DT 28711 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28711

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28711

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ***/****

Hello everyone. This is definitely a Ray T crossword but I didn’t find it one of his more difficult ones apart from a couple that caused trouble. It has most of his trademarks including single word clues and answers in the Quickie. I found it a bit lacking in innuendo (another of his trademarks) and opportunities for pictures.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you got on today.


1a            Amateur poet adopting unusual title (10)
DILETTANTE — the surname of an Italian poet containing (adopting) an anagram (unusual) of TITLE

6a            Go mad in retirement (4)
STAB — a reversal (in retirement) of a word meaning mad or loopy

9a            Offering support for church? (5)
ALTAR — a cryptic definition of a block or table used for making sacrifices on

10a         It’s improper for merriment to grip actor (9)
PERFORMER — the one and only lurker, or hidden answer, of the day – it’s hiding in the middle of the second, third and fourth words of the clue and is indicated by ‘to grip’.

12a         Search dodgy publication associated with last of sleaze (7)
RUMMAGE — a synonym for dodgy or a bit peculiar an abbreviation for a glossy publication and the final letter (last) of sleazE

13a         Debate one’s petition (5)
ISSUE — the letter that looks like a one, with the ‘S, is followed by a verb to petition or take action against

15a         Runs down motorway before signal changed (7)
MALIGNS — the one letter M(otorway) precedes (before) an anagram (changed) of SIGNAL

17a         Extravagant chap secures love seat (7)
OTTOMAN — a three letter informal abbreviation meaning extravagant or rather too much and a chap or bloke – the letter that looks like a love score in tennis goes between (secures) the two

19a         Performance payment for Queen? (7)
ROYALTY — a double definition, I think

21a         No stamp fixed? He won’t deliver! (7)
POSTMAN — an anagram (fixed) of NO STAMP

22a         Symbol in Greek, merely alphabetical initially (5)
SIGMA — the first letters (initially) of the rest of the words of the clue – a Ray T special. I never know what to underline as the definition in this kind of clue.

24a         More dubious having left stranger (7)
LEERIER — the one letter abbreviation for L(eft) is followed by a synonym for stranger or spookier

27a         This rogue turned out honest (9)
RIGHTEOUS — an anagram (turned out) of THIS ROGUE

28a         Stop sweetheart embracing bachelor (5)
DEBAR — an affectionate way of addressing someone (sweetheart) contains (embracing) the one letter abbreviation for B(achelor) – this one fooled me for too long – I’m very used to Ray T using ‘sweetheart’ to mean an E ie the heart or middle of swEet, as he does in 4d.

29a         Seeds that could be sown in the wild? (4)
OATS — the answer preceded by wild (from the clue) means to indulge in ‘adventures’ in ones youth – oh dear – a rubbishy hint but I can’t think of another way of putting it

30a         Buffoons broadcast about primarily motor testing (10)
ASSESSMENT — begin with some buffoons or fools and follow them with a synonym for broadcast or transmitted which contains (about) the first letter (primarily) of M(otor)



1d            Boring spot around river (4)
DRAB — a spot or trace contains (around) the one letter for R(iver)

2d            Get better following diet strictly (9)
LITERALLY — a short word that means low in calories is followed by a verb to get better or recover

3d            Hard liquor after time creates dull whine (5)
THRUM — the one letter abbreviation for H(ard) and a dark alcoholic spirit (liquor) following (after) a one letter abbreviation for T(ime)

4d            Shocks accepting sweetheart’s approaches (7)
APPEALS — a synonym for shocks or horrifies contains (accepting) the middle letter (heart) of swEet

5d            Fuss about power in engineers’ missile (7)
TORPEDO — a fuss or commotion around (about) one of the many two letter abbreviations for engineers in the army and they contain (in) the one letter abbreviation for P(ower)

7d            Counts length of draw involving minutes and seconds (5)
TIMES — draw, or neither win nor lose anything sporty, contains (involving) M(inutes) and is followed by S(econds)

8d            Growing container good to protect spur (10)
BURGEONINGright – here we go – this one took me for ever and I’d almost given up hope of untangling it properly – begin with a container, the kind you might put your rubbish in, and follow that with G(ood) – in the middle of those (to protect) you need a verb to spur or encourage (4,2)

11d         Old heads taking current drugs (7)
OPIATES — the one letter abbreviation for O(ld) is followed by some heads (tops of them and often bald) which contain (taking) the one letter symbol for electric current in physics

14d         Showman is more rapid, endlessly shuffling (10)
IMPRESARIO — an anagram (shuffling) of IS MORE RAPI(d)

16d         Brave girl over large insect (7)
GALLANT — a dialect word for ‘girl’, the one letter abbreviation for L(arge) and a small insect

18d         Significant this compiler’s British in spirit (9)
MEMORABLE — how the setter might refer to himself is followed by a synonym for spirit or mood which contains (in) the abbreviation for B(ritish)

20d         Cries about nothing and wife colours (7)
YELLOWS — cries or screams containing (about) the letter that looks like a zero or nothing and the abbreviation for W(ife)

21d         Papers regularly give gift (7)
PRESSIE — a collective term for newspapers and periodicals (papers) is followed by the even letters (regularly) of gIvE

23d         American soldier purchased leg of lamb (5)
GIGOT — the usual two letter American soldier and a synonym for purchased or obtained

25d         Banker’s attempt to leave business (5)
INDUS — this ‘banker’ is a river – an eight letter word meaning business or commerce has its final three letters missing (to leave) – those final letters are a synonym for attempt or endeavour

26d         Ultimately dead rodent causing bother (4)
DRAT —the last letter (ultimately) of (dea)D is followed by a horrid rodent with a long tail – ugh!

I particularly liked 12 and 21a and 2 and 26d.

The Quickie pun:- BATTER + LACKS = BATTLE AXE

51 comments on “DT 28711

  1. Definitely on the friendly side of Mr T’s spectrum but enjoyable as per usual.

    Thank you to him and Kath :rose:

  2. A lovely puzzle from Ray T. Not his most difficult, but a decent challenge and very enjoyable. For me, best of the week so far. I too was thrown by the non-standard (for this setter) use of “sweetheart” in 28a. 3* / 4*

  3. Hi Kath! Thank you for your review. Found this puzzle quite challenging but I managed to complete it although was stuck on parsing a few of my answers – 8d being one of them. Completely missed the lurker so my answer was a complete guess! Had not come across the word leery before… Definitely 3* for difficulty but very enjoyable. For favourite it is a toss between 21a and 29a. Dreadful wet weather in Hyères!

  4. Slowed down to a fast canter by 1d, one of those pesky four letter clues, for what was, overall, a reasonably straightforward solve – **/***.

    Unusually, no obvious standout candidates for favourite.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  5. Never quite sure when it’s Mr T’s turn these days so it always comes as a lovely surprise.
    Have to admit to leaving 1a blank until the checkers went in – invariably get the wrong number of L’s and T’s.

    Full of delights and I’ve squashed 12,21&29a on to the podium along with 8&26d.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog – well done for finding a polite way to hint 29a!

  6. A terrific puzzle. Which took ages to finish. I am sure my clues were harder than the ones here. Thanks ever so to Ray T. Thank too to Kath for explaining those I couldn’t.

  7. I’m on the three star side of the reviewer’s difficulty rating, and the four star side of the enjoyment rating, with 17a my personal favourite.
    Thanks to the setter for the fun and to Kath for helping me understand why I enjoyed it!

  8. 1a, 13a and 5d were clued differently in the subscriber edition. I think they were harder to parse than the paper version. Great lurker clue. That said, this was a good tester from Ray T and worth the effort. 2.5* /3.5* overall with 17a my favourite.

    Thanks to Ray and Kath.

    1. There were a lot more differences in the online edition’s clues than Young Salopian mentions. I thought I was reading the wrong day when I saw the above summary!

      23d was clued as Incising exterior in purchased leg of lamb, and
      35d was clued as River current almost directly South.

      I eventually worked them out but didn’t understand the clueing. I reckon about 6 answers were differently clued in the online edition, which indicates to me that the editor had second thoughts about them. I’ve never seen so many differences between the two sets of clues!

  9. I agree with Kath on difficulty. Needed help to parse 8d. I did the online version of this crossword in which eleven of the clues are different. Thank you to Ray T and Kath.

  10. This was a terrific workout. One or two eluded me before the reviewer’s help but overall very enjoyable. 21 across was a bung in as I failed to spot the anagram (hoping I’m not the only one) . Favourite for me was 17 across.
    Thanks to the reviewer and the setter.

    1. I also did not spot the anagram as the online version excludes the word “fixed”. See my post above, I have now found twelve different clues.

  11. One of those crosswords where I start at the end because all the clues at the top elude me .
    I didn’t really gather speed until I decided that the solutions could more like word associations than tight definitions .

    17a is a brilliant clue.
    Thanks to all concerned .

  12. Thanks Kath for your excellent hints. I completed the bottom half quite quickly, but had to consult your hints after that. Oddly enough 6a and 9a caused me the most bother. After that plain sailing.

  13. I found the puzzle to be quite difficult today, especially the start in the NW corner-is lite an accepted word ? and does the same apply to 21d.
    Going for a ****/***.
    Certainly some brilliant cluing as well ,29 was snappy and concise ,lots of my favourite charades liked 17a and 8d
    Thanks Kath for the pics and Mr T.

    1. Lite is one of the ones that always catches me out and I also had my doubts about ‘pressie’ or ‘prezzie’ but they’re all in the BRB so that makes them OK.

  14. Certainly not as difficult as some RayT puzzles, I thought the top half needed a little more cogitation than the bottom. Superbly entertaining as always.

    Three clues stood out for me – 1a, 21a and 8d.

    Many thanks to Kath, the Blog was definitely the poorer for your enforced absence, and to Mr Terrell. For consistency, I wonder when shopping at his regular supermarket whether he uses only the “eight items or fewer” checkout? I suspect he might!

  15. How lovely to see a Kath review today. And a RayT crossword too.

    This one had some sticky spots but did it hit the sweet spot? Well, as always I enjoyed it, but I did ugh at the hackneyed old banker who I think should be retired. I mean, at least his colleague the flower makes sense. Anyway, that didn’t stop me much enjoying the whole thing. I agree with our blogger’s picks and would add 17a and 28a.

    (Speaking of bothersome rodents, some of the squeasels in Hyde Park are now so tame you can stroke them while they climb you in search of food. I’m against feeding them, so I don’t know how those nuts got in my pocket … )

    Thanks to RayT and Kath – sending hugs and best wishes your way.

  16. 2.5/4. I love these puzzles. So much to like. Favourites 17&30a and 8&25d. 8d took a lot of unravelling. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  17. Completed a Ray T Thursday special without the usual difficulties so must be somewhat benign? Pleased to have done it though and found it a puzzle of two halves, half the clues fell straight in the rest needed a bit of head scratching particularly in the NE corner. Last in was 24a a word frequently used in my younger days. Enjoyed the puzzle today and very satisfying to have been on Mr T’s wavelength, but not by any means a doddle!

    Clues of the day: Like a lot of them but will go with 12a / 2d / 21d

    Rating 3* / 4*

    Thanks Kath and Mr T.

  18. Struggled but enjoyed knowing that there was a devious mind behind it. Got there at last unaided, so felt a sense of achievement. Many thanks from Rosie

  19. As ever miles over my head. The bonus being that there is at least another fortnight before there is another.
    Thanks for the hints, Kath

  20. Toughest of the week so far, but I got there in the end. Very enjoyable. ***/*****. I liked 9a, 8d and 30a. 21a was my winner, because although I knew the answer I couldn’t work out why it was cryptic far a while. Anagram well hidden, from me, anyhow.

  21. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the analysis and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Great to see another of yours, Mr T – sorry I failed to pick you out in yesterday’s HALLESSI but it seems that no-one made a correct guess!

  22. 5d is a different clue in my iPad version. I can’t parse it at all. “Missile power contained by bomb discharge”

    1. Welcome to the blog, Justin.
      I can’t parse it (but if it had ‘bombed’ instead of ‘bomb’ I could).

  23. For once I quickly realized it was a RayT crossword and that it would need therefore the lateral thinking cap handy. It took a while to get started but slowly it then fell into place. I don’t like the word but 21d was still my favourite and 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Ray T (and the person who ‘adapted’ the various clues) and to Kath for her excellent review.

  24. We seemed to struggle a little more than most are reporting as the puzzle took us longer to finish than the Toughie. Excellent fun as always and we did of course check the word count.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  25. With apologies if this is duplicated, but would be most interested to know why a number of online clues are different from those you have blogged. Examples 5d and 16d. The on line clues seem weaker.
    Many thanks for your excellent blogs

    1. Welcome to the blog Mike

      I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation as to why some clues are very different. Please don’t use the term “online clues” without further qualification as it is ambiguous – there are several online platforms – Telegraph Puzzles is an online site, and I think there is an online version of the newspaper as well as the iPad version.

      1. Many thanks Big Dave
        We use the telegraph subscription and much appreciate your blog when unsure or defeated.
        My thanks to Miffypops too for kind response

    2. Hi Mike. There is a Telegraph Puzzles site that is available on subscription which most of my fellow bloggers have. That publishes the puzzles including the Toughie online at midnight. Then there is a subscription to the newspaper as a whole. This is published sometime in the early hours and does not include the Toughie which is annoying. That is what I have. I have no idea why the puzzles on the sites differ but today’s many differences may show that a setter might provide alternative clues so a puzzle can either be a back pager or a Toughie.

      1. MP, you may be able to prove your theory using this specific puzzle as Beam never uses anagrams. If any of the many “online” versions of this crossword have no anagrams then QED …

        1. 1ac, 21ac, 27ac and 14d are all anagrams. The clue for 23d reads ‘Incising exterior in purchased leg of lamb’ which I feel is decidedly Beamish. I struggled to complete the puzzles as it appeared on The Telegraph subscriptions site. Meanwhile Kath was emailing to say how it was all plain sailing. If I had written the review as initially planned then (according to Pentimino at comment 11 above) twelve of my hints would have made little sense. It might be interesting to see the three published puzzles side by side.

  26. Got there in the end. SW corner seemed easier to me and they were done before Much else. I made an error in 9a putting PERCH which held me up and put me off 2d. I didn’t manage to sort it out until I had a look at the hints. Thanks to Kath for the enlightenment and Ray T for the mental exercise. I hope whoever changed a few clues was trying to make them easier. I dont think Mr T needs any help to make them harder (or help at all he is a master of deviousity)

  27. Came back to earth with a bump today, not unusual for me on a Friday, and almost always with a tricky Ray T. Big thanks to Kath for her hints, otherwise I would have given up half way. Hope all is well in your world Kath?

    I guess it was a good brain workout.

  28. A little into *** for difficulty, with much of that presented in the SE corner. Good, enjoyable throughout.

  29. 3* / 4*. A very enjoyable puzzle with all Ray T’s trademarks. The bottom half went in quickly but I found the top half very much tougher taking me to my 3* time overall.

    My double ticks went to 1a, 21a & 8d but 12a was my stand-out favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath. Lovely to have you back.

  30. Thought I was never going to get off the ground and then eureka the South began to yield followed by the North which did présent some sticky patches. Thus I’m with the 2Kiwis in finding this overall quite a challenge and like Kath was a bit dubious about 21d and I also had difficulty parsing 9a. Thank you RayT and it’s good to have you back Kath; do hope your daughter is getting better.

  31. I am now totally knackered so will be off to bed fairly soon even though it’s not ever so late.
    Thank you to all who commented especially those who welcomed me back after my absence and asked about our beautiful daughter (the Younger Lamb to those of you who have been around for a while) – it’s very much appreciated.
    Thanks to Ray T for a great crossword (again) and night night to everyone.

  32. PS Is this the first time in several years of doing the hints for roughly alternate Thursday crosswords that I haven’t made a mistake?

  33. Well that’s bizarre, for me anyway. I did this on the iPad app, and while the answers are the same, and many of the clues, there are also several where the clues are completely different.

    Is that a known thing?

      1. Thanks. That’s what comes of finishing it so late – I came here just to check the parsing of a few I wasn’t happy with and then whizzed through to bottom of the comments so that I could post.

        FWIW, my wife and I did it as a double-hander (as we often do). SW corner relatively straightforward, others took more teasing out. Hard, but completed it :)

Comments are closed.