DT 27547 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27547

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27547

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable outing from Rufus today with a tussle and a query at 2d. What is your view? This has been done in the early hours as we are going to the opening of an exhibition of Aviation paintings at The Mall Galleries in London.

Solved silently this week whilst Saint Sharon slept peacefully. I will now go and wake her up to see if she is sleeping alright.

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    Never-ending malady makes one grumble (8)
{COMPLAIN} A relatively minor illness or medical condition minus (never ending) its last letter

6a    Get the wind up? Retreat! (6)
{RECOIL} As a verb, to suddenly flinch back in fear horror or disgust (to observe me doing just this, show me a spider) or split (2,4) to wind up a rope or cable

9a    Fool to get bad abuse (6)
{ASSAIL} Take our usual three lettered crosswordland fool and add a word meaning to be bad as in illness or sickness to find this verb meaning to abuse or criticise strongly

10a    Charm Tibetan leader with performing animals (8)
{TALISMAN} A charm or mascot formed by taking the T(ibetan) leader and adding an anagram (performing) of ANIMALS

11a    Hold back an expression of disapproval in play (8)
{PEEKABOO} Reverse a four-lettered word meaning to hold and add A (an) and a word of disapproval we might use for the baddie in a pantomime to get the first game babies play with their parents.

12a    But an electrician longs to find them (6)
{SHORTS} The opposite of longs is what an electrician might seek in order to mend a fault

13a    Club that’s used by militant trade unionists? (6,6)
{STRIKE WEAPON} A club as an armament and what one might do with it gives a tool or threat the Trade unions used to both good and bad effect in the seventies.

16a    High in visual acuity scores (6-6)
{TWENTY-TWENTY} This term for normal vision is made by using an the archaic term score twice

19a    Tries to catchPoints of View‘ (6)
{ANGLES} A double definition. Tries to catch fish. Opinions.


21a    They should be fair, but they don’t play the game (8)
{REFEREES} These arbiters do not actually play the game they arbitrate. Their impartiality should be beyond reproach.

23a    Don’t give up getting unit back in shape (8)
{CONTINUE} Reverse (back) the word UNIT and place it inside a circular hollow object which tapers from a circular base to a point. Thanks to google for the definition of the shape here. You don’t think I do this unaided do you?

24a    Toiler disposed to belie his nature? (6)
{LOITER} My iffy clue of the day. It is an obvious anagram which fits only one way with the checking letters. A toiler would not ****** if he did it would belie his nature. The jury is out. This could be my clue of the day.

25a    Means  business (6)
{AGENCY} A double definition worthy of mention. A business or organisation providing a particular service on behalf of another business or group

26a    Intended to put one’s name in legal document (8)
{DESIGNED} Put ones name as in “on the dotted line” inside a word for a legal document


2d    Taciturn native? (6)
{OYSTER} Once the checkers are in there are only three words that fit here. Ousted and Ouster are not the answer. The correct answer happens to be a shellfish which I can connect loosely to the word native from the clue. I cannot link this word to taciturn but then I do not own the BRB. Big Dave might choose to append something here or I prefer to throw it open to anybody out there who knows more than me and thanks if you do. [Chambers – a secretive person (informal). BD]

For picture – {}

3d    Practical joke is quietly offensive (5)
{PRANK} Place an adjective meaning to have a foul or offensive smell after the musical abbreviation for quietly to find this amusing jape.

4d    Alter it by breaking free (2,7)
{AT LIBERTY} A delightful anagram, cleverly clued. The fodder, indicator and definition appear in this order.

5d    Number coming up with task for several computers (7)
{NETWORK} Reverse (taken up) a number and add another word for task to find a word for an interconnected group of computers

6d    Parts with some bread, we hear (5)
{ROLES} A homophone clue where care is needed with spelling. The parts are theatrical. The breads are small loaves. Car manufacturers and Aircraft engine manufacturers do not feature here.

7d    Routine disguise for army scout (9)
{CUSTOMARY} Please excuse me while I bleat on again about the value of the quickie crossword to cryptic solvers. I got this answer from the first word “routine” and some checking letters. It is only now that I am reviewing the clue that I have noticed the anagram which is clearly indicated by the word disguise

8d    Idleness during battle (8)
{INACTION} Split (2,6) this word means during battle. Written in full it means idleness.

13d    The only one in a suit wearing a vest (9)
{SINGLETON} split (7,2( this would be to be wearing a vest (this word for vest only appears in crosswords)

14d    Financial gains which come from the branches (9)
{WINDFALLS} Remember when your cosy small town building societies were swallowed up by the big banks? These financial gains were what their members gained after voting yes. Also fallen apples in an orchard.

15d    Silent films star giving first or last performance (8)
{SWANSONG} This female silent film star died in 1983. Add the first letter of G(iving) to her surname to find a term for somebodies last performance.

17d    The point of missiles used in anger (7)
{WARHEAD} The explosive head of a missile.

18d    Go back to do repair work on turf, it’s announced (6)
{RECEDE} Go back as in one’s hairline sounds like (its announced) to sow new grass

20d    Lyle looks like he’s been in the bunker (5)
{SANDY} The first name of this golfer sounds like the contents of a golf bunker

22d    Being sorry, one’s called round (5)
{RUING} To have called on the telephone around the letter represented by the number one

This was above and beyond the call of duty from Miffypops, I hope he and Sharon enjoy their day out. BD

The Quick crossword pun: (market} + {tree} = {marquetry}

63 comments on “DT 27547

  1. Even with a late start, I still finished comfortably before lights out last night. Although, like MP I was not certain about 2d; but the answer is shown in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary under native. So thanks to Rufus for a gentle start to the week with some head scratching and to MP for his review with the usual reasonable in quantity and tasteful illustrations. */*** for me – favourite 16a.

  2. Yes, not surprisingly 2d was my last fill, with the checking 9a second last since i wasn’t sure of 2d. I told myself a shy, taciturn person would clam up.

    else a quick solve, with some giveaways thrown in and some nice clues. The definition for 13d gave an elegant twist I had not seen before to an otherwise old chestnut. such a obvious beautiful opportunity in hindsight, i was surprised not to have seen it before but perhaps others have.

    couldn’t decide whether 25a was clever or in the 2d category.

    thanks Rufus and miffypops

  3. Like miffypops I have no idea what taciturn has to do with the answer, no doubt some brain box will come on & explain. Apart from that I found this a gentle stroll & a good start to the weeks entertainment.Many thanks to the setter & miffypops for the review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    1. Don’t pretend to be a “brainbox” but Merriam Webster tells me that “an oyster keeps its shell shut to resist it being opened hence a taciturn person is an oyster” – well, we live and learn! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  4. Good one today. Struggled somewhat with 2D- TACITURN NATIVE until I realised that an oyster in ‘its shell’ (taciturn) was the answer !

  5. Thank you Rufus for an enjoyable puzzle. I was very slow to get going but once under way and with some checkers things fell into place. Some lovely clues – best for me was 13d. Thank you Miffypops for your review and hints. Enjoy the Mall Galleries.

  6. The bark of this puzzle turned out to be worse than the bite hence a slow start led to a swiftish finish with the SE corner last to go in. There were some old chestnuts including 25a, 14d and 22d and also 13d which was probably my fav even though I don’t really play bridge. ***/*** Thanks Rufus and Miffypops for your hints in good taste. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  7. A typical Monday offering I thought not too challenging apart from 2D I think the compiler has got this one from the awkward corner of the clue cupboard. I still really don’t understand it but will think about it through the day. Taking 2D out of the equation, I would rate this as 2*/3*. My thanks to Miffypops for his review. I cannot comprehend the pressure one must be under to publish a blog to a dead line and encountering something like 2D Well done Miffypops , you have handled it masterly.

  8. Thanks MP for assistance and Rufus for setting – found it enjoyable once got stuck in with MP’s help. Favourite clue was 2d but surprised MP missed the literary reference to The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carrol (see verse about the eldest oyster!).

    1. I think I might have been a bit too clever with this comment re 2D – taciturn also means tight-lipped – maybe Rufus has the answer?

  9. 3*/3*

    I agree with the previous comments. After a very slow start everything eventually fell into place with 2d certainly presenting the biggest challenge. I looked up both the answer to 2d and “native” in the BRB. BD has added the first of these to Miffypops’ review above, and, as Senf points out, one of Chambers’ defintions for native is “(of an oyster) raised in an artificial (British) bed”. You live and learn!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  10. I had no problems at all with 2d – live on the North Kent coast and you certainly know the Whitstable Native Oyster. Solve crosswords for long enough and you are well aware that an oyster, like his friend the clam, is always considered taciturn.

    1. Well – there’s another thing that I’ve learnt today – always thought that Whitstable was in Yorkshire! Never was much good at geography. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. You’ll have to come down for a visit – but not on a summer weekend when you can’t move for people ‘Down from London’ (known locally as the DFLs).

  11. So, an oyster clams up which makes it taciturn. Well, taciturn is ‘saying little’ is not the same as ‘clamming up’ which is saying nothing. I think that it is a stretch.

    1. Finished now and up to the usuaL high standard for Rufus, for which many thanks. The only thing is that the oyster/clam clue was a bit ‘iffy and, if you don’t follow golf 20d was out, I am so glad that I follow cricket. On 25a I couldn’t really understand the link between ‘agency’ and ‘means’. Many thanks to MP for the hints which were most useful

  12. Not too much of the usual Monday trouble for me so 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    Like others 2d was my last one – could see that a taciturn person might be called an oyster but didn’t understand the native bit – pity it didn’t occur to me to look in BRB under native.
    I made the top right corner tricky (impossible?) for myself by having Sparks for 12a – oh dear! Sorted that one out.
    Needless to say I’d never heard of the 20d golfer.
    Lots of good clues – 10 and 16a and 13d. My favourite was 11a.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops – hope that you and Saint Sharon have a very good day.

    1. I have to second this – a new edition to boot, timing is right. You won’t understand how you ever managed without it..

    2. If you’ve got an iPhone or an IiPad you could buy the iTunes version of the BRB… If you get the Thesaurus as well it’ll even cross reference for you. Once you’ve bought it updates for new editions are free. :-)

  13. 2d ‘Tactiurn’ also means ‘tight-lipped’ – which is very typical of an oyster (a ‘tight-lipped native)

  14. 3*/4* for me. I’m a sucker for Rufus’ wit and misdirection and there was plenty of both here. 3* for difficulty because I had to come here for explanations for some of the answers I’d written in “because it must be”. 2d was last in and I’m grateful for the rationale.

    I’ve been doing this crossword for nearly 50 years and I’d never heard of the Whitstable Oyster, but then it’s not common in Birmingham and I have a pathological dislike of shellfish…

    Lots of favourites but 12a gets my vote. I do enjoy the Monday Rufus/Moffypops combination – thank you both.

  15. All seems to revolve around the oyster which I remembered was a ‘native’ and when closed cannot utter much which as Crypticsue says, ‘clams up’ like his mate Anyway I think a **/***rating is about right, with an adequate degree of difficulty for a Monday. Agree 24 across was a clever clue Thanks to Miffypops for the pictures,2d was spot on; hope the cricketers are as good !

  16. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Hope you and Sharon have a great day. A nice gentle start to the week. Favourite was 15d, last in was 2d. Was 2*/3* for me. Cricket is very interesting.

  17. 2d did it for me the only very tenuous connection being possibly is as taciturn can be speechless or clammed up. The oyster as far as I am aware is not a species of clam in the true sense however this is the only connection I could make..

  18. An enjoyable if gentle crossword this morning, the oyster clue is well known amongst cruciverbalists. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  19. We thought this a wee bit more tricky than the usual Monday offering, but managed to finish with a little help from our friend Miffypops, for which many thanks. Thanks too of course to the setter.

  20. I was a bit slow on some of these, but in the end agree with a **/*** rating. On a note of personal taste, I’m often in two minds about Rufus puzzles, because I love a really good cryptic definition, but can’t stand them if they’re a bit tenuous.

    Didn’t know the golfer or silent film star, but the only one I couldn’t get was 2d… hadn’t heard of the native oyster, but have no problems with the “taciturn” part of the clue. No real favourites today, but if pushed, would go for 3d for its surface.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops, and to all who weighed in with input about 2d which helped me feel better about not getting it!

  21. Good fun from Rufus as usual!

    Faves : 6a, 16a, 2d & 15d.

    Very strong wind here today – not a Mistral!

  22. A 2*/3* for me. Liked a lot about this puzzle 21a and 13d were stand outs. Like many others 2d was new to me although as MP pointed out re the checking letters the only other two words made less sense than the remaining option. The weather’s cooler for now which will help the forest fire fighters although still over 100 to be extinguished. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  23. My Australian son-in-law wears singlets so 13d was no problem. We should all remember 2d in future judging by the comments. Very enjoyable thanks to setter and Miffypops.

  24. I rarely contribute because I do the crosswords (thanks entirely to BD et al for teaching me how) several weeks behind, but saw today’s so will use the chance to say thanks to all for a wonderful blog, thanks to setter for an excellent crossword – 16ac one of the best clues ever IMHO.

  25. Another good one from Rufus. How does he do it week after week? I had no problem with 2d but completely missed 20d as don’t know much about golf, really no excuse as I should have guessed it. Thanks to Rufus and M’pops for the usual entertaining review.

  26. Hello everyone.

    I often read this blog, but haven’t posted before now.

    2d- it seems to have caused some controversy, but I’m sure I remember my Lancastrian grannie referring to someone as being “as close as oyster, that one”. Having said that I’ve Googled the phrase and haven’t found any answers.

    The puzzle was slightly more difficult than the usual Monday affair, so ***/*** for me.

  27. No real problems today, although 2d was a bit of a guess to be honest. 14d was my favourite. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  28. Webster’s New World College Dictionary:

    1. any of various bivalve mollusks with an irregularly shaped, unequal shell, living attached to rocks, other shells, etc., and widely used as food
    2. the soft, edible part of such a mollusk
    3. the oyster-shaped bit of meat contained in a depression on each side of the pelvic bone of a fowl
    4. something from which profit or advantage can be extracted: the world is my oyster
    5.Informal – a taciturn person

  29. Sorry to be such a crossword ignoramus but what is the BRB? I thought it stood for big red button!

  30. There’s a breed of oysters called Native Oysters. Taciturn – close, tight-lipped,etc

  31. Taciturn native? also appeared in the Guardian No. 23359 in January 2005, set by Rufus.

  32. Enjoyable Monday fare.
    Got the grey matter working.
    Is it not time 2d retired?
    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops for their different skills.

  33. Well what can I say, I’ve been having a go at the Telegraph cryptics again after a long break. My previous forays were pre-internet and not over successful. I discovered this site about 3 weeks ago and have found it an excellent tutor, culminating in my success with today’s puzzle prior to the hints appearing! Thank you all so much! Incidentally I got 2d with native plus the other letters, but as for taciturn I figured ‘OY sters ‘ to be those of limited vocabulary or expression, you know the type often just saying ‘OY’. Having said that the clam explanation is far better, just wanted to share my ‘thought’ process! Greetings from Mallorca, Barry

  34. Pleasant enough solve (2*\3) and l won’t quibble about 2d. 15d was my favourite. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  35. Defeated by 2d I’m afraid. I guessed the answer from the checking letters but it made no sense until I checked the blog here. First time I’ve come across either of those uses of the word since I started doing crosswords regularly about a year ago.
    I enjoyed the rest of it though, including a golf reference after a British win at The Open. In all, slightly harder than usual for a Monday I thought.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP for the review.

  36. 2d has come up before a few times, although possibly in the Toughie. I got it at once, but only because of previous struggles. The one that held me up, inexplicably, and my last one in, was 12a, so that will have to be my favourite. Otherwise, the usual fun Monday fare from Rufus, so thanks to him, and to MP for the typically high standard review. 2*/3*

  37. Just catching up with three in a row – Sat/Sun/Mon. – too hot here to think about crosswords, but will have a look at Tuesday in a minute or two

    Anyway, re Monday- hate to be stupid or pedantic, but isn’t there an apostrophe missing off the end of the second word of 15D?

  38. 2d. Try Lewis Carroll’s Walrus and the Carpenter – “and answer came there none , and this was scarcely odd because they’d eaten every one”.

  39. Straightforward,probably easy as I completed after an 11 hour day on a return minibus drive to Gatwick. 2d was a problem but arrived at by guess work as little else would fit.

  40. By the way, congrats to whoever decided to change the “reveal answer” from white on yellow to black on white! My eyesight is not bad, but I found the white/yellow a real struggle.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  41. An old expression for someone uncommunicative was “closed up like an oyster”. Thus “taciturn”. Oysters are called “natives” when they are not cultivated.

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