DT 27858 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27858

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27858

Hints and tips by Miffypops
with assistance from Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning everybody and welcome to today’s edition of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog.

Below are my hints and tips to DT cryptic puzzle No 27,858 which will hopefully help you to solve the clues that you are finding difficult. Try the hint first and if you are still in the dark click on the greyed out box that says click here and the answer will be revealed.

Hopefully for beginners the more you learn the less you will click and you will soon be competent enough to be commenting on the toughie puzzles.

After the hints and tips is the comments section. If you want to ask about a clue please ask away. We are a friendly bunch. Somebody is bound to jump in with an extra tip or a clearer explanation than I have given. I am often amazed at the wisdom displayed. Please remember I am only a poorly schooled orphan boy.

In amongst the chat about crossword puzzles the following subjects (and others) have been discussed recently by those who comment:

Sailing, ornithology, popular music, children, grandchildren, lawn mowers, cartoons, James Thurber, boats, cats v dogs, Sloggers & Betters gatherings, how clean is your tantalus, the pros and cons of all sports, golf (not a sport), olives, weather chat, female tennis, MP’s crib league, hold-up stockings, the merits of pencils and daffodils and rather surprisingly grammer school girls playing Lacrosse, Hockey or Netball and their mums using their old gym knickers to clean windows.

Thanks to Tstrummer and Hanni for the lists and to Liz who has thankfully succumbed to the “blathering.”

Proceed with caution.


1a    The first male worker in firm (7)
ADAMANT: Take our very first male from The Book Of Genesis and add one of crosswordland’s two workers (not the bee).

5a    These describe Met lines, as Boris found out (7)
ISOBARS:    This anagram (found out) of AS BORIS describes lines of equal pressure on a weather map perhaps published by The Met. The Metropolitan Police may or may not produce such maps. The Meteorological Office most certainly do.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Perfect one piece of business (5)
IDEAL: Take the letter that looks most like the number 1 and add a noun meaning an agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit, especially in a business or political context.

10a    Promised to go into a union (9)
AFFIANCED: A verb rarely used nowadays meaning to be engaged to be married.

11a    Groundless rumour of busybody on the dole? (4,6)
IDLE GOSSIP: To be on the dole is to be out of work. Add a word for a busybody or a meddling or prying person who engages in casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true. Here is what my research into this clue brought up. It is all true you know.

Talking about nothing

Mrs. Mary Caterham (GB) and Mrs. Marjorie Steele (GB) sat in a kitchen in Blackburn, Lancs. and talked about nothing whatsoever for four and a half months from 1st May to 7th August 1978, pausing only for coffee, cakes and toilet visits. Throughout the whole time, no information was exchanged and neither woman gained any new knowledge whatsoever. The outdoor record for talking about nothing is held by Mrs. Vera Etherington (GB) and her neighbour Mrs. Dolly Booth (GB) of Ipswich, who between 11th November 1983 and 12th January 1984 chuntered on over their fence in an unenlightening dialogue lasting almost 62 days until Mrs. Booth remembered she’d left the bath running.


On February 18th, 1992, Joyce Blatherwick, a close friend of Agnes Banbury popped round for a cup of tea and a chat, during the course of which she told Mrs. Banbury, in the strictest confidence, that she was having an affair with the butcher. After Mrs. Blatherwick left at 2.10pm, Mrs. Banbury immediately began to tell everyone, swearing them all to secrecy. By 2.30pm she had told 128 people of the news. By 2.50pm it had risen to 372 and by 4.00pm that afternoon, 2,774 knew of the affair, including the local Amateur Dramatic Society, several knitting circles, a coachload of American tourists she had flagged down and the butcher’s wife. When a tired Mrs. Banbury went to bed at 11.55pm that night, Mrs. Blatherwick’s affair was common knowledge to a staggering 75,338 people: enough to fill Wembley Stadium.


12a    Girl starts to suspect criminal record (4)
DISC: Begin with a regular usual suspect crosswordland girls name and add the initial (starts to) letters of S(uspect) C(riminal).


14a    He’s a fine script writer (12)
CALLIGRAPHER: One who practices the art of very fine writing.

18a    Licensed eats may be ordered here (12)
DELICATESSEN: A clever anagram (may be ordered) of LICENSED EATS.

21a    Some of them maybe will feature in Austen novel (4)
EMMA: This is a hidden word clue where the answer is lurking away somewhere in the clue. It is the title of a Jane Austen novel. I would think that most of us can only name two Jane Austen novels and The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall does not fit the grid so try the other one.

22a    A fight, but nobody is charged (4-3-3)
FREE-FOR-ALL: Two definitions here. One of which is a disorganized or unrestricted situation or event in which everyone may take part, especially a fight, discussion, or trading market.

25a    To succeed in business one must keep still (9)
DISTILLER: A rather cryptic definition of the trade followed by somebody who owns a still in order to make alcoholic spirits.

26a    Country needs aid in getting into shape (5)
INDIA: Anagram (getting into shape) of AID IN.  Please please please don’t tell me you used a pencil for this one.

27a    Openly took advantage of the sunshine? (4,3)
MADE HAY: A reference to a proverb about drying grass in the sunshine because one cannot do so in the rain.

made hay

28a    Jack will work on this ecclesiastical point (7)
STEEPLE: This is the tall pointy thing some churches have. The one at St Edithas in Monks Kirby collapsed in a gale on Christmas day 1701  The Jack is one such as Fred Dibnah.



1d    Sharp detectives in US intelligence set-up (6)
ACIDIC: A very old but very nice clue.   We have the UK Criminal Investigation Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency.  Place the initial letters of our detectives inside the upside down (raised) initials of the American agency.

2d    A ruined lodge that’s been around for centuries (3-3)
AGE-OLD: A from the clue followed by an anagram (ruined) of LODGE.

3d    Support for Nigella, ace when cooking (10)
ALLEGIANCE: Anagram (when cooking) of NIGELLA ACE.

4d    Rents and rates revised (5)
TEARS: Anagram (revised) of RATES

5d    Breaks in and bangs on the head (9)
INFRINGES: Take the IN straight from the clue and add the bangs that are the front part of ones hair cut so as to hang over the forehead to find a verb meaning to actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).

6d    Arab state offering appeal to the masculine type (4)
OMAN: A single letter appeal (often spelled with an H) followed by a three letter word meaning one of the masculine type as opposed to one of the feminine type or woman.

7d    Illumination provided by a half-moon? (3-5)
ARC-LIGHT: A three letter crescent followed by a word meaning illumination.

8d    Fellow travellers may opt for these cocktails (8)
SIDECARS: A motorcle combination is also a cocktail  made with cognac, orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Grand Gala or another triple sec), and lemon juice.  Sounds awful to me.

13d    I agree cost is incorporated in order (10)
CATEGORISE: Anagram (is incorporated) of I AGREE COST.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d    Really fired up congregation about end of service (9)
LITERALLY: Lego time. Just do as the clue asks. Take a three letter word meaning fired up as with a match. Take a five letter word meaning a congregation or a mass meeting of people making a political protest or showing support for a cause. Now place these two words either side (about) of the last (end) letter of the word (servic)e.

16d    A literary supplement? (8)
ADDENDUM: An item of additional material added at the end of a book or other publication. If I remember rightly it is also an engineering term used to denote a measurement of cogwheels.

17d    Had a second look at something? (8)
GLIMPSED: The word second here refers to time so we are looking for a word meaning to have momentarily caught sight of something.

19d    Saved, but still confined to bed (4,2)
LAID UP: A double definition. To have stored something or to be indisposed and unable to work.

20d    Delight in exercising round the fields (6)
PLEASE: Place our usual suspect for excersice as in the school timetable around a word meaning fields or meadows.

23d    Noblemen going to court in London? (5)
EARLS: Place these noblemen before the word court from the clue to reveal an area of London which has a large exhibition centre.

24d    Going off  in great spirits (4)
HIGH: A double definition, the first describing something turning rancid.


Who will be the first? They really should know better!

The Quick Crossword pun: WREST+ARRANT=RESTAURANT

177 comments on “DT 27858

  1. I had 13d ending in ‘ies’ instead of ‘ise’ which really stymied me – grrrrr!

    Good fun!

  2. Was going along like a train with this one but then not being able to spell came to a sudden halt. 14a for example and getting anagram for 13d slightly wrong. Nevertheless a nice gentle puzzle to break us in for the week to come. Favourite clue must be 25a. I wonder why.
    Many thanks to miffypops and kitty, plus setter.

  3. A gentle kick-off to the week but perhaps it’s the lull before the storm so I am bracing myself for tomorrow and thereafter. North less taxing than South. 5d Fav. 1a is hard to parse as the Federation is known as U.S. not American so where does the “A” in the solution come from? Thanks Mr. Ron and the MP/Kitty combo. **/***.

      1. Yes indeed – thanks Jean-Luc. I had overlooked “set up” and was working with U.S./American Intelligence Community plus CID the right way up. Comme je suis bête! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  4. Lovely puzzle , as usual. I had fan light, originally , for 7d which held me up a bit. 5d was my favourite and 24d coming in a close second.
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  5. Started off in the NW corner as usual and thought todays crossword was going to be a *,but not so ,a mixture of difficult and straightforward clues enfolded and I rated the whole as a ***/*** before reading the Blog and I really enjoyed this start to the week,10a eluded me for a while and luckily ‘bang’ in 5d occurred in a recent cryptic and this was the last in. Thanks to M and Kitty, loved the 8d pic !

  6. 3*/4*. Lovely jubbly! Full of Rufus’ trademark clues. What a nice way to start the week!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP & K.

  7. 21a. Are you getting your authors confused? Jane Austen – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall??

    1. And the first prize goes to Vince, my weekly proof reader. Now what does it say at the very end of the blog?

        1. Yes Angel. Now you have to work out if this poorly schooled orphan boy is ignorant of the correct spelling or finds a touch of irony in using an incorrect spelling for that word.

            1. It was Hanni’s last word. I made the genuine mistake, Hanni asked if it was irony. I am not averse to a bit of plagiarism

              1. Well done, Miffypops. I’m very pleased to see the apostrophe in “Hanni’s”, even though you (undoubtedly deliberately!) missed two apostrophes in your review!

                … and is that a “z” I can see in disorganised?

                1. If it is in the italicised list they were copied and pasted from actual comments. I doubt that I would ever use the Z in place if an S but it appears that I did.

                  1. I fear that I am walking into a sucker punch here, but the Z appears not in the italicised list but in your hint for 22a: “Two definitions here. One of which is a disorganized or unrestricted situation or event in which everyone may take part, especially a fight, discussion, or trading market.”

                    Mind you, looking at that wording, I would guess that you probably copied and pasted that from an online dictionary.

                    1. Spot on.

                      noun: free-for-all; plural noun: free-for-alls

                      a disorganized or unrestricted situation or event in which everyone may take part, especially a fight, discussion, or trading market.
                      “a free-for-all on the topic ‘Woman and Writing’”
                      synonyms: brawl, fight, scuffle, tussle, struggle, battle, confrontation, clash, altercation, fray, fracas, melee, rumpus, riot, commotion, disturbance;

                1. Or another one of MP’s inexplicable avatars. One wonders what colour that suit used to be? My guess is Cadbury’s purple.

        1. Miffypops emailed a copy of the blog to me this morning, and added “Yes I know The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall was written by one of The Brontë sisters”.

    1. They are cryptic in the sense that 14a is suggesting a film/TV script and 16d is suggesting something along the lines of The Times Literary Supplement. One of the things that solvers of cryptic puzzles need to do is to read the clue and not be sidetracked by the surface reading, which you have been able to do – other less-experienced solvers may not be able to see through the obfuscation as quickly.

        1. I think that I could well be wrong here but, to me at least, ‘obfuscation’ is an onomatopoeia because the middle bit sounds a bit ‘fuzzy’! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
          Oh well – you win some, you lose some but it’s how I remember it! Shall I go away now . . . ?

  8. Fun as always. The 21a clue is repeated in the Guardian Rufus. There it’s “Some of them may feature in Austen novel”. In the Telegraph it’s “Some of them maybe will feature…” Oh well, who’s perfect?
    Happy Monday everybody

  9. Nice pleasant start to the week from Rufus. It was going along swimmingly on the across clues but the down clues in the NE quarter showed something amiss with my clueing. Stupidly I had put in ‘betrothed’ for 10a – that’ll teach mehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Some super clues but I will opt for 5d as my favourite.

    Thanks to Rufus, MP and Kitty.

    1. I nearly did that with 10a but feeling smug because I decided to wait and see what else happened in that corner first.
      Glad to see you back again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. I am normally quite hesitant to put in an answer without checkers but, on this occasion, having written in 1,5,9 & 11a in quick succession …… well, you know the rest http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        I did wonder if it was safe to comment today as I had forgotten to put in my paperwork for my holiday last week. So thank you for the warm welcome back http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. Lack of paperwork did not go unnoticed, Shropshirelad. I’m not sure what the official ‘penalty’ is but doubtless MP will dream up something before the night is out. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

            1. Hmmm – I’m beginning to think that’s your ‘cop out’ response when your acerbic wit deserts you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

        2. The lack of appropriate paperwork was noticed but, since it was your first offence, you’re let off with a warning. I will not be so lenient on future occasions. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    2. You should worry… I can trump your stupidly with “romanced” before Chambers Thesaurus came to my rescue. I wish I had Kath’s patience…

      1. No – definitely not anything to do with patience – far more to do with having been caught out too many times in crosswords. I’m possibly the least patient person on earth – my family would agree with that! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        1. Mmm. You might well be the runner-up, but I am married to the most impatient person on earth.

          1. This ‘impatient person’ apparently gets about a bit. Seems as though all of us are related to him/her. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  10. Found the SW corner a bit difficult.
    Had to look at the hints for 17d, 27a and 24d all that because I didn’t want to put still in 25a as it was in the clue.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP and Kitty for the great review and preamble.

  11. Not too much of the Monday trouble that I sometimes have so 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I missed the anagram indicator in 5a – don’t know why – and was slow to get 14 and 25a.
    My main problem was 15d – it had to be what it was but I got completely tangled up with thinking that, somehow or other, an anagram of ‘really’ came into it. Oh dear! Dim, or what?
    I liked 11 and 25a and 5d. I think my favourite just might be 24d.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops and Kitty.
    Stuff to do then Mr Rookie later on, hopefully.

  12. */****

    Magnificent Monday fun, Rufus is in fine form.

    No real hold ups at all, I suppose 10a did a bit actually. It matters not.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MPK for blogging. And what a great blog it is.

    “Poorly schooled orphan boy” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  13. Odd one today. A two star for 3/4 and a 4.5 star for the SW corner. I would never ever have got 24d or 27a without the hint, just far too cryptic for me. Also I thought you were not supposed to use a word in the clue as part of the answer as in 25a?
    Typical tricky Monday as most have been of late. Shame because 3/4 of it were fun.
    Thx for the hints.

  14. Usual fun Monday crossword. It never fails to amaze me, how different each day’s puzzle is, and how some are so much easier for me to get to grips with. Only the SW corner held us up for a little while. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypops and Kitty.

  15. My stupidity and inability to spell coupled with a desire to get it done quickly spoiled my enjoyment of this excellent puzzle. That aside, this is a real gem of Mr Squire’s art. I’ve read somewhere recently that he has always believed that crossword clues should make sense and read properly. Not every setter does this and for me that really sets a Rufus puzzle apart (not to mention the humour and misdirection). 2*/4* Thanks to Miffypops and Rufus.

  16. Delightful a solve as one has come to expect for a Monday, only 10a represented a new word to me.

    My only minor critcism is that it was a pity that the clue for 25a contained 55% of the answer! It was a clever surface though.

    Favourite was 18a as it’s so quintessentially Rufus.

    Many thanks to the esteemed setter and to Miffypops and Kitty.

  17. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops & Kitty for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week, had “allianced” for 10a, which stopped me getting 5d. No other problems. Favourite was 5a. Was 2*/4* for me. A horrible dull day in Central London.

    1. I just received my ticket for the opening day’s play at Edgbaston next Wednesdayhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      Was so looking forward to it but don’t know if I want to go now http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Look on the bright side. At least you should see a full day’s play on day 1, weather permitting!

        1. Is that enough compensation for having to watch England play RD? I’m not convinced. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          1. You’re probably quite right Hanni, but I shall maintain a stiff upper lip in true British style (accompanied no doubt by several pints http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif)

            1. There is a real ale bar at Edgebaston. It takes a bit of finding but it is worth it.

              1. I’m seated in the temporary stand at the Edgbaston Road entrance – could you possibly point me in the right direction?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif Much appreciated

                  1. Of course I’m not there now – I meant to say I will be seated next Wednesday etc…

                    Talk of acerbic humour? You’ve got MP beaten by as country mile http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                    Love this bloghttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            2. That’s the spirit SL, I’ve got through many a test match in the same manner. Although I admire your enthusiasm, in fact I’m heartily impressed, I suspect Jane is right. Camping out in a stand for over a week isn’t the way to go.

              Any recent wine recommendations?

              1. Majestic Wine are doing a cracking offer on ‘Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough’ at around £42 for a half case – they’re selling fast. Also for something a little less sharp but not sweet try Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Gewurztraminer, at £8 a bottle (more an eating wine than a slurper but all the better for it)

                1. Excellent. Not tried either. £42 is excellent for half a case of Marlborough Sauv.

                  Is the Gewürztraminer subtle enough for shellfish/seafood?

                  It’s like having a personal sommelier. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                    1. One of my favourites of all the sea has to offer. Little buggers to catch though. Can we do a deal re the next birthday bash/S&B?

                    1. I’m starting to learn that assuming 6 to be the number of bottles in a half case can sometimes be wildly short of the mark. One of the few anomalies that the EU regulators don’t appear to have spent our money on investigating – thus far.

          2. Oh come on, Hanni – is it really fair to expect RD to take on the entire England side? On reflection, from what I’ve gleaned from the blog, maybe it would currently be quite a fair contest……… either way, I’d certainly pay good money to watch. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      2. It’s 1-1, don’t worry it’s all about who wins the toss, bat first, win the game QED.
        If oz wins the toss I’d go down the pub if I was you.

  18. Dire journey to and from shopping thanks to traffic leaving Latitude festival at Henham but home to a blissful Rufus crossword and MPs and Kitty’s helpful hints. Some splendid answers but bit help up by 25a with still in clue, did not fall into 10a trap and just for once spelt 18a correctly.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  19. Nice puzzle today for those of us with slightly less talent at this sort of thing. Fav was 5a, and reluctantly put 25a in last as it didn’t seem particularly cryptic? Still not convinced. On the plus side, 32 deg today, and lots of fish to look at snorkelling.

  20. Three cheers for Miffypops, he always manages to invoke the most wonderfully crazy chains. I log in just to see what it the topic of the day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  21. Putting STEN instead of CALL did nothing to help me with this crossword! Stoopid or what? And I must admit I didn’t like 25a particularly.
    However otherwise a fairly gentle start to the week. 17d was my favourite and overall… 2/3*. In spite of my ricket…
    Thanks to Rufus and MPK for the review.

  22. Great puzzle, as we usually expect from Rufus.
    Alas, I shot myself in the foot by sloppily writing in the answer for 14a and misspelling it, I do know the correct spelling, this meant I never did get 15d.
    Fave? Too many to name, but I did love 27a and 5d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops; when are these chaps going to tumble to the fact that you just love to stir the pot!


  23. Lovely Rufus puzzle with lots of trademark clues to brighten up Monday morning. **/**** Thanks to Rufus, Miffypops & Kitty.

  24. Last in was 5d. Stuck until I recalled bangs having this equal in a recent offering. Mr Google had it as an Americanisation but a wiser addict links it to the horsey world, something about a bangtail !!

  25. A decent start to the week.

    First pass yielded a18,21,22,26,28 d1,2,4,6,16,20,23 with second pass getting a1,9,11 and d3,19. Engaging brain momentarily gave 12a. After a short pause lighted upon 7d.

    At this point I was stuck before settling upon 14a, probably my favourite clue, despite being convinced (wrongly) that the solution was a misspelling. Anyway this lead to 13d (nice anagram), 8d (new to me so a guess really) and 15d.

    Six to go (my par for an unfinished grid). Next in was 27a, 5d (thanks entirely to last week’s hairstyle hint), 10a, 24d (should have had sooner I suppose), 25a (a weak clue I thought) and, finally, 17d (another somewhat unsatisfactory clue for me).

    Despite a couple of iffy cues an enjoyable puzzle so a solid three/four for me.

    1. My goodness.
      What is your method?
      Do you just remember the order or do you make annotations next to each clue?
      I’m very impressed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. I look at all across clues first then all down clues. I repeat that exercise and see what I’m left with. After that it’s more or less random chance.

        To contribute here I need to note anything of interest ~ it just happened today was a nice blend of ‘easy’ and ‘tricky’ for me so it was easy to note the whole thing.

          1. A friend of mine just does clues randomly and never crosses out the clue numbers. Does my head in…

            1. I never crossed the numbers out. I do do the Cryptic and the Quickie together though

              1. Which is fine when you’re alone but hopeless when you’re doing the puzzle jointly…

                1. I always start with the down clues, cross off the numbers and write word circles for anagrams. I always keep my phone in my left-hand trouser pocket and my tissues and lighter in the right. I carry my wallet in the right-hand inside jacket pocket and a pen and my spectacles in the left. I do not carry loose change.

                  1. What on earth have you got against loose change? What if you’re in a supermarket and there is yet again another charity packing thing? Or your challenged to a game of how high you can stack change?

                    I rub out my little word circles.

                  2. I’d do that too but only If I could have the Cliff Adams Singers singing Bob Dylan on a background loop…

                  3. Questions, TS:-

                    a) Are you NEVER tempted to sneak a look at the across clues, once you’ve got a couple of downs in?
                    b) How do you cope with trousers/jackets that don’t have the required number of pockets?
                    c) What – no shrapnel at all? I have friends like you – cost me a fortune in car park tickets, restaurant tips etc. etc. Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                    1. Hi Jane
                      1) I never succumb to temptation, so the across clues have to wait their turn
                      2) I do not, and will never, buy clothes that don’t allow me the right distribution
                      3) I keep a bag of (high value) change in the car for parking purposes. I have one of those money sorter machines where I keep all my change – there’s about 30 quid in it at the moment. I use this for popping across the road to Lucky Food and Wine for newspapers/milk/ beer/ whisky/ tobacco and other smoker’s requisites/ moth killer and, once, (a red-letter day for LFAW) a tin of Ambrosia rice pudding (see blogs passim)

                  4. I hope no pickpockets are reading this TS http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

                    With that said – off to bed. Night all

                    I am also a man of habit :

                    1. Numbers always crossed out
                    2. Anagram circles scribbled over
                    3. Always Parker Pen with black ‘ fine’ refill
                    4. Wallet always in back pocket of jeans, unless in London. Then down the front of my jeans – may as well have a thrill if getting robbed http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

                    1. The ‘off to bed’ stuff was meant to be at the end of the comment – but I’m not allowed to edit my comment for some reason.

                2. I never cross out the numbers. I usually go through the across clues until I get a few, then go for the down clues which have then got letters in. I also tend to go for the clues with several words in, as these are often solvable from the definition, and the obvious anagrams.

    2. All this has “done my head in” as if it wasn’t already “done in” enough with Mr Rookie!
      I admire your organisation (please note MP – an S not an Z).
      Knackered and going to bed pretty soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif
      Night night all, sleep tight and mind the bugs don’t bite – fat chance around here at the moment – visiting cats have brought their own visitors! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Long live the Zs……the English spelling, not the Americanized use of the substitute S!

  26. I know that I should not say this but I found this very straightforward ;) */*** , I will live to regret it later in the week (probably Thursday) :( Thanks to MP and Rufus and bloggers

  27. I’d just like to say thanks for this website! I recently taught myself to do cryptic crosswords after watching my dad rattle them off with ease for the last 30 years. I can get about 75% of the way there on the easy/moderate puzzles and this website is invaluable for helping me understand the mystery/mastery of the clues!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Helen. Stay with us and you’ll soon be completing the puzzles on a regular basis!

    2. Yes – a big welcome from me too. I agree with the rest of them. Keep going but just remember that there will be good days and a few bad ones too so don’t get discouraged. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  28. Always late on a Monday but no less enjoyable. A couple of wobbles but got there without any real drama. 2/3 with thanks all round.

  29. A near perfect puzzle for me – 2*/4*.
    No, MP, didn’t use a pencil for 26a although 13d was a slightly different story!
    Far too slow to get 17d and was glad I’d remembered ‘bangs’ from recently or that could have been another sticking point.
    Too many potential favourites to mention without incurring the wrath of Kath. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires for the Monday special and also to MP and Kitty for their trademark ‘wind ’em all up and watch ’em go’ style of blog.
    Happy enough for the reminder of the Weatherman song and, following the prompt, listened again to The Byrds version of ‘All I really want to do’. You know – the one where the guys all sing in tune and sound as though they’re enjoying themselves! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    1. You have good taste, Jane. I thought about sticking my head above the parapet earlier today by saying that, although Bob Dylan has written many, many brilliant songs, they are almost always better when performed by others. The Byrds’ version of All I Really Want To Do is a case in point. IMHO The Byrds’ version of My Back Pages has to be one of the best tracks ever.

      I could make a very long list, but then that could kick off a big argument with our resident Monday blogger…

      1. Didn’t Dylan think Manfred Mann’s The Mighty Quinn was the best version he’d ever heard?

        1. I believe he did, CS. I’ve often wondered whether he just set out to be a writer ( an extremely good one, in all fairness) and was constantly amazed that he gained such a following as a ‘singer’.

      2. RD – I love you to bits. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to everything you said.

        Just listened again to The Byrds version of ‘My back pages’ – thanks for the prompt.

      3. I couldn’t disagree more. The Byrds were OK, largely thanks to David Crosby’s impeccable harmonies, but that only served to smoothe out the bite, attack and, often, the venom of Dylan’s delivery on those early, largely acoustic, numbers. Brilliant, killer lines, like “And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming”, are simply lost. The Byrds can go on in the car, but for serious listening, it’s the Master every time.

    2. Were they the ones who sang on “Sing Something Simple” on Sunday evenings? You know the ones who sucked the soul, the feel and the meaning out of so many good songs. Yes I know. It is the biter bit. Well done Jane

  30. I too bunged in BETROTHED for 10a but soon rubbed it out, so no biggie. When you have a cryptic definition with no subsidiary wordplay you have to be mindful that even with the right idea you might not hit upon the required word instantly. All in all, gentle enough except that I did end up cheating to get 10a, which I needed in place before I saw the 7d.

    Thanks today should not be equally bestowed – Miffy did all the hard work, and I simply massaged it into shape and put it up here. And I can confirm that MP did know that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was written by one of The Brontë sisters – though he didn’t specify which one!

    Many thanks then to MP and Rufus for the usual Monday fun.

  31. Oh dear
    Obviously an envelope mix-up.
    This puzzle was intended for the Junior Telegraph.
    Still, a crossword is a crossword and practice is practice.
    Only a very, very, slight delay at 25a.
    Thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  32. 21 a in puzzle 27,858. Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte of course, not Jane Austen. Am I missing a subtle joke?

    1. Welcome Janet. It helps if you comment on the puzzle blog itself as it keeps the threads together but I am sure Big Dave will magically move you there later.

      It isn’t my idea of a joke and Miffypops is anything but subtle but I think this is yet another example of his efforts to hide the hints inside a lot of extra verbiage.

    2. Oh blast it, Janet – now you’ve gone and told him which Bronte sister wrote it!!!
      Welcome to the BD world of hints, encouragement, answers and general mayhem. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    3. Welcome from me too, Janet. It was indeed a subtle joke, with a flavour of comment-bait. (Our reviewer made sure to provide duplicate documentary evidence that it was a deliberate mistake!)

    4. Hello Janet. Just as Rat Ts puzzles contain a mention of Her Majesty, my blogs always contain errors. Happy error spotting

  33. Great start of the week! Enjoyed this puzzle very much not encountering any problem except perhaps for 24d for which I needed the review to confirm my answer. Favourite was 27a which I thought very clever. Many thanks to Rufus for an enjoyable solve and to Miffypops and Kitty for their splendid review. Incidentally and nothing to do with puzzles, I spotted this advert for Transferwise on the blog and this enabled me to send successfully some money to our faithful Indian houseboy Umesh who looked after our household for nine years when living in Mangalore and Bombay – I had previously failed in doing so with three other companies!

  34. Arrived home last night and postponed unpacking and sorting out the washing until after we had polished off the Rufus over breakfast. (Which was quite interesting as one of us put vegetable soup on her porridge thinking it was stewed fruit). Anyway, a good fun Monday puzzle to get us back into solving mode. Now back to the piles of stuff on the floor.
    Thanks Rufus, Miffypops and Kitty

    1. I simply have to know – what does porridge with a topping of vegetable soup taste like? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Just try it Jane. Then let us know. It will not be as nice as Oysters, or caviar, or Rollmop Herrings, or fresh mackerel straight from the sea, or crab sandwiches, or Lobster , or clams, or langoustine, or mussels,or Salmon, or scallops.

        1. No to mention a nice fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, béarnaise and a side order of grilled tomatoes, salad & ‘proper’ chips. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          1. The salad would be Ok, The grilled tomatoes would be ok. The chips are unlikely to be ok but might be. The steak will be alright if it is no bigger than a matchbox and hasn’t been chargrilled, ie made to taste of charcoal. Can I have some mushrooms please?

            1. Sorry,MP – forgot all about the essential mushrooms! As for the steak – not chargrilled, not EVER! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

              1. Yes but what sort of mushrooms?

                And whitebait should be included in the above fish selection.

                1. Preferably the little button ones cooked in masses of butter (sorry, I know that’s extremely non-PC these days).
                  As for the whitebait – oh yes – I’d put them in place of the lobster & (brown) crab meat, only because I have had a never-to-be-forgotten experience of both in the past and just the sight/thought of them brings it all ‘flooding back’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

                  1. Jane if you ever come visit ‘up north’ I shall do my best to convert you. Both of those never-to-be-forgotten things hidden in other dishes as need be.

                    Or I can cook steak. I think. It’s been awhile.

                    You can laugh at my excellent bird spotting abilities. I’m pretty good at identifying sharks and other non-land based species.

      2. The answer is somewhere between ‘interesting’ and ‘bloody awful’ probably tending to the latter. However it did all get eaten!

  35. Nice start to the week. Had to look up 10a, and then the penny dropped for 5d which was last in. Should have got it a lot earlier. 28a made me smile, as did 8d. My father used to own a motorbike with an 8d after the war. When he asked my grandfather for permission to marry my mother, the answer was yes, provided he got rid of it and bought a car. He got rid of it and bought a car, and another motorbike, and went scrambling at weekends, leaving my mother at home. Thanks to setter and to Miffypops and Kitty.

    1. Hi Florence – 28a made me smile as well, mainly for the recollection of the humour of Fred Dibnah. Anyone else remember his piece on ‘The shower of shit over Cheshire’?
      Seeing him ‘live’ was a remarkable, memorable and mostly X certificate experience. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      1. Oh dear – edit to ‘shower of shit’ comment……… just remembered that was one of Blaster Bates’ memorable moments! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    2. I had a schoolmate who’s dad had a motorcycle and sidecar. Every year he took the family to Ireland on/in it from Coventry Dad, Mum, Michael, Steven and baby sister. Plus luggage to suit.

  36. Very late to this one today, been out all day in Norwich…….a fine city! Anyway, I didn’t find this too bad, just a small hold up caused by putting ‘lords’ for 23d instead of ‘earls’…….should have known better as I used to live in SW 5 (then known as Kangaroo Valley) …..wonderful times! Didn’t need to use the hints, thankfully, ….some nice clues…. I liked 5d & 6d and some helpful Anagrams to get a start. 2*/3 for me and thanks to setter and to MP for the hints…….yes MP…..I have in part succumbed to the blathering…..if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em sort of thing! …..but I restrict myself to subjects on which I have something to say, and abstain on other occasions!

    1. Hi Liz – I’m guessing SW5 housed a fair few Aussies at the time? I lived for a while in Dollis Hill – Indian territory – and have some jolly good curry recipes to show for it!

      1. Hi Jane. Yes Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans, Canadians……mind you this was many, many years ago when there were few restrictions on visitors from what was then the Commonwealth…..many of whom spent a year or so over here working as physios, nurses and the like……a bit like ‘gap years’ of modern times. I lived right next to the Earls Court exhibition hall. They were really great times…….there were few Indian restaurants then….mainly Italian eateries and coffee bars.

      1. Hi Slart etc.,
        Thought I’d adopt C.S’s idea of putting the various pseudonyms used by commenters into an anagram solver. Guess what it came up for yours?

          1. You really are turning out to be an absolute boon to the blog, Liz!
            ‘Fat tribal stars’ really appeals. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      2. Absolutely! Up the Canaries ……back in the Premiership…let’s hope we can stay there this season!

        1. I think Norwich City will surprise a lot of footy people next season. Its new manager is exceptional. 4/5 to stay up looks a very decent bet to me.

        2. You’ll be there for at least 4 – Autumn, Winter………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          No offence meant http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    2. I think that the problem is mainly that most of us have something to say about almost everything! ! If you can’t beat them join them – it’s usually fun! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  37. My first comment on Bgi Dave.
    I like to tackle the DT in the evening, with a pint by my side.
    It’s a triumph if I can complete the challenge before I’ve finished my first pint, but a bit of a disaster if I haven’t cracked it in two.
    Disaster tonight.
    An unnoticed mis-spelling of allegiance prevented me from getting 11A, even though I’d used the phrase in conversation earlier in the day! And, I completely failed to get a glimpse of 17D.
    A nice puzzle though. 15D and 14A particularly satisfying.
    Thanks To Miifypops for helping out.

    1. I’m just hoping it takes you a considerable length of time to down a pint, John, otherwise I’m going to have to seriously revisit my own method of awarding ‘stars’ for difficulty. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    2. A pint (with a crossword) is 30-45 minutes.
      With convivial conversation, a pint takes prob a much shorter time.
      But I live 20 miles from my pub, so no more than two halves at work (or a taxi). But that distance does mean that at my local can be the ‘grumpy old fart who doing the crossword’
      I don’t keep a count, but doubt I’ve completed the DT within a pint more than 10 times in the last 10 years. But could approach a thousand times I’ve failed in two pints.
      Can any contributors help me calibrate my success rating against the standard?

      1. I reckon we all set our own personal ‘standard’, John, and not everyone bothers too much!

        Try taking an average based on the last couple of dozen back-pagers you’ve solved, call that a 3* and then apply that to subsequent solving times. At least that’s what I do, although I’d be the first to admit that I’m not scrupulously honest with myself! Is it fair to knock off time spent on other chores when I could well still be thinking about the puzzle? I don’t know and, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter.

        As MP rightly says – there are no rules – just continue to enjoy the puzzles and this brilliant blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  38. Usual gentle fare from Rufus, with no problems at all. Lots of lovely clues with 28a taking the Claret Jug, with 27a mentioned in dispatches. Thanks to R and to MP & K for the usual entertaining review.
    On my way home from the boat this evening, I popped into a country pub for a beer and all the landlord wanted to talk about were crosswords and Van Morrison. He looked vaguely familiar

        1. Just think of a green man in a pink suit. Just about the only occasion being colour blind would have been an advantage

          1. Well howdy. If I had got there two hours earlier, I would have seen you, as well as a green man in a pink suit, Itchy, Scratchy and Saint Sharon. Thanks to Rufus for a very pleasant time. Thanks to Kitty, and to MP for your review and for pointing out a spelling mistake on 3d and complete nonsense on 4d. Enjoyed every minute of this.

            1. It is is always a pleasure to see you Ginny. Sorry I cannot always spend time with you. We did alright tonight though.

              1. Rarely talk about crosswords, but have been known to almost enjoy a bit of Van Morrison.
                Not green. Pink suit? Never on a Monday,

  39. A very enjoyable puzzle – guess I like long anagrams. Are the Monday puzzles easier as a rule? – the last ones seem to have been to me.

    1. Hi Alex,
      Supposedly the back-pagers start out on a Monday with the easier ones and progress in difficulty as the week goes on.
      Be warned – it doesn’t ALWAYS seem to work that way!

      1. Thanks for that information. I’ll see if progress (or lack of) through the week bears that out.

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