DT 27690 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27690

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27690

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Happy New Year to one and all. I don’t 28d to be 1ac but I do have a 12 ac for a 9d. I may be out of my 15d and it might take a 21d of your imagination but I need to take a 24ac at getting this down 11ac. I had taken my 17ac to the pub and spent it all on 13ac which is my 10ac but I am fighting a 8d against it. Feeling a little 22ac I decided to 22d and walk my 18ac dog in the 30ac along our local 19ac despite the fact that there was a 7d blowing at the time. Because its 27d I was 16d a 29ac which makes me look a bit of a 26ac but who cares. I had just passed the spot where they had demolished our 1960s college (20d) and was almost 31ac when I spotted a sailing ship with a 3d of 2d a frigging in the 4d. The 6d I thought to myself. I must say the sight of their 23ds wobbling away turned my stomach. There ought to be a 5d about this sort of thing I thought to myself as I rolled my 14ac home

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    Paint or paper I ordered is not suitable (13)
INAPPROPRIATE: Anagram (ordered) of PAINT OR PAPER I. Who needs a pencil for anagrams like these?

10a    Returning antelope occupied by kill gets coup de grace (7)
UNDOING: Oh dear! We need our three lettered African antelope (Blue , Black or White Tailed) reversed (returned) Inside this (occupied by) we need to put a phrase or saying which means to kill and is split 2,2

11a    It’s to do with examination in theory (2,5)
ON PAPER: In theory rather than reality. How things are written or where things are written – a two-letter word meaning to do with and a written examination

12a    It detects by smell and is aware by sound (4)
NOSE: A homophone (sound-alike clue) of the term to be aware of something is also the word for our olfactory organ

13a    Cried out for a drink (5)
CIDER: Anagram (out) of CRIED. This was what started me off yesterday with my Sunday roast. Lots of London Pride followed and a lovely black stout followed that at the pub down the road. When I got home I took a glass of mulled wine to bed. At 4.07 I awoke and fired up the iPad and downloaded the crossword. The next thing I remember was waking properly just after 7.00am picking up the iPad and staring at a blank puzzle. Heigh Ho away we go.

14a    Ring for house work (4)
HOOP: This ring can be found by using our usual shortened form of Ho(use) followed by our shortened musical work, OP(us)

17a    Is it to encourage laying in a little money? (4,3)
NEST EGG: A sum of money saved for the future. Also a pot or ceramic artificial device used to induce hens to lay in a certain place

18a    It normally lacks bark (7)
BASENJI: I thought this would be a dog that doesn’t bark but had no idea what that might be so I googled it and advise you to do the same. There now you have approval to use electronic help to find unusual breeds of dog. However you still have no approval to use pencils or pens so solve anagrams. Not on my shift.

19a    Sideways? (7)
BYPATHS: Our odd word of the day. My google dictionary defines it as an indirect route and although it was what I initially thought, I wanted the checkers for confirmation. The checkers duly arrived and confirmed my thoughts.

22a    Meaning to follow, being sheepish (7)
HANGDOG: Split 4,3 we first have a very obscure word for meaning which I am sure will be in the BRB but doesn’t show in my online definitions. To get the **** of something means to understand it. This is followed by a three letter word meaning to follow and the whole means having a dejected or guilty appearance. Shamefaced.

24a    Be inclined to make a charge (4)
TILT: To be inclined like The Leaning Tower Of Pisa or to charge as Don Quixote did at a windmill

25a    Rest that a billiards player wants as high as possible? (5)
BREAK: This rest period during the working day is also an accumulation of points scored in a single visit to a Billiard (or snooker) table

26a    First sign of true intelligence in a fool (4)
TWIT: The first letter of T(rue) followed by a word meaning intelligence or the capacity for inventive thought or quick understanding

29a    Support for a runner in St Leger? (3-4)
LEG REST: An inventively indicated anagram (A runner in) of ST LEDGER. I was well misdirected here into a dodgy world of horse racing and gambling peopled by gangsters with cut throat razors and sheepskin coats.

30a    New opera in natural setting (4,3)
OPEN AIR: Anagram (new) (yawn) of OPERA IN

31a    Not out of the running, after all (2,2,3,6)
IN AT THE FINISH: I think the running here is the batting order at cricket and the not out is a reference to where you are if you are NOT OUT. Please feel free to differ in the comments section of the blog. One of the joys of solving is to work out a solution from the checking letters and work backwards to understand why the answer fits the clue.


2d    They are not suited for camp life (7)
NUDISTS: These people wear no clothes at their camps and are therefore not suited or booted. Ooh er missus.

3d    Duet involving piano melody (4)
PAIR: This duet can be found by putting the musical abbreviation for piano before another musical term for a tune

4d    Tackle some vote-manipulating (7)
RIGGING: A double definition, the first being the system of ropes or chains used to support a ships mast.

5d    Adage showing preference for a word of action (7)
PROVERB: This adage or saw can be spilt 3,4 to satisfy the second part of the clue

6d    ‘Children causing trouble are somewhat dim’ — psychologist (4)
IMPS: These little blighters are hiding away in the clue trying their hardest not to be seen. They are also my favourite liquorice confectionary. Hands up if you remember those little fellows

7d    Conrad’s whirlwind romance? (7)
TYPHOON: This novel by Joseph Conrad was started in 1899 and published in 1902.

8d    Marathon perhaps? (7,6)
RUNNING BATTLE: A cryptic definition of a major skirmish in 490BC between the Greeks and the Persians. They have made friends now. Did you know that the marathon is the only Olympic sport that has the heats in the morning and the final in the afternoon?

9d    Plot associated with vice? (8,5)
GRIPPING STORY: This plot or story is one which firmly holds ones attention or interest in the way in which an engineering vice holds a component

15d    Reports come back up when such charges are dropped (5)
DEPTH: These reports are the noises given off when these underwater explosive devices actually explode

16d    Gun is dismantled for practice (5)
USING: Yet another anagram (dismantled) of GUN IS. I did like this indicator

20d    Old educational establishment to work with new figure (7)
POLYGON: This multisided figure can be worked out by taking the shortened name of a 1960s educational establishment (now mostly given university status), a two letter adjective meaning to work or function properly and our usual suspect for n(ew)

21d    Exercise  period in prison (7)
STRETCH: A double definition. A third might be what elastic can be made to do

22d    Intercept principal on holiday (4,3)
HEAD OFF: The main man in a college and an adverb meaning away from the place in question will give this term meaning to intercept. Commonly used in Westerns. Let’s intercept them at the pass doesn’t have the same ring to it.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    They depend on cattle and some old folk (7)
DEWLAPS; The dangly bits at an elderly persons throat or the throats of cattle

27d    Tendency to be dishonest (4)
BENT: A leaning towards criminality

28d    Being near, aim (4)
MEAN: A double definition, the first meaning tight fisted. The second being to intend.

I though this puzzle was a lot of fun and a fine way to start the year.

The Quick Crossword pun: mirror+cull=miracle

140 comments on “DT 27690

  1. 3*/3.5* for an enjoyable but tougher than usual Monday puzzle with the last few clues providing quite a tussle.

    Like Miffypops, I needed to Google a list of dog breeds beginning with B to crack 18a, and I had never heard of 19a, although the answer was obvious from the checking letters and confirmed in my BRB.

    The clever 23d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus (assuming he is now back in his regular slot) and to MP.

    1. A work colleague some time ago had an 18a so that one was easy for me. An unusual dog though, it absolutely hated water.

    2. Lucky you. You started with dogs. I first had a look at exotic trees with no bark. Took me for ever.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Hello from me too Ron. Thanks for commenting. It isn’t my favourite clue but it has had a number of people who cannot see the wood for the trees. I suppose that if the crossword editor lets it through then it is in.

  2. A nice puzzle this morning. had to check my dictionary for 19a, not a word I have ever used. Thanks to Setter and to Miffypops for the review and amusing preamble.

  3. If it was you Rufus, thank you. I found this quite tricky and was pleased to finish without hints. Thanks MP for your comprehensive review and hints. I will spend some time later enjoying your opening paragraph !

  4. Tough start of the week.
    Made a little mess of SE corner having “in at the finale” for 31a, “gripping board” for 9d and two correct letters only for 23d.
    Took me a while to read MP’s intro but it was worth the effort.
    Thanks to him and to our usual Monday setter.

  5. Thanks to Miffypops, especially for Hedley Lamarr from perhaps the best non PC film ever made.

  6. Started off as a *,but ended as a *** (SE corner),so a ** overall and agree with a *** enjoyment, needed all the checking letters to get the last one in 23D,liked 22A and 10a.Thanks to setter and Miffypops for the pics- looks like Bob’s at Heavens Door!

  7. I was enjoyng this until I hit 15d, 22a and 23d, all perfectly dreadful clues. What on earth has depth got to do with noises, never heard of hangdog for sheepish and as for dew laps, please. Such a shame to ruin a really nice puzzle with these.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. 15d’s about the noises made by the depth charges destroyers drop on submarines in all those B&W WW2 films, Brian.

  8. ***/***
    Wow MP. What a 9d!

    I got parts of the story wrong. Very very wrong. 7d isn’t ‘tapioca’ and 18a isn’t basmati! Now the latter I can justify. I thought that rice had a husk/bark that needed removing. ‘Tapioca’ makes no sense on any level, including eating the stuff. I have no excuse just a 22a expression and a realisation that I am a 26a.

    But I enjoyed this. Most of it went in smoothly. Anagrams were quickly dispatched with the use of a pencil, a blue one about yay long.

    Favourite clue is 31a with 8d and 19a getting brownie points.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for a quite outstanding blog. I clearly needed your help today. Did you really sleep all Sunday afternoon through till this morning or am I reading it wrong?

    Oh that Monday morning feeling is going to last all week!

    1. No Hanni not sleeping. Drinking. Bed about 1pm woke as usual around 4am which is when I normally do the Monday puzzle but I obviously didn’t so had to do it when I awoke at just after 7.00am it was all there waiting to be done. Empty.

      1. I am impressed! Mostly that you can do a crossword at 4 in the morning. I could probably locate the shower and the kettle, though that is entirely theoretical.

          1. Ahh now there’s a trick to the finding the shower. I sit up, legs out of bed and walk straight forward. En suite is directly ahead. This can be done with my eyes closed but you do get one hell of a shock if the bathroom door is closed. Best to lead with one arm. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            Is it today that the newly engaged depart?

            1. Yes, Hanni – how sweet of you to remember. Very proud of myself as I managed not to cry until their car was out of sight and am now waiting for the phone call to tell me that they’ve reached the ferry point in Southampton without mishap. Just been cleaning their room and kept catching the scent of Candy’s perfume, found a small smear of her make-up on the mirror and caught sight of a stray long, blonde hair wafting across the room. Oh dear – it’s all so sad. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

                1. Thank you, both of you – who’d be a Mum?!!!

                  I’m thinking that you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum right now, Kitty. By my reckoning, you must be on count-down for Mr. K. coming home. That makes me feel far more cheerful – are you planning a retrospective Christmas celebration?

                  1. Thanks Jane :). Christmas for us comes on Sunday. We will be celebrating many things, but not Christmas. Alas, we only have two weeks, as at present we live on different continents. Life is cruel.

                  2. Oh dear! Poor you, but I’m pretty sure that we would both be Mums. In the absence of huggy thingies would a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif help a little bit?

                    1. Thanks to you all for your kindness. I concentrate on the good: we have wonderful times together and maybe we appreciate them all the more for the gaps between. As to the future, who can tell? The end of all stories is the same, but the bit in between should be worth hanging around for :).

  9. I remember the ‘Little Imps’ as being very hot as they got smaller & that they also used to burn the tongue. Thanks to Rufus (if it were he – it feels like it) & to Miffypops as per.

    Also I’d like to thank BD for supplying me with pdfs of the cryptics over the weekend as the DT failed to update my subscription due to my card being cancelled as some b#gger had been topping up a phone. Message to self ~ Be careful which websites you buy from!

  10. Wow this was a real slog and involved much Googling prior to your arrival on the scene MP but I still needed you to solve 15d for me which was my last to go in. Thanks for that. After the event your clever hints were much more entertaining than the puzzle had been. Opting for wrong word in 24a didn’t help 20d. IMO Mysteron intended us to brace ourselves for rather more effort in 2015! Perhaps we will thank him in the long run. ****/*http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  11. A very nice start to the week, not as easy as the usual Monday fodder as I did have to resort to Google and BRB for guidance. I thought 9D was a grade 1 smiler. Much enjoyed Miffypops’s stitherum. Thanks for the review and a Happy New Year. my rating is 3/4

        1. Hope this helps Brian- reports are noises as in the’ report’ of a gun firing ,this is the loud noise you hear when a depth charge goes off

          1. I get that but don’t see how it relates to depth. I can see that a report is a noise but the connection to depth is way beyond me. Must be me, everyone seems to understand it. Thx for trying.

            1. ‘Depth’ is the word that has to go before ‘charges’ to get the things that make (very loud) noises when they are dropped.

            2. Brian,
              When hunting submarines, surface ships drop mines to explode at the suspected site and depth of the predator.
              These special mines are called ‘Depth Charges’ and they always send a loud noise or report to the surface when they explode.
              So the sort of charges which send a report when they are dropped are depth charges.
              Hope that clears it up.

        2. Brian i’m with you today re 15d, , totally lost on that , and even with our more learned commenters explainations I would never have got it on my own. Oh well, live and learn

    1. Gripping – like what the vice in my shed does when it holds a piece of wood – plus a tale, or a similar word. The whole might be a book that you just cannot put down, because of its plot. There, I’ve probably made you even more confused. BTW, a great ‘crozzie’ for a Monday – thoroughly enjoyed it, so many thanks to the setter.

  12. Can you explain the problem with using pen & paper to solve anagrams, yet no problem with using the web to find answers?

    Also, I can’t see practice=using in 16d.

    1. Think it comes under the heading of ‘Miffypops Law’ – possibly not recorded in the BRB but regularly quoted in order to further the 8d with the rest of us (particularly Hanni). I suspect he’s either just too 28d to buy pencils/pens or has blown the 17a on 13a and can’t afford them. A search of his 1a use of ‘anagram solver’ on the web could prove to be his 10a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. All done in my head Jane. I have never used an online anagram solver – that is never. I rarely use any other tools but needed to for the make of dog today which I had never heard of. Since Saint Sharon bought me an iPad the writing implements have become redundant.

        1. I was only joking, MP – apologies if it came across the wrong way. I have no doubts about your consummate skills – just the tiniest bit jealous. I’ll slope off now wearing a 22a expression and recommence the 8d with the post-festivities clean-up. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        2. If I had an OH who would buy me an iPad I might give up my beloved pencil but that is unlikely to happen as iPads come under the heading of stuff I do not need at my age. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

          1. I pad about in my slippers and stick with the pencil for anagrams, Hilary. No shame in that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

          2. Hilary, I have an iPad which I got through points earned on my credit card. Do you have the same thing in the UK? You might look into that. A freebie is a great thing!

          3. Hilary, I am beginning to think that my iPad is the only thing I need at my age. It will have to be prised from my cold dead fingers (just after I check my emails one last time…)
            Tell your OH to think again!

          4. Hello Hilary,
            it doesn’t have to be an ipad. Although Android devices don’t come with Flash, which is needed to interactively complete the crossword on line, it is still possible to download Flash onto a Kindle, or other android device. You download the Dolphin browser and then install Flash from Dolphin. BD might be a fund of knowledge on that.

            1. I didn’t understand any of that, it could have been Sanskrit. I think I’m what pommers calls a technopeasant.


          1. Hi Merusa, its no harder than doing these cryptics :)
            I was given a Kindle and became highly motivated to access the DT crossword website interactively. I realised then that I could have accessed it all along on other devices and not just an iPad.

    2. Vince, just between us two, I know that MP has solved anagrams with pencils. He has a collection of them. He won’t admit but I suspect that he has given them pet names.

      1. Do you think he keeps them all in a Lakeland tin? Umm………. maybe you’re too young to remember those?

          1. Good heavens – I didn’t know such place existed but it has to be a great venue for a Betters & Sloggers meeting! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

              1. I have mixed feelings about those: I want to see them, but knowing me I’ll be pulling a stupid face (otherwise known as my face :wacko: ) and so am probably happy they’re not on the internet.

          2. I wish you hadn’t said that I have spent a delightful few minutes browsing – lots of gorgeous pencils, erasers and sharpeners. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    3. Nobody else seems to have commented on 16d. I thought there was a spelling mistake as surely the answer is a verb. Practice/Practise.

  13. Thank goodness for your hilarious intro, Miffypops – made up for a puzzle which I really didn’t enjoy and got no sense of satisfaction from completing. 3*/1* for me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    Hopefully Beet’s latest challenge will revive the flagging spirits. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    PS – Imps are DREADFUL!

  14. Thank you to Miffypops for a fantastic introduction. After I had read this I didn’t need the individual hints. My German Pointer / Greyhound cross is like a 18 across in the noises she makes,
    Happy New Year to all

  15. Well, I am surprised at the number of people who thought this was a *** for difficulty, because, strangely, although I would never say any cryptics are easy for us, we thought this was a lovely Monday puzzle, with quite a few write ins and some more challenging clues which we finished without help from Miffypops. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypops.

    1. Well done you! Isn’t it SO satisfying when a puzzle just seems to fall into place. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif Hope the success continues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. Thank you Jane. I’m never going to be particularly good at cryptics, so they have to be fairly straightforward ( an oxymoron I think) for me to be able to attempt them. However with the combined effort of my husband and myself, we do enjoy trying.

    2. You’ll soon find that some setters are more on your particular wavelength and you understand their reasoning better than others. Then there are others who are so far off sync with you, you take forever to solve their puzzles. Keep it up!

  16. Sorry, but I didn’t enjoy this at all. Obscure dog breeds in a cryptic? Thought it had been set by Kate Mepham. And it didn’t help having byroads as my answer at 19. 15d is still a mystery. I can’t see where reports fits in.Finally, didnt like 23d. Thats enough grumbling. Thanks to Miffypops for the story and for the review. Brilliant.

  17. Unlike some, I had no problems today – almost a write-in, but quite enjoyable with 3A being my fave rave today (wurl, Oi do be frum Zummerzet).

    Had an interesting day today, just realised that I was given enough beer this Christmas to just last until the end of January, then 12 bottles arrived from the East London Brewery and an e-mail to say that another 12 bottles had had an accident in transit and would be replaced shortly.
    See you all late February then, hic

  18. I’m afraid I did not enjoy this at all. I have been doing these crosswords for about six months now, and I think this is the one in which I was left with the most unsolved answers. In general I find so called ‘cryptic’ clues to be the least enjoyable and successful, and it was unfortunate that the beginning of the second world in 8d coincided with he first letter in 19a. I did not get 9d despite having most of the letters. I should have spotted the anagram in 29a, but didn’t. I hadn’t heard of 18a or 23d, nor the context of ‘mean’ as in ‘being near’. I should have been able to get 24a and 26a, but didn’t. 5 stars for difficulty for me and 0 for enjoyment. However, I do appreciate this blog, and I am sorry to be the lone curmudgeon.

    1. You are not the lone curmudgeon Tony and all of your points will find empathy somewhere. Six months is not really that long. We all come across a stinker now and then. When we do we will find a complete mix in the comments of those who found it difficult and those who found it easy. I suggest you join Michael’s Onward and upward club. As a special dispensation I will grant you the use of pencils for solving anagrams just to cheer you up.

        1. Hang in there, six months is no time in the crossword world you have hardly scratched the surface. The encouragement here is fabulous, I used to apply the bung-it-in rule and hopefully check answers the next day, reading the blog helps you to make sense of what you have entered. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  19. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle with a couple of obscure words. Very difficult today, I missed the anagram in 29a. Had never heard of 18&19a&23d. Needed 5 hints to finish. Favourite was 26a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  20. I enjoyed the puzzle although I got into difficulty with the African yelping dog which I had never heard of and was a long way away from the botanical lines (starting with ‘bush’) that my mind was running on. Loved Miffypops’ story! Thanks to the setter. 2*/3* today.

  21. Started this on a lovely morning in Lancashire,3*/4* for me,thanks to miffypops for some great hints,fortunately didn’t need many but had to look up 18A, and 19A was a new word to me.My favourite was 9D.

  22. Some very easy and some impossible clues so a very strange mix for a Monday!
    Never heard of the dog or the cattle chops. 19a? Never used that either and what has 28d got to do with “being near”?
    Oh well. Thanks for the terrific introduction and the hints.

  23. Oh Dear something has gone horribly wrong, after having hysterics reading Miffypops fabulous introduction I picked up my super crossword solving pencil (sorry MP) and completed the grid in record time for me. I even knew 18a but checked the spelling to be sure. Too many fave raves to list but it was definitely not a 8d for me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  24. First of all we now know that Miffypops isn’t an eighteen across as he’s clearly barking.
    This was nearer a 3* for me because the last few – 19a, the second word of 8d and the whole of 9d – took ages. Probably about the same 3* for enjoyment.
    I did know 18a but only because my parents had some friends who had one – if there is ever a completely unappealing dog this is it.
    I don’t think that I knew that 24a meant charge.
    I liked 13a and 2, 15 (even though it took ages) and 21d. My favourite was 26a.
    With thanks to Rufus and thanks and well done to MP.
    Just going back to 18a for a moment – I’m never sure that a clue like this is fair in a cryptic crossword. It’s something you either know or don’t know but there is no way anyone could work this out from the clue. What does everyone else think?

    1. Kath, I agree with you 100% about 18a. The only saving grace was that the first letter was checked, which narrowed down the search somewhat!

    2. It is an interesting question and not easy to answer, I knew of the dog only because over the years I have done hundreds of GK crosswords and built a vast database of useless facts but I can appreciate that its inclusion In a cryptic crossword could be problematical. I shall be interested to see what others have to say.

    3. I’m with you Kath. 18a earned a hiss from me. And a few choice words, since I’d already had to break out the swear box by that time.

    4. Completely agree Kath. :-) impossible to work out simply from the clue unless you are familiar with the breed. Which I wasn’t, hence my putting ‘basmati’! Though I am very embarrassed by that.

    5. With you about 18a – thought it was more of a GK clue than cryptic. Like Jean-Luc, I first went along a tree without bark – quite funny – but found the answer by putting the letters in my electronic XWord solver…

    6. Oh good – not just me then. I have no problem with unknown or unusual words in a cryptic crossword if they have proper clues. You put lots of little bits together, invent something that looks pretty unlikely and look it up and, hey presto, there it is and you’ve learnt a new word.
      I wouldn’t object to 18a being in a GK crossword.

    7. I agree with you Kath. 18 across isn’t cryptic which is probably why I found it straight forward to answer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    8. As mentioned in previous comments it is not cryptic at all. The answer has been used in 2 toughies and a ntspp in the telegraph since BDs records began.

      1. Ps: And if you read earlier comments you will notice that I was barking up the wrong tree.

  25. Hmm…very Monday-ish this wasn’t. A fairly stiff challenge and 23d made me scurry to MP’s fab revue. By the time I had deciphered his preamble I had completely forgotten what I was looking for. Another D’oh moment in paradise.
    Thanks to Rufus(?) – was it he? And MP for his revue.
    And just to comment on Kath’s concern; I agree, the clue is a bit on the sly side.

      1. On the basis that a revue is light entertainment with music and humour, then I think Miffypops’ reviews could reasonably be called revues too.

  26. I have to say I agree with most of the grumbling comments. (Not 15d though – no problem with that.) Most of the top and some of the rest came quickly and with pleasure, but I’d been lulled into a false sense of security. I am sad to report that I struggled with many of the later answers and had to seek help with a fair few to go. A dog of a puzzle for me, but am happy that it was on the wavelength of some of our regular commenters who usually struggle a bit more.

    Thanks to Rufus, and Miffypops. The review was the best part of todays crosswording by far.

  27. Miffipops’s very clever introduction was a delight to read, so bravo and thank you for the review. Was able to complete the puzzle without any problem although I did not know that tilt could also mean make a charge… Unlike most of you I enjoyed solving it so many thanks to Rufus. 2*/3*. Liked 9d and 15d. 23d made me laugh.

  28. The only problem I had with this was that I put “byroads” for 19a and that held me up in the SW corner for some time. I eventually realised that I needed an alternative answer or I was never going to finish.
    I knew the dog, like others I knew someone who had one, but I can’t agree Kath, all dogs are appealing, it’s the owners who aren’t.
    My last in was 15d, struggled with that, but huge aha moment when I got it.
    My fave was 8d, runner up 23d.
    Thanks to Rufus, another star, and to M’pops for his stunning preamble! How long did it take you to compose that?

    1. Not long Merusa. It was writing itself as I was solving and started with the nudists. I don’t do dodgy pictures so a bit of innuendo took their place. Thank you for the compliment.

  29. I just found this a bit irritating. Lots of four-letter words (8), four answers of five letters with only two checkers, an obscure dog and the usual couple of Rufusian (very) loose cryptic definitions that leave you with that uh? feeling.
    His Grauniad offering was equally underwhelming – a complete click-in (I did it online).

  30. Firstly I have to commend MP on his hilarious intro. LOL.
    I found this puzzle a real mixed bag . I started off really well and then found the last quarter really slow to complete. I actually knew the dog & my last one in was 23d. I can’t say I actually enjoyed it.

  31. ****/**. Having started like a train and thinking it was going to be a R&W I suddenly came to the buffers. It took me a long time to unwind some of these clues. Thanks to MP for the hints which I needed to get 18a and 22a and to explain my bung-in for 24a. Thanks also for the setter for bringing me back to earth after the last couple of puzzles.

  32. We raced through the top half and then slowed down considerably on the bottom half. It took us a while to spot the anagram in 29a because of the clever misdirection towards skiing and/or horse racing. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  33. I normally use a small collins dictionary to help with unusual word mean- ings but feel sometimes I need a set of e britannica or electronic devices to get to words that are so obscure especially four letter words e.g. 28d. ( However I couldn’t do it it would feel like cheating in an exam.)
    So near yet so far away , it ruins a good crossword . Still very enjoyable in other respects **(except for 28d ) / *** .Ye gods I feel like a dog thats barking too much.

  34. LHS was a doddle; RHS put me (just) into 2* territory. Quite enjoyable, though (3* on that front). 10a gets the nod for favourite clue. Thanks to the setter, and of course to MP for a most amusing review.

  35. Umm – quite tough – I got 18a from my Wordsearch program, I had never heard of it before, but I definitely think it needs to be filed away for reference. I have also never heard of 19a – ignorance is bliss!

    Is the use of a Wordsearch program frowned upon?

    Backwards and downwards today – a bit depressing, not doing to well with the Herculis either – just not my day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. Oh dear! Cheer up http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      One of the many wonderful things about BD’s blog is that nothing is frowned on, as long as you don’t do or say anything naughty on Prize Crossword days – if you do you will be confined to the naughty corner but that’s fine – comfy sofas and cake etc . . . .
      Onwards and upwards to you – we all have bad days.

  36. Awful…. I had to resort to you tips after only filling in half the grid then still couldn’t get the answers. Not a good start to the week.

    1. You’ve changed your alias again so your comment needed moderation. The new one should now work as well as the old ones.

      1. Whoops, that is what I use on Money Saving Expert…. The problems in not having a hard log-on here.

  37. I enjoy Rufus’ style of crosswords , including today, even though I I didn’t know the dog or 23d.I liked the framing words best.I also enjoyed Miffypops preamble ! Thanks to all concerned.

  38. What !? No pencils for anagrams!!? What about my Seiko Oxford crossword assistant ? Can’t do without it – the old brain gets a bit fogged up these days!

    1. I, too, have an Oxford Seiko. I only use it as a last resort after dictionaries, Google, etc., have been exhausted, and I get to the point where I feel I must resort to the hints. At no time do I feel that I’m cheating by using it, as long as it remains the last port in a storm. So relax and enjoy your solve!

    2. I find mine invaluable especially the thesaurus and for the occasional anagram when all else fails.

  39. Thank you Setter. I have quite enjoyed today’s although I am still working on the SE corner. Thank you, Brian, for the hints to 22a and 23d! That saved me a lot of time :) Many thanks, Miffypops for the review and for excelling even yourself in your preamble. I will give it a bit longer before reading it word for word. Happy New Year all.

  40. Not my favourite puzzle of recent days. Bit of a slog. Thanks to MP for the entertaining review and to Rufus, although not as many as usual,

  41. I found this more difficult than usual for a Monday. Some very easy clues and some really difficult ones. 3.5*/2*.

    Thanks so much to MP for the wonderful introduction.

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