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DT 28855

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28855

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. Whenever it’s not a Ray T Thursday I try to think who it could be and, as usual, I don’t have the first idea today. I keep looking out for a Shamus production as it does seem a long time since we’ve had one of his. I enjoyed this very much – I took quite a while to get started and my last few took ages but, in general, I found it about average for difficulty.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the actual answer is under ANSWER so only do that if you want to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Seat on flight for young miscreant? (7,4)
NAUGHTY STEP — The flight is nothing to do with aeroplanes – the answer is where we get sent on prize puzzle days if we say too much in a comment and the only consolation is that sometimes CS makes a cake

7a        Acknowledge fraud by company (7)
CONFIRM — A fraud or swindle is followed by a company or business

8a        Prepared pass to enter study (7)
READIED — Study is a verb here and it contains (to enter) a synonym for pass or become no more

10a       What might be used to enter timber home? (3-2)
LOG-IN — Timber or a chunk of wood is followed by home, or not out or away

11a       Cost for one picture to be replaced, acquiring new one (4,5)
UNIT PRICE — An anagram (to be replaced) of PICTURE containing (acquiring) N[ew] and the letter that looks like a one

12a       Take back US soldier’s instruments (7)
BANJOES — A reversal (back) of an informal word to take or arrest is followed by a slang word for a US soldier with his ‘S – I confess to spending quite a long time trying to fit GI into it somehow

14a       Some animals pong, especially sea creatures (7)
SPONGES — Our one and only lurker or hidden answer indicated by the word some – it’s in the second, third and fourth words of the clue

15a       Watery area in France which is beside short river (7)
AQUEOUS — The one letter abbreviation for A[rea] and the French word for ‘which’ are followed by three of a four letter river – there are several of them in the UK

18a       Land united by saint is content for song (7)
AUSTRIA — The abbreviation for U[nited] and the usual abbreviation for ‘saint’ are contained in (is content for) an operatic song

20a       Moving hen to new house, duck following (2,3,4)
ON THE HOOF — An anagram (new) of HEN TO and then the two letter abbreviation for ‘house’, the letter that looks like a zero, or a duck in crickety terminology, and, finally, the abbreviation for F[ollowing]

21a       Handle eccentric (5)
CRANK — A double definition – the handle is something that used to be used to start a car

22a       Foreign gents endorse tourism regularly (7)
SIGNORS — A verb to endorse or authorise is followed by the even letters (regularly) of tourism

23a       Half ogle at that woman’s tanned skin (7)
LEATHER — The last two letters (half) of ogle, the AT from the clue then the possessive pronoun – well, I think that’s what it is – meaning ‘that woman’s’ This one made me laugh because I first thought of how the skin of people who have spent too many years sunbathing looks rather than the real meaning of ‘tanned skin’

24a       Rows about European holiday? They’ll resolve who wins (11)
TIEBREAKERS — Some rows or levels contain (about) the abbreviation for E[uropean] and a synonym for holiday or some time off work



1d        Figure lifted on horse, old knight (7)
NONAGON — This is one of those where you just need to do exactly what the clue tells you to do – a reversal (lifted) of ON from the clue, a synonym for a horse, especially an old worn out one, the abbreviation for old and the one letter abbreviation for knight in chess

2d        International in a French running club (5)
UNION — The masculine form of A in French and a synonym for running, or not off, contain the abbreviation for I[nternational]

3d        Sweets insect fed to drones (7)
HUMBUGS — A general term for an insect or a creepy-crawly is contained in (fed to) a synonym of drones or low-pitched noises

4d        Told what you need to get in house for dogs (7)
YORKIES — A homophone (told) of what you need to open your front door – something that I’m known for ALWAYS having lost

5d        Cutlery made from soapstone undergoing deterioration (9)
TEASPOONS — An anagram (undergoing deterioration) of SOAPSTONE

6d        Using force on rebellion, ousting leader (7)
PRISING — A rebellion or a mutiny without its first letter (ousting leader)

7d        They praise able rector’s broadcast (11)
CELEBRATORS — An anagram (broadcast) of ABLE RECTOR’S

9d        Sherlock’s covering case of evidence gathered by doctor, follower (11)
DEERSTALKER — The first and last letters (case) of E[videnc]E are contained in (gathered by) one of the many two letters meaning a doctor and that lot is followed by a synonym for a follower – rather a creepy one

13d      Individual in Australia reported complete environmental concern (5,4)
OZONE HOLE — A short slang term for Australia and individual or sole are followed by a homophone (reported) of complete or entire

16d      Irritable noble initially tried to replace king (7)
UPTIGHT — Noble here is an adjective – a synonym for noble or respectable has an R as its third letter – you need to swap that R for a T – in other words swap the abbreviation for a king (R) for the first letter (initially) of T[ried] – oh dear, I knew this one was going to be tricky to do a half-decent hint for!

17d      Lads keeping vanguard of Persian soldiers back (7)
SPONSOR — Some lads or male offspring containing the first letter (vanguard) of P[ersian] are followed by some non-commissioned soldiers

18d      Crop Cockney’s equally split with another adult (7)
ALFALFA — Cockneys are known for dropping their H’s – think of a word that means an equal split and remove its H – then do it again (with another) then add the abbreviation for A(dult)

19d      Cheer as drunk comes to (7)
REACHES — An anagram (drunk) of CHEER AS

21d      Stick around river to see bird (5)
CRANE — A stick or a pole contains (around) the one letter abbreviation for R[iver]

I particularly appreciated 1 and 23a and 3, 4 and 9d. My favourite was the duck heading for the hen house – 20a.

Hmmm – now for the Quickie pun – really not sure about this so any better suggestions are welcome:- READ + HAIR + RING = RED HERRING

61 comments on “DT 28855

  1. I too found this tricky to get going- I’d also agree with your interpretation of the pun, although I wasn’t entirely sure it worked

    Thanks to Kath for the illustrated hints and to whoever set this, for the crossword

  2. Failed to post recently but trying again ,

    Finished with difficulty before Kath’s help but needed her guidance with the sense of 4d .


  3. I found this tricky, with the bottom half of the puzzle taking me much longer to complete than the top.

    Thanks to Kath and setter ****/****

  4. I thought that this was a tricky little rascal but loads of fun with some very smooth clues.
    I have lots of ticks but I’ll pick out 1a, 20a, 4d and 18d. Thanks to the anonymous setter and to Kath.

  5. I’ve not commented for a while, but I have to say what an enjoyable entertining puzzle this morning’s back pager was – for me at least. Pleased to have finished before Kath’s hints appeared, but thanks to her anyway and of course to our mystery setter. :-D

  6. 2.5* / 4*. It took me a while to get on the right wavelength today but when I did everything fell into place smoothly. As Gazza says it was a lot of fun with nice smooth surfaces.

    4d is not a homophone for me, but that’s my only slight niggle today. There were lots of clues fighting it out for selection as my favourite, and my longish short list is 1a, 20a, 23a & 18d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Kath.

    P.S. Anyone looking for a non-tough Toughie should try today’s, which I found easier than this back-pager.

  7. Like other bloggers I found it hard to get a foothold for this one, once the long clues went in; still pretty tough. Eventually a breakthrough and the rest followed. However for some reason 4d and 20a held me up. So needed a bit of a hint. Thanks Kath, once I looked at the hints all became clear.
    Beautiful day in North Cornwall plenty of colour in the garden.
    Thanks again to Kath and setter

  8. As Kath is in the chair I will only pick one favourite, the excellent 1a. As others have noted, this was far from straightforward and took a while to get a decent start, but once I was underway it all fell place very nicely. 4d didn’t work for me, and was as dodgy as the Quickie pun.

    Small niggles aside, this was good fun to solve, so thanks to our setter and to Kath.

  9. An excellent puzzle with many examples of very clever wordplay. I thoroughly enjoyed the solve,
    although I tend to agree with RD about 4d.

    My ticks went to 11a, 15a, 20a, 9d, 18d and 19d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  10. All went smoothly in my clockwise circuit from the NW corner until I reached the SW sector where the parsing I thought reached a higher level of difficulty so eventually ***/**** overall for me.
    Favourite was 18d for originality followed by the surface of 24a.
    Thanks all for an enjoyable tough puzzle.

  11. It seems reasonably unanimous that this was a very enjoyable but tricky puzzle to solve. It took me about double my personal target time. Favourite clues were 9d, 18d, 12a, 24a with 1a in top spot.

  12. I found this hard because I could never quite settle in any one place, we had to visit the US, France, Austria, Foreign gents, European holidays, France again, Australia, Persia and London. Quite some airmiles!

    Many thanks to the setter and Kath.

  13. I found it hard to get in tune with this puzzle, and resorted to electronic help but got there in time end. Needed hints to fully explain a couple of the answers too. By the way, I think just ‘cost for one’ should be underlined in 11a? Thanks to all.

  14. I don’t recognise this setter’s style … maybe it’s his/her first contribution to the back-page?

    Hopefully, there will be many more to follow.

    1a and 4d tie for first place … but many more were contenders for the top spot on the podium.

    Thanks to Cath for the blog … this was definitely a rather tricky one.

  15. An extremely enjoyable puzzle with only a couple of niggles – but the cornucopia of excellent clues by far outweigh those. I did think that we were heading for a pangram when 12a, 15a and 13d coughed up the answers but it was not to be. 1a & 9d are my favourites of the day.

    Thanks to our Mr Ron for the fun and to Kath for her splendid review.

  16. Very enjoyable and completed at a gallop (just) – **/****.

    Standout favourite – 1a – more than a little chuckle when that was solved.

    Thanks Kath for the delightful illustration for 4d – we used to have two of those.

    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  17. Quite tricky but very enjoyable 😳 ***/*** Favourite 4d (also quite liked 9d but Kath is doing the blog so,I am hoping to avoid 1a 😬) Big thanks to Kath and to the Setter 🤗

  18. Found it quite tricky to get a toe-hold, probably because only 7d of the long answers went in reasonably early on.
    Like Kath, I had a 12a GI that I didn’t quite know what to do with and I was a bit slow on the uptake with the 14a lurker.

    Top three places went to 1&20a plus 4d with 1a probably just squeezing ahead.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the blog – loved the 1a illustration.

  19. I thought this was an excellent puzzle with just about the right amount of trickiness.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to Kath.

  20. Some dead simple clues like 23a and clever ones like15a.
    Nothing too difficult.
    I quite fancied ash key for10a,but sadly couldn’t squeeze it in.
    Pretty sponge, Kath.

  21. ***/****. Tricky in parts but very rewarding. Last in for me was 4d. Favourites were 1a&18d. Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  22. Another excellent offering from the Telegraph today. What’s gotten into them?
    ***/*****, with 19d as a favourite simply because it amused this facile fool.
    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  23. Huge problem getting a toehold but when I did, much enjoyment. The north went in quite readily, but south was too difficult and I needed Kath’s hints for four answers.
    Head and shoulders my fave was 1a, but 18d was a close runnerup and 4d was a winner for the pic, and is a homophone for me.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for the hints and pics.

  24. What a thoroughly nasty puzzle. When I saw that I was going to need American slang, the need to speak a foreign language and try to unpick incomprehensible clues such as 16d, I knew this one was not for me.
    Given up in disgust.

    1. I would be reluctant to label the setter, by association, nasty. I would , also, be reluctant to accuse this setter, by association, of being disgusting.

      1. I have no idea who the setter is and have no opinion of him or her either way. My comment was directed solely at this puzzle and I strongly defend my right to express my opinion within the confines of normal language.

        1. I’m with you, Brian.

          Saying you don’t like a puzzle, in my eyes, is fine.

          Having a direct pop at a setter is out of line.

          You crack on.

    2. Can we put Brian’s comments under a click here spoiler? They leave me cold and a tad angry. They disrespect the excellent setters. Play nicely or don’t play at all.

      1. I’m with you all the way MP. Brian’s comments are quite appalling and should not be tolerated on an otherwise excellent blog. Brian should look more to himself than blame a crossword compiler for his own apparent lack of understanding and inability to solve a well clued puzzle. He moans if it’s too easy and gets nasty when it demands a little more grey matter. Maybe he should concentrate more on his golf and leave the cryptic crossword puzzles to solve by those of us who appreciate them! Today’s IMHO was one of the best for a while.

        1. Thank you. After God knows how many years of having a go, followed by several years of blogging I find that these puzzles are much of a muchness. One learns and gets on with it or one doesn’t and moans about it.

    3. I don’t think that using “nasty” to describe a puzzle is reasonable or acceptable, but my biggest beef about the comment is describing 16d as “incomprehensible”. What’s so difficult about replacing R (king) in UPRIGHT (noble) with T (initially Tried) to give the answer UPTIGHT? I’d say that was eminently straightforward.

  25. Great puzzle, ***level of difficulty for me.
    Favourites 2d and 18d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for the nicely illustrated review.

  26. Struggled with the bottom left corner until I realised it was hole in place of layer. Otherwise a good one!

  27. Tricky but very enjoyable. 4d made me chuckle. 1a I had worked out but had never heard the expression.

  28. Excellent fun that we thoroughly enjoyed. We got 1a rather quickly as our first answer and this put smiles on our faces that lasted right through the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  29. Lots of fun to be had today, not too tricky I thought. First to fall was 1ac, and from then on it was pretty plain sailing, with a little hiccup over the spelling of 18d.

  30. Found this tough and tricky, sometimes getting the answer and then making it fit the clue. Never heard of a 1a, perhaps it came into common parlance after we crossed the pond. Also spent too long trying to fit GI into 12a. But once I looked at Kath’s hints I felt it was more my being off wavelength than this being particularly hard.

    1. Look at Kath’s hint again, it’s what happens to us if we break the prize rules, you get sent to 1a and, if you’re lucky, you get a slice of CS’s lemon drizzle cake.

  31. Most of this went in smoothly but the SW was a different kettle of fish mainly due to trying to use timekeepers in 24a. Stupidly failed to parse 2d after a French. IMHO 17d is too clever by half. Two outstanding Favs were 1a which made for a speedy start and 4d. Thank you Mysteron and Kath.

  32. A wonderful good fun accessible puzzle. Something to please every right minded solver. Thanks to the setter. More please. Thanks to Kath for her usual great review with a lovely personal twist.

    1. Ah! The dreaded misspelling. On a par with writing an answer in the wrong place. Horrendous on paper. Easily sorted on an iPad. iPads rule
      Thanks for commenting

  33. Thank you to our mystery setter for such a good crossword and to everyone for their comments.
    I think it’s about time that I started to bang my big stick about multiple favourites again!
    That’s about it from me today so night night all and sleep well. :yawn:

  34. I don’t wish to be pedantic,so obviously I’m going to be,but cutlery is usually reserved for knives; teaspoon are referred to as flatware.

    1. Are you American? In Britain “cutlery” is the generic term for knives, forks and spoons and I’ve never heard the term “flatware” used here. I remember when I moved to the US and struggled to make myself understood when trying to buy the aforementioned items in a department store.

  35. Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky. Got the wrong country for 18a, no wonder I couldn’t parse it. Took me a while to finish the bottom half. Favourite was 15a. Was 3*/4* for me. Not sure who the setter was, the style was not familiar.

  36. 3*/5*….very entertaining puzzle, also the hints and tips.
    Liked the means for entrance to the doghouse (4D).

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