DT 28735 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28735

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28735

Hints and tips by Kath’s kindly stand in

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I found this to be a tricky puzzle to solve but very enjoyable.

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 telling us what you thought.


1a    Girl in Great Britain puts down craftspeople (12)
GLASSBLOWERS: Place a girl, maiden, wench or young lady inside the abbreviation for Great Britain. Add a word which means drops down or lessens in height

9a    At present, bishop’s inside unharmed, restricted by weather (9)
SNOWBOUND: Find a word that means at present in time. Add the abbreviation for bishop. Place this inside an adjective meaning in good condition

10a    A pupil skipping starter ordered rice dish (5)
PILAU: Anagram (ordered) of A PUPIL minus (skipping) the first letter of pupil

11a    Old king painting Ben in film? (6)
ARTHUR: Start with the branch of creative ability that includes painting and add the second name of the Ben in a 1959 epic film directed by William Wyler.

12a    Way to get round permit for gambling game (8)
ROULETTE: Place a verb meaning to permit or allow inside a synonym for a way or course taken in getting from a starting point to a destination.

13a    European left in Greek island resort returned (6)
SLOVAK: Find a Greek Island resort. Reverse it (returned). Insert the abbreviation for left. Goodness knows how many Greek islands there are. Each has many resorts. If you are stuck try the island of Corfu

15a    Take care of yard after middle of fence gets bent (8)
TENDENCY: Begin with a verb meaning to look after or nurse. Add the middle letters of the word fence and finish off with the abbreviation for yard

18a    Dire pint turned out to be stout (8)
INTREPID: Anagram (turned) of DIRE PINT

19a    Rodent‘s to harm retreating cat (6)
MARMOT: Start with a word meaning to harm or spoil. Add the reverse (retreating) term for a male cat.

21a    Worried terrible old brute (8)
TROUBLED: Anagram (terrible) of OLD BRUTE

23a    Ridicule you in text with answer in book (6)
JOSHUA: Begin with a verb meaning to ridicule or tease. Add the letter representing you as used by youngsters who text. Add the abbreviation for the word answer to find the sixth book of the Old Testament

26a    Song about King Cole, essentially (5)
CAROL: Begin with the Latin abbreviation for the word circa which means about. Add the abbreviation for king as used in chess notation. Now add the heart or essence (middle two letters) of the word Cole. Phew!

27a    Get rid of priest and friend outside home (9)
ELIMINATE: The biblical priest is from Shiloh. He joins your friend or chum. Although they wish to be together forever they will be eternally separated by a two-lettered word meaning at home.

28a    Reams in posh novel on husband’s equestrian ability (12)
HORSEMANSHIP: An anagram (novel) of REAMS IN POSH follows (on) the abbreviation for husband


1d    Good, primarily, at servicing traps? They are (7)
GASBAGS: Use the abbreviation for good. Add the primary letters of the words at and servicing. Add a word meaning traps.

2d    A contest not far away (5)
ABOUT: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a word meaning a contest such as a boxing match.

3d    Two vessels put away for master (9)
SUBJUGATE: The first vessel travels underwater. The second is a cylindrical container with a handle and a lip, used for holding and pouring liquids. The words put away refer to eating.

4d    Avoiding the head, thump disrespectful person (4)
LOUT: Find a word meaning to thump. Remove its first letter. (Avoiding the head)

5d    Gaping wound one wiped (4-4)
WIDE-OPEN: Anagram (wound) of one wiped

6d    Spurn insurgent after change of heart (5)
REPEL: Find an insurgent and change the middle letter (change of heart)

7d    Choice about one metal or another (8)
PLATINUM: Place an informal noun meaning choice, wonderful or marvellous around the letter A (one) and a silvery white metal

8d    Morose eating last bit of chocolate, no doubt (6)
SURELY: Place a synonym for morose around the last letter of chocolate

14d    Motor in the open panel (8)
OUTBOARD: This motor found attached to the back of boats can be found by using a word meaning in the open and a synonym of panel

16d    Rocky Inca road north is harsh (9)
DRACONIAN: Anagram (rocky) of INCA ROAD followed by the abbreviation for North

17d    Dull selfie shot in outskirts of Leeds (8)
LIFELESS: Anagram (shot) of SELFIE placed within the first and last letter (outskirts) of LeedS

18d    Whole section in joint action (6)
INTACT: The only lurker of the day. The answer is hidden within the words of the clue.

20d    Buy a bigger property when business is better (5,2)
TRADE UP: A double definition. Both fairly obvious

22d    Bear expression of disapproval about the French revolutionary (5)
BALOO: Kipling’s Jungle Book bear can be found by placing the reverse (revolutionary) French feminine word for the inside the traditional theatre land expression of disapproval

24d    Covering of blades, with or without small opening (5)
HEATH: There are two types of blade used in this clue. Start with the close fitting cover for a knife or sword. Remove the abbreviation for small. You are left with a tract of uncultivated land covered by blades of grass. This clue took some time to parse.

25d    Strong male holding up tree (4)
FIRM: The abbreviation for Male lies underneath (holding up) an evergreen coniferous tree.

Thanks for the Thursday spot Kath. I do like the Thursday puzzles

Quickie Pun: Cereal+Eyes=Serialise


61 comments on “DT 28735

  1. A very small amount of head scratching and an electronic check of the Greek islands required to complete at a gallop (just) – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 13a and 15a.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI.

  2. Not good for me today.

    Had no idea what the Greek island resort could be…as Miffypops says, there are so many.
    Didn’t get 1d and never would have without help.
    Didn’t get 11a…..there are a lot of films and a lot of Bens

    Not my finest hour (again).

    Thanks to Miffypops .

  3. I wondered if this was an MP review, then saw the name at the top. Enjoyable but fairly tricky I thought – favourite clue probably 24d. Thanks to all.

  4. 2.5* / 2.5*. A middle of the road puzzle both in terms of difficulty and enjoyment.

    If I have understood the intention for the definition in correctly that 1d are those who are good at servicing their mouths (traps) then this simply doesn’t work at all for me, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    26a was my favourite with 24d running it close.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to the magnificent stand-in.

    1. 1d. Once you have fathomed the wordplay, the definition is confirming that you’ve parsed it correctly (they are).

      1. Yes, Jose, I understand that. However IMHO the definition simply does not work.

        1. I thought that 1d would have been much better with something like:
          Good, primarily, at shutting traps? They aren’t (7)

        2. 1d. The clue works for me, with servicing = functioning/operating their traps. Gazza’s clue is probably an improvement but the only difference is that the wordplay/definition are both in the negative instead of the positive. But in either case, the S seems to be doing double duty somehow.

  5. Like others, it was 1d and 13a that did it for me. I feel somewhat deflated when I am unable to complete the back-pager without assistance.

    I really can’t see how 1d works, and I have only once visited a Greek island (not that one) in my life.

    Thanks to the setter, whoever you are, and to Kath.

  6. I thought that there were a few ‘ iffy ‘clues today
    1d took a bit of parsing and then the resultant definition was somewhat dubious.
    Last in was 14a, involving an obscure resort-in Corfu apparently . I guessed the European first then worked backwards.
    Before I read Miffypops blog, I thought that the definition was ‘opening , achieved by removing the S from sheath- I found a synonym for heath ‘open country, which was close enough.
    I did like 22d, had the Band O in place and thought of Biffo and Bruno until I worked out the correct answer.
    Going for a ***/***.

  7. Thank you to the kindly stand-in and the Thursday Mysteron – I’d put this one at the end of my inside back page difficulty spectrum, almost tipping over into light to medium Toughie range. Certainly, before I made my way to the middle of the paper, I’d have called this the most difficult Telegraph crossword of the week so far.

  8. 2.5* /2* from me for this slightly tricky in places Thursday offering. Some of the clues I found a little awkward, and I did not get a sense of achievement when I had finished. No particular favourite, although 18a made me laugh.

    Thanks to our setter and MP.

  9. A bit of thought required to get 13a & 1d and a slight hesitation over the second definition in 24d – bit of a stretch perhaps?
    Not sure whether I love or hate 1d.

    No particular favourite today but many thanks to MP for taking over Kath’s duties and thanks to Mr Ron.
    Enjoyed both the Jungle Book clip and hearing Karen Carpenter’s voice again – will choose to ignore MP’s apparent reason for playing the latter!

  10. Regarding the comments about 1d, I see it as a definition, i.e ‘They are’ good at maintaining (servicing) the said body part which is their priority (primarily) being what they are (the answer).

  11. This was in my “stinker” category, even with help from BRB and gentle nudging from Miffypops just couln’t get on setters wavelength. Winds getting up here on North Cornwall.
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  12. Thanks to the setter and to the stand in for the review and and hints. I found this a real struggle. Needed the hints for 1,9,11&23a and 1&3d. Favourite was 7d. Very very difficult. Was 4*/2* for me.

  13. I thought this one was excellent. A reasonable challenge (trickiest of the week so far), good clues and a very enjoyable solve. Favs: 15a and 24d. 3* / 4*

  14. I found this the most difficult crossword in a long time. Needed hints for 50% of them. Not on the right wavelength at all, but there’s also obscure definitions and wordplay. 4*/2.5*
    Thanks to MP and setter.

  15. Much better solve today, but still had to get an assist on 23ac and 24dn. 1 dn stumped me completely.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  16. Slogged away at this until only 13a left and like beaver I put in the european than worked backwards. Never heard of the place until I googled it.

  17. I found it pretty tricky in places too, especially the top half which took twice as long to solve than the bottom. Surprised to see that RD rated it only average for difficulty.

    Some very clever and interesting clue constructions, my ticks went to 1a, 18a, 4d and 7d.

    Many thanks to our setter and to MP.

  18. I was convinced there were two setters here, one clued the right-hand side which was solved readily, and another on the left. I was totally lost in the NW corner and struggled mightily in the SW. Even the ones I did solve, I couldn’t parse without M’pops hints.
    I don’t think of a heath being grass, more like scrub, a real stretch there.
    My fave was 22d, particularly ‘cos of the clip!
    Thanks to setter and to M’pops for his hints for my unsolvable clues.

  19. Filled the grid OK with the aid of a peek or two in the crossword dictionary to mop up the last few after making a good start with the seven obvious anagrams, but I didn’t enjoy this puzzle very much. Mostly because, as others have said, there are a few iffy and irritating clues. 1d is probably intended to be a semi-all-in-one, with the entire clue as the definition. The surface would be better with the “They are” moved to the front of the clue, but even then the definition is hardly crisp. For the answer to 24d the BRB has “1. Barren open country, esp covered with ericaceous and other low shrubs”, which for me does not align with “covering of blades”. The surface reading of 14d made no sense. Like many others, I had to reverse engineer the Greek resort. But on the plus side I did think that several clues were excellent, in particular 15a, 3d, 7d, and 17d. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. Hi Mr K,

      If you imagine “of machinery”, perhaps, to follow the wording of 14d, I think it can make some sense (just!).

      1. Hi, silvanus. I think you’re correct about that being the surface reading that the setter had in mind. But that still doesn’t work for me because the motor would be behind the open panel, not in it. In this and the other clues attracting grumbles it feels to me like the setter had a good idea that wasn’t completely crafted into a quality clue.

        1. 14d what’s the problem? In the open = out; panel = board and the whole = motor.

          1. Yes, the wordplay correctly leads to the definition. My grumble is that the surface reading of “Motor in the open panel” makes no sense.

            1. The surface doesn’t make any literal sense. But even in the DT that happens frequently and you have to conclude that clunky surfaces are OK and valid.

  20. Found this puzzle so difficult that it required a lot of reference and electronic help but managed it without MP’s blog. This puzzle is at the extremes of my ability and I found it a really hard slog, with little satisfaction completing the puzzle. However that is down to me and I can see why others would really have enjoyed it. Overall some excellent and some very obscure clues leaving me a good bit out of my depth.

    Clue of the day: Liked 1d took ages to get, totally on the wrong track. Must be in a minority with that one.

    Rating: 4.5* / 2.5*

    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  21. It certainly was tricky , the Greek island resort for example . And I’ve been to Greece many times .
    That wasn’t my only difficulty .
    I’m not sure how much I enjoyed it .
    Thanks to Miffypops and the tricky setter.

  22. I found it quite straightforward with good clueing apart from 1d and 13a 🤔 ***/*** where even with the hints they weren’t easy 😏 Favourites 14d & 24d Thanks to MP and to the Setter 🍷

    1. Miffypops did the hints and tips but he doesn’t provide the ratings which are added by Big Dave. So the blogger found it trickier than the rating awarder

  23. Ok, there were a couple of awkward clues but overall I enjoyed this fairly hard but fair challenge. 7d was my favourite clue.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for standing in.

  24. I needed a couple of nudges for the LHS, as like Merusa, I found the RHS much easier.
    For the life of me, I can’t see 1d, and I don’t think 24d is a very inspiring definition.
    All in all the poorest cw of the week so far, particularly so, as they have been excellent so far this week.
    Thanks MP for the hints and Mr.Ron for the puzzle.

  25. I did like 11a but only got it after Miffpops hint. Pretty much agree with everyone else on dubious clues which stopped this from being a really good puzzle. But it did get off to a great start with 1a and 28a.

  26. Looks like we had the same problems as everyone else but did get it all sorted in reasonable time. We agree with Mr K about 24d. The defining character of a heath is the shrubs (eg Heather) that have leaves and not blades. The fact that there may also be grasses on a heath is not enough to justify this clue in our opinion. Never heard of the Greek resort but guessed correctly from the wordplay.
    Thanks Mr Ron and MP.

  27. For the most part not particular tricky, but 13ac and 1d most definitely were. I’ve never heard of the Greek resort in question so had to spend an age thinking of likely Europeans who might fit. 1d was very nicely done, it must be said, and had me fooled until the last. Overall perhaps **/*** time, and well worth the admission fee.

  28. We enjoyed this and don’t have the beefs that several commenters seem to have. Fortunately Mr Sheffieldsy had a Club 18-30 (remember them?) holiday in the Greek resort which helped.

    COTD was 23a.

    Thanks to Kath’s stand-in and Mr Ron.

  29. M’y comment earlier this evening has evidently disappeared into the ether. I said something along the lines that overall this wasn’t anything to write home about. 13a Greek resort unknown to me, 22d was a bung-in using masculine French the as the feminine version didn’t sound right and finally 24d has little to do with grass. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  30. All I can say is thank you a million times to MP – not only did he stand in for me on a very tricky day but he also managed to do the hints for a very tricky crossword.
    I’ve just done the crossword (almost) and thought it was the most difficult back pager for a very long time – I wonder who set it . . .
    Thanks to the setter and, again, to MP – you’re a star. :rose:

  31. Sorry to say, but I didn’t enjoy this one at all. Couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength and gave up☹️ I need a bit more experience, or brain power!

  32. All at sea with 13a and 24d. Spent ages trying to force bruno into 22d. But I’ve discovered what a 19a is. Those guys are cute. I had thought it was some kind of monkey. They come in yellow bellied and hoary varieties, and the chaps have three wives.

    1. You must be thinking about the marmoset. It does appear in crosswords from time to time.
      The marmot always makes me think about groundhog day. Such a wonderful film and marmotte is the French word for this animal.

      1. They should advertise ‘Groundhog Day 2’ and Big it up and sell sell sell the new film. Then when we were so excited we were wetting our pants they should just rerun the original film

  33. i am in agreement with most that appears here but i put gasjars for one down. to me that fits very well with the clue because gasjars are in fact used to hold gas quote: “gas jar (plural gas jars)

    (sciences) A container used for collecting gas from experiments. It looks like a tube with a broad base and a broad opening..
    i.e.trapping gas.

  34. Hi All, no computer link today so absolutely no help meant many clues unfinished for a long time. 1d, got only because of the fact it was the only word that fit and the answer is the closest thing to “traps” that made any sense. Horrible clue.
    19a, why “rodent’s”? i.e. why the apostrophe? Makes no sense.
    Now back on line, so have checked online dictionaries and first four letters of answer to 23a do NOT mean to ridicule, so yet another clue which was not entirely helpful.
    Got 24d wholly as a result of taking the first letter of synonym for “covering of blades”, see no need for “small opening” at all and agree totally that the answer often is not covered with blades at all!
    All in all, this crossword was like the curate’s egg, except the not so good parts were a bit “off”!

  35. Hi All,
    definitely agree that this one was tough and have to take issue with some of the clues.
    1d, once I got the across clues then the answer was the only one that fit with the letters and had anything to do with traps, otherwise did not seem to parse well.
    18a, why the apostrophe at the end of “rodent’s” again did not help, if the ” ‘s” was left out it would not have harmed the parsing at all and would have been clearer.
    Had no computer access or other help so had to do this puzzle all on my tod, then when the line was restored, I checked and the dictionaries I looked at did NOT give the setter’s meaning of the first 4 letters of 23a as “ridicule”, so again, this was a stretch.
    13a again just thought of all the Europeans I could that matched the down clues letters, (as other contributors have mentioned) until I could guess it and so got the answer.
    Agree that bizarrely many of the other clues were “read-and-write-in”, e.g.,1a, 10a, 2d, 4d,(this one crops up SOOO often now), 20d, 26a, and especially 28a and I am completely rubbish at anagrams. So a game of two halves, or the curate’s egg!
    All good experience!

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