DT 27738 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27738

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27738

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I found this a little tougher than Monday’s usual offering with very few answers after the first pass. It fell slowly clue by clue. If lumberous is a word it fits this puzzle for me [It isn’t – but lumbersome is! BD]. The sun is out, as are the daffodils. Spring appears to have sprung. Ireland is celebrating a victory over England. They did have home advantage and spent the whole game trying to win unlike England who did not have home advantage and spent the whole game trying to lose.

The hints and tips below are here to help and guide you. I hope they serve their purpose. Definitions are underlined. If you still need an answer after reading the hint then press click here and the answer will be revealed. If you do not want to see the answer – do not click.

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.


1a    Not yet decided on flying? (2,3,3)
IN THE AIR: A very nice all in one clue which is also a double definition. If you are flying you are here.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6a    Man on watch around Beachy Head (6)
ALBERT: This man’s name is the first name of King George the Sixth of England. It can be found by placing a noun meaning to be watchful for potential danger around the head of the word B(eachy)

9a    Online clue.  Needing a return, deposits gold in a daze (6)

Newspaper Clue. Translating proust may produce it

STUPOR:      Online Clue     The reverse (needing a return) of a word meaning deposits followed by one of our usual suspects for the gold

Newpaper Clue.  Anagram (translating) of PROUST

10a    Glowering milk producer’s cast out (8)
SCOWLING: I think all mammals produce milk so take your pick from any one of the 5,416 species that exist. (Wikipedia) To save you some time this milk producer might be found on a farm and is not a sheep or a goat or a cat or a dog or a pony or a horse. Think Bovine. Now place this mooing milk producer inside a word meaning to cast as David cast his stone towards Goliath. Simple

11a    Inclination to fade away, in general (8)
GRADIENT: Generally in Crosswordland we have two generals to choose from and this one isn’t General Lee. It is the other one with the first name of Ulysses who became President of The United States of America once he had united them. Now that we have his name we need to insert (in) a word that means to fade away completely until all life is extinct

12a    They may be spun — to make briefs? (6)
FIBRES: Golly an anagram. About time too. Of BRIEFS and indicated by the words “may be spun” I adore anagrams

13a    Is most prominent, but badly impersonated (12)
PREDOMINATES: And another anagram (badly) of IMPERSONATED. Put your pencils down and work it out in your head. If you need more checkers be patient and wait for them.

16a    Out of sight; out of mind? (5,3,4)
ROUND THE BEND: A double definition. The second is often said of me. Who am I to argue

19a    It’s quickly torn asunder in Post Office (6)
PRONTO: A partial anagram (asunder) of TORN inside the initial letters of P(ost) O(ffice)

21a    Deportment of unusual air and grace (8)
CARRIAGE: Anagram (unusual) of AIR and GRACE

23a    Scale of air force taking fine French stronghold (8)
BEAUFORT: This scale, which is used in Met Office marine forecasts, is an empirical measure for describing wind intensity based on observed sea conditions. It can be found by putting the French word meaning fine and adding a stronghold like a castle

0 Calm 0 0 Smoke rises vertically.

1 Light Air 1-5 1-3 Direction shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes.

2 Light Breeze 6-11 4-6 Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; wind vane moved by wind.

3 Gentle Breeze 12-19 7-10 Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended.

4 Moderate Breeze 20-28 11-16 Raises dust and loose paper; small branches moved.

5 Fresh Breeze 29-39 17-21 Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.

6 Strong Breeze 40-50 22-27 Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty.

7 Near Gale 51-61 28-33 Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind.

8 Gale 62-74 34-40 Twigs break off trees; generally impedes progress.

9 Strong Gale 75-88 41-47 Slight structural damage (chimney pots and slates removed).

10 Storm 89-102 48-55 Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage.

11 Violent Storm 102-117 56-63 Very rarely experienced; accompanied by widespread damage.

12 Hurricane 118+ 64+ Devastation.

24a    Attach and aim a listening device (6)
ENDEAR: A verb meaning to cause to be loved or liked can be found by placing an aim or final target before our own bodies organ of hearing.

25a    Executor’s first to divulge what’s left in the will (6)
ESTATE: The first letter of E(xecutors) as indicated by the word first is followed by a verb meaning to express something definitely or clearly in speech

26a    Couldn’t choose, and did without there (8)
DITHERED: A nod to those of you who comment and cannot chose a favourite clue. Place the word DID around (without) the word THERE. If you are in Scotland you may prefer to place the word DID outwith the word THERE.


2d    Small number attempt to entertain a public official (6)
NOTARY: The small number here is the abbreviation of the word number. It is followed by a three letter word meaning an attempt which is place around (entertain) the letter A.

3d    He’d put in little work, yet had expectations (5)
HOPED: Our usual crosswordland word for work OP(US) is placed inside the letters H,ED from the clue.

4d    Enter game play, making contract (9)
AGREEMENT: Anagram (play) of ENTER GAME. I suggest a limit to the number of anagrams used. Four per year would be about right

5d    Dish one has possibly to stir round (7)
RISOTTO: Here is yet another anagram. Forget the above comment. I had a moment of generosity. Anagrams should be outlawed altogether. Anagram (possibly) of TO STIR followed by the roundest of all letters

6d    A look of being indifferent (5)
ALOOF: A (from the clue). Our usual suspect for the word LO(ok) and the word OF ( from the clue)

7d    Bit of money firm’s directors may be hoarding (9)
BILLBOARD: A slang term for a dollar note in the USA followed by the collective term for a company’s directors will lead you to this advertisement hoarding.

8d    Erred badly when about to finish, so gave up (8)
RENDERED: Anagram yawn yawn yawn (badly of ERRED around (about) the first three letters of 24ac (to finish)

13d    19th-century war zone writer almost isolated (9)
PENINSULA: A quick peep at Wikipedia shows this war with the R at the end. Interesting. I parsed the clue as a three lettered word meaning a writing implement followed by a word meaning related to or from an island without its final letter (almost). The answer is also a tract of land projecting out into a body of water. The Roseland is a fine example of one of these which I shall be visiting in May

14d    One close to home no longer joking (2,7)
IN EARNEST: I (one) followed by a word meaning close by and another word for a birds home

15d    They travel with others to work (8)
COURIERS: A cryptic definition of persons employed to guide and assist a group of tourists.

17d    Former spouse called, in high spirits (7)
EXCITED: Our usual former spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend followed by a word meaning called, referred to, praised, or summoned.

18d    In time, beat up relative (6)
AGNATE: Place the reverse (up) of a word meaning to beat repeatedly as a punishment inside a word meaning a distinct period in history . As an adjective this word means descended from the same male ancestor. If I had a pound for every time I have seen this word, I would have a pound.

20d    Something in the air makes one put on weight? On the contrary (5)
OZONE: ONE as in the clue and the avoirdupois abbreviation for a 16th of a pound are reversed (on the contrary) to find afresh invigorating air, especially that blowing on to the shore from the sea. Or if you prefer a colourless unstable toxic gas with a pungent odour and powerful oxidizing properties, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. It differs from normal oxygen (O2) in having three atoms in its molecule (O3)

22d    I dine out in self-reliant company (5)
INDIE: An anagram (out) of I DINE.

Solved to the wonderful sounds of my favourite female artist. Sinead O’Connor and one song from Mr Van Morrison’s gig in London last night.

The Quick Crossword pun: penny+tense=penitence

64 comments on “DT 27738

  1. Pretty average I thought, some clever misdirections as in 6a, how many others put in Sentry? Last in was 15d which really didn’t work for me at all. No standout clues today.
    Thx to all.

    1. 18d new one for me otherwise 1.5*. No newspaper for commute in due to late delivery – DIS….AS….TER! Thanks to BD etc.

  2. Did three quarters of this in my sleep, then hit a wall. Thought I could take off my dunce’s cap, but it’s staying put.

    16a leapt straight to favourite when it rounded a corner of my mind and came into view.

    Nearly gave up on 23a, thinking there’d be something in it I didn’t know. There wasn’t and I got there happily.

    I thought of the right answer for 15d, but was uncertain.

    I then cheated a little on 13d.

    The WTH effect kicked in and I cheated on 25a. No idea why I didn’t get that.

    Then 18d. I do know why I didn’t get that. I did not know the word.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  3. I don’t feel so bad about not getting 18d now, not a word I had seen before.

    Agree on the 3/3, I slowed down a lot in the top RH corner.

  4. Mostly quite easy but got stuck on 15d where I had the right answer but could not see why a bloke swerving around in London traffic on a motorbike could be travelling ‘with others’. (Possibly ahead of – or even against – but never ‘with’.) Thanks MP for providing the person holding the microphone on a holiday coach trip that explained all. No especial favourites but pleasant overall. 1* / 3* for me. Many thanks to MP for the review, and thank you to the setter.

  5. Can someone parse 22d for me please. Understand it’s an anagram but ‘self-reliant company’??
    The remainder was pretty straightforward except for 15d, couldn’t get ‘journeys’ out of my head. **/**** for me.
    Thanx to compiler and to Mp for the review.

    1. Wayne, for 22d – think film producers and record companies that are not part of big corporations.

      1. OH !!! I see, would never have come to that conclusion in a million years. Thanx very much.

  6. MP, re 5D. The contribution to the answer from “one” is O, not I. I was a bit surprised by that, and was hoping for some solid justification from you!

    I trust that the pub didn’t empty too quickly after the final whistle… but I doubt the England fans were very happy…

  7. A trifle harder than the usual Monday fare from Rufus but well worth the effort. Can’t decide between 23 & 25a as my favourite, so I shall choose both and endure ‘the wrath of Kath’ (wasn’t that a Star Trek film?). With that in mind – LLAP.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and MP for his review.

    1. Oh dear, and right at the beginning of the week too – this is not a good start! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif Incur or endure would do – perhaps even both.

  8. MP seems to have gone off anagrams and might have done so earlier if he had completed the paper version where there is a completely different clue to 9a. (Proust).
    **/*** though nearly *** for difficulty with unusual words (18d, 22d) and some misdirection at 23a.
    Thanks to setter and MP for the review. 13d gets my vote for best clue.

    1. The paper clue is much easier and more fun – Translating Proust may produce it! (6)

    2. Yes, I was wondering when someone would point out the paper clue for 9a. Why is it completely different? For those who haven’t seen it, the paper has:
      Translating Proust may produce it (6)

  9. The clue for 9A is different in the paper. “Translating Proust may produce it!”

  10. ***/***

    Hmm not the usual Monday morning wake up call into crossword land.

    3/4 of in went in rather neatly, and then I got to the SW corner. That wasn’t neat. In fact it was beginning to drive me 16a. 20a was just bunged in in the hope the Miffypops would decipher it for me. Thanks MP. I stared at 13 and 15d for a ridiculously long time and still they did not yield. So I did some work and came back to it and fortunately it sort of worked out. I’m sure that’s only because I’d been 10a at them.

    Fine Fun.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for a wonderfully informative blog. Hope you had a good weekend?

    FAO Spindrift

    I did see your post over the weekend about Sandsend, but thought I’d wait till today to reply just to be sure you got it.

    Saltburn it worth a trip out. Park down the bank on the seafront. At that time of year you shouldn’t have any problems. It also gives you the best access to the pier, Italian Gardens/Forest walkway and Cliff Lift. The Seaview restaurant is excellent for Fish and Chips and lovely views inside. Further up the bank is the Vista Mar. Again stunning views but has gone down hill in the last couple of years for food.

    After Saltburn, it’s worth a drive to Guisborough about 5 miles away. Nice walk around the old Priory and the cobbled street centre has a market Thursday’s and Saturday’s. Just outside of Guisborough is Gisborough Hall itself. It’s now a hotel, not cheap, but they do a fantastic afternoon tea/ G&T and it’s sort of attached to the aforementioned Priory.

    If you are driving from Sandsend it’s also worth taking a look at Runswick Bay. Parking is halfway down the bank and the whole place is just too pretty. Nearby Runswick for food I’d recommend The Ellerby Country Inn. Again we’ve eaten there frequently and it’s always been nice.

    Onto the moors. A drive to Pickering and the surrounding area is an option. The N.York steam railway is good fun, I think it does run to Whitby and, even if like me you’re a train fan, it’s a pretty amazing sight. The White Swan Inn at Pickering and the White Horse Farm in at Rosedale are both good for food. Pickering itself is lovely.

    If you are fancy a drive across the moors Castleton to Blakey Ridge is unbeatable for scenery. The Lion Inn at Blakey is always popular, Sat Nav YO62 7LQ. We’re often to be found in there.

    Further South, Helmsley is also a great day out and Rievaulx Abbey is close by. Plenty of food choices but The Hare Inn at Scawton is exceptional. However The Feversham in Helmsley itself has been a bit his and miss of late.

    I’m sure you’ll do Whitby. Personally I’d get the bus in from where you are as the parking is getting worse. Usual seafood about. The Moon and Sixpence is brilliant if you can get a window seat for sundown drinks.

    As for walks…There are far too many for me to put on here. But if you give me some idea of length and difficulty I would be happy to help. Hope you have a lovely time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. You’re a star! Thank you & we will certainly plan to get some of your suggested trips in. A lot will depend on the weather but as long as you’re dressed for it who care? Our cottage is high up from the beach & we have a view of the sea from Sandsend right over to Whitby.

      1. You’re welcome.

        The cottage sounds lovely. I hope the weather is good for you. Right now we’re back to a covering of snow!

  11. In agreement with Miffypops today. It took a bit longer to finish than the usual Monday fare but very enjoyable indeed. Along with MP, I will put my pound (for 18d) somewhere in safekeeping for a rainy day.

  12. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very good start to the week. I found this very difficult and needed the hints to 10a,6,7,15d. Favourite was 16a, was 3*/3* for me.

  13. As for Kitty, this started off being R & W but then I ground to a halt and needed a bit of research particularly with 23a, 22d and 18d. I can’t really see why 15d necessarily travel with others . Liked 16a. ***/***. Thanks Rufus and BD. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

    1. Apparently 15d is also another word for tour guide or holiday rep. I did not know that.

      1. Come to think of it I have in fact come across that but my first thought was as per Chris.

  14. Like others, this went along smoothly for a while but it took ages for the last 3 to go in (18d, 15d and 16a). I should have seen 16a earlier, but I had head in my head for the third word. And I wasn’t familiar with the tourist guide version of 15d, and I also had to look up the answer for 18d.

    Some lovely all-in-one type clues, like 12a (they may be spun to make briefs) and 5d (dish one possibly has to stir round)

    I also liked the surface in 25a (executor’s first to divulge..) and 7d (bit of money firm’s director may be hoarding).

    I had read the “did without there” (26a) as giving you “did” without (=taking away) “there”, but the without=around seems simpler and more elegant.

    I quite liked 14d too (one close to home..)

    Many thanks Miffypops and Rufus

  15. As a Rufus fan, I found this a slightly clunky puzzle that didn’t quite flow for me as the Maestro’s usually do (but of course that’s probably just me).

    I had to cheat with 18d which I don’t recall ever seeing before. Yes as MP alludes there did seem to be a lot of anagrams, not all of them easy. Pencils MP? Pencils are the tools of the hesitant – nothing wrong with a black rollerball that a bottle of Tippex can’t put right :-)

    3*/3* for me. Many thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for the witty review.

  16. Apart from 18d, which I had to look up, I had no trouble with the rest. Rufus can be like that – you either see it straight away or struggle for ages. His Guardian puzzle I found even easier and together they took less time than yesterday’s ST. Funny old world…

  17. This was almost a Read and Write for me today until I reached the SE corner. I had to resort to the dictionary to unravel 18d because I understood the wordplay but could not get the right word for the middle of the answer – but I had the first two letters and that was enough! It was the last word in – I had never encountered it before. I often wonder when setting the puzzle if the setter has to find a word to fit and et voila – the unusual word is all that works!

    So I would say it was a 1*/4* if I leave out 18d!

    1. I think you are right with 18. I tried the crossers in a word search app and only two came up. The other one is even more obscure!

  18. 3*/4*.   Another lovely puzzle from our Monday Maestro.  Good fun all the way with a real mix of clues ranging from straightforward to quite tricky with the SE corner being the last to fall.   18d was new word for me.

    24a was ingenious, but it gets pipped to the post as my favourite by 16a.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  19. This didn’t seem like the usual Monday puzzle at all and was quite tricky I thought. The hints were late on my IPad, which meant that we had to persevere without assistance. We actually finished, so we’re quite pleased with ourselves. It’s now snowing here in Scarborough, so Spring hasn’t arrived yet. Thank you to the Monday setter and to Miffypops.

  20. Mostly a 2*/3* with a slight add-on for the time taken over 15,18 & 22d. 15d was just a blank moment but I hadn’t heard of 18d before and never think of 22d as being a ‘real’ word.
    Did have a slight worry that 4d was going to have a connection to contract bridge – fortunately not!
    Whilst it didn’t really ‘float my boat’ during the solve, on reflection there were quite a few enjoyable clues – 10,16 and 23a with favourite going to 14d.
    Thanks to Rufus and also to MP for all the facts and figures in the review. Plus, for once, I liked your choice of music!

    1. Thanks Jane. The clip is 1minute and 32 seconds longer than I ever normally spend listening to Phil Collins. Today’s puzzle offered little in the way of illustrative opportunity.

      1. Phil Collins doesn’t fit with you for some reason. I’m sure that there is a 16a song?

        Hope you’re keeping safe in the Amazon.

  21. Started today to bring myself back to to the rigours and fun of the Telegraph crosswords. To me this was a mixed bag from a simple write in to what the heck is all that about?! This was a 3/3 for me. Not a lot of humour here, not a hint of a smiler. Good to see Miffypops is keeping the humour and high standard in his review.

  22. I enjoyed this one but needed the hints for a few of the clues.

    And an especial thanks to Miffypops for that brilliant video in 1a. And thanks to Rufus, naturally.

  23. Back in Hyères! Our first experience of putting the car on the train from Paris to Toulon was very successful – to be repeated without any doubt. I too thought it was going to be an easy one but slowed down as I went south! 16a drove me round the bend till the penny dropped. Thought 23a was very clever – did not, however, catch me out. 18d was a new word for me too. I enjoyed it and would give it 4* for enjoyment and 2.5* for difficulty. A most enjoyable solve so many thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review which I needed to check a couple of answers. Spring is here today and 21C which must be the warmest day of the year so far!

    1. Welcome back.
      Glad you enjoyed the Car Rail thing.
      But next time if you could use your vehicle to blow up Bercy, I’m sure a lot of people would be so grateful.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  24. I think I’ll go for 2* (plus a bit because of 15d) and 3* for enjoyment.
    I’m always slow to get going with the crossword on Mondays – don’t really know why – I just am.
    Even though it was very obviously an anagram 13a took me ages and I missed the anagram indicator in 12a for far too long which was silly.
    I think I’ve probably heard of 18d but not often enough for it to spring to mind without a bit of a struggle.
    Now we get on to 15d – it looks as if I was the only twit to spend ages trying to make it an anagram – (work) of OTHERS TO. Oh well – too bad.
    I liked 9 and 19a and 6 and 18d. My favourite was 16a.
    With thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.
    Really cold and windy in Oxford today but washing dried outside for the first time this year.

    1. Don’t worry, Kath – I tried for an anagram at 15d and it seems that Jean-luc did as well! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  25. Just beaten by 15d. Still not sure about it These people lead the others not travel with them.

    Don’t be too rude about anagrams. I find them fascinating as does Martin Bell. His father, Adrian, was one of the very first crossword compilers. However, whether Adrian used anagrams himself I don’t know. The early crosswords were more basic and simpler than today’s offerings. We wouldn’t have nearly so much fun.

  26. Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops for a great start to the week. 18d did not defeat me because I had met it recently in something I was reading, great selection of anagrams and only needed supertoy for a couple of things. Not a bad day here slight flurry of white fluffy stuff mid-afternoon and chilly enough to turn heating on early.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  27. I am usually on Rufus’s wavelength and today was no exception. The top half went in on first run through, the bottom took a little longer.
    I had no problem with 18d, that and the opposite “enate” seem to pop up quite regularly.
    The travel clue, 15d, took me as long as the rest of the puzzle altogether. I would have resorted to my electronic gizmo if I could find it! In any case, I never did get it.
    Thanks, as always, to Rufus and to M’pops for the review; don’t be so hard on anagrams!
    Fave was 16a (title of a great Nevil Shute book), with runner up 10a.

  28. I wish it was 21C here today!
    A trickier then usual Monday puzzle for sure. 18d was obvious but the meaning of it was new for me. I thought 10a was a nice clue so that is my fave for the day.
    For 15d I initially put TOURIST which held me up for a while until the penny dropped.
    Like Framboise I too give 4* for enjoyment and 2.5* for difficulty.
    Thanks to Rufus and MP for the review.
    I don’t mind the odd anagram but too many do tend to spoil the puzzle I must admit.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  29. Hello all. This was going quite well till I hit a brick wall. 6a fooled me completely but now seems so obvious.

    I have never heard of 18d.

    My favourite was 23a.

    Generally all these puzzles are ***** for difficulty, but I’m learning and I’m very grateful the clues to be found here. Thanks MP

  30. Seem to have had the same problems as everyone else.
    Slowed down by 15d, for which I did try the anagram of Others To like Kath and 18d, but the checking letters helped enormously.
    As far as anagrams are concerned, I did like 12a.
    23a is so me. Beautiful and strong. Well, wishful thinking.
    Liked the song. Phil Collins does look better with age.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the 4 star review.

  31. **/*** reasonably straightforward he said smugly, 6d & 18d were the last to be filled in! Thanks to MP for the hints and compiler for an agreeable start to a wintery week. I get the feeling since coming to this excellent blog that knowledge of who the setter is helps a little. ;)

  32. 18d was our last word in too. The word had somehow lodged itself in one of the more remote memory pigeon-holes of one member of our team. Ah, the advantages of team solving. It all took a little longer than a usual Monday but not by much. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  33. Thank you, Rufus. It wasn’t easy in places. Not having a pound, I had to research 28d in the dictionary and used one letter hint at 20 which enabled the last two, 19a and 20d. Favourite was 16a but also thought 21a was neat and 23a was fun. Thank you very much MP for the review which I needed to parse 11a. ***/***

  34. I always lok forward to Mondays crossword , not just because I like Rufus’ take on clues , but also I look forward to Miffypops comments.Very kind words about the Irish win.
    Re 18d, I would have the same amount of money.I liked 7d and 16a.
    I agree with Rufus about Proust, the first sixty pages and he is still lying awake in bed waiting for his mother to come and tuck him in.The recollections do pick up after that.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  35. Found this one particularly easy today, whereas others rated here as easy last week I found much harder. Guess I just ‘got’ the compiler.

    I liked 16A. There’s an old joke (don’t think it’s true) that “Out of sight; out of mind” got put into a translation tool and, when translated back again, came up with “Invisible idiot” but this is great cryptic clue in my view.

    13A was also nice and neat but 16A beats it for pure entertainment value.

  36. I found this pretty straightforward, but not particularly satisfying: 1*/2* for me. Not your fault, Rufus, I’ve been grumpy all day for no good reason! Thanks for trying anyway. Thanks to MP for the review as well.

  37. Well, back to crossword solving after a whole week away on the boat – no internet, no papers, no phone, no pool, no pets. It’s a rare thing thing these days to be completely alone, what with the hurly-burly of our busy 21st century lives. Apart from the occasional nod to towpath walkers and a two-minute conversation with a French woman at a lock, I didn’t speak to a soul all week. Got plenty of work done in the evenings as well. Back to the matter in hand: I found this again to be more tricky than the usual Rufus offerings, but very enjoyable, with many contenders for clue of the day. In the end, I’m going for 16a. Thanks to MP for the usual high standard review (although lay off the anagram-bashing a bit, some of us love them and in some cases they are the only way we can get a foothold in the puzzle) and to Rufus for the welcome back challenge. 3* difficulty, 4* fun

    1. Hi Tstrummer,
      Nice to have you back on the late shift.
      I see that Bridge House gave you the envy to travel on canals.
      And the only person you managed to talk to was French. They’re everywhere these frenchies. But was she like La femme à l’écluse from Alberto Ibanez?

  38. Thank you Rufus for the puzzle. I always find them more difficult if I have to start them late in the day when my brain is fuddled with other things. I normally try to do them over breakfast. Thanks for the comprehensive review and hints MP.

  39. I found this much trickier than usual for a Monday. I too have now earned my pound for 18d which has been added to my growing list of “words I have learned from the Telegraph cryptic”.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the brilliant review.
    3*/3* for the puzzle and 5* for the review which literally had me laughing out loud more than once. It cheered me up no end after watching the final episode of A Casual Vacancy.

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