DT 27720 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 27720

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27720

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The rules of completion according to Miffypops

Rule 1. There are no rules

Rule 2. See rule one

There is much satisfaction gained upon completion of a cryptic crossword puzzle whatever your level of competence. Grizzled old campaigners will need little or no help due to their expertise having been gained over many years. Newcomers may be baffled by the simplest of clues.

A completed grid is a completed grid and I don’t much care howsoever anybody gets there. The more experienced you are the less help you should need.

Beginners should feel free to use to anything and everything to achieve completion, dictionaries, encyclopaedia, an atlas, books of crossword lists, and of course the internet. I have spent a couple of hours looking with amazement at just how much help is out there on the World Wide Web including this very blog itself.

Scribble away in the newspaper margins or use a notepad. Make little circles of anagram fodder. Write a succession of dashes, put in your checkers and play with the clues to your hearts content

Regard these aids as crutches, helping you along. With time and experience and a good memory it should be possible to throw these crutches away little by little as one becomes more proficient. For example, once someone learns to recognise how anagrams work i.e. Indicator, fodder and definition they really ought to stop using the anagram solver and work them out for themselves. One by one the aids should fall away until you sit there pencil-less with a quickly self-completed puzzle and think “Now what shall I do” as you reach for the toughie and contemplate volunteering to review puzzles for Big Dave.

Happy solving to you all however you do it.

The hints and tips below are here 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. If you do not want to see the answer – do not click.

Today’s puzzle felt a little workaday but raised a smile or two. I seem to have made an attempt on the world record for the number of brackets used in a review.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Special band for the match (7,4)
WEDDING RING: This match is a marriage. This special band is what one or both of the opponents in that union wear to signify their marital status.

9a    Accounts for all members of the family (9)
RELATIONS: A double definition which is easy enough from the elegant clueing. The checkers will either confirm your guess or give you the answer

10a    Humble sailor confronts rough sea (5)
ABASE: Our usual two lettered A(ble) B(odied) seaman is followed by an anagram (rough) of SEA

11a    Broken hearts may lead to lovers’ converse (6)
HATERS: An anagram (Broken) of HEARTS will give this opposite (converse) meaning of lovers.

12a    Sure to be a song by drunk (8)
AIRTIGHT: A three letter usual suspect for a song is followed by a word meaning drunk will give an adjective meaning having no weaknesses or unassailable.

13a    Pack up quietly and clear out (6)
PARCEL: An anagram (out) of CLEAR follows our musical abbreviation for quietly

15a    Clears off temporary settler on board (8)
SCAMPERS: This temporary settler lives under canvass (or Ripstop Nylon these days) and needs to be placed between the letters that denote a steamship upon which he is supposedly “on board” The answer is what I would do if anybody tried to get me on a cruise on one of those ghastly huge floating tower blocks. Give me The Roseland anytime.

18a    The rest of the players (4-4)
HALF-TIME: The break in the middle of a sports match such as Rugby Union. Speaking of which, Didn’t our boys do well on Friday night. I wonder if they still get oranges.

19a    Notice opening in time (6)
ADVENT: This opening which allows gas air or liquid to escape from a confined space follows the abbreviated word for advertisement

21a    What’s more it’s a sincere reforming (8)
INCREASE: Anagram (reforming) of A SINCERE

23a    Outrageous articles about Western capital (6)
OTTAWA: Take a three letter word meaning excessive or exaggerated that is spoken by sounding each of the three letters that comprise the word (the same as we say ok, ok) Now add two single letter articles placed around the first (capital) letter of W(estern) The whole is a Capital City

26a    Accept an inviting suggestion (5)
ENTER: An all in one clue. If we accept an invitation to come in, we do this.

27a    Surliness I shall moderate (3,6)
ILL TEMPER: These words meaning irritability or anger can be found by taking the shortened form of I shall or I will and adding a verb meaning to act as a neutralizing or counterbalancing force to (something).

28a    Supplementary benefit for workers lacking security (6,5)
DANGER MONEY: An extra payment for working under dangerous conditions.


1d    Line up on vessel for religious service (7)
WORSHIP: Take a word meaning a line and reverse it (up). Now add the vessel in 15 across to find a religious service.

2d    Money comes in handy in China (5)
DELFT: This blue and white pottery (china) is named after the city in the Netherlands where it was originally made. The clue is parsed by putting the Latin abbreviation for our English pound inside an adjective meaning neatly skilful and quick in one’s movements. This clue is designed to misdirect. Did it?

3d    Divide into parts and bury division (9)
INTERSECT: take a five letter word meaning to bury or entomb and add a word meaning a group that has separated from an established Church.

4d    Get a larger size (4)
GROW: To increase in size. This clue appeared recently and led to a debate about its crypticity

5d    Natural aptitude you’ll need this month in court (8)
INSTINCT: Take a four letter word meaning in or of the present month. Add IN from the clue and the abbreviation for the word court

6d    Enormous soldier — a six-footer (5)
GIANT: An American serviceman is followed by one of the most numerous insects on the planet

7d    You need inspiration to draw them (7)
BREATHS: These inspirations are drawn through the lungs. I wanted to illustrate this with the Carry On Doctor film clip where the doctor tells the girl whose lungs he is listening to “Big Breaths” to which she replies “Yeth and I’m only Thickthteen”

8d    Mortification of girl attached to criminal band (8)
GANGRENE: This medical condition is caused by a severely restricted blood supply and can be found here by placing a girl who often crops up in crosswordland as a Frenchman (Allo Allo) after a word meaning an organised group of criminals. There is a picture opportunity here but the images found turned my stomach and none of you delightful people out there deserve that.

14d    Engineers commanding officer returned amid recent move to new area (8)
RELOCATE: Get the Lego bricks out for this subtle charade. The R(oyal)E(ngineers) in the army are followed by their C(ommanding) O(fficer) who is standing on his head (returned) inside (amid) a noun meaning the most recent news or fashion or of most recent date. Now put those Lego bricks back in their box. I don’t want to tread on them with their sharp corners.

16d    The farthest one will be from a bank (9)
MIDSTREAM: This bank is a riverbank and this term means the middle of a river.

17d    Oriental girl that’s charged — it gets thrown out (8)
EMISSION: In crosswordland Oriental usually indicates the E of E(astern) or the word Eastern itself. The former is the case here. This is followed by a girl who is unmarried (Nothing tells us she is unmarried, she just is. She is very pretty and has a great sense of humour and an outgoing personality so I am sure she will be happily married in the fullness of time). To finish this clue off (if you are still interested) we need a charged particle e.g. an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Golly bongs. The things we need to know to solve a cryptic crossword puzzle.

18d    She is expected to succeed (7)
HEIRESS: A female who will inherit whatever is left after the death of her parents.

20d    A treaty involved with food transport (3,4)
TEA TRAY: this is an old chestnut of a clue which never fails to amuse. The answer is an anagram (involved) of A TREATY

22d    Under redirection some of those letters went astray (5)
ERRED: A hidden word lurking away inside the words of the clue and indicated by the word some.

24d    Tree in a small enclosure (5)
ASPEN: A from the clue S(mall) followed by a word meaning a small enclosure in which sheep, pigs, or other farm animals are kept.

25d    Escape and feel different (4)
FLEE: Anagram (different) of FEEL

Today is National Confidentiality Day. Don’t tell anyone.

The Quick Crossword pun: con+fee+skate=confiscate

116 comments on “DT 27720

  1. One of Rufus’s easier ones I thought. I was close to my record time, and those that held me up slightly were followed with mild self-chastisement for the delay. I am caught on the horns of a measurement problem*: I’m curious to know how long I take so no longer pause the timer in between clues, but the act of timing impels me to go for speed and changes the whole nature of the solve. I prefer to take a little longer and savour the pleasure, but I simply can’t do it when there’s a pesky clock! I do have to make sure everything is parsed, but my preference to do anagrams mentally gets sorely tested sometimes. Happily there were no tricky ones today.

    4d seemed weak to me – I deleted my answer at first because it felt too straightforward. My last in was 2d. 7d is favourite, especially after the review.

    Lots to do today, but I will do my best to make time for the Rookie.

    I caught up on neglected quickies, and have to say that Friday’s pun made me laugh. So that’s what Friday’s favourite would have been.

    Thanks Rufus and MP for another highly entertaining review.

    *(I would like to examine the complete wavefunction but I am too macroscopic. Increasingly so if I don’t rein in that appetite of mine… At least there was no food in the crossword today.)

            1. I still wish there was a way of persuading the other BD (Dylan) to put something to the test for me…

                    1. I don’t actually mean what you seem to think there, Tsrummer. But I was being a bit unfair on readers by referencing an off-blog conversation, so I guess I deserve to be misunderstood. Rest assured, I have no personal designs in that direction!

                      P.S. see – your comments do get read :).

    1. Is there not some nuclear physics thingy where the act of observation changes the nature of the situation… I am sure that is what Shroedinger’s cat was all about? Your dilemma sounds like my hatred of exams and check rides – Ability and performance always in inverse proportion to distance from an examiner!

      1. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – Heisenberg is my all-time favourite scientist.

        Schrödinger’s cat is simultaneously both alive and dead – don’t ask.

        1. Thank you, sir… This blog gives one a most comprehensive education… To make up for my comprehensive education!

      2. BD has it right, Navigator (or should I call you The?). Measuring a thing changes the thing :).

        I share your dislike of assessments, but written exams are nothing compared to check rides or their non-aviation equivalents. Competency based interviews test your competency at interviews and nothing more. Yuck yuck yuck.

        Simultaneously alive and dead is incidentally a fair description of Kitty today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif.

  2. Nice puzzle with some signature “riddle-like” clues (cryptic definitions, or cd’s) from Rufus, e.g. 4d (get a larger size), 7d (you need inspiration…), 16d (the furthest one will be from the bank) and 18a (the rest of the players).

    The puzzle went smoothly until I got to my last two, which took a bit of head scratching before the penny dropped, and hence are my favourites. These were the intersecting 11a (broken hearts..) and 2d (money comes in handy..).

    Normally compilers would try to avoid extra words, but sometimes they can make a clue more interesting. I quite liked the “all” in 9a (accounts for…).

    My weak clue of the day goes to 26a (accept an inviting suggestion)

    Many thanks Rufus and miffypops

    1. I’m in agreement with most of your comment, Dutch: I also like your two favourites (don’t tell Kath!), and didn’t think much of 26a at first. But it has grown on me because of the nicely suggestive surface.

  3. I thought this was going to be a complete R & W but then there were a couple of hiccups in the NE corner. I’m relieved to know I have MP’s permission to use outside aids! Joint Favs were 7d and 23a. Thanks Rufus and MP who I imagine may not be in great demand today except for after the event amusement. **/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  4. All still very tricky in our little corner of Oxford but if I don’t start doing normal things again soon i.e. crosswords and coming ‘here’ every day my sanity (http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif) is going to suffer.
    I didn’t have too much of my usual ‘Monday trouble’ today until I got to the last couple – 2d and 11a – now I can’t see why.
    I thought that 4d and 26a were a touch on the weedy side and I’ve never heard of 12a meaning sure – watertight yes but . .
    I liked 18a (once I stopped trying to make the ‘players’ musicians) and 28a and 2 (eventually) and 16d.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops, especially for the relaxation of the “rules”.

    1. Nice to hear from you again, Kath. Hopefully this blog can help to provide some light relief for you.

  5. I couldn’t agree less with Kitty above, I thought it was delightfully tricky. I was completely misled by 2d and 16d was the last one in.
    Thanks Miffypops for your very drole introduction and hints.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  6. Reading Miffypops’s intro made me think it should be read in the same way as the attached…

    1. Thanks! That was lovely…much better than a poster. Rather like the Father’s Love Letter, also on YouT.

  7. **/***

    Old chesnuts or new fruit? I’ve given this three star enjoyment because of 2d. Joyous!

    Pretty much a write in apart from the above mentioned clue, and 15a. The latter I just stared at, not knowing what on earth to do with it. So I took a step back and looked again. Not too far as I wouldn’t be able to see the thing.

    14d was bunged in and worked out afterwards.

    Favourite is still 2d with 18a providing amusement.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the blog.

    1. I couldn’t make sense of 15a either, although I knew it was the right answer. Why clear off? you can just as easily go round in circles. With an R for the M it would work better but then 16d doesn’t. Perhaps I should have learnt by now that woolliness and Rufus go hand in hand…

  8. I’d just like to say I agree entirely with MP’s introduction. As a relative novice to the cryptic world after 2 years of daily (almost) application, I find reliance on outside aids has reduced considerably. Largely, this is due to the help gained from this brilliant blog. So, thank you all for your help.
    As for today, I completed most of it in reasonable time – for me- and resorted to assistance for 4d (9a incorrect), 8d and 15a, neither of which would have been worked out sans hints.
    Favourite was 5d with 14d a close second.

  9. 1*/4*. Light but great fun. This was R&W for me except for the interlinked 12a & 8d which edged my time up to 1*.

    On my first pass I put dinner money for 28a as a bung it in answer which fitted the checking letters, but, when I came back to parse it, I realised the error of my ways!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Great minds think alike – dinner money perhaps the danger of food poisoning then the penny dropped. Tee Hee

  10. I was struggling to start with, on my first run through I got nothing – I stopped, ate a banana and had another go. It then slowly fell into place, a few anagrams always helps.

    Good fun and entertaining!

    Onward and upward – now off to the driving range for some more badly needed practice. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. I have read many books and articles on how to solve a cryptic crossword puzzle and still learn new things from visiting this site. To my great amazement and deep joy I have discovered that the answer lies in A BANANA. Thank you Michael. I often say every crossword needs a little food in case we get hungry. Rufus has chosen to let us starve today. Your banana came at just the right time.

        1. After that I am heading for the cupboard under the stairs – OUCH!!! P S I am rather partial to bananas – pity I cannot spell them first time.

      1. I find that a glass or two of London Pride is far more effective than fruit. I don’t understand why tennis players don’t know this.

  11. 8down. gangrene
    I found it but I do not agree with the clue – rene is a boy’s name – the girl’s name is renee.

      1. If you put two or more links in a comment it automatically goes into moderation – if you could see some of the spam that bombards this website (and many others) you would understand.

  12. As usual, I decide on a ‘rating ‘ before reading the blog and mine was a */***,as Rabbit Dave says, it was light hearted and fun, liked 8d-don’t think I’ve seen it in a crossword before, and 2d was nicely ‘clued’ Thanks Miffypops, liked the pic for 18a-you also had sugar in your tea in those days !

  13. Thought this was a 1* apart from 13a which just pushed it into 2*.
    Whatever, very enjoyable, a nice gentle start to the week. My favourite was 23a, made me smile. OTT indeed. I remember Chris Tarrant had a late night TV show called OTT and it certainly was!
    Thx to all.

  14. Not unusually a fairly gentle start to the week, although the NW corner took me a little while until the penny dropped for 2d, which immediately became my favourite of the day ! I originally thought that the answers for 1a and 4d were too obvious, so I had dismissed them as being correct, my error !

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  15. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very tricky start to the week. I needed the hints for 15a, could only think of scatters, 2d didn’t have the faintest idea, 8d I should have looked up mortification, and 16d, was thinking of financial banks, doh! Great review Miffypops, I think you’ve summed up cruciverbalism. Favourite was 11a, was 4*/3* for me.

  16. I am pleased to be able to inform you that the advert block has changed from Mature Dating to Cornwall Cottages

    1. Clearly the older lady has a penchant for romantic hideaways in the South West. I must remember that.

    2. I appear to have Oak Furniture solutions – OK I have got the solution what, I would like to know, is the problem?

    3. Red diesel. I’ve got an advert telling me about where to buy red diesel? Fair enough. I don’t need or want it mind.

  17. Started at a cracking pace, and cracking paces are quite painful if you hit the buffers. Although I am not keen on 26a I enjoyed many others. (4d took me ages to spot, to my shame, and similarly I failed to ‘see’ 22d for quite a while.) overall 2d was the favourite. 3* / 4* here today. Thanks Rufus and thanks MP for the usual great review.

  18. A game of two halves. Yesterday evening was a write-off and this morning was a write-in. So my rating has to be ***/***. I really liked 7d. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review which confirmed my bung in for 4d – a poor clue as it has to be a guess to get it.

  19. Bit of a breeze today but got stuck a bit in NW corner until everything clicked into place. We do enjoy Miffypops’ humour!

          1. The main problem I have with it being National Confidentiality Day is why have we been told about it? Surely that information is confidential.

  20. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for a great start to the week. Too many penny drop moments to choose a favourite but 2d was up there in the ratings. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  21. Great puzzle, much enjoyed. I only had a problem with 8d and had to bring out the electronic gizmo.
    Fave was 7d, runners up were 2d, 16d and 23a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for usual entertaining review.

    Re Pineapple Cup: Godson and crew just coming up to Windward Passage, but the largest boat (72 ft) arrived in Montego Bay last night.

  22. Must have been on the same wavelength as Rufus as I completed his offering without any problem or so I thought! Just now realized why I could not reconcile my answer for 28a with the clue, no wonder as I had dinner money instead of danger money. How silly of me! I also had half team to start with for 18a but quickly realized my mistake. 8d clue is rather strange as Rene is a boy’s name so surely girl (Renee) should have been replaced by (French ) boy. I liked 2d. 2*/4*. Wondered about Kath yesterday. Good to have you back, hope things will improve soon.

    1. I put HALF PUTT first which is the very long rest sometimes used on a snooker table. i am glad it was wrong as I enjoyed my half time orange.

  23. Took a while to get started but enjoyed this. Many thanks to Rufus and Miffy, and for this great blog.

  24. Thank you very much Rufus for a very entertaining time today. I was able to complete all except 2d and 12a. Favourite was 2d which was simple yet misled me totally. If I had only followed MP’s advice to ‘keep reading the clue’ I ought to have seen it. Thanks very much Miffypops for your wit and wisdom, and also to everyone else.

  25. I don’t agree with 3* for difficulty, I don’t agree with René being a girl’s name, I don’t agree with just L being money and I don’t agree with Parcel = Pack Up.
    Apart from that I really enjoyed this crossword from Rufus. But my real Monday pleasures are to read what MP has to say and to solve the Rookie corner.
    I do like Rufus as he always write short, one liner clues. I counted only 7 which overflowed to a second line and most of the time it’s only for one word.
    So thanks for the concise fun and to MP for his slightly longer explanations.

      1. Hello Jane,
        That’s the problem now that I have embraced the world of modern technology. It’s a totally new universe. Must try to come back down to earth sometimes. I do miss the paper version. Got it on Saturday though.

      2. Must have been lovely to see all these Red Squirrels. Aren’t they the ones that are being pushed out by the Grey ones or is it the other way round?

        1. Yes – you’ve got it the right way round. There are still populations of Red Squirrels in Scotland and Ireland but mainland England/Wales now has very few. They flourish on islands such as Anglesey, Brownsea and Isle of Wight but it takes somewhat extreme measures to keep the Grey Squirrels out.

            1. Yes – but if you look at the distribution maps their territory is shrinking every year. Sadly, it could well be that the islands are the only long term hope for the little fellers.

              1. I see them in Cumbria near my mum’s from time to time.

                I’m all for getting more people to eat squirrel meat. Lovely stuff.

                Now is it too late to start Rookie corner?

          1. Does a collie count as an extreme measure? She certainly cleared our garden of them several times every day when she was young . . .

            1. Now that’s a thought – an army of collies on sentry duty at either end of the Menai & Britannia bridges – that works for me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  26. There I was with my */*** assessment, and my “Dinner Money” Very enjoyable none-the-less :)

  27. Late on parade today – been out walking in Newborough Forest and watching the delightful little Red Squirrels scampering about in the trees. Fresh air must have cleared the brain as this was pretty much R&W but still much enjoyed. 1*/3* for me.

    Fav. is between 23a&2d but with a mention for 28a&5d.

    Thanks to Rufus for a nice start to the week and to MP for his review, which I look forward to every week. If that’s you being serious, what are you like when in jovial mood? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Glad to see you back, Kath http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Off to tackle the Rookie now.

  28. Thank you Rufus. Good fun and solved over many sittings as we worked our way up the coast from Cresswell to Bamburgh. Another lovely day – mild and sunshine all day. Thanks MP for your review and hints – and introduction, excellent !

  29. Just what we have come to expect on a Monday. Good fun and not too taxing.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  30. A jolly start to the puzzling week: 1*/4*. I had “dinner money” until a sixth sense made me think again. Perhaps l’m a grizzled old campaigner. 8d was my favourite, and made me smile – even though it’s hardly a laughing matter! Many thanks to Rufus, and to MP for a truly splendid review.

  31. For all the rufus fans, please note that the guardian puzzle today is also a rufus and is freely accessible, just google guardian crosswords

  32. MP not one to pick holes but surely 28 across does not relate to peril but food as in supplementary? My first visit and causing trouble already!

  33. i feel that inolved is a highly inconspicuous indicator for an anagram, frankly this setter can ****** (involved). P.s thanks to big dave for the tips. H

  34. Good stuff from Rufus, straightforward-ish and completed without stumbles. I liked 23a. I also liked MP’s review, as usual. Most of all, I enjoyed the wit and wisdom of the blog. You all help me to relax into not-being-at-work-any-more mode at the end of the evening – until I realise that, come the morning, my nose will return to the grindstone. Thanks to MP for the jokes, Kitty for the barrage of double-entendres and BD for the site. And to Rufus for not overtaxing my decaying brain.

  35. Well, finally I’ve caught up, in spite of ‘dinner money’.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP. I can now relax….

    1. Finished in time for lunch. My personal record. I had dinner money in pencil as I knew it wasn’t right, but didn’t get the right one till I went to this site for help. THANK YOU, as a beginner and on behalf of other neophytes. We get this one on Saturday here in South Africa.

  36. ten days behind as usual, but I know MP will see my comment – thank you so much for your wonderful deconstruction, and especially your intro, step by step to learning cryptics! I’m two years in now, or is it three, and this blog has made all the difference.
    and thanks to Rufus, of course, so unstrained as ever!

  37. Hello Molly. I get an email whenever somebody leaves a comment so yes I always see and read them. Thank you for your kind words. As Michael would say. Onwards and upwards. Take care and enjoy your pastime.

Comments are closed.