DT 27995 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27995

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27995

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning one and all. My heartfelt good wishes to you all especially if you are affected by floodwaters. Although our river levels came well up, they did not threaten us and seem to be stable today with no rain forecast. Today’s puzzle should not give too much trouble. It is a classic Rufus and therefore a pleasure to solve.

Today’s hints and tips have been created with love and care by Miffypops, a man who has no beginning to his talents. Together with the underlined definitions 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    Senior school staff could produce these dramas (11)
HEADMASTERS: An anagram to start us off. THESE DRAMAS provide the fodder. The words (could produce) tip us off that there is an anagram to solve.

9a    Try to reach agreement, but get into a tricky point (9)
NEGOTIATE: Another anagram which I did not spot until now. Anagram (tricky) of GET INTO A with one of the four points of the compass. Pick wisely my little swamp ducks

10a    Speak out for zero taxation? (5)
ORATE: Take the round letter that looks like a zero and add a verb that means assess the value of (a property) for the purpose of levying a local tax. I am not sure that this word means tax but I am sure those of you who own the BRB will have a look for me.

11a    Don’t be the first, but succeed (6)
FOLLOW: A double definition. Do not lead, bring up the rear

12a    William gets eye-catching gadget that’s for pruning (8)
BILLHOOK: The shortened form of the name Willam is followed by an “eye catching gadget” Ladies, think of how your brassieres are clasped together. Gentlemen think of the fun to be had undoing them.

13a    Girl student that is seen around a ship (6)
LASSIE: A charade or Lego clue. Put our usual suspect for a L(earner) , the A from the clue and the abbreviation for a SteamShip around the Latin Id Est for that is.

15a    Dealer who is in touch with large number for a start (8)
CHANDLER; One who feels or manipulates things is placed after the Roman numeral for 100 (large number) to provide a dealer in nautical items

18a    Bad news, dear, it must be acknowledged (8)
ANSWERED: Anagram (bad) of NEWS DEAR

19a    Little credit goes to academic stream in crucial period (6)
CRISIS: An abbreviation for credit is followed by the name of The River Thames as it passes through Oxford

21a    More than father I had, though not worth it apparently (8)
OVERPAID: Time to put scaffold poles around the Lego as we take a preposition meaning more than or higher and add an affectionate for your dad and the shortened form of I had.

23a    Everybody satisfied about powerful striker (6)
MALLET: Place a word meaning everybody or everything inside the past participle of the word meet. Or a large indoor shopping centre and our favourite alien.

26a    A test devised for flavour (5)
TASTE: Anagram (devised) of A TEST. Not state as I put in. the other one.

27a    Foolishly maintain Eastern leader is without vitality (9)
INANIMATE: Anagram (foolishly) of MAINTAIN and the E from E(astern)

28a    Called back to send out requests for payment (6,5)
DEMAND NOTES: Reverse (back) what you are called or titled and add an anagram (out) of TO SEND


1d    A troublesome quantity though not beyond your grasp (7)
HANDFUL: A double definition. With reference to the contents of the garment mentioned in my hint for 12 across. Any more than this is a waste.

2d    Financial backer provides new angle (5)
ANGEL: This theatrical backer can be found by anagramaticising (new) the word ANGLE. Not GLEAN. The other one.

3d    It comes as a bolt from the blue (9)
METEORITE: An all in one definition of a piece of rock or metal than has fallen to earth from outer space. The one that fell on Barwell on Christmas Eve 1965 is worth a Google.

4d    Strike makes mates upset (4)
SLAP: This short sharp strike can be found by reversing a word meaning your mates or chums

5d    With which one looks to find agreement in some people who row (8)
EYESIGHT: Insert the affirmative into a name for a rowing crew such as might compete in the Varsity boat race

6d    What the film’s about (5)
SPOOL: Another term for a reel or the cylindrical device upon which film is wound.

7d    Wave of destruction? (7)
BREAKER: Another name for a large wave

8d    Flattery left him with a nasty hangover (8)
DAMOCLES: This is the name of a courtier to Dionysius The Second. Dionysius The Second found an unusual way to demonstrate that for a powerful man there is always danger. There was a suspended sword involved and a horsehair.

14d    American quiet in feeling doubt (8)
SUSPENSE: Place our usual suspect for an American and our musical abbreviation for quiet P(ianissimo) inside a feeling

16d    Ran up share account (9)
NARRATION: Reverse (up) the word RAN for the clue and add a share or allowance

17d    After one’s admitted, ruled I’m suffering hysteria (8)
DELIRIUM: Anagram (suffering) of RULED IM with another letter I (ones admitted)

18d    Missionary that can handle a spoon? (7)
APOSTLE: For some bizarre reason that is totally beyond me these 12 missionaries started to be added to the ends of spoons. The British Museum has a set dating from 1536-7 with a 13th spoon showing The Virgin Mary. We had a tea caddy with Isle of Wight on it. God we were poor, and poorly schooled.

20d    They are easy questions for those taking exams (7)
SITTERS: A double definition. A third might be Easy Targets.

22d    Quietly direct to pray (5)
PLEAD: Our musical abbreviation for quiet makes a second appearance today and in keeping with a musical theme the word direct can be what a conductor might do for an orchestra.

24d    Left a quarter, no less! (5)
LEAST: L(eft) from the clue followed by one of the four quarters of the compass.

25d    It has often been dramatically stormed (4)
BARN: Way back when Long John Silver had two legs and Captain Flint was an egg, roving theatrical troupes would arrive in a village, set up in a large building and perform their shows. The largest buildings were usually on farms. The storming of them (by such troupes) is what the clue references

ARVE Error: need id and provider

RIP Auntie Flo. Daft old bugger. Thank you to whosoever got The Beatles on to Spotify.

The Quick Crossword pun: mattress+side=matricide

118 comments on “DT 27995

  1. 2*/4* from me for this little gem. Some very good clues, but I think I’ll plump for 8 down as my favourite. Thanks to Rufus for a good Monday workout. Well done MP for top review.

    I would like to add my best wishes to anyone threatened by or already hit by the dreadful floods further north.

  2. 2*/4*. Great fun as usual from Rufus, to whom many thanks for the entertainment. 8d was my last one in and favourite.

    Thanks too to MP for an impeccable and entertaining review – apart from the no doubt deliberate mistake that the picture for 19a across shows the Cam flowing through Cambridge not the Thames flowing through Oxford.

            1. Ta. Kings College Chapel is very dear to me as it was used for a memorial service dedicated to my late brother Paul amongst others

  3. Umm – I finished it but had to resort to my Wordsearch program to get a couple of answers from the checking letters – 3d and 8d were both mysteries to me from the wordplay so they were a bit unsatisfactory!

    Does ‘pray’ really mean ‘plead’ – another dubious one!

    A bit grumpy today – sorry!


    1. I agree and had the same problem. Put cajoles in for 8d as it fitted. There is no way I would have got Damocles. It’s one thing to improve ones vocabulary and quite another to remember 4th century BC morality tales. In addition, my answer to 25d was Main. Which seemed to fit very nicely. I have to say I’m underwhelmed by these sort of clues. Especially as quite a lot of them were easy peasy.
      So thanks to Miffypops for putting me straight.

    2. Hi Michael, sorry that you’re having a ‘grumpy’ day. Anyway, both 3&8d are all-in-ones so no wordplay required. As for 22d – ‘plead’ is one of the major synonyms listed for ‘pray’ whichever authority one consults. How about ‘plead for intercession’?

      1. Hi Jane. I have a teeny terminology quibble. All-in-ones have wordplay and definition intertwined. These two are naked cryptic definitions, a clue type which can be beautiful or ugly but which I usually consider somewhat rude, as in my opinion the best kind can be done two ways and these have only one way in.

        1. No problem, Kitty. I bow most unreservedly to your terminology knowledge – most of it is way beyond me!
          I was simply going off what MP said in his hint for 3d – but then, as we all know, he’s just a ‘poorly schooled orphan boy’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

        2. Thanks Kitty – Miffypops occasionally calls a cryptic definition an “all-in-one”, which it isn’t in my books either, and his blogs are so good I didn’t want to comment.

          But I do think it is important for people to understand clearly what is a cryptic definition, and what is an all-in-one.

          I thought “all-in-one” was invented as a user-friendly version of the more technical term “&lit”, and limited to this website – though I note it also gets used by Peter Biddlecombe in his Sunday Times clue writing competition (he doesn’t like semi-all-in-one, can’t say I blame him)

          1. for anyone interested, the basic clue types are nicely described in “crossword guide” under the “cryptic crosswords” tab above

          2. Hi Dutch – Even though Mr Biddlecombe has a prestigious history in the crossword world, I do sometimes question his ability pick a good clue from his clue writing competition.

            This week’s winner for ‘spirit level’:

            Device used for checking flatness as Elvis lets rip, discordantly (6,5)

            Here’s a link to the rest:


            Personally, I think there are a few better choices for a winner

            PS – I’m not that keen on semi &lit either

            1. Thanks SL – well, it does have a schoolboy humour (assuming there is an intended pun on flatness, even elvis can’t fart in tune), but I agree not as good as some. Of course it is completely subjective. I think it’s quite a commitment for Peter to judge all these himself, as a result, there is only feedback for a number of clues and if you didn’t make the list, you’re left in the dark as to why not. So I haven’t been entering for a while, maybe a new year resolution would be to resume.

              I didn’t mean he objected to a semi &lit, rather the term “semi-all-in-one”, which seems to contradict itself

          3. Today’s hints and tips have been created with love and care by Miffypops, a man who has no beginning to his talents

  4. Really struggled with this one, just couldn’t get on the right wavelength. Not helped by putting Lightning for 3d, should have been the right answer!!!
    Managed the rest but a real slog and very little fun I’m afraid. For me ****/**
    Not too worry, the suns shining and it’s not raining?
    Thx to all

      1. With an empty grid before me, I not initially only thought of lightning for 3D but also tsunami for 7D!

    1. There is no L (Noel Noel) in the anagram fodder for 1ac and no G in the anagram fodder for 18 ac so lightening could not be correct

      1. Yes, but on first read through an answer just pops into your head. It’s only when you come to writing the answers, that it becomes apparent. Unless you can solve the whole thing in your head with no need for pens, pencils or iPads. As a mere mortal swamp duck that is sadly beyond me.

        1. The Christmas Eve puzzle needed no writing implements. With its Christmas theme it was as read and move on as they come

          1. There are no words MP…unbelievable. I’d light fireworks in celebration if that ever happened to me.

  5. */***

    R&W Monday’s are something I look forward to. Especially the writing of letter circles for the anagrams. Some were needed some were not, but I enjoyed them all. Slight pause to look up 15a but the rest slotted in nicely with 8d providing the biggest smile. Not particularly cryptic but I also liked 7d..mostly as I like waves, I find them hypnotic.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for blogging, and for calling us all swamp ducks. Nice story about the 3d at Barwell.

    Hope everyone is safe from the floods.

  6. I found the last few answers very tricky.I am still not sure what Damocles had to do with flattery , though I appreciate Miffypops explanation.
    It is raining here and quite windy too.
    Thanks to all concerned.

    1. Google it Una it is a nice story. Then try You Tube Tom Hiddleston Reading almost anything but particularly e e cummings “May I Feel” One day I will find an excuse to use it within the blog

  7. Pushed slightly over the 1* time as it took a while to click into GK mode for 8d and I needed to check the course of the 19a river.
    Short list includes 9a plus 1,5,6&18d.
    Thanks to Rufus for a quality puzzle and to MP for his usual quality of review – where on earth did you drag up that ‘musical’ clip from?!!

    Memo to fellow fans of Mr. Poldark – I do hope you noted his appearance in the Agatha Christie currently being shown on BBC.
    Last night we were treated to the sight of him striding out across the cliff tops in true Poldark style, followed by a long scene in which he was only just decently covered by a precariously balanced bath towel. Be still, my beating heart!!!

    1. He would be massively improved by someone taking some clippers to his head, setting them at number one, and shaving the lot off. Although I get the impression you might not have been looking at his hair? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Sacrilege, Hanni – those gorgeous flowing locks! I was looking at his hair, his eyes, his aquiline nose, that amazing torso and, possibly, the level of that bath towel. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

        1. Nope. Shave the lot off. Even then no.

          However I’ve just listened to Tom Hiddleston on You Tube. Golly bongs!

    2. When I saw that Mr. Turner was in the cast, I did wonder if the makers of the programme would cynically incorporate a gratuitous shirtless scene or two in the production in order to attract more female/Poldark fans and to boost the Christmas ratings – yup they did! At the risk of upsetting his hordes of admirers, I don’t think he’s actually a particularly good actor – but they probably don’t care!

      1. Right on every count, Silvanus – except for the fact that I actually do think he can act. Preferably as often as possible! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    3. Glad you like the musical clip Jane. It is Murder In The Red Barn by Tom Waits from his album Bone Machine. I can send you an original copy if you want.

  8. Not a R & W for me so thanks to Rufus for providing a challenge to get the old grey matter going again after marvellous switch-off Christmas in beautiful city of Vienna with ballet, opera and visits to rococo/baroque palaces and churches interspersed with plenteous consumption of gluhwein, Sachertorte, etc. Sadly no snow to complete the scene but sun shone daily. MP hints in the East were appreciated. Liked 1d and 18d. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  9. A fairly gentle post-Christmas Rufus puzzle, although I could understand if nudges were required for the teasingly cryptic 8d and 25d – they were in my case.

    I liked the description of “academic stream” to describe the river forming part of 19a, but my favourite vote goes to 6d, deceptively simple.

    Many thanks to Mr Squires for today’s puzzle and for all the Monday pleasures he has provided during 2015. Thanks as ever to Miffypops for his customary entertaining comments.

  10. What funny weather we’re having. Snow in midsummer on the Cam, by Kings College.
    I also fell into the lightning trap, which delayed me for a while. Thank you Miffypops and Rufus.

  11. 1.5*/3* today which is some relief after struggling yesterday. Didn’t know the origin of barnstorming nor the spoon reference so thanks to MP for these.

  12. In between a 1* and a 2* for difficulty for me today.
    My last few answers took a while – 3, 8 and 25d.
    I was also slow to sort out why 28a was what it had to be.
    I thought there were a lot of anagrams – not complaining as I like them but I made it eight which seems quite a few.
    I’d never heard of the easy questions meaning of 20d.
    I liked 12a and 1d.
    With thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.
    Peace – total peace! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif Going to have a go at Mr Rookie and still haven’t looked at yesterday’s crossword yet.

  13. I found it harder than I should have. It certainly took much longer because I fell asleep again halfway through. Once rudely re-awoken I lost the will to do much more so made use of some hints.

    I remember being impressed by the story of 8d when very young but only remembered the sword, not the flattery bit, which meant it slew me today.

    The surface of 18d made me smile but I’d forgotten the items in question and had to get help filling that in.

    I think the other deliberate mistake is in 2d. Anagramatising the answer does not give the answer. “Anagramaticising” it probably doesn’t either.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP. Good quality entertainment provided by both.

  14. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle to try and solve on my Birthday. Only a couple of problems, I put in tsunami for 7d, then corrected it when I got some across checkers in. Needed the hints for 8d, had heard of the story & the sword, but failed to make the connection. Favourite was 13d, as I have a few of them. Over to the Goonerium later, hopefully for another present :-)

  15. I found this much harder than anyone else!!!! Having spelt negotiate ‘negociate’ (because of the French négiocier I suppose), was in trouble with 3d – thought of microwave but then what was the link with bolt or out of the blue? If this was not enough,went wrong with Damocles as I was thinking along the line of cajolery, cajoller – always ready to invent a word!!!! Also failed on 25d and had no idea how an apostle would get on top of a spoon… In all a bit of a dog’s dinner. I am immensely grateful to MP for the hints which put me out of my quandary. Thanks to
    Rufus too even he sorely tested my grey cells!

  16. I have decided to get back into crossword world and what a delightful solve to set me back on track. Just the right number of little grey cells required although I will own up to some electronic help as well. Despite saying I was having a break I have been keeping a beady eye on you and very amusing it has proved to be. Have a good evening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. Glad to see that you couldn’t stay away for long, Hilary. Hope you don’t mind but, without asking, I borrowed your cupboard after the recent Shamus Toughie. The poltergeist is actually quite a friendly soul – we had quite a long chat about comforting weeping women and he declared himself more than ready to move tissues in your direction as and when required. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Actually I had realised that he is quite benign so I have taken to popping in occasionally as he gets lonely, he sent his love. Tissues on shopping list for tomorrow.

  17. Enjoyable but not over taxing. 8d was my last one in, which required dredging up a bit of knowledge from deep inside the brain before the penny dropped. My favourite is 25d for it’s sheer simplicity.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to the poorly schooled…etc for his usual amusing review. What is ‘Spotify’?

      1. Ah, I thought I’d heard of it. I’m afraid I still listen to all my music either on the radio or on my iPod. I do hope it doesn’t die on me as I no longer have access to my iTunes account.

        Did Christmas dinner go well?

        1. I think I’ve got my music backed up to so many devices now.

          Yeah Christmas was lovely thank you…the wine went down well with everyone.

          How was your day?

  18. Right on my wavelength, as is usual with Rufus.
    I failed on 25d and put in “main”, forgot the barnstorming bit, silly me.
    Once I got a few letters, 8d came to me in a flash and it’s my fave.
    Great puzzle, thanks Rufus, and loved your review M’pops.

  19. Much more of a challenge than last Monday’s puzzle, but just as enjoyable in its own way. I had to come here for some explanations and I always enjoy learning a new word or the origin of one, as in 25d. I thought 8d was very clever and was my favourite… I got it without really understanding why then the two parts of the clue and the misdirection came to me in a “doh” moment. Very nice 2.5*/4* for me. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  20. DT 27995;
    19A. Had the answer and could see “CR”. have spent all day looking for an “ISIS” meaning for a stream in education. Just read solution. Brilliant mislead, 100% fair. A clue to remember

    1. If you are commenting on a specific puzzle, it is best to comment on the review page for that puzzle. I expect BD will work his magic and move us there in due course.

  21. Lightning and tsunami both made brief tentative appearances for us but soon corrected. 8d was our last one in. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  22. Just came back from Cinderella starring Torvill & Dean on in-line skates, followed by a mega meal in Chinatown – kids are very happy to have their sister from Holland visit – poor Rufus had to wait till tonight.

    Many thanks Miffypops for a superb review – I had never ever seen apostles on tea spoons so that clue had escaped me completely, thanks for the enlightenment. I also bunged in barn without full appreciation of the history – many thanks.

    3d (like 6d and 8d) is a cryptic definition rather than an all-in-one (see comment 4).

    Thanks Rufus

  23. 2*/3* is a very fair rating. We finally got some time to ourselves tonight, the Christmas holidays to date having been dominated by our son and daughter (and her partner and their two cats) back ‘in the nest’ for a few days. Thanks to MP and Rufus for getting us back in the groove rather smoothly.

  24. Didn’t get the crossword this morning as my subscription was over.
    Only had a chance to renew it this evening and swiftly printed the grid.
    Not easy at all.
    Got stumped by the apostles! Iprefer fork handles myself!
    Remembered visiting the Vatican museum once and as you had to leave through the souvenir shop, you could buy the Pieta/beer opener if that’s your kind of thing. we could have it as a clue: Virgin Mary can open bottles (5)
    Got stumped by the barn too. No reference to storm a barn anywhere I looked.
    On the bright side I really liked 28a and 21a.
    Very happy to see everybody in a chatty mood today.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the impecable review.

    1. OK, I’m going to have to ask…you prefer fork handles? What sets them apart from spoons? Do you have a preference on the number of tines? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      Maybe it’s like me preferring TB’s

      1. Hi Hanni,
        Sorry; It was a very poor reference to the Two Ronnies sketch so often mentioned on the blog.

          1. Lovely thank you.
            But I only had the 25th and the 27th off work so things were a bit rushed.

            1. Not easy in the business you are I imagine. Are you open on NYE?
              Loving the avatar. I didn’t know Hyeres had a resident polar bear population.

              1. No thank god.
                I’m off to Clermont Ferrand in the morning via my mum in Avignon.
                Back down here on the 4th or 5th and hope that those pollar bears will have migrated by then.
                Did you have a good time yourself?

                1. Oh wow..

                  Just had to Google Clermont Ferrand, so pretty! So you are getting a clear few days off. Fantastic. I’m already panicking that I’m taking a Friday off to come to the birthday party and wondering how much work I can get done on the train.

                  Noo…Hyeres should have polar bears!

                  Yes thank you. Friends for lunch so no cooking but I did have to drive. SL’s wine recommendations went down well.

                  Now on to the important stuff…are we getting treats at the birthday party?

                  1. In answer to your last question Hanni – of course, I’ll be there http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

                    Now, having watched Steve McQueen perform self dentistry for the nth time I’m off to bed. Zzzz

      1. There is nothing wrong with that! I like the smell of a certain brand of saddle soap. OK that is a bit odd.

    2. Hi JL. Definition of barnstorming – flamboyantly energetic and successful. Sound a bit like your good self? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Hi Jane,
        So that’s the link. I kept looking at barn theatre, storming in a barn etc etc..
        Thanks for the explanatiion.

        1. You’re welcome, JL. I should have added – in the interests of that particular clue – that the definition is of a performance or performer.

  25. Hi TS – in case you have chance to pop in tonight. I do hope that all went well with the wedding – I would ask you to tell us all about it but asking men for details about a wedding rarely seems to bring forth the sort of info. that women want to hear.

    I have persevered through to the end of Jude and all I can say is that he’s far too obscure for me. I understand that Hardy gave up writing novels after this one and I’m actually not a bit surprised. Had I been either his confidante or critic I would have advised him to do just that. Maybe I’ll re-read Far from the Madding Crowd in order to restore my belief in his talents.

    So……. what delights have you in store for my next reading lesson? I remain a willing student, whilst reserving the right to harangue you as and when!

  26. Thank you for explaining 18d I had the word but no clue how to justify it. My favourites were 1d and 3d just for the wordplay ?

  27. Managed to finish this one on the right day, but was frantically trying to type a comment before my phone ran out of juice. The phone won. Haven’t got a clue what I wrote, but just wanted to sign in to say thank you to the setter and to Miffypops for the review.

  28. This was a reassuringly Monday Rufus crossword after all the Xmas fare! Even when done on a Tuesday…
    No great problems although 25d was a ‘bung-in’ so thanks to the poor little orphan boy for xplaining that one.
    It was also my favourite once I understood it. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Rufus and of course MP…..

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