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DT 28771

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28771

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja on a pleasantly warm morning.  I don’t know who today’s setter is but I suspect it’s the same one as on Thursday two weeks ago.  Again, it’s not my favourite puzzle but you will probably disagree.  There are ten clues requiring the insertion of something into something else and eight clues involving anagrams which are my two least liked clue constructions.  It’s a bit tricky in places and I nearly went for **** difficulty but after looking at the clock decided to leave it as ***. I wonder what you all thought of it.

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           Learned person, one in form? (7)
SCHOLAR:  “One in form” is alluding to the fact that this word for a learned person can also mean a school pupil.

5a           Two coppers regularly ask me for bakery item (7)
CUPCAKE:  The chemical symbol for copper followed by a policeman (two coppers) and then the alternate letters (regularly) from AsK mE

9a           Cloak is article that’s stamped reduced (7)
ENVELOP:  Cloak as a verb.  Something on to which you might stick a postage stamp but without its last letter (reduced).

10a         Writer is one infiltrating Triads in disguise (7)
DIARIST:  Anagram (in disguise) of TRIADS with an I (one) inserted (infiltrating).  Samuel Pepys was one of these writers.

11a         Tell raver to be composed, one on a trip (9)
TRAVELLER:  Anagram (to be composed) of TELL RAVER.  This answer also turns up as 25a in today’s Grauniad – how weird is that?

12a         State that vagabond’s hiding (5)
GABON:  This West African state is hidden (hiding) in the word VAGABOND.

13a         Reportedly feel sorry for yours truly being sizable (5)
ROOMY:  Sounds like (reportedly) a word for feel sorry or regret followed by yours truly.

15a         Businesses from East developed polymers (9)
EMPLOYERS:  E(ast) followed by an anagram (developed) of POLYMERS.

17a         A-lister informs Republican American to retire (9)
SUPERSTAR: Start with a word for informs or shops, then an abbreviation of republican and finally the usual two letters for American and then reverse the lot (to retire).

19a         Times for one set of exam questions? (5)
PAPER:  The Times or Daily Telegraph are examples of these, which could also be a set of exam questions.

22a         Has food from India included in mail coming west (5)
DINES:  A word for to mail or to post backwards (coming west) with an I (India?) inserted (included in).  Neither the BRB or Collins have I as anything to do with India. It’s the IVR code for Italy so perhaps this is a mistake.

23a         Running away from asylum, a king of France (6,3)
MAKING OFF:  A lurker lurking in (from) the last five words of the clue.

25a         Physical feat to split slab (7)
TACTILE:  A feat or deed inserted into (to split) the sort of slab which might be on your kitchen or bathroom wall.  Another answer that appears in today’s Grauniad, this time as 12a – very spooky!.

26a         Inspire knight to get involved in the tricky exploit (7)
ENTHUSE:  The letter for knight in chess notation is inserted (to get involved in) into an anagram (tricky) of THE and followed by a word meaning to exploit  or employ.

27a         Craft starts to speed leaving unknown headland (7)
SLYNESS:  Craft as in crafty or artful.  It’s the first letters (starts to) of Speed Leaving followed by an algebraic unknown and then crosswordland’s favourite headland.

28a         Ship infiltrated by hidden evil-doers (7)
SINNERS:  Take the usual two letters for a steam ship and insert (infiltrated) a word meaning hidden.  This is a bit too similar to the insertion indicator used in 10a.


1d           Army officer in fine house (7)
SHELTER:  Abbreviation for a not very senior army or navy officer inserted into (in) a word which can mean fine, as in stockings perhaps.

2d           Criticise  attempt (4,1,2)
HAVE A GO:  Double definition.

3d           City poorly covered in French article (5)
LILLE:  A city in northern France is a word meaning poorly as in not well inserted into (covered in) a French definite article.

4d           Shocking representation of Penn and Teller making Nag’s Head disappear (9)
REPELLENT:  Anagram (representation of) PENN TELLER but without one of the N’s (making Nag’s head disappear).  As there are two N’s in the anagram fodder shouldn’t there be an indication that only one of them is to disappear?

5d           IT worker set up green screens over days (5)
CODER:  An abbreviation of a green as in a recreation ground is reversed (set up in a down clue) and placed around (screens) an O(ver) and D(ays)

6d           Finally happy, getting in terribly popular preschool club (9)
PLAYGROUP:  The last letters (finally) of happY and gettinG inserted (in) into an anagram (terribly) of POPULAR.

7d           Friendly question from self-doubter? (7)
AMIABLE:  Split the answer (2,1,4) and you might get a question asked by someone who doubts their own abilities.

8d           Stops supporting unlimited texts as offers (7)
EXTENDS:  A word for stops or finishes is after (supporting in a down clue) the word texts but without its first and last letters (unlimited).

14d         Part of the country where there’s more than one riding (9)
YORKSHIRE:  A not very cryptic definition of the county which used to be split into North, East and West ridings.  

16d         Peak rates upset flyers (9)
PARAKEETS:  Anagram (upset)of PEAK RATES.

17d         Repositioned as steed relaxes (7)
SEDATES:  Anagram (repositioned) of AS STEED.

18d         Police station in settlement makes you anxious (7)
PANICKY: A slang term for a police station is inserted (in) a word for settlement as in settling a bill.

20d         Obtain advantage over scoundrel with ecstasy (7)
PROCURE:  A word for advantage (?) placed before (over in a down clue) a scoundrel, not a cad but the other one, and finally an E(cstacy).  Not sure about the first three letters being an advantage.

21d         They support people going via water (7)
RAFTERS:  They support roofs and are also a word for people using a particular sort of water craft.

23d         Events being those vegetarians eschew vocally (5)
MEETS:  These events might have been fox hunts back in the day and they sound like (vocally) things that vegetarians don’t eat.

24d         Half-hearted idea is unacceptable (3,2)
NOT ON:  You need another word for an idea (6), remove one of the centre letters and then split what’s left (3,2).   I’ve always thought “half-hearted” means remove one of a double letter from the middle of a word, not just take out any old letter as used here.

Not too much blue today but my favourite was the clever lurker in 23a with 2d and 7d on the podium.
How strange to have two of the answers in this also appearing in the Grauniad.

Quick crossword pun:   APPALS     +     CRUMB     +     PURSE     =     APPLE SCRUMPERS


54 comments on “DT 28771

  1. It was fine in the South but not such plain-sailing in the North. 13a would seem to need a possessive indicator for last two letters. 5d and 7d were unparsed by me but then with pommers help the latter was added to 14d as joint Favs. The Quickie pun is a cracker and made me LOL 🙂. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

        1. I was with Angelov (wrongly) as thought the sounds like referred to only part of the clue – so a clever clue

  2. Agree this was not one I enjoyed as lots of obvious entries before seeing the crypticness . Much prefer vice versa . The lurker was very well hidden and joint favourite with 7D .Needed the hint for 5d to make sense of it .
    Thanks to everyone

  3. India…NATO phonetic alphabet?

    Found this hard going, a bit of a grind.
    Thanks to pommers and setter

    1. Of course – silly me! And me a sailor well versed in the phonetic alphabet, d’oh!

  4. Some difficult parsing today and a ***/*** for me.
    I know we have had Rec for Green before, but I did not like this clue. Also pro left me baffled in 20d, I note Pommers has reservations,
    I did like 5a which I thought was very neat.
    Overall a mixture of good and bad.
    Thanks to Pommers for the pics-good to hear Mick again-the tour reviews were very positive

    1. I got 5d but did not parse. I regularly see the well known abbreviation for a playground but have never seen, heard or used it for a green. May be part of my education missing (that day off I had for the Royal Show in 1957 to see the Queen) although I am in transit and have not consulted the BRB

  5. This was OK, but some clues seemed a little offbeat/unusual – maybe just because I’m not used to the style of the setter. A reasonable challenge and enjoyable enough. P, 20d: Pros and cons = advantages and disadvantages? 2.5* / 3*

  6. Finished in *** time, but I too failed to parse 5d along with many others by the sound of it.

    Definitely a curate’s egg in my book,

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and Pommers.

  7. Thank you pommers and setter I enjoyed today’s puzzle and it took me ages to see the clever lurker after researching into old French kings!

  8. Didn’t find it easy to get onto the setter’s wavelength but, once there, quite enjoyed the solve.
    I did query the ”advantage’ in 20d but Jose’s idea seems to just about make it work.

    Unlike Pommers, I didn’t have a problem with 24d – there are two letters at the ‘heart’ of the required synonym and the instruction is to remove one of them, surely that works?

    5d was my last one in and my top two were 2&24d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the well-illustrated blog.

  9. A curate’s egg for me completed at a gallop – **/**.

    However, I did find three candidates for favourite – 5a, 19a, and 18d – and the winner is 5a.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  10. 3* /3* for me with the brilliant lurker at 23a my favourite from 7d. I found it fairly straightforward, despite one or two hold-ups, but once the clue constructions became obvious, it was plain sailing.

    Thanks to our Thursday setter and pommers.

  11. Another hurrah for me…but a rather half hearted one….hah perhaps.

    Found this a bit of a grind with a lot of clues that I was unable to parse.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for his excellent explanations.

  12. Some very easy to spot anagrams today, but a few clues to slow things down as well. A mixed bag indeed. For over 30 years I have thought the Stones ‘shot’ reference was drug related, I now see it is part of a protest song. Never too old to learn!

  13. I really enjoyed this, much more on the setter’s wavelength than yesterday. A few easy anagrams to get a nice foothold and a couple of hints from pommers were all I needed to complete it in good time. I thought the lurker was brilliant and 5a and 7d were very clever. Thanks to pommers and the setter on this longest of summer days.

  14. 2* / 2.5*. A curate’s egg puzzle for me today with 2d my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  15. Gentle enough, but only fairly enjoyable for me personally. Like Pommers, I thought there were too many anagrams or partial anagrams. It always feels to me as if lazy way of constructing a clue. I don’t mean any disrespect, I admire the setters efforts generally. **/**. Joint winners, 5a and 13a.

  16. btw – the answer to 1a is also someone who has won a scholarship in the public school system.
    compilers beware!

  17. Well, that seemed fine to me. Not too tricky, say */**, and fun throughout. Last in the combination of 5d and 10ac, mostly because I was wondering what novelist would fit the latter. Doh.

  18. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and hints. I quite enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky to get on the setter’s wavelength. Had all the checkers for 17,19,25a and 21d,but needed the hints for all. Was 4*/3* for me.

  19. A bit of a slog but got there in the end. Not much to say just a solid puzzle.
    The SW corner took 5x as long as the rest.
    Thanks all.

  20. ****/***. A real mix for me. The SW corner was a showstopper for me. Some clues were excellent – 5,17&23a were at the top of the list. Thanks to all.

  21. I found this a fair enough puzzles but was disappointed by the number of anagrams. I liked the lurker which I only spotted after I had finished. Saint Sharon has just wished me a happy anniversary. If she says so, it must be so.

  22. Agree with other bloggers in finding this a bit of a grind with not much fun or smiles. Found West side more tricky with last in 13a, unable to parse quite a few of the clues so thanks for the help Pommers. Overall some good clues mixed with some not so sparkling. Completed but not a satisfying solve it just didn’t do it for me.

    Clue of the day: Quite liked 3d for its simplicity.

    Rating: 3.5* / 2.5*

    Thanks to Pommers and the setter

  23. Struggled to get a good number of clues on first read through which slowed me considerably, then, all of a sudden, they started to fall like dominoes. Like others, just did not enjoy this one. 5a and 23a were favourites.

    As someone from that part of the country 14d seemed more like general knowledge that cryptic.

  24. Extremely tricky in places for a backpager but many excellent clues, 9a for example I thought inspired, both for the surface and the clever construction. Honourable mentions for 5a, 6d and 24d too.

    Many thanks to setter and Pommers.

  25. Never thought I would be crying out for a Ray T puzzle to replace this horror. So many poor clues. For me ***/*

  26. I’m another one in the tricky camp. I had far too many bung ins, but this was totally my fault as pommers’s hints were very clear. Maybe I’m losing my touch.
    Fave was the lurker at 23a, runner up 13a.
    Thanks to setter and to pommers for his parsings.

  27. I seem to in a minority in enjoying this. NE last quarter in largely because I could not get 15a. Silly of me as I had misspelt 4d despite it being an anagram. 15a therefore last one in and took me from Kettering to Market Harborough. I did not fully parse 5d and 13a. Apart from that plain sailing and I have ticked 5 and 26a and 7 14 and 18d. Thank you setter and MP.

  28. We found this quite tricky. The last one in was 5d, partly because we were loath to accept D for days. BRB gives it as an abbreviation for day but no mention we can see of its use for the plural. Several clues where the wordplay took some working out and overall, an enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    1. I neally mentioned the plural bit of days not being right but, as I said in a reply to someone last Friday, some cans of worms aren’t worth opening.

    2. I was so pleased to see that your delightful PM gave birth to a baby girl. I’m such a fan, she can do anything!

      1. Yes we are delighted too.
        Whatever has second billing on the news here, is so far behind that it is almost invisible.

  29. An odd puzzle; I could not get going and ended up doing it it fits and starts. Some nice clues including 2d which was my fave.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the unraveling.

  30. Oh well, at least our cricketers did better than my review today.
    Still can’t believe I missed the India bit but that’s life I guess, or the onset of some age related brain problem. Shouldn’t have started doing the blog at 0700 when said brain wasn’t in gear.

    I don’t like to criticise puzzles, as the setters put in a lot of work and it’s something I couldn’t do, but this one really didn’t do it for me. Too many times when I thought “What?” or “Do me a favour!” rather than “Wow, that’s clever” and not a lot of damage the tea tray, which will please pommette..

    It was OK but . . . horses for courses I guess.

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