DT 28814 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28814

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28814

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a sunny but fresher morning.

It took me a little while to get going on this week’s puzzle from Giovanni, and 10a was a new word to me. But, as usual, once the puzzle had been solved, it was difficult to see what had caused the hold-up – though I thought that the definition in 23a was a bit of a stretch.

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. 


5a           See 11 Across

7a           Mistaken to have new leader? One has a point (5)
PRONG – Start with a word meaning ‘mistaken’, then change the first letter (new leader).

9a           Hairstyle augmented by the French item of jewellery (6)
BANGLE – A hairstyle with a square-cut fringe followed by the French definite article.

10a         Shrub man with special pole found by railway (8)
BARBERRY – A man whose place of business is denoted by a red and white striped pole, followed by an abbreviation for ‘railway’.

Image result for barber's pole Image result for barberry

11a         & 5 Across Elder assessing tot in difficulty — reason for optimism? (4-6,7)

13a         Completely dry? You’ll find some bar ideal (4)
ARID – Hidden in the clue.

14a         Anglicans might get upset? No need for one prolonged row! (8,5)
SLANGING MATCH – Anagram (upset) of ANGLICANS M(i)GHT, with one of the Roman numerals for one removed.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a         Sitting by river see sport (4)
POLO – An Italian river followed by ‘See!’.

Image result for polo

17a         Normal ‘mister’, a man out of the ordinary? (10)
MAINSTREAM – Anagram (out of the ordinary) of MISTER A MAN.

19a         Big flow of water about needing a sailor to do something (8)
CATARACT – Put together the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’, one of the usual crossword sailors, and a verb meaning ‘do something’.

20a         Hesitation about meat presented in show (6)
REVEAL The Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’ The reverse (about) of a word expressing hesitation, followed by a type of meat.

22a         Start of sunny spring? Smashing! (5)
SWELL – The first letter of Sunny followed by a spring.

23a         Left-looking journalist with nastiness for all (7)
DESPITE – Reverse (left-looking) the usual crossword journalist, add some petty nastiness, and you get a word meaning ‘for all (that)’ or ‘notwithstanding’.


1d           Any number in depression squealed (4)
SANG – The algebraic expression for ‘any number’ inserted into a word for a depression more often seen as a verb.

2d           Acting as guide for us, the fellow leading band (8)
USHERING – Put together US (from the clue), the pronoun for ‘the fellow’, and a band or group of people.

3d           Shown mercy, revolutionary soldiers rushed outside (6)
SPARED – Reverse (revolutionary) the initials of a regiment of gunners, then wrap a word for ‘rushed’ around the result.

4d           One sees weather coming? Take care moving into wild forest (10)
FORECASTER – Anagram (moving) of CARE with an anagram (wild) of FOREST wrapped around it.

5d           Summer month’s upset, having an absence of fertiliser (5)
GUANO – Reverse (upset) the short form of a summer month, then add ‘an absence of’.

Image result for guano

6d           It’s bad — tetanus, unfortunately, is confirmed (13)
SUBSTANTIATED – Anagram (unfortunately) of IT’S BAD TETANUS.

8d           Knight wearing gaudy decoration (7)
GARNISH – The chess notation for a knight inserted into another word for ‘gaudy’.

12d         Head of enterprise talked about workplace being expanded (10)
ELABORATED – The first letter (head) of Enterprise and a word for ‘talked (in public)’, placed either side of the short form of a scientist’s workplace.

14d         Works hard penning article — choice phrases required? (7)
SLOGANS – A verb meaning ‘works hard’ wrapped around one of the forms of the indefinite article.

15d         Suspicion of haze, result of dampness (8)
MISTRUST – Another word for ‘haze’ followed by what happens to iron when it gets damp.

17d         It’s miserable, suffering from a disease in childhood? (6)
MEASLY – Something which is miserable or inadequate, which could also describe the state of a child suffering from what used to be a common ailment.

18d         Knowing there’s a conflict over recreational drug (5)
AWARE – A (from the clue) followed by an armed conflict  and a one-letter abbreviation for an illegal recreational drug.

21d         Hide in depression, reportedly (4)
VEIL – This sounds like (reportedly) a sort of depression in the landscape.

The Quick Crossword pun MAULED + OVER = MOLDOVA

48 comments on “DT 28814

  1. 4* / 2*. I found this the toughest puzzle of the week by far with nothing particular to lighten it up. Thanks to the setter and to DT.

    P.S. Great to see that England have taken two wickets already at Lord’s.

  2. Did anyone else try to find out if ‘bargeery’ is a shrub or was it just me?
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  3. After yesterday’s struggles I found this a relative cakewalk, although a couple held me in the SE corner. Nothing particularly sparkling, but I did enjoy 12d. Like our blogger, I am not sure about 23a.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  4. Excellent, as usual, from G. Fav: 10a – a rare plant for the answer and an obscure description of a male hairdresser in the clue! 3.5* / 4*

    1. The plant isn’t that rare: it’s just that I (and possibly others) know it better as berberis.

      1. Yes, of course – I should have said that it’s a rare/obscure word to me (a non-gardener) instead of a rare plant.

  5. Like DT, it took me a little while to find a way into this one, but was relatively plain sailing after that.
    I didn’t know 10a by that name – only as berberis (as mentioned above).

    I’d have been happier with 23a if the clue had ended with ‘that’.

    Quite liked the surface read of 12d but couldn’t see beyond ‘mulled over’ for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – always amusing to hear the operatic cats’ chorus!

  6. Def the toughest of the week and also the toughest Giovanni for a while. Loved 15d, great clue. However, I thought 28a was a bit below par and not come across the shrub in 10a.
    Thx to all

  7. For only 26 clues, this was a bit of a head scratcher but very enjoyable nevertheless and completed at a fast canter – **/****.

    I am not convinced that the first part of 9a is a hairstyle in its own right, rather I consider that it is a feature of a hairstyle; but, what do I know?.

    Joint favourites – 12d and 15d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  8. Yet more delightful Friday fun from DG. NW corner was last to go in. 5d a new one on me and not too keen on 17d referring to someone with the disease. Fav was probably 19a and also liked the surface of 10a clue once the parsing penny had dropped and 17d is clever. TVM Giovanni and DT.

  9. Well, I’m against the grain, having found this the easiest Giovanni for a while.
    Wavelength…….or, for some reason, starting with the long central crosses..?

    I have 2 different 10a’s in the garden, Darwinii and Thunbergii, both very common garden centre offerings – I often go for the everyday terms. I will say that they are a pain to maintain, unless you like being scratched on a regular basis. If I ever move house they’ll be history.

    My favourite today were the anagrams in 14a and 6d.

  10. Not quite as difficult as yesterdays puzzle for me and am going for ***/***.
    I thought the 11/5 anagram was difficult because of the three words, eventually got there in the end and this enabled me to solve 5d as my final clue- which took a while to parse with the short month!
    Liked 10 across and the ‘special pole ‘.Thanks all-still raining in London.

  11. Far too many obsufcations for me. Enjoying much needed rain. Garden coming to life again – plant buying soon. Whoopee

  12. Often when commentators state that they’ve found a puzzle on the easier end of the scale, I’ve found it more difficult. Today seems to be the reverse. I completed this one over breakfast, then went out for coffee with friends which extended into a lunch. I’m with Bluebird on this one. It really is a mindset thing. Thank you DT and Giovanni.

    1. The book you recommended has arrived. May be a little while before I can read it due to impending invasion by family and other visitors, but it will be something nice to curl up with when peace returns.

  13. Did not think this was difficult as finished in a reasonable time with SW corner holding out the longest and 10A needing verification.
    Good short list for favourite but , with 15D giving biggest smile , must be my COTD .
    More rain in South Wales but not complaining .
    Thanks to everyone .

  14. I still haven’t cottoned in to how you know this is by Giovanni? You are obviously all far better attuned to the nuances than I am! Nice crossword, I like anagrams and the long ones give lots of help. I love the cat duet. Still raining here, doing the garden so much good but there will be much weeding needed next week.

      1. “How can you identify the setter?” is possibly the second most Frequently Asked Question.

  15. Another really tough puzzle and not as much fun as yesterdays difficult one, much more of a 14d ‘re working hard. The answer to 19d baffled me until confirmed with BRB? Last in 12d not thinking of lab = workplace etc? Anyway, again somewhat out of my depth although completed without DT hints, and again needed some reference and electronic help. Not an oustanding puzzle or a really satisfying solve for this blogger, although I do agree the anagrams are ace and they did give me a foothold, pleased to have got the 5a / 11a combination.

    Clues of the day: 14a / 5d

    Rating: 4* / 2.5*

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.

  16. ***/*** for me today . Don’t understand 17d answer as always thought that word meant “small ” in a derogatory sense ( “That’s a m***** bit of cake ! ” ) or just “mean” as in ” I’m annoyed about the rain despite cheers from you benighted southerners.”

  17. I’m with Bluebird and Florence here, though I didn’t find it “easy”, it wasn’t too difficult. I did need a hint to get me going again in the SW where I hit an impasse, but it soon came together nicely.
    Didn’t know 10a but easy to work out as we’ve had “man with pole” before.
    I did like the 11a/5a combo, but 12d was also fun.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the enjoyment.
    Glad you’re getting rain, I know what drought is like for a garden.

    1. Hi Merusa,
      Just come to the end of my two weeks of birthday. I would definitely recommend that to you as the way forward!

      1. Sounds great! I’ll have to wait for February, it’ll be my 81st, you get a bit overwhelmed at that age!

        Re the cat’s chorus, the best version is the boys’ choir in Spain, so funny!

  18. We did wonder whether the the definition for 7a was at the beginning or end of the clue until we had 3d to confirm the starting letter. The summer month in 5d is of course a winter month for us although it is more spring-like this year.
    A well crafted clever Friday puzzle once again.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  19. Yes, it took me a while to get going but thereafter I found it was fairly plain sailing. 15d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  20. Very enjoyable, SE corner a bit of a struggle, I parsed 14d correctly but could not for the life of me find the word for ‘works hard’ after that ok.
    Thanks all.

  21. While I never find Giovanni’s puzzles easy, this was a relief after yesterday, when my attempt was abysmal. Only ever heard of 10a as Berberis so that didn’t work, and never heard of someone with measles, per 17d, as being measly. I have heard of a measly portion, but that wasn’t the clue here. As 11a and 6d went in quickly I thought I was in with a chance today, but the two referenced held me up. and I always forget about 19a. Thanks to Deep Threat for the hints. Hope to do better tomorrow.

  22. ****/***. Defeated by the SW corner. Very tough puzzle overall although enjoyable where it did fall in place. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

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