DT 27954

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27954

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning. I think Rufus is in fine form today providing a puzzle that took more passes than usual to solve with the last four clues holding me up for some time. They were 21ac, 23ac, 18d and 24d. My Doh! Moment of the day going to 24d. Today is the day the Lord hath made. Rejoice and be glad in it. Or stop grizzling and enjoy what you have. Life is Yum.

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 Didn’t succeed in crossing the ice? (4,7)
FELL THROUGH: This double definition is what happened to Amy in chapter eight of the novel at 28 across. Not that I have ever read it. Should I?

9a Exact money? (9)
BLACKMAIL: As a noun – the action, treated as a criminal offence, of demanding money from someone in return for not revealing compromising information which one has about them. As a verb – demand money from (someone) in return for not revealing compromising information about them. Who needs a BRB when copy and paste works this well?

10a To save is difficult with nothing coming in (5)
HOARD: Take another word meaning difficult such as one might use about a cryptic crossword clue that you struggle to solve and drop in (coming in) the letter that resembles the numerical symbol for nothing. You know. The round one.

11a Available with deferred payment (2,4)
IN HAND: Ready for use if required.

12a He’s smart to order pets (8)
HAMSTERS: These rodents can be found y anagrammatising (to order) the words HES SMART

13a One’s in charge but sometimes has a leader (6)
EDITOR: This person is in charge of a newspaper. The Leader is a piece he may write.

15a Salad item — you can add it in haste (8)
CELERITY: Place the word IT inside a popular salad item of which it is said that more calories are burned off by eating it that it actually contains. It is also nice in stews

18a Provides soft soap and cloths for the cricket team? (8)
FLANNELS: The soft soap here is the use of bland fluent talk to play down something of importance. If relying on this part of the clue don’t forget to add the S from provides. These are also the name for a cricketer’s white trousers

19a He goes to clinic initially, twitching and feverish (6)
HECTIC: HE from the clue is followed by the first (initial) letter of C(linic). Follow that with a three letter word for a twitch or spasm to find a noun meaning feverish. This is a new meaning of this word for me. I am not happy with the cluing for the last three letters. If anybody has a better explanation I sure could use it right now.

21a It is backed in race to be beat (8)
CHASTISE: IT IS needs to be shortened here to ITS and reversed (backing) You can then drop it into a type of horse race of the type often seen at The Cheltenham Festival

23a Parliamentary official rising to arouse the House? (4,2)
WHIP UP: This parliamentarian ensures party member toe the party line and turn up to vote. He is followed by a two letter word meaning rising. I think the use of the word house in the clue refers to the theatre where a warm up act does this to excite the audience ready for the main act

26a Landowner has to ring back about river (5)
LAIRD: Take the name for the circular piece on the front of a very old fashioned telephone, (actually the act of using said implement) reverse it (back) and place it about the letter R(iver) from the clue to find this Scottish landowner.

27a Either rise quickly or don’t budge (5,4)
STAND FAST: A double definition. Need I say more?

28a Small ‘w’ on sign? That’s novel (6,5)
LITTLE WOMEN: Lego time. Build this answer from the blocks Rufus has given you. Take a very straightforward and obvious word meaning small to gain your first word of the answer. Now use the letter W from the clue and add a four letter word meaning a sign or portent. Together you will have the name of a novel about the pioneering days of the USA. The Little House On The Prairie as referred to in my hint for 1 across


1d Having broken rib, feel delirious (7)
FEBRILE: Anagram (broken) of RIB FEEL

2d Three animals in the lead (5)
LEASH: Other than the definition for the word LEAD in the clue I have no idea whatsoever what THREE ANIMALS has to do with this clue. My iPad tells me all answers are correct perhaps you can tell me why.

3d Recorded as having been dismantled (5,4)
TAKEN DOWN: To have demolished something is the same as having recorded something. Anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence against you.

4d Note in the morning papers (4)
REAM: Take the third note of the musical scale that begins with an expression favoured by Homer Simpson and add our abbreviation for morning that come from the Latin ante meridiem

5d Lacking weight, emptied the Chamber (8)
UNLOADED: A double definition. Emptied the chamber here refers to the removal of bullets from a revolver.

6d You could make a hash of onomatopoeic sounds of laughter (2-3)
HA-HAS: An anagram (could make) of A HASH. This is both an anagram and a wonderful all in one clue. Such style from the exalted Rufus. Nice one.

7d Reserve enclosure, after a fashion (7)
MODESTY: Place an enclosure for a pig after a word meaning fashion or manner

8d Brave pirate’s superficial improvement (8)
FACELIFT: To brave here is to confront and to pirate is to steal. Together they make a form of plastic surgery.

14d Very frightened, I take a short rest before I can set off (2,1,5)
IN A PANIC: Take the I from the clue, add a short sleep and an anagram (set off) of I CAN

16d Cosmetic watch-dog? (9)
EYESHADOW: This cosmetic can be found by placing a verb meaning to watch closely before another verb meaning to follow somebody closely and secretly.

17d Tightly packed Wimbledon crowd may well enjoy it (5-3)
CLOSE-SET: Two definition here. The Wimbledon reference being to a very well matched contest

18d Power is off — cold inside (7)
FACULTY: Place the letter C(old) into an adjective meaning not working or defective to find this mental or physical power Here is a clip of a man who has all of his.

20d Catnaps — possibly that provides energy for the sailor (7)
CAPSTAN: Anagram (possibly) of CATNAPS

22d Moon-affected, in the main (5)
TIDAL: The ebb and flow of the oceans as affected by the moons gravitational pull.

24d New lamps that will be put into service (5)
PSALM: Anagram (New) of LAMPS. I knew this was an anagram of LAMPS and had the A and M in place but just took an age to mentally work this out.

25d Follow, in the end (4)
TAIL: To As in 16 down to follow somebody closely and secretly is also the hindmost part of an animal such as a cat. Speaking of cats and especially for Kitty here is a Haiku by Helen Kenyon


Death on velvet paws.
Sleek assassin, razor clawed.
Purring by the fire

Thank you Mr Bob Dylan for singing away so nicely in the background as I wrote this. The 6cd set The Cutting Edge is a fine piece of work.

The Quick Crossword pun: consent+rate=concentrate


  1. Nev
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    2d also left me confused, and I hope someone may be able explain further. 3*/3* for me today. Thanks to Miffypops for the clues, and to the setter.

    • williamus
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      2d is also a word meaning a set of three of anything. No… I hadn’t heard of it either, but fortunately it’s in the BRB.

    • Nev
      Posted November 10, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that!

  2. williamus
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely agree ***/*** Rather more tricky than Rufus’ normal Monday fare, but none the worse for that. It’s always a bad sign for me when 1a goes in straight away… very enjoyable though. 1a made me chuckle and is my favourite. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review.

  3. Hanni
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink


    No horses scared by this. They were terrified of the gale force winds and rain yesterday. Honesty, TB’s are so sensitive at times. You want to shout, “No! Those leaves that are blowing about are not b****y horse killers…now just do get on with it”.


    Last one in was 2d as I had to check the definition. The rest was like long hot bath, delicious.

    Biggest smile goes to 6d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a great blog. To quote you..it was yum.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    2*/4*. Wonderful antidote for a blustery Monday morning. Needed my BRB to understand my answer for 2d. 1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  5. Clarky
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Slightly trickier than the usual Monday with a few groans as well as smiles. Favourites were 14d, 16d and 27a.
    Hints needed to explain 2d and 19a.
    ***/*** for me too. Thanks to setter and Miffypops.

  6. Beaver
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Back from a wet weekend in Beaumaris , wonderful firework display -and a good indian.(and beer) Not sure what to make of todays crossword, easy clues were a bit thin on the ground, and the rest took a deal of unravelling- seemed to solve it in ‘spurts’. A ***/*** is about right for me, found a definition for the oft mentioned 2d, that it is the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one- presumably 3.Thanks Miffypops for the pic of 6d-it looks like the one at Arley Hall gardens in Cheshire !

  7. dutch
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Nice, bit trickier than most Mondays or maybe it’s a slow Monday for me. I’ve often found it surprising that the Monday morning Rufus in the Guardian can be just a little harder.

    many thanks miffypops for a great review, i didn’t see the three animals either, and thank you Rufus as always.

  8. CruciJu
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    2d puzzled me too but thanks to above comments I did find a Merriam Webster definition. All the rest OK and enjoyable so I would be happy except I don’t know what a BRB is! One problem solved, another gained.

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog CruciJu

      Did you look it the FAQ? I guess not as the answer lies therein.

  9. pete
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    A bit on the hard side for a Monday. Thanks for explaining 2d. 8d 18d and 21a beat me.

  10. Geoff. S.
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I managed to get them all today but until I had a look here I wasn’t sure why some of them were right according to the new iPad version which shows the right/wrong answers. 2d and 8d in particular.
    ***/*** for me.
    Many thanks for the explanations and to the setter.

  11. overtaxed
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    As previously stated, this was harder than a usual Monday back pager. Managed to complete it, but didn’t really understand 2d before reading the blog. Thouht Rufus was in great form, and I agree with MP on the ratings, as I had the same problems with the finish (apart from 24d). ***/***
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for his usual entertaining blog.

  12. Kath
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d say quite a bit trickier than your average Rufus so 3* difficulty and nearly 4* for enjoyment.
    I’d never heard of that meaning of 2d – glad I’m not the only one.
    Having made a stupid mistake – 22d tides rather than tidal – I was very slow with the whole of the bottom right corner.
    I agree with MP about the clue for the last bit of 19a – unless we’re both being dim isn’t it the wrong part of speech?
    I spent far too long trying to make 20d some food that sailors would have taken with them in the dim and distant past.
    I liked 1 and 18a and 8 and 16d, although I thought that was two words – haven’t looked yet.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Mr Rookie is really good fun today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • cat
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I pondered about 19a but you can read twitching as a noun, I think. I’m another one who has never come across that meaning of 2d. Like others, I thought this was more difficult than the usual Monday but give it ***/***. Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  13. Peta
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle, but it’s done. Forgive my ignorance, but what is BRB please?

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      It is a frequently asked question so is explained at the top but I’ll save you time and say that it is Chambers Dictionary (which is a Big Red Book).

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      The Big Red Book Peta is quoted as the ultimate reference book for all to do with Daily Telegraph crossword puzzles. Unless you really want to be pedantic any dictionary will do. I have a Collins English Gem Dictionary that you can see in my Avatar. I don’t own a BRB or any other big dictionary. Actually asking what a BRB is qualifies you to full membership rights of this lovely little crossword club. How is Mum today and how are you?

  14. Stone Lee
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Glad it wasn’t just me having a difficult Monday morning! Agree with the ratings. The FreeDictionary defines 2d as three animals such as hounds but the examples (for a brace and a half) are pretty much threes of anything (inc. kings!). Agree with everyone about the wrong part of speech in 19a – as for the meaning of the answer think feverish activity. I had a different answer for ‘dog’ in 16d – my immediate thought when I got the answer was a very well known kids’ book ‘—— The Sheepdog’. Thanks to Rufus and MP

  15. Miffypops
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I recommend that everybody has a read through Saturday’s Crossword Club comments and heartily thank all who posted positive comments.

  16. Miffypops
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Can new posters please remember to A. quote a solving time. B. Ask what a BRB is. C. Ask how we know who the setter is.

    That should speed things along a bit

    • Hanni
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I want to know what a pangram is and whether I can use pencil circles? I like pencils.

    • Brian
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Is this satire, sarcasm or irony? My English teacher gave up trying to exp,sin the difference to us.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        It’s just me Brian, being naughty. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        And I think MP is being ironic.

      • Bob H
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        VG Brian 10/10

  17. Florence
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Needed the review to check a few answers. Was uncertain about 2d. Worked out the first bit of 19a, but the second bit didn’t seem to be in the right tense for ‘twitching’. Still gave a lot of pleasure though and enjoyed 6d and 14d. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops. Clip of 18d… who is it ?

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      As it was added my Miffypops you could probably guess!

      Usually all you need to do to answer questions like this is to select the “YouTube” button which appears when you hover over the video – this transfers you to the YouTube website, which gives a lot more detail.

      • Florence
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks BD. I’m afraid it was rather tongue in cheek. I like Bob Dylan. My big brother listened to him constantly as I was growing up. We have heard all about the Dylan concerts over the last couple of weeks, so the clip was not s surprise. Just wanted to see Miffypops spell it out one more time, as we may not see the name written for a few months/ weeks/days/ hours???
        After Saturday’s comments hope no offence taken. Gosh, now I’m running scared of writing anything. Apologies. Apologies. Please don’t ban me.

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Its a new bloke called Bob Dylan. Just a kid with a crazy dream Florence.

    • Brian
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I love Dylan but the clip above is painful! Maggies Farm it ain’t.

  18. från
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Having put celeriac into 15a , don’t know why on reflection , I then spent a good deal of time trying to sort out the top left hand corner, 7d therefore eluded me. 2d I got but ?? enough said ; also agree that 19a was difficult to parse from what was given .Needed help for 21a and 15a .Particularly liked 8d and 14d
    Thanks to Miffypops for the hints, on what was , for Monday quite tricky ***/***

  19. Dr_Bob
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Tricky in parts I thought. Had the answers to 2d and 8d but needed this post to fully understand. Thank you. My fave was 21a

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Dr_Bob – presumably you’ve given up cycling since your last comment (as cyclingbob back in 2010)!

      • Dr_Bob
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        ah ha. Couldn’t remember what my earlier username was. Still cycling :-)

  20. Brian
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Apart from 2d, a great puzzle. Some clever misdirection in many clues but very satisfying to finish. As someone said the definition for Leash is given in the BRB as a group of three of anything esp animals. Is there a special dictionary somewhere available only to crossword setters of weird words? :-)
    Thx to all

    • Julian
      Posted November 10, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      What’s a BRB??

      • Posted November 10, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink


        I bet you didn’t look in the FAQ first! If you had, you would have found the answer. It’s always a good idea to look there before posting a question.


  21. Vancouverbc
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    ***/****. Best Monday puzzle in ages. Some very neat clues – 13,15,27&28a for starters. Clever misdirection as well. Thanks to the setter for stretching the grey cells and MP for the review. And, no, IMHO 28a is overrated.

  22. Hilary
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and MPs for starting the week off with a totally great crossword. Looked up 2d to check answer, little bit of electronic help mainly to sort out my slightly wonky spelling but it provided some cheer in Suffolk on a soggy overcast day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  23. mebebob
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Superb. So clever, especially 9a, 18a, 18d and 8d. 2d appears in Henry IV Part 1 – Sirrah I am a sworn brother to a leash of drawers and can call them all by their Christian names as Tom, Dick and Francis. – I have no idea what happened to Harry !!

  24. Bob H
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I found the clueing on the easy side but some of the aswers a bit obscure. I prefer it when the answer is straightforward but the clueing (parsing?) Is more difficult .2*/3* for me today. I only use a Collins little gem as well. My wife uses a Collins concise and an encyclopaedia and dictionary of quotations etc. She prefers lugging these off the shelf to the tablet I gave her when I bought a new one.some people are never grateful.!

    • Kath
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m really glad to hear that I’m not the only one to get hand-me-downs. There is a pecking order in our family for all IT stuff – phones, laptops etc. Husband is top of the list (I’m never sure why http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif ) so he gets the new whatever-it-is, Elder Lamb gets his old one and her old one comes down to me. Younger Lamb doesn’t count as she has a work whatever-it-is! Why am I bottom of the heap – should I rebel?

      • Florence
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Definitely. I get to use Mr Florence’s tablet on very rare occasions. Seriously considering treating myself. I can’t see the DT crossword on his. It tells me I need to install Adobe Flash Player. Then when I try, it tells me it can’t be done. !!! Need to find someone who can recommend something. Nice to hear you chat about your pet lambs again.

        • Kath
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t know that I’d ever stopped about chatting about my wonderful Lambs!

        • Ginny
          Posted November 10, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          Hi Florence, it can be done by installing Dolphin browser and then installing Flash from Dolphin. If you Google installing Flash onto Android, or whatever your device is, there is info out there. I can access the DT site quite happily on the Kindle now (with none of the reported ”ipad problems”).
          Thanks very much setter and MP. Hints needed for 15a and 21a.
          Thanks also to BD for his indispensible website!

          • Posted November 10, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            Welcome to the blog Ginny

  25. Jane
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Found this one to be a real mixed bag. Some I really liked – 1,9&18a plus 14d – and others that I rather disliked – 19&21a plus 2d. I had ‘read’ in for 4d, which seemed reasonable enough.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP – loved the clip for 24d, least said about the 18d one the better!

    By the way, MP, shouldn’t the clue for 4d specify the second note of the musical scale rather than the third? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Well spotted Jane. That is just one of the two deliberate mistakes today. They are always there lurking around. I am 99% certain to make it to the birthday bash and am really looking forward to meeting you.

      • Jane
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – you’re being nice to me, MP. Somehow that always makes me nervous. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        • Miffypops
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          I want to hear about your life in Anglesey Jane and the choir and what music you like best and if I should visit the seafood restaurants there. You have nothing to be nervous about. I don’t bite you know.

  26. Merusa
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    As usual, right on wavelength with Rufus, except for the infamous 2d. I didn’t look it up, silly me, my dictionary gives me the answer.
    My last in was 18d and I had enough letters to get the answer. Otherwise I had no difficulty at all with this.
    Lots of fun from Rufus, thank you, and many thanks to M’pops.

  27. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Late on parade today as I have been having my throat slashed open by my local GP, nothing serious – just an annoyance. A tad trickier from Rufus today with me joining the last to put in ‘2d’ club – I thought it had to be the correct answer but couldn’t be bothered to look up the BRB when I got home (I have no idea what BRB stands for, but I love the term http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif) – so thanks to Williamus for the explanation. I also have no idea what FAQ means – I hope it’s not rude.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and my dear friend miffypops for the blog. As I will be passing your hostelry this Saturday, I will pop in and leave a pint for you behind the bar.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I’d be pretty annoyed if my GP did that too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      Hope you recover soon.

    • Florence
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Get well soon Shropshirelad. Hope that you will still be able to have a wee dram of something for medicinal purposes.

    • silvanus
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Your day may be improved by checking out your name-check in today’s Rookie puzzle, if you haven’t tackled it yet?

  28. happy days
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everybody about 2d . Most un-Rufuslike to use abstruse definitions.16d made up for it, so he’s forgiven

  29. Sheffieldsy
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Strange affair, this one. It was almost read and write for the most part then came to shuddering halt in NW corner with two to go. One of these, of course, was 2d. Decided after some thought that it had to be what it is but needed this blog to understand fully. 2*/3* for us and thanks to MP for trawling the BRB! Last night I read through Saturday’s blog – we are all better off without idiots like A G Brown and I’d like to echo all the thanks to those who contribute their time and expertise here.

  30. silvanus
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Definitely trickier than normal for a Monday, and pleased to see that I’m in very good company not having heard of 2d meaning “three animals” before – crossword solving is so educational!

    Favourite clues were 16d and 18d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops (well done indeed on linking 28a with 1a!)

  31. Berry David
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Among hunters, a collection of three hares (“a brace and a half” or tierce) or three creatures of any kind, especially greyhounds, foxes, and deer, is called “a leash”.wiki

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Berry David

  32. Drapdor
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Fun but tricky, with lots to get stuck on and into.
    I liked 27a and 6d.
    I had not heard that meaning of 2d either but I have found more on it in an old (1803) Sporting Dictionary which notes that it is sportsmanlike to say a leash of birds, partridges or hares, or any article where two are termed a brace, but improper to call three a leash where two are called a couple!
    That made me think that all three number-words, brace, couple and leash, are also verbs related to harnessing.
    Thank you to the setter and MPs.

  33. Una
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    So it wasn’t just me having a thick day.I really had to work to get finished ,and I needed the hint for 5d.I give 1a the award for best clue.
    Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  34. Boltonbabs
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    We took longer than usual over this, mainly due to my reaction over 26a. Every mention of the book reminds me of the dialogue ” Your hair. your beautiful hair!” ,as Jo comes in shorn. Never fails to reduce me to tears. A wonderful book.

  35. Paso Doble
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    We’ve only just finished this one. It was started on the London Overground at 07,55 this morning with standing room only available and the pen didn’t work properly. Paso had to go to Fulham and Doble was in Balham (the gateway to the south as Peter Sellers once called it). Therefore, we left it to finish together on our return home to Camden. Deed done, and as you lot say, slightly more taxing than usual Rufus fare but very enjoyable indeed.
    Contemplated having lunch at the Butcher’s Hook in Chelsea with A G Brown But pulled out at the last minute.

    Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops. 2/3 would be about right.

  36. Jaylegs
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the comments, slightly trickier than the normal Monday offering ? But very enjoyable ***/*** Liked 18d (my last one in), 16d & 1a ? Learnt a new meaning 2d so a nice start to a windy week ? Many thanks to MP & Rufus

  37. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Our hands are also up for membership of the “didn’t know the animals meaning of 2d” club. Agree that this one is a little trickier than Mondays often are but still good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  38. Anthony M
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    My 1902 Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary has a definition of a leash as a “brace and a half” – three!

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Anthony

  39. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t understand 2d either.
    Had a look at animals starting or ending in leash and found a dog leash, a cat leash and a parrot leash. That was enough for me.
    Tried to put “paleskin”,in 8d. Don’t ask me why.
    Love the connection MP found for 1a and 28a.
    Making celery soup tonight as it happens.
    Yum or even Muy yum as Pommers might say.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the great review.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Nope…going to have to ask, and because I’ve come up with some unusual answers myself in the past,…paleskin?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        That’s how Indians ( Braves in the
        US) used to call white people.

        • Miffypops
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Only in Hollywood movies Jean-Luc. I feel the reality was much worse

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            When I was about 10, I saw a cowboys and Indians film where a kid ends up with a tomahawk lodged in his skull. Never been able to watch a Western ever since.
            Can’t watch any horror movies either.
            Maybe it’s time to consult a specialist.

            • Miffypops
              Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

              The book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” by Dee White tells the story of the genocide that took place and the lies that were told. It is a harrowing read

            • Hanni
              Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

              I understand the horror film thing. Can’t watch anything like that. Petrifies me. Completely and utterly petrifies me to a degree it doesn’t seem to with others.

              • Miffypops
                Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

                You wont want to see my home movies then either of you

              • jean-luc cheval
                Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

                We now have two things in common.
                In January we will be able to talk about all the films we haven’t been able to watch.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

                • Hanni
                  Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

                  I’ve never had a conversation about unwatched films. Quite looking forward to it…”Did you not see…” Should be good.

                  • Jane
                    Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

                    Can we include ‘films I’ve watched but had completely forgotten about until I got half way through watching the re-runs on TV’? I’m really rather good on those. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

                      I do hope this will not interfere with the things we’re all meeting up for….. beer, wine, uckers etc http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

                    • Hanni
                      Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

                      Running out of replies. The myriad of things we are all meeting up for should be good. Yummy wine, my ability to cheat at suckers, unwatched films, discussions about BD’d tantalus…. I think it vaguely had something to do with crosswords? But I’m not positive on the last one mind.

                    • Hanni
                      Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

                      Uckers…I meant uckers. Auto-correct again.

                    • jean-luc cheval
                      Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

                      Silly me again.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif
                      I thought the spelling mistake was ” talk about BD’s tentacles”

                    • Hanni
                      Posted November 10, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

                      I have absolutely no reply to that but I am laughing. I had to double check it said tantalus then. My tab corrects the oddest things.

  40. mre
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Good evening everybody.

    A tricky start to the week with two clues, 8d and 19a unsolved, despite a longer than usual tussle. I couldn’t rationalise 2d and 11a. Favourites were 15a, 21 a and 18d. Certainly into four star time but equally enjoyable.


  41. Gwizz
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    agb did make a stink didn’t he? We are still talking about it two days later!
    Anyway, other than 2d a super Monday puzzle from Rufus. 2d actually is a completely new word for me, so even tho’ it caused me grief in solving the crossword its good to learn something new.
    Favourite was 21a, which of course …nah, I’ll get me coat.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Mp.

  42. David Carvel
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Hello. I’m new to this. 16d was the hardest/least obvious to me.

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog David

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi David. Welcome to the blog. I solved 16d from the checking letters I had in and the definition “cosmetic” Other than it fit those I had no real idea why but am confident that I will parse the clue later. 8d was the same. Only when it came to writing the blog did I really study the clues. Sometimes the gut feeling that a word is right is all I need. Be careful though therein may lie madness.

  43. Tstrummer
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    A tricky little blighter from Rufus; it’s as if he reads the blog each week and is grumpy that some commenters reckon Monday is an easy ride. Well he certainly taught me a lesson today with this excellent challenge. I was sent to my BBB (Collins) more than once and fear I may have gained a further furrow in my brow puzzling over 18d. Stumbled across the line eventually, with some relief as there was a point when I thought he had me beaten. Favourite clue, 28a (no, I haven’t read it either, and am unlikely to) with 15a close on its tail. VMTs to Rufus and the enigma that is MP. 3*/4*

    • Jane
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi TS,
      I’ve just finished reading The Road. Very mixed feelings but will save the discussion for January, rather than launch into a long diatribe here.
      Next on the list is the John Irving, interspersed with back copies of The Oldie which were lent to me by a friend. Think I may be putting my name down for a subscription – what do you think of it?

      • Tstrummer
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        I don’t read magazines any more. There was a time when my job required me to read The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, The Economist etc. drove me mad. I was just working and sleeping, with no time for poetry, fiction or a biography. I left that job and now only occasionally look up specific articles online as required. I don’t read newspapers either.
        I’ll be interested to hear your take on The Road, although perhaps not a whole diatribe – perhaps just the five-minute diatribe …

        • Jane
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough – I’ll try to be selective and succinct!

        • Miffypops
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          The Road. McCarthy at his bleakest yet most optimistic at the end. Not a single word wasted. Not a single word out of place. Not a book to put on the reread list though. I would point Jane to books like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

  44. Organum
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Trickier than it was enjoyable – so 4*/2* from me.

  45. Ade
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Needed hints for 2d and 11a. Still don’t like 11a. Don’t really see “i* ***d” as deferred payment

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      When I started working in the UK, I used to get paid weekly. But only on Fridays for the week that preceded. It used to be called a “week in hand”.

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jean-Luc. A week in hand was the phrase I wanted but I. Couldn’t drag it from the memory bank

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          These were good times.
          52 wage slips a year.
          In France we have something called the thirteenth month.
          But only in the civil service and rich companies.

  46. Heno
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very difficult start to the week. I needed the hints for 11,13,15a & 2,7,18d. Wouldn’t have got any of them in a month of Sundays. Favourite was 20d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  47. Langstone Joe
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    This is a brilliant resource, for a newbie to crosswords such as myself.
    I needed several hints for today’s puzzle, which for me, was a difficult one.
    Thanks to Miffypops for the hints, and BD for the site.

  48. Salty Dog
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    A very worthwhile start to the week, and a bit stiffer than the usual Monday fare. 2*/4*, and 15a my favourite. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops.

  49. Angel
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I am obviously hard to please but I did have the same thought as Tstrummer re Rufus giving us our come uppance. I have often found Monday’s fare somewhat elementary but today’s was a different kettle of fish altogether and I needed a lot of help. I concur with the clues which caused MP to pause for thought and for my part there were several others and certainly lighter moments were missing. Nevertheless my thanks to Rufus and MP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif. */****.

    • Angel
      Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear I mixed up my stars – I meant 4* for difficulty and 1* for entertainment.

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        I never alter the 3/3 star rating Angel. I leave it to BD. The more difficult a puzzle is the more enjoyment I get from it.

        • Posted November 10, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          … and I forgot to look at it this time! I would probably have gone for ***/****.

  50. dave lock
    Posted November 10, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Miffy, 6d reminds me of when I was an arrogant teenager and I was soooooooo proud that I knew what a “ha-ha” was and how to spell the word “ceilidh” (amongst other mildly obscure things). You have included a cracking photo of a ha-ha (ie a architectural/landscape feature comprising a sunken barrier), but the clue made no reference to such a thing (either directly or cryptically), did it? The clue was all about the onomatopoeic sound of ha-has related to laughter. Or have I missed something extremely arcane?

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 10, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Hello Dave Lock. The answer is Ha Ha’s and I have only included a picture of one Ha-Ha, but is a haha already a plural? You are right the clue had nothing to do with the architectural structure. Now what about the other two mistakes in the blog?

      • dave lock
        Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Miffy, I wasn’t complaining or criticising of course – I thought the inclusion of the (albeit extraneous) photo was quite quirky, amusing and educational (so don’t be deterred). But many people reading the blog will have no idea what a “ha-ha” is and might be thinking: “What’s he got a picture of a field/wall with that clue for?”. But then, that is their problem! No, I don’t think ha-ha (always hyphenated) is already a plural. You showed a photo of a single ha-ha, but if you posted a photo of another/different one then that would be two ha-has.

        Yes, I spotted the comment about your (deliberate of course) mistake regarding the musical scale, but I’ll have to search for the other one. I quite like the idea of introducing these “mistakes” – it gives a new, intriguing dimension for the blog reader :-)

        B.T.W. Thank you and keep up the good work with these Hints and Tips contributions.

        • Miffypops
          Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Hi Dave, It started an age ago when I accidentally used a picture of Tennyson instead of Longfellow. I throw the odd one in most weeks. Kitty does too occasionally.

          • Kitty
            Posted November 11, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            Yes. Deliberately, of course. A-hem. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

            I won’t say where I think the deliberate mistakes are but will smile blandly and thank Rufus and MP because I neglected to do so earlier.

            Thanks for my haiku too. Loved it!

  51. pommette
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Very late on parade for this one – only got round to doing it today as we were tied up all day on Monday. Not literally of course but you know what I mean.
    We’re in the 2d club as well – so thanks everyone for all the explanations. And didn’t really like 11a.
    Just for info “A week in hand” to me means not getting paid for work for almost 2 weeks. Being paid on the friday is just being paid in arrears and normal for most weekly paid workers.

    Am I just being a pedant or is CLOTHS a mis-print? Surely it should be clothEs
    Cloth to me is fabric and clothes an articles of dress?

    3*/2* for us – too many clues where we said “don’t like that much”
    Thanks to Rufus for a tricky start to the week though and to MP for the blog.

    • dave lock
      Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Pommette. No, in 18a the cloths (as in face-cloths) in the clue relates directly to the answer FLANNELS. A face-cloth is just another name for a flannel. And fannel is another word for “soft-soap”. But the clue would probably also work (but not so elegantly) as “Provides soft-soap and clothEs for the cricket team? (8)”, because cricket “whites” (ie trousers) are sometimes called flannels (indeed, many trousers are known as flannels). And I think that is probably what you are referring to.

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        When I solved the puzzle at silly o clock I thought of a triple definition, Soft soap, cloth, and cloth for cricketers. After a sleep I forgot all about that one.

        • Kitty
          Posted November 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          I parsed 18a as per the hint and thought no more about it.

        • dave lock
          Posted November 12, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          18a. This clue/answer utilises all 4 meanings of the word “flannel”. The clue contains soft soap (flannel) and cloths, which contains two separate references: flannel as a fine woven material (or cloth) and a small piece of cloth to wash face and hands (a face cloth). And the answer is flannels – another name for white cricket trousers or any trousers made of flannel material.

          No wonder I solved that one before I’d even finished reading it! I’m sure everyone else did, too.

  52. Meldrew
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Hello. I’m fairly new to Cryptics, don’t manage to finish many (which is how I found this site), but Monday and Wednesday DT tend to provide my best chance.

    Yes, 2d the stumbling block for me this time. Despite knowing very early on that it had to be ‘leash’ I just couldn’t explain why.

    • Gazza
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Meldrew.