DT27664

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27664

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s raining! For some reason I didn’t really get on with this puzzle.  I don’t know why as it’s not very difficult, there are a few anagrams to get you going and a couple of nice cryptic definitions which raised a smile or two so what was wrong?  Perhaps it’s the rain or maybe it’s the fourteen sets of double unches that caused the problem.  I’ll be interested to hear your views.

Definitions are underlined in the clues and as usual the ones I like most are in blue. 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.

Across

1a           United game almost different in size (9)
MAGNITUDE: We start with an anagram (different) of UNITED GAM(e) (almost).

6a           Flavour that’s enthralled wife in manner of speaking (5)
TWANG: Insert (enthralled) W(ife) into a taste to get a nasal manner of speaking.

9a           Movement dependent on blades? (7)
SKATING: This is a cryptic definition of the sort of movement on blades that Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean get up to.

10a         Skeletal cadet a mite upset wanting one bit of tuck (9)
EMACIATED: Anagram (upset) of CADET A MITE but without a T (missing one bit of Tuck)

11a         Consider judge academic? Not half (7)
REFLECT: The judge in a football match followed by half of a University academic

12a         In valley there’s a journalist to be picked up (7)
GLEANED: Start with a Scottish valley, insert an A (in . . . there’s A) and follow with the usual journalist.

13a         Pedestrian facility scarce in sloping ground (7,8)
PELICAN CROSSING: The facility that helps pedestrians cross a busy road is an anagram (ground) of SCARCE IN SLOPING.

17a         Filling for avocado pie, sticky and extremely thick (7)
DOPIEST:  It’s hidden in the clue (filling), staring you in the face.

19a         Girl hosted by military bigwig in horse race (7)
CLASSIC: The horse race could be the Derby or the Oaks for example. Take a four letter word for a girl and insert (hosted by) into the abbreviation for a military commander.

22a         Start of the fall of the ‘New Yorker’? (9)
SEPTEMBER: Cryptic definition of the start of what is known as Fall in America.

23a         Academic talk remains to be reviewed (7)
SEMINAR: Anagram (reviewed) of REMAINS.

24a         100 taken in by enticement for money (5)
LUCRE:  This filthy money is the Roman numeral for 100 inserted (taken in by) into an enticement or bait.

25a         Feline heard to rouse bird (9)
KITTIWAKE:  A seabird is five letters, which aren’t a real word, but if pronounced would sound like (heard) an affectionate term for a cat followed by a word meaning to rouse, as in to rouse from sleep.

Down

1d           Greek character mostly behind gathering (6)
MUSTER: The twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet followed by the behind of a boat without it’s last letter (mostly)

2d           Elegant nation in gulf represented (8)
GRACEFUL:  Another word for a nation or people inserted (in) into an anagram (represented) of GULF.

3d           View implement, we hear, in frozen form (6)
ICICLE:  If split (1,5) the answer would sound like (we hear) a word meaning to view and an implement found on the flag of the USSR.  Not the hammer, the other one.

4d           Piece of fur gentlewoman’s pressing (6)
URGENT:  It’s another hidden word (piece of).

5d           Risk making one become mellow presumably (8)
ENDANGER:  Split (3,5) and you have a phrase meaning to become mellow as in to stop being annoyed.

6d           Sits about around cafe, right away giving order (8)
TIDINESS: Order as in neat rather than telling people what to do.  Make an anagram (about) of SITS and place it around an American cafe without it’s final R (R(ight) away)

7d           Novelist in Texan city for speech (6)
AUSTEN:  This novelist sounds like (for speech) the state capital of Texas.  In fact it’s only one letter different.

8d           One having lead to provide vision? (5,3)
GUIDE DOG:  Cryptic definition of something on a lead which helps a blind person get about safely.  Love the ‘L’ plate

13d         Support in gym lasted when exercising (8)
PEDESTAL: One of the usual two letter abbreviations of gym or exercise followed by an anagram (when exercising) of LASTED.

14d         Clubs agent’s taken over lake bistro (8)
CREPERIE: A sort of bistro that specialises in pancakes is a charade of C(lubs), an agent or salesman and one of the Great Lakes.

15d         Numbers, say, after revolutionary school computer (8)
NOTEBOOK:  This is the sort of small computer on which I am writing this blog.  It’s what Numbers is an example of (say) in the Bible placed after a reversal (revolutionary) of crosswordland’s favourite school.

16d         It’s impossible to get out in this state? (8)
INSOMNIA:  If you suffer from this you’ll find it difficult to get out, as in fall asleep.  I spent quite some time trying to fit a US state into this, d’oh!

18d         Spirit given sudden shake is good for digestion (6)
PEPTIC:  A word meaning relating to or promoting digestion is a word for spirit or energy followed by a sudden shake or twitch.

19d         My group in stiff attire (6)
CORSET:  My first thought was that this was going to be something that dead bodies get dressed in but no, it’s literally a piece of stiff clothing.  It’s an exclamation like MY or WOW (3) followed by a group (3).  Some opportunities are just too good to miss!

20d         Old boys from a liberal college defending spymaster (6)
ALUMNI:  To get these old boys you need A (from the clue), L(iberal) and an abbreviation of a university (college) all placed around James Bond’s boss (defending spymaster).

21d         Accuse  person in care (6)
CHARGE: A simple double definition to finish with.

There are some nice clues here but my favourite was 8d.

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74 Comments

  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Just goes to show how different we all are. I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum to pommers today.

    4*/3*. This was Toughie territory for me, but an enjoyable struggle. After my first pass I was staring at a grid with just two answers in. Nevertheless I managed gradually to complete it. The NE corner was the last to fall, with 7d my last one in.

    I didn’t think that 9a was particularly cryptic, but I did enjoy many of the clues. 25a was my favourite, just shading out both the excellent 5d & 13a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to pommers, especially for the great pictures!

  2. Miffypops
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    A bit of a struggle but got there eventually and quite enjoyed it. Ta to Mr Ron and ta to pommers. Nice piccies. I liked the one of the kitten and I liked the one of the puppy. Best of all I liked the one of the puppies which reminded me of Saint Sharon in her less than saintly younger days. Ooh er missus.

  3. Michael
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, I finished it without any help but there were several I couldn’t explain – 16d for example – I couldn’t make my mind up between ‘Insignia’ or ‘Insomnia’ and plumped for the latter – what this has to do with the clue is not clear in my mind.

    Ah well, someone will make sense of it.

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

    • Rod
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Took me a while to twig 16d too, Michael. The ‘out’ is part of the expression ‘out like a light’ meaning to go into a deep sleep.

      I found this one difficult in places. 19d took a bit of head scratching.

    • dutch
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      out = sleeping

    • skempie
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I think the word ‘off’ would have worked better than ‘out’

      • dutch
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        nice!

  4. Collywobbles
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    There are some strange clues here, 11a for example and, as Pommers says, the excess double unches are not helpful. Come back RayT (it is Thursday after all)
    ….and in 13a, is ‘ground’ the anagram indicator? If so, it’s a bit strange

    • Collywobbles
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      …..and I thought that 15d and 18d were poor clues. I am really not enjoying this crossword and I have not felt that for a long time

    • Bluebird
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Ground as in ” minced up”?

      • Collywobbles
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Thanks BB

  5. skempie
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    For some reason, 14D held me up for ages – I had all the checking letters and had actually worked out the answer, but as I haven’t spent a lot of time in France, I didn’t recognise the shop.

    After a bright day yesterday, back to having the lights on to read the paper today :(

  6. dutch
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Took me much longer than usual and found it hard to get started – of course all the double uncheckeds (unches) help to make it harder. Last quadrant was NW with 3d last to go in.

    I liked 17a (avocado pie), because even suspecting a hidden word i didn’t see it until i had a checking E and could align it. I liked the long 13a (pedestrian facility) because only on parsing it after filling it in did i discover the anagram. I liked 15d because it cleverly used computer as the definition.

    Many thanks setter and pommers

  7. Miffypops
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The word FALL was taken to America by early English settlers. It’s origins are English through and through.

  8. Sweet William
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter. I found that quite difficult and not the most enjoyable of puzzles. I was quite pleased to have finished without the need for hints. There were one or two “bung it in and hope” answers, so thanks Pommers for your explanations and hints – and photos of course.

  9. George
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes, very challenging. I had to put this one down, go away and do something else, come back and put a few more in as enlightenment came, then repeat the exercise three more times before coming to the end.

    I had to guess at a few of the answers having to strain my memory about crossing the road in the UK as I don’t know of another country with these ( I always had called them after that striped horsey creature). Then I have not been to France so the bistro was a bit puzzling.

    But all good for a mental workout!

    4*/3* for me today.

    • pommers
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      There are both the striped horsey type and the large billed bird type in Spain.

    • Tony
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I like you had to put this down and come back to it. 8d got me a little confused for a while as I had put blind dog but sorted it eventually and that allowed me to finish that block. Guessed 13a before I realised it was an anagram.

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m with pommers. I didn’t find it difficult except for 6D, which I failed to solve, but the puzzle didn’t really sit well with me. I thought 9A and 22A were very weak clues, and the “out” in 16D irritated me. Surely with insomnia one is unable to get off to sleep, not get out to sleep? Perhaps ‘go out’ would have been slightly better. Of course, I was working on the puzzle at 3 am, insomnia being a frequent visitor to my house. Appreciated the review.

  11. Bluebird
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree that there some clunky clues today ….made me groan a few times. I didn’t have a problem as such with the weird ones mentioned above, but couldn’t get 1d and 6d for ages. never thought of the US caff for some reason.

    22a was limp.and thanks to Pommers for 19d explanation….I’ve been caught by that ‘my’ before.

    **/**

  12. Rick
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Tricky in parts, often as much due to the grid as the clue. For example 6d would have been simple if the checkers were T-D- but not so obvious if you have T- -I. I was slow to get the long answer, so for some time all I had for 14d was – – E – E – – E! Please Mr McNeil, consign this grid to the dustbin of history – 14 double unches is unfair.

  13. Owdoo
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I found this quite straightforward but enjoyable. The “out” in 16d grated with me a bit too, but I rather liked the long anagram at 13a.
    2*/3*
    Thanks setter and pommers.

  14. SheilaP
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Well we thought this was not an enjoyable crossword at all. Not only could we not do it without a lot of help, but even when we got the answers, we thought them a bit of an anticlimax. I’m sure the setter spent ages compiling it, so thank you to him, and thank you to pommers too.

  15. Ally
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I found the bottom half quite easy and needed the hints for the NW corner. These puzzle are getting easier. I remembered 19a as it came up a few weeks ago. 3d made me smile. Thanks Pommers and the setter.

  16. Beaver
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I thought that there were some difficult clues today, and some difficult parsing mixed in with some obvious clues , ie inconsistent overall but fair enough I suppose, as it’s not meant to be a toughie, nevertheless enjoyable, so a ***/*** for me . Amusing collection of wildlife in Pommers Pics-thanks , I know what I want for Christmas.

  17. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I certainly agree with Pommers’ comment about not getting into it very easily – in fact I resorted to electronic help for two of the double unches (16d and 21d) in the end. Nothing felt unfair, just a bit awkward all through. 3*/3* today. My favourite clue was 13a because I took a short time to see the answer and a much longer time to see the lovely anagram it came from! Honourable mention goes to 17a, really well crafted.
    Thanks setter and Pommers.

  18. Heno
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, difficult in places. I got there in the end without the hints. Last in was 1d. Favourites were 25a and 14d. I managed to complete the bottom half first, and was glad of 13a to provide some much needed checkers. I wondered what made this so difficult, and I think it was the number of double unches. Pommers must take the credit for this, because I certainly didn’t notice it until I read the review. Currently attending the Pig’s Ear Beer Festival. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The Pigs Ear Beer Festival looks so inviting. What a a lovely building. My advice at Beer Festivals is to go straight for the high percenters and stay there. The blacker the better.. Enjoy, Heno. I wish I was with you.

  19. Hanni
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    ****/**
    A tale of two halves today. The bottom went in very smoothly but the top half was a tussle. I got held up by 1 and 6d. Not once did I think to use the American term for café and therefore needed Pommers excellent hints for the answer.

    My only niggle was the use of ‘out’ in 16d. Although the alternative mentioned above would have raised the odd eyebrow. :-)

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for your review and lovely pics!

    In the last year I’ve calculated I have spent over £150 on Christmas tree lights. Of which only two sets work. I’ve also calculated I have said over 150 swear words in relation to that. I think that qualifies me in the 17a category. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi Hanni – if you’ve been wrestling with tree lights I guess that means you successfully wrestled with the Christmas tree yesterday? When I moved here – seven years ago – I bought a really cheap (£4.99) set of twinkly silver lights for my little silver tree. The sort of lights that you just have to throw away when a bulb goes. Still working!!!

      • Hanni
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane. Yes the Christmas Tree is up. Yes is was a wrestle as it had to go on the roof rack secured with bungee cords and bailing twine due to inexplicable reasons of the back seats not folding???
        Everything looks very festive and smells of marron glace and I need a very large drink. It’s close enough to the weekend isn’t it?
        How are things on the Anglesey front?

        • Jane
          Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          You wait for the weekends?!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          First real touch of Christmas today, courtesy of the U3A Christmas lunch, which is held in a super hotel in the middle of nowhere and wins my prize for the only place I have found that can cope with turning out 100 absolutely delicious, piping hot Christmas meals simultaneously. If only I could manage four or so with such panache!!!

          • Jane
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Wow! That’s the first time I’ve been moderated in ages – I thought my run of luck couldn’t last!

          • Hanni
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

            Oh what a good start to the festivities! :-) Was everyone from the same group?
            I do try and make some attempt to be good during the week, however today the Sauvignon is open. I’m saving the good Cognac for Saturday. The ‘ball’.
            Don’t worry about being moderated it just seems to ‘happen’. Although you do wonder what on earth you could have done wrong?

    • Kath
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Ah – now shall we get on to Christmas lights? We have three sets of very old ones. The first lot my husband remembers buying with his Dad when he (husband, not Dad) was very little, probably very early 1950’s. We have an identical set (more identical than MP’s kittens) that belonged to my parents and we have yet another identical set that we bought in a street market in the late 1970’s – they were still in their box and had 1953 on them so presumably from the coronation. They all work – they involve the soldering iron coming out every year and finding spare bulbs for them is becoming more and more difficult but they are such beautiful colours . . .

      • Hanni
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        Oh I love that. Anything that involves soldering to work is rather good. And it may seem a little sentimental but I like that there’s a ‘history’ across the generations to them.

        My first set of Christmas lights, bought at uni, gave up the ghost the year I bought the house with the other half. But that’s because he stood on them.
        I’m glad that you at least managed to buy a wallet today. I’m not the greatest shopper.
        I hope the rest of the reindeer activities are a little easier. :-)

  20. Kath
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to argue with 2* difficulty but would probably give it another * for enjoyment, so 3*.
    I was very slow to get started on this one. Then, quite suddenly, the bottom half was done but still had nothing at the top – so to speak!!
    I got 13a almost immediately but it took an age to realise that it was an anagram.
    17a may well have been staring me in the face but obviously it didn’t stare hard enough – I did get the other one.
    Needless to say I didn’t know that 15d was a computer but BRB did.
    I liked 13 and 17a and 7d. My favourite was either 25a or 8d – probably 8d if only because of the picture.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to pommers – also loved the 13a pic – you’ll need all your winter woollies for the UK trip.

    Been to the big John Lewis just outside High Wycombe – I always forget how much I hate it until I get there – by then it’s too late! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath – don’t you remember the low-down Pommers gave us re: his proposed wardrobe for the UK trip. I think he’ll be warm enough – a scary sight, but warm!
      Glad to hear that the reindeer made it to John Lewis, but it sounds as though you didn’t have a successful trip. When I ‘hate’ a shop, it usually means I couldn’t find what I wanted. Rather like some of the comments we get here from time to time – I couldn’t do it, therefore I hated it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Kath
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

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

    • Hanni
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Well done Kath! Did you manage to get everything you wanted?

      • Kath
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        No – I found a new wallet for me since mine has disintegrated and therefore throwing what money I have all over the place. I spent about an hour there before giving up and coming home. Oh dear – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  21. Clarky
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Hard work with a few more obvious ones to keep me motivated. ****/** for me. Not my cup of tea. Maybe I’m just not with it today.
    17a was by far my favourite.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers without whom I would still be struggling.

  22. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    After three days of ‘oh so simple’ back pagers it was most refreshing to have a Thursday crossword which gave one something to think about. I found the whole of the top half to be mostly a write in, so I stopped and went out to walk the dog, thinking that if the bottom half was going to be as easy I’d complete it over a sandwich at lunch time. Not so I found. First the bottom left yielded, but I just couldn’t get a toe hold down in the bottom right. I put the paper down and decided that I’d mow the lawn (yes, December 4th and I’m cutting the grass here in Shropshire still) and put cloches over some winter sown peas that were beginning to come through large enough to tempt the birds. Back to my puzzle and a cuppa. Once the penny dropped with both 19 & 20 down, the rest was plain sailing. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s tussle, so a big thank you to the setter – most appreciated – I loved it :-)

  23. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Btw, I forgot to ask when I was writing previously, what is an unch? Tis a new one on me.

    • pommers
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Short for unchecked letter.

      • F1lbertfox
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Aha, many thanks Pommers :-)

  24. fran
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    finished after a slow start , but didn’t understand 15d until saw explanation from pommers txs

  25. Merusa
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This was darned HARD! Like Kath, the bottom half was filled in almost without me noticing. First of all, I’ve never heard of 13a but googled it when I had enough letters and it just fitted. Also never heard of a 14d, but I googled that and found that’s another bit of Brit speak.
    I can’t really say I didn’t enjoy this, there were some lovely clues, fave was 25a. I had holes in the upper right-hand corner and needed pommers for them, 6d, 10a and 12a. Loved 8d also.
    Thanks to setter and to pommers for helping me to finish.

    • Kath
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      14d is ‘French speak’ not Brit.

      • Angel
        Posted December 5, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        IMHO the two words are not synonymous in French speak either!

  26. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    A very slow start to this last night but this morning it picked up quickly. Really liked 13 and 17a. Like others 16d didn’t float my boat. Thanks to pommers for the review.

  27. Brian
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Really difficult today, needed lots of help with some tricky clues such as 2d ( race=nation, I dont think so) and 22a (a bizarre clue, why New Yorker, weird).
    Did like 25a but that was the extent of my enjoyment today. Very tough and very little fun for me at least.
    Still look on the bright side, at least it wasn’t Ray T today tormenting me.
    Thx to Pommers without whose help i most definitely would not have finished.

    • pommers
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      As far as I can see there’s no specific reason for ‘New Yorker’. Any American would do the job – Start of the fall of the ‘Californian’? works just as well.

      Race = nation is very common in crosswords, in fact, it has chestnut status.

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        I think The New Yorker is a well known newspaper, so that works better than any random state. Not my favourite clue I hasten to add

  28. Framboise
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Did not get on with this puzzle at all. Don’t really know why as it was not outrageously difficult. Many thanks to Pommers for the review which enabled me to finish. Not very proud of myself, i must admit. 3*/2*. Favourite was 25a – one that I actually solved! Although I could not get on the same wavelength as you Mr Setter, i thank you nevertheless. Pouring with rain in Hyères as I write this, people recently flooded my tremble…

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Until last week we had never heard of the type of crossing in 13a (the expression is not used here), and then we met it on an old TV quiz show. Can’t remember now whether it was ‘The Chase’, ‘Eggheads’, or ‘QI’, but it did mean that we were able to confidently write the answer straight in. We noted the double unches but they did not interfere with solving for us. The bottom went in much more easily than the top half. We found it at least of average difficulty and, obviously against the general trend, enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m always fascinated to read other solver’s opinions and equally fascinated to see how the clues that some of us find so difficult are the ones that others find very easy to solve. For me the top half was quickly solved plus 25 across, then I stalled. Others found the puzzle went easier bottom first and then they became bogged down at the top – I reckon that collectively we’re unbeatable, lol. :-) ;-) It’s great that we are all so different and long may it remain so, otherwise there’d be no need for the blog and no need to compare notes.

  30. Miffypops
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Ah. That makes sense. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  31. Hrothgar
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Hard and easy.
    That’s how I like it.
    The easy gives you a spur then you shudder to a halt with the hard.
    Enjoyable, 14a very crafty and 17d excellent.
    Many thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  32. Gwizz
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Does one have to ‘get on’ with a crossword? I always thought a crossword was a challenge and that the challenge was less so if you ‘got on’ with it. I think that makes sense… Just. Not straight forward today, I think we have been lulled by a series of easier than usual puzzles recently.
    Apart from SHAVING for 9a (made sense to me!) and not realising the parsing of 1d… Doh! I finally completed it.
    Fav clue has to be 17a, probably because it described me accurately today.
    Thanks to the setter and pommers for his pictures/ revue

  33. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Definitely on the lower end on the scale of 1a. Managed to finish this one in record time almost standing up all the time holding my paper. As expat Chris, I was a bit held up by 6d but the non plural ending in s soon gave the game away. For 14d, I don’t know why people think a Creperie is a kind of bistro either.
    First had shaving for 9a but thought it would be a bit dangerous. And when I asked my friend how we called dogs for the visually impaired, he answered Blind Dog. Good thing I didn’t listen. Thanks to RayT (must remember to vote) who probably is going to pop up and to pommers for the review and pics.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Almost certainly this is not by RayT. He was last week and should be back next Thursday.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Even though I have been solving or at least trying to solve Telegraph crossword for so many years, I still can’t guess who the setter is. The information comes from somewhere on the blog and I thought I was being clever.

        • Kath
          Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          Ray T does alternate Thursdays although sometimes that goes a bit wrong. His crosswords are fairly easy to spot because they have several trademarks; the clues are always very short, usually seven words or less; the Queen usually puts in an appearance; there is some innuendo, in varying amounts depending on whether or not he can find his ‘naughty hat’; the Quickie clues and answers are always single words. I’ve probably missed something out but that’s a pretty good start. He’s the only setter that I can spot with some degree of confidence.

  34. Mary Mary
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t enjoy this much and thought a few clues were very strained. Had to come here to find 1d 3d and 1a, I’m afraid. Oh well, at least it’s not Black Friday tomorrow !

  35. Hilary
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Very slow start but struggled on valiantly, fair amount of electronic checking but great feeling of relief when I read blog to realise that apart from one silly I had got there. Nasty day in East Suffolk never really got light but perfect crossword weather. Fave rave possibly 17a because it described how I felt. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif Thanks to pommers for sorting me out.

  36. Una
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Very slow start, really very slow , but then I began to “get” it. Good puzzle. 17a took a long time to see, and 16d was my last in.Thanks pommers and setter.

  37. Jane
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Actually I have to admit to quite enjoying this one although would give it a 3*/3* as I had a few problems towards the end. 1d and 12a caused the grief (despite having the Greek alphabet in front of me for the former!) and I was very grateful for Pommers’ help with the parsing of those.
    Favourite was going to be a toss-up between 13a, 5&8d – but Pommers’ pic. definitely gave it to 8d! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Yes – I was definitely looking to fit a US state into 16d for quite a while and I was slow to pick up the hidden word in 17a. As others have said – I wouldn’t call 14d a bistro.
    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Pommers for the great review, the lovely pics. and another chance to watch Torville & Dean. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  38. Angel
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I usually achieve quite a lot before getting up and over breakfast. Today however I drew a blank on a number of initial runs-through and even then it was an on-going struggle but walking away several times during the day and returning with a clear head eventually did the trick. I enjoyed the challenge. Can’t decide between 5d and 8d for fav. Missed the indicator for 13a. Thanks Mr Ron and Pommers to whom I was determined not to turn but enjoyed reading after the event. ****/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  39. pommers
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be out of touch for the next few days as I’ll be sans Interweb at the aged parent’s house. See y’all again when I return to civilisation at my friend Christine’s house.

    Off to bed now as it’s a start at sparrow’s wotsits in the morning.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Enjoy Pommers.

  40. Tstrummer
    Posted December 5, 2014 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t get the NW corner for ages, so this goes well into 3* or possibly 4* time and I was about to revert to hints when 1a shouted at me not to be so thick. The rest then fell into place. Thanks to Pommers for the review and to the setter who can best be described as annoying and worst as a *¥#>!*@# for proffering this double-unched grid. Less of this sort of thing.So only 2* for fun from me

  41. Jess
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    13a I thought it was Pelicon crossing – short for PEdestrian LIght CONtrol but had to go by the anagram in the end. I am glad others found it tough!