DT 28753 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28753

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28753

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa, where at the moment it feels more like mid-July than the end of May. Lately, we have been having very predictable weather — cloudy, cool, and wet on the weekends and sunny, hot, dry mid-week.

There is certainly no doubt as to the setter of today’s puzzle. It is RayT and he is in peak form. After a bit of a slow start, I zoned in and made excellent progress, noting that I would likely rate this as two stars for difficulty. However, two or three clues at the end proved very difficult to solve — and even more difficult to parse — pushing the puzzle into three star territory. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable solve. Like the lover at 25d, one may be tender at the end but, oh, was it fun while it lasted!

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Swam with fish in a sea (6)
REELED — a snake-like fish contained in a three-letter sea (not the Med, one of a different colour); swam as one’s senses might after having spent too much time in the pub

4a   Was keen to change small imperfection (8)
WEAKNESS — an anagram (to change) of the first two words of the clue followed by S(mall)

9a   Rogue in court is confident (6)
SECURE — a dog of a scoundrel contained in a verb meaning to court or date

10a   Biased worker follows quietly (8)
PARTISAN — a skilled craftsman after the musical direction for quietly

11a   Mouth of a fast river (8)
APERTURE — a charade of A (from the clue), a word that you will find means brisk should you read far enough in the BRB, and a Yorkshire river

13a   Hard cases suffering on board ship (6)
SHELLS — suffering metaphorically represented by the underworld contained within the letters that designate a steamship

15a   Indecent playing alone in tub embracing blokes (13)
UNMENTIONABLE — start with an anagram (playing) of the three words at the centre of the clue; then wrap this round some blokes or chaps

18a   Thoughtless prisoner lies about pinching book (13)
IRRESPONSIBLE — an anagram (about) of PRISONER LIES containing (pinching) B(ook)

22a   Long garment about one’s middle covering rear (6)
CAFTAN — the two-letter Latin short form for about and the middle letter of oNe hold a nautical term for rear or stern

24a   Disturbed by new blue clothing United (8)
NEUROTIC — N(ew) and blue or racy around U(nited)

26a   Strangely true, lady is cheating (8)
ADULTERY — an anagram (strangely) of TRUE LADY

27a   Drive’s opening more frozen and more dangerous (6)
DICIER — the initial letter of Drive and an adjective denoting more frozen

28a   Driver conversely first on second tee (8)
MOTORIST — a conjunction (2) used to introduce an alternative and a sequence of letters that look like 1st follow (indicated by “on” in an across clue) a short period of time (2) and the letter T

29a   Capital‘s power remnant European Union rejected (6)
PRAGUE — string together the physics symbol for power, a remnant or scrap of cloth, and a reversal of the abbreviation for the European Union


1d   Rogue artist’s style is detailed (6)
RASCAL — the usual suspect artist accompanied by the trailing S and a shortened (detailed) word meaning to style or name (someone) in a particular way

2d   Former support to include Queen’s Treasury (9)
EXCHEQUER — the usual former (husband, wife, or partner) and a verb meaning to support or root for enclose one of RayT’s less frequently used short forms for Queen

3d   Sweetheart’s suspicious catching betrayer’s mistake (7)
ERRATUM — start with the central letter of swEet; follow this with an old-fashioned word meanig suspicious or strange that traps a murine betrayer

5d   Produce from European cow, perhaps (4)
EDAM — E(uropean) and something of which a cow (or a mare) could be an example; the said produce might well come (albeit indirectly) from a European cow

6d   Going after equipment, start to cook chicken here? (7)
KITCHEN — start with a synonym for equipment or gear; going after this, place the initial letter of Cook and another name for a chicken; as one of my Thursday colleagues might say “Oh dear! What to underline?”; in my view, the entire clue fails to work as a definition, yet the word “here” alone seems insufficient; I have gone with the latter option on the understanding that it implies “a place where chicken is cooked” (which one can only know by taking into consideration part of the remainder of the clue)

7d   Artist’s apparatus left holding up edge (5)
EASEL — a verb meaning to edge or sidle sits on top of (is held up by in a down clue) L(eft)

8d   Forbidding nun to keep fashionable (8)
SINISTER — another name for a nun encapsulates a word meaning fashionable or trendy

12d   Arbitrary component of error and omission (6)
RANDOM — a lurker (component of) hiding in the final three words of the clue

14d   Material from The Yorkshire Post? (6)
TISSUE — the contracted Yorkshire definite article followed by a verb denoting post or release

16d   Live around winter’s end, a creature’s living (9)
BREATHING — a synonym (2) for live or exist enclosing the final letter of winteR and followed by A (from the clue) and a creature that cannot, need not or should not be named

17d   Deny detective’s restrained person detaining one (8)
DISCLAIM — a suspect detective (with his accomplice S) plus an uncommunicative person wrapped around a Roman one

19d   Disappoint somebody mad supporting son (7)
SHATTER — S(on) followed by (supported by in a down clue) a proverbially mad tradesman

20d   Stockade maybe is more exposed blocking raid, oddly (7)
BARRIER — an adjective meaning more exposed (or less well stocked, as Ma Hubbard’s cupboards) containing the odd letters of RaId

21d   Get together a band for the audience (6)
ACCRUE — sounds like (for the audience) a band or group (of scullers, perhaps)

23d   Initially, first response usually isn’t ‘tomato‘ (5)
FRUIT — the intial letters of the last five words in the clue; the definition is embedded in the wordplay which is provided by the entire clue

As the clue says …

25d   Love god is tender on rising (4)
EROS — a reversal (on rising) of another word meaning tender or painful

With loads of good clues to choose from today, picking a favourite is a challenge. I thought the lurker at 12d was an outstanding example of this genre of clue. Likewise, I thought the initialism style clue at 23d was particularly good. However, for favourite, the not so true lady at 26a narrowly edged out the (or, should I say her?) interconnecting over-indulgent lover at 25d.

Quickie Pun:  MUD  +  USER   =   MEDUSA

66 comments on “DT 28753

  1. Well I finished it but …… My iPad tells me that I filled in the spaces correctly but the parsing is another matter .
    Perhaps it is me but did not enjoy today . You cannot win them all .
    Thanks though to everyone .
    Dutiful shopping now .

    1. With you here. One of his that requires a twisted mind to parse. Satisfying to complete but not much to enjoy.

  2. Ray T on top form today and in a decidedly tricky frame of mind. A couple of repetitions in the clues took a small amount of gloss off the puzzle, but that is just being picky. Some really good clues, several of which Falcon has already mentioned as exemplars of the form. My favourite was the suggestive 25d, and overall this was 3* /4* for me.

    Thanks to Ray for the challenge and to Falcon for the early (for us in the UK) posting.

  3. As others have said, this was a tough one to crack. I honestly thought that I might have to resort to a few electrons to establish a foothold, but persevered and got there in the end without them.

    As Falcon mentions, some of the parsing was tricky and this pushed my time well into ****.

    I felt that some of the clues needed the very small print from the dictionary to work, 11a, 17d & 22a come to mind.

    Many thanks to RayT and Falcon.

    1. MR. Forgive me for interposing, but I can’t see anything wrong with the definitions in those 3 clues you have mentioned?

    2. I got those three, so they weren’t that difficult. I had problems with 3 other clues though.

  4. Good to have you on hand early Falcon. I found it difficult to get on RayT’s wavelength today so had an unusually large number of bung-ins and hence didn’t really enjoy the challenge. Surely 10a includes better than a worker. No Fav. The West was OK but it was the Beast from the East which caused the problems. Thank you RayT and particularly Falcon for much parsing.

  5. Another excellent puzzle from the maestro. Great clues, a good challenge, pretty tricky and very enjoyable/entertaining. Too many good clues to isolate a favourite. 3.5* / 4.5*

  6. Certainly towards the tricky end of the spectrum for us and plenty of chuckle-inducing moments to keep us amused right through the solve. Of course we checked the word count too, just to make sure the setter didn’t exceed his self-imposed 8 word limit.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  7. First comment on completion was ‘difficult parsing’, it appears that I was not alone.
    14a took a bit of thought, I had to look up ‘materials’ before I saw the light, I have a feeling that this clue has appeared previously some time ago.
    Anyway, I feel that***/*** was about right, as per Falcon.
    Favourite was 24a, my favourite charades, liked the blue bit ! .
    Thanks all .

  8. This one is in my stinker category, that may be due to spelling errors on my part but nevertheless an excellent offering.
    Thanks to Falcon and RayT. Favourite 14d

  9. ***/**** for me. Took forever to get 14D but when the coin finally dropped it did raise a smile.

  10. After yesterday’s trickiness from Jay, this was very enjoyable and completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 28a and 16d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  11. The odd pause for thought over parsing some in the SW corner but otherwise quite straightforward – must have one of those twisted minds that Brian referred to!

    Can’t pick a favourite – too many to choose from as usual with this setter.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Falcon for the blog.

  12. Abject failure here.

    Needed hints for 12, count them , 12, clues, at least 11 of which I reckon I would never have figured out.
    So, no enjoyment for me today, sorry.

    Thanks to Falcon and a tip of the hat to the setter.

  13. Just a quick question, do you have to tick the privacy button every time one comments? Presumably a result of GDPR.

    1. Hello Brian – yes, BD has put up a notice on the home page explaining. PITA as far as I’m concerned, after all, I signed up to the blog.

  14. I’ve been staring at the answer to 28a for the last 15 mins and still don’t understand it!

    1. MO (second) T (tee) OR (conversely) IST (1st) – except it it is written as OR+IST (on, following) MO+T

  15. My enjoyment doing the DT backpager is solving the clues from the wordplay, not bunging in answers that fit and may match a definition.
    So I abandoned half way through as it became a chore akin to doing the ironing.
    I do enjoy going through the hints though, so thanks.

    1. Henry,
      Welcome to the blog from me as well.

      Your comment puts me in mind of the engineers’ drinking song:

      Godiva was a lady who through Coventry did ride–
      To show the local populace her lovely lily-white hide–
      The most observant person there, an engineer of course–
      Was the only one to notice that Godiva rode a horse–

  16. On wavelength today, only 24a/21d held me up for a while at the end. I do like RayT puzzles and this one is no exception.
    Thanks to him and to Falcon for the review.

  17. I found this tricky but fair and ultimately doable if one counts “bung ins” as legitimate answers. Honours of the day go to the reviewer for actually parsing it, I take my hat off to you sir.
    Anybody else couldn’t resist zooming in on the 7d illustration?

  18. As one who normally struggles with Ray T I was delighted to complete this one in less than a week ***/*** My favourites were 11a and 14d 😃 Big thanks to Ray T and to the Falcon 😜

  19. Tricky one today. For the first time in quite a while, I had to go to the hints for 24a and 21d. Parsing was fun to do on quite a few today, which I enjoyed. ***/****. 14d and 28a were my favourites. Forgot to check that wretched box today first time. Isn’t there some way we can grant ongoing permission if we wanted??

  20. After yesterday’s failure, I was dreading today’s challenge, but I needn’t have worried.

    Not easy but managed to complete. Very satisfying.
    Thanks for the excellent review.

  21. …or, it could be a normal sized one, a milking stool, a mini stepladder with two bog standard easels and three very small people.

  22. Probably the most obscure and inaccurate Telegraph crossword I’ve attempted in a long time.

    1. Before saying this kind of thing I think that you should elaborate.
      What was obscure and what was inaccurate?
      Oh – and by the way what do you call a long time of attempting the Telegraph crossword?

      1. I’m with you, Kath.
        I am utterly clueless at doing Ray-T crosswords but that is a reflection on me not the crossword.

        1. I agree with Kath and Hoof It. Note that Ruth has not seen fit to explain to enable others to help her.

  23. Managed to finish a tough Ray T although parsing quite a lot of the clues after solving and needed the blogs help for some of those . Got off to a good start completing NE corner at first pass almost, then struggled through and finally held up in NW corner. Last in 14d and what a brilliant clue that is, a smiley moment when that light came on. Really enjoyed the Ray T challenge today and getting a bit more on his radar hopefully?

    Clue of the day: By a country mile 14d

    Rating: 4* / 4*

    Thanks to Falcon and Mr T.

  24. Mr Terrell on top form, I’d agree, and trickier than average as well.

    I awarded five ticks to 18a, 22a, 28a, 14d and, my overall favourite, 23d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Falcon.

  25. I’ll have to admit I enjoyed every minute of it .
    Thanks to Falcon and Ray T .
    The weather here was utterly glorious today and I spent it at a adventure centre at Loch Ennell where the 127 form 8 kids had immense enjoyment from quite old fashioned fun .

  26. Apologies Henry H. I was supposed to reply to your ‘Radiator’ comment directly.

  27. Twisted mind? Well …

    I enjoyed this a lot and put it at marginally more than average difficulty. I can’t really pic a favourite, so will just say that I enjoyed all the usual “RayT specials”!

    Thanks to RayT and Falcon.

    (Underlining can be tricky and I don’t think there is any perfect way to do it in cases like 6d – I’d have done the same there. But I’d have underlined 23d as an &lit, since “tomato” is part of the wordplay. Don’t think I could have found a better pic though!)

    1. I noticed the twisted mind remark too …… I must be quite kinky in that case .

  28. Being married to the Yorkshireman, 14 d was a piece of cake..but oh dear I did struggle with 16d .Also I’m glad you ex plained 28 a..that was a bung in for me too.
    A really tricky puzzle I thought.

  29. Phew. I managed this RayT, just. SW corner was a struggle. 17d was a bung-in. I had to check it in the review. Thank you RayT and thank you too Falcon.

  30. That was fun! It took a little while to sort out but all was well. 24a was just ahead of 14d for the gold medal.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for unraveling duties.

  31. Well that is odd. I usually struggle with Ray T puzzles, and this one was certainly hard work, but as only 3 clues stumped me (9a, 24a and 3d) I am quite happy with my effort. Thank you Ray T and Falcon.

  32. Evening all. Many thanks to Falcon for the analysis and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. A very late good evening, Mr T. Looks as though you divided opinion yet again – I would expect nothing less from you!

  33. A little on the tricky side, **/*** for difficulty maybe? Last one in 21d, taking a large chunk of that time.

  34. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this up to a point, but there were so many I couldn’t parse. Needed the hints to get 11&24a and 21d. There was much to enjoy though, I liked 5,6,8&14d, but my favourite was 15a, I won’t mention the image it conjured up 😁 a typical bit of Ray T innuendo. Was 4*/3* for me.

  35. I loved it – my favourite setter on top form.
    Having done the hints for roughly alternate Thursdays for quite a while I’m fairly well practised at Ray T crosswords so I didn’t have too much trouble today.
    Not many anagrams but some innuendo and all the typical clues that make us all sure that the setter is Ray T.
    Yes, Falcon – what to underline as the definition in 6d – as you say, “Oh dear”!
    And another thing, as it’s known in our family – I often learn new words from crosswords but rarely from hints – I have never heard the ‘ratty/mousy’ adjective in the hint for 3d so thank you for that one.
    I interpreted the ‘fast/pert’ in 11a as meaning a bit rude/cheeky but it didn’t really matter.
    Too many good clues to pick out particular ones but if I had to I’d go for 11a and 3 and 6d.
    Thank you Ray T and Falcon.

    1. Obviously , I live a very sheltered life . What innuendo ?
      Please tell me what I am missing .

      1. OK – now you’ve got me – well, perhaps 15a could sound a bit smutty – the clue not the answer. I’m sure there were others too . . .

  36. Customary festival of smirks, smiles and sighs from Ray T. Most of this completed fairly quickly, but seriously impeded by failure to see the connections in 24a and 21d. Biggest laugh from 15a, which accordingly takes the Big Biscuit for yours truly. Thanks to Falcon and setter.

  37. I got through most of this reasonably well. Favourites 26a and 19d with top favourite 14d. I was so determined not to give up on the last two 24a and 21d. I was going along the right lines and tried again after sleeping on it. Despite working through the alphabet I had to give up and look at the hints. Needed to uncover the answer for 21d – band/crew? However once I had I managed 24a and wondered why I did not get it sooner. Thanks Ray T and Falcon. Sorry but for me those two clues did spoil it. Perhaps the fact that I was fixated on soirée for 21d did not help me!

Comments are closed.