DT 28932 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28932

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28932

Hints and tips by Kath

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

Hello everyone. As the 2Kiwis said yesterday it’s too late to wish you a Happy Christmas and too early to say Happy New Year so I won’t do either although the thoughts are there.

This is Ray T’s last Thursday crossword of the year – I thought it was jolly difficult. Maybe I’m having one of those ‘just me days’ or maybe you will all have found it tricky too but we won’t know unless you leave a comment and tell us so please do.

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


1a        Deny United tie voided by match official (6)
REFUTE — begin with an abbreviation of a person who blows a whistle at a football match and follow him with U[nited] and the first and last letters (voided) of tie

4a        Dirty horrid European in sack (8)
BEGRIMED — a synonym for horrid or dreadful and the one letter abbreviation for E[uropean] go inside (in) what sack is a slang term for

9a        Subject of article not quite perused (6)
THREAD — the first two letters of the definite article (article not quite) are followed by a synonym for perused or studied

10a       Old lady’s scraps for man’s best friends? (8)
MASTIFFS — an affectionate term for your Mum, (old lady) and don’t forget her ‘S, is followed by some scraps or minor arguments

11a       Display label on a revolting slaughterhouse (8)
ABATTOIR — a display, of colour for example, a label or marker and the A from the clue are all reversed (revolting). Thank you Gazza, Kiwi Colin, Miffypops and CS – I couldn’t make any sense of this one at all and, in desperation, had to ‘call a few friends’!

13a       Broadcast from top group (6)
AIRING — two letters that mean top or the best of the lot are followed by a group or band of people

15a       Peel lacier bra off, precious! (13)
 IRREPLACEABLE — an anagram (off) of PEEL LACIER BRA

18a       Unusual seabird found in rural peat, flapping (13)
PRETERNATURAL — hot on the heels of the previous clue we have another anagram (flapping) of RURAL PEAT – this contains (found in) a seabird

22a       Cold church houses habit support (6)
CRUTCH — the one letter abbreviation for C[old] and one of the many two letter abbreviations for church contain a habit or boring routine

24a       Routine play with penalty taken outside (8)
PRACTICE — a financial penalty goes around a synonym for play or perform

26a       Spouts tripe about eclipse (8)
OUTSTRIP — the first lurker or hidden answer indicated by about

27a       Little tense before Queen gets severe (6)
BITTER — a little, the one letter abbreviation for T[ense] and then the regnal cipher of the Queen

28a       Quiet, more left-wing one destroys paper (8)
SHREDDER — two letters that are an informal way of asking for a bit of peace (quiet) are followed by the colour that someone being less right wing might be

29a       Short old cock gutted in farmyard enclosure (6)
STOCKY — a farmyard enclosure for pigs contains (in) the one letter abbreviation for O[ld] and the first and last letters (gutted) of C[oc]K



1d        Cane rotter with birch? (6)
RATTAN — a rotter or rogue are followed by (with) a verb to birch or whip

2d        Word of warning introducing African republic’s structure (9)
FORMALISE — a word of warning that’s shouted if someone is about to get biffed on the head by a golf ball contains (introducing) a landlocked West African state – and you need the ‘S too

3d        One tries food employing ordinary kitchen appliance (7)
 TOASTER — someone who wants to try out whatever you’re cooking (in our family it’s called ‘checking for poisoning’) contains (employing) the one letter abbreviation for O[rdinary]  

5d        New drink lifts spirit (4)
 ELAN — N[ew] and a drink made from hops are reversed (lifts)

6d        English love sailor climbing some rigging (7)
RATLINE — the one letter abbreviation for E[nglish], a three letter word for love or nothing and one of the many slang terms for a sailor are all reversed (climbing)

7d        Clothing minus uniform for travelling incognito initially (5)
MUFTI — the first letters (initially) of the middle five words of the clue

8d        Conflict with desperate sweetheart about droop (8)
DISAGREE — a synonym for desperate or awful and the middle letter or heart of swEet contain another word for droop or sink

12d      This compiler’s reportedly composed approach (6)
IMPEND — how the setter might say he is is followed by a homophone (reportedly) of composed or wrote

14d      One audibly snaps round end of suspender (6)
GARTER — a homophone (audibly) of an abbreviation for a reptile similar to a crocodile (one snaps) contains (round) the last letter (end) of [suspende]R

16d      Projectile shot is short flash (9)
BALLISTIC — another word for shot or bullet and the IS from the clue are followed by a short flash or small space of time

17d      Big top’s raised covering debts (8)
SPACIOUS — a reversal (raised) of a top or lid, with the ‘S, is followed by (covering) the usual crosswordland debts

19d      Moved from left embracing leader of Conservatives (7)
 EXCITED — a synonym for left or went contains (embracing) the first letter (leader) of C[onservatives]

20d      Acceptance of right overwhelming upset constituent (7)
RECEIPT — the two letter abbreviation for right goes around (overwhelming) a reversal (upset) of a constituent or part of something

21d      It’s almost noon, soon (6)
NEARLY — the one letter abbreviation for N[oon] is followed by another word for soon or ahead of time

23d      Perfect voice (5)
UTTER — this is a double definition – voice is a verb here

25d      Struggle to suppress black feeling (4)
VIBE — to struggle or rival contains (to suppress) the abbreviation for B[lack]

Lots of good clues today – 29a and 1, 14 and 25d. My favourite was 15a because it made me laugh.

The Quickie pun:- SEEK + RUSE = SEA CRUISE

47 comments on “DT 28932

  1. On first pass I had the sum total of 2 letters (part of 27a) but I persevered and managed to find a way in. And I’m glad I did as I thought this was cracking – so many great clues, excellent surfaces full of wit and innuendo.

    Metaphorical ticks everywhere but podium places for 1a, 28a, 5d, 14d, 25d. All trumped by COTD 8d which brought a wide smile. LOI: 6d (new word for me but had to be from the word play).

    One of best puzzles of the year IMHO.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for the hints.

  2. Not just you Kath, I know at least one other person who thought this was a Wrong Envelope Day.

    Thank you for the hints and tips and Season’s Greetings to Mr T

  3. I also struggled with this one Kath. 11ac was an obvious answer but a tough one to work out why. This is RayT at his mischeivous best. Thanks for writing a fine review amidst the chaos Kath
    Thanks to RayT for the fun and games.

  4. :phew:
    5* / 4.5*. That was very tough indeed, particularly in the NW corner, but it was extremely enjoyable.

    My only question is: is “about” in 26a really OK as a lurker indicator?

    It’s impossible to have a single favourite from such a superb collection and my crowded podium comprises 1a, 15a, 8d, the brilliant &lit 14d & 25d.

    Now for the Silvanus Toughie. What a great day for crosswords!

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath for doing such a good job to decrypt this Toughie in disguise.

  5. A really great puzzle from the maestro Ray T. This was a good, stiff challenge with excellent clues providing much enjoyment. I enjoyed this almost as much as the magnificent Carols from Kings, which I watched on Christmas Day and again on Boxing Day. The sequence towards the end of the programme with the choir, opera singer and cello accompanist was truly incredible. I’ve ticked many clues but will pick 18a as my favourite, which was a new word to me but gettable from the checkers and wordplay (once you’d sussed out which seabird was lurking in the middle of the answer). A cracking cryptic! 4* / 5*

  6. Very difficult today … almost Beamish.

    I couldn’t understand 11a – so thanks to Kath (and all her telephone friends.)

    1. This was a difficult one and I finished it only after leaving the south east corner and going back to it later. Once iI unravelled 15 a it all fell into place. I too enjoyed the performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols at the Kings College Ceremony. It is a personal favourite, and I have had the pleasure of singing it some time ago.

      1. Chriscross, I think you were trying to reply to Jose at #5 above?

        Unfortunately, I’m tone-deaf. ♫♫♫ ♪ ♫

  7. Really enjoyed today’s challenge as it has many admirable clever clues so unfair to single out a favourite .

    Misspelled 11A with the wrong 2 double letters which did not help but the SE corner held out the longest .

    Thanks and seasonal greetings to all especially Ray T & Kath .

  8. Needed a few hints to get me going, and also needed to open the mind to some stretched synonyms, but did enjoy this. Couldn’t quite justify ‘abattoir’ either. I did appreciate the high innuendo count though! Thanks to all.

  9. Phew! Was that really so hard or was it a consequence of two days of relative cerebral atrophy brought on by an abundance of visitors, pets, family etc?

    Either way, it was a great way to spend many happy minutes this morning and with some electronic help I managed to finish it before lunch!

    Thanks to all involved with this site, the reviewers, compilers and fellow contributors. Have a happy and solvable New Year.

  10. This was a salutary reminder of how far I have to travel in the art of cryptic crossword solving. It was probably the hardest back pager I can remember. The few obvious answers there were were difficult to parse (11a), the lurker was almost undetectable and I just couldn’t get the second long anagram. I can’t say I enjoyed it but that probably says more about me than the setter. 5*/2*
    Thanks to the enviably clever Kath and to Mr T.

  11. This was a nice crossword. I got stuck in the SE corner with 20d and 24a so am very grateful for the hints. Thanks to all again.

  12. Tough, thought-provoking, enjoyable and hugely rewarding to complete. I cannot pick a favourite as the majority of the clues were worthy contenders.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the significant challenge, and to Kath for a fine blog.

  13. I’d have definitely put this one into Beam territory – goodness knows what he has in store for us in his next Toughie!

    Took me ages to rid myself of thoughts of the obviously wrong ‘bulletin’ for the 16d short flash and my last one in was 14d which didn’t (and still doesn’t) really work for me.
    Plenty more that I did like though and I think I’ll put 5&25d on the top of the pile.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog.

    OK – time to enter the fray with Silvanus now. As RD said – what a great day for crosswords.

  14. We both thought this was a difficult puzzle and coincidentally 14d was last in for both of us,
    This has to be a ****/****, and fine Christmas fare indeed,, I was pleased with the unravelling of 18a !
    No real favourites and thanks to all,

  15. Glad I wasn’t the only one! Quite a struggle but worthwhile – great puzzle
    ….my only caveat was 6d which was obscure (for me anyway) but still not too hard to work out…..

  16. Top half was fine, but I needed a couple of hints to finish the bottom half off. I should have worked out 22a, but failed.
    A very difficult workout today.
    Thanks for the hints Kath, and Ray-T for the challenge.

  17. Greetings from Capetown.A great puzzle and managed to finish it without any hints.Last one in 12d,took a while for the penny to drop.I am de lurking having followed the blog for many years.I am far more adept at cryptic xwords as a result of BD and all the bloggers comments and hints.
    Happy New Year.

  18. This was tough. Even though I had the anagram for 18ac I didn’t know the word. So bottom half, even with most of the across clues solved, took ages. Also needed help on 20dn. Thanks Kath and RayT.

  19. Oh dear, totally agree with “jolly difficult” Kath, in fact a bit of a stinker I would say. I penned in 11a as it looked obvious from the checkers, but would never have got it from the clue. I will put myself in the dunces corner for this one, needing too many hints to get any satisfaction. But I know Ray T will please those more adept than me, can’t please all the people all the time 😊

    1. You and I always seem to agree with puzzles. I solved exactly six clues before throwing in the towel and reading the hints.
      You’re dead right, after a good run of delightful puzzles, this one is for the brainier among us, and I don’t begrudge them their pleasure one bit.
      Thanks, Kath, for unravelling that lot, I’m off to accomplish more essential things now.

  20. I was so pleased to see Kath’s Comments at the beginning of the blog, as I do agree with her I found it very difficult but strangely the NW corner slotted in very easily and quickly. But I needed a lot of Kath’s assistance to reach the end of a stimulating crossword.
    Thank to to Kath and Ray T and good wishes of the festive to all the bloggers who either make me feel good or sometimes very dim, either way it all helps, and I love this site.

  21. Oh dear, this was back to Ray T at his worst. Incomprehensible smutty clues that make little or no sense even when you find the answer. I was really hoping we had left these ones behind.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. A bit harsh Brian, it wasn’t incomprehensible, just difficult. As a relative beginner I just struggled to parse 11a and 14d only.
      We have had a few easy ones, so perhaps we were due a stinker.

  22. *****/*****. What a brilliant puzzle! The SE corner was so difficult for me having become obsessed with 16d being to do with bulletin. So thanks to Kath for straightening my thoughts out and for explaining 11a which I got but just couldn’t parse. Thanks also to Ray T for a very tough workout.

  23. Yes we agree that this was a tricky one. Last in was 14d. Penny drop moments and guffaws all over the place.
    Checked the clue word count of course.
    Thanks RayT and Kath.

  24. What an excellent puzzle. I’d saved yesterday’s Toughie for this morning, then set to with this one. On the first read through I began to wonder if this was set as a Toughie too, as it did appear more difficult than my morning’s challenge. First to yield was the south-east corner and the the north-west and bit by bit the whole ‘jigsaw came together. Unlike Brian, I found nothing particularly smutty in any of the clues, but I did have many favourites, with 24 across and 17 down as stand out clues. A couple of new words learnt with electronic help, but hey. Thanks to both RayT and Kath – a very enjoyable challenge.

  25. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A super puzzle, but very tricky. Just needed the hints for 24a. Thought if was “fine” round something for play. So I was barking up the wrong tree. Favourite was 4a. Was 4*/4* for me.

  26. Well..my brain was pinging in all directions!
    What a cracker of a puzzle..l was totally stumped by 6d and misspelled 11a,which led to a delay until 2d went in.
    Honestly it was like a house of cards and when it was finally solved..l felt like running around the house with my jumper over my head,l was so pleased!

    Thank you so much for the hints, Kath which l needed on several ckues,abd thank you to the setter for a fantastic work out.

  27. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the review and to all who left a comment. I’m pleased that most of you liked it. A little premature, but I wish everybody all the best for the coming year.


    1. Good evening, Mr T – many thanks for all the pleasure you’ve brought us during the year and all the very best of wishes to you and yours for 2019.

  28. Certainly ***** for me, gamely struggled to the end without recourse to the parsing.
    Very satisfying.
    Last in, 24a, 2d and 20d.
    Many thanks RayT and Kath for the review.

  29. Just finished at my third sitting, having been distracted by other matters today. Glad I’m not the only one who found this difficult. Thank you Kath and RayT.

  30. Well, that’s been a day and a half!
    We’re now in Sheffield spending a couple of days with my sister and our nephews and their families – lovely, which is more than can be said about our journey – oh dear. All the world and their wives and extended families were out and about today.
    I’m so glad to know that it wasn’t a ‘just me day’ and that, for once, my difficulty and enjoyment ratings were about right.
    Thank you to Ray T for the crossword and, as always, calling in.
    Thanks also to everyone who has left a comment.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  31. This was definitely a ‘Beam Toughie’ and at the very difficult end of his ‘Toughie’ spectrum – I have just about recovered !! An accomplished setter.- and certainly one of my favourites. Too many good clues to pick a favourite, just a good deal of fun and got the brain working again after a tremendous (if over indulgent) Christmas.

    Talking of Christmas -may I belatedly hope you all had a splendid festive period with your family and friends and are looking forward to a prosperous New Year. On behalf of Mrs SL and I -we wish you all the very best for 2019.

    Thanks as ever to Mr T for the puzzle and to Kath for her excellent review.

  32. Wow! This is the kind of stretching puzzle that makes you a better solver. I got three quarters of the answers myself but could never have completed it without this excellent site. Very difficult but correspondingly satisfying once understood, with some funny surfaces. Many thanks to RayT and Kath.

  33. Hit the wall on three clues and needed the blog for enlightenment. I would never have got 14d in a million years.
    Thanks to all the bloggers and setters for a great 2018 of crosswords.
    By the way is it ok to use electronic help for a word you don’t know but think you have correctly parsed the clue?

    1. The rules of completion according to Miffypops

      Rule 1. There are no rules

      Rule 2. See rule one

      There is much satisfaction gained upon completion of a cryptic crossword puzzle whatever your level of competence. Grizzled old campaigners will need little or no help due to their expertise having been gained over many years. Newcomers may be baffled by the simplest of clues.

      A completed grid is a completed grid and I don’t much care howsoever anybody gets there. The more experienced you are the less help you should need.

      Beginners should feel free to use to anything and everything to achieve completion, dictionaries, encyclopaedia, an atlas, books of crossword lists, and of course the internet. I have spent a couple of hours looking with amazement at just how much help is out there on the World Wide Web including this very blog itself.

      Scribble away in the newspaper margins or use a notepad. Make little circles of anagram fodder. Write a succession of dashes, put in your checkers and play with the clues to your hearts content

      Regard these aids as crutches, helping you along. With time and experience and a good memory it should be possible to throw these crutches away little by little as one becomes more proficient. For example, once someone learns to recognise how anagrams work i.e. Indicator, fodder and definition they really ought to stop using the anagram solver and work them out for themselves. One by one the aids should fall away until you sit there pencil-less with a quickly self-completed puzzle and think “Now what shall I do” as you reach for the toughie and contemplate volunteering to review puzzles for Big Dave.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I can complete it most of the time unaided but definitely not this one.
        I will keep practicing and maybe when I can no longer play golf, I might be good enough to review. Don’t hold your breath though 🙂

  34. What a great crossword! I really enjoyed the challenge with 10a being my favourite. After some of the ‘slightly too gentle’ puzzles over the festive period this was very welcome indeed.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for the review.

  35. 3*/5*….
    many great clues-perhaps 28A ( quiet, more left-wing one destroys paper ) for my COD…
    on reading the hints and comments (for which Thanks !) I was surprised to have finished this one .

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