DT 27338 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27338

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27338

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A somewhat more difficult crossword from the Monday Maestro today. I don’t know why but it took me a while to spot the anagram at 8d.


1. Nobility and rank may well be a big issue (4,5,4)
{HIGH BIRTH RATE} – A large number of new babies over a specific period, could also describe being born into nobility followed by a word meaning to grade.

10. Discharges account and leaves (7)
{ACQUITS} – AC (account) followed by a word for departs or gives up.

11. Impose obedience in French Legion (7)
{ENFORCE} – EN (French in) and then a word for military strength.

12. They may be fast, but only without running (4)
{DYES} – Substances used to colour materials.

13. One who doesn’t take alcohol in any liquid is smart (5)
{NATTY} – TT (teetotaller) inside an anagram (liquid) of ANY.

14. We should have a right to assume (4)
{WEAR} – WE, plus A and R.

17. Game with two essential elements of tennis (7)
{NETBALL} – A team game played by women is constructed from two words usually associated with tennis.

18. A commodity extensively used (7)
{ELASTIC} – A flexible stretchable fabric.

19. Mary’s favourite skipper (3,4)
{PET LAMB} – Is also a young sheep.

22. US city, smart in the past (7)
{CHICAGO} – The largest city of Illinois is a word for stylish, followed by another word for gone by.

24. Open a pickle container for example (4)
{AJAR} – A and a type of wide mouthed vessel.

25. They continue to work for southern transport (5)
{SCABS} – S (south) and another word for taxis.

26. Dad’s embarked for health resorts (4)
{SPAS} – PA (dad) on board SS (steamship).

29. Flu? See a new prescription giving relief (7)
{EASEFUL} – An anagram (new) of A FLU SEE.

30. Regroup in large formation (7)
{REALIGN} – An anagram (formation) of IN LARGE.

31. Gambler’s hand that should win — fair and square (8,5)
{STRAIGHT FLUSH} – Five consecutive cards of the same suit, is also a synonym of proper and then a word for aligned correctly.


2. An enquiry into cause of being late (7)
{INQUEST} – Late in this case means dead.

3. He takes after his father, presumably (4)
{HEIR} – The male who legally succeeds or inherits an estate.

4. Invest in unit of the open market (7)
{INSTALL} – IN and a booth or stand used by a vendor at a market.

5. Plays with the exchange rate (7)
{THEATRE} – THE and an anagram (exchange) of RATE.

6. How fire can become widespread (4)
{RIFE} – An anagram (how) of FIRE.

7. Hill split in flood (7)
{TORRENT} – A bare rocky hill, and a ripped opening.

8. Espy an admirer, possibly the answer for this? (7,6)
{MAIDENS PRAYER} – An anagram of ESPY AN ADMIRER could be the eligible bachelor that a young girl is hoping to meet.

9. It’s barred for pedestrians (5,8)
{ZEBRA CROSSING} – Black and white and found on the road.

15. Rise and fall of pompous young lady? (5)
{MADAM} – A term for a precocious girl is also a palindrome.

16. Fleet Street, containing an awful mixture of printers (5)
{RAPID} – RD (street) around A PI, which according to the BRB is “type confusedly mixed (printing)” (also pie or pye).

20. Tidy up — start in passage (7)
{TRANSIT} – An anagram (tidy up) of START IN.

21. Finance record reveals arrears (7)
{BACKLOG} – To provide financial support for example, and then a word for entering s ships record for example.

22. Tom takes in strip show (7)
{CABARET} – A male feline is placed around a word that means to uncover or reveal to get a type of nightclub.

23. Makes a request for one to tuck into fruit (7)
{APPLIES} – put I inside (tuck into) fruits that can have red, yellow or green skin and crisp whitish flesh.

27. Who ditched England and Wales of all football clubs? (4)
{OFFA} – He constructed a large dyke, OF followed by FA (Football Association).

28. His initial character differed before conversion (4)
{PAUL} – On the road to Damascus…

The Quick crossword pun: (throne} + {over} + {bored} = {thrown overboard}

76 comments on “DT 27338

  1. Certainly harder than usual for a Monday but I got there in the end. Thanks to Rufus and to libellule for the review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  2. I spent more time in the top left than the rest of the puzzle. Not one of my quicker solves today.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Libellule.

  3. 2*/4* rating.

    I completed everything but 1a and 3d in 1* time but needed a great deal of perseverance to finish those last two. I kept wanting to put chip as in “chip off the old block” for 3d, which didn’t help. Eventually the penny dropped for 1a, which was my favourite today. This then made 3d simple.

    I started off by putting her as the first word for 19a, but quickly realised this was wrong as 8d looked like an anagram with no “h” in the anagram fodder.

    Many thanks to Rufus for a really enjoyable puzzle (as always on a Monday!), with impeccable clues throughout, particularly the four long ones. I also marked 19a, 24a, and 2d as special.

    Thanks too to Libellule for the review.

  4. Ooh finding this tough today, but before I carried on I just needed to know why the answer to 16d was taxis, which of course it’s not, think I preferred taxis!!! By the way is this going to be a pangram????

  5. Got off to a great start with 3 of the 4 thirteen letter edge answers on the first pass. Nothing overly tricky after that until the rascal 28d. Had to resort to the hints as my knowledge in that field is woefully lacking. Shame as it is a clever clue that would have been a pleasure to solve unaided.

  6. Good morning Libelulle, thank you for the hints today, I must admit to needing several, really I should have perservated but I just don’t have the time, French homework and art project to complete!!!! it’s like being back in school
    I found this on the tougher Rufus side, is it just me or have Rufus puzzles become slightly more difficult lately? He is still my favourite setter and I can’t have two favourites because Kath won’t allow it :-D , a three star for difficulty for me 3d and 6d being my joint favourite, now is that OK Kathhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    1. Yes, that’s OK but only because I have, occasionally, let myself do it and anyway haven’t got the energy to argue about it today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  7. Hoped it wasn’t just me that thought it was difficult, agree with the ***, and going for a **** for entertainment as the wordplay was very clever, like Libellule failed to spot an anagram-30a in my case, last in was 28d,which seemed appropriate somehow.Had the right answer for 16d,thanks for the api explanation .

  8. What a horrible crossword. Only clue that’s saves it from being a total mess is 19a.
    Def not my favourite Monday, a thoroughly unpleasant start to the week.
    Thx to Libellule for trying to make some sense of the clues! :-(

  9. Did not finish – On a bad run at the moment. 12 Across and 16 Down were my downfall. The former was an “of course” moment. Not sure I was going to get the latter.
    Thanks for the hints. At peace again.

  10. Certainly ‘Toughie ‘territory.
    Relished the struggle, though.
    Perhaps a **** for difficulty, my time being the judge.
    Many great clues, eg 27d
    Many thanks, Rufus and to Libellule for the review.

  11. Greeting from Hampshire. Completed eventually unassisted so quite chuffed after reading some of your comments baffled for a while with ‘API’ in 16d. Not telling the time spent though…! One needs to be retired or semi-retired for this caper. Unfortunatrely, I am not. I am finding that this great blog (am new to it) is increasing the fun and challenge or the DT so thanks to all.

  12. A bit of a struggle today – I was quite pleased to find out what a ‘pi’ was, a new one for me!

    I needed a couple of hints from the blog today – thanks for that! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  13. Just to go against the flow, I found it easier than usual for a Monday. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule too

  14. After a cruel battering from The Don on Friday I was left too weakened to cope with pussycat Rufus who it seems has turned tigerish today. A lovely crossword with great clues. I will never get 12ac in a month of sundays. Looking forward to a weekend of Bob Dylan in Blackpool.

  15. Needed quite a lot of help today, & didn’t like one or two clues ie 14 across & 29 across. Liked 1across & 9 down, but then I quite like long answers because I can sometimes guess them through general knowledge. Thank you setter & hinter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    1. No Jezza , not just you, my first one in ,which didn’t help matters at all in what I found was quite a difficult puzzle..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  16. Oh good – I’m very relieved that it’s not just me having my usual Monday problems. I agree with 3* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I discovered fairly early on, luckily, that 17a wasn’t ‘rackets’! Oh dear! I was slow with three of the four long answers but got 8d quite quickly. I did try, unsuccessfully, to make the first word of 9d ‘level’. I didn’t have the wit to look up ‘pi’ because I knew that it meant smug and self-righteous! Oh dear, again, so needed the hint to understand that answer. Generally quite tricky, I thought.
    I ended up needing the hints to even get answers for 12a and 28d.
    I liked 1a and 2, 5, 15 and 27d. My favourite was 19a – our daughters are always called Pet Lamb No 1 and Pet Lamb No 2.
    With thanks to Rufus and Libellule.
    Feeling a bit Novemberish. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        1. My favourites are sweet peas. We had some good ones this year and we’ve got some perennial ones. I got some very realistic artificial ones from Dunelm. Our visitors this weekend commented on them.

          1. I absolutely love them – they’re so beautiful and smell wonderful. That reminds me – must plant some soon . . . but not today!

        2. Hmmm – I wondered if that was asking for trouble. What’s the expression – something along the lines of being hoist with one’s own petard? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. That worked – well done! Now we need a little face with clapping hands! In the absence of that I’ll just do a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      1. Thanks for the thought – I’m not ill at all but have a terrible attack of the can’t-be-bothereds and I know that Father Christmas really needs to round up the reindeer,harness them up and generally get going! I always feel just like this every year around now.
        As for the roses I don’t know what’s going wrong but they didn’t arrive!

  17. Cor blimey, guv’nor, that were a real beastie. Many thanks for the clues for three of them. Getting to the point where I dread Monday and look forward to the next day!

  18. Did quite well for a bit. Only 4 left but the hints didn’t help at first. Eventually got there.

  19. For those interested Rufus is in a more mellow mode over in the Grauniad while the prize crossword in the FT looks to be a bit of a stinker which will have to wait until my post prandial snifter in the study this evening.

  20. This was a walk in the park for me, what a change from those puzzles that everyone considers easy and I struggle for ages. So many jumped out at me as I read them, 12a, 17a, 9d, just to name a few. I picked up the anagram at 8d immediately. One of the last ones in was 19a because I couldn’t believe it would be that easy. Last one in was 16d and needed the explanation. Next week I’m going to bite my tongue, but I love Rufus puzzles, dead on wavelength. Thanks to all

  21. This was a lot of fun.
    Practically all the clues were fabulous. Great anagram @ 8d.
    Got 31a pdq, which is a sign of a misspent youth.

    But it was a 2.5* difficulty and I would never have got 16d because of ignorance re the middle bit. Fleet Street, must remember that trick. It totally took my eye off the ball. Wonderful!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  22. Thanks to Rufus and to Libellule for the review and hints. Found this very tricky, and almost got their in the end. had autopsy for 2d which was first in, but corrected it after I solved 17a. Last in was 18a which defeated me, but got it from the hints. Is it just me, or does anyone think that 18a was a bit tenuous? Managed to get 16d, had vaguely heard of A pi, but was sure the definition was Fleet. I thought that 26a should have had a question mark after it. Favourite was 27d. Was 3*/4* for me, enjoyed the tussle. Must try the grauniad now.

    1. The definition was fleet as in “fleet of foot” ie. fast.
      I thought it was a rubbish clue personally

    1. Before his ‘conversion’ Paul was called Saul, so his initial letter was converted from S to P.

      1. Thanks gazza – I’d missed that subtlety too but didn’t want to cause trouble, just for a change.

  23. Thank you Rufus for helping to restore some confidence after yesterday’s shambles ! Harder than most Mondays I thought. Thanks Libellule for your review and hints.

  24. Very tough today! A couple of new (to me) UKisms today — “zebra crossing,” “maidens prayer,” “easeful” and “netball.” Is netball the same as volleyball?

    1. Nope – normally played by teams of 7 women, it’s more like basketball. Although recognised by the Olympic movement, it is not yet a full Olympic sport.

  25. As always, an entertaining puzzle from Rufus. Lovely surface readings and just the right degree of difficulty.

  26. We also thought that it was tougher than we are used to on a Monday, but none the worse for that. Last one in was 16d, where although we had heard of a printer’s pie, had to check on the alternative spelling. Lots of clever clues and good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Libellule.

  27. A bit harder than the usual Monday.

    I needed assistance with 12a, I was trying to make “deer” fit somehow… I thought 18a was a very weak cryptic def indeed.

  28. Definitely more difficult than usual, I needed a few hints , but certainly not horrible.19a reminded me of how Kath refers to her daughters. I was annoyed not to think of 15d without a hint, as my daughter was certainly one at age five, though aren’t they all at that age.Even when its hard , Rufus is always great fun. Thanks to Libellule, also.

    1. Yes, you’re right about 19a which was why it was my favourite clue. As for 15d’s 19a No 2 was one at age two! Nightmare! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  29. What a super puzzle! Many thanks Rufus for getting the week off to such a great start. ***/**** Just the right blend of fun and difficulty. Enjoyed several clues including 19a and 8d. Also found the GK straightforward today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  30. Quite tough– I had to look at lots of hints– but most enjoyable, and a good start to the week. Many thanks.

    1. No – level crossing was what I would have put in had I not already got 14a – then it made me doubt 14a etc etc.

  31. Normally I find Mondays the easiest of the week – doesn’t mean they are “easy” just “easier”, if you get my drift??! But to-day – well, just glad I wasn’t the only one. Needed the hints to even get started – which is actually very unusual (quite often need them to finish, but not start), but then finally went on a bit of a roll. Hope it’s the crosswords getting harder and not me getting stupider?? Quite a worry! Thought 9d very clever – made me laugh!

  32. Sorry to be so late on parade. I did it earlier but wasn’t going to bother to post. As with some others here I found this much trickier than normal for a Monday. I usually manage to finish Rufus’ DT puzzle without recourse to the blog, but not so today. The BRB, the Thesaurus and BD took a hammering from half-way in and I would have to admit that I wouldn’t have got 16d without it being spelt out to me (thanks Libellule – at least I’ve learned something new today). I’m probably Rufus’ second biggest fan here, but this one didn’t quite work for me. Having said that there was lots of the expected cleaver wordplay and I loved 19a and 28d. Thanks to Rufus and Libellule.

  33. Enjoyed it, especially 12a and 18a but can someone please explain 19a? Seems to be among a few people’s favourites and can’t imagine it’s just because pet = favourite, lambs like to skip. Is the surface referring to something? Is pet lamb a common term of endearment?

  34. Difficult, I thought, for one who doesn’t play poker, is not deeply religious and is no longer familiar with nursery rhymes,

    Clues help me out, as usual.

  35. Rufus puzzles are delightful, and this one is no exception.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif I seem to be tuning into them much better.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif I needed an explanation for ‘api’ in my answer to 16d, for which many thanks, Libellule. Otherwise hints not needed. I enjoyed many of the clues, especially 1a,18a, 19a, 8d, 27d, and 28d.
    Very many thanks to Rufus and to Lubellule,

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