DT 27364

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27364

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

No holdups in this straightforward puzzle from Jay.

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


1a    Left one protected by upper‑class European (6)
{POLISH} – L(eft) and I (one) inside an adjective meaning upper‑class

4a    Worker runs to trap savage fox (8)
{BEWILDER} – the other worker insect (not the ant this time!) and R(uns) around an adjective meaning savage give a verb meaning to fox

10a    Fuelled from a source of lignite dismissed by company (4-5)
{COAL-FIRED} – the A from the clue, the initial letter (source) of Lignite and a verb meaning dismissed from a job all preceded by CO(mpany)

11a    Group that spell ‘bay’ with an ‘n’? (5)
{COVEN} – a bay followed by N

12a    Having some luck working with a cob (2,1,4)
{ON A ROLL} – a two-letter word meaning working followed by the A from the clue and a cob or bap

13a    Wine kept for man on bench? (7)
{RESERVE} – two definitions – wine that is kept for a later date and a man on the subs bench

14a    Agree to drop regulars and name a venue (5)
{ARENA} – drop the even letters (regularly) from the first word then add N(ame) and A

15a    American army dress — overweight, I reckon, not quite complete (8)
{FATIGUES} – a charade of a three-letter adjective meaning overweight, I and most of (not quite complete) a verb meaning to reckon

18a    Scottish engineer admitting mistake with a boatman (5,3)
{WATER RAT} – the surname of a Scottish engineer around (admitting) a mistake and the A from the clue

20a    It’s in a church letter (5)
{AITCH} – IT inside the A from the clue and CH(urch)

23a    Protective cover for primate in role (7)
{PARAPET} – a primate inside a role in a play

25a    Protective cover for child in unfinished part of playground (4,3)
{SKID LID} – a three-letter word for a child inside most of (unfinished) something found in a playground

26a    Bird finding love in right dump! (5)
{ROBIN} – O (love) inside R(ight) and a dump

27a    Prepare too hard for open rule, by the sound of it (9)
{OVERTRAIN} – an adjective meaning open followed by what sounds like a verb meaning to rule

28a    Bird finally caught rodent eating it (8)
{TITMOUSE} – the final letter of caught and a rodent around (eating) IT

29a    Man of the cloth makes enquiries, not without refusal (6)
{PRIEST} – a verb meaning makes enquiries followed by (no)T without no (refusal)


1d    Cleopatra is excited after casting off her last breastplate! (8)
{PECTORAL} – an anagram excited () of CLEOPATR(A) without (casting off) her final letter (last)

2d    Evidence of loss from brewing a keg ale (7)
{LEAKAGE} – an anagram (brewing) of A KEG ALE

3d    Eastern county rowing crew rumoured to choke (9)
{SUFFOCATE} – sounds like (rumoured) an Eastern county followed by rowing crew

5d    Bush says people must be respected politicians (5,9)
{ELDER STATESMEN} – a charade of a type of bush, a verb meaning says and some people

6d    Discovered mint with money mainly for South Americans (5)
{INCAS} – (m)IN(t) without its outer letters (dis-covered) followed by most of (mainly) some money

7d    Get separated from fantastic creature in plunge (7)
{DIVORCE} – a fierce sea-monster (fantastic creature) inside a plunge

8d    Give up and put a coat on before decorating (6)
{RENDER} – two definitions – the second being a verb meaning to cover with a coat of plaster

9d    For energy, limits the amount of rapid increases (14)
{PROLIFERATIONS} – a charade of a prefix meaning for, energy or vitality and a verb meaning limits the amount

16d    Fighter delighted a riot’s broken out (9)
{GLADIATOR} – an adjective meaning delighted followed by an anagram (broken out) of A RIOT

17d    Doctor Brown on Italian thriller (8)
{WHODUNIT} – a charade of a time-travelling Doctor, a brown colour and IT(alian)

19d    Circus performer, born in a European setting (7)
{ACROBAT} – B(orn) inside (in … setting) the A from the clue and a European from the Balkans

21d    Part of arable farming‘s up to date (7)
{TILLAGE} – a preposition meaning up to and a date or period

22d    Short of verve (6)
{SPIRIT} – a short alcoholic drink and verve or enthusiasm

24d    Quietly enthusiastic about horse (5)
{PINTO} – the musical notation for quietly followed by a word meaning enthusiastic about

One week to go! Scchua should be back in this slot on Christmas Day.

The Quick crossword pun: (stark} + {lustre} = {star cluster}



  1. Expat Chris
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I really liked this, especially 15A, 18A, 9D and 21D. Many thanks to Jay. BD, I didn’t need the hints but thanks for the review, as always, and special thanks for the picture of the robin. I miss English robins!

  2. Graham
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Scchua back in this slot on christmas day, does that mean we can look forward to a brain workout on the big day?
    Back to this one which I found a tad harder tham normal, 17D made me smile 9 D took some solving. Many thanks to the setter & BD for the review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  3. Domus
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Not straightforward for me. Needed your hints BD – thanks.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I found the NE corner tough today which extended my solving time a bit over 3* level, but I agree with BD’s 4* for enjoyment.

    I’ve never heard the expression used for the answer for 25a but it was easy enough to work out from the clue.

    Why does the answer to 18a mean “boatman”? Is it slang of some sort?

    3d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and to BD

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink


      water rat
      ▶ The popular name of the water vole
      ▶ The American muskrat
      ▶ A pirate
      ▶ A sailor or boatman

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification BD

        • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I’ve added an appropriate picture of a “boatman”!

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink


  5. Kath
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I thought this was a bit trickier than the last few Wednesdays have been but maybe my brain is full of other things. 2*+ for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I got held up with a few in the top right corner and with 28a. I didn’t know that meaning of 1d.
    I had more trouble with the quick crossword – having put stern for 1a I couldn’t see the pun or do 2 or 3d.
    I liked 4, 11 and 20a and 16d.
    With thanks to Jay and BD.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I put stern, too, and failed miserably!

    • Toni
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      I had that well known phrase “slack lustre” for the pun in the quick!

      • Kath
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Well done!

  6. Jezza
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Another smooth puzzle from Jay. This all went in quiet nicely, finishing with my last couple in the top right.
    Thanks to Jay, and to BD for the review.

    Now for Osmosis!

  7. Sweet William
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jay, an enjoyable puzzle, NE corner last in. Thank you for the review BD. I had 6d but appreciated your decoding ! In particular “discovered” meaning take off first and last letters.

    • McMillibar
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Same here – have not ‘discovered’ that before.

  8. Brian
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Kath, bit too tricky for a two star, perhaps a 2.5 or even in parts a 3 (18a & 29a). However, very enjoyable with some nice clues in 20a, 27a 3d and 17d being my personal favs. Took a bit of starting mainly because I filled in 4a with the answer to 1d – don’t ask!
    Thx to Jay for a pleasant puzzle and to BD for the explanations.
    PS BD are you doing all the Blogs at the moment, where’s your small army of helpers?

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      There are a couple of new candidates in the wings, but probably not until the New Year.

  9. skempie
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    No real problems this morning although I did get held up in the NE corner for a while (complete brain freeze) – took an extra cup of coffee to get me gong again. I thought 22D felt a bit weak (but that might just be because I was almost sleepwalking – or is that sleepsolving – at the time) but I thoroughly enjoyed 17D.

    Off to see Steeleye Span tonight – they’re doing a concert tour based on Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith.

    Hope the commuters had better luck folding the paper than I did today (and I’m at home with bits of Telegraph all over the bloody place. Grrrr)

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I hope you have a great time, its looks to be a lovely little intimate venue. Just right for Christmas.

  10. Beaver
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Yes it was a most enjoyable puzzle today for some reason , so agree with the rating . Thanks BD for the ‘boatman’ explanation, like Rabbit Dave it eluded me,and the wind in the willows pic worked on two levels following your revelation-must get a chambers dictionary for Christmas.

  11. Miffypops
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Nice and tricksy for me. Some clues took a bit more thought and I had to read through more times than usual to finish. Last one in was 8d which stumped me for a while. I have just removed the penultimate kitchen unit. I wish I had not done so!!!!!

  12. SheilaP
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Took a bit of doing but very enjoyable. Tried all sorts of ways of fitting …..tit into 28 across, but got there in the end. Thank you to the setter & to BD again!! Your efforts are above & beyond the call of duty, & you deserve a really nice Christmas present I think. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  13. stanXYZ
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I found this very difficult today … probably because I’m still on Australian Time after watching the cricket over the last few days! Jet Lag without leaving my armchair!

    I thought 6d – Incas and 11a – coven were brilliant!

    Thanks to Jay! And, especially, to BD for putting in the long hard hours!

  14. Robin
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me? I’ve had no problems with the cryptics today or yesterday, but have scarcely been able to get halfway through the quick crosswords on either day. I normally use these just to sharpen my mental teeth for the task ahead. Has some part of my brain gone missing?

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      I too struggled with The Quickie. I always do them both at the same time and usually finish The Quickie way before The Cryptic. Not today though, I am two short 15ac and 2d.

  15. Merusa
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this decidedly tricky! The left-hand side went in nicely, but quite a few on the right beat me. I would never have solved 25a in a million years so needed the answer. My brain wouldn’t bring up the other meaning of fox, just slow today I suppose. I ALWAYS forget that other doctor in 17d, never been a fan; please, no comments. Thanks to Jay for good puzzle and BD for hints, much needed today.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • Kath
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I always forget that doctor too – I’ve never watched it. 25a could be British slang – don’t know – haven’t looked it up as I can’t even find BRB under the muddle of wrapping paper that is all over the kitchen table. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • McMillibar
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Agree. After the 50th bash, I watched some of the old B & W episodes. Just as bad as I remembered as a child. I’ll admit there are some good concepts but spoiled by Auntie trying to make a five-guinea total production budget do for the whole series. Typical.

  16. Jill B
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Harder than yesterdays, 4a took the longest to solve but got there in the end. Thank you Jay, for a good work-out. and to BD for his review. **/***

  17. Janie
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    15 ac = lax
    2d = arbitrary

    hope that helps

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      If you had clicked on reply on Miffypops comment, he would have seen your response and I wouldn’t have been confused! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  18. Kath
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Where’s Mary? I hope she hasn’t fallen into a snow drift!

  19. Miriam
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I have been reading with pleasure for some time the hints and comments.I found myself quite defeated by the setter on several clues .I wish to extend to Big Dave my sincere thanks for this blog . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Miriam – I hope we’ll hear more from you in the future.

      • Miriam
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Thank you.Now that i have revealed myself ,I shall keep in contact.

    • McMillibar
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Miriam. Nice to meet you.

      • Miriam
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Greetings, I read your comments with interest .

    • Kath
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me too. This is the most wonderful blog so I hope you keep reading it and commenting. BD is a star, as are all the other great people who do the hints without fail every day. I do sometimes think back to pre-blog days when I either couldn’t do a clue (or several) or, even more irritating, had an answer that fitted but I didn’t understand why.
      Yet again huge thanks to all.
      Is it my imagination or is the snow getting heavier . . . ?

      • Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Not yet, but it will!

        • Kath
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Oh good – how exciting! I love a good blizzard – maybe we won’t be 14 for Christmas after all! Not sure whether to do a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifor a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      • Miriam
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Kath, I am in complete agreement about this blog and I look forward to your daily comments.

  20. Bluebird
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s many years since I heard that term for a crash helmet.
    In my head it goes with the whole mod v rocker era. Plenty of memories there.

    Anyone remember tiger tails you got free from petrol stations?
    CND patches.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Put a tiger in your tank … yes, remember that. Was it Shell?

      • McMillibar
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Esso…and I remember when it cost 32p a gallon. Am in Kuwait now – they have turned all our petrol money into very fancy buildings. Nice.

      • Bluebird
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Mcmillibar – you beat me to it! But I wouldn’t have remembered without googling it.

        I remember petrol being 5 bob a gallon, but I never had a motorbike, or scooter for that matter. Some friends (!) of mine had 750 Nortons and that was quite enough for me…….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif

        • Kath
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          I had an ancient A35 van in 1966, the year I passed my driving test. I had to fill it up every week – it held four gallons and that cost me just under £1 – I was earning £5 per week. It also used quite a lot of oil – probably more than petrol! I can remember laughing at my Dad when he said that before long petrol would be more than £1 a gallon.

    • skempie
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Ah, but do you remember the 007 bullet holes that you could stick on your (or Mum’s in my case) windscreen

  21. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Good Wednesday stuff once again. We remember 17d being in the same place in the grid with a similar clue last week but can’t remember what puzzle it was in. Sure it is coincidence. We have only started doing the quickie since it comes as part of the printout at present and agree that it was trickier than some, and with a worthy pun too.
    Thanks Jay and BD.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      17d – Last week? What? You cannot remember who done it? (Apologies for my grammar)

      • KiwiColin
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Oooh! I have just done a quick search and found where 17d was, but am not allowed to say. How’s that for cryptic. :)

  22. Wahoo
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward solve for me last night. (**/****). 6d was probably my favourite – I love clues with an “oblique direction” (i.e. “discovered”) if that’s what one might call that sort of thing!?

    Another beautiful, sunny and warm (82F) day here in the Caribbean. The only snow I’m going to see is BD’s special effects on this Site

    Thanks to Jay and BD.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Where in the Caribbean?

      • Wahoo
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        I’ll give you a clue:

        “A small Caribbean island found in an exclusive notable location, completely backwards” (5)

        • Bluebird
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Does it go with St Kitts?

          • Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink


          • Wahoo
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Correct! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            • spindrift
              Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

              Just read this while preparing to send my e card to all of our distributors in the Caribbean. Talking of sunshine I think I need to do some field visits in the New Year….I’ll try & drop in as I’ll be seeing our agent on St Martin.

    • McMillibar
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      82 Degrees every day. Boring, where’s the challenge in that?

      • Merusa
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Glorious! It’s 75F here in Miami, not really bad but I prefer something a little warmer. I keep the pool to 95F but it’s chilly coming out.

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          Poor you. It must be awful. Not quite sure what the temp is here at the moment but there is a gale and very heavy rain going on outside at the moment so I wouldn’t mind trying being chilly getting out of a pool in Miami

          • Merusa
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            I know I sound like Moaning Minnie, but I just can’t stand the cold. When I lived in UK I just could not bear winters, I think I must have thin blood or something.

            • Kath
              Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

              But what about Christmas? A few years ago my husband went to a meeting in Florida at about this time of year – I went with him for the ride! It was blissfully warm but humid – the main thing that struck me was that palm trees look really silly masquerading as Christmas trees with fairy lights – just not right! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

              • Merusa
                Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

                It must be really odd for you, but when you’ve spent all you life enjoying Christmas in the tropics, it’s all very normal for us. Santa came by Piper airplane, not sleigh! Having said that, there was something very special about the Christmases I spent in Chalfont St. Peter when I lived in UK, and it even snowed one year. Here we do the turkey and plum pudding thing, lit and paraded round the dinner table, and the crackers with the funny hats.

      • Wahoo
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

        Not “every day” – the summer is much hotter!

        Challenges? Well apart from trying to stay cool, preparing for hurricanes, hoping we don’t have an earthquake, watching the water supply at times of drought, fighting back the “jungle” from coming into the garden, – you’re right, the Tropics are no challenge at all. Mind you there’s no corner shop where you can buy an English newspaper!

  23. BigBoab
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Great fun with a few tricky bits, many thanks to Jay and BD for a superb review.

  24. McMillibar
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Loved the puzzle today. **/***. 3d was my fav in line with quite a few others. NE corner was last with me making things hard by writing in BEFIDDLE which was a bit silly and made 8d much harder!
    Can you people in the Caribbean believe that it was 4 degrees last night in Kuwait in the wee small hours. 4 Degrees in the Arabian Gulf!!?
    Thanks to our hero, BD as ever. What is your pub, BD and I call them with my Card and put a Christmas pint on the bar for you?

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s a nice thought but, although I live next door to a pub, I hardly ever go in there.

      Mrs BD planted that tree in 1981 to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

      • Merusa
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        My goodness! What a splendid idea! The tree has lasted longer than the marriage, I just hope this one lasts … and I think it will, she seems a lovely girl.

      • Kath
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        . . . the pub is the one that we went past every day in the bus to school from Welland to Worcester – what a long time ago.

      • Kath
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        PS – BD. If Mrs BD remembers Sue and Mike King who lived at a big house – Albion Lodge? – on the road from Hanley Swan to Hanley Castle who emigrated to Australia in the mid 80s, I think – I spoke to Mike on the phone last night.

        • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          Mrs BD does remember Sue King – along with Bunty Arrowsmith and others.

  25. Michael
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Yes – it was quite hard going for me today too but very enjoyable!

    To add insult to injury my IPad decided to start playing up when I was attempting to add my contribution to this – I’ve updated the Software and touch wood…. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  26. Una
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Jeepers , that was hard ! Late on parade today, time of year and all that ! I needed several hints , mostly in the south east. 25a new to me.None the less, thanks to Jay and BD.

  27. asterix
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one – I thought there were some very witty clues, eg 6d & 18a (didn’t know the word’s ‘boatman’ synonym, I just assumed it was a reference to the water rat in WITW who loves ‘messing about in boats’.)

    24d and 28a were both new words for this solver.

    But ahem, is it just me, or is there something a little odd about the end of the clue to 28a? (‘rodent eating it’).
    Big Dave, you say the ‘eating it’ means the rodent is ‘around’ the letters ‘it’. And that’s exactly how I too would parse it, with some letters of the rodent in front of the ‘it’ and some after.

    But here the rodent (mouse) isn’t ‘around’ the ‘it’ at all, but follows it. So where’s the ‘eating’ in the answer?

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood something? Can anyone cast any light?

    Btw, I’m no ornithologist, but surely the image beneath the clue is a blue tit, not a titmouse?

    The titmouse looks quite different in the info I googled

    • Kath
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      28a took me ages too. The definition is ‘bird’. The first letter is ‘T’ – the last letter of caugh(T) – then there is a rodent (mouse) and between the T and the mouse there is ‘it’ so the T and the mouse has eaten ‘it’. Or something like that . . .

  28. Heno
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Totally beyond me, had to look up 12.

  29. Angel
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jay for a pleasant puzzle and BD for hints. ***/***. Needed help with 4a (of course tried to use ant!). Having moved south from Suffolk quite recently 3d was my fav too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  30. Tstrummer
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Returned drenched and dispirited from White Hart Lane after sitting through another woeful performance, and was pleasantly surprised to be able to sit with a warming drink and skip through this one, although I had to check with Chambers that 21d was a word. I particularly liked 27a and 3d. 2* difficulty but 4* enjoyment. Thanks as always to BD for fun-filled explanations – and thanks to the rest of you for your entertaining comments