DT 28828 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28828

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28828

Hints and tips by an ignoble Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Good morning on this fine Miffypops Monday. Only one sporting score mattered this weekend. Coventry Rugby Club beat Wasps by a ridiculous amount. This result (55 – 14) has had me smiling all weekend.

After two consecutive weeks of Dada today’s puzzle is from our puzzles editor Chris Lancaster. It certainly has a different feel and style. There is a lot to enjoy here and a few laughs along the way.

The hints and tips and rambling thoughts are here to help if you need them. The definitions are underlined and the answers lie beneath the greyed out boxes. Illustrations may or may not be relevant to the answer.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Assistant‘s strange idea on leave (4-2-4)
AIDE-DE-CAMP: An anagram (strange) of IDEA is followed by a verb meaning to leave a place suddenly or secretly

6a    Report from suburban GP (4)
BANG: An included or hidden word. The answer is hidden within the words of the clue. This is indicated by the word “from”

9a    Staff includes great lecturer on international language (10)
MACEDONIAN: Begin with a verb meaning to staff a company. Insert a top-quality University teacher split 3,3. Add the abbreviation for International. Job done.

10a    Mostly chicken gangland boss (4)
CAPO: Begin with a castrated domestic cock fattened for the pot. Remove its last letter (mostly) to leave the head of a crime syndicate. Especially the mafia.

12a    Something to eat caught by Windermere maybe, not using line (4)
CAKE: Begin with the abbreviation for caught. Add what Windermere is an example of in The Lake District but minus the abbreviation for the word line. It is nice to be offered a morsel so early on in the solve but this is like eating one’s pudding first

13a    Make drunk brew a beer in it (9)
INEBRIATE: Anagram (brew) of A BEER IN IT

15a    Distortion in sound response (8)
FEEDBACK: Double definition. The first being a distortion of sound through an amplified system and the second being information and reaction to something which should lead to improvement. I wouldn’t bank on anything you say in the comments here today having any chance of improving Miffypops blogging style. The lad is beyond redemption

16a    Prisoner in China (6)
INMATE: Begin with the word IN which has been generously gifted to you by today’s setter. Add the word indicated by the word China in Cockney Rhyming Slang. The word needed doesn’t actually rhyme with China. It rhymes with the word plate.

18a    Flood in French part of the Middle East? (6)
ENGULF: Begin with the French for the word IN. Add an area of the Middle East which when I was a nipper usually had the word Persian preceding it. If not Persian the Arabian was used. Now it is merely preceded by the word THE. Our beautiful language is poorer for this.

20a    Upset a model during PR for film award (5,3)
PALME D’OR: The highest award at The Cannes Film Festival is an anagram (upset) of A MODEL within the letters P and R

23a    American politician? (9)
STATESMAN: This politician from the land of Coca Cola can be split 6,4 to describe any male from the land of Coca Cola

24a    Founder that’s normally given a plug (4)
SINK: A word meaning to founder (of a vessel, fill with water and go underwater) is also a basin which needs a plug to hold water

26a    Sharp answer by detectives (4)
ACID: Use the abbreviation for answer. This is followed by the abbreviations for the Criminal Investigation Department

27a    Insult team playing with time nearly up (4-6)
LAST-MINUTE: Anagram (playing) of INSULT TEAM

28a    Pound, perhaps, for old book (4)
EZRA: Here lies the body of EZRA Pound. Lost at sea and never was found. A book of the bible and a poet

29a    Mike cannot let out somebody who’s unhappy (10)
MALCONTENT: Begin with the letter represented by the word Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet. Add an anagram (out) of CANNOT LET


1d    Host‘s mad when bishop leaves (4)
ARMY: Find a word meaning mad or crazy. Remove its initial letter, the chess notation or abbreviation of Bishop

2d    Say what captain might do to end innings (7)
DECLARE: A word meaning to say or proclaim something is also what the captain of a cricket team does when he wants his team to stop batting before they have lost all of their wickets

3d    Avoid some problem — John Wayne invariably managed to do it (5,1,6)
DODGE A BULLET: Are you sitting comfortably. Then I will begin. Long ago and far away in a land of make believe people made films know as westerns where the good guys wore white and galloped about on horses shooting the bad guys who wore black. One such star of these films was a chap known as John Wayne who starred in every single western ever made and who played exactly the same part in all of them. He managed never to get shot despite the millions of shots fired at him in hundreds and thousands of films. Therefore he managed to avoid problems in such a manner as suggested by this clue.

4d    Persuade mixed-up novice to pen new chapter (8)
CONVINCE: An anagram (mixed up) of NOVICE is placed around (pens) The abbreviations for the words New and Chapter

5d    Person complaining Lisa’s often behind this, outspokenly (6)
MOANER: Lisa here is the Lisa painted by Leonardi Da Vinci. The answer is a homophone of the first part of the name of this painting

7d    Like two graduates in part of America (7)
ALABAMA: Begin with a French expression commonly used in English meaning like or in the style or manner of. Add two graduates. One who has just gained an arts degree and one who has studied the arts to a higher level

8d    What might make a fool somebody unwanted (10)
GOOSEBERRY: The name given to a third person in the company of two others especially lovers is also the name of a fruit which can be made into a dish known as a fool

11d    Broadcast teaches one to leave before operation (12)
TRANSMISSION: Begin with a word that means teaches (especially in sport) Remove the letter that resembles the number one (one leaves). Add an operation or assignment

14d    In pursuit of small bear in Cologne (10)
AFTERSHAVE: Begin with a word meaning to be in pursuit of as in chasing something. Add the abbreviation for the word small. Now add a word meaning to bear as in to carry responsibility for

17d    Attractive cast acting with me (8)
MAGNETIC: Anagram (cast) of ACTING and ME

19d    Tradesman after golf not as hardworking (7)
GLAZIER: Begin with the NATO phonetic alphabet letter represented by the word Golf. Add a word meaning idler or more unwilling to work.

21d    Depression on River Plate (7)
DENTURE: Do not be fooled into thinking this is anything to do with The River Plate. That is a nice misdirection from your setter which gives the clue a good surface read. Begin with a noun meaning a slight hollow in a hard surface. Add a river found in North Yorkshire

22d    Animal kept in Blenheim Palace (6)
IMPALA: Our second hidden word of the day lurking within the letters of the clue and playing hide and seek with you

25d    Batter vegetable according to the radio (4)
BEAT: A word meaning to batter or thrash sounds like a vegetable which is grown underground

Quickie Pun: stained+handy+liver=stand and deliver (your money or your life)

The Highwayman

By Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard.
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened. His face was white and peaked.
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter.
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.


He did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.
But they gagged his daughter, and bound her, to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.
They had bound a musket beside her, with the muzzle beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding—
The red coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still.

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

. . .

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


48 comments on “DT 28828

  1. Lots to enjoy from our editor this Monday morning. Fairly straightforward, very enjoyable with plenty of fun to be had throughout. I particularly enjoyed the John Wayne clue, and 10a for its brevity and wit, but my favourite has to be 29a for the name check.

    Thanks to CL and the ignoble one.

  2. 1.5* / 3*. Light Monday fun with only 29a, my last one in, creating a slight hold up. I think I was only aware of 10a as something I put on my guitar from time to time and needed my BRB to confirm it could also mean a gangland boss.

    Although I understand not enumerating words to show possessive apostrophes, I don’t think it is fair not to indicate them for foreign words as in 20a which surely should be (5, 1’2).

    7d deserves a mention as it gives me an excuse to include this:

    14d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to CL and MP.

  3. Nothing to write home about today and even the weather forecasters have let us down – for warmer and dry read colder and wet – brrrr. 20a doesn’t really ring true without an apostrophe and not keen on 15a or 16a. Faute de mieux 8d amused the most. Quickie pun not good. Thank you CL and MP.

  4. An enjoyable start to my work week (we don’t have a holiday until next Monday) completed at a gallop – **/***.

    I think the favourite has to be 3d – both for the clue and GMoLI’s explanation!

    Thanks to CL and GMoLI.

  5. Most amusing if a little off the wall in places. Right, that’s enough said about MP. (Must have taken you ages to type out that poem – hence the delay?)

    As to the crossword – very enjoyable. 21d (and therefore 24a) slowed up completion a bit – kept trying to start with “Down”. Presumably someone will complain about 20a. No stand out favourite but I’ll go for 14d for the surface and the image.

    Thanks to CL and MP.

    1. The poem was copied and pasted. The delay came from having family over and drinking late into the early hours. I don’t see the puzzle until I wake up. (Puzzles subscribers have access from midnight I believe. I am usually an early riser but not so early today.

  6. Nice start to the week 😃 */*** Favourites 8 & 21d Thanks to MP and to Chris

    I must confess that I thought the first four letters in the answer to 9a was the “staff” 🤔 which worked for me

  7. Well done to Coventry and to Chris for setting a great puzzle

    My lol ( grand kids will be proud of me) was 21d so is my COTD . Lots of good clues though , eg 16a , and last one in was 28a .

    Enjoy the Bank Holiday and thanks to everyone .

      1. The cuckoos at The Ricoh could have sent any team they chose. They came to but clipped their ears clipped and spanked their bottoms. The scoreline says it all.

        1. In the mid 1970s’s , David Duckham , perhaps Coventry’s most famous player , played in the official opening of Penygraig RFC’s new ground . After scoring a typical marvellous individual try , it was announced over the loudspeakers that the try was scored by Dai Duckham , much to the amusement of the large crowd and the great man himself .

          1. David was always known as Dai in Wales. His biography was called Dai For England. A marvellous player who made space whenever he touched the ball.

  8. Thank you Mr Lancaster for a lot of fun. My only problem was putting “occidental” into 9a. That meant , that despite thinking that 1a was what it was, I wouldn’t put it in because I was looking for something else. That serves me right for not working out 9a properly. Loved 16a. At least I remembered the Cockney rhyming slang. Also liked 14d. Thanks for the review MP. The poem somehow reminded me of Walter de la Mare’s “The Listeners”.

  9. Quite tough for me but struggled through, enjoyable though on completion.
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  10. Galloped through this enjoyable puzzle except for 1D (why you may well ask), and 28A. I sneaked a look at the hints for those two. Loved the poem,thanks for that and the hints,thanks also to the setter.

  11. Ideal Bank Holiday crossword for me; nothing too taxing. I liked 5d; yes I know it has been around often enough but I just amused me today.
    Thanks to CL, and to MP for the review and poem. It’s been a while since I read that one.

  12. Usual tedious Monday puzzle needing lots of electronic help. Never heard of Ezra Pound so 28a was tough.
    Tough and little fun.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. I got that early being familiar with the poet. Was convinced this was going to be one of those puzzles using all the letters, but it was not to be.

    2. Praise be to Nero’s Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
      Everybody’s shouting, “Which side are you on?!”
      And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain’s tower
      While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers
      Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
      And nobody has to think too much about Desolation Row

      You should remember the poet from Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row Brian

  13. No problems today, though I will need MP’s hints to parse a couple.
    For some inexplicable reason the SE corner held me up for a while, loi was 17d with some nice misdirection.
    Never did get Rugby, played at school where the school bullies used to use me as a punch bag, quite enjoy watching though, but I need lots of help to understand the laws.
    Thanks MP and the editor.

    1. Nobody really understands the laws Hoofit, in my opinion most of them need changing as they spoil the game (you need not look further than the scrum). Oh and the fascination of some guy kicking the ball between 2 sticks is another anachronism.

  14. Lots of fun with 14d winning CotD by a nose.
    With thanks to CL and MP.
    Fans of The Highwayman might want to seek out the video Fleetwood Mac made to promote their single ‘Everywhere’.

    1. Got off to a quick start, but just when I was beginning to feel quite smug, I ground to a halt and hard to work harder to fathom out the remaining squares. The language held me up at 9a, as did the misery guts at 29a (having failed to see that it was an anagram). Last one in was 21d having been totally led astray by the misdirection. Oh well. Enjoyed anyway. Thank you to Miffypops and setter.

  15. What is it with four letter answers? Needed the hints for 24a and 28a and only got 10a because we have one at Christmas. Thanks to Mr L and MP.
    P.S. Why doesn’t Batman have a turkey at christmas? Because he’s got a 10a.

  16. A slow start, suddenly speeding up as checking letters appeared, and then held up by the SE corner.^

    A very nice selection of clues.

    Last one in 21d – which for the nice misdirection, and the inclusion of a genuinely very pretty river, I make my COTD. 8d was also very drole.


    Many thanks to CL, and MP, (needed for parsing 11d, and 9a (which I had no idea about – but it couldn’t be anything else)

  17. have recently become aware of your excellent blog
    and will be u sing it. Just a snippet of info for mr mp
    Phil Ochs recorded a guitar version of that poem
    on I aint marching any more album in 1965 have a
    good day yall

  18. More tricky for me than I thought it should be after a good start that slowed to a halt in SE corner. Had no idea about the film award for 20a, and never heard of the poet also being useless on religion no chance with 28a, thanks to MP for the explanations. Both clues being the last two in using electronic help. Enjoyable puzzle with some good clues and a couple that needed a bit of a nudge but managed to complete in the end.

    Clue of the day: 3d / 21d

    Rating: 3* / 3.5*

    Thanks to MP and Mr L.

  19. Been busy with the roofer trying to fix my leaks that have made themselves apparent by our recent monsoons.
    Good thing that this was on the easier side of the spectrum. Solved 1a and 1d right away, I always like when they go in first.
    I liked a lot, but I think 8d is fave, last in, I’ve been fooled by it more than once.
    I also liked the John Wayne and the poet at 28a.
    Thanks to CL and to M’pops. Loved the poem, reminded me of schooldays!

    1. Good luck with the roof, hopefully fixed with us now entering the most active part of hurricane season, as NPR was delighted to inform us this morning. As if we can forget.

      1. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed, I dread those shutters being up and always darkness in the house. The price we pay for being warm in winter. At least we didn’t suffer from fires like the west coast or the floods on the east.

        1. Agreed, I’ll take hurricanes over earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and floods any day. At least we get plenty of warning to prepare and can gather with family, friends and pets.

    2. The thought of you being busy with the roofer Merusa might be misconstrued. I am sure you mean that you are climbing ladders and sitting on the roof nailing shingles or slates into place.

  20. A lovely , light and enjoyable puzzle , but over too soon .
    1a , 3d , and 8d were among my many likes .
    Thanks to Miffypops for the blog and to the setter .

  21. Late AGAIN today.
    I was so badly on the wrong wave-length – don’t know why but I just was – a busy day and being out of routine are my excuses.
    9a would be a good example of how bad it was – I got the answer from the checking letters – I saw the first four letters so that was my ‘staff’ and then it got worse and worse – oh dear!
    I missed the anagram indicator in 27a.
    Oh dear again – really not my day.
    I’m quite sure it was a good crossword so thanks to whoever set it and to MP and night night.

  22. Last again! The Highwayman took me back 65 years to Junior School. I have always remembered & loved that most evocative line:-

    ‘The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor’.

    After all these years it often comes back to me when I am driving in the moonlight.

    And loved todays cryptic. Only had to look at hints to parse 28a, as had not thought of the poet as the double definition. Enjoyed assembling some of the solutions, 9a,29a &14d.
    Thanks to all, especially to Miffypops for The Highwayman.

  23. I really enjoyed this puzzle and the very entertaining guidance from Miffypops. Thank you and the setter both.

  24. Great puzzle. Ezra was my last one in by some margin. Unlike Brian I had heard of Ezra Pound but the pounding in my ears was either money or pounding the other sort of dough. Good misdirection I thought.

  25. I didn’t get round to doing this one till last night (Tues) and it was mild, fun and enjoyable while it lasted. 2* / 3*

  26. A definite thumbs up for that sometime stretching, often witty, puzzle ! especially liked 21d & 3d ! Many thanks for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon !! :)

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