DT 28840 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28840

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28840

Hints and tips by a Kaleidoscopic Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty tbaEnjoyment tba

Good morning from Loch Awe Boats on South Lochaweside where Saint Sharon and I are enjoying a week away from publand.

Insider information from a very good source tells me that this is the work of the setter known as Dada in The Daily Telegraph and Paul in The Gaurdian. As usual for this setter some clues need a leap of faith to unravel their mystery but when you see the reasoning it makes a smile appear.

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 solutions.


1a    Better, a civic role (8)
CAPACITY: Begin with a three-lettered verb meaning to better, beat, surpass or outdo. Add the letter A from the clue. Now add the large metropolis suggested by the word civic

5a    A wave on top (2,4)
AS WELL: Split 1,5 We have the letter A from the clue followed by a slow regular movement of the sea. Split 2,4 as in the clue this means also.

9a    Policeman enters a complex carrying gun, initially (8)
SERGEANT: An anagram (complex) of ENTERS A which has inserted the letter G (gun initially)

10a    A politician in office, wet (6)
DAMPEN: Place the A from the clue along with the abbreviation for you very own personal parliamentary representative inside a synonym of office or study

11a    Bit of a looker quaffing second wine (7)
RETSINA: This looker is one’s organ of sight. The bit of it wanted is the part that may become detached. This surrounds (quaffing) the letter S. The result is a foul-tasting Greek wine which is cheap enough to entice you to try it. With an awful lot of practice, it will become almost drinkable. Fortunately, the end of your Greek sojourn will jolt you back to reality [I love it!  BD]

12a    Structure that may pop in solid weapon (7)
FIREARM: The clue asks us to insert a structure that may pop into solid to find a weapon. Begin with an adjective synonymous with solid describing something having an unyielding surface. Insert a structure that may pop. This structure is part of a plant grown in fields all over the world. It is the part that holds the seeds which may be popped and sold as a snack in cinemas worldwide

13a    Game attempts to give flirty signal when squiffy? (11)
TIDDLYWINKS: The name of this game which involves flipping counters into a cup can be constructed by using a word meaning slightly drunk followed by a rapid closing of one eye aimed flirtatiously at one fancied. Don’t miss the plurality in the clue.

16a    Difficult book about foreign money (11)
TROUBLESOME: Begin with a large heavy scholarly book. Insert some foreign money, maybe from Russia

21a    Nemesis, England invading state (7)
AVENGER: Place a three-lettered abbreviation for England inside a word meaning to state.

22a    Bewildered, guy struggling to keep tail of snake in the sack (3-4)
BUG-EYED: Place a anagram (struggling) of GUY around the final letter of the word snake. Now insert this into the correct word for the slang term the sack

23a    Country that’s worth more than a pound? (6)
GUINEA: The name of this country is also an old sum of money worth 21 shillings

24a    ‘Cats’ problem, musical delivery? (4-4)
HAIR-BALL: My online dictionary gives this as a single word of eight letters. The cat’s problem is a build-up of fur in the stomach as a result of licking itself clean. The musical is fifty years old and featured the songs Aquarius and Let the Sunshine In. The delivery is that which is bowled in cricket



25a    Trap finally caught fish (6)
TANGLE: Use the final letter of the word caught and add a verb meaning to fish. Can the result be called a trap?

26a    A drug that builds muscle for heavenly body (8)
ASTEROID: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a drug usually preceded by the word anabolic


1d    Communist leader inspired by rhetoric, as Trotsky (6)
CASTRO: The answer here is the name of a Cuban chap. It can be found hiding (inspired) within the words of the clue

2d    Silver perhaps ending in skip, furious (6)
PIRATE: Begin with the end. The end of the word skip. Add a word meaning furious or angry. Silver is the name of one of these in the book Treasure Island


3d    Revolutionary film showing drug-dealer (7)
CHEMIST: Start with a revolutionary. The partner of the revolutionary at one down. Add a film or fine spray

4d    Rwanda confused with teeny part of northern England (4,3,4)
TYNE AND WEAR: Anagram (confused) of RWANDA and TEENY

6d    Fight and fight for bird (7)
SPARROW: A practice fight for a boxer is followed by a fight between husband and wife perhaps. The result is a little brown bird

7d    One into old maps makes things clear (8)
EXPLAINS: Begin with a word to describe old partners add a synonym of maps which includes the letter that looks like the number one

8d    Continent with mountains primarily toured by girl (8)
LANDMASS: A conjunction meaning with is placed together with the abbreviation for mountain inside a young girl

12d    Lively — as soy sauce? (4,2,5)
FULL OF BEANS: An expression meaning lively might also describe soy sauce using its main ingredient

14d    Trustworthy hand (8)
STRAIGHT: A rather nice poker hand also describes a trustworthy dependable person

15d    Drinking last of vermouth, I bemoan lamentable free spirit (8)
BOHEMIAN: An anagram (lamentable) of I BEMOAN and the final letter of Vermouth

17d    Million-dollar contract? I’m not impressed! (3,4)
BIG DEAL: A phrase describing a large business contract is also used in a derogatory way to belittle something others consider to be important

18d    Sporting call angered drunk (2,5)
EN GARDE: An anagram (drunk) of angered is used by swordsmen

19d    Needing lots of determination at first to turn over, old generator (6)
DYNAMO: Begin with a word meaning a large number of. Add the initial letter (at first) of determination. Reverse what you have. (Turn over) Add the abbreviation for old.

20d    Rotten count was commanding (6)
ADDLED: Begin with a word meaning to count or to sum up. Add a word meaning was commanding. Bear in mind that a commander is a leader.

The Quick Crossword pun: jester+field=Chesterfield

57 comments on “DT 28840

  1. Lots to enjoy and a couple of the clues left me in no doubt as to who the setter was this morning. The ‘new Monday’ level of difficulty

    Thanks to Dada and the holidaymaker

  2. 2* / 3.5*. Very enjoyable puzzle in the 2018 Monday style – not too difficult and a lot of fun.

    Many thanks to Dada and to MP.

    P.S. What a wonderful part of the world you are in, MP. Loch Awe is very aptly named.

    1. We had a brilliant fortnight there many years ago with our water-loving collie. As Loch Awe is freshwater, it chose itself for our holiday.

              1. ‘Twas Skempie. He wrote ‘We stayed just down the road from there a few years ago and went into Ardbrecknish House for dinner once. There we were sitting in the corner tucking into a very large trout each when a group of lads decided to play pool and nearly knocked my dinner on the floor!!!! They came second. Try visiting Cruachan – very very interesting.’

    2. You’re dead right RD, I just loved that area. My friend since childhood lives near there and I’ve visited often.

  3. A terrific start to the solving week from Dada. Of many fine clues, 11a emerged as my favourite. A thoughtful and rewarding puzzle.

    Thanks Dada and to the colourful one.

  4. A very good start to the work week completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Stand-out favourite – 13a.

    Thanks to Dada and MP.

  5. Excellent cluing throughout with amusing surfaces, top draw Monday puzzle-thanks setter.
    Going for a **/****, liked MP’s cat !
    Difficult to pick a favourite, maybe 13a.
    Alistair still in.

  6. Very good. I thought 12a was referring to one’s ears ‘popping’, as on a flight; 24a – I have only heard of fur **** . Loch Awe looks nice.

    With thanks to Dada and to our polychromatic blogger.

    No thanks for the illustration for 22a

  7. Good crossword to start the week. Nice selection of clues with 13a top of the pile.
    Thanks to Dada, and to our travel corespondent for the review.

  8. It’s just me then that found this one hard work. I got there in the end but struggled to get on the right wavelength today. Looking back, I’m not sure why, but then that’s often the case I suppose. Thanks to all.

    1. You weren’t the only one Dyfthegog. I found this decidedly tricky in places as well, especially the SW corner. Just couldn’t seem to get on wavelength but, in hindsight, it’s hard to see why, as you say.

      I really enjoyed the puzzle though and particularly liked 11a, 23a, 12d and, COTD, 6d. LOI = 21a.

      Many thanks to Dada and to Miffypops.

  9. I am on holiday and obviously far too relaxed. I found this at the extreme end of the spectrum and more like a Thursday. A slow, grinding Alistair Cook sort of an innings. Whatever happened to the easy Monday’s which led us off for the week? ****/** from me.

  10. I didn’t find this one to be particularly gentle either, so I have some sympathy with the comments at Numbers 9 and 10. As CS rightly says, it’s certainly harder than Mondays of yore.

    My favourite clue was 4d.

    Many thanks to Mr Halpern and the kaleidoscopic one.

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      One of the things we ask is that commenters don’t use capitals in either their alias or their comment as this is the internet equivalent of shouting. I have amended your name accordingly

  11. Damn – the second time in two days – just wrote a comment and it’s disappeared.
    Oh well – here I go again.
    I took a while to get onto the right wavelength today and found it quite tricky while I was doing it but now I can’t see why.
    I was slow with 16a – thought of lots of ‘foreign money’ before hitting on the right one.
    Lots of good clues – 13a and 12d and, my favourite, 24a which reminded me of a bit in Shrek which always made me laugh.
    With thanks to Dada and to MP – hope you have a good holiday.

        1. He has had his first full week in school Merusa. He has a job giving red blue or green tokens out so his classmates get the right dinners.

  12. Thanks MP. Does your holiday mean that you won’t be at the match on Saturday? I’m looking forward to it. Come on you Blues!!

  13. Late on parade today following our friends diamond wedding celebrations on Saturday night leading to doing Sunday’s crossword this morning then today’s .

    Yes lovely enjoyable crossword with 11a winning COTD just in front of several others . NW corner holding out the longest .

    Coventry rugby result ?

    Thanks to everyone .

  14. Ho hum – like Kath, my earlier comment seems to have disappeared into the ether.
    I danced around a bit to get this grid filled but very much enjoyed the ride although there did seem to be quite a bit of ‘use first or last letter’ going on.
    Like LbR, I’m only familiar with ‘fur ****’ for 24a and thought the ‘pop’ in 12a referred to a human organ.

    Tops for me were 11&13a plus 14&17d.

    Thanks to Dada and to MP for the blog and the Dynamo clip. By the way, I thought 25a worked fine if you take ‘trap’ as a verb.

  15. I thought this was pretty straightforward, a definite * for difficulty. Perhaps I’ve just been solving Dada’s puzzles for too long. :-)

  16. Finished but what a dreadful puzzle. One of those that you can complete only understanding half the clue.
    Thx for the hints

  17. After yesterday’s lovely puzzle, very disheartened to find this one such a struggle today. Much prefer when we could look forward to the gentle Monday puzzle to start the week. 24a is one word in my book, and several dodgy, convoluted clues. Already looked at too many of Miffypops hints (thank you, especially since you took time out of your holiday for us), so throwing in the towel for now.

  18. Just couldn’t get going with a really slow start and never really on the wavelength but things did improve as the checkers started to go in. Somehow this puzzle never really flowed and was solved in fits and starts with a reasonable number of “bungins” and still had difficulty parsing some of them. NW corner proved the trickiest with 1a resisting for ever, last in however was 21a. Not really my type of puzzle and compared to the weekend puzzles this was outclassed in my opinion. Some clever clues but others very vague.

    Clues of the day: Did enjoy 13a / 6d / 12d

    Rating 4* / 2*

    Thanks to MP and Dada.

  19. I very much enjoyed this. Not certain if it was as difficult as I made it see: trying to do the crossword and watch the test match at the same time. I liked 1a, 22a, 2d, 14d with 24a being my favourite.

  20. Reading other comments seems to show many different experiences with this puzzle. For me the stumbling block was the NE corner. I wanted the bird to be Jackdaw. When I got home from work I was able to read the hint for 5a and that freed the mind to complete the puzzle.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Dada.

  21. I enjoyed this a lot, but it wasn’t a walk in the park by any means. I did need some electronic help with a couple to chivy me along a bit. An example was 1a, I couldn’t associate it with “role” but I can see it now.
    Re 11a, BD, me too! Many happy memories of holidays in Greece, so that’s my fave, but what a hangover it gives.
    Thanks to Dada and M’pops, have a wonderful holiday and give Loch Awe a thumbs up from me.

  22. I whizzed through most of this and then ground to a halt over three clues. 14d …..I’m not a poker player, 22a I just couldn’t work out and 18d I failed miserably to spot the anagram even though I know fine well that ‘drunk’ is an indicator. I should have persevered a bit more, but felt that I was spending too long on three clues. Perhaps watching the cricket didn’t help. Still, it was very enjoyable even if I had to check the review today. Many thanks Dada and Miffypops.

  23. Did finally finish after a couple of hours of weeding in very humid 90 degrees. As Howitzer said, solving was in fits and starts. COTD was 13a.

  24. A totally amazing day at the Oval today watching cricketing history being made.
    Now for the crossword….

      1. I am not remotely crickety, but even I found myself cheering and applauding on my own, at my desk when the overthrow(?) happened.

  25. Inspiration came late for this one as I only had 4 or 5 answers in the top right corner this morning. Everything went much more smoothly after my full days’ work and had enough energy to post.
    Went down the hearing organ road as Jane in 12a as that’s exactly what happened to me when I went swimming for the first time this year a couple of weeks ago.
    Was hoping to hear that wonderful rhapsody in 15d. Never mind.
    Thanks anyway to MP and to Dada for a great crossword.

    1. Welcome back JLC. If you think I will have anything to do with the bag of crap that is borap you are deluding yourself. No offence meant. But no way will I promote anything to do with poor music. If you can call it music. Which I cannot

    2. I love that bohemian rhapsody also… but I am no music connoisseur. Recently went to an organ recital in Passau, and couldn’t wait for it to end. Cleese’s Brahms Fifth Racket comment springs to mind. Several others were of the same opinion, so I was not alone. Everyone to his own.

  26. Ah, I bet Jean Luc Cheval thought he was going to be last in the post but not so my friend. I have just finished it without recourse to any outside help, although the poker hand clue was a guess, my card games being bridge or canasta. What is it with these comments done in single letter lines? I lose the will to live after half a dozen words. Have a nice holiday Migfypops, sir.

      1. This happens to me sometimes when trying to read comments on iPhone if I am reading while out for a coffee. Not all the comments, and not all the time. Will try turning it next time it happens. Thanks.

  27. Have been away for a few days visiting various gardens in the Cotswolds ending today with a visit to HRH’s Highgrove which is still in good nick in spite of all this year’s challenging weather conditions. Thought I would end off a pleasant day with a relaxing cruciverbal session but it was not to be – I couldn’t begin to get on the right wavelength. Sort of thank you Dada and TVM MP.

  28. 3*/5*
    Some very witty clues-liked the muscle building drug (26A) and the game attempts when squiffy (13A)

  29. REALLY enjoyed that one !! Some of the clues were both Witty & Mind-stretching !!! TY guys. !! :)

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