DT 27144

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27144

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

For the last few weeks Giovanni has shown his gentler side but today he’s given us a more substantial problem to tackle. Even so there are some pretty easy clues interspersed with the trickier ones to get us started. I found it very enjoyable but I anticipate, after yesterday’s avalanche of complaints, that not everyone will agree. Do let us know how you got on.
If you want to see an answer you’ll have to highlight the gap between the curly brackets under the clue. If you’re accessing the blog from a mobile device there are some hints on how to do this in the FAQ.

Across Clues

1a  Drunk uses straw? That’s a bit irritating! (6)
{SHUCKS} – drinks liquid through a straw (but the way a drunken person may say it).

5a  Isolated Greek character in society role (3,5)
{SET APART} – the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet is inserted between S(ociety) and a theatrical role.

9a  Give cheeky response? It’s part of Andrew’s nature! (6,4)
{ANSWER BACK} – the first word that we need is hidden (part of) in the clue, but it’s reversed (and that’s what the second word tells us).

10a  Fortune — not half! — made by cheat in game (4)
{LUDO} – the first half of a word meaning fortune or fate is followed by a verb meaning to cheat or hoax.

11a  Jump from island with exclamation of triumph (8)
{CAPRIOLE} – this (a new word to me) is a type of leap in ballet or dressage. An island off the west coast of Italy is followed by a Spanish exclamation of triumph.

12a  Religious types contributing to British industry (6)
{HINDUS} – hidden (contributing to) in the clue.

13a  One may be found on head (4)
{TOPI} – an all-in-one clue. The Roman numeral for one goes after (on, in an across clue) a word meaning head or summit to make a hat designed to shade the wearer’s head and face from the sun.

15a  It’s tricky to demean a worm (8)
{NEMATODE} – an anagram (tricky) of TO DEMEAN.

18a  Always tucking into cod maybe, being slightly ill (8)
{FEVERISH} – insert a synonym for always into what cod is an example of.

19a  Name given to poem making a sort of point (4)
{NODE} – N(ame) followed by a lyric poem.

21a  Grass to have a bad effect on sheep (6)
{MARRAM} – this is a type of coarse grass used on the coast to bind loose sand and prevent erosion. A verb to have a bad effect on or impair is followed by a male sheep.

23a  Across lake, it’s seriously stony (8)
{GRAVELLY} – an adverb meaning seriously or solemnly goes around (across) L(ake).

25a  Foreigner deprived of a legal right (4)
{LIEN} – deprive a foreigner of his initial A.

26a  Walk round — policy that could give one bodily exercise (10)
{TRAMPOLINE} – this is a charade of a verb to walk heavily, the letter that is round and a word meaning policy or course of action.

27a  Woman with things to sell suddenly (8)
{UNAWARES} – a woman’s name (at least one of our regular commenters will have no trouble with this one) followed by articles offered for sale.

28a  Fish in river that enters lake (6)
{TARPON} – having got all the checking letters this looked like it should be turbot but in fact it’s a very large herring-like fish which can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 280 lbs. Insert an Italian river in a small mountain lake.

Down Clues

2d  Dye found in lichen naturally (5)
{HENNA} – hidden (found) in the clue.

3d  Lacking of courage when Noel is skating, it seems? (9)
{COWARDICE} – the playwright could be performing on a rink. ‘Lacking of courage’ seems rather awkward – I wonder why Giovanni didn’t use ‘lack of courage’ or ‘lacking courage’?

4d  Thus resistance precedes quarrel and sadness (6)
{SORROW} – string together a synonym for thus, R(esistance) and a quarrel or tiff.

5d  A gent with rakishness, terribly unfaithful type (5,2,3,5)
{SNAKE IN THE GRASS} – an anagram (terribly) of A GENT RAKISHNESS.

6d  Like earnings put into the house? (4-4)
{TAKE-HOME} – this is a description of what’s left of your pay after tax and other bits and pieces have been deducted. With a space instead of the hyphen it could mean to bring into one’s house.

7d  What sounds like heap on tall structure (5)
{PYLON} – this sounds like a heap followed by ON.

8d  Left-winger getting ‘arrassed returned (9)
{REDOUNDED} – the colourful description given to a Communist or left-winger is followed by a past participle meaning harassed or harried but with its initial H dropped to match the clue. I think that the surplus R in ‘arrassed is just a typo.

14d  Surgery seen as possible choice over time (9)
{OPERATION} – a possible choice contains a long period of time. In a down clue ‘over’ usually means on top of or followed by, but here it’s being used in the sense of going across.

16d  Underground worker Helen needs air circulating round, right? (9)
{TUNNELLER} – start with a nickname for Helen and put an air or melody around it, then finish with R(ight).

17d  Celebrity flirts with a maiden initially — naughty! (4,4)
{FILM STAR} – an anagram (naughty) of FLIRTS A and M(aiden).

20d  Friend upset over cat perhaps in a wee flap (6)
{LAPPET} – reverse a friend and follow this (over, here used to mean followed by) with what a domestic cat is an example of. The result is a small fold or flap hanging down (another word I’d never heard of).

22d  With our enjoyable vacation finally over we’ll turn up and begin again (5)
{RENEW} – take the final letters of ouR enjoyablE vacatioN. When you’ve done that (i.e. that’s over) reverse (turn up, in a down clue) WE.

24d  Language of love undermining Heather (5)
{LINGO} – the letter that looks like zero or love in tennis scoring follows (undermining, in a down clue) a type of (falsely capitalised) heather.

My favourite clues today were 1a, 9a, 13a and 3d. What took your fancy?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {LEAVERS} + {LOAN} = {LEAVE US ALONE}





  1. Roger
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and eminently solvable. Needed a little electronic help for the last few and a couple of new words to boot (same as Gazza and so in good company!). Thanks to both.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    ****/* Although there were a few very nice clues, I hated this today. It was well over my difficulty level, a lot of the answers are words I have never heard of before, and there was a lot of what seems to me to be convoluted cluing. 1a is horrible!

    I did get 28a correct but didn’t put it in as the same word for the fish is also a lake so I couldn’t make any sense of the clue until I read Gazza’s hint. Similarly I got 10a correct but the clue was too obscure for me to understand why. Thanks again Gazza. I would have been screaming without your review.

    Roll on the weekend…

  3. pommers
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I wondered if this might have been put in the wrong envelope and was meant to be a Toughie!

    Very enjoyable though so thanks to the two G’s.

    • Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      If you think this should have been a Toughie, you had better give today’s Toughie a very wide berth!

      • spindrift
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Forewarned is forearmed. I have the BRB, Chamber’s solver’s dictionary, Mrs B’s books, the Psycho machine and Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

        I will probably fall at the first hurdle despite my reinforcements. Wish me luck & see you on the other side if we’re spared.

  4. gnomethang
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Some say Italian river….
    Certainly a tricky puzzle in places – TURBOT got overwritten in very dark ink! Thanks to gazza and Giovanni.

    • Kath
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t even going to mention the river! :smile:

    • Franny
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I had that turbot too. Even found a Tubot Cove which I hoped might do for a lake!

      • Heno
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        I had turbot too, and I googled Tubot :-)

    • spindrift
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      There will be some head scratching among our newer readers about the references to the river which moves around Europe depending on the blogger…

      • Kath
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t even always in Europe – sometimes a lot further afield! :smile:

    • gnomethang
      Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Just to add – TARN is well known to me (as it should be to every crossword solver in my opinion) and I will say no more about the River!
      I still can’t see how I left TURBOT in for so long….

  5. Brian
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The lowest score I have ever given to a Giovanni. It should be the a toughie AGAIN.
    Managed half but puzzles of this difficulty have no place on the back page IMHO.
    Someone at the DT has really decided this week that the puzzles should only be for the experts and the rest of us can go hang!

    • Peter
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      I can only but agree with you. An impossible week, so far.

    • Heno
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      I think the puzzles are getting harder, it seems to be over about the last three weeks. Either that or my solving skills have gone into reverse :-)

      • Mudflap
        Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        For “harder” I think we should read “obscure”. It’s somebody called Giovanni, eh? I wish each crossword had the “name” of the compiler attached, so that we have the choice of ignoring them, before wasting paper and ink in printing them out!

        • crypticsue
          Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          If it helps, Giovanni sets the back page (or the inside back page these days) puzzle every Friday. If you have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions tab above, you will find a guide to the setters of the back page puzzles.

  6. graham
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I found this much more gentle than your rating & would give it a ***/*** or it could be I’m getting more used to the thinking of the setter.Much time was wasted thinking that 28A was turbot & 11A was also a new word for me,favourite clue today was 8D.many thanks gazza for your usual excellent review,still bitterly cold in southampton so its back to the decorating for me.

  7. Liverpool Mike
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I found 1a unsatisfactory and more than a little irritating. Thanks to garza for the review.

  8. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I absolutely loved this puzzle! So many clues that made me smile, but 1A and 3D stand out. Four ‘new to me’ words, too (15A, 21A, 8D and 20D) that gave me pause. Great fun and a splendid start to the day. ***** for enjoyment from me. Many thanks to Giovanni and to you Gazza. While I didn’t need you help, I always appreciate the effort you reviewers put in for the rest of us.

  9. Colmce
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Ooh, so glad you gave this 4* diff, as I struggled with it for ages, however with a bit of electric help, reference to BRB and google got there in the end except for that damn fish! My answer bore no relationship to clue, but I still put it in.

    Three new words for me.

    Very strange that some difficult puzzles generate frustration while others give pleasure… This is definitely in the latter category.

    Thanks for the piscine help Gazza .

    Thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment.

  10. Kath
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I thought that this was a good puzzle. I’d give it ***/****. It’s very rare that I give a crossword less for difficulty than the blogger – either I’m getting better or, more likely, I’m having a good day.
    I thought the top half was much more straightforward than the bottom.
    I’d never heard of 8d (and didn’t even spot the spelling mistake) and I’d also never met 20d.
    Like everyone else I spent ages trying to make 28a turbot but got there eventually. Even with alternate letters I was slow to get 1a.
    I liked 1, 9 and 26a and 3 and 5d. I thought 22d was brilliant.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

    • Merusa
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Now, I thought the bottom half easier! Shows how different people think. After getting halfway and not getting a single word, the bottom half saved me and things started falling into place.

      • Kath
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        If we just combined forces I think we’d really be pretty good. :smile:

  11. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks Gazza for your hard work but we managed to get through this with some help from electronic friends before consulting you. Lady L spotted the right fish, 28a, after my initial suggestion could not be justified. I was not happy with my initial ‘aside’ for the second word of 5a, but put it in, causing later difficulties. Not impressed with 1a. Feel that an obscure word like 11a justifies something more precise than ‘island’ in a back page puzzle. My sympathies were with Brian when he suggested that the Toughie should be just that and the back pager should be for those whose abilities/time are limited. If you have a stinker on the back page new people are not going to be encouraged to have another go.

  12. una
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this Giovanni, thank you.In truth for the first time.Every week I read with envy you all raving about the Don and it is usually above my skill level .So, as I’m not growing any more grey matter, it must be an easy offering.I thought 1a was marvelous.And 25a, although obvious, is still a really cute clue. Couldn’t quite finish without assistance, so thanks to Gazza.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      We’re getting used to your name appearing in the answers! :-)

      • una
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        We had the first part of your name yesterday and about a month ago ! :-)

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          First one in for me yesterday!

          • una
            Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            I did an old back-number of Giovanni,last night, 01/07/2011, limbering up for today’s assault ,and it also contained “unaware”, so I dont think it has anything to do with me personally.My favorite so far was something like “steamy hot sex appeal girl”, a Rufus , I think.

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

              Mmm! Nice one.

              Makes my “Religious leader facing back of pulpit for natter ” from yesterday a bit tame by comparison.

              • una
                Posted April 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                I am sure it’s well within the scope of say RayT to construct a clue for Rabbit which would get you hot under the collar but perhaps the DT wouldn’t publish it !

  13. skempie
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Have had to wait quite a few minutes before writing this in order to calm myself down. This was not caused by the crossword which I considered absolutely excellent and up to The Don’s usual standard. What winds me up is the constant carping and whinging about ‘its not fair’, ‘its too difficult’ etc. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if you don’t feel the DT back pager is fair and easy, then go and do the Sun or Star and leave us alone.

    Again, many thanks to The Don for a superb offering

    • Lord Luvvaduck
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      But what is the Toughie for?

      • skempie
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Exactly what it says – its tough. Nobody has ever said that ‘back’ page cryptics have to be easy, this one (like yesterdays) was hard, but definitely solvable with a bit of thought.
        Perhaps the Telegraph do better to resort to methods used by some of the more popular magazines by putting pictures in to help people along just to stop the whiners, you could have really interesting cryptic clues like ‘TV Reality star in picture number 3 (thats the picture with a 3 in the corner of it)’, that should stop some of the whining.

        • Lord Luvvaduck
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Time for your sedatives, I feel.

          • gazza
            Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            I think that what Skempie is saying is that there is a wide variety in the cryptic crosswords published in the UK from the absurdly easy to the mind-blowingly difficult so everyone should be able to find one that suits them. The Daily Telegraph has always (or at least as far back as I can remember) positioned its puzzles at the “easier” end of the quality broadsheets. This has been pretty successful for it so I don’t imagine that they’re going to change their policy now (any more than they’re likely to change their editorial policy if they get suggestions that they’re too right-wing and why don’t they support the Labour party instead).

            • Lord Luvvaduck
              Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

              You may well be right, but using offensive language does not help skempie get his case over.

    • Silveroak
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Everyone has a different skill level which is why the DT has a regular cryptic and a toughie. People have a right to express their opinions just as you do. However, making disparaging remarks about people that are finding them more challenging and telling them to leave “us” alone implies that the crossword and the blog are just for an elite group of really clever people and not in the spirit of this blog.

      • SheilaP
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Well said Silveroak..

    • Roland
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Yep, with you all the way Skempie. This is exactly the reason that I don’t visit this blog as often as I once did, and why I very rarely make any comment. Thanks to The Don and Gazza, and you!

    • Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Well said Skempie

  14. Franny
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Well, I join with those who found this puzzle great fun. Much better for me than yesterday’s where I had to struggle throughout. There were a few strange words, like 15 and 21a, not to mention the odd fish that I thought was a turbot, but also a number that I enjoyed very much, such as 11 and 25a and 5 and 16d. Many thanks to G&G. :-)

    P.S. Who is the footballer at 23a?

    • Kath
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      If you hover over the picture with the mouse it tells you – even with weekend prize puzzles when no answers are given in brackets it works. :smile:

    • gazza
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Very often letting your cursor hover over a picture will give you an extra hint.

      • Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        You can tell Gazza supports Wales! I would have added a picture of Gravelly Hill Interchange, better known as Spaghetti Junction.

        • Bluebird
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Not a lot of people know that Dave!

    • skempie
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      BTW Franny, its he’s rugby (a real man’s game) player, not a footballer.

      • skempie
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        And he was an absolute legend for Wales and the British Lions

      • Merusa
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        I remember someone describing soccer as a gentleman’s game played by animals and rugby as an animal’s game played by gentlemen.

        Please do not start on me, I only quote an Englishman describing rugby to an American audience.

    • Heno
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      You must be a Rugby fan.

  15. crypticsue
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    4* difficulty for me too which is unusual for a Giovanni. I did like 1a and my doh moment for 3d.

    Thanks to both the Gs.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Look what Saint Sharon put out for me today Crypticsue. Sometimes I think I have too much time on my hands.

      • crypticsue
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Or too many pairs of socks :D

        • stanXYZ
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          “Saint Sharon”? – “… too many pairs of socks?” …

          This is becoming far too cryptic for me …

          • crypticsue
            Posted April 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Saint Sharon is Mrs Miffypops – he used to refer to her as Mrs C-S but it got too confusing. As for the socks, he, like my Mr CS, has a set of those socks with the days of the week on them, and sometimes the Saint puts out the wrong day for him just to add extra confusion to his life.

  16. SheilaP
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was really easy today……but only because we got all of the across clues from the hints which isn’t unusual for us…….but I don’t care. Can’t quite see what’s irritating about the answer to 1 across but there you go. You’ve got to have a particular type of brain to do cryptics so there’s no point getting annoyed if you can’t do them.

    • gazza
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Shucks is an exclamation expressing irritation or disappointment.

      • SheilaP
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Thank you although my exclamations of irritation are likely to be more robust.

  17. Steve_the_beard
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    What an odd week it’s been, including a tough cryptic on Thursday and a much easier task on Friday!

    I really enjoyed the well-clued new words today (11A, 21A, 8D).

    Gazza, thanks for your explanations, especially 20D; I saw it as the name of a moth (little wings = wee flap, you see!).

    Thanks, too, to Giovanni for an excellent puzzle.

  18. clisco
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    16d Underground worker Helen needs air circulating round, right? (9)
    { TUNNELLER } – start with a nickname for Helen and put an air or melody around it, then finish with R(ight).

    Who has ever known a Helen who was known as Nell; Nell of Troy ; Helen Gwyn

    • Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought that Eleanor would have been a better choice (cf Eleanor “Nell” Gwyn) than Helen. Wiktionary does give both, as well as Ellen.


    • Addicted
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree clisco – couldn’t understand that one at all. I had an Aunt Nell, but her full name was Eleanor – never heard it applied to Helen. I was trying to get Troy in there somewhere once I’d got the “t”!
      Didn’t particularly enjoy to-day’s offering although found it easier than yesterday. But needed hints to finish – also for some explanations. Think 9a is a bit obscure, or is that just me?
      As for Skempie up above – I do take some exception to his comments. I’ve been doing the DT crossword for years and years and I DEFINITELY think they have got harder lateley. In fact, I would go so far as to say they have got harder in the last 2 – 3 years. And I don’t think that’s just me getting older and slower! Cryptic is cryptic – that doesn’t mean it has to be tortuously convoluted, does it?

    • gardenman
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Almost every Helen I’ve even known has been shortened to Nell or Nellie – maybe its an East Midlandism, but it was ever thus when I lived in Leicestershire.

  19. Ivor Caravan
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for an enjoyable puzzle. My comment yesterday, the first I have made, was not meant to be rude or offensive. It was made to state my unhappiness with the number of clues which had to be solved letter by letter rather than chunk by chunk. Today’s puzzle, although rated more difficult, was much more fun! Many thanks for this and almost every other set during the last 15 years!

  20. BigBoab
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Best “back pager” of the week. Like many others i got caught in the turbot trap. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for a super crossword and review.

  21. Michael
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I got it into my head that 13a was ‘KEPI’ – this really screwed me up.
    The other one I’m a bit dubious about is 1a – I’ve put in a word that sounds like ‘sucks’ only with an ‘sh’ start – I can’t really see what’s irritating about it – either the clue is weak or my answer is wrong!

    • gazza
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Shucks is how a drunk (or Sean Connery) might pronounce sucks. It’s also an exclamation expressing irritation.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        gazza, Sean Connery?

        Do you mean Shame Spawned? (Famous DT Quickie Pun)

        • gazza
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink


  22. Miffypops
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Another nice puzzle. 28ac and 8d to go. I will look again after I have put the fridge back together. A list of fish in Wikipedia gave me 28acafter Turbot had been shouting at me all day. 8d just had to be what it is but I had to look it up to be sure. Thanks to the Don for an enjoyable wrestle. Nice to see things have settled down after yesterdays mass brawl. Lappet is new to me too.

  23. njm
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Found this roughly equivalent to yesterday, which like most Ray T puzzles took me all day! Finished this quicker, tho’.
    I think this was a bit stiff for a back page offering, but thanks for it and for the explanations.

  24. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought Ia was a really weak clue.

    And I don’t like obscure geographical names (the lake in 28a) !!

    • gazza
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think tarn is an obscure word. It crops up quite frequently.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Another Chris! Differrent avatar but there could still be confusion. Gazza, how do I go about changing my name?

        • gazza
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          Just use a different alias. Your first comment with it will require moderation but that’s all.

          • Chris
            Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            OK. That’s easy. Thanks.

      • Chris
        Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I see. I thought the river was R not PO and there was a lake called Tapon somewhere. Thanks

    • spindrift
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Half the “lakes” up North are tarns. If you’ve never been to Malham Tarn in God’s Own County then I recommend a few days in the Dales.

  25. eXternal
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks to Giovanni. I was one of the ones who liked 1a. Reminded me of a clue from my Crossword Calendar this month set by Arachne:

    Healthy food for drunk old Latvian (7)

    Let’s have more slurred clues please, setters. In fact, a whole puzzle based on drunkenness would be right up my street.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Healthy food for drunk old Latvian (7)

      And the anshhwer is … ?

      • eXternal
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink


        • stanXYZ
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Thanks to eXternal (and, of course, to the wonderful Arachne!)


  26. gardenman
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Every so often a clue and its answer has me chuckling out load – 1 across, 21 across 28 across had that effect on me today, but 10 across left me wondering for ages if I were missing something – and indeed I was, it was the obvious! Nice one Giovanni, today’s puzzle just hits the spot :-)

  27. Only fools
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Sufficient “easier” clues to give you a chance at those less so .
    Thought 1a funny when arrived less so trying to arrive ! .
    Good fun .
    Faves 1a,7d, and 9a .

  28. Wbgeddes
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Do you know I have to say this compiler really is over-rated especially recently. A lot of the clues aren’t much fun at all and the whole is a bit “oh lorks I’ve got to give copy in tomorrow and I’m still full from dinner”.

  29. Bluebird
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    This felt like getting a diabolical Sudoku correct by guessing….you’ve done it, but more by luck than judgement (the obscure words), so a bit of a hollow victory.
    Still, 9a was pretty.

  30. Wbgeddes
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Dull stuff from a fading compiler. Yawwwnnnnnnn.

  31. Sweet William
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Managed to finish this eventually. Took a long time mainly because of a long lunch. Thank you Giovanni. I found it difficult, but, because it is my birthday, unlike some of yesterday’s commenters, I do not require that you take early retirement and there is no need for Phil McNeil to resign. Thank you Gazza for your hints and review.

  32. Miffypops
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Just posting to see if my avatar upload has worked.

    • Heno
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Looks like it has :-)

  33. Catherine
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable Friday puzzle from Giovanni. A little harder this week perhaps but very solvable. New words at 21a and 20d were well clued. Liked 9a and 11a made me laugh. Thanks, Gazza, for the fish at 28a. Could have scrolled through a list of fish on Wikipedia I guess but took your hint instead!
    Many thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  34. Nora
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m guilty of putting turbot at 28a, though it didn’t seem to add up. Having seen the right answer, that makes three new words for me today – also 11a and 20d. Clues were excellent so it was possible to get the answers without too much difficulty. My verdict on today – challenging but very enjoyable.

  35. outnumbered
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Another blithe assumption here that there must be a “Lake Tubot” somewhere in the world :)

    11A was a new word for me & I needed the hint, although I thought it probably ended in OLE (however, that word isn’t in my rather old Chambers, and I wouldn’t personally define it as an expression of “triumph”).


    • gazza
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      The BRB has (Spanish interjection) an exclamation of approval, support or encouragement, sometimes used in English as an expression of triumph.

      • gnomethang
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Also ‘with milk’ ;-)

        • gazza
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


  36. Collywobbles
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Well, my normal standard is 2* going on 3* and, when I first looked at the rating I decided not to do it. However, I did start and was able to finish with minimal, but some, help from Gazza. I found the puzzle thoroughly enjoyable and good fun so many thanks to the Don and to Gazza for the support.

  37. Heno
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the 2 G’s, a very hard but well constructed puzzle, really enjoyed the challenge, needed 2 hints to finish. Lots of words I’d never heard of, so it was good to learn them. 11a was one of them, and I had travelling for 26a until I looked at the hint. Had never heard of 13&21a and 20d, but got them from the wordplay. Thought 1a was irritating :-) Favourites were 9&15a, 8,17,24d. A super puzzle from Giovanni.Was 4*/4* for me. At least it’s stopped snowing, but grey & dull in Central London.

  38. Merusa
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I never did get 1a, but when I looked at the answer I couldn’t help a grin. I knew 11a from seeing the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, and 15a are what we have to battle while gardening in the tropics, which is mainly why I use tubs and pots. New words: 8d, 21a and 20d, but all easily worked out and googled for confirmation. The fish in 28a is popular for big-game fishing, and “tarn” is used so often it’s usually the first I think of for lake.

    All in all, most enjoyable, thanks to the Gs.

  39. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent puzzle that we really enjoyed. We have a mental picture of Giovanni carefully baiting a hook to catch the unwary with the 28a clue. We can even see the glint in his eye and hear the chuckle in his voice. Mrs B helped us to put the correct fish in the bag.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  40. vigo
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I must admit that, had I had any internet access I’d have been straight here for hints but, as I didn’t, I persevered and was left with only 11a and 8d (and turbot) and I’d never come across the words before. Did take a while though!

  41. andy
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Like Cryptic Sue this was in 4* territory for me for the Don, 4 new words including the non turbot though I did feel the clues were precise and fair. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza as ever.

  42. neveracrossword
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    ****/*** for me. I prefer crosswords to cross words (which are generated when bloggers cross swords).

    • gnomethang
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


      • Only fools
        Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Ditto with a capital (1)

  43. Derek
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one from The Don.

    Faves : 11a, 21a, 28a, 5d, 16d & 17d.

  44. vigo
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    If I’d had internet access this morning I’d have cheated but I didn’t so I persevered and, apart from 11a and 8d and a turbot, I got there! As my three misses were all new words to me I’m really feeling quite pleased with myself! Would also like to say that I did find it a rewarding solve. Fear i’m going to have to give in and look at the hints for the Toughie though. Still got over half to go and I’ve filled in most of the others in the lightest of pencil!

  45. Filby
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I finished this without hints and just a couple of visits to the BRB to check that my answers were real words! But I was not sure how all the answers fitted the clues so the hints were useful there – also to tell me that TURBOT was not an unexplained correct answer but a wrong one!

    Even so I can’t give it more than *** for difficulty while yesterday I ran out of stars and answers and was spitting feathers by bedtime so that one might have rated *****/*.

    I suppose it depends how you rate difficulty – if I guess the right answer correctly I am reasonably happy with that. If I parse the clue correctly and then fail to solve it because the defintion word in the clue is not even on the same page as the solution word in my internal thesaurus, that’s not fun. So on those grounds I rate this a lot easier and much more fun than yesterday. So ***/**** for me.

  46. Balliejames
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed today’s offering and judging by the comments of today and yesterday, the setters have done a great job to evoke such response. What would life be without a difference of opinion? After a long absence from the cryptics (work), this site helped me get back into the mode and I was not ashamed to use the blog to help me solve puzzles that otherwise would have been beyond me. Many thanks to all involved.

  47. Balliejames
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the response over the last two days, the setters have done a great job to evoke such a response. I enjoyed today’s puzzle and of course put turbot in. After a long absence from cryptics (work), this site really helped me get back on track. I was not ashamed to use the help provided to improve understanding and skills, and would still resort if necessary. Many thanks to all involved.

  48. Expat Chris
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Formerly Chris (name change due to someone else popping up with the same handle). Just testing out how my new name works and seeing if my avatar stays the same. A happy and peaceful weekend to all. Hoping some better weather is on the way for the UK soon.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Your avatar is derved from your email address!

    • Chris
      Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that … I didn’t see your post until Saturday or I’d have offered to change

  49. Zofbak
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I thought I had finished but had “yogi” for 13a which I thought was quite a good answer! With thanks to G&G.

  50. Magmull
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, Monday morning and both Quick and Cryptic finished in fastest time ever. Far too easy. What to do for the rest of the day?

    • Prolixic
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink


      There is the Guardian set by Rufus available on-line along with the Monday Quiptic set by Pan (and the quick crossword). All three can be printed off.
      You could print off the FT Monday prize crossword set by Crux.
      The Independent has an on-line version of the Cryptic set by Alchemi today (you can also do the quick crossword on line). You cannot print these off.
      A stroll to the newsagents would give you an opportunity to buy the Times for its crossword.
      A search on-line might also find the Canadian Globe and Mail cryptic.

      Not sure what you will do after 9:00 am though!

  51. Magmull
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Oooh Missus – what a gallimaufry of alternatives! Think I might treat myself to a Barbara Cartland in lieu.

  52. Magmull
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    BD’s Blog seems to be stuck in April and DT 27144 on my computer. How can I get up to date? Oh woe. My early morning remarks refer to DT 27236> Oh to be computer savvy!

  53. Filby
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    You are probably re-logging into this particular dated blog every time. Try starting again with http://www.bigdave44.com as the address and take it from there. Hope this helps!


    • Magmull
      Posted July 23, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Aaah, thank you for that. Will give it a go. This morning I fast forwarded the calendar (which was showing April) and I now seem up-to-date – but every little helps, as they say. 27,237 took slightly longer than yesterday, but the Quickie’s got great gaps. Is it me, or the weather. None of that torrential overnight stuff promised for my bit of Wilts, alas