DT 27708 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27708

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27708

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Coventry RFU won their sixteenth game on the trot as they whupped Cinderford on Saturday. That is all I have to say about this fine puzzle. Hopefully they will make it seventeen on Saturday at Richmond after which I might just meander over to The Bridge House to say hello to those of you who make it to the Cruciverbalists’ Convention.

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    Go from bad to worse? (7)
RELAPSE: A deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.

5a    One who volunteers to fight, but he’s not a boxer (7)
TERRIER: This small dog is not a boxer dog. This member of the Territorial Army may or may not box. Who knows?

9a    Sucker for the bottle (5)
STRAW: A cryptic definition of something used to suck a drink from a bottle

10a    Cite other changes being purely speculative (9)
THEORETIC: DING DONG ANAGRAM ALERT. PENCILS DOWN. Indicator – Changes. Fodder CITE OTHER. Definition – purely speculative. (actually this is a very nice anagram, very nicely clued)

11a    Almost the end of the match? (6,4)
DECREE NISI: An order by a court of law stating the date on which a marriage will end unless a good reason not to grant a divorce is produced. From what I have observed I make this comment. If the couples involved put as much energy into making their marriages work as they do into destroying them, those marriages would be perfect. I know that is a generalisation and not all cases are the same

12a    Experienced  hat-maker (4)
FELT: To have experienced an emotion or sensation is also a kind of cloth used by hatmakers who occasionally turn up in crosswords as Milliners

14a    Presumably one’s bent on breaking the law (4-8)
ARCH-CRIMINAL: An all in one clue for which the checking letters will help. In the first part we have BENT which leads us to a curved structure. In the second part we have a simple definition for one who breaks the law. Together they make a definition for one who masterminds the breaking of the law. Like I have said above. I hope that helps

18a    Eton prepared to change rule (12)
PREPONDERATE: Our second anagram using the word change as an indicator. The fodder is ETON PREPARED and the answer is a verb meaning to influence or rule.

21a    Not a fair copy (4)
CRIB: A double definition. One being to plagiarise and one being to copy. The unfair bit fits with plagiarise. A third definition is a card game that I play. Here is one of my best hands. Does anybody know how to score it?

22a    Bore, a title problematic to get rid of (10)
OBLITERATE: Here we go again. Anagram (problematic) of BORE A TITLE

25a    Coming to river — that may be exciting (9)
ADVENTURE: The arrival of a notable person or thing or the four Sundays leading up to Christmas followed by one of our three lettered rivers, not the Add, Aln, Awe, Axe, Ayr, Box, Cam, Cur, Dee, Don, Esk, Ewe, Exe, Eye, Fal, Hiz, Irt, Lea, Lee, Lud, Lyn, Moy, Nar, Ray Rib, Roe, Row, Sow, Taf, Tor, Tay, Uck, Usk, Wen, Wey, Wye, Yar or Yeo but the other one.

26a    Rodent that is about to become irritated (5)
IRATE: Place a large rodent inside (about) the Latin abbreviation for Id Est

27a    Given a permanent income but was in debt by the finish (7)
ENDOWED: Split 3,4 we have a word for finish followed by a word meaning to have been in debt

28a    Catty female (7)
TIGRESS: A large female member of the cat family. Her husband came to tea in the lovely book by Judith Kerr


1d    Settle concerning interest (6)
RESIDE: Altogether to live somewhere. Take our usual crosswordland two letter word meaning concerning or about and add a well-known word with the unusual meaning affectation

2d    Cyril’s playing with words in numbers (6)
LYRICS: Anagram (playing) of CYRIL’S. The numbers here are songs.

3d    Magazine  that’s designed for women? (6,4)
POWDER ROOM: This wins my awkward clue of the day award. The answer is described as a “noun euphemistic” in my online dictionary and the definition is given as a women’s toilet in a public building. The magazine part of the clue takes us back to the days of muskets and ramrods. Very doable with the checkers but I am not sure where the second word is clued. I suppose the foreign contingent who comment will let me know. Perhaps this is just too clever for me.

4d    It’s taken in college at 18 in oral English (5)
EATEN: A homophone or sound alike clue. The college, mentioned in the clue for 18 Across, is just outside Windsor and it sounds like you have just dined.

5d    Official makes rate reform more certain (9)
TREASURER; Back on solid ground with this one. There is a partial anagram (reform) of RATE followed by a word meaning more certain. Together they make a word meaning a person appointed to administer or manage the financial assets and liabilities of a society, company, local authority, or other body (oh the joys of copy and paste, you don’t really think I am this clever do you?)

6d    Special artist the Queen’s elevated (4)
RARE Two chestnuts here. Our usual artist or Royal Academician is followed by our monarch who just happens to be standing on her head as indicated by the word elevated

7d    Mean to arrest that man eventually (2,3,3)
IN THE END: Place a word for “that man” inside another word that means to plan to do something will give a series of letters that when split 2,3,3 will give the answer

8d    Articles about concerts (8)
RECITALS: Those of you who like anagrams and see them as a way into crosswords because they give checkers must be little balls of euphoria today. Here is an anagram (about) of ARTICLES

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d    Material in carol needs a bit of learning (10)
SMATTERING; Place a verb meaning to carol around a noun meaning physical substance.

15d    Restricted like cattle (9)
HIDEBOUND: A devious and amusing double definition. The first being unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention. The second being what a cow is naturally wrapped up in. I have no third definition.

16d    Wise step to enter modern era (5,3)
SPACE AGE: Place a word meaning a step or stride inside another word meaning profoundly wise to gain a term for the world we live in now. Remember the word for profoundly wise because it is making another appearance soon albeit having metamorphosed into a plant

17d    Sort of feeling one gets as siege is broken? (8)
RELIEVED: This word refers to the ending of a siege such as Mafeking.

19d    Wild herb found around Virginia (6)
SAVAGE: This herb which makes a lovely stuffing when mixed with onion is also the profoundly wise person at 16d. Place it around the abbreviation for the state of Virginia to find a word meaning wild.

20d    Holiday  nook? (6)
RECESS: A double definition of the easiest kind

23d    Nitre treated like nitrogen (5)
INERT: Our final anagram (treated) of NITRE

24d    Point at present that may come at Christmas (4)
SNOW: A compass point and a word meaning the present time will give the stuff we expect to fall at Christmas

A 13d of Dylan helped me through this review.

The Quick Crossword pun: silly+aisles=Scilly Isles

88 comments on “DT 27708

  1. I think I’d rather take two rounds with Mike Tyson! Ooh, missus, I struggled. Very enjoyable all the same. At least I’ve got past the ‘give-up’ stage. Many thanks for the hint for 11. I knew it was nothing at all to do with matches such as cricket but just couldn’t see it.

    Monday is the new ‘tough’.
    Thanks to setter and miffypops

    1. Well, it is less reactive than many gases – but you are right in that it does form many chemical compounds when given enough energy input – eg Haber process.

    2. From the British Oxygen website:
      Inert to nearly all substances at ambient temperatures and moderate conditions.
      However it is not a Noble gas (Helium, Argon, Neon, Krypton, Xenon, Radon and possibly ununoctium) which are the true inert gases.

      1. I know that you can’t get a little bit pregnant, but can you be a little bit inert? PS bacteria in the root nodules of leguminous plants do ‘fix’ atmospheric nitrogen at ambient temperatures

  2. 2*/4*. What a lovely start to the week as ever. 12a was my favourite, with 3d & 15d short listed.

    Many thanks to Rufus for always brightening up my Monday mornings, and to MP for his consistently entertaining reviews.

    1. P.S. I had a go at scoring your wonderful crib hand, MP, but failed miserably having neither enough fingers nor a pen and paper to hand. I got up to “fifteen 16” then got lost in counting the pairs of fives.

          1. I thought that at the time. The only person I know that might score 29 is St Sharon. I would never be so lucky

          1. I had a 29 after having played for a year or so – didn’t really appreciate it then – 25 years later and still no repeat of it…. My other favorite was holding 4 7s and the ace turned up.

  3. So all went well until I was left with 11a, which totally befuddled me. I had the interpretation of the clue correct but stared and stared at it. Heavens knows why I did not think of the obvious!

    So most of this one was 1*/4* but I have to admit being beaten by 11a!

  4. Thank you Rufus – if it was you. Not easy for me, in particular the NW corner which I gazed at for ages before making any progress. My guesses at 1d, 3d and 12a turned out to be right. Pure luck and I needed your explanations MP to get the wordplay. Many thanks for your comprehensive review and hints. Like you, I look forward to further information on 3d !

    1. “Powder room” is a synonym for a magazine (ie where ammunition or explosives are stored)

      From Wiki “The separation of shell and charge gave the storage of the former the name “shell room” and the latter “powder room””.

  5. I think the Crib hand should be 20. 15-2, 15-4, 15-6, 15-8 and six pairs of double 5 at 2 each, but I might have missed something..

    quite difficult today I thought – I liked 13d best I think

    1. There are also four different triple-fives which add up to fifteen, which gives you another 8 points.

    2. Yes, you’ve missed, the four different combinations of the three fives from four, which will give you 15-16 & 12 for the pairs which as Gazza said earlier is 28.

      1. Of course – that’s obvious now you point it out – silly of me to miss the four different triple fives, thanks

    3. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle to start the week, but quite tricky. Favourite was 14a. Had never heard of 18a, but somehow got it from the fodder. Last in was 9a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  6. Gently engaging start to the week if not somewhat over anagrammed.
    Fav possibly 11a. Have bare minimum of scientific knowledge so I’m not in a position to comment on veracity of 23d but I did wonder. NW corner was last to go in. TVM Rufus and MP particularly for bliss of John Williams and Rodrigo’s Concerto. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif **/***.

  7. Fortunately I’ve bought myself a new bottle of Tippex and I certainly needed it today. I have to say I really struggled with this one and coupled with my appalling spelling, clues such as 18a and 10a made things more difficult than they should have been. Excellent puzzle though… 3*/4* for me. Almost too many options to pick a favourite, but 11a does it for me. Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the excellent review and a couple of hints that I shouldn’t have needed ;-)

  8. Very nice start to the week. Would have been ** for difficulty but the nw corner pushed it into *** territory. Also struggled with se corner until I realised the cat was striped. ( try completing 23d and 13d with l and o). Didnt need pencil for 10a but that didnt apply to some of the other anagrams. Lovely sun here but will have to wash about 2 tons of salt off the car whilst it is nice.
    Thanks to setter and to MP whose hints were entertaining though not required today.

  9. Nice Crib hand, I’ve only ever managed to score 24. Yours of course scored 28, 1 off the best hand possible. Hope you skunked your opponent with that one!

  10. Thanks to Rufus for the crossword and to Miffypops for an entertaining review as I’ve come to expect. With my ambivalence to cryptic definitions I have come to look forward more to the blog than the crossword on Mondays. But as usual Rufus makes elegant cluing look effortless.

    Thanks for the info re 17d, since I didn’t know my siege terminology.

    This felt like it took a lot longer than it actually did. There is a lot in it that I would have very much enjoyed if it had appeared in the last couple of weeks.

    Couldn’t get teats out of my head for a while with 9a, but one of those has only 4 letters. Got the right sucker once I had a couple of checkers. I was slow to get 12a, but liked the answer. 27a is another good word, as is 28a.

    I liked the homophone indicator in 4d, and since that clue managed to raise a smile from this glum face I’ll nominate it favourite.

    I also liked 15d: it was one of my last in and I was convinced I wasn’t going to like it, then was pleasantly surprised.

    22a is my hint of the day.

    1. Hi Kitty – spotted your post from yesterday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif Can’t believe that you’ve had to say goodbye again already – only seems 5 minutes since Mr. K was on his way home. How long have you got to wait for the next reunion? Have a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif from me – if there was a ‘hug’ emoticom, I’d send you lots.

      1. Aww, thanks Jane. Your hug thoughts and flower are much appreciated :).

        The answer to your question is “years and years” :(. (In Kitty time. Or six weeks or so for “hoomins.”)

  11. Oh good – not just me then. I agree with 3* and 3*.
    My two problems were my own fault. I had ‘drunk’ for 9a and ‘fake’ for 21a. Oh dear – the first of the week. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    Once I’d changed them – i.e. when too many things started to look if not impossible then certainly a bit dodgy – things cheered up.
    After that all went reasonably well. My last answers were 11a and 3 and 17d. I checked magazine in the BRB and it says ‘a ship’s powder room’ so that sorted that out.
    I liked 12 and 22a and 7 and 13d. My favourite was 15d, partly because it helped me to get the first word of 14a.
    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  12. wasn’t overly excited about today’s puzzle, clues like 28a (catty female) and 20d (holiday nook) seem uncharacteristically bland, but maybe it’s just me. I did like 7d (mean to arrest that man eventually).

    Thanks Rufus and miffypops

    1. Yes. I generally don’t like clues to have more than one valid answer without checking letters in place. On its own, 28a might have been lioness, for example.

  13. As is often the case on a Monday today’s was quite tricky but fun nonetheless. Not sure about 18a, more influence than rule I would say and 13d had me doing a bit of head scratching to get the Carol part but I suppose if you can go carolling, it is singing (although not if I do it, terrible singing voice!).
    Couple of super clues in 3d and 17d.
    Thx to all. Off now for my glaucoma clinic appointment, ah the joys of ageing.

  14. */*** for me. Nicely timed to squeeze into lunch break! Only head scratch was 21a where I went through the alphabet systematically before settling on the answer. Why are four letter answers often so difficult to get?
    FYI, chambers ipad app has magazine as ship’s powder room.
    Thanks to all. Such fun.

  15. Not one of Rufus’ easiest puzzle, but no problems encountered from this end. I thought 3D was very clever indeed and coming from a naval family, leapt out at me.

    So, anyone up for Marmite Easter eggs ?

      1. More disgusting than Pot Noodle Easter eggs? The thought of either isn’t pleasant. But then again neither are Mars bar ones.

    1. I tried one of their chocolate bars a while ago and it was indeed disgustinghttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif so can’t imagine the eggs will be any better!

  16. Good fun indeed – 11a stumped me for ages until the penny dropped !

    Thanks also for the interesting list of three letter river names, I can’t say that the Hiz is one I’ve ever encountered before, had I been aware of it then a particular recent clue of mine would have been much less wordy than it was !!

    Thanks to Rufus and MP :-)

  17. ***/***

    Not the gentlest start to the week in any sense. Spent the morning nursing a car to the garage, think it needs a coil replacing.

    Right, crossword. Let’s start on a positive note and say that at no point did I use a pencil for the 8d anagram. However I used them for all the others. Every one, and for the most part I enjoyed the whole thing. However I have my reservations about 1a. Doesn’t work for me.

    10 and 14a were rather lovely with 15d proving the most challenging. 21a made me smile a little knowing who was blogging today. Though I dread the day Coventry and The Green Man lose.

    As for counting the crib hand I came up with 86. This is an arbitrary number based on the fact I have little knowledge of the subject. There are starter cards muggins though I have no idea what nobs are.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops. A fine effort from both. :-)

    I hope everyone had a good weekend. I’m royally hungover. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  18. My first comment having been a lurker for some months. A great blog -so comforting to hear ‘sharing’ from fellow addicts! I really enjoyed this crossword; I loved the mixture of different styles of clue. On the ‘inertness’ of Nitrogen, the gas is often pumped into military aircraft fuel tanks as fuel is used to prevent the remaining vapour exploding in the event of fire or battle damage. I seem to recall the process was known as ‘inerting’.

  19. It took quite a while to get past 14a, 18a, and 3d. I loved the misdirection in 3d, which is my favourite (beating little 12a which also took me a while to see). 28a was a bit weak, I thought.
    It certainly didn’t feel like the gentle Monday start! Enjoyed it even so. 3* / 4*. Many thanks to MP and to the setter.

  20. Hurrah ! Managed at last to get a comment in before tea-time ! Poorly sick today so sat by sunny window and indulged in crossword n coffee n chocs ( well, perhaps not so VERY p.s. ….) all very enjoyable. Stumped by 12a and 1 and 3 d for a while ( should have got 12a as son recently divorced, sadly…)
    2* / 4* for me.

    1. Have a rose from me, hope you feel better soon. I am recovering from a nasty tooth extraction and an infected eye so can sympathise. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  21. Afternoon all!
    Grateful that MP left us a bit of room after his great review. I see why he gets up at 4am to complete the task.
    Liked 3d also. Reminded me of yet again a particular experience in my old theatre. We had Al Pacino in American Buffalo by David Mamet and everybody who was somebody came to see him and one night I took a superstar and her female friend to the Royal Retiring Room for a private drink. They both disappeared during the interval to the powder room quite literally to powder their noses with that famous white stuff. I was left looking like a plonker.
    Good crossword from Rufus and thanks to MP again for the super review.

  22. Owing to other commitments, Paso & Doble were in other parts of the Capital today. We were obviously in touch by means of modern communication & enjoyed today’s puzzle very much. We agree with with Miffypops’s evaluation. We had to check ‘Preponderate’ because we’d never heard of the word before but worked it out with the anagram.Due to circumstances (not ours) our favourite was 11a. Thanks to Rufus & Miffypops!!!

  23. Wow! A****/*** for me. What a struggle and to be honest some very obscure clues/answers. 1a was a bung in and I’m not sure even now with the hints but many thanks as always to MP for the review. To the setter, you win. Fog today which matches my view of this puzzle. How appropriate!

  24. As always, super Rufus puzzle today. Alas, I had the wrong cat in 28a and that held me up somewhat. Apart from that, all went well.
    Hard to choose a fave, but I think 15d wins, with honourable mention to 3d and 14a.
    Thanks to Rufus, and, of course, loads of thanks to M’pops for the usual entertaining review.

  25. Little bit of electronic help but thrilled to bits when I got there. My thanks to Rufus and MP for a splendid work-out. 3d made me smile, the only person I knew who actually used this euphemism was a very prim and proper friend to whom make-up (including powder) was a total anathema. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  26. Got in a bit of a muddle with 3D but I think I got away with it.23 foxed me for a while but reading the blog soon put that to rest. A 3*/3* for me today. Thanks to Miffypops for his entertaining review.

  27. Definitely 3 star or beyond. I needed the hint for 3d and 9a, stupidly . Nonetheless, very enjoyable.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  28. Mostly very enjoyable although I didn’t care for the definition at 1a nor the second part of 1d – in fact I’d dismissed what turned out to be the right answer until subsequent checkers left me with no choice. 11a took far longer than it should have done – ‘nest’ and ‘nose’ seemed to be the only two words I could come up for the second part, which made the whole thing rather confusing! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    3d gets my favourite spot, chased by 27a & 15d. 2*/3* with an extra .5* added on for 11a.

    Many thanks to Rufus (?) and to MP – particularly for the musical interlude at 8d. Sorry to have to admit to pen/circle for 18a and also to add up the crib score – I reckoned it to be 28, which seems to be what everyone else has come up with. Amazing how many of us seem to have played at one time or another.

  29. We agree that it was a bit tougher than Mondays often are, but well up to standard for entertainment. We took a few moments to twig the answer for 24d as in our part of the world, the answer and Christmas definitely do not go together. All good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. But NYC and the US East Coast look like they are about to get a great deal of it any minute now. Let’s hope it wont be as drastic for them as predicted – potentially 2 feet of it.

  30. An excellent start to the crossword week: just difficult enough to satisfy, without requiring too much brain-cudgelling. 2*/4*, l think, and favouritism split between 3d and 11a (which l thought was pretty barbed). My thanks to Rufus for the puzzle, to Miffypops for the entertaining review, and to my fellow contributors for making it still more so!

  31. A perfect way to fill in a flight from Mallorca to Liverpool. A turbulent landing with all those anagrams! Thanks for a great review. Is John Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury?

  32. A bit more difficult but very enjoyable. I liked 5a, 5d and 12a (so far). Had almost no time yesterday so am spinning this out to finish today, hopefully without hints but likely to need some of them. Thank you for the review MP which I will enjoy at the end. The cartoon clip for 22a was hilarious and John Williams et al was a treat. Thank you Rufus, MP and contributors.

  33. With increased age I now find the D.T. crosswords more difficult – but I found this one a doddle and a delight. Is it to do with the mood one’s in?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Nina.
      I think it does depend on mood, but I’m sure that difficulty and time taken also depend a lot on whether or not you get one or two key answers early on.
      You have a very appropriate name for a crossword aficionado.

  34. I would have been more pleased with the anagrams if not for the usual Rufus (?) unhelpful straight cryptics i.e. half clues, particularly thick in the NW corner.

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