DT 28688 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28688


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28688

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from soggy, grey South Staffs.

I was held up by a couple of clues in today’s Giovanni, with 23a the last one to fall, though as usual with our Friday setter, once the answer had emerged it was difficult to see what the problem had been.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a           One or two in the cricket team? (6)
OPENER – Cryptic definition of the term applied to cricketers found at numbers one and two in the batting order.

5a           Birds going around quarry where flying must be controlled (8)
COCKPITS – Some male birds wrapped around the sort of hole in the ground of which ‘quarry’ is an example.

9a           Like a drug that’s intricate a lab developed (13)
ANTIBACTERIAL – Anagram (developed) of INTRICATE A LAB.

10a         Instrument fellow going to party left at home (8)
MANDOLIN – Put together a fellow or chap, the usual crossword party, Left, and ‘at home’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a         Particular ending comes after editor’s made reversal (6)
DETAIL – Reverse the abbreviation for ‘editor’, then add the back end of an animal or a queue.

12a         Stars saving time get small car (6)
GEMINI – Remove the Time from GE(t) (from the clue) and add a typical small car.

Image result for gemini

14a         Spooner’s to identify tragic female indicating lack of spirit (8)
TAMENESS – Split (4,4), we have a word meaning ‘identify’ and the eponymous heroine of a Thomas Hardy novel, with the initial letters swapped over in the manner attributed to the Reverend Spooner.

16a         Argues as one opposing nurses (8)
CONTENDS – Put together ‘one opposing’ (where the opposite would be ‘pro’) and a verb for ‘nurses’.

19a         Belittle some tales — ‘sentimental’ (6)
LESSEN – Hidden in the clue.

21a         A daughter getting on is one who looks good (6)
ADONIS – Put together A (from the clue),an abbreviation for Daughter, and ON IS (from the clue).

23a         Tried again after faulty start, being shy (8)
RESERVED – A word for ‘shy’ or ‘retiring’ which can also be what the tennis player did after starting with a fault.

25a         Dinosaurs creating difficulty for top careerists (13)
TRICERATOPSES – Anagram (creating difficulty) of TOP CAREERISTS. The BRB defines the answer as ‘an ornithischian, quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaur of the Cretaceous period…(The picture below is apparently taken from ‘Jurassic Park’, hence the anachronism visible.)

Image result for triceratops

26a         Intricate patterns in one part of church (8)
TRANSEPT – Anagram (intricate) of PATTERNS.

Image result for transept

27a         Monarch to rave, going off course (6)
ERRANT – The regnal cipher of our Queen, followed by ‘to rave’.


2d           Calm down situation after invasion of revolutionary army (7)
PLACATE – Reverse (revolutionary) the initials of the organisation which is now the Army Reserve, and insert the result into a situation or location.

3d           Anything but an old-fashioned rocker, it’s observed (5)
NOTED – Split (2,3) this could be a description of someone who is definitely not a 1950s rocker.

4d           Bishop in wobble with hero in defiance (9)
REBELLION – Insert the chess notation for a Bishop into a word for ‘wobble’ or ‘stagger’, then add a fierce animal or hero.

5d           Repeatedly take care of teachers’ organisation, one taking a hit? (7)
COCONUT – Two examples (repeatedly) of the abbreviation for ‘care of’, followed by the initials of the largest teachers’ union. The answer could be set up at a fairground to have things thrown at it.

Image result for coconut shy

6d           Conservative sitting on grass making dogmatic statement (5)
CREED – A single-letter abbreviation for Conservative followed by an aquatic grass.

7d           Sniping at terrible pieces of art (9)
PAINTINGS – Anagram (terrible) of SNIPING AT.

8d           Heavy drinker in street turning up to see films (7)
TALKIES – Reverse (turning up) an abbreviation for ‘street’ and wrap the result around an informal term for someone addicted to strong drink.

13d         Aim to be under shelter, the first thing after upset (9)
INTENTION – An expression (2,4) describing someone under a canvas shelter, followed by the reversal (after upset) of what could be a description (2,1) of the first thing in a list.

15d         Learners caught in fine rain with one load hard to bear (9)
MILLSTONE – Some fine rain wrapped around two examples of the abbreviation for Learner, followed by ONE (from the clue).

17d         Senior citizen courageous, but no leader, endlessly severe (7)
OLDSTER – Remove the first letter (no leader) from a word for ‘courageous’, then add a word for ‘severe’ with its last letter removed (endlessly).

18d         Employee in group outside front of restaurant with vehicle (7)
SERVANT – Put together the first letter (front) of Restaurant and a small commercial vehicle, then insert the result into a group or clique.

20d         English sermon troubled American writer (7)
EMERSON English followed by an anagram (troubled) of SERMON.

Image result for ralph waldo emerson

22d         Woman starts to decorate expensive material (5)
SUEDE – A three-letter short form of a woman’s name (one well-known to readers of this blog) followed by the first letters (starts) of Decorate and Expensive.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d         Feature of stairs concerning gentleman ascending (5)
RISER – Put together the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’ and the mode of address for a gentleman, then reverse (ascending) the result.

The Quick Crossword pun MULL + TIPPLES = MULTIPLES

53 comments on “DT 28688

  1. A good cranial work out, with quite a lot of head scratching, that took some time to get going – probably more than it should have done which resulted in completion at a canter – ***/****.

    I had to use electronic assistance for 14a – Spoonerisms are my Achilles’ heel, and it took some time to understand the parsing after solving.

    I also had to electronically verify the plural of the dinosaur.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 23a, 2d, and 15d – and the winner is 15d by a nose from 23a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  2. Interestingly I found this ‘friendlier’ than most of the crosswords I’ve met these week, even allowing for the first of two clues today (one in the Graun) where I failed to recognise my own name as being the ‘woman’ or ‘girl’ required

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

    1. I don’t think the girl is you. I think it is my lovely sister who shares your name.

      1. If she is a child of the 1950s, she is one of very many people sharing my name – including the lovely Mrs Giovanni – although there were so many of us, we were always called by the full version of the name plus our surname (well we were in the class where I was one of 11 girls with this name)

        1. Blimey – that’s a lot of you in one class.
          We had 6 of you, plus 4 Marys. Which still represented 30%.
          I think Elizabeth was the next most frequent.
          Lots of Gills, Janets, Lindas and Jennifers too.

          And variations on Catherine…..

  3. I found this to be quite a workout. I’ll admit to using a few electrons to get the two long anagrams. I didn’t understand the parsing of 23a, never have been into tennis. Eventually solved in **** time.

    Purely because I am into cricket, 1a is my COTD.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT

  4. 2* / 2*.   Nothing here today either to frighten or to excite the horses.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  5. Are we still allowed to have a good old moan about Spooner clues? I always leave them until the end and hopefully a word will suggest itself that completes the grid. Not interested at all. i enjoyed the rest of the puzzle though. I always do. Thanks to all. Play nicely and I will see you all on Monday. gwarn cov, you can do it. Come on England

  6. As is usually the case with Giovanni challenges, after a slow start I found this pleasantly entertaining with no real hold-ups but plenty of humour along the way. South fell first. Perhaps I wasn’t alone in seeking help with 25a? Spoonerisms aren’t among my favourite things but I did like14a however 23a was definitely Fav. Quickie was simplified once pangram had been identified. Many thanks indeed to the Don and DT.

  7. I agree with earlier commenters that this was at the slightly harder end of The Don’s setting spectrum, but no less enjoyable as a result. 1a was just my favourite of many, and 2.5* /3.5* overall.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyable workout today completed in my average time. The spelling for the heavy drinker in 8d raised my eyebrows, but on checking the BRB I see it is correct – I should have had more faith in Giovanni.

    I realise it’s going to be controversial, but my favourite was the Spoonerism which I found witty and clever.
    Very many thanks to all.

    PS Can’t shift this ‘flu so have a lot of time on my hands. Tried the Toughie for the first time ever yesterday (I’ve just always assumed it would be way beyond me) and to my astonishment I finished it! Thanks BD for all the training

    1. That is great news about The Toughie. I hope others read your comment and are encouraged to give The Toughie a go.

      1. Not always easy.
        As Margaret you need to have time on your hands.
        Or hands like Saint Sharon to do all the chores.

  9. Needed electronic help with spelling of 25a but overall an excellent workout for the grey matter. Also stuck for a while on 8d. As a fairly new contributor, I am loathe to question our superb compilers but does anyone think that the ‘drinker’ should be ‘drinkers’ as I have always understood he singular version is to be ***y?

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    PS. Just seen Margaret’s comment so I’m probably wrong!

    1. It allows for the reversal of the usual abbreviation for “street” around the singular version of drinker.

      1. Thanks for the reply Bluebird. I understand the reversal of the usual abbreviation for street but ‘drinker’ is an ‘***y hence not ‘***ie’ and the ‘s’ for the plural form which leads me to ‘drinkers’ in the clue.

        As usual, I’m probably wrong!

  10. My first DNF for weeks with less than half the answers and therefore nowhere near enough checkers. It also had two of my pet hates in one clue – a Spoonerism AND a random name.

  11. I found this more difficult than the rest of this week, so I was relieved to see that others on here also found it hard.

    Had no idea re the cricketty clue and dinosaurs are not my thing either.
    Would never have got 22d in a month of Sundays.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the much needed hints.

  12. This took me a bit longer than the Toughie. I didn’t smile much, but that might well be me rather than the crossword.

    Delayed myself a bit by carelessly tossing in a wrong answer for 1a: eleven, because II is two in Roman. No idea how I thought the one came in. Not to mention that that would be unacceptably indirect. (Came to my sense eventually and put in the actual answer as a sensible guess, but didn’t know how the two came in.)

    Favourite was probably the short and sweet 7d.

    I did enjoy the quickie pun. More than once.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. You were not alone on 1a, I ‘pencilled’ in eleven but the eraser came out after I decided that 3d had to be what it was.

    2. Me too I reasoned that 11 was two ones but had to rethink when checkers argued the toss.

  13. Found this one quite challenging – only Giovanni would expect us to not only come up with the name of a dinosaur but be able to pluralise it! That was definitely left until all the checkers were in place as was the Spoonerism and the crickety one.

    I’d never thought of the spelling of the heavy drinker – wanted it to have a ‘C’ in it.

    Top slots went to 23a plus 2&3d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog – enjoyed the 10a music and think I will henceforth feel very sorry for 5d’s on a fairground!

  14. I love ridiculous plurals like 25a. Rhinoceros. Hippopotamus, Octopus, Gladiolus, Syllabus and the like.


    I have had so many all-offs with people when it comes to the spelling of the plural of Diocese.

    My favourite by a country mile.

    1. Agreeing how to pronounce the plural of diocese is more controversial than how to spell it.

  15. For some odd reason I found this an easy run today, not heavy going like at Cheltenham race course. I took ages over the spoonerisms and must agree with others not I am not a fan of that type of clue, although in your survey I read that I am in the minority. I liked 8 d and 3 down was fun.

    1. I’m not sure you are really in the minority, Jen. While people responded in the survey that they wouldn’t ban Spoonerisms in crosswords, a large number added that they should be used sparingly. (I was among them: there are some fair clues using an amusing Spoonerism, and it would be a shame to lose those. But all too often clues of this type are tough to get – and once got, elicit a “meh.”)

  16. Very enjoyable with concentration required, but no real obstacles. My first thought for 1a was also ‘eleven’, but in the same way I do the quickie, if I’m not 100% certain, I find the checkers before it goes in.

    I too raised an eyebrow at the 8d spelling, but never doubted that I would find it in the dictionary.

    No faves, I liked too many. Thank you Giovanni and thank you DT

  17. Quite a nice challenge today. Went in steadily but slowly. Best of a good week, I’d say. I don’t mind a Spoonerism so long as they are not overdone. ***/****. I liked 1a,12a, 14a with 15d being my favourite. I’m off to see the Toughie now – hope it’s as friendly as promised – we’ll see.

  18. Solved reasonably quickly. I will confess to checking the hints for a couple particularly the Spoonerism. I think the gist of what I said in the survey is that they are a legitimate tool of setters as long as they are not overused (I think that the same applies to a lot of the devisive devices that cause consternation) so I won’t gripe unless we get half a dozen in the next crossword. Thanks to DT and Giovanni.
    COTD 21 a for me I liked the misdirection of Daughter in a masculine form of good looks.

  19. After a few Friday puzzles towards the easier end of the Giovanni spectrum, I thought this one offered quite a bit more resistance, especially in the NW corner.

    My two ticks went to 23a and 3d. Strange how the plural of those 25a dinosaurs makes them sound far more cuddly than their singular form!

    Many thanks to Mr Manley and to DT, and a good weekend to all. A lovely, Springlike day today to lull us into a false sense of security before the icy blasts return over the next 24-48 hours.

  20. Took a lot of time to complete ***/*** 😬 but having said that it was very clever 😳 Many favourites 1a, 5a, 3d & 4d 😃 Thanks to Giovanni and of course to DT especially for explaining 14a

  21. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, being on the right wavelength seemed to help. Needed the hints to parse 23a, I certainly didn’t think of tennis. Last in was 12a. Favourite was 17d. Was 2*/3* for me.

  22. Well, it must be me then, because I didn’t find today’s Giovanni particularly sparkling. It was alright, of course but….
    5a was probably favourite and 2/2* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  23. I got stuck in the SE corner but didn’t want to give up, although I had expected obscure words.
    I left it for a few hours and then, as usual, there were no rare things at all.

    I loved the dinosaur, but like some others, I’m sure, it took me a long time to make it plural. Were they the ones in Jurassic Park with the dung heaps nearly as big as themselves?
    Can you imagine?

  24. My favourite Spoonerism is;

    Folle a la messe….etc.

    Looking forward to seeing it in the DT one of these days.

  25. We got off to a slow start, some of which was caused by trying to justify ELEVEN for 1a. Solving time was significantly longer that we usually spend on a back page puzzle and we agree that in retrospect, it is hard to see why that was, as all the answers are clearly and elegantly clued. Top quality stuff.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  26. Nice construction in 12a and good charade in 10a.
    That’s the kind of things that make a crossword pleasurable for me.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  27. A good, solid puzzle to end the week. A *** for difficulty, with much of that spent in the NW corner. Oh, and 26ac which was the last to fall. And really, it shouldn’t have been, in retrospect.

  28. Imho this was the best back pager of the week so far. I certainly found it the most challenging of the five. I couldn’t get a foothold until the anagram at 9 across and slowly built from there. Last in was 2 down and clue of the day for me was 14 across, closely followed by 5 down. Thanks to the Don and DT. Most enjoyable.

  29. Cricket and dinosaur clues aside, enjoyed this one and although tricky, did find it somewhat easier than yesterday, and definitely enjoyable. So thanks to,Giovanni and DT. Plus I did better than usual for a Friday, the day when I have least time to devote to the crosswords.

  30. ***/***. Spelled the dinosaur incorrectly so 18d became more than a challenge. The rest was very enjoyable so thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  31. This one was a two-beer job in the pub. SW corner would not yield but that was because two friends sat down for a chat. Finished my tussle with Don Giovanni later on. The missus is away in Marrakesh so I can do whatever the dickens I want. I thought this would be great… but what I want is her back home.
    Thanks G & DT.
    Another good week of crosswords.

  32. Quite a challenge this one, though not an unenjoyable one [***/***]
    2d was last in after realising RUNNER was not correct for 1a!
    No particular favourite today, though 17d made me laugh a little.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

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