DT 26774 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26774 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26774 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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Three years ago today I set up this blog, and the first post was published the following day – some hints for Toughie 86.  Since then we have seen over 5,000,000 page views, with a record daily total of 10,504 a week ago today.   There have been 2,375 posts published and a further 175 static pages.  To say that this has far exceeded my wildest dreams is an understatement.   I could not have done it without the the help of the fabulous team of bloggers, some of whom have been with me since early 2009.

I will be at the Bridge House in Westbourne Terrace Road, London W2 all day, where I expect to be joined by Elgar, Jetdoc, Crypticsue, Prolixic and Gnomethang, so if you live nearby why not come along and join us.  I am hoping that some hints might be added throughout the day, but you can always ask for help by leaving a comment.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


5a Bloomer made by insurgent captured by Harry (8)
A type of flower (bloomer) comes from putting a five letter word for an insurgent inside a diminutive form of the name Harry.

19a Power of attraction, it’s perverted group pleasure (12)
A word for pleasure comes from a two letter abbreviation indicating a romantic / lustful power of attraction followed by an anagram of its and a word meaning a group.

25a Coming first or second (6)
The first is celebrated in the period before Christmas.  The second will be heralded by the sound of a trumpet.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a Man to come ashore first during outstanding event (8)
A word for an outstanding event comes from putting a four letter name of a man after a four letter word meaning come ashore.


1d The man encounters a fellow face-to-face (4-2)
A phrase meaning face-to-face comes from the pronoun for a man followed by the A in the clue and another word for a fellow of a college.

2d Mole seen in Box Hill maybe (6,4)
Box Hill is an example of this lovely natural feature that also may describe a mole on the skin.

7d Apathetic want a platform, I state (13)
A word meaning apathetic comes from adding together a word meaning want or need, the A from the clue, another word for a platform, the I from the clue and a three letter abbreviation for one of the States of the USA.

23d Odd characters involved in heartier dislike (4)
A word for dislike comes from taking the odd letters in the word heartier.

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {whacks} + {sand} + {weigh in} = {wax and wane}

192 comments on “DT 26774 (Hints)

  1. Just started today’s – have a great day and a big ‘congratulations’ to you and the Blog for an outstanding achievement.

    1. Congrats from me too, a very new disciple of this site. I may raise more than a coffee to you. Have a good day.

    2. I too add my congratulations and thanks. Wish I could join you all in Westbourne Terrace. Also would like a pattern for that crossword cushion! :-)

  2. I haven’t looked at the puzzle yet but felt that I must thank you and the others for this site. It is beyond doubt the best on the web.
    Have a great day!

  3. Congrats on your site milestone – a superb job well done!
    Currently in the car on the way back from Heathrow, having nearly completed today’s puzzle (I’m not driving lol). Whizzed through most of it – 3d took a few cycles around the alphabet for the two missing letters before arriving at what looks like the answer (16 of them? :) )
    25a is the last one holding me up – any hints appreciated! :)

    1. for 25a think about ‘coming’ before Christmas. The second bit refers to the people who think it is going to happen again.

      1. Thank Sue – that was my number one guess, but I couldn’t see how it fitted until your explanation!
        All done now – 3d was my favourite clue of if only for the mental gymnastics involved in getting there! :)

    2. Looking at the Christian seasons would help you with 25a. Any hints as to 3d or 8a ?

  4. Happy Birthday to the best blog in the world. Do you think Cephas knew of the significance of today with 26a, 18a having relevance as does 14d as I am sure the blog will grow ever this. I just hope there isn’t a 12a at the gathering as I am not sure how that would go with beer drinking :D

    Thanks to Cephas for the very nice start to a lovely day – the sun is shining and I am off to get the train to London shortly for the birthday party. Hope to see some of you there.

  5. Well done BD! Great site, great people. Wish I could join you all today, but my son, Joseph’s 6th birthday party takes precedent.
    Have a good time :)

      1. Thanks Mary – 15 children, and a bouncy castle for the afternoon. A strong drink might be required afterwards!

  6. Happy Birthday to the Best Blog ever! I can’t believe how I found this completely by accident not long after starting to do cryptics, in desperation one day I aske ‘Google’ for help with the Telegraph crossword and discovered this blog, I think I have been on it most days since, apart from holidays, absolutely brilliant and everyone on it, thanks once again to Dave and his merry band of helpers, have a great day, you deserve it :-D

  7. I am just about to download the puzzle but thought I would get my HAPPY BIRTHDAY and thanks to BD and all the bloggers (and Mary) for all the help, entertainment and conversation. It is without a doubt the best blog and the most entertaining site. Enjoy the birthday party – we will look forward to the pictures.

    1. Thanks for including me Lea but I have done nothing except take part in this brilliant blog, in fact thanks to everyone for cheering up my days :-D

      1. Mary I think everyone will agree with me that we enjoy your participation although only a few acknowledge it. I think you cheer everyone else up as well with your positive attitude. Thank you.

      2. Don’t sell yourself short. You do a great job with the blog.Encoraging helping and being positive.

  8. Congratulations on a magnificent achievement. Absolutely the best. Thanks to BD and his team for all their efforts, support and encouragement over the last 3 years.

  9. Many happy returns to the blog and thanks to BD for his dedication in keeping the wheels rolling and the saintly Mrs BD for allowing him the time to do so.

    Thanks to Cephas for a lovely gentle puzzle. Hopefully the will not be too much need for hints today as many of us will be celebrating the birthday in the Bridge House.

    I see that BD has scheduled the NTSPP to be published in his absence. I will see if I can do the same for the review of the puzzle as well.

    1. I agree Prolixic, a nice gentle puzzle today although I had a few sticky moments, I am sure a few of us will be around to help today if needed, I will be back and fore most of the day, have fun all of you, fav clue for me 19a

  10. I remember having a sneak preview of this wonderful site, and telling Dave how impressive I thought it was, and it’s just gone from strength to strength over the years. Many Happy Returns of the Day [and to Joseph] and I hope that all of you who are at the Bridge House celebrate in style.

  11. A hearty congratulations from me too!. Some of the statistics are mind boggling a true testament to the success of the blog. I first found it whilst looking for a hint on Toughie 195 by Notabilis and haven’t looked back (except to find my first comment!).
    A gentle but fun puzzle today – a couple of chestnuts/starters and a few to make you think. Thanks to the setter (might see him later) and to BD, who I will see for a pint later. Hope to see some new faces there as well!.

    1. gnomethang or is it “gmomethang” ? Just read your first comment (Toughie 195) ! Your typing hasn’t improved! :grin:

      I had always thought that you were one of the original team!

  12. Many congratulations on what is a quite remarkable achievement.
    I’ve had to check my watch this morning because I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pre-11.00 am comments. Again testimony to the popularity and prowess of the site but why is everyone up so early when it’s a weekend?
    I put in about 7 answers so quickly over breakfast that my initial thoughts were too easy and unenjoyable. The ensuing halt to proceedings forced a change of mind and it was a little while before the penny dropped on some of the longer entries e.g. 2d,7d and 19a, all of which added to the pleasure. Once these were in completion wasn’t too far away. Another week gone!

  13. Enjoyed this one apart from 25a which I reckon is a bit of a yuk clue. Loved 14d and 26a, both very clever clues. Thx to BD for the hint to 25a but still don’t get the trumpet reference. :-/

    1. I can’t claim any credit for the hints!

      The reference is to the”Second Coming”. It’s actually very clever and certainly not a “yuk clue”, unless you define such a clue as one that you don’t understand.

      “”And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” —Matthew 24:31″

  14. Haven’t started the puzzle yet but a very Happy Birthday and many thanks to BD for this wonderful blog and puzzle site. Have a great time at the party, sorry I can’t be with you, and look forward to seeing the piccies later. Here’s to more success for the site and for us solvers, and many thanks to all the setters.

  15. Congratulations to BD – a very enjoyable blog I discovered a few months ago. Before today have only managed to log on and make the odd comment on a Sunday when everyone has packed up and gone home – Gazza, though, is often there to help, which is appreciated. Today is a first for me, doing the crossword on a Saturday morning; however, am stuck on the NE corner. Have got 4d, favourite clue so far, but would appreciate hints for 8a and 11a.

    1. 8a A second bird behind (6) – Take A from the clue with Second and add a bird to get a word meaning behind (nautically).

      11a Make shorter agreement (8) – Two meanings for the same word. ‘Make shorter’ and also a legal agreement.

    2. Hi foray

      8a you are looking for a word to mean ‘behind’ take ‘a’ from the clue, then the one letter abbreviation for ‘second’ followed by a four letter bird

      11a is a double definition, you are looking for a word that means ‘make shorter’, and ‘an agreement’ the kind you might sign

      1. Thanks to all for help. The nautical tip on 8a unlocked it all for me. Now I can’t believe I didn’t get 11a as I have a legal qualification!

  16. You don’t usually hear from me at this time on a saturday. Firstly congratulations. Thoroughly enjoy this particularly since I have had more time and do cryptic most days. Enjoy your day. Wish I was there.Still in bed in sunny Nottingham. Finished today in record time for me.Best clue 7d. 19 had me on the wrong track somewhat although I suppose it is whatever takes your fancy. Went straight through. Unlike Brian I thought 25a a brilliant clue but all those years at Sunday School paid off. Last in were the clever clues 25 and 26a and 14 and 16d. 26a very last and then I kicked myself. Almost resorted to the hints (but did not) as I was convinced the answer was going to be a well known sporting event – possibly golf about which I know nothing. First half easy and as soon as I thought men’s names I was there! Complete change from yesterday. Different excercise altogether. Did enjoy the mental gymnastics yesterday but disappointed after hours at it that there were one or two that I would never have got in a hundred years. Thanks again and have a good day.

    1. Hi Weekendwanda
      I’m sat in West Bridgford reading about the atrocious weather we are due next week. It’s more like a cold Spring day here!

      1. Its a beautiful day here, then I’ve not been outside yet, glorious blue sky and sunshine but I can see ice on the car windscreen at front of house, so for the time being I’ll stay put :-)

      2. Oh dear
        Can’t bear to think about the weather as I am planning a long weekend away! C’est la vie.

  17. Many congratulations to BD on a fantastic achievement! Have a great party this afternoon, only sorry I can’t be there but have one for me!

    Off to try the puzzle now. Been struggling with Paul in the Grauniad all morning – that is a Toughie!

      1. One of his best for a while I reckon. 28a linked to 27a was very clever and amusing! Typical Paul.

        Can’t parse 29a but I think I have the right answer, any hiny appreciated.

          1. Pommette’s description was spot on! I waved the whiite flag after only completing 25% of the bugger. I’ll wait until the solution is printed & try and work it backwards. That way I should learn something for future reference.

      2. Thanks for the tip – I also enjoyed Paul’s offering today. Class act! I was held up for quite a while due to putting the wrong ‘crawler’ as the last 3 letters of 7d……
        I don’t often look at the Sat Grauniad after years of struggling to get my head round Araucaria’s style.

  18. Many Happy Returns – a wonderful site. Thanks to all those who put so much time into keeping it up and who provide such an expert service to those of us who are less expert. Thanks for the explanation of 19a – we (Lady L and I) got the right answer but were flummoxed by the first two letters – not an abbreviation which is much heard these days – at least in this stately home! When I clicked on the music clip I got the impression when the conductor first appeared that it was our beloved PM following in the musical footsteps of the much missed and lamented Ted Heath. On second thoughts I thought he looked rather like Nick Clegg – perhaps the two are morphing as a result of too much coalition?

  19. Congratulations BD and the rest of your team. For us old folk who are en retard the Telegraph crossword and this blog are a regular part of our day and help to keep the grey matter ticking over

  20. Congratulations Dave and all the ‘Team’ a great achievement and a great site. England just lost, 72 all out ! Pathetic

  21. As an aside again, after beating Man City in the week we (Liverpool) are taking on Man U this afternoon, as one of my grandsons says ‘bring it on’!! :-) Walk on etc. ……

    1. My daughter was convinced that the words were “You’ll never walk again”. She was only 6 at the time.

    1. You are looking for a word for tougher, another word for outsider, someone you don’t know, drops the ‘a’ and has an ‘o’ instead (round coming in) hope this helps

    1. a three letter word for handle as in ‘to handle’ followed by the one letter abbreviation for new gives you a piece on a chessboard

  22. Fantastic site, have learnt a lot since I found it. I find the hints helpful and I really enjoy reading the comments and the banter from everydody. Happy Birthday to the site, long may it continue.

  23. Thank you so much BD and other bloggers for a fantastic site. I very rarely comment now as I’m usually way behind everyone else (rarely starting the crossword until the evening) but I often pop in for an update and help with tricky ones. Keep up the good work and big, big thanks again :)

  24. Happy birthday to all involved in the blog. Wife has now returned home and is recuperating. Hope to be back soon!

    1. I second Mary’s comment – with positive thoughts sent her way it will help her recovery. Good wishes to both of you.

  25. Many thanks to Big Dave and all his fellow contributors from a relatively recent member, for all the times you have saved me from doing myself an injury because of frustration due to “that last clue”! I loved 7d today – I was so chuffed when I got it.

  26. 3 years old. Congratulations. So glad that it has been such a success.It obviously fills a needed hole! More. Ps thanks to setter and BD for today which was thoroughly enjoyable.

  27. Whizzed through a really enjoyable crossword this morning, came on here to read the comments and discovered a birthday party. Many, many happy returns BD and many, many thanks. It’s a great achievement and it’s forged a great community. I’m sure it could form a great basis for a play or series on Radio 4. Have a great get together in London. All of us who can’t be there will be thinking of you.

    1. Yes, a sort of cruciverbalist “Eastenders” (Crossworders?) with everyone’s different stories connected by the crossword. We must think of something. :-)

  28. I’m curious to know how many of you subscribe to the Telegraph Crossword site rather than buy the paper. Being partially sighted I cannot easily read papers and have subscribed for some years, since it cost £10.
    I print and enlarge, not as easily as I did before the site- changes a couple of years ago.
    Can’t find it online. Had almost decided I was not getting my money’s worth until I found this site.
    BTW what is NTSPP?

    1. Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle which is a great opportunity to do different puzzles set by members of the BD community – names you will recognise from the blog. Always worth having a go.

    2. Many of us on here don’t live in the UK and for us the website is the only option. I can get hold of a DT but have to drive about 12km and pay €4 it! Bit expensive for a crossword.

    3. I,too subscribe. Well not me ,per se, my husband first gave me a subscription as a Christmas present two Christmases ago. I used to be able to get the DT on the
      day ,here where we are in Spain ,but then ,for some reason ,crisis presumably, we could only get it the next day and ,as Pommers says ,at 4euros we only bought it occasionally anyway.

  29. Happy birthday.

    A smashing site which other crossword blogs are slow to emulate. One of the best features is the inclusion of the clues without which the wordplay is meaningless if the crossword is no longer to hand.

    The number of comments and banter is wonderful and often provides an amusing few minutes even when I am not trying to solve the crossword. Thank you Mary and others.

    Cannot recall when or how I found the site but know that for many years it was very annoying to be stuck on a clue and have no way of understanding the solution.

    It seems unlikely I will ever go further than add the occasional comment as completing anything other than the simpler crosswords seems beyond me in the time I am prepared to spend.

    Have a great day.

    1. Hi tony we don’t often see you on the blog thanks for the nice comments if you are a regular visitor here you will soon improve your solving skills after 21/2 yrs or so I still need lots of help from books and electronic friends but have fun working out what the setter is looking for, that is more than half the battle, sometimes having got that far, you may not know the word you need and this is where someone like myself needs the ‘help, I cannot begin to say how invaluable this blog is for me, it has become part of my day as for others, so keep at it, if its not beyond me its not beyond anyone!!

  30. Have been doing these puzzles on a Saturday for the past two months. Always wanted to be able to have a go at them and it’s amazing how you can train yourself as to what to look for! Loving today’s!

  31. Many congrats to BD et al; great blog!

    Really enjoyed today’s offering; 7d was my favourite. Clearly, my dropping in here over the last 3 years has paid dividends, as I didn’t need “e help” until the last few! Last in was 3d – thanks to Mary; just couldn’t see it!

  32. Thanks to the setter & to Big Dave for the hints. Congratulations to Big Dave on the site’s 3rd Birthday, fantastic achievement. I need 8 answers to finish, will resort to the hints later. All the best to everyone at the Bridge House in London, sorry I can’t join you, as I’ve tickets for the Hamsters tonight and have to stay sober :-)

      1. Not at all Mary. The Hamsters are a rock/blues band, who I’ve followed for years. They are packing up in March, so this is one of the last gigs.

  33. Happy Birthday! I remember how I found this site.

    Completely flummoxed by one of the DT cryptic clues – I just typed the whole clue into Google and there was BigDave44 & team!

    Thanks to BD & also to Messrs Larry Page & Sergey Brin!

    1. Same for me!

      Been using it ever since in order to learn how to solve these tricky, but highly addictive, crossword puzzles!

      Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  34. Many happy returns and huge thanks to Big Dave and crew for this wonderful blog. I too came across it by accident and have been addicted ever since. I enjoyed to-day’s puzzle,thanks to Cephas ,3d had me pondering for a while and last in was 25a
    Keep up the good work!

  35. Having lurked for several years in the shadows, I thought it was appropriate to break cover today to wish BD and all contributors a Happy Birthday. Whilst there are some days when I have no need for hints, there have been many more when my brain is clearly not on the same wave length as the setter and I need all the pointers I can get.

    Like many, I found the site by accident on Google and I have learnt an enormous amount by coming on here regularly to check why my answers are (or aren’t) correct. It is also reassuring to find others who are struggling with the word play – makes me feel so much better!

    Thank you for the Blog and here’s to many more successful years!

  36. Happy birthday! Thanks to all of you I regularly complete the crossword. I don’t always leave a comment but I love reading everyone else’s. Can anyone help with 13d?

    1. Hi Caroline

      It’s a word meaning ‘equivalent’ and it’s a charade of the usual volunteers (2), an abbreviation for some conservationists (2), A (from the clue) and another word for a rise or hill.

      Hope that helps as I can’t be much more explicit without being sent to the naughty corner!

      1. Got it thanks – last one in! Could only think of greens for conservationists until I remembered the others!

    2. Hi Caroline, you are looking for a word for ‘equivalent you need the usual two letter abbreviation for volunteers, as in army, followed by the two letter abbreviation for conservationists, they tend to take over large houses and estates etc, followed by a from the clue and a five letter word for a rise, hope this helps?

  37. Here’s a conundrum for the web page deisgners: any chance of reversing the comments so the latest is at the top? Saves scrolling through everything to find the latest post.

    1. Caroline, The Grauniad Crossword pages (Quick & Cryptic) now have the option of viewing the comments either “newest first” or “oldest first”. I’ve found that viewing the comments with “latest first” is very difficult to follow. This blog is much better than the Grauniad in that the comments here can be nested.

      For anyone who would prefer a good off-the-wall chat (with the crossword being of minimal importance) – I would recommend the Guardian Quick blog. Regularly more than 100 comments a day – definitely unorthodox and outlandish! Sometimes a good Laugh!

    2. Have a look at the column on the right. Recent Comments – just click on the one on the top of the list.

  38. I think I discovered the site about 2.5 years ago.

    I very rarely manage to finish a crossword but always have a go and always visit this site. It is my start to the weekend every week and although I don’t often contribute – I always enjoy reading hte banter and am always very grateful for help received for the crossword.

    So congratulations to BD on todays landmark and thank you to all of you for the help you give to all that visit you.

  39. Just want to add my congratulations and deep appreciation of this great site. I’ve been doing the Telegraph cryptic for more than 40 years, and there were many times when although I had the answer, I couldn’t see why! Now when that happens a blogger will explain everything – MAny thanks to you all.

  40. What can I say that you haven’t all said? Happy 3rd Anniversary. I love the crossword cake. I discovered this site after the Crossword site’s crash back in August and was Googling to see if there was any news about it since I couldn’t get to the site to find out. Little did I know how much this site would help me improve in the solving of clues and serve as a source of entertainment every morning with my crossword and coffee. Thank you BD and all the other bloggers and setters. A day without my crossword and this blog is like a day without sunshine.

  41. 1. Congratulations BD and all your Crew on a wonderful site!
    2. The solvers are also to be commended for being a cheerful family of friends.

    Today’s puzzle was a pleasant Saturday afternoon solve for me. Faves : 5a, 12a, 19a, 25a, 2d, 7d, 13d & 14d.

    I get my DT every day after lunch from the local newsagent – the Brussels edition – so am always a late inputter.

  42. Forgot to say earlier – thanks to Cephas for a fine puzzle.

    No real favourites but last in was 3d after a bit of head scratching so maybe that’s it.

    Off out now for dinner and an evening of bridge at a friend’s house. Maybe back later.

  43. Congratulations and many happy returns Big Dave. I cannot attend the thrash but hope that a good time is enjoyed by all. I enjoy this site and the erudite comments of the senior bloggers.

    Best wishes to all,



  44. Huge thanks to Big Dave and everyone on this fantastic website and may I add my congratulations to your achievements. Today is the day I confess to being a long time lurker and I am so grateful to the nudges the hints have provided me. I was introduced to the crossword by my lovely dad who nearly put me off doing them when I learned he had been doing the crossword longer than I have been alive :D.

    Reading the comments in the blog has aided my crossword education and given some good chuckles too. I don’t manage to complete unaided without the hints, that is my aspiration.

  45. Happy Birthday Big Dave and many thanks for a great blog. With your help, I now stand a fighting chance of completing the crossword and can at least understand why when I can’t.

  46. Many congrats and Happy Birthday to BD and all the team, your site has been instrumental in teaching me the fundamentals of cryptic crosswords.

    I raise a beer to you all, cheers!

  47. Congratulations Big Dave on your third birthday, I remember the early days when frustration with us was your daily reward for all the hard word you did. I fear the level may be the same but the understanding has mellowed and help from other fine bloggers has kept the ship on an even keel..
    Thank you once again for a fine site.

  48. Well, I hope you’re all having a lovely party and I shall shortly be raising a glass in your direction. I found this site a couple of years ago when looking for a clue to a Telegraph puzzle on the Crossword Solver site. I was directed here, I think, by Gazza, to whom I am eternally grateful.

    I enjoyed today’s puzzle, which brightened up an otherwise cold, grey day. There were lots of great clues, but the one I found most fun was those clean-cut boys at 12a. :-)

  49. Happy Birthday Big Dave – I only dip in and out but am very grateful for your hints
    as I can hardly ever do without your help. Nearly finished but am stuck on 2d and 17a – grateful for any tips.

  50. Oops – i was being very stupid over 2d and have now got it but still can’t fathom 17a aaargh!

    1. 17a Clear island included in outline (5)
      You want a word meaning clear or straightforward. Put the abbreviation for island inside an outline or draft.

    2. Hiltop, All the experts seems to be away.

      17a – Definition = “Clear”. The abbreviation of an island inside a synonym for outline, project or plot.

    3. Take a one letter abbreviation for island and insert in a four letter word for design to make it clear!
      I can’t believe that I’m offerring hints on this blog !
      Happy Birthday and thanks one and all.

  51. A belated Happy Birthday BD as I have only just come on to the site as I try not to look at it until I have to and needed help on 3d to finish (glad to see others did as well) and so only just seen the comments which I support. I have not put any comment on for some while but do use the blog regularly and it has been invaluable to me and helped me to understand clues and encouraged me to carry on. Without the blog and the other bloggers I may have given up a couple of years ago.

  52. Happy B.Day BD. Found the site 2 or 3 years ago, and use it most weeks; it’s on my favourites list. Keep looking for BD in The Swan, or PO, but never see him.

  53. Congratulations on a wonderful milestone to BD and all the bloggers, I too stumbled on the site by accident and now enjoy every comment, so much that most of the time due to work have to view on my Blackberry, bonus is I cant highlight the answers like I can on my laptop so have to work out missing answers from the hints which has considerably improved my word-smithing. :D

      1. Dear Mary, Isn’t it smashing to see so many closet bloggers reveal themselves (as it were). More contenders for CC perhaps? Now, are you the same Mary as Mary, and if so can’t you change your handle, as “pepsib1mary” frankly sounds a bit like it’s struggling as anagram fodder!

        1. Hi Digby yes it is me, its just when I use my new ‘tablet instead of my desktop computer, my alias on Cow seems to join my name, don’t know why and not clever enough to change it, sorry :-(

    1. Gari, if you can select between the curly brackets then copy and paste to a notepad, you might be able to read the answer. This works on my Android, but I’m not sure about blackberry.

  54. Very happy birthday, I usually don’t do the crossword until afternoon or evening, so any comment I might make has often already been made by someone else. I get enormous pleasure from reading the hints even if i haven’t needed them, and also from reading the comments. I’m so glad I discovered the site (via goggling toughie)
    Is it possible to have identification of the people in the birthday photo ? I only recognise BD.Hope the party was a success.

    1. The gent top left is Prolixic, the lady displaying the birthday cake is Crypticsue and the chap lovingly nursing his pint is Bufo.

    2. Hello! Can anyone give a hint for13d and 24 a? When do the solutions for weekend puzzles appear? Thanks for the help — love the blog!

      1. 24a – Abbreviation for “old” + “group of mountains” ===> producing fruit.

        The solutions for weekend puzzles appear here on the following Friday.

      2. 13d. the usual abbreviations for army part time volunteers, and the organisation who look after our old houses/castles and monuments followed by another word for a quantity.

        24a. An abbreviation for old and another word for a mountain chain to give you a fruit.

        The solutions for weekend puzzles appear on Friday’s blog

    3. There will be more pictures tomorrow but I have only just got back and am a bit tired to work out all the uploading photo wizardry. It was a great party – just a shame that everyone couldn’t join us. (And yes I do mean tired in the traditional sense :D (although Gnomey has started the process of buying me the output of the small microbrewery!) )

  55. Many congratulations to BD and all the contributors. Since I have been using this blog (18 months and most days) my clue solving ability has improved beyond recognition, illustrated by how infrequently I ask for help lately. This is entirely down to the good forebearance/patience shown by all the bloggers, who, no matter how daft the inquiry, always deliver. Keep up the good work!!!!!

  56. And rather late in the day, but I too hope you had a great day. You deserve the celebrations Dave. Maybe they are still going on as I type.
    Today’s puzzle was very enjoyable and just about my level, so I suppose that means it was easy.
    And Mary, it was a great day for Liverpool too.

  57. Rather late in the day I know but can I add my congratulations on this, your third birthday. I can’t always add a comment but I check in every weekday and usually at the weekend. It’s a wonderful website and I am so grateful to all who contribute; it has helped me to hone and refine my addiction! A huge thank you to the man himself! Cheers Dave.

  58. Well, beat pommette, Anne and Mike at the bridge which makes a change, I’m usually last!

    Been a busy day on here and great to see so many lurkers reveal themselves. Hope they keep on posting!

    Also hope everyone had a great time at the party.

  59. Congratulations to BD and team from a relative newcomer to the blog! Managed Saturday’s puzzle without help, but only because of all the hints I’ve picked up from this site. Many Happy Returns!

  60. Belated congratulation on your milestone Dave.
    I was out yesterday so unable to post earlier. Managed ok without help…although I’m not sure the trumpets would have helped!

  61. My beloved employer has recently denied me access to this site, so my postings will be now later in the day via newly acquired home internet access. It felt very strange indeed not being able to log on and see the comments from who you regard as on-line friends, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting in London on Saturday at my second sloggers and betters event. My hugest thanks go to all of the contributors to this site for furthering my understanding. Mary, the naughty didn’t have lemon drizzle cake, but a fabulous fruit cake courtesy of Cryptic Sue.

    1. Hi Andy, wondered where you’d been! We may have to resurrect the ‘After Eighters Club’! What’s your employers problem – is he a Grauniad man or just a nasty piece of work?

      1. Nasty piece of work Pommers. Probably after niners club as by the time I get home and walk dog get sorted etc..Wasn’t there once an after ten club?

          1. just started the guarniad, Sleeping not one of my strong points. After that (going to swear, sorry BD), will finish the “I” number puzzles e.g. Sudo….

      1. Barry / Gnomey good to meet you too, hope the red stuff (rioja?) hit the spot! I know the Brakspear Gold hit mine! Luckily last stop Peterborough on first capital, if on faster link may well have woken up in Edinburgh

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