DT 27694

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27694

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a windy January day.

I thought this was much more straightforward than last Friday’s puzzle, so only ** for difficulty.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

9a           It sounds like you and I will change direction (5)
WHEEL – The answer is a homophone (sounds like) of a phrase meaning ‘you and I will’.

10a         Supply required by French department to achieve balance (9)
EQUIPOISE – A verb meaning to supply kit, followed by a Département in the north of France.

11a         Expert presenting some art in a new way (7)
MAESTRO – Anagram (in a new way) of SOME ART.

12a         Charge rent that’s ridiculous on superior street (7)
ENTRUST – Anagram (ridiculous) of RENT followed by the letter indicating superior or upper-class and the abbreviation for street.

13a         Fighting unit of the Engineers led by baddie (5)
CADRE – A common crossword baddie followed by the initials of a regiment of engineers.

14a         One offers drink with buffet at ball thrown on green (9)
PUNCHBOWL – Another word for buffet or hit followed by one of the bits of kit used in a game played on grass by people with non-spherical balls.

16a         Scientists in bars, egoistic lot getting sozzled (15)
BACTERIOLOGISTS – Anagram (getting sozzled) of BARS EGOISTIC LOT.

19a         Just having a part of hospital to one side (9)
RIGHTWARD – A synonym of ‘just’ followed by one of the accommodation units in a hospital.

21a         Venomous type, more insane, putting maiden off (5)
ADDER – Remove (putting off) the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over from a word meaning ‘more insane’.

23a         Problem in road Rod found around front of the house (7)
POTHOLE – A rod or perch wrapped around the first letter of The and an abbreviation for house.

25a         Word meaning ‘charges’ in concise dictionaries (7)
INDICTS – Charges as in accuses of a crime. IN from the clue followed by an abbreviation for ‘dictionaries’.

27a         Vessel getting lacerated they emptied when reaching island (5,4)
CUTTY SARK – A famous sailing ship is made up of a word for lacerated, the first and last letters (emptied) of T(he)Y and one of the Channel Islands.

28a         Indian offering love, a man of wisdom (5)
OSAGE – The letter which looks like a love score at tennis followed by a wise man, giving a member of a Native American tribe.

Down

1d           Son with stomach upset was dizzy (4)
SWAM Son followed by the reversal (upset) of a word for the fourth stomach of a ruminant (or a shark’s jaws).

2d           Member to finish as an extremely famous person? (6)
LEGEND – One of the members of the body followed by a word for finish.

3d           Greeting in a couple of lines ancient city got finally (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST – Put together A (from the clue), two abbreviations for Line, an ancient city in Greece or Egypt, and the final letter of goT.

4d           Firm in Peru in trouble gets to recover (6)
RECOUP – An abbreviation for a firm or company inside an anagram (in trouble) of PERU.

5d           High-level plan sure to work out (8)
SUPERNAL – Anagram (to work out) of PLAN SURE. Slightly late appearance of a word most familiar from a Christmas carol.

6d           See game with minimal runs scored (4)
SPOT – Remove (scored, as in ‘scored out’) an abbreviation (minimal) of Runs from a generic term for an athletic game.

7d           One in B&B joined by university yobs wasting time as boozers (8)
BIBULOUS – Put the Roman numeral for one in between B and B, then add an abbreviation for University and some yobs with the T removed (wasting time).

8d           Aid to farmer — if sterile ground is to get right (10)
FERTILISER – Anagram (ground) of IF STERILE with Right added.

13d         What could make PC be scary? Ultimately the whole virtual environment (10)
CYBERSPACE – Anagram (what could make) of PC BE SCARY plus the last letter (ultimately) of thE.

15d         Like varieties of churchmanship everywhere (4,3,3)
HIGH AND LOW – A phrase usually found in conjunction with ‘search’ could also describe the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical wings of the Church of England.

17d         Think about nothing, then stir to depose leader (8)
COGITATE – Put together an abbreviation of the Latin word for ‘about’, the letter which looks like a zero, and a verb meaning to stir (politically) with its first letter removed.

18d         It is likely that Ray’s idea wlll be seen as daft (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY – Anagram (daft) of RAY’S IDEA.

20d         Doctor coming with coloured fluids — they are to be swallowed (6)
DRINKS – An abbreviation for doctor followed by coloured fluids used for writing or printing.

22d         Country houses in south of Ireland Bill possesses (6)
DACHAS – These are Russian country houses. Put together the last letter (South, in a Down clue) of IrelanD, a bill or account, and a verb meaning possesses.

24d         Animal getting over railway and crossroads? (4)
ORYX – Put together a cricket abbreviation for Over, an abbreviation for railway, and the symbol seen on a road sign indicating a crossroads.

26d         Observe daughter, one with potential to grow up? (4)
SEED – A word for ‘observe’ followed by Daughter.


The Quick Crossword pun: JESTER + MINUTE = JUST A MINUTE

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109 Comments

  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Oh, dear – 1* for “enjoyment” for the second Friday in a row, although it was easier than last week’s so I’m giving 3* for difficulty today.

    For me this was a joyless offering made even more of a drudge with an excessive number of obscurities: 10a, 28a, 1d, 5d, 7d & 22d. I experienced a great sense of relief when I finally finished.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  2. Kath
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one and found it the most straightforward of any crossword that we’ve had so far this year. 1* or possibly 2* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    14a and 7d were my last answers – don’t know why but I suppose something had to be.
    Getting the answer to the long one across the middle speeded things up a bit.
    I took a little while to work out why, or even if, my 17d was right.
    I liked 16a and 17d. My favourite was either 13d (it’s certainly all scary stuff – well, it is to me anyway so very appropriate) or 18d (can’t help wondering if Giovanni is thinking of anyone in particular?).
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.
    Off to dentist – back later, if I survive . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Ouch! Hope that it all goes well Kath.

    • SheilaP
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Hats off to you, Kath. We found this really, really hard, and in fact practically undoable.So it’s a *****~* for us today. Hope the dentistry goes well.

    • Kath
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks both – I should probably admit that the dentist appointment was only for a check-up and hygienist but I still hate it – think I’d almost rather have a baby! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Jane
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the reminder, Kath. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif Won’t bore you with the abscess details but I’m off to the ‘house of horror’ on Monday and reckon there’s going to be an altercation with the resident witch-doctor re. removing a tooth. Perhaps I should add that I’ve never even agreed to so much as a filling without sedation – and that involves a long trip to the dental hospital and a great deal of pleading potential insanity. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif Also involves praying that the GP hasn’t made reference on my notes to the effect that I have a chest problem that makes sedation a rather bad idea…………… http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

        • Kath
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear – I’m so sorry to have been the one to remind you about Monday. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Please forgive me.

          • Jane
            Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            No problem, Kath – it’s imprinted in my brain, anyway. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  3. Hanni
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    ****/***

    The pangram that wasn’t!

    Blimey I found that tough. I had to fight for most of the answers. I imagine it would be like reeling in a shark.

    22a I had never heard of but got it from following the clue. 1d again was a guess. 7a, although easy enough to figure out, the word had to be dragged from my memory. 17d went in as it was the word that fit. And so on and so forth.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to DT, thank you for so eloquently explaining everything I could not see.

    I’m now going to attempt to work lying on the sofa as I am full of cold. I hope everyone has a good Friday and weekend. :-)

    • dutch
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      i think the toughie looks like a pangram – haven’t finished it yet…

      • Hanni
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I shall give it a look. See if my cold addled brain is up to a Friday Toughie. :-)

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          It is a proper proper Friday Toughie.

          • Jane
            Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Oh dear – thanks for the heads-up, CS………… maybe I’ll just give up before I look at it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I think the quickie is always a pangram on a Friday

    • Heno
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I think you may be mixing up your acrosses and downs.

      • Kath
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Oh good – thought we might be talking about a different crossword here as I couldn’t find a 7 or 22a – poor Hanni – she should be forgiven as she’s got a cold. Hope that she feels better soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes I did. Thanks Heno. For clarification I meant 7 and 22d! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Poor you, Hanni – get better soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      By the way – what happened re: the OH’s failure to mention the Jan. holiday http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane and Kath. The OH flies on Sunday morning. The inability to tell was comical. The thing is it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I was away with the girls last October. The man is ridiculous at times.
        Oh and I officially have girl flu. But that sounds preferable to Monday for you!. You poor thing. I shall keep the corner open even if you don’t check in and lots of happy thoughts etc. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        P.S I think the Toughie is written in Serbo-Croat. I got one answer about pasta before I went to sleep.

        • Jane
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Re: PS. That could explain a lot – not a language I pretend to have any fluency in – or even any knowledge at all. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

  4. George
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    A nice puzzle for me today – straightforward enough – not too easy, not too hard although I did have to look up French geography! Very enjoyable for me – except I am not sure I like the reference to folks like me in 16a!

    2*/4* I would say. Thanks to all!

  5. dutch
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    straightforward for a friday puzzle, though hardly a write-in. It unfolded nicely with checking letters. 10a (balance) is a word i don’t see often (i.e., i didn’t know it) but follows from wordplay and checks and makes a nice clue. Same with 5d (high-level). Thanks dt for confirming the stomach meaning in 1d, I wasn’t sure.

    I do like the 7d word (of boozers); I should use it more often.

    Not too much in the way of favourites – perhaps the nicest surface reading for me was 26d (daughter). I liked the ancient city in 3d but the surface meaning isn’t grabbing. 8d (aid to farmer) is a nice extended definition. I quite liked the anagram in 13d, it uses an abbreviation (PC) but that fits with surface.

    Many thanks Giovanni and dt

  6. Kevin
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    love the pictures today, especially 23a

  7. Angel
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    For my part there was not a lot of entertainment to be had in Giovanni’s episode today and much Googling/Thesaurusing was required in order to finish in reasonable time so as to get on with chores (perhaps I should have waited for DT’s hints). Liked 15d. ***/**. Thanks setter and reviewer. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  8. Tony
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    In general I enjoyed this puzzle, but there were several obscurities that bit me. For instance I had never heard to ‘maw’ to mean stomach in 1d and consequently I guessed the wrong tense of swim. I tried very hard (and almost made it) to justify ‘righthand’ for 19a. Bibulous was new to me (what a nice word!) but that was easy enough to construct from the word play. I was not aware of the French department, but managed to get 10a given all the other letters. I needed the hints to understand why 17d had to be cogitate. 15d gave me a chuckle! Many thanks to all.

    • Baa
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Tony seems to have given us several answers here! Thought that was the greatest sin ever? Moderators having a day off? Probably still chewing over this very difficult crossword – well, I thought it was anyway.

      • gazza
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        You’ve used a slightly different email address from previously so your comment needed moderation. It’s only for prize crosswords that it’s a sin to mention answers.

        • Franco
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          All things in moderation? What about a “Sign In?”

      • Jane
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Only Prize Puzzle answers and ‘time taken’ remarks seem to be subject to moderation – apart from nasty or OTT comments. A bit tough on those who like to read the blog in advance of completing (or giving up!) on a puzzle, but regulars know there’s always the chance of answers appearing and newbies (like me) quickly learn. Also, it’s often almost impossible for our wonderful superior bloggers to respond to a plea for a ‘nudge’ without giving the game away. I think you’ll find that the most blatant references are only published after the full review becomes available.

      • pommers
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Hi Baa
        Jane is correct in that it’s only on Saturday and Sunday prize puzzles that the rules apply. Then it’s not only answers but extra info or alternative definitions that are banned. I got deleted last week for posting a Wiki link for some background info. As usual I’d forgot it was Saturday!

        Solving times are a no-no unless translated into cups of coffee, pints of beer or even railway stations and offensive stuff is clearly banned.

  9. Mikey-Mike
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t really enjoy this as too many obscure words. Liked 8d as a cleverly written clue though. Can anyone think of an occasion to use “equipoise” ? Or “supernal” except in a hymn”

    • Franco
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      In a DT cryptic crossword on a Friday?

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

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

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

  10. pommers
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Looks like I was wrong about the bar being raised this year. I found this to be the easiest Giovanni for some time.

    */** from me.

    Fortunately I’ve come across all the obscure bits so perhaps the Don has used them in previous puzzles. Too many anagrams for my taste.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

  11. Owdoo
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, comments so far seem split between easy and quite tricky. Sadly I am in the latter bracket and it took me far longer to solve than expected. At least I remembered the Russian house from a previous puzzle but I still had to check the BRB to confirm 5d, 7d, 10a and 28a.
    3*/2* for me today.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  12. Chris
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I had my confidence restored after the debacle that was my attempt yesterday. Possibly boosted by the contrast, I’d vote this one 4* for enjoyment and 2* for difficulty. I liked 14a for its nice surface reading that I found impossible to parse until I had most of the checking letters. Many thanks to The Don and to DT for the review.

    • Brian
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

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

      • crypticsue
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Or even ‘hear hear’ if you are agreeing with Chris.

        • Brian
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          Ah the joys of predictive texting!

  13. Kermitthepilot
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Made it harder for myself by reading 4d as an anagram of “in Peru” = unripe meaning “firm” and ignoring the rest if the clue! ***/*

  14. Sweet William
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you DG. Far too hard for my liking. Finished without much enjoyment. No fun clues and the usual obscure stuff. Well done all those in the read and write club ! Thanks DT for the hints and review. Time for a lie down.

  15. Hilary
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    After yesterday’s unfinished symphony I got on well today. It does help that I am a fan of anagrams which appeal to my nasty twisted self, also I dredged deep into my antique memory for 22d, slightly thrown by 5d and 19a which I had not met before but they were a logical fit. Sorry Miffypops I still need my pencil for anagrams. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Thanks to DT and Giovanni. Fave rave 13d.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      They are only banned on Mondays Hilary. The rest of the blogging team are much nicer than me.

      • Jane
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, MP. I now feel free to admit to a couple of ‘pen & circles’ involved in today’s offering. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        • Kath
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Just a couple . . . ?

          • Jane
            Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            OK – three. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        I’ll remember that MP.

      • Hilary
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, I do try but as a very junior apprentice I am a way away from non-pencil anagram solving. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

        • Jane
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          Don’t worry about it, Hilary. The secret is apparently just not to mention the pencil requirement on a Monday. Repeat after me – Monday, no pencil, makes MP moody. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  16. Heno
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Quite a nice puzzle, some easy, some hard, a few obscure. Had never heard of 10a, needed electronic help on that. Managed to get 5d&7d from the wordplay. Thanks to Giovanni for increasing my vocabulary :-)
    No Favourites. Was 3*/1* for me.

  17. Merusa
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t normally do Friday puzzles but my appointment today is later, so I took the opportunity to have a go. I was most pleasantly surprised and found most answers almost wrote themselves in. Having read War and Peace and House by the Dvina, 22d was no problem.
    I liked 3d, that’s my fave.
    Thanks Giovanni, and many thanks to Deep Threat for your entertaining review.

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    With the country being held hostage in two different places with yet again more innocent victims, it becomes harder and harder to find any enjoyment without feeling a bit selfish.
    A long walk along the baies of Giens did me a lot of good and sitting down in the lovely sun with 17 degrees Celsius I managed to finish the maestro’s crossword.
    10a and 7d were the last two obscure words which I guessed more from the logical construction than knowledge.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review.

    • Merusa
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      You chaps are really being put through the mill. Why? You have been so welcoming to Muslims and giving them residence in your lovely country, this seems so ungrateful. That was a pretty silly remark, since when are terrorists grateful?

    • Kath
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      We’ve just been watching the news – it all sounds so awful around Paris. OH’s brother and his French wife live just outside Paris but he’s a teacher in the centre. We’ll probably give them a ring later on this evening. Thinking a lot about everyone in France in general and in Paris in particular. The lights in the Eiffel Tower being switched off . . .

    • Framboise
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Found today’s offering difficult and like you discovered 10a and 7d… News on all day and constant updates from Le Monde on my Ipad. Terrible times.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Hello Framboise.
        Apparently everyone is dead now.
        A trial would have been a waste of time and money probably. At least they will never be martyrs.

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      So hard to carry on as normal – but it’s all we can do in the face of such monstrous atrocities. Brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘terrified’ and it’s so sad to see that the, albeit necessary, reporting of events achieves – for these fanatics – the goal of ‘any publicity is good publicity’.

      Continue to enjoy your blogging, cooking and walking in the fresh air, Jean-luc – nobody will think any the less of you.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jane.

        • Hanni
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          Completely agree with everything that Jane said Jean-Luc and Framboise. Do not let the evil within them touch your soul.

          I’m sure it was Jean Paul Sartre that said, “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

          Eat, drink, walk and laugh with friends.

          Blimey it’s too late in the evening to be getting philosophical.

  19. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. Quite a challenge and hats off to those who found this easy. I did however get a feeling of satisfaction by the end. Thanks to the setter and to DT for the review. Fogs lifted now so can see the mountains again.

  20. Gwizz
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I was expecting a far tougher battle today but this was not to be. Everything slotted in without much problem with even the less well known words being fairly obvious. I liked 7d just for its construction….honest!
    Thanks to the Don and DT for his revue.

  21. Omar
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    tough for me and some very obscure elements

  22. Brian
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    What a brilliant puzzle. Took me three sittings but well worth it. Best clue for me def 27a but so many great clues. Odd to see bacteriologists mentioned, they are all called Microbiologists these days. I trained as the former for 15 years, longer ago than I care to remember.
    Couple of new words as is common to the Don in 28a and 10a and learned a new dept of France that I hadn’t come across before in my travels across that beautiful country. So sad to see what is happening now.
    Thx to both the Don and to DT for explaining 6d, the last in.

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Glad you’re happy, Brian. ‘Leap of faith’ for me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Who trains for fifteen years Brian?

        • Brian
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          Well strictly speaking it was 7 years training, two years post grad then 6 years practicing.

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            In France also that speciality takes years. Almost 30 when you finish but you can open a lab for medical analysis and buy yourself a Porsche Boxter every year thereon.

            • Jane
              Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

              I reckon, given MP’s line of work/pleasure, he’ll be waiting a long while for the Porsche! On reflection, he’d doubtless opt for something rather more bizarre. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

              • jean-luc cheval
                Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

                Click on his picture. you will understand.

                • Jane
                  Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

                  Absolutely nothing to verify that it’s his car, Jean-luc. Come to that, I doubt that all the pictured pencils belong to Miffypops either. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

                  • jean-luc cheval
                    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

                    Sorry Jane. You were talking about MP. I was thinking of Brian. oops.

                  • jean-luc cheval
                    Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

                    Mp has even got a pen from the Samaritans. Is he trying to send us a message?

                    • Hanni
                      Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

                      I noticed that too Jean – Luc.

        • Jane
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          But how many years have you spent training in real ale, MP? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

          • Miffypops
            Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Not enough

  23. Michael
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Miserable, depressed, fed-up – no fun whatsoever – hated it!

    I seem to be swinging from relatively easy puzzles that I don’t have much trouble with to stinkers like this one (and yesterday’s) which destroy any confidence I’ve built up.

    Back to the drawing board! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Worry not, Michael – at least Brian’s had a good day so we should all be thankful for that. Sometimes think that he’d never criticise a Don puzzle ‘just because’……………. bit like me with Ray T’s!

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t get on with it either Michael. Probably because we have had a busy day and I was snatching quick peeps as and when I could.

  24. Jane
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Just knew it was the Don in the chair when I had to resort to putting in more and more ‘must be, but is it a real word’ answers. In fairness, nearly all were do-able given the checking letters but there were def. five that I double-checked with the ‘concise’ Oxford. 22d was so far back in the memory bank that it refused to surface without a little electronic assistance. Have to admit that the carol in DT’s excellent review was a new one for me, although the music sounded familiar. Lovely singing, but didn’t sound like the sort of carol one would relish at a traditional Christmas sing-along service! Brilliant pic. for 23a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    3*/3* for me – 9a gets the nod for smile of the day and will probably settle on 17d as favourite although there were other contenders in the shape of 8,13 and 15d.

    Many thanks for the vocab. improvement, Giovanni!

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Somebody has come on leaps and bounds haven’t they Jane

      • Jane
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Just trying to keep up with the pace, MP. Trouble is, I keep running out of waking hours to actually READ the paper. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        • Hilary
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          My OH keeps pointing out that one is actually supposed to read the paper and not spend hours glued to the crossword page muttering and sighing a lot. I was grateful for the information as I did not realise that that was what should be doing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  25. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Far from being a write-in for us. The French department was new to us, but obvious enough what it had to be, from the wordplay. In fact the whole puzzle was pretty much at the difficulty level and enjoyment that we have come to expect on a Friday.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  26. Angel
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Relief that Paris supermarket siege has ended but so sad that 4 hostages have lost their lives however justice has in some way been done with the killing of the two brother suspects in the Charlie Hebdo murders. Hopefully the third suspect will soon be located. Sincere sympathy goes to families and friends of all the victims.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Hello angel,
      It seems we have gone one step further in that kind of warfare:
      “Take no prisoners” is the new rule.

      • Angel
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Always a difficult decision but in this instance the right one I believe.

  27. Jay legs
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Sorry DT but I would go for ***/** I did not like10a, 6d,13d & 28a :( a bit of a struggle! But heigh-ho onward and upward

  28. Miffypops
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Too many obscure words and the anagram at 5d took me far to long to work out. A bit bitty as well.

  29. Framboise
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Another difficult puzzle for me – needed quite a few hints to finish it. Did not really enjoy it. Two new words for me 10a and 7d. Hope all the 2015 puzzles are not going to be so hard. Thank you for the DT for the much needed review. Could not concentrate property as I feel so angry and aggrieved by what is happening in my country… Terrible times.

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      We’re all feeling your pain, Framboise. Voice it as much as you need to – none of us rests easy these days.

  30. Salty Dog
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    2*/3*, l think. The NE corner held me up when l was on course for a 1* completion. I liked 22d, which was my last in. Thanks to the setter, and to DT for the review.

  31. JonP
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle on the easier end of the Giovanni spectrum IMHO. Thanks to DT and The Don. **/***

  32. Kath
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Just in case we need to get away from a crossword that some have had trouble with and all things awful in France there is a brilliant live recording being shown on Sky Arts ! now – Dire Straits – Alchemy at the Hammersmith Odeon. They are officially my favourite ever group. We saw them live at the Birmingham NEC – amazing and wonderful. They’ve just done Romeo and Juliet. Mark Knopfler is, in my opinion anyway, the best guitarist in the world. Off to watch the rest of it . . .

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always thought that Mark Knopfler was the Bjon Borg of the musical world.
      Not just the hairband but they seem to hold the same instrument.

    • Hanni
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Mark Knopfler will always have a place in my heart for creating the theme, “Going Home”, from the film Local Hero. After 32 years I will never tire of the film or theme.

      • Kath
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        That was the last one they did – I love it too.

    • Jane
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Dire Straits – my absolute all-time favourite – well, there could be a mention for REO Speedwagon as well! Went to see DS do a gig at the Breakwater Hall in Manchester some years ago – home of the Halle with wonderful acoustics. What a night! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      No Sky here but envy you the concert. Freesat provides most of my needs – don’t want to watch sports (funny, that!) and there’s enough old movies available on mainstream TV to satisfy any longings in that direction. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Kath
        Posted January 9, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes – my favourite too. The other one I really love is Billy Joel.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted January 10, 2015 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      MK is indeed a fine guitarist, but the best in the world? I think not. On electric, you have to go for either David Lindley, Robbie Robertson or, perhaps Buddy Guy; on acoustic, I can’t see further than James Taylor

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 10, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        Rory Gallagher. Enough said

  33. Jane
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Funny old day on the blog – Michael in ‘crash & burn’ mode, Brian in a happy place, no mention of either St. Sharon or the cribbage league table, CS admitting that the Toughie is tough, Hanni with a cold…………. think I’ll shut down the after-eight club for the night and hope all returns to normal over the weekend.

    Here’s hoping for a sensational NTSPP tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      I think your wish will be fulfilled – thanks to Hieroglyph we have the best puzzle of the week.

      • Jane
        Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Pen, dictionary, Thesaurus and blank paper at the ready – bring it on, Hieroglyph. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  34. Suburban Homeboy
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    This must be the first occasion when it appears that I thought the crossword slightly easier than the general consensus – 2*/4* for me. A wonderful crossword. Many thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review.

  35. Jane
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Just about to log off when I happened to re-read your comment on 14a, Deep Threat. How do you know the participants have non-spherical balls? Just thought I’d ask……………

    • Hilary
      Posted January 10, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      I was going to make a helpful suggestion but realised that it might be misunderstood (oh yea) and I would be banned. Tee Hee. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  36. Tstrummer
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    As usual on a Friday, I found this quite hard going, but got there in the end after spending to long in the NE corner. Maybe my mind’s seizing up after an intense few days translating the horrors of France into a newspaper that I never do the crossword in. 3*/2* for me. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll get to comment on the same day the paper comes out for once

  37. Ian Printer
    Posted January 15, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    If I’m honest, this is the worst crossword I have had the misfortune to complete. Never before have I encountered a grid full of obscure words, many of them foreign.
    Where is the pleasure in so many strange “specialist”words…?

    • Posted January 15, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Ian

      I just hope you don’t incur the Wrath of Giovanni!