DT 28903 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28903

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28903

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. What with one thing and another it’s been a long time since I did the hints – thanks to those who have taken over at short notice when it’s been impossible for me. I don’t know who set today’s crossword but it’s not Ray T. I thought it was quite difficult in places and the style felt unfamiliar. I look forward to hearing how everyone else got on.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Energy Ringo barely whipped up for Beatles tune (7,5)
ELEANOR RIGBY — an anagram (whipped up) of E(nergy) and RINGO BARELY

9a        Retrieved blanket laying in grass (9)
RECOVERED — a general term for a blanket or coating goes inside (laying in) a kind of grass. I think it should be ‘lying’ or ‘laid’ in rather than laying

10a       Generous starter lacking in taste (5)
 AMPLE — another word for taste or specimen missing its first letter (starter lacking)

11a       A pair of learners joining university on appeal (6)
 ALLURE — the A from the clue, two of the letters used to mean learner, the one letter abbreviation for U(niversity) and a little short word meaning on or about

12a       Star screened by broadcaster is knowledgeable (8)
ASTERISK — a lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘screened by’ – it’s hiding in the last three words of the clue (and it took me ages to see it)

13a       Intrepid choir touring round Spain (6)
HEROIC — an anagram (touring) of CHOIR containing (round) the IVR for Spain

15a       Crossing street, observe reversing car (8)
DRAGSTER — a reversal (reversing) of another word for observe or look at around the two letter abbreviation for street

18a       Plant beginning to sag, promptly prod ground (8)
SNOWDROP — the first letter (beginning to) of S(ag) and a synonym of promptly or at once are followed by an anagram (ground) of PROD

19a       Supplies bombed aboard ship (6)
 STORES — the usual two letter abbreviation for S(team) Ship contains another word for bombed, as in went very fast rather than blew up

21a       A Parisian complained after leader’s dismissed eccentric (8)
UNHINGED — the French (Parisian) word for ‘a’ is followed by a word meaning complained in a peevish kind of way without its first letter (leader’s dismissed)

23a       In charge, keen to shorten period of hostile conditions (3,3)
ICE AGE — the usual two letter abbreviation for in charge and then a synonym for keen to or enthusiastic about without its last letter (shorten)

26a       Fly keeping close to trail from light source (5)
SOLAR — a verb to fly or rise quickly contains the last letter (close to) of [trai]L

27a       Graphic clip to air must be edited (9)
 PICTORIAL — an anagram (must be edited) of CLIP TO AIR

28a       Relation to help youngster turn kipper? (7,5)
BEDTIME STORY — not an aunt or uncle kind of relation and not a fishy sort of kipper – the relation is a tale and the kipper is someone going to sleep



1d        Badger and bear roaming north of wood (7)
EARBASH — an anagram (roaming) of BEAR is on top of (north of) a light sort of wood – the best kind to burn on a log fire

2d        Perform brilliantly with times over speed of light stuffing fish (5)
EXCEL — the letter used to mean times, or multiplied by, and another letter that is the symbol for speed of light in maths and physics are contained in (stuffing) a long fish

3d        Upset home’s full of pests? Don’t worry (5,4)
NEVER MIND — a reversal (upset) of a home, usually one of an animal, contains (full of) a collective name for pests that are troublesome or destructive

4d        Unusual using Egyptian god with religious teaching (4)
RARE — the sun god of the ancient Egyptians is followed by one of the two letter abbreviations for religious teaching in schools

5d        Labour at home, do housework really discontentedly (8)
 INDUSTRY — the usual crosswordland little word for home, a verb meaning to do some housework – not polish or hoover, another one – and finally the first and last letters of R(eall)Y – discontentedly or without its content

6d        Burn mark on animal (5)
BLAZE — a double definition, the second being a white stripe on the face of an animal

7d        One leaving triplets to misbehave (8)
SPLITTER — an anagram (to misbehave) of TRIPLETS

8d        One of three men in tub trapping behind in the vessel (6)
BEAKER — not the butcher or the candlestick maker but the other chap in the nursery rhyme contains (trapping) the last letter (behind in) of [th]E


14d      Heard road over the hill possesses hard, strong foundation (8)
 ROOTHOLD — a homophone (heard) of a road or way and a word that means ‘over the hill’ or ‘past ones best’ contain the abbreviation for H[ard]

16d      Explain what traverse means (3,6)
GET ACROSS — I think this is probably a double definition but maybe not . . .

17d      Mounting desire to be in photo troubled centre of attraction (8)
 HONEYPOT — a reversal (mounting) of a desire or a longing is contained in (to be in) an anagram (troubled) of PHOTO

18d      Defeat after second game (6)
SQUASH — the one letter abbreviation for S[econd] is followed by a verb to defeat or suppress

Two men playing squash in the court

20d      Poet’s bashful, hiding fashion magazine (7)
SHELLEY — a synonym for bashful or retiring contains (hiding) one of the many glossy fashion magazines

22d      Scandinavian knight on steed in the East End (5)
NORSE — the one letter chess abbreviation for Knight is followed by a steed or a mount of the equine kind as it would be pronounced in the East End where the H would be dropped

24d      Farm kid regularly abandoned work for friend (5)
AMIGO — the alternate letters (regularly abandoned) of fArM kId are followed by a word meaning work or function

25d      Dodge swimmer’s head on river (4)
SCAM — this kind of dodge is not to get out of the way but to cheat – the first letter (head) of S[wimmer’s] is followed by a river that flows through one of the well-known university towns

I liked 1 and 28a and 14 and 17d

The Quickie pun:- LAZE + SAFE + AIR = LAISSEZ-FAIRE

40 comments on “DT 28903

  1. Most of this went in fairly quickly, but I was held up trying to parse 8d and 28a, the latter becoming my favourite once the coin hit the floor. A very enjoyable and rewarding puzzle to complete. Well done and thanks to Kath for her blog and to our mystery setter.

  2. 3* / 3*. A curate’s egg for me today both in terms of difficulty and enjoyment. The NW & SE corners went in quickly but the other two sectors put up a helluva fight not helped by me entering BRAND for 6d – which I was going to comment wasn’t at all cryptic (unlike the correct answer!)

    There were lots of clues to enjoy but there were a few dodgy surfaces. Although the answer was obvious from the definition and checkers, I couldn’t parse 8d. 14d was a new word for me and, although I don’t like the song, 1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath.

    1. :yahoo: So it wasn’t ‘just me’ I struggled mightily with the NE and SW, put in BRAND for 6d and so on – I actually gave up and went on to the much friendlier (for me anyway) Toughie before returning to the inside back page of the paper where, as I’d invoked Gnome’s Law, things gradually sorted themselves out. .

      I think I wasn’t helped by the fact that this was a four separate grids in one puzzle.

      Thanks to Mr Ron and Kath

    2. I went down the brand route too and struggled with some new, for me, words but this is a great way to learn new words and definitions and I can but hope I’ll remember them if they pop up in the future.

      My favourite was 28a once the penny dropped.

    3. I’m also in the brand club. That made the NE corner a nightmare. 28a was my COTD. Thanks to the setter and Kath for putting me out of my misery.

    4. I was also in the brand club. Like RD, I didn’t think it was very cryptic, shudda, orta realised it was wrong way earlier.

  3. No problems to report beyond the fact that I hadn’t previously come across 14d – makes sense but I’ve never heard it used.
    Nothing stood out as a particular favourite although I love 18a’s and remember being very partial to a 28a – such a good way to postpone ‘lights out’!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the blog – lovely to see you back in the chair again.

  4. A lovely puzzle accompanied by a lovely blog.

    As we may be restricted to just one favourite today, I’ll go for the very cleverly hidden 12a.

    A close second was 28a.

    Thanks to setter and welcome back Kath.

  5. Like all problems with NE & SW.
    I thought the “e” in 8d came from behind (the hind letter of be). Not familiar with 14d so thanks Kath.
    Tried to recall the words of 1a but failed miserably.
    Definitely a curate’s egg with 28a COTD for me.
    Thenks to setter & Kath for hints.

  6. This one nearly had me! I had ‘brand’ trouble too. 12a was a fine lurker and my last one in. 6d was excellent, once I remembered the nursery rhyme – I got confused with three men in a boat, which didn’t help. 14d was an unfamiliar word, but worked it out and confirmed electronically. 1a was grin-worthy. Whoever set this – well done!

  7. For me this was a mixed bag with some smooth surfaces and others not so friendly. Never heard of a 15a, tried 14d beginning with an ‘f’ rather than ‘r’ and was with Kath et al in going for brand in 6d which messed up 12a. Fav was 28a. Thanks Mysteron and Kath (good to have you on board again). Still without spoilers.

  8. Pretty well completed within 1 cafitierre time, very enjoyable crossword. Lack of internet meant late attendance on the blog.
    Still not sure about 14d.
    Thanks to setter and Kath

  9. I liked the 12a word that took ages, just really well hidden as far as I was concerned. And I too was in the ‘brand’ club (moaning to myself it wasn’t cryptic, too). Well done the setter and thankyou to Kath.

  10. ***/***. Very good crossword. Had to check BRB on 14d. Last in was 8d, COD the brilliant 12a. Many thanks.

  11. Got to stop to do some cooking, but enjoying crossword so far, and current favourite is 28a. Hoping to finish later. Thanks to setter and Kath.

    Hope your move went ok Kath.

  12. 3/4 of this puzzle went in quite easily but for me the SW was harder. 17d would have stumped me without the hint and I couldn’t get away from grandma for the relation in 28a Thanks to Kath for the help and Mr Ron for the 1a earworm.

  13. What a curates egg. The top was almost r&w but many of the bottom clues were dreadful. Roothold is a new word for me, surely should be foothold. Don’t get the hint for 8d as there is no THE in the clue. Solar is not a light source, the light source is Sol. 28a is just plain clumsy. Having said all that, the lurker in 12a was clever.
    Not my favourite.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Brian, I, athought that about 26a at first but then realised, as Kath has underlined, it is FROM light source hence solar. Not such good month for the panels getting their energy from the light source here in S. Wales.

  14. The SW corner was a little trickier, wasn’t it? Overall time edging out of ** into *** for difficulty. Good throughout.

  15. I enjoyed this but it really made me work hard for it.
    I needed help with a couple, 12a as, natch, I had the wrong answer in 6d.
    I missed 14d, didn’t know that word, I should have tried electronic help.
    Fave was 28a, loved it.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for her help completing. So nice to see you back.

  16. This one certainly took us longer than usual, mainly due to sorting out the NE corner. The well disguised lurker in 12a gets our vote for best clue.
    Plenty to enjoy.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

  17. No problem with 6d as I know a few things about horses.
    Didn’t know 14d though.
    The image conjured by 18a made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the review.

  18. No trouble with 6d and although I didn’t know the word 14d was quite clever. 28a favourite of course.
    Thanks to the setter for a good work out, and to Kath for her review.

  19. Sorry to be a bit negative, bug that turned into an unenjoyable slog.
    Tricky and I need Kath’s hints to parse a few.
    Thanks both

  20. Hi kath…your to good for me…your brill..
    Blaze done me and Unhinged.
    Glad your back…not so smug as some helpers i think…your all so clever…only been doing DT for 30 years and still find some clues hard…even struggle sometimes to understand answers…hope your ok.
    Doug Smith…xxxx

  21. I know I’m being pedantic but 9a should be ‘lying’ not ‘laying’.
    14a across also new to me like many others.
    Thanks to setter and the lovely Kath.

    1. I agree completely about 9a – I had put that in italics after my hint but then the whole lot disappeared and I had to start again more or less from scratch and in the rush I forgot about it. It’s a bit like when someone says, “I was sat in my car . . .” and I always want to say, “No, you were SITTING in your car . . . ” unless someone actually put you there!! Oh dear – but long live pedantry!

  22. It’s time for me to say “Me too” (it may be topical but I’m not of that generation) about 6d in that my first answer was the wrong non-cryptic one that so many others put in.
    I also wondered about 26a until I realised that the definition was the last three words of the clue rather than just the last two.
    Thanks to todays setter and to everyone for their comments – night night all and sleep well. :yawn:

  23. I found this to be quite tricky, on a par with a Ray T puzzle. A good challenge, fine clues and very enjoyable. I also initially bunged in “BRAND” for 6d. Favourite of a great bunch: 15a. 3.5* / 4*

  24. I enjoyed this. Some clues were much easier than others. ***/**** for me.

    Like you Kath, I thought 16a was a double definition.

    Super blog. I needed it to understand my answer for 8d and I couldn’t think of the first part of 17d. So very many thanks to Kath for clarifying these for me.

    Very many thanks, too, to the compiler for the enjoyable challenge.

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