DT 28928 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28928


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28928

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. Only four more sleeps till the big day, so Happy Christmas to one and all.

A mixture from Giovanni this morning, with some seasonal treats, but some rather more obscure answers, one of which (22d) was new to me, though the wordplay was clear.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a           Big noise at university, Oxford’s No. 5 rower (6)
UPROAR – Put together ‘at university’, the fifth letter of OxfoRd, and a rower or the implement he uses.

5a           Report from shed outside Cheltenham? (8)
DISPATCH – ‘Shed’ or ‘get rid of’ wrapped around the sort of resort of which Cheltenham may be an example.

9a           Practise act prior to lucky-dip grab (3,4,4,2)
GET ONE’S HAND IN – A figurative expression for ‘practise’ or literally what you before taking something from a lucky dip.

10a         Church occasion? A bishop and I may be entertained by ancient priest (8)
MARRIAGE – Put together A (from the clue), the letters denoting the honorific applied to a bishop, and I (from the clue), then wrap an ancient priest, perhaps one of the Three Wise Men, around the result. The answer is one of three occasions in life when an occasional Christian may end up in church.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a         City house with French art showing parrots (6)
ECHOES – Put together the postcode for the City of London, an abbreviation for HOuse, and the French word for the sort of ‘art’ which has ‘thou’ in front of it.

12a         Tricky situation — my tie’s getting loosened (6)
STYMIE – Anagram (getting loosened) of MY TIE’S.

14a         Most flavoursome champagne substitute revealed in experiment (8)
TASTIEST – An experiment or trial wrapped around crosswordland’s favourite fizzy wine.

16a         Reserve card for a group of readers (4,4)
BOOK CLUB – Another verb meaning ‘reserve’ followed by a card of one of the four suits.

19a         Sheets for egg producers (6)
LAYERS – Double definition, the second being some chickens.

21a         Grand guide, one exuding enthusiasm (6)
GUSHER – An abbreviation for Grand followed by the guide who may show you to your seat in the theatre.

23a & 7d              Holy Land hit they’ve arranged for something festive to sing (3,5,3,3,3)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a         Process when spirit is released? I’d bet demonism is involved (13)
DISEMBODIMENT – Anagram (is involved) of I’D BET DEMONISM.

26a         Appreciate loch in depiction (8)
LIKENESS – To show one’s appreciation (on Facebook, perhaps?) followed by a well-known Scottish loch.

27a         In harmony, lacking a yen to be avaricious (6)
GREEDY – Remove the A from ‘in harmony’ (lacking a), then add the symbol for Yen.


2d           Dramatic performance making one gasp in time? The opposite! (7)
PAGEANT – We are told to look for the opposite to ‘one gasp in time’, so we want a word for a (long) period of time to go inside another word for ‘gasp’.

3d           Animal fashioned by clay-worker without head (5)
OTTER – Remove the initial letter (without head) from someone who makes things with clay.

Image result for otter

4d           Contribute to ding-dong and stir the memory (4,1,4)
RING A BELL – Literally, what you do to make a ding-dong.

5d           Christmas pudding maybe with hair turning up (7)
DESSERT – Reverse (turning up, in a Down clue) an expression meaning ‘with hair’.

6d           Card that has a cutting edge (5)
SPADE – One of the four suits of playing cards is also an edged tool.

7d           See 23 Across

8d           Discern unhappy girl kept at home (7)
CINDERS – Anagram (unhappy) of DISCERN, giving us the unhappy girl left at home while her ugly sisters went to the ball.

Image result for cinderella

13d         ‘Cook me a steak’, husband interjected. ‘Hurry up!’ (4,5)
MAKE HASTE – Anagram (cook) of ME A STEAK, with Husband inserted.

15d         Joining senior in chorus (9)
SOLDERING – A verb for ‘to chorus’ wrapped around another word for senior. A method of joining plumbing or electrical connections.

17d         Group of believers manifesting Oedipus complex (4,3)
OPUS DEI – Anagram (complex) of OEDIPUS, giving us a Latin phrase meaning ‘the work of God’, the name of an organisation within the Catholic Church which got rather a bad write-up in The Da Vinci Code.

18d         Container inverted over many a pantomime character (7)
BUTTONS – Reverse (inverted) a container, then add an informal word for ‘many’, and you get a pantomime character who is a friend of 8d.

Image result for cinderella buttons

20d         Like family members, very happy after end of supper (7)
RELATED – The last letter of suppeR followed by ‘very happy’.

22d         Plant that is trodden on by sheep (5)
RAMIE – A male sheep followed by the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’. This was a new word for me – a member of the nettle family, apparently.

Image result for ramie

24d         Having excessive girth, concealed by robe seemingly (5)
OBESE – Hidden in the clue.

Have a great feast day, but don’t get too 27a, or you’ll be 24d!

The Quick Crossword pun GRAVE + E-BOAT = GRAVY BOAT

46 comments on “DT 28928

  1. Just up my street today and a**/****,
    I was nicely misdirected by 8d and thought 17d was a brilliant anagram,
    Failed to parse 27a-thanks DT.
    Well clued throughout, 22d was new.
    Ready for the holiday !

  2. I hadn’t heard of 22d either. Enjoyable puzzle and not too tricky. Last one in 8d which I didn’t see for ages. Thanks to all involved. I’m definitely improving!

  3. Really enjoyed this one. Had to look up 22d in the BRB as I never heard of the plant but the answer was obvious.

    Thank you Setter and DT for blog.

    1. Agreed, more 1960’s School-masterly than entertainment. Accurate and do-able but flat – I wonder if the mindset has been trained on a Friday to anticipate obscurities and outdated GK so closes down to any sparkle and reduces the amount of effort or care one puts into solving?? – oh dear! that reads a bit controversial but Hey Ho!

  4. About average difficulty for G, so a little above average for the back-page norm. 17d and 22d were new to me, but gettable from the wordplay. 3* / 4*

  5. As always, The Don comes up trumps with another pleasantly engaging puzzle. NE corner last to give. Needed help to parse 5a and 2d. 22d new one on me. Fav was 11a with several runners-up. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  6. Completed pretty much at a canter, but I couldn’t completely parse my answer for 5 across. I could have kicked myself for being so dumb once I’d read DT’s explanation. No standout favourites, but a most satisfying solve just the same. Thanks to Mr M and also to DT. Ditto Happy Christmas wishes to one and all.

    1. Happy Christmas to you and thanks for my Friday test (which you often win).
      The theme of today’s helped bring early cheer.as I’m sure it will to many

    2. 🎄Happy Christmas Giovanni and many thanks for your continuing supply of delightful Friday challenges. I always enjoy them. Happy Christmas.🎄

    3. Thanks for all of your hard work which give us mere mortals so much pleasure . Enjoy the festive season .

    4. A very happy and merry Christmas to you too and thanks for popping in. Thanks for all the enjoyment.

    5. Happy Christmas from me too. Can’t usually finish yours on Friday but this one was great, really enjoyed today.

  7. It seems Friday puzzles have something of the Marmite about them. As someone who enjoys a smattering of GK, I usually enjoy Giovanni’s offerings and this was no exception, although I hope we don’t get too many seasonally-themed crosswords in the next week or so as they get a bit tiresome. I thought 11a was the pick of the crop this morning.

    Thanks to The Don and to DT.

  8. Good crossword but held up by 11a. Couldn’t parse it and read the blog and it still took ages for the penny to drop. Very clever. The week day crosswords seem to have toughened up a little in the last few weeks. Still doable most of the time and still fun. Thanks to all.

  9. Can you explain the 11(a) please. I assumed the answer but did not understand the reason for es being french art.?
    Many thanks.

  10. After the last two days of trickiness, an enjoyable end to the work week completed at a gallop – **/****.

    I also had to BRB check 22d after coming up with a plausible answer, now the usual challenge of finding space in the memory for it. Presumably, 17d will cause ire in some circles.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 16a and 18d.

    I wonder how much the seasonal content will ‘ramp up’ before Tuesday.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  11. Really enjoyed this puzzle over coffee in a coffee shop (nice buzz in the background helps me concentrate 😉). A bit slow with the across clues but flew through the down clues. 22d no problem but 11a caused me pause. Thanks to setter and DT.

  12. Another of the 22d ignorants I had ramis until couldn’t make sense of 26. One of Giovanni’s gentler offerings, perhaps because of the seasonal theme, for me.
    Thanks to DT (and compliments of the season) for explanations of 11 & 21a

  13. 5a took a little while as I wouldn’t spell the answer with an ‘I’ and it took me an embarrassingly long time to think of the unhappy girl – she finished up being my favourite.

    DT’s reference to the ‘bad write-up’ of 17d made me smile.

    Thanks to DG and to DT – a very merry Christmas to you both.

  14. Excellent Giovanni puzzle, as usual. Got off to a fast start then slowed down for the last 25%. 26a last one in because of ‘die’ instead of ‘dei’ in 17d. All became clear once I spotted that. 22d was a new one for me as well, but gettable from the cluing. Top marks to 8d.

  15. Just right for the time of year, with a carol, a pantomime, bellringing, a church service, and just a touch of the 5d and 27a. Excellent Giovanni crossword, many thanks, and thanks DT for the review.

  16. Finished earlier then sped off to see the new Mary Poppins film . Enjoyable as long as you are a KID at heart .( will see the comments of Miffypops later ).
    Today’s was a mixture for me , COTD 8D but some were a little contrived with 22D seeming to be a stocking filler .
    Thanks to everyone .

  17. As an infrequent contributor to these august columns, may I please give a resounding round of applause to all this week’s setters and bloggers, and also to the crossword editor. Every puzzle this week has been a delight in its own way – some difficult – others less so – but all copeable withable and really enjoyable challenges. My best wishes to all concerned, and may 2019 continue in the same vein!

  18. I found this to be on the gentle side for a Friday! Very enjoyable with 8d being my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  19. ***/****. 22d had to be but I needed Mr Google to enlighten me. 17d was such a smooth clue and I enjoyed the smattering of seasonal references. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the review.

  20. Very enjoyable for me, loved the seasonal touch.
    I needed Deep Threat’s help unravelling 5a and 27a, and I don’t know much about pantomimes, so 18d was a bung in.
    Hard to pick a fave but 8d might fit the bill, had no problem with that.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the fun.

  21. Wow! I managed all but 8d unaided today so it must have been easier than usual. Thank you. It is great to do so well even if some of you found it too easy.
    Happy Christmas to one & all. Setters & solvers.

  22. I think my favourite is probably 25a with its nice Christmassy exorcism surface, and where I was thinking that the spirit would turn out to be the drinkable kind.

    Thought the definition in 9a really defines the similar phrase beginning with “Keep” rather than the actual answer.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  23. Lovely Christmas Puzzle from Goivanni🎄**/**** Merry Christmas one and all 🤗 Favourites 1 & 5 across 😃 Big thanks to DT for the nice blog and to Giovanni for always brightening up Fridays 👍

  24. Most of this tripped off my pen with alacrity but 5a held me up. I was thinking Cheltenham provided the ch ending and couldn’t get my head round the rest. Once I read the hint the answer became clear. Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  25. An easier than normal Friday puzzle, I felt. Completed late due to being sandwiched between Ann Widdicombe in pantomime at Redhill. Very good she was too.
    Ta for hints and Giovanni

  26. Really enjoyed this one, and the pleasant seasonal theme. Fridays usually beat me, but this one was just my cup of tea, especially after only completing half of yesterday’s puzzle. Like a lot of others, never heard of 22d but that was all it could be. Smiled at 15d, as over this side of the pond, they don’t pronounce the l in soldering, making it sound very odd to English ears 🙂. Thanks to Deep Threat and Giovanni for a fun day.

    1. Yes, I always do a double take when I hear that, but “sod” seems to mean only “turf” here so it probably doesnt occur to them.

  27. Probably easier than norm for Giovanni but not in parts. Never did sort out 11a so thanks for that one DT. Nice festive feel to it too.
    Thanks G and DT.
    **/*** / ***
    SOn is off with GF so see The other Don – Quixote tonight in London. Wish I were with them though I doubt it’s reciprocated.
    Nice to hear from you Giovanni. happy Christmas to you.

  28. 3*/4*….
    thought 25A ( process when spirit is released? I’d bet demonism is involved ) a very clever anagram.

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