DT 26788

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26788

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I was half-expecting a themed puzzle today but instead we have one which is a bit more of a challenge than the usual Tuesday fare. I got off to a very bad start by writing in (m)ARCH for 9a, then, having recovered from that, got a bit bogged down in the SW corner. Let us know how you got on.
If you want to see an answer just highlight the spaces between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Carbon copy for head (4)
{CAPE} – the chemical symbol for carbon is followed by a verb to copy to make a head (a geographical feature jutting into the sea).

3a  Crime writer Graham is on broadcast (5,5)
{NGAIO MARSH} – an anagram (broadcast) of GRAHAM IS ON gives the name of a New Zealand Dame whose crime novels featured Inspector Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard.

9a  Supporter in demonstration losing face (4)
{ALLY} – drop the initial R (losing face, i.e. first letter) from a mass demonstration to leave a supporter or comrade.

10a  No longer working with child? (2,3,5)
{UP THE SPOUT} – double definition. This is an informal phrase which can mean both gone wrong (no longer working) and pregnant (with child). I spent too long this morning finding out the derivation of this – the third word is an archaic term for a lift in a pawnshop into which goods which had been pawned were placed to be hoisted into an upper room, so the movement of this lift became a symbol for something having gone wrong.

11a  Vehicle coming out of motorists’ club and trade centre, reversed (7)
{TRAMCAR} – this is a vehicle which has reappeared in many of our cities in recent years. String together a motorists’ club and a place of trade, then reverse it all.

13a  Dish produced by young man in French city, unfinished (7)
{ROULADE} – this is a dish rolled into a spiral. Insert a young man in a city in Normandy without its trailing N (unfinished).

14a  Stuarts are assembled round front of historic Scottish landmark (7,4)
{ARTHUR’S SEAT} – a famous landmark in the city of Edinburgh is an anagram (assembled) of STUARTS ARE containing the first letter (front) of H(istoric).

18a  Treacherous time all right (11)
{TREASONABLE} – the abbreviation for time is followed by an adjective meaning all right or adequate.

21a  Batting horror after opener’s dismissed wrongly (2,5)
{IN ERROR} – the definition here is wrongly. A word that describes a cricket side that is currently batting is followed by a synonym for horror without its leading T (after opener’s dismissed).

22a  On board coach under way (2,5)
{IN TRAIN} – a phrase that literally means on board a coach or carriage also means under way or in progress.

23a  Passion fruit not well received by Andalusian city (10)
{GRANADILLA} – insert an adjective meaning unwell in a Moorish city in Andalusia (the site of the famous fortress, Alhambra) to make a passion fruit, the name of which is a diminutive of the Spanish word for pomegranate. Passion fruit is the only tenuous reference I can find in the puzzle to today’s date.

24a  Secure good part (4)
{WING} – a verb meaning to secure or gain (a victory, say) is followed by G(ood).

25a  Speed of journey? (10)
{EXPEDITION} – double definition.

26a  Bond to strike back (4)
{KNOT} – a bond or fastening which, if reversed (back), is an informal verb to strike hard.

Down Clues

1d  Tripe, cold piece friend served up (8)
{CLAPTRAP} – this is tripe or nonsense. Start with C(old) then join words meaning piece and friend and reverse the result (served up, in a down clue).

2d  Friend Oscar, singer from a city in California (4,4)
{PALO ALTO} – start with a friend (the same one as in the previous clue, which is a bit slack), then add the letter for which Oscar is used as a codeword in the Nato Phonetic alphabet and finish with a singing voice (singer). This city near San Francisco is famous in the history of computing because it was there in the Xerox laboratories that much of what we now take for granted (e.g. windows, graphical interface, mouse) was pioneered.

4d  Fish in Volga, perhaps (5)
{GAPER} – hidden in the clue is a sea-perch. Recently we had the same word meaning an easy catch at cricket – I’d never heard of either usage previously.

5d  Working together at home with tackle (2,7)
{IN HARNESS} – a phrase that means working co-operatively comes from an adverb meaning at home followed by the tackle or equipment used on a working horse.

6d  Screen doctor’s left one tense (8,3)
{MOSQUITO NET} – a screen to keep you safe from nocturnal pests is a charade of a) one of the abbreviations for doctor plus the ‘S, b) a verb meaning left or deserted, c) ONE (from the clue) and d) T(ense).

7d  Guard two rings graduate found in Rolls-Royce (3,3)
{ROO BAR} – this is an informal term for a metal guard fitted to the front of a road vehicle down under (bearing in mind the most likely thing that you might crash into in the outback). Put two round letters (rings) and an arts graduate inside the abbreviation for Rolls-Royce.

8d  Dearth, badly handled, could cause enmity (6)
{HATRED} – an anagram (badly handled) of DEARTH.

12d  Recall guy with daughter propping up bar (11)
{COUNTERMAND} – this is a verb meaning to recall (in the sense of revoke). Another word for guy and D(aughter) follow (propping up, in a down clue) a bar or serving surface.

15d  Man with priest relaxed chewing gum (9)
{SPEARMINT} – an anagram (relaxed) of MAN and PRIEST produces a flavouring. Although it’s a common flavour of chewing gum I’m not sure that it actually means chewing gum.

16d  A supporter’s on about one sign of injury (8)
{ABRASION} – start with A and add the usual female support garment plus the ‘S and ON containing (about) I (one).

17d  Name number within top party without men (3,5)
{HEN NIGHT} – the definition here is party without men. Insert N(ame) and N(umber) inside a synonym of top or summit.

19d  Free one individual (6)
{SINGLE} – I think that this is meant to be a triple definition, with free meaning unattached and one being a run at cricket.

20d  Vicar, a member, gets upgrade (6)
{REVAMP} – the abbreviated title given to a vicar is followed by A and a parliamentary member.

22d  Go with oil, unwisely, in house (5)
{IGLOO} – an anagram (unwisely?) of GO and OIL gives us a dome-shaped house.

My favourite clues today were 10a and 14a. Let us know what you liked.

And finally, specially for Bionic Woman as a thank you for her invaluable advice (having been here only a week) on what we’re allowed to publish:

Today’s Quickie Pun: {FLECK} + {SING} + {MUSSELS} = {FLEXING MUSCLES}


  1. Jezza
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I have struggled both yesterday, and today. I went down the (M)ARCH route for 9a, and spent quite some time working out the anagram for 3a. A couple in the SW held me up as well.
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza.

    Off to try the toughie, to (hopefully) restore some confidence!

  2. mary
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Gazza, I did exactly the same at 9a! I think it’s a much better answer :-) , a definite four star for me today I’m afraid, some really obscure answers and poor readings eg 22d, never heard of 3a, last one in 26a, lots of googling and electronic friend help needed today, nearly gave up on it, illustrations very ‘mild’ today Gazza, I’m sure bionic woman won’t appreciate your effort at reconciliation :lol: , thanks for hints, tho’ I did eventually manage without them, perservation definitely the name of the game today!!!!

  3. Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable again for a Tuesday, although I must admit I had to check up on 23A (couldn’t get a city associated with oranges out of my head). Enjoyed 3A, nice to see some rather more obscure names making an appearance (how DOES she pronounce her first name anyway?)..

    I notice we have more scantily clad women! NO MORE (and no more scantily clad men either, very degrading)(and no more foreigners – xenophobic, no more British people – Jingoistic, and no more motor cars/boats/bikes – environmental disasters, and no more meat producing animals – very bad for the heart, and no performing animals – a dog’s for Christmas not just for a crossword). You can have a picture of a statin I suppose (provided you explain that it is available in all colours, not just pink.

    On a happier note, my wife bought me my very own bottle of Port today – Skempie’s Port and very nice it looks too.

    Anyone know what I can do with a fennel ? Seemed like a good idea when I bought it.

    • mary
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      I’m sure someone will have some bright idea skempie, meanwhile just google it?

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I did Mary, they all say the same – its wonderful in salad. Not exactly salad weather though.

        • Dickiedot
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Cut it in half and steam it, al dente, serve with melted butter and freshly ground pepper, don’t over cook ‘cus it goes mushy uck.
          Nice puzzle hardish but fun, once I’d got over 11a not being a farm vehicle

          • mary
            Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

            ‘Mushy uck’ I like it :-)

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Incidentally, I must comment on the wonderful quickie pun. Got stuck on that for ages – despite the fact that I couldn’t get 1D, I was trying to work out what phrase Speck Sing Oysters could make, then mussels popped into the brain cell and D’Oh.

    • Tilly
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Thinly slice both the fennel and some onions. Mix with some olive oil & season. Put in dish in the over and cook till soft and lightly coloured. If it begins to burn, cover with foil and continue cooking. The fluffy bits can be cut off and frozen and used as a herb such as in fish stew.

    • JohnB
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Skempie – I tend to eat it (diced and slightly fried) mmmmmmm lovely with white fish…….

      • gazza
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Hi JohnB – welcome to the blog.

        • JohnB
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Hi Gazza,

          I’ve been reading for a while and am grateful for the assistance with the occasional part I struggle with. I am certainly not in the league of yourself or your extremely intelligent solvers, but am gaining in confidence daily.
          I look forward to the day I can help someone else out!

          • gazza
            Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Keep reading the blog, JohnB, and that day won’t be far off.

          • Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Intelligent bloggers? Do not count my hubby (pommers) in that class! He’s beautiful, gorgeous and romantic occasionally (he’s cooked me a lovely curry for Valentines Day) but intelligent . . . . narrrrrr

            • Franco
              Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

              I find the consistent criticism of the intelligence of the Male Bloggers on this site …. demeaning!! Lets put a stop to it!

          • mary
            Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            Hi JohnB I never ever thought the day would come when I would be able to help anyone out when I started these nearly three years ago but with the help of this blog and lots of perservation, I now find myself being able to offer to help out on the odd occasion, so keep perservating :-)

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      If you haven’t got much time, briing to boil, simmer and then drain and then cover it in cheese sauce. There is also a recipe http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/braised_fennel_with_81864 which is delicious . but takes quite a time to cook..

    • Franny
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s pronounced ‘nayo’ – rhymes with Ohio. Remember the actress Nyree Dawn Porter (Forsyte Saga)? Her NZ name would have been spelt ‘Ngare’. :-)

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that Franny – I’ve always wondered (always thought of her as Nageeo)

    • Don Pedro
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Fennel, delicious sliced and eaten raw, or as a dipper with guacamole

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – can’t help Skempie. Hate fennel – too much aniseed for me, althoughI love aniseed balls! Anyone else remember them?

      • Posted February 15, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Love aniseed balls and of course Pernod! :)

      • mary
        Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Mmmmm, used to love them :-)

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Fennel – forget the raw – lots of recipes for that. Slice it thinly (ish).Make a garlicky tomato sauce with lots of onions and let it cook for a while until the f. is soft, but not too soft. The best bit of this dish (and I really can’t remember where it came from originally) is the topping which can be used on lots of other things too – use your imagination. For the topping mix some bread crumbs, lemon rind, more garlic and parmesan cheese. Stick it in the oven for a while. The smell is utterly amazing and it’s great with some bread and a green salad. Good luck – let me know what you think.

  4. toadson
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Day off today so started the crossword – hard going so far. Like a difficult Thursday IMO.

  5. Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    WOW! Excited or what? I’m now the owner of a Big Red Book and a Crossword Dictionary ! Both arrived this morning as promised and no delivery charge even to Spain! how good is that? :grin:

    Already had cause to use it, while solving the Toughie :grin:

    Off to try the crossword now.

    • mary
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Aint no stoppin you now pommers!!

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        He’s driving me nutty already! He keeps READING IT! Along with the Chambers Crossword dictionary!!! And the Haggis book – as recommended by Derek – is now in the loo for perusal!

        Mary – if you are serious about wanting to know how I’ve lost weight then I will happily chat by email. Let me know via this blog and I will get in touch (do not post your email address though as pommers as a blogger, can let me know your it – obviously not available to me and Joe Public though).

        • Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          But is he highlighting all the rude words?

          • Franco
            Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            :smile: You have a good memory!

        • Steve_the_beard
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

          If he finds any new jokes, please let us all know!

          I don’t have mine to hand (no rudery, please!) but the classic entry was for eclaire, and the definition was something like “a cake, long in size and short in duration”. :-)

          • Franco
            Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

            “Éclair – a cake, long in shape,but short in duration, with cream filling and usually chocolate icing”.

            I mentioned this one on Sunday’s blog. Are there any more in a similar vein? Funny, funny…

  6. Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Nice one today. Needed a bit of thought so quite enjoyable. Liked 16d and was really looking forward to a photoclue! ;) Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  7. beaver
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Going for **** /** today based on the time it took me and i did’nt think 24 and 26 across were very good clues-dubious meaning of ‘ secure’ and an informal back strike to boot!! could have been’tink’ to give knit!
    Bet the pink champagne is ‘corked’.

    • toadson
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – made it harder for myself by putting ‘in harmony’ early on in the proceedings. Never mind, and as usual, thanks to all involved today.

    • gazza
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I think secure is ok as win, e.g. win/secure a contract.

      • toadson
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough, but not overly convinced by ‘tonk’. Don’t like 4 letter clues anyway!

        • Steve_the_beard
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

          “Tonk” is an Aussie term, isn’t it?

  8. beaver
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    if it’s any consolation ,i thought it was harmony, but could not equate this to’tackle-luckily!

  9. crypticsue
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I was glad to see that Gazza gave this 3* difficulty as it did take me a while to get going but with the usual hindsight, I am not entirely sure why. Agree with Gazza’s favourites again so thank you to him and the mystery setter.

    The themed Toughie took me exactly the same time (so easier toughie, trickier back page) but I did enjoy myself.

    • beaver
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      After your success,i tried the toughie and finished it faster than the back page cryptic! not the norm i must add-must be a day for gifts.

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        That’s why I give a daily Toughie tip so that it encourages people who might not otherwise have looked at it, to have a go at the Toughie.

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I did the back page puzzle, minus two answers in AGES and FINISHED the toughie (first time for me) completely unaided, having had no internet all day (and no electricity for much of it)!

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Well done Kath.

        • Kath
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink


      • mary
        Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Really well done Kath, proud of you :-)

  10. Drongo
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    What a dreadful puzzle! A one star rating for me!

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Why dreadful? Could you not solve it? Took too long in solving it? Had problems with the wordplay? Did you not enjoy the clues? Are you giving it 1* difficulty or 1* entertainment??

  11. Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just got back from York where I couldn’t get wi fi where I was staying so I’ve come back to a Virgilius, Rufus x 2. today’s cryptic & the toughie so I’m going to be busy on catch up. On that point – Bionic Woman – who she & what editorial control has she got over the blog (our blog as I like to think of it)?

    IMHO a Gazza review would not be complete without a scantily clad filly in situ (I can live without the scantily clad popinjays thank you).

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Spindrift – hope you enjoyed your stay in York, but no crossword . . . .? :sad:

      As to Bionic Woman’s editorial control, it is Zilch!. Wait for tomorrow – I have a couple of ideas but Jay will have to give me the opportunity with his clues. I live in hope :grin:

      BTW, it may be BD’s blog but without us lot it would be nothing, so you CAN say it’s ‘our’ blog! (is that OK BD?).

      • Posted February 15, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        i spent the weekend with only a print out of Saturday’s puzzle which was not very challenging IMHO. The rest of the time I was an unpaid tourist guide for our sons and their girlfriends being as I am very familiar with the snickelways…

  12. BigBoab
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this crossword a lot, I too went the (m)arch route at first but once I cracked that it all fell into place rather nicely and without too much difficulty. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza ( I agree with Spindrifts’ humble opinion though I would hesitate to call members of the fair sex, fillys)

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I was in Terry-Thomas mode at the time…

      • Jezza
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Terry Thomas – what a lovely man! He lived next door to my parent’s house in Surbiton for a while when his Parkinson’s illness was in its early stages.

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Are you worried that you might be called sexist, or something, BB? :grin: I do hope that Mrs BB is doing OK – I always think about her whenever you comment.

  13. Vince
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t enjoy this at all. I have a number of problems with it, the main ones being:

    5d. “In harness” means being in work, not “working together”. A person who dies in harness, dies while still employed.

    12d. I don’t see “recall” and “countermand” as beingg synonymous.

    • gazza
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you on 12d. For “in harness” Chambers gives the meanings you cite but also has “working together”.

      • Vince
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


        My edition of Cambers gives: “occupied in the routine of one’s daily work, not on holiday or retired”. I know the term is used in respect of some occupational pensions.

        • gazza
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


          Mine (11th edition) starts the same but has an additional “; working together.”

          • Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            So does my brand new 12th edition :grin:

            • Vince
              Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

              Another example of English as a living language, I suppose. But, why we’d need a new expression for “working together”, when we already had so many …???

            • Steve_the_beard
              Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

              Oh, you show-off, you!

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Vince, in my Chambers Crossword Dictionary countermand is listed as an 11 letter synonym for recall.

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        You’re just showing off now! I must admit though it’s slightly addictive once you pick the BRB up – a bit like Brewer’s Phrases & Fables.

        • Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Only one problem – the BRB may be an excellent reference book but it doesn’t make the little grey cells work any faster :grin:

      • Vince
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Hi Pommers. I still don’t see it. I think you have to make a bit of a leap to get from “recall” to “countermand”.

        • Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Have to say I agree with you Vince but Mr Chambers apparantly doesn’t, and it was a good excuse to use my new book :smile:

        • gazza
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          I’ve now found a definition of countermand in TheFreeDictionary (online) which is:
          (Military) to order (forces, etc.) to return or retreat; recall.

          • Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Works for me :smile:

          • Kath
            Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            … and in my other “bible” – a VERY ancient edition of the Reader’s Digest “Universal Dictionary” which is just as useful to me as the BRB is.

          • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            I paused briefly on Countermand but then thought of military orders. I think that I was trying too hard on the ‘remember’ definition but having realised I can’t see a problem with the definition at all.

  14. Joe 90
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Anyone got 2d in Toughie 719 today?

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Please don’t ask on this post – I’m finishing off the review right now.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes – and that is all I am saying here!

  15. Caroline
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of joining the debate a day too late, I chuckle at the photo clues of scantily clad women. They don’t offend me in the slightest possibly because I don’t find them demeaning. My suggestion would be for those who find it offensive to find (or even start) their own politically correct blog site. I speak as a slightly grey, slightly (!) fat 50-something with a calendar of Peter Andre on the wall at work!

    • gazza
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Good on you, Caroline!

    • Franny
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I totally agree. How can a picture of an attractive young woman (or man) be demeaning? :-)

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Agree – with all of you!

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      I’m a VERY grey, still overweight 50-something (nearer 60 now !!!! :sad: ) and I love this site!
      PC? get behind me satan – have I gone mad?
      Now don’t answer that please . . .

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      Well said, dear lady! I speak as one whose eponymous beard is mostly white, and (alas for me) you are both younger and more slender than I am. On the other hand, I have a large motorcycle so I’m happy :-)

  16. Joe 90
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Dave…I stand corrected.

  17. Posted February 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Agree with others that this is a bit trickier than normal for a Tuesday, but good fun nonetheless :smile:

    Had to check 23a in my new BRB as I’d not heard of it :grin: but it was pretty obvious from the wordplay. BTW if you’ve never been to Granada I can highly recommend it as a great place, and the Alhambra is just fantastic!

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  18. Roland
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Tough tough tough. Having read many of the comments left, I think I must have been a little below par in the grey matter dept this morning because I struggled with it all the way. 1st pass through on the across clues only yielded one answer, and only a further 5 from the downs. Anyway, finally got there in the end. On the whole, an enjoyable puzzle – based on my solving time I’d say ****/***. I don’t know if anyone’s brought this subject up recently but please can we have more scantily clad females, and less of the chaps if at all possible? :lol: Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  19. Wozza
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Too hard again for me today. I assume my brain must be atrophied from having kids home from boarding, not my own incompetence!

    Didn’t look at the blog yesterday so only just picked up on yesterday’s discussion. FWIW I think the photos are pretty harmless, brighten up the page and are obviously posted with an intent of humour rather than offence. We don’t all have the same sense of humour which is why some comedians e.g. Frankie Boyle offend me greatly, but then I simply choose not to watch them.

    However and I think more importantly, this blog has many happy subscribers who have been coming here and contributing for a long time. I’m a new and occasional poster myself and I’m conscious that I’m a guest in someone else’s well established house. They have been kind enough to let me in and be a part of it. Maybe with time and contribution I will earn a right to more of a say over the house but I think its not for me to redecorate just yet.

    Apologies if the metaphor seems a bit tortuous.

    Hoping for something a bit easier tomorrow.


    • Roland
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Well said Wozza – I absolutely agree and similarly feel I have no right to get the roller and emulsion out yet. Nor can I stand Frankie Boyle and others of his ilk.

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Wozza – what a great chap (or chapess – that’s the trouble with funny names – unless it’s obvious you can’t tell whether someone is male or female) you sound. :smile:

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Good post Wozza, but don’t be shy in coming forward. Your input is welcomed and a bit of emulsion never did anyone any harm :smile:

      Also don’t worry about being a ‘Newbie’ on the blog – your comments and observations are as valid as anyone’s – more so than some I could mention :grin:

      • Kath
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        You put it all so much better than I did, pommers! Looking forward to the boats tomorrow! :grin:

      • Steve_the_beard
        Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

        To Wozza – well said!

        To Pommers – go on, mention the names, you know you want to :-)

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Wozza – well said!

      Keep posting and keep reading. 2 years ago there was no way I would have been able to do any of today’s puzzle.
      Now I can do most Monday Rufus’ on my own and whilst I was galavanting in the UK I set off with a couple of 1* and 2* Wednesday Jay’s that hubby had blogged but I’d not seen.

      Phew – did I struggle as I find Jay a challenge. But with a bit of perservation (thanks Mary – and pommers has already looked it up in Chamber XII and it’s not there yet but maybe by XIII?) I finished them both! No electronic aids, no dictionary , no nothing. They took me over 2 hours each but I got there in the end.

      So thanks all you bloggers for helping!!!! :)

    • andy
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Wozza well said indeed, and I can only echo the other responses especially Pommers.

  20. Franny
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t do this today. Not on the right wave length at all, despite the small amount of help my Chambers could give me. I managed to put in two answers first time round and about ten more after much persevations, but finally decided to get on with more necessary occupations. It was no fun :-(

    However, strangely enough the first word in was 3a, as for some reason I’d woken up trying to remember the titles of her detective novels. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for putting me out of my misery.

  21. Heno
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & Gazza for the hints and review. Had a feeling this was going to be a struggle when I got only 3 clues on the initial read through. Glad I didn’t waste any more time on it before looking at the hints. Lots of obscure clues, never heard of 3a, or the name Ngaio. Likewise 4d, 7d, 23a. Don’t understand 24a. Hated it, me just being grumpy, I’m sure it had its merits, but I couldn’t find them.

  22. Franco
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I am beginning to like Tuesdays. You never know what to expect – unlike Monday & Friday.

    I really enjoyed today’s offering until I got stuck with the two “wee stinkers” in the SE corner (24 & 26).

    Favourite: 10a. gazza – I also wondered about the derivation of the phrase – Thanks!

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      I think that Tuesdays and Thursdays are completely unpredictable – it’s great – all adds to the general interest. Like you I was sunk by 26a although I did manage 24a. Just couldn’t get 17d – total blind spot. i enjoyed today’s too.

  23. Silveroak
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one although I got stuck on 26a for a while as I had never heard the word that is the reversal of the answer but found in in Chambers eventually. This lady thanks Gazza for the picture of the 6-pack abs, a bright spot on a grey day in Chicago.

    • Kath
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reply yesterday, Silveroak – for some reason I thought you were of the opposite sex. I’ve never heard of the reversal of 26a either. Given that we have both looked it up in Chambers we should now know its other meanings and should feel properly educated! :smile:

      • mary
        Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Yes so did I!

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Silveroak. I lived in Chicago for 11 years near Oz Park. Now in Sevenoak(s) funnily enough. Chicago is a great city and I go back as often as possible, even in the Winter!! Cubs or Sox?

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Silveroak

      Like Kath, for some reason I’d always assumed you were a bloke. D’oh!

      Been to Chicago twice and it’s one of my favourite cities anywhere! Certainly in my top 5 anyway. Sydney, Barcelona, Granada, Milan, Chicago – put them in any order you like :smile: Only trouble is that I’ve only been to Chicago in Jan/Feb and it’s effin FREEZING! But the view over the frozen lake from the top of the Hancock Tower is stunning! (Manchester’s not bad either :grin: )

      I’ll try for an excuse for a nice bloke piccie tomorrow :smile:

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        I was in Chicago about the 6th Jan 2003. It was minuis 26 DegC on the electronic board outside. Great when it snowed – it went up to minus 12DegC!

        • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          That’s about it! And warnings everywhere not to touch metal railings without gloves or your hands will stick!

  24. Derek
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed solving this puzzle.
    Faves : 3a, 13a, 14a, 23a, 6d, 7d, 15d &17d.

    Re 15d Gazza, there was a brand of chewing gum called “Spearmint” when I was a lad in Leeds – we used to put a penny (1d) in the machine on the wall outside the sweetshop and turn the knob to get a packet. Every fourth turn you got two packets so we scraped a radial line on the knob and waited till it was going to be 4th to make a profit.
    The shopkeeper took the knob off and rotated it so we had to rethink it for a while!

    The snow is virtually gone over here but it is not yet warm and the floors in the galleries and hall of the apartment building are very wet also in the lift where it was frozen so long.

    Steak, frites and sla (slaw) tonight with Chinon.

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I remember those vending machines and our shopkeeper did exactly the same thing, nasty pieces of work! :grin: Also remember Mojos and Blackjacks – four for 1d !

      Not had any snow here, of course, but it’s been very cold for the last week or so by Spanish standard.

      Chiken Jalfrezi for us tonight so I won’t waste the wine and stick to a glass or 3 of lager :smile:

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Recieved a copy of The Haggis’ this morning, courtesy of Amazon, and read about half of it so far. I reckon the guy who wrote it is about as crackers as me! Most amusing! :lol:

      • Kath
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        What is this “Haggis”? I have to confess that our daughters have, for years, called me “The Haggis”. I EVENTUALLY forced them to tell me what it meant and they told me that it was “long” for “The Hag”! Sweet, aren’t they!! Trust me, they really are two of the best daughters that any mother could wish for!! :smile:

        • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          It’s a small book by a guy called Alexander Maclean and it’s an amusing history of the Haggis. Where it lives, what it eats etc :lol: £3 on Amazon.

          • Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            £2.25 on Play.com with no postage fee. I just had to order it but I’ll have to head the postman off at the end of the drive before Mrs S spots another book being delivered. Apparently my study resembles a cross btween something out of Hogwart’s and Steptoe’s Yard!

  25. Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Only had time to skim the comments, so sorry if this is a repitition, but this was definely a puzzle of 2 halves for me. It suddenly occurred to me that I had completed the upper 50%, while the bottom was bare, so to speak. Got going again after a pause to recharge the cells, but like others I had trouble with 24 & 26a, the last in for me. Now for the deep joy of a Parish Council meeting – thanks Gazza and “X”.

  26. Don Pedro
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I live in Andalucia and got hung up on the city of oranges. Now way would I have solved this without Gazza’s help. A little too devious, I thought.

  27. Annidrum
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow! struggled with this to-day but got there eventually but put the BRB to good use. It’s a good job I’m retired and it was a very wet day here to-day so I had plenty of time to spend on it.

  28. Posted February 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter – the fruit completely foxed me so I went on to the Toughie and the Times. Enjoyable this one!. Thanks to gazza for everything.

    • Tmdess
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi! I’m a little confused, being relatively new to the world of cryptics…I got 7d thanks to the hint, but is that something that is common knowledge to all of you? Are there any limits as to what words a setter can use and still be “kosher?” Any advice?

      • Posted February 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Personally I stuttered for a while before entering the answer. I would guess that the word isn’t common knowledge but I fell back on the construction of the wordplay which was quite clear to me.
        As soon as I read “Two rings/graduate in Rolls Royce I immediately thought OO BA/MA in RR and then looked at the clue (no checking letters at the time) and wrote the answer in having got the definition.
        As a general rule, when the word is less familiar (as considered by the setter/editor) then the clue should be more straightforward. Most good setter will appreciate this (as happened here). Hope that helps!

        • Tmdess
          Posted February 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Gnomethang! That is helpful!

          • mary
            Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            I’m with you hereTmdess, never heard of one either!

  29. Sarah F
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Just starting this now, but pleased to see 14a as I can see this every day, so feel quite at home!!

  30. Kath
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Well – LOTS to say but must have supper now. We were without electricity all morning and no internet connection until about half an hour ago – back later!! :grin:

  31. Kath
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Don’t quite know where to start, so perhaps at the beginning. I found this very difficult. Eventually I had done it, apart from 26a and 17d which I was clearly not going to get, so came through to look at the hints and also to see if there were any references to yesterday’s little contretemps! I got as far as the first two hints – power cut! It came back on but no internet until husband came home and sorted it.

    I read all through the hints – sorted out the ones I couldn’t do but no sign of any typical piccies as hints and then, hey presto, there was Gazza’s “piece de resistance”!! :grin: Three cheers for Gazza! I thought that this was quite a difficult crossword but enjoyed it a lot, even with no light, radio or heat, due to no power. Some really clever clues – probably too many to mention at this late hour – perhaps 11a (as I immediately put “tractor”) and 21a and 1d (all I could think of was “codswallop” which didn’t fit) 7 and 20d. With thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    I was going to tell a slightly non PC joke if there had been no non PC picture but I’m going to tell it anyway. (In a separate comment, for those of you who are now yawning at my rambling!)

  32. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    3a is worst clue of the year so far, an anagram leading to an author unknown to me. No, scrub that, 10a is a phrase I’ve never heard of. Scrub that, 2d is place I’ve never heard of. No, got the definitive worst clue now, it’s 23. WTF is that?

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      We can tell you’re having fun really – and think of all the new things you’ve learned today (about the same as me actually).

      • Kath
        Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Yes – lots of new things – well, for me only two of the four that you mentioned. I had heard of 3a – although I’ve never read any of her books I think that she is pretty well known. 10a is surely a commonly used expression – didn’t know that it meant “pregnant” so looked it up – yet again it’s how we learn things. 2d I’d never heard of either but you can work it out from the clue and then look it up to confirm your “suspicion”. 23a is exactly what it says at the beginning of the clue. I thought it was a pretty good crossword.

    • Franco
      Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      You learn something new every day! Your Lucky Day – four new items of information to remember!

      Keep Up the Grumpiness! :wink:

  33. jdr
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I found it fairly easy apart from 19d which I was confident was ‘single’ but I couldn’t see why until I saw your hit of ‘unnattached’. 23a ‘granadilla’ was derived from the clue and a long ago remembered visit to the city. Only needed google once which was for ngaio marsh – an unusual name, especially as I don’t read much.

  34. Kath
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Kath’s non PC joke of the day – with NO apologies to anyone it offends! :grin:

    Daddy cannibal and his young son and daughter were walking through the forest one day when they saw, ahead of them in a clearing, this young, beautiful and stark naked young woman. The two children were completely entranced and said, in their excitement, “Oh Daddy, she’s lovely – can we take her home and eat her?” Their father replied “No – I think we’ll take her home and eat Mum!!”

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath – non PC but funny :grin: Nice one, I’ll try to live up to expectations tomorrow (so that means I need a girl, a boy and a boat and/or a racing car) but I don’t think Jay will be so accommodating :sad:

      • Steve_the_beard
        Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        And a motorcycle too, please !

    • Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Kath, we must stop talking at this time of night! Mr Kath and pommette will begin to suspect something is going on :lol:

    • Posted February 15, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Or young cannibal at the dinner table. “Daddy, I don’t like grandma” “Well leave her on the side of the plate son” boom boom.

  35. TimCypher
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I got off to a flying start on this one, with half of it done very quickly indeed. Came to a bit of a grinding halt after that, mainly due to words and terms I’d not heard of before, so I needed the answers for those.
    Shame – was fun until that point…

    • andy
      Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      TimC concur, I got stuck on 23a.

      • Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I’d heard the word used as a name for a dog but not as a name for a boxer which I assume is sourced from the word pugilist.

        Having spent the last day and a bit playing catch up with the rest of you I can safely say that we’ve had some absolute belters from a superb Virgilius to a harder than normal Tuesday via a solid offering from Rufus. How they do it week in & week out and so consistently is beyond me. Respect.

  36. voxynn
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Tough one for me today, stormed through the Toughie though!

    Did anyone else put GRIP for 24a? G(ood) + RIP (to part) = secure?

    • gazza
      Posted February 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi voxynn – welcome to the blog.