DT 28823 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28823

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28823

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday back-page blog.  Today we have a solid puzzle filled with smooth surface readings.  I encountered three expressions that were new, probably because I'm foreign, but all gettable from the wordplay.  Which is exactly how it should be.

The results of last week's survey on our professions and passions are available under the following spoiler box.  The responses show that we are a very diverse community, considerably more varied in our backgrounds than I would have guessed. Thanks to the 300+ readers who responded.

Click here for the results of the professions and passions survey

Click on the image to see a larger version in a new browser window


In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and definitions overlapping wordplay.  Clicking on the Answer buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Grouches about popular TV drama shown over a short period (10)
MINISERIES:  Some grouches or killjoys are wrapped about a usual word for popular

6a    Parrot in part of London house (4)
ECHO:  Put together the (2) postcode for part of central London and an abbreviation for house

10a   Some inhabiting other block (5)
INGOT:  The answer is hiding as some of the remaining characters in the clue

11a   Theatrical term defined by old coach, retired (5,4)
STAGE LEFT:  An old horse-drawn coach is followed by retired or gone

12a   Celebrities greeting foremost of passengers leaving flying machine (8)
STARSHIP:  Concatenate a synonym of celebrities, a short informal greeting, and the first letter of (foremost of) PASSENGERS, to get a science fictional craft

13a   Fury involving new cooking stove (5)
RANGE:  A synonym of fury containing (involving) the abbreviation for new

15a   Pope not travelling in this type of vehicle? (4-3)
OPEN-TOP:  An anagram (travelling) of POPE NOT

17a   Ruler exercises right during more rioting (7)
EMPEROR:  Usual abbreviations for exercises and for right are contained by (during) an anagram (rioting) of MORE

18a   Everyone in theatrical performance is superficial (7)
SHALLOW:  A short word for everyone is inserted in a theatrical performance

21a   Person used in musical piece forgetting number's opening (4-3)
CATS-PAW:  One of Kitty's favourite musicals is followed by a minor chess piece minus (forgetting) the opening letter of NUMBER.  A new expression for me

23a   Travel by car from Palermo to Rome (5)
MOTOR:  The hidden answer can be extracted from the remainder of the clue

24a   Photograph game killed by a rifle, perhaps (8)
SNAPSHOT:  Join together a shouty card game and a word meaning 'killed by a rifle, for example' (perhaps)

27a   Criminal hit back about it being unfair (1,3,5)
A BIT THICK:  An anagram (criminal) of HIT BACK is wrapped about IT from the clue.  A second new expression for me

28a   Wilhelm's OK after port wine? (5)
RIOJA:  How Wilhelm or his German compatriots might say OK is placed after a port in South America

29a   Wife dropped from golf club side (4)
EDGE:  The abbreviation for wife is dropped from a type of golf club (not a wood or an iron or a putter)

30a   Insufficient money for a rich biscuit (10)
SHORTBREAD:  Fuse together insufficient or lacking and an informal word for money



1d    Servant, male help (4)
MAID:  Glue together the abbreviation for male and help or assistance

2d    Lingerie item near item worn under a collar (7)
NIGHTIE:  An old synonym of near (as in "The end is …") and a band of material worn under a collar

3d    Instrument cheers knight outside (5)
SITAR:  A short informal synonym of cheers has the title given to a knight wrapped around it (outside)

4d    Fruit grew cool underneath (7)
ROSEHIP:  Grew upwards, with cool or trendy underneath (in this down clue)

5d    Former spouse, large in size, a model (7)
EXAMPLE:  Assemble the usual former spouse and an adjective that could mean large in size

7d    Daily, not as smutty? (7)
CLEANER:  A straightforward double definition

8d    Stealthily moving around her own plot, nervously (2,3,5)
ON THE PROWL:  An anagram (nervously) of HER OWN PLOT

9d    Elderly and infirm agent wearing wrong ID, etc. (8)
DECREPIT:  The usual sales agent is contained in (wearing) an anagram (wrong) of ID ETC

14d   Study problem with partner, supremely skilled (10)
CONSUMMATE:  Amalgamate a short archaic word for study, a problem in arithmetic, and a partner

16d   Suffer, strange to relate (8)
TOLERATE:  Just barely an anagram (strange) of TO RELATE

19d   A large object in parliament (7)
ALTHING:  Gather together A from the clue, the clothing abbreviation for large, and a generic object, to get Iceland's parliamentA third new expression for me

20d   Was Greek character's husband spiteful? (7)
WASPISH:  Link together WAS from the clue, a (2) Greek letter, and the abbreviation for husband

21d   Teatime treat that's exceptionally fine (7)
CRACKER:  A double definition.  A third would be this underrated band who went down so well in last Tuesday's Toughie blog.  We'll try something a little quieter this time

22d   Anger may be permissible in show (7)
PROVOKE:  Permissible or fine inserted in show or demonstrate

25d   Drop  brush (5)
SCRUB:  Another double definition.  Here's a third definition (the one hour BBC video of this Royal Albert Hall concert, found here, is recommended)

26d   Outlaw died in gang (4)
BAND:  Outlaw or prohibit followed by the abbreviation for died


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Lots to like here, with my favourite today being the semi-&lit 15a.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  TOOL + EFT + FEAT = TWO LEFT FEET

69 comments on “DT 28823

  1. A very straightforward puzzle for me today, my time just creeping into */**.

    I did know one of Mr K.’s new expressions, but the other two were news to me also.

    Many thanks to the setter and the aforementioned.

  2. Not much challenge or indeed fun today – not even a candidate for Fav however Quickie pun gave a lol moment. 1a is a new one on me but there was a good surface there. Thank you Mysteron and Mr.K.

  3. Excellent puzzle. Just about XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. 21a was an expression I hadn’t come across before, but could work it out. 28a was gold medal winner, with 1a and 20d worthy of a mention in dispatches.

    1. I’m afraid that I’ve had to redact your comment to remove the reference to the online points bonus, because it violates BD’s policy that we not mention solving times.

  4. 28A is wunderbar and was last one in .

    Fun crossword and over too soon . More please !

    Thanks to everyone.

    Very interesting survey results . Surprised that maths is top of the pops .

  5. This one went in at a steady, untroubled pace. It was fairly enjoyable, with some good clues. Fav: 28a. 2* / 3*

  6. It was all right, and I did complete it, but I made really heavy weather out of it.
    No excuses, although I’ve never heard of 21a or 19d.

    Well, I have now……

    I liked 15a.

  7. Why on earth is ‘cracker’ a teatime snack?
    It is something eaten with wine and cheese surely, and ‘teatime’ usually denotes something sweet. Am I missing something?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Jeremy.

      Yes, it’s a pretty loose definition. Not the only one in this puzzle, because I would not regard a 12a as a flying machine.

      1. Not sure there – I can see the logic of a starship being a machine that flies through the air or the vacuum of space, but describing a sugarless dry biscuit as a treat is frankly weird – I wonder what a meagre teatime would look like on that basis – sawdust sandwiches?

        1. Hear hear only the British would consider the cracker a treat. We do like our treats a bit plain i.e. “Rich Tea” which must be up there as most boring biscuit ever.

              1. I agree but definitely pre-supper with a glass of claret rather than between 4-5pm with a cup of tea, and the cracker is merely the foil rather than the treat in itself!

    2. Cheese and crackers with some sort of chutney or pickle is a great favourite of mine for supper which I haven’t had for over thirty years because Saint Sharon won’t prepare it for me. I have never met anybody as stubborn as she is.

  8. Going for a **/*** today, good steady solve with no ‘iffy’ clues.
    Liked 21a,my favourite musical too.
    11A reminded me of Snagglepuss-exit stage right even !
    Thanks to Mr K for the usual amusing blog-liked the ‘Wasp’
    Excellent Quickie Pun.

    1. Shakespeare beat Snagglepuss by a few centuries to the exit – pursued by a bear too!

  9. last one in was 19d had worked it out but didn’t realise the significance for a long time. I love the hints but try to make it a rule that I don’t use them until I have less than 5 clues to solve. Many thanks to all concerned for a useful website

    1. Beardiemum?

      That name has got the imagination going……or is it a mother telling an ursine creature to call it a day.

      Either way, it’s a belter.

  10. I’m surprised that Mr K gave this 3* for difficulty, I thought it was gentle to say the least although I have to admit 21a was completely new to me too. Enjoyable enough without having that something extra that yesterday’s had. Thanks to the aforementioned Mr K for the excellent review and to the setter.

  11. How can yesterday’s (which had me mostly stumped) be 1* and today’s (which I polished off in next to no time) be 3*

    1. Because assigning difficulty ratings is more art than science. I try to estimate how the puzzle compares in difficulty with the benchmark puzzle I surveyed a while ago, combined with some additional input from the early solving times appearing on the puzzle site leaderboard. Looks like I might have been a bit off the mark today, although the early commenters are usually those who found the puzzle straightforward. The Monday ratings are assigned by BD based, I believe, on his solving times, and he’s quite good at solving cryptic crosswords.

  12. Bit of a romp today. No hold ups and the all too rare experience of starting at 1a and just filling in the answers as I went. Fun, but over way too soon. No real favourites.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Mr K for the review.

  13. For me this was the most trouble-free solve in a while. Very Mondayish. This is the third time I’ve seen 19d in recent crosswords, although not on the back page. I didn’t know it before then but it’s now nicely reinforced.

    Thanks to the setter and blogger.

  14. A nice and pleasant solve. I also hadn’t heard of 21a used in this way. It’s used in sailing to describe a slight puff of wind on a calm day, it’s also the name of my boat.

    Thanks to the setter and for the usual amusing cat references from Mr K.

  15. I’d go along with *** for difficulty. 21a was held up because I couldn’t for the life of me justify 21d – once I’d bunged that in reluctantly 21a became clear. 19d surfaced as we were in Iceland earlier this year and learned a bit about their history – strange what sticks in your head. Thanks to Mr K and the setter. I haven’t seen the mountains for days and the sun is blood red due to smoke.

  16. It has been said already but that was a pleasant brainteaser. Several biscuit and theatrical references and some new expressions for me too but they were well clued and therefore not too difficult. Thanks to Mr K for the blog pics and music and Setter for the workout.
    I too missed the survey but I was away seeing one of my fave bands perform for the last time of a 45 year career.

  17. I thought that this was very pleasant and not too tricky. I was also baffled as to how 21d would be a teatime treat (I did briefly wonder whether the answer could be something pulled at Christmas or ignited on 5th November – but neither seemed to work). I spent a happy few minutes wondering how 14d would be clued in the Private Eye crossword.
    Top clues for me were 1a and 15a. Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

      1. The best (not terribly rude) one I could come up with was:
        Tory’s problem with partner is what to do on honeymoon (10)

        1. My effort is unprintable and made (even me) blush.
          Now I’m in the bizarre situation of trying to think of a cryptic way to describe a cryptic clue.

          Think it’s best I just leave it out!

            1. Sorely tempted, as it made me laugh out loud, but a bit too much for the good folk of BD’s community.
              You’re a moderator, so you can, should you wish to, mail me, and I’ll share privately.

          1. Never managed to complete the pirvate yee crossword but I would expect “Ugandan relations” to be in there somewhere

  18. Very enjoyable puzzle today, just caught out by a couple, 21a and 19d, both new to me also. Despite the *** rating I finished over breakfast, yet struggled mightily with yesterday’s *. Clearly due to the wavelength gods. COTD was 6a, just pipping 30a.

  19. I solved this early this morning before driving to London. I thought it was one of the easiest puzzles I have encountered for some time. Maybe it was the early start so my brain wasn’t befuddled or filled with the rubbish it normally collects during the day. I cannot remember a favourite as it was so long ago.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  20. I didn’t find this easy, but it was certainly easier for me than yesterday’s. Bunged in the Icelandic Parliament then checked it was a word.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

    As to the survey, I was really surprised to see so many mathematicians and IT people. Who’d a thunk it? Not me anyway.
    Languages I can understand.
    The business and finance people I imagine getting into crosswords on their daily commute from the leafy suburbs to the City.
    I would have predicted that the journalists would have pitched up a lot higher….so I’ll hold off on the predicting for a while.

    Thanks for the survey…interesting stuff.

    1. I think you’re right. It surprised me but I think you hit the nail on the head about financiers commuting!

      1. That’s an interesting point. Perhaps I’ll survey solving location – home, pub, commuting, work, etc.

  21. Much enjoyment with this one, this was right up my strasse. The only thing I had to look up was 19d, didn’t know that but very interesting. So glad to have a day when I don’t have to tear my hair out, may we have more of this setter?
    I liked so many, how to choose a fave. Maybe 21a or 8d? Can anyone guess why?
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. K for the fun.

  22. Thank you setter and Mr K for a good puzzle and amusing hints but 21a threw me completely! The survey results are both interesting and surprising … I thought literature would top the list; Mr K please can you tell us how big the sample size was?

    1. Glad you enjoyed the survey. When I collated the data last night there were 307 responses.

    2. I am a Maths man and got in to crosswords as I see it as a logic test.

      I also took Latin A Level, even though I was rubbish at it, as, again, I loved the challenge of reordering the words.

      I was hopeless at modern languages.

  23. Very enjoyable. Just completed on train. Checked the parliament having found the correct letters. I did not know I knew 21a but fetched it from the recesses of the brain. I have circled 11 12 and 24a and 20 and 22d. Last two in 3d and 1a but managed without hints. Nevertheless enjoyed reading them

  24. Enjoyed it and found it rather gentle. Possibly I was on the setters wavelength. 28a was my favourite. Ta Mr K.

  25. I was going to raise the cracker thing earlier but I forgot…

    Has the setter, by any chance, lived in the US? Their Graham cracker is a bit like a digestive, which is great with tea. Whether it or a Rich Tea is the better “dunker” is a matter of opinion.

    1. That is an excellent suggestion about the Graham cracker, Bluebird. I have felt for a while that one of the Tuesday setters has lived in, or is at least very familiar with, the US because we do see sometimes see answers and expressions that I would associate more with the US than the UK.

    2. The Graham cracker of course came about because trade description (or rather the US equivalent) deemed it could not be proven said “cookies” actually aided digestion.

  26. Needed to check the 19d parliament but it was buried somewhere in the depths of my memory. The rest all slotted together smoothly with plenty of smiles along the way.
    A real surprise at the results of the survey. I would have guessed that Maths and IT would be much lower in the ranking.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  27. Stuck in the NE corner for a while as I’d put Soho into 6a.I had to google 19d. Many thanks setter and Mr K.

  28. Stuck at those two new words 21a & 19d this evening. Only knew 21a as a knot from long ago in Boy Scouts & as gentle breeze over water. 19d is not in my OED, (will have to ask Father Christmas for a BRB). So Googled it instead and found it was Icelandic. Learning a bit more every day and keeping my very old brain cells active. Otherwise managed quite quickly by my standards!
    Thanks to all

  29. Hi
    I would just like to thank you for your fantastic site! I am a mad keen words person loving scrabble and bridge. I have always wanted to solve the telegraph cryptic crosswords but without your help I would not manage it. I love the way you explain the clues and I can only look st the answers if completely stuck. Nevertheless I have a long way to go! Please don’t stop!
    Ps people tell me there are some days or compilers that are easier for beginners like me? Please can you give me the lowdown
    Thanks again

    1. Welcome to the site, Claire, and thanks for sharing your story. We’re glad that you find the site helpful.

      I’ve been told that the back page puzzles are supposed to increase in difficulty through the week. However, since the Monday setters changed after Rufus’ retirement earlier this year, Mondays have often been more difficult that Tuesdays. But I’d say that in most weeks one of those two days is the least difficult. Difficulty is very much a personal thing though – a solver armed with the right general knowledge and who likes clues that don’t take any liberties with the usual cryptic conventions may find Giovanni’s Friday crosswords the most straightforward.

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