DT 27674

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27674

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It’s always good practice for a setter to get his or her best clue in early because it gives the solver a warm feeling for the rest of the puzzle. Today’s setter certainly achieves that with 1a. 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 Harassment in MI6 HQ? (11)
MOLESTATION – the MI6 HQ is, of course, where our spooks are based – split the answer (4,7) to get a cryptic definition of this location.

7a Basil, say, among group getting drink (7)
SHERBET – insert what basil is an example of into a group or gang.

8a Italian staple put in apricot tart (7)
RICOTTA – hidden (put) in the clue.

10a Mention of wrinkle being genuine (5)
PUKKA – this sounds like wrinkle, as may one’s lips in anticipation of a kiss.

11a Sign of the self? (9)
AUTOGRAPH – cryptic definition of what gets signed as a personal memento. Hmm – does this work for you?

12a The sliding in ice venue is deliberate again (7)
RETHINK – insert an anagram (sliding) of THE inside an enclosed area of ice.

14a Ambition followed by inexperienced driver in the German car (7)
DAIMLER – insert an ambition or goal and the sign displayed by an inexperienced driver inside one of the German definite articles.

15a A large restrictive area holding soft drink for teenagers (7)
ALCOPOP – string together A, L(arge) and a caged area for chickens, then insert (holding) the musical abbreviation for soft.

18a Short time in Lancashire town almost producing laugh (7)
CHORTLE – start with a town in Lancashire just off the M61 and drop its final Y (almost). Now insert T(ime). The town has given its name to a type of cake which is a somewhat flatter version of its cousin from Eccles.

20a Unpleasant sensation is in chest possibly (9)
ITCHINESS – an anagram (possibly) of IS IN CHEST.

21a Walk proudly in part of framework? (5)
STRUT – double definition, the first a verb to walk proudly and arrogantly, like a model on a catwalk.

22a Account for former partner left in agony (7)
EXPLAIN – the usual short word for a former partner is followed by agony or suffering into which L(eft) is inserted.

23a Skill I kindled in a boy, nothing less (7)
ABILITY – insert I (from the clue) and a verb meaning kindled into A (from the clue) and B(o)Y without the letter that resembles zero.

24a One initiating rage? (11)
TRENDSETTER – cryptic definition. Rage here is the current fashion or “in thing”.

Down Clues

1d Privilege after starter’s gone to tuck into flesh in animal (7)
MEERKAT – insert an informal word for a privilege or fringe benefit without its initial letter (starter’s gone) into another word for flesh.

2d Country invested in, say, billions after revolution (5)
LIBYA – hidden (invested) and reversed (after revolution) in the clue.

3d Place for filming footballer is a disappointment (7)
SETBACK – charade of a place where filming occurs and a defensively-minded footballer.

4d After a time, Fifties rocker’s rattled (7)
AERATED – after A we need a long period of time and the shortened name for a rocker of the 1950’s (so-called because they wore Edwardian-style clothes).

5d Unidentified fool blocking work to support trendy firm (9)
INCOGNITO – insert an informal word for a fool into a verb to work or function. Now put all that after (to support , in a down clue) an adverb meaning trendy and the abbreviation for a firm.

6d Two features of tennis in another game (7)
NETBALL – put together two things that you’d see on a tennis court.

7d Best travel is arranged, needing to cover up, going to Spain (11)
SUPERLATIVE – an anagram (arranged) of TRAVEL IS with UP inserted (needing to cover) and finishing with the IVR code for España.

9d Broth nearly spilt in a repugnant way (11)
ABHORRENTLY – an anagram (spilt) of BROTH NEARLY.

13d Reveal involvement of brat with deceit about pet (9)
IMPLICATE – start with a brat or young devil and add a deceit or fabrication containing a domestic pet.

16d Put up with dirty place, home for fliers? (7)
COCKPIT – charade of a verb to put up (e.g. one’s finger when taking tea in genteel company) and a slang term for a dirty or untidy place.

17d Groomed European enters before finale (7)
PREENED – string together a prefix meaning before and the last part or finale, then insert E(uropean).

18d Fall of dishonourable type in action (7)
CASCADE – a dishonourable type or rotter goes inside an action or judicial proceedings.

19d Volunteer, one that could be given lead? (7)
TERRIER – double definition. The first is an informal term for a part-time soldier in the Territorial Army. Presumably this word will drop out of use now that the Territorial Army has become the Army Reserve.

21d Garment that’s right in humorous show (5)
SKIRT – insert R(ight) into a humorous show or sketch.

My clue of the day is 1a. Which ones gave you an 18a?

Today’s Quickie Pun: PURSE + WADE = PERSUADE

 


Advertisements

90 Comments

  1. dutch
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Yes, 1a definitely stood out! Wasn’t my first in, I needed a few checking letters before I saw it. many other nice clues: 12a (deliberate again), 14a (the german car, and so it is), 20a for a nice anagram of is in chest, 7d (best travel). I also like the misleading “soft drink” in 15a.

    And yes, a well-justified question mark in 11a.

    Great puzzle all round, many thanks setter and gazza

  2. Beaver
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Really excellent today and went for a***/*** myself before reading Gazza’s blog , 1A took a while, but was worth it, agree with Gazza that like wine, the best should come first, and as an habitual ‘top left’ starter this worked today for me. Lots of other good clues like 11A,23A.Thanks Gazza for the picks-assume 1A is M16 HQ, perfect symmetry except for the aerial on the top left of the building to which is too far to the right to match the other side-I would have to change that!

  3. Sweet William
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle. I agree, 1a most amusing and 24a took me a while to get the wordplay. Had the answer, but was half way to the doctor’s surgery when the penny dropped ! Blood pressure dropped immediately. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints.

  4. Miffypops
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Loved it all the way through. I think we have seen this setter a few times now. Look how 22ac and 23ac link up. Possibly a signature of sorts. Too many good clues to mention a favourite. A great teasy tussle to start the day. (later than usual because it took longer than usual) Thank you setter and thank you Gazza.

  5. Omar
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Witty and entertaining!

  6. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    2.5*/2.5*. A bit of a mixed bag for me today. Some excellent clues, with the superb 1a my favourite, but a few too many “Russian Dolls” for my liking.

    I didn’t know that a 19d could mean a volunteer, but I guessed it from the checking letters and then found it in my BRB where the definition is preceded by (punningly).

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

    • SheilaP
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I think the term ‘Russian Dolls’ is an excellent description for some of these clues e.g. 5 down, where there is a bit of this inside a bit of that, then reverse the whole lot and add the letter R.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it’s a lovely description,isn’t it? I think it was Gazza’s invention a few months ago, but I’m very happy to borrow it when I need to :wink:

        • Kath
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          I might be doing gazza down here but I think that the Russian Dolls came from Toro.

        • gazza
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          I can’t lay claim to inventing the term ‘Russian Doll’ for a type of clue although I have used it. A bit of investigoogling reveals that Peter Biddlecombe used the phrase in a review more than four years ago.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            In that case I’ll rephrase my comment!

            The first time I came across the phrase Russian Doll for a convoluted crossword charade was on this blog when used by Gazza a few months ago. He possibly borrowed it from Toro who possibly borrowed it from Peter Biddlecombe.

            Thank you very much, Peter! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

            • Kath
              Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

              I’ll just get back into my box! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  7. Hanni
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    ***/***

    Another vote for 1a. Sublime.

    But let’s not leave other very fine clues out. Lovely anagramming with 12 and 20a. 18a made me 18a.
    15a was the last to yield. I just couldn’t see what possible word it could be with the letters I had.

    All good fun on a stunning winters morning.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a lovely blog. :-)

    I hope everyone is well today.

    • Hilary
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes thank you. Crosswording keeps you on your toes and therefore fit and ‘ealthy.

      • Hanni
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Crosswording is a fantastic pastime. And this blog frequently raises a smile. :-)
        Edit…meant to add that I’m glad you’re well. I’m going to try Rookie corner later!

        • Hilary
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          I thoroughly enjoyed it and surpassed myself by finishing it – a great achievement for a very newcomer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          • gazza
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Well done, Hilary. It’s onwards and upwards now!

          • Kitty
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Yay! Well done Hilary! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            Well done Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

            That’s fantastic!! Just about to start it.

  8. Clarky
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Only 2 completed after run through across clues, thank goodness the downs were a little more forthcoming. just.
    Got there in the end without the need of the hints so very satisfying in the end. It took far too long for me to get the Lancashire town having lived there for 10 years in the 1980s. Oh well.
    ***/*** for me. Favourite clue after 1a, Has to be 18a.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Comments like yours about missing something in a clue that you have first hand experience of always make me smile.

  9. bifield
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    A slow start but once a few were in it became easier. I really enjoyed this one. Too many nice clues for me to pick a favourite today. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for his review.

  10. Heno
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, couldn’t get 1a for a while, then the penny dropped. Favourite was 13a. Last in 18a. Was 3*/3* for me. Lovely day in Central London.

  11. Jane
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another vote for 1A! Lovely puzzle with plenty of ‘likes’ including 12&14a plus 4d. The anagram at 7d took a while and I didn’t know the non-canine definition of 19d, although the word was obvious from the checkers. 23a was the last one in – I was trying to fit ‘art’ into it somewhere.

    Have to mention 1d (daughter wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t!) and 16a just because I think it’s a lovely word. 2*/4* for me today.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza for the great review and pics.

  12. Rick
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Tuesdays can be a bit hit and miss but a clear hit for this one. The top half went in very quickly but I had to work harder on the bottom half, so about 2* averaged out. 1a the clear pick of the pops with an honourable mention for 24.

    PS agree on 11a. Putting the question mark at the end of the clue suggests the setter thought it was a bit iffy too.

  13. Tony
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The right half went in first, and the left half was a lot slower. I completely agree with 1a being a wonderful clue, but it took a long while for the penny to drop. It also took me a long while to figure what parts of 7d were involved in the anagram. I hadn’t heard of the drink in 15a, but it was easy enough to tumble to it once I had all the other letters. Many very good clues – given the the time it took for me to finish the left side I would say ****/**** for me.

  14. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. First read through was not very rewarding. Once a couple of anagrams emerged it started to flow. Bunged in 4d and could see the construct but I don’t associate the answer with rattled. My favourite by far was 1a. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the hints.

  15. Brian
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Sorry still don’t get 1a, what has mole station to do with MI6?
    16d is a perfectly dreadful clue in my opinion but 19d made up for it, super clue I thought.
    Overall tough but fair.
    Needed 9 clues explained although all my answers were correct so thanks to Gazza for that?
    PS thought at first the total lack of phrases meant it was a back door Ray T but no mention of the Queen scuppered that dread.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Spies = moles. Undercover agents.:-)

      • Brian
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Ok will buy that (just) but station?
        Can’t make up my mind if it’s a really clever clue or a perfectly dreadful one.

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          You’ve obviously not read enough John le Carre books – they were always talking about stations in connection with spies.

        • Hanni
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Station meaning a camp or base etc.

        • Michael
          Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Yes, John Le Carre was always referring to London Station or Berlin Station or whatever when referring to MI6 Headquarters.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      At the risk of increasing your grumpiness, if you start a few clues in, you might do really well with today’s “Toughie”.

      • Brian
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Not grumpy today, the weather is far too nice for that -:)
        Will have a go. The last time you suggested it, I really enjoyed the crossword.

      • Brian
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Thx Sue, I enjoyed that although not quite the 1* for difficulty. Learnt a new word in polyandry, the French for summer, a character in Chaucer and a marsh plant so all in all very educational. I’ll leave a comment on the appriate page.

  16. Graham Wall
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable puzzle with lots of excellent clues. Found it hard going at time and had to resort to the blog for aid. I would rate this 4*/3.5* I think I must agree with those who like 1A My thanks to Gazza for the review.

  17. SheilaP
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I really did find this puzzle really, really hard, so although I didn’t enjoy it very much, needing far too much help from the hints, I would like to be better at doing the convoluted clues. It was a mixed bag though, with clues such as 6 down being quite straightforward. Thank you to the Tuesday setter and to Gazza.

  18. George
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Yet another vote for 1a! This one took some thought but really enjoyed it. Great puzzle

    3*/5* for me.

  19. Owdoo
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, bit of a mixed bag for me this one. Overall impression was fairly hard work and not many 18 acrosses. No hints needed though so I guess I just wasn’t quite tuned in.
    14a was my favourite.
    Thanks for the challenge setter and Gazza for the review.
    3*/2*

  20. pommers
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff and **/**** from us. Agree 1a was favourite but I quite liked 24a as well.

    We’ve just spent 10 days in the UK where it rained most of the time and the people here didn’t see a cloud the whole time we were away. We got back on Saturday evening and it’s rained all day Sunday, yesterday and most of today. Oh well, perhaps better tomorrow and at least you don’t get a frozen ass here.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    BTW, 21d isn’t a skirt – it’s a belt http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Well, Pommers – you should have come over to Anglesey. The spare room was ready and the weather was glorious until a couple of days ago when it started to get colder. Lots of boats beetling about on the Strait, kayakers and rowers still active – can’t understand why you didn’t come!

      ps – just checked, ass not frozen yet. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • pommers
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jane. Would have loved a trip to North Wales had we had the time, but without Firenze there would have been something missing. Don’t tell me about cold as it was -3C in Cheshire when I got out of bed on Saturday morning – frozen ass indeed (must remember to keep it under the duvet). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
        At least it’s stopped raining here now and the forecast is very good for tomorrow – 19C and clear sky http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  21. Kath
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Between 2* and 3* difficulty and 3* and a bit for enjoyment from me.
    I agree about 1a being brilliant – don’t think I’ve ever seen almost everyone, so far, agreeing on one clue.
    I was slow to get most of the bottom left corner and 7d – completely missed the anagram indicator – don’t know how.
    Towns in Lancashire are not my speciality so got the answer to 18a, ‘invented’ the town and looked it up.
    Runaway favourite was 1a but 10a and 18d made me 18d – liked 24a too.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza – meerkats are SO sweet.
    Going to get bread and mince pies into the oven then might reward myself with a try at the Toughie, or yesterday’s Mr Rookie, or even both.

    • Rick
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Almost everyone, but not quite…

  22. fran
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    good balance interest all over the board last in 4d ***/*** quite liked 24a and 7d

  23. Hilary
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I am a great fan of John Le Carre, sitting eating my lunch pondering 1a when a flash of inspiration said mole and set me off. Great mixture of clues made my very happy only used supertoy to check spelling, fave rave has to be 1a but there are several others of equal merit. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Thanks to setter and Gazza, have you tried latest Rookie it is great and exercised my little grey cells quite delightfully? Sadly not up to NTSPP yet.

  24. Dave B
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    God crossword. Strangely 1a was last in. Had a doh moment.

    • Jane
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      So that’s who the setter was! Well done to Him. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • gazza
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        :D

      • Hanni
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Fantastic stuff Jane! That’s made me laugh. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  25. Merusa
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most, this was a 7d puzzle! Not easy, mind, I had to work hard for it, but when the answers came there was a most satisfying feel. I, too, found 1a to be an outstanding clue but there were a lot nipping at its heels; 10a, 11a, 24a, I could name many more.
    I never did get 15a, never heard of it, I suspected what it was and should have googled it as had the “pop” bit. I did eventually Google it, and I must say it sounds pretty ghastly.
    Yes, M’pops, methinks we’ve had this dude a few times, wonder who he/she is. Thanks anyway, and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  26. JonP
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Found this pretty straightforward with 1ac going in on first glance which was rather fortunate. Thanks to Gazza and setter **/****

  27. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    We of course found the Lancashire town a bit of a challenge but got it from the definition and a Google check. Have to agree that 1a was a great clue. We had a visitor as an extra member of our team and it was his first experience of a Cryptic. Interesting for us explaining to a complete novice how all the bits fit together. Perhaps we will end up with a new convert to the cause. A really good puzzle, we all enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  28. Collywobbles
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t finish many 3* without using the hints but this was an exception although I leaned heavily on the hints to get a full understanding for which many thanks to Gazza. I did find the puzzle a little challenging

  29. Angel
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    All round good fun with no difficulty in selecting 1a as outstandingly clever but 24a also very good. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza. **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  30. Una
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Good puzzle, and not easy .Thanks setter and Gazza.

  31. Chris
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and I’m so pleased so many others also liked 1a. Many others too.
    It seems a pity the setter is anonymous because this a beautiful piece of work and was great fun to do. 2*/5*.

    • Jane
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Maybe, just maybe, he/she will step forward? After all, it is nearly Christmas and we’ve got snow and everything on the blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  32. Mary Mary
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Found this reely, reely ( yes, I come from Liverpool and am proud of it !) hard at first. Decided mid-afternoon that I had Alzheimers. Maybe not, as I can still spell the word and I DID finish the crossword with a few of Dave’s hints for 15d, 18d and 19d. Agree 1a is ace !

  33. Kitty
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Good fun today (although I was hoping for a slightly easier one to buoy up my favourite novice). I’m with the majority with regard to favourite clues, and agree that it was a little stiffer than usual for a Thursday – very satisfying.

    Not sure I like 11a, but I don’t have a huge problem with it. The only trouble I had was initially making a very silly mistake at 16d (I nearly used a different word for mistake there as a nod to Penny Mordaunt). I also didn’t know the volunteer part of 19d, so that was one of the last to get filled.

    My lack of geography didn’t stop me getting 18a. It’s a nice word that reminds me of Jabberwocky, which is one of the few things that I’ve managed to commit to memory without it falling through the holes of my sieve-brain. (I learnt it one evening just because someone said it would be hard to do and I wanted to prove them wrong!)

    As for 1a, Kitties Mr and The both very much enjoyed that one during their respective solves. The 2Ks are right that introducing new people to cryptics gives one a new perspective – I highly recommend it.

    With thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza. :)

    • gazza
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      I must admit that I had to look up Penny Mordaunt, but having found out who she is I did remember how she “cocked up” a speech in the Commons.

    • Angel
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Kitty you are wishing the week away – today is Tuesday all day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Oops!

        Every time I learn what day it is it goes and changes on me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Kitty I learnt Jabberwocky too. And for similar reasons…my junior school teacher claimed I was far to stupid to ever commit it to memory. :-(

      I did.

      However I still can’t get the other half to sit and do crosswords with me. ;-)

      Must stop procrastinating and get on with Rookie corner.

      • Kitty
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        How mean :(. Well, you have certainly shown that teacher to be wrong :).

        As for getting a significant other interested in crosswords – well, I’d tell you how I did it, but my tactics are classified and not for public record. Maybe in hushed tones at a Sloggers and Betters!

        • Hanni
          Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink

          I can still picture him! To be fair he said I was ‘thick’! Which I can be.

          As for Sloggers and Betters, there must be a summer meet? How else will Lewis Carroll fans talk about what a Tumtum tree actually is? ;-) And talk about tacitcs of course!!!
          I’ll dispatch the other half to the bar.

          • Mr Kitty
            Posted December 17, 2014 at 4:29 am | Permalink

            Yes, Kitty’s special tactics are most definitely classified, and have nothing to do with 1a. Nothing at all.

            Have been trying fly solo for the last few days, but the need for frequent recourse to Mr Google, this wonderful blog, and the awesome Kitty (she didn’t tell me to add that adjective. Really, she didn’t http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif) have convinced me that I need to spend more time at the feet of the mastress of cryptic before I attempt such feats again.

            • gazza
              Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

              Welcome to the blog, Mr Kitty.

          • Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            A meet is planned for Cambridge in April (more info later today) and I am planning a Birthday Bash in London at the end of January. Then there are the usual Times-linked get-togethers in London next May and October.

  34. Michael
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Good fun and a few lovely clues, I really enjoyed it.

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

  35. Shamus
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks as usual to Gazza for his blog and everyone for comments. My last appearance before the festive period so a very merry Christmas to all bloggers and contributors to BD’s site!

    • Jane
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for signing in, Shamus – and thank you for a lovely puzzle and that delicious 1a!

      Have a really good Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • F1lbertfox
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Seconded :-)

    • gazza
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this puzzle, Shamus, and for all your puzzles in 2014. Have a Very Happy Christmas.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for a really special puzzle. If I remember correctly, you were responsible for the last unanimous rave. Clever clogs! Have a very Merry Christmas.

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

    • Kitty
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Merry Christmas Shamus, and thanks for all the fun http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif.

    • Hilary
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Lots of fans today especially for 1a, Happy Christmas and look forward to meeting you in the New Year.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas Shamus and a wonderful 2015 :-)

      And a big thank you for all your puzzles. Today I think you swept the board with enjoyment for 1a. Simply outstanding.

    • Kath
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      At this late stage all I can do is echo what everyone else has said – I just remember how much your “Nervous characteristic of cricket” made me laugh – it still does! Happy Christmas to you. 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

      • Hanni
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        Jumpy?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • KiwiColin
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Merry Christmas Shamus. Thanks for all your puzzles during 2014.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        That was meant to be from both of us, so another flower.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Merry Christmas Shamus.

      Many thanks for your puzzles and your support over the past year.

  36. Salty Dog
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Pretty close to 3* difficulty, and 4* for pleasure derived. I liked 1a too, but accord favouritism to 14a in memory of a black 1964 2.5 litre V8 saloon l treated myself to after a couple of Arctic winter deployments in the late 70s. What a car! Many, many thanks to Shamus for reminding me of those heady days, and to Gazza for the review.

  37. Sweet William
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas Shamus and many thanks for all your puzzles during the year.

  38. Ginny
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you Shamus. I enjoyed this though am defeated so far by some of SE and SW and will be glad of some of Gazza’s hints eventually, which I look forward to reading in due course.

  39. carlos
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Hello all, been a busy few days, so I’m catching up with a few missed puzzles online. Currently about 30minutes into yesterdays (Tuesdays) and had to come on to check my answer to 16d… It was wrong, though I like it

    Put up (Hang) with dirty place (Ars) Home for fliers… Hangars.

    please tell me someone else thought the same?

    • gazza
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that ARS is a recognised word and, if it were I don’t think you’d find it in the Telegraph. Good thinking though. :D

      • carlos
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        That’s why I had to come on here and check… I was thinking surely not….