DT 27559 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27559

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27559

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Rufus at his most sublime best. Creative clueing marvellous surface reads. Clever misdirections. A stand out favourite clue at 14d and highly commended to 18ac and 8d. The anagrams allow an easy start to puzzles and there are plenty here to set you off.

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    Prepare to give orders — or receive one? (4,7)
TAKE COMMAND A clever double definition here. To give an order you need to do this first. If you receive an order you also do this.

9a    Working steam mill of no great importance (5-4)
SMALL TIME Working is an obvious anagram indicator here. The two words that follow it are the anagram fodder.

10a    Turn aside for inspiration (5)
IDEAS And the same again! Anagram (turn) of ASIDE

11a    Stays with sailor on a date in Rome(6)
ABIDES Two usual suspects here. The abbreviation for Able Seaman and the Roman date 15th March.

12a    Rubbish-holder in container ship (3-5)
BIN LINER The container holds rubbish. The ship is large, ocean going and carries passengers.

13a    Acting as a unit providing some wooden blocks (2,4)
EN BLOC One of two hidden words today indicated by the word some. The answer is there lurking in the clue. If you have been lurking on here on this blog site and have used this hint to solve this clue, please come out and introduce yourself. It will be a pleasure to meet you.

15a    Fifty per cent of wisecrackers may be fools (8)
HALFWITS Try using fifty percent as a fraction and add the plural of a word meaning one who is quick and inventive with words or ideas in a humorous way

18a    It could result in deflation being on the way (8)
PUNCTURE The way is a road. The thing that might suffer deflation is black, round and rubbery. This is what caused the black, round rubbery thing to deflate.

19a    Second best part in hilarious performance (6)
SCREAM Take the abbreviation for S(econd) add a word meaning the best part or elite to find an intensely funny person, thing or situation.

21a    Cow appears as appropriate in marshland (8)
FRIGHTEN Place a word meaning correct into a word for marshland (used a lot in Lincolnshire) to find a rarely used word meaning to cow. One who cowers is cowed. I hope this helps.

23a    50 is 10? Pay attention! (6)
LISTEN A simple charade when you know how. One word. Two syllables. First letter. The Roman Numeral which represents 50. Next two letters. IS from the clue. That completes the first syllable. Second syllable. 10 written as a word.

26a    Medium for broadcasting three dances (5)
ETHER A nicely worded clue with an anagram indicator right at the end. The answer refers to air being a medium for radio.

27a    Definitely caught and bowled (3-3-3)
OUT AND OUT This phrase means absolutely or without doubt. It is made up using the cricketing terms for what you are if you are caught and what you are when you are bowled

28a    A lover can be excited and lose equilibrium (11)
OVERBALANCE Anagram (excited) of A LOVER CAN BE


1d    After exam tucked into meal with a will (7)
TESTATE Place the past tense of eat (tucked in) after another word for exam

2d    Gurkha kit includes uniform of this colour (5)
KHAKI Our second hidden word today indicated by the word includes. The answer is there lurking in the clue. If you have been lurking on this blog site and used this hint to solve this clue, please come out and introduce yourself. It will be a pleasure to meet you.

3d    Shouted as told to strike (6,3)
CALLED OUT A double definition. The first is straightforward. The second is rarely used nowadays but was prevalent in the seventies and used by the trade unions as a directive to down tools, go home and not be paid.

4d    Graduate elected as principal (4)
MAIN One of the two abbreviations used by a graduate followed by what a political party is said to be after being successfully elected

5d    A confused Crimean statesman, perhaps (8)
AMERICAN An anagram (confused) of A CRIMEAN will give you this resident of The United States

6d    Boring bit of exercise (5)
DRILL The bit used to make circular holes is also a form of military parade ground exercise.

7d    Places visited on holidays, or between holidays (7)
RESORTS The collective name for seaside holiday destinations found by placing the word OR into what holidays are.

8d    For now it’s set at Greenwich (8)
MEANTIME For now refers to this precise moment in time. At the moment we are using British Summer Time. In October we will revert back to Greenwich **** **** It is well worth a trip to The Royal Greenwich Observatory for the views out over the river and the observatory itself. Particularly the story of Longitude and the clocks and chronometers made by John Harrison

14d    Chelsea versus Bath? (3,5)
BUN FIGHT A headscratcher until the checkers went in and then a laugh out loud moment. We are nicely misdirected to sports teams but alas Chelsea play oikball whilst Bath play the finest team sport in the world. The answer is described in an online dictionary firstly as a tea party or other function, typically of a grand or official kind, and secondly as a heated argument or exchange. If you are still in any doubt the answer can be found in a cake shop.


16d    It’s not true oil, in fact, needs changing (9)
FICTIONAL If it is not factual it is this. There is another anagram in here somewhere, possibly number six

17d    Playboy lifestyle — but you get nothing for nothing? (4,4)
FREE LOVE Two words meaning nothing. The first meaning without charge or cost and the second used in tennis.

18d    Trains for smokers? (7)
PUFFERS A childish term for railway trains also describes smokers

20d    One who painted the heartless Dickensian doctor (7)
MANETTE You have to get the right painter here. Edouard not Claude. Then put the without the letter H (disheartened) to find the name of the doctor in Dickens tale Of Two Cities. A quick check on Wikipedia almost had me in tears. Poor bloke.

22d    Silent comedy film star (5)
HARPO I am not sure if this is cryptic. The answer is one of the Marx Brothers. If you are under 98 you may struggle with this one [Harpo was the Marx Brother who never spoke! BD]

24d    The point of growing roses (5)
THORN This point is what you may prick yourself upon.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25d    Attempt to assassinate? (4)
STAB To have a go at or to murder using a blade

All done to Tom Waits with a short interruption by Annie Lennox who warbled away to good effect at 24d.


The Quick Crossword pun: universe + city = university

78 comments on “DT 27559

  1. Crossword 27559

    21a was the sticking point, as I started on the notion that the cow in question was an animal (friesian) rather than the other meaning of “to cow”

    Otherwise quickly solved

    1. If you comment on the ‘right’ page for the crossword, it is more likely to be read (especially by the blogger and the setter) than if you post it on the comments page.

    2. Ditto. Took a while to get past this although when I checked my spelling for fresian I knew I had a problem given 17d. Other than that, a gentle stroll and very enjoyable. A */*** for me and thanks to MP and the setter for a pleasant start to the week.

  2. I’d like to think that my crossword skills were particularly well-honed this morning, but I’d have to admit that this was a pretty gentle start to the week, even by Rufus’ standards. Absolutely none the less enjoyable for that with the usual lashings of humour and misdirection that I enjoy so much from Mr Squires’ puzzles. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I spent a couple of minutes trying to get “Friesian” to fit for 21a. That was last in and also my favourite. Agree with Miffypop’s */*** to whom thanks. Also to Rufus without whom Mondays wouldn’t be the same.

      1. Nice to be in such good company. That’s the art of misdirection… you know it’s not right and you know there’s nothing in the clue to support your answer, but you just can’t help yourself :-)

      2. Well I got the correct answer for 21a, as it turned out, but couldn’t believe that it could be right. It was the ‘cow’ word I’m afraid. It put me off.

    1. You were not alone with “Fresian”! I did wonder for one stupid moment if it could be spelled “Fresien” in order to get “Fen” = “Marshland” round the outside. :oops:

  3. 1.5*/3*. A very enjoyable puzzle again from our Monday maestro with all his usual amusement and light touch. 14d was my favourite, and, if forced to choose between the two, I slightly prefer Chelsea.

    I was hoping to find out from the review why 22d is cryptic, but MP appears as unsure as me about this.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. As Big Dave has pointed out Harpo Marx never spoke in The Marx Brothers films which were talkies not silent films. The silent refers to Harpo not the film type

    2. I didn’t think 22d was cryptic either but then I am ancient and a lifelong fan of the Marx Brothers. (Favourite line: ‘Everybody knows there ain’t no sanity clause’)

  4. I thought this was Rufus at his most benign, and I speak as a fan. Apart from a quick Google check on the doctor (sacrilege I know but Dickens sends me to sleep) and a pause as I too tried to work out why Friesian didn’t fit 21a, I pretty much wrote this in as I munched on my wheatybangs. 1*/2*

    1. You’re the first person i’ve heard use the expression wheatybangs apart from me! Where did it come from? Some comedy show perhaps?

      1. We used to call them wheatybangs when our kids were little but I have no idea where it came from – I wonder if it was a children’s TV programme or possibly an advert.

        1. A favourite Woganism from days gone by.

          PS Rufus bares his fangs a little more in today’s Grauniad.

            1. Aah! Wogan! I’ve got the TOGS cassettes! Wheatybangs are breakfast cereals – mine are cornflakes!

          1. The wonderful Wogan – his Janet and John stories gave me the giggles for the rest of the day, particularly when he ended up getting uncontrollable giggles himself.

            1. Mornings have never been the same since. Melanie Frontage where are you now? (Apologies to overseas bloggers who have absolutely no clue what we’re on about).

              1. I agree – mornings just aren’t the same. He’s wonderful – clever, funny and one of the genuinely good guys. He ties with John Thaw http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif as my joint favourite person who I’ve never met – grammar might just be a bit wrong there.

              2. Rick I remember listening to a Janet and John story on the way to work somewhere in the Fens and was so relieved when the driver found a layby, we were literally crying with laughter

  5. Sorry I’ve not been around much for the last few weeks – I’ve been very busy although I have been solving and reading comments. May have a bit more busyness to do, but have fingers crossed that I can spend a bit more time on the important things in life (crosswords of course).

    Write-in for me today I’m afraid, 21A took the longest as it was the only one not solved on first pass. 14D was excellent.

    At a total loss today – no Commonwealth Games ad no Test Match. Arrrrrgh

  6. A lovely, amusing start to the week. Like others, I had put ‘Friesian’ in for 21a, but quickly found it did’t fit. Loved 14d, of the two, I prefer Bath with the crystallised sugar on top, but haven’t seen them for ages!
    Many thanks to all. Now for the quickie!

  7. I thought this one might just be the most straightforward cryptic crossword I’ve ever done. I also really enjoyed it – I agree with MP’s ratings.
    I had a minor flip when I first read 27a and 14d but just passed them over until the answers were reasonably obvious, even to me.
    I managed the hidden 2d (could hardly miss it as by then I already had the first letter) but missed 13a for a little while.
    I liked 21a and 17d. My favourite is either 15a or 14d.
    With thanks to Rufus for a good crossword and to Miffypops for a great review. Yet another new picture . . .
    Going to have a go at the Rookie Corner crossword later but stuff to do now.

  8. Thank you Rufus for a very enjoyable puzzle which kept me going for half the morning and many thanks to MP for the hints but I had finished before they were published thus achieving my target

  9. Mr BB has gone walking in the Lake District today, so tackled it on my own. Finished in the usual time, but a bit deflated when everyone gave it a 1* for difficulty! I won’t confess to that when he returns.

  10. As Miffypops said, the surface readings are great.. I can’t be bothered solving a crossword with clues that don’t make sense when read. Gobbledygook. As always, thanks, Rufus

  11. Thank you Rufus, an amusing start to the week. Thanks MP for your review hints and pics. 14d excellent !

  12. Best ever result, thanks to Miffypops and Big Dave’s directions over the last year, only three remained unsolved. WUHEY!

    1. Welcome from me too – all you need now is a little picture of an otter instead of the one that you’ve acquired through no fault of your own.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  13. Lovely Monday crossword, a joy to solve. Thank you Miffypops and of course thank you to the Monday setter.

  14. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A delightful puzzle to start the week, if a little straightforward. Lots of great clues that made me smile. Great misdirection in 21a. Favourites were 12a & 2,7,22d. Last in was 21a. Was 1*/4* for me. Getting cloudy in Central London.

  15. Agree with MP’s ratings today. After a weekend of enduring enjoying invaders visitors, and only being able to solve crosswords in bits and pieces of snatched time, I definitely needed a nice Rufus today to de-grump! And he did not disappoint :). Fell for the same bovine distraction as others at 21a, and had to look up to verify my answer to 20d. Particularly liked 1 and 21a, but 7d takes the award for favourite today.

    I hear them returning, so it’s time to put on the happy face and meet the hoards … :bye:

    1. We have various visitors on and off between now and Sunday (and beyond but don’t tell grumpy Mr CS http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif) However, the visitors understand I have a crossword addiction and mainly leave me to get on solving in peace -although my brother in law does like to think he can help!

    2. They are actually very lovely visitors: it’s more just a case of much too much of a good thing. Anyway. the world seems rather a lot brighter now that I’ve been fed and watered (read: wined) :).

  16. Thanks Rufus and MP with whom I agree this was almost as easy as pie but a slight hitch for me was 17d where I, like others, tried unsuccessfully to somehow manoeuvre a cow and/or Friesian into 21a so in order to complete sought help elsewhere prior to MP’s appearance. I agree that 22d is more GK than cryptic and lack of 21a crossing meant there were several possible relevant stars. Overall lots of fun. */***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  17. This was a delightful puzzle! 14d was my fave. (It reminds me so much of my dear late Mother. It was an expression she used and makes me smile whenever I think of it.) Also liked 8d, 18a and 21a. (Yes, I too, thought of Fresian to begin with, but soon discounted it.)

    Thoroughly enjoyed the review, Miffypops. Interested to read that 22d never spoke in the films. Didn’t know that. (Being ‘under 98’ is a good excuse!)

    Many thanks and appreciation to Rufus and to Miffypops. Most enjoyable.

  18. Thank you, Rufus, for one that I could do. I think this is the most straightforward that I have ever done yet still got caught out, wanting remote sandy places for 7d and getting stuck on 18a due to trying to have the L word first on 17d. Also lost a mark on 20d for getting the wrong painter. 14d favourite. Thank you Miffypops for your tasteful and witty review. For me, Rufus and Miffypops make Monday the most enjoyable day of the week.

  19. Read and write for me today; but nevertheless most enjoyable. */****. Many thanks to setter and reviewer.

  20. Great fun ,thank you Rufus. I ,too ,had the same thoughts re 21a until I remembered the other meaning of cow. My favourite also is 14d but also like 23a. Thanks to Miffypops too.

  21. Like mostly everybody it seems I spent a few moments wondering why ‘cow’ did not answer 21a. Otherwise a gentle virtual (?) write-in. Thank you Rufus and MP for the hints.

  22. Really enjoyed solving this with Poppy curled up beside me dreaming of Banana Joe and her lampshade framing her face beautifully! Thank you setter, and Miffypops for the hints, mainly to confirm the Doctor’s name was correct. Greetings to all.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  23. Enjoyable solve and I would agree with Miffypop’s */*** rating.

    Also agree that14d is favourite.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops

  24. */****
    But didn’t get the Marx Brother. I’m not old enough to remember them and I’m 62
    Crosswords like this are wonderful because they make you feel clever, a fleeting illusion but good.
    Thanks to both.

  25. I try to finish within 45 mins to get the extra 400 points on offer on the on-line version.

    Like some others I had to resort to aid (google) to find the Dickensian doctor, hopefully I’ll remember for next time.

    I couldn’t see 27 across for a while before I got 17d because i couldn’t decide if the second word was one or and; I wasn’t sure because and appeared in the clue.

    Thought that maybe 18d is a bit old fashioned or are us crossword solvers all old enough to remember steam trains :-D ?

    TY to the setter and the reviewer.

  26. Rufus is my favourite setter and he did not disappoint today. I originally got the wrong painter for 20d and had to google to correct. The puzzle went together very nicely for me, agree with 1* difficulty and oodles of enjoyment. I loved 23a but have to agree with most that 14d was special. Thanks to Rufus, and to you, M’pops, for the most amusing review.

  27. Not a great challenge to start the week but very enjoyable. I would rate this as 1/3.5 I like a lot of fellow bloggers got into a muddle with 21A which was compounded by the fact I was thinking of Greta Garbo for 22D ( please don’t put a Freudian interpretation on that!) Any way got it sorted and finished without need for Miffypops and his splendid review for which I say thank you. My favourite Grouch Marx quip: “Operator I want to talk to my mother-in-law, get me the wrong number!”}

  28. I ah’d and chuckled my way through most of this without recourse to Hints and Tips. Needed help for 20d and 22d

    I feel quite accomplished as a crossword solver today, I will enjoy this while I can.

    Thank you Rufus for a superb puzzle and MP for H&T

    My favourite is 11a

  29. Ah, must be a training day.
    I solved most quicker than I could write them in.
    Only stumble, 21a, which., after checking the spelling of a certain kind of cow, hit me.
    I keep forgetting the French variety of cow which regularly crops up in crosswords.
    Some lovely clues.
    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops for the review.

    1. You’ve inserted a space in your alias so your comment needed moderation. Both variants should work from now on.

    2. I don’t know why you think 22d is not cryptic – the clue suggests a star of a silent movie and it is actually the silent star of a series of talking pictures.

  30. OK, it was pretty easy, but – as usual – Rufus has worked in some clever, nicely misleading clues. 14d my firm favourite, but l enjoyed 21a and 8d as well. I always forget that particular Dickens novel (beloved of Spoonerising schoolboys with dirty minds) but managed to drag the good Doctor up eventually for 20d. Many thanks to Rufus, and to MP for the review.

  31. Lovely start to the week, 14d gets my vote, thank you Rufus and Miffypops. Just off to the Cathedral for the WW1 lights out. Cynth Cuth Lulu and Cher in tow.

    1. That sounds quite a group, Andy, but I think our four-legged friends have a deep intuition about these things too…. Hope you found it a rewarding trip. Which cathedral?

  32. Super puzzle, thanks to Rufus and to MP for the tips, loved 14d: up there with – ‘How oxen tire (8).
    Can’t quote any Harpo as he very rarely spoke but a favourite Groucho is, “Marry me and I promise I’ll never look at another horse again.”
    I didn’t start this one ’til late-on last night and finished around 5 today; had work, dentist (dropped a filling) and tiling (kitchen) so crossword lost priority.
    Had to look up the doctor as I too find Dickens a somnolent.

  33. Ah! Forgot have a comedy American red-neck voice on my Tom Tom and it uses the word “cow” in this sense so 21a never looked like anything Bovine.

    1. What is your TomTom saying to you when it uses cow in this context, my mind is boggling :wacko:

      1. On a fork in the road where you have to turn say left it says, “Bear left, cow right!”
        The voice is called ‘Mullet Man’ by Tom Tom and it’s a free download; or at least it was 3 to 4 years ago!

  34. Thank you Rufus for a lovely solve at the end of a bad Monday. I loved 14d with 21a as a close second when I stopped looking for bovine answers. Thank you Miffypops for entertaining review and everyone else’s contributions that make such a good read over that first cup of tea this morning. Here’s to a better day at work with 2 crosswords to look forward to when I get home.

  35. Didn’t you have to be of a certain age to see the answers and to enjoy this one?

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