DT 27864 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27864

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27864

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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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 27,864 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.

Some of you may enjoy the musical choices today. Apart from one track, I wont.

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    Minimum of green space, by the way (5)
LEAST: Take our three lettered meadow and add our usual suspect abbreviation for a way or street. This word describes the degree of favouriteness of my musical (sic) choice

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4a    Sound of siren makes everybody jump (3-5)
ALL CLEAR: An air raid siren made two noises one to warn of impending attack and one to inform that it was now safe. We need a word which means everybody collectively. And a word meaning to successfully jump just as a showjumper might with a fence

8a    Retire an eccentric old family servant (8)
RETAINER: Anagram (eccentric) of RETIRE AN.

9a    All-inclusive  cleaning operation (8)
SWEEPING: A double definition. The second may be done using a broom

11a    Managed to be back before class to make report (7)
NARRATE: Take our crosswordland three letter favourite for managed and reverse it (to be back). Now add a verb meaning to assign or regard as belonging to a particular category.

13a    Serviceman  to offer information unasked (9)
VOLUNTEER: A double definition. The serviceman may belong to the Territorial Army

15a    Safety first presumably prevents one from seizing opportunities (6,2,7)
TAKING NO CHANCES: A clever all in one meaning; Not risking anything, hedging ones bets, staying on the safe side and being a tad cautious. Here is a song that does just that

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a    Recovered from seabed — top racing vessel (9)
SPEEDBOAT: Anagram (recovered from) of SEABED TOP

21a    Boss went without head pupil (7)
STUDENT: Our usual suspect for Boss is followed by the word (w)ent minus it’s first letter (beheaded)

22a    Best clothes in tatters after having left to wander around (4,4)
GLAD RAGS: Place a word meaning clothes in tatters after a word meaning to go from place to place in the pursuit of pleasure into which the letter L (left) is placed.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a    The making of  Haydn’s oratorio (8)
CREATION: Described in The Book Of Genesis and set to music by Hayden

25a    Break bread, even in Scotland (8)
ABERDEEN: The granite city is formed an anagram (break) of BREAD followed by the poetic form of the word even

26a    Bird that is below par (5)
EAGLE: A golfing term for a score two under par. Golf is a pastime. Not a sport.


1d    It may be a tiny girl’s reason for not singing (10)
LARYNGITIS: An anagram (may be) of A TINY GIRLS will show this medical condition

2d    Seat breaks with danger for star (8)
ASTERISK: An anagram (breaks) of SEAT is followed by a noun meaning a hazard or danger

3d    Irish island group supporting neat type of boat (8)
TRIMARAN: A word meaning neat, tidy, or shipshape is followed by a group of Irish Islands famous for their style of knitwear.

4d    Pretentious  songs? (4)
AIRS: A double definition the first often being followed by the words “and graces”

5d    Hollow warning to sailors (6)
CAVERN: This four letter warning is only seen in crosswordland. It is followed by the sailors of the R(oyal) N(avy)

6d    Tax being cut (6)
EXCISE: A double definition. Customs and ******

7d    A step up the ladder is called for? (4)
RUNG: A step on a ladder is also a term used to have called somebody on the telephone

10d    Ounces, say — they lack official backing (8)
WILDCATS: These ounces are feline but not tame.

12d    Service is nevertheless no good (8)
EVENSONG: Find two words that are split 4,2 and mean Nevertheless. Now add the initial letters of n(o) g(ood) to find a church service.

14d    Underground movement  providing opposition (10)
RESISTANCE: Listen, I shall say this only once. The French had a group  such as this during WW2. Incredibly brave folk

16d    Precise bill supported by junior minister (8)
ACCURATE: Our two letter term for a bill or account is followed by a lowly church minister.

17d    Get car in for repair — and service? (8)
CATERING: Anagram (for repair) of GET CAR IN

19d    England’s first slip gets run out (6)
ELAPSE: As instructed take the first letter of English. Add a verb meaning a temporary failure of concentration to find a word that refers to time running out. The surface read of this clue misdirects nicely to a cricketing theme

20d    Patched up and blooming (6)
DARNED: A double definition the first being what my Mum did to repair holes in socks. The second being very close to swearing which is not allowed here unless you are BD and you want to introduce one of John Cooper-Clark’s poems.

22d    Miss a school fete? (4)
GALA: A young lady followed by the letter A directly lifted from the clue

23d    Examination for some ambitious candidates (4)
SCAN: A hidden word. Go and find it. I did.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Welcome to the world Arthur Martin John Hawkins

The Quick Crossword pun: wreck+amend=recommend

107 comments on “DT 27864

  1. 1*/4*. Usual light-hearted Monday fun from Rufus. His puzzles always put me in a good mood, which is great for Monday mornings!

    19d was my last one in. It made me LOL and gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Ditto with 19a. Last in that is. Not my favourite. Others mostly a write in. Liked 15a and 10d. Always good on Mondays (thanks Rufus). Makes the blog a little redundant but still enjoy it. Thanks Miffypops.

  2. I found this one a bit tricky for some reason.

    Looking back I was clearly not on quite the same wavelength it seems. I was a bit exasperated by 16d because as all scientists and engineers know, precision is very far from this answer. One of those issues that many non-scientists make.

    But I would rate it as 2*/2* I think.

      1. The difference between precision and accuracy is illustrated by the story of the guide at the Natural History Museum who is asked how old the dinosaur is, “65,000,023 years old”, he says. “How can you give such a precise answer?” says the visitor. “Well, when I started this job I was told it was 65 million years old, and I’ve been here 23 years, so…”. (The guide’s answer is precise, but not accurate.)

  3. IMHO this really was a no-brainer but I have to admit I enjoyed it. Liked 5d, 10d and 26d. I wonder if one has to be of a certain age to recall the relief of wartime 4a? Thanks Rufus for a gentle ride and MP for hints/music even if you did omit a clip of the Haydn. */***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. I had decided to please the masses and only include absolute rubbish today (apart from the Rod Stewart) so poor old Mr Haydn had to miss out I am afraid

      1. I feel for you reviewers – obviously you can’t please all of the people all of the time! Thanks anyway for your own particular brand of weekly hints on behalf of us bloggers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. And I feel for those upset enough about my comments on anagrams and pencils to write to the DT Letters page. So just for you Angel a special dispensation to use as many pens, pencils, felt tips and paintbrushes and reams of paper you need to solve anagrams. Reviewing is great fun. I can do the puzzles and if I ever get stuck I merely have to ask for assistance from my fellow bloggers or indeed I have been known to throw it open to the commenters. My sense of humour and mischief is well served by reviewing, it doesn’t really take too much time and we get thanked profusely which makes it all worth while. I won’t get fat on the salary though. Thanks for the Rose. It has made me remember the Oscar Wilde story about the Robin and the Rose thorn. Bedtime reading I think

          1. Thanks MP but I have to say I wasn’t waiting with bated breath for your special dispensation as I plan to continue with my modus operandi anyway! The Oscar Wilde story (nightingale rather than robin?!) certainly is enchanting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

            1. Yes Angel I remember now. The Nightingales blood coloured the Rose. I some how had it that the Rose coloured the Robins breast. All in the name of love.

          2. Did someone actually write to the Letters page to complain about you, MP?!!
            At least the rest of us do it to your face ………your ‘blog’ face, that is.
            Fat lot of good it does, though. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  4. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable start to the week. A jolly but straightforward puzzle. Favourite was 5d. Last in was 24a. No hold ups, was 1*/3* for me.

  5. Argh, not long after I had corrected “verge” for 1a, I tried to force “lilliputian” into 1d. I will put this down to Monday morning syndrome. Got there in the end.

    Some lovely anagrams today, 1d (it may be a tiny girl’s), 8d (retire an eccentric old servant), 18d (recovered from seabed – top racing vessel). In addition I enjoyed the classic Rufus clues, e.g.4a (pretentious airs), 7d (a step up the ladder), 21a (boss went without head)

    All perfect monday morning therapy

    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops, though I prefer Dylan.

  6. Another puzzle that I finished without too much trouble and enjoyed. Last in was 24a, liked 11a,2d.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops 2*/3*

  7. Like Dutch above, the first thing that came into my head for 1a was’ verge’, and then, when the penny dropped, thought that 1d must be something to do with ‘little voice’ the musical – then, behold the anagram! Plain sailing after this ,and agree with Rabbit Dave -light hearted and fun -a*/**** for me too. Thanks to Miffypops, that’s an amazing pic for 26a

    1. I did NOT like the pic at 26a and can only hope that it’s a composite, or whatever those pictures are that are fakes. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      1. Don’t think you need to lose sleep over that one, Merusa. Bald Eagles are basically fish eaters although they may take duck and small birds. Being scavengers, they would doubtless feed on a deer carcass but certainly couldn’t carry off an entire animal. The pic. as shown is definitely a photo-shop production! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    2. Thank you very much – for all the wrong reasons, it is reassuring I wasn’t alone with verge.

  8. */****

    Dark and dreary, but that’s only the weather. The crossword was anything but. A joy from start to finish. Lovely surfaces, delicious anagrams, 1d, and plenty of smiles. Can’t say I liked 23d but who cares.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for your usual great blog. Some ‘unusual’ music choices.

  9. The usual superb array of Rufusisms for a Monday, some of the anagrams showed him at his best.

    Favourite clues for me were 1d and 20d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  10. A typical monday offering , amusing and light .*/**** Thanks to setter and Miffypops. Good start to the week after two super week enders

  11. 1* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment from me.
    My main trouble today was missing anagram indicators – 18 and 25a – and seeing anagrams that weren’t – 9a the first “oh dear” of the week.
    I was fooled into thinking “cricket” with 19d – MP calls it misdirection but I think that’s a bit too kind and would probably call it dim.
    I liked 15a and 4 and 14d. My favourite was 4a.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.
    Need to cut grass – looks as if it might rain again soon so if I procrastinate a little bit longer I might be let off doing it . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  12. Very pleasant as usual for a Monday. My top three are 2d, 9a and 25a.
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  13. Very enjoyable again. We got a bit stuck for a while because we had polecats in at 10d. After seeing the error of our ways everything else slotted in comfortably. **/****
    A big thank you to Rufus, not forgetting Miffypops for his ever-entertaining blog.

  14. Possibly made a mistake by tackling the Rookie first today and coming to this one a little jaded, but it didn’t quite hit the usual high note for me.
    Having said that, there were still plenty that I liked – 15a + 4,10&12d. Favourite slot for 4a. 1*/3* overall.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – not sure about the music choices today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif The first two were very much ‘of their time’ – Abba did make some reasonable tracks later on but I always thought Karen Carpenter would have been better as a solo artist.
    Remember going to see Rod Stewart at MUFC years ago and wondering how he thought he could possibly persuade anyone that he had to ‘sweat’ to buy anything by that stage in his career! The entire football pitch was crammed with fans – goodness knows what state it was in by the time we’d all danced our way through ‘Maggie’ et al.

  15. Lovely gentle crossword for a Monday! Nothing too taxing. I liked 5d even tho’ it does require a word that as MP suggests, is only really used in Crosswordland.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP. 2/3*

    1. Also used by little boys at boarding school (at least still in the 1960’s). The request to a friend would be “Keep cave” (pronounced KV), whilst some dreadful dead was carried out.

      1. //whilst some dreadful dead was carried out//
        Your boarding school sounds pretty vicious. :D

  16. A gentle massaging of one’s grey matter.
    All very elegant, Rufus’ trademark.
    Many thanks, and to Miffypops for the musical review.
    Love The Carpenters.

  17. Nice gentle start to the week from Rufus. My only struggle was trying to make class fit rate in 11a. Did like 26a even if I have never scored one (chipped in from the bunker last week for a birdie but that’s about it). I enjoyed one of the musical choices of MP, the one associated with 22a, not at all sure about the orhershttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif
    Thx to all for a pleasant start to a week that might include Thursday for me I hope.

      1. As given in Miffypops excellent hint. Just like last week when a discussion on the CID and the CIA resulted in people patting themselves on the back for sussing out what had already been said.

        1. I wasn’t doubting the excellent hint, merely stating that I had a problem with the clue prior to the hints appearing.

          1. BTW I saw Bucks Fizz at a revival concert a couple of years ago and when the pulled the girls skirts off, some wag in the audience shouted “Put them back on”. Time hasn’t been too kind!

  18. Total bliss – lovely Rookie which I managed to finish, magical Miffypops explanation of a fabulous Rufus crossword there is only one thing that worries me. It is only Monday and that probably means the rest of the week will go sharply downhill from here or am I being unduly pessimistic? Next question what am I going to do with the rest of the day? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    1. There is always the Rufus in the guardian on Monday, free just google guardian crosswords….

  19. Great fun: 1*/4*. I liked 5d, which prompted a silly grin when the penny dropped. I’ll dedicate this pleasurable completion to a true gentleman – Surgeon Captain Hugo MacLeod – whose sad death l saw reported recently, and who first introduced me to cryptic crosswords one wet evening after dinner in the Wardroom of HMS NEPTUNE about forty years ago. Thanks, Doc. Thanks also to Rufus, and to Miffypops.

  20. The usual Monday morning canter providing much pleasure, even though it was a little easy. 12d make me chuckle and I much enjoyed the music for which many thanks MP and also the usual thanks to Rufus for a fine puzzle

  21. Another delightful offering from Rufus. So difficult to choose a fave among such rich choices, but I think 10d does it, or maybe 15a, or 12d … they are all so good.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his usual entertaining review.

  22. A nice gentle start to the crossword week with Rufus in his usual benign and elegant mode. For some reason, I used to struggle a bit with Rufus in the DT but never in the Grauniad. However, that is no longer the case so I must have picked up some brain power along the way (goodness knows where from as I always thought that wine killed off brain cells quicker than they could be regenerated). Nice clues throughout but I will opt for 22a as my favourite, purely because it’s one of my favourite songs.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and MP for the review http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  23. I agree a nice easy start to the week :) */*** no need for any hints today, but reading the blog always adds a new enjoyable dimension ;) Big thanks to Rufus & MP

  24. Good afternoon fellow entry levellers…

    I found this surprisingly tricky for a Monday with just seven going in two runs through. Eventually got going and worked through the rest until being ‘stumped’ by 19d.

    Favourites were probably 18a and 20d. Didn’t understand rationale for 10d (and still don’t) and had to guess at 24a.

    A fairly enjoyable start to the week so three/three for me.

    1. An Ounce is a Snow Leopard hence a Wild Cat. Wildcat strikes were strikes that had no official sanction. I hope that helps mre

  25. MP love your avatar, I have the book presented to me at some stage and greatly treasured. Does anyone read poetry these days?

    1. I do hope so Hilary. There is so much good stuff out there. I still love that stuff Mum and Dad read to me as a child and I read to my children. I love reading Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin and WB Yeats is sublime. Dylan Thomas only wrote poetry, his prose was so poetic.
      I will have to write some myself for next years OU module. Not sure what yet. As Kath would say, oh dear

    2. Yes Hilary, I do. Yeats, Keats, Tennyson and Herbert are some of my favourites. Rossetti to a lesser extent. Also enjoy Larkin.

    3. ”Twas brillig and the slithy toves…….” Or what about ” There was an old man from Madras……”
      No seriously poetry is wonderful……Wordsworth, Keats, Coleridge all wonderful!

          1. Dear goodness, SL – just read a couple. Makes you wonder why the English teacher was quite so scathing about one’s own offerings!
            BTW – Nacw – that has a certain something to it.

        1. I’m not sure I agree. But since I struggle with Neruda don’t take my opinion into account.

    4. I read poetry every day. I have also had poems published here, in the US and, strangely, in Spain. Dylan Thomas, Edward Thomas, Larkin, Auden, Byron, Pablo Neruda, Garcia Lorca and, natch, Shakespeare in the original; Marina Tsveataya, Anna Akhmatova, Nabokov and Fernando Pessoa (all four of him) in translation are my favourites. Tom Paulin comes way down the list

  26. My usual late appearance on a Monday evening is not because of excessive time spent on this very solvable yet enjoyable puzzle. A good balanced crossword with the enjoyment quotient much greater than the difficulty: 1.5/3 for me with thanks all round. Particularly liked 18 and 24 across.

  27. No problems with this one, I thought it was quite easy….although I almost made it more difficult by starting to put ‘cavity’ for 5d instead of ‘cavern’. My rating is 1*/3* for an enjoyable puzzle. My solving was interrupted by having to rescue a teeny weeny field mouse from my cat’s clutches……..however for all my effort, the only thanks I got from the ungrateful little tyke was a nip on the finger as I released him…….feisty little devil! Thanks to setter and MP.

    1. Crossword related Liz? You keep those stories coming. I regularly have to rescue shrews in the middle of the night. Two cats. Twice the problem.

      1. Hi MP. Yes definitely crossword related……there were a few cross words when the little perisher bit me…..that is what you meant I take it???

      2. At the moment we have a ‘clowder’ (thanks for the new word, BD) of cats. We have our own, who is almost twenty-one, and another two who are staying with us – they belong to our elder Pet Lamb and her partner – long story – don’t ask! I looked up BD’s ‘clowder’, not because I doubted him (who’d dare?!) but just because I did. I think I now prefer them to be called a ‘clutter’ of cats! Blimey – are we cluttered?! And as for the stuff that’s being brought in – well, that’s another just don’t ask . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        1. My current single cat (William) brings in more than when I had a ‘clowder’ (nice word) of 5 cats! He’s just a dedicated hunter and just loves to bring his Mummy lots of little presents! Aahhhh! Ain’t that sweet!

      3. At least Kitty doesn’t kill small creatures. Or big ones. Or medium-sized ones.

        When we’ve had cats in the past we have been lucky and haven’t had to deal with many presents. Fingers crossed for the future. I want a lap cat who can take as much stroking as I want to give it – which won’t leave time for much hunting! (Of course, that means I will end up with precisely the opposite, but such is life.)

  28. In common with some others, 19d was my last one in, though once got I couldn’t see why it had taken me so long. Nice to have a relatively easily do-able crossword after most recently struggling through some old end-of-week & Toughie offerings. Was tempted by two wrong answers – asteroid for 2d and polecats for 10d but not convincing enough to write in and right answers came to me in the end. Some nice penny drop moments, like 5d. I liked 1a. Thanks to Rufus for the satisfying workout and MP for confirmation of answers/parsing.

  29. Managed to put asteroid in to 2d. Silly me. It’s a planet not a star. It was fine for 11a, but threw my 15a for a while, until I corrected it.Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops. Needed help with 19d. It would be good to have a clue with Handel’s Zadok the Priest, as it’s a great piece of music to listen to.

  30. Guess it was straightforward today ? My last in was 5D……couldn’t make ‘cave’ equate to.’warning’. Enjoyable though.

    1. Not often used word, cave as a warning.
      I only remember it because it was always in school stories eg ‘Cave, you chaps, here comes the headmaster’

        1. From the Latin ‘cavere’ meaning to beware or to guard against. Our language is great innit?

                  1. there are four different pronunciation variants. for v, they break out into two variants:
                    one would have it
                    “ka-way” (earlier), another “ka-vay” (later).

                    for the “c”, there are four choices. we use the earlier one…. which before an “a” is a k
                    Lovely puzzle as usual ,thanks to both

                    1. Thanks for that OF. We were always taught the v to be pronounced as w. Also my OU Latin course used that and the hard c ….as in cat.

  31. Thanks very much to Rufus for a very pleasant start to the week, which often starts on Sunday night, and to MP for the review. Favourite was 24a which I love. Ball and chain for Itchy and Scratchy at night?

          1. With my cat it is flowerbed to tablecloth or, worse, flowerbed to sheets, especially clean ones.

  32. Lovely gentle start of the week so many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review. Love the expression for 22a – must look it up to find its origin. 2*/4*. 20d made me smile and I will nominate 24a as my favourite. Bonne nuit!

  33. I have little to add. No headaches today, just a slight hold up on the last two clues, until I remembered my Latin and then finally twigged 19d.

    Many thanks to Miffy for another delightful set of hints. And thanks to Rufus.

  34. Like Killer Watts I had 5d as the last in and was hoping someone would explain ‘warning’. Thank you all. As it was the second in succession I have completed without help (and had not completed any before) spending two weeks messing about on canal in a narrowboat must have refreshed the brain, and it must have been another 1* for difficulty. Quite enjoyable though but I have not really got the hang of rating enjoyability. Had to go out myself to do a small shop at Waitrose so did not look at the crossword until supper. Thanks to Miffypops for the clips and Rufus? for the puzzle.

    1. Well done, U. Messing about in narrow boats (two words) is probably the best and most refreshing way to pass time slowly. The only thing I’d rather be doing is playing guitar with Dyan at Wembley stadium, but that opportunity has yet to arise

  35. Very late to the party for this one. Yesterday was a right b*#^¥*# at work and I was too exhausted on arrival back at Strummer Towers @2am even to contemplate a solve. Strolled through it this morning with much delight, so thanks to Rufus for the usual gentle fare and to MP for doing the needful in his inimitable style. 1*/3*

    1. Hi TS – I was worried about the lack of comments from you – just about to ask Kath whether you’d put in for an overnight pass!
      I’ve finished the GK and am thinking that I may well re-read it now that I have a better grip on his style. Perhaps the first hundred or so pages won’t seem quite so difficult second time around, although I have to wonder how many people will have got that far and then given up. A friend of mine suggested that you possibly need to have heard him talk and then ‘hear’ him saying the words – regretfully, I never have.
      As for poetry…… as a youngster I always received a book token from my godfather on my birthday and loved being taken into a bookshop to spend it (money was tight and it was an unusual occurrence for me to be in a position to ‘buy’ my own choice of book). When I was about eleven, for some (inexplicable, to my parents) reason I opted for The Book of a Thousand Poems. I still have it now and it always reminds me of the introduction it gave me to the world of poetry. School teaching on the subject was always such a soulless procession of de-construction etc. So much nicer to simply curl up with the book and float away on the words.

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