DT 27696 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27696

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27696

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today Rufus proves that time travel is possible taking us right back to 1950s England where policemen were helpful to motorists and the item at 6 across adorned every bar in the land. Again no pencils were used in the solving of this puzzle. You too can help to conserve the world stock of graphite and ink by mentally solving anagrams and for those of you with a physical paper don’t write your final answer in. Save ink. Save the planet.

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    Rocks King in mixed doubles (8)
BOULDERS: Anagram (mixed) of DOUBLES containing R(ex)

6a    Use of it may weaken the spirit (6)
SIPHON: This container and bar room staple of many years ago contained soda which would be used to dilute whisky or other spirits. One of my last ones in. Possibly because I have not seen one of these since way back in the last century. I have happy memories of playful antics behind the bar with these. Mmmm. Tina and Lynn soaking wet and crying with laughter. [The online puzzle requires an I, not a Y, in the answer but either is acceptable.  BD]

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    On the surface, a delivery vehicle (6)
AFLOAT: The surface referred to here is water such as a sea or lake The delivery vehicle used to be electrically powered and were used to deliver bottles of milk or loaves of bread direct to the doorstep. Again this is something from the last century. Milk was fresh and had a creamy top and tasted of milk.

10a    Quietly object when getting a tiny portion (8)
PARTICLE: Take our usual abbreviation for quietly and add another word for a tiny or minute portion of matter.

11a    See if lab hybrid is likely to work (8)
FEASIBLE: Anagram (hybrid) of SEE IF LAB

12a    Often repaired, but it’s irregular (6)
PATCHY: A nice double definition which I could not see without the checkers. Based upon what you might use to repair a hole in a garment

13a    A suitable sucker? (7,5)
TAILOR’S DUMMY: An all in one clue that aptly describes what a seamstress or Saville Row worker might use. This raised quite a smile when the answer came to me.

16a    Surprisingly, her best sally’s showing lack of inspiration (12)
BREATHLESSLY: A clever anagram (surprisingly) of HER BEST SALLY. The definition is rather clever as well.

19a    Annoy by leaving on purpose (6)
OFFEND: Take an informal verb meaning leave and add a word meaning final result.

21a    Training that every prisoner should have (8)
EXERCISE: A double definition the second being what a prisoner might have in the prison yard to give some fresh air after being confined

23a    Daughter abandons flirtation for marriage (8)
ALLIANCE: Remove (abandons) the initial letter of D(aughter) from another word meaning a casual romantic or sexual relationship.

24a    Controlled by banks, this divides capital in the UK (6)
THAMES: The capital is London. This thing “controlled by banks” is its largest river.

25a    First name for Australian port (6)
SYDNEY: Australia’s largest port is also a boy’s name. Simple clue of the year

26a    Order insisted — good order (8)
TIDINESS: Anagram (order) of INSISTED


2d    Cricket side’s opener played badly (3-3)
OFF KEY: One of the two cricket sides (Not the on side, the other one) followed by the opener to a door lock

3d    Steals — lifting a seat (5)
LOOTS: The reversal of this form of stealing gives us a seat without a back or arms

4d    Found habit less unsettling (9)
ESTABLISH: Anagram (unsettling) of HABIT LESS

5d    C-in-C starts to drink, gets more drunk (7)
SUPREMO: Take a three letter word meaning to take a drink by sips and add an anagram (drunk) of MORE

6d    Abandon  fight (5)
SCRAP: An old chestnut of a double definition which may be fresh fruit to newcomers to the world of Cryptic Crosswords. A third definition may be discarded metal for reprocessing

7d    To indicate what one should do is a job for the police (5,4)
POINT DUTY: To indicate as in with a finger followed by another word for a job or task gives a phrase from way back in the last century which describes what a policeman might do to control traffic at busy road junctions.

8d    It’s OK to use an abbreviation (8)
OKLAHOMA: This state in the USA (which is probably locked in the last century) has the abbreviation OK

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d    Actor gives reading at new production (9)
TRAGEDIAN: Anagram (new) of READING AT

14d    New speed cuts thought likely (9)
SUSPECTED: Anagram (yawn and yawn again) new is the indicator word. SPEED CUTS form the fodder and thought likely is the definition. Enough I say!

15d    Paintings entirely in ingenious style (8)
ARTFULLY: Take the generic term for all paintings and add an adverb meaning wholly

17d    Singular ingredient of the weather (7)
ELEMENT: One of a class of substances that cannot be broken down is also a term used to describe the weather.

18d    A second TV’s property worth having (6)
ASSETS: A from the clue S(econd) also from the clue, the word for what your television is and the S from ‘S

20d    First-rate comic, 1937-2012 (5)
DANDY: This comic is not a person. It is a long-running children’s comic now only available online

22d    A measure of restraint (5)
CHAIN: The measure of a cricket pitch might also be used to restrain or tether an animal or a criminal

Blogged to the sublime sound of Mr Van Morrison singing live. Thank you Van.

The Quick Crossword pun: prophet+tiers=profiteers

82 comments on “DT 27696

  1. That was a puzzle of four quarters for me! I started in the NW which was R&W. However, I couldn’t do any of the NE or SW on my first pass but the SE fell in a quarter of 1* time. I eventually managed the SW in a quarter of 2* time and the NW took me a quarter of 4* time with 8d my last one in!

    Overall my rating is 3*/4* with 13a my favourite of a very enjoyable collection.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

    P.S. MP, I think you’ve missed a few words from the middle of your hint for 10a.

    1. Whoops. I just noticed a typo in my ramblings. The order I completed the four quarters was: NW > SE > SW > NE, and what I was trying to say was that the NE took me a quarter of 4* time (not the NW).

      It will soon be time for a glass of red wine after which everything will seem much clearer …

  2. Bit of a struggle today but managed to complete in the end,8D was last in and has to be the stand out clue for me closely followed by 13A.Thanks to MP for the review,my choice of listening today is the original Peter greens Fleetwood Mac it takes me back to my youth in the sixtys.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  3. I must confess that I found this a little more difficult than the usual Monday fare but I got there in the end without the hints. It did not help matters by my inserting breathalyser as the answer for 16A Last one in was 20D which is a clue bordering on GK rather than cryptic. My rating is 2.5/3.5 and my favourite has to be 13A A great smiler! I agree with Miffypops, there is an element of nostalgia taking us back to the times when labels were found on the inside of clothing. Thanks to Miffypops for his usual high standard review.

  4. That was a gentle way to kick off the “working” week (those were the days for me!) but quite enjoyable nevertheless. I’m afraid I will not be following MP’s lead in saving the planet re graphite, ink, etc. – old habits die hard! Thanks Rufus and MP. **/**.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  5. I too got horribly stuck on SW and NE. 8d ( the abbreviation) was the last one in for me. Didn’t help filling Darwin in for the Australian port – come to think of it I don’t know anyone called Darwin, possibly with good reason.Took me a long time to see the suitable sucker (13a) even with the first word staring me in the face. I thought adding the dates gave 20d the feel of a GK clue. I wasn’t convinced about use of “controlled” in 24a.

    More of a challenge than I expected on a very wet monday morning

    Many thanks Rufus and miffypops

  6. Certainly more tricky than the usual Monday fare but after a slow start I got there in the end. Some clever clues but not much grin factor. Maybe it’s just Monday!
    Thanks to Rufus and MP although hints not needed – for a change.
    ***/** for me.

  7. The first “oh dear” of the week. It looks as if I might be on my own here but I thought this was tricky. 3*+ for difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    I failed completely with 12a and 8d. 8d was already looking pretty unlikely so decided that 6a couldn’t be what it was because that made 8d look even worse . . .
    When I first looked at 2d I nearly flipped completely but that was OK in the end.
    I had a fair bit of trouble with a few of the others but sorted them out eventually. I think I’m heading for one of my dim weeks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I did like lots of these clues – 11 and 24a and 2 and 20d (one of my last answers not counting the total failures). My favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops. Off to do useful stuff then will have a go at Mr Rookie.

    1. PS Rubbish – my favourite isn’t 12a at all – it’s 13a but misread the number having written over it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      1. Definitely not alone. We really struggled and needed lots of assistance. Usually I enjoy Monday’s crossword, but not today I’m afraid. Strangely, 24 across and 7 down were virtual write ins, but the rest certainly were not. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypops.

    2. If you’re going to tango with the Rookie, Kath, I suggest that you have one or two foreign language dictionaries within reach! It’s well worth doing and, just to give you a clue, it’s a pangram.

      1. Ah – I said that I was going to email her didn’t I? As soon as I’ve finished rambling here I really will do precisely that.

    3. I found this very difficult. I only got a few before resorting to hints.
      Perhaps my little brain is tired.

      Favourite 23a

      Thank you Miffypops and Rufus

  8. Re: 6a – I’ve still got the soda siphon from our old pub which the family left back in 1990. i’m sure if i looked hard enough i’d find a couple of spittoons & the plastic Guinness toucan which hung from the optics.
    Happy Days.

  9. Yes, definitely fairly difficult for me, but it was a sense of achievement when finished. I had to dig far, far, far back into my childhood memories for 20d, although I used to read the Eagle and Wizard!

    I would say 3*/4* for me.

  10. Thank you Rufus for an enjoyable Monday puzzle. No real problems. Thanks MP for the comprehensive review and explanation of 8 !

  11. Tough but hugely enjoyable. Loved 24a and 20d and esp 8d.
    Lots of lovely anagrams to get you started. For me ***/****
    Thx to all

  12. Another fun Monday puzzle with few problems. Some lovely cluing and my favourite today is 8D – very clever indeed.

    Fingers crossed, this is my third attempt at posting this, keeps telling me that the website is not available http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  13. Bleary-eyed today, which might explain why we found it a bit on the tricky side. Like others, spent longer on the top half. It was an enjoyable solve though, and nearly got there except that 6a required some sneaky electronic assistance. Grr!

    Favourite today is 13a, with 8d the runner up.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

    1. Hi Kitty – hoped you might pop in today. I was thinking about you all over the weekend – have a wonderful couple of weeks with Mr. K and I do hope you can sort out this ‘continental shift’ business sometime soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Hi Jane :). Hopefully I will still find plenty of time to drop in here, although visits might be a little 12a. The future is a work in progress indeed, but the present is here and the plan is to enjoy it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  14. Scanned the clues with increasing desperation as I went, wondering if there would be at least one I could do – and it’s Monday! What will the later days’ be like? Having calmed down, this one began to yield, but even so I give it 3* / 3*. Either the back page is getting a bit harder or maybe I’m getting slower and slower. My last two were 8d, where I was looking for variations on Orl Korrect, and 6a where (having excluded water) the dispensing of soda never crossed my mind until reading the blog. Many thanks to MP and Rufus.

  15. 16a was a gem , 2d nearly bowled me over . Needed a clue for 6a I had spent a lot of time trying to make solute fit . a toughie in parts ***/**

  16. Can’t quibble with a ***/***,it was a little ‘testing’ for a Monday! a tad heavy on the anagrams, but lots of excellent clues, liked 13A and 20D, was 25A in the comic as a member of the bash street kids or Lord Snooty ? Thanks Miffypops for the entertaining pics, recovering from seeing the battle of the 5 armies-kept ducking to avoid the Orc weapons!

    1. Sidney (not Sydney) was indeed one of The Bash Street Kids, but they were in The Beano as opposed to The Dandy.

  17. ***/***

    Fun facts for Monday. Did you know that only 7% of mined graphite is used for making pencils? Stunning I know.

    On to the crossword. Not the easiest Monday offering. Although there were plenty of lovely anagrams including the sublime 16a, I still struggled quite a lot with the top half. And the SW.

    13a was my nemesis today and was my last in. I had to set it to one side, come back in order for me to figure it out.

    Some great clues though. 6 and 24a made me smile with the lovely 16a getting to sit on the top table.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for you usual wonderful blog. Oh MP how I love anagrams.

    1. Hi Hanni, hope the cold’s getting better? At least you have the whole bed to yourself for a while and can cough and sniffle to your heart’s content!

      Re: the graphite issue. MP’s got me so neurotic about it that I wrote in the couple of necessary anagram ‘circles’ very, very faintly in the hope that he wouldn’t notice. Problem was – I couldn’t read them properly http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Hi Jane, the cold is still there, but I’ve stopped sneezing, there’s plenty of chicken soup in the freezer and nobody’s asked where the car keys are today.

        As for the anagrams, I wrote them all in big letter circles. Don’t tell MP but I didn’t actually need to for a couple of them.

        I hope you’ve had a good weekend? :-)

        1. Must admit – I need them less and less these days, but sometimes it’s just so comforting to draw those circles. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

          As for the weekend – got soaked on a birding day on Friday (worth it though) and then went ‘girlie shopping’ with a friend on Saturday. She was the one doing the buying – it’s so much easier to just be there as support for someone else who’s splashing the cash!!!

          Off to see Paddington tomorrow – so many rave reviews I’ve got to go. A friend and I are taking her husband for his sixty-something birthday treat – I’m going to give him a marmalade sandwich as his present. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

          1. Oh love the marmalade sandwich idea! You’ll have to tell me how it goes!
            So sorry I forgot your trip to the dentist. If I could get away with it I’d have a shot of cognac before I went.

            Where is the resident blogger. Its unlike Miffypops not to check in.

  18. I found 80% of this standard Rufus simple fare but made a pig’s ear of the NE corner. Even though I had the 7/10 crossers early I stared at an empty rectangle of doom for ages. As usual, can’t see any reason why after the event – how could I not get 8d?
    MP’s review echoed my own thoughts about the outdated language; it’s not really the way to attract the younger generations to cryptic crosswords is it? I have felt for a while that the DT needs an injection of fresh blood in the setting team – what do others think?

  19. A bit tricky but not too taxing. 5d took a while to solve as did 8d (very clever clue). Thanks to MP for hints but I don’t quite understand the bracketed note from BD. Why does the online version (which I do) require an I instead of a y? That letter does not affect any other word.

    1. What BD is saying is that if you submit the puzzle with 6a as SYPHON that answer will be flagged as an error.

      1. Can’t see anything in the clue that makes it necessary to spell it with an ‘I’ so how could it be justified as an error?

        1. The online site only caters for one spelling so any alternative is automatically an error. Presumably the paper tomorrow will show siphon as the correct answer.

          1. That’s the trouble with computers – they have no imagination. Err……. strike that, they have a great deal of imagination in the way that they match their answers to my questions. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        2. You try arguing with a computer that tells you are wrong. When “computer says no” it really means it!

          1. I thought ‘siphon’ was etymologically correct? Hopefully one of the rather brilliant pedants here can illuminate us?

            1. I think you are correct as the Greek root would lead to an “i”. However the BRB acknowledges both spellings. I guess it’s a case of common usage of the “y” version creating an established alternative, and I don’t think we can blame the Americans for this one…

              Rabbyt Dave.

  20. Got off to a really good start – putting ‘all right’ in at 8d, perfect answer even though the little voices were telling me that it’s technically two words. The I toyed with trying to fit Elvis somewhere into 1a and left 2d strictly alone for later perusal as soon as I spotted the dreaded ‘c’ word. Doing that resulted in 9a being virtually the last one in as that second letter was pretty important for the solve. 12a put up a bit of a fight as well.

    Just knew that 13a was going to be a laugh out loud but it still took a long while to unearth it. Don’t worry, Kath, I also had the second word staring me in the face http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    3*/3* for me and, obviously, 13a takes top honours.

    Many thanks for the workout, Rufus, I enjoyed it. As for not writing in the answers, MP – I don’t get the Sat/Sun Telegraph but sometimes try to solve them by looking at the clues in the review, without skimming down to the hints. That way, every clue has to answered individually – haven’t completed one yet http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. . . . and the beastly dentist- dare I ask? Actually I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for dentists – I always think that they’re a bit like wasps – however useful/essential they are no-one really likes them. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Thanks for asking, Kath. Got away with it for now but with a warning that the clock’s ticking – along with a comprehensive talk re: implants, dentures, cost etc. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        Whatever happened to the Tooth Fairy? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  21. ***/***. Enjoyable but challenging in parts. Didn’t know the comic had gone out of production in 2012 but mr google helped confirm. Favourite clues 6&23a and 3,20&22d. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  22. The usual Monday Rufus gem! Some really clever clues today, and I have no objection to anagrams, especially when they almost solve themselves!
    Had a guffaw when I got 13a. I, too, had 8d as my last in, but that has to be the winner, with 13a and 24a nipping at its heels.
    I could only fit one word in 20d so had to google it for the “why”.
    Thanks to Rufus, and many thanks to M’pops for his usual super review.

    1. P.S. M’pops, I still use a 6a, it sure beats lugging all those soda bottles up the steps and having to recycle the empties!

  23. Suffering from Mondayitis, my brain has obviously taken the day off and needed all the help I could get. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops, I will not mention the ‘p’ word or the electfonic supertoy both of which have been gainfully employed today. 6a reminded me of the Victoria in Southwold in the 1970s where John had the most comprehensive collections of siphons I had ever seen. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  24. Apart from the NE corner, all went very well. Am afraid gave up on 6a although I knew it was something to do with diluting spirit – and 6d – should have googled ok! 13a was a gem and another failure- although again I sensed it was something to do with tailoring … Never mind, most enjoyable exercise which for me was 4*/4*. Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  25. Pretty straightforward apart from the NE corner, which put it into 2* territory (3* for enjoyment). 8d my favourite; it went in with a loud “Doh!!” and opened the way to completion. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops for the review.

  26. Mr BB and I had an animated discussion (aka row) about 6a. I finally bowed to his superior knowledge (aka bloodymindedness) and put in a y. So glad to be vindicated. We have both never remembered a clue where a dubious letter has not been double-checked. Surely it just means that the setter, like me, could only imagine one spelling. Thanks to the setter and blogger for a slightly more difficult Monday puzzle.

  27. If we had been blogging this one we would definitely have given it 4* for difficulty. Cannot remember when we have ever had to work so hard on a Monday puzzle. The last ones to yield were in the NE corner, 6a and 8d, but other areas of the grid were also far from plain sailing for us. Lots of fun, much enjoyed.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  28. Where are you, MP? You haven’t even berated anyone for expenditure of graphite – is it a cribbage night? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  29. Lovely start to the week and yes, a little harder then normal. But that is no bad thing surely. Sorry Shirley….
    Now had I not insisted that the Australian port had an ‘I’ and not a ‘y’ then the painting one would have been less of a monster….Grrrrr.
    13a made me laugh when the penny (finally) dropped, but my favourite was 20d cos it was so different! Great clue!
    Thanks to Rufus and MP for his always entertaining revue. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Isn’t it frightening that we need a crossword to take us up by the ‘short & curlies’ with regard to spelling! Kath & I really struggled with 27a in the Rookie http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  30. Tried to apply the MP rule for anagrams but had to resort to my usual circular jumble after the fourth one.
    I’m sure Rufus knows MP does the review on Mondays and does it to test him.
    Talking of which, isn’t 20d a double definition? First rate is dandy or am I wrong?
    Didn’t get 13a. Not only because I had Point Away for 7d but also because I was thinking about an insect that eats clothes.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Yes – first rate is dandy – as in “all fine and dandy” – blimey – just HOW bilingual you are to be able to cope with the oddities of the English language. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to you.

  31. 8d was a brilliant clue, alittle bit too brilliant for me and I resorted to the hint .13a and 2d also stood out. Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  32. Happy New Year everyone. Went to the pub at lunchtime today with 19 yr son. Thought I, ‘Monday’s is easier for him to parse, it’ll be a good one to continue his tuition’. Err… Wrong.
    Fun though and got there in the end so ***/*** with 13a the stand-out. Thanks to Rufus and MP for help on 13d which we could not solve. (Harder by far when you don’t spot the anagram!). Great to see the site is in rude health with lots of new folks.

    1. Yes – lots of new people and we’re all pretty healthy I reckon – who are you calling rude . . ? Just joking. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Oh dear Paul – please don’t decry the setter. If you look through the blog, plenty of people enjoyed it and/or found it challenging. We all go through murderous solves (I ‘hate’ most Toughie setters!) but, at the end of the day, we all have to think as Michael does – ‘onward & upward’. Tomorrow’s offering might just be on your wavelength.

  33. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I found extremely tricky. Was completely beaten by 12&13a & 8d. Favourite was 13a. Was 3 */4* for me.

  34. I found this one harder than the usual Monday puzzle, but thank Heavens for anagrams otherwise I might not have got a start. Had to resort to the hints for the last Couple of clues 12a and 8d had me foxed. Looking forward to Tuesday’s puzzle. One day I might even complete a Toughie!

  35. Yes, you’re all right. This was a much stiffer challenge from Rufus than usual. It took me two lage glasses of port, a complete pipe (mystery aromatic blend from a wonderful tobacconist is Stratford on Avon) and much head scratching – but it also provided some of the best penny-dropping moments of the year so far, especially 8d, which I had been staring at blankly for far too long. So thanks to Rufus and to MP, whose hints I didn’t need but was sorely tempted to turn to (btw, I always write out anagrams in circles). I’m going for 4*/4* for this one.

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