DT 28935 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28935

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28935

Hints and tips by a wholesome Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

Good morning once again. Thanks to all who have commented on my Monday blogs. Thanks to those who set the puzzles that I review. I enjoy the challenge. I know it is a day early but happy New Year to one and all from myself and the wonderful Saint Sharon

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 to think anymore

On a personal note. I recently tried to cash in some brownie points and go for a cheeky pint with a mate. Apparently according to Saint Sharon I have no brownie points. My brownie point deficit resembles the national debt of a third world country. Any attempt to earn some is futile as I am so far in arrears I can never get into a plus situation. Therefore, I have suggested that the debt be wiped out and started again. I am an optimistic soul.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Playwright with words to say about singular lack of courage (12)
COWARDLINESS: Begin with a playwright. Clued as playwright Add what a playwright writes and an actor learns and says on stage. The abbreviation for singular is involved. The clue suggests an insertion but just bung it on the end to save time. As for the playwright he died in 1973 on March 26.

9a    Impropriety of popular Italian novelist breaking cylinder (9)
INDECORUM: Begin with our regular two-lettered word for popular. Then Place a three-lettered Italian novelist clued as Italian novelist (The Name Of The Rose) inside another word for a cylinder

10a    Grown-up daughter wearing gold locket that’s empty (5)
ADULT: Place the heraldic symbol for gold around the abbreviation for daughter. Now add the outer letters of the word locket (empty)

11a    Call the French pointer (6)
NEEDLE: Start with a verb meaning to call for or require something. Add the masculine French word meaning the

12a    Withdraw from stage unhappy (4,4)
STEP DOWN: Two synonyms are required here. One for stage, a noun meaning a part of a process. Another for unhappy, sad or blue

13a    One ascends to find flowers (6)
IRISES: The letter that looks like the number one is followed by a word meaning ascends

15a    English writer married off, acquiring wife in US state (8)
DELAWARE: We have had a playwright and an Italian author. Now we have an English writer. Clued as English writer. He wrote the poem The Listeners. Substitute the letter M in his surname (married off) for a W (acquiring wife)

18a    Stayed at home, mostly to feed boy’s dog (8)
ALSATIAN: Oh, golly bongs I am getting bored now. We have a boy’s name to find from the thousands of boys names out there. The clue for this boy’s name is ‘boy’s name’ Well it is Alan. Find a term 3,2 which means stayed at home and remove its last letter as indicated by the word mostly. The term to feed in the clue suggests the term minus its last letter is inserted into the ‘boy’s name’

19a    I study head of image caught that’s like an emoji? (6)
ICONIC: A four-part charade. Do as asked by the clue. 1. The letter I from the clue 2 A word meaning to study 3 The initial letter (head of) of the word image 4 The abbreviation of caught

21a    Girl catching it causes extreme amusement (8)
HILARITY: I don’t believe this. We need to find a girl’s name from the clue girl. She is sainted and has one of the three terms of the Oxford University academic year named after her. Her name needs to have the word it inserted to suit the definition

23a    Uncouth person in conveyance lacking power: Russian conveyance (6)
TROIKA: an uncouth or obnoxious person is inserted into a conveyance usually pulled along by a trotting pony minus the abbreviation for power

26a    Extremely savvy fellow backed church council (5)
SYNOD: The outermost letters of the word savvy are followed by the sort of fellow found at Oxford University but reversed (backed)

27a    Picks up in the course of authentic practice session (9)
REHEARSAL: A term meaning picks up aurally is inserted into an adjective meaning authentic and not imitation

28a    Continuing interest in profitable business (5,7)
GOING CONCERN: Two synonyms are needed here. The first meaning continuing or proceeding, the second being another word for an interest or a worry


1d    Note enclosing an invoice, primarily for wine (7)
CHIANTI: A short official note usually recording a sum owed goes around the word an from the clue. The initial letter of the word invoice follows

2d    Club with advantage (5)
WEDGE: The abbreviation of with is followed by a factor which gives an advantage over rivals

3d    Call to mind right English prayer (9)
RECOLLECT: The abbreviations for Right and English are followed by a prayer meant to gather the intentions of the people and the focus of worship into a succinct prayer

4d    Musical instrument used in early recordings (4)
LYRE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue

I met Saint Sharon at a fancy dress party. She asked what I had come as. I said I was dressed up as a harp. She said I was too small to be a harp to which I replied “Are you calling me a lyre

5d    Gossip about old medium? It’s not important (2,6)
NO MATTER: A word meaning to gossip surrounds the abbreviations of Old and Medium

6d    Onset of storm affected little monkey (5)
SCAMP: The initial (onset) letter of Storm is followed by a word meaning affected. Affected here refers to the manner of comedy actors such as Julian Clary or Graham Norton

7d    Worried about husband blocking an expressway (8)
AUTOBAHN: An anagram (worried) of ABOUT is followed by the word AN which is split by the abbreviation of Husband

8d    Particular case not in position (6)
STANCE: A particular case from which IN has been dropped (not in) gives the way you stand particularly as a batsman facing a bowler.

14d    Disrespectful, having lost nine running (8)
INSOLENT: Anagram (running) of LOST NINE

16d    Get to know while on express (9)
ASCERTAIN: A two-lettered word meaning while is followed by a synonym of express. This is an adjective meaning unmistakably obvious

17d    Very strong players supported by press (4-4)
CAST IRON: The players are those on stage. To press is to flatten and smooth using a hot metal plate

18d    Horrified at hags dancing (6)
AGHAST: Anagram (dancing) of AT HAGS

20d    Old comedy star, man with short tie (7)
CHAPLIN: A very very old comedy star. One from the earliest days of cinematic history. He is made up of a man or bloke followed by a tie. In this case part of a chain, but without its final letter (short)

22d    Cycled over for cowboy carnival (5)
RODEO: How one came by bicycle followed by the abbreviation of over

24d    Publish result (5)
ISSUE: A double definition The first being a verb meaning to publish

25d    Stylish young flier king ignored (4)
CHIC: A baby bird is detailed by having the abbreviation for King removed.

At two and a half the anagram count suits me but oh dear the vague clues for a playwright, a novelist, a writer a boy, a girl and a comedian dampened my enjoyment somewhat

Quickie Pun: Miner+Quay=Minor Key – Billy Bragg

55 comments on “DT 28935

  1. Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

    Yes a bit stop-start this morning, probably due to over-indulgence

    I believe 5d is abbreviation of medium and not matter

    Happy NY everyone from Hong Kong

  2. Well that’s better. I realise that one man’s meat is another man’s poison but I really enjoyed today’s ride in the park after yesterday’s battle but obviously some will disagree. 14d was a bung-in having missed the anagram as were 8d and 18a (too indolent to fathom!). 9a author new to me hence yet another bung-in. Fav was the succinct 2d. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  3. Just wondering – not complaining – did you intend not to underline? Well I rattled through this while still cogitating upon yesterday’s. Any delay with last three was of my own making. On first reading I missed the last two words of 23a. Other was wrong spelling of 18a which I could not parse which when corrected enabled me to complete 17d and the puzzle. I enjoyed it particularly 1 15 and 26a and 8 16 and 27d (once I got there). Happy New Year.

    1. The definitions were underlined when I sent the blog to Big Dave. Maybe they are floating around in the internet ether. I have put then in now that I have returned from Mary Poppins Returns. An excellent and magical film.

  4. MP. If you really want to gain favour with your Sharon and maybe annul your brownie point deficit, then here’s some advice. Buy her a really thoughtful New Year’s present – a brand spanking new galvanised mop bucket should do the trick!

    1. I gave my wife a new bag and matching belt – she was delighted. She was able to get her old Hoover working again.

  5. 1.5* / 2*. Reasonably enjoyable but a bit lack-lustre. Like MP I’m not too keen on boys / girls and similar being used to clue parts of answers and I didn’t much like the use of an American word to clue a German answer.

    2d was my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  6. I didn’t bother to parse 18A either. The only clue I ticked was 15A, so I guess that has to be my favorite. AS RD says, a bit lacklustre. Still, I appreciate the setters that bring us these puzzles week after week. Thanks Miffypops. If I were you, I’d forget the galvanized bucket suggestion and send Saint Sharon on a nice Spa long weekend somewhere warm. That should reduce your deficit quite a bit. And you can go out for a few cheeky drinks while she’s away. Win-win.

    1. Saint Sharon can have a Spa day anytime she wants to. Leamington Spa is only fifteen minutes away.

  7. I found this of average difficulty and average enjoyment so (logically) going for 2.5*/2.5*
    I liked 6 and 8d but wasn’t keen on 18a for the same reason as MP, whose help I needed to parse 16d. Incidentally, I read 2d as the abbreviation of “with” plus the rest of the clue and not “advantage”. Am I missing something?
    Many thanks to setter and to MP for his usual witty but crystal clear review .

    1. No you are not missing anything Stephen. It was just me rushing and being over-excited because I was going to see Mary Poppins Returns

  8. From the sublime to the ridiculous in 24 hours! Over way too soon. Pleasant enough but…
    No real favorites.
    Thanks to the setter, and to MP for the review. MP, all brownie points are written off with the NY. You should be starting anew tomorrow. Have faith.

  9. Fairly straightforward I’d say.
    My only very minor hold-ups were missing the anagram in 7d and thinking that the 21a ‘boy’ was Al – both sorted pretty quickly.
    I liked 18 and 23a and 6d.
    With thanks to the anonymous setter and to MP.

    Off to London now to ‘do’ the New Year with the Lambs – Rookie Corner and the Special Puzzle tomorrow.

    A rather early Happy New Year to everyone and whether 2018 has been good or bad for you and those you love I hope that 2019 will be better.

  10. Yes, this one definitely lacked ‘sparkle’ and enjoyment, completed at a fast gallop with no obvious favourites – */**.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI (I have to say that you are mistaken if you think you can have a stock of brownie points with your wonderful better half).

  11. Got it done but not much to enjoy here….18a was a stinker and 11a didn’t really work either…..oh well!

  12. A classic to finish the year , in my opinion . I believe I have completed every crossword this year and this one is a good mixture of clues , some easy & some hard ( eg the Italian novelist ) , again in my opinion .

    I will now read the comments and hints to gauge other opinions !

    Thanks to everyone and looking forward to another fine crossword year .

    1. The Italian novelist is a crosswordland regular and so wrote himself in to that part of the clue

  13. Got it done but not much to enjoy here….18a was a much too contrived and 11a didn’t really work either…..oh well!

  14. Well I enjoyed it and refuse to be curmudgeonly on New Year’s Eve. 23a my favourite clue, and I felt this was just about the right amount of difficulty for a quiet Monday.

    Thanks to our setter, and to MP for his many fine and funny blogs over the year. Have a good one all.

  15. This long-time lurker wishes to thank Big Dave and all his team of setters and helpers, and to wish them and all who contribute to this site a very happy 2019!

  16. I was pleasantly surprised with this puzzle, certainly better than many a Monday offering. It was mostly straightforward with a few trickier clues and I found it quite enjoyable. No stand-out clues to pick a favourite and overall it was just about up to average for a general back-pager. 2.5* / 3*

  17. Variety is the spice of life! A pleasantly low-key puzzle to follow Sunday’s brain-bender. Thanks to reviewers, bloggers and compilers all.
    Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2019.

  18. Nice gentle start to the week. Favourite clue 23a.
    Myself and Mrs Spook would like to wish all bloggers,setters, Big Dave a very Happy and Peaceful New Year.

  19. HNY from Oz where it’s already 2019🥳
    An enjoyable one to wind up the year with. Some on the Eastern side took a while to gel. I’m not convinced about 16d…
    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  20. Not much to add from me as others have already commented about deploring the use of random girls & boys names in puzzles.
    An OK crossword but not one that will live in the memory.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the blog.

  21. **/**. Having struggled yesterday this felt like a walk in the park. 15a was my favourite. Thanks to the setter and MP for the usual amusing review. I wonder where the phrase golly bongs originates?

  22. In my limited experience of brownie points it seems to me that one acquires them in individual units but loses them in hundreds. Or is that just me?

    HNY everyone and Many thanks to BD and bloggers for the considerable help you’ve given me over the year(s).

  23. Just want to say a Big Thank You to Big Dave and all the suppliers of hints and setters. Happy New Year to all. Suspect I might be rather slower on the uptake tomorrow 🎉🥂

  24. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A breath of fresh air after yesterday’s offering. Very gentle, just needed the hints to parse 18a and 9a, had never heard of this writer. Favourite was 23a. Was 2*/2* for me.

  25. Well I struggled to complete this today … I failed to solve the expressway and Russian conveyance so unlike others I enjoyed yesterday but not today. Perhaps it had something to do with the pre-prandials in town today with the locals who have not had a good year but seem to maintain tremendous spirit.

    A word on that in the NY.

    Thanks setter and MP for helping me out.

  26. Nice and easy 😃 **/*** Favourites 13a & 7d 😬 Thanks to MP for the wonderfully illustrated blog and to the Setter for an easy ride 🚴‍♂️ to end the year 😉 Happy New Year to one and all

  27. Thanks for the hints, MP, some of the parsing needed some unravelling. Without your help I would have struggled.
    That was not my favourite puzzle, but nice to finish after yesterday.
    6d MP, in the hint he is Julian not Jonathan Clary.
    Thanks both.

  28. Apart from Her Majesty, I can’t imagine anyone saying ” I’m on the autobahn to Windsor”.
    Strange clue.
    Knew all the protagonists we had to look for in the crossword. Even Alan. If he’s the one I’m thinking about. Lived in Wallingford and was my pen pal when I was 14.
    Thanks to the Monday setter and to MP.
    Wishing everyone a happy new year.

  29. Well, I enjoyed this, so there! I was glad of the setter’s benevolence as I’ve had some friends in today, just making sure I’m fine, but causing some delay in solving. I’m a lucky old lady, even though slow and shaky!
    I always like when I solve the first clue first, as I did today. My only problem was 18a, it had to be but I had no idea why.
    My fave was 1a, particularly for M’pops well-chosen clip.
    Thanks to our setter and to M’pops for his usual fun.
    Happy New Year all, health and happiness all round.

  30. I felt I had to make an effort to do this puzzle and then I could drop by to say HNY to all. I enjoyed it and finished but some clues took me a while. I did not know of the Russian conveyance so that took a bit of research to fill the knowledge gap.
    Thanks to the setter and to the brownie point collector. They are like Bitcoin, hard to mine and disappear of their own accord.

    Best wishes all for the NY.

  31. Better than yesterday, but could do better, both me and the clues. Thank goodness for Miffypops hints. Really don’t like when the clue refers to a boys or girls name, or a writer, etc. Life is too short to spend it pondering over the many possibilities. Didn’t help that I put the answer to 12a in the 5d slot. Clearly need more coffee.

    Here’s wishing a Very Happy New Year to one and all.

    1. The clue asks for a boy’s name. Alan is a boy’s name. AL SAT I(N) AN. Stayed at home is SAT IN. Mostly tells us to remove the last letter so SATI Inside a boys name ALAN which gives us AL SAT I AN. Which is a breed of dog

  32. Nothing really to scare the horses or scatter the shoal, but very good fun while it lasted – quite in contrast to yesterday’s, which of course I would expect for a prize puzzle. 15 across was my personal favourite, closely followed by 8 down. I bought my first ever copy of the Grauniad this morning and decided to give that newspaper’s cryptic puzzle a try. Many DT solvers have often made recommendations and I have to say that it did not disappoint. My cross-wording day is now done, so now for some New Year celebrations. Thanks to setters and ‘bloggers’ alike – all good wishes for a very happy and prosperous 2019 to one and all.

      1. The Guardian was a better crossword today than the DT today, though I did not spot the theme.
        One brilliant homophone

      2. So I discovered earlier- but like my books I really do prefer the dead tree versions. :-)

  33. In the too hard v too easy debate I’m on the too hard side. IMO today’s was too easy and therefore unsatisfying. I guess the Goldilock’s cryptic is in the eye of the beholder and therefore unattainable? Happy New Year all from the first country to welcome it.

  34. Not really my cup of tea but not overly difficult.
    Thanks to setter & MP. Can’t remember when I last went to the picture house think it might have been to “Day of the Jackal”!

  35. I am a novice so please read my comments in that context (and as always many thanks for this helpful blog)- I understand others frustration of all the names because I feel a good clue show be solvable without the assistance of other letters which 18a probably wasn’t (though I did get it before coming here). As I knew the literary names possibly I was less irritated but nevertheless probably using so many names in one puzzle was a ‘bad idea’. In fact I struggled with 4d and only got it through listing out the possible words that fitted (when it then became obvious) -but that and 5d were probably my favourites. I still don’t get all the19a clue -and have never heard of that word for study though somehow (probably again because I had the available letters) I arrived at the answer. BTW one post has given the answer to 7d though I agree it is an oddball clue to have an americanism for a German word -did the setter think motorway was possibly to obvious? Who knows?! Happy New Year everyone!

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