DT 27984

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27984

Hints and tips by “And Miffypops”

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Quote from the blog:

“If you stick with this excellent site (and keep commenting, by the way, so we can offer encouragement) and pay attention to the mega crossword brains who write the reviews (and Miffypops) you’ll find that your solving ability will increase far more rapidly than you can possibly imagine”.

What more can I say? Today’s puzzle by Rufus contains all of his signature tricks. There are seven anagrams to help you along, some clever double definitions, charades, and mischief aplenty. The review contains two deliberate mistakes

Today’s hints and tips have been lovingly created by “And Miffypops”. Definitions are underlined. Together they should lead you to the answers you may be struggling with. If you are completely bamboozled befuddled and bewildered click on the greyed out box to reveal the answer.

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    Contract, perhaps, for engineering work (6)
BRIDGE: Contract perhaps suggests a card game where players pair off in teams named after points of the compass. It somehow involves rubber and inquests are held regularly. Silence is essential during play (why oh why?) It rates as lowly as golf in my world. I am happy for others to take part but please do not invite me along. These engineering works on the other hand amaze me. I love them from the simple to the extreme they delight my very being. The one across the Forth has closed. The one by the Tower Of London has opened. The one named Stara in Cornwall is my all-time favourite

4a    Made much of being under tension (8)
STRESSED: A double definition. Emphasised.

9a    Get in boat somehow (6)
OBTAIN: Anagram no 1 (somehow) of IN BOAT

10a    Inspired by Diana, met when out (8)
ANIMATED: And Pfff Anagram number 2 (when out) of DIANA MET

12a    King appears to vex Church (4)
KIRK: A single letter abbreviation for King is followed by a short verb meaning to make someone feel annoyed worried or frustrated.

13a    In a way age is some protection (5)
AEGIS: Anagram number three (In a way) of AGE IS

14a    State obstruction provoking alliance (4)
BLOC: A homophone of a word meaning an obstruction is also an alliance or cartel

17a    Fatal accuracy? (4,2,6)
DEAD ON TARGET: An all in one clue which I surprised myself by cracking without checkers. What you would be after fatality and two words meaning to have hit what you aimed at

20a    Innocent chap in pile-up provides transport (12)
PANTECHNICON: Anagram numero fouro (in pile up) of INNOCENT CHAP. You would not want to be in a pile up with one of these

23a    Unidentified girl accepts love (4)
ANON: A girls name containing (accepts) the letter that looks like the term used in tennis for no points. Which girls name? There is nothing in the clue to help.

Western Wind. Anon

Western wind, when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! If my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

24a    In which rivals can hear a pin drop (5)
ALLEY: Ooh er tricky. A pin is also a skittle. Where might you play skittles or ninepins or tenpins?

25a    Head boy’s first to go, in bygone era (4)
ONCE: Remove the first letter of B(oys) as instructed by the words first to go from a word meaning your head

28a    Insurance allowed for a counterpane (8)
COVERLET: Join a word for insurance to a word meaning allowed to find a bedspread. When we were little we had a trenchcoat dad brought home after WW11

29a    It’s bought by the metre but worn out by the foot (6)
CARPET: A woven woollen floor covering. Need I say more.

30a    Very French to approve sin (8)
TRESPASS: The French word for very is followed by a word meaning the opposite of fail

31a    Lower or upper garment (6)
JERSEY: Back in the day when I was a mere crosswording whippersnapper the word LOWER would always fool me. Not so now. Lowing is the noise a cow makes particularly when winding slowly o’er the lea. So we want the name of a breed of cow which is also the name of an upper garment. A sweater gansey or pullover. Preferably with a Christmas theme at this time of the year

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.


1d    Ordered to introduce security, to prevent access (8)
BLOCKADE: Place a security device used mainly on doors inside a verb which is a command or order

2d    In time, learn to unwind inside (8)
INTERNAL: A charade or Lego clue with anagram number five. In can be lifted straight from the clue. Add the T(ime) and an anagram (to unwind) of LEARN

3d    Pedestrian walkway? (4)
GAIT: The way one walks. A person’s manner of walking.

5d    What one needs when required for court service (6,6)
TENNIS RACKET: These courts can be found at Wimbledon and these are used to play the game that Wimbledon is most famous for. Croquet is the other game played at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Croquet Mallet is not the answer

6d    She has them shortened by a degree (4)
EMMA: She denotes a girl’s name. A shortened form of THEM as in “go get ’em is followed by the initial letters of M(aster) of A(rts)

7d    The bench is alight (6)
SETTLE: A double definition the second meaning to land

8d    Conclude it’s a nasty deed, when copper’s admitted being upset (6)
DEDUCE: Anagram number six (nasty) of DEED with the reversed (upset) abbreviation for copper

11d    Apparently they count every hole but skip the nineteenth? (12)
TEETOTALLERS: Golf. Oh dear! The nineteenth hole on a golf course is the clubhouse or the bar. These non drinkers supposedly do not enter it. They could go in for a tea or a coffee. Split the answer 3,9 for the hole counters

15d    Just married, before the exam (5)
MORAL: M(arried) comes before a verbal examination

16d    Has plans to make money (5)
MEANS: Another double definition a third is intends.

18d    Extra comment following school game shows spirit (8)
SCHNAPPS: Add a P(ost) S(cript) to a card game resembling whist and an abbreviation for SCH(ool) to find this drink which did for me during Christmas in Denmark many years ago. Ouch.

The PS made me think of the B side to The Beatles first Number One single

19d    Awkward ascent on railway line (8)
ANCESTRY: Our seventh and final anagram (awkward) of ASCENT followed by our crosswordland two lettered R(ailwa)Y

21d    One’s lucky in races under mile (6)
MASCOT: This person or thing is supposed to bring good luck and can be found by placing a royal racecourse in Berkshire under the initial letter of the word M(ile)

22d    Ventilator in a foreign gallery (6)
LOUVRE: This ventilation system consists of a set of angled slats set into a window or door to allow light, air or both through is also the art gallery in Paris where you might look at a copy of The Mona Lisa

26d    Cut page or chapter up (4)
CROP: Place the initial letters of the words P(age) and C(hapter) around the word OR from the clue. The word UP suggests you should invert what you have. It is best to really as PORC is not a word and it will mess up both 18 and 30 across.

27d    Lot of grease going on bearing (4)
FATE: Another word for Grease is followed by a point of the compass. I initially thought of Soil for this clue.

Reviewed whilst listening to the soundtrack of Funny Girl as sung by Barbara Streisand – a delight. We have tickets to see it in the West End in July.

The Quick Crossword pun: super+intend=superintend


  1. Hanni
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


    What would Monday be without a Rufus puzzle? Enjoyable as always with no hold ups. My trusty red pencil dispatched some of the anagrams and some just slid right in. The double definitions made me smile and MP’s review made me laugh. The hint for 1a is a masterpiece.

    I think I’ve spotted one deliberate mistake. The B side should be P.S I love you…written in 1962. I quite like P.S I love you.

    Haven’t spotted the other mistake.

    Favourite clue is 20a for no other reason than I like the word.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a great blog as always.

    I’m now going to carry on arguing with my laptop about why it has decided to revert to its factory settings overnight. The work of elves possibly. Which is about all I can do having ridden out three times in quick succession today. About the best way to stay warm on the snowy moors.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I think the deliberate mistake regarding P.S. I Love You is that Love Me Do (the A-side) wasn’t a number 1 in the UK.

      Perhaps the second deliberate mistake is that there is only one deliberate mistake. MP is devious enough for that, you know!

      There are some punctuation errors but I don’t think they will have been deliberate!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Ahh didn’t know that. Devious indeed from ‘And Miffypops’.

        I dread to think of all the grammatical errors I make. Those wonderful errors and complete lack of knowledge I have clearly passed onto the youngest child type thing. She saw me setting the Christmas quiz that you all helped with and asked me to set her one,..fine, no problem. Most the answers she did well on, except these…

        “What does Santa use to deliver his presents”?
        A Ferrari.

        “How did the three wise men find the stable in Bethlehem”?
        To quote her…”Dunno, Satnav probably”!

        “What gifts were apparently left for the baby Jesus”?
        A sheep, some gold and a muffin. She didn’t specify what type.

        This is a child that is considered gifted. Yeah right.

        Still looking for another deliberate mistake.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          How does your youngest child type thing know I’m Santa ? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

          And she obviously is gifted…. she has you as a parent.

          • Hanni
            Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            Ahh so you’re the secret Santa with the Ferrari! Should have guessed.

            Thank you, you’re very kind.

            It’s the school Nativity on Wednesday. Having seen the script, I can tell they are sticking with the traditional format.

            It opens in a courtroom where the cows are being tried by the sheep for crimes unknown. The cattle object to this and stage a coup. This ends in a mass brawl that spills over into the streets of Bethlehem where they meet Mary and Joseph (on a motorbike). There is no room at the Premier Inn so the end up in a stable with the cattle and sheep are still fighting. 2 wise men and a Queen have heard of the birth and arrive with a bunch of cheerleaders to celebrate. Baby Jesus arrives and the cheerleaders get their selfie sticks out to take pictures and start hash-tagging it to Instagram .. #cute kid, #mincepiesallround etc. The shepherds come to round up the now battered sheep, the angel Gabriel appears and says something about Peace on earth. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

            I despair.

            I asked if there was any traditional Carols in it. “Nope, one of the teachers has made some rubbish up”! You’re not kidding they have.

            • Merusa
              Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

              I wouldn’t miss that performance for anything. My imagination is running wild! Be sure to let us know how it went.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

              It’s a pity that in these PC days you can’t show us any recordings of the production – I bet it’ll be a hoot http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

              Mind you, at least it sounds like you only got one to attend. When my 2 were younger we had 4 to attend. One for the Rainbows, one for the guides, one for the younger daughter’s year which was quickly followed by the elder daughter’s production. All viewed through the eye piece of the camcorder (no natty little screens in them days)

              Btw – Does it end the same way as ‘Love Actually’ ?

              • Hanni
                Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

                Merusa, I cannot wait. I laughed so much I cried at last years.

                I’ve just collected her from rehearsal and there is now a scene where the sheep are arguing over a TV remote about what to watch. Twlight or Masterchef the Professionals, where the contestants are cooking lamb. However there are problems as Mary and Joseph aren’t speaking to each other in real life and whispering loudly to each other on stage. And the baby Jesus looks, and I quote, “cross eyed and vaguely demonic”. My daughters the narrator.

                SL…believe me I’m taping the whole thing. If it ends in disaster, and it will, I’ll edit a 30 second clip for the birthday party. And Love Actually did spring to mind.

                However life is good as I got home to find the postman had delivered my first Christmas present.

                • Rabbit Dave
                  Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

                  Massive RESPECT is due to you, Hanni.

                  How can anyone who has a daughter of an age to be narrating in a nativity play know anything about the B-side of a Beatles record released in 1962? That goes a long way to explaining why you didn’t know that Love Me Do didn’t make it to number 1 in the UK charts.

                  I can’t wait to hear your critique of the production itself…

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I quite like P.S. I Love You too! I always thought it was better than Love Me Do.

      • Hanni
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        P.S I love you is fantastic.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Ah. The second deliberate error got a little messy but it was based upon W B Yeats wornderful poem “The Song Of Wandering Aegis” It fell by the wayside between planning and execution

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      The 2nd deliberate mistake is that in the Louvre, it’s certainly not a copy of “la joconde”.

      • Kath
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Yes – exactly – wasn’t sure whether or not to mention it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Not so sure about that JL – having watched a programme the other evening on the said portrait, it would appear that ‘anything’ could be behind it.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          I just love conspiracy theories.
          Besides I’m not keen on these eyes following you round the room.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            Have you ever managed to get close to it JL? Any time I’ve been to see it, I’ve always needed binoculars http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

          • Tstrummer
            Posted December 15, 2015 at 1:05 am | Permalink

            When I last went, I saw other paintings whose bosoms followed you round the room. Not complaining, mind.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      The more I read this blog the more I am convinced that M15 are using it to pass coded messages

      • Brian
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        I have to say that after struggling with the Rufus and getting grumpy, I have now read the Blog and must say I haven’t laughed so much in years!
        Especially the description of the play.! And I did wonder about the coded message some while ago but I think it’s actually the KGB.

        • Hanni
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Auntie has her umbrella and the fish are swimming.

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            Allo allo, ici Londres. Les carottes sont cuites. Je répète, les carottes sont cuites.

            • Hanni
              Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

              Knit 1, purl 4, knit 2, purl 6.
              P.S. Don’t forget Jean has a long mustache.

              • jean-luc cheval
                Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

                Ah. Le point côtelé. Brings back memories of my gran Xmas presents.

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

                  Listen very carefully, I will say this only once:

                  ‘mes grands-mères Bedknobs clignotent’

                  I do hope that isn’t rudehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

                  • Hanni
                    Posted December 14, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

                    Good golly. Flashing bed-knobs and grandmothers knitting. MI5/KGB will be having a field day with all these hidden messages on the blog.

                  • Kitty
                    Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

                    Oh Hanni, those are clearly mere decoy messages. I expect that the real code is cunningly disguised within the ramblings of a fictitious commenter so realistic that one might order a T-shirt for them.

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

                      Evening Kitty – who could you be alluding to ?

                    • Kitty
                      Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

                      Hi SL. Naturally I have no idea which commenters are real and which are not to be believed.

                      Our best bet might be to ply people with truth serum (by the pint) at the next meet and see if anyone reveals anything interesting.

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:00 am | Permalink

                      If you remember – I think I was real. Then again I’m never certain http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                      I take it that you will be at the bash next year? Hope Mr K be there as it would be great to meet.

                    • Kitty
                      Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

                      Real – or unreal perhaps? Who can be certain of anything?

                      I’m certainly planning to be there – with bells on. Probably not actual bells, you understand.

                      For now, it is time to tear myself away from the blue light of the screen and go to wherever I go when I’m not here. Nighty-night. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    3.5*/4*. I was on track for 2* time but found the SE corner particularly tough which pushed up my difficulty rating above 3*. Although I cottoned on to the meaning of “lower” straight away I still couldn’t solve 31a until I had the checkers in place. My immediate thought for 18d was that it needed to end with PS but, as the checker for the sixth letter was also a P, I rejected this. After all, what 8 letter word could possibly end PPS?! D’oh!

    Lots of typical Rufus fun to be had here, and 30a & 11d stood out for me.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP, whose review I didn’t need although for quite a while I thought was going to.

  3. Beaver
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    A shoot from the hip crossword ,some of the clues looked like conundrums straight out of a Christmas cracker! like 29a,25a. A **/**** for me , wanted to put sleep for 24a ,as this can be when you hear a pin drop with acute hearing, and the checking letters fitted. Struggled with last in 19d as I’d put ancestor- ,just plain careless, then realised my mistake .Had to laugh at the blog pic for 31a ,as our hostess at a party on saturday wore the same top-have just downloaded the picture to include with our thank you note !

    • Kitty
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I smiled at that picture too because I came across a similar top this very afternoon.

  4. Richard Donovan
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink


    I took ages to convince myself that “racket” shouldn’t have been “racquet” (5D). Apart from that, not too many problems.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I asked about racket and racquet a few months ago. The great minds of the blog (And Miffypops), concluded that racket is correct.

  5. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Quite a typical puzzle from Rufus I thought. A good smattering of clue types to possibly please everyone. My favourite by a mile is 11d – it made me chuckle.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and the poorly schooled orphan boy for his typically amusing review. I thought the other deliberate mistake was in 13a. I would have put anagram (in a way) of AGE plus ‘is’ from the clue but I was obviously wrong http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    PS – forgot to say that I’m unable to attend the wine tasting this evening, so no tips I’m afraid

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      That is a perfect hint. I did not spot that.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      No wine tasting SL? I do so loathe having to choose my own wine recently. Although loving that website you sent.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately Mrs SL’s Nan is not in good health and was admitted to the local hospice yesterday. She’s 98 and not very well, so we’ve been there on and off over the last 24 hours – mind we’ve been at this stage a few times over the last six months or so. Hopefully, she’ll rally http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        Please pass on the website to Jane – she might be interested.

        • Hanni
          Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

          Oh SL..I’m so sorry to hear that. Love to you both, I know how hard these situations can be.

          I will forward the website to Jane.

          • Kitty
            Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:07 am | Permalink

            All the best from me too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  6. happy days
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Nice. Easy but entertaining as ever, Thanks Rufus “And Miffypops”

  7. silvanus
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Once again I found it slightly trickier than the normal Monday fare from Mr. Squires – I make that four in succession now – but it was certainly no less enjoyable.

    It was nice to see 20a make a long-awaited reappearance (I thought it had disappeared with the charabanc!) and a surprising yet clever anagram to boot! I’m sure that I’ve seen the clue for 29a either previously used by the same setter or maybe appearing in a riddle.

    Favourite of the day was 11d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to “And Miffypops”

  8. Merusa
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I romped through this, but I did need help from my electronic gizmo for 18d. Like RD, I struggled as I couldn’t think of a word ending “pps”.
    Loved 20a and 11d, they roll off the tongue, but fave was 12a.
    Thanks to Rufus, you are the best, and to M’pops for his entertaining review.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Would give it 3 stars for difficulty as I stumbled on 3d and 24a for which I had the right answer but thought that just the word “alley” was a bit vague.
    Loved 11d too. Terrific clue.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the superb review.

  10. Bob H
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I struggle with Mondays, can’t get on his wavelength at all. Sunday easy peasy. Had to get hints for 6 clues. It was the top left and bottom right that did for me. Thanks to and M pops

  11. Mike
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Agree with your reviewer. Ranks as an “essential service” as far as I’m concerned. How would I get throug the day missing one answer? Or getting an answer but needing confirmation about why it’s right? If it weren’t free anyway I’d lobby to get it on the NHS. Thank you!

    • Gazza
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Mike.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for commenting and welcome from me too

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Mike – you might find that this type of help is on the NHS already…….. under Psychiatric Services http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      You don’t need to be mad etc, etc

      Do please carry on commenting.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted December 15, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome, especially among the pedants here for correct use of the subjunctive

  12. Wychie
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I did enjoy this one, even thought I might start the week with a completion but that large furniture van beat me. ?

    11 down was by far my favourite

    • Gazza
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Wychie.

      • Wychie
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, I’ve been reading a while, at first from frustration at failing to work out the answers but over the last couple of years I’ve learned enough from you all to be able to finish the normal one more than half the time. I’ve even started braving the toughies now.

        • Gazza
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          That’s what we like to hear. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          Welcome from me as well http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          Hello from me too. And to the other new commentators today.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Hell from me too

      • Kitty
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Crikey, that’s a bit much MP!

        • Miffypops
          Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:32 am | Permalink

          Well spotted Kitty. You are a star

  13. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    */****. Very amusing in parts – loved 11d. A nice way to start the week. Thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  14. Twizzle
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Big Dave blog is one of my best friends guiding me with hints and clues when my brain is stretched to its limit. Thank you all so much for being there.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Twizzle.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Must be nice to come home and find these lovely comments in the mailbox.
        Welcome to the newbies from me too.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted December 14, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          Moi aussi

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      hello from rural Warwickshire

  15. Kath
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I agree with JL – have to give it 3* because I came to grief with 24a – probably 3* for enjoyment too.
    I didn’t put 16d in for ages because I wasn’t convinced – don’t know why – and was pretty slow with 3d.
    I liked 29 and 31a and 3d. My favourite was 11d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Seem to have ground to a bit of a halt with Mr Rookie.

  16. Jaylegs
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    What an entertaining crossword and blog ? Not difficult but such clever amusing clues, thanks to Rufus & MP **/**** My favourite was 11d but also thought 18d, 12a & 31 deserve a mention ?

  17. Heno
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I always struggle with Rufus, and today was no exception. I had onesey for 31a, which stopped me getting 27d. Needed the hints for 24a, wouldn’t have got that in a million years. Favourite was 11d, great golf clue. Was 3*/4* for me.

  18. dutch
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks and miffypops.

    I agree with silvanus this was harder than usual (7d, 24a) – and what is going on, some complicated clues as well (8d)

    I’m grateful to miffypops for explaining the game in 18d. No problem getting the spirit (close to home), but I imagined pps for *extra* comment and thought the game had to be NA.

    My three favourite clues (just to annoy Kath – bet she has more than one item in her favourites folderhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif) are 6d (she has had them shortened by a degree) – intriguing.. 11d ( the hole counter) and 26d

    and plenty more typical Rufus stuff to enjoy

    many thanks Rufus and Miffypops

    • Angel
      Posted December 15, 2015 at 2:06 am | Permalink

      I will dare to say I had 2 Favs (5d and 11d) and am sure Kath wont agree. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  19. Jane
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Took longer than normal for a Rufus puzzle. Tried to find something more complex for 13a, dithered over 24a and struggled for a ridiculous length of time with 27d.
    I did get the spirit easily enough but convinced myself that the game was ‘snap’ which made a mess of the parsing.
    Favourite was 11d.
    Thanks to Rufus “And Miffypops”.

  20. Una
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I found it very tricky indeed.And less like the Rufus I used to love. Is he getting a hand from Giovanni ? Pantechnicon ? I ask you !

    I liked 1a, 24a 29a and 31a.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  21. KiwiColin
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Good fun and much enjoyed. 11d a standout favourite for me.
    Thanks Rufus and MP.

  22. Brian
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Found this rather trickier than a**, for me a 3.5 mainly due to 24a which completely defeated me! Still don’t understand the reference to rivals, all in all a somewhat daft clue I thought. I have struggled with Rufus crosswords for some while, I find his clueing a bit odd and tricky. Although I usually complete them I seldom enjoy them, too much of a slog for my liking. I used to really enjoy his puzzles but most of late have been little fun. Never mind at least the snow has gone from Northumberland and I can once more return to the torture which is golf. Heard a radio 4 comedy program a while back called Old Harry’s Game where they discussed putting a golf course in hell but decided that given the hell most golfers go through, it would not be much of a torture!
    Thx to all

  23. mre
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    Another day another resounding defeat with six clues unsolved (a 13,24,29,31 d18,27). Nor did I understand the logic for 7d at the time. The only clue I noted was 11d so I’ll nominate that as my favourite.


  24. Hilary
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Over the past few days I realised that I was crossworded out, not finding much enjoyment so I am going to have a few weeks off. Hopefully I will be back in the New Year but in the meantime I hope that you all have a super Christmas stay well and take care.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for the good wishes, Hilary – your comments will certainly be missed, not to mention your boxes of tissues and tales of the goings-on in the cupboard under the stairs!
      Have a lovely Christmas yourself and I do hope you’ll be back amongst us in the New Year. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Kitty
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Merry Christmas Hilary http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif.

      Enjoy your crossword break and I look forward to seeing you again in the new year.

      • Angel
        Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Enjoy your ‘away-days’ and au revoir. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif (this wasn’t meant to be a response to you Kitty but tant pis!)

    • Hanni
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas to you too Hilary. Hurry back soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Ginny
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas and New Year, Hilary.

    • dutch
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      good idea – looking forward to seeing you again later

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Have a very Merry Christmas and a Great New Year Hilary.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted December 15, 2015 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Hilary, you will be missed. I miss you already.

  25. Framboise
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Back in Sussex since yesterday afternoon… I agree wth JL and Kath – have to give it 3* for difficulty. Needed Miffipops’s help for 3d, 6d and 24a. Took me ages to get going mainly because I was trying to get too complex answers for relatively simple clues. Getting the anagram for 20a without electronic help was, however, a definite confidence booster! Thought 11d was brilliant and 31a so funny. With thanks to Miffipops and Rufus.

  26. Kitty
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Plenty to enjoy and not much to cause any great pain. I was just held up by 20a and finally 24a.

    I don’t have any favourites because I have run out for the year. More should arrive on the 2nd January or soon afterwards.

    Thanks to:
    And Miffypops

  27. Cryptor
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    **/*** for me. Teetotallers my favourite, with clue for alley not my favourite. Was wondering if 7d needed ‘the’ and ‘is’? Wouldn’t ‘Bench alight?’ have been neater? I felt the other words surplus to requirement.

  28. ginniebd
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    A good training session for me,did some then got horribly stuck and annoyed went to hints (which were more enjoyable than the puzzle) But my hints had no answers so I was forced to try harder.Did any body have any answers? I have finished it now but it would be nice to know. Thanks to everyone.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Mine has answers. Glad you liked the blog

    • Hanni
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes mine does. Ginnie what did you use to read the blog? i.e laptop, tab, phone?

      • ginniebd
        Posted December 15, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        my normal lap top which normally has the answers,how odd is that!

  29. Salty Dog
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    A good start to the puzzling week. I just squeaked into 1* time, despite being delayed by 24a, but thoroughly enjoyed every minute, so 1*/4*. 11d made me smile (not easy in this weather) so gets my vote for favouritism. Thanks to Rufus, and to MP for an entertaining review.

  30. från
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    This was right up my alley ,apart that is from 24a when I needed a hint .Possibly ** /**** Thanks once again to Rufus and MP . 11d raised a smile as I would never miss the 19th , maybe the 16th, 17th and 18th though.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I miss them all now and I don’t miss them one little bit

  31. Hanni
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    BD’s made the blog Christmassy..it’s a word. Thanks BD!

  32. Florence
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus for a lovely start to the week, and to Miffypops for such an amusing review. Reminded me of the time travelling around Europe post degree. Stayed in a hotel in Austria with a bowling alley in the basement ( and a bar). All the residents used to go down in the evenings and split into teams. If you got a strike you a won a glass of 18d. My travelling companion was a demon, and scored lots of strikes but was TT so just kept handing the glasses to me. Memorable nights.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 15, 2015 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      I am sure they were Florence. I am sure they were.

  33. Tstrummer
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    My late Uncle Hans used to distill his own schnapps in his barn using windfalls from the orchard that we gathered in late August in the Austrian lakeside village where I spent my childhood summers and where have returned often since. The orchard is now a bank, but the village is just as beautiful. Imagine my shock to find it featuring in the new James Bond film. Memories of my father mounting the stairs on all fours after an evening in the bosom of the family make 18d my favourite, although without those, it would have to be 11d, which my father was not (although he was a good golfer). In later years he used to skip holes 1-18 and go straight to the 19th, like all good Glaswegians. Many thanks to the never-to-be-underestimated and Miffypops and to Rufus for a jolly end to a busy day. 2*/4*

  34. Angel
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Phew – too exhausted to comment after reading all that but thanks anyway Rufus http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  35. Whybird
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable! Needed to see 24a set out to understand why it was that, and I think the clue lacks Rufus’s usual precision. However, more than made up for by 14d, which came to me in the middle of the night, and which I’m still smiling about. Thanks for the help!

  36. Young Salopian
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I did this a day late as always for the Monday puzzle. I found it a little tougher than perhaps I should have done. Probably a wavelength thing. 2/4 from me with thanks all round.

  37. Gwizz
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Several days later I realise I haven’t commented. Probably if I’m honest because I ran into a dead stop in the south east corner and had to rely on the hints to dig myself out. God, I hate my pride!
    29 and 31a, 18 and 27d were the culprits…. Why I really don’t know.
    Anyway 11d was fave and overall in spite of… 2/3*
    Thanks to ‘and Miffypops’ for the review and to Rufus for the challenge.