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DT 28978

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28978

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello, everyone.  Today we have another quality puzzle that continues the recent run of enjoyable and satisfying crosswords where the difficulty falls right on the Tuesday sweet spot.

Last week Stephen Lord noticed that Kent had made numerous appearances in recent clues, and Senf pointed out that in the space of a week we'd met two US State capitals.  If you'd like to know crosswordland's most popular UK locations and/or which US capitals have yet to appear as answers, click the spoiler box below.

Click to see the most popular locations in crosswordland

I made a list of UK cities and counties (2,863 in all) and for each place searched through 184,000 back-page clues for appearances as locations.  This table shows the most used cities and counties, along with their number of appearances:

London 185
Kent 48
Yorkshire 33
Devon 22
Oxford 20
Cornwall 19
Surrey 18
Somerset 15
Sussex 14
Lincoln 14
Norfolk 13
Midlands 13
Essex 13
Cambridge 13


Turning to Senf's question, 29 of the 50 US state capitals have been used as answers in back-page puzzles.  The following 21 capitals have yet to make an appearance:  Austin (TX), Boise (ID), Carson City (NV), Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), Des Moines (IA), Dover (DE), Frankfort (KY), Harrisburg (PA), Hartford (CT), Jackson (MS), Jefferson City (MO), Lansing (MI), Madison (WI), Montgomery (AL), Montpelier (VT), Oklahoma City (OK), Pierre (SD), Raleigh (NC), Richmond (VA), and Saint Paul (MN).  There are some good potential answers in that list, so I expect to see it getting shorter.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized and underlining identifies precise definitions and all-in-one definitions.  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    In the neighbourhood of rowdy student, ending in argy-bargy (7)
ROUGHLY:  Put together a synonym of rowdy, the usual student or learner, and the last letter of (ending in) ARGY-BARGY

5a    Thatcher held this revolutionary talk after round of applause (7)
HANDBAG:  After a round of applause goes the reversal (revolutionary) of talk or chatter.  The internet claims that this is a young Margaret Thatcher posing with her beloved moustachioed cat, Dennis.  Click on it to see an image that's more relevant to the clue

9a    Song making a comeback in chapel or a church (5)
CAROL:  The answer is hiding reversed in (making a comeback in) the remainder of the clue

10a   After a short time American, with sensitivity, cut the man's whiskers (9)
MOUSTACHE:  Glue together a short time (2), an abbreviation for American, a synonym of sensitivity with its last letter deleted (cut), and a two-letter word for "the man"

11a   He perhaps precedes Conservative, editor said (10)
PRONOUNCED:  What "he" is an example of (… perhaps) comes before (precedes) the single letter for Conservative and the abbreviation for editor

12a   Crooked  disposition (4)
BENT:  A double definition.  The first is an adjective, the second a noun 

14a   Musical instrument is about to be out of action, creating concern (12)
ORGANISATION:  Assemble a keyboard instrument, IS from the clue, and ACTION from the clue minus a Latin abbreviation for about or approximately (about to be out of action)

18a   Ended nice novel comprehending writer's lack of bias (12)
INDEPENDENCE:  An anagram (novel) of ENDED NICE containing (comprehending, as in "taking in") a writing instrument

21a   One leads Muslims at mosque, primarily (4)
IMAM:  The Roman one is placed before (leads) the initial letters (… , primarily) of the next three words in the clue.  The entire clue is both wordplay and a definition of the answer, so this is a rare all-in-one or &-lit type of clue

22a   Promised good university article held forth about Spain (10)
GUARANTEED:  Fuse together the abbreviation for good, an abbreviation for university, and a grammatical article.  To that lot append a verb meaning held forth or blustered which is wrapped about the IVR code for Spain

25a   Industrial engineer can tile outside of church (9)
TECHNICAL:  Make an anagram of (engineer) CAN TILE and wrap it around (outside of) the map abbreviation for church

26a   Dance beat with energy (5)
TANGO:  Beat or spank with energy or vim

27a   Concerned with South American writer with no heart to answer (7)
RESPOND:  A charade of concerned with (2), an abbreviation for south, and an American writer missing his middle letter (… with no heart)

28a   Less bothered about increase in seats (7)
SADDLES:  An anagram (bothered) of LESS is wrapped about a verb synonym of increase



1d    Flipping great, the Queen's cooking instructions (6)
RECIPE:  The reversal (flipping) of the union of great or large-scale and the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth

2d    Move out of bed, put on small jumper and start to tidy (6)
UPROOT:  A short word for "out of bed" is followed by (put on, in a down clue) a shortened (small) Australian jumper, and the first letter of (start to) TIDY

3d    Daughter leaves old pot here I prepared for flower (10)
HELIOTROPE:  The flower is an anagram (prepared) of OL[d] POT HERE I after the genealogical abbreviation for daughter has been deleted from OLD (daughter leaves old).  Prolixic advised in his latest review of a Rookie Corner puzzle that "A pet peeve of many solvers is cluing obscure words as an anagram"He's right about that

4d    Small farmers abandoning old country (5)
YEMEN:  Some historical small farmers have the abbreviation for old deleted (… abandoning old)

5d    Woman at home confused how I use iron (9)
HOUSEWIFE:  An anagram (confused) of HOW I USE is followed by the chemical symbol for iron

6d    One eats these  bananas (4)
NUTS:  A double definition.  Bananas as in crazy

7d    Care a bit about cause of disease? (8)
BACTERIA:  An anagram (about) of CARE A BIT

8d    Welcoming ends getting scrubbed in green tinge (8)
GREETING:  Concatenate the last two words in the clue after removing their final letters (ends getting scrubbed in …)

13d   Criminal defiant -- cash almost captured (10)
FASCINATED:  An anagram (criminal) of DEFIANT CAS[h] (cash almost)

15d   Revealed girl ultimately liked eating a small amount? (9)
ANNOUNCED:  The fusion of a girl's name (3) and the last letter of (ultimately …) LIKED containing (eating) a small unit of weight

16d   Clergyman threatening to change leader (8)
MINISTER:  Change the first letter (leader) of an adjective meaning threatening or ominous

17d   Adult gyrates, embracing very forward moves (8)
ADVANCES:  The abbreviation for adult is followed by a synonym of gyrates containing (embracing) the abbreviation for very

19d   Consider penning new name for plant (6)
FENNEL:  Consider or believe containing (penning) the abbreviations for new and for name

20d   Overdrawn with debts? Ghastly (6)
ODIOUS:  An abbreviation for overdrawn with some debts that might be written on a piece of paper

23d   The French will support game's regulations (5)
RULES:  A French definite article comes after (will support, in a down clue) the abbreviation for the game played by the mighty All Blacks

24d   Dope in tin foil (4)
INFO:  The answer is lurking in the remainder of the clue


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  I found a lot to like here, and I was impressed by the excellent surface readings of most of the clues.  Highlights included 5a, 26a, 2d, 5d, and 7d.  If I had to pick a favourite from that list it'd be 2d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  CENTRE  + WEIGH = SENT AWAY

63 comments on “DT 28978

  1. I enjoyed this puzzle, although it was tricky in places. Favourite clues were 5a, 10a, 14a, 3d and 5d. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K (I enjoyed the cat in the lasagne dish photo).

  2. Another Tuesday, another quality puzzle. Reasonably straightforward with plenty of smiles to be had along the way. 16d just pipped 5d and 5a as my favourite.

    Thanks very much to our setter and to Mr K.

  3. A nice puzzle of about average-ish difficulty with mostly fine clues (all single-word answers) giving an enjoyable solve. 24d: I got the lurker OK, but didn’t know it was a synonym of the clue definition – a quick look in Usual Suspects soon put me right. Favs: 5a and 2d. 2* / 3*

  4. I actually made a 4* kind of meal over this. No idea why: I’d like to blame it on being half-asleep but the truth may well be that I’m just dozy in a different sense!

    Enjoyed it, though did use an anagram solver on 3d. I’d have untangled it manually eventually but the trouble was, this being crosswordland, I wasn’t sure if I was looking for a flower-flower or a river-flower. Give me a random girl or boy any day. (Hmm, maybe I ought to rephrase that … )

    Thanks to the setter and our blogger.

  5. Nice puzzle but found 5d rather sexist! Don’t think you would find a clue for *****husband. Still enjoyed it a lot and managed to get 1a from a completely different and completely wrong angle. Thanks to all.

    1. Funnily enough, if I recall correctly, there was a clue for H Husband in last Saturday’s Jumbo cryptic in The Times.

  6. Agree with Mr K and a **/*** for me too, a lively enjoyable solve.For some reason I found the lower half more difficult than the top.
    Liked 13d-thanks to Mr K for the pic-must be a West Ham fan.
    Also 5d caused a smile-I was looking for a roof thatching tool.

    1. I spent a long time looking at roofer’s tools too. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in pursuing red herrings.

    2. Hi, Beaver. My first thought was something to do with the former PM but I quickly decided that seemed too obvious, so I also started thinking about roofers. The setter’s reverse psychology ploy worked for a while.

      p.s. Setter, we’d love to hear from you.

  7. Somewhat less tricky than some recent Tuesdays with minimal use of the ‘white space’ on the printed sheet, completed at a gallop – **/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 11a and 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    Also, thanks for the info on state capitals. I am quite surprised that 29 have ‘been used’ as some are ‘complex’ words, although I do have a vague recollection of Tallahassee (FL) appearing, and others are also UK cities/towns such as Boston (MA).

    1. Hi, Senf. Tallahassee was recent – it appeared in DT 28488 (June 8, 2017) as “Unlikely admirer initially has date in US city (11)”

      The Massachusetts Boston has been clued as itself (“An American city way to get into favour (6)”), but there five capitals included in the list because they have so far only been used as back-page answers with a different meaning: Dover, Madison, Pierre, Raleigh, and Saint Paul.

      1. Thanks for the update. I am sure the ‘real’ (English) Dover has appeared many times.

        Now here’s a thought, what about Canadian Provincial/Territorial Capitals?

  8. Off to a good start in the NW and then all fell steadily into place providing undemanding fun en route. Failed to fully parse 17d due to missing gyrates synonym. 26a was Fav but Lady Thatcher’s purse (to coin a US term)/Lady Bracknell’s exclamation raised a giggle. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.
    ☀️ ‘Oh what a beautiful morning!’ ☀️

  9. Very enjoyable and not too difficult. Not sure about 25a = Industrial. Favourites today were 11a, and 27a with top spot going to 5a. If only Mrs May had one!

    1. Hi, Ray. I agree that “industrial” for 25a is a bit of a stretch. I couldn’t find support for it in any of the major dictionaries, but the equivalence is given in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

        1. Quite right, Jane. I thought I’d looked it up both ways around, but I guess I only checked “industrial” in the BRB.

  10. First of all thanks to Mr K for providing a list of crosswordland’s most popular places..should make interesting reading.
    Now to the puzzle…I may be wrong but to me it had a distinct Thursday feel about it and I found it quite tricky. There are several that I’ve yet to parse fully. Having said that there were some real doh moments when the penny eventually dropped, 5a probably being the best example and my COTD. Others I liked were 1,10, 11, and 26a plus 1d for its witty surface.
    Thanks to the setter and again to MrK for his well illustrated review.

  11. A Tuesday Treat for me whilst listening to the new-look Radio Paradise. I did not find this quite so easy as my co-fettlers. (***/****) but I loved it. Quality through and through with a slight lack of ‘gimmies’ to get the show on the road. 14a gets my gong today. Flat-pack clues like 10a are probably my least favourite but I did like that one – and the illustration. Thanks Mr K and our setter.

    1. Hello, Hector. I do like “flat-pack” as a replacement for the cliched “Lego”. I might steal it.

  12. No problems with this today. The SW corner was the last to fall, and I admit to being confused by the answer to 25a. I even checked the BRB. I’m sure it’s correct, as these things always are.
    Thanks Mr.K. and Mr.Ron.

  13. Another quicky after yesterday but took slightly longer due to needing to disentangle 3d 1 and 14a. 3d was a word I had forgotten I knew until I wrote the letters down. 14a was the very Last despite the checkers – there are so many different musical instruments and concerns. However unusually for me I seemed to complete systematically clockwise starting in the NE. Thanks setter and Mr K for the dope.

  14. I found, like Kitty, that I made much heavier weather of this than was necessary. Wavelength….
    A good example is 14a, my last one in – so straightforward really, after the event. I think I kept trying words for “caring about” rather than the business context.

    There was a bit of weirdness – why would we think of that ex-PM from 5a in connection with the answer? It may as well have been the Queen or, well, anyone really. Not mad about 5d and I got tetchy over the end of 10a, which ought to be ‘his’ but that’s picky…

    Not one of my favourites, but thanks to Mr K for the pics, which cheered me up!

      1. Angellov
        I think it was Senf who a while ago gave me the wise advice to “ignore all punctuation in a clue” (except if it’s a question mark at the end). The ending to 10a is correct, as Mr K has stated and has nothing to do with the apostrophe.

    1. Hi, Bluebird. Just to expand on what Angellov said above, in the surface reading of 10a the ‘s is possessive, but in the cryptic reading it’s indicating a contraction of “is”, as in [After a short time American, with sensitivity, cut the man] is (a word defined by) whiskers.

      The ‘s is a very useful device in the setter’s toolbox. Prolixic provides more details on page 11 of his excellent guide to cryptics (available in PDF form at http://crypticcrosswords.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Cryptic-Crossword-Clues_v1-2.1.pdf)

  15. 3*/3*. I found this to be a very pleasant puzzle with the NW corner proving the most difficult part, taking my time up to 3*.

    I needed Mr K’s review to parse 27a. Although I felt certain that I was looking for an American writer called PO-ND, I was clearly having a bad day with a complete blind spot in failing to think of a possible middle letter in order to Google him.

    5a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

  16. Completed without help, hints or electronic, so it can’t have been THAT hard. A really fair and enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to the setter.

  17. Most enjoyable although I did think the surface read of 8d was a little odd and thought RD might have had something to say about 15d!

    Podium places went to 5a plus 20&24d – thought Mr K would have found a suitable illustration for the latter!

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for another great blog – also for the info about favourite locations. I was slightly surprised not to see any Welsh ones but then perhaps I just notice them more when they do appear.

    1. You won’t be surprised to know what my thoughts were about 15d but I decided today that I would leave it to someone else to mention. Thank you for obliging, Jane!

      1. Hi, RD. I had a similar reaction to 15d, although I thought 3d was worse. But the rest of the puzzle is so good I didn’t want to grumble too much.

    2. Hi, Jane. I didn’t find many clues using locations in Wales in the clue. I did exclude countries from the search, so clues with “… city in Wales” or “… place in England” that would have the location as all or part of an answer aren’t included (that’s because there are too many clues where England, for example, is used to clue something other than a place and I can’t get the computer to weed them out and because I was considering only places used in clues, not in answers). There are probably 20 clues that include something like “… location in Wales”. The table for explicit appearances of locations in Wales in clues is:

      Carmarthen 2
      Cardiff 2
      Pontypridd 1
      Penarth 1
      Bangor 1

      I’m not sure what kind of illustration you have in mind for 24d?

      1. Thanks again, Mr K – must be quiet at work today.

        I was hoping for a pic of a ‘dope’ wrapped in tin foil!

    3. Jane a bit difficult to clue, say, Ynysybwl or Llangollen even Rhyl. Also we who live in the Principality have to know our place in the great scheme of things.
      If in the match on Saturday we score more than England (optimism not high on that front) the headline will probably be “England lose to Wales” not “Wales beat England”.

      1. Hi LabsrOK – I think I remember a few more Welsh locations turning up as answers but probably not the ones you mentioned.
        As for the comment about scores – you’re likely to be quite correct as far as English papers are concerned but I don’t doubt the Welsh media will ‘go on about it’ for weeks if the score goes their way! I’m afraid I retreat to watching BBC N. Ireland or Scotland when either Welsh rugby or football are on the horizon!

        1. Jane,
          they still go on about the 1970’s team so weeks might be optimistic.
          If I recall you are on Anglesey. We had lovely holidays at Rhosneigr in a house right next to what I was tld was the Palethorpes sausage family’s house. Happy days!

          1. Yes, you’re right about the house in Rhosneigr – we’ve also got Bulmers (cider) a little further down the island. And then of course – we had Will and Kate! Quite bizarre to bump into them walking along the beach or popping into the local shops.

  18. **/***. Pleasant solve once I’d got on the right wavelength. I liked 5a and 16d but would question 25a. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  19. Can’t argue with 5a as favourite. Pleasant solve with no holdups encountered.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review and pics.

  20. Stephen Lord at #10 mentions a Thursday feeling about the puzzle. We also noted that the queen gets a mention and that there are no multi-word answers, both RayT trademarks but we are pretty certain that he is not the setter here. An enjoyable solve for us slightly on the tricky side.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. Hi 2Ks
      It was the single word answers that got me thinking that way. Of course the queen did get a mention but I didn’t equate the two or I really would have thought Mr T had got his days mixed up!

      1. Hi, Stephen. It’s very likely not RayT because today’s puzzle has eight clues which exceed his self-imposed limit of no more than eight words per clue.

  21. Every bit as fit for purpose as yesterday and just as enjoyable.
    Not much to cause problems except I associate 3d with the colour but not a flower so had to get confirmation.
    Thanks to Messrs Ron & K.

  22. So, Margaret had a cat called Dennis and then she married one. How weird is that?
    Spend a bit of time on the long words but the rest fell quite easily.
    Favourite 19d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review

  23. Another Tuesday treasure, I loved it, even 3d. I had the checking letters, I think it’s a very pretty flower, so that’s my runner up. My absolute fave was 5a, that was her real trademark.
    Thanks to our setter and to Mr. K for his lovely catty pics, also the unravelling of 21a. I knew my answer had to be correct but failed to see it.

  24. This is the first ever broadsheet cryptic crossword I’ve completed by myself! (I used dictionaries and reference stuff, but it’s the first time I haven’t had to come here for clue-specific hints.)

    Thank you so much to Big Dave, the daily tipsters, and everybody on this site who is so helpful and friendly: it’s only because of you that I’ve learnt enough to be able to solve today’s puzzle.

    And thanks to Mr K: there were still a couple I needed your explanations for to see why they were right.

    I didn’t know 3d was a plant, but I did know it was a colour, so I guessed the colour was named after a plant. (When I was a student, our department was painted in what was officially that colour. The Head of School instead referred to it as ‘McDonald’s Milkshake Pink’.)

    My favourites were 5a and 24d.

    1. Hi, Smylers. Thanks for your thanks and for sharing your experience with the puzzle. And congratulations on your first solo solve. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

    2. Hey Smylers. I have never been called a tipster before. I quite like it though. Glad to see that you can acknowledge that your improvement has been aided by the daily tipsters. Comments like this keep us going.

  25. 3*/3*…..
    liked 5A (Thatcher held this revolutionary talk after round of applause)..and the pictures in the hint.

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