DT 27673

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27673

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today is National Cat Herding Day. A day for those of us who feel like we’re tasked with the impossible, Cat Herders Day recognises the frustration of trying to manage the unmanageable. Whether it’s work, home, school or other areas of life, if it feels like herding cats, today’s your day. I rather hoped Rufus would have an answer with a feline slant today to fit with the video clip I have had to use at 25d

I dedicate this day to those amongst you who feel like that when solving cryptic crossword puzzles.

If you keep at it your day will come. If you keep at it and use this site your day will come sooner. If you avoid Mondays your day may come sooner still.

Today’s puzzle by Rufus contains his signature dish of Anagrams with Double Defintions on the side. These are garnished with some nice charades, a couple of all in ones drizzled with a lurker and served with a delicious sauce.

The hints and tips below are there to help and guide you. I hope they serve their purpose. Definitions are underlined. If you still need an answer after reading the hint then press click here and the answer will be revealed.

Please leave a comment on the blog. It is a nice community. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

1a    Pirate on S American river that may be seen on board (6,5)
SILVER PLATE: The Pirate is from Treasure Island and the river, as it states in the clue is in South America. As this river has only five letters it is not the Amazon or the Orinoco. It must therefore be the one with the football team named after it. The answer as a whole refers to a type of tableware

9a    Game that’s bound to go with whisky (9)
HOPSCOTCH: A children’s playground game can be found by adding the name for whiskies made in Scotland to a verb meaning to move by jumping on one foot

10a    Reserves  bets on races (5)
BOOKS: A double definition. The second being records of bets made and monies paid out by Turf Accountants.
A tip for newcomers. There are three words in the plural in this clue which means that the answer will be also be in the plural. Therefore even without the answer to this clue it is reasonable to assume that its final letter will be an S which gives the third letter of 7 down

11a    Nelly is confused about love, and without boyfriends? (6)
LONELY: Anagram (is confused) of NELLY and the letter O (Love in a tennis match)

12a    Reptile brings back one young salmon in ten (8)
TERRAPIN: Charade time. (Do as you are told) This reptile can be found by reversing (brings back) the letter I (one) and the name for a young salmon and placing the result inside the number TEN which is given in the clue

13a    Curiosity may make one tarry (6)
RARITY: A cheeky little anagram with a twist here. The one represents the letter I which we place with the word tarry and use as the fodder for the anagram which is suggested by the words may make. Anagram (may make) of I TARRY

15a    Dead centre? (8)
CEMETERY: The place where we bury our dead. Note to self. The letter A is not used in this word. If I had used an E as is correct then 8 down would have been a whole lot easier to solve

18a    Quasar exploding round one high-class constellation (8)
AQUARIUS: This constellation and sign of the Zodiac can be found by placing the letters I (one) and U (high class) into an anagram (exploding) of QUASAR

19a    Back on board (6)
ASTERN: The answer here is an adverb referring to back or rear end of a boat or ship

21a    Not very bright, so extra-shy (8)
OVERCAST: A double definition. The first being cloudy and the second being split into two words. One meaning more than required and one meaning to throw.

23a    Their losses may get roundabout compensation (6)
SWINGS: What one loses on these pieces by playground equipment may be gained on the roundabouts.

26a    He gets put out, becomes angry (3,2)
HET UP: He from the clue alongside an anagram (out) of PUT will give an adjective meaning angry or excited when split 3,2

27a    Script one created for TV’s Morse? (9)
INSPECTOR: An anagram (created) of SCRIPT ONE will reveal the rank of a character called Morse played by John Thaw in a television series based upon the books written by Colin Dexter. This chap would have been quite happy with the real ales in The Green Man.

28a    Seconds subside? (7,4)
RESERVE TEAM: Sporting jargon here. In sporting clubs these are the side below the firsts from which substitutes will be drawn to replace injured members hence sub side

Down

1d    Student involved in chorals (7)
SCHOLAR: Our first straightforward anagram of the day (involved) is the indicator. CHORALS is the fodder.

2d    Flower some pull up inappropriately (5)
LUPIN: The answer is the name of a flower. The word SOME indicates that it is hiding away lurking about somewhere inside the clue, peeping cheekily out at us. Can you see it? I did

3d    Cares a lot about powered flight (9)
ESCALATOR: This is an anagram (about) of CARES A LOT. The powered flight in the clue would be called the moving stairs by my mum

4d    Past prime minister is the product of sanctimonious island race (4)
PITT: Our usual two letter word for sanctimonious is followed by the shortened name of The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races. The whole is the name of a former Prime Minister

5d    The tales bandied about by sportsmen (8)
ATHLETES: Anagram (bandied about) of THE TALES

6d    It may retain warmth that will show at the end of three months (5)
EMBER: this small piece of burning or glowing coal or wood in a dying fire is also the last five letters of three of our months

7d    Mary holding child featured in stonework (7)
MASONRY: Place a term for a male child inside the word MARY from the clue

8d    Full  make up? (8)
COMPLETE: A double definition, another being to finish doing as in a crossword puzzle

14d    It takes a turn for the better (8)
ROULETTE: The better here is a gambler The thing taking a turn is a wheel. It is all taking place in a casino.

16d    Place to be for an alibi (9)
ELSEWHERE: If you are not here then you must in some other place. This word is rather obvious once the checkers are in

17d    Chases  jobs (8)
PURSUITS: A double definition. A third might be hobbies.

18d    One more convert on earth (7)
ANOTHER: Anagram (convert) of ON EARTH

20d    This is no way to drink patent medicine (7)
NOSTRUM: A charade or a Lego clue which we can build bit by bit. Take NO from the clue. Add our regular abbreviation for street (way) and add a drink favoured by sailors

22d    One’s saucy prank! (5)
CAPER: A jape or prank is also the name of a sauce most often used to accompany fish dishes.

24d    Chemical, inert in another form (5)
NITRE: Anagram (in another form) of INERT

25d    One employs American with hesitation (4)
USER: This employer can be found by putting our usual two letter word for hesitation after the abbreviation for United States

Today is the day I stuff the Cd players with Christmas Cds. I have put in 17 live Tom Waits concerts and Bob Dylans Christmas In The Heart. Saint Sharon is euphoric (I think).


The Quick Crossword pun: suite+hart=sweetheart


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85 Comments

  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    2*/3*. Three corners of this fell into place immediately but the SE corner took my time up to 2*, with the clever 23a my last one in. I felt there were too many anagrams (10?) but Rufus’ humour and lightness of touch were very much in evidence as always.

    I expect 27a will bring tears from one of our regular bloggers, and 28a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for his usual amusing and entertaining review.

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      You’re right. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  2. Miffypops
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Who’s ashes are we scattering across the blog today Big Dave?

    • Jane
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Only you, MP – only you! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Kitty
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I thought someone up high must have a bad case of dandruff…

    • Hilary
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you mentioned this as I thought it was me seeing things. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  3. Clarky
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Stuck on 6 down and 10a and gave up on latter when former them became obvious. Otherwise only 20d required verification as I am not familiar with that word.
    Enjoyable **/*** for me. Thanks to setter and MPs.

  4. Jane
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was going to be pretty much a write-in until 17d and 28a held me up. MP’s alternative definition for 17d would have made it so much easier! Plenty of smiles – 1&23a plus 6d but I’ll go for the clever 28a as favourite (apart from MP’s review, which wins hands down). 2.5*/3* for me. Many thanks, Rufus – nice to know that someone considers their ‘job’ to be a ‘pursuit’!

    Just printed off the Rookie – now that really could land me in cat herding territory! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    By the way – Kath, now I know what you meant when you were asking BD for snow – it’s lovely. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      See – I told you! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      • Jane
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes you did – and I hadn’t got a clue what you were talking about! Thank you for leaving it as a surprise, even if MP does have to put his own slant on it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

        Are you ready for the festivities? You poss. missed my late night post a few days ago – I was wondering whether you are going to be surrounded by a flock of pet lambs for Christmas?

        • Kath
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Not sure that ready is the right word . . . ! Yes, both Lambs here for Christmas – not quite sure about elder one’s partner – a spot of parent/brothers/sisters kind of trouble so, at the moment it looks as she will go off to join them on Boxing Day – which leaves me carless – terrific! Probably French brother-in-law here too – he’s not French at all but he lives in France. That’s Christmas Day itself. After that it’s anyone one’s guess as no-one seems to think that we need to know – my sister, various nieces, nephews etc etc but . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          • Jane
            Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            I reckon all us ‘mums’ do such a convincing job of saying ‘no problem’ that they’ve all grown up believing us! Maybe we only have ourselves to blame? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

            • Kath
              Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

              Sorry – that was very rude of me. I’d almost got to the end of previous answer when husband came home so wrote the last couple of words and hint the post thingy so that he and I could chat for a few minutes. I’d meant to go on to ask you how your plans are getting on – how many you have for Christmas etc? Younger daughter and new fiance? Elder daughter?
              As for us Mums taking a bit of the blame, I think you’re probably right!! My sister says that she’s never sure whether she should be a good example or a terrible warning!!

  5. Wayne
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Held up momentarily on 6d other than that the rest fell into place quite quickly (which is unusual for me). So */**** for me today.
    Thanx to Compiler and Miffypops for the review which was not needed today but still read.

  6. dutch
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the snow, which first made me think there was something very seriously wrong with me, and when I realised it was only on my screen I thought there was something very seriously wrong with my computer. And thanks for the cat-herding video.

    Signature Rufus today, lovely beginning to a monday afternoon (I had a lie-in).
    Favourites are many including 2d and 25d, just so Rufus. I didn’t know what a young salmon was called, now I do.

    Many thanks Rufus and miffypops

  7. Hrothgar
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I seemed to gel with this today.
    Some lovely constructions eg 1a and 28a.
    For me a ** and half a * for difficulty and **** for enjoyment.
    Many thanks Rufus and also Miffypops.

  8. skempie
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Oooooo its snowing – must be Christmas.

    Things were going really well until I got well and truly bogged down on 8D, took an age to realise that 10A isn’t BACKS (which sounded BDG to me).

    Christmas decs. are mostly up but still a bit to do and as I haven’t got rid of the empty boxes, it looks like a grenade has gone off in my living room. Just two tables to clear, last few bits to put up, spare places to dust and then the hoovering to do and I might be ready for our visitors from NZ on Friday. HELP !!!!!

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Visitors from New Zealand! You are lucky people. Look after them well.
      Cheers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  9. Dave B
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Good crossword. Would have finished a lot quicker if I hadn’t put a type of duck feather for 6d. Best clues were 15 a and 14d.

  10. Sweet William
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Rufus for another fun Monday puzzle. I can see why 28a has attracted attention – I thought 3d was very neat and rather clever ! Thanks MP for your comprehensive review and hints – I assume that we have BD to thank for the snow ! That means that my car won’t go until it stops http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Sweet William…cars do this on purpose. Completely out of spite as far as I can tell. Just have a calm and quiet word with it and then unleash your inner Basil Faulty.

  11. Derek
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward solve today from Rufus to start the week!

    Faves : 1a,15a, 16d & 20d.

    Weather here in NL is wet but I managed to get the shopping done in a dry spell.

  12. Chris
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I like the way that when I can’t see why the second half of 21a is what it is, and then it dawns (or in my case, MP explains it for me), I realise it’s what I should have thought of all along. All good fun, and thanks to Rufus and MP.

  13. Ginny
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very much to Rufus for an extremely pleasant and enjoyable solve which I completed except for 17d, getting stuck looking for all permutations except the obvious. I was more than glad of the hint. Thanks very much Miffypops for turning Monday into something better, especially with the golden song. I still have a video copy of the film. The cats clip was priceless. I remember when it was suggested that the term could be applied to managing ‘virtual’ homeworkers. Thank you Big Dave for the Christmas decs and lovely sbnowgflaes (that’s how the computer spelled it). Merry Christmas all!

  14. Graham Wall
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Well I have been away from crosswordland for a few weeks so it is nice to be back. It must be said I have become ring rusty so this was a bit of a plod for me. I would rate this 2.5/3.5 Nice to see Miffypops is reviewing as well as ever. Hope everyone enjoys their cat herding!

  15. Hanni
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    **/****

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….Thanks BD!

    Well todays crossword didn’t scare the horses, or cats as it’s National Cat Herding Day. When I first read that, I did wonder if Miffypops might have been having some rather vivid dreams. Who knew it was a real thing?

    So onto the crossword. 17d was my main hold up as I did not consider that ‘jobs’ could be connected to this. Had I written in 16d correctly it would have helped a little too. It matters not as I enjoyed this offering very much.

    Favourite clue is 28a with 3d getting an extra present from Santa.

    Many thanks to Rufus for a lovely crossword and to Miffypops for your usual wonderful blog and for managing to find a video about cat herding.

    For the rest of the day I shall be trying not to move. Excessive amounts of walking and just the tiniest amount of alcohol have left me feeling a little stiff. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  16. spindrift
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    A great crossword from Rufus. A LOL review from Miffypops. And it’s the 28th anniversary of my 30th birthday. The downside? It’s persisting down & Mrs S & I were supposed to be going to our new local (refurbished actually following a horrendous fire last year) for a meal which is now off the cards because Mrs S doesn’t drive & I refuse to go teetotal on my birthday.

    • JonP
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday – enjoy your tipple of choice.

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Happy birthday from me too.

    • George
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Taxi?

      • spindrift
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Possible or call in a favour from 1 of my sons. Alternatively I have several selections of ‘real ale’ stored in the fridge in the garage. Now if I can only persuade Mrs S to don her cagoule….

        • andy
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Happy birthday from me too spindrift

        • weekendwanda
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Real ale in a fridge – surely not. Even south of the Trent.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday Spindrift. I hope you have a lovely evening.

    • Ginny
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday… hope you have it all arranged now…

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday from me too – someone (?) needs to teach Mrs S how to drive then you’ll have a resident taxi driver – or is ours the only house that works like that? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        No it’s not Kath. It’s really not just you.

  17. overtaxed
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Has been sunny here all day and so far, no snow.Starting to get dark so will be frosty tonight. Enjoyed the crossword today. Thanks Jay and MP for the review. I’m one of the people mentioned who is benefiting from the blog and look forward to the reviews even on those occasions I complete the grid without help.. **/**** for me today. Thought 12a and 21a were clever, and 16d raised a laugh .

  18. Merusa
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I am totally in sync with Rufus as always, and the M’pops review is the icing on the cake.
    My heart bleeds for Kath as I know she is just a melted blob after solving 27a.
    I, too, spelt 15a with an “a” that didn’t belong, but I caught myself in time as I remembered doing it before.
    There were so many lovely clues, I really don’t want to single out just one, the others might get offended, but I think 23a deserves a mention.
    Thanks to Rufus, you are the best, and to M’pops for your great entertainment.

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif I must be getting too predictable!

      • Hilary
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        I have just magicked you a couple of virtual tissues out of the box. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Kath
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Oh – thank you SO much, although I have to confess that the snow has cheered me up a little bit and stopped me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif for the moment. His face just gets me every time.

  19. George
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Lots of anagrams made this one a write in for me. But having one of those once in a while sure does bring up the confidence!

    1*/4*

  20. Collywobbles
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Miffypops,
    Why is Pi a word for sanctimonius?

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Pious I think. It comes up often so is worth remembering

  21. Omar
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I worked it out but did not understand this (pi)…..28a was my favourite

  22. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    **/*** for me. The SE corner was a slight hold up but the rest fell into place quickly. Thanks to the setter and MP for a light hearted and enjoyable review. I also had a short challenge with 15a due to a spelling error.

  23. Annidrum
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle so thanks to Rufus and to MP for the amusing review as always. I’m off to the US tomorrow and things will get hectic there so I wish everyone, a Very Happy Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  24. Franco
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Snow! Snow! Go away!
    Come again another day!

    (Not very good for my eyesight!)

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Sunglasses? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  25. Outnumbered
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Was stumped on 8d so looked here and realised that I had BACKS for 10a, which was wrong… But does fit the clue fairly well.

    • weekendwanda
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Same for me too. I was fairly convinced by backs. Still inexplicably foxed by 8d even when I had checked my answer for 10a. Others which caused problems for some e.g. 6d were a doddle for me. The human brain……

  26. Kath
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Terribly late today – been very busy and got lots done.
    I really loved this one – 1* (plus a tiny bit because of 15a) and 4* for enjoyment.
    I was slow to get 1a – don’t know why.
    If I’ve ‘met’ the young salmon before then I’ve forgotten about him – I have a sneaking and nasty feeling that it’s the latter.
    I didn’t get the ‘subside’ bit of 28a which was just plain stupid.
    15a was my last answer – think it might now be my favourite.
    I liked 9 and 23a and 6d. My favourite was either 15a or 16d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops, especially for the cat video.
    Predictably the piccy for 27a made me cry http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif but cheered up by the snow http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif so thanks to BD for that.

  27. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    A real feast of anagrams which made it a pretty straightforward solve we thought. We remembered the young salmon from having to look it up in a crossword long ago. Good fun.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  28. Rick
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Ten anagrams (and not very complicated ones at that) did make it very straightforward, even for a Rufus. I’m familiar with pi and parr and can spell graveyard, so a 1* time today. No doubt sterner tests lie ahead.

  29. Kitty
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Mixed bag for me today. 12a made me smile – turtles make me happy for a silly little reason that I won’t disclose – so rather than go with the herd and choose 28a, I shall make a favourite of Terry the 12a. I hope he is not a 11a 12a.

    I know I have come across baby salmon in crosswords before, and more than once. Each time it hapens, I think “what is that word? I know I know it! Grr!” … Then look it up and it is not familiar at all. If it happens again, I shall make a large poster to display somewhere until it is etched into my brain.

    The top was easily massaged into place for the most part. My geography being what it is (poor to abysmal) I had never heard of (or forgotten) the S American river, so it took a while to work out 1a.

    Not everything went into the bottom easily. The 20d medicine was a new word for me, but the clue plus checking letters was generous and so it all came together. I didn’t associate 22d necessarily with a sauce, so doubted it could be that until all the checkers were in place. I was not very bright with 21a and had to get help with 17d, which left me frowning and grumpy. I’m sure I enjoyed the rest of it though, so will turn that frown upside down even if I have to stand on my head to do it, and thank Rufus for the puzzle.

    Lots of thanks too to Miffypops for a review that was even better than the crossword. Life is like herding cats at the moment – ironic, as one of the things that makes me sad it its utter lack of kittehs. Thanks for reminding me of that video, MP. Of course, cats are not pack animals and should not be herded in the first place – as T.S. Eliot reminds us, a cat is not a dog.* Give Itchy and Scratchy some strokling from me :).

    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lcnCd_Gyfc

    • Merusa
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      I suppose you are too young to remember the Battle of the River Plate when the Ajax and Exeter chased the Graf Spee all the way down to the South Atlantic? I hope I’m correct, I just seem to remember it like that.

      • Kitty
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        A little too young, yes. In 1939 I was a little way into my early minus forties!

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        In our history books all the real work of the battle was done by “Achilles” with the other two ships just looking on. However there might be a bit of regional bias creeping in to that view.
        We think the clue is very significant at the moment as it was the 50th anniversary of the battle recently, if our memory of what we saw on TV is correct.

        • Merusa
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          You’re absolutely right, I had forgotten about Achilles, very remiss. I should have googled instead of just remembering. I was born in 1938, and was in England when war was declared, going back to Jamaica in convoy on a banana boat! I just remember the grown ups talking about it. I remember the great excitement about the Graf Spee going down.

          • Michael
            Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            It was a great old British film with Peter Finch as Captain Langsdorff, Anthony Quayle, Bernard Lee and a bevy of British actors.

            A really nice puzzle today with nothing to frighten the horses – I just love anagrams.

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

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      It is posts like this that sets the recruitment team into action.

  30. Salty Dog
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really see why others have scored this so highly for difficulty; my watch tells me it’s a 1*. Still, that makes up for the times I’ve stared blankly at puzzles which have been an absolute breeze for others! This was quite enjoyable in its way, though, (3*) and had some nice clues – of which 28a was my favourite. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops for the review.

  31. Heno
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very good puzzle to start the week. Despite the fact that there were 10 anagrams or partials, this was very difficult. I was beaten by 17d & 23a. Favourite was 20d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  32. Angel
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Slow to get going but returned to the task in hand after a day of exhausting Christmas shopping in Guildford and then solutions proceeded to fall into place without too much aggro. Thanks Rufus for an enjoyable start to the week in spite of all those anagrams and Miffypops for your National Cat-Herding Day hints – whatever next?! ***/***. Is it snowing or are those flakes BD’s visual effects?! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  33. Una
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I thought it a bit less than *** but still very enjoyable. 20d held me up, I never heard of it but it sort sounded right.I loved 6d and 14d. Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

    • Una
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      Miffypops remarks might be referring to someone like me, I started about 2 and a half years ago, never “making” more then Rufus double meanings and obvious anagrams. After all this tuition , I occassionly finish a toughie. Best site ever ! And I didn’t start young.

      • Hanni
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

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

        I cannot remember a time when my family weren’t talking about crosswords…or cricket…or rugby.

        Yet a few months here has changed every way that I approach a crossword. And all for the better.

  34. Hilary
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I am a very happy old lady because I love anagrams, even spelt 15a correctly. Loved several very witty clues and found it difficult to choose fave rave so will settle with not being specific today. Thanks to Rufus and Miffipops for a great start to the week. Back in early 1990s the company I worked for had a very elementary email system and spotting in the paper it was National Prune Day I logged it – the moderator deleted it Booo. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  35. Little Dave
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    All done. 1.5* difficulty for me. Thanks to The Setter and to BD of course.

  36. Jane
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Getting quite worried now – has anyone else noticed that the ‘snow’ keeps changing directions? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Mine is going from R to L…I think. Java snow tends to be unpredictable. I suspect it’s had a glass or two of mulled wine.

    • Kath
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry about it – it’s just what happens – every so often it looks as if it’s stopped – then it starts again, then it changes direction – I think that BD likes to keep us on our toes and check out our powers of observation. I’m just pleased to see it again – don’t talk about the Christmas lights – major hunt planned for tomorrow . . .
      I’m really pleased that it’s snowing again BD http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.

    • Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      It follows the mouse!

  37. rodger
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    I had ‘backs’ for 10 across, which threw me a bit. Otherwise, pretty straightforward.

    • weekendwanda
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Ditto

  38. Hilary
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Dear, Darling Miffipops I have just watched the cat herding and it is ages since I laughed out loud at something. Thank you.. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif.

  39. Avid David
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    17 LIVE Tom Waites CDs eh? These must be “SOUNDS ILLEGAL, LAY OFF MEMBERS (4,4)” You naughty person!

    • Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog David

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Hello from me too David. I have more Tom Waits bootlegs than I can count. About half as many as the Bob Dylan ones.