DT 28971 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28971

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28971

Hints and tips by Bernie the Bolt

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Well done England. That was just what I expected and wanted. Thanks too to commentator Nick Mullins who is the finest Rugby Union commentator on the circuit today [one of the advantages of coverage on ITV is that you don’t hear the Welsh Whiner! BD] Your description of the pitch at Twickenham as ‘the dance floor’ had me smiling all afternoon.

The sun is shining, and all is well with the world. Today’s puzzle from Campbell provides a nice start to the week. Nothing too difficult but the top left, or north west, corner was the last to fall.

These hints and tips have been created lovingly to help those of you who may need help to solve a couple of clues or to understand why an answer is what it is. Usually a clue consists of two parts. 1. A definition, which is usually at the beginning or end of a clue. 2. Wordplay which tells what to do to solve the clue. The hints and tips help with the wordplay of the clues. Definitions are underlined. Some hints are illustrated. These illustrations may or may not have a bearing on understanding the


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1a    Decline drink before round (8)
DOWNTURN: We have an informal verb meaning to consume something, typically a drink followed by a word meaning to cause to rotate. It is always a pleasant feeling when 1ac sits itself up and begs you to write it in. Last week we had a brilliant reversed lurker which was one of my last ones in. This. Week we have a simple definition with wordplay that refused to reveal itself until the very end. Today is Monday. This clue has Thursday written all over it

5a    Organised party machine, originally unsystematic (6)
RANDOM: Begin with a word meaning organised or managed. Add our regular Crosswordland party and finish off with the first letter (originally) of the word machine

9a    The old lady held in reform school (4,5)
ALMA MATER: The old lady is your dear mother. Put her name as said by a baby inside a verb meaning to reform or change

11a    In effect, a serious weapon (5)
TASER: A lurker hidden within the words of the clue as suggested by the word In

Hidden words or lurkers.

If all else fails, look for a lurker
If the clue doesn’t suggest something to do, look for a lurker
If the clue has the words some, part, in or wrapped look for a lurker
If these hints and absolutely everything else has failed look for a reversal indicator and seek a reversed lurker

12a    American writer to seek election over there (6)
RUNYON: A two-parter with a very American slant. Begin with a term meaning to put oneself up for election. In England we would sit for parliament but in the United States they do this instead. Follow this with a determiner and adverb meaning over there. The result as per the underlined definition is an American writer and heavy smoker. I prefer John Irving, especially A Prayer For Owen Meany

13a    Mean to consume mostly raw fish (8)
STINGRAY: A lovely word meaning mean or tight with money has most of the word raw inserted. As the word raw has only three letters it will not take many letters to get most of them

15a    A bit hasty, mate shot nevertheless (2,4,2,2,3)
BE THAT AS IT MAY: Anagram (shot) of A BIT HASTY MATE. Since having an iPad I have stopped using pen and paper to solve anagrams. (Sheer laziness on my behalf. Couldn’t be bothered to fetch said pen and paper. Sheer stubbornness on Saint Sharon’s part not being willing to fetch them for me) Like mental arithmetic it is possible with practice. The comments have shown a split among our commentariat. Some stick with pens and paper and write out anagrams often in circles (why the circles)? Some have abandoned pens and paper and been surprised with the result. If you do use pen and paper you are in the best of company. Big Dave uses pen and paper. He told me so at the recent birthday bash

18a    Group of peers rated rollmops, pickled (5,8)
LORDS TEMPORAL: Another Anagram with a perfect indicator (pickled) of RATED ROLLMOPS.  Make the most of the rollmops. Our setter has not provided much food today

22a    Paper hat belonging to court jester? (8)
FOOLSCAP: The old paper size similar to today’s A4 can be split 4’1,3 to satisfy the underlined definition in the clue. Nobody in a chemistry class wears a dunce’s cap. They wear a silly cone

23a    Boy in abbreviated game, forward (6)
RUPERT: The abbreviation of the finest team game in the world is followed by an adjective meaning forward or cheeky usually attributed to a young woman

26a    Examination of accounts of car manufacturer close to Detroit (5)
AUDIT: A German make of car (I can only name three. The other two are BMW and Volkswagen) is followed by the final letter of Detroit.  I do think Aldi and Lidl should sell this car.

27a    Obscure opening in chess game — it, I suspect must involve knight (9)
ENIGMATIC: An anagram (suspect) of the initial (opening) letter of the word Chess with GAME IT I which also includes the chess notation of knight

28a    County‘s staff returned, ready (6)
DORSET: This staff which is a comforter in psalm 23 is reversed. It is then followed by a synonym of the word ready. I once stayed for a week in this county and ate mussels every day

29a    Affected by kick in correctional facility (4,4)
BOOT CAMP: A verb meaning to kick is followed by a word meaning affected. Affected in the manner such as that very nice Larry Grayson or, for the younger solvers, Graham Norton


1d    Face briefly people giving stream of abuse (8)
DIATRIBE: The face of a clock or watch minus its last letter (briefly) is followed by a group of people smaller than a nation larger than a clan (possibly)

2d    Lady from western country (5)
WOMAN: The abbreviation for Western is followed by a Middle Eastern country

3d    Doctor dipping into raised sack? A kind of lottery (7)
TOMBOLA: A regular military doctor needs to be parachuted into the reversal (raised) of a verb meaning to sack or plunder and followed by the letter A from the clue

4d    Judge speed (4)
RATE: A simple double definition

6d    Opposite an American theatre award on top of mantelpiece (7)
ANTONYM: A three-part charade. 1. The word AN which the setter has generously gifted to us. 2. The common abbreviation for The Antoinette Perry Award For Excellence In Broadway. 3 The first letter (top of) of the word Mantlepiece

7d    See dry rot ruined vessel (9)
DESTROYER: Anagram (ruined) of SEE DRY ROT

8d    One dying for a cause in irregular army crossing centre of Khartoum (6)
MARTYR: An anagram (irregular) of ARMY sits around (crossing) the middle two letters (centre) of KhaRToum

10d    Shopkeeper about to make clothes for broadcast (8)
RETAILER: Begin with the regular offering for about. Add a verb meaning to make or adapt clothes. Change the letter O to an E to suit the homophonic nature of the clue (broadcast) and the grammatical appearance of the answer

14d    Forcibly strikes barrier in Kent town (8)
RAMSGATE: split 4,4 we have a word meaning strikes forcibly or batters and a barrier such as the one at the end of your front garden. The result is a seaside town in Kent where I was taken on holiday as a boy. I remember seeing the great big hovercraft and a big dipper called The Scenic Railway

16d    Difficult assignment given by high command (4,5)
TALL ORDER: A word synonymous with high is followed by a word synonymous with a command. Two simple synonyms. I don’t think any more clarity is necessary

17d    Working-class twit, silly chap (5-3)
CLOTH CAP: Split 4,4 we have a word for a nitwit or fool followed by an anagram (silly) of CHAP

Here is a man’s ‘Coventry cap’, made of green and brown tweed, with a peak also covered in tweed. The peak is stiffened and there is a popper to fasten the peak to the crown.

The Coventry cap is a local design, which is supposed to relate to the number of panels on the crown. Apparently, the button on the top used to have a farthing in it.

19d    Prize dog not right following run out (7)
ROSETTE: This prize which is popular in Gymkhanas begins with the cricketing abbreviation for run out. It is followed by a type of dog minus its last letter (not right) which just happens to be the letter R which is also the abbreviation for Right

20d    Satisfied after fruit drop down (7)
PLUMMET: A word meaning satisfied as in fulfilled the needs wishes or desires of someone or something follows a fruit. We have a Warwickshire Drooper that makes for lovely eating and makes a fine brandy

21d    A loud attack may make one scared (6)
AFRAID: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the musical notation for loud. Add a sudden attack

24d    Section of text? Rather more (5)
EXTRA: See the hint at 11ac. This time the indicator is “section of”

25d    Cover old open-air pool (4)
LIDO: A cover such as that on a jam jar is followed by the abbreviation for old.

Solved listening to Warren Zevon

Quickie Pun: take+wand+owe=tae kwon do – not now Cato


62 comments on “DT 28971

  1. A rare early comment. Did this in bed while resting a stress fracture to the big toe! Can’t say that it all went in easily. Took some time to work out the author in 12ac and the SE corner held me up for a while with LOI 23ac. My favourites are 1dn and 6dn.

    Thanks Campbell and MP.

  2. I rated this 1.5*/2.5*.

    29a as defined in the clue is a US term (although we do seem to have adopted it on our side of the pond with a rather different meaning of a residential training event).

    The pedant in me feels a comma is missing from 27a: “- it, I suspect, must …”

    Apart from those minor niggles this was a light and pleasant puzzle for a Monday morning with 9a & 22a fighting it out for my choice as favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to MP.

  3. A very enjoyable solve this morning. Many thanks to the compiler and to BtB.

    Couldn’t agree more about Nick Mullins. We were treated to the best commentator and the best referee in the game. Both great communicators.

    Must fly – off to Cape Town for a couple of weeks!

  4. Just the right sort of Monday Fare following a six nations weekend ! About a **/*** for me
    Thanks to Bernie for the picks, not seen Rupert for ages-I too have a Warren Zevon cd which never fails to amuse.
    Some good surfaces and well clued,
    Not seen 18a in print for a while.

  5. Nice way to start a Monday, just the American author I had to check up on.

    Top three here were 9&22a plus 16d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to MP for the blog – especially the Elgar clip.

  6. Light, straightforward and enjoyable for a Monday morning. 9a and the evergreen 7d scrap for my top spot today.

    Many thanks to Campbell and The Golden Shot sidekick.

    1. You are right. They stand for election to the Commons. They are kicked up into the Lords where they then sit.

  7. A nice start to the week I thought.
    Strange place crosswordland. BB aka MP found NW corner last in yet it went in straight away for me followed by SE.
    17d COTD for me – brought back childhood memories. Used to pass Failsworth hat works on way to junior school. Mr Google says it is still one of Europe’s largest supplier of caps & hats
    Thanks to setter & MP for an enjoyable blog.
    In sport “On the dance floor” I believe is from golf. An Americanism possibly meaning on the putting green. However I agree about ITV coverage of Rugby. Aunty has just become complacent.

  8. I solved this one just like Bernie the Bolt … left a little … right a little … up a little … down a little.

    1. An enjoyable puzzle rated **/**** for me. The S E corner was the last to fill up and it took me a while dor the penny to drop in 17d. Thank you to Campbell and MP (the ‘Welsh whiner’ amused both me and my other half).

  9. A very pleasant start to the work week, with no major problems, completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 22a and 6d.

    Thanks to Campbell and GMoLI, especially for the 27a video.

  10. I found this to be standard Monday fare, but it took me a while to work out why we had two old ladies in 9a!

    I was also trying to convonce myself that there was a US writer called RUNFOR.

    Thanks to Campbell and MP.

  11. The usual enjoyable but quite mild start to the week. England have been brilliant in the first two games – keep it up lads. I’ll pick 6d as my pick of the day.

  12. Yes, well done to England….in the context of present events the victory was sweet, very sweet.
    A thoroughly enjoyable crossword, I was held up only by 5a as I’d somehow misread “unsystematic” as “unsympathetic” (I’m losing it!) and 2d as I was racking my brains for a lady’s name beginning with W instead of the simple synonym!
    Lot’s of clues to admire, in particular 22a and 17d, and they are (pedants look away) my favourites. 2/4*

    I’m liking our reviewer’s weekly aliases, many thanks to him and to Campbell for the entertainment.

  13. A mild puzzle, quite enjoyable but over too quickly. I’ve ticked 13a, 23a, 27a and 17d. I’ve also put a rather disapproving X against 26a and 8d – which both have phrasal definitions that are way too transparent/obvious, even for a “Mild Monday”. 1.5* / 2.5

    1. * Convinced myself that 12a was an author with the the surname RUNFOR, which would have fitted the checkers and word play, but couldn’t find one anywhere on Google. Eventually found the right one…

  14. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. Not too tricky, with a few to smile about. I liked 13&22a, but my favourite was 17d. Last in was 12a, who I had to Google to make sure. Was 2*/3* for me.

  15. A nice puzzle for a Monday, and a bit of nostalgia today with ‘The Golden Shot’ and Stingray (I was half expecting Aqua Marina to make an appearance). Nimrod soaringly powerful as ever. Thanks to all.

  16. Nice Monday gallop.
    Re anagrams even though I solve on the mobile some anagrams require a pen and paper. I tend to avoid circles and write the fodder in grids. But today the only bit of paper in the canteen was yesterday’s Sunday Mirror so I used a margin and wrote out the fodder for 15a in a line and after I had taken three 2 letter words out the rest followed. The other anagrams just leapt out.
    Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle and thanks to the late John Baker for the blog and music.

  17. Very pleasant exercise before going to play golf in this beautiful weather. Been a while since i played in shirtsleeves.
    My only slight hitch was parsing 17d and 27a (very well explained in the hints).
    Thx to all for a relaxing start to the week.

  18. That’s more like it. Had no problem getting on wavelength today and enjoyed the exercise. Only hitches were American writer and stupidly 23a in spite of working on the topical game. My Fav was 17d. Thank you Mysteron for a painless start to the week and MP for being there in case of need and particularly for providing a beautifully lachrymose hint for 27a and indeed the spelling of Quickie pun.

  19. Loved it all, and Bernie the Bolt’s addition of that heavenly clip of music at 27a just topped it all.
    A very benign solve, last in was the SE corner, in particular 17d.
    Fave was 22a, lovely word, must google the origins.
    Thanks to Campbell, hope you’re a regular, and to Bernie the Bolt, where does that come from?

    1. UK gameshow from 60’s and 70’s “The Golden Shot” where phone in contestants steered a crossbow/camera that wasn’t loaded until the host (Bob Monkhouse when I watched it) called for Bernie the Bolt to load the crossbow.

    2. Merusa, it was a catch phrase from a British TV game show, around 1970 I think, called The Golden Shot and hosted by Bob Monkhouse. Contestants were required to direct a blindfolded crossbowman (“up a bit, left a bit, stop, fire”) and try to hit the bull’s eye on a target. The crossbow bolt was loaded by a man allegedly called Bernie after Bob M had uttered the immortal words “Bernie the Bolt”.

      What on earth that has to do with Miffypops I’ve no idea!

        1. I had forgotten about the apple, although there is an obviously William Tell link. I remember the big prize at the end required the bolt to be so accurately shot that it cut a fine string.

        2. Thanks, chaps. I’d never heard of it but it sounds like a typical piece of Brit daftness, you can’t help laughing. I lived in UK from 1960-1965 and I don’t remember it, so it must have been later.

          1. I’ve done some more checking. The show started in the UK In 1967, but, far from being a typical bit of Brit daftness, it was amazingly copied from a German TV show “Der Goldene Schuß”, which boasted the catch phrase, “Heinz the Bolt”!

            1. Isn’t google wonderful, what would we do without him! I’m constantly checking and amazed at what’s on it. You have to be careful, though. I have a hookah pipe that my uncle sent us when he lived in Shanghai in the 1920s. I wanted to know more about it so googled “hooker”, I can’t tell you what came up! I hope no one has to check my mother board at any time.

              1. I know just what you mean Merusa. All I wanted was pantomime tickets. So I typed in Babes In The Wood …

    3. We were still living in the Thames Valley in the 70s but I have no recall at all of Bernie Bolt, must be old age. Mr BL tells me we used to watch it every weekend… oh dear.

      1. I think Bob Monkhouse had a glamorous blonde assistant from Birmingham called Anne Aston on this show.

  20. A very good start to the week’s challenges! The favourite for me was 23a which was my last to solve.
    Thanks to Campbell, and to MP for the review. Thanks

  21. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get 23a. I’m not usually stuck on anything on a Monday. I enjoyed the rest of it, particularly 6d and 22a. Many thanks Campbell and Miffypops the bolt.

  22. Nice Monday crossword **/*** 😃 although I did need the hint for 23a 😬 Favourites 6d & 18a Thanks to Bernie and to Campbell 👍

  23. Heard about the rugby too. Looking on the bright side, the girls only lost 41 / 26 at Doncaster. Twickers has never been our favourite dance floor.
    Never got the writer in 12a and had to press the reveal button.
    Thanks to Campbell and to MP for the review.

  24. Not as hard as yesterday, but I took a while to get going, more due to wavelength than difficulty. Thanks to Miffypops for,the hints.

  25. A good Monday crossword and not too tricky although I did get stuck on a few answers.
    I got into a right royal muddle with 27a and that was just one of the ones that held me up.
    I hesitate to quibble about a hint, let alone with MP aka Bernie the Bolt, but, if only to show that I do read them all, an MB isn’t a military doctor – it’s a Bachelor of Medicine/Medicinae Baccalaureus (in Latin)
    Lots of nice Monday/ish clues including 22 and 29a and 14 and 16d.
    With thanks to Campbell for the crossword and to MP for the hints and pics and music.
    Off to London again tomorrow – worn out! :sad:

  26. A good start to the week, nothing overly difficult. I thought I wouldn’t know the name of the town, but did, even if I did need a heavy hint from the wordplay. The long phrase across the centre gave the most trouble, I just couldn’t get the bits in the right order for an age. Overall */** for difficulty.

  27. My starts seem to be getting later,,, but no worries as after a slowish start I managed to engage the right mindset & got there in Monday puzzle time.
    Favourite 17d,,, **/*** many thanks to Campbell MP & BTB.

  28. Nice one that took me longer than it should have. A hyper-energetic Vizsla puppy might have had something to do with that. I only got round to concentrating on it after the evening news. Enjoyed it though.
    Thanks to the human kaleidoscope that is MP and setter. Marina was my first love, I have to admit. That video quite pained me.

  29. Nice mix of clues. Thanks Cameron. Thanks Wittypops for the hints not needed although I had not fully parsed 9a. Did not know the writer but easy to put together and check with Mr Google. The long 15a took me longer than it should. For me in common with some others it was the SE that held out the longest. Last ones in were 23a and 17d. Favourites 13 and 29a and 14 and 16d. Also liked 22a but suspect it came more readily into the minds of those who worked in an office when it preceded the wider and shorter A4. Were the other sizes used for letters and notes called quarto and octavo or am I confusing that with music?

    1. and warren zevon.
      I went home with the waitress, the way i always do
      how was i to know, she was with the russians too

      1. I could tell the truth about the Warren Zevon quote. The lawyers, the guns, and the money were all involved. The governments of South Africa and England too. The British Consul charged me for the air fare home.

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