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DT 28684

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28684

Hints and tips by a Washed-Out Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Today’s setter is Dada. He has clearly understood the editorial brief which asks for an amusing gentle puzzle to start the week. My first thought upon seeing the grid was that there were too many black squares. This gives us less clues to solve. Only twenty six today. Therefore regular solvers should have slightly more time on their hands than usual. Use this time wisely. Lost time is not found again.

Today’s hints and tips are provided by Miffypops, a willing lad with no training, struggling to do his best. They are here to help you solve the clues you cannot solve and to explain the why and the wherefore of those you know are right but are not quite sure why. Definitions are underlined and the solutions can be revealed by clicking on the click here boxes

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


5a    State north Australia backs in song (7)
ARIZONA: Place the reversed (backs) abbreviations for both North and Australia (possibly slang) inside a song from an opera. Any song from any opera. A long accompanied song for a solo voice

7a    Old Testament priest, by Old Testament author (5)
ELIOT: Begin with our regular Old Testament priest. (He was blind until he read the Holy Scripture and regained his sight) Add the abbreviation for Old Testament. At first I thought of TS who is a poet and essayist not an author. I know better than to contradict a setter so I had a rethink and remembered that bloke George [aka Mary Anne Evans] who went to school in Coventry and whose books are all named after wards in the Nuneaton hospital which he/she too was named after.

9a    Religious service provided that range (6)
MASSIF: Begin with the religious service we all attend on Sundays. Add a conditional conjunction meaning possibly.

10a    Improvisation of claviers, instinctive (8)
VISCERAL: Anagram (Improvisation of) CLAVIERS

11a    Confused story put out, vexing you initially (5-5)
TOPSY-TURVY: Begin with an anagram (confused) of STORY PUT. Add the initial (initially) letters of the words Vexing You from the clue

13a    Youngster — figure inspiring exasperation primarily (4)
TEEN: This figure is a three-lettered number. We need to place inside this number (inspired) the first letter (primarily) of the word exasperation

14a    Author discussed predator from Richmond? (8,5)
VIRGINIA WOOLF: This Richmond is in The United States of America. Find a homophone of a four legged predator that might prowl this state.

16a    Opponent in giant, indomitable (4)
ANTI: A lurker. The answer is hidden within the words of the clue and cleverly indicated as so by the word in.

17a    Talk — as might Jack Sprat’s wife? (4,3,3)
CHEW THE FAT: A phrase meaning to talk in a leisurely and prolonged way can be found by considering what and how Mrs Sprat might eat according to this very old rhyme

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between the two of them,
They licked the platter clean.

19a    Money only for wool (8)
CASHMERE: Two synonyms are needed here. An easy one for ready money and a rather vague one for only

20a    Sexy ruby stolen (3-3)
RED HOT: Again two synonyms are needed. The colour of a ruby and a description of stolen property

22a    Chance to delete first of numbers (5)
EVENS: This betting chance comes by removing the first letter (delete first of) of a pluralised number. You won’t have to count far to get this number. However should you miss it and keep on counting you will not use the letter M until you reach one million

23a    Communist runs Kentucky (7)
TROTSKY: The first five letters of the answer relate to the word runs (As horses might). The final two letters are the regular abbreviation for the state of Kentucky. The answer is our third author of the day


1d    Avoid girl (4)
MISS: A double definition, the second being an unmarried lass.

2d    A handful at the wedding? (8)
CONFETTI: This handful of coloured litter is what is traditionally thrown over newlyweds as they leave the church after their wedding.

3d    Top island (6)
JERSEY: The top is a knitted garment with long sleeves, worn over the upper body. The Island is one of a group including Herm and Sark

4d    Waste of tenner, miso soup (10)
MINESTRONE: Anagram (waste) of MISO TENNER

5d    In general, a mournful site of battle (5)
ALAMO: Another lurker where the answer lies hidden within the words of the clue

6d    Commercial break aired, TV set getting people hooked (13)
ADVERTISEMENT: Anagram (break) of (AIRED TV SET) which wraps itself around the word MEN from the clue and thus hooking or catching them

8d    Terrible fate drinking beer — bit gone to pot? (3,4)
TEA LEAF: Anagram (terrible) of FATE which is placed around (drinking) another word for beer.

12d    Neatly arrange shattering fragments (10)
STRAIGHTEN: Anagram (fragments) of SHATTERING

14d    Very popular children’s game, English classic (7)
VINTAGE: A four-part charade. 1. Begin with the abbreviation for very. 2. Add a word meaning popular or trendy. 3. Add a children’s playground game. (Middle letter A. Where I grew up it was middle letter I) 4. Use the abbreviation for English

15d    Battle station? (8)
WATERLOO: This battle is also the name of a railway station, a tube station, a bus station and a sunset

17d    In bad tastelike fondue? (6)
CHEESY: What a fondue can be described as relating to taste. Fondue sets. How many of you have an unused one given as a present by somebody who should have known better?

18d    Suffering in the past ends in plain misery (5)
AGONY: Begin with an adverb meaning before the present time. Add the final letters (ends in) of plain and misery

21d    One’s gorgeous plate of food (4)
DISH: A double definition. The first being a sexually attractive person

That’s all folks.

Quickie Pun Wife+Runts=Y-Fronts


54 comments on “DT 28684

  1. If you expect the first crossword of the Telegraph week to be an easy one, then today’s was perfectly pitched to meet expectations. No particular favourites for me but thank you to Dada and MP – I bet I’m not the only one this morning glad that the quick pun solution doesn’t require an illustration ;)

    1. I couldn’t put it better myself, CS. Nods in complete agreement with all you’ve written. :-D

  2. An enjoyable * for difficulty here. The SW corner held me up for marginally longer than the rest – notably the anagram at 12d – but I suspect that’s probably because I haven’t woken up yet. :-) Fun while it lasted, a good start to the week.

  3. Yes, I think MP’s summed it up well: “an amusing gentle puzzle”. Quite enjoyable. 1.5* / 2.5*

  4. Well, with that grid and the number and length of clues, that needed a double check to make sure I had not printed off the Quickie. Quite enjoyable and completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 17a and 23a.

    Thanks to Dada and GMoLI.

  5. 1.5* / 3*. This was a straightforward solve which I enjoyed very much. MP may well be right about lots of black squares in the grid, but, unlike Friday’s back-pager, the clues themselves were surrounded by open white spaces thanks to the commendable brevity of the cluing, even though that has resulted in a few dodgy surfaces.

    Rufus’ style was unique (as is MP’s blogging style) but the alternating Dada/Sir Ron combo has kept the entertainment level on Mondays at a very high level.

    Many thanks to Dada and to MP.

    1. As I said to Jane last week, calling our new editor Sir Ron makes him sound like one of those 1970s trades’ union leaders ennobled for services to trade relations or something similar.

      1. Sir Arthur has a nice ring to it. Arthur Scargill. A man who started with a small house and a big union and ended up with a big house and a small union.

  6. I am enjoying the Monday solve so much more these days. My favorites are 14A and 17A. Thanks Dada and the lovely MP.

  7. A rather gentle start to the week. 17a was my favourite because it made me say the nursery rhyme out loud to work out the clue. Thank you Dada and Miffypops.

  8. I agree with RD. Sir Ron and Dada are adjusting brilliantly to the Monday slot, dialling down the difficulty without damping the fun. Much enjoyed.

    Thanks to Dada and MP.

  9. That was a benign way to start the week. No Favs. Thanks Dada and MP. Quickie pun raised a giggle.

  10. An enjoyable and straightforward solve, made more interesting by the number of ‘pairings’ in the answers: 5a/14a, 7a/14a, 4d/21d and 3d/19a. Overall 1.5* /3.5* for me with 17a just the favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and WOMP.

  11. A very benign start to the week, completed in ** time. LOI was 17a, because I only knew the first line, I had to interpolate to reach the full answer.

    COTD for me was the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to all.

    1. Re first lines, when I was a student nurse I shared a house with five others and we lived at 76 Bullingdon Road. My sister was coming to stay for the first time and, not known for her great memory, said that she’d just remember the song 76 trombones. When she got to Bullingdon Road she couldn’t quite remember how many trombones there were – all she could remember was the second line which was something to do with 110 cornets!

  12. A nice canter through todays offering, Dada seems to pitch it about right for mondays. Thanks to Miffypops and Dada.
    What price Ireland to beat England Saturday.

  13. Finished at speed bar one. A real “d’oh” moment for me was 20a, red what? Dog or fox, grrrr! I blame yesterday’s beer!

  14. I agree with RD and Kitty – Monday puzzles are still most enjoyable despite the departure of Rufus from his weekly slot.
    I had a slight hold up whilst wandering around the wrong Richmond looking for predators but getting the odd checker in place soon solved that.
    Ticks went to 17&20a along with 18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to MP for the blog – today’s puzzle certainly gave you plenty of musical opportunities!

    I’m rather sad that CS is so against the knighting of Sir Ron – I think the title suits him well. Perhaps we should ask our illustrious editor what he thinks about it – I have a feeling that he may well be totally unperturbed!

  15. Very speedy solve today, very entertaining too! [*`/****]
    Not entirely sure that 17d entirely works for me, but I’m likely missing something obvious.
    I do love 12d for the fact that it is pretty much a list of anagram indicators and hence required a few character counts to be carried out. 17a has to be my favourite though.

    Thanks to Dada and MP!

  16. I am not yet in tune with this new Monday setter, so didn’t do this one particularly speedily.
    In fact 3d stumped me altogether for no good reason once I’d used the electronic aids.
    However, I am sure I will cotton on eventually.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the hints.

  17. As most of you have noted, this was very straightforward, but enjoyable. I got myself temporarily misdirected, in 4d, by confusing the anagram indicator with the answer – could not make ‘waste’ out of the letters!! I think 17d was my favourite – and I liked the Quickie pun. MP dissembles well !!

  18. A cheerful kickoff to the week with this crossword. No real problems and the grey cells weren’t really challenged. No real favourite and 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to Dada and the willing lad from LI.

    1. A lot of people love this opera, but I can’t say it’s a favourite of mine.

      Anyone who’s been in it knows the death scene feels interminable and every time you think she’s dead, she isn’t and you’re praying under your breath “yes, OK, we will remember you, now get on with it”.

      Heartless, you will say, but that’s teenagers for you…….

  19. As others have already said, an excellent puzzle which certainly here in the South has brightened up a very wet day.

    The anagrams were very good indeed and two of them have emerged as my joint-favourite clues, namely 11a and 4d.

    Many thanks to Mr Halpern and the washed-out one.

  20. Agree an enjoyable start to the week 😃 **/*** My favourite was 7a with 23a in silver position. 😉 Thanks to MP and to Dada

  21. Agree it is a nice gentle start to the week but still an enjoyable puzzle. Learnt a new name at 7a not very good at the religious stuff I’m afraid, but managed to bung it in. Last one in 9a. Just the SW corner delayed me ever so slightly.

    Clues of the day: 11a / 17a

    Rating 2* / 3.5*

    Thanks to MP and Dada

  22. Equally wet in the north and equally pleasant to solve. 14a my COTD but plenty others to like too.
    Thanks to Dada and MP.

  23. */***. Gentle start to the week. Thanks to Dada and MP for an equally enjoyable set of hints. Fiji were worthy Sevens winners yesterday and I’m amazed at how many Fijian fans were in the stadium.

  24. A very nice crossword which cheered up what’s been a pretty miserable day for several reasons. :sad:
    I got into a spot of bother confusing the definition and the anagram indicator with 4d which was my last answer.
    Not too many other problems.
    I thought there were lots of good clues – 20 and 23a and 14 and 17d. My favourite was either 14 or 17a.
    With thanks to Dada and to the washed-out MP who wasn’t too washed-out to do a lovely blog.

    1. It is comments such as this that keep me inspired to keep on keeping on trying to help anyone interested in cryptic crosswords. Thank you Una.

  25. Oh dear, my comment disappeared.
    Most enjoyable solve, just delightful.
    Fave was 17a, runners up 14a and 20a.
    Thanks to Dada and to M’pops for the fun blog, love the new gravatar.

    1. Saint Sharon and I on the beach at Shanna Beach near Ardnamurchan Point in Scotland

      1. Amazing what beautiful beaches they have in Scotland, now if they could just provide some sunshine and warmth!

    2. When the little blobs have had their little dance (reconnecting to server), just hit the back button twice and your post will still be there, and will submit correctly. Alternatively, refresh the page immediately before you write your post and submit.

      1. I learned the lesson about refreshing before posting, I’ll make a note of the first option to try next time!

  26. I was not quite on wavelength today, so a few clues held me up, but enjoyed anyway. Loved 23a, but just pipped at the post for COTD by 17a. Of course if I could have spelt Virginia’s last name correctly it would have helped. Probably too much sawdust got in the brain from yesterday’s plywood disposal.

  27. Posting from my phone has become quite difficult of late. And I don’t switch on the Mainframe very often so I have been lurking all week.
    From all the crosswords, toughies included, the hardest one was Friday’s Giovanni. Still working on it.
    Dada on Mondays is always a pleasure.
    Short and sweet like the cluing.
    Had to check the nursery rhyme though.
    Thanks to Dada and to MP.

    Oh. I almost forgot.
    You might think I’m such a nice guy not to mention the rugby.
    Well think again.
    Double COCORICO to you all!

  28. Easier than many recent Monday cryptics, but amusing in its way: 1*/3.5*. I enjoyed 17a and 11a. Thanks to Dada and MP.

  29. I struggle a bit with Dada’s wavelength but got there in the end.
    Very enjoyable though with lots of great clues.
    14a was my favorite.
    Thanks all.

  30. Hi, regarding 22a, I took the number missing it’s first letter to be (s)EVEN, but if so, why the reference to only encountering an M, if you miss it, when you reach one million if you go past it? Thanks

    1. Hello Brendan. If you start counting from one upwards your lips will only meet when you get to one million. The first time the letter M is encountered. It is nothing to do with the clue or the answer. It is merely thrown in for amusement. The blog would be a poorer place if we all took it too seriously. At comment 5 Rabbit Dave mentioned my unique blogging style. We all have a unique blogging style. And most of us throw a little mischief in. Tomorrow the WordPress Wizards will open the pet shop. On Wednesday the 2Ks will update us on family events and the weather down under. On Thursday Kath will be dipilly honest or pommers will play along merrily. On Friday Deep Threat will give the most succinct and accurate hints and tips with the most obscure musical clip and a cheesy clip from an ancient tv programme. Long may the diversity continue

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