DT 28920 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28920

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28920

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

There are many flax plants in the area where we live and they are now in full bloom. The spikes that carry the flowers shoot up about three or four metres and make a spectacular display at this time of the year. Nectar feeding birds just love them.

Nice puzzle again from Jay.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Men with no end of cash getting crowns (4)
CAPS: Remove the last letter of cash from within a slightly informal word for men.

3a     Back victory with Germany’s renewed energy (6,4)
SECOND WIND : Back or support, then a victory or first place and the IVR code for Germany.

9a     Time nobody finishes early? (4)
NOON : A synonym for nobody loses its last letter.

10a     Sack vet — that’s for keeping the temperature down (10)
FIRESCREEN : Another word for sack or dismiss and then vet or do a selective check.

11a     Palestine ordered to release an ancient letter (7)
EPISTLE : Remove the letters of ‘an’ from an anagram (ordered) of PaLESTInE.

13a     What a carpenter may make of a good deal? (7)
SAWDUST : A cryptic definition. Don’t be fooled into thinking that deal is a trading arrangement here.

14a     Report of couple likely to take offence producing fruit? (7,4)
PRICKLY PEAR : An adjective used to describe someone likely to take offence and then a homophone of a word for a couple.

18a     Tough newspaper editor threatened by severe competition (4-7)
HARD-PRESSED : A word meaning tough, then a collective term for newspapers and the abbreviation for editor.

21a     One’s so covering miles in such a strip of land (7)
ISTHMUS : ‘One’s’ written as the Roman numeral plus the ‘s’ and a synonym for so or therefore includes the abbreviation for miles.

22a     Father has unusual items offering interest (7)
PASTIME : A short familiar word for father and an anagram (unusual) of ITEMS.

23a     Caiaphas, perhaps — strangely he is right to keep quiet (4,6)
HIGH PRIEST : An anagram (strangely) of HE IS RIGHT includes the musical notation for quiet.

24a     Country post may see liberal moving to the west (4)
MALI : Start with post as in letters delivered and move the abbreviation for liberal one space to the left.

25a     Lead, say in hard rock? (5,5)
HEAVY METAL : A double definition. The second refers to music.

26a     Give way, leaving space deferentially (4)
CEDE : A lurker hiding in the clue.


1d     Offer incentives after prisoner’s scorn (8)
CONTEMPT : A slang word for a prisoner and then offer incentives or entice.

2d     Rebuilt hip bistro must ignore small bar (8)
PROHIBIT : Remove the abbreviation for small from an anagram (rebuilt) of HIP BIsTRO.

4d     English team lose, having no heart for enforced absence abroad (5)
EXILE : The abbreviation for English, then the number of players in a cricket or football team expressed as a Roman numeral and the first and last letters of ‘lose’.

5d     Miss alarm concerning student caught in leak (9)
OVERSLEEP : A four letter word meaning concerning then the letter displayed by a student driver is inside a word meaning leak or ooze.

6d     Stevedores to cut rows about welcoming king and Queen (4,7)
DOCK WORKERS : Cut as one might do to shorten a lamb’s tail, then an anagram (about) of ROWS contains the chess notation for king and Her Majesty’s regnal cypher.

7d     I drink after church freezes (4,2)
ICES UP : Start with ‘I’ from the clue, next the abbreviation for the Anglican Church and lastly a verb meaning to drink.

8d     Study suppressing on-target earnings is mean (6)
DENOTE : This study is a room, and this is on top of (suppressing) the acronym for on-target earnings.

12d     Doctor may keep oath as reward for one’s labour (4-4,3)
TAKE-HOME PAY : An anagram (doctor) of MAY KEEP OATH.

15d     Rent subject to Sky — or new division in England (9)
YORKSHIRE : A word for rent or lease is underneath (subject to) an anagram (new) of SKY OR.

16d     Reckon European nation must absorb one million (8)
ESTIMATE : The abbreviation for European and then a nation or country contains the Roman numeral one and the abbreviation for million.

17d     The man’s in a club that’s tacky (8)
ADHESIVE : The man’s written using a personal pronoun is inside ‘a’ from the clue and a seedy club.

19d     Rowing crew beginning to hurry just a fraction (6)
EIGHTH : The number of people in a rowing crew and the first letter of hurry.

20d     Family will go from mistaking terrible shame (6)
STIGMA : Remove a three letter word for family from ‘mistaking’ and make an anagram (terrible) with what you have left.

22d     Secretary hugging tree that was official in Turkey (5)
PASHA : A secretary or personal assistant encloses a woodland tree.

The two clues that pushed our solving time into 3 star territory were 10a and 15d. It’s hard to see now why they should have done so. These were our favourites this week.

Quickie pun    hearse    +    praise    =    hair sprays


40 comments on “DT 28920

  1. I had to ask Saint Sharon for the four-letter word that was a synonym for sack at the start of 10ac. All else filled in but I just couldn’t see it. How schoolboy is that. Great puzzle. ta to all.

  2. I enjoyed this all too brief walk in the park with Jay completing the North before the South. Haven’t come across abbreviation in 8d before. 17d amused. Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  3. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis for helping me pass the time waiting for car MOT to be done I thought 13a was very clever

  4. A bit of a brain teaser today and agree with 2K’s ***/****..
    A steady solve with a wide variety of clues, spot on for me.
    Hard to choose a favourite ,liked 11 and 13 a.
    Thanks all.

  5. 15d was my last one in too, and I live there! The rest was steady but pleasant solve done before I got to my lunchtime banana. Thanks to Jay and 2K’s. Back to work.

  6. Nice puzzle that didn’t cause any problems here.
    The couple likely to take offence and the Doctor keeping his oath made me smile and I thought the surface of 18a was very good.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – wonder which particular birds feast on the flax?

    1. The birds we see most often on the flax are starlings and blackbirds. The ones we most like to see are tuis. However we are coastal and don’t have many native bush stands around so they are infrequent visitors to our particular plants.

      1. Had to google Tui, as I did not see them on my one visit to NZ look a nice bird ( a Honeyeater) and the flax looks very pretty as well 😃

  7. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A delightful puzzle from Jay. Clues are so well written. No major holdups. 13a made me smile, but my favourite was 25a, so concise with so much going on. Was 2*/4* for me.

  8. 2* / 4.5*. This was a light, fun puzzle from our Wednesday wizard. 17d was my favourite, hotly followed by 18a.

    Many thanks to all three birds.

  9. Jay apparently determined to continue as the easiest solve of the week with maximum enjoyment, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4*.

    Favourite, a toss-up between 25a and 17d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Kiwis.

  10. Thoroughly enjoyable as always from Jay on a Wednesday. High quality, straightforward clues and a real pleasure to solve. 23a my favourite of many fine clues.

    Thanks very much to Jay for the fun, and to the 2Ks.

  11. Excellent puzzle today, just the type I like with everything you need to solve the clue is provided by the setter, no need to make a leap of faith.
    I thought this was very elegant and well constructed. My favourite was 13a, clever!
    Thx to all

  12. This enjoyable puzzle helped to pass the time while sitting on a plane waiting for our crew to arrive. Thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks.

  13. Once it dawned on me that ‘yardstick’ could never be the answer to 15d everything made sense. Took me a while though before it dawned…
    Excellent crossword.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s.

  14. Solved except for 1a (duh) while in my hospital bed recovering from yesterday’s hip replacement. At least it took my mind off the pain!

  15. A much enjoyed grid done over a large coffee in Pret. 1a, 2d worth a mention with 13a being favourite. Thanks to Jay and Ks. **/***
    Tried to get tickets to Hamilton. No good so off to see Les Mis tomorrow night – for the umpteenth time.

    1. I saw Les Mis once. Shouting “Yes, you little s**t” when Gavroche got shot didn’t seem to go down too well.it was the best bit for me though

      1. The insurance ad with the kid that smirks while driving a RC car, and the one that inspects the dishwashing with a magnifying glass and the kid that sells squash about elderly flower would be the first to meet the same fate as Gavroche if I was on the barricades.

  16. Another great puzzle, two days in a row. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis. COTD was 14a for the chuckle it caused.

  17. As is usual on Wednesday, a very enjoyable puzzle with some very clever clues.

    Thanks to the setter and 2Kiwis.

  18. ***/****. Some tricky bits for me but a very enjoyable solve. My favourites were 3,13&14a. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  19. Found this to be fairly straightforward for me. No irritating clues. No obscurities or back to front parsing. Excellent. **/****

  20. Morning all.
    Like Gwizz above, we also started off trying to justify YARDSTICK for 15d. It fitted nicely with the checkers we had at the time.
    Looks like we have a nice fine day in store for us so no disruptions to the Christmas break-up plans for mid-week golfers.

  21. A very enjoyable, typical Jay-ish puzzle again today.
    I needed the hints to confirm 8d, never heard of the abbreviation.
    It’s hard to pick a fave but I think 14a might just take the spot.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the fun.

  22. Yes – a very typically Jay-ish crossword, right down to my usual trouble getting started.
    It took me a ridiculously long time to see why 1a was what it was – don’t know why – and the second bit of 10a also took a while.
    I’ve never heard of the abbreviation in 8d.
    I think we’ve had something very similar to 5d quite recently – it fooled me then and managed to do so again today.
    I liked 25a and 5d (I’ll remember this one now) and 14a was my favourite – it reminds me of the Jungle Book.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

  23. Many thank yous to Jay once again for a beautifully constructed crossword, and to 2Ks for the hints which I always enjoy reading more when I already know the answer! Btw did I miss a pic of the flax plants?
    My biggest holdup, unlike MP, was the synonym for vet in 10ac, got the “sack” bit tout de suite!

  24. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, it kept me company on the bus from Winchester to Southampton this afternoon following lunch with old work colleagues. Just for once I’ve finished it in time to leave a comment, usually I don’t get to do it until much later!. 14a made me smile and 21a reminded me of the semi pro football league that my local club in the 70s played in.

    Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis for helpful hints.

  25. I’m probably being thick, but ‘a good’ seems redundant in 13a. Surely he would end up making more if the deal was of poor quality.

    1. I think the good deal refers to the quantity of said substance a carpenter produces compared to lesser woodworking mortals.

  26. A comfortable solve. Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. I had 14a icecream on holiday this year. It was disgusting.

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