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DT 28885

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28885

Hints and tips by pomagne

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja from where today’s hints are brought to you by an effervescent amalgamation of pommers and Jane, with just a touch of gravity as the job in hand demands.  The technical stuff has been done by pommers and the very good review written by Jane so here it is . . .

A bubbly Good Morning to everyone and welcome to what has to be a Mr T puzzle – the word count is spot on (if we allow him to count the shortened form of ‘he is’ as a single word!) and one of his favourite leading ladies puts in an appearance.   I guess that the other one is busy overseeing the redecoration of the royal nursery.   Sadly, we seem to be a bit light on innuendo today but there is still a splash of those definitions that might have you seeking confirmation from the Big Red Book.

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           Belief follows opening of scriptural passage (6)
SCREED:  We start off on a biblical note by taking the first letter (opening of) Scriptural and following it with a belief, often of the religious kind, to arrive at a long written or verbal tract which, in modern day parlance, may be used to imply that said tract is unnecessarily long and frankly boring!

4a           ‘The Sun’, perhaps insane carrying a Sun article (8)
MASTHEAD:  Not the star which gives us heat and light, but the one that appears on newspaper stands.   It’s title is made up of a 3-letter word for insane surrounding (carrying) the A from the clue,  the single letter abbreviation for sun and a particular article.

9a           Brochure’s ideally describing stay (6)
RESIDE:  The first hidden answer of the day – to be found in (describing) the first two words of the clue.

10a         A Parisian loo contains posh lotions (8)
UNGUENTS:  The French (Parisian) word for one precedes a loo for male use into which is inserted the single letter which denotes ‘posh’.   I doubt that the answer is to be found in a French pissoir!

11a         Riddle for each partner embracing sweetheart (8)
PERMEATE:  Forget about conundrums, what we are looking for is a verb meaning ‘to pass through the pores of’ and it is constructed from a word meaning ‘for each’ placed in front of a partner who has captured (embracing) the ‘heart’ of Mr T’s lady love (swEet).

13a         About to go round in circle going fast (6)
RACING:  One of the ways of writing ‘about’ is reversed (to go round) and slotted into a ‘circle’.   Perhaps there is a connection here to the heart in the previous clue!

15a         Defiant criminal undoes Britain (13)
INSUBORDINATE:  The first of two long anagrams from Mr T today.   This one is indicated by ‘criminal’ and involves the last two words of the clue.

18a         Unlike ‘Rogue One’ he’s circling round alien star (13)
HETEROGENEOUS:  And here comes the second one, where I admit to having to check the spelling!   An anagram (circling) of ROGUE ONE HES wrapped around (round) everyone’s favourite alien star.

22a         Leaders to make overdone utterances though hardly speaking (6)
MOUTHS:  It’s a fairly straightforward  ‘take the first letters’ (leaders to) to find the answer.  The problem is that LEADERS is doing double duty as part of the wordplay and the definition.  I suppose it could be trying to be an all-in-one but it doesn’t really work for me – pommers.

24a         Significant the man’s Conservative, almost in charge (8)
HISTORIC:  A way of expressing something belonging to him sits in front of a right-wing political figure minus their last letter (almost) and is followed by the usual 2-letter short form of ‘in charge’.

26a         English politician unchanged, absorbing hard priority (8)
EMPHASIS:  Another politician, this one denoted as being English, comes before a 2-word phrase implying ‘unchanged’ which has been infiltrated by (absorbing) the single letter for ‘hard’ (think in terms of pencils).

27a         Office Romeo possesses pure guts? (6)
BUREAU:  A delightful – but little used nowadays – term for a ‘Romeo’ or lover  takes in (possesses) the inner letters (guts) of ‘pURe’ to give us a place of work, possibly a government department.

28a         Fools possibly upset getting nervous (8)
STRESSED:  Something sweet of which a ‘fool’ could be an example is reversed (upset) to leave one feeling as one part of pomagne did when starting to write these hints!

29a         One crushes pain facing the French (6)
PESTLE:  A person who may be considered to be a ‘pain’ comes before another bit of French – this time it’s the one used to describe a particular person or thing.   The answer requires the help of a partner to achieve its task.


1d           Sharpens exercises somersaulting (6)
STROPS:  Possibly most often associated with cut-throat razors, this manner of achieving a usable cutting edge is the reversal of (somersaulting) a generic term for exercises.

2d           Stop shouting, maintaining one’s self-control (9)
RESTRAINT:  4-letter word meaning to take a break comes before another meaning to storm or scold which is placed around (maintaining) the Roman numeral for the number one.

3d           Some pretend lesson gets monotonous (7)
ENDLESS:  Maybe a reference back to 1a? – this second hidden answer of the day is contained in (some) the second and third word of the clue.

5d           End of chin covered in wicked spots (4)
ACNE:  Almost an all-in-one here.   One of those words that youngsters have come to use in place of its apparent opposite (wicked) is found surrounding the end of chiNI’ve not included a photo here as the ones I found made me feel quite queasy – pommers.

6d           High roller? (7)
TSUNAMI:  Definitely an all-in-one this time and one that has caused devastation around the world.

7d           Lack of interest from Macron ?(5)
ENNUI:  Back to the language of Mr T’s adopted homeland indicated by the use of Macron.   A French word expressing boredom.

8d           Fall in grave before battle’s ultimate clash (8)
DISAGREE:  a 3-letter word implying to fall, put it amidst (in) something dreadful and append the final letter (ultimate) of battlE.

12d         Land inside over island (6)
TOBAGO:  To land as in ‘secure’ nestles within (inside) a term for ‘over’ as used in the phrase ‘that’s — much’.   The answer is a beautiful place often coupled with its neighbour, Trinidad.

14d         Career that’s overturned supporting British state (6)
BRUNEI:  Another case of nestling.   This time it’s a word for ‘career’ in the verbal sense followed by a reversal (overturned) of the usual 2-letter abbreviation for ‘that is’, all of which goes after (supporting in a down clue) the single letter representing British.   Oh, how I’d love to receive a present from the sultan of this country – perhaps some of you also saw the wedding gift he sent to Charles and Di?

16d         Spongy sailor’s tendency to pinch gold (9)
ABSORBENT:  A familiar sailor (don’t forget his ‘s) atop a 4-letter word indicating a leaning (tendency) which, between them, encircle (pinch) the tincture gold.

17d         Cramps coming after cold drink (8)
CHAMPERS:  A  colloquial term perhaps used by the Hooray Henrys.   Some fizz that is infinitely superior to that of your bloggers today is found by taking the one letter which represents ‘cold’ (on taps, maybe) and adding onto it a word implying ‘cramps’, as in ‘—— one’s style’.   Bottoms up, chaps!

19d         Practise endlessly producing tries again (7)
REHEARS:  A practise for such as a theatrical performance loses its last letter (endlessly) and is then pronounced slightly differently to result in a second attempt to settle a court case.

20d         Old boy, impolite, taking time to butt in (7)
OBTRUDE:  This Old Boy has both Time and rough manners (impolite).   He may well be known to carry out the answer we’re looking for here.

21d         Bring charges as copper’s caught by super (6)
ACCUSE:  The symbol for copper plus its ‘s is contained within a word used in 5d but with its more usual meaning of super.

23d         High tea without small starter (5)
UPPER:  A late evening meal (tea?) without the S at the beginning  (without Small starter)

25d         Perform play (4)
GIVE:  A double definition to end today’s solve, which I confess to double-checking in the BRB.

Hopefully today’s puzzle has been found to be enjoyable and that the hints have been of some assistance to those who can struggle to get onto Ray T’s wavelength.   Needless to say, pomagne found it to be all good fun!

The name was Jane’s idea so don’t run away with the idea I actually like the stuff.  The blue clues were selected by me so don’t blame Jane – pommers

Quick crossword pun:      CHAIR     +     SPECIES     =     CHESS PIECES

55 comments on “DT 28885

  1. A good deal of head scratching required and some raised eyebrows while solving this, could it be a wrong envelope day? Finally solved at a fast canter – ***/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 28a, with 28a coming out on top.

    Thanks to Mr T and the dynamic duo.

  2. Thought that today’s puzzle came from the top drawer. Granted there were the hallmark stretched synonyms (LOI 25d anyone?) and some new meanings for me (1a and 1d) but excellence abounded with special shout-outs for: 4a, 5d (great surface) and 6d.

    COTD = 28a for the misdirection.

    Thanks to RayT and Pomagne for the blog.

  3. Good challenge today with lots of goodies including the evergreen 28A . Last one in 25D after a bit of a ponder . Favourite 5D , spot on !
    Thanks again for the setting and hinting .

  4. 4.5* / 4*. The NE corner took me far longer than the other three quarters put together taking me above my 4* time overall. Nevertheless I enjoyed the challenge. I did however think that 7d was a bit dodgy, and I see I got 25d wrong having put in “mime” as my answer.

    My joint favourites were 4a & 10a.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pomagne.

    1. Hi RD,
      This section of ‘pomagne’ (the bit with the added gravity!) had exactly the same thought as you over 25d.

    2. Same here,’mime’ that is.
      Marred an otherwise correct completion.
      Almost in Toughie territory for me.
      Too many brilliant constructions to single out one.
      Many thanks to Ray T and pomagne for the review.

  5. 10a my COTD in this fairly tricky but ultimately enjoyable Ray T puzzle. I also thought 18a was a neat anagram. 25d was my final entry and a bit of a bung-in. Not sure about 7d; I got it straight away but it is either very clever or dodgy, I’m not sure which.

    Many thanks to Ray for the challenge and to the effervescent couple.

  6. I would suggest that 22a is an all in one. The answer means to speak without making a sound. Leaders is just what is says. Cheers to all

  7. I thought that this was at the trickier end of Ray T’s range but an enjoyable encounter.
    I have a big question mark written beside 22a on my printout. I can’t see that ‘leaders’ can be the definition because the answer doesn’t mean that as far as I can see (spokesmen perhaps but not leaders) so I decided that the clue was meant to be an all-in-one (but that doesn’t really work either).
    My ticks went to 12d, 16d and 25d.
    Many thanks to the fizzing couple for the excellent blog.

    1. From where I’m standing 22a has to be an all in one or the final two words of the clue, not the first word?

    2. Hi Gazza,
      There was something of a debate about 22a but I suppose that spokesmen are leaders in the sense that they speak on behalf of a group of people. I’ll ask Mr T about it when he hopefully pops in later.

    3. Leaders means the first letters of make overdone utterances … Which gives mouths as barely speaking

      1. That doesn’t work either as “Hardly Speaking” would be doing double duty as part of the wordplay and being the definition.

          1. To be an all-in-one the whole clue needs to be the definition, not just a couple of words at the end.

            Personally I’d forgive ” make overdone utterances though hardly speaking” being the definition apart from the fact that it would lead to MOUTHS when the phrase actually means MOUTH, without the final S.

              1. I guess it could be but the way the clue is written, if it’s a semi, the answer should be MOUTHING not MOUTHS.

    4. Surely ‘hardly speaking’ is the definition?? ‘Leaders’ means use the first letters? Sorry if I’m being thick!

  8. Last one in for me was 25d and like RD I put in ‘mime’, as the only remotely suitable answer- not impressed with the definition.
    4a had to be what it was with the checkers in and was vaguely familiar.
    Apart from these two no quibbles , just a challenging enjoyable puzzle and a ****/****
    Liked the surface of 18a and 14d which took a bit of parsing.
    Thanks to pomagne and our setter

  9. North was the more friendly half but gradually they both fell into line. 4a star didn’t dawn on me and likewise parsing for 8d. Perhaps 1d is another one for the golden oldies – I well remember one belonging to my father hanging in the bathroom. Fav was 26a. Thank you to RayT and the new dream team.

  10. Back doing crosswords for fun because I have popped a rib in the garden. Nice to get back to it.
    Liked this one from Mr Ray T and got it all done but was ‘Pommered’ on 25D where I was ‘Miming’ the answer along with RD and others. Even now my iPad is saying ‘some incorrect’ but all appears to be well.
    No real favourites – well, maybe 4a
    3/3. Thanks to Pomagne and RayT

  11. Thank you to the Setter and our new blogging pair.

    Could 22a be an all-in-two as it were? With 2 definitions (the one underlined and the rest of the clue) plus wordplay which is the whole clue? Just an idea.

    1. …… Except that then the part of speech of the second definition is wrong. So the clue does not work.

  12. Thanks to Ray T and to Pomagne for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but I was beaten by 4a. I almost had it but as I didn’t know the word for a newspaper, I didn’t have the confidence to proceed with the wordplay. I needed the hints to parse 2&14d. Very tricky, but enjoyable. Not sure about 22a, can’t really see if it works correctly. I liked 10,26,29a, but my favourite was 1d. The penultimate one in was 11a, which took some working out. Was 4*/5* for me.

  13. If Mr T has a mantra I guess it’s tough but fair (liberally sprinkled with fun). A typical Thursday offering, very challenging but very enjoyable. Favourites 17d and 27a.
    Thanks to all, review as good as the puzzle.

  14. I found this a trickier and longer solve than the last Beam Toughie, so definitely one of RayT’s harder backpagers of recent memory.

    For me, the top half was considerably more difficult to unravel than the bottom half, and the latter was certainly not that easy. Not for the first time, the low number of anagrams helped to crank up the level of difficulty.

    My pick of the clues was 2d.

    Many thanks to Mr Terrell and our unexpected pairing (I definitely think that pomagne was a far better choice of name than jammers, by the way!).

  15. I found this puzzle a good challenge, and one of those where I started slowly and wondered if I would complete it, but slowly and surely it fell into place with enough mental application. However, there weren’t many chuckles and 22a seemed a bit unsatisfactory in the way other comments have discussed above. In the end I found my overall enjoyment spoiled by 25d. I was initially another “mimer” but wasn’t happy with it and wasn’t surprised to find it was incorrect, but I was equally unhappy with the answer. I don’t mind the occasional stretched definition, but I’ve checked my BRB and this one seems, to me, stretched just beyond breaking point.
    4*/2* from me.
    Thanks to both our bloggers and setter for their efforts.

  16. I found this very difficult ****/*** 😳 and along with others did not get 25d and although the answer to 7d was easily arrived at Macron had me puzzled 🤔 Favourites 4a & 24a 😃 Thanks to Ray T and Pomagne

  17. Can’t see the connection in 1d between sports and exercising. The two seem highly disconnected. There are many sports such as snooker and darts that require no exertion whatsoever.
    Typical Ray T, enjoyable if requiring a certain amount of suspension of disbelief.
    Thx to all

    1. In reality, snooker and darts are games that have been ‘over-elevated’ by excessive television coverage.

  18. Got there, but, boy, was that a struggle, and probably at the very limit of my ability.
    When I first looked I thought “I should co-co”, but sheer persistence and gradually getting on the right wavelength saw me home, apart from 25d which I gave up on.
    Never heard of 10a or the use of 4a which made the NE corner very tricky, luckily I guessed the big wave and all slotted into place.
    Now I know why I don’t attempt Toughies!!
    Thanks to Jane, Pommers and Ray-T

  19. Waaaay beyond my ken! No wonder, pommers and Jane gave it 4*. I solved less than half.
    Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers and Jane, even if it was over my head.

  20. I had to work quite hard to complete today’s puzzle. I needed to check the spelling for the alien star clue and I couldn’t think of anything other than ‘mime’ for 25d.. I got there eventually. Favourite is 10a.
    Thanks to RayT for the challenge, and to pommers and Jane for the review.

  21. Is anyone else besides me having problems accessing today’s Comments? I posted earlier today but that doesn’t show indeed, although 33 Comments are referred to, only Nos. 1 thru 8 show up i.e. from Senf to Beaver. I wonder what’s up? Let’s see if this appears.
    Oh for heaven’s sake when I posted this Comment (No. 21) the missing ones appeared. 😡

  22. Above my pay grade, solving only 12 clues unaided. Finished the rest with the aid of Pommers hints, thank you.

    I cleared my cache as instructed, although I wasn’t having any problems with the blog. Unfortunately that meant I then had to log in to the Telegraph and it didn’t recognize my long standing password. In fact the password box didn’t even clear the word password, I had to type over it. Gave up and clicked on reset password, but promised email from DT never arrived. But at least my password for DT puzzles still works. Hopefully I will hear soon from the folks at digital services with a reset option.

  23. What a great way to get back back into our crossword solving habit. A somewhat challenging RayT puzzle.
    We started off on the wrong foot by putting in STRAIT as the answer for 1a. It fitted with the definition for passage and a bit of a stretch gave us TRAIT for belief. Once we had that sorted it proceeded smoothly until we had to give 25d some extra thought at the conclusion but we did get the right answer. All good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks RayT and the new and very welcome team Pomagne.

  24. And I thought yesterday’s was hard…….

    Only managed the bottom half , except, of course for 25d where I too was a mimer.

    Thanks to team Pomagne and to the setter.

    1. Hi Mr T, so glad that you’ve popped in. Please can you settle the debate over 22a – we seem to have managed between us to dismiss every possible way of making it work!

  25. Oh dear, I was defeated by 4a and 11a. I managed to put sirvente into 11a, so that did untold damage to the NW corner. If you can’t parse it, don’t put it in ….but I did. I was thinking of the wrong sought of fools for 28a until the penny dropped. Many thanks to Mr T and to the pomagne duo.

  26. Evening folks.
    I don’t normally get to do puzzles when pommers is blogging but he printed this one out for me and, as many others have said, wayyyyyyyyy above my pay grade. Boy did I struggle – and only due to the fact that I had my own personal blogger sat with me did I make any inroads at all. 5* difficulty for me which meant the enjoyment factor dropped to 2* (I don’t like them this hard).
    Well done Jane on your second blog – great achievement!

  27. Regarding 25d ‘perform’ and ‘give’ are surely never interchangeable ? For instance you might perform a ceremony or give a speech, but never the other way round. I considered both ‘give’ and ‘mime’ as they are both approximate synonyms of ‘play.’ I selected ‘mime’ as it is near enough to ‘perform,’ and certainly nearer than ‘give.’

  28. Why the controversy re 25d? To perform a service is to give one and play on a rope say is described as give. Double definition.

  29. Last comment disappeared into ether! Where do they go?

    Regarding 22a I just took “leaders’ to mean first letters. I then found a word meaning “hardly speaking” and thankfully left it at that!

  30. Too busy yesterday even for crosswords (!) but just wanted to congratulate Jane on her second blog – good job :good: .

    Thanks also to pommers for his part, and thanks to RayT for the crossword. Shame about the error at 22a, but these things happen.

  31. Another cracking puzzle from Ray T! Great clues, a significant challenge and very enjoyable. 4* / 4.5*

  32. 4*/4*….
    7D..”lack of interest from Macron”…could the answer relate to a news item concerning a recently retired British PM ?

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