DT 27870 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27870

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27870

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

The slowness with which I solved this puzzle can be put down to the extreme grief I am feeling over the death of one of England’s most talented ladies, Cilla Black. A person who has shared her life with us all and entertained us in her own friendly unique style. There is no dirt to be dished here. We shared her triumphs and her pain. We grieved for her miscarried baby during her summer season in Coventry. We felt her pain at the loss of her husband Bobby. RIP Cilla. You were a true star.

Miffypops has lovingly crafted the hints and tips below which are here to help and guide you. I hope they serve their purpose. Definitions are underlined. If you still need an answer after reading the hint then press click here and the answer will be revealed. If you do not want to see the answer – do not click.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Rejected fish unacceptable for stew (6)
RAGOUT: This highly seasoned dish of small pieces of meat stewed with vegetables can be found by reversing (rejected) a three lettered fish and adding a word meaning unacceptable. I struggled to find this definition online. The opposite of IN should help. This answer quickly satisfied my craving for food somewhere within a puzzle.

4a    Pass quickly in striking football kit (8)
OUTSTRIP: The same three letter word that troubled me at 1 across has returned to tease us here. It is followed by the term used to describe a team’s sportswear

9a    Assumed academic gets study back (6)
DONNED: Put on. Two crosswordland favourites here. The academic is high up at university. The study or lair has to be reversed as indicated by the word back

10a    Officer and worker giving backing to commercial project (8)
ADJUTANT: We have a clunky Lego clue here. A three-parter of usual suspects. We need one of our regular crosswordland workers at the end (giving backing) preceded by our usual two letter commercial followed by a word that means to project or stick out.

12a    Wary about appearing crooked (4)
AWRY: Anagram (about) of WARY

They that wash on Monday
Have all the week to dry;
They that wash on Tuesday
Are not so much awry;
They that wash on Wednesday
Are not so much to blame;
They that wash on Thursday
Wash for shame;
They that wash on Friday
Wash in need;
And they that wash on Saturday,
Oh! They are sluts indeed.

13a    Beguile  a lot of finches (5)
CHARM: A double definition. The “lot of finches” come from the list of collective nouns for animals and birds. A Pride of Lions. A Murder of Crows. A Parliament of Owls and an Exaltation of Larks.

14a    Intend to be parsimonious (4)
MEAN: A double definition. I rarely say this but need I say more?

17a    It gives a long smoke for the parochial representative (12)
CHURCHWARDEN: A smoker’s pipe with an exceedingly long stem is also the name of an elected lay representative in an Anglican parish.

20a    One way to raise the standard (3,2,3,4)
RUN UP THE FLAG: How this clue works baffles me. The standard here is of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution or as a decoration during public festivities.

23a    Use a different name for Jacob’s twin brother (4)
ESAU: anagram (different) of USE A

24a    Going down, he may be saved by the bell (5)
DIVER: An underwater explorer who may use a rigid container as described by Aristotle and much improved by Franz Kessler.

25a    Depressed  area of Ulster? (4)
DOWN: Another double definition. The opposite of an across clue

28a    Made concession  to be allowed in (8)
ADMITTED: Owned up or allowed entrance

29a    Ditches with water in the middle? (6)
DRAINS: These water dispersal devices contain the four letter word meaning precipitation

30a    Home isn’t refurbished by the landlord (4,4)
MINE HOST: anagram (refurnished) of HOME ISNT. Own up. You used the more regular spelling and ended up looking for an opera that ended with the letter I. You did didn’t you. Well John Keats wrote it this way in 1820. I presume it is about The Mermaid Tavern in Rye.

SOULS of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host’s Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.
I have heard that on a day
Mine host’s sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer’s old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old-sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

31a    Pursued, being persistent (6)
DOGGED: A double definition. The second being an adjective meaning having or showing tenacity and grim, persistence.


1d    Clearance resulting from free ball (8)
RIDDANCE: take a three letter word meaning to free something of something as The Pied Piper did with the rats of Hamelin Town in Brunswick and add a word meaning a ball or lively jigging around to music

2d    Abuse one’s urge to be magnanimous (8)
GENEROUS: Anagram (abuse) of ONES URGE

3d    American editor briefly employed (4)
USED: The initial letters of United States and our regular abbreviation of ED(itor)

5d    Accepted financial responsibility for being subscribed? (12)
UNDERWRITTEN: To have signed and accepted financial responsibility as in insurance cover

6d    Twisted point supported by witticism (4)
SPUN: The point of the compass opposite North followed by a play upon words

7d    Standard textbook for you (6)
READER: A nice little clue. The word you means exactly that. You. If you are reading this you are one of these.

8d    Flagrant  licence (6)
PATENT: A double definition. Easily recognisable or obvious

11d    Demonstrate concern for the entertainment industry (4,8)
SHOW BUSINESS: Yet another very clever double definition. Easy to begin with. Obvious with checking letters

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d    He must be prepared to reconnoitre (5)
SCOUT: One of Baden Powell’s ever ready boys.

16d    Loud, constantly making complaint (5)
FEVER: Take the musical indicator that a piece should be played loud and add an adjective meaning at all times

18d    Acknowledging nothing has been settled? (8)
ALLOWING: Split 3,6 the total, amount of debt due if nothing at all has been paid

19d    Tormented in San Diego appallingly (8)
AGONISED: Anagram (appallingly) of SAN DIEGO

21d    Still good advice to the overexcited (6)
BECALM: the good advice in the clue needs to be split (2,4) to find a verb meaning to leave a sailing boat unable to move due to lack of wind

22d    Opera dealing with loveless romance? (6)
CARMEN: anagram (dealing with) of ROMANCE minus the letter O as indicated by the word loveless. Love in tennis is zero points or 0 which looks like the letter O

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d    Appropriate to raise a cap here in America (4)
UTAH: Way back in a time before I was born the sweet young hip and trendy boys and girls of the time used a method of describing things as U or Non U. It is rarely heard nowadays but pops it’s little head up from time to time in crosswordland. The old stagers amongst us recognise it straight away whilst newcomers scratch their heads and wonder for weeks on end why Appropriate might indicate the letter U. Well it does so bung it in. Then raise your cap (hat) to the setter and you will have one of the United States of America. Possibly the only one that begins with the letter U

27d    Upset servicemen will get leave in consequence (4)
ERGO: Our servicemen here are The Royal Engineers. Reverse their initial letters as indicated by the word upset and add a word meaning to leave.

Thank God it was not Cliff.

The Quick Crossword pun: sham+pain=champagne

70 comments on “DT 27870

  1. Re 13a, I’ve been discussing animal groups recently, and whilst I had to look it up to check, I am re-assured to know that I was also right to refer to a Parliament of Rooks!

    Anyone heard of a “Judgement of ……”? Jackdaws perhaps?

    I had the wrong the letter word to start 20a, but it had the same middle letter, so I am grateful for the hints today.

    I do like Mondays:)

  2. Some of the clues read so smoothly , that even though they are cryptic 101, they still made me smile. These included 12a, 23a, 21d, 22d.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.
    Cilla was a lovely lady, 72 is far too young.

  3. I am so glad that MP is also baffled by the wordplay for 20a! The answer is obvious enough but I cannot for the life of me parse the clue.
    However, a very enjoyable start to the week, my fav was 17a (I know it has religious connotations but I got it from the pipe) followed by 18d. Thought 29a was a bit weak.
    Thanks to all.

    1. BTW I do hope they re show the excellent and remarkable docu-drama of Sheridan Smith about the life of Our Cilla.

      1. There’s a repeat on Radio 2, at 10 this evening, of a programme celebrating her 50 years in showbiz. I think it first aired about 2 years ago, and is presented by Johnie Walker.

      2. The first two words are a way and the second two a standard.
        I thought we weren’t supposed to give answers here?

    2. 20a

      PUT UP THE FLAG fits the clue better, I think, but RUN UP THE FLAG is the usual phrase I suppose.

  4. */****

    Maybe and extra * for difficulty as I didn’t know the collective term for finches. I do have a murder of crows t’shirt.

    Another slice of joy from Rufus on a Monday morning. Don’t quite get 20a but 29a is still making me smile.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for an excellent blog as always. I’m sure you’ll feel better soon.

    1. I found the term in my “Wordsworth Book of Intriguing Words”, bought from a cut-price bookshop years ago.

  5. Usual lovely Monday puzzle. No problems. So straight forward compared to some later in the week crosswords. Thank you Monday setter and to Miffypops..

  6. A pure joy from start to finish.

    I didn’t know the collective noun in 13a, but it was perfectly solvable from the checking letters. 17a is an old chestnut which crops up from time to time.

    Favourite was 1d (brilliant wordplay) closely followed by 24a.

    Many thanks to both Rufus and Miffypops. RIP Cilla.

  7. Much better than last week, which I found impossible to solve.Struggled with 24a and 7d but got there in the end.

  8. Would give it 3* for difficultly.
    17a and 5d took some head scratching.
    And I had longed for 31a.
    30a was also new to me.
    Favourite is definitely 21d. Great surface.
    Goodbye Cilla and thanks for the lorra lorra laughs you brought us over the years.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the poetic review.

  9. 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment from me today.
    I was a bit slow with 7, 8 and 21d but no major problems.
    I only knew the finches because there was either a Rookie corner, an NTSPP or a MPP fairly recently with birds and collective nouns for them.
    I liked 17a and 11d.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Not getting far with Mr Rookie but I think I’ve just spotted a theme – if it’s what I think it is then I probably won’t get much further.

  10. My Anagram program let me down with 30a – so I had to fall back on the blog to finish the bottom west corner – cheers for that!

    BTW did you know that Benadryl is not recommended for the 65 and overs – I was shocked to be told this recently and looked it up on t’Internet – it said that it could cause drowsiness and confusion – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

    1. Exactly but, as says mein host MP, I had to anglicise it when I realised what the 22d opera was (predictive text didn’t like it either! – gave me main or mine). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  11. Excellent Monday crossword, straight forward for the most part with the odd difficult parse dropped in- like 27a, plenty of amusing clues like 18a,29a, going for a **/****.Thanks Miffypops for the usual quality ‘pics’- liked Miss Badham -almost cryptic!- remember once reading she had a fling with Mick Jagger,can’t think why..Someone recently sent me a picture of a cat sat up in bed reading a book-the title on the front was ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird!

  12. A veritable breeze to launch the week but good light entertainment nevertheless. 3d is a frequent chestnut. Double entente (or should it be entendre?) for 17a new to me in spite of having been married to a pipe-smoker. Liked 1d and 20a. Thank you Mysteron and MP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  13. you Miffypops and Rufus for a great start to the week, required a certain amount of head scratching and surreptitious peeps at the electronic super toy. Some things just slotted in nicely and others were problematical. Lovely anagrams but for some reason I picked 1d as favourite because it made me smile. Cilla’s music was very much part of my life when I moved to London in 1964 as crowd I was involved with was very pop-minded RIP Cilla. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  14. A nice start to the week, if only I had run my flag up and not put it up I would feel really smug ;) **/**** Thanks to MP (especially for the music) :) and to Rufus

  15. A typical Rufus Monday wsith all the usual enjoyment. Some difficult clues and some interesting ones but always a challenge. Many thanks Rufus and also to MP whose hints I did need to use this weel

  16. No problems with this one, quite enjoyable, but no stand out clues, although I rather liked 27d. Nearly messed up in the NE corner by putting ‘primer’ in for 7d…..stupid really as its so obvious. 2*/3* today. Thanks to setter and to MP. No Toughie today to wrack my brain, so I might have a go at the Times back pager. Thanks to TS for putting me back onto the Times, now I’ll get even less work done during the day!

  17. Having travelled to Devon on Friday, we have just returned home from a family wedding in a beautiful but remote venue on Dartmoor. The hotel somehow conjured up the Telegraph each day so I was able to complete the Telegraph crosswords for each day. But, horror of horrors, there was neither WiFi nor a mobile signal so I was unable to access the blog!

    Today it’s 2*/4* for the usual Monday delight. I didn’t help myself by putting “boxer” for 24a on my first pass, but apart from that everything went in smoothly.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  18. I usually romp through Rufus’s offerings but today found some a bit trickier.
    I did eventually twig to 17a as I remembered that we had that some time ago and it was new to me then, and I missed the finches completely, but the rest were pretty usual Rufusisms.
    Thanks to Rufus and M’pops for his review. Yes, Cilla was a lovely lady, RIP.

  19. Good afternoon all.

    An enjoyable start the week but a little harder than a ‘typical’ Monday puzzle I thought so three/four for me. Favourites were 4a, 6d and 10a.

    Last two in were 4a, which took what seemed like an age to solve, and 8d. 13a was new to me. Couldn’t fully rationalise 29a across – where did the first and last letters come from?

      1. Ah I see now. Can’t recall having seen a clue like that before.

        Thanks for putting me straight.

  20. A lovely Monday puzzle from Rufus, as is almost always the case. No problems encountered – 1*/4* for me.
    Some delightful surface reads – 14a,16&21d to name but a few. Favourite is the leggo builder at 10a – don’t know why, it just made me smile.
    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a great blog. Loved re-reading the little ditty at 12a and (believe it or not) enjoyed the 11d Van Morrison! Just one question, MP – what on earth were you ‘going on about’ re: 30a? It seemed quite straightforward to me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. Forgot to mention – 20a was a phrase much loved by one of my employers when giving one of those ‘inspirational’ speeches to us workers. Instead of saying that we needed to ‘pull up our socks’ to increase standards, he would refer to the requirement for us to ‘run up the flag’ for the company. Our muttered comments as to what he could with his wretched flag I leave to your imagination!

  21. Pretty straightforward fare today – nice gentle start to the week. 2/3 for me although I do concur with the comments about the dodgy clueing for 20a. I also thought 30a was obvious. Not sure why MP is so unhappy with the answer. Thanks all round.

  22. Hello all, found this enjoyable and witty. Got stuck on 6d, 9a and 31a.
    The excellent hints helped with those, I also put the flag up!

    2*\3* from me, thanks to Rufus and MP’s and yes we will miss Cilla, RIP.

  23. I feel sane again after the misery of last week’s crosswords. Thank you to those who offered support in my hour of need! I don’t often comment as I usually do the crossword in the evening and don’ t finish until the following day, by which time everyone else has moved on. But I had a day off today and managed this fairly easily whilst sitting in the sun drinking cups of tea. A good start to the week.

    1. Most of us are very nosy and we read further comments on the following days.
      It’s never wasted. Do go on please.

      1. Just been looking up the translation of your Spoonerism, JL. Does it actually mean what Mr. Google says it is?!!!

          1. I’m sure you do, JL! Bring them on – but hopefully with a decent slang French dictionary for me to unravel them all.
            By the way – I love to bits that you managed to get the wrong sport in the Rookie – sadly, I knew some of the names only too well despite my constant efforts to avoid all references. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gifNo doubt Hanni will thoroughly enjoy the whole thing!

        1. Indeed. Many a good gin has been ruined with awful tonic. I didn’t like gin for a long time until it was pointed out it’s the tonic that most people don’t enjoy.

  24. A very pleasant Monday offering once again. We also tossed up between ‘put’ and ‘run’ for the first word of 20a and luckily plumped for the correct one.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  25. This started like a 1* difficulty puzzle, but for no obvious reason the SE corner delayed me somewhat. 2*/3* is about right. 15d, although rather transparent, is my favourite clue – in memory of the days when l bared my knees for B-P. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops.

  26. Lots of fun and a lovely start to the week. Do Lancastrians really call their stew a fhotpot? Tried to reject the f. Had to google the gar once I knew the direction I was going in. Can’t remember coming across the word before, but sure I’ve seen one in an aquarium. Didn’t really understand one way in 20a, and was unsure if run or put. Liked 26d for memories with the kids of fossil hunting in Dinosuar, before travelling to Yellowstone, Wyoming, Mt Rushmore then on to the Cheyenne Rodeo Festival. A lot of driving just to bring back a cowboy hat and some boots. Great fun though. Thanks to Rufus for a puzzle I could actually understand and work out, and to Miffypops for the excellent review.

    1. Hi Florence,
      21a – I took it to mean that, to raise the ‘standard’, one way of doing it could be to physically ‘run’ up the flag – not that to do so would be either possible or a practical way of getting the darned thing flying!!!

  27. On a Monday I am almost always lulled into a sense of security at first, but whether it is true or false I have to wait until the end to discover. Today that end was deepish and I floundered a little in it.

    It took me ages to get 10a. 17a bugged me because I knew what I was fishing about for in my memory since I’ve met him before in crosswordland. Could I think of Mr Churchwarden? Pah! I didn’t know the collective noun for finches but assumed it was what it is since the answer was clear. As for 20a, I left the first word blank for a while then opted for PUT, but didn’t like it. Of course it was RUN. Silly me :(.

    29a was a bit of a bung-in. Thanks to MP for the full explanation.

    I prefer harder puzzles that I can do to easier ones that I can’t. Oh well. Roll on Thursday :).

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  28. U and non-U describes ‘upper’ and ‘non-upper’ class people, words or behaviours. Popularised in Nancy Mitford’s book ‘Noblesse Oblige’, a tongue-in-cheek look at class. For example ‘toilet’ is a non-U indicator word, whereas ‘lavatory’ is a U indicator – hence ‘U’ is a synonym for ‘acceptable’ or ‘correct’!

      1. Thank you! I have read the blog for a while, but have never felt able to contribute meaningfully before – it was very exciting to have something useful to say.

  29. Hi

    When parsing 5d no-one spotted “subscribed” being a synonym of the answer: underwritten. An inessential point, admittedly, but a satisfying one.

    1. My Blog My admission. If I could sit doing nothing but being fed watered and pampered for a billion years it would never occur to me that subscribed might be a synonym of underwritten. Well spotted you. I do my best. Mostly it is alright. I always enjoy a laugh and there is always mistake. I hope you post again. Thanks and welcome aboard

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