DT 26512

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26512

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Libellule is once more enmeshed in work problems so you’ve got me again today. I suspect (though as usual on Tuesdays I’m not sure) that this is a Shamus puzzle [ Shamus has let us know that it is not one of his – see comment #1 – so it’s down to the Mysteron ] which looked as though it was going to be a pangram (specially after I’d got 13a and 20a) but just missed out. It does have a large number of anagrams (I always think that there are too many if I have to take my socks off to count them!) and the grid is very “cornery”. Let us know what you thought in a comment.

Across Clues

1a  Pole draws attention to short Welshman (9)
{FLAGSTAFF} – a verb meaning marks something for attention is followed by an informal, and often pejorative, term for a Welshman without its final Y (short) to make a long thin pole.

9a  There’s oxygen in breathing apparatus prior to end of dive, so relax (6)
{LOUNGE} – put O(xygen) inside a breathing apparatus (of which most humans have two) and finish with the last letter (end) of (div)E.

10a  See 18d

11a  Got crushed by snake in South American city (6)
{BOGOTA} – GOT is contained in a snake to make the capital of Colombia.

12a  A long tow rope is uncoiled for 20 sport (5,4)
{WATER POLO} – an anagram (uncoiled) of A L(ong) TOW ROPE produces this sport which is described by the answer to 20a.

13a/17a  Bowled French XI in inspired frenzy — a momentous time (6,3)
{BRONZE AGE} – start with the abbreviation for bowled in cricket then put the French word for eleven inside an overpowering passion (inspired frenzy) to make a prehistoric period (presumably momentous because it saw the beginnings of the first civilisations in various parts of the world).

17a  See 13a

19a  Crisp and expanding girdle fabric (7)
{SPANDEX} – this is meant to be an all-in-one clue (though I’m not sure about the crisp bit). A synthetic elastic fibre (fabric) is hidden (girdle) in the clue.

20a  A qualified university algologist tended only the tips attached to one cold water plant (7)
{AQUATIC} – this is a water plant. Take the first letters (only the tips) of the first five words and add I (one) and C(old).

21a  Teams up regularly with Hull bird (3)
{EMU} – I love “Hull bird”. Rod Hull’s bird is found in the even (regularly) letters of “teams up”.

23a  Perversely Sid and Una like Harpo’s lines (6)
{UNSAID} – the definition is like Harpo’s lines (Harpo being the Marx brother who never spoke on film). It’s an anagram (perversely) of SID and UNA.

27a  Get actor a bespoke item from wardrobe (9)
{GREATCOAT} – this item of clothing is an anagram (bespoke) of GET ACTOR A.

28a  Harpo mangled new line at end of paragraph (6)
{ORPHAN} – Harpo appears again. This is an anagram (mangled) of HARPO followed by N(ew). It’s a term used in printing to describe a short line at the end of a paragraph. Confusingly  this may also be the (undesirable) placing of the first line of a new paragraph on its own at the bottom of a page.

29a  Seedy motel — site that’s an excuse for a kiss and a cuddle (9)
{MISTLETOE} – an anagram (seedy) of MOTEL SITE gives us an overhead decoration at Christmas parties.

30a  Say why member of nobility has Dandy’s latest annual (6)
{YEARLY} – a sound-alike (say) of why is followed by a member of the nobility and the last letter (latest) of (Dand)Y.

31a  Risk Dixieland intro in rave tune remix (9)
{ADVENTURE} – this can be a daring experience (risk). It’s an anagram (remix) of RAVE TUNE into which the first letter (intro) of Dixieland has been inserted.

Down Clues

2d  Room to manoeuvre in sheltered passage (6)
{LEEWAY} – room to manoeuvre is a charade of an adjective meaning sheltered and a passage.

3d  Pre-tax report on royal purveyor (6)
{GROCER} – pre-tax indicates a description of salary, for example, before tax etc. has been deducted. A sound-alike (report) of this is followed by the Queen’s initials the abbreviation for a king or queen (thanks freda) to make a purveyor.

4d  Company tore up arrangement (6)
{TROUPE} – an anagram (arrangement) of TORE UP.

5d  Cricketer’s slender limb (4,3)
{FINE LEG} – I expect a few howls about this one. It’s a fielding position on the on side of the wicket behind the batsman, and it’s an adjective meaning slender or delicate followed by a limb.

6d  Vivid constant scowl adopted by foul drunk (9)
{COLOURFUL} – the definition is vivid. Start with the constant standing for the speed of light, then put a synonym for scowl or glare inside an anagram (drunk) of FOUL.

7d  Unknown coin got in change (9)
{INCOGNITO} – an anagram (change) of COIN GOT IN.

8d  After ten years, North Carolina finds energy to reveal corruption (9)
{DECADENCE} – start with a word meaning ten years, then add the abbreviations for North Carolina and E(nergy).

14d  Alvin Stardust, for instance, is somewhat hammy — no, due spectacular comeback (9)
{PSEUDONYM} – the pop singer born as Bernard William Jewry decided to use a different stage name (can’t think why). The term for a fictitious name is hidden (somewhat) and reversed (comeback) in the clue.

15d  Bats maul pairs of koalas typically (9)
{MARSUPIAL} – koalas are a definition by example of this anagram (bats) of MAUL PAIRS.

16d  Bad Mailer novel is exceptional (9)
{ADMIRABLE} – an anagram (novel) of BAD MAILER.

17d  See 24d

18d/10a  Perfume’s elegance and odour somehow not right (3,2,7)
{EAU DE COLOGNE} – (yet another) anagram, this time (somehow) of ELEGANCE and ODOU(r) without the R (not right).

22d  Hooked up with eccentric admirer (7)
{MARRIED} – and another anagram (eccentric) of ADMIRER.

24d/17d  Domineering woman in fight over job dismissal (6-3)
{BATTLE-AXE} – this domineering woman is a charade of a fight followed by (over, in a down clue) a synonym for job dismissal or sack.

25d  Emphasise pronunciation (6)
{ACCENT} – double definition.

26d  End-of-term activity is hard work (6)
{LABOUR} – double definition, the first occurring at the end of pregnancy.

My favourite clues today were 21a, 24/17d and (best of all) 26d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

Today’s Quickie pun is {MARQUE} + {SANDS} + {PARKS} = {MARKS AND SPARKS}



  1. Shamus
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Just to let you know that today’s puzzle is NOT by me – but next Tuesday is!

    • gazza
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks for letting us know, Shamus. Looking forward to next Tuesday!

  2. Jezza
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I had ‘long’ as the first half of 5d, which caused me a problem for 1a.
    Favourite clue 11a, as I have not seen this one before.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    • Skempie
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I did that to Jezza – ahhh, the problems caused by being a cricket expert.

    • Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I’ll put my hand up to that as well, Jezza, I forgot to mention it!.

    • mary
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Me too Jezza! for 5d

      • Addicted
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        And me! Consequently 1a was last in when I finally saw the error of my ways and lack of pesky cricket knowledge! But quite pleased with myself to-day as completed all without the hints, partic as on first read through I’d thought I couldn’t do one. Finidng a couple of anagrams started me off – god bless anagrams!

        • mary
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Well done Addicted :)

          • Addicted
            Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Thank you Mary!

        • Kath
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          And me – consequently failed totally on 1a.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      I had 1a in so I didn’t fall into that trap!

    • AlisonS
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t a clue, so took a punt at ‘thin ***’ in Google and it led me to the right answer.

      • gazza
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I think that two new fielding positions – thin leg and fat leg – would make the game more entertaining :D

        • mary
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Just when I thought I got the right leg it was the wrong leg! not the long leg but the fine leg, if you see what I mean!! Cricket!!

        • Qix
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          That was a silly point!

          J/K ;-)

          • Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            After that comment, Qix, I would take cover!. Then take a bit more just in case!

            • Qix
              Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

              I can’t afford extra cover – I’d better just stand in cow corner.

  3. Wayne
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Never heard of 28a used in this sense. A 16d crossword for me today. Weather wet down this neck of the woods hence early attention to crossword.
    Thanx to setter and an overworked Gazza.

  4. Nubian
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Another quality puzzle today. 28a was a new one on me, everyday something new.
    Thanks to Gazza and whoever the Setter was.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I reallwasn’t keen on this today, far too many anagrams. Thanks to the mystery setter anyhow, I certainly would be incapable of producing any sort of crossword so it’s a bity cheeky to complain. Thanks also to gazza for his normal sterling work. Toughie today was reasonable and quite a good one for anyone wishing to try a toughie for the first time.

  6. Nubian
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Gazza 19a without ‘crisp’ you wouldn’t be able to get the answer

    • Jezza
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      If you google the answer to 19a, and look at the images, you would see that gazza has missed an opportunity to add one of his appropriate picture as a hint :)

      • gazza
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I deliberately abstained, but since you insist… (all complaints should be sent to Jezza :D).

        • Spindrift
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          No complaints from this quarter although Mrs S has just seen what I was looking at was most disparaging in her views…I’ll put it down to the little green eyed monster

          • crypticsue
            Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            I think you might be digging yourself a bigger hole with that last remark :D

            • Spindrift
              Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

              Mmmm…not so much as used a spade to dig the hole as a JCB! Thank goodness I’ve planned a weekend in York in order to redeem myself.

  7. Skempie
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle, really got the grey matter ticking over. Favourites today were 11a, 2d 14d and 15d. I thought 14d was particularly clever.

  8. Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I woke up in a very grumpy state die to a tweaked neck/shoulders and was grumpy during this solve because of all the “see this and that” clues. In the end though I think it was my fault and not the setters although the barrage of anagrams towards the south of the puzzle did make for an easier solve but slighlty less enjoyment.
    In any case thanks to the setter and to gazza.

  9. beangrinder
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve been away and busy for 10 days or so, and playing catchup on various DT back page crosswords. I thought this was good and was glad enough of the many anagrams today. Maybe I’m out of sorts but I’ve struggled with recent puzzles, they just seem tougher. Rufus yesterday had me beaten so today was welcome relief.

    Thanks to Gazza and setter.

  10. Pete
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Did not enjoy today’s offering . Far too many anagrams for my liking and not much to get the grey matter going.
    Thanks to Gazza for stepping in once again and to setter but please not as many anagrams next time.

  11. mary
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this puzzle perhaps because I like anagrams, got well and truly stuck in top left corner having put long instead of fine for 5d! then when I realised my mistake I put pikestaff at 1a!! so thanks Gazza I needed your help to sort that lot out!! also thought it was going to be a pangram today, fav clues 23a, 19a, 26d

  12. crypticsue
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this puzzle – didn’t mind all the anagrams – I did like 13/17a. Thanks to the mystery setter and to Gazza too.

    I recommend the other puzzle, it has a gettable theme. However, I would warn anyone giving it a try that the NE corner is a tricky beast!

  13. john middleton
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I managed to complete it by 11am, waiting for my appointment at the hospital, enjoyed 29 across, nice clue and answer.

    • Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink


      I’ve amended the “stutter” at the start of your email address which caused your comment to require moderation, and also lost your avatar!

  14. Lea
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    All the anagrams helped me solve it in the coffee shop waiting to go for my hair appointment. Top left corner was a bit slower though as couldn’t think of the first word for 5d (got the second easily!). dor 17 & 10 I kept trying to put a French word in before it clicked.

    Thanks to mysteron and once again to Gazza for the excellent review.

  15. Digby
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Had I not inserted STRESS for 25d the rest of the puzzle would have been less of a 26d. Some cunning clueing, and outstanding hints (19a !!) My thanks are therefore due to both Gazza and Egbert.

    • Nora
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      There were a couple of places in this puzzle where I had a couple of words in mind. Happily I dodged the traps for once.

    • mary
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      My first thoughts were stress too Digby!

    • Kath
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      I also nearly put stress for 25d …

  16. Nora
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    No problems with this today, which is a relief after the weekend when I thought my crosswording brain cells had retired. I’m not surprised, Gazza, to see your comment about too many anagrams, and you won’t be surprised to hear from me ‘aaargh, more cricket clues’. I did get 5d though, as Señor Nora watches the scoreboard on TV (which I think is probably just as interesting as watching the game).

  17. Prolixic
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I wondered whether this was a Shamus but, as I completed in the proverbial two stops, I concluded it was not one of his!!

    I enjoyed our Mysteron’s offering today. Many thanks to him/her for the crossword and to Gazza for the review. Favourite clue was 29a.

  18. Patsyann
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The ‘feel’ of this puzzle was different. I wonder if it is a new compiler we haven’t had before? If so he or she is very welcome – most enjoyable challenge. (Notice how I am sticking to my promise not to complain about cricket terms)

    Thanks Gazza.

  19. brendam
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, rather a lot of anagrams but so what? You love them or hate them, whichever they have to be done if you want to finish, so just get on with it! I could not set a crossword puzzle and admire the people who can. What would it be like without a daily crossword? Doesn’t bear thinking about! So thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the hints. Favourites 1a, 8 and 14d

  20. Rednaxela
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I too enjoyed this puzzle. It was rather anagram heavy, but it helped in solving at least half of the grid, and gave a good foot-hold into solving the rest of it. Like others, I put “long” as the first bit of 5d which held me up on 1a for some time. Liked 3d and also like the pic for 19a and the cute koala. Thanks to setter and Gazza for the review

  21. AlisonS
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    A nice quick solve today, definitely aided by all the anagrams, but I do have to agree with Gazza that maybe there were just a few too many. As Rednaxela mentioned, loved the pic of the cute koala – koalas are cute by default anyway, but this one is absolutely adorable. Forget hunky men, just give us cute fluffy things! :-)
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    • Jemux
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Alison – at least men don’t:
      a. sit in trees and do unmentionable stuff to innocent passers-by beneath;
      b. bite (except on request);
      c. eat shoots and leaves (sounds like a good title!).
      Given an AV opportunity
      a. 19A visual key would be vote 1 and maybe Phascolarctos cinereus vote 2 (but have not found a suitable recipe for it yet;
      b. I just could not vote for an Alvin even or a Bernard.

    • Kath
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi AlisonS – I think that suggesting “cute fluffy things” on a day when Gazza is writing the hints is asking for trouble!!

      • AlisonS
        Posted March 30, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Hi Kath, you could be right – hadn’t thought of that!!

  22. Geoff
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Two-thirds of this went in without any help at all, thanks to the anagrams, so a good day for me. Needed a few hints to finish, especially for 6/8d. Biggest smile was at 29a.

    Most enjoyable puzzle, thanks to setter and Gazza.

  23. Derek
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I found this to be an unusual puzzle with too many anagrams – I am not agin anagrams as I was good at perms and combs and maths in general.
    1a, 13/17a, 29a, 3d, 8d, 15d, 18d/10a & 26d were best for me.

    I solved this using my new specs after all the cataract removal jobs! My long sight is excellent without the glasses but I need correction for close work.

  24. pommers
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    As others have said a bit heavy on the anagrams for me and I hated the grid which effectively makes it 4 separate puzzles!
    Grump now over and I did enjoy the solve and the review, so thanks to the setter and Gazza. At least he’ll get a rest tomorrow (unless he’s blogging the Toughie)!

    • gazza
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I am blogging the Toughie tomorrow, pommers, though, since I’ve just seen that it’s by Micawber, that’s no hardship!

      • Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Ooh Goodie!, Micawber!

        • crypticsue
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Ditto that goodie. Can’t wait.

          • Qix
            Posted March 30, 2011 at 12:50 am | Permalink

            You won’t be disappointed. 17A is particularly good.

      • pommers
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Glutton for punishment?
        Actually BD did point out to me, when I first stated blogging, that it was addictive! He was quite correct – I now cannot fill in a clue anywhere without thinking ‘How would I blog that one?’. It does seem to increase the satisfaction level because, if I can blog it, I must have understood the clue completely.
        Good fun and there’s a few others on this site that could give it a go!
        Seems to me that BD may have too many puzzles and too few bloggers!
        Not sure about blogging Micawber though – maybe one day . . .

  25. Onegoodeye
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    My first post today, though I’ve been following the blog for some time and solving for some years. Finished this one on the morning commute though this is very much a rarity… 3d was my last in, it just didn’t click for ages. Thanks to compiler and reviewer.

  26. Little Dave
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Like others I had “long leg” for 5d – fool! And I’m an MCC member as well! DER!.

    Also missed 11a – DER x2!

  27. Mr Tub
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Another rare no dictionary/hints/tips outing for me. Flew through most of it before breakfast, sorted out the mistake I made with 5a and then let an error with 1a hold me up with 1d for the rest of the day. Took it to the pub after work for A Big Old Think and everything fell into place after the first sip! Thanks to the setter for 13a/17a, 3d, 14d and 16d, thanks to Gazza for two days of solid gold service, and thanks to Barum Original for everything else.

  28. Pete.W
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Cant log on to telegraph puzzles.Anyone else having same problem?

    • Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Welcom to the blog Pete

      I checked and it was working so, rather foolishly, I logged out and was unable to log back in again.

    • gazza
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      I never log out and, based on the above, I’m going to leave it that way.

      • Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink


        • Qix
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

          Is it just me, or can anyone else hear “Hotel California” playing?

    • pommers
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Seems to be working OK now, even through my very poor internet connection.

      • Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        DON’T LOG OUT !!!

        • pommers
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Never do!
          Might just download tomorrow’s at midnight, BST, if I’m still awake at 0100CEST, just in case!
          But I’ve had no problem today, opened the cryptic this morning to print out and then did the Toughie on-line early evening and all was fine.

  29. Pete.W
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that Big Dave……hope I havent spoilt your evening.

    • Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Not at all – as long as I get logged back in before Thursday!

  30. Nestorius
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I was on course yesterday and today and had to do my quota of xws without the benefit of learned comment on the blog.

    Today’s offering was a fine piece of work imho.

    Of course I fell into the 5d trap. Cricket is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum for me at the best of times. In the end I realised that 1d just had to be ********F and I was out of my misery.

    I just love anagrams so this was just right for me.

    Thanks to Mysteron and Gazza!

  31. paolors
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Ok if you like anagrams.

    • Addicted
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Love them – when I’m completely stuck they get me started!

      • pommers
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        My objection to too many anagrams is that if the clue is an anagram and you’ve identified the construction, you know the indicator, definition and the fodder and have done all the hard work at that point – then it’s just a matter of time before you get the letters in the right order. Personally I don’t find that unravelling anagrams is all that entertaining, more like a chore! (Pommette would disagree, but then she likes those word puzzles that have you find as many words as possible from 9 letters, including the anagram).
        Agree that a few anagrams are great to give a few checkers and an ‘in’ to the puzzle – but you can have too much of a good thing!

        • gazza
          Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          My sentiments exactly, pommers. I seem to remember reading somewhere about some guidelines that the number of anagrams in a puzzle should not exceed six. That seems about right to me. This puzzle has double that number.

  32. Andrew
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Anyone know why I can’t log in to Telegraph Puzzles today? Haven’t got a paper and want to do today’s cryptic!!

    • Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Andrew – welcome to the blog. You’re not alone.

  33. Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Only recently found this site and am now at last managing to master (most of) the Telegraph crossword. Enjoyed todays, though 14d wasn’t completed until after I’d read the clue interpretation above. (Couldn’t get the visual picture of Alvin Stardust out of my mind!) Great site!

    • gazza
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Owdman – welcome to the blog.

  34. Kath
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi all – yet again very late and expect everyone else has now gone to bed. Gazza expected howls of protest at 5d – well he can have at least one from me!! Thought that I’d finally cracked the ‘cricket stuff’ – wrong again – did what lots of others did and put ‘long leg’ thereby making 1a virtually undoable. Husband eventually sorted that one out.
    I found this one quite difficult to get into – too many cross references to other clues which I always find confuses my brain.
    Eventually managed all of it apart from the previously mentioned 1a and 5d.
    All of that sounds critical – I actually enjoyed the crossword very much and it did a huge amount to distract me from very soggy leaking wellies whilst finishing off pressure cleaning our patio!!
    Best clues for me today were 12, 21 and 29a and 3, 7, 14, 15, 22 and 26 d.
    Thank you to the unknown setter and to Gazza for his second day in a row of doing the work for those of us who give up!!

  35. TimCypher
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I groaned when I saw the grid for this – not exactly very friendly, so I was expecting this to be a nightmare.
    But no, it was a very pleasant solve – didn’t take too long to do thanks to the large number of anagrams – and I just had a little punch the air moment checking the answers here when I saw my guess for 5d was actually right – never heard of that term, but God bless those checking letters! :)

  36. Cali
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Re 19a – Gazza wasn’t sure about the “crisp” bit – the answer is held in (like a girdle would hold in the wobbly bits) “crisp and expanding”

    • Qix
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      I think that he got that.

      His query was about whether “crisp” was an adjective applicable to the solution; “expanding” clearly is, and, were “crisp” to be, and were “girdle fabric” to be a synonym for the solution (as well as “girdle” being a hidden word indicator), then the clue would be “all-in-one”, where the whole of the clue is both wordplay and definition.

      • Cali
        Posted March 30, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        Blimey!! I never realised it was so complicated!. I just spotted the S at the beginning and the X at the end and saw it in the clue! I will have to be far more analytical when doing crosswords! Also after reading the bit at the beginning about Pangrams, I spent ages trying to find the J in my answers!

        • Qix
          Posted March 30, 2011 at 12:46 am | Permalink

          You and me both!

  37. Qix
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    FWIW I really enjoyed solving this puzzle.

    It had a high anagram count, but all of the anagrams were good clues, and there were plenty more.

    Whoever the setter is, I hope to see more of them.

  38. freda
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’m a day late so i’m probably talking to myself, but…

    Isn’t 3d a homophone of pay before reductions followed by ‘r’ for royal? It’s just that to me if the homophone is ‘groc’ it isn’t a homophone, as I would pronounce this with a hard ‘c’ i.e. ‘grock’ not ‘gross’; ‘groce’ is a homophone. You can’t beat a discussion on the pronunciation of non-existent words!

    • gazza
      Posted March 30, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I think your explanation is better than mine. I’ll update the blog. Thanks.

      • freda
        Posted March 30, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        No problem, I’m just pleased you agreed with me! Many thanks to you and the other bloggers.