DT 27619 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27619

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27619

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Rufus gives us a masterclass in how to use the same word in multiple clues, each time with a different meaning. Unlike Brenda Spencer I always look forward to Mondays!

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    Making a comeback just the same (11)
PALINDROMIC:    An adjective describing a word that reads the same forwards and backwards

9a    When to make me smile at cook? (9)
MEALTIMES:    an anagram (make) of ME SMILE AT is defined by the whole of this semi all-in-one clue

10a    Servants will give help in writing (5)
MAIDS:    a verb meaning to give help inside the usual two-letter abbreviation for writing

11a    Relaxation, for example, about a moral slip (6)
EASING:    the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin phrase meaning “for example” around the A from the clue and a moral slip

12a    I’d backed secret reforms, being detached (8)
DISCRETE:    The reversal (backed) of I’D followed by an anagram (reforms) of SECRET

13a    Car presently has a learner inside (6)
SALOON:    A word meaning presently around the A from the clue and L(earner)

15a    Cricket side and ground not in harmony (3-5)
OFF-PITCH:    One of the two sides of the ground in cricket followed by a word used for that ground or, more accurately, the playing surface between the wickets

18a    Skilfully holding back confusion in meeting (8)
ASSEMBLY:    The reversal (back) of some confusion inside (holding) an adverb meaning skilfully

19a    In the morning will take exam, not bothered whether it’s right (6)
AMORAL:    the two-letter abbreviation for morning followed by an examination

21a    Don’t stand so close, pets! (4,4)
STEP BACK:    the second word of the answer applied to the first results in PETS

23a    Friend is back with pet — a pampered one (6)
LAPDOG:    a friend is reversed (back) and followed by a domestic pet

26a    Stand and refuse to go forward (5)
STALL:    two definitions – a stand or kiosk and a verb meaning to refuse to go forward, when applied to a vehicle

27a    Agreeing to study issue with worker (9)
CONSONANT:    a charade of a verb meaning to study, a male issue and a worker insect

28a    Right  pocket (11)
APPROPRIATE:    two definitions – an adjective meaning right or suitable and a verb meaning to pocket or steal


1d    Pets publications coming out around the first of May (7)
PAMPERS:    this verb meaning pets or mollycoddles is derived by putting some publications around (coming out around) the initial letter (first) of M[ay]

2d    Hops, skips and jumps? (5)
LEAPS:    a triple definition

3d    Out of nick, like a truant (3,2,4)
NOT IN FORM:    a phrase meaning out of nick or unfit – if a schoolboy is this he is playing truant

4d    City of three million, possibly more (4)
ROME:    according to Wikipedia this city had a population of 2.753 million in 2010 – its name is an anagram (possibly) of MORE

5d    Mother’s pets? Dogs (8)
MASTIFFS: – a two-letter abbreviated form of mother followed by the S from ‘s and some pets or disagreements

6d    Publication for an entertainer? (5)
COMIC:    two definitions – a publication primarily intended for children and a humorous entertainer

7d    Beg for quarter in the wood (7)
BESEECH:    the two-letter abbreviation for a quarter or region between two specific points of the compass inside a type of wood

8d    His coaching ability is brought into play (8)
DIRECTOR:    a gently cryptic definition of the person who controls the action in a play or drama

14d    Star embraced by girl entertainment centre (3,5)
LAS VEGAS:    a bright star inside (embraced by) a young girl

16d    Splendour pursued by a grim French mistress (9)
POMPADOUR:    a charade of splendour or grandeur, the A from the clue and an adjective meaning grim or gloomy

17d    Bird of ill omen to old criminal? (8)
BLACKCAP:    a warbler or, as (5,3), headwear formerly put on by an English judge to pronounce sentence of death

18d    After getting behind in the US, doctor sits and helps (7)
ASSISTS:    a US word for the behind or backside followed by an anagram (doctor) of SITS

20d    He gets what’s left — it’s consumed in wild glee (7)
LEGATEE:    this person who benefits from a will is derived from a verb meaning consumed or devoured inside an anagram (wild) of GLEE

22d    Brought up a block of wood (5)
BALSA:    the A from the clue and a block all reversed gives this type of wood

24d    Play maiden in RADA cast (5)
DRAMA:    M(aiden) inside an anagram (cast) of RADA

25d    News cut short (4)
INFO:    the shortened form of a word meaning news or data

Miffypops is unavailable today, but will return next Monday.

The Quick Crossword pun: four+caste=forecast

73 comments on “DT 27619

  1. 2*/4*. I absolutely love Rufus’ puzzles. They are always light, amusing and entertaining with this one being no exception.

    On my first pass I put “step away” for 21a even though it didn’t seem quite right, and that feeling was confirmed when I struggled to get 17d & 22d in the SW corner. Everything went smoothly after the penny finally dropped.

    As usual there were too many good clues to list them all, but I particularly liked 9a, 21a (eventually!), 28a & 3d, with 1a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to the indefatigable BD.

  2. A nice puzzle for a gloomy Monday morning. No real problems but 27a had me checking the meaning in my dictionary. Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the rhints.

  3. Pets plays and publications. Mixed feelings about today’s puzzle. I really liked city of three million (though i would have preferred “maybe” to “possibly”) and i quite liked 18a while other clues left me cold (2d, 8d, 25d). 14d, the embraced by girl entertainment centre is almost a great clue if the surface were smoother, not sure how a centre embraces. 7d, I think i prefer single letter quarters. The question mark in 9a barely compensates for the wrong grammar (doesn’t it need cooked?), again, an almost excellent clue.

    However I do like that Rufus invariably takes your thinking to places it hasn’t been.

    Thank you very much Rufus and Big Dave for the review

    1. Perhaps it’s just me but I have always described the four corners/quarters of a crossword puzzle as NW, NE, SE and SW so I think using two letters for a quarter is fine. I do agree about 8d & 25d being a bit iffy.

      1. As one who is a bit on the challenged side when it comes to points of the compass I prefer right and left – that way I have a greater chance of being correct! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Oh Kath – I do envy you the ability to cope with right and left. I fall heavily into the ‘wave around the relevant arm’ category. I’m told that this is a recognised form of dyslexia but that doesn’t cut much ice when you’re supposed to be either directing the driver or following someone else’s instructions! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

          1. No – I didn’t say I could cope with right and left – I only said that it was a bit better than North, South, East and West because I have a one in two chance of being right rather than a one in four! Oh dear! It probably causes more arguments in our house than anything else, and as for directions on long journeys . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

            1. I don’t think either of you have anything to worry about. I spent parts of my childhood listening to various aviation types talking about things being at ‘4 o’clock….7 o’clock’ etc. For the longest time I assumed they were referring to a time of day, not a direction. Oh and someone having to explain what ‘check your six’ meant in terms of crossing the road! It all slotted into place then. Learning the Green Cross Code was so much easier!!

              1. Have to tell you that bird-watchers also use the ‘o’clock’ method. Sometimes, in the middle of my mental walk round the clock, the dratted thing flies off! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_mad.gif

              2. Erm, what exactly does ‘check your six’ mean, Hanni? New one on me. :-)

                Super crossword – I loved it. Thanks Rufus.

                1. It’s a term that is sometimes used by military pilots that can be applied to others areas of life…well in my family anyway. If you are using the ‘o’clock’ method of describing a direction then 6 o’clock would be directly behind you. So imagine you are flying in a conflict situation. You are looking around and everything seems OK but you should always be aware of what is going on out of your sightline. Essentially it’s an idiom for ‘watch your back’. Also if you ever hear ‘got your six’, it means someone is covering you back! And my fathers way of teaching me the Green Cross Code. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                  1. Oooh, thank you for that Hanni – seems an appropriate expression for when minding my grandchildren, lol. Sometimes I feel I need eyes in the back of my head ;-)

                    1. Indeed! Silence is golden, unless you have children. In which case silence is very suspicious!

    2. It’s the star (vega) that is embraced by the girl, not the centre. ‘Entertainment centre’ is the definition.

      1. you are absolutely right Rick, i was just thinking about the surface story, that “embraced by girl entertainment centre” could have read more smoothly – maybe captivated instead of embraced, something that allows “centre” to read plausibly as the subject in the story – “embraced by girl” is nice but when you add entertainment centre it becomes not quite right – i’m being very picky, apologies.

        1. I’m all for being picky – no need to apologise.

          Just as a thought for 14d, “star embraced by girl in entertainment centre” seems to me to give a better surface and I think it works as a clue – however others with far greater knowledge than me of the acceptability criteria for cryptic clues may well want to correct me.

          1. Yes! I think there are a number of ways of rescuing this potentially very nice clue, and I find it a pity the effort wasn’t made

  4. Thank you Rufus. An enjoyable start to the week and not too taxing. I enjoyed all the “pet” clues – in particular 21a. Very clever ! Thanks BD for your review and hints.

  5. Very enjoyable (except for 2d, which seemed rather un-cryptic so I thought my too obvious answer had to be wrong.). I hadn’t come across this use of ‘nick’ in 3d, either, so slightly held up in the NW corner.
    I agree Monday’s crossword is always good fun, though, and I did need electronic help for the 9a anagram which I thought ought to end in -mas.
    4*/2* for me. Thanks to Rufus and BD.

  6. A little more testing from Rufus than recent weeks I thought. My last – and favourite – was 18d.

  7. This was nearer to 3* difficulty for me, as Mondays usually are. I agree with 4* for enjoyment.
    I was terribly slow to get 9a even though I could see it was an anagram. I was also slow with 8d having convinced myself that it was something to do with football, rugby or any number of other things that I can’t do.
    Like bifield I had to check the meaning of 27a in the BRB.
    I liked 1 and 28a and 5 and 17d, even though 17d was one of my last answers – I always forget about the judge’s hat with its sinister meaning! My favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Rufus and to BD for doing the overtime again.
    What a miserable day it is in Oxford – going to try Mr Rookie later on.

  8. Enjoyed this one although I needed BD to explain the parsing for 21a and 7d – I wasn’t familiar with the two-letter abbreviation in 7d.
    12 and 27a were new definitions for me – I’ll try to remember them for future reference. I was delighted with myself for recalling ‘con’ from a few days ago!
    3d had me a bit worried – I’m more used to the phrase having ‘on’ as the middle word. Does this version perhaps relate mostly to the world of horse-racing? Also, why is ‘old’ necessary in the clue for 17d?
    5 & 18d vie for favourite.
    Many thanks to Rufus for a good Monday puzzle and to BD – I still can’t believe that you wouldn’t have made it to Bletchley Park! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. Jane, I think the “old” in 17d refers to the fact that it has been a long time since UK judges have worn one.

  9. ***/***. A fairly positive start to the week. The NE corner slotted in nicely albeit with a slight misgiving about 9a, shouldn’t it read ‘cooked’? Am I missing something there? However onwards and downwards. 19a let me ‘guess’ at 14d without truly understanding why? It wasn’t until I wrote the answer on a piece of paper that it opened up.
    2d just didn’t seem cryptic at all and 25d didn’t really do much for me.
    However 1a was simply lovely, I’m very biased as I am one! Also enjoyed 16d as it’s such a great word.
    Thank you to Rufus for your marvellous theme and to BD for blogging, I now have Boomtown Rats going around my head!!

  10. Usually we enjoy Monday puzzles, but today, unlike many others, I found this quite tricky, so thank you BD for your help, and thank you to the Monday setter. Must try harder.

  11. Completed but in **** time for me. NW quarter last to fall, though now I know the answers, I can’t see why I struggled so much. Must be the weather. Thanks to all.

  12. I trudged through this hoping to find some light relief which IMHO didn’t materialise. Thanks Rufus and, as ever, BD. ***/**.

  13. A jolly start to the week: not hard, but thoroughly enjoyable. 2*/4* or thereabouts. I had three clues vying for favouritism – 1a, 28a and 27a – and eventually plumped for the latter. VMTs to Rufus, and to BD for the review and hints.

  14. 2d – Hops, skips and jumps?

    What is this doing in a cryptic crossword? I must be missing something!

      1. It is a triple definition, and the surface reading is particularly Rufus-like in that “hop, skip and jump” is an alternative term (albeit I think not much used nowadays) for the athletics event the Triple Jump. A triple definition for a clue about Triple Jumps – very nice!

        1. Thanks, Rabbit Dave … I now see the cryptic bit!

          I think that Jonathan Edwards once said that his adult career entailed nothing more than jumping into a sandpit.

  15. I always love the smooth surface readings in a Rufus puzzle and the fact that there are no long, wandering clues.

  16. Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, mainly due to my own incompetence. I had 21a wrong, and misspelt 12a. In the end I needed 6 hints to finish. Was 3*/4* for me.

  17. Agree with ** except for bottom left which I found distinctly tricky.
    Rather too many Pets today for my liking but overall enjoyable. Learnt a new meaning today in 27a, never come across that definition before. One for list. Fav clue def 1a, dead clever!
    Thx to Rufus for the puzzle and to BD for the hints although not needed today :-)

  18. Great start of the week and although I kept being disturbed by visiting friends all day I managed to finish this one without help. I did however penciled discreet instead of discrete for 12a but when my thesaurus gave me beseech for 7d, everything fell into place quite nicely. Favorite was 16d. Thanks to Rufus and BD for the review.

  19. rather new to this, so a silly question..how does everyone know the setter as Rufus ? – I cannot see that noted anywhere on the puzzle

      1. Don’t be mean. I’m sure you didn’t intend to be but that must sound really off-putting to someone who’s never commented before and I think that new people should be encouraged.

        1. I thought it was very friendly and welcoming.
          And I have little doubt that Robin appreciated the humour.
          You, perhaps, didn’thttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

          1. No – I didn’t. You’ll have to explain what I’ve missed. Apologies for having misunderstood your comment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

            1. The dots between the second and third word indicate teasing.
              (Imagine it said with an appropriate expression)
              Teasing is normally something relaxed and friendly.
              I didn’t realize this Forum had a censor apart from, of course, BD.

    1. Welcome to the blog Robin. If you look in FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) it will tell you which setters set which days. Rufus has a very clever way with double definitions. I feel he is heavy on anagrams but they are usually very good with some unusual indicators. Mostly though there is a gentleness to his style, his clues have excellent surface reads and some mischievous misdirection. He is a favourite of a lot of people on this site

    2. I don’t think they do for sure but I’m sure it’s mentioned in FAQs that a few setters have mentioned the days they contribute and I think also the bloggers often recognise the style they often use.

    3. Welcome from me too. It’s always good to have a new person commenting. If you have a question all you need to do is ask. If it’s to do with a particular clue then this is where you ask – someone will explain further. If it’s a general question about how things work here then try the FAQ bit right at the top – there’s an awful lot of stuff in there! Good luck and keep commenting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  20. Love Rufus puzzles and today was no exception. I love the way he takes one word and makes so many variations with it, how clever is that! I loved 21a, even though it took me long enough to get it! Fave was 1a, with honourable mention to 17d.
    Many thanks to Rufus, and thanks and much appreciation to BD for stepping in for our entertainment again, you are a brick.

  21. I found this quite hard but very enjoyable.
    21a is a peculiar sort of clue, haven’t met that kind of convoluted reasoning before.
    Is there a name for it?
    Many thanks Rufus and BD

  22. When I came across the 2nd “pet” I thought it a bit strange but as it was a different definition I figured that’s ok. Then I realised there were more! Very clever.
    Thanks Rufus for the enjoyable puzzle and to BD for the review. 2*/3* for me today.

  23. 1a wasmy last one inand a very cleverclue it is.Very enjoyable and stiff enough to keep it interesting. Thanks BD andRufus.

  24. The bird in 17d was a stranger to us but nicely pointed to by the wordplay and just needed confirmation. Thought it was a notch or two trickier than we often see on a Monday and really enjoyed the multi-meanings of ‘pet’ that Rufus plays with for us. Lots of fun.
    Thanks Rufus and BD.

  25. Splendid start to the week getting 1a straight away then, for some unknown reason, 20d but I do think that old age is making me even more illogical. Enjoyed mix of clues and having finished dropped by to see how you had got on. Thanks to setter and BD. Dire day in Suffolk teeming with rain and blowing a gale.

    1. Dire day in Peterborough Cambs as well, the bridges and paths are a graveyard for umbrellas blown inside out. Cynth and Cuth not best pleased

      1. . . . Annie is pretty pissed off too! Nothing more miserable looking than an elderly soaking wet Collie – unless it’s an elderly soaking wet Kath!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  26. This is the first crossword I’ve had time to do in a few days, and maybe that’s why I was much slower than usual for a Rufus. I found it enjoyable, while making hard work of it. Even ended up getting one answer from a friend (the one I’ve been getting hooked on crosswords) – and that’s not allowed. Grr!

    I liked 21a and 16d, but can’t resist 11a as favourite, because I love a bit of relaxation.

    Thanks to Rufus for the perfect reintroduction to crosswording, and to BD for the blog. Now maybe to start getting caught up with the ones I missed…

    P.S. very wet here too, but I don’t mind.

  27. Unlike BD, I found the multiple repeats of the same words made for a tedious solve, although having said that, I thought 21a was splendid. I don’t get “stiffs” or “tiffs” for pets in 5d, depending on whether the possessive for ma is included, and I didn’t the last time this clue was used, although the answer is obvious. Overall, a shame, because Monday is usually a delight to read.

    1. 5d – the definition is “Dogs”. You need an affectionate word for mother, with the ‘s, followed by a slang word for “pets” – not dogs or cats or hamsters or anything like that, but another word for paddies, or tantrums or fits of rage.

      1. Thanks Kath. This is not a piece of slang with which I am familiar (ie that pets has any tiff-related connotation). Live and learn….

        1. This is an interesting point. The use of “pet” as a tiff or argument, especially in crosswords, has grown in recent years but strictly speaking it is a childish tantrum:

          ▶ A slighted and offended feeling
          ▶ A slight or childish fit of aggrieved or resentful sulkiness
          ▶ The sulks, huff

          Oxford Dictionary of English
          ▶ A fit of sulking or ill humour: Mother’s in a pet.

          Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
          ▶ Offence at being or feeling slighted; a fit of especially childish sulking or peevishness from this cause.

          1. I’ve certainly heard it within that context. That a child may have a ‘pet lip’ on them refers to a sulky child.

  28. By hook or by crook I’m last again…
    ‘Tis Tuesday pm and 24 hours after starting I have finally finished! I refused to go to the hints and have blamed it on ‘manflu’.
    A lovely Monday teaser, a little trickier then the usual Monday fare I must say. not helped by putting ‘Out of form’ for 3d. Thinks, must read clue, must read clue…
    Thanks to Rufus and BD of course for sterling work with the hints.

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