DT 28960 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28960

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28960

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Apologies for the bare-bones blog today, but I must catch an early flight.  If the plane has Wi-Fi I should be back later to upload some pictures and fix any typos.  [Edit circa 6PM :  illustrations now added.  Hope everyone likes cats].

Thanks to all 117 of you who contributed thoughts and well-wishes for the 10th Birthday Bash through several recent Tuesday blogs.  The response was so huge that making a card was out of the question, so instead at the bash I gave BD a book containing all your contributions.  You can download a PDF of that book by clicking here.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the the answer would be here buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  When there are pictures, clicking on one will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Summary established after excavation (6)
DIGEST:  The abbreviation for established comes after a synonym of excavation

4a    Good person, simple on reflection, loses temper? (6)
ERUPTS:  A concatenation of the usual abbreviated good person and simple or unadulterated is reversed (…on reflection)

8a    Irritant that could make everyone strangely green (8)
ALLERGEN:  A short word for everyone with an anagram (strangely) of GREEN

10a   Ranged around park (6)
GARDEN:  An anagram (around) of RANGED

11a   Eager to behead Welsh saint? (4)
AVID:  We’re instructed here to remove the first letter from (to behead) a Welsh saint

12a   Not the calculating type, instinctive about hesitation -- and another? (10)
INNUMERATE:  Instinctive or intrinsic is wrapped about the fusion of two short words that each express hesitation

13a   Unpredictably but properly entertaining start to rowboat race at sea (12)
PRECARIOUSLY:  Properly or dutifully containing (entertaining) both the first letter of (start to) ROWBOAT and an anagram (at sea) of RACE

16a   Go over and back down again? (12)
RECAPITULATE:  Split (2-10) the answer could mean back down again

20a   Things given by old boy before booze-ups (10)
OBSESSIONS:  An informal meaning of things is given by the abbreviation for Old Boy placed before a word that could describe booze-ups

21a   Lone duck seen chasing Spanish sun (4)
SOLO:  The letter that looks like zero (the score corresponding to a duck in cricket) comes after (seen chasing) the Spanish word for sun

22a   Solve or create first of two clues occasionally (6)
SETTLE:  Put together create (a crossword, perhaps), the first letter of TWO, and the even letters (occasionally) of CLUES

23a   Observe detailed piece by art gallery (8)
SPECTATE:  A tiny piece or particle has its last letter deleted (… detailed) and a London art gallery appended

24a   Violently hurt by quiet bird (6)
THRUSH:  An anagram (violently) of HURT is followed by a interjection used to call for quiet

25a   Main songs? They're not heard by everybody (6)
ASIDES:  Split (1-5) the answer describes main songs from a time when songs came on 45 rpm discs



1d    Birth that might take 3-5 days (8)
DELIVERY:  What Amazon.com might tell you takes 3-5 days can also mean birth

2d    Craving? Regularly gorge on ends of rye bread (5)
GREED:  The odd letters (regularly) of GORGE precede (on, in a down clue) the last letters of (ends of) RYE BREAD

3d    So horse, reportedly, that is right, gets wetter (7)
SOGGIER:  Concatenate SO from the clue, two letters that are a homophone (reportedly) of a childish word for a horse, the Latin abbreviation for “that is”, and the single letter abbreviation for right

5d    Engineer Joe and me succeeded, creating rules (7)
REGIMES:  Cement together the usual military engineers, the prefix that identifies Joe as an American toy soldier, ME from the clue, and the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded

6d    Description of friend holding gold plate (9)
PORTRAYAL:  A (3) friend is containing (holding) both a usual heraldic abbreviation for gold and a big plate on which you might serve tea

7d    Seat is prepared for rest of the afternoon? (6)
SIESTA:  An anagram (… prepared) of SEAT IS

9d    Fools new in company, politician has surprised expression (11)
NINCOMPOOPS:  A charade of the abbreviation for new, IN from the clue, the abbreviation for a company, the abbreviation for a member of parliament, and an expression that could be uttered to express surprise

14d   Fish break into chippy (9)
CARPENTER:  Put together a freshwater fish and a word that can mean break into.  Chippy is an informal synonym of the answer

15d   The least dodgy sportspeople? (8)
ATHLETES:  An anagram (dodgy) of THE LEAST

17d   Exchanges around whiskey and nuts (7)
CASHEWS:  Exchanges a cheque, for example, is wrapped around the letter represented by whiskey in the NATO phonetic alphabet

18d   Samples  guinea pigs (7)
TESTERS:  A double definition.  Samples of make-up that one could try out in the shop, perhaps

19d   Complain -- the thing is ...? (6)
OBJECT:  Another double definition.  Here thing has its common meaning

21d   Stuffed, some diners ate dinner (5)
SATED:  The answer is hiding as part of (some…) the remaining words in the clue


Thanks to today’s setter Navy for a fun solve.  The definition in 7d made me smile, so that’s my favourite.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  COMMA + SHAWL = COMMERCIAL

109 comments on “DT 28960

  1. What an excellent puzzle giving maximum enjoyment. Too many favourite clues to list. Thanks to setter

  2. I may be in the minority this morning but this one did not really rock my boat. I cannot say why, but the style of clueing just did not suit me. I finished it in good time, but for me it lacked the usual enjoyment that I associate with back-pagers.

    Thanks anyway to the setter and Mr K.

  3. I thought this was excellent! A decent challenge with mostly good, concise clues and only single-word answers (rather reminiscent of Ray T), providing a really enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked 4a, 12a and 19d from a generally very good collection of fine clues. 3* / 4*

    1. PS. Mr K, 23a. I thought “detailed piece” was SPEC, a commonly used shortened form of specification – a detailed piece (of writing)/document which (for example) precisely describes the details of an invention for which a patent is sought. But I think your explanation is probably right.

      1. Thank you for the feedback. Re: 23A- yes, the way you parsed it would work. :) However my intention was for it to be parsed as described in the post.

        1. Thanks for replying – it’s good to hear directly from the setter. Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak!

      2. Hi, Jose. That was my first thought, but it seemed too simple and out of keeping with the style of the puzzle. So I started looking for something that could be de-tailed to fit the wordplay. Nice to see that hunch was right.

        1. And well done Mr K! Your campaign to persuade the setters to get directly involved with the dialogue on here has found a success – with at least one of them. Let’s hope a few others will follow suit – it’s really interesting/helpful when you get specific feedback from them.

  4. Well I did find the parsing difficult today, too many long words !
    Has to be a ****/*** for me.
    Last in was 4a-wanted to put gripes until I saw the light.
    Failed to parse 25a, I knew the answer but was thinking of sea shanties – thanks Mr K. As Deebee says too many favourites.

    1. Mixed reviews on the word length it seems- I wonder if in general, people prefer multiple short words in the longer slots, or longer words as I’ve used?

      1. No preference on single vs multiple in the long slots, but I do like to meet uncommon words and phrases that lend themselves to amusing definitions.

        1. Multiple every time for me. Often get the straightaway by looking at the pattern whereas the one word long answers can take me an age to solve and another age to parse. However this was a great crossword Navy. I thought 25a was a great clue once I had parsed it (thanks Mr K).

  5. Finished ok but not “my cup of tea” for no particular reason . Perhaphs just an off day for me .

    Liked 14d and 22a though .

    Thanks to everyone

  6. Well done, Lucy. I really enjoyed this and you flummoxed me with 25a. Surprised that you remember 45rpm. Many thanks to you and I look forward to your next offering. Thank you to Mr K also for decoding 25a.

    1. Did the origin not go back to 78s, before the new-fangled 45s came out in the ’60s?

      1. You’re right, LrOK. I’d associated the term with pop music, but Wikipedia confirms that it was used in the 78 era.

    1. Welcome from me as well. It didn’t occur to me, but yes, I’d say that TASTERS could also work for 18d.

  7. 1* / 4*. Another excellent example showing that a puzzle doesn’t need to be difficult to be enjoyable.

    The surface of 9d is a bit strained, but the answer is such a lovely word, and 18d is “same-sidey”. Those very minor comments aside, this was a joy from start to finish with the glorious 14d my favourite. 1d deserves a special mention too.

    Many thanks to the setter. I’ve a got a strong feeling I know who you are but I’m not going to risk my recent successful guess rate by going into print today.

    Many thanks too to Mr K.

    P.S. I typed that comment before going out to play squash and now that I’ve come to post it I see I was right! Thank you, Lucy, and well done again.

  8. Enjoyable very early morning puzzle. My jetlag continues. The puzzle wasn’t a stroll in the park for me and I had a few ah-ha moments. Thanks to all.

  9. I enjoyed this, good range of clues. 1a and 3d my last ones in – can’t really see why now.

    Did anyone else think there were two valid answers for 18d?

    Thanks to setter and Mr. K. Thanks, also, Mr. K for the pdf of the “card” for BD, I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

      1. I’ve just looked at your website, Lucy, and I’m astonished. I would never have guessed that a crossword of this quality could have been compiled by one so young. Congratulations and I very much look forward to your next offering.

    1. I too had a different answer for 17d.

      I gazed at this for about 10 mins with little solved and then suddenly I latched on and it was all over very quickly.

      Favourite was 25ac. LOI was 13ac which held me up until I looked for a different definition than ‘race at sea’!

      Thanks Navy (keep it up!) and Mr K

    2. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I mulled over the two options for some time before opting for the ‘wrong’ one. As a pen and paper solver I couldn’t use the try it and see option of the I pad. I’m even happier to see that the setter agrees about the two answers. I suppose one could count this as a tiny criticism of the crossword, but hey, at Navy’s age I couldn’t have solved have solved half of it, never mind set it. On the whole a very entertaining crossword, I’m looking forward to the next one already.

  10. I really enjoyed this one. Many thanks, Navy, and congratulations on another published puzzle!

    In addition to the definition of 7d, I particularly enjoyed “not the calculating type” (12a), 25a – I too was thinking the “main songs” would be sea shanties – and 19d.

    (The alternative for 18d also occurred to me, but the answer which seemed a better fit turned out to be the right one.)

    Thanks to the blogger too, of course. :)

  11. Much enjoyed super clued – absolutely on my wavelength – even the long words.
    By the way even in the NATO phonetic alphabet the Whisky is Scotch not Irish!!!
    Thanks to Setter and Mr K

    1. Isn’t the point about a phonetic alphabet [a system (used in voice communications) in which letters of the alphabet are identified by means of code words – Chambers] that the spelling doesn’t matter?

      1. I agree, and from my many years of serving HM I had assumed A was Alpha but apparently it is Alfa; however, it still sounds the same.

  12. I really enjoyed this, I like the uncomplicated style. I wouldn’t mind if the difficulty was cranked up a notch, but as RD rightly notes, difficulty and enjoyment don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

    Also enjoyed reading the book of massages, so thanks for that too, Mr K.
    Many thanks Navy Clues.

    1. Please don’t encourage anyone to increase the difficulty “a notch”. Soon we’ll have two toughies a day, then where would the likes of us tiny brains get our fun every day.

    2. The book of “massages” we obviously missed more than we thought at the Birthday Bash!

          1. Many photographs were taken, and I believe that some will be posted on the site soon. There probably won’t be any massage photos included though. :wink:

  13. Very enjoyable and entertaining completed at a gallop – **/****.

    In my book, there is nothing wrong with long single word answers with a collection of (easily) identifiable ‘Lego’ pieces such as 9d.

    Favourite – a toss-up between the aforesaid 9d (a delightful word) and 14d.

    Thanks and well done Navy and thanks to Mr K.

  14. An enjoyable puzzle with doable clues. Just right for a Tuesday. As for what ie preferred I would say just do your own thing and listen to your editor. You will never please all of the people all of the time. (ELO? Dearie Dearie Me)
    Thanks to Lacy Venus and thanks to Mr Kitty. The PDF is an entertaining read. Thanks for the thanks to those who commented

  15. Navy Clues has given us a corker. It was a barrow-load of fun throughout. Look forward to more of the same – or similar. So many clever clues from someone so young (a breath of fresh air). SW was last to fall. My Fav was probably 14d. Great as well to have the setter engage with us in the BD clan. Well done Lucy and may you go from strength to strength 👏 💐. Thanks also MrK.

  16. A very accomplished second back-pager from this setter.

    My favourite from today’s Navy clues was 14d for the wonderfully bizarre surface reading.

    Looking forward to the next one. Thanks Lucy and Mr K.

  17. 1.5*/4* for me last night. Great stuff. Apart from 14d and 9d as others have mentioned, I thought that 12a and 13a were worthy of a podium place. And I missed the clever “de-tailing” in 23a and just used the common term for a detail etc.

    Keep up the great work Lucy. You have a long crossword career ahead of you – if everything else in your Life allows you the time! And thanks to Mr K; hope the flight was ok.

  18. An enjoyable solve, I found the balance of long words mixed with shorter words that gave plenty of markers quite satisfying.

    Favourite was 4a for its pure simplicity, closely followed by 14d for the “of course” moment.

    LOI was 13a which I thought was quite devious.

    Thanks Navy for a delightful puzzle and Mr K for the hints.

  19. What a lovely way to start this freezing snowy day. I printed it last night but didn’t start it then. Waved Long Suffering Hubby off to work t 5.00 a.m. and went back to bed, cup of tea, cat and crossword! Yes I know, poor hubby, lucky me!

    I didn’t race through it, but slow and steady I got there. 24a got me hung up in the sea shanty direction until the penny dropped. 1d gave me a grin, having done that 3 times it does indeed feel like 3 to 5 days and that was without any assistance from the post office.

    I absolutely love 9d. Made me giggle out loud.

    Thank you to the setter and Mr. K- hope you had a good flight.

  20. Splendid stuff indeed. I’m with Rabbit Dave here and go for */**** with 14d favourite, for the rather bizarre concept of a fish breaking into the chip shop, or possibly 10a, for its elegant simplicity, but really there are too many great clues to pick out favourites. Better stop now or young Navy will be getting swell-headed :lol:

    On the subject of long answers, I have no preference for either long words or multiple short ones.

    Many thanks to Navy and Mr K.

  21. A very clever and amusing crossword 😃 **/**** My favourites 9 & 14d Thanks to Mr K and to Navy 👍 There was me thinking that the cryptic puzzle was not a younger generation thing 🤔 Well this certainly proves me wrong 😳

    1. Well done, Mr Crossword Editor, Chris Lancaster, for giving the opportunity to one so young to entertain us all.

  22. Yes, first rate crossword, tough (enough) but clever and fair…I also had the alternative answer for 18d…..

  23. Didn’t make proper sense of 1d until I came to the blog – obviously don’t order very often from Amazon. I also had the alternative answer for 18d – thinking more of food and drink than make-up!

    Very much enjoyed this one and gave the top three places to 25a plus 6&14d.

    Thank you, Lucy, and thanks to Mr K for fitting in another review to his hectic schedule.

  24. I had to rely on a couple of bung-ins to complete today’s puzzle, so thanks to Mr K for explaining the parsing required. For the rest of it a good work out with 25a being my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K.

  25. Can someone explain asides to me. 25 across. This is not a word I have ever come across and neither is bsides which might fit the clue better. Why aren’t either of these solutions not heard by everybody. Is either a 6 letter word?

    1. Jumping in here just a bit. Aside is, I believe, or it was when I was in school and doing RADA exams, a theatrical term that implies that what is being said can only be heard by one or a few people but not everyone in the scene. It’s hmmmm…. it’s sort…well imagine you are in a crowd or at a party and you say something a bit quiet and possibly covering your mouth a bit to the person beside you but not to everyone.

      I probably just made it worse!

    2. An aside (theatrical) is something said on stage to the audience, ie not intended for the rest of the cast to hear.

    3. Thanks Carolyn – yes that’s it – got it now – I had forgotten that context – aside clearly has a plural.

  26. An enjoyable crossword with a pleasant variety of word lengths and types of clue. As far as word length of answers is concerned, variety is the spice of life from my standpoint. A 4-digit answer is just as likely to be the one that keeps one guessing as a 15- digit answer. My favourite was 13a, which eluded me for a time, playing hide and seek at the edges of my brain as I so nearly got it. Well done Navy and thanks to Mr K for the hints.

  27. I started off well and then ran into a few road blocks. Got past them with Mr K’s hints, thanks. I would never have come up with 20a for things, and 18a and 22a did not spring to mind either. Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle, thank you Lucy. Did miss your usual pictures Mr. K. Hope you had a good flight.

  28. Well done, Lucy. I loved your first and this one was right up there too.
    I confess, I got a bit lost in the NE corner and needed a little electronic help to get started again.
    There was so much to like, but I’m going to go for 9d for fave, lovely word, and 14d for runner up.
    Thanks to Navy Clues and to Mr. K for unravelling 22a and 25a!

  29. Thoroughly enjoyed solving this puzzle earlier today. I thought it was going to be a bit tricky, but I was able to sort it out in reasonable time.

    Thanks to Mr K and Navy – keep ‘em coming 2*/4.5*

  30. Rather liked 8a and at the same time it makes me shiver.
    We now have to list all the allergens susceptible to harm customers.
    Beware: Your salmon might contain fish
    Mind you, it never said that those lasagna were made with horsemeat.
    Thanks to the setter and to MrK for the review.

            1. I’ve always wondered whether I should give up meat but apparently the human brain developed when we started to eat raw meat.
              Now that our brain is developed (as we like to think so) we almost regret that fact. Just scared of becoming stupid I guess. Vegetarianism might be the downfall of human kind.

              1. You don’t have to go vegetarian, I still eat chicken, cheese and fish. I do miss bacon, though – a well-cooked (not macdonald) bacon cheeseburger sounds so good!

  31. Took a little time to “tune in” but once there things went quite smoothly.
    Thank you Navy that you can compile as you do is remarkable. That you can do so with such consistency to challenge the less than accomplished solvers like me yet earn plaudits from the experts is incredible.
    14d my COTD, feel one myself more often as the years advance I fear.
    Thanks to Miss N & Mr K.

  32. Posted after reading the hints but before reading the comments.
    Always nice to see “the setter” commenting.
    Thanks to Navy for the fun.

  33. I’ve been busy at school so haven’t had too much time to reply to comments, but I am reading them all. Massive thanks for your feedback, everyone.

    1. Congratulations Lucy on another wonderful challenge, I confess I found the NE corner tricky, the consequence of a 59 year old brain.
      I’m sure it’s a first when the setter cannot reply on the blog because of school!
      Thanks also to Mr.K.

    2. Thank you, Lucy, for another excellent puzzle. I found bits of it quite tricky but thoroughly enjoyed the struggle. Roll on your next one!

  34. Good fun, thoroughly enjoyed. We did wonder who the setter might be but did not guess correctly.
    Thanks Navy and Mr K.

  35. I’ve finally got internet back, somewhere along the Canada-US border. I’ve uploaded pics – apologies for the delay to those who enjoy them.

    1. Thanks very much, Mr K. I certainly enjoy them and was very pleased to see them appear.

  36. I’m a relative newcomer to the cryptic crossword and have been “in training” with the help of this Hints and Tips page. Today’s the first day I’ve been able to complete the DT cryptic without help. I’m delighted and I so enjoyed it – many thanks to Navy.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Debbiedob, and thanks for sharing your experience with the puzzle.

      Congratulations on the first unaided solve. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

  37. Congratulations to Lucy – setting a crossword is a remarkable achievement and all the more so for one of your age – I hope that doesn’t sound patronising – it’s not meant to be at all.
    I confess that I was completely on the wrong wave length – well, that plus or minus out of routine/dim/too much else to think about so I found it quite difficult.
    I got very few of the across answers on the first read through but did better with the downs which cheered me up.
    I don’t really have any strong feelings on long v short words in a clue or answer but I do like nice short snappy clues.
    I had the (wrong) alternative answer for 18d and was just as mystified by 25a as lots of others here.
    I particularly enjoyed 9d (for the word) and 14d (for the mental image that was conjured up). My favourite was the simple 21a because I felt so sorry for the duck!
    With thanks to Lucy and to Mr K.

  38. Very enjoyable, especially 9d, 14d and 5d. Many thanks to Navy for a good time and to Mr K for the blog plus everything else you do.

  39. A bit of a backlog at work after the bash delayed finishing this puzzle but a good tussle nevertheless.
    As others 14d my fave of a big bunch. I was singing shanties for a while too. No preferences as to big words or several.
    Thanks to MrK and Navy who has followed up her debut with an accomplished follow up.

  40. A good puzzle, thoroughly enjoyable throughout. A little tricky in places, but solvable with patience and attention to the cryptic.

  41. Mr K- Super appreciate the ELO A-side picture you have there. Epic stuff (pun intended). I do love a bit of 70s/80s stuff. Very nice.

    1. Thanks Lucy, glad you liked the ELO pic. I had it lined up soon after your first comment confirmed that you were the setter, but then the internet on this plane went out before I could upload the pics. Very frustrating.

      Congrats again on an excellent sophomore Telegraph cryptic. Looking forward to the next one.

  42. We loved this one, definitely on our wave-length and great fun. We needed the hint to parse 20a but what a good clue! Thanks Navy and Mr K 😀👍

  43. Here we go, late again, but have to say 25a threw me as I put “leader” in immediately (main = leader and homophone of lieder = songs) but checkers showed the error of my ways. Thanks to setter and Mr K

  44. Wow. Over 100 comments now! I hope one of England’s batsmen can make a similar score in the next Test in the West Indies starting tomorrow.

Comments are closed.