DT 27684 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27684

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27684

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning. I hope you all had a good time over Christmas and that those amongst you who tackled the Elgar Double Toughie on Christmas Day have recovered enough to have a go here at the gentler end of the cryptic crossword scale. Today’s puzzle offered a steady slog with the top right corner just pushing it into three star difficulty for me.

The hints and tips below are there to help and guide you. I hope they serve their purpose. Definitions are underlined. If you still need an answer after reading the hint then press click here and the answer will be revealed. >

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    Expect I will go before head after some horseplay (10)
ANTICIPATE: Do what the clue suggests. Place I (from the clue) before a noun meaning head (or the paste from which porcelain is made. Nothing to do with this clue but I thought I would throw it in anyway) and place both before some horseplay, in this case a prank, jape or caper.

6a    Staunch good man the writer turns over (4)
STEM: Our usual two letter good man followed by the writer of the clue or the setter reversed (turns over)

10a    Plane crashes somewhere in the Himalayas (5)
NEPAL: Anagram (crashes) of PLANE

11a    In hospital, most would like to go like this tradesman (9)
OUTFITTER: The eureka clue which led to the fall of the top right hand corner. This tradesman who works in a shop selling men’s clothing can be split 3,6 to describe the state a patient would like to leave (to go) hospital as opposed to the state he entered it

12a    Practical is ‘in’ — be less fancy (8)
SENSIBLE: Anagram (fancy) of IN BE LESS

13a    It can be enthralling for a while (5)
SPELL: An enchantment which is also a short period of time

15a    Hit back with a note before ten? It can be true (7)
PARADOX: Take a three lettered short sharp knock or blow and reverse it (back) Add an A from the clue and the musical note as sung by Julie Andrews and favoured by Homer Simpson, now add the Roman numeral for the number ten.

17a    Long John Silver’s line (3,4)
SEA COOK: The occupation of Long John Silver

19a    Less than 50 per cent? Certainly! (3,4)
NOT HALF: A very clever double definition. The first being a short measure and the second meaning very much so.

21a    Find fee out of order for Turkish official (7)
EFFENDI: Anagram (out of order) of FIND FEE

22a    Heavenly body, one seen in flight (5)
STAIR: Place an I as indicated by the number one in the clue inside a twinkling heavenly body.

24a    Common title for Satan? (8)
NICKNAME: a familiar or humorous name given to a person or thing instead of or as well as the real name. The Devil is often known as Old Nick

27a    Pension for all directors? (4,5)
FULL BOARD: The provision of all meals and accommodation at a hotel or guesthouse might also refer to the total complement at a meeting of a company’s directors

28a    Fitting end for a piece of wood (5)
TENON: A type of woodworking joint which usually goes with Mortice

29a    Boat to swing off course to port (4)
YAWL: The things we learn! This boat is a two masted fore and aft rigged boat with the mizzen mast stepped far aft so the mizzen boom overhangs the stern. That in itself is interesting enough but there is more. Historically it is a ship’s jolly boat with four or six oars. Goodness only knows what a jolly boat is. To get the name of this boat we need a three letter term used to describe the twisting motion of an aeroplane or ship followed by the initial letter of the direction indicated by port as opposed to starboard

30a    They provide poor accommodation (10)
ALMSHOUSES: these are dwelling places provided by charitable organisations for poor people.


1d    Teenage trouble spots? (4)
ACNE: Spots, zits, blackheads or pimples. The bane of some teenagers lives.

2d    It’s highly confidential (3,6)
TOP SECRET: Possibly todays easiest clue. Highly elevates the confidentiality.

3d    Shouts out  names (5)
CALLS: A double definition

4d    Weak case made for charitable collection (4,3)
POOR BOX: A receptacle for donations to those less financially blessed than ourselves


5d    Ties the rest in knots (7)
TETHERS: Anagram (In knots) of THE REST

7d    Cut of the cloth? (5)
TITHE: A medieval tax of one tenth of income or crops given to the church

8d    Much improved, that enjoys greater popularity (4,4,2)
MORE LIKE IT: This term may be used by a teacher to show a pupil that improvement has been made. It may also denote a greater number of people appreciating something. I feel this clue would have beaten me if it were not for the checking letters

9d    Official bit of advice goes to teachers, say (8)
TIPSTAFF: This advice may help you choose which horse to back. Placed before a collective term for teachers it gives an officer of a court

14d    Europeans travel by air to obtain a dubious aphrodisiac (7,3)
SPANISH FLY: These Europeans are not French or German but live further south and tend to like bullfighting. To travel by air is obvious and the whole gives an antiquated form of Viagra

16d    Dreadful family heard in abusive outburst (8)
DIATRIBE: split 3,5 This rant can be found by placing a homophone (heard) of an adjective meaning dreadful before another word meaning family or clan

18d    Welcoming start of treatment, mentions new remedies (9)
OINTMENTS: Anagram (new) of MENTIONS containing (welcoming) the letter T (start of Treatments)

20d    Flier in a flat spin (7)
FANTAIL: Anagram (spin) of IN A FLAT


21d    Creates a secret passage (7)
ENCODES: Converts into an encrypted form

23d    Silver down but looking healthy (5)
AGLOW: Place a noun defining a difficult time in a person’s life after the chemical symbol for silver

25d    Two Poles about to set up job centre? Untrue (3,2)
NOT SO: Place our usual two poles around (about) the word TO form the clue but inverted (set up) and add the middle letter of the word jOb

26d    Numbers taken out of telephone service (4)
ONES: This is a hidden word, hidden within the clue itself.

Solved and blogged in silence.

The Quick Crossword pun: foe+net+tick=phonetic

Apologies for the late publication, which was largely due to serious performance problems on the website.

61 comments on “DT 27684

  1. After last Monday’s debacle, I’m not even going to say “thank you Rufus”. Although I suspect this one was quite straightforward, I struggled a bit and in my rush to complete it, a few answers went in without really understanding the rationale so, as ever, I’m grateful for the blog. 17a is a new one for me. Clearly a few old chestnuts here, but nonetheless enjoyable. 9d favourite. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review

  2. Hi MP, glad to see that you also have survived the festivities. I’ve survived Benidorm in far better nick than the last time I went there for Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    This puzzle was a bit of fun but we didn’t help ourselves by confidently putting WORKHOUSES for 30a. We then changed it to FLOPHOUSES when we got 20d and it was only cracking 21d that gave us the right answer, D’OH!!!!

    We’d give it **/***.

    Talking of the results of going to Benidorm, today it is exactly two years since I last had a cigarette http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. 2 years is good going but after 32 years I still occasionally dream I’ve had a smoke – stick with it http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  3. Thanks to MP for the usual amusing review and to the setter (as it has a nautical slant I guess it must be Rufus). NE corner held me up as well.

    As an ex matelot of 22 years service – I can tell you that a ‘jolly boat’ was used to take you ashore for a ‘freebie run ashore’ (i.e. someone else was paying for the drinks) and not just a Royal Marine. The term jolly was used quite extensively in the ‘Pusser, Andrew, Mob’ and meant many things. There is an excellent book on ‘Jack speak’ written by an ex Naval Surgeon called Rick Jolly – lovely chap

  4. No trip to Waitrose today, so no Telegraph, but just logged on to thank Saturday’s blogger as I’ve had ‘I bent my *******’ going through my head for the last 2 days!

        1. Don’t worry mate, it can’t be that much of a secret when some of the answers are so well publicised via pictures and musical clues – I never have understood the reasoning behind that when it’s a prize crossword at stake and solvers are specifically asked NOT to give alternative clues or answers.

          I’m also trying to understand how it came to be that there were three crossword puzzles on Christmas Day (I’ve read the blogs) yet there were no newspapers – at least there were none in my neck of the woods.

              1. The Christmas Day puzzles were available online to subscribers to Telegraph puzzles. The paper today seemed quite keen to let you know that you could still get them if you have a week’s trial of their puzzles site.

                1. Oh right I see, thanks. I think I’ll stick to my daily paper though.

                  Returning for a moment to the Saturday Prize crosswords, I fully take on board what Big Dave says about rules, but having looked at the FAQs, I still don’t understand why some answers are there for the looking at, by either listening to piece of music or by simply hovering the pointer arrow over a picture in the Hints and Tips. It goes totally against everything that’s said in those few seconds-worth of flashing lettering that appears prior to checking the Saturday blog.

                    1. That’s not the point. I prefer to answer a puzzle by my own efforts and not by accidentally stumbling over an answer as I could do and have have done in the past.

                      However, looking back to where this conversation began, I was simply reflecting on Toadson’s comments.

                      Personally, I try to rise above cheating and hints and to solve a puzzle with my own powers of reason rather than wait until some other clever soul has solved a puzzle and then show how clever he or she might be and give hints, tips and answers, call them what you will, for those who can’t work it out for themselves.

                      I do enjoy reading all the self congratulatory comments from those who have solved a particular puzzle though. So in that vein and to comment on today’s cryptic puzzle? Put it this way, Saturday’s quick crossword took me far longer to solve.

                    1. This may be the tea talking and I am clearly not as bright as you…

                      But I like that BD has created a place where new and old solvers alike can converse without worry of feeling alienated…
                      That no one is made to feel stupid….
                      That the incredible bloggers take their time to explain and encourage…

                      And I thank them all for it. But what would I know. I sometimes need help from the hints!

  5. ***/***

    Greetings from the snowy N.York moors.
    I hope everyone has enjoyed the festivities or at least survived them.
    I have a quiet house which allowed me plenty of time to completely mess up this crossword…well almost.

    Let’s start with 1a where the answer is not antecedent. Nor is it antecessor.
    Sorted that mess out to pencil 4d in as ‘something bag’. Wrong. Because 15a is not ‘paradog’! I mean ye Gods woman.

    Everything else was fairly straightforward. I’m not sure how cryptic I find 2d and 30a but today I don’t trust my own crosswording abilities.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for your lovely blog. Hope you are well?

    At this moment in time various friends/family etc are out attempting a new sport. Sea fishing using a drone!?

    1. Hi Hanni,
      2d just a play on “top” = “highly”
      30a poor accommodation intended to suggest poor quality as well as for the poor
      (i think)

  6. 1.5*/4*. I found three quarters of today R&W with only the NE corner proving more difficult. 17a was my last answer in, having dredged up some long distant memories of Treasure Island.

    The cluing for this puzzle was a model of brevity with splendid surface readings throughout. There were so many good clues to make it very tough to pick a favourite, but I’ll settle for 21d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  7. Thanks Miffypops for blogging, I didn’t need the hints but only because I did it last night and I have to say for once I found a slog.Particularly LJS occupation.I opted for sea wolf for a long time and that skewered 8d.
    The website , usually most reliable , has been frequently off line in these last few days.Maybe turn the snow off ?

  8. Hmm, I raced (well, for me) through this and then ground to a halt in the south west corner. I had forgotten LJS’s official occupation which didn’t help. Ah well, can’t win them all.
    Thanks Rufus and MP for his revue.

  9. Oh dear – I made really heavy weather of this one. Started out with ‘made more of’ for 8d, ‘poor law’ for 4d and ‘workhouses’ for 30a. Worked through ‘dosshouses’ and ‘flophouses’ for the latter, which didn’t improve matters at all! Not knowing Long John’s official line of work didn’t help with rescuing 8d. 3.5*/2* for me, although the 2* for enjoyment is probably just a reflection of my frustration! Just hoping that Hanni’s corner is open and well-stocked. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    All credit to the setter (Rufus?) for taking me down a peg or two after my euphoria over completing the NTSPP and to Miffypops for his usual brilliantly illustrated review and for the comfort I took from learning that he fell into a few of the same traps as I did. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    ps. Glad you mentioned problems with the site, MP – it’s been a nightmare from here for a couple of days. This is my third attempt at a posting on this puzzle – I may give up soon!

    1. Hi Jane. I made plenty of mistakes today too so the corner is indeed open! It is stocked to the limits and you are of course always welcome. Golf talk is still banned. :-)

      The website is slow here too but I’ve found that posting from a mobile or tab much easier.

      1. Hi you two :). I’m tempted to join you in the corner but am valiantly trying to have a sober day or two, so will just slink off alone for now :( … I’ll be up for a corner party soon though!

        Jane – since you asked a few days ago, it is 13 days until Kitty purrs again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

        1. Hi Kitty.
          You are very welcome in the comfy corner too. It’s often sober though rarely 12a ;-)
          Is 13 days when Mr Kitty returns. I really hope so!!

  10. This presented no problems at all but was no less enjoyable for that mainly thanks to so many amusingly cryptic clues. */****. Thanks v.m. Mr. Ron (Rufus?) and Miffypops.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  11. LJS’s occupation apart, which I bunged in, a straightforward 1* for me, so a bit surprised by MP’s rating. It has been the other way often enough so no complaints…
    Weather here still lovely, wrap up warm chums!

  12. A very quiet day in today – I’ve done the Cryptic, the Quick and Herculis puzzles and then for good measure did the Sudoku’s, the Mini Sudoku and the Anagrams – my head hurts!

    No problems with the Cryptic today, all very straightforward.

    I went to West Ham v Arsenal yesterday – we wuz robbed!

    Onward and upward – roll on 2015! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  13. Thanks Rufus, needed hints to finish in NE corner. Not the most fun puzzle for me. Finished in many 10 minute slots. Thanks MP for the review and hints. Can’t get onto the site from my desktop, have managed from my phone for a couple of days.

  14. took a bit longer than usual with NE last to get filled. I should have googled LJS’s occupation, couldn’t decide between hook, book, work, all of which seemed feasible but weak. Didn’t remember the turkish official but getting 8d placed the “i” leaving few alternatives. A new boat in 29a, but could work it out from the wordplay and checking letters.

    I liked 11a (hospital), 27a (pension), 25d (two poles) and 21 (secret passage, took a while for the penny to drop).

    Many thanks Rufus and miffypops

  15. All quiet here for the first time in what feels like a very long time. The top right corner nearly finished me off so 3* difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    I’m glad that it isn’t just me having trouble with the aforementioned corner as well as finally getting into the blog.
    I hadn’t forgotten Long John Silver’s occupation – I never knew it so that one was a major problem as was 11a and 8d.
    I was also slow with 7d which was just plain silly. Oh dear!!
    I liked 19 and 24a. My favourite was 16d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops – glad to hear that you’ve survived the last few days.
    Now to see if I’m going to be able to send this . . .

    1. Yes, I had a lot of trouble getting into the blog today as well, I just assumed it was the BT servers playing up – if it’s not just me then it sounds like it was probably at BD’s end of the Interweb! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Everything worked like clockwork this time – having not tried to get into the blog since not sure when ( http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif ) I thought it was me.

        2. It seems a lot happier than it was a couple of hours ago when I was trying to persuade it to publish a review.

  16. ***/***. Nice puzzle with a couple of neat clues (9d and especially 11a). Thanks to the setter and MP for a good review although not required today for me. PS – the website seems to be slow although it could be my connection through Seattle.

  17. Slightly tricky today but very enjoyable.
    I guessed 17a, didn’t know his line.
    Thanks to M’pops for the lesson on 29a, hadn’t heard of it before but easy to work out.
    My fave is 11a, worth a smile.
    Thanks to Rufus for another treat, and to M’pops for the excellent review, as always!
    I am also having a problem getting on this site, took ages to come up, so I wonder if this post will get off.

  18. I agree with Williamus, 17a did not sit satisfactorily

    and with Michael for the delay getting into the blog, in order to understand the rationale for 17a

  19. I found this easier and more fun than usual, so maybe 1.5*/3.5* for me. Lots of nice clues but my favourite is 27a.

  20. Some really tough bits today inc 9d, 1a & 27a. Didn’t know 17a, I thought he was a pirate and 24a tied me in knots. Did like 11a though, a real smile clue.
    Not my favourite but I have had a lot worse.
    Thx to all.

  21. I am glad that several of you mentioned problems with getting into the website I thought it was me being stupid. Not an easy ride but thinking I was on my own I struggled on to the end and was relieved to be able to check answers from MP’s brilliant write-up. Fave rave was 11a because it made me giggle, thanks to Miffypops – hope you are much better and the setter for a taxing start to the week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  22. We know that there are several types of bird in different parts of the world called fantails and we were delighted to find that Miffypops had chosen to use our particular version (piwakawaka is the Maori name) for the illustration. They are a much loved bird here as they often fly around people as if they are playing a little game. They are actually catching insects disturbed by a moving person.
    Enjoyed the puzzle. The longest delay was the pirate’s occupation and it is interesting to note on subsequent research, that the Wikipedia entry describes him as a quartermaster. Good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops

  23. Got a bit held up with 7d as I was looking for some kind of religious haircut.
    So thanks to MP for taking me out of my misery.
    When I wrote down the answer to 15a, my “p” looked like such a straight line that I mistook it for an “I” and ended up searching for a Finnish fly.
    Thanks to the setter for the fun and to MP for the help.

  24. Enjoyable Monday puzzle – I have missed the DT a few days as was at my daughter’s over Christmas and shall return over New Year.

    Back home to tidy up the flat and dump out a lot of junk acquired in 2014.

  25. Found this puzzle to be a lot of fun. NE corner was the last to go in. I was held up there until I realized that tradesman can be not only a skilled worker, but also a shopkeeper. The satisfaction derived from finally seeing that and realizing the clever answer made 11a my favorite today. Wasn’t wild about 17a – “work” and “folk” seem like perfectly fine answers for the second word, and it took multiple rejections by the DT puzzle site to home in on the desired answer (which doesn’t seem to be mentioned in his Wikipedia entry). Liked the NZ fantail illustration for 20d, and it brought on some nostalgia. Thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and to Miffypops for the entertaining explanations.

  26. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif. Invasion over, but I’m not quite sure which way is up or what day of the week it is. I can just about remember the year, but give it a week…

    Most went in with little resistance – even the couple that I didn’t know. As for the NE, like others I found it really rather hard. It took me longer than the rest put together. I like to think that given time (and/or a greater degree of alertness) I’d have got there on my own, but a certain smug proud person was waving hints enticingly in front of my nose, so I grudgingly gracefully accepted what he offered and finished with help.

    No single favourite, though there were several very nice ones.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP. I hope the silence during solving and blogging was by way of a nice change, not a sign of gloom.

  27. Fun, but quite gentle (1*/3*) as befits this stage of the crossword week. As for favouritism, l’m torn between 1 and 11 across. I’ll plump for the latter, because it made me smile when l saw it. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops for a typically amusing review.

  28. Have just discovered this site via Chambers Crossword Manual which I got for xmas. Thank you so much – totally brilliant. Finished the DT crossword today with your help for the first time EVER! Now looking forward to a clue-solving 2015 thanks to you. Happy new year.

    1. Hello from me too Richard. Let’s hope your solving skills improve to the point where you rarely need help. If ever you are not sure, please ask, somebody will always help. As Michael always says “Onward and upward”

  29. Sorry for the late completion of this puzzle…
    I wondered whether 17a might be sea folk?!… Although this is one word usually… As line in the clue might denote lineage rather than profession?!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ben.
      Good thinking – that seems perfectly reasonable, but ‘sea cook’ is the official answer.

Comments are closed.