DT 28954 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28954

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28954

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  Today’s puzzle demonstrates that puzzles don’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable.  Those with time on their hands after completing this one might enjoy Dada’s Toughie offering or one or two of the recent Not The Saturday Prize Puzzles hosted on this very site.  Note that there’s a button at the bottom of the NTSPP pages that links to the review of each puzzle.

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    Locks cleaner in the bathroom? (7)
SHAMPOO:  A barely cryptic definition of something found in the bathroom for cleaning the locks on one’s head

5a    Criticised a couple of males in sleigh (7)
SLAMMED:  Insert A from the clue and two copies of the abbreviation for male in a mostly American word for a sleigh

9a    Animal -- one encapsulated by extraordinary horn (5)
RHINO:  The Roman one is contained by (encapsulated) an anagram (extraordinary) of HORN.  The entire clue also serves as a nice definition of this animal, so this clue can be read as a semi-all-in-one

10a   Large, overpriced piano swapped for clarinet, ultimately (9)
EXTENSIVE:  Another word for overpriced has the letter which is the musical abbreviation for piano swapped for the last letter of (… ultimately) of CLARINET

11a   Individual friend in my book (10)
PERSONALLY:  Put together synonyms of an individual and of a friend or supporter

12a   Stop heads of state trivialising every meeting (4)
STEM:  The initial letters of (heads of) the remaining words in the clue

14a   Running over before Saigon train's off (12)
ORGANISATION:  Running here is a noun.  It defines a word found as the crickety abbreviation for over placed before an anagram (…‘s off) of SAIGON TRAIN

18a   Ended nice novel, welcoming writer's lack of bias (12)
INDEPENDENCE:  An anagram (novel) of ENDED NICE containing (welcoming) a writing instrument

21a   The first man advanced and cuckoo retreated (4)
ADAM:  The single-letter abbreviation for advanced is followed by the reversal (… retreated) of cuckoo or crazy

22a   Supported aunt and agreed changes (10)
GUARANTEED:  An anagram (… changes) of AUNT AGREED

25a   Specialist from Switzerland mostly pleasant in greenish-blue (9)
TECHNICAL:  Specialist is being an adjective.  Find the answer it defines by fusing together the IVR code for Switzerland and all but the last letter (mostly) of a bland word meaning pleasant, and then put that lot inside a greenish-blue colour

26a   Little child with a large sum (5)
TOTAL:  A charade of a little child, A from the clue, and the clothing abbreviation for large

27a   Reply from Greeks oddly ignored small body of water (7)
RESPOND:  The even letters (… oddly ignored) of GREEKS are followed by a small body of water

28a   Departments send a subsidy back showing regret (7)
SADNESS:  The reversal (…back) of the first four words of the clue is hiding (showing) the answer



1d    Peels off  outfits (6)
STRIPS:  A double definition.  The outfits might be worn by a football team.  This is what can happen when you let the goalkeeper design his own 1d

2d    One entering a party removing top in titillation -- it creates a lot of buzz (6)
APIARY:  The Roman one makes its second appearance of the day, inserted in (entering) A PARTY from the clue after removing the first letter of (top in) TITILLATION

3d    Very softly hugging feverish old gran -- almost hard to take a picture (10)
PHOTOGRAPH:  Start by concatenating how you feel when feverish, the abbreviation for old, and all but the last letter (-- almost) of GRAN from the clue.  Very softly hugging indicates that we are to put the concatenation inside the usual musical abbreviation for very softly.  Finish by appending the pencil abbreviation for hard.

4d    Greek character's great with nothing on (5)
OMEGA:  The letter that looks like zero (nothing) precedes (on, in a down clue) an informal synonym of great or awesome

5d    A report is in place for space station, perhaps (9)
SATELLITE:  A from the clue and a verb synonym of report are joined and inserted in place or location.  The perhaps indicates that space station is a definition by example

6d    Relative to jeer at? Not at first (4)
AUNT:  A verb meaning “to jeer at” has its first letter deleted (not at first)

7d    Chief with volunteers in support (8)
MAINTAIN:  Chain together chief or most important, some usual military volunteers, and IN from the clue

8d    Fantasising in day about a Chinese dynasty (8)
DREAMING:  Assemble the abbreviation for day, a short word for about or concerning, A from the clue, and a well-known Chinese dynasty

13d   Female a distance away is enthralled (10)
FASCINATED:  The abbreviation for female is followed by an anagram (away) of A DISTANCE

15d   Northern big cat died after article's published (9)
ANNOUNCED:  Combine the single letter for northern, a usual big cat (the snow leopard), and the single letter for died, and put all of that after a grammatical article

16d   I'd pulled up small flower -- catastrophe! (8)
DISASTER:  The reversal (pulled up, in a down clue) of I’D from the clue is followed by the clothing abbreviation for small and a common flower seen in late summer and autumn

17d   Promotes  loans (8)
ADVANCES:  A fairly straightforward double definition

19d   Quiet  Yorkshire town (6)
SETTLE:  And another double definition.  A Yorkshire town often visited in crosswordland is also a verb meaning quiet or pacify

20d   Mature people from America strangely lust after diamonds (6)
ADULTS:  Cement together a single letter abbreviation for America, the playing card abbreviation for diamonds, and an anagram (strangely) of LUST

23d   Sounds like expensive car parts (5)
ROLES:  These parts in a play or a film sound like the informal name for a British maker of expensive SUVs

24d   Up-to-date Foreign Office details (4)
INFO:  A charade of a usual word for up-to-date or fashionable and the abbreviation for Foreign Office

Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  My favourite would be either 9a or 2d. Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  MINTS + SPIES = MINCE PIES

30 comments on “DT 28954

  1. I agree this was pretty straightforward but pleasingly enjoyable to solve. Some terrific clues, including 1a, 9a and 2d. My favourite, however, was 10a.

    Thanks very much to both Misters.

  2. I thought that this was pretty straightforward but pleasant – thanks to setter and Mr K (and special thanks for the Kirsty MacColl record).
    My ticks went to 1a, 11a and 2d.

    Another option for those with time on their hands is Arachne in the Guardian – not too difficult but a joy from start to finish.

  3. Busy day ahead so glad today’s cruciverbal challenge was comparatively undemanding. Not keen on abbreviations as per 9a and 24d. 19a was helped by Day 5 of the Great Rail Journeys advertisement alongside crosswords. Joint Favs 1a and 10a. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  4. Pleasant start to the week, some clever clues and some standard if you can call them that ones. Favouries 25a and 2d.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  5. Agree, an easy start this week. Liked 10a and 3d, but favourite was 25a.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  6. That was most enjoyable on a bitterly cold day here in Nottingham. No particular favourite today. Thanks to Mr K and the setter

  7. Enjoyable without being overly challenging. Nice mixture of clues with 2d COTD.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K.

  8. The biggest challenge of today’s puzzle was parsing some of the longer “bitty” clues. I didn’t find it quite as easy as some of our earlier bloggers but that’s probably because I’m not as good or as experienced as them.
    I’m going for 2*/2* with 10a and 11a the clues that I liked best.

    Many thanks to setter and to Mr K for his excellent review.

  9. I made hard weather of this puzzle today ,particularly the nw corner, so going for a ***/***.
    Liked 3d when I eventually parsed it!
    Thanks to Mr K for the specialist pic-hope he didn’t mix radial with crossply !

  10. This didn’t feel like the work of one of our regular Tuesday setters but was enjoyable enough.
    Favourite was definitely Mr K’s pictorial review!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K for the blog.

  11. Straightforward and very enjoyable which enabled completion at a fast gallop – 1.5*/3.5*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 3d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  12. A breeze on a cold damp day here. I had question marks against 1ac and 25 ac, but all makes sense now. Now on to Dada!

    Thanks setter and Mr K

  13. No real problems but quite an elegant puzzle I thought.
    Many thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday. Sorry I couldn’t return them at the time but Mrs B whisked me off for a birthday away day and an excellent dinner.
    Thx to all.

  14. An enjoyable way to start the day. My favourite was the animal with the extraordinary horn.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  15. A great puzzle for someone learning the art of the cryptic. Nicely written clues and a good variety of constructions but not too difficult. Very pleasant indeed. **/*** from me.

    16d was probably favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  16. Nice crossword with some clever clueing 😃 **/*** Favourites 9 & 11 across
    Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗 Enjoyed the music 🎸

  17. While I enjoyed this puzzle I did find it rather odd, in that I solved at least half of them and then looked to see how they fit the clues. Forgot the snow leopard, and didn’t know 1d was also an outfit. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  18. Made a major error today, printed off the toughie as well (having been hidden to do so in order to compare Dadas) then mixing them up and starting with the toughie. Oh dear, when I became mired and unable to finish, I realised my mistake, then I started the cryptic.
    Never mind, it was delightfully straightforward and enjoyable. The only problem I had was the Yorkshire town, needed Mr. K’s hint.
    Fave was 9a but 2d was close behind.
    Thanks to our setter and to Mr. K for his hints and pics, I always look forward to our feline friends.

  19. Pleasant solve that we enjoyed apart from 19d. Nice to meet our favourite crossword cat again in 15d.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  20. Not quite a.walk in the park (thank goodness) but still a pleasant challenge.
    No out and out favourite although 25a amused.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and pics.

    1. I’ve just returned from an actual walk in the park which was pleasant in its own way though grey and sleety (brr). Now thawing out with a cup of tea (purr).

  21. Easy enough generally but I did get hung up on a few to my shame. 2d last in and eluded me so had to resort to assistance. 28a took a while to see and what a solid inverse lurker it is. **/***
    Thanks setter and our cat lover friend.

  22. Pleasant and straightforward for me too, with lots of entertaining clues. Most enjoyable – I particularly enjoyed 21a with the cuckoo not being the bird and 25a which features the only two letter word beginning with ‘c’ allowed by Scrabble (or Classic Words!).
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  23. 2*/3*..
    liked 9A (animal — one encapsulated by extraordinary horn) & the picture in the

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