DT 28874 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28874


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28874

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright, chilly morning.

I found this puzzle to be at the trickier end of the Giovanni spectrum, though as always, once the puzzle has been solved, it is hard to see why.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a           Mum meeting someone in Glasgow? It’s supposed to be lucky (6)
MASCOT – A short word for ‘mum’ followed by the nationality of a native of Glasgow, Edinburgh, or anywhere else north of the border.

5a           ‘Goody’ about to catch ‘baddy’ — they run at a moderate pace (8)
TROTTERS – Reverse (about) the short form of the title of a particularly good or holy person, then wrap the result around a nasty person.

Image result for trotting races

9a           Tinge Monet conjured up for herbaceous plant (10)
MIGNONETTE – Anagram (conjured up) of TINGE MONET.

Image result for mignonette flower

10a         Japanese ingredient is included by Maureen (4)
MISO – IS (from the clue) inserted into the diminutive form of the name Maureen, giving us a paste made from soya beans fermented in brine.

Image result for miso

11a         Embellish talk to be given at end of month (8)
DECORATE – The abbreviated form of one of the months of the year, followed by a verb meaning ‘talk’ or ‘give a public speech’.

12a         Knowing about bar’s closing and opening (6)
CRANNY – The last letter (closing) of baR, inserted into a word for ‘knowing’ or ‘astute’. The answer is the sort of opening often associated in the plural with nooks.

13a         Member of tribe about to get instruction in English language (4)
CELT – One of the Latin abbreviations for ‘about’ or ‘approximately’, followed by a three-letter acronym for English Language Teaching.

15a         What’s having detrimental effect on mother, getting old? (8)
DAMAGING – The mother of a thoroughbred racehorse followed by ‘getting old’.

18a         Pig a man’s destroyed in one form of religion (8)
PAGANISM – Anagram (destroyed) of PIG A MAN’S.

19a         Help with a risky venture (4)
ABET – A (from the clue) followed by a punt or risky venture, to give a verb for ‘help’ often paired with ‘aid’ in criminal charges.

21a         Major digital operator at ground level? (3,3)
BIG TOE – Cryptic definition of one of the appendages of the human body, one usually found close to the ground.

23a         Worst group for tackling tricky issue (8)
LOUSIEST – Anagram (tricky) of ISSUE with a group or collection wrapped around it.

25a         Instrument used by Charpentier (4)
HARP – Hidden in the clue.

26a         Well planned, albeit needing someone to promote business (7,3)
THOUGHT OUT – Another word for ‘albeit’ followed by someone seeking to drum up business.

27a         Places like Plymouth, Southampton, each involved in games (8)
SEAPORTS – An abbreviated form of ‘each’ inserted into ‘games’ or ‘athletic contests’.

28a         Country fare for major festival (6)
TURKEY – Double definition, possibly one that’s enough of a chestnut to make the stuffing for the answer.

Image result for turkey


2d           Lively soldier drowning in booze (5)
AGILE – The usual abbreviation for a US soldier, inserted into some rather more English beer.

3d           Business groups getting on, type retained by American agency (9)
CONSORTIA – Put together ON (from the clue) and another word for ‘type’ or ‘kind’, then wrap an American spy agency around the result.

4d           Islander in trouble not turning up (6)
TONGAN – Put together a verb meaning ‘trouble’ or ‘harass’ and NOT (from the clue), then reverse the lot to get a South Sea islander.

5d           Scruffy kids, a lot I smartened somehow after short time (15)
TATTERDEMALIONS – An abbreviation for Time followed by an anagram (somehow) of A LOT I SMARTENED.

6d           On the subject of business, the writer is lost for words (8)
OVERCOME – Put together a preposition meaning ‘on the subject of’, an abbreviation for a firm or business, and a pronoun which could replace ‘the writer’.

7d           Cheers when a politician enters US city (5)
TAMPA – A short word for ‘cheers’ or ‘thank you’, wrapped around A (from the clue) and one of the usual crossword politicians.

8d           Vibrancy of English boy in foreign country, blasting off loudly (9)
RESONANCE – Remove the musical symbol for ‘loudly’ from the front of the name of a foreign country, then wrap the result around English and another word for ‘boy’.

14d         To kill time, I acted strangely (9)
ERADICATE – A historical period of time followed by an anagram (strangely) of I ACTED.

16d         Fighter, happy one attending common soldiers (9)
GLADIATOR – Put together another word for ‘happy’, the Roman numeral for one, a short word for ‘attending’, and the acronym for soldiers who are not officers.

Image result for gladiator

17d         Terrible performer? Not a person taking charge (8)
DIRECTOR – Another word for ‘terrible’ or ‘dreadful’ followed by a stage performer with the letter A removed (not a).

20d         US chum needs to obtain sum of money allocated (6)
BUDGET – The shorter form of an American term for ‘friend’, followed by ‘obtain’.

22d         Add more liquid to pot, we deduce! (3,2)
TOP UP – This is a sort of reverse clue, in that the answer could be a cryptic clue to which ‘pot’ is the answer.

24d         Old novelist in shed in the home counties (5)
SHUTE – A shed or hovel with the geographical location of the Home Counties wrapped around it, giving us an author from the 19410s and 1950s, famous for On the Beach and A Town Like Alice.

Image result for nevil shute

The Quick Crossword pun SWEEP + STEAK = SWEEPSTAKE

66 comments on “DT 28874

  1. Raced through this today and suddenly got stuck on 13 across. Bunged in what I thought was correct and waited for today’s hints. A nice end to the working week’s cryptics, most enjoyable. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. 3* / 1*. I am sure that the new word I have learnt today in 5d will come in useful.

    Thanks to setter and to DT.

    P.S. Happy Birthday, Kitty!

    1. 5 down has been an answer in a previous Telegraph cryptic RD, but in the singular form. Probably about a couple of years ago. 😊

      1. My husband knew this word – this was the first time I had come across it. One of the earliest clues completed therefore. What a clever man.

  3. Stumped by 5d and 13ac. Bunged both in correctly. Nearly needed a pencil for 5d but refused to use one. needed DTs help with 13ac The circa was obvious but the last three letters made no sense. Ta to all

    1. I also refused to use a pencil. So having failed using my biro, I used a computer. (Hats off to anyone using neither and who knew the word!)

  4. Where did 5d come from ?, I assumed it was an anagram after the T and banged it in the ‘doofer’ and out came the definition.
    I did not like the construction of 13a, bunged in the answer-it would have been better to have the three words for the acronym one after the other in my opinion.
    Anyway a ***/*** overall, liked the surface of 28a, thanks DT for the pics-now I know what Miso is

  5. As always a pleasure to start the day with a Giovanni brain-teaser. It is encouraging when 1a goes in straightaway and today that led to a speedy completion of the NW. I needed help with the 5d ragamuffin and also 13a tribe member. Not sure ‘what’s’ is really needed in 15a clue. Fav was 26a. Thank you DG and DT.

  6. Classic Giovanni great solve as with other bloggers I suspect a lot of us have learnt a new word at 5d.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and the Don.

  7. A nicely enjoyable puzzle and for a change I fairly sprinted through it until i got stuck in the NE, although now I can’t see why. I suppose that’s often the case.
    As an aside, does anyone know who sets the puzzle in The Week. It’s eerily familiar from a DT point of view,
    Thanks to all involved.

  8. I have tried hard to like 10a soup, but it is so much like washing up water, that I end up embellishing it with ketchup etc, which apparently defeats the object….

  9. One of my offspring has Cambridge qualifications in 13, the acronym of which is pronounced with a soft C (because,of course, it precedes an E) and I still didn’t get it. How lame is that?

    Shall we now have an argument about whether the C should be hard or soft? Fight! Fight!

    1. I wd always use the hard c for the clan member because my father said that was right (!!) but Celtic cd be soft or hard depending on the context. Confusing isn’t it

    2. Late coming to this but as someone who’s been on the course it’s a soft C.
      And I also don’t know the acronym of the clue. It’s always been ESOL, ESL or EFL for me.

  10. Wow! Three weird words in quick succession. Giovanni must have been leaving through his weird word dictionary this week.
    So saying with some electronic help it all went into place nicely.
    Thx to all.
    PS if you are out there Sir, could you settle an argument with Mrs B, did you start with 5d and go from there?

      1. Thanks for replying, we will just have to continue the argument (it’s very good natured really!)

  11. Much too difficult for me.5d and 9a completely left me cold. 5d could describe the England football team, but for their great win against Spain!

  12. Re 5d.

    I’ve just been reading about the Bath shopkeeper who has been trying to deter the custom of the local comp kids (although not minding about the private pupils nearby).

    If only the notice on the door had read:

    “Strictly No T***********s in this shop!”

    It would have deterred nearly everyone.

  13. Tricky, certainly, but enjoyable I thought. What a wonderful word at 5d. Never likely to use it, but a great example of the depth of the English language. 5a my favourite.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  14. I wonder how 5d is translated into Italian? Or any other language for the matter. New word for me as, too, was 14ac. Tricky solve and had to come here for hint on 13ac. Thanks DG and DT.

  15. Mixed bag for me today but enjoyed the challenge .
    Likewise to most I was not familiar with 5D and needed assurance from my wife on 9A & 10A.
    Smiled at 12A so is my favourite .
    Re 13A – I think it is Glasgow “Seltic” with everything else “Kelt & Keltic” but agree the clue is iffy .
    Thanks to everyone

  16. Tricky, but enjoyable. I’ve never come across 5d like some others of you. Quick start, slow middle and then finished at a good pace – except fro 5d, that is.

  17. Enough Friday academic grind to curdle the venerable Abbot!! Thanks to Setter and Hinter

  18. ****/****. Phew! Needed a lot of electronic help to solve this. 5d is a splendid word and like Brian (or Mrs B) I wondered if the puzzle was built around it. My one gripe was 13a. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  19. Wishing you a very happy birthday, Kitty – lots of spoilations.

    Tricky in parts, needed the hints for a couple.
    I have heard of 5d, sounds Dickensian so that’s probably where, but I would have never remembered it. I solved the anagram with electronic help and that nudged my memory.
    The old novelist in 24d was a fave of mine, loved all his stories. I thought the best was Round the Bend, but A Town Like Alice was his most famous. They were all good, I have them all on my Kindle.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for this hints.

  20. After a good run that was miles above my level.
    Unlike the Boomtown Rats, I don’t like Friday’s. 5d and 13a being prime examples.
    Thanks all.

    1. You and I usually agree on crosswords, but I seem to remember you had no problem with the RayT yesterday whereas I just failed miserably all the way. I just gave up early on.

      1. Hi Merusa, yesterday’s was solved without any problems, yet Fridays have consistently been beyond me. I have never actually solved a Giovanni crossword, and am unlikely to. Unlike Ray-T where the penny has dropped and I enjoy solving them, Friday’s wordplay remains a complete mystery. I’m afraid clues like 13a leave me cold. Onward and upwards though, another day tomorrow.

    2. I’m like that with many of Ray Ts offerings. However, the great thing about a Giovanni puzzle is that almost always everything you need to solve the clue is there unlike the aforementioned setter who often seems to needs obscure guesswork to solve a clue.

  21. Nice crossword as usual on Friday but a tad tricky! ***/**** 😳 5d was a new word for me and 13a I did not get 😬 though I see I was in good company. Loads of good clues but I will go with 5a & 28a as favourites 😜 Thanks to DT and to Giovanni.

  22. I found this as tricky as yesterday’s tussle with RayT, add me to those who had never encountered 5d before. I like to consider myself something of a gardener, but had not heard of 9a either. Fortunately both were anagrams which did help considerably.

    My ticks went to 12a, 23a and 17d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT, and a good weekend to all.

    Many happy returns to Kitty, I hope that she has had plenty of feline treats today!

  23. Fortunately, I was OK with the DG obscurities today as I remembered 5d from its previous appearance and also the acronym in 13a, which turned up a couple of days ago in its guise as a young sow!

    Hard to believe that, for once, there were no shortened forenames on display.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog.
    PS Hope you’re having really indulgent day, Kitty!

  24. Humungous thanks to Rabbit Dave, Merusa, LetterboxRoy, Silvanus, Jane and Dutch for your felicitations, and to Big Dave for the banner.

    While I normally spend my birthdays pretending I’m not having a birthday (really, I don’t want any more), this year have broken with tradition. It’s been a dream day, full of cats and other furry and feathery creatures, rowing on the Serpentine and, of course, my favourite noms and slurps. Back to those now …

    I did also do the crossword too at one point! – for which thanks to Giovanni, and thanks too to Deep Threat for the review.

  25. A few new words learnt as expected, though overall this did feel trickier than par. A decidedly (early) festive feeling about today’s puzzle, so much so that it took an age to spot my LOI, 28ac. A couple of months from now and it would have been tripping off the tongue.

  26. Found this tricky, with 9a and 5d new words for me – solved with a little help from my electronic dictionary and the lovely Mrs SK – Friday’s offering always seem a little hard…

  27. Wow! Just for once I knew the ragamuffin so that was no problem. 13a was last one in but fairly obvious from the checking letters. Hmm.
    My favourite was 21a which took a while before the penny dropped. Excellent crossword to finish the working week.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  28. This was a typical Giovanni for me, where I start off ok, then it gets tough and I think I will never finish it. But slowly, slowly it comes together (albeit with the picture hints), and then voila, it is done. 5d totally stumped me of course. Never seen that before, and ragamuffins jumped into my head but of course not enough letters and quite wrong. Quite a bit easier than yesterday when I did throw in the towel. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  29. Still having intermittent problems with seeing all the posts on BD which sometimes can be overcome by changing Browser, as Howitzerx3 suggested, but that doesn’t always work. Am I alone with this problem?

    1. You’re not alone. Each time I open the site, my iPad loads the site as it was on October 11th. I then use the refresh facility and get what I hope is the current version. This started happening on 11 October. Any suggestions on how to overcome this would be appreciated.

  30. The solution of 5d is worthy of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘My Word’, of blessed memory, along with Mrs Sesquipedalian! Frank Muir and Denis Norden. Loved it, miss it still.

  31. Another cracking puzzle from G. A good challenge and very enjoyable. 9a and 5d were new words for me (though I could well have forgotten them). 3.5* / 4.5*

  32. I keep telling myself that I will complete the Friday DG without electronic or blog help. Maybe next week 🤔

  33. Spent a bit of time on 12a but otherwise nothing much to declare.
    21a made me smile and becomes my favourite clue.
    Favourite hint 28a.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  34. Hi there, tell me how do you always know who the setter is? Or is it always the same person on the same day? I am interested to see some comments saying Fridays are always difficult, as that is the only day I ever buy a Telegraph and do the Xword! So maybe I am not as thick as I thought! Today’s was a stinker! Never heard of 5d nor 10a. Nor 12a in this context. 6d’s synonym I felt was a little weak. On the other hand, 13a which so many have criticised, if you get the first letter from the clue, and the second and last ones from the other clues, you only have one letter to find. Although I do agree, after 34 years of teaching French, that the last three letters are an almost unheard of acronym. TEFL is far more common, although apparently there is a periodical whose title is these three words. There are many other things it can stand for.

    Read all the way through the clues before finding one I could do. 24d!

    Keep saying I’ll give up trying but somehow never manage to stop myself! Thanks awfully for the support!

      1. OOps! Should’ve done what it said in Red! Typical (ex-) teacher! Please take it my hand is thoroughly smacked.

  35. 2*/5*
    5D ( the scruffy kids) has to be my COD, but also liked 18A (form of religion), 21A (major digital operator), and 2D (lively soldier).

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