DT 28900 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28900

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28900

Hints and tips by the sensational Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a puzzle from Chris Lancaster today which may be his last offering to appear on a Monday. I found it trickier than most Monday offerings but got finished in the end.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Turned round to talk (8)
CONVERSE: A double definition

9a A cross heading off trouble? (6)
AMULET: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a cross between a donkey and a horse. Now add the first letter (Heading off) of trouble. The definition here is all of the clue.

10a Frenchman in short trousers? (4)
JEAN: The name of this Frenchman is also the name given to denim trousers minus their last letter


11a Club after crack athlete (4-6)
SHOT-PUTTER: Place a golf club after another word meaning to ha a go or a crack at something

12a By crossing nobleman, Charlie forfeited reward (6)
BOUNTY: Place the word BY from the clue around a nobleman without the abbreviation for Charlie

14a Living well at home with constant sweetheart (2,6)
IN CLOVER: Begin with a short word meaning at home. Add the abbreviation for constant. Now add a synonym for your sweetheart.

15a Hold back Greek character during row (6)
DETAIN: Place a Greek letter inside a noise or row

17a Hat wife discarded, and old jacket (6)
BOLERO: Begin with a hat once worn by businessmen in the city. Discard the abbreviation for Wife. Add the abbreviation for Old.

20a Case of Greek wine sent back by foremost of customers (8)
CANISTER: Begin with a Greek wine (awful stuff). Add the first (foremost) letter of the word Customers. Reverse the lot. (Sent back)

22a Prior in favour of me and king (6)
FORMER: Begin with a preposition meaning in favour of or in support of. Add the word me from the clue. Finish off with the abbreviation for Rex as in king

23a Incontrovertible evidence of bad habit shown by one on a shoot? (7,3)
SMOKING GUN: Place the term for one on a shoot (not a beater) after a disgusting and vile habit.

24a Cast of ‘Jaws’ he directed (4)
SHED: The answer to this clue is hidden within the words of the clue

25a Female lookalike, mostly unconventional (6)
FRINGE: Start with the abbreviation for female. Now find a word that means a lookalike. This word is often used for a racehorse or greyhound that resembles another. The word mostly tells us to remove the last letter of this word

26a Fairness: English characteristic (8)
EQUALITY: Take the abbreviation for English and add a characteristic or trait


1d Furniture made of this revolted conductor (8)
ROSEWOOD: Begin with a word meaning revolted as in fought against authority. Add the conductor who started The Proms. (Thanks to Cryptic Sue for this one)

2d Almost finished on new stove (4)
OVEN: Begin with a word meaning done or completed but minus its last letter (almost) Add the abbreviation for new

3d Lively, loud, and dangerous (6)
FRISKY: Start with the musical notation for loud. Add a word meaning dangerous or hazardous

4d The old man in Arizona church, brought in to work for soup (8)
GAZPACHO: Place an affectionate term for your father between the abbreviations for Arizona and church. Now place all of these inside an adjective meaning to function or work properly

5d One with lots to offer? (10)
AUCTIONEER: This chap sells lots to bidders in a sale

6d Strict member of the clergy turned up in diocese (6)
SEVERE: Place the reversed and shortened form of a member of the clergy inside a word meaning a diocese

8d Striking quote about beast climbing (6)
EXOTIC: Place a word meaning to quote something around a beast of burden. Reverse what you have. (Climbing)

13d Fool, leading gathering, splitting hairs (3-7)
NIT-PICKING: Begin with a word for a fool. Finish with a word meaning gathering as one might with gooseberries to make a fool

16d Perhaps fiancé‘s current engagement finally was over (8)
INTENDED: Begin with a word meaning current or trendy. Add the final letter of the word engagement. Add a word meaning finished or was over.

18d Work before on dry area — light work (8)
OPERETTA: Begin with the abbreviation for a musical work. Add the poetic form of the word before. Add the abbreviation for one who abstains from taking alcohol and finally add the abbreviation for area.

19d Accent of born scallywag (6)
BROGUE: This marked accent (usually Irish or Scottish) can be found by using the abbreviation for born followed by a rascal or scamp

21d Respect a mass grave outside (6)
ADMIRE: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Use the abbreviation for Mass with a word meaning serious or grave like the straits Mark Knopfler found himself in wrapped around it

22d With pleasure, organise charity event? (3,3)
FUN RUN: A synonym of pleasure is followed by a synonym of organise

24d Fish alone (4)
SOLE: A double definition. The fish can be Dover, Megrim or Lemon

Well done Ireland

Quickie Pun: fee+licks+toe=Felixstowe

47 comments on “DT 28900

  1. 1.5* / 3*. This pangram was light and fun – a complete contrast to yesterday.

    My only slight hold-up was with 9a, my last one in. As a cross is an example of the answer rather than a synonym for it, shouldn’t the clue read, e.g., “A cross perhaps …”?

    4d was my favourite. It’s something that I don’t have very often but which I like very much.

    Many thanks to CL & MP.

    1. I agree, re 9a. I also didn’t like “heading off trouble”. Take the heading off trouble and your left with rouble! The letter you want is the heading OF trouble, but that would make sense in the surface reading. IMHO.

    2. Ah! That will teach me. I didn’t spot that it was an all-in-one. I should have read MP’s review before posting. It’s actually a very good clue.

    3. I also thought 9a was a little clumsy. But overall this was a rewarding puzzle with 17&20a my standout clues. Thanks to CL and MP.

  2. I too found this one hard work at first. Started eventually in bottom right corner. And resorted to my old Bradford’s dictionary by the end. Very satisfying to complete a harder one without resorting to hints though. Must get on with some work now.

  3. At first I thought that this one was a bit difficult, and lacked luster, until I realised that it was a pangram and became quite excited about it, and enjoyed finishing it. I had to check the BRB for 25a as I hadn’t heard of that word being used for unconventional. Nice to see a partial mention of JL…and a pic. 13d was my favourite. Thank you Mr Lancaster and Miffypops.

  4. I really enjoyed this tricky-in-places Monday offering. I thought all the clues were fair and concise, with just the right amount of misdirection and difficulty. Notwithstanding RD’s thoughts on the clue, my favourite was 9a.

    Many thanks to CL and SMP.

  5. This one was on the mild side, but the clues were all fine and it was an enjoyable solve. So no complaints from me. 2* / 3*

  6. Agree with the comments to date , slow start then momentum.

    Enjoyable , lots of good clues with a love/hate of 9A .

    Thanks to everyone .

  7. Relatively plain sailing until 9a – I didn’t see the ‘all in one’ nature of things before reading the hint. The photo selection for 10a made me laugh. Thanks to all.

  8. Once more into the breach dear friends – last comment disappeared so I will paraphrase it. This was a relief after yesterday’s trudge. Enjoyed fathoming 4d but parsing of 12a and 18d eluded me. Thank you CL and MP.

  9. I do like a puzzle from our Ed. Strange, but I never knew 17a is a jacket. Thought 24d was a bit unimaginative, but otherwise very nice thank you.

    Nice to see our host and JL making an appearance. Thanks CL and MP (wot no avatar?)

      1. Your totally black avatar yesterday was the reason for my question about you celebrating Black Sunday in LI.

  10. Like others needed hints for 9a. Always thought it was a just a bracelet. Life is full of misapprehensions.
    Usually spot pangrams but didn’t today. Brain still numb from yesterday I guess.
    Thanks to Mr L. And MP for enlightening me.

  11. No problems except for 9a, thanks for the explanation. The ‘cross’ reference to a mule is one to remember, as is the answer.
    4d we had very recently.
    Thank Heavens for a return to normality.
    The guardian is light and amusing. Someone posted a comment yesterday about the relationship between difficulty and enjoyment. The guardian today proves that an easy crossword can be enjoyable as well as a difficult solve.
    Thanks both.

  12. I liked this a lot and, after the delay caused by putting the answer to 3d in the 6d slot, they all seemed to go in OK, despite a little trickiness with the constituent synonyms. 9a being the worst of these. It was definitely one of those puzzles where you bunged and then parsed afterwards.

    Thanks to CL and MP.

  13. I’m always glad to finish without outside help, and at times didn’t think I would manage it today. I’ll agree with comments about 9a, and give an overall mark of ***/***.

    Thanks to all.

  14. Thanks Chris and Mp.

    I thought after solving 26 that this was a pangram but forgot to use that as a help.

    LOI was the &lit 9, which I really liked.

  15. Thought this one was going to be a tricky little number but once I found a way in it unravelled quite nicely.
    Liked the all-in-one nature of 3d but will join RD in nominating 4d as favourite – delicious!

    Thanks to CL and to MP for the blog. Nice pic of JL and our leader – taken at the Pearl Liang if I’m not mistaken.

  16. Really enjoyed this pangram. I liked 20a, the clue not the wine which I agree is horrible, like drinking TCP.
    Thanks to Chris L and Miffypops.

  17. Thanks to Chris Lancaster and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Needed the hints for 9&20a and 1,18,19,21d. Didn’t know an amulet could be a cross, thought it was a charm. Was 3*/3* for me. Puzzles seem to be getting more difficult, or I’m going downhill 😁

    1. I have the same feeling about the rising degree of difficulty requiring a bit more exercise for the grey matter which is no bad thing.

  18. Fun puzzle and a pangram to boot. Held up on 9a; I see I was not alone. I got the word, but struggled to parse it for some time. So it must be awarded the gold medal for the misdirection.

  19. Most enjoyable and for me at least, very much in contrast to yesterday’s prize cryptic. Just difficult enough for a Monday, provoking some head scratching without being over complicated. I liked 5 down, but 20 across was my favourite clue. Thanks to Mr L and to MP.

  20. Loved today’s puzzle, especially as yesterday’s was too tough for me. Lots of favourites including 13d and 20a. Agree, terrible wine causing terrible hangovers some 40 years ago! My taste has improved since then. Thanks to all.

    1. I just HAVE to stick up for that particular Greek wine, lol. I love it really cold served with heavily garlic flavoured food. :-) :-)

      1. Mrs RD and I spent a couple of weeks in Crete in September. One lunchtime we were offered Retsina on the house (to accompany our garlic prawns). I was rather reluctant having last tried it, and disliked it, over 30 years ago. However, it was free so we gave it a go and I have to say I loved it.

  21. Nice puzzle and a little fairer than Sunday’s in my opinion. I needed the blog to make sense of the 9a bung in. I agree that difficulty and enjoyment are not the same thing and neither are they inversely related. One might relate a difficult puzzle to the satisfaction of its solution but is this really enjoyment?
    Thanks to the setter and for the blog as usual.

  22. An enjoyable puzzle, say ** for difficulty. I was pleased to get 4d from the wordplay, it being a complete unknown here. Last in though was the NW corner, and 1d in particular.

  23. Interesting puzzle for a Monday. I rather agree with Heno that the difficulty ratio has been notched up somewhat recently, which as far as I am concerned is no bad thing. Like several here have said, a slow start but it all came together quite nicely. I quite liked 12a so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to CL for the challenge, and to MP for thereview.

  24. Thanks for the picture. Made me laugh too.
    When I read how our Monday blogger was feeling this morning, this came to mind: A lovely French ballad:

    Really enjoyed today’s crossword.
    Nice mix of clues.
    Thanks to CL and to MP for the review.

  25. Nice Monday fare. Nothing too tricky as it should be. I still needed a glance at the hints for 1d and had deja vue over another serving of cold soup.

    Loved the JL pic too. A pot of tea and a glass of red wine, an Englishman and a Frenchman. I wonder who drank what😋
    Thanks to Miffypops and Mr Ed.

  26. Like everyone else, I did not think of amulet in connection with a cross. Not the gentle Monday of bygone days, but a relief after yesterday’s Mission Impossible. At least for this simple lass. Thanks to Mr Lancaster and Miffypops.

  27. I’m really pleased this is the last Monday by this setter, perhaps we could return to a gentler start to the week rather than this type of very tricky puzzle.

  28. I didn’t have a problem with the solution to 9a but needed help to see the parsing. I enjoyed this and found it easier than many Rufus puzzles, although I see that BD has given it 3 stars for difficulty, whereas Rufus invariably
    merited only 2.
    Thank you setter and Miffypops.

    1. The whole of the clue is the wordplay:

      9a A cross heading off trouble? (6)
      The A from the clue + MULE (a cross between a donkey and a horse) + the heading off of the word T[rouble]. Then read the whole clue again and you have a definition-by-example (indicated by the question mark) of AMULET (a charm worn to ward off evil, disease, etc.).

    2. By the way, it rated 2 stars for me but I increased that to 3 in line with Miffypops’ comments (I found it trickier than most Monday offerings) in his prologue.

  29. Well this wasn’t the puzzle I printed off. It’s dated Mon 19 Nov 2019 but its number is 526 (which I should have spotted). It doesn’t take much to confuse me but I am. Anybody else?

  30. 3*/4*. A very enjoyable solve. I hope this is not the setter’s final offering. I thought there were some really nice clues. It took a while, and I came back to it two or theee times before I managed to complete it.

Comments are closed.