DT 27662 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27662

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27662

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today’s Mr Ron (I have an idea who he is) has given us a more substantial puzzle than we had last Tuesday. Do let us know what you thought of it and how you got on.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Looked good, area outside church (7)
GLANCED – G(ood) followed by an area or territory containing the abbreviation for the established church in England.

5a It could be blooming useless, initially, if cash is wasted (7)
FUCHSIA – an anagram (is wasted) of U(seless) and IF CASH.

9a Temper — losing head on a regular basis (5)
OFTEN – start with a verb to temper or tone down and subtract the first letter (losing head).

10a Enter a tent and peer around (9)
PENETRATE – an anagram (around) of A TENT and PEER.

11a Queen, in leaving, is putting a coat on? (10)
VARNISHING – a single-letter abbreviation for queen goes inside leaving or disappearing.

12a Starts to believe Liberal’s acting honourably? Nonsense! (4)
BLAH – the starting letters of four words in the clue.

14a Sketches depict sins or misbehaving (12)
DESCRIPTIONS – an anagram (misbehaving) of DEPICT SINS OR.

18a They make tracks for these garden bugs (12)
CATERPILLARS – double definition. The first is the trade name for tracked vehicles used, for example, on building sites.

21a Attempt to hold a platter (4)
TRAY – an attempt contains A.

22a Regard maid oddly getting dismissed — I’m flipping helping! (10)
ADMIRATION – start by dismissing the odd letters of mAiD, then reverse (flipping) I’M. Finally, add a helping or portion.

25a Doctor with duty to follow mother’s rambling discourse (9)
RIGMAROLE – string together a verb to doctor or falsify, an affectionate word for mother and a duty or function.

26a Start to strain? (5)
INTRO – cryptic definition. This strain is a melody.

27a Green or red male’s pants (7)
EMERALD – an anagram (pants) of RED MALE.

28a Paddy Brown’s first to take drink (7)
TANTRUM – a charade of a verb to brown (by lying in the sun, perhaps), the first letter of T(ake) and an alcoholic drink.

Down Clues

1d Musical riffit continues along the entire record (6)
GROOVE – double definition. The first is a pronounced rhythm in music (especially jazz) and the second is the track followed by a stylus.

2d Directed cast, or …? (6)
ACTORS – a semi-all-in-one. The missing word is an anagram (directed) of CAST OR.

3d Measure bit in middle (10)
CENTIMETRE – a word meaning middle or core has a bit (as in “I’ll see you in a bit”) inserted. Quite a clever clue because middle is both the definition of the outer word and a description of where the bit gets inserted in the answer.

4d Wisdom of department opening in hospital (5)
DEPTH – a 4-letter abbreviation for department followed by the opening letter of hospital.

5d Concerned with how the bread gets sliced? (9)
FINANCIAL – cryptic definition. Bread here is a slang term for money. The answer doesn’t necessarily relate to the way money gets apportioned (sliced), but it can do and there is a question mark so I think it works.

6d Pretty cold pick-up truck (4)
CUTE – C(old) followed by the abbreviation used in the Antipodes for a utility or pick-up truck.

7d Stop before one gets on horse (8)
STALLION – a verb meaning to stop running (an engine, say) or come to a standstill precedes the Roman numeral for one and ON (from the clue).

8d Gemstone set my hat off (8)
AMETHYST – an anagram (off) of SET MY HAT.

13d Celebrity goes on vacation, but not Central America — result of lack of fare? (10)
STARVATION – a celebrity or famous person is followed by (on, in a down clue) vacation, but without the abbreviation for Central America.

15d Youth clubs kept secret about large violent criminal (9)
CHILDHOOD – join together the abbreviation for clubs as a card suit, a verb meaning kept secret containing the abbreviation for large and a North American term for a gangster or violent criminal.

16d Small bed detached without injury (4-4)
SCOT-FREE – a charade of S(mall), a child’s bed and an adjective meaning detached or unfastened.

17d Throttle — unusual to be squeezed by learner? On the contrary (8)
STRANGLE – it isn’t unusual contained in a learner but the abbreviation for a learner contained in an adjective meaning unusual.

19d Rubbish  issue (6)
LITTER – double definition, issue here meaning youngsters.

20d Grass‘s condition after batting (6)
INFORM – a word meaning condition or shape follows how a cricket team currently batting are described (until they’re out).

23d Hopeless in record time (5)
INEPT – IN (from the clue), an old record format and T(ime).

24d All the best volunteers will show up twice (2-2)
TA-TA – the abbreviation for our volunteer soldiers appears twice. These volunteers have been rebranded (they’re now called the Army Reserve) so ‘old volunteers’ would be better.

My top clues today were 26a, 3d and 8d. Which ones got you excited?

Today’s Quickie Pun: VENICE + WAILER = VENEZUELA


117 comments on “DT 27662

  1. I found this a stiff challenge, but nonetheless very enjoyable.Your favourites were my least favourites, in fact I liked all the other clues, in particular 16d, 25a,and 9a. I solved 28a from the clue, obviously, but I still don’t know what it has to do with Paddy.Thanks Gazza and setter (Shamus?).http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Una, a paddy (with a small p) is another word for the answer. Giving it a capital by making it the first word in the clue is a neat bit of misdirection to make you think of an Irishman.

      1. It’s a word my Grandmother used on a regular basis. As she was of Irish extraction, I wonder whether that was where the word originated?

      1. My old Nan used to say that I was having a ‘stiffy’ – where i would go as stiff as a board & refuse to budge. – she would have to re-phrase that these days methinks…

        1. I think it’s extremely noble of you to admit to that one, Spindrift. I hope you realise that none of us is ever, ever going to forget you said that! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      2. The picture is exactly what younger Pet Lamb used to do regularly – and usually smack in the middle of a main road – how we all survived is a never ending source of amazement to me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Poor you, Kath. Not one I ever had to deal with – but I saw plenty of other mums go through it! My two, even from being tiny lambs, came up with something new to accompany every tantrum – left me in constant turmoil betwixt anger and A&E!

          1. . . . but aren’t they all wonderful now – how lucky we are to have them. By the way don’t even mention A&E . . . laburnum seeds (eaten) sultanas (stuffed into ears) cherry stones (up nose) – shall I go on? And it’s even worse when husband (their father) works at the hospital and I’m a nurse! Oh dear, yet again.

            1. Think my worst time was after No. 1 acquired a plaster cast for a ‘possible’ fractured wrist and No. 2 spent the next twelve months attempting to injure herself sufficiently to get one of her own – lord knows how we all survived! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  2. 2*/3*. This was an enjoyable puzzle but spoiled slightly for me by 3d & 6d. I was thinking along the same lines as Gazza with “I’ll see you in a bit” for parsing 3d but rejected this as too tenuous. In that example “a bit” might just about lead to “time” but not “bit” on its own. Using an obscure acronym in 6d (which a quick search on Google didn’t find) seems a bit naughty IMHO.

    Apart from those two clues, I thought the rest were excellent with 26a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

      1. Ah! Thanks Gazza. I was barking up the wrong tree by assuming that ETU must be an acronym for truck reversed (“pick-up”)! I never thought to look up “ute” in the BRB, but even so I think that an abbreviation only used in Australia should be indicated in some way, e.g. “Pretty cold pick-up truck down under”.

  3. I started slowly but sped right up as I got into the 1d, and finished in good time and with satisfaction in the end. 10a made me laugh, because some words always do http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif. I liked 6d too, and 3d measures up well and gets the nod from me as favourite today.

    Thanks to the setter for the fun, and Gazza for the blog.

    1. Oooh er missus! That word makes you laugh? Have you seen the article about The Lovely Samantha on page three today?

      1. No, since that rag is a load of 19d … but I’m guessing she must be a dog lover, with two fifths of the pic for that clue having been brought out to show.

          1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif. I had to dig, because I don’t have the paper paper with page numbers, but have seen it now. I certainly hope they don’t sack or interfere with the lovely Samantha!

  4. I found this to be a mix of the obvious with a few impenetrable wordplays. So I unfortunately had to resort to a few hints – unforgivable but there!!!

    3*/4* today.

  5. I thought 18a was going to be something to do with slugs at first. I was held up in the SE corner. I googled Paddy Brown and couldn’t work out how the clue related to NY fire fighters but I got there in the end. At least the cricket clue was balanced by a horse one. Favourite was 18a Thank you Gazza and the setter.

  6. Northwest corner held me up for sometime and then I weakened and sought Gazza’s help – so thanks for that. I agree with RD re use of “bit” in 3d which was a bung-in but IMHO is rather questionable. For me a somewhat uninspiring challenge. ***/**. Thanks Mysteron whoever you are.

  7. A bit trickier than some we’ve had of late, but very enjoyable. I think it fell into proper crossword mode (solve one, use the checking letters to solve the next, and so on). Very hard to pick a favourite as there were so many lovely clues, so I think I’ll pass today.

    Any thoughts on the setter? I initially thought it could be The Don but there’s no real obscure words today so I’m leaning more in the direction of Ray T.

    Think I’m going to have to turn he heating up a tad today, it be gurt nippy down by yur in the West

      1. I don’t know who you and Jezza are thinking of but I’m with Una on this and would go for Shamus.

        1. Oh dear – that sounds as if I’m a bit fierce – I meant I think Shamus is the setter rather than going for as in attacking him! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

        2. I’m voting Shamus too. It’s definitely a setter who also does Toughies and the informality of some of the language would rule out most of the ‘older guard’.

  8. I liked this one today. I do not normally relish the tuesday offering, but I agree with Gazza, this was ‘a more substantial puzzle’.
    Thanks to setter (I have an idea who you are) and to Gazza for the review.

  9. I found this straightforward – which makes up for the times I struggle when everyone else finds it easy. 2*/3*. Thx to all.

  10. NW corner was last to go in for me. Like others, I was trying to find a bit somewhere in 3d, (confused because you can break “centre” in more than one way in the answer), and eventually accepted “time” with a sigh.

    I like 21a (platter) – simple and perfect and 20d (grass) for the simple surface story. I liked 13d (celebrity), poor man’s version of a staycation.

    enjoyable puzzle thanks setter and gazza

  11. I found this puzzle quite reasonable apart from the NE corner caused by my mis-spelling of 5a. Once I discovered the error of my ways it all fell into place. Thanks to Setter and to Gazza for the hints.

  12. Thank you setter – I enjoyed that and found it remarkably straightforward ! Thanks Gazza for your review and hints. Leaves time for other stuff !

  13. I got there in the end, but a number of times I had to double-check to make sure I hadn’t picked up the toughie by mistake. I got a foothold in the SW corner and then managed to work counterclockwise. One or two unusual terms for me – I, too, had lived an ute-free life until now. I did enjoy the challenge.

  14. Found todays crossword a little lacking in inspiration somehow and a**/** for me, like most, found the’ bit’ part of 3d elusive, the nearest I could get was an anagram of the widows MITE located in the ‘middle’; remembered ‘ute’ as , I think, a utility vehicle, but thought this was an Americanism.Thanks Gazzar for the litter, most apposite after yesterdays kittens!

  15. I liked this one a lot. I agree with gazza’s 3* difficulty but would give it at least an extra * for enjoyment.
    I thought it was quite tricky in places – mainly the top left corner which was almost empty for ages.
    My first thought for 11a was ‘lacquering’ – knew it wasn’t right but once it was in my head it just wouldn’t go away.
    I didn’t understand why my 3d was right – looked up ‘bit’ to see if it could be slang for a prison sentence – it isn’t.
    Lots of good clues, I thought – 12 (because it made me laugh) and 28a and 5 and 15d. My favourite was one of those, or maybe 27a is another possibility.
    With thanks to the setter – hope that whoever he is owns up – and to gazza for hints, explanations and piccies – kittens yesterday and puppies today! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  16. Thanks to all concerned. I agree with Skempie above about it being a write in what you can and then solve from the checkers. A couple of clues that have been described as “lego” clues in the past (Charades). It almost solved itself while I sat in the background tapping on an ipad. I have just looked in the mirror and decided that I am more 6d than all the kittens and all the puppies in the world, you probably think that is a load of 12ac. 24d

    1. Have you checked that the mirror is not slightly concave (or convex perhaps)?

      If not, you’re on a downward path to La La land…….and stay away from the selfies!

    2. You are very 6d MP but you do lose a few points for the erm ‘curious’ names you have given the identical kittens.

        1. Indeed. But as one is a mouse I was perplexed? Then again I have friends with cats named Ajax and Zoflora. God knows why?

        2. I thought it was because of the name of the place he lives – just goes to show how dim I can be. Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

            1. I had to google Chris Packam. He is on the telly which I never watch except for Important news ( none for years ) Sport but not association Football.. Just Rugby Union really and music occasionally. I will ask Saint Sharon why they are called what they are.

  17. I struggled a bit to get on the right wavelength today – I can see it is good, but it’s not really to my taste. Parts did seem to be reminiscent of a Toughie, I agree.
    Managed OK without the hints, though. Thanks to Gazza and the setter. 3*/3* for me.

  18. If this puzzle were a meal, it would be a plateau de fruits de mer; interesting and exciting in places, but taking quite a while to get through.

    I’d never come across that Oz truck .
    I was held up by wrong spelling of 5a and
    I’ve been wondering how 18a have been munching my Cavolo Nero in December!

  19. ****/**
    Good grief that was a wake up call! And not a nice one where someone brings you a cup of tea, but it’s of my own doing. By that I mean I kept writing in the wrong answers.

    For 5a I initially thought it was ‘freesia’. Once again I failed to see the anagram. I don’t know what it is recently but I imagine anagrams that are not there and completely miss the ones that are?

    Anyway that messed up 6d. I also thought 20d was inseam thus causing problems with 26a.

    Today was not my day. Not the end of the world.

    Favourite clues are 10 and 27a because they just made me smile.

    Thank you to the mystery setter and to Gazza for blogging. :-)

  20. Tricky but very enjoyable. Struggled to fully parse one or two such as 11a, 26a and esp 5d which was the clue that I thought rather let the side down. Not so much cryptic as just a bit poor.
    However, managed to finish without ful comprehension so thx to Gazza for the explanations and Thx to the setter.

  21. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A super puzzle, lovely style, very nicely constructed clues. I would think that it could be Shamus. Must have been on the right wavelength, was 2*/4* for me. Favourite was 27a. Last in was 15d. The Toughie is worth looking at.

  22. Once I got into the anagrams everything fell into place – not too difficult, just about my level at the moment!

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

  23. Like some others uteless on 6d , 26a had me wondering what was coming next ? Tougher than the last few days needed a couple of hints , ***/***

  24. i don’t understand the workings for 22A surely it is just an anagram of maid followed by ration (helping)

    1. You’re right in thinking that it’s an anagram of MAID and RATION but from the way the clue is constructed that’s not how we’re supposed get to the answer. Gazza’s hint shows the ‘workings’.

        1. It’s why I think today’s Mr Ron is a Toughie setter – the clue was made complicated when a much more straightforward option was available. Sometimes they just can’t help themselves you know!

          1. Yes – I agree with you and maybe he only allows himself a maximum of six anagrams per crossword and he’d already used them up. Just a thought . . .

            1. Oh lord, Kath, do you think they actually set themselves so many restrictions? I was rather hoping they go for ‘bung-ins’ and ‘any port in a storm’ like the rest of us………… http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  25. Just as a quick PS for anyone who couldn’t spell 5a. If you remember that it was named after a German botanist you won’t come to grief with it again – Fuchs is so obviously a German name.

        1. It’s a man thing but no 1980s Porsche should be without them.
          I would post a piccie if I knew how.

        2. Kath if you see any pic of a 911, pretty much all the wheels will have a ‘5 leaf spoke’. That’s the Fuchs tyres.
          And I will risk being banished to Siberia in saying that I am not a Porsche fan. The TVR yes. Mainly because all it does it sit around planning on ways to kill you the moment you get behind the wheel.
          It’s not just a man thing…;-)

    1. That’s a very good tip for the future – I changed the spelling twice as I got the checking letters! Thank you Kath.

  26. For me, this was two puzzles; the bottom half was read and write, and the top was a huge struggle. I didn’t help myself, like Hanni, by putting freesia in 5a, missing the anagram completely. 5d went in as a bung-it-in M’pops rule.
    I never did get 6d as I had an “e” as the first letter. I knew “ute” as I remember that best of all TV series, A Town Like Alice with Helen Morse and Brian Brown, and being a huge fan of Nevil Shute.
    Now for my fave, difficult with such a super puzzle, but I was very partial to 25a.
    Thanks to setter, I so enjoyed this, and to Gazza for the review, loved the puppies!

    1. I loved “A Town Like Alice” – the book and the film and the TV series. Also love Nevil Shute and Brian Brown – pity about the surname of the female star – you know how that affects me! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. I won’t mention the name, but I’ve ordered Sweeney on Netflix and wonder if it is any good. Dennis Waterman looks like a teenager, so it must be pretty dated!

        1. No – it takes more than that for me to recover from the mention of anything to do with John Thaw. Oh dear . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif again.

  27. 4*/3*. This was tricky for me with a couple of ah-ah moments. Needed the hint for 3d. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the help.

  28. We opt for 22a as our favourite. Fascinated that the first part of the wordplay removes the IM, and the second part adds the IM back again. Very clever we thought. UTE was very easy for us as it in common use here. Took us almost exactly the same time as the Toughie. No idea who the setter might be, doesn’t quite feel like a Shamus to us, but could be wrong. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  29. Absolutely loved it – don’t think Kath will allow me to have 13 favourites, so I’ll just leave it at that!
    Shamefully had to accept that I needed checking letters for 5a as I kept muddling up the middle bit in my head – funny how you can be quite convinced of the words you know how to spell, until it comes to actually writing them down. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    Many thanks to gazza for his usual succinct review (and the great pics. for 28a & 19d) and I do hope Mr. Ron signs in – I’d like to send him/her a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  30. I had a lovely time except for the usual problem spelling 5a but after Kath’s helpful hint hopefully I will never go wrong again. Have to own up to a small amount of electronic help mainly to check what I had was correct because my brain does not think vertically. No fave rave because I would end up in Kath’s naughty corner as there was more than one. However, the top row of the quick crossword certainly made me giggle – Ouch!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  31. I forgot my manners thanks to Gazza and setter you have made a little old lady very happy, thanks also to BD for the blog which has enhanced my life over the short time I have been a member. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    1. The blog is wonderful! As I’ve said SO many times before that those who have been around for a long time are fed-up with hearing – it turns a rather solitary occupation into a very sociable one. It can be very funny – it can have me in stitches. It does also, of course, teach lots of us how to do crosswords.
      Yet again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to all concerned.

      1. Oh, Kath – I couldn’t agree more. Not only do I view crosswords in a totally different light nowadays, because to get the answer is no longer enough, I have to understand WHY – but, also, I can’t wait to share my highs, lows and stupid moments with my good friends on this blog.

        Have to admit that, on busy days, it’s often the actual news content of the DT that gets left behind. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

        1. You’re both are absolutely right. I now understand so much more about clue construction and what to look for. Jane you are not alone in reaching for the back page first.
          Plus this blog can be outstandingly funny and is filled with rather lovely people. So kudos to Dave and to all commentators and bloggers. :-)

          1. Youngish daughter being with me for a while (yeah!) has had to get to grips with the idea of her Mum being a ‘blogger’. It amuses, bemuses and totally amazes her! Plus, I reckon she thinks we’re all somewhat obsessed – I just refer her to the hours she spends on Skype to the new fiancé! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

            1. Child type things are constantly bemused that we as parents know not only how to turn a laptop on, but how they actually work. How are the new walking boots?

              1. Umm….. still sitting in their box waiting for me to take them out on a trial run. Spent today Christmas shopping with youngish daughter and have a couple of pre-Christmas get-togethers over the next couple of days. Think Sunday will be the official christening day when I’m off to catch up with the red squirrels in Newborough forest, check out the Raven roost and hopefully pick up on the latest avian arrivals of the winter.

                Christmas cards all written, stamped and ready to go – pressies all bought and ready to wrap – now let me see……. is there an emoticom for a self-satisfied Mum? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

                1. Re Christmas pressies, let alone cards – shhhhhh – barely started. The reindeer are still sluggish – as I said yesterday they need some snow but BD didn’t notice, or decided that it was too early.

                  1. You’ve got me really, really worried Kath. I know he’s rather ‘god-like’ but can BD actually make it snow?!!! If so – please could you ask him to leave Anglesey alone. I still quake at the recollection of winter two years ago when we were snowed in for two weeks from 22nd Dec. and all my Christmas food order lay a few miles beyond my reach. Thank heavens for my neighbour who had one of those UTE things and rescued my Christmas! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                2. I’m back in my corner. I’ve ordered Christmas presents. The tree isn’t up, we don’t do cards, I’ve got absolutely no idea how many people I’m cooking for, wassail making has grown to a halt for a joint party and it’s a golf club Christmas ball on Saturday. Oh and I swore at my boss. Quite spectacularly. Can I come and look at squirrels with you?

                  1. By all means Hanni. As it’s a long drive for you, I think you need to come over on Saturday – heck, that might mean you’ll miss out on the golf club ball. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

                    1. Oh darn. Well as a good guest I should always offer to bring G & T ingredients? Can BD as the giver and taker of snow make sure the N.York moors aren’t hit too. A sprinkling is fine. Not being able to get to Blakey Ridge is not.

  32. Fine puzzle. Lots of subtleties. 2* for me which probably means that I am still improving. Many thanks for the hints, Gazza, which I used for reference.

  33. Well after my first three successes on three consecutive days, can I keep the run going?

    Its close. I’ve avoided the clues and hits above, and not read any of the posts, but as wee speak (9pm) I’m 3 off completion… 19d, 20d and 26a)

    Some good clues in there today and this one is obviously more difficult than the last three days, though my biggest problem today came, oddly, from 6d. As I do the crossword on the website, rather than on paper (am i in the majority or minority) I hadnt spotted that my mis-spelling of 5a had changed 7d (now starting with an H) and left me pondering what the answer could be to 6d given S_T_

    I’m giving myself another hour then giving up

    1. And like dominos….

      19d fell almost immediately once I went back to it, 26a was then apparent, thought I wasn’t entirely certain it was correct, and the first thing I could think of that would fit 20d ticked both boxes.

      1. Well done Carlos. Hopefully you will inspire others reading the blog to persevere. Absolutely fantastic progress. :-)
        Edit…I meant to add that in reply to your question, I prefer paper and pencil.

      2. Go for it, Carlos! That’s one of the best things about joining BD’s gang – there are people all across the globe rooting for you to cross the finishing line. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    2. Well done Carlos. We have been watching your progress with interest and are very, very impressed. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      1. carlos, you are doing great. I for one am a huge beneficiary of the blog, and one day I will learn how to do those emoticon things, meanwhile cheers and welcome

        1. When you write a post – and before you press ‘post comment’ just scroll down a little further and all the cheerful chaps will be revealed. Click on the one you want to use and a whole load of gobbledygook will appear next to what you have written. Worry not – just press the ‘post’ button and the magic will happen before your very eyes!

          Kath walked me through it a while ago – now it’s your turn to ‘pass it on’! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    3. Bearing in mind how recently you have joined BD’s you are doing soooo well and you already feel more confident. It is not only solving the clue but realising why that is the answer that keeps you going forward.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  34. Blimey O’Reilly, this was hard.
    Especially the NW corner.
    Gratifyingly didn’t need the hints but certainly took an age.
    So ***** for me.
    New words 1d and part of 3d.
    Many thanks Mr. Ron and Gazza.

  35. It felt like 3* but my watch suggests 2*, so I’ll compromise on 2.5* (and 3* for enjoyment). Quite a bit stiffer than the Toughie, which is unusual. I think 28a is my favourite clue, but there were other worthy contenders. I’m a very poor setter-spotter, so I’ll limit myself to thanking him/her, and Gazza too for the review.

  36. No wonder I couldn’t come up with a pun for the Quickie – I had the “one who cries” in 4a as a “bawler”! Thanks Gazza for putting me straight on that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

  37. This was definitely harder thn many back pagers and some of the word play I thought was more like the easier toughies. I haven’t. had time to read all the comments but it seems I’m alone in finding the SE corner the hardest.I think a *** rating is reasonable but I didn’t really enjoy it so only ** for that.

    1. The Don doesn’t seem to be very good at arithmetic. Here are the actual figures for all Toughie setters, as of Wednesday 3d December and excluding online-only puzzles:
      98 Giovanni
      97 Elgar
      91 Notabilis
      89 Osmosis
      86 Firefly
      83 Kcit
      81 Shamus
      73 Warbler
      72 Excalibur
      72 Micawber
      64 MynoT
      57 Petitjean
      51 Elkamere
      47 Messinae
      45 Beam
      39 Dada
      33 Busman
      32 Cephas
      31 Myops
      15 Citrus
      13 Campbell
      13 Sparks
      10 Jed
      6 proXimal
      2 Columba
      2 Symphony
      1 Didi Guess

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