DT 28769 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28769

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28769

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hello everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday back-page blog.  This week we have a solid puzzle with some intricate wordplay that I enjoyed unpicking.  In the hints below most indicators are italicized and definitions are underlined.  Clicking on the Answer buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and feel free to ask about anything that's not clear or not covered.



8a    Good food brought over, type eaten abroad outside this famous landmark? (11,4)
BRANDENBURG GATE:  A meaty clue to get us underway.  First, combine the abbreviation for good and an informal word for food.  That lot is then reversed (brought over) and put aside.  Next, we append to a type or a make an anagram (abroad) of EATEN.  Begin assembling the answer by wrapping that string of characters around (outside) around the filling we prepared earlier.  Finish by adjusting the anagram and the position of the filling to give a sensible answer and serve

9a    Destination? All but the last Indian state (3)
GOA:  All but the last letter of a destination or aim

10a   No, ketchup is free where the needy may eat (4,7)
SOUP KITCHEN:  An anagram (free) of NO KETCHUP IS

11a   Before college, student revealed a secret (3,2)
LET ON:  Before crosswordland's favourite college is the usual abbreviation for a student or learner driver

12a   Landlord in centre of Rugby won't fancy an empty place (5,4)
GHOST TOWN:  A landlord or innkeeper goes in between the centre letter of RUGBY and an anagram (fancy) of WON'T

15a   Element of reportedly foolish swindle (7)
SILICON:  A homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of foolish is followed by a swindle or scam, to give the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust

17a   Unreliable quote about a bishop returning (7)
ERRATIC:  Wrap quote or name around A from the clue and the usual abbreviation for a bishop.  The answer is that lot reversed (returning)

19a   Thus, a popular time for 'Emmerdale', for example (4,5)
SOAP OPERA:  Concatenate a short synonym of thus, A from the clue, a contraction of popular, and a period of time

20a   Petite, the Spanish female elected (5)
ELFIN:  Put together the in Spanish, the abbreviation for female, and a short adverb meaning elected

21a   Ringing? Check warning light in part of recording studio (4,7)
ECHO CHAMBER:  Fuse together the ringing of sound, the chess abbreviation for check, and a warning light named for its colour

24a   Letter from Greece, from air hostess (3)
RHO:  This Greek letter is hidden in (from) the rest of the clue

25a   A sweet, perfect pick after something pungent (10,5)
PEPPERMINT CREAM:  After a pungent condiment come perfect or unused and the pick or best of a group of people or things



1d    Count, amid cheers, managed a dance (10)
TARANTELLA:  The downs also start with a substantial clue.  A verb meaning to count (vote, perhaps) is inserted in (amid) the fusion of an informal word of thanks (cheers), managed or operated, and A from the clue.  Disclaimer:  These tigers may not be performing exactly the dance of the answer

2d    Exceptional boy, likely to win (4-2)
ODDS-ON:  Put together exceptional or unusual and a relative that a boy must be

3d    Trained gunners in reserve for rebellion (10)
INSURGENCE:  An anagram (trained) of GUNNERS in reserve or coolness

4d    Trash  sailing vessel (4)
JUNK:  A rather straightforward double definition

5d    Rabble-rouser having a go at it, suffering resistance (8)
AGITATOR:  An anagram (suffering) of A GO AT IT, followed by the physics symbol for electrical resistance

6d    Try hard to support foundation, endlessly (4)
BASH:  The pencil abbreviation for hard comes after (to support, in a down clue) all but the last letter (endlessly) of a foundation

7d    Write name on flag (6)
PENNON:  Stick together write or author, an abbreviation for name, and ON from the clue.  Click here for information about the answer if it wasn't familiar

8d    Pilot in book, with slight worries, scratching head (7)
BIGGLES:  Follow a single-letter abbreviation for book by some slight worries or minor annoyances without their first letter (… scratching head).  In our community the pilot may be better known as the name of the crossword setting supergroup made up of these four Johns:

13d   Call number up, ring versatile musician (3-3,4)
ONE-MAN BAND:  Stick together call or christen and an abbreviation for number.  Reverse that lot (up, in a down clue) and append a ring or loop

14d   Inappropriate, not working (3,2,5)
OUT OF ORDER:  Another straightforward double definition

16d   Short grumpy note (8)
CROTCHET:  All but the last letter (short) of an adjective meaning grumpy or bad-tempered gives a type of musical note 

18d   Caught playing well in match (7)
CONFORM:  Cement together the cricket abbreviation for caught and a (2,4) sporting expression that means playing well

19d   Dropping off agent to secure shelter (6)
SLEEPY:  A secret agent wrapped around (to secure) shelter or the sheltered side

20d   Improve quality of restaurant, primarily, in nice refurbished hotel (6)
ENRICH:  Insert the first letter of (.. primarily) of RESTAURANT in an anagram (refurbished) of NICE and append the letter represented by hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet

22d   Some in hierarchy, perhaps, will get publicity (4)
HYPE:  The answer is hidden in (Some in …. will get) the remainder of the clue

23d   Host foolish to exclude British (4)
ARMY:  An adjective meaning foolish or mentally unsound minus (to exclude …) an abbreviation for British.  Adjective and answer together give this group of England cricket supporters, seen here tormenting Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I'm partial to a meaty clue, so I'm picking 8a as my favourite.  Which clues did you like best?



66 comments on “DT 28769

  1. I do enjoy doing the cryptic crosswords but why do all the setters love using cricketing clues, they “stump” me everytime. :(

    1. You’ve expanded your alias since your last comment two years ago so this needed moderation. Both aliases will work from now on.

    2. I know nothing about cricket other than there are two teams who wear white and rub their balls. I don’t think you need any specific knowledge to solve 18d.

  2. Well it fell in the end, but it took me a full **** time. There were certainly some complex word plays that needed some work to solve, but still enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  3. Got them all except 6d…pesky 4 letter words.

    Well, when I say ‘got’ them I actually mean ‘bunged in’ most of them.

    Cannot say that this has been my favourite crossword, a bit too tricksy for me, but enjoyable in parts.

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to Mr Kitty for his invaluable parsings.

    (I’m afraid I still don’t see 8a, but I’ll keep looking at the hint.)

  4. Enjoyable and quite straightforward although I confess to solving 8d first to give me a head start on 8a.

    As usual, it was the humorous ones that appealed to me so my top two are 15a & 16d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog – loved both of the kitty pics.

  5. Comfortable and straightforward puzzle this morning. 16d was my favourite, and 2.5* /3* overall.

    Thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  6. This did not work for me as there were so many bung-in’s. This always reduces my enjoyment.
    Looking forward to enlightenment from the hints.
    Thanks mister k and r.

    1. Yes, the wordplay is far to clever for me. 1a being a prime example.
      I would argue that the spice in 25a is not pungent just makes you sneeze if you are daft enough to smell it. Doubtless many will disagree.
      Thanks Mr k.

      1. Hi, Hoofit. Under its entry for the spice, the BRB has 1. A pungent aromatic condiment… , which means that at least for Telegraph crosswording purposes it’s pungent :)

      2. Pungent = having a sharply strong taste or smell. Pepper = a pungent, hot-tasting powder…

  7. Hugely enjoyable. Perhaps not 3* though, unless I’m improving. COD for me is 18d, it’s simple neatness is pleasing.

    Thank you mr K and the setter

  8. Excellent puzzle. Over a little too quickly. 8a took some parsing, but I got there in the end. **/****. Joint first places go to 15a and 8d for me.

  9. Gentle and enjoyable last night. 1*/3* for me. Generally all good surfaces although maybe 8a was a little “clunky”, if you know what I mean, as to how to construct the answer. Having said that, having got 8d first, then 6 and 7 d to check that the second word had to be what it was, the answer came first then the parsing.

    12a just “succeeded” to top place and made me think of a grumpy MP.

  10. That was fun and not too difficult .
    16d and 25a were my two top likes .
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter .

  11. Going for a **/***.As usual started in the NW corner and 8a eluded me until most of the checking letters went in .I thought this clue was somewhat cumbersome to say the least.
    Apart from wanting to put place in 14a ,a smooth solve.
    As a charade fan I liked 25 and 21a.Thanks Mr K for the excellent blog pics, is 10a pre or post Brexit?

  12. Enough challenge to make it fun and satisfying to complete. North presented less resistance than the South. Needed help to parse 21a and to decide what to put around count in 1d. 10a and 3d were good surface clueing for that type of conundrum. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

    1. Just to say that I completely failed to completely parse 8a so relied on MrK to help me fathom it.

  13. I’ll go with ***/*** 😳 confess to having a wrong 4 letter word meaning base in 6d 😰 Favourites 25a & 20a Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗

  14. Fun, albeit with one or two clunky clues involved. However, nothing too disturbing. 8d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, and Mr K for the review.

  15. An enjoyable but straightforward solve – although 1a fell into place by educated guess and I need the hint after completion to work out why I was right.

  16. **/***. Enjoyable with a few head scratching moments. 8a and 25a were my favourites as I saw the answers but needed to spend a while parsing why. Thanks to all. Time to get the dogs walked because we’re in for another scorcher today so out while it’s still tolerable.

        1. Nothing to apologize for. I mentioned it only because your browser may remember and use the incorrect email address until it is fixed and because you might have been wondering why your comment hadn’t appeared.

  17. Good solve for me although did not parse 21a. Bottom half went in first. Last three in were 7 and 6d and 12a. Did not like 19a as could be solved from the last three words alone. Favourites 12 and 25a and 2, 3 and 16d. Ticking the “follow up comments box no longer works for me. Does anyone have a solution for this. Thanks setter and Mr K.

  18. Excellent crossword. Really enjoyed it, Couldn’t fault it.

    Thanks to Mr K .

  19. As with yesterdays I just ran out of time in 2 coffee breaks but the last 3 just needed a bit of cogitation to fall when I got home. I concur with 8a as COTD.
    3d was bunged in a bit and not fully parsed until I read the hints. Thanks to Mr K and setter. Off to dabble with the toughie TTFN

  20. Some very inventive clues and intricate wordplay, as our blogger rightly says. I suspect many will have got the answer to 8a without parsing it until afterwards.

    Top clue for me was 16d, with 21a a close runner-up.

    Many thanks to Mr K and setter.

  21. Pretty good crossword. Loved the tired puss in 19d – why are they so adorable? In 21a amber is a warning light is it not.

    1. Your comment went into moderation because there’s an extra character in your email address.

      Glad you liked the pic. Agree about the warning light, and that’s what I tried to convey in the hint.

  22. Thought this was a great puzzle with lots of Lego clues most of which I managed to unpick. 1a got so far with the word play and then “bunged in” the obvious answer. 1d was last in and needed electronic help for that not familiar with the dance. Lots of good clues and very difficult to pick a star today. Is today’s grid a bit unusual can’t recall seeing one quite like this before? Perhaps Mr K can answer that? Pleased to have completed and to be on the setters wavelength from the start.

    Clues of the day: 8a /12a / 21a / 18d and a few more.

    Rating: 3* / 4*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter

    1. Hi, Hx3. I can check for previous appearances of this grid but I’m afraid it won’t be for a few hours.

      1. Thanks Mr K but please don’t go to any trouble it was only an observation and none of the other bloggers have mentioned it. You do more than enough putting this blog together. Thanks again.

        1. It’s very little effort because I’ve already written code to search through the grids and it takes the computer only a minute or two to do the processing. Just needed to wait for a break at work.

          I found only these six fairly recent previous appearances of today’s grid, all published on either a Tuesday or a Friday.

            2018-03-27     DT 28697
            2017-08-25     DT 28515
            2017-05-26     DT 28437
            2016-10-25     DT 28254
            2016-07-22     DT 28173
            2015-12-22     DT 27991
          1. Thanks for that, so I suppose with the frequency it is quite unusual? Interesting ‘re Tuesday and Friday could be the same setter?

            1. At some point I will present data about repetition of grids. In short, they range from grids that are used more than 20 times per year to a large number that appear only once (presumably grids created by the setter rather than being drawn from a library). This one is somewhere in the middle of that distribution.

              As far as we know, Giovanni has been the Friday setter for all of the period covered in the table above, so the data probably means that both he and one of the team of Tuesday setters like to use it occasionally.

              1. Many thanks for the explanation Mr K it is interesting to observe the setters different preferences for how they set the puzzles up. Look forward to further data in the future.

  23. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, but took a while on 12a before the penny dropped. Last in and favourite was 15a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  24. The clue I couldn’t answer was 6 down.
    Thought of base but couldn’t see why bash was try hard. Have a bash ok but try should be the bas part.
    Very unsatisfactory.

    1. Hi Kevin. Try is the definition of bash, which is constructed from the wordplay as H (abbreviation for hard) placed after BAS (base=foundation, minus its last letter). Does that help?

  25. Completed before hints appeared then off to birthday bash and both were fine .
    16d made me smile so COTD .
    Thanks to everyone .

  26. Very enjoyable, but needed hint for 6d.
    I solved 8a as a bung in, got lost trying to parse, so thanks Mr. K for that.
    Fave was 16d, or maybe 15a, I’ll toss for it.
    Thanks to setter and Mr. K for review; loved the pic at 19d

  27. This was a quick solve for me and several were parsed after the grid was filled, e.g 8ac

    Thanks to Mr K and setter */***

  28. I really enjoyed this puzzle. I found Monday’s very difficult though I got there in the end, thanks to this site, so today’s was a bit of a boost for my poor addled brain. Long Suffering Hubby is on his first rotation of a week of nights (11.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m. with a 40 minute drive at each end), and we are finding it a bit hard going but I am sure we will get the hang of it. It is a lovely job and he is enjoying it and we are very grateful that the company took a chance by hiring a man in his 60’s.

    I really loved seeing 8d. Always makes me smile. I have tried to explain the appeal of this character to Americans and even some Canadians don’t get it, usually I’m met with blank stares or a look that says “Humour her, she’s clearly nuts…” of course it probably doesn’t help when I do the upside down fingers on my face (goggles) and utter ‘What Ho!’ which send the Americans in particular into a fit of the vapours. :-)

  29. Crosswords are like beauty, they are in the mind of the beholder. I thought this was pretty much a Read and Write apart from the one dodgy clue in 1d (tell=count is weak IMHO). */***

    1. Or, to use an example from the Oxford Dictionary of English, “they tried a dozen times all told.”

  30. We’ll confess to putting 8a in without sorting out all the wordplay until we had filled in the rest of the puzzle. We appear to have a feast of three letter answers today, 2 here and even more in the Toughie. They are rather a rarity in DT puzzles in our experience. An enjoyable puzzle once again.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. It certainly feels like we don’t see a lot of three-letter answers. Investigating the statistical distribution of answer lengths hadn’t occurred to me. I will look into it.

      p.s. I also didn’t get 8a directly from the wordplay. I reckoned that the famous landmark was either a wall or a hill or a hole or a hall or a gate, and went from there.

      1. Far more sensible approach than mine, Mr K. I started out by thinking of all the famous landmarks I could recall that begin with a ‘B’ – most of them wouldn’t fit……….

        1. I got it from checkers and then worked back. Not my type of clue, a bit clunky.

          Having said that, if I saw a grid with that as one of the answers to clue, I’d start afresh, so fair play to setter :smile:

          1. I wanted to add how much this particular puzzle hit home.
            1d. I have actually danced that and during mispent youth I was a bank teller for Barclays.
            I too have problems with sporty ones, cricket, rugby, football, but I can usually get there eventually. Tennis I know a bit more about, though I was rubbish at the actual sport.

            I think I have asked this before but does anyone else have mixed emotions about finishing a crossword? As in “Hey I finished it!…… B*gger I finished it….. how long until I can print off the next one?’

            1. Thanks, Carolyn, I always enjoy and appreciate your anecdotes.

              My reaction to finishing is usually to be be pleased, because there are always more puzzles out there (on this site (Rookie, NTSPP, MPP), on the Puzzles Site archive, in the Indy, in the Guardian, etc.) than I can ever find time for.

              1. Are those others printable? I do better with pen and paper and also we have such a limited data cap I can’t do the online ones because they seem to eat up our allowance.

                Thank you too for the kind words.

                1. Yes, I believe all of those resources have printable versions available, although the Indy printable version can do weird things with linked clues. If you have a subscription to the Telegraph Puzzles site you have access to every puzzle back to 2001, including printable versions.

  31. An enjoyable puzzle, fairly straightforward, with only a little pause for thought at the close on 1d. A what? :-)

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