DT 28977 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28977

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28977

Hints and tips by the Human Kaleidoscope

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We have a nice puzzle here to ease us into the solving week. The checkers put in after the first read of the across clues provided great help with the solutions to the down clues. The puzzle just sort of filled itself in after that. It’s a bit nippy up here in Lancashire. Overcast but bright. Not bad for February.

The photos taken at BB10 are now available in The Gallery. We are a handsome bunch.

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.


1a    Wally in ripper, a sentimental film? (4-6)
TEAR-JERKER: Place a contemptibly foolish person inside the past tense for one who rips paper perhaps. The final scenes of the film ET The Extra Terrestrial get me every time. What scenes make you cry?

6a    Poet in pub, Duke’s Head (4)
BARD: A poet such as Shakespeare can be found by using a word to describe a pub and the initial (head) letter of the word Duke

9a    Loyalist beginning to pontificate at uprising (7)
PATRIOT: Begin with the first letter (beginning to) of pontificate. Add the word AT which the setter has donated free of charge. Add an uprising, a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd

10a    Malice shown by Democrat, European, notwithstanding (7)
DESPITE: Place a synonym for malice after the abbreviations for Democrat and European

12a    Injury boost? (1,4,2,3,3)
A SHOT IN THE ARM: A double definition. The first being, cryptically, the result of a bullet in an upper limb. The second being akin to a drug being administered via an upper limb. I used to do that Chinese thing with needles. What was that called?

14a    Offended in broadcast (3,3)
PUT OUT: Another double definition. To cause someone upset or annoyance. To make something available. There is a third definition labelled vulgar in my online dictionary which might have been used to add spice to this clue.

Max Miller

I like the girls who do,
I like the girls who don’t:
I like the girls who say they will,
And then decide they won’t.
But the girls I like the most of all,
And I know you’ll think I’m right,
Are the girls that say they never will,
But look as though they might!

15a    French daily taking in a drink (8)
LEMONADE: This French daily taking a drink is not an overseas cleaner downing the contents of your drinks cabinet. It is a French daily afternoon newspaper which takes in the letter A from the clue to give a refreshing drink

17a    Automatic responses concerning cables (8)
REFLEXES: These actions performed without conscious thought as response to a stimulus (A perfect description of bunging in the first word that comes into your head after reading a clue only to find later that it bears no relation to any part of the clue) can be found by putting in the usual word denoted by concerning and adding a synonym of insulated cables

19a    Area to decorate round university’s central hall (6)
ATRIUM: Find a word meaning to decorate as one might a Christmas Tree. Place this word around the abbreviation for university. Add what you have to the abbreviation of the word area

22a    Left, went on holiday? (4,4,5)
TOOK ONE’S LEAVE: The clue is a double definition. Both parts should be obvious to the experienced solver. If not checking letters will help. In clues such as this the middle word is rarely YOUR

24a    Pound, English family dish (7)
RAMEKIN: Begin with a three-lettered word meaning to hit something regularly (like a pile-driver) Add the abbreviation for English. Add a word meaning one’s family

25a    A lack of faith in his team, unfortunately (7)
ATHEISM: Anagram (unfortunately) of HIS TEAM

26a    Forward‘s second goal (4)
SEND: The abbreviation for second is followed by a goal or target

27a    Enlisted troops from different stations (5,5)
OTHER RANKS: A synonym for different is followed by the plural of one’s station or position within the hierarchy of the armed forces


1d    Measure top of tall mirror (4)
TAPE: The first letter (top of) of the word tall is followed by a word meaning to mirror, copy or imitate

2d    Pull in at plot (7)
ATTRACT: Begin with the word AT. Just nick it from the clue. Nobody is looking and nobody cares. Add a plot or area of land. Typically, a large one

3d    Record can astonish (9,4)
JAILHOUSE ROCK: Two synonyms are required here. One for can which is a slang word for a prison. One for astonish. Together they make a 45rpm single record released when Long John Silver had two legs and Captain Flint was an egg. The title of this record is also the title of the film from whence it came. Can is also a slang term for the room in which this singer died whilst (allegedly) bingeing on drugs and beef burgers. This clue is so last century, but it is concise and witty and leads one to the answer, so I suppose it’s alright Mama It’s alright for you. It’s alright Mama. Any way you do

4d    Go round old gallery after opening of retrospective (6)
ROTATE: We have three components to find and assemble here. In no particular order they are; The abbreviation for old. The first letter (opening) of retrospective. An art gallery (like the record above and the boys and girls there are many to choose from) This one is on the South Bank in London. Arrange these three components in the order suggested by the clue to suit the definition underlined by Big Dave

5d    Risk outrage south of border (8)
ENDANGER: An outrage or strong feeling of annoyance lies after (south of in a down clue) a border or limit of something

7d    Almost excuse sailor, a pantomime hero (3,4)
ALI BABA: Another three-part clue. Begin with an excuse used in court to plead being somewhere other than the scene of a crime. Remove the last letter of this word (unfinished) add an abbreviation for an able-bodied seaman (sailor) Add the letter A from the clue

8d    Best possible sides made master delirious (5,5)
DREAM TEAMS: Anagram (delirious) of MADE MASTER.

11d    Master, say, given assortment of chocolates by that woman (13)
SCHOOLTEACHER: Anagram (assortment of) CHOCOLATES followed by a pronoun meaning that woman

13d    Signs of excess weight carried by motorists? (5,5)
SPARE TYRES: These rolls of fat around some people’s waists are also carried by motorists in case of punctures. (Phone the AA. It’s their job)

16d    Wager the Spanish fiend supplies a narcotic (5,3)
BETEL NUT: Begin with a wager. Add the Spanish for the. Add a fiend. Not a ghoul but somebody obsessed by something. The result is the fruit of the Areca Palm described as the world’s most addictive drug

18d    Servant in pad on island (7)
FOOTMAN: A pad here it what is below your ankle. The island lies off the west coast of England in the Irish Sea. (How many islands are there in the world? Almost as many as cheesy Elvis Presley records)

20d    Spaniard, perhaps, and one from Monrovia left out? (7)
IBERIAN: Monrovia is the capital of a west African country. How one from this country might be defined minus the abbreviation for Left

21d    Like appeals close to Yuletide (6)
PLEASE: The plural of a request made in an urgent and emotional manner is followed by the final letter of the word Yuletide

23d    Book‘s author getting rid of one for nothing (4)
AMOS: The book is one of many in the bible. The author is one of many in the world. Pick the surname of either Kingsley or Martin. Change the letter I (one) for O (zero or nothing)

Quickie Pun 1: whether+Beeton=weather-beaten. Old browned and gnarled.

Quickie Pun 2: rigger+mortise=rigor mortis. The third stage of death. What? Stages of death? I just want to die in one stage. Aged 92. Shot by a jealous husband.


57 comments on “DT 28977

  1. If you are one of the first comments on a Monday, I believe you have to describe it as light and fluffy, which this was. Good fun, and I especially liked 1a and 3d.

    Many thanks to our setter and the HK.

  2. 1*/2.5*. A very easy and pleasant start to the week. No particular favourite today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP.

  3. Standard Monday fare, finished in ** time.

    Having quickly entered J, X and Y, I thought I knew what was coming. Wrong!

    I have certainly heard the third meaning of 14a, if not actually used it.

    Many thanks to all.

  4. This didn’t take very long to complete but was quite enjoyable for its plays on words (favourites 12a, 22a and the double definition at 14a). I also liked the geographical conundrum at 20d. Thanks to the setter. I remember watching Max Miller and his risque songs on a black and white TV. Political correctness hadn’t been invented then. Thanks for the memory HK.

    1. My grandad was in the Royal Sussex Regiment in the Great War and fought with Max Miller in Mesopotamia. He said Miller was the meanest man he ever met.

  5. Last week got off to an entertaining start and today continues in the same fun vein. North beat the South to it. Not sure about 21d = like. Had forgotten 16d but it became my Fav due to its surface. Record for 3d seems a rather broad description. Thank you Mysteron and HK, aka MP.

  6. Enjoyable, made even more so by the very amusing hints. Took ages to get 3d, although a bit offended by the insinuation that anyone remembering the film must be exceedingly aged.

  7. As someone who is commenting relatively early I guess I’m amongst the premier league solvers. However I’m strictly second division so didn’t find this quite as easy as them.
    Like MP said it “kind of filled itself in” but after a fair degree of head scratching. I needed the Kaleidoscope Kid’s help in parsing 3d and I’d never heard of the narcotic (having led a sheltered life) but got it from the wordplay. LOI was 23d, which I wasn’t over struck on.
    No particular favourite today but thanks to setter and to MP for his witty review. 2.5*/2.5*

  8. Most enjoyable start to the week after the struggles of last Friday and Saturday. Loved 15 across because it still managed to surprise even though it was a straight forward clue.

  9. A very painless way to start the week and some nice touches of humour.
    Top two for me were 3&13d.

    Thanks to our setter and to MP for the blog.

  10. Yet another double quickie pun goes to waste-why not write the clues for the second in italics as per 1/8?
    Anyway has to be a */**, a tad too straight forward in my view.
    Liked 23d and 3d-still the best Elvis film before they got silly.

  11. A very pleasant start to the work week, oh wait, today is a holiday so a four day work week doesn’t start until tomorrow; nevertheless, a very pleasant puzzle completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 12a and 13d.

    Thanks to the setter and the itinerant GMoLI.

  12. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but not too tricky start to the week. There was quite a bit of humour, 17a being one, and 12a another. Perhaps it was me, but without any checkers, I thought of a ruder answer straight away! Favourite was 15a. Last in was 3d. Was 2*/3*for me.

  13. Lovely Monday morning puzzle. Didn’t need hints but read them afterwards for fun – thank you for a good chuckle.
    I struggle with the use of “narcotic” in crosswordland. As an old former pharmacist I’m expecting to see a substance that causes sleep, rather than a stimulant.

  14. Nice monday start to the week, not quite a write in for me, but still enjoyable.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Setter

  15. Little gem in my opinion with 3D my favourite just ahead of a few others . Could not parse 23D originally but , on returning from shopping expedition , realisation dawned .
    Yet to read hints/comments and hope others agree that this is a good offering.
    Regards to everyone .

  16. Nice straight forward crossword today with some challenging clues.
    I really enjoyed it as my rule is no looking up using electronic aids until I am really stuck.
    Cheers petitrrojo

  17. Thanks for the hints, MP, though I am happy to say they were not needed for a change.
    I thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle, LOI was 15a, as I had the wrong definition for ages.
    Thanks to the setter too.

  18. Really enjoyable for me, a nice kindly start to the week.
    A lot of good stuff here, hard to choose a fave, but I rather liked 12a and 15a, good fun all round.
    Thanks to our friendly setter and to M’pops for his very funny review.

  19. Must be me, i found this very difficult indeed. 3D is a perfectly dreadful clue relying on American slang which in my book is unforgivable and lazy for any setter.
    For me ***/*

    1. I thought the use of ‘can’ was brilliant misdirection. I see no problem with American slang.
      A great clue.

    2. Oh thank goodness, I thought I was the only one who was struggling today. Did not find this in the least light and fluffy. Guess that means I am really stupid. When at a loss, I let myself look at the picture clues, but sadly none there today in the hints.

      1. Not at all stupid. I saw that yesterday you solved a Dada all on your ownsome, that is NOT stupid!!

      2. Saint Sharon and I were stopping away in Lancashire and visiting her Mum for her birthday early today so time was a little limited. I managed the Max Miller joke but nothing else. I will try harder next week just for you. I agree with Merusa you are not stupid at all. Some days just do not click That’s all

        1. Thank you kind sir. I was sure you would have added pictures had you the time. I am always amazed that you manage to run a pub and fit the solving and hints as well…

  20. Another day right on the button for the “target market” in my view.
    Pleasurable and doable for most I think.
    Also applies to the ever-Green man. Difficult to imagine a monochrome kaleidoscope. Review not needed for hints but always produces smiles.
    COTD 3d – reminder of my mid teenage years (I bought the record as a 78).
    Thanks to setter & MP, aka who knows what next.

  21. I think Acupuncture is the word you’re looking for unless you were an heroin addict… which I doubt.
    You do sometimes sound as if you are on something but it is probably just your natural state.
    Don’t change.
    I like Mondays. The little bonus prize crossword we get with the online subscription is an added pleasure.
    Both quite easy but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to The Telegraph, the setters and to MP.

  22. I agree with Miffypops on this one. It just filled itself in. Particularly the long clues which were virtual bung-ins. Still, it was nice gentle fun for a Monday. Thank you setter and the Human.

  23. Nice puzzle enjoyed a lot and found the hints a delight too thanks to the kaleidoscopic one and setter too.
    I wonder if Le Monde has a Cryptic puzzle?

    1. My dad solves Le Monde crossword everyday. Can’t do it myself. Some short cryptic clues but no constructions.

      1. Thanks my French is barely up to ordering a beer or deux in a ski resort so even a simple puzzle would be beyond moi.

  24. Puppy-sitting duties whilst Mrs Hec played a golf match meant that I got next to nothing done today least of all the DTCC. I’m much better at ‘fetch’ though – and pronouncing the word ‘NO!’

    I liked this calm, sanity-restoring offering. It fairly flowed and had some lovely surfaces. 3d and 26a. Oh, I guess **/***-and-a-half.

    Thanks to setter and ‘Kaleido’.

  25. Relatively straightforward with little to astonish but still pleasant to complete after a Monday dinner.
    1.5*/3* with thanks to setter & HK

  26. ** for difficulty, you’re having a laugh, I thought at first glance through at lunchtime!! But sometime later, I started to fill them in and as ‘HK’ says, it sort of filled itself in! I’m with Brian, I didn’t like 3d. 15a gets clue of the day for me.

  27. 3d was favourite in this very nice puzzle to start the week. Sorry Brian! On second thoughts why be sorry? I’m not! Come on Brian, get a life…..!
    Thanks to the setter, and to MP for the review etc.

  28. A pretty straightforward start to the week and one that I enjoyed.
    I hate quibbling but I don’t think that 16d is a narcotic.
    I loved 3d – made me laugh, that’s why!
    With thanks to whoever set this one and to MP.
    Off to London tomorrow to see the Elder Lamb, her partner and our little grand-son who is now twenty months old.

    1. We get Ethan all day tomorrow. Great fun but very tiring. Enjoy your time with little Georgie and stop worrying about Pet mouse and Dan

      1. I will love the time with Georgie but always worry about Pet Mouse!! Hope you enjoy your day tomorrow. :smile:

  29. A perfect fit for the Monday brief, and perfect for the Monday after a tiring weekend.

    Last in was the lovely 3d: surprising how long that one took, even with all the nice helpful checkers and having guessed it was likely to be a song. There are quite a few songs, of course.

    Thanks to the setter (Campbell?) and [Insert Name Here].

  30. Some of us are on different wavelengths and one man’s meat is another one’s poison. However, how anyone could find this difficult is quite beyond me. Must be my quickest ever. But most enjoyable and only a problem if you happen to be waiting in Accident & Emergency for hours with nothing to do. My only difficulty would be with 23d. Not the sort of clue I like and I do not have the patience to work out which way round to swap the letters. I have circled lots of clues so shall restrict myself to top favourite 15a. Thanks setter and MP. Always enjoy reading the hints even after the event and the comments although I never cease to be amazed…..

  31. Can anyone tell me why I have a funny little thingy across the bottom of the screen? It’s a narrow horizontal boxed in thing with a little * on the left hand side. It’s only ever seen when I’m doing anything on this blog so it’s nothing to do with my eyesight, just in case anyone was going to suggest Specsavers, or similar!

    1. Only very special people get that rectangle Kath. Best not brag about it. Just smile and keep it all to yourself. That’s what I do with mine

    2. It’s a remnant of the bottom-of-the-page prompt that sometimes asks you to accept cookies when visiting the site. I suspect that it’s a bug (or an undefined style) in the plug-in which implements that functionality.

      1. It is a known error, but I have not been given a date for a fix. I have lessened the impact by restricting the Cookie Compliance banner to the Front Page.

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