DT 28536 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28536

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28536

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment **/***


[Jump to Across or Down Hints, Quickie Pun, or CommentsHello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday back-pager.  I can’t think of much to say about this puzzle beyond labelling it solid.  It offers a variety of clue types and difficulty-wise it’s about right for a Tuesday, but I didn’t find a huge amount of sparkle.

Last Sunday Virgilius came up with a 13-letter lurker that impressed many blog commenters.  If you’re interested in whether that’s a record for the length of a lurker, clicking the spoiler box will reveal the relevant data.

Click here for data on the longest lurkers

Here are the longest lurkers that have appeared on the back page prior to Sunday:

Date Puzzle Clue Answer Length
Sun 6 Jun 2010 DT Cryptic 2539 What's in Latin sign, if I can translate, is of no importance (13) INSIGNIFICANT 13
Sun 22 Aug 2010 DT Cryptic 2550 Problem managing some firm a lad just mentioned (13) MALADJUSTMENT 13
Sun 24 Jan 2016 DT Cryptic 2832 Section removed from main sign if I can, though it's not important (13) INSIGNIFICANT 13
Sun 20 Nov 2011 DT Cryptic 2615 From team on key bus, inessential bad behaviour (6,8) MONKEY BUSINESS 14
Sun 6 May 2012 DT Cryptic 2638 Gambling device from casino near Med band itself extracted (3-5,6) ONE-ARMED BANDIT 14
Sun 9 Dec 2012 DT Cryptic 2669 Lack of importance within certain sign, if I cancel (14) INSIGNIFICANCE 14
Sun 22 Nov 2015 DT Cryptic 2823 In visionary way, decide a list I call, yet not entirely (14) IDEALISTICALLY 14


Remarkably, every one was created by Virgilius. The data makes one wonder if there have ever been any 15-letter lurkers.  I found two in other crosswords:

Date Puzzle Setter Clue Answer
Thu 20 Oct 2016 Guardian 27020 Arachne During marvellous tar sands trip espied colours of America (5,3,7) STARS AND STRIPES
Sat 24 Sep 2016 Independent 9344 Knut Mixed ward? These conditions are fit for the King! (6,3,6) EDWARD THE SECOND


To round things off, here are the longest reverse lurkers I could find, both on the back page and elsewhere:

Date Puzzle Setter Clue Answer Length
Thu 25 Sep 2008 DT 25731 Handle some rising shares in metal - up in a minute! (10) MANIPULATE 10
Sun 29 May 2011 DT 2590 Cooking equipment taken back from heiress I tormented (10) ROTISSERIE 10
Thu 5 Jan 2012 DT 26754 Alas, senile, no longer holding back solitude (10) LONELINESS 10
Wed 5 Dec 2012 Toughie 888 Beam Show's over from nude tarts, no meddling! (11) DEMONSTRATE 11
Thu 9 Oct 2003 Guardian 22957 Shed Protest, showing some degenerate tarts no mercy in return (11) REMONSTRATE 11
Tue 19 Feb 2013 Guardian 25875 Tramp In foyer, a chair -- American diva's reclining, is she? (6,5) MARIAH CAREY 11
Tue 18 Oct 2016 Guardian 27018 Paul Middle Eastern nirvana in it's elapsed, somewhat in recession (11) PALESTINIAN 11
Sat 27 Aug 2016 Independent 9320 Math Displayed by returning exhibitors, e.g. at NEC: "Replacement parts" (11) PERCENTAGES 11


So, a challenge facing our setters appears to be finding a 12-letter reverse lurker.


In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Accept  what chess player might do (4,2,5)
TAKE ON BOARD:  A part-cryptic double definition.  The cryptic bit describes the loss of a piece in chess

9a    Continue exercise with runs getting tough (9)
PERSEVERE:  Concatenate the usual abbreviations for exercise and for runs and an adjective synonym of tough

10a   Tea in group of hotels? (5)
CHAIN:  Link together another word for tea and the IN from the clue

11a   Boring article in French by Dane, possibly (6)
LEADEN:  A French definite article followed by an anagram (possibly) of DANE

12a   One holy with rage holds king to be outsider (8)
STRANGER:  The abbreviation for one beatified and a synonym of rage sandwich (hold) the Latin abbreviation for king

13a   Fawn is more natural when passing over fifty (6)
SIMPER:  A word meaning “more natural” or less complicated, minus the Roman numeral for fifty

15a   Self-determination  a service offered by generous solicitors? (4,4)
FREE WILL:  Another part-cryptic double definition.  The cryptic part describes getting a legal document for nothing.  The addition of an unknown would transform the answer into…

18a   Tot at lights out in old-fashioned bed wear (8)
NIGHTCAP:  A double definition.  Tot here is a drink, not a child.

19a   Exploited sailor took drugs (6)
ABUSED:  Stick together a usual sailor and a word meaning “took drugs”

21a   Cocktail dance, led by son today (8)
SNOWBALL:  Join together the abbreviation for son, a word for today or at present, and a formal occasion involving dancing

23a   Fear mad admiral is impeding fleet (6)
ARMADA:  The first three words in the clue are hiding (impeding) the answer

26a   Wet and bright? Not at first (5)
RAINY:  An informal synonym of bright or clever with its initial letter deleted (not at first)

27a   Company abandons helpful worker (9)
OPERATIVE:  A (2-9) adjective meaning helpful with the abbreviation for company deleted (… abandons)

28a   On dress, perfume is evocative (11)
REMINISCENT:  Link together a usual word for on or concerning, a type of dress popular in the 60s, and another word for perfume



1d    Clue: regularly pilfer small drinks (7)
TIPPLES:  Concatenate a synonym of clue, the odd letters (regularly) of PiLfEr, and the clothing abbreviation for small

2d    Fate that's more peaceful, reportedly (5)
KARMA:  A homophone (reportedly) of an adjective meaning “more peaceful”.  I don’t think this works for every accent.  The answer expresses the belief that what goes around, comes around

3d    Work too hard crossing river, right? (9)
OVEREXERT:  Put together a word meaning crossing or on top of, a river in Devon, and the two-letter abbreviation for right

4d    One that buzzes around picking stuff up following complaint (4)
BEEF:  An insect that buzzes around picking stuff up from flowers, followed by the abbreviation for following

5d    Opening's curiously premature, losing millions (8)
APERTURE:  An anagram (curiously) of PREmATURE minus (losing) the abbreviation for millions

6d    House in Russia, definitely with a supporting church (5)
DACHA:  The Russian word for definitely or yes, followed by the A from the clue coming after (supporting in a down clue) the abbreviation for church

7d    Most important, as she is to Bolshevik? (7)
CENTRAL:  The answer also describes the location of the characters SHE within the word BOLSHEVIK

8d    Pub profits -- selling these? (8)
BARGAINS:  Join synonyms of pub and of profits

14d   Colour making animal go mad (8)
MAGNOLIA:  An anagram (mad) of ANIMAL GO

16d   Doctor bears arms -- shame! (9)
EMBARRASS:  An anagram (doctor) of BEARS ARMS

17d   Start to make trouble over space in sorting office (8)
MAILROOM:  Connect together the first letter (start to) of Make, a synonym of trouble, and an enclosed space in a building

18d   Last of bitumen or silt damaged air-intake (7)
NOSTRIL:  The final letter (last of) bitumeN followed by an anagram (damaged) of OR SILT

20d   Citadel deployed specific form of language (7)
DIALECT:  An anagram (deployed) of CITADEL

22d   Queen succeeds by keeping posh and one's stocking up (5)
BUYER:  the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth follows (succeeds) BY from the clue containing the letter colloquially associated with posh or upper class

24d   Put up with papers penned by president (5)
ABIDE:  The abbreviation for identification papers inside (penned by) the shortened first name of a famous US president

25d   Cut when working (4)
HEWN:  An anagram (working) of WHEN


Thanks to today’s setter for an enjoyable solve.  Today I particularly liked the novel 7d and the well-disguised 25d.  Which clues topped your list?


The Quick Crossword pun:  CANOE+DULL=CANOODLE


83 comments on “DT 28536

  1. Not being busy, I solved this in real time today and thought I’d comment. It was a typical Mon-Wed puzzle – light and fluffy, unchallenging with mostly easy to parse/solve clues. And that is no disrespect to the setter – they all provide what the DT asks for. But it was quite enjoyable nonetheless. I’ll rate it the same as yesterday’s: 1*/2.5*.

  2. 0.5*/2.5*. The only clue which required any thought was 24d, my last one in. I agree with Mr Kitty’s description of this as a solid puzzle, with 1a my favourite. I thought that the wordplay for 4d was incredibly verbose, and I couldn’t parse my answer to 6d as I took the definition to be “house in Russia” rather than just “house”. So thanks Mr K for the explanation and for the interesting stuff on long lurkers. Thanks too to Mr Ron.

    As an aside, I see that Long Itchington has hit the news today. On p12 in the paper there is a report of a couple who bought a dilapidated house there in 2012 and proceeded to build a garage in the garden in which they have lived ever since without paying any council tax. Obviously there are a lot of strange people in LI.

  3. PS. Well done MR K for describing the clue types fully – “part-cryptic double definition” instead of just “double definition”. That will be useful to all the young, casual, novice solvers who read the blog but never comment.

  4. For me a puzzle of two halves. The across clues were no problem but the downs were *** for difficulty. I needed the blog to explain 3d, 4d (where is the instruction to use the F from following ?), 6d, 7d and 24d. One of those puzzles where it is easier to get the answer than fully understand the clue. For me only ** for enjoyment. Not my favourite by any means.
    Thx to all

    1. F is a standard abbreviation for following, given in the link I included in the hint, so I don’t think it needs an explicit instruction to shorten it.

      The abbreviation is often seen in both singular and plural (ff) forms referencing a section of a book or paper. Quoting https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ff , “Hornblower 258f. would refer to pages 258–259 while 258ff. would refer to an undetermined number of pages following page 258.”

    2. B, 4d. You don’t need any instruction to use the F – it’s just the abbreviation for F(ollowing) from the clue. As in: One that buzzes around picking stuff up (BEE) + F(ollowing) = complaint.

      1. It’s just gone through my my about seeing one of those old weather forecasts in the sixties where they used to use magnetic letters on the wallmaps – I think it was Bert Ford doing the forecast and there was ‘FOG’ on the map and the ‘F’ fell off.

        He initially ignored it, but at the end of the forecast he rounded things off by saying ‘I’m sorry about the ‘F’ in ‘FOG’ – you had to see it, really!

  5. I found this a bit bitty . Struggled with 24d and finally put in “Al – ike “. Al apparently can refer to papers , didn’t really know the word id , its about 55 years since I studied Latin for GCE , this one must have slipped through the net .Will know for next time . Liked 7d and 28a . Thanks to Mr Kitty .

  6. last ones were the tricky 7d and 13a, which to me stood out in a league by themselves and were also my favourite clues. I also like the bolshevik, took me a while to figure out what to do with him and her.

    No that it matters much, but i think it’s fine to use ‘double definition’ when one half is cryptic. Sometimes people say “double definition, second one cryptic” which is I guess is a little more informative. But we’re not meant to get too hung up on clue type jargon on this blog.

  7. This one was the nearest thing to a 1* I’ve come across on a Tuesday. 7d was the definite favourite, nice touch of creativity there! Quite apart from the crossword itself, the hints ‘catphin’ pic was a nice touch.

  8. Back from summer in the French house so back in the saddle! Eventually completed other than 13a and needed the tip. ‘Less complicated’ rather than ‘more natural’ makes much more sense to my tiny brain! Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  9. Think I enjoyed this one more than Mr K did, with the possible exception of 4d which I thought was a little odd.
    I doubt that Gazza would have been too keen on the homophone in 2d!
    21a took me back in time – shades of the era of Babycham and CherryB. Did we really enjoy that stuff?!!
    Had to smile at the Americanism in 17d – our old ‘postie’ would have been horrified.

    Top three for me were 1&28a plus 7d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Mr. K for the blog and this week’s fascinating facts. I wonder whether any of our setters will take you up on the reverse lurker challenge?

    1. I don’t think it’s an Americanism – during my career with BT, I must have worked at half a dozen offices in and around London and every one of them had a 17d.

      1. In my experience of working in both places, USA companies had a 17d whilst in the UK the room was preceded by post.

        1. When we moved to the US 35 years ago it struck me as strange that here a mailman delivers the mail, yet it comes from the post office?

      2. Horses for courses then – all my IT offices (London and Manchester) had a post****. Perhaps I’m just older than you!
        By the way – I well remember the FOG incident!

      3. Given the mailman vs postman thing, I also would have said 17d is an Americanism, but the BRB doesn’t label it as such. Perhaps it’s now officially assimilated into British English.

          1. Great to see you posting again, Ts. Thanks for the explanation of the origins of 17d – makes complete sense.

          2. Nice to see you Tom.
            But you didn’t invent anything. Probably nicked the idea.
            Mail doesn’t sound very English to me. It resembles our malles. I see in the BRB that it old German (Malha) which means the same.
            I think I know what happened.
            We already had the paquets like in Falmouth but these posh Germans came with their malles. Should have been called the Royal Paquets but I think your royal family was a bit German then.

      4. I’m also in the “post” rather than “mail” camp. I remember that in one of the offices where I worked, one of the senior post employees happened to be the father of the England cricketer Graham Gooch, so perhaps that’s why he was used to quick deliveries? ;-)

  10. This did not take too long to finish. Like Mr K I thought this was a run of the mill puzzle. Once I understood it 7d was for me the only intriguing clue today.

  11. Solved very early as usual. It did what it said on the tin. No complaints as it was good for a Tuesday. Thanks to the setter and thanks to MrK.

  12. Harder for me than everyone else.
    The bolshevik clue defeated me, I went through every imaginable bolshevik that I could think of, so that would have remained unsolved for ever!
    I missed the anagram indicator for 25d.
    Anyway, clearly too easy for some, but I enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr K/Ron

  13. Not the greatest but as previous bloggers have said “solid” 7d caused some thought I was looking at all sorts of Bolsheviks but got it in the end, a bit convoluted I thought.
    Still thanks to setter and Mr Kitty.

  14. Mostly straightforward and entertaining but appreciated Mr. Kitty nudging for one or two viz 13a, 4d (unaware of that f abbreviation) 7d (tried to incorporate red) and 22d (not keen on this). Thanks Mysteron.

  15. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, quite straightforward. Was beaten by 7d, needed the hints for that. Favourite was 24d. Was 2*/3* for me. I loved the stats about the various types of lurker. Keep them coming. Most impressive, presumably Mr Kitty has a database with all the clues and answers in it?

  16. Fairly simple, straightforward fare this morning, and finished at a canter. I liked 24d and 6d, but my COTD was 1a. This was 1.5*/2.5* for me overall,

    Many thanks to the Tuesday setter and to Mr K.

  17. An entertaining puzzle and solidly clued, I thought, even if it was arguably a little short of sparkle as Mr Kitty suggested.

    My top three clues were 18a, 26a and 7d.

    Thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr K, especially for his excellent research on lurkers. Very interesting to see that Brian Greer seems to be the undisputed king of the longest hidden clues, I did wonder if RayT might have been close to rivalling him, were it not for his 8-word clue restriction, since he is known to be fond of a lurker or two!

    1. Mr Greer really is the back-page king of the long hidden clue. In addition to the 13+ letter answers listed above, there have also been seven 12-letter lurkers on the back page, and all but one of those are his as well. It looks like he saves them for the Telegraph, because his Guardian identity Brendan doesn’t feature high up on the list of longest Guardian lurkers – his longest hidden answer there is 10 letters.

      RayT doesn’t get close to Virgilius on the back page, but in his Toughie guise of Beam he has produced a 12-letter lurker (INTERSTELLAR, appearing in Toughies 934 and 1016), along with the record-equalling 11-letter reverse lurker listed in the table above.

      1. Yes, unsurprisingly only two of the clues containing Mr Greer’s longest DT lurkers consists of as few as eight words, so RayT would really struggle to surpass, let alone emulate him!

  18. I agree with most of the previous comments.
    I was slow to begin with and only got going properly on the down clues – probably because that’s where almost all the anagrams were.
    Spent too long trying to include an ‘L’ rather than get shot of it in 13a and anyway I was thinking of an animal.
    I think 7d is probably the kind of clue where you either see the answer instantly or not for ages.
    I was ‘had’ yet again by two things I always forget – the recognised abbreviation for ‘following’ in 4d and the blasted 24d ‘papers’.
    My favourite clue was 26a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  19. I have no issue at all with 17D! My least favorite is 1A just because I heartily dislike that expression. Favorite is the super 7D and I also ticked 28A. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

    1. Someone used the phrase: “sorry, we can’t onboard you at this this time” – they were referring to some financial investment rather than a vessel. It still hurts both the rejection and it’s means of delivery.

    2. I really don’t like the 1a expression either – so ‘managerial’ and often used by the numpties who use ‘yourself’ and ‘myself’ at every available opportunity when ‘you’ or ‘me’ would be better. Am I the only one who has noticed this?

      1. Oh yes – I’ve met quite a few of said numpties. They take great delight in arranging brain-storming sessions etc.

  20. I didn’t find today’s offering very straightforward I must say. I ended up with four or fiive scattered clues that would not resolve! However finally the pennies dropped. Favourite was 7d when I realized what was required. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review and info.

  21. I found the bottom half more straightforward than the top. Lots of good stuff here.
    Fave was 7d, that’s pretty clever, but 28a close behind.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr. Kitty for his usual informative hints.

  22. I thought that some of the parsing was difficult today and agree with Mr Kitty’s **/**-***.Perhaps there was not any outstanding clues , but there was a good variety and nothing could be taken for granted.
    Quite a few D’oh moments like last in 25d . Thanks to Mr Kitty-loved the 16a pic-who’s feeling sorry for himself ?

  23. I’m with the majority on this one. Gentle with some nice clues, which have already been mentioned. Can’t think of much else to say. Arr well. Thanks.

  24. Nice puzzle today – mainly quite easy with a few to think about. 7d was last in – took a while for the penny to drop even though I had the answer. Oh, and 25d gave me trouble for some reason. */** ***. I liked 24d, 6d, 2d and 21a with 7d being my pick.

  25. Afternoon everyone. Had the chance to do the puzzle on the day it’s published, so am able to comment – first time for ages. Apologies for the unauthorised absence, but I’m afraid ill-health is getting in the way of more than just crosswords. Still, having been forced to retire from work, I may now have more time to join in. Let’s hope so.
    As for today’s offering, I’m with the majority: loved 7d when the light bulb lit up above my head and have no problem with the mail. Although post and mail are amost interchangeable, they are not quite – a post box is where you post your mail, a mail box is where you retrieve it.
    Thanks to Mr K for his efforts and our setter for the challenge. 1*/3*

    1. How lovely to see you back again, TS – we do miss your witty comments.
      Hope that your retirement (albeit it enforced) gives you more time both for the crosswords and also for your beloved boat.

      1. Ditto to Jane’s comment from me too – it’s really good to hear from you, TS. I hope now that now without the punishing work schedule your health also improves.

      2. Yes indeed TS, every possible good wish in coping with your health problems and for all sorts of good times (including cruciverbal ones) In your retirement.

    2. It’s great to see you back, TS. Here’s hoping that your withdrawal from the rat race and lots of early nights will do wonders for your health and that your witty and erudite contributions to the blog will increase in line with your extra leisure.

  26. I enjoyed this one slightly more than the majority it seems. **/*** with 7d slated as favourite until resorting to Mr Kitty’s excellent, informative and funny blog to reveal 25 down. And, because it stumped me – quite fairly – it gets the gold medal.

  27. Having done the crossword for years, I’ve found, since stumbling upon Big Dave and learning about lurkers and Lego etc, I’m completing most puzzles the same day. Ta to everyone involved.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ape.

      (Mr Kitty is currently out at a work dinner, but he’ll welcome you himself when he returns.)

      Now that you’ve de-lurked, I hope we’ll be hearing from you again.

    2. Welcome from me too – please don’t stumble on BD – unless you’re a seriously big chap (or chapess) you’ll come off worse.

    3. Welcome from me too, Ape. Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope that you’ll keep commenting.

    1. All credit from the “family” goes to BD for his establishment and continuing management of the blog and to his happy band of helpers for so much daily entertainment for us bloggers. 🌹

    2. Please don’t take this as a criticism – it isn’t – but when you’re replying to a comment it’s quite a good idea to ‘hit’ the reply thingy which is just underneath your name, next to the thingy that calls itself a ‘permalink’. That way everything is all kept up together, if you see what I mean.
      Please keep commenting.

  28. Took me longer than yesterday, but got there eventually. Never heard of 13a and bunged in simple, which of course made 3d impossible.

  29. We thought this was a good fun puzzle to solve with plenty of clues to enjoy and 7d being top of the list. We’re going to stick ours necks out and suggest that Shamus is the setter.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  30. As someone else said, managed to solve on the day today and hence post. Enjoyed it today, very pleasant. I also had to think hard about ‘f’ being short for following. Thanks to Mr K and the setter. Continue to be so impressed with Mr K’s database!

  31. The 10a clip – I wonder how much money FleetwoodMac have received in Royalties from Formula1 broadcasters for this tune?

    The Bolshevik clue was my last one in and my favourite!

    1. Um, perhaps not quite yet, Ape :)

      Kath was pointing out that the thread of replies in a conversation stay grouped together on the page if when replying one opens a comment box by clicking on the “REPLY” link in the banner of the comment responded to.

      Entering a comment in the box found right at the bottom of the screen, which is presumably what you did, starts a new thread, .

      So, to reply to this comment, click REPLY in the grey box above this text with my gravatar and name. That should open up a new comment box.

  32. Lovely blog today.
    Almost took longer than the crossword itself.
    Nice to see Tstrummer back on BD and to see that merusa is alright.
    Enjoyed some great construction in clues such as 6d, 7d, 13a and 25d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review.

Comments are closed.