DT 27729

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27729

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s a beautiful Spring morning. I think this is probably a RayT production but Her Majesty is AWOL.  All the other signs are there though. No clue of more than eight words, just the right level of innuendo and all single word clues in the Quickie so I’ll stick my neck out and say it is.
I don’t think it will rattle anyone’s cage as there are six anagrams of eight letters or more so you’ve got loads of checkers on tap. I was just out of one star time, probably because I’m so slow at unravelling anagrams, but it was a very enjoyable solve and it got better as I was writing the review. I will be interested to hear your comments.

As usual the definitions are underlined in the clue and the ones I like most are in blue. The answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

1a           Planted one’s plant OK (12)
SATISFACTORY: A word for planted or positioned (3) followed by IS (ones) and then another word for an industrial plant. That’s two blogs running where 1a has gone straight in.

8a           Scruffs sleep best without cover (5)
NAPES: Scruff as in the back of the neck. It’s a word for a short sleep followed by the central two letters from bESt (without cover).

9a           Dogged mongrel’s first to get docked (9)
CURTAILED: Nothing to do with boats docking. It’s docked as in shortened. Start with (first) the usual three letter mongrel (dog) and follow with a word meaning dogged or followed.  If the answer were split (3,6) it could be read as a way of saying the doggy mongrel has been docked!

11a         Epoch or so possibly to create stars (9)
HOROSCOPE: Anagram (possibly) of EPOCH OR SO.
horoscope

12a         Angles for fish on board ship (5)
SIDES: This is angle as in position or opinion, nothing to do with geometry. Take an aquarium fish popular with crossword setters for its useful letters and insert into SS (on board ship).  My neighbour used to have loads of these fish in her garden pond but she used their other name of SILVER ORFE.

13a         Place set out around clubs for performance (9)
SPECTACLE: Anagram (out) of PLACE SET around C(lubs).

16a         Home, a chap’s castle ultimately (5)
ABODE: A (from the clue), another slang term for chap and E (castlE ulimately).  Presumably this chap is an Englishman.
castle

18a         Swears a volume with expressions of pain (5)
AVOWS: A (from the clue again), V(olume) and what you says when something hurts, but put an S on the end because it’s plural.

19a         Performers about flipped before ‘Hair’ (9)
ACTRESSES: These performers are female. Reverse (flipped) one of the abbreviations for about and follow with another word for hair.

20a         Handle the continental bird to start (5)
TITLE: Your handle is a continental definite article but with a small bird placed first (to start).

22a         Outgoing former husband sober embracing pet? (9)
EXTROVERT: The usual former husband (or wife) followed by the two letters for someone who doesn’t drink (sober) placed around (embracing) what might be the name of the family pet, happen it’s a dog.  Personally I’ve never met a dog called this.

25a         Extremely cerebral peak of superlative brilliance (9)
CLEVEREST: CL (extremely CerebraL) followed by a very high peak as in mountain.

26a         Maradona, say, with pass after pass (5)
DIEGO: Two words meaning to pass away, fall off the perch, meet ones maker, kick the bucket, pop one’s clogs etc. placed one after the other.  Think we’d better have some dead parrot after that . . .

27a         Feeling quietly hurt taking in Independent (12)
PRESENTIMENT: Start with the musical annotation for quietly and follow with a word for hurt or bitterness and insert I(ndependent).

Down

1d           Fantastic character turning round our sphere? (9)
SUPERHERO: Anagram (turning round) of OUR SPHERE.
superman

2d           Demands to support Tory leader’s charges (5)
TASKS: T (Tory leader) followed by a word meaning demand or requests.

3d           Painting of dry French commmanding officer (5)
SECCO: A type of wall painting is the French for dry followed by two letters for commanding officer.

4d           A salute keeping soldiers in conformity (9)
AGREEMENT: Take the A from the clue and follow with a word meaning to salute or say hello and insert (keeping in) a crosswordland word for soldiers.

5d           Time went slow catching second shift (9)
TRANSLATE: Start with T(ime) and then what a train did if it went slow (3,4) and insert (catching) S(econd).  Hope that helps.  It’s one of those that’s far easier to solve than hint.

6d           Regretted admitting Left governed (5)
RULED: A word for regretted with L(eft) inserted (admitting).

7d           Eager to see thin, sauciest pants (12)
ENTHUSIASTIC: Anagram (pants) of THIN SAUCIEST.  One of my favourite anagram indicators. The other is BANANAS.
pants

10d         Pansies don’t flourish outside current allotment (12)
DISPENSATION: Anagram (flourish) of PANSIES DONT placed around (outside) the letter used for electrical current in physics.

14d         Bland mousse? Let’s attempt to eat it up (9)
TASTELESS: The answer’s hiding in MOUSSE LET’S ATTEMPT (to eat it) but it’s hard to spot because it’s reversed (up, in a down clue).

15d         Fickle person‘s home with clean guttering (9)
CHAMELEON: Anagram (guttering) of HOME with CLEAN.
chameleon

17d         Dirtiest old boy’s oddly clean bedsit (9)
OBSCENEST: Dirtiest as in rudest. Start with old boy (don’t forget the ‘S) and follow with the odd letters from CLEAN BEDSIT.

21d         The Conservatives possibly including ‘one of them‘ (5)
THEIR:  THE (from the cue) followed by R(ight) (Conservatives possibly) with I (one) inserted (including).

23d         All players show disapproving expression by half-time (5)
TUTTI: This is a musical term meaning the music should be played by the whole orchestra. It’s a mild expression of disapproval followed by TI (half TIme).

24d         Love died in fiction of classic film perhaps (5)
OLDIE: O (love) followed by D(ied) inserted into an untrue story.

Some nice stuff here but my favourite is 17d closely followed by 26a and 7d.  What about you?


Quick crossword pun:  REACH + HERD + GEAR = RICHARD GERE


 

 

80 Comments

  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    1.5*/4*. Superbly enjoyable at the easy end of Ray T’s scale although there were a handful of answers which needed a bit of teasing out. BUT … where is Her Majesty today? AND … only one smutty clue! Those things aside this was classic Ray T.

    3d was a new word for me, but easily solvable from the clue. 15d was my last one in and I am not convinced by “guttering” as an anagram indicator.

    14d is a great example of that particular type of clue. As ever with Ray T, there are many excellent clues from which to try to pick a favourite; 26a is very clever, but 7d gets my vote.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers (particularly for the picture accompanying my favourite).

    • pommers
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks for mentioning 14d RD, I’d forgotten to put it in blue.

    • Heno
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I agree guttering is a bit of an unusual anagram indicator. Perhaps Ray was thinking of guttering like a candle flame to indicate change?

  2. bifield
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one today. A few headscratching moments but very straightforward. The anagrams helped a lot. Thanks to setter and to Pommers for the review.

  3. Brian
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Well not that easy at least for me but very enjoyable nonetheless. Learned three new words or meanings today in 3d, 15d & 23d but all gettable from the wordplay though and the BRB did the rest. My personal fav was 25a with special mention for 26a (the dirtiest least talented cheat ever to disgrace a football pitch) but the clue was good.
    My thanks to Ray T for the lovely anagrams which allowed me in.
    Thx to Pommers for the explanation for 8a which was my last in. So for me **/****

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Very pleasant solve.
    Learned a couple of new words also. 8a and 3d.
    Favourite is 5d. I really like clues which associate an expression with another. In yesterday’s toughie it was “in a bit” for later.
    Took me a while to find the missing letter in 10d. Tried C for current then R for river then N for now until I noticed I was looking for a vowel.
    Great fun.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the super review.

    • Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      C for Current is not a supported abbreviation on its own – AC and DC are ok. N for now is also unsupported.

      Did you try looking in The Usual Suspects?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        You’re right. I should remember to refer to your supports more often.

  5. Miffypops
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Another master class from the master. Great blog from another master. Guttering does not do it for me as an anagram indicator. Perhaps Mr Ray T will comment.
    Your horoscope for today whatever your star sign.
    The position of the stars today will not affect your life in any way whatsoever.
    When I first learned of star signs my eldest brother told me mine was (a very rude word) which I believed.

    • Bluebird
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Re guttering, I hazarded the meaning re candles, e.g.

      “He struck a match, and held it at arm’s length flickering and guttering , trying to illuminate the space he was in.”

      Harvey, John THE LEGEND OF CAPTAIN SPACE

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

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Thank you

  6. Sweet William
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you Ray T, I never find your puzzles easy, but they are always enjoyable. I certainly discovered some new anagram indicators today – and a new word at 27a. Thanks Pommers for your review and hints. Well done all who found it easy http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  7. moose
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    This crossword proved troublesome today, largely as a result of putting in MANSE for 16a which wouldn’t appear to be too far off the mark!

    • Kevin
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      me too
      and I think that MANSE is a much cleverer answer

      • pommers
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        I agree that both work but ABODE fits the clue better.

        If you read the clue as “Home, a chap has castle ultimately” then ABODE uses every element of the clue.

        MANSE on the other hand doesn’t use the A which becomes redundant padding.

        Also ABODE and HOME are straight synonyms but a MANSE is only one type of home so the clue would need a ? or “perhaps” or something similar.

        Still, glad I didn’t think of it or it would have gone in http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Au contraire pommers old boy Chap = MAN plus the the ultimate letters of both (ha)s and (castl)e.

          • Hanni
            Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            Tres bien MP!

          • pommers
            Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            As I said, the A is redundant padding.

          • Angel
            Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Or even MAN’S + E (castle ultimately)? I concede that omits the “A” but I plumped for it and it messed me up until Pommers came to my rescue so TVM for that.

            • Kath
              Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

              Yes – that’s what I did too.

          • fran
            Posted February 19, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            my line exactly .It was so apt But ….

    • Kath
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m another 16a culprit – it played havoc with 5d until 17d sorted it out.

      • Merusa
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Me too, but when I got to 17d, it was so obvious that manse had to go.

    • Steve_the_Beard
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I too wrote MANSE straight in for 16A and suffered thereafter. Mind you, writing the obvious CHEAT for 26A didn’t help either…

      • pommers
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        :lol:

  8. pommers
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Apropos of nothing really – The Year of the Goat starts today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Kath
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it a sheep? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • pommers
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Could be either – depends where you look. Perhaps China is like here and goats and sheep are very hard to tell apart.

        • Hanni
          Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink

          Not sure of that Pommers? Look different, taste really different, not entirely sure how you even shear a goat?

          • Miffypops
            Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:25 am | Permalink

            I do think that there should be a LIKE button.

  9. Rick
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    An odd mixture of 75% read and write and a long period of head scratching over the last few, mostly stemming from 15d. I am in agreement that guttering as an anagram indicator is definitely pants and quite possibly bananas. Like The Who, I won’t get fooled again.

  10. Michael
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Too difficult for me I’m afraid, I needed an awful lot of help to get anywhere with this one.

    Ah well – tomorrow is another day!. Here comes the rain – I wonder if there’s an old British film on the gogglebox to keep me amused! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  11. Hanni
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    **/****

    Ahhhhh. That Thursday crossword feeling. Very 1a.

    Anagrams aplenty, innuendo, humour and it’s positively tropical on the N. York moors.

    27a was my last one in and 7d gets the favourite award.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers for an excellent blog.

  12. Kath
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif I found this one really tricky – close to 4* difficulty for me and at least the same for enjoyment.
    The kitchen is littered with pig’s ears – oh dear!
    I caused most of the problems “all my own self” – wrong answer to begin with for 25a (don’t ask), and for 16a so glad to find that at least I wasn’t the only one to fall for that.
    I didn’t see the anagram in 15d for far too long and 26a made me go blind temporarily.
    I invented lots of names of films for 24d before I got there.
    Anyway, enough blathering – I did really enjoy it but I’m quite glad that it wasn’t my week for doing the hints – total panic might have set in.
    I liked 8 and 20a and 17d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Ray T for the crossword and thanks and huge admiration to pommers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Raining – might try Toughie . . .

    • Kath
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      . . . but I did find the hidden 14a even though it was reversed and the clue went over two lines! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t, until you mentioned it

      • Angel
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Obviously you both mean 14D – anyway I needed help to sort it.

        • Kath
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          I can’t speak for MP but yes, you’re right, I certainly do mean 14d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
          Oh dear – it doesn’t seem to be my day for getting things right.

    • Heno
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Me too on 24d,even tried Lodie before I got the right answer.

  13. SheilaP
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Well done to those who found this at the easier end of a RayT puzzle. We certainly didn’t, but then we never find them anything other than tricky. Thank you to pommers for your assistance, and to the Thursday setter.

  14. Kitty
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Feeling a little smug today if truth be told, for I was really on wavelength this morning. I’m sure tomorrow will bring me back down to earth with a bang. Despite putting in manse as my first answer for 16a I wasn’t convinced and rubbed it out again as soon as I came across contrary vertical entries. 14d evaded me for a while, so will go for that as favourite, but it could be one of several others.

    Loved every bit of this, so many thanks to RayT and to pommers for the review. Also to Bluebird for reminding us of one meaning of guttering.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    It did take me a while to get going, but then everything fell into place nicely. Several smiles, but 9A gets my vote. Thanks to Ray T. and Pommers.

    P.S. I thought the Toughie was lots of fun, too. Well worth having a go.

  16. toadson
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Three star for me – ‘guttering’ had me foxed for a good while.

  17. Ora Meringue
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled with this one….my only excuse is that I have a streamer of a cold. :-(
    Just not on the same wavelength at all and had to check the hints for several answers.
    Glad to say I did get 16a and 14d all on my own, though, so there may be light at the end of my cryptic tunnel.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  18. Kitty
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The quickie read like a story. So I put it in order.

    Please don’t translate it if you are offended by tastelessness.

    9a 21a
    subject of a 16a
    1d of 6d
    in a 3d far from the 4a
    to meet 22a 8a
    (through 10a to be 11d)
    then: 4d 7a
    12a that it’s 5d
    and 2d from 24a
    14a, becoming 19d
    into 23a
    20d…
    1a 18a
    13d 15d!
    … and 17d

    • Hilary
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Fabadabulous’ just what I needed to cheer me up after the struggle with the crossword, http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        I’m so glad someone found it funny. Was thinking it was a bit much, and decided to delete it – but a fraction too late. So thank you Hilary for saving me from the cupboard under the stairs.

    • Kitty
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      17d: how annoying. I was AWARE that that was a possible answer, but had plumped for AWAKE instead and promptly forgotten about it.

  19. JonP
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’d agree that this was at the easier end of the RayT spectrum but definitely not a push-over for me. Enjoyable solve as always, with thanks to pommers and RayT **/****

  20. Paso Doble
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    We found this one relatively easy and very enjoyable. Interested to hear that ‘pants’ is an anagram indicator – we obviously have a lot to learn. Thanks to Pommers and Ray T.

  21. silvanus
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Not quite up there with recent Thursday offerings but very enjoyable nevertheless.

    17d is one of those words that is never said and seldom ever written down – apart from in crosswords of course. I’m sure virtually everyone would use most ———- instead.

    Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  22. Shropshirelad
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I always enjoy a good RayT puzzle and today is no exception (albeit on the easier side). Lots of favourites, so I shall not incur the wrath of Kath by mentioning them allhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    Thanks to RayT for the puzzle and pommers for his usual witty review.

    • Kath
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      You’re very well behaved so a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Right back at you Kathhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  23. Hilary
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    This took a whole galaxy of stars for difficulty and for the first time for several weeks I really could see me giving up. I was another manse culprit, I went off to my PC and wrote a long overdue letter and when I returned my brain clicked back in and I finished in my longest time ever. Thanks to Ray T and pommers, http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  24. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    **/****. What fun! My favourites were 22,25&26a and 17d. Thanks to the setter for raising a smile or two and ditto to pommers for an entertaining review.

  25. Jane
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Very much in need of a good puzzle from our 1d today. Woke up early this morning with a v. painful face and a cheek that rather resembled a hamster pouch. Suffice to say that I am now minus one tooth (courtesy of an extremely understanding dentist) and am feeling rather sorry for myself. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Almost fell into the 16a trap (rescued by 17d) and dithered a little over 21d as I had a ‘blonde’ moment re: 25a.
    Lots of nice anagrams and the hidden 14d came close to eluding me!

    The honours go to 1a with mentions for 9&25a – best surface read rests with the delightful10a.

    Many thanks to Mr. T. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and another http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to Pommers for a great review.

    • Kath
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Poor you and poor hamster cheek. I really hope that it feels better soon. A http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif to try to cheer you up.
      I hate teeth. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I can sympathise as four weeks ago I had to have a tooth out in very similar circumstances, added to my misery was an infected eyelid so the whole of one side of my face was puffy. Wish you better soon. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Jane
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks, Kath & Hilary – feel rather groggy (pain-killers!) at the moment but the dentist reckons I should be OK by tomorrow. Hope so, I’m taking my bird group over to Parkgate, Deeside for the mega spring-tide and, hopefully, lots of owls and raptors.

        Early night tonight, I’m thinking!

    • Hanni
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Oh Jane..
      How horrid for you. I hope you feel much better in the morning. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and a hug emoticon thingy.

      • Jane
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for the message, Hanni. Just taking more tablets and then off to bed. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  26. Merusa
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I found this difficult to start off but I got there in the end. I kept missing the anagram indicators. I did get the backwards hidden word in 14d, so that’s something. I thought 26a was some sort of Spanish dessert, but found the answer easily with a quick google.
    I agree, pommers, I liked 17d, closely followed by 7d and 22a, the latter if only because of the “former husband”, so often it is the former “wife” or “girlfriend”, so seeing the boys given a chance is worth a mention.
    Thanks to RayT, the presumed setter, and to pommers for the review, enjoyable all round.

    • Merusa
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Miami is so cold today, I am so miserable. It was about 43F when I woke up today and it’s supposed to get colder tomorrow.

  27. Heno
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for the review and hints. Very difficult but great fun. Favourite was 26a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  28. Angel
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s reassuring to know that I am not alone in having found this a bit of a struggle which wasn’t helped by my faux-pas with 16a. Good to see 19a as of course that word is not PC these days. “About” in its various guises does seem to make regular appearances but still I failed to parse 19a. Not really among my favs. Thank you RayT and Pommers whose * for difficulty impresses me. ****/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  29. Chris
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and definitely not easy for me. I needed to go away and return to do a few in the bottom half, i liked 1a, 25a, and 15d as well as my favourite 14d. I tried for ages to make an anagram out of the latter before the light suddenly dawned – always adds to the enjoyment.
    For anyone wishing to celebrate the year of the sheep (or goat) you could try the Shaun the Sheep Movie. It has both, and is excellent. (Also suitable for children http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif.)
    Many thanks to RayT and pommers for the review.

  30. pommers
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    We seem to fairly evenly split today on whether this was hard or easy. Not an uncommon position to be in, in fact verging on normal.
    Personally I can only rate on how I found the puzzle and that was definitely ** and if the anagrams had fallen a little quicker it would have been only *. Over the years I’ve rated puzzles at **** and everyone else has said it’s easy-peasy. Such is life.
    I think this is what has made crosswords a much more interesting pastime since the advent of blogs like this where solvers can share their experiences. When I started them you were on your own and had no idea whether it was just you being thick or it was a seriously tricky puzzle – although you did know if it was Araucaria or Bunthorne http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    14d wins our prize for favourite as it took ages to spot the reversed hidden word. We also spent longer than we should have sorting out how 10d was put together as we keep forgetting the ‘I’ for current. So, not a particularly speedy solve for us. We’d noticed that the flag was not flying over the palace, and as pommers has already mentioned the word count in his introduction we don’t need to mention it again. But we did check it of course. All good fun, much enjoyed.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  32. Gwizz
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Well I found this to be trickier then usual for a Thursday Ray T special! A good test with a bit of head scratching involved. I liked 22a best as a clue.
    My first attempt at the ratings…. I’ll go ***/****
    Thanks to Ray T and Pommers for his revue.
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  33. Salty Dog
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    2*/3.5*, or thereabouts, and 22a my tip for top clue. VMTs to Ray T, and to Pommers for the review.

  34. RayT
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Very many thanks to pommers for the review and to all for your comments. All greatly appreciated.

    RayT

    • pommers
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Guttering? Didn’t bother me in the slightest (candles etc) but it seems to have caused some angst among the punters.

      Excellent stuff as usual, but where was Her Royal Highness?

      • Kath
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Maybe HRH was sitting on the throne at the time the crossword was set. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • pommers
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

          Kath, you must have solved too many of Ray’s puzzles. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Apologies for doubting Guttering Ray. I should have consulted the BRB (except I do not have one) or Googled “Guttering definition” as I would have done if reviewing.

  35. fran
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to pommers ; guttering had me up on the roof until I looked at your clue . 21d was my last in , I didn’t think this was in keeping with the ingenuity shown in the majority of rest of the clues on offer . ****/****

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      pommers hint for 21d says “The from the cue” Is that a snooker reference? I hope nobody looks for mistakes in my blogs. They are all over he place.

  36. Tstrummer
    Posted February 20, 2015 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Tried to start this on the midnight train out of London Bridge after a 15-hour day and was completely baffled, only managing two answers. Got home and poured a stiff Times gin and tonic (it’s the best, worth every penny of the 35 quid it costs if you buy it) and then suddenly it all fell magically into place, with wonderful Ray T-isms throughout. 7d became my favourite, displacing 9a, when I saw Pommers’s illustration. Us old folk need a bit of that from time to time. 2*/4* Thanks to Pommers and to Mr T for bringing smiles to the end of a gruelling Thursday. Got to be up early tomorrow to go to the Beeb with my passport to prove that I’m allowed to work for them, which I’ve been doing for 20 years. Sigh

  37. candida
    Posted February 20, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    After Miffypops lovely family pics, we’re back to the bottom(s) today!