DT 27804 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27804

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27804

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hi all. I hope you have had a good weekend. While Miffypops enjoys a well-earned holiday, I shall attempt to make myself useful with some hints.

I found the puzzle mostly gentle enough, but since I couldn’t untangle one of the clues (19a) I cannot give it a less than average difficulty rating. There was enjoyment aplenty. We have food, drink, music and entertainment for all. It appears I have used the word “anagram” eight times today which will be too many for some, but then again it is a Monday.

Definitions are underlined in the clues. If you want to see the actual answer then press ‘click here!’ and all 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    Rip up crust in slices for a rider’s refreshment (7,3)
STIRRUP CUP: An anagram (in slices) of RIP UP CRUST produces a drink taken on horseback on departure or arrival. It is also the container for such:

9a    The Spanish scholar’s about to be qualified (4)
ABLE: “The” in Spanish and then a Bachelor of Arts, all reversed (about).

10a    Uncertain to request a loan with advance (5,3,2)
TOUCH AND GO: An informal term meaning to try to extract money from then a word for with followed by two letters meaning advance or make progress. I spent a while trying to work out why the middle six letters could mean “request a loan” before I had a big facepalm moment.

11a    Fake rubies could cause skin discoloration (6)
BRUISE: This is an anagram (fake) of RUBIES.

12a    Film  scene (7)
PICTURE: An old word for a film also means an image. I shall take the opportunity to share this one that I found recently:

15a    Substantially consisting of articles and paintings (2,5)
AT HEART: Two grammatical articles followed by some paintings etc.

16a    Time, it’s not on our side? (5)
ENEMY: Time is known as this, as is a foe.

17a    A picking-up point (4)
TINE: A spike such as that on a utensil for picking up food.

18a    French girl will return if encored (4)
FIFI: Repeat (encore) the penultimate word in the clue and reverse (return) it to give a diminutive form of Josephine.

19a    Neat  drink? (5)
LOWER: Our neat is a mooer. Beyond that, I must confess to having a problem with DRINK. You can sink or down a drink but surely not the answer. I am utterly befuddled – please help!  EDIT: Rod informs us confidently than one can lower a pint, so it is indeed a living expression.  Not one I found in dictionaries or online, but moving onto the second page of search results, there it is.  Thanks to Rod for putting us out of our misery!

21a    School principal with system for progress (7)
HEADWAY: A school principal and a method or means.

22a    Ron meets rough gent in the X-ray unit (7)
RÖNTGEN: Take Mr Ron straight from the clue and follow with an anagram (rough) of GENT to give a unit of exposure to ionising radiation.

24a    Sound conductor of works by Schubert (6)
LIEDER: A word that sounds like one who conducts or guides is the plural of a type of German song which Schubert in particular was known for.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Takes smart evasion, seeing demanding employer (10)
TASKMASTER: Anagram (evasion) of TAKES SMART.

28a    Crow may come after this bird (4)
COCK: Appending crow to the answer gives the call of this bird which may wake you up early in the morning.

29a    Taking off show, providing drinks in the bar (10)
STRIPTEASE: A form of entertainment involving the removal of apparel is revealed by inserting some drinks (perhaps taken with cream) into a bar or band of colour.


2d    Left-wing  movement (4)
TROT: Very left wing or movement at a moderate pace, perhaps of a horse.

3d    Early rail or space traveller (6)
ROCKET: The name for an early steam locomotive is also a spacecraft.

4d    A French and a Western leader are in the dark (7)
UNAWARE: Take out your building blocks (any kind you like) and assemble: the French indefinite article, A from the clue, the first letter (leader) of W(estern) and the ARE from the clue.

5d    Many a poem that’s hard to understand (4)
CODE: The Roman numeral for a hundred followed by a poem gives us a cipher.

6d    Mug taken in by compassion and honesty (7)
PROBITY: To take forcibly from someone inside (taken in by) a word for compassion or sympathy.

7d    Abandoning royal dignity (10)
ABDICATING: Renouncing or giving up royal office.

8d    Train speed is reduced to walking-pace (10)
PEDESTRIAN: Anagram (reduced) of TRAIN SPEED.

12d    Bowl last ball in the dark (5-5)
PITCH-BLACK: Bowl or throw is our first word. The second refers to the final ball to be potted in snooker. The whole is a different kind of in the dark to that in 4d.

13d    Recover CV — enclose a reworking (10)
CONVALESCE: Anagram (reworking) of CV ENCLOSE A.

14d    VIP taking part in maiden voyage (5)
ENVOY: This diplomatic representative is lurking (taking part) in the clue.

15d    Colour halfway between green and red (5)
AMBER: Halfway in spectral terms between the other colours and also situated between them on a set of traffic lights.

19d    Real trouble upset Ophelia’s brother (7)
LAERTES: An anagram of REAL (indicated by trouble) then the reversal (up, in a down clue) of SET.

20d    It unfolds and gives way (4,3)
ROAD MAP: Unfold one of these to use it to aid you in planning or following a route. Unless yours is of the electronic kind.

23d    Lets out American imprisoned in brawl (6)
TUSSLE: American is contained within (imprisoned in) an anagram (out) of LETS.

25d    One employing some Hindu servants (4)
USER: It’s there in the clue.

26d    See head of finance over charges (4)
FEES: The first word of the clue and then the first letter (head) of F(inance), all reversed (over).

My favourite clue has to be 28a because it raised a chuckle. What was yours?

The Quick Crossword pun: Venice+whaler=Venezuela

70 comments on “DT 27804

  1. 1*/3*. What a relief after my complete failure with the NTSPP! Many thanks for a fun puzzle, Rufus.

    Great review and pictures, Kitty, but the only thing I needed it for (apart from entertainment value) was to understand what the answer to 19a had to do with “drink” but I see you are in the same boat as me!

    1. I was a complete failure with the NTSPP too. I know that I can’t do Radler’s crosswords so I start off in Toughie mentality which means I’m bound to have trouble – daft!

      1. It’s always comforting to know I am not alone.

        I don’t think it would have made any difference to me with this one from Radler whatever mentality I approached it with. It would still have been impossible.

  2. A nice easy ride to start the week. Thanks Mr. Ron and Kitty. 22a new one on me. 27a – I suppose “evasion” is indicator likewise “reduced” in 8d. Fav 19d. **/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  3. Kitty – have you never heard or used the phrase – ‘I’m just going to the pub to lower a few pints with the lads’? No, me neither. I too am mystified.

    Good crossword, good review & I hope the weather is better where MP is – it’s persisting down here in West Bridgford!

        1. I can remember my assistant during the 1980’s who incidentally, was the son of a Telegraph journalist sometimes saying…’Errrmm mate, going to lower a few and get a few necks down’…Didn’t know what he meant then, but I do now!

        2. Kitty, what a sweet picture for 12a. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve copied it to my photo album….purrrrrrrrr!

    1. As there is a question mark after the word drink you may be right Spindrift. Rainy start today but brightened up now. The sun is always shining. Sometimes we just can’t see it.

    2. My BRB has this definition for lower – to dilute (obs) .So I took the question mark in the clue to suggest the opposite of neat. That’s my backward thinking suggestion!

  4. Another pleasant solve. I loved 17ac. I too am flummoxed by the drink? At 19ac. I suspect most people will be. I suppose our E2L (English as a second language) brigade will put us out of our misery. Thanks to Rufus and thanks to Kitty. There are twenty eight legs and a prong in your pictures today. Cornwall is recharging my batteries

      1. If you’re including legs which aren’t seen, then what about the piano legs? Did you count those of the swans? What about the driver of the red car?

        You can claim any number of legs you like – I don’t think I will check.

        1. There are more. I only counted one man on The Rocket and there are two. The red car may or may not have passengers and everybody knows there are three bears. (Look between the legs of the bear facing us) supposing no passengers in the red car there are now thirty eight plus four on the piano and four more on the glas topped coffee table the cat is standing on.

          1. Miffypops, I hope you are doing a 29a to please the locals on Morgan Pawth beach!

  5. Kitty I’m with you and countless others no doubt re 19a ? Thanks for the hints especially 10a couldn’t see the touch bit until I looked at you hint

  6. A theory about 19 across. If you have neat drink it can be called a snorter. Noises cattle (bulls) make are to snort and to low (The cattle are lowing), hence lower and if you down a drink you can also be said to lower one. It’s a bit of a long winded explanation and may not be correct but it’s the only one I can think of.

  7. A read and write for me except for 22a which I had to google to check the anagram. Re 19a I have quite often heard the expression ‘to lower a pint’ although the clue could have been better expressed. Many thanks Kitty and a reserved thanks to the setter as I did not like the 19a clue.

  8. Thank you Rufus – I thought that the puzzle was a bit harder than the usual Monday challenge. Good fun though. I also was stumped by drink in 19a, but bunged the answer in anyway. The BRB mentions “sinking” if that is any help. Enthusiastic chaps sink a few pints I recall ! Thanks Kitty for your review and hints. Gentle rain in NW.

  9. **/**

    Held up by 19 and 22a. I had to check the latter and the former just made no sense. Hey ho.

    Not the most inspiring Monday but 17a made me smile.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kitty for blogging.

      1. If it stays in the glass when poured it will be ok. If it stays in the glass too long there is a problem.

      2. Fantastic recommendation. We are now the proud owners of 36 bottles. Not all for our consumption but a contribution to a BBQ later in the summer.

        Went down very well. Thank you. If you’re at the birthday bash next January, I owe you a drink. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif or four.

  10. Nice-ish puzzle and generally not too hard BUT and although I worked them out, I thought 22a was super-obscure and (like others) do not believe lower is really a current expression for to drink…..SO ** for difficulty but marked down in terms of enjoyment by these 2 reservations….

  11. Not greatly impressed with today’s puzzle. All felt a little awkward with no standout clues. Thought 2d was a poor clue as was 9a. Needed Google for 24a and 19d.
    Never seen 22a spelt that way, much more usual to see it spelt Roentgen (even the spellchecker spells it that way as do the radiology texts).
    For me ***/**
    Thx to all

    1. yes, the “oe” replaces an o-umlaut when your keyboard doesn’t have that character.

  12. Easy enough except I didn’t much like 2d and 19a was a puzzle for me. I had all the cross check letters there – ran through the alphabet for the last letter and then screwed up my eyebrows in a knot as none seemed to make any sense. So off to the dictionary to find that the answer was an obsolete meaning or so my BRB claims.

    There was just something about this puzzle that I cannot put in words, but it just seemed odd to me. I agree with Brian.

    1*/3* for me.

  13. 17A was my last one in and I was torn between “tine” and “tong” – as either could fit with the “a” in the clue pointing to singular ….. Went for the wrong one!

  14. I found this a little harder than most Monday’s, but maybe that’s just a result of my weekend.

    I missed 1d, annoying since I think I’ve seen similar before. Typical mixture today, some lovely clues eg I liked 15a and many others but didn’t think 12a was great.

    great review Kitty, many thanks, and thank you Rufus as always.

  15. I’ll have to go with 3* difficulty if only because of a couple of answers that I had trouble with. 2*/3* for enjoyment.
    I had the same problems as everyone else with 19a but, having mentally been through the alphabet for the missing letter, it was the only one that made any kind of sense.
    My main problem was 17a – don’t know why – gave up and showed it to husband who got it.
    Our elder Lamb is called Josephine – I had no idea that 18a was a diminutive form of it – must tell her although I’m not sure she’ll be pleased!
    I liked 18 (if only for the above reason) and 22a and 2 and 6d.
    With thanks to Rufus and thanks and well done again to Kitty. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Raining – off to take lawn mower to hospital for poorly lawn mowers.

  16. I have heard ‘lower’ used for ‘drink’ as in ‘He can certainly lower ’em’ ( meaning he’s a heavy drinker) I found Rufus entertaining, as usual, but I would argue that in 8d ‘reduced’ is not a fair pointer to an anagram.

  17. Great puzzle from Rufus…loved it. I’m writing from the masculine half of Paso Doble because the better looking part of the team is on a train heading for Bath armed with the back page. Can’t wait to see who finished it first!

    Thanks to Kitty…and obviously Rufus. ***/**** for me.

  18. Enjoyed the review more than the crossword. Didn’t like the NW corner at all nor the fork bit nor the drink.
    Sorry to sound so grumpy specially after spending two hours having my hair cut followed by a scalp and full body massage. I definitely should be more relaxed.
    Wanted to wish everyone a great day in Sazerk tomorrow. Sorry I can’t be there.
    Lots of Love to all.

    1. Two hours for a haircut! When I pay £7.50, I expect to get my money’s worth, but it’s all over in ten minutes. Did he/she cut each hair individually?

  19. 22a. I was taught ROENTGEN at school. The umlaut makes ROAD difficult to pronounce

  20. I too haven’t heard of the expression ‘to lower a pint’, but I have heard of ‘to sink a pint’, which I suppose means the same thing. A little trickier in parts than the usual Monday puzzle, but we managed it reasonably well. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Kitty.

  21. Going to settle for a **/***,thought 19a might cause some consternation, never heard of the term in Cheshire or on my various travels, althought , on thinking about it ,a common phrase is to ‘SINK ‘ ie LOWER a pint ot two.Anyway good start for a Monday.Thanks to Kitty for the ‘pics’- 12a reminded me of an unusual camera shot of Angus Young AC/DC taken from below a glass stage as he strutted his stuff when in full flow!

  22. I have to say I’m a little surprised at all the fuss being raised about LOWER. OK, it’s not a term I’ve ever used but once I had LO-E- the answer was obvious from the NEAT bit. I just thought LOWER? SINK? DRINK?, well OK I guess. A bit thin was how pommette described it.

    Any way a fun puzzle for which we’ll go for **/***.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Kitty.

  23. It occurred to me that “picking-up point” could be a 17a on a fork-LIFT truck. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  24. A gentle stroll in the park to start off the back pager week, although I thought that there were a few ‘iffy’ clues which didn’t seem to be up to Rufus’s standard. Having said that, I believe 12 & 20d deserve a mention, with 16a being my favourite.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and Kitty for her review.

    Hope to see a few of you at tomorrow’s soiree – I will of course be suitably attired so as to not scare the localshttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. I will not be there tomorrow as am on holiday in Cornwall. If only I could find a way to leave £100 behind the bar so you could all have a drink on me. Well I can’t. Tough. Live with it. Have fun everybody.

  25. This didn’t seem a typical Rufus puzzle at all to me, and agree with Shropshirelad that some of the clues had a whiff of “iffyness” about them.

    I was very disappointed by 22a, it almost defies the Trade Descriptions Act to call it an anagram when six of the seven letters of the answer are in the same order as in the clue! I also couldn’t believe the easiness of 15d, in fact I was convinced for some time that I was missing something far more subtle.

    My favourites were 10a and 16a.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kitty.

  26. Enjoyed today’s crossword very much, but then that’s probably because I managed to solve it without help or hints….a rare occurence but one which is becoming slightly less rare since I found this site. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Last one in was 2d which I thought was a clever clue once I’d got it.
    I had heard of the expression to ‘lower a pint’ but that is probably a reflection of my misspent youth.
    Thank you to the setter and to Kitty for the review.

  27. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, but found it very tricky. Needed the hints for 9,15,17&19a. Favourite was 2d. Last in was 7d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  28. Enough said about 19a….this was the only clue I needed to use the hints for. Even then I was not convinced….not so much about the drink bit, but about the neat….I had never heard or had forgotten the bovine meaning of this word, so the whole thing was lost on me! Anyway, I enjoyed the puzzle even though I was nearly thrown off course by 20d by putting in ‘doormat’ which seemed to fit OK but made 29a impossible! Luckily I had my (very old) copy of Hamlet on the table in front of me…must have been there from needing to look something up for an earlier puzzle, so I got 19d easily. At first my hopes were raised by 1a and 2d….thought we were I for an equestrian themed puzzle which would have suited very nicely, but it was not to be….no really stand out clues or great laughs, so */** for me. Thanks to setter and to Kitty.

  29. Loved the hints and pics, Kitty – thanks so much. Ground to a halt over 10a & now can’t think why. Masses of unpacking to do after landing back south from Scotland, before I’m off again next week, so am applying for a free pass…. Washing machine going non-stop, and Poppy in danger of a dunking too. She’s had a great time. Hope you’re having a splendiferous time in the South, Miffypops, with the gorgeous Saint Sharon, adorable Harrison et al. Greetings to all, and thanks to the setter.

  30. An enjoyable enough puzzle which was 2* for except for 19a, for which I would have thought a more sensible clue could have been thought up. Many thanks to Kitty for some clear hints and to the setter for all the other clues

  31. Putting the W in the middle of lower was our finishing act in this one. All the rest went together without too much of a fight. Good Monday fun as ever. Really great review Kitty, just loved your choice of pics.
    Thanks Rufus and Kitty.

  32. I rather agree with Collywobbles about 19a, although I didn’t have any undue problem with it as it is.
    And RONTGEN, ROENTGEN? whatever, the clue was pretty obvious surely.
    Not quite a R&W but close.
    2*/3* with 12d as my favourite… ish.
    Thanks to Rufus and Kitty.

  33. Only just got in so late doing puzzle today. Like many of you, I did not like 19a which slowed me up beyond a gentle stroll. So 1/3 became a 2/3.

  34. A brilliant puzzle , I enjoyed it even more than I usually do.It is impossible to pick just one favourite, but I really enjoyed 15a and d, 10a, 16a, 18a, and 28a. Thanks Rufus and Kitty (especially the picture of the diet fork. )

  35. 19a is very dodgy – I can’t see what on earth ‘lower’ has to do with ‘neat drink?’ – ah well I won’t lose any sleep over it!

    1. What does a person do with a pint , Michael ? In Ireland , they lower pints.Perhaps Miffypops can tell us if pints are lowered in his establishment .

      1. Plenty are sunk, drunk, necked, downed, chugged, enjoyed, savoured, thrown down the neck, quaffed, slammed and even sipped. I have not heard the term lowered in over forty years of drinking. Perhaps it refers to tea.

        1. As someone who cannot face the world in the morning before at least three cups of tea, I can say that I have never, ever lowered said cup of tea.

          1. I think it is high time both you and Miffypops came to Ireland and lowered a few pints.

  36. Late on duty but found this most enjoyable. Best was 19. No problem – neat is a bovine animal and they low. We also lower pints or whatever. Also liked 2 6 and 22. Thanks to Rufus for normal Monday fare.

  37. Nice and straight forward, enjoyed the hints ;) */*** my tine was on the old horse/tractor drawn binder :)

  38. Well, I liked it, despite the reservations already expressed about 19a – but I agree with Pommers, it was obvious and only required the mildest bout of lateral thinking. My favourite was 29a and I also liked the simplicity of 3d; so simple that I couldn’t see it for ages and it was my last (doh!) one in. When I saw it was Kitty standing in for the absent leg-counter, I knew that 28a would be her favourite before I even started reading the excellent blog. She’s never one to let a single entendre pass her by. And thanks too to Rufus for the usual high Monday standard. 1*/3* for me

  39. 7d – where does dignity come in. Abandoning royal(ty) would give the answer, so is dignity redundant in the clue ?

    1. Hi Almo. Dignity also means high office, so the clue means abandoning the position of being royal.

  40. Pleased I was not the only one to be puzzled by 19a. Having seen the answer today and read Rod’s comment I still struggle to follow the setter’s reasoning for the answer. Even if we accept the use of the word … is this confined to just neat drinks? Otherwise I found the puzzle reasonably straightforward. Favourite clue?- 17a as it took me a while to see the answer.

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