DT 27397 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27397

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27397

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Miffypops is on holiday. He and Sharon called in for lunch last Friday, en route to a weekend away from their pub, and it was a pleasure to meet them both.

This Rufus puzzle is probably a tad easier than last week’s perhaps because there are seven clues which include anagrams.

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 Gloomy doctor has run around with outbreak of flu (8)
{MOURNFUL} – a two-letter abbreviation for a doctor followed by anagrams of RUN (around) and FLU (outbreak)

6a One has gathered wood for burning (2,4)
{ON FIRE} – ONE around a type of wood or tree

9a Ring master? (6)
{WAGNER} – a cryptic definition of the composer of Der Ring des Nibelungen

10a Many a creature’s seen in a wood (8)
{MAHOGANY} – MANY with the A from the clue and a creature inside (seen in)

11a A few will have disturbed rest in part of south-west England (8)
{SOMERSET} – a few followed by an anagram (disturbed) of REST

12a About to get wrong answer (6)
{RETORT} – a two-letter word meaning about followed by a legal wrong

13a Study clamour of birds in northern Europe? (12)
{SCANDINAVIAN} – a charade of a verb meaning to study or examine, a clamour or noise and an adjective meaning of birds

16a The classroom is untidy — and he’s responsible (12)
{SCHOOLMASTER} – an anagram (untidy) of THE CLASSROOM

19a Fat goat? (6)
{BUTTER} – this type of fat could be a goat

21a He works with a will (8)
{EXECUTOR} – a cryptic definition of a person appointed by a testator to see a will carried into effect

23a Aim to ban corruption in Canadian province (8)
{MANITOBA} – an anagram (corruption) of AIM TO BAN

24a It’s appeared a siren has been set off (6)
{ARISEN} – an anagram (set off) of A SIREN

25a It’s used for pounding with mortar (6)
{PESTLE} – a gently cryptic definition of the instrument for pounding something in a mortar

26a Odds on getting good service (8)
{EVENSONG} – betting odds followed by ON and G(ood)


2d He may well appeal to the public (6)
{ORATOR} – a cryptic definition of a public speaker

3d Mountains in cattle country (5)
{RANGE} – a double definition – a chain of mountains and a stretch of open country used for grazing cattle

4d Thwart made of wood, entirely (9)
{FORESTALL} – a large wood followed by an adverb meaning entirely

5d Restricted cover includes free time (7)
{LIMITED} – a cover around (includes) an anagram (free) of TIME

6d The gold edging makes this different (5)
{OTHER} – the heraldic term for gold around (edging) THE

7d Action ended dispute (5,4)
{FIGHT OVER} – an action or battle followed by an adjective meaning ended or finished

8d It’s all round the town, of interest to motorists (4,4)
{RING ROAD} – a cryptic definition of route encircling a town

13d Little inclination to cut number of candidates (5-4)
{SHORT-LIST} – an adjective meaning little followed by an inclination – Chambers gives the enumeration as (9)

14d End a Metro trip to see it? (5,4)
{NOTRE DAME} – an anagram (trip) of END A METRO gives somewhere one might see following a trip on the Paris Metro

15d Right to get junior minister to foot the bill (8)
{ACCURATE} – this adjective meaning right or correct is derived by putting a junior church minister after (to foot in a down clue) the two-letter abbreviation for a bill

17d Mean to issue statement on time (7)
{AVERAGE} – a verb meaning to issue a statement or speak followed by a period of time

18d Control acceleration by gravity above Pole (6)
{GOVERN} – the symbol that represents acceleration due to gravity followed by a preposition meaning above and one of the two poles

20d River cut by river (5)
{RHONE} – a verb meaning to cut? or sharpen preceded by R(iver)

22d American’s boxing can set back fighting teams (5)
{UNITS} – a two-letter abbreviation for American around (boxing) the reversal (set back) of a can

As I mentioned yesterday, I have added a page, The Usual Suspects , to the Crosswords section of the blog. This lists some of the wordplay elements commonly used in cryptic crosswords. I hope it proves to be useful, especially to newer solvers.

The Quick crossword pun: (hiss} + {panic} = {Hispanic}

65 comments on “DT 27397

  1. Usual Monday fare although NW corner held me up for a while – couldn’t see the significance of the word ‘WELL’ in 2D and I can’t say I liked 9A as a clue, sorry Rufus. Other than that, a fun solve with no big problems, particularly enjoyed 13A

  2. Another fine puzzle from Rufus, although I thought 9a was a bit vague and had “winner” as in boxing ring, which fitted with “orison” for 2d.Thanks to Rufus and BD.

  3. A cracking start to the week at **/*** and this was a steady work-through. Some old faces, it seemed but not to detract. Last to write was 20d which I am still not sure about and will have to wait until the oracle publishes the hints. Like 9a, 19a, 15d and even though it was an easy anagram, 13a because of the reading of the anagram. Only one thing.. some ‘gimmies’ are maybe a little too much of a gimmie in which case they might as well be written in for you – I refer to, you have guessed, 8d.
    Thanks to Mr Rufus and to the Maestro.

  4. Morning Dave thanks for hints, I needed them to complete 9a!!! I think a cryptic crossword should always be solvable from the clue and not rely on general knowledge as this did, I would never have got it and had put ‘warner’ in!! knowing it was wrong!!! Quite a few clues I like today, more of a typical Rufus IMHO, favourites (oops) 6a and 10a, For myself this was a two to three star for difficulty because of 9a

      1. It doesn’t really mean ‘cut’, but I guess if you think of it as meaning ‘sharpen’ then there will be times you need to cut a stick or pencil to sharpen (just playing Devil’s Advocate here)

    1. Morning Mary, I agree with you about ‘Hone’ completely.
      I have to say that I am surprised at Skempie and your comments about the Ring master and your view of general knowledge. It seems to me that a goodly part of cryptics rely on this to some extent or another – that is part of the fun. It has to be the right balance though. I thought this clue was entirely fair and, in fact, quite good. With me at least, it passed the smile test when I twigged after cogitating about it on the second pass.

      1. I wouldn’t consider Wagner to be the ‘Ring Master’ – he was just the guy wot rote it. The Ring Master here could refer to Alberich (who made the ring) or Seigfried who wins the ring by defeating the giant Fafnir(?)

        1. Surely that qualifies him to be the ‘master’… or one of them. Good job he’s 6’ under or he might have something to say about it too. It’s a very good thing for me that it was not one of those other chappies because I would have been with Wagner before I got it!

          1. Usually I would agree with some of the comments above, but on this occasion I think 9across is an excellent clue,& I like clues that need a modicum of general knowledge, & to hone something, to me, means to cut out all the dross. We really liked today’s offering, & managed to finish it without needing the hints for once. Thank you setter, & also BD.

      2. Hi McM, I agree you need a certain amount of general knowledge but to me that is obscure general knowledge and IMHO not Rufusish at all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          1. Well I am sorry to amaze you all but although I know the ‘music’ I did not know its title so therefor for myself it was an obscure clue…am I really the only one???

            1. And even if I had known that Wagner composed ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen” I still wouldn’t have solved that clue from ‘Ring master’

            2. I’m with you, Mary, in thinking that it was a bit of funny clue. I know the music and I know who wrote it (I don’t like it but that’s beside the point!) and I STILL didn’t make the connection between the ‘Ring’ and the ‘master’ and I never would have done in a million years. Solidarity, that’s what I say!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

              1. I found the clue very iffy, even though I know his music (and like it) the clue was very obscure and I would never have got it. Yes, Kath, solidarity!

        1. I guess all general knowledge is obscure if you don’t know it but I certainly wouldn’t think a solver knowing that Wagner wrote Der Ring was any less likely than him/her knowing the names of the Great Lakes, say – regulars in the DT crossword it seems.

  5. Excellent puzzle today with a super clue in 9a, dead clever.
    Am I right in thinking that 19a is a bit of an old chestnut?
    10a held me up for a bit with the misdirection in the clue, spent a while trying to get a creature into a wood!
    Thx to the setter and to BD for the hints but not needed today. Where has Libelllule gone, miss those well presented and concise hints even on days when I complete without them?

  6. Although this was far less tricky than last Monday’s I still had a few problems – it wouldn’t be Monday if I didn’t! 2*+ and 4* for enjoyment.
    I completely gave up with 9a – the answer just didn’t occur to me and I don’t think it ever would have done however long I looked at it.
    I was slow to get started – got all the way down the across clues to 16a before I even had one answer but then did quite a few at the bottom.
    I really enjoyed this – some really clever clues – 6 and 13a and 14d. My favourite was 16a.
    With thanks to Rufus and BD.

  7. Apart from 9a which had me stumped for a bit, they all seemed to slot in fairly quickly today, a good job too as there’s lots to do today. Perhaps a slightly more Germanic clue would have worked better with 9a. Nothing in the clues that upset me too much, but nothing either that set me 6a.

  8. 1*/3* for a puzzle which was “read and write” for me except for 9a, my last one in. Nevertheless I did enjoy it – despite parts of it being a bit wooden :wink:

    I thought 25a was rather weak, but I had joint favourites today – 9a & 19a, both of which show that a clue doesn’t need to be wordy to be good.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to BD.

  9. A lovely start to the week. Great fun, thank you Rufus. I agree – much easier than last Monday’s. A real fun puzzle. Thanks BD for the review, hints and photos.

  10. BD, there is a typo in your comment for 13d. I think it should read Chambers gives the enumeration as (9)

    My version of the BRB gives (5,4) for the noun and (5-4) for the verb!

  11. No problems here & Rufus is in a similar mode over at the Grauniad (by the looks of what I saw when I glanced at it – saving it for tonight to be solved over a pint or two of Snecklifter). However, Mudd at the FT is a tad more tricky [imho].
    Many tanks to Rufus & to BD.

  12. 9a was my stumbling block today otherwise a fairly easy puzzle. No real favourites but enjoyable . Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the review and hints.

  13. Everything seemed to centre on 2d and 9a,like RUTH above , I thought of orison before settling on the public speaker , which left 9a as the final clue ,I was initially looking for a double meaning ,followed by the circus then the Tolkien bit when out of the mists of time came the Nibelungen and the d-oh moment ! Apart from this enjoyable Monday fare and can’t quibble with Dave’s **/****.

  14. Today”s offering was a pleasant stroll in crossword land. 13a and 16a were charming little smilers. Not a great challenge but very pleasant. I would rate */**** I did not need the hints but thanks to Big Dave for providing same.

  15. Enjoyed finishing this. Favourite 18d. Was an idiot in thinking slope for the first part of 13d, so 19a was near the end and made me smile. Astonished to receive a £10 Amazon token from Daily T..but not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Thanks BD and setter. More rain, but I’m (almost) definitely not planting tomatoes this year after last year’s kerfuffles.

  16. Lovely puzzle from Rufus, the Monday maestro; thank you to him and BD although the hints were not needed today. Last one in was 9a, where I had to work through the alphabet and only twigged when I got to W., very clever.

  17. A late start on this one as the back-up PDF was not available before lights out last night, and, despite repeated requests for a new password, absolutely no response from the DT. Is anyone else still unable to log in? Back to the puzzle – thank you Rufus for a really gentle start to the week – finished before the first cup of coffee in the office had gone cold, and thanks to BD for the (not needed) review. Not sure why, but favourite would be 18d.

  18. Took me a while just to get onto Rufus’s wavelength, but found no real difficulties. Liked 9a because I am currently watching DVD of The Ring!
    Agree 19a an old favourite, but that’s okay, and some anagrams to get the mind working, so a lovely start to the week.

  19. Good puzzle, as usual, from Rufus. I always enjoy his, apart from 9a as discussed above, and the slight eyebrow raiser of “hone” meaning cut. My favourite was 18d, but many good clues as well. Thanks to Rufus and BD for review.

  20. Mr Squires at his best **/****

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for a thoroughly enjoyable start to the week.

  21. Thanks Rufus for a pleasurable diversion on this gloomy day (worse to come I gather). It seemed forbidding to start with but soon began to fall into place. I’m a Wagner fan so can’t believe 9a was only clue with which I needed help but glad to see I wasn’t the only one. It was however great to hear BD’s input of the Meistersinger’s Ride of the Valkyries – thank you BD for that. Lots of entertaining clues including 13a and 26a. **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  22. Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A nice start to the week, was beaten by 9a, sure I’ve seen the clue before, but couldn’t remember it, got it from the hint. Favourites were 4&14d, also enjoyed 10a, managed to see the wood for the trees :-) Was 2*/3* for me. Nice morning in Central London, managed to get a bike ride in.

  23. From our part of the world, the first reaction on reading the clue for 9a was HOBBIT. However, as this fitted none of the checkers, the second and correct guess swiftly followed. NW corner was the slowest to come together in what we found a good fun puzzle. An interesting coincidence with Sunday’s Virgilius where 1a matches today’s 16a.
    Thanks Rufus and BD.

    PS. Our voucher number for Amazon has still not arrived. Well over a week now since we applied. Are we alone in this?

  24. **/*** for me, aside from not getting either of 2d and 9a. I often find at least one of Rufus’s dodgy cryptic defs eludes me, and he often seems to end up with a couple intersecting in the grid which makes it harder. I might have got 2d if I’d had the A from 9a for example.

  25. Most enjoyable crossword, however, 9a stumped me, thanks for the hint, I’d never have got it otherwise. Was reassured to see I was not alone!

  26. Just as a quick PS – husband couldn’t do a cryptic crossword if his life depended on it – I keep trying to interest/educate him but it just doesn’t work. He does, however, like Wagner. When I told him about 9a he got it instantly, before I’d even had a chance to tell him the letters ie the alternate ones that I already had. I’m not sure what this demonstrates – could anyone enlighten me?

    1. Perhaps, he’s a non-cruciverbalist Wagnerian? They can never be converted to the true faith of Cryptics.

  27. My first stab at 9a was “Ratner”; on reflection (remembering his well-publicised admission that his firm’s jewellery was crap) perhaps not.

  28. Thanks Big Dave for the blog.

    I’m not really a fan of Rufus. He favours cryptic definitions which is OK if they work, but 25a doesn’t seem even remotely cryptic. In the case of 9a I thought of Mr. RW straight away, but discounted it because I couldn’t see how he could, legitimately, be described as “Ring master”. I guess I’m just too Ximenean. :(

  29. On a day off I finished this one in good time not to be the last one to comment (as I usually am) but just as I was firing up the iPad to add my four-penny worth, the phone rang: “will you be joining us today? You should have been here half an hour ago.” Misread my diary, so had to drop everything and spend an hour in traffic, arriving at the office an hour and a half late. This means, of course, that I am the last one in again. Sigh

  30. No, you’re not the last one in, Tstrummer! I finished this last evening, but it has taken me ’till now to comment.

    This was really pleasurable. It was a Rufus I was able to complete and without hints or help of any kind. 9a was one of my first in, and definitely my favourite. (There was a good deal of Wagner on Radio 3 not all that long ago.) We Catnaps had a chuckle at 18a. I also liked 15d.

    Many thanks to Rufus for the enjoyment. As always, much appreciation to Big Dave for all the enlightenment.

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