DT 27686

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27686

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

This week, at the time this gets posted, it will be the stroke of midnight here. Throughout the land fireworks will be set off and many voices will be raised in appalling raucous renditions of Auld Lang Syne……..but not here. We expect to be happily asleep by then. The last of our family visitors left yesterday.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

We guess that we are back with a Jay puzzle. It certainly feels to us like his usual good fun.

Please leave a comment telling us what you think of today’s puzzle.

Across

1a     Certainly upset, due to spy in bed (6,7)
BEYOND DISPUTE : Anagram (upset) of DUE TO SPY IN BED.

9a     Humiliated, Charlie stepped on the gas (9)
CHASTENED : Start with the Charlie that comes after Able and Baker and then add a word that means went quickly.

10a     Pal shot on a motorway (5)
AMIGO : A from the clue, and a shortened form of UK’s main motorway, then a word that means a shot or a turn.

11a     Go in with answer for new consumer (5)
EATER : A substitution clue. Start with a word that means go in and replace N(ew) with A(nswer).
imgres

12a     Proclaim a moratorium, arresting a leader of prayers (4)
IMAM : The answer is held (arrested) inside the clue.

13a     Eject leaders of only union seeking terms (4)
OUST : The first letter of four words in the clue.

15a     Do better than Portugal, squeezed by expenditure (7)
OUTPLAY : Put the IVR code for Portugal inside a word that means expenditure.

17a     An adept bowler, perhaps, accepted by degrees (7)
MAHATMA : This adept or religious sage is made from two arts degrees enclosing what a bowler might be an example of.
images

18a     An absorbing process is attached to the universe, extracting carbon (7)
OSMOSIS : Start with a word meaning the universe and remove C(arbon) from the start of this then add IS from the clue.

20a     Withdraw from race, disheartened, needing nurse (7)
RETREAT : Dishearten race by removing the middle two letters and then put a word meaning to nurse or give therapy.

21a     The last word to change almost completely (4)
AMEN: Take a word that means to change and remove its last letter.

22a     Great love absent from the last letter (4)
MEGA : Take the last letter of the Greek alphabet and remove the tennis love from it.

23a     A person protected by king is a person who’s doomed (5)
GONER : The king is the abbreviation that was used by the Georges and encloses a word for a single person.

26a     Fruit finally ready for picking? Rubbish (5)
TRIPE : The last letter of fruit and a word that indicates something is ready for harvesting.

27a     Could men in trouble crossing river spread this? (5,4)
LEMON CURD : Anagram (in trouble) of COULD MEN with an extra R(iver) included.
imgres

28a     Understand what paparazzi must do (3,3,7)
GET THE PICTURE : Double definition.

Down

1d     Graduate composer and orator self destructed (8,2,4)
BACHELOR OF ARTS : A classical composer followed by an anagram (destructed) of ORATOR SELF.

2d     What a brewer needs — still holding ales being emptied (5)
YEAST : A word meaning still has the first and last letters (being emptied) of ales included.

3d     First to support genuine scientist (10)
NATURALIST : A word for genuine or unaffected precedes a shortened way of writing first.
images

4d     Studies Italian with variable concentration (7)
DENSITY : A noun for studies, a two letter Italian abbreviation and one of the mathematical variables.

5d     Doctor raised origin of murder weapon (7)
SIDEARM : An anagram (doctor) of RAISED and first letter of M(urder).

6d     Raise cap in support of socially acceptable state (4)
UTAH : The letter that means socially acceptable and the reversal (raised) of a synonym for a cap.

7d     Quite ridiculous contents of letter giving protocol (9)
ETIQUETTE : An anagram (ridiculous) of QUITE and then letter without its first and last letters.

8d     Catch spanner needed for game (8,6)
CONTRACT BRIDGE : A word for catch as you might a cold perhaps, and the chestnutty meaning of a spanner.

14d     Pretty as a picture? (10)
PHOTOGENIC : Cryptic definition that implies the subject would make an attractive portrayal.

16d     Doing office work includes cover for editor and moderating (9)
TEMPERING : Doing office work but not on a full time basis with first and last letters of editor included.

19d     Furtive behaviour of the last out? (7)
STEALTH : Anagram (out) of THE LAST.

20d     Guide travelled in conversation with politician across area (4,3)
ROAD MAP : A homophone for travelled perhaps on a horse, then the abbreviation for a politician with A(rea) included.
images

24d     Pacific island vessel going north full of gold (5)
NAURU : One of the islands plundered for its phosphate deposits. The chemical symbol for gold is included in the reversal of a vessel for containing liquid.
imgres

25d     Talent of criminal? (4)
BENT : Double definition, or even perhaps an all in one.

Today’s vote for most enjoyable goes to 3d.

Today’s Quickie pun  quay + pole + doff = keep hold of

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92 Comments

  1. spindrift
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    typo in ‘reveal answer’ for 17a

    • Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      If there is then I can’t see it.

    • spindrift
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      it’s in the reveal on the picture as you hover the cursor

  2. JonP
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Just crept into 3* territory for me, but that’s because I was slow with the long answers. Usual high quality puzzle from Jay, so thanks to him and the 2Kiwis ***/****

  3. Rod
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    This one tested the brain. I think 1d must be my favourite. 27a brought back childhood memories. Thanks 2Ks and a Happy New Year to all

  4. crypticsue
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Not the trickiest Jay but as enjoyable as ever. Thank you to him and the 2Kiwis.

    Today’s Toughie is a Toughie, but even if you don’t solve it, have a read of the review later and marvel at the superb brilliance of a cruciverbal summary of the year.

    Happy New Year to all.

    • Brian
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Had a look, will wait for the explanation http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  5. Michael
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    A very nice puzzle – great fun!

    I didn’t understand 17a until I looked at the BRB and the second definition was ‘an adept’, I looked up ‘adept’ and it said ‘an expert’ – I think I understand it now!

    Onward and upward – roll on 2015!

    Happy New Year to all! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  6. George
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Not too many problems for me with this one. There are some setters who obviously think a bit differently from my squirly thought patterns and this was a puzzle where I had some trouble getting on the right wavelength – but once I got into the swing of it, I did finish it quickly enough. Aren’t crosswords such a lot of fun?

    1*/4* is my rating.

  7. Brian
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Took a bit of getting into but very enjoyable.
    I have a question for the adepts, how do you know that 11a is a substitution clue? Is there an indicator I have missed or do you do what I did and get the answer from the first part and work backwards?
    Took a while to get the anagram in 27a, kept thinking that the 4 letter word was COLD as in common cold!
    Thx to the setter and to 2kiwis for the explanation for 11a.
    Happy New Year to all.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      11a ‘with the answer for new’ is what tells you to replace N (new) with an A (answer)

    • skempie
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Brian : re 11A – the substitution indicator is FOR (answer for new – ie, replace N for new with A for answer)

      • Brian
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Thx to both of you, will bear that in mind in future :-)

  8. skempie
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Not really stopping, still have loads to do – looking forward to February when hopefully all our guests have finally buggered off and all celebrating is finally over. Pheeewwww.

    Very enjoyable today with 17A probably being my fave – very clever.

    Happy New Year to one and all, hope you break the ‘no drink’ resolution at midnight.

  9. Kath
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I do like Jay’s crosswords! I’d go with 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    Getting the long ones round the outside fairly quickly was definitely a great help.
    Like Brian I managed to convince myself that 27a had to be a something or other cold but that just wouldn’t work.
    I was blinded for a little while by the word ‘bowler’ in 17a but sorted that out.
    No major problems really, which makes a nice change.
    I liked 1 and 23a and 1 and 14d. I haven’t quite decided yet what my favourite is – might be one of those or 28a . . .
    With thanks to Jay and to the Kiwis – do hope that you’ve slept your way through the noisy celebrations.
    (Almost) Happy New Year to everyone.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Hope you can ‘see’ this http://jetpack.me/annual-report/35368514/2014/ Scroll all the way down, there’s an ‘interesting’ statistic at the end. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Blimey is that really how many people visit the blog? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        • Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          That’s the number of page views – the number of people is estimated at 90,000 – 100,000 per month. All beyond my wildest dreams when I started in January 2009.

          • pommers
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            It’s lucky that they don’t all feel the need to leave a comment That would be in the order of 2 per minute 24/7 . We;d never have time to read them http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

          • Hilary
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            I have to say that since I first joined this statistic has fascinated me and when you think it is just a hard core that actually comment. BD – widest dreams seems a totally inadequate comment but I can see what you mean. Thank you 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

          • Hanni
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            I understand what you mean by wildest dreams. That’s a phenomenal figure. Well you’ve created a wonderful place. Thank you. Have a great 1015 and I hope I get to meet you at one of the cruciverbalist meets. :-)

            • Miffypops
              Posted December 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

              1015? Battle of Hastings?

              • pommers
                Posted December 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

                Nah, Waterloo http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Wow, yes! A gold medal for you, Kath, and a little flower from me too with thanks for all your lively and interesting comments which, along with the unstinting efforts of BD and his team of bloggers, play a significant part in making this site as excellent as it is.
        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Well said. Here’s a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif from me too.

          • Miffypops
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Golly bongs

            • Merusa
              Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              Golly bongs with knobs on! I’m right behind her, it sounds as if I have an opinionated mouth on me!

              • Kath
                Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                If you think it makes you sound as if you have an opinionated mouth on you where the hell does it leave me?! Oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

                • Merusa
                  Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

                  At least your posts are amusing, I am more colourless. Oh dear, to steal your phrase, but it’s not going to make any difference, I just love this site and feel I’m keeping up with friends!

        • Hilary
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          And from me, Kath has been a tower of strength and also provided several serious giggles. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Kath
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Thank you very much, everyone. Now feeling just a touch on the http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif side.

      • Kath
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – big mouth or what – and when I think how long it took me to summon the courage to leave my first comment such a long time ago . . .

        • Hanni
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Kath…
          It was reading your comments that encouraged me to comment. You give people confidence. And Merusa you are certainly not colourless!
          I wish you both a lovely 2015. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

          • Kath
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Hanni – have a great New Year’s Eve. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  10. pommers
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    If you like Jay’s puzzles (as I do) you can find another one in today’s FT under his other alias Orense.

    Look here http://www.ft.com/life-arts/crossword

    Happy New Year to one and all (that’s just in case I don’t get back later). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    Now for lunch and this puzzle.

  11. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Kath’s rating: 2*/4* for a very enjoyable puzzle. I found parts of it straightforward and other parts more challenging.

    I was 9a by the wordplay for 9a. I got the answer easily enough and, having decided that “Charlie” must equal “Chas”, I spent far too much time trying to work out how “stepped on the gas” led to “tened” until the penny finally dropped.
    :oops:
    I’d never heard of 24d but the answer was clearly clued and I checked Google to verify that it was correct. 22a took some time to unravel and was my last one in despite only missing two letters. How often is that the short answers prove to be the most difficult?

    Many thanks to Jay for a really great finale for 2014 and to for the review.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Whoops. I omitted the word “2Kiwis” in my last sentence. Sorry about that, and a warm thank you to them!

  12. Hanni
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    ***/****
    I found this one quite tricky. Like others I was sure that 27a was something to do with illness so wasn’t looking for the answer. I also needed confirmation that 24d was correct. Though I’m sure that island has come up before.

    Getting 17a was a great moment as I set here thinking that it was something to do with cricket. Definitely my favourite clue.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis for a fantastic blog as always.

    I hope everyone has a great 2015.

    And a thank you to all the bloggers who take their time to enlighten us.

  13. Jane
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I was also trying to fit ‘cold’ into 27a and, like Kath, blanched a little at the word ‘bowler’ in 17a. Not too many other problems although took a silly amount of time to sort out 1d. Any of the long answers could stand as favourite in this very enjoyable puzzle. 2*/4* for me.

    Many thanks to Jay and to 2K’s – no early nights here – we’ve got fireworks from the castle in town at midnight, although it’s currently very windy and threatening rain which could scupper the show. Hope not – the ‘newly-engaged’ are really looking forward to it.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness is the finance back? Yey!!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  14. Una
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed Jays puzzle today, it had quite a sciencey feel, what with 19a and 4d, and then it included my favourite spread !Thanks Kiwis, Happy New Year to you both and everybody else.Today I am celebrating being 39 for the 21 st time !

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      A very Happy Birthday to you, Una
      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
      Have a great day!

      • Una
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that lovely rose !http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Merusa
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Many happy returns, have a lovely day.

      • Una
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Thank you , Merusa ! Happy New Year !

    • Hanni
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday Una. Have a wonderful evening and a happy new year. :-)

    • Kath
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday from me too. Please have another http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Una
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Hanni and Kath, let’s hope we all see another birthday.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  15. Franco
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the 2Kiwis for the review!.

    The illustration for 20d looks like NZ has a West Island and an East Island?

    Thanks also to Jay for all the very enjoyable Wednesday puzzles year in and year out!.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      You were sent into ‘moderation’ as you went back to .co.uk at the end of your email address instead of .com

      Isn’t technology wonderful?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Franco
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Mea Culpa!

        Technology is not at fault … just my typing ability from a friend’s computer!

        Maybe a “sign-in” would save me from going into “moderation”?

  16. SheilaP
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was going to be difficult, but once we got one or two answers in we managed to complete it with only a little help. I’ve never heard of adept used as a noun before, but it is even in my dictionary which is not the BRB. Thank you to the Wednesday setter and to the 2Kiwis. A Happy New Year to All.

  17. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    With City gaining 3 points for the first time since September, having had family snowed in during Christmas and me over indulging in most things drinkable and edible, the holiday break must have refreshed parts of my brain that needed a break – because that’s the back page, Toughie and the quick one all completed this morning. The Toughie was very enjoyable, but also quite easy to follow and the back pager (inside back page in our edition) was for the most part a write in, but again very entertaining. Lots of smile moments in both of the ‘main’ puzzles. Thanks to all setters and bloggers and a very happy New Year to one and all :-)

  18. pommers
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, that didn’t frighten the horses – they enjoyed it a lot while it lasted.

    */**** from us.

    I just hope Jay isn’t lulling us into a false sense of security before throwing the book at us next Wednesdayhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Thanks and a Happy New Year to Jay and the Kiwis.

  19. Sweet William
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Jay. I enjoyed the challenge which I found difficult. Same problem as the last few days, snatching 5 and 10 minute spells to look at the puzzle whilst prepping canapés, veg etc for this evening. A return to normality would be welcome ! Thanks 2Kiwis for your review and hints. I managed to get 17a by luck from the wordplay as the definition was new to me. Happy New Year to everyone.

  20. Miffypops
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Another fine puzzle which I enjoyed very much. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks A Happy new year to one and all.

    • Hilary
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      And to you and Saint Sharon – not forgettings the terrible twins http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  21. Chris
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle. (I was glad to see ‘spanner’ back in 8d; it felt like hailing an old friend I hadn’t met for ages.)
    2*/4* for me, with thanks to the 2Kiwis, and to Jay, congratulations to BD on the site statistics, to Kath on her gold medal http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif :and and a very Happy New Year to all!

  22. Angel
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    A fairly trouble-free way to end 2014. ***/***. Thanks Jay and the 2 Kiwis, to all of whom I send very best wishes for happiness in the New Year. Thanks so much BD for facilitating it all. Salaams also to all my fellow bloggers whose friendly dialogue provides me with so much entertainment, more of which I look forward to in 2015. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  23. Spook
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable today late completion as work got in the way.
    Was slightly confused by 17a for some reason got fixated on cricket so resorted to tips.
    A Happy and Safe New Year to you all

  24. Hec99
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all involved in making this such a useful and friendly site. Best wishes for 2015.

  25. Heno
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Jay. I had too many Favourites to mention, but the best one was 18a. Good to have some science-based clues. Last in was 3d. Was 2*/4* for me. Happy New Year to all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  26. Catherine
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Big Dave and the team of bloggers for all the “solver support” this year!
    And a Happy New Year to all!

  27. Mr Kitty
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Found this very enjoyable. 11a was a construction I hadn’t seen before, so was pleased when the penny finally dropped. And had to consult the BRB to understand 17a.
    I’ve learned so much in the last few months from the explanations and posts on this wonderful blog, and been greatly entertained doing so.
    Thanks to all the setters and bloggers, and best wishes for 2015.

  28. Hilary
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Having been coaxed out of the cupboard with a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of coffee I approached today’s crossword with fear and trepidation. However, something truly wonderful happened and for the very first time I got all the way through without any electronic help, lovely anagrams and not phased by long answers. The island I remembered from the GK crossword a few weeks ago so perhaps senile decay has not set in. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis, BD and all my fellow bloggers who have made the end of 2014 such a pleasure. Happy New Year to you all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure whether to suggest this but the FT crossword mentioned at comment 10 above is described on another blog as “An excellent puzzle for anyone starting out at cryptic crossword solving”

  29. Merusa
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    This was most enjoyable, thanks Jay. I seemed to be on wavelength here, very few hold ups.
    I had to google 24d to be sure, but the clue was so straightforward it was easy enough to solve.
    My fave was 17a, didn’t know the adept meaning.
    Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis, like you, I keep myself quiet on NY’s Eve, the dogs and cats are scared of the noise, so I stay home to assure them.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL!!

  30. crypticsue
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    A facebook message from Mary who is still having internet problems:

    “…….I am managing to do crossword most days!! Miss u all and hoping to see a lot more of u in 2015!!! Well blogged Kath and thank you Sue … Happy New Year all”

    • Kath
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Please send her Happy New Year wishes from me, Sue.

      • Kath
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        How can she do Facebook if she has no internet? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  31. Mary Mary
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m one of the last, as usual, but enjoyed this crossword despite struggling with the Pacific Is. and the Ghandi clues. Would give it ***/**** like many other solvers. Suffering still from horrendous drive up to Scotland last week, the usual 5 hour journey taking 11, because of a literally criminal fatal accident on the A74(Mway) ! Puzzled by complete media silence over the “incident” but realise that the Glasgow tragedy overshadowed everything else that day. At least I completed the crossword as we sat in the 3-lane jam !
    Happy New Year everyone ! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  32. Geoff. S.
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Having been described as a lurker, and I have been for a while, New Years resolution was to post. Bit late in the day but been skiing all day in blue sky conditions
    Nice puzzle today. Bit stuck in SE corner but once I got the island I was ok.
    Thanks to all who help on this site.
    All the best for 2015

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Geoff – I hope you’ll be a regular commenter in 2015

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from us too Geoff. The only skiing in our part of the world at this time of the year is on the water. Cheers.

  33. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Good morning everyone. Managed to stay asleep this morning longer than any time since we started doing the blogs but now, when we look at the statistics of how many people look in at the site, its enough to make two retiring bloggers nervous all over again. Interesting to see the comments on how to spell the Mahatma’s name. We did check it on Google (twice) before we wrote it in.
    Enjoy the build up to celebrations coming up in a few hours for most of you, and we wish you all the best for 2015.

    • Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      You may well have checked it but you labelled the picture as “Hahatma Gandhi”. There are two many pedants on this site for you get away with that!

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Ah so that is what we had done. We were so careful to get the Gandhi part right that we overlooked the typo in Mahatma. Thanks for fixing it.

      • pommers
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Two?

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
          You’re my hero, Pommers!

  34. Kitty
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I remember very much enjoying this crossword earlier, despite suffering from a not at all self-inflicted headache http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif. More sciencey clues which I always like to see, though we did get into the odd bit of debate over definitions.

    With oodles of thanks to Jay and the 2Ks, and wishing everyone here all things lovely for the year to come.

    • andy
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis, from me, Cynthia and Cuthbert and to each contributor to this site. Happy New Year everyone :)

  35. Kevin
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I was expecting a road mao of the UK, not NZ !!

  36. Vancouver bc
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    **/****. This score didn’t reflect my feelings when I first read through last night but this morning, having had a very lazy start, it almost fell into place. How strange? Perhaps the bacon and egg sandwich and the earl grey tea were the catalysts. Anyway, very enjoyable so my thanks to the setter and the 2Ks for their usual excellent review. My favourites were 17a and 8d. Cactus Club for dinner this evening before a few or maybe too many postprandial libations. Happy New Year to one and all.

  37. pommers
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    My New Year resolution:-

    ” I will, from now on, refrain from making New Year resolutions” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      :-)

      That reminds me of Tony Blair’s comment, “I don’t make predictions. I never have and I never will”!

  38. Gwizz
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely puzzle to wrap up the old year with! I really enjoyed it even tho’ I made a pig’s ear of 22a by going completely off line. HERA indeed! D’oh!
    Oh well.
    Many thanks to Jay and the Sleeping Beauties in NZ
    Happy New Year everybody!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  39. Annidrum
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Having been enjoying two grandsons for the past two weeks there’s been no time for the crossword so just looking in to wish everyone a great 2015 & long May this wonderful site continue. Slainte everyone.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  40. Salty Dog
    Posted January 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Another one picked up a day late due to absence on shenanigans last night. This was fun, but took me very close to 3* time; call it 2+*/4*. I liked 18a, among others. VMTs to Jay and the Antipodean Duo, and HNYs to all!

  41. Tstrummer
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t do this last night as I have a new guitar to play with – and some things are even better than crosswords. Got round to it tonight and found it an enjoyable breeze. May I also echo all the goodwill comments about this site. It’s the best