DT 28972 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28972

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28972

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello everyone.  Today we have a solid and enjoyable puzzle.  Not surprising it turned out like that, because any crossword that begins with kittens just has to be good. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized and definitions are underlined.  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    Cat in upset after frequently having kittens (7)
FRANTIC:  An anagram (upset) of CAT IN is placed after an abbreviation for frequently

5a    Most unpleasant judge regularly tells fibs before opening of trial (7)
UGLIEST:  Put together the even letters (… regularly) of JUDGE, a verb meaning tells fibs, and the first letter of (opening of) TRIAL

9a    Pass around artist's orange-pink colour (5)
CORAL:  A usual mountain pass is wrapped around a usual artist.  In the cryptic reading of the clue, the ‘s is being a link word in a construction of the form wordplay is definition

10a   German and English resistance before last shift, perhaps (9)
UNDERWEAR:  Assemble the German word for “and”, the single letter for English, the physics symbol for electrical resistance, and a verb meaning last or withstand continual use

11a   They'll provide you with the latest  rags (10)
NEWSPAPERS:  A double definition, the second informal

12a   Food moderate conservatives returned (4)
STEW:  The reversal (… returned) of a derogatory term for some moderate conservatives

14a   In cotton suit, changing make-up (12)
CONSTITUTION:  An anagram (changing) of IN COTTON SUIT

18a   He's active about welcoming gents -- they're accomplished (12)
ACHIEVEMENTS:  An anagram (about) of HE’S ACTIVE containing (welcoming) some gents or chaps

21a   Obscure European coin (4)
DIME:  A synonym of obscure and the single letter for European together make an American coin

22a   Extra jam possibly found in many places (10)
WIDESPREAD:  A type of extra run in the game of cricket is followed by what jam is an example of (jam possibly)

25a   Parked at home and stopped engine unexpectedly (9)
INSTALLED:  The usual short word for at home is followed by an adjective describing an engine that has stopped suddenly because it was asked to work too hard.  Parked here has its informal meaning of placed or put in position

26a   I name heads of dictatorship in autocratic country (5)
INDIA:  Concatenate I from the clue, the abbreviation for name, and the first letters of (heads of) the next three words in the clue

27a   Quickly has set fire to flipping yard (7)
HASTILY:  Cement together HAS from the clue, the reversal (… flipping) of “set fire to”, and the single letter abbreviation for yard

28a   Daughter shaking trees with small leaves (7)
DESERTS:  Amalgamate the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, an anagram (shaking) of TREES, and the clothing abbreviation for small



1d    Confronting female longing to ditch husband (6)
FACING:  The abbreviation for female is followed by a synonym of longing that's had the abbreviation for husband deleted (to ditch husband)

2d    A king ranks weapons (6)
ARROWS:  A charade of A from the clue, the Latin abbreviation for king, and some ranks or lines

3d    Calls Leo 'Stephen' incorrectly (10)
TELEPHONES:  An anagram (… incorrectly) of LEO STEPHEN

4d    Penny supporting china mug (5)
CHUMP:  The abbreviation for penny comes after (supporting, in a down clue) a synonym of the usual china

5d    Lower work stress when writing (9)
UNDERLINE:  A synonym of lower is followed by work or occupation

6d    Game  bird (4)
LARK:  A double definition.  The game is an escapade, the bird an early riser

7d    Choose cereal food lacking energy for stirring (8)
ELECTRIC:  Choose to serve in office is followed by a cereal food minus the physics symbol for energy (lacking energy).  In the cryptic reading of the clue stirring is an adjective

8d    Chucking object in argument? On the contrary (8)
THROWING:  Inverting the wordplay (on the contrary), we’re being told here to insert an argument in a generic object

13d   I'm upset and ill cooking mushrooms (10)
MULTIPLIES:  An anagram (… cooking) of I’M UPSET ILL.  This is what the kit illustrated in 1a mushrooms into

15d   Particularly small diamonds quietly picked up by friend (9)
SPECIALLY:  Follow the abbreviation for small by the reversal of (picked up, in a down clue) the combination of an informal term for some diamonds and the musical abbreviation that means quietly.  Finish by appending a friend or supporter

16d   Town in Kent -- it's easy to scoff (8)
SANDWICH:  A double definition.  The name of a town in Kent is also a food item that’s easy to eat with one’s hands

17d   Drug dealers caught with millions during robberies (8)
CHEMISTS:  The cricket abbreviation for caught is followed by some robberies that contain the abbreviation for millions (millions during robberies)

19d   Offer to take care of the Queen (6)
TENDER:  Put together “take care of” and the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth

20d   Is embracing business transaction producing highest standards? (6)
IDEALS:  IS from the clue containing (embracing) a business transaction

23d   Offended? Rotten to leave wound-up (5)
ENDED:  OFFENDED from the clue has a synonym of rotten deleted (rotten to leave).  I'm not sure that wound-up should be hyphenated 

24d   Artist lived a lie, in part (4)
DALI:  And it's a lurker to finish, with in part indicating that the artist is found hiding inside the preceding words


Thanks to today’s setter for a very pleasant solve.  We love to thank and to chat with our setters, so please consider posting a comment below.  I found lots to like here, with 17d emerging as my favourite.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  BEECH + BAWLS = BEACH BALLS

55 comments on “DT 28972

  1. I agree with Mr K about 17d being the COTD. I spent far too long looking for a different type of drug dealer. Pleasantly straightforward and a lot of fun this morning.

    Thanks to our mystery setter and to Mr K for an entertaining blog.

  2. I liked this one, a moderate challenge with nice clues providing an enjoyable solve. 11a: did anyone else initially put in NEWSAGENTS? Favs: 10a, 7d, 13d, 17d. 2.5* / 3*

  3. Good fun and not too taxing.
    11a is a bit ambiguous, I would have thought newsagents is actually a better fit?
    Joint gold medals to 22a and 17d for me.

  4. Only the mushroom held me up. Mathematics helped me solve it though. Thanks for the review Mr K. I don’t think the pet shop has ever been so well stocked. Thanks to the setter. The Toughie is worth a try today. It made me smile and I only have one unparsed answer

    1. For the first time EVER, I’ve printed off the toughie. I hope you’re right and it’s friendly, I’m nervous already.

  5. 1.5*/2.5* for another light but generally pleasant diversion today.

    My eye latched onto 11a first when I started and I immediately wrote in the obvious “newsagents” based on the clue providing a cryptic definition. 1d & 2d then followed nicely fitting with the checkers but, only after struggling with 3d, 4d & 5d, did I realise that what I had put was not the required answer. I have to say that, with the intended answer, 11a seems a pretty poor clue to me with both definitions effectively being the same.

    On the plus side my joint favourites were 13d & 17d.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

      1. I did the down clues first today, so I never considered ‘agents’ and soon caught onto “the latest” as a term for news…….

        It’s funny how once you’ve entered an answer with confidence, it’s really hard to pull away from it …

  6. A smiler from the off. Didn’t think newsagents, but on first pass noticed couturier would fit in 11a, not that that would have been very cryptic. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  7. Another who put in newsagent.
    Straightforward but *** enjoyment.
    Also 17d gets my COTD vote.
    A Russian delegate to a conference said that in Putinland using 5d, or emboldening, is considered as insulting the intelligence of ths reader.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K.

  8. Another fun run through today. I’m with RayS in selecting 21a and 17d as joint Favs but I hae ma doots about strict accuracy of 10a and 25a. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  9. Had to smile at 1a, knowing who would be reviewing this one. Talk about finding ways to ensure a favourable score for enjoyment!
    Another puzzle that proved crosswords don’t have to be overly difficult to be entertaining.

    17d gets my vote today with 13d hard on its heels.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Mr K – no prizes for guessing what will now be top of Kitty’s present wish list!

  10. I did notice the aptness of 1a for a Tuesday. 10a and 17d were the clues I ticked today. Based on the above, I might even print off the toughie for this evening. Thanks to all.

    1. You won’t need any food tonight The Toughie provides plenty. Lots of variety and even something to eat it off.

      1. Toughie is definitely worth a visit even for “backpagers only” people like me.
        Very enjoyable nearly-solve for me and doable for most if you have the time.

  11. Yes I also had newsagents and mushrooms held me up, apart from that a good solid puzzle. I quite liked 5a and 22a.
    Thanks to Mr K and Setter

  12. I got the right anagram words for 13d, but kept scraping the barrel called my mind for names of obscure fungi.
    Also had a problem with 17d as I had ‘scams’ on the brain and forgot about the legit side of drug dealing…oh dear…

    Kept falling asleep so 3* time for me….not my favourite.

  13. This puzzle was really well balanced, with lots of different types of clues and enough difficulty to keep you guessing. I found 25 a and 7d difficult ro fathom until the penny dropped and fell into the trap with newsagents like most of us. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K (loved rhe cat pictures).

  14. Concur with Mr K on his **/***, thanks for the entertaining pics-loved 1a.
    A well constructed puzzle with no obscurities, no real favourite . Good to see our cricketers are doing well except our opener Mr Jennings who I understand has voluntarily surrendered his cricket bat because of his poor driving !

  15. What is it about cryptic crossword setters and towns in Kent. Mr K will probably correct me but I’m sure we’ve had Ramsgate and Deal very recently.
    Anyway, it took me a while to get to grips with this but eventually it all went in with very little electronic help. I thought it was workmanlike more than inspirational and a tad more difficult than the reviewer’s rating, with 23d being my LOI. I got 10a from the checkers but don’t understand it? I’m giving 3d as my COTD because it’s not often I get a mention on here!

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

    1. You’re right about the Kent towns making recent appearances. I’d guess that we see a lot of Deal, Ramsgate, Margate, Whitstable, Tonbridge, etc. because DEAL, GATE, STABLE, and BRIDGE have synonyms that setters would find useful when trying to construct interesting clues.

  16. **/***. An enjoyable solve with 22&25a and 17d getting tick marks. The latter was the winner by a nose. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  17. Morning all! I got 10a but had no idea why it worked. Thanks for the explanation Mr. K.

    I got the drug dealer straight away but that’s probably because I had a brain fog yesteday when I was at the dentist and could only remember the trade name for a pill, my prescription is actually the generic type. I said ‘I could call the….the…the …’ couldn’t remember the commonly used term here – which is pharmacist – and I used the UK term, the answer in the crossword – which got a very odd look from the young lady taking my medical history. :)

    Well I see our expected massive winter storm has started. It’s a wait and see thing as to whether the power goes out. Which for us means no water. It’s OK for a while but believe me, there is no sweeter sound than a loo flushing if the power is out for any significant amount of time.

  18. Over a bit too quickly for me I’m afraid. Pleasant enough while it lasted. No real favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the pictures…. sorry, I meant the review.

  19. Thoroughly enjoyed this. I spent faaar too much time trying to remember the names of mushrooms, even checking my thesaurus. It wasn’t until I got the checking letters that I got it, and loved it, so that’s my fave.
    This was just the perfect amount of difficulty, alright, so I have a tiny brain, can’t change that.
    Thanks to our setter and to Mr. K, of course I loved the pics, I want one of 1a.

  20. A lot to entertain here for me this evening, favourite 13D & 17D. Good clues enough to challenge but not to over bamboozle. **/***
    Many thanks to MrRon & MrK

  21. Nice puzzle and not overly taxing. One thing does puzzle me. In 2 above a lot of people refer to newsagents. On Saturday I commented on a three word answer that I thought was correct and then realised it was a completely different answer. I put in my initial 3 word answer in this comment box and found it was redacted in full. Why? The wrong three words were nothing like the correct answer and I feel a bit miffed as I have seen far worse. Can someone explain? Thanks.

    1. Hi, Manders. The site has different rules for comments on live prize puzzles and for comments on regular puzzles. During the week, pretty much anything goes. However, discussion of alternative clues and alternative or partial answers is not allowed on the weekend blogs for the two prize puzzles. See FAQs 9, 15, and 16 for more details about comments on prize puzzles. If you’ve seen something worse than your alternative answer on a weekend blog, it’s because the moderators missed the offending comment and not because they allowed it.

    2. Hi Manders,
      Saturday and Sunday puzzles are Telegraph ‘Prize Crosswords’. If you read the instructions given in red at the end of the hints given for those days, you will see that they specifically state that no answers, whole, partial or incorrect should be given, nor any alternative clues.
      The same does not apply to weekday puzzles. Hope that sorts it out for you.

      Edit – Sorry, Mr K, wasn’t sure that you’d still be online.

    3. Thanks so much for your replies. I’m quite new to this and don’t want to end up on the naughty step! This is a great site and I really appreciate having found it. So thank you to all who make it so special.

      1. There is usually cake on the naughty step. It’s not that bad a place. Having said that I never comment on the weekend. I’d be living permanently on the naughty step if I did

        1. I agree! It is all too easy to mess up and end up on the naughty step. I’ve been there a few times. I do sometimes comment on weekend clues but now i just try to avoid actually mentioning too much about the actual answer because now that LSH is working shifts over a seven day period, half the time I have no idea what day it is! Hey it’s my excuse and I am sticking to it. Now…..has anyone seen my glasses?

          1. Hi, Carolyn. With the weekend puzzles, it’s fine to talk about your experience with the puzzle and about which clues you liked or disliked. The thing to avoid is any discussion of how you solved (or didn’t solve) specific clues. And if you need help with a clue that wasn’t hinted, simply ask if one of the bloggers could provide a hint for it. BD has said that we are allowed to do that.

            p.s. I hope you still have water.

            1. LOL explaining how I solved a clue is a littlee mystery all of its own! I seem to find my insomnia 2 o’clock in the morning thing where it suddenly pops into my head is my most reliable method and believe me, nobody wants to hear how that works! Heck I don’t know how that works.

              Yes we still have water and therefore loos that flush. Unusually for this neck of the woods the power didn’t go out. I think because although we did get about 6 inches of snow, the freezing rain and ice stayed south of us in in the United States. We do have a generator but that doesn’t help with household type power, we use it for lighting, and essential things like computer and printer, I can live without many things but not my crossword! A few years back our power went out for 8 days, and it was summer! Some kind of power station thing that went from here to the US, the Murricans blamed us but in the end it turned out oit was one of their substations that blew up or something.

  22. I found this a little trickier than most ***/*** hence my late arrival 😬 Favourites were 21a & 22a 😃 I confess to having difficulty with 23d 😟 but Mr K’s explanation made it sound so easy! Thanks to him and to the Setter

  23. Loads of fun and engagement today. 17d – agreed. Super-smooth surface. I too was trying to magic some mushrooms at 13d and I had CHOW for 12 across which works quite well if you moderate a horse or person with a ‘woh’.
    I enjoyed this a lot late in the day so thanks setter and Mr K and his herd of cats.
    **/*** / ****

  24. I too found this on the tricky side, and doubt if I would have finished without Mr K’s hints, thank you. Did have a go at the bonus 538 Monday Cryptic over a cuppa this afternoon, it was pleasantly enjoyable. Thanks to both setters.

  25. A very satisfying solve, I chased 16d around for a while until 27a pointed me in the right direction. By the way, how did the birthday bash go, are there any pictures available. I was unable to get there but it sounded like a great idea

    1. The bash was a great success. Pictures were taken, and they will eventually appear in The Gallery (found under the Features tab at the top of the page.)

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