DT 27876 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27876

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27876

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Nine across is a lovely clue which perfectly sums up cryptic crosswords. It is a charade or Lego clue. Do as the clue suggests and build the answer bit by bit. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is if you have forty years of cryptic solving behind you, a good smattering of general knowledge and a good memory.

The clue as a sentence bears no relationship to the answer. The definition “in control” is precise and succinct and might lead straight to the answer. The wordplay involves a motorcycle race meeting, The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races known as the TT. TT is regularly used in puzzleland and I admit it had me puzzled for years. A Roman numeral is involved so it is good to know them . We need to recognise that the letter A in the clue is included in the answer. Nothing indicates this just as nothing indicates that we need the first letter of the word Miles. The two males are the word HE repeated and the answer once all of these ingredients are put together in the right order is AT THE HELM. Not that simple at all then, is it?

Below are my hints and tips to DT cryptic puzzle No 27,876 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.

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.

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    A daughter’s befuddled, consuming large drinks (7,4)
DRAUGHT ALES: An anagram (befuddled) of A DAUGHTERS around (consuming) the L(arge) will give these drinks. They are fine drinks too. I consume more than is good for me and they are the mainstay of my pub.

9a    In control of a race meeting taking two males fifty miles (2,3,4)
AT THE HELM: A directly from the clue, the Isle of man T(ourist) T(rophy) races, the male pronoun twice (two males), the Roman Numeral which denotes fifty and the abbreviation for M(iles) will give this saying which generally means in control of things but specifically refers to steering a yacht. Please see the introduction above.

10a    A number grow sick, get benefit (5)
AVAIL: A (again from the clue) a number, in this case the Roman numeral for five and a verb meaning to grow sick

11a    Mother and father split (6)
PARENT: Your mother and father are both these. Take our usual suspect for your dad and add a noun meaning a split in a piece of fabric

12a    Engaged, that’s the outcome about me and that girl (8)
ENMESHED: Take a word meaning the final result and put it around (about) ME directly from the clue and the female pronoun

13a    A complete fool can upset someone telling jokes (6)
NITWIT: Take a three letter word meaning a can as in baked beans and reverse it (upset). Now add a word meaning somebody with a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humour.

15a    Affairs excluding union involvement (8)
ADULTERY: The union here is the sacred one of marriage. The joining of two people to the exclusion of all others. This word describes sexual affairs outside of that marriage. A mistress is a girl who comes between a mister and a mattress

18a    Hurt during exam, leaves in this (3,5)
TEA CHEST: Place a word meaning to hurt inside another word for an exam to find this old fashioned container for the dried leaves that are used to make our early morning drink


19a    Cry out — to the police? (6)
SQUEAL: To yell out or to grass somebody up.

21a    Applaud catch? Codswallop! (8)
CLAPTRAP: Take a four letter word meaning to applaud and add another word meaning to catch, net or snare

23a    Hired assassin? Good show, old boy! (6)
HITMAN: This good show is a commercial success in the same way that a best-selling single might be. The old boy is simply what we call an adult male. Together they form the name commonly used for hired guns.

26a    Two support the Church (5)
BRACE: This term meaning a pair is formed by our usual crosswordland support for ladies breasts and the initial letters of the C(hurch) of E(ngland)

27a    Appear to relish swallowing a double (9)
LOOKALIKE: A doppelganger. The clue is another charade. Take a term meaning having the appearance of and insert the letter A from the clue

28a    Insured drivers prefer to avoid backing like this (11)
ENDORSEMENT: This note on a driving licence recording the penalty points incurred for a driving offence is not the preferred option for motorists. I have none on my licence at the moment. The last one I incurred for speeding caused a great deal of mirth in the courtroom and great leniency from the magistrate who was at the time The Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire


1d    Breathless piper lacking expression (7)
DEADPAN: Breathless here means no longer alive. The piper is one of Greek mythology

2d    Current rock player (5)
ACTOR: The current is alternating. The rock is a hill or rocky peak. The player is that Cumberbatch fellow. He is there everywhere I look. Please make him go away. It is like Simply Red’s first album. It was on every advertising hoarding and in every paper and magazine. Mick Hucknall’s face everywhere you looked ad infinitum ad nauseum and when I got sickest of seeing it I went to work at Warwick University and there he was standing in front of me. So I told him how sick of the sight of him I was and could he please sit in the dressing room until the gig was over. What a great bloke he turned out to be. Simply Red played Warwick University Students Union three times and we spent many happy hours together.

3d    No degrees at this London university? (9)
GREENWICH: The place in London on the prime meridian where longitude begins and ends. A beautiful place it is too.

4d    Drawn and knotted (4)
TIED: A double definition. Drawn refers to equal scores in a sporting contest.

5d    Meal done, ordered a drink (8)
LEMONADE: Anagram (ordered) of MEAL DONE will give this refreshing summery drink. Throw some Pimms in with Ice, Cucumber, Strawberry, Orange and Mint, Nothing else.

6d    Plate of fish (5)
SCALE: The small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another. Not Skate, it fits but it is wrong.

7d    It’s divine embracing girl in time off (7)
HOLIDAY: Place a girl’s name inside a word that means divine. Simple. Well not really. We have no clue or hint to the girl’s name. How many girl’s names are there? To compound the difficulty no girl has been Christened with this name in the UK for the last hundred years it might be popular in Poland though. Anyway Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a comic opera about a princess with this name. Its alternative title is Castle Adamant

8d    Fabric is produced for ready money only (8)
CASHMERE: This fine soft goats wool can be got by putting a word for ready money before a word meaning only

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d    Reckless injunction to keep increasing the rent (8)
TEARAWAY: The rent here is a rip as in ripping paper or cloth. The injunction is an offer to carry on ripping to your hearts content. The clue is easier to solve than to parse

16d    Kill dead, accepting one pound (9)
LIQUIDATE: Place a slang term for one pound sterling inside an adverb meaning no longer living.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Said sale is fixed and charged (8)
ASSAILED: Anagram (is fixed) od SAID SALE

18d    Outlaw to fight for food for children (4,3)
TUCK BOX: This outlaw is one of Robin Hood’s merry men. Add a word meaning to fight as in a ring under the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

20d    Mid-evening in days before Easter can be quite mild (7)
LENIENT: Place the middle three letters of the word evENIng inside the fasting period before Easter.

22d    Note about fringe subject (5)
THEME: Place the seventh note of the tonal scale around a noun meaning the fringe or edge of a piece of material that has been turned under and sewn

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d    Name I made up for a US State (5)
MAINE: Anagram (made up) of NAME I

25d    Steal up around a wild beast (4)
BOAR: Invert (up in a down clue) a verb meaning to take property unlawfully around the A from the clue.

Solved and reviewed listening to the music of Bob Segar, Bessie Smith, David Bowie and T Rex. Nothing from this century then.

The Quick Crossword pun: high+pot+inn+use=hypotenuse

69 comments on “DT 27876

  1. Terrific! Just enough food for thought and some nicely testing clues. Such a relief after yesterday’s horror. East was more straightforward than the West. 9a came immediately to mind and then parsed it (without reference to MP’s spiel!). Liked 1d. Thanks Mr. Ron and MP. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. Quickie pun is fun too.

  2. 1*/4* for a joyful puzzle. Light and fun throughout.

    The only clue which slowed me down was 6d for which I had convinced myself that “skate” was correct using the logic that the blade of an ice-skate is called a skate and the blade is a flat piece of metal which is one of the definitions of plate. I much prefer the right answer as given by MP above.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP (whom I thought of immediately I solved 1a).

    1. But where is the cryptic in 6d? That’s what I can’t see. It reads more like a simple definition.

  3. Oh I did enjoy this one – 2*/4* seems good to me.
    Certainly needed a few penny drop moments for the likes of 18a,6&14d, but otherwise all went quite smoothly.
    Plenty for the podium today – 15,19&28a plus 1,6&16d. Think I’ll give the honours to 28a.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to our favourite publican. One out of three for the ‘clips’ MP!

  4. Enjoyed this and was a gentle introduction to the week. Clever word play in some. Quite a few old chestnuts I think.


    Thanks MP and setter.

  5. Mondays are my favourite day of the week – 2 Rufuses (DT & Grauniad, the Quiptic, the FT & the Rookie then the unique humour of MP.

    MP – thanks for the clip at 16d now how about thjs? I was looking for my braces & Doc Martens!

    1. The first time I’ve heard this version of Elizabethan Serenade by the much underrated and overlooked Ronald Binge, but the original is infinitely better!

      1. I don’t know why but listening to Ronald Binge made me think of this….back in the days when I was not out of short trousers & would rush my tea so I could watch this…it’s in black & white because nobody had colour tellies in 1965

        1. We must be of a similar age – I remember this with great affection (usually shown on BBC1 in the mornings during the summer holidays), and the theme is superbly evocative.

          I seem to recall it was originally in German but dubbed into English.

          1. For some reason I think it was on after Blue Peter on a Monday – I think you may have watched the repeat in 1970 or 1971 as there was no morning tv during the school hols that I remember – having said that my memory has probably been affected by copious amounts of 1A over the years…

      2. I’ve just listened to Boris’s version (about 20 seconds worth!).What a load of rubbish it was. Definitely for those who don’t recognise good music when they hear it.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  6. I thought it a little harder than usual and slightly less fun. It must be me.
    I liked 27a and 23a among others.
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

    1. No I don’t think this was just you. I usually love Monday puzzles, but found this one just a tad more tricky than usual, though when I got the answers, I don’t quite know why. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypops.

        1. Una, like you and Sheila P, I had a little trouble with it as well, but got there in the endhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  7. Splendid stuff from Rufus. Maybe it’s just me having been away for nearly three weeks but this seemed a more enjoyable puzzle that usual.

    We got 8 acrosses and then 14 downs on first pass so we’ll give it */**** with 6d favourite,13a and 15a on the podium and 7d least liked. I hate clues where girl (or boy) is used to mean you need to think of a name.

    Anyone want to hazard a guess at what the word INSURED is doing in 28a? It seems totally irrelevant to me.

    Many thanks to Rufus and MP.

    1. “Insured” is relevant because an endorsement would affect a drivers insurance premium.

      1. Correct. But the clue still works perfectly without the word so it shouldn’t be there

    2. Good to see you back, Pommers. Now, the burning question is – did the supply of liquid refreshment last for the entire fishing trip? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. The booze lasted out because of change of plan. Friends are in the process of buying an apartment on Phuket so we went there for a few days and only spent two on the boat. I can now say I have eaten Khow Phat on an island called Phuket (say it as homophones and you’ll see what I mean).

        We did visit the island where “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed – and guess what’s on ITV4 at the moment?

        1. Ah – I guess that was just about enough booze for two days!
          Certainly sounds as though you made the most of your time away – hope you enjoyed it.

  8. I was slow to get going but I often am on Mondays – 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I failed completely with 6d and had skate even though I had no idea why – not surprising really – wrong!
    I also failed with 2d – oh dear – this is not a good start to the week.
    I liked 13 and 27a and 18d. My favourite was 21a and I liked the quickie pun too.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.
    Raining in Oxford – that means that I can do Mr Rookie and the NTSPP that I didn’t have time for at the weekend with a clear conscience. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Mea culpa also with skate – have only just realised the error of my ways! – but it seems we are not alone!

    2. Yes, I had skate too, it was the only thing I could think of. Otherwise pretty straightforward.

  9. 28a was a total bung in for me as I could not make sense of the first part of the clue. Only the backing bit made it obvious.
    I thought 13a was great. So was 3d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    I totally agree. Lemonade is not lemonade without a bit of Pimms.

      1. William Clarke stand last Thu at Trent Bridge. Non alcohol stand. The most annoying woman in her fifties with mummy and daddy, I kid you not, sat directly behind me, said how fun to get the Pimms and wine in despite the bag searchers. On phone to her son she said Daddy has bought a new panama hat but we are sat near an oik in a baseball hat. Oik in a baseball hat politely summoned stewards just as their plates were so full of picnic food didn’t have time to hide the bottles. And relax, smile and wave at the protestations…..and enjoyed a few 1a at the vat and fiddle waiting for the train home.

        1. We’ll done Andy. Castle Rock in Vat And Fiddle is a fine choice. I like their other pub in Nottingham The Keanes Head ( I think )

          1. We nipped to the Stratford Haven at Lunch, also a Castle Rock pub, a nice drop of Elsie Mo….

  10. */****

    Lovely jubbly. Rufus Mondays are the perfect start to the week and a great way to stop me feeling like a 13a.

    No hold-ups really. Pencils used for anagrams.

    I’ve had plenty of 28a. All gone from my license now. Speeding school is not fun. Incidentally 28a is my favourite clue. Although 1a and 23a gave it a run for its money.

    Beautiful day here, as it was yesterday when we got to spend it in Rosedale.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for a blog as good as the crossword. Is that one of your 1a?

    1. No Hanni. It was one I bought elsewhere. I thought I was posting a Pint of Tribute on one the benches at the front of the pub. Obviously not.

      1. The OH drank lots of real ales sat outside the pub yesterday. The real ales made his head hurt this morning.

  11. Bit of a write in except for 6d which after much thought I fell into the skate trap!, never mind, worth a second * enjoyable to boot **/****thanks setter and Miffypops.

  12. ***/****

    would have been **/**** but needed the hint for 6D

    several very good clues, I thought

  13. Great stuff as ever from Rufus, but I have a couple of minor quibbles this time.

    1. Big Dave makes clear in his Pedant’s Guide (select tab under “Cryptic Crosswords” above) that the “race meeting” in 9a is not a race but actually a time-trial. Does adding the word “meeting” get round this?

    2. Chambers suggests that 23a is not a single word, but two separate words, or at worst hyphenated.

    3d is brilliant and gains my favourite nomination.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  14. Mondays are my favourite day of the crossword week lovely Rufus crossword and Miffypops in the review chair. I have had to stop myself from reading MPs before I do the crossword. Today I worked upwards as always with down clues than downwards with acrosses, no electronic help today but pencil for anagrams I am a happy old lady and the quickie pun added to my joy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    1. Thanks to Rufus and the poorly schooled orphan boy – I can hear the violins in the background – from a poorly educated orphan girl.

  15. Fairly straightforward but enjoyable nonetheless. After getting 19a and 18d, I thought we might have been heading for a pangram – didn’t appear though. Like many others having got 1a straightaway – led me to think of that poorly schooled orphan boy. I’ll go for 18a as my favourite for today.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and Miffypops for his review. As I’m in the blogging chair for this Friday’s puzzle, I hope that the Don is in a benign mood http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  16. This was typical Rufus, and, as usual, I was dead on wavelength.
    Like many others, not surprisingly, I also had “skate” for 6d.
    I thought there were so many clever clues, but I think 3d takes the prize; it took me a long time to tumble to the fact that it was NOT an anagram of “no degrees”, thick or what.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his review and the right answer for 6d.

  17. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable start to the week. Was beaten by the last word of 18d. I thought 3d was very clever, but my favourite by a mile was 9a. Was 2*/4* for me. Sun has come out in Central London.

  18. One of those puzzles that seems tricky whilst doing it but you look back and wonder why! Took ages to get going (thx for anagrams) and by the time it was complete, I wondered why my brain hurt!
    I agree with MP that 9a is a super clue and I also liked 11a and 15a. Last in was 22d, could see the answer but I always forget about that pesky tonic scale!
    Thx to all.

  19. This puzzle was going very well until I came to complete stop with 6d (which I guessed, correctly it turns out, but didn’t write in), 14d, 18d, 26a and 28a remaining so not a very auspicious start to the week here.

    Having looked at the hints above I see that I did have the solution for 14d – I’m not at all convinced by that clue – and correctly guessed the first part of 18d but had not heard that expression.

    Three/three for me.

    1. Those of us us who were packed up and shipped to boarding school every term will be familiar with 18d. A welcome treat from school-catered slops!

  20. 23a. I wrote in the correct answer, even though I thought the “good show” was ITMA, and couldn’t work out the significance of HN. Showing my age. I remember my shock when my father told me that Tommy Handley had died.

    1. Thanks for that Robin.
      I’m a sucker for British comedy.
      Found that on the web: Great stuff.

      1. And thank you for the link, Jean-Luc. Somewhere I have the souvenir script for the last ITMA, but hadn’t heard it since the original broadcast, 66 years ago.

      2. That led me to Frank Randle’s Hamlet ‘Silliloquy’

  21. Nice start to the week but a little more difficult and very enjoyable ? **/****. I managed without the hints (he said smugly) but was grateful to MP for the great explanation to 9a Thank you! And thanks to the setter ?

  22. No problems with this one. Some really nice clues, 1d, 14d, 18a & 9a to name but a few. Like some others, the only glitch was 6d for which, like others I had skate rather than scale…… It does fit and one could reasonably argue that an iceskate blade is a plate, and a skate is a plate ( dish) of fish, but scale is neater. Anyway, didnt need the hints for any of the others, so 1*/3* from me. Thanks to setter and to MP.

  23. My usual late Monday response. The general tone of my fellow contributors seems to be a comfortable start to the week which I endorse. Good honest clueing and fairly straightforward to solve. Thanks to our setter and MP for his excellent review. 2/3.

  24. Great fun: not difficult, but thoroughly entertaining. 1*/4*, and quite a choice for top clue. After much thought l have decided to plump for 16d. Thanks to Rufus for a delightful start to my puzzling week, and to Miffypops for a typically readable review.

  25. Good stuff that all fitted together without too much of a fight.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  26. Not an auspicious start to the week for me! 6d… D’oh! Wrong! And for some reason 18d ditto! Everything else was fine but I went awol with those two. Ah well, the week will get better….. maybe.
    Fave 3d and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP for sorting me out…

  27. Liked the crossword, which had some nice highlights. Loved the review which contained even more to enjoy.

    I will skate over 6d, since that’s what I did earlier :(.

    Re the hint for 15a – according to the dictionary, the mister comes between the mistress and the mattress.

    Thanks to Rufus and Popsymiff.

  28. Like many of us got skate for 6d otherwise an enjoyable start of the week so many thanks to Rufus and to MP for his excellent intro to the review. 2*/4* with too many great clues to be able to choose a favourite.

  29. Thanks very much Rufus and Miffypops for another great start to the week/end to the weekend. I hope 1a was written with you in mind. Favourite was 13a, reminiscent of Doctor in the House. MP, you may have a 27a. Last week some had signed the lift by Dunelm with Smiffy.D. Thanks for the hint for 22d.

  30. Well, I hope you’ve all been good while I was away. After eight days away on the crossword free boat (84 miles, 88 double locks) I feared my solving lobe might have seized up, but this enjoyable Rufus was a straightforward return to the puzzling world. I liked 9a, 12a, 27a and 28a, but 16d really got the endorphins flowing. Many thanks to Rufus for welcoming me back and to MP for a rib-tickling review. I’m intrigued to know what occurred in the magistrates’ court to spark such mirth. When I was hauled before the county court for non-payment of income tax which I didn’t owe, the judge threw the case out in less than five minutes and the young lady lawyer from the Inland Revenue (as it was then) burst into tears. I was the only one laughing.

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