DT 28759 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28759

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28759

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Hola and welcome to definitely not a RayThursday, he’s in the Toughie seat today.  I’ve no idea who the setter is, and maybe it’s just me being a bit of a grumpy old man this morning, but I really didn’t get along with this puzzle. I’ll be interested to see if you all agree.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           First sign of contentment, marital partner getting plump (6)
CHUBBY:  C (first sign of Contentment) followed by a colloquial term for your husband.

4a           Stopped benefit coming into home (6)
PAUSED:  Another word for benefit (?) inserted into a slang term for your home.  What?

8a           Means of paying Spooner’s frosty captor (4,4)
GOLD CARD:  This sounds like a Spoonerism of a “frosty captor” but the second part isn’t a real word but a homophone with no indication.  I dislike Spooner clues in general and especially ones where they include bits that aren’t real words.

10a         Return your dreadful uniform (6)
LIVERY: Take an abbreviation of YOUR followed by a word meaning dreadful or wicked and reverse the lot (return).

11a         Ladies’ man rejecting 50% of people at university? (4)
STUD:  Remove (rejecting) half of the letters from a word for the people studying at university.

12a         Ignored  cut in price (10)
DISCOUNTED:  Double definition.

13a         Kitchen appliance beginning to rattle inside, fear griddle’s defective (6,6)
LARDER FRIDGE:  R (beginning to Rattle) inserted into (inside) an anagram (defective) of FEAR GRIDDLE.  Does anyone actually use this term for a fridge without an icebox?

16a         French city by Rhone is desperate for churchgoers (12)
PARISHIONERS:  The French capital city followed by an anagram (desperate) of IS RHONE.

20a         Attempt to resolve dispute about Charlie’s treatment (10)
MEDICATION:  An attempt to resolve a dispute placed around a C (Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet)  gives some medicine.

21a         That’s reflected in heart of benevolent characters (4)
LOVE:  The answer to this all-in-one is reversed in the centre of the word BENEVOLENT.

22a         Cook endless seabird stew (6)
BRAISE:  Anagram (stew) of SEABIR(d) but without the final letter (endless).

23a         Sound from turkey  eating (8)
GOBBLING:  Double definition.

24a         Reserved a little fairground stall in school holidays, initially (6)
SHYISH:  A fairground stall where your throw balls at coconuts followed by the first letters (initially) of In School Holidays.

25a         Liberate secure complex (6)
RESCUE:  Anagram (complex) of SECURE.


1d           Ordered raincoat from European country (8)
CROATIAN:  Anagram (ordered) of RAINCOAT.

2d           Revoked some sound ideas (5)
UNDID:  A lurker lurking in (some) the last two words of the clue.

3d           Split in fabric underneath black bag (7)
BLADDER:  A split in the fabric of your stocking following (underneath in a down clue) a B(lack).

5d           Nobody is in the dark totally (3,4)
ALL TOLD:  Nobody is in the dark because everybody has been informed.

6d           Figure observed boxing tournament, perhaps (9)
SEVENTEEN:  A word meaning observed placed around (boxing) a tournament or at least something that’s happening.

7d           Some people’s statistics reported for diving bird (6)
DARTER:  Homophone of some statistics or information.  Is this the worst homophone ever?

9d           Deplorable grids in sets to be reworked (11)
DISTRESSING:  Anagram (to be reworked) of GRIDS IN SETS.

14d         Treachery of the French place, far from warm welcoming in Italian (9)
DUPLICITY:  Start with the French word meaning OF THE and follow with an abbreviation of place.  After that you need a word meaning far from warm or very cold and insert (welcoming in) an abbreviation of Italian, vermouth perhaps.

15d         Royal holding nothing against region (8)
PROVINCE:  Take a royal person, a son of the monarch, and insert (holding) an O (nothing) and the single letter meaning against as in Spurs against Arsenal.

17d         People like you are composed, I’d be cross now and then (7)
READERS:  Anagram (composed) of ARE followed by the alternate letters (now and then) from I’d be cross.  The setter appears to be assuming that I read the paper but the only things in it that I read are the crossword clues and I read those on the website.

18d         Worthless cast in Globe (7)
IGNOBLE:  Anagram (cast) of IN GLOBE.

19d         Gentleman with teaching qualification — flipping rubbish (6)
DEBRIS:  Start with a word for a gentleman or Knight of the Realm and then a degree in teaching and reverse the lot (flipping).

21d         Shout about one climbing tree (5)
LILAC:  A word meaning shout reversed (climbing in a down clue) and placed around an I (about one).

Not my favourite puzzle but it did grow on me a bit while writing the review.  My favourite clue was the all-in-one at 21a with 1a and 5d up there on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     MIST     +     ARTICLE     =     MISTER TICKLE

If you want to know what this is all about – MrTickle is the first book in the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves, published 10 August 1971.


97 comments on “DT 28759

  1. 2* / 3.5*. This was good fun and not too taxing although the NE corner did put up a bit of a fight, particularly to work out the very posh homophone needed.

    I’ll stick my neck out and guess that this was Shamus’ handiwork. If so, many thanks to him and also to pommers.

    1. Ditto Harport. This puzzle didn’t work for me at all. It was easier than I thought it was going to be on first glance but ……. anyway thanks pommers for some much needed help and to mysterion.

  2. Is this (7d) the worst homophone ever? There’s quite a lot of competition for the top prize in this category but this one is certainly a candidate, though to be fair the setter does say ‘some people’ (I can’t imagine where they live!).
    Apart from that I quite enjoyed the puzzle with my ticks being awarded to 1a, 10a and 3d. Thanks to the setter and pommers.

    1. 7d. If you don’t pronounce the r’s in the answer word (and many people don’t) it works OK. The further north of Leicester you go, the more valid this homophone becomes.

      1. I felt that the “Some people’s … reported” in 7d legitimises the homophone because the BRB confirms that the required alternative pronunciation is used in technical English (and also in the US, but let’s not go there). Further, Collins lists both pronunciations without any qualifications.

      1. I’ve only ever heard it said as dater, rhyming with skater over here, but perhaps it is a regional thing.

  3. Hmm, I got held up in the NE for an extended time that resulted in reduced enjoyment and completion at a canter – ***/**.

    I wasn’t sure about 13a but according to Google it is real; does anyone actually have one in their house?

    I agree with pommers on 8a – not the best clue ever.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 5d and 15d, in spite of 5d being one of those that held me up.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

    1. Yes – we’ve got two – one current one and one old one relegated to under the stairs for when we have large family gatherings and need more ‘cold’ space – we refer to them as a fridge but that’s what they were called when we bought them

      1. I’ve got one too but it didn’t make it any easier to get the answer.

      1. Florence, your comments are going into moderation (from which I’ve rescued you) because of typos in the last bit of your email address.

    2. We have a fridge with an icebox. I changed the way the door to the fridge opened and now the icebox doesn’t. I didn’t know I had to change them both at the same time. It is on ‘the list’ of jobs to be done. We have managed without it for quite a few years. Hopefully the contents will still be edible

  4. I found this really hard work and then when I’d finished wasn’t entirely sure why. May well have been that awful non-homophone

    Thanks to the setter and Pommers

  5. I thought it was just me being grumpy this morning. Found myself tutting rather a lot. However finished it quickly so that’s a plus. Thanks all.

  6. My sentiments accord with those of Pommers – not my favourite of the recent back-pagers.
    I did quite like 1&10a but I had definite reservations about the same ones as mentioned by our blogger.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the blog – enjoyed listening to ol’ blue eyes again.

  7. Got there eventually with 1A and 6D joint favourites . Never heard of the diving bird but dictionary confirmed . The kitchen utensil also was a new one on me .
    Struggled to start and needed to solve the anagrams to get my toe in the rusty door of the crossword .
    Thanks to everyone .

  8. Agree with Pommers, I simply did not like the cluing-for example 8a with no indication that a letter was missing , 7d was clumsy and 10a contrived, is shyish really a synonym for reserved, isn’t it just shy ?
    Going for a ***/** as per Pommers-nice to see The Faces again.

  9. This puzzle was more testing than those of late but it was a joy with which to do battle. My pronunciation didn’t help with parsing 7d but Gazza, as per song, ‘let’s call the whole thing off’! Lots of good clues but no particular Fav. Always great to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

  10. I’m in agreement with pommers on two counts. Firstly I found it difficult to warm to this puzzle and more specifically I also do not like spoonerism clues They can be somewhat accent dependent and I am a native of N. Ireland where we do make a rather different sound when we speak.

  11. I founnd this to be a bit of a mixed bag. Some I got immediately, even inspiring long suffering hubby to war”Don’t do it too fast, youyou’re always a bit disappointed if you complete it too fast.’ Well no danger of that because then I came to a screeching halt and as LSH is doing very early shifts this week we went to bed early. Sent him on his way at 5.00 a.m. and settled down with cup of lemon tea and picked it up again. I got a few more but some just…. 8a and though I bunged in a couple but I had not heard the term ‘larder fridge’ and ‘shyish’?

    Thanks to Pommers for the extra clues chich helped a lot. Perhaps once I’ve done a few more of this setter’s puzzles I’ll get into the rythm of his/her style.

    Voting day here today. Normally I am very sure but this time….. it’s kind of a ‘choose the least worst’ thing.

  12. A bit of a moxture I thought sime very good clues easily parsed and some others that withour Pommers assistance. I would still be scratching my head.
    By no means a clasdic, but like the curates egg good in parts.
    Thanks to Pommers and setter.

  13. I agree with the majority of comments above – definitely a slog. I’m not really keen on puzzles where I spend more time figuring out why my guess is correct (and I had to come here for clarity with sone of those). Didn’t like 8a or 13a or 16d, but 16a, 20a and 19d were more fun. Also, I think it’s the first time I’ve managed to finish a 3* puzzle, but only because I’m still playing nurse…

    1. Agree, the clue and the name of the appliance, it’s a fridge for goodness sake.

    2. To be fair to the setter,the clue does say “from European country”. Although I struggled with most of the puzzle!

  14. This puzzle seemed to be an exercise by the setter in how many different ways you can signify an anagram or word reversal.
    Haven’t heard 11a for years, rightly buried, and didn’t 5d appear a couple of days ago? Thanks to pommers for an entertaining review

  15. Not sure about this one – I quite enjoyed it – I enjoy most crosswords but some more than others.
    I found it difficult even with high number of anagrams.
    I couldn’t untangle why 10a was what it had to be – I haven’t met the abbreviation for ‘your’ before and can’t see where or when it might be used.
    I agree with everyone about the 7d homophone.
    For several reasons I don’t agree with RD about Shamus being the setter – the main one being that pommers is a very good Shamus spotter.
    My favourite was 1a.
    With thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to pommers.

    1. I agree re Shamus. I love his puzzles and, while I’m not as negative as some here, I can’t say this one lit my fire.

      1. I love his crosswords too and this just didn’t feel like one of his – if we’re wrong we’ll probably find out later as he’s one of the few setters who ‘pops in’.

  16. Not so enjoyable today, a bit of a plod.
    I thought 1d was good.
    7d cannot be a very good homophone as I have absolutely no idea what the homophone actually is!!! Is it supposed to be ‘daughter’????
    Thanks all.

        1. Perhaps several members of the Royal Family would pronounce “data” as “darter” – and they come from Germany.

  17. I thought this one was fine, no real problems for me. It was a reasonable challenge, the clues were generally good and it easy enjoyable enough. No stand-out clue to pick a favourite. 3* / 3.5*

    Just a couple of minor points raised in the review.

    8a. Spooner clues are just pun-ish bits of fun, based purely on pronunciation of homophonous/rhyming words, which don’t necessarily have to be real words.. They all contain homophone indicators from the word Spooner itself. They aren’t meant to be written down and subjected to close grammar/spelling analysis. The only thing that matters is that they work in speech.

    17d. The setter is referring to any people who are reading the clue at any given moment. And while they are, they’re “readers” – whatever format they are using.

    That’s how I see it…

  18. I just thought I’d pop in to comment on Spoonerisms. I realise these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the (fairly) recent poll results on this site indicated that more are fans than aren’t, so hopefully the majority of solvers like them. Regarding the one in this particular puzzle, Chambers gives the following definition for Spoonerism:

    A transposition of initial sounds of spoken words, eg ‘shoving leopard’ for ‘loving shepherd’

    I think the key part of this definition is ‘transposition of initial sounds’ — i.e. that the definition isn’t simply ‘transposition of initial letters’. I believe that today’s Spoonerism is identical in type to the leopard/shepherd example given in the BRB, so is fair game.

    Anyway, Spoonerism fans will be pleased to know that there are at least a couple more coming up soon!

    1. I’m quite partial to the occasional Spooner clue, maybe one a week is OK. There are only a handful of clue “types” and this one gives the setter another string to his bow.

    2. I was one of those who said they don’t like spoonerisms, but I also said that I saw no reason to ban them. Democracy says those that do enjoy them are entitled to their little moments of fun too.

      1. I voted “Remain” for Spoonerisms.

        The words don’t have to be real words … just sound like them.?

  19. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and hints. I agree with Pommers, I didn’t like this one bit. The least said, the better. Was 4*/1* for me.

  20. I worked with a New Zealander who pronounced data as ‘darter’ – used to annoy me and it didn’t help me to solve this clue!

    1. Yep, the homophone worked for us. There could be some discussion about whether or not the R should be pronounced but the vowel sounds are the same in both words for us. Perhaps we are all royalty here.

  21. Not totally put off with one or two strange clues although I did find parsing some of them a challenge. Like others NE corner the sticking point with last in 4a. Got the spoonerism but more of a bung in if I’m honest. Overall not an outstanding puzzle but at least l completed it.

    Clues of the day: 1a made me smile and 6d was good on the wordplay I thought

    Rating: 3* / 3*

    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  22. I though this was a little unusual, but fair enough (apart from the nonophone), but I can understand why some are not keen on some of the clues.

    Many thanks to setter and to pommers for an entertaining review.

  23. Most of the clues were perfectly fair and some were fun, like 1a and 10a. I wanted to put in the correct answer for 4a, meeting the definition as it does, but simply couldn’t parse it. I wouldn’t define a ladder (3d) as being a split in fabric. And ’nuff said already re 7d. Nevertheless, the puzzle felt a little different from the norm and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of controversy!

    The Spoonerism in 8a is fair enough, I suppose, but is the answer a generic term or a commercial one?

    Thank you Pommers for the Small Faces. I saw them live in 1965 and, led astray by my friend, raided the stage at the end of the gig and pinched a drumstick. It was a treasured possession and I was mortified to discover later, when moving out into the big wide world, that my ma had thrown it away. It still rankles but forgave her long ago.

    Thank you to the setter and to Pommers.

  24. Not my cup of tea today, but thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the effort.

  25. I found this tricky and needed several hints. To be fair, most of my problems were from poor eyesight, needing a magnifying glass to read the clues. For instance, I thought that 13a was “detective” and could not think of a detective that fit. I’d never heard of the answer so chances are pretty good that even if I could see, I’d have got it wrong.
    Fave was 1a.
    Thanks to setter and to pommers for his hints, much needed today.

  26. Not my cup of tea at all. The spoonerism was a real stretch and 7d was even more so. Data is pronounced with a hard “a” in my vicinity and I’d love to meet the people who pronounce database as darterbase. Thanks to all.

    1. Go to Royal Ascot next week where the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.

  27. Not too tricky, except I couldn’t fathom 4a or 7d. Having looked at the hints, I can say that I liked 7d but not 4a. 2.5*/3*. Not one of my favourite puzzles.

  28. I found this a little sticky in places, and it didn’t flow from start to finish for some reason. For once I actually enjoyed the Spoonerism, and overall the challenge was a fair one, with 1a getting my nod for COTD. 2.5* /3* overall.

    Thanks to the mystery setter and pommers. Nice to see the Puzzles Editor dropping in to comment on the use of Spoonerisms.

  29. This could have been a great puzzle, but was quite spoilt for me by 4a, 8a, 13a and 7d, and agree with Pommers comments on those clues. So enjoyment level less than it could have been. Favourite was 5d. I had no problems with 1d though. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  30. Did not get the so-called homophone (not a regional problem this time as I always pronounce data as “dayta”) . Didn’t get 4a either ……even with electronic assistance.
    Missed the rekrul too.

    And there was a Spoonerism which I am not keen on…..(but do not want a ban)

    Thanks to the setter and huge thanks to Pommers who had quite job on today.

  31. 15a and 7d stretched the imagination a bit but otherwise a fair tussle.
    1a floated my boat.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for sorting it all out. And Old Blue Eyes…

  32. 100% with Pommers, not sure I want this setter again. Dreadful homophone. Still don’t fully understand 24a as the paper clue is different from the Blog clue.

      1. He means 14d I think
        Treachery of the French place, far from warm, welcoming Italian

        1. Every time I come back to say that that one isn’t different either, the world’s c*******t broadband vanishes again

          No idea which clue he thinks is different

  33. Needed the review to get 24a and 7d which I had to reveal. Haven’t read what Gazza had to say about that one but I can imagine.
    16a made me smile.
    So did 23a.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

  34. Well we’re going to go against the tide and say we did enjoy this puzzle, including the Spoonerism and the homophone. We did have to check 13a but it was the only possible answer for the anagram fodder so not a problem. Nice level of difficulty too.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

      1. Well in my mispent youth I worked in a few hotels and I’ve been in a few frigid larders….. not always by choice, one chef used to think it great fun to send a new person (inevitably a girl) to get something and then shut the door, no handles on the inside in those days. I am only 5 foot tall but got my revenge, well I kicked his ankles…..

  35. I was doing fine until I got to 4ac and 7d at the close. The former I should have got a lot quicker, the latter is as you say quite terrible. An obscure bird and a dodgy homophone… The rest of the puzzle I haven’t got any complaints about though, and found quite enjoyable.

  36. I started The Toughie first today over a pot of tea outside The Idle Rocks. This was about as difficult I thought. The slow drawn out process is preferable to Tuesdays sprint. Having a four year old climbing over me didn’t help either. Thanks to the setter for a lovely puzzle. Thanks to Chris Lancaster for dropping in (did you enjoy a pint at The Old Success Inn recently)? Thanks to Pommers for the hints, especially Debris which is a Ronnie Lane song. It must be beer o clock.

  37. Going against the grain here – I found this relatively easy and quite fun. But then I often struggle over ones that the rest of you seem to gallop through. This setter is obviously on my wavelength so I hope we get him/her again.

    1. I’m with you, furlinda. I normally struggle mightily on a Thursday but got on great with this one. More from this setter is fine with me. (Agree about 4a and 7d though.)

  38. I am with Jose and the minority on this one. All was fine for me until the NE. I then got 6a and 4d without too much difficulty. My problem was with 7d as I had not heard of a darter so I put dipper which gave me an obvious problem with 10a. I do not have a particular problem with the homophone as it is an alternative pronunciation but coupled with the unusual bird it was impossible for me to solve. Once I had done so with the hint 10a was crystal clear. I have circled four clues across and four down as favourites. Of these I would probably select 12a and 15d. Thanks Setter and Pommers

  39. Curate’s egg leaps to mind – but some very nice clues dotted through the puzzle. The major exception is, of course, the terrible homophone at 7d. What about ‘Eric Bristow’s bird?’ as an alternative.

    Thanks to our setter for the puzzle and to pommers for his excellent review.

  40. Glad to see that, for once, most people seem to agree with my view of this puzzle. As I said it grew on me a bit when writing the review and there’s some good stuff included but it was spoiled for me by some very iffy clues. You should have seen my first preamble before I decided to tone it down a bit.
    Whatever people say I really do not like Spooner clues (but would not ban them). I don’t find them funny in the slightest.

  41. Not enjoyable – some rubbish clues & answers. Thanks to BD in providing explanation

  42. Difficult. Do not like spoonerisms, cheap and nasty. 7 down an unknown bird and a homophobe that stretched plausibility!

    Thank you for the solve.


  43. Yes! ‘Darter’ is as bad as homophones get. It’s a wonder that any Scot bothers to do the zte Telegraph crossword with clues like that. Perhaps we should keep marbles on hand to help when stuck on a clue!

  44. This comment is not this particular crossword but more a bit of a plea. If I am talking out of turn Big Dave then I will fully understand if you delete it – but hopefully not me!

    Just recently I have seen so many criticisms of the setters and the perceived quality of their puzzles. I have also said when a puzzle is not really my cup of tea or I question if a word is really a word. So I too may have come across as critical and if I did I apologise to all the setters, criticism was not my intention, just my experience with any given puzzle.

    So….. plugs nose and jumps right into the deep end, which in my case is anything over 5 feet. I pay for access to the newspaper which gives me access to the crosswords if I use the app. But I have a very limited data cap and anyway I seem to solve puzzles better when printed and with a pen in my hand. Not logical but true. So I pay extra to just access printable puzzles.

    When it comes to the DT cryptic puzzles I love how they vary, probably from setter to setter but I am not skilled enough to know who is who setter-wise. I stare at those blank squares on the fiendishly difficult ones and feel delighted even if I just get one or two answers. I love that at least once a week we are allowed an easier (not easy – easier) to boost my ego a bit. I especially love the in between ones which take me ages but then I get there in the end.

    I can’t imagine how hard it must be to turn out new puzzles week in week out that are topical, witty, clever. Especially in this ever changing world – slang, news, even show business, sports – everything is changing, the English language is constantly changing. If you spoke with me you would think I am through and through British yet I left the UK in 1989, I still sound the part but I don’t know about some of the trends. I am 64. I don’t know about some drug or social references. I am not terribly sporty – well apart from enjoying the view at odd village cricket matches where lovely young men run up and down in front of me for no apparent reason…. sorry wandered off there a bit. But I have learned a lot about cricket and rugby and other things simply because of doing these crosswords.

    I guess what I am trying to say is this: If you don’t like a particular style that’s fne, if you don’t like a particular clue that’s fine. Critique. But don’t insult the setters on a personal basis. They are flipping clever people and they keep me grounded and occupied every day so I don’t succumb to rampaging the local streets committing robberies and all sorts!

    Delete ot edit at will BD. I understand.

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