DT 28691 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28691

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28691

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Today we have an enjoyable puzzle that feels a little different from our usual Tuesday fare.  It uses an uncommon grid, there are no word sums with more than two parts (so no concatenating today), it features only one usual suspect, and there are several clues where I went back and forth on what to underline.    There's also some outstanding wordplay that bumped up my enjoyment rating.

In the hints below definitions are underlined, and most indicators are italicized.  The answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



8a    Many miles off old Portuguese city (4)
FARO:  Distant or many miles off, and the abbreviation for old

9a    Eggs in line, we hear (3)
ROE:  A homophone of a line (perhaps as in the way one's ducks might be arranged)

10a   Pasta -- much unfinished after ending in bin (6)
NOODLE:  The last letter of (ending in) biN, followed by an informal word for much with its last letter deleted (unfinished)

11a   College official keeps me humble (6)
DEMEAN:  A university administrator contains (keeps) ME from the clue.  Humble here is a verb

12a   Devil-worshipper transforms as saint beginning to tremble (8)
SATANIST:  An anagram (transforms) of AS SAINT followed by the first letter of (beginning to) Tremble

13a   A national lottery you can only lose once! (7,8)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE:  A cryptic definition of a gamble where losing can be final.  The first two words of the clue indicate that the answer begins with a nationality

15a   Rush scoundrel into trial (7)
CASCADE:  Put a scoundrel into a legal trial

17a   Sport  that's restrictive? (7)
FENCING:  A double definition.  A sport using swords and something that restricts access

20a   Surprisingly notable status in lieutenant ranked highly, though defeated? (4,3,3,5)
LAST BUT NOT LEAST:  An anagram (surprisingly) of NOTABLE STATUS is placed in the abbreviation for lieutenant

23a   A pass between wingers in league game (8)
LACROSSE:  A from the clue and a type of pass in football are both placed between the outer letters of (wingers in) LeaguE

25a   Grey lair behind meadow (6)
LEADEN:  An animal lair comes after (behind) a meadow or open land

26a   Cheese rind proper breakfast, say? (6)
CEREAL:  The outer letters (… rind) of CheesE, and proper or genuine

27a   Son is relative (3)
SIS:  The abbreviation for son and IS from the clue

28a   Spare  prop (4)
LEAN:  A double definition. Spare as in meagre



1d    Something latched onto gold cake (6)
GATEAU:  Put together an entrance that's often closed with a latch and the chemical symbol for gold

2d    Destruction of conifers, legal (8)
FORENSIC:  An anagram (destruction of) of CONIFERS

3d    Charity event I snub, by and large disorganised (5-3-3,4)
BRING-AND-BUY SALE:  An anagram (disorganised) of I SNUB BY AND LARGE

4d    Arabian, possibly, consuming small pudding (7)
DESSERT:  The sandy thing of which Arabian is an example (…possibly) containing (consuming) an abbreviation for small

5d    Musician showing popular rocking talent is about to play guitar (15)
INSTRUMENTALIST:  The usual word for popular and an anagram (rocking) of TALENT IS sandwiching (about) a way to play a guitar

6d    Nut securing top of uncoiled spring (6)
BOUNCE:  Nut here is an informal term for a body part.  We want another informal name for it containing (securing) the first letter of Uncoiled (top of uncoiled, in a down clue)

7d    Festivals not starting, I'm afraid to say (4)
ALAS:  Some festivals with their first letter deleted (not starting

14d   Somewhat incompetent, all fingers and thumbs? (3)
TEN:  The answer is hiding as part of (somewhat…) the remainder of the clue

16d   Turkish commander once more dropping in (3)
AGA:  A word for once more, without (dropping) the IN from the clue

18d   OK for one's teeth to cut into wire (8)
CHEWABLE:  Insert cut (with an axe, perhaps) into a synonym of wire

19d   Scent popular feeling on the radio? (7)
INCENSE:  Take once more that usual word for popular, and append a homophone (on the radio) of feeling

21d   He painted  a revolver, might you say? (6)
TURNER:  An English painter whose surname could describe something that revolves or rotates

22d   Playground equipment to observe, now and then? (6)
SEESAW:  Put together the present (now) and past (then) tenses of to observe.  Nice misdirection since I've become conditioned to jump on "… now and then" as an instruction to extract alternate letters

24d   Top primate, cross (4)
APEX:  Join a large primate and the letter that represents a cross


Thanks to today’s setter for a most enjoyable solve.  Highlights for me were the cheese rind in 26a, the definition in 18d, and the brilliance of 22d.  How about you?


The Quick Crossword pun:  WHIG+WHAM=WIGWAM

41 comments on “DT 28691

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr K’s thoughts on this excellent puzzle, and also with his top clues. I would throw 13a and 14d into the mix of favourites too. A very enjoyable and satisfying solve, and worthy of a 2* /5* rating IMHO.

    Thanks very much to our inspired setter and Mr K.

  2. This was a completely different kettle of fish to yesterday. The long clues helped enormously. I managed to put the wrong word into 9a, with a synonym for line rather than eggs, but changed in a nanosecond when I worked out 4d. Thank you setter for a fun puzzle. I liked 6d but also some of the anagrams. Thank you too Mr Kitty for the review. The bluetits are now furiously building their nest again, but have been squabbling and now have stuff stuck in the hole. A case of the sofa being too big to fit through the door!

  3. Cryptic solving always amazes me as to why one day, like today I can finish it easily and another day am wildly off the mark. I liked 13 a and 15a which was my last one in. Thank you to the setter and I must now read the hints.

  4. All too straightforward, in my opinion. Completed easily in */** time. Having said that the Toughie will probably blow me out of the water. Ah, well. the wind has dropped enough for me to take on a long walk this afternoon.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  5. Found this very hard on first attempt, went for a drive and blitzed it on my return in pretty quick ( for me at least) time. Amazing what the subconscious can do when you’re not thinking about a problem.
    Loved 6d, but my fave was 2d – great to find there is another anagram for fircones, ( conifers), which I have always thought very clever!

    So **/**** from me. Thanks to setter and reviewer.

  6. Needed some electronic help in completeing this little brainteaser especially 19d. Like Jen somedays
    I can complete without to much of a struggle then like today it was a bit of a tussle.
    Thanks to !r K and the setter.

      1. My daughter studied psyco linguistics, the study of how ones brain is wired. You say cat and I respond dog, why and to be honest nobody knows.
        My grandson is 9 and can do some clues! I dont think intelligence comes into it just how you persieve words.

  7. Not the best grid in the world, and long clues , of which there are several, usually suffer the fate of a ‘bung in’ as I can’t be bothered to work them out. No quibble with a **/****
    Some excellent clues- liked 13a, last in was 18d which took a bit of parsing.
    Thanks Mr K for the pics-loved the seesaw.
    Quickie pun made me smile

  8. It may have been on the gentle side but I still managed to make a mistake – I originally had the wrong first letter in 6d. Made a note querying the “nut” that implied, but carelessly submitted before checking.

    Fun though.

    Thanks to encrypter and decrypter.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle – thanks to whomsoever and Mr K. I thought that 22d was brilliant and is easily my clue of the day. I can see how 17a could be a cryptic definition but I thought it was probably meant as a double definition.

    1. Thanks, Gazza. I opted for labelling 17a a cryptic definition because I wasn’t comfortable with “that’s restrictive” defining fencing. But Kitty has now shown me examples of similar constructions which have convinced me that it’s OK. I have edited the hint.

  10. Oops, not so clever as I thought, while reading the hints I had bunged in 6d beginning the word with a p which in my book also means spring!,, That will teach me to be more careful.

  11. Great little puzzle finished in record time. My favourite clue was 21d. I don’t have the same problem with artists as I do with cricket!!!!

    Sadly however it was over far too soon… what to do for the rest of the day in those moments when a brief recuperation over a cup of something refreshing seems like a good idea?

    Thanks to all… ( will I ever get this game of who does what on which day?)

  12. A very enjoyable solve, marred only by the repetition of “popular” to clue “in” in two of the Down clues, when they are plenty of alternative options available.

    22d is certainly clever, but my podium threesome were 13a, 6d and 14d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K.

  13. Lots of fun today. North beat the South again. Fav was 13a. Clues like 27a lower the tone a bit! Thank you Mysteron and Mr.K.

  14. Very entertaining puzzle. Over a little too quickly. 1.5*/****. I particularly liked 23a, 26a, 18d but first place for 14d – very clever.

  15. **/*****. An excellent puzzle with some clever clues. My favourite was 13a when the lights went on. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  16. 2* / 4*. This was great fun, with nice brief clues and smooth surfaces. I guessed that Silvanus would spot the double dose of “popular”.

    I felt on wavelength today and would have finished in my 1* except for getting held up by 28a & 18d which intersect.

    13a was my favourite with 14d & 22d in close pursuit.

    Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K.

  17. Enjoyed this. Inventive clues and not the preponderance of take this and stick it there found in yesterday’s puzzle! I like the wordplay of 13a. Thanks to the setter and Mr k.

  18. Hello all. Not been around for a few days as I’ve been in the UK and not doing crosswords. I could have picked some better weather I guess but I was in the Lake District and there was no snow there, just freezing temperatures and a strong gale blowing.

    Enjoyed this a lot and agree with Mr K’s ratings. Also agree with him about the three podium sitters.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    P.S. As it’s very much a minority sport in the UK I’m always surprised by how often lacrosse turns up in crosswords. At least twice this year and it’s only the middle of March.

  19. A lovely puzzle with some superb surface reading. I found this to be quite a contrast to yesterday’s cryptic and finished at something of a canter. Once the four fifteen letter clues were solved and the four three letter words added, the remainder fell into place quite nicely. My favourltes were 20a, 6d & 28d. Thanks to both setter and Mr K.

  20. This restored a bit of confidence after yesterday’s battering.
    Very enjoyable, not too tricky, just how I like them!!
    I though 13a was the COTD, probably an old chestnut to many but new to me. Conjured up memories of that harrowing scene from The Deer Hunter.
    I though the style of the clues was unfamiliar.
    Like RD above 18d held me up. The wire was obvious, but not so the cut.
    Many thanks to all.

  21. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. What a super puzzle, not too tricky, but great fun all the way, with a couple to make you think. 17a&21d made me laugh. Last in was 26a, which was quite tricky. Favourite was 22d. Was 2*/4* for me.

  22. I seem to be out on a limb in finding this significantly more difficult than yesterday. Still, never been one to follow the crowd. Thanks to all.

  23. A very pleasant and speedy solve today, a nice bit of relief [**/****]
    Have to agree with all Mr K’s top clues with the addition of 13a, only further improved by the comic strip associated with it!

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  24. Very good – SW held me up slightly and 20a was last in – couldn’t be bothered to work out the anagram.

    I’ll nominate 14d, 17a & 26a for the podium.

    Many thanks to setter and Mr K for the blog.

  25. Splendid crossword today. Some wonderful clues esp. 13a and 22d.
    Last one in was 6d.

    Thanks to Mr K.

  26. Agree about an unusual style for this puzzle but once on the wavelength it all came together ok. Some excellent clues and solving the 15 letter clues gave me an early foothold. Found several clues held me up including, 23a / 25a / 19d but eventually sorted without Mr K’s blog. Overall a good puzzle that was really enjoyed.

    Clues of the day: 13a / 21d

    Rating 2.5* / 4*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  27. First coffee break was not too productive and put me off returning to the puzzle at lunch time but when I got home I did a lot better. I had to look up 2d to confirm a new meaning for me. 18d needed the hint as I was chopping not hewing. Thanks to Mr K for his as usual entertaining blog and the setter for a nice bit of mental exercise.

  28. Did better today than yesterday, but was still foxed by a few in the RHS.
    I never think of 10a s as pasta…but they are, so I’m wrong.

    Haven’t heard the synonym for head in 6d for ages and ages, so pleased to see it again.

    Thanks to Mr Kitty and to the setter.

  29. Very enjoyable puzzle today, a relief after yesterday. Fortunately I solved the four long clues early on which helped with the rest. The hold outs were purely to my being on the wrong track, easily solved when I looked at Mr. K’s hints, thank you. Nothing obscure, nothing cricket related, just pure fun. Perfect.

  30. Fairly easy today but I still don’t understand the other crossword in the hint for 1d.

  31. Late in again today – been out enjoying the first Spring-like day that’s come our way. The local Herring Gulls are rejoicing at seeing visitors eating their meals al fresco again!

    Certainly an unusual grid and a different feel to the setting – no bad thing at all.
    Several contenders for the laurel wreath but it has to go to 22d, clever wordplay indeed.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog – biggest laughs came from the alternative pic for 17a and the note left to the family in 26a.

  32. I found this quite tricky, *** for difficulty I’d say. I ended up with lots of unsolved clues dotted around the grid, and then seemed to take forever picking them off one by one.

  33. 1*/3.5*, and my favourite was 20a. 13a was oddly topical, l thought. Thanks to the Mysteron, and Mr Kitty.

  34. Good crossword. I was slow with the 15 letter answers for some reason but eventually completed with 13a as my top clue. 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

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