DT 28953 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28953

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28953

Hints and tips by a youthful Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Nothing not to like here. A gentle Monday morning puzzle to start the week off. The intention was to solve and blog whilst watching the lunar eclipse. Well the clouds got in the way of that one.

Saint Sharon and I are looking forward to meeting up with those who are coming to The Blogs tenth birthday bash at The Bridge House, 13 Westbourne Terrace Road, London, W2 6NG on this Saturday 26th January – any time between 12 noon and 7.00 pm. There will be a number of regulars there who will welcome newcomers. We are not difficult to find as we take over the whole area to the right of the bar. There is usually cake and macaroons on offer. Don’t be shy. Do come along if you have the chance.

The hints and tips are written to help, and I hope they do. Definitions are underlined. 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

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Very important reviewer, a librettist originally (8)
CRITICAL: A person who judges the merits or failings of plays, films or concerts is followed by the letter A from. The clue and the first letter of the word librettist

9a    A trek’s leader packing cross and lucky charm (6)
AMULET: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the leading letter of the word trek. Insert between these letters (packing) a cross between a donkey and a horse

10a    Tabloid editor after right lead (3-3)
RED TOP: The abbreviation for editor follows the abbreviation for right. That’s the first word sorted. The second is a straightforward synonym of the word lead as in best or utmost

11a    Single man, composer, retired character (8)
BACHELOR: A composer (Brandenburg Concertos) is followed by a character or part in a drama but reversed (retired)

12a    Celebrities one should shame, being out of order (9,5)
HOUSEHOLD NAMES: Anagram (being out of order) of ONE SHOULD SHAME. Not all celebrities are these. I have rarely heard of anybody about to enter I’m A Celebrity. Possibly because I don’t watch such programmes

15a    Wanting to lay hands on missing book (4)
LESS: To lay one’s hands on as might a priest, bishop, Cardinal Pope or even Jesus Christ himself might do but minus the abbreviation for book

17a    Lose one’s nerve parking? Sadly I can (5)
PANIC: Begin with the letter used to signify parking spaces. Add an anagram (sadly) of I CAN

19a    Socially crass female follower returned (4)
NAFF: The abbreviation for Female is followed by a follower or adherent of something. All is then reversed (returned)

20a    Track gates rattling — lass unsettled crossing street (8,6)
STARTING STALLS: The track here is a racecourse. An anagram (unsettled) of RATTLING LASS sits around (crossing) the abbreviation for street

23a    LSD (small quantity) in sweet (4,4)
ACID DROP: Another term for LSD (How does the setter know such a thing) followed by a small quantity, usually of a liquid

25a    At home, and abroad to some extent (2,1,3)
IN A WAY: A two-lettered word meaning at home is followed by a four-lettered word meaning abroad or not at home, Split 2,1,3 they match the definition

27a    Envoy, say, entering behind schedule (6)
LEGATE: The Latin abbreviation of for example is inserted into a word meaning behind schedule

28a    Acquire leverage (8)
PURCHASE: A double definition. The first meaning to acquire following the exchange of money


1d    Not busy on the house (4)
FREE: A double definition. The second not requiring the exchange of money

2d    Briefly declare American position (6)
STATUS: To declare verbally minus its last letter (briefly) followed by the usual suspect American

3d    Young person drinking litres in nightspot (4)
CLUB: A term for a young person (borrowed from the world of cuddly animals) has the abbreviation for litres inserted as indicated by the word drinking

4d    Bird‘s loud — a large rook (6)
FALCON: The musical notation for loud is followed by the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for large. We now need a synonym of the word rook which means to swindle. What lovely misdirection here. The answer is also one of our bloggers

5d    Cartoon character, American caretaker on staff (8)
SUPERMAN: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s what Americans call a caretaker followed by a verb meaning to provide staff

6d    TV detective on force, having broken ground rule, is sorry (10)
REMORSEFUL: One of the many TV detectives has the abbreviation for force appended to his name. Then he sits inside an anagram (broken) of RULE

8d    Prisoner initially quiet in cage in police station (7)
COP SHOP: The initial letter of prisoner has the sound used to quieten the noisy. These letters then sit inside a large cage used to keep chickens

13d    Generally known matter, so pretence silly (4,6)
OPEN SECRET: Anagram (silly) of SO PRETENCE

14d    Row over new material (5)
LINEN: A row (a queue maybe) is followed by the abbreviation for new

16d    Keep cards close to chest after experience with the old man (5,3)
STAND PAT: The final letter of chest comes after a word meaning to experience or undergo something and an affectionate term for one’s Dad

18d    Sack accountant heirs corrupted (7)
CASHIER: The abbreviation for accountant is followed by a flimsy anagram (corrupted) of HEIRS

21d    Sailor needing to achieve objective (6)
TARGET: An old term for a jolly jack sailor is followed by a word meaning to achieve or experience something

22d    Passage in a play ultimately showing indifference (6)
APATHY: A passage, way or track for walking on sits between the letter A from the clue and the final letter (ultimately) of the word play

24d    Leader in soap opera (4)
POPE: A lurker. The answer is hidden within the words of the clue. Here is a picture of one arriving at Baginton Airport Coventry. The only one I have seen in real life.

26d    A leading orchestra too (4)
ALSO:    Use the letter A from the clue. Add the initials of one of England’s leading orchestras which was founded in 1904 and which has been based at The Barbican Centre since 1982. it claims to be the world’s most recorded orchestra; it has made gramophone recordings since 1912 and has played on more than 200 soundtrack recordings for the cinema, of which the best known include the Star Wars series.

A fine entertainment.

Quickie Pun: inn+limb+beau=in limbo


71 comments on “DT 28953

  1. Indeed, nothing not to like. Though I growled (at myself, not the setter) when I couldn’t remember that poker term …

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

    1. Not being a poker player, I ‘d never come across the term before and while I enjoy adding bits here and there to my G K, that particular clue/answer spoiled an otherwise superb start to my crossword solving week. Thanks to setter and Miffypops.

        1. I’d only heard the term used metaphorically when the Bank of England ….. … on interest rates.

  2. A mild but pleasant start to the week. 16d: have never come across that phrase before. Fav: 20a. 2* / 3*

  3. A **/*** for me too and like others 16d was not familiar.
    A cheery start to the week, no stand out clues today but ticked the Monday Boxes.
    Liked the quickie pun.
    I found yesterdays Sunday Telegraph puzzle difficult.

    1. I am still finding yesterday’s puzzle difficult. Actually I have just looked and I finished it late last night. Very enjoyable though

  4. A gentle way to ease into the week and quite enjoyable.
    4d was my favourite with a rueful nod to 17a!

    Thanks to our Monday setter and to MP for the blog.

  5. I enjoyed this, just the right level for a bright and sunny Monday mornight. I was only held up by 16d and in the end had to resort to the hint but other than that it all went in smoothly.
    I liked 16d for its misdirection, 15a for its clever surface but my runaway favourite was 25a. 2*/3*
    Many thanks to the setter and MP for an entertaining review.

  6. Agreed with all above, a nice, gentle but fun start to the week. I like a game of poker which helped with 16d which I will put as my favourite.

  7. Went in like a rat up a drainpipe, then I got to 16d. Took an age, then I had a guess from the wordplay and to my surprise it was correct. I had to check the expression in Google, I am not ashamed to say I have never heard of it.
    Great video of Free, I cant see whether this was with the late, great Paul Kossof.
    Many thanks MP and Mr.Ron

  8. 15a was my LOI and favourite from a worthy selection of very pleasant clues. Nohing terribly difficult but plenty of fun to be had during the solving process.

    Many thanks to our Monday morning setter and to the YMP for an entertaining blog.

  9. Except for 20a and 16d relatively straightforward. Had heard of 16d but it took some dragging out.
    Thanks to setter & MP for gettkng the day off to a good start.

  10. Yes, good start to the week. I did like 17. Luckily I had heard of 16 although it was tempting to put in GRAND DAD, which of course wouldn’t parse.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  11. 2*/2.5*. A pleasant diversion on a chill Monday morning, and considerably more fun than my next task – trying to find out why Mrs RD’s car won’t start.

    While we in the UK keep our cards close to our chests, our friends across the pond keep their cards close to their vests. In fact, today, the US version is definitely preferable – I should have put a vest on.

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP.

      1. Ah yes, Angellov, I had forgotten that Americans use the word vest to mean waistcoat.
        Vest and pants (US) = waistcoat and trousers (UK). :wacko: Easy to get confused.

  12. 16d unknown to me, otherwise nice steady solve. My favourite was 25a – made me smile. Thanks MP and setter.

  13. Not much more to add to the comments above, very pleasant and completed at a fast gallop – **/***.

    Favourite 4d, a little hesitation before the penny dropped on the rook not being the bird variety.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI.

  14. Agree that this was a nice gentle start to the week. I’ve not heard of 16D either. No favorites –I just enjoyed it all. Thanks to today’s setter and Miffypops.

  15. Agree an easy start….never heard of 16a so thanks for explaining …also struggled with 15a….although the thesaurus agrees with the answer, so one for me to learn! Thanks to setter and MP!

    Q. What/where does the quickie pun refer to? Is it something in the grid or clues I’m not spotting?

    1. That’s a frequently asked question. The DT has a quick crossword under the cryptic crossword – the first two (or sometimes more) clues form a pun when read out. Sometimes (more often than not on a Tuesday) the bottom row of the quick crossword has a pun too

      1. Thanks CS….I’m printing from online subscription…no wonder I couldn’t spot the source! Ken.

  16. This was pretty straightforward and quite enjoyable. I remembered 16d vaguely but thank you for the hints, which reassured
    me. 20a was solvable but rather inelegantly phrased. No complaints otherwise.

  17. That was a joy on this ‘Blue Monday’ particularly after yesterday’s graft. Thought 9a rather far-reaching.16d new to me as was 8d although that had to be. I liked 27a and 5d (having lived in an apartment block in NY some years ago). Thank you Mysteron and MP. I too had planned to witness the lunar eclipse 🌘🌙 but failed to wake so was relieved to discover cloud cover had obscured most of the event.

  18. Nothing to frighten the horses with today’s crossword. Yep! 16d was a new term for me too. No real standouts, but a good start to the week.
    Thanks to the setter,and to MP for his review.

  19. All went in nicely until 16dn. Thanks MP for settling the matter. 10ac was also new to me.

  20. Not greatly difficult I thought but enjoyable nonetheless. Took a little while to fully parse 4d which I though was quite clever. Not sure 11a could be considered cryptic. But as its my 71st birthday I am not going to complain!
    Keep up the good work of the blog.
    Thx to all.

    1. Brian,
      Have a ***** birthday 🎂 your cake will be nearly as big a fire hazard as mine was.

      1. Knowing you have admitted to 80+ and having read the other week of the cruciverbalist still solving when 100 I wonder who is the oldest contributor to the site?

        1. Up to a couple of years ago we had a fairly regular poster called Derek who was in his early 90s but I can’t recall seeing a contribution from him for quite some while.

          1. I decided to search the site and I found a comment from Derek on January 17th 2016 which was his 92nd birthday. It would be nice to think he is still going strong and, if so, he has just celebrated his 95th!

            1. So do I. I think he must be no longer with us or unable to manage the crossword. He usually told us what he was cooking for dinner and often had fruit and cream for afters

    2. Many happy returns Brian. My mother-in-law is 92 and still does The DT cryptic every day. She is a complete whizz. If I get stuck, I give her a call before I check the review. She reads this site, but despite doing her weekly shop on her iPad, I haven’t managed to get her to sign in yet!

    3. I had a client who was over 100, who used to do the crossword every day, with some help from her son over the phone.

  21. Late start AGAIN today, bloody cold and I’m like molasses in winter.
    Loved it all, though didn’t know 10a, a quick google explained it.
    I can’t chose a fave, too much choice.
    Thank a lot to our Monday setter and to M’pops for his enjoyable hints and tips.

      1. I’m terrible at identifying setters but 20a, 5d and 16d have a flavour of your side of the pond. Don’t think that would be Navy’s style.

        1. You’re dead right, of course. Wishful thinking, I so enjoyed her offering, and being only 16 made me admire her even more.

  22. I quite enjoyed this one.
    Like others I’d never heard of 16d and, although I had heard of 10a I’d forgotten it, again.
    Not many anagrams and no lurkers – well, either that or I’ve missed it/them.
    Looking at it all again I thought there were some good clues – 17 and 23a and 6 (of course), and 8d. My favourite was 4d.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to the youthful MP.
    Off to have a go at Mr Rookie now.

  23. As above , gentle until 15a and 16d , joint favourites..

    Happy Bithday Brian .

    Thanks to everyone .

  24. Enjoyed the crossword today 😃 **/*** that is apart from 16d which I could not solve, even with MP’s excellent hint 😟 Favourites 8d & 28a 🤗 Thanks to MP, thanks for the music (where have I heard that before?) and to the Setter and Happy Birthday to Brian who is nowt but a lad! 😉

  25. Definitely a great start to the week. All went in apart from 16d, never heard that term before. Thanks to setter and Miffypops.
    As Merusa mentioned above, unusually cold here this morning, and had to cover budding orchids with sheets and towels last night in the hope they won’t sulk and drop their promised flowers. Even our car was out of sorts, with dash warning of low tire pressures. As the settings are for our normally hot weather, it definitely didn’t like this cold front.

  26. Nice start to a Monday morning until coming up against 16d. Never heard of it and for me it spoilt a very pleasant crossword.

  27. A lovely start to the week, only stumped by the poker term – never heard it before. Thanks LROK for recommending Rick Broadbent’s book, a cracking read.
    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  28. I managed to get 16d from the wordplay, but had to google it to understand it. I was particularly missing a few marbles when it came to 15a, thinking that the definition was “missing book”. What was I thinking? The clue was straightforward. I just lost the plot. Many thanks setter and the youthful MP.

    1. 15ac was my last one in and I started writing the hints before I had saved it. Normally I complete before I start.

  29. I didn’t know the answer to 16 down but my husband got it straight away which is a bit worrying!

  30. 16a left me stumped so thanks MP for that. Assume you will miss out on Blues v Cov on Saturday. Shame as I was looking forward to finding you. Have a good time at the bash. Here’s to revenge for the earlier defeat.

    1. I see Big Dave has already set the date of next years Birthday Bash. Coventry Rugby Clubs fixtures obviously have no bearing on the matter. The first Birthday bas I attended co-incided with an away match at Richmond so I left and came back again after the game. The toddler group I drink and sit with will all be at Goldington Road. Not me though. Gwarn Cov!

  31. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. All quite straightforward, but I was completely beaten by 15a & 16d, had never heard of the latter, I would have said “stick” as in Pontoon, still, it’s nice to learn about Poker. No real favourites. Was 3*/2* for me.

  32. I’m with the majority with 16d. Only got to this today as busy yesterday. Did get it however as first word had to be what it is and limited options for the second. Penultimate one in was 27a as took me a while to parse. Too many favourites to mention.

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