DT 27912 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27912

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27912

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

May I Thank Kitty Kitty Kitty for her three week stint of erudite and eloquent bloggery which allowed Saint Sharon and I to enjoy a pootle around The Scottish Highlands and The Isle Of Skye.

Today’s Rufus puzzle has his usual mix of clever anagrams, superb double definitions and lovely all in one clues (21d is a joy ) but I do not think many of you will need my hints today (if I can remember how to write them).

Below are my hints and tips to DT cryptic puzzle No 27912 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    Slavers sold or exchanged (6)
DROOLS: Let’s begin with an anagram (exchanged) of OR SOLD. As pommers rightly says it is always satisfying to slam one across in straight away.

4a    Dictates new severe examination — involving litmus paper? (4,4)
ACID TEST: And let us follow an anagram with another anagram. This time the anagram indicator is (new) and the fodder consists of the word DICTATES

9a    Does not arise from falsehood and evil (4,2)
LIES IN: Split 3,3 a fib and a noun meaning an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law give six letters which split 4,2 as the answer requires give a term meaning to have stayed in bed long after one should have arisen

10a    Retired female retains worth as an honorary professor (8)
EMERITUS: Reverse (retired) the shortened form of my wonderful older sister’s name and insert a verb meaning to be worthy of reward punishment or attention

12a    A gem of wine (4)
RUBY: A double definition.

13a    Duck  down? (5)
EIDER: The down of this duck is used to stuff an item of bedding

14a    One may be ordered off for eating (4)
MENU: A list of foodstuffs on offer in a restaurant

17a    Airline’s limo is reserved for rich people (12)
MILLIONAIRES: An anagram of AIRLINES LIMO as indicated by the words is reserved will give a word meaning rich people although I would say they are not so rich or so rare these days.

20a    Aching, tinged with confusion — it will mean taking new courses (8,4)
CHANGING DIET: Yet another anagram here. Jumble up the letters of the words ACHING TINGED and make a description of what you would be doing if you completely revised your eating habits.

23a    Woman of vision (4)
IRIS: This ladies name is also part of the eyeball. The song here is the word I originally wrote in.

24a    Availing oneself of American gin slings (5)
USING: Take our initial letters of United States and add an anagram (slings) of GIN

25a    When bulbs come to life? (4)
DUSK: The time of day when we turn on our lightbulbs. The darker stage of twilight apparently

28a    Gift for people at party (8)
DONATION: A gift (usually monetary) made by adding a word meaning a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory after our usual crosswordland two letter word meaning a party, a bash, a hooly, or a shindig.

29a    Colourless type free on bail (6)
ALBINO: Could this be an anagram. It could. The word free tells us so and the words immediately after are the ones to reform on a bit of paper, in a little circle, written with a Lakeland 2B pencil

30a    Person or instrument making notes (8)
RECORDER: A double definition here. Many a parent and many a next door neighbour has been tortured by a small child learning to play this instrument. – Instrument of torture more like.

31a    Abandon  land too dry to raise crops (6)
DESERT: The land may be too dry to raise crops but cactus may grow there.


1d    In depression, finally regained former spirits (8)
DOLDRUMS: Lego time. Take the last letter (finally) of regained. Add a word meaning former and the plural of the alcoholic spirit favoured by naval types to find a colloquial expression used to suggest depression but derived from historical maritime usage, in which it refers to those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm.

2d    Too adventurous with series of deliveries completed, we hear (8)
OVERBOLD: Using a 4,6 split to define the completion of a cricketers delivery of six balls with the second word being a homophone (sounds like).

3d    Deposited pounds when on benefit (4)
LAID: Take the latin initial used to denote the pound as in pounds shillings and pence and add a word meaning to assist

5d    It comes top in rigged contests (12)

6d    Top part of deck on old ship lacking lights (4)
DARK: Place the first letter (top part) of the word Deck onto the ship that Noah built

7d    Old Testament figure among bravest heroines (6)
ESTHER: This biblical heroine is playing hide and seek with us. Can you find her. I did.

8d    Telegraph’s first edition paper (6)
TISSUE: The first letter of Telegraph is followed by a word meaning edition or a particular form or version of a published text.

11d    The best points of an attractive orchestration (7,5)
WINNING SCORE: England 35 – 11 Fiji. South Africa 32 – 34 Japan are both examples of the margins with which the victorious team bested their rivals. An adjective meaning attractive or popular followed by a musical orchestration

15d    May, that makes one able to cast a clout? (5)
MIGHT: As a verb the past tense of the word MAY.

16d    Sit on the fence, or something similar (5)
HEDGE: A line of bushes that have grown together.

18d    Is untied maybe and split (8)
DISUNITE: Anagram (maybe) of IS UNTIED

19d    Second murder results in police surveillance (8)
STAKEOUT: A phrase split 4,3 meaning to murder somebody is placed after the S of second. Altogether they form a word used to describe police surveillance

21d    A successful one wants a lot more than his rivals (6)
BIDDER: My clue of the day. The lot is in an auction room. The answer describes one making offers to the auctioneer.

22d    Fieldfare? (6)
PICNIC: split the clue 5,4 to get food (fare) eaten, with lashings of ginger beer, outdoors on a rug in a field


26d    Produce disorder, wake up in prison (4)
STIR: A triple definition. The third being a slang term for prison

27d    Looking extremely cold and depressed? (4)
BLUE: The colour of depression

The outrageously overpriced Rugby World Cup has started with a bang. Well done England Japan and Argentina.

The Quick Crossword pun: Abba+wrist+with=Aberystwyth

99 comments on “DT 27912

  1. 1*/4*. I found this at the easy end of Rufus’ spectrum but nonetheless very enjoyable. The first three quarters were R&W but the SW took a little more cogitation.

    Initially I put “tide” as the second word for the anagram in 20a, but fortunately I quickly saw the error of my ways after I had solved 19d without looking at the wrong checking letter.

    The cricket related 2d was my favourite, with 21d and, my last one in, the short and sweet 22d my two runners-up.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a great comeback review.

  2. Super puzzle with some clever misdirection in 1a and in 15d. Lots of lovely anagrams that were well clued and my clue of the day goes to 25a, simple but elegant.
    Off now to Stratford to see Henry V after dinner at the theatre, shame about the weather.
    Thx to all.

  3. Not too difficult for me, although 5d had me foxed for ages – I thought it must be some kind of technical term for a topsail…….I thought 2d was clever/amusing…..great Sunday outing to Kop Hill – some wonderful old cars on show….

  4. Great start to the week. Like Rabbit Dave, had the wrong type of course for 20a. Thanks to Miffypops & Rufus. **/***

  5. Agree with Rabbit Dave that mostly R&W, but still an enjoyable Monday solve, and as Brian says some clever misdirection, and as Miffypops opines, some superb double definitions , so going for a 1.5 */3*.Liked 16A surface read. Nearly put changing ‘tide’ in for 20A-anybody else? as it was an anagram and could be said to involve taking ‘new courses’ in a boat. Well clued Rufus.

      1. Me too – and I also did the same as MP for 23a. Luckily saw the error of my ways in time.

        Thanks to all for a great start to the week.

  6. Everything was fine until I became totally stuck in the SW corner. 28a was the first to yield, then 30a and the rest followed.
    30a was so clever, it gets my vote for favourite.
    Thanks to Rufus and welcome back to MP.

  7. Blimey – where is everyone today? I’m very late and thought that I was probably going to have missed all the action but it’s barely started.
    I confess that I found this quite difficult – why do I always struggle with Rufus crosswords? 3*+ a bit for difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    I got stuck in the bottom left corner but now I can’t quite see why, although I’m not too sure about 23a as a clue, or an answer come to that – was that one really fair?
    I couldn’t do 11d for ages.
    Oh, and just to really make life trickier than it need have been I missed 1a for far too long – slavers = men trading people. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I liked 13a and 1 and 15d. My favourite was 19d.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  8. Thanks Miffypops, good to have you back though Kitty was a lot of fun. Amazing clip for 30a

    Much to like in today’s Rufus: 9a (does not arise), 14a (ordered off for eating), 17a (limo), 20a (aching, tinged), 5d (it comes top..), 19d (2nd murder..)

    I did think the last 3 words weren’t needed in 4a, made it a write-in.

    Miffypops your explanation of 15d: might is hardly past tense, this a double definition, the first half is may = might (as in I may/might watch the rugby) and the second half I think refers to might as power, as in having clout, though it is a strangely worded clue – i wondered if i was missing some reference..

    Also, 21d I think is a cd rather than an all-in-one, which would need wordplay extending through the whole clue (preamble).

    Apart from that you’re brilliant! Many thanks, also for the Isis track. And thanks Rufus

    1. apologies, chambers has “might” as past tense of may – that surprised me, how does that work? never too old to learn.

      1. Dutch, I typed several replies before clicking on Post Comment none of which were very clear so I turned to Google for an example:

        Present: When he is at school, he may not go to the bathroom without asking for permission.

        Past: When he was at school, he might not go to the bathroom without asking for permission.

    1. Well done indeed, Peta. Do you divvy up the clues between you, have separate copies or just have a family discussion about the whole thing?

      1. It’s what Mums are for, Peta. Until my darling sainted Mum left us, gusting 94, we used to exchange solutions to problem DT crossword clues over the phone between Cornwall and Essex. After that l had no choice but to explore the internet – where l discovered this most excellent site. Mind you, l’d rather still have the hot line to Mum!

        1. Hi SD,
          I think that one half of Paso Doble would appreciate your help re: telephone connections to Cornwall – see comment 10 below!

  9. We’ve done this one separately today as La Signora Doble is ‘sunning’ herself in Cornwall.
    Because Cornwall is part of the third world as far as telephone connections go, I don’t know
    whether she’s been able to finish it.
    I thought the puzzle was vey enjoyable because we all love a Rufus Monday don’t we?

    Not too tricky…so a **/**** from Camden Town.

  10. OK but not much fun. Like RD, I too went for tide in 20a which didn’t help 19d with which I was not familiar anyway. In desperation settled on turnip in 22d to fit with reporter in 30a. So thanks MP for sorting me out on all of the above. Thanks also Rufus. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  11. Welcome back, MP, and a nice puzzle to get you back into the swing of things.
    Narrowly missed falling into the ‘tide’ trap and started out (like Kath) with men trading people at 1a!
    SW corner was the slight sticking point – 1.5*/3.5* for me.

    Liked 9a&16d with favourite slot reserved for the wonderful 21d, which almost brought me to grief.

    Thanks to Rufus and also to the ‘orphan’ – scores on the music front are A,A,U and a definite A* for the young lady playing the 30a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. OK – I’ve found a few definitions of ‘unparalleled’ that would allow me to agree with you on that one (aberrant and freak spring to mind) – as for ‘average’ – if I can hope to earn that much money by being average, then I shall make that my goal in life from henceforth.
        By the way, the enterprising Scots seem to have developed a tartan to fit every name but I don’t recall ever seeing a Miffypops one. Did you find anything suitable?

        1. Our family have their own tartan which comes down from my maternal great grandmother Aggie McSweep. It is black and white stripes only and is the only official tartan with no hoops.

          1. Delighted to be able to tell you that I have found your tartan WITH hoops. Belle Etoile can fix you up with a pair of black & white tartan hoop earrings for St. Sharon’s birthday. The ‘white’ bits are made of diamonds, so you made need to save up your pocket money for a while. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

            1. I bought Saint Sharon a bracelet and earrings made out of mussel shells and silver. The lady who made them is making me a pair of cuff links

                1. I have some rather pretty shell jewellery. I also learnt it’s easier to buy your own diamonds. Bought earrings for my 16th. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                    1. Hi SL.

                      The Aupouri was bought…twice. Tried it on Friday and had to go and get more for the last summer party of the year on Saturday. My God you’re good. So again thank you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                      Have you got portable Uckers sorted.

                  1. At the risk of being impertinent – what on earth were you doing to earn that sort of money at 16?
                    Alternatively, you bought them using pressie money, in which case you may have actually BOUGHT them, but other people paid for them.
                    Which would you prefer to admit to? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                    1. No you can’t. But they retain value if good enough. Don’t age. You can alter their settings and quite frankly can look fantastic. Quite an investment.

  12. */****

    R&W Monday is with us again. Lot’s to like, little to niggle about. And I liked 1d and 21d.

    Many thanks to Rufus anf to MP for blogging.

  13. Found this quite challenging suppose this is first attempt since coming back from sailing in the Aegean , back to English weather which to be honest is rather nice.
    Many thanks to Miffypops and to Rufus. Don’t know about favourite clue but hummed and cogitated over 10a I thought there must be an equivalent in retired professorships for the ladies. Out with the thesaurus to solve.

  14. Another one who found the SW corner pretty difficult, at least until I cracked 22d and 26d. Am I the only person who finds Monday to be the most difficult day of the week, in terms of the crossword world as well as the more general one?

    1. No, you’re not the only person who finds Monday the most difficult day, certainly as far as the crosswords go – I’ll join you and I’ll speak for pommers because he’s unlikely to be here today – he’d agree with you and me.

    2. You’re definitely not alone. While I can generally do most of a Rufus with no problem, I’m pretty sure I’d struggle if I wasn’t forewarned as to the identity of the setter, and often there are one or two clues at the end that are problematic. Also, I am liable to miss some clever subtlety, partly because if something looks like a plain cryptic definition it’s easy to assume that’s just what it is.

        1. My brain works better when I’m smiling :).

          I have a tendency to quail at things that are supposed to be easy, but relish things that are supposed to be hard. In my experience, things are rarely as they are “supposed” to be.

  15. Very enjoyable puzzle today, **/**** for me, completed without hints but they were well worth reading anyway! 5d requires the “IN” as part of the anagram.

  16. Usual Rufus treat for a Monday, finished far too soon.
    I made the mistake with 20a of putting tide, this meant I failed with 19d until the very end and was my last one in.
    My fave was 30a, with 1d coming in second.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for the very entertaining review.

  17. Quite straightforward and fairly quick today, apart from SW corner which was a bit more resistant. 15d gave me a bit of trouble, thinking of the old rhyme about may being out and clout, but soon twigged it! Thought that was the most difficult of the clues, although 1a was a good mislead if, like I did at first, one reads it with the long A rather than the short. No particularly stand out clues, a bit colourless I thought, but satisfying nonetheless. 1*/3* with thanks to setter and to MP for the hints, happily not needed today.

  18. Liked this one, with a few “Doh” moments and great wordplay. Surprisingly another 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment from me. It’s the sort of puzzle I like, not so difficult you can’t get any and not so easy it’s a R+W.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  19. Currently in Cyprus with somewhat dodgy wifi so this is my first posting for a while. Top Monday offering and heartily agree with MP’s rating. Thanks to all, especially the bloke wot fixed the hotel’s wifi.

  20. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A great start to the week. I always find Rufus puzzles tricky, today’s was no exception, was held up in the SW corner for ages, but once I solved 21d, the rest fell into place, with 22d being the last in. Some great misdirection in 15a, I nearly Googled the saying, but got the answer before doing so. Favourite was 5d, such a well disguised anagram. Was 3*/4* for me. Rainy and horrible in Central London.

  21. Good afternoon all.

    Started off well enough, with 20 clues solved on first two passes. Things slowed down considerably after that and 16d ultimately defeated me. I see that I also made the same error as the reviewer initially did for 23a.

    Not sure I had a favourite clue but 20a to an age to solve so I’ll nominate that.

    Good puzzle ****/*** for me.

  22. A few tricky moments but all in all an enjoyable puzzle. Like Kath I barked up the wrong tree for quite a while with 1a thinking that slavers was a noun. I anagrammed ‘drool’ and even checked in the BRB but still the penny didn’t drop. Monday mornings are obviously not my best time. I had Isis for 23a as I believe she was a seer. I prefer that answer to Iris! 2*/4* for me. With thanks to Rufus and MP.

    1. Not to worry, Maeve. I started out with ‘seer’ for 23a which made 21d even more difficult than it already was! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        1. Lucky you – I put it in very confidently and in pen! Although I subsequently got the right answer, I’m not sure that anyone else looking at it now would recognise it as any sort of ‘real’ word. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  23. This started off as a R&W but as I drifted down the grid did I change somewhat! Putting USERER for 21d didn’t help but accepting SEER for 23a convinced me to carry on….
    Eventually the penny dropped and all was well but I did put ISIS for 23a. Oh well, things can only improve….
    Fave is 22d and 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  24. Lovely Monday treat, thanks to Rufus and welcome back Miffypops. Did not fall into tide or iris trap, slight hold-up in bottom right hand corner but it all came good in the end. With my recent history perhaps I should pick 8d as my favourite or perhaps 1d but in the I plumped for 11d. Saying that 20a also appears apposite.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  25. I like Mondays and Rufus’ puzzles, always witty and doable with a bit of a ‘kick’ in them. I’m not a cricket fan but really liked 2d, also got caught out with slavers as a noun, the only finally dropping with the answer practically written in. I did get diet but struggled for ages over 17a, realising it was an anagram but not helped by starting to write in the answer for 20a, completely confusing myself! I think the may/might question may (or should that be might?) be further confused by might also being the subjunctive (I think, those English grammar lessons are a long way off now!). **/***, many thanks to MP and Rufus.

  26. Nice start to the week */*** Lots to enjoy TVM to MP for blog & to Rufus ? Cannot understand why I spoiled my stroll in the park by putting overbill for 2d?

  27. I was foxed by 1a to start with before the penny dropped, so that one has my favourite nomination.

    Otherwise it was pretty much the accustomed Monday read and write but that should take nothing away from Rufus at his smoothest and most polished.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and welcome back to Miffypops.

  28. Mondays. It is hard to make them good. Clues such as 1 and 27d are appropriate, and I was underwhelmed by 25a. That, along with 6d, rather completes a theme, appropriate for such a dull and dreary day as it has been here. I did like 28a and 19d.

    Lovely to see you back, MP. Thanks for the review. Thanks to Rufus also.

    1. P.S. My comment above might be interpreted as saying I didn’t enjoy the crossword. Just want to clarify that that’s not true: I liked it plenty.

  29. A great start to the week. Right on the 1*/2* cusp, but 4* for satisfaction. As for my favourite clue, it can only be 22d. Thanks to Rufus; thanks and welcome back to Miffypops.

  30. We seem to have successfully sidestepped all the traps that some people found in this one and it all went together smoothly for us. Very pleasant solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  31. I don’t fully understand why the answer to 15d is what it is.
    Is it that you need ***** in order to clout/hit something?
    Either I’m thick or it’s a silly clue.

    1. I’ve been thinking about 15d too.
      I don’t think you’re thick and I don’t think that Rufus does silly clues either so there has to be a sensible answer.
      I think that ‘may’ is pretty much interchangeable with ‘might’ and in the BRB under clout it says ‘influence’ or ‘power’ which I think is ‘might’.

      1. From the BRB I learned that a clout is also a “protective plate”. Mr Google then told me a clout can be an iron plate attached to a plowshare. So I visualized a hefty chunk of metal which would require some might to cast or throw it. Although why one would want to do such a thing, I don’t know.

  32. Oh what fun it has been reading through the comments today. Spent ages barking up the wrong tree with 22d. Convinced myself it had something to do with our feathered friends who will be arriving in my garden fairly soon to remove all the berries off my trees. Cross for missing the cricket clue in 2d. No real favourite today. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review. Liked the pic of the Favourite Five for 22d. Brought back memories.

  33. Good evening all – definitely late on parade today, so apologies. Pretty much standard Monday fare from my neighbour although I did have some trouble over a couple of clues where the definition / word play wasn’t ‘nailed on’. No particular favourite today but enjoyable nonetheless.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and welcome back to the poorly schooled orphan boy from his travels in my homeland. Hope you brought back some ‘slice’, black pudding , tattie scones and Scotch pies (not to mention the IRN BRU). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. For Hanni – previous thread exhausted. Glad you enjoyed the wine, the ‘uckers’ will be sorted http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      Night all http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  34. As SL said – previous thread has been exhausted….

    Hanni – good for you! I always knew that the newsagent I slaved for at that age was under-paying me!

    Kitty – quite right, you can’t satisfactorily hug diamonds, but wearing them does seem to generate a sort of inner glow…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. The inner glow is good…being able to gift them to my daughters one day with a lifetime of history is even better. As I’ve been lucky enough to receive through generations. To be fair they wear items now!

      They were underpaying you Jane! But that’s mostly because I think you’re rather fantastic.

      1. What a lovely thing to say, Hanni. One day we’ll meet up and I’ll talk to you about how much that meant.

        As for the diamonds – no. 2 daughter has already put in her requests on the inheritance front!

        1. Child type things do have a good eye. Even the youngest.

          I’m looking forward to the birthday bash. You better be there Jane. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  35. I found this trickier than usual and it gave me more thought than usual for Rufus. Really struggled with 2d and 25a. Some lovely clues, especially 11 and 22d. They gain an extra star to make up for their colleagues. 3*/3*
    Welcome back frae the land o ma feythers, MP. Kitty was purrfect (I can’t believe I just wrote that) in your absence.
    PS There is a distinct lack of loopiness on the site today. Is this a good thing?

    1. Worry not, TS – loopiness will doubtless be resumed ‘ere long!
      I did leave you a couple of one-liners on Friday’s blog, but I guess the Scotch mist had descended upon you by then. It was so nice of PH to send a message and I do hope you had a really good ‘catching up’ session.
      Wonder whether your poetry discussions included anything centred around the lines you sent me. I’m a little bit in trepidation of you adding anything to those. I printed them off and now have them tucked away inside my diary – I feel rather protective of them and want to reserve the right to edit any alterations or additions!

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