DT 27680

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27680

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

We have a fairly run-of-the-mill puzzle today with nothing that really stood out for me. 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 Some brass  elephants might do it (7)
TRUMPET – double definition, the first a brass instrument.

5a Model son works out in America (7)
FIGURES – a model or design is followed by S(on). As a verb the answer (especially in the USA) is used to mean works out or calculates.

9a Settle for a short welcome (5)
AGREE – A followed by a verb to welcome without its final letter (short).

10a Learning to recognise advantage getting over fifty (9)
KNOWLEDGE – a verb to recognise and an informal word for advantage or dominance contain (over, in an across clue) the Roman numeral for fifty.

11a Evangelistic young woman one meets on a railway (10)
MISSIONARY – string together the title used for a young woman, the Roman numeral for one, ON and A from the clue and a two-letter abbreviation for railway. The answer is an adjective as in “the ********** position” (no pictures available).

12a Somewhat disheartened by a single wine (4)
ASTI – the outer letters of S(omewha)T follow A and are in turn followed by the Roman numeral for a single.

14a A bit of a cold fish, accepting she is a weak point (8,4)
ACHILLES HEEL – some lifting and separating is required here. Start with A and a slight cold, then add a slippery fish containing SHE.

18a Does alteration in pants (5-7)
SHORT-CHANGES – the definition here means cheats. Put an alteration or amendment inside a type of pants.

21a This bird left Noah’s ship (4)
LARK – L(eft) and Noah’s ship.

22a Original models of sports cars found on bridge (10)
ARCHETYPES – classic British sports cars (1-5) follow a bridge or vault.

25a A cheat is almost back after round of cards (9)
TRICKSTER – the back of a ship without its final letter (almost) follows a single round of play in some card games such as bridge.

26a Worked up fee to go east of Italy (5)
IRATE – a fee or fixed price follows (to the east or right of, in an across clue) the IVR code for Italy.

27a Quoted on the air as having vision (7)
SIGHTED – this sounds like (on the air) quoted or referred to.

28a Germany — first to reach limit and undergo inflation (7)
DISTEND – string together the IVR code for Deutschland, how you may write first (in dates, for example) and a limit or extremity.

Down Clues

1d Shock of putting up pictures on university graduate (6)
TRAUMA – reverse (putting up, in a down clue) a general word for pictures and add U(niversity) and an arts graduate.

2d Turns out to cover European riots (6)
UNREST – an anagram (out) of TURNS containing E(uropean).

3d British cities in chaos after curtailing request for referendum (10)
PLEBISCITE – B(ritish) and an anagram (in chaos) of CITIES follow a request or entreaty without its last letter (curtailing).

4d Catch up, admitting fine is minimal (5)
TOKEN – reverse (up) a verb to catch or capture and insert (admitting) an informal adjective meaning fine or satisfactory.

5d Office design defect reported on most of factory (5,4)
FLOOR PLAN – what sounds like to some (but not to me) a defect or blemish is followed by a factory or works without its final letter.

6d Sell up to get a game (4)
GOLF – reverse (up, again) an informal verb to sell.

7d Artist serves salad vegetables (8)
RADISHES – the usual artist is followed by a verb meaning serves a meal.

8d Policemen from small area of London housed by friends (8)
SPECIALS – these are police officers (some are indeed women) but not full-time ones. Start with S(mall) then put what looks like a postcode district in the Eastern Central part of London inside (housed by) friends.

13d Finds out in case star gets worried (10)
ASCERTAINS – an anagram (gets worried) of IN CASE STAR.

15d The insider trading with no shares finally came into money (9)
INHERITED – an anagram (trading) of THE IN(s)IDER without the final letter of shares.

16d Cuts off one’s love on night shifts (8)
ISOLATES – the Roman numeral for one, the ‘S from the clue and the letter that looks like love (in tennis scoring) are followed by the informal term among shift workers for specific shifts. I’m not at all convinced that this term is used for night shifts (which tend to be called ‘nights’); shifts from 06:00 to 14:00, say, are called ‘earlies’ and this term is normally used for the afternoon/evening shifts (e.g. 14:00 to 22:00). The BRB is reluctant to shed any light on the matter.

17d Saving  a place to display notices (8)
HOARDING – double definition.

19d Drug ring runs from hijacker (6)
OPIATE – the letter that looks like a ring is followed by a hijacker at sea without the cricket abbreviation for runs.

20d Bags screened to remove odd ones and take off (6)
ASCEND – remove the odd letters from ‘bags screened’.

23d Ran, but hurt, losing minutes (5)
HARED – remove the single-letter abbreviation for minutes from a past participle meaning hurt or injured.

24d Parody of king in pose (4)
SKIT – insert the chess abbreviation for king into a verb to pose.

There are not many opportunities for pictures today so here’s a cartoon that amused me recently:

I’ll be back tomorrow with the Toughie review but I’ll take this opportunity to wish a Very Happy Christmas to all who either don’t try the Toughie (why not?) or who will be too busy tomorrow preparing the sprouts.

Today’s Quickie Pun: GOAT + WHOSE + LEAP = GO TO SLEEP

 


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90 Comments

  1. Brian
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thought at first this was going to be the Nightmare Before Christmas but perseverance made it gradually come together but having prototypes for 22a didn’t help.
    Found this was tough but doable – just! Probably at my solving limit.
    Did like 21a but mostly it was so hard it was a just a struggle.
    For me ****/**
    Thx to all

    • Roger
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Ha..ha ! Me to although I couldn’t quite parse it out and the check letter made 23d tricky as I really wanted to put an H there !

      • Merusa
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Me, too! Fortunately, I didn’t actually put it in because it didn’t make sense, but getting 23d solved it.

    • Framboise
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Me too! So could not solve 23d!

  2. Jezza
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    A quick glance at the clues indicated no dreaded Christmas theme, so I continued with it.
    A very straightforward offering, but pleasant enough.
    1*/3* for me. Thanks to setter, and to gazza for the review.

  3. Sweet William
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter, not easy for me, but managed to get there in the end. I am not sure who you are but your style is most familiar ! with all the deletion type clues. Lots of good clues I thought – particularly 14a and 18a and 3d and 5d and………….actually quite enjoyed it ! Thanks Gazza for the comprehensive review and hints.

    Merry Christmas to you and the mystery setter.

  4. Rod
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Gazza in your hint for 5d. I wonder if there is anyone who would pronounce the 5 letter word to sound like a defect.

    Todays offering gave my brain a severe workout. My favourite has to be 22a.

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      How else can the word flaw be pronounced Rod, or is this another word that that’s spoken differently with an Irish accent? To me both spellings should be pronounced ‘FLORE’.

      • Rod
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        To me ‘flaw’ rhymes with ‘awe’ and ‘floor’ rhymes with ‘ore’ as in iron ore, two completely different sounds. Even allowing for the difference in ‘Irish-speak’ and ‘English-speak’ I think the clue is a wee bit contrived.

        • Roland
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Well to me, flaw, awe, floor and ore all rhyme with each other, so perfectly happy with the clue.
          I only wanted an excuse to come on here and wish everyone, BD, setters, reviewers, bloggers, solvers, lurkers and anyone I’ve forgotten, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

          • F1lbertfox
            Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            I echo everything you say Roland. :-)

            • Physicist
              Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

              Me, too. Most people of my acquaintance here in SE England (unless they’re very posh) pronounce ‘draw’ to rhyme with ‘door’ and hence ‘drawing’ as ‘droring’. It’s called the ‘intrusive r’ and it’s not RP, but it’s what we do.
              Happy Christmas to all

              • Chris
                Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

                I agree. (I bet the rhyme would have been close enough for a Quickie pun!)

      • SheilaP
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        I pronounce both words the same too. Perhaps some people pronounce the two o’s in floor as ooh, as in ‘ooh you are awful’, if anyone remembers that catchphrase.

        • gazza
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Lots of people (me included) pronounce the R sound at the end of words so that, e.g. sore/lore/poor sound quite different to saw/law/paw.

          • F1lbertfox
            Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            You ought to hear how some speak here in the West Midlands, Gazza – many add an extra syllable to some words, eg for ROUND you’ll hear ROW-UND and BRAW-UN for brown. It must be a nightmare for teachers trying to teach basic English & pronunciation.

            • Miffypops
              Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

              Golly bongs. Has everybody gone mad. Long live regional variation of dialect. Do we really have to have this conversation so often.

              • F1lbertfox
                Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

                It’s a first on this subject for me MP – but you should hear me when I really get started, especially when it comes to the letter T being pronounced as a D, or being not pronounced at all. Seeing as it’s Christmas though, peace on Earth and Goodwill to all, so I will resist the temptation and ‘zip it’. ;-) :-)

        • Hilary
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Dick Emery – the OH is a fan of all those comedians but listens through headphones or I might end up leaving home.

  5. George
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    This was one of those puzzles where the clues are undecipherable so you bung in a word that fits the grid and cross check letters and then see if there is any remote relationship to the clue. If there is even a small smattering then assume it is right and on to the next!

    In this totally unsatisfying procedure, I did manage to complete this one in a fairly short order – even if I still wonder about some of the clues which never did make sense!

    2*/1* for me.

  6. Kath
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I thought this was straightforward which is probably just as well – stuff to do – lots of people arriving shortly – was kneading bread when the phone rang – dough now in hair and behind right ear. Oh dear!
    I’d go for 1* difficulty and maybe 3* for enjoyment but am too scrambled to judge very sensibly.
    8d was my last answer – don’t know why – my Dad was one.
    3d took a little while – I knew the word I was trying to remember but it just wouldn’t come into my head.
    The first bit of 5d sounds exactly like a defect to me – can’t think of any other way of pronouncing either.
    I liked 1 and 11a and 3d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and thanks and Happy Christmas to gazza, aka Mr Wordsmith Extraordinaire.
    Surely I’ll find a little bit of time for the odd crossword or two over the next few days but who knows . . . ?

  7. Graham Wall
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Once I got 14A things started to take shape and the puzzle was quite enjoyable. I did need the hints for a couple of clues ie 5D and 16D which I thought were dreadfull. My rating is 3.5/3 My thanks to Gazza for the review.

  8. Hanni
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    ***/***
    There is a common myth that women can multitask. This one usually can. Today I failed miserably.

    Like Brian, 22a was pencilled in quickly as ‘prototypes’. When I got the answer for 23d that messed it up. Back to the drawing board.

    Got there in the end with a quick check for 3d.

    I agree about the latter part of 16 Gazza. Although I got the answer it still doesn’t sit right? But I don’t see what’s wrong with the first part of 5d at all.

    Other than that minor quibble and my own stupidity I liked this. Favourite clue is 14a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for all your blogs. :-) I hope you both have a lovely Christmas.

    Kath I am very impressed with the bread making. Truly! :-)

    • F1lbertfox
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I beg to disagree on the ‘LATES’ theme Hanni. I used to work shifts in the printing industry and LATES was a term we all used for the 2pm to 10pm shift – my elder son currently does a rotation of three shifts and he refers to the through the night shift of 10pm to 6am as LATES.

      • gazza
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        What does your son call the 2pm to 10pm shift,then?

        • Jane
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Evenings – I should think.

        • F1lbertfox
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          6am – 2pm earlies, 8am – 5pm days & 2pm – 10pm evenings. Lates as mentioned previously.

      • Hanni
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        I’ve never done shift work but I understood it as ‘early’, ‘lates’ and ‘nights’? Lates isn’t nights?

        Though I’ve geekily just rung an engineer I know who works at the old ICI, and he threw a spanner in the works with ‘backshift’!

        So that was no help. :-(

        I shall bow to your greater knowledge. :-)

        • F1lbertfox
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          Lol. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet ;-)

    • Kath
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Well – just to be really bloody difficult we, as student nurses, had four different shifts. An early was 7.45am – 5.00pm. A late was 1.00pm – 9.30pm. Nights were 9.00pm – 8.00am. And then there was the worst of all, a ‘split shift’ which was 7.45am – 12.30pm and 4.30pm – 9.30pm. This one was hopeless – you had to get up early, had a few useless hours off in the middle of the day and you still couldn’t go out in the evening. Yuk . . .

      • Kath
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        PS – It’s an absolute miracle that we had the time and energy to get up to all the very naughty stuff that we did! Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

          Kath…my mother and hers were nurses. Very long retired and one best before as MP would say. After this whole debacle about ‘lates’, we talked about the differences in modern medicine. Oh boy. Med students have it easy now! Hope the home made bread was lovely and all your family have a lovely Christmas. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

          Can I have bragging rights? My other half has bought me the new BRB!

  9. Rick
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Put me in the prototype club too – took me ages to spot that 23 wouldn’t work with that in, so the SE corner gets its own star. Plus 1 for the rest equals 2* and 3* on the funometer.
    Thanks setter and Gazza and Merry Christmas – nice Jag, always better looking than the open cars IMHO.

  10. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Marginally more thought needed for this one than did yesterday’s puzzle, but that’s not a complaint. There were lots of ‘smile’ moments for me in this one and too many favourites to mention them all. Like other solvers I had a do’h moment having realised my error in entering prototype at 22 across, but I loved 18 & 25 across. I finished well before the blog was published, so no hints or explanations were resorted to today. Thanks to the setter – Mr Ron perhaps? A most entertaining puzzle indeed.

  11. Michael
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Finally finished it after a lot of struggle – I got 8d and then tried to work out the ‘parsing’ – it was quite clever when I actually understood it, I felt quite proud of myself.

    Good fun and a very clever interesting puzzle.

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

  12. Una
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought many of today’s clues had a very smoooth surface reading, such as 1a and 11a.I couldn’t get started until I guessed 3d (what else could it be ?). The top left corner was the last in , like Gazza ,I didn’t remember the London prounciation of 5d.Thanks to the setter ansd Gazza.

  13. Wayne
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward solve today. The answer to 14a was obvious but it took me a while to unravel the clue; similarly with 25a , couldn’t parse the last 4 letters until the penny dropped.
    Best clue for me was 22a but I am biased as I’m lucky enough to own one of the ‘types’ mentioned.
    Rate it as **/****. Thanx to compiler and Gazza, particularly for the picture of 22a.

  14. Jane
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Found this one quite straightforward and a lot of fun – 1*/4* for me. Hard to pick a favourite, could be any one of 1,14,18&22a or 5d. As others have commented – how else could you pronounce the first part of 5d?

    Many thanks and a merry Christmas to both setter and Gazza. Didn’t need your help today but loved the review anyway and thank you for all the times this year that you’ve helped me out when I’ve struggled with various clues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    PS. Hope MP will forgive me for stealing his obits. column – just wanted to record the passing of Joe Cocker. One of the masters, in my opinion.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jane.
      Hopefully I’ll get around to tomorrows crossword, but if I don’t Happy Christmas to you and your family. I hope you have a lovely time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  15. Jay legs
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Yet another “prototype”, ergo could not get 23d which Gazza’s hint made so easy. I think that 22a was the best clue and thanks for the picture **/***

  16. Miffypops
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    You may or may not be glad to know that I have made it through the night and feel a whole heap better than I did yesterday. I have even done some work but am tiring so will probably stop. I caved in with five to get and peeped at Gazza’s blog. For shame I say and hang my head. All of the ones I couldn’t get were of the Do What It Says On The Tin variety which are often the last to fall along with stubborn anagrams. I hate crossword puzzles. Oh and PROTOTYPES is a fair enough call. Nothing to be ashamed about there. Except perhaps that it is wrong, it has nothing to do with bridges, doesn’t fit the clue well. Those of us who grew up in Coventry were well used to seeing prototype cars from the local car factories. we seemed to know all about them before the press. To borrow from Michael, Onward and upward, things can only get better. (unless your name is Joe Cocker. Best Before 22nd December 2014) Oh, another thing, Thank you Gazza for your blog today and for your help and guidance through the year. Thanks also to the setter. I do wonder about you all.

    • Kitty
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear that you feel better, Miffy, but not that you hate crosswords. My recommendation is to take it as easy as is possible and spend as much time as you can with the twins.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s good to hear that you’re feeling better MP. It would be horrible if you missed out on all the festivities. And the twins first Noel.
      We know you secretly love all things crosswordy. Am I allowed that word?

      • Miffypops
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Every word is a word my slithy little Jabberwock. Just as every day is Christmas Day for the twins. The mile a minute twins. It is like living in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

        • Hanni
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Indeed it is oh mimsy borogrove.

          Are the twins doing that thing where they run up, attack your legs, arms, head etc and then run away as fast as they can? Oh and batting decorations alongside having the ability to run horizontally along walls?

    • Merusa
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I am so glad you are feeling better. Nothing worse than having to be bright and cheerful on Christmas morning when you feel like chewed string. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Hilary
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Delighted to hear that you have survived, sorry you missed the carols though. The twins sound as though they are a bit of a handful that is if you can catch them as they flash past. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  17. SheilaP
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Pretty hard today for us after yesterday’s offering, but we finished with some help from Gazza. May I wish all those who belong to the world of the cryptic crosswords, Best Wishes for a lovely Christmas and a Very Prosperous New Year. Thank you to you all who have made this a fun place to be.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  18. Kitty
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I was slow and sluggish today, with brain full of clouds and distractions. Did get there solo in the end though. 3d was a new word for me, but doable with checkers and fodder and a clear idea of what the first four letters should be.

    Favourite? The quickie pun, which is what I want to do.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for your review, and a laugh at 11a.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I did that (quickie pun) on and off all day yesterday and all night. No fun at all.

      • Kitty
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        It’s the waking up that is no fun, I find :(.

  19. JonP
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I found this pretty tough going and it was well into my 3* time when I finally completed it. Thanks to Gazza and setter ***/***

  20. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    2*/2* for me today. I found this lacklustre with far too many “Manx” and other deletion clues for my taste.

    I too was misled initially by prototypes, and I am happy with “lates”.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  21. Heno
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but tricky puzzle. Also had prototypes for 22a, which made 23d impossible. Favourite was 14a. Was 4*/3* for me. Compliments of the season to all. I read 18a as alliteration, but still managed to solve it, should’ve gone to Specsavers :-)

  22. fran
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    8d baffled me , even though I knew pals was in there somewhere. The rest was reasonable buy not exciting, thanks for explanation Gazza. Might have got 8d if I lived in the smoke !

    • Kath
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      No – specials are not just in the smoke. We lived in very rural Worcestershire when we were kids. My Dad was a Special Constable in a small town called Malvern and they were called out whenever extra manpower was needed. One of these occasions was the coronation – 2nd June 1953. It was my fourth birthday and I was running so fast to keep up with Dad that I fell over – my only memory of the coronation! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  23. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    ****/** I’m afraid. First read through yielded very little but I persevered and actually completed this but needed Gazza’s hints to explain a couple of bung-ins – many thanks for the help. The setter can take pleasure in giving me a tough time! Isn’t this the season of good will http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  24. Collywobbles
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the hints Gazza but, in 26a, isn’t the ‘I’ west of Italy or have I got my directions mixed up

    • gazza
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      The I is Italy. The fee goes to the east of it.

      • Collywobbles
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Right Gazza, I thought that it meant the ‘I’ to the right of Italy. Thanks

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Naughty Gazza. Wonder why 11a made him think of that. In France we are more familiar with the Japanese Wheelbarrow. You’ll find it in the urbandictionary under Chinese Wheelbarrow for some reasons.
    That said, I found today’s crossword a nice break from the terrible news reported in the paper. Joe Cocker included.
    I didn’t fall into the prototypes trap as I had 23d quite early.
    Last ones in were 5a and 6d as I couldn’t imagine a game being called gulp.
    Glad to see that MP is much better or almost. What is worse? Waking up hating crosswords or speaking fluent French like that poor guy coming out of his coma?
    Thanks to the the setter for the refreshing offering and to Gazza for the review.

    • Franco
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Bonsoir, Monsieur

      How do you pronounce “Flaw” and “Floor”?

      Where does gazza come from?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Bonsoir Franco,
        I suppose French pronunciation for floor would be similar to parler écossais. Lovely rolling “r”.
        As for Gazza I don’t know where he comes from nor where he is going. He is however quite human as I remember seing him smile once on the blog.

      • gazza
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Gazza comes from the planet Zog (currently residing in Devon). The point I’m making is not that any one regional pronunciation is right or wrong but that setters need to be very careful with homophones.
        p.s. I still don’t think that ‘I saw’ sounds like eyesore.

        • F1lbertfox
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Of course it does ffs!!!

        • Hilary
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          I agree with your comment, what may sound like a plausible homophone to the setter may not come to the ear of the solver. As a very newcomer to BD’s gang I love your explanations but was disappointed about the missing illustration for 11a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Japanese Wheelbarrow – the mind boggles. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Jane
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Glad you mentioned that, Hilary – I didn’t want to be the first to ask!

        • Hanni
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          I Googled it. I now know quite a bit more about Zhang Zeduan. I very much doubt that this is the right context. ;-)

      • Kath
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Hilary and Jane – you should have been around a while ago – gazza and BD almost had a competition with each other for ‘naughty’, for want of better word, illustrations. I have to say that they made me laugh but some people were a bit less liberal and took offence.

  26. Gwizz
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this crossword; nothing particularly difficult about it but there were some nice clues and 22a was my favourite by a mile.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the revue.
    Oh and the quickie pun caused me grief, I just couldn’t see it.
    My brain hurts…

  27. Merusa
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Gazza, for the *** difficulty rating, I agree with that, most definitely. There were some lovely clues: 1a, 11a, 14a and 22a in particular.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.
    I look forward to the Rufus puzzle tomorrow!

  28. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    We thought this one was good fun and even made a guess that Shamus might be the setter. However as no one else has offered this suggestion, perhaps we should just whisper it very quietly. Prototype also made a brief tentative appearance on our grids. Pants as in 18a used to fool us when it was an anagram indicator. It fooled us this time by not being one. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Shamus told us last Tuesday that that day’s puzzle was his last appearance before the festive period, so this is probably not his (although I see that this coming Friday’s Toughie is one of his).

      • Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        I think the Shamus Toughie may actually be next Tuesday, with Sparks on Friday.

        • gazza
          Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          That makes more sense, thanks. I’d forgotten that there’s no paper on Christmas Day.

          • Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            It was rumoured that there would be an Elkamere Toughie on Christmas Day, but it doesn’t seem to appear in the list.

  29. Hrothgar
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear.
    Two consecutive mistakes by Royal Mail so far this week.
    Still, nicely packaged, mentally, so to to speak.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for enlightening those needing enlightenment.

  30. Jay
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    A rare appearance on a Tuesday for your setter today. Many thanks to Gazza, Two Kiwis and all contributors over the past 12 months. I too was puzzled by the FLAW/FLOOR debate – Chambers gives same pronunciation for both, as does Oxford (you can listen to the latter online). Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

    • gazza
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for letting us know, Jay and thanks for all your puzzles through the year. A Happy Christmas to you.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for popping in and letting us know who was responsible for this delightful entertainment! I found it a little tricky but some lovely aha moments.
      All the very best for the festive season, good health and good fortune for 2015.

    • Franco
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Well I thought that 5d was flawless – Thanks to Jay for all your puzzles this year – looking forward to your Wednesday puzzles next year.

      • Hilary
        Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

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

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Well well well. Fancy us not picking one of yours! Merry Christmas.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jay and a Happy Christmas to you. :-)

  31. Hilary
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    After recent euphoria this looked like the day I would be back in the cupboard under the stairs with my box of tissues. But I plodded on and to my delight apart from a total silly because I had not read clue properly I finished it. OK I did have a fair amount of electronic help but I still need propping up at times. Thanks to Gazza and setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  32. Chris
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable time doing this one and many thanks to Jay and to Gazza. 2*/4* today.

  33. Salty Dog
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I must admit to being another who succumbed to the temptation of the swift, but ill-considered, insertion of “prototype”! If l had actually applied the (perfectly fair) clue, l might have completed well within 2* time. As it is, honesty compels me to score this puzzle at 3*/3*. 18a gets favouritism, despite the rival attraction of Gazza’s illustration to the hints for 22a. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  34. Kath
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Oh dear – all up the spout and topsy-turvy this week. Not Rufus yesterday, Jay today – what happens to the rest of the week is anyone’s guess and it all adds to my confusion about what day it is . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • Merusa
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      And now you have to adjust to Rufus today! I can’t wait.