DT 28992 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28992

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28992

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been enjoying crisp, sunny weather for the most part. The days are getting noticeably longer and North America will change over to Daylight Saving Time on the weekend — three weeks ahead of the UK.

I wonder if the setter of today’s puzzle is deliberately trying to imitate the style of RayT. We have an appearance by Her Majesty and a bit of innuendo. However, as I am sure the 2Kiwis will attest, the word count in several clues in both the cryptic and the quick fails the test.

Solving time was at the upper limit of three star territory — if not nosing into four star territory. However, when writing the review, I could see no reason why this should be so.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Very legitimate request (7)
SOLICIT — a short adverb meaning extremely followed by an adjective denoting lawful or permitted

5a   Meat starter in vegetarian function returned — concerning! (7)
VENISON — string together the initial letter (starter) in Vegetarian, the reversal (returned) of a trigonometric function, and a preposition meaning about or dealing with

9a   Routine Groucho humorously displays (2-3)
HO-HUM — a lurker hiding in the middle two words of the clue

10a   Brilliant new information welcomed by one with debts (9)
INGENIOUS — N(ew) and a colloquial term for information are contained in (welcomed by) a Roman one and some acknowledgements of debt

11a   Dealing with trade in lace, term that’s unusual (10)
MERCANTILE — an anagram (that’s unusual) of IN LACE TERM

12a   Couple accompanying piano with song (4)
PAIR — the musical direction for softly or quietly accompanied by a tune

14a   After I’d retired, quietly admitted to feeling relief (12)
DISPENSATION — start with a reversal (retired) of ID, after which you place the musical direction we saw in the previous clue into a synonym for feeling or awareness of a stimulus

18a   Hangover cure that’s taken from best friend’s coat (4,2,3,3)
HAIR OF THE DOG — a bit of the coat of man’s best friend is reputed to cure a hangover; however, seeing that the adage continues “… that bit you”, should this creature really be considered your best friend?

21a   Understood novel to be in audio version (4)
KNEW — this sounds like (to be in audio version) a synonym for novel or innovative

22a   Nothing against landlord’s romantic reading material (4,6)
LOVE LETTER — a nil tennis score placed beside (against) someone who rents out property

25a   Specify page should wear tailored teal suit (9)
STIPULATE — P(age) contained in (should wear) an anagram (tailored) of TEAL SUIT

26a   Partner-swapping in the dark is something to behold (5)
SIGHT — swap bridge partners in NIGHT (the dark)

27a   Go before end of game, give up on promotion (7)
PRECEDE — the final letter (end) of gamE and a word meaning give up or yield follow (on in an across clue) an abbreviated term for promotion or publicity

28a   American vessel in Tilbury to empty somewhere in Italy (7)
TUSCANY — place an abbreviated adjective meaning American and a vessel you might find on supermarket shelves inside T(ilbur)Y after its interior letters have been removed (to empty)


1d   School team met regularly for project (6)
SCHEME — SCH(ool) and a regular sequence from tEaM mEt

2d   Needing no introduction, cholera devastated Asian city (6)
LAHORE — an anagram (devastated) of (c)HOLERA after the initial letter has been removed (needing no introduction)

3d   Contrast second century uprising with Trojan one, briefly (10)
COMPARISON — start with a reversal (uprising, in a down clue) of a short period of time and C(entury); then add a Trojan prince whose actions precipitated a war in which he died; and finally append ON(e) with the final letter removed (briefly)

4d   Unexpected event in second part of Dickens novel (5)
TWIST — a double definition with the second being the surname of the title character in a novel by Charles Dickens

5d   Crime-fighter mutilated evil giant (9)
VIGILANTE — an anagram (mutilated) of the final two words in the clue

6d   Reportedly, German’s negative figure (4)
NINE — sounds like (reportedly) a German’s negative response

7d   Occasional police operations set up with armed soldiers involved (8)
SPORADIC — place the soldiers who are armed with big guns into a reversal (set up) of a very concise way of saying ‘operations by the investigatory branch of the police’

8d   Moving gingerly to pinch the Queen’s jewellery (4-4)
NOSE RING — place the regnal cipher of Her Majesty into a verb meaning moving cautiously forward

13d   Except individual, content to assess peers (10)
BARONESSES — string together a preposition meaning with the exception of, a synonym for individual or single, and the interior letters (content) of (a)SSES(s)

15d   Sponsorship a pro agent sorted out (9)
PATRONAGE — an anagram (sorted out) of A PRO AGENT

16d   Becomes emotional entering hotel to drink with another (6,2)
CHOKES UP — enter the letter represented by Hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet into a popular soft drink; then add a northern English term for drink

17d   Vital safeguard with large cat south of island (8)
LIFELINE — line up L(arge), I(sland) and a cat

19d   Blot last bit of text in Greek letter (6)
STIGMA — place the final letter (last bit) of texT inside the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet

20d   Cave with base becoming variable and rough (6)
GROTTY — a synonym for cave with its final letter (base, in a down clue) swapped out for (becoming) an algebraic variable

23d   Standing straight before court (5)
ERECT — a poetic term for before and an abbreviation for court

24d   Jack put on feminine Parisian article for some time (4)
JUNE — the symbol found on a jack in a pack of cards and a French feminine indefinite article

As podium finishers, I have selected 26a, 3d, and 7d although there are several other close challengers. Always a sucker for a bit of innuendo, I will pick 26a as favourite.


71 comments on “DT 28992

    1. You’ve changed your email address – both old and new should work from now on

  1. I didn’t take that long to solve this one (on a print out rather than the paper as I had to go to the dentist (again :( ) before I could buy a paper

    I couldn’t make up my mind either who I thought the setter might be or what I thought of it, although I thought it better than a 9a crossword

    Thanks to the Thursday Mysteron and to Falcon

  2. This was quite testing and a bit more time consuming than usual. I had to check a few clues to make sure that I had parsed them correctly, so many thanks to Falcon. The setter, whether it was Ray T or not, certainly gave us a good mental workout. I particularly liked 14a and 3d, which both took a lot of puzzling but left me with a sense of satsfaction.

  3. I found this pretty straightforward apart from one or two parsings. 18a was an obvious candidate for a favourite, but that was trumped by the elegant 8d.

    Thanks to our Thursday setter and Falcon.

  4. I also found this a very straightforward solve with most of the answers going in from the definition alone, which reduced my enjoyment somewhat. Nevertheless, thanks to Falcon and the setter.

  5. I was a little slow in finishing this one, and I did not realise until reading the review that I had 16d wrong. I opted for a Japanese rice wine for my first drink, although at the time I was not convinced that ‘shakes up’ was comparable to becomes emotional.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon.

    1. I initially opted for the Japanese rice wine as well but serious misgivings about it fitting the definition caused me to look for an alternative drink.

    2. I did the same with 16d even though I wasn’t sure that it quite fitted the definition – just as well I wasn’t doing the hints today – all street-cred straight out of the window in one easy go!

  6. A very enjoyable solve that put me in mind of RayT but then had me wondering when some clues just didn’t fit his remit. Thanks to setter and Falcon

  7. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky from start to finish. Was completely beaten by 13,17 and 24d. Favourite was 9a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  8. Solving the anagrams helped the flow through today’s offering. No outstanding favourite but a few 10A clues .

    Thanks to everyone .

  9. Needed hint for 20d otherwise a good challenge for me taking two sessions . It is not a ” DT word” so it didn’t occur to me – that’s my excuse anyway.
    Thanks to setter & Falcon. Clip for 22a I remember the 1950’s Pat Boone version – it was my girlfriend’s “swoon over” record & still on her playlist now. Mr Google tells me it was first a hit in 1931!

    1. Pat Boone is definitely the artist one would be more likely to associate with the song. However, I happen to prefer the Patsy Cline version.

      1. Given that the girlfriend is now my wife of nearly 60 years I couldn’t possibly comment!

  10. I needed a bit of electronic help and a couple of hints in the South East to get over the line with this, plus two or three bung ins which I’ll attempt to parse later (so I’m asking myself did I really solve it!). Still I enjoyed the challenge, (though wasn’t keen on 1d) I thought there were a lot of clever clues.
    Podium places go to 1a, 4d and top spot to 8d as it conjured up the amusing image of The Queen wearing said piece of jewellery.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for his review

    1. The rules of completion according to Miffypops

      Rule 1. There are no rules

      Rule 2. See rule one

      There is much satisfaction gained upon completion of a cryptic crossword puzzle whatever your level of competence. Grizzled old campaigners will need little or no help due to their expertise having been gained over many years. Newcomers may be baffled by the simplest of clues.

      A completed grid is a completed grid and I don’t much care howsoever anybody gets there. The more experienced you are the less help you should need.

      Beginners should feel free to use to anything and everything to achieve completion, dictionaries, encyclopaedia, an atlas, books of crossword lists, and of course the internet. I have spent a couple of hours looking with amazement at just how much help is out there on the World Wide Web including this very blog itself.

      Scribble away in the newspaper margins or use a notepad. Make little circles of anagram fodder. Write a succession of dashes, put in your checkers and play with the clues to your hearts content

      Regard these aids as crutches, helping you along. With time and experience and a good memory it should be possible to throw these crutches away little by little as one becomes more proficient. For example, once someone learns to recognise how anagrams work i.e. Indicator, fodder and definition they really ought to stop using the anagram solver and work them out for themselves. One by one the aids should fall away until you sit there pencil-less with a quickly self-completed puzzle and think “Now what shall I do” as you reach for the toughie and contemplate volunteering to review puzzles for Big Dave.

      Happy solving to you all however you do it.

      1. Thanks MP, I shall bear in mind those rules especially rule two!
        I have to say of all the aid out there on the world wide web the imformation that has helped me the most is that contained within this blog, especially reading the explanations of the reviewers, so that clues that once could have been written in Double Dutch have gradually become plain English.

      2. Thank you so much for reassuring me that, after 2 months of diligent struggle, I am not thick, nor cheating by using tinterweb help. I have noticed that it’s started to get a bit easier, but this varies from day to day – possibly depending on setter, but it’s only since discovering this site that I knew there even WERE different setters. I shall persevere!
        I’m very grateful to all the “hinters”, for their helpful explanations. (“Parse” – there’s another word I hadn’t known existed!)

        1. I’ve been doing it on and off for about forty years and still need help 🙂

          1. You’re not alone. On a typical back-page puzzle, roughly 90% of visitors to the site used some form of assistance to fill the grid and/or parse the clues.

  11. All seem in agreement today that it was an enjoyable straight forward solve ,around a**/*** for me.
    Liked the surface of 19d and 20d.
    No outstanding clues but some very good ones, thanks to Falcon for the pics.

  12. Enjoyed that uncomplicated exercise. I needed parsing help for 7d. Didn’t much like 8d. Fav was 22a. Thank you Mysteron and Falcon.

  13. An excellent crossword marred perhaps only by 26a which seemed a little clumsy.
    For me **/****
    Thx to all

  14. Enjoyable crossword, but am I the only solver who had SHAKES UP as the answer for 16d ? Sake is, of course, a Japanese drink.

  15. I found this one similar to yesterday’s – about average difficulty with generally fine clues giving an enjoyable solve. No stand-out favourite today. 2.5* / 3*

  16. Not too difficult but quite enjoyable. 9a made me laugh. I rather like 1a, 5a and 9a but I’ll give gold to 3d.

  17. A very satisfying puzzle, challenging but not impossibly so. All went in without help except north west corner where I needed Falcon’s hints, thank you. I did also have shakes up for 16d though. And I tried to make an anagram out of the wrong words in 11a, silly person. A lot of fun today.

  18. I started off thinking this was going to be really difficult but then got going and all went well.
    I agree that it’s definitely not a Ray T – another reason in support of this is that it’s a Beam Toughie and I don’t think the two are ever on the same day.
    As others did I messed up 16d.
    I didn’t quite manage to untangle the first bit of 3d which wasn’t very smart. Oh dear!
    Very enjoyable and I particularly appreciated 1 and 22a and 4 and 8d. My favourite was 26a.
    With thanks to whoever set this one and to Falcon.

  19. I found it quite tricky 😳 *** /*** though on completion I can’t see why! I also went Japanese with 16d 😟 Favourites 28a & 13d Big thanks to Falcon and to the Ray T look alike 😬

  20. **/***. Enjoyable solve but required a little bit of reverse engineering for a couple of clues. Thanks to Falcon for explaining my bung-in at 26a. Thanks also to the setter for a pleasant mental workout. Off to the HSBC Sevens this weekend which is one of my favourite sporting events.

  21. An enjoyable solve that was over almost too soon! No real favourites but the clueing was generally pretty good throughout.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review.

  22. I also had shake up! Got 26a but didn’t know why till I read the blog – had a different sort of partner in mind. Thanks to all.

  23. I made a mistake with 21a, putting in “over” as a lurker; understood as in “over and out”, but of course that would be “roger”. Dumb, I know. That made 16d very strange, took me ages to see it and was my last one.
    Fave was 18a but I also liked 20d, a very “in” word in the 1960s when I lived in UK.
    thanks to proXimal for the fun and to Falcon for unravelling a couple for me.

  24. Steady start, slowed right up, cracked a couple of clues & the rest fell into place very nicely, hence 2.5*/3.5*
    Very enjoyable with some good testing clues.
    Many thanks to Falcon & mystery setter.

  25. Thanks to ProXimal and Falcon. A really enjoyable crossword but I needed confirmation from Falcon as I went along that my answers were correct. I don’t seem to have much faith in myself that I’m on the right track but it’s brilliant to know that I am! I really enjoy the blog even though I don’t usually read it until the next day. Thanks.

  26. Made a bit of a mess in the SW.
    Put “over” as the solution for 21a. As I didn’t understand, I looked for a lurker. And there it was. Thinking it was a term used in aviation. Over and Out Roger. My goodness. They will never let me fly a plane.
    For 16d, “throws up” was the only emotional response I could think of.
    I was quite satisfied to think that I finished but had to check from the review.
    So thanks to Falcon for putting me right and to the setter for a very enjoyable romp.
    Ps: We could vote until last night if we wanted to end the change of time in summer and winter. More than 80% don’t want to change time anymore and summer time is the preferred option.

    1. I was with you on 21a with “over” and for the same reason. I thought it was rather good, though couldn’t account for the “new”.

      1. Sorry Merusa. Totally missed your earlier post.
        Always a great feeling to know that you are not alone.
        This site proves it all the time.
        Thanks to BD and all the team.

  27. Playing catch-up today. Neighbours over for lunch and as today was a birthday for one of them it involved lots of birthday cake and a fair amount of alcohol!

    Enjoyed this one but fell into the Japanese trap at 16d which had to be sorted out and was slow to get 27a & 13d.
    Favourite was 1a for its surface read.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Falcon for the blog.

    Now to tango with Mr T!

  28. I think shakes up as opposed to the other answer, is just as valid. Obviously I had the former, but, who can say which is correct? The fact that so many contributors had the same answer could make it the popular vote. Hmmm.

  29. As usual I’m the last contributor, I keep strange hours, but thanks to the setter and Falcon for hosting the the blog. I’m sure time will prove you correct on 16d, but it doesn’t make the rest of us wrong.

    1. Hi Mr Guitar man. As the puzzles are syndicated elsewhere we will get comments long after we have complete forgotten the puzzle.

        1. Hello, Taylor. Never too late to comment. One test sometimes mentioned for whether an answer fits the definition is “Are the answer and the definition interchangeable in a sentence?” I can’t think of a sentence where “shakes up” could be replaced by “becomes emotional”. “He becomes emotional” and “He chokes up” mean much the same thing, but “He shakes up” does not.

          1. A good point well made. However the clue isn’t actually part of a sentence and stands alone so could be interpreted as shakes up just as easily as chokes up. Shouldn’t that be “is the answer “?

            1. Good morning, TG. Mr K’s grammar is spot on. In his question, the subject (“the answer and the definition”) is plural so the verb needs to be plural too.

    2. TG, 16d. With this type of clue, the basic “cryptic clue”, the definition and wordplay both have to lead logically to the answer. Here, the wordplay is: enter H for hotel into the drink COKE and then add “another” drink (a verb, to drink) on the end: SUP, giving C(H)OKE + SUP = CHOKES UP. Therefore, the answer couldn’t possibly be SHAKES UP. But don’t be deterred from posing such questions – that’s what the blog is for.

      1. To elaborate on Jose’s excellent analysis, let me add that the answer must match the wordplay, the definition, and the checking letters (the letters provided by the intersecting clues in the grid).

        As Jose as shown, CHOKES UP meets all these criteria.

        SHAKES UP satisfies the wordplay (H in SAKE + SUP) and it matches the checking letters but it fails to match the definition.

        Someone has mentioned THROWS UP coming to mind (which I assume was what we call a “bung in” — something that matches the incomplete roster of checking letters that happen to be available at that point in the solving process). It loosely meets the definition, fails to match the wordplay, and will eventually be discovered not to match the checking letters (but may cause much grief before that revelation by hindering the solving of the intersecting clue or clues).

  30. I am sure you have all moved onwards and upwards but, if not, could someone please help a morning-after person. 24a is easily solvable J-une but how does ‘some time’ lead us to that particular month. ‘Summer time’ I could understand. As no-one else has queried this I fear I must be missing something obvious.

    1. “some time” doesn’t lead directly to that particular month. It’s telling us only that the answer is a period of time that also fits the wordplay.

      1. Thank you Mr K. Glad I’m not missing something more subtle or more cryptic.

    1. “another” is referring back to the earlier “drink”, so “with another” = “with drink”, which is a wordplay instruction to append “sup”

      1. Thank you Mr K, Rabbit Dave and Jose I stand corrected. I am now a more knowledgeable off not wiser person.

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