DT 28775 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28775

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28775

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  This is one of those puzzles where untangling the wordplay in a few of the clues requires concentration.  Which is just the kind of puzzle that I enjoy.  I hope that you also found it entertaining.

Click here for data on the distribution of answer lengths in DT Cryptics

Last Tuesday our 2Kiwis noted that three-letter answers featured in both the regular cryptic and Toughie puzzles and pointed out that was surprising because it feels like we don't see them very often.  I've now had time to collate the relevant data.  Here is the distribution of answer lengths over the last 16 years of Daily Telegraph Cryptics.  Three-letter answers make up less than 1% of all answers, which makes them about as uncommon as those with the maximum 15 letters.  As usual, you can click on the graph to enlarge it.


In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  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 or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and feel free to ask for help with anything that remains unclear or wasn't covered.



1a    Large vehicle parking by Irish lake (6)
PLOUGH:  Follow the abbreviation for parking with the Irish word for a lake

5a    If in no end of doubt before close of play, declare! (6)
NOTIFY:  Put together NO from the clue, the final letter of (end of) DOUBT, and the final letter of (close of) PLAY.  Then insert IF from the clue in that lot

10a   Therefore, top must be reliable (5)
SOLID:  A short synonym of therefore, with a top for a jar, perhaps

11a   One who keeps records about substance almost like gold dust (9)
REGISTRAR:  The usual word for about or concerning, the substance or main point of something, and all but the last letter (almost) of an adjective describing the abundance of gold dust (or hen's teeth)

12a   Cutting remarks, primarily in bar (7)
EXCERPT:  The first letter (…, primarily) of REMARKS is inserted in bar or apart from

13a   Trendy little drink I had in flat (7)
INSIPID:  Glue together the usual word for trendy or fashionable, a small quantity of a drink, and the contracted form of I HAD 

14a   Errand boy committing serious crime in minister's house (9)
PARSONAGE:  An errand boy containing (committing) a serious crime involving fire

17a   Be uncomfortably hot right in front of kiln (5)
ROAST:  An abbreviation for right comes before (in front of) crosswordland's favourite kiln for drying malt or hops 

18a   Opening, working with group (5)
ONSET:  Combine working or operating with a group or collection

19a   Contest fewer in number, being without equal (9)
MATCHLESS:  A contest, in tennis perhaps, followed by a word used informally to mean fewer in number

21a   Rider at races, delayed (7)
TARRIED:  An anagram (races) of RIDER AT

23a   Gossip present, reportedly with chance to speak (7)
HEARSAY:  A homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of present, with what you have when given a chance to speak

25a   Duck swimming over shell (9)
SHOVELLER:  An anagram (swimming) of OVER SHELL

26a   Type of energy supply also run (5)
SOLAR:  An anagram (supply, here being the adverb form of supple) of ALSO, followed by the cricket abbreviation for run

27a   Crossing river, reached cave (6)
GROTTO:  A (3,2) phrase meaning reached containing (crossing) the map abbreviation for river

28a   Chicken in yard man decapitated (6)
YELLOW:  An abbreviation for yard followed by a man who might have been jolly good before he was decapitated (i.e. had his first letter removed)



2d    Phone up about last of gladioli in bloom (5)
LILAC:  The reversal (up in a down clue) of phone or ring containing (about) the final letter of (last of) GLADIOLI

3d    Painter's work that's rarely seen? (9)
UNDERCOAT:  A cryptic definition of the preparatory layer that a painter might apply to a surface

4d    World Cup hero injured netting second (5)
HURST:  No, it's not Harry.  This hero of the 1966 World Cup is found as a synonym of injured containing (netting) an abbreviation for second

5d    Nigel, clumsy chap, careless (9)
NEGLIGENT:  Glue together an anagram (clumsy) of NIGEL and one of crosswordland's many adult males

6d    Jobs -- first in there enquires (5)
TASKS:  The initial letter of (first in) THERE and enquires or queries

7d    Female and I restore hearth (9)
FIREPLACE:  Concatenate the abbreviation for female, I from the clue, and a synonym of restore

8d    Not awake when cover pulled up (6)
ASLEEP:  Cement together a short synonym of when and the reversal (pulled up, in a down clue) of the cover on an orange, for example

9d    Put down  good name (6)
CREDIT:  Two definitions.  The first a verb meaning put down or ascribe to, the second a noun meaning good name or character

15d   Ice, mostly, round Irish lake (9)
RESERVOIR:  Stick together all but the last letter (…, mostly) of ice or coolness of manner, the round letter, and the abbreviation for Irish

16d   Creature in a stream grabbing frantic duck (9)
ARMADILLO:  Assemble A from a clue, a stream or small brook containing (grabbing) a synonym of frantic, and the letter that looks like the score corresponding to a duck in cricket

17d   Tries to divide existing practice (9)
REHEARSAL:  Tries judicially inserted in (to divide) existing or actual

18d   Slow on the uptake, but so excited by note, finally (6)
OBTUSE:  Follow an anagram (excited) of BUT SO by the last letter (…, finally) of NOTE

20d   Crime writer tells about that woman topping husband (6)
SAYERS:  Tells or speaks is wrapped about a pronoun for "that woman" minus (topping) the abbreviation for husband

22d   Awkward writer reflected in it (5)
INEPT:  A writing instrument is reversed (reflected) and inserted in IT from the clue

23d   Stout, a novelist (5)
HARDY:  A double definition.  The novelist wrote The Wessex Novels

24d   Volley from Slav drifting over (5)
SALVO:  An anagram (drifting) of SLAV is followed by the cricket abbreviation for over


Thanks to today’s setter.  Among many great clues, my favourite today was 5a because it's one of those clues where you assemble the ingredients as instructed and then a word pops out at the end, which is always very satisfying.  Which clues did you tick?


The Quick Crossword pun:  WELD + WREST = WELL-DRESSED   

The across clues in today's Quick share something remarkable that I remember seeing before in published on Tuesday, August 15 last year.  A little research found one other example of that signature feature, in published on Saturday, November 26, 2016.  I shall have to investigate whether it's been done with other letters.

46 comments on “DT 28775

  1. 2* / 3*. Straightforward but good fun with mostly nice brief cluing. 27a was my favourite.

    – I am struggling in 21a to interpret “races” as an anagram indicator.
    – Isn’t the “, a” surplus to requirements in 23d?

    Many thanks to Mr R & Mr K.

    1. 21a. The only way I can justify “races” as an anagram indicator is it’s use to mean excites/agitates, as in your heart racing. But I may be clutching at straws…

    2. I agree about ‘races’ being tricksy. On 21a, for a time I was stumped by choosing the wrong anagram for ‘delayed’ – choosing TARDIER rather than TARRIED. Did anyone else slip up the same way? I was only saved after the Armadillo came along.

  2. Slow start then it was fine in the East but a bit of a trek in the West. Bunged in 12a and 27a. Faute de mieux 3d and 16d are my nearly Favs. Thank you setter and Mr.K. I’m with RD re “races” in 21a.

  3. I was having a lovely time out in the garden with my coffee and crossword until a neighbour decided to cut his hedges with a very noisy power tool. How irritating. I wasn’t irritated by the crossword though. I found it quite amusing, especially 3d. I went round the houses with it before the penny dropped. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty. My duck doesn’t belong to the 25a category.

  4. Quite gentle today for me as answers went in steadily and finished before dog walk . Smiler today was 27a , score **/*** .
    Thanks to everyone .
    Going to be hot on the bowling green later .

  5. A fairly gentle puzzle with generally succinct, well-written clues providing an enjoyable/entertaining solve. Favs of a good bunch: 13a, 5d, 16d. 2* / 3*

  6. Hurst????? really? From 1966. Will you never let it go?
    Its been 52 years now.

    No hurrah for me today . Failed on 4d (obviously) 12a and 18a.

    Thought the definitions of 9d and 18a were a bit shaky. (Not very keen on 23d either, but it is in my electronic BRB.)

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty without whom I would never have been able to parse many of today’s clues.

    1. I feel for you with 4d, which I didn’t get, even though I remember clearly watching it on TV while my mother nearly went into labour ….

      I kept trying to make an anagram (injured) from HERO and an S. Maybe there is a current international footballer with a name using these letters, I thought. Of course there is “horse”, but why?

      Anyway it didn’t help with 12a which was less straightforward than it might have been.

      1. I had to google him. Hadn’t got a clue who you were talking about. Bobbie Charlton. Now there’s a name to remember.

    2. I am no fun of football but in World Cup terms 1966 is THE year and Sir Geoff Hurst was the hero of the match. His name frequently crops up and I doubt he will ever be forgotten.

  7. I admit to being disgruntled over 1a.

    Although it was a straightforward solve, in my book the device mentioned is not a vehicle in itself, but an implement that is attached to the front or back of a vehicle, like a tractor…..or a horse, if you can call it a vehicle.

    Perhaps it was the Wessex novelist, the hot weather and the “horse” I had in 4d that put me into a pastoral frame of mind. Far from the madding crowd ….

    1. I’m late to the party because the Telegraph newspaper puzzles are published in the National Post newspaper several weeks or months after they have been published in England.

      Here in Canada, a plough/plow is frequently used as the word for the complete vehicle while the scraping implement is called a blade.

      Even so, I missed 1 across partially because I lacked the knowledge to solve 4 down.

      1. Welcome to the blog, JohnB, and thanks for sharing your experience of the puzzle. It is never too late to comment. It would be great if more National Post solvers commented when the puzzle appears over there.

  8. Agree with Mr K **/*** 😃 Favourites 27a & 14a 🤗 Thanks to Mr K and to today’s Setter. In the UK we spell 25a with the single “l” as others will probably point out 😉

  9. Not quite straightforward for me; I had to rely on a couple of ‘bung-ins’ along the way. 27a was just about the fave in this interesting challenge.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and reminding me of the Monty Python sketch.

  10. Solving the crossword was straightforward, parsing it was another matter.

    I think we have had “races” as an anagram indicator before.

    My only memory of that day in 1966, was as a young lad, walking down the High Street with my Father late on a Saturday afternoon, and seeing a large group of men standing outside a television rental shop suddenly breaking into screams and cheers. When I asked Father what was happening, I got the reply “Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s some football match or other”.

    Thanks to all.

    1. I was on holiday in Jersey and watched with a group from Glasgow who were not cheering for England .

      1. I can never figure out why it comes as a surprise to you that the Scots don’t cheer for England.

        They don’t.

        They won’t.

  11. Excellent puzzle. Nothing to criticise. Perhaps 17a is getting to some bloggers today. Left side NW followed by SW straight in for me. Right a bit slower with 9d last in. First in was 3d and one of my favourites. Others 12, 17 and 19a and 4 and 17d. Thanks setter and Mr K although, having checked with hints my only incomplete parsing was 8d which I did not think much about after the first two words

  12. One of those where the answers are easy enough but parsing many of the clues is dreadful. Not my cup of tea at all. Two of the worst anagram indicators ever in supply and races. Ugh!

    1. B. I think races (see above at #1) and supply are OK as anagram indicators. Supply (I prefer the spelling: suppley) from supple, meaning (of the anagram fodder letters) flexible, pliant, workable.

  13. Two Irish lakes and two ducks in the clues for the same crossword?

    Silvanus’ repeat bleeper must be going berserk!

  14. Somewhat of a Marmite crossword IMO and not to my taste. I’m in agreement with many of the comments already posted. Placing injured next to hero in 4d was a clever distraction, though I couldn’t see how the answer could mean World Cup. Could Harry Kane become a future Geoff Hurst, certainly looks unlikely in every respect now we have goal-line technology.

  15. I thought this was a terrific puzzle, from start to finish, with 4d and 24d being very apposite given a certain current tournament happening in Russia. StanXYZ can rest assured that my repetition radar is calibrated only to bleep at repeated indicators, not at individual words, so the ducks and Irish lakes elicited not even the tiniest sound!

    My top three clues were 5a, 4d and 20d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K, especially for his data on answer lengths, nothing too surprising but very interesting none the less.

  16. Yes I found quite a few answers were bunged in with the parsing following. A slow start and never quite felt on the setters wavelength, certainly unravelling some of the clues was a challenge. Last in 9d got with checkers and then parsed, a good clue once sorted. Overall a fair puzzle of two halves for me, some clues straightforward others more of a head scratch. Enjoyable anyway.

    Clues of the day: 14a / 3d

    Rating: 3* / 3*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter

  17. Grr 1st post vanished. gist follows
    Fave clues 2 diff uses of Irish Lake and any of the animals.
    Not so fond of 9d a bung in and parse later clue.
    Thanks setter and Mr K loved the pics as well as the hints.
    Off to have a go at toughie.

  18. All done and dusted in a very short space of time with my only query being, like Jaylegs, over the spelling of 25a.

    Star prize was going to be awarded to the guys with the supermarket trolleys but even they were eclipsed by the brilliant cartoon from Matt on today’s front page!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog and the latest round of statistics – as Silvanus said, not surprising but still very interesting.

  19. ***/*. I thought this was too contrived and while I completed it I felt no real feeling of satisfaction. I dislike having to reverse engineer the answer to the wording of the clue. Thanks to all.

  20. Very enjoyable, on the benign side for me. Didn’t know 4d but well clued and with checkers it fell into place.
    Fave was 27a, but the novelists were close behind.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. K for the review. Loved the pic at 17a.

  21. But of a struggle today, and needed to click on 3 hints. My sports knowledge is slim to none, and I only remember the year we won the World Cup as it is the year we got married. But sadly did not know about Geoff Hurst (should have asked Mr BL as he did). A mixed bag for me, some clues were easy, some took a lot of thinking, and some I got without understanding why until later.

  22. I scratched my head for some time about the definition of 1a. We don’t see the machines for pushing snow around very often here so I was thinking of the agricultural implement. It all made sense when I saw the pic.
    On our regular walks most of the ducks we see are mallards but there is one pair of Australasian shovellers that we always watch out for. Nice to meet them here and their close relatives in the pic.
    Pleased to see that our feelings about 3 letter answers last week did turn out to be statistically accurate.
    Needed Google help for 4d of course.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K, especially for the research.

    1. Hi Colin,
      I assume from your post that you adopt the double ‘L’ for 25a – I wonder whether that’s also true of the US?

      1. Your comment caused me to have a look in Google. You are quite correct and it does normally just have a single ‘L’.
        I just blindly followed the spelling used by the setter without further thought.

      2. I’m guessing that it’s a single “l” here as you don’t very often see a double “l”. I have never got used to words like “marvelous”, it just looks so wrong!

  23. As per the introduction to the blog – clues that required attention, but fell gracefully with a little effort. * and a bit for difficulty at the close, not helped by heat that feels like you could swim in it.

  24. Well I enjoyed it, even if some didn’t.
    Some very inventive clues. I enjoyed 23d as he is one of my favourite authors.
    Beautiful day in London today.
    Thanks all.

  25. A nice romp through today. I remember watching 4d and tne lads in a telly shop window in Caen whilst in Normandy at scout camp.. Happy days.
    Thanks to Mr K for tne usual amusing cat theme and to tne setter.

  26. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. Quite straightforward, but a couple of odd anagram indicators. I quite liked the fact that the Irish Lake appeared twice, but was used so differently. Was 2*/3* for me. Good fun.

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