DT 27681

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27681

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****

At the time this gets posted we will be fast asleep in bed. Santa, wearing beach shorts and Jandals, will be sliding down our chimney. Our Christmas Day will have begun.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.
This week we have the pleasure of blogging a Rufus Christmas puzzle. Happy Christmas Rufus, and a special mention too for Jay who has given us such fun on Wednesdays.

Please leave a comment telling us what you think of today’s puzzle.
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Across
1a     Party game in which others may leave you standing (7,6)
MUSICAL CHAIRS : Cryptic definition. Be alert when the music stops.
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10a     We yearn for change in 2015 (3,4)
NEW YEAR : Anagram (change) of WE YEARN.

11a     Fight and squabble to get the bird (7)
SPARROW : A four letter fight and a three letter squabble.
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12a     Within easy reach, like Scrooge was at first (4)
NEAR : Double definition, the second meaning being tight-fisted.

13a     An intriguing little party, part of YMCA ball (5)
CABAL : To use the pantomime imagery it’s not behind you it’s hiding in the clue.

14a     How not to get things done, acting like Jack in pantomime? (4)
IDLY : Double definition, the first could be procrastination and the second refers to a character from Dick Whittington.

17a     Covers broadcast entertainment, often including pantomime (7)
MASQUES : A homophone (broadcast) of a word meaning covers.

18a     Calls to make appeal to evil-doer? (5,2)
DROPS IN : Split 4,3 it can be an exhortation to be good.

19a     Joining one, perhaps, with gin cocktail (7)
UNITING : A four letter word which could be one or other numbers then an anagram (cocktail) of GIN.

22a     Some saying mince pie, one can add a little weight (7)
EPIGRAM : An anagram (mince) of PIE and then a small metric weight.

24a     What people sing for joy (4)
GLEE : Double definition, the first meaning is an archaic one. Its usage is mainly found these days in a type of club.

25a     Jam in a slice of Christmas cake? (5)
WEDGE : Double definition, jam is a verb here and the second meaning could be the shape of the slice.
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26a     Article concerning author of words for 9 Down? (4)
ANON : A very very prolific author. Split 2,2 to find the indefinite article and a word for concerning.

29a     Gets the game started (7)
FLUSHES : Cryptic definition, what the beater is expected to do at a shoot.

30a     A big hit, verse in card that’s popular (1,2,4)
A LA MODE : A from the clue, a three letter word for a big hit followed by a piece of poetry. Can’t really see what the card does here apart from surface reading.

31a     One may have this at Christmas dinnera boxer usually has one (6,7)
SECOND HELPING : Double definition, what a pugilist might have to assist him.

Down

2d     Discloses what’s present? (7)
UNWRAPS : How one gets at the goodies tomorrow.

3d     Cross priest put up holly (4)
ILEX : The cross is a single letter and the priest is the well known crossword biblical priest all written backwards (put up).
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4d     Publicise routes which are used by Santa? (7)
AIRWAYS : An all in one made up of a short word to publicise and a generic word for routes.

5d     Some may get upset over trifles at parties (7)
CUSTARD : The yellow stuff that is used as a topping on trifles.

6d     Just open for a drink (4)
AJAR : A from the clue and a colloquial word for a glass of beer.

7d     Red rose embroidered for church screen (7)
REREDOS : Anagram (embroidered) of RED ROSE.
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8d     For the present it shall be nameless (9,4)
ANONYMOUS GIFT : Cryptic definition for something given by an unknown donor.

9d     Carol a Wagnerian may want to change (4,2,1,6)
AWAY IN A MANGER : Anagram (change) of A WAGNERIAN MAY. We heard a moving version of this on Radio NZ a couple of hours ago.

15d     Port one gets in casks (5)
TUNIS : A synonym for casks has I (one) inserted to get this North African port.

16d Dressin’ the Christmas bird? (5)
ROBIN : Take a word meaning dressing and remove the final g as the clue does.
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20d     Die of cold (3,4)
ICE CUBE : Cryptic definition. The die does not mean to expire but is the singular of the thing shaken for board games.

21d     Fancied one invited to the party, we hear (7)
GUESSED : A homophone (we hear) of one who came to visit.

22d     Cut in, using short language over noisy party (7)
ENGRAVE : The short form of the language used by most of us and then a rowdy party.

23d     Shabby ski slope? (3-4)
RUN DOWN : Double definition. The second is what confronts you at the top of the chairlift.

27d     Loves receiving a greeting from somewhere in the US (4)
OHIO : Two tennis loves around a simple greeting.

28d     The bearer of pantomime spirit? (4)
LAMP : Cryptic definition of a significant prop in Aladdin.
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A couple of answers in the SE corner kept us guessing for a while. In the spirit of Christmas we will call them all favourites today.

Quick Crossword pun  deck ‘+ orations = decorations

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79 Comments

  1. Expat Chris
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Nice gentle offering that took up little time, which is a good thing on such a busy day. 17A and 18A were my favorites. Thanks to Rufus and the 2Kiwis, and my wishes for a very merry Christmas to all from Maryland!

  2. skempie
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Back again (briefly). Our Kiwi guests have now left (hopefully, they were sober enough to drive) and I need to get more food and drink in. If the local garage is still open I may even get the wife a little present.

    Very enjoyable and festive puzzle today – a bit trickier than some, but not too difficult.

    Hard to decide which is my favourite today, but as its Christmas, can I have 3 please Santa – 31A, 23D and 28D (I have been fairly goodish this year after all)

  3. Peter L
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Thank you for an excellent year of solving the 2 crosswords each day.

    I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

    Peter L

    • gazza
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Peter L.
      Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that we’ll hear from you regularly.

  4. Sweet William
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Thank you Rufus for an enjoyable seasonal puzzle – not too themed to upset the theme haters ! Some tricky clues amongst the festive ones. Thanks 2Kiwis for your review, hints and photos – and for your blogs over the last few weeks.

    A Merry Christmas to you Rufus, 2Kiwis and all contributors.

  5. Michael
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Great fun and not too testing – no recourse to artificial aids today so well pleased!

    Thanks for all the fun this year and Merry Christmas to all concerned particularly to BD for his hard work and patience when we occassionally get out of line.

    Onward and upward – only one more sleep! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  6. Angel
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    First things first! Had to do the crossword before getting on with all the Christmas preparations waiting to be done! What a fun interlude it was too – big thanks Rufus for setting the festive spirit so enjoyably. Thank you also to the 2 Kiwis for your cheerful hints (hope you are sleeping well!). I thought I was going to need your help because I made life difficult for myself by a couple of wrong bung-ins in the NW corner but managed to unscramble. Joint favs were 18a and 31a. A specially Happy Christmas to Big Dave and also to all the Setters, Reviewers and fellow Bloggers.
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  7. pommers
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Pommette is tracking Santa at the moment on the NORAD site. They use their heat sensors designed to spot missile plumes to track Rudolph’s red nose. Apparantly he’s in Tuvalu at the moment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Have a look here http://www.noradsanta.org

    Happy Christmas to all other nutters http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      NORAD> My favourite site on the whole of the world wide web

    • Hanni
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Fantastic stuff!!!

      For anyone with children, grandchildren or just overgrown children, you can watch Santa’s sleigh fly over Britain tonight at approximately 5.22 pm courtesy of the ISS. Can’t post the link sorry as I’m typing on my mobile.

      But it’s worth a Google and easy to find using a Sky mapping app.

      • crypticsue
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Mr CS and I just stood outside and watched Santa fly by. Very chilly but a lovely clear starry night just right for watching Santa (and his International Space Station) whizz past. Apparently we might get another glimpse around 7pm but we’ll be too busy drinking fizz and eating the traditional (well in our house anyway) Christmas Eve Seafood Tea.

    • Kitty
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      We at Kitty towers also watched it – lovely clear skies for a good view of Santa’s journey. Presumably he has to land occasionally though to get those presents down to earth… http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  8. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    3*/4*. I thought this had something to please everybody, amusing with a nice but not overdone seasonal theme and a full range of clues varying from R&W to very challenging.

    I needed to reach for my BRB to see why 12a had anything to do with Scrooge, and also to check my answers for 24a & 3d which were new meanings for me.

    I needed the 2K’s hint to understand why my “bung it in” answer for 29a was right, and, given their explanation, this one gets on my short list of the best clues today along with 31a, 8d & my favourite, 20d.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to the 2Kiwis, and Merry Christmas to all the bloggers and setters who make this site such a joy. And if you are lurking, come on in and join the fun!

  9. Brian
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Not sure it was quite a three star if you take out 17a which was a definite 5 * for difficulty at least it completely defeated us even with the hint!
    Apart from that it was very enjoyable with some clever misdirection in 29a and 20d. Learnt a new word in 7d, not come across this before (unless I’ve forgotten in which case I’m sure BD will remind me!). 30a was a bit old fashioned and clunky in our opinion but Mrs B loved 15d.
    Thx to all and a very merry Christmas to all our NZ friends who usually phone around midnight.
    Thx to Rufus and the Kiwis for the hints.

  10. outnumbered
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Defeated by 17a and 14a… Overall I thought it was an odd mixture of read & write festive stuff and some much trickier ones. Personally I prefer puzzles to be more consistent, so it’s getting a ***/** from me.

    MX all.

  11. Rod
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know that there is a ‘My First Crossword Puzzle’ in the Janet and John series. Can’t think where else today’s puzzle came from. I am trying to think of a word that means less difficult than easy peasy. However, far be it from me to be churlish and not thank Rufus for such a lovely Xmas gift that gave me pleasure and took up minimal time on a busy day. Thought 20d was clever.

    Happy Xmas to all and sundry.

    • Angel
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      A doddle perhaps?! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  12. Jane
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Full of festive fun and, as others have said, varied from R&W to some rather tricky ones. I didn’t know the second definition for 12a and needed all the checkers in 31a before the penny dropped. Particularly liked 18a plus 16&23d but will opt for 31a as favourite.

    Many thanks and a merry Christmas to Rufus and also to the lovely 2K’s – hope Father Christmas leaves plenty of goodies for you whilst you’re asleep.

    All the very best of seasonal wishes to everyone who contributes to this brilliant BD site and to the team of setters who keep us on our toes. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  13. Hanni
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    */****

    Nothing to scare the reindeer on their busiest day.

    This was pretty much a write in with 17 and 18a being the last to go.

    Many thanks to the 2Kiwis and to Rufus for some fine festive fun. Merry Christmas to you both. :-)

    • Jane
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Hanni – glad you found time to sign in today. Just wanted to wish a very merry Christmas to you and yours and to thank you for sharing your corner so many times over the past few months. I’ll help you with Spring-cleaning it in the new year – no doubt we’ll be needing it again on a regular basis in 2015! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane. Thank you and you will always be welcome in the comfy corner. I hope you have a truly lovely day tomorrow and for all your family too.
        I look forward to the spring/summer style corner, hearing about wedding plans and slowly improving my knowledge of crosswording and birds from this wonderful website. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  14. Heno
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable, but very tricky puzzle. Was completely beaten by 17,24,29a&16d. Needed to look them up. Was 4*/3* for me. Merry Christmas to all.

  15. George
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Just 17d which was unknown to me – just as well it was an anagram! I would rate today’s as 2*/4^

    So just to repeat what everyone else is saying- Happy Christmas to all, thanks for all the hints and for all the work that the setters must put in! All much appreciated.

    Looking forward to another year of puzzles in the New Year.

  16. BigBoab
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I would like to wish everyone involved in this wonderful blog a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and joyful New Year. I will not be participating in the foreseeable future as I have cancelled the Daily Telegraph after a huge disagreement with the two main Scottish correspondents. I will miss the friendly banter and all the characters both behind the scenes and in front, thanks to everyone but especially to Big Dave. I wish you every success in the future. “AW ra best aebody”

    • Sweet William
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Wondered where you had been BB. All the best.

    • gazza
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas to you, BigBoab. We’ll be sorry to lose your contributions. Have you considered subscribing to the Telegraph Puzzles site? – I know it’s still the Telegraph but it’s very much at arm’s length and you won’t come into contact with any of their correspondents whether Scottish or not.

      • BigBoab
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Hi Gazza, (et al) many thanks for your kind wishes and suggestions but unfortunately my disagreements with the aforementioned correspondents have left me feeling very bitter towards the Telegraph and I’m afraid I can no longer have dealings with this newspaper, I deeply regret losing the wonderful friendship and camaraderie of this truly wonderful site and all its terrific contributors, I do however, wish all of you the very best in the future and I sincerely hope that the blog continues to expand and go from strength to strength, I will look in regularly as I have no quarrel with all you fabulous people. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering where you were. I missed you! As Gazza suggests, do consider subscribing. It would be a shame to deprive yourself of something you obviously enjoy (and are really good at!) when there’s an alternative. Happy Christmas to you!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        And if you choose not to subscribe, there’s always the MPP, the NTSPP, and Rookie Corner on here!

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      See you later big fella. thanks for commenting

    • KiwiColin
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Good to hear from you again Big Boab, we have missed you. We would endorse Gazza’s suggestion, it is ideal for us and amazingly inexpensive too.
      Cheers.

    • Jane
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      It would be really sad if you left the site http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif PLEASE at least take up Expat Chris’s suggestion.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Please reconsider and just join the online crossword, that way you can’t even see the DT! We have missed you.

  17. Chris
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Having started by doing 1a very easily, lots more fun and fairly easy festive clues followed – at which point it became rather like a Christmas Dinner where I’ve put too much on the plate and now struggle to complete the task I started!
    Rather like the overfilled plate, persistence paid off; and for me it was 3-4* difficulty but has to be 5* for enjoyment. Thank you Rufus and the 2Kiwis and a very Happy Christmas to one and all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif
    And especially to BD for the blog – which is a gift to be enjoyed all year. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  18. Kevin
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the pictures

    Happy Christmas !!

  19. Kitty
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Rufus and the 2Ks, and a very merry Christmas to you too.

    As I’m finding with other seasonally themed puzzles, this was a mix of the dead easy and the diabolical. There were a few that I was less keen on, but in honour of the season I’ll let those go without moaning.

    Lots of good stuff too, of course. 11a was straightforward enough, but I did have to make an effort to get “swallow” out of my head. It is today’s favourite, with 20d a close runner up.

    Had to google 7d to make sure I’d remembered it correctly, and wasted a lot of time trying to fit a verse into a card for 30a, even after I had the answer.

    I wish everyone happy holidaying, and hope you’re having the kind of festive season that you want and deserve. My own Bah Humbugitude is purely situational and even if I do want to dig a hole to hide in, if I were to let that cause me to rain on the happiness of others, I would deserve it. So, from my hole and with the whole of my heart:

    Merry Christmas / [insert preferred term here] to you all, and all the best for the coming year. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Oh Kitty – I feel so sorry for you, with Mr. K missing for the festivities. Jump on Santa’s sleigh as it passes your house and go visiting the BD community at large – I think all of us would be more than happy to welcome you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jane. I’ve been quiet of late because my solving accomplishments have not been worth posting about (I always seem to be getting stuck with about 8 to go), but I have to de-lurk to thank you and Hanni and Hilary for those sentiments. They certainly brightened my day, and I know Kitty will appreciate them. I hope that you and everyone else here has a wonderful holiday season.

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Can you Skype each other? We are going to ‘see’ both our sons, one partner and, best of all, one grandson tomorrow (one in Cambodia and the other three in Northern Ireland)

          • Kitty
            Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Yes, we can http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. Thanks to the efforts of scientists, engineers etc. we enjoy plenty of contact. The only thing lacking is that e-hugs are not much of a substitute for the real thing. Enjoy your Christmas Skyping, CS, and may your bandwidth be plentiful. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I echo what Jane said. Your bar humbugitude is completely understandable.
      I wish you a wonderful 1015 and here’s a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      I am sad for you that you are parted from Mr K at this time of the year and it must be doubly hard for you reading all the happy blogs from other people. Have a rose from me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Kitty
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Jane, Hanni and Hilary. Your lovely messages brought smiles and cheer to me too. Hugs and flowers for all of you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  20. Gwizz
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    As has been pointed out, a bit of a curate’s egg I thought. I had a brain seizure with 29a, I knew it was that kinda game but for some reason the answer evaded me. Doh!
    I liked 16d because it was topical and very silly.
    Many thanks to Rufus and the sleeping beauties in NZ.
    Merry Christmas to everybody contributing to this wonderful site.

  21. dutch
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle and obviously Rufus, thanks so much for everything during the year. I didn’t know why 24a and 29a were right, thanks for the write up 2K – highly appreciated.

    I had to do the puzzle first before doing my christmas shopping.

    Have a great christmas everyone – I’m about to go to the pub with the toughie.

  22. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable solve in between ‘chores’, walking the mutt and entertaining visitors etc. I did get stuck on 30 across and needed to ask t’other arf for her take on it. That was my last one in. 17, 18 & 29 across were my favourites today. Thanks to Rufus for yet another entertaining solve. A very happy Christmas to all setters, all bloggers and all fellow solvers. Have a real good one folks.

  23. Tony
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Like some others, I found this ran the gamut from instant write-in, to prolonged head-scratching. I didn’t help my cause by convincing myself that 31a was ‘record company’. (one might easily expect it for Christmas dinner!). It was only when it came to 22d did I realize that I was in trouble. I got everything sorted out eventually, but only after begrudgingly admitting that second helping was a much better fit for our boxer friend. Many thanks to all – I am so glad to have discovered these puzzles, made even more enjoyable by this blog site. Merry Christmas to all.

  24. Miffypops
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I blame my cold.

  25. Hilary
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Just a few hiccups along the way – no nothing to do with festive libations, finished with only a teeny-weeny spot of electronic help and ***** for enjoyment. Thanks to BD. 2Kiwis and Rufus today and thanks to all of you who have made me so welcome and helped to build my crossword confidence over the few weeks since I first chanced upon this fabulous blog. May I wish you all sincere good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Spoilt for choice but 9d brought back happy childhood memories. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

      • Jane
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        And all the best from me too, Hilary. Good to have you along in the madhouse! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  26. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. Very enjoyable solve before the big day. Thanks to the 2Ks for the hints which helped me understand the answers to 7d and 24a which were bung ins for me (again). Thanks also to the setter for an enjoyable challenge. As Margot Leadbetter used to say “Yuletide felicitations to you all”.

  27. JonP
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    **/**** for this festive amusement. Thanks to Rufus and the 2kiwis and Merry Christmas to all.

  28. Merusa
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I certainly enjoyed this, some clues were a bit tricky as I’ve never been to a pantomime; not something readily available growing up in the bush in Jamaica. Even so, it was easy enough to work out.
    I agree with Hilary, 9d has so many memories as a child, so that’s my fave today.
    Thanks again to Rufus and to the 2Kiwis for your review, I expect you will pop in again when you wake up.
    All my very best wishes to all on this blog for tomorrow, thank every one of you for making this such an entertaining place to visit every day.

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Out of bed now, at least one of us is. The first two of our grandchildren to arrive, Alice and Ollie, and their parents, arrived yesterday and I have even beaten them out of bed this morning. The remaining four grandkids Sam, Millie, Bea and Freddy will be arriving with their parents this morning. It is going to be a busy day with lots of talking, playing, catching up, much too much eating and even a swim at the beach for those keen enough. The weather is looking just perfect for a glorious out-doors day. Not sure we are going to get many puzzles done, but one never knows. Cheers everyone.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      What tree is that at the beginning? It looks like a spathodea but believe they are too tropical for NZ.

      • gazza
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s a pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas tree). I don’t know much about trees but I do understand that letting your cursor hover over a picture can sometimes be rewarding. :D

        • Kath
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          You cheat you!

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        The botanical name is Metrosideros excelsa. It is a coastal tree that is found in the northern half of NZ. Very prolific in the far north, but still does well where we live towards the bottom end of the North Island. We have several of them growing here on our coastal property. They flower briefly at about Christmas time. Strangely, they seem to be a bit later flowering this year and our ones are a mass of buds with just a few red gems peeping out.

        • Merusa
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          It is so pretty. Thanks for that info Gazza!!

  30. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank Crossword God for clues with a beginning and an end.
    Very enjoyable puzzle even if I had to check a couple with our 2kiwis (17 and 29a).
    5d is definitely my favourite today: I just love Crème Anglaise.
    Thanks to Rufus, happy Xmas eve to everyone and happy Xmas day to our 2kiwis.

    • Jane
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Jean-luc. This time you really have gone too far – custard is custard and crème Anglaise is crème Anglaise. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      I’ll just have to make you a trifle or a bowl of banana custard in the new year.

      Hope you’ve replenished the booze stock in time for Christmas? Herbal tea doesn’t sound like a very good choice for celebrating. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      • Merusa
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        What makes custard different from creme anglaise? I thought they were the same. I wonder if you mean Bird’s custard, which I wouldn’t really classify as custard at all.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s time to get Jane over for some cookery lessons. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Jane
          Posted December 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Yes, yes – ‘Bird’s CUSTARD’ is exactly what it says on the tin and is the ONLY way forward for trifle, bananas and other dishes that need a really solid set. Crème Anglaise is delicious, but serves a totally different purpose. Anyone who wishes to differ will have my Mum to deal with!

          As for the cookery lessons – yes, please. I love French cooking – especially when you can be persuaded to cook the meat sufficiently!!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

          Glad to hear that you’ve got the wine stock back up again – pour yourself a glass whilst I tell you that I also rather like Bisto gravy powder! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          • Merusa
            Posted December 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Here again, I think chefs will tell you that Bisto makes a sauce and does not qualify as gravy! Are we picking on you too much?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Stock levels are up again.
        Dinner all organised.
        The only problem with Xmas eve is that I’m full just looking at the food. And a liquid dinner is not very wise.
        Have a great Christmas. XXX

  31. Sarah F
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to get my Christmas jigsaw finished Before tomorrow, so between it and watching the Carols from Kings am having a quick look at this! It looks easy but have decided thee are so tricky clues too. If I don’t get it finished tonight, there is time tomorrow to enjoy this puzzle with it’s clever and seasonal clues.
    Many thanks to Rufus and the 2 kiwis, and to big Dave for the blog
    Happy Christmas everyone

  32. Ally
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I only managed half of it as Christmas preparations had to take priory. Happy Christmas everyone.

  33. Framboise
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    This was a mix of ‘write in’ and fiendish fare for me. The top half went in very quickly but help was needed with 24 and 29a as well as 8d. 20d was lovely and made me chuckle. Many thanks to Rufus and to the 2Kiwis. Looking forward to Midnight Mass in St Mary’s Church – sadly la messe de minuit is something of the past in France – it now happens in the middle afternoon so that children can take part… What a shame! Joyeux Noël to all!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Merry Christmas Framboise.
      In Hyeres we have both. One at 5ish for the kids and another one at midnight in Eglise St Louis.
      And if you still hold you chivalry rights, you can enter the church on your horse.

  34. Framboise
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Big Dave, could you remind me of the name of your aunt’s cottage? I should have made a note of it the other day… I will look it up after Christmas!

    • Merusa
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Just go to the top right-hand corner of this site and type in the name of the village!

    • Posted December 25, 2014 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      Quince Cottage, but later “Ye Olde Tudor Restaurant” or somethong like that. It was about two or three doors along from a butcher’s shop.

  35. Jay legs
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    A nice Easy Crossword with a Christmas flavour */*** ! Happy Christmas to all the bloggers, far and wide. A big thank you to BD for the blog which adds another enjoyable dimension to solving the DT Cryptic Crossword

  36. Salty Dog
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with seasonal themes is that they don’t work too well if you’re not particularly engaged with the theme. As a confirmed miserable old git, l didn’t find this easy. 3*/2* for me, and no particular favourite clue, l’m afraid. Thanks to Rufus for this diversion from the mince pies, and the 2 Kiwis for the review.

  37. Hrothgar
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Just finished.
    Persuaded myself that 17a would not defeat me.
    It didn’t, came to me hours after my usual time.
    Lovely challenge overall.
    Many thanks Rufus and 2Kiwis for the review.

  38. Kath
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Think that I’ll just be the first to say, officially, i.e. on the right day, Happy Christmas to all.
    Appallingly late commenting today – been a bit busy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    Early this evening our Pet Lambs commandeered the sitting room (and therefore the fire) to do wrapping leaving me with no alternative but to cook supper, they thought. What they didn’t know was that I did the crossword in the kitchen while supper was in the oven – cunning plan or what, I thought.
    Luckily for all the crossword didn’t take very long although I got a bit held up with 17a. Came to the computer to comment – got as far as telling gazza that he was a cheat for looking at the name of the tree and then all the beasties, two and four legged, were yelling for food so never got any further.
    No time to write any more – yet another batch of mince pies in the oven – a few more pressies to wrap and then http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif for not long enough – oh dear!
    Had there been the time I would have written comments to lots of people but . . . I just hope that you all have a good Christmas day.
    With thanks to Rufus and thanks and a belated Happy Christmas to the Kiwis and their family who must, by now, be having lunch.

  39. una
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I hope everybody has a very nice day , today .I was too busy to post earlier.I am told the secret to happiness is to lower expectations.This is going to be a trying 25th for me,to be negotiated with tact and bubbly.The rest of you, enjoy ! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif