DT 27395

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27395

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a grey January day.

I struggled a bit with the left-hand side of this Giovanni puzzle, until 7d finally emerged. Well into *** difficulty.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

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.


7a           Female in the family makes good money having obtained degree (7)
{ GRANDMA } A charade of Good, some South African currency, and a higher degree.

8a           Robber in group carrying apparatus (7)
{ BRIGAND } A musical group with a word for apparatus or gear inside it.

10a         I leave guy floundering in a prestigious academic group (3,6)
{ IVY LEAGUE } Anagram (floundering) of I LEAVE GUY.

11a         Injured coming to a premature stop on lake (5)
{ HURON } One of the Great Lakes is made up of a word for injured with the final T removed (coming to a premature stop) and ON (from the clue).

12a         Old group having gone to gym go off to the match? (5)
{ ELOPE } … to Gretna Green perhaps.  A Birmingham rock group from the 70s and 80s, and the sort of gym we used to suffer at school.

13a         At a particular place of action  without delay (2,3,4)
{ ON THE SPOT } Double definition: the position of someone who is at the scene of the action; and an action(such as a fine) carried out then and there

15a         Detrimental effect this person’s found twirling around in tights (7)
{ MAILLOT } Put together a word for detrimental effect, often preceded by ‘death’ in reports of disasters, followed by another way of saying ‘this person is’, then reverse the whole thing to get a word for the tights worn by ballet dancers (or a cycling jersey).


17a         Criminal residing in nasty little community (7)
{ VILLAGE } One of the usual crossword criminals inside a word for nasty.

18a         Country workers seen as steady and reliable chaps? (9)
{ STABLEMEN } Put together a word for ‘steady and reliable’ and a word for ‘chaps’.

20a         European security measure through audio detection (5)
{ CZECH } An Eastern European who sounds like (through audio detection) a security measure.

21a         One artist facing question, one native of troubled land (5)
{ IRAQI } The Roman numeral for one, the usual crossword artist, Question, and another Roman one.

23a         State of collapse could bring new despair to Irish (9)
{ DISREPAIR } Anagram (new) of DESPAIR followed by an abbreviation for Irish.

24a         Problem after too much reading? It doesn’t look good (7)
{ EYESORE } An ugly object is also what you might have after reading too long.

25a         A superior holy person before becoming stern (7)
{ AUSTERE } A charade of A (from the clue), the letter denoting ‘Upper class’, an abbreviation for a holy person, and ‘a literary word for ‘before’.


1d           A godly performing songstress is a protesting female (4,6)
{ LADY GODIVA } Anagram (performing) of A GODLY, followed by an operatic star, giving the woman who rode naked through the streets of Coventry.

2d           Stick commercial notice in this location (6)
{ ADHERE } A short commercial followed by a word for ‘in this location’.

3d           Spends enjoyable time making displays (5,3)
{ HANGS OUT } Double definition: an informal expression for relaxing; and the literal action of someone putting out flags or washing.

4d           To be in opposition is the thing (6)
{ OBJECT } Double definition: a verb (with the stress on the second syllable); and a noun (with the stress on the first).

5d           Food from aquatic creatures — is the man catching thousand in Cornish river? (8)
{ FISHMEAL } IS from the clue followed by the pronoun for ‘the man’ with the Roman numeral for a thousand inside it, and with a Cornish river wrapped around the outside of the whole thing.

6d           Piano tune for players of duet? (4)
{ PAIR } The musical symbol for ‘piano’ and another word for a tune.

7d           I’m led astray with disguise that could bring a shattering experience (6,7)
{ GUIDED MISSILE } Anagram (astray) of I’M LED and DISGUISE.

9d           Disown someone in care and refuse to admit guilt (4,3,6)
{ DENY THE CHARGE } Another word for disown, and a description of a person someone is responsible for.

14d         Sort of runner with inner energy who keeps things calm? (10)
{ PEACEMAKER } A runner given the job of leading the early stages of a distance race, with Energy inside.

16d         Sweet tablet swallowed by Kitty going the wrong way (8)
{ LOLLIPOP } Start with another word for the kitty in a game of cards, put a tablet inside, then reverse the whole lot (going the wrong way).

17d         Archdeacon American fellow? He’s from another planet! (8)
{ VENUSIAN } The abbreviation for the title given to an archdeacon, and abbreviation for American, and a man’s name, giving an inhabitant of the planet the Mekon came from.

19d         Piece of music? It sounds deadly, needing new introduction! (6)
{ MEDLEY } Sounds like ‘deadly’, but has a different first letter.

20d         Line engineers carried in box (6)
{ CREASE } Put the initials of an engineer regiment inside a box or crate, to get the line a batsman has to stand behind to be in.

22d         Feature of dream ending — after this there’s no more to be said (4)
{ AMEN  Hidden in the clue – and the end of a prayer.

The Quick Crossword pun { BARB }{ ACCUSE } = { BARBECUES }



  1. bifield
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Definitely 3* territory. Never heard of 15a, needed hint for that one. Otherwise an enjoyable solve. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the hints,

  2. njm
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I struggled with the right side of this, getting well stuck in the SE corner, because I had BEAT for the 3rd word of 13a. 20a and 20d last in, 17d favorite. 3*/3* for me, with thanks to compiler and Deep Threat, although DT’s services not required today.

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    An excellent puzzle, but just slightly spoilt for me by one clue. My rating is 3*/3*, but it would have been 3*/4* without 15a. I suppose I need to try to get used to the regular Friday obscurities.

    As I was working through this and a lot of the less common letters appeared, I started to anticipate another pangram but it’s not quite a full set today.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT

  4. mary
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    verging into 4 star for me today much harder IMHO than yesterdays RayT!!!!, thank you DT I wouldn’t have finished this without you http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  5. Jezza
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    15a pulled this one into 3* time for me. Apart from that, no major problems, and a pleasant solve.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the review.

    Just finished the toughie (with a bit of cheating), although not being able to access the online site, will have to wait and see if all my answers are correct!

  6. Beaver
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    About a***/***,remember 15a from cycling days and French O level , did’nt know they were also tights , wanted to put states-men in for 19a-reasonable fit I thought as they are ‘reliable chaps! many clever clues today from Mr G , thanks to DT for the picks-was 17d supposed to be the Mecon-if so didn’t know he came from Venus.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, me too with Statesmen!

      • McMillibar
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        and me.

        • Nora
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Count me in!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  7. Sweet William
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Thank you DG. I agree with you Mary, I found this much harder than yesterday’s. Managed to get to the end, but real progress on LHS didn’t come till I got 7d. 15a a new word and although I had the answer I needed your explanation DT to unravel the wordplay. Thanks for your review, hints and photos.

  8. spindrift
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I guess it’s a case of horses for courses – I tend to be able to solve a Ray T on most occasions but always struggle with a Giovanni hence my recourse to Deep Throat’s hints for which I am grateful as well as to Giovanni for the puzzle. Anyway it’s not long to the weekend and the 2 Saturday & Sunday Maestros.

    Out tomorrow night at Jamie’s Italian in Nottingham to celebrate both of my sons’ birthdays. Never been so looking forward to a new experience.

  9. Clarky
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    15a is a new word to me also which meant the left side took much longer than the right. Solid *** for me overall.
    I enjoyed several today but 4d, 5d, 9d were favourites.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  10. crypticsue
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I found this one quite tricky for a Giovanni – I was confused by 15a in that I always knew it as the French word for a jumper.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    The toughie is, for a change, really tough.

    • spindrift
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I’ve taken a look & I broke out in a cold sweat. Good luck to those brave enough to tackle it. I’m afraid that I’ll have to wait for some kind soul to provide a few hints.

      Thankfully The Week magazine has just popped through the letterbox and I’ve also got the FT which I was saving for a rainy day.

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      An image keeps coming into my mind of Sir Bradley in yellow tights.

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much – that’s not the vision I needed to have in my mind for the rest of http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gifthe afternoon.

    • Brian
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      BTW CS, I did try yesterday’s Toughie as you suggested, didn’t finish it by any means but did a damn site better than with the diabolical Ray T. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  11. Bluebird
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I normally enjoy Giovanni, but today got a bit cheesed off with a few where I was led astray by not believing they could be so obvious or else the answers were a bit off the path

    Eg, I’ve never heard the term used in 18a – even 70 yr olds are called lads in this context.
    Took me ages to get the 7d anagram simply because the word shattering didn’t seem to sit well, unless of course you were throwing something at a mirror………..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

    Thought I would never get done with the SE corner…..19d and 23a were examples of being much more straightforward than I would have expected, so I dithered.

    And 5d is not food, it’s fertiliser, isn’t it, unless he was bring very tricksy by making the second part of the answer cryptic as well as the second half of the clue.

    I must stop being so literal. It’s a sign of a constipated imagination…..

    16d was my first one in and still my favourite!

    ***\*** for me.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      … and fertiliser is plant food.

      • Bluebird
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        The circle of life, eh?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  12. Kath
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I really struggled with this one – 4* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I needed the hints to get 15 and 18a and 7d. I had the right anagram fodder for 7d and if I’d been able to make sense of that one then I might, just, have got the other two – or maybe not.
    I made the top right corner more difficult than it need have been by having ‘duck’ for the first word of 9d – that did absolutely nothing for the 11a lake – did, eventually, sort that one out for myself.
    Lots of other minor problems too – my excuse is that brain is not fully in gear – power lines came down yesterday so lots of electricity guys all over the place all evening – emergency generator to supply power to everyone in our area had to be brought from Bournemouth http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif so we eventually got to bed at 2.30am.
    I liked 23a and 4 and 9d. My favourite was 16d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  13. Graham Wall
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Have had a couple of days off from the crossword having being too busy or too tired. I then come back to this slog which I found difficult and needed the blog. I found some of the clues abstruse which took away a little of the pleasure of crosswording. For me it is ****/** My grateful thanks to DT for his review.

  14. Jon Myles
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Have to admit, 7d is just a very dumb clue.
    But 16d is just genius. It deserves an award.
    Can we give one?
    Still have my doubts about 15a. Not sure the word can be used like this.

    • Michael
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Well, it’s horses for courses – I thought 7d and 16d were equally good clues in a very fine crossword!

    • Brian
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree about 7d, stupidest clue in a long time!

  15. Michael
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Wow – that was a tough one and I am well pleased to have completed it!

    15a was a new word to me and I must admit that only I got it by entering the cross letters into my Wordsearch program. I’ve just looked at DT’s explanation in the blog and I would not have got that in a month of Sundays – talk about convoluted!

    Thanks for that! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  16. SheilaP
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This took a bit of doing & needed some help from DT, for which many thanks. Also thanks to the setter too, of course.

  17. neveracrossword
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I knew that maillot could mean a jersey (as in “maillot jaune”) or bathing costume, but was unaware that it could mean tights (despite having a degree in French!). 3+* for difficulty and 3-* for enjoyment.

  18. Una
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Verging on 5* for me, in other words, I couldn’t do quite a lot of it.Tres difficile.Thanks BD for all the much needed hints. Better luck tomorrow, I suppose.

  19. stanXYZ
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Solved today’s puzzles while waiting to have my haircut … Is today’s Quickie Pun a Double Pun?

    • Deep Threat
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I did wonder about that – possibly because I had my hair cut yesterday!

  20. Heno
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very difficult puzzle, but quite enjoyable. I could only manage six answers on the first pass, but was saved by 17a&d. Then the rest flowed until I was left with 9d&11a, which I would never have got. Finished by having to look up 15a, which I had never heard of. There is always at least one obscure word in a Giovanni puzzle. Favourites were 12a & 1d. Was 4*/3* for me. Dull day in Central London, might look at the Toughie.

    • Kath
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re very brave even thinking about a Friday Toughie, let alone an Elgar Friday Toughie. Good luck.

      • Heno
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kath, I’m already baffled :-)

  21. Derek
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Standard Giovanni puzzle!

    Faves :15a, 20a, 1d & 16d.

    Fish and chips tonight – a change after the rijsttafel leftovers!

  22. Deep Threat
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The code for my £10 Amazon voucher from the Telegraph has just arrived http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Mine too.

      • Poppy
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        and mine – hurrah!

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Mine hasn’t :(

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Nor ours. I wonder if we foreigners are even on the list.

      • Annidrum
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        I wonder that too Kiwis or does one have to ask or something. I sure complained enough.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          I would imagine its an order-of-receipt thing. In any case, I can’t decide which book to put it towards when it does turn up

      • Merusa
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I got mine in Miami. I’m now trying to decide what DVD to get.

      • Nora
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m sort of a foreigner – resident in Spain – and mine arrived today.

    • Kath
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Husband has a code too. Has anyone tried to use it yet – does it have to be used by in a certain time?

      • Merusa
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        I think they said 30 days to download, so presume you could credit your amazon account and use it whenever.

  23. Poppy
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Got really stuck on this one. Kept trying to think of a suffragette whose first name was Mary, for 1d – d’oh! Otherwise although I’m grateful to the setter, my main gratitude is heading towards DT! Thank you. And the song at the end cheered me. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

  24. Merusa
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Una here, really, really hard. I needed lots of help. Funnily, the left-hand side went in quite easily, even 15a, it was the right that floored me and looked decidedly ragged by the time I gave up. Maybe tomorrow will restore my confidence. Thanks to setter, and gazillion thanks to DT, without your help I would still be wringing my hands in despair.


    • Merusa
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I hope Brian comments today, I would be interested in his input. My money says he loved it.

      • Kath
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been wondering what Brian will say about it. I think he’ll think it was ‘horrid’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Nora
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          In Brian’s absence, I’d like to say I thought it was horrid. I thought I struggled because I was trying to do it on the metro – not conducive to concentration – but then I couldn’t get much further even when I got home to my dictionary and thesaurus, so I feel better now I know that lots of people found it difficult.

  25. Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    A very workmanlike solve today but still a pleasant experience as usual on a Friday. Saint Sharon and I had lunch with Big Dave and his lovely wife today and are now in our hotel suite in Symonds Yat I think it may be time for a pint

    • Merusa
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I remember Symonds Yat and climbing up to a rock where there was a wonderful view. I was much younger then, can’t even climb steps these days. Many happy memories.

    • Sweet William
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Have a look up in the morning – you might see the peregrines !

  26. Collywobbles
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Deep Threat,
    Have you missed out the ‘is’ explanation in 7d?

    • Collywobbles
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Sorry CS, I meant 5d

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        In that case, you could be right ‘Is’ from the clue followed by …

        • Collywobbles
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          That’s what I meant

          • Deep Threat
            Posted January 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            Thank you. I’ve amended the hint.

            By the way, if you click on ‘Reply” in the comment header, it helps to keep all of a related comment thread together.

  27. Collywobbles
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Deep Threat,
    Did you miss out the ‘is’ explanation in 7d

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Both the ISs in DISGUISE are just part of the anagram

  28. Corky
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I found this pretty challenging and was very pleased to complete all but for 15A. New word for me and I couldn’t work it out from the wordplay. I needed more than a hint – I needed an explanation. Thanks for that.

    It’s interesting to see how different minds work. I found the left-hand side ok – but for 15A – but the right-hand side was a real struggle.

    Even so, a nice puzzle to come home to after work.

    Now a celebratory glass of wine.

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    A good workout and an enjoyable puzzle. Even the obscure word in 15a was known by one in the team.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  30. Collywobbles
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Deep Threat,

    Did you miss out the ‘is’ explanation in 5d

  31. Annidrum
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I, too, found that quite difficult today although I got the 7d anagram straightaway. 15a,16d ,20a and 20d stumped me and even with DT,s hints I had to do something I very very rarely do and that is ,look at the answer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  32. McMillibar
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Eek. That was no treat. ****/** for me – I thought much the same as Graham Wall and Blue Bird. Eventually slogged my way through the whole thing ending with 18a and 19d. Got 15a but could not sort out the wordplay – same for 12a (old group… ELO – c’mon) so your services were needed today, thanks DT. Like another comment above,, I thought this was a pangram so wasted a clod of minutes on that. Wrapping up then.. not much fun, needlessly obscure in places with scant elegance. Look forward to tomorrow.
    Over and out from a chilly Dallas.

  33. Brian
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Well better than yesterday, managed 2 answers today! For me the last two days have been a waste of good paper.

    • Merusa
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, I am disappointed. I was so sure thus was going to be a winner for you.

      • Brian
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        What with all those damn religious clues and as has already been said about 7d, the dumbest clue in a long time?

        • Kath
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Brian. Kath 1 – Merusa 0! Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

      • Kath
        Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink


  34. Brendan
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    This puzzle would not have been out of place as a Toughie http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif. Thanks to DT for some much needed explanations.

  35. Cathy
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Just a general comment. I love this website and have learned a lot re crosswords from it. Don’t stop or I’ll be stuck! My partner introduced me to DT crossword 2 yrs ago and I have been addicted ever since. Sadly, he died almost a year ago but this remains my constant. Every day I do the cryptic and every time I do, I know he would have usually completed by the time I had got less than half done. It’s a nice continuation for me so thanks for the hints. And keep going. It’s my little daily fix before work and at lunchtime if there’s something to finish. Cathy

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Cathy. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.

    • Kath
      Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      It’s a brilliant blog with lots of very helpful and friendly people – I’ve been addicted to it for the best part of four years now. I hope that you keep going with the crosswords and the commenting. Good luck. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      Hello Cathy. My parents started me on my love of crosswords and although long gone I often think of them whilst solving. I hope you post often.. Welcome to the blog.

      • McMillibar
        Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Hello Cathy, nice post. You have just met a lot of new friends.

  36. Obelix
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    As a periodic visitor to this (excellent) blog over the last year or so, I felt compelled to actual participation by some of the negative comments about today’s puzzle. I rather enjoyed it, and found it relatively intuitive (apart from 15a, which I, like others, knew only as a cycling jersey/swimming costume). As for ELO being too obscure – I got 12a despite ‘Mr Blue Sky’ being released several years before I was born, so I’m not sure that’s a legitimate grumble! It does seem to be that whenever the majority on here find the puzzle difficult, I don’t, and vice versa – I am yet to establish why this should be the case. Thanks to both setter and blogger.

    • Posted January 25, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Obelix

    • McMillibar
      Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi Asterix, The thing I found a bit galling was the popular culture reference. Next thing we’ll be getting Ant and Dec or whatever. The Times would not have done this and if the DT has a failing then it’s this sort of thing. Curmudgeon, curmudgeon…

  37. Angel
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Ghastly. Managed about one half without hints and then gave up. *****/*. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  38. Catnap
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    This wasn’t the easiest of puzzles. Nonetheless, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and managed to complete it without hints. My joint faves were 1d and 19d. I also thought that 7d was very good, although I had to wait until I had three or four checking letters to help unravel the anagram. I arrived at the answer to 15a from the word play. I haven’t come across it before, and had to check that it was in fact a word. 18a was my last in — it took ages for the penny to drop!
    Many thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle that set me thinking. Appreciation to Deep Threat for lovely clear explanations.

  39. Jenny
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Very useful but as a beginner I haven’t a clue what is a ‘usual ‘ crossword criminal or artist. I have worked out the criminal, still mulling over artist.

    • Posted January 25, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Jenny

      It’s a fair point – I intend to add a page about usual suspects, but haven’t done so yet.

      The “usual” artist is RA (Royal Academician) and he crops up all over the place. There are two “usual” criminals, a con (short for convict) and a lag.

  40. Jenny
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks- I just hate it when it says ‘usual’ and I have never come across it before. As a beginner I would love a page of ‘usuals’ if you have time.

    • Posted January 26, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      Please select REPLY before replying to a comment – it helps to keep the thread together.

      I have set up an initial page, and will try to update it from time to time. It can be found under “Usual Suspects” on the “Crosswords” drop-down menu, or from here: