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DT 27810

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27810

Hints and tips by Kitty and Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

DON’T PANIC! We have a very gentle, very pleasant, very Rufus puzzle for your delectation.

Today is towel day, in honour of the late, great Douglas Adams.

So, grab your towel and enjoy this bank holiday, whether you are working, lazing or travelling across the galaxy.

If this post is a little late, that is entirely deliberate and in keeping with the day:

Miffypops knows one riddle and a rather rude joke with the word towel in.

Riddle. What is the most common owl in England?

The answer can be found after the review followed by the rather rude joke. Those of a nervous or prudish disposition need not read it.

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    Inscriptions not the happiest – yet they could be (8)
EPITAPHS: We begin with the end. A pleasing anagram of HAPPIEST, these inscriptions mark a passing. Invited to write his own on BBC Radio 4’s Quote… Unquote, Douglas Adams suggested: “He finally met his deadline.”

6a    Unexpected  opportunity (6)
CHANCE: A nice double definition. I feel I should be more helpful but there is not a lot more in this clue.

9a    First-class returns operating, excellent! (4-2)
SPOT-ON: The reversal (returns) of a four-letter word for first-class or best followed by one meaning operating or working. Excellent or perfect.

10a    Letter providing you with accommodation (8)
LANDLORD: The geezer who owns the property being let or rented.

11a    Subsidiary parts of the Forestry Commission? (8)
BRANCHES: These tree parts are also departments or subdivisions of an organisation. I twigged this one right away.

12a    Shrewdly canny about how old one is (6)
SAGELY: Place an adjective meaning surreptitiously (canny) around a noun meaning the length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed.

13a    An actor may take it when at a loss for words (6,6)
PROMPT ACTION: Cryptic definition of something an actor might receive having dried up. If this happened quickly it would provide an additional definition.

16a    He loves Carol madly, but she won’t be in form much longer (6-6)
SCHOOL-LEAVER: A delightful anagram (madly) of HE LOVES CAROL.

19a    Bottle opener needs to be purchased (6)
BOUGHT: The first letter (opener) of B(ottle) and a word (which I detest) expressing duty or obligation.

21a    Some guys become attached to them (4-4)
TENT-PEGS: These guys are attached to a form of temporary accommodation favoured by outdoor types. The answer is what secures these guys to the ground.

23a    Market in which you will see some strange animal (8)
MARMOSET: The animal is a monkey. A market in which is contained an anagram (strange) of SOME.

24a    Like marquetry with fashionable styling of Dali (6)
INLAID: This description of marquetry can be found by putting an anagram (styling of) of DALI after our usual suspect for fashionable.

25a    Occasion when spirits are called for (6)
SEANCE: No hard drinking necessary here. These spirits are of the ghostly kind.

26a    Gems sent out in parcels (8)
SEGMENTS: Anagram (out) of GEMS SENT.


2d    Press for identity documents? (6)
PAPERS: If you are solving on the back page (or inside back page) you have one of these in your hand. Nowadays you might be asked for your ID. In old films you would have been asked for these. I think it is both a double definition and a clever cryptic definition. I could be wrong.

3d    Small bird and an enormous one (5)
TITAN: A little bird and the AN from the clue. Let’s have another quote by one.

4d    New blow follows strike, leading to depression in the land (9)
PUNCHBOWL: This deep round hollow in a hilly area is found by simply doing as the clue asks you to do. Place an anagram (new) of BLOW after (follows) after a word meaning strike (as a boxer might strike his opponent). This strike could also be a blow which I think opens up some clever clueing opportunities for this word.

5d    Disposes of everything, gets a higher price (5,2)
SELLS UP: to exchange all one’s goods for money, or some of them for more than bought for.

6d    Figures it’s only one among 100s (5)
CONES: Place the word ONE directly from the clue inside the Roman numeral for one hundred pluralised as in hundreds.

7d    Reptile perturbs a girl a lot (9)
ALLIGATOR: Anagram (perturbs) of A GIRL A LOT.

8d    Fifty joining in in carol with shaking bells (8)
CARILLON: Anagram of CAROL IN with the Roman numeral for fifty. If you are visiting Bruges one of these rings out for a couple of hours on a Wednesday Saturday and Sunday. Book a ticket to watch the concert and be right next to the bells in the market square tower.

13d    Share pusher (9)
PLOUGHMAN: The share we are after is part of an agricultural implement for turning the soil.

14d    Lending is increasing (9)
ADVANCING: Double definition – there is not much more I can add.

15d    Tapping cacao led to blend (8)
ACCOLADE: Anagram (to blend) of CACAO LED. The answer is the tapping action used in conferring a knighthood: a tap on each shoulder with the flat of a sword.

17d    Lands in eastern America (7)
ESTATES: E(astern) followed by what America is comprised of. The S in USA.

18d    He doesn’t think much of others (6)
EGOIST: …rather, he thinks quite a lot of himself.

20d    One of five that’s unaccountable (5)
TASTE: We have five senses, one of which there is no accounting for. Take the group Queen for example. I can only bang my head against a wall and ask Why? Why? Why? BoRap? BoCrap. (I beg to differ on that one, I’m afraid – Kitty.)

22d    Vegetables that a sister will take (5)
PULSE: The sister is a nurse. The vegetables are the edible seeds of leguminous plants. Google and Oxford agree with my thoughts that the answer is singular, but Chambers says it can also be a plural noun.

What is the most common owl in England? The Teat Owl.

Rather Rude Joke

Bert’s wife has not had an orgasm for the 15 years they have been married.  The doctor suggests that she may be overheating during sex and a cool breeze may help.  Being a bit tight, he decides not to buy a fan , but asks his friend to waft a towel over them during the act.  After half an hour still no sign of success so his mate suggests swapping places. ‘I’ll have a try Bert, you waft the towel’.  Bert agrees, and after two or three minutes Bert’s wife has the most intense orgasm ever known.  Bert turns to his mate smugly and says —– ‘And that old mate is how you waft a bloody towel’

The Quick Crossword pun: blazer+weigh=blaze away

88 comments on “DT 27810

  1. Nice gentle start to the week. Excellent review as usual. Not much more to be said except thanks to all.

  2. Nice and gentle and good fun. Puzzled over 6a for some time as I could not believe the answer was so obvious. I found the definition of tapping in 15d a bit far-fetched.. My favourite was 3d.
    Thanks setter and K and MP.

    1. Why “far-fetched”? It is the original meaning, after all…

      From the ODE:

      accolade /ˈakəleɪd, ˌakəˈleɪd/ ♫
      ▶ noun
      An award or privilege granted as a special honour or as an acknowledgement of merit: the hotel has won numerous accolades.
      • an expression of praise or admiration.
      A touch on a person’s shoulders with a sword at the bestowing of a knighthood.
      – origin early 17th cent.: from French, from Provençal acolada, literally ‘embrace around the neck (when bestowing knighthood)’, from Latin ad- ‘at, to’ + collum ‘neck’.

    2. I also had to research the definition. What I meant by ‘far-fetched’ is that the answer is probably the very last definition you would give to someone who asked the meaning of tapping. Perhaps far-fetched wasn’t the most appropriate word. ‘Little-known’ would have been better.

      1. I’ll certainly go along with “little known”” :-)

        I replied to you because it was my favourite answer today – I expect a good crossword to teach me new words, and to teach me more about words that I already know.

        On BigDave’s advice I invested in a copy of the expensive but excellent WordWeb Pro a couple of years back, so a good dictionary is only a couple of keystrokes away. Because it’s that easy I look up dozens of words every day, even when I think that I know their meaning and spelling :-)

        1. Hello Rod and Steve.

          I too had to look up that meaning of accolade. A crossword completed without aids strokes the ego, but one which teaches something is of lasting value. I like a balance of both :).

          One of the things I love about doing the hints is how I am forced to look up a bunch of things I think I know but double-check in the pursuit of precision and accuracy. I learn a lot when doing that.

          1. Golly bongs Kitty. That sounds very professional. I just make it up as I go along. I do think today’s blog looks really good though. All down to you. Thanks.

                1. “We have a very gentle, very pleasant, very Rufus puzzle for your delectation” ?

    3. I tend to agree to with you Rod , i doubt if I would ever use the word Tapping as an honour, achievement or accolade ; for me it was pure anagram solving .
      I can thing of alternatives to tapped , but not ” on the shoulder ”
      Still it wasn’t the most obscure for me this accolade goes to 8d

  3. Thanks to Rufus for a very straightforward start to the week (especially after the struggles I had with the two weekend prize puzzles) and to Kitty and MP for the tasteful illustrations above. Finished comfortably before lights out last night. Favourite would have to be 11a. It is also a holiday over here today, so it’s off to the beach in a couple of hours (7:30 am as I write this).

  4. Having faced a real battle with the NTSPP and currently getting nowhere with the Rookie, this Rufus puzzle came as something of a relief – thought the week away might have destroyed those few precious grey cells.
    Still managed to make a mess of 12a (cagily was the best I could come up with for ages), needed to check the spelling of 8d and was somewhat worried that 22d needed a final ‘s’. Add to that the fact that I didn’t know that definition of ‘tapping’ and I think I should go for 2*/3* on this one.

    13d goes into favourite slot with a mention for 21a plus 5&20d.

    Thanks to Rufus and also to the Kittipops combo for a great review. The Douglas Adams’ quotes were brilliant – maybe I should have read Hitchhikers Guide after all!
    Yes – I did laugh at the owl joke but will refrain from further comment on the grounds that MP may never speak to me again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    1. There are no depths than a human can sink to that God and Miffypops can not find forgiveness to those who truly repent Jane.

        1. Jane, we should all seek forgiveness, and what do we need to do to get forgiveness?
          Sin, of course :-)

  5. Yes, indeed, a very gentle start to the week – but enjoyable as ever.

    Thanks to all.

  6. So many all in one and double definitions made it feel like a GK crossword.
    Didn’t enjoy it as much.
    Didn’t like the “she” in 16a either.
    Nor the ” in in carol with” of 8d.
    At least the review was good.
    Thanks to Kitty and MP.
    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    1. So you are not getting on with Carol today, Jean-Luc!

      I’m also not thrilled with 8d (though it does work), but I have to ask if 16a would be ok with you if the “she” was replaced with a “he” (since the clue works either way)? Because if the school-leaver is allowed to have a specified gender, surely either one would be fine.

      1. It does seem like that.
        I meant that the “she” was not needed in the clue and wouldn’t alter the surface. It’s just a misdirection. As for 8d it’s the “with shaking ” as an anagram indicator that was strange and fifty in carol would have been sufficient. Well anyway, I just thought it was awful. And I think a carillon is more than one bell.
        PS: I also have a Kitty towel for my soft hands.

        1. Ah – fair enough :). I didn’t mind the she but agree that the clue doesn’t need it. For reference, the “he” in 18d could be dropped for the same reason, but I’m happy for him to stay put :).

          Yes, a carillon is more than one bell. (It can also refer to the mechanism for playing said bells, the melody played on them or even an instrument for imitating the peal of bells.) The clue has “bells” so that’s ok, but I do agree with you about the “with.”

  7. We really enjoyed this Bank Holiday treat from Rufus – it is gentle and entertaining puzzles like this one that got us into doing them in the first place and they really give a boost to your confidence.
    We liked the rude joke Miffypops. There’s a fellow up our way in Camden that stops people in the street and asks, with a very educated accent…’Would you like to know a rude word in English’….We always say yes!…Then he comes out with a diatribe of vulgarity which we find very amusing.
    We call him ‘The Rude Word Man’

    Thanks again to Rufus, Miffypops and Kitty for an enjoyable puzzle and entertaining review. */**** for us too.

  8. Thank you Rufus, a lot of fun – for some reason found 22d rather amusing ! Thanks MP for your usual excellent review and hints.

    1. Thank you sweet William. How are things in Scarlet Town? It is Kitty who deserves the praise today. My offering is not very much

      1. Oh dear ! Thank you Kitty as well for your input. Apologies for my bad manners ! A little better than Sweet William Holme I hope MP !

        1. Back from a YouTube diversion now… No apologies necessary, Sweet William, but I happily accept your thanks :).

  9. Thanks Rufus. Loved it but unlike Bert’s wife it was all over too quickly. Loved 13 and 16a. Only held up in the SW. Could not get the usual crossword animal out of my head ,It uses all the letters of Market but is of course one letter short. i wonder if this was a deliberate misdirection or just me. 20 a very last one in but obvious when I turned away from Quin and toes!. Regards to all.

  10. Nice easy one today… Only slight holdup at NW corner… Once I realised 1a was an anagram, all was revealed and finished toute suite! Didn’t need the hints, but thanks to Kitty and MP and to the setter. */** from me.

  11. Everything went in very Dirk Gently, and some of the surface readings were Rufus at his very best.

    I didn’t know either that the answer to 22d could be a plural noun, but I did like this clue and it was one of my three favourites along with 13a and 25a.

    The only geographical 4d I had previously heard of is the one near Hindhead in Surrey, but I assume theat there are others dotted about.

    Many thanks to the setter,Kitty and Miffypops.

    1. That’s the one called ‘the Devil’s punch bowl ‘ isn’t it? Or are they all called that?

      1. That Devil’s Punch Bowl (Punch Bowl here being two words, though I’d thought one) is the one I know, the one Wikipedia directed me to when I Googled “devil’s punchbowl,” and all I bothered to consider during the solve.

        Liz, you are right that there are other Punchbowls and Punch Bowls belonging to the Devil. There is also the Punchbowl Crater in Hawaii which has nothing diabolical in the name, but “its first known use was as an altar where Hawaiians offered human sacrifices to pagan gods and killed violators of the many taboos” – thanks Wikipedia – so we might find Satan’s hoofprints around there too.

  12. I found today’s offering an amusing R&W. No real favourites and 1*/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty and MP for the review and ‘extras’ which added to the pleasures of a Bank Holiday!

  13. I think I must have written in too quickly without actually thinking first as 22d was the only veg answer but I never considered sister to be a nurse and I saw tapping as the anagram indicator and wondered what the answer had to do with blending for15d.

  14. I agree with 1*/4* for a very pleasant Bank Holiday diversion. Like others I wasn’t sure how the answer to 15d related to “tapping”, and I wasn’t aware that 22d could be a plural noun as well as singular.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to K & MP for the review, pictures and jokes. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    P.S. IMHO Queen were magnificent – unique and brilliant entertainers. I would definitely want a Queen album with me on a Desert Island.

        1. I wouldn’t go that far as I’ve just said to Liz but listen to ‘Love Of My Life’ which is on ‘A Night At the Opera’ – makes me cry every time I hear it. OK – so I’m soppy but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. Not sure I’d go quite that far as I don’t think you can beat Dire Straits.

        1. I don’t do favourites with music, because there are so many things I love in so many different ways for so many different reasons. And all this changes over time and in different contexts too. But Queen should not be dismissed. I agree with RD, except that if I had to choose a small amount of music to take to a desert island I would be totally, totally lost. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  15. First impression was somewhat daunting but gradually it began to pan out. NW corner last to go in mainly due to reluctance to settle for that anagram in 15d. Like Jane, I used cagily in 12a which dubiously gave me the adjective using CC in 6d rather than the plural noun using Cs. Overall a nice challenge including a bit of GK. Liked the see you later cartoon in 7d hint. ***/***. Thanks Rufus and indeed the heavenly duo. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Hi Angel, so glad that someone else was being cagey! Somehow, I couldn’t equate ‘sagely’ with ‘ shrewdly canny’ – still can’t, If I’m being honest!

      1. Hi Jane. The definition is just shrewdly. Canny is part of the wordplay – the sly part, which goes around age.

        1. I take your point, Kitty, but still feel that ‘shrewdly’ implies an element of cunning and craftiness which I don’t associate with ‘sagely’. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs or looking for an excuse for initially having the wrong answer! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          1. Split away. I enjoy these discussions. For shrewd, the BRB has astute before wily or crafty, but subsequent definitions are all in a similar vein to the second. Anyway, the definition in the clue is valid – how good a definition it is, well, you can decide.

  16. I agree with the 1* for difficulty and would give it 3*/4* for enjoyment.
    Couldn’t get the first word of 13a for a while but once I did 13d was obvious – did need to check it in BRB.
    I was thinking of the ‘nunny’ kind of ‘sister’ for too long with 22d – stupid – I used to be one – not the ‘nunny’ sort! I also thought the answer should end in ‘S’.
    I didn’t know the 4d ‘depression in the land’ and can’t find it anywhere although the answer had to be what it was.
    I’m not complaining as I like them but I’m surprised that no-one has commented on the number of anagrams or part anagrams – I make it nine.
    I liked 13 and 23a and 13d. My favourite, and last answer to go in, was 20d.
    Thanks to Rufus and thanks and well done again to Miffypops and Kitty.
    A bit grey and gloomy in Oxford – going to try Mr Rookie now.

    1. I have made it my policy never to comment on the number of anagrams in a puzzle Kath. never have, never will

  17. My idea of puzzles being easier the more time you have to solve them has been proved again this Bank Holiday. Good fun though. Love the towel joke. Thanks to all.

  18. Nice puzzle for a relaxing Bank Holiday */**** must confess to putting cagily in 12a at first! Liked the rude joke :). Thanks to Rufus, Kitty & MP

  19. Nice puzzle as usual from Roger!

    Faves : 12a & 13d.

    One egg left in fridge for breakfast tomorrow – completely forgot it was Tweede Pinksterdag (Whit Monday) so must shop tomorrow!

  20. A very pleasant holiday solve that didn’t present too many difficulties (especially with the BRB at hand). My favourite would have to be 1a.

    Thanks to Rufus, and to Kitty and MP for the entertaining explanations and jokes. Kitty, that new avatar is wonderfully appropriate.

    1. It is my beach towel from long ago which I had forgotten about. Somebody evidently borrowed it, for I saw it hanging on the line this morning and thought, “that’s Kitty’s avatar for towel day.”

  21. Thanks to Kitty and MP for the hints and Rufus for the puzzle , that I thought was in the *** region for difficulty ; comments already made for 15d and 8d (never heard of them but maybe I should have a listen). Incidentally there was a seventies pop group with a similar name and of course there was “tubular bells ” nuff said

  22. How nice and doable. Thanks MP and K for the review and wonderful Douglas Adams Fest, and loved the jokes. Miffypops’ Monday Madness is the best way I can think of to start the week. Thanks very much to Rufus also.

  23. Nice gentle and pleasant start to the week.
    Love the Douglas Adams references, great man, sadly missed. THHGTTG remains for me a seminal work.
    Thx to all.
    PS loved the joke even it was a bit long in the tooth.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  24. Not only did it not scare the horses, they had completed three-quarters of it before l managed to get their hooves off it! An exceptionally gentle start to the puzzling week: 0.5*/2.5*. No favourite clue, l’m afraid, and l get rather bored with too many anagrams. Thanks to Rufus, and to M and K for the usual entertaining review.

  25. Anyone in abhorrence of 19a ought to consult Mr Collins, he is quite succinct on this matter.

    1. It is the phrase “you ought to [do] X, didn’t you?” that activates all the violence centres of my brain. And that’s before considering that X will be something awful too. Shudder.

      1. Don’t forget the equally wonderful ‘you didn’t ought to do that, did you’.

  26. Ok, it is time for Kitty to sleep. I’ll leave you with a few quotes that didn’t make it into the hints.

    The story so far:
    In the beginning the Universe was created.
    This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    ― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.
    ― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
    ― Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

    Thanks for all your comments today. It’s been a pleasure. Goodnight all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  27. I seem to be in a minority today in thinking this quite a tricky puzzle with some very variable answers although I did finish it before today’s puzzle arrived which must be a record for me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Some delightful clues (1A my favourite) but a few which didn’t seem cryptic to me and others (mentioned by some) I wasn’t happy with the answers but they had to be eg. 22d as a plural, 13d where does ‘share’ come into it?
    However, I didn’t know that Accolade was the actual knighting ceremony and always happy to learn new things.
    So swings and roundabouts for me hence 2*/2*

    1. Chambers would have given you the answer to your query on 13 Down.

      share (2) noun
      * a ploughshare, or the corresponding part of another implement

      ploughshare noun
      * the detachable part of a plough that cuts the undersurface of the sod from the ground

  28. A day late, but never mind. Hurray – managed to do most of it on my own, I must be getting there, or more likely this was a nice easy one. A few required hints, so thanks for those, and the entertaining blog, and to the setter.

  29. Am thrilled to have found you. You have freed up many minutes in my life! Cheers Des

    1. Welcome from me too, Des. I hope you enjoy those extra free minutes. Whether by doing more crosswords or something else is entirely up to you :).

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