DT 27715

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27715

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

This shouldn’t really cause many problems – I can’t remember ever having blogged a puzzle which fell quite as much into the ‘read and write’ category. On the plus side all the wordplay is clear and fair and the puzzle should appeal to anyone starting out in cryptic solving. However, I thought that we could have done with more variety in the clues – many seemed a bit ‘samey’. Do let us know how you got on and what you thought of it.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Unexpectedly published, ring fellow livid about article (3,2,3,4)
OUT OF THE BLUE – there are lots of little bits to assemble. Start with an adverb meaning published or in print and add the letter that’s round (ring), F(ellow) and the colour that livid describes. Finally put all that around a definite article.

9a Formal meeting in Bury to contend with (9)
INTERVIEW – bury is falsely capitalised here. What we want is a verb to bury followed by a verb to contend or struggle and W(ith).

10a Italian river miles away from wood (5)
TIBER – remove the abbreviation for miles from wood that’s been prepared for use in building or carpentry.

11a So sad, broadcast about English port (6)
ODESSA – an anagram (broadcast) of SO SAD goes round E(nglish) to make a port on the Black Sea.

12a Shorts all the rage? Nonsense (3,5)
HOT PANTS – a charade of an adjective meaning all the rage or in vogue and an informal word for nonsense.

13a Trying experience in old wood across river (6)
ORDEAL – the abbreviation for old and a type of soft wood containing (across) R(iver).

15a Part of speech on one period of history is waffle (8)
VERBIAGE – a part of speech followed by the Roman numeral for one and a period of history (identified with Stone, Bronze or Iron, for example).

18a Female injured diarist gets immediate treatment (5,3)
FIRST AID – F(emale) precedes an anagram (injured) of DIARIST.

19a Watchword of chap painting in retirement (6)
MANTRA – an adult male followed by the reversal (in retirement) of painting.

21a Rose playing ancient instrument in set (8)
RESOLUTE – an anagram (playing) of ROSE and an old stringed instrument.

23a Drawing of small sailing vessel (6)
SKETCH – S(mall) followed by a two-masted sailing boat. Chestnuts don’t come much older than this one.

26a Bird, yellow, heading off (5)
RAVEN – remove the first letter (heading off) from an adjective meaning yellow or cowardly.

27a Awfully pleased about a new walkway (9)
ESPLANADE – an anagram (awfully) of PLEASED contains A (from the clue) and N(ew).

28a Statement to media and crowd regarding charter (5,7)
PRESS RELEASE – charade of a verb to crowd or push forward, a preposition meaning about or concerning and a verb to charter or hire.

Down Clues

1d Rings about fabulous bird outside in river (7)
ORINOCO – two letters that are ring-shaped (the same letter that was also a ring in 1a) contain an enormous mythological bird which in turn contains IN (from the clue).

2d Name in headline? (5)
TITLE – double definition, the second a headline or caption.

3d To begin with, keep hugging a celebrity (3,1,5)
FOR A START – a keep or stronghold contains (hugging) A (from the clue) and a celebrity or leading performer.

4d What may be hard to dry? (4)
HAIR – the abbreviation for hard (as a category of lead pencil) followed by a verb to dry (clothes, for example).

5d Thoroughly impress dandy, reportedly, and live-in partner (4,4)
BOWL OVER – what sounds like (reportedly) a dandy or fashionable young man is followed by a sexual partner.

6d At university, superior by way of intelligence (2,3)
UP TOP – charade of an adverb meaning at university and an adjective meaning superior or unparalleled. One of Joan Collins’s many partners was known as Bungalow Bill because he was short in the intelligence department or didn’t have much ** ***.

7d A worker having eaten roll, departs full (8)
ABUNDANT – A (from the clue) and our usual working insect contain (having eaten) a kind of sweet roll and the single-letter abbreviation for departs (on a train timetable, say).

8d Wife sears fresh fish (6)
WRASSE – W(ife) followed by an anagram (fresh) of SEARS.

14d Mocking father over in seedy bar (8)
DERISIVE – reverse (over, in a down clue) a father (especially the father of a racehorse) and insert it in a seedy bar or club.

16d Chess player’s letters causing offence (9)
BLACKMAIL – charade of one of the two chess players and letters or post.

17d The other woman may be married, I emphasise (8)
MISTRESS – string together M(arried), I (from the clue) and a verb to emphasise.

18d Warning call about ancient city in uproar (6)
FURORE – a warning call on a golf course goes round our usual ancient Biblical city.

20d A permit held by the runner (7)
ATHLETE – start with A, then insert a verb to permit or allow into THE (from the clue).

22d No mixer, single, introduced to both sides? (5)
LONER – a cardinal number (single) comes between the abbreviations for the two sides.

24d Piece from Tahiti, a rare jewelled headdress (5)
TIARA – hidden (piece from) in the clue.

25d Pole with no excess fat? Not quite (4)
SPAR – start with an adjective meaning thin or without excess fat and remove the last letter (not quite).

The clues I liked best were 12a and 17d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: GILL + TEA PARTY = GUILTY PARTY

 


99 Comments

  1. Angel
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I agree this wasn’t much of a challenge but pleasant enough. No outstanding clues but I liked 5d and 6d. Dusting of snow in W. Sussex and very nippy. **/***. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

    • Merusa
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      My cousin is in Littlehampton, is that near you? I wonder if they’re having snow.

      • Angel
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Not too far away but I’m inland near Horsham however the coastal area usually gets less snow and indeed I have just met up with someone who lives in Brighton and they have had no snow today. However I see Jill below refers to Bournemouth airport being closed. In fact ours didn’t last long – thank goodness

        • Jane
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          I’m down that way in April – Barns Green – lucky lady I know there has Barn Owls and Little Owls nesting in her garden and regular visits from Nightingales. Really looking forward to it.

          • Hanni
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Add Little Owls to the list of, “Birds Hanni cannot spot/tell apart from other avians”!

            The list is extensive.

            • Jane
              Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              They really are very small (for owls) and have a permanently grumpy expression. Quite delightful to look at, but apparently quite vicious little things!

              • Hanni
                Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

                I know we have barn and tawny owls near us. There is one that is bloomin huge that swoops quite close at night. Quiz night time! I’m not relishing going out in the snow tonight. Well done on the Toughie. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

              • Kath
                Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

                I can relate to the permanently grumpy expression . . .

  2. dutch
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    i agree with Gazza, down to the favourites – a pleasant straightforward solve with some very nice clues. I also liked 12a (shorts) and 17d (the other woman..) is my favourite of the day. In addition, I thought “keep hugging a celebrity” (3d) was nice wordplay and I liked the chess player’s “letters causing offence” (16d).

    many thanks setter and Gazza for the review – I hadn’t heard of that Buffalo Bill before..

  3. Miffypops
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Easy Peasy today. I bet it didn’t fail Cryptic Sues criteria. Ta to all.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Crib tonight by any chance? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes Hanni. The Dun Cow from Hornton in Oxfordshire have to come to us. Saint Sharon has to travel to Bishops Itchington. I am practising the cut at the moment as there is a slight advantage to be gained if won.

        • Hanni
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Mmmm. Knowing nothing about crib, I can see how practising the cut will be of help. Good plan.

          Is it going to be on ESPN/Sky Sports? There’s enough poker shown on TV.

          • Miffypops
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            Downtown L I Pay Per View. 8.00pm until Midnight

            • Hanni
              Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

              PPV? Must be good to beat FA cup, ODI highlights, darts, Italian version of football, ‘men walking around a field and playing in the sand’ and ski jumping.
              Is there half time entertainment and alcohol? Either way, good luck. :-)

  4. Brian
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Agree with today’s ratings, no huge problems but did need Gazzas explanation for 22d, should have seen the both sides but but missed it.
    Best clue for me was 26a, not difficult but quite clever I thought. Lots of nice phrases but a bit short on anagrams.
    Thx to the setter and to Gazza for the explanations.
    No golf today Thx to the dratted white stuff so going to have to gird my loins and attack my study, damn filing!

  5. Beaver
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Just finished and before reading the Blog, decided that it was the first * that I can remember, so agree with Gazza ,it was a good ‘starter’ cryptic so why not *** for enjoyment . Thanks Gazza , thought the 5A pic would be too hard to resist!. Could have had a picture of Enya for 1D.

    • Jane
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Or even a you tube clip – that would have really made my day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • gazza
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I’ve succumbed to your request.

        • Jane
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          What a lovely man you are – thank you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

          • Kath
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

            I met him on Saturday – you’re right – he is a very lovely man. A little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif just for you, gazza.

        • Beaver
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Gazza-what about a womble!

        • Hilary
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the clip of Enya I had forgotten what a gorgeous track it was, I have to listen over headphones as OH took my loudspeakers away because they kept falling off the desk and it is even more spectacular. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  6. Cattach
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    This blog is like having a really smart best friend/grandparent on hand to prod you along! Thank you team it makes the day better.

    • gazza
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Cattach.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Hello from me too. I think most of us are kindly old grandparents, or waiting to be so.

    • Kitty
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      :). Welcome, Cattach.

  7. Hanni
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    */***

    Not exactly the most challenging Tuesday crossword but enjoyable nonetheless. 12 and 15a raised a smile. Started doing the Toughie, worth a look for non-regulars.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for blogging. :-)

    The moors are suitably coated in snow and looking particularly stunning today.

  8. JonP
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Certainly a straightforward solve but it took me a bit longer than it should’ve done to work out two of the clues so I’ll award it an extra half star for difficulty. Thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron 1.5*/3.5*

  9. Amy
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks again. Good fun again always appreciate your fun and support..5d and 7d and18 d nicely crafted.!

    • gazza
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      You’ve shortened your usual alias so your comment required moderation. Both forms should work from now on.

  10. Sweet William
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter, I found that difficult to get started, but once under way with some checkers it fell into place quite quickly with some amusing clues. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints – which I consulted to check the wordplay in a couple of clues.

  11. Michael
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, quite a easy solve today, even for me – over far too quickly. What am I going to do for the rest of the morning – there must be some paint somewhere to watch drying!

    Onward and upward – a snowy scene this morning here in East Herts but it’s thawing rapidly! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • gazza
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Try the Toughie – it’s not too difficult.

      • Hanni
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        I’ll second that Gazza.

        • Jane
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          I’ll third that – all done!

  12. skempie
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    One of the easier cryptics I’ve seen for a while but with some nice clues. Nice to see 8D making an appearance – can’t be an easy word to clue. Favourite today is probably 5D.

    No snow here although we keep getting warned that there may be a smattering, still not too warm though, I’ve seen a couple of brass monkeys walking very gingerly indeed

  13. Graham
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning all from a slightly white Southampton, I agree with the ratings offered by Gazza,no real stand out clues but did like 21A, 12A brought back some pleasant memories of the early 1970’s ah such happy pre mortgage days! Many thanks to the setter & To Gazza for his review.

  14. crypticsue
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Very straightforward puzzle today. Thanks to the Mysteron and Gazza.

    The Toughie is not that tricky either.

    Any idea how the ‘advert under the blog’ thingy knows we’ve just been to a village funeral – the adverts are for funeral expenses, death record searches and the like.

    • JonP
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Probably due to cookies – these, I think, can tailor online adverts by using search history and info from websites you’ve visited. Very Orwellian stuff….

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes but I hadn’t visited any such sites so that makes it even more mysterious.

        • JonP
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Hmm – not too sure then. GPS enabled mobile devices can tell where you are and offer ‘advice’ based on your location. My google tablet always knows where I am and keeps suggesting restaurants and places of interest based on my location or wherever I’ve been…

          • crypticsue
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            Nice idea but as Prolixic will tell you my mobile phone probably belongs in the Science Museum and so that theory doesn’t work either.

          • Hanni
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:34 am | Permalink

            Ok the first two ads that inhabit my devices make sense. Custom shelving doesn’t. I’ve thought about it. There has to be some cross references with previous searches, mailshots in advertising? Coding is clever stuff.

        • gazza
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          It’s probably picked up on your saying that you are ‘old enough to be a granny’ recently and has assumed the worst. :D

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s creepy isn’t it? I think it was in a recent letter in the Telegraph that a man who had recently been diagnosed a very minor heart condition reported that, after he had Googled it, he was then inundated with adverts for funeral expenses when visiting a variety of different web sites!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Even more spooky is that since I typed that comment, the advert on this blog has changed to, yes – you’ve guessed it, funeral expenses!

        • Steve_the_Beard
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          OK, now I’m intrigued. Let’s try an experiment. Here’s a phrase that I’ve never typed before, but I heard a colleague saying – hot Russian women. I’ll keep you posted :-)

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Interesting piece of research…
            http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

            • Miffypops
              Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

              That reminds me of the time I tried to buy panto tickets on line. I only typed in Babes In The Wood.

              • Merusa
                Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                I had a problem getting out of the pool one day, and there it is, ad for pool hoists. Big brother is watching you!

                • Hanni
                  Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                  Oak furniture, Quintessentially and custom shelving inhabit my devices.

                  • Jane
                    Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

                    I’ve just had to uninstall Wajam – how the heck did that get on there?

    • skempie
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      No advert here

      • pommers
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        You running Adblock Plus inFirefox? I am and no ads either. :smile:

    • Hilary
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Interesting you should make this comment, I have a gmail account for one special friend and I am constantly amused by the advertisements that pop up alongside it after I have mentioned a topic in my email. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    • Caroline
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      I’ve got free sewing classes – how does it know I can’t wait for Thursday’s Great British Sewing Bee!

    • Kath
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      All this kind of stuff spooks me completely.

  15. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I agree with Gazza’s exemplary review, rating and short list of best clues. With many thanks to both him and the mystery setter.

  16. Collywobbles
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I did enjoy todays’ puzzle given the comments about the ease of it. I don’t think that takes anything away from the enjoyment. Finished without referent to hints but many thanks for them Gazza for reference purposes in two or three cases.

    It may seem unbelievable but it is snowing quite heavily here and settling. It’s never been known. I’m going back to Blighty

  17. Jane
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    A thoroughly enjoyable romp – 1*/4* for me. No clues that I want to take issue with, everything exactly as it ‘says on the tin’.
    Plenty I could nominate as favourite but I’ll go for 17d (unless Gazza comes up with an Enya clip!).

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron for a great start to a sunny day on Anglesey and to Gazza for the excellent review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  18. Chris
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant and fairly quick (rather like the rare event of snow in our bit of S Dorset this morning – snow seems to be half melted already). Many thanks Gazza, and I agree with the ratings; no really stand-out clues for me. Thanks also to the setter.

  19. George
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I would say 1*/4 would be right.

  20. Omar
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I thought 22d was clever!

  21. Ian
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. Held up briefly by bunging in derisory at 14d and then struggling to find a bird to fit at 26a . Penny dropped with a loud clang. **/***. 17d made me smile so goes as my favourite. Thanks to all.

  22. pommers
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    */*** works for me, perhaps the easiest back pager ever? Quite enjoyable though with some nice surfaces. Fav was 3d I think, or perhaps 23a, both for their surface readings.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza, I like the video by the way!

  23. Mary Mary
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    */*** agreed ! However, I’d never heard of the ugly-named but colourful wrasse ……..
    Are you regular, quick solvers all part of some mysterious gang/spy ring ? I feel left out…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif Enigmatic comments leave this Lancashire Lass at a Loss ! Am convinced there is a conspiracy somewhere. ( Watching the Litvinenko investigation closely……..)

  24. silvanus
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely with Gazza that this is the ideal standard of puzzle for someone just starting to do cryptics, i.e. nothing too difficult or obscure, with fairly straightforward anagrams and wordplay.

    No stand-out clues for me, but I hadn’t seen 8d for a while, so it was nice to see it appear once again.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  25. Rick
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a 1* today and a benign Toughie too. in search of more amusement (I’m on puppy sitting duty today) I found today’s FT quite chewy and certainly worth a go.

  26. overtaxed
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Easiest Tuesday puzzle for a while. */***. Some good clues, all very fair, and 3d gets my nomination today. No snow here but it’s Baltic.

  27. Jill
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Pretty straightforward though pleasant. Managed to print off a copy as no paper delivery today, snow closed Bournemouth Airport. In Jersey we have had a light dusting which has pretty well disappeared by now. Fingers crossed for tomorrow! */**

  28. Heno
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. Yes, I agree with Gazza, very gentle, but some good clues. Favourite was 12a, last in was 19a. Was 1*/3* for me.

  29. Hilary
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    My comments disappeared boo hoo. Great confidence builder, I really felt my skills were improving until I read the blog to find that everyone else found it incredibly easy so back to square one. Too many nominees for favourite but 15a and 14d amused me. OH made gorgeous loaf yesterday so lovely crunchy toast for tea – yummy. Thanks to setter and Gazza, all over far too soon what do I do with the rest of the day? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  30. Merusa
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree, easy peasy, but no less enjoyable. I believe I must have seen 8d somewhere as I “drug it up” from the recesses of my brain.
    Fave is 15a, but also loved 3d and 5d.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for his splendid review.

    BTW, on looking as the pictures from the party, I correctly identified most before the captions appeared! Kath and Poppy exactly as I imagined them, Jean-Luc and Kitty also. Others, such as M’pops, C’Sue, BD, etc, I had seen pics of before so scored no points in identifying them!

    • Poppy
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      That’s amazing, Merusa. You must have X-ray-type vision! How I wish we could have a special gallery of regular bloggers somehow…. But then I think perhaps the mystery is more fun. Kath and I were saying on Saturday what a surprise we sometimes get when we meet someone at one of these do’s and find we’d not even guessed the gender correctly! I know I’m enjoying the fact that I know what Gazza, as well as his gorgeous lab, look like now. Hope you’re well. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  31. Jay legs
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Another walk in the park, two days in a row, :) With our first snow of the winter the only walk today :( */***

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    ‘Equine friendly’ was the expression that came to mind as we solved this one. As others have said, well crafted clues and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  33. Gwizz
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    A gentle day’s work as everyone says. I think I’ll nominate 5d as my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza for his revue.
    Now where is Sunday’s puzzle page? I must catch up…
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  34. fran
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    An easy week so far but although today’s fell into place very quickly , it had a nice feel to it **** for enjoyment . liked 5, 6 and 16d
    Still snow here in a very sunny Bolton , the moors look v. picturesque

  35. Sweet William
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Picturesque, but a bit chilly ! Doffcocker Lodge frozen over still !

  36. Salty Dog
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 1* at most but plenty to enjoy (3* for enjoyment). 12a is my favourite, for a whole lot of reasons mainly connected with the recollections of a youth which l would have liked to have been misspent (but the Royal Navy had other ideas). Many thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  37. Paso Doble
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Nice easy puzzle today – enjoyable and fun. After such an easy ride this morning we are tempted to give The Toughie a go for the first time this evening. However, it may wipe the smug smiles off our faces!

    • Angel
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Go for it! I’m not a regular and I have completed without too much struggle.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t always do the Toughie, but this one is definitely worth a go! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Kath
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes – go for it. I have one answer that I can’t get and a few others that I’m just about to go to “the other place” to look at the untangly bit – can’t work it out for myself. Good luck. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  38. Kath
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Another rather scrambled day hence my rating of 2*difficulty and 3*ish for enjoyment.
    This one and the Toughie all done in dribs and drabs and when there’s been a spare bit of time. Oh dear . . .
    I had a bit of trouble with a few of these:- I spent too long trying to make 9a mean “contend with” – inter around I knew not what! 26a – there isn’t a bird called an “Oward” and you’ll all just have to trust me on that – I know – I looked him up! Oh dear! 5d just took me a long time – no excuses for that one.
    I did like 12a and had already guessed that there would be a piccy for this answer! I also liked 27a because of how it read. I liked 3 and 8d too. I think my favourite was probably 17d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Supper and wine now, in no particular order as they say. Actually, on second thoughts . . . Off to “the other place” later.

  39. Poppy
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Finished this after a bit of a struggle, but very chuffed I managed without the hints. Thank you to setter, as well as to Gazza – do hope your black beauty was thrilled to have you back after his sojourn. I always worry that Poppy might apply for a transfer after she stays elsewhere, but haven’t found any crumpled (& no doubt poorly spelled, as English is her third language after Scots and German) applications for rehousing so far…

  40. Una
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and not all the clues were read and write, at least as far as I am concerned. I never heard of the 8d fish.Thanks Gazza and setter.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  41. Kitty
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I was a little on the sleepy side this morning, so while I had no problems I didn’t set any records for time. It might have been nice to see people’s difficulty ratings just a touch higher! (Especially as I then went and tried the Toughie, and though I did well by my standards it is a rude reminder that I’m not one of the pros just yet. Oh well – onwards and upwards…)

    8d I conjured up from somewhere, but not sure if I’ve actually heard of it or not. Most things I have heard of I don’t remember, so who knows? All very pleasant. I will go for 12a as favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza :).

  42. Framboise
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Completed Mysteron’s puzzle in a record time for me without any electronic or dictionary help, hurrah! Admittedly it was very easy but nevertheless gave me great enjoyment. Today was a success day all round as my granddaughter – aged 7 and a half – won first prize for the best antique Greece costume i spent almost two hours making out of a tablecloth which I did not want to spoil by cutting. Going to bed feeling rather chaffed! Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza – lovely to meet you on Saturday…

  43. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    The 2Kiwis are probably right about the fact that the puzzle is “equine friendly” as Monsieur Horse managed to complete the grid without too much difficulty.
    Although I am not very keen on rivers, the two that appeared were not too obscure and easy to parse.
    Remembered the steps in Odessa from that classic film about the Potemkine.
    17a reads wonderfully and I will go with Kath on being my favourite.
    Thanks to Gazza for the great review and to the setter.

    • Kath
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Monsieur Horse indeed! It was lovely to meet you on Saturday.
      17d not across (mainly because there isn’t one) was my favourite but a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif to you anyway!

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

        Hello Kath,
        I meant 17d of course but I could also have opted for the letter M. As the setter took one out of 10a I have decided to fight for the cause of the letter M. “Save the M” is my new war cry.

  44. Tstrummer
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Gazza has, as usual, got it spot on, although I would only give it half a star for difficulty. My only query would be 1a, which was obvious, but I don’t equate “blue” with livid.viz: “He had a livid scar across his face.” Ie Red. Or, “he was red-faced with anger, livid that he couldn’t do the Toughie.” Blue, I equate with gloom, sadness, Otis Redding and Joni Mitchell (not necessarily in that order – Otis would always come first). Thanks to Gazza, setter and everyone else. 0.5*/3*

    • gazza
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Like you I thought that livid was more red than blue. However, not for the first time, the BRB disagreed with me. It has: black and blue; of a lead colour; discoloured; pale, ashen; extremely angry (inf).

      • Jane
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Think I’ve heard it used as in ‘he went blue in the face with rage’ – but it wouldn’t have been my first choice of colour!

  45. David B
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I’ve lived outside the UK for 20 years, so wasn’t familiar enough with the slang meaning of “pants”! I still don’t understand 13A – what does the “wood” reference mean?

    • Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog David

      Deal is a type of wood – Chambers gives it as:
      * A fir or pine board of a standard size
      * Soft wood

      • David B
        Posted February 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the welcome. I should have scrolled down in my Chambers e-dictionary for the second definition of “deal” – sorry for the daft question… :-)

        Thanks also for all the hard work you and others do on this blog. I subscribed to the Telegraph app for the crosswords, and as a beginner, I appreciate the help I’ve had to get me up to speed. I seem to be old enough to appreciate the occasional 80s TV references, but not old enough to miss most of the contemporary terms. Isn’t this fun…!