DT 28796 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28796

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28796

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from Budleigh Salterton in South Devon, where I’m attempting to play some croquet this week. I’m rather short of time, so no pictures or music this week.

A certain amount of General and Scriptural knowledge makes today’s Giovanni easier to solve. But the wordplay is there to lead you to the answer.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


7a           Initially joyless, viewer’s good-humoured (7)
JOCULAR – The first letter of Joyless, followed by an adjective relating to the part of the body which may be called a viewer.

8a           Drink of disgusting cola provided by dad (7)
ALCOPOP – Anagram (disgusting) of COLA, followed by another informal word for Dad.

10a         One may get stuck into a literary work (9)
BOOKPLATE – Cryptic definition of something added to a printed volume, usually to assert ownership.

11a         Friend taking Ecstasy in passage (5)
ALLEY – A (political) friend with Ecstasy inserted.

12a         Knowing secret place, Rex escapes (5)
CANNY – A secret place (like a nook), with the R removed (Rex escapes)

13a         A game, a dance and a wee dram? (9)
HOPSCOTCH – An informal word for an organised dance, followed by the liquor contained in a wee dram.

15a         Goodness me, a new blemish in the country! (7)
MYANMAR – Put together an exclamation like ‘Goodness me!’, A (from the clue), an abbreviation for New, and a verb meaning to blemish or spoil, and you get a country in the Far East.

17a         PM facing test in respect of Boris Johnson at one time? (7)
MAYORAL – Put together the surname of the Prime Minister and a type of examination, to get an adjective relating to the position once held by Boris.

18a         Message to decomputerise? Jolly well tell me! (3,4,2)
OUT WITH IT – This could be construed as an instruction to remove everything to do with the abbreviation for computer technology.

20a         Smart police operation (5)
STING – Double definition, the second being an undercover operation to trap criminals.

21a         Thus rodent goes around edible plants (5)
TAROS – Put together another word for ‘thus’ and a rodent, then reverse the lot to get these tropical plants.

23a         Maybe they are no longer funny trees (9)
CHESTNUTS – Some deciduous trees which may also be old and familiar jokes (or crossword clues).

24a         Children’s author didn’t manage the whole lot (7)
RANSOME – … because (3,4) he managed only part?

25a         Articles exposing the top people (7)
LEADERS – Double definition, the first being examples of a type of newspaper article.


1d           Noble worker kept under by a cold bean-counter? (10)
ACCOUNTANT – Put together A (from the clue), Cold, a member of the nobility (probably foreign), and one of the usual worker insects.

2d           Secretive about work and quiet — or careless? (6)
SLOPPY – Put together the Latin abbreviation for a musical work and the musical symbol for quiet, then wrap a word meaning ‘secretive’ around the result.

3d           Person in pulpit shows power, one getting somewhere (8)
PREACHER – An abbreviation for Power, followed by a word for someone attaining a target.

4d           From which we may deduce Eva’s to keep some money by (4,2)
SAVE UP – This is a sort of reverse clue. The wordplay points us to a cryptic crossword way of producing the answer ‘Eva’s’ – bearig in mind that this is a Down clue.

5d           Reticent about Conservative traitor, about to become irritable (8)
SCRATCHY – Put together an abbreviation for Conservative, a traitor or renegade, and the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’, then wrap a word for ‘reticent’ around the result.

6d           Stone circle with china buried under it (4)
OPAL – A circular letter, followed by another word for the Cockney china.

7d           Escort from abroad undermining task is unhelpful ally (4,9)
JOB’S COMFORTER – Start with a task and the contracted form of ‘is’, then add an anagram (abroad) of ESCORT FROM, to get one of the friends of the Old Testament figure who was tested by God with all sorts of afflictions. These friends didn’t make life ay easier for him.

9d           Scientists working in school’s pigsty (13)

14d         Time at home, takes advantage of Victoria and others (10)
TERMINUSES – Put together a period of time, a word for ‘at home’, and a verb meaning ‘takes advantage of’ or ‘exploits’, to get Victoria or King’s Cross or …

16d         Report of man wounded in something through the letter box? (8)
MAILSHOT – Homophone (report of) another word for ‘man’, followed by one way in which he might have been wounded.

17d         Like sort of woman providing test — the female’s lovely but totally heartless! (8)
MOTHERLY – Put together a test of a vehicle’s roadworthiness, a pronoun for ‘the female’s’, and the first and last letters of LovelY.

19d         Journalist and boss gained unauthorised access online (6)
HACKED – Another word for a journalist, followed by an abbreviation for his or her boss.

20d         Day with vehicle going wrong way — should have used this? (6)
SATNAV – The short form of one of the days of the week, followed by the reverse (going the wrong way) of a type of vehicle.

22d         Unpleasant row (4)
RANK – Double definition, the second being perhaps a row of soldiers.

The Quick Crossword pun FERRY + KNOTTY = VERY NAUGHTY

29 comments on “DT 28796

  1. Slow start then surprised myself by completing that which turned out to be a game of two halves with more effort required in the West. Liked 18a, 24a and 7d. With poetic (pronunciation) licence the Quickie pun raised a giggle.

    1. Our back page crossword today squeezed out by the ever controversial Facebook which of course paid the DT handsomely for that privilege.

    2. Oh dear, me again. Just realised I failed to record my thanks for a happy solve to Giovanni and DT. 🤭

  2. 3* / 2.5*. I found this to be a reasonably enjoyable Friday puzzle but one with extremes of difficulty. The top half fell into place smoothly but parts of the bottom half put up quite a fight.

    10a was a long forgotten word that I dredged up from the recesses of what is left of my old grey matter, and 21a was a new word for me.

    The very topical 17a was my favourite and 18a deserves a special mention too.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Didn’t we see 10a not too long ago? I seem to remember it, maybe it was another puzzle.

  3. This was a good puzzle from G, with mostly fine clues and it was certainly enjoyable. I had to rely on the checkers and educated guesses followed by confirming research to get 10a and the second word of 7d. Fav: 14d. 3* / 3.5*

  4. Came unstuck at 14d …..could not get queens and monarchs out of my head.

    Otherwise OK, except for the parsings of 5d and 17d now explained by Deep Threat.
    18a made me smile.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  5. The contracted form of ‘is’ in 7d isn’t part of the answer, Deep, The ‘s’ comes from ‘escort’.

    Keep up the, oh so, splendid work.

  6. Pleasant puzzle with not too much of a challenge, especially once I had got V or VA out of my head for 14d; and for that misdirection, I award it top marks. Worthy of mention are: 15a, 21a, 23a and 7d. Thanks Don and DT.

  7. Usual top class puzzle from the Master with one odd word in 21a and one that I think we had before and I had forgotten in 10a.
    If you want a couple of obscure clues try the Quickie for an obscure French philosopher and a metric foot!

  8. Haven’t been solving the last few days due to standalone inc no longer importing the DT or Independent it would seem. I solve on iPad mini and tried the puffin browser but it’s really too small to see the clues and grid satisfactorily. I had a look at the other apps suggested on site but they appear to be no longer available. Does anybody use a different app? Otherwise I guess I’ll have to print the puzzle from the DT site which is a nuisance.

    1. Jon, I too have lost access to the Toughie and Independent on the Crosswords app which is really annoying. It is such a usable app.
      I can open the puzzles on the DT site in Puffin but there is no keyboard and if you print the page it comes out at 6x4inches which is pretty useless, so like you I am reduced to firing up the computer to print off the site. That’s fine if I am at home but not much help when travelling.
      Hopefully the promised site redesign will have a proper ipad interface- if the Guardian can do it how hard can it be!

      1. you need to got to settings to activate the keyboard, it appears as a little icon on the screen.

  9. Quite a struggle for a relative newcomer, but got there in the end. Last one in was 24a – he was old fashioned when I was a child 70 years ago!

  10. Solid Friday fare from the Don with only the edible roots requiring confirmation from the BRB. Anyone know what flavour they have?

    Top spot went to 24a – made me smile.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – hope you enjoy the croquet.

    1. It’s a starch, mainly used in Hawaii. I think it’s what we call cassava in Jamaica.

    2. I found this very benign. Last in was 17d, I knew what it had to be, I keep forgetting that dratted test.
      My only nitpick is 14d, surely the ending should be “..ini”?
      I liked too many to choose a fave, all good.
      Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, my Mum loved her game of croquet.

      1. My understanding is that all of those Latin derived words ending in -us or -um can validly be pluralized with an -s in English. Referendums and Terminuses are good English and it’s just a matter of your preferences..

  11. I quite like not having pictures/graphics as they often give the game away before you’ve been able to read the hints!

    1. Welcome to the blog Sue

      I believe this site is unique in a) providing hints as opposed to analyses and b) concealing the answers with a spoiler. A few pictures here and there brighten up the post and there are no plans to change that.

      1. Oh good, on the very tough days it is the pictures clues I go to first. Then if I still can’t solve after that, I know I am in deep trouble. Would very much miss them.

  12. Enjoyed this puzzle from Giovanni with a bit of everything in it although religious clues are not my strong point. As Deep Threat commented all the clues could be solved from the wordplay. Main sticking point was NW corner with 10a and 7d the last two in, not really familiar with 7d and it took a bit of electronic help to get that one sorted. Some excellent clues with quite a few smiles, a fair challenge.

    Clues of the day: 13a / 17a / 5d / 20d

    Rating: 3* / 4*

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  13. I thought this was a somewhat curate’s egg of a puzzle with the answer to 22d appearing for the third time I think in the last couple of weeks.
    Even so still a pleasure to complete; 13a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  14. Well, hardest for ages for me as I just struggle hugely with Giovanni’s puzzles. Much of the wordplay goes over my head with a large ‘woosh’.
    I have never heard of 7d or 10a, and the wordplay as unfathomable to me and hence remained unfilled.
    Hopefully soon Giovanni’s puzzles will no longer be a mystery.
    Thanks all

  15. Busy day for me . Another club bowls match this morning followed by hospital appointment so crossword delayed .

    Got through quite a few of the across clues before starting but then the answers flowed steadily . Like some others , I experienced the same 2 new words and could not entirely parse 17d .

    Favourite , by a nose , 18a .

    Thanks to everyone .

  16. O thing to scare the horses here.
    Bit of an issue with 15a but I could be wrong.
    I thought that the Americans called it that and we call it Burma
    Still never mind, Burma wouldn’t fit.
    Just like clematis for the climber yesterday!
    Favourite 17a even though I am sick of politics

  17. Enjoyable, and pretty straightforward. I spent a quarter of my time on 23ac and 14d, but still finished */** for difficulty. Fun while it lasted.

  18. This must have been on the benign side for a Giovanni as I was able to very nearly finish unaided. Just the 21a plants and 24a author stumped me. Never heard of either of them. Mind you, not as tough as 6d in today’s Quick. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat for an enjoyable puzzle.

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