DT 27566

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27566

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I didn’t know the play at 13a but the wordplay is pretty clear. Other than that I had a slight hold-up in the NW corner but that was quickly resolved once I’d twigged that ‘stroke’ was a verb rather than a noun. Do let us know how you fared and what you thought.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so try not to do it by accident.

Across Clues

1a Stroke is worried about onset of squall (6)
CARESS – a verb meaning is worried or feels concerned containing the first letter (onset) of squall.

4a Maiden, 20 — will this bring her good luck? (6)
MASCOT – the abbreviation for a maiden in cricket followed by the name of a 20a in Berkshire.

8a Former examination based on livestock raising (8)
PASTORAL – a charade of former or one-time and a spoken examination.

10a Slowly stocking a shed, perhaps (4-2)
LEAN-TO – the musical direction to play slowly contains (stocking) A.

11a OT character captured by Grandma Moses (4)
AMOS – hidden in the clue.

12a Offer to pay inexperienced beginner (10)
TENDERFOOT – an offer to carry out work at a fixed price is followed by an informal verb to pay (the bill).

13a Play a Saviour in musical (4,8)
ANNA CHRISTIE – this is a play by Eugene O’Neill recently revived in London. Insert A and the name of the Christian “Saviour” inside the name of a musical about a young orphan girl.

16a One must have been in variety with fine female actor as fairy godmother (12)
BENEFACTRESS – to solve this clue you must have an anagram (in variety) of BEEN followed by F(ine) and a female actor.

20a People attending curriculum in York, maybe (10)
RACECOURSE – a charade of a people or ethnic group and a curriculum or syllabus.

21a Small, Whittington’s cat, say, turned back on stage (4)
STEP – S(mall) with the reversal (turned back) of what Whittington’s cat is an example of following (on) it. Whittington’s is a bit of a red herring (it fits in well with ‘turned back’ in the surface) but the clue works without it.

22a Colas I ordered for party (6)
SOCIAL – an anagram (ordered) of COLAS I.

23a Difficult to understand coteries breaking up (8)
ESOTERIC – another anagram (breaking up) of COTERIES.

24a Film Greek facility (6)
GREASE – the abbreviation for Greek followed by facility or effortlessness.

25a Sat awkwardly with ex-con in prison camp (6)
STALAG – this is a German word for a POW camp. It’s an anagram (awkwardly) of SAT followed by an informal word for an (often old) habitual criminal.

Down Clues

1d Petitioner, one inside demanding attention (8)
CLAIMANT – insert the Roman numeral for one inside an adjective meaning calling urgently for attention.

2d Artist put up prices (5)
RATES – the usual abbreviation for a recognised artist followed by the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a verb to put or place.

3d Withdraw  money (7)
SCRATCH – double definition – to pull out of a competition and an informal word for ready money.

5d Complaint got from working in metal (7)
AILMENT – an anagram (working) of IN METAL.

6d Paid driver to point out coniferous tree, reportedly (9)
CHAUFFEUR – I’ll bet that opinions will be divided on this one. It’s a pair of homophones (reportedly) – firstly what sounds like a verb to point out or identify and then a homophone of a coniferous tree. So what do you think?

7d Display tawdry articles as well (6)
TATTOO – a military display of the type currently being staged nightly in Edinburgh is a charade of a word for tawdry or shoddy articles and an adverb meaning as well.

9d Ran infidels off Holy Island (11)
LINDISFARNE – an anagram (off) of RAN INFIDELS.

14d Stroll, leading team, in part of the Lake District (9)
AMBLESIDE – a charade of a verb to stroll and a sporting team.

15d Escorting female into upper-class circle (8)
USHERING – insert a female pronoun between the letter used for upper-class or posh and a circle.

17d Chinese food in new bags (7)
NOODLES – N(ew) followed by an informal word meaning bags (e.g. ‘she had bags of talent’).

18d Silly person hiding her cigar (7)
CHEROOT – this is obviously the word of the week (though I prefer yesterday’s clue). A stupid person (often prefixed by ‘old’) contains (hiding) HER.

19d Adult, for short time, appearing in mighty loose garment (6)
SARONG – start with an adjective meaning mighty or powerful and replace the T(ime) with A(dult).

21d Turn  Indian sign (5)
SPELL – two meanings. The first is a turn or tour of duty and the second a curse or jinx bringing continued bad luck. The ‘Indian’ relates to Native Americans rather those in the sub-continent and I understand that the term ‘Indian sign’ is sometimes considered offensive in the USA – perhaps Expat Chris or another of our transatlantic correspondents could expand on this?

I liked 16a and 9d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: EYE + LOVE + MANN = ISLE OF MAN



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84 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    This one took me a little longer than normal, with my last couple in being 21a/21d.
    13a was new to me, but as Gazza says, the wordplay is clear enough.

    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza for the review.

    • Merusa
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Re 21a/21d, I never did get those … and not that sure I understand 21d even now as have never heard of Indian sign

  2. Roland
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I was also bamboozled by 21a/21d, to such an extent that I entered a different answer for 21d, WHEEL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmacakra) which I was so sure of I didn’t question. As a result of course, I couldn’t solve 21a.
    Apart from that, quite straightforward but most enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Gazza.

  3. F1lbertfox
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Is it just me? I still don’t completely understand the explanation for 21 down! I must be a bit dim, because having written in wheel for it (after all it fitted the clue) I was trying in vain to think of a word starting ‘wee’ for 21 across. The remainder of the puzzle was fine.

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      21d A spell is a turn (at the wheel, say). To put the Indian sign on someone is to put a spell or jinx on them.

      • F1lbertfox
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Oooooh, right, thanks Gazza. It was the ‘Indian sign’ bit that had me fooled – a fresh expression to me :-)
        By the way, I forgot to mention it earlier, but whilst doing some decorating recently, I found the Daily Telegraph for Saturday Nov 5th 1983 under the carpet. I’d clearly abandoned the prize crossword (number 17981) partly finished all those years ago – however, I have now completed it bar one word. The clue is, “That swarm of Scottish bees Mr Tebbit’s father got on to!” It’s a four letter answer ?i?e. I can only think of ‘bike’ or ‘hive’ – any help would be most welcome – now to compose myself for a visit to the dentist.

        • Roland
          Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Ah yes, I remember that one well! :http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
          It’s BIKE – defined in BRB as a nest of wasps or wild bees.

          • F1lbertfox
            Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            Excellent – many thanks for that, Roland :-)

          • Merusa
            Posted August 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            How can you possibly remember a clue from 1983??? You must have the memory of an elephant

            • Kath
              Posted August 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

              Yes – that’s exactly what I thought!

              • Roland
                Posted August 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

                Hi Both, I was trying to be ironic!!

  4. JB
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I, too, failed on 21a and d, Now try the Toughie. I found it easier!

  5. Rick
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    A bit tricky I thought, with a few answers on the 23a side or needing more general/geographic knowledge than word power. I too bought the red herring in 21a making this and the down clue my last ones in. I often find four letter words a stumbling block – is it just me?
    3*/4*

  6. Una
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The red herring in 21a annoyed me and to be honest I hated 19d . I liked 17d, 8a and 10a.Thanks Gazza for an interesting review, and thanks to the setter.

  7. crypticsue
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    A straightforward Tuesday back pager (thanks Mysteron and Gazza) but nowhere near as straightforward as today’s “Toughie” which everyone should be able to solve.

  8. Miffypops
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I gave up on 21ac and 21d and consulted Gazza’s excellent blog. Well done in solving those two. Your explanation at 6d is perfect for me Gazza. How else can it work? What fun yesterday!!! May the merriment continue today. Ta to all concerned

  9. Franny
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve been lurking for a long time, but am back to say I managed to finish this but needed too much help for it to be really enjoyable. I join the club who put in ‘wheel’ for 21d and so needed to be corrected for 21a. It took me a long time to find 13a, as I had Lisa Doolittle in mind, with only one ‘o’. My favourite clue was 6d.
    So thanks to the setter and to Gazza whose hints I always enjoy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • mary
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Hello Franny, long time no ‘see’ , hope you are keeping well, I am not here much myself at the moment but hope to be back in Oct!! Do you remember Lee who used to be a regular?? we don’t seem to see much of her these days either

      • Merusa
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Mary, how lovely to hear from you!! We look forward to your real return in October.

      • andy
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        You have been missed Mary, as has Franny.

      • mary
        Posted August 13, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        thanks both http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

  10. Angel
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I was very slow to get to grips with this one but battled on and gradually the southern half fell into place with the North following after a further struggle. However it was all very enjoyable and I really liked several clues including 8a, 10a, 12a, 20a and 6d. ***/****. Thanks Mr. Ron and Gazza. Quickie included a couple of head-scratchings too so now over to a recommended easy ride with the Toughie. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  11. George Dyson
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    In regard to ‘Indian Sign’ – I have always disliked the term ‘Indian’ for North American First Nations as it represents a horrible error in European navigation and is totally inappropriate, thinking that North America was India. Of course, the inhabitants of North America have nothing to do with India. The term Indian, is however, still used as in the Canadian ‘Indian Act’ and even First Nations still sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Indians’.

    It is also curious to me that a wheel would have been thought of as an Indian sign as the Prairie nations did not use wheels as all, preferring the travois. But I suppose it did appear in their art.

    The term ‘Red Indian’ is, however, offensive, I would say.

    But really, we should move away from this terminology as it is simply incorrect.

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog George and thanks for the info. I assume from your email address that you’re Canadian?

    • Roland
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi George, the wheel is a symbol used on the Indian flag and as per the link I posted earlier, dates back to the early days of Indian Buddhism. So nothing to do with North American First Nations.

    • AJB
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Excuse me for commentating here as I have never been West of Kinsale Co. Cork but the word ‘Indian’ is just a contraction of indigenous therefore can be applied to any indigenous people. The North American Indians were probably referred to as Red due to their being sun burned during spring and early summer as you have to remember the tribes’ migration into the continent was relatively late see “http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1207/12072012-native-american-migration”.

  12. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    We also struggled with the 21s. Put them on the back-burner while we did the Toughie and then managed to get the right answers but were still somewhat unsure about the ‘Indian sign’ allusion until we read the review. Generally a bit trickier than usual we thought.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  13. mary
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif Hello everyone popping in to renew my absence of leave, I will be back now and again until end of Sept then hopefully things will return to normal!!! I thought todays crossword really difficult in places with a few easy anagrams thrown in here and there I did get 21 down and across right though, like gazza I’d never heard of the play at 13a! Hope you’re all still behaving yourselves for Kath???? I can see there have been a few changes on the blog all too the good, missing you all and the banter, back soon http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Good to have you back, Mary, even if only temporarily. We were beginning to get a bit worried that you’d deserted us.

      • mary
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        No chance of that gazza, sorry http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

      • mary
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Forgetting my manners!!! Thanks for todays blog gazza, I wouldn’t have finished without your help :-)

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I was just about to say “What time do you call this” but think “What month do you call this” is probably more appropriate!!
      Only joking – very nice to have you back even if it is only to renew leave of absence.
      What changes do you notice on the blog?
      In general everyone has been behaving quite well – I keep a pretty close eye on them and they don’t get away with much.
      I hope that all is OK with you and that you’ve been enjoying the lovely weather, not counting the last few days though.
      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • mary
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kath I will be back before long honest! Well the warnings on prize puzzles for one..very frightening!!!
        and the clues in the brackets have changed?? , I do pop in now and again even though I don’t seem to have time to comment these days!!! I can see you have things in hand and am quite happy with you in charge so to speak!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  14. Kath
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I found this one really tricky – nearer 4* difficulty and maybe between a 2* and a 3* for enjoyment.
    I never did get 21a or 21d. In desperation I guessed 13a and googled it – I’ve certainly never heard of it.
    I was even slow with 10a, not the hardest clue in the crossword – forgot all about ‘lento’ and could only think of ‘largo’ which didn’t seem to help.
    Never heard of 3d meaning money either.
    I’m having a dim day, I think, and I’ve just found one of Roland’s bikes (not a word I’ve ever heard of before) in the loft. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I did like 20 and 25a and 9d. My favourite was 16a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and gazza for the much needed hints and explanations.

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      PS I think the pair of homophones in 6d are fine.

      • mary
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        me too

    • Kitty
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Bzzz! Oh no! Not the kind of bike you want to find in your home :(. I hadn’t heard of that term either, and I shall now either promptly forget it, or remember it as “Roland’s bike” :).

      • Kath
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        I’m definitely going to remember it as “Roland’s BIKE”. And no, it’s not one that we want here. I’m fairly scarily allergic to wasp stings but terribly careful. We live in a very old house – every year we get at least one BIKE (just carrying on using the word – that way I’ll remember it!) – and tomorrow a very helpful man is going to come and deal with the BIKE!
        In the meantime BZZZZZZZ – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  15. mary
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Off out dodging the heavy showers!!

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      What do you mean you’re going out – you’ve only just come in! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      • mary
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Sorry back now!

  16. njm
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I found this very hard going, but that’s not unusual since I nearly always find Tuesday’s puzzle the most difficult the week – I just don’t seem to be on the same wavelength. I’ve never previously come across the 7 letter word in 1d, the play in 13a, or the term “Indian sign”, and like Una, I hated 19d. Yet despite the difficulties, I still enjoyed the puzzle. 4*/3* rated for me. Thanks to the compiler and to Gazza for some very necessary clarifications.

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Why do you and Una hate 19d? It seems pretty inoffensive to me.

      • njm
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I think it typifies the frustration of not being on the right wavelength. I started the puzzle last night, continued again this morning, had all the check letters (which led me to solve the clue), but I still couldn’t work out the wordplay. Then, once I’d seen your explanation, I couldn’t understand why I’d missed something so obvious!

  17. Rabbit Dave
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I found this a real mixture. Some good clues, some poor. Some easy to solve, others very tough. On balance I’ll settle for 3*/2.5*. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  18. BigBoab
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward and enjoyable puzzle, thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the super pictorial review. I totally agree with Crypticsue re the toughie today, a gentle stroll in the park.

  19. Beaver
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Back from a week in Beaumaris, enjoyed the change of beer. Quite enjoyed today’s puzzle too , agree with Rabbit Dave that the range of clue difficulty was somewhat greater than usual and that there were a few tricky ones, liked the link between 20 and 4,and 12a. Going for a 2.5*/ 3*.Thanks Gazza for the review, nothing wrong with 6d,caused a titter.

  20. Expat Chris
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard the term “Indian sign” before and had to google it. It may be more of a “west of the Rockies” term. It is indeed synonymous with hex or jinx, as in “He put the Indian sign on me”. The native Americans here in Southern Maryland were friendly towards the early settlers that founded Maryland in the 1600s and saved many lives during the first harsh winters, showing them how to build long barrows houses and cultivate corn. Many places and rivers bear Indian names.

    I quite liked the crossword, even though I missed out on 20A and 21A. I see nothing wrong with 19D either. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  21. Brian
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    An OK puzzle apart from 21a and 6d both I which I consider very poor clues. Never xpcone across the play but I did like 20a.
    Thx to all

  22. Heno
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with a lot to make me think. Like most people, 21’s were the last two in. Super red herring in 21a. We had 18d yesterday, and 23a was an Old Chestnut. Favourite was 9d. Was 3*/3* for me. Off to Olympia later for GBBF. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  23. Jill
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Like several others I struggled with 21a and 21d but other than that it was an enjoyable puzzle, harder than yesterdays but do-able. Now on to try the Toughie as so many of you say that it is easy -hopefully! 3*/ 3*

  24. SheilaP
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Not on this setters wavelength at all I’m afraid, roll on tomorrow. Still it’s not his fault, so I’ll thank him anyway and Gazza too for his very necessary help. Weather here in Scarborough doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do, one minute sunny, next minute short heavy shower, and all the time breezy.

  25. Michael
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I did not know the words/terms in 13a, 1d,3d,and 21d. I had no trouble with 6d. I guessed 19d but do not like it. nor 21a. My favourite was 17d.

  26. Corinne
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Only came across the blog a couple of weeks ago after 30+ years of doing ( or trying to do ) the crossword every day. Certainly sleeping better now.
    Many thanks to big Dave and setter !. Now going to try the toughie with a cup of tea.

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Corinne. Now that you’ve found us I hope you’ll become a regular contributor.

    • Posted August 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me as well.

      It was very nice of you to thank me, but Gazza wrote this one.

    • Kitty
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Hi Corinne. Yes, this blog does indeed help with putting the crosswords to bed! How frustrating it used to be when you couldn’t parse a clue, even with the answer. I love the internet :).

      The icon that got generated for you is a bit scary-looking – I hope it doesn’t put people off talking to you!

      • Miffypops
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Hi from me too Corrine.

  27. Gwizz
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I will tell myself that spelling the Holy island wrongly was the reason for not getting the play in 13a. Actually I have to admit that I do not know any of this playwright’s material. I shall now go and hide my head in shame.
    Thanks to the setter and gazza for the enlightenment.

  28. Vancouverbc
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Very tricky for me and I’m clearly not on the same wavelength of the setter. Thanks to Gazza for a much needed set of hints. The Indian sign comes from the Indian blanket act (perform not political) which relates to taming horses. So clearly a NA term although referenced by writers such as PG Wodehouse.

  29. Sweet William
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter. I found that hard and not much fun. As I don’t know much GK I struggled to finish. A complete guess at 13a. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints – especially 13a ! Lovely day again on Anglesey. The sea is #*#&# cold !

  30. Kitty
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s perhaps not a good sign that while doing the crossword (having returned to it after failing to finish over breakfast), I was impatient to complete it because I was looking forward more to commenting on here than I was enjoying the puzzle!

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been on this planet for fewer than four decades,* but I had to look up quite a few references (here, and on today’s quickie too). Too much general knowledge for Kitty, whose brain is a bit sieve-esque! I did get most of those (eventually) before checking, though. Where I did come to a frustrating halt was, like others, at 21’s across and down. I agree with Gazza about the misleading Whittington, but maybe on a better day, I’d agree with Heno that it was a “super red herring” :). As for, 21d, I join with those who thought “Wheel.” No problems with 6d though – I liked that one. All in all, a bit of a slog, but with a mixture of good and not-so-good, it’s all too easy to neglect the positives, like 9d and 17d.

    Overall, 3.5*/2* for me. Thanks to the setter for the tussle, and for the education, and to Gazza for the elucidation. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    *am I young, or an alien? Place your bets! ;)

    • Miffypops
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      You are young but your avatar makes you look like an alien. You are young enough to go to the FAQs and work out how to get your own avatar. Deciding which pic to use is hardest. My first one was of my feet in stripey socks. Like this

      • Kitty
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Or maybe I’m alien enough that I didn’t need the FAQs, and simply slipped a silvery tentacle into the interwebs to connect…

        (Actually, that’s the automatically generated icon. I did set up a Gravatar account before deciding that I’d grown quite attached to that one, and what would I replace it with anyway? A picture of me wouldn’t do, because it would reveal the two heads http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif).

        Very, erm, stripey!

  31. Graham Wall
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I did not enjoy this very much at all. I struggled and persevered and then succumbed to the blog to see the error of my ways. It was definitely a 4* for difficulty for me? Too many clues from the awkward corner of the clue cupboard. My thanks to Gazza for restoring my equilibrium.

    • Stewpot
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Good afternoon all. A quick ‘ta’ to Miffypops for yesterdays technical advice re the FAQs. Interesting reading. Also to Kitty and Kath- I’ve been following LaLa Land for a few months. Good banter. I will also be buying Ribena this week. Re today’s offering, two thirds done. Back to it now before I go to hints later.

      • Stewpot
        Posted August 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Kitty’s comment has just made me realise that although I’m in my 40s, I have lived in 6 decades. Doh!

        • Kath
          Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

          Some friends of ours have birthdays about six weeks apart – my friend, let’s call her Louise, has a birthday early in May – her husband’s birthday is at the end of June. Last year they were both sixty – for most of May and almost the whole of June he was saying that he was still in his fifties and was married to a woman in her seventh decade! What a little swine – actually that’s not true – he’s absolutely lovely and one of my best loved friends!

  32. Jason
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Obviously I’m not alone with 21d – I also had wheel since a wheel (of sorts) is on the flag of India.

  33. Derek
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable solve today.

    Faves : 4a, 13a, 20a, 6d, 7d & 19d.

    Now back into the pool – rain is forecast for tomorrow and the wind is strengthening.

    One more week in Provence then back to NL!

  34. JonP
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I found most of this one pretty straightforward except a couple of clues that I used electronic help on. Managed to get the 21ac and down ones (albeit after 15 mins trying to find out via google what the name of DW’s ruddy cat was until the penny finally dropped). Thanks to Gazza for the review and to setter. **/***

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I also spent quite a while trying to find out the name of the blasted cat in 21a – I have found out that she was a he and was probably called Tommy – really not helpful with 21a. Oh dear . . . .

  35. Merusa
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    This was a real mixture for me, some so easy and others sooooooo difficult. I knew 13a, but confess i found it boring. There were so many answers I put in under M’pops’s rule: if it fits, bung it in. Amongst those were 19d and 3d. Liked 9d and 4a, but favourite is 6d, which I think is just fine. Good puzzle, thanks to setter, and many thanks to Gazza for explaining the unexplainable.

  36. Catnap
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this and completed it correctly without hints. I had 21a fairly early on, but 21d was one of my last in. I liked 21a and 16a, and I had a chuckle at 6d — so, yes, I liked that, too!

    Many thanks to the setter for a pleasurable solve. Appreciation and thanks to Gazza for explaining it all so very well.

  37. Salty Dog
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I dithered for a while in the SE corner (l too was convinced of “wheel” for 21d!) but got there unaided in the end. Harder than today’s Toughie, which l did earlier, and about 3*/3* l think. Interestingly, the answer to 24a was in the Toughie as well, and I’ve seen 18d in the last week or so too. 7d my favourite, but 10a was nice. Thanks Mr Ron, and Gazza for the review.

  38. Framboise
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Could not have finished this one without Big Dave’s hints so many thanks for those. Like Kath found it tricky and did not know the play in 13a, or that 3d meant money. Guessed a few so in all would give it 3.5*/2.5*. My favourite was 16a. Had not got the wordplay of the quickie either… A bit of a frustrating experience today! Back in Sussex for the summer and enjoying its cool climes after the heat in Hyères…

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Glad to see you back after your absence. I had wondered where you’d got to. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Angel
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to Sussex Framboise. Are you in the East or in the West where the sun shines today? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  39. Kath
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Another good fun blog today so thanks to all.
    Really glad to see Mary back – not that I doubted for one minute that she would be! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    Thanks again to gazza.
    Night night all – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  40. andy
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    13a needed a bit of general knowledge but the wordplay was enough to parse. Cheers Gazza and Mr Ron

  41. reggie
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    As some I had trouble with 21d bit not acroos. I have never heard of the term Indian Sign nor the play in 13a though as Gazza says it fairly obvious from the clue. I have also never heard of 3d reference money but got the clue from withdraw. Overall a ** but only * for enjoyment

  42. Owdoo
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled with this one. Finished eventually, a day late, but needed the blog to check why 4 of my answers were correct. All in all I’d rate it 4*/2*.
    Thanks setter and Gazza for the explanations.

  43. chadwick ong'ara
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Wrote in WHEEL at 21d as I thought it meant that one in the India flag,bah!Overconfidence can be costly.The UK places getable from wordplay though never heard of them.Thanks to Google also.