DT 28998 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28998

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28998

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone. There’s no doubt that this is a Ray T crossword although it is missing a couple of his trademark clues. It could be me having a dim day but I found it tricky – very enjoyable, as always, but definitely a bit of a little piglet!

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that it you want to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a        Feeling sick in the head? (12)
HYPOCHONDRIA — At the risk of upsetting or offending someone it’s probably best described as an imaginary illness so it’s ‘in the head’. I suspect that this is the kind of answer that you either see immediately or not – I did but wasn’t sure enough so didn’t write it in until I had some checking letters

8a        Leave country missing head of Gulf state (7)
EMIRATE — A word meaning to leave your country or move abroad without (missing) the first letter (head) of G[ulf]

9a        Went by ebbing river putting legs in (7)
ELAPSED — A reversal (ebbing) of a Scottish river contains (putting in) a synonym for legs – stages rather than the limbs that join your feet to the rest of you

11a       Exposed rock cut with poor rocks (7)
OUTCROP — An anagram (rocks) of CUT and POOR

12a       They’re useless without point at the end (7)
NEEDLES — If these implements didn’t have a point they wouldn’t be able to go through material

13a       Hand includes length for inch (5)
SIDLE — Another word for hand goes round (includes) the abbreviation for L[ength] – I had, and still have, difficulty thinking of a sentence in which these two words could be interchangeable but it is in the BRB

14a       Financial officer‘s safe in top of Trump Tower (9)
TREASURER — Begin with the first letter (top) of T[rump] and follow that with a verb to tower, or rise above, which contains another word for safe or certain

16a       Going into raptures is tantalisingly tough (9)
RESISTANT — The one and only lurker or hidden answer – it’s in the middle of the third, fourth and fifth words of the clue and is indicated by the first two words

19a       Best stuff contains energy (5)
CREAM — A verb to stuff or pack around (contains) E[nergy]

21a       Coarse material from two males? (7)
BUCKRAM — To get this coarse, stiff, material you need two males in the animal kingdom – the first is a deer or rabbit and the second a sheep.

23a       Order again proper drink, one to start (7)
REALIGN — A synonym of proper or genuine is followed by a drink – this drink is a spirit and its middle letter is moved to the front – one, or the letter that looks like a one to start. Hmmm – not the best hint but I can’t think of another way of putting it

24a       New top mark rejected from public school (7)
ETONIAN — Put together the abbreviation for N[ew), a letter and a number used to mean top or best and a verb to mark or notice and then reverse (rejected) the whole lot

25a       Insect eats fruit for nourishment (7)
ALIMENT — A small social insect contains (eats) a small citrus fruit

26a       Sublime time passed with finish in Cologne? (12)
TRANSCENDENT — Right – I’m only saying this once so here we go – begin with the abbreviation for T[ime] and follow that with another word for passed or proceeded – (keep going) – after that you want some Cologne (falsely capitalised to be misleading) or perfume which contains another word for finish or stop



1d        Journalist supports one in army having been promoted? (7)
HOISTED — Our usual crosswordland journalist comes after (supports) an army or a large number of people which contains the letter that looks like a one

2d        Regularly appraised, admitting look’s plain (7)
PRAIRIE — The alternate letters (regularly) of aPpRaIsE contain (admitting) a look or manner

3d        Queen enters palace to put out Queen (9)
CLEOPATRA — The one letter abbreviation for the Latin word for Queen goes into (enters) an anagram (put out) of PALACE TO

4d        Theatre occupied vacant time (5)
ODEON — The first and last letters (vacant) of O[ccupie]D is followed by a time or age

5d        Small present, revolting pants (7)
DRAWERS — The one letter abbreviation for S[mall] and a present or prize is reversed (revolting)

6d        Endlessly abuse a Republican getting cut off (7)
INSULAR — A verb to slander or abuse verbally without its last letter (endlessly) is followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for R[epublican]

7d        Devil sure to catch sinner finally, it’s clear (12)
DEMONSTRABLE — A devil or evil spirit is followed by another word for sure or reliable which contains (to catch) the last letter (finally) of [sinne]R

10d      Tell apart iced martinis, shaken or stirred (12)
DISCRIMINATE — An anagram (shaken or stirred) of ICED MARTINIS

15d      Record cheers topping popular cheer (9)
ENTERTAIN — A verb to record or log and an informal way of saying cheers or thank you is followed by (topping) the usual little word that means popular or trendy

17d      Mug reportedly provides comfort (7)
SUCCOUR — a homophone (reportedly) of a mug or someone who is easily fooled

18d      Brains addled comprehending European national (7)
SERBIAN — An anagram (addled) of BRAINS which contains (comprehending or taking in) the abbreviation for E[uropean]

19d      Cup of tea cold in lounge (7)
CHALICE — An informal word for tea is followed by a verb to lounge or recline which contains (in) the abbreviation for C[old]

20d      Famous rapper almost not without love (7)
EMINENT — An American rapper – probably (or possibly at least) the only one that most of us have ever heard of – without the last letter of his name (almost) is followed by N[o]T – not without the letter that looks like a love score in tennis

22d      Wild bloke in charge (5)
MANIC — A bloke or chap and then the two letter abbreviation for In Charge

I liked 14 and the nice simple 25a and 3d. My favourite was 7d.

The Quickie Pun:-  CORE + COVE + FAN = COQ AU VIN

74 comments on “DT 28998

  1. Hard going for me today but pleased to finish . Will pick 1A as favourite but had to check the correct spelling as my effort was a letter short .
    I expect that it will be interesting to read the comments .
    Thanks to everyone as usual .
    Well done Liverpool , the draw tomorrow will be interesting .

  2. Thanks for stepping in Kath. Pommette and I were having blood samples taken at the docs at 0815 this morning so it was nil by mouth from last midnight. Therefore straight into the bar opposite for much needed coffee and this puzzle.
    I too thought it a bit tricky but quite entertaining too. I know RayT usually has Her Majesty on parade but I don’t think I’ve seen two of her in the same clue before.
    I liked 7d but my favourite was 19d for its nicely concealed definition.

    Thanks to RayT and Kath (again).

  3. 4*/4.5*. This was tough but very enjoyable. It took me a long time to get onto the right wavelength today and I was staring at an almost empty top half for quite a while. The bottom half surrendered more quickly and I was then able to return to finish off the top.

    I had lots of ticks on my page and my podium comprises 14a (it took ages for the penny to drop regarding “Tower”), 7d (great charade and surface) & 10d (great anagram and surface). 26a might have joined them but the surface seems a bit dodgy.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  4. Where would I be without Kath, still scratching my head instead of getting the baking done. Thank you to the setter and Kath for a very hard work out.

  5. I was muttering to myself that this was more of a Beam than a Ray T when the mists cleared and I finished in a good time for the latter. I marked 12a for favouritism

    Thanks to Mr T and Mrs K

  6. Working down the across clues and then the downs it took me until 10d to come up with a single solution but then the Southeast yielded and gradually all fell into line. Initially put in faux pas as seemingly quite feasible answers to 12a and 21a but crossers scotched those. Liked 7d and 10d. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  7. I agree that this was a tricky little porker (trickier than the Toughie IMHO). Thanks to Ray T for giving us a splendid puzzle and to Kath for the super blog.
    Special thanks to Kath for deciphering the Quickie pun – I’d been saying it aloud all morning without getting anywhere (I kept thinking it was some sort of oven!).
    My ticks went to 12a, 14a and 19d.

    1. Gazza, I too failed to figure out the Quickie pun but having seen Kath’s revelation I don’t wonder at that! No matter how I might have pronounced the three words I would never have come up with that solution.

      1. I too puzzles over the pun but Mrs B got it straightaway. Thought the Quickie was far more difficult than the Cryptic today.

  8. Have you missed a point at 12a? It would be needless (useless) without the final “s”. Agree this was a difficult one and my rating is the same as you Kath. Thanks for entertaining hints and to Mr T.

    1. Yes – I think you’re right about 12a – how did we all miss that, even Gazza and CS and they’re usually the first to spot a mistake.
      Well done you, and thank you.

      1. In my case because I’ve not yet read the hints as we have a deadline at work today – doesn’t stop me commenting though!

      1. Glad someone spotted this (not me) as I thought of the answer but seemed to be a straight answer rather than cryptic. This is the most difficult crossword I can remember for a long time and the first I have failed to finish since I don’t know when! Good job we are all different and how different we are. (Brian’s comment noted). Thanks Ray T and Kath.

  9. Very tough going today – just a long, hard slog. Dreaded to think what others might say, but was reassured by the above comments which echoed my own views. ****/**

  10. Thanks Kath for the hints.
    Not sure I understand the logic of two Toughies on the same day, but doubtless the experts will be pleased.
    Luckily in have the weekly prize to fall back on.

  11. After a painfully slow start, this came together in a rush once I had got a few in. Certainly this was Ray T at his least benign, but it was hugely enjoyable and very rewarding to complete. So many fine clues, but I have opted for the elegant 10d ahead of 7d.

    Thanks to Ray for the not inconsiderable challenge, and well done to Kath for making sense of it all.

  12. Another fine puzzle by the master. Only one lurker today but the 2 queens made up for it. I was stuck on 7 for ages, having put in Imp for the devil and migrate for 8. Still it all worked out in the end. Favourite has to be 7 for all the trouble. Also liked 3 11 14 16 19d and 25. Thanks to RayT for warming up a cold and windy day.

  13. Very enjoyable with some trickiness completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Like last Friday’s Giovanni, for probably the first time with a Ray T, I did not need to use any of the ‘white space’ on my sheet of paper.

    A host of candidates for favourite, so I will restrict it to a toss-up between 1a and 19d, and the winner is 1a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    1. At first pass I thought I was in serious trouble today, and then (somehow) it all fell into place. I did like the surface reading of 14a. Thanks to Ray T and Kath. By the way Kath, do you know where the ‘outcrop’ photo was taken? (It looks identical to a place I often walk the dog).

      1. Mr Google Images tells me that it’s the Grizedale Forest in the Lake District, East of Coniston Water and South of Hawkshead. A long time ago hunting for pics when I was doing the hints I asked ‘him’ for a picture of a particular Italian city (can’t remember which one) – ‘he’ obliged and I used it in the blog. Someone was very quick to point out that it wasn’t the right city! Ever since then I’ve rather suspected that ‘his’ geography is not a lot better than mine!

        1. Thanks for the reply Kath, not quite the same place as it happens, but still ‘South Lakes’ ( I thought it was Chapel House Wood above the southern end of Windermere).

  14. Absolutely excellent! A good, tough challenge with excellent clues giving much enjoyment/entertainment and a distinct feeling of achievement at the end. Just the kind of puzzle I like. I’ve ticked 1a, 9a, 15d and 19d, but could have ticked many more, if not all of them. 4* / 4.5*

  15. I can almost echo RD’s first paragraph, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as he seemed to. I made liberal use of the Thesaurus and really hate stretched synonyms. Many thanks to Kath for her usual splendid explanations- I didn’t envy your job today. Thanks also to RayT for the workout.

  16. A difficult puzzle and I mearly gave up, when I got only 6 clues after the first pass. Then it all began to fall into place. Thanks to Kath an RayT. Rating ****/**** and favourite clue 12a, which I took ages to get, having got one of the checkers wrong.

  17. Loved it and my only issue was an abortive attempt to squeeze the wrong ‘national’ into 18d.

    Packed podium hosting 1,12&14a plus 10&19d but my absolute favourite was the truly cringeworthy Quickie pun.

    Devotions to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the blog – loved the frenzied Collie and the worried camel!

    1. The camel and the dog made me wonder if Kath was going to open her own pet shop on Thursdays

  18. This reminded me of pre and early blog day struggles/ battles with RayT when a puzzle would take most of the day. Since discovering the blog and blogging myself I rarely struggle but this did take a lot longer to tease out than usual. 1ac and 4d were the last two in. Saint Sharon and I are having a rest while Storm Ethan is asleep. We he awakens I willl see what I can tell him about The Cheltenham Festival. I picked four certainties on Tuesday. Three fell and the other came last. I didn’t back them (I rarely do) but three people I know did put money on all four horses. The fools

  19. One thing for sure, you’re always going to increase or refresh your vocabulary with a
    Ray T puzzle. That said I thought this was brilliant despite a couple of stretched or obscure synonyms, and difficult as it was I actually felt on the setter’s wavelength.
    However i needed a two or three hints and electronic help to get there.
    In a strong field I particularly liked the excellent lurker 16a, 6d,, 17d but my COTD was 20d.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Kath for a great puzzle and review.

  20. Not easy buy very enjoyable. I do, however, have a couple of points.
    Not sure I can make reward equal present in 5d and air for look seems a little weak.
    Annoyed that I missed the anagram indicator in 11a although the answer was obvious. However, 1a was brilliant and loved the misdirection in 26a by capitalising the city.
    I will never find Ray Ts puzzles easy but I am beginning to appreciate their style.
    Thx to all

  21. I thought that I was having a bad day until I read the blog and Kath’s rating.
    Lots of difficult parsing,I eventually failed to parse one clue,24a-thanks Kath.
    I have to agree with a ****/****.
    Did not help myself by spelling 1a incorrectly and consequently had the wrong first letter of 3d-never mind.
    Hard to pick a favourite why not go for1a-seems to fit my overworked brain.

  22. I made hard work for myself by making a mess of 1a early on (not only was the latter half incorrectly spelt, but my intended answer was also incorrect…… say no more!)

    Tricky in places, but very enjoyable.

    Thanks to RayT, and to Kath.

  23. Am I the only one who put diapers for 5d? Like Brian and reward I couldn’t really see how repaid equalled present but as quite a few other clues were really stretching it (for me that is) It seemed OK. Certainly not easy and thanks to Kath for a couple of steers. ****/*** for me, and many thanks as ever to Ray T.

  24. Could not have got there without you. Piglet? For me it was a full size flitch! I was very pleased with myself for the few I got by myself. I also got a few bits of answers….. I forget what the posh crossword term is, where you put together a number of things to come up with the answer, I call them ‘bits and bobs clues’. Enjoyable though, even if I do feel thick as a plank today.

  25. Not easy today took several passes before it yielded.
    Entertaining throughout no real favourites though. Storms abating thank goodness.
    Thanks to Kath and RayT

  26. ****/****. Phew! This took a lot of head scratching but perseverance paid off and was very rewarding. I’ve ticked 6 clues but my favourite was 1a. Thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  27. I have been doing the DT backpage crossword for nearly 30 years and I can rarely remember one as tough as this. Without the hints from Kath I would have struggled to get going and even then could not get on the setter’s wavelength with some of the obscure words used.

    I liked 12a and the lurker in 16a, the rest was just a slog for me, ****/** in my estimation.

    Technically I am sure this was an outstanding puzzle, so thanks to the setter, but the enjoyment factor was clouded for me by the complexity.

  28. Well, miracle, I managed to solve all but some in the NE. I had 4d wrong, putting opera; no idea where the “op” came from but “era” was the time.
    The fact that I solved so much was quite an achievement, but to say I “enjoyed” it was a bit of a stretch.
    Thanks to RayT for the skirmish and to Kath for unravelling it for me. C’est la guerre.

    1. I made that mistake with 4d too. It took me ages to crack 12a—- until the penny dropped.

    1. No sweetheart, no former lovers and no answers made up from the first letters of words in the clue but still all very short clues and the Quickie (which wasn’t, for me anyway) also had one word clues and answers. Is there anything else that we’ve forgotten?

  29. I took 23a to be Financial officer‘s safe in Trump, where Trump was T rear. Of course, that ignored tower and top of

  30. I managed that without resort to the hints but it was a bit of a fight. 7d needed a push from chambers nice little word finder and 1a first thought was “psychopathic”ally wrong until a few checkers sorted me out. A few of the lego/charades (4d 19d)needed to be written down and looked at before the parsing revealed itself. I toyed with Hessian for a while for the two males Rudolf of that ilk and a generic scotsman before checkers made me see the light. Still pleased to have “done” a Ray T unhinted but thanks to RT and Kath for the hints. 3d fave here.

  31. Took several runs at this puzzle to complete it, the last go resulting in a quick sprint to finish. Hard but enjoyable, I feel classic of a Ray T.
    Kath, many thanks for your helpful hints & to Ray T for a brilliant puzzle.

  32. I enjoyed this crossword immensely; eminently satisfying to complete. I was slow to get going but once I dropped to the bottom of the grid everything opened up.1a was my top clue.
    Thanks to Ray T for the challenge, and to Kath for the review.

  33. I have now done all bar SE corner. It has been a real tussle but what a sense of satisfation. Late start & I do not want to go to the hints yet. Will return after tea hopefully to get there – I’m sure Kath’s review would do the trick. Having had to give up on the 6.30 dog walk for the first time in 20 years because of near gale force winds & horizontal rain I will try not to let this beat me **** or not.
    Thanks to RayT and Kath

  34. Surely clue 12a could also be translated as needless (useless) minus point (s) at the end??

    1. Yes – you are, of course, absolutely right. This was pointed out several hours ago by Patsyann at comment number 8 and I replied to her then.
      I don’t know how I missed it but it but I did! Apologies.

  35. Evening all. Many thanks to Kath for the decryption and to everybody else for your observations.


  36. Hosted my knitting group this morning when home made cake was required. Result was only got to the crossword after a swim and evening meal. Boy, was it worth the wait. Super puzzle and for once ran through it with no assistance. Liked 21 a. because it doesn’t come up much or at all . Many thanks.

    1. Is that a Knit and Natter group or a Stitch and Bitch? Saint Sharon hosts one on Monday nights. They collect money each week and go out twice a year for Knit Roasts

      1. OMG I love both descriptions. I used to knit and sew before arthritis started to get the better of me, but I am not good in groups like that but never realised there was a bitch option. LOL.

        Many years ago in the US I had to play those games and join vairous ‘clubs’. I was president of the local chamber of commerce for a while which was hilarious, that I could handle, watching good ole boy midwest farmers faces as they realised that the little woman with the British accent was giving the speech, but the ladies clubs? Nightmare for me.

        Have been happily reclusive in rural Ontario for 20 years now and wouldn’t swap it for the world.

  37. Quite tricky today, with the cryptic definitions at 1ac and 12ac causing the most difficulty. A massive groan as each fell…

  38. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but quite tricky puzzle. I thought I was going to fail, but eventually I managed to get a foothold. I’ve seen 8a & 4d recently in other puzzles. Last in was 25a. Favourite was 11a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  39. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and for calling in – thanks to everyone for their comments.
    Night night all.

  40. Night Kath! – Thanks for the blog.

    Had a go at this one with morning coffee and a daft puppy as a distraction. Gave up until the evening news. Best RayT I have tackled maybe. All perfectly fair and ingenious requiring much cogitation. Agree with RabbitDave completely (nothing unusual there) so it’s ****/*****

  41. I did this one a day late, confess to being the worse for wear yesterday.
    It was tough going, as many say above, and a great feeling on completion.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath. ****/****

  42. I too did this a day late. Not helped by the fact I didn’t see 1a for ages, I found it hard going and nowhere near as enjoyable as many of the above commenters.
    I did finish it eventually, with multiple references to my BRB, but too many clues left me thinking: “Really? Well, I suppose so, at a push.” 4*/1*
    Thanks to all.

  43. 4*/5*…hints appreciated !
    liked 14A (financial officer‘s safe in top of Trump Tower), among others.

  44. Doing the crossword in bed late at night. Have put this one down for several nights. Admitted defeat tonight. Mostly enjoyable but the odd groan. I put Alexandra in 3d which held me up. Thanks to Kath for the explanations. I will improve!

  45. Thought I’d completed this today but entered final blank clue DIAPERS for 5d having convinced myself that repaid was acceptable synonym for present!
    Big thank you to today’s blogger for setting me right.

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