DT 27126

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27126

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

There are some topical clues in this very enjoyable puzzle. Do let us know what you made of it.
If you need to see an answer (which probably means that my hints are not good enough!) just highlight what’s between the curly brackets under the clue. If you’re accessing the blog from a mobile device there are some pointers on how to do this in the FAQ.

Across Clues

1a  High positions for Sun-follower politicians (12)
{PROMONTORIES} – start with a preposition meaning for or in favour of, then add what follows SUN (and precedes TUE) and some right-wing British politicians.

9a  Attend, being exhausted (4)
{BEAT} – if split (2,2) this is a phrasal verb meaning to attend.

10a  Bloggers en masse? Only half seem grown up, sadly (9)
{NEWSGROUP} – could Giovanni be referring to us? He surely could (though ‘half’ may be erring on the optimistic side!). It’s an anagram (sadly) of SE(em) and GROWN UP.

12a  Pieces of music being performed in practice sessions (6)
{NONETS} – an adverb meaning being performed or staged goes inside practice sessions for cricketers.

13a  Finish in German city that’s more fashionable (8)
{TRENDIER} – a synonym for finish inside an old German city on the river Moselle.

15a  Launches fantastic reductions (10)
{INTRODUCES} – an anagram (fantastic) of REDUCTIONS.

16a  It’s better avoided by one who doesn’t want alcohol (4)
{BEER} – an excellent all-in-one clue. Take the abbreviation for an abstainer out of ‘better’.

18a  Atmosphere by far side of the river (4)
{AIRE} – a word for atmosphere is followed by the end letter (far side) of (th)E to make the name of the river that flows through Leeds.

20a  Underwater explorers sink at sea — several (4-6)
{SKIN-DIVERS} – an anagram (at sea) of SINK is followed by an archaic adjective meaning more than one.

23a  Like many a noble type‘s greeting, conveyed audibly (4-4)
{HIGH-BORN} – two homophones (audibly) – firstly a greeting and then a past participle meaning conveyed or carried.

24a  Celebrate having left spouse finally, becoming this? (6)
{SINGLE} – a verb to celebrate musically is followed by L(eft) and the final letter of (spous)E.

26a  Work’s ending at four — with story going round that’s gossipy (9)
{TALKATIVE} – another word for a story goes round a) the end letter of (wor)K, b) AT (from the clue) and c) the Roman numeral for four.

27a  I lose hope with couple leaving — a fateful day! (4)
{IDES} – this is the day in the Roman calendar corresponding to 15th March, the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC (and of course it’s today’s date – if you’re solving this from the Telegraph rather than a syndicated copy). Start with a phrase meaning ‘I lose hope’ (1,7) then take out the space and drop the word for a couple.

28a  Central beach could offer total freedom (5,7)
{CARTE BLANCHE} – an anagram (could offer) of CENTRAL BEACH.

Down Clues

2d  Helping to keep old books moving around (8)
{ROTATION} – a helping or quota containing (to keep) the first set of books in the Bible.

3d  What gives fellow energy? Certainly in the case of Samson! (4)
{MANE} – a synonym for fellow followed by E(nergy). A semi-all-in-one where the whole clue is the definition.

4d  A port that could be Salerno (3,7)
{NEW ORLEANS} – a few years ago it would have been rare to see a clue like this on the back page but we are getting more and more of them. It’s what I call a reverse anagram where the indicator and fodder are in the answer rather than in the clue. If you solve the anagram here you’ll end up with SALERNO.

5d  Things heard in church making gran so screwed up (6)
{ORGANS} – a more conventional anagram (screwed up) of GRAN SO.

6d  I complete story about Saint to be used in worship (7)
{IDOLISE} – start with a phrase (1,2) meaning ‘I complete’ (shopping or homework, for example) then add a fabricated story containing the single-letter abbreviation for saint.

7d  What will give you wonderful lawns? These folk will offer information (12)
{SUPERGRASSES} – these folk offer information to the police which should lead to the arrest of many of their criminal colleagues. If split as (5,7) it could be what you have on your lawns.

8d  Bit of food that has fish served up after gym (6)
{PEANUT} – the abbreviation for gymnastics is followed by a reversal (served up, in a down clue) of a common fish.

11d  I can’t hit a pet — somehow that would be hostile (12)
{ANTIPATHETIC} – an anagram (somehow) of I CAN’T HIT A PET.

14d  ‘Kill, burn!’, he explodes in battle (6,4)
{BUNKER HILL} – this is the name of a battle in the American War of Independence. It’s an anagram (explodes) of KILL BURN HE.

17d  I am at home getting stuck into bowl in sink (8)
{DIMINISH} – the contracted form of ‘I am’ and an adverb meaning at home get stuck inside a type of bowl.

19d  Soldier to pull up, having got back outside (7)
{REGULAR} – a verb meaning to pull or drag gets reversed (up) and outside it we need a synonym for the back or hindmost part.

21d  Little bird to nibble, full of endless joy (6)
{EAGLET} – this bird is little compared to its parents but quite large compared to most other birds. A verb to nibble or consume contains (full of) a word meaning joy without its final E (endless).

22d  Fiery sailor needs to take it easy (6)
{ABLAZE} – a charade of an abbreviation for sailor and a verb to do very little or take it easy.

25d  Report of prominent Lib Dem being cut down (4)
{HEWN} – this was my last answer and I mentally went through many Lib Dems before getting to this one (I suppose I wasn’t really expecting quite so topical a clue). The answer sounds like (report of) the name of the disgraced ex-cabinet minister who was sentenced only this week to spend some time at Her Majesty’s pleasure. An excellent clue.

I really enjoyed this puzzle and it has some top-rate clues, of which I’ll pick out 10a, 16a and 25d as favourites. Which ones grabbed your attention?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {KNIGHT} + {MAYORS} = {NIGHTMARES}

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85 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    3*/4* for me, with a couple of clues that I had to come back to later, to finish. 25d was also my last answer in; not the first Lib Dem that springs to mind.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    With the toughie done, I’ll have to find something else to do at work for the next 3 hours before time to go home!

    • gazza
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      How do you cope with the relentless pressure, Jezza? :D

      • Jezza
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        With difficulty gazza! I do try and get most of the work duties out of the way between 9.00 and five past, to allow time for less frivolous activity. Back to the last few pages of The Gropes by Tom Sharpe… :)

        • gazza
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          … very disappointing Tom Sharpe book, IMHO (nowhere near as funny as his earlier books).

          • Brian
            Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            Personally I think he lost the plot after the Misfit!

          • Balliejames
            Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Agreed, riotous assembly and Wilt did me serious damage!

    • mary
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      25d wasn’t actually my last in, amazing :-)

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      My advice to Jezza is to get to work as late as possible and then leave early to make up for it. it worked for me for five years.

  2. skempie
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. 25D took me ages going through as many Lib Dems as I could think of (about 3) and then looking for other possibilities, D’Oh – incidentally, in Gazza’s picture, doesn’t he look like he’s just been bonked on the nose by a camera.

  3. mary
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Good morning gazza, I really enjoyed this one today although I didn’t find it that easy and needed your help for 9a,12a & 8d, a three star for me, lots of clues i enjoyed, fav clues 16a and 4d, thought these very clever, also liked 15, 24, 26, 27 across, thanks for the help gazza, off to lunch with sister-in-law now, see you all later, I found this very doable albeit with lots of perservation :-) It’s raining :-(

  4. Colmce
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Morning Gazza thanks for the review needed to explain some of the word play.

    Really struggled with this one, the four letter answers giving lots of grief, once again my solving time better measured with a calendar than a watch.

    Saying that, really enjoyed it, thought it was cleverly clued with just enough sitters and anagrams to give me a way in.

    Loved the Huhne reference.

    Thanks to the setter.

  5. graham
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    My first read through only revealed two answers but i carried on and when 1A went in they started to flow.Liked 25D who used to be my MP never did like the chap wonder how he will fair at hmp.thanks to gazzer for a splendid review,have a great weekend one & all.

  6. Sheepdog
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Apropos your visual clue to 27A – I read recently that the ‘infamy’ joke came from Muir and Norden and that the Carry On team borrowed it (or stole it or bought it).

    • gazza
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I read that as well. If I remember correctly they also supplied the ‘O puer, O puer’ joke – so that’s the best two Carry On jokes accounted for.

      • Sheepdog
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Oh boy, I didn’t know that

        • gazza
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          I’ve been trying to find some evidence that Muir and Norden also supplied the “o puer, o puer” line as well, without success – so I may have been wrong on that.

  7. nubian
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It probably is me but the quality of clues seems to be going downhill as well as the Telegraph Crossword website. Half lines of clues and not saving etc all add up to a not very enjoyable experience. I wish I could be more positive but I’m not having that sense of achievement I used to get mainly because I finish most puzzles in despair. Today is no exception.
    Thanks to Gazza for the hints

  8. Chris
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable. My only hang up was misspelling 1A and not being able to work out how ‘men’ fitted in the clue. Surprisingly, since I’m much more up on US politicans these days, 25D came to me quite quickly and ended up being my favorite. Thanks to Gazza for the hint for 1A (and, of course, the illustrations – always fun) and to the setter.

  9. Only fools
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this .No problem with 25d but slower in NW corner generally and last one in was actually 9a for which I now feel appropriately thick ,!
    Agree with the rating .
    Thanks very much .

  10. Poppy
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Surprisingly (to me) I really enjoyed this in spite of needing lots of perseveration to finish. Really struggled with the same ones as Mary – 9 & 12a and 8d. But loved 16a and 25d made me smile. So 3.5 / 4* for me today. Thank you to the setter, and to Gazza for some delightful hints – although my preference would have been for another image for 20a! :-) Do hope Kath isn’t getting rained out in London today. Off to an Art Exhibition this evening. Has anyone seen Arbitrage?

    • Brian
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Don’t look, it’s a treat for the boys :-)

      • Poppy
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        :-)

    • Kath
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Poppy – no, not rained off in London – home now and so rained off in Oxford!

      • Poppy
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Oh no! But do hope you had a super time with family :-)

        • Kath
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, thanks, we did. Lovely evening with them all – in fact everything was great until this morning – see later comment! :sad:

  11. Domus
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Difficult but fun.At last a correct rating ***/**** Thanks to all.

  12. Beaver
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    After the first read,i thought the puzzle was going to be like an old Friday’s ,but once started it fell into place,bottom half first, agree with the***/****.Thanks Gazza for explaining the ‘mon’ bit of 1a,thought that it must be something to do with an Egyptian sun god like Amun Ra -well not quite!. Can’t remember seeing the 11d answer in print,just as well it was an anagram.Thanks Gazza for the topical picks,remember now why i started diving.O peur , O peur doesn’t ring a bell as a carry on line, memory fading.

    • Kath
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I ran into trouble with the ‘mon’ bit too.

      • Poppy
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        So did I, and spent far too long on trying to think of constellations, sun spots, and astronomy terms. Ridiculous!

  13. crypticsue
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the ratings, the favourites and so thank you to both Gs.

  14. Nigel Baker
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    All went fairly straight forward until the SW corner – Struggled with 22a (homophones again!). One or two very nice clues; 25 d a bit more up to date than the Lance Armstrong clue yesterday. All in all I agree with the BD rating. Many Thanks to all.

  15. Gardenman
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    A nice, fun crossword today, but 9 across completely fooled us both as despite it being the wrong tense we had ‘WENT’ as the answer – d’oh! Liked clues 2, 8 down & 26 across though.

  16. Brian
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Tougher than the Maestros for a while but very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Never heard of 12a before but best clue by far for me was 7d although 16a ran it a very close second.
    Needed Gazzas excellent hints for a couple in the pesky lower left corner so Thx for that and of course to the Don for making up for yesterday’s indescribable ****.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Well I suppose I was optimistic to think it would last…but I suppose we did get to comment 16 before any *** appeared.

      http://bigdave44.com/2013/03/13/toughie-943/#comment-166751

      is worth reading by all those wishing to make negative or derogatory comments about puzzles, before they put fingers to keyboard.

    • Brian
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      In my defence I would say that they were my asterisks not BDs.
      I would certainly agree that there is no place for personal derogatory remarks but one has to be a little wary of censoring people’s opinions of the offerings. After all, they are the customers of the DT and if they really have a problem with anything that appears in the paper, they must be given the right, within the limits of decency and legatilty to express that opinion. I am fearful that the right to free speech has been already severely eroded in the UK but that is probably the result of that right being abused by prejudice. I am old enough to remember in my youth the signs in rented accommodation reading No Blacks and No Irish! Thank The Lord that those days are gone forever!
      BTW Do you think that 10a in today’s puzzle is the Dons way of commenting on this weeks happenings?

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I know the asterisks were yours but I had the hope that today’s posts would all be of a more friendly nature than the rest of the week

        I think the problem with commenting on puzzles is that these days it is all too instant. In the old days, if one had a problem with a crossword, one wrote a letter, which went to the paper, eventually reached the desk of the crossword editor and might reach the setter several weeks later, by which time the person who wrote the letter had long forgotten the puzzle and what his/her problem was with it. These days one’s views are instantly available with no chance for reflection or reconsideration.

        Today’s puzzle would have been agreed a while ago so I personally think that the inclusion of 10a in today’s puzzle is pure chance.

        • Brian
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          You are quite right, it’s an age of instant gratification and to hell with the consequences! I’m not sure about others but with me it’s the frustration and disappointment when faced with a puzzle you were hoping to enjoy only to find it pretty nigh incomprehensible. The temptation to lash out and the ease with which to do it is sometimes very hard to resist when a little thought would produce a more considered reaction. Being no more than a competent puzzler, I do get frustrated when the DT publishes two difficult puzzles on the same day leaving nothing for the less experienced.

          • crypticsue
            Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

            Instead of putting down the puzzle and immediately posting on the blog, why not send yourself an email and get a lot of your frustration ‘out’ that way. You might even find by the time you return to the puzzle that your subconscious grey matter might have solved a clue for you while you weren’t looking – that’s what happens with me with difficult puzzles – with Bannsider in the Indy (who for me sets some of the toughest possible puzzles) this process can take up to three days (!) but I get there in the end.

            As Brian Greer (Virgilius) said in his post the other day, there are ways of expressing one’s frustration at a puzzle/clue/setter which are constructive and helpful without causing any distress to anyone. (That last sentence isn’t specifically directed at any single commenter but is something we should all take note of)

            • Brian
              Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

              An interesting strategy but ultimately fruitless in getting over ones point of view. What I have taken to doing is not posting when I think there is a problem until much later in the day. However, at my age I know that I will never become much better but I am very content with the non Toughie (back or inside page) puzzles. I do crosswords for fun not as a penance. For those such as yourself who wish to pit their wits against the fiendish, then could I respectfully suggest that this is the role of the Toughie not the back page.

          • Gardenman
            Posted March 16, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            I couldn’t have expressed that sentiment better, Brian. I made a comment some weeks ago (which I later very much regretted posting) after I’d completed the ‘Toughie’ for only the second or third time in my life. Most of the time I find many of the Toughie clues totally incomprehensible and so after having read comments from some solvers who had found it so very, almost effortlessly easy on the one occasion that I’d just congratulated myself for solving one inside a couple of hours, just wound me up. I have since completed yesterday’s (Friday) Toughie too – yaaaaaaaaaay :-)

  17. BigBoab
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable near back pager, my thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his immaculate review.

  18. spindrift
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    If the young lady in 20a is wearing the T-shirt because of sun burn then I would be more than happy to rub the Nivea into her sore bits…almost back on form Gazza!

  19. Sweet William
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle and Gazza for your review. Although I did finish without your hints I did need to look at your hint for 1a to discover that Monday followed Sunday ! One learns something new every day reading this blog ! Liked 25d – how apt that this puzzle appeared in the week that Mr H was invited to stay for a short while by Her Majesty. Grim up North – its rained all day.

    • gazza
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I imagine that the puzzle had been compiled with today in mind (because of 27a) so the timing of Mr H’s imprisonment was probably just a happy coincidence,

  20. SheilaP
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Good puzzle, thanks to setter & Gazza,who’s clues are very helpful to people like my hubby & me who need to rely on quite a lot of help. We find some hinters easier to follow than others, but I’m reluctant to say who we find not so helpful in case we upset Mr. BD.!!!

  21. Senf
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Relatively enjoyable. Got off to a slow start before lights out last night. Thanks to Gazza for help this morning and to Giovanni for the puzzle. Must remember to get Boddingtons and Stilton this afternoon for consumption during the decider tomorrow!

  22. Merusa
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I am finding it very difficult, a real workout. I’ll have to get back to it after I return from PT when I hope my brain will be turned on.

  23. alan
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Tom Sharpe was my English teacher at prep school…

    • Balliejames
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I feel old, he went to the same school as me!

  24. Miffypops
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    A nice workout which led to the bathwater getting a little chilly. I want to watch The Gold Cup from Cheltenham but Mrs C-S (not crypticsue) has gone to her mothers and the TV is playing a DVD and I don’t know how to stop it. I may have to watch in the pub. I can make that telly work. Yes – Pathetic am I not?

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t we call her Mrs M-P ?

      And the answer to your final question is – probably!!

    • spindrift
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      On board with you on how to make the TV work! Mrs S and I have an arrangement where I get to watch my programmes in the study while she has the humongous one in the living room to watch (mostly) American films & TV series.

      Asking me how to turn her TV on and the sound system on would be like asking me to fix my own computer. Get the eldest boy around!

  25. Steve_the_beard
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I read the clue for 10A and felt rather sad…

    • spindrift
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Me too. How poignant.

    • Annidrum
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes ,me too.

  26. una
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I join the ranks of the purged, due to what I feel was perplexing interference with valid remarks and were in no way critical of any setter.:-( Kindly remove your cookies.

    • Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Nothing at all perplexing. Your remarks were not valid and were entirely inappropriate for this site. I appreciate that you didn’t initiate the subject, but I asked politely for it to be dropped. You chose to ignore my request and left me with no alternative.

      My policy on comments is fairly relaxed, so please don’t abuse it. Any repetition will result in you being blocked from leaving any future comments.

      By the way, cookies are an integral part of the fabric of this site and I can’t remove them. If you don’t like it then you can invoke an option in your browser to remove them.

  27. Heno
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the two G’s, once again a terrific puzzle from Giovanni, so many clever constructs. Managed it all ok except for getting the second word of 23a wrong, I had Earl, my fault for missing the second homophone, once I had the correct solution I was able to complete the puzzle by getting 22d. Was 3*/4* for me. Favourites were all of them, but especially 16a and 25d. Getting ready for going up north near Keswick for a week’s walking, but tweaked my knee yesterday while playing squash !

    • Poppy
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Hope you have a brilliant time, Heno, in spite of a tweaked knee. I love the walking in that area – and imagine that Wordsworth might have actually crossed the bridge into Brundholme Woods. And I’ve often seen deer on the old railway line walk…. Kath might like to give some of hers train tickets, one way, if her new fencing isn’t keeping them away from her snowdrops. But I imagine you probably go in for the real walking :-)

      • Kath
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        :smile:

      • Heno
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Poppy, I always enjoy it in the Lake District, the hotel is next to Skiddaw and Scafell Pike is on my list, knee permitting.

        • Sweet William
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Have a good time – hope the weather is kind. We always enjoy our trips up there to see the Ospreys at Bassenthwaite. We usually stay at The Castle Inn – a bit cheaper than The Pheasant !

  28. eXternal
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Nobody does it better, a brilliant and precise puzzle. Thanks the two Gs. 16a is a belter

    • mary
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi eXternal, long time no see :-)

      • eXternal
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Mary. Been busy setting and not getting much solving done (ones I have been solving tend to be Indy at the moment). But I love Giovanni’s puzzles, so like to at least do a Friday DT

  29. Rosie G
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for hints, needed a few today, but very enjoyable. Would love to get it done by 11 as many of you seem to do but don’t seem to find time until well after lunch – and I am retired! Must prioritise more

  30. Kath
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    A brilliant and very enjoyable puzzle – also very difficult, I thought. Maybe I’m just suffering from ‘late night fuzz’! ****/**** from me today.
    Most of the four letter word answers took me ages, as did 1a, 10a . . . . actually, most of the top half, and didn’t get 7d for a long time either.
    Anyway, eventually finished and only needed the hint to explain the ‘mon’ in 1a.
    I liked 10 and 20a and 4d (even though I had it somewhere in my head that reverse anagrams were kept for Toughies) 7, 11 and 25d. For some reason the surface reading of 5d gave me the giggles!
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.
    I’m not very popular today – when we got to Marylebone this morning to come back to Oxford we discovered that I’d ditched our return tickets rather than the ones used yesterday to get to London. Oh dear! :roll: and :sad: and :oops: and seriously in the dog house.

  31. Catherine
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Loved this puzzle! 4d is my favourite type of clue. Thanks Gazza and Giovanni.

  32. Qix
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    The usual top-notch stuff from Giovanni.

    I suspect that he rather enjoyed writing 10a, although newsgroups are not really the same thing as blogs.

  33. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We had to resort Wikipedia to confirm that the answer that we had worked out for a river in 18a did actually exist, and also needed confirmation of how “mon” worked in 1a.
    Another brilliant Friday puzzle.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  34. Annidrum
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the ratings and needed gazza’s hint for 1a after which the last few fell into place. Thanks to G& g.

  35. marcus brown
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Crypticsue for the link to the comments. I was fascinated to read from Phil Mcneill of Excalibur’s background. No wonder I love her puzzles

  36. Derek
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle from the Don!

    Faves : 1a, 13a, 27a, 28a, 3d, 7d, 14d & 22d.

    14d was easy for me as my son lives in Boston MA!
    For 18a, I first put in aura and later thought that this was no river – it then struck me as I was born in Leeds!!

    Weather here today : AM and much of early afternoon light snow which did not settle then a clear period so time to go to the supermarket for weekend basics.

    Lunch was a stuffed paprica washed down with half a bottle of Lime & Mortar from Espagna.

    When is this winter going to end?

  37. Doodah
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Took a long time to get on the setter’s wavelength but really enjoyed it when I did! Loved 16a and 25d really made me smile. Thanks to setter and site.

  38. Outnumbered
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Last seven clues took ages to finish. Four letter words blank-vowel-blank-consonant always take me forever,.. 28a stumped me for a long time as I couldn’t make an English phrase fit. Doh!

    • gazza
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Outnumbered,
      You’ve changed your email address so that means you’ve been given a different avatar (since the avatar is linked to your email address).

  39. Little Dave
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable. 25d very topicsl.

  40. Sarah
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Found this rather difficult. Needed your hint to explain 1 across … and got 18 across wrong (I’d put AURA, although it didn’t make sense). Really liked 4 down and 27 across. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  41. ARgibbo
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    A real stinker! Solved it in two sessions. 3D and 1A were my last two clues. 16A and 4D were very well crafted. Still don’t get the Samson reference in 3D. Best look it up eh?

  42. Amanda
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else notice that the Quickie is a pangram?

  43. Amanda
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone else notice that the Quickie is a pangram?

    • gazza
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Giovanni quite often produces a Quickie which is a pangram on Fridays.

  44. Franco
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    For Mary!

    Well Done Wales!

    • Franco
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Ooops! Posted on the wrong page! Yesterday – I was certain that England would win!