DT 28975 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28975

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28975

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright, almost spring-like, morning.

Today’s Giovanni took me longer than last week’s, though it is not easy to see why after the event. No doubt there will be comments again disagreeing with the difficulty marking. To those who expressed their violent disagreement last week, I say only that my difficulty marking is based on the time it takes me to complete the crossword. If it it takes you a longer or shorter time, it’s fine to say so, but don’t take it as an affront if someone else’s experience on a particular puzzle is different from yours.

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           Smug company male wanting position not contracted (10)
COMPLACENT – Put together an abbreviation for company, Male, a position, and the short form of N(o)T.

6a           Spy in relationship (4)
BOND – Double definition, the first being the surname of a fictional spy who has appeared in lots of films.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a           Maiden in state of collapse thinking (10)
RUMINATION – The abbreviation for a maiden over at cricket, inserted into ‘state of collapse’.

10a         Crazy travels to the west creating shock (4)
STUN – Reverse (travels to the west) an informal word for crazy.

12a         Thin goo, no end of it (4)
SLIM – Remove the final letter from some slippery goo.

13a         Rendering holy greeting when meeting extreme group? (9)
HALLOWING – A common word of greeting followed by a political grouping which is not in the centre of a party or parliament.

15a         Unconventional lady rent with passion (8)
ARDENTLY – Anagram (unconventional) of LADY RENT.

16a         Woman who was beautiful, ace, capital! (6)
HELENA – The name of the woman whose face is said to have launched a thousand ships, followed by the abbreviation found in the corners of an Ace in a pack of cards, giving us the state capital of Montana.

18a         Bear trapped in river flood (6)
DELUGE – Another word for ‘bear’ or ‘carry’ with a Welsh or Scottish river wrapped around it.

20a         Diplomatic move of Parisian — took steps, getting cut short (8)
DEMARCHE – The French for ‘of’ followed by ‘took steps (in a military manner)’ with its final letter removed.

23a         Raid isn’t wrong — time to be seizing property legally (9)
DISTRAINT – Anagram (wrong) of RAID ISN’T followed by Time.

24a         Disease making one cause to lean back (4)
YAWS – Start with a word meaning ‘lean’ or ‘move in the wind’, then reverse (back) it to get a tropical disease.

26a         Seat with front falling off — could this help fix it? (4)
TOOL – Remove the first letter (front falling off) from a type of seat which may have only three legs, and you get something which may help you to repair it.

27a         A foreign fellow approaching, not the first character to be rude (10)
UNMANNERLY – Put together a foreign word for A, a fellow, and ‘approaching’ or ‘almost’ with the first letter of the alphabet removed from it.

28a         Beastly home in Dorset town (4)
SETT – Hidden in the clue.

Image result for badger sett

29a         Pity — he nods off in a trance! (10)
HYPNOTISED – Anagram (off) of PITY HE NODS.

Image result for hypnotized cartoon


1d           Tactical unit, reportedly essential element (4)
CORE – This word for the central part of something is a homophone (reportedly) of a military grouping.

2d           Muttered brief report of mother’s injury (7)
MUMBLED – Split the answer (3,4) and you have another word for ‘mother’ and a verb describing a possible result of an injury.

3d           Bosses releasing man misbehaving (4,8)
LINE MANAGERS – Anagram (misbehaving) of RELEASING MAN.

4d           Comprehensive booing hard to absorb (5-3)
CATCH-ALL – The letter showing the hardness of a pencil is inserted into a word for booing or heckling.

5d           Knight with lots, not complete idiot (6)
NOODLE – The chess notation for a knight, followed by an informal word for ‘lots and lots’ with its final letter removed (not complete).

7d           Not in policy plan (7)
OUTLINE – A word for ‘not in’ followed by an agreed policy response to questioning.

8d           After study I will get crushed and belittled (10)
DENIGRATED – Put together a study or lair, I (from the clue), and ‘crushed’ or ‘reduced to small pieces’. I’m not convinced that ‘crushed’ is really a synonym of the word we’re looking for here: both mean ‘reduced to small pieces’, but the means of achieving this is totally different.

11d         Penny is such a one! (8,4)
MONETARY UNIT – Cryptic definition of something which is a means of exchange.

14d         Frank, taking seat, disturbed those awaiting interview? (10)
CANDIDATES – Another word for ‘frank’ followed by an anagram (disturbed) of SEAT.

17d         Hold back soldiers with muscle injury (8)
RESTRAIN – The familiar regiment of engineers followed by a stress injury.

19d         Keep going as one leaving after everyone else (4,3)
LAST OUT – If you are the one who has to turn the lights out when everyone else has gone home, you’re the —- —.

21d         Fellow children being looked after — they show fear (7)
COWARDS – The prefix for ‘fellow’, as in ‘fellow worker’ or ‘fellow author’, followed by a legal term for children who are under the protection of the court.

22d         Character of body part (6)
KIDNEY – Double definition, the first a metaphor based on the belief that the organs of the body can affect a person’s character.

25d         I would, shortly, being heard and looked at (4)
EYED – A homophone (being heard) of the contracted form of ‘I would’.

The Quick Crossword pun POLLY + ANTHERS = POLYANTHUS

47 comments on “DT 28975

  1. One of those Giovanni’s where you need to know the stuff you have to work out from the fair wordplay – it also helps to have a bottle of Tippex by your side (if like me you are using the newspaper – don’t put Tippex on your electronic device)

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  2. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle and learned a couple of new words as is usual for me with a DM production (whether or not I remember them for future use is another matter).

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 2.5*/4*

  3. 3*/1*. I learnt three new words today in 20a, 24a & “character” in 22d. Best clue: 18a. Worst clue: 16a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  4. I found the puzzle quite difficult , particularly the SE corner and agree with DT’s ***/***.
    The character in last in 22a was new to me , good job I had the checking letters and 11d took a bit of teasing out. Wanted to put detente for 20 but it would not quite fit-the correct answer was a new word for me
    Liked the surface of 9a and16a.
    Thanks all.

  5. I’ve not quite finished this yet, but I’ve got to go soon – bills to pay and bus to catch. A really good puzzle from G with nice clues giving a reasonable challenge and a very enjoyable solve. 3* / 4*

  6. Yet more transport of delight to end a felicitous cruciverbal working week. Now let ‘s see what the weekend brings! Had wrong ending to 9a which hampered 5d. 16a is doubtless one for our transatlantic friends – it didn’t occur to me in spite of having been a U.S. resident for several years. Failed to parse 22d. 23a and 24a now added to my vocabulary. Fav was 4d. Thank you Giovanni and DT.

  7. This took me twice as long to complete as each of the other back page puzzles this week. I learnt a new word in 20a, one of four clues for which I needed electronic assistance from the Thesaurus. So, all in all this was a good challenge from Giovanni. Thank you to Deep Threat were useful reassurance that I had parsed the clues correctly. ***/**** is just about right.

      1. No, it was just that I really had difficulty with the last Giovanni puzzle and it took much longer to complete than today’s. So the *** difficulty rating of this week’ s puzzle is a comparitive value. It was a good challenge whilst the previous puzzle was a real struggle. Whether a struggle or merely a challenge, I generally find the effort enjoyable. Hope that makes more sense.

        1. Ah, so you’re taking last week’s reviewer-given ** as a benchmark, rather than comparing across backpagers.

          This is why I just avoid ratings unless I have to give them!

          1. Yes. I did do that. It is a tricky business, when you have no idea what sort of time scales everyone else has. I’m not that experienced at giving ratings yet.

            1. That’s what the ratings are meant to be for. People’s different speeds don’t matter, because it’s all relative. It’s about the puzzle, not about how fast the solvers are. A rough guide might be:

              Round about normal difficulty for a backpager (give or take a little bit) — ***
              Distinctly more difficult than usual — ****
              Distinctly less difficult than usual — **
              Loads more difficult than usual (about as tough as it gets) — *****
              Loads less difficult than usual (about as easy as it gets) — *

              I collected the data a while ago and found that the actual ratings given by reviewers are about one lower than this would suggest, so if you’re finding it tricky, you’re not alone!

  8. Definitely at the Toughie end of the scale with some head scratching required for completion at a canter – 3.5*/3.5*.

    I immediately thought ‘RD’ when I saw and solved 16a and it appears that I was correct. NM in DT 28966 and MT here – it must be ‘catching’ – only 48 to go (unless some others have appeared previously).

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 14d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  9. I haven’t always been able to say this on Fridays but I really enjoyed this puzzle, I thought it was the best Giovanni for some time.
    There were one or two new words but they were fairly clued and “guessable” from the wordplay. I’d never heard of 22d used in the context here either. If I have one tiny complaint I think the definition in 5d is a wee bit strong but that’s being picky.
    COTD by a stretch is the excellent 4d.
    Thanks to setter and to DT for his explanatory review.

  10. 4d gets my vote for the COTD. Overall I found it quite tricky in places but perfectly solvable from the wordplay. New words or definitions, yes, but that is all part and parcel of doing a crossword so no complaints from me. The one negative was the execrable 16a. That apart I thoroughly enjoyed the Friday challenge.

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  11. Hooray, I completed this without any help from Deep Threat (although I did appreciate the explanations afterwards, so thank you). I smiled at 2d, and 20a was a new word for me.

  12. I enjoyed what I could do. Needed hints for the last three. All new words for me. Toughest backpager for some time (for me anyway).

  13. Didn’t complete the SE, though most of the rest was fine.

    So not average for me in terms of either difficulty or enjoyment!

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  14. Flying start , very slow finish in SE corner due to 11d and missing the anagram in 29a . A few new words/meanings along the way but enjoyed the challenge .
    Thanks to everyone

  15. As someone who normally solves Giovanni’s offerings on a Friday today I met my Waterloo 😳 I needed help with 11d, 22d, 11d & 24a 😟 so ****/*** I quite liked 2 & 4d 😃 Thanks to Giovanni, DT and to Cryptic Sue for her Typex warning! 😜

  16. I gave up with five to go. That is unheard of for me. Thanks anyway to Mr Manley and thanks to DT for the review. It’s tha weekend. Play nicely children and THK will see you on Monday (thanks HP)

  17. ****/***. Tougher than usual and needed a lot of electronic help to clarify my answers to several clues. All part of the learning process. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review and explanations.

  18. I found this easier than last week, though I did fail on 22d and needed electronic help with 20a.
    Fave was 4d by a length, 1a was runner up.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat, how on earth did you solve 22d, that’s pretty esoteric.

    1. I’ve seen the expression before, but not for a long time. Probably from the sort of adventure stories I read as a small boy, where square-jawed Englishmen would probably use the expression disparagingly about Johnny Foreigner. Not really in my everyday vocabulary, though.

  19. Today’s Giovanni took two sittings for me – very unusual. As others have said, it was the SE which held out and 20a probably took more time than most of the rest of the puzzle put together and I had to resort to paper and pencil and the alphabet for all the unfilled spaces. Got there in the end and then wondered what my problem had been!

    Very enjoyable as always on a Friday. Many thanks to DT and G

  20. Had to check on the same ones as others apparently did – 20&24a plus the ‘character’ in 22d.
    No particular favourite to mention.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog.

  21. Once again this took me a bit of time to get started. Then I was on a gallop only to come to a screeching halt but I got there in the end. Took a number of hours, not non-stop of course, just puttering around and then going back to take another look. Very satisfying to complete. Thanks to the setter, Deep Threat and all the fellow puzzlers here and of course Big Dave for providing us with this lovely community.

  22. I started slowly and took a break after realizing that I just wasn’t on wavelength. When I returned a couple of hours later I sailed through the rest. How often that happens!
    27a caught my eye for some reason so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  23. I enjoyed this one with the exception of 8d. Crushing a carrot is not the same as grating a carrot, or anything else. I didn’t chase off to look in the BRB. Thank you setter and DT.

    1. I agree though I suspect it depends on the point of view. The carrot probably isn’t keen either way :)

  24. We owe Giovanni an apology. With 28a we got the answer straight away from the definition and then thought, “another ****** piece of obscure geography” that we had very little chance of knowing. We totally missed the fact that it was a lurker.
    There were several clues that had us head scratching, 22d for example, so we agree with it being a bit trickier than usual.
    Lots of good fun to solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. I missed the lurker too. Assumed a town in Dorset and so sure was I that I did not check. This is the problem or advantage when the first definition and one or two of the checkers gives you the answer.

  25. A splendid mind stretcher… for me Giovanni at his best. A perfect Friday back pager! 3.5*/4* Favourite clues 8D & 20A,,,,
    Grateful thanks to Don G & DT

  26. Solved this morning in one sitting. Left hand side definitely easier than the right. Encountered the same hold ups as the majority. I had to check the diplomatic move. Think I have seen 11d before. Once I had that it led to others. Had to check the capital at 16a. Favourites 4, 11 and 21d. Thanks Giovanni and DT for revealing the lurker

  27. Failed on 16a and 22d.
    Not very nice to clue a GK answer with another GK in the wordplay.
    Had to check the disease in 24a.
    Liked 14d.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  28. 4*/4*…
    liked 14D (Frank, taking seat, disturbed those awaiting interview?)…Frank Spencer perhaps ?

    1. Really? I have a cold and a cough. It is minus 21 Celcius here today. We are having problems trying to register with a GP because ours has decided to join the Foreign Legion…. OK he is doing something rather noble and has joined Doctors Without Borders but anyway we are without any access to a doctor and I am not quite myself as it were and now I have ‘Ooooh Betty!!” going through my head – a brave trip, with visions of him on ….roller blades and ending up in ….a big bin…was it oil? Help me someone? :-)

    2. Sorry Robin, just reread that and realised I might sound a bit rude or snarky. Not meant that way I promise. It just gave me and LSH a giggle as we rememebred Frank Spencer.

      1. I think Giovanni could have had “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” in mind when he set this clue, but none of the comments mentioned it specifically, although a few chose 14D as a nice clue-perhaps the connection went without saying.
        Good luck with your GP !

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