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DT 27631

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27631

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

The usual gentle start to the week from Rufus.

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    What sales staff record in a ledger? (6,2,5)
VOLUME OF TRADE: a gently cryptic definition of sales that are recorded in a ledger

10a    Study soft-hearted bug (7)
INSPECT: the musical notation for soft inside a 6-legged bug

11a    Callas initially given divine voice — but little craft? (7)
CORACLE: the initial letter of C[alas) followed by the mouthpiece of the gods gives a small oval rowing boat

12a    After bringing it back again, show fatigue (4)
TIRE: the reversal () of IT followed by a prefix meaning again

13a    Settle a rise in salary (3,2)
PAY UP: this verb meaning to settle a bill could describe a rise in salary

14a    Circle an island sultanate (4)
OMAN: the letter shaped like a circle followed by an island in the Irish Sea

17a    Critical stage of increasing gravity for space travellers (2-5)
RE-ENTRY: a slightly cryptic definition of the stage in a space flight where the gravity increases

18a    Shy essayist gives a plant (7)
LOBELIA: a verb meaning to shy or throw followed by the pen name adopted by Charles Lamb

19a    Female confronts male beginning to threaten firm (7)
ADAMANT: a female first name followed by a male person and the initial letter of (beginning to) T[hreaten] gives an adjective meaning firm or resolute

22a    The second mate’s boy (7)
STEPSON: a cryptic definition of a boy from a partner’s previous marriage.

24a    Either way it was of some worth in India (4)
ANNA: a palindromic former unit of currency in India

25a    Bill in work is a different man! (5)
JACOB: the two-letter abbreviation for a bill inside some work or employment gives a male first name that is not Bill

26a    Metrical units  preferred by opponents of metrification (4)
FEET: two definitions – a metrical unit or division of a line of poetry and a non-metric unit of measure

29a    The pound is a bit flexible (7)
LISSOME: the letter that represents a pound sterling followed by IS and a word meaning a bit

30a    Capital boom possibly follows depression (7)
COLOMBO: this Asian capital city is derived by putting an anagram (possibly) of BOOM after a depression or pass in a mountain range

31a    I am sent round to perform autumn jobs as factotum (4,2,3,4)
MAID OF ALL WORK: the reversal (sent round) of I AM followed by a two-letter verb meaning to perform, the US word for Autumn and some jobs that appeared in 25 across – a tad naughty using the same construct twice!


2d    Unusually verbose remark (7)
OBSERVE: an anagram (unusually) of VERBOSE

3d    Customs in various estates (4)
USES: hidden inside the clue

4d    Water at the mouth (7)
ESTUARY: … of a river

5d    It’s real, topless or not! (7)
FACTUAL: this word meaning real also means real if the initial letter is dropped (topless)

6d    Unusual combination of artist and engineer (4)
RARE: the usual artist followed by one of the usual engineers

7d    There’s a point in this system (7)
DECIMAL: a cryptic definition of a system of measurement that using a point to separate units from fractions of a unit

8d    Girl comes a cropper somewhere in Zambia (8,5)
VICTORIA FALLS: a girl’s name followed by a verb meaning comes a cropper

9d    New life for an incinerator that’s recycled (13)
REINCARNATION: an anagram (that’s recycled) of AN INCINERATOR

15d    Didn’t stand around to see small mammal (5)
STOAT: a verb meaning the opposite of to stand around “TO”

16d    Went out after a rise (5)
EBBED: a cryptic definition of what the sea did after rising to high tide

20d    You won’t remember suffering from it (7)
AMNESIA: even for Rufus, this cryptic definition is a hoary old chestnut, but if you suffer from it then maybe you have already forgotten!

21d    Cockney thief that may end up in hot water (3,4)
TEA LEAF: the Cockney rhyming slang for a thief is something that makes a drink when placed in hot water

22d    There’s no alternative to castor oil being prepared for patient (7)
STOICAL: this anagram (being prepared) of CAST[OR] OIL after dropping the OR (alternative) gives an adjective meaning patient or uncomplaining

23d    Cook’s vessel? Yes and no (7)
STEAMER: this vessel that could be used by a cook is also a ship that was not around during Captain Cook’s time

27d    Common complaint caught by aging (4)
COLD: C(aught) followed by an adjective meaning aging

28d    Current  issue (4)
FLOW: two definitions – a current or outpouring and a verb meaning to issue or emerge

Miffypops is in Belfast, but should be back next week

The Quick Crossword pun: farm+assist=pharmacist

55 comments on “DT 27631

    1. I hope that;s now sorted. My browser has been playing up and doesn’t always show which text has been hidden when in editing mode. I suppose that’s the price I pay for using the development version of Firefox – it’s called “Nightly” because it changes every night!

  1. gentle start to the week with some nice subtleties from Rufus. Last one in was 25a, took me a while to think of a name that gave me the work. 4d will ring a bell for this week’s sunday times clue competition. I wasn’t sure about the definition in 22d (patient) but the way BD describes it works for me now.

    Favourite clues were 1a (what sales staff record) and 5d (real, topless or not)

    Many thanks Rufus and BD for review

  2. Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A nice puzzle to start the week. Yes would agree was very gentle, but had some really good clues. Most entertaining. favourites were 25&26a and 5d. was 1*/4* for me. Nice and sunny in Central London. Last in was 31a.

  3. 2.5*/4*. I found parts of this a little trickier than usual for a Rufus puzzle but as ever very enjoyable.
    I managed to dredge 24a from somewhere in the recesses of my mind, and I needed the review to explain about the essayist in 18a even though the answer was obvious from the checking letters.

    16d was my last one in and 8d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to BD.

    P.S. BD in your hint for 31a, do you mean 25a rather than 22a?

    1. Yes I did! A long tiring weekend has not been helped by the fact that my body clock still wakes me up at the same time, which means I’m not getting the benefit of the extra hour!

  4. Agreed, not too hard and none the worse for that. Allows time for other things. Thank you Rufus for a good fun puzzle and BD for your review and hints. Trust you are making a good recovery from yet another tiring weekend http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  5. Quite enjoyable today. Can’t say I’ve heard the verb definition of 15D, but it had to be what it had to be (incidentally, look up the answer in the Urban Dictionary – some rather strange uses of the word there, especially the last on which seemed somewhat at odds with all the others).

    1. Re 15d
      Very, very, very common verb.
      Perhaps you may want to read BD’s explanation, especially the very last word of it.

  6. I found this a tad stiffer than the normal monday morning offerings, but enjoyable all the same.5D was my favourite, many thanks to the setter & BD for his review.Ps the solution to the quicky is saturdays answer!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

  7. A sort of a one star except for 18a, no idea who Charles Lamb was or what his nickname was and didn’t know the poetry term in 26a although both answers were obvious without those bits of the clues.
    Nice gentle start to the week. Best clue for me was 8d, really amused Mrs B.
    Thx to all

  8. As usual on aMonday a witty start to the week. I liked 5d and 22a in particular.Thanks BD for the hint on 16d.I’d have given it more than one star for trickiness.

  9. Yes, straightforward enough today. I also had never heard of 31a, but it was clear what it had to be.


  10. Rather soft even for Rufus I thought, with several well polished old chestnuts given another outing. All done in well under 1* time and not enough of a challenge to be particularly enjoyable.

  11. Usual Monday fare. Not too difficult ** but very enjoyable**** I am torn between 22A and 8D as favourite. thanks to BD for the review but where is Miffypops?

  12. One or two tricky clues today for us and we completed the top half quite a bit quicker than the bottom. I have heard of the expression for 31 across fortunately, and as I like crosswords with answers of more than one word, I really liked today’s. Thank you to the setter and to BD.

  13. Enjoyable Monday crossword: not the most challenging but fun to do. Thank you BD; your review was very helpful – i’d got 18a right, but only parsed half. (I had not connected the pen name with Lamb.)
    Thanks also to Rufus.

  14. As usual with a Rufus crossword there were a few (quite a few) answers that held me up so 2* plus a bit and 4* for enjoyment.
    For no obvious reason I was very slow to get 1a and 8d so bang went all chances of lots of starting letters.
    I couldn’t see 22 and 26a for ages – don’t know why.
    I liked 29 and 31a and 4 and 8d. My favourite was either 22a or 5d.
    Thanks to Rufus and BD – I hope it was a good weekend.

  15. A bit of a curate’s egg but several clever clues. Liked 22a. Needed help to parse 18a and 26a. Thanks Rufus and BD. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  16. Only just found this site ! No more frustration with two-clues-to- go ! Glad of this easier one to solve today as waiting for much-loved d. in law to “come round” ( metaphorical sense – suggested clue ?! ) after nasty op. – her second in two years..
    Is “aging” an alternative to “ageing” by the way ? Was slow getting 26a — shame on me as former English teacher !! I enjoy
    Big Dave’s illustrations v much

      1. The BBC agree that both spellings are acceptable but that ageing is more common. Aging is the norm in the USA and Canada.

    1. Hi Mary Mary. I’ve not been posting here for very long but it has altered how I approach parsing clues, and all for the better.
      I hope your daughter-in-law recovers.

  17. Very enjoyable but like Rabbit Dave needed the hint to explain the plant. Thanks to BD for the review and the setter for a great start to the week.

  18. At least my brain wasn’t on overdrive for this puzzle. Unlike toughie 1281 from Elgar on which I am still working hard. I was hoping to see a Nina considering the layout. There could be one with 6,16 and 28d. Living on the Mediterranean, the lack of tide could mean that the smallest movement is a rare ebbed flow. A bit far fetched but some setters have such a warped mind, everything is possible. Thanks to Rufus and BD for the review

  19. No real problems today – my only quibble is with 1a – is that a known phrase? It’s not something I’ve come across before!

  20. Nothing overly taxing today, though I did need to check the answer for 31a as I’d never heard of that phrase before. 18a was also a bung it in moment.
    Quite a pleasant start to the week and I don’t think I’ll need my corner today!!!! Favourite clues were 8 and 16d.
    I hope everyone has had a good weekend.
    Thanks to Rufus and to BD for blogging. :-)
    Am waiting to hear how the phone call from Jane’s daughter went!

    1. Well – I’m really, really proud of myself. Managed an entire hour of conversation without giving away a single hint. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gifAm now utterly exhausted with the effort of it all!
      Thank goodness for a gentle offering from Rufus – agree that 18&31a were the only ‘issues’. I had to look up the essayist to be sure of my answer and I hadn’t heard of the 31a term before. Strange, as I can identify with it so well. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      Thought I was going to be able to tell you that I wouldn’t need to ask for a place in your corner tonight – but then I printed out the Rookie Corner…………
      By the way, I’ve told Kath she’d be welcome to join us when necessary – hope that’s OK? She was particularly impressed with the ‘no golf talk’ rule!

      1. I think you should be very proud of yourself! Well done! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Not too many days to go now before the cat is going to be out of the bag anyway.

        1. Thanks Kath – just got to avoid elder daughter in the meantime! The answerphone is looking like my preferred form of defence. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      2. Well done!!! I’m not sure how you managed it. Am just loving the fact that he asked for your permission.
        Kath of course you’re welcome in my corner. :-) I’m thinking of expanding it to include books and a fire. The ban on golf talk also encompasses rugby, in particular the merits of league or union.

        1. Thank goodness – I even get confused about how many players are involved in each of the two. Can’t ever understand why the old ‘elf & safety’ haven’t made it illegal by now!

          1. . . . and whether they’re trying to get the ball into a net or over an “H” . . . and whether or not they ‘re allowed to run with the blasted thing regardless of its shape, round or oval. Oh dear – I just don’t know . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

            1. Think that, basically, they’re all just trying to annihilate each other and using the ball (of whatever shape) as an excuse.

  21. A nice gentle start to the week indeed, but could I get my head round 26 across? I did in the end, but it took me far longer than it ought to have done. Thanks to Rufus, a pleasant enough solve that didn’t take too long to solve and gave me sufficient time left in the day to repair the lawn mower, cut three lawns and trim the forsythia. Not keen on the early dark nights – roll on next March!

  22. Late here today. I am a great fan of Rufus, love his clues. I had no problem with 18a as I remember Essays of Elia at school, in particular “A Dissertation upon Roast Pig”! I haven’t seen the coin from India for a long time, but it used to appear regularly. Fave is 8d. Thanks to Rufus and to BD for the review, you must be knackered!

    1. Thanks for that, Merusa! Just read it – hope to goodness you didn’t have to learn any of it by rote, although it looks like an excellent subject for ‘discuss’!

  23. some nice clues-liked 8d & 9d in particular

    thought 1a a bit weak

    very entertaining puzzle on the whole though

  24. Now that you people have put your clocks back we have to wait an extra hour before the puzzles appear on the DT site. We get access to them at 1pm now and it will stay like this right through our summer. The usual enjoyable Monday puzzle that did not cause any problems.
    Thanks Rufus and BD.

  25. Dear BD
    I love you, you have restored my self confidence just when I was about to give up and move permanently into the cupboard under the stairs. Somehow reading your blog makes me think differently and I loved today’s offering. I am a great anagram fan of which there were several and only one bung-it-in moment.

      1. Looks as though you’ve been really, really missed over the weekend – I’ve counted at least two bouquets and one declaration of love so far today.
        Strange – when all we usually do is whinge about being scared of you!
        Hope the weekend was a success – the Elgar would have finished me off. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  26. On the gentle end of the puzzle spectrum, but l would rate it 1.5*/3. 22a was my favourite, but l enjoyed 11a and 15d (my last in) as well. Thanks to Rufus, and to Big Dave for the review.

  27. I suspect a little archaeology had been undertaken for the clue to 18a. I found one or two very similar versions on the internet going back to 2007. I still can’t see the cryptic part of 17a. A nice start to the week though, would have been better if Mrs D hadn’t mopped up most of them before I got to it.

  28. Eek! 26a had me beat. Why? – just not thinking I suppose.
    Oh well. Otherwise a good Monday Rufus puzzle.
    Thanks to BD for the revue.

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