DT 27603

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27603

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today I am pleased to welcome the latest recruits to our blogging team, a delightful couple from New Zealand who call themselves the Two Kiwis.  As they need no further introduction, I’ll hand over to them.  BD

Kia ora. Kiwis are normally shy creatures who spend most of the day asleep and come out only at night, but we have emerged, blinking into the light to bring you our very first review of a Wednesday puzzle. It has taken much beak scratching.

We have been solving and enjoying Jay’s puzzles for several years now and regard them as a consistent yardstick for Telegraph Cryptic Crosswords. Jay, we feel honoured to be blogging your puzzles.

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.

Across

1a The hitch-hiker’s guide? (4,2,5)
RULE OF THUMB : How a hitch-hiker attracts attention.

9a Nothing to drink after writer talks without inhibitions (5,2)
OPENS UP : The usual ‘nothing’, the usual writer (not a person) and a verb meaning to drink.

10a Violet makes attempt to pursue popular detective (6)
INDIGO : word for popular, two letter abbreviation for detective plus a try.

12a Eccentric comedian with no energy is wandering (7)
NOMADIC : Anagram (eccentric) of COMEDIAN without E for energy.

13a Mature king to confess (5-2)
GROWN UP : Our previous monarch, then a 3,2 combination to confess.

14a Cards given out in deal with workers (5)
HANDS : Double definition.

15a Decide a broken rib needs time to categorise (9)
ARBITRATE : ‘a’ from the clue, anagram (broken) of RIB, ‘t’ for time then a synonym for categorise.

17a Combined musical performance ends oddly (9)
CONCERTED : Last Night of the Proms perhaps and then odd letters of ends.

20a Ancient Greek land mostly gone from ocean (5)
ATTIC : An ocean much nearer to most of you than to us with almost all the letters of land removed.

22a Tense, but happy to get drunk (7)
UPTIGHT : Two letter word for happy then drunk.

24a Meanwhile, after Bury the motorway is backed up (7)
INTERIM : Don’t be fooled by the capital on Bury, then a motorway reversed.

25a Potential case of neglect follows behind schedule (6)
LATENT : First and last letters (case) of neglect following a word for behind schedule.

26a City bank welcoming a new head of governance (7)
TANGIER : North African city. A row of seats perhaps with ‘a’ from the clue, ‘n’ for new and first letter of governance.

27a Initiate and master churned up current in vessels (11)
BLOODSTREAM : A word for initiate followed by an anagram (churned up) of MASTER.

Down

2d Positive attributes of promoted teams (7)
UPSIDES : Two letter word for promoted and a synonym for teams.

3d Suppose worker is pregnant (9)
EXPECTANT : One of our regular six-legged workers follows a word for suppose.

4d A hammer-thrower’s affair? (5)
FLING : Verb showing what a hammer-thrower does.

5d Pelt unprotected louts and retreat (7)
HIDEOUT : Synonym for pelt or skin followed by middle letters (unprotected) of louts.

6d Colour magazine with neat layout (7)
MAGENTA : Abbreviation for magazine and anagram (layout) of NEAT.

7d Welcome to the antenatal clinic (4,3,4)
JOIN THE CLUB : A wry invitation to become 3d.

8d Marine trapped in vessel finds cockroaches, for example (6)
VERMIN : Two letter abbreviation for Royal Marine inside (trapped) in vessel related to 27a.

11d What might capture escaped mare panicking? (5,6)
SPEED CAMERA : Anagram (panicking) of ESCAPED MARE.

16d Daughter is set up in improved accommodation (9)
BEDSITTER : D for daughter and ‘is’ reversed inside a word for improved.

18d Before the dance, catch the game (7)
NETBALL : Word for catch then a formal dance to give one of NZ’s national games.

19d Painter and composer missing key company (2,5)
EL GRECO : A composer (or perhaps crossword setter) missing a musical key and abbreviation for companyBig Dave has pointed out that we are missing an E in our explanation. Perhaps  the clue should read. “Painter and composer missing a key company” for which the explanation would be “A composer (or perhaps crossword setter) missing the A from the clue, followed by a musical key and the abbreviation for CO(mpany)”.

20d An amount of money, reportedly for a dish (7)
ANTENNA : ‘An’ from the clue and then what sounds like a sum of money. We spent some time working out what sort of dish it might be.

21d With temperature, drop off around one, being very sluggish (6)
TORPID : ‘T’ for temperature then anagram (off) of DROP around one ‘I’.

23d Bears feeding close to trekkers climbing (5)
TOTES : Nothing grizzly about this one. It is one of those fiendish hiding backwards inside the clue answers.

All our favourites were in the bottom half of the grid. We liked 27a, 19d and 20d but rather than upset a fellow blogger, we will opt for 20d.


The Quick Crossword pun: dawn+hobs=door knobs


Advertisements

64 Comments

  1. Alan
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    First time I finished the crossword in one go, with no help. Must be all the tips I picked up from here. Thanks for the site BD.

  2. Jezza
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Apart from being confused by 19d, I enjoyed this one, as I always do on Wednesdays.
    Thanks to Jay, and thanks to 2Kiwis on your debut review.

  3. Brian
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Pretty much of a write-in until the bottom right corner. 20a, 20d and 26a held me up for some time but when the penny finally dropped I thought they were brilliant clues.
    Very enjoyable all round.
    Thx to the Setter and to 2kiwis for confirming my answer to 20a.

  4. gazza
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A very warm welcome to the 2Kiwis and congratulations on your first review.

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    2*/3* for me for todays enjoyable puzzle with the SW corner being the last to yield. I might have been a bit faster if I hadn’t stupidly written the answer for 15a in 16d before I had any checking letters :oops:

    I particularly liked all the long clues round the edges, with 1a my favourite.

    I have a couple of quibbles, the first of which is in keeping with my role as Chief Pedant: Indigo and Violet are not the same, they are distinct colours. The other clue which worried me was 19d, although perhaps I haven’t understood the precise wordplay. Shouldn’t it read “Painter and composer missing a key company”, i.e. Painter (= definition) and composer (Elgar) missing A plus key (E) plus company (CO)?

    Many thanks to Jay and many thanks and welcome to our new recruits, the 2Kiwis.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      P.S. I just read the 2Kiwis’ hint for 19d and I see they agree that the clue needs an “a” inserted.

      • Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        The Puzzles editor also agrees, but is out of the office today so it may not be corrected until tomorrow.

        By the way, we think there is an error in 3 down in the Toughie – more about that in Gazza’s upcoming review.

  6. happy days
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Lovely review and welcome to both Kiwis. I enjoyed the puzzle, too!

  7. Kath
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Welcome from me Kiwis – how lovely and well done! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif I do hope you weren’t as terrified as I was the first time I tried some hints.
    I agree with your 2* difficulty but would give it a 4* for enjoyment.
    The clue that held me up and was my last answer was 27a.
    I was also slow with 8d – spent too long trying to justify ‘seaman’ for the Marine and I knew it wasn’t right because of the cockroaches! Got there in the end.
    I thought it was a fairly ‘bloody’ crossword – 27a and 8d – and a rather pregnant one too – 3 and 7d.
    It didn’t occur to me to question 19d – just put in the answer but now I see what you mean.
    I liked 22 and 24a and 3 and 11d. My favourite was either 1a or 7d.
    With thanks to Jay and thanks and congratulations to the Kiwis – what is the time difference? It’s one of the things that my brain isn’t very good at!

    • Kath
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I’ve just asked Mr Google what time it is in New Zealand – he seems to think that it must be nearly bed time for Kiwis so sleep well!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Just a quick reply as we are off to bed now. It is 10.30pm here. We are 11hrs ahead of you now and will soon change to be 12 then 13 hrs ahead for our summer. We think that terrified is a much too mild a word to describe how we felt about doing this.
      Night night. Will respond further when we get up tomorrow. Cheers all.

  8. Dave B
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Very good crossword. Last in was 27a. Best were 20d, 26a & 27a

  9. Werm
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Welcome to blogging 2 Kiwis, congratulations on your first review, enjoy the ride.
    I too thought that 19d didn’t work even though I was almost certain that my answer was correct. Last one in for me was 20A. Thanks to Jay

  10. Sweet William
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jay for another enjoyable puzzle. I had no problems with the RHS but got stuck on the LHS . Once I got 7d things started moving again ! I put the answer in for 19d, but agree that there seemed to something missing in the clue. Many thanks 2Kiwis for your review and hints. Very brave of you to take this on and greatly appreciated.

  11. DroopyH
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Lovely review and welcome to both Kiwis. I enjoyed the puzzle, too!

  12. Rick
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks and congrats from me too. I look forward to many more.
    One of Jay’s easier offerings I thought, not least because of a very generous grid that by my count gave the first letter to all but five of the clues. As a solver of the Miffypops ‘bung it in parse it later’ school, that suits me down to the ground. I was on for 1* difficulty but took a little while sorting the 20 clues and 27a so add an extra 0.5 for that. Good fun though, so 3* for enjoyment.

  13. Kitty
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Meow! Greetings all :). I’ve returned from living a life of leisure, and being made breakfast in bed every morning http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif. Back to earth with a bump! Yesterday’s was a real slog, and the first for a while done without my apprentice assistant. That’s probably why I was too dejected to comment then :(.

    After a gentle and enjoyable holiday, this gentle and enjoyable crossword is just what I needed to help ease me back into normal life again. I fairly raced through it, until three of the southernmost clues held me up. Glad to see I wasn’t being dim-witted at 19d, although I certainly was at 23d where the “why” defeated me – durr!

    Thanks and congratumalations to the 2Kiwis on an accomplished debut blog. Thanks also to Jay.

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  14. Collywobbles
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the 2Kiwis and many thanks for the hints today – and to Jay for another fine puzzle

  15. Owdoo
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, seems most found this easy but for me it was fairly average in difficulty. I wasn’t helped by initially putting “forge” for 4d, which held me up a bit with some wrong checking letters but it all fell into place eventually in average time.
    2*/2*
    Well done and thanks to the 2 Kiwis for stepping up as our new bloggers.
    And thanks to Jay as well of course.

  16. Jay
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    My apologies to all for my oversight at 19 down – I didn’t spot the error on test solve! And of course a warm welcome from myself to the 2 Kiwis for an excellent and enjoyable debut.

  17. crypticsue
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Welcome Kiwis to the terrifying world of on-the-day blogging. At least you had two beaks to scratch.

    Thank you to Jay for the crossword – not as tricky as some of yours and interestingly this time the top got filled up before the bottom.

    Today’s Toughie fits the description!

    • Kath
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      How are the bee stings? Poor you – I hate them but not as much as wasp stings. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      Think I might give the Toughie a miss – younger Pet Lamb will be pleased as it probably means that she’ll get the cushion covers that I’ve promised to make for her sooner rather than later!

      • crypticsue
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Bee stings slowly doing down – yesterday I looked like someone whose Botox treatment had gone very wrong and it definitely affected my ability to solve crosswords, which is not good. Still puffy under the eyes today but loads better thank you.

  18. BigBoab
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay for a delightful if unchallenging crossword and to the two kiwis for a superb start to their reviewing.

  19. Bluebird
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, that was a relief after my shameful performance (or lack of) yesterday.

    Thanks and well done to the Kiwis!

    I missed that naughty insert on 23d. Got the only answer possible but no idea why….

    Feeling a bit chilly and needing to rescue defrosted food after freezer failure. Know any good recipes for 20 pints of milk and four loaves? NB I have already thought of B&B puddinghttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  20. Beaver
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Lighthearted offering today from Jay- thanks, and around a**/***,well done the Kiwis- I swear I could hear the antipodean drawl when I read the review!. Reminds me of a dinner party when the lady on my right said-“are marsupials indigenous to the Antipodes-bit of a show stopper i thought!
    Failed to analyse 19d as the only2/5 painter i know is The Greek and my brain turned off after Elgar.

  21. Jill
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I whistled through most of this puzzle then on went the brakes and the final 3 clues took longer than all the rest put together and I need the Kiwis’ reassurance that I had 20a and 23d correct! Definitely a **/*** from me.

  22. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I do enjoy wednesday puzzles. The only day of the week when I do nothing. Apart from the crosswords of course. I was left with only 7d and being stubborn I thought it had to start with “down the”. Second time we see 11d and 19d in a fortnight. Have we already gone through the whole english dictionary yet ?
    thanks to 2kiwis for the review and to jay for the grid.

  23. Miffypops
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I found this on the easy side for a Jayday but lots of fun. I spent a while trying to justify 23d but it fit and it related to Bears so in it was bunged. I fell down using this method by putting bunging collected in at 17ac supposing a collect could be sung as well as spoken. When the sport at 18d went in I chose to alter 17ac to connected (it fit) and forgot to check it when I finished.

    Thanks to Jay

    Welcome aboard to The Two Kiwis. A great start, let there be many more. It was a surprise to see you up there in lights today, thanks for giving up your time to this wonderful blog

  24. Marine2375
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    As per the colors of the rainbow I’ve always understood indigo and violet to be two different colour snot one being a synonym for the other

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly, apart from the snot :wink:

  25. pommers
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kiwis and welcome from me too. Bit of a stinker having a mistake in the crossword when it’s your first blog! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    Otherwise it was the usual good stuff on a Wednesday so **/*** from us as well.

    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis

  26. Una
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely surprise to see the two kiwis today. Nice uzzle and I needed your help with 20d . Thanks to all concerned.

  27. Jane
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Never thought I’d get to say this but today’s puzzle was just about a write-in for me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    The only slight hesitations came with 8d (I usually associate that word with our little furry friends) and 20a,where the answer was obvious but I was trying for a noun rather than a verb.
    1*/3* – the latter because the four long answers made me smile and because I was delighted to be able to say ‘write-in’ for once!
    Many thanks to Jay and those brave Kiwis.

  28. Merusa
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Welcome 2Kiwis, great blog, and your first attempt too! Thank you for giving up your time. Sleep well!
    I was dead on wavelength today, virtually a write in. The top half went in on first read through, I couldn’t help thinking the pros must have completed this in a nanosecond. It was most enjoyable with many fun clues.
    Thank you, Jay, you have fully restored my self-confidence after yesterday’s disaster.
    My fave is 20a, but I loved many others.

  29. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Well done the 2kiwis. Braver than I. The puzzle was enjoyable and not overly challenging which is rare for me. Took me ages to get 27a as I was trying to find a ship ending in steamer. Hmmm! The rain started yesterday but was like a monsoon this morning.

  30. Poppy
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    How brilliant that you’ve joined the elite and heartiest congratulations on your first hinting blog. Beautifully clear and enormously appreciated – thank you! I got stuck on 20d and was far too muddled to see the answer until the end, so it was my last one in. Didn’t see 23d at all and solved it on the clue rather than IN the clue… Idiot! But much appreciated the setter’s puzzle. Thank you. And look forward to seeing your next set of hints when I hope the terror indicator will be much lower 2Kiwis – you’re heroes in my book. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    It is just after 5am here but could not resist sneaking out of bed (we are actually away from home staying with family) and turning on the computer. Thank you all so much for such a warm welcome. Think that coping with unfamiliar technology (behind the scenes on the blog site) was the most terrifying part and we are grateful to Big Dave for nursing us through it. Next challenge will be to master the insertion of pictures as we know everyone appreciates them.
    Thanks again for all the kind words.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • pommers
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Well done chaps but please go back to bed for a kip! Remember, if I can handle the technology then anyone can! My secretary was once overheard describing me as a “Technopeasant” – ’bout right too!

      Well done from me and pommette. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • Kath
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes – blasted pictures! One day I’m going to learn but until someone spells out in words of one syllable HOW I just don’t get it. Oh dear!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      I agree with you about technology but I think you two are better at it than I am – most people are. Yet again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      Anyway – more congratulations. Everyone assures me that the nerves get less with experience – that hasn’t happened to me yet but then I’m a scaredy cat.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      It would be a struggle to find an across clue to illustrate today. The downs are not jumping out at me either. Best concentrate on keeping Big Dave’s fingers off the edit button and not giving the pedantic anything to bang on about. As New Zealanders you will be far too polite to throw controversy and personal opinion into the blog.

  32. Jimbo
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I finished it today but i just can’t understand the initiate part of 27 across. Can Someone help? Thanks for the hints as always.

    • gazza
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Jimbo.
      To blood means to initiate, introduce or give experience to, e.g. The manager blooded two new players this afternoon.

      • Kath
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        . . . and the Master of the Hunt blooded the best new young rider to hounds.

        • gazza
          Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          … and a revolting practice it is.

          • Kath
            Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            I agree. I didn’t say that I was in favour of it – I was just giving another meaning.

          • Merusa
            Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            Isn’t it illegal now?

            • gazza
              Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

              Not sure – even if it is I bet it still goes on.

              • pommers
                Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

                The unspeakable are still in hot pursuit of the uneatable.

                • Kath
                  Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

                  I wouldn’t mind betting that Hugh Fumbly-Wumbly or whatever his name is eats them.

                  • crypticsue
                    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

                    You obviously haven’t read today’s paper thoroughly.

                    • Kath
                      Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

                      Obviously not – been too busy making cushion covers – will have a proper look tomorrow. Is this yet another of those times when I should have kept big mouth shut? One day I’ll learn . . .

  33. Gwizz
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Pretty straight forward I thought, so that meant I was bound to make a mistake; which I duly did putting Turgid instead of Torpid…. sometimes in fact quite often my brain hurts…
    Thanks to Jay and well done the 2 Kiwis! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  34. Hilary
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to 2kiwis. Thought I was going to have bad day but once I got started it went well, difficult to pick favourite but I will go for 19d only because it tickled my funny bone as well as being among my top ten artists.

  35. dutch
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    was there a particularly broody theme today?

    • Kath
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes.

  36. andy
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Well done 2Kiwis, agree with Pommers the issue with 19d cannot have helped. Thanks to you both and to Jay

  37. Little Dave
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    First for me as done completely on line. Enjoyable but prefer to use a pen! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Ditch the pen. My iPad back pagers are so neat. My pen written toughies are all over the place.

      • Jane
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        Sorry MP – nothing will entice me away from the pen and scribbles. As for an Ipad – no thank you – my little ‘pay as you go’ old fashioned Nokia will make & receive calls and even text if I really try hard enough. Quite sufficient for me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted September 25, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Oooh you are clever I have not progressed past the well tried pencil with eraser on the end.

  38. Jerome
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Obviously on my own with this crossword as I struggled with most of the bottom half. ***/* for me today.

  39. Tstrummer
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Welcome to the Kiwis – well done! I enjoyed the puzzle and only needed your help to explain why a couple of my answers were right. I always enjoy a Jay puzzle, particularly as they slot together smoothly and in 2* time so I can get an earlier night than usual to be up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for radio duties in the morning. 4* fun for me. Favourite was 27a

  40. Heno
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and to the two Kiwis for the review and hints. Welcome two Kiwis, very nice debut blog. A good puzzle apart from the error in 19d. A bit on gentle side, but most entertaining. Favourite was 7d. Was 2*/4* for me. I had the right answer for 23d, but needed the hint to parse it. Late commenting due to attending the St Albans beer festival. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif