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DT 28969

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28969

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a wild and windy day.

Giovanni is in a more ecclesiastical mode today, which will no doubt displease the more intolerant secularists among the commentariat, but there is no particular difficulty with the puzzle.

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.


1a           They go from do to do (6)
SCALES – … where do is a deer, a female deer…

5a           Modifies colourful boats (8)
REDRAFTS – A primary colour followed by some primitive boats.

9a           Scotsman? A villain, he, terribly devious politically? (13)
MACHIAVELLIAN – One of the usual crossword Scotsmen, followed by an anagram (terribly) of A VILLAIN HE.

Image result for machiavelli

10a         Legal document not charged for offers autonomy (4,4)
FREE WILL – Another word for ‘not charged for’ followed by a legal document which may be the last one you make.

11a         Coin of little value, money submitted (4,2)
SENT IN – A small Japanese coin followed by an old slang word for money.

12a         Light gold carriage (6)
LANDAU – A verb meaning ‘light’ or ‘set down’ followed by the chemical symbol for gold.

Image result for landau carriage


14a         Place of battle has a king in holy army with long garment on (8)
SARATOGA – Start with A (from the clue) and the Latin abbreviation for a king, wrap the initials of the holy army founded by William Booth around the result, then add an ancient Roman garment. The battle was in 1777 during the American War of Independence.

16a         Good-for-nothing finally seen through complained (8)
GRUMBLED – The last letter (finally) of Good-for-nothinG followed by ‘seen through’ or ‘discovered’.

19a         Two ways to be self-effacing (6)
MODEST – Put together a way or manner and an abbreviated way or road.

21a         Stick around, then go (6)
CLEAVE – The Latin abbreviation for ‘around’ or ‘about’ followed by another word for ‘go’ or ‘depart’.

23a         Worried about female ending being fondled (8)
CARESSED – A three-letter suffix applied to a noun to indicate the female form, with ‘worried’ wrapped around it.

25a         Mini-map erred, I fancy, showing line through London (5,8)
PRIME MERIDIAN – Anagram (fancy) of MINI-MAP ERRED I – and the line is not a railway!

Image result for prime meridian


26a         Like member of pre-Christmas team newly endorsed (3-5)
RED-NOSED – Anagram (newly) of ENDORSED, giving us the adjectival phrase applied to the leader of Santa’s team of reindeer.

27a         Romantic doctor meets Eastern girl (6)
DREAMY – Put together an abbreviation for doctor, Eastern, and a girl’s name (one of the Little Women)


2d           County agents entertaining doctor in old city (7)
CUMBRIA – This is a Russian doll clue. In the middle we have one of the sets of letters denoting a medical doctor. Wrapped around that is the Chaldaean city beloved of crossword setters. And round that we have the US spy agency.

3d           Philosopher offers something hairy: introduction to epistemology (5)
LOCKE – A chunk of hair followed by the first letter (introduction to) of Epistemology.

Image result for locke philosopher

4d           Holy son wants holy form of worship (9)
SPIRITUAL – Put together an abbreviation for Son, another word for holy or ‘holier than thou’, and a formal ceremony of worship.

5d           Acts of defiance from engineers attending electrical units (7)
REVOLTS – The initials of one of the usual regiments of engineers followed by some units of electromotive force.

6d           Daughter is going round the Spanish shops (5)
DELIS Daughter and IS (from the clue) placed either side of one of the forms of the definite article in Spanish.

7d           Right troublesome goddess seen in commercial is divorced (9)
ALIENATED – Put together a property right and the Greek goddess of mischief, than wrap a short word for a commercial around the result.

8d           Number celebrate, becoming screwed up (7)
TENSING – A cardinal number followed by another word for ‘celebrate’ particularly in a musical way.

13d         Hopeless situation in country south of barrier (9)
DAMNATION – A barrier across a river followed by a country or its people.

15d         Back in a match after earlier loss? (9)
REMARRIED – Cryptic definition of someone who has lost a partner, then joined up with another.

17d         Always getting upset, imbibing drinks — unfortunate medical state (7)
RELAPSE – Reverse (getting upset) a poetic word for ‘always’ and wrap the result around ‘drinks’ (as a cat with a saucer of milk might).

18d         Ordained member of cathedral staff half ignored set of beliefs (7)
DECREED – The first half of the title of the leader of a cathedral chapter, followed by a set of beliefs.

20d         Bone in back? Er… ! (7)
STERNUM – The back of a ship followed by a word like ‘er’, giving us a bone found at the front of the body rather than the back.

22d         Vessels in channel beginning to sink to the bottom (5)
EWERS – Start with a channel for waste water, then move the first letter to the end.

24d         Hope to avoid a feature of high church? (5)
SPIRE – Remove the A from another word for ‘hope’, and you get an architectural feature of a tall church.

The Quick Crossword pun PENNY + TENSE = PENITENCE

65 comments on “DT 28969

  1. DT28969 auchenmae
    3d had to look up epistemology then thought maybe only initial letter e preceded by something hairy; looked up American dictionary and found answer which then elaborated on epistemology! clever cluu

  2. Not on wavelength this morning and it took me ages to get going but managed to get it all sorted out – couldn’t see 1ac for a painfully long time…

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 3.5*/3*

  3. Trickier Giovanni today – I particularly liked the penny-dropping moment induced by 1a

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  4. Another “toughie” ?

    As I mentioned yesterday, we iPad subscribers do not get the actual Toughie so these types of crosswords are welcomed challenges .

    Very very slow start but got there . Will pick 15D as favourite .


  5. 1a my favourite too in this slightly tricky but enjoyable romp through Crosswordland. No particular hold-ups after a slow start, with the downs proving more fruitful on the initial pass.

    Thanks to The Don for the challenge and to DT.

  6. Very tricky and it took me three times longer to complete than the other four back page puzzles we have had this week. I would give this ***/ **** for difficulty and ** for enjoyment. A couple of answers were bung-ins and I was unable to parse a few of the other answers completely . Thanks to Deep Threat for a hint with those.

  7. Began with a fun run in the South but the North was a different kettle of fish. Perhaps I wasn’t alone in looking up epistemology even though meaning wasn’t needed to solve 3d. 1a is Fav but have to admit to having sought help to get there. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  8. Too hard for me, it’s not often I give up but this was way out of my wavelength and pay grade. 4*/2*.
    Thanks to DT and setter.

  9. 2.5*/2*. I thought things were looking up today when I twigged the excellent 1a straightaway but then it all settled down into the usual Friday pattern.

    21a was my last one in because I didn’t know or had forgotten the less common meaning of the answer. I don’t like 15d and I won’t mention my opinion of 27a.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  10. Another fine puzzle from G, I found this quite tricky with really good clues providing much enjoyment. I did get my brain into a pickle a few times on the way. I nearly put TONICS in for 1a. 3d: because I espied “introduction” in the clue and the answer was 5 letters long, I immediately assumed (for some reason unbeknownst to me) that it must be the first letters of the final 5 words in the clue. Good job it wasn’t! A really good puzzle. 3.5* / 4*

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this although it took me slightly longer than a normal Friday – no complaints there. As others have said, I loved the aha moment of 1a which was my last one in.

    Was for too long a time, badly wanting a “jevo” to be a long garment.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT

  12. Definitely not just ** difficulty for me but it was solable.
    Not come across 22a as “stick” – another thing to instantly forget.
    Go with 1a as COTD.
    Thanks to Giovanni & DT.

      1. Yes I got the wordplay it was I have only seen 21a used in the context of split not as a synonym of glue.

          1. I thought that there can’t be many contranyms, another new word for me, but 75 are listed on one site. Also known as a Janus word according to Mr Google. There’s a whole world out there I know nothing about.

            1. Huh, that’s interesting. I’ll have to work on that tomorrow. I love words, anything new gets me fired up. Thanks.

              1. Me too! That’s what I love about crosswords, especially clever ones like the DT cryptic,. Every week, and probably several times a week, I learn something new.

                Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before, I suspect that these days that every time I learn something new, something else falls off the other end of the conveyer belt.

  13. Quite enjoyable, some brain teasers and some gimmies. Favourite for me 1a and 20d.
    Thanks to DT and the Don

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed this and have several ticks on the page, including 1A and 26A, which made me smile. Had to drag 14A from the depths of memory and then parse before seeing 8D, though. Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  15. Like RD, 1a went straight in, but I enjoyed the rest too. Not sure I knew 14a (battles and wars aren’t my thing) but got there via the cryptic directions.

    My favourite is 23a.

    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

      1. Hi Merusa,
        I struggle with Giovanni’s easier puzzles!! Wavelength again!
        Glad you are doing better today.
        Weather terrible in Blighty at the moment.

        1. Oh dear, I did read that in the Telegraph. It’s perfect here, cloudless skies in the 70sF, not that I want to rub it in.

  16. Found this difficult with some words not in my lexicon. Such as the goddess. 1a was a stumbling block. 2d was very cunning and I doubt if I would have solved if were not for counties ending in an article being in short supply.

  17. For once I do not agree with DT’s rating as I found this to be a difficult puzzle and a **** for me and enjoyed it after completion !
    Not heard of 25a and only solved it when I had most of the checking letters in place, last in was 21a and a new synonym for me, in truth not really on my wavelength today and a bit of a slog.
    Liked 26a when the penny dropped and 22d.

  18. I would agree **** rating for difficulty.

    I got the top half mostly in and a few in the bottom before having to succumb to looking at the most welcome hints from DT to get me going again and finally managed to complete.

    Bit of a slog but 1a and 26a made me laugh.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the extensive exercise of my little grey cells!

  19. A typical Giovanni puzzle if a little harder than normal for me. I completely failed to see 1a so thanks for the enlightenment DT. I too looked up epistemology after I realised that ‘Tache’ was not a philosopher (well, he could have been). I am going for 1a as it stole my lunch today.
    Thanks to the two gents.

  20. Tricky Giovanni today warranting rather more than** for difficulty I thought.
    Struggled with 4d (Pi is pious perhaps?), 7d not come across this goddess before and 23a which I could get with the hint.
    For me uncomfortable overtones today. Not my favourite Giovanni.
    Thx to all

      1. And I note this link is 1695 puzzles ago which must be about 5 years ago. I confess to being forgetful and cannot guarantee that I remember all “new” words but it does irk me that Brian rarely thanks those who try to help him or, it seems, to help himself by checking words in the BRB (other dictionaries are available) or on Google.

  21. Found this pretty tricky. Also did not know the Greek goddess. COTD 1a which I got quite quickly. Thanks to all.

  22. Fortunately, wordplay and checkers got me over any potential ‘obscurities’ panic but I did solve this one by wandering around the grid rather than in any chronological order.

    Think the 5a colourful boats get my vote for favourite.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog and musical interlude.

  23. Completed in slightly longer time than usual.. A very satisfying solve. As has been mentioned by a few above, I didn’t much like 15d either.
    I didn’t know the small Japanese coin. I was looking for the homophone indicator for ‘cent’ – couldn’t find it, bunged it in anyway.
    22d is my favourite.

  24. i congratulate anyone who thought this was a 2*.

    Didn’t know Greek goddess or the battle ( although I knew it had to be a battle site ) surely I can’t be the only person trying to get “sari” into that answer?

    Despite being a musician, I habitually forget the sol fa notation as I never use it.
    So many other idiocies on my part.
    Congrats to DG for all the misdirections and weird synonyms and to DT for sorting it all out.

    1. No Bluebird, you were not alone regarding sari! Like most contributors, I found this to be nearer 4* difficulty, but unlike most, enjoyed 15d. Many thanks to the setter and for the hints.

  25. Definitely harder than yesterday. I was stuck on the battle and if sherpa had been put in 8d somewhere, that would have helped!
    21a was last in and my cotd.
    A bit of a struggle..but a great feeling of achievement to finish.
    Cup of tea now,I think.

  26. I was a bit slow off the mark with this one. My first in was 24d followed by 27a. Things then improved somewhat as I read through the clues again. 1a and 26a were favourites. Thank you Giovanni and Deep Threat. Hopefully my cock-a-leakie soup has cooled down enough to bag up for the freezer.

  27. Thanks Giovanni and DT. Hints not needed but glad of the confirmation. For me top half was straightforward even 1a which I liked. Bottom more difficult especially SW which was last in for me. 18d very clever. Last one in after 21a was 22d. Bunged the last one in but became a favourite when I clicked with the parsing. The definition of 21a is the one that comes to me before the alternative. All do-able. In the event of any unfamiliar words they can be worked out.

  28. ****/**. I thought this was a bit of a stinker and not especially enjoyable. Nevertheless thanks to the setter and DT for the walk through.

  29. I very rarely comment, but my observation, for what it’s worth, is that

    1. Yesterday was the first time in years I gave up, with some 80% incomplete. When I then looked up the hints, I thought ‘well, I’d never have got that if I tried for a week’.

    2.Today, I finished in about par for time, although it was not easy, say 3.5***.

    It’s strange how different solvers perceptions differ.

  30. As far as I’m concerned this was the most tricky back pager for a long while – and I’m including recent Sundays. It took me far longer to complete than some Toughies. Bit of a slog I thought, but once again am happy to get it finished. Many good clues and had 26 across as my personal favourite. Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  31. Well experience meant that I didn’t look up any words for 3d. Ta to all. Play nicely and I might see you on Monday

  32. Unfortunately this fitted the pattern of the Friday crossword of being full of bung-ins, devoid of humour and an unedifying slog.
    Yesterday’s puzzle was much easier, this was worthy of *****.
    That said, 1a was probably COTW for me, and flew right over my head.
    RIP the great Albert Finney
    Thanks all

    1. Hear,hear Hoofit. I was thinking it was a ***** myself and was horrified to see a ** rating. I didn’t finish without a number of hints, I genuinely put this in a par with the very difficult Sundays of late.

  33. Needed all the checkers for 14a and 7d took some thinking about and was one of the last in.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  34. Well, I did finish bar 14a but very tricky. I liked it, if for no other reason that it confirmed I’m not getting totally senile. I was so convinced yesterday that I was descending into the abyss of senile dementia.
    It helped that I knew the answer to 1a on first read, I also liked 9a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for hints and pics, especially 14a.

  35. I felt that the Don was a little 9 across with this offering 😬 ***/*** anyway I thought it easier than yesterday’s offering 😳 Lots of misdirection and some lovely clueing 🤔 Favourites were 19a and 20d 🤗 Thanks to Giovanni and to DT ( I did feel that the essence of 1a was both ends of the tonic scale with the alternative spelling though I am probably ploughing a lonely furrow) 😏

  36. Wow this one was good fun. As has been normal for me for a while now it took me a bit of time to get going and before bedtime I just got 2 or 3. Roll around my usual insomnia time between 2 and 3 a.m. (our cat CB is really on her very last legs and gets anxious around then so I just wake, go to the spare bedroom with her on her favourite blanket and continue with the crossword until she settles) and got several more clues, then finally caught up with the reat this morning.

    I used to enjoy anagrams the most, then for quite a while I loved suddenly seeing lurkers but now I think my favourite type of clue is….sorry Big Dave, I always forget the proper crossword word……. the ones which are made up of multiple little clues. I still enjoy all types of clues but now I have the hang of them, but right now it is ‘the-bits-strung-together-ones’.

    I thought I had 1a right but turns out I was wrong by one letter.

    Thanks as ever thanks to the setter, Big Dave and Deep Threat, and everyone here for all the comments. I love this feeling of community.

    BTW Deep Threat, here in Ontario it is silly weather again. Deep freeze, thaw, deep freeze, and right now windy (pardon) seriously windy!

  37. Thanks DT, couldn’t have completed this without you! Can’t say I really enjoyed this one although I did twig 1a early on and thought it a very good clue. Fascinating to read the various comments!

  38. Slow start but from then on accelerated to the finish. Ok, so a few too many religious themes but hey! it’s simply makes the crossword different, and no less fun. 16a was my favourite with 1a close behind.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  39. A game of two halves, half flew in then I ground to a slow crawl hence 3*/3*. Thoroughly enjoyable all the same, oddly 15d held me for a while.
    Many thanks to the Don & Deep Threat for his invaluable hints

  40. I thought 2* for difficulty underrated this puzzle. I needed five hints to complete (thanks), whereas the other 2* ratings this week were somewhat of a breeze by comparison. Still, got pretty close.

  41. I started this fairly late in the day and I am still working on it, but so far, in over 25 years of doing this crossword, this is the most difficult I can remember, including numerous toughies.

    £2 to melt my brain is not money well spent…

  42. I thought of “scales” for 1a but couldn’t see how it fitted. Ended up with “scolds” (in the old sense of a “common scold”) nagging people to do this and do that! Oh dear!🙄

    Great puzzle but personally found it a bit harder than two stars.

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