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DT 28831

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28831

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** / ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa, where an exceptional summer is fast drawing to a close. After a couple of days in the 30° C range (with the humidex approaching 40° C), we are about to experience some slightly cooler and less humid conditions.

As for the setter, I can confidently say that today’s offering is clearly not from RayT — but beyond that I will not venture. I found the puzzle to be an enjoyable exercise and initially progressed through it at a good pace. However, the final half dozen or so clues proved more challenging and pushed my difficulty rating toward three star territory.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   None but the elite runners break a leg (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST — what those in the theatrical world really mean when they say “break a leg” could denote only the top echelon of runners (or practitioners in any other field of endeavour)

6a   Jazz singing that’s musical, back to front (4)
SCAT — move the final letter of the name of a musical to the beginning to get a style of singing for which Ella Fitzgerald was renowned

9a   Traditional dish — price regularly on the house? (7,3)
COTTAGE PIE — a regular sequence of letters from PrIcE follows (on in an across clue) a humble abode

10a   False witness found entering Mali, arrested (4)
LIAR — … and now hiding out in the final two words of the clue

12a   Number of passes in test OK, case under review (6,6)
SEASON TICKET — an anagram (under review) of IN TEST OK CASE

15a   Love a swimmer appearing stupid (6)
OAFISH — string together a nil tennis score, the A from the clue, and a finned swimmer

16a   Dash of milk goes in to make a meal (5,3)
CREAM TEA — place the initial letter (dash) of Milk into a word meaning make or contrive and finish with the A from the clue

18a   Singers incorporating a thousand quavers (8)
TREMBLES — these singers are male sopranos and they are grouped around the Roman numeral for one thousand

19a   In Urdu oddly, map showing hilly area (6)
UPLAND — another term for a map is enveloped by the the odd letters of UrDu

21a   US state was riveting, I gathered (4,8)
WEST VIRGINIA — an anagram (gathered) of WAS RIVETING I

24a   Awesome  trim (4)
NEAT — a double definition in which the first is a rather dated bit of slang

25a   Struggled to get words out when rushed to grasp line, say (10)
SPLUTTERED — a word denoting rushed or hurried containing L(ine) and a verb meaning to say or speak; the answer means the same thing without the letter L

26a   That woman had somewhere to keep garden tools (4)
SHED — a subjective pronoun denoting “that woman” followed by the contraction for had

27a   Green tin I’d stirred, food added (10)
INGREDIENT — an anagram (stirred) of GREEN TIN ID


1d   Bend tree that’s lacking length (4)
ARCH — remove L(ength) from the name of a deciduous coniferous tree

2d   Discussed money for old instrument (4)
LUTE — this old stringed instrument sounds like some ill-gotten gains

3d   Sky is where it is, for pity’s sake! (7,5)
HEAVENS ABOVE — a figurative name for the sky and where you would find it

4d   Chest in which devil locks preacher, ultimately (6)
BREAST — insert the final letter of preacheR into another name for a devil or cruel person

5d   Bowlers  the tops? (8)
SPINNERS — a double definition in which the second denotes some children’s toys

7d   Two animals in willow on the field? (7,3)
CRICKET BAT — two flying animals combine to produce a bladed piece of sporting equipment

8d   Death etc portrayed finally in destruction of star actor (5,5)
TAROT CARDS — insert the final letter of portrayeD into an anagram of (destruction of) STAR ACTOR

11d   Saddened by failure, released from employment? (12)
DISAPPOINTED — the answer could whimsically be interpreted as meaning to have had one’s assignment to a position revoked

13d   Work’s nifty after breaking for a short rest (5,5)
FORTY WINKS — an anagram (after breaking) of the first two words in the clue

14d   Pudding to partake of, fragrant thing (10)
AFTER SHAVE — a British term for pudding or dessert followed by a less pretentious way of saying to partake of or eat

17d   Reptile burying head of prey in the earth (8)
TERRAPIN — inter the initial letter of Prey in a stretch of land

20d   Alcohol taster, we hear? (6)
LIQUOR — the answer sounds like someone who takes a taste of an ice cream cone, perhaps

22d   Right time to regret (4)
TRUE — T(ime) followed by a verb meaning to regret or feel sorry

23d   Firstly, every day I’m trying to change (4)
EDIT — the initial letters of four words in the clue; as Miffypops would challenge you, I’m sure you can find them yourselves

I thought the surface readings in this puzzle were, almost without exception, especially smooth. For podium places, I will nominate 1a, 16a, and 23d (certainly one of the smoothest clues of this type I have encountered) with the laurels going to 16a.

Quickie Pun: MINI+HA-HA=Minnehaha (from the poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

59 comments on “DT 28831

  1. Fairly straightforward but nothINg memorable
    Don’t quite understand 12a . I get the anagram and the overall meaning but why number and plural

  2. Yes, definitely not a Ray T, I would say, because:
    1 – No Queen
    2 – I positively whizzed through this.

    Very enjoyable nonetheless, with 11d as COTD.

    20d was not only LOI, but also misspelt by me….(an E instead of O – and I can’t even claim that I was thinking of Grand Marnier, or the like, because the spelling would still be wrong).

    Thanks to Falcon and Setter.

        1. Doing The Quickie will sharpen your capabilities of solving from the definition and seeing how it fits the wordplay

    1. Not a RayT because we have nine instances of multiple word answers like 1ac. All of RayTs are single word answers

  3. Finished in a reasonable time for me without any major holdups .

    Liked 1A best and raised an eyebrow to the two “animals” in 7D .

    Last one in 20d which brought a smile .

    Thanks to everyone .

  4. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite gentle, but lots of fun clues. 15&20a made me laugh, but my favourite was 13d. Was 1*/3*for me. Off to the garden now to carry on clearing.

  5. Over fairly quickly, but enjoyable. Not sure why the word ‘runners’ is needed in 1a, but I suppose it helps the surface reading. Liked 11d and 20d. Thanks to all.

    1. It’s interesting to compare the 1a clue with this clue from yesterday’s Toughie for the same answer:
      Good wishes given by every expert? (3,3,4)

  6. 2* / 3.5*. This was a very enjoyable puzzle with generally brief and precise cluing with smooth surfaces. My only hold up was with 1a which I eventually bunged in without understanding the “break a leg” reference. Thanks to Falcon for decoding that, but what a bizarre expression. There are some strange folk in the theatrical world.

    Lots to like here but I’ve no particular favourite today.

    Many thanks to the Mysteron and to Falcon.

  7. Very mild workout today. The Toughie was an absolute breeze as well. So, either I have turned into a genius overnight or the crossword editor has been feeling very generous. I liked 1a, having heard the term before. Apart from that, not particular favourite.

  8. Thanks to the setter for today’s workout. Thanks to Falcon for the review. Your mention of me in the hint for 23d is absolutely spot on. We are here to guide solvers to an answer. Not to spell it out. As I said to Kim Kardashian when she guested on my blog 28355 let them work it out for themselves

    DT 28355

  9. Bit of a difference to yesterday, this was completed at a gentle pace, no brain ache and no referrals to reference books.
    Thanks to Falcon and the mystery settet.

  10. Another fun run today starting with 1a which was a bit of a bung-in but now fully appreciated thanks to Falcon and likewise 16a – one lives and learns via DT Cryptics. 25a is a bit iffy. Animals (?) in 7d. 11d was my Fav with several close runners-up. Many thanks Mysteron and Falcon.

    1. A British television game show from the 1950s divided the world into three categories — Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?

      1. That would seem to mean that some kinds of human, for instance, might also have been indicated in 7d clue – surely not?

  11. This was an average-ish back pager with generally good clues, a few of which needed some extra head-scratching to fathom. Certainly enjoyable enough. 2.5* / 3.5*

  12. With the assistance of some recent repeats, this was a Monday puzzle on a Thursday and completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 2d, and 20d – and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  13. Yes, I noticed those repeats – 14d as recently as Monday, which my daughter came up with after I had a senior moment.

    Enjoyable nonetheless. Liked 11 and 13d.

  14. I’m dying to know the story behind the pic in 4d, Falcs, which is hilarious.

    She is walking. So, you must have taken the picture from afar and zoomed in….assuming it was you who took it, of course….or is it, indeed, a picture of you?

    Is there a tale to tell?

    If not then make something up…

    1. She’s just some hot chick that I once picked up at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).

      1. Truth be told, it is a random photo from Google Images. I didn’t even recognize the tower as the CN Tower until Miffypops mentioned it. I think he may be right for once and that the picture may be taken from the CNE grounds. I also think a bit of photoshopping was involved.

        1. Right for once? I love the little comments you write about my reviews on your own site.

          1. Well, Miffypops, it is not unknown for your tongue to be firmly planted in your cheek. I initially thought your comment might just have been a facetious remark but looking more carefully beyond the obvious distraction in the picture, it could very well be the CN Tower (although I am still not 100% certain).

            1. I seem to recognize her as a swimmer – back stroke of course as a crawl would be impossible 😇. The puzzle was very straightforward for a Thursday but enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review.

  15. Pretty straightforward this morning with no real delays. 18a was my favourite from a good selection of nicely crafted clues. Fun to solve and enjoyable throughout.

    Thanks to our Mysteron and Falcon.

  16. I found this easier than yesterday though not quite as enjoyable. 20d invoked a smile when the penny finally dropped therefore it’s my COTD. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the excellent review. (By the way could you ask my permission if you intend to include a photo of my wife next time ahem)

    1. Lordy, Lordy.

      It’s a shame that this isn’t a jumbo crossword and the clue wasn’t 4d but 36d.

  17. Nice and straightforward */*** 😃 Favourites: 1a, 7d & 14d 😉 Thanks to Falcon for amusing blog and to the unknown Setter

  18. An enjoyable puzzle that was fairly solver-friendly, despite having considerably fewer anagrams than yesterday.

    My favourite clue, like Senf, was 9a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  19. I notice that it’s a Cornish 16.

    Looking at 26 reminds me that the one on my allotment needs clearing out…….

  20. Mainly straightforward but a very pleasant solve and for me a very entertaining puzzle. Last in 6a took a bit of sorting and a real fan of Ella so no excuses there. Had stuttering in for 25a obviously without justifying it properly creating a lengthy delay. Overall some excellent clues with a good few smiles as well.

    Clues of the day: 12a / 3d / 8d

    Rating: 2.5* / 4*

    Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

  21. Funny to see 1a again in the same week , great minds think alike , I suppose .
    7d was my favourite .
    Thanks to Falcon and setter .

  22. It took me forever to get on wavelength, once I got into this setter’s head, I quite enjoyed it, lots to like. The repeats helped me as well, giving me an entry.
    It’s hard to choose a fave, so I’ll just pick the whole puzzle.
    Thanks to the setter, please visit us again, and to Falcon for his review.

    We’re in for a huge deluge, black as night here and have all the lights on!

  23. What day of the week is it? Thursday? Could have fooled me!
    Over way too soon. 14d was my favourite clue.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review etc….

  24. I never did really get on wavelength today, it wasn’t that hard, the answers just kept evading me, so I guess I’ll have to go sit in the dunce’s corner. Didn’t find it particularly straight forward, mild or easy. So if you are lurking out there and having to look at too many hints, never fear, you are not alone 😊

  25. Enjoyable exercise this evening but agree with general comments that it was not very testing. Seem to be seeing more anagrams recently which are not as much fun to solve as more cryptic clues. Perhaps 12a as favourite.
    Thanks all.

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