DT 26470

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26470

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

We have a workmanlike puzzle today from one of our unknown setters – let us know how you got on with it in a comment.
If you’re really stuck for an answer you’re allowed to highlight the space between the brackets under the troubling clue.

Across Clues

1a  Town in decline, vibrant originally in Wales? Not quite (4,4)
{EBBW VALE} – this is a town in South-East Wales which was once the parliamentary constituency of Aneurin Bevan and later of Michael Foot. Start with a verb meaning to decline or recede, then insert the initial (originally) letter of V(ibrant) inside most (not quite) of WALE(s).

5a  Stratagem revealed by doctor during walk (6)
{GAMBIT} – put one of the abbreviations for a medical doctor inside a manner of walking.

10a  Instruction to postman, faced with tiny letterbox, to try to achieve more than seems possible? (4,3,8)
{PUSH THE ENVELOPE} – this phrase, meaning to try to achieve more than seems possible, has its origins in the world of aviation, where the relevant word is used for a set of performance limits that may not be safely exceeded. Test pilots are often called on to stretch these limits to extremes, for example to determine just how fast an airplane can be flown.

11a  Deep regret about short mouthful (7)
{REMORSE} – a charade of a prefix meaning about and a small amount of food without (short) its final L.

12a  Reprimand involving old and conceivably mad plan for achieving a goal (4,3)
{ROAD MAP} – this is a step-by-step plan for achieving a goal. Put a verb meaning to reprimand around (involving) O(ld) and an anagram (conceivably) of MAD.

13a  Usual colours (8)
{STANDARD} – double definition.

15a  Run in next race (5)
{EXTRA} – hidden in the clue is a type of run in cricket which is added to the batting side’s total, but not to the score of any individual batsman.

18a  Religion in Mali’s unorthodox (5)
{ISLAM} – an anagram (unorthodox) of MALI’S.

20a  Access for transport (8)
{ENTRANCE} – double definition. This word comes up regularly as a synonym for transport and just as regularly seems to cause problems for some solvers. Transport, as a verb, can mean to fill with rapturous delight or throw into an ecstasy.

23a  Hard on journalist that’s remained suspended (7)
{HOVERED} – the definition is remained suspended. It’s a charade of H(ard) (a classification of pencils), a synonym for on and the usual abbreviation for a senior journalist.

25a  Dress’s hem is dropped in church (7)
{CHEMISE} – HEM IS has to be inserted (dropped in) inside the abbreviation for Church of England to make a straight dress.

26a  Faith right to be imprisoned in credit fraud (10,5)
{CONFIDENCE TRICK} – this is a type of fraud, as demonstrated in the TV series ‘Hustle’. Start with a synonym for faith or trust and add an informal word for credit (deferred payment) with R(ight) contained (imprisoned) inside it.

27a  Pale china stopper (6)
{PALLID} – a charade of what china means in Cockney rhyming slang (“china plate”) and a stopper or cover for a container produces an adjective meaning pale or anaemic.

28a  New cadet penning article before English social event (3,5)
{TEA DANCE} – this social event is an anagram (new) of CADET around (penning) an indefinite article, then ending with E(nglish).

Down Clues

1d  Jurisdiction of Military Police in Ireland (6)
{EMPIRE} – put the abbreviation for Military Police inside a former name of Ireland to make jurisdiction or political control.

2d  Copper, say, has contemptible spirit, we hear (4,5)
{BASE METAL} – “say” is an indication that this is a definition by example, so copper is an example of this. Put together a synonym for contemptible or dishonourable and a homophone (we hear) of a word meaning spirit or courage, as used in the phrase “to be on one’s ******”.

3d  Animal expert near injured warhorse (7)
{VETERAN} – the definition is warhorse, i.e. someone old and experienced. Start with an abbreviation for someone who is trained to treat sick animals and add an anagram (injured) of NEAR.

4d  On about one close to time lord (5)
{LIEGE} – for our second cricket-related clue (I can hear the complaints already!) we want another word for the “on” side of the wicket (i.e. the side that the batsman’s legs are on when he’s at the crease). This goes around (about) I (one) and we finish up with the last letter (close) of (tim)E to make a feudal lord.

6d  Storm after hail is normal (7)
{AVERAGE} – a word meaning normal or 13a is made by putting a verb meaning to storm after a latin salutation (hail).

7d  Bishop fell over brush (5)
{BROOM} – start with the abbreviation for B(ishop) and then reverse (over) another word for fell (a stretch of high, uncultivated land).

8d  He paints tragic actor (8)
{THESPIAN} – an anagram (tragic) of HE PAINTS.

9d  Working with distinction, with payment to be made at a future date (2,6)
{ON CREDIT} – a word meaning working (i.e. not switched off) is followed by a synonym for distinction or esteem to make a phrase describing how goods and services can be obtained without the need for immediate payment.

14d  Beer Dane brewed in a Scottish city (8)
{ABERDEEN} – possibly the most obvious anagram we’ve had for some time, indicated by brewed.

16d  Course artist announced for planner (9)
{TACTICIAN} – this planner requires two homophones (announced) – firstly a course taken by a sailing ship and secondly an Italian Renaissance artist known for his sensuous use of colour.

17d  Late drink may make bad thing better (8)
{NIGHTCAP} – the clue should really be the other way round, i.e. bad thing better may make late drink. Start with an anagram (bad) of THING and add a verb meaning to better or outdo.

19d  Swallow last drop of Chianti, an Italian drink (7)
{MARTINI} – a type of swallow (the feathered variety) is followed by the final letter (last drop) of (Chiant)I.

21d  Declare little Edward must be turned away (7)
{AVERTED} – a verb meaning to declare or assert is followed by a diminutive (little) of Edward to form a past participle meaning turned away.

22d  He appears with Catholic king — the French barrack (6)
{HECKLE} – string together HE, C(atholic), K(ing) and a French definite article.

24d  One taken from minor, easily bribable (5)
{VENAL} – start with an adjective meaning minor, usually applied to a category of sins less serious than mortal ones, and remove (taken) the I (one) to leave another adjective meaning easily bribable. When researching what such minor sins include I was surprised to find that one of them is wearing designer-labelled clothes, so it’s just as well that my tailor is Mr Primark.

25d  Unfinished prestige store (5)
{CACHE} – a distinguishing characteristic conferring prestige loses its final T (unfinished) – what remains is a store.

None of the clues really stood out for me today, but my pick is 7d. Let us know what you thought in a comment.
I can’t believe that anyone is stuck on the Quickie pun, but if you are it’s {FILL} + {SPECTRE} = {PHIL SPECTOR}.

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116 Comments

  1. Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    17d was favourite for me in a pretty straightforward puzzle solved in a pretty average time so no complaints.
    Thanks to gazza and our setter.

    • Jezza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Pretty much verbatim – 17d my favourite too.
      Thanks to setter and gazza.

  2. Wayne
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I didn’t have any problems with todays crossword. Must say I’ve never heard the expression in 10a had to check Gazzas hints to confirm I was on the right track. Best clue for me was 19d. Thanx to all as usual.

    • Jemux
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      SO – not a test pilot then?! This was without a doubt the easiest DT crossword within my 43 years’ memory – difficulty * – enjoyment ***. Thanks to G/setter. Liked 1a but don’t want to go there.

    • Nora
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      The phrase at 10a is one that´s come to be overused in the business world, and I´m sure that 99.999 per cent of the people who use it have no idea about the aviation connection.

  3. Skempie
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Very straight forward today. Never thought I’d see 1a as an answer – very impressed with that one.

  4. Kath
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Needed the hint to explain 4d – what a surprise – hadn’t even spotted that it was a ‘cricketty’ clue!
    I had never heard the 10a expression but it’s in the dictionary. I also didn’t know the word that you have to take one from to get 24d. I thought that 25a was a nightie not a dress.
    Apart from those, no major problems.
    Liked 11, 23, and 27a and 2, 7 and 16d.
    Thanks to the mystery setter and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Kath,
      Tempted as I was, I felt that I had to show a dress for 25a since the word dress is the definition. :D

      • Kath
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        As I got the answer I did wonder …… ! :grin:

    • Judith
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      So glad I went to a boys’ prep and public schools – it does help with the cricketing (and classical) allusions. Very enjoyable crossword today. Thanks to setter; didn’t need Gazza today but always enjoy the explanations which often differ from my workings!

      • mary
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Judith, why did you go to a boys school???

        • Judith
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Mary, the school I was meant to go to when I was 5 closed down so I went where my brothers were at school. I did then go to a girls’ public school but hated it so much that after one term I wrote to the headmaster of the school my brothers had been to and asked whether I could join them. He replied “yes, in the sixth form” – so I went!! I was a precocious 13 year old (for precocious probably read insufferable). The joy of breaking my lacrosse stick at the end of term has seldom been surpassed.

          • mary
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            now, I know who to ask about cricket! :)

    • Nora
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I didn´t notice the cricket at 4d, though I did at 15a. Is there some rule in crossword setting that cricket has to come into the clues with such monotonous regularity? Gazza, I´d hate you to be disappointed if there were no moans on the subject, so I´ll maintain the grumbling.

      • Kath
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        I’ll join you in grumbling, Nora – but only because I couldn’t bear Gazza to be disappointed! :smile:

  5. Prolixic
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    27a was favourite for me in a gentle straightforward crossword. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  6. Rednaxela
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I found this straightforward, too. I’ve never heard the expression in 10a either, although the answer was solvable from the clue and checking letters. The answer in 1a is not one I’d like to attempt to clue, so well done to the setter for that!! Thanks to setter and Gazza for the review. I’ll try my luck with the toughie now.

  7. Collywobbles
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    My Seiko Britannica crossword solver has packed up. Can anybody recommend an alternative replacement that has a better screen?

    • Collywobbles
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Where’s Mary today?

      • mary
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Just got here my internet went off at about 10.30 this morning! recommend either ‘Franklin – Chambers Crossword dictionary’ or ‘seiko – concise Oxford Thesaurus’ both little electronic friends of mine :)

        • Collywobbles
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Mary

          • Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            personally, I’d go for the grey stuff between the ears

            • mary
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

              Ah but it’s not always enough skempie, at least not in my case :)

              • Wayne
                Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

                Don’t you think these electronic toys rather spoil things, agree with skempie rather resort to the old grey cells or useful hints; and by electronic toys I mean that in the nicest possible way!!

            • mary
              Posted February 9, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

              Hi Wayne, skempie etc. with regard to electronic toys, a lot has been said on the blog before as regards so called ‘cheating’, IMHO particularly for people like myself who are relatively new to the cryptic world, deciphering the clue and seeing what the setter is looking for is at first a major task, somedays it still is, having done this and learned to recognise anagram indicators etc. then takes us a long way to being able to solve a clue, however, there are often words or phrases that personally, I have never heard before and need ‘help’ with, this is where the little’electronic friends’ come in, as Gnomey says checking out a word is all part of the learning process, I always try to finish the crossword before resorting to the hints, whether it is ‘with a little help from my electronic friends’ or not, there is no ‘cheating’, its all about enjoyment and doing it your own way, for myself understanding the clue and the way the setters mind is working is at least 50% of the enjoyment, after this if I can solve it without any help, brilliant otherwise, I am not going to struggle for an age with something I can’t work out, I love anagrams but unfortunately can’t always work them out, although since Gnomeys tip of writing the letters in a circle improvement has been immense, sorry to prattle on but remember less able or people new to the cryptic world, need all the help they can whilst they are learning, just like any other subject :)

              • Spindrift
                Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

                I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I find that the simple measure of entering the letters of an anagram brings the hidden word to mind before the machine does.
                As a tip I prefer to lay the letters out in a grid Eg.
                PIN
                DRI
                FTS
                Something I learnt years ago & has stood me in good stead since.

    • Spindrift
      Posted February 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      I’m on my 2nd SEIKO Oxford Crossword solver ER3500 – I recommend it highly not only for facilities but battery life

  8. Digby
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The Flight *********, as Gazza suggests, is the set of criteria, established by the manufacturer, that define the theoretical limits of an aircraft :- not just speed, but operational ceiling, maximum “g” force to be used, stalling speed etc. During flight testing, particularly for military aircraft, the crew would be encouraged to 10a just to see what it would really do. Which is why quite a lot of them died. The crossword itself wasn’t too extreme – 27a probably my favourite (& last) and thanks to G and today’s pilot.

    • Wayne
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I learn something every day, that’s the beauty of crosswords.

    • Franco
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Digby, do vacancies for the post of “test pilot” receive many applications?

  9. Geoff
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Put in 22 answers but 16d was wrong – yes I could see the hidden word at 15a, but, cricket, didn’t understand, didn’t put it in, didn’t understand 4d either, but had the answer.

    Not the most exciting, but thanks to setter for at least some I could do and Gazza for usual fine review. Nice to see some sunshine today!

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      beautiful day here Geoff – how’s baby doing?

  10. Nestor
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I found this very enjoyable albeit mostly unremarkable except for two superclues: 1a and 10a.

    No major difficulties before I got stuck on 1a and 4d. It didn’t help that I filled in REEVE for 4d (about = RE, close to time = EVE) but re-reading the clue I realised that this left the “one” of the clue unaccounted for so I withdrew my answer. For 1a I had to consult towns in Wales on Wikipedia as I had never heard of it. Once I had the answer, I could admire the very good clue which is a clever comment on the fall and rise of a Welsh steel town, no longer quite as much in decline as it used to be. Easily the top clue of the puzzle.

    Of course, once I had L*E*E for 4d, the morsels of cricket knowledge in my poor continental brain stirred and I actually could parse the clue. Said morsels were gathered while cruciverbalising, not while watching the game ;-)

    Thanks, Gazza, foir your work and SetterX for your pleasurable offering.

  11. crypticsue
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    A very pleasant straightforward Tuesday puzzle from one of our mystery setters. No special favourites.

    The Toughie is a Beam which I would recommend, although I must point out that the NE corner is slightly trickier than the rest

    • pommers
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi CS
      Agree about the Toughie. It’s on the tough side for me but accessable. Well worth a look.
      Still don’t really understand 4a – I’ll look at the review later.

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        4a took me a long time to work out – my last one in but I will leave you to ponder on (look at the first four letters which should get you on your way) and then check the review when its up.

        • pommers
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          Thanks CS, got it now. Easy when you know!

  12. pommers
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As you say Gazza, a ‘workmanlike’ puzzle.

    I also never thought I’d see 1a in a crossword!
    Favourites 1a, 10a and 17d. (Ithink I may have had a couple too many of these last night!).

    Thanks to Gazza and to the Mysteron.

    • Franco
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      In what sense ‘workmanlike’ ?

      • mary
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        hard going?

        • Franco
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          I’ve just looked up the definition of ‘workmanlike’ in Chambers (on-line) and …
          the Thesaurus.

          “efficient, proficient, satisfactory, careful, adept, skilful, skilled, thorough, painstaking, expert, professional, masterly”

          I have always thought that it had certain derogatory and critical overtones. I must try harder in English Language!

          • pommers
            Posted February 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            That just about sums it up for me. Absolutely nothing wrong with the puzzle but, for me, it lacked ‘Aha’ moments and no really cute surface readings so I found it a little ‘Flat’.

      • gazza
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Not sure what pommers meant, but what I meant was I thought it was a perfectly decent, solid puzzle, but a bit lacking in “Doh” moments.

  13. Hoddros
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this, probably cos it seemed to go in easily enough.

    I still don’t quite see the china plate thing in 27a though. It must be the first three letters as I can see the stopper for the next 3.

    • gazza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hoddros,
      China is cockney rhyming slang for “mate” (china plate) hence PAL.

      • Hoddros
        Posted February 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Okay, thanks Gazza

  14. pommers
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bit quiet on here today. Where’s Mary, not at the dentist again?
    Pommette’s going this afternoon. I’ve bought her 2 front teeth for Christmas, well 4 actually. She’s having her crowns replaced as they are getting a bit long in the tooth!

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pommers, no not at dentist, still in shock at the prices they gave me last week!!

      • pommers
        Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Pommete’s 4 crowns (one a bridge crown) will be €1200 so about £1000.

        • mary
          Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          That is about just under a quarter of the price I was quoted for two implants (dental) !

          • pommers
            Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            Saw your post the other day, expensive or what!
            Don’t know what implants would cost here but they would be more than crowns.

  15. dram
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Mary’s in a huff at the dig at the welsh town in my favourite clue, 1A. When Rhod Gilbert mentioned it in his act he got a laugh and immediately said ‘oh you’ve been there have you?’

    Anyway, a nice easy one today (= I actually finished!)

    Thanks Gazza and to the setter.

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey, Dram, really nice to see you here, you should know me better by now than to think I’d go into a huff! I actually liked the clue too, knew the answer without any checking letters but then had to figure it out! I think the ‘not quite’ may do double duty, as Ebbw Vale used to be in one of the old Welsh counties, Monmouthshire, which at one time was considered neither Welsh or English, therefor ‘not quite’, it is of course now in Blaenau Gwent :)

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Rod Gilbert is from my home town :)

      • Franco
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I would like to give a plug for Rhod Gilbert – I always listen to his weekly podcast from Radio Wales. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find him funny! :smile:

        • mary
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          me too, I prefer him on radio than his tv shows :)

          • Barrie
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Think he must a bit of an acquired taste, personally I find him very loud and not very funny but humour is so subjective. My father hated Monty Python and could never understand why I ended up on the floor crying with laughter!

            • mary
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

              I heard him first on radio and always love that show but somehow am always disappointed by his tv shows or ‘live’ appearances

      • Kath
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        I don’t even know who he is … ?

  16. Shrike1313
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I got about a third done – how did my fellow Clueless do?

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Shrike you are too good for the Clueless Club :)

  17. raphael nonsenso
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thought 1a great. Hated 4d, got there by process of elimination. would’nt have got there through the cricket clue; Awful Game.

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      me too

    • Barrie
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Be careful, thats my religeon you are talking about! :-)

      • mary
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        as long as its not your religion! :)

        • Barrie
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          No thats just my tpying!!

  18. BigBoab
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable crossword with some lovely clues, i especially liked 10a. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  19. Wingnut
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often noticed the answer to one clue hidden text of another clue (eg today’s 9d hidden in 26a). Is this a game some setters play?

  20. Nubian
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Nice crozzy today with some enjoyable clues. Thank goodness I have retired and don’t have to listen to that office speak anymore ref 10a like ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘let’s run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it’ type stuff.
    Thanks to Gazza and Setter Incognita

    • gazza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      One of my favourites office sayings, trotted out when something had gone disastrously wrong and all the gory details needed to be exposed, was “Let’s have a drains-up”.

      • Nubian
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Mine was ‘not just the leading edge but the bleeding edge’

      • Nubian
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        What about ‘not leading edge but bleeding edge’

  21. Jimbo
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Think you’re a bit mean with the ratings Gazza! I had a job to get started so needed some hints . Thanks for the help and for the puzzle.

  22. Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Just as a matter of interest, does anyone know how to change their icon ?

    • Nubian
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Have a look in FAQ’s at the top of the page

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Cheers, thought that might be it,.

        • Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          I really need to update the FAQ.

          You can now change the icon by registering your email address with http://en.gravatar.com/

        • dram
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          But you’ve got Argus! I’m so jealous!

    • pommers
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Sorry skempie I’ve no idea. I quite like mine though, it looks a bit like me as I enter my local bar!

      • Spindrift
        Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Don’t you mean “leave your local bar”?

        • pommers
          Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          and then too!

  23. brendam
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m another who had never heard 10a before, so many thanks for the explanation. Favourites are 1a and 19d. A nice set of clues and not too difficult to solve. Thanks to setter and Gazza

  24. Franco
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, especially 1a. I thought the 2* rating for enjoyment a bit mean!

    I’m not sufficiently expert in Crosswords to understand why today’s offering is considered “workmanlike”, whereas yesterday’s offering from Rufus was given so much praise. I enjoyed them both.

    • gazza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s all subjective, Franco. I didn’t dislike this one – I just enjoyed it less than average. If you take 3* to mean average, then you’re going to get some ratings above and some below. If the minimum rating was 3* then it would no longer mean average.

  25. mary
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    At last my internet has come back, its frightening how lost I was without it!! I found this a tough one to start off, and finished the top half first, fav clues 1a, 23a,26a, never heard 10a before, push the boundaries – yes , but envelope! re 11a, surely a morsel is a tiny bit of food and not a mouthful, always supposing short means tale the ‘l’ off, thanks for hints Gazza can go and read them at last :)

    • gazza
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      mary,
      I suppose it depends on how big the mouth is :D A budgerigar’s mouth is quite small.

      • mary
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        well, I don’t really know what to say to that Gazza :-D

      • Jezza
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        A ‘morwong’ also has a small mouth – A new word I learnt today from a Telegraph GK puzzle. (Hope I have not spoilt it for anyone else doing that puzzle!).

        • mary
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          A what?

          • Nestor
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            It looks like this.

            • mary
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

              what a beautiful fish, thanks for pic

  26. Barrie
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree with the difficulty rating today. Took a bit of starting then everything went in quite well for me. Must admit that I had to look up some of the explanations for the answers in the blog (:-)) but completed it before I went out for golf this morning. Best clue for me was 28a, trickiest probably 1a.

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Nice day for golf Barrie, isn’t your film out this month? can’t understand why you found 1a difficult :-D

      • Barrie
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Never got to grips with a language with no vowels :-) Hugo won’t be out until Dec this year, still very much in the editing suite! Start work tomorrow on the Iron Maiden, the Margaret Thatcher Biopic, playing a Conservative MP so pretty well typecast!!

  27. Addicted
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Well I thought it was a stinker – partic 10a. Have never, ever heard that expression. All I could come up with was “fold” the blasted thing, and that didn’t help at all with the first word of 2d, as you can imagine. However, finished finally with some help from the hints, so many thanks for those.

    • mary
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I agree about 10a addicted, how could we be expected to know that? I put post at first

    • Kath
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      I’d never heard the expression at 10a either and I can quite understand how folding the damned thing didn’t help much!!

  28. Little Dave
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    All done – last in being 27a and 24d. 2*.

  29. Ainsley
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Hello After Eighters. Just finished. All was fine and enjoyable but struggled with the last 3. 6d, 24d & 23a. Got them all in the end but disappointingly needed the hints. How is everyone? Awake?

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Still here. Evening!

      • Ainsley
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Evening!

  30. terryatslough
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Collywobbles, Why not use Chambers Word Wizard for help which is where I go before coming to Big Dave.

    • Ainsley
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      I’d not heard of this but having googled it I think it would spoil the fun of doing the crossword – at least with the hints you have to still think a bit

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        There are always electronic tools that will crunch an anagram or fill in missing letters for a given word (particularly if it is not a proper noun). Ainsley has it right, in my opinion, when suggesting that it would spoil the fun by simply crunching the answer. I will often look up a word in a puzzle if I have it from the wordplay and it is unknown to me. This isn’t cheating, this is learning. Alberich’s excellent site (available from the right drop down menu) has a very comprehensive treatise on what constitutes “cheating” in a crossword. It is a bit of an eye-opener!.
        “Unto Thine Own Self Be True”

        • Ainsley
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Gnomethang

  31. Kath
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Evening all – I’m still awake too, although about to go to bed. I’ve never really understood what electronic tools mean but imagine it is a bit like cheating. Since I (or to be truthful, my husband) discovered this site I sometimes use the hints (or, yet again, to be more truthful, quite often use the hints, particularly on Fridays) and they usually set me on the right track. I’m just about to look at Alberich’s site as suggested – if I’m late and bleary eyed tomorrow that’s because I’ve stayed up too late reading it!!

  32. Kath
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    What are ‘barred puzzles’? Really HAVE to go to bed now or I’ll never wake up again …. zzzzzz … but will look here again tomorrow to see if anyone can enlighten me.

    • Prolixic
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      A barred grid is one with no black squares. Thicker lines or bars are used to indicate the ends of words.

      The Sunday Telegraph Enigmatic Variations crossword uses a barred grid

      • Kath
        Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Thank you – have never tried one of those – they always look a bit intimidating!

        • Prolixic
          Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          They are! Because of the nature of the grid, you tend to find many more obscure words. Also, with many of these puzzles, there are additional gimmicks that you have to take into account – like taking a letter from each answer before putting it into the grid and using the excess letters to make a phrase related to a theme hidden in the crossword, etc.

        • Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          I used to do them 18 years ago or so and occasionally pick one up. As Prolixic says, there is usually a theme. I remember that FOXGLOVE had all the answers ‘foxgloved’ i.e. digitalis-ed and the grid contained only I and O.
          I usually take a dictionary when I look at them now as there are often many more obscure words.

  33. Zofbak
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    One compiled by Shakespeare? Thanks Mary for confirming I am an after-eighter.

  34. Derek
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I was not inspired at all with this puzzle – it contained a few old chestnuts for a start.
    I started it in late afternoon and finished it after dinner.
    The only clues that I liked were 1a, 12a, 26a, 2d & 16d.