DT 26809

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26809

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I was in a bit of a rush this morning so it may just be me, but I thought that this was trickier than the standard Friday Giovanni. I’d be interested in your thoughts.
To reveal an answer just highlight the gap between the curly brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Worked hard and succeeded — recorded hit (7)
{SLOGGED} – a verb meaning worked hard comes from S(ucceeded) followed by how a search result (hit) would have been recorded (in Google’s massive databases, for example).

5a  Room that would be less than adequate for dictionary publisher (7)
{CHAMBER} – this room would be less than adequate for a dictionary publisher because it’s missing the latter’s final S.

9a  Trendy doctor, a divine being (5)
{INDRA} – join together a short word for trendy or fashionable, an abbreviation for doctor and A to make the Hindu god of war and rainfall.

10a  Happy to have home in Africa? (9)
{CONTINENT} – insert an adverb meaning at home inside a synonym of happy to make what Africa is an example of.

11a  One grabbed by the dreary drunk coming down the line (10)
{HEREDITARY} – an anagram (drunk) of THE DREARY has I (one) inserted (grabbed) to make coming down the (ancestral) line.

12a  I perform in front of fifty — fans adore me (4)
{IDOL} – bring together I, a verb to perform and the Roman numeral for fifty to make someone or something that is worshipped.

14a  Financial growth bringing gratitude (12)
{APPRECIATION} – double definition.

18a  Brief stop in Bury to join evangelistic enterprise (12)
{INTERMISSION} – in the early, more relaxed days of television we used to get a lot of these brief pauses between programmes which were filled with little films, the most famous being the Potter’s Wheel (it may have been boring but it was better than the endless trailers and adverts that we get now). A verb to bury (falsely capitalised in the clue) is followed by an evangelistic enterprise designed to indoctrinate heathens.

21a  Bag stuffed back in black case (4)
{SACK} – hidden (stuffed) and reversed (back) in the clue is a bag.

22a  Notice I put into church to manage (10)
{ADMINISTER} – start with an abbreviated notice and follow this with a large church containing I.

25a  Brian ain’t fussed about woman being nation’s figurehead (9)
{BRITANNIA} – an anagram (fussed) of BRIAN AIN’T gives us the personification of Britain. I hope that Brian is pleased at the namecheck.

26a  This person’s mature in public perception (5)
{IMAGE} – start with the equivalent of this person’s or “he’s” put into the first person then add a verb to mature.

27a  Call from fencer employed in kitchen garden (2,5)
{EN GARDE} – this is a warning, from French, which a fencer issues when he’s about to attack. It’s hidden (employed) in the clue.

28a  Tank hard to get on to islands (7)
{CISTERN} – append an adjective meaning hard or severe to the abbreviation for Jersey and its sister islands.

Down Clues

1d  Society can take cheerful insult (6)
{SLIGHT} – after S(ociety) we want what is possibly not the most obvious synonym of cheerful (but cheerful is one of the definitions for it in the BRB).

2d  Yesteryear’s book chain won’t get book ____! (6)
{ORDERS} – a chain of bookstores (American owned) hit the news last year when it went into liquidation. Remove the initial B(ook) from its name to leave what it is no longer able to fulfil (for books or anything else).

3d  Arranged somehow to import old piano for entertainment (5,5)
{GRAND OPERA} – this type of entertainment is an anagram (somehow) of ARRANGED with O(ld) and P(iano) imported.

4d  Money expected to run short, Tom? (5)
{DUCAT} – an old gold coin comes from a word meaning expected without its final E (to run short) followed by what a tom may be an example of.

5d  Agreements to study geographical regions (9)
{CONTRACTS} – these official agreements are a charade of a verb to study and large areas of land.

6d  The desert is such, a journey can’t be ended (4)
{ARID} – start with a journey (1,4) and drop the final E (can’t be ended) to leave a description of the desert.

7d  Container that’s damper inside? (5,3)
{BREAD BIN} – in the surface “that’s” appears to mean “that is”, but it actually stands for “that has”. A damper (new word for me) is an unleavened loaf (made from flour and water and baked in wood ashes) from Australia and New Zealand. So, this is a cryptic definition of something that might contain one of those.

8d  Strikingly good or irritating? (8)
{RATTLING} – double definition, the first often used to describe a good yarn.

13d  Big conurbations lacking Conservative numbers of electoral significance (10)
{MAJORITIES} – start with big conurbations (5,6) and remove the C(onservative).

15d  What might excite 9 — a nice one being executed? (4,5)
{RAIN DANCE} – this is a semi-all-in-one (bearing in mind one of the things that 9a is a god of). An anagram (excite) of the answer to 9a is followed by A NICE, then the I (one) is taken out (executed).

16d  Funny lass with bike not averse to romance? (8)
{KISSABLE} – an anagram (funny) of LASS and BIKE.

17d  Keeping something that might have lost its partner in the wash? (8)
{STOCKING} – double definition. The second one seems a bit weak to me – what do you think?

19d  The exploding article beginning to expel a gas (6)
{ETHANE} – this is a colourless, odourless gas. It comes from an anagram (exploding) of THE, followed by an indefinite article and the first letter of E(xpel).

20d  Encourage someone in operating theatre first off (4,2)
{URGE ON} – take the first letter off someone you’d find in an operating theatre.

23d  Stern patriarch? (5)
{ISAAC} – double definition. The first is the forename of Mr Stern, the violinist, and the second an Old Testament patriarch.

24d  Emergency organisation needs hour to get round in the fog (4)
{HAAR} – the organisation that used to advertise itself as the fourth emergency service goes inside (needs .. to get round) the abbreviation for hour to make a cold sea fog.

The clues I liked best were 25a, 15d and 24d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {CASTE} + {AWEIGH} = {CASTAWAY}


  1. Jezza
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I needed the dictionary to confirm a couple of answers today. I found it trickier than the last few Friday puzzles from Giovanni.
    1a confused me for a while, because I thought we had a definition at the start and end of the clue (Worked hard…/..hit)
    Thanks to setter, and to gazza for the review.

    I hope I am not in the minority of those who found the Toughie hard today.

  2. bitsbits
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    24d cannot be right if 25a is correct although taxed to offer an alternative

    • Jezza
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      24d is correct – it is just a different spelling. I had to check the dictionary to confirm it was right.

  3. Brian
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Brilliant if tough (for me) offering from the Maestro. Best clue for me def 15d, which works so well.
    Needed the helpful hints for the reason behind 7d, never heard of this sort bread either. Thx to Gazza for the hints and of course to Mr Manley.

    • Brian
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Ah yes forgot that, couldn’t get 24d if 25a is right. ?? ?

      • Brian
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Sorry couldn’t spell Britannia DOH!

      • Patsyann
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        They do fit – could you be spelling 25a with two Ts and one N ?

        • beaver
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Glad i’m not the only one whp thought there were two t’s- confused me for a while until i realised that there were two n’s! This made 24d possible,although i must admit i’d never heard of the scottish word before.Enjoyed the crossword and gave it***/****, Never heard of the ‘damper’ in 7d-don’t suppose i was alone, and thought the ‘s’ on 1d was a bit ‘iffy’ for ‘book’

          • crypticsue
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

            You obviously weren’t a Brownie/Girl Guide – we used to make damper all the time over the camp fire.

            • Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

              as did the famous five, or the Swallows and Amazons…I think.

  4. Dickiedot
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    This was not easy at all, thanks Giovanni and Gazza for the review, as for the Toughie Phew!

  5. bitsbits
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    doh misspelling – feel sooo stupid

  6. Wozza
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The bottom went in fairly smoothly. But the top half was too much for me. A good weekend to all.

  7. Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A little trickier than normal Friday CW thanks to all

  8. Patsyann
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Strangely I found this rather less taxing than usual Fridays. It’s a while since I finished a Giovanni without resorting to hints, but I did to-day. Perhaps it’s the glorious sunshine we have here on the Wirral.

    Why have all the responses gone into caps and smaller and fainter than usual?

    • mary
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yes mine keeps doing that too Patsyann, when I click on refresh it reverts to normal

      • mary
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        not any more! anyone else experiencing this?

        • Addicted
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Yes – can hardly read it. Tried refresh but didn’t work.

          • Addicted
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            How very odd – having posted the above comment the blog is now back to normal – weird, or what?

            • Addicted
              Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

              And now it’s back to “can hardly read”.

              • crypticsue
                Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

                I do hope they fix this problem with the comments going into faint small capitals before tomorrow. My poor old eyesight can’t cope at all.

                • gazza
                  Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

                  It didn’t happen for me. I wonder whether it depended on which browser you’re using?

                  • crypticsue
                    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

                    , It has been doing it since 8 am on Internet Explorer (both here at home and at work earlier) Doesn’t seem to be a problem on Firefox. although I notice on there that the comments isn’t as up to date as here on IE.

                  • Franco
                    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

                    No problems using Google Chrome. But, I’ve just tried IE – “What have I gone blind?”

                  • gazza
                    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

                    Yuck – I’ve just tried IE – that’s horrible.

                    • Prolixic
                      Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

                      I am using IE 9 and not having any problems.

  9. mary
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I found this really difficult today with 7d and 24d being really obscure, also never heard 8d used to mean strikingly good, I thought 2d was a ‘toughie’ clue and as for 15d, well ok it was easy to get if you had the checking letters, but to me that is an indirect anagram surely, to indicate in one clue the no 9, you first have to work out what that is, so it must be an indirect anagram and nothing will change my mind :-) , one clue I liked today was 11a, a three to four star for me today, good luck everyne, lots of perservation :-D

    • Lord Luvvaduck
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      ‘A rattling good read’ – sometimes seen on the blurb of books of crime/mystery, adventure type.

  10. Colmce
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    V.difficult for me, not helped by two spe(l)ling howlers, sorted in end.
    Still great fun, thanks for explanation and setter.

  11. Addicted
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Managed to finish – apart from 24d for which I needed curly brackets!! Got 7d but didn’t for a second understand why, so thanks for the explanation. 23d was a guess because of “patriarch” as had never heard of the violinist, got 20d but needed explanation to see why – doh!! Apart from those it fell into place quite nicely – thanks to Giovanni and Gazza. (And now the blog is normal again – what IS going on?)

  12. Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t think this was too hard apart from 24d which we’d never heard of.
    Like the piccie for 16d – is that what’s called multi-tasking (girl and bike in one)?

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni for an enjoyable Friday puzzle.
    Going to have a go at yesterday’s RayT later!

  13. eXternal
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable. 24d also new to me, but as Giovanni said last week, it must get tiresome clueing the same words if you have been setting for a while. So thought it was easily gettable from the wordplay and nice to learn a new word (albeit one I shall never use again).

    • Annidrum
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      You never know External, one day you may visit a seaside town in Scotland and experience a 24d. :smile:

      • Franco
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think you have to be in Scotland to experience a “haar”.

        OED: A wet mist or fog; esp. applied on the east coast of England and Scotland, from Lincolnshire northwards, to a cold sea-fog.

  14. crypticsue
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and not so difficult as some Giovanni’s. Would have been 2* for me if I hadn’t had to confirm the bookshop in 2d existed. Thanks to Giovanni for a nice start to Friday and to Gazza for the usual excellently illustrated review.

    No Jezza, you are not alone. I found today’s Toughie really hard and it made me as grumpy as that person whose name starts with a B :)

    • Brian
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Only on a Thursday :-)

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I know but the more I grumped, the more I thought of you :D

        • Kath
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          This sounds as if it could be a day for me to give the toughie a miss?!!

          • crypticsue
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            I wish i had!

            • Kath
              Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

              In that case I’m really glad that I did!! :smile:

              • Franco
                Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

                You missed a very enjoyable Toughie!

                I don’t know if you can hear me……seems to be a bit of a problem…on the …………..

    • Silveroak
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I would have got 2d faster if I had realized that the book store so familiar here (US) was also operating across the pond as I had not seen it on my trips back. Good mind-taxing puzzle with only 24d needing a hint. Thanks to Giovanni and Gaza.

      • Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        They went bust a few years back – hence “Yesteryear’s book chain”.

  15. Roland
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this too hard today, however there were a handful of answers I had to confirm after having worked out what they must be. These were 7d, 23d and 24d. Also, not too keen on the clue for 2d – very vague IMO. ***/***, thanks to G n G.

  16. Franny
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I found this enjoyable and not too difficult today — until I got completely bogged down in the SE corner, where I needed hints. I couldn’t find 13d and didn’t know, or think of, the abbreviation for the Channel Islands. Also didn’t know 24d. As for 7d, I got the answer but have never come across ‘that’s’ as a contraction of ‘that has’ unfollowed by ‘got’. I agree with Mary in preferring 11a as clue of the day. Many thanks to G&G. :-)

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      “That’s” is fairly common for “that has”, e.g. That’s torn it!

  17. Jackie
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Like Franny, i found this enjoyable and not too difficult. The SE corner held me up for a while, last in being 23d which I didn’t like at all. No particular favourite clues today. Thanks to setter and Gazza for the hints.

  18. BigBoab
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    An extremely enjoyable crossword from Giovanni today and living on the east coast of Scotland 24d is more than well known to me, I believe it is called the “fret ” in east England, sea mist rather than fog however. Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for a terrific review and picture.

  19. Kath
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was marginally easier than normal for a Friday, apart from 23d – needed the hint for that one. I have heard of 24d but, probably, only in a crossword – one of those that’s stored away until next time! I have also heard of “damper” in 7d – we made it when camping with friends in Australia – I think in UK it would be called “soda bread”. I liked 11, 25 and 27a and lots of the down clues. With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  20. upthecreek
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Another easy puzzle to round off an easy week. The Toughie MUST be harder or I will scream. The only small problem was 2d as I had never heard of the bookshop but the checking letters gave it away. Favourite was 11 but also liked 1a 1d 3 14 16 and 17. Now to the Toughie. I hope this is more of a test as the RayT backie has been the hardest of the week so far.

    • Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Be very, very careful what you wish for!

      • upthecreek
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        I’m pleased there was no football on!

  21. Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Found it a bit hard going today. 2d 7d and 23d all got with a bit of guesswork. Had a real Doh moment when I realised 16d was an anagram.. Kept wanting it to begin with Miss…Many thanks Gazza for the explanations, especially for 2 down.

  22. Captain Lethargy
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Nice crossword today. Enjoyed this one from start to finish. No particular faves, but a ***for hardness and **** for enjoyment.

  23. wbgeddes
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    3 and a slurp on the Blacksheepometer today.

    I seemed to have a lot of pencilled in answers today awaiting the encouragement of supporting letters. 1A, 5A, 26A, 2D, 6D, 8D spring to mind.

    I think I’d give this a 3*/2* – time for a bag of Chilli nuts and the toughie to celebrate.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I should get another couple of Sheep on standby.

      • Roland
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Don’t tell him that – he’ll start to get ewesed to it. :)

      • Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        I think the whole flock might be required :lol:

    • Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      It might even require a Riggwelter or two.
      (non-Yorkshire farmers’ sons must look that one up on Google)

  24. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Brian, don’t feel guilty about being grumpy if you’ve got just cause, and 23d and 24d are just cause. The crossword editor should have told the setter to go away and come back with something acceptable.

  25. Annidrum
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Thought this wasn’t too taxing to-day but needed an explanation for 7d as I didn’t know damper. Thanks again Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle & Gazza for the explanations. :smile:

    • Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      From my memories of days in the Scouts, they tasted and looked like baked mud.

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        The Guides version was always burnt so it would be hard to tell what else they tasted of!

      • Kath
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        BD and CS – you obviously don’t have the right friends. Lots of us in OZ – fantastic barbecue – chickens on starter handle – the rule was that every time someone got up to get another glass of wine they turned the handle through 90 degrees – it was perfect – and LOTS of bread!!

  26. mary
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    so nobody else thinks 15d is an indirect anagram then?

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink


      • mary
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        why not? you have to think of a word instead of ‘9’ and then make an anagram of it?

        • gazza
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          You’re told exactly what the word is – it’s the answer to 9a. There are a number of clues in today’s Toughie which use exactly the same device.

          • mary
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Thank you gazza, I see what you say but it just doesn’t ‘sit right’ with me

        • Roland
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Mary – I fully agree with Gazza.

          • mary
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            that’s ok Roland but as I say IMHO – IMVHO – it’s not right :-)

            • mary
              Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

              If you don’t get 9a, you can’t make an anagram out of nothing

              • Roland
                Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

                Hi Mary – I think the difference is that as Gazza says above, you know that the answer to 9a is the word that you then have to manipulate to form your anagram. With an indirect anagram (to use the example given on here a few days ago I think), you have to first satisfy yourself which synonym the setter is directing you to (hydra for monster, if I recall correctly) before then creating Hardy as the anagram/solution. The problem with that is that there are no end of words that are synonyms for monster. In the case of 9a in today’s puzzle, there’s no such uncertainty. Phew………does any of that make sense?

                • gazza
                  Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                  It does to me, Roland.

                • mary
                  Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

                  Yes of course it does Roland but my point is………never mind, I give up, as I said I know that I am wrong but can’t anyone see what I’m trying to say???????? off to 11 year old gransons birthday party now, maybe more my level :-(

                  • Kath
                    Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                    There’s nothing wrong with your level Mary – keep perservating! Do hope that birthday party was fun – I SO envy people with grandchildren … :grin:

        • andy
          Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Hi Mary 9a, to quote from Wiki “is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall “, it works ok for me

          • mary
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            Yes I know Andy, and it works in that sense but what if someone doesn’t know that

            • mary
              Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

              I know you often get ‘linked’ clues but I’ve never come across one where you have to make an anagram of it

          • andy
            Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Could it simply be that 9a would be excited by a nice 15d being executed, and the anagram is actually a coincidence? Just an off the wall thought!

            • andy
              Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

              Nah, I very much doubt it, ignore what I said.

      • mary
        Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I accept I’m wrong but somewhere in the back of my mind I’m right :-D

  27. Hrothgar
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable, never heard of 24d but constructed it from the clue. (I never, ever use hints!)
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza,

    • Kath
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      I think you should use the hints if you need to – they are always really helpful, informative and well written. I think it’s how we learn – all the bloggers have been doing crosswords for ages (I think) and are ready, willing and able to help the less experienced among us.

    • Franco
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Hrothgar, “(I never, ever use hints!)”

      …….. but what do you do if you have no idea about a particular clue?

      I presume that has never happened…?

      • Hrothgar
        Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        On the rare occasions I am unable to solve a clue in ‘my’ reasonable time, I call it “outstanding” put it to one side and go back to it later.
        And I invariably, eventually, solve it, unaided.
        I really enjoy the blogs and graphics etc. and find sometimes my reasoning is at odds with that of the blogger.
        I reckon in two years of doing this particular crossword, you have covered most eventualities, and should perhaps be unaided.
        Also, the only aid I would use would be to look up a word constructed by me, but unknown to me, from working out the clue.

  28. Captain Duff
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one after my couple of misunderstandings yesterday. Managed it with a dictionary for confirmation on a few. Didn’t understand the yesteryear reference although I was sure it was Borders. Gazza’s explanation of it going into liquidation cleared that one up. Would have finished it sooner had I not made the same mistake as Brian and Beaver with the misspelling of Britannia! Favourites 13d and 20d. ***/**** from me.

  29. Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable for me. ***/****. Thanx to Compiler and Gazza for the review. Also enjoyed the ‘Quickie’ forgotten what its called when it includes all the letter of the alphabet., no doubt someone will advise.

    • andy
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      A pangram

    • Roland
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Alphabetti spaghetti? :)

    • Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanx andy.

  30. Heno
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the two G’s. Great stuff from Giovanni, enjoyed it, but I was a bit lucky. I guessed 2,7,20d & 21a from the checkers, and had to check out Gazza’s excellent hints to see if I was correct. Favourites were 25& 28a and 13& 15d. Where is the Spring weather they’re promising!? It’s sure not in Central London :-)

    • Kath
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      … it’s sure as hell not in Oxford either – grey – chilly wind – no sun – temp says 10C but feels colder. :sad: we do, of course, need rain really badly but no sign of that either.

  31. Derek
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed solving this fare from The Don this afternoon – always pick up my DT after lunch.
    My likes : 5a, 11a, 18a, 28a, 8d, 15d, 20d & 23d.

    I used to shop at Borders when I was in California – in fact I still have their plastic client cards!

    Re 4d when you see Tom mentioned you know it is another pussy (no comments Gazza).

  32. telboy
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    usual tripe from G

    • gazza
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s always good to get well-argued constructive criticism.

    • Kath
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      How can you POSSIBLY say that? Giovanni sets wonderful crosswords every Friday – just because you can’t do them doesn’t mean that they are “tripe”!

    • Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to Giovanni for an accessible puzzle – Like most here I enjoyed it and like gazza found a couple of clues that I struggled on (HAAR being one of them – I knew the word but having never been a member of the AA I didn’t see them as an emergency service).

      What I can’t rationalise is telboy’s comment above. Clearly my latest Chambers Dictionaty and Thesaurus does not include this meaning of tripe.

  33. Prolixic
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Late on parade as I have only just about recovered from the mammoth task that judging the DIY COW has become since I last graced / despoiled the judge’s chair. Enjoyable crossword with lots to get you thinking and smiling. Although there was some trickier constructions and unfamilar words, the usual trademark Giovanni cluing meant that the more unusual words were gettable. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  34. Prolixic
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    It is also worth noting that today mark’s Giovanni’s 25th anniversary setting for the Independent (as Quixote) with an excellent crossword there set by him.

  35. Jerome B
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I was really struggling with this on the train this morning, but suddenly a few clues started falling in to place and I was off. Enjoyed what I could do, but was totally stumped with 2d, 8d, 23d and 24d. Thanks heavens I discovered this website. It always used to annoy me seeing the answer in the paper the next day and still not having a clue.

  36. Asterix
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    As a very recent newbie (though a fairly ancient one!) to Crosswords, rarely solving more than a few of the DT clues, I surprised myself by solving this one completely without my usual need to resort to the immensely helpful tips on this excellent blog. (But I lingered for ages up a blind alley with ‘arranged’ and ‘operating’ – thinking they were anagram pointers to adjacent words. I suppose crossword-setters have to be allowed to use words like ‘confused’, ‘jumbled’ and ‘operated’ sometimes in their literal or at least figurative meanings…:-)

    • gazza
      Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Hi Asterix – welcome to the blog.

  37. Asterix
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s my imagination, but some of the answers seem to point to a bookseller’s chequered career! (Perhaps an employee working in the dictionary and reference section of a bookshop?)
    See the answers to 2d, 5a, 25a (if 25a were to have an extra ‘c’), 17d, maybe even 22a and 5d….

    Perhaps this hapless employee 1a away without 18a, but then when the bookstore chain of 2d went bust, he got the 21a, and despite the 14a of his employers, he had to say a tearful farewell to his 16d 12a of a colleague, his dreams of joint visits to 3d and the10a now shattered…

  38. Jay
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Damper is something all Guides and Scouts make on hikes and camps. Just a mixture of flour and water and usually wound round a stick and cooked over the campfire.