DT 27661 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27661

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27661

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today is National Indulgence Day in England. Not Scotland, Wales or anywhere else, Just England. So no indulging yourselves anywhere else. As you can see from the blog, I have exercised my right to indulge. Welcome to our identical twins and regular alarm clocks Itchy and Scratchy who are supposed to be kittens but spend most of their time imitating a barrel full of monkeys which brings enjoyment aplenty. On Saturday Coventry Rugby Football Club annihilated the previously unbeaten table topping Ealing Trailfinders by 32 points to 26 which made me even happier. Saint Sharon adds happiness in abundance, her 48 hour online shopping marathon which resulted in the acquisition of a new kitchen bin needed to be seen to be believed. I wish you all well.

Today’s crossword is a mix of wonderful clues with several old chestnuts. I don’t think it will trouble many of you. No pencils were harmed in the production of this review

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    Teacher after clemency for army officer (13)
QUARTERMASTER:    Our usual teacher follows an unusual definition of clemency. The whole is the person who is in control of supplies

10a    Bounty, big ship (7)
LARGESS:    Take an adjective meaning of great size and add the two letter abbreviation of SteamShip

11a    Roman emperor linked with a late former queen (7)
JULIANA:    Add the A from the clue to one of the Roman Emperors (361 -363) to find a former Queen of the Netherlands who died in 1980

12a    Payment we will take in silver (4)
WAGE:    Place the chemical symbol for silver inside the word WE

13a    Grain leaving tropic island (5)
CAPRI:    The tropic in the southern hemisphere. Take away its last four letters which make up a type of grain to leave a Mediterranean island. A clue I have reviewed before

14a    Run away, having got left in charge (4)
FLEE:    Place the L(eft) inside a word meaning payment for services.

17a    Score six to open in a forceful way (7)
VITALLY:    Take a verb meaning to record a score during a game and put the Roman numerals for six in front of it (to open)

18a    A row about boy appearing in pantomime (7)
ALADDIN:    Place a three letter word meaning a boy inside the A from the clue and a word meaning row (as in noisy). The result is a pantomime character

19a    Pip has taken dog in to be tied up (7)
SECURED:    This pip is a plants means of reproduction. Bisect it and add a three letter word for an aggressive or unkempt dog.

22a    China to broadcast in town of early Christianity (7)
ANTIOCH:    Anagram (broadcast) of CHINA TO

24a    A curious sort of plant (4)
ARUM:    A from the clue. A three letter word meaning curious or odd. Result? A lily

25a    Improve on a repair (5)
AMEND:    Once again take the A from the clue and add a four letter word meaning to repair

26a    Thanks to an American prosecutor you get the facts (4)
DATA:    The two letter abbreviation for District Attorney followed by our shortened informal word of thanks

29a    No longer cares and pulls out (7)
EXTENDS:    Take a two letter word meaning no longer (usually regarding past husbands or wives) and add a word meaning to cares for or nurses.

30a    French friends set out in poor visibility (3,4)
SEA MIST:    SET around the French word for friends

31a    Once again sort out those of a certain age (13)


2d    Not stooping to dishonesty (7)
UPRIGHT:    Of good character. Erect. Like a piano.

3d    A knot that seamen consider dangerous (4)
REEF:    Double definition a knot (also known as the square knot) or a line of rocks often sitting just below the waterline

4d    Yes, cats may produce this feeling in people (7)
ECSTASY:    Anagram (may produce) of YES CATS

5d    Island‘s chief accountant (7)
MAJORCA:    Take an adjective meaning important, serious or significant and add the abbreviation for Chartered Accountant to find this Balearic Island. Noel Gallagher sold his beautiful house there because James Blunt bought one nearby. Rock and Roll.

6d    Initially supplied second-hand, now disposed of (4)
SOLD:    Take the Initial letter of S(upplied) and add a word meaning second hand or not new. With only the first checking letter in place Rufus misdirected me this way and that. Not once, not twice but thrice. If you are sitting comfortably I will begin. Where the word second-hand appears the answer is always USED. Well no it isn’t. Secondly however we have the words “disposed of” which always leads to the word SHED but that does not fit with the rest of the clue. Thirdly (and why did I not spot this earlier) we have the word initially so we just need to take the initial letters of the next four words. Sorted. SHND. I do not think so.

7d    Allowed to be clever in the finish (7)
ENABLED:    Clever in this case means having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something. Place this four letter word inside another meaning finish

8d    No relations of newly-weds (3,5,5)
OLD WIVE’S TALES:    These stories will not be passed on by new brides.

9d    Dare any health resorts residents walk out like this? (4,3,6)
HALE AND HEARTY:    Anagram (resorts) of DARE ANY HEALTH

15d    Kind of girl to give Rex the quick run around (5)
FLIRT:    Place R(ex) inside a verb meaning to move swiftly and lightly to find the kind of girl I enjoy chatting with

16d    Thrown, we hear, by the class system (5)
CASTE:    A homophone (sound alike clue) the social system in India made up of these groups which sound like a verb meaning to throw.

20d    Stinging bill rises and is cut unexpectedly (7)
CAUSTIC:    Our two letter regular abbreviation for a bill or account is reversed (rising) and followed by an anagram (unexpectedly) of IS CUT

21d    The estate needs me for organisation (7)
DEMESNE:    Anagram (for organisation ) of NEEDS ME. Careful with the spelling

22d    A name is confused — result of this? (7)
AMNESIA:    A chestnut anagram (confused) of A NAME IS

23d    Love helping to give speech (7)
ORATION:    The round letter which is the score for love in a tennis a match followed by a fixed amount officially allowed to each person in a time of shortage.

27d    Preposition used in any amount of sentences (4)
UNTO:    A hidden word is lurking away within the clue. I found it. Eventually.

28d    Tariff one’s found in hired transport (4)
TAXI:    A tariff or duty paid to the government followed by the letter I

Bob Dylan continues to amaze.

The Quick Crossword pun: barque+odes=barcodes

74 comments on “DT 27661

  1. A gloomy Monday morning where I made a couple of sillies (too moronic to admit the details of) and thus made very heavy work of it. I think I’m getting worse at Rufus puzzles, even while (hopefully) getting better at others. So on Mondays I doubly miss absent solving partners who are away in other time zones http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif. I worked out but hadn’t heard of (or have forgotten if I have) 24a and also needed the hint to understand 11a.

    It’s a bog standard clue, but since it was the only one that managed to elicit a semi-smiling mew from Kitty, my favourite was 4d.

    Thanks to Rufus, and oodles of thanks to Miffypops for sharing the supercuteness of Itchy and Scratchy, who I must say are the least identical identical twins I’ve ever seen. But the cutest http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

    Happy indulging to everyone in England, and to those elsewhere, don’t listen to our blogger: go ahead and indulge anyway :).

    1. Looks as though neither of us is having a very sparkling Monday, Kitty. I’m hopefully off for G&T in Hanni’s corner later on – I’m sure you’d be very welcome to join us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      Suggest you leave the Rookie alone for now – it only made things worse at this end.

      1. Ooh, thanks, Jane – I would definitely welcome some refreshment and nice company, and I do like to hide in corners http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. So I’ll join you and Hanni, although I may bring some wine instead of the G&T.

        I fired up the Rookie, got a few answers, then got sidetracked. Might wait for a bit before resuming…

      2. I shall be joining you at least in mind. A lovely glass of Fitou (Champs des soeurs) with some great Lays crisps flavoured with, guess what, Anglesey sea salt. We do really have everything in Hyeres.

        1. Halen Mon is just a couple of miles from here. Next time I’m in there, I’ll tell David & Alison that their salt has found favour in Hyeres!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. My guess is that Itchy is the adorable furry one with the cat-face and whiskers and tail, and Scratchy is the furry adorable one with the tail and cat-face and whiskers. Once MP is able to tell them apart, he’ll be able to tell us if I guessed right :).

        1. I think Itchy is the one on the scratching post and Scratchy is the one on the bed. But as they are twins it’s just so hard to tell?
          Kitty you are more than welcome for a drink in the corner. We have plenty of wine. :-)

    2. Well I’ll admit to two very silly mistakes – 31a which I got straight away but put an a where the e should go and 29a which was a bung in “extinct” to be “no longer” so thanks to MP for putting me straight and the setter for starting my day with a challenge.

  2. 1.5*/3*. This was untaxing but good fun. I took longer than I needed as after solving just over half the clues I noticed that 24 letters of the alphabet had appeared. I then wasted time trying to fit a K and a Z into my remaining answers :-(.

    Like Miffypops I knew 27d must be a hidden word but it still took ages to find it!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP – great pics as always!

  3. I got myself bogged down a tad in the NE corner (initially by mis-spelling QUARTER and getting in a mess with over-writes(D’Oh) and then getting the wrong Emperor (Justina fits, honest))(and I know I’m not supposed to use embedded parentheses, but I, a computer guy so I’m allowed). Soon managed to fit these in when I looked at 7D.

    Other than that, a typical fun Rufus today, nice to see the answer to 21D making an appearance.

    Need to move all our rubbish back into the kitchen – think this could take a week or two

  4. Excellent and enjoyable puzzle. Only slight holdup was 11a trying to get some variant of Julius, DOH!
    Lots of super clues but for me the best was 10a and 13a, not difficult but fun.
    Thx to all.

  5. Comfortably completed before lights out last night, although I thought that it was slightly more challenging than last Friday or Saturday. I enjoyed the four 13 letter clues and today’s selection of illustrations. Thanks to Rufus for a good start to the week, and to MP for the above.

  6. ***/***
    That Monday morning feeling is here again, apart from the fact it’s lunchtime. So happy Indulgence Day everyone.

    Well there was a lot to like today and a lot that held me up. Let’s start with the combination of 6d and 11a, since I’d never head of the queen in the latter it messed up the former. Amazingly so and took some Google work to sort it out.

    9d was ‘a bung it in and hope’ moment but I suspect that’s mainly because I didn’t spot the anagram until MP pointed it out.

    Favourite clue is 19a with and honorary mention to 4d and 18a.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for your brilliant blog. And congratulations on the new additions to your family. Beautiful. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    I do however have a question? I love your blog on a Monday, I look forward to your blog, but, on National Indulgence Day why oh why mention James Blunt? Now…to plan a day of indulgence. I think hedonism and some sort of appreciation of Dionysus is in order. Though this afternoon I shall be wading through unfathomable pointless financial reports.

    1. I laughed out load when I read Noel Gallagher’s quote on why he was selling up. It is not reprintable in a polite blog though.

        1. I looked up some of his quotes as well – he certainly doesn’t hold back. Especially about his brother. However, I think his house was on a different Balearic from that in 6d. Thanks for the excellent review and more enjoyment from Rufus.

      1. G & T it is. Though this weekend I have been experimenting with wassail recipes on various friends. N.B Don’t ever add too much brandy or calvados as it gets people really drunk really quickly!
        But the corner is ready! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            1. Thanks for asking, Hanni. At the moment, getting to grips with house-purchasing has taken priority! As daughter is on Anglesey with me, her fiancé working on a boat somewhere betwixt Antibes and Rome and his brother (who is buying him out of his share in the house they currently own) is somewhere sailing on a different ocean – it’s all a little fraught!

              However, a dozen red roses were delivered here today so I think we can safely assume that they’ll get through it somehow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

              1. Oh gosh! That is a logistical nightmare. Buying a house can be difficult enough when all parties are in the same country…let alone sailing the seven seas! I agree that it will be fine though, roses always help. So here’s one for being a wonderful mum.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

                National Indulgence Day is drawing to a close. Why on earth don’t they hold it on a weekend?

  7. Initially expected to finish very quickly but 6d caused trouble for me too and misspelling the panto, didn’t help either.
    Never heard of 21d or 24a so help on those two much appreciated also.
    Left feeling a little flat for a Monday. :(
    Thanks anyway to Rufus and MPs.

  8. I made a few silly mistakes and it took longer than it should. 19 and 20 caused problems and I needed your help. I struggled a bit with 11a as well. I liked 18a and 6d. I love the pictures. An adventure to Hampshire this weekend with the puppies who actually behaved quite well.

  9. I’m about to go out to do Pilates and then investigate my new hammer drill.

    Does this count as indulgence? …..No, I thought not. .

    I shall have to think of something to do later then……..

    The puzzle was okey dokey. 1.5 * only. No clues stood out, although mild fun was had working out 31a.

  10. A great blog I have followed for a while. Some lovely clues. I needed help only for 15d. I think the 4 letter word has a slightly different meaning where I live.

    1. Flit. Verb. move swiftly and lightly.
      “small birds flitted about in the branches”

      Noun. an act of moving house or leaving one’s home, typically secretly so as to escape creditors or obligations.
      “moonlight flits from one insalubrious dwelling to another”

  11. Pleasant solve this Monday.

    11a was pretty easy considering where I have lived for many years – I am a decade further on than 31a!

    Fave was 8d.

  12. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable start to the week, I was beaten by 15d,needed the hint. Apart from that it was straightforward, with some real old chestnuts, but still fun. Favourite was 10a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  13. Thank you MP. Loved the photos of your grandson. Thanks for the encouragement to keep looking for the hidden word in 27d! I just could not see it.
    I had alum for 24a even though I have heard of an arum lily. Just figured lum was one more odd British word I had never heard of. Minor point, alum is not a plant.
    Thanks again and many thanks to Rufus as well.

    1. Just in case it comes up in future, “lum” is indeed an odd (Scottish) word; it means chimney!

  14. I made heavy work of this: ***/**** which is an unusual rating for me. Some rather obvious anagrams, but when they’re as good as 31a who cares? Good stuff from the maestro and another excellent if a tad self-indulgent (you’re allowed occasionally) review from Miffypops. Cheers

  15. Most enjoyable Monday romp which we managed all by ourselves. Hurrah. Lots of good clues, mainly straightforward, so we knew what we were looking for, which isn’t always the case. Thank you Monday setter and Miffypops. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  16. Good fun start to the week, a */*** for me , a few too many chestnuts perhaps, but that’s the penalty of 50 years of doing the same crossword-better than the alternative. Thanks Miffypops for the photos, i like the idea of an English National Indulgence Day ,so will indulge myself in several pints of Robinsons finest this evening.

    1. Probably not English enough to qualify, but as my indulgence today I’m off to the oldest Indian restaurant in Birmingham tonight, est. 1962…

  17. Thank you Rufus, I found this quite tricky and made slow progress. Got there in the end. Thanks MP for your entertaining review and hints. That was a real thrashing for Ealing !

    1. Hi SW – don’t know whether you read my post prior to the Martin Mere family visit, but hope you did take the grandchildren to see the otters being fed! Did everyone have a good day?

      1. Good evening Jane. Yes – we did the otter feed, thank you for that information and then the swan feed. I think children and grandchildren were all thrilled to see both. It resulted in the inevitable secret purchase in the shop of some cuddly otter toys ! It is a rare occasion when we can get both our sons and their families together, so it was a grand day out http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  18. Thanks Rufus for yet another enjoyable start to the week requiring just the right amount of cogitation. Thanks also to MP. I’m not a feline fan but your grandson certainly is a bonny boy. I’m still thinking about how to indulge myself later on today – possibly some special grape juice! Will be interested to hear of other bloggers’ indulgences! Had to do some memory jogging for 21d. Nice to see 22a as our local church is dedicated to St. Margaret (of 22a) and our vicar and another villager have written a lovely opera telling the sad story of the Saint’s martyrdom. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif Also liked 13a when the penny dropped. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. There are of course many similarly named churches but I never cease to be moved by the story of St. Margaret.

  19. I always seem to be on Rufus’s wavelength, his puzzles are always super.
    Loved the pics M’pops, but surely you could have found more apt names than Itchy and Scratchy, they are so cute. Little Harrington is really beginning to look like a little boy instead of just baby! Is he being called Harry yet?
    Fave was 22a, with honourable mention to 11a, she was a formidable looking woman.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for your review. Enjoy your indulgences!

    1. Beelzebub and Satan would be more apt at the moment Merusa. They do everything at 100 miles per hour. Everything which can be tipped over has been tipped over and they keep jumping onto to keyboard as I type. They are funny though. Yes we are calling Harrison Harry and yes he is changing rapidly from a baby into a toddler. He brought his Mum and Dad to see Saint Sharon on Saturday whilst I was out at the rugby match so I missed out.

  20. Nice to see the queen in 11a making an appearance, she was well loved. Last one in were 15d and 9d, which i only realised was an anagram after trying to force in some less meaningful interpretations. The estate (21d) was a new word for me.

    I quite liked 12a, simple but reads so nicely. Enjoyable start to the week with a couple of head-scratchers to keep it interesting

    many thanks rufus and miffypops

  21. Maybe it’s just because it’s a gloomy day here, or maybe because MP reckons it’s not National Indulgence Day in Wales, but this one really didn’t ‘float my boat’. No particular hold-ups but not many smiles either. Favourite was 13a.

    Best bit was the lovely pics – thank you for those MP! Which ‘twin’ has which name?

    Made a start on the Rookie – came to a dead halt about halfway through. I guess it’s just not my day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. I’m not sure whether your jokes are getting better or worse. Either way they are making me laugh a bit. Even the 22d one? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  22. Got there without help but thank you Miffypops for the usual sparkling entertainment, and thank you Rufus for the crossword.
    Grey sky and bitterly cold outside. I have induldged myself today in turning the radiator up half a notch whilst unobserved. (Later I guarantee I will find it has mysteriously moved back. We have been doing this for 40+ years and it would be churlish to stop now.)

  23. The run continues 3 from 3 with no help other than a google check (it was all that would fit in 11a though, and 24a caused a problem for a while.

    One or two others were completed by a guess followed by a check to see if it fit the rest of the clue (15d).

    Thanks for the blog.

  24. Ta da! This is what I said to myself once I read 26a. I thought I got the facts right only to discover that it’s the other way round.
    We can see that today is National Indulgence Day as nobody thought of 15d being too sexist. There seems to be as many masculine synonyms for flirt in my thesaurus.
    I liked 9d but preferred Gazza’s clue from the other day. Incidentally I don’t know if you and Gazza have heard but the South Africans have been taunting us, saying that it was easy to win the H cup. So we said: Oh yeah! Come on then! We are meeting the Sharks on Feb 5th at Mayol Stadium Toulon. I’m sorry MP but it’s not going to be for the pussycats. Thanks to Rufus for a very enjoyable crossword and to MP for the review and pics. (Favourite is 3d today).

  25. Got stumped by 13a and 15d so thank you Miffypops – delightful kittens and such a cute grandson. Otherwise no problem and much enjoyment so thank you to the setter. Had never heard of 9a but managed to get it right by just juggling with the letters. 17a was also a new word for me but again worked it out correctly. 2.5*/3* for me. Dismal weather again in Hyères, when will it end? Just looked up Gallagher’s quote – had no idea what Googlebox was!!! Must have a very sheltered life. 24a was my favourite.

  26. I agree with Miffypops about 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I was slow to get the first bit of 1a and 8d so did myself out of lots of starting letters.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen 10a spelt without an E at the end.
    For once the hidden answer jumped out at me.
    I thought there were lots of good clues – 18 and 31a and 4d. My favourite was 15d.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops – really pretty kitties but I think they’re about as far from being identical as it’s possible to be.

    Finally started doing some Christmas shopping today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif. The reindeer are a touch on the sluggish side – I think they might cheer up with a few snowflakes, BD! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. I thought that was quite fitting for 10a to be without it’s E as 4d, as a whole, is an E. But that was then, in the late eighties, when Everything started with an E.

  27. No real problems with this one, so thanks to Rufus for an untaxing solve and thanks to MP for the (as usual) splendid blog. Favourite clue was easily 13a; it made me smile. Spent too long trying to make the anagram for 31a out of ‘of a certain age’, which held me up, taking it into 2.5* time. 3* for fun, though

    1. Yep – I also had a quick 15d with ‘of a certain age’ for 31a. Still surprises me that I couldn’t come up with a single word (even discounting the checking letters!).

  28. It looks like we missed out on the opportunity for an Indulgence Day on two counts. 1, we are not in the appropriate country and 2, it is already Tuesday here. Never mind, perhaps we will invent our own one.
    Enjoyable Monday fare that fitted together smoothly.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  29. Nice and straight forward apart from the Queen of the Netherlands, it was all Dutch to me. Thanks to MP for able assistance :)

  30. I was quite lucky today as when I was a little girl I lived in 21d Road so have always been able to spell it. Dear Miffypops I bet you thought 4d was especially for you, loved the kittens and as I am new to blog I did not know who the little lad was. Definitely my sort of crossword thanks to Rufus and MPs for a great start to the week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  31. Always a pleasure to meet old friends but, perhaps, 13a and 23d should now be given a decent burial.
    Many thanks to the setter for a, say, * and half a * for difficulty and to Miffypops for the review.

  32. Gentle but very enjoyable – 1.5*/4*. 22a was my favourite, not so much because of the cleverness of the clue but because it immediately recalled the “holy hand grenade” of that place, mentioned in one of the Python films! Thanks, Rufus for the pleasure of your company, and thanks Miffypops for a very entertaining review. Your kittens are charming, but l currently have Lizzy and Darcy (no longer kittens and getting pretty weighty) sitting on my chest, so l dare not offer more fulsome praise!

  33. Thank you setter for one that I can do and to Miffypops for spectacularly brightening up this Monday with those most gorgeous kittens and baby Harrison. You must be walking on air at the moment. I enjoyed 10a and 4d – well illustrated today… but am only half done and will finish it when I get home. Thank you for permission to be self indulgent today! I splashed out on a fleece top and shoes, £10 each at sale price at Hatton Shopping Village. All in all a great day. Thanks to all.

  34. Was convinced 31a ended in “tions” which held me up for quite a while. Once the penny dropped reasonably plain sailing. 11a last in as had not heard of that particular emperor. ***/*** for me.

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