DT 27529 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27529

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27529

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A very good morning to you all. This very nice Rufus puzzle is dedicated to Charlie who died on Friday afternoon after spending his last eight years with us. Having had cats for all of my life, Charlie was the best by miles. So intelligent and playful. He was so cool when attacked by dogs. He just sat there and with perfect timing pawed them away at the last moment. His attitude was “you start it, I will finish it” delivered with a bored yawn. We miss you Charlie. God bless.

Below are a series of “hints and tips” set out to help you along your solve. The answers can be found between the curly brackets . Click and drag the cursor to reveal them.

The words underlined are the definitions to the clue

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    He requires staff for the spring (4,7)
{POLE VAULTER} Rufus starts us of with the best clue of the day. This springer requires a long stick to launch himself high into the air at an athletical field event

9a    It’s for those who like to travel, but not fast (6-3)
{DINING CAR} And then Rufus delivers this most marvellous clue. Here, to fast is not to eat and the travelling is along the permanent way.

10a    Concerning a period of illness (5)
{ABOUT} Take A from the clue and add a noun meaning an attack of illness

11a    Glossy appearance is something attractive about a good man (6)
{LUSTRE} Unusually for Rufus he has chosen not to make this an anagram of ULSTER but it is. Take a verb meaning to tempt and place it around (about) the usual suspect for a good man

12a    Party member who went to pot (8)
{DORMOUSE} Our third great clue. The party was held by The Mad Hatter and this invitee went into the teapot. (His hat had a price tag of ten shillings and sixpence (Fifty two and a half pence) Saint Sharon’s hat for The Henley Regatta cost £75. How times change.

13a    Ordered beer at discount (6)
{REBATE} The first of only six anagrams today. In this order we have Indicator, fodder, definition.

15a    George has me starting test in maths subject (8)
{GEOMETRY} One of the most fascinating classes of mathematics mastered by Euclid of Alexandria and written up in his book Elements. The clue is a charade beginning with the shortened term for GEOrge to which we add ME from the clue. A three letter word meaning test is then added to solve the clue. For the pedants amongst you I have illustrated this with trigonometry, does this qualify?

18a    A foundation garment is retired on showing wear (8)
{ABRASION} Another charade. A from the clue. An item of underwear worn (or not) by ladies, IS form the clue but reversed (retired) and ON from the clue

19a    Dances arranged scale to (6)
{ASCEND} Anagram number two (arranged) of DANCES

21a    Insect makes bird take to the air (8)
{CRANEFLY} This insect is also known as a daddy long legs. We need to take the name of a bird (Latin name grus grus) and add to it what birds do when they take to the air.

23a    Sort of pastry brought round to spoil the appetite (3,3)
{PUT OFF} Another cute clue. Take the name of a light fluffy buttery pastry and put it around the word TO (brought round). Split the result 3,3 to find two words that mean to spoil one’s appetite

26a    He takes to his bed, sharpish (5)
{FAKIR} This man supposedly sleeps on a bed of nails

27a    Article is made true to life (9)
{REALISTIC} Anagram number three (made) of ARTICLE IS.

28a    Terms need no amending for ratification (11)
{ENDORSEMENT} here is the fourth anagram. The indicator is rather obvious and the anagram fodder immediately precedes it. The solution is what some of you may have on your driving licences if you travel at the speed shown in my illustration.


1d    He goes barefoot in water, or by canoe (7)
{PADDLER} Think what we do at the seaside. Think how we propel a canoe. Now think of one who does either of these

2d    Rules which are given to bad students (5)
{LINES} A double definition, the second used as a punishment for naughty schoolkids. Bart Simpson is always writing them on the blackboard during the opening credits. One of my favourites. I must not cut corners written out in full and ditto marks beneath it

3d    Thinks a great deal of events are badly organised (9)
{VENERATES} Anagram five (badly organised) of EVENTS ARE

4d    Scotsman’s strange? Very (4)
{UNCO} A clear winner of the “Impossible Clue Of The Day” award. Apparently this word is used north of the border to mean strange and also used north of the border to mean very. I have never heard of it and had to use electronic means to unearth it. I hope the illustration helps

5d    Pass on the takings (8)
{TURNOVER} Split as (4,4) this could mean to pass on to the next page, but it’s actually the amount of money taken by a business in a given period. ******** is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cash is reality.

6d    Actual number in the kingdom (5)
{REALM} Actual or genuine followed by the Roman numeral for 1,000

7d    It may be charged, or one may be charged with it (7)
{BATTERY} A simple double definition. This Tommy Cooper gag may help. A firework and a ****** were accused of vandalism. After interrogation the ****** was charged and the firework let off. BOOM BOOM.

8d    She vainly seeks men’s attention (8)
{COQUETTE} A flirtatious woman. Also a crested hummingbird (thank you google) Not Pomette which was the first word that came into my head. Sorry Mrs P.

14d    Criticises something Obama has, say? (8)
{BARRACKS} A homophone (Sounds like ) clue base on The first name of The President Of The United States Of America and the single-letter abbreviation of has.

16d    ‘Man’ is clue possibly, solution is ‘male’ (9)
{MASCULINE} Anagram number six. The indicator is not difficult to spot. The fodder or words to juggle with are also somewhat obvious. The definition too stands out well. A nice clue to start a crossword off with and a whole lot easier as the checking letters go in.

17d    A clergyman may be  arrested (8)
{COLLARED} To be thus is to wear anything about the neck as does a member of the clergy in England. A google of this word revealed a rather surprising definition. Ooh er missus. Titter ye not.

18d    Horace set about female — the main opponent? (4-3)
{ARCH FOE} Did I say only six anagrams today? Well blow me down here is a seventh. The word set is a superb indicator that the word HORACE is to be anagramatised and then put around the F of F(emale)

20d    Loss of business (7)
{DEFICIT} If your 5d does not meet your outgoings your balance sheet will show one of these.

22d    No head on ale, that is strange (5)
{EERIE} No head on ale? How very southern is that. Remove the first letter from another word foe ale and add the Latin Id Est abbreviation for that is.

24d    Extravagant when out and about (5)
{OUTRE} Out from the clue and our usual suspect for about. On a Qwerty keyboard this word can be typed using only letters on the top line and only typing from east to west. Golly bongs.

25d    It’s just  not raining (4)
{FAIR} A double definition and one of the settings on a barometer

Some excellent cluing from our Monday maestro. I now have nothing to do and all day to do it in. Bliss.

The Quick crossword pun: (hide} + {roe} + {foil} = {hydrofoil}

61 comments on “DT 27529

  1. The NE corner put this into 3* difficulty for me – took me ages. As a Scot however, 4D was not a problem.

    Sorry about Charlie.

  2. Sorry to hear about Charlie; it’s intensely upsetting when one loses a pet – my condolences to you.

    Enjoyed this Rufus puzzle but got a bit stuck with some cryptic definitions which is usual for me – never did get 12ac either… Thanks to MP for the review and to Rufus ***/***

  3. So sorry to hear about Charlie MP. Having seen a number of Airedales through their lives and to the end, it is a very upsetting time. Our thoughts are with you

  4. Not one of my favourite Rufus’ today – one thing I dislike is having foreign words in crosswords and while I can just about forgive the Frenchism at 8D, 4D is totally inexcusable – just another reason to give our friends up north their independence.

  5. Solving this was sheer enjoyment. A lesson, surely, for all would-be setters. Rufus always has great surface readings, often wonderfully misleading
    Thanks to him yet again for a little morning fun and I’m so sorry to hear about Charlie, Miffypops

  6. I found bits of this one quite tricky. 3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment – it was good fun.
    12a and 5 and 7d were my last answers.
    I couldn’t do 11a for a while as I was trying to put an A (from the clue) with the good man into it – it didn’t work.
    My 26a was wrong – I had faker – someone going to bed when he’s not ill(?) – couldn’t explain the sharpish bit. Oh dear.
    I liked 9, 12 and 21a and 8d. I like them all equally so no favourite today.
    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops – I’m really sorry about your cat – how sad for you all.

  7. I agree that the first two across clues were nice but I felt it was a bit pedestrian thereafter.
    4d was a totally new word to me too – worked out thanks to the good old t’internet – and the Alice in Wonderland reference was lost on me I’m afraid. I guess that makes it a great clue if you are familiar with the book and a complete mystery if you’re not. I guessed it but spent ages trying (in vain) to work out why.

  8. My condolences. Cats are the best, and Charlie sounds like the cream! If he wore one, you could perhaps have illustrated 17d with a picture of him.

    Not the easiest crossword for me today – knowing that 4d was going to prevent me from winning, I impatiently went to the hints with a handful left. An enjoyable attempt though. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. I have looked in vain through Rufus crosswords for the merest hint of a cat. I have a smashing illustration waiting for just such a moment. I have changed my Gravater just for you.

  9. A nice start to the week, not too difficult but some thought needed though none were “unco” hard!! ***/***

  10. Mostly quite straightforward, but I would never have got 12a, even if I sat here all year (never read the book, or watched the film).
    Thanks to all concerned.

  11. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops, a pleasant if unchallenging crossword and an amusing review.

  12. I am married to an ex-scot so 4d was not a problem. I just think it is one of those four letter words only used in crosswords. Etui, Diss and ling spring to mind.
    Enjoyed the puzzle and the review.

    1. How does one become an ex-Scot?, I use the word at 4d regularly, Diss (with a capital as shown) is a thriving market town in Norfolk and whilst I wouldn’t claim to use etui or ling all the time, they are fairly common. Please don’t take offence at this response, I am a pedantic and foolish old Scotsman with the emphasis on old (and probably foolish).

      1. I’m having a second bite of the cherry! I did not mean that Diss and ling were uncommom, but that they occured much more frequently in crosswords than in common parlance. I am also pedantic, and the fact I used a capital for Diss reveals I knew it was a proper noun.

    2. One becomes an ex-scot when you have lived in England for 66 years! I dispute the fact that etui is a common word, seldom heard in Bolton!

      1. I too will have a second bite of the cherry and take the pedantry a shade further, I note that you capitalise England but not Scot, what’s more, I lived in England for more than 40yrs myself but am still a Scot and lastly I purchased an etui from Bolton market for my wife in about 1980. Having re-read my response, I have again noticed that it sound sarcastic and heavy handed, please believe me that is not my intent, rather a light hearted attempt at banter.

        1. Did you ask for an etui in 1980 or just point, if the former I suspect you would have got the reply “yerwhat”! Incidentally we have one of the best markets in the country, currently being refurbished.

          1. If I recall rightly it was labeled “etui”,I do however agree about your market, I bought some Christmas decorations there in the eighties which are still in use, I lived ooutside Stockport from the mid 60s till about 8yrs ago and remember the area very fondly indeed.

  13. This was really enjoyable (4*) but a tale of two halves for difficulty. On my first pass I got only two answers in the top half. I then completed the bottrom half in 1* time. Finishing the top half was a bit of a struggle, taking me to 2* for difficulty overall.

    4d was my last one in dragged somewhere from the recesses of mind – probably courtesy of a Billy Connolly sketch or two.

    Lots of great clues, with 1a, 9a, 12a and 17d deserving special mention.

    Many thanks to Rufus and condolences to MP.

  14. Fave today is 4d – I lived in the west of Scotland for many years so am very familiar with both meanings!

    Magnificent clear blue sky down here in the Var – strong Mistral all last night got rid of the clouds!

  15. We found this a very reasonable crossword, in so much as we finished it without too much difficulty. I’ve never heard of the Scottish word and I don’t think BigBoab needs any extra help, he’s far too good at these crosswords already. Thank you Mr. Setter and to Miffypops. I’m a dog person, but the loss of any pet is very upsetting.

  16. 90% of this was a Monday read and write, but my fun was spoiled by 4d (impossible if you’d never heard of it), 12a (let down by my literary ignorance) and 8d (hardly cryptic). Pity really as the rest of it was very enjoyable.
    Thanks setter (it’s me, not you!) and Miffypops for the review.

  17. A very enjoyable puzzle which had everything a puzzle should have. Excellent clues and lots of smilers. My verdict is 3/4.5 on the basis I have made this judgement disregarding 4D Never heard of it. My thanks to MP for a entertaining review. Goodnight and God bless Charlie.

  18. A little difficult to get stuck into this, but once I did, it just went like a well-oiled machine. I knew 4d, and once I got 12a because it just fitted, I remembered the book from childhood. It took longer than it should have to get 1a as I was sure the first word was “well”, then I got 1d and the light came on. Fave has to be 12a.

    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for the review. I know too well what it means to lose a friend, God speed Charlie.


  19. Have not yet attempted this Rufus puzzle. Just called in to say how very sorry I am about Charlie. God bless him. Empathies to you, Miffypops and Saint Sharon.

  20. Had great fun with this one. Thanks to setter. Like Corky I had a little trouble with the NE quadrant, but all done now. 12a was a smiler. Thank you MP for a great review, although I was so sorry to hear about Charlie. My condolences. I’ve had a cunning plan for a while now – to find a way to cross Poppy with specific aspects of a parrot, so that she could emulate their lifespans (can be up to one hundred years); but then I worry about how I’d provide for her after my trip to the Great Beyond. So perhaps, like Baldrick, not such a cunning plan after all…

  21. Very enjoyable. I have never heard of unco, whch looks awfully like an abbreviation to me even if not to the BRB editors. (Maybe its usage has gone astray on the long journey down to Dorset.) I loved 12a for which I needed the hint. Made me laugh once I’d stopped kicking myself. 3*/4* for me. Thanks to Rufus and also (with commiserations) to Miffypops.

        1. BRB agrees with you – having got alternate letters I did, eventually, remember having “met” it before in a crossword.

  22. Thanks Rufus for another fun-time. **/****. In common with Rick, Owdoo, Chris and several other commentators above 4d completely floored me and I guessed 12a but can’t believe I needed help to parse it – d’oh! I liked 9a. Thanks Rufus and Miffypops (RIP Charlie in mouse-heaven). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    1. We watched it too – I rather liked his opponent. Now watching Djokovic and Tsonga – the sports section of the paper hasn’t been looked at so much since this time last year!
      Just seen Jimmy Connors interviewed – he looks a bit old and podgy but is still lovely!

      1. Connors = ratbag? Never forgiven him for denying Ken Rosewall his last chance of a Wimbledon win!

  23. Sorry to hear about your cat.He sounded like such a charactor.
    A very pleasant puzzle from Rufus apart from 4d and 12a neither of which I got.Thanks Miffypops , for your great blog.

  24. It might have been nice if unco (which has just underlined itself in red as I type this in the comments box!) had been gettable from the wordplay. The double (Scots) definition strikes me as dead-easy if you know it, and impossible if not. Whereas to google an unknown word that you have deduced – and discover its existence – is one of the joys of cryptics.

    1. Definitely one of those that you know or you don’t know but can’t work out from the clue – I’m never quite sure if that’s fair or not in a cryptic crossword.
      What does anyone else think?

      1. I completely agree with you, Kath, although Rufus gives us such pleasure week after week after week that I think we should forgive him.

    2. My only concern is if it is the thin end of the wedge. If you are going to have colloquialisms, the clue must have the wordplay to support or else therein lies madness.

      1. I don’t mind colloquialisms, personally. I think this is just a case of getting the right difficulty. All crosswords assume a certain level of knowledge: of vocabulary, general and cultural knowledge and of cryptic solving rules and conventions. So the only question here is whether this is a word we should be expected to know. And there are certainly different opinions here! Would this clue raise any eyebrows in the Toughie, for instance?

    3. Forgive him or not, this is the sort of stupidity I expect on a Friday, or in toughie. Rufus should be ashamed of himself.

      1. Wow, that’s a bit strong! How unco unco it is that one little clue should generate such feeling! ;)

        1. Because it’s a clue that’s unfair. It’s either very easy or impossible. It’s a double definition where the knowledge required is the same for both defs. When pommette read the clue i replied that it’s an obscure Scottish word for strange but it must mean “very” in English. Apparently it means very in obscure Scottish as well – I rest my case. I’ve always thought better of Rufus.

    4. With reference to 4d and looking at it from the setters point of view, what words would fit? Apparantly there are four. UNCE UNCI UNCO and USCB. Not much choice for a setter. Rufus could have tried to change either 1ac or 9ac to find a better word at 4d and I am sure he did. If you want to know how hard that might be then try filling a grid. See how far you get! However when it comes to cluing I agree that to use two obscure Scottish definitions is unfair in an English newspaper (also sold in Scotland) Rufus delights in so many ways. I used to dislike his crosswords as they were always read and writes for me, solved all to quickly. Reviewing them over the last six months has made me realise just how clever the clues actually are. Full of mischeif and misdirection. Lighten up and look forward to tomorrows offering.

  25. Our last one in was 12a which we awarded our favourite clue prize when the penny dropped. Interesting to read the cross-border banter above about what words are acceptable in crosswords. Spare a thought for those of us on the other side of the world! Actually we had encountered 4d before, probably in a crossword. All good fun to solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. I think it appears in Robert Burns poems, but, personally, I’ve never been able to read his stuff, it’s like another language.

  26. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Sorry to hear about Charlie. Nice start to the week, a very enjoyable puzzle. Was 2*/4* for me. Favourite was 7d. I’ve finally caught up with the puzzles after being busy organising the Squash Leagues and watching all the sport on the telly. I’ve saved all the Toughies for my holiday starting on Thursday.

  27. The debates caused by 4 letter words…..all I will add is I didn’t know 4d but etui is a word that I know but admit mainly these days through crosswords purely because how many other words match that pattern? (awaits avalanche). 23a was my last in. D’oh. When I think of the hoops our beloved overseas contributors have to jump through to understand the nuances of Soap operas to answer some clues, my hat is doffed. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops (with heartfelt thoughts)

  28. I rather enjoyed this one; not over-difficult, but satisfying in its way. 2*/4* would be my rating, and 17d my favourite clue. My thanks to Rufus for kicking the week off so nicely, and both thanks and commiserations to Miffypops. I raise a glass to Charlie.

  29. Truly flummoxed on 4d – even though solving in aberdeen today – thanks for the steer!

  30. Miles behind schedule due to prep for Canada Day tomorrow (Tuesday) – first for us as citizens rather than permanent residents. Nevertheless a really good c/w and my thanks to BD for help – 4 and 5 down were beyond my feeble grey matter. I got 7 down but love the Tommy Cooper joke. Just like that! Off to look at the Tuesday comp as its been available for 4 hours but BBQ etc got in the way.

  31. Thanks Rufus for a good fun puzzle and MP for your review and hints. Now for Tuesday’s !

  32. I thought 4d rather unfair.
    Impossible for southerners.
    Marred an otherwise brilliant puzzle.
    Thanks to Rufus and thanks to Miffypops.

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