DT 28979 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28979

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28979

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

We’ve got a cloudy day here today. Still mild of course and quite a pleasant change from the hot sun that we have had lately. Everything is now looking very dry but other parts of the country, Nelson for example where they had the big fires, are even more parched than we are.

We were again slow to get started with this one from Jay and, while we have given it 3 stars for difficulty could be persuaded that it is a little trickier than that. Good fun as ever.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


7a     Put a stop to golf after the girl’s affair (7)
SHEBANG : In the order they appear in the answer we have firstly a female personal pronoun, then put a stop to or forbid and the letter represented by golf in the phonetic alphabet.

8a     Shipping line artist(7)
PAINTER : A double definition. This shipping line could be used for mooring.

10a     Loads of hair worn up in a ball (9)
ABUNDANCE : ‘A’ from the clue, and what a ball can be a formal type of, surround a tightly wound hairstyle.

11a     All the best gold used to plate stamp (5)
ADIEU : A stamp used to make an impression is inside the chemical symbol for gold.

12a     Left amongst friends becomes less interesting (5)
PALLS : The abbreviation for left is inside friends or good mates.

13a     Musicians from south are inclined to tour Mediterranean island (5,4)
STEEL BAND : The letter for south and a word meaning ‘are inclined to’ surround the first island where Napoleon was confined.

15a     Repeats, needing time for Planck’s first formulae (7)
RECIPES : Start off by finding a word that means repeats or reads out loud, in this remove the abbreviation for time and replace it with the first letter of Planck. (This clue cleverly seems to work backwards)

17a     Grass residue is found in two hotels (7)
HASHISH : Residue from a fire and ‘is’ from the clue are surrounded by the repeated letter represented by hotel.

18a     Prisoner regrets crossing street, and explains (9)
CONSTRUES : In the order they appear in the answer we have an informal word for a prisoner, then the abbreviation for street and a word meaning regrets.

20a     A medical professional contracted to cover hospital for a specific purpose (2,3)
AD HOC : ‘A’ from the clue and a familiar shortened version of a medical professional’s title surround the abbreviation for hospital.

21a     European flower west of Hamburg (5)
IRISH : The flower sometimes known as a flag and then the western or leftmost letter of Hamburg.

23a     Policeman confronting the girl’s love for Batman perhaps (9)
SUPERHERO : A senior police officer, then a feminine pronoun and the tennis score love.

24a     Passage that’s right in bar (7)
EXCERPT : Bar or exclude contains the abbreviation for right.

25a     Name a fool after the second of April (7)
PATRICK : The second of April gives us the letter P then ‘A’ from the clue and fool as a verb.


1d     Politician‘s order regularly placed with landlord (10)
REPUBLICAN : The second and fourth letters (regularly) of order and the landlord of a tavern.

2d     Call for help stocking supplement for dull and boring people (6)
SADDOS : The international radio distress call surrounds a synonym for supplement.

3d     Suffers since one’s confined by nurse turning up (8)
AGONISES : A word for since or at some time in the past and then ‘one’s’ written as the Roman numeral with the ‘S’ is inside the reversal of a State Enrolled Nurse.

4d     Sport’s first couple present field (6)
SPHERE : Sport’s first couple gives us the letters SP and then present or at this place.

5d     Dispensable after ignoring writers with small handicaps (8)
DISABLES : Remove writing implements from the first word of the clue and add the abbreviation for small at the end.

6d     Sources of energy topped up in case (4)
ETUI : The initial letters (sources) of four words in the clue.

7d     Keen — before rehearsal shows cheating (5,8)
SHARP PRACTICE : Keen, or having an edge and then a rehearsal or training session.

9d     Golf article on notice for twenty-four hours (5,3,5)
ROUND THE CLOCK : The word used to describe a session of playing golf, then the definite article and an informal word for notice or catch sight of.

14d     Crime that strangely must keep one school subject (10)
ARITHMETIC : An anagram (strangely) of CRIME THAT includes the Roman numeral one.

16d     Close up before crowd fragment (8)
POTSHERD : The reversal (up) of close or put an end to and then a crowd that could apply to farm animals.

17d     Use this in garden and expect to receive fresh pies (8)
HOSEPIPE : Expect in anticipation of a favourable outcome contains an anagram (fresh) of PIES.

19d     Unexpected results from leading groups (6)
UPSETS : A word for leading or ahead, and then groups or bands.

20d     The drink of a married woman who’s educated? (6)
AMRITA : ‘A’ from the clue, then the abbreviation for married and the ‘educated woman’ who was played by Julie Walters in the award-winning film.

22d     Sales spiel must start late and cause irritation (4)
ITCH : Remove the first letter from a sales spiel.

We put ticks beside 3d, 9d and 13a.

Quickie pun     furry    +     tail      =    fairy tale

57 comments on “DT 28979

  1. I’d concur with ‘slow to get started’ and 3* difficulty – usual entertainment value though

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

  2. Just nicely taxing so a sense of achievement upon completion. 15a a bit of a bung-in and needed help to solve 25a as I was not looking for a specific name. 20d drink of immortality sounds disgusting. 10a was probably Fav. Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  3. I thought this was trickier than usual from Jay, but no less enjoyable as a result. Consistently entertaining throughout, this was beautifully clued and a joy to complete. 15a took my top spot.

    Many thanks to the three birds.

  4. 3*/5*. Excellence as ever from our Wednesday 23a, with full marks to him for adding “who’s educated” to 20d to render the woman non-nebulous.

    13a was my favourite with 7a & 20a up there on the podium too.

    Many thanks to the three birds.

  5. Slow start with some tricky clues but getting 7D immediately helped progress greatly . Enjoyed the challenge .

    My COTD 20A .

    Thank you birds .

  6. I think that I had a good day as I was nicely tuned in from the start and put down a **/**** on completion.
    Liked 3d and 7a-wonderful word.
    Best of the week so far, thanks to 2K’s for the pics-now I know what a 6d looks like!

  7. We haven’t had a 6d for a long time so it’s good to see a word only used in the Land of Cruciverbalia back in use.

    I enjoyed that so thanks to Jay & the 2kiwis

  8. I must be really getting on to Jay’s wavelength. I had all but 5 answers completed on the first pass through. I’m pretty sure that’s a first!

    Four others soon fell, but I was stumped with 20d. I asked my electronic solver which offered the correct answer, but I didn’t recognise it.

    **/**** rating for me.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. First pass yielded just 3. On return things seemed to sort themselves out slowly but surely
    However, struggled with 15a. Could someone please explain what signal I am missing that tells me the last word is the definition & not the first?. As 2Ks said it works both ways round for me.I hadn’t heard of 16d so couldn’t get to that way.
    Enjoyable *** and doable with a little patience.
    Thanks to Jay & 2Ks.

    1. LROK, in 15a “Repeats, needing time for Planck’s first” makes sense as a replacement instruction but “needing time for Planck’s first formulae” doesn’t. Hope that makes sense!

      1. Thanks RD. I just couldn’t get past the “needing time” as an instruction to replace the P with T rather than the T with a P.
        It is my failure to be able to get past my first idea that means I am pretty hopeless in Toughieland. Also, of course, I am easily (mis)lead.

        1. LROK, I used to have exactly the same mental block about this specific use of “needing” until Silvanus kindly explained it to me.

    2. I’m with you on this type of clue, LROK – if it’s at all possible, and it usually is, to get it the wrong way round I do.

    3. I’m also in the “thick” club with this type of clue. Thanks RD for the hint, I just hope I can remember it.

  10. Lovely puzzle from Jay with a slightly Irish theme , 21a . 2d and 25a .
    Lovely illustrations from the Kiwis as well .
    My favourite is 20d .
    Thanks to all concerned .

  11. A pleasantly challenging puzzle with a few that were difficult to.parse. I had never heard of 20d and needed the help of the hints to finish. Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay.

  12. No trickiness here – started, as usual, by going up the downs which resulted in completion at a gallop – **/****.

    A sprinkling of oldies but goodies and one very recent repeat albeit with different cluing!

    20d did need confirmation after coming up with a reasonable collection of letters. What gets erased from the memory to make room for this drink?

    Favourite – a toss-up between 7a and 7d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  13. My goodness I found this difficult though lots of fun. I certainly could never have managed it without the help here. Love 20d.

    -21C again today but will warm up so a lovely bout of freezing rain is on our way.

  14. I really enjoyed this, especially 7a, 10a and 17d.

    In 9d, I think of what’s required for “golf” as just part of the good walk spoiled: golf or some golf might be A *****, but not just *****.

    While I was rather taken by 15a at first sight, I was less convinced by what lay beneath its surface because neither way round quite works for me. (RD has neatly shown in thread #11 why the clue doesn’t work backwards.) To me, “needing A for B” suggests that one needs to include A in place of B, not the other way round. (Without the “needing” I could see “A for B” as either A substituted in for B or (just about) A substituted out for B, but as written I can only really see it as saying that we want a T in place of a P.

    No biggies, and musing a little over the finer points of cryptic instructions as above is all part of the fun for me, so for clarity I’ll just repeat that I really enjoyed this.

    Thanks Jay and 2Kiwis.

      1. Dunno if this will make sense, but here goes:

        Does, needing time to put off (5) would be does=deer ‘needing’ (requiring) time, include a T to make ‘put off’ = deter

        Put off needing time for Stags (4) would be put off=deter ‘needing’ (wanting, short of, missing) T = deer

        I *think* that’s the crux of it. If not, ignore me. You don’t need to tell me, I already know I’m an idiot. :smile:

        1. Blimey, no wonder it takes me so long to do these things. Yes, I get it, but only just. Clever old you.

  15. A seriously entertaining puzzle. A challenging solve which I managed with left exception of 20d which I have never heard of and couldn’t construct – so I needed antipodean help – thanks. I can’t single out a particular favourite – too many.

  16. I really enjoyed this but would like to be the first to try to persuade the 2K’s to ‘up’ the difficulty rating!
    I usually get the anagrams quickly and today there were only two – unless I can’t count – so that slowed me up.
    I never did work out 3d so needed the hint to see where the first three letters came from – I know that I’ve said it before but SEN’s are now just EN’s just as SRN’s are now RN’s.
    I particularly liked 7 and 17a and 1d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

  17. Thank you Jay and 2K. I learned a lovely little word in 6d – new one on me hence my LOI. I even own one of these things but without knowing its name. Favourite clue was 20d, made me smile.

  18. I found this to be quite difficult, not helped by an almost total lack of ‘pure’ anagagrams. I couldn’t finish it over coffee so had to return post lunch and was still unable to do so as I gave up and looked at the answer for 20d (very tricky!). I also needed a couple of hints too.
    I’d never heard of 12a meaning less interesting ( less clear maybe?), 8a was a bung in and 16d a new word.
    On the upside I both solved and understood 15, which I wouldn’t have been able to do 6 months ago. Rambling now so will end by saying great puzzle and review, thanks to both Jay and the 2Ks.

  19. Definitely a tricky one from Jay today, and my GK let me down, in 8a, 16d and 20d. Slow to start, and needed quite a few of 2Kiwis hints to keep going, thank you. Might have done better had I attempted this after my first morning coffee…

  20. A new word encountered today, but it was fairly clued. Very enjoyable, and thanks to all involved.

  21. Have been out and about for much of the day but I enjoyed this one over my morning coffee.
    Confess to leaving out the 5th letter of 15a until I had solved 16d – that took a while as both that and 20d were worked out from the wordplay and then looked-up for confirmation.

    7a made my leader board as it’s such a delightful word but it was definitely 10a that produced the widest smile.

    Thanks to Jay and to our parched 2Ks for the blog.

  22. Thank you all. I seem to be alone in detesting the NW corner which has some horrible words, best left in the dictionary of slang.

    1. I respectfully disagree Andrew, I think the words to which I’m sure you’re referring give the puzzle a more contemporary feel and act as a nice balance to some of the more formal obscure stuff.

  23. Morning all.
    Up and doing now and reading all the comments over breakfast as usual on our Thursday morning. It is always a relief to see that we have not made too many blunders in putting the blog together and scheduling it to magically appear at 11am UK time. We are sound asleep by then.
    As we write this the big full moon is just about to set in the west and the sun about to rise in the east.

  24. I found this a decidedly tricky Jay but the usual enjoyment.
    I didn’t like 2d either, M”pops, is there such a word? I bunged in “Waldo” thinking it was some sort of Britspeak.
    There was so much to like, one off clue can certainly be forgiven. I liked 7a for it’s sound, and 7d as I solved it first.
    I remembered the educated lady in 20d but not the drink, so I had to google that.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the hints and pics. Here’s wishing an end to the fires, I always worry about the wildlife.

    1. The urban dictionary defines Saddo as someone who searches websites such as The Urban Dictionary in the early hours of the morning looking for definitions of words like Saddo. I don’t like the answer to the clue because it’s plural doesn’t look right. Harrison has had his second big boys bicycle today. His smile is as wide as I imagine yours to be when you finish a RayT.

      1. I guess I’ll never be a saddo – I don’t do early mornings, so there. I put in Waldo as I thought it might have some esoteric connection with wally.

        Well done, Harrison, just don’t grow up too fast and get that awful scrubby stuff on your chin too soon. Oh, those lovely soft cheeks, then look what they turn into! Enjoy your bike, perhaps Grandpa will put you on a gravatar.

  25. At one point only the right side was solved with absolutely nothing on the left.
    Finally managed 1d which was a great penny drop moment and 22d.
    Slowly managed the rest and hesitated in 15a also. Chose the wrong letter until I solved my last one in 16d.
    Quite a tough one.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.

  26. Anyone else had a go at the bonus Monday Cryptic 539? Just did it over lunch, right up my street and a lot of fun. Thanks to the mystery setter.

    1. Did it Sunday evening my time. These on-line prize puzzles have the feel of recycled Rufuses to me.

  27. Post dinner slowness to get off the ground here then stuttering & starting pushed me well into 3* time, but I would give it 5* for enjoyment & clever (crafty?) clueing.
    Many thanks to Jay for another stunner & invaluable assistance from 2K’s.

  28. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Jay as usual, some very good clues, with quite a lot to make you think. I like 2&17d and 10&13a,but my favourite was 17a. Last in was 1d, with the NW corner being last to fall. Great entertainment. Was 3*/5* for me.

  29. I’m sure everyone has packed up and gone by now, but I did the toughie first which I found easier than this. Having said that, now I’ve finished it I can’t see where the problems were. Maybe I addled my brain on the toughie. Thanks to setter and bloggers.

  30. Challenging. Some favourites 10 20 and 23a and 2d (I appreciate the latter is controversial). I did not like 19d. Left with three like a number of others. Checked with 2ks to get 15a the right way round. This would not have been a problem if I had heard of 16d. I was not prepared to go through the BRB until I had the first letter. Gave up and looked at hint for 20d (thanks again) as never heard of the drink and did not think of that educated woman. These did take the shine off for me but others compensated. Thanks Jay.

  31. A day late due to moving step-daughter from flat A to flat B.
    A brilliant crossword, challenging but as ever with Jay, fair.
    Thanks all.

  32. Late to the cause…
    I have no problems with the NW corner and I actually completed that side of the grid first. When I later returned the rest followed quite quickly.
    My favourite is 7a.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.

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