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DT 28887 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28887 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by Tilsit

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Greetings all

It’s the day of the Times Crossword finals and the post-brain-bashing gathering nearby.  Good luck to everyone taking part and will anyone manage to dislodge Mr Magoo who has been champion for the last eleven years?  Probably not, but we should appreciate the sheer genius of his mind.  That’s not to say that someone else will steal his crown, but if Leicester City can win the Premier League, then someone might just do so.  However it needs nerves of steel to cope with three puzzles within an hour in either of the semis and then three more in the Final, all of them specially compiled for the event.  The puzzles are generally printed on Wednesday for the next few weeks (usually from a week on Wednesday after the event).  A number of our luminaries both from the solving and setting teams round these parts are taking part and I wish all the best of luck.

The Telegraph has held a solving competition some years ago, when Sir Paul McCartney donated a trophy in honour of his late Uncle, Bert Danher, who was for many years the Wednesday setter (he was also Hendra in the Guardian).   However it should be pointed out that the winner of the trophy was Mark Goodliffe (aka Mr Magoo), so he has that title as well.

Back to today’s puzzle and I wouldn’t expect too many of today’s competitors would be troubled by it.  It’s a pleasant and agreeable solve, probably by one of the Mysterons, I’d guess though I can’t be sure of which.  There are a couple of clues that raised an eyebrow as to how they work though the answers seemed gettable.

If you do finish handily and are looking for other challenges, there is the wonderful Rosa Klebb showing you how to make you smile when solving, on duty in the Financial Times, and Imogen, who is a reasonable bet to be one of the torturers at the London event today is on duty in the Guardian.  Both puzzles can be downloaded without a subscription.  There will also be an NTSPP puzzle by a very enjoyable setter along around noon.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1.  Outskirts of Brisbane left right behind too (7)

Take the outer letters of the Australian city and add something meaning left and right of an object to give something referring to too.

9.   Carpenter’s mate with uniform held in stomach, sadly English droopy feature (6,9)

Think of something associated poetically with The Carpenter and then rearrange the letters of stomach with U (for uniform) inside.  It’ll give you a feature found on some (male) people.  To inspire you, here’s American golfer Craig Stadler.

Image result for walrus moustache  craig stadler

11.   Husband rather routine? (5)

The abbreviation for husband, plus a two-word phrase meaning rather gives you a word meaning routine.

15.   Mob means one takes this route on ship (7)

A way of getting onto a ship is found by taking something that means a mob and adding a synonym, of means.

17.   Revolution mainly works in theatre — one with unique outlook (7)

A word meaning a revolution, minus its last letter shown by ‘mainly’.  Add to this works, in short, done in certain type of theatre, i.e. a non-acting one.  this will give a creature with could be said to have a unique outlook on all he/she surveyed.  Here’s one of my favourite shows.

Image result for leela futurama


19   Current will flow through non-stop, I calculate (7)

A word referring to current (as in time) is hidden inside this clue.

23   Called relative making good move to the East End (4)

Take a word for one of your relatives and move the first letter to the end (good move) to give something meaning called.

26   It turns men soppy, meeting celebrity player (15)

This clue slightly troubled me.  An anagram of the first three words (not sure soppy is an anagram indicator!) and then add a phrase associated with a celebrity (I thought the noun had -er on it and the word here was where you found him or her).

28.   Nick is closer, in an aggressive way (7)

This was a lovely clue with a delightfully misleading surface reading.  Another way of saying ‘nick’ is also a way of saying someone who closes in an aggressive manner!


 1.  Making deliveries, being personally inclined to keep left (7)

Here the definition is the first two words (in a sporting context).  Take a word meaning to personally incline yourself (usually after a performance or out of respect) and insert the abbreviation for left.

2.    Corrupt councils’ foe’s cunning, in an awkward way (4-11)

You are looking for a phrase that refers to something done personally but awkwardly.  An anagram of the second and third word, plus a word meaning cunning to give you the phrase you need.

5,  One studying vision of love is taken in by sect (7)

The name for someone who works in the health field is revealed by taking the abbreviation for love in tennis and adding the word for a sect with is inside.

Related image

7.     Chopped-up spam in mac with cheese as fall-back option?(6,9)

The name for something that can be a fall-back for and event or thing is found by making an anagram (Chopped-up) of SPAM IN MAC and CHEESE.

14.     Forecasters backed Italian runner’s speed(5)

A way of saying the speed of something is found by reversing the  an abbreviation for (weather) forecasters and adding the name of something that runs in Italy (see the solving guides mentioned above).

 18.   Agent stocking cold spirit and other alcohol(7)

Inside a word for an agent, much used in the news recently, add the abbreviation for cold plus a type of alcohol.  This gives a slang word or name for a different type of alcohol.

Image result for scrumpy flagon

 25.    ‘Georgia, Georgia on my mind?’ No, out of it(4)

Two abbreviations for the state, give a slang name for being out of your mind.  Nice clue.

Remembers, as it says below, PLEASE DO NOT GIVE DIRECT ANSWERS OR EXTRA CLUES THAN THE ONES GIVEN.  There are reasons for this and I’m not going to go over them again.  Now play nicely and be good!

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: char+stick+inns=Charles Dickens


68 comments on “DT 28887 (Hints)

  1. Glad you think it’s straightforward. Personally I think it’s one of the hardest Saturdays I have ever seen. Even the hints are not helping.
    So far above my ability it’s in the upper atmosphere.

    1. Dear Sir,

      I must protest in the strongest possible terms! The maximum rating for difficulty is 5*. The 11* quoted therefore represents an illegal exaggeration of 120% (I think). That’s like a footballer saying: “We gave it 220%, but it just wasn’t enough”.

      Yours faithfully,

      Mr Angry
      Derbyshire. :-)

        1. I think we’re on the same wavelength Brian. I usually agree with your comments. This was a pig of a thing! Only look e at it today…wishing I hadn’t!

        2. Yes, of course, Brian. My comment was just a humorous, tongue-in-cheek spoof complaint which I tried to emphasise by adding a smiley face – and that came out as a little square instead. I’ll try again: :-)

    2. I was going to say the same. When even the hints don’t help, it is time to throw in the towel.

  2. Not seeing this the same as Brian or Tilsit. 2 brews and a bacon butty later I have managed to fill the grid. I must be missing something with 28a but have bunged in. LOI 14d also bunged in and only parsed after consulting the hints.
    Thanks to Tilsit and The Mysteron (sounds like an episode of Stingray). Good luck to those at the championships.

      1. I thought xxxxxx…but agree this puzzle is one of the hardest and admire Tilsit for having got this far….!

        1. BD’s rule of thumb is that if you are saying ‘I thought’ or ‘I think’ you are definitely straying into giving alternative clue territory

  3. As per usual I have one left to solve but can’t parse 24D any pointers would be much appreciated.

    1. I’ll allow this one as I thought I’d included it.

      Think mathematical symbols and what the letter could represent.

      1. Thank you for the hint Tilsit – after a busy weekend I’ve only just got round to checking the hints. 24d was the only one I bunged in without an idea of whether or why it was right.

        Was deffo the hardest Saturday crossword I can remember. Gave up after only getting 3 clues on Saturday night, but managed to finish on Sunday morning with a clear head.

      1. 22a. Explorer is the definition, having the same name of a feathery animal that travels via the said methods.

  4. Not sitting on the fence, but I thought this was easier than Brian suggests, and not as gentle as Tilsit thought. Pretty enjoyable in any event. (I did notice a large number of clues requiring things to be reversed). Thanks for the Rosa Klebb recommendation – the last one I did was very good. Have a good weekend all.

  5. I’m only a very occasional solver of the Saturday puzzle, but I was so glad that I didn’t miss this one, I thought it first rate. My picks of a very good crop indeed were 19a, 26a, 28a, 17d and 25d.

    Well done to the setter and thanks to Tilsit.

  6. Slowly slowly thanks to a couple of bung-ins caught the monkey. SW was grittiest. Fav definitely 9a but 18d not far behind. Many thanks Mysteron and Tilsit.

  7. A thoroughly enjoyable, quite tricky and at times infuriating puzzle. Four clues in the SE corner held me up for far too long, but the eventual completion was very rewarding. Some of the clues were very clever, especially 28a and 25d but I did not like 26a for reasons outlined by our blogger.

    Thanks very much to The Mysteron for the challenge and to Tilsit.

  8. Enjoyed this one more in retrospect than I did at the time of solving.
    Liked some of the wordplay such as ‘carpenter’s mate’ & ‘forecasters backed Italian’ but podium places went to 26a plus 13&25d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Tilsit for hosting the Saturday club.

  9. I tackled this one yesterday evening but Mrs JP had the TV on and I tend to find it difficult to solve with the background distraction. I found it pretty tricky with the last handful of clues taking ages to solve.

    Thanks to Tilsit and setter 3.5*/3.5*

  10. I thought this to be quite hard as Saturday’s tend to not be as difficult as weekdays, bizarrely. I was left with 24d and still am not certain of my answer so will wait to next to find out the explanation next week. 4d was my favourite, perhaps because it now feels a distant memory.

  11. I suggest that Mr Stadler’s facial adornment, as depicted, is more of a Painter’s Brush, more recently verging on a closed Horsehsoe. It lacks the length of downturned growth to make it the answer to 9a.

  12. For me this was a puzzle of two halves – a relatively benign top half and a much more challenging bottom half. All very enjoyable though.

  13. Too half almost done, but bottom half is totally eluding me, even after looking at the hints. Not one for us less gifted solvers. Better get on with my chores instead methinks.

    1. I usually am with you on puzzles but I found this one very doable! I never cease to be amazed at how different we all see these things.

    1. Welcome to the blog Martin

      Please post comments about specific puzzles on the relevant post, not on the Comment page. I have moved this one.

  14. I found this most enjoyable, meaning I could solve it. I didn’t find it as easy as Tilsit, taking some teasing but I got there, using electronics for 26a only.
    Runaway fave was 9a, just loved it.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit for the hints and pics.

  15. Earth shattering news from the capital. We have a brand new Times Crossword Champion. One letter wrong in the final did for Mark G and Roger Crabtree is the new Champion. Our very own Verlaine was secobd

    1. Wow! There now I have commented on a Saturday. Let’s see what I get told off for this time.

  16. I would argue that in 14d it is the London Police rather than the forecasters that are backed.

    I’m with Brian, this was worthy of a Friday Toughie for me. I needed quite a few hints to get it finished.

    Thanks to all.

  17. Brian, glad you found this one difficult too. No hints for the ones I couldn’t do, – Chambers more use. Was pleased to get the “15s”, especially 9a, (my fave).
    Would appreciate help with last 2 left, 19d & 22a. (common letter, perhaps?).

  18. It’s been a long time since I failed to complete a Saturday Prize Crossword! 24d was the culprit; I have a bung-in but I’m not convinced. Oh well.
    S’funny how different strokes for different folks applies; I thought this was a very tough challenge. I enjoyed it but…
    17a was my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Tilsit for the hints.

  19. 17ac gave me a little pause for thought at the close, but still, overall a pretty nippy time. Pleasing after a few days where I’ve struggled.

    1. 22a Explorer that travels via land, water and air (5)
      The name of an English explorer – a word which also means a creature which can travel in all three ways specified.

    2. 19d Income deposited rises, protecting man at the top (7)
      Reverse a verb meaning deposited or placed and insert the title of the top man in some countries.

      1. Thanks Gazza. Now finished. I really struggled with this. Felt it was way more difficult than usual and as a result not as enjoyable. 😒

  20. Relieved not the only one to struggle – some excellent clues but also some really convoluted ones that took a long time to solve, unusually had to use the clues – so thanks you for these!!

  21. Completed in two and a bit parts. Top half in pretty quick once I had a foothold. Thought of second word for 9a early on. Bottom half more problematic. Managed save for two 19d and 22a which I got after my dinner. I think I am right with 24d but not happy with it. Favourites probably 17a and 17d. Thanks setter and Tilsit.

  22. I’m in the “difficult” camp and didn’t really enjoy this unusually for a Saturday. Thanks to all.

  23. The top half fine, the bottom half Toughie standard and well beyond me . I understand very few of the answers and the hints don’t seem to help much.

    1. You are not alone ! It’s now a very damp and uninspiring Sunday morning in Dorset and I’ve still got most of the lower half to do.
      Thankfully the dog is desperate to go walkies so I think I’ll give up and try the G.K. one later !

  24. Thank goodness I see others have been stuck on 19d and 22a. Even reading the hints I am no wiser. Pity because the rest slotted in beautifully once I had the four long ones. It is pretty late so perhaps I might be brighter in the Morning.

  25. Unbelievable. Put the pen and paper down, put out the light and the explorer came to me and then of course 19d. I can go to sleep happily.

  26. I have a life!!! Crosswords fit into it, or go in the bin. Just half an hour or so of intellectual smiles and sparkle washed down with a little Abbot Ale each day keeps me a happy LJ. This was a dull pointless grind and at the two thirds mark Mrs J made me understand in no uncertain terms what a sad individual I was to be wasting valuable life I could be spending with her and the family on an offering that just wasn’t worth the investment. Sorry setter, thanks to hinter (albeit didn’t look)

  27. After my naughty corner experience at 2 above I persevered and now have completed it…Sorry CS, although I did notice some other ‘helpful’ contributions….!
    Getting 26a was immensely useful, just shows not getting too wrapped up in a word like player when there are quite different meanings Thanks to all for their help.

  28. I started this one late last night but was finding it too difficult to work out when I was so tired. Tonight I had a second go, and low and behold, I managed to get into the right mindset to finish it. 7d was my favourite. Thank you Mystery setter and Tilsit.

  29. This one was well worthy of the title “Prize”, which can’t be said of some Saturday puzzles. It took a while to get into the rather unconventional/unacquainted style of the setter (which is no bad thing) but it provided a really good challenge and a very enjoyable solve. 3.5* / 4*

  30. As previously noted, it is a matter of wavelength but the frequency of grumbles is surely telling. An 11 word clue (9a) is not necessarily preferable to one of 2 words (10a) though the latter are increasingly rare! It is not really a question of difficulty, more of obscurantism.

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