agreed with my rating of this puzzle as fairly easy but enjoyable.

    1. Your comment on the 16d hint amused me, and got me thinking: is the sky blue when it rains? No :smile:

      1. Hadn’t thought about that but you’re correct, although one afternoon last week we had a mostly blue sky with the sun shining but a single large cloud decided to dump it’s load on El Saladar. :sad:

        Caused a lovely rainbow though :smile:

  31. This was easy enough even for a bonehead like me, but still very enjoyable.
    Thanks all.

  32. No major delays in filling in this one and a very pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers

  33. I agree with the ratings and with anyone who said that this is not a Ray T crossword – as far as I can see the only one of his trademark clues was the appearance of HM in 27a.
    My only real hold-up was the pig’s ear I made of 22a – anagram (poor) of TRIP ABROAD – oh well, soon sorted out and you can’t win ’em all.
    I liked 9a and 17d. My favourite was 3d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to pommers.

    1. I too tried that anagram at first then realised it had to end in N which saved me a lot of head scratching. Good puzzle and I also agree with the rating.

  34. Found this to be enjoyable and not too tricky, while not exactly a single starrer. Unusually I can’t think of much else to say. Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  35. Apropos of nothing really but the 22°C forecast turned out to be wildly optimistic. We topped out at 18°C but it was nice and sunny so very nice really.

  36. Another great puzzle, with 21a being last in for some strange reason. Good fun while it lasted.

  37. Enjoyable and pretty straightforward. First in 1ac, last in 7d, working more or less counter-clockwise.

  38. Really enjoyed this one, which would usually indicate it to be on the “not too difficult side”. 4 down probably my favourite.

  39. */**** for me. Favourites 1 14 and 28a and 3 and 14d. Last one in 22a as trying to do an anagram with the wrong word. We seem to be agreed about level and enjoyment. Pity Brian is not around. Perhaps he is but solving silently. Are you going to come out and reveal yourself Setter? Thanks all

  40. I was too tired to tackle this last night before lights out. All finished over coffee this morning. My guess is that despite the Queen in 27a, it’s not a RayT, only because It wasn’t a struggle for me. Many thanks setter and Pommers.

  41. Too busy to do this yesterday.
    A lovely crossword which brightened up my day.

    Now on to Friday’s.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the hints …and for the spooky story about meeting the person who sold him a house on this blog…..they say it is a small world. and I think they must be correct.

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