DT 27742

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27742

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dry but slightly overcast day.

It took me a little while to get a foothold in today’s Giovanni, and there are one or two answers which are fairly obscure, so *** difficulty for me.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden 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.


1a           Published plan for parking inside school presented to us (10)
PROSPECTUS – Start with a Latin word for ‘for’, then add a school of thought with Parking inside it, and finish with US (from the clue).

6a           Biblical father in group (4)
ABBA – Double definition, the first being the Hebrew diminutive for father seen in the New Testament, the second being a 1970s pop group.

9a           Worker, one probing ingenious mechanical device (10)
CANTILEVER – Another word for ingenious wrapped around one of the usual crossword workers and the Roman numeral for one.

Image result for forth rail bridge

10a         Emperor in fine robes (4)
NERO – A Roman emperor is hidden in the clue.

13a         Document dear in France includes drawings maybe (7)
CHARTER – Drawings, or paintings or sculpture, inside the French word for dear.

15a         Sadly maybe one dumped fortified wine and strong beer (6)
EXPORT – A familiar term for a former lover, followed by a fortified wine from the Douro region, giving a strong beer originally brewed to be shipped to the colonies.

Image result for export beer

16a         Group of students with each admitting a feeling of disgust (6)
NAUSEA – Put A (from the clue) inside the initials of a group representing the interests of students and add an abbreviation for ‘each’.

17a         Author, when wild with enmity, rages (6,9)
ERNEST HEMINGWAY – Anagram (wild) of WITH WHEN ENMITY RAGES. Thanks to all those who pointed out the mistake in the original hint.

Image result for ernest hemingway

18a         Thief in small room starts to take everything regardless (6)
LOOTER – A small (indeed the smallest) room, followed by the initial letters (starts) of the last three words in the clue.

20a         Temptations? Any number are to be found aboard ship (6)
SNARES – The usual crossword ship wrapped around an algebraic term for ‘any number’ and ARE (from the clue).

21a         Piece of cloth unusually garish presented to duke (7)
DISHRAG Duke followed by an anagram (unusually) of GARISH.

22a         Nannies maybe doing without good breakfast food? (4)
OATS – Nannies or billies with the initial Good removed.

25a         What trainspotter looks for? Crazy reason! (10)
LOCOMOTIVE – An American (or Spanish) word for crazy, followed by a reason for doing something.

26a         Safe old city in Home Counties (4)
SURE – The usual ancient city inside the geographical location of the Home Counties.

27a         Capital of Latvia bars drunk (10)
BRATISLAVA – Anagram (drunk) of LATVIA BARS, giving the capital of Slovakia.


1d           Speed with which fifty will leave location (4)
PACE – Remove the Roman numeral for fifty from a word for location.

2d           Squeal from duck floating on black liquid maybe (4)
OINK – The letter which looks like a duck at cricket, followed by a liquid which may be black, blue or a variety of other colours.

3d           Pledge in difficult situation (6)
PLIGHT – Double definition, the first being a promis, as in ‘xxxx one’s troth’.

4d           Saloon chatterer having a break to prepare for further conversation? (5,4,6)
CLEAR ONE’S THROAT – Anagram (having a break) of SALOON CHATTERER.

5d           Like a bumpy road that’s odd (6)
UNEVEN – If a number is odd it’s …

7d           What a cosmetic surgeon may do to offer a sort of defence (10)
BREASTWORK – Split (6,4) this could be a form of plastic surgery. As one word it’s a hastily erected rampart.

Image result for breastwork

8d           Disclosure from devious spy, a place with nothing hidden (10)
APOCALYPSE – Anagram of SPY A PLACE with the letter that looks like zero inside it, giving a disclosure or Biblical Revelation.

11d         Problem about ‘orrible place — I love being defiant (10)
REBELLIOUS – A problem or puzzle where pictures represent component parts of words, wrapped around an ‘orrible place (the opposite of ‘eaven), I from the clue and the letter which looks like a love score at tennis.

12d         PR person wants drop in cost organised (4,6)
SPIN DOCTOR – Anagram (organised) of DROP IN COST.

13d         Ruined vintage got rid of (7)
CRUSHED – The French word for a vintage or growth, followed by a verb meaning ‘got rid of’.

14d         Coming down as a monarch, we hear, (7)
RAINING – A homophone (we hear) of what the Queen has been doing since 1952.

19d         Equipment needs our scrupulous attention (6)
RIGOUR – Another word for equipment followed by OUR (from the clue).

20d         Disciple’s bearing a cross for German people (6)
SAXONS – A (from the clue) and a cross-shaped letter inside another word for disciple’s.

23d         Utterance of prophet? It’s usually transparent (4)
MICA – This transparent mineral sounds like (utterance of) a minor Old Testament prophet.

Image result for mica

24d         Queen came ahead of others, leading character (4)
LEDA – A verb describing what someone ahead of others in a race did, followed by the first or leading character of the alphabet, giving the name of the mythical queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan.

Image result for leda

The Quick Crossword pun PARIS + EATER + MOLLS = PARACETAMOLS


  1. dutch
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Last ones in were 23d and 24d, both held me up for a while. The defence in 7d was a new word for me, but the clue made me laugh. I also chuckled at the answer to 21a (piece of cloth…) though the surface reading didn’t grab me.

    I liked 10a (emperor, just because it reads nicely), 18a (thief…), my favourite has to be 22a (nannies..). I also liked 4d (saloon chatterer) mainly because of the “a break to prepare..”, and I liked the simple but elegant 19a (equipment needs…)

    In 15a, it is interesting that “sadly maybe” appears to be superfluous. The clue without this looks ok to me, but perhaps that makes it too easy?

    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat

    • Vince
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I agre, Dutch, re 15a.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Dutch for 23d and 24d
      Not totally convincing clues

  2. Ian
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Usual Giovanni mix of great clues mixed with some GK, some obscure words and several biblical references. Can’t wait to read Brian’s comment! I enjoyed the challenge though 24d a little too obscure for my general knowledge. Fave 9a. Thanks to all as usual. It’s been a good week.

  3. Angel
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I was slow off the mark too but managed in the end with minimal help. Have to admit 24d floored me so needed a prompt from DT. I had been trying to fabricate a Queen Vera using Victoria Regina! Liked 9a and 13d (crusted sprang to mind initially). All in all an entertaining session. TVM Giovanni and DT. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    2*/2*. Normal Friday – dull stuff plus obscurities.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  5. toadson
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable. I also wondered about ‘sadly’ in 15a. Needed the blog to fully justify 8d 11d and 23d. Have a good weekend all.

  6. Beaver
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Thought that some of the clues were difficult today, and agree with a ***/***.17A was last in but a poor clue in my opinion as no mineral was mentioned and its not particularly transparent anyway, thought that it must sound like a prophet but minor ones-I ask you ! Micah Richards played for City but he didn’t lead us to the promised land either. Some good clues like 11D,9A-i like charades .Thanks DT for the various explanations and pics

    • Beaver
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Sorry meant 23D NOT17A!

  7. Hanni
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink


    Thank goodness for anagrams at times. They certainly got the ball rolling today. 23/24d caused some problems. The latter I dragged from the memory bank but had to check the former was correct.

    Didn’t like 19d. I’m not sure about part of the answer appearing in the clue In that way.

    4d was rather nice and 6a gave me a wry smile. Though I now have the music going around my head. Not good.

    22a was guessed at because I forgot about other types of ‘nannies’. In my defence I solved this whilst working.

    Favourite clue 10a.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for an eloquent blog.

    Have a good weekend one and all.

  8. George
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I managed to finish this one after a bit of research on 6a and 24d – I know little about religious references but I did remember 23d! I didn’t really get a feeling of elation on finishing but I am still recovering after yesterday’s debacle.

    This one was a 3* in time for me and 3* for enjoyment – but a bit sleepy this morning and a bit grumpy as a result!

    • Brian
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I agree tricky though this was it was a relief after yesterday’s horror!

  9. Ora Meringue
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, I was better at this one than yesterday’s…but that is certainly not saying much.
    Needed a lot of electronic help plus the hints for 13d and 24d.
    Must brush up on my French and my Mythology.
    Thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.
    2d made me smile.

  10. Paso Doble
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Like Dutch, our last ones in were 23 and 24d…we had to revert to a bit of help from the internet to slot those home. Otherwise enjoyable and not too taxing. Thanks to Deep Threat and The Don.

  11. Sweet William
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you DG, difficult for me and not too much hilarity. Needed some hints for the usual obscurities, so many thanks DT for the explanations

  12. Captain Lethargy
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I think the anagram at 17a should be when enmity rages as with enmity rages only has 2 “e”s

  13. pommers
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately the obscure bits in this puzzle aren’t too obscure if you’ve done loads of crosswords. Don’t know why Giovanni puts them in unless he thinks it’s funny. They rather spoiled it so **/** from us.

    Fav by a mile was the cosmetic surgeon :lol:

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT

    P.S. DT, don’t like to mention this but the anagram fodder in 17a is WHEN EMNITY RAGES.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I agree, but doesn’t that mean the clue doesn’t work, or is it OK to stick an anagram indicator in the middle of the fodder?

      • pommers
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s OK here because WILD WITH is part anagram indicator (WILD) and part an instruction to join up two bits of non-contiguous fodder (WITH). Read the clue as WHEN has an anagram made (wild) along with (with) EMNITY RAGES

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          Thanks pommers. That makes sense!

        • Merusa
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          I tried “with enmity rages” to begin with, but the author came to me in a sudden flash, otherwise I’d probably still be trying to work it out!

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            This was one example where Miffypops’ method of not writing down the anagram fodder wins out.

            • Merusa
              Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

              There is no chance that I would be able to do anagrams without writing them down, as per Brian, that’s way beyond my pay grade!

        • Tstrummer
          Posted March 7, 2015 at 12:48 am | Permalink

          Reminds me of my favourite newspaper headline of all time, from The Helston Packet when on hols in Cornwall years ago. In huge letters on P1: APATHY RAGES AT BEAUTY CONTEST. Apparently only three young lovelies of the parish had entered that year’s Miss Helston contest.

          • gazza
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            That reminds me of Willie Whitelaw who accused his political opponents of ‘going around, stirring up apathy’.

  14. Chris
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I am always on the wrong wavelength for Giovanni but enjoyed the extra challenge of this today, even so. I especially liked the various biblical references and most of all enjoyed the 22a nannies’ breakfast. 3* / 3-4* for me. Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  15. Miffypops
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I had not finished this morning but had to go out early. Later I thought I would sort the long anagram out in my head by looking at the clue in the blog on my mobile phone only to find the old fellow himself gazing at me so need need to bother with the anagram. Once that was in it all followed pretty quickly. I am now eating my first Crab Sandwich of the year. Life is cool.

  16. Gwizz
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s offering; admittedly it was a little less tricky then yesterday’s say, but that was no bad thing! My last in was 24d but I got it wrong… BETA indeed!
    Oh well,. Cosmetic surgeon was my favourite and overall? 3*/3*.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT for showing me the error of my ways with 24d.

  17. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid the grid did nothing for me today as I don’t enjoy a plethora of 4 letter clues, sorry Giovanni. As usual the obscurities can be discovered from the wordplay but there was only one standout clue for me today which was my last one in after deciphering 6a. That is obviously 7dhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and DT for his usual succinct review.

  18. Marine2375
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    More my cup of tea this. I found yesterday’s offering way too contrived.

  19. Brian
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    What a ghastly religious orientated crossword. Finished with the help of the excellent clues without which I would never have known the various obscure prophets and priests and other biblical references. Never come across Rebus before other than as a fictional detective and didn’t realise that 8d meant a disclosure, I thought it meant a disaster or some such. The BRB confirms the definition but not one I am familiar with.
    Like most of this weeks crosswords, it had very little enjoyment for us apart from 7d and 25a which were clever and more of the standard I would expect from a Giovanni puzzle.
    Thx to all.

    • Rick
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Funnily enough you said the same thing about Rebus last time it appeared (Nov 2013) and the time before that (Nov 2012).

  20. Jay legs
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Much easier than yesterday but I still failed with 24d Good hints, thanks DT **/*** :)

  21. Salty Dog
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Can’t really see why some other contributors didn’t rate this puzzle; the “obscure” words can’t be that obscure if l know them! 2*/3* or thereabouts, and my favourite was 11d (with an honourable mention for 7d). Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.

  22. silvanus
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    And I thought yesterday was challenging ! This was a notch or two tougher in my opinion, mostly due to the obscurities involved such as 6a, 7d and 23d. None of the anagrams were that obvious either, but clearly they were solvable with good old time and perseverance.

    I can see why 7d is favoured by some, but to be honest, the clue is an easy construct, so my own favourite is probably 13d (very good misdirection).

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  23. Merusa
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    So pleasantly surprised, success with a Giovanni puzzle, and I liked it, too!! And a lot of smiles, to boot!
    I never got 24d, inexcusable, Leda and the Swan. I had not heard of the Biblical use of 6a, but I loved the group; sorry those who don’t, but they were hot when I was young-ish in the ’60s.
    I liked too many to choose a fave, though 22a was a smiler. Maybe I am now a Giovanni convert, especially after my abysmal failure yesterday which gutted me.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for your interesting review.

  24. Heno
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I didn’t enjoy this at all. Too many obscure religious references. Needed the hints for 17,18a&3,13d. No Favourites, was 4*/1* for me.

  25. Una
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I liked it ! I don’t know what people are complaining about , with the exception of 16a.I liked 9a,13a and 25a.Thanks DT and Giovanni.

    • Una
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Favourite was 6a.

  26. Mary Mary
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    ***/** for me today, as the shortest clues had me foxed, while the long anagrams were fairly easy but not inspiring – except for the clever 4d ! Thought 24d far too convoluted……Still, better than yesterday’s horror (for me, anyway ! )

  27. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    We thought this a very good puzzle. Several clues that required a bit of head scratching, and nothing in the so called obscurities that was unknown to us. We were surprised at the precise meaning of 8d though. The clues all beautifully written as usual and a good sprinkling of smiles along the way.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  28. JonP
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I found this to be a well clued and fairly straightforward solve but I needed electronic help for 23d as I didn’t know the prophet in question and was unable to successfully recall Mica. I like Giovanni’s puzzles as I generally learn a new word or two each time (whether or not I remember them is another thing). Thanks to DT and Giovanni **/***

  29. Collywobbles
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    As with DT, I found this puzzle difficult to break into. However, having got some of the long answers, it started to slowly fall into place. It took patience and persistence to finish off. Many thanks to DT for the clarity of hints and to Giovanni for a challenging puzzle.

  30. Jane
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Made a start on this one before taking my Birding Group on a Hawfinch hunt in the Conwy Valley – by some strange coincidence we saw exactly the same number of Hawfinches as we did Unicorns. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Back this afternoon to give the grid my full attention – certainly needed for this one.
    Some clever clues, some fun clues and the usual Don obscurities. 23d I didn’t realise was transparent, 24d I never managed and I wish ‘maybe’ had come immediately after ‘duck’ in 2d – pigs and geese, yes, but certainly not ducks!

    6a really made me smile – after yesterday’s blog I reckon DT put in the clip especially for MP. I’m sure he loved it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    With the checkers in at the time, ‘oversewing’ was perfect for 7d (but maybe not for the surgeon’s reputation). Once seen, it took ages to get beyond it.

    Favourite has to be 4d with 25a as a smiley second. Also, a mention for 11 & 13d. 3*/3*.

    Thanks to Giovanni, whose puzzles I never find easy and to DT for the excellent review and for making MP’s day!

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      For some reason I did not play that clip Jane. Pop pap in 4/4 time. Actually very catchy tunes with some unusual chord progressions and not easy to play. Not for me though. Hopefully Monday’s puzzle will give more illustrative opportunities than last week. And hopefully an opportunity to cut and paste from that dictionary you love so much Jane

      • Jane
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        OK – I’ll fall for it…………. which dictionary is that, MP? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Miffypops
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          The one with inappropriate captions that looks like a child’s dictionary.

          • Jane
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

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

            • Jane
              Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

              Just thought – do you mean the little rhymes that I haven’t got a clue where you get them from? If so, I still haven’t got a clue, let alone a copy.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jane.

      Every time you go birding I look up the birds you have seen, or failed to. It provides an education of sorts.

      Last week I drove to Cumbria to see my mum for the night. Armed with my new found knowledge I felt confident I would be able to impress her with bird related facts.

      Birds I misidentified…

      Some sort of finch
      A woodpecker, I heard a sound that sounded like one and told my mother that. She pointed out that it sounded like a woodpecker because it is one.
      Various tits.

      Birds I got correct.
      A robin.

      I could feel the pride swell up inside her. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Jane
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        Love it, Hanni. Why not have a go for a Blackbird next time?

        At least you bother to look and listen – it’s amazing how many people do, without even realising it.

      • Miffypops
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        If you pick them off with an air rifle then identification is much easier.

        • Jane
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          Not necessarily – depends on your ability, both with aim and ID skills.

          • Hanni
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

            Exactly MP.

            Jane I’m pretty good at pheasants too. Apparently she’s fine with me shooting rats, but offer to shoot the extremely tasty looking cock pheasant and her and her neighbour think that’s barbaric. I’m going to serve them rat fricassee one day.

            I think I’ve got blackbirds nailed.

  31. andrewkiwi
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Excellent challenge – I needed the hint for 7a but managed the rest ok. Thanks very much to the setter, the parser, and to Big Dave for this blog which I’ve been reading for a very long time but never contributed to since our local paper publishes the crossword a couple of weeks late. But I have finally figured out how to access the online DT puzzle site and how to run it on my iPad so watch out!

    • Jane
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      I wonder – do you belong to the 2K’s?

      • Kath
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        I think he must be – too tired, fed-up and grumpy to comment any more today but felt this needed a reply! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Sorry you’re having a bad day Kath. :-(

      • andrewkiwi
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        Hello from windy Wellington. No relation to the Two Kiwis Jane – it’s a small country but not that small!

        And no need to explain yourself Kath – I feel like I know most everyone here quite well from reading this blog over such a long period of time. It always seemed like a shame not to contribute but now I can get the crosswords on time I’m afraid you’re stuck with me!

        • Hanni
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          I love how global the blog is. Hello Andrew.

        • Jane
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          We’re more than happy to be ‘stuck’ with you Andrew – the more, the merrier! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Tstrummer
          Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

          Welcome aboard. This is a good place to be.

    • Kath
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Welcome andrewkiwi – I’m really not always as grumpy as I feel now – assuming your parents are who Jane and I think/assume they are then please ask them to back me up on that.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted March 7, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Have just arrived home after spending the day in Wellington, actually we went to see Don Quixote by The Royal New Zealand Ballet, and noticed this series of comments. Honestly, Andrew is not anyone we know, yet, but hope we can get to know him now, at least through the blog. Welcome aboard Andrewkiwi.

  32. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    This took me longer to solve than the toughie.
    You see Jane, I don’t think I am a ” more able solver ” but maybe just more comfortable with the clues in the toughies and I often struggle with the back page.
    This is why I start with the toughie and then the back page. I rarely do either in one go but leave them and come back to them when I get a chance.
    So! Today it was the DON ! The in-form favourite.
    So many words ending in A, but at least as a checking letter, it made things a bit easier.
    In 15a, I have never seen the word EX with such a long definition. Maybe it should have been:
    Sadly, or happily, but mostly sadly one dumped.
    I wrote Prosperous in 1a and Reining in 14d. What a mess that made!
    Favourite is 13d.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Maybe there’s more ‘Anglo-slang’ in the back-pagers? Whatever – Mr. T is obviously v. impressed with the abilities of you Francophiles………..as am I. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  33. Tstrummer
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Bit of a grind, with few joyous moments and no great feeling of satisfaction on completion, I’m afraid. Maybe, like Kath, I’m just a bit grumpy tonight. It’s been a hard week and I think that maybe I’m getting too old for this working life. Sadly, I’m too poor to retire, so I’m stuck with it. Thanks to DT for the erudition (please, no more Abba clips, anyone – ever) and to the Don for his efforts. 2* fun, 3* hardness

  34. Ginny
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT. Not very easy and I had to give up on 24d and was more than glad of DT’s hint. Favourites were 17a and 9a. ****/***.