DT 28942 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28942

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28942

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday.  Another reasonably gentle puzzle this week, featuring many clues with great surfaces.  As always, if our setter is reading the blog today, please leave a comment below so we know who to thank for a fine puzzle.

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In the hints below most indicators are italicized and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on



1a    Recruitment consultant's savage job? (10)
HEADHUNTER:  The answer could also describe someone engaged in a practice that would be regarded as savage

6a    Old politician in hotel wearing toupee (4)
WHIG:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by hotel is contained in (wearing) a synonym of toupee.  Read about these old politicians here

9a    Maiden after dancing must keep this to be quiet (5)
STUMM:  The cricket abbreviation for maiden comes after an anagram (dancing) of MUST

10a   Make stronger check on police, perhaps (9)
REINFORCE:  Check or slow is followed by what the police are an example of (… perhaps).  The setter is not adhering to the convention that in an across clue A on B indicates B followed by A

12a   Cap supplier? (6,7)
DENTAL SURGEON:  A cryptic definition of someone who might install a cap (or a crown) in your mouth

14a   Skilful journalist following up story on books (8)
TALENTED:  The usual abbreviated journalist is following both a story and a usual abbreviation for some religious books

15a   Precisely, I agree! (4,2)
JUST SO:  A double definition, rendered fairly straightforward by the enumeration

17a   Spectacles no good for girls (6)
LASSES:  Spectacles to improve eyesight, minus the abbreviation for good (… no good)

19a   Unsupported, like a bed with just a mattress? (8)
BASELESS:  The answer could mean missing the part of a bed that goes under the mattress

21a   Nerd soon crept out to find reporter (13)

24a   Periodical  observer (9)
SPECTATOR:  A double definition.  The periodical is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs

25a   Freeloader given shelter by companion (5)
LEECH:  Another word for shelter is placed by the abbreviation for a Companion of Honour

26a   Island protected by whisky enthusiasts (4)
SKYE:  The answer is found hiding in (protected by) the remaining words in the clue

27a   Place ideal to host university is tense (10)
PLUPERFECT:  The map abbreviation for place and a synonym of ideal contain (host) the single letter abbreviation for university



1d    Shoes almost ruined stockings (4)
HOSE:  An anagram (ruined) of all but the last letter (… almost) of SHOE[s]

2d    Deal set out about marathon, possibly, in Sussex town? (7)
ARUNDEL:  An anagram (set out) of DEAL is wrapped about what a marathon is an example of (…, possibly).  Read about the town here

3d    Mutineer hasn't broken emotional type of story (5,8)
HUMAN INTEREST:  An anagram (broken) of MUTINEER HASN'T

4d    Raced up, considered, told a tale (8)
NARRATED:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of raced or sprinted is followed by considered or judged

5d    Changes in time to get into team on the up (5)
EDITS:  The physics symbol for time is inserted in (to get into) the reversal (on the up, in a down clue) of another word for a sports team

7d    Farmers might combine for this (7)
HARVEST:  A cryptic definition alluding to a machine used during the answer.  I couldn't decide whether to go musical or go big with the illustration, so I'll just do both

8d    Ecofriendly sign somewhere hot (10)
GREENHOUSE:  A charade of a synonym of ecofriendly and another word for an astrological sign

11d   True loner left in a muddle one could predict a lot (7-6)
FORTUNE-TELLER:  An anagram (… in a muddle) of TRUE LONER LEFT

13d   A large Scot's cavorting, come what may (2,3,5)
AT ALL COSTS:  Put together A from the clue, large or soaring, and an anagram (cavorting) of SCOT'S

16d   Talk about trendy doctor beginning to order a bit of the wet stuff (8)
RAINDROP:  An informal talk or a rhythmic monologue delivered over a musical background is placed about the concatenation of the usual word for trendy or popular, an abbreviation for doctor, and the first letter of (beginning to) ORDER

18d   Reportedly glimpsed Apple's online assistant? That's magic! (7)
SORCERY:  The answer is a homophone (reportedly) of a (3,4) phrase meaning glimpsed Apple's virtual assistant

20d   Going to great lengths in the end (7)
EXTREME:  Another straightforward double definition, the first an adjective and the second a related noun

22d   A bit of flower power -- and the rest (5)
PETAL:  Join the physics symbol for power and the (2,2) Latin phrase for and others 

23d   Little humour, it's said (4)
WHIT:  A homophone (it's said) of a (3) word for humour or banter


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Lots of clues with smooth surfaces to admire in this one, including 10a, 14a, 25a, 26a, 1d, 7d, 13d, and 16d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  QUEUE + CARD + HENS = KEW GARDENS

61 comments on “DT 28942

  1. I found this one quite mild with OK clues, providing some short-lived enjoyment. No stand-out clues for me today. 1.5* / 2.5*

  2. Try again .

    Whizzed through but enjoyed the journey . Slight hold up in SE corner , 18 D favourite.

    Thanks Mr K for the “catastrophes” and to the Setter for the ingenuity .

  3. second try;
    liked 18D (reportedly glimpsed Apple’s online assistant? That’s magic!);
    some amusing pictures in the hints !

  4. Definitely on the mild side, I haven’t checked but there seemed to be quite a few anagrams, which gave a strong foothold.
    Runaway favourite for me was 18d.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  5. Thanks Mr.K.
    A light and fluffy journey this morning. I guessed the Apple thing, though I am not convinced about the homophone.
    I know Brexit is all the rage at the moment, but they should be trying to find a cure for Manflu.
    Lovely day in London today, and a good home draw in the FA cup against Everton, it could well be the same day as the birthday bash, so a quick trip from Bermondsey to the Edgware Road afterwards could be in order.
    Thanks to Mr.Ron too.

  6. Second try too.
    Finished this whilst the dishwasher was being repaired. I had to ask myself “do the dishes or do the crossword.” No contest. Only hold up was13d which I thought was a complete anagram, but it wasn’t. Many thanks setter and Mr Kitty.

  7. 1* / 3.5*. My money is on X-Type as today’s setter. This was relatively easy but a lot of fun (in spite of a couple of rather iffy homophones) with accurate, brief cluing and smooth surfaces.
    I’ve never come across 9a spelt that way before but the BRB lists 5 spelling variants. :wacko:

    There were lots of good clues from which to choose a favourite but I’ll settle for 6a as it raised the biggest smile.

    Many thanks to X-Type (?) and to Mr K.

  8. If I judged difficulty based solely on time, and this is one of the reasons I don’t, then a few anagrams of any appreciable length are guaranteed to push my rating higher than that of others.

    In other words, I was a plodder today – but a contented one.

    Was also held up a little by entering a wrong answer for 15a, where I was, and hence wasn’t, spot on.

    My favourite clues were all simple constructions, just with lovely surfaces: 6a, 26a and 1d.

    Like RD, I was surprised at the spelling of 9a. If you look up another alternative with a C in it (schtum), Chambers lists that too, so there are at least six variants. But don’t tell anyone …

    Thanks to Mr Setter and Mr K.

  9. Pleasant stroll through crossword land today. Did like 12a.
    Thx to all
    PS nice collection of illustrations in the hints today.

  10. Start with the downs, especially if that’s where most of the anagrams are!

    Very enjoyable, slowed to a gallop to finish because of making a mess of the SE.

    Favourite – 24a, which has an air of familiarity about it.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  11. Second attempt…….

    Like others, I was unfamiliar with the required spelling of 9a – my version has an ‘H’ in it and possibly a ‘C’ as well.
    An enjoyable solve with my top three all in the acrosses – 14,15&26.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for another great blog – the pic for 9a really made me laugh!

  12. As others have already remarked, quite a mild offering this morning. I liked 27a and 18d, but top spot goes to 12a.

    The Toughie is also quite gentle today, if you’re interested (especially if you’re Welsh!)

      1. I knew it or I thought I did. I have all of the right letters but not necessarily in the right order

  13. Short but sweet – 9a was a variant spelling to what I would have done but I see that BRB has plenty to choose from. I too was spot on for a while but saw the light eventually. Thanks to Mr K for an entertaining blog and pics. I must go and listen to something to get rid of the Wurzel earworm though. Thanks to setter too.

  14. My second attempt at commenting, having failed dismally yesterday. I enjoyed this one, very entertaining, and loved 6a. Straightforward but some lovely surfaces, very neat clueing.

    With thanks to both Misters, I somewhat nervously reach for the Post Comment button………..

    1. Ever since I’ve been using incognito mode in order to post from my smartphone and tablet, I always copy my comment to the clipboard before pressing the “post” button. Then, if that fails I email it to myself and use the Desktop computer.

  15. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very straightforward puzzle, but enjoyable nonetheless. 18d made me laugh, but my favourite was 1a. Was 1.5*/3* for me. Had not seen the alternative spelling of 9a before, but got it from the wordplay.

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very straightforward puzzle, but enjoyable nonetheless. 18d made me laugh, but my favourite was 1a. Was 1.5*/3* for me. Had not seen the alternative spelling of 9a before, but got it from the wordplay.

  17. **/****. Very enjoyable puzzle with some excellent clues. 25&27a and 18&22d were my favourites. Thanks to the setter and Mr K. (2nd attempt)

  18. There seem to be a lot of comments today about failed attempts to post comments. Could those encountering this issue please tell me
    1. What you see when the attempt fails. Is it the Cloudflare “checking browser” screen or something else?
    2. What type of computer/phone/tablet you’re using
    3. When this problem started

    1. This is my fourth attempt today at posting. I get ‘network connection was lost’, I am using Ipad Air, problem started yesterday. 😡.

    2. Hi Mr K,
      1. Usually, it’s the Cloudflare ‘checking browser’ screen followed by ‘this page cannot be displayed’.
      2. Windows 7 Internet Explorer.
      3. Following the site shutdown of yesterday.

      Hope that helps.

    3. Same as Jane above but we are using Chrome.
      Pressing return when on the second screen does get back to the start and it then works properly.

    4. I tried to reply but, as when attempting to post this morning, the screen reverted to the Cloudfare warning then just went blank. Yesterday, I received an error message with a number (522 maybe?) and connection to the server was lost. I use an iPad.

    5. Just lost a comment on the toughie I hit post and got the cloudflare page and then a blank page with this address.
      If I backpage once it usually goes back to my comment and I can repost but I clicked twice and the comment had gone from the window.
      Firefox for android on a Samsung mobile.

    6. Try 7
      Samsu g Tab A Android 7.1.1.
      Last message Page not working HTTP error 405
      Thx for efforts to frustrate ( should be castrate) the morons.

    7. Cloudflare frequently dumps me on the white page, but only after a period of inactivity (say, 5 mins or so to read the blog). From the white page, I can hit the back button twice and it then works correctly. It seems to be like a connection timeout, hence the bouncing balls again to reconnect.

      This also sometimes happens because, for whatever reason, my post has taken a while to compose. This has always been the case since the introduction of Cloudflare

      Hitting F5 immediately before I post usually prevents the problem – PC Vista, Chrome.

      1. Hi, LbR, and thanks. Yes, it does look like the issue is that Cloudflare’s approval times out after something like 5 minutes. So reloading the page before starting a comment is a wise precaution. I haven’t found yet why Cloudflare is being so impatient, because the cookies it supplies when the browser passes the initial five-second test are all supposed to be valid for at least 90 minutes. I’ll keep looking.

      2. I know now why Cloudflare’s approval times out after five minutes. I’ve asked the boss if the relevant setting can be changed without risking the site being forced offline again.

      3. Cloudflare should now give everyone 30 minutes to read, post etc. before it wants to do another browser check. Hopefully that will mean fewer lost comments.

        1. I reduced the approval time to 5 minutes in a desperate attempt to get the site back online on Monday. I did mean to reset it afterwards, and would certainly have done so sooner had I realised the consequences

  19. Loved it all, very enjoyable solve today. I needed the hints for 9a, I’ve never heard of it and don’t suppose I’ll need it again.
    Very difficult to choose a fave, 13a? 6a? Maybe 18d?
    Thanks to our super setter and to Mr. K for his hints and pretty pics.

  20. Try again.
    Almost a Re…. well, you know what I mean. Over way too soon but fun while it lasted. COTD was 18d by a mile.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and pics.

  21. PS. Mr K. When I failed to get through my Air2 screen just went blank and nothing further happened. After waiting awhile I logged on again and this time was able to put up my comments.. Hope this is of use.

  22. Luckily for us we had heard of the Sussex town in 2d so it was not the problem that this type of clue often is for us.
    Pleasant solve that all went together smoothly.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  23. I enjoyed this one – probably because I was able to complete it with only a bit of help. Can’t say the same about yesterday’s though as I was unable to get into it & couldn’t access the hints.

    1. I think it’s all to do with speed! Do it really quickly and it’s fine – wait a few minutes and it all goes tits up.

      1. This is what Kath posted last night after the problems yesterday. What a difference a day makes.

        Back in a minute to do a proper comment but just thought I’d post this in case it all goes **** up again.

  24. “featuring many clues with great surfaces”, as above in the preamble – can anyone tell me what this means,please? Many thanks, Almo

    1. A. The surface of a clue is how you read it as if it wasn’t a cryptic clue but a piece of ordinary writing – a normal sentence, statement, etc. If it makes good grammatical/literary sense, then it would be described as “smooth” or even “great”; if it makes little sense or is nonsensical, then it would be described as “clunky” or “iffy”, etc. But there is no obligation that clues should always be “smooth” (but it is generally accepted that smooth ones are “better”). I’m no expert and I guess Mr K or one of the other bloggers could explain it better.

      1. Or, off the net:

        Surface Meaning
        The surface meaning (often shortened to surface) of a cryptic clue is its apparent or literal meaning.
        The surface meaning should always be coherent. In the best cryptic clues the surface meaning conjures up an amusing or intriguing mental image, although this is totally irrelevant to the true import of the clue.
        What this means is that, if we forget for the moment that this is a crossword clue and just read it as a phrase or sentence we might encounter in a passage of prose, it should be coherent.

        1. Jose – many thanks for taking the trouble to respond – I am most grateful. I don’t know what you think of this clue (DT 28921, 14 down)
          but perhaps it is the perfect example of a “surface”- I sen ti to a chum who is indeed a vegetarian, but sadly he didn’t understand it !

          By way of explanation – One strangely negative about a beefburger, finally – the word “strangely” gives you the clue that the next word (negative) needs re-arranging, about (i e around) the letter “a”
          and the last letter (finally) of the word “beefburger !”

          But the really clever thing about this clue is that the whole sentence can lead you to the answer, via a different route – please understand !! TTFN, Timbo

  25. Hi, almo. Jose has explained it well.

    In the glossary of Big Dave’s Little Guide to Cryptic Crosswords, BD says that the surface reading is “the way that the setter intends that the clue be read: the best clues either lead the solver in the wrong direction, or sometimes in no direction at all.”

    In many of the clues in this puzzle the image suggested by the surface reading of the clue has little or nothing to do with the answer. Hiding the answer in plain sight like that is a goal of most setters and for many solvers it adds to their enjoyment of the puzzle.

    1. Mr K – many thanks for taking the trouble to respond – I am most grateful. I don’t know what you think of this clue (DT 28921, 14 down)
      but perhaps it is the perfect example of a “surface”- I sent it to a chum who is indeed a vegetarian, but sadly he didn’t understand it !

      By way of explanation – ” One strangely negative about a beefburger, finally” – the word “strangely” gives you the clue that the next word (negative) needs re-arranging, about (i e around) the letter “a”
      and the last letter (finally) of the word “beefburger !”

      But the really clever thing about this clue is that the whole sentence can lead you to the answer, via a different route – please understand !! TTFN, Timbo

      1. Hi, almo. That’s a nice clue. The most difficult type of clue to write well is the so-called &lit or all-in-one clue, where the entire clue forms both the definition and the wordplay. The clue you quote is a closely-related semi-all-in-one, where the entire clue is the definition and almost all of it (everything but the “one” at the start, as you explain) is the wordplay providing the second route to the answer. The surface reading is certainly pretty good.

        In this puzzle, one clue with a good surface is 27a. Read as a normal sentence, the clue suggests a fraught situation regarding where to site a university. That has nothing at all to do with the answer, which is a grammatical tense, so in that case the smooth surface adds another layer of misdirection to the clue. 22d is another that’s a bit like that, although the definition there is less disguised.

  26. A belated comment from me to say I found plenty to enjoy in this puzzle. Fave was 24a, but I also singled out 1a, 6a, 12a and 7d.

    Many appreciative thanks to Mr Ron. And many thanks, too, to Mr K for the lucid explanations and delightful illustrations. I haven’t come across the spelling used for 9d before…

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