DT 28754 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28754

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28754

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hi everyone.  While Deep Threat is away I’ve been let loose on the back page to blog a Giovanni puzzle for the second time in just three days.  Aren’t I lucky?

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the PENDING buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Turns up in headgear held together by glue (8)
CAPSIZES:  The thing which turns up here is very likely a boat.  Some items of headwear containing (held together by) some weak gluey stuff

5a    Failing to act or lying (6)
SUPINE:  Two closely-related definitions: passive or inert, or lying on ones back

9a    Handsome chaps crossing ring road to get wine (8)
BORDEAUX:  An old-fashioned word for fashionable men or lovers around (crossing) the ring shaped letter and the abbreviation for road.  I can’t beat Tuesday’s wine pic so I’m not even going to try

10a   Colours used in painting especially (6)
TINGES:  The answer is lurking in (used in) the last bit of the clue

12a   Firm suffering setback in dead place (6)
LOCATE:  Don’t be misled by the surface: the place we’re looking for is a verb.  An abbreviation for a business is reversed (suffering setback) inside a synonym for deceased (as not used in the phrase, “I’m going to be dead for work”)

13a   A Conservative minister’s office? Watch out if you don’t get this! (8)
ACCURACY:  A charade clue: join A from the clue, C(onservative), and the office of a religious minister (like the one with the famous egg that was “not all bad”).  A somewhat oblique definition, but relevant to the practice of solving cryptics I think

15a   Military leader left with lower ranks inside castle courtyard? (7)
WARLORD:  L(eft) and the abbreviated form of other ranks inside a word which Chambers has as its 13th nounal definition, “A guarded place, eg a courtyard of a castle”

16a   Material  girl getting man across the Channel? (4)
JEAN:  Three definitions here, the material seen more often in the plural.  An English feminine name and a French male one

20a   Female impertinence making one lose the plot (4)
FLIP:  F(emale) plus impertinence or cheek

21a   Woman’s collecting information, making lists for meetings (7)
AGENDAS:  Another name required (and another rather dated one); this lady, together with her ‘S around (collecting) a three letter word for information

25a   People coming in? Part of hospital goes mad (8)
ENTRANTS:  The otic/nasal/jugular department of a hospital is followed by “goes mad” (and possibly raves too)

26a   Fellows, mature members of household (6)
MENAGE:  Another two-part charade: some gents and then a verb to mature

28a   Civil Service filled with utter weirdos (6)
CRANKS:  The abbreviation for the first two words of the clue containing (filled with) total or utter

29a   See me on road, wandering around, abandoned (8)
MAROONED:  We see that ME ON ROAD anagrammed (wandering around) makes a word meaning stranded

30a   Individual transgression leads to joy being curtailed (6)
SINGLE:  A moral transgression precedes (leads to) a synonym of joy without its last letter (curtailed)

31a   Keep quiet when given book (8)
PRESERVE:  The musical notation for quiet and to book (a table at a restaurant perhaps)



1d    A commissioned officer briefly trampled on by horse becomes blue (6)
COBALT:  The A from the clue and a rank of commissioned officer, abbreviated (briefly), after (trampled on, in a down clue) a short-legged strong horse

2d    Greek character, spirited, stealing ideas? (6)
PIRACY:  Infringement of copyright: a Greek letter plus spirited or lively

3d    One doesn’t react, being troubled by 7 (5,3)
INERT GAS:  This unreactive element is an anagram of (being troubled by) the answer to 7d

4d    Birds with little energy having problem getting up (4)
EMUS:  Energy, abbreviated (little), followed by a mathematical problem reversed (getting up, in a down clue)

6d    HE institution, which in Paris, is unlike any other (6)
UNIQUE:  The shortened form of a higher education institution, and the French word (in Paris) for which

7d    Those showing no appreciation could make one angriest (8)
INGRATES:  This set of letters is being jumbled for the second time: this time it can make you an anagram of (could make one) ANGRIEST

8d    Leaders of English society with wise words can be trying (8)
ESSAYING:  Initial letters (leaders) of two words of the clue together with an adage or proverb (wise words)

11d   Orchestration  achieving a success (7)
SCORING:  A double definition, the first musical and the second relating perhaps to sport

14d   British land army member’s missing? (7)
BLIGHTY:  Join together an abbreviation for British, a word meaning to land or dismount and the third word of the clue missing the body part which forms its first letters (member’s missing).  The whole clue provides the definition as well as the wordplay

17d   Crimes associated with those receiving swag? (8)
OFFENCES:  Associated with (2); those receiving stolen goods (6)

18d   Legally get hold of little boy upset over school (8)
DISTRAIN:  A short form of a male name (little boy) reversed (upset) goes before (over, in a down clue) a verb to school or coach

19d   Poor people in shelters receiving old books (4-4)
HAVE-NOTS:  Shelters or sanctuaries containing (receiving) some biblical books

22d   Knave joining gangster, a beast (6)
JACKAL:  A knave (playing card) next to (joining) the first name of crosswordland’s favourite gangster

23d   Famous German upset English in conflict (6)
WAGNER:  The reversal (upset, see 18d) of an abbreviation for English inside a conflict

24d   One who should be recipient of the last bit in Exeter, say (6)
SENDEE:  Take the last bit or the finish (3) and insert it into a diocese, something of which Exeter is an example (Exeter, say) to get to the intended recipient.  This word is not specified in Chambers, Collins or the ODE (though my technical consultant informs me it’s in the Shorter Oxford).  Sorting out the parsing for this one caused me no, er, last bit of trouble …

27d   Salmon — what you expect on river (4)
PARR:  As expected, especially of a golf score, before (on, in a down clue) the abbreviation for R


Thanks to Giovanni for today’s pangrammatic brain teaser.  I thought the all-in-one clue at 14d very clever.  Which would you score highly?


The Quick Crossword pun: BEEF + HEYER = BE FAIR

These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


48 comments on “DT 28754

  1. Reminds me of the old days when Friday’s puzzle was the hardest of the week-which I think this was.
    Proceeded from my usual NW start and this time the hold up was the SW corner.
    Last in was 14d which was a ‘toughie’ parse if ever I saw one-15a was the penultimate solve and I thought the ‘ward’ was iffy.
    Going for a ***/****and thanks to Giovanni for the challenge and Kitty for the usual excellent pics.

  2. Some tricky parsing to complete the solving this morning, most notably 14d and 24d. This was not The Don at most benign, but it was a pleasure to solve and most enjoyable. 14d was my top clue this morning, and I thought this was 3* /3.5* overall.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

  3. Well – this took me a fair while longer than usual! Mainly because early on I’d written in ‘elders’ for 26a – as a double definition. That then held up 19d, 23d and 24d until I realised the error.

    Re 18d, I don’t know any little boys called Sid. I think of elderly men being the generation that could be called Sid. So that had me stumped for a while too.

    24d doesn’t appear in my Chambers 11th edition. It’s a nice word, though. I was going to ask if it’s in the later editions, but I see Kitty says not.

    Thanks to Kitty for the explanation to 1d. My horse was a ‘colt’. The ‘ba’ in the middle made no sense to me.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the tussle.

    1. We had Jean, Ada and Sid in one crossword. I’m guessing the setter is’nt exactly in the first flush of youth. The whole puzzle would have been more appropriate on the back page of a 1950’s edition of The Telegraph.

  4. Took me longer than usual mainly due to the partially completed crossword disappearing from my iPad twice . Very frustrating . Hence I had a love/hate relationship today .
    Brilliant clueing and very rewarding when finishing . Cannot see the parsing in 1d though , horse but ..
    Thanks to everyone .

    1. 1d pictorial parsing:

      O = horse

      tramples on:

      L = a commissioned officer briefly

  5. Enjoyable and quite tricky (in spite of the welcome scarcity of obscurities and religious clues). 24d is a rather horrible word. I liked 16a but 14d was definitely clue of the day.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.
    I had a different interpretation of the Quickie pun but I can be persuaded that I’ve got it wrong.

    1. Ah – I think I thought that at first too. I added it at the last minute, when I had a complete mental block as to what it was. I’ve changed it, and you can tell me if our interpretations now match …

  6. Phew, now that was a bit tough! A great puzzle from G, with excellent clues and a formidable challenge with a sense of achievement on completion. Very enjoyable – best of the week for me. 4* / 5*

  7. Wow, didn’t really get to grips with this one at all. Parsing was very difficult even if I got the definition right. 24d stumps me completely. 14d favourite.
    4* 3* thanks to setter and Kitty

  8. Well, I did a whole lot better on today’s puzzle than I did on yesterdays…thank goodness as I thought I was 20a-ing.

    Needed the hints for 15a and 24d but otherwise managed alone and unaided.

    I see the quickie pun as one word……that’s the trouble with homophones, it depends on how you pronounce foreign words and where you live……

    Thanks to Kitty and to the setter.

  9. 3* / 1*. The less said about this the better. After a very enjoyable two week holiday (despite suffering from CWS [Crossword Withdrawal Syndrome], I was very disappointed by today’s puzzle. Perhaps I am suffering from PHD [Post Holiday Depression] but my page is littered with adverse comments which would take me too long to list except to say that the plural plural in 21a was the last straw.

    Sorry to be such a grump today. I’ll try to be more positive tomorrow.

    1. P.S. A somewhat belated thank you to Kitty for providing much needed light relief.

  10. Few outstanding clues for me and a bit of a grind today. I found this the most difficult of the week and not so much fun. I had never come across 18d or 24d before. Hey-ho, you can’t win them all.

  11. My liking for 14d is equalled by my lack of enthusiasm for 13a, so 50/50 for me, though 24d wrinkled my nose too.

    Many thanks to The Don and to Kitty for stepping in.

  12. For me, this was the trickiest, or even toughest, Giovanni for quite a while which required some head scratching, electronic assistance, and Kitty to explain some parsings. completed at a canter – ****/***.

    Favourite – 9a – because it is one of my favourites.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

  13. Found this one almost impossible, I’d have scored it ***** , * as I had to seek Kitty’s help on
    all but five of the clues !
    Many thanks to the BD blog, and a rather more grudging thank you to the setter.

  14. Congratulations to all who managed to complete this, I got half way and even then some of them were wrong. Thank you anyway.

  15. I found that really difficult and confess that I didn’t enjoy it much – nothing to make me laugh.
    I had trouble with several of my last answers and never did get 19d.
    I’ve never heard of 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and thanks, and well done, to Kitty.

  16. After four gems easily the toughest and least enjoyable puzzle of the week, for me a bit of a stinker full of obscure words, old fashioned names and military references which gave the whole thing a terribly dated feel. Without the help of the blog I’d have been here until next Friday trying to solve it. Thanks to the heroic reviewer.

  17. Crikey – that was a tough one – Struggled for over three hours (I was working at the same time)….
    19d 24d last in

  18. Gosh. That smacked me to bits but I’m still standing…..other than 19d which got me.

    Drinks o’clock has been brought forward by 3 hours as I need a stiff one….or two….or three……hic!

    Bon weekend, one and all, and thank you to The Big G.

  19. This to me was another classic how do the settes do it?
    It took me quite a while toget going (again) but still an enjoyable solve.
    Most of us in our 60s look forward to crosswords as a good brain workout.
    No favourites as all pretty good.
    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni.
    Off to Cardiff to drool at the ocean racers.

  20. Best thing for me about this one was Kitty’s hilarious pics . Sorry, but I’m a bit fed up with having to guess at names to slot into DG’s grids and the invariable lack of humour in his puzzles.

    Ah well, tomorrow’s another day…….

    Apologies to DG and many thanks to Kitty for the injection of fun.

  21. Sorry to say I have abandoned this puzzle as l am not prepared to get most of the answers from the blog. Ok I accept there will be the harder puzzles and full marks to all of you that have mastered this, but for a DT back pager to be at this level when there is the Toughie seems somewhat unfair for your “average” blogger. Maybe a lot of other bloggers will disagree with me, but at the end of the day it is all about a bit of fun and enjoying it. There was very little to enjoy about this puzzle for me, apart from Kitty’s excellent blog that l have read but not used. Well done Kitty to be able to sort this one out and congratulations to all of you who completed the puzzle. Hopefully a slightly more benign puzzle tomorrow.

    Rating 5* / 1*

    Thanks again to Kitty and a generous Giovanni

    1. Yes. Long been a view of mine, if you want a tough crossword, do the Toughie or the Guardian. Why have two on the same day??
      It would be better to put a tough crossword on a Monday when there is no Toughie.

  22. I’ve just had a look at today’s offering and have spent several minutes on it and managed to get two answers. I now have to go out for the evening, and it will depend on how late I get back/ what sort of mood I am in as to whether I finish it.

  23. Much easier than yesterday’s dirge. Nice to actually understand the clues.
    I agree that there was not much charm in the puzzle but at least I could solve most of it. Kitty helped out a couple of times in the SE corner.
    Thanks both.

  24. First day back and I’ve had to raise the white flag with several unsolved. I’m glad to see that others had problems as well.
    Fave was 14d, and there were a few fun clues, so all was not lost.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty for her help in completing the grid.

    And I remembered to tick the box.

  25. Am glad it’s not just me! I rarely give up but I abandoned this one with at least four (OK, six) unsolved. I’d no idea 16a could exist without an s at the end and wondered if the s at the end if 21a had got lost and should have found its way home to the afore-mentioned.
    I began to wonder if it was not a new puzzle at all but a re-run of a golden oldie? Having said that I’d be terrified of a puzzle that was totally up-to-date with yoof culture and text-speak . . .
    Enormous thanks to Kitty for the much needed hints – it is awesome that you hinters always unscramble every single clue, even on a day like today.

  26. Ah at last managed to get on to the site.
    We agree that it is on the tricky end of the spectrum but it all eventually came together for us.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  27. With the exception of a few nice clues (9a, 3d and 16d) I found this to be another humourless Friday slog. Managed to finish it unaided, well into 4/5* time and with plenty of bung-ins. Too many obscure military and ecclesiastical references for my taste.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kitty for the enlightenment!

  28. An enjoyable struggle, it made sense to me eventually which testerdays did not.

  29. Way above my pay grade, and couldn’t access the blog until about an hour ago. Throwing in the towel as too late to work my way through Kitty’s hints with dinner to prepare. But a good one for the brighter sparks I am sure.

  30. I would like to thank BD for his Birthday Banner for my 61st birthday today – much appreciated. Also thanks to Mr Manley for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to K for her review.

    1. Hi CV – A Cathedral city (Exeter, York etc) is normally represented as ‘see’. The last bit = ‘end’, So end is ‘in’ (contained) by ‘see’.

  31. Travelling, drinking, looking after a grandson and finding new ways to irritate St Sharon have taken their toll. Not the easiest of puzzles to solve post gig and more beer in Liskeard. Play nicely over the weekend. I will be back to check up on you on Monday.

  32. Couldn’t reach site yesterday p.m. This DG puzzle was less entertaining than usual. Never heard 24d used nor in that context the problem in 4d. Faute de mieux 17a probably Fav.

  33. This thread has ceased to be interesting, so I have closed it to future comments and removed some comments that I have decided collectively infringe the comment etiquette. If you have any objections to comments on this site, write to me, don’t conduct your own personal vendetta.

Comments are closed.