DT 28987 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28987

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28987

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs and Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus to our Welsh readers.

Quite a few anagrams and part-anagrams from Giovanni this morning, but nothing that I found particularly difficult.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Space gone over in open land (4)
MOOR – Reverse (gone over) some space to manoeuvre, and you get an expanse of upland.

3a           Footballers given special experience, we hear, in town’s hidden part? (10)
BACKSTREET – Some defensive footballers followed by a homophone (we hear) of a special experience, perhaps one given to a child on his birthday.

8a           Plant enabling agents to capture idiot (6)
CASSIA – The acronym of the US spy agency wrapped around an idiot or fool, producing a plant also known as Chinese cinnamon.

Image result for cassia

9a           Mark crosses square in police vehicle (5,3)
SQUAD CAR – A mark left on the body by an old wound, wrapped around an open square in the middle of, for example, a college building.

10a         Nothing given to one naughty girl — one may get into bed (3,3)
OIL RIG – Put together the letter which looks like zero or nothing, the Roman numeral for one, and an anagram (naughty) of GIRL. The result is something which penetrates layers of bedrock.

Image result for oil rig

11a         Boy hugging beautiful woman is given name (8)
LABELLED – Another word for boy wrapped around the feminine form of the French word for ‘beautiful’.

12a         People doing the wrong thing in terrible ruse when lass comes round (8)
MISUSERS – The form of address (traditionally) for an unmarried girl, wrapped around an anagram (terrible) of RUSE.

14a         Boys? Bright types from what we hear (4)
SONS – These boy children are a homophone of some bright celestial objects.

16a         It’s bound to be quiet at far side of meadow (4)
LEAP – Another word for meadow (as in Gray’s elegy) followed by the musical symbol for quiet.

18a         Real don, exceptional old genius in many fields (8)
LEONARDO – Anagram (exceptional) of REAL DON followed by Old.

Image result for leonardo da vinci

19a         Somewhat OTT adult sank teeth into chum wickedly! (1,3,4)
A BIT MUCH – Put together an abbreviation for Adult, ‘sank teeth into’, and an anagram (wickedly) of CHUM.

20a         Conspicuous people given insults heading off (6)
LIGHTS – Remove the first letter (heading off) from some insults or put-downs, and you get some people who may be leaders in their field of activities.

21a         Foreign lass in Home Counties, no educated girl (8)
SENORITA – Put together the geographical location of the Home Counties, NO (from the clue) and the girl who was educated in a film title.

22a         Quiet state for young man (6)
SHAVER – An instruction to be quiet followed by another verb meaning ‘state’.

23a         Camp’s in trouble with herd, ending with frisky elephants? (10)
PACHYDERMS – Anagram (in trouble) of CAMP’S, HERD and the last letter of (frisk)Y.

24a         Pantomime character made to look silly (4)
DAME – Anagram (to look silly) of MADE.

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d           Maiden in charge of costumes, hazards to health? (8)
MICROBES – Put together the abbreviation for a maiden over on a cricket scorecard, the abbreviation for ‘in charge’, and some costumes.

2d           Sort out drinks — conference speakers may need them (8)
ROSTRUMS – Anagram (out) of SORT followed by some strong drinks based on molasses or sugarcane juice.

3d           Busy person entertaining a guest, surprisingly gracious act (4,5)
BEAU GESTE – The insect to which a busy person may be likened, wrapped around an anagram (surprisingly) of A GUEST, giving us the French term for a gracious act, or the eponymous hero of a novel by PC Wren about young Englishmen who join the French Foreign Legion.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d           Keeps up unrealistic plans (7,2,3,3)
CASTLES IN THE AIR – Another word for ‘keeps’ or ‘fortresses’ followed by a phrase which means ‘up’ or ‘off the ground’.

5d           The termination of concert pianist’s tours? (7)
TRAVELS – The final letter (termination) of concerT, followed by a French pianist and composer, plus the ‘S from the clue.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d           Cede, alas, when beaten in mounted attack (8)
ESCALADE – Anagram (when beaten) of CEDE ALAS.

7d           Restricted around end of career and ready to retire (5)
TIRED – Another word for ‘restricted’ or ‘bound’ wrapped around the last letter (end) of careeR, giving us ‘ready to retire to bed’.

13d         Rail-user’s excited — leaves the big city behind? (9)
RURALISES – Anagram (excited) of RAIL-USER’S.

15d         Notice cancelling barbecue meal? A tricky situation (2,6)
NO PICNIC – What may be a notice telling people that a barbecue or other alfresco meal is off is also a metaphorical expression for something which is hazardous or difficult to achieve.

16d         Writing that keeps doing the rounds over a period of time (8)
LONGHAND – Split the answer (4,4) and you have something which takes an hour to make a circuit of a clock face.

17d         Keep quiet about wait (8)
PRESERVE – Put together the musical symbol for ‘quiet’, the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’, and ‘wait’ (at table).

18d         Fish in lake in the morning to get something caught? (7)
LAMPREY – Put together the abbreviation for Lake, the abbreviation for ‘in the morning’, and something caught by a predator.

Image result for lamprey

19d         Storyteller producing a work about French art (5)
AESOP – A (from the clue) and the Latin abbreviation for a (musical) work, placed either side of the French verb ‘art’, as in ‘thou art’. The answer was a Greek writer of fables.

The Quick Crossword pun KNOCK + TURNS = NOCTURNES

48 comments on “DT 28987

  1. 1.5*/4*. It’s Friday and I’m delighted to be able to say today that I really enjoyed this light but fun puzzle without qualification. 21a was my favourite with 19a & 4d also on the podium.

    Many thanks to Giovanni – more like this please, and to DT.

  2. Extra friendly Giovanni, as indicated by the time taken and my very neat handwriting throughout, no particular favourites.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  3. This was quite straightforward, particularly for a Friday but had some entertaining clues. Favourite clues were 8a, 10a, 23a and 3d. Thanks to Deep Threat for help in parsing 19d and to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle.

  4. This was a tad on the mild side for a G, but still about average for a general back-pager. The clues were very good, it was a reasonable challenge and an entertaining solve. I noticed that Julie Walters made another guest appearance. I’ve ticked 1d, 3d, 4d and 5d, but have no stand-out favourite. 2.5* / 3.5*

  5. Today gives us another enjoyably gentle cruciverbal challenge. Had forgotten 23a and hadn’t come across 8a or indeed 13d before. Not too keen on use in 18a of forename alone as per the modern trend! Pianist is not the first métier to come to mind in 5d. Thank you DG and DT.

  6. I took a while to break this one open and probably found it somewhat trickier than indicated by the commenters above me. There were a couple of answers that caused a raised eyebrow and a BRB check. Completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 1d, and 4d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  7. I found this puzzle more difficult than those before me and around a ***/***.Failed to parse16d-thanks DT.
    6d was a new word for me.
    Liked the surface of 24a.
    Originally had side street for 3a which didn’t help much-thought it fitted quite well !

    1. Agreed. Backs are in rugby not football! 15d used a bit too much poetic licence as well, for my liking. Thanks to G and DT

      1. Welcome to the blog.

        We already have an Andy who is a regular commenter, so please could you either qualify your name or pick something else next time.

  8. Light and entertaining. Many nice cleus amongst them, 8a, 21a, 4d and 19d with top spot going to 16d. Thanks Don and DT.

  9. What an excellent week for puzzles…enjoyed them all.

    Thanks to Giovanni for rounding things off nicely.

    Thanks to DT for hints.

  10. Not a tough Giovanni but a very good one. I tried to bring Ronaldo on to the field at 18a which was a bit silly. Couldn’t be more wrong in fact. If I had to pick a bestie it would be 10a. It has been a good week.
    Thanks to G and DT
    2/3.5 stars.

  11. I have a busy day today so I was grateful that this puzzle didn’t take much solving. I surprised myself at the time taken. thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and to DT for the review. Play nicely children and I will see you all on Monday

  12. Nice gentle enjoyable offering from the Friday maestro. Can just about cope with this level at the moment from my hospital bed.
    For me **/****
    Thx to all

    1. Hope all comes out well. Always more entertaining / lively with your contributions.

  13. A fairly undemanding but very enjoyable puzzle from The Don this morning. 18 and 19a are fighting it out for my top spot. It must be the feel good factor of the first day of spring if both RD and Brian enjoyed it.

    Thanks Giovanni for the fun and to DT.

  14. Did need to check on 6d and the particular definition of 20a but not held up for long.
    Top marks went to 4d and 16d – the latter because it took a while for the proverbial penny to drop over the parsing.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the blog and accompanying video clips. I doubt that any of us will ever forget that bolero, thanks to Dudley Moore plus Torvill & Dean!

    Glorious St. David’s Day here with masses of celebratory daffodils around courtesy of the recent sunshine. Many thanks to BD for the extra one on the banner and to DT for the greetings.

  15. I’m with Senf and Beaver, I found this one really quite hard to start, as soon as I had a few checkers in, it got easier until I had about three left.

    I bunged answers in for all three, but needed the hints to parse them. 16d – DOH!

    **** rating from me.

    Many thanks to the Don and DT.

  16. I didn’t think this was “gentle” at all, it took me a while to get going thus was unable to finish in my coffee break and had to interrupt lunch in order to do so. However it was enjoyable with a good mix of clues (but no lurkers) and some nice misdirection.
    I thought 13d a bit obscure but gettable and 22a a tad dated. Also 3a would have been better clued if it had been “rugby players” . Small quibbles though in a quality fun puzzle with podium places going to 19 and 21a plus 4d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT for the fun and education.

  17. I thought 7d was a bit strange with four of the five required letters in order at the end of the clue. Only familiar with the plural ending in A for 2d, but I see it’s a valid alternative.

    This was a bit more fun than usual for a Friday, so thanks DG and DT

  18. After the last couple of days’ struggles this I found straightforward. Especially as I normally find Friday tough.
    Getting the long centre clue very early helped the task considerably.
    10a my COTD.
    Thanks to Giovanni & DT.

  19. Found this harder than others this week. 8a,6d and 23a new words for me, but solvable. Missed 16d completely, so clue of the day for me.

  20. Most enjoyable challenge which for me was firmly in *** territory. Got held up in SW corner. Am I alone in having put ‘no trumps’ for 15d? Split 3/5, I thought it worked quite well! Many thanks to all.

    1. It is certainly 2,6 so that works. Otherwise I can’t get to the bottom of your reasoning though.

  21. Difficulty ***/****
    Pachyderms new to me. A lot of self back slapping from other contributors as usual!

  22. Well I printed it last night and got very smug as I quickly put in 3a and 9a. Trouble was I had the first words of both of them completely wrong. 3a I was heading in a more lateral than rear direction and 9a I showed my age because the first thing that came to mind was an asian bear.

    The rest I got in fits and starts, enjoyed the frisky elephants! 19a is so gloriously Briitish as is 24a really.

    Having got some others I was able to revisit 3a and 9a with a fresh view with a cup of tea this morning.

    Many thanks. btw temperature here this morning was -26 Celcius but has now shot up to +4C. A lot of mating/courting seems to be going on in the garden. Squirrels and birds. We only ever used to have red squirrels here but over the past few years the more ‘townie’ black ones have a appeared and then yesterday Teenage Mutant Ninja Squirrel showed up. It is grey, which I understand is a type of black squirrel but at least 3 times the size of the red ones.

    1. Re 9a, that was my first answer. Do you mean that they no longer have our version of 9a?

      1. I honestly don’t know. I moved abroad in 1989. We do get Last of the Summer Wine on PBS and they still exist on there :)

  23. Really enjoyed this, our friendly week continues. It helped that I solved 4d at once, having started with that one because of its length. It was a great help as it gave so many checking letters and it’s my fave. I did like 23a ‘cos I like them.
    I’m feeling rather smug, I remembered the “Es” in 19d, whew.
    I thought 12a sounds pretty leaden but I dare say there is such a word.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the fun and games.

  24. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A good puzzle from Giovanni, quite gentle but very pleasant to solve. Favourite was 6d, which I’d never heard of, but got it from the fodder. Was 2*/3* for me.

  25. Took me a bit longer to open this puzzle with only 3 clues going in on the first pass, but once it began to come together I filled in at a decent pace.
    Quite undramatic for a Friday back pager, but nonetheless enjoyable,,, Giovanni I feel at his kindest.,, thanks to you & Deep Threat for the revue.

  26. I had a fair bit of trouble with this, found it a good challenge.
    Thanks to setter and to DT.

  27. Slow to start, pretty sharpish on getting a few in towards the centre of the grid, and then very slow to finish in the far NE and SW corners. Enjoyable throughout. :-)

  28. Well that just goes to prove the wavelength thing. Wednesday I was useless, but that was because I was still drowsy from early morning anesthesia etc., so I don’t count that. Thursday I shocked myself as I actually did very well on a Ray T puzzle, which hardly ever happens. Then today I am rubbish again. Oh well, fingers crossed for tomorrow. Thanks one and all.

  29. **/***. Enjoyable solve. My favourite was 21a. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the review.

  30. A fairly gentle solve for me. No real problems which is unusual for a Friday!
    5d was my favourite.
    Thanks to the Don, and to DT for the review.

  31. 3*/4*…..
    liked 16D (writing that keeps doing the rounds over a period of time).

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