DT 28795 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28795

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28795

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’s not Ray T. I started off thinking that it was going to be straightforward but then changed my mind when I got stuck with quite a few answers. I enjoyed it although I expect there will be some complaints about the number of anagrams.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are underneath 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        Around French friend, unique item of lingerie (8)
CAMISOLE — a one letter abbreviation for around or about, followed by the French word for friend and finally a synonym for unique or one-off

5a        Endeavour, perhaps, to get an A for each English subject (6)
VASSAL — Endeavour is an example indicated by perhaps – here it’s a ship. You need another word for a ship with two E’s in it – both of them need to be swapped for A’s (to get A for each English). As soon as I got this answer I knew it was going to be tricky to give a half decent hint

10a      Islander at sea with his boat is fabled mariner (6,3,6)
SINBAD THE SAILOR — an anagram (at sea) of ISLANDER and HIS BOAT

11a      Weighty individual not totally awake (7)
ONEROUS — individual or single is followed by the first four letters of a five letter word (not totally) that means wake up

12a      Embracing Northern chapter, leave terribly isolated territory (7)
ENCLAVE — an anagram (terribly) of LEAVE goes round (embracing) the two one letter abbreviations for N(orthern) and C(hapter)

13a      Foreign noble prisoner turned over valuable item (8)
CONTESSA — our usual crosswordland prisoner is followed by a reversal (turned over) of a  valuable item or advantage

15a      Measures quadrangles (5)
YARDS — a double definition, the first being a noun

18a      Regarded slice of marmalade tart on the counter (5)
RATED — our only lurker or hidden answer (indicated by slice of) – this one is also reversed (on the counter or backwards)

20a      Greek island storing oil, primarily as preservative (8)
CREASOTE — the largest and most southerly Greek island contains (storing) the first letter (primarily) of Oil and the AS from the clue. This one caused trouble, lots of it – to begin with I spelt it with two O’s instead of one O and one A which meant there was no way at all that I could justify my answer

23a      Particular motor fuel developed (7)
CAREFUL — a motor or vehicle is followed by an anagram (developed) of FUEL

25a      Present left on ship beside fish (7)
PORTRAY — present here is a verb – the nautical word for left is followed by a large flat fish

26a      Printed one introduction to novel with Shades of Grey formula? (2,5,3,5)
IN BLACK AND WHITE — the letter that looks like a one and the first letter (introduction to) of N(ovel) is followed by the two colours that you would need to mix (formula) to get grey

27a      New hip, yet ghastly figure (6)
NINETY — the abbreviation for N(ew) and a little word meaning hip or stylish are followed by an anagram (ghastly) of YET

28a      Garment’s stiff material beginning to itch and irritate back (8)
CARDIGAN — some material that is several times stiffer than paper is followed by the first letter (beginning to) of I(tch) and lastly a reversal (back) of a short word to irritate or pester



1d        Dilapidated cart’s bearing old wheel (6)
CASTOR — an anagram (dilapidated) of CART’S contains (bearing) the abbreviation for O(ld)

2d        Fellow on leave is climber (9)
MANGETOUT — a fellow or chap is followed by six letters that, if split 3,3, means leave or escape

3d        Play about Eastern area, somewhere like Shanghai (7)
SEAPORT — a synonym for play or romp contains (about) the abbreviations for E(astern) and A(rea)

4d        Item for sale, American plant (5)
LOTUS — an item for sale at an auction is followed by one of the usual abbreviations that means American

6d        Chaos having refurbished ranch within a year (7)
ANARCHY — an anagram (refurbished) of RANCH is contained in (within) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for Y(ear)

7d        Regularly used staple’s a condiment (5)
SALSA — the alternate letters (regularly used) of StApLe’S and the A from the clue

8d        Heard what one needs to start Swiss charity (8)
LARGESSE — a homophone (heard) of what the S of Swiss is – a capital letter or a big S. Another one that I knew would be difficult to explain

9d        Teenager changed form (8)
GENERATE — an anagram (changed) of TEENAGER

14d      Rocky UK isle contains church of that kind (8)
SUCHLIKE — an anagram (rocky) of UK ISLE contains one of the many two letter abbreviations for church

16d      Bringing back wartime code-breaker around November to support soldiers (9)
RETURNING — one of the many two letter abbreviations for soldiers is followed by (to support) the surname of an early computer scientist who broke codes in WW2 which contains the letter denoted by N(ovember) in the phonetic alphabet

17d      Bit familiar, being discontented with director’s instruction (8)
FRACTION — the first and last letters (discontented or having its content removed) of F(amilia)R and an instruction from a film director as in, “Lights, Cameras ******”

19d      Bold of French automotive firm to acquire centre in Afghanistan (7)
DEFIANT — the French word for OF and the car manufacturing company (the one that used to make 25d’s) which contains (to acquire) the middle letter (centre in) of Afghanistan

21d      Wound stung (7)
SCREWED — a double definition – they’re both verbs and the second one is nothing to do with a sensation, it’s about swindling

22d      Wife nervy about monster (6)
WYVERN — the one letter abbreviation for W(ife) is followed by an anagram (about) of NERVY

24d      Superhero’s sidekick not finished dressing (5)
ROBIN — dressing or putting on some robes without its final letter (not finished)

25d      Animal, according to Cockney, slept upside-down (5)
PANDA — a reversal (upside-down) of your answer, if you were a Cockney, could be how you would say, “Had short sleep”. Oh dear – well, why don’t we just finish on yet another answer that’s almost impossible to hint?

I thought there were some good clues here – 26 and 28a and 8d. My favourite, because it made me laugh, was 25d.


44 comments on “DT 28795

  1. Quite tricky I thought though enjoyable – thanks to the setter and Kath for her usual excellent blog. I liked 8d and 22d but my favourite was 5a.
    Kath, I think your first attempt to spell 20a was correct with letters 5-6 being a synonym for ‘as’.

    1. Thanks Gazza – oh dear – there’s nearly always one that jumps up and bites me. I wasn’t very happy about it at the time.

  2. 3* / 4*. This felt like an unusual style today and was quite tricky in parts although very enjoyable throughout.

    5a was my last one in and favourite, with 8d deserving a special mention.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath.

  3. 20a is the island with inside it the “o” of “oil” followed by a two letter synonym for “as” (e.g. “— large as life.”) This gives the usual spelling.

  4. A steady solve for me today until I reached the last two clues 5a and 8d-i bet I am not alone !.
    I was initially thinking of Morse until I remembered the ship and made the solve, with all the checking letters in 8a provided today’s d’oh moment.
    Liked the surface of 20a.
    When I looked up 22d it said a two legged dragon -is there another sort ?
    As RD says an unusual style but most enjoyable. a ***/**** for me too.
    Thanks all.

  5. I too got held up by the pair at 5a and 8d, but after solving them I was left with 2d which defeated me. Quite simply, I didn’t know that it was a climber.

    Without that one, it would have been solved in **/*** time. My COTD was definitely 13a, as it immediately brought too mind Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo played by Diana Rigg.

    Many thanks to the setter and Kath.

  6. I agree that this was an unfamiliar style hence it was hard to get on the wavelength but I did enjoy the challenge. 2d is a bit general. Stupidly needed Kath’s help to parse 8d (like it!) and 5d (topical as there is much current reference to that kind of state). Not sure 7d is really a condiment. Fav 26a with 8d running up after parsing help. Thank you Mysteron and Kath.

  7. Very nice. 8d gets my vote too. Many thanks to Mr X and to Kath for the review.

  8. Like others the unfamiliarity made the parsing, if not the solving , tricky for me. Unlike Tuesday though I found this an enjoyable puzzle. 8d made me smile once Kath helped with the parsing and 22d was the name of the hospital social club I was a member of many years ago, which was fortuitous. Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  9. My iPad informs me that my answers were all correct but needed the hints for 5a and 8d to reason why .

    Enjoyed the challenge and the Del Boy saying is my favourite , very clever .

    Thanks to everyone .

  10. Nothing to disturb the horses today. A steady solve with 8d being in pole position for me.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for her splendid review.

  11. I found this one quite tricky, with its fine clues providing an enjoyable solve. Too many good clues to isolate a favourite. 3* / 4*

    * 20a: I didn’t know you could spell the answer with an A till I checked in Chambers and it isn’t here, as pointed out in the comments above. My goddaughter (23), who’s getting into solving cryptics, contacted me to ask for a lucid, simple parsing because she wasn’t quite sure what the Greek island was storing (within it). So I texted: CRE [ O (the primary letter of oil) + SO (a synonym of as in the clue) ] TE = preservative. I assume that’s done the trick, as I’ve not heard from her since.

    1. PS. There’s a rather amusing clue in the DM cryptic today, which made me chuckle a bit: Throw out chamber pots in river (6).

  12. Excellent puzzle but like Kath I struggled to parse 20a having spelt it with two Os! My fav was definitely 5a, v clever!

  13. 22d: Is the picture of the dragon depicting the answer or the “wife” in the clue? :-)

  14. Whoever today’s setter is, I really like his/her style. A very enjoyable solve.

    Hard to pick out a favourite but I gave podium places to 5&28a plus 8&25d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for a great blog. Your choice of illustration for 26a made me smile.

  15. Struggled with this,needed Kaths hints with eight clues (thanks). If 27A had a , between the first two words it would of helped ,or would that make it too easy.

    1. Welcome to the blog, DaveG.
      It’s best to ignore all punctuation (and sometimes spaces) in clues. For example you can restructure “There’s a maypole dancer” as “Theresa May, pole dancer”.

  16. I thoroughly concur with Jane’s opening remarks. The bottom half of the puzzle took over twice as long to unscramble than the top half, but it was always an engaging tussle. I was convinced Brian was going to hate the puzzle’s complexities, so it was a pleasant surprise to read that he liked it.

    I ticked six clues – 5a, 10a, 18a, 2d, 8d and 25d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  17. Excellent puzzle for me and like others the top half more straightforward than the bottom half. However held up in NE corner with last two in 5a and 8d. Felt on this setters wavelength from the off and apart from a couple of hold up’s a thoroughly good solve. Surprised reading some of the other bloggers comments it went as well as it did for me, like Jane enjoyed this setters style.

    Clues of the day: 5a / 20a / 2d

    Rating 3* / 4*

    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  18. Excellent crossword, just beaten by the 5a, 8d combination. Both very clever clues. I guessed the wordplay structure of 5a, but my heart sunk somewhat when I saw that the definition was ‘subject’ as that can mean loads of things. 8d went straight in once I had all the checkers though I needed Kath’s hint to parse it. Very clever and cotd.
    Thanks all.

  19. I got the two long acrosses straight off and thought this was going to be a walk in the park, but not so. I struggled mightily with this one, never getting 5a despite all checkers, and missed some in the SW.
    I did enjoy what I solved, however, and chose 25d as fave.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for the hints that helped me complete it.

    1. P.S. We had a Vauxhall 22d when I was young! Remember that? I don’t think they even make Vauxhalls any more.

      1. Merusa, Vauxhall/Opel was sold by General Motors to PSA Group (Peugeot/Citröen) in 2017 but Vauxhall Astra is, I believe, still manufactured at Ellesmere Port.

  20. My favourite was 8d and my first one in.
    Funny how we all have different wave lengths.
    Finished it without a problem. Although I was confused by 2d. It couldn’t be anything else but I don’t really think of it as a climber, more a bush!
    Thanks Kath for the hints and thanks to the setter

  21. That was tough and I’ll put it down to a different setter wavelength. I always tick those I get right, and put a line through those I need a hint for. Today it was 18 ticks and 12 lines for the 30 clues, so clearly above my pay grade. Like Merusa, 10a and 26a went straight in, misleading me into thinking this was going to be easy. Favorite was 8d, very clever. Would not have got 5a in a month of Sundays. Thought it was something to do with either try or Morse, which made me smile when I saw Kath was the on board solver today.

  22. A little bit on the trickier side today – easing into **, maybe just *** for difficulty? Always interesting, I found this engaging from start to finish. Got a little stuck at the close on 2d, 5ac and 8d. The latter was my favourite clue today.

    1. Yes, of course it does – that’s because it’s the right answer – I was wrong – I screwed it up.
      Gazza said so, in his usual gentle and totally non-critical way, in the first comment of the day at 10.47. He also explained why.

  23. Did crossword and hints this morning and then went to London to fetch our younger Lamb – journeys both ways were awful.
    Tomorrow morning we’re heading off to Pembrokeshire to join the rest of the family for a few days.
    Sorry for the mess up with the hint/answer to 20a – it happens sometimes but seems to happen to me more often than to others!
    Knackered now so thanks to all for the comments and to the setter for the crossword and night night everyone. :yawn:

  24. Late on parade or as I should say ‘adrift’ – being an ex matelot :smile: An enjoyable puzzle with a lot to like, albeit a bit tricksy in places. No particular favourite but good fun nonetheless. Apart from the tease at 5a – should never mention Endeavour (Morse) without having John Thaw somewhere in the answer – especially when Kath is doing the blog :cool:

    Thanks to setter and Kath.

  25. Struggled with 19d as I thought it was DEFIANT but Fiat is Italian not French.

    1. The French refers to of. The French for of is de
      Then the fiat with the middle letter of Afghanistan inserted

  26. My chambers dictionary gives creasote as an alternative spelling for creosote, so presumably either could be regarded as correct if they parse OK.

    1. Welcome to the blog Jenny

      It would also need to fit with the checked letters from other clues, which is the case here – none of the other major dictionaries (Collins, ODE, SOED) support the alternative spelling.

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