DT 28718 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28718

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28718

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where we have a misty start to the day.

I shall start with a moan about the incompetence of those who ‘maintain’ the Telegraph Puzzles site. The 2Kiwis reported earlier this week their discovery that the latest round of maintenance had left the site clock operating on GMT rather than BST, so it was a further hour before that could get to the puzzle. Well, I logged on at midnight as usual and found that the front page of the site was showing today’s puzzles. Good, I thought, they’ve fixed it. So I solved the Cryptic, then went to the ‘Print’ button, to generate the copy of the clues to paste into this blog, only to receive a message saying that ‘This puzzle has not yet been published’! I also discovered that the ‘Play Puzzles’ tab of the site was still showing Thursday’s puzzles. Any hope of making a start on writing the hints thereupon vanished, leaving no option except to retire to bed and get up earlier this morning. I’m not a morning person, and the resulting grumpiness may be apparent in this blog.

Anyway, turning to today’s Giovanni, we have the usual bits of classical mythology and General Knowledge to cope with, but nothing that can’t be teased out from the clues. Thanks to our Friday setter for an enjoyable but not too testing workout.

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.


1a           More than one girl gathered round old piano dances (6)
GALOPS – The plural of an informal or dialect word for ‘girl’ wrapped around Old and Piano.

4a           Passage that accommodates retreating soldiers (6)
THROAT – Reverse (retreating) the usual abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers and insert the result into THAT (from the clue).

8a           Seafood that could make you collapse (8)
ESCALLOP – Anagram (could make you) of COLLAPSE, giving us an alternative spelling of some seafood.

Image result for scallop shell

10a         Watery holiday area planned round a particular idea (6)
THEMED – If you split the answer (3,3) you get a popular holiday seaside area – where Jean-Luc lives, perhaps.

11a         Engineer in factory wasting time (4)
PLAN – The answer is a verb. Remove (wasting) Time from another word for a factory.

12a         Was boss having to shout? That fellow’s manner! (3,3,4)
RAN THE SHOW – Put together ‘shout’ (4), ‘that fellow’ plus the ‘S from the clue (3), and the manner in which something is done (3).

13a         Insignificance of man with no picture being shot (12)
UNIMPORTANCE – Anagram (being shot) of MAN and NO PICTURE.

16a         You must be Eve! (6,6)
SECOND PERSON – Double definition: the grammatical case to which ‘you’ applies; or where Eve appears in the human race, according to the Bible story of Creation.

20a         Adult getting cross with member of family around? Chilling out needed (10)
RELAXATION – A member of one’s family wrapped around Adult and a cross-shaped letter.

21a         Scarcely any can be heard — gosh! (4)
PHEW – A homophone (can be heard) of a word for ‘scarcely any’ or ‘not many’.

22a         Notes in small-sized manuscript (6)
MINIMS – These are musical notes. A common prefix indicating small size, followed by the abbreviation for ManuScript.

Image result for minim

23a         Fate of revolutionary captured by the French intelligence service (8)
LACHESIS – This lady, with her sisters Atropos and Clotho, is one of the three Fates in Greek mythology. A French definite article and the initials of one of the intelligence services are placed either side of crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary.

Image result for fates lachesis clotho atropos

24a         Silver hair ultimately concealed by a chap (6)
ARGENT – The heraldic term for ‘silver’ (or ‘white’) is made up of A (from the clue) and ‘chap’ placed either side of the last letter (ultimately) of haiR.

25a         Appearing in biography, a desperate group of stars (6)
HYADES – Hidden in the clue.


1d           Source of energy is sun, acquired in short supply outside (8)
GASOLINE – Remove the last letter (in short supply) from ‘acquired’ or ‘increased’, and wrap the result around the Latin word for the sun, to get a source of energy familiar to our Transatlantic cousins. Note to those who complain about ‘nasty Americanisms’: English is a language which is constantly evolving (the mark of a live language), and its vocabulary contains many words from many different languages and dialects. All are fair game for the crossword setter, provided that they are clued fairly.

2d           Find out about knight following king (5)
LEARN – A Shakespearean king followed by the chess notation for a knight.

3d           Chum has hesitation, wanting little time in Italian city (7)
PALERMO – Put together a chum or friend, a word showing hesitation, and an informal word for a brief period of time, to get the capital of Sicily.

5d           Technical problem maybe in English town (7)
HITCHIN – Another word for a technical problem or hold-up, followed by IN (from the clue), yielding a town in Hertfordshire.

6d           Turn too sharply, it being tricky to reverse (9)
OVERSTEER – Anagram (it being tricky) of TO REVERSE.

7d           Organised crime of those people undermined by old boy (3,3)
THE MOB – A pronoun for ‘those people’ followed by the usual abbreviation for an old boy of a school.

9d           Showing remorse in Lent, i.e. apt to reform (11)
PENITENTIAL – Anagram (to reform) of IN LENT APT TO.

14d         After muddle is getting on sending texts? (9)
MESSAGING – Another word for a muddle followed by ‘getting on’ or ‘getting older’.

15d         Exclusive groups that could be esoteric (8)
COTERIES – Anagram (could be) of ESOTERIC.

17d         Song from a new boy joining church (7)
CHANSON – Put together an abbreviation for CHurch, A (from the clue), New, and a boy child, to get a French song.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d         Frightened old man cut off, beginning to yell (7)
PANICKY – Put together a two-letter informal word for ‘the old man’, ‘cut off’ (more often seen in a slang term for ‘cut off from its rightful owner’), and the first letter (beginning) of Yell.

19d         Big noise after this person comes to a holy city (6)
MEDINA – Put together a pronoun for ‘this person’, a loud noise, and A (from the clue) to get a Muslim holy place.

21d         Quietly be out in front making petition (5)
PLEAD – The musical symbol for ‘quietly’ followed by ‘be out in front (of a race)’.

The Quick Crossword pun WHIRR + MOLES = WORMHOLES

41 comments on “DT 28718

  1. Once again I thoroughly enjoyed Giovanni’s offering – just enough challenge combined with several lighter moments. My GK let me down for 23a but to quote DT the answer could not be “teased” from the clue! Many thanks to the Don and DT.

  2. Another fine offering from the dependable G – Friday’s is usually my favourite of the week and this is no exception. Good clues, a decent challenge and very enjoyable. 8a and 15d are anagrams I’ve not come across before. 16a, my favourite. 3* / 4*

  3. I normally attempt the DT just after midnight.

    I complained about the problem last week and actually received an apology from puzzles.telegraph about the time lag difference … shame that they didn’t rectify the problem at the same time.

    An enjoyable puzzle from the Don today. Favourite 16a.

    However, I still don’t understand what “you” is doing in 8a. (That sounds very ungrammatical.)

    Thanks to DT for the blog, especially for explaining 12a.

    1. 8a. I assumed that the “you” was part of the 3-word anagram indicator “could make you” – as DT says above.

  4. Apologies to anyone affected by the ongoing glitch on the Telegraph Puzzles website this week. We’re working with the third-party hosting company to resolve this, and I’m hoping that this will be fixed once and for all today. The problem’s arisen following the downtime for maintenance on Monday; the new day’s puzzles are going live on the site at 1am, rather than 12 midnight, which I appreciate is an inconvenience for some.

    I’ve been assured that the problem will be resolved today but, just in case, I’ll email a copy of tomorrow’s Cryptic & Quick to BD this evening, so that these are available for anybody who wishes to get in touch with him. Alternatively, please email me direct, and I’ll do my best to send a copy at the same time. If it is that things aren’t resolved today, I’ll continue to do this until the problem is resolved (and will also send the Toughie, if the problem persists beyond Monday).

    1. For 8a, this answer would make you the word “collapse” if you rearranged the letters. Hence the phrasing, although it isn’t obvious and I only got the answer because I had enough other letters in.

  5. Well I managed it with help (thanks to Mr T) although I had a great deal of difficulty with 1d and 11a, and I could have sworn that 1a had a double letter in it (it doesn’t).

    But other then that it was a nice crossword to solve. 16a was my favourite, as it was so clever

    1. The double “l” version is what a horse does at Ascot, the single “l” is the dance, Victorian I think.

  6. Yes, the web site clock issue is most frustrating. It’s bad enough when those of us outside the UK have to deal with the effects of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’ differences between the UK and elsewhere. But, a fundamental c*ck-up by the web site maintainers is extremely annoying. Thanks to CL for his comment, I hope his optimism is rewarded, and, let’s hope the clock problem is fixed without replacing it by something else!

    Meanwhile, almost a Monday puzzle on a Friday. Very enjoyable, no head scratching, which resulted in completion at a gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 20a, and 15d (a while since this showed up) – and the winner is 16a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  7. A pleasant solve to end the week and can’t quibble with DT’s **/***, started at 1 and progressed steadily with the last in being 23a- Fait accompli.
    Just a good all round crossword ,liked 16a and the surface of 15d,excellent anagram.
    Assumed 8a must be an alternative spelling, prefer them to muscles !
    Thanks all, ready for the weekend.

  8. Lots of fun today, though got held up on a couple in the SW and NE corners. [***/****]

    5d required some googling as I hadn’t heard of that particular town (though weirdly had Herts in my head when solving so perhaps my subconscious geography is better than I expected!). Also spent far too long trying to squeeze Mecca into 19d.
    16a is undoubtedly my favourite of the bunch. Brilliant!

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  9. I found this a bit of a slog and at least a *** for difficulty. This was mainly because there were lots of new words for me today necessitating lots of Googling to check they were actually words. I don’t mind a couple of new words, but 7 was a lot for me.

    The culprits for me were 1a, 8a, 17d, 22a, 23a, 24a and 25a.

    10a was the only one that defeated me completely. Probably because I would never even think about a holiday there!

  10. Enjoyable puzzle on another sundrenched day. Liked 16a best. Thanks to the Don and DT.

  11. ***/****. I found some of this more tricky than for some. Got there in the end but quite a bit of googling needed. My standout clue was 16a. Thanks to DT and Giovanni. I hope the Telegraph site gets back to normal soon.

  12. I found this the most enjoyable Friday puzzle for some time, despite 23a and 25a being unfamiliar names.

    12a was very clever, but my ticks went to 10a, 13a and 6d, the last two being excellent anagrams.

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

  13. Enjoyed this one and learned three new things – the alternative name for the item of seafood, the 23a fate and the group of stars – the latter being one I thought I really should have known.

    Ticks went to 12a & 6d but favourite was 16a – love a concise clue.

    Thanks to DG and also to DT for going above and beyond to bring us the blog.

    1. I thought 8a was a way of cooking, rather than seafood, e.g., you can have 8a potatoes. I’ll have to google later.

  14. Real trouble getting going with this one, and once again this week found this another difficult puzzle. Completed without using the hints but needed a fair bit of electronic help and the good old BRB. SE corner caused the most issues with last in 19d. Four answers today I am unfamiliar with as follows: 1a / 23a / 25a / 17d think that’s a first for that many in one puzzle? A good challenge and pleased to have finished it even if it was by using all means possible!

    Clues of the day: 20a / 1d

    Rating: 4* / 3*

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  15. Not my cup of tea, as just too much GK required, which doesn’t help the unenlightened amongst us.

  16. My last few gave me the runaround and meant that I had more problems with this than yesterday’s.

    I really should know the fates by now.

    For quite a while I wanted the last three letters of 12a to be HOP, as if that could be clued by manner.

    I liked the light touch of 16a, and also 21a. Also rated 20a 22a and 6d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT – and I’ll add thanks to the editor for dealing so thoughtfully with the problems caused by the not-so-techie techie people.

  17. Very nice G puzzle, as usual. I needed a hint for 1a0 and my ending for 23a (of whom I had never heard) was CIA rather than the correct agency. I thought I had been really smart working that out! **/****. 4a was my favourite today with 16a runner- up. Thanks Don and DT.

  18. Another this week that I found tricky, which is unusual on a Friday 😳 ***/*** still managed in the end. I did not know the Fate at 23a 😬 Favourites 4a & 10a. Many thanks to DT and to Giovanni and to Chris Lancaster for popping in with the explanation

  19. 16a and 6d were my co-favourites today from this very entertaining Giovanni puzzle. I thought some of the anagrams were terrific, and overall this was spot on for a sunny afternoon. 2* /4* from me.

    Thanks to The Don and DT. Nice to see the Puzzles Editor holding his hands up to on-going problems on the puzzles website.

  20. I found this decidedly tricky today, difficult getting a real toehold.
    Like Kitty, I should know the fates by now but 23a gave me huge problems.
    The NE corner held me up at the end and I needed hints.
    Fave was 16a, but there were lots to like.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat, I needed your hints for a couple.

  21. I was puffed up with pride when I finished in, what was for me, super quick time. I just needed the explanation for 12a, as I wondered why ‘hop’ had anything to do with manner. It didn’t. I had the last word of 12a wrong. I am now crawling away with my tail between my legs. Thanks go to Giovanni and to Deep Threat. Favourite clue was 16a.

  22. I have had a strange day. I started this at 7.30 and finished it five minutes ago after much stopping and starting mostly for reasons outside my control. It’s therefore quite difficult to assess how difficult it was and how enjoyable it was, but I’d guess at 3* / 3*.

    I didn’t mind 1d at all. I don’t think “cut off” is an accurate synonym for “nick” in 18d. 23a was a new word for me but easily derivable from the wordplay. The excellent 16a was my favourite.

    Hopefully I’ll manage a uninterrupted solve tomorrow.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  23. Lovely puzzle! A bit sad I thought I had worked out 23a only to check and find it was snake venom so didn’t put it in. Thanks to The Don and DT (who didn’t sound at all grumpy).

  24. Not too bad for a Friday. As others 23a was a stumbling block I was trying to get CIA in there. Eventualy I turned to Mr Google and confused my graces and muses but I got to see the three graces again with three of the cutest butts to be seen at the V&A. (_!_)
    Quite a few alternative spellings at least to me and thanks to DT for parsing a few (12a) and excellent hinting at the rest.
    Thanks to Giovanni too.
    16a my fave today.

  25. Tricky again today.
    Struggling to have the bandwidth in my life to do these crosswords anymore. The new editor has upped the ante, no one will convince me otherwise.
    I shall persevere for now.
    Thanks all.

    1. I feel exactly the same about the new regime, getting a bit out of my league and somehow not as much fun. Can’t imagine what Brian would have said!

      1. A very late reply but I feel exactly the same ; my first thoughts most mornings used to be about how I was looking forward to the DT crossword , alas not anymore . Having said that I still find some days and therefore setters more enjoyable than others . I wonder how long I will keep my subscription going ?

  26. My last few in – 10ac and 23ac – gave me no end of trouble. The former because it was just a very clever clue, the latter because there were several possibilities for the wordplay and checking letters. My first stab, for example, was LECHECIA… Google to the rescue.

  27. Ah, the joys of the Friday puzzle! This was no exception; a bit of everything involved leading to a glorious tussle. 10and 11a were good, but 16a takes the COTD award. 4* pleasure.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  28. COTD for me has to be 23a. Having raised the Lachesis subject matter in conversation yesterday, I nevertheless failed to decode the answer. Perhaps the BD site should incorporate some sort of Booby Prize for my particular brand of incompetence?
    Anyway, a good puzzle, rich in entertainment.

  29. Oh dear it must be Friday, too tricky by half. And commiserations to Deep Threat, what a start to your day with all those technical difficulties.
    When I have to look at more than a few hints it is time to throw in the towel. At least three answers were never included in my school circulum. Going to save what remaining brain cells I have for the weekend puzzles 😞

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