DT 28985 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28985

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28985

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

We have had a few colder days this past week, just a prior warning that summer doesn’t last forever. However we will be making the most of what is left by going away for two weeks. Early tomorrow morning we will be driving to Wellington to catch the ferry to Picton. We plan to slowly make our way down the west coast of the South Island, camping in our little tent eventually getting to Fiordland, where neither of us has ever been, and where we have booked an overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound.  We are looking forward to it.
Jay has waved us off with a puzzle that we found trickier than usual so we have given it 4 stars for difficulty.

For the next couple of Wednesdays there will be a different blogger doing the honours.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Who mostly takes in a son’s laundry? (4)
WASH : The first two letters of ‘who’ surround ‘A’ from the clue and the abbreviation for son.

3a      Pays off one pound during evening shifts (10) 
LIQUIDATES : The Roman numeral one and a slang word for a pound sterling are inside an informal word for evening work shifts.

9a     Orderly approach needing time for leader of remainers (4)
NEAT : Find a word meaning approach or get close to and replace the first letter of remainers with the abbreviation for time.

10a     Powerful and dynamic, he got China worried (4-6)
HIGH-OCTANE : An anagram (worried) of HE GOT CHINA.

11a     Letters seeing job secure? (7)
POSTBAG : A job or placement and then secure or nab.

13a     Floating leaf left daily upset about pressure (4,3)
LILY PAD : The abbreviation for left and then an anagram (upset) of DAILY contains the abbreviation for pressure.

14a     A seabird seen in advertisement for a lift (11)
PATERNOSTER : An advertisement or billboard contains ‘A’ from the clue and the crossword setters’ favourite seabird.

18a     Reshuffled cabinet’s URL is difficult to understand (11)
INSCRUTABLE : An anagram (reshuffled) of CABINETS URL.

21a     Pittance made from comic strip (7)
PEANUTS : A double definition.

22a     Contemplate missing first of these once will be moderate (7)
MEDIATE : The first letter of ‘these’ occurs twice within a word meaning contemplate. Remove the first one.

23a     Unpopular international in obvious hospital case (3-7)
OUT-PATIENT : A word for unpopular, then the abbreviation for international is inside a synonym for obvious.

24a     Manipulate American capital in Europe (4)
RIGA : Manipulate or falsely adjust, and then A(merican).

25a     Equity is one such idea on turn, disturbingly (5,5)
TRADE UNION : An anagram (disturbingly) of IDEA ON TURN.

26a     Run in rain (4)
PELT : A double definition. To rain like this, it is falling heavily.


1d     Victory — before Germany just beat European airline (8)
WINDPIPE : A three letter word for victory, then the IVR code for Germany, a word meaning just beat by a small margin, and the abbreviation for European.

2d     Shortness of supply of organised trips, say (8)
SPARSITY : An anagram (organised) of TRIPS SAY. (This answer is often clued as a homophone of Bath).

4d     Freezing from anaesthetic in general? (5)
ICING : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

5d     Provide cover for quiet house in province (9)
UPHOLSTER : The musical symbol for quiet and the two letter abbreviation for house are inside a province just across the Irish Sea from most of you.

6d     Spain alerted to change after last month and slowed down (11)
DECELERATED : Start with the shortened form of the last month of the year. Next, the IVR code for Spain, and finally an anagram (to change) of ALERTED.

7d     Stumps politician taken in by endless nonsense (6)
TRAMPS : A word for nonsense or rubbish loses its last letter and surrounds a Member of Parliament.

8d     Uses dispatches to seize power (6)
SPENDS : The abbreviation for power is inside dispatches or issues.

12d     Drug counter snapped on universal charge (11)
BARBITURATE : A counter that might be in a pub, then snapped as with the teeth, then the abbreviation for universal, and lastly, charge or cost.

15d     Thing of beauty initially on meeting (9)
OBSESSION : The first letters of the second and third words in the clue plus a meeting or gathering.

16d     Irritating new air base must secure victory (8)
ABRASIVE : An anagram (new) of AIR BASE contains V(ictory).

17d     Come round to describe museum’s material (8)
RELEVANT : Come round or give in surrounds (describes) the two letter abbreviation for one of the famous London museums.

19d     Speak at length about right to develop (6)
SPROUT : The abbreviation for right is inside a colloquial word for speak at length.

20d     German trader’s oft repeated stock phrase? (6)
MANTRA : A lurker, hiding in the clue. (It took us ages to see this one).

22d     Fruit that’s no good to be eaten by Chinese leader (5)
MANGO : The letters denoting no good are inside the Chinese leader known for the Great March.

We are spoilt for choice for favourites today but will go with 20d for the penny-drop moment it gave us.

Quickie pun    grave    +    heat    +    rain    =    gravy train

51 comments on “DT 28985

  1. Pleased to see I wasn’t alone in finding it trickier than usual today

    My penny drop moment was the airline in 1d

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

  2. 3*/5*. Any day with a Jay puzzle and a Petitjean puzzle has got to be a good day!

    This was an absolutely first rate offering from our Wednesday Wizard. Like the 2Ks, 20d was my last one in and favourite. Even when I’d found the lurker, it took me a little while to twig what the lurker indicator was.

    I don’t think I previously knew that specific meaning of 14a.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

      1. :smile: Crikey, that was nearly four years ago and hence the wisdom of putting “I don’t think …”

  3. I enjoyed solving this puzzle, which had some fascinating clues, some of which were very cunning and difficult to get. It took longer than usual but was worth it. Almost too many favourites to mention but 1d, 5d, 17d, 3a and 14a were great fun. I also learned a new meaning for the latter so thank you to the Kiwis and enjoy your trip. Many thanks to Jay.

  4. Terrific, I loved it. Like RD I was not aware of that 14a meaning and, like the hinters, I missed the lurker in 20d so that was a bung-in. Two Favs were 23a and 5d. Thank you Jay for a lot of fun and the 2Ks for a couple of parses. Bon voyage 2Ks – sounds as if it will be a great trip – hope the Summer holds out for you.

  5. Must make an effort to get my comment in before RD – today is another case of ‘ditto what RD wrote’!
    I also rather liked 25a & 5d.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks. Your trip sounds wonderful – friends of mine visited Doubtful Sound last year and ‘raved’ about it.

  6. No where near today, not on the same band let alone wavelength. If I could find the emojis there would be a very sad face here.

    It was especially galling that there was a 14a lift at my university. I never did understand how it was vaguely safe to use but we did have fun going ‘up and over’.

    Thanks to the 2Kiwis, I hope they have a good trip, and to Jay (the latter being a bit begrudging).

      1. Maybe they should install one in the Palace of Westminster as a kind of metaphor for the Brexit negotiations…..going round and round and never getting anywhere.

  7. Enjoyed with the anagrams a great help .

    Liked 21A best as provided a chuckle . Needed to read the hint to understand 17D .

    Yet another warm sunny day , remarkable for February, and the daffodils are ready for St David’s Day .

    Thanks to everyone .

  8. Going up the downs did not work today, this took me more time and more head scratching than the PJ Toughie – completed at a slow canter – ****/***.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1d and 5d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. I felt a great sense of achievement when I completed the solve which I rated as a ****/****, excellent diverse cluing throughout.
    Last to fall was the SE corner with 24 followed by 25 and finally 17d, I was trying to fit the Tate in somewhere then thought of the V and A which has turned up in the past but usually with the and.
    Anyway what a treat , 21 a brought a smile , plaudits everywhere.
    Thanks to setter and 2 Ks- loved the lily pad !

  10. I don’t think I can speak highly enough of this fabulous puzzle from Jay, an absolute pleasure to solve from start to finish. Fortunately there were quite a few anagrams to get a decent foothold, as it was definitely on the tricky side. I got held up for ages deep in the South East and needed a couple of hints there to finish. My favourite in a very strong field was the brilliant 20d. 3.5*/4.5*

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.
    Incidentally the ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton, particularly the approach to Picton is “a thing of beauty”. Hope you enjoy your trip.

  11. I found this quite tricky this morning but got it out gradually. Run in rain being the last one in. Thanks to Jay for the workout. Thanks to the 2Ks for the blog. Enjoy your holiday. It sounds a lot of fun.

  12. I’m a great fan of Jay. Today’s offering was even better than usual.

    Last 2 in were 17d (tried very hard to put the “other” museum in there somewhere) and 26a.

    My favourite was 14a – the “lift” one … they look like very dangerous contraptions.

    Thanks to the 2Kiwis for the hints and tips – enjoy your trip to Fiordland.

  13. interesting puzzle – got completely stuck in the SW corner.
    Thanks for another meaning for 14a – I had always used it for fishing.
    Thanks to the 3 birds.
    Doubtful Sound – stunning – enjoy

  14. Excellent fun as always on a Wednesday. Definitely trickier than usual, with 17d being my final entry. The well hidden lurker was my COTD. Great stuff.

    Many thanks to all involved.

  15. Oh dear – I had barely 60% in before resorting wearily to a few hints. But it was curious that several of those remaining, especially the long central four or five were tip of the tongue words – you knew you knew them, but they just wouldn’t come, even the anagrams (well they would have if I wanted to spend time………)

    I knew the front and back of 14a had to be poster and even had ‘a tern’ and still failed to enter it. I’ve even used those type of lifts in libraries.
    Pathetic really…….

    I congratulate Jay. The parsing was excellent – it was just the final solution words that stretched my little grey cells to breaking point. Well done Kiwis, too!

  16. 4* difficulty, and completed without hints, making some progress with this solving malarkey!
    really enjoyed this puzzle.
    thanks to setter and the 2 kiwis for clearing up some parsing points.

  17. Not at all on the same wavelength
    Dismal effort from me. But I found it very tough for a backpager & hopefully it just caught me on a bad day.
    Thanks to 2Ks for well explained review. Also to setter for a test too far for me.

  18. Like some of the other’s here….way above my newbie paygrade. It’s been a tough learning week so far…and only midway through!

    For my education….what is the lurker indicator in 20d?

    Many thanks to setter and great thanks to 2Kiwis for helping me out of my misery!

    1. I’m not sure there is one. The rule is: if there is no other solution, look for a lurker (or a reverse one).

    2. Hi Ken – sneakily, the ‘s at the end of trader’s can mean ‘has’, ie it is contained by.

      1. Wow…that’s obscure to say the least….but another to look out for going forward!

        Many thanks!

    3. I think that the indicator lies in the ‘s, but don’t take my word for it! Many thanks to the setter and the 2 Kiwis. I was almost able to complete it until I got to 17d. As often happens, I was sure that the material was a noun rather than an adjective. A frequent mistake on my part.

  19. Another fine wednesday offerring from Jay, at the moment the setters seem to bevon a roll. I am expecting however my usual puzzle written in possibly chinese or swahili.
    Thanks to the 2Ks and to Jay

  20. SE corner provided the only sticking point. Thanks for the clues.
    Clues of the day 3a and 14a.

  21. A brilliant crossword – they always are on Wednesdays.
    I’m hugely relieved to read that others found it difficult too – thank goodness for anagrams or I may never have got going at all.
    Having read all the clues through once I I only had a handful of answers.
    Most of my problems ended up in the bottom right corner – my last one was 26a having misinterpreted the clue and thinking that the first two words were ‘run in’ ie arrest or have a bicker. Oh dear!
    Also thought 7d was going to be ‘crickety’.
    I particularly liked14 and 21a and 15 and 20d.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s – have a lovely two weeks away.
    Petitjean later but garden first . . .

  22. Morning all, and a ridiculously early one it is for us too. We have to be on the road before 5am so no time for chat.
    Behave yourselves while we are away. WiFi permitting we might get to see the blog at times but our cryptic solving will mainly be from very old books.

  23. Ah thank goodness. I thought it was just me having problems. I ceertainly would never have finished it without help. I do love the illustrations to help us.

    Favourite is 21a. Made me laugh out loud.

  24. 3.5/5. What a great puzzle. Not easy by any stretch but very rewarding. A lot of reverse engineering needed. My favourites were 1d&14a. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks – enjoy your travels.

  25. Well I’ve done easier toughies. I had to search the online dictionaries for synonyms to 7d and 17d and much to my surprise I found them. 14a was a new word for me and I thought 26a was a bit of a stretch. I didn’t know the ‘s lurker indicator. Anyway I did it so, as usual, I’m happy. Thanks to setter and 2 Kiwis.

  26. Wotta banner week so far, bearing in mind that tomorrow is Thursday. I loved all of this, with the last four clues taking as long as the rest. I never did get 17d, foolishly looking for the other museum.
    I had to google 14a, and I have a suspicion that I had to do that the last time. As RD says, it was four years ago!
    I can’t choose a fave, far too much good stuff, but 21a did bring a smile.
    A million thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the hints and picks.

  27. Brilliant crossword. For the first time in a while, 0-1 to the DT.
    Just failed with the SE corner, 2 hints needed.
    I think sometimes that I could have a go setting a crossword, then I see something like this and I think “leave it to the experts”.
    Thanks Jay and 2xK’s

  28. This was dead easy – apart from all four corners and the middle! I only needed the hints for five or six clues in the end but my word it was a struggle and took up far too much of my day. Luckily said struggle was in the garden topping up my vitamin D so no complaints. A great puzzle and blog, so thanks to both. Maybe one day I’ll find these as easy as do some others.

  29. I suppose it is wavelength issues but I couldn’t complete this. The Toughie was, for me, far easier. There I only failed on one pesky 4 letter word. They usually are the hardest.

    I hope the 2 kiwis enjoy their trip. My happiest holiday was a cruise that circumnavigated NZ. Brilliant!

  30. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found very tricky. I could only think of “liquidises” for 1a, so near and yet so far! Not sure how tramps=stumps in 7d, but I must look in the BRB. I wondered if 11a was based on the old joke, question=crossword clue, Postman’s bag. Answer=how many letters? I managed to drag the answer to 14a from the depths of my memory. Just couldn’t get 24a. Thought I was looking for a fabric in 17d, well done to Jay. Enjoyed the misdirection in 1d. Took me an age to get 5d, and 2d where I could only think of “scarcity”, but eventually saw the anagram. Favourite was 25a, because of the surface. Was 4*/5* for me. Brilliant.

  31. Proper puzzle this one. Happy man and would have been even happier if I had managed to get 17d and 26a without the stalwart assistance of the ‘Ks’. 17d was a fair cop… therefore my favourite clue. I just got a bit ‘tramlined’ in my thought – not for the first time. It took me a while to get a toehold but did in the SW solving clockwise.
    ***/**** / ****
    Thank you to Jay for the mental massage and to our holiday makers for the help today.

  32. Must have been on the right wave length as romped through this -just needed the hints for 17d and 26a! Stunning crossword – really enjoyed!

  33. What a cracker! Because of today’s tasks it ended up being a three part solve , with helpful hints from 2KW. Favourites were 20d, as it did take some finding & 14ac, which reminded me of my first ever university interview at Sheffield Medical School, riding on one of these,,, dangerous for students after a certain hour I felt!!
    Many thanks to 2KWs for invaluable assistance & Jay for a fantastic puzzle. 4*/5*

  34. Pretty tricky that one, though good throughout. Perhaps spending the evening hammering a cupboard together wasn’t the best preparation for this. Thought the airline clue was quite fantastically misleading.

  35. A cracking puzzle and a good workout. Last one in was 17d for some reason. I will have to go for 1d as my favourite out of quite a few candidates. I’ve been in a 14a a few times – pretty scary until you get used to it.

  36. This was an excellent puzzle with very good clues providing a pretty tough challenge and much enjoyment. Favs: 14a, 12d. 4* / 4.5*

  37. After reading other comments I left this until Sunday so I would have time to enjoy. Lovely puzzle with just the right number of anagrams to give markers for the other clues. Needed the hints for 17d but otherwise a superb romp. Thanks to all.

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