DT 28956 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28956

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28956

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where it has been snowing all day (I’m writing this Wednesday evening local time). By the time I awake tomorrow, the weatherman is 1d for the precipitation to go from snow, to freezing rain, to rain, and back to snow again. I spent over two hours this afternoon clearing snow and by the time I had finished there was enough new snow on the ground that I could have started over again had I been so inclined. God knows what mess will greet me in the morning.

While I will say that this puzzle was not set by RayT, I will not venture a guess as to who did set it. While I found the puzzle very enjoyable, I also found it very challenging (I think the enjoyment factor would have increased had I not solved it under a ticking blogging clock). Perhaps those with a better knowledge of London geography and British quiz shows would have found it less testing.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Dirty ancient moat in ruins (11)
CONTAMINATE — anagram (in ruins) of ANCIENT MOAT

7a   East European, not fan, regularly dismissed Italian food (7)
POLENTA — Crosswordland’s favourite East European followed by NoT fAn with a regular sequence of letters removed (regularly dismissed)

8a   Loud yob turned on defiant person (7)
FLOUTER — the musical notation for loud, a young man exhibiting unacceptable behaviour, and the reversal (turned) of a preposition denoting on or concerning

10a   Decorate a foul docked boat (8)
TRIMARAN — string together a word meaning to decorate (a Christmas tree, perhaps), the A from the clue, and a truncated (docked) word meaning offensively strong in smell


11a   There’s nothing in it for cleaner (6)
VACUUM — double definition, the first being a bit cryptic

13a   Stated function for token (4)
SIGN — this token sounds like (stated) a common trigonometric function

Sine (wave)

14a   Manage a day with man around home (10)
ADMINISTER — link together the A from the clue, D(ay), and a form of address for a man which envelops (around) the usual short word meaning (at) home

16a   Disheartened luvvy is upset with fee, strangling female in OTT manner (10)
EFFUSIVELY — the first step is to form a charade of LUvVY with its middle letter removed (disheartened), IS and (with) FEE; the second step is to find an anagram (upset) of the result from step 1; the third step is to wrap the result from step 2 around (strangling) F(emale)

18a   Tool setting diamonds into stripped hazel (4)
ADZE — a card suit is inserted into hAZEl after the outer letters are removed (stripped)


21a   Asians initially in raptures, when receiving TV panel show (6)
IRAQIS — the initial letters of In Raptures followed by a short conjunction meaning when into which a quite interesting British quiz show has been entered

22a   View sand shifting in theatrical movement (4,4)
SWAN DIVE — anagram (shifting) of the first two words of the clue; this theatrical movement occurs not on the stage, but on the rugby pitch

Swan Dive

24a   Locate part of muscle, taut: issue’s back (7)
SITUATE — a lurker, not only hidden (part of), but reversed (back)

25a   Implements one used to cut fruit (7)
APPLIES — a Roman one inserted into a fruit that caused grief to 3d

26a   They’re tight mass, fish in confines of cans (11)
CHEAPSKATES — place an untidy mass and a “winged” fish inside the borders or boundaries (confines) of CanS


1d   Predicting the outcome of  vocation (7)
CALLING — double definition; the act of predicting might precede a football match

2d   Martial artists primarily needed in shark film, not Western (6)
NINJAS — concatenate the primary letter of Needed, IN from the clue, and the title of a 1975 film from which W(estern) has been removed

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

3d   Believe in West Ham  pairing from the beginning (4,3,3)
ADAM AND EVE — double definition, the first a bit of Cockney argot

Adam and Eve

4d   Dope, lamebrain, fool — not all there! (4)
INFO — the second lurker of the day, this one facing forward

5d   Perfumed woman leaving case in lorry (8)
AROMATIC — wOMAn removing the outer letters (case) aboard a multi–sectioned transport vehicle

6d   Commend hospital department getting on top of fungal disease (7)
ENTRUST — the most heavily used department of the Crosswordland hospital followed by a scourge of gardeners; the definition is used in an archaic sense

7d   Mushy peas I resist in shops (11)
PATISSERIES — anagram (mushy) of PEAS I RESIST


9d   Unmerciful soldiers scrap on eastern ship (11)
REMORSELESS — line up the sappers, a scrap of food, E(astern), and the usual sailing ship

12d   Gas emitted by people in bed? (6,4)
PILLOW TALK — a cryptic definition; this gas is not emitted from the orifice one might first suppose

Pillow Talk

15d   Developing site, friend causes possible damage (8)
ESTIMATE — an anagram (developing) of SITE followed by a friend or companion; at risk here is one’s financial resources

17d   Note in former European money beside oneself (7)
FRANTIC — a musical note inserted into a pre-euro currency

19d   Stand that is first to sell flowers (7)
DAISIES — a charade of a speaker’s platform, the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’, and the first letter of Sell


20d   Alternative to pink fluid container (6)
INKPOT — anagram of (alternative)TO PINK

23d   Buzzer with quiet sound (4)
BEEP — a buzzing insect followed by the musical direction for quiet

Without a doubt, the standout clue for me was 12d.


65 comments on “DT 28956

  1. I took a while to get going on this one but finished in the sort of time I’d expect on a Thursday whoever set it

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and to Falcon

  2. 12d was absolutely the COTD, possibly of the year so far. I also really liked 3d and 11a. Overall this was a pleasantly testing puzzle that delivered on the enjoyment as well. Great fun and hugely rewarding to complete.

    Thanks very much to our setter and to Falcon.

  3. This was a nice, tricky challenge with many entertaining clues and answers amongst which 11a, 26a, 15d and 20d. But joint gold medals go to 3d and 12d for me.

  4. Excellent all round and a ***/**** for me, no outlandish clues or strange words. Lots of charades, right up my street- thanks setter
    12d must be a favourite of many and nice to see Doris again- thanks Falcon big fan!
    10a seems to have appeared frequently of late

  5. Loved it with 3D my favourite just ahead of a few others .

    Hope the weather in Ottawa , a lovely City ,improves soon .

    Thanks to everyone .

  6. Got off to a slow start with this one and never reached anything beyond walking pace. Didn’t know 22a so had to wait for all the checkers to fall into place.

    12d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the blog. Don’t envy you all that snow clearing!

  7. A slow start, but then everything fell into place very nicely. The enjoyment of the puzzle grew as I progressed.

    3*/4* for me. Both 3d and 12d got a thumbs up. Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon.

  8. An element of head-scratching was called for today but it was a thoroughly enjoyable exercise. 4d abbreviation seems to be a regular these days. 11a and 12d tie for Fav. Thank you Mysteron and Falcon.

  9. I needed a hint or two to complete this but what a cracking puzzle full of top quality clues, 3d, 26a and the brilliant 12d foremost amongst them. On the other hand I’d never seen dope (4d) used in the context of the clue and couldn’t even attempt the parsing of 16a so I take my hat off to Falcon for doing it and for his review in general. Thanks to setter too 4*/3*

    Looking forward to saying hello to everyone at the bash by the way 😊

  10. 7 down was a painful reminder of some shares of mine which have just tanked. Otherwise enjoyable and tougher than yesterday. Thanks to the snow-bound Falcon and to the setter.

  11. Lots to like in this puzzle, completed well within single cafettier time so dogs got a longer walk. Off to Amsterdam for a couple of days. Favourites 5d and 14a. I am expecting a atinker any day now! Have a great Birthday Bash.
    Thanks to Falcon and Mr Ron,

  12. 2.5*/4*. Great fun! About three quarters of the way through I suspected a pangram, but it turned out to be a “pangra” (or perhaps a “penpangram”).

    12a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter (proXimal perhaps? – could that be the missing X?!) and to Falcon.

    P.S. Falcon, your picture for 22a shows Chris Ashton performing a Swallow Dive (much criticised at the time by the England coach), but I guess a 22a is something similar.

    1. After a bit of research, I discover that ‘swan dive’ is the North American term for ‘swallow dive’.

      1. Tsk! Tsk! An unindicated Americanism.

        I’d never heard of it but didn’t bother to look it up as the answer was so obvious. I see it’s not in my BRB at all, but it is in Collins on-line and, as you say, is ascribed as being a US / Canadian term.

  13. This enjoyable puzzle took me longer than maybe it should’ve done. Had no problems starting but slowed down in the mid part and speeded up at the end….

    Thanks to Falcon and setter 3*/4*

  14. Some great clues as others have noted, especially 3d, 12d and 24a. Couple of nice anagrams too (20d and 22a).

    Let down, IMHO, by 16a which is surely the most convoluted clue of the year thus far – thank you Falcon for the parsing although I’m still not 100% sure I get it. Don’t recall seeing “not all there” used as a lurker indicator but I guess it’s self-explanatory.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the commentary.

  15. Thanks to Falcon for explaining the parsing or 21a. Top half went straight in, but the rest was much slower. 3d went in OK, but I completely missed the rhyming slang.

  16. This was challenging but very enjoyable, with some unusual clues. Thanks to Falcon for reassuring me that I had parsed 16a correctly. As one born within the sound of Bow Bells, I found that 3d was my favourite.

  17. A humdinger for me with a little cheat at the end for 8a which I could not see.
    A few too many flat-pack clues like 16a which I am not over keen on.
    One of the best DT crosswords that I have tackled for a while.

  18. Took a good while, but enjoyed the wit of this puzzle – especially 3,12, and 15d. Thanks to all.

    1. A perfect example of the type of clue that I look at and thing ‘what the heck do I do to explain that’ Just the sort of clue Kath is referring to at comment 27 when she says she is glad it was Falcons turn to review today’s puzzle.

  19. I especially enjoyed most of the surfaces: these are the kind of clues that sort the wheat from the chaff, not among the ‘solvers’ but among the ‘setters’.

    I did get myself into a pickle when I disheartened luvvy by all of the middle letters, not just the one…….this was tortuous.

    I ended up discussing the scientific aspects of swan diving with my OH, which was previously a mystery to me. Apparently it’s not just the extra distance achieved, but the awkwardness of tackling that renders it effective, albeit theatrical. Who knew?
    I expect a lot of you did.

  20. Morning/afternoon people.Thanks to the setter and Falcon. It took me a while but thoroughly enjoyable, I chuckled at 12d in particular.

    Falcon we feel and share your pain. Went away to Kingston for a couple of days, fir my birthday, lovely dinner at the Keg which I topped off by slipping on the steps on the way out, spun and cracked my head on the ground missing the nice soft snow bank and flashing my knickers. Very embarrasing! Then yesterday a regular visit to Hotel Deiu which unfortunately not an hotel but a place I go a few times a year to get a poke in the eye. I’m serious LOL.Happily things are moving slowly so I will be able to enjoy the crosswords and this site for a good while yet.

    Then, Falcon I know you what this is like, a hair-raising drive on the 401 Kingston to Belleville en route to Marmora in heavy snow, then freezing rain, then rain and back to snow again. Lorries and cars in the ditch and central reservation but still some idiots were going way over the speed limit, including lorries which I thought have speed limiters. Got home. We have a long, very steep driveway. First we had to clear the mountain dumped by the snowplough on the road, then attempted to scale Everest. Got half way, so dragged cases up in shin deep snow. LSH went to work at 5.45 a.m. and when he comes home will try to figure out why the snowblower won’t start or we will be both be out again shovelling!
    Yes, I did immigrate on purpose and yes, I love it here but sometimes……

    Apolgies for rabbitting on. Feel free to edit Big Dave.

    1. Ouch! I hope the knock on the head did not result in a concussion.

      I know Kingston and the Hotel Dieu well having studied at Queens for a couple of years. Before the 416 was built, I used to pass through Marmora en route to Toronto.

      Your adventure puts my efforts to shame. I was over two hours clearing a relatively flat 60-foot suburban driveway (actually two driveways, as I also did my next door neighbour’s) with a snowblower (albeit a fairly small one). I certainly would not relish the thought of tackling a steep country driveway without a snowblower — or even with my puny little machine.

      1. Well if you ever go through Marmora again turn left at the traffic lights and we are exactly 4.5K down the road on the left. A geodesic dome. No concussion, loss of dignity but heck I have a degree in Klutz.

        Thanks also to Rabbit Dave!

    2. St Sharon and I stayed in Kingston on a Rugby football tour. I remember playing against a side from a military academy. Lovely lakeside hotel. Lots of alcohol.

  21. Phew! That was tough. I ended up with 6 answers that I didn’t fully understand (5d, 24a, 15d, 21a, 19d and 20d) but Mrs B spent a fruitful 10 minutes unpicking the clues (she is very good at that).
    Two super clues in 11a and 12d. One of those hard puzzles that are not really enjoyable but are very satisfying to finish. My brain hurts!
    Thx to all

    1. PS You Canadians have had a rough winter to date, our friends in Barrie tell me its -20o (not sure if that’s C or F) but whatever its damn cold! Looking forward to see them in July, hope the snow has gone by then :-)

  22. Found this on the tricky side of difficult ****/**** 😳 but very enjoyable for all that 😃 Spent a considerable amount of time in the SE corner 🤔 Favourites 11a & 12d Big thanks to Falcon and to the Setter

  23. So we weren’t the only ones searching the grid for a missing X. Really good fun and nice to see our favourite TV panel show in 21a.
    All good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  24. Quite tricky – I like the proXimal theory, and the logic behind it – maybe he’ll call in if it’s one of his.
    I got into all kinds of difficulties today.
    16a was a mystery for a long time until I realised that it was only the middle letter of ‘luvvy’ that we were meant to be taking out.
    Never heard of 22a – swallow, yes, but not swan and thought it was diving into the swimming pool – my sister did amazing swallow dives.
    Missed the 24a reversed lurker.
    I didn’t know that West Ham was in the East End – thought it was a football club. Oh dear!
    Just to finish off my muddle I got 13a the wrong way round and spelt it like the mathematical function.
    All in all this wasn’t my finest day but very enjoyable anyway.
    My favourite was 12a.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and thanks and much admiration to Falcon – glad it was you today.

    1. Your are correct, Kath, the dive is supposed to be done in a swimming pool. That’s why it’s considered “theatrical” when done on the rugby pitch.

    1. Thank you for a tough but fair challenge fo a middle-of-the-roader like me.
      Satisfying, diverting and amusing.
      3d 12d and 11a super head scratchers.
      Thanks to Falcon for sorting out 21a the hint was sorely needed.

    2. Thanks for popping in. It always adds that personal touch, and an opportunity to thank you for an enjoyable diversion.

  25. Tricky but hugely enjoyable. I knew my 3d was right from the second half of the clue, but no idea why the first part was there.
    I also had no idea why 21a was right but, thinking it was a pangram, needed the “q”.
    My fave was also 12d.
    Thanks to proXimal for the entertainment and to Falcon for his hints, needed for unravelling a couple.

    1. See, I knew you were smarter than me. I filled in half and then too busy today to struggle on, so threw in the towel. Perhaps I can blame it on fracturing my skull when I managed to tip my high chair over at 18 months old, oops.

  26. A very nice crossword indeed! 12d was obviously an excellent clue but my favourite was 25a.
    Thanks to ProXimal, and to Falcon for the snowbound review.

  27. Enjoyable puzzle. I did give a load guffaw (from the correct orifice) at 12d so much so that I got a few sideways glances from colleagues round the coffee break room. Also guilty of gutting luvvy completely which made the answer a bit of a bung in. Thanks to Falcon for a amusing review and ProXimal for a top notch puzzle.

  28. Thanks to Proximal and to Falcon for the review and hints. When I started this, I thought it was a Toughie, but eventually I managed to complete it. I liked 3d, it was a real penny drop moment when I got it. Favourite was 12d, what a super clue. Thoroughly enjoyable. Was 3*/4* for me.

  29. I new that 22a must be an anagram, but couldn’t get it. Not until I noticed my dyslectic spelling of daisy🙂

  30. Found it difficult but clunky … started late and impossibles became possible next morning as they usually do …21a was last filled in.. not sure what QI is.. favourite clue..? Nothing special I’m afraid..🤔

  31. 3*/4*…
    liked 11A (there’s nothing in it for cleaner) and 12D (gas emitted by people in bed?).

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