DT 28686 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28686

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28686

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

A definite autumnal feeling in the air now. Significantly for us, the bar-tailed godwits that have been happily feeding on the mudflats of the estuary for the last months have been departing for their breeding grounds in Alaska. They tend to leave in groups of about 20 or so birds and several of these groups left in the last week. The ones that are still here, about 100 of them, are showing signs that their departure is not far away.

A quality puzzle again from Jay.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Reach end of session consumed by anger (5)
RANGE : The last letter of session is inside a synonym for anger.

4a    Fish that’s pale and a bit off (9)
WHITEBAIT : Pale, or the very lightest of light colours, and an anagram (off) of A BIT.

9a     Man needs grain that’s ground periodically (9)
PIECEMEAL : This man could be found on a board, and then what is produced by grinding grain (usually not wheat).

10a     Bill has no time for such an exhibitionist (5)
POSER : A bill that is used for advertising has the abbreviation for time removed from within it.

11a     Country church estate on the west of Italy (7)
ICELAND : Firstly the IVR code for Start with the first letter (west) of Italy, then the abbreviation for the Anglican Church and finally, estate or property.

12a     Looked across river and took the lead (7)
STARRED : The abbreviation for river is inside looked intensely.

13a     One source of neglect in French house fire (6)
IGNITE : The Roman numeral one, then a French farmhouse or cottage contains the first letter of neglect.

15a     Generation gap sees gang returning in sulk (5,3)
POWER CUT : A four letter word for sulk surrounds the reversal of a word for a gang or ship’s company.

18a     Awful shame appearing in short robe for programme (4,4)
GAME SHOW : A word for a robe or dress loses its last letter and surrounds an anagram (awful) of SHAME.

20a     Timid type eating second sweet (6)
MOUSSE : The animal we use as a synonym for timidity contains the abbreviation for second.

23a     Remarkable postscript about the Spanish being infiltrated by US agency (7)
SPECIAL : Postscript about is an instruction to reverse the initials for something added to the end of a letter. Then the Spanish definite article surrounds the US intelligence service.

24a     Settler needing help to protect new queen maybe on the way back (7)
ANTACID : A word for help or assistance is outside the abbreviation for new and the reversal of the animal that is sometimes referred to as a queen.

26a     Band involved in aggro, upset (5)
GROUP : A lurker hiding in the last two words of the clue.

27a     Sausage one must have seasoning on to start with (9)
PEPPERONI : A common seasoning or condiment with ON from the clue and the Roman numeral one.

28a     This may require one to be patient (9)
TREATMENT : A cryptic definition of medical attention.

29a     Patriotic prince perhaps initially changing sides (5)
LOYAL : A word for the status of a prince or his close family has its first letter changed from one side or hand to the other.


1d     Fixing coupling overlooked by engineers (9)
REPAIRING : Army engineers and then joining together as a twosome.

2d     Relative from city on the Med being reported (5)
NIECE : A homophone of a city on the French Riviera.

3d     Smart worker supports the French on the rise, for example (7)
ELEGANT : A worker insect is below (supports) a reversal of the French definite article and the two letters signifying for example.

4d     Exercises or makes solid connections across Italy (6)
WIELDS : The IVR code for Italy is inside ‘makes solid connections’ by fusing metals using gas or an electric arc.

5d     No one gets over following sick American fantasy (8)
ILLUSION : Sick or unwell, the United States and then the reversal of NO from the clue and the Roman numeral one.

6d     Make amends for former buccaneer ignoring queen (7)
EXPIATE : The prefix for former and then a synonym for buccaneer loses the single letter signifying a queen.

7d     Takes works of Picasso, say (9)
ABSTRACTS : A general word that describes many of Picasso’s art works.

8d     Feeling fatigue but bound to welcome runs (5)
TIRED : The cricket abbreviation for runs is inside bound or restrained.

14d     First officer‘s best-seller? (6,3)
NUMBER ONE : A double definition. The first officer is the next in command to a ship’s captain.

16d     Routine part of tyre on motorway — outwardly lethal (9)
TREADMILL : The part of the tyre that is in contact with the road, then a significant motorway in the UK and the first and last letters (outwardly) of lethal.

17d     Pass, slip, and fall down (8)
COLLAPSE : A mountain pass and then an indiscretion.

19d     Fixes up favourite for scrap (7)
SNIPPET : The reversal of fixes or attaches and then a favourite that could be an animal.

21d     Start shortly with lines to generate more business (7)
OUTSELL : A word for a start or beginning loses its last letter and then the repeated abbreviation for line.

22d     Fish rest regularly, finding cover (6)
CARPET : A freshwater fish is followed by the second and fourth letters (regularly) of rest.

23d     Sense good deal (5)
SIGHT : A double definition. The second could be a great many.

25d     Friend may be appearing during call (5)
CRONY : A word for ‘appearing’ in a theatrical sense is inside a call or shout.

We felt spoilt for choice with such good clues and could not decide between 9a, 15a and 24a for favourite spot.

Quickie pun     havoc    +    Russian    =    have a crush on

60 comments on “DT 28686

  1. A very pleasant and extremely enjoyable solve completed at a fast canter – ** or ***/*****.

    Candidates for favourite – 28a, 7d, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Ks.

  2. Even starting with the Downs my time wouldn’t have registered as a canter – I thought this a particularly tricky Jay crossword – thank you to him and the 2Ks

    The late lamented Petitjean continues to entertain in the middle of the paper and is recommended to all

    1. Ditto on the Toughie. I didn’t know it was a Petitjean when I was solving it (setters are not identified on-line and I didn’t look at the on-line listing that is available) and it has become the first one of his I have ever solved (although I have to admit I did need some electronic assistance).

  3. 1* / 4*. That was probably the easiest Jay puzzle I have ever completed but the quality shone through as ever.

    My joint favourites were 15a and 24a thanks to their magnificent definitions.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    P.S. I endorse CS’s recommendation to tackle the PJ Toughie today. It’s really good.

  4. This was fairly mild and about average for a back-pager. All good clues and quite enjoyable. 2* / 3*

  5. I was doing well until I hit the NE corner where I ground to a halt. Eventually completed at the second visit, so I guess a **** time.

    COTD has to be 15a for the superb mis-direction.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  6. My subscription expired yesterday, so I haven’t done this yet, and instead printed off the Guardian. And here’s the funny thing – 23d is ‘upcoming strike creates difficulty’ *n*t!

  7. Much head scratching required for the top half of this puzzle, but I got there eventually without help – hurrah! Most enjoyable. Thanks to Jay and 2Ks.

    Just one quibble – from my perspective, in 11a, the church estate is on the east not west of Italy.

    1. H – one crossword convention is that west of Italy indicates the ‘western’ letter of the word, east of Italy would be Y.

      1. Mr Senf are you saying the the Clue asks for the initial letter of Italy as indicated by west of and that the IVR code is nothing to do with it? I think you are right. Are you still astride your stallion?

        1. It’s just as well that’s it not the IVR code for Italy or else Silvanus’ repetition radar would have been sounding off.

          1. Indeed, especially as it had already picked up “one” being used to indicate the ninth letter of the alphabet on two separate occasions!

        2. Yes, I am. The stallion is resting after carrying me through both the back pager and the Toughie.

          1. You should enter him for the Gold Cup on Friday, must be the fittest horse in the world after all that galloping!!

    2. Thanks. We saw that when solving but forgot it again when we were writing the blog. Fixed now.

      1. On Monday the Virginia Woolf answer leapt out at me fully explained whilst solving but I couldn’t remember how it worked when writing it up. It took ages for me to see it second time around

        1. Yes just like that. We had mentally noted IVR code for 4d so that was what was set in our minds when putting the blog together.
          Wonder if these little slips would get through if the hints were written by a computer.

  8. This was a puzzle of two halves for me, west went in quiet quickly but east was a little stinker. Who knows how the mind works.
    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay who again made my brain ache.

  9. Definitely a bit of thought required over 9&15a which were awarded podium places along with the 24a settler.
    Honourable mention for 4a – the surface read made me laugh.

    Thanks to Jay for an excellent puzzle and to the 2Ks for an equally excellent blog.

    PS Another vote here for the PJ Toughie – well worth trying.

  10. This took lots longer than normal because we took the car for repair after the first read through. I particularly liked my last one in 15 across although I struggled to see why TUOP was a sulk. Silly boy. I am all for some food in a crossword puzzle and I loved the starter. The main course and the sweet were not for me though. The Godwits should be renamed Nitwits for flying from New Zealand to The Arctic. Ta to all concerned.

  11. This definitely took some teasing out for me with the top right holding out the longest. I agree with Malcolm above in his comment about 15a – absolutely wonderful clueing and I only solved it after writing down every synonym for gang I could think of until I came up with the right one, then the penny dropped!

    Very many thanks to the Kiwis and Jay

  12. I struggled with this one. Had an awful lot of bung ins, so needed the Kiwis’ parsings to make sense of a lot of it.

    Completely foxed by 4d and 9a until the electronics came to my assistance.

    Took ages to get 15a but loved it when I got it.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis.

  13. My hold ups were 15a and 7d (maybe because I’d convinced myself that the Picasso was a car). Don’t think I knew the 13a French house either but that was fine.

    I liked 15a for the definition and 20a (mmm).

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  14. Aye aye captain. I’m sure John Bee will be as pleased as I am with 14d.
    Found the clues very elegant but it’s hardly surprising coming from Jay.
    Favourite 4a.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks for the review.

  15. In contrast to RD I found that distinctly thorny but tenacity paid off in the end. Certainly my Fav was 15a after having sought help with it. 23d sense was enough for me but not sure where good deal comes into it? Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis.

    1. 23d The answer is an informal word for a good deal or a lot as in “We’ve had a sight more rain recently”.

    2. The good deal bit of 23d took me ages too – BRB says ‘a great many or a great deal’ – I seem to remember being ‘had’ by it before.

  16. I seem to be the only one who sailed through it until I reached the s w corner, I had bunged in a couple but could not work out the reasonings so many thanks to the setter and the 2 ks.

  17. A couple of times when my brain stopped working during today’s solve but went fairly well considering! [**/****]
    15a has a little miffed face next to it for when I finally worked out the devious definition, but certainly deserves top clue today. :)
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  18. I was dead on wavelength today, the only one causing a problem was 7d, I was so sure that it was an anagram. Eventually I sought electronic help, which said no anagrams, so I revisited it; which I should have done in the first place.
    I fell for every misdirection initially, but a little extra thought and they all fell.
    I think fave was 15a, but any clue could have qualified.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  19. I thought this was quite tricky today, particularly the top right corner – very enjoyable.
    15a took me for ever and was my last answer.
    24a was easier once I saw ‘settler’ rather than ‘setter’. :roll:
    I particularly liked 4a and my favourite was 15a, eventually.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

  20. ***/*** for me. Im stil not sure about 23d. Does anyone use the answer to 23d to mean a big deal anymore. Liked quite a few. The picture illustrating 4a are Elvers. Coming from Gloucester they were a common treat once upon a time. Not any more. In fact having tried them I could never understand what the attraction was. I suppose many years ago they were cheap food.

    1. The picture is definitely of New Zealand whitebait. They are the fry of a small native fresh-water fish called inanga (Galaxias maculatus). Far from being “cheap food” they are an expensive, seasonal delicacy and are much sought after in New Zealand.

  21. Late on parade today but this Jay puzzle was well worth the wait. No piece of cake this, but an enjoyable and steady solve throughout. I could not separate 15a and 24a so they are co-favourites this afternoon. 2.5* /4.5* overall from me.

    Thanks to all three birds.

  22. 3d cluing as ever from our midweek maestro, I absolutely loved the use of “generation gap” in 15a, although my podium threesome were actually 4a, 18a and 20a. I can’t recall a puzzle from Mr Mutch having so few anagrams before.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. If there is an autumnal atmosphere in NZ, at least the England cricketers won’t be able to blame the heat if things go pear-shaped in the upcoming Test matches!. Now for Petitjean…

  23. I found this to be a steady but in parts quite tough solve and like some other contributers I was unable to parse one or two. For some reason the South East corner flummoxed (is that a word) me so had to resort to a little help.
    Still, one lives and learns

  24. Lovely Jay puzzle and very entertaining with plenty of fun. Really liked a lot of the clues and thought 24a was outstanding, one of my last in following a minor hold up in SE corner. However 21d was the last in and slow to unravel that one as well. Amazed I completed reasonably ok with such a lack of anagrams? Agree with the 2Ks ‘re the ratings and as they say “a quality puzzle.”

    Clue of the day: 24a with a special mention for 4a / 23a / 5d

    Rating *** / ****

    Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay

  25. Very tricky today. needed a lot of help. 15a was my favourite. New meaning of ‘ Generation Gap’ Thanks Jay.

    1. Yes, very tricky. Much help from electronic dictionary required today

      A ****/** for me
      Thanks to all

  26. Morning all.
    Still dark here but looks like a clear day in store for us again today with just enough nip in the air that a jersey will be needed at times.
    We’re looking forward the the clocks being adjusted soon which will make the mornings a little lighter for us but more importantly, we will get at the puzzles a couple of hours earlier than at present.

  27. Loved the “generation gap” , really made me smile. Thoroughly enjoyable and clever clues. A very steady solve, which I didn’t think it was going to be at first , on wavelength today definitely.Completed in a decent time – I don’t time myself – but managed to do this in a limited slot prior to leaving the house, so I know how long it took today which was quicker than I imagined whilst actually solving. Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s

  28. I have to concur with Jean Luc that 14d tickled my inner trekkie. Hoever I must confess to a wrong sausage that made 25d unsolvable🤐 24a needed a good nudge from the 2K’s thanks to them and Jay too.
    Created a new avatar hope it appears.

  29. This didn’t feel that straightforward while solving, and I was a fair way down the grid before any of the across clues fell, but I managed to finish in about ** time, so not that tricky after all. 24ac was one of my last ones in, and what a definition! :-)

  30. Was going like a train until I hit the SE corner. I spelt the sausage wrong and was beaten by the shy animal. I though they were quiet not shy.
    I spent about half an hour trying to dissect ‘maison’ in 13a until the penny dropped.
    Note to self: learn to spell.
    Thanks all

  31. Excellent crossword. 4a brought to mind the frittered form that NZ fish & chip shops sell, or at least used to. I loved the definitions in 15a and 24a. One of those two would be my favourite. Thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks.

  32. Right on the 1*/2* cusp for difficulty, but lots to enjoy. 24a made me smile. Ta to Jay, and to the 2 Kiwis.

  33. A most enjoyable puzzle. The last, and best (IMHO), clue to be solved was 15a, the answer being almost as delectable as my prawn pad Thai. As usual, I had misspelled 4d (echoes of my English teacher’s sarcasm are still audible…and justified) so 9a took longer than it should have done but it still wasn’t as sticky as my pork ribs. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. I don’t think sarcasm from a teacher can ever be justified. Justified is a fine word.

  34. Marvellous offering today. Thoroughly enjoyed in the pub over a few pints and Pork Belly dinner (well, the Memsahib is away on a golfing trip – what would you do?).
    ***/**** 15a being the doozie today in line with general opinion – my last in too and a delicious Euro-drop moment.
    Ah… how much poorer the world would be without crytic puzzles like these to savour.
    Thanks Jay and The Godwit watchers. (I am now off to research these little guys).

  35. I don’t usually require two visits to complete the Wednesday crossword but I did today. I had negotiated two thirds but then I ground to a halt. Inevitably when I returned I sailed through the remaining clues. 15a was my out and out favourite and 3/4* overall.
    Thanks of course to Jay, and to the woolen clad 2K’s for their review.

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