DT 28788 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28788

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28788

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

It certainly has been a fascinating time lately in relation to football teams. The goings on in Russia have been interesting enough but we have been totally absorbed by the trials and tribulations of the young Wild Boars team trapped in a cave in Thailand. What a story that has been — so many heroes!

Today’s puzzle took us considerably longer to solve than usual, particularly with a couple of clues in the NE and took us well into four star difficulty time.

We are going to be away next week so another member of the blogging team will have the pleasure of doing the hints for a Jay puzzle.

 Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Cause of death Trotsky perhaps allowed during journey? (7,8)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE : The nationality of Leon Trotsky, and then a word for allowed or permitted is inside a journey or pathway.

9a     Flower shops to open in suitable environment (7)
PROSPER : The answer is a verb. The first letter of shops is inside a word for suitable or appropriate.

10a     Joined revolution, persuaded (7)
COUPLED : A revolution or forceful change of government and then persuaded or guided.

11a     Unwise to be out? (9)
SENSELESS : A double definition. ‘Out’ here implies lack of consciousness.

12a     Origin of cheap green crop (4)
CRAW : ‘Crop’ here is not something a farmer might grow, it is a body part. We have the first letter of cheap and then green or uncooked.

13a     Mischievous angle anticipated by European left (6)
ELFISH : The abbreviations for European and left followed by angle as an aquatic sporting activity.

15a     Do okay with daughter kept in (8)
CONFINED : A three letter word for do or swindle, then a synonym for okay and the abbreviation for daughter.

18a     Secret sponsor will have opportunity (8)
BACKDOOR : A word for sponsor or support and an opportunity that refers to something that opens.

19a     Person who preaches voting system set out by Italy (6)
PRIEST : The voting system is the abbreviation for proportional representation, next the IVR code for Italy and finally an anagram (out) of SET.

22a     Set to attack quickly, having changed sides (4)
LAID : Start with a word meaning to attack quickly and change its dextral letter to a sinistral one.

23a     Promoted in honour — is he decorated? (9)
NOURISHED : A lurker hiding in the clue. (It took us a while to spot this one)

26a     After work, Satie developed drugs (7)
OPIATES : An artistic work and an anagram (developed) of SATIE.

27a     Chilled about nature oddly showing dominance (7)
CONTROL : The first third and fifth letters of nature are inside chilled or at a low temperature.

28a     Investor representing pal in a bad way (8,7)
SLEEPING PARTNER : An anagram (in a bad way) of REPRESENTING PAL.


1d     Reply given by 19 worried about love (7)
RIPOSTE : The letter for the tennis score love is inside an anagram (worried) of the answer to 19a.

2d    Pass out seeing court enthralled by case of sedition (5)
SWOON : The first and last letters (case) of sedition surround court in an amatory manner.

3d     Independent politician needing relaxation for broadcast is overwhelmed (9)
IMPRESSED : The abbreviations for independent and a politician are followed by a homophone of a word meaning relaxation or ease.

4d     NHS employees harbour grudges, ultimately (6)
NURSES : Harbour, often used in association with grudges, is here followed by the last letter of grudges.

5d     Bring on, for instance (8)
OCCASION : A double definition. Bring on is a verb meaning to cause to happen, and ‘instance’ here is a noun for a happening.

6d     Boy must accept university honour (4)
LAUD : The abbreviation for university is contained in a synonym for a boy.

7d     Dream about love and the French play (9)
TOLERANCE : Play here is a noun meaning give and take. A word for a dream or state of enchantment contains the circle letter for love and a French definite article.

8d     Women do weddings, taking some for granted (7)
ENDOWED : Another lurker hiding within the clue.

14d     Copy of dossier about line missing from dodgy claims (9)
FACSIMILE : A synonym for a dossier contains an anagram (dodgy) of C(l)AIMS once the abbreviation for line has been removed.

16d     Stranger sort of job on the side (9)
FOREIGNER : This sort of job, often called moonlighting, was a new usage to us.

17d     Funny business from the departing prodigal? (6-2)
GOINGS-ON : Split the answer 5,3 to understand the wordplay which alludes to a biblical parable.

18d     Current producer chaps born to replace leader (7)
BELLOWS : Another word for chaps has its first letter replaced by the abbreviation for born. (We initially had an electric current producer with the same starting letter until we couldn’t make it work).

20d     Craftsman employing theologian’s child (7)
TIDDLER : The qualification an academic theologian may have is inside a craftsman who works with ceramic materials.

21d     Part of car clamp oddly below focal point (6)
HUBCAP : A focal point or centre is above the first, third and fifth letters of clamp.

24d     Bird — egg-producer — protecting brood regularly (5)
HERON : The second and fourth letters of brood are inside an egg-producing bird.

25d     Second, better check (4)
STOP : The abbreviation for second and then better or surpass.

Three in the NE corner – 5d, 7d, and 10a – where we had to work very hard, get our vote for best clues.

Quickie pun     county    +   doubt    =    counted out

50 comments on “DT 28788

  1. This one took much longer than Mon/Tues with its more challenging clues and was a very enjoyable/fulfilling solve. 20d: Did anyone rashly have an O in the answer instead of the correct I? I very nearly did! 3.5* / 4.5*

    1. PS. Did you hear about the snail who got rid of his shell to become nimbler? It just made him more sluggish! :-)

    2. Yes indeed I had an ‘O’ in 20d but fortunately that didn’t affect any crossers.

    3. That was my first thought but had no idea what a “toler” did. I think of a tiddler as a fish.

      1. The ‘toler’ worried me as well. In fact, I even looked him up in case he was a very specialised craftsman who hadn’t crossed my path before today.
        Have to say though, my Dad used to call me ‘tiddles’ when I was very young.

  2. What an excellent puzzle; one of the best for sometime. Few words in on first run through, steady progress until 5D & 10A the last ones in; 4*/5* for me. Many thanks to the setter.

  3. I better refrain from commenting on the difficulty or otherwise of today’s offering for fear of again offending some commentators! However I will say I did enjoy the exercise. Needed help to parse my 9a bung-in. No outstanding Fav. Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis.

  4. Many thanks for starting off your review as you did, 2Ks. No matter what accolades may be heaped upon various sportsmen and women by the end of this week, nothing in my view comes close to the collective heroism displayed in Thailand. How proud we Brits in particular should be over the pivotal role played by our divers – I hope they receive the plaudits they richly deserve.

    On to the puzzle – definitely a few head-scratching moments with 1&10a not falling without a few checkers in place and 7d leading me down various garden paths before the ‘oh, that sort of play’ penny-drop moment. I also spent a while trying to find a ‘rekrul’ in 23a!

    No particular favourite but a most enjoyable puzzle for which many thanks to Jay and thanks to 2Ks for the excellent blog.

    PS I can’t recommend today’s not-so-Toughie highly enough. I haven’t had so many laughs and so much enjoyment from a puzzle in a long time.

    1. And many thanks to you, Jane, for all you said in your first paragraph. I think the world feels a sense of warmth with all the animosity being broadcast now. I’ll stop right there before I say a mouthful!

  5. Well I hope all the park walkers of yesterday enjoyed this one.

    I was so far off the wavelength that the knob was lost (again).
    Managed only 11 clues without hints or aids.

    Thanks to the 2Kiwis and to the setter.

  6. Definitely at the tough end of Jay’s setting spectrum for me. I went through the answers again when I had completed the grid, and was pleased to see that his usual excellence was maintained, and still hugely enjoyable. I picked 1a as my favourite, though in truth it could have been any of them.

    Thanks to Jay and well done to the 2Ks for blogging this decidedly difficult puzzle.

  7. I started off in a rush getting 19d, 1d and 1a immediately. Then some of the more easy ones. Finally struggled to finish. Had to use the hints to get 22a. I wanted to change both sides!. after which I could fill in my last answer, 18d. An excellent an amusing crossword at the top of my current level.
    Incidentally I use a concise Oxford thesaurus by Seiko, which is a bit awkward to use compared to an old electronic Collins which gave up the ghost. Also Chrome, which has an excellent thesaurus. My wife continues to use books, which are now falling apart.
    Thanks to setter and the 2ks.

  8. I thought it was just me being dense today. Short of time so rushed at it then became frustrated when I realised I couldn’t solve it in one sitting. Found the SW corner the most troublesome, even when returning later when usually my convoluted mind has subconsciously shuffled things around enough to give me a steer.
    It’s a hefty ****/*** from me.

  9. A bit of a slog today, but no less enjoyable for that. The clues were fair but tough. I particularly enjoyed 10 and 13a but there were several other good ones. Thanks to the setter and to the blog. I must also admit to making the ‘o’ mistake in 20d as well.

  10. Certainly difficult and a ****/*** for me, some truly difficult parsing today, solved in fits and starts.
    Favourite was 1a which needed a few checking letters before I saw the answer.
    Quite a few alternative meanings for the definition like prosper and my last in bellows ,I bet most solvers, like me, were thinking of electricity.
    Anyway thanks to the 2k’s for the pics.

  11. Bit of a battle today, but certainly not ‘horrid’. Jay presented a crossword that was a real challenge and yet great fun to solve. 11a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2K’s for their review.

  12. Agreed about the Wild Boars. What man can do when necessary is astounding. Great puzzle. Great blog. Ta to all.

  13. I thought this was slightly tricky in places, but an excellent puzzle.

    I’d never heard of the ‘sort of job on the side’ referred to in 16d, so thanks to the 2Kiwis for the elucidation.

    Many thanks to Jay, and to the 2Kiwis.

  14. I rarely comment these days but I thought this was an excellent challenge that took me into 3* territory and that hasn’t happened often enough of late, imho. So thanks to Jay and thanks to the 2Ks. Enjoy your week off :-)

  15. Bizarrely, I completed this OK, whereas yesterday was beyond me. Makes no sense, I just think my head was in a better place for various reasons.
    I though 1a was excellent, once I got ice-picks out of my head.
    I did need help parsing some of it, as some of it was pretty obscure, some excellent misdirection, particularly 7d.
    Thanks 2K’s and Jay.
    Belated apologies for my comments of yesterday, it was a bad hair-day at work, and I was feeling a touch sensitive.

  16. Not my favourite but some very good clues. Top if taking 9one each way only are 1a and 16d. Penultimate solved was 18d for similar reasons to other commentators. There are a number of synonyms for chaps and the right one did not readily sprung to mind. I was left with 22a and got it wrong. I was thinking about right and left. Did not like 9a. Thanks Jay and 2Ks

  17. Jay on top form today, even if my repetition radar did bleep at one point.

    Tricky in places, especially the NE corner, but immensely enjoyable to solve. I did wonder if 1a might be an omen of a potential penalty shoot-out in Moscow tonight? Let’s see.

    My top two clues were 22a and 28a.

    Many thanks to Mr Mutch and the 2Ks. Now to start the Toughie following Jane’s recommendation…

  18. My iPad told me all was correct earlier today but could not parse 13a or 16d . I note the explanation for 13a but still need to look into 16d .

    1A my favourite but it was a struggle to finish before being whisked off on a shopping expedition .

    Thanks to everyone

  19. I thought this was the best of a particularly good run of crosswords lately. Some very clever definitions.
    Thanks to the setter and the 2K’s

  20. Found this really tough and out of my depth to a certain extent, needing 2K’s help for several clues. For some of the clues the parsing came after the answer but for me that’s often the case with a difficult puzzle. Last in 12a and today’s favourites 1a and 16d. Not as enjoyable as it should have been due to the struggle from start to finish. Decided not to leave any ratings following on from yesterday. Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay.

    1. Chin up nearly forgot it’s another day tomorrow and possibly a Ray T puzzle! 😂

  21. Got there in the end. A great, tricky but fair puzzle. Thank you Jay. And great illustrations, you Kiwis. 18d was good but top spot to 17d because it made me laugh. ***/*****.

  22. Ref 16 d and Jezza’s comment of not previously having heard of the term “foreigner” for a job done on the side, with payment usually arranged so as not to trouble the taxman: another term I remember was (from a tradesman tapping his nose) was “government work”.

    Thanks to all.

  23. I said pax when I reached the SW corner and headed for the hints. Please don’t tell me we’re going back into toughie territory again! I think Paige was right yesterday, you swan along for years, then you hit the downward slope, no question, I’m headed there. Not only can’t I see, but now my iPad is playing silly buggers. All this not helped by watching Federer and Nadal at W, making me very nervous.
    I rather liked 7d, and 2d.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis, you certainly bailed me out in the end.

    1. I did say to someone earlier today that I wondered whether Jay had submitted this crossword to try and join the Toughie setters rota

  24. That was a very 13a solve today!
    A tale of two lurkers summed up my day – totally failed to spot the one at 8d yet 23a stood out like Harry McGuire in a pre-match lineup.
    I was most grateful for the assistance from the 2Kiwis today – thank you, and thanks to Jay for a lot of head scratching.

  25. Didn’t know the car part in 21d nor the moonlighter in 16d but were easily checked.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks.
    It’s almost kick off time. The whole of France is watching to see who is going to be there on Sunday.
    Have a good footie night everyone.

    1. Bonjour mon ami

      êtes-vous en Russie pour la finale de la coupe du monde? Bonne chance :smile:

  26. Morning all.
    Nice to be reassured that we were not the only ones to find this a trickier puzzle than usual for a Wednesday.
    For those who wanted to put an O in 20d, this was our first thought too. When we had sorted out the correct letter we did go back to the puzzles site and revealed a letter just for confirmation that there was no such thing as a ‘toler’ before the blog went on-line.
    In the background as I write this, I can see the TV with everything set for a kick off very soon. Guess the comments will all dry up for the next couple of hours.

  27. Wish I was driving from Merseyside down to Mersea Island tonight instead of tomorrow morning….heard the roads deserted….can’t think why.
    Still can’t fathom 22a but otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle . ***/**** for me, after yesterday’s horror !

    1. Hi Mary,
      22a – the definition is ‘set’ (as in set the table) and you need a 4 letter word meaning to attack quickly whose first letter you can exchange for one referring to the opposite side – the other hand for instance.

  28. Definitely a **** for difficulty today. So many clues that needed to be teased out, with few falling easily. Good stuff!

  29. Oh well. I just knew two days in a row would end with a stinker of a puzzle, way above my ability. Not sure why the clue for 16d could not have been something more closely related to the answer, seems unnecessarily tough to me. I did wonder if Jay had taken the day off to watch the football instead. Thanks to 2Kiwis for the hints. Just finished watching England play. Won’t say anything in case it is a spoiler for anyone.

  30. This was a very tricky puzzle from Jay that took a lot of head scratching. Has he thought that he’s been too easy on us over the past few weeks? There were a few stretched synonyms but not too many to spoil the solve and quite a few Do’h moments or PDM’s if you will. :smile:

    I have a lot of ticks (yes I’ve been to see the Doctor – all sorted now) beside too many clues to pick a stand out favourite. However, I will opt for 8d for the saucy picture it brings to mind (Ooo-er Missus).

    Thanks to Jay for the fun and to our Antipodean pair for their review,

  31. I think it’s all been said already but I’ve never seen the 2K’s give a crossword a 4* for difficulty before today.
    I also thought it was quite tricky but, at the time, put it down to doing the crossword with one eye and half a brain and using the other bits for the Federer tennis match.
    All very enjoyable and too many good clues to mention any particular ones.
    With thanks to Jay and to the Kiwis.

  32. Completed very late last night. I found this enjoyable and very challenging but it was absolutely excellent – highly entertaining and just the job after losing at football.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  33. Hi All, after my last comment I feel a bit brighter today, although still needed help from this site to get 18d. 16d to me was not a problem as back in the seventies many “works” could be trusted to do them and even give them more attention than they gave their normal jobs! Gave them a bit more interest I suppose.
    Like others, 18d was a stinker, mainly because, as with clue words like “flower” I could not get past current generator being something that generated electric current. “Too obvious” I hear you cry! Quite! Lesson learnt, until the next time! Did not help that I was fixed on 22a with changing sides meaning swapping the first letter for the last. If I’d thought the way I was meant to, then it would have reduced the first letter to one of two, (or 4 if you think nautically or 6 if you bring the compass into it), but still a big help. For once, the rest of it was a bit easier, no help needed, especially liked 7d, 10a, 17d and like many had an O instead of an I for 20d until I asked my Mrs if she thought the “i” answer was acceptable, and she agreed with the setter. The craft then worked, of course.

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