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DT 28930

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28930

Hints and tips by a vibrant Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the mystical heart of Downtown LI where Saint Sharon is sleeping the sleep of the innocent blissfully unaware that I have bought her a prosthetic leg for Christmas. It is not her main present, just a stocking filler. As usual I have kept out of her way during the lead up to the main event. I have however plucked and stuffed the Christmas Turkey we have been fattening since July. All Saint Sharon has to do now is catch it, kill it and put it in the oven. Try not to stress over Christmas dinner. Cooking is merely warming things up. Nothing more. Our Daily Telegraph Puzzles editor Chris Lancaster has cooked up today’s offering which is sprinkled with Christmas treats but dearie dearie me the frogspawn at 24 across has no place on the Christmas table whereas a halo would sit perfectly.

Merry Christmas everyone.

The hints and tips are written to help and I hope they do. Illustrations may or may not be relevant. The answers lie beneath the greyed-out boxes known as spoilers. You may reveal them if all else has failed or if you just can’t be bothered anymore

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Crazily scream ‘It’s myrrh!’ as a festive greeting (5,9)
MERRY CHRISTMAS: A gift of a jumpoutatcha anagram (crazily) of SCREAM ITS MYRRH

9a Answer Rodney’s brother and assistant: cook turkey on the barbie here? (8)
ADELAIDE: The abbreviation for answer is followed by the shortened fore name of the character played by David Jason in the sitcom Only Fools And Horses. This in turn is followed by an assistant to an important person or senior politician. The answer is a city in Australia where our setter suggests that the warming up of Christmas dinner might be done outdoors on a barbecue

10a Wake up party animal to receive seconds (5)
ROUSE: An elderly debauched party goer surrounds (to receive) the abbreviation for seconds

12a Sing happily till drunk (4)
LILT: Anagram (drunk) of TILL

“I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember
We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September”.

Oliver Herford

13a Get rid of nameless relation playing around with Bet (10)
OBLITERATE: Anagram (playing around) of RELATION and BET without the letter N (nameless)

15a Dodgy Hogmanay tree (8)
MAHOGANY: Anagram (dodgy) of HOGMANAY

16a Possibly meet men to follow shooting star? (6)
METEOR: Anagram (possibly) of MEET followed by the military abbreviation for the ordinary ranks

18a Doubtful Queen will return after occasionally funny slur (6)
UNSURE: Every other letter (occasionally) of the words funny slur are followed by our dear queens regnal cypher which needs to be reversed (Queen will return)

20a & 25d Very late collection for a seasonal service (8,4)
MIDNIGHT MASS: This popular church service takes place on Christmas Eve. Very late. As late as it gets. After this hour it becomes the early hours. A collection here is a large group of people.

23a Remove limitations on Germany and Spain regarding 75% of Strictly (10)
DERESTRICT: The international vehicle codes for Germany and Spain are followed by a two-lettered term meaning regarding. This is followed by 75% or three quarters of the word strictly

24a Slump over dessert? (4)
SAGO: Yuk. A verb meaning to sink or subside is followed by the abbreviation for an over in cricket

26a Complain about one girl (5)
NAOMI: A verb meaning to complain is reversed and has the letter that looks like the number one added

27a Stress most of hamper upset little sister (8)
EMPHASIS: Anagram (upset) of HAMPE (most of hamper) followed by the first half (Little) of the word sister

28a Sozzled sellers sense stocking books could show persistence (14)
RELENTLESSNESS: Anagram (sizzled) of SELLERS SENSE which includes the abbreviation for the New Testament


2d Leader of reindeer facing terrible hold-up? (7)
RUDOLPH: The initial letter of the word Reindeer is followed by an anagram (terrible) of HOLD UP

3d Thou shalt broadcast, Noel! (4)
YULE: A homophone based upon you will (thy shalt)

4d Musical group that keeps things tidy on top? (8)
HAIRBAND: A dated sixties musical is followed by another word for a group of musicians

5d Son leaves somewhere cold for somewhere warmer (6)
IBERIA: A vast frozen waste to the north of Russia can have its first letter removed (the abbreviation for son) to leave the name for a south western European peninsula which is a lot warmer

6d A lucky bit of 11? (10)
THREEPENNY: A bit here is a coin. A twelve-sided coin from the days before decimalisation which may have been warmed up with the dessert at 11d and considered lucky to its recipient

7d Praise grown-up getting to grips with a charade at last (7)
ADULATE: A word meaning grown up has the letter A inserted. This is then followed by the last letter of the word charade

8d Star with allowance for party (11)
CELEBRATION: A five-lettered slang term for a star is followed by a share or allotment

11d Papa surprisingly muddling up what’s served with brandy sauce (4,7)
PLUM PUDDING: The abbreviation for Papa is followed by an anagram (surprisingly) of MUDDLING UP

4d Showing anger, aggrieve oddball eating just the outer parts of sprouts (10)
AGGRESSIVE: An anagram (oddball) of the word aggrieve has the outer letters of the word sprouts inserted

17d Cut up good English Xmas treat (5,3)
MINCE PIE: A verb meaning to cut up is followed by an expression meaning good or holier than thou. This is followed by the abbreviation for English

19d One troubled by the past, present and future? (7)
SCROOGE: This refers to a character in a Charles Dickens novel

21d Female relative that is stealing gift, ultimately: it’s hard (7)
GRANITE: Your mummy’s mummy is followed by the Latin abbreviation for that is which contains the final (ultimate) letter of the word gift

22d Trio travelling to take in Eastern newborn, initially — from here? (6)
ORIENT: An anagram (travelling) of TRIO contains the abbreviation of Eastern and the initial letter of newborn

25d See 20 Across

Have a very happy Christmas everybody.

Quickie Pun: miss+sell+tow=mistletoe


56 comments on “DT 28930

  1. Happy Christmas to Saint Sharon – how that woman copes, I have no idea. :rose:

    I solved 1a and said to Mr CS, there are people who don’t like Christmas-themed crosswords so they are going to be very chuffed with this one. I quite a like a themed crossword, so I’m a happy solver

    Seasons Greetings to everyone else too. Now back to following MPs instructions and rummaging in the freezer to make sure that all the things I’d put in there in the lead up to Christmas are found and defrosted in time for our traditional Christmas Eve Seafood Tea and tomorrow’s Christmas dinner

    1. “Chuffed” is one of those delightfully bizarre English words which is an antonym of itself. :wacko:

  2. Well, that was finished in double quick time. Good job I suppose, I should really start the present shopping!

    A Happy and Safe Christmas to cruciverbalists everywhere.

  3. 1* / 3*. Good fun but all over too soon. My only hold up was 19d until the penny dropped so that gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to MP, and a very Happy Christmas to all.

  4. Happy Christmas MP. Your opening words had me laughing out loud. Oh yes, and today’s puzzle was good fun too – just perfect for the day. Now to return to the simple matter of stuffing our cockerel, which unlike your turkey sounds, is quite ready to be stuffed. Bread sauce has been made and the gravy well advanced too. Sprouts have been simmering since August, so all’s well set for tomorrow. ;-) Have a great couple of days – everyone.

  5. 24a held me up untill I got 8d. I was trying to reverse a word for slump to make a dessert. Merry Christmas to all.

  6. I enjoyed this; but the opening comments on stocking filler and preparing turkey made me laugh so much my cell mate woke up.

  7. A very enjoyable seasonable romp – with more than its fair share of crackers. Thank you to our anonymous setter.

    Last one in – 12a, (missed the anagram indicator, despite it being one of the oldest in the book).

    Hints were not needed for this festive light edition, but thank you to MP for the traditionally entertaining trimmings.

    For 6d, I didn’t know it, although fairly obvious. – I am old enough to remember silver sixpences, but not their lower denomination cousins.
    And on a similar – post-turkey, pre-cheese – theme, my COTD was 24 – which, as everyone knows………….
    ………is how you start a pudding race.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  8. Pleasant whilst it lasted but there it was gone all too quickly. Sums up Christmas I guess.
    As I am one 19d my COTD.
    To all who contribute, in any way, to this site a very merry Christmas.
    Thanks to setter for the work-out. Also MP for hints and clips as always.

  9. Thanks to all especially the vibrant one and the sainted one. 5d took longest here trying to sort out icebox from somewhere warmer.
    Thanks also to the good company found here. I hope you all have the very best.

    1. Oh I was also a bit held up by the old threepenny/thruppence debate but maybe that’s a northern thing.

  10. A very pleasant and straightforward puzzle with a good smattering of humour. Just right for Christmas Eve. 5d kept me guessing the longest and became my favourite.

    Thanks to CL for the fun and to MP for the laughs in the preamble, and to everyone else associated with the site, have a Happy Christmas.

  11. Straightforward and very enjoyable – no ‘bah humbug’ from me – although some ‘brain freeze’ over my LOI, 13a, nearly slowed me down to a gallop – **/***.

    No particular favourite, but 6d and 4d did raise smiles and memories of seeing the particular musical (twice) in my wilder days.

    Thanks to CL and MP and a very Happy Christmas to St Sharon (I ‘covered’ everyone else yesterday).

  12. A light, sunny puzzle for a similarly light, sunny Christmas Eve here.
    I particularly liked 6&17d and wondered whether 28a was a personal comment about the festive season from our setter!

    Not sure whether we are to assume from the preamble that our crossword editor compiled this one but, in any case, a very merry Christmas to him and to both MP and the saintly Sharon.

  13. — a bit quick and easy – but better than yesterday – I had to buy the Sunday Times as the Telegraph was sold out!

    The Times (am I allowed to say that?) was a Christmas themed one too – but MUCH harder, and it was (I guess) their usual Yuletide GIANT crossword – gave up very early, so today’s DT job was great fun!

      1. — wouldn’t surprise me – for some really annoying reason, the DT seems to be absent (sold out) from nearly all my local shops and supermarkets if you don’t get in there early!.
        I’ve even heard that some places give copies away free to customers who purchase more than £5 worth of goods!
        Well, I ask you!

        1. Our recently opened Sainsburys hasn’t got the hang of how many people might read the Telegraph and thinks five copies sufficient, so you have to be there really early to get a copy

  14. May I respectfully suggest that the threpenny bits in puddings were actually even older and were of the silver variety.
    Happy Christmas everyone.
    Thanks to setter and hinter

    1. Dead right. I remember them well, I even have a stash of them here left over from days of yore, along with a ton of half-crowns and florins. How we ever managed to carry that lot around …

  15. Hola from a sunny hotel balcony in Benidiorm. After a good lunch there is a nice view of the Med in some very pleasant sunshine and also a very pleasant crossword so all is well in the world of pommers 😁

    On first pass we got all but one of the acrosses, why missed the sago chestnut defeats me, and then all the downs so it was all over very quicky. So, it’s a */*** from us.

    My grandad must have been rich – he always put sixpences in the Xmas pudding.

    Seasonal greetings to all and thanks to the setter and MP.

  16. —– well, that’s me done for another year, so cheers to everyone who runs this blog, and contributes their comments!

    Merry Christmas, Happy 2019, and here’s to another 365 days of DT Crossword Heaven!

  17. 6d – it was sixpence in my day.
    Completed before getting thrashed by son no.2 on the golf course this morning.
    Thanks MP and CL. Happy Christmas (which was mistakenly entered for 1a) to all.

  18. Very enjoyable light fun from our esteemed editor. Thanks CL & MP.

    Season’s greetings to all who enjoy this time of year.

  19. If you aren’t busy with Christmas preparations, can I recommend the Brendan (Virgilius) in today’s Graun, our Silvanus in the Indy and there’s an alphabetical in the FT too.

    1. So that only means MP. If only we all had a Saint Sharon. I guess she can catch the turkey quicker if she straps on her spare leg.

      A Happy and Joyous Christmas to all.

      1. I’ve just been told to sit down for a bit and do crosswords so who am I to argue with that??

  20. Good fun but over quickly .

    The old sixpence was the tender bit in my mother’s pud ! She always wrapped it in paper to avoid swallowing .

    Thanks and greetings to each and every contributor .

  21. */***. A brief but enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to the setter and MP (the hint for 1a doesn’t include mystic but perhaps the auto correct didn’t like myrrh). Merry Christmas to all.

  22. Just completed this festive puzzle as a reward for getting more mundane jobs done. Thanks to setter and MP, and thanks also to all other contributers to this site. Merry Christmas to all.

  23. I too was chuffed with this puzzle. Our families always said Happy Christmas, in fact didn’t come across Merry until we arrived on this side of the pond. Still prefer the Happy version. Guess we were affluent too, as it was a sixpence in the pud. Took me years to figure out how I was invariably lucky and got the bowl with tanner inside, Mum serving it in the kitchen before bringing to the table. Our grandkids won’t eat it, but love to see it aflame each year. Thanks to Chris Lancaster and Miffypops, who had better watch out when Saint Sharon decides just what to do with that leg 😊

    Happy Christmas to one and all.

  24. Thanks today to miffypops and Chris Lancaster for a nice Christmas themed puzzle. As Pommers said though, over too quickly for us.

    Merry Christmas to all. Especially to all the bloggers who give their time to help us lesser mortals solve the impenetrable ones.

  25. A gentle, amusing start to the Christmas period.

    Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas, especially our setters and bloggers.

  26. Many thanks to our editor for this offer of a nice and gentle Xmas puzzle, which I sorely needed afte trying to tackle today’s Times. Much enjoyed, though I had to correct THREEPENCE.

    And thank you miffypops for getting me into a Christmas mood with your usual splendid style.

    1. Where I came from it was a thr’penny bit. Our headmaster used thruppence & was known as Dicky Thrupp by all. Can I remember his real name? Mr Google doesn’t know either.

  27. Lovely puzzle once again. How my days are enriched by a little mental workout, even though today’s was fairly straightforward.
    Very many thanks to setters and hinters for another year of this wonderful site and best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  28. Nice gentle puzzle today – good fun while it lasted. Thanks to Mr Lancaster and to MP for the hints (and gags).

    And many thanks and Merry Christmas to all the setters, bloggers, hinters and posters who keep this excellent site going.

  29. Being a Christmas junkie, I just love a themed puzzle. Memories: Thrupny bits, plum pudding, mince pies, even an appearance by Rudolph.
    Our cook made a fabulous plum pudding. She soaked the fruit in rum for six months, then soaked the pudding in rum after that. When it was lit and carried ceremoniously to the table, the damned thing wouldn’t go out!
    Merry Christmas to all who make up this happy site, and huge thanks to CL and M’pops for starting our yuletide off with such fun.

  30. Lots of fun, and very much on the easy side. Just right for a busy day. Merry Christmas one and all. :-)

  31. Nice puzzle (in spite of 24a) for Christmas Eve. Thankfully not all given over to the season! No particular favourites, just a nice crossword.
    Thanks to CL, and to MP for the review.
    Merry Christmas everyone!

  32. Thanks so much to the vibrant one and the setters and bloggers. I laughed and laughed at the introduction and the comments. What a wonderful way to start Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to you all.

  33. Did this in the bath today. Water didn’t get cold. However, I admit “roué” and “pi” were bunged in. Thank you to the setter/editor and MP for your dedication. Merry Christmas. 🎄🎄🎄

  34. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate a copper 3d bit in
    my Christmas pudding, I remember the silver
    three penny piece, but I am 84,
    Happy new year to all.

  35. 2*3*……
    liked 24A ( slump over dessert )…never mind the frogspawn….
    looks like Miffypops may have had a hungry Xmas.

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