DT 27906 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27906

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27906

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello and welcome.  Another Monday has come, and whether that makes you grin or groan I hope today’s crossword provides/provided you with some pleasure.  It is my pleasure once again to bring you some hints, tips and asides before Miffypops returns next week.

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    Dread being not entirely legal (5)
AWFUL: Dread here is an adjective. Drop the first letter (not entirely) from a word meaning legal or legitimate

4a    Keep a supply of drugs in something in the kitchen? (8)
STOCKPOT: A kitchen vessel, when split (5,3) could be phrase meaning to store marijuana

8a    Preserved meat makes sailor grumble (4,4)
SALT BEEF: Take a sailor and a grumble, put them together and you have some cured cow meat

9a    Insect with wings of short span (8)
EPHEMERA: An insect of the mayfly genus with a short adult life. Things that are transient

11a    Foreign sailors find girl without transport (7)
LASCARS: These are sailors from India or Southeast Asia. Place a young woman outside (without) a road vehicle

13a    Hankerings for last of daily bread (9)
YEARNINGS: The last letter of DAILY is followed by wages or income

15a    Non-metrical form of the Emperor Waltz? (8,7)
IMPERIAL MEASURE: This quantity not in the metric system could be a description of a musical rhythm for an emperor

18a    She’s very likely to have kids (5,4)
NANNY GOAT: The kids that this creature would have would not be human children. This one’s giving a rooster a ride – I’ve no idea why

21a    Last, but not least (7)
EXTREME: Last as in the very endmost; not least as in the very utmost

22a    These are irritating for sightseers, naturally (8)
EYESORES: Something that isn’t pleasant to look at. The naturally seems a bit unnecessary to me

24a    Unfortunately, Don’s away at the moment (8)
NOWADAYS: Anagram (unfortunately) of DON S AWAY. In these times

25a    A number with preference for a charwoman’s job (8)
CLEANING: Start with a single-letter Roman numeral and add a word for preference or inclination

26a    Co-ordinate publicity material linked to a film, say (3-2)
TIE-IN: Add a hyphen to a phrase meaning co-ordinate to give a product based on or linked with a film, video game, website etc. – merchandise or cross-promotion



1d    Jack gets key and freedom (10)
ABSOLUTION: Take a different sailor to the one in 8a (this time he’s an abbreviation) and add an answer to get a release from punishment or guilt

2d    Period added to the end of a sentence (4,4)
FULL STOP: Not cryptic. Period.

3d    A fetching breed of dog (8)
LABRADOR: The dog is a type of retriever (which, not being able to count, I nearly tried to put into the grid, but the checkers checked that idea). Here I am with my brother’s one of these:*

*above, Kitty and Lucy are played by highly trained actors/stunt animals

4d    Secure top of foresail in rough sea (4)
SAFE: Insert the first letter (top) of FORESAIL into an anagram (rough) of SEA

5d    Show progress? Don’t exaggerate! (4,2)
COME ON: Progress or advance, or an exclamation expressing disbelief

6d    It’s still produced in Ireland, though illegally (6)
POTEEN: Illicit Irish whiskey, traditionally distilled in a small pot still. There are legal versions of the drink available today

7d    Part of the orchestra with an objection to raise (4)
TUBA: An indefinite article (not that one) and an objection or argument against, all reversed (to raise, in a down clue) gives a musical instrument

10d    Companion in recreation put down floor covering in gym (8)
PLAYMATE: A three-letter word meaning put (something) down is followed by the kind of floor covering it is often said that the creature above sat on. All of this is put inside (covering) a school games lesson

12d    Mr O’Casey crashed in American plane (8)
SYCAMORE: The letters of MR O CASEY are anagrammed (or anagrammatised if you like) to make an American plane. Not the kind that flies but the leafy kind

14d    Rocket engineer (10)
STEPHENSON: We’re not in the space-age here but the age of steam. This civil engineer designed and developed his famous Rocket

16d    Remove a summary (8)
ABSTRACT: A double definition. A third is exemplified below

17d    Legally only of minor importance (5,3)
UNDERAGE: Considered a minor by law

19d    Such a sewer may produce hostility (6)
NEEDLE: The instrument used for sewing is also a verb meaning irritate

20d    The old sign of those not quite gentlemen (6)
YEOMEN: The word THE as it used to be rendered (old) followed by a portent. The second definition of the answer given by my dictionary states: “after the 15th century, a member of a class of small farmers, usually freeholders, the next grade below gentlemen”

22d    Heroic tale from ‘The Pickwick Papers’ (4)
EPIC: It’s a lurker, ready to be plucked out from the title in question

23d    Obstacle for horse after start of steeplechase (4)
SNAG: After the start of STEEPLECHASE comes a horse. Therein lies the catch

I think my favourite today was 5d.  Which clues did you like?

The Quick Crossword pun: summer+salt=somersault

100 comments on “DT 27906

  1. Found this one quite easy with the last in 6d and 9a as had different answers for these. Hints helped with those, otherwise straight forward for me (unusually !) .


    Thanks to setter and Kitty

  2. Good puzzle, challenging enough but do-able (for me), and thanks for the review….. I particulary liked 20d….BUT not entirely happy with 1d – ‘freedom’ seems a bit of a stretch of the meaning!…also, I got 11a in the end but the word was new to me….

  3. Nice bright start to the week for me, must have tuned in to this ,as a one cup of tea time, so a */*** ,had to check the spelling of 6d and the ‘second’ meaning of 26a, remembered the sailor from 11a from one of the Holmes stories where the sailor killed his wife and her lover-Jeremy Brett my favourite with Basil a close second ..Thanks Kitty, loved the dog pic!

  4. Surely I can’t be the first to comment ? I enjoyed this very much and thought that it was a breeze, but pride comes before a fall ? Saucepan fitted so nicely into 4a, then when I got 7d I changed it to sauce pot! Still */**** Liked 15a, 1a & 1d. Thanks to Kitty for hints & to the setter for a very pleasant start to the week ?

  5. Not a great challenge but enjoyable all the same. 9A I got only because of the check letters.A wry smile raised by 15A. I would rate 1.5/3 My thanks to Kitty for the review.

  6. This provided just the right amount of stretch for the upper storey with plenty of amusement along the way. Initial thought on 4a (probably not alone!) was for another kitchen item. 9a and 11a probably new to me but they had to be. Joint Favs 22a and 20d. Kitty, your illustration to 3d certainly illustrates the ‘soft mouth’ attribute! Many thanks Mr. Ron and Kitty. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  7. Hi Kitty and thanks for blog though I didn’t need it for answers today I did need to understand 26a, which I still don’t really understand!!! Don’t really like 1a, dread as an adjective, had to look up 11a never heard of them and had put subtract in at 16d!!!!
    Otherwise I quite enjoyed this one have time to comment today as it is raining once again and I am waiting for a new sofa inspection!!!! New sofa arrived two weeks ago, looks more second hand than the one I chucked out!!!!!!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    1. Hi Mary. I haven’t yet said hello to you and want to take the opportunity to welcome you back. It’s an honour to have such a blog legend commenting on my little post :).

      1. Hi Kitty sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday, I think you are doing a really great job blogging, something I couldn’t be persuaded to do!!! ‘blog legend’ now I don’t know where that comes from …I certainly spent loads of time chatting on the blog often nothing to do with crosswords, I cut my cryptic teeth on here with a big welcome and help from Gazza, Dave, Prolixic and Gnomey and made many many friends lots of whom seem to have disappeared http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif , I am still far from being any kind of proficient expert and often struggle to complete them, however I hope to be back on the blog more often soon and hopefully won’t have to start off in the ‘clueless club’ againhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  8. I think I’ll go for 2* difficulty and 2*/3* for enjoyment.
    As others did I spent too long trying to justify ‘saucepan’ for 4a which was a bit silly.
    Tried to make 15a an anagram but nothing would make the right number of letters – just as well – not keen on that one – why does waltz = measure?
    I bunged in 26a because it had to be that but didn’t really see why until I looked it up.
    I liked 8 and 9a and 3 and 12d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for holding the fort while MP is sunning himself.
    Here’s today’s bit of useless information – I looked up waltz to see if it was a measure – it’s not but that’s not the point. There is something called a waltzing mouse that moves forward in small circles rather than a straight line.
    Raining on and off – might try Mr Rookie although it looks a bit daunting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. It does – and I missed it. Somehow my readings lead me to believe that it was an archaic term for a dance and so I preferred Catherine’s interpretation below (and made a hash of explaining it, to boot). Thanks.

    1. Hi Kath
      A measure does not mean a waltz but a waltz , like all music, is written in measures. So imperial measure = emperor waltz is just a really nice pun ?

  9. 1*/3*. I thought this was easier than recent Monday offerings, but 9a are appropriate for Monday mornings. Thank you Kitty and setter.

  10. Escaped from the rookie corner to have a go at the back page.
    Just had to check the spelling of 6d. I wrote it with a U. Like Vladimir.
    Last one was 26a and my least favourite.
    Preferred 8a and 10d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to kitty for the kittyful review.

  11. Thanks Kitty for a lovely review.

    For 2d, I think the cryptic element is adding time (period) to a sentence in gaol. Obviously not very clever, since every one sees the other reading first.

    For 22d: didn’t we recently complain about extra padding in a hidden clue? It was “come dine with me” i think in Jollyswagman’s rookie crossword, where the answer was IDEM. So similarly, here “papers” is padding for the surface and a bit naughty, despite the quotes.

    I liked 18a (She’s likely to have kids), 10d (Companion), 12d (Mr O’Casey, the the anagram is a bit contrived – I liked crashed/plane), and 24a (unfortunately, Don’s away – made me think of Giovanni straight away)

    Many thanks Rufus

  12. A delicious Rufus masterclass to start the week as ever.

    2d is a double definition, I think Dutch – what we call the answer over this side of the Atlantic , the Americans normally use the word “Period” instead. The penal allusion in the clue is just playful misdirection.

    I beg to differ about “Papers” in 22d being padding, as, without it, “The Pickwick” on its own would not make sense. I think padding is really only completely unnecessary extraneous words.

    My favourite of the day was 12d. Initially I thought of Sean, the playwright, then a possible type of aircraft before the penny finally dropped. Delightfully done.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Kitty (glad to see you survived Lucy’s attempt to swallow you whole!)

    1. Anything not used in the wordplay or definition (and the link between the two) is padding. Padding is typically added to improve (or to make sense of) the surface, but the cryptic reading doesn’t use it, so it is generally seen as poor clueing (obviously in the extreme case you wouldn’t know what part of the clue is actually a clue). We had this discussion on last weeks rookie, for “Come Dine with me” – “Come dine” by itself also doesn’t makes sense, nonetheless the “with me” is padding. Here “Papers” is only added to make sense of the surface reading, it does not contribute to wordplay.

      If 2d is a double definition, then “added to the end of a sentence” would have to be the second, alternative, orthogonal definition for “full stop”. I don’t think it really works as a second definition, and anyway it is hardly oorthogonal – it is just saying the same thing again, which is not what good double definitions do, they should have two very different meanings clueing the same word.

      I prefer to think of 2d as a cd (cryptic definition), which has two readings of the whole clue, one which is intended to mislead, and the other which gives the answer. Ideally the misleading version should be the first to hit the eye, which unfortunately does not happen here.

      1. Of course, from a technical and purist point of view, you are correct about 22d, but I was happy with it and Rufus does seem to bend the rules from time to time, “definition to wordplay “for example is not unknown in his puzzles.

        It would be a pity, in my opinion, and a duller world if no multi-word TV programme/book title/play name were ever included as hidden word fodder unless all the constituent parts thereof made a contribution to the wordplay.

        1. Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to be purist or critical. I find it interesting. The technical question seems to be whether we can accept something put in quotes as a single entity ( “come dine with me”, “the pickwick papers”, and any other novel or show you may care to think of). This blog gave jollyswagman a hard time a week ago about “come dine with me”, and today we see the world’s most experienced compiler using the same device. Maybe we should have been more lenient with Jollyswagman? I don’t pretend to know the answer – for me, my prejudice is that any extra padding is naughty – you just need to decide how naughty you can be and get away with it. Obviously, Rufus did.

          Ximenes suggested a clue should contain a clear definition, fair wordplay, and nothing else.

          1. I’m in total agreement, Dutch.

            (I did originally made a comment questioning those papers in 22d, but it seems I cut it for some reason.)

            1. Whilst I’m sure there’s an argument to be made for the correctness/acceptability of clue constructions, I do think it can get a bit OTT at times. To my mind, if I can arrive at the answer (or, in the case of some Toughies, understand how I should have arrived at it!) then the clue is fair. I think that is really all I ask of any puzzle.

              1. yes, i’ve often thought “gettability” ought be sufficient indication of fairness – but there’s more than that – if you can write a clue devoid of padding, wouldn’t that be a better clue, doesn’t that make you a better master of the art? In this case, it would amount to finding some title which contains EPIC but doesn’t have extra words – i would argue that would be a better clue.

                1. But it might not have produced either such a good surface read or the smile that the reminder of The Pickwick Papers gave me. Both of those elements I find particularly important.

                  1. Yes, humour is another factor. I think many people will forgive little transgressions for a smile.

                    Rufus’s get out of jail card here might be that he enclosed the title in quotes, making it into more a of a discrete unit than three separate words.

          2. Perhaps one extra word (Rufus) is just about acceptable latitude, but two extra words (Jollyswagman) isn’t ?!!

  13. Over all too soon, because my tea’s still hot! 1*/3*, and 4a favourite clue. I don’t really understand why some fellow contributors were led to put down “saucepan” for 4a, but maybe that’s where they’ve always kept their supplies. Thank you both, Rufus and Kitty.

  14. Some lovely and typical Rufus clues. We enjoyed it as always and as it was over rather quickly (we agree with Salty Dog here) we’ll have a crack at the Guardian later.

    Thanks again to Rufus and Kitty for the review.

  15. Well I too started off with Saucepan for 4a but thankfully not for long. But then I put Teammate for 10d which as I persisted with it left me with Etcetera for 9a. Hmm. No comment necessary!
    Otherwise a very gentle Monday crossword from Rufus, in spite of my stupidity. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and Kitty for the review.

    1. I thought they were both good clues, with a pun in 6d, and 14d a clever double definition. Still (pun intended), each to his own….

      1. if 14d were a double definition, then “rocket” would have to be a clue for “Stephenson”, which it isn’t. This can only be another cd (cryptic definition) like 14d and 2d (see comment 13), with a pun on rocket (steam train = rocket = spacecraft), and the expectation would be that the first thing to hit the solver’s eye is “spacecraft engineer”.

  16. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. I was held up in SE Corner, still don’t understand 21&26a, but I bunged ’em in regardless. Also hadn’t heard of measure for music, but thought it must be the answer. Didn’t fall into the saucepan trap on 4a. Very entertaining, Favourites were 12&14d. Was 3*/3* for me. Very showery in Central London.

  17. I found this a cake walk, except for 14d, I didn’t know the gent and had to look at the answer.
    I also bunged in 26a without understanding it, not sure I even really understand it now.
    Your illustrations, Kitty, were outstanding! Not sure if that is because there are so many animals, but my fave is the one for 3d. My Sadie is a cat lover too.
    Fave was 18a, loved the pic, with 15a running close second.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for a great start to the week.

    1. Do American schools not teach about anything that didn’t happen in America?

      Robert Stephenson designed and built the most iconic steam locomotive of all time:

      1. I didn’t go to school in America. I went to a school in Jamaica which was run by the Anglican Church. Most of the teaching staff were English, with two Welsh ladies, and our curriculum was based on the English system.

        Our forms had English names; second form, third form, lower fourth, upper fourth, etc. We sat the Cambridge Senior School Certficate in upper fifth, and Cambridge Higher School Certificate in upper sixth, overseen by Cambride University, as they did with most countries in the Commonwealth at that time.

        I think we can assume that my education was closely equivalent to the English. I am sorry it didn’t include your friend Stephenson, or if it did, I forgot all about him as it was about sixty years ago.

      2. I think both the Americans and the British are guilty of biasing education towards events in their own country – perhaps many other countries too. I’m not sure I had heard of the rocket before I came to Britain.

        1. . . . and I have to confess (seem to be doing a lot of confessing about things I didn’t know at the moment) that I only know the steam train or rocket or the engineer from crosswords. These days as soon as an engineer is mentioned he’s Stephenson until proved otherwise.
          It’s a bit like our house at the moment – every small black speck is a flea until proved otherwise – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          1. I think that in my day, too long ago to think about, boys would have had more interest in trains and cars than girls. I remember that my brother could name the make and model of every car on the road. I am sure, should he be alive today, that train and engineer would have been a piece of cake for him.

            1. I’m sure you meant that boys were more interested in trains and cars than girls were, but my first reading of your comment was that boys were more interested in trains and cars than they were in girls!

                1. No no no! Ambiguity in language is what has caused so much fun and brought us all here to this wonderful community. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. I guess that rather depends on the age of the boys – although even that’s a bit of a generalisation!

      3. I was at an event yesterday celebrating 185 years of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway yesterday and the Stephenson locomotive Invicta (only slightly younger than the Rocket) took pride of place.

  18. Late on parade today owing to using up this morning’s free time on the far from easy Rookie!
    The usual good stuff from Rufus although I wasn’t very keen on 26a.
    Favourite is either 15a or 5d. 1.5*/3* for me.

    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty for a beautifully illustrated blog.
    By the way, Kitty – too late in the day to matter now, but I think you’ve got one letter wrong in the answer for 20d.

  19. Thanks to Rufus and Kitty. I am surprised no one picked up on your comment that naturally in 22a was unnecessary. Isn’t that indicating a second meaning – split the answer in half and these are irritating – perhaps?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Stone Lee. You are quite right that splitting the answer (3,5) gives something irritating to the eyes – well done for spotting that.

  20. Not too hard at all, but good fun nonetheless. Favourite clue has to be 15a. The “measure” of a waltz is 3/4 time. I held off for ages before putting in 14d, because it seemed too easy to be true and not really very cryptic to my mind. I nearly fell into the saucepan/saucepot trap, but soon saw sense. Back on terra firma now, and work tomorrow.
    VMTs to Kitty and to Rufus

    1. ah, I was thinking measure = 3/4 time = waltz, but didn’t comment because i wasn’t sure enough that 3/4 time is called a measure – the dictionaries say measure is a bar or a dance, so i got confused.

      1. All these thoughts caused me no end of head-scratching. I think Physicist has the best explanation – see the thread at Kath’s comment #8.

    1. It was absolutely super to meet up with Big Dave and his lovely wife. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

  21. Pretty straightforward this week. 22d shouldn’t, though, have got past the editor, as ‘papers’ is only there to make the surface reading work. 14d is surely just a straight definition?

    1. The main purpose of a cryptic definition is to mislead, and for most people their first thought is an engineer who designs rockets. A cryptic definition is only a straight definition when you know the answer.

  22. The usual good Monday fun. Nothing held us up for long and we kept smiling through the solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Kitty.

  23. Thanks Rufus for your usual clever and witty clues. I needed one letter hint for 1d, needed Kitty’s help for 11a which was unfamiliar and was in the saucepan/pot camp for a while. Many thanks to Kitty especially for the pics. Your cat looked totally undeterred. My cat would have been hiding behind the bed. Hope MP is enjoying his well earned break.

  24. A straightforward gallop through the first 3/4, then stumped by 4a as like everyone else I tried saucepan for so long until Kitty set me right.

    Also had wrong answer for first half of 10d which didn’t help with 9a!

    Liked 15a and 14d, otherwise 3*/4* from me, with thanks to Rufus & Kitty.

  25. I sure did Ginny. Home now and working ( playing Mrs Cobley at crib) thanks to Kitty for a smart review and to Rufus for a fine puzzle. Thanks to all who comment.

  26. I found this really easy today (for a change)! But nearly tripped myself up by almost putting ‘retriever’ into 3d, but realised just on time that there were not enough letters! This was a pretty bland puzzle with very few Ahha! moments, although I thought 11a was good…haven’t had that word for a longish time. My what a lovely plethora of comments today!! 1*/2* with thanks to setter and to Kitty.

    1. Hi Liz,
      ‘a lovely plethora of comments’ – there was a time when I thought those were the most unlikely words ever to come out in a comment from you! I’m so very pleased that you have discovered the ‘fun’ side of the BD blog. I look forward to reading your postings and invariably smile at your choice for the ‘favourites’ list – you always seem to vote for the most obscure words!
      Today’s Rookie has got a couple of those. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  27. Tricky today for me 9a and 6d being new words. Got the stock but not the pot for 4a – duh! Favourite has to be 3d purely for the picture.

  28. Like others, tried to fit retriever into 3d, but once I had 1a and 8a in, the answer became obvious. Not convinced the clue was cryptic. 14d was straight in. Let’s face it, not knowing who he was would be like not knowing who Thomas Edison was. Favourite was 15a, as I wrote the answer in, but had to check the review. Something new for me,
    measure meaning a dance. Thanks to the setter and to Kitty for the review.

  29. Thanks so much for your site! I used to do the DT crossword on a daily basis back in the 90s and 00s but the availability of free commuter papers and the internet led me to neglect the genre. So recently I started picking up the paper and was frustrated that I was out of practice and could only get a few answers per day and then I discovered your site. Fantastic! I’m getting the hang of it again now. Thanks!

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