DT 28948 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28948

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28948

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Today's puzzle takes the difficulty and the enjoyment up a notch from yesterday.  Which I suppose is just what we want on a Tuesday.  I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

I'd like to present once again a word cloud showing the answers that we met most often in 2018 back-page puzzles.  Font sizes are proportional to number of appearances, from eight (NEVERTHELESS) down to three.  The picture doesn't have any deep significance because answer repeats are just random coincidence, but perhaps it can serve as a reminder of some enjoyable solving experiences.  Click on it to open a larger version in a new browser window.

It's last call for reader contributions to the large card that's being created for the upcoming 10th Birthday Bash.  If you'd like to share your thoughts about what the site has given you, express your thanks and well wishes to BD, etc., you can click here to leave your contribution.  Lurkers, commenters, bloggers, and setters are all welcome to contribute.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the this would be the answer 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    Sees no Conservative wearing appropriate clothing in parliament? (7)
NOTICES:  NO from the clue is followed by the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative contained in (wearing) the plural of an item of male clothing that's appropriate for parliament, business, a fancy restaurant, etc.

5a    Hold me back -- get ready! (7)
EMBRACE:  Put together the reversal (back) of ME from the clue and an instruction to get ready or be prepared

9a    Do very well as Liberal in time of prosperity (5)
BLOOM:  The single-letter abbreviation for Liberal is inserted in a time of prosperity or economic expansion

10a   Religious education document that's about will corrupt (9)
REPROBATE:  A charade of the abbreviation for Religious Education and a legal document concerning a will

11a   Describing former lover: unattractive, independent and no good (10)
EXPLAINING:  Concatenate the usual former lover, unattractive or ordinary, and abbreviations for independent and no good

12a   Animal's leg cut (4)
STAG:  All but the last letter (cut) of a leg of a race or a journey, perhaps

14a   Work of civilian -- it's getting flak (12)
VILIFICATION:  An anagram (work…) of OF CIVILIAN IT

18a   I prevent mom's tipsy advances (12)
IMPROVEMENTS:  An anagram (tipsy) of I PREVENT MOM'S

21a   Come face to face with turkey, we hear? (4)
MEET:  The answer is a homophone (we hear) of something of which turkey is an example (indicated by the ? at the end of the clue)

22a   Pulling out twine wrapped around chisel? (10)
STRETCHING:  A synonym of twine is wrapped around chisel or engrave

25a   Drunk causes inn problems (9)
NUISANCES:  An anagram (drunk) of CAUSES INN

26a   9 large heads of universities peckish immediately before noon (5)
LUPIN:  The clothing abbreviation for large is followed by the initial letters of (heads of) UNIVERSITIES, PECKISH, IMMEDIATELY, and NOON

27a   Amateur records flipping exceptional (7)
SPECIAL:  The reversal (flipping) of the fusion of an adjective meaning amateur and the abbreviation for some records intermediate in duration between a single and a long player

28a   King on board galley, drifting in the main (7)
LARGELY:  The Latin abbreviation for king inserted in (on board) an anagram (drifting) of GALLEY



1d    Bishop getting the sack after upsetting article's seized (6)
NABBED:  Follow the chess abbreviation for bishop with the sack or a sleeping place, and then put that lot after the reversal (upsetting, in a down clue) of a grammatical article

2d    Some feminists' poor theory about men (6)
TROOPS:  These military men are lurking (some…) in the reversal (about) of the remainder of the clue

3d    Contrast MP in Cairo cavorting with relative (10)
COMPARISON:  MP from the clue is inserted in an anagram (cavorting) of CAIRO, and that's all followed by a male child

4d    Father close to an alluring woman (5)
SIREN:  Put together the usual unusual synonym of father and the final letter of (close to) ANThese examples of the answer are seen in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", a fine Coen brothers movie loosely based on Homer's Odyssey

5d    European cross and worried -- that's priceless (9)
EXPENSIVE:  Stick together the single-letter abbreviation for European, the cross-shaped letter, and worried or seriously thoughtful

6d    Blunder, whichever way you look at it (4)
BOOB:  whichever way you look at it tells us that we're looking for a palindrome that can, among other things, mean blunder

7d    Place for croaking animals? (8)
ABATTOIR:  Nothing to do with frogs, this is a cryptic definition of a place where an animal might meet its end (unless, as the song goes, he's packing an Uzi …)

8d    Half of gemstones by cove suddenly appearing (8)
EMERGENT:  The first half of some green gemstones is followed by a synonym of the old British slang meaning of cove

13d   Trip Laura organised without Charlie for certain (10)
PARTICULAR:  An anagram (organised) of TRIP LAURA containing (without, although you should read what the boss has to say about that usage here) the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet

15d   The same model conceals new facial twitch (9)
IDENTICAL:  Model or perfect contains (conceals) both the abbreviation for new and an involuntary facial twitch

16d   Rocks  suit (8)
DIAMONDS:  A double definition, the second referring to a suit in a pack of playing cards

17d   American pressure on Macron's little demand (8)
APPETITE:  Join together an abbreviation for American, the physics symbol for pressure, and how M. Macron might describe something that's little and feminine

19d   A piece of cake in mess -- I'm pleased! (6)
SIMPLE:  The answer is hidden in the remaining words of the clue

20d   May not initially hiding information about business (6)
AGENCY:  All but the first letter (not initially) of [m]AY is containing (hiding) both an informal word for information and the single-letter Latin abbreviation for about or roughly

23d   Peter out with student getting artist's equipment (5)
EASEL:  Peter out or abate with the usual student or learner

24d   Wise men showing endless charm (4)
MAGI:  All but the last letter (endless) of charm or allure


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I thought just about all of the clues were excellent.  I had ticks beside 18a, 2d, 4d, and 20d, and I'm giving the gold medal to 17d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  EARRING + AIDES = HEARING AIDS

64 comments on “DT 28948

    1. I have no feelings about animal rights activists but I, too, hated this clue for its apparent disrespect towards farm animals.

      1. Where do you think animals are killed? Nothing to see here. Perhaps Jay can give a vegan grid this week.

    2. I agree it is offensive but you really should listen to the song clip in the hints for 7d, Hilarious!

  1. I found this easier than yesterday. It must be about being on the right wavelength.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  2. Tend to agree about 7d.
    Does the answer 5d mean priceless? Not in my book, and I can’t find it in the dictionary.
    I was confused by 14a ski can’t see why the ‘s’ of “it’s” can be dropped.
    Otherwise, an ok Tuesday.
    Thanks Mr.K. and the setter.

    1. Re 5d. From the LRB:

      1 invaluable, inestimable, incalculable, expensive, costly, dear, precious, valuable, prized, treasured, cherished, irreplaceable, incomparable, rare colloq. worth its weight in gold
      2 funny, amusing, comic, hilarious, riotous, side-splitting colloq. killing, rich, a scream
      ANTONYM 1 cheap, run-of-the-mill

      1. Thanks for that. Fair enough, dictionary editors know best, but I don’t see how the Mona Lisa could be described as expensive, but there you go.

        1. I am sure the Mona Lisa would be expensive. However it is not unusual for one word to have several meanings.

    2. Hi Hoofit. In 14a, the ‘s (is) functions as part of the link between wordplay and definition, i.e. wordplay is getting answer.

  3. Thanks Mr K and Setter. Well a notch up from yesterday for sure.

    Not sure about 5d, nice scan but priceless for expensive??

    I also found 13d tenuous, shame you have to put in a link to explain..

  4. 7d wasn’t my favourite, but I very much enjoyed the rest.

    For “civilian” in 14a, read “setter”!

    5a really appealed, so that is my favourite.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    P.S. I agree with MrK’s ratings, but still, this took me a little longer than today’s Toughie. So I can certainly recommend the latter to the shy.

  5. Thanks for the Oh Brothet clip. One of the best lines in the film followed that sequence “Them Sirenes they did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a Horny Toad” so funny. Ta to all.

  6. Apart from the obnoxious 7d, I thoroughly enjoyed this pleasantly tricky Tuesday offering. 17d was clever and my favourite, and I thought the clue mix was excellent.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  7. A good challenge today without being that time consuming. Any distaste, which was caused by 7d, was alleviated by the entertaining cat videos. Keep them coming please.

  8. Whizzed through this one which makes up for previous difficulties. Yes, I liked 17d as well. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K

  9. I thought this was a delightful offering. Reasonably straightforward. 14a gave me pause for though – clever use of that apostrophe to misdirect (me anyway). I think I’ll choose 17d as my favourite today. I’m not going to comment on the 7d debate for fear I might offend those who wrench harmless vegetables from the ground and often eat them alive.

    I think today’s Toughie must be one of the easiest on record.

    1. Wasn’t there a “Tale of the unexpected” where a poor man went mad because he could hear the screams a carrot made when it was pulled, alive, from the ground?

  10. I thought this was an excellent puzzle with some really good surfaces and quite topical too, given the present farcical situation in Westminster, with a few political references.
    I didn’t pick it up at the time but I can see why 7d would be offensive to some, I think the setter on reflection has made a bit of a 6d.
    Other than that lots to admire, 5a getting my COTD for its simplicity and surface. I did like the clever lurker 19d too.

    Many thanks to setter and Mr K.

  11. 2*/3*. Chriscross has said it all. I did get slightly held up by 10a, my last one in, simply because I couldn’t spell 7d.

    I particularly liked the rabbit and kitten picture – lovely to see that a bunny and a cat can be good friends.

    Many thanks to Mr R and to Mr K.

  12. Sorry – completely turned off by 7d, the felony only being compounded by 12&21a.

    Still logged in to enjoy Mr K’s blog but have no comment to make about the puzzle.

    1. My computer has been kaput since yesterday but I came here to read the comments anyway. I agree with you 100 percent, and this is the first time that I’ve been grateful for being unable to do the puzzle. Horrible clue. I don’t eat mammals anyway.

  13. Apart from 7d (naievely wanted the answer to be aquarium) – a decent puzzle.

    Thanks to Mr K and setter **/***

  14. Well for the record I thought that 7d was in poor taste, I note Janes additional comments but I don’t think there would have been a problem but for 7d.
    No further comments.

  15. Have to agree 7d is in poor taste and should have been avoided, and as Jane says 12a & 21a only served to remind. An otherwise pleasant puzzle, but tarnished.

    I spelt 25a wrong. D’oh!

  16. I liked nearly all of it, mainly due to the excellent surfaces and misdirection.

    I bunged (or half bunged) 27a, so thanks to Mr K for explanation of the second half which I’ve never used, mainly the “lay” version as an adjective.

    My favourite is 11a, which, despite bring the easiest, is beautifully succinct.

  17. Pretty straightforward for me today, the brain must have been in gear.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  18. One of those puzzles that is not difficult once you isolate the real clue from the verbiage around it.
    Rather mediocre I thought.
    Thx for the hints.
    PS odd thing yesterday with apparently two Brians. One was def not me!

  19. Nice crossword. I had a slow start but then once the aquarium was out of the reckoning everything came together smoothly. 17d was my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and the extras.

  20. Needed hint for 7d: pleased to say my mind rejected that interpretation as being in too poor taste
    Outright winner of Worst Clue Of The Decade for me & spoiled what was otherwise a good crossword.
    Other than for 7d thanks to setter & Mr K.

  21. The week kicked off gently and today followed suit with another fun run. Took a while to realise 26a bung-in called for transfer of 9a to fully parse. IMO 7d is totally out of order. Joint Favs 28a and 20d. Quickie pun is a bit pathetic. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  22. I think that there is a lot more in the news to cause offence than a crossword clue .
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

    1. Like most I think, I do the crossword to take my mind off such matters for however long it takes me. Consequently I don’t expect overtly political clues or clues that could cause offence to anyone whatever their persuasion.

  23. Second attempt to comment (not going to bother re-writing my comment, not yet at least) just to see if it works. When I submit comment the page just goes blank. Same thing yesterday.

    1. After Cloudflare gives that “Checking your browser…” message you have 30 minutes before Cloudflare wants to do it again. So if you have been reading the site for 30 minutes or more, trying refreshing the page to force the Cloudflare check before entering your comment. If your comment does disappear, try hitting the browser’s back button once or twice – the comment may still be there.

      1. That does work, but strangely, when I am replying to someone and I do the back button thing, it moves my reply to a new post at the bottom of the page.

        My well trodden path now is to compose my post, highlight it, and then cut – then refresh the page, paste my comment and hit ‘Post Comment’ immediately. Works for me.

        1. Thanks to both of you for that. I still don’t think I should tell a great old gag about croaking frogs, for fear of offending!

    2. That’s been happening to me too often lately, mostly if I write more than one sentence. Noting the comments re 30 minutes. Oh dear, I am never done within 30 minutes,

  24. I agree that 7d was a bit unnecessary but apart from that I enjoyed the crossword.
    Many years ago there was a clue that really got me going! It was, “Sadly pet dog is in for putting down” (9) Think it might have been Rufus but it might not have been.
    I thought 14a was a good anagram as was 18a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. Hi, Kath. That clue you quoted was Giovanni in DT 26420 from about eight years ago. While it’s not pleasant to dwell on how farm animals become meat, like you I’d find a clue about having to end a pet’s life much more uncomfortable.

  25. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle so thanks. Seems the PC brigade find offence where I’m sure none was intended. It’s a crossword for goodness sake!

    1. I agree it’s only a crossword and that no offence was intended but I still didn’t care for 7d
      I suspect that you won’t find too many from the PC brigade on this blog!

  26. Poorly frog asks his friend the chicken to go to the library to get him something to read during his recuperation…
    Chicken returns and says;
    Book Book Book
    Frog replies;
    Reddit Reddit Reddit

    I’ll go get my coat

    Oops meant to reply to Wahoo there.

    1. My joke is not quite as tame. I’ll try to slip it in in a couple of weeks when everyone has forgotten 7d.

  27. If I had a £1 every time I heard ” if you don’t get it, it must be a lurker” I would be a millionaire.
    Still didn’t help me getting 2d. D’oh.
    Thanks to Mr K for taking me out of my misery.
    Thanks to the setter for the workout.

  28. I wasn’t a fan of this crossword, some clues rather tasteless IMHO. Best part was Mr K’s pictures at 15d and 19d.

  29. Equally unamused by 7d. The rest? Three quarters easy, the NE corner pretty difficult, though by that point with half an eye on the Commons.

  30. 7d is brilliant. Answer beats my first attempt – aquarium. Only spotted the error of my ways when I got 10a. Will keep this short as my effort yesterday failed to post.

  31. So sad to see the Ministry of Being Offended is taking over the crossword fraternity. FWIW I found a chuckle from 7d

    1. Welcome from me too, Peterkins.

      Like you, I’m surprised by the reaction to 7d. We’ve had similar clues before, and those puzzles got only praise.

    2. Welcome from me too. Stating an opinion is not taking over the Crossword fraternity. The comments section would be a dull place without a bit of lively debate or the personal style of some of the commentariat. I for one would never have heard of a ‘sitooterie’ without it.

  32. Wonder if anyone else put in” Civilisation” for 14a? Fits well, with f eliminated or “got” !! Ooops !!

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