DT 28687 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28687

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28687

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I don’t know who set today’s crossword. Last Thursday should have been a Ray T but it wasn’t so I was rather assuming that today would be – it isn’t. Over to all of you – any ideas? I thought it was average for both difficulty and enjoyment.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            Monkey is second in running stream (8)
MARMOSET — A two letter abbreviation for a second or very short space of time goes inside (in) an anagram (running) of STREAM

6a            Listless way of working on ship at sea (6)
MOPISH — The two letter abbreviation for a way of working or a mode of operation is followed by an anagram (at sea) of SHIP

9a            Complication in theorist’s first opinion (6)
TANGLE — The first letter (first) of T(heorist) is followed by an opinion or viewpoint

10a         I’m probing a mate’s bitterness (8)
ACRIMONY — The A from the clue and a mate or ally which contains (probing) the ‘I’m’ from clue

11a         Sports event in historic city including one type of jump that’s a bit short (8)
BIATHLON — A historic city which is quite near Bristol around (including) the letter that looks like a one is followed by most of (that’s a bit short) a kind of jump – not a high jump, keep going . . .

12a         Little house completed for old President (6)
HOOVER — The abbreviation (little) for house is followed by a synonym for completed or finished

13a         Musical talent‘s tense, dark material (7,5)
PERFECT PITCH — This tense is a form of a verb and it’s followed by some black shiny tarry stuff

16a         Key chart shop doctored as kind of extreme measure (5,7)
SHOCK THERAPY — An anagram (doctored) of KEY CHART SHOP

19a         Fencing, say, by a Black Sea region (6)
CRIMEA — Fencing here is nothing to do with a railing round a field it’s the handling of stolen property and is just an example (say) of the word we want – it’s followed by (by) the A from the clue

21a         A receptacle holding small article for liqueur (8)
ABSINTHE — The A from the clue, a large receptacle often used to put rubbish in which contains (holding) the abbreviation for S(mall) and, finally, the definite article

23a         Endless wine, refined hock, with starter of potted meat (4,4)
PORK CHOP — Begin with a fortified wine without its last letter (endless) and follow that with an anagram (refined) of HOCK – finish that lot off with the first letter (starter) of P(otted)

24a         Last piece I have should be bit of salad? (6)
ENDIVE — The last piece or tip of something is followed by a contraction of I have

25a         Colourful area missing from holiday destination (6)
FLORID — A seven letter holiday destination in the US, known as the Sunshine State, without its final letter, an A (area missing)

26a         Cast spell over element in umpteenth rally (8)
ENTHRALL — A lurker or hidden answer indicated by element in – it’s hiding in the last two words of the clue



2d            A man serving in a party slowly with notes? (6)
ADAGIO — The first A in the clue and a soldier of the US army (man serving) are contained in (in) the other A from the clue and the usual little crosswordland word for a party – for some reason untangling this one took me a while although the answer had to be what it was

3d            Person of limited stature, we’re told, in power (5)
MIGHT — A homophone (we’re told) of a short person or a child

4d            Alarm’s let off? Suspect something’s up (5,1,3)
SMELL A RAT — An anagram (off) of ALARM’S LET

5d            Birch maybe retains awe principally in one learning (7)
TRAINEE — Birch is just an example here (maybe) – it could just as well be Hazel or Ash – that word contains (retains) the first letter (principally) of A(we) and the IN from the clue

6d            Swampy ground damages hospital (5)
MARSH — A synonym for damages or spoils is followed by H(ospital)

7d            Shame about old politician with huge pretentiousness (9)
POMPOSITY — A four letter word for shame or bad luck contains (about) O(ld), our usual politician, and the two letter abbreviation meaning huge or outsize – thinking to begin with that the definition was the last three words of the clue I spent far too long trying to justify an adjective rather than a noun

8d            A period normally follows this court judgment (8)
SENTENCE — A double definition – period here is what the Americans call a full stop

13d         Leading figure in a field offering hearty support? (9)
PACEMAKER — Another double definition, I think – a person who sets the speed in a race and an electronic device used to sort out dodgy cardiac rhythms (hearty support)

14d         Passing rogue in tent’s mobbing artist (9)
TRANSIENT — An anagram (rogue) of IN TENT’S which contains (mobbing) our usual artist

15d         Kind of grey church on curve over a lake (8)
CHARCOAL — One of the many two letters for a church, a curve or part of the circumference of a circle, the ‘crickety’ abbreviation for O(ver) the A from the clue and, finally, the one letter abbreviation for L(ake)

17d         Abridged OT book with more than enough illustration (7)
EXAMPLE — The two letter abbreviation for the second book of the Old Testament is followed by a synonym for more than enough or abundant

18d         Scoop in southern seaside resort: Liberal comes last (6)
SHOVEL — S(outhern) and a seaside resort in East Sussex near Brighton is followed by (comes last) L(iberal)

20d         Insect concealed under a plant’s head (5)
APHID — The A from the clue and the first letter (head) of P(lant) is followed by a synonym for concealed or covered

22d         In discussion, a directorial low point (5)
NADIR — The second lurker of the day (in)

I particularly liked 19a and 4 and 7d. My favourite was 13a


71 comments on “DT 28687

  1. An enjoyable solve, which seemed to have a smattering of oldies but goodies, completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 2d and 13d – and the winner by a nose is 13d.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  2. 1.5* / 2.5*. This was pleasant and, apart from 11a, my last one in, straightforward. I needed my BRB to check that the sports event really existed and what a bizarre combination of disciplines it comprises – most suitable perhaps for budding James Bonds.

    I raised a quizzical eyebrow at “abridged” in 17d; “almost decimated” would have been more accurate – rather like Monty Python’s Black Knight (not for the squeamish):

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath.

    1. Not sure about decimation – that’s losing one in ten isn’t it? But I agree losing six out of eight is a pretty savage abridgement.

      1. Ray, yes and no. :wacko:

        Decimate has two meanings. According to Collins on-line it can be either:
        – to destroy or kill a large part of; or
        – to select by lot and kill every tenth one of a group.

        I imagine nowadays that the latter meaning is rarely required.

        1. I stand corrected. I had thought that the first meaning was incorrect and just used loosely; but, you’re right, the dictionary allows.

    2. “Abridged” here merely means the abbreviated two-letter form of the OT book in question, so no quizzical eyebrow raising required!

      1. Thanks, Silvanus. That’s a new one on me. Are all the books of the bible allocated a two letter abbreviation or is it just this specific one that is accorded that privilege?

        1. That’s a question better suited to Giovanni than me I suspect, RD (!), but I believe each one has at least one designated abbreviation in the BRB, although the majority seem to consist of three or four letters rather than the two in this case.

          1. I’ve just found another impeccable resource much closer to hand – Big Dave’s “The Mine” under the Features tab at the top of the page. Might be useful for your next puzzle …

            1. A far more reliable resource, too! I knew I’d seen them listed somewhere before. You never know, one or two could well appear tomorrow!

    3. Re 11a: A bit disappointed that you haven’t heard of this kind of competition.
      Martin Fourcade has become our new national hero. 7 gold medals so far.

  3. Lovely day here North Cornwall, this was apleasant solve especially sitting in the sun. Not to many headaches today, but just enough good clues to get the old grey matter going.
    My favourite 21a.
    Thanks to Kath and mystery setter.

  4. 2* /3* from me for this fairly straightforward Thursday puzzle. 13a was my favourite from 13d. Like RD at #2, my eyebrows too leapt skywards at the use of ‘abridged’ in the clue.

    Thanks to our setter and to Kath.

  5. Thanks to Kath for help in the top left hand corner, otherwise some interesting. I particularly liked 8 d 12a and19a, the latter penny took a while to drop. Fine day here so far for the racing.

  6. Another vanishes into thin air so once more into the breach: No problem in the East but the West was slightly more troublesome. Needed help parsing 11a and 19a (d’oh not anything like post and rail or even epée-like!). My Fav was 13d. Thank you Mysteron and Kath.

  7. Found today’s DT quite a challenge and needed a lot of nudges from Kath, (many thanks!) to complete it.
    I too thought 13a was my favourite.

  8. I struggled somewhat with this, for no good reason I can see now. I suspect this is one I could have done with putting down and picking up again later. Either that or the lack of a RayT today completely threw me. :-)

  9. A perfectly decent grind took me *** to finish. Not sure I have come across 6a before though. If I had, I may well have completed in * less.

    Many thanks to the setter and Kath.

  10. As with yesterday, my brain wasn’t quite in gear so rather a stop-start solve. Slow start, slower middle, speedy finish on the NW corner when all finally clicked. Very fun, though didn’t note any particular favourites today [***/***]
    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  11. Not too many problems in this pleasant solve, although I did have to resort to pen and paper for a couple of them.

    26a had to be what it was but I would never have spelled it with a double end letter, however having looked it up in the BRB I see both spellings are acceptable.

    Like Kath, it took me a while to identify the serving man in 2d.

    Many thanks to Kath and the mystery setter

    1. 26a is given as an alternative spelling in the BRB although it does say esp US.
      I think the American reference in 8d is probably general knowledge but don’t know what others think.

      1. Forgive me if I am wrong but I don’t think British compliers use an American variant, e.g. Color, Center and Defense. If they had the gall to they would definitely specify it in the clue the American version.

        In this case, the compiler has used the spelling which is in the dictionary through constant misuse (eg Minuscule & Miniscule) which I am never a fan of as people may think that it’s the original way to spell it.

      2. And, for 26a, the WorldWeb gives: American usage, then gives the spelling with one L for “elsewhere”.

    2. Instal or install, instil or instill – as Gershwin said, let’s call the whole thing off!

      1. ‘Instil’ is one L as it’s not a compound word whereas ‘Install’ is, i.e two Ls two words. The only words that break that rule are the ones when you add the prefixes ‘Re’, ‘Un’ & ‘Mis’ (eg Refill, Unwell & Misspell, aptly) and, of course, Chlorophyl.

        Marshal and 26a are very often misspelt…..or should that be Misspelled? (oh, stop it)

            1. I was referring to your guideline on the use or not of 2 Ls. IMHO one in UK (OED) and two in USA (Merriam Webster). Finally, misspelt is the past participle.

  12. I’ve got so many things going on this week (including another perishing abscess in a tooth) that it appears to have affected my ability to solve cryptic crosswords in my usual way. Things can only get better

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron and to Kath

    1. Oh dear, so painful, hope you feel better soon. Other half has had a few of them, and they are not pleasant.

  13. In my simple mind, I thought 8d was a period (behind bars). Completed fairly easily in between a visit to the Garden Centre.

  14. Not the hoped-for Mr T but, as RD commented, a pleasant puzzle.
    The only real pause for thought came with 11a – a sporting event that I’m not particularly familiar with and I was also trying to find an historic city that would fit around both ‘one’ and a shortened jump.

    Tops for me were the two 13’s.

    Thanks to Mr Thursday Ron and to Kath for the blog – loved the pic of the baby 1a.

  15. Never heard of 11a and took me a whiile to whittle down historic cities, ancient and not quite so ancient. I hope Crypticsue is at the dentist..that sounds very painful.

    1. Dentist last week – course of antibiotics just finished – back to the dentist next week :( Thank you for your sympathy

  16. Nice puzzle and a decent challenge while it lasted. **/****. I liked 11a, 19a, 2d. But because it got me going, 3d was my favourite – I thought, “surely there’s no such word as MIGIT” then the penny dropped – ha-ha. Nice one, whoever the setter is today.

  17. Solving this crossword seemed to get easier the further I went down the grid. 13a was my favourite once I realised what sort of talent I was looking for.
    2.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for taking time off from the garden.

  18. Another fine puzzle and another fine Kathblog. That’s an unusual pet shop you have there Kath. Do the aphids sell well? Thanks to our setter and thanks to Kath.

  19. **/***. The NW corner held me up a bit in what was otherwise a fairly straightforward solve. Thanks to the setter and Kath – by the way North Americans know 8d as period rather than full stop.

  20. How different we all are! I found yesterday a walk in the park but today I struggled mightily. I never did complete the NW corner, and not surprised when I see the answers for 11a and 2d.
    Loved the pic at 1a, how silly of me to have missed that one.
    Fave was 4d but 13a came close.
    Thanks to setter and Kath for helping me finish.

  21. This was something of a slow burner for me, I began the solve thinking it was fairly lacklustre, but, by the end, I had really warmed to it. Having almost completed my own garden pruning, I awarded prize blooms to 6a, 12a and 4d, although 11a probably needed some additional work from the secateurs.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  22. I found this quite fun though as Senf notes, a couple of familiar clues, particularly 15d which I think we saw quite recently. Not sure I’d call 21a a liquer – plain old spirit or flavoured paint stripper I seem to remember (which is not much after one or two).

    8d – Period: Although the dictionary says esp, US and Canada it’s still perfectly valid in English.
    I presumed it was the origin ‘I’m not doing it, period’ = ‘I’m not doing it, full stop’ as in end of discussion.

    Many thanks to setter and to Kath.

  23. This puzzle really grew on me.

    6a is a funny word. Was a bit surprised at the spelling of 26a.

    I liked the jump that’s a bit short in 11a, the hearty support in 13d, and 7d and 18d for great surfaces.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  24. Something wrong with my brain today. Cannot do the Quick Xword, hardly started it, but had no problems with this. 1a and 6a last in. Enjoyable 😉

  25. Ray T or not I found this a tricky puzzle. Slow to get started and it took some hard work to complete. Pleased to have managed it without help from the blog. However a really good test and thoroughly enjoyed. Thought the anagrams and lurkers were excellent and a lot of clues produced a smile. Maybe it was a wavelength thing but eventually it all came together. Unsure if it was a Ray T until completion and checking on the blog. No doubt it will be next week?

    Clues of the day: Liked 10a / 13a / 13d

    Rating 3.5* / 4*

    Thanks to Kath and the setter

  26. Easier than yesterday. Needed less help. No probs with 2d. Anything with ‘slow’ and ‘notes’ is always adagio. 11a bit tricky because I’d ever heard of it. 16a required a bit of thought. Good fun though, thanks Kath.

  27. I’m not really up to speed on musical terms or athletic events , so I found this quite slow going .
    I liked the lower half better than the top half .
    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  28. Too many good clues to be able to single out just one for a favourite. We were kept thoroughly amused right through what was a smooth solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  29. Made a bit of a mess today mainly by assuming the place where the Marathon started was a city and completely ignoring the rest of the clue. Thanks to Kath for the hints which sorted me out. I am going to go for 21a as COTD by a nose from a strong field

  30. As I find Ray-T’s crosswords incomprehensible I was not too disappointed by his absence, but sympathy for those with more agile minds than mine.
    Today was a repetition of a pattern that is emerging, where 98% of the puzzle flies in, then two clues are beyond me, in this case 3d and 11a. I am keen to move into Toughieland but the time wasted attempting to complete the backpager is preventing me. Hopefully I will soon crawl over the line unaided.
    With the exception of the aforementioned no problems apart from the parsing of 19a.
    Many thanks to Kath for a blog of the usual high standard, and to Mr.Ron.

  31. Too tricky by half. Have to hang my head in shame at not solving 25a… gave up at breakfast and went for a walk along the beachfront to clear the brain. One of best days this winter with 71F and ocean at 76F. Finished over lunch but only with Kath’s help, thank you. I did get 6a but never seen or heard anyone use this word. Overall a mixed bag today with some clues a satisfying solve, and others not. Obviously one for the brainy folks.

  32. I was just not on the right wavelength with this one today. I did finish it without help, although I had to check 6a, as I was a bit unsure about the ‘mo’ at the front. Thank you setter and Kath. Thinking of you CrypticSue. I had an abscess on a tooth once, the pain was awful.

  33. Noticed it wasn’t a RayT but enjoyed the solve nonetheless.
    Big smile at 3d. Reminded me of President Sarkozy.
    Favourite 20d. Bees are swarming around my Echium. Local honey coming soon.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for another top review.

  34. Just popping in to thank Kath for her splendid review and everyone for commenting. Happy St Patrick’s Day for Saturday!

    1. Ah – a little tiny bit of my brain did just wonder about you but I’m very bad at setter-spotting and our best “Shamus spotters” seem to be either absent or asleep or something . . . .
      Thank you for calling in – much appreciated.

  35. 1*/3.5*, l think. Can’t decide between 7d and 11a for favourite. Nice puzzle, though. Thanks to Shamus, and Kath.

  36. Have to say, there seems to be a smug little clique which takes delight in the more obscure and obtuse (clues)? CLUES? Get out more!
    Come down to earth guys. I used to really enjoy the DT crossword, but since you guys got hold of it, I give up.

    1. I am not sure where this comes from Bob. We are here to help and have some fun along the way. I don’t see snugness anywhere on this site. We have not “got hold of the DT crosswordl. We have merely tried to explain how clues work in plain English. Sometimes that is very difficult and sometimes near impossible but we do what we can. If you can give examples of ‘smug little cliques’ please do so. I’m sure we can change.

      1. Think it’s a wind-up MP. Not sure how this blog ‘gets hold of’ the DT crossword, but would love to be told.

    2. I may owe Bob an apology. I thought he was complaining about us on the blog but having read through his comment again I think he is complaining about the setters. We have a new puzzles editor who may be wielding some influence and making some changes. I felt the puzzles were becoming a little stagnant and repetitive. I welcome any changes that throw us a new challenge

  37. Found this one a bit of a slog but got there in the end (finished it this morning). I tend to struggle with a lot of Lego🙂

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