DT 28957 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28957

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28957

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a damp, grey South Staffs.

I was racing through today’s Giovanni until coming to a sudden halt in the southern half of the puzzle, with one word I’d never heard of (17d) and another I couldn’t parse (26a). Teasing out those two pushed me well into *** time.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


8a           In sea with rickety canoe, one getting cold (7)
OCEANIC – Anagram (rickety) of CANOE, followed by the Roman numeral for one and Cold.

10a         Italian in a crowd at match creates stir (7)
AGITATE – A (from the clue) and another word for the paying crowd at a match wrapped around an abbreviation for Italian.

11a         Son least heavy, carrying least weight? (9)
SLIGHTEST – An abbreviation for Son followed by ‘least heavy’.

12a         Rod for fish (5)
PERCH – Double definition, the first being an old measure also known as a pole.

Image result for perch fish

13a         Beastly noise coming from gran, eighty (5)
NEIGH – Hidden in the clue.

14a         Wife has jumper, something very large (7)
WHOPPER – An abbreviation for Wife followed by a description of something which moves by jumping.

17a         I’m mingling with countrymen etc. in local meeting place (9,6)
COMMUNITY CENTRE – Anagram (mingling) of I’M and COUNTRYMEN ETC.

19a         ‘Citizenship’ at school maybe for UK citizen? (7)
SUBJECT – Double definition: a term for a school lesson, whether ‘Citizenship’ or ‘English’; and the relationship of a UK citizen to Her Majesty.

21a         Makes a protest, there being barriers (5)
RAILS – Double definition: a verb for ‘makes a verbal protest’; or a noun describing the barriers at the side of a racecourse, perhaps.

24a         Must die? (5)
MOULD – Double definition: the first is a noun for something which is stale or musty: the second is also a noun, and is something used to make a casting.

26a         Boy getting so cruel gets by (9)
HEARTLESS – This is the clue which took me longest to parse. To turn BOY (from the clue) into BY (from the clue) you have to remove the middle letter. In crossword terms this makes ‘boy’ this synonym for ‘cruel’.

27a         Drink that’s nastier when poured out (7)
RETSINA – Anagram (poured out) of NASTIER. Some would say that this is also an all-in-one clue!

28a         Italian port’s birds, small number coming in (7)
GENOESE – Some birds which come in a gaggle or skein, wrapped around an abbreviation for number.


1d           Relation with a bit of money entertaining you and me (6)
COUSIN – A metallic piece of money wrapped around the pronoun for ‘you and me’.

2d           Designer Jean and I were first up in a state of ecstasy (8)
DELIRIUM – Put together the surname of a 20th-century British fashion designer whose first name was Jean. I (from the clue), and ‘were first’ (in a race while it was going on), then reverse the result (up, in a Down clue).

Image result for jean muir

3d           Where the roofer may be working for no money (2,3,5)
ON THE HOUSE – An expression for something which comes at no cost could also describe where you would find a roofer working.

4d           A cat’s peculiar habits — they may be conveying a cry for help! (9)
CASTAWAYS – Anagram (peculiar) of A CAT’S followed by a synonym of ‘habits’.

5d           Feeble border penetrated by a thousand (4)
LIMP – Another word for a border (of a cup, perhaps) wrapped round the Roman numeral for a thousand.

6d           Governor of bits round area to the north (6)
SATRAP – Start by wrapping some bits or components around an abbreviation for Area, then reverse the result to get an ancient Persian governor.

7d           He’s a sore struggling swimmer (8)
SEAHORSE – Anagram (struggling) of HE’S A SORE.

Image result for seahorse

9d           Gang somewhere in Cheshire finishing early (4)
CREW – A famous railway town in Cheshire with its final letter removed.

15d         Thinking too much of maiden maybe, sailor goes under (10)
OVERRATING – A cricket term for a set of six deliveries which may or may not be described as a maiden, followed by a naval sailor who is not an officer.

16d         Is something soiled so inexpensive? (4,5)
DIRT CHEAP – An expression for something very inexpensive which may suggest that the price is so low you can scrape it off the ground.

17d         Aromatic plant involved girl in expense (8)
COSTMARY – Split the answer (4,4) and you have ‘involved (someone) in expense’ and a girl’s name. Put together you have Chrysanthemum balsamita, described in the BRB as ‘a composite plant of S Europe grown for its fragrant leaves and used as a seasoning and to flavour ale’. I’d never heard of it.

Image result for costmary

18d         Merriest nuts in boats (8)
TRIREMES – Anagram (nuts) of MERRIEST to get some Ancient Greek warships.

20d         Reward offered for ship commandeered by rebels (6)
BOUNTY – This term for a reward was also the name of the naval ship commanded by Captain Bligh.

22d         Nun entertained by monks is terrified (6)
SISTER – Hidden in the clue.

23d         Seaweed‘s flavour (4)
TANG – Double definition, the first being a type of coarse seaweed, the second a pungent flavour or the hint of a flavour.

25d         Get rid of noise, internal ring (2,2)
DO IN – A word for noise or uproar wrapped around a ring-shaped letter.

Off to London this afternoon, where I hope to see some of you tonight, and others tomorrow at the Birthday Bash, though another commitment means I shall be late arriving.

The Quick Crossword pun LOOSE + HEEL = LUCILLE

50 comments on “DT 28957

  1. 2.5*/2*. I can’t do better than quote DT. “I was racing through today’s Giovanni until coming to a sudden halt in the southern half of the puzzle, with one word I’d never heard of (17d) and another I couldn’t parse (26a)”.

    17d was not helped by the nebulous “girl”, but after reading DT’s explanation of the devious 26a, that one gets my vote as favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  2. The only thing that held me up in this exceedingly solver-friendly Giovanni was parsing 26a but even so it didn’t take long

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT (see you tomorrow)

    PS Did anyone else when solving 12a think of those old exercise books with all the weights and measures on the back and think ‘rod, pole xxxxx’?

  3. Apart from 2 or 3 clues, this was mild for a G. The clues were technically fine and it was enjoyable enough – so no complaints from me. 17d was also new to me and I got 26a but couldn’t work the wordplay out properly. 2.5* / 3.5*

  4. Failed to parse 26a and 2d, there were only two obvious solutions, as 26 eluded me and I could not remember the designer in 2d until I read DT’s blog-thanks..
    Apart from the two above clues I enjoyed the solve.
    Nice to see the old Persian governor again.
    Liked 16d-can’t wait for the cricket !

  5. Came to a grinding halt on the same two as others and was also unaware of 23d being a seaweed.
    Rather liked the wife’s large jumper and the thought of a roofer working for no money!

    Thanks to DG and to DT – look forward to seeing you this evening.

    1. I vaguely knew of the seaweed but looked it up anyway, and I was surprised to see how many meanings that word covers, a bit like “pink” the other day.

  6. I started well with this puzzle but got rather tied up with the last few. I have never heard of the aromatic plant at 17d and tried to put an anagram of girl into cost. The roofer wasn’t on the tiles but the easy anagram at 17ac soon put him right. 19ac held me up until I remembered a similar clue from early in my blogging days. The Italian port was unknown to me. I thought all Port wines came from Portugal. 2d? Who knows anything about designers? Why did I confuse stowaways with castaways? 26ac I just about convinced myself it was boy = He. Cruel = Artless but I am glad to see a better explanation from Deep Threat. Not my best puzzling day by a long shot.

  7. A very good end to the work week completed at a fast canter – **/***.

    Some head scratching over ‘Designer Jean’ and the ‘Aromatic plant.’

    Favourite – 19a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT – especially for explaining 26a; I had the same thoughts as Miffypops.

  8. 26a Boy getting so cruel gets by (9)

    HEARTLESS – My take on this is that BY is the HEARTLESS version of BOY, i.e. the heart of the word BOY has been removed.

    1. Welcome (back?) to the blog Chris

      If you reread Deep Threat’s hint you will see that is what he is saying – our guidelines for hinting mean that we have to avoid using the answer in the hint.

      1. Thanks Dave. It’s good to be back. You’re absolutely right – I was thrown by Deep Threat’s final comment “In crossword terms this makes ‘boy’ this synonym for ‘cruel” which I took literally.

  9. Like others, I was tempted to write “it was straightforward apart from 3 or 4 clues”, when I realised I wasn’t making sense…..
    ……..oh yes, the flight was marvellous, apart from the last bit with the left wing falling off and a few holes in the fuselage.
    You either finish the journey, or you don’t.

    Anyway, this was typically Giovanni (although he’s been a bit more lenient for the last few weeks) – at least two or three GK answers you had to look up and the rest a nice balance of anagrams and all in ones.
    I enjoyed it a lot and I certainly prefer it to those “ Lego” type marathons.

  10. I had no problem with Jean Muir but no clue about the Persian governor.
    I had no problem with the Italian port but never heard of the aromatic plant.
    I got the ‘musty’ hint, but forgot about the cast. (bunged).

    My favourite by far was 26.

    Thanks to G and DT.

    1. The Persian governor is a bit of an oldie but goodie and worth remembering (provided that your memory is not already overloaded).

      1. Oh yes, I’ve given up hoping to remember any new (foreign) words…..
        I can barely retrieve the English ones I already have in there.

  11. I was baffled by the seaweed in 23d but had heard of 17d, which I know if as Tanacetum balsamita. It was used in mediaeval times both to flavor ale and to treat medical problems relating to women (hence the reference to the Virgin Mary). You may have heard of it as Alecost, one of it’s other names. Over all an enjoyable puzzle.

  12. I got 26a with the checkers in, but split it 2/7, Thanks DT for putting me right. 17d required electronic help. 2d last in as I have never heard of designer Jean. 24a was my fav.

    1. When we got married, our bridesmaids dresses were made by my mum from a Jean Muir pattern so I didn’t have any problems knowing or remembering her

      1. I remembered her from the patterns as well. I wonder if people still sew their own dresses from patterns anymore?

        1. My wife does, and will alter charity shop finds to fit, she can spot Monsoon and DKNY etc at 100 paces.

  13. Mostly OK but three clues were very tricky (apart from the two weird words in SATRAP and COSTMARY) 26a, 4d and 2d. Even with the hints it took some thinking to work out the wordplay and IMHO 26a was not a fair or reasonable clue for a backpage even though the answer was vastly more obvious than the clue. Did like 24a though.
    Thx to all

  14. Having tied my brain in knots in my futile attempts to unravel most of today’s Toughie, I’m thankful for something considerably more to my liking in this poser from The Don. 26 across was my stand out clue, with 3 and 16 down providing ‘lol’ moments. Very enjoyable – thank to Giovanni and also to DT.

  15. 26a was exceedingly devious and it took me ages to parse it. Probably my favourite as a result. The SE corner was last to fall otherwise it all went in very smoothly. An enjoyable solve all round.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  16. As usual a very entertaining offering from the Don. I didn’t know the Jean in 2d or was able to parse 26a – not that that stopped me bunging in the correct answers.

    I rather liked24a and 20d, but I must award a gold medal to 26a for its clever deviousness.

  17. Thanks so much, Deep Threat. Your clues were much needed today. I struggled with more than usual, even for me — basically all the ones others have already mentioned, plus a few more. I didn’t know the sailor in 15d, nor the drink in 27a.

    Favourites were 24a and 14a.

  18. ***/***. I started this at 4am due to continuing jet lag and finished with some question marks Having spent the morning and most of the afternoon taking one of my grandsons for a pretty wet outing I see from the comments I had the same head scratchers as others did. I got there but couldn’t parse two bung-ins. Thanks to DT for the explanations and the Don for a good challenge.

  19. Jean Muir ,,no problem! Irenember that she always wore navy and looked very elegant.
    17d was another thing and like most other people l had never heard of it.
    I reckon 26a was a very difficult clue to understand, but when the penny dropped..how clever!
    Have a lovely day tomorrow and thank you for your wonderful blog.

  20. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but had a few headscratch moments at the end. I couldn’t parse 26a either. Thought it may have been he+artless, but that didn’t work. Also had never heard of 17d, but guessed it from the wordplay. Hadn’t heard of the designer too. Favourite was 27a, which made me laugh. Was 2*/3* for me.

  21. Parsing 26a was our last task for this one. A clever construction. Luckily one of our team had heard of the 17d plant so no trouble there. Did not like 9d. ‘Somewhere in Cheshire’ is not very helpful to people not in the UK. We solved it easily enough though.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  22. Giovanni comes up trumps again with a “brill” challenge. Couldn’t think past rosemary for 17d but knew it was wrong due to 17a. 26a still baffles me. 6d new one on me. Second part of 4d seems rather broad. 27a not my favourite tipple by any means (pine needles and all that – yuck!). 2d no problem for me even though said designer died in 1995. 28a Fav. Thank you Giovanni and DT. Have fun tomorrow everyone – cheers.

  23. I enjoyed this but needed the hints to unravel some, e.g. 26a!
    I thought that 24a was spelt with the “u” when must and without the “u” when it was a die? I must look it up.
    I needed electronic help for 17d, never heard of it.
    Otherwise it was all very straightforward.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat, loved the music hall at 9d.
    Have fun tonight y’all, wish I could join you.

    1. Seems I’m wrong – there’s no “mold” in English and no “mould” in American. That’s solved that.

      1. There is a mold over here Merusa, but it has a capital M. Mold is a town in North Wales ;-) :-)

  24. I had the same experience as our blogger today. I managed to get the all answers correct thingy on the train to London for the bash but 17d was new to me and required a look at the online BRB to confirm and 26a remained unparsed until DT explained it. Other than that the rest seemed easier than normal for a Friday but I have yet to tackle Elgar’s toughie!
    Thanks again to DT and Gio

  25. Apart from 17d and 26a (of course) an excellent crossword. Once I realised the parsing of the latter it was my immediate favourite. The former was a bung-in however.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.
    Have fun tomorrow everyone!

  26. Well this one was tricky. I did enjoy it but I certainly didn’t romp through! I got 17d right because of the clue but could not believe that was a word until I googled it. Thanks for the photo too. Looks pretty. I was also flummoxed (gosh I love using that word!) by 26a and I am still baffled by the hint/explanation about boy. I did giggle at 14a.

    What I do love about crosswords in general and the cryptic ones in particular is that every week I learn something new. 17d for instance. Unfortunately I suspect my brain is in need of a defrag and I have no idea how to do that with my particular operating system, so I am pretty sure every time I learn something new, something else gets misfiled or lost Which explains why I can’t remember sometimes (often) why I went upstairs, or to the basement, or where I left my glasses. Hey it’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

  27. Is 26a unusual for having the clue in the middle? I bank on it being beginning or end. Got the answer (last in), but needed help to parse it.

    1. Welcome to the blog Graham.

      The construction is a bit unusual, but the clue is a sort of all-in-one, and I think the ‘so’ gives you a pointer to ‘cruel’ being the definition. But you are wuite right that the normal place to find the definition is at the beginning or end of the clue.

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