DT 28714 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28714

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28714

Hints and tips by a gin sozzled MP

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from The Dunkenhalgh Hotel, our home for three nights as we enjoy the delights that Oswaldtwistle, Accrington and Barrow -in-Furness have to offer.

Today is National Bean Counter day. I cannot see that being a barrel of laughs but who knows. I am avoiding anything to do with it.

Our setter today is straying towards the tougher end of the scale. I found this quite tough going but loved finding a new meaning for the crowd at 14 down.

Hints and tips

As usual here are some hints and tips to help you to solve the clues you might be struggling with or to help you understand answers you have but cannot see why. There will also be some random ramblings that may amuse or not. Illustrations may be tenuously linked to clues but are unlikely to lead to solutions. Pencils and pens are a no-no in Miffyland but if you do solve on paper the writing in of your last answer is a complete waste of time and a waste of the world’s resources. Think on.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Private dance, silent, moving (11)
CLANDESTINE: A neat anagram (moving) to kick off the day’s proceedings. The fodder is DANCE SILENT. the letters do not have to dance silently for long to reveal their new form

9a    Leaves time for bed? (6,3)
LIGHTS OUT: A double definition. To leave or depart quickly as if being chased or bedtime in a school dormitory or military barracks. Two clues in and we have an anagram and a double definition. Rufusesque or what?

10a    Make old books for spy (5)
AGENT: Begin with a synonym meaning to make old. A verb meaning to cause to appear old. Add those old books of the bible. Not the oldest ones. The ones from Matthew through to Revelation

11a    Wrongly arrest existentialist (6)
SARTRE: We had Pope John Paul the first. We had Pope John Paul the second. Before that we had John Paul George and Ringo. Long before that we had John Paul the existentialist, philosopher, playwright, novelist and political activist. Now exactly thirty-eight years and one day since his death he is John Paul the anagram (wrongly) of ARREST

12a    Upset after performance one’s created (8)
ARTEFACT: Start with an anagram (upset) of AFTER. Add a synonym for the word performance

13a    A university bags retiring writer (6)
AUSTEN: A from the clue is followed by the Abbreviation for University. This is followed by the reversal (retiring) of a synonym of the word bags. Bags as in catches as one does with tiddlers in a stream. After many years of questioning I still cannot understand why retiring is a reversal indicator. The author in question is female and wrote about Colin Firth skinny dipping.

15a    Plot scam with father to seize power (8)
CONSPIRE: Begin with a regular word meaning to scam. Add a word meaning father wrapped around the abbreviation for power. The word meaning father is a little obscure. It appears in the sixth verse of Gray’s Elegy and the female version is a dam

18a    Be with artist breaking tiles in church (8)
BIRETTAS: These square caps with three flat projections on top worn by catholic clergymen can be found by making an anagram (breaking) of BE and ARTIST. A tile is a hat. The word is considered to be Cockney rhyming slang but there is no rhyme for it. As a hat goes on a head a tile goes on a roof. It is clues like this that would have puzzled me for yonks years ago but we have had enough tiles recently to cover the pitch at Twickenham. The Any Old Iron clip (dressed in style, brand new tile) belongs exclusively to Deep Threat as does ‘Where did you get that hat, where did you get that tile’ so I cannot use either today.

19a    Jump to follow cool modern music style (3-3)
HIP-HOP: A word meaning to jump comes after a word that means cool, with it, trendy, wicked, down and dirty with the kids, modish, smart, streetwise and up there.

21a    Cleric short of work wears precious stone that’s worthless (8)
RUBBISHY: A Toughie clue. Bunged in and parsed later. Begin with the workshy cleric. This cleric is a senior member of the church usually in charge of a diocese. Remove the abbreviation for opus as indicated by the word workshy. Now wrap (wearing) a precious stone around what you have. The precious stone is usually a deep red colour.

23a    Attack part of latest RAF effort (6)
STRAFE: The answer is hidden within the words of the clue. The words part of tell us so.

26a    Shouts of encouragement about good looks (5)
OGLES: These shouts of encouragement are Spanish. They are wrapped around (about) the abbreviation for good

27a    Complaint about parking left anger (9)
DISPLEASE: A complaint such as German measles or malaria is placed around the abbreviations for both parking and left

28a    Deny temp had worked without reward (5-6)
EMPTY-HANDED: Anagram (worked) of DENY TEMP HAD


1d    Select a fancy keyboard (7)
CELESTA: Anagram (fancy) of SELECT A

2d    Risk losing daughter’s needle (5)
ANGER: Find a synonym for risk and remove (losing) the abbreviation for daughter. Never underestimate the dangers of health and safety

3d    Discourage fellow cleaner (9)
DETERGENT: Split 5,3 we need two synonyms. One meaning to discourage and another meaning a fellow. Together they match the underlined definition

4d    Leave part of London when husband’s promoted (4)
SHOO: Begin with London’s most energetic area. Move the abbreviation for husband one step up thus promoting it (this device flummoxes me to tell the truth)

5d    Phone system‘s temporary, the second one replaced by company (8)
INTERCOM: Start with .an adjective meaning temporary and replace the second I (one) with CO(mpany)

6d    Cheer European and others on the way up (5)
ELATE: Use the abbreviation for European. Add the reversed Latin phrase meaning “and all”, used to avoid writing a long list of names

7d    Instruction to ignore Beatles song (3,2,2)
LET IT BE: A double definition. The second being the name of the last Beatles LP as well as a song on the LP. The Who have lost a drummer (Keith Moon) and a bass player (John Entwistle). The two remaining Beatles just happen to be a bass player and a drummer. The four living members of The Who and The Beatles should get together and form a new group called The Hootles or The Boo.

8d    Stone married English girl, then engineered hit (8)
MEGALITH: A four-part charade, Do as you are told and all will be well. 1. Begin with the abbreviation for married. 2. Use the abbreviation for English. 3. Add a slang term for a girl (3). 4. Finish off with an anagram (engineered) of HIT

14d    Crowd supports occasionally sick game (8)
SCRABBLE: Begin with the alternative letters (occasionally) of the word sick. These are supported in a down clue by a crowd. Not a pleasant crowd. An unruly mob or a disorderly bunch. Actually they could be a very pleasant crowd as a large number of butterflies is also known by this word. How strange.

16d    Trace audible fault with steering mechanism (9)
SCINTILLA: Two homophones form this word. An immoral act against God and the steering mechanism of a boat.

17d    Clean finished? (6-2)
WASHED-UP: A double definition The first meaning worn out and the second to have done the dishes.

18d    Reportedly shout verse that’s scanned (7)
BARCODE: Homophone time again. To shout in a manner that is worse than a bite. Add a short verse to find what is scanned at the Waitrose checkout. You do shop at Waitrose don’t you?

20d    Imagine being before nurse (7)
PRETEND: Use a preposition meaning previous to or before. Add a verb meaning to nurse.

22d    Problem children (5)
ISSUE: An easy double definition

24d    Fighting in Bill’s honour (5)
AWARD: Place a word meaning fighting between nations inside a word describing a bill such as a notice or poster.

25d    See ‘The Sixth Sense’ on YouTube initially (4)
ESPY: The sixth sense is Extra Sensory Perception. Use the initial letters of this sense along with the initial letter of YouTube.

Well done if you finished without help. I’m off to Blackpool now.

Quickie Pun. Mash+Term+Hind=Mastermind


88 comments on “DT 28714

  1. 2.5* / 3*. Another very enjoyable Monday puzzle. I found the SW corner a more difficult than the rest which took me close to my 3* time.

    My Americanism radar bleeped loudly over “leaves” in 9a.

    My favourite was 18a which gave me a big smile when the penny dropped.

    Many thanks to Mister Ron (?) and to MP.

      1. Hi Merusa. Please accept my apologies. I wasn’t intending to imply it is bad. As BobH says it simply doesn’t make sense to most of us in the UK and so personally I would prefer that setters for a UK newspaper indicate such occurrences in the same way that they generally do when French or German words are involved.
        Sorry again. :rose:

        1. RD, I was a tad hasty there. Your post seemed to imply that the Americanism was not to your taste, but I see I read something that wasn’t there, and for that I’m sorry. You have a valid and fair point about wanting other “languages” being identified in a Brit puzzle.

          I’m Brit by parentage, Jamaican by birth and American by adoption. My very, very Brit parents were strict about good manners and would insist we speak to people as if we were entertaining them in our drawing room. I feel this blog is a bit like that and we need to be sure we respect BD’s hospitality in his online drawing room.

          I don’t think that H’s post can be ignored, he very clearly calls it a nasty Americanism and I call that flat out rude, and that was what sent me into overdrive.

          I won’t leave for now, but I’ll maybe take a little break. I dare say I’ll get stuck on a clue or two, or three or four, and I’ll be visiting here for help.

          Are we friends again?

          1. Yes I do hope so and please don’t leave it too long before commenting again.

            I’ve just arrived in Poland and so I won’t be around on the blog again until Thursday.

            Best wishes.

  2. Much fun. Thanks to the setter and MP.

    Now off to count beans. Or should that be marbles? …

    P.S. I have just checked the calendar for tomorrow:

    National Haiku Day
    Bat Appreciation Day
    so you have been warned!

    1. I am gearing myself up for tomorrow. My best friend is in charge of her local ‘Small Mammal Society’….. yes, that includes bats. I will be inundated tomorrow by pics from her. Each to their own I guess.

  3. Not for me, I’m afraid…..didn’t like 18a (doubly obscure) or 1d (obscure for me at least) or 4d (doesn’t really mean ‘leave’)…oh well….

      1. If I scream “leave” at the squirrel hanging upside-down on our bird feeder, he completely ignores me but shouting “shoo” seems to have the desired effect.

        1. This reminds me of a visit to White Hart Lane ten years ago. Tracey, Daniel Levy’s wife, recounted an earlier visit when she asked why the crowd were booing Steffen Freund every time he went near the ball. She was told that they were actually shouting “Shoot”. He never did score for Spurs! I did meet Steffen that day, and what a superb chap he is.

          1. I had a similar experience at a Bruce Springsteen concert when large parts of the crowd started singing “Broooooce” in deep unison. I thought they were booing him, which was somewhat of a surprise as he was really rather good, until the man sitting next to me put me wise that “broosing” (“bruising”?) is a normal occurrence during his performances..

          2. Similar confusion was caused by Chelsea fans expressing their approval of Robert Huth by shouting “Hoot! Hoot!” No doubt his subsequent clubs have followed suit.

    1. Not for me either ; it kept me occupied for quite a while . I don’t like using electronic help but today I had to use it for 1d and 18 a , even though they were obviously” anagramatic “( just thought I’d throw this in since I’ve never come across this word , along with other clues today grrrr ) in nature . Favourites include 9 , 11 and 13 a . ****/ ** .Thanks to the setter and MP.

  4. Quite the little stinker this one, definately towards the trickier versions for a monday. No favourites but as usual some clever clues and
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  5. 3* /3* for this testing Monday morning puzzle. Lots to enjoy II thought, with nothing unsolvable through solid wordplay. 18d led the way for me from 18a.

    Thanks to or setter, who I assumed would be Dada today, perhaps wrongly, and the spirited MP.

    1. It was Dada last Monday, but I was careful to keep my options open by adding a question mark to my comment above!

  6. The solve was proceeding nicely as I worked clockwise to the SW corner and like RD I thought that this section was on another level, taking longer to complete than the rest put together-my first breakthrough was 17d which I thought was going to be ‘tidied up ‘! Last in was 18a which also had to be the clue of the day.
    Thanks MP and setter for an excellent start to the week- a ***/**** for me.

  7. I was running, well, walking, along in *** time until I hit the wall that was 18a. Apart from that, all was well.

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

    I lived in Accrington when I were a wee lad. Walking down the High Street, one late July afternoon in 1966, we saw a group of men jumping about and cheering outside a television show room. “What’s going on, Dad?” I asked, “Oh, it’s some football match or other” came the reply.

  8. Quite enjoyable, but some head scratching required to complete at a fast canter – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 3d, and 16d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to CL(?) and GMoLI.

    P.S. For DT Puzzle web site users, if you have not noticed it, there is a message on the home page that the site will be off-line again from midnight to 5:00 am Tuesday morning.

  9. Didn’t like this one at all, a bit of a mixed bag to say the least. Have never heard of 1d, would never have got 4d in a million years though suspected Soho was in there somewhere and found it strange that the word “anger” appeared both as an answer and a clue, but maybe that’s just me.
    Thanks to the reviewer for explanations.

    1. Now that you have heard of 1d, it would be worth trying to remember it as it will appear again.

  10. A great puzzle during which, in common with other bloggers, I had a bit of difficulty in the SW however all’s well that ends well. Favs 6d and 18d. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  11. 3/3. Some tricky bits but an enjoyable challenge. The SW corner took me longer than the other three quadrants. My favourite clue was 16d. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  12. Really good and I agree that it was a bit trickier than Mondays have been since the new regime began.
    18a caused trouble – I saw the anagram and had lots of letters in but, for some reason, I always think they’re guns!
    12a and 18d also took a long time but now I can’t see why.
    Lots of good clues to choose from so just a few are 9 and 21a and 4 and 8d. My favourite was either 16 or 18d.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to Miffypops.

    1. There’s an Italian gun manufacturer called Beretta. I used to own one of their shotguns.

      1. Me too Pommers, but it didn’t fit properly and kept catching my cheek-changed to a Browning which suited me far better !

  13. Quite tricky I thought and to use the nasty Americanism in 22d, I had some ‘issues’. Thank you Rabbit Dave for explaining that ‘light out’ can mean leave. I’d never heard it before and would not wish to hear it again. 18a was new to me, but my wife knew it. So all in all not as pleasant an experience as I’d hoped for. Thanks to the setter and MP who I hope does not suffer any repercussions from the sozzling.

    1. I am too well practised to suffer I’ll effects. My father in law is suffering after buying the first round which I inflated by buying a double of the most expensive gin (Monkey 47) and a large glass of the most expensive Malbec for Saint Sharon. His face when told the price was a picture. He needs to get out more.

      1. Please don’t. I think some of the comments are a little xenophobic and a show a bit of “little britishism”
        I am familiar with the term lights out for leaving from Stephen King novels. I fail to see what is particularly american about Issue for children either, Chambers has issue meaning children as formal, no mention of americanism. We have an international group of setters and bloggers and should be more open to learning.
        Rant over.
        I would miss your inciteful comments please keep coming back.

          1. Thanks will do. I think my comment and RD’s original one passed in the ether.

  14. The pattern of tougher Mondays continues but this was a most enjoyable work-out.
    I didn’t know the ‘leaves’ definition of 9a – I see that RD has it down as an Americanism, not one that’s travelled to this part of the UK as far as I am aware.

    Top two for me were 3&16d with a gold star going to the clip of the delightful sound of a 1d.

    Thanks to Mister Ron (surely must be one of his) and to MP for the blog. In answer to your question – of course I shop at Waitrose, doesn’t everyone?

    1. As Stephen Fry says, “The good thing about Sainsburys, is that it keeps the riff-raff out of Waitrose”.

      1. I remember enjoying that comment but perhaps I should also say that I can get from home to Waitrose in about 10mns – a trip to any other supermarket would take the better part of 3/4 of an hour!

          1. We let the peasants bring us fresh local products three times a week in Hyeres.

  15. Very enjoyable. Three weeks on the trot that we have had tricky Monday puzzles. 2.5*/4.5*. I rather liked 5d, 18d and 11a, with top spot going to 26a. Waitrose and Lidl for me – both ends of the spectrum.

  16. I enjoy the Dada Monday puzzles but mister Ron is not my cup of tea. Entertaining in parts . Thanks to the setter and mp.

  17. Not for me today I am afraid. Needed too much electronic help and too many hints .

    I thought 18a very tough….an unusual hat and an unusual definition for it….even though there have been a few ’tiles’around lately.

    So, not my best start to the week.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for his excellent hints.

    I thought everyone shopped at Aldi nowadays.

  18. Love your website as a way of finishing a cryptic where I don’t seem on same wavelength as setter. Hate to leave gaps. Haven’t used it for some time and never commented before. Very helpful thanks

    1. Passed on your regards to Ding Darling – what a wonderful place and thanks for mentioning it. I’ve never seen so many Ospreys before and so many jumping fish (mullet I’m told). However, if I was a fish, I’m not sure that I’d be doing all that spectacular leaping about stuff in front of all those large birds….

  19. I really loved this one, having ticked five clues altogether, but I did feel that it didn’t really suit the “gentle Monday” slot very well. Like others, I found the SW corner offered the most resistance, although my last one in was actually 12a which took far longer to nail than it really should have done.

    Back to those five ticks, they went to 26a, 4d, 5d, 25d, and my overall favourite the brilliant 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ed (it should be his turn this week) and to a gin sozzled MP, aren’t they all at Westminster (allegedly)?!

  20. Not a puzzle for me I’m afraid, completed but with no real satisfaction. Unable to parse lots of the answers and really never on the radar. Not a lot more to say apart from thanks to MP for his blog and helping me to understand how some of the answers are parsed. Don’t think I’ve ever seen such lengthy explanations on the blog to parse the answers? Overall a bit over my head!

    Clue of the day: 7d only because I’m a Beatles fan.

    Rating: 4* / 2*

    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  21. Managed this with a little electronic help however….the so-called Quick Crossword is defeating me. It might be a FAQ but are both crossword puzzles set by the same person? If so, I think it is Friday!

      1. Thank you. I’ve just found the answer in FAQ29. I must say I often find the Quickie harder than the Cryptic. Luckily I have a very old Chambers Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms. In paperback form it is light to use but getting really tatty. I wish they’d re-issue it as my hard back thesaurus weighs a ton!
        The sun must be nearly over the yard arm – enjoy your gin!

  22. For the third week running I gave up very early.
    Virgilius yesterday was a breeze compared to this. Any chance Rufus can come out of retirement? Soon be time to find a Monday alternative.
    Thanks for the hints MP, I have a cribbage question to hit you with later

      1. Sorry, got diverted…In 6 card, 2 handed cribbage, I always played that:=
        You can’t have a flush in the box
        You get 4 points for a flush in your hand, and an extra point if the turn-up is the same suit.
        You cant get any points if you have three out of four in your hand, and the turn-up happens to be the same suit as the three.
        Correct??? It will settle an argument with my brother!!

        1. Correct. All four cards in your hand must be the same suit as the card turned up for a flush to count.

          1. Ah reading your comment… so a hand with 4 clubs, and a turn-up of a heart does not get you 4 points???

  23. 16d was my favourite clue in this excellent crossword. My poor old grey cells are quite faint after the cogitation they have been subjected to. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron (?) and to the Gin Man of LI for his review.

  24. Almost wrote in “scribage” in 14d. Don’t ask. Or call it the Miffypops effect.
    Managed to solve 3/4 of this very enjoyable crossword over a cuppa this morning and finished the SW this evening.
    Would go for 21a as favourite for the most bizzare surface.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  25. A very enjoyable puzzle that I found to be a bit tougher than the average Monday.

    Thanks to setter and Gin-Gin to MP 2*/4*

  26. Came dangerously close to dipping out on this one – mainly (although not exclusively) due to 12 and 18a. The former wasn’t exactly a toughie level offering, as for the other, I did manage to get the solution by fiddling with the letters (albeit being unfamiliar with the headgear).
    Helpful hints (and brilliant idea for the Who / Beatles get together!). B-)

  27. Edging towards the top end of ** for difficulty here. 1d I didn’t know but was perfectly gettable from the wordplay. 18ac I did know but couldn’t spell. :-)

  28. Not on my wave length today. Needed the hints to finish
    We were staying at the Dunkenhalgh a year ago, sadly to be near my mum in her last few weeks.
    Thanks to both

    1. Ah. Sorry to hear that. We are here to visit Saint Sharon’s generation above, her generation and the two generations below. All ok so,far.

      1. Thanks MP. It’s a year tomorrow since she passed away but she had a good life and made nearly 89, a good age.
        The hotel were brilliant accommodating our 2 daughters and 2 babies from time to time. Putting them in rooms close by so we could monitor the babies and giving us extra chairs so we could eat together in the room.
        One morning at breakfast the waiter said that I looked exhausted and just to sit down and he’d bring me anything I wanted. So kind.
        We returned for the funeral and they allowed us to put the flowers in the front entrance hall for a few days.
        We’ll go back there one day.

  29. Lost the plot completely on this one. Had to resort to clues for almost half of it. Sigh…
    Many thanks to MP for enlightenment. I must try harder.

  30. Still can’t get my head round Monday’s cryptic. Although 9a was one of the first in, some of the others have left me with plenty of scalp under my fingernails.

    1. The meaning/knowledge of sire (as father, to father) is certainly not obscure, especially to crossword enthusiasts (or even to the populous generally), but it’s usage in writing/literature is nowadays probably quite rare – which is what MP’s graph is indicating.

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