DT 27756 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27756

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27756

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Apart from hidden words all of our needs are satisfied by todays puzzle. We have food and drink to keep us going, garments to keep us warm, somewhere to live, games to play a country to visit and a military leader should we choose to invade it. Get the Lego out for the charades. Find those Scrabble tiles or pencils for the anagrams, (to be used as a last resort only). Have your ears syringed to listen out for the homophone. Keep your BRB or Google definitions handy for the obscure 18th meaning of a doubly defined word. There is fun to be had putting things inside other things as well. Do not mention Rugby Football, Cricket or England and all will be fine.

There are no hidden word clues today but there are hints and tips lurking on today’s blog from Itchy or Scratchy who has made a guest appearance. The Sinner Boy has found an apprentice.

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.

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    Drunken flirting in game? (11)
TIDDLYWINKS: Take an adjective meaning slightly drunk and add what one does when flirting to find a children’s parlour game. Before Grand Theft Auto. Before Sonic The Hedgehog. Before Lego. Before Ludo. We had an innocent game with counters and a pot. The terminology of this game in Wikipedia is worth a read

9a    One can’t be trusted after a deal is made (4-5)
CARD SHARP: The deal here is not one of trade or business. This person who cannot be trusted is one who cheats at games such as Cribbage in order to win money. I didn’t cheat but had this hand recently.

10a    Pot  plant (5)
GRASS: A double definition of something that will need cutting regularly from now until October

11a    Make a mistake and throw out the drink (6)
SHERRY: To throw at a coconut perhaps, around our usual crosswordland suspect verb meaning to make a mistake will give you this drink which might go nicely with 7d

12a    Hamper holding spare garments (8)
CLOTHING: A word meaning to hamper as in impede or obstruct is holding a word meaning spare or lean.

13a    Fine quality diamonds worn with a shirt in New York (6)
NICETY:    Start with a three-letter slang term for diamonds (while we’re looking at slang definitions, it is also a form of methamphetamine or a verb meaning to kill). This, together with a one-letter type of shirt, is (worn) inside the abbreviation for a US state. The whole can be defined as the quality of being agreeable.

15a    Mad party guest going to pot used room to spruce up (8)
DORMOUSE: This guest at The Mad Hatters Tea party ended up in the first of 10 across’s two definitions. He can be found as an anagram (to spruce up) of USED ROOM. This clue gives me an opportunity to illustrate it with one of my favourite clips. Please watch and enjoy

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a    It’s an indication for drivers, by the way (4,4)
ROAD SIGN: I suppose this just about falls into crypticity. The way is what we drive on. The indication is what informs us as we do so.

19a    Could be a good laugh or cry (6)
SCREAM: A double definition. A third dated definition (which would be of no help to me) might be to turn informer

21a    Believe gold might satisfy him? (8)
CREDITOR: To give credence to followed by our usual two letter long suspect for gold will give a person to whom money is owed.

23a    Models must be fashionable ladies (6)
IDEALS: Anagram (fashionably) of LADIES

26a    Call up a woman, a case for approval (5)
EVOKE: The first woman on earth has a verb meaning to give the thumbs up to something inserted inside her as indicated by the words (a case of)

27a    Cat seen in various residences (9)
TENANCIES: Anagram (various) of CAT SEEN IN. I like anagrams in which the following applies. They are three words long. The middle word is the indicator. The first and third words are both the same length. It is possible for either the first word or the third word to be either fodder or wordplay.

28a    Confidential sign which executives employ (11)
SECRETARIES: Take a noun meaning something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others and add a sign of the zodiac


1d    Friar’s at home and eats heartily (5,2)
TUCKS IN: The Friar is a Merry Man and he is not out.

2d    An air of sadness (5)
DIRGE: A musical air which might be heard at a funeral

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    Cobbler’s farewell ceremony? (4,5)
LAST RITES: This ceremony, one of the seven sacraments, is performed at the bedside of those not expected to live. I cannot square the clue to the answer. A cobbler would use the first word of the answer (there is a saying that he should stick to it) Maybe it is an all in one. What do you think?

4d    Northern river  sport (4)
WEAR: Not The Tyne. The other one. Not sport as in Rugby or Cricket which we are not mentioning today. Sport as in display upon one’s body.

5d    French leader turned an East European on (8)
NAPOLEON: A nice little “Do as you are told clue” Turn the AN around. Add an eastern European and the word ON from the clue to find this French midget who liked his women dirty . “I will be home in three days. Don’t wash”

6d    Location in sound and vision (5)
SIGHT: A homophone based upon our vision and a location or an area of ground on which a town, building, or monument is constructed.

7d    Turn gas up in a way, making pasta (7)
LASAGNE: Reverse (turn up)the word GAS and place it inside a way that may be very pretty and found in the countryside. Once the answer is found you can eat it and wash it down with a little glass of 11ac. I have a favourite pasta recipe which involves boiling it for as long as necessary, throwing it the bin and going to the Fish and chip shop.

8d    Treatment that is always on hand (8)
MANICURE: if this treatment was on your foot it would be a pedicure. It isn’t on your foot though. It is on your hand. It is a cosmetic treatment of the hands involving shaping and often painting of the nails, removal of the cuticles, and softening of the skin. Need I say more?

14d    Female guard of honour (8)
CHAPERON: an older woman responsible for the decorous behaviour of a young unmarried girl at social occasions. Usually spelled with an E at the end. If only Saint Sharon had been accompanied by one of these all those years ago.

16d    Staff professor, first class, brought up in old country (9)
MACEDONIA: A staff of office and a university professor. Two letters meaning first class are then reversed (brought up) to reveal a country in southeast Europe.

17d    One doesn’t believe in coasting freely (8)
AGNOSTIC: One doesn’t believe, nor does (s)he disbelieve. Keeping an open mind is good – as long as it is not so open your brain falls out. As a dedicated fence-sitter, maybe that’s what happened to mine. Oh yes – freely is an anagram indicator, sitting there next to its fodder.

18d    Frauds seen in court or in the press (7)
RACKETS: These frauds are also pieces of sporting equipment seen in the non-legal type of courts and kept in a press when not in use. I have never used such a press, nor have I seen one for about forty years

20d    Broods about one’s exploits (7)
MISUSES: Not broods as in children which was my first thought, but reflects or ponders. This is around (about) the Roman numeral one and the ‘S from the clue.

22d    Articles in the Telegraph or Times possibly (5)
ITEMS: Anagram (possibly) of TIMES

24d    Excuse for being absent (5)
ALIBI: A straightforward definition of an excuse for being absent usually used in a court of law

25d    Payment before ascent of mountain (4)
ANTE: This advance payment is also a stake in poker. In reverse (ascent in a down clue) it is an active Sicilian volcano.

Can you recognise Itchy or Scratchy hints?

The Quick Crossword pun: differ+cult=difficult


74 comments on “DT 27756

  1. Fun way to start the week. Thanks setter and MP. **/****. Doubt anybody these days needs to use one of the presses MP shows in 18d hint but my nearly new Dunlop Maxply is indeed safely stored in one. No real favs but liked simplicity of 1d and 26a. NE corner was last to go in. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  2. Got stuck with 14d which I thought was Chastity (belt) which seemed to fit the clue rather well

    Agree with MP about 3d, please can someone explain this ?

    Otherwise no great problem

        1. You’re welcome. Have just realised how cleverly à propos your alternative solution to 14d is!

      1. Other than the apostrophe S what is there to suggest last. Coul a setter put mechanic’s and expect us to find Spanner or Pliers?

  3. I found this one quite challenging for a Monday. Perhaps it was just me, but I had to think for quite a while to come up with some of the references such as in 15a. So a good work out.

    I would say 4*/4* for me today.

  4. **/***

    Refreshing Monday morning fun. Thankfully not difficult. I cannot do difficult today. Nor can I squop, as much as I might want to squop.

    Fortunately I could do this crossword. Though I can’t work out the word play for 3d. I just wrote it in. Fairly clued and thanks to 1a, I am now clued up on that.

    No real favourites.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for your usual excellent blog. Always something to look forward to.

    Edit I quick Google suggests cobblers use something called a ‘last’. A piece of equipment shaped like a foot.

  5. 3d: I don’t know how satisfactory this is, but I just read this as a gentle cd (typical of rufus) rather than a clue with wordplay and definition, or double definition. So I thought of it as a little riddle: cobbler’s farewell ceremony? (last = what a cobbler uses) Note the question mark, which more often than not is a dubiousness indicator intended to compensate for any unfairness.

    The clues I liked most are 1a (drunken flirting), 12a (hamper holding spare), 28a (confidential sign), and 5d (the French leader turning on east europeans)

    Many thanks miffypops for an entertaining review and many thanks Rufus

  6. Good morning all. I’m back after two wonderful weeks in Mexico on the Caribbean coast with endless sun and cocktails on the beach. The only things I have missed are my daily dose of crosswords and everyone on this wonderful blog.

    I completed yesterday’s excellent offering from Virgilius in bed last night, and eagerly anticipated getting stuck into a Rufus puzzle this morning. I was not disappointed and my rating today is 2*/4* with too many goodies to try to pick a single favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Really glad to see that the wanderer has finally returned – very envious of the sun and beach. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      Where was the official request for time off? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      1. Thanks to you all for your kind messages. I’ll try to do better with the official paperwork next time :oops:

  7. Was far too literal this mornng, so firmly wrote ‘Gourd’ in for 10a – fortunately only using my very special crossword pencil which Poppy and Mr P are forbidden to touch, so was eventually able to solve it without a load of messy crossings out. Fought to fit something with issues in to 20d, and 14d was my last one in as I went down the same route as Kevin… Still, loved the hints, Miffypops, and especially the Alice Clock one. Thanks gazillions for that. And thanks to the setter also. Struggling to learn Faure’s Requiem in time for Palm Sunday – anyone able to send me a few good notes? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    1. Hi Poppy,

      I hope you’re feeling a little less bruised after Friday? So glad you have an extra special crossword pencil…love it.

      Sadly I’ve never sung that Requiem, but I have no doubt that you will get there and sound amazing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      I used to walk around with a ‘Walkman’, learning bits of a score I struggled with.

      1. It’s good to know I got all of them completely wrong.

        19a…Simpsons based, but I know the feeling.
        5d…fear of cats.
        7d…Garfield loves.
        15a…cats chase them, possibly, who knows?
        27a…mentions felines.

        You have interesting cats.

  8. Didn’t exactly race through this but eyes may have been a little bleary after a Sunday full of fun.

    Rather anagram-light for Rufus. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of cryptic definitions unless they are really well done, but there were enough insertions to keep me happy.

    I interpreted 3d much as Dutch did (after being told of the cobbler’s model), but Mr K found it irritating.

    Thumbs up to 26a, or maybe it was just because of the hint.

    Word of the day is now squop.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops. Welcome back to RD. Happy new week to all.

  9. Brilliant start to the week. Slightly held up by sticking sign post into 18A. Favourite clues 1A and 28. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  10. Was it just me or did anyone else find this a real challenge?
    It def went into at least 3 star time but it was very satisfying to finish esp pre the hints.
    The SW corner was a particular problem which was compounded by putting sign post for 18a, a valid answer just the wrong one! Still not wholly convinced that a nicety is equal to fine quality. Also I felt that the spelling of 14d was indicative of a setter who had got a number of checking letters but was stuck for a clue. Alternative spellings always make solving more difficult.
    All that aside it was very enjoyable.
    Thx to all.

  11. I think the first word in the answer to 3 down refers to the wooden “last” that cobblers use – then the whole clue makes sense.

  12. I think 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    No major problems apart from the 18a sign post pointing the wrong way which caused problems in the bottom right corner.
    The dormouse was my last answer having completely missed the anagram indicator.
    I was also a bit slow with 14d.
    I liked 4 and 18d. My favourite was either 1 or 28a.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

        1. No – that give me more chances to be wrong. If I stick to left and right I have a 50% chance of being right, or, in this case, wrong. Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  13. Thank you Rufus for another good fun start to the week. Like Brian I started with “sign post” for 18a, but had “road sign” in reserve just in case ! Thanks MP for your review and hints.

  14. In 17 down it should be noted that an agnostic IS NOT one who doesn’t believe. That’s an aetheist. An agnostic doesn’t know/isn’t sure

    1. Well done spotting that Rosie. It could be one of my hints orbit could be the work of my apprentice. Nobody will ever know

  15. Delightful Monday puzzle with no real difficulties and straightforward clues. Just up my street. I’m old enough to remember when there were cobblers with lasts etc. so found 3d understandable..Do people get shoes repaired nowadays I wonder? Anyway, thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypopps.

  16. Have spent the whole morning installing a new toilet so coffee and crossword were most welcome when the mission was accomplished. A very enjoyable offering and not too trying. Like a few other bloggers I lost direction with 18A Do people still use the word scream in the way it is used in 19A? My rating is **/*** My thanks to MP for his excellent and entertaining review and I didn’t mention the rugby.

  17. Found this hard-going, though I loved 1a and solved it quickly, like most of the “top half”. Pride goes before a fall……….Struggled with all the down clues after that and, oh, the humiliation, could not see that “exploits” was a verb not a noun ……..
    ***/*** for me today, alas.

  18. We didn’t trundle through this like last Monday’s puzzle from Rufus but got there in the end in between moving sofas from the house to the shed and ordering compost for our newly constructed raised beds…..***/*** from this neck of the woods. And Miffypops….the next time you are in Camden Town, pop round and try our home-made lasagne cooked lovingly with pesto. i’m sure you would change your mind about the ‘dreadful stuff’.

    1. Sorry I missed you at The Bridge. Did you catch a boat from Camden Lock and sail along Regents Canal looking at the animals in London Zoo?

      1. Sorry we missed you too. It would have been a nice way to travel but we took the car and copped a speeding ticket into the bargain.

  19. Not a typical Monday Rufus I thought and with no sign of a nautical based clue, I’m still not sure. Top half went in fairly quickly but the bottom half put up a bit of a fight, especially in the SE corner until the penny dropped on 16d – D’oh! Some really good clues (1d, 15a & 5d) but 1a gets my vote for my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to Rufus (?) for the puzzle and Miffypops for the review

  20. The customary gentle start to the week and nothing to cause any undue alarms.

    My favourite clue is 15a and I loved the accompanying clip to illustrate it !

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  21. I thought this was a little trickier for a Rufus but certainly do-able.
    I remember the press in 18d. In my young days, if you didn’t use them, the rackets would morph into S shapes. Got rockets from my Dad with threats not to buy me another one unless I took care of it.
    Fave 1a, runner up 1d.
    Thanks Rufus and to M’pops for the review.

    1. I know that you all have weapons at home in the US. But if your dad gave you rockets, it’s a bit worrying.

      1. “Rockets” in the sense of a telling off, “do you think I’m made of money? You must put your racket in a press or it will warp”.
        BTW, I grew up in Jamaica and didn’t make it here until 1976 at the time of the “troubles”.

        1. P.S. If I remember correctly, we used to spell them “racquets”; rackets were dins.

  22. Didn’t get 2d and 4d as I just couldn’t solve 1a. With just 4 checking letters, it was mission impossible as David Cameron would say.
    And I needed that word in order to get the down clues. A bit of a catch 22 I’m afraid.
    But as usual that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the partial solve.
    Really enjoyed the review too. Specially the Alice Clock. Used to love going to see the one in the Swiss Centre in Leicester Square or Lycester square as the Americans used to call it.
    I believe it’s a M&M megastore now.
    Love the Munch portrait of Homer.
    Sorry MP but favourite is 5d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Itchy and Scratchy for the review.

  23. Many thanks MP. I enjoyed the hints and needed some of them to finish. Thank you to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle

  24. I also missed the anagram indicator for 15a , so it was my last one .Lots of great clues, I particularly liked 28a and 9a. Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  25. It all went together very smoothly for us. The last one to be fitted in was 15a as we did not pick the anagram immediately. Good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  26. Apart from failing on 3d – had the the first word but could not think of the second one, how silly – enjoyed and completed today’s excellent Rufus puzzle. 1a made me laugh – took me a while for the penny to drop! My first one in was 1d. Loved 5d, easy ot guess why! Lots of clever clues but my vote number 1 goes to 14d. Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for an entertaining review. Many thanks to BD for his help for yesterday’s Prize Crossword which I only saw this morning. 2.5*/4* for me.

  27. Didn’t find this one too taxing. Like Framboise I got ‘last’ for 3d but had to wait much longer to get the rest. I liked 1a and 15a – always enjoy the literary clues. I thought 28a was good too – as I am one – Aries that is – not a secretary. Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle **\****

  28. For some reason the left hand side almost flew into place, but the remainder put me into 2* time. 2*/3* overall, then, and 15a my favourite ( and last in). Thanks to Rufus for the mental exercise, and to Miffypops for the review.

  29. Maybe it’s just that it’s been a long day but I took far too long to get 11a,26a & 14d and also shared Mary Mary’s problem with 20d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif 3*/4* for me.
    Would have loved some sort of homophone at 13a (nice tie)!
    Favourite could be any one of 1,15,28a & 1d.

    Many thanks, Rufus – really enjoyed the solve and also thanks to MP et al for the review. I had seen the Alice Clock clip before but still enjoyed it this time around.

    1. No doubt you will se it again. It is a favourite clip of mine and the lad in it Stephen who loves the clock so much wrote me a letter.

  30. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle to start the week. I zoomed off in the top half, then got brain freeze. I thought 10a was gourd, but thought it might end in s, as I had a theory on 7d. In the end, used the hint. Also needed the hints for the first 4 letters of 16d. Managed ok after that. Favourite was 3d,last in was 28a. Nice to see 17d making yet another appearance :-) Was 3*/3* for me.

  31. Thankyou for a very entertaining and helpful set of hints, one of these decades I’ll be able to do this crossword on my own , but until that hypothetical day , I will be a huge Big Dave 44 fan, thanks (can’t believe I got this far in life and never listened to Planet Waves before, either)

      1. And hello from me too. Planet Waves has only been around for 41 years. It is never too late to listen something new. I love that album.

    1. Welcome from me too. If you stick with BD et al you’ll learn so much, so quickly, that you’ll be able to do some crosswords on your own within a year – forget the decade stuff. Good luck and keep commenting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  32. Much more complex then usual for a Monday puzzle. I didn’t help myself by putting CHAMPION for 21a (believe…support…Champion?) Well it worked for me….
    So for the first time for ages I needed MP’s review. Oh well. 3d was my favourite, very clever.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP for his valuable help.

  33. Hi MP. I’m not Tstrummer who must be flat out at work. Couldn’t start this till late last night, and still struggling a bit. Hope the Messiah was resoundingly good. I’m sorry to have missed it as I love it. Thanks (in advance) for your review and to Rufus for this challenge.

  34. I love Miffypops! Lots of fun to read and heartwarming clips and photos-none of your sleazy bottoms and boobs so beloved of some of your reviewers, (‘Its only a bit of fun, right?’). I also love it when others say it was hard and I have found it relatively easy, as more often than not I am struggling and others have breezed it! Monday is usually my best day and Miffypops has improved my confidence by the helpful tips and attitude. Thanks!

  35. Well, MP, I finally made it this morning. Too weary last night to move my brain out of first gear. So I’m still the last one in. Plant Waves, btw, is for me the best Dylan album of them all, closely followed by Blood on the Tracks, Street Legal (controversial choice) and Blonde on Blonde.
    On to Rufus: I found it hard and wasn’t helped by putting Champion for 21a. Got there in the end, but I’m giving it 4* time, 3* fun.

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