DT 27894 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27894

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27894

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

The nights are drawing in, children across the land are sharpening their pencils as their parents count down the days on one hand, and here the rain is lashing down over the weekend which heralds the end of summer.  The spiders have taken note, and shortly before starting this review I encountered one such fearsome beast.  Shudder.

The crossword, however, contained nothing too scary – which was a big relief after last week.  It’s just Rufus doing what Rufus does best.  (Excepting anything he does better, of course.)

Definitions are underlined in the clues. If you want to see the actual answer then press ANSWER and all 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    Passages from bands without style (8)
GANGWAYS: Bands of people (delinquents perhaps) outside (without) a three-letter word meaning manner or method

6a    Work hard with an advertising jingle (6)
SLOGAN: A verb meaning work very hard followed by the AN from the clue

9a    Complete clothing for touring around, but not the North (3-3)
RIG-OUT: Rearrange TOURI[N]G without the N(orth)

10a    It’s under and over a country’s jurisdiction (8)
AIRSPACE: An area of atmosphere which is over a land but under its authority

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Escort‘s car phone broken (8)
CHAPERON: Anagram (broken) of CAR PHONE

12a    Polite request to cheer up (6)
PLEASE: This word used to make a request can also mean to give pleasure to

13a    Instruct the class and show up previous foolishness (5,1,6)
TEACH A LESSON: The first definition is what a teacher tries to do to a group of pupils.  The second is to bring home to a person or people their folly

16a    Start to speak – or dance (4,3,5)
TAKE THE FLOOR: To rise to address a meeting or to take part in a dance.  There are a few double definitions today which I’m struggling to find anything to add to

19a    Wells starts writing in sudden bursts of activity (6)
SPASMS: Wells – not H.G., but mineral springs.  After these, a two-letter abbreviation for some writing

21a    Start to teach (8)
INITIATE: To begin or to introduce someone to new knowledge, perhaps with a ritual

23a    Giving a prize for a fantastic drawing (8)
AWARDING: The A from the clue and then an anagram (fantastic) of DRAWING.  Do you remember when a man tried to get a prize of a kind for this drawing?


24a    How one feels, left in the dark? (6)
GROPES: I spent ages trying to put an L in here.  Grr.  The answer is more straightforward: it is simply how someone feels their way when there is no light to see by.  I’m usually quite happy to wander about in darkness at home but under terror of the eight-legged menace, it’s all lights on and eyes peeled for the foreseeable future

25a    Crunchy and unusually spicy? That’s about right (6)
CRISPY: Anagram (unusually) of SPICY about R(ight).  I am so jittery that even the answer to this clue seems to be describing those creatures.  What it usually brings instantly to mind however is duck.  Delicious duck…

26a    They may be left in river beds or banks (8)
DEPOSITS: The first definition is of residues left in a river bed.  The answer can also be things left in bank accounts, but I’ve gone for the second definition being a verb meaning puts money into a bank account


2d    Settle a solution in the crossword (6)
ALIGHT: To come to rest: the A from the clue and then a crossword answer, as referenced in Big Dave’s tagline above

3d    Clique grow up out West (5)
GROUP: Remove (out) W(est) from the remaining part of the clue

4d    Consequences of working at the farm (9)
AFTERMATH: Anagram (working) of AT THE FARM.  Did you know that the last four letters are a dialect word meaning a mowing?  You learn these things when you miss an easy anagram!

5d    Reliable  act to stop bleeding (7)
STAUNCH: With the two definitions underlined you shouldn’t need extra verbiage from me

6d    Security device breaks up (5)
STRAP: A word for breaks or separates is reversed (up, in a down clue) to give a strip of material used to secure or fasten

7d    In Tempest, Prospero’s a tyrant (9)
OPPRESSOR: In Tempest here is an anagram indicator.  PROSPERO S is the fodder.  Go find that tyrant

8d    Get used to current practice (8)
ACCUSTOM: A type of electric current (that which you get from the mains rather than a cell) followed by a usual usage or practice

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d    Values a rest and rues being disturbed (9)
TREASURE: A REST and RUES are anagrammed (being disturbed) to form a verb meaning prize or esteem

14d    What is a star-gazer doing  using a reference book? (7,2)
LOOKING UP: Again, with the two definitions given there’s not much I can add

15d    Workforce of isle authority (8)
MANPOWER: Follow crosswordland’s favourite three-letter isle with an authority

17d    Bang on in style? (7)
FRINGED: The style of wearing a bang (I’d have said bangs, but Chambers is happy for it to be used in the singular)

18d    Confirm where cricket fans may be found (6)
ATTEST: Affirm or bear witness too.  Split the answer (2,4) to find those cricket fans


20d    Shy about being popular, but bright (5)
SHINY: Another instance where most of the letters can be lifted straight from the clue.  The first word in the clue around (about) a word meaning popular

22d    One studies images (5)
ICONS: The roman numeral for one followed by a verb meaning studies.

Thanks to Rufus for this ray of sunshine which the clouds could not obscure.

I hope you are having a lovely bank holiday weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  Do leave a comment with your thoughts on the crossword – or anything else!

The Quick Crossword pun: cygnet+wring=signet ring

95 comments on “DT 27894

  1. Hiya. Number of Puzzle different to that in the paper? My paper said 27,894. Good puzzle but just wanted to check a couple of answers.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ian. I’d updated the number of the puzzle everywhere except the main title. Oops! It’s correct now.

  2. I made the same mistake as you, Kitty, with 24a. I should have got the ‘L’ out of it. That made a relatively straightforward 1 for difficulty into a 3 if I”m honest because of the disproportionate amount of time spent on this, my last answer. So 3/3 for me. Thanks all round.

  3. **/**

    would have been */**, but I had never heard of the definition in 17D

    seemed to be many double meanings-liked 18D

    hints appreciated

  4. 4*/4*. This was like a roller coaster ride, although with the usual benefit of hindsight it is hard to see why I found some parts so difficult. Possibly because I have a bit of a hangover today after a rather late night.

    As usual I started in the NW corner and on my first pass I had not a single answer in the top half. After that the SW corner went straight in as R&W with the SE taking a little longer (apart from 24a which I didn’t manage to solve before I read Kitty’s excellent review, and, yes, I tried to fit an L in too). The top half then yielded slowly taking my total time up to 4*. Nevertheless all the usual Rufus elements made this a very enjoyable solve on a dull wet Bank Holiday Monday here in London.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Kitty.

  5. I found very little to like about this crossword except 18d which does at least have the merit of mentioning cricket. I found it a dreary slog matching today’s weather! Finished in 3* time and still don’t understand 2d.
    Thx to kitty

    1. At least I agree with you about the cricket, enhanced by Kitty’s impeccable choice of pictures to illustrate 18d.

      1. Agreed. We’re off to Lord’s on Saturday for the second ODI. Not real cricket, as in 18d, but good fun nonetheless.

  6. Hello Kitty.
    Nice to see you on the blog again.
    Pretty straightforward Monday Rufus.
    Not keen on the all in one in 24a but apart from that very enjoyable.
    I also thought that 10a should be the other way round. Makes more sense to me.
    Thanks to Rufus and to kitty for the review.

    1. Nice to be here, Jean-Luc. MP originally offered me last week, but I have a lot more time on bank holidays, so opted for today instead. And boy am I glad I did :).

      I agree with you about 10a.

      1. I think it works fine the way it is – the answer is both under a country’s jurisdiction and over (above) a country.

  7. Thanks Kitty – a good challenge for a Monday. Still confused by 2d – Why is a “light” a crossword answer?

    1. The ‘lights’ in a crossword are the bits where you write the letters of the answer. Have a look right at the top of the page.

      1. I too thought they were the squares in which you filled the answers, but I looked it up in the BRB and apparently they are the answers themselves (or sometimes an individual letter).

        1. I give in – unlike you I didn’t have the sense to look it up to check in BRB. Actually, I’ll be honest – I did look it up in BRB but there was so much ‘stuff’ under ‘light’ that I got bored – attention span of a gnat as I’ve said before! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

          1. It makes much more sense to me for them to be the light squares (as opposed to the dark ones) that the letters of the answers go into – but I don’t write the dictionary.

            1. Kitty – I wholeheartedly agree with you – makes much more sense. But then how do the spaces that we write the solutions in become solutions themselves – pedant of the week speaking !!

        2. Whilst you all have your BRBs to hand can you all look up anagrammed and anagramaticised. I prefer the latter.

          1. Anagram (as a verb) means the same as anagrammatize or anagrammatise. Which you prefer is a matter of taste.

  8. I was not very inspired completing this puzzle. Seemed a bit flat – or maybe that is just me today.

    2*/3* for me.

    Thanks for the blog and puzzle as usual.

  9. Well I started well on this one but then stuck in the NE corner and having made some errors ended up with all sorts of strange answers. The hints rescued me on 10a and the rest went in ok after that. Never heard of 17d and did the same as some re 24a. A lot of time spent getting nowhere on some meant a more difficult and less enjoyable score from me today. Maybe it’s the wet holiday Monday syndrome.

    All in all 3*/2.5*

    Thanks to setter and Kitty.

  10. No real pain here but grateful for a couple of pointers from Kitty as I have things to do. Initially being gloomy in 24a didn’t help matters. Liked 26a. The isle in 15d does seem to make frequent appearances – I have been thinking of alternative indicators for that 3-letter word. Thanks Mr. Ron for an unchallenging Bank Holiday exercise and Kitty for aiding my passage. **/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  11. I’m glad I wasn’t alone in falling for the misdirection in 24a and looking for a missing “L” that didn’t exist.

    Apart from the NE corner, everything else went in fairly smoothly, and the solve was a pleasant distraction to the awful Bank Holiday weather in London. Those involved in the Notting Hill Carnival must be resembling drowned rats….

    Like Kitty, I’ve also noticed that the spider population outside is now beginning to seek refuge indoors, but I’m assured by someone who knows about these things that they don’t live that long, and normality should be restored fairly soon!

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Kitty.

    1. The one that I encountered certainly didn’t live very long. Sorry, spider, but it was your life or (what remains of) my sanity.

      1. I have a two foot metal ruler that I use to teach these spiders a lesson – everyone tells me that they’re harmless but I can’t get that into my head!

        Thwack!! Job done! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. Oh, dear. The shortcut I posted to Boris the Spider by The Who on YouTube seems to have disappeared…

                … another spider bites the dust!

        1. Oh no! Please dont kill them…they are harmless….the old proverb goes:

          ‘If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive’

          Mind you, I have a resident spider hunter at home…….my cat. I sometimes have to rescue said critters from his clutches!

          1. I’m not scared of them but I’m very careful – you wouldn’t say they were harmless if you’d ever been bitten by one.

            1. Hi Kitty, maybe, but they don’t come looking for you to bite. Surely they only do that in self defence if disturbed…so are quite innocent of any malice!!?? Not like wasps which are positively vengeful and seek you out to sting……the bad boys of the insect kingdom!

              1. Hi Liz. I agree: spiders are just creatures doing their thing. I don’t harm them out in the wild but when they come into the house I’m afraid I do my cowardly human thing and dispatch them as quickly as I can. Evicting them doesn’t seem to work: they just come back again. I’m too scaredy-cat not to do that.

            2. Well, re that spider bite, I did considerably more harm to it physically than it did to me.

              It was most odd. I was laying in bed minding my own business when I felt a gentle tickle on my chest. I thought it was a strand of hair and brushed it aside. Again, a tickly sensation. I brushed at it once more and felt a sharp pinch. Instinctively I swatted and there was a tiny dead spider. It left a small mark on me but a much big(ger) desire to avoid touching any more of those creatures.

  12. Hi Kitty, nice to see you back in the chair.
    Just about pushed into 2* time as I was another trying to fit ‘L’ into 24a and also had a bit of a dither over 1a&2d. I was thinking of the wrong sort of passages for 1a and couldn’t quite believe 2d was that simple.
    Thought of RD with 18d but couldn’t fit any sort of ‘event alcohol provider’ into the answer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif
    Liked 6a plus 14&15d.

    Thanks to Rufus and special thanks to Kitty for the blog. Enjoyed the 8d clip and was amazed by the one at 10a. The drawing at 23a is just about my level of artistic talent – must try out the theory sometime!
    By the way – thought your clue for 12a was most restrained – for you, that is. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    1. Nice to be here, Jane. Being a holiday I am free all day and MP has more on than usual.

      Restrained? Always! Well, at least when writing above the comment line. There was a 6d in the puzzle to help. Other temptations which I successfully resisted could be found in 1, 6, 11, 19, 24 and 26 across and 17 down. More, with just a little imagination.

  13. I’ll go for 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment too.
    This one felt like a bit of a funny mixture of the very easy and the very devious.
    Like others I was completely fooled by 24a – spent a little while trying to justify ‘gloomy’ but that just wouldn’t work.
    I was very slow to get 1 and 10a – don’t know why – just was.
    I liked 10a (eventually) and 21a and 4d. My favourite was 17d.
    Thanks to Rufus and thanks and well done to Kitty. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    The reason that 17d was my favourite was because it reminded me of one of my loveliest friends – our Lambs were the same age which is how we got to know each other. If one of her two was poorly she always used to feel their foreheads to see if they felt hot and had a temperature. One night her younger one went in and woke her up saying, “Mummy feel me – I think I’ve got a fringe!”
    Pouring with rain again – going to try NTSPP.

  14. Lovely puzzle. Enjoyable solve. Exceptional blog with wonderful illustrations. I too tried to use an L where an L was not needed. 1ac and 17d last ones in for no good reason Thank you for the morning off Kitty. Saint Sharon has enjoyed a fine morning.

  15. I didn’t like 24a, according to crossword land L should have been within the clue

    1. If only life were that simple. The best advice came from Afrit in his Armchair Crosswords – “You need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean.” which he expanded as “He (the setter) may attempt to mislead by employing a form of words which can be taken in more than one way, and it is your fault if you take it the wrong way, but it is his fault if you can’t logically take it the right way.”

  16. Those of you who are the proud owners of a BRB – is ‘well’ actually synonymous with ‘spa’? I can see that they both emanate from a similar source (a spring) but can’t see that one would go for a reviving dip in a well (unless you’re a Kitty, of course – ding, dong!).

    1. I’m sure, Jane, that well and spa are both synonymous in the BRB even though I haven’t got one either. What would our cryptic crossword setters do without the hundreds of way out definitions in this book.

  17. Thank you for putting up ’60 all out’ that was the brightest part of this summer

  18. I had ‘gloomy’ pencilled in for 24a for a while until I finally accepted it couldn’t be correct. Favourite clue today was 25a as that is the name of our white Campbell duckling. Thanks to setter and Kitty.

  19. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. I found this plain sailing, but just got a mental block about the last one in, 1a, had to use the hint, would never have thought of it. Favourite was 10a. Was 2*/3* for me. Typical Bank holiday weather, rain was torrential this morning on the M1 as I did an Airport run to Luton. Off to the Lakes tomorrow, will probably need a boat http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  20. Enjoyed that & the review from MP as usual. No comment on the weather but I’ve just received a mail from my son from the beach in Mauritius where he’s on honeymoon (which was our wedding gift) & I’m stuck here arguing with Mrs S as to whether the CH should go on….something ain’t right…

  21. Nice easy start to the week **/*** Thanks to Kitty for enjoyable blog and to Rufus ?
    I thought that there was a lot more misdirection than normal ? A very wet Bank Holiday once again ? I think my emoticons have come in out of the rain, yesterday I had two rows today four!! Perhaps they are taking over the world ?

  22. Like the weather today …I am very “gloomy” – that’s how I filled in the “lights” for 24a. Wrong again.

    Re: the clip on 8d – Is that singing or talking? ♪♫♪♫ Hmm?

    Thanks to Kitty for the review!

  23. Pretty usual stuff from Rufus – benign but enjoyable. Perhaps too many double definitions for my taste but pommette likes them.

    **/*** from us too.

    Thanks to Rufus and Kitty

  24. Can anybody tell me why my browser will not show complete clues on DT puzzles?. I’m using Google Chrome

    1. Welcome – it might have something to do with the device you are using to access the site. Have a look under FAQ above – FAQ No 8 refers.

  25. Not too difficult, but more of a challenge than I at first thought. Some not very enjoyable clues, which I got but didn’t quite see why, for example, 1a, 19a, 24a (particularly poor I thought), and 17d. Thought these were quite weak. The best clue for me was 6a and a nice anagram at 4d. 2*/2* for me, thanks to setter and to Kitty for the hints (the 8 legged critters are really not that frightening..quite friendly really….not like the ones in Oz!!) Its been windy and persisting down all day here in North Norfolk…great shame as its the Aylsham Show today which will probably be a wash-out, and those who do go may quite likely get their vehicles bogged down in the mud…so gave it a miss this year.

  26. I love Rufus’s puzzles and had no problems today, except with 24a. Like most people I so wanted to have an “L” in the answer. It wasn’t until I had all the checking letters that I tumbled to the answer. I thought it was pretty clever, it certainly misled a number of us.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for th most entertaining review!

      1. Thanks Jane.
        Well, I never knew that.
        And I’ve been doing the DT crossword for 6 years.
        What else don’t I know?

        1. Did you never wonder why the blog’s tag line was “Putting the words to lights”? Come to think of it, I don’t recall anyone ever asking.

          1. Didn’t register with me either! After chastising myself for being so unobservant, I realize that I am in good company!

          2. I’m afraid I had always assumed it was some sort of Spoonerism – and I’m hopeless at those. Took me long enough to register Sloggers and Betters. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif……….or is that Betters and Sloggers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  27. Thank goodness we have Rufusesque back this week as opposed to last weeks’ horror. It is lovely to start the week on a happy note. I, too, spent a great deal of time looking where to put the L in 24a so thanks for the useful hints Kitty which were very clear and thanks, of course, to Rufus for the puzzle

  28. Thanks Kitty for a lovely review.

    I liked the anagrams in 4d and 7d.

    many thanks Rufus, though I was in the dark too long with 24a.

  29. Terrific start to the week,I liked the misdirection of 24a and the simplicity of 14d and 16a .
    Thanks Kitty for a great review and Rufus.

  30. A good fun puzzle and an excellent blog. It took us a tiny bit longer than usual coming to grips with 1a and particularly 24a. We are wondering why the creature in the picture for 23a has only 7 legs. Perhaps we should follow the link to find the answer.
    Thanks Rufus and Kitty.

      1. Guess that is what actually happened RD.
        Since writing the comment we have followed the link and read the full story but reckon we might as well just blame Kitty anyway. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        1. I wondered who would be the first to spot the seven legs. Top marks to the Kiwis. My pet Kiwi also noticed it, so maybe the antipodes produces folks with better powers of observation.

          BUT … no, no no! I am innocent! I’d have let it alone or sent it quickly to peaceful oblivion.

  31. All you arachnophobes … why can’t I find “arachnophile” in the BRB (12th Edition)

    Surely, someone must like them!

    1. I like garden cross spiders. I see them often enough but not once have I spied one inside. They are most welcome to make their webs over our windows and eat wasps.

  32. The bottom half positively flew in; the top half made it just short of 2* difficulty. An average 3* for enjoyment. The only clue l really liked was 18d, but 24a seemed a bit weak to me. Still, a perfectly fair start to the week, for which thanks to Rufus. Thanks to Kitty for the review too.

    PS: l love spiders. The one which lives at the back of my chart table has been a loyal member of my boat’s crew for at least two years. He eats all my flies and doesn’t seem to mind where we go or how rough it gets. If only l could persuade him (or her, of course) to stand a watch…

  33. Quite liked it, as usual from Rufus, so thanks to him – and to Kitty, for an excellent blog. Fave? 24a, of course. 2*/3*

  34. Astonishingly, I have finished this puzzle on the day it appeared. Watching the US Open is clearly conducive to little grey cell activity.
    Like almost everyone else, I spent a long time on 24a. But otherwise it all went in quite easily.
    1.5*/3* for me with 18d (cricket) my fave :)

  35. Hi Kitty, well done on your excellent review of the Monday maestro. This is a much better puzzle from Rufus than last week’s offering IMHO and I think many contributors agree. I’m afraid that I have no quips or wine recommendations to make this week as I am somewhat deflated due to personal circumstances. I may not be around for a bit – but I will be keeping an eye on you all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  36. Children across the land are sharpening their pencils? What colour is the sky on the planet where you live? Jp please check syntax>

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