DT 27647

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27647

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a wet and windy morning.

I found today’s Giovanni to be quite difficult, probably the nearest to **** time that I have come while blogging these Friday crosswords. It will be interesting to see what others think.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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.


9a           Wonder about a queen being well-informed (5)
AWARE – A from the clue and a single-letter abbreviation for queen placed inside a word for wonder or reverence.

10a         Indian city bar at which girl has mineral (9)
BANGALORE – Put together a bar or prohibition, an informal spelling of ‘girl’, and the raw material from which minerals are extracted.

11a         Fighting force will carry our weapons, etc (7)
ARMOURY – Put OUR (from the clue) inside a fighting force.

12a         Encouragement at table to get moving (7)
ABETTAL – Anagram (to get moving) of AT TABLE.

13a         Character in Athens leading group as guide (5)
PILOT – A Greek letter followed by a group, possibly of objects at an auction.

14a         Trick to give welcoming area new frontage (9)
DECEPTION – Change the initial letter of the place where you report when checking into a hotel.

16a         Bard’s character could be boring old fool, we fancy (5,10)
ROBIN GOODFELLOW – This alternative name for Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an anagram (fancy) of BORING OLD FOOL WE.

19a         Those trying to cut down on unhealthy habit do like e-cigarettes? (9)
SMOKELESS – If you’re on a diet you eat less, so if you are cutting down on another bad habit you …

21a         The last few pages of a book maybe penned by Colin Dexter (5)
INDEX – Hidden (penned) in the clue.

23a         Animals with distinctive marks crossing river (7)
BADGERS River inside the distinctive marks indicating membership of a club or regiment.

25a         Severely wounded entering a small city (7)
ACUTELY – A (from the clue) and a small city in Cambridgeshire placed either side of wounded (with something sharp).

27a         Old part of church encountered with enthusiasm typically (2,7)
ON AVERAGE – Put together Old, the main part of a church, and a word often found with ‘all the’ to indicate enthusiasm.

28a         Proposition presenting some problem, mathematically (5)
LEMMA – A rather clever all-in-one clue, where the answer is hidden (presenting some) inside it.


1d           Soldier briefly in northern half of South American country (4)
PARA – A short term for an airborne soldier is also the first half (northern half, in a Down clue) of a South American country.

2d           Animal has mother over 50 (6)
MAMMAL – A child’s form of address to his/her other, followed by the Roman numeral for 50.

3d           Lecture can ramble — there’s a lack of enthusiasm (10)
RELUCTANCE – Anagram (ramble) of LECTURE CAN.

4d           After topless garment you had toed the line (6)
OBEYED – Remove the first letter (topless) from a long flowing garment, then add an old form of ‘you’ and the abbreviated form of ‘had’.

5d           After being put right, he can end improved (8)
ENHANCED – Anagram (after being put right) of HE CAN END.

6d           Material in venue covering the ceiling (4)
LACE – Remove the first letter (covering the ceiling, in a Down clue) of another word for venue. This was the clue that took me the longest to solve.

7d           Time to engage in walk up — bad initial slope for climber (8)
FOOTHILL – Reverse (up) an informal word for walk, put Time inside it, and add a word for bad, to get one of the smaller slopes surrounding a mountain range.

8d           Hard setter making an impression? (7,3)
SEALING WAX – Cryptic definition of a material which takes an impression – of a signet ring, perhaps – and sets hard.

13d         This volume taken 18 won’t be needed for a staycation (6,4)
PHRASE BOOK – Cryptic definition of something you may need to get by in an 18d holiday, but won’t need if you stay at home.

15d         In days gone by cleric would enter in holy manner (10)
PREVIOUSLY –Take a word for ‘in a holy manner’ and put a shortened form of the title given to members of the clergy inside it.

17d         General style for theatreland (8)
BROADWAY – A word for general or sweeping followed by one for style or method, giving the name for New York’s theatreland.

18d         One hears guides in a foreign country (8)
OVERSEAS – This sounds like (one hears) a word for guides or supervises.

20d         First principle sailor grasped — not to finish on this! (6)
SEABED – One of the usual abbreviations for a sailor inside a first principle from which something grows. The whole clue gives the definition. I thought the clue somewhat Yoda-ish: the natural reading is that the sailor is doing the grasping, not being grasped.

22d         Romantic GP possibly wanting Eastern girl (6)
DREAMY – The letters in front of the name of a GP, followed by Eastern and a girl’s name.

24d         Still time when poet watches sunset? (4)
EVEN – Double definition, the second being a poetic word for the end of the day.

26d         Will this change just after Christmas? Yes, right! (4)
YEAR – An alternative word for ‘yes’ followed by Right.

The Quick Cross word pun TRANCE + SISTER = TRANSISTOR



  1. Tony
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    27A was a bit perverse

    • gazza
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Tony.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      We have another contributor who regularly posts under the alias Tony – see comment 9 below. It would help to avoid confusion if you could pick a different alias

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Hello fro Miffypops too

  2. boltonbabs
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Like Deep Threat 6d was the last one in for us, we were still not sure we were right for a few minutes, until the penny dropped! (That is meant to be cryptic)!
    Thanks to the setter and blogger, for an enjoyable start to a very wet and windy day.

  3. MikeT
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Very tough today – makes yesterday’s RayT seem like a walk in the park. Thanks to setter and DT for the review. 6D was my last one in as well.

    • Brian
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I completely disagree :-)

      • Kath
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m with Mike T 100%.

  4. Sweet William
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you DG. I found it difficult – got away with a guess at 6d and needed all available dictionaries and electronic devices to complete ! Many thanks DT for the explanations.

  5. Michael
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I thought this was not too difficult – having a couple of big anagrams really helps. 28a was a new word but pretty obvious from the clue and handily in the BRB.

    Onward and upward – roll on Saturday! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Roger
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed..Roll on Saturday when hopefully it will be a crossword that I can do. Way, way above my pay grade and there I was thinking I’d got these sussed. Gave up.

      Covering the ceiling = remove the first letter? Hmmmph…making it all up IMO !!

      Surely 8d should be ‘taking’ not ‘making’?

      • F1lbertfox
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Nods in agreement as regards 8 down. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  6. Rick
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I bunged 6d in having discounted LAME (as in gold – excuse lack of accent). Covering the ceiling as an indication to remove the first letter is a new device for me, no doubt it is in the manual somewhere. I noted this was one of three four-letter answers checked only with vowels (1 and 24 down also). Solid 3* difficulty for me – I wonder what the fan club made of it?

  7. Hrothgar
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Great and enjoyable tussle, successfully concluded unaided but longer than my ‘norm’ so a **** for me.
    Last in 25a, very clever, I thought, as was 10a.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

  8. Rod
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I finished this one before the blog appeared. I put the correct answer in for 6d simply because a venue is a place but still cannot understand the thinking. Surely the clue should have read ‘material in venue with no ceiling’ or ‘with ceiling removed’ or some suchlike.
    I don’t see DT’s reasoning. Where is there any indication that something should be removed?

    It is a pity that recently the Cryptic compilers are straying into General Knowledge or Toughie territory. How many of you knew the word for 28a without recourse to the internet or the BRB, neither of which are available on trains, planes or anywhere else outside the home or office. We are not all retired stay-at-homes.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      If you cover (up) something you hide it or remove it from sight.

  9. Tony
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. Like others, 6d was a lucky guess for me and I needed Deep Threat’s explanation to realize the cleverness of the clue. I finished in about average time, but I thought it was trickier than most, and I would have been in much deeper water had it not been for the long anagram in 16a. Many thanks to all.

  10. F1lbertfox
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Another clever puzzle from the Don. Things were ticking over quite well, until I got stuck on 6 – I finally took a guess at that one and 20, which was my last one in after needing to ‘crib’ a hint. Most enjoyable – thanks to the Don and also to DT for the hints and tips.

  11. Brian
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Def a four star for difficulty but great fun and a real sense of achievement in completing albeit with the hint for 6d to confirm my answer.
    A couple of super clues in 20d and 18d. Must admit I did have to consult Chambers to confirm that there was such a word as 28a and also 9a which was new to me t think.
    For me ****/*****.
    Many Thx to the Don for rescuing me from yesterday’s slough of despair and to DT for the hint in 6d.

  12. Beaver
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Agree that this was difficult, very little went in quickly, especially in the bottom half. Agree with ROD regarding difficult terms ( 28a), i expect these when I do the toughie but not a back page. How long has staycation been an accepted word? had to look up what this meant. Agree with DT that 20D was more befitting of a star wars script-like it not did i.

    • Rick
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      We had this staycation debate back in July (DT 27531). It is a neologism that has been in widespread use for ten years or more. I never thought I would see it in a Giovanni puzzle though!

      • Beaver
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Thanks-at least I don’t have to look up neologism-my dad was a lumberjack!

  13. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    4*/1*. Enough said.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Not quite enough said. Thanks to the setter and to DT for a lot of much needed explanations.

  14. SheilaP
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Far too difficult for us today so not very enjoyable. Finished with much help from DT, so not much sense of achievement, especially with my pet hate ie. the obscure word. Thank you DT and to the setter.

  15. fran
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Straying into toughie territory recently on some clues. 6d no mincing HoPeless – guesswork. 27a ? 12a not in my sphere( maybe in” long earth ” ) even though the anagram was staringly obvious . Good job I had some quiet time for this one . Still some enjoyable clues
    Has staringly the same status as staycation ?

  16. upthecreek
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Run of the mill stuff with no aaagh moments. 6 and 27 were pretty naff. Nuff said!

  17. Bluebird
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed it but I agree with 3* and lost energy nearing the end, so left 20d and 25a undone.

    Might have liked one or two more anagrams – 16a was a good start, then it got stodgy..
    One or two were ( for the Don) a little limp, I thought, (the inorth west corner) although who am I to criticise? Balanced by many nice ones, anyway.

  18. Jill
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Started slowly – and finished slowly! Had to check the meaning of my answer to 28a and, like quite a few of you, struggled with 6d but got there in the end. All in all, it was a bit of a slog. ***/**

  19. spindrift
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Mrs S & I have had a good few staycations – our favourite place is Armchair Cottage situated in Windowsill Bay.

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      We often go to Argate and back

      • Hanni
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Very good. :-)

  20. Derek
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Typical Giovanni fare!

    We have moved out of the long-lasting summer into a sort of autumn here in NL – wet and windy!
    The trees in the wood across the street are very golden and the leaves are being shed like rain.

  21. OldBuzzard
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the Blog got me through today. Was totally thrown in SE corner by picking Thema(a thesis which I interpreted as a proposition) as the answer to 28a, never heard of Lemma. Oh well learnt a new word…otherwise a good challenge today.

  22. Miffypops
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle. Just enough jumpoutatcha answers to gain a slight foothold before some serious thinking. Thanks to The Don and to Deep Threat for the hints which I used today.

  23. angel
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Hurrah – much more enjoyable and indeed solvable than yesterday. Slight hiccups with 12a, 28a (both new words to me) and particularly 6d which completely eluded me. ***/***. Thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  24. Edward j
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Needed DT’s hints for 6d, 7d & 12a – the latter a new word for me, as was 28a. Otherwise very enjoyable, albeit from a slow start. First one in was 16a, which gave a good core to work from. Rating: xxxx/xxxx Thanks to all.

  25. Kath
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Need I say more – probably not but when has that ever stopped me?! 4* difficulty and 2* for enjoyment.
    Whizzed through the first six across clues and then stopped – completely. Oh dear.
    On the plus side I did find the hidden answers – I’ve never heard of 28a and thought I might be starting to see the blasted things even when they’re not there but looked in BRB and there it was.
    I had to ask my friend Mr Google about 16a – Shakespeare’s not really my thing and I didn’t know it.
    I gave up on 6d – tried to find a three letter venue and stick a T in it – the first letter therefore ceiling of T(he). Oh dear, again.
    Not my day but really glad to find that it wasn’t just me.
    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks, great admiration and a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to Deep Threat.

  26. JonP
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Needed a bit of help to sort the SW corner out but apart from that I found it tricky but fairly clued as per usual from Giovanni. Thanks to DT and Giovanni 3.5*/3.5*

  27. Owdoo
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one. Most of it went in with no problem but completion took a bit longer, with a nice sense of achievement when the pennies dropped.
    20d was my last one in.
    Thanks Giovanni, and DT for the review.

  28. Heno
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Much too tough for me. Could only solve 10 clues before resorting to the hints. Favourite was 21a. Was 5*/1* for me.

  29. Annidrum
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I found that quite tough today,but pleased to see it wasn’t just me. Thanks to Giovanni & DT.

  30. Gwizz
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    That took a while… but I managed it eventually unaided. The clues mentioned above were the last two in; 6d being a bit desperate because ARENA was not going to play the game and so P…. it had to be, which I found uncomfortable. But there you go, win some lose some.
    Thanks to the Don for a severe challenge and DT for his revue. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  31. Kitty
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I would have got there solo in the end, but the 22d Mr Kitty helped me finish much more quickly and enjoyably.

    Had no probs with 27a unlike some, and 28a is very familiar from maths courses at uni. 8d sounds like Giovanni’s manifesto :).

    20d was last in, just following 6d. 17d was my favourite, though I’m more of a West End girl. Off to see Matilda tomorrow http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the pretty stiff challenge and to Deep Threat for the review.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Glad to see that you appreciate the extra pleasure of shared solving. We really enjoy unpicking the clues together as you might have noticed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        It is indeed a lot more fun, though I do like the satisfaction of one completed “all my own self.” Mr K (also a Kiwi http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif) is new to this, so I have the pleasure of explaining things, and get to congratulate him (not at all patronisingly http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif) when he gets one.

        • 2Kiwis
          Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          What a lucky person you are to have found such a special partner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

          • Kitty
            Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            Shhhhhh! You’re undermining my contention that it he who is the lucky one to have found me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    What surprises us is that virtually everyone agrees that this puzzle is more difficult than an average back-page puzzle but have given it three stars for difficulty. On a scale of 1 to 5, surely harder than usual has to be more than 3. From our solving time it was definitely 4.
    We also had 6d as our last entry and the wordplay for 7d had not preceded it by much. Enjoyed the challenge, enjoyed the cleverness.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT

    • Kath
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Hello – excuse me but I gave it 4* for difficulty! I remember that some time ago gazza (I think it was gazza) was questioned on difficulty and enjoyment ratings – he said that if you have 1*-5* then 3* has to be average. Anything above that has to be more difficult or more enjoyable than average and anything below it has to be easier or less enjoyable than average. I really try to keep that in my head . . .

      • gazza
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        ’twas I indeed, Kath. I’m constantly amazed that you seem to remember everything I’ve written, but you’ve expressed my views on the ratings exactly.

  33. Vancouverbc
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    ****/***. Tricky in parts and whilst I liked 10, 19, 21 and 28A I really wasn’t impressed by 27A and 8D. Thanks to DT for an excellent review.

  34. Amy Field
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Again a tough challenge for me – but got my name in 22d – so at least got that one !!

    Thanks again for all the fun and help – so appreciated and adds so much to my day!!

  35. Robinhood
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I have been doing DT crosswords for 63 years , completing them almost every day. My quickest time in completing was about ** *******.
    Today’s crossword ,27647, I found incredibly difficult and frustrating. It wasn’t just that it was just difficult , but some of the clues were incomprehensible. When I checked the answers , and there were many , I became very annoyed with the ways the clues were presented. I hate being beaten but today’s crossword has made me feel I NEVER want to see a crossword again. It wasn’t a challenge , many of the clues were absolutely stupid.

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Robinhood

      You can talk about most things here, but any discussion of solving times is strictly taboo.

    • Rick
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      You’re not Brian’s dad by any chance are you?

    • Hilary
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      I was sad to read your comment, would you really like everything to be straightforward and unchallenging? Just remember there’s always tomorrow.

    • andy
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the surface reading of 20d had me perplexed but I would rather you explained why you found clues stupid. I’m not a fan of Giovanni, prefer his alter egos as Bradman and Quixote but his cluing is fair

    • pommers
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      If you have been doing the DT crossword since before I was born I think it unbelievable that you haven’t already come across one you liked less than this one. What was that post all about? Dementia springs to mind.

      If you never do a crossword again I don’t think anyone on this blog will be bothered in the slightest.

  36. Ian
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Possibly the longest time I’ve ever spent doing a back pager, so **********/**** for me, which makes it very satisfying to solve. Thanks to all

  37. Hilary
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Ouch, thought I was going to have to admit defeat but thanks to a certain amount of electronic help and good old-fashioned http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gifguesswork I got there apart from 12a for which I gratefully accepted DT’s help. It may sound masochistic but I have to admit I enjoyed the struggle.

  38. Poppy
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Got completely stuck today. Idiotically thought downhill fitted into 7d, so couldn’t get 12a, followed by further idiocy in putting thema (I know, I know, it’s a very tenuous and mad suggestion) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif so ended up with unsolvable gaps everywhere. And I can’t even blame my flu jab! So thank you setter for underlining how valuable this site is (not that I really needed reminding) & keeping me from becoming complacent – fat chance http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif never mind, there’s always tomorrow (cue Annie singing). And thank you DT for all the help.

  39. Poppy
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Captcha is haunting me again, so I think I must have been put in a naughty corner http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    • Kath
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      No – Captcha hasn’t captured you – you’re still here – hello! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Poppy
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        Oh good! Thanks http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  40. Chris
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I felt as if I was doing a Toughie and unfortunately never got far enough for it to fall into place. This was difficult enough to stop me enjoying it, so I’m hoping for better things tomorrow. Many thanks and much admiration to DT (and thank you to Giovanni).

  41. Salty Dog
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I too started off at a brisk canter but then ran into the sand a bit. I eventually finished in close to 4* time, all except for 20d (which, as a sailor and retired RN officer l should have spotted!). So on balance 4*/3*, but no particular favourite clue. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review and hints.

  42. Stephen O'Neill
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Totally agree. 27647 was really tricky and I’m not seeing the relevance of clue in 6d. Sadly I had to cheat on that one but your guiding clues otherwise were excellent

    • Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Stephen

  43. Hanni
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I seem to be a bit behind in posting at the moment.
    Whilst I agree with others that this wasn’t the easiest of offerings I quite enjoyed the challenge.
    And 6d was a challenge…and a complete guess. There is not a chance I could have worked out the wordplay without DT’s help. I also put in ‘lemma’ then had to look it up. Must remember that one! But that’s one of the things I enjoy about croswwording. It does give you the opportunity to learn something. Again maybe that’s just me.
    Hope everyone has a good weekend.
    Jane, how’s younger daughter?
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for blogging a very challenging crossword. :-)

    • Jane
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Hanni, she’s fine thank you. Think my crosswording is going to prove doubly difficult over the next few weeks – not easy when someone is chattering away to you whilst your brain is heavily engaged in ‘parsing’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  44. Jane
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Didn’t get chance to look at this one until just before bedtime so assumed it was just tiredness making me struggle – quite a relief to look at the blog this morning and discover that plenty of others found it quite a challenge!

    12a was unfamiliar which left me with few checking letters for 6&7d – neither of which I found easy to parse.
    1a went in quite early on but then I had doubts (completely missed the SA country!) and spent ages looking for a two letter abb. for soldier that would fit into S A to form the name of a country. Yes, I know, it was just the way my mind was working. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    28a was a ‘bung in’ that needed electronic checking and 20d remained as half an answer for quite a while!

    Managed in the end without resorting to the hints but am hoping for a much easier ride with the NTSPP – think my brain hurts!

    Many thanks to DT for the reassurance that my ‘final answers’ were correct and to Giovanni for reminding me, yet again, not to get too complacent about back-pagers.

  45. David & Julia
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Got 6D but didn’t understand why until reading your blog! Still think its a bit obscure.

    • gazza
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, David & Julia.