DT 28783 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28783

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28783

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. I don’t know who the setter is today but it isn’t Ray T. It was one of those crosswords that I found difficult while I was doing it and now, having finished it and beginning to think about the hints, I can’t see why – it did take me a long time. There were lots of anagrams – I make it eight plus a partial one.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Gambles crossing street of city in riots (12)
DISTURBANCES — begin with a verb meaning gambles or risks, as in ***** with death – inside that (crossing) you need the two letter abbreviation for street and an adjective that means of a city

8a        Run mobile phone holding company (7)
HENCOOP — an anagram (mobile) of PHONE contains (holding) the abbreviation for company

9a        Taking black bucket to feed horse (7)
NABBING — a horse, often a slightly inferior one, contains (to feed) the one letter abbreviation for B(lack) and a synonym for a bucket or container

11a      Empire collapsed with Republican leader (7)
PREMIER — an anagram (collapsed) is followed by R(epublican)

12a      Reception room contains worn-out bag (7)
HOLDALL — a reception room or an entrance contains a word meaning worn-out or a bit past it

13a      Jewellery gives off metallic sound (5)
RINGS — a double definition

14a      Be excessively formal on deck (9)
OVERDRESSanother double definition, I think a four-letter word meaning on or above followed by a verb meaning to deck or decorate (thanks Gazza)

16a      Vegetable processed to get cure (9)
COURGETTE — an anagram (processed) of TO GET CURE

19a      Drink two times wiped from bed cover (5)
COCOA — the abbreviation for T(ime) needs to be removed from a bed (for a child) and then again from a cover or layer

21a      Home female once worshipped somewhere in America (7)
INDIANA — the usual little word that means at home or not out is followed by the Roman goddess of the moon

23a      Strolled from Post Office, post already despatched here and there (7)
POOTLED — the two letter abbreviation for Post Office is followed by alternate letters (here and there) of the fifth and sixth words in the clue

24a      The Queen in Great Britain is keeping primarily little animals (7)
GERBILS — the usual two letters for our Queen are contained in (in) the abbreviation for Great Britain and that’s followed by the IS from the clue which contains (keeping) the first letter (primarily) of L(ittle)

25a      Studio set back in thoroughfare I let, affordable (7)
ATELIER — the one and only lurker or hidden answer in the crossword today and it’s also reversed – all that is indicated by ‘set back in’ – it’s lurking in the last four words of the clue

26a      Maybe, Real and Inter with many out injured (8,4)
MONETARY UNIT — an anagram (injured) of INTER and MANY OUT – oh dear, this sent me into a ‘footbally’ panic and the silly thing is that I’ve been ‘had’ by this sort of clue so many times before



1d        Grey, say, up above, cooler underground (7)
DUNGEON — a grey, or greyish brown, colour is followed by a reversal (up) of the Latin abbreviation for say or for instance and then a short word that means above or over

2d        Banks incorporating current accounts (7)
STORIES — banks or saves contains (incorporating) the letter that is the physics symbol for electric current

3d        First out of bed tormented me with strop (9)
 UPPERMOST — a little two letter word that means out of bed is followed by an anagram (tormented) of ME and STROP

4d        Reserve seat? (5)
 BENCH — another double definition – and another one that I always forget

5d        Chewed part of pen leaked (7)
NIBBLED — the pointy bit at the end of a pen is followed by a synonym for leaked or seeped out

6d       Groom‘s plea getting in tangle with tie (7)
EPILATE — an anagram (getting in a tangle) of PLEA and TIE

7d        Crew’s excited, gathering in monarch’s smashing boat (12)
SHIPWRECKING — an anagram (excited) of CREW’S contains (gathering) an informal word for ‘in’ or trendy and then a male monarch

10d      Dad lost grand spoiling model (4,8)
GOLD STANDARD — an anagram (spoiling) of DAD LOST GRAND

15d      Admirable French article, lines supporting former European politician (9)
EXEMPLARY — one of the French definite articles and the abbreviation for railway lines come after (supporting) the two letters meaning former or once, and the abbreviations for E(uropean) and politician or member of parliament

17d      Suffer, short of energy (7)
UNDERGO — if you’re short of energy it could be said that you are below or have less than your usual amount of vim. Oh dear again – I know this was going to be difficult to give a decent hint for.

18d      Older relative with thing mostly for hard rock (7)
GRANITE — your Mum or Dad’s Mum is followed by (with) a thing or article without its final letter (mostly)

19d      Near console on the blink (5,2)
CLOSE ON — an anagram (on the blink) of CONSOLE

20d      Secretive group is on top of termination in contract for player (7)
CELLIST — a secretive group often used when talking about terrorists and the IS from the clue are followed by (on top of) the last letter of (termination in) contract – this was yet another one that caused trouble for me – I think it was mainly because for too long my ‘secretive group’ was a ‘cult’ and also because combining the words ‘contract’ and ‘player’ in one clue made me think of sport.

22d      Lost away from land (2,3)
AT SEA — and, finally, a double definition

I liked 9a and 3 and 17d.

The Quickie pun:- START + WRECK = STAR TREK

69 comments on “DT 28783

  1. Not an easy solve at the time but I wondered why when I looked back.
    24a was my fave, once I realized a certain breed of dog was not spelt that way…
    Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for the review.

  2. Managed with the hints, for which Thanks!
    Liked the idea of the strolling postperson in 23A.

  3. Not on my wavelength today . First run through was not very productive but plodded on and finished in *** time .
    Thanks to everyone .

  4. I thought this was really tricky – alternate Thursdays now seem to be the place for the hardest backpagers of the week. Thanks to Mr Ron for the challenge and to Kath for another great blog.
    I think that 14a is a charade of ‘on’ (4) and a verb to deck or decorate.

      1. Not silly of you at all. I would guess that the vast majority of solvers missed it, I know I certainly did!

    1. Overall you are of course right Gazza! 🚢 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

  5. 3* / 3*. I enjoyed this. Parts of it were a bit off-the-wall but it was mostly straightforward with a handful of clues taking me up to my 3* time.

    23a was my last one in and favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath.

  6. Got them all except 23a which is not a word with which I am familiar.

    However, I really had trouble with a lot of the parsings so needed Kath’s excellent hints very much.
    This meant that I did not really enjoy this puzzle very much.

    I have also not come across 4d meaning reserve before……can someone explain this to me, please or give me an example ?

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to Kath.

    1. I’m not sure that 4d is a double definition. Substitutes (reserves) for a football team are described as being “on the bench”.

    2. Thanks re reserves in football and rugby.

      Sorry to Kath if I annoyed/frustrated her. I did not mean to.

      1. Also in America, if you bench someone, you are you are leaving them out of the starting side.

      2. OM, asking for help with something you don’t understand is one of the many joys of this blog.

        Knowing Kath, I’m pretty sure you won’t have annoyed or frustrated her by doing so. With her refreshing candour, I suspect she is simply kicking herself for a bit of unknown or forgotten sporting knowledge.

      3. RD is absolutely right, OM – I was neither annoyed nor frustrated. I’m only sorry that I was off in 34C heat taking a daughter back to London and so could not reply to you myself.

        1. That’s good…not that you had to drive in 34C heat, but that I didn’t inadvertently annoy you.

          So is the clue a straight definition then…Reserve[‘s] seat ?

  7. Off to take my Younger Lamb back to London after I’ve done a rain dance in my poor suffering parched garden.
    Back later.

  8. Slow start then leisurely fun run to the finish. Favs 14a and 5d. Thank you Mysteron and Kath (do hope you danced enough to benefit all of us).

  9. Another one of those where the clues are easier to solve than explain. Although I had all the right answers I needed the Blog to explain 10 clues! Would take exception to 8a, the coop is where the chickens lay and is separate from the run, the tense is wrong in 6d and not sure about epilate (the removal of hair) meaning groom and 23a is just a very weak clue. Did like 4d though.
    For me ***/**

    1. Hmmm – not sure about the coop/run for the chickens – as long as they’re shut in somewhere at night the foxes can’t get them and ours had the run of the garden in the day time.
      I don’t see why you think the tense is wrong in 6d and anyway it is surely part of grooming for women – hairy arm pits and legs don’t look good.
      I quite liked 23a.

    2. B. 6d: The definition and answer are both singular, so no problem with the tense. And epilating is most definitely a part of grooming

      a cage or pen in which poultry are kept.
      synonyms: pen, run, cage, hutch, enclosure, pound, lock-up; birdcage, aviary, mew; parrock
      “she released the hens from the coop”

      Also, hens will often lay eggs in the run rather than exclusively in the coop, especially in warm weather.

  10. Golly Bongs that was tough. It took quite a bit of chipping away to get through it. Like the old days pre blog. Anyway I got there in the end. thanks to the setter for a real challenge and thanks to Kath for the blog and for just being Kath.

  11. For me, this turned out to be one of the trickiest puzzles I have ever solved and I needed electronic assistance to get to the finishing post (the nag gave up on me and I had to walk home) – ****/**.

    As HM made an appearance and the clue word count was low, I had thoughts about it being a Ray T but then I saw that his alter ego is on Toughie duty today. Are there some ‘Ray T wannabees’ out there?

    Probable favourite – 7d.

    Thanks to setter and Kath.

    1. RayT would not have permitted the three clues longer than eight words, Senf (i.e. 23a, 24a and 20d).

  12. I found this puzzle difficult to solve/ parse and the hardest back page for a while, a ****/*** for me.
    Thanks Kath for the parsing of 19a, I was looking for a bed cover to remove two T’s-never mind there could really only be one answer with the checking letters in.
    Some choice charades like 1a and 7d, favourite 26a for the surface.

    1. Yes, I was looking for a bed cover – only worked once I got the first and third letters.

  13. Like Kath, once I had got a few of them , I couldn’t really complain about the parsing, but you did need to do a bit of the “bunging in” first.

    Plus, some of the anagrams were tricky because the answers were a bit unusual. A bit of a challenge, a good workout and sometimes clever. Everything took longer than expected.

    I don’t think 8a is one word, really

    1. I agree – I think that 8a should be hyphenated but forgot about it when writing the hints and now need to go to bed so not about to check it.

  14. I would go along with the generally held view that this quite difficult, although retrospectively probably not in the final analysis. It certainly took a while to get on wavelength, and the plethora of anagrams surely helped gain a foothold. 3* /3* . Favourites today were the number of Star Trek references in the Quickie.

    Thanks setter and Kath.

  15. Definitely not solved in chronological order, I trotted about all over the place to get the grid filled. Jury still out over how much I enjoyed it.

    Liked 23a for no other reason than that I like the sound of the word, 16a because of the length of time I spent trying to make an anagram out of ‘vegetable’ and 5d for the truth of the statement in the clue!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the refreshing honesty she always brings to her blogs – good luck with the rain dance, I don’t think it’s even worth trying here.

    1. I’m fed up, Jane. Nothing growing. Seeds wont germinate without the stuff the Almighty provides.

      1. Me too – I put a lot of new plants in this year but despite my devoted attentions with watering cans and hose, they seem to have decided that Welsh Water stuff isn’t a patch on that which comes directly from on high.

      2. Me too – no rain, nothing growing. I’m watering things in pots but putting the hose/sprinkler on feels a bit anti-social so I’ve given up for now. The whole place looks like a desert. :sad:

      3. We are watering, though sparingly as we are on a well. A good well but even so. Only had one peopny appear, normally loads, roses are blooming but tiny, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes all look good and I think it is going to be a bumper year for courgettes, but so many other things are just not doing well.

  16. Really had to work at this one. Fell at the final hurdle as I was stumped by 20d and 23a. Apart from that quite pleased with myself. Some very good clues. Liked 1a and. 15d.

  17. Gosh this was a tough one, which is exactly what I needed. I swear crosswords are better therapy than anything else out there. I would never have finished without this site. Funny how you can head off on entirely the wrong path. For intance 6d had me heading down the aisle!

    For the past 3 days I have been reading out the more corny/groan/grin inducing clues to Hubby.

    Hope Big Dave won’t mind but ……. little prompt – check out the sympsoms of Sepsis. Huppy’s mother (actually step-mum but she raised him) died on Monday. Even if we could have got him on to a plane to England, he would not have made it in time as it just swept through her system and she died about 3 hours after getting to hospital. I doubt the outcome would have been different even if she had gone to hospital sooner but in her lovely memory I urge you all to be aware of the symptoms. OK if BD needs to edit this please do, I fully understand.

  18. Funny crossword today. I agree that some of the answers were bung ins, with something of struggle to work out why. Finished in a reasonable time but no chuckles so no favourites today.

  19. Hardly surprising people found this difficult. The relation between the definition in the clue and answer was, at best, tenuous in sevaral cases. For example
    – Hen Coop is the place in which you keep ckickens; the ‘run’ is where they go fior exercise. They are different even complimentary.
    – The Gold Standard is not a model, its a definition. A model is anything but!

    1. Welcome to the blog JC

      While you may have a point with hencoop, gold standard has a second meaning which is separate from money – “the supreme example of something against which others are judged or measured” (Collins); “a thing of superior quality which serves as a point of reference against which other things of its type may be compared” (ODE) – sadly the BRB has nothing to offer regarding this second meaning.

    2. JC. A (hen) coop is a hutch/cage but it is also a small fenced enclosure, pound, pen or “run”. They both confine or coop the chickens.

    3. As a mildly interesting footnote: round here (in rural Derbyshire) you never hear it called a hen coop, it’s usually hen-cote or sometimes hen-house.

  20. I am sorry that this was not my bag at all. Not even any satisfaction when I finished. Needed hints for 26a and 20d (thank you Kath). Some others which I checked with hints to make sure right to make sure I was not barking up the wrong tree. Liked 21a and 7d and that’s about all. Also 16a was clever for the misdirection.9a 14a and 17d were solved but gave neither pleasure nor satisfaction. It is not often I am critical as I could not compile but on this occasion I am. Sorry.

  21. I’m with Gazza and others in finding it extremely tricky, much harder than an average backpager. Some of the wordplay was truly excellent, if perhaps more reminiscent of a Toughie.

    My ticks went to 8a, 2d, 5d and 10d, with 19a and 26a also earning gold stars for cleverness.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

      1. I agree with you and CS – I was nearly tearing my hair out several times and almost on the point of calling in the troops – ie the 2K’s as they’re the only people awake at the time I do the crossword on days when I’m doing the hints.

  22. A bit of a slog today and never on the radar, like others needed quite a few bung ins to complete but not a very satisfying puzzle. Needed Kaths help for last two in 23a and 25d although the rest of the bottom half went in reasonably ok. Top half a different story altogether. 26a is a weird clue in my opinion. Not many laughs with this one and it’s not about the difficulty level it just didn’t do it for me.

    Clue of the day: 8a did raise a smile.

    Rating 4* / 2*

    Thanks to Kath and the setter

  23. This had the feel of a PJ production as some of it was ‘off the wall’ although that is hardly likely
    Certainly not a stroll in the park for me – but good fun.

    No particular favourite but I did like 7 & 16d.

    Thanks to our Mr Ron for the puzxle and to Kath for a splendid blog.

  24. Too difficult for me, if that’s a *** I never want to meet a ****.
    I know why I never attempt the Toughie.
    Failed with about 4 to go. Thanks Kath for filling in the blanks and help with parsing. Thanks also to the setter and by all means take a very long holiday.

    1. You should really have a go at the Toughie today – it’s good fun. :smile:

    2. I dithered between an *** and a **** for difficulty but decided that I was just being weedy and on the wrong wave-length and that everyone else would have found it a doddle.

  25. I found this very tricky and not that enjoyable ***/** 😳 I did manage to fill in all the squares but there were some I did not understand or like very much e.g. 23a I knew the word (it is always coming up on Countdown) 😬 So a special thank you to Kath for her explanations 😃 Favourites 8a and 20d also thanks to the unknown Setter for giving me an excuse to sit in the shade for most of the day! 😎

  26. That was way beyond my ken and I needed lots of help with quite a few. This setter makes RayT look like a Boy Scout. Kath, you must have a Mensa IQ to sort that lot out.
    That is not meant as a complaint as I’m sure there are many out there who enjoyed it.
    Thanks to setter for making me wring my brain out and to Kath for her blog.

  27. This was too tough to be enjoyable, with several clues with stretched, if not tenuous, links to their answers. Without Kath’s hints I would have tossed it aside half way through. Definitely above my pay grade.

  28. Am I being pedantic by suspecting that there may be a typo in 1A, possibly as a result of a spillchocker being involved? The clue would work better for me if it was”gambol”.
    Just saying…

    1. Don’t think you are right there Zat. ‘Gambles’ gives us ‘dices’, ‘gambols’ doesn’t do that.

    2. Gambles works for Dices. I do not see how Gambols would fit the clue. I’m with Kath on this one.

  29. Agree that this was a tough nut to crack. It took me significantly longer than the Beam Toughie to solve but I did eventually get it all sorted. Plenty of smiles along the way.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  30. A *** if not a **** for difficulty here, and very good it was too. As with so many looking back I can’t see why it took so long, but it did… Last in 1ac which couldn’t be more clearly flagged, but there you go.

  31. Thank you to our mystery setter of the day and thank you, too, to everyone who left comments.
    I’ve been to London today with our Younger Lamb and am off in a similar direction tomorrow to see the Elder Lamb and our grandson.
    I’m now totally knackered so off to bed.
    Night night everyone and sleep well.

  32. This was a little trickier than the previous 3 this week, needing a bit more cogitation and therefore providing more enjoyment. 3* /4*

  33. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but I’ve spent so long on this that I’ve had to resort to the hints,8a, even though I knew the anagram fodder, still couldn’t get it. 24a, I could only think of earwigs. 1d,I liked the definition. 7d was caught out by the misdirection of the last two words. Favourite was 25a. Was 5*/3* for me.

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