DT 27716

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27716

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

After a record-breaking dry January, we have at last had a few days of rain that has been much appreciated by farmers and gardeners. This coming weekend is a long holiday one here for Waitangi Day (we don’t call them Bank Holidays here, but the same thing) and we are hoping the weather returns to dry again as we are expecting an invasion of family, intending to pitch their tents on the lawn.
A good fun puzzle again from Jay, slightly trickier, we thought, than last week’s.

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


1a     Head of state‘s opportunity with voting register from the East (10)
CHANCELLOR : A word for opportunity is followed by the reversal (from the East) of a list of people who have the right to vote. As Gazza has pointed out the lady in the pic is not the Head of state but of government.

6a     Tax whisky, not the Church (4)
SCOT : Take the well known whisky and remove the abbreviation for church from the end of it to get this old form of tax.

10a     Indian, for example, once a drunk (5)
OCEAN : Anagram ( drunk) of ONCE A.

11a     Mostly peach — and a soft fruit — go missing (9)
DISAPPEAR : Start with a word to describe a good-looking woman or peach, remove the last letter and add A from the clue, then musical notation for soft, and a pipfruit.

12a     Hesitates — daughter is crossing the river (7)
DITHERS : Abbreviation for daughter, then IS from the clue. Insert into this THE from the clue and R(iver).

13a     Guarantees European fix in Sevenoaks, disheartened (7)
SECURES : Disheartened Sevenoaks gives us the first and last letters of the answer. Inside goes E(uropean) and a word meaning fix or heal.

14a     Criminal case turned on deeply ingrained habit (6,6)
SECOND NATURE : Anagram (criminal ) of CASE TURNED ON.

18a     Commercial advice from chamber — a temporary worker to get rise (6,6)
CAVEAT EMPTOR : It’s a Latin phrase we are looking for. A synonym for what is usually an underground chamber, A from the clue, a temporary employee and a small hill.

21a     The repercussions of being fired? (7)
RECOILS : A cryptic definition of the kick-backs from discharging firearms.

23a     A letter in retinol is perfectly reversed (7)
EPSILON : A Greek letter written backwards in the clue.


24a     Problem identification is doing as badly (9)
DIAGNOSIS : Anagram (badly) of IS DOING AS.

25a     External computer device with no lead (5)
OUTER : The computer device that connects you to the world with its first letter removed.

26a     Bound to get clocked, with minutes deducted (4)
TIED : A synonym for clocked with the abbreviation for M(inutes) removed. This one is for Jean-Luc’s new war cry.

27a     Frenchman welcoming escort’s bijou accommodation (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE : Take the archetypical Frenchman’s name and inset a word for an escort. Another one for Jean-Luc!

1d     Hosts, and brags about diamonds (6)
Paper version:  Brags about depth, and presses
CROWDS : A word for brags with the card players’ abbreviation for diamonds included.
Paper version: A word for brags with D(epth) included.

2d     Experts change dates to absorb pressure (6)
ADEPTS : Anagram (change) of DATES with P(ressure) included.

3d     Organisations distributing food in centres across area (14)
CONFEDERATIONS : An anagram (distributing) of FOOD IN CENTRES with A(rea) included.

4d     Lake poems with quality must be a magnet (9)
LODESTONE : The abbreviation for lake, one type of poems and then a synonym for quality.

5d     Houses where cooks go hatless? (5)
OASTS : These houses are special drying ones found in Kent (or near Motueka in NZ). Take a word meaning cooks in the oven and remove its first letter.

7d Obvious snub includes King Charles, initially (5-3)
CLEAR-CUT : Take a three letter synonym for a snub and insert a Shakespearian king and the first letter of C(harles). The pic has nothing to do with the answer here but was too cute not to use.

8d     Heart broken, with no energy, discarded and beaten (8)
THRASHED : Anagram (broken) of HEART with E(nergy) removed, then a word meaning discarded.

9d     Sun’s taken on Left supporting magazine — there’s something to watch (9,5)
SPECTATOR SPORT : The first word is the name of a famous London magazine and then the abbreviation for S(un) and the nautical left.

15d     Downhearted lower socioeconomic groups campaigned (9)
DEPRESSED : The fourth and fifth alphabetical grades for socioeconomic groups and then a word for campaigned or vigorously lobbied for.

16d     Officially recognise deferred payment after bill (8)
ACCREDIT : The deferred payment is possibly because you used your plastic card and follows the two letter abbreviation for a bill.

17d     Completely empty, but gave a cute play with no end of acting (8)
EVACUATE : Anagram (play) of GAVE A CUTE with the last letter of acting deleted.

19d     Craftsman getting delayed in Southern Region (6)
SLATER : This craftsman works on your roof not your boat and comes from a word meaning delayed inside S(outhern) R(egion).

20d     Bus not regularly on the way in Paris. That’s not right! (6)
UNTRUE : Alternate letters from bus not before the French word for a street.

22d     Vessel mostly loaded with American food for Japan (5)
SUSHI : A large sea-going vessel with it’s last letter removed contains the abbreviation for American.

After considerable cogitation we chose 9d as favourite today.

nigh + towels = night owls



  1. gazza
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay for the usual quality puzzle and to 2Kiwis for the usual high-standard review.
    Just to be pedantic Frau Merkel is not the head of state but the head of government. The current head of state in Germany is President Joachim Gauck (who he? I hear you ask).

    • Paso Doble
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Well said Gazza!

  2. Miffypops
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    As always with Jay a slow start leads to a mad rush at the end as the checkers give up the words to fill the spaces. Parsing follows. Excellent clueing. Good surface reads and a little misdirection. There was even a little bit of Sushi for when I got hungry. All crosswords need a little bit of food in them. Perfect. ta to the 2ks and good luck with the onslaught. ta to Jay.

  3. Beaver
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    A **/*** for me today, very logical parsing by our setter , no hold-ups apart from spelling 4d wrongly, which never helps .Liked 27a and the surface reading of17d.Not sure about the validity of 18a,always find Latin /legal expressions questionable ,especially when there is no hint of a ‘foreign’ language being required in the clue , as in this case , thanks to the 2k,s for the blog except the pic for 1a!

    • Hanni
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      “Load” for the start of 4d? That’s what I did.

      • Beaver
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Correct, we should have read the clueing more carefully!

        • Hanni
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink


  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    2.5*/3.5*. I thought this was a very enjoyable puzzle which needed a steady solve taking me a bit above my 2* time with the NW the last corner to fall. 9d was my favourite too as the best of an excellent selection of clues, except …

    I would have awarded it 4* for enjoyment but for 5d, which doesn’t work for me – although the experts may well not agree! I’m happy with the deception to use a noun in the clue to lead to a verb in the answer, but it just doesn’t seem to sit right to use “go hatless” instead of “goes hatless” as an instruction to remove the first letter of a verb. Obviously “goes hatless” would ruin the surface reading, so why not Houses for hatless cooks?

    Nevertheless, many thanks to Jay for a great puzzle, and to the 2Kiwis .

    • dutch
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree, well spotted – “go” in 5d doesn’t have the right grammar in the cryptic reading

    • Kitty
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re probably right, but there is a question mark in the clue. I like your alternative :). Given the tone of the puzzle, I’d probably use headless cooks instead. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    • pommers
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I don’t have a problem with 5d. Just read the clue as “Houses where roasts go hatless?”. That works fine for me.
      It would need to be GOES if the clue were singular.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Pommers, I agree your reading is fine, but my concern is that the noun “roasts” in your version is not a synonym for the noun “cooks” used in the clue. Therefore the word “roasts” we are trying to decapitate is a verb, and therefore saying “go hatless” is ungrammatical. I couldn’t set a crossword for love or money, and Jay is clearly a master at doing so, but this particular construction just didn’t seem quite right to me (and could have been avoided using the “hatless – or headless! – cooks” solution).

        Nevertheless I bow to your many years’ greater experience of crosswords than mine that this is OK in crosswordland, and so I am happy retrospectively to increase my enjoyment factor to 4*.

        • Franco
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Pedantry Flattery will get you nowhere.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            That’s a shame! :wink:

            What is seriously concerning with reference to comment #19 below, is that since I posted my comment above at 15:00, the blog advert has changed to offer me an Instant Grammar Checker!

            • pommers
              Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink


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

            Au contraire, flattery will get you everywhere!

  5. Jezza
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    This one took me a little longer than normal for a Wednesday to finish off. Many thanks to Jay for the normal excellence, and to 2Kiwis for the review.

  6. Hilary
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    No I have not even looked at the crossword yet because paper was late but I have just spent a wonderful few minutes browsing the gallery from Saturday’s get-together – great putting faces to names and the cake looked fabulous. Back to ironing and then the crossword after lunch.

  7. Rod
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. 18a took a wee bit of time to work out but got there in the end. Thanks 2Ks and Jay.

  8. dutch
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t massively excited by today’s puzzle, some nice clues and some niggles. In 27a “bijou” feels gratuitous to me, it might even lack accuracy in definition in that it could, but as far as I know need not be, typically applied to the answer – I think the clue reads much more “cutely” without it.

    In 18a, felt a little disappointing to see part of the charade in the clue as the 1st 4 letters of the word it abbreviates.

    My BRB lists “oast house”, but under “oast” there is reference only to kiln not house, so I would have thought that “oast houses” is not usually split into just “oasts” as it is in the answer – but I could be wrong.

    I liked 10a (the indian who was once a drunk), I liked 14a (because it took me a while to parse the anagram, and I liked 23a (a letter in retinol..), just because it read so nicely. I also thought the surface in 16d (defer payment after bill) was nice.

    Many thanks Jay
    and many thanks Two Kiwis

    • Steve_the_Beard
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Re bijou in 27A. The ODE describes the answer to 27A as “a small flat, house, or room kept for occasional use”.

      • Dutch
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Steve – I don’t have the ODE – but doesn’t bijou mean really cute and quaint in addition to small? The answer I would agree is small and for occasional use, but I struggled to see why it would be also be cute and quaint, normally I think of this as a piece of floor space… but maybe my interpretation of bijou is off… And without bijou, the clue is more interesting I think…thought…whatever…

  9. Miffypops
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    We get too many pictures of that Merkel woman in the DT. I promise I will never ever include her in my reviews.

  10. Hanni
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink


    Until the 1940’s, fake snow in films was made by painting cornflakes white. Just thought I’d share that as I watch the snow come down.

    Another wonderful crossword from Jay. On first pass I got 6 clues which panicked me a little. However I’ve learnt to take a deep breath and carry on.

    I made a mistake with the spelling of 4d, see above, and then messed up the SE corner. I stupidly pencilled in ‘epistle’ for 23a but realised my mistake straight away. However I didn’t correct it, so solving 19 and 20d became harder. Hey ho!

    Two favourites, sorry Kath but both made me smile, 18a and 9d.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for a great blog. I hope the weather improves for you.

    I’m struggling with the Toughie today.

    • Jane
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I was stupid over ‘epistle’ too!

      Probably not got enough time for the Toughie today – depends on what time I get home tonight from Bird Group. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Glad it wasn’t just me!

        Enjoy your bird group. I’ve got about half the clues so far but I’m not giving up, yet.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I’m finding the Toughie very hard going! Barely making a dent.

      • Hanni
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Getting 15 and 18a definitely helped. 6 clues to go now! We’ll both crack it. It’s certainly living up to its name today.

  11. Jane
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Went in fairly easily with the exception of 18a where I had to wait for plenty of checkers and 2d – I had forgotten that the word is also a noun.
    6a was a new word – presumably that’s where the phrase ‘scot-free’ comes from?
    23a was a proud moment – finally remembered some of the Greek letters! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    2.5*/4* for me with 27a being the best smile and 14a my favourite read.

    Many thanks to Jay and to 2Ks for the super review – I was very grateful for your help with the retro. parsing of 11a!

  12. skempie
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The usual good fare from Jay, good fun to solve and not to difficult. Favourite today has to be 3D – excellent anagram

  13. Michael
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    My paper had the clue for 1d as ‘Brags about depth, and presses’.

    I really enjoyed this one – I thought I was really going to struggle after the first pass but it gradually fell into place. 6a was a new word to me – I was indepted to the BRB for that one. 2d was also a new – I’ve never seen it used as a noun.

    Onwards and upward – I had a quick look at the Toughie yesterday and got a couple on the first pass but gave it up as a bad job and got dragged down to Lakeside to go round and round (and round and round) the shops – I hate lakeside with a passion! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Refusing to go to the shops is not a good idea Michael but misbehaving when you get there is great fun and leads to not being asked to go. I never go shopping. Saint Sharon tootles off on her own and I can play music as loudly as I want whilst SS buys me lots of little treats. (Olives and sundried tomatos). Toughies will only give up their secrets with repeated reading of the clues.

      • Kitty
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Mmm, olives and sundried tomatoes. Saint Sharon gets more and more saintly the more I hear about her.

      • Hanni
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Add some goats cheese or feta, maybe some decent bread and Rioja or a light Pinot Noir. Mmmm. Some griddled halloumi and lemon with mini crab cakes with a white wine I’ve yet to decide. I’m hungry and that’s all summer food.

        • crypticsue
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I’m going home now to make cauliflower cheese with jacket potatoes. Now that’s the right sort of food for this time of year.

          • Miffypops
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Beef stew without the beef for me in the winter . Olives and co any time of year. Fresh crab sandwiches in hot sunshine with a pint is best.

            • Hanni
              Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

              Oxtail or shin, slow cooked for about 12 hours with celeriac mash or just mash. That’s Fridays dinner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif All to be eaten after a 20 mile walk out of Lord Stones. Alcohol will be involved. In fact there will be alcohol in my hip flask, not my Camelbak though.
              Edit..CS I love cauliflower cheese.

              • crypticsue
                Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

                It is a small 2-person cauli or I’d invite you round.

    • Omar
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I had the same 1d clue….I can’t see one is better than the other, so not sure why

    • Franco
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      1d – I wonder why there are different clues in the paper and the on-line version?

      Also, there is a big crease in my paper right down the middle of the down clues in the Toughie – very difficult to read – may need my butler to iron it before attempting the solve.

  14. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot, 11a and 7d being my favourites. Thanks to the 2K and Jay. (About 2* / 4* for me today.)

  15. George
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    A bit of a write in for me today. I quite enjoyed 5d as it brought back to me the days of London East Enders heading east to pick the crop before drying.
    I missed the anagram in 14a, but realised the answer from the checking letters – criminal is a prompt for an anagram? learnt another new thing.

    1*/4* for me today.

    • Michael
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Ah – I missed that one too – ‘criminal’ immediately enters the memory bank and will probably disappear straight out the other side as per normal – ah well, thanks anyway! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  16. Rick
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    A steady solve that took me a gnat’s wotsit into 2* time. It felt longer but the clock doesn’t lie, so perphaps my brain is speeding up (if true it’s the only bit of me that is…).
    No real problems but as a shooting man I do take issue with 21a, which I have never seen used as a plural noun. It jars as much as a farmer talking about his sheeps.

  17. Omar
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    For me it was the easiest or a while and certainly no more difficult than 27,715, so 1* only…..but a good quality puzzle with all the clue/answer combinations precise and logical…..

  18. Omar
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    ……..and nothing obscure apart from 6a….

  19. Steve_the_Beard
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Blimey, that’s two personal-best times in two days! Given that no-one else (apart from Omar) seems to think today’s as easy as yesterday’s, I must just have been on the right wavelength.

    News re the experiment – putting “hot Russian women” into yesterday’s comment has not led to any interesting advert on this page (annuity income calculator, anyone?). I can only conclude that you good folks were repeating parts of your comments elsewhere.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      The advert I am seeing on this blog at the moment is offering a toolbar for Indian Translation. I will not be availing myself of this as I know all I need, i.e.:

      Korma – mild curry
      Bhuna – medium curry
      Madras – hot curry
      Vindaloo – flaming hot curry

      in fact, my very first thought for 10a today was that “Indian, for example,” might mean curry.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Stellar piece of research Steve! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
      I’ve got walking boots being advertised.

    • Kitty
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Ads. Ugh. They have got really quite ridiculous lately. To find out a bit more about how the ones on this blog work you can look here:


      Haha! – I have discovered that Google thinks I’m a 65+ year old male based on my browsing history!

  20. Expat Chris
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Another lovely Wednesday puzzle. I didn’t know 6A was a tax. Wonder if it’s where ‘scot free’ comes from. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis for the review.

    • Steve_the_Beard
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Yep, that’s exactly where it comes from :-)

  21. SheilaP
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I think we were the only two people in the entire crossword solving community to find yesterday’s puzzle really hard, so today’s, once we got started, wasn’t too bad and we just needed some help with the explanations. Not that we found it easy, it took ages to get started and it didn’t help not being able to get onto this site on my iPad for ages. Thank you to the Wednesday setter and to the 2Kiwis.

    • Veronique
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      No you weren’t the only ones finding yesterday’s difficult. I made an easy start and then came to a grinding halt! Felt embarrassed to admit it when everyone else seemed to find it so easy!

      • SheilaP
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t blog yesterday either, for the same reason. Everyone saying how easy a crossword is, when I find it hard, is worse than some saying they did it in 5 minutes, which you’re not allowed to say otherwise you get sent to the naughty corner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Ginny
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi SheilaP, you weren’t alone. I also found yesterday’s extremely fiddly and tricky and needed help to finish it, and also didn’t like to admit my ignorance in the face of so much expertise…
      I have found today’s much more straightforward and am just waiting for inspiration to strike for 9d and 24a. I enjoyed 18a and 27a. Thanks very much to the Setter and to the 2Ks. Enjoy your family gathering.

  22. Kitty
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a downer of a crossword! I don’t mean the wordplay, which was Jay’s usual excellence, but rather 11a, 18a, 8d and 15d – and a few others with some negative connotations. Enough to make one want to 11a into an 10a with a large lump of 4d 16a on.

    So for some reason I was dead on wavelength today! In that mood, I have no choice but to pick 8d as favourite.

    I didn’t know the tax of 6a, but it was so clear that it went in without much doubt. 21a was my last in: I don’t really know why, but my mind was set on burning, and I had lots of flamey thoughts of being reduced to a pile of ash.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  23. pommers
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    We must have been on just the right wavelength today, perhaps because I’ve blogged about 80 Jay puzzles over the years. We got all but one of the across clues (missed 18a) and then every one of the downs so the whole thing was over far too quickly. Enjoyed it while it lasted though so we’ll go for */***.

    6a was favourite even though we would prefer the Church to be taxed rather than the whisky.

    Ta muchly Jay (there’s nearly a joke there) and thanks to the 2Kiwis.

  24. The Navigator
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle with this one… Finished it but I never really felt on the wavelength. It is good to be stretched every now and then?

  25. Hilary
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Very cross with myself as I completely failed to see 18a, it ‘s not very nice in the cupboard under the stairs and I am down to two tissues. Started well but despite having nearly everything in place fell at the last fence. Bright but chilly in East Suffolk, off to plan layout for Southwold Arts Festival exhibition in June ahead of meeting next week. It would help if someone would answer my emails and tell me how much space I have. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      P S sorry forgot to say thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for explaining where I had come unstuck.

  26. Andrew
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straight forward, no real challenges although I had to look up 6a as I’ve never encountered that word with that meaning before – the world play was simple enough but I had to check the answer. Very pleasant

  27. Jill
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle. I was “on fire” and completed it as a write-in but appreciated the quality of the clueing. ***/**

  28. silvanus
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    For me, the most challenging puzzle for a while, not helped by struggling with 18a and believing (naively) that this setter would not follow recent precedents and include a large part of the answer in the clue, albeit in non-abbrieviated form – but he did !

    A very enjoyable work-out, so thanks to the three birds, 1Jay and 2Kiwis :-)

  29. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    ***/****. Splendid puzzle which was not at all obvious on the first pass but once in motion was so much fun. Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks for an equally enjoyable review.

  30. Brian
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Would haven a great puzzle for me if I could only have got the last three, 5d, 1d and 12a all eluded me today. 1d and 12a I should have got but I think 5d would always have been far beyond me.
    Thx to all

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Good morning everyone. Thanks to those who pointed out that the paper has a different clue for 1d. Have just added that to the blog.
    Time to confess that we were within seconds of perpetuating a blunder of world shattering proportions when we were putting the blog together yesterday. We had it all set to go and were just giving it a final check over. We decided that the picture we had for 23a was a bit big and looked out of proportion. It was only when we were looking for an alternative that it dawned on us that we had actually chosen Sigma by mistake as our illustration! (They are somewhat similar) Disaster averted at the 11th hour.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      This lot would have spotted it for sure. I once put a photo of Tennyson to illustrate the clue HIAWATHA along wth the opening lines of the poem Which was of course written by Longfellow.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Ah, we remember it well.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I forgot to ask. Did you beat the Oxford contingent?

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          Four games to three. Saint Sharon’s team won six games to one which Captain Sharon lost.

          • Hanni
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Well done. Does that keep you top? I hope that you were suitably supportive to Captain Sharon.

            • Miffypops
              Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

              We are top by six points at the moment. My Avatar is the league table.before last nights games. To console St Sharon I booked a table for Valentines night. I just hope she knows how to play snooker

              • Hanni
                Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

                Yes…I noticed the avatar yesterday, hence why I asked. When does the season end?
                That’s what I like about you Miffypops, it’s those little thoughtful touches.

                • Miffypops
                  Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

                  With the singles, pairs cup, and ladies competitions we play through until the end of May. The men do not get their own competition but the ladies knock out cup is always a good night usually with a theme so we can dress up. The men peg the games for the ladies. Great fun.

              • jean-luc cheval
                Posted February 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

                Poor St Sharon. Not only st valentine falls on a Saturday night but the only food you get in a snooker hall these days are crisps if you’re lucky.

                • Hanni
                  Posted February 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

                  I forgot it was next Saturday. The other half is playing golf.
                  Maybe this is an exclusive snooker club where they sell handmade crisps in obscure flavours.
                  I think Miffypops should dress up as a pirate. Can the blog nominate the theme?

                  • Miffypops
                    Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

                    The theme is chosen by the team that last years lady winner plays for. Not yet announcd. Next Saturday I have this planned. Coventry v Macclesfield in the afternoon for the boys and my sister with beers before and after. A meal in an Italian restaurant for the same as above with partners. Then we all tropp across the way to The Belgrade Theatre to see Alan Bennett’s History Boys. Gin & tonics before and during the interval. Beer in The Town Wall Tavern afterwards. way to go.

                    • Hanni
                      Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

                      Nicely done MP. I hope you all have a lovely time with laughs aplenty. :-)

  32. Merusa
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I loved this, thanks Jay. I did need 2Kiwi hints to know why 11a was correct, and needed electronic gizmo to get 18a.
    Fave was 27a, honourable mention to 9d.
    Thanks to 2Kiwis for your review; of course, the first thing I did was to google Waitangi Day, how interesting that was.


  33. JonP
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Needed to look up 18ac – apart from that pretty plain sailing with the usual enjoyment that, for me (and many others here), is synonymous with Jay’s puzzles. Thanks to the 2Kiwis and Jay **/****

  34. Framboise
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    A bit more difficult than yesterday’s! Managed to complete it except for 23a – did not see the hidden reversed clue, wondering if Kath got it! Silly me was despairing about 7d just because I had 3-5 instead of 5-3, how daft! I would agree with the 2Kiwis rating. I really enjoyed this puzzle so many thanks to Jay’s elegant clues and to the 2Kiwis for the hints. 3d was my favourite: what a clever anagram!

  35. Gwizz
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    At first glance I thought I was heading for a battle, but once started everything fell into place quite easily. Even so, the long ones still took a little while to reveal themselves.
    9d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2 K’s.

  36. Owdoo
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle with no real hold ups today although it took me a bit longer than I’d have wished to get the long word at 3d.
    Thanks Jay and the 2Ks.

    I’m looking forward to a bit of 9d on Friday evening…

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Me too Owdoo. I will be happy to be a pub chair spectator. Nothing will get me back into The Millenium Stadium with all that amplified row

  37. Paso Doble
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    A walk in the park today….and then we had to come home and do the crossword! Our dog, Badger, flusters more than us when we are pondering over puzzles. It’s nearly 7pm but another crossword bites the dust. Done & dusted so we’ll forget the toughie & kick off with the groover tomorrow morning. Obviously a big thank you to Jay and a couple of Antipodeans…..

  38. Salty Dog
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    A very jolly little puzzle – 2*/4* or so, and 18a was my pick of the clues. Thanks to Jay for the entertainment, and to the 2 Kiwis for the review.

  39. Heno
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but difficult puzzle from Jay. I must have written the answers to half a dozen clues, then spent ages trying to parse them. Got there in the end, last in was 21a. Needed the hints to parse 18a & 9d. Favourite was 8d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  40. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Found it easier than yesterday too.
    Even if I started by 10a for which I promptly wrote CANOE. Quite obvious when you remember Indians canoeing down rapids. But the mistake was quickly spotted and the rest was quick to parse.
    Today all the anagrams just seemed to jump at me. Apart from the one in 24a.
    Kitty, I thought Del Boy was the only person not to know VAT. Fabulous indirect tax that everyone pays regardless of their earnings. Oh no ! that one was in the toughie. Just realised while writing. Can’t be bothered to delete.
    I agree with Dutch about the bijou: To some people a pied à terre can have a dozen bedrooms.
    Thanks to Gazza for reminding me of who was the president of Germany. I thought it was still Joannes Rau. Best before 2006 as MP would say.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for the review.

  41. Angel
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t able to look at this until this evening and then I nearly threw in the towel in the early stages I found it really tricky and can’t believe I actually managed to finish without hints but thanks 2Kiwis for standing by in case of need. I personally am happy with the clue to 5d. Thanks Jay for a bit of a battle. ****/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  42. Sweet William
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    One final go at posting ! Keep getting “Timed out” ! Thanks Jay & 2Ks – good night ! must be something wrong with my computer.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Was doing that for me this morning. I checked on my phone, tab and Macbook, all three had access problems with either timed out or hosting error. It seems to have sorted itself out now at my end.

  43. Tstrummer
    Posted February 5, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Excellent fare from Jay, even if it was more or less a write in. 18a was my favourite. To all those who doubt “bijou” in 27a I give you the expression “a bijou pied a terre” which is how such a place always used to be described back in the day. I guess “pied a terre” has been stolen from the French (as usual) but adapted by the English to mean a small bolt hole. No one would ever describe a four-bedroom flat as such. In London, you’d probably have to pay the mansion tax on it. Thanks to K-squared for the entertaining review and to Jay for allowing me an early night. Live radio will be more of a challenge at 10.30 in the morning. 2*/3*

  44. Catnap
    Posted February 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I did most of this last evening and finished off the last couple early this morning. I agree with the 2Kiwis’ rating of ***/****. I enjoyed the puzzle a good deal, and find it difficult to select a fave clue. Those I most liked were 18a, 25a, 27a, 4d, 5d, 9d and 20d.

    I didn’t need any hints and had no problems with the parsing, but always find it valuable to go through the review after solving. Loved the illustrations.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the excellent puzzle and review respectively.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted February 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Catnap. Even though your comment is later than most it is still noticed and appreciated. Cheers.

      • Catnap
        Posted February 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        How kind of you to say that, 2Kiwis. Thank you.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif