DT 27391 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27391

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27391

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

American customer: ” A gin and tonic please. Ice but no lime. I don’t like lime”.
Sophie keen to please. ” I’m sorry we don’t have any lime, would you like it without lemon”

Rufus has a touch of citrus about him today. I found this one most awkward.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Killing time (7,6)
{HUNTING SEASON} The period of time where the unspeakable go in full pursuit of the uneatable

10a    Made a searching examination, by all accounts (7)
{AUDITED} to have conducted an examination of a company’s accounts

11a    Runner allowed to take part in different heat (7)
{ATHLETE} Allowed or permitted inside an anagram (different) of HEAT

12a    Were reformed in jug (4)
{EWER} Anagram (reformed) of WERE

13a    A well-oiled lock? (5)
{QUIFF} Cryptic definition of as per Elvis Presley’s hair

14a    Just  fine! (4)
{FAIR} A double definition.

17a    Little girl’s wrong to misrepresent the facts (7)
{DISTORT} A shortened girls name (think Prince Charles first wife) plus the S from ‘S and a legal term for a wrong

18a    It’s clear I’ve got set back by depression (7)
{EVIDENT} I’ve upended (set back) and a four letter word for a depression will lead to a word meaning clear

19a    Work for Labour, for example (7)
{SYNONYM} A word that means exactly the same as another as do work and labour

22a    Region that is not a party to Convention (7)
{BOHEMIA} A community of persons with artistic or literary tastes who adopt manners and mores conspicuously different from those expected or approved of by the majority of society.

24a    Spheres in sight (4)
{ORBS} Eyeballs

25a    One’s central heating system that runs cold if rattled? (5)
{BLOOD} What circulates around one’s body and what runs cold when one is rattled

26a    They support British artists (4)
{BRAS} B(ritish) Royal Acedemicians . Picture opportunity declined as it could only be tasteless IMHO.

29a    The Italian’s left with head cold perhaps (7)
{ILLNESS} Italian for “the”, L(eft) and a headland will give a word meaning ailment

30a    He has a fish for curing (7)
{HEALING} HE an A from the clue and a four letter fish (popular only in crosswordland) will give a word meaning curing

31a    He gives marching orders for more than one material worker (5-8)
{DRILL SERGEANT} The officer barking out orders on the parade ground is a charade of two types of material and a worker insect


2d    Slip out of gear (7)
{UNDRESS} Remove one’s clothes or remove another persons clothing which would be much more fun

3d    Of course it’s a better device (4)
{TOTE} A system of betting used on racecourses

4d    Certainly bound to differ (2,5)
{NO DOUBT} Anagram (differ) of BOUND TO

5d    A bit that’s appropriate (7)
{SNAFFLE} Double definition. A Bridle. To Steal.

6d    He follows the account, showing pain (4)
{ACHE} HE from the clue after an abbreviation of account

7d    Manage to speak about school gymnastics (7)
{OPERATE} To speak publicly around (about)the shortened term for gymnastics or games at school

8d    Multi-coloured spice cook laid out (13)

9d    There’s no telling where it may lead (6,7)
{SECRET PASSAGE} A concealed or hidden route

15d    Certain to see 007 around university (5)
{BOUND} 007 (James) around U(niversity) meaning sure

16d    See  something ugly (5)
{SIGHT} Another double definition. A third definition is one of your five senses

20d    Like dust that could be stellar or otherwise be lunar (7)
{NEBULAR} Anagram (otherwise) of BE LUNAR

21d    Abuses the French in their own words (7)
{MOLESTS} The plural of the French for “the” inside the French for words

22d    Close relative runs into trouble (7)
{BROTHER} Not your sister. R(uns) inside a commotion

23d    Alien girl takes team leader to heart (7)
{MARTIAN} Robin Hood’s sweetheart with a Team leader inserted (to heart) will yield a visitor from another planet

27d    Bull or cow to make an impression (4)
{SEAL} A very clever double definition. The first a marine mammal.

28d    Leisure facility (4)
{EASE} Leisure or relaxation and facility or absence of difficulty

This crossword stumped me and I needed Big Dave’s help on nine clues. Please feel free to comment on the review.

The Quick crossword pun: (sin} + {till} + {late} = {scintillate}


78 comments on “DT 27391

  1. To me longer to get 13a and 5d than it took to solve the rest of the clues. **/*** for me.
    Thanx to compiler and to Miffymops for the review.

  2. Hi Miffypops, I found this one a bit tricky today too and have only just managed to finish it! Not one of my favourite Rufus crosswords, lots of word associations that I didn’t find too easy!! No real favourite either, well maybe 19a or 27d thanks for blog MF, will read through it now

  3. 2.5*/3* for this solver. I doubt that I would be the only one with the wrong first word for 1a (CULLING) which made 3d unsolvable so thanks Miffypops for correcting me. I did not manage to fill 27d which I admit was smart. Good quality puzzle to kick off the week. One question, Miffy: how could you resist a picture-hint for 26a. Off for a brisk walk with my four-legged friend because that’s the only exercise one needs, right?
    Thank you setter. Err, Rufus is it not?

  4. Thank you Rufus. Where did that come from ! My most feeble attempt at a puzzle for a while. Needed 4 hints to finish and was deceived at every turn. I am not too sure that I found it a lot of fun. In fact I became increasingly agitated at my inability to solve all the clues. Many thanks Miffypops for your review and hints which brought this one-sided battle to an end.

  5. A smidge trickier than usual for Rufus (his Guardian puzzle today is easier). Usual enjoyment so thank you to him and MiffyP.

    My pub idiot customer experiences are mainly bread-related – “Do you want white or wholemeal bread?” “Whats the difference?” and in answer to the same question “Half of shandy”. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. True Story.

      My wife and i were in Whitby once, and went for fish and chips at one of the cafes (as you do).
      During the ordering process the young waitress asked us if we wanted white or brown bread, to which we replied we would like brown bread, this was then followed by the response “I’m sorry we don’t have any brown bread”…..

      My 2c – this was definitely felt like a much harder Rufus than normal, it took me about twice as long as usual.

        1. Hi Mary,

          I still lurk, and will resume blogging duties (I hope), at some point, when all the mess has calmed down. Nice to hear from you.

  6. Hi Folks,
    Am I now the only person who cannot access the allegedly ‘fixed’ website? Now 4 days since I requested a new password, since the site claims that the one I have (which I know is right) is ‘incorrect. I’ve emailed again today, but for the meantime, any chance you could continue to post the PDF link up front? I had to dig back to Screwed Up News to find it today. Thanks!

    1. Hi Joan today is the first day since the site was ‘fixed’ that I have been able to get in with my original password, but I had to edit my details and resubmit it, I did this everyday without success until today…fingers crossed

    2. Joan – No you are not. I have made countless requests for a new password to no avail. I sent an e-mail to “customer service” and the only response I have so far is that they are overwhelmed (my word) with requests and will answer me some time.

    3. I too am bereft of the crossword as my usual login details don’t work and thus far, no email to change the password has been forthcoming. As I live abroad and can’t buy the paper, it really is most frustrating.
      I too sent an email to “customer non-service” and received the same reply as Senf.

      1. Use the link on the ‘Screwed up News’ page – see the side bar. That should give you access to the puzzles.

    4. I got onto the new fixed website on my PC with a ‘Welcome back’ and without being asked for a password!
      However when I tried to get the puzzle my wife’s laptop, I was told that my long used password was not correct. My request for a new one has now failed to get a result after four days. A phone call to the DT resulted in a plea for mercy as they are inundated with password delivery problems. They’ll get there eventually, so they say!
      Many thanks to setter and Miffipops. I enjoyed both their efforts and loved 27 down.

    5. No, I have asked for new password everyday since Monday of last week, still no response. I cannot get in using my correct “old” password, would be lost without the pdf. Any more news re the extended membership for the time that the site has been down…..

      1. Just a thought – if everyone is asking for a new password every day rather than waiting for their first request to be dealt with, isn’t this just adding to the work of the poor souls at Telegraph Puzzles trying to help us.

        1. Shouldn’t think so, if they are answering the emails in the order that they receive them, but I haven’t been asking every day, I’ve asked twice in 6 days – and my second request was added to the email requesting the new password the first time. I am more annoyed that they are pretending all is good, rather than continuing to at least post the link to the pdf files by way of an acknowledgement that the site is not ‘fixed’ for everybody. At the end of the day, this is a subscription service, I’ve been without it for 2 months now (actually since 1 day after a renewed it for this year) and that really isn’t good enough.

  7. 3* for me today. A real tricky one that I found a bit of a slog. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the hints which I did need for a few today.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  8. I did not find this a tricky as some others apparently did, and finished easily before lights out last night. Although, I did have to “stare” at 25a for quite a while before the penny dropped. I give this one */** and ***, thanks to Rufus for the usual comfortable start to the week and to Miffypops for the tasteful but not overdone in quantity pictures.

  9. Definitely somewhat trickier than most Monday offerings with 3d and 27d beIng last ones in. Hints required for both.
    Fell into the alien trap at 23d with 26, 30 and 31 in place, even though I could not see why, which hampered 22a.
    Off to give some blood now – to complement the sweat and tears, perhaps!
    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops. ***/*** for me today.

  10. 3*/3* I had the same experience as Wayne, with 5d and 11a taking me as long as all the other clues put together. I’ve never heard of a 5d bit and although I twigged early on that the lock in 11a was probably related to hair, because I didn’t have the checking letter F from 5d I still couldn’t get the answer for ages.

    My favourite is a toss up between 19a and 21d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

      1. A friend of mine who lives just outside Abingdon is a member of the Oxford Sommeliers’ Society. Every year they hold their annual dinner in January in one of the Oxford colleges, and I am delighted to say that Mrs RD and I are invited to participate. This year the venue was St. Anne’s, and, although the food and wine were wonderful, I prefer the ambiance of the older colleges. The prior two years’ events were held in Pembroke and Harris Manchester.

        If I remember rightly from previous blogs, you live in the Oxford area. It’s a very nice part of the world.

      2. Yes – we live a couple of miles from the centre of Oxford. I agree with you about preferring the old colleges. My husband is a Fellow of Wolfson College and I’ve always rather wished that he was attached to one of the old ones.
        I was feeling slightly ashamed of myself as I’ve been in Oxford since I was eighteen and have never even heard of Harris Manchester but I imagine it’s what used to be called just Manchester – will toddle off to educate myself now!

        1. Yes, love the older colleges too. Mr P and I were artists in residence for a Scientific Summer School at Keble one year, and had a whale of a time. Spent most of our fees at Blackwells!

  11. “Oh what a beautiful morning” and everything went my way with this one. Many thanks Rufus for a fun run and Miffypops for hints which weren’t in fact need. Enjoyed several clues including 25a,26a, 2d, 3d and 21d. **/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  12. Yep definitely trickier than usual.

    First Monday for ages when I didn’t complete without recourse to the hints.

    Thanks for review.

    thanks to Rufus.

  13. Don’t know why but it was a */*** for me today ,only required one cup of tea! did enjoy the solve ,favourites 21d and 31a.Apparently the best 8a are made with 3 mirrors-more useless information.

  14. I must have been “in the zone” today as I completed the puzzle during my lunch break. The clues which took most thought, 13a, 22a and 5d, were a pleasure to solve when I got some of the letters. Many thanks to Rufus for a good workout. ***/****

  15. WOW That was tough! Had to use the hint for 30a, forgot crosswordlands fish!
    Some very clever clues though such as 19a and 29a and my personal favourite 5d.
    MrsB is at home today and I have her to thank for 13a. Had one of these in the 60s and damn stupid it looked too!
    Tough but enjoyable I thought.
    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for 30a.

  16. Quite hard, I though.
    Ground to a shuddering halt, wanting 19a, 20a and 25a and 21d.
    Thunk and thunk really hard, then Bingo!
    Many thanks Rufus for a great challenge and Miffypops for the review.

  17. Pretty tricky I thought, & was happy to get a hint from Miffypops or even two hints. Anyway, thank you to the setter & to Miffypops. Nice & bright here today, though cold.

  18. I had all the issues already mentioned.

    Some items not very cryptic and only a couple of anagrams it seemed.

    Never did get 3d or 27d.

    21d was my favourite and 31a was neat.

  19. So glad I wasn’t the only one to struggle with a few of these. Wasted time trying to put Dress into 31a, d’oh. My favourite has to be 5d for all the happy memories it evoked – not least riding in a New England forest in the fall and coming across a white-tailed deer who saw the four hooved-legs and missed seeing me aboard and so sauntered about very casually alongside. Never liked the harsher bridles. Anyway, many thanks to setter as well as to Miffypops for much-needed help. Greetings to all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. Welcome back, I hope all is well again. I agree about 5d, never liked those curbs but Pelhams not so bad.

      1. Thank you for the welcome back, Merusa and Mary – it’s been a bit of a haul….. Do hope you’re both thriving. We’ve had enough rain in our Scottish end of things to get to the shop by rowboat, and as it’s on a hill that’s no mean feat. Meanwhile at Hampton Court the beautiful and efficient Thames Barrier has ensured our dry feet thankfully, apart from ghastly potholes – bah! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  20. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifI’m so glad that it’s not just me!
    I often find Rufus puzzles tricky but rarely almost impossible. 4* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I ended up with gaps for 25a and 27d. I spent a long time trying to make 25a an anagram of R and cold – hopeless!!
    It would probably be easier to mention the clues that I didn’t have trouble with than the ones that I did have trouble with which is the normal way round. Oh dear – oh dear!
    Having said all that I also thought there were some really smart clues – 19a and 5d. My favourite was 21d.
    With thanks to Rufus for the crossword and to Miffypops, not just for the review but for admitting that he found it difficult – it cheered me up.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  21. Agree with others a lot harder than a normal rufus offering, still it kept me out of mischief for a couple of hours or so.Oh well back to the house clearing for a tad longer.Thank to rufus & miffypops for the Review.

  22. I was with you Kath on 25a and 27d. Thanks to setter and for the hints. On to The Herculis now.

  23. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very difficult puzzle to start the week. Managed all bar two in the top half, without too much trouble, then struggled with the rest. Needed 7 of Miffypops’ excellent hints to finish. Once again beaten by double definitions for 5&27d. Couldn’t get the right sergeant for 31a, had staff then dress. Didn’t know enough French to get 21d. Couldn’t think of 13,19, 25a. Was 4*/4* for me. Favourite was 9d. Had a nice bike ride this morning in Central London, weather ok, but a bit nippy. Might look at Rufus in the Grauniad.

  24. As usual, I liked this even though it was a trickier Rufus. I never did get 27d and needed MPops hint. I had to check spelling of 8d, even though an anagram, I couldn’t remember where the vowels went. Otherwise very enjoyable and well within reach. Thanks Rufus for the entertainment and MPops for the review.

  25. 22ac 25ac 29ac. 16d, 21d, 23d, 27d and 28d were the ones I needed help with today and verification that drill was correct. That is not to say that I wouldn’t have cracked them eventually but Big Dave does like to have the blog up by 11am and I was late up today. Well done Rufus

    1. I tried everything to include ET in 23d, only got 22a because I got 22d, and 27d totally defeated me.

      1. So did I – was sure ET must fit in somehow so took too much time (like hitting a jigsaw piece in with a hammer) before the penny dropped.

  26. Yes I ,too, found that quite hard today ,so thankd to Miffypops for the hints although I really think it’sSaint Sharon who does them & lets him put his name to them.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  27. I sat down on three separate occasions to do this puzzle but each time given orders by Mrs W to attend to some other important matter, dog walking, shopping etc. Well once allowed I got into it and the deed was done without reference to Miffypops’ offering .
    I got into a muddle on the bottom half but this was of my own making; a spelling mistake in my entry for 31A. I liked 15D but thought that 22A did not work for me. Thanks to Miffypops who I believe must have a degree in clarity.

  28. Hello everyone from me in NL!

    Having survived my 90th birthday anniversary celebrations last Saturday ( My son Jim did all twelve of us very proud in the local top restaurant) I got down to Rufus once again!

    27d was my last one in – very good!

    Jim went back to the USA this morning and at lunchtime the PostNL delivered me a new laptop which he recommended to replace this 12-year-old wreck! Sod’s-Law in extremis! Jim is a computer expert so he’ll have to help me set it up by phone when he gets home!

    Weather here still very unusual for January – I daresay it will freeze in Feb as usual!

    We have not had the dreadful rain that you have been getting in GB.


      1. To Dave,

        Many thanks.

        I can’t set up my new laptop until my son gets back to Boston MA where he lives – at present he is in the Big Apple and I always have problems with email there!


    1. Happy, if belated, Birthday greetings from me and the dogs. Please do keep commenting , we do worry when you go quiet.

    2. I don’t know you Derek, but happy birthday from me. 90 is a great achievement. They say crosswords keep you sharp – and it seems to be working for you. You have my admiration

    3. Belated but all best wishes for your birthday, Derek. Sounds like you had a splendid celebration. Hope your laptop behaves impeccably.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  29. We are like almost everyone else and found this one quite a bit tougher than we are used to on a Monday. 16d and 22a were our last two in. A good workout and good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  30. I’m the same as everybody else in finding it quite tough.I needed the hints for 13a, 16d, aand 27d.Lots of very good clues including19a and 22a.Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  31. Agree with quite a few others; I found this really tough for a Rufus, but didn’t help myself by entering “STAFF SERGEANT”.
    Might get thrown out for this,but I’m not at all sure about an audit being a searching examinarion.

    As an aside, we all still have the occasional laugh about the time when the four of us entered a cafe/restaurant to be asekd “Smoking or Non-smoking?” Me = “Non-smoking please”. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the reponse was “Sorry we’ve got no tables in the Non-smoking area”.

  32. Hmmm. Quite a few gimmes, I thought, and only one had me stumped for a bit until a cup of espresso from my wonderful machine lubricated the brain to realise that 3d was a gimme as well. Finished without hints, tips or electronic help, but love reading the blog and always feel the need to say thank you to , in this case,MP, and the setter.

  33. Very tricky this one ( Tuesday) did not manage to complete, infact over the last few months can only complete approx 3 a week

    and have never written a comment before, and not used the help blog Big Dave, anf obviously am not very computer literate, but trying. Thanks, but will try to get by on my own for aslong as possible..

    1. Welcome Jo.

      The blog is a very helpful and friendly place when you are stuck on a crossword. Hope to see you here again soon.

  34. Much as I admire them, I have never thought Rufus’s puzzles easy. This one has done nothing to change that belief.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    I am very appreciative of your enlightenment, Miffypops.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif I needed the answers for 1a, the first part of 31a, for 3d, and for 27d. I was very unsure that my answer to 5d was correct, but fortunately it was. There were some lovely clues. I liked 19a, 22a, 25a, 30a, and 21d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

    Many thanks to both Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. Welcome to the blog richard. It’s a bit of licence allowed to setters to use false capitalisation to try to deceive the solver (but the other way round is not allowed – they’re not supposed to start proper nouns with a lower-case character).

Comments are closed.