DT 28983 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28983

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28983

Hints and tips by Coco the Clown

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Only one clue gave any real resistance today, my last one in 12d for which I had to delve into the memory banks. The cryptic crossword puzzle memory bank and The Archers Memory bank.

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 to what to do to solve the clue. The hints and tips help with the wordplay of the clues. Definitions are underlined. Some hints are illustrated. These illustrations may or may not have a bearing on understanding the


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1a    Artist, extremely reclusive, seldom seen (4)
RARE: Begin with the usual suspect for an artist then add the outer letters of the word reclusive as indicated by the word extremely

3a    Record an album and leave? (4,6)
MAKE TRACKS: To create individual works on a long-playing record for example is also to create footprints as one leaves from somewhere

9a    Intensive publicity could get one over-excited, no end (4)
HYPE: A word meaning over exited becomes a word meaning intensive publicity when its last letter is removed

10a    Habitually serious type, West Indies cricketer carrying team (10)
SOBERSIDES: This sedate and serious person can be found by placing a synonym for a team inside the surname one of the most famous of West Indian cricketers Sir Garfield St Aubrun ……

11a    Porter collecting mail for preacher (7)
APOSTLE: This porter is an alcoholic drink into which we need to place the mail

13a    Bomb English knight planted in station (7)
GRENADE: The abbreviations for English together with the chess notation for a knight need to be placed inside a particular level of rank, quality, proficiency or value

14a    Spy that’s centre stage, strangely (6,5)
SECRET AGENT: Anagram (strangely) of CENTRE STAGE

18a    Bound to get on diving platform (11)
SPRINGBOARD: A synonym of the word bound or suddenly jump is followed by a word meaning to get on a boat or aeroplane perhaps

21a    Current examination involving married male is unethical (7)
IMMORAL: The symbol for electric current is followed by the commonplace abbreviations for Married and Male and a verbal test

22a    Secret spilled about opening of ‘Phantom’ and ‘Ghost‘? (7)
SPECTRE: An anagram (spilled) of SECRET contains the initial letter of Phantom

23a    Perhaps an orrery some called weird (5,5)
SCALE MODEL: Anagram (weird) of SOME CALLED.

24a    A head of state entering church in a suit (4)
CASE: Place the letter A from the clue together with the initial letter (head) of the word State inside the abbreviation of the Church of England. The suit here is one of law

25a    In a vulnerable position abroad regarding a member (3,2,1,4)
OUT ON A LIMB: Four-part charade. 1. A word meaning abroad or not in. 2. A word meaning regarding. 3. The letter A from the clue. 4. A member. (Not of Parliament or a club) an arm or a leg

26a    Perfect sweet to suck? (4)
MINT: The name of this sweet also describes something in perfect condition


1d    Practise tries again close to line (8)
REHEARSE: Split 2,5 we have a term meaning tries again as a judge might do if he listens again to a case. This is then followed by last letter or close to the word line

2d    Rebuke for getting within range (8)
REPROACH: Place a three-letter word meaning in favour of inside a noun meaning range, the distance a boxer can stretch out his arm.

4d    Pay for some treat on expenses (5)
ATONE: A lurker or hidden word. The answer lies within the words of the clue indicated by the word some

5d    Standard always set on putting area (9)
EVERGREEN: Begin with a word meaning always. End with the part of a golf course used for putting

6d    Fairly well-to-do peers working on Conservative board (11)
RESPECTABLE: An anagram (working) of PEERS is followed by the abbreviation for Conservative. This in turn is followed by the board at which one sits to eat one’s meals

7d    Fishing dispute: a crowd assembled (3,3)
COD WAR: An anagram (assembled) of A CROWD. The answer refers to the intense wars waged by the mighty Great British navy upon the poor tiny Icelandic fishing fleet. A sledgehammer to crack a nut. Iceland won and Bjork was born.

8d    Nun is over, back briefly (6)
SISTER: This nun can be found by reversing the word is and placing a word for the back of a ship but minus its last letter

12d    One able to deal with a service? (4,7)
TREE SURGEON: This service is a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground. One who might ‘deal’ with it would come equipped with a chainsaw. Not in Ambridge though. The one there has a TPO on it thanks to Lynda Snell

15d    One had, changing oil for pal (5,4)
APRIL FOOL: Anagram (changing) of OIL FOR PAL. One had is one tricked

16d    Smoked beef I topped with old butter (8)
PASTRAMI: A three-parter. 1 Old is in not in the future 2. The butter is a male goat. 3 I is the letter I given to us as a gift from our generous setter.

17d    Sticking with that woman during a depression (8)
ADHERENT: A word meaning that woman sits inside a word meaning a depression. What you now have follows the letter A from the clue

19d    Disaster in Formula One when company goes under (6)
FIASCO: Begin with the abbreviation for Formula One using the letter that looks like the number one. Add a synonym of the word when. Add the abbreviation for company

20d    Impression made by politician blocking one piece of legislation (6)
IMPACT: The abbreviation for a Member of Parliament sits between the letter that looks like the number one and a piece of legislation or written law passed by parliament

22d    Power demonstrated by singular crew (5)
STEAM: Begin with an abbreviation for singular and add another word for a crew or group of people who work closely together

Quickie Pun: bute+ease+leap=beauty sleep


61 comments on “DT 28983

  1. I’d agree with BD’s ratings for this fairly average Monday puzzle

    Thanks to the Monday Mysteron and to the circus artiste

  2. I enjoyed this puzzle and found the clues reasonably straightforward apart from 12d, which was, fortunately, the last one in, giving quite a few checkers. Clearly, it wasn’t just me, who was a bit thrown by it. Thanks to the setter and reviewer. Favourite clues were 10a and 23a.

  3. A nice gentle start to the crossword week but 12 D , although obvious from the checking letters , is a bit tenuous . Perhaps , “one able to service a deal” is better
    Lovely day again .
    Thanks to everyone .

  4. I am not sure from your hint for 12d that you meant that “deal” is also a type of softwood. So that the answer can not only deal with it, but that it is the thing he may do it on.

      1. Does that matter, as I thought the setters did just that, suggested the use of a word which has several uses, by throwing you off that way. Apologies if I am missing something. I have only just started using this site and am a novice so haven’t before seen solvers sharing ideas. Also I can’t understand why people know the identity of setters as nothing is shown of the puzzle, I’d be interested to know.

        1. Hello Alan. Welcome aboard. Yes setters use all sorts of misdirections. We bloggers can only try our best to explain in clear English how a clue works and get it out there before 11.00am. Now you have found the site have a good look around it there is a lot of help and information within this site. The identities of the setters is FAQ 28 I think

          1. Hi Many thanks for getting back and the welcome. The info here certainly can help to build ones knowledge of sneaky setter tricks etc. As suggested, I will now spend some time touring the site to learn more.

  5. Having just watched the video with the clue for 22a I am pleased to report that my beta blockers worked and I’m still alive.

      1. The wild Service Tree (Sorbus Torminalis) used to be found in the beer gardens of alehouses. It’s pear shaped fruit were used to flavour beer and were called Chequers- possibly the origin of the pub name. Thought I remembered the name from other clues and, being a plant enthusiast I looked it up. Hope this helps.

  6. 1.5*/2.5*. A pleasant, gentle start to the week.

    I thought that 10a was an unindicated Americanism, and, although a couple of on-line sources agree, Collins on-lne and my BRB do not. “Orrery” in 23a was (I think) a new word for me.

    15d was my favourite today.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  7. Gentle start to week without any major issues or stand-outs.
    Thanks to setter & MP for entertaining review.

  8. Must have been straightforward because it was the first one I’ve completed without any help. Was pleased to solve 23a because not sure what an orrery was. 12d solvable because of the other letters – but now realise that there is another kind of service – thanks MP

  9. thoroughly enjoyed – different minds as 12d went straight in.
    thanks to setter and MP – have changed since watching brilliant AD for 22a!!!

  10. I completed the grid in ** time, but it threw a few new ones at me. The Americanism in 10a was unknown, as was the use of 5d. Not being an Archers fan, I didn’t know that tree either.

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  11. Not hugely enjoyable – I knew what an orrery was, but started using it in an anagram with ‘some’ and was a bit let down by the answer, once I’d tried the correct letters.
    But I didn’t know the tree (why is it called that?) or the 10a term (has anyone ever said that in the last 100 yrs?). Luckily I watched a lot of cricket in the 60s, so I guessed the answer…

    I even found the quickie a bit trickier that it ought to have been for a Monday morning warm-up. Need caffeine now….

    Not fun, but thanks for the hints MP. No music videos?

  12. A thoroughly enjoyable start to the week with this entertaining offering.
    Like others I got 12d from the checkers but would never have been able to parse it without help, and didn’t know what an orrery was.
    Clues that were strong contenders for my favourite were 15d plus 3, 25 and 26a.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP (who could never be accused of being a 10a!) for making it all sound so easy in his review.

  13. No problem here with 12d – their charges are something I’m not likely to forget in a hurry!
    I did, however, need checkers in place before the penny dropped over 3a and that became my favourite with the short but sweet 26a close on its heels.

    Thanks to our setter and to MP for the blog and history lesson.

  14. Not convinced by 12d and that spoiled the overall enjoyment while completing at a fast gallop – 1.5*/2.5*.

    I had to look up ‘orrery’ before solving 23a but I do have a vague recollection of having heard it before.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 25a and 19d.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI.

  15. Slight issue with the 23a Orrery – it is not remotely to scale, it simply demonstrates the relative orbits of the planets in our solar system. If the Sun was the size of a grape, Pluto would be several miles away and too tiny to see.

    Many thanks to setter and blogger.*

    * Miffypops – in the interests of etiquette, I will thank you personally for the vid @22a when I next see you.

  16. Every day is a school day, as they say. I’d never heard the expression of 10a and my husband’s offering of several Windies cricketers’ names didn’t help. Plus the context of service in 12d was a new one on me (just add me to the list, apparently). I rather liked 3a and 16d – although, for the record, I don’t like 16d – yuk.

    1. Remember the great Sir Garfield Sobers playing for Radcliffe in Central Lancashire League cricket in the late 1950’s.

  17. Like others before me, 12d was my only hold-up yet once solved I realised I did know the service alluded to from previous outings. Just a creaky memory. Many fun clues to pick from for a favourite but 15d was the winner. Overall a comfortable and straightforward start to our solving week.

    Many thanks setter, and to Coco.

  18. A couple of new words for me today, service and the space thingy. I bunged in 23a as I completely missed the anagram.
    Thanks MP, presumably in mourning about the rugby, c’est la vie.
    Thanks also to Mr.Ron for a pretty gentle start to the week.

  19. I found this one mostly straightforward with just a few clues putting up some resistance. But I enjoyed the solve and thought it was just about up to average difficulty for a back-pager. I agree that an orrery isn’t really a “scale model” in either distances or sizes. No stand-out clue today. 2,5* / 3*.

    * MP. 16a: I thought a male goat was a billy, not a ram (which is an adult male sheep)? See DT 28958, where I made the same mistake.

      1. A scale model is a 3-dimensional copy or representation of something in which all parts have physical dimensions in the same proportion to that of the original. Abstract/intangible fourth dimensions aren’t normally considered in their description. But you have got a valid point and, in the context of the rather surreal world of cryptic crosswords, I’m not going to claim you are wrong. Is that what the setter had in mind? I wish they would comment more often on here to let us know these things.

  20. Fairly straightforward today with a couple of exceptions.
    I got into all kinds of problems with 23a – first mistake was thinking that I knew what an orrery was (I didn’t) and the second was missing the anagram indicator.
    I nearly put the wrong ending on 17d because of the ‘sticking’ but didn’t, luckily.
    I liked 3 and 25a and I think my favourite was probably 19d.
    With thanks to the setter and to the clown – the video clip for 22a nearly sent me through the ceiling – not what I was expecting!

  21. This pleasant exercise necessitated some donning of a thinking-cap. The Orient got there before the Occident. Don’t think I have previously come across an orrery so was glad to make use of some called in 23a. Appreciated help in parsing 2d and 8d – d’oh! Fav was 3a. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  22. Loved it all, right on my wavelength. For the first time I finished before finishing breakfast.
    Last in was 23a, I had to look up “orrery” a new one for me.
    Fave was 10a, great cricketer, runner up 25a.
    Thanks to our setter and to Coco for the fun, and for 22a clip!!

    1. . . . and I thought it was something to do with clocks . . . :roll: ! Oh dear – if in doubt look the blasted thing up!

      1. Isn’t that horology m’dear Kaff. As you know I rarely comment these days but am fascinated at the comments re 12d. Thanks to the setter and to MP as always

  23. Not bad for a Monday but I’m afraid I wasn’t bowled over. Mark you, trying to incorporate Holding in 10a didn’t get me far!
    Favourite at a push is 23a basically because I love the word ‘orrery’.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the laughs.

  24. Stayed up late by my standards to watch the end of the Oscars, something I never do, I am usually not into all that plastic and silliness but I am so glad I did. To see the look of sheer shock on Olivia Coleman’s face was wonderful. Who cares if she babbled on a bit, good for her. I also thought she looked very classy. So, off to bed without even touching the crossword and then awake as usual around 3.45 a.m. and got stuck in.

    No clue really gave me much problem, not bragging! It’s just that sometimes I seem to be on the right wavelength.
    I really chuckled at 10a. Another national treasure, just a different nation! Spent 3 years there as a pre-and early teen. Cricket is as close to a religion as it can get there.

  25. All pretty straightforward and enjoyable, and then there was 10ac. :-) I didn’t know the cricketer, or the answer, so stumbled at the very last. I’m afraid he was really before my time…

  26. Agree with Jane and I hope you got a quote before letting these two chopping your tree.
    Failed on 10a. Didn’t know the cricketer nor the answer.
    Learned a new synonym in 5d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Coco the clown.
    Can’t remember if I wet my shorts because I was scared or laughed so much.

  27. Late to the grid tonight,,, but over all too soon,, I seemed to click with the clues thus it became a bit of a read & right. Fav was 12d.
    1.5*/2* Thanks to setter & Coco

  28. Thanks setter and to MP for the parsing of 12d. I was completely barking up the wrong tree. After I got 23a however and all the checkers I bunged it in. The rest was swift apart from the NE. Favourite 15d.

  29. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. All fairly straightforward, except for 12d. I had forgotten that tree could equal service. I liked 10a, but my favourite was 14a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  30. With no time yesterday and too much today – I am writing this from tomorrow btw – I used some of that time to do this crossword.

    I liked it a lot better than tomorrow’s. Some learning points like 23a, some fun like 15d. Agree with Coco on the rating completely.

    It was strange to have an absence of Dylan videos and helpful to have a resume of the Cod Wars (surely Britain was never so inept) – as for that car advert…

    Thanks to the setter and our resident Pandemonialist.

    1. Coco couldn’t readily find even a remotely tangible Dylan connection today (Oh Sister from the album Desire) and MP has been missing on Mondays for weeks.

  31. Had to look up “service” for12D – being a tree is a new word f
    or me. From the letters that I had it had to be a Tree Surgeon.

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