DT 28931 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28931

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28931

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

It is a bit late to say Merry Christmas again and a bit early to say Happy New Year so guess that a simple “Compliments of the Season” would be the most appropriate salutation for today.

We are having a really busy time. All our family are in New Zealand at present which is quite a rare occurrence these days so we are having lots of quality grandparent times. Yesterday was a wet Christmas Day for us but the sun has come back today so summer outdoor things are all happening.

Jay has given us a smattering of seasonal clues to enjoy in today’s puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Journey that sees magi gripe, worried about length? (10)
PILGRIMAGE : An anagram (worried) of MAGI GRIPE plus the abbreviation for length.

6a     Trunk sent back with diamonds and precious metal (4)
GOLD : The first seasonal clue. Reverse a tree trunk and then the diamond card suit abbreviation

10a     Chap employed in oil, mostly — must be one from the Middle East (5)
OMANI : The first two letters (mostly) of oil surround a chap.

11a     Superficial application made by players after water shortage discovered (9)
ROUGHCAST : Remove the first and last letters (dis-cover) from a water shortage and then a group of theatrical players.

12a     The night after 1/11? (7)
TWELFTH : A seasonal clue. We want what would come after 1/11 in a sequence of fractions.

13a     Sort of window the French put outside room (7)
LATTICE : A room in the rafters is enclosed by a French definite article.

14a     Birthday gift given with loud and offensive anger? (12)
FRANKINCENSE :  A seasonal clue. The musical notation for loud, then offensive or foul-smelling and make angry.

18a     Put on openers — absurdly easy, pinching runs for ages (7,5)
DONKEYS YEARS :  Put on clothing, then openers for things that are locked and an anagram (absurdly) of EASY contains the abbreviation for cricket runs.

21a     Current offering (7)
PRESENT : A double definition. The first one is here and now and the second is seasonal.

23a     A sign of excitement after 6? (7)
AUSPICE : 6 gives us the chemical symbol for the answer to 6ac, and then excitement or piquancy.

24a     Open one looking embarrassed and needing sleep (9)
OVERTIRED : A word meaning open or exposed, then the Roman numeral one and the colour associated with embarrassment.

25a     Married prince returned without a birthday gift (5)
MYRRH : A seasonal clue. The abbreviation for married and then reverse the name of the most recently married royal prince leaving out his ‘A’.

26a     Fill in forms at elections (4)
SATE : A lurker hiding in the clue.

27a     Money paid to people at bar for drinks (10)
REFRESHERS : A double definition. The people at the bar are lawyers. (We struggled a bit with this one as we had forgotten the first definition.)


1d     Immediately suspicious of supporting voting system (6)
PRONTO : A preposition that is sometimes written 2,2 that means suspicious follows the abbreviation for proportional representation.

2d     Heavy metal, Queen and ‘The Boss‘ (6)
LEADER : Heavy metal with the atomic number 82 and the regnal cypher.

3d     Backups needing check because of seals (14)
REINFORCEMENTS : String together a check used to control a horse, a three letter word meaning ‘because of’ and then seals or glues together.

4d     Traders in French sea shanties (9)
MERCHANTS : The French word for sea and then shanties or melodic verses.

5d     Good rule to be broken for porridge (5)
GRUEL : The abbreviation for good and an anagram (to be broken) of RULE.

7d     Addresses allowances under head of organisation (8)
ORATIONS : The first letter of organisation and allowances or allocations.

8d     Hesitated, conned about time in this place (8)
DITHERED : A three letter word for conned or tricked encloses T(ime) and then ‘in this place’.

9d     Song that’s needed for ‘The Snowman’? (5,9)
WHITE CHRISTMAS : A seasonal clue pointing to a song made famous by Bing Crosby.

15d     I reportedly cast aspersions on European (9)
ICELANDER : ‘I’ from the clue and then a homophone (reportedly) of a word meaning cast aspersions on.

16d     Notice a sport played with such plug-in devices (8)
ADAPTORS : A promotional notice, then ‘A’ from the clue and an anagram (played) of SPORT.

17d     When Christmas arrives part of hospital becomes unseemly (8)
INDECENT : A 2,3 phrase giving us the month containing Christmas, and then the hospital department that deals with respiratory and hearing conditions.

19d     Intense fire spread over church (6)
FIERCE : An anagram (spread) of FIRE and then the Anglican Church.

20d     The man in confusion gets engaged (6)
MESHES : A word for confusion or untidiness contains a male personal pronoun.

22d     Short and stressed needing change of heart (5)
TERSE : Change the central letter of a word meaning stressed or anxious.

We enjoyed finding the seasonal clues today.

Quickie pun    eyesore    +    quay    =    ice hockey

28 comments on “DT 28931

  1. A nice smooth well clued offering to tax the ever so slightly hung over brain. Favourite was the hidden one in 26 across and 27 across was my last in and had to be a bung in as I couldn’t come up with anything else that might fit. Now off back into the kitchen again to prepare for today. Thanks to Jay? and also 2Ks.

  2. Thanks to the Kiwis. I am teetering on the edge of getting tired of seasonal clues but I suppose every setter is allowed a festive crossword so maybe a few more to come. I wish I could spell 25a which was the holdout clue today.
    The spoiler for 16d needs an S.
    18a is my fave today.
    A quick take off (and landing) with Strictly’s former head judge to get German baked goods (7) to be enjoyed next for me.
    Goodwill to all cruciverbalists.

  3. Thanks to Jay the setter today. thanks to our bloggers in New Zealand for reviewing today’s puzzle which took a little longer than usual due to Saint Sharon explaining how the ‘Brownie Points’ system actually works while I was doing the crossword. Oh dear

  4. 2* / 4.5*. Great fun which I probably would have finished in my 1* time except for 26a & 27a which were my last two in. 2d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the three birds.

  5. Flying start for me but a slow finish with lots to appreciate along the way eg 11A,18A,25A , 15D .
    Enjoyed the challenge .
    Thanks to everyone especially Jay , the 2 Kiwis & family .

    1. Brian. This has been noted at comment 2 which suggests you do not read other comments.
      Pete T. it is clued but the answer under the spoiler is in the singular. Somebody will add an S. I tried but failed. One of the wordpress experts will get onto it.

      1. Merry Christmas MP and St Sharon – Lady LbR really ought to be promoted, sounds like she’s a lot like your saint (CS ‘how does she put up with you’) – see you towards the end of January I hope

  6. A real curates egg. The top was no problem with some clever clues but the bottom I found almost impossible not helped by having no clue about 27a.
    Not my favourite.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

  7. Very enjoyable and slightly more tricky than some recent Wednesday puzzles completed at a gallop (just) – **/****.

    I had to check the spelling of 12a (again) – it still doesn’t look right with four consonants together. The boss in 2d had me (mistakenly) thinking of Bruce Springsteen.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 18a and 15d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Ks.

    1. Had same trouble re spelling and was listening to “The Boss” as I solved. I am still ripping it to my music so I am sure an appropriate clip can be found on YouTube.

  8. Lots to enjoy as always on a Wednesday. I thought the seasonal theme was nicely clued and was quite oblique in places which made it that much more enjoyable. I liked 18a a lot, but not as much as 2d, my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay for the challenge and to the 2Ks.

  9. Quite happy to have another helping of Christmas clues – think I’d have possibly mentioned a couple more than the 2Ks did but it really doesn’t matter!

    Hadn’t heard of the legal definition of 27a so that was my last one in by a long way.

    Many thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for a beautifully illustrated blog.

  10. Working out 27a took me longer than the rest put together. My favourite was 9d although others in this seasonal offering could have been contenders for the podium.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

  11. Couldn’t get 27a without the hints as this was a new one to me. As above, the rest of the crossword was a delight.

  12. All reasonably smooth except fro my foolishly putting in ‘merry’ for the first part of 9d which caused issues!. 17a last one in – and is my favourite today.

  13. **/****. The bottom half held me up a little but also contained my COTD 25a. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. A wet walk in prospect with the dogs this morning but the snow on the mountains will not get anywhere near us.

  14. Peace and quiet for the first time since last Friday! :yawn:
    The Elder Lamb, her partner and our eighteen month old grandson have headed off to other bits of the family and the Younger Lamb and her partner have gone for a long walk and back later.
    A lovely Wednesday crossword – perhaps one of those which would have been better to start with the down clues.
    Like others who have commented I either didn’t know or had forgotten the first meaning of 27a.
    Also like others I can’t spell 25a – whatever I put looked wrong, and that included trying a double Y. Oh dear!
    Lots of good clues and my favourite was either 14 or 18a.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2 K’s.

  15. Nice puzzle for the day after The day! Just tricky enough to make me think a bit with 25a being my favourite.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the busy people down under for the review.

  16. Morning all.
    A big sigh of relief that the only mistake we made was an S missing from 16d (Thanks Senf for the fix). The blog was put together under rather trying circumstances with lots of people staying here (some of them in tents) and then a 3 hour break to make a pick-up journey. It was during this trip that the penny finally dropped for the quickie pun which was proving elusive. Nobody has mentioned it here yet so maybe it was just us who struggled with it.
    Another fine summer day in prospect for us so the frantic pace of holiday activities looks set to continue.

  17. I was also off to a flying start, followed by a slow finish. 27a was new to me, and I tried for ages to make an anagram out of 22d… I think I am a bit befuddled after three days of preparing and cooking, followed of course by the clearing up. Enjoyed it all but I think we will hand the baton over to the kids, and only volunteer to do Christmas Day Tea in future.
    Thank you to the setter and especially to the 2Kiwis, going above and beyond today to get these hints out there and deal with a house load of company.

  18. 27ac at the close gave me no end of problems, and 23ac less so. The rest though was straightforward and enjoyable throughout.

  19. Overindulgence with 27a befuddled the cruciverbal mind last evening but an almost clear head this morning facilitated the home run and hey presto. I enjoyed the seasonal fun run. Having no legal background I was unfamiliar with one meaning of 27a but am reassured to see I am not alone in that.
    Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  20. Season’s greetings
    I thought rhyming slang for ages or years was donkey’s ears -…..

  21. 3*/4*…..
    liked 26A (fill in forms at elections)..as usual, did not spot the lurker for donkeys years .

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