DT 28700 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28700

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28700

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs this Good Friday, where the weather is wearing a suitably penitential aspect.

Giovanni has provided us with a crossword appropriate for the day, but either the master has slipped up, or there has been a glitch in the editorial process, in that the definition in 20d in the paper (and online at the time I solved the puzzle) is, in my view, incorrect.

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. 


9a           Retired WI batsman eats very little grub (5)
LARVA – The West Indian batsman who once scored 501 not out wrapped around Very.

Image result for brian lara

10a         English drunkard, Heather, collected items of mysterious nature (9)
ESOTERICA – Put together English, a habitual drunkard, and another word for heather.

11a         A group of soldiers housed in brand-new tower (7)
MINARET – A (from the clue) and one of the usual regiments of crossword soldiers, with ‘brand new’ or ‘fresh out of the box’ wrapped around them.

Image result for minaret

12a         Our good Parisian backing British member of royal family (7)
BOURBON – Put together British, OUR (from the clue), and the French for ‘good’, to get a member of the French or Spanish royal families.

13a         Best people yell when leader is got rid of (5)
CREAM – Remove the initial letter (leader) from a word for ‘yell’.

14a         Quiet person taking things easy, keeping near church member (9)
PRESBYTER – Start with the musical symbol for ‘quiet’, then add someone who is relaxing or taking a break, wrapped around another word for ‘near’. The answer is an elder in one of the Nonconformist churches, or a minister in the Episcopal church.

16a         Becoming popular again? That wouldn’t affect Abba (6,1,8)
MAKING A COMEBACK – … because ABBA is a palindrome.

19a         Bitter scorn — our aunt’s beginning to be horrible (9)
RANCOROUS – Anagram (horrible) of SCORN, OUR and the first letter of Aunt.

21a         Cleric I had written about, footballing cheat (5)
DIVER – Put together an abbreviated clerical title and the short form of ‘I had’, then reverse the lot.

23a         Fuss in horses’ accommodation — lead the horses out to these? (7)
MEADOWS – The area behind a town house where the horses and carriages were kept, wrapped around ‘fuss’ or ‘commotion’.

25a         Trick needed to cross slope — something climber uses (7)
CRAMPON – A word for ‘trick’ or ‘cheat’ wrapped around a sloping roadway.

Image result for crampon

27a         See rhino moving around lake, where land and water meet (9)
SHORELINE – Anagram (moving) of SEE RHINO wrapped around Lake.

28a         See 17 Down


1d           Fruit in shapeless mass page brought forward (4)
PLUM – A shapeless mass of something, with the Page brought to the front.

Image result for plum

2d           Female organised church in the country (6)
FRANCE – Put together Female, ‘organised’ or ‘managed’, and the Church of England.

3d           Marriage possibly over in US city (10)
SACRAMENTO – For Catholics, but not Protestants, marriage is one of a collection of seven of these: Baptism and the Eucharist are two others, which the Protestants recognise as well. Add on the cricketing abbreviation for Over, to get the state capital of California.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d           Pound to dine in revolutionary inn (4,2)
BEAT UP – Reverse (revolutionary) another word for an inn, then insert another word for ‘dine’.

5d           Thus doctor hugs US brother in hat (8)
SOMBRERO – Put together ‘thus’, and one of the sets of letters denoting a medical doctor wrapped around an American dialect word for ‘brother’ (as in the Uncle Remus stories).

Image result for sombrero

6d           Fellows given superior list of options (4)
MENU – Some fellows or chaps followed by the letter denoting ‘superior’ or ‘upper-class’.

7d           American agents sound sheepish eating dry doughy stuff (8)
CIABATTA – The US spy agency followed by the sound a sheep makes wrapped round two letters indicating ‘dry’, as in ‘abstaining from alcohol’.

Image result for ciabatta

8d           Uncle is lowly man with no money ending in gutter (10)
PAWNBROKER – Put together a low-ranking chess piece, ‘with no money’, and the last letter of gutteR.

13d         Old male caught in embrace brings dishonour (10)
COMPROMISE – Start with a word for ‘embrace’ or ‘include’, then insert Old and Male.

15d         Something on meal table, a crude base that’s rickety (5,5)
BREAD SAUCE – Anagram (rickety) of A CRUDE BASE.

17d         and 28 Across: Legal stitch-up in which you suppose some might get jumpy? (8,5)
KANGAROO COURT – A form of mock trial named for some Australian marsupials who jump to make progress.

18d         A firm has us twitching — is it good if we can hear? (8)
ACOUSTIC – Put together A (from the clue), an abbreviation for a firm or company, US (from the clue), and a nervous twitch.

20d         Catholic head of school with a set of beliefs exuding love (6)
SACRED – The wordplay here is the first letter (head) of School, followed by A (from the clue) and a set of beliefs (from the Latin for ‘I believe’) missing the letter which looks like a love score at tennis. Unfortunately, when you put these elements together you get a word which does not mean ‘catholic’ (which means ‘universal’ or ‘orthodox’). The definition should be something like ‘holy’ or ‘religious’.

Later update: the first word of the clue has been changed to ‘Holy’ on the Telegraph puzzles site.

22d         Mist, very limited, above a stream (6)
VAPOUR – A short (limited) form of Very, followed by A (from the clue) and ‘stream’ as a verb.

24d         Sign of more than one female losing head (4)
OMEN – The plural form of ‘female person’ missing its first letter.

26d         Do for one! (4)
NOTE – Re and Mi are others.

The Quick Crossword pun COLLIE + FLOUR = CAULIFLOWER

53 comments on “DT 28700

  1. 2* / 2*. An unremarkable crossword both in terms of difficulty and enjoyment.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. I’m glad to see your comment re 20d DT as I thought the same thing. Being Catholic myself, I didn’t think I had the monopoly on the answer.

    Thanks also for the hint for 26d – I had the answer but couldn’t parse it! Obvious now.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the enjoyment, as always

    1. I always thought the first sol-fa note was spelt DOH, Margaret. That was our last one in too. Like you, we had the solution but couldn’t parse it. And we agree with you about Catholic.

  3. Given the day, I have to admit that I was expecting more religious references actually, so I was somewhat relieved that they seemed no more prevalent than average. Like our blogger, my eyebrows also reacted in surprise when seeing “Catholic” as the definition for 20d, but perhaps I’m missing something.

    A fairly straightforward solve but certainly an enjoyable one, despite my repetition radar bleeping with the two abbreviations for “very”.

    Podium places went to 16a, 7d (I loved the use of “sound sheepish”) and 8d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good Easter weekend to all.

    1. DT and S. 20d. The definition for this clue is Catholic, not “catholic” which is a very different word. Sacred means “connected to religion or worship”. Catholic can mean “relating to the whole Christian Church”. Since the Christian Church is a “religion”, I don’t think the definition is too far off the mark (for a cryptic clue, which do quite often contain slightly imprecise/indirect definitions). But maybe I am taking lateral thinking to the extreme?

      1. Good try, Jose, but seeing that Giovanni has already conceded it was a mistake, I’m not sure why you are trying to defend something that even the compiler himself isn’t?

        1. Yes, I saw G’s comment a while after I posted. But I reckon that if G had given that explanation instead of me (a mere mortal) it quite possibly would have been accepted!

  4. 16a my favourite in this fairly straightforward Giovanni offering. 2* /3* felt about right as I found several of the clues and their answers had more about them on a second read through. I, too, felt unsure about 20d.

    Many thanks to The Don and DT.

  5. A good start to Easter, a peaceful beginning. Favourite today was 23 across. I was glad of the explanation for 3 d. Happy Easter and thanks to Deep Threat ( I loved your description of the weather for today) and Giovanni.

  6. I struggled somewhat with this taking much longer than usual. I never knew brian lara had joined The Women’s Institute. When did that happen? Thanks to all concerned. Happy Easter everybody. Play nicely and i will see you on Monday

  7. Like others I tried to find the matching word for catholic and must agree with DT, maybe it was just a ‘glitch’
    A steady solve until the last clue 26d which thwarted me for ages until I had the d’ho moment..Thanks DT, I concur with the**/***.
    Hard to choose favourites, going for 10a and 14a as I like charades and the sound of both words !

  8. Another good cranial work out, very enjoyable, with minimal head scratching, which resulted in completion at a fast gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 16a, and the 17d/28a combo – and the winner is 16a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  9. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Quite on the gentle side, but having said that I was completely beaten by 23a, just couldn’t think of the accommodation word, realised that it contained “ado”. Also needed the hints to parse 13d, I was looking at the upper “om”.
    Didn’t like 20d. No particular favourites. Was 2*/2* for me. Seemed to lack any sparkle.

    1. I too was staring too much at the top “om” in 13d so the SW corner held me up for a while. Didn’t really think too much about 20d, but I see Giovanni has commented below. But, like the rest of the week, a gentle romp.

      Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  10. A nicely testing workout after a slow start. I agree that 20d is not a Catholic synonym. 26d parsing eluded me. My Fav was 17/28 combination. Thank you Giovanni and DT. Easter blessings everyone.

  11. I too was looking at the other ‘old male’ in 13d, so needed Deep Threat’s help to parse it.

    Agree with everyone about the definition of 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  12. This taxed the old grey matter for me, and I needed assistance for 14a even at an advanced age you learn something everyday.
    Quite liked 12a favourite though 10a.
    Happy Easter all, thanks to Deep Threat and the Don

    1. The clue is not at all vague, once you realise that ‘Do’ is to be rhymed with ‘show’ rather than ‘goo’. My hint was intended to steer you in this direction, by referring to the next two 26ds in the musical scale.

      1. I, too, was baffled by the clue and the hint until I did further research and found that “do” is an alternative spelling of doh and also rhymes with show. So I’ve learned something new.

  13. In company with others on the blog, I was expecting far more religious references today – thank you for holding back, DG!

    Surprised myself by remembering the WI batsman, likewise the church member in 14a.
    Thought the US city was a clever find but my laurel wreath goes to 16a.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for the blog. Hope everyone enjoys the Easter break.

  14. A gentle end to a gentle week. Enjoyable though. I share the same view about 20d as many others; also I thought it’s doh not do – but I expect the Don can point to an alternative spelling, but it is my favourite of the day since it gave me a d’oh feeling when the penny dropped. I also liked 11a, 21a, 23a and 13d. Overall, 1.5*/3.5*.

  15. Nothing too strenuous required to solve today’s puzzle although I was thwarted your 26d for far too long! 16a was fave and as said 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  16. As a Durham lad, references to Brian Lara scoring 501 runs (not out to boot) are painful.

  17. As a relative novice on here, I’m not expecting to finish every crossword, just to keep on improving (which with the help of this blog I hope I am) and achieve “respectability”. A couple eluded me, both had religious references but I liked 16a and 17d in particular.
    Thanks to the reviewer.

  18. Did quite well for the first 3/4 but a coupl7e needed DT’s help. I couldn’t see the horses accommodation and for a while I took retired in 9a as a rekrul indicator. I did notice a lot of biscuits and bread – Bourbon cream Ciabatta Bread sauce and although I am not religious isn’t sacrement another word for the biscuit given at communion?
    The Catholic debate in 20d passed me by too as there was enough in the clue to bung in before fully parsing my answer.
    Thanks to DT and Giovanni I did much better at this than Gio’s toughie earlier in the week.

  19. As one who has lectured fellow-crosswroders on Rev. etc, I can only apologise and indeed laughat myself for Catholic= sacred. Overlooked it on solving the proof too — sorry! What was i thinking of?

    1. Chocolate Easter eggs, perhaps?
      Many thanks for owning up, Giovanni, to err is human and it’s quite a relief to discover that even you are not impervious to the odd faux pas!

    2. Giovanni, you will be adored all the more for being delightfully human! I enjoyed the puzzle very much and am willing to bet that most of us got 20d without too much trouble anyway. Thank you and also to DT for the hints.

    3. Well said Jane, and even Steve Smith put his hand up…….. eventually after the cameras caught them red handed!

    4. Lovely of you to come on here and own up. Nothing to apologise for and thanks for everything you do – much appreciated.

    5. Yes indeed it is very gracious of you to plead mea culpa. Always enjoy your puzzles. Thanks again.

    6. Very good of you to drop by and very honourable of you to admit an error. Thanks for everything in all of your guises.

    7. G. Don’t worry about 20d – I’ve contrived a very plausible explanation of Catholic = sacred at #3, above :-)

  20. Catholic issue went over my head but that’s me and religion and felt fortunate not to be swamped with religious clues today. Had royal trouble also with 12a and put the biscuit in as a “bung in” I’m ashamed to say. Overall a bit below our usual Friday standard compared to Giovanni’s normal excellence, but still enjoyed it. Last in 26d don’t really know why?

    Clues of the day: 16a / 17d

    Rating 3* / 3*

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

    Hope all of you have a great Easter.

  21. Mum has just reminded me that on a cruise tour in the WI her partner was talking to every one he met and time was dragging. Desperate for a cup of tea she talked his latest victim into providing a brew and a sit down. It was only after they were away that her partner told her she had talked Brian Lara into providing her tea and biscuits!

  22. **/****. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Did question 20d but it had to be. Too lazy to go and look it up in the BRB. My favourites were 14a&7d. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  23. Took a while to get going but then full steam ahead and finished. Puzzled about the Catholic one and do. My initial thought for that was char!
    Absolutely loved the ABBA clue.
    Thanks to both

  24. This fairly skipped along until the SE corner. The last two in took as long as the rest of the puzzle.
    Re 14a, DT, I thought CofE was known as Episcopalian in the US, am I wrong?
    My fave was 23a with 16a as close second.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his hints, needed a couple for parsing.

  25. Had a little go at fitting an ABBA song into 16a before the penny dropped.
    Also entranced that Brian Lara helped out the WI ladies.

  26. It took us a little while to sort out that we were looking at the wrong OM in 13d when we had trouble parsing our answer. Everything else went in smoothly with such well put together clues. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  27. Managed this fairly representative Giovanni for the most part with a few taking longer than they oughta. The curved ball at 20d…. we’ll, who’s perfect? I learned something as well but am too embarrassed to say what it was. 2.5/3.5
    Could do with some of that rain in Blighty to damp down this sandstorm.

  28. Lovely crossword to come back from holiday to */*** 😃 Surprised to find that it is still raining 😰 Enough is enough! Favourites 16a & 9a Thanks to DT and to Giovanni 👍 Also 3d deserves a mention in dispatches

  29. An enjoyable puzzle, about ** for difficulty. 20d has now been updated on the Telegraph Puzzle site.

  30. Giovanni beat me as usual, and well above my pay grade. It was a great relief to see that at least one of the brightest members, Miffypops, also said he struggled, even if only at first. I was a total disaster today, not helped by not knowing the batsman, the short form of the church member, the football cheat or the slang term of a pawnbroker. What a sheltered life I have led. Thanks to Deep Threat for helping me to get to the bitter end. Important I think, as you know many of these will show up again. Not that I will remember them of course.

    1. A mention from BusyLizzie on Deep Threats blog is a great honour. Thank you. I think I will have another pint to celebrate.

  31. I thought this was very good – certainly the best of the week, including the Saturday Prize which I did before this one. Not the most difficult from G but a decent challenge with mostly good clues and very enjoyable. 3* / 4*

Comments are closed.