DT 26771 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26771

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26771

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.   This is a great puzzle today but it’s Jay at his trickiest for quite some time I reckon. There’s a bit of a theme in here based on today but I didn’t notice it for ages – stupid or what?  I struggled for a bit but I got there when I twigged what day it is (those north of Hadrian’s Wall will probably think it’s obvious and give it only 2*).  I’ve had to go for 3* because of my time but maybe it’s doing it in the middle of the night and not being Scottish that’s caused me the trouble.

I found it very enjoyable and with a good mixture of clues ranging from a couple of simple ‘gimmes’ to a couple of Toughie standard D’oh’s when the pennies finally drop. My opinion is that this is Jay at his very best – what do you think of it?

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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           Tell of number given to soldiers (7)
{RECOUNT} – Tell of, as in tell a story, is the definition here. Take a word for number or total and put it after some of the usual soldiers.

5a           Shot a couple of legionnaires for rustling (7)
{CRACKLE} – This rustle is what you might do with a crisp packet in a cinema and so annoy everyone else.  Another word for a shot or try followed by LE (couple of LEgionnaires).   Love the surface!

9a           Children are moody (5)
{BROOD} – Double definition of to be moody and a bunch of children.  Why did it take so long for the penny to drop on this one?  Sorry if the clang woke you up!

10a         Uses car with an awful confidence (9)
{ASSURANCE} – Confidence is an anagram (awful) of USES CAR with AN.   I think I’ve met drivers like the ones this clue describes!

11a         Amends allowance offered to poor padre, with no doubt initially (10)
{REPARATION} – Take a word for your allowance or portion and place it after (offered to) an anagram (poor) of PADRE but without the D (no Doubt initially) and you’ll get a word meaning amends.

12a         Fish barrel — heart of oak (4)
{TUNA} –Take a large wine barrel and follow with A (heart of oAk) and you get a fish very popular in Spain and often sold in tins.   This wine measure is apparently 954 litres which is about my monthly consumption according to pommette!

14a         Bird that’s an emblem of Wales — and that’s soup! (12)
{COCKIELEEKIE} – This is a soup and it’s a charade of a male bird, the abbreviation for ‘that is’, the vegetable that’s the emblem of Wales and ‘that is’ again.  Had to check the spelling of this one as I twigged the answer straight away but was a letter short! Thought it was an A in the middle rather than IE.

18a         Slay England, struggling around the beginning of union in the distant past (4,4,4)
{AULD LANG SYNE} – If you take an anagram (struggling) of SLAY ENGLAND and place it around U (beginning of Union) and then split the result (4,4,4) you’ll get a song sung at New Year and also tonight. The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, i.e. in the distant past.   When you’re supposed to eat 19d and drink whisky.

21a         Marker buoy around edge (4)
{KERB} – This edge is at the side of the road and it’s hidden in Marker buoy.

22a         Crystalline rock soap for example, and sponge (6,4
{MARBLE CAKE} – Not sure how to explain this as I’m not really a cake person. I guess this type of sponge cake is the equivalent of a raspberry ripple ice-cream as it has dark colours blended inside lighter ones. Take some crystalline rock, often used for tiles in posh bathrooms, and follow with another word for a piece of soap and you’ll get the idea.  Maybe some of our baking members will elucidate further, all I know is that it sounds delicious and can we have some in the naughty corner next weekend please!

25a         Point out no one runs to get wine (5,4)
{PINOT NOIR} – An anagram (out) of POINT followed by NO (from the clue) and I (one) and then R(uns) gives a wine of the Burgundy region of France. Actually it’s the grape that the wine is  made from but it works for me  My favourite but virtually unavailable in Spain apart from at humungous expense so I have to make do with Rioja!

26a         Bar that’s popular with ghosts, oddly (5)
{INGOT} – This is a bar, of gold perhaps, and it’s the usual word for popular followed by the odd letters of GhOsTs.

27a         Regime gets disheartened and goes for profits (7)
{RETURNS} – Profits or income from an investment is the definition. Take RE (RegimE disheartened) and follow with some goes, in a board game maybe.

28a         Notice drink becomes a part of the armed forces (5,2)
{SIGNS UP} – Another way of saying enlists is a charade of a notice and a word for to drink.

Down

1d  and 23d:    Bob’s on fire — it’s his night! (6,5)
{ROBERT BURNS} – It’s his night tonight alright!  Hope you’ve got the 19d and the whisky to hand!

2d           Rough cut of meat — it comes out of pity (6)
{CHOPPY} – This is a way of describing the sea when it’s a bit rough. Take a cut of meat and follow with PY (IT comes out of PitY).   It’s also a type of haircut apparantly which I only came across while searching for a picture! pommette’s now keen to have one but she don’t look like this – yet!

3d           Subject to promise adopting student is hell (10)
{UNDERWORLD} – Definition is hell. Take a word for subject to (5) and follow with your promise or bond (4) and insert an L (adopting student).

4d           Heat these initially on top of oven (5)
{TOAST} – To heat is T (These initially) followed by an oven used to dry hops.

5d           Rituals welcoming the Queen’s clients (9)
{CUSTOMERS} – A word for rituals or habitual behaviour with ER (Queen) inserted gives some clients.

6d           Part of America created so much land (4)
{ACRE} – This measure of land is hidden in (part of) America created.   Can’t really say more without giving the game away.

7d           American state or county fortunate having no leader (8)
{KENTUCKY} – To get this American state you need an English county (where Crypticsue lives) and follow with a word meaning fortunate without is first letter (having no leader).

8d           Delighted about English victory, getting promoted (8)
{ELEVATED} – A word for delighted placed around E(nglish) and V(ictory) gives a word meaning promoted or raised up.

13d         Wandering around, need margin to be flexible (10)
{MEANDERING} – An anagram (to be flexible) of NEED MARGIN gives a word meaning wandering around.

15d         Rugby team become jerks when driving (9)
{KANGAROOS} – These are the Australian Rugby League team and they’re also things that happen when a learner driver doesn’t have full control of the clutch! Don’t forget it’s plural.

16d         Have a bit of fun with projection for plant (8)
{LARKSPUR} – A bit of fun or a prank followed by a projection gives a flower of the Delphinium genus.

17d         Instrument’s at home, covered in red wine (8)
{CLARINET} – The instrument of Acker Bilk is the red wine of Bordeaux placed around the usual crosswordland word for ‘at home’.

19d         Sigh drunkenly, eating a good dish (6)
{HAGGIS} – Take A (from the clue) and G(ood) and put them in an anagram (drunkenly) of SIGH and you’ll get the dish you might be eating tonight with your whisky.

20d         Revolutionary and best newspaper? (3-3)
{RED TOP} – The usual revolutionary (not Che, the other word) and a word meaning best gives a colloquial term for the tabloid newspapers.

23d         See 1 down

24d         Sun’s beginning without end (4)
{STAR} – A word for the beginning without its last letter (without end) will leave a word for what our sun is an example of.

Lots of good stuff but favourites are 1d, 15d and the lovely 19d.


The Quick crossword pun: {malarkey} + {entire} = {Mull of Kintyre}

107 comments on “DT 26771

  1. Thanks to Jay for the enjoyable themed puzzle, and to Pommers for the review.
    22a held me up for a while (I’m also not a cake person).

    The Toughie is fun today as well; Elkamere with his fluffy slippers on, although there were a couple that felt like they had steel toe caps attached!

  2. Enjoyed this today – loved 1d – made me laugh/groan when it hit me. Thanks to Pommers for the hits and tips. Going to give the Toughie a go.

  3. I am new to cryptic crossword puzzling and, prompted by BBC3s documentary over Christmas, am attempting the Telegraph’s Cryptic Crossword. So at work, during my morning tea break I read through the clues and fill in the 1, possibly 2, clue(s) that pop out at me. At lunchtime, I spend an hour trying the rest.

    My record so far (before consulting this blog) is 8 clues … I was so pleased … but today at Tea Break, nothing, which is a little discouraging.

    What advice would you give me as a novice to the art of Cryptic Crosswording ? … and where do I start today before consulting this most excellent resource ?

    1. Hi Mark – welcome. You’re just the type of person that we’re trying to help so I hope you’ll stay with us and if you don’t understand something, ask. A good starting point for information is the FAQs here (click on the tab at the top of the page).

    2. Hi Mark and a welcome from me too. Under the ‘crossords’ tab at the top of this page there’s a crossord guide showing all the basic clue constructions that you’re likely to come across in a DT back page puzzle.
      Otherwise my advice is to do what you can and then look at the hints on this blog to see if you can get some more. Then, when really stuck, have a look at the answers and work out in your own mind how the clue works. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll learn to spot the various different clue types.
      Otherwise post a question on here and someone will be around to help you.

    3. Hi Mark, I was new to cryptic crosswords just over two years ago and more or less struggled like yourself, until I found this blog which is brilliant, I still struggle on lots of days and have only ever done four or five crosswords ( I only do Telegraph) completely unaided, I find the Chambers Crossword Dictionary invaluable, I also have my ‘electronic friends’ i.e. Seiko Thesaurus or Franklin Chambers a great assett, The Big Red book often referred to on this site is the Chambers Dictionary, without all these and the help of this blog I still often find it a hard struggle, the point is, somedays are tougher than others, most days are tough for ‘beginners’ but if you enjoy it it is worth ‘perservating’ hope to see you around it’s good fun on here :-)

    4. Hi Mark – I too was motivated by that BBC3 programme. I’ve been doing the Telegraph crossword on and off for years but never managed to get through one completely until I found this blog and decided to make it a daily exercise. I have to say that the blog and the members here are great – very supportive and the hints and tips come in useful when the head scratching gets too much!! And as in life, somedays can be tougher than others, but always challenging and enjoyable. Do stick it out and don’t be discouraged – help is always at hand :-)

    5. Mark – I haven’t been doing this long, and coincidentally today was my first day of finishing the whole crossword with no help from this site! Two key rules for me – 1) keep at it, even if you get nothing first time around, go back and you are bound to see things differently; 2) try to ignore punctuation & capitalisation – they will often be used to make you read a clue in a certain way, whereas if you take them out the clue can often reveal itself in a different way.

      Oh and you’ll come to recognise anagram/other indicators as time goes by…..it’s a matter of being patient.

      Good luck!

    6. Good luck with the crosswords – just keep going. There are SO many helpful, friendly and knowledgable people here – I found this blog about two years ago, although it took me several months to summon the courage to write a comment, and have learnt lots.

    7. Hi Mark. Welcome to crosswordland. I started doing the DT cryptic while commuting 1hr 15min. Thirty years ago I felt clever if I answered all but 6. The advice I give my friends is – concentrate! Don’t even think of trying to do it in front of telly!

    8. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and advice … I will indeed persevere.

      The significence of tonight has just dawned on me … Doh!

    9. Hi Mark. First rule is to never under-estimate the puzzle. I’ve been doing the DT cryptic for 20 years and vary between rapid finishes and a struggle (yesterday’s was very tough I thought). I found the best way to improve was to religiously check the following day’s answers. Also, of course, some clues do repeat and it’s necessary to learn various conventions – musical notations, “flower” being a river and something that grows etc etc etc. Remember also that puzzles are designed to challenge and also to encourage the purchase of the paper to get those answers you did not. Good luck. You may even win the prize pen (I have not to date, however!)

    10. Congrats on trying. It took me ages before I finished a cryptic crossword. In my day, we didn’t have the resources such as this excellent site, but we had friends who helped. Anyone remember Rosemary from BT Reading who had every crossword finished by 9:30 am and was always available on the phone for help? I find it sometimes helps to identify the word(s) that fit in, and then “reverse engineer” to see which fit the clue. You also learn a lot of how the clue setters work that way. I’m looking forward to the day when I see you offering help to new starters. It will happen.

  4. A good start to my Wednesday morning. I struggled with a few until the penny dropped. I had the same problem wth 14a, I@ve always spellled it with an A. Never too old to learn.

  5. I struggled to finish because I had a diminutive for 1d which left 11a starting with I. Also missed the construction of 23a, so this was last one in for me. DOH!
    Excellent puzzle, 3*’s for me. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    1. Strange is’t it. I had 11a early & had to think hard to get 1d because like you I was thinking the diminutive which he is normally known by.

      1. Hello Mary, I was there but I can confidently do a 2* but sometimes struggle on 3*. So it was yesterday and I struggled with it and gave up in the end. Hence my question to Pommers who is very dedicated to be doing it at 02.30 hours. When I can’t sleep I watch the TV

        1. I’ve just finished and I reckon that 2 1/2 stars is about right. Many thanks for your hints Pommers which I did need to use from time to time and many thanks to Jay for a good puzzle. For those based in Blighty, we have a clear blue sky here and we are in shirtsleeves in the garden admiring nature

    1. Think yourself lucky that I wasn’t doing the review as I would have given it one solitary star for difficulty, but then I didn’t do it in the middle of the night!

      1. That’s probably all it deserves! Don’t know why it took me so long to complete.

        My time was actually well into 4* but a whole load of that was due to a typing error. In the middle of the soup I put EE instead of IE. Clued up told me the answer was wrong and I didn’t spot the typo so spent absolutely ages trying to find another viable answer! Eventually I stopped the typo, D’oh!

  6. Grrrrrr, re 1d having put in Robbie, feeling very clever knowing it was Burns Day, I also got stuck on 11a, being the last one in, when I finally realised 1d was wrong! grrrrr! By the way today is also St Dwynwens day, she is the Wesh equivalent to St Valentine. I wonder what it it about the letter ‘K’ in the puzzle today? if anything
    Sorry good morning pommers and thanks for blog, no favourite clues for me today and an ‘it’s an ok puzzle’ day, easier than yesterday but not sure it was more enjoyable

  7. As an ex-pat Scot I’d like to thank Jay for this clever themed puzzle. I had few difficulties except for 14a – I spell it differently so struggled a few minutes, then felt really daft when the light dawned!

    1. In the meantime, an enjoyable (but not too tricksy) mid-week offering from Jay. After first run-through of the across clues, I had 2 or 3 done, luckily the down clues came to the rescue. No reall favourites today (but then Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie didn’t make the expected appearance). I must admit, I thought 14 across was spelled with an A after the cock, but hum ho.

      1. Chambers has 3 acceptable spellings, including your version with the ‘A’. The other is with a ‘Y’ in the middle, and at the end (replacing both ‘IE’)

  8. Morning! No probs today, other than having to check the alt spelling of 14a, and using the diminutive at 1d. Enjoyable enough but over a little too quickly. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers.

    1. well done stuart, t’s a great feeling isn’t it, as I said above in the 2/12 years or so I’ve been doing them I don’t think I’ve finished more than four or five without any help :-)

    2. Well done. Wonderful feeling to solve without assistance. I do hope that you meant “hints” rather than clues though :)

      1. Ah yes good point! No hints, but I did of course use the clues today! Have a feeling it’ll be back to exasperation tomorrow – Thursdays are seemingly always the most difficult for me. Thanks as ever for a great site and the friendly attitude extended to us newcomers!!

  9. 3* difficulty for me today based on solving time – although while trying to get my last two in, I did have to break off and explain cryptic clues to the boss (it was before my start time!) which held me up even more. Very enjoyable thank you Jay and Pommers too.

    22a is easily made by making two different types of cake mix – one bowl vanilla and the other, say, chocolate. Alternate ‘splodges’ of each mix into a cake tin and then using a skewer swirl through the splodges to create a marbled effect which becomes even more obvious when the cake is cooked and sliced. Perhaps it could be a new one for the Saturday naughty corner.

    The Elkamere Toughie is one of his best. It cheered me up no end anyway.

    1. Might give that a go sometime Sue – I made my first solo cake last Saturday (lemon sponge with lemon butter cream filling), The Mrs told me it was very good indeed, need to make another one now.

      1. Well done Skempie. Chocolate sponge is another good one for the beginner. Cake making (and eating) is my favourite activity after cryptic crossword solving. Luckily I also enjoy walking almost three miles a day otherwise I would be the size of a l house!

        1. Was going to make a chocolate one this week, but have still have rather a lot of lemons in the house and can’t find the cocoa. Good thing about lemon cake is is need zest of 2 lemons, but juice of 1 – this leaving one lemon for the G&T’s for the week.

      2. Lemon curd (homemade, not the beastly shoppy stuff) makes an even better filling for a lemon cake – yum – might be inspired to make one later! :smile:

    2. Hi Sue

      As I said I was in 3* territory as well but having written the review I can’t see why really. Brain must have been a bit off last night I think because it’s not really all that tricky!

  10. Thanks to Jay & Pommers. A Good crossword. 18a had me bamboozled for a while; never seen 14a spelt that way before, and I now konw what a marble cake is. :)

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this today, even though it took a while for the penny to drop and I realised the significance of 1 & 23d. It took a while to get the correct (for today anyway) spelling for 14a, I spent ages trying to fit 11 letters into the space for 12 – Doh! Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  12. The only problems I had today were the same two that lots of others have had – for 1d I had the dimunitive form of his first name which made 11a interesting, and also needed to check the spelling of 14a, although having read the clue again it is very clear. I liked 5, 14 and 26a and 2, 15 and 16d. I love 16d’s but unfortunately they are real slug and snail delicacies so growing them in our garden doesn’t always work. Very enjoyable crossword so thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review.

  13. Thanks to Jay for the lovely theme, I shall be indulging in 19d with some Whisky this evening, thanks also to pommers for the hints/review.

  14. I enjoyed this one. Its nice to have a themed puzzle without any horrible ‘fill in’ clues. I cottoned on straight away with 1d and I was looking for 4 18 and 19. Best was 19 for the surface reading. Now for a wee dram! [I looked for that as well!]

  15. Thanks to Jay for the treat. I am having haggis for lunch in honour of the day. Thanks too to Pommers for the review.

    Like others, I went down the Robbie route – still some of us have to take the low road instead of the high!

  16. We had haggis for lunch here too, inspired by Jay. But he missed a trick. With one small change 16d could have been “bagpipes” though as my father used to say they’re best heard from a distance and Scotland is about far enough!

    1. …or even BAGPIPER, who might have put the icing on the cake! Should have spotted that.
      Thanks to Pommers for the excellent review and to all for the eagerly read comments

      1. I thought it was a deliberate trick My last two were 16d and 21a (stupidly). I don’t look at the hints till Ive finished but was tempted by electronic aid. First word out – Bagpiper!

        1. 21a was my last one in – HOW do I still miss these “in the middle” type clues?! You should see how badly I do when they’re in the middle AND reversed!!! Where did “bagpiper” go – I’m mystified! :smile:

          1. Bagpipes / Bagpiper was a suggestion made for an answer at 16 down instead of larkspur and Jay said he wish he had thought about it. One or two other answers would have needed to be changed in order to fit it in, including 21 across, which Pommers used as an excuse to insert a picture of a racing car.

  17. Well, today was a walk in the park after yesterday’s puzzle. The only word I had to look up was that rugby team, though I also did a bit of a spell check on14a. I saw the theme quite early and enjoyed it, so thanks very much to Pommers and Jay. My favourites were 18a and 25a, of which the latter is more easily obtainable in my neck of the woods. :-)

    1. Agreed – it was such a relief to get back to normality after yesterday! Knowing about Burns’ night did help with a fast finishing time :)

  18. Excellent puzle today thanks to Jay and Pommers for the hints. Struggled with the spelling of 14A and never heard of 22A.

  19. I got 1d straight off as work are putting on a Burn’s Night dinner this evening (which unfortunately I can’t make – love 19d!) and, conveniently, I didn’t go for the diminutive – not sure why, but not complaining. :-) I did do a double-take on the spelling of 14a, but what really held me up was 15d and therefore 22a – I’m not a rugby fan and just didn’t see that meaning for the end of the clue, despite it being blindingly obvious to me now! How many times have I referred to ‘k******o petrol’? So thanks for the hints, Pommers, and the pic at 19d ;-D and thanks to Jay for the enjoyable puzzle.

  20. After yesterdays difficult challenge, this one was a nice surprise. A challenge but solvable. Even if you don’t know the words, such as 14a, you can get them from the clue and then check in Chambers to see if it is really is a word. I am so enjoying being able to get these puzzles as 6:01 pm Chicago time again as my brain seems to work better in the evening than the morning. I hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying this:)

  21. Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi bickering brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an chase thee,
    Wi murdering pattle!

    Makes about as much sense as a Kenny Dalglish post-match interview! :wink:

  22. hello all this was my best effort for a three star .completed everything except 22a.
    never had haggis , however if you can eat blackpudding… :)

  23. I just got around to today’s offering after a long series of meetings. Having now read through the comments it’s comforting to know that many of us fell into the same traps (1d, 14a etc). It was also great to see a couple of newcomers sticking their hands up, and being welcomed & advised so helpfully by the crew. That’s what makes the blog such a nice place to visit. BTW, is there anyone left in the CC, Mary, or is it officially closed? And you should remind “Mark the Newbie” of the official spelling of persevere!

  24. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle & to Pommers for an excellent review & hints. A good puzzle from Jay, quite tricky in places, but I got there in the end. Last in was 5d. Had a penny drop moment with 16d. Favourites were 12a & 15d, the latter made me laugh as I had an image of 15 kangaroos in rugby kit careering down the road in a badly driven car. Great fun :-)

  25. Another one that’s beyond me, not my week this week, all too tricky. I managed one more answer in yesterday’s fiend than I managed today.

    1. Bizarre, thought I would parservate and after looking up 5a which I still don’t quite understand, it all came together and now complete. it helped when I realised he wasn’t Robbie but Robert!
      Many thx to Gazza for putting me on the right track.

        1. Yes, so did I, but it wouldn’t have made any difference to anything so maybe lots of people did just that – maybe I did ….. :oops:

  26. An exceptionally topically-themed puzzle given today’s date from Jay – well done sir!
    I lived 21years in The Vale of Leven – the second fastest river in Scotland – it drains Loch Lomond into The Clyde – so I was pleased about the theme.
    Aside from the Scottish clues my faves were 7d & 15d.
    Pommers : Glad you noted that 25a is strictly the grape! Re 19d have you read “The Haggis”, Alexander Maclean, published by Famedram Publishers Ltd., Gartocharn, Dunbartonshire?

  27. Great puzzle to-day and a good workout for the old grey matter . Being a Scot ,spotted the theme straight away but although I had his Sunday name in 1d I got a bit held up in the left hand corner but got there eventually. I wanted to have Haggis for to-night but was too mean to pay the carriage to Spain!(being the Scot that I am.)
    Anyone know of a cheap way to get it here to Cantabria? Many thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to Pommers for the hints.

  28. Just finished – too stubborn to look at the website. May be a minority of one but found it harder than yesterday. Found NE corner the hardest.
    I seem to have spent the day being harangued by Scots – in crosswords, on TV and on the radio. Many thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    1. You must be having a laugh if you think this was more difficult than yesterday’s!! Why be stubborn and not look at the hints – it’s how you learn. Of course, if you finally managed to finish then why not “perservate”! :smile:

        1. It’s a while since I found a back page puzzle as difficult as yesterday’s – probably not since the last one that everyone thought was the work of Petitjean. Maybe you’re just on the right wave length – that sounds dismissive – it’s not meant to be at all! :smile:

            1. lets try again – with brain in gear.
              Both were hard but I finished todays later so I guess it must have been harder.

  29. Liked 26 and 28 a. 5 7 and 19d. Favourite 25a. Stupidly could not see 21a and that and 16d last to go in. Did not like 22a. Here in the Midlands we have bars of soap. Minor grouse oh. Also liked 14a but as others surprised by the spelling but worked it out from the two that’s.

  30. First timer. Enjoyed today’s puzzle immensely, struggled on a couple of clues but helped by Big Dave. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Treacle – welcome – this is a great blog with lots of friendly and helpful people. I know that it’s Big Dave’s blog but different people do the hints every day – today it was Pommers – not that it really matters since you can say whatever you like (almost) and no-one seems to mind or take offence, within reason!!! :smile:

  31. Got all the crossing letters and your hints (thank you) but still can’t get 16d. Assume you need to be a plant expert, though could be wrong and maybe the man on the Clapham Omnibus (or in my case the southbound from Waterloo) would know this plant at 100 paces. Was this a crossword or a botany test?

  32. Normally when I solve a puzzle before reading the tips and comments it only gets one or two stars for difficulty, so I was overjoyed to see this one get three! I only got 12a because there used to be a pub in town called The Three Tuns and it had three barrels on the sign. Proof if proof were needed that beer’s the drink for those who think and feel no fear nor fetter, who do not drink to senseless sink, but drink to think the better. Not quite Burns, but it’ll do!

  33. Excellent themed puzzle from Jay today – not so hard but in my work-weary head it was harder than it needed to be. Thanks to him and to Pommers for the first rate review – I couldn’t see any reference to the ‘Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie’ that Pommers has (surprisingly) caight on camera at 19d. A rare site – don’t forget to cut its legs off before boiling!.

    1. … oh dear! Poor little 19d – no legs AND boiled. Now you’ve upset me…. ! Sorry that you have a “work-weary head”. :smile:

      1. A couple of beers, the completion of my golf certifiactes for Friday and these two puzzles has put me slightly more at my ease! Unfortunately tomorrow is going to be a bad one but at least I am playing golf on Friday – now to check the weather (ducks!)

  34. Pommers, Hadrian’s Wall is not the Scottish border. Indeed, at the eastern end It’s about 70 miles from Berwick where England and Scotland collide.

    1. I don’t know how accurate the information is, but apparently there are more people in England in favour of Scottish Independence than there are in Scotland.

    1. Mine was neither! I just thought that if I sais Scots or Scottish it might give the game away too much. Personally I’m well in favour of Scottish independance.

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