DT 28241

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28241

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning from the heart of Downtown LI where there is hardly a cloud in the sky. Classic Rufus today with lots of his trademark double definitions and cryptic definitions. There is a lot to enjoy in this puzzle.

Below are some hints and tips which should either

  1. Give you a push towards an answer you have trouble solving
  2. Explain the workings of the clue so that you know why your answer is correct

Definitions are underlined. If none of the above helps please ask away. An explanation will quickly appear.

The illustrations provided may or may not have anything to do with the clue or the answer.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Essential spaniel’s in bed after going walkies (13)
INDISPENSABLE:    We have the first of many anagrams to start us off today. The anagram fodder is SPANIEL’S IN BED. The anagram indicators are the words after going walkies. I doubt that we will a more amusing anagram indicator for some time. 

10a    Simpers, out to influence (7)
IMPRESS:  Anagram (out) of SIMPERS. After an excellent anagram indicator we return to the oldest and tiredest indicator there is. Out. I would out the word out. Overused overtired over and out.

11a    Head off disaster going to a party with fruit (7)
AVOCADO:   Remove (head off) the first letter from a word meaning disaster or chaos. Add the letter A from the clue and our regular word for a party.

12a    Willowy spruce (4)
TRIM:  Double definition. Very neat.

13a    Mr Runyan has a setback — he’s domestically unstable (5)
NOMAD:  Reverse Mr Runyan’s (the American novelist) first name to find a group of people known for their wandering lifestyle.

14a    Shakespeare is forbidden, we hear (4)
BARD:   A homophone based on a word that means banned from entry which is what Shakespeare is known as.

17a    Eton was upset? It’s not a problem! (2,5)
NO SWEAT:  Anagram (upset) of ETON WAS

18a    Sportsmen seen at the bank (7)
ANGLERS:  The bank here is a river bank. This is a description of those who sit there trying to catch fish. I don’t class fishing as a sport any more than I do golf.

19a    Economise in vain (7)
USELESS:   Double definition the first of which needs to be split 3,4 to make sense

22a    Act as chairman, but show partiality in advance? (7)
PRESIDE:  split 3, 4 The first word is a prefix meaning preceded. The second word means to ally oneself with someone or something

24a    Error one should catch? (4)
SLIP:  A double definition. The second a fielder in a cricket match who is expected to make catches

25a    Computer operator gets instant employment (5)
MOUSE:  Split 2,3 we need an instant or small period of time and an example of employment 

26a    Bananas four inches in measure (4)
HAND:  This four inch measurement is used in equestrian circles. The word banana comes from an Arab word “banan” meaning finger. An individual banana is called a finger. A bunch of bananas is called a hand. The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which mean fruit of the wise men.

29a    Finishing playing one’s part (7)
EXITING:  The action of leaving the stage as directed by a playwright. Stage left, stage right or pursued by a bear. 

30a    Where lots are put up only to be knocked down (7)
AUCTION:  These lots are items for sale by competitive bidding. What is required is the name of that type of sale


31a    Bug set off a nameless illness (6,7)
GERMAN MEASLES:  an anagram (set off) of A NAMELESS follows a micro organism described informally as a bug


2d    They roll up and after opening up they clean up (7)
NAPKINS:  No wordplay here. We have a cryptic definition of a type of table linen 

3d    Aide contrived plan (4)
IDEA:  Anagram (contrived) of AIDE

4d    Complete the course and get dead drunk (4,3)
PASS OUT:   Double definition. In the military this action often includes a parade

5d    Once more put up half rain falls (7)
NIAGARA:   A word meaning once more is reversed (put up) The first half of the word RA(in) is then added to make the name of the waterfalls on the borders of the USA and Canada

6d    Unidentified girl accepts ring (4)
ANON:   Place the letter that looks like a ring inside a girl’s name. Which girls name? Who knows? Just as you don’t know this person.

7d    Unauthorised disclosure over time causes a loss in liquid assets (7)
LEAKAGE:  The unauthorised disclosure of secret information is followed by a period of time

8d    Saw the differences and celebrated (13)
DISTINGUISHED:  A double definition the second, celebrated, referring to a person.

9d    Disdainful prisoner being sent down (13)
CONDESCENDING:  Our usual suspect criminal is followed by a word meaning to be moving downwards

15d    It goes to the head of Basques and servicemen (5)
BERET:  A form of headwear favoured by certain military types and French onion sellers

16d    In time about to get on together (5)
AGREE: Take the same length of time as used in 7d and insert (In) our regular two lettered word meaning about

20d    Building seen from both ends of editor’s office (7)
EDIFICE:   This building can be found using the first part of the word editor’s and the last part of the word office. 

21d    Well directed, it may finish off the game (7)
SHOTGUN:  A cryptic definition of what one might use to end the life of those innocent animals or birds referred to as game. 


22d    Extract from part of a book about a ship (7)
PASSAGE:   A single leaf from a book is wrapped around A from the clue and the initial letters of Steam Ship 

23d    Silver in one place of gold — just fancy (7)
IMAGINE: Place the symbol letters for the element silver inside the letter that looks like the number one and the place where gold might be extracted from.

27d    Settled business (4)
FIRM:  A double definition the second being the easier to solve

28d    Experts in cards (4)
ACES:  And another double definition. The second being playing cards with a value of one or eleven in pontoon

Thanks to Bob Dylan for playing and singing along.

The Quick Crossword pun: meet+eeyore=meteor


  1. Graham
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    Fairly straight forward apart from 13 A as I have never heard of him.Thanks to the setter & to MP for his review.

    • Merusa
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’ve heard of “Guys and Dolls”, that was based on stories by Damon Runyon

      • Graham
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes but only after consulting Mr Google.

  2. Florence
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great puzzle and lots to smile about. I was tempted to put ‘calm’ into 27d because of the checking letter from 31a. Realised the word did not fit the second part of the clue which became obvious. I am learning.I have lots of favourites today. Thank you setter and Miffypops.

  3. George
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this puzzle was a bit mixed with some good clues and some strange ones – such as 12a which I pencilled in but had a hard time really believing that the meanings were accurate (willowy?). Anyway it had to be what it was. I would also question 25a – operator? Really?

    Anyway, it was not too difficult and finished without any major problems.

  4. Alec
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    I quite liked this one, there being fewer anagrams than usual for a Rufus crossword. My favourite clue goes to 20d which I thought was rather clever. Couldn’t decide for a while whether 2d should be what it is or “nappies”. Fortunately, I settled for the correct answer. Thanks to all.

    • BusyLizzie
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I put in nappies, as in babies for the use of, letters fit and it kind of met the clue, but napkins is a more pleasant notion. The

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    2*/3*. Good fun as ever on a Monday.

    I put in “thin” as the answer for 12a even though I wasn’t totally comfortable with it. Revealing the answer in MP’s excellent review showed me the reason for my discomfort.

    I initially put “archers” for 18a and was going to have a moan about the use of a fairly obscure US bank until I twigged what 16d was. It’s just as well as the right answer has allowed MP the opportunity for a brilliant cartoon.

    Unusually for Rufus he has used the same synonym for “time” in both 7d & 16d, which is a bit disappointing.

    19a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  6. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Two visits for me , interrupted by walkies, agree a witty anagram indicator.
    SW corner gave trouble as 31a eluded me.for a while. Also as Alec ‘nappies’ was first thought for 2d. Like RD spent ages trying to justify ‘thin’ / ‘trim’ for 12a before opting for the latter.
    Disappointed it took longer than it should but was time well spent as it was an enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to setter & MP for review

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think ‘nappies’ colloquially derives from ‘napkins’.

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks LbR: indeed the BRB says ‘nappy’ is a shortened form of napkin. The only connection to me seems to be the shape and colour.

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thank you LrO, my memory doesn’t fail me! (Still don’t have a BRB.)

          Gotta feel for mothers before disposable nappies came about. I remember dear old Mum at the twin tub, and the safety pin that wasn’t actually that safe at all…

          Not that anything is truly disposable, except what bears do in the woods; there’s no such place as away, just somewhere else.

          I don’t even want to think about the ‘after opening up…’ in the clue if the answer turned out to be nappies!!

  7. pete
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have to agree with Graham, fairly straight forward apart from 13a, never heard of the man. 2*/2* Many thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops.

  8. Harport
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    18a. I think we should add darts to Miffypops’s two non-sports.

  9. Penky
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Never heard of 13a either. Only Runyan I’ve heard of is Tygh and getting that to fit made some strange words. Put avocate for 11a, clue could have been either so struggled with 9d until the obvious penny dropped.Otherwise a pleasant R&W.

    Thanks to MP and setter.

    • BarryBadger
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      To have heard of Damon Runyon — a doddle of a clue to this 80-year old — is probably a matter of one’ s age. His 1930s writings on the US prohibition era later became the Guys and Dolls musical.

      • Merusa
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

        See my reply to Graham! I loved the G&D musical and have a DVD here, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and a host of others.

      • serl
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I agree with Barry. As an 82 year old I am comfortable with clues about ‘the old days’; ‘mashies and ‘brassies’ in golf and musicals like South Pacific .
        I fear for the future however. The DT crosswords seem to be set by the elderly for the elderly and there’s no harm in that. Problem is that without interest from younger readers the crossword may die with the demise of printed newspapers.
        Alas for the pessimism of old age. I really enjoyed to-day’s puzzle so thanks to setter and Miffipops.

        • Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Welcome to the blog serl

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Welcome from me too, Serl.

          Absolutely agree. Don’t Panic.
          I’m here to preserve tradition and save the day! Forty-something Roy :smile:

        • BarryBadger
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Perhaps familiarity with Runyon is like proficiency at billiards — a sign of a misspent youth. And as someone else once put it Serl, I tackle the DT crossword first thing in the morning to see if I have enough marbles left to make it worth getting up.

          • Flyingfox
            Posted October 21, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink | Reply

            I’m sixty and I’ve heard of Damon Runyon. I get my DT X word from the Hong Kong Standard. We’re about a week behind the UK and it’s not numbered. This one was clever and amusing. By the way, excellent blog Big Dave!

  10. Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m enjoying my sojourn by the seaside too much to be verbose right now. I had some of the same issues as others, and had to cheat on 13a, but there was still plenty to appreciate.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

  11. Beaver
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Going for a 2.5*/ **** as the SW corner took longer than it should.
    Nicely varied inventive clues from Rufus-20d was a bit different, don’t recall seeing anything similar.
    The Runyan I looked up was named Jon, so initially I had JONAH for 13a-knew in my heart of hearts that it was incorrect , as further probing revealed.
    Anyway excellent start to the week, thanks to MP. Regarding the pic for 18a, someone once sent me a card on similar lines when Moses responded to one of the Red Sea crossers complaints by retorting-‘ what do you mean it’s muddy ! ‘

  12. Senf
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Reasonably straightforward, but I did get ‘bogged’ down on 14a and 26a, which were my last two in, and, on reflection, I think they are oldies but goodies. So **/** for me.

    Joint favourites 8d and 9d – I do like long non-anagram answers.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP for a good start to the week.

  13. happy days
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps more simple than usual but entertaining as always

  14. Angel
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Satisfyingly cryptic which is as it should be. Gentleman (?) in 13a unknown to me. Solved 18a by settling on ‘band’ as Google told me there was a Shakespeare band – dim of me. My sportsmen and bank employees in 18a were ‘runners’ – could be! Agree with MP hint for 9d but not sure where the ‘sent’ in the clue comes in. Thanks Rufus and MP. ***/***.

    • Senf
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Angel – somewhat archaic, ‘being sent down’ probably comes from the fact that, in older court buildings, the cells were in the basement with stairs directly from the dock in the court room. So, on being found guilty and given a custodial term, the prisoner was ‘sent down’ to the cells before being transferred to prison.

  15. Veronique
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    According to Google Mr Runyan should be spelt with an “o” instead of “a” which temporarily made me doubt my answer to 13A.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      According to Wikipedia:

      Damon Runyon was born Alfred Damon Runyan to Alfred Lee and Elizabeth (Damon) Runyan. At one of the newspapers where he worked, the spelling of his last name was changed from “Runyan” to “Runyon”, a change he let stand.

      • Veronique
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for that info – obviously I didn’t read far enough!

      • BusyLizzie
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the explanation, I couldn’t solve this one, having heard of Runyon but not Runyan…

  16. Dottie
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely day up here near the Scottish Borders, but quite cool – so our oil boiler decided to pack up. Temporary fix by wonderful local plumber so now had time for today’s puzzle.
    Got stuck in SE corner with 23d and therefore 22a too and also never heard of Mr Runyan/ Runyon. Made it in the end with help from MP.
    Enjoyed it very much. Favourite 25a.
    Thanks to MP and Setter.

  17. Angel
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Senf – I appreciate all that but still query whether a con ‘descending’ = a con being ‘SENT’ down.

    • Angel
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry this should have been a Reply to Senf under Comment 14.

    • Senf
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Compiler’s licence?

      • Angel
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

        OK Senf I will let him/her have it this time!

  18. Dottie
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Of course I meant SE corner!

  19. Kath
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t get quite as stuck today as I sometimes do on Mondays.
    I’ve never heard of the 13a US author (as in American rather than the meaning that we’ve had quite a few times recently) – this is exactly the kind of clue I don’t like as it’s something you either know or you don’t know – you can’t work it out – whinge over!
    21d was my last answer – just couldn’t see it.
    I liked 1a because I’ve never seen that anagram indicator before – loved it.
    I also liked 26a (I made banana bread this morning) and 20d. My favourite was 31a.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.
    Off to do ‘useful stuff’ – Rookie corner later.

  20. Jeroboam
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I seem to agree with the general gist of today’s comments. Luckily I did know 13a, so all in all a fairly straightforward but enjoyable solve. Thanks Rufus and MP.

  21. Gwizz
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I started off well and then ground to a halt half way down. In the end I felt that 19a was describing me precisely. I didn’t help myself admittedly by using NAPPIES for 1d, (made sense to me…)
    Otherwise Rufus serving up a good Monday crossword. 2/3*
    Thanks to Rufus, and to MP for his review.,

  22. Orphan Annie
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Must be a happy old person today because I enjoyed every minute of this Monday masterpiece. 8 and 9d were superb and I spotted 31a as well. Did know 13a as I recently read some of his stories, so I did not feel 19a. Rain promised but did not materialise. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops

  23. silvanus
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As MP says in his introduction, a classic Rufus puzzle which as usual contained lots to enjoy, although I thought that the surface in 5d was surprisingly clunky and un-Rufusesque.

    My ticked clues were 1a, 25a, 31a, 20d and 21d. 2d probably qualifies as another example of a Monday clue that has little or no cryptic content.

    I tend to agree with MP about angling being regarded as a sport, although I concede if synchronised swimming can make the Olympics then anything’s possible. RD is quite correct (of course!) about the slightly disappointing repeated use of “time” to clue the last syllables of 7d and 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to the 14a of Long Itchington.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There’s not much of a cryptic element to 29a either.

  24. LetterboxRoy
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A nice collection of clues and certainly no doddle.

    I have no problem with 13a, Kath, because even if it simply said ‘He’, we still would have known it’s a man’s name, so that does for me.

    9d, agree with Senf – the con doesn’t descend until he’s ‘sent down’, or convicted. Besides, ‘prisoner going down’ isn’t good.

    Slightly trickier than Mon/Tue offerings of late so ***/***

    Thanks to all as ever.

  25. Merusa
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was, as usual, right on Rufus’s wavelength today and almost R&W.
    My last in was 29a, why, I don’t know as it’s one of the easiest.
    There’s lots to enjoy here, but I choose 1a as fave for the unusual and delightful anagram indicator.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his entertaining hints.

  26. Una
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I had the same problems as others had with 13a. Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  27. Dr M
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No problems. Sparkling crossword from Rufus. Saw guys and dolls recently in the west end and enjoyed it immensely.

  28. Vancouverbc
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Straightforward enough apart from 13a which I stumbled on. I ended up with Jonah as mr Google first showed me a certain Mr Jon Runyan and no option for the novelist. So thanks to MP for the hint and the setter for an otherwise pleasant challenge.

  29. mre
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A first rate puzzle, quite the best Monday offering I’ve seen for a good while.

    Pretty much everything under the north west south east diagonal proved rather tricky and it was a struggle to finish. Hard to pick a favourite from a number of very good clues that included 26a,19a, 25a, 8d, 29a, 12a, 15d and 13a. I’ll say 13a as it was last in. 24d, 24a and 20d also appealed.

    I couldn’t reconcile the fisrt part of 11a but I see from the review that it was straightforward and it was just me being dim.


  30. Young Salopian
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    13 across an educated bung-in, otherwise very straightforward and enjoyable as usual for a Monday. 19 across my favourite because the clue was elegant and economic with its words.

    2*/3* overall with thanks to Rufus and MP.

  31. Jon_S
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The usual Monday struggle for me. One day I’ll get the hang of Rufus. About three quarters completed easily enough, and then I ground to a halt. I suspect it’s a wavelength thing, except I’m on a completely different wavelength. :-) Mr Runyan was new to me, and a cheeky google only brought up a Jon Runyan, which didn’t help much. We don’t talk much about hands of bananas in these parts either, with the result that 13 and 26 were my last in, with the checking letters little help really. Onwards and upwards.

  32. BusyLizzie
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable Rufus puzzle, with helpful hints and pics from Miffypops. Needed help on 24a and 29a, never having used those words, at least not in the sports element of 24a. And fell into the nappies trap, ugh. Age and origin showing as they are diapers over here.

  33. Cornishpasty
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Was lost on 13a because Google gave me Jon Runyan! Almost put nappies in 2d too! Thanks for the hints Miffypops.

  34. Jaylegs
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice crossword with a couple of tricky solves ***/*** 😏 Liked 14a & 30a Thanks to MP for the blog and to Rufus for a quirky puzzle 😀

  35. Paso Doble
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A corker from Rufus today which we thoroughly enjoyed rather late in the day. Many thanks to MP and Mr Squires.

  36. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I completed three quarters of this with a fresh brain this morning before I left for my first day in a new job, just a few at the bottom to complete.
    A day in a new job, coupled with Southern’s inability to run a train service meant that by the time I looked at the crossword again this evening, my brain had turned to mush and the rest of the crossword may as well have been written in Chinese.
    A shame and I fear that my new job is going to seriously hinder this new pastime, which is a real shame.
    Thanks to MP and Rufus.

  37. Tstrummer
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Splendid from Rufus. Good to come back to a cracking puzzle after a week away. 20d was just slick enough to squeeze on to the red carpet first. Thanks due to Rufus and MP. 1*/4*

  38. Jose
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very gentle start to the week with excellent cluing and enjoyable to solve. 1.5*/3*.

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