DT 27616 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27616

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27616

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where I’m on double time again. Yep, it’s another public holiday in Valencia (Día de la Comunidad Valenciana)!
I thought this a fairly benign puzzle with nothing to really frighten the horses .  There are a couple of clues where either I’m missing something or they aren’t quite right. I’ll be interested to see if anyone can explain further.

As usual the ones I liked the most are in blue and the answers are hidden under the ‘click here’ buttons.

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.


2a           Explanatory representation of virus a little European contracted (12)
ILLUSTRATIVE: It’s an anagram (representation of) of VIRUS A LITTLE.  This is one where I may be missing something. I can’t see what the EUROPEAN CONTRACTED is there for, unless the setter miscounted letters and thought we needed another E in the fodder!

8a           Unruffled learner entering river (4)
CALM: Insert L(earner) into a river in East Anglia.

9a           Son cutting meals by reforming diet perhaps (8)
ASSEMBLY: An anagram (reforming) of MEALS BY with S(on) inserted (cutting) will give you a diet or parliament.

10a         Source of deep delivery? (8)
LIFEBOAT: Delivery as in rescue. What might rescue you if you had an accident at sea.

11a         A French expert getting left inside to remove trainer? (6)
UNLACE: The French indefinite article followed by the usual expert with L(eft) inserted (inside) gives something you do to remove your training shoe.  Actually I don’t, I just pull ’em off but then I have to do this to get them back on again!

12a         Promotion to offer before agitation? (10)
PREFERMENT: A three letter prefix meaning before followed by a word meaning agitation or unrest.  This is another where I may be missing something. What’s the TO OFFER all about?

13a         Popular colleague one’s given time (6)
INMATE: The usual popular followed by a colleague or friend gives a word for someone serving time in prison.

16a         Mischievous damsel finally gets detained (5)
ELFIN: It’s hidden (gets detained) in DAMSEL FINALLY.

17a         Shakespearean character‘s staying power (6)
BOTTOM: A word for staying power, which is usually applied to horses, is the Shakespearean character with the donkey’s head.

18a         A floating can? (6,4)
PRISON SHIP: A floating version of where the guy in 13a may be serving his time.  I spent some time trying to do something with a floating toilet, d’oh!

21a         Obstacle about first piece of equipment that’s technologically advanced (2-4)
HI TECH: Take an obstacle or problem and insert (about) an E (first piece of Equipment) and split the result (2-4)

23a         Former person in union rung and given praise (8)
EXTOLLED: The usual abbreviation for a former spouse (person in union) followed by a word meaning rung, a bell perhaps.

24a         Criminal having anxiety in Germany (8)
GANGSTER: Al Capone was one of these. Insert a word for anxiety or distress into the three letter abbreviation for Germany.

25a         Upper-class fool in army group (4)
UNIT: The letter denoting upper class followed by a word for a fool or silly person.  No, it’s not ASS for once!

26a         I’m opposed to imperial figures? (6,6)
METRIC SYSTEM: Cryptic definition of an alternative to Imperial weights and measures.


1d           Artist overlooking seaside feature that’s pointedly offensive (6)
RAPIER: A type of sword is a charade of the usual artist and something you might find in a seaside resort such as Brighton.

2d           Tense and suffering blemishes? (9)
IMPERFECT: Double definition. Tense as in past, present, future etc.

3d           Work occupying professional, a bourgeois (6)

4d           Landmark that’s disturbed by a tourist fleet? (6,2,7)

5d           Russian mystic artist’s given introduction (8)
RASPUTIN: It’s that artist again (don’t forget the ‘S this time) followed by a phrase (3,2) which could mean given introduction or placed inside.  Surprised the setter didn’t make some allusion to the Russian president!

6d           Back including ‘monsieur’ in Asian language (5)
TAMIL: A language spoken in parts of India and Sri Lanka is M(onsieur) inserted into (including) a word meaning back or rear.

7d           Speed shown briefly by five in Rome? (8)
VELOCITY: This is a term for speed whose single letter abbreviation (shown briefly) the letter for five in Romen numerals.  Strictly speaking this isn’t the same as speed. It’s speed in a specified direction but I guess it’s near enough.

14d         Gold alone is kept in silence in gloomy place (9)
MAUSOLEUM: Start with a word for silence (3) and insert (kept in) the chemical symbol for gold and a word meaning alone or single.

15d         Propose flier in letter (8)
NOMINATE: A talkative bird inserted into a short letter.

16d         Time chap’s got upset showing stress? (8)
EMPHATIC: Anagram (upset) of TIME CHAP.

19d         Dismissed some tennis in the beginning (6)
OUTSET: A charade of a word for dismissed followed by a part of a tennis match.

20d         Peninsula in Russian region lacking sun (6)
IBERIA: Start with a part of northern Russia and remove (lacking) the S(un) from the beginning and you’re left with the European peninsula where I live.  Bit of a chestnut methinks!

22d         Anxious time in US medical facility (5)
EAGER: A long time inserted into what the Americans call the A & E department of a hospital.

No real stand-outs this week but my favourte is probably 18a.

The Quick Crossword pun: balm+aide=barmaid

112 comments on “DT 27616

  1. I made a big mistake in 10A putting belt instead of boat, which meant I couldn’t get 3D, that apart it was fairly straight forward, 2D floated my boat keeping with the nautical theme.
    Many thanks to the setter & Pommers for his review

    1. Hi Graham. You’ve got me thinking now, dangerous I know, but both LIFEBUOY and LIFERAFT also work for 10a.
      Glad I didn’t think of them whilst solving. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

      1. It’s a proprietary thing that few people would have heard of, and not the right enumeration (3,5), but I think Sea Stork would be a rather cool solution. (I googled it hoping there might be such a bird, but no.)

  2. Fair enough puzzle today and I also wondered about the same clues as pommers. Can’t contribute to the rationale here, I am afraid.

    I did not get a lot of joy out of this one, though, for some reason. 2*/3* for me.

  3. Wow, I didn’t even spot the miscount in 2a, so no idea what is happening there, looks like a mistake as you say pommers. I had decided to offer in 12a had to be part of the definition, since it doesn’t quite work as a link – but it certainly confused me.

    Took me a while to parse speed in 7d, 10a (deep delivery) was the last one in and still took a while with all the checking letters. I didn’t know how the shakespearean was a stayer. Apart from that pretty quick.

    I liked the criminal in 24a, I think because the word used for anxiety is the word for “anxiety in german”, a nice touch.

    Many thanks setter and pommels

    1. Collins has the following as definition #13 for Bottom:-

      Noun, (esp of horses) staying power; stamina

      The penny nearly didn’t drop for me on 7d but fortunately it did eventually, you probably heard the bang!
      Don’t speak German so missed the connection in 24a – as you say, a nice touch!

  4. Managed to get my paper quite early this morning. So nice to lounge around usually. The NW corner gave me a little bit of trouble as I had two other possible entries for 2d (impatient and impetuous) but 10 and 12a were defeating me. For 10a I was thinking of some underwater wel. 17a remained blank until I revealed the answer. So thank you pommers for the hints and answers and to the setter of course.
    Ps. Couldn’t believe yesterday’s blog. I saw that a member of this crew is coming to Hyères. So welcome to framboise and I hope we won’t fight to get the only copy of the telegraph from Top Presse in avenue general de Gaulle. The other possibility being the Relay shop at the airport.

  5. Enjoyable and a fair challenge, I seemed to be very slow moving today, I think yesterday’s toughie used all my brain capacity late last night. I didn’t like 21a tbh, it just seems a lazy clue using tech in both clue and answer. Thanks to setter and Pommers

  6. Not many answers came to mind on a speedy first read, but can’t really quibble with a**/***after the solve, which seems to be the most popular rating. Thanks Pommers for the blog and pics , not heard before of the second Bottom meaning and thanks also for the V as in 1/2 mv² explanation-i was playing about 5 and city with a bit in the middle missing, trying to over complicate things!. Was expecting a pic of Audrey Hepburn for 16A,as she was a perfect example.

      1. Thanks ,will always remember her looking stunning. in that Cecil Beaton dress in my fair lady

  7. **/**** on my birthday! No help needed for this one, 4D my favourite. Thanks to setter and pommers. Hope no sailors need 10a in all these high winds.

    1. The lifeboat in the picture is currently at sea off the north coast of Angelsey. I don’t know if it’s out on a job or just returning to Moelfre. It’s probably been a bit busy in view of the current weather.

  8. Oh dear, Oh dear.
    I really look forward to Thursday because it’s normally very, very hard.
    This wasn’t too for me but only just over my ‘time’
    Enjoyable, though.
    Re 2a – I see no problem, just a straightforward *******, one word in the clue being the indicator.
    (Sorry if I’ve broken a rule)
    Many thanks to the setter and pommers.

    1. It’s not a prize puzzle so there’s no problem giving answers or alternative clues. If you’re happy with 2a perhaps you would like to explain how it works.

        1. There is no missing letter. The definition is EXPLANATORY. The anagram indicator is REPRESENTATION OF and the fodder is VIRUS A LITTLE. End of story.

          The last two word’s EUROPEAN CONTRACTED, are superfluous as far as I can see. I can only surmise that the setter got it wrong and thought that an extra E was required to make the anagram work – but it isn’t.

          1. My first thought was ‘contracted’ was the anagram indicator and that it also knocked of the last letter of little, contracted it, that is.
            But perhaps I’m being far-fetched.
            Anybody else with bright ideas?

            1. Or, rather, ‘representation’ is the anagram indicator and ‘little’ and European’ are both ‘contracted’ or shortened?

              As other solvers obviously got this clue, what, please, was their explanation?
              Or did they think, like pommers, that the setter boobed?

              1. That’s getting a bit convoluted! I reckon it’s just a mistake and it wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a mess-up with anagram fodder.. It’s very easy to do.

  9. Morning all. I share the same misgivings as pommers on 2a and 7d, and I hadn’t come across that meaning of 17a before, but it was an enjoyable puzzle nonetheless. 2*/3*
    Thanks to both setter and pommers.

    An early solve for me today due to a day off work. I’m hoping for a nice relaxing day to celebrate a personal milestone as I raise my bat to teammates acknowledging an unbeaten half century.

    1. Are you the same Franco that has left nearly 2,000 comments?

      If not, welcome to the blog and please choose a different alias in order to avoid confusion.

  10. 2a is of course no problem to the members of the bung it in brigade. What’s an extra e between friends when you have already moved on to the next clue?

    1. That’s how I solved it. It was only when I came to write the hint that I realised VIRUS A LITTLE E didn’t actually work as the anagram fodder. Had I not been blogging today I would never have noticed.

  11. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, but found it very difficult. I missed the anagram in 2a, and had the wrong ending. That stopped me getting 7d. Where does the “elo” come from in 7d? Those two clues were very iffy. The rest of the puzzle was very good. I’d never heard of 17a meaning stamina. Needed two hints to finish. Favourite was 18a. Was 3*/3* for me. Sunshine and showers in Central London.

    1. The ELO is irrelevant. The def is SPEED and the answer is VELOCITY. In physics notation the abbreviation (shown briefly) of velocity is V, which is 5 in Roman numerals. So the clue is saying “this word for speed has an abbreviation which is 5 in Rome”.

    2. Don’t be confused by the “city” at the end of the answer being a reference to Rome.

      The abbreviation for velocity is v. In Roman numerals the number 5 is written as v. The clue simply requires you to get from the “v” as 5 to v as velocity.

    3. Thanx for raising that question Collywobbles I was also having trouble understanding the parsing of 7d. Pommers and Prolixic have now made it much clearer. Thank you.

  12. I’m officially having one of my dim days. I found it really difficult – 3*+ a bit and 3*ish for enjoyment. I’m even having trouble with the quickie! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I agree with everyone about 2a.
    12a caused enough problems on its own so it didn’t occur to me to worry about the ‘to offer’ bit.
    I missed both the hidden ones for a really long time – 3d was one of my last answers.
    I was slow with 10 and 18a and the second word of 26a.
    Didn’t know the finer points of the V=velocity so that was OK as far as I was concerned. I also didn’t know that bottom was anything to do with stamina.
    I liked 18 (eventually) and 25a and 2d. My favourite was 4d and even that took ages.
    I’ve just noticed that there are only a couple of anagrams – I’m going to use that as my excuse for finding it tricky!
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to pommers – I’m really glad it was you not me today! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Oh good – I hate being the only one. It’s all to do with wavelengths and you and I just weren’t on the right one today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          1. Precisely – just no reception at all today. It was another of those “oh dear” days and I’m so relieved that it was pommers today – I’d probably have thrown a complete wobbly and never been seen again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

              1. No – 7d would have been fine – I’d have gone for the simple option as the finer points of what direction it was going in completely escaped me – I’m lots of things but a physicist isn’t one of them – I leave that kind of stuff to Pet Lamb No 1!

      1. Yes – I still have one that I can’t do – something must have gone badly wrong AND we’re not supposed to talk about it here. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

          1. Well – since you mention it, yes! But, seriously, over to the comment bit – BD says that talking about it here could spoil stuff for others who are keeping the ‘you know what’ for later.

  13. Yet another gentle and enjoyable crossword today to continue the theme of the week, thanks to the setter and to pommers for the lovely review.

  14. I can’t agree that this was a ‘fairly a benign’ puzzle, in fact I found it to be one of the most difficult back pagers I’ve attempted in many months. Sure, the top half of the puzzle and the long anagram for 4 down were very quickly solved, but I needed your hints/guidance for several answers for me to be able to complete the bottom half. For me this was quite a challenging and very enjoyable solve – most definitely a ‘tale of two halves for me. Thanks to the setter and many thanks to you Pommers for your hints.

  15. I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about extra e’s or the abbreviation for velocity or things like that as I’m a paid up member of the bung it in society. I’ve also never heard of bottom meaning stamina, but our dictionary states that it’s an archaic meaning of the word , and although I’m quite old i’m not quite archaic. Thank you to the setter and to pommers.

  16. As a member of the “by all means bung it in and have a look at it, but if you can’t parse it, remove it” brigade (yeah, snappy I know!), I was troubled by 2a, and glad that I wasn’t being dim. I didn’t get 12a or 17a either. I’m surprised that setters don’t make more use of the staying power synonym though: it could make for some fun clues! I liked 18a and 10a, so am very much at sea today. Also liked 7d, once I’d read pommers’ hint – went down the v-???-city route like others, and had to come here for enlightenment. Thanks to pommers for that, and also to Mr Ron.

    1. My novice solver friend just complained that as a physicist, I should have got 7d. To which I indignantly retorted that I did, of course, just not the parsing :). But that reminded me that I wanted to add that I’m much happier swallowing velocity as a synonym for speed than the force/energy/power stuff we had the other day.

  17. What a relief to open the DT on a Thursday and be faced with a crossword that I can comprehend and finish. My only comment really is that I don’t see how eager can mean anxiety. Chambers defines eager as
    Longing to do or (with for) obtain
    Excited by desire
    Earnest (obsolete)
    Keen, severe
    (Shakespeare aygre) sour, acid, bitter (obsolete)
    But not anxious.
    Apart from that and also trying to get in an aquatic loo, very enjoyable.
    Thx to all

    1. It’s not anxiety it’s ANXIOUS – read the clue properly! If you’re anxious to do something you are eager to do it.

      Collins has this for anxious meaning #3:
      adj intensely desirous; eager ⇒ “anxious for promotion”

      As for the floating can, the first thing I thought of was HEADS.

        1. Should have gone to Specsavers! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
          Our collie looks like the Specsavers advert after I brushed her and snipped out all her “tangly bits” yesterday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif She’s really not pleased!

  18. Sorry did anyone run down the ‘to offer’ in 12a. Can’t see anything in the contributions today unless I have missed it!

    1. Best guess is that it’s just in there as a link phrase to make the clue read OK but it’s not very good. It confused me as I got to thinking AD for promotion and BID or TENDER for offer and I wasn’t getting anywhere of course until i spotted the answer from the checkers.

  19. Not a hard puzzle but not very enjoyable mainly because of a couple of clues that didn’t quite work for me. Last one in 20d due to a real thicky moment. **/*. Thanks to pommers for the review.

  20. Thank you setter. Managed to finish this albeit with two guesses – at 7th and 22d. Both answers were correct, but I needed your hints Pommers to decode and in the case of 7d needed all the other prompts from contributors to try to get my head round it. So although we enjoyed solving the puzzle as always, there was a certain frustration at the end – caused by this one clue ! Thanks Pommers for your review and hints and determination to explain 7d to dunces like me !

  21. Phew! 10a had me going… I was sure it had to be something something POST. Cept it wasn’t. Oh dear, and me brought up by the sea too. Oh well. 23a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and pommers for the hints.

  22. Not much fun and I found it rather difficult. South went in before the North. I agree with Pommers in having reservations about 2a, 12a and 7d. Thanks Pommers and Mr. Ron.
    ****/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  23. Like Kath, I found this decidedly tricky. There were far too many that followed the M’pops rule and I needed pommers hints for the parsing, such 12a, (I clean forgot that bird) 15d, 22d and 24a. I had the wrong ending for 16d, missed the anagram, that messed me up for a while. Loved 17a but fave was 18a. Thanks to setter, and many thanks to pommers for unravelling.

  24. Unusual for me I started early, having got bare bones in 4d came to me as I was conflagrating a crumpet for OH’s tea from then on it was fine. Cannot be Thursday because I always have trouble on Thursday. Agree that there are some dodgy clues but resorted to bung-it-in and hope for the best. Thanks to pommers.

  25. Late start for me – meetings all day http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif
    Same issues as others over 2a and 12a.
    9a – thank goodness for the history lessons on the Diet of Worms!
    17a – hadn’t come across that definition before today.
    26a – I get that metric is the opposite of imperial but how is system the opposite of figures?
    2d – almost the favourite.
    3d – a ‘bung in’ – completely missed the ‘hidden’ – stupid!
    4d – lots of ‘pen and circles’ – sorry!
    7d – why is it permissible to forget about the ELO? I spent ages trying to figure out where the Electric Light Orchestra came into it.
    15d – I’m surprised no-one else has commented about the bird. As far as I know it’s either a Myna or a Mynah – not a Mina.

    10a was definitely the favourite (when I finally got there!). Hopefully the Moelfre lifeboat survived OK in last night’s storms – it’s currently moored off-shore whilst the new lifeboat house is being built! Our inshore boat at Beaumaris has been as busy as ever recently – not for nothing is there a Samaritans ‘phone on the Menai Bridge or a lighthouse at Penmon Point. Much appreciation here for the volunteer guys and girls – they have a grim job at times and only public donations to support them. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    1. Hi Jane

      Know the area well as we used to keep our first boat, “Tidal Flo” on a mooring between Gallows Point and the Gazelle for a few years. When that area became the mussel bed we moved to Conwy and bought a new boat – “Firenze”. Still spent a lot of weekends in the Straits though as it’s an easy sail from Conwy if you’re not wanting to bash the brains out by going to the I-o-M and back over a weekend. Last night the Moelfre lifeboat was in Holyhead but is now off Amwlch which is probably a bit more sheltered than Moelfre in current conditions.

      The crews of the RNLI are stars (and a lot of laughs when you get to know them)and they are the main beneficiary in my will. You never know, Conwy may one day have an inshore lifeboat called “pommers”!

      1. Hi Pommers,
        Well – I can see your old mooring point from my window! As for Firenze – do you know what happened to her? I have a feeling I know the name either from the ABC ‘drydock’ or a mooring in the Strait (sorry, it’s apparently no longer PC to refer to the Straits as there’s only one of them!).
        Well done indeed for the terms of your will – I do as much as I can to support them locally – will tell my daughters to look out for ‘pommers’ in Conwy in years to come!
        Meantime – if you and the good lady fancy a trip down memory lane sometime, I can always fix you up with a bed and a great view of your old haunts!

        1. Wow! Where do you live? Our mooring was about the third down in the middle trot going south from Gallows.

          Shame I’m not wealthy enough to leave them a Severn class but apparantly they cost a couple of million quid. A couple of wellies and a Thermos will probably all that’s left.

          BTW, a prize of nothing but admiration for anyone spotting the connection between “Tidal Flo” and “Firenze”. If it makes it easier our third boat, had we had one, would have been called “Freeflo” and a fourth would have been “Floforth”.

          1. I’m up on Cae Mair – go past Gallows Point and ABC, then take a left and go uphill. View from my window is from Puffin Island to Penrhyn Castle – your old mooring is prob. directly down from here!
            Still struggling with the connection re: Tidal Flo, Firenze etc. Have done an electronic trip around Italy, Jay le Roc and a puzzle game. Can I give up at some stage?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

            1. What a lovely place. If I didn’t live where I am I would be envious!

              The connection is FLORENCE, my gran’s name but she was always known as Flo (aka Mrs Andy Capp). She left me a bit of cash when she died which meant I could buy the first boat a couple of years earlier than planned. Naming it after her was the least I could do. She would have laughed at the “Firenze” connection. Nice old lady and sadly missed even after 25 years.

        2. Re Firenze.

          Yes, I do know what happened to her 12 years ago but not since. We sold her to get the money to buy the house in Spain where we now live. The guys that bought her sailed her to Portsmouth where they intended to keep her. I know they had engine trouble on the way and wintered in Milford Haven and that she has been renamed (bad luck methinks) but that’s it. Hope she’s OK as she was a great boat on which we had a lot of fun over about 10 years sailing round the Irish Sea.She always looked after us whatever the weather and you know what it can be like in that bit od sea. She’s a Westerly Fulmar if that means anything.

          1. Nothing like as important as the boating issue, but I would still like to have your input on the questions I asked in my original post re: 27,616 – you know – that thing we’re supposed to restrict ourselves to asking about! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

            1. Never been a restriction that I can remember! Anyway, the only ? in your first comment was on 26a. You’re getting too detailed. Imperial figures are pretty much the same as an Imperial system so a metric one is the alternative. I guess I’m missing something here but it might just be that it’s a poor clue. Wouldn’t surprise me judging by the rest of this puzzle.

              1. Well………. the comments you post are always so precise, to the point and strictly related to the crossword under discussion that it makes me think that we’re all supposed to contribute in a like manner. I respect you for that – it could all too easily get out of hand – but it’s nice to just ‘chat’ as well and I often feel that you’d like to send some of us to the ‘naughty step’ for doing so. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                1. Jane, there has never been any of that sort of restriction on here, unlike on some other crossword blogs. Dave himself may be precise but he don’t mind if his punters waffle on a bit. Wait till Mary gets back and you’ll see what I mean. Talk about anything you like so long as it’s not offensive or libellous. Personally I would frown on religion and politics as they can just cause a row but a conversation like we’ve had about boat moorings is OK.

            2. Re the bird, the BRB has MYNA, MYNAH and MINA as alternative spellings, but I’m with you. Remember this one though as it’s the set of letters most useful to a setter and it’s the one that turns up in crossies.

            3. Hi Jane. Big Dave is the tersest emailer I have ever come across. It seems rude at first, then it becomes funny, and then slides into normality. He moderates this blog very well but he is not into censorship and limitation. Be nice works well with us all. So say it loud and say it proud.

          2. OMG – I’ve just gone and done a google on our old sail number which is FR414
            She was due to compete in the CONWY river festival in August this year but DNS.
            That is utterly spooky – she’s back home, having been “born” in the Menai Straits and original sailed by Plas Menai as Menai 1.
            She now appears to be called Annie J.
            I’m going to have to do some more research!

    2. Couldn’t agree more Jane and Pommers re the RNLI. We live on the N.Yorks coast and regularly get the pleasure of seeing the Tall Yachts, traffic for Teesport and all kinds of amphibious things. It never ceases to amaze me the absolute bravery the members of the lifeboat have. Plus they have some outstandingly funny stories about practising drills!!!

  26. We seem to have exactly the same parsing problems as everyone else and have no further brilliance to offer on them. Perhaps just Homer nodding. Thought that 10a was a good clue.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    1. I use a spam checker called Akismet and sometimes it gets overloaded. The message I get is:

      “Akismet has detected a problem. Some comments have not yet been checked for spam by Akismet. They have been temporarily held for moderation and will automatically be rechecked later.”

      Nothing sinister!

  27. I am glad not to be the only one unable to see why 2a had the extra ‘e’. I couldn’t parse 7d because I failed to think of the v as an abbreviation, so even more thanks to pommers. Thanks to the setter, very enjoyable. (And BTW I found it fairly difficult.)

  28. BTW, the Volvo Ocean Yacht Race starts in Alicante on Saturday – they’re off to Capetown on the first leg. May go and have a look – blame Jane for reminding me of my sailing past!

    Now for the footy . . .

      1. The other half spent over £1000 on a golf ‘club’ last week. Sport talk is banned in the house this week.

  29. Ye Gods! Today was not my day. I did finish it. But only after invoking the Miffypops rule, using my entire pencil collection, completely missing the hidden clue in 16 and writing pretty much every combination for 10a…I settled on diveboat. Then disagreed with myself. Oh and I also spent quite a long time wondering whether ELO in 7d was a reference to the band hidden somewhere in the clue. I may have over thought it.
    Thank you to the setter and to Pommers for blogging it. I did not envy you the task. There were a few clues I enjoyed…2d and 18a standing out.

    1. Thanks Hanni – if you look at my post you will see that I was well away with the Electric Light Orchestra! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      As for the money spent on golf……. did you see any of my posts re: the ex being a golf pro? No prizes for guessing at the ‘ex’ in there!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. Oh thank goodness it wasn’t just me. I honestly really did think it was an ELO ref. I think my brain is turning to mush today.

        Didn’t know about the ex. Still very much a newbie here. Oddly enough I can very much empathise on this subject. An awful lot. ;-)

  30. I’m usually a fan of Mr Ron, but l fear he wasn’t on song with this one. I share others’ concerns over 2a, 12a and 7d, which slightly spoiled my enjoyment. But there again, as a sailor l applaud 10a, and as a man l do the same for the beautiful Hepburn picture in Pommers’ review comment on 16a. So l still place on record my thanks to both Mr Ron and Pommers for the net pleasure thus provided. On balance, 2*/3.

  31. Well, I seem to have been a bit busy today but now I’m off to bed. Just got to sort out how to fit in a visit to Jane in Angelsey and Kath in Oxford while visiting my mum in Cornwall and pommette’s mum in Manchester! Don’t see how that’s going to happen http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    1. We could always omit the visits to the mothers from the trip.
      Oh no – that’s main reason we’re going back. Pahhhhhhhhhh

  32. On nights so I’ve only just got round to today’s puzzle. Am I the only one to quickly fill in 9a without having a clue what a diet had to do with it. Perhaps all Big Daves followers are experts on Japanese politics. I must get out more

    1. Welcome Kim. Try looking up the Diet of Worms – it’s pronounced quite differently to the way you’re possibly imagining!

  33. I’m in the more-difficult-than-usual camp and much head scratching was needed for quite a few before they eased out of my work-addled brain. Got there in the end without resorting to hints, but it was a near thing. Thanks anyway to Pommers and setter. My boat’s called The Racy Mole, by the way, an anagram that no one who has asked why has yet cracked. 3*/4*

    1. PS Off to Spain later today for a week of playing music, drinking fino and eating albondigas. I’ll miss the crosswords and the blog. Keep up the good work. I hope to be back for The Town of Ramsgate, EasyRyan permitting

  34. Mostly very pleasant, I needed one or two clues and the correct spelling of 14d. 1d was my last one in , to my shame.Thanks pommers and setter.

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