DT 28897 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28897

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28897

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s throwing it down big time. A good job that Chris Lancaster provided the puzzle last night as the site still isn’t up and running so many thanks to him.

I’m pretty sure this puzzle is a RayT as most of his calling cards are there apart from Her Majesty, who’s now missed the last two of Ray’s puzzles. Perhaps she has better things to do than appear in crossies.

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 Tongue-tied single, taciturn with ale drunk (12)
INARTICULATE: Start with an I (single) and follow with an anagram (drunk) of TACITURN ALE.

8a Raced around first man returning fast time (7)
RAMADAN: Put another word for raced or sprinted around he first man in the bible and you’ll a what is a fast time if you’re a Muslim.

9a Lessen warmth holding back chill (7)
RAWNESS: The answer is hidden in (holding) the first two words but it’s reversed (back).

11a Intended to purchase new investment (7)
FINANCE: This intended is the chap you’re going to marry. Insert (to purchase) an N(ew) to get the answer.

12a About repulsed cutting open ham (7)
OVERACT: One of the two letters for “about” (not RE but the other one) is reversed (repulsed) and inserted (cutting) into a word meaning open.

13a Scandinavian with Estonia due east initially (5)
SWEDE: As the capital of Estonia is pretty much due east of Stockholm this Scandinavian does indeed have Estonia due east. He’s also the first letters (initially) of the first five words. Here’s a few Scandinavians . . .

14a They pretend this compiler’s puzzle’s taking time (9)
IMPOSTERS: Start with a way the compiler might say “he is”, follow with some puzzles and insert (taking) a T(ime).

16a Unwise being saucy embracing Romeo (9)
IMPRUDENT: A word for saucy, as in cheeky, has an R(omeo) inserted (embracing).

19a Piano seen in old time musical drama (5)
OPERA: An O(ld) followed by a long time with a P(iano) inserted.

21a ‘Cure’ play after playing in comeback (7)
NOSTRUM: A way of playing a guitar perhaps is placed after a reversal (in comeback) of a word which might mean playing.

23a Developing source of aroma in name perfume (7)
NASCENT: The source of aroma is, of course, the A so insert that into N(ame) followed by a another word for perfume. Personally I think this clue would have been better if it were a NEW perfume. Works just the same but makes more sense.

24a Weeping, the French ruler cradles Antoinette’s head (7)
LEAKING: A French definite article and a male ruler placed around (cradles) an A (Antoinette’s head).

25a Studio fed fiction before actor’s finale (7)
ATELIER: A charade of a word meaning fed or consumed, a fiction or untruth and finally an R (actoR’s finale).

26a Still, overturned stable roughly shelters (12)
NEVERTHELESS: Reverse (overturned) a word which can mean stable and follow with an anagram (roughly) of SHELTERS.


1d Me and mine playing, including son – that’s great (7)
IMMENSE: An anagram of ME and MINE with an S(on) inserted (including).

2d Moving slowly, desperate man’s held by stake (7)
ANDANTE: The desperate man from The Dandy is inserted (held by) into a stake in a card game perhaps.

3d Some East-ender is eating mash? (9)
TENDERISE: A lurker. It’s hidden in (some) the next few words of the clue. A nine letter lurker in a twenty five letter clue is pretty good going!

4d Vehicle on journey and what it may carry? (5)
CARGO: A vehicle followed by a word meaning to journey.

5d Woman having oddly wilder heart, like Bonnie Parker? (7)
LAWLESS: This clue is possibly a tad easier if you happen to know that Bonnie Parker was the Bonnie part of the gangsters “Bonnie and Clyde”. Start with a word for a woman, or more commonly a girl, and in the centre put the alternate (oddly) letters from WiLdEr, (having . . . heart).

6d Stand and scold over end of immature adolescent (7)
TEENAGE: A charade of a stand for a golf ball, a word meaning scold or henpeck and finally an E (end of immaturE).

7d Experienced person if also retrained (12)
PROFESSIONAL: Anagram (retrained) of PERSON IF ALSO.

10d Tests, assuming one works, all right (12)
SATISFACTORY: Take the acronym for the tests carried out the assess progress in primary schools and insert (assuming) an I (one). Follow this with a word for a works as in an industrial plant.

15d Sovereign head consuming ordinary wine (9)
POTENTATE: A word for the top of your head has inserted (consuming) an O(rdinary) and a red wine from the Alicante region of Spain. I live in Alicante province and I’ve never seen this stuff, it’s all Jumilla around here.

17d Trek with donkey covered by sheet (7)
PASSAGE: Cover the usual donkey with a sheet, of paper from a book perhaps.

18d Lift adulation supporting United (7)
UPRAISE: Start with a U(nited) and follow (supporting in a down clue) some adulation.

19d Offensive bad smell’s revolting prospect (7)
OBSCENE: Take the two letters for the bad smell of an unwashed person and reverse them (revolting) and follow with a prospect or view.

20d Laments idea regularly adopted by European members (7)
ELEGIES: These are laments heard at funerals and they are the alternate letters (regularly) from IdEa inserted into a charade of E(uropean) and some members as in limbs.

22d Power of fighter hurt, gutted (5)
MIGHT: A Russian jet fighter followed by HT (H(ur)T gutted).

Lots of good clues here but my favourite was the splendid and factually accurate 13a. Also on the podium were 3d and 5d.

Quick crossword pun: MISS + TUM + HEN = MISTER MEN

82 comments on “DT 28897

  1. A second attempt to comment – apparently there was an error when I tried just now

    I think I said that the puzzles site might be Missing in Action but the cryptic crossword makes a rare appearance on the actual back page of the paper

    Thanks to Mr T for the friendly crossword and Mr P for the H&T

    Fingers’ crossed this works

  2. Flying start , slow finish best describes my effort today .

    2D favourite , last in 9A .

    Enjoyed the challenge but , for me , there is a mixture of good and clunky clues .

    Lovely sunny day here in South Wales but it seems that storm clouds are over Downing Street !

    Thanks to everyone .

  3. Early here so I haven’t started the puzzles yet. I received today’s offerings via e-mail from Chris Lancaster and from Mr. Kitty! Thanks both. Very thoughtful and much appreciated.

  4. This was really good from Ray T, a reasonable challenge, fine clues and a very enjoyable solve. Surely the 2* for difficulty at the top of the review is off the mark – this puzzle was certainly above average for a general back-pager? Favourite: 2d. 3* / 4*

    1. I can only go by how long it took me. I solved this yesterday evening while being distracted by watching the telly and it didn’t take long so, for me, it’s a **.

    2. I’d have given it 2* too (cue cries of ‘but you’re an expert’… I’m not, I’m just an experienced solver which is an entirely different thing)

    3. We use stars to enable people of all abilities to make meaningful comments about difficulty. So anyone can say that they found a puzzle easier or harder than usual, where usual is (or should be) ***. One person’s *** may be vastly different to another’s, but that’s not important – we’re not interested in people showing off. The system is intended to keep comments about difficulty about the puzzle, not the solver, and enable all to contribute equally.

      1. Having observed Tuesday’s debate without being able to comment my conclusion is that the enjoyment stars not the difficulty stars are what matters. I find Ray T anywhere between *** and ****+ for difficulty but always *** or **** for enjoyment – even when he beats me.
        Today was no different. Thanks to Messrs T & P. Plus all contributors I have continued to enjoy your comments for the past months

        1. I couldn’t agree more, LrOK.

          Still, if you thought a puzzle particularly hard or easy for its slot, you might want to mention it and see if others found the same or if it was just you. That’s all.

  5. This was one of those puzzles where the parsing took longer than the solving with some of the clues. I have never heard of the wine in 15d, but the answer was fairly obvious. 2d was my favourite from 5d running a close second. A pleasant and rewarding challenge.

    Thanks to Ray T and pommers.

  6. Just to repeat what I said in the Puzzles Changing post – the Telegraph Puzzles site is now working

  7. As usual from RayT a very enjoyable puzzle. Top marks to you sir. Thanks to pommers for the blog which I will read later.

  8. A superb puzzle for me today. Double ticks all over the shop and one treble – 19d. I too thought it was harder than **
    ***/**** from a happy Hector.
    Thanks to Ray-T. Thanks to Pommiers too.

  9. 3* / 4*. A nicely challenging and very enjoyable RayT puzzle today.

    My only query relates to 25a does “feed” really mean “ate”, surely the synonym is “feed on”? I haven’t looked but I have no doubt that a thesaurus will show “feed” and “ate” as synonyms, but can some kind soul please produce a sentence which shows the equivalence?

    My page is littered with ticks – too many to try to pick one as a favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to pommers.

      1. “I ate my horse” vs. “I fed my horse”?! :wink:

        Pommers example below is probably as good as it gets.

    1. You’re right about the thesaurus. FEED and EAT come up as synonyms both ways round. The best I can get is “When the weather is cold our cats feed/eat more often”. FED and ATE are the past participles but they don’t seem to work as well.

  10. Can anyone explain to me why, when I put Big Dave44.com into google I can’t get anything beyond 27th October and to get the current days hints I have to put the actual puzzle number in to google. This has only happened since 27th October and previously I have always managed to access the whole site. This is on an iPad that I always use.
    Any help appreciated.

    1. You need to clear the cache on your I-Pad – you can find instructions on line as to how to do this

    2. You can also add the site to your Homescreen using the up arrow next to the url address window. That’s what I do.
      Lately, if you use that method, you will need to refresh if you open it more than once in the same day. Or keep on clearing you cache as Cryptic Sue says.

  11. I too was in the ATE/FED camp, but I suppose it works. And the wine was new to me too.

    The spoilers aren’t working for me again today.

    Thanks to all.

  12. 15d although fairly obvious did show me that I didn’t know my wines as well as I thought I did! Regardless (or perhaps 26a) an enjoyable challenge with 13a being my fave.
    Thanks to RayT, and to pommers for the review.

    1. Collins has the wine as an obsolete word so perhaps it’s no longer brewed. I live in Alicante and I’ve never seen a bottle but as CS says above it’s a crosswordland favourite so worth remembering although it doesn’t seem to have turned up much recently.

        1. Ah just found it down at the bottom of the BRB! New one on me, sounds like a crossword land beast like the ancient city. One to remember.

  13. Oh dear. After all this waiting, when the puzzle site eventually appeared, response time is very slow and I hate the font being used on the puzzles–please revert to the old one. Just my opinion–prepared to be overruled.

    The puzzle itself was good fun, but not very challenging at all. 11a and 5d best of the bunch for me.

    1. I’m not too bothered by the font although I agree it isn’t fantastic. What I am bothered about is that the clues are below the puzzle in portrait mode which I find annoying as I like to look at the clue and the grid at the same time. If one rotates the tablet to apply landscape viewing it’s an improvement, but the keyboard seems to take up most of the screen.

      The Guardian puzzle site will display the clue that one has selected to solve at the top and bottom of the grid for easy reference.

  14. I’ve just edited the code for this page to implement our best fix for the mystery spoiler problem. Most readers should now be seeing the usual ‘Click here!’ buttons. If you viewed this page earlier you might need to reload it before you see them.

      1. Thanks, Ray. It looks like all forms of spoilers work for about 50% of readers. The fix we apply by hand gets that up to 90%. It’s very hard for me to debug the underlying issue because I don’t have a computer or phone on which they fail.

        If anybody out there having issues with the spoilers is able to use a debugger to determine where the spoilers on, for example, this blog fail, that would be very helpful.

          1. No, it’s the CSS and JavaScript that is inlined at the end of the blog text. Usually those two ingredients of the spoiler plugin are loaded from files. That approach now fails for 50% of readers. But if we inline the same code it works for 90%.

            The most useful information would be anything illuminating why the original spoilers (e.g. Nov 5) are failing in Firefox for some people. Unfortunately (in this case) they work for me so all I can do is trial and error possible fixes.

            1. With a cleared cache, the spoilers display correctly, but onClick all I can see is the margin of the yellow and the padding of the grey. I can’t find why that is.

                1. The 8a/9a thing was effectively a typo that I have fixed.

                  Do the spoilers on the Nov 5 blog I hyperlinked above appear as vertical lines for you? They use the original method of implementing spoilers.

    1. I never got he black line problem before today on my iPad. I just got answers showing instead of the click here button. Then that got fixed. Then today all is fine, except for 8a and 9a, where I got the black line after clicking, instead of the answer. Very odd. All other clues worked fine.

      Was so relieved to be able to access the DT puzzle page on line after yesterday’s delay.

      1. I’ve fixed 8a and 9a. It was nothing to do with the current spoiler issues – it looks like the spoiler had accidentally been applied twice on just those two answers.

  15. Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky. Needed the hints to parse 15d, had never heard of this wine. 24a conjured up a really sad image, great clue. I liked the surface of 25a. Favourite was 5d,which took some working out. Last in was 26a. Was 2*/4* for me. All spoilers working ok on my Samsung Pad via Chrome. I see the vertical lines for half a second when the page comes up, but then it reverts to normal.

  16. Phew I actually managed to reach the site without any hold-ups or partial text problems. I enjoyed today’s challenge which went swimmingly in the West then a bit more slowly in the East. Lots of great clues but 10d stood out for me. Thank you RayT and pommers.

  17. I enjoyed today’s puzzle. 10d was my favourite, works diverting me into words for going to work. The penny dropped eventually. Thanks Mr T and pommies.

  18. Typical Ray T, perfectly solvable if you ignore half of the words in the clue.
    He is the master of obfuscation.
    Thx to all

  19. As is usual with RayT, I got mired down on one side, but as I solved the west and about half on the east, I felt I did pretty well. I did shoot myself in the foot by putting the answer to 6d at 5d. Hoist with my own pétard!
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers for his help completing!

  20. Late in today but I did have time to do this one before leaving home this morning.
    As enjoyable as ever for me on Ray T days and I handed out podium places to the clever 13a along with the two hiddens at 9a & 3d. I also rather liked the Quickie pun.

    Devotions to Mr T as always and many thanks to Pommers for the blog – pleased to see that you can still solve and blog without the assistance of ‘agne’!

  21. ***/***. Didn’t manage to finish without hints. 21a was impenetrable and 15d was a bung in. Thanks to Pommers and Ray T. By the way, when I went back to my puzzle which was still in a window it was totally blank. Most annoying.

  22. Hurrah a Ray T and I have completed it 😃 ***/*** Favourites 8a, 2d & 22d 🤗 Thanks to Pommers and to Ray T 😜

  23. Evening all. Many thanks to pommers for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Good evening, Mr T – nice of you to pop in as usual.
      Please remember that it is the Big 10th Birthday Bash in January. We’re trying to make it ‘special’ and your appearance would be so much appreciated. Any chance that you might finally agree to make that hop across the channel?

  24. Frustration! Par for the course — I’m having problems trying to create a free Telegraph account. No matter what new password I put in it just refuses, telling me ‘account already exists’. I always seem to have trouble. The last occasion was when I renewed my annual subscription to the Telegraph Puzzles. So, no enjoyable RayT for me this evening, and no enjoyable Jay yesterday. Catnap is not purring.

    1. You don’t need to create a new account, just log in with your old credentials, ie your email address and your original password.
      Any problem, opt for ‘forgot password’ to reset.

      1. Thank you so much for your advice, LBR. I will try in a moment, and hopefully it will work — which will be great!

      2. Excellent! Resetting the password has done the trick! I have printed off the puzzles I missed as I prefer to do them on paper. Grateful thanks again, LBR.

  25. An enjoyable puzzle that was spoiled by the crossword site that made solving it a slightly frustrating experience.

  26. After a flying start I came down to earth with a slow finish. No surprise it being a Ray T puzzle. But I do believe I am getting better at his challenges.

  27. How nice to relax this evening with a fairly clued and gentle RayT puzzle after a day that included a 300 miles or more round trip for an emotionally charged family funeral. 9 accross appealed if only because of the day, with 14 & 15 marked as contenders for my favourite. Thanks Mr T and Pommers. Now fully unwound and off to bed 😊

  28. I’m a bit under the weather. Had a quick look last night and only got three or four. Woke up this morning and they flew in. Was just left with four or five in the bottom half. Last two in 22a and 19d. Only needed to look up a synonym for 16a. Favourites 8 and25a and 2 10 and 19d. Like others the wine was a mystery although answer obvious. Thanks Ray T and Pommers. Pleased to know you are not familiar with the wine either despite living in the region.

  29. Not surprised that tent does not appear on my wine list. Having checked seems to date back to Pepys. Could the name related to the colour “vino tinto”?

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