DT 27069

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27069

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffordshire, where it’s dull and grey – again.

I got three quarters of this puzzle without difficulty, then ground to a halt in the SW corner, hence *** for difficulty.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. Answers are hidden inside the curly brackets and can be revealed by highlighting the space between them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

1a           Cook a rib in a new way – with skate wings (6)
{ BRAISE }  Anagram (in a new way) of A RIB, followed by the first and last letters (wings) of SKATE.

4a           Uncovering dodgy jewellery (8)
{ RUMBLING }  A three-letter word meaning dodgy or odd, followed by some flashy jewellery.

9a           Rough game’s uncontrolled movement (6)
{ RUSTIC }  A charade of the abbreviation for the ruffian’s game played by gentlemen, S (from the clue) and an uncontrolled movement.

10a         It’s used for canvassing – and for canvassing (8)
{ FLYSHEET } A double definition. Something handed out by a canvasser, or a part of a tent.

12a         Beatles song sampled backwards in Purple Haze (4)
{ HELP }  Hidden in reverse (sampled backwards) inside PurPLE Haze.

13a         Problem thumb (5)
{ HITCH } Double definition, the second being what you might do to get a lift

14a         Shaft or source of light in fire (4)
{ AXLE } The first letter (source) of L ight inside a verb for ‘fire’.

17a         Chair cover mascara stain made a mess of (12)
{ ANTIMACASSAR } Anagram (made a mess of) MASCARA STAIN.

20a         Canine co-star bombed over the water (12)
{ TRANSOCEANIC } Anagram (bombed) of CANINE CO-STAR.

23a         Work dries up – or some of it in recession (4)
{ OPUS } Hidden in reverse (some of it in recession) inside drie S UP O r.

24a         One over on course for instance stopping lout coming back (5)
{ BOGEY }  A golfing term made up of the Latin abbreviation for ‘for instance’ inside (stopping) the reverse (coming back) of a word for a lout.

25a         Wrong actor tackling Romeo (4)
{ HARM } An amateur or bad actor around the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO alphabet.

28a         Fanciful and unthinkable assuming one’s a Liberal (8)
{ NOTIONAL }  A phrase (3,2) meaning unthinkable with I (Roman one) inside it, followed by A (from the clue) and L iberal.

29a         Mother took round good grub (6)
{ MAGGOT } ‘Mother took’ (2,3) around G ood.

30a         Old American Conservative hero’s not entirely eager (8)
{ CHEROKEE } A charade of C onservative, HERO, and a synonym of ‘eager’ with its last letter removed (not entirely).

31a         Daily Echo (6)
{ MIRROR } Double definition.

Down

1d &3d  One might feel exposed in this dawn light west of rocky Uist(8,4)
{ BIRTHDAY SUIT } Another word for the dawn or beginning of something followed by ‘light’ (as in ‘not night’) to the west of (because 1d is West of 3d in crossword convention) an anagram (rocky) of UIST. Apologies to those expecting a more exciting picture!

2d           Certain muscles seen on duck that gets plucked (8)
{ ABSOLUTE } A charade of some abbreviated muscles, a cricketing duck, and an old stringed instrument.

3d           See 1 Down

5d           Nasty piece of work that calls for beautician? (4,8)
{ UGLY CUSTOMER } Someone you wouldn’t want to cross, or a client in need of a beautician’s services.

6d           Launch attack on party (4)
{ BASH } Double definition.

7d           Hit peak with this cool guitar? (3,3)
{ ICE AXE } A piece of winter mountaineering equipment made up of a verb for ‘cool’ and an informal term for guitar.

8d           Pull over half-sister and threaten to go out (6)
{ GUTTER } Reverse (over) a word meaning ‘pull’, add the second half of sis TER, for what a candle does when it is at the end of its life.

11d         ‘Sad Club’ with name like that’s dead (12)
{ DISCONSOLATE } A charade of a type of club, N ame, a two-letter word for ‘like that’, and an adjective attached to one recently deceased.

15d         Yes, marm, ignore the old creep (5)
{ SMARM } Leave out (ignore) an old-fashioned way of writing ‘the’ from (YE)S MARM.

16d         Tabloid boss blew his top (5)
{ RAGED } A pejorative term for a newspaper followed by the usual crossword abbreviation for its boss.

18d         Conclude bug is risk (8)
{ ENDANGER } Another word for conclude or finish, followed by a verb meaning to bug or annoy.

19d         Weapon spoiling inconclusive armistice (8)
{ SCIMITAR } Anagram (spoiling) of ARMISTIC(E) with the final E removed (inconclusive).

21d         Drink may turn cold, served up (6)
{ COGNAC } Reverse (served up) a phrase (3,2) meaning ‘may turn’ and  C old to get a drink distilled in western France.

22d         Sweet girl taking political leader round (3-3)
{ CUP-TIE} An informal term for sweet girl with the first letter of P olitical inside giving a fixture in a knockout competition.  I really don’t like ‘round’ as the definition for this, though it is technically correct in respect of the final.

26d         Magic cocktail lacking vermouth (4)
{ MOJO } A cocktail of rum, mint, sugar, lime juice and soda, with the abbreviation for It alian vermouth removed.

27d         Order a kir — it’s an aniseed drink (4)
{ RAKI } Anagram (order) of A KIR.


The Quick Crossword pun { EDDY }{ COCK }{RAN} ={ EDDY COCHRAN }


82 Comments

  1. pommers
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you’ve given this 3* – I would have given it 4 but that’s due to the old V6 only sparking on 4 cylinders. Not one of my favorite puzzles but kept me entertained at 6am this morning. Thanks to Mr Ron & Deep Threat

    Yippeeeeeeee drain coming out today so hopefully will be home in a couple of days when I can pester everyone some more

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Good news that you’re making progress. All the best for a continued speedy recovery.

  2. bifield
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    SW corner was my sticking point too, otherwise reasonably straightforward. Quite enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to compiler & to Deep Threat for the review.

  3. skempie
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Didn’t enjoy this one too much. Things went in fairly easily to begin with, but then the remainder seemed very bitty. I don’t like clues like 26D where you need to treat the first part of the clue as a quick crossword clue (ie having to think of a particular cocktail – I know hundereds and trying to decipher which one can be a pain in the derrière)

    On a different note, two actual, real, honest to goodness BACK PAGE crosswords in two days – have the DT seen sense at last?

  4. jezza
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    A fairly stiff challenge this morning, but by no means unsurmountable. 3.5*/3* for me.
    Thanks to setter, and to Deep Threat.

  5. Beaver
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I give this ****/***, as it was certainly difficult for a back page cryptic,hardly an easy clue in sight, i took ages for the SW corner as per Deep Threat ’till i got my mojo working!Some of the clues very clever and obscure like 1d.Looking forward to other bloggers views, thanks DT and setter.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    4*/3* for me. I got stuck in the NE corner just to be different from everyone else. I actually abandoned it with three left and went on to the Toughie befoore returning to finish it off. I did wonder if this is a Petitjean that went in the wrong envelope again. Thanks to whoever set it and Deep Threat too.

    If you are struggling with the backpager, do turn to the Toughie – it is a lot quicker to solve than the backpager and I enjoyed myself.

    • jezza
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      The NE was where I ended up too.

    • mary
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I am still struggling with the NE corner completely blank! Just called in to see if it was me or if this really is a tough one, thought 21d certainly a toughie, glad it’s not just me, I’ll perservate a little longer before giving in!

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Go and do the Toughie Mary and leave the back pager to ‘cogitate’ for a bit.

        • mary
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Maybe later sue, I feel guilty having already spent half my day on this one :-(

      • Kath
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just called in, too, to see if it’s just me! I agrre with CS – could it be a wrong envelope day?

        • Kath
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          That was a typo, not a growl which it looks more like!! :smile:

          • crypticsue
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            More often than not, your brain/fingers know what they are doing when they produce a typo :)

            • Kath
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

              I think it might have been a Freudian typo!

    • pommers
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Glad it wasn’t just me Sue. Perhaps I’m getting back to normal.

      • mary
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        A ‘normal’ pommers, now that would be nice ;-) , seriously pommers, glad you’re on the mend

  7. axe
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I am glad it was not just me having a bad day. Struggled with this, agree with CS, i found it much harder than the Toughie.

    Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review.

  8. Only fools
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Not to be outdone I got stuck in both the NE corner and the SW !
    Toughest back -pager for quite a while ,smileometer virtually redundant so 4*\2* for me .
    Thanks once again.

  9. Brenda Reding
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Like the others I found SW corner difficult, and the clues somewhat obscure to say the least, not knowing golfing terms, for one. Enjoyed the rest so thanks to Mr Ron and Deep Threat whose help proved essential to finish today

  10. gazza
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I do enjoy a Petitjean on the back page and I did like this one. As others have said it’s definitely trickier than the ‘Toughie’ – so anyone who normally steers clear of the Toughie because they think it’ll be too difficult should take this opportunity to have a go and complete one – you’ll never have a better opportunity.

    • Silveroak
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Maybe I don’t get it, but why would we be given a Back Pager harder than the ‘Toughie’? I didn’t enjoy this crossword. One of the few times I gave up with 10 clues to go. I don’t mind tough, but they have to be fun to persuade me to continue and this was just a slog. Thanks for the hints Deep Threat.

  11. pommers
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Things is looking up :grin: About 15 mins ago I became a CHEST-DRAIN-FREE ZONE :grin:

    • mary
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Hooray!

    • Colmce
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Good man, when are you off the antibiotics, after those trials and tribulations a stiff drink …or two, is called for.

    • Prolixic
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Fantastic news – CHEST DRAIN FREE ZONE must produce some wonderful anagram opportunities but you have had too many internal rearrangements to inflict another one on you :)

      • mary
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Well here’s one, it’s a bit contrived with a bit of an indirect anagram but …

        Doctor frozen cheese? It’s not commonly ordered here! (5, 5, 4, 4)

        • mary
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          An anagram of dr (doctor) frozen cheese and ain’t (it’s not commonly… I know indirect anagram) indicated by ‘ordered’

    • Kath
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      That’s brilliant news. You must be looking forward to going home and being normal again (?) SO much. :smile:
      Right – now I’m going to play the bossy ward sister again. You’ll need to take things a bit gently for longer than you think – don’t forget that you’ve been ‘proper poorly’!

    • Sheila Stenhouse
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Well done pommers, back home soon to liven up pommettes life again no doubt.

    • Heno
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Good news, wish you a speedy recovery. Don’t try and do too much too soon !

    • Nora
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Are they treating you well, Pommers? I hear lots of good things about the health service in Spain – hope it’s the case for you.

      I was stuck in SW as well and agree with others that 22 down is not a good clue.

      • pommers
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        All I can say Nora is that the staff are pleasant (and appear competant), the food’s OK, bed’s comfy and the whole place runs like clockwork. I was first examined about midnight and immediately admitted. I had the chest drain fitted in surgery at about 0200CET by a consultant surgeon. Once it became clear that it had stopped working I was back in theatre within an hour and a new one fitted. The drain(s) were there for 9 days and came out this morning as clean as a whistle.

        Compare with Stafford Hosp. I was in there for a few days about 8 years ago, spookily enough with a chest drain (but that was to do with 3 smashed ribs and a punctured/collapsed lung). Point is I was in A & E all afternoon while they faffed about what to do. I was finally admitted about 1900, which apparantly is too late to get a doctor to fit a drain so that had to wait until the following day. The drain was only there for 5 days by which time they’d given me a goodly dose of MRSA so I ended up off work for 6 weeks because the hole in my chest wouldn’t heal!

        Know where I’d rather be :grin:

        • 2Kiwis
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          So pleased you are getting back to normal pommers. The first thing we look for when we go on the blog lately is “any news about pommers”. It will be good to be able to get back to concentrating on the puzzle knowing that all is well with our antipodean mate. Cheers.

        • Nora
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Glad to hear you’re recovering so well and that you’re getting good treatment.

  12. mary
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    A lot of perservation and help from my books and electronic friends also a hint or two off DT, thank you DT, and I eventually finished this, I agree a three to four star today, some clues not making much sense in the readings, a few I liked and two favourites 15d and 25a, it’s all in the mind once again, if this had been on the toughie page I wouldn’t have perservated with it!!

    • Nora
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I did most of this on the train today, and thought I’d get SW done with help from my lovely thesaurus when I got home, but didn’t. Thank goodness for the blog.

  13. Colmce
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Two thirds of this went in with no great problems but then got bogged down and had to resort to a couple of hints to get sorted.

    Get the feeling this is an occasional setter, with more puzzles we might get on his wavelength more easily.

    Petitjean? The quick pun bears his fingerprints.

    Thanks to BT for the review and hints.

    Thanks to the setter for a hard but enjoyable puzzle.

  14. boltonbabs
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Found this very difficult. Think the back page and Toughie have been transposed. finished the latter in half the time of the former.

  15. Kath
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Phew – NOT just me then! Different people seem to have got stuck in different places and, just to be different, I got stuck absolutely everywhere. Definitely not my day.
    Eventually finished apart from needing the hint for 22d but it’s taken me ages – most of the morning on and off, if I’m totally honest. I’ve enjoyed it and thought that there were some really good clues but I did find a lot of them difficult to get going on. At least a 4* for difficulty for me.
    I spent far too long trying to make 5d an anagram of ‘nasty piece of’ and had decided that would make the first word ‘face’ . . . . oh dear!!
    I liked 4, 13 and 17a and 1 & 3, 5, 15d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron (or Petitjean) and Deep Threat.

  16. Sweet William
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Foolishly thought I was doing well in NW and SE corners then hit a wall ! Eventually finished NE corner, but I have given in and taken the hints for the SW corner. Same like many others ! Can’t just keep staring at it for ever !

    Thank you Mr Ron and DT for your review and hints without which I would have been lost.

    Great to here your news Pommers ! Take it easy now !

  17. Heno
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the hints. I couldn’t do this to save my life. Got stuck in the SW corner and elsewhere, was 15 answers short before resorting to the hints. Wouldn’t have got any of these in a million years. Had to look up the answers to 7, couldn’t even get them from the hints. Didn’t enjoy it at all. Not on the setter’s wavelength. Was 5*/1*. Favourite was 20a. Off to see the Hobbit later.

  18. gnomethang
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    SW corner for me too!. A very enjoyable puzzle in my opinion. thanks to the better and to Deep Threat .

  19. Brian
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Very tricky today, for me a four star for difficulty and only a 2 star for enjoyment.
    Too many involved clues for my liking with part anagrams and upside words. No thanks, not for me.

    • Brian
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      The more I look at this the less I like it. Can someone please explain what Cangoc is which is the reverse of cognac in 21d. And why axe for a guitar? Nothing pleasant at all about today’s puzzle for me.

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Can go (may turn ) C(old)

        Chambers says that axe is a slang term for a musical instrument – in rock music, a guitar and in jazz, a saxophone.

        Have a go at the Toughie Brian, please, it might cheer you up, miracles do happen on Tuesdays sometimes.

      • Deep Threat
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks CS. I’ve edited the hint to make it a little clearer (I hope!).

      • skempie
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        I knicked this :

        Who first called an electric guitar an ‘Axe’ and was there a reason for it?
        This is just something that has been nagging at me for the last few years and I was wondering if anyone knew who coined the term in the first place as it’s so commonly used nowadays. Thanks.
        5 years ago Report Abuse

        Aron R
        Best Answer – Chosen by Voters

        Haven’t found out who coined the term. As for why the term ‘stuck’ to the guitar (and probably also bass guitar), here’s one take on this, from ‘skongshoj’:

        http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=…

        “Apart from being a woodcutting tool and a favoured edged weapon of both Vikings and barbarians all around the Medieval world, ‘axe’ is also a slang term for an electric guitar or bass, usually used within the rock and heavy metal communities, who often like to view themselves as the modern world’s very own barbarians — and, in the case of certain Scandinavian black metal acts, its very own Vikings.

        “Gene Simmons, bass player of the Good Old Rock Band KISS, often played a bass shaped like a large double-headed battle axe with strings attached. The slang term ‘axe’ predates Simmons’ axe bass, so it is likely that the slang term was what inspired him to have this instrument built.

        “Not all guitars qualify as axes, but whether or not a guitar gets to bear the axe moniker is up to the axeman guitarist who wields plays it. Usually, your uber-cool new B.C. Rich model is an axe, whereas your old, trashed Strat copy or your pet acoustic is a shovel, perhaps even a **** shovel. Generally, your axe gradually turns into a shovel as your liking for the instrument wanes.”

        Both the Oxford English Dictionary and this listserv post note that the term “axe” originally applied to different musical instruments, such as saxophones and perhaps certain other woodwind instruments, and came out of jazz tradition. It was only over time that this slang term increasingly “stuck” to the guitar, and increasingly (but not at all exclusively) was used in a rock and heavy metal context:

        http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin…

        George Thompson: “My recollection as a jazz listener, not a player, from Boston in the early-mid 1960s, was that the word ‘axe’ was used to refer to any instrument, and certainly not just guitar, which at that time wasn’t a prominent jazz instrument. All axes were blown … As a speculation regarding the origin, I would suggest that a lumberman swings his axe. Chuck Borsos says that it is ‘not likely that someone would call a brac or zurna or bagpipe an axe.'”

        http://www.diclib.com/cgi-bin/d1.cgi?l=e…

        (Ostensibly quoting from the 11th edition of the Concise OED) “informal[:] a guitar or (in jazz) a saxophone.”

        http://groups.google.com/group/alt.guita…

        Dan Stanley: “Jazz guys in at least the 40’s, probably earlier, were calling their instruments ‘axes’. It’s not just guitars, in any case.”

        I’ve seen a couple of other posts also suggesting that this usage goes back as far as the 1940s or 1950s, but following their links didn’t reveal anything more.

        Here’s the closest assertion I’ve come across to an actual first date for use of the term for the guitar – in 1967 – although the author also attributes the first use to other instruments in 1955, which is inconsistent with several casual references to its use in the 1940s. Perhaps they mean that the first *written* use of the term “axe” for “musical instrument” that they could identify dated back to 1955?

        http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term…

        “ax/axe … Meaning ‘musical instrument’ is 1955, originally jazz slang for the saxophone; rock slang for ‘guitar’ dates to 1967.”

        Another etymology site continues along that line, with some useful additional details and speculations:

        http://www.word-detective.com/041007C.ht…

        “The use of ‘axe’ as slang for a musical instrument dates back to 1955, i.e., in the edenic pre-Kiss days. The instrument to which ‘axe’ was first applied, however, was not the guitar, but the saxophone. The logic may have been simply the ‘sax/axe’ rhyme, but another theory ties ‘axe’ to the ‘swing’ of a jazz sax player in full stride. ‘Axe’ was also later applied to the trumpet before becoming accepted as slang for the guitar, a use which has probably persisted in part because of the instrument’s resemblance to an actual axe.”

        • Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Your comment went into moderation as it had two or more hyperlinks. It’s not a problem, just part of the protection against spam comments.

          • skempie
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            Thanks BD – thought I’d done something wrong and was going to get my botty smacked

            • Even Deeper Threat
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

              The entry from the OED reads:-
              5. A musical instrument; formerly esp. a saxophone, now usu. a guitar. slang (chiefly Jazz and Rock Music).

              1955 L. Feather Encycl. Jazz (1956) 345 Ax, axe, horn, instrument (usually saxophone).
              1956 O. Duke Sideman ii. 25 You wanta make it with me tonight? Bring your ax, man, blow some.
              1962 ‘E. McBain’ Like Love vii. 100 The musical jargon of Hip..‘he peddled the ax to buy the junk, so now he can’t blow anyway.’
              1967 Melody Maker 23 Dec. 8/5 ‘For Pete’s sake Ali you’re on now, this minute…’ ‘Listen, man. Don’t have my axe, man.’
              1969 Rolling Stone 17 May 8/4 While Keith bashes madly on the drums,..Pete Townsend disposes of his axe with good natured dispatch.
              1976 New Musical Express 12 Feb. 37/3 There’s not the slightest hint of killer axe interplay or dazzling musical cut and thrust.
              1982 Sounds 11 Dec., As a flashing axe, it takes some beating.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

                Welcome to the blog Even Deeper Threat

                Related to today’s blogger by any chance?

                • Even Deeper Threat
                  Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

                  How did you guess?

                  I’m the one with access to the on-line OED and Times archive.

                  • Only fools
                    Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

                    Try googling “woodshedding”

                    • Even Deeper Threat
                      Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

                      After looking it up in the OED, I was debating whether or not to follow your suggestion. But fortunately meaning (a) does not seem to have survived into current use.

              • Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

                I’ve got an ancient copy of one of Leonard Feather’s Jazz Encyclopedias tucked away somewhere!

        • Derek
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          I always find it very interesting and also educational to read these comments – remember that in ten day’s time I shall enter my 90th. year of existence but at all ages we may always learn more!

      • axe
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Please keep your plectrums to yourselves.

  20. Merusa
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I had to give up eventually. I was stuck on top RH and bottom LH corners. Not being a camper, didn’t know 10a, nor that 8d meant a candle going out. I guess I am just not familiar with the lingo of this crossword. Nice workout, though.

    • steve_the_beard
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      The lingo comes with time, so make a note of those new ones as you go along. In the meantime just relax, go with the flow and enjoy the camaraderie of this rather wonderful website :-)

  21. Big Boab
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Got to the paper late again today due to Grandpa duties and then taking my better half to see Quartet ( wonderful film ). I too got stuck in the SW for a wee while, many thanks to Petitjean and to Deep Threat, super crossword and entertaining review. Toughie was a dawdle.

  22. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    We found this one the toughest back-pager in living memory! Got stuck in both the NE and SW corners and probably would have given up and waited for the review this morning. But no! Pride would not let a back-pager beat us so even called in a bit of electronic help and finished, in about four times as long as the Toughie had taken.
    Thanks Mr Ron and DT.

  23. Ian
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    A 4* for difficulty for me. I liked 2d, but thought 26 and 27d needed obscure knowledge too far for my liking. Thanks to all, great to hear Pommer’s news

  24. Annidrum
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I actually had a good feeling of wellbeing today until I failed so miserably with this! It’s very reassuring that many of you also found it difficult. Many thanks to Deep Threat as I surely needed you today. I don’t feel like thanking the setter as I was left so demoralised!!! Having said that I have enjoyed some of Petitjean’s back pagers.
    Good News Pommers.

  25. marcus brown
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t enjoy either crossword today. No nice flow. Solving was a chore rather than a pleasure

  26. Derek
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Solved this puzzle earlier on today but didn’t blog as got involved with other people in the apartment block where I live re parking cars in the back yard.

    Faves today were : 17a & 5d.

    Re 17a – I remember this chair adornment from my my maternal grandfather’s house in Leeds!

    Re 5d – most of us could do with a facial clean-up from time to time!

    Oh to be young again!!!

    • andy
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      17A, i have ancient relatives who still use them, I used to think they were mad, but I have settees / sofas etc I put throws on, I guess for the same reasons they did!!

  27. Little Dave
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Tricky tricky tricky. Have never heard of 17a. 4* for me. Going for a lie down.

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      We still have some 17a which belonged to my mother in law sitting in a drawer somewhere. Not sure what we are keeping them for, but you know how it is when you put stuff away, it just gets left there ‘just in case’.

  28. angel
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Northeast and southwest too hard and the rest just a slog with no “oh, yes” qualities. Hope this is not an indication of things to come with a new (?) setter.

  29. una
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    ****/*, for me .right hand corner went in immediately, though I could’nt tell you how.It was some non logical part of the brain.NE and SW blank ! Glad to hear you are on the mend, Pommers. Thanks to Deep Threat and setter.

    • una
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      I meant left hand corner.Similar navigational difficulties driving up from Bournemouth to Bristol as in Mr Uno”which right do you mean?”.The glimpse of Bath was worth it .

  30. Poppy
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Still struggling with just two to go. Really needed and grateful for this site. Thanks to Deep Threat and Setter. Now where did I put that ice pack….

  31. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    After yesterday’s delight this was dreadful. Got no answers in NE or SW corners.
    Could the Telegraph name the setter, so that I don’t waste my time attempting a crossword if it’s a Petitjean?

  32. Poppy
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Finished at last with a lot of help. Thank you. Didn’t help myself by thinking 25a was tort (as contained in the wording of the clue).

    • Kath
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes – me too for 25a although, as there was no indication that it was one of the middle-of–the-clue type answers, I only put it in very lightly and was prepared to change my mind quickly. Just as well really . . .

  33. andy
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    can’t say much else, but will admit to finding 24a my d’oh of the day. Cheers DT and setter

  34. steve_the_beard
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Yea, verily, the Sun did shine as I happily rode my motorcycle into work, revelling in the clement weather. After a busy morning I could take only a short break for lunch, but bold was I as I neared the crossword, for it was Tuesday, a day famous for personal best times, and I felt good!

    How are the mighty fallen! And me too, today…

    At lunch I spent two-star time on it and still had eight left!

    Being a obstinate so-and-so, I brought it home and ground my way through it this evening. Having defeated the at-least-four-star stinker, I poured myself a draught and adjourned to the gentle surroundings of bigdave44.com. Aah, bliss.

    • mary
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      :-) very poetic

      • Steve_the_beard
        Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Can you tell that I have kissed the Blarney Stone? :-)

  35. Barbara
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    From where I live in South Africa, we are published 3 weeks after you. Found this really tough 4*, especially 1D and 3D. Glad you are on the mend Pommers.
    Enjoy your blog when I’m really stuck.

    • Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Barbara