DT 28997 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28997

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28997

Hints and tips by Pinetree Meads

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Kia Ora from Te Kuiti

We have another Jay puzzle here which demonstrates why he is held in high regard by setters and solvers alike. I liked it and I hope you did too. The 2Kiwis should be back in the blogging chair next week after their trip to South Island. I hope they have some photos to share.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Political enforcer understood a means of making cuts (7)
WHIPSAW: An official of a political party supposedly appointed to maintain parliamentary discipline among its members, especially so as to ensure attendance and voting in debates is followed by the past participle of a word meaning to understand if you see what I mean

5a    Limit spread of mice in a particular area (7)
ENDEMIC: A word meaning the limit or boundary of something is followed by an anagram (spread) of MICE

9a    Rate adjusted to include ten more (5)
EXTRA: An anagram (adjusted) of RATE contains the Roman numeral for ten

10a    Struggle with purpose and perspective (9)
VIEWPOINT: We have three parts to the wordplay here. 1 To struggle, contend or compete eagerly. 2. The abbreviation for with 3. A particular reason for doing something

11a    Bless the Tories and European Commission value (10)
CONSECRATE: This clue is also three mini clues. The abbreviation for the Conservative party. The abbreviation for European Commission. A fixed price charged for goods or services

12a    Desolate, having lost king lead (4)
STAR: A word meaning desolate or barren needs to have the abbreviation for king removed

14a    Company people must accept solid proof (12)
CONFIRMATION: The abbreviation for company is followed by a synonym of people. Enough of them to be a race or country like the people of England, Scotland or Wales. Into this country we must insert a word synonymous with solid or unyielding

18a    Unable to speak, being delayed by hospital department after train crashed (12)
INARTICULATE: We have here a three-part charade. 1 being delayed or behind time 2 A hospital department. Which one? Not Ear Nose and Throat. They are too busy having been used several times recently. How about the one where you are likely to be wired up to machines and drips whilst being under constant supervision and treatment by highly trained medical staff possibly after being in a train crash 3 which I hope you realise suggests an anagram (crashed) of TRAIN. You will need to jiggle these three parts around to sort the order that fits the clue

21a    Cut speed (4)
CLIP: A double definition to cut as a hairdresser might is well known. The informal noun meaning a specified speed or rate of movement, especially when rapid is less well known

22a    Coward fixing day-care cost without love (7-3)
SCAREDY-CAT: Anagram (fixing) of DAY CARE COST but without the letter that looks like the number that love represents in a tennis match

25a    Blighter runs in nude, strangely exposed (9)
UNCOVERED: A blighter who may have stepped straight out of a PG Wodehouse novel is followed by the cricket abbreviation for runs. Together this sits inside an anagram (strangely) of NUDE

26a    Hate seeing platform with no power (5)
ODIUM: A small platform upon which a person may stand in order to be seen by an audience has the abbreviation of the word power removed

27a    Guarantees end of strike with nurses working (7)
ENSURES: The final (end of) letter of the word strike is followed by an anagram (working) of NURSES

28a    Spy, losing heart, blocks procedures (7)
SYSTEMS: Begin with the outer letters of the word spy (losing heart) Add a word meaning blocks or staunches


1d    Swine that could make women be sick? (6)
WRETCH: The abbreviation for women is followed by a verb meaning to vomit

2d    Where a camper may be determined (6)
INTENT: When split 2,4 the first five words of the clue give one definition. The final word of the clue gives another

3d    Victims of carbon copy attack kept on board ship (10)
SCAPEGOATS: Within (on board ship) the letters denoting a steamship we need, the chemical symbol for carbon, a word meaning to copy someone’s actions, split 2,2 two words meaning to attack. That’s a lot of instruction using only nine words

4d    Hesitate, seeing surge on right (5)
WAVER: A surge of water at the seaside is followed by the abbreviation for right

5d    Spoken in support of elite made up of voters (9)
ELECTORAL: An adjective meaning spoken follows an adjective meaning chosen by God for salvation

6d    Puppet of political party on right of course (4)
DUPE: The initials of a political party (I think our government is in coalition with this party but it is hard to fathom what is going on at the moment) is followed by the letter that sits on the right hand side of the word course. That is enough political comment for today. No more please

7d    Profess support (8)
MAINTAIN: A double definition. The first being to state something strongly to be the case

8d    Maybe Queen Anne’s last call for provision of food (8)
CATERING: The Queen here is feline put what a feline is. Add the last letter of Anne. Add a word meaning to call using a telephone

13d    Meticulous firm on identification and evidence of debts (10)
FASTIDIOUS: Start with a word meaning securely attached or steady. Add the abbreviation for identification. Add the plural of an acknowledgement of debt

15d    Kings, for example, confront jokers (4,5)
FACECARDS: The Kings here could be joined by the Queens and the Jacks in games of Crib, whist rummy or similar. Find a word meaning to confront. Add a word meaning jokers or characters

16d    Slight flavour supplied by metal cruet set (8)
TINCTURE: Begin with a metal. Finish with an anagram (set) of CRUET

17d    Brazilians from area in Corsica possibly? (8)
CARIOCAS: An anagram (possibly) of CORSICA surrounds the abbreviation for area

19d    Writer‘s bed found in Home Counties (6)
SCRIBE: A child’s bed sits within the compass points that denote where the Home Counties lie

20d    Puzzles of oil deposits found around centre of Tooting (6)
STUMPS: the plural base of an internal combustion engine, which serves as a reservoir of oil for the lubrication system sits around the central letter of the word Tooting

23d    Travels free with ease, regularly going missing (5)
RIDES: Find a three-lettered verb meaning to be freed or relieved of something. Add what’s left of the word ease after the even numbered letters are taken away (regularly going missing)

24d    Measure of prevention on the rise at any time (4)
EVER: A reversed hidden word set amongst the words of the clue. The words measure of tell us it’s there. The words on the rise tell us it is reversed. If all else fails………….

…….look at 27 across in yesterday’s Toughie 2191. Now there is a hidden word clue and a half. You may need to consult the blog to see how it works. Just like I had to.

Quickie Pun: revert+weed=River Tweed. In New Zealand there is a Tweed River. How appropriate for a Wednesday


35 comments on “DT 28997

  1. I’ve solved a few other crosswords (and done quite a lot of work) since I solved this but, looking at the paper, I’d say I enjoyed it in an average time for a Jay

    Thanks to him and the NZ Rugby Player of Yesteryear

  2. 3*/4*. The usual excellence from our Wednesday setter with the NE corner holding out the longest.

    17d was a new word for me but at least the checkers and anagram fodder made it solvable, and I thought that 18a meant “unable to speak clearly” but my BRB tells me it can also mean “unable to speak”.

    18a, 25a & 3d are battling it out for my podium positions.

    Many thanks to Jay and to MP.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle with some clever clues. Not very difficult, I’d say. I had to confirm my answer to 17d which was a new word for me. Maybe 15d was my favourite.

  4. Well up to standard for our Wednesday setter with a couple of new words for me at 1a and 17d.
    The synonym in 25a bothered me a little until I thought of referring to someone as a lucky blighter!

    Podium places identical to those chosen by RD.

    Thanks to Jay and to MP for the blog.

  5. Fantastic and oysterlike ( difficult to open and full of pearls ) .
    Difficult to pick a favourite but , by a short head , 8D over 3D .
    Congratulations Jay , thanks to the NZ former stalwart .

  6. Enjoyable puzzle and blog (the self-deprecating photo made me laugh, and a good Zimmerman song too). Thanks to all. Will look up the toughie lurker later.

  7. Lots of my charade favourites today, thoroughly enjoyed the solve as I tuned in.
    Hard to pick a favourite as excellent cluing throughout.11a was very topical- bless can be a swearword and Theresa is no saint.
    Liked18a and 22a -would loved to have seen a 2K’S pic for this !
    Thanks to all.

  8. I had this all but completed in *** time after a very slow start, but was stuck on 17d. I could see the fodder, but was wondering which form of Brazilian we were looking for. Was it the South American? Was it a nut? Was it a beauty treatment? Would the Daily Telegraph use such a meaning for the word?

    Then I remembered what I had read a couple of hours previously on the front page “Britain has had more fake climaxes than a Bangkok brothel”.

    I resorted to using an anagram solver.

    Many thanks to Jay and MP.

  9. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the clever clues in this Jay puzzle, although I didn’t know 17d. Thanks to our blogger for the hints and to Jay for a satisfying solve. Favourite clues, 1a, 10a, 11a, 25a and 3d, but there were lots of other good ones.

  10. Sorry but I disliked this puzzle intensely. Some horrible wordy clues such as 3D and 8d and lots of clues that seems to me clumsy.
    Never heard of a 1a before.
    Thx for the hints which at least enabled a grasp of understanding.
    For me ***/*.

  11. Did the toughie first without much problem but the back page had me scratching my head a few times.
    Thanks to Jay and Pinetree Meads.

  12. I too enjoyed this, but I thought the clue for 17d was a bit off, and anyway I was completely hung up on the ‘beauty treatment’……….

  13. To me this lacked the normal sparkle of a Jay puzzle and I found it a bit of a grind, needing a few hints to get over the line.
    Thanks to PM (or is it MP) for making it all sound simple and to Jay for the challenge .

  14. Nice and straightforward apart from 17d 😏 **/*** Favourites 26a & 1d 😃 Thanks to Jay and to MP for the blog 🤗

  15. Jay keeping up his high standards, loved it.
    I needed electronic help for 17d; I knew it was an anagram but I’d never heard of it, hope I remember.
    Hard to choose a fave, but I think 22a is it, it’s a cat, innit?
    Thanks to Jay and to Pinetree Meads. Rushing off to dentist, will read blog later.

  16. I’m in the “well I enjoyed it” camp. Having said that 1a was a new word for me as was 17d and I hadn’t come across the hospital department in 18a before, I had to Google them all, but hey ho we’re here to learn. Favourite? Probably 19d as my dad used that as his pseudonym as editor of a local club magazine. Thanks to the setter and Pinetree Meads for hosting the blog.

  17. Late coming to this excellent Jay crossword as we were having lunch in Worcester before coming home. Great fun as always, with the usual top mix of elegant clues. I think 3d takes my top spot for its conciseness.

    Thanks Jay and MP.

  18. I have just looked at the toughie clue from yesterday. Yes, a very good ‘reverse lurker’.

  19. I’m in the loved it camp – I always am on Wednesdays – Jay is such a good setter.
    Never heard of 1a or 17d but it sounds as if most others hadn’t either – I think ‘beauty treatment’ is a bit of a euphemism!
    I spent far too long trying to justify ‘undressed’ for 25a.
    Lots of good clues so just a few of them are 18 and 22a and 6 and 8d. My favourite was 11a.
    With thanks to Jay and to Pinetree Meads – another one to google so I do at least know who he was now.
    Quiet here today – where is everyone? Perhaps gardening as I have been all afternoon – lost my secateurs, damn and blast it. :sad:

    1. We have lots of secateurs Kath In the wood yard, in the chicken,coop, in the kitchen downstairs, on top of the glasswashing machine, in the tool shed, in the washing machine cupboard, in the outside loo, and in the boiler room. Anywhere but the gardening tool store.

    2. Thanks everyone for the sympathy – no non-sequiturs (just a bad case of ‘non-secateurs’), and thanks especially to MP for offering to pop down to Oxford to lend me a few pairs of his spare ones, if he can find any.

  20. I thought this was a bit trickier than usual, but maybe it was me just having a slow day. (Again). 1d was my top clue.
    Thanks to Jay, and to PM for the review.

  21. Thanks to Jay and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very good quality puzzle from Jay as usual. I thought 18a was very original, with a different hospital department from the usual one. I particularly liked 10&11a and 3d, but my favourite was 15d. All the surfaces were so smooth. 17d was a new word for me, but I got it from the fodder. A delight to solve. Was 3*/5* for me.

  22. Took a while to get a toehold on this one & to be honest was on toeholds up until finishing. A really good mid week challenge if not a testing one.
    Thanks to Jay for another mind stretcher & our two hint providers( which I needed).

  23. Nicely testing with some cleverly original clues. South went in before the North. 8d, 17d and 24d were less than fully parsed. Joint Favs (sorry Kath) 5a and 15d. Thank you Jay and the multi-monickered one.

  24. Good puzzle, a little tricky to the SW perhaps? Well, Geography never was my strong point.

  25. I found this very difficult – definitely not on the right wavelength and needed lots of hints. Several words I didn’t know. Thanks to Jay and MP.

  26. PInetree Meads. Learned something there (thanks Kath for suggesting google). I immediately started on a journey of hours anagramming the thing. Thought I had the answer too with ERNIE STAMPEDE which would seem about right for today’s blogger. Anyway, this evening, father and son lay on our replete tummies on the carpet whilst Miles Davis played and solved this one with no hiccups at all awarding a joint **/***.

    Thanks to Jay for a good tester and to Ernie Stampede (or should he be called ‘Blog Dylan’?) for all the normal stuff and nonsense.

  27. Not my favourite Jay but achieved without aids (human or otherwise). Finished last four this am. All in NE except 3d which was my last in and least favourite. I liked 26a for simplicity and 5a favourite. Thanks Jay and to MP for humour and parsing of 3d.

  28. Yesterday, I kept refreshing and waited till 11.40 to comment but then had to give up and head for home. I liked this one a lot, it was a reasonable challenge with very good clues giving a really pleasing solve. 17d was a new word for me too and I also managed to suss it out from the fodder and checkers. Favs: 10a, 3d, 13d. 3* / 4*.

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