DT 28636 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28636

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28636

Hints and tips by a discursive Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to a bit of digging and a helpful setter, I know who set today’s puzzle. I will reveal his name in the epilogue at the end of today’s blog. This is his second Monday back-pager although I think he has set on other days in recent weeks. He is well known as a Toughie setter and a Grauniad regular. His puzzles always delight but I usually take longer over them than those of other setters. Let battle commence.

As usual here are some hints tips and ramblings to help you to solve the clues you might be struggling with or to help you understand answers you have but cannot see why.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a An orchestra aboard Titanic, perhaps giving shout from it? (7,4)
ABANDON SHIP: Split 1,4,2,4 What a group of musicians might be called collectively when on board The Titanic. Split 7,4 what would have been shouted as the liner began to sink

9a Person’s loyal if working for money (14)

11a A cat, tiny little thing (4)
ATOM: Use the letter A from the clue. Add a male cat.

12a One and the other scoffing last of clear soup (5)
BROTH: Place a word meaning two things together around the last letter of the word clear

13a After face shaved, he hurt (4)
ACHE: Remove (shaved) the first and last letters of the word FACE. Add the word HE as given in the clue

16a Piece in document left (8)
DEPARTED: Place a four-lettered word meaning a piece of the whole inside a four-lettered legal document

17a Home encapsulating a royal residence (6)
PALACE: Wrap (encapsulating) an informal noun meaning one’s home around the letter A from the clue

19a Ruin mother’s ruin? That’s the limit! (6)
MARGIN: Begin with a short verb meaning to ruin, spoil or impair and add the drink known as mother’s ruin

20a Wine: whole amount knocked back by trainee soldier (8)
MUSCADET: A short word meaning the total is reversed (knocked back) A young trainee soldier is added

22a Naked woman you painted bare for just ends? (4)
NUDE: The last letters (ends) of four consecutive words in the clue

23a Series of tennis shots to get better (5)
RALLY: A rather easy double definition

24a Average market (4)
FAIR: A trickier double definition. The second being a periodic gathering for the sale of goods

27a Sweet thing, a turnover? (6-4,4)
UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE: A cryptic definition of a sponge cake that is baked over a layer of fruit in syrup and inverted for serving.

28a Recalled by shaking around one’s middle — this performer? (5,6)
BELLY DANCER: The answer is one who performs an abdominal driven entertainment shaking around one’s middle with hands on hips – it’s an anagram (shaking) of RECALLED BY around the middle letter of one


2d Wrong if board praised colourful flier (4,2,8)

3d Poor lover gets stood up by female (4)
NAFF: A lover of something or an aficionado is inverted (gets stood up) and gains a letter F, the abbreviation for female

4d One witnessing sober rev getting drunk (8)
OBSERVER: Anagram (getting drunk) of SOBER REV

5d Religion thus hides clue (6)
SHINTO: A clue such as this one is sandwiched by a small synonym of the word thus

6d One inhabiting a Hebridean island (4)
IONA: Split 1,2,1 the letter the looks like the number one. A word meaning physically in contact with (inhabiting) and the letter A from the clue

7d Lifting mechanism, actions for defence against strikers? (5,3,6)
BLOCK AND TACKLE: This hoisting mechanism consists of two methods a defender in a football match might use to thwart a striker’s attempts to score

8d Printers breed dogs (11)
TYPESETTERS: A synonym for a breed or sort is followed by the plural of a breed of gundog.

10d Chaos in opium den, man misbehaving (11)

14d Item of underwear in mind (5)
BRAIN: A lady’s item of underwear is followed by the word IN from the clue

15d Lighter suit (5)
MATCH: A double definition. The first being a thin piece of wood used to light a cigarette

18d A duel, two in conflict, illegal (8)
OUTLAWED: Anagram (in conflict) of A DUEL TWO

21d Some socks and a little shoe (6)
SANDAL: A word hidden within the clue itself and indicated by the word some

25d Unemployed, I had left employment originally (4)
IDLE: Begin with the abbreviated form of I had and add L(eft) and the beginning letter (originally) of employment

26d Superstar, I party! (4)
ICON: I from the clue and the abbreviation for a political party.

Battle over. Nothing to overtax me today thank goodness. Today’s setter is Dada who is a regular Toughie setter in the DT. He is well known as Paul in The Guardian where his puzzles are usually a little harder than this one today. The Monday slot will alternate between Dada and our new puzzles editor-in-waiting for the next few weeks.

The Quick Crossword pun: Chopin+Liszt=shopping list

100 comments on “DT 28636

  1. A really enjoyable start to Monday morning – I’m not surprised to learn the setter’s name as his was one that went through my mind as I was solving.

    Hard to pick a favourite from so many, including the Quickie Pun, and I don’t want to upset Kath so I’ll just say thank you all round

  2. I enjoyed this one, too. Favourite 7d. Not as difficult as Rufus, for me.
    Thank you Dada and Miffypops.

  3. A very pleasant puzzle for a damp Monday morning. Nothing too taxing, but very enjoyable and good fun. I suspect that 1a is a bit of a chestnut, but it made me laugh and was my favourite. Overall 1.5* /4* for me.

    Thanks to Dada and our discursive blogger.

  4. A very pleasant way to ease into the working week and a full podium hosting 19a (adding slimline tonic for instance!) along with 7,8&10d.

    Thanks to Mr H and to MP for the blog – that beautiful young lady in the 28a clip could very successfully shake a great deal more than her middle!

  5. Lovely puzzle – I too loved 1a – one of the first clues to go in

    Last was 8D – not sure why but hey ho

    My news here is that at the end of this month I shall be retiring! So maybe next year I’ll make the birthday bash! I’ve lurked around for such a long time (Dave will be able to say quite how long) having started as a novice – and am finally getting the hang of it – though by no means an expert and its so difficult to understand why some puzzles appear to be so much more difficult than others.

    Of course i put it down to football and cricket – but i think it may be more subtle than that.

    1. Some days it clicks, on others it doesn’t. It’s one of life’s mysteries, to me anyway.

  6. 1* / 3*. This was light but fun. Just the job for a miserable rainy Monday morning.

    1a went straight in and was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to DMP.

  7. Well that really was a doddle but nevertheless fun while it lasted. 1a was Fav and 14d appealed in spite of the item of underwear making yet another appearance. Quickie pun was also giggle-worthy. Thank you Dada and MP who was untouched by me today except with his revelation of setter.

  8. 1*/3*. Must be a record time for me. Laughed at 1a. Thanks for explaining 22a, I didn’t spot that.

  9. I am a beginner and learning slowly. I found today’s puzzle very easy for some reason. I have not finished one completely before but this took xxxxxxxxxxx. Must somehow have just been on the right wavelength. For whatever reason I now know it is possible!

    1. Welcome to the blog – the convention here is that we don’t mention solving times – but well done on completing the crossword

    2. Well done from me too Pauline. Of course it is possible. Keep on keeping on at them and keep on referring to the blog. If you have any doubts or queries please ask. Somebody will be there to help in a trice. Congratulations.

  10. I would have signed in earlier but had to take my husband to collect a car from a garage. A lovely, simple and straightforward cryptic puzzle. Very much my cup of tea with none of the head scratching stuff going on. Good fun. I’ve baked lots of things but not a 27a. Perhaps I should put it on the list. 1a and 7d were clear favourites. Thank you Dada and Miffypops.

  11. Are we still allowed to use the term R&W? Even if we are not, this one was for me, with a few oldies but goodies and some good anagrams, completed at a fast gallop – */***.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 19a, 5d, and 7d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to the setter and GMoLI.

  12. Asking a setter of Dada’s calibre to turn out puzzles like this is a bit like getting your demon fast bowler to send down a few gentle long hops off a three pace run up. A waste of talent and, from this solver’s perspective, a waste of (not very much) time.
    No doubt I will be shot down by the ‘we need easy ones for the newcomers’ brigade, but could they at least be kept away from Mondays when there is no Toughie to compensate? Better still perhaps our new editor could consider adding a Monday Toughie?
    Dons tin helmet and ducks back down into foxhole.

    1. Even some of us old hands like a puzzle with less of a challenge every now and then. Just because you are an Alpine mountaineer doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a stroll up Snowdon.

      Completed in an easy ** time for me today. Just like Aunty Marge, 8d held out to the last for me.

      Many thanks to the setter and MP.

      1. I am certainly in the “gentle start to the week” camp. Mondays are often tough days to find much time as well.
        Started this puzzle at 5 this morning, and have just finished now, (the two sessions were punctuated by a pretty hectic day at work, to be fair) .
        COTD 1a
        LOI 15d, (preceded by 6d – where I needed the blog to parse it).

        Thanks to. MP and Dada.

        P.S. having seen the meltdown that Brian’s comment received, it is very frustating for late joiners to see that it has been censored.
        Surely it would have been within the spirit of the blog for MP to cover it up, but provide a hint or tip…?!

    2. Thinking can be dangerous, but here goes anyway – is it more difficult to set an ‘easy’ puzzle than a ‘tough’ one?

      1. Yes, that’s an interesting thought and one I’ve considered before. I suspect that it can sometimes be more difficult, but probably always more frustrating!

    3. I don’t think it’s a waste of talent at all, in fact I think it just demonstrates an extraordinary talent to be able to set crosswords which are appropriate to the intended audience.
      Dada is, for me anyway, one of the most difficult Toughie setters – back to wavelength again I suppose.

    4. I think the main point of crosswords is enjoyment, and no one can deny that this one provided enjoyment and then some. Hardly a waste of talent.

    5. All the puzzles should not be difficult, they need to appeal to our varying degrees of competence. For those who find the regular Cryptic too easy, there is the Toughie to satisfy them. I definitely get a lot of satisfaction when I can solve without help or hints sometimes.

    6. Ooo! agitate, agitate.
      I agree this was a doddle but very, importantly for this solver, it was entertaining and well clued. From the comments on the blog today it pleased many and surely that is the main goal. If you want bigger challenges there are plenty of those elsewhere. I fear that the cryptic crossword may become something of an endangered animal when the Twitbook generation become custodians. The newspapers know this and a major reason for regular purchase could be lost. I mentioned yesterday how enjoyable it is to see people getting bitten by the bug and puzzles like this one are perfect for that purpose.

    7. I was saddened by your comment, we all have different talents and solving a crossword is not for everyone . There is a wonderful sense of achievement when you actually fill the last light but you can feel knocked back by a comment like this. I have found help and guidance from BD’s gang which has given me confidence and improved my solving powers, I will never be able to tackle Toughies but I am happy with what I can do.

      1. Please don’t be saddened, Orphan Annie. I agree with you completely but one of the best things about BD’s blog is that everyone is allowed to say what they think, within reason, of course. A :smile: and a :rose: for you.

      2. Don’t be put off by the title – the Toughies follow the same cryptic rules as the back-pagers, so you may be pleasantly surprised if you try :smile:

    8. There are certain setters that are irreplaceable, and no-one should try. Just think how many have tried and failed to replace Araucaria.

    9. I half agree with Rick, but you certainly can’t blame the setter because they have been asked to supply mildish cryptics for specific purposes. What mystifies me is when experienced/mature solvers sometimes rate “easy” puzzles like this as 1* / 5* – which is surely implying that they really, really enjoy solving very, very easy crosswords. To me, that is simply illogical and incomprehensible. Still, it’s horses for courses and it all makes for an interesting blog.

      1. I enjoy solving ‘easy’ crosswords as much as I really relish a fight with a proper tough one – surely the important thing is whether a crossword is full of excellent clues which leave you with a big smile on your face at the end. However long it took you or how hard you found it should be a secondary consideration.

        1. Cryptic crosswords aren’t supposed to be “easy” – they are meant to be puzzling, enigmatic, obscure, mysterious and difficult to parse/fathom. What’s the point of a brilliant/excellent clue if the answer leaps of the page at you almost before you’ve finished reading it?

  13. My favourite setter :yes: As MP said he tends to be trickier as Paul in the Grauniad but as Mudd in the FT he sets what I personally find to be his best work. As Punk in the Indy I usually find him to be pretty well impenetrable.

    Today’s was a nice light Monday puzzle and I’ll give it */****. 1a was clear favourite for me – raised a smile indeed :grin:

    Many thanks to Dada and MP.

  14. A lovely start to the week fairly easy but very enjoyable. I loved 1a my favourite clue for a long time. Many thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  15. Yes 1a was amusing. I’ve not seen it before. A couple of the 5 letter words gave me pause for thought, I was put off by the unnecessary inclusion of the words “for just” in 22a and was my last in. Enjoyable for me

  16. A gentle start to the week only made testing by thinking Isla was a Hebridean island lurking in the clue for 6 down! 1a.is clever and caused a chuckle when it dawned. Thanks to Miffypops and the setter….

  17. Nice and easy start to the week. Didn’t last long enough, unfortunately. No outstanding clues for me today and maybe too many simple anagrams. I, too, would like to see a Toughie as well as the GK on Monday’s.

  18. I thought that 1a had to be the odds on favourite for favourite, and so it proved.
    Following RD with a */***.
    Light and sparkling, thanks to MP and setter.

  19. I thought this was an absolutely lovely crossword and a very good start to the week, unlike the weather which could try harder.
    I agree that it was straightforward but there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s fun and this was.
    I did have a spot of bother with the 9a anagram and needed several checking letters before I ‘saw’ it.
    So many good clues and lots that made me laugh – I’m just going to pick 3d as my favourite because it made me laugh the most.
    Thank you very much to Dada for the crossword and to MP.
    Stuff to do (but not much – might make marmalade, might not – then Mr Rookie.

    1. Hi Kath – I’ve been cheating with my marmalade making for the last few years by buying a tin of prepared Seville oranges. Saves a lot of faffing about, cutting and squeezing and shredding etc., and the results seem to be just as good. But maybe you do it like that yourself. anyway.

      1. No, I don’t do it like that – I do it “all my own self”! I don’t mind the faffing about at this time of year when I’m completely on strike about faffing about in the garden – it stops my fingers from itching to get going. :smile:

    2. Thanks for the reminder Kath. Seville oranges have such a short season it is easy to miss them. Clarke’s of Leamington Spa it is for me tomorrow then.

  20. Lovely Monday puzzle, not being familiar with Dada aka Paul aka Mudd I thought that Rufus had returned 😳 **/**** Perhaps I should get out more and start taking the Grauniad 😬 Really liked 1a, 8d and 6d 😃 Thanks to MP (especially for the illustrations to 2d & 28a) and to the Setter(s) 😉 🌧

  21. Lovely puzzle proving they don’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable. What a talented setter if he can go from Dada to this breezy puzzle. 1a my favourite.

  22. This was some treat, I just loved it, each clue a pleasure to solve.
    I thought that 1a was going to be fave, it brought a huge smile, but as I kept going I had so many others that were candidates, e.g., 3d was so funny! The first time I heard that was when P. Anne told photographers to 3d off in Australia and it so amused me. Another that amused was 5d.
    Thank you Dada for starting the day off so well, and to our own M’pops for his hints and tips.

    1. I could barely believe my eyes when I read Brian’s comment. Surely he’s taking the Mick? This was such a doddle, as one other commemter said. Well clued, very good fun and in no way complicated. Dada’s Toughies take a bit of thinking over, but in no way was this offering ‘nasty’. Thanks to Dada and Miffypops too.

    2. Brian, I read your comment with disbelief. You gotta be kidding or are you just trying to wind us all up? You go from bad to worse.

      1. Dave are you planning to take the 5 second thingy off at some point? I can’t post from an Android phone or tablet. I don’t know if anyone else has that problem??

        1. I’ve taken it off, but it will have to go back on if the site comes under attack again. Cloudflare is one of three firewalls protecting the site, but it is the most effective.

      2. Maybe he’d had a beverage or two and didn’t know what he was saying! It was decidedly odd.

  23. Very steady solve but not particularly enjoyable, at least to me, although 1a was amusing. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  24. I can do no better than echo Kath’s first two sentences, my thoughts exactly. Well said.

    There were some first rate anagrams on show, my favourite being 9a for its surface.

    Many thanks to Mr Halpern (sorry you couldn’t defeat the Chaser the other day) and to the discursive one.

    1. My favourite being 28ac. I didn’t see an anagram at all. I solved it from the checkers and the definition. Big Dave found the anagram for which I thank him.

  25. Glorious puzzle, a delightful start to the week. More of the same please. Thank you Dada for bags of enjoyment today. Didn’t need the hints today, but thank you Miffypops for the lovely picture at 2d. I was thinking more along the lines of a plant we grow here in the sub tropics by the same name. I planted it once, before I discovered that it spreads underground and sends up “volunteers”everywhere. Attractive, but took months to dig up again. COTD definitely 1a, gets my vote.

    1. I thought of the tropical plant first too and googled it.
      If anyone has two spare minutes I think the video is lovely – google 2d and go to the fourth one down – “Bird of Paradise makes an unforgettable first impression”.

  26. Great Monday puzzle a pleasure from start to finish. A great mix of clues what a a start to the week. Thanks for that Dada you brightened up a miserable wet day. Nothing else to add and look forward to your next puzzle.

    Clues of the day too many to mention but 1a / 20a are outstanding for me.

    Rating ** / ***** (That’s the first ever ***** from me.)

    Thanks to MP and Dada.

  27. A very gentle introduction to the Monday slot from Dada, but lots of humour, which was a pleasure. Nice to see some ‘first solves’ in the comments and some 4/5* ratings.

    Thanks to Dada and to Miffypops for the write-up.

  28. Definitely no Blue Monday Feeling today.
    What a great day.
    Dada here, Arachne in the Guardian and a Paul weekend prize in the same newspaper.
    What more do I need?
    Maybe some medicine to stop me from writing the letters of anagrams in a circle.
    Getting better though. Only did it for 9a. The other three just jumped at me.
    Favourite to be found in one of those: 28a.
    Thanks to Dada and to MP for the review.

  29. A nice puzzle if a bit too heavy on the anagrams. Like Senf said, maybe it’s harder to seat an easy crossword. Like Mr Dawson’s piano playing – or was it Dudley Moore who’s playing was littered with bum notes.
    */*** Thanks to Dada and to The Discursivist for that exquisite clip of the dancer. Don’t normally think much of that art form.

  30. Very pleasant start to the week. Simple, easy and fun to do. 1a has no real competition in the popularity stakes. The 3d is such a horrid word and always reminds me of the PR! 1.5/4* overall.
    Thanks to Dada, and to MP for the review.

  31. Very enjoyable. I struggle with Paul in the Guardian, and this was a notch or two easier.
    1a was very amusing though I imagine that it brought groans from the more seasoned who have probably seen it many times before.
    7d and 8d were also very good.
    Thanks MP and Dada/Paul

  32. Back to normal life for a bit, via a severely delayed train this morning (at least I remembered to bring crosswords), so it’s been a long day … and the next one starts at midnight!

    The crossword? Perfect for it. Light but sparkling. Even the quickie was fun, with a nice pun.

    Thanks to Paul/Dada and to MP.

  33. I’m not surprised to learn that our setter today is Dada , or Paul, as I thought while solving that the puzzle was set by someone who normally sets tough puzzles but was told to tone it down a bit.
    Anyway my quickest solve ever.
    Thanks to both Dada and Miffypops.

  34. This one took me a little while to get into – my first answer in was 17ac – but from then on progress was rapid and I finished in ** time. So most definitely the easy-going introduction to the working week we’re used to. But from Dada, surely not? :-) Enjoyable throughout.

  35. I am certainly in the “gentle start to the week” camp. Mondays are often tough days to find much time as well.
    Started this puzzle at 5 this morning, and have just finished now, (the two sessions were punctuated by a pretty hectic day at work, to be fair) .
    COTD 1a
    LOI 15d, (preceded by 6d – where I needed the blog to parse it).

    Thanks to. MP and Dada.

    P.S. having seen the meltdown that Brian’s comment received, it is very frustating for late joiners to see that it has been censored.
    Surely it would have been within the spirit of the blog for MP to cover it up, but provide a hint or tip…?!

  36. I enjoyed this puzzle very much, so was, like Orphan Annie, saddened by Rick’s comment.
    We cannot all be as clever as you, Rick, so let us have a triumph now and again without rubbing in how easy it was for you to solve, thus taking the shine off our pleasure.

    What on earth did Brian say? I expect it will remain forever a mystery to me, but it must have been bad if BD redacted it.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

    1. This is as far as I dare go – to quote from Comment Etiquette:

      “Don’t leave comments which are rude, insulting or give offence.

      Don’t blame the setter just because you are unable to solve a puzzle.

      Do leave comments about what you like or dislike about a puzzle, but please try to justify any negative comments – comments such as “rubbish puzzle” will be deleted.”

      As for Rick’s comment – he’s allowed to have an opinion, but I don’t think many agree.

      Hope that helps and have a nice day Ora Meringue (still can’t work out where your alias comes from). :scratch:

      1. Thank you Letterbox Roy…I think I have certainly got the gist of what Brian may have said now.

        Good to hear what you said about Rick’s comment too.

        As to my alias….you have to translate it from the Scots tongue.

        Is that a biscuit you’re eating, Ora Meringue?

  37. Upper1* difficulty, maybe 3.5* enjoyment. I liked 1a and 12a, but in honour of Dirty Dick and Hawser Harry (two retired CPOs who taught BRNC cadets seamanship in 1970) l will pick 7d as my favourite. It is thanks to them that l still pronounce “tackle” as “tay-kel”! Thanks to Dada and MP.

  38. I am really sorry I only came to this late in the day and missed Brian’s comment. I don’t suppose anyone can send it to me for my interest – if I promise not to make any vituperative comments in response. I polished this off quickly but instantly thought of Brian. I knew he would not get it. For me the answers just come to me – particularly the long ones if I have a couple of checking letters. My last one in was 15d with 3d the penultimate. Favourites too numerous to mention. Thanks Dada. Thanks MP although not yet looked at the hints.

  39. Really enjoyed this one. Much less ‘precious’ than some recent efforts. Much more to my taste, thanks.
    Bob Howat

  40. I think in several decades of solving, this was possibly my quickest. I guessed others would have the same experience, it was pretty straightforward.

    Sadly, I was too late to see Brian’s redacted comment, it must have been pretty racy to attract so many dismayed replies ?

    Thanks to all concerned.

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