DT 28697 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28697

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28697

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment **


Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's puzzle.  In the hints below definitions are underlined, and most indicators are italicized.  Clicking on the ANSWER buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



8a    Cornelius is cool changing route that would lead to conflict (9,6)

9a    Admit being depressed losing diamonds (3)
OWN:  A word meaning depressed or sad minus the playing card abbreviation for diamonds (losing diamonds)

10a   Pamper little Mary old theologian left in church (11)
MOLLYCODDLE:  A pet name (little) for Mary, followed by the abbreviation for the Church of England containing the concatenation of an abbreviation for old, an abbreviation for a Doctor of Divinity (crosswordland's usual theologian), and an abbreviation for left

11a   Greek poet in river (5)
HOMER:  Put together "in" (as in not having gone out), and a map abbreviation for river

12a   Comic due at show cancelled because of rain (6-3)
WASHED-OUT:  An anagram (comic) of DUE AT SHOW

15a   Famous singer posed to accommodate popular artist (7)
SINATRA:  A short word for posed contains a usual word for popular and is followed by a usual artist

17a   Admire characters in wire spectacles (7)
RESPECT:  The letters of the answer are hidden as characters in the remainder of the clue

19a   Hips and knees loose type of coat revealed (9)
SHEEPSKIN:  An anagram (loose) of HIPS KNEES

20a   Pony frisking around close to bell tower (5)
PYLON:  An anagram (frisking) of PONY is wrapped around the last letter of (close to) BELL

21a   A problem  the angler may have? (1,3,2,5)
A CAN OF WORMS:  This expression for a messy problem is also a literal description of something that an angler might have with them

24a   Money fool rejected (3)
TIN:  A usual word for a fool is reversed (rejected)

25a   Countrywide issue, to-do -- copy letters sent out (8,7)
POSTCODE LOTTERY:  An anagram (sent out) of TO-DO COPY LETTERS



1d    Dessert produced by French chef, guy with good English (10)
BLANCMANGE:  Put together a French chef known for his UK restaurants and brasseries, a guy or a chap, and abbreviations for good and for English

2d    Smart of one on a diet to lose pounds (6)
SIMMER:  A word for a person on a diet, minus the abbreviation for pounds sterling (to lose pounds)

3d    Intimate conversation between retired couple? (6,4)
PILLOW TALK:  A cryptic definition of conversation between a couple who have retired to bed

4d    Begrudge diplomat lacking nothing (4)
ENVY:  A diplomat or emissary minus the letter that looks like zero (lacking nothing)

5d    Instruments used to fix Oscar's crowns (8)
CORONETS:  Some horn instruments containing (used to fix) the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet

6d    Reproduced in black and another colour (4)
BRED:  Put together the pencil abbreviation for black and another colour

7d    One acting as monarch, for example, in musical (6)
REGENT:  Put the Latin abbreviation for “for example” in a 1990s Broadway musical

8d    Garments husband put in closet, surprisingly (7)
CLOTHES:  Put the abbreviation for husband in an anagram (surprisingly) of CLOSET

13d   Season swell deep-fried pancake (6,4)
SPRING ROLL:  Put together one of the four seasons and a synonym of swell (as in the motion of the sea, for example)

14d   Exposed, landlord in communication intended for publication (4,6)
OPEN LETTER:  Put together a synonym of exposed and crosswordland's usual landlord LETTER = a person who lets

16d   Tavener's first work -- score is superb (3-5)
TOP-NOTCH:  Put together the first letter of TAVENER (…’s first), our usual musical work, and score or cut

18d   Renting in extremely tolerable French city (7)
TENANCY:  Put together the outer characters (extremely) of TOLERABLE and a city in Lorraine, France

19d   Seafood affected one after start of show (6)
SCAMPI:  Put affected or effeminate and the Roman numeral for one after the first letter of (start of) SHOW

20d   Currency unit once used in Guadeloupe set aside (6)
PESETA:  The currency used by Spain before the euro is lurking in the remainder of the clue

22d   A leading orchestra, as well (4)
ALSO:  Put together A from the clue and the abbreviation for a well-known London orchestra

23d   Extra papers that you and I must hold (4)
WIDE:  A pronoun for you and I contains (must hold) the abbreviation for (identification) papers.  The answer is one type of extra run in cricket


Thanks to today’s setter.  I can't identify a favourite in this puzzle.  Can you?


The Quick Crossword pun:  HARES+PRAISE=HAIRSPRAYS

70 comments on “DT 28697

  1. Almost an R&W, agree with Mr K no real stand out clues. Many thanks to the setter & Mr Kitty for his review.

  2. 1.5* /2* for this straightforward and less then sparkling puzzle. I can’t put my finger on why it doesn’t get the juices flowing, but it just seemed a little mundane. Finding a favourite is certainly difficult, but I will nominate 3d to get the ball rolling.

    Thanks to our Tuesday setter and Mr K.

  3. Completed at a fast canter today. The only query I had was the musical in 7d which I didn’t know. I needed all the checkers to get the obvious anagram at 25a!

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  4. It struck me that for 21a the letter combination would allow ‘A war of words’ to fit quite nicely, especially if his catch had slipped off the hook?

  5. Well that really was a completely painless doddle but entertaining enough. Had 6d as grid as a bung-in until the penny dropped. Can’t quite equate 2d with smart. Liked 21a and 3d but not really up to Fav status. Long time since I have heard mention of 1d. SE last to go in. Quickie was equally straightforward. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  6. A day for musing as I got to thinking about the cod war with the Icelandics! The answer in the blog was in fact my entry and I hope that I haven’t opened one with my fishing comments?

  7. 2* / 2*. Not much zip, plus a couple of dodgy surfaces and an obscure musical which needed Googling in 7d. My favourite is a toss-up between 21a & 3d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

    P.S. The “Toughie” today is no more difficult than this but is more fun.

  8. First comment disappeared into the ether but doesn’t need repeating as RD has subsequently almost mirrored my thoughts!
    The only other remark I made was that the pet name in 10a whilst obvious in the answer is one of those that makes me wonder how it came about. What on earth do the two names have in common apart from a shared first letter!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for another informative blog – very topical pic at 9a!

    PS I’ve been looking out for the review on ST 2943 (Mar 18). Have I missed it or has it not been posted as yet?

    1. I always thought it was an alternative name for Maud not Mary. I had an aunt called Maud who disliked her name intensely and insisted on being called Auntie Molly.

      On the same subject why are some people called Margaret known as Peg or Peggy? That scuppers your first letter theory.

      1. Certainly does! Interestingly, a friend of mine from school days was called Margaret Pegg – she was (perhaps necessarily) always referred to as Margaret.

      2. AMDG

        In the middle ages, people struggled to pronounce soft consonants like R, W, & M. So, when it came to names like Rick, Will and Meg they randomly changed the first letter to a hard one…Dick, Bill & Peg.


          1. It’s slang for Beth which is at the end if of Elizabeth.

            Many names derive from various parts of a name, e.g. Sandy comes from the middle of Alexander.

            My comment was explaining just a handful.

    2. Although this was easy from the checking letters and a synonym for pamper I have never heard this as a pet name for Mary. In fact I had an Aunt Polly whose Christian name was actually Mary.

  9. Found this one quite straightforward, nothing too taxing , no real favourites today but 1d made me smile as it mentioned my favourite chef!
    Thanks to the Setter and MrK

  10. A little too simple today to be very enjoyable, but was pleasant. No stand out favourite but honourable mentions to 11a, 21a, 16d, 18d and 23d.

  11. Agree with the general comments */*** for me. Is Tuesday the new Monday? I seem to remember last Tuesday’s was easier than Monday’s as well. Not usually a Toughie man but tried this morning’s and recommend it, only took 10 seconds longer than the Cryptic with nothing really obscure. Thanks to the setters and Mr K.

  12. Very, very mild for a grumpy old veteran like me. But a decent challenge, I’m sure, for those people with only a few years’ experience of solving these things. So, no complaints from me. 20a was my favourite. 1* / 2*

  13. That was (almost) R&W for the likes of me!!
    Probably disappointing for many, but good for me.
    21a held me up for a bit as I assumed that the ‘angler’ was too obvious so I was looking for something of a mathematical bent.
    I still forget about the ‘extra’ in 23d!! Considering I played cricket for about 40 years and bowled my fair share, I really should remember.
    Thanks Mr.K and Mr.Ron.

  14. Success for me today! Hurrah!

    Not sure that 2d means smart, though…..

    Thanks to Mr K for his blog and to the setter.

  15. A pleasant puzzle, definitely worth **/***. But I don’t understand 24A. Nit reversed gives tin but when did tin equal money?

      1. Well enough known in crosswordland but I doubt that it is in the outside world. I’ve never heard it used – is it perhaps regional as well as archaic?

        1. I think this has been mentioned before. I think we need a resident statto to remind us the last time we had tin as money on the back page. 🤔

    1. Agree with Jose. It may have come from Malaya (or more precisely Malacca) where tin ingots and animals were used as currency in 15th century. Pure conjecture on my part, I have not been able to find a solid reference.

    2. Tin (noun):

      1.2British dated, informal Money.

      ‘Kim’s only in it for the tin’

      money, wealth, finance, finances, funds, cash, hard cash, lucre, filthy lucre, wherewithal, means, assets, liquid assets, capital, resources, reserves, deep pockets

    3. I remember well singing ‘The Camptown Races’ when I was at primary school back in the ’50s, in which the singer goes ‘back home with a pocket full of tin’!

  16. Not much to add to what has already been said but a pleasant diversion nevertheless. Finished just as I took the top off 2nd coffee. Going to try the toughie when I get home..

  17. My first post today after starting the crossword and finding this site about 2 months ago. I thought I’d finally completed my first DT cryptic today until I saw the answer above for 21a. I comically put in ‘a way of words’ having known some anglers. Reading the comments it looks like my next chance to complete correctly for the first time will be next Tuesday. Thanks to all on this site for my progress to date.

    1. Hello from me too. Well done with the progress so far. Good luck for the rest of the week

  18. I started doing the dt puzzle about 18 months ago, this has to be the easiest in that period, even for a novice.

  19. Mondays used to be a gentle break in for the week, now Dada has stepped in mondays are a bit tougher. Slightly easier puzzles have moved to tuesdays. Is tgere going to be a progresiin through the weeks.
    Thanks to Mr K & setter

  20. Judging from the brevity of the remarks today, this one seems to have failed to enthuse either blogger or most regular commenters, but I found it very enjoyable on the whole. My repetition radar did bleep however when noticing “lose”/”losing” as deletion indicators in separate clues.

    My podium threesome comprised, in solving order, 1d, 3d and 21a.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and the unusually taciturn Mr K.

  21. Nice gentle solve but enjoyable in my opinion a gentle solve can still be a pleasure to solve, so no complaints from me. I thought there was some excellent clues and the whole puzzle flowed from start to finish, very much on the wavelength. Last in 20a for some reason?

    Clues of the day: 25a / 1d both excellent I thought.

    Rating ** / ****

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  22. The toughie today was a simple breeze too..or am I becoming too good for words!
    Love the comments.

  23. Not too taxing. I put in 7d but have never heard of it. I liked 21ac – stumped me for a while until 23d went in.

    Thanks setter and Mr K

  24. I don’t believe I need to get my knickers in a twist to enjoy a puzzle, so this one was just fine with me.
    I remember 1d at school, ugh, horrible, the struggle to get it down.
    The only thing that held me up was 18d, I was so sure the answer was a French city. I used electronic help for that, then I felt so stupid.
    I’ve been reading about the debacle illustrated in 9a, but don’t understand the problem. Rubbing dirt into cricket balls? Surely they get dirty anyway?
    Thanks to whomsoever set this and to Mr. K for his hints and tips.

    1. You don’t like blancmange? I still have my late mother in law’s china jelly/blancmange dish. It was a lovely way to get my young daughters to have more milk.

      1. I’m with Merusa – ugh! IMHO it was just marginally more acceptable than junket – double ugh! I have never drunk milk so that probably explains a lot. The Government’s postwar issue of small milk bottles for children was secretly poured down the drain daily at school by me!

        1. Oh, I agree about junket, a dirty word! I must admit, I think the school productions were badly made, and ours were bright pink! Awful.

          1. My French grandmother used to make it and I still remember her making criss-crosses in the top to allow the liquid (whey?) to come out!

  25. A couple of new things for us here, the French chef and the phrase in 25a but we successfully guessed both of them correctly so no hold ups with either. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  26. A pleasant enough diversion over lunch and not very taxing. I’ll go for**/*** but can’t really say there’s a stand-out favourite. If pushed I’d go for 3d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  27. I don’t get the paper till the evening so usually post the following day and yet here I am. Very enjoyable because I ‘ve neen struggling under the new regime. 1d reminded me of my 11 plus year when we were asked to spell the word and all laughed at the only one to get it correct.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  28. Not much to add to other comments (why am I bothering then!) Quite enjoyable in that it was solvable, though not as easily for this relative novice as for some of the more learned bloggers, but it didn’t quite get the juices flowing.

  29. I’m in Merusa’s camp today, and thank the setter for an enjoyable puzzle. It doesn’t have to be over taxing to be fun. I do confess the first word of 25a escaped me for quite a while, having got used to the American zip code instead. I’ve been doing these puzzles since before we had a color TV in England, and I’ve got so much better since I discovered this blog, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a mastermind 😊

  30. An enjoyable * for difficulty. The long anagrams at the top and bottom of the grid caused more than a little concern I must admit, but as it is fell with a few (Ok, a lot of) checking letters in place. Last in 2d.

  31. */**. This was a walk in the park and not really satisfying. No real standout clues for me. Thanks to all.

  32. So as usual the cricket clue had me stumped (!) so then I couldn’t get 21a – cos I’m not an angler either. It all made sense with the hints however. Basically I got the answer to 23d but couldn’t parse it (is that the correct cruciverbalist word?)

    But it still took a while for the penny to drop re 21a

    otherwise fine

    Thanks to both setter and Mr K

  33. A funeral. Opening the pub and a crib match have all got in the way today. Good old Auntie Betty has gone to meet the spirit in the sky as has our crib team lately. I cannot remember much about this puzzle other than it did not get in the way of any of the above. Ta to all concerned. Great news reference those making progress. Has the pet shop sold out?

  34. Didn’t know the word in 15d, but didn’t need to as the four letters fell into place naturally!

    Didn’t really like 7d…..

  35. Fun while it lasted. Which wasn’t long! 21a was top clue and 1.5/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

    1. The only real problem with 7d whether one knew the musical or not was that you could leave is as “One acting for monarch” and you have the answer – a quickie clue

  36. Very enjoyable puzzle. Favourite was 21a and last one in 23d. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  37. I enjoyed it too. I only had a temporary problem in the SW and that is because I had “Marks” as my second word. It was only when I had trouble with 21 and 25a – two of my favourites – that I realised my mistake. My only other problem was parsing 10a. Thanks setter and Mr K for the explanation for 11a

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