DT 28939 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28939


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28939

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning and Happy New Year from South Staffs.

A reasonably gentle start to the year from Giovanni this morning, with nothing to frighten the horses (except possibly 1a!).

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           Monster in heap of straw getting at food (10)
COCKATRICE – Put together a heap of straw or hay, AT (from the clue), and a food cereal which forms the staple diet of large parts of the Orient. The answer is a mythical beast, essentially a two-legged dragon or serpent-like creature with a rooster’s head.

Image result for cockatrice

6a           Fare always covers this zone (4)
AREA – Hidden in the clue.

9a           Had a drink and complained audibly (5)
WINED – The sort of ‘had a drink’ which forms a rhyming pair with ‘had a meal’ is a homophone (audibly (for some)) of ‘complained’.

10a         Tumble down the ski slopes maybe for teatime treat? (5,4)
SWISS ROLL – This variety of cake could also be what happens after a fall on the ski slopes of a particular Alpine country.

Image result for swiss roll

12a         Sage put out becomes aloof (7)
UPSTAGE – Anagram (out) of SAGE PUT.

13a         Partner from Amsterdam? (5)
DUTCH – Double definition, the first being some Cockney slang for a wife.

15a         Goddess making a mister naughty (7)
ARTEMIS – Anagram (naughty) of A MISTER

17a         He’s abandoning hospital with leap, the one getting away (7)
ESCAPER – Remove the H (abandoning hospital) from (h)E’S in the clue, then add a leap or frolic.

19a         Little boy will sit in nearly all these seats (7)
THRONES – Remove the final letter (nearly all) from THES(e) (from the clue) and wrap the result round a short form of a boy’s name, to get these seats of power or ease.

21a         Country activity very much associated with ancient dynasty (7)
FARMING – An adverb used as an intensifier (like ‘very much’), followed by a Chinese imperial dynasty.

22a         What’s not entirely exciting a person who yawns? (5)
GAPER – Hidden in the clue.

24a         Trees in curved formations by lake (7)
LARCHES – An abbreviation for Lake followed by some curved architectural formations.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a         Child finally restrained by troubled mother in Norwegian city (9)
TRONDHEIM – Anagram (troubled) of MOTHER IN wrapped around the last letter (finally) of chilD. This was the home of Edvard Grieg.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a         Wanting lots of food — no good being very thin! (5)
REEDY – Remove the Good from the beginning of a word meaning ‘wanting lots of food’.

29a         Child falling over ending in the ditch (4)
DIKE – Reverse (falling over) an informal word for a child, then add the last letter (ending) of thE.

30a         Craftsperson one mum and lad spotted at side of street (10)
STONEMASON – Put together an abbreviation for STreet, ONE (from the clue), another word for ‘mum’, and her lad.


1d           Farm animal left to find cover (4)
COWL – A milk-giving farm animal followed by Left.

2d           Copper is a good one who may wave his hands about? (9)
CONDUCTOR – Here we have a statement referring to the capacity of materials to host a flow of electricity, or the person who stands in front of an orchestra with a baton.

3d           It’s excellent of the French to provide assistants (5)
AIDES – A two-letter representation of the alphanumeric expression used to indicate an excellent risk in the insurance market, followed by the plural form of the partitive article (‘of the’) in French.

4d           Artist with tricky class — naughty boys? (7)
RASCALS – The usual crossword artist from the Royal Academy, followed by an anagram (tricky) of CLASS.

5d           Awfully nice, she is from an Asian country (7)
CHINESE – Anagram (awfully) of NICE SHE.

7d           Aussie animals taking time to settle (5)
ROOST – The short form of the name of some Australian marsupials, followed by Time.

8d           Not stupid when collecting silver — it is very popular (3,3,4)
ALL THE RAGE – A phrase (3,5) meaning ‘not stupid’ or ‘having all one’s marbles’, wrapped around the chemical symbol for silver.

11d         Alcoholic drink — team will need transport (7)
SIDECAR – Another word for a football or cricket team followed by a motor vehicle.

Image result for sidecar cocktail

14d         Acting group, one kept in as punishment and reprimanded (10)
CASTIGATED – Put together the collective term for the group of actors involved in a play, the Roman numeral for one, and a form of boarding school punishment which means that the miscreant is restricted to the school grounds.

16d         Football team with its colour becoming mucky (7)
MANURED – The short form (3,1) of the name of a famous Premiership football club, followed by the colour of their main shirts.

18d         Religious woman that is seen joining saint in crowd (9)
PRIESTESS – Put together the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ and an abbreviation for ‘saint’, then wrap another word for ‘crowd’ around the result.

20d         Outstanding Christian organisation to depend on holy books (7)
SALIENT – Put together the initials of a Christian organisation which reaches out to the homeless, and has some brass bands, another word for ‘depend’, and the initials for the collection of books forming the second half of the Bible.

21d         Fellow in charge supporting rising celebrity (7)
FOREMAN – A preposition meaning ‘supporting’ or ‘in favour of’ followed by the reversal (rising, in a Down clue) of another word for celebrity.

23d         Set down cheap drink (5)
PLONK – Double definition, the first being to put down carelessly or roughly, the second derived from ‘vin blanc’.

25d         Buck perhaps wanting maiden — or many maidens! (5)
HAREM – A type of animal whose male is known as a buck, followed by the abbreviation for a maiden over on a cricket scorecard.

26d         It certainly doesn’t sound like her sort of song (4)
HYMN – A church song which may sound like the opposite of ‘her’.

The Quick Crossword pun HASTE + HACKS = HAYSTACKS

48 comments on “DT 28939

  1. I thought today’s offering from our regular Friday setter was extremely gentle, for having solved most of the down clues on first read through, the remainder of the puzzle followed surprisingly quickly. 16 down was simply brilliant and provided the laugh out loud moment that those of us who most definitely are not fans of The Red Devils will appreciate. 19 across and 8 down were very close favourites. 1 across brought back memories of childhood Sunday School days – I never did understand what that particular creature mentioned by Isaiah really was. Overall a most enjoyable solve. Thanks to both Giovanni and DT.

    1. As a Red Devils fan of 60 years even I found 16d amusing too. After all for many months the team has been as attractive to watch as if they were 16d.

      1. Yes, they are on the up.
        As a referee myself, I am still shaking my head as to how Kompany stayed on the pitch last night.
        BTW, all the new golf rules have been sent out by the Golf Club before the first competition of the year tomorrow. A lot of sensible changes in there, particularly being able to repair spike marks on the green, that was a ridiculous rule.

        1. I can’t pretend to know a great deal about golf, but I agree most certainly as regards Kompany.

        2. After a lifetime of rigid formulaic, even pedantic, regulatilon some “freedom”. Problem will be the guys who think they know will have a field day. Agree about spike marks. Leaving the flagstick in when putting may well cause some chaos I feel. On the whole they are an improvement particularly the illustrations.

    2. As a Gooner, I certainly enjoyed this clue. However, under Ole, Man U have certainly got their mojo back.

  2. This was definitely another Start with the Downs day thus enabling me to finish in a very reasonable time for a Giovanni.

    Thanks to him and DT

  3. Agree with the above.
    Usually Fridays present the biggest non-wavelength day of the week, but not today. Except 1a was a struggle as I did not know the mound of corn, or indeed the monster, so a couple to remember.
    I had my usual Friday ‘atheist Christian clue’ moan about 20d until I engaged my brain.
    I decided to have a go at Paul in the Guardian (aka Dada in the DT), as the back-pager was over quickly and I am pleased to say that I am as utterly baffled by it as I am every Sunday.
    Thanks DT and Giovanni.

    1. I’ve just arrived home with a Guardian in my grubby wee paw, so I’m about to be baffled too no doubt. ;-)

      1. Working my way though that one now in a very cold Puglia!

        Today’s solve was quite pleasing until 1ac. That was a kind of guess that I had to confirm on Google. I liked 26dn, 8dn and 16dn.

        Thanks Giovanni and DT

      2. luckily 15×15 has a full set of hints, so its good to go through the answers to aid getting on wavelength.

        1. Yes, not easy (Friday’s never are and add Dada). Quite a bit of help needed from 15×15 and I’ll not forget that quid again!

  4. 1.5* / 2.5*. Not difficult and a relatively enjoyable first Friday in the New Year (in spite of the “little boy”). Nice to see one of our bloggers getting a mention.

    16d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  5. As DT said nothing overly taxing. Probably Giovanni at his gentlest for me. Enjoyable while it lasted though & can’t see any grounds for complaints
    Thanks to setter & DT for succinct hints.

  6. This was fairly mild for a G, but still about average for a general back-pager. The clues were mostly fine and I certainly enjoyed the solve. 1a: I didn’t know the monster or the heap of straw either. Favs: 20d, 25d. 2.5* / 3.5*

  7. Much easier to decipher than most of Friday’s back page puzzles. Gave me time for a long, slow walk in sparkling sunshine. It was very bracing, with temperatures in rural Oxfordshire at 27 F this morning.

  8. Reasonably gentle and reasonably good fun.
    Not sure about 10a being classed as “a treat” but it did bring back childhood memories of afternoon tea with my gran!
    Standout clues for me were 16 and 26d.
    Thanks to setter and DT.

  9. much enjoyed. 1a I always remember being made of hay – straw was in a stook or sheaf.
    With thanks to the Don and DT

  10. All of the above, including starting with the downs and the 19a little boy, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourites a toss-up between 8d and 26d.

    Thanks to DG and DT.

  11. Completed fairly easily in a coffee shop in Southsea followed by a walk along the prom in the sunshine. Watched the hovercraft beach.

  12. I couldn’t see beyond 16d for my COTD. Quite brilliant. Overall a relatively straightforward and fun Friday crossword with no real hold-ups.

    Thanks toThe Don and DT.

  13. Giovannni is in benevolent mood with this offering! No holdups encountered with 20d being my favourite.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  14. Thanks Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable and very gentle puzzle today from the Don. I liked the misdirection in 2d, found 26d amusing, didn’t like 19a, liked 28a, needed the hints to parse 22a, but my favourite was 16d. I had heard of 1a, but had forgotten the other name for a pile of hay, so got it from the checkers and the definition. Was 2*/4* for me.

  15. Very pleasing.not too difficult, but 12a puzzles me, while the anagram was simple I can’t see the relationship between that and aloof. What am I missing?

    1. I just took it that, if you move upstage, you’re, literally or metaphorically, looking down on the other players.
      Not regarded as a friendly theatrical practice anyhow.

      1. If you move up the slope of the stage, other actors have to turn their backs to the audience to speak to you. You have upstaged them. It might make you a nasty piece of work but not aloof

  16. As a Liverpool fan loved 16D but in bad Kompany last night !

    Apart from 1A straight forward and enjoyable today .

    Thanks to everyone .

  17. Quite gentle for a Giovanni. I wish ‘little boys’ would be avoided. I appreciated a bit of cockney in 13a. Joint favourites today are 1a and 16.

  18. Very enjoyable what a difference from yesterday, faitly sailed through except for 20d. No real favourites as all entertaining.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and the Don.

  19. Wow what a goodie. Very quick solve for a Giovanni and some very amusing clues. Favourites 24 and 30a and rather too many to mention going down. Only paused to put together 1a. Something rang a bell and Google confirmed. Thanks also DT. Although I got 22a I had not spotted the lurker so was mystified about what the synonym for exciting could possibly be.

  20. We needed a couple of checkers in before we twigged 1a but pretty plain sailing from there on.
    A pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  21. No particular feelings one way or the other about this one.
    I did quite like 8&16d but wouldn’t count 10a as a ‘treat’ and would never spell 29a with an ‘I’.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog – enjoyed the bit of jollity from Grieg.

  22. Nice Friday crossword as always from Giovanni **/**** 😃 Favourites 16 & 26 down 😉 Thanks to DT and to the Don 🤗

  23. In contrast to HYD I failed to get onto wavelengrth today which for me is unusual for a challenge from The Don. It was somewhat of a grind but I surprised myself by getting there in the end. Have never heard 28a used in that context. Yet another abbreviated name in 19a. Hard to nominate a real Fav but I did like 8d, 16d and 25d. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  24. Contrary as usual, while I found yesterday’s puzzle quite gentle, I found this one from Giovanni very tricky. In particular, 1a, never heard of a pile of straw called that, 19a included the dreaded pick a little boy’s name. Probably my own thickness, but I don’t usually use 12a to mean aloof, rather more as an act of outdoing, and not heard of a yawner being called a 22a. Ergo, I struggled. Loved 10a, my COTD. Thanks to Giovanni for the challenge and to Deep Threat for the hints. I am sure I will look back on today’s puzzle fondly, come Sunday.

  25. 3*/3*…..
    liked 2D (copper is a good one who may wave his hands about?) and 10A (tumble down the ski slopes maybe for teatime treat?).

    1. You’ve shortened your alias so your comment required moderation – both versions will work in future.
      The definition for 8d (All the Rage) is ‘very popular’. It comes from ‘All there’ (not stupid) containing (collecting) AG (the chemical symbol for silver). So ALL THE R AG E.

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