DT 28944 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28944

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28944

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Hola from a cold but sunny Vega Baja. I don’t think this is a RayT puzzle as there’s a ten word clue, Her Majesty is absent and the quick crossword is mostly two word clues.  Perhaps it’s proXimal who set the last puzzle I blogged. Whoever it was I thought it was really good but a tricky little rascal but maybe that’s just me being a bit slow today.  I’ll be interested to hear your views.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Resin down there in pouch (7)
SHELLAC:  The usual word for the underworld (down there) inserted into (in) a pouch or bladder.

5a           Fur essential covering chest over (7)
MUSKRAT: A word meaning essential placed around (covering) a reversal (over) of a chest or coffer.  The character in the middle is one of these.

9a           Banking controller one suffering at work (7)
AILERON:  This banking controller is part of a wing and is used to control the banking of an aircraft. It’s a word for someone suffering followed by a two letter word meaning at work or, more usually, working.

10a         Marsupial has big problem crossing river (7)
OPOSSUM:  Two letters for big in clothing sizes and an arithmetical problem placed around (crossing) the usual Italian river.

11a         Spectacle taking long time in food store (9)
PAGEANTRY:  A long time inserted (in) into the room off your kitchen where food is stored.

12a         This weave includes leaning lines  primarily (5)
TWILL: First letters (primarily) of the other words in the clue.  Very clever as the clue is a pretty good description of the weave as shown in this picture.

13a         Apparent poverty traps (5)
OVERT:  The answer is hidden in (traps) POVERTY.

15a         Attractive area — extremely quiet London region (9)
APPEALING:  A(rea) followed by two letters for very quiet in musical terminology and finally a part of London where comedy films were once made.

17a         Vibration from terrible snore can start to echo (9)
RESONANCE:  Anagram (terrible) of SNORE CAN followed by an E (start to Echo).  It’s actually an anagram of SNORE followed by an anagram of CAN followed by the E but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.

19a         Physicist caught following criminal raid (5)
DIRAC:  This guy who won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1933 is an anagram (criminal) of RAID followed by the letter for caught in cricket notation.

22a         Is obliged to interrupt gym period (5)
PHASE:  A word meaning is obliged, to do something perhaps, is inserted into one of the two letter acronyms for exercise.

23a         Why lovers love scientific discipline? (9)
CHEMISTRY:  This could be a sort of cryptic double definition.  It’s a scientific discipline but the word is also used to describe the attraction between lovers.  Seems an awful long time since I studied this subject.

25a         Absurd when one is followed by quite a few more (7)
ASININE:  A word for when followed by the letter that looks like a one followed by quite a few, nearly ten in fact.

26a         Dull film with cute alien in coppice (7)
THICKET:  Dull as in slow witted followed by our favourite film featuring a cute alien.  And here he is . . .

27a         Mild mid-evening in days before Easter (7)
LENIENT:  Mild as in not severe.  The three middle letters (mid-) of evening are inserted into the period leading up to Easter.

28a         Evil daughter has come in sozzled (7)
DEMONIC:  D(aughter) followed by an anagram (sozzled) of COME IN.


1d           Cleaner has mop, shuffling round (7)
SHAMPOO:  This cleaner for hair or carpets is an anagram (shuffling) of HAS MOP followed by a round letter.

2d           City diary ends in unforgettable poem (7)
ECLOGUE:  The postcode for the City of London followed by a word for a diary or record of event and finally EU (ends in UnforgettablE).

3d           Rock on radio for immature six-footer? (5)
LARVA:  This early stage in the development of an insect (six-footer) sounds like (on the radio) the sort of rock that comes out of a volcano.

4d           Force prisoners to exercise (9)
CONSTRAIN:  Some of the usual prisoners followed by a word for exercise or practice.

5d           Sullen, low and deplorably gutless (5)
MOODY:  Low here is nothing to do with low down or sad but it’s what cows do.  Follow that with DY (D(eplorabl)Y gutless).  Here’s one from the Blues of that ilk . . . 

6d           Understaffed editor dispensed with rapid writing (9)
SHORTHAND:   Take the usual editor off (dispensed with) a word meaning understaffed and you get the type of rapid writing used by secretaries taking dictation..

7d           Composer admitting small sin to French king (7)
ROSSINI:  S(mall) and SIN (from the clue) inserted into (admitting . . . to) the French word for king.

8d           Delay prisoner, holding up prison sentence? (4,3)
TIME LAG:  A prisoner (not the one in 4d but the other one) after (holding up in a down clue) a slang term for a prison sentence.

14d         Strong flavour before wrapping in citrus fruit (9)
TANGERINE:  A strong flavour or bite followed by a poetic word for before placed around (wrapping) the IN from the clue.

16d         Rep tensed, relaxed, delivered pitch? (9)
PRESENTED:  Anagram (relaxed) of REP TENSED.

17d         Painter needs to chat girl up (7)
RAPHAEL:  A word with many meanings, one of which is chat, followed by a reversal (up in a down clue) of a biblical girl’s name, she was a wife of Jacob and sister of Rachel.

18d         Creature‘s terrible noise round a lake (3,4)
SEA LION:  Make an anagram (terrible) of NOISE and place it around A (from the clue) and L(ake) and then split it (3,4) to get an aquatic creature.

20d         Republican worried about man shot again? (7)
RETAKEN:  Shot again as a photograph or film might be.  Start with an R for republican then a word for worried at something but it’s reversed (about) then a short man’s name. Personally I dislike what seems to me to be a growing trend of using MAN or GIRL to clue a name.  It’s hardly fair as here are thousands to choose from and it looks to me to be lazy clueing.

21d         Hidden clue here will be … (7)
CRYPTIC:  A word meaning hidden is also a description of this crossword.

23d         … bust of Nietzsche’s Trampedach! (5)
CHEST:  This bust is that of a woman.  It’s hidden in (of) the last two words.

24d         I love wearing stupid expression (5)
IDIOM:  Start with the I from the clue and after it you need the letter for love in tennis placed inside (wearing) a word for stupid or not very clever

Lots of blue today but my favourite was 12a with 28a and 1d on the podium.

Quick crossword pun:   AWESOME     +     WELLS     =     ORSON WELLS

66 comments on “DT 28944

  1. I didn’t find it that tricky but it was enjoyable. I think i’ll go with 21d as my favourite …

    Thank to Pommers and whichever Thursday Mysteron was responsible.

  2. Great puzzle. However never heard of 2d or 9a. The rest went in fairly easily. 6a and 23a my favourites. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  3. I thought that this was quite tricky but very enjoyable with some lovely bits of misdirection. I’ll pick 9a, 12a and 5d for my podium.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and pommers.
    I do agree with pommers on disliking the use of man, woman, boy and girl to clue a name. On the other hand we don’t complain about the use of ‘bird’ or ‘fish’ for example and there are hundreds if not thousands of them.

      1. If you are one of the blog’s long time stalwarts, the river in 10a is the one we usually think of first ;)

          1. Poor Gnomey – such a long time ago and we still remember – well, those who were commenting on the blog in those long ago days who are still commenting do anyway – not so many of us around now.

    1. I’m quite happy to see man, woman, boy and girl to trigger a name in the answer. They may be a bit “nebulous”, but I like my cryptic clues to be unclear – that’s what they’re supposed to be!

  4. 2.5* / 3*. I would have given more than 3* for enjoyment if the nebulous girl and man had not turned up yet again, which, as pommers rightly says, seems to be happening more and more lately.

    9a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to pommers.

  5. Enjoyable though struggled initially to get a foothold . 9A led me astray so is my favourite as , when answer realised , it raised a big smile .

    Thanks to everyone .

  6. Thanks to both setter and Pommers….clearly still learning…now I know the river reference in 10a (had the answer, but didn’t understand the reference). Like others, 2d is a new word to me….

    Still thankful for this site in helping me learn to read past the surface of clues. 25a probably my favourite, although 21/23d close as another (new to me) clue format is resolved.

    First time I’ve completed before looking here…very satisfying feeling!

    1. Welcome to the blog Ken

      I can still remember when I used to think they had made a mistake when in reality I hadn’t known the construct, like jolly ≡ RM (Royal Marine). You will find a number of these in The Usual Suspects.

  7. As above, 9a my favourite in his relatively straightforward but very enjoyable Thursday crossword. I’m sure the current trend for names in clues will soon pass. There are usually so many other alternatives that it is odd how many times it happens.

    That apart, many thanks to our setter and pommers.

  8. Enjoyed with no significant hold-ups, although NW corner last to fall. *** enjoyment
    As those before 9a my COTD. Had me fooled.
    Knew 19a but not 2d (illiterate scientist my excuse).
    Thanks to setter & Pommers for hints.

  9. I must have been totally on wavelength and the proscribed term came to mind, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/3*.

    2d was a new word for me which required checking after identifying and assembling the ‘lego’ pieces.

    Favourite – 7d.

    Thanks to the setter and pommers.

  10. Found this quite tricky in places but enjoyable – with the exceptions already mentioned by others.
    Think I liked the shuffling cleaner and the deplorably gutless one the most.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the blog and the Moody Blues.

  11. Did this in a wakeful period in the middle of the night. So I can’t remember much about it except that I didn’t fall back to sleep while solving, which probably means that it was a good crossword, if not ideal for my insomniac state!

    My first thought for 23a was biology, but that didn’t fit. Liked that one, and also 13a, 17a, 21d, 24d and more.

    With thanks to the setter and pommers.

    P.S. For what it’s worth, my opinion about names in clues is the same as that for plants, animals, and anything else where there are many examples to choose from. Context is crucial: if the definition, other wordplay elements and checkers mean that the solver can reasonably be expected to get there, then I think it’s perfectly fine. The other option is to use famous people or characters in literature etc. to clue names, and then we’re in the realm of general knowledge, which is just another way to divide opinion!

  12. Enjoyably chewy. Short names are fair game in my book, it’s ‘old actress/author/politician’ etc as an answer that I dislike. Kitty neatly sums it up for me.

    Thanks setter and pommers

  13. Many thanks Big Dave…this site continues to be a mine of information (yes, I found that section too!).

  14. After reading a few clues I began to think that this one was going to be a bit of a ‘begger’ to solve, but 11 across and 4 down were first to go in and then all else seemed to follow at a fair old pace. 2 down was a new word for me, but easily worked out from the clue and 19 across needed to be cross referenced by Google to make certain I hadn’t made the word up. All in all a very satisfying solve. Both 1 and 17 down are my favourites, I think. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  15. Less difficult than most Thursday backpage crosswords but quite challenging.
    On the issue of clues with proper names included, I agree with most of the other contributors. Unless there are other supporting features to narrow things down within the clue or from other clues, it leaves things rather too open.

  16. Managed precisely two clues. The rest is a complete mystery.
    For me *****/*
    No fun at all as far as I am concerned, way above my pay grade.

    1. Perhaps its a Thursday complex Brian. It isn’t that long ago that Ray T was attracting similar comments regularly. Suggest you try getting out of bed on the other side on Thursdays

      1. Surely Brian should be free to (respectully) express his opinion and if he found the puzzle difficult then it’s entirely legitimate and reasonable to say so. That’s what a blog is for, isn’t it?

        1. Absolutely – so he should and I don’t think I said otherwise.
          Saying perhaps it is something to do with Thursdays was meant as a possible explanation. I remember when I couldn’t cope with Ray T on Thursdays and I used to think “Not again” and give up after looking at a few clues.
          With the help of the hints and comments I overcame this block (as has Brian with Ray T I think), although some days he still beats me.
          I was trying to say (clearly badly) that perhaps adopting a positive “can do” rather than negative approach (figuratively get out of bed on the other side) might improve the enjoyment from *. After all that is what I thought this site was all about – getting more people enjoying solving crosswords.

          1. I think you are right. It is not as if Brian is incapable of solving cryptic crosswords. You would get more than 2 by just doing anagrams and hidden words. The checkers would then lead to more answers. The more obscure words could be built up.

            1. Sadly I’m a brackets sort of person (I think). I will endeavour to desist (probably).

          2. Sorry, but I beg to differ with you and Wanda on this. If you struggle, as I also did on this one, see above, I think it is important to say that. Particularly when it appears that everyone else found it straight forward. I believe this helps those who are also struggling, but are too embarrassed to say so. I’ve done these since the 70s but there are still days when I can’t get going, and I am sure there are many people new to cryptics who need to know that they will have good and bad days.

    2. Brian, I did eventually finish it, but found it fiendishly difficult. You weren’t alone.

  17. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, although the top half was read and write, except for 2d,which was a new word for me, but got it from the wordplay, bottom half put up a bit of a fight, especially the SE Corner. Last in was 19a. Favourite was 9a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  18. I stared at this one for some time before 6d came to me, followed by 9ac and the rest fell very slowly into place except for 19ac of whom I’d never heard and thus forgive myself!
    In the end, a pleasing puzzle giving me a sense of achievement.
    Many thanks to the setter and muchas gracias Pommers for the review, always a pleasure to read.

  19. I also struggled to get this started. No across clues and just 5 down clues on my first reading. I persevered, but really didn’t get out of first gear until my second attempt, after lunch.

    As other have commented, 19a and 2d were unknown to me, and that pushed it into **** rating for me.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and Pommers for the review.

  20. I must have been tuned in to this setter because it all went in well within my personal target time. I liked 9a . I worked out 2d easily enough but had to check that there was such a word.

    My two-pennyworth on the subject of names within answers is that I don’t much like them unless there is some sort of general knowledge aspect involved otherwise they are just isolated with no supporting rationale, if that makes sense.

  21. **/****. Right up my street! Difficult to choose a favourite but if pushed maybe 9a. Had to google 19a&2d to confirm my thoughts. Thanks to Pommers for the unneeded hints but the excellent video for 5d. 1967 doesn’t seem to be more than a moment ago. Thanks also to the setter.

  22. 9a,19aand 2d were all new words..so made it a bit tricky to finish without checking my answers. Dirac or Daric for example and l had plumped for the wrong one of course!
    However, the Moody Blues were as ever wonderful.
    Thank you Pommers.
    Favourite clue today was 26a..it made me smile.
    Thank you also to our setter..it’s not your fault my general knowledge isn’t up to scratch!

  23. I knew this wasn’t a RayT at the outset, I was right on wavelength. The SE corner was the last to fall and, ashamed to say, I needed the hints to unravel 24d.
    Being from airline background, 9a went right in and was fave, however, there were many others to like, 17d deserves mention.
    I didn’t know 2d, I needed to google that.
    Thanks to our setter, come back soon, and to pommers for his usual delightful blog.

  24. Interesting Crossword 😬 **/*** Learnt a new word at 2d 😜 Favourites 9a & 15a 🤗 Thanks to Pommers and to the Setter. Hope this gets posted, so far this week everything was working but my comments never appeared 🤔

  25. I must admit that I found this very tricky and needed a few hints to finish.
    I didnt know that ‘down there’ = ‘hell’, or that ‘six-footer’ = insect. Two to remember.
    Totally agree about the use of names, there must be a better way of cluing. in 20d, there is a Scottish meaning of ‘ken’ (I think).
    thanks all.

  26. Agree with those who found this on the tricky side but good fun all the way through. Liked the ‘banking controller’ in 9a so that takes top honours for us. As far as the use of names goes — we much prefer them to the ‘village in Somerset’ type clues. We have at least heard of the names before.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  27. I needed too many of Pommers hints to unravel this one. Hanging my head in shame that I did not get 9a unaided, as Mr BL is an avid RC model flyer and builder… Too hard for me today.

  28. Thought this was going to be tricky at first but a second sitting and a peruse at a couple of hints got me going again. 21d has to be the cruciverbalist’s clue of the day/week/year and gets my vote too. Thanks to pommers and setter.

  29. I agree with pommers – not a Ray T, quite tricky and possibly a proXimal – if it is one of his I think that he might call in as last week he said he would make a point of doing so.
    I really enjoyed this one but it certainly took me quite a long time – had I been doing the hints I’d also have gone for a ***/****
    For no obvious reason 15a was my last answer and so many in the bottom right corner caused a spot of bother that I was beginning to wonder if I’d been a touch on the hasty side with 23a.
    I particularly appreciated 5 and 6d and my favourite was 23a.
    With thanks to whoever and to pommers specially for the Moody Blues – I love them.

  30. Nothing too demanding today. Lacked a bit of sparkle for me though. No real favourite .
    Probably me having an off day!
    Anyway, thanks to the setter, and to pommers for the review.

  31. Well I found this decidedly problemstic and needed help. As per Hattiesgrandma 9a, 19a and 2d were all new to me – how ignorant can one be? 6d made me wonder if anybody learns/uses 6d these days. Too many bung-ins and for me not much fun. No Fav. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

  32. Thanks setter and Pommers. Not my favourite but no complaints. Favourites 23a and 6 8 14 and 24d.

  33. Thank you, pommers — I don’t think I’ve ever completed a broadsheet crossword unaided, so knowing I could come here for hints and explanations if (when) I got stuck gave me the confidence to start.

    Pleasingly, this one was above-average for enjoyability: lots of fun clues, and a grid where all words’ first letters cross makes it easier than many. Thank you, setter.

    5d was my favourite — works well at this time of year, when carol services with ‘Away in a Manager’ are still recent memory.

    I’m still feeling especially ignorant over 10a. From the hints I’m presuming ‘sum’ is the ‘arithmetical problem’ (but while the field of maths does talk about problems, it wouldn’t’ve occurred to me that simple addition counts as one); then for “big in clothing” I can only think of “XL”, which clearly isn’t right — leaving me unsure which letters are that and which the river.

    1. Big = OS (out-size)
      Problem = SUM
      All outside (crossing) PO (river in Northern Italy and crossword land’s favourite)

      1. Thank you, bjs and Miffypops; I understand now!

        I never would’ve got of either of those myself, even if I’d thought to consider Italian rivers. ‘Any river anywhere in the world’ seems like quite a wide category.

        I’ll see if I can remember them for next time — currently I’m picturing the red Teletubby standing in a river by a Post Office …

    2. Ask and you will find an answer. Usually quicker than nine minutes. As for rivers, the Po is a regular but far behind The Dee, The Ure and the Exe

  34. I had a slow start, but managed to speed up towards the end. I needed the review to check a few things. Thank you setter and Pommers

  35. Better late than never! I liked this one and I’ve just written my rating on it to remind me: 3* / 4*

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