DT 28861 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28861

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28861

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where life is getting back to normal following the six tornadoes which hit the city and surrounding area on September 21. I was lucky in that I had nary a feather ruffled but one of the tornadoes came a bit too close for comfort — passing within a couple of hundred feet of my house. I don’t have to travel far to see neighbourhoods that resemble logging camps with huge piles of logs from trees felled by the storm — not to mention badly damaged dwellings. A nearby electrical substation through which half of Ottawa’s power is delivered from the provincial grid was virtually destroyed and, consequently, much of the city was without power for up to five days. My own neighbourhood was without power for four days. I would like to thank Kath for stepping in on short notice to do the blog last week as I was apprehensive that — although power had been restored — it might not be reliable.

As for the puzzle, it is clearly a RayT production. While still a worthy and enjoyable solve, I didn’t feel it quite ranked up there with his finest efforts. But when you set the bar high, it is hard to surpass it on every attempt.

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   Terribly masculine sporting lad’s big-chested (6)
BOSOMY — a short word meaning terribly or to such an extreme extent and M(asculine) are contained in (sporting or wearing) a synonym for lad

4a   Trigger’s first with rogues Del and Rodney? (8)
TROTTERS — the first letter of Trigger (the horse) and some rogues (the fools?) give the family name of this sitcom duo from Only Fools and Horses

9a   Rubbish actress almost given new role (6)
RECAST — an anagram (rubbish) of ACTRES(s) minus the final letter (almost)

10a   Page messenger taking time (8)
COURTIER — a messenger wrapped around T(ime)

12a   Caused upset on hospital department (8)
ENTAILED — the most popular hospital department in Crosswordland followed by (on in an across clue) upset as a verb meaning afflicted; the solution is used in what Oxford Dictionaries describes as an archaic sense

13a   Dock facing North River (6)
SEVERN — to dock or lop and N(orth)

15a   Striking and elegant, but for pants … (13)
UNFORGETTABLE — an anagram, indicated by pants, of the three words preceding it

18a   … changing pants, idea is so cool (13)
DISPASSIONATE — changing roles, pants becomes part of the fodder; an anagram (changing) of the four words at the centre of the clue

22a   Old Nick relating to skeleton (6)
OSTEAL — O(ld) and an informal term meaning to appropriate for oneself something belonging to another

24a   Laurence looking terrible in blue? (8)
CERULEAN — an anagram (looking terrible) of LAURENCE

26a   Popular detective, cocky, coming over brave (8)
INTREPID — start by connecting a short senior detective and an adjective meaning cocky or impudent; then reverse this (coming over) and place it after a short word meaning popular

27a   Attach ‘cut down bad habit’ warning (6)
ADVICEattach or connect a beheaded (cut down) (b)AD remove the final letter from (cut down) a synonym for attach and then append a habit considered immoral, evil or depraved; with appreciation to Kath and Gazza for pointing out the correct “untangling”

28a   Legally giving sanctuary in sacred surroundings (8)
HONESTLY — place a cosy retreat inside an adjective meaning sacred

29a   Bad sport inhibiting one’s cheers (6)
PROSIT — an anagram (bad) of SPORT containing the Roman numeral for one


1d   Checked and exposed trapping Queen (6)
BARRED — exposed or uncovered enveloping the Latin abbreviation for Queen

2d   Tool that’s fancy eases cut trimming rose’s top (9)
SECATEURS — an anagram (fancy) of EASES CUT covering (trimming, as you would a Christmas tree) the initial letter (top) of Rose

3d   Guard dog is old lady’s pet (7)
MASTIFF — a short term for one’s mother (accompanied by the S) and a display of petulance

5d   Chess piece one jumps over King (4)
ROOK — an Australian jumper on top of the chess notation for king

6d   Most cutting exam after tell-tale turned up (7)
TARTEST — an exam following the reversal of an infomer

7d   Exclusive lot is terribly exclusive initially (5)
ELITE — the initial letters of the first five words in the clue; this is a semi-all-in-one clue with the entire clue providing the wordplay in which the definition is embedded

8d   More offbeat satire oddly covers outrage (8)
STRANGER — the odd letters of SaTiRe on top of (covers) outrage or vexation

11d   Cool match official occasionally cried quietly (7)
REFRESH — a short informal name for a sports official, an occasional or irregular sequence of letters drawn from cRiEd, and a behest to conduct oneself in a quiet manner

14d   Demure in action getting seduced (7)
DECOYED — a word meaning demure or shy in an action or feat

16d   Beer ends namely in containers here? (9)
BREWERIES — start with the initial and final letters (ends) of B(ee)R; then add to this the Latin abbreviation for that is or namely placed inside some large wide-mouthed water jugs; this is a true all-in-one clue with the entire clue providing both the wordplay and definition

17d   Correct my French taken by a beauty (8)
ADMONISH — a French possesive pronoun is sandwiched between A (from the clue) and a colloquial term for a physically attractive woman

19d   Inspires American with, like, acquiring knowledge (7)
AWAKENS — start by stringing together A(merican), W(ith) and a short word meaning like or in the same way that; into this insert a word denoting range of knowledge or perception

20d   Adult, small below, in pieces (7)
ASUNDER — a charade of a one-time film classification, S(mall), and a synonym for below or beneath

21d   Consume, consumed by binges, tippling (6)
INGEST — a lurker hiding in the final two words of the clue

23d   God of sex with bronze exterior (5)
TITAN — a pronoun that denotes sex when encircled by quotation marks is instead encircled by the skin tone acquired by basking in the sun

25d   Put pressure on sick to get medicine (4)
PILL — the physicists symbol for pressure sits on an adjective meaning sick or unwell

Today I will award favourite clue honours to the simple but elegant 23d and pay my respects to 16d as most worthy opponent for putting up such a struggle before being vanquished. I hope I got the Quickie pun correct — if not, I am sure someone will come to my rescue.


70 comments on “DT 28861

  1. At the trickier end of the Ray T spectrum, unless it was just me with a long list of things to do before we leave for Oxfordshire.

    I will say that the image conjured up by reading across the top line of the solved crossword did make me smile

    Thanks to Mr T and the lesser windswept Falcon

  2. A good workout from Mr T this AM which I found to be slightly trickier than usual.

    Thanks to Falcon and RayT 2.5*/4*

  3. Dear All
    This is positively my last word on Sunday my last copy of Telegraph drops on the mat ending my paper reading days. For some time arthritis in my hands has prevented me reading the paper and I only kept it going to do the crossword. The latest quarterly leap in price finally decided me to cancel my subscription.
    I would like to say thank you for the help you all gave me in the early days when I had all but given up. Frustration with not being able to finish the crossword then not understanding the answers when I checked them the next morning.
    Your help and encouragement made my solving power and enjoment increase and kept me going when all seemed lost.
    Lots of love

    1. Hilary, I am so sorry to hear that. Arthritis is a terrible condition. We will greatly miss your contributions and I am sure that everyone on the blog will join me in wishing you all the very best for the future.

    2. I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. I gave up the paper copy of the Telegraph some few years ago and the digital version last year.
      I now subscribe to the Telegraph puzzles online. The subscription last year was about £35 for the year ( of course, I cannot guaratee it won’t go up). This gives access to all the Telegraph crosswords as well as other puzzles which can be solved online or printed off to complete in the tradtional way. At the moment and for reasons to do with Adobe Flash player, the puzzles are only accessible through a personal computer but I understand they should soon be available on tablets as well.

    3. I sympathise with you an old ankle injury now sufers with arthriritis which has curtailed my long walking activities a stick is now required, but the pain still lingers especially on damp days.
      I hope that you are not in to much discomfort and wish you well.

    4. Oh dear, Hilary, that is such sad news. Where will we all be without the refuge under your stairs and the copious supply of tissues for bad days. I do hope that somehow a way can be found for you to continue to carry on tackling the puzzles but, in any case, don’t become a stranger to the blog – we’d still enjoy hearing your news.

    5. I too gave up the paper copy a couple of months ago. My recycle bin now has space in it when it comes to bin day. Please try the puzzle subscription, it’s very good, in my opinion. And you have access to all past puzzles as well.

      BUT you cannot access the puzzles on an Ipad or Android tablet yet, just a windows or Apple PC. However, we are promised an update in the future where this restriction won’t apply. God knows when though. So you might be able to continue despite your arthritis. Great shame if you cannot. Best wishes.

      1. I’ve been getting the puzzles on my iPad for about 6 years now, so not sure why others can’t? If I had to fire up my laptop every time I would probably give up.

    6. Dear Hilary, we have missed your input and I’m so sorry that your problems have forced you to cease Crosswording. Please pop in from time to time to say hello and let us know how you’re doing. Take care of yourself.
      Am rushing off to an appointment so will read the blog later.

    7. So sorry to hear that Hilary.
      Just a thought. We are such fans for sharing the solving process that we have been wondering whether it would be possible to find a co-solver who you could work with so you could continue to enjoy the delights of cryptics. We’re not going to say goodbye yet in the hope that a solution can be find.
      All the best, 2Ks.

      1. Yes indeed Orphan Annie, as say the 2Kiwis, with all the combined wits of the well-wishers on the BD blog there has to be a way around your predicament and hence it can only be ‘au revoir’. Good luck.

    8. That is very sad news. Arthritis, sadly, is one of the punishments we get for reaching our senior years. I do hope you have some workable pain management, and can find a way to continue the puzzles.

    9. May I say that I am saddened to hear that you will be unable to contribute to the blog – a sad loss :sad:

      Take care – SL

    10. Very sorry to hear that, Hilary. Have you tried an iPad? Easy to manipulate when you get used to it. My Mother-in-Law is 86 and her iPad gives her endless pleasure. She won’t go anywhere without it.

  4. Another great puzzle from Ray T! Quite tricky, a good challenge, excellent clues and very enjoyable (mind you, I am biased). 2d: at one point I had ****T*U*S in the grid and noticed that CHESTFULS would fit in. Then I got the answer to 1a. After that, I couldn’t concentrate fully – my mind seemed to be on something else for some reason…
    Too many really good clues to isolate a favourite. 3.5* / 4.5*

  5. 3.5* / 4*. I found this both challenging and very enjoyable. 24a was, I think, a new word for me and I needed to check my BRB to confirm that 12a can be synonymous with “caused”.

    23d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Falcon. Good to hear that things are calming down in Ottawa.

  6. Thanks to Ray T and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but found it impossible. The worst I’ve ever done on a Ray T puzzle. Needed the hints for 10,13,24,29a & 6,16,19,20,21d. Favourite was 22a. Was 5*/3* for me.

  7. Slow to get into this one, but once I got a foothold I ran through fairly quickly. As RD says at #5, this was both challenging and enjoyable. 4a gets the laugh of the day accolade, but 23d was an absolute belter of a clue.

    Thank you to Ray T for the tussle and to Falcon.

  8. I think this one (in my opinion) was the trickier end of the RayT spectrum. I have nver been good at 13 letter words. However with only needing a couple of hints it gave in. Favourites 4a and 3d.
    Thanks to Falcon and RayT.

  9. Had a bit of a blind moment when it came to parsing 1a and needed to check the ending of 22a but no other difficulties encountered. I do like the name for that particular shade of blue in 24a.

    Thought the Trigger in 4a probably had more to do with Del’s drinking partner than with a horse?

    Happy to go with the flow and nominate 23d for today’s top honours.

    Devotions to Mr T (sorry to see that your sweetheart has deserted you today) and thanks to Falcon for the blog. Thank goodness you managed to miss the effects of the tornadoes.

    1. Hi Jane,

      I have never seen the British sitcom but grew up watching Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger which would explain what likely seems a bizarre juxtaposition to British readers.

      1. Hi Falcon,
        Thought that might be the case. The sitcom had some glorious moments – ask Mr Google about Del Boy falling through the bar and also the family’s experience with a chandelier.

        1. I’m familiar with the characters from their frequent mention here and someone once posted the chandelier skit on the blog.

  10. Some head scratching and plenty of Chambers support, big and small, required to finish at a fast canter – ***/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 22a, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Falcon.

  11. Hi I dont come on here very often and have signed up for the yearly subscription online. I cant find how to access the Polyword, would be grateful for any help.

    1. A Telegraph Subscriber package will only give you four puzzles. The Daily Cryptic, The Quickie, The codeword and The Sudoku.

      A Telegraph Puzzles Subscription will give you a lot more but none of the news or features.

      I have just googled ‘polywords’ and found plenty of free ones online.

  12. Morning is breaking here in Ottawa. I see from the early comments that the general consensus seems to be that the puzzle is both more difficult and more enjoyable than I gave it credit for. I sometimes think that the pressure of solving under deadline does affect one’s judgement.

  13. After walking the dog alongside the 13 across this morning , l came home to not the easiest of Ray T’s crossword puzzles. I need to practice a few 29 acrosses for the weekend as its the Birmingham Oktoberfest that beckons for sons and I on Saturday. All in all an enjoyable solve with 16 down and 29 across as a couple of my favourites. Thanks to setter and Falcon.

  14. This puzzle has been my worst fail in months. I think I could only do 50% before I had to succumb to Falcon’s hints – thank you. The Toughie seems to be living up to its name today as well. I think Mr Lancaster has pulled out some nasties to put us back into our places after remarking how relatively easy they have all been recently. I’m not complaining though.

  15. Right up my street today and a 2.5/4*.Like many others 4a brought back many fond memories including Del clay pigeon shooting from the hip !
    Last two clues were the interlinked 16d and 24a which I had difficulty parsing even with all the checking letters in;
    16 down was the first solve then I remembered the blue sky colour and eventually saw the anagram , thanks setter for the fun and Falcon for the pics.
    Our local ice cream van plays Greensleeves -well Tarporley is an upper class area !

  16. Ray T at his trickiest as far as I’m concerned – just as enjoyable as usual, of course.
    This has taken me a very long time – much, much longer than normal.
    Anything to do with ‘Only Fools and Horses’ always foxes me having never watched it.
    Both the long anagrams – 15 and 18a – were quite difficult – well, I thought they were.
    Not surprisingly 21d was my last answer – dim!
    I untangled 27a slightly differently – I know ‘parse’ is the right word but it always sounds a bit poncy to me.
    Clues that stood out today include 26 and 27a and 5 and 11d.
    With thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to Falcon for the hints and pics – I’m glad we swapped weeks!

    1. I’m with you on the slightly different untangling of 27a, Kath. I don’t think Ray T would use ‘cut down’ to remove a first letter – I think what’s being cut down is a 3-letter verb to attach or append.

      1. Yes, I think Kath and Gazza are correct. The parsing (er … untangling) did raise a question in my mind.

        1. Sorry about the ‘untangling’ bit! I just can’t bring myself to use ‘parse’ – it sounds unbearably pretentious and I’d like to stick it in a box with ‘anagrind’ (which I know isn’t a proper word) and a few other things too.

  17. 7d, So you can have a clue which is all wordplay but part definition? Thought it had to be the other way round?

    1. I believe so. As I recall, a former blogger (scchua) used to refer to the two variations as “wordplay intertwined with definition (WIWD)” and “definition intertwined with wordplay (DIWW)”.

      1. Readers who are not interested in the technicalities of cryptic grammar should look away now.

        I am not an expert, but I have been researching this question recently because I have been unsure how to apply underlining in some hints. The books by Manley and by Macnutt (Ximenes), and articles on Alberich’s and Hoskin’s websites all describe semi-&lits as clues where the entire clue is the definition and the wordplay only part of it (usually because a pronoun needs to be attached to one end to make the entire clue function as a definition).

        The only serious reference I have found so far that admits a clue where the entire clue is wordplay and the definition only part of the clue is Barnard’s 1963 book ‘Anatomy of the Crossword’, where he has a chapter on what he calls a dilemmatic clue. There he says “All of the examples given so far have been constructed on the same basic principle; in each case one key has been provided by a certain word or phrase, and the other by the whole of the clue”. That allows for the case of a cryptic definition overlapping a precise definition, which might be called a semi-&lit because the entire clue is one definition. But he then goes on to say “This is not the only sort of arrangement possible; a far more difficult clue may be contrived by causing the two keys to overlap instead of permitting one to absorb the latter”. The examples that follow make it clear that he is advocating double duty for some parts of the clue, which is today regarded as ‘far more difficult’ to the point of being unfair.

        In today’s example I would say that strictly speaking the first two words are doing double duty, but since the wordplay isn’t misleading maybe that’s an acceptable bending of the rules.

        1. Mr K, I just wanted to let you know that I did read your very insightful piece and found it very interesting. I posted a reply on Thursday that seems to have gone missing in the ether. I didn’t have time to reproduce it at the time as I had to rush off to catch a plane.

          I, also, do not profess to be an expert on cryptic crossword terminology. Being self-taught in the field, my understanding is essentially a synthesis of bits and pieces of often divergent and contradictory information that I have gleaned over the course of the last decade since I took up the hobby.

          Thus, it is entirely possible that I have been using terms in an incorrect (a better term might be unconventional) manner.

          I think it is commonly understood that an &lit (or all-in-one) clue is one in which the entire clue is both wordplay and definition. Furthermore, I believe it is agreed that a clue in which the definition is given by the entire clue while the wordplay is provided by a portion of the clue is known as a semi-&lit. (or semi-all-in-one) clue. Recently, I have been using the term “wordplay embedded in definition” to refer to this type of clue.

          The question that has been raised concerns the flip side of this situation, a clue in which the the wordplay is provided by the entire clue and the definition by only a portion of the clue — something I have taken to referring to as “definition embedded in wordplay”. It seemed logical to me that such a clue would be considered another variant of semi-&lit. (or semi-all-in-one) clue. However, this presumption seems to have been called into question.

          As a side note, I should note that while I see the definition in 7d to be merely “elite lot”, in similar cases I have seen reviewers perform mental gymnastics to justify the entire clue being labelled a definition in order that they can consider it to be an &lit. clue.

          Nevertheless, irrespective of the label one applies to such a clue, the blogger is left with the problem of how to mark it. Underlining merely the definition risks leaving the impression that only the remainder of the clue is wordplay (or possibly wordplay plus a link word or phrase) and thereby fail to indicate that the wordplay is, in fact, actually the entire clue. For that reason, I have adopted the practice of marking the wordplay with a dashed underline in instances where the wordplay and definition overlap.

          Perhaps I should simply call such clues “wordplay embedded in definition” or “definition embedded in wordplay” (as the case may be) as this provides more clarity than using terms such as semi-&lit. or even semi-all-in-one.

  18. As other comments I too found this tricky especially in the E. I thought of 1a but didn’t think it was masculine enough and 1d was trying to work ER rather than just R in.
    16d my COTD today and 22a new word for me but eminently deduceable (is that a word?)from the clue. I needed too many hints today to cosider it anything other than a Ray T win. Thanks to him and Falcon too for steering me to the end.

  19. Tricky, certainly, but I can recall quite a few RayT puzzles that have caused more head scratching than today’s. Perhaps it’s also a case of the more of a particular setter’s crosswords that one tackles, the less unfamiliar his or her constructions become.

    As usual, it was great fun prising out the answers, and my top two clues were 1a and 26a.

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and to Falcon.

  20. Oh dear,Hilary, what a sad email. I do hope that you find some way round it..doing the cross word is going to keep your brain young for ever.
    I found today’s puzzle on the easy side as mentioned by Falcon too.
    I was expecting Nat King Cole, so l just had to sing it to myself.
    The Yorkshire man has taken himself off to the garden, although I thought it was a pretty fair rendition.
    Favourite clue today 22a.
    Thank you Falcon ,especially with all the mayhem going on around you,and to RayT for another excellent and entertaining puzzle.

  21. Quite tricky in places but perseverance won the day! I liked the 15/18a combination of clues so that becomes my favourite(s)
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Falcon for the review.

  22. Yes we agree that this was a trickier than usual RayT. A couple in the SE particularly 16d held us up the longest. Eventually we got it all sorted. Good fun as ever and checked the clue word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Falcon.

  23. I’m not ashamed to say that I could only do about 75% of this excellent but very tough puzzle. There were precious few gimmes which made for a satisfying “semi solve”.
    I quite liked the two long anagrams and the lurker I thought was well hidden.
    22a and 24a were new words to me and 20d I’ve only ever come across in the beautiful song “Words Unspoken” by Supertramp. Many thanks to Mr T and Falcon.

    1. Nice to hear from you as always, Mr T. Looks as though this one was anything from ‘easy’ to ‘impossible’ depending upon one’s point of view!

  24. Now, that was a good puzzle. A little trickier in the SE corner I thought, with the pretty uncommon 24ac giving me some grief. More like this please. :-)

  25. I never have much luck with Ray T puzzles, so obviously this one was way out of my league. I even struggled with 4 clues after reading the hints, and had to resort to the click button, oh dear. My hat is off to Falcon and the rest of you that can actually complete these Thursday challenges. But at least I gave it a shot.

  26. A relief to find I wasn’t alone in completely failing to get to grips with this. It was a curate’s egg with the North refusing to yield so hence enter Falcon. 3d (pet) and 22a new to me although I presumed that had to begin with ‘os’. I’m with Kath in not having watched OF&H hence 4a a bung-in. Stupidly tried to use hospital department at the end of 12a. Thank you RayT for today’s veritable workout and Falcon for being a port in a storm.

  27. Funnily enough, I did ok with this, and enjoyed it.
    I did need a couple of hints to keep me going.
    NE and SW corners raced in, NW and SE not so.
    Thanks all

  28. Quite a tough one for me. Kicked myself for not seeing 29a a bit sooner despite living in Germany for 12 years!!

  29. Late in the day but I actually finished this this morning in a hospital waiting room- again. Third time this week. Thank the Lord for Addenbrookes. I like anagrams so they set me off. I did not know 22a but once I realised the devil was not involved I knew it had to be the right word. Sorry to hear about the arthritis it is a b….. I have to have a new knee and it is very painful. My Indian yoga teacher told me years ago to take powdered turmeric. Good luck.

  30. A Ray T production at his trickiest – nearly a Beam Toughie and completed at the nephrology clinic this afternoon.
    Yes, it was running late :smile: 15 & 18a helped enormously to get started but still not convinced with the construction of 2d.

    Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle and to Falcon for his review,

    1. Ha, another one doing the crossword in hospital waiting room- fun isn’t it? 2d is surely an anagram if eases cut and the first letter (top) of roses.

  31. Lot of problems with this one and felt rather a failure. Celebrating my sister’s birthday might have had something to do with the befuddlement.

  32. I enjoyed this challenge and would rate it as a fine crossword – 3/4.5
    Last in was 1d for some reason. 21d is a great lurker and gets my top prize.
    29a to RayT. Thanks to the windswept one. Thanks also to Beaver for the tip of Mr Trotter’s clay shoot. V good.

  33. 3*/4*
    Fancied the titan in 23D -also would have liked to have been part of the exclusive lot in 7D (comment 18 above v interesting).
    Sympathies to Orphan Annie (comment 3).

  34. 3*/4*
    Fancied the titan in 23D -also would have liked to have been part of the exclusive lot in 7D (comment 18 above v interesting).
    Sympathies to Orphan Annie (comment 3).
    Comment resubmited because original seems to have got lost in the ether.

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