DT 27487 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27487

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27487

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

As usual a dream of a puzzle from Rufus. Not too taxing but a couple of smart twist to tease and delight.

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    Not seen to take part in the action (3-5)
{OFF-STAGE} In a th+eatre, where you will find the scenery shifter, the fly boy the dressers etc etc.

6a    Having clear head in panic is seldom seen (6)
{SCARCE} Take a word meaning panic and insert the head or first letter of the word C(lear) to make a word meaning rare

9a    Obtain support perhaps with a beating? (4,2)
{DRUM UP} A percussive instrument might be used to gain this type of support.

10a    Grace coming in disguise? (8)
{BLESSING} from the idiom “a _______ in disguise”

11a    Snooty  head of a religious order (8)
{SUPERIOR} A double definition. The second being the head of a nunnery. The last one in for me and only solved via the checking letters.

12a    Journalist taken aback by bad news for country (6)
{SWEDEN} An anagram (bad) of NEWS with the usual abbreviation for a journalist reversed (taken aback) and placed inside will reveal this Scandinavian country.

13a    They each go to work on foot (12)
{CHIROPODISTS} We often need to be “on our toes” in life. These professionals need to be on other peoples toes.

16a    Don’t give up working as a judge? (4,2,6)
{KEEP ON TRYING} A judge who has not yet retired will do this, as will we when we refuse to be beaten by a task.

19a    Whole country is full of conservationists (6)
{ENTIRE} The conservationists here are The National Trust (abbreviated) The country is Southern Ireland. Place the conservationists inside the country to find a word meaning whole.

21a    A ruse hatched in attempt to get state funds (8)
{TREASURY} Take an anagram (hatched) of A RUSE and place it inside an attempt to find a word meaning state funds. It is our right and our privilege to pay our taxes in full by the due date to contribute to this.

23a    Reduction in fuel is enormous (8)
{COLOSSAL} Place a noun meaning a reduction inside a carbon fossil fuel to form a larger word meaning enormous

24a    Scoffed  with a guard (6)
{RAILED} A double definition. The second meaning fenced or enclosed.

25a    We hear an officer that’s at the heart of things (6)
{KERNEL} A homophone, The fruit within a nut sounds like (we hear) a high ranking officer

26a    Covered outhouse, full of warmth (8)
{SHEATHED} Put a four letter word meaning warmed inside a four letter word for outhouse to find another word meaning covered.


2d    Secure with business increased (4,2)
{FIRM UP} To secure a deal perhaps. Take a four letter synonym for business and add a two letter increase.

3d    Approximately one thousand held captive in WW1 battle (5)
{SOMME} Place the Roman numeral for one thousand inside a noun meaning approximately to find the name of one of the more famous battles of WW1

4d    Swimmer able to do the crawl? (9)
{AMPHIBIAN} A cryptic definition of a creature equally able to survive in or out of water.

5d    Measure lawyers try to ban (7)
{EMBARGO} A cryptic definition of a trade restriction placed by one country upon another.  A printing measure followed by some lawyers and a try or attempt.

6d    Spots — we hear they appear before the eyes (5)
{SPECS} This is a homophone (sound alike) clue. Spots, as in small spot or particle altered (we hear) to make a slang term for what sits upon the bridge of the nose to assist those with poor eyesight. This is the winner of my awkward clue of the day award. Second to last in and I had to resort to a couple of trawls through the alphabet to solve it

7d    Responding to a phone call about disturbing news (9)
{ANSWERING} For the second time today we have an anagram (disturbing) of the word NEWS placed inside the A from the clue and a common term for a phone call.

8d    What’s inside  pleases (8)
{CONTENTS} Rufus really delights at times with clever double definitions. Here is a good one. The first being what may settle during transit.

13d    Tropic island produce (9)
{CAPRICORN} One of the two Tropics or a cereal crop grown on a Mediterranean island.

14d    Fruitful source of oil (5,4)
{OLIVE TREE} The plant from which a popular cooking oil comes. This oil was only available in England in expensive tiny bottles obtained from the chemist and used to soften ear wax. How times change

15d    Runners are trained by this tall thin type (8)
{BEANPOLE} These runners are vegetables and the clue refers to the canes upon which they grow.

17d    Noise-makers startle unexpectedly (7)
{RATTLES} This is an anagram (unexpectedly) of STARTLES

18d    Are such blocks used for building windbreaks? (6)
{BREEZE} A common building block or a light wind

20d    After rest, student gives help in the classroom (5)
{EASEL} A stand which an artist might use formed by placing an L(earner) after a word meaning rest

22d    Relocate  garment workers (5)
{SHIFT} A triple definition here. Each word leads to the same answer

You do not know the troubles we went to in order to provide this review. We made it though.

The Quick crossword pun: (trice} + {sickle} = {tricycle}

47 comments on “DT 27487

  1. Quite good fun today although I was held up for a while because I missed a letter from 6D and tried to put the ‘spots’ spelling in. This held me up on 10A although I have to say I didn’t particular like this clue – the answer seemed to have a very tenuous link to the clue. Still, ho hum.
    Apart from the above, some very nice gentle clues today with 22D my favourite – not often we see a triple definition so cleverly done.

  2. An enjoyable puzzle which I found very difficult to get into. However, once broken down the individual clues came into place. I met my target of finishing before publishing so I must be improving if it is 3* which I would also rate it, but more difficult that the usual Rufus puzzle on a Monday (please go easy next week because the memsahib will be back and I shall have a list of jobs to do

  3. Same as usual for a Monday – absolutely wonderful and 4* for enjoyment! I managed three quarters on course for 2* time but got held up in the NW corner which took me close to 3* time, with 4d my last one in and favourite.

    I also had a double homophone moment with 6d for which I initially thought “sites” was a perfect answer :oops:

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  4. 5d. I understood this as being: a two letter word for a measure in printing + a three letter word for lawyers, collectively +a two letter word for try.

      1. Worth remembering as it comes up a fair bit. The other to watch for is an EN, which I think is half the size of an EM.

        1. And EL is half the size again. I used to work on a typewriter that used the different spacing, I hated it with a passion. If you typed an EM spacer in error and it should have been an EL spacer, you had to re type the whole thing. Thank goodness for computers.

            1. See your sentence: the “m” is a 3, the “l” is a 1, see the difference in the space between the quotes. Most are ENs, “i” is an EL.

                1. Look at the space between the quotation marks around the “m”, the “n” and around the “l”.

                  1. We call(ed) them Nuts (en) and Muttons (em) to differentiate between two similar words amid the cacophony of hot-metal printers

  5. Finished but disliked this intensely. Very tough and not much fun.
    Still don’t get 24a at all.
    No favs today, just a tedious slog!
    Sorry but that’s how I found it.
    Thx to Miffypops for the answer to 24a.

  6. My reading of 5d was same as Vince’s. The usual pleasurable crossword from Rufus. He’s the thoroughbred in the Telegraph stable. Short clues, lovely surface readings and a great sense of humour

  7. I agree with 3* difficulty because I was held up with the last few – 4* enjoyment though. I would have said 3* but one clue pushed it to a 4*.
    Like Rabbit Dave I thought “sites” was a pretty good answer for 6d which made 10a tricky if not impossible.
    I was slow with 11 and 24a, but can’t see why now, and also 18d which was just plain dim – me, I mean, not the clue!
    I liked 11a and 5, 13 and 22d. My favourite was 4d and I thought that one was absolutely wonderful.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops – now I want to know about the troubles everyone went through to produce the hints!

    1. The internet went down this morning. My good mate up the road was out so I couldn’t use his computer and the ipad is not compatible. I drove to the library in the next town but had to join to be allowed to use their computer. No ID on me so I had to come back for my driving licence with a photo that makes me look like a pakistani terrorist. . When I eventually got to a screen I could not log on to AOL as I could not remember the password I set up about twenty years ago. I had to create a new account. By this time the clock was ticking on my one hour session. I sent the blog to Big Dave minus a hint for 10ac with about half a minute to spare. hence no piccies this week. Next week I shall be on holiday in St Mawes.

      1. I think there’s enough material in your activities so far today for a good-sized book! What else can happen?


      2. Remembering passwords or not remembering them is the bane of my life ! I wish some nerdy genius would invent something else.

      3. Well – what a catalogue of disasters and what stars you and BD are for sorting it all out and producing the hints. A little flower for each of you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. PS Don’t even mention passwords – they cause more arguments in this house than anything else. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      4. I fully sympathise! I had a very similar experience today. Printed off my crossword at home, solved it in Costa on the way to work, got to work to find no internet working. Demon internet, who were subsequently part of Thus, who are now part of Vodafone, decided to have a major hardware failure between 9am and 3pm, resulting in me walking home mid-morning to use our internet (thank you SKY for working), and then having walked back to work (another 25 minutes), I went to Raynes Park library (which fortunately I am a member of) to use their internet to print off some Parcelforce documents that we needed. Having returned to the office, I then had to go back to the library to use the internet further, to find that my free hour had now expired. Fortunately it was now 3pm, and Demon/thus/Vodafone was now working….(Also) Fortunately, there are 3 pubs in Raynes Park (although fairly insalubrious, I was not too fussy at that point)…..
        Nice crossword, and nice review. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops.

  8. Got a bit stuck in the NW corner for some reason. 3*/2*
    Thanks setter and Miffypops for getting me going again.

  9. Not sure about 24a. Does RAIL mean the same as SCOFF? Collins has the following:-

    (intransitive; followed by at or against) to complain bitterly or vehemently

    complain, attack, abuse, blast, flame, put down, criticize, censure, scold, castigate, revile, tear into, diss, fulminate, inveigh, upbraid, lambast(e), vituperate, vociferate

    Otherwise the usual excellent Monday fare with 16a favourite. **/**** from us.

    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  10. I found this week to be distinctly difficult, 9a and 24a, but 13a and 16a, 25a ,7d and 22d more than compensated. Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  11. 16a should be the cruciverbalists’ motto. Finished most of this whilst waiting for a hospital appointment this morning. 3*/3* for me. So “em” is a printer’s measure? It reminds me of the 2 Ronnies’ sketch set in a grocer’s shop…….” F U N E M?” “S, V F M” . “F U N E X?” (etc).

    1. Hope you are doing well, neveracrossword. I presume you are heavy into PT. good luck.

  12. I sailed through and enjoyed most of this – bar two. I also went for “Sites” for 6d which rendered 10a insolvable so thanks Miffypops for helping me out. Thanks also Rufus for a fun puzzle. **/**** http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  13. Slow start today but eventually got going steadily and enjoyed the many subtle clues . Favourite 4d , ***/*** for me .

  14. re:13a _ why is the word “each” included in the clue? solved this while having the car mot’d. thankfully it passed so no expense incurred. thanks to rufus & to miffypops. by the way what difficulties did you encounter in putting the review together?

    1. 13a – It’s because the answer is plural. If you leave out the ‘each’ the clue would have to be either:

      They go to work on feet – which ruins the surface reading


      They go to work on foot – which implies that several of them are working on a single foot.

  15. The world is upside down. Yesterday I whizzed through Virgilius and today I struggled with Rufus, the one setter I can usually rely on to be on wavelength. Even so, I did enjoy it, many clever, clever clues. I think my favourite is 16a. Thank you M’pops for 24a, I had it wrong, and it didn’t make sense. Thanks Rufus for the entertainment.


  16. I was slow to get started but once I got going I found it not too difficult and really enjoyed it. Thanks to Rufus &. Miffypops for the review.

  17. Thank you Rufus – I agree with previous comments fhat it was more difficult than the usual Monday puzzle – and strangely, not as much fun. Thanks Miffypops for your review and hints, compiled under trying circumstances. Weather in Norwich allowed us to have a great view of the peregrines on the cathedral spire this morning, then got soaked at Ranworth Broad this afternoon.

    1. Did you mean to change your alias? If not, do you want it changed back to your usual one?

  18. Started on this puzzle late today as had to go to hospital this morning for a regular checkup – passed out OK!

    The usual enjoyable fare from Rufus!

    Faves : 10a, 19a, 5d & 13d.

    Lamb chops & chipped spuds tonight followed by apricots and cream. Unfortunately have run out of red wine so it will be malt beer for a change – in NL malt means non-alcoholic.

    Shall stock up with red wine tomorrow..

    Mixed bag of weather today..

    1. Had a wonderful Italian Cabernet, Venezia Giulia, at dinner tonight and we admired it so much that the waiter insisted we have a Sicilian digestif ,deliciousand sweet.

  19. Despite “site” making a very brief appearance in 6d, the whole puzzle fitted together rather quickly for us. Well up to the standard of enjoyment we expect on a Monday.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  20. This one went in quite easily, so l would rate it as about 2*/3*. I have to say that l’m not absolutely sure about the “scoffed” part of the 24a double meaning mentioned in Miffypops’ hint, but l won’t quibble. 23a was my pick of the clues. Thanks Rufus for a not overtaxing workout, and Miffypops for the review.

  21. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. As usual a very entertaining puzzle to start the week. I, of course, failed on 6d, had sites, which made 10a impossible. Also needed the hints for 11 & 24a, I always struggle with double definitions, no exception today. Favourite was 16a, was 3*/3* for me. Late commenting due to organising the Squash Tournament.

  22. No problems with this, although I agree that it was trickier than most Mondays. 2*/3*. Thanks to Rufus for the challenge and to MP for his resolve to 16a in the face of technology doing what technology likes best

  23. Much as I admire them, I usually find Rufus puzzles difficult, and was delighted to be able to complete this one without hints. The clues are delightful. Fave is 6d (yes, I also started off with ‘sites’…). Also much enjoyed 11a, 16a, 15d and 22d.

    My problem with this puzzle wasn’t the word play as such but being uncertain about how to categorise the clues. For once I had the double and treble definitions all right, but was unsure about 1a, 4d, 14d and 18d. These I incorrectly thought might be all-in-one definitions.

    Thank you very much, Rufus, for a lovely puzzle.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    Thank you very much, Miffpops for the excellent explanations — and for the huge trouble you went to. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    1. Thank you Catnap, I try not to worry too much about different types of clues (see comment 4 ahead) If it fits and i can justify it then that is good enough for me. As you finished without hints you should be pleased. It is only a bit of fun.

      1. Thanks very much, Miffypops. Yes, crossword puzzles are a huge amount of fun. Love ’em!

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