DT 27721

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27721

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

This puzzle wasn’t quite as easy as last Tuesday’s but it shouldn’t really detain anyone too long from moving on to the Toughie/getting to grips with the chores of the day (delete as appropriate). 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 Time lag’s got  to be extended (7)
STRETCH – double definition, the first the amount of time to which a lag has been sentenced.

5a Flesh is cut — that’s mean (7)
SELFISH – an anagram (cut) of FLESH IS.

9a Ordinary American university next to Alabama (5)
USUAL – three abbreviations stuck together.

10a Greedy, getting stung by debts (9)
AMBITIOUS – a charade of ‘getting stung’ (2,3) and the usual debts or promissory notes. This doesn’t work for me (unless I’m missing something) – I can’t come up with any sentence in which the first five letters of the answer can be replaced by ‘getting stung’ (‘get stung’ on the other hand would just about work).

11a Peculiar  person (10)
INDIVIDUAL – two definitions, the first an adjective meaning peculiar or distinctive.

12a Mother’s temperature — it rises on board a ship (4)
MAST – string together an affectionate term for mother, the ‘S from the clue and T(emperature).

14a Criminal man’s honest? It creates confusion (12)
ASTONISHMENT – an anagram (criminal) of MAN’S HONEST IT.

18a Crazily invest more to secure MP’s changes for the better (12)
IMPROVEMENTS – an anagram (crazily) of INVEST MORE containing (to secure) MP.

21a Cheat has no right to get sign of approval from teacher (4)
TICK – drop the R (has no right) from a verb to cheat or deceive.

22a Without a thought, recluse lays ground to ignore what’s proper (10)
CARELESSLY – an anagram (ground) of RECL(u)SE LAYS without the letter that’s used to mean proper or socially acceptable.

25a Staying much absorbed, initially, in what carriage driver is doing? (9)
REMAINING – insert the initial letters of Much Absorbed into what a carriage driver is doing to control his horse.

26a Fish with a line? Perfect (5)
IDEAL – the freshwater fish that’s so useful to crossword compilers is followed by A (from the clue) and L(ine).

27a Orchestral performance has new ending — that’s a worry (7)
CONCERN – an orchestral performance with the final T replaced by N(ew).

28a Groan — Edward’s spotted (7)
SIGHTED – a groan or whimper is followed by one of the short forms of Edward.

Down Clues

1d Where one might find artists hard-working? Not us! (6)
STUDIO – drop the final US from an adjective meaning hard-working (at university, say).

2d Skirts no good in gardens (6)
ROUNDS – remove the initial G(ood) from gardens or surrounding land.

3d I’ve let son out to purchase one box set (10)
TELEVISION – an anagram (out) of I’VE LET SON containing (to purchase) the Roman numeral for one.

4d Picked up king, perhaps, to capture rook (5)
HEARD – this looks like a homophone-type clue but it isn’t. What a king is an example of contains the chess abbreviation for rook.

5d Military vessel? It’s not seen in the main (9)
SUBMARINE – a gentle cryptic definition. Such a vessel operates in the sea (in the main) but it’s not usually visible.

6d Behind time, with others turning up (4)
LATE – an expression from Latin meaning with others (2,2) is reversed (turning up, in a down clue).

7d Remote island with very old diamonds (8)
ISOLATED – the single-letter abbreviation for island is followed by an adverb meaning very or to a high degree, an adjective meaning old or erstwhile and the abbreviation for diamonds (as a card suit).

8d Stall he has that is containing junk (8)
HESITATE – the contracted form of ‘he has’ precedes the abbreviation for ‘that is’ containing rubbish or items of little value.

13d Caught mad character in government, babbling (10)
CHATTERING – string together the cricket abbreviation for caught, Carroll’s mad character, IN (from the clue) and G(overnment).

15d Where one might hear music transformed into action (9)
OPERATION – a type of musical performance is followed by an anagram (transformed) of INTO.

16d Mash is, to Richard, somewhat remarkable (8)
HISTORIC – hidden (somewhat) in the clue.

17d Small rodents returning in animal enclosure, for example (8)
SPECIMEN – start with S(mall) then reverse some rodents inside an animal enclosure.

19d Approve climb, we hear? (6)
ASSENT – this sounds like a climb or upward slope.

20d Went round cricket club — was first unknown to be welcomed in (6)
CYCLED – the abbreviation for cricket club is followed by a verb meaning was first or headed the field. Finally insert (welcomed in) one of the mathematical unknowns.

23d Slowly moves insect, top to bottom (5)
EDGES – this is a type of mayfly with its first letter (top) moved to the end (bottom).

24d The man maintaining I would go to ground (4)
HIDE – a male pronoun (the man) contains (maintaining) the contracted form of ‘I would’.

I’ll plump for the simple but effective 11a as my favourite clue with an honourable mention for 4d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: HOARSE + SCENTS = HORSE SENSE

 


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95 Comments

  1. Graham
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Nice puzzle no real problems & would agree with the ratings offered by Gazza.Many thanks to the setter & to Gazza for the review.

  2. Beaver
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Can’t quibble with Gazza’s rating and made a note of 10d as being a bit ‘iffy’ before I read the blog . Knew 23d was a type of grass and a warbler, but not an insect, however the clueing was clear enough ,as it was for the crossword in general. Liked the 22a wordplay and 20d

    • Ashley Wilkes
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Agreed………..10a & 23d were both on the iffy side for me too

  3. Michael
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I didn’t need the Banana trick today but it was an interesting and enjoyable puzzle – a couple of them were a bit dubious, ‘sigh’ for ‘groan’ – umm!

    Onward and upward – off to Golf for the first time for weeks – boy am I unfit! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  4. George
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    A moderately easy romp today. 1*/4*

  5. dutch
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable and not too taxing this morning. I liked the surface reading (the story) in 18a (crazily invest..) and 22a (without a thought, recluse..), both quite clever clues I thought. I liked the natural “for example” in 17d, which is read “giving/producing example” in the cryptic reading. I quite liked the “Time lag’s got” in 1a – except I had “scratch” stuck in my head for too long. Wasn’t sure about “confusion” in 14a, to me that is not exactly the same as the answer (one is amazement, the other is lack of interpretability) and it would have been easy I think to use another word. I agree with Gazza about 10a, “getting” stung doesn’t feel right whereas “get” works

    Many thanks setter and Gazza

  6. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    2*/3*. I did enjoy this and I was heading for 1* time but I got held up a bit in the SE corner stretching me close to 2* for difficulty.

    As mentioned by others, I found 10a suspect, and I was hoping for some explanation from Gazza – but the clue doesn’t work for him either. I also agree with Gazza on the choice of 11a as favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  7. dave hartley
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I know I’m being a bit of a Which Tyler (leader of the pedant’s revolt), but if I am reading my Chamber’s correctly a ‘sedge’ is a fishing fly, and therefore not an insect.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Dave, a sedge is a type of flying insect as well as the name of a fishing fly.

      I love the idea of a pedants’ revolt. Can I join in please?

      • Hanni
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        You can buy the book called “The Pedant’s Revolt’, by Andrea Barham. I can see it now. It’s in my study with all the Schott’s and New Scientist books. At least I think I can see it. I’m typing without my contacts in.

      • dave hartley
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but the name of the insect is a ‘sedge fly’. If a ‘sedge’ is the same as a ‘sedge fly’ then a ‘horse’ must be the same as a ‘horse fly’.

        • Rick
          Posted February 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          No fisherman would talk of sedge flies or caddis flies – just sedge and caddis. Your ‘horse fly’ analogy is wrong because the correct spelling is horsefly or, less commonly, horse-fly.

        • Dave Hartley
          Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          My point precisely, the fishing fly is a ‘sedge’, but the insect is a ‘sedge fly’. Chambers gives the definition (in bold) of ‘sedge fly’ as ‘any of several species of mayflies….’. The only two definitions given for ‘sedge’ are the grass like plant and the fishing lure. I do agree that my analogy is weakened by the modern spelling of horse’fly.

          • Rick
            Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            My Chambers (electronic) has the definition I posted below (12.27) as no. 3, above the fishing lure. This validates the clue as written which was my original point.
            Fishermen and entomologists would say there was a sedge hatch this evening not a sedge fly hatch. And as I noted sedge are not mayflies, not even close. Chambers is a dictionary not an encyclopaedia – just as well because it is riddled with errors.

            • Dave Hartley
              Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

              Ok I concede, I guess I will have to get a newer Chambers. I agree with you that the BRB is often imprecise in scientific matters. I treat it like the guy that turns up to ref the 4th XV, he may be rubbish, but for the next 80 minutes he is right (even when he’s wrong). Nice debating with you.

              • gazza
                Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                Your posts are going into moderation because “My” is appearing at the end of your email address.

                • Dave Hartley
                  Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

                  Thanks Gazza I hadn’t spotted that, I’ll correct it before my next post. While we are on the topic of names, can I alter my screen name (as I foolishly just put my full name in when I first posted)? I guess I can just start as another person from the same e mail address.

                  • gazza
                    Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

                    Yes, you can change your alias (which will require moderation but after that you’ll be able to use both old and new). The only problem with that is that other people may not recognise that you’re the same person as the old Dave Hartley.

                  • jean-luc cheval
                    Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

                    I have always been one for real identities.
                    Don’t need to hide behind a pseudo.
                    No trolls here.
                    Lovely blog.

                  • jean-luc cheval
                    Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

                    However, you could just change your picture.
                    Why the long face?
                    I’m the one named Horse.
                    Just log in to Gravatar and associate a pic to your email address.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Flies have six legs, that makes them insects in crosswordland

    • Rick
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      The Chambers app gets it (sort of) right:

      ‘Any of several mayflies or caddis flies common along rivers’

      Sedges, or caddis flies, are strictly speaking one of the 200+ species of the order Trichoptera – not mayflies which are of the order Ephemeroptera – and form an important part of the diet of trout and grayling. Imitations of the most common are a very useful part of the fly fisherman’s armoury. You don’t have to be called Dave to be a pedant!

    • Angel
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Surely a sedge is an aquatic insect which is copied/tied by anglers to use as a dry fly-fishing lure? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  8. fran
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Relatively straightforward but 4d last in because 10a across held me back for ages . Had a quick look at the hint and voila : but still not happy with the answer or should I say the clue I am with you Gazza. But enjoyed it the nonetheless **/***

  9. Hanni
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Agree with **/**

    Add me to the ‘getting stung’ detractors for 10a.

    A few nice clues and not too difficult this morning. 11a and 16d provided some amusement. 8d gets the favourite vote.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for blogging.

    The Toughie provides some laughs today.

  10. Miffypops
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    This took a little longer than usual due to Saint Sharon asking questions I don’t know the answer to like what do I want for tea tonight and where have I put the banking money. I agree that the first part of 10ac is iffy but it is doable from the checkers, excepting for the fact that 4d offered words like HIRED and King HEROD which made the answer to itself and 10ac awkward. I should have had a banana. An enjoyable diversion nonetheless.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      As the insect debate continues to rage, we are missing out on some very important pieces of information….

      What are you having for dinner?

      Has the banking money been found?

      Watching Coventry or watching England?

      Are you away at crib?

      This is important stuff!

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Just had boiled potato. Cold roast chicken and various Pickles/Chutney’s. Delicious.

        I never lose money but it sometimes gets misplaced. Yes it has been found. it was where I left it. with he car keys on the tables out the front of the pub next to the car. It has all been there before.

        England with a pub full and free food at half time. Coventry are away at Esher.

        Home at crib to The Shoulder of Mutton. Saint Sharon is away at Kineton SSC. We have been drawn against each other in one of the cup competitions. saint Sharon’s team GMLI have home advantage. GRRRR

        Ronnie Lane is singing away at me as we speak got to go. Crib team talk.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          And now, for something a little bit different. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9-L7HHnnJQ

          • Hanni
            Posted February 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Dear God. What the ???? I’m not even sure that was music.

            I’ll certainly agree that is was different J-l! Painful but different.

            • Jane
              Posted February 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

              Let’s just hope he doesn’t play it in the restaurant!

          • Miffypops
            Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:21 am | Permalink

            Not the language I would allow in my pub or in my life.

            • Hanni
              Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:28 am | Permalink

              You understood it?

        • Hanni
          Posted February 10, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          Chutney is a rather sensitive subject in our house. All the homemade stuff has been eaten. Most of it directly from the jar with a spoon. Cheese optional.

          Congratulations on finding the money/car keys/outside tables and car. You haven’t misplaced the pub have you? Cause I’ve no idea about locating missing pubs.

          Yep the free food always goes down well for rugby. Hope you’re busy. :-)

          Now crib. This is a difficult one. Saint Sharon’s team will know their home ground. They’ll understand the local banter and beers. If you know anything about the owner of the pub, try and get inside his head and casually ask about the crib team. Work out what tactics Sharon has. Can you get the whole team so drunk they think they are playing snap? It could work.

          Just remember GM are away so be careful driving home.

          Great song by the way. Years since I’ve heard that. You should listen to Jean-luc’s!

          • Miffypops
            Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

            I eat Picalilli from the jar with a spoon. My sister thinks I am weird. She is right. I eat all sorts of stuff especially if it has no meat.

            The money/ car keys/ leaving the pub unlocked all day whilst we are out/ leaving the doors unlocked all night are all regular happenings. As Kath would say. Oh dear.

            The free food wlil always be there at half time when England play and regulars will always compliment us on it as if it is the first time ever GRRR This week will be our 42nd offering

            We lost 5-2 I lost in both doubles and singles. Saint Sharon’s team lost 4 – 3 Not a good night. Bring on the cup game.

            Great song agreed. Ronnie Lane was a great friend. Have listened to JLC’s song and do not get it. JLC is such a nice chap. The song sounds tawdry. Each to their own

            • Hanni
              Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

              You’re intelligent Miffypops. Do you eat the piccalilli in front of an open fridge?

              Oh dear sums it up. You wait till the pub gets actually stolen in the night. You could wake up anywhere!

              It does make me laugh about free food. I’ve never owned a pub but have helped out over the years providing free roast beef/pork/lamb rolls for rugby and cricketing things. It beggars belief when we’ve paid over £500 between 4 of us etc, to feed people for a single event they still complain! And that is without any financial interest on our part.

              Sorry crib didn’t go well. Onwards and upwards as Michael says. Though that was a shocking result.

              If we ever meet at a S & B I’d love to hear about Mr. Lane. :-)

              • Miffypops
                Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:15 am | Permalink

                I make or cook (its only mixing things up and a bit of warming) Picallili most years. (who knows how to spell it)? Marmalade too.

                Oh dear really does sum it up. You would not believe the lack of security at times.
                Complainers will always complain it is the forgetters that bother me. Pay nothing. Expect all.

                Crib? Pah.

                S & B would be very nice as the last two I have attended have been. Lovely people. lovely venues. I hope to make more. we shall see.

  11. Angel
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    That was a bit of a breeze but enjoyable enough. 6d was apparent but I stupidly needed Gazza to parse the second part of the clue for me – what happened to my ‘O’ Level Latin?! Thanks for that and to Mysteron for the exercise. **/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  12. Rick
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    A bit more meat to it than is usual for a Tuesday but still done in 2* time, despite Polly Labradoodle’s attempts to distract me. I enjoyed it so 3* for artistic merit.
    PL is now dozing so may have a sneaky peek at the Toughie.

    • Merusa
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Glad to see she is still interested in crosswords. Bet she’s growing as you look at her!

      • Rick
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        You can hear the bones creak!

  13. Collywobbles
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks, Gazza, for helping me to finish. Although 1a may seem obvious i couldn’t see it. Dah. And the correct spelling of 19d was also helpful. Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle and well within my scope. Thanks to the setter

    • Heno
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      If you can correctly identify the definition, then the spelling follows.

      • Collywobbles
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Tks Heno

  14. Heno
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. Yes, would agree with Gazza’s rating for difficulty , I also have a quibble with 10a, but an enjoyable puzzle nonetheless. Favourite was 26a, never seen this clueing before, very imaginative. Last in was 2d. Was 2*/3* for me. Off to the Toughie.

  15. crypticsue
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think the wordiness of some clues must have distracted me because I took longer than usual for a Tuesday – 3*/2*

    The Toughie didn’t take me as long and is entertaining so why not have a go.

    • Brian
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I agree, much nicer than this tedious effort.

  16. Kitty
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be good today. This was not difficult and very pleasant. A few of the last answers slowed me down, in particular the 10a/4d combo. Agree with Gazza et al about 10a. I came to the blog expecting to find that I’d made a mistake somewhere, but it seems not.

    My impression was that it was a little easier than last Tuesday’s, but according to my tablet I took zero seconds to complete that. Hmm. Techfail.

    I’m surprised at others’ choice of 11a as favourite, because I’d have guessed it to be an old chestnut. (With my memory, chestnuts often hold me up more than they should, and I don’t mind roasting them.) I’m finding it difficult to pick a single clue from several nice ones, but will choose 17d, with honourable mention to 13d.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      11ac has been seen many times before

  17. Omar
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Like others I thought 11a was poorly clued (both the ‘ambit’ part and the overall meaning ie not sure ambition is greed) + sedge was at least for me obscure (though I managed to get it and then look up the word)…otherwise very enjoyable….

  18. Paso Doble
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Good on yer Gazza my son. The boys done well up here in Camden Town…Couldn’t decide whether it was ascent or assent but opted for the correct solution. Lovely to see all the comments from everyone on the blog…..

  19. Jane
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    First scan made me think this could be a difficult one, but all slotted into place relatively quickly. Agree Gazza’s 2* but would go for 3* for enjoyment. 1&21a were good ‘smilers’ and 7d gets my favourite vote.
    Needed to check the insect at 23d – I only knew of the bird – and stupidly missed the parsing of 2d.
    Thought there was going to be something more to the parsing of 5d – just trying to make life difficult for myself – so left filling in 10a until the end as, like others have said, I wasn’t happy with the first five letters and thought I might have gone astray with 5d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza for making it all so simple!

  20. Kath
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree with 2* difficulty but would give it a bit more for enjoyment so 3* for that.
    I also agree with everyone else’s comments about 10a although I have to admit that, although I can see its problems, I did quite like it.
    Only got about three answers from the first read through of the across clues but then did far better with the downs which was a relief.
    I’ve never 4d of the 23d insect and, as everyone already knows, any clue with the word ‘cricket’ in it makes me go blind or stupid (occasionally both) so 20 and 23d were my last two.
    I was terribly slow to get 2d – don’t know why!
    I liked 11 and 21a and 3d. My favourite was 13d – possibly because I do a fair bit of it!
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.

  21. Chris
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    At last – I could do this reasonably speedily. (2* / 4*) I liked 1a best, also liked 16d and 17d. I didn’t like 5a because I had decided ‘cut’ could not be an anagram indicator. (I still feel much the same way having given it more thought.) i was not clever enough to think about 10a being poorly clued. (Much too busy feeling grateful I’d worked it out!)
    Many thanks to Gazza and to the setter.
    P.S. My favourite thing of all was 7 above (Which Tyler, leader of the Pedants’ Revolt). Excellent!

  22. Bob H
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    This what I call a 4 above par score for me. Having completed the puzzle in 2* time, I then had 4 questionmarks to clear up.10a (say no more) 26a,an Orfe by any other name, but I cant remember seeing it before. 7d, a bit of a mess for me, why does old equal late? And of course the fisherman’s fly. Again I may(fly) have seen this before, but ages ago. Never the less, all still enjoyable. So thanks to Gazza and the setter. Fav 25a.

    • gazza
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Late means old in the sense of ‘out of office’, e.g. a minister in the late administration.

  23. The Navigator
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Nice. Bang on wavelength today! **\****

  24. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    ***/**. Deducted an enjoyment mark due to 4d and 10a which were tenuous at best. Still got them right but had to wait until this morning for confirmation from Gazza to whom much thanks. Ditto to the setter for an above average challenge.

  25. Gwizz
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I started this and stopped very shortly afterwards having failed to make an impression. A swift walk to the post office for the newspaper and upon my return thankfully the little grey cells had returned to their places allowing me to fairly (for me) rattle through.
    10a didn’t bother me as I can happily allow a little leeway when I feel it is required!
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his revue.
    Now to catch up on Sunday and Monday’s…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  26. silvanus
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The insect in 23d didn’t worry me, but I wasn’t convinced by today’s effort for two other reasons:

    1. I tend to agree that the first part of 10a is ungrammatical or at best tenuous.
    2. According to my Chambers, the abbreviation for Temperature is “Temp” and not “T”, and the abbreviation for Government is “Gov” or “Govt” and not “G”, or have the goalposts moved on these ? (My Chambers is from 1983 !)

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Edition 11 of the BRB has both – out of interest it says that G for Government comes from G-man.
      Have a G&T. :D

      • silvanus
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, I may well take up your suggestion :-)

  27. Una
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I think I must be going backwards, as I didn’t think this was a doddle at all. 5a and 5d and 16d get my vote for good clues. It took me ages to see 16d.Thanks Gazza and setter.

  28. Merusa
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I completed this quite easily, but done by bunging in words because they “fit” rather than really understanding. 23d is an example, I could not find an insect sedge, but i don’t have a BRB. I had never heard of a fish “ide” but found that in the dictionary.
    All in all, I enjoyed this. Fave is 13d.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for help in understanding my answers.

  29. Brian
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Found this far harder than yesterday’s puzzle and much less fun. Too many obscure terms for my liking such as the insect in 23d and the fish in 26a, both answers are found from the wordplay but obscure terms are never much fun. Lots of nearly definitions such as sigh for groan (v poor), astonishment for confusion and ambitious for greedy. For me ***/* .
    Thx to Gazza for the hints.

  30. Hilary
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Realised I had trouble today because fruit bowl out of bananas. Neverless I picked up my trusty pencil and jotted a few answers in, agreed with general concensus about 10ac. Lovely anagrams and Miffypops comment from yesterday must be working because I think I am beginning to see them without having to write them out every time. Having said that I will probably be back in the cupboard under the stairs with my box of tissues tomorrow. Thanks to setter and Gazza. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • gazza
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      You get a namecheck in the Toughie today so you should have a go at it (and it’s a lot of fun!).

      • Hilary
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Not sure I am brave enough to try toughie, feel I am still in junior apprentice league. Also title tends to put me off.

      • Hilary
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        23ac?

        • Hanni
          Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          Yep! :-)

          Edit…don’t let the title put you off. Have a go at it perhaps with Toro’s guide as you go. I’m far from an expert solver!!!

      • Hilary
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Always up for it, sitting quietly in cupboard under stairs with brand new box of tissues. Toughie – managed about half of the answers and by the time I got to Toro I had got an honourable mention there as well. Think I enjoyed it but off to have lie down. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  31. Framboise
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Joining the club of “grousers” – is there such a word? – re 10a. Surely it would be am bitten not bit for am stung – remember my learning irregular verbs in my French Lycée and bite was one of them! Maybe Mr Ron will give us an explanation. Otherwise enjoyable puzzle which did not give me any trouble. Favourite clue: 13d. Was 2*/3* for me. Wonder if Kath got the hidden clue in 16d…

    • Framboise
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Done it again! Forgot to thank Mr Ron and Gazza, sorry.

    • Kath
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I did but I’m not saying how long it took me – as someone once said here, you’d be better off with a calendar rather than a stop watch! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        Very Funny Kath. Loved it.

  32. Sweet William
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter for an enjoyable puzzle, not too difficult today. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints. Another lovely day in NE and some good sea watching at last !

  33. Roger
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant romp. One question I’ve been meaning to ask for some time now. 19D Is there any protocol that states which version is the required answer? Without any other checking letters both ascent and assent would fit. So do we always take the first word ie approve? TIA

    • Michael
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Well I took ‘sounds like climb etc’ to mean that it’s not ‘ascent’ but the word that sounds like it!

    • gazza
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      The homophone indicator should be next to the word/phrase for which we need the sound-alike. In 19d the indicator follows ‘climb’ but is not next to ‘approve’, so we need a homophone of ‘climb’ and ‘approve’ must be the definition.
      There’s no problem with 19d but problems can arise if the homophone indicator appears between the two words.

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Nah! Bung it in and hope for the best.

        • andy
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:08 am | Permalink

          No No NO……..

  34. Little Dave
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Read and write today. All over too soon regrettably. But thanks to the Setter and for the review of course. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  35. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant solve for us. We seem to have encountered the same questions as everyone else with 10a and the 23d insect but nothing to hold us up for long.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  36. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Of mice and speciMen. I really liked 17d.
    I also agree about 10a. The clue definitely needs to be revisited.
    Noticed the argument about the sedge.
    If Dave Hartley is related to JR, he probably knows more about fly fishing than anyone else.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Very good Jean-luc. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      You are far too clever for me JLC

    • Franco
      Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      How on earth does a Frenchman know that?

      Does he read the Yellow Pages?

      Très Formidable!

  37. Salty Dog
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    The NW corner put me just into 3* time, so 3*/3, and l think 13d gets my vote for favouritism. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  38. bob curgenven
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    what time limits do you use for classifying the difficulty of the crosswords?
    many thanks

    • Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Bob

      The whole reason we use stars is to avoid associating difficulty with specific times – everyone is different.

      • bob curgenven
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        Hi Dave

        I appreciate that but one or two reviewers keep referring to “close to 2* time” or “would have been 2* but I got held up in NW corner so 3*” so some of them have clearly got their own standards. This would be very useful to know because I would like to get an idea of what time a “good” person expects to solve these puzzles in.

        Best
        Bob

        • Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          There are no rules or guidelines on this. Furthermore, one of the principles of this site is that actual soloving times are not discussed. You set your own targets – 3* time should be your mean time (which is not necessarily your average!).

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      I have no idea. I have chosen not to alter them from the ***/*** that is given. It does provoke comment though.

  39. Tstrummer
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Well I loaded the pipe, poured the ale and sharpened my wits for the challenge, but the puzzle was over before either the pint or the pipe. Too much fun, not enough laughs (spot that one MIffypops, I dare you). 1*/1*

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      ? B Dylan springs to mind