DT 28884 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28884

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28884

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a cold but sunny Downtown LI. I am standing in for The Two Kiwis today as Kiwi Colin has been away in India. Hopefully we have some nice photos to look at when they make their welcome return next week.

Today’s puzzle by Jay only held me up slightly at 11ac and 17d but soon sorted thanks to the checking letters. Do as Jay asks, and you should have a full grid of letters.

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 answers or the clues.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Moved en masse from fighting in southern Mediterranean (7)
SWARMED: Place a three-lettered word meaning fighting between nations between two abbreviations. One for Southern and one for the Mediterranean Sea

5a    Approximate in weight, and forged (7)
WROUGHT: Place a word meaning approximate, inexact or near enough inside a two-lettered abbreviation for weight

9a    Helps to chase runs and attacks (5)
RAIDS: A word meaning helps is placed after the cricket abbreviation for runs

10a    The majority of ladies must accept predicaments can be healthy (9)
WHOLESOME: Begin with a word meaning ladies but minus its last letter (majority of) Insert (must accept) a word meaning predicaments. When you are in one of these, stop digging

11a    Irritation includes concerns for this literary form (10)
PICARESQUE: Our fourth stick one word into another in five clues. This time your fit of temper (irritation) has a word meaning ones concerns or worries stuck into it (includes)

12a    Reacted emotionally to such material (4)
FELT: A double definition. One emotional and one material.

14a    Grouchy old American chasing tin vessel (12)
CANTANKEROUS: The abbreviations for Old and United States follow another name for a tin (of baked beans perhaps) and a vessel used for bulk carriage. This wonderful performer often gets called the answer, but I find him perfect

18a    Just out of the medals facing Spain, say the press (6,6)
FOURTH ESTATE: In a typical medals system such as the Olympic Games only the first, second and third placed receive medals. Therefore, one just out of the medals would be the next in the series. That is the first word of the answer explained in plain English. The second word begins with the letter denoting that a car is from Spain. Add a synonym of the word say to get a term used to describe the news media in general

21a    Evil king’s ruin (4)
SINK: the chess notation for the King follows a word meaning evil or immoral acts against divine law

22a    Ephemeral spirit Old Nick rejected (5-5)
SHORT-LIVED: A common term for a drink of a spirit served in a small measure is followed by the reverse (rejected) of another name for Old Nick or Satan

25a    Suitable work left on board with a Parisienne (9)
OPPORTUNE: A three-part charade. Do as you are told, and you will have an answer. 1. Begin with the term for work used in cryptic crosswords. (The abbreviated term for a musical work) 2. The term used for the left side when on board a ship. 3. The word a translated into French (Parisienne) the word has a masculine and a feminine translation. One has enough letters the other falls short.

26a    Within earshot, guarding approaches (5)
NEARS: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The word guarding tells us so.

27a    Furthest from the centre — and high in intensity (7)
EXTREME: A double definition. They are both accessible to me.

28a    The girl has gone for a drink here! (7)
SHEBEEN: This Irish drinking den can be found by linking a female pronoun to the past participle of the word be. If the girl has gone somewhere, she has therefore been somewhere


1d    Band bare all and leave at last (6)
STRIPE: Begin with a verb meaning to bare all (by removing one’s clothes) and add the final letter (at last) of the word leave

2d    In America, a gun each (6)
APIECE: Split 1,5 this word meaning each is how certain Americans would call a gun. It is in my online dictionary described as a firearm. Informal. North American

3d    Names sit awkwardly, keeping credit for offenders (10)
MISCREANTS: Anagram (awkwardly) of NAMES SIT around (keeping) the abbreviation for Credit

4d    Drinks in one area of rolling hills (5)
DOWNS: An informal term for drinks is also the name for an area of grass covered chalk hills sometimes known as wolds

5d    Mystery perplexed Hindu town (9)
WHODUNNIT: Anagram (perplexed) of HINDU TOWN

6d    Witches needing no lid for this cooker (4)
OVEN: A term for a group of witches needs to lose its first letter (needing no lid) to find a cooker

7d    Waterfowl work on good fruit (8)
GOOSEGOG: Begin with a type of waterfowl. Add a small word meaning to work or function properly. Finish off with the abbreviation for Good. You should now have the informal name of a round yellowish-green berry with a translucent hairy skin

8d    Composition needing delicacy is English (8)
TREATISE: Begin with a delicacy or edible fancy. Add the word IS from the clue. Add the abbreviation for English

13d    Plague caused by coppers covering steps in field (10)
PESTILENCE: We are back to sticking things inside other things or wrapping thing around other things with this clue. In this case the steps used to cross a fence in a field are wrapped up in (covering) the small change in your pocket known as coppers.

15d    Criminal here to use superior accommodation (4,5)
TREEHOUSE: Anagram (criminal) of HERE TO USE

16d    Away and certain to be heard — not far from the coast (8)
OFFSHORE: A word meaning to be away from somewhere or at a distance from another place is followed by a homophone or word which sounds like a word meaning certain.

17d    Go with son and tip up cooker on fire (8)
TURNSPIT: The go here refers to ones go in a game such as cards. This is followed by the abbreviation for Son and the reversal (up) of the word TIP in the clue. The answer used to be the person or dog that physically operated the device. Mechanical devices followed.

19d    A struggle to pack a ton and fly (6)
AVIATE: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Now place the second letter A from the clue together with the abbreviation for Ton inside a three-letter verb meaning to struggle

20d    Likely to win strange spoon, oddly (4-2)
ODDS-ON: Begin with a word meaning strange or rum. Add the odd numbered letters of the worn spoon

23d    Raise charge in case of rapids or rocks (5)
REEFS: The cost or charge for professional services is reversed (Raise) and placed within the first and last letters (case of) of RapidS

24d    Encourage rapid growth, ignoring head (4)
URGE: A word meaning rapid growth or sudden large increase has its first letter removed (ignoring head)

Slightly late to the solve today after a fantastic night at The Troxy watching The Dresden Dolls. Within the last week I have seen The Steve Miller band and John Fogerty at The O2 Arena. (A freebie fortunately). David Byrne in Cardiff and The Dresden Dolls in Limehouse London. Just when I think it is coming to an end, I find I have to take my grandson to see Dinosaur world at Warwick Arts Centre tomorrow. Well at least that is just around the corner.

Quickie Pun warts+malign=What’s My Line?


41 comments on “DT 28884

  1. I found this trickier than recent mid-week challenges, starting with trying to make 1a an anagram (moved) of en masse, and some head scratching was required to complete the solve at a fast canter – ***/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 25a, and 13d – and the winner is 13d.

    Thanks to Jay and GMoLI.

    1. Nothing too obscure except 11a but still a very nice challenge, mainly in the parsing department! I’m going for 2.5*/3* with COTD going to the excellent 5d
      Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  2. 2* / 4.5*. Not difficult today but supremely enjoyable as ever on a Wednesday. My biggest hold-up was 5d simply because I can’t recall seeing that specific spelling before.

    14a is a delightful word but 22a gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and to MP.

        1. I wasn’t aware of the single n spelling, but the brb gives both spellings.

          Wondered if you had something more weird and wonderful in mind…..

  3. I found it less tricky than usual – but the enjoyment factor was as high as ever. Thanks to Jay and MP

  4. Another terrific puzzle from Jay, hugely enjoyable and pleasantly challenging to complete. Some very good contenders for COTD bit my winner is 22a with 5d a close rinner-up.

    Thanks very much to Jay for the fun and to MP for standing in for the 2Ks.

  5. It took me some time to get going and had to refer several times to the BRB, I resorted to the hints for 11a and even approaching seventy you are still learning.
    Thanks to MP and to Jay.

  6. Hugely enjoyable, but hadn’t heard of 11a or 17d before. Haven’t heard of 7d since childhood, some time ago! 14a my favourite. Thanks to Jay and MP

  7. A new word learnt in 11A & I don’t think that bike in 1A would be ridden very far? Favourite clue goes to 22A. Many thanks to Jay & to MP for yet another outstanding review.

  8. A different ‘feel’ from usual for todays top draw puzzle and a **/**** for me.
    A lesson in how to provide concise cluing for all setters.
    I was in charade heaven today with clues such as 11a.14a 25a-i could ramble on.
    Not seen my old friend18a for a while, a lovely surface.
    Thanks MP the pics.
    Nearly put dales for 4d and reels for22d until I saw the light-

  9. I had a bit of slow start, but once I’d got 14a in I was off. I managed to get 11a from checking letters, then had to check googlething as it was a new word for me. I used to hate 7d crumble at school. I started off by writing “con” in the margin for 15d until I realised that it was an anagram. I’m not sure where “superior” fits in. Is it being used in the same way as we had “service” the other day? Many thanks to Jay, and to Miffypips for the second round this week.

  10. Agree with the preceding comments as enjoyable and admirable after a slow start . 11A was a new one for me and just about recalled 28A although both were calculable from the clues .
    Difficult to pick a favourite from a quality field but will go for 7D .
    Thanks to everyone

  11. I took 4d to be a double definition of “drinks in one” and “area of rolling hills” but MP’s underlining doesn’t reflect that.
    11a was new to me; gettable from the word play but it needed checking in the BRB.
    A lovely puzzle from Jay. Favourite was 7d simply because it’s a fine word from childhood. Many thanks to Jay and to MP for his double-duty review.
    I’m feeling quite smug as the Toughie was completed in fast time today – doubtless, the review will give it 1* for difficulty!

  12. I was very happy with my answer dales for 4 down, but it held me up for ages until the right penny dropped. Many thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  13. Not one of my favourites but can’t fathom why not. Had to wrack my brains a bit to solve or parse 11a, 28a and 2d. Stupidly 23d was last to go in. I too went for dales in 4d for a while. Thank you Jay and MP. It would probably help to be of a certain age to get Quickie pun – memories of Eammon Andrews, Gilbert Harding, Isabel Barnett and Barbara Kelly, etc.

  14. A very enjoyable (nearly) back page puzzle – that is ‘nearly on the back page’ not ‘nearly enjoyable’ :cool: The only complaint I have is that it was over all too quickly. 1a went in on the first read through and that always bodes well for me in solving the puzzle. Nice to see the use of *** in 25a – makes a change from the overused ‘le’ & ‘la’. So I shall opt for that to be my favourite clue.

    Thanks to Jay for the fun and to MP for his review – nice to see the ‘pink suit’ avatar again.

    Went to the NIA the other weekend to see Mr Lynne’s ELO – brilliant! Went to the Grand in Wolverhampton to see ‘Kinky Boots’ last Saturday which was absolutely fabulous. If anyone is planning to see the show tour then do it before December 17th as the actor who plays the leading part (Lola) is due to leave the production. :yes:

    1. We saw Kinky Boots in London when it first came out on the recommendation of a friend. It was brilliant. So well played.

  15. Good to see Jay on such top form – a most enjoyable solve.

    Ages since I’ve heard 7d used (not my favourite fruit other than when it’s used in a preserve) and I did have to consult the BRB to arrive at 11a but otherwise no troubles to report.

    Podium places taken by 1&5a plus 2d, with 14a edging them all out for first place – such a delightful sounding word.

    Thanks to Jay and to MP for the extra duties. I envy you having the opportunity to see the Steve Miller Band in concert, particularly if they dug into the archives and performed The Joker and Abracadabra.

    1. I’m presuming the fruit is the same as the “berry” kind, if so, I love them – even though my Mum said you can’t love food. My friends in Somerset had a bush that had my name on it, every time I visited, no matter what time of year, I had my “fool” – yummy. Alas, no more, we can’t get them here.

  16. Can’t agree more with all the comments. This was a pleasant solve but am I the only one to think that the wordplay in 20dn was a bit obvious (if that is the correct expression)? 11 ac new to me but the clue was fair. I too liked 1ac, 5ac but favourite was 22ac – it just jumped out at me.

    Thanks Jay and MP.

  17. **/****. Excellent puzzle from Jay. I like learning new words and today provided two in 11a and 17d. Thanks to Jay and MP for the review.

  18. Another silky smooth offering today. Needed electronic help with 11 Across which is a completely new word to me nor did I see the correctly clued definition of irritation Duh! Big thanks to Setter and (sorry unread) Hinter

  19. And yet another terrific Wednesday crossword from Jay!
    7d was my favourite… once I understood the parsing.
    Thanks to Jay, and MP for the review. I wish I had known Steve Miller was at the O2. I remember seeing him at the Hammy O back in the seventies when he was using two drummers. Awesome.j

  20. Most enjoyable puzzle from Jay but I got stuck in the extreme NE corner. First, I put “dales” for 4d and just couldn’t see what else it could be, and then couldn’t fit the “berry” onto the end of 7d, too many letters!
    Fave is 28a, happy memories of the Irish RM, runner up is 22a.
    Thanks to Jay and to M’pops for standing in for KiwiColin.

  21. Curtailed a bit with a cracked rib. Nothing for it then, rest up with the Crossword. What a good one. held up in places by wrong answers at 4 down and 12a (Dales and Wept) which of course I failed to parse and paid the price.
    3/3 from this solver today. Thanks Jay and MP.

  22. I come down on the more tricky side for this Jay puzzle ***/*** 😳 Possibly because 11a was new to me 🤔 Favourites 2 & 5 down 😃 I thought the explanation 19d a little strange 😬 Nonetheless big thank you to MP and to Jay. I wonder how many of us remember the programme that is the answer in the Quick Crossword 😉

  23. Like Senf, I started off on the wrong foot by trying to make an anagram out of en masse in 1a. That didn’t work obviously, but in my case, if I do get 1a straight away I invariably struggle from then on. Like Miffypops, 11a and 17d caused some problems, and I have never heard of 23a before. Some words learned today then. Greatly enjoyed the brain exercises for this one, with 13d being the favourite, narrowly pipping 14a. Thanks to Jay and Miffypops for another pleasant solve.

  24. The wonders of the free bus pass.
    All done except 10a and 4d.
    Left it and took a bus ride on this glorious day in the south and two pennies dropped.
    Many thanks to Jay and Miffypops for the review,

  25. I thought the NE corner was decidedly tricky, with the rest pretty much a write-in, so a bit of an odd mixture. A 7d? A what? ;-)

  26. After all my recent diy efforts it was really nice to settle down and relax with my daily dose of cryptic crossword puzzling this evening, albeit with a little electronic help. I don’t especially like the word for the answer in 7 down, having been chided for using it as a child. All in all a very entertaining solve and a new word learnt in 11 across. One thing confuses me and has done for ages – the use of the word chasing or chase in a clue when the word refered to is at end of an answer, as with 9 & 14 across today. Surely and logically it is being chased by the first part of the answer . . . . or have I got the wrong end of the stick? Thanks to Jay & MP. Ps, the blog is working superbly now – really responsive & very fast, just like the proverbial ‘off a shovel.’ 😁

  27. Hi Shropshirebloke

    Love the term ‘chided’ – brings back memories of a bygone age and a clip round the ear by the local Bobby when you misbehaved :yes:

  28. Work commitments meant I didn’t manage to get to this until last night so very late on parade… really struggled with this one and couldn’t seem to get on wavelength. The South went in OK but then hit the buffers in the North and, in hindsight, I really can’t see why (as often seems to be the case).

    Lots to like about the puzzle as others have noted – 28a was a new word for me and never heard of 7d before despite Gooseberry Fool being one of my favourite desserts.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s stand-in.

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