DT 28705 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28705

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28705

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Hola from a sunny Vega Baja where spring appears to have sprung, although the forecast for the next week is a bit of a curate’s egg.  A bit like this puzzle really. It’s not particularly difficult and there’s some good stuff but also a lot of repetition of bits of wordplay.  For example, there are three clues where you’re given some anagram fodder but you have to remove a single letter from it and I’ve typed “from the clue” seven times in this review, twice in one clue!  Overall it was beginning to irritate me by the time I’d finished it.
I’ll be interested to hear what you made of it.  

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           A dull Common Market leader in Rome — one with superficial understanding (7)
AMATEUR:  A charade of A (from the clue), a word for dull as in not shiny, the two letters that stand for what the Common Market has developed into and finally an R (leader in Rome).  Is it fair to use “Common Market” to clue these two letters?  Surely when it was the Common Market it was the EEC – European Economic Community.  It’s something completely different nowadays.

5a           Attacked at home — very cheesed off, scratching head (7)
INVADED:  The usual word for at home followed by V(ery) and a word meaning cheesed off or tired without its first letter (scratching head).

9a           Look around centre of Rouen for thin fabric (5)
GAUZE:  A word meaning to look is placed around U (centre of roUen).

10a         A large bird had food every second (9)
ALTERNATE:  A (from the clue) followed by a common sea bird and then a word meaning had or consumed food.

11a         They watch top actress working (10)
SPECTATORS:  Anagram (working) of TOP ACTRESS.

12a         Heated conflict with male (4)
WARM:  An armed conflict followed by M(ale).

14a         Making prisoners upset in court? About time (12)
CONSTRUCTION:  Start with a common crosswordland word for prisoners and then an anagram (upset) of IN COURT placed around a T (about T(ime)).

18a         Problems beginning to double — if female is embracing religious sect, that is (12)
DIFFICULTIES: Listen very carefully – this is complicated!  Start with a D (beginning to Double) and after it put IF (from the clue) and F(emale).  With me so far? Good, then I’ll continue.  Next you need IS (from the clue again) and place it around (embracing) another word for a religious sect and the two letters  for “that is”.  Put those two bits together and you’ll get the answer.  Phew!

21a         Greedy, temperamental woman coming over (4)
AVID:  A reversal (coming over) of a word for a female opera singer (temperamental woman?).

22a         Actor is open about losing 100 jobs in the theatre? (10)
OPERATIONS:  Anagram(about) of ACTOR IS OPEN but without the C (losing the Roman symbol for 100).  These jobs in the theatre are ones done by a surgeon, not a stagehand.   Here’s some surgeons . . .

25a         Term for minors? (9)
CHILDHOOD:  A cryptic definition of the period of your life when you are a minor.

26a         Set up  game of snooker? (5)
FRAME:  Double definition.  Here’s Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 5 minute 20 second 147 break.

27a         Diana perhaps hugging everyone in return for money (7)
DOLLARS: For once Diana is nothing to do with a deceased princess. It’s the stage name of an English actress born as Diana Mary Fluck and known as “The Blonde Bombshell” placed around (hugging) the reversal (in return) of a word for everyone or everything.  I’m not surprised she changed her surname, especially as she was well known for sex comedies!

28a         In Germany, I, among others, should be most wealthy (7)
RICHEST:  The first person singular in German is inserted (among) into a word for others.


1d           Great — it lasts for 31 days (6)
AUGUST:  A word meaning great or dignified is also a month with 31 days.

2d           It’s said Victoria wasn’t so considered to support Albert at first (6)
AMUSED:  A word meaning considered or pondered is placed after (to support in a down clue) an A (Albert at first).

3d           Digital TV one cleric ordered, but no volume (10)
ELECTRONIC:  Anagram (ordered) of TV ONE CLERIC but without the V (no V(olume)).  Similar construction to 22a.

4d           Intensely heat  pan (5)
ROAST:  A word meaning to heat intensely is also to pan as in criticize severely.

5d           Bury hamster, maybe keeping right shed light on (9)
INTERPRET:  Take crosswordland’s favourite word for bury and follow with what a hamster is an example of (cat or dog would have done just as well) and insert (keeping) an R(ight).

6d           Cover your sandwiches thoroughly (4)
VERY:  A lurker. It’s hidden in (sandwiches) the first two words of the clue.

7d           Doctor on violin about to be sensational (8)
DRAMATIC:  One of the many two letter doctors followed by an Italian violin and the single letter for about.  Hands up those who though doctor was an anagram indicator and the answer would be an anagram of ON VIOLIN.  This violin maker is worth remembering as he turns up from time to time.

8d           Imagining what those who have retired might be doing (8)
DREAMING:  What people might be doing after they’ve retired to bed. Not that, you smutty lot, they’ve gone to sleep!


13d         Insect flutters if one gets caught how biologist’s described? (10)
SCIENTIFIC:  Anagram (flutters) of INSECT followed by IF (from the clue), the letter that looks like a one and finally a C(aught).

15d         Corset plus buckles — everything initially removed for artists (9)
SCULPTORS:   Anagram (buckles) of CORSET PLUS but without the E (Everything initially removed).  Another similar construction to 22a and 3d.  Three of these in one puzzle seems a bit OTT to me.

16d         State-of-the-art vehicle — church splitting total (8)
ADVANCED:  A vehicle, often white and overtaking you on the motorway no matter how fast you’re going, and the two letters for the Anglican Church are placed inside (splitting) a word meaning to total or to sum.

17d         Authorised chemical company once to get in waste material (8)
OFFICIAL:  The initials of a now defunct (once) chemical company are inserted into (to get in) some waste animal material.

19d         Find old animal let outside with no tail (6)
LOCATE:  Take O(ld) and an animal beloved of pommette and Kitty and around them (outside) put LET (from the clue) but without the T (with no tail).

20d         Expect half to leave after snake’s appearance (6)
ASPECT:  Remove the first tree letters from expect (half to leave) and put what’s left after a venomous snake, the one said to have caused the death of Cleopatra.

23d         It’s used to spy planes going up and down (5)
RADAR:  Going up and down in a down clue indicates a palindrome.  This one is used to spy or spot aircraft.  I’m not sure that this really is an all-in-one but I’ve given the setter the benefit of the doubt.

24d         Fancy a fish for starters? (4)
IDEA:  Take A (from the clue) and before it (for starters) put another name for the fish more commonly known as the silver orfe.

As I said in the intro there’s some good stuff and some irritation.  My favorite is 18a for its splendid complexity.  Also on the podium are 20d and the slightly smutty (if you have a dirty mind like me) 8d.

Quick crossword pun:     BANNED     +     SORES     =     BANDSAWS


42 comments on “DT 28705

  1. I noticed and was a bit irritated by all the repetitive stuff too

    No particular favourites – Thank you to the Thursday Mysteron and to Pommers

  2. An enjoyable solve completed at a gallop with assistance from some oldies but goodies – **/***.

    Not a Ray T as his alter ego is on Toughie duty today.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 27a (had to go deep into the memory for the particular Diana), 2d, and 16d – and the winner by a nose is 2d.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

    1. The Beam Toughie is well worth a look. It’s not too mind boggling and it has all RayT’s trademarks.

  3. Well I thought this was a bit of a strange egg too, though hard to put my finger on ‘why’.
    I completed it with no problems, apart from a struggle in the SW corner. I guessed the Diana at 27a, but for some reason thought her name was spelt with a double ‘O’. Considering the lady in question, I am sure that Sigmund Freud would have found a reason why I thought her name had ‘OO’ in it – ahem!!
    Looking forward to the hints, particularly the fish at 24d.
    Many thanks Pommers and Mr.Ron, though I have to say that it was not up there with yesterday’s.

    1. I meant to also say RIP Ray Wilkins, I met him a couple of times. A true gentleman and fantastic footballer,

  4. I agree with Pommers’ assessment. Quite enjoyable, but I think only oldsters will remember the Diana in 27a and the company in 17d. And another thing, is 25a really cryptic, or even 23d for that matter? Also, I hate the use of planes (which are carpenters’ tools) for aircraft or aeroplanes. End of rant…apologies! Thanks Pommers and setter.

  5. I liked this one, but for some reason simultaneously found it slightly annoying. Overall, I’d say it was about average for a back-pager. 2.5* / 3*

  6. Is there a word for ‘fear of the Thursday crossword’ as I have contracted it? Any other day and I’m fairly chuffed with my efforts but, come Thursday, I hit the proverbial brick wall! Three bung-ins and needed help with five others. Of the clues I solved myself, I liked 1a and 5d.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers for the excellent hints.

  7. Bula from Fiji. Glad to know that the Two Kiwis are back in my time zone😜My favourite was 27a. I believe Diana features on the cover of Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club too. Thanks Pommers.

  8. Enjoyed the brain stretch as always. Feeling a chump after struggling successfully to parse 28a – the penny (or pfennig) dropped when I read Pommers’ hints! COTD for me is 17d – probably due to nostalgia for a previous life working in the chemicals industry. Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  9. Rain this morning so I was able to return to bed to solve this one early on. Struggled on first pass but all came good in the end. No particular favourites. Sun is out!

  10. Hit the proverbial brick wall with this one and abandoned it with lots of white spaces. Went for a walk in the sunshine, sorted out a window cleaner, watched some of the commonwealth games and had lunch. Decided to give the crossword one more chance and finished it with ease.Isn’t the human brain a strange thing! Thanks to pommers and the setter.

  11. 2* /3* overall for this pretty straightforward Thursday puzzle. It certainly lacked any real sparkle I thought, yet several of the clues, notably 18a and 20d, I thoroughly enjoyed. It is difficult not to compare this with the richness of the clueing yesterday. Thanks to our setter and pommers.

  12. Well, I loved it and didn’t find anything in the least irritating, let alone repetitive (unlike yesterday). I don’t consider three subtractive anagrams in one puzzle to be excessive either. I thought that there was a wealth of inventive and original wordplay and the surfaces were generally excellent, save for 13d perhaps. 5d was slightly surreal but possibly generated the widest smile for those like me who have “been there, done that”.

    My ticks went to 10a, 11a, 6d and 15d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Pommers.

  13. Found this quite tricky ***/** 😳 I was not amused 😉 Favourites 27a & 2d. My last one in! Thanks to Pommers and to the Setter 😃

  14. 2* / 3*. A curate’s egg for me with too many charades for my taste but interspersed with some nice clues.

    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers

  15. Found this puzzle didn’t really hit the spot for me, with no real flow or a smile, Tricky in a lot of places straightforward in other parts really “clunky’ if you know what I mean. Guess it’s horses for courses today and I appreciate a lot of the bloggers will have enjoyed it. Last in 5d.

    Clues of the day: If I had to pick one 2d would be the star.

    Rating: 3.5* / 2.5*

    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  16. **/**. Agree with Pommers. Not the usual fun of a Thursday puzzle. The repeated construction of some clues and relatively obscure references to the chemical company and Diana were going to pose challenges to younger contenders. My favourite was 10a. Thanks to all.

  17. Quite enjoyed this one although it was over all too quickly. Must admit, I wasn’t as niggled as Pommers and CS seem to have been over clue constructions.

    Top place awarded to 24d for its neatness.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the blog – nice to see that 147 again.

  18. I found the SW corner to be a tad tricky, don’t know why, but I suspect it was a lack of concentration on my part. I wasn’t fooled by the Diana in 27a, but then, I’m of a certain age.
    Liked 2d, with 5d as runner up.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for his fun review.

  19. I didn’t go a bundle on this but battled on and finally made it but without identifying any Fav candidate en route. NW corner was the last to capitulate. Guess my certain age is revealed through knowing both the 17d chemical company and the Diana in 27a which is more than can be said for the fish in 24d (doubtless the 2Kiwis know that well). Thank you Mysteron and Pommers.

  20. I had decided to rate this one **/*** and then, influenced by Pommers and others knocked a star off the right-hand side. Never heard of the fish at 24d so got myself nicely tutored up on that one now.
    Pretty unremarkable puzzle really with no particular favourite.
    Thank you Pommers and setter.

  21. Well I enjoyed doing this crossword. The repeats in the clues didn’t bother me because basically by the time I answered the later ones I’d already forgotten the others. 18a was favourite because of its complexity. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for his amusing review.

    1. A bit of a mixed bag for me, some easy, some not. COTD winner was 2d. Never heard of the “silvery orfe”, nor the fish hinted. Guess we don’t get that over here. Thanks to Pommers.

  22. 1 across … second time in a few days “mat” for dull instead of “matt”… or am I missing something?

    1. Welcome to the blog Timbo

      What you are missing is that both are valid ways to spell the same word; matte is also valid. It is always advisable to check Chambers.

  23. I enjoyed the humour in some of the clues immensely.
    The solve didn’t cause much trouble either.
    Except 1a perhaps as I thought a Masseur would have some superficial understanding.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

  24. This was a puzzle of two halfs for me. The top half went in very quickly ( in red ink), the bottom half took a while to yield. I wondered if I’d got 8d wrong. I so wanted to end 14a with ‘ing’ because of ‘making’, but knew what it should be. I disappeared out for a while, and when I got back, it all fell nicely into place ….in black ink. Goodness knows where the red pen has gone. Thank you setter and Pommers. I enjoyed 7d because of the violin.

  25. We are old enough to not have any problems with the actress or the chemical company and even the 24d fish was one we have learnt (and remembered) from previous crosswords. A pleasant solve that all went together smoothly for us.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    1. Saw your PM on TV, she seems a lovely lady. Do you think she’s doing a good job? Nice to see a young lady running your country instead of the usual old men!

      1. We agree that our PM is a lovely person in lots and lots of ways and we fully support her.

  26. A very easy * here, and enjoyable while it lasted. A nice balance to some of the trickier offerings we’ve had of late.

  27. 2*/3*. I kept trying to make 23d “rafar” and was a bit disappointed to realise it was an all-in-one. I liked 27a, though. Ta to the Mysteron, and of course Pommers.

  28. Did this in fits and starts throughout the day so didn’t notice the repetitve stuff.
    Going to give the honours to 13d.
    Needed the hint for 18a which was tougher than a lot of toughie clue. Back home after a trip to Northumberland so Craster Kippers for Breakfast and a smoked haddock fish pie with Cheviot cheesy mash for tea tomorrow. I’ll take the toughie to bed and expect to fall asleep with it half done (if I’m lucky)
    Thanks to Pommers and setter.

  29. I realise that, if anyone ever reads my remarks, I come across as an old curmudgeon, and that for some reason we’re not supposed to criticise the complier (who’s being paid to entertain us), but I still say that it’s lazy setting to a) repeatedly use words for anagrams where we have to remove letters to make it work, b) cause confusion with extraneous question marks? in 22a, 25a and 26a for instance? and c) forget to include any indicator of the lurker, as in 6d. Harrumph!

    1. Hi Sam,

      The indicator of the lurker in 6d is “sandwiches” which is cunningly disguised as a noun but actually represents a containment verb.

      There are only three instances of subtractive anagrams (letters removed from the anagram fodder), a device which nearly all compilers will utilise from time to time. I don’t understand why that should be considered lazy setting.

Comments are closed.