DT 28867 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28867

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28867

Hints and tips by pensionista pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Yep, since my last blog three weeks ago I have become an OAP, (I think that’s probably a code for “grumpy old man”), but the upside is that my first pension payment arrived in the bank yesterday!  I can now get bus and train passes and a free trip up the lift to Alicante castle which is well worth seeing if you’re ever in the area.

I don’t know who the setter of this puzzle is but I have a suspicion which I will keep to myself for now to avoid embarrassment.  It’s a nice puzzle which I quite enjoyed. Nothing to really frighten the horses and a few anagrams for those that like them as a way into the puzzle.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Against Capone, say, law enforcement taking back all wine (12)
VALPOLICELLA:  Start with the single letter for against followed by the first name of Mr Capone the gangster.  After that you need the people who enforce the law and finally the word ALL from the clue but reversed (back).  When you’ve done all that you’ll get an Italian wine.

9a           Grass in neglected course is full of holes (9)
CRATEROUS:  A grass or deserter is inserted into an anagram (neglected) of COURSE.

10a         Fish leaving current location (5)
PLACE:  Take an edible flatfish and remove (leaving) the symbol for electric current.

11a         Old engineer set back advanced capital city (6)
OTTAWA:  O(ld) followed by a reversal (set back) of a famous Scottish engineer and finally A(dvanced) will give the capital city where our blogger Falcon lives.

12a         Stewpan’s converted as home for insects (4,4)
WASP NEST:  Anagram (converted) of STEWPANS.

13d         Actor, Johnny, indeed making comeback, wittered on (6)
YAPPED:  The surname of an actor called Johnny and another word for indeed or yes are all reversed (making a comeback).

15a         Switch off broadcast about Bletchley Park workplace beginning to drag (4,4)
SHUT DOWN:  A word for broadcast or spread is placed around (about) the type of building where the work was done at Bletchley Park and a D (beginning to Drag).

18a         Arboreal rodent bit guards an hour after noon (8)
CHIPMUNK:  A bit or piece is placed around (guards) a way of writing the first hour of the afternoon.  I don’t see that these rodents are arboreal as they live in burrows and the BRB has “mainly terrestrial”.

19a         Wicked people taking king away from companions (6)
FIENDS:  Take the usual letter for King out of a word for companions or pals.

21a         Flag hung — sail at sea (8)
LANGUISH:  Anagram (at sea) of HUNG SAIL.

23a         Cut last pieces of fig roll, one creation of Mr Kipling (6)
MOWGLI:  Nothing to do with exceedingly good cakes but a literary creation of the other Mr Kipling.  It’s a word for cut, the grass perhaps, followed by the final letters (last pieces of)  fiG rolL and finally the letter that looks like one.

26a         Dug up object in auditorium (5)
MINED:  This word for dug up sounds like (in auditorium) a word meaning to object or be unhappy about.

27a         Restricting liquor, ultimately managed to reverse being in debt (9)
NARROWING:  You need an R (liquoR ultimately) and a word for managed and reverse it (to reverse) and follow with a word meaning “being in debt”.  Nothing to do with an IOU for once.

28a         Driver’s been uncertain about good way out of Wales (6,6)
SEVERN BRIDGE:  Anagram (uncertain) of DRIERS BEEN around about) a G(ood).


1d           Reduction in degeneracy, Conservative’s success (7)
VICTORY:  A word for degeneracy without its last letter (reduction in) followed by a Conserative.

2d           Vaulted lodge lacking interior fitting (5)
LEAPT:  A word which might mean lodge, as in be located, but without its central letter (lacking interior) followed by a word for fitting or suitable.

3d           With controlling position following cricket deliveries hit for six (9)
OVERWHELM:  W(ith) followed by a controlling position, on a yacht perhaps, is placed after (following) the word for six deliveries in cricket.

4d           Oddly ignored big riot, centre of Santa Fe (4)
IRON: The even letters (oddly ignored) from BIG RIOT followed by the middle letter (centre of) Santa gives the element for which the chemical symbol is Fe.  Nicely concealed definition.

5d           Cover the news travelling around area (8)
ENSWATHE:  Anagram (travelling) of THE NEWS around A(rea).

6d           Welcome being ahead on racing circuit, say (3,2)
LAP UP:  A way of describing someone who’s ahead on a racing circuit because he’s been round one more time than everyone else.

7d           Haggard oarsman going north in vessel (8)
CAREWORN:  Take another word for an oarsman and reverse him (going north in a down clue) and then place him in a vessel which might contain baked beans or beer perhaps.

8d           Defeated second-rate English/American team with a man down? (6)
BEATEN:  A charade of the letter for second class, E(nglish, A(merican) and a football team who’s a man down.

14d         Petty Officer, clueless, heartless and pitiable (8)
POIGNANT:  Start with the abbreviation of Petty Officer and follow with a word meaning clueless or unknowing without its middle two letters (heartless).

16d         One that’s flown over the Channel (9)
TRICOLOUR:  A cryptic definition of the flag that’s flown over the channel.

17d         Popular when seen drunk, to some extent (2,1,5)
IN A SENSE:  Start with the usual popular, then a word meaning when and an anagram (drunk) of SEEN an split the result (2,1,5).

18d         Upright army officer regularly selected gunmen (6)
COLUMN:  An abbreviation of a senior army officer followed by the alternate letters (regularly selected) fron gUnMeN.

20d         Gravel stored in smashing lean-to (7)
SHINGLE:  A lurker.  It’s lurking in (stored in) the last two words of the clue.

22d         For all to see, nude rogue is improper (5)
UNDUE:  The letter for a film that anyone can watch followed by an anagram (rogue) of NUDE.

24d         Shame being short of time, departs club (5)
GUILD:  A word for shame without the final T (short of T(ime)) followed by D(eparts).

25d         Flier written with some content you can ignore (4)
WREN:  This flier is a bird.  You get it by removing the middle letters from the word WRITTEN (some content you can ignore).

Some good stuff here but my favourite, for its well hidden definition, is 4d with 1a and 16d up on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:     EYE     +     SEA     +     NOSE    +     CHIPS     =     I SEE NO SHIPS

71 comments on “DT 28867

  1. 3* / 2.5*. A curate’s egg puzzle for me today.

    I found the top half extremely easy and the bottom half extremely difficult. Some of the clues were enjoyable, others less so; and some of the surfaces were fine and others were decidedly dodgy.

    16d seemed incongruous with a “u” as I thought we always spelt it as the French would.

    23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to pommers.

  2. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the review and hints. I just couldn’t do this. Needed 13 hints to finish. Was 6*/1* for me.

  3. I really enjoyed the challenge with this one. I thought any slightly dodgy surfaces were more than offset by some terrific clues, most notably those already highlighted by our blogger. I would nominate the excellent 4d as my COTD.

    Thanks to our mystery setter for cheering up a miserable Marches morning, and to pommers.

  4. Like RD, I sailed through the top half of this one and then floundered around towards the bottom.

    23a gets my favourite slot (Mr Kipling’s fig rolls indeed!) with 1a getting an honourable mention.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to the new member of the OAP gang for the blog.

  5. Agree with Pete. I found this a real struggle.
    Some quite complicated but ingenious constructions.
    **** certainly for me.
    Perhaps, though, I’m psyched up to expect Thursday difficult and my brain responds as expected.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pensionista pommers for the colourfully illustrated review.

  6. Today’s exercise tested the cranial faculty somewhat but it was no less enjoyable for that. The Orient was more straightforward than the West. My memory of the Jungle Stories let me down with 23a. I failed to parse the convoluted 2d. Surely 16d is an inappropriate anglicism. When the penny dropped 4d was Fav. Thank you Mysteron and pommers to whom ‘welcome to the clan’.

  7. Today I was going to go mushrooming, but as dawn broke I heard gunfire from the spot that I planned to visit. Normally hunters can only go Sat, Sun and Wed. So goodness knows why they were out to day! So rather than have my backside mistaken for a wild boar I decided to do the crossword.

    Started well but after a while needed much referencing in the Thesaurus to piece together the remaining clues. But the clues were all fair for me and a good start to the day. LOI 16dn. Favourite 15ac

    Thanks setter and pommers

  8. A corker of a puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed. It took longer than usual. Not sure if that was because the puzzle was trickier or because Saint Sharon insisted on talking drivel at me and refusing to accept nods and grunts as fair replies. Whatever, my iPad ran out of charge with the bottom left corner unsolved. So I humoured Saint Sharon and have just returned and solved the last few clues. Thanks to the setter (Shamus) and to Pommers. I like your description at the top of the page. I’ve never seen that done before

  9. This seemed more difficult than usual to me too, particularly the north-w
    est corner in my case. It was interesting that there were different areas of difficulty for the various correspondents. I found myself juggling the French and English dictionaries for 16d and had hitherto thought 18a to be a burrower. Enjoy your retirement!

  10. Are other people having problems reaching BD site? I fiddle around with various means of entry and usually manage but even then sometimes find it’s not up to date with all the Comments.

    1. I think people may be having trouble accessing the site as it’s been very quiet on here for the last few days.

      1. I am finding that even with repeated Ctrl + F5 the recent comments section is out of sync. That could well be because I am using Windows Vista, which is no longer supported, and therefore an old version of Chrome, for which support has also ceased. Cloudflare, which is doubtless bang up to date, may be further complicating matters for me.

        I tested the site with MS Edge, Firefox and Chrome on a Windows 10.1 machine yesterday and it appeared to work fine.

          1. Win7 also no longer supported – which is computer-speak for ‘it’s going to stop working and we don’t care – buy a load more landfill’

            I am currently looking into disabling caching in various browsers – I’ll let you know if I figure out a workaround.

          2. Well, this works, kind of.

            Open up any page on Digdave44.com

            Press F12 to open Developer Tools

            Go to the Network tab

            Check the Disable Cache box

            Drag the line to narrow the Developer tools to a sidebar

            Now click anywhere on a BD page, then hit Ctrl + F5

            The page now loads from the server source every time, which is slightly slower, but it is consistently up to date.

            Hope that helps

        1. Over the past few days I need to refresh the page every time I return to any page on this site. I am using a Windows 10 laptop and get the same effect using any one of Edge, IE and Chrome. However with every other website there is no need to do this, they all refresh automatically when I return to the page.

          1. Do you have the option to update to Win 10.1? Have you tried Firefox?

            It may be a compatibility glitch, temporary workaround above if all else fails.

            1. No and no. Those aspects are controlled by the company IT department. Your F12 workaround has no effect :sad:

              I don’t know if it’s relevant but when I hit F12 from BD’s site the Console tab is showing 2 errors whereas there are no errors on the Console tab on half-a-dozen other websites I have just tested.

              The Console error messages, which are gibberish to me, are:

              SCRIPT1010: Expected identifier
              dt-28867 (1,9)

              SCRIPT438: Object doesn’t support property or method ‘dispatchEvent’
              prototype.js (6598,5)
              perf_trace {“name”: “e2e”, “parent”: “PageEvents.BIGPIPE_ONLOAD”}: 14,025.614ms

  11. Brilliant puzzle. It went in steadily, but oh so slowly. A nice challenge. 3d was my pick of the day but mentions deserved to 1a, 23a, and 3d.

  12. I found parts of this puzzle to be very difficult and was surprised by Pommers **, either I had a bad day or he had a good one!-looking forward to the bloggers rating.
    Ended up with half a dozen clues which I painfully solved.
    As far as 18 is concerned there are no burrows in trees, one of my last in, as was 4d which provided the days d.oh moment-fancy a chemist missing the answer.
    5D refused to ‘anagram’ and I had to wait until all the checking letters were in before the word appeared.
    Anyway a ****/***.Thanks all- liked 23a.

  13. Unlike some others I found this a tad easier than most of Mr Ron’s.offerings . 18a held me up ; I don’t think any species of Chipmonk live in trees . 22a was my cotd although there were many others worthy of merit . Thanks to setter and pommers.

  14. What a superb puzzle this was. I found much to enjoy, including a fresh way of using the word ‘engineer’ in a clue.So many favourites today, but I’ll restrict myself to just one for a mention – 18 down. Thanks to the setter for a very pleasant tussle and to pensioner Pommers for all his words of wisdom.

  15. I thought that parts of this puzzle were very difficult today- I was surprised with Pommers **,either he had a good day or I had a bad one-looking forward to the blog comments.
    I was left with about half a dozen clues scattered around which I painfully solved.
    As for 18a, there are no burrows in trees.
    Had my d’oh moment with 4d-fancy a chemist missing that .Liked 23a.
    Going for a ****/**. Thanks ALL.

  16. Like others on here the top half went in smoothly enough but the lower section made the little grey cells earn their corn. 4d was my COTD – very clever.
    Thanks to Shamus (according to the man from LI) and to the old man for the review.

  17. A most definite **** for difficulty here. I struggled throughout, especially to the south as others have noted. Last in 23ac where I fell hook, line and sinker for the red herring.

  18. I concur with Miffypops, a cracking puzzle that I enjoyed very much too. In fact 23a is up there as a candidate for my personal favourite clue of 2018, it was superb. 28a and 16d were also extremely well clued, I thought.

    Many thanks to the setter for an excellent puzzle and to pensionista pommers.

        1. Said A55 is presently ringing with the sound of all manner of expletives. Bridge reconstruction between Llanddulas and Old Colwyn has seen a contraflow system put in place between the two which is due to last for 5 weeks. Need I say more……….

      1. Haha, indeed! I read last week that, finally after 52 years, the 28a toll to enter Wales will be scrapped in December. Bizarrely, it’s always been free for those entering England coming the other way.

        1. Well – we wouldn’t want to dissuade the ‘swallows’ from flying back home at the end of the season!

        2. I’m off to Cardiff tomorrow to visit friends for the weekend and I’m thinking of paying using 112 5p coins to celebrate the last time I will be ripped off for entering Wales.

        3. On a day with nothing of importance happening in Cardiff the bridge flows well. When there is an event the toll takers seem to deliberately hold things up with inane chatter and slow counting of money. The benefit to the Welsh economy without these chumps will be enormous

  19. Great puzzle which I found very enjoyable once I realised that 3d was NOT “Overpower”!! Thanks to setter

  20. Been a DT Crossword fan for more than 40 years and in more recent years an avid follower of the blog. In many ways feel as though I know you all but thus far kept the grand bald pate below the parapet. Decided today is the day to ‘come out’ so hello everyone!! Loved today’s offering, hence the prompt to blog, from the cunning 4D to the delightful 23A. Time about right for this much pleasure – about 2 pints of Abbott Ale in my wonderful local. You will appreciate 4* time can get a bit wobbly! Anyway thanks BD et al for the years of entertainment

      1. Well I admit to being mad as a box of frogs but which stage of my initiation this gets me through, we will have to see!!

        1. I think that qualifies you to pass go but perhaps not collect £200 – if you were to, we’d all like to know how, particularly our hard-working bloggers!

    1. As an erstwhile long time resident near to Bury St. Edmunds (home of Abbot Ale) I heartily concur with your choice of brew.

    2. Perhaps you may like to stick your head even further over the parapet and come to Big Dave’s birthday bash.

  21. At first sight,I thought this was going to be a real problem, but once the wine was cracked open it all fell into place. Some great words…I particularly liked 5d.
    Favourite clue would be 26a..neat !
    Thanks to all.

  22. This was way beyond my ken, I don’t really know how many I needed the hints for.
    I really enjoyed what I did solve; eg 4d, 1a and 28a, but outstanding fave was 23a.
    Thanks to our setter and to pensionista pommers.

  23. Welcome to the club Pommers. It is great to be sent some money without having to work for it. I wonder if your birthday celebrations caused you to over complicate your hint for 2d. Is it not the word lodge without its interior plus the synonym for fitting? I thought there were some brilliant clues. Shamus? Some took some working out but were doable. Oddly the only one which caused me problems was 4d. Favourite 16d. Did wonder about the English or French spelling but French had one too many letters.

    1. Well spotted. Pommers has LIE minus is middle letter. We have LODGE minus its three interior letters. Oh the joys of producing an accurate blog.

      1. I think we all over complicate things from time to time. I certainly do. Just found this one easy to parse as opposed to some of the others……

  24. I finished it eventually without seeing the hints or reading the reactions but needed electronic help for 1A which was the keystone . It was enjoyable in a perverse way but I failed in my allotted time this morning and so needed overtime this afternoon after a bowls match .
    Very difficult in my opinion and I look forward to reading the blog to gauge the general experience ,
    My start this morning was ok especially 28a which can be seen from my abode but then ground to a halt with about 50% completed .
    My favourite is 18a but a few others were admired and some groaned at eg Fe !
    Thanks to everyone .

    1. You added a second S at the end of your middle name which sent you into moderation

      I’ve deleted it and so your comment will now be visible to the wider world

      1. Thanks yous !My typing is awful .
        I regularly clear the history on my iPad to avoid accumulating too many cookies and unnecessary contacts/spam . However , it needs rentering my email detail when commenting .

  25. First thing this morning, it was suggested to me that today was a ‘wrong envelope day’ and I’d have to agree with my correspondent as I found the back pager particularly tricky, taking several goes interspersed with other things, where as the Toughie was solved all in one go

    I did enjoy myself so thank you to the Mysteron and Pommers – if I had one quibble it would be that referring to the flag over the channel made me, at least, spell it the French way, which held up the solving of 27a until the centime dropped

  26. All good until I hit the brakes in the SW corner.
    No idea how this was two stars. Would hate to meet a five star on that basis!!
    Thanks all.

    1. Thanks for the hints for the SW corner, glad I threw the towel in!
      “For all to see” = “U” – Obvious really?????

  27. Thought 4d was one of the best clues for a while. In 15d the reference to Bletchley Park seemed very contrived. Overall very enjoyable.

  28. Tricky today and worthy of a place in the Toughie slot imho.

    Thanks to pommers and setter 3.5*/3.5*

  29. Wow – what a great crossword – I loved it.
    I hate to disagree with pommers who’s not only an ace solver but also an ace ‘hinty person’ but I thought this was very difficult.
    I enjoyed every minute, or even hour, of the very long time it took me to finish it.
    Think I’ll just put down all the clues that I particularly enjoyed – 18 and 28a and 2, 4, 7 and 16d.
    With thanks to our mystery setter for such a good crossword and thanks, a huge well done to pommers for sorting it all out and a belated Happy Birthday.

  30. 2d is a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees, as my gran used to say. :oops: It still works my way even if it is a over-complicated.

    Anyway, ta to all who said happy birthday etc.

    Off to bed now as at my age I need my beauty sleep. Actually I’ve needed beauty for 65 years but sleep isn’t a problem if enough wine/beer is consumed.

  31. I agree with Rabbit Dave. Top half quite straightforward, bottom half took a while. I thought there were some lovely clues. My favourite was 18a, with 1a, 23a, 3d, 4d, 16d, and 20d the runners-up. Thank you to the setter and to Pommers.

  32. 3*/4*….glad to see that others found this one difficult;
    smiled at the useless petty officer in 14D.

  33. Best of the week as far as I am concerned.
    If it’s from Shamus, who is dearly missed on the toughie side, I shall congratulate him for such a great crossword.
    If it isn’t, my congratulations go to the unknown setter.
    Thanks also to pommers for the blog.

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