DT 26490 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26490

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26490

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

One of our mystery setters has presented us with an excellent puzzle today. I was a bit slow getting started, having guessed 1 across but missing the significance of the shopping chain until the down clues confirmed the letters.

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    Orders from French shopping chain (7)
{DEMANDS} – these orders are a charade of the French for from followed by a well-known shopping chain with the “&” spelled in full

5a    Monotonous inarticulate murmur — dead strange (7)
{HUMDRUM} – a word meaning monotonous is also a charade, this time an inarticulate murmur is followed by D(ead) and a synonym for strange

9a    Woeful mid-week issue (10,5)
{WEDNESDAY’S CHILD} – according to the rhyme, this infant is full of woe

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Left for dead in sleepy calm (4)
{LULL} – take a word meaning sleepy or lifeless and replace the initial D(ead) with L(eft) to get a word meaning calm

11a    See 22a

12a    Notice content of ears (4)
{OTIC} – hidden inside the first word is an adjective meaning of ears

15a    Nothing in schedule for early riser (7)
{ROOSTER} – put O (nothing) inside a schedule to get an early riser

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a    Innocuous tune improvised by Reinhardt, Armstrong and Liberace originally (7)
{NEUTRAL} – a word meaning innocuous is an anagram (improvised) of tune followed by the initial letters (originally) of the unlikely trio of Reinhardt, Armstrong and Liberace

17a    … Stomach jazz? One of that trio? (7)
{SATCHMO} – the ellipsis is relevant here – an anagram (jazz) of STOMACH gives the nickname of one out of the trio of Reinhardt, Armstrong and Liberace

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a    Police seize Young Conservative with Liberal giant (7)
{CYCLOPS} – put a nickname for the police around Y(oung) C(onservative) and L(iberal) to get this one-eyed giant

21a    Foil people regularly with last letter of clue (4)
{ÉPÉE} – a type of foil used in fencing is derived by taking the even letters of pEoPlE and following them with the with last letter of cluE

22a,11a,23a & 18d    Take off production with a C-list despicable duo (4,1,5,4,2,5)
{SHOW A CLEAN PAIR OF HEELS} – a phrase meaning to take off at some speed is charade of a production, A, C, a word meaning to list or incline and two despicable people (despicable duo) – I needed most of the checking letters to get this one!

23a    See 22a

26a    Problems sounding horn get expert diagnosis and repair (15)
{TROUBLESHOOTING} – a charade of some problems and the sounding of a horn gives a word meaning expert diagnosis and repair

27a    It’s a form of relief to put on different clothes (7)
{REDRESS} – a double definition – a form of relief and to put on different clothes

28a    Devilish influence departs New Romney (7)
{DEMONRY} – this devilish influence is created by following D (departs on a train timetable) with an anagram (new) of ROMNEY


1d           Slowcoach Waddle played on right (7)
{DAWDLER} – this slowcoach is an anagram (played) of WADDLE followed by R(ight) – the surface reading refers to Chris Waddle, who played for a number of teams including Spurs and was famous for his mullet haircut and for missing a penalty in the 1990 World Cup semi-final

2d           5 in place of white line (6-2-3-4)
{MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD} – I can only think that the “5” here refers to 5 across and where there are two clues with the same number there should be an indication as to which one is required, especially as this is a down clue and the other is an across one – an adjective meaning monotonous or mediocre can also mean where the white line is on a highway

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d           East End blighted with poverty (4)
{NEED} – an anagram (blighted) of E(ast) END gives a synonym for poverty

4d           More downhearted about closure of carousel, he makes ride safer and more comfortable (7)
{SADDLER} – put a word meaning more downhearted around the last letter (closure) of carouseL to get this tradesman who makes it safer and more comfortable to ride a horse

5d           Call to Rooney audible in Constable’s vehicle (3,4)
{HAY WAIN} – what sounds like a call to an obnoxious footballer is the subject of a painting by John Constable

6d           Jeer at substitute (4)
{MOCK} – a double definition – to jeer at and a substitute exam taken as a preparation for a the real thing

7d           Bumbling or reiterating ‘No further questions’ (15)
{REINTERROGATION} – an anagram (bumbling) of OR REITERATING NO gives the asking of further questions’

8d           Doctor calmed individual brought in for check-up (7)
{MEDICAL} – put an anagram (doctor) of CALMED around I (one / individual) to get a check-up (by a doctor} – apposite  surface reading!

13d         Ticklish ‘indrance over penultimate letter (5)
{ITCHY} – to get a word meaning ticklish  drop the initial H from an ‘indrance and add the penultimate letter of the alphabet
14d         Cake with chocolate bar filling makes profit (5)
{BUNCE} – start with a small cake, typically containing dried fruit, and then drop the internal letters (bar filling) from C(hocolat)E to get this informal word for a profit

17d         Use bad language about alien brought up in Jersey (7)
{SWEATER} – put a word meaning to use bad language around Steven Spielberg’s alien reversed (brought up in a down clue) to get a jersey – as with yesterday we have false capitalisation!

18d         See 22a

19d         Cattle herd runs away from farm building (7)
{COWSHED} – some cattle are followed by HE(R)D without the R (Runs away) to get a farm building for said cattle

20d         Summit of Snowdon rugged and irregular (7)
{SCRAGGY} – the initial letter (summit) of Snowdon is followed by a word meaning rugged to get a word meaning irregular

24d         Turning up mid-range of stereo boosts woodwind (4)
{OBOE} – hidden (mid-range) and reversed (turning up) inside the clue is a woodwind instrument

25d         Standard number or millions (4)
{NORM} – this standard is a charade of N(umber) OR M(illions)

A couple of grumbles, but an otherwise enjoyable puzzle.

The Quick crossword pun: {strait} + {torque} = {straight talk}

163 comments on “DT 26490

  1. I find the ‘multi-clues’ (22,11,23,18) diificult to concentrate on, still thats just me. Guessed 10a but had to confirm with the Hints. Couple of great anagrams.
    Thanx to Compiler and to BD for his Hints.

      1. I’d never heard this word before Wayne and only got it by looking for synonyms for profit in Chambers Xword dictionary!

        1. I can remember it being used in the old markets in London and regularly used as slang for profit, “a bit off ….”

          1. Looking good so far…. got the CE bit. Now that Wayne has mentioned it I think I’ve got it. What is QUICH anyway? Good job I went for profit and not cake.

  2. Excellent puzzle that grew on me as I worked my way through it. I also was confused my 1a, and even googled the last 5 letters, which confirmed my stupidity! The last one(s) in was the combination clue, which caused me immense frustration!
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

      1. It was one of those clues, that if someone had offered me the answer, I would have taken it! :)

      2. I struggled with it too, and finally had to resort to BD’s hint. Don’t like this kind of clue.

  3. Morning Dave, what a beautiful day once again, can’t believe this, blue skies and sunshine for almost a week! It took me ages today to get the 4 clue answer!! in fact it was the very last to go in! I thought it was a horrible clue, I found the top half of the puzzle went in fairly easily then got completely stuck for ages on the bottom half! Lots of perservating and book help etc needed, so for me the jury’s out on this one, my fav clue however is 1a :) ps well done Arsenal and Ireland :)

    1. Lucky Lucky you!! Here In Peterborough we haven’t seen the Sun for ages, and it’s bloomin cold t’boot. Dulux should launch a colour called “Peterborough Grey”..

      1. sorry Andy, can’t believe the variation in weather conditions on such a relatively small island!

      2. Sun? I recognise the word but just can’t seem to picture what it means! The situation is the same here in West Bridgford, as it has been, since October it seems

              1. Sorry for not replying but I had a business meeting in the afternoon. Deep joy!
                Indeed West Bridgford is on the South of the Trent & Notts CCC & the Forest ground are within walking distance. We won’t mention the club on the North of the Trent though…

  4. 17a was definitely my favourite. A good puzzle that I started slowly on, then speeded up an had to grind out the last few clues. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. 17a was another one that took me ages gnomey, I knew it was an anagram of stomach but my mind was blank!

  5. A very pleasant puzzle by the mystery setter (I did wonder whether 19a was a hint to his/her identity). Favourite clues 9a and 1d (a great laugh). Thanks to setter and BD.

    1. How do you know its a mystery setter? Do you just infer from the type of clues, or is it written down somewhere?. Would love to “setter spot” – any hints on how to do this.

      1. It’s a mystery setter because we don’t know who he/she is unless they come here to tell us. At least half of the Thursday puzzles are set by Ray Terrell, and you can usually recognise his puzzles from the style, especially if there is a reference to Queen, his favourite group. Ray’s Quick puzzles invariably have single-word clues and single-word answers. Also, he usually comments on the blog in the evening.

  6. Waitinig in anticipation to see if my educated guess at 14d is right and I’ve done it all without any aids – a rare event indeed.

    1. Well done marklh! If you are right with 14d you are no longer in the clueless club and have joined the next group the JOCC (just out of the clueless club) , I was a long time in the CC and expect to be even longer in the JOCC :-D

      1. as Dave says above, the ‘cake’ is a three letter one normally associated with hot & cross!

      2. Mary, could you remind me off the criteria for JOCC, you have explained before but I’ve forgotten. Thanx.

        1. Hi Wayne, once out of the mythical CC (clueless club) you Advance to the JOCC (just out of the clueless club) now to get out of here you need to solve 10 more cryptics, unaided by books, machines, blogs, hints etc., you then are allowed membership of the ACC, Advanced Clueless Club! I am going to be in the JOCC forever :-D

            1. If I delete it then Marklh’s comment will become orphaned! I’ve moved the content of your second comment to here and deleted that one.

            1. No, but a very warm welcome, of course feel free to make yourself a badge, there is a drink at the bar for you, non-alcoholic of course, alcohol only allowed in the ACC :)

          1. So I’ve got to do 10 cryptics to move out of the JOCC, well I guess I’ll be there for a long while yet, and why not, it’s a very comfortable place to be. Thank you Mary.

          2. Hi Mary

            If that is the criterion for entering the ACC I must be a member! Perhaps that’s why BD accepted me as a blogger yesterday!

            1. Took me 40 years to join the ACC but that may be because I only met the other two members – Gnomey and Prolixic – last year! The phrase was coined when we posed for a photo together at the White Horse in October but I don’t think we set up any rules as to how many cryptics you had to solve to join the club. I must have solved well over 10,000 DT cryptics, not including Toughies.

              1. I think you must be AACC Sue, my brother probably is too, I will never catch either of you up, but as Waynes says the JOCC is very nice and friendly :)

            2. For us newer members of the JOCC I think ten is sufficient Pommers, and no they don’t have to be consecutive, but all within six months to a year

  7. Lovely xword today thanks to the mysteron and BD for the hints (not needed) even managed the Toughie, Favourite clue 5d. (send him off) Sun shine in Bolton now, but very cold, minus 5 when I arose at 7.30

  8. This was a very good puzzle with great variety. 14d last in for me – a new word. I was trying to do something with the inside of a Crunchie but that was a flower/weed! Favourites today were 2d and 22a et al.

    Sunny, sunny far up here with me :-) Thanks to BD and setter.

    PS. off topic, but does anyone know a setter with the moniker DUX? He/she was yesterday’s (Glasgow) Herald setter.

      1. Thanks. I knew RFS was a setter. Only occasional Herald buyer now. Switched to DT when I returned to cryptic solving a year or so back. The existence of this solution blog for DT transformed my enjoyment of cryptics. Quite different political stance, however, but who cares if the crossword is good ;-)

  9. That was not easy! A few new words/idioms for my poor overloaded brain: 9a, 28a, 22-11-23-18, 20d, all of which I figured out from checked squares and wordplay. Also, 5d was unknown to me.

    Some outstanding wordplay today! 26a, 17a, 9a. I was also slow to spot the exact wordplay of 1a which in its utter simplicity gets my clue-of-the-day award.

    Overall: diff ****, enjoyment *****!

    Thanks, Egbert and BD!

    (I have decided to call any mystery setter Egbert…)

    1. Believe it or not: 14d was my first one in. I first came across the word in high school. This is a phenomenon I have noticed before: foreigners learn a lot of archaic vocab because their textbooks are a few centuries behind ;-)

      When I came to England 26 years ago, I used greet people with “My name is Nestor. How do you do? ” and it took some time before I realised I sounded totally naff. I learned in school that “glasses” is American and “spectacles” is the correct British usage.

      A warped education comes in handy sometimes…

      1. Know what you mean! When I moved to Spain I used to say “Como esta Usted” for “How are you” because that’s what the books say, but it’s very formal and old fashioned and nobody ever uses the phrase.
        The real phrase is “Que tal”, or more usually “Que tal, bien?’

  10. Enjoyable crossword, slightly trickier than usual and none the worse for it. Thanks to setter and BD.

  11. Took a long time to get going and didn’t think I would finish it at all – but I did! Last ones in were 12a, having put a D at the end of 1d, and 21a, having looked up the word. Needed lots of help, but no toys. So many good clues I can’t point to a favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter for a fine and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and BD for unravelling the stuff I didn’t understand and especially for the brilliant comment at 5d!

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this offering, thought it one of the best for a while, at least once the penny dropped on the long multi-word clues. 22A etc needed all the checking letters in and I decided 17A would start with GUT because of the stomach in the clue, eventually sorted out.
    Thanks to mystery setter and Big Dave for the hints, even though I only have half of the down clues.

  13. I loved to-day’s – partic 9, 19, 26a and 5d. Only one peek at the hints to check something – that was 1a, which I got but also couldn’t work out the last 5 letters – staring one in the face weren’t they, really?!! Doh. Very good puzzle, I thought – thanks to mystery setter and BD. My problem is that I can never do the Quickie – I sit and stare at it for ever and then just give up!

  14. I did the Express and Echo on my morning break and managed to sneak this one in at lunchtime. Guess which one was better? I was quite surprised that I flew through this one really enjoyed those longer clues. Had a nice groan when the penny dropped with 17a. Thanks to Big Dave for the commentary and to the mystery setter for the fun.

  15. Well, its not often I get stuck these days, but managed it today. Had to use the spoilers to get 20d and I’m afraid I don’t really agree with the clue – to me, scrag is either a rough bit of mutton or getting beaten up in my old school, I’ve never heard it in relation to being irregular.
    Having said that, an enjoyable crossword today, some nice words I haven’t heard in a while and some very nice wordplays in there.

  16. Does anyone claim to have solved 22a straightforwardly from the clue ie without any cross letters? My congratulations if so. My favourite clue even though I had guessed the answer long before I had worked out all the detail. I especially liked C-list.
    I did not much like 10a – since when did dull mean sleepy? I expect it is in the standard synonym list.
    I spent ages trying to figure out why Constable’s painting, or its subject, could be regarded as middle of the road. As I remember the wagon is in a ford? If the setter reads this please tell.

      1. No I did not notice that there were two clues numbered 5. But even so, I cant see that 5a works any better. I have checked the painting and the wagon could be considered to be in the middle of the (watery) road, so I am still not sure which clue 5 the setter was referring to.

        1. 5a is the one referred to. Humdrum = Middle of the road as in neither great nor terrible – just a bit humdrum!

    1. Big Dave thinks 2d refers to 5a not 5d. I took the 5 to be a mid rating on a scale of 1 to 10, as in an exam or review. Who knows.

  17. A pleasant solve in the Sussex sunshine. Why wouldn’t 17a work without the ellipsis, Big Dave?

      1. Gotcha. We usually see them both at the end of one clue and the start of the next one, but I now understand the logic in this case.

  18. This was definitely high on the enjoyment scale, though I did encounter a couple of bumps on the road. My poor brain got hung up on 10a – had the word, but couldn’t figure the ‘dead’ part of the clue as I’d already filled in 1d. Also, I deduced 14d (a favorite) but needed to verify the unfamiliar word – it’s not in my Oxford Reference; so, I had to Google to find the definition. Other favorites (I know, it really should be favourites) were 17a and 26a – really fun wordplay. Thanks the the mystery setter.

    P.S., What’s a ‘toy’?

    1. I think Geoffs referring to the liitle electronic hand held ‘friend’ which is a thesuarus and anagram finder, there are a few versions of them about, I would be lost without mine some days

  19. I needed the hints today, as well – never heard of 14d and although 17a sounds vaguely familiar, I couldn’t say which of the trio it refers to. Bit before my time.
    However, I very much enjoyed 1,9,12,15,19 & 21a and 5d (the wagon is in the middle of the ford, and the road goes through the ford, so you could argue the case… it’s what occurred to me, anyway).
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

      1. Thanks for the info, Dave. BTW, been meaning to ask – what is your avatar a picture of? Can’t quite make it out!

      2. I presume that is the same person who is referred to in Sir Duke – ‘For there’s Basie, Miller, Satchmo’…

    1. It was Louis Armstrong. I say to myself that I’m surprised our maestro hasn’t included a link to “What a Wonderful World”

        1. Well done – they don’t make ’em like that any more. Who said “thank goodness”??!!??

  20. Best crossword for some time IMHO so great thanks to the setter.
    Possibly enjoyed it so much because we solved it over a late morning coffee sat in the sun outside our local bar! Seriously, there are some excellent clues in this one.
    Not fair to pick out favourites but 17a and 22a deserve a mention.

    Just one point – I’m glad I didn’t try to do this on-line as I’d never have got 22a et al because my netbook screen is only able to display about 2/3 on the grid so I have no chance with clues like that. Like BD we needed most of the checking letters before we saw the answer!

    1. You should try doing it on the iPhone. The multi-part clue was torture to see in its entirety. Normally, I get the paper but was late into work today so solved in bed before getting up to face the world!

      1. I can’t believe it’s possible on an iPhone!
        Even on a 10 inch netbook it’s a pain doing the downs – you can either have the light or the clue on screen but not both! I think I’m wearing out the scroll bars! And that’s with all the toolbars turned off to give maximum screen height.
        However, the Grauniad crosswords just fit on screen – perhaps they are scaled this way?

        1. I have a couple of IPhone apps that allow me to download the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent cryptics (but not the Toughie) among others. Used to be able to get the Herald until it vanished behind a paywall :(

          Normally, they work well but long split clues are a problem.

          1. Agreed! – split clues are almost impossible to get round on the iPhone app. No scroll bars but there is some teeth gnashing on the interface!.
            (Prolixic – Do I owe you a test review as I cant remember or find it!)

    2. No you can’t have my widescreen laptop. It’s all mine. You didn’t even have your own PC until I gave you the netbook 6 months ago so stop whinging. However, I will let you borrow it on wednesdays in the future!

      Like Pommers, I loved this crossword and like MOH also liked 17a and 22a – when the penny finally dropped!

  21. Sorry – manners!
    Thanks for the great blog BD – I’ll get up to your standard one day!

  22. Did most of this without too much trouble but completely gave up and had to resort not just to hints but to answers as well for 14d and the 22, 11 etc etc. Oh dear!! Have never heard the expression before or the word at 14d. I’m feeling a bit of a dismal failure today!!
    Like lots of others I missed the significance of the last five letters of 5a.
    Lots of great clues – 5, 16, 17 and 26a and 1 and 5d. Best of all, for me, today was 9a.
    Beastly day in Oxford – wall to wall cloud and very cold – YUK!!
    Thank you very much to the mystery setter and to Big Dave for the desperately needed hints, and answers.

    1. It was pommette who spotted the significance of 1a first – but then she goes there a lot more than me!

    2. The same here in Peterborough, despite assurances the allegedly thin cloud would break up by lunchtime.

  23. Once again a crossword where the downs went in easier than the acrosses and the whole thing took very slightly longer than usual to finish, and I don’t think that was just because I was standing outside Boots doing the crossword while waiting for Mr CS to turn up. Thanks to the mystery setter and BD. Lovely sun in East Kent today, misty round the edges, but still that perishing cold wind.

  24. A question for Big Dave. I notice on occasions that you provide the Review and Hints for the across clues, then leave the down clues till later. Is this a deliberate ploy or just the time factor? Do tell.

    1. Some mornings I’m busier than others. Thursday’s I usually do the Toughie first so that I can have the answers ready to check Bufo’s blog. Not that he ever makes mistakes, but he doesn’t do the puzzle online and we need to publish the exact online answers.

  25. I really enjoyed this APART from 14d which I thought was a perfectly dreadful clue.for which reason I have given only 2 stars instead of 4.

    1. Goodness! When I first saw this I thought this is definitely *not* for Barrie — so well done! :-)

  26. Took one look and saw that no way was it a Ray T!! I finished it over our breakfast break except for that deadly dreadful 14d. Where I come from bunce means money not profit but one must bow to the mighty Chambers!

  27. Terrific crossword from today’s Mysterion with a good range of clues in terms of difficulty and wordplay. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  28. I don’t normally post this late, but just had to say how much I liked this one. Like a couple of Saturdays ago, it made me laugh several times. Extremely witty. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  29. I found today’s quite easy to be frank although I concur that those answers that span can be a tad clumsy. I polished this off on the Circle Line (easr bound) at Aldgate Station. Just for those who are interested!

    See you tomorrow for more updates from the rickety tube system.

  30. multi-word clue last in for me as well. Enjoyed this, but actually found it quite straightforward, after struggling yesterday… continuing my trend of finding days, that most seem to find easy, fairly challnging to me and vice-versa. Of course on this basis I should walz through the toughies, but i find it only works on the back page! Thanks to BD and mysterion

  31. This was ok but as Ray T is my favorite its always a sad Thursday without him. A quick solve for me with 28a last in. Some nice clues 26a 1a 19d was fun, but I wasn’t keen on 22a. Didnt like 20d either but I love Snowdon, hiked, run and raced to the summit. Been up there well over a dozen times.

  32. BD – forgot to say earlier, thanks muchly for the Stones clip. Certainly brought back memories!

      1. There’s one on YouTube at {usual start http YouTube} /watch?v=6Vr-DR5HdKw
        Doesn’t appear to be copyrighted if yu want to have a listen – so not put the full link in just in case

        1. The problem only comes when you try to embed them. I tried out five different ones without success. You can show them full size, but that tends to overshadow the blog.

          1. BD. Have yu closed down the Comments page as I going to try and talk to you “off topic”. But I’m not getting a box to be able to enter a comment on this page. Just showing all previous comments.

        2. Still need to talk to you about doing videos – not sorted that one yet, and I’m sure pommers will want one soon . . . .

          1. I tend to copy the URL of the youtube vid I want and then look at the edit of someone elses previous vid (in the HTML view of the Post you are creating). I have saved some of these in a text file for future reference. So long as you are careful with the cut and paste all is OK.

            1. Gnomey – is it ok if I em you for some help if I get stuck? I know pommers has been in contact you you via em.

        3. Thanks pommette – that’s a great track for me, memories of youth and I think the Wolf did it better than Mick!

  33. I hated the multi-word clue, especially as the words were out of sequence. Why couldn’t 11a have been ‘show a’? I suppose because that would have made things more difficult for the compiler. However, apart from that I enjoyed this puzzle very much. It was one where I got most of the downs before the acrosses, but apart from the m-w horror I had very little trouble. 5d was probably my favourite — although I revealed my age by thinking of the Rooney as Mickey, at first! :-)

    Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for essential help.

    1. Exactly.. I just either couldn’t it get words because order wrong all the in were

  34. I was under the impression, very possibly mistakenly, that 14d was rhyming slang for earner, I.e. short for bunsen burner.

  35. Like lots of other people I loved todays CW! Best for a while.

    I got 1a, but to start with I sat thinking “how do you put M&S into an answer?”. Big Doh moment when I translated the & to and !!!!! Thanks to BD and the mysteron. I quite like Egbert – thanks for that Nestorius

    PS It’s absolutely hammering down here at the moment after all the lovely sunshine this morning, it went cold & grey late afternoon, then the drizzle started and now felines and canines! My felines are cuddled up together in their basket to keep warm!

    PPS Big Dave, can you also use the HTML tag in here?

      1. You can use any of the tags in the list below where you enter the comment. That’s the list that starts “You may use these HTML tags and attributes:”

    1. This sounds like it’s going to get technical – Aaargh!
      As pommette said, it’s seriously p*****g down here, but at least I won’t have to water the plants tonight! (Mrs P was a bit more polite than me but not quite so accurate).
      Pommette’s in the kitchen with the cats and I’m outside under our covered patio watching the rain come down.

  36. Great crossword today. Finished in around 40 mins but had the annoying realisation that I couldn’t figure out the why the answer to 1a had to be what it is. You can imagine the bad language when I did!! My best ‘you’ve got to be ****** joking’ moment for as long as I can remember.

    First cut of the grass lawns today in (not very) sunny Cheltenham and a bit sore in the hamstrings after the weeding. Still, the estate looks 100% better already. Bring on spring.

    Well done the setter, and thanks for making me smile.

    1. Don1991

      As a newbie to the blogging team I may be overstepping my authority here, but, it’s usually considered ‘bad form’ to post actual solving times. Comments like ‘ quicker than normal’ or ‘twice as long as usual’ are OK but actual times are to be avoided.
      It’s off-putting for beginners and the less experienced solvers who come to this blog for encouragement and helpfor them to learn the craft.

      1. Pommers, my dear old thing.

        Thank you for the slap down, and here was me thinking this was a nice friendly site. Could you direct me to where it is pointed out that giving a solving time is ‘bad form’? I was merely musing and no offence was intended. Many people state that they completed a puzzle in ‘the coffee break’ or some other limited space of time. As a coffee break is generally 10 mins or so, do you not consider that this is ‘showing off’ in much the same way as you are castigating me for?

        If I’d been the first to post and said that I’d completed the puzzle in 10 minutes then I could understand you being annoyed. However, I was probably last to post and honestly wasn’t bragging. Oh, and there was me thinking how much I enjoyed your first blog yesterday.

        Anyhow, I’ve got the cricket highlights on live pause at the moment so I’m off to see if Canada can beat Pakistan. Hope all is well in CET land.



        1. Don

          I thought pommers put it very gently!

          It’s difficult to know where to draw a line on discussing solving times so we try to avoid the question altogether. I have tried very hard to take the emphasis away from solving times and on to improving solving ability.

          On some other sites discussion of solving times tends to be one of the main topics and I’m not the only one who finds it very tedious. Some people are naturally quicker than others. The winner of the recent Times Crossword Championships solved three very hard Times puzzles in less than 30 minutes – 8 minutes faster than the person who came second.

          1. Hi Dave,

            As I said I wasn’t bragging, it was merely a slip of the mind. I’ve posted on here many times now and never previously mentioned soving times. It would never be my intention to undermind anyone. However, as members of the blogging team you must have access to my e-mail address. A quick and gentle e-mail advising me of my misdeed would have had a kinder effect than a public bollocking.

            God forbid that this should end up like ‘Crossword Solver’.



        2. Don,

          Sorry if you thought it a ‘slap down’ – certainly wasn’t mean’t as that, merely advice.
          Please accept apology – as for ‘coffee break solving’ – you might be surprised how long it took pommette and I, over a coffee, to solve today’s puzzle. There again, we wern’t exactly focused on the puzzle but more like the weather and the view of the mountains.

          1. Pommers,

            Apology accepted if not actually required. Thank you. I have no idea why I put the time in there. I dislike braggardry as much as you (and BD) do. I hope the weather improves for you soon. I took advantage of 3 dry days to get rid of most of last years detritus from the garden and regardless of how hard I worked I was still frozen. T’was only when I looked at the thermometer that I realised why, 3.5 degrees! So, it might be wet where you are but, I bet it’s warmer than that.

            Goodnight and my regards to Mme P.


  37. Dear Pommers and BD,
    Cracking puzzle today I thought. 3rd one on the trot we have completed without BDing the last couple of clues. The blog is like having a pack of choccy biscuits in the cupboard when you’re on a diet – great for self discipline. I don’t mind people saying how long it took them to complete the grid as I am staggered how quickly some minds work and I don’t mind that it takes me longer than others. Solving one cracking clue is as rewarding as completing unaided sometimes. Hope all is well in The Swan and in Pommersville.

  38. Apart from bunce,an easy puzzle to me.DT puzzles are becoming too easy for me after 22 years of solving.Crypticsue,are we in the same boat with your 40+ years?

    1. I don’t really think of them as being too easy – even the ones that are solved quite quickly always have something quirky, interesting or different about the clues that still gives pleasure. I really enjoy the range of cryptic crosswords available from the ‘easy’ to the toughest toughie. Don’t know what I would do without them now.

  39. True,especially Rufus whose hallmark is the quirkiness of his clues.Crypticsue,how do u find Times cryptics?I am doing one now and it is really mindbending,please help and explain this;Short odds on horse displaying vivacity(7) S——

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