DT 26968 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26968

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26968

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja.  OK, I know, it’s confusing to find me here on a Tuesday!  After the musical chairs of the last few weeks I have to say that I am certainly “Bewildered of Almoradí” but . . . Falcon has also moved from Wednesday to Thursday (along with me) and it’s his turn this week. So, as Pommette is in the UK and I don’t have a lot to do, I thought I’d give Gazza a well-earned break – he certainly does more than his fair share on this blog!.  (Thanks muchly Gazza – I don’t know where we’d all be without you!)

Anyway, on to the puzzle. I thought it was pretty tricky for a back-pager but that might just be me being distracted by the US Open tennis final  – puzzle solved while watching Andy Murray’s fantastic victory so I’ve no idea about time but I reckon 4* for a back pager isn’t unreasonable.  For entertainment? I have to say the tennis was better than the crossword!  Too many anagrams for my taste but quite enjoyable overall.

Definitions are underlined in the clue.

As usual the ones I like best are in blue. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Man very curious about slogan sung in fleet (8,4)
{MERCHANT NAVY} –  This is the fleet that flies the Red Ensign rather than white. It’s an anagram (curious) of MAN VERY placed about a slogan that is sung.

8a           Animal watering hole in which smell’s appalling at first (7)
{INHUMAN} – Animal, as in not a member of Homo Sapiens.  Take a word for a ‘watering hole’ or pub and insert (in which) a smell and A (Appalling at first)

9a           Liner hit it, an iceberg somewhat hidden (7)
{TITANIC} – The liner that hit the iceberg is hidden (somewhat hidden) in the clue.  Haven’t we had enough of this ever since the 100th anniversary?

11a         Husbandry up to the time of elderliness (7)
{TILLAGE} – Husbandry as in farming. It’s a colloquial way of saying ‘up to the time of’ followed by some elderliness.

12a         Saw king finished in lead (7)
{PROVERB} – This saw or adage is formed from R(ex) and a word for finished inserted (in) into the chemical symbol for lead.

13a         Hit back about law (5)
{REACT} –  One of the usual abbreviations for about and a law, as passed by Parliament.

14a         Hindu text discovered in ark, a must for translation by head of academy (4,5)
{KAMA SUTRA} – To get this sexy Indian text you need an anagram (for translation) of ARK A MUST and then A (head of Academy).

16a         Advance payments required to secure audio player? The direct opposite (9)
{ANTIPODES} – Take some advance payments, made when playing poker for example, and insert (to secure) one of those audio players that don’t need CD’s etc.  I don’t know the diference between the pods, pads or phones but I do know that POOR DEVIL is an anagram of IPOD LOVER!

19a         Man’s lost Wings hit of long ago? (5)
{OLDIE} – If you think of a word for a man in the armed forces and remove the first and last letter (lost wings) you’ll be left with something that features non-stop on ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’ on Radio 2.

21a         Theft: criminal nearly caught inside (7)
{LARCENY} – An anagram (criminal) of NEARLY with C(aught) inserted (inside).

23a         Claptrap from detective was hard to follow (7)
{EYEWASH} – Start with a detective, as in a private one, and follow with WAS (from the clue) and H(ard).

24a         Helena‘s here in Piedmont, a native (7)
{MONTANA} –  Helena is the capital city of a US state that’s hidden (here in) in the rest of the clue.

25a         Trendy type touring hospital, briefly (2,5)
{IN SHORT} – The usual trendy or fashionable (2) followed by a type or kind placed around (touring) H(ospital.

26a         Pitching on new lawn (7,5)
{BOWLING GREEN} – Not sure how to explain this, or even if it’s really fair!  The first word is pitching, as perhaps in baseball, and the second means new or untried and put together they make a finely cultivated area of grass.


1d           Singer, a Jackson, in pop band in Mali, performing (7)
{MAHALIA} –  This is, apparently, a very famous gospel singer with the surname Jackson!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahalia
You need to insert a Norwegian pop band into (in) an anagram (performing) of MALI.   Hands up all those who tried to make MICHAEL work! I did! Well, it has all the letters of MALI, and he’s a Jackson but where would the CHE come from? – our favourite revolutionary is absent on parade! Took a bit of Wiki to sort this one as I’d never heard of her!

2d           Batter and break bulwark (7)
{RAMPART} – A word meaning batter or run into followed by a word for break or split.

3d           Browbeaten ambassador knight kissed quickly (9)
{HENPECKED} – Abbreviation for the title of an ambassador, N (knight in chess notation) and a word for kissed quickly (usually on the cheek) gives a word for browbeaten, by the wife maybe.  There’s no truth in the rumour that Pommette does this to me – and I have her permission to say that!

4d           Don overturned tennis call (3,2)
{NOT UP} – Don as in to don some clothes (3,2).  Reverse it (overturned) and split (3,2) and you get a call in tennis when the ball has hit the ground just before you hit it.

5d           Ideas on it son scuppered (7)
{NOTIONS} – These ideas are an anagram (scuppered) of ON IT SON.

6d           Price e.g. of outlet incorporated therein (7)
{VINCENT} – Price is a definition by example and it’s the first name of a famous film actor.  You need an outlet or opening and insert (therein) the abbreviation for incorporated, as in an American company.

7d           Station in London being supplied with choice fruit (8,4)
{VICTORIA PLUM} – A fruit is a charade of a London station and a word meaning choice or best.

10d         Excitedly watch bee and a big butterfly (7-5)
{CABBAGE WHITE} – An anagram (excitedly)of WATCH BEE and A BIG.  I’m not always keen on split anagram fodder but I think this one works.

15d         Overcoming it, Germans reassembled (9)
{MASTERING} – Another anagram (reassembled) of IT GERMANS.

17d         Wrong about working round place in Ontario (7)
{TORONTO} – A city in Ontario is a legal wrong placed around (about) a word for working, as in not off, and then an O (round).  We had Ottawa last week so watch out for Winnipeg or Montreal in the near future!

18d         Overcome dire peril crossing Virginia (7)
{PREVAIL} – Place an anagram (dire) of PERIL around (crossing) the abbreviation for the state of Virginia.

19d         Direct extra to spot (7)
{OVERSEE} – Direct as in manage.  A word for what’s left followed by to spot or notice.

20d         Cavalryman, a stupid person to support Democrat as well as Republican (7)
{DRAGOON} – Take A (from the clue) and a stupid person (Harry Secombe?) and place them after (to support in a down clue) D(emocrat) and R(epublican) and you get a mounted infantryman.  We had Hussar yesterday! Is there something going on here?

22d         Long story about Spain (5)
{YEARN} –  Put the IVR code for Spain in a word for a long story or saga.

Some good stuff here but my favourite of all has to be 4d (because I was watching Andy Murray winning while solving!).

The Quick crossword pun: {piece} + {thyme} = {peacetime}

121 comments on “DT 26968

  1. What a fantastic tennis match! Thought Andy had blown it when Novak got it back to two-all but the boy done good! At least we can now stop talking about Fred Perry every year! Congrats to Andy!

    Don’t expect me to be around too early as I’m running late, even for me, due to the distraction. My solving time on the DT website says 1hour 32mins! That should get about 20* difficulty, but I have tried to be sensible, for once!

  2. The tennis must have distracted Pommers. A 3* for me today but quite enjoyable. Thanks to setter & to Pommers for the review. I needed a few explanations today to justify my answers.

  3. 3* for me too. Lots of anagrams again and I got 1d from the wordplay and then had to check they existed! Thanks to the Mysteron and the early rising (or is that late retiring?) Pommers.

    I don’t know about needing a chapeau for the Petitjean Toughie but it is putting up a tremendous fight (well it is here in sunny Canterbury anyway!)

      1. This puzzle felt quite similar in style to the “other puzzle” for me.

        Both took a little longer than usual because, like Pommers, I was following the convolutions of the US Open final.

        I thought that this one was slightly less straightforward than most DT back-pagers.

        Thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the blog.

  4. Congratulations on your tennis victory! A great match.
    OK, we put our hands up for trying to fit Michael into 1d. Had actually heard of the lady concerned too. Favourites were 1a, 8a, 16a and 7d. It was the NW corner that gave us the most trouble, but got there in about 4* time so agree with your ratings Pommers. Thanks to you and Mr Ron.

    1. Me too! There are some great recordings of her. Surprised by the 4* difficulty rating because it seemed straightforward today, but then I wasn’t watching the tennis! Apart from initially using ‘putting’ instead of ‘bowling’ for 28a – I still think it could have been either, after all, if you ‘putt the shot’ you are pitching it – I found it quite enjoyable. Thank you setter and Pommers.

        1. I know – that’s why you are better than me at this lark and why it’s you not me that gives the explanations! Hope you aren’t too bleary eyed after the tennis – that’s true multi-tasking.

          1. Don’t know about multi-tasking! The piuzzle was solved during the adverts which is why it took so long and I’ve no idea how long the solve actually took.

    2. Afternoon Dave

      I’m familiar with that recording and even the lady in question. It’s her name that I didn’t know!

      1. It’s mnot a group Mary, She is a singer. By the way I got out of the CC yesterday, whatever it is. How are you now

        1. Well done in getting out of the Clueless Club collywobs :-) I’m ok but not great, the medication doesn’t agree with me unfortunately and is causing lots of problems going back on my old medication tomorrow and just hoping it will be ok, thanks for asking

          1. We are all hoping for a speedy recovery.

            Your geoup of non Mahalia Jackson fans is probably very small (or too young)

                  1. Thanks Pommers. That makes it even more inscrutable.

                    Just finished the puzzle. There were some strange clues in it. Mysterion should put his hand up

    3. Well that was easy – two in a row finished way before lights out! It felt like a Rufus – is he ever a Tuesday Mysteron? Fell into the “Michael” trap for 1d and then got out of it as the lady came to mind (before I got all the checkers). Also fell into the “putting” trap for 28a then realised it wouldn’t work when I got 12d, and got the, perhaps tenuous, link between cricket and baseball. Favourites 8a and 7d – an oldie but goodie. **/*** for me.

    4. I had heard of, and indeed listened to, the great Mahalia on many occasions, it was the pop band ( Aha ? ) I had never heard of.

    5. And so am I. And have known of her and listened to her for years. The thumping noise is me kicking myself!

  5. I felt like I was solving a Petitjean puzzle, but possibly not his, as he set today’s toughie.
    I cannot say this was one of my favourite puzzles, and I almost lost interest in the top left corner where I finished up.
    Thanks to setter, and to Pommers.
    4*/2.5* from me.

  6. Rather challenging, but very enjoyable. Also tried to make Michael work for 1D and needed some of the hints to justify a few of my answers – thanks Pommers.

  7. Ditto. TLH corner. Mali is OK but what’s the Norwegian Pop band, i guess it must be AHA, whoever they are? Listened to Mahalia here:http://mahaliamusic.com/#234/bandcamp
    Not my cup of tea. Although “if your in love” is OK.
    Thanks for explanation on 16A. I did not like 16A, Anties?- Ante yes but not Anties. perhaps it’s in some dictionary somewhere but that does not mean we have to use it.
    I think we should stick to the Oxford Concise for the back page – and no strange pop groups.
    Liked 6d.
    Overall quite enjoyable, ***
    Difficulty – well impossible to finish for me therefore infinitely difficult.
    PS is this a blog or a social web site, I was beginning to wonder.

    Thanks to the solvers and the setters.

    1. Hi Bob

      Re 16a – the advance payment or bet up front is ANTE. Make it plural and insert i-POD.

      The pop band AHA is a tad obscure I agree.

      I think this place counts as a “Social Blog” :grin:

      1. Of course I-Pod – sorry . I was just thinking of Pod as in PodCast. Thanks again to both of you.
        —- Now let’s check Amazon MP3 downloads for Mahalia

      2. I don’t think ‘AHA’ are any more obscure than 1d pommers they had two no 1s in the eighties ‘Take On Me’ and ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ they have kept going since then with numerous best selling albums apparently during their career they sold over 36 million albums and over 15 million singles, they only disbanded in 2010 after a world wide tour

        1. I think AHA is certainly obscure. Consider other pop bands such as UU; OASIS; ABBA; STONES? Know what I mean?

          I too am in the MA-Who-The-Hell-Is-She club.

          Trying to Work TITO (a Jackson) and MALI around with something taken out (POP an O possibly) to make a singer of some sort! Anyone else had this daft train of thought? Haha.

          Well done to Collywobbles for CC graduation – I’m still there! A below average 15 clues unaided.

          My favourites were 16a and 7d.

          Thanks Pommers and setter of course!

    2. Re ‘is this a blog or social site’ it is primarily a crossword blog Bob, but is also very much of a social site too :-)

      1. I think that we should send Bob to the naughty corner until he agrees to the merits of this being a sociable crossword blog ( and no drizzle cake, even if it does exist )

    3. You could always revert to the “other” crossword site(s) but you won’t get the same level of polite banter or a chance to taste one of those fantasy lemon drizzle cakes which awaits those banished to the naughty step on Saturdays & Sundays…

      1. There’s nothing fantasy about my lemon drizzle cake – it really exists and is delicious if I say so myself.

  8. Took a little while to get into this one, but once I’d tuned in found it fairly straight forward. I like anagrams.

    Thanks to Pommers for the review.
    Thanks to the setter.

  9. Hi pommers thanks for the blog, wouldn’t have finished without you today:-( , I agree with the four star rating, thought it tough for a Tuesday back page puzzle, not heard 4d in tennis, nor the name of 1d, putting ‘hogwash’ at 23a and then wondering where the ‘hog’ came from didn’t help either, not one for me today I’m afraid

  10. Excellent fare ,gave it a ***/****.Looked difficult on the usual quick look through but fell into place once the framework was in.Liked 1d,thought the mali bit was on the outside but struggled a bit with the pop group then rememberedthe name from gospel music and guessed the spelling.Thought of the actor for 6d but had spelt titatic for titanic,hence the last one in when i eventually read through the answers for about the tenth time!
    Murray Mint.

  11. I enjoyed this a lot but found it difficult – 4* for difficulty from me too, but I don’t have any excuses like watching the tennis.
    It hadn’t occurred to me that there were lots of anagrams – have now counted them – I make it seven – is that really a lot? Anyway, I like them!
    Was stupidly slow to get 1a for no obvious reason (other than stupidity and slowness!) so didn’t get 1d for ages – I’ve never heard of her and eventually found an ancient CD catalogue and looked under Jackson – there she was! I was also slow to get 6d. It took me ages to work out why 8a was what it was. I needed the hint to explain 19a.
    I thought there were loads of really good clues – 1, 8 and 16a and 4, 7 and 20d. My favourite was 10d (specially once I’d stopped trying to put it in 7d!)
    With thanks to Mr Ron (I liked that, 2Kiwis) and Pommers. I’d been wondering about the picture for 14a – very restrained!

      1. So did I :grin: If it’s not copyright I can see it becoming a ‘blog word’ like Mary’s perservation!

        1. Feel free to use it Pommers. BTW, with reference to 16a, if we were to drill a hole from our back yard we would come out near a town just west of Madrid called Navalmoral. Probably close enough to drive down to share a coffee or something with you perhaps. How’s that for useless trivia.

          1. Conversely, if I go to Navalmoral and drill said hole I would come up in your back yard, where I hope the bar would be open (don’t do coffee) :grin:

            Splendid piece of trivia – like it.

            I’ll probably have forgotten ‘Mr Ron’ by the time we have our next one – senility you know!

              1. I imagine the permission to use it also extends to you Kath!
                Think I might be losing my short-term memory, who is Mr Ron?

  12. Thanks to the setter & to Pommers for the review & hints. I really enjoyed this one. 3* for difficulty & 4* for enjoyment for me. Got beaten by 1d, never heard of her and needed the hint for 8a. Favourites were 9&16a & 4,6,20d. Nice Sun, but a bit blowy in Central London

  13. Has anyone else tried to edit a comment today? I’m getting “stack overflow at line: 2”.

  14. Re the quick crossword pun: it works as three words too, doesn’t it? I was thinking of Kipling and Tommy Atkins, you see…

  15. 1d needed research. BTW, has anyone seen La Toya since Michael died? You never saw them together when he was alive.

    An American was watching a greensman cutting the grass on the famous bowling green at Plymouth Hoe. “Gee. How can I get my lawn as good as that?” he asked. “Oh, just rake it, mow it, and roll it; rake it, mow it, and roll it; every day”, the greensman replied. “For five hundred years!”

  16. Enjoyable crossword and an excellent review, thanks to the setter and to Pommers. Best wishes to Mary for a speedy return to full health it has been lovely reading her entries again.

  17. I found it quite pleasant myself. Although I haven’t heard of 1D like many, but am totally OK with the pop band reference. Did anyone else spot the four colours in the big long clues?

    1. I think that at 0330 this morning, after the stress of watching Andy Murray, I was just pleased to have solved the puzzle during the endless commercial breaks on CBS! I certainly wasn’t in the frame of mind to go looking for Ninas etc!
      Well spotted!

  18. Hola Pommers. This was a bit of a bishop’s egg for me today. I couldn’t finish it and needed the hints for 1a and 1d. Don’t like anagrams where you have to find another word to solve, but there were some amusing clues. Thanks to you and the compiler. :-)

      1. IAs the egg was served at the Bishop’s breakfast table which is why the poor curate was too terrified to say tht it was bad, so technically it could be described as the Bishop’s egg. :)

  19. Thank God Andy has at last done it – we can now all go to bed before midnight!

    I liked this puzzle but was baffled by 1d!

    Shall probably take time off puzzling until back to normal hours!

    Cheers , allemaal,


  20. Just goes to show that this x word habit is a very personal thing. For me this was so much easier than some of the two stars. We’ve had that I,m not quite feeling like the idiot (stupid person) that I was feeling like a few days ago. M

    1. Hi Marge

      Didn’t really know how to rate this one! It’s difficult when you solve it during the commercial breaks in a very exciting tennis match! I left the entertainment at the ‘neutral’ 3* and then had to base difficulty on what I thought while writing the hints. Some of the clues looked a bit tricky so I went for 4* but that was probably a bit OTT with the blessing of hindsight.

      1. I don’t even let people speak in the same room when I am solving a puzzle prior to doing an on the day h&t, never mind watch exciting tennis matches on the tv.

        1. I’m usually the same, but Andy in a Grand Slam final? Had to be watched.
          That leaves me a quandary. If it goes to five sets, as it did, it would go on until about 0330CEST and that’s too late to go to bed and be able get up in time to do the blog. Also, it’s a bit late (even for me) to actually start the solve/blog process so I’m left with Hobson’s choice – solve during the commercials, at least there were a lot of them on CBS :grin:

              1. I’ve no idea – you’d have to ask Andy that question!

                I think it might be because he says he’s Scottish first and British second. Personally I have no problem with that – I’m English first and British second. At the end of the day we’re both Brits.

                1. I’m English too, and I have nothing against the Scots, the Welsh, or the Irish… I would cheer them all on in an international sporting event, however that feeling does not seem to be reciprocated.

                  1. True, but I think that says more about them than us. I note that Rory Mcllroy has said he can’t decide whether to be a Brit or Irish at the next Olympics!

            1. What I don’t quite understand is how fickle everyone is – one minute he’s a jumped-up and rude little prat with an overbearing and pushy Mum, and, suddenly, because he’s won something, he’s a national (I’m not even going to go into WHAT nationality) hero! I despair! :roll:

  21. Like other comments 1d had me stumped. Agree. Some of the clues were too easy and some like 1d too hard. Don’t mind the anagrams so overall ****and** from me. Regds to all.

  22. Patting myself on the back as I saw 1d straightaway ,an oldie who knew of Mahalia (an amazing voice) but also knew of A-ha. I found this more like a 2star today but needed the hints to explain one or two answers. Thanks Pommers. Well done Andy.

  23. 1d up there in the top ten worst crossword clues ever. Who he/she/it/they? And why do we need to know the name of a Norwegian pop band to get the answer. Hated 24 as well. Can we ban proper nouns from crosswords? Crosswords are supposed to be tests of, I don’t know, logic or puzzle solving or something, not knowledge of stuff that most of the population don’t know about.
    On the bright side, as of tomorrow, newspapers are going to have to pay their staff to find some stories to put on the front page. On second thoughts, they’ll probably drag out the Olympics for some time to come.

    1. All crossword clues require *some* knowledge and use *some* vocabulary.

      You may be correct that most of the population is not familiar with Mahalia Jackson and A-Ha, but I suspect that even more wil be unfamiliar with many terms that crossword fans take for granted. Mahalia is a very significant figure in the history of gospel music, and, therefore, of popular music in general.

      It seems to me that, for some people, their enjoyment of a particular crossword seems to be determined by whether or not its subject matter is familiar *to them*.

      Perhaps references to the Bible, Shakespeare and Keats ought now to be outlawed, given that most people are unlikely to be familiar with them?

      Popular culture must have its place in crosswords, or crosswords will have no place in popular culture.

      1. Hi Qix

        Perhaps references to the Bible, Shakespeare and Keats ought now to be outlawed, given that most people are unlikely to be familiar with them?
        I wouldn’t go that far but if crosswords are to remain a part of popular culture they need to keep up with the times, otherwise younger people are not going to get the bug and then the crossword will die. It’s nice to see some setters, Tramp and Petitjean, for example taking on board modern culture. Not always to my taste, as I’m an old fogey, but refreshing I think. There’s been a fair few clues recently based around computer technology which may be a sign of things to come.
        As to Mahalia – I’m well familiar with the performance posted by BD and know of the lady’s existence, but her name? I ain’t that old andBTW A-ha wasn’t a problem to me, just thought it might have been for others (should keep my gob shut!!).

        1. I wouldn’t go that far either. It was a reductio ad absurdum (if Latin isn’t to be disallowed on the same basis).


          1. Never sure about Latin in crosswords. I understood both of your comments (I did Latin O level as I’m of the age when it was needed for Oxbridge entrance) but how many others would? It’s difficult, I know, but a Latin tag that’s familiar to you can be a complete no-no to others. I think anyone with the brain to even contemplate starting a DT puzzle will be familiar with etc,, i.e, ibid, et al etc (oops, nearly a joke there!) but some that are used are rather obscure, OK in a Toughie but for the back page? I think we need to try hard to get younger solvers on board for the future, and old bits of Latin ain’t the the way to do it!. I’ve fell foul of a few myself over the years.

            Yesterday Mary said I could be blogging crosswords for another 30 years but that won’t happen – in 30 years time there wont be any crosswords to blog!

            1. Sadly, you might well be right about the fate of crosswords. Newspaper circulation is falling dramatically, and crosswords must move with the times.

              A-Ha may be ephemeral to some, but if a pop group that’s enjoyed great success over many years isn’t fair game for crosswords, than we might as well not bother.

              Latin is much more likely to scare off potential solvers than is pop music.

              1. Sadly, I think I am! Sadly because cryptic crosswords have been, and continue to be, a source of entertainment, satisfaction, frustration, irritation, D’OH moments and a hell of a lot of fun for as long as I can remember! Well, that’s not quite true – I remember starting cryptics when I moved into my lab as a postgrad in 1974 and the guy on the next bench had the Grauniad – Janus I think it was that day. So, we had a go, didn’t get very far but were back for more the next day (Araucaria probably!). It grew from there. . .
                The inclusion of A-ha is fine by me – it’s the Mahalia bit that’s a bit old fogey territory IMHO.

      2. I agree with all that you say as long as the correct answer is possible to work out from all the bits in the clue. Just occasionally there is a word that a solver has to know, even thought the necessary information isn’t there, and I don’t think that is fair in a cryptic crossword. There was an example of this SO long ago that I can’t remember what it was now . . . damn!!

  24. Can see I’m in the minority here but I thought it was a horrid crossword – VERY contrived and twisted clues and I’m also in the “who’s ever heard of 1d” club. Also never heard of 4d and 26a was a bit of a stretch wasn’t it ? the first word, anyway. No, sorry, didn’t like it – although I did finish most of it before needing Pommers to put me out of my misery – for which many thanks.

    1. I found her in the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD):

      Jackson, Mahalia
      (1911–72), US gospel singer and musician. She came into her own in the mid 1940s, when her recording of “Move Up a Little Higher” sold over a million copies. She was a featured performer at President Kennedy’s inaugural ceremony.

    2. I EVENTUALLY found her, but only in a CD catalogue – looked up under “Jackson” although I was beginning to wonder if that could be a red herring!!

  25. Enough of Mahalia and Mr Murray already! At least Team Sky got it spot-on today and led out Cav for the stage win :grin:

    Now, can England beat Ukraine?

    1. Am trying to get Alan Partridge out of my head, aha. Missed Pomette and the shenanigans at the weekend for Anax / deans birthday, was in hospital having an infected wisdom tooth removed. Too grisly and complicated to explain here but b****y hell can this year get any worse? Don’t answer that. Hope Pomettes mum is ok

      1. Hi Andy

        Pommette was sorry to miss you but an infected wisdom tooth – VERY nasty! Things has gotta get better soon.

        As to the M-i-L, she’s doing OKish from reports but is arriving, along with pommette, at Alicante airport at 2355CEST tomorrow. Hope she can cope, it’s a very stressful time for an elderly lady who’s going a little ‘dotty’.

          1. Don’t ask Kath – don’t ask! You know better! Seems OK so far. Actual move happened yesterday but the main problem will come when she goes back to her new home from here, but at least pommette and I will be with her for a few days. There but for the Grace of God as they say!

            At the end of the day she’s a nice old bird but she’s never thought I was good enough for her daughter!

            1. Oh dear, again! I think we all, at any age, find upheaval a bit difficult to cope with – not sure about managing it twenty or thirty years hence. I’m sure you were, and are, just exactly what her daughter needed and wanted!! Good luck when she goes back to her new place. :smile:

              1. Thanks Kath. Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful things you can do in life. For an elderly lady who hasn’t moved for 30 years it’s got to be hell!! As she’s moved from a 3-bedroom house to a small flat there’s a problem with space – think you can imagine the rest! Pommette’s on first name terms with the local charity shop and the guys at the local tip (and the Alicante based Ryanair cabin crew) but her mum wants to keep EVERYTHING, including a 1991 diary?!

                1. I don’t even need to IMAGINE the rest – I DID it with my Mum five years ago. She moved from a 4-bedroom house to a tiny flat – everything that couldn’t go into her flat ended up in our garage for months – in fact some of it is still there!

      2. Poor you – wisdom teeth are tricky little *******. Hope that you feel better now and that nothing else goes **** up this year! :smile:

  26. Very late on parade, I didn’t know 1d but a wiki check confirmed, thanks to the bewildered one and setter

  27. Apart from 1d which defies comment, I thought this was quite straightforward and very entertaining. Again apart from 1d a two star for difficulty.

  28. I am neither too young nor old to know of Ms Jackson but I have never heard of her – it was a naughty twist on Michael given seven letters and an M start. It kept me from finding 8across ‘inhuman’ – otherwise an interesting puzzle but I agree too many anagrams and difficult split on 10 down kept me guessing for a while

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