DT 28829 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28829

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28829

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****


Hello everyone.  Today's puzzle felt a bit different to the Tuesday norm.  Filling the grid with correct answers was relatively fast (a triple gallop, by one metric used here).  But fully parsing everything extended the solving time and required some head-scratching.  Since that brain exercise is what I most enjoy about cryptics, I have assigned a high enjoyment rating.  I don't know if this a new setter, or an existing setter trying something new, but I'd be happy to see more puzzles like this one.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions, cryptic 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    Lively theatrical performance by university in Florida (7)
PLAYFUL:  Something performed in a theatre is followed by an abbreviation for university inserted in the abbreviation for Florida

5a    Put up with  belly (7)
STOMACH:  A rather straightforward double definition

9a    Old dog biting Charlie? Result! (5)
OCCUR:  The abbreviation for old and a worthless dog are containing (biting) the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet

10a   Doctor strict here -- one leaves on this? (9)
STRETCHER:  An anagram (doctor …) of STR[i]CT HERE without the Roman one (one leaves)

11a   What one might be for life? (10)
IMPRISONED:  A cryptic definition where life refers to a punishment

12a   Count mackerel you caught (4)
RELY:  The answer is hidden (caught) in the remainder of the clue

14a   Opening batting, stepped with gusto out of rear of pavilion (12)
INTRODUCTION:  Put together a short crickety synonym of batting, stepped or walked, and a noun meaning gusto with one occurrence of the last letter of PAVILION deleted (out of rear of pavilion)

18a   Where one might find 13 lorries? A boat at sea (12)
LABORATORIES:  An anagram (at sea) of LORRIES A BOAT is where one might find the answer to 13d

21a   Make a note of following Conservative -- one's likely to put one's foot in it (4)
CLOG:  Record or make a note is following an abbreviation for Conservative

22a   Type of jazz -- it is entertaining on conventions (10)
TRADITIONS:  Put together a contraction describing a type of jazz,  IT from the clue, and IS from the clue containing (entertaining) ON from the clue

25a   Learning it? A dunce unfortunately retains nothing (9)
EDUCATION:  An anagram (unfortunately) of IT A DUNCE contains (retains) the letter resembling zero (nothing)

26a   Shape  country (5)
STATE:  A double definition, with shape as in 'The Shape I'm In'…

27a   Looking for Neptune, by the sound of it (7)
SEEKING:  The answer is a homophone of (by the sound of it) a (3,4) phrase giving the god Neptune's occupation

28a   Most effortless snooze, ultimately? Sleep back to front (7)
EASIEST:  The last letter (… ultimately) of SNOOZE is followed by a midday or afternoon sleep with the back letter of the word moved to the front of it



1d    Benefit for female with sex appeal (6)
PROFIT:  Concatenate a short word for for, the abbreviation for female, and a usual suspect for sex appeal

2d    Welcome suitable clothing -- cold church (6)
ACCEPT:  Suitable or appropriate is containing (clothing) both the abbreviation for cold and the abbreviation for the Church of England

3d    Ferries go off carrying new people from abroad? (10)
FOREIGNERS:  An anagram (off) of FERRIES GO containing (carrying) the abbreviation for new

4d    Cowboy might hold one woman with nothing on (5)
LASSO:  A girl or young woman is followed by (withon) another appearance of that letter resembling zero (nothing).  Been a while since I used these 'cowboys'…

5d    Certain to cut bottom -- put on plaster in resignation (9)
SURRENDER:  A synonym of certain or definite without its last letter (to cut bottom, in a down clue) is followed by a verb meaning 'put on plaster'

6d    Reluctant to ignore learner's swear-word (4)
OATH:  An adjective meaning reluctant or unwilling, with the usual letter signifying a learner driver deleted (…to ignore learner)

7d    Strong Greek holding shelves evenly (8)
ATHLETIC:  Greek from the region around Athens containing (holding) the even letters of sHeLvEs (shelves evenly)

8d    Annoying prince at home? Good (8)
HARRYING:  Fuse together a recently-married prince, the usual suspect for at home, and the abbreviation for good

13d   Small insect -- it's amazing for biologists, perhaps (10)
SCIENTISTS:  The clothing abbreviation for small is followed by an anagram (… amazing) of INSECT IT'S.  The '…, perhaps' indicates that the definition is by example

15d   This could create slip-up from pupils coming home (9)
RETURNING:  The answer is an indicator for a common wordplay operation that could make PUPILS into SLIP-UP (remember that punctuation is not entered in the grid)

16d   Mainly large ice's shifting to make these (8)
GLACIERS:  An anagram (shifting) of all but the last letter of (mainly) LARG[e] and ICE'S

17d   Certain sailor with stringed instrument below in case (8)
ABSOLUTE:  Stick together a usual sailor, a short word for 'in case', and an old stringed instrument (shaped like a half a pear according Chambers and Collins, although the Oxford Dictionary of English has it shaped more like a halved egg)

19d   Find large Mexican pancake flipping excellent at first (6)
LOCATE:  Assemble the clothing abbreviation for large, the reversal (flipping) of a thin Mexican pancake, and the initial letter of EXCELLENT (excellent at first)

20d   What follows launch of a perfume? (6)
ASCENT:  A from the clue followed by a synonym of perfume

23d   Closely spaced poles in river (5)
DENSE:  A river in Aberdeenshire, Wales, Cumbria, Galloway, Ireland, Queensland, and Tasmania contains the abbreviations for the two geographical poles of the Earth

24d   Vehicle for hire turning up at times on island (4)
TAXI:  Amalgamate the reversal (turning up, in a down clue) of AT from the clue, the letter representing multiplication (times), and an abbreviation for island


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun and rewarding solve.  I particularly liked the two semi-&lit clues 10a and 16d, along with 14a, 28a, and 15d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  BOARDS + TIFF = BORED STIFF

57 comments on “DT 28829

  1. Recovered from a bad start by putting in “factual” at 1A but soon on the right track after realising mistake but could not parse everything (eg 22a extra i).
    Liked 9a , 21a with 27a favourite .
    Will read hints to explain some of the answers but my iPad confirms all is correct .
    Thanks to everyone .

  2. Must be on the setter’s wavelength today as I found it quite straightforward. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  3. I know it’s Tuesday but this puzzle fell into the Monday category for me, I think I had a good day as I put down a */*** on completion.
    No obsolete words, agree with Mr K that some of the parsing needed careful thought.
    I liked 27a for the surface and 15d when I eventually saw the word play-thanks to all- liked the cat pic !

  4. Any blog that includes The Band singing The Shape I’m in will get a thumbs up from me. The puzzle didn’t take much solving but was enjoyable while it lasted. Ta to the setter and ta to Mr Kitty

  5. 3/4 of this was a doddle but a bit of head scratching required in the SE corner. The mexican pancake had slipped the confines of my brain and I missed the obvious anagram in 13d. Comme ce comme ca. Thanks to Mr K and the setter. Time for lunch.

  6. I had to wave the white flag at the parsing of 15a – a pearler….as is the stonking pic for 5a.

    I think we now know who ate all the pies.

  7. I agree that this was different from our usual Tuesday fare and very enjoyable. The one clue I’d take issue with is 4d – where the wordplay (in a down clue) surely leads to ‘olass’ rather than the actual answer.
    It’s difficult to choose ‘likes’ from so many candidates – I’ll pick 14a, 27a and 5d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Nice to see you Gazza. Long time no speak (my fault, I don’t come on that often these days)

      1. Hi pommette. Nice to see you too. I hope that pommers isn’t working you so hard that you don’t have time to comment!

      1. Thanks, silvanus, but I don’t like it. To quote Prolixic’s esteemed guide:
        In a down clue, solvers “A on B” should mean “A on top of B” and solvers will feel rightly aggrieved if the setter uses “A on B” in down clue to mean word B followed by word A.

    2. Hi, Gazza. I pondered the 4d parse for a while before concluding that I was OK with reading ‘with nothing on’ as ‘with nothing joined on’.

    3. Hi Gazza, I read 4d as “Cowboy might hold one ……woman with nothing on” , so it looked fine to me. If the “o” was first, would it have been “ woman with nothing on top “ ?

      1. Hi Florence,
        In a down clue “on” as a positional indicator means ‘on top of’ (i.e. preceding) so for me ‘woman with nothing on’ gives lass with the O ‘on it’ or ‘preceding it’. This is obviously not the setter’s intention in this clue.

        1. Hi, Gazza. I still feel that ‘X with Y on’ is not always the same as ‘Y on X’. For example, in ‘walking around with shoes on’

          The construction we saw today has featured before in the Telegraph. These were all down clues:

          Picture at home with the radio on (5) INSET (ST 2417)

          Siren in mythology with garland on (7) LORELEI (Giovanni in DT 26402)

          Catch girl with nothing on (5) LASSO (DT 26956, blogged by crypticsue, who labelled the clue a chestnut)

          Catch a young lady with nothing on (5) LASSO (Rufus in DT 27248, so evidently Sue was right)

          Seen quickly, a label with name on (2,1,6) AT A GLANCE (Excalibur in Toughie 159)

          1. Thanks Mr K. In the light of all your evidence I’ll have to, reluctantly, wave the white flag.

  8. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, there was lots of inventive clueing. I liked 27a and 23d, but my favourite was 28a. Was 2*/3 * for me.

  9. Very enjoyable and clever. As some others have mentioned, completing the grid was easy enough but parsing gave more thought in many cases. 14a defeated me. Very pleased with myself when the penny dropped for 15d. So I will go for that one as my favourite.

  10. 2* / 3*. Three quarters of this enjoyable puzzle fell into place quickly but I got slightly held up in the SE corner with 26a & 19d my last ones in.

    Joint favourites today: 14a & 27a.

    Many thanks to Mr R and Mr K.

  11. Very enjoyable xw today. Got 15a from the across clues but don’t ask me to explain😕Thanks to the setter and Mr🐱😜

  12. Good puzzle today – thoroughly enjoyed by both of us. 3*/4*
    As everyone has said 15d was our last one in – we knew the answer but just couldn’t parse it – so thanks for the hint Mr K.
    Also struggled to parse 26a and work out where the “so” came from in 17d.
    Think we were being a bit slow :)
    LOVED the cat picture – mind you I just love cats!
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  13. Not much of a work-out today but enjoyable enough while it lasted. As with others the SE caused a slight hold-up. Amazing how many hinting contexts for moggies can be found. Disgusting illustration for 5a – heart attack candidate? Needed help to parse the clever 15d. Fav for its simplicity was 27a. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  14. Strange crossword easy to solve but quite a few answers torturous **/*** 😬 Favourites however were 1 & 27 across 😃 Thanks to Mr K for his explanations and to the unknown setter. 15d and 26a were not to my liking 😳

  15. I agree with our blogger that parsing a few of the clues took longer than the solving process. That said, it was pleasantly enjoyable without being overly taxing, with some clever, innovative wordplay. I particularly liked 15d.

    Thanks to our Tuesday setter and Mr K.

  16. I agree with Mr K’s rating and the parsing. A couple of ah-ha moments added to the enjoyment. Thanks to all.

  17. Re 23d any bloggers from North Wales to Chester might be miffed at the slight to their River Dee.

    1. Hi, John. Apologies for the unintentional oversight. I have updated the hint to make it more inclusive. :)

  18. I don’t believe it – caught out by a lurker. Again!!

    Very enjoyable, all raced in, at close to record time, until I got to 12a.

    The only four-worders that fitted, off the top of my head, (and with the clock for the end of lunchtime ticking away), were VERY SEXY LEVY. And as well as being an oxymoron, none of them fitted anyway.

    But with a word like Mackerel in the clue, it should have been obvious that something lurkyish was going on. But it might just as well have said Red Herring for all my brain was up to. Aaaahhh.

    Thanks to setter, and to Mr. K for parsing – which I needed for 14a, (I didn’t know that unction could mean that, but even if I did, I probably would have missed it), and for 15d, which I make my COTD.

  19. I really enjoyed this, straightforward in the main but lots of innovative clues to savour. My pick of a very good crop were 14a and 18a.

    Many thanks to both the setter and Mr K.

  20. Like others found the parsing difficult, quite a lot of the clues solved but unable to completely parse them so for me not a really satisfying solve. Used Mr K’s blog to try and unravel them so thanks for that Mr K. Last in 19d and held up mainly in SE corner. A different but interesting puzzle that for me had some very good clues but others that felt strange even after solving. A good work out for the old brain cells anyway.

    Clues of the day: 11a / 28a / 7d

    Rating: 3.5* / 3*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  21. Like others I enjoyed this but agree not all easy to parse. Did not manage it so far as 15d concerned although answer obvious. My last one in was 26a. Liked 21a for simplicity. Had the checking letters not been so good I doubt I would have finished. Thank you setter and Mr K.

  22. I agree, super puzzle with many penny drop moments. I never did understand why 15d was right, so thanks for the hint Mr. K and it’s also my fave. I also liked 27a a lot, and many more.
    Thanks to setter, I wish you’d out yourself and let us know who you are, and to Mr. K for hints and pics – guess which ones I liked best!

  23. This somehow didn’t feel like a Daily Telegraph crossword, I can’t explain why, it just didn’t.
    As several others have commented a lot of the answers were straight forward but justifying them was harder. Took me a while to understand 15d even with Mr K’s help but when I eventually did I thought it was very clever. Going for 3*/2*
    Thanks to setter and reviewer

  24. Really enjoyed this one which I found much easier than yesterday’s slog. Some nice clues but my fav was 27a with MiD for 15d.
    Thx to all.

  25. I knew that 18a was an anagram, and filled in the answer. Just not sure where the 13 fits in. I’m clearly missing something. Fairly straightforward otherwise. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  26. We also struggled with the parsing of 14a as not familiar with that definition of gusto. Good choice of pic for 16d we thought.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. I visited Fox Glacier years ago, and it is sad to see how far it has retreated since then. At least the long distance view in the pic I used is still rather majestic. Remarkable how close that is to the sea.

      Chambers has ‘gusto’ listed as a meaning of unction, but that ODE link is the closest thing I could find in the online dictionaries. It was new to me as well.

  27. My last entry was 12a. I am staggered that it defied me for so long! It has to be therefore my favourite. A very interesting and different crossword today. An excellent challenge and more like this I hope will make further appearances.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

  28. Wasn’t the toughest puzzle, but not the easiest either. But agree milder than most Tuesdays. Sometimes got the answer before I understood why. Two or three were too convoluted for me. And I spent far too long trying the think of a country name that sounded like a shape … But an enjoyable exercise, so thanks to setter and Mr K.

  29. Very enjoyable and right on wavelength. I look forward to many more from this setter.
    15d was brilliant, after I had read the hint!!!
    Thanks Mr.K and setter

  30. I struggled – and am still struggling – with 11a and 15d. Even with the excellent hints (for which much thanks) I had to reveal the answers. Disappointing when, like most Here, I found the rest fairly do-able. C’est la vie…

    1. Hi, Lulubelle. I’m happy that you found the hints mostly useful. I spent a long time looking for something complex in 11a, but in the end I concluded that it’s just a rather mild cryptic definition. 15d, on the other hand, is clever and original, so I tried to write a hint that would still leave some room for a penny drop. If the parsing of 15d is still unclear, comparing the letters in the two uppercase words in the hint, and their ordering, might help.

    1. Welcome to the site, Scottie.

      In answer to your question, this is the blog for the back-page cryptic. That Toughie blog is found here. Note that there are links to all recent blogs in the box on the far right near the top of the page.

  31. Just got round to finishing during an attack of insomnia! But like many struggled with parsing. 15d 10a 26a. Had oscar for 9a, having first had chaos, which obviously did not help. Not the recommended cure for insomnia but very interesting and enjoyable. Love the kitten pictures Mr K.
    Thanks to all.

    1. Thanks, CookieB, glad that you liked the pics. I hope that you got back to sleep once this one was all sorted.

  32. Thanks to everyone who commented on this puzzle and thanks again to the setter.

    It’s notable that the list of clues chosen above as favourites is rather long – that is always the sign of an excellent puzzle.

    I hope we get more like this every now and again.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Brian.

      The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary includes this definition under “so”:

      2 On condition that, provided that; so long as, if only. Usu. with that. arch. OE.b In the event that, in case. rare. OE.

      The example they give for usage b quotes Tennyson: “But, So thou dread to swear, Pass not beneath this gateway”

  33. Didn’t like the SE corner – still don’t understand the answers even with your explanations – but thanks anyway

    1. Hi, Mike. I’m happy to provide further explanations if you can be more specific about where you’re stuck.

  34. I did this one last night (Tues) and found it a little tricky, with mostly good clues and an enjoyable solve. I was happy enough with 4d, but glad I don’t have to explain why – in my usual mangled way. So thanks to Mr K and others for doing it so eloquently for me. A very nice puzzle! 3* / 4*

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