DT 28966 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 28966

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28966

Hints and tips by Mr K

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

BD Rating  -  Difficulty **/*** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday.  Today the Telegraph has given us what I thought was a superb puzzle.  Every clue has a great surface formed from no more than seven words.  The puzzle is a nice mix of charade-type clues where the answer reveals itself as you follow the wordplay instructions, and clues made more challenging by incorporating some unexpected synonyms.  I filled most of the grid at a decent clip until I dropped to a head-scratching crawl down in the SW corner.  There's some clever clueing going on down there.  Setter, if you are reading, please comment to take credit for this brilliant puzzle.

Last week I posted a link to the huge number of thoughts and well-wishes contributed by blog readers for the 10th Birthday Bash.  If you missed it and you want to take a look, you can download a PDF by clicking here.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the ANSWER 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    Zeppelin songs really cool! (7)
AIRSHIP:  Put together some songs or tunes and a dated adjective meaning "really cool" in the sense implied by the clue's surface reading

5a    Determined detectives in action (7)
DECIDED:  A usual group of detectives is inserted in an action or act

9a    Setter's wretched existence? (1,4,4)
A DOG'S LIFE:  The setter in this cryptic definition has four legs and does not create crosswords

10a   Only playing new material (5)
NYLON:  An anagram (playing) of ONLY followed by the abbreviation for new

11a   Pray to some in centre -- atheists! (7)
ENTREAT:  The answer is hiding as some characters in the remainder of the clue

12a   Visibly amused male, one wrapped in cast (7)
SMILING:  The fusion of the abbreviation for male and the Roman one is contained by (wrapped in) a verb meaning cast or toss

13a   Hide in grass? Well now! (9)
RECOVERED:  Hide or conceal is inserted in the usual tall and stiff water grass.  Ignore the exclamation mark because the answer is not an exclamation

16a   Use a very excellent line (5)
AVAIL:  Concatenate A from the clue, the abbreviation for very, a letter combination that looks like the indictor for first-class or excellent in the Lloyd's Register of Shipping, and the abbreviation for line

17a   Pipe diameter associated with showers (5)
DRAIN:  The abbreviation for diameter is joined to (associated with) some watery showers

18a   Thiamine reacts with nitrogen, generally (2,3,4)
IN THE MAIN:  An anagram (… reacts) of THIAMINE with the chemical symbol for nitrogen

21a   Capital worker brought in without risk (5,2)
SANTA FE:  A usual worker insect is inserted in (brought in) an adjective meaning without risk.  The answer is the capital of a fine state in the south west of the USA

22a   Gunners returned to fix light (3,4)
ARC LAMP:  Some usual abbreviated gunners are reversed (returned) and followed by to fix or to hold in place

25a   Summers Greeks and Romans could count on? (5)
ABACI:  Another fine cryptic definition.  Summers refers here not to a season, but to devices on which the Greeks and the Romans (and several other civilizations) could do arithmetical sums.  Since the device's name comes from Latin, the plural isn't formed by adding the "S" that I wrote in at the end of the answer on my first pass through the grid

26a   The compiler is ready -- solver reportedly unprepared (9)
IMPROMPTU:  Put together a (2) word for "the compiler is" (viewed from the perspective of the compiler), an adjective synonym of ready, and a homophone (…reportedly) of a pronoun for the solver, again seen from the perspective of the compiler

27a   King two biblical characters help (7)
RELIEVE:  The Latin abbreviation for king is followed by a usual biblical priest and a famous biblical lady

28a   Struggle to survive in desert heat? (3,4)
RAT RACE:  Assemble desert or change sides and what a heat can be an example of (indicated by the ?)



1d    Terrible trauma grips English hobbyist (7)
AMATEUR:  An anagram (terrible) of TRAUMA contains (grips) an abbreviation for English

2d    Aussie bouncers -- opener in terror bats here! (5)
ROOST:  Stick together an informal name for some bouncy Australian animals and the first letter of (opener in) TERROR.  I was surprised by the definition, but it is listed in the Oxford Dictionary of English

3d    Leader abandons modest expedition (5)
HASTE:  The answer is found by deleting the first letter of (leader abandons …) modest or sexually virtuous.  As the definition in the cryptic reading of the clue, "expedition" is being an uncommon noun form of a much more common verb EXPEDITE

4d    Old man to bury someone like Monet (7)
PAINTER:  A charade of an informal term for one's father and a verb meaning to bury

5d    Doctor sees wounded daughter bandaged (7)
DRESSED:  Amalgamate an abbreviation for doctor, an anagram (wounded) of SEES, and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

6d    One standing who wishes to sit? (9)
CANDIDATE:  A cryptic definition of one standing in an election

7d    Religious leader amid all involved with AA (5,4)
DALAI LAMA:  An anagram (involved) of AMID ALL AA

8d    Finished with girl in Irish county (7)
DONEGAL:  Glue together "finished with" or completed and an informal form of girl

14d   Protection linking Bond with revolutionary Irishman (5,4)
CHAIN MAIL:  Link together bond or restraint and the reversal (revolutionary) of an Irish first name

15d   Wreck of vehicle is dumped in valley (9)
VANDALISE:  A vehicle often seen in white being driven badly is followed by IS from the clue inserted in (dumped in) a valley through which a river flows

17d   Misery as pride shattered (7)
DESPAIR:  An anagram (shattered) of AS PRIDE

18d   List quite miserly offers (7)
ITEMISE:  The middle part of the clue contains (offers) the answer

19d   Theatre role coming up for hunter (7)
TRAPPER:  The reversal (coming up, in a down clue) of a (3,4) phrase that could describe a role offered by a type of theatre

20d   Write ascending melody for sea god (7)
NEPTUNE:  The reversal (ascending, in a down clue) of a synonym of write is followed by another word for a melody

23d   Conservative thug shows political muscle (5)
CLOUT:  The single-letter abbreviation for Conservative with a thug or ill-mannered youth

24d   Dominant mountain has to be truncated (5)
ALPHA:  Cement together a noun for a high mountain and HA[s] from the clue minus its last letter (has to be truncated)


Thanks to today’s setter for a very enjoyable solve.  It's tough to isolate a favourite today, so I'll just list the clues I ticked:  9a, 13a, 21a (especially because the SW capital city was in the SW of the grid), 25a, 26a, 28a, 2d, 3d, 15d, and 23d.  I also smiled at the Quickie pun.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  TOO + SCUM + PUNY = TWO’S COMPANY

65 comments on “DT 28966

  1. Well, a very straightforward start to the day today. I usually find Tuesday a much more difficult solve than Monday, but this week seems to have that trend reversed.

    The SE corner held me up for a short while, but easily completed in * time.

    The self-deprecating 9a has to be COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr.K.

  2. A splendid crossword. I enjoy learning new words through clever parsing and 25A was an excellent example that also had a very clever seasonal misdirection.

  3. I found this one very mild/straightforward, but it was an enjoyable solve because the clues were all technically very well-written – no mean feat! Favs: 27a and 1a, simply because I still play Led Zep 1 and 2 in my car regularly – best progressive rock ever made in my opinion. 1.5* / 3.5*

    1. Led Zep 3 is my favourite. So tuneful and melodic with a folksy side to it that nicely balanced the heavier tracks. Hearing the sheer quality of their music pointed me in a better direction musically. Away from the pop pap that was frying my brain

  4. I agree fully with our blogger’s views on this truly excellent puzzle. It is also another superb example of how a crossword doesn’t need to be seriously fiendish or overly difficult to be thoroughly enjoyable. Picking a favourite from such a great choice is somewhat disingenuous but I will go for 9a.

    Thanks very much to our mystery setter and to Mr K.

  5. I’m in agreement with everyone above. Quite straightforward but eminently enjoyable. I liked 14d but top spot to 1a for me.

  6. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very straightforward puzzle, but nonetheless very enjoyable. The only holdup was 14d, which was last in. I liked 1a, but my favourite was 26a. Was 1*/3* for me.

  7. Plenty to smile about in this one and pitched just right for a back-pager. My only hold up was sorting out the parsing of 28a – couldn’t see the right ‘heat’ for a while.

    Top three for me were 1,9&26a with a mention for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for another well illustrated and informative blog.

  8. Excellent crossword after mondays which for me was a right stinker. However todays really pleasant solve I was a little held up SE corner for some reason, but completed in good order.
    Thanks to Mr K and Setter.

  9. 2*/4* for a very nice puzzle with a very nice review. I would have finished in under my 2* time had I not written the answer for 23d in the space meant for 24d which slowed me up a lot in the SE corner.

    I can’t beat Jane’s choices of 1a, 9a & 26a for my podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    P.S. I can highly recommend today’s Toughie from Silvanus which is not over-tough and a lot of fun.

    1. Re: your PS – wonder whether our choices will be the same for that one? Think I’ve filled at least two podiums!

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this and agree with Mr K’s remarks and add that thr SE was also a bit challenging .
    13a , 15d and 27 a were among my most liked .
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter .

  11. Reasonably straightforward and enjoyable completed at a gallop – **/***.

    I did think that 21a could/should have had ‘State’ as the first word. Fun fact – it is in the only US state capital that is made up of two words in a state that is also made up of two words.

    Favorite – 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    P.S. Ditto with RD on the Silvanus Toughie.

    1. 21a. Having “State” would only serve to turn an easy-ish clue into a very easy one. There aren’t that many capitals, either state or national, that fit the enumeration (5,2) – even without the readily parsable wordplay.

  12. Re 6 d, Winston Churchill stood unsuccessfully in a by-election in Leicester in 1923. My grandfather was present at one of his election meetings. When one of the audience complained he could not find a chair, Churchill quipped that he would find him one if the complainer gave him a seat.

  13. Much enjoyed and completed at a romp.
    Lucky to remember my Latin for 25a.
    9a definitely COTD
    Many thanks to the Setter and Mr K – excellent photos raised a smile

  14. I couldn’t agree more with Mr K’s comments. I thought it was an extremely enjoyable solve with a cracking mix of clues, and great lego free surfaces. I was temporarily held up in the South by inexplicably writing the answer for 27a in the space for 28a but once that was rectified it all fell into place. My favourite in a very strong field was 24d. 2.5*/4*

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his usual well illustrated blog.

  15. Exactly as Mr K held up by SW corner with 14d LOI.
    COTD 9a. Although looking at our two contentedly curled up waiting for their afternoon walk “wretched existence” they certainly do not have.
    Excellent fare, thanks to setter & Mr K for explanations.

  16. Ditto to the above comments. Ta to all. Yes The Toughie is worth a tilt but there are some tough clues sprinkled throughout. Suck it and see.

      1. Just over one year old now Merusa. The Cardigan is one Saint Sharon was knitting at the birthday bash. We have looked after him all day. He is such a good lad but he wears us out with all the picking up, putting down and constantly needing to be watched.

        1. He’s got your pen! Hope you have done the toughie before he scribbles on it. Mind you with those genes he has probably done it himself.

  17. Yes, a most agreeable puzzle. I started by filling in all the answers around the outside of the grid, which pretty much gave me a letter in most of all the other words. Carried on at a rate of knots until getting stuck at 25 across, which was a new word for me to look up and learn. All in all a most enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  18. My problem was making sense of the Quickie pun!

    This, along with the Toughie, was a satisfying start to the day.

  19. Great puzzle – wonder if the setter is that schoolgirl? Favourite clue was 28a, very clever! Delightful Pussypic

    1. You mean Navy (or Lucy): I thought that too! I have found all her puzzles I think and found them all to be a pleasant solve.

      Can’t add much to comments above. Favourite 9ac.

      Thanks setter and Mr K

  20. An intriguing puzzle, which was thought-provoking without being tortuously difficult. I liked 27a and 15d. Thank you Mr K for the smiling cat picture and the one of the dog kennel, usurped by cat. Thanks to the setter for a refreshingly different puzzle.

  21. I found this one of the easiest (but also enjoyable) for some time. I’ve really struggled with some lately so this was a nice change.

  22. My experience with this puzzle has been said above nice 4 part puzzle with SW holding out the longest. Sorting my vales and dales took the longest. Agreed re Led Zep III my fave by a nose. Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  23. Really good fun puzzle, deffo 4* enjoyment.

    21a was the only head scratcher as mentioned above by others.

    COTD for me was 25a.

    Mentioning Navy (Lucy) it was quite engaging the way she chose to interact with bloggers, I hope we see much more of her.

    Thanks Mr K and setter. Back to the day job now……

  24. **/***. Some neat misdirection and clever clues (9a&26a were my favourites). Thanks to the setter and Mr K. Strange today finding this blog – google didn’t recognize my input of dt 28966. Had to go to the BD site to find it?

  25. I’m with Mr.Kitty in that the SW corner presented the most resistance however that gradually took shape and helped to complete an entertaining solve. The 7a monk makes an appearance for the second day running. Joint Favs 9a and 1a. If this was a Lucy product she (or whoever it may be) is once more to be complimented on such great cluing. Thank you Myster(Miss)ron.

  26. What a brilliant crossword! 5* for enjoyment I reckon! I suppose as a fan of Led Zep in my youth, 1a made me chuckle but loads of really clever clues 9a and 25a get my vote too. Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  27. Thanks for all the comments so far.

    I just drove by 21a on my way to the airport (again). Weather was all overcast, which is novel for New Mexico. Still very pretty though, with the tops of the mountains poking into the clouds.

  28. A nice challenging crossword, some nice clues:
    21 and 22 across. 8 and 24 down.
    Just the job for a rainy afternoon in Cheshire.
    Cheers petitrrojo

  29. And me. Not difficult but hugely enjoyable with clever, imaginative clues. Take note Dada.
    Thanks also to Mr.K for the usual, excellent blog.

  30. Very comfortable and enjoyable puzzle. Reminded me of our Samuel whose style I have always liked.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  31. Thoroughly enjoyable solve that all went together smoothly for us. We had not noticed the self-imposed clue word limit and well done to have achieved that so well.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  32. Enjoyable solveable puzzle 😃 **/*** Favourites 25a & 14d 🤗 Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter. Must admit to not getting the pun in the quick crossword 😟

  33. That was, indeed, such a delight from start to finish – just loved it. I was dead on wavelength the whole way and had no problems.
    I can’t choose a fave, the whole thing was my fave, and Mr. K’s pics were the icing on the cake.
    Yes, Hoofit, Dada take note, but I think that if we can get this quality on a Tuesday, I don’t begrudge the whizzes their Dada on Sunday.
    Thanks to our setter, come back soon, and to Mr. K for our fun today.

    This is an animal shelter, Jamaican style:

    1. Great clip.
      Amazing how well they all get on. Bella could pick a fight in an empty room
      100 examples of 9a not being a “wretched experience”! Alrhough it probably was before they were rescued.

      1. I think the secret is the long walks twice a day. Tammy does an amazing job, she and her “angels” cover the whole island, no dog is turned away.

  34. The best crossword yet since my new year’s resolution to crack the DT cryptic. Thank you to the setter, and to Mr K, particularly for the picture for 15d.
    As a newbie, I’d appreciate if someone could explain by the “surface” of a puzzle.

    1. I am sure somebody else will explain surfaces Debbiedeb. Have you looked through the rest of the site? The FAQs and the bits under Cryptic Crosswords are both helpful. If you can find The Usual Suspects and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing you will learn some more. I think there is an explanation of surfaces in there somewhere.

    2. If it’s any help, Wikipedia gives the following explanation re the ‘surface’.
      ‘What a clue appears to say when read normally is a distraction and usually has nothing to do with the clue answer. The challenge is to find the way of reading the clue that leads to the solution’. That however may confuse the issue even more for you! 🥴.

    3. In most clue types, the setter has to give us an accurate definition for the answer and instructions about how to find it (the wordplay). That’s the cryptic reading of the clue. For example, in 3d the cryptic reading tells us to remove the first letter (Leader abandons…) of a word meaning modest to get a word meaning expedition. In the cryptic reading that’s expedition in the sense of expedited.

      The setter also tries to present the wordplay and defintion in a form that suggests a different interpretation if the clue is read as a simple phrase or sentence. That’s the surface reading. In 3d the surface describes a leader calling a halt to an expedition that’s not ambitious. In the surface reading, expedition has its usual meaning of a trip. The surface reading in that clue makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct – we would describe it as a smooth surface. It also does an excellent job of disguising the underlying wordplay and definition, which is what makes 3d a great clue.

  35. Totally agree that this was a pitch perfect puzzle, great clues giving a lot of enjoyment. Came to a halt on the SW corner, but thanks to Mr K’s hints, all worked out. Thanks to setter for a great puzzle.

  36. I fairly sailed through this crossword. Unusual for me as I didn’t trip up at any point!
    2d floated my boat.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and pics.

  37. The SW corner was perhaps a little tougher than the rest, but overall still just */** for difficulty. A good puzzle, interesting throughout.

  38. Wasn’t really concentrating as I solved while watching the news but the last two in 24d and 28a, which I ticked right away, made me realise what a great crossword that was.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

  39. Excellent crossword – really enjoyed it – just the sort I remember having a go at years gone by when me and my mate did the DT together during our 1 hour lunch break!
    Regarding 25a (the only one I got wrong) – did you know that ATARI – an old computer brand I think – so, for adding/counting with, among other things, was also a being/god worshipped by both the ancient Greeks and Romans?
    Well, I wasn’t certain, but it sounded right, and it fitted!
    ————- Just goes to show that it’s always worth a try – but perhaps not in this case!

  40. Hmmm – it’s all been said so there’s nothing left for me to say except that I really enjoyed today/s crossword.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  41. A late start tonight but what a super puzzle with superb surfaces & witty clues. Definitely left me 12 across! 2.5*/4*,, with late but definite thanks to Mr K & the setter.

  42. Hear, hear to most of the above. This was lots of fun but sadly I couldn’t crack 3d. Thank you very much Mr/Ms setter and the wonderful Mr K 😘

Comments are closed.