DT 27888 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27888

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27888

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.

Last night in order to remind myself how much I dislike TV I watched the “must see” programme about Whales. What a padded out self-indulgent programme it was. I think there was about ten minutes of interest and the rest was all about the presenters (Look at me. Look at me) and how clever the technology was. I may never watch TV again. [Having watched a previous series that was ruined by Liz Bonnin, Mrs BD and I gave this one a wide berth – sounds like we were right. BD]

It is said that if an infinite number of monkeys sat pounding away at an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite number of years one of them would type out the complete works of Shakespeare. That may be so but before that happened, one of them would write the words “Hey Hey we’re The Monkeys” I have a CD in my collection of whales communicating. It is called “Hey Hey We’re The Minkies”

Les Mis was on later so I went down the road to enjoy beer in another pub. Anne Hathaway’s performance was always going to win a well-deserved Oscar. Gavroche should have been drowned at birth.

Todays puzzle contained no anagrams in the across clues which pleased me. I thought it was a bit of a stinker to say the least.

Below are my hints and tips to DT cryptic puzzle No 27,888 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    He sees the benefit of great works (13)
INDUSTRIALIST: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and even good old Bill Gates are examples of these men who profit from the work of many in factories, design studios and offices. This clue normally starts with an Indian river followed by those vying for selection in a sporting team

10a    Uniform for a soldier (7)
REGULAR: A double definition the second being a permanent member of the armed forces

11a    Storm ruined a party (7)
TORNADO: The past participle of tear (ruined) is followed by A from the clue and our regular crosswordland two lettered term for a party.

12a    Beaten by a single stroke (4)
ACED: To have scored a point at tennis with an unreturned successful serve

13a    Double issue (5)
TWINS: Issue also means children. These are two born at the same time.

14a    Penalty for striking (4)
FINE: A double definition. What one might receive for speeding perhaps

17a    His view of immortality led to his own mortality (7)
ACTAEON: A hunter who, because he accidentally saw Artemis bathing, was changed by her into a stag and killed by his own hounds.

18a    This person gives a thrashing, one hears, and a pupil’s under it (7)
EYELASH: Awkward clue of the day for parsing. The pupil is the one you use to see with. The first three letters are a homophone based on the word I (this person). The last four letters are clued by the words “gives a thrashing”.

19a    Bottles which don’t split? (4,3)
DEAD MEN: These bottles have had their contents emptied and are referred to by the same term as those who tell no tales (split or grass up) because they are deceased

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

22a    Composer goes to court for judgment (7)
VERDICT: This Italian composer married a grocers daughter. Our usual abbreviation for court follows it

24a    A footnote at end of service in part of church (4)
APSE: A from the clue. P(ost) S(cript) and the end of (service)E

25a    Now and again (5)
TWICE: Do something once, do it once more, you have now done it *****

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

26a    Slight  legato effect (4)
SLUR: A double definition. A slight is an insinuation or allegation about someone that is likely to insult them or damage their reputation.

29a    A noble estate (7)
EARLDOM: The estate of a British nobleman of a rank below that of marquis and above that of viscount

30a    Sicilian port  wine (7)
MARSALA: This port in Sicily is also the name of a wine from the same region

31a    Charm and wealth that buys one’s way in (8,5)
ENTRANCE MONEY: To charm as a verb followed by what constitutes financial wealth will be the price of admission to an event


2d    Caught in gentle frolicking and forgetfulness (7)
NEGLECT: Unusually and thankfully our first anagram of the day (frolicking) of GENTLE around C(aught)

3d    Fruit, nothing like a peach, we hear (4)
UGLI: This Jamaican citrus fruit provides a homophone to the opposite of a peach or a beauty

4d    Move to continue playing football, or concede defeat (5-2)
THROW-IN: A method of restarting a football match after the ball has gone out of the field of play is also what a boxers second might do with a towel to give up the fight

5d    Concentrated on treating tennis elbow initially (7)
INTENSE: Anagram (treating) of TENNIS and E(lbow)

6d    Gracious, that’s an uncommon chap (4)
LORD: Gracious here is an exclamation. This chap is not a commoner. He is a member of the nobility.

7d    Power at mains switches (7)
STAMINA: Anagram (switches) of AT MAINS

8d    Stir food (5,3,5)
BREAD AND WATER: What one in stir (prison) is said to eat and drink

9d    Fail to cotton on (4,3,6)
LOSE THE THREAD: be unable to follow what someone is saying or remember what one is going to say next.

15d    Groups of mates (5)
TEAMS: This all in one clue is an anagram with a very unusual indicator (of) of MATES

16d    Information about art form (5)
GENRE: Two crosswordland staples here. A short word for information followed by our usual two letters meaning about or concerning

20d    One set off but got no place (4-3)
ALSO RAN: A horse finishing outside the first three in a race

21d    All points identified chap as a journalist (7)
NEWSMAN: The four points of the compass followed by a chap or fellow

22d    Bad habit in which Tom gets dressed up as French aristocrat (7)
VICOMTE: Anagram (gets dressed up) of TOM inside an immoral or wicked personal characteristic.

23d    Reputation for enjoying poor health? Shame! (3,4)
ILL FAME: A weakish cryptic definition – the reputation of enjoying poor health. Thank you Big Dave

27d    Find love on the German river (4)
ODER: The letter representing the love score in tennis match and the German for “the” lead to this European river

28d    Famous ship with a right to set sail (4)
ARGO: Jason’s ship A from the clue R(ight) followed by a verb meaning to leave or depart

What a little blighter that was. For once I have set the star ratings.

The Quick Crossword pun: pick+adore=picador


90 comments on “DT 27888

  1. I really liked this one. **/**** for me. Some of it was read and write but there were some tricky ones too. Plenty of gentle misdirection and humour which we come to expect on a Monday. I know I’ve seen 8d before but I’d forgotten it and it made me chuckle. Last in was 17a – thanks to Pears Encyclopaedia for helping me reacquaint myself with Ovid’s peeping Tom. That’ll teach him!

    Many thanks to Rufus for an entertaining interlude and to MP for the review

  2. Needed confirmation for 12a, apart from that everything else straightforward. Recall seeing 8d before but it still raised a smile.
    **/**** for me. Thanx to compiler and Miffypops for the review.

  3. Did not get 12 across so thanks for the help. Sorry to sound a ‘know all’ but I got Actaeon straightaway because I know the story and feel he was very badly treated. In the story he is very tired after a day’s hunting and quite by accident stumbles on Diana. He was not a peeping Tom! I think in modern terms you might say her response was disproportionate!!

  4. Excellent puzzle many thanks to Miffypops and compiler no favourite clues as all pretty good. I thoroughly agree with Miffypops, thank goodness 3 weeks telly free, sailing the Greek Islands.
    Thanks also to Big Dave for a cracking site.

  5. **/****

    Trickier than a normal Monday and better for it.

    Didn’t like 13 and 30a. A little weak. 19a was my last in. Liked 18a.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for blogging.

  6. First crossword in three weeks after enjoying Greek sun, sand, seafood and ouzo.

    Thanks miffypops for explaining 19a which had eluded me.

    My favourite was 30a since for thirty years I have been a regular at conferences in Erice, Sicily (near Marsala). We always had two barrels of the stuff on free tap in the “Marsala room”, where not surprisingly most of us partied in the evenings.

    For 5d I tried hard to use TE for tennis elbow initially and enjoyed a duh moment when the penny dropped. I liked the two long cd’s (8d and 9d) but had to look up 17a (immortality and mortality) which I thought was a rather oblique reference.

    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops

    1. Glad to see you back here – Greek sun, sand and seafood sounds wonderful – not so sure about the ouzo and you didn’t mention the most important thing for me – the sea.

  7. Definitely trickier than usual – at least 3* and 3* for enjoyment too.
    I never did get 17a – it’s the kind of clue I don’t like – not because I couldn’t do it but more because you either know it or you don’t (or you’ve forgotten it) but there’s nothing to work it out from.
    Apart from 9d all the long answers took me ages, as did 19 and 25a.
    I liked 5 and 23d. My favourite was 13a.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  8. Agree with Williamus today that it was a mixture of read and write with some very tricky clues thrown in for good measure.I am surprised that so far no one on the blog has mentioned 17A, regarding which I ask the question’ is it a cryptic clue, or just a different slant on a piece of Greek Mythology’ there is no way you could work the solution from the clue without having the requisite general knowledge-any thoughts? 19A was somewhat obscure and 23d a little ‘iffy’ Going for a ***/***,certainly differen t.Thanks Miffypops for the pics-loved 13A

    1. Forgot to mention that I totally agree with Miffypops re the ‘must see’ whale programme, it was dreadful and reached a peak, or should I say nadir ,when one of the presenters using a landing net, fished out a piece of floating debris , which turned out to be a large eye-as Frankie Howard would have said-I ask you ! The wife went ballistic.

    2. Totally agree, especially gk in a cryptic xword, I need to be able to work out the answer rather than scour Mr Google.

  9. I don’t think I have ever come across such an uninspiring crossword.
    I counted 9 ” all in one” and 5 “double def”.
    Extremely disappointed.
    No thanks to Rufus today.

      1. I thought it was just me. I’m not even in a bad mood.
        I even forgot to thank MP.
        Mind you that Bob Dylan. Does he really need a mouth as he sings through his nose.
        Now I am really going to be in the dog house.

  10. Yes, a bit tricky in places.

    My Greek mythology was lacking and I had to do a bit of research there.

    Then I bunged in 19a which was the only thing that I could make work given the cross check letters, but I had never heard of this term – then I was bamboozled by12a, which I am embarrassed to admit. I ran through the alphabet and still did not figure it out.

    But the rest, I found straightforward, so I am not sure how to rate the difficulty as it was all in a few spots. All the same, very enjoyable as usual.

    Thanks to MP for 12a! and to the setter of course.

  11. Re 9d , I always thought it was “loose the thread “, well, I must be wrong.
    I haven’t heard of 17a and was stumped by 12a.
    I loved 8d and 23a and lots of others.
    I couldn’t agree more about modern documentaries, Miffypops.It is like they think we have absolutely no concentration span and everything has to be repeated and summarized endlessly.And then there is the relentless left wing bias and cherry picking of evidence and opinions.
    Thank heavens for crosswords !
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  12. First read gave a non too favourable reaction but it gradually came together. It followed what has become the usual Monday pattern of not so easy puzzles. Still cannot see why Fine is Striking in 14a although it does appear as definition 18 in the electronic BRB. Not come across Actaeon before but the clue of the day for me was def 19a, so clever with a MinD for 31a, both real ‘smile’ clues.
    So for me ***/****
    Thx to all

  13. Ghastley! I had to resort to the hints to be able to finish this one……something I don’t often need to do. I didn’t enjoy this one bit! Since when has ‘ace’ been a verb, (12a)? Some very obscure clues which, even if one was a Classicist, I would be doubtful of solving (17a)! The only clue I really appreciated was 8d which raised a slight smile and which was very neat. This was not a good start to the week….lets hope to tomorrow brings something more enjoyable! 3*/1* thanks to MP for the hints which I really needed today and to the setter.

    1. You missed the final “m” from your e-mail address so went into moderation. You are now officially out of jail!

      1. Thanks Prolix. My name and email keep disapperaing so have to put it in each tome…hence more scope for error. Dont know why this is..I think my iPad has had an update and something has happened to cookies.

  14. Please thank Big Dave for the correct answers to 18 and 19 across. Without his help I would have led you farther up the garden path than is usual.

  15. I’m in the minority by the look of it, but no fun to be had here for me today. Completely wrong wavelength probably but most of this just felt like hard work. Putting “pairs” as the answer for 15d (how is “of” an anagram indicator?) also didn’t help with the obscure character at 17a who I ended having to to google.
    Sorry Rufus, but thanks for you efforts and Miffypops for the review.

    Did anyone hear Mephisto interviewed on the Radio 2 breakfast show this morning?

    1. I should have known this was a Rufus when 1ac was an effing 13 letter straight cryptic. You’d think that after years of struggling with this compiler, I’d have a better chance of doing his “read my mind” clues, but no. Also, 17ac?! Also, 19ac should have read “bottles which don’t spill”, which would have at least made sense. 4*/1*

  16. Though I always enjoy Rufus, today I found him not at his best. Such as the singular solution to 18a. How many of us have only one for the pupil to hide under? And 17a was too much of a GK. But enough of the beefing, I still liked much of the puzzle and I’m still a big Rufus fan

  17. East side was plain-sailing but West a bit more of a graft not helped by using royalty rather than a nobleman in 29a. Before turning to MP for17a hint I had tried to justify Antaean being the adjective from Antaeus who met his end via Hercules. I suppose 1a is OK but not sure about it. Altogether an entertaining journey. ***/****. Thank you Rufus and MP. (You certainly don’t mince your words in the introduction MP). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

  18. I’m uncertain what to say about today’s puzzle, so I will keep my trap shut. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Thanks to Rufus and the poorly schooled orphan boy (thought your picture at 13a was ace http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif)

  19. For 27 down I initially got Odie, in Canada. Which (as a European) is a far less well known river than the real answer. But I liked Garfield when I was a child and discovered the river when I looked up the name of his canine companion years ago. Sloppy work for a clue to give 2 possible answers

    1. I’m not sure whether you are a new commenter, or an old commenter with a slightly different alias and email address.

      Either way, if I had a £1 for all the times the real answer had appeared in crosswords, I certainly wouldn’t be still going to work.

  20. Marginally better than stomping around in the rain, l suppose. 2*/2.5* by my reckoning, and the LHS rather more difficult than the rest. That side contained my two top clues: 19a and 8d (both came to me accompanied by a “Doh!”). VMTs to Rufus and MP (the latter for a splendidly trenchant review).

  21. Much trickier with more General Knowledge than usual for a Rufus puzzle I thought. I didn’t know the expression for “bottles” in 19a, but at least I got the classical hunter in 12a.

    Very rare indeed to see four successive three letter clues (25a, 26a, 29a and 30a) – Ray T’s now seem very wordy by comparison!

    My personal favourite was 3d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops. (“Hey, hey we’re the Minkies” would definitely have appealed to Inspector Clouseau!)

  22. Started off fine but went downhill for me with quite a few clue/answers that I really didn’t like. 2.5*/2.5* for me.
    Best of the bunch were 31a,9&21d.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – loved the twins outfits!

  23. 2*/4* for me today. I couldn’t get the second word of 23d so many thanks to MP for seeking BD’s help on this one! My favourite was 13a – a great clue accompanied by a great picture.

    Many thanks too to Rufus, particularly for the commendable brevity.

    1. P.S. I am in Germany now for a few days, and completed this on the flight. Kath, permission requested please for leave of absence until Friday.

      1. At the risk of being pedantic (Moi?) aren’t you supposed to fill in the pink leave of absence form before you actually leave home??

      2. Oh dear – I’m not sure about permission in retrospect – CS is right – you should have filled in the required paper work before leaving. Now then – will you be allowed back in? Probably, otherwise we wouldn’t have a proper pedant here, and we really need one! Have fun! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  24. I found this extremely tricky, some way beyond my ken, e.g. 17a. It took way too long to tease the answers out from the clues, with much overuse of electronic gizmo.
    I rather liked 8d, short ‘n sweet!
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for the review.

  25. Is this the usual Monday setter? What a disappointing crossword for me. I like Mondays puzzles, but found this one difficult to get going and needed a bit of help to get started. Thank you to the setter and to Miffypops.

  26. Wasted a lot of time on the left hand side because I convinced myself that 15D (“Groups of mates”) was HAREM. Sometimes you miss the obvious stuff!

  27. I really did not enjoy this at all and had to resort to the hints far too soon for my liking,so my thanks to MP. But I concede that it was a very clever puzzle as always by Rufus.

  28. Definitely a ***/*** for me today. I agree with all the comments about 12a, I knew the story but couldn’t remember the man’s name but at least had something to go on, there was no way you could work it out from the clue alone. I liked 18a and 9d and had a sudden inspiration on 19a, not sure where it came from!

  29. An unusaul puzzle which I liked but came unstuck in the West so needed hints. Liked 11a,18a and 21d.

    3.5*/3* for me.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP

  30. I’m sure I liked most of it; unfortunately I can’t really remember that now after the last few clues left me feeling like a Brian on a RayT day. Thanks to MP for putting me out of my misery. The first few comments made me feel somewhat lonely, but I found some company on reading further. I’m in agreement with Kath et al about 17a, and also needed help with 19a and 23d.

    Many thanks to MP and thanks also to Rufus.

  31. That was indeed a stinker for a Monday! Didn’t like the clue to one across – could’ve done much better than that. And I thought some of the clues were stretching it a bit.

  32. Did not find it difficult, probably because I had three wrong! 12a, 17a – was it a cryptic clue or a general knowledge one? – I went for anthean! For 31a, my version was entrance power, thought it was a bit strange but so what! Many thanks to MP – loved your illustration for 13a! – and to Rufus. My favourite clue was 6d closely followed by 7d – short clues often cause me problems!

  33. We agree that it was more difficult than we are used to on a Monday but do not see that as a negative. Cleverly put together as usual and a lot of fun to solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  34. Not very inspiring today , no mirth and poor cluing: 13a was total GK ; how do you parse this ? Is 30a GK also ? : 19a and 23d very tame and if standing alone they would have been impossible to solve. Usually I enjoy Mondays puzzle but not today ***/*
    Thanks for the hints MP I needed a couple to help me finish

  35. Good evening all.

    A joint venture today as my sometime crossword accomplice was in the caff when I arrived.

    Between us we completed the puzzle in pretty short order. Left to my own devices I’d certainly not have solved 17a, 30a and 22d and there were several more that I may not have got.

    On that basis I’d have to say four stars for difficulty. I won’t give a rating for enjoyment as I only solved half dozen or so myself after two thirds of the grid had already been completed.

    I’m glad to read that I’m not alone in my opinion of television…

  36. Worked our way through this crossword on the Stansted Express, Ryan Air (which had to circle around for nearly an hour before we could land in stormy Genoa) and on the train to Riomaggiore (more than an hour late). We never completed it due to Actaeon, who we had never heard of. However, it helped to pass the time and we are very grateful to Rufus and to Miffypops for putting us out of our misery over 17a. Hoping for sunshine tomorrow. ***/****

  37. A curate’s egg of a puzzle this one – good in parts. Did this with son over dinner (well, it is a Monday night). Apart from the Classical answer requiring the knowledge – why not chuck in a general knowledge clue here and there? – and 19a, with 15d which arguably did not have an indicator. Thanks MP for your elucidations.

  38. I had to get help to get 17a – I blame the English Education system for turning out this ignoramus!

    Apart from that one I didn’t find it too difficult and really enjoyed it!

  39. Kath I’m submitting my papers, started work at the Peterborough Beer Festival on Saturday and don’t finish until Bank holiday Monday. Calling the annual dog sitting favours in big time. Shall be popping in to make sure everybody is behaving themselves though :)

    1. Andy. You need to visit The Long Itchington Beer Festival. One Village. Six Pubs Four Days. Real ales aplenty in all six very good pubs and a whole lot of entertainment. A real family event. First Mayday bank holiday weekend every year.

      1. Sounds brilliant Miiffs, as chief pot washer in staff kitchen am already frazzled. Last Saturday 125 volunteers , Sunday 150, today rain so guess what not so many, my helpers start tomorrow. Over 400 staff meals to get my crew to wash up for in morning , pots pans n ‘all. Oh I’m so glad today we did 1200 sausages and equivalent potatoes for bar snacks – trade day tomorrow, I vow never ever going to eat a sausage again, the trays… the trays. Have the consolation (sic) that the 4 pint carry outs (many) are piling up in the hallway :) :)

        1. Lucky you.
          I am the treasurer of the shopkeepers association as I previously mentioned, and when we organise something; we are lucky if we have a dozen volunteers.
          People down here think that, as they pay for a plethora of civil servants ( over 1000 in our town), it it them who should keep us amused. A no win situation really.
          I admire the effort everyone puts in for the success of your festival.

        2. I have similar feeling about vol-au-vents and sausage rolls. It’s been 15 years and the horror of making them still haunts me. In fact the vol-au-vents thing is verging on a phobia.

    2. Papers duly received – thanks andy. If you can’t make it in, for whatever reason ( http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif ) to check general behaviour then never fear – I’ll be here!

  40. 12 across was more suited to the Herculis Crossword (which should be replaced by another Toughie) can anyone offer acryptic solution?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  41. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very difficult, but enjoyable start to the week. Needed the hints for 1,17,19a and 5&22d. Id never heard of 17a or 22d. No real favorites. Was 4*/2* for me.

  42. I look forward to Rufus on a Monday, for his jolly clues and fun answers that slot neatly into place without raising too much of a sweat. This one, however, was untypical and left me wondering if it really was the great man. I didn’t enjoy it much, it was too mechanical without much to get the juices flowing. I agree with others that some of clues were, at best, tenuous; 19a, for example, which I bunged in because I knew that they were bottles, but forging the link with “tell no tales” was a step too far. Had to look up the peeping Tom hunter, as I can never spell him. I thought 23d was just bizarre. Still, some things to like, though: 8, 9 and 22d, for example. If I had to pick a winner, it would be 18a, which took me longer to get than it should have. Many thanks to MP, unneeded, but always enjoyed by the nation (and thanks for the Dylan, I’d not seen that clip before), and thanks to the setter, in the hope that you’ll lighten up next time

    1. I agree that this didn’t seem like a Rufus at all. Perhaps he’s on a well-deserved holiday. In which case, apologies may be due from certain quarters!

  43. ****/*. Very late in the day (probably your tomorrow) but not a very enjoyable puzzle. 17d takes the biscuit. Never less thanks to MP for the review and the setter for the brain fodder.

  44. Gosh, there were a few stinkers in this one. I just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. It all makes sense in the end (thank you bd).

    I’m with you on TV production. 10 minute of exposition, commercial break followed by recapitulation. Excuse me, but I have an attention span greater tha fish. I don’t need to be reminded of what I have just been told.

    It keeps production costs down, reusing material. Rant over.?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

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