DT 28693 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28693

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28693

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from a sunny but chilly Vega Baja. I’m pretty sure this is a RayT production but unusually for him we have five straight anagrams and another three clues which use anagrams as part of further wordplay. If you can crack the two long ones across the middle you’ll get enough checkers to really get you going.  Those of you with repetition radar will note that there are three instances of the use of the word ONE to indicate the letter I.  Whatever, I enjoyed the puzzle and hope that you did too.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Content  doing porridge (6)
INSIDE:  A word for the content of something is also a word describing someone in prison (doing porridge).  I suppose this one might class as a double definition.

4a           Liking power and charm (8)
PENCHANT:  P(ower) followed by a word meaning to charm.

9a           Fly is twice tested, oddly (6)
TSETSE:  Take the alternate letters (oddly) from TeStEd and then repeat them (twice).

10a         Handle can start shaking (8)
TRANSACT:  Anagram (shaking) of CAN START.

12a         Leader of Conservatives stirring wild party (8)
CAROUSAL:  Start with a C (leader of Conservatives) and follow with a word meaning a stirring.

13a         Blokes practically great in the head (6)
MENTAL:  Some blokes followed by a word meaning great as in large or high but without its last letter (practically).

15a         Humiliation as member rants insanely (13)
EMBARRASSMENT:  Anagram (insanely) of AS MEMBER RANTS.

18a         Old chuntering about lingerie (13)

22a         Scattered boxes primarily empty (6)
SPARSE:  A word for boxes, or at least practices boxing, followed by the first letter (primarily) of Empty.

24a         By necessity some wallpaper for ceiling (8)
PERFORCE:  A lurker.  It’s hiding (some) in the last three words.

26a         No one cheers over following rubbish turn (8)
ROTATION:  Start with NO (from the clue), then the letter that looks like a one and a short way of saying cheers or thank you.  Reverse that lot (over) and put it after (following) a word for rubbish.

27a         Press secretary with additional note about Queen (6)
PAPERS:  Two letters for a secretary followed by the additional note at the end of a letter around Her Majesty.

28a         Drink’s knocked back, linger for piece of cake (8)
PUSHOVER:  Nothing to do with lemon drizzle but a piece of cake as in very easy.  It’s a word for to drink backwards (knocked back) followed by a word meaning to linger or hang around.

29a         Reduce sound of drill (6)
LESSEN:  A word meaning to reduce sounds like a word for drill as in training


1d           Sound diplomacy after case of incarceration (6)
INTACT:  Sound as in unbroken. It’s a word for diplomacy after IN (case on IncarceratioN).  I first thought that SOUND was going to be a homophone indicator which didn’t help a lot, d’oh!

2d           He parades around front line (9)
SPEARHEAD:  Anagram (around) of HE PARADES.

3d           Trouble from wind is turbulent (7)
DISTURB:  Another lurker hiding (from) in the last three words.

5d           The woman’s vulgarly mentioned slips (4)
ERRS:  A word for slips as in makes a mistake sounds like (vulgarly mentioned) a common way of saying “of that woman”.

6d           Pines, say, losing one’s presents (7)
CONFERS:  Not Christmas but presents as in awards. Take a word for what pines might be example of and remove the I (losing one).

7d           Change a point to accommodate lawyer (5)
ADAPT:  A (from the clue) and an abbreviation of point placed around (to accommodate) an American lawyer.

8d           Shot by Italy changed everything (8)
TOTALITY:  A shot of whisky perhaps followed by an anagram (changed) of ITALY.

11d         Postman cycles losing heart for rounds (7)
PATROLS:  Start with the postman who has a black and white cat and follow with a word which can mean cycles but without its central letter (losing heart).

14d         Directed by company, switched men on board (7)
CASTLED:  A company of actors followed by  a word for directed or guided.

16d         Agree new head shows enthusiasm (9)
EAGERNESS:  Anagram (new) of AGREE followed by a word for a headland.

17d         To purist rambling is better (8)
OUTSTRIP:  Anagram (rambling) of TO PURIST.

19d         First of recipes: one’s extravagant duck dish (7)
RISOTTOListen very carefully, I will say this only once . . .  Put together R (first of Recipes) followed by I (one), the ‘S from the clue, three letters for extravagant or excessive and finally O (duck) and you’ll get an Italian rice dish.  One of those easier to solve than hint.

20d         Pump up popular apartment price finally (7)
INFLATE: The usual two letters for popular followed by what British people call an apartment followed by E (pricE finally).

21d         Ocean’s relating to salt? (6)
SEASON:  Another word for oceans, don’t forget the S, followed by a word meaning relating to or about.

23d         They are against fiddling after losing a grand (5)
ANTIS: Remove the AG from against (losing A Grand) and make an anagram (fiddling) of what’s left.  This clue is a bit naughty as “against” is part of the definition and also part of the wordplay so is doing double dutyI’m not a Ximenean purist so I quite liked it.

25d         Etiquette of fish knife’s last (4)
CODE:  The sort of fish you often get battered with chips and mushy peas followed by E (knifE’s last).

Not quite as much blue as usual for a RayT but perhaps that’s just me.  My favourite was the slightly naughty 23d followed by 4a for its elegant simplicity and 12a for the bizarre mental image of Theresa May stirring a wild party.

Quick crossword pun:      GOES    +     TORY    =     GHOST STORY


69 comments on “DT 28693

  1. I found it at the trickier end of a Ray T but still just within the back page difficulty range

    Thanks to Mr T and Mr P

  2. Not a lot needs to be said, a very enjoyable solve, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 19d, and 20d – and the winner by a nose is 27a.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  3. 4* / 4*. Thursday and a lot of white space on the back page can mean only one thing – it’s RayT day! If anything his cluing was even briefer than usual today, but great fun as ever it all was. I did find this at the tougher end of RayT’s spectrum with the SE corner being the last to fall.

    15a describes what our cricketers must be feeling in New Zealand after today’s absolutely pathetic exhibition. No doubt our 2Kiwis are in seventh heaven. It’s good to have our world-class all-rounder Ben Stokes back in the side; he is not fit to bowl and made a duck.
    Many thanks to our esteemed setter, especially for using the correct chess terminology in 14d :good: , and to pommers for his review.

    1. Just to refresh the castle = rook debate, I have some new info direct from Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (see the 2nd line down, below), it is also listed (without qualification) as such in the BRB and SOED:

      CASTLE noun 1 a large, fortified, especially medieval, building with battlements and towers. 2 any fortified building. 3 a large mansion, especially the residence of a nobleman. 4 chess a piece that can be moved any number of empty squares forwards or backwards, but not diagonally. Also called rook. verb (castled, castling) intrans, chess to make a move allowed once to each player in a game, in which the king is moved two squares along its rank towards either castle, and the castle is placed on the square the king has passed over.
      ETYMOLOGY: 11c: from Latin castellum fort or fortress.

      1. I’ll just revise that. Although I’ve seen it listed in a very old BRB I’m not sure it is in the latest BRB (I must get one soon). And if it’s not, it damn-well should be!

        1. The 13th edition (electronic version) has “In chess, a rook (informal or childish)”. It then gives the definition for the verb “to castle” which Ray T uses in 14d.
          The proper term for the piece is “rook” but it is not easy to make that stick. My 7 year old grandson has been taught at school to call it a “castle”. Despite my best efforts, he won’t change!

          1. Thanks for that, but my comment wasn’t really about castled or castling. I was using the chess reference to proffer some new info regarding the long-standing debate on the validity of using castle = rook in cryptic clue/answers. And the dictionary references I have given plus my own life-long knowledge/experience of the subject is more than enough to prove the case beyond any doubt.

            1. Sorry, Jose, but I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say: namely, the formal term for the chess piece is “rook”; an informal term is “castle”. Our crosswords use both formal and informal terms without compunction and I am quite happy to see “castle” used to mean “rook”.
              When playing chess with my grandson, I say “rook”, he says “castle” but we both know exactly what we are referring to – the acid test of language.

              1. Absolutely! I fully agree with you – but don’t tell me, tell RD. I’ve been trying for years on here to explain this issue.

          2. Agree Spinky, I stopped calling them ‘castles’ about the same time I stopped calling knights ‘horsies’

            1. A question on The Chase, the other week: Which chess piece sits on a corner square at the start of a chess game? And the answer given by Bradly Walsh – “Castle”. It ain’t just kids who call them castles, I can assure you.

    2. Re: the NZ test, RD, perhaps we should have fielded the one-day side to knock off 250 to 300 and save the red faces!

  4. I wouldn’t say a gallop, more of a canter for me, just finished in *** time. The number of anagrams certainly helped, and all were solvable without chasing electrons.

    Many thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  5. Another excellent, and seemingly long-awaited, offering from Ray T. Not his most difficult, but certainly a good challenge with great clues providing a very enjoyable solve. I think 1a is meant to be a double definition. 23d is my favourite because it is innovative and a little “unconventional” and just proves that the setters don’t always stick 100% to the (so-called) rules – cue for the purists to contradict with contrived indignation! 3* / 4*

    1. I think 23d is OK. It’s just that “against” is doing double duty, as part of the definition and the anagram fodder.

      1. Yes of course it’s doing double duty, as you and pommers explain. That’s why I said it was “innovative and unconventional”. Brevity is desirable in a cryptic clue, so getting one word to (obviously) perform two simultaneous duties should be welcomed as a clever device (but it won’t be universally popular, for sure). These top setters know how to stretch the “rules” – and get away with it.

  6. Pommers, I wish I’d read the review before I got started. I didn’t attempt the two long clues as suggested, but perhaps that’s where I should have started. I struggled with this and was left with a few I just couldn’t do. The NE corner caused problems as did 14d and 23d. Just when I thought I was beginning to tackle a RayT puzzle, I feel demoralised for the second time this week. I am telling myself to keep on doing cryptic crosswords because it’s good for the old grey matter. Thank you setter for the challenge and Pommers for the review. The pic in 25d has made me feel very hungry.

  7. Well, this was all going in swimmingly until the last two which, for some unknown reason, took me ages. Looking back, I can’t see why! All very enjoyable. Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  8. Agree with Pommers **/*** today.
    As RD says-a lot of white space-brevity indeed, watched the cricket lowlights -is this the end for Cook, lovely man but has lost his edge which happens to all of us ! We are becoming a 28a.
    Not sure about 11d as the synonym for cycles was not in any of my books and failed to parse 23d-thanks Pommers.

    1. Collins on-line thesaurus has cycle as a snyonym of roll but not the other way round. Typical RayT clue where things get a bit stretched.

    2. At least the mainstream English sporting teams are at last showing some consistency. All a 15a.

  9. ***/*** for me….perhaps too many anagrams, but still enjoyable if (for me) a tough solve…

  10. Not quite a 28a for us – albeit seemingly at the lighter end of the Ray T spectrum. I tend to find Mr. T’s stretched synonyms entertaining – although sometimes falling into the ‘wild guess’ category prior to the fun in parsing (which I suppose some might regard as being tantamount to cheating!) Favourite 18a – made me giggle :-) (plus aptly illustrated by Pommers).
    Thanks to all concerned,

  11. Enjoyable steady solve , 28a made me smile and it was a while before I spotted the lurker at 24a which was my last one in.
    Thanks to Pommers and RayT.

  12. Unusually for a Ray T I thought there was little to disturb the galloping horses today! 28a was my favourite; I’m not quite sure why, maybe it’s just the sound of the word. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Pommers for the review.

  13. I’m in the “easier than average for a RayT” camp, so it was surprising to see that certain esteemed regulars found it quite so tough. Not for the first time, the number of anagrams helped to make several of the solutions much more solver-friendly.

    My top two clues were 11d and 14d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to pommers.

    P.S. My emotions at hearing the cricket score from NZ this morning have shifted from disbelief, to depression, and now anger. Too many players either out of form and living on past glories (Cook, Broad, Ali etc.) or lacking the mental and technical application needed for Tests (most of the remainder). Not that it matters to the administrators, of course. They are too busy trying to cram more and more T20 matches into the schedules at the expense of “proper” cricket. Rant over.

  14. It’s unusual for me to be left unsatisfied by a RayT, but I had a big question mark over 23d which doesn’t really work for me. Sometimes wordplay can reference the definition or vice versa, but to me this is just straightforward double duty.

    I also had a complete mental block at 14d but can blame only myself for that.

    No troubles elsewhere and all very nice, though I agree with pommers that there were maybe not quite as many highlights as usual. My favourite is probably 12a.

    Thanks to RayT and pommers.

  15. I’d say probably about average difficulty for a Ray T – as enjoyable as ever.
    14 and 21d were my last couple of answers – something had to be.
    Thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

    Just popping in to say that I have a very poorly Younger Lamb who is in St Thomas’ in London recovering from major emergency surgery last Friday. My presence on the blog is likely to be intermittent for the foreseeable future.

    1. Oh, Kath, I’m so sorry to hear that. I do hope everything goes well for your daughter.

    2. Not good to hear, but I’m sure you are doing everything you can to support younger Lamb

    3. Sorry to hear that, Kath. I hope that everything is soon back to normal for her and for you.

    4. Oh dear – so very sorry to hear that, Kath.
      I do hope that she soon recovers, you must all be so worried about her.

    5. Oh dear, I do hope she is soon well on the road to recovery. Been through this ourselves so very much thinking of you.

    6. Very best wishes to Younger Lamb, you and all the family.. Do hope St. Thomas’ will take great care of her and ensure she has a good recovery.

    7. Thank you so much to all of you for your good wishes and apologies to pommers for taking up so much of his blog today.

    8. Oh dear, Kath! Your poor Younger Lamb! Do hope that she will soon be very much better. My warmest thoughts and best wishes are with you all.

  16. A Ray T puzzle often means allowing a little extra time, definitely so when just back from holiday. Enjoyable enough tussle with no real favourites. I can see that 23d will upset some.

  17. This took a bit of teasing out to complete. Far from straightforward but certainly not impossible. 14d just gets first prize and overall this was 3* /4* for me. An enjoyable and thoughtful exercise.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  18. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite gentle for a Ray T. Good mix of clues, but quite a lot of anagrammatical clues, I counted 5 straight & 2 partial. 3d made me laugh, but my favourite was 27a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  19. Apart from a slight panic thinking that 14d was going to be one of those dreadful ‘cycling’ clues, I found this one quite straightforward. Maybe not quite as much humour as we’ve come to expect from Mr T?

    Thought RD would appreciate the chess terminology!

    4a takes the honours here with 14d sliding into the runner-up position.

    Devotions to Mr T and thanks to Pommers for the blog.

  20. This is a typical RayT with 2 nice long anagrams and 2 lurkers as usual. There was some terrific surface reading and bits of innuendo to give me a few chuckles. Favourite was 5 – so simple but vet so funny. Other enjoyable clues were 4 12 15 18 24 and 26 across and 3 8 11 and 23 down.Thanks to RayT and Pommers – a fellow member of the RayT fan club.

  21. First pass last night was tricky. This morning it fell into place very easily. Who knows? My favourites were 22&28a. Thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

  22. The north half went in quite readily, but, oh my, I sweated bullets in the south. I had to use far too much electronic help for the south, despite that, I never did get 28a.
    However, I only missed the one, so I suppose you could say I did pretty well, considering it’s a RayT.
    Thanks to RayT and pommers.

  23. Think I might be starting to sympathise with Brian this week after this puzzle, that was out of my depth.Started off ok completing a couple of the long clues and ground to a slow crawl. Needed Pommers help with four clues and completed with little satisfaction, guess that’s how it is with me and a Ray T puzzle. Anyway always tomorrow.

    Clue of the day 27a

    Rating: 4.5* / 3*

    Thanks to Pommers and Mr T I think.

  24. The very last answer for me to see was 14d. For some reason I couldn’t see past the ‘on board’ having nautical connotations and kept trying all sorts of combinations to fit in with this. A real doh moment when I eventually got it.
    A most enjoyable puzzle and the clue word count checked as ever.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  25. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the review and to all for your observations.


    1. Good evening, Mr T. Feels as though we’ve had to wait a long time for this one – so nice to see you back.

  26. I usually give up on Ray T days, but for some reason I was on his wavelength today, mostly. 14d defeated me of course, never thought of chess, and was concentrating on a marine type of answer. 15a and 18a helped get me off to a great start. Loved the music clips from Porridge and Postman Pat. Thanks to Pommers for helping me to the finishing line.

    1. Glad to have been of service. I too spent some time going down the nautical route for 14d until the penny dropped and I suspect we are far from alone.

  27. A ** for difficulty here, though I did have to battle through each quarter of the grid one at a time without ever feeling that I had a handle on things. Last in 14d which I imagine will have baffled anybody not familiar with the game.

  28. Not a lot of enjoyment today due in part to a superfluity of anagrams. Can’t come to terms with the use of cheers=thank you. Struggled in the South after a slightly easier run in the North. Fav was 19a once I had stopped trying to identify a dish made with duck! Thank you RayT for quite a work-out and pommers for your parsing help.

  29. Found this an enjoyable challenge. Had difficulty with 11d because I had the last two letters of 12a as ED instead of Al.

  30. It’s an alternate Thursday back pager – no Beam as a ‘Toughie’ – so it’s fair to expect a Ray T production. Enough said :smile:

    The NE corner (for some reason) was the last to reveal it’s secrets – I couldn’t see the anagram in 10a – even with the all the checkers. D’oh!

    Thanks to Mr T and our Spanish expat.

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