DT 26760

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26760

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

This puzzle could have some solvers wishing for Ray T’s speedy return. It has the appearance of being a Petitjean Toughie that he put in the wrong envelope. On the brighter side, the blog’s page views could well be very high today!

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.

Across

1a    Questionable if Pa’s material for this role (13)
{PATERFAMILIAS} – an anagram (questionable) of IF PA’S MATERIAL gives the role of a man regarded as exerting a paternal influence on others

9a    About time The Greatest absorbed counter-attack (9)
{RETALIATE} – a charade of a word meaning about, T(ime), the surname of the self-proclaimed greatest boxer and a word meaning absorbed or consumed gives a verb meaning to counter-attack

10a    Rope made with twisted sisal – one disappearing with end of gaucho (5)
{LASSO} – to get this rope, start with an anagram (twisted) of S(I)SAL without the I (one disappearing) and then add the final letter (end) of gauchO

11a    Same three notes restricting Lemmy’s debut after Motorhead ruckus (5)
{MÊLÉE} – put the same three musical notes around (restricting) the initial letter of (debut) Lemmy and after the itial letter (head) of Motor to get a ruckus

12a    Lean cooking shows panache (4)
{ÉLAN} – an anagram (cooking) of LEAN gives panache or flair

13a    Dare-devil may go out on one of these (4)
{LIMB} – this is what a dare-devil may go out on in the well-known phrase

15a    Nan usually cooked in this tatty cap and back-to-front jumper (7)
{TANDOOR} – a nan is usually cooked in this type of oven – it’s constructed from the initial letter (cap) of Tatty, AND from the clue and the reversal (back-to-front) of the abbreviated form of an Australian marsupial that is famous for its jumping

17a    Spiv putting the squeeze on uninhibited Irish sightseer (7)
{TOURIST} – put a spiv around (I)RIS(H) without its outside letters (uninhibited) to get a sightseer –

18a    Sartre novel about ordinary hot day (7)
{ROASTER} – put an anagram (novel) of SARTRE around O(rdinary) to get a hot day

20a    Dealer with six no trumps noting East’s reluctant leads (7)
{VINTNER} – this dealer in wine is derived from the Roman numerals for six followed by the initial letters (leads) of five words in the clue

21a    Out to lunch (may contain these?) (4)
{NUTS} – a word meaning out to lunch or mad could also be something found in lunch

22a    Dog’s beginning to drink dairy product (4)
{CURD} – start with a worthless dog and add the initial letter (beginning) of Drink to get a dairy product

23a    Contrary characters caught in downpour — my concept of Wales (5)
{CYMRU} – hidden in reverse (contrary characters caught) inside the clue is the Welsh name for Wales

26a    Police retiree in honey-trap (5)
{STING} – the name of the lead singer of the now-defunct group The Police is also a honey-trap for criminals set up by the police

27a    Miss start of vast party in Rome’s all-weather venue (9)
{ASTRODOME} – drop the initial letter (miss start) of (V)AST and then add a party inside ROME to get an all-weather venue like the one at Houston, Texas

28a    Useless single challenged credulity (13)
{GUILELESSNESS} – an anagram (challenged) of USELESS SINGLE gives a word meaning credulity or naïvety

Down

1d    Permit response? Unusual for dogmatism (14)
{PEREMPTORINESS} – an anagram (Unusual) of PERMIT RESPONSE gives dogmatism or bigotry

2d    Write off entire amount (5)
{TOTAL} – a word that has come to mean to write off in an accident is also an amaount

3d    ‘The Essence Of Scottish Diet’ sold to real freak (6,4)
{ROLLED OATS} – the essence of porridge is an anagram (freak) of SOLD TO REAL

4d    You are said to support a fellow enthusiast (7)
{AMATEUR} – put txtspk for “you are” after A from the clue and a fellow or chum to get an unpaid enthusiast

5d    Not completely true batting partner once put on performance (7)
{INEXACT} – this adjective meaning not completely true is a charade of batting, as in cricket, a former partner and a verb meaning to put on a performance

6d    Capri for one is left- and right-hand drive (4)
{ISLE} – Capri is an example of this – it’s a charade of IS followed by L(eft) and the final (right-hand) letter of drivE

7d    Iota of mistrust (9)
{SUSPICION} – a double definition – an iota or small amount and mistrust or doubt

8d    Should one go commando under these? (6,8)
{COMBAT TROUSERS} – the kind of clothing that could be worn by a commando, maybe without underpants!

14d    Hostile coup is unlikely without a gun being fired (10)
{PUGNACIOUS} – an adjective meaning hostile is created by putting an anagram (unlikely) of COUP IS around (without) a further anagram (being fired) of A GUN

16d    Narrow escape from ultimate heaven on earth in centre of Leamington Spa (4,5)
{NEAR THING} – this narrow escape is a charade of the final letter (ultimate) of heaveN, EARTH and IN from the clue and the middle letter (centre) of LeaminGton Spa

19d    Degenerate boy’s consumed French roll (7)
{ROULADE} – put a degenerate or debauched man around a boy to get the posh name for a Swiss roll

20d    With cape and island out of sight detective is at sea in small boat (7)
{VEDETTE} – drop (out of sight) the C(ape) and I(sland) from DETE(C)T(I)VE and an anagram (at sea) of what’s left gives a small boat

24d    Cockney professes his aspiration is one not looking too far ahead (5)
{MYOPE} – split this short-sighted person (one not looking too far ahead) as (2,3) and add back the H that the Cockney might have dropped to the second word to get what could be his aspiration

25d    Fruit picked up regularly throughout silly glut (4)
{UGLI} – this fruit is reversed (picked up in a down clue) as the even letters (regularly throughout) of the last two words of the clue

I would have been happy with this as a Toughie, but thought that too much attention was paid to the surface reading of a number of the clues which made them more difficult than they might have been, especially for a back-page puzzle – what do you think?


The Quick crossword pun: {whisk} + {eagle} + {awe} = {Whisky Galore!}


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108 Comments

  1. Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I actually had time to look at this this morning and was forewarned that it was pretty Tough and probably Petitjean’s work. As it was I solved it pretty quickly, probably because of being forewarned, the fact that I am currently wearing a slightly mad safety helmet and head torch and also because I got the long anagrams around the outside very quickly. Very enjoyable stuff so thanks to the setter (I agree it smacks heavily of Petitjean) and also to BD for the review

  2. Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    At 4* I don’t think that I will bother. Please come back Ray T (or any of the others)

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      It’s worth a try!

      My solving time was actually in the 2* bracket, but I knew there would be howls of protest if I rated it as such.

      • Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        OK you two. Here I go!

        • mary
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Good luck :-)

        • Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          Well, I did give it a go, and finished, but I must admit that I referred to the hints on more than one occasion and my target is to finish without doing that but thanks for the hints BD and thanks to Petitjean for a very challenging puzzle which I didn’t really need on a Thursday

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      give it a go collywobs it is not beyond you if you perservate and use plenty of ‘help’ as I had to :-)

      • Sarah F
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Taking you up on this too , Mary

    • Nora
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      It was all right Collywobbles – give it a go. If this is Toughie standard, then maybe it’s time I had another go at them. It’s been a while since I attempted one as I used to fail dismally, but this took me no longer than any other puzzle in the last coupel of weeks.

      As an anagramaholic, I loved unravelling these BIG words, which then helped everything else to fall into place.

      • mary
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        It’s all in the mind, if this had been an actual toughie, I would have given up on it, not expecting myself to be able to do it! Anagramholic, I like it, I am one too, though can’t get those like today when I don’t know the word!

        • Kath
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          I agree – it’s definitely all in the mind. On the odd occasion I try a toughie I go into it in a “Well, I won’t be able to do it” frame of mind and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then I know I can’t do them and it just gets worse and worse!! I am determined to overcome it so am going to follow Gazza’s advice from last week. Keep trying – when (when, not if) stuck read the hints for and fill in the across answers and then try the downs again. Haven’t quite had time to put this into practice yet.

          • mary
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            seems a good idea Kath, might give it a go

          • gazza
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            Kath,
            If you try the “Toughie” today you won’t need any advice at all. It’s just about the easiest one ever (so just pretend that it’s a back-page one that’s been misplaced in the paper and you can’t go wrong).

            • Kath
              Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

              Just about to give it a go – I bet I need some help, if only because I know that it’s a toughie, but I’ll try very hard to pretend that I’m just starting the back page puzzle a bit late! :smile:

  3. Jezza
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    If this was set by Petitjean, then it is probably the most enjoyable of his I have solved.
    Thanks to setter for the puzzle, and to BD for the review.

    The Toughie by Warbler is fun too – A good day for puzzles for me so far!

  4. upthecreek
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I found this quite easy as it hinged on the long outside anagrams, with some easy ones in the middle. I really liked 7 16 20a and 27. One of those days when everything went to plan. Not my hero, RayT but a fine substitute.

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Pretty much my solving UTC – I think I only missed 3 across clues on the first pass and then having got the long anagrams it became a mopping up operation with a few hanging out at the end. Not easy but a very satisfying solve.

      • upthecreek
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Was 24 your last in?

        • Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Actually it was 5d – 24d went straight in as I hade 3 checking letters and an idea that the setter likes his Cockney references!

          • upthecreek
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Funny that. 5d was my first!

        • Nora
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          My last in was 22. I couldn’t get out of my head that it had to start with a ‘d’ (dog’s beginning). It wasn’t till Señor Nora returned from Spanish class and took a different approach to dairy product (cows chewing the cud) that I saw what should have been obvious. Sometimes he’s a genious, but doesn’t realise it!

          • Nora
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Genius, I mean. I never see my typos until I’ve hit the Post button!

  5. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    This did not take much longer than usual for Thursday, but was completed more on instinct rather than initial understanding and it felt difficult. A good basis was provided by the anagrams. Some of the answers, e.g. 20d, are best solved from the definition and then, when you have lots of time to spare, work through the clue. I was struck by the high proportion of essentially foreign words in today’s puzzle, though many of them have been part of the English lexicon for some time.

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      I agree about the foreign words Lordluv…

  6. jerseyboytoo
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks BD it worked well for me today too many anagrams though. I had forgotten what going commando menat!

    • Sarah F
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      A bit cold here in Edinburgh for wearing a kilt ‘commando’!!

      • jerseyboytoo
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        nice and sunny though

  7. Patsyann
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    After my usual time for solving the backpage cryptic, I had filled in only 4 answers on this one. Definitely a toughie – no enjoyment factor at all. In fact it made me quite annoyed with myself because I couldn’t do it!

  8. mary
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    At least a three star for me Dave, I thought it was verging on a toughie in parts, lots of foreign words and OK three of the long outside clues were anagrams but even so 1d and 1a, some may say my education was lacking but I have never heard these words used, I thought lots of the clues were long convoluted and not reading particularly well, ok they all made sense, sort of, finished without the blog but needed lots of help from ‘electronic friends’ and a great deal of perservation, asking myself, is it worth it!!! not half as enjoyable IMHO as the short sharp wit of the Tuesday setter 9not because of the ease/difficulty) but then that’s only my opinion :-) Thanks as always for the blog Dave just off to read it now, by the way why ‘of Wales’ in 23a

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      There is no reason that I can see for the “of” in 23a other than, as I commented at the bottom of the post, to improve the surface reading.

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      If I have a favourite it is 15a although I was thrown completely by the spelling of ‘naan’ as ‘nan’

      • Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        As with so many foreign words, the spelling is phonetic.

        (Persian: نان, Hindi: नान, Urdu: نان, Punjabi: ਨਾਨ, Pashto: نان, Kurdish: nan)

        • mary
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Ooh you are clever, Just as well it was Kurdish nan then :-D

        • Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          But my Nan wasn’t Kurdish, she was Welsh

          • mary
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            So was mine and so am I :-D

            • mary
              Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

              A Welsh Nan I mean

              • mary
                Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

                Nan in Welsh is Nain, pronounced nine, but I am not a Nain I am a Nan with one ‘a’ :-; although I am Welsh and a Nan

                • upthecreek
                  Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

                  Hello Mary. I think this sentence would fit very nicely in today’s Toughie!

                  • mary
                    Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

                    Hello UTC, Happy New Year :-)

                    • upthecreek
                      Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

                      Happy New year Mary. Have you done the Toughie yet?

                    • mary
                      Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                      No but Gazzas comment to Kath suggests it’s quite easy compared to todays back pager

          • Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            I’m not keen on the Welsh

            • Kath
              Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

              You could be living dangerously saying that here ….. !

            • mary
              Posted January 13, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

              What!!!

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with your comment at the bottom Dave

      • mary
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        and what about 16d nearly the whole answer is provided here in the clue!

  9. Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    To hard to waste any more time on.Sometimes a crossword is more than a crossword. greater than the sum of its parts etc.
    This for me is one of those.
    Many thanks to B Dave and Petitejean

  10. Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Not the easiest of back-pagers, but gave me the sense of a job well done once I’d completed it. Must say that 1A and 1D are not words that I have ever used, or ever likely to use to be honest. A couple of the answers came fairly easily as I’m sitting here wearing Welsh rugby shirt and combats !

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Won’t ask the obvious question then skempie!

      • Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        no

        • mary
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          is that the answer???

          • Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            Yup, that’s the answer, I didn’t think there was much else to say

  11. Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Definitely 4* for me today. Needed Big Daves help several times. Regarding 20D, I worked out the solution but was reluctant to put it in the grid because I could not find a definition in my dictionaries sas small boat, only as sentinel. You live and learn.

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t find that definition on google either bifield but it does give it in The Big Red Book, neither could I find naan spelt as nan on google but once again The Big Red Book has it

    • jerseyboytoo
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      they run in France – St malo – Dinard

  12. Kevin
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The answer to six down is wrong its isle not capri as you have put

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Kevin and welcome to the blog

  13. Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    BD, In 7d, how do we get from Iota to the answer?

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      An iota is a jot, small amount or suspicion of something.

      • Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Tks BD, a bit abstruse

        • andy
          Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          I had to double check that too.

    • Drcross
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes I thought this was rather dubious

  14. Sarah F
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Finished yesterday’s one in the middle of last night & found it relatively easy. Not so, this one!

    Anyway, the long anagrams round the outside are good ways in, just take time and perseverance.

    Happy solving, everyone!

    Oh, and thanks to setter & reviewer, and for the blog.

  15. crypticsue
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    This one took me five times as long as a normal back page puzzle and I did have to check with BD, when I emailed him to confirm the Quickie pun had three words, that I hadn’t actually lost my cryptic solving ability. If it had appeared in the middle of the paper and I had access to the appropriate headwear (unlike Gnomey my day job doesn’t call for a helmet) it would have been about right for a middle to tough toughie. Thanks to the setter and BD too.

    If you are struggling with this, move on to the Toughie which took me a back page time and is very enjoyable.

  16. mary
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Off I go for a while good luck collywobs and all

  17. Boxgreen
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought this one was not too bad; I found it similar in difficulty to the crosswords earlier this week. As someone else has said, once you get the two long anagrams at 1 A and 1 D, it unlocks a lot of the rest of the crossword. Lots of foreign words but being half-French worked in my favour for once :)

  18. BigBoab
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Fairly standard crossword and quite enjoyable, a bit of a curates egg. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      What is a curates egg?

      • mary
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Ah to answer my own question! Apparently oroginated from a story in ‘Punch’ 1895 where a young curate was having breakfast (a boiled egg) in the bishops house, the bishops noticed the egg was rotten and said I’m afraid you’ve got a rotten egg’ the curate keen not to give offence said, ‘Oh no its not all bad, parts are quite nice’ therefor the phrase ‘a curates egg’

        • Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          I’ve added the cartoon to the bottom of the post – you can’t, for some reason, put pictures in comments!

          • mary
            Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for that Dave

  19. Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Amazingly I found this fairly easy as I am relatively green in comparison with other Big Dave bloggers – must have been in the “zone”. I got the outside anagrams with some hard work and the rest seemed to fall into place. Now to attack the toughie!!

  20. Kath
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    When I first looked at this I very nearly threw my hands up in horror and disappeared up the garden for the day but I really enjoyed it and, somehow, did it in about the same time as usual. I think I would have found it much more difficult had there been fewer anagrams. I didn’t understand 15a until I read the hint – no wonder really – I’d spelt it “tandour”! I liked all four of the long clues round the outside plus 13, 21 and 26a and 7 and 24d. With thanks to the setter and Big Dave.

  21. Kath
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    PS Apart from difficult what are the other characteristics of a Petitjean puzzle!

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Definitely contemporary references and at least 70s onwards music and playing about with Eastenders and rhyming slang. Also a few clues that might occasionally get the absolute purists to scratch their heads.

      • Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget lots of food references and often a high anagram count

      • Kath
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Thanks both. :smile:

      • eXternal
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        you mean like indicating M as Motorhead?

        • Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          That;s the sort of thing, eXternal!

  22. wbgeddes
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Hello all. Ref 28A – is ‘challenged’ a reasonable word to indicate an anagram. Stupid, mixed up, bizarre, weird etc etc I can follow but challenged?

    I sort of see it – you know challenge the order of the letters – but I have to say it’s pretty thin.

    Does anyone else have any examples of recent poor inviations to jumble the letters?

    • mary
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      there seem to be an awful lot lately wb, almost anything goes!

  23. Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Did’nt think it was a 4 star, pretty good xword, though too many anagrams. 8d & 24d were my favourites.

  24. Heno
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & Big Dave for the review & hints. A. Very tough puzzle worthy of 4*
    Had to resort to the hints for 20a, which I should have got & 20d ditto, but was a new word for me. Very enjoyable, favourites were 11 across & 24 down.

  25. Anncantab
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Having finished this comparatively easily without resorting to the hints, i was delighted to see it as a 4*.
    Loved 24d, and 15a(last one in eventually) Kept thinking of a grandmother !
    You certainly learn something everyday with this lark, i didn’t know Sting was in the Police, spent some time trying to find the names of Sartre novels.

  26. Franny
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I sat down with this and a cup of tea this afternoon, but after only being able to fit in three small words I’ve given up. Too much to do today, and it’s no fun if I have to solve it from the hints. From what I’ve seen I would never have been able to do it anyway. May try the Toughie tomorrow.
    :-(

    • Kath
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear – you sound very disheartened – just keep going, I say. Having too much to do always screws things up – you just can’t concentrate. :smile:

  27. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful.
    Roaster is not a hot day. A hot day is a scorcher, as in, Phew, what a scorcher. Try saying “phew, what a roaster” down the pub on the first hot day this summer and watch the blank expressions you’ll get.
    As for 1a and 1d, they were so obviously anagrams that I couldn’t be bothered to solve from the available evidence that I just put the letters into an anagram finder.
    Pointless.

  28. Aristotle
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I loved this one although I had never heard of 1across, and 20 down would have been a problem before we moved to France. It did take Mrs A and I about twice as long as normal though!
    My thanks to Petitjean for a good workout of the old(ish) grey matter.

  29. Pete
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Everyone appears to love a Thursday with Ray T and I always struggle. This one I found pretty ordinary once the four outside anagrams were completed and it was completed in relatively quick time. I would take off stars for difficulty and add them to enjoyment.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave for the hints which I am pleased to say were not needed.

  30. Brian
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Felt pleased that I managed 3/4 of this very tricky puzzle but for me it was far preferable to any Ray T. I may not have been able to complete this one but at least I could understand the clues which is more than can be said for any Ray T effort.

  31. Little Mart
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I have ‘lurked’ on this site for months and have not felt compelled to say anything until today. Have to say that this one was completed really quickly – it wasn’t until I read it on here that I realised I shouldn’t have! I actually thought the clues were of a much better quality than most of the puzzles this week. And Sting is a bit more topical than Ike Turner or Jim Reeves.

    • gazza
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Little Mart – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.

  32. Cymro
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Late start as usual but very enjoyable today. Thanks for all the comments on the blog, they’re as entertaining as the puzzles. My own favourite has to be 23a and it’s good to see a clever reference to Wales as opposed to the discredited meaning of ‘Welsh’ we saw a couple of days ago. I must admit I had to turn to the hints for 20 and 24d. Many thanks for the pointers BD. I just wish I could join in earlier in the day.

  33. Roland
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    ****/**** :)

  34. Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    4d. BD I didn’t really understand your hint?

  35. Weekend wanda
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Tres difficile pour moi! Cannot be compared wi M,T, and W. I am usually good at anagrams but not this time. If I have time I may try the Toughie and see if I agree with the comments.

  36. fletch
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    found this extremely challenging a good 4 star rating. found the toughie more difficult than 1 star

  37. Addicted
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Well I actually completed it eventually, with the help of my son who is over from Australia. We enjoyed it, though I thought it was pretty difficult and rather obscure at times. We kind of got the answer and then had to feel our way round it to justify it, if you see what I mean?

    • Kath
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely see what you mean – I quite often get the answer and then spend ages saying “But why/how”? Do hope that you have a wonderful time with son over from Australia – how lovely! :smile:

  38. Kath
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    What a lot of comments today – am now procrastinating – have cleared up supper things and really can’t think of anything else that I absolutely HAVE to do – perhaps I really will go and have a quick go at the toughie ….. am ready to be defeated!!

    • Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      If you sorted this one out you will be fine on the Toughie, Kath. once the penny drops on 16 you will get a bit of help! G’Night!

      • upthecreek
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        16a is well within your radar, Kath.

  39. Derek
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Rather harder going than usual I found. Fell asleep late in the afternoon and woke up to find I hadn’t started it!
    However persevated as Mary says and knocked it off.
    No real faves this time!

    In NL in January we get our provisional tax return for the coming year so one has to rake out the relevant paperwork and send a copy to the tax consultant.

    Poured down all day here!

  40. TimCypher
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I made some progress with this (about 1/3 through), before getting completely stumped. After checking some of the hints, it because very apparent that this puzzle was going to the full of words that I’d never heard of, so there didn’t seem much point in continuing.
    A bit too tricky for a back-pager, I’d say – hoping Ray’s back next week.

  41. Captain Lethargy
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I liked it and I’m really pleased to see so many comments. I didn’t finish it – I couldn’t get 20d. I don’t like doing it with the hints or anagram finders so I would rather leave it blank and learn the word for next time. It was harder, but it was good and we need a hard one every so often to push our limits.
    Well done to all those who finished it and congrats to all who tried. Thanks BD and setter.