DT 28981 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28981

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28981

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Hello everyone. The ‘hinty people’ have been playing swapsies this week so I’m doing the hints for today. I think it’s probably only the second time that I’ve done them for a Friday crossword so I was rather wondering what I might have let myself in for – obscure words, music, biblical characters, sport or anything else that I can’t do –  I needn’t have worried. I thought it was a very straightforward crossword with lots of anagrams.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you want to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Struggling Tommy or Gen. or FM? (10)
MONTGOMERY — An anagram (struggling) of TOMMY OR GEN – I had to look up FM before I could do this

6a        Teams without leader getting day in Rome (4)
IDES — Some teams or squads without the first letter (without leader)

10a       Very big vehicle as an academy’s prize (5)
OSCAR — One of the two letter abbreviations used to mean very large is followed by a common vehicle – there are too many of them and most of them seem to be very big

11a       Material used with hesitation by politician in performance (9)
REPERTORY — Some corded material, a little word for a hesitation (I think it’s a bit of thinking time)  and a right wing politician

12a       Adrian is travelling around island (8)
SARDINIA — An anagram (travelling) of ADRIAN IS

13a       Hebrew character wants drink with a measure of acidity (5)
ALEPH — This Hebrew character is a letter, the first one of the Hebrew alphabet – a beery drink is followed by two letters used to indicate levels of acidity and alkalinity

15a       Hospital with more wind coming through becomes more frightening (7)
HAIRIER — The one letter abbreviation for H[ospital] and then another way of saying something has more wind coming through or is better ventilated

17a       Crime involving artist being magnanimous (7)
LIBERAL — This crime is being rude about someone – it’s a bit like slander except that it’s written rather than spoken – and it contains (involving) the two letters used to mean an artist

19a       Priest is out to stop make-believe (7)
PRETEND — Remove the third and fifth letters of the first word of the clue (IS out) and follow what remains with a synonym for stop or discontinue – this isn’t a difficult clue so why did it take me ages to see why the answer was what it had to be? Oh dear – dim, I think!

21a       Cleric, one about to divide church, creating split (7)
CREVICE — A three letter abbreviation for a vicar, the letter that looks like a one and the one letter abbreviation for the latin for ‘about’ all go inside (to divide) a two letter abbreviation for the Church of England – phew!

22a       Building very warm reduced energy bill finally (5)
HOTEL — A synonym for very warm or having a high temperature is followed by the abbreviation (reduced) for E[nergy] and the last letter (finally) of [bil]L

24a       Loud and disorderly sinner isn’t this (8)
FLAWLESS — The letter that is used as a musical instruction to play loudly is followed by another word for disorderly or anarchic

27a       Financial dealer needing pounds has krona converted (4,5)
LOAN SHARK — Start with the letter used for pounds sterling and follow that with an anagram (converted) of HAS KRONA

28a       Seen in Perth, an English baron once (5)
THANE — A lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘seen in’ – it’s in the third to fifth words of the clue

29a       Copper and army officer in unorthodox organisation (4)
CULT — The chemical symbol for copper is followed by a two letter abbreviation for an army officer just below a captain

30a       Place of rest — was first to admit something wrong, being afflicted (10)
BEDEVILLED — You need a word for what you sleep in (place of rest) and a synonym for ‘was first’ or showed the way – in between those two words (to admit) you want something wrong or wicked



1d        Space traveller who headed a religious 29 (4)
MOON — I think this is probably a double definition but I’m not too sure about the first bit so I’ll just go for the second – you need a Korean chap who founded a religious sect – so he was the head of the answer to 29a. I knew I was going to make a complete pig’s ear of the hint for this one.

2d        Bananas aren’t nice — you want this fruit (9)
 NECTARINE — An anagram (bananas) of AREN’T NICE

3d        Become embarrassed like an unfortunate matador? (5)
GORED — If you split your answer 2,3 it’s what your face might do if you were embarrassed

4d        Sailor in violent rain in French sea (7)
MARINER — An anagram (violent) of RAIN goes inside (in) the French word for sea

5d        Archangel playing a harp well, having lost wings! (7)
RAPHAEL — An anagram (playing) of A HARP and the middle two letters of well (having lost wings or the outside letters

7d        Group of animals went under water crossing river (5)
DROVE — An American way of saying went headfirst under water contains (crossing) R[iver]

8d        Island country cheerlessly reorganised with king deposed (10)
SEYCHELLES — An anagram (reorganised) of CHEERLESSLY without the one letter denoting a king (king deposed)

9d        Page about walk — the first thing one reads? (8)
PREAMBLE — Begin with the abbreviation for P[age], then a little word meaning about or concerning and, finally, a walk – a rather slow one

14d      Cash pool I demolish ultimately on a spree? (10)
SHOPAHOLIC — This is clearly an anagram of CASH POOL I and the last letter (ultimately) of [demolis]H. What is the anagram indicator? And as to what to underline as the definition I don’t have the first idea. Maybe it’s an all in one?

16d      The thing about bargain is coming from wishful thinker (8)
 IDEALIST — A little two letter word for how you would refer to ‘the thing’ goes round (about) bargain or negotiate and the IS from the clue

18d      Put back in control on business counter (9)
REINSTALL — A control or restraint is followed by a business counter or delaying tactic

20d      Collapse of accommodation when river swamps it (7)
DEFLATE — A kind of accommodation, usually on just one level, goes inside (is swamped by) a Scottish river

21d      Noise of laughter drowning performer’s last bit (7)
CRACKLE — A kind of coarse laughter contains (drowning) the last letter (last bit) of [performe]R

23d      Scent — first thing noticed in the bar (5)
TRAIL — The first letter (first thing noticed in) of T[he] and then a bar or stick

25d      Piece of wood used on Indians primarily as instrument of punishment (5)
LATHI — A thin strip of wood is followed by the first letter (primarily) of I[ndians]

26d      That woman and daughter in crowd (4)
HERD — How ‘that woman’ could be referred to and the abbreviation for D[aughter]

Clues of the day for me were 13 and 19a and 4d.

The Quickie pun:- TACK + TITIAN = TACTICIAN

76 comments on “DT 28981

  1. 0.5*/1.5*. This was the easiest Friday back-pager I can remember with only the very obscure 25d requiring a trip to my BRB. It could have done with being a bit more fun.

    I thought we were in for an anagram-fest after 6 of my first 10 answers in were either full or partial anagrams, but only 2 more appeared after that.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kath.

    P.S. Happy Birthday to Rufus!

    1. As Crypticsue says this stick often occurs in quickie crosswords, I put it in the genus of dhobi and dhoti-I can never remember which is the dress or washing !

    2. */**. Very benign challenge but salted with a few obscure words which needed the BRB to confirm. All very decipherable. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the review.

    3. The stick has appeared as a Telegraph answer only six times in this century – twice in the Quick and four times in the Toughie.

  2. As Kath says, another friendly Giovanni. Thanks to both of them

    the first definition in 1d is literally ‘something that travels in space’

    Happy Birthday to Rufus

  3. Far better than I could compile but not up the the usual standard of clues for this week and Fridays .

    Completed quite quickly with no favourites , however , I hope others enjoy .

    Thanks to everyone especially Kath for her self portrait at 14d .

  4. I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but can anyone please tell me: was that woman called Jane on Eggheads last night (in the Cruciverabalists team) the same unidentified woman (with blue/pink hair) in the Birthday bash photos. And is she the same Jane that comments regularly on here? Or have I got it all wrong again?

    1. The Jane that was on Eggheads last night is the one with the blue/pink hair in the bash photos – she is not the Jane who comments here –

      Cruciverbalist Jane would comment here as Jetdoc – she’s also married to Elgar

        1. Commenty Jane is in the first picture of the Bash set (with Dutch) she then appears in several others along the way

      1. Eggheads is a quiz programme where a resident team of ‘Eggheads’ or people who have the most extraordinary amount of general knowledge compete against another team of ordinary people.

        1. Ah OK. We recently got the US version of the Chase that has a big English chap, sorry I forget his name, quite fun, the lady host was a Baywatch actress and she is funny with him, though she does tend to wear a mere suggestion of a skirt most of the time.

          Reading further down. Jonathan Davis? Is he the man with curly hair, long time ago, I am talking decades, played a detective of some kind, lived in a windmill, very funny lady co-detective? Sorry it was a very long time ago. Was that him? I quite liked that program. But then I loved Lovejoy too!

          1. Carolyn. The man with the curly hair you are thinking of is Alan Davies. He played Jonathan Creek in the detective series of the same name. Best known since then as Stephen Fry’s sidekick on QI.

      2. Don’t worry about it, its a TV quiz show hosted by the most irritating man in broadcasting today.

  5. A fairly straightforward puzzle, especially for a Friday, but the SE corner held me up for a while. I managed to work 25d out from the clue and the letters I had got but had to look it up to find out what it was. Thank you for the hints, Kath, especially the visual for 14d. Was this one of Giovann’s? Thanks to the setter anyway.

  6. This was fairly straightforward by G standards, but still about average for a general back-pager (mind you, I am biased!). I found the clues generally fine and I enjoyed it. 25d: a new word for me, but readily parsable from the word play. Fav: 21a. 2.5* / 3.5*

    1. I didn’t but only because I already had D as the first letter – lucky as it would have really done a load of no good to that whole corner.

  7. Probably as easy as it gets from Giovanni this morning. 19a was my pick of the clues with 14d worthy of an honourable mention.

    Thanks to The Don and Kath.

  8. This I found quite tough in parts but nevertheless enjoyable for a Friday.
    Thanks to Kath and the Don

  9. Great Giovanni fun if not rather over-anagrammed. SE corner held out the longest. 25d new to me. 7d made me wonder what I would say for the past tense of dive – guess I have never needed to use it. Somehow 14d doesn’t quite ring true to the clue. Thanks DG and Kath.

    1. “Dove” is a common Americanism, and it features in the lyrics of one of my favourite CS&N songs, The Lee Shore:

      “The Lee Shore”

      Wheel gull spin and glide … you’ve got no place to hide
      ‘Cause you don’t need one
      All along the lee shore shells lie scattered in the sand
      Winking up like shining eyes at me, from the sea
      Here is one like sunrise older than you know
      It’s still lying there where some careless wave
      Forgot it long ago
      When I awoke this morning
      Dove beneath my floating home
      Down below her graceful side
      In the turning tide
      To watch the sea fish roam
      And there I heard a story
      From the sailors of the Sandra Marie
      There’s another island a day’s run away from here
      It’s empty and free
      From here to Venezuela nothing more to see
      Than a hundred thousand islands
      Flung like jewels upon the sea
      For you and me

      Sunset smells of dinner
      Women are calling at me to end my tales
      But perhaps I’ll see you the next quiet place
      I furl my sails

  10. A very pleasant and straightforward end to the work week but somewhat spoiled by the high anagram count, completed at a gallop – 2*/2.5*.

    From the material at the beginning to the definition at the end, 11a has to an oldie but goodie.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 13a and 16d.

    Is ‘on a spree’ the indicator in 14d?

    Thanks to Giovanni and Kath.

    1. I can’t find anything like 11a among the nearly half a million clues I’ve accumulated. So it’s either a 20th century chestnut or Giovanni deserves credit for creating it here.

  11. That’s more like it. An elegant crossword puzzle that doesn’t need two hours in the dark with a wet towel round your head. I agree not the most difficult Giovanni but still with an odd word in 11a, don’t remember coming across this corded material before. I really enjoyed this one especially after yesterday which for me was a horror.
    For me **/*****
    Thx to all

    1. A google search of the site produces several instances of this material over many years, most accompanied by comments from people not knowing it!

  12. I think 14d is an all-in-one.

    If the answer is the I in the clue it works. If one of these people goes on a shopping spree they will certainly have demolished their pool of cash by the end of it because they aren’t able to stop until the money runs out.

    Hope that made some sort of sense to you all.

    1. I think you’re right and I did wonder about that but the all-in-one kind of clue has always been something of a mystery to me. :oops:

      1. BD gives a useful test for all-in-oneness in his Guide to Crosswords: “The best way to check whether a clue qualifies is to cross out all of the elements of the wordplay. If nothing is left, then reread the clue to see if all of it defines the answer.”

        1. That does make sense though I struggle a bit with those. I do like the advice: (paraphasing) if you don’t know the answer look for a lurker; if it makes no sense to you, look for a lurker; if you haven’t got a clue, look for a lurker; and if that fails, look for lurkers backwards/up. You have no idea how much fun I get out of “Oh look! Ha! There it is! Oh look it’s in there twice!”

          1. I would add to that – when all that’s failed and it’s absolutely definitely not a lurker, even a reversed one, then your answer is almost certainly wrong and it’s time to think again!

    2. That does make sense now, thank you. I thought it was breaking the rules with “demolish” doing double service as indicator and fodder…

  13. This was a bit on the mild side fo a Friday! Almost over too soon although putting the wrong ending on 18d slowed me up for a while. 24a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Kath for her review.

  14. A gentle canter into the weekend and after half term Grandma duty,I could not have managed too much brain bashing!
    How l agree with Brian about Eggheads..and as well as the hugely irritating host,the resident panellists are a smug lot.. It’s unwatchable.
    Great crossword though.
    24a favourite today.
    Thank you to all.

  15. Once again it took me a while to get started and my now regular insomnia trick seems to be the key for me. I did go slightly wrong with 18d I ‘instated’ instead of ‘installed’ which messed me up on 30a for a while until the penny dropped.
    14d made me laugh, I absolutely loathe shopping, my sister-in-law could shop for England in the Olympics.

    5d was also a giggle maker for me but for a silly reason. I am probably misremembering bible studies all those years ago but I am pretty sure archangels pop up here and there to instigate somewhat unforseen pregnancies. We are still without a GP and no real hope of getting one for at least a few more years, but we do have a telephone number that gives Ontarians access to a nurse. Fainted again yesterday added to nausea, all kinds of smells do it, so I phoned. Lovely person answered and asked questions.
    Then this one! “Is it possible you could be pregnant?” (I just turned 65 btw). I said “Well anything is possible. According to quantam physics I could be pregnant in an alternate universe. I could also possibly be a 6 foot tall super model with a 19 inch waist. Possible but definitely not probable.”

    She just repeated the question so I said no. Sigh. I have got to try to reign in my sense of humour.

    Thanks Kath, BD and the setter!

  16. Nice one Kath. I too solved 19ac straight away from the definition and then took an age to work out the whys and wherefores. I don’t know how you managed to get eight illustrations in. When I looked at the completed grid I thought it was pretty bereft of illustrative opportunity. Mind you the Tuesday crew would find a moggie for each answer…. I don’t know how they do it. Thanks to Giovanni too

  17. I thought this one just failed to reach the standard of the previous four this week but they were hard acts to follow. I didn’t find it that easy with 11 and 19a bung ins. I had the same thoughts as Kath when it came to parsing 14d but thought “it’s just me”, coming to the conclusion that the word demolish serves two purposes?
    My podium places go to the aforementioned 14d plus 15a and 3d.
    Thanks Kath for the explanations and to Giovanni too.

  18. I found this very mild for a Friday – enjoyable though despite a few too many anagrams for my taste. No particular favourite today.

    1. Yes! (see my comment further up the page).

      But it looks like we two were the only ones. Shame, because I think SWARM is at least as good an answer as the real one – which isn’t really supposed to happen in crosswords is it?

  19. Did this one within hours of it hitting the digital streets. It’s taken me until now to show up here. Not good enough really. Not a hard or bad Friday crossword just maybe a bit anagramatical and a tad pedestrian. Like a G & T with slightly flat tonic.
    Ignore me everyone, I am just tired out.
    Thanks to G and Kath.

    1. It could have been worse. I once heard a crossword being described as dull as dishwater. No names. No pack drill.

    2. I love G &T although I hardly ever drink it but if the tonic is even a little tiny bit flat it’s just not worth drinking.

  20. Took a while for the penny to drop over FM and the brain to recall 25d. As for the Hebrew character – I can never remember those.
    Loved the analogy from Hector P – ‘like a G&T with slightly flat tonic’, fits this one perfectly.

    Thanks to DG and to Kath for manning the fort. Hope Dutch is enjoying his holiday.

    Happy birthday, Rufus – you are still missed by many.

  21. I started with a bang, I could barely finish reading the clues before writing in the answers, then came to a screeching halt in the south. I had to bring out electronic help when I reached the SE in order to finish.
    I rather liked the disorderly sinner, so I choose that as fave.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kath for the hints and pics.

    1. Oh dear, I missed wishing Rufus, my absolute fave of all time, a happy birthday. Sorry, Rufus, have a stellar day!

  22. The clue that gave us a slight delay was 21d. We had deconstructed the clue to give BIT as the definition and it took some time before we looked at the other end of the clue. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kath.

  23. Best crossword this week. Thanks Giovanni and Kath. Lots of clever but not impossible clues, and only one unfamiliar word at 25d. Would definitely welcome more like this.

  24. With reference to the other blog comments, I did find this quite entertaining & to be honest took a bit of starting.Once going through it was completed at a fast canter. 2*/2.5* . Thanks to setter (believe to be the Don) & Kath.

  25. I thought that was very good, thoroughly enjoyable. Not too tricky, but it didn’t need to be. Best offering in a long while.

  26. Found this straightforward but unremarkable, and I can no longer remember much about solving it last night. Thanks to Giovanni and to Kath.

  27. Thank you, Giovanni, for the crossword and to everyone who has commented today.
    Night night all and sleep well.

  28. Thank goodness for this after wasting time on the Friday Toughie. It was quite impossible. Sometimes I find the setter is, like the aforesaid eggheads, too clever by half and where’s the fun in that? Oh well, I mustn’t be a sore loser!

  29. I thought that this crossword would keep me going for at least part of my flight to Madeira, but it was finished whilst the plane was still sitting on the tarmac. We were delayed by the fog. I’m not that good. I filled in 1a from the anagram, but I’m still confused about the FM. I’ve just connected my tablet to the hotel WiFi, so I’ll have to google it. I was confused a few minutes ago looking for the Friday review. I saw ‘Kath’ and immediately thought Thursday——Friday must be missing for some reason. Anyway, thanks to Giovanni for steadying my nerves on the plane, and many thanks to Kath for the ever splendid review. I agree about flat tonic. Yuk.

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