DT 27021 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27021

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27021

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

For some strange reason, I really struggled with some sections of this, but when I wrote the blog I couldn’t see why. On reflection it seems to be a fairly typical Rufus offering. Perhaps the cause of the problem is down to the awful grid?

You can reveal the highlighting the space between the curly brackets.


7. Aunt will be affected by demonstration, of course (9)
{NATURALLY} – An anagram (will be affected) of AUNT followed by another word for a political gathering for example.

8. A wound produced by a point that’s sharp (5)
{ACUTE} – A, another word for a gash, and then E (East – a point).

10. He keeps mum in order (8)
{TRAPPIST} – A monk who has sworn a vow of silence.

11. Animal has no end of courage in a melee (6)
{COUGAR} – A word for a mountain lion is an anagram (melee) of COURAGE with the last letter removed (no end of).

12. Fastener for a jumper (4)
{FROG} – Double definition, a decorative fastening or an amphibian.

13. Lacking majority (5-3)
{UNDER-AGE} – Majority in this sense means having reached the status of full legal age.

15. Many years in a Roman Army unit (7)
{CENTURY} – A term of one hundred years is also a unit of the Roman army that originally consisted of the same number of men.

17. Have the sheriff’s unit in position by the ship (7)
{POSSESS} – Add SS (ship) to a group of people summoned by a sheriff to aid him in law enforcement to get another word for have.

20. Popular pro (2,6)
{IN FAVOUR} – liked or appreciated or pro in the sense of showing preference for.

22. Underground TV (4)
{TUBE} – Another name for the London underground could also be an informal word for a television set.

25. Ascot starter? (6)
{COURSE} – An area of land on which a race is held, is also one part of a meal.

26. Cinerama spread from the States (8)
{AMERICAN} – An anagram (spread) of CINERAMA.

27. Throw away a fight (5)
{SCRAP} – To discard as useless or a fight or scuffle.

28. Stomach is churning — but he enjoys it! (9)
{MASOCHIST} – An anagram (churning) of STOMACH IS.


1. Scatter-brain child (5)
{BAIRN} – An anagram (scatter) of BRAIN.

2. Extra large, troublesome delivery (6)
{BUMPER} – Something extraordinary large or another term for a bouncer bowled in cricket.

3. A gremlin disposed to swing the lead (8)
{MALINGER} – An anagram (disposed) of A GREMLIN.

4. Going at full speed — or lying prone on the ground (4,3)
{FLAT OUT} – A phrase for going at top speed could also describe somebody laid on the floor.

5. Gets a hundred sheets of paper (8)
{ACQUIRES} – A C (hundred) and sets of 24 or sometimes 25 sheets of paper.

6. In two ways, compass is most unorthodox (9)
{STRANGEST} – Take two ST (streets) and place in between them a word that describes an extent that is covered. The definition is most unorthodox.

9. Having been in cooler in police department (4)
{ICED} – The answer is hidden between the two words “police” and “department”.

14. Increase support to control violence (9)
{REINFORCE} – A synonym for restrain or control is followed by another synonym for might or power.

16. When to have a drink and perhaps eat? (3-5)
{TEA-BREAK} – The “perhaps eat?” at the end of the clue is indicating that an anagram (break) of EAT will produce a snack that is taken during the day.

18. How the skipper may be caught unawares? (2,3,3)
{ON THE HOP} – A skipper in this context is someone moving from one foot to another.

19. A jolly girl’s joined the fighting ships (7)
{ARMADAS} – A, then an abbreviation for the type of jolly that is a member of the Royal Navy, add a girls name, and finally an S to get fleets of warships.

21. Sign making appeal to males? (4)
{OMEN} – O (an appeal) and the plural of man.

23. ‘Gay Lib’ — the novel (6)
{BLITHE} – An anagram (novel) of LIB and THE.

24. Girl getting over a fever (5)
{LASSA} – An acute, often fatal viral disease endemic to West Africa is constructed from a four letter term for a girl followed by A.


Today’s Quickie Pun: {ODOUR} + {KNEEL} = {EAU DE NIL}

90 comments on “DT 27021

  1. I’d never heard of 12a which meant I also didn’t get 2d so thanks for your help. without these I would have made it 2*/2*. Never enjoy Monday v much – probably just me but it just seems to lack the humour/”cleverness” we often get later in the week.

    Thanks to both.


      1. My sister once had a Frog Broach, i wonder if she realised the double definition? Thanks to setter and Libellule no help needed of a Monday as a rule but always good fun reading the interpretations. I always have a chuckle when there are lots of anagrams and think of my friend Bill in Fairford. The times we spent inventing terrible anagrams in our youth stands me in good stead before breakfast. ;) Thanks chaps

  2. There were the usual few to trip me up, as usual on a Monday. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule. I am starting work at 16:00 for the next few days and working through until midnight. Looking forward to it! :(

  3. This would have been a 1* for me, but I was unaware of the first definition of 12a.
    I liked 10a, and 1d. Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  4. Liked 7a,2d,16d.12a,20 a.Agree with comment about the grid .2* /3* for me as managed a few smiles .

  5. Thought at first view it was going to be a bit tricksy but once started it mostly fell into place well. SW corner was last in and held me up a while and last in was 25a, nice bit of misdirection. Best clue for me by far was 10a, at the risk of being scorned i thought it was one of the best clues I have come across in many a long year.
    Thx to Rufus and of course to Libellule but managed to finish before the excellent hints came up.

  6. Normally I wake on a Monday to think that its Rufus day, so no problem there. Occasionally, he produces an absolute cracker of a puzzle which really gets the brain going and this is one of those. After the first read through of the across clues, I only had 4 filled in (the first being 17A) but then everything slowly fell into place and there were quite a few light bulbs popping up over my head as one by one the answers went in.
    My three faves today have to be 25A – kept thinking of racecourse officials, etc; 14D – very clever clue; and 2D which took me ages to get despite being a cricket fanatic, it should be realised that I’m an England cricket fanatic and it took a few minutes to cotton onto the Australian word in 2D. (In England, the ‘troublesome delivery’ is referred to as a ‘bouncer’).

  7. Perhaps it’s just me but I found this much easier than a *** difficulty puzzle, I was only held up by 6d because the delay problem with the I pad caused me to spell 8a with two c’s and I didn’t spot it. Some nice anagrams and some nice surface readings. ** and ***+ from me today. Many thanks.

  8. Plain sailing, other than the SW corner. Struggled with 14D & 16D and thought the’reverse indicator’ in 16D (if that’s what they’re called) was unusually cryptic for a Rufus puzzle.

  9. Good morning Libelulle, not one of my favourite Rufus puzzles today I’m afraid, just two clues I really liked 5d and 16d, I found 3/4 of it fairly easy but the rest took me a while, never heard of 12a, a few I thought were barely cryptic too, I have learnt a lot about cricketing terms on this site but don’t think I’ve come across 2d before, thanks for the concern Kath and sue, sorry I went AWOL but did not have a good few days!!

    1. Mary – I thought 2D was a bit naughty as its a cricketing term used in Australia. Here in the proper world, we call them Bouncers.

    2. Oh dear! Poor you – hope that you’re feeling better now. Glad you’re back, anyway – it has been unusually quiet!!

  10. Thanks to Rufus & to Libellule for the review & hints. Found this quite straightforward except for 2d & 12a, had to use the hints. Favourite was 6d, overcast in Central London.

  11. Thank goodness for Rufus – a straightforward moment of joy in an otherwise grumpy (birth)day – just got back from a meeting and some swine has eaten the last piece of my lemon cake that I was saving for ‘pudding’ .Thanks to Rufus – my top favourite is 10a and to Libellule too.

      1. Thanks Mary. It is mostly work related. Arrived early as usual to do the crosswords and was constantly interrupted by requests to work long before my starting time. Had Friday off and the top of my desk was covered with the usual ‘we didn’t know what to do with this so left it for you’ stuff and so on. Then had to go to interminable meeting and then, as I said, some swine had the last piece of lemon cake. There is still some Chocolate & Stout cake left which is good but not as good as the lemon.

        Nice to see you back – there is going to be the last Midnight Tango tour next summer so you need to check now to see if it is coming anywhere near you. My friend and I have already booked for next July.

        1. Thanks for that sue, will do, enjoy the rest of your day I hope someone spoils you to make up for the cake :-)

          1. I didn’t know the Brendon Cole tour was in Swansea this year, grrrrr, he has a tour again next year called Licensed to thrill, but I don’t think it’s in Swansea

      1. Thank you. THe day has much improved now I am at home, where apart from any other considerations, the men of the family have actually left me a bit of lemon cake :)

  12. I was surprised at the ***/*** rating as i gave it */ ***, must have been on the wavelenght, unusual for a monday morning, not heard of the fastening in 12a but with the r and g the jumper was obvious, saw the order bit of 10a but guessed which one it was before dictionary confirmation.Anyway most enjoyable thanks Libellule and setter.

  13. Like Libellule I also struggled with this one and didn’t find it particularly enjoyable which is unusual for a Rufus.

    I’d never heard of a jolly being slang for a sailor or marine before,

    Favourite clue 17. I always like clues where a sequence of letters in English can be pronounced in a totally different way which adds to the misdirection,

    1. Roger,
      With reference to “jolly” – its worth remembering as it crops up on a regular basis.

  14. For some reason I didn’t enjoy this as much as usual while I was doing it but looking at it again now I think it was quite a good one.
    I spent ages trying to make 1a an anagram of ‘Aunt will be’ – don’t seem able to count too well today – so that slowed up the top left corner. I’ve never heard of 12a as a fastener so guessed and looked it up. Have also never heard of 2d – guessed that one too. I thought the rest was fairly straightforward.
    I liked 10 and 20a and 1, 4, 18 and 23d.
    With thanks to Rufus and Libellule.
    Miserable day here – grey and drizzly. Trying to summon some enthusiasm to go into town and make a bit of a start on Christmas stuff.

  15. Good fun but hardly mind bending, I too have never heard the term jolly in relation to the navy or marines. Thanks Rufus and Libellule. 1*/3* for me.

        1. Surely a jolly boat isn’t only used by the Royal Marines? It’s just a type of small ship’s boat, isn’t it?

  16. I was very surprised to see a 3* difficulty rating. I normally struggle with Rufus but not today.

    Liked 10a very much!

    (I spent several years in a Trappist Monastery – I’m still very quiet – just couldn’t get out of the habit!)

    (Ps. The Quickie Pun is missing – just when I need the explanation!)

      1. I thought it was a colour. (I’m one of the few blokes who know there are more colours than the usual seven having had it beaten into me over the last 50 odd years, still don’t really believe it though, peach and strawberry are for eating not painting with)

        1. It is a colour – presumably named after the colour of the waters of the Nile when they were blue rather than….!!

          1. LIke most men, I can get by with red, blue, green, yellow, black, white and grey, the words dark and light, and suffixes -y and -ish, as in: it’s a kind of darkish bluey red! Don’t really need terms like Sea Foam or Taupe which give no clue as to what they really look like :-)

            Found today’s puzzle smooth sailing though, for once…

  17. Had some trouble with this one! Got 19d but needed the explanation for the word play. I’m not too fond of clues which break a 7 letter word up into 4 different segments! Had no chance on 2d obviously. I know a fair bit about baseball and sometimes that helps with cricket clues but not this one!
    Was proud of myself for getting 16d. I think it’s the first time I have actually solved that kind of clue. Liked 10a and 5d.
    Thanks to Libellule whose help I needed today and to Rufus. And happy birthday to Sue!

  18. Thank you Rufus and Libellule. I needed your hint at 27a – I think I must be alone here ! I had “chuck” ie to throw, and to “throw a fight” like to lose intentionally. Put the answer in quickly without thinking and checking the wordplay. So then had a few problems in the SW corner before realising that I had gone wrong ! So it all took me rather longer than it should have done.

    Nice to return to the familiar rain in Lancashire after a beautiful weekend in the NE.

  19. Finished this before lights out last night – so between * and ** for difficulty and *** for enjoyment. Even though I got 6d early on, I am not sure that I understand the wordplay between compass and “a word that describes an extent that is covered” (to use Libellule’s words). No real stand-outs, but a good start to the week. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

    1. Senf,
      Re. compass – try any of these
      a. An enclosing line or boundary; a circumference.
      b. A restricted space or area
      c. Range or scope, as of understanding, perception, or authority

  20. Another quick question – what makes for an awful grid? And who decides on the grid – the setter or yet another Mr Ron?

    1. An awful grid? A puzzle of four individual corners without many interlinking checkers? But not today – looks fair enough to me!

      But – who chooses the grid? No idea! Crossword Editor or Setter?

    2. There are two types of poor grid – those with four almost separate corners, like this one, and those with double unches (unchecked letters), especially where this results in less than 50% of the answer being checked (i.e. crossing with another answer).

      As far as I am aware the grid is chosen by the setter from, in the Telegraph’s case, a fixed library. We have many times commented that a substantial review of that library is years overdue.

      1. Thanks BD – I knew that one with lots of the double thingies was a ‘tricky’ grid but didn’t see why today’s was. SO bad at spotting that kind of thing! Will learn!
        Actually, having just looked again, I can’t see why it makes any difference – I can see that there are four distinct corners but most answers intersect quite nicely with others. Yet again, am I missing something or being dim?

  21. Thought this one was about the usual difficulty for a Rufus so we were surprised to see the *** rating. Lots of good clues but liked 10a best.
    Thanks Rufus and Libellule,
    Ps Happy birthday Crypticsue.

  22. Can someone please explain to me (in words of one syllable please!) just how a “reverse anagram” works and how you are supposed to spot the indicator.

    I had the answer for 16d but I did not put it in because I simply could not parse the wordplay. I still don’t understand it!

    1. “Tea” is an anagram of “eat” so a tea “break” (anagram) is , perhaps, “eat”. The anagram indicator is in the answer rather than in the clue.

      1. Ummm OK… I think…
        This still seems a bit tough to me.
        I have so much to learn…

        But thanks – I appreciate the help!

        1. Definitely needs some sideways thinking. There was one like this a while ago where the answer was “wild west” and the clue had something about “stew” in it!

          1. Catherine, fairly recently – DT 27016 – November 6, 2012 :-

            21a Where the buffalo roamed , what could provide stew? (4,4)

            Is there a technical description for this type of clue?

            1. I don’t know if there’s an official name for it but I always think of it as a ‘reverse anagram’. I do know, from experience, that it’s difficult to provide a hint for it without using the actual words in the answer.

              1. I don’t wish to appear churlish – especially as my problem with this type of clue is almost entirely the result of my inexperience (I have only been doing cryptics for about 6 months or so), but I find this difficult.

                I thought that an anagram of a synonym was verboten in a back-pager, and it seems to me that this is even more difficult – the answer is the anagram indicator??? I don’t know about sideways thinking Catherine, for me at least this entails standing on my head and reading the clue in a mirror…

                1. I don’t think that it’s churlish at all. I always thought that ‘reverse anagrams’ were frowned upon, or at least kept for the Toughies – could easily be wrong – I usually am!! Just keep thinking sideways and standing on your head. If you’ve only been doing cryptics for a short time you’re doing really well, in my opinion anyway.

            2. I agree with Gazza that “reverse anagram” is the best description of a clue type that I dislike intensely! Should be banned from the back page and left to the Toughies.

              As to doing a hint, just glad it doesn’t come up too often!

  23. thanks Rufus and Libellule, I thought this a very enjoyable puzzle.Got really stuck on 25a. I was convinced it was some (unknown to me) name of a gun or some other type of starting device used at horse races.

  24. When I saw the grid, I shuddered. I hate this type of grid. 1a should be across the top and 1d should be down the LHS. I know, I like an easy life. However once I got started it all flowed except 12a and 24d. I have never heard of either. There were a couple of clues where I put the answer but did not fully understand the cryptic part. 3*/3* from me. Thanks to all concerned.

  25. Good news folks! After years of trying I got a runners-up prize for crossword 26,014! I did my best to contain my excitement on the District Line when I saw my name. It can be done folks!!!!

    Loved today’s puzzle – 10a and 6d my favourite.

    1. Congratulations, Little Dave, although I hadn’t realised that the DT were quite so slow in notifying winners. DT 26014 appeared on 22/08/2009. :D

    2. Little Dave, Congratulations … what is the “runners-up prize?” A single from Ealing Broadway to Upminster?

      1. Regrettably not! I did try and convince Mrs LD that it was a two week holiday in Barbados……I believe it is a book token? As is often said, it is not always the destination but often the journey that counts. See you tomorrow.

        1. Well done Little Dave, I thought those prizes were a bit of a myth, glad you proved me wrong by winning one. I used to send in the completed Prize Puzzles, but after a while, I spent more on postage than the pen was worth :-)

    3. Well done. If memory serves it takes about two weeks to recieve your Crossword Companion notebook with a Telegraph Biro Pen. I recieved a one in Oct 2010 for 26,379. (Still boxed and unused).

    4. Good news and well done!. Strangely my only brush with success on the prize crossword trail was in a Times clue writing competition where I exploited the meaning of ‘Jolly’ which caused a degree of pain today (for some).
      Just got back from work (yes the clock IS correct and am just starting to solve/blog tomorrow’s DT. See y’all later.

  26. Enjoyed this, and only needed a couple of hints to finish off the SW corner. Thanks to Rufus oand reviewer.

  27. I always enjoy solving puzzles from Rufus as he is scrupulously fair!
    Libellule, as you had initial problems with this one may I suggest that you are aging somewhat so that the brain cells don’t work as fast as in yore?
    I am now well into my 89th year and I do the puzzles to sharpen up my current English –
    after all when one lives abroad one does not follow home trends!
    I have to speak and think in Dutch daily and also write and think in French to many of my friends to keep up contact.
    Language is very interesting as it is continuously in forment.


  28. Late on parade but – “Happy Birthday to Sue” :smile:

    Nice puzzle and a nice day here now it seems to have stopped raining – but more rain in store for tomorrow according to the forecast :sad: The Rufus in the grauniad was a bit trickier but much fun.

    Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  29. Had a bad day yesterday with the SW corner! I had 16D as “tea party” and knew this had to be correct! Then despite having 25A + 27A in rough, spent too long looking for other answers – doh!

    1. I think O is a variant spelling of OH, an exclamation or expression of surprise, desire, longing, happiness etc

  30. I wonder if I can make a little request to the kind persons putting the crossword reviews on this site. Could you underline the definition in each clue, as some reviewers do?

    For me, this extends the enjoyment and challenge of a puzzle, because if there are some clues that I just can’t figure out, the first thing I do on your site – if underlined definitions are provided – is to just glance at the clue, trying to ignore the explanation given, and just underline the definition on my paper version. Then close the web page and give it another go, now that I know where the definition is in the clue.

    I see that reviewers tend to mask the actual answer, so people can try to get the clue by just reading how it’s worked out. Underlining the definition stretches out that challenge of completing the clue with as little help as possible, that little bit further!

    I’d like to thank the reviewers for all the time they spend preparing the reviews.

Comments are closed.