DT 27744 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27744

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27744

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Welcome to the home of the National Anagram Appreciation Society. Unfortunately today’s puzzle only has five anagrams that number 49 characters and yield a mere 30.25% completion rate of the 162 letters in today’s puzzle. Last week’s ratio was much more generous yielding 40.66%. Alarmingly this leaves six whole answers unchecked. Over one hundred anagram indicators were used by DT setters during the month of January alone. Today is also National Get Over It Day. If you can “Get over it” please do so but spare a thought for those who cannot “get over it” and suffer the invisible and awful illness that is depression. It is also national Crabmeat Day but I couldn’t wait and ate all of the crabmeat in a sandwich on Friday. I will make do with a small jar of Caviar instead

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    Cloud cover is right in position (7)
STRATUS: Place the R(ight) inside a noun meaning one’s relative social or professional position or standing.

5a    Let everybody marry with love at heart (7)
ALLOWED: What is your preference, Lego charades or simply doing what it say’s on the tin? Take our usual crosswordland word meaning everybody or the whole quantity and a verb meaning to marry. Now insert (at heart) the letter that represents the tennis score of zero points (love) Don’t put the Lego away just yet. You may need it later

9a    It’s quite rough and ready, as a rule (5)
THUMB: The ‘rule of thumb’ has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. In 1782, Judge Sir Francis Buller is reported as having made this legal ruling and in the following year James Gillray published a satirical cartoon attacking Buller and caricaturing him as ‘Judge Thumb’. The cartoon shows a man beating a fleeing woman and Buller carrying two bundles of sticks.

10a    Openings for super rate of exchange (9)
APERTURES: Hurrah an anagram. Triggered by (of exchange) of SUPER RATE. I adore anagrams. They offer an easy entry into a cryptic puzzle and opportunity to doodle aplenty

11a    One taking part in an emergency (10)
UNDERSTUDY: This part is theatrical and describes a performer who learns the lines of a regular actor or actress in a play in order to stand in should the regular performer be unable to take part.

12a    Stop article by TV doctor (4)
WHOA: A word used to stop horses formed by putting the name of a well-known doctor in a long running BBC TV series before a single letter determiner. In the early episodes of this series the Tardis blended into the landscape that it landed in so took on different shapes. For some reason that ability failed and despite the efforts of Jon Pertwee and his sonic screwdriver could not be fixed. Not even if the polarity was reversed and so the Tardis remains in the guise of a 1960’s police box for evermore

14a    Inevitable comment on hopeless case (4,2,6)
CAN’T BE HELPED: This phrase is used to say that an unpleasant or painful situation, or an unwanted duty cannot be avoided and must be accepted

18a    Matches to be made if three girls go wild (12)
FIRELIGHTERS: Whoo Hooo. Anagram two. Here’s your clue. Anagram (go wild) of IF THREE GIRLS

21a    Appear to observe many (4)
SEEM: take a verb meaning to perceive with the eyes (observe) and add the M of M(any). Not much Lego needed here.

22a    Boat train being derailed (10)
BRIGANTINE: Here it be. Anagram three. Listen to me. This boat can be deduced by anagramatising the words TRAIN BEING as hinted by the word derailed. Bjork is singing her song “Oh it’s So quiet” which is pleasing me greatly

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a    Make a sorry speech? (9)
APOLOGISE: Express regret for something that one has done wrong.

26a    Breathe one’s last during a university farewell (5)
ADIEU: Insert (in) a word that means to fade away completely until all life is extinct (Breathe one’s last) into the A from the clue and the U of U(niversity. Last week at 11ac we inserted a word that meant to fade away completely until all life is extinct into the name of an American general. Will we get a hat trick next week?

27a    Mouthful of water (7)
ESTUARY: A Delta or the tidal mouth of a river.

28a    Objects about the French not finishing (7)
ENDLESS: Place a word meaning objects, aims, or targets around the French plural for the as in Victor Hugo’s Miserables which Saint Sharon and I went to see in London. The highlight of the show for me was the moment that the irritating little brat Gavroche got shot. Apparantly shouting “Yes good shot. Sorted” was inappropriate. I would happily have shot him myself


1d    Begs to put off retirement? (4,2)
SITS UP: What a dog does when offered a treat and what we do if we go to bed late.

2d    They’re made by those who deliver   ammunition (6)
ROUNDS: The name given to delivery routes as used by paperboys or milkmen (remember those) which is also the name given to types of ammunition such as bullets

3d    A celebrant seen around a place of worship (10)
TABERNACLE: It’s never a bore, anagram four. Let’s explore. The words seen around let us know that there is an anagram opportunity. The words A CELEBRANT appear to be the anagram fodder as they number 10 characters.

4d    Is able in a way, but limited (5)
SCANT: Place a verb meaning to be able to inside our usual crosswordland abbreviation for street (way)

5d    Troops appearing twice in a Daily Telegraph — initially it makes a change (9)
AMENDMENT: Lego time again. Place a word meaning troops or the ordinary members of the armed forces as distinct from the officers between the A from the clue and the D from D(aily Telegraph). Now place the same word (twice) between the D of D(aily) and the T of T(elegraph)

6d    Departed   after time (4)
LATE: A double definition., the first being dead.

7d    The fighters’ craft (8)
WARSHIPS: Seagoing vessels intended for use in naval battles

8d    Drops from one’s hand (8)
DISCARDS: To get rid of something no longer useful when playing a game like poker

13d    It makes sound sense to those in need (7,3)
HEARING AID: A device used to help the partially deaf. The word sounds is usually used to indicate a sounds like clue or homophone but is included here as a misdirection


15d    Presumably it shouldn’t have the lion’s share of the bed (5,4)
TIGER LILY: I am not sure how to describe this clue other than a very clever cryptic definition. The bed is in the garden. The reason it (in the clue) shouldn’t have the lion’s share of the bed is that it isn’t a lion but the other big cat. The answer as a whole is a flowering plant. Once all of the checkers are in the answer is obvious. It is clues like this that make me think “Why do I put myself through this?”

16d    Geoff sat out in the wings (3-5)
OFF STAGE: Anagram Six. In the mix. Here’s the fix. Anagram (out) of GEOFF SAT. Possibly Geoffrey Palmer. I am sure he has sat in the wings more than once.

17d    There’s no duty here and no charge for wine (4,4)
FREE PORT: A doubly defined clue. No more need be said

19d    Guess  what the poet Donne was by profession (6)
DIVINE: A double definition The first being discover (something) by guesswork or intuition. John Donne was a cleric as well as a poet. He wrote this

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Van Morrison sang this

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Verbal critical reports of shows (6)
REVUES: This is a real homophone. A review is a critical report of a show. A show is also a word which sounds exactly the same as review but is spelled differently

23d    Gosh! Southern European birds! (5)
GEESE: Take a mild expression, typically of surprise, enthusiasm, or sympathy and add the initial letters of S(outhern ) E(uropean)

24d    British isle shortly to join a state of America? (4)
IOWA: The island known Vectis to the Romans and the letter A from the clue together form this Midwestern state.

Solved whilst listening to Bjork, Tom Waits, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. You can clear the Lego away now.

The Quick Crossword pun: waiter+minute=wait a minute

105 comments on “DT 27744

  1. A nice Monday puzzle which was straightforward enough. 2*/4*

    No caviar here, not even a lobster!

  2. Lovely start to the week with the usual subtle and smooth cryptic definitions from Rufus.

    My favourites were 5a (Let everybody marry – although this is not a cryptic definition, Miffypops I think the definition here I think is simply “let” rather the whole clue). 18a (matches to be made… a bit of a theme?), and I was quite taken with 8d (drops from one’s hand), possibly because it took me a while.

    I felt uneasy at first about 7d (the fighters’ craft) having a plural answer, but of course craft can also be plural.

    Many thanks Rufus and Miffypops

  3. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very good puzzle to start the week. I found this very difficult and came to a halt with 12 still to solve. Had a mini breakthrough, which left me 6, needed 4 hints to finish. Favourites were 11a&5d. Just couldn’t see 1&9a,4&19d,even though I’m a Van Morrison fan. Was 4*/3* for me.

  4. Struggled a bit for a Monday due to a few false starts but got there in the end without recourse to hints.
    1d was last in but also my favourite clue.
    Thanks to setter and MP. Enjoy the caviar.

  5. Sorry can’t agree with the rating today, at least not for me. I thought it was almost a write-in. For me */***. Perhaps I was just on the setters wavelength today which makes a change. Lots of nice anagrams but best clue for me was 7d. Still not quite certain what the grounds are for calling John Donne divine, is it a clerical title? I thought divine meant God-like. Whatever, a nice start to the week. As it was ‘his’ turn last week, perhaps I can tentatively look forward to Thursdayhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Thx to all.

    1. The BRB gives for divine as a noun: a person skilled in divine things; a minister of religion; a theologian.

      1. Interestingly enough it also give Prognosticate as a definition which I really had never been aware of Thx for clearing that up, as I said it was a very minor point in an excellent puzzle.

  6. Oh dear, MP – you really are getting neurotic about anagrams. How long did it take you to work out all those facts and figures? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    I thought this was our Monday setter at his best – 2*/4* for me. Gave myself a problem at the outset by putting in ‘warplane’ at 7d – 12&14a thus became a little difficult! 14a was always going to be somewhat of an issue as I persist in forgetting about missing apostrophes. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Favourite goes to 1d – always seem to opt for the smiley clues.
    Many thanks to Rufus for a nice one and to MP for his fun-as-ever review, despite allowing VM to ruin a perfectly good song. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  7. MP – what are the statistics for Cryptic Definitions today?

    Far too many for me – no matter how clever they are.

    Thanks to all involved.

  8. Fairly straightforward start to the week with just a slight delay in NE corner. No favs today in my book. Thanks Mr. Ron (Rufus?) and MP for hints (not needed today) plus your anagram analysis. How about a crossword comprising only anagrams to keep the fans happy whilst reducing number in the Cryptic? **/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  9. Thanks to the setter, and Miffypops, I really like all the facts, eg. Rule of thumb, how dreadful. I enjoy this blog so much.

  10. **/***

    Things started well. Things often do. Things got held up with 15d. In fact I did not even pencil the thing in. I guessed at the answer but could not justify it.

    Other moments of doubt were 22a…had to check that it was a real thing and not just a convenient anagram. 5d took a little working out.

    Favourite clue is 12a. Gravatar adjusted accordingly.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for a suberb blog as always.

    Caviar in a jar?

  11. I like Monday crosswords a lot, so although we didn’t find it easy by any means, the answers fitted the clues in a fairly straightforward way. 11a was my favourite, being an example of my type of cryptic clue, no messing about with bits of this word and bits of that word and then turning it back to front. Thank you very much to the Monday setter and to Miffypops.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  12. Thank you Rufus, I found that quite hard for a Monday puzzle and needed a couple of your hints MP to get over the finishing line. 2 puzzles in one day is clearly too much for me !

  13. Reasonably straightforward, so a nice start to the week. **/*** helped by the anagrams, and the simpler than usual charades. Kept me entertained long enough to ignore the foul weather outside. Await gale force winds later; seems to be the windiest winter in memory.Back to the crossword. Liked 8d among others but unlike other bloggers,1d didn’t do it for me.
    As usual, the whole experience was enhanced by MP and his poetic comments so thanks to him and to Rufus.

  14. I found this puzzle quite difficult and needed two hints for 14a and 8d. Was convinced that 14a was a French expression because of the second word ending in e! Never thought of be. Again foxed by apostrophe being omitted in cryptic clues – can’t which is really two words… Was also puzzled by 7d as all I could think of was ships but then I had a singular noun in the clue, i.e. craft so is this a collective noun for a group of ships as fleet is? Thought 11a was very clever. Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for the much needed help. 3.5*/3.

    1. You’re correct, Framboise, the plural of craft when referring to vessels (ships, etc.) is craft and indeed for aircraft.

  15. We finished this in 1* time and so had to get out of bed rather earlier than a usual Monday. Very enjoyable all the same (the crossword not the early shower)!
    Thanks to the setter and reviewer.

  16. Entertaining puzzle to start the week with and a tad trickier than the normal Monday fare. Although it didn’t help trying to fit the answer for 16d into 13d spacehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif. A lot of good cryptic clues but 11a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to Mp for his usual entertaining review. (I worry about you MP – you must take more water with it!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif)

  17. Thank you Miffypops for a most entertaining review – Mondays wouldn’t be the same without your cheery start to the week. Hope you enjoyed your caviar – chicken feet on the menu here, only for Paso I must add, I wouldn’t touch them myself! Thanks to Rufus for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with some lovely clues – we just needed a bit of help on 5d. 2*/4*

    1. Hi Doble – this both disgusts and intrigues me……….. what could there possibly be for Paso to eat on a chicken’s foot? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Chicken feet are a great delicacy in many parts of the world. A lot of West Indians make chicken-foot soup! Not my choice, but to each his own.

        1. They are supposed to be rather tasty. I’ve never tried them but then again I’ve never been in a situation when someone has said, “Hanni, can I tempt you to nibble on this chicken leg”?

            1. Oh I could have said worse.

              It is true that I have never eaten chicken feet. And I have tried some obscure things. Bizarre Scandinavian fermented fish, various insects, beetroot.

              1. Nowt wrong with beetroot. Straight out of the ground washed and boiled, skinned and eaten like an apple. Sublime.

                1. For once, I totally agree with you, MP. Only problem is that they make a b. awful mess of the kitchen during the boiling/skinning process.

                    1. Nope. I have made brownies, chutney and pickle with the stuff. I’ve tried.

                      Just so you know… Pomegranate can make a mess too.

        2. There used to be a bar in Madrid run by a little old lady and the only tapa she served was chicken’s feet and the only drink was red wine by the glass. It had beautiful old zinc counters and fabulous tiling. She died, and it was stripped out to become a trendy hipster place full of chrome, where a glass of wine costs more than most in that stricken country can afford. It’s called progress, apparently.

  18. A very entertaining crossword, made all the more enjoyable by such a characterful and enlightening review. I always thought the rule of thumb was that the thumb was an inch across. More or less. (Perhaps I have led too sheltered a life, but I still prefer my definition to MP’s.) On the ipad here the review has areas of white space after 22a and after 19d, by the way. If the music isn’t classical I probably haven’t missed much, so not to worry. (PS Music now appeared. I was right.)
    My favourite clue was 27a. Many thanks to the setter and of course to Miffypops.

  19. Ah, the lovely Rufus again! I so look forward to Mondays. No problems at all and over much too soon. Favourite? Impossible to choose.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for his review.

  20. It’s taken all dayhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif and a little help, hints for 19d. 20d. My favorite clue was 7d. Many thanks to Miffypops.

  21. Dear Miffypops what would Monday be without you, envied you your crab sandwich used to have lady down from Cromer with crabs to sell in market every week throught the summer – bliss. My miseries from last week faded away and my trusty pencil and I enjoyed the anagrams and other delights. No favourite but 5d and 26a raised a small smile. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

      1. Oh dear I’ve just said Cromer in front of Cuth and Cynthia. Going to be at least a month before we get a chance. Two very forlorn pooches. I’ve not told them this next weekend is New Forest though ;)

  22. Very gentle, but enjoyable nonetheless. 1*/3*, and a very pleasant start to the week. My long-time favourite was 26a, but was pipped at the post by 19d (thanks for the burst of Donne, MP). Thanks to Rufus, and of course to MP.

  23. Why can’t we have a Rufus every day? Short, snappy clues and humour. I’m not a great fan of anagrams myself but when the rest of the puzzle is really enjoyable they don’t bother me

  24. Nice and easy start to the week. **/*** Thanks to Miffypops for the entertaining review, they just get better.

  25. Mostly straightforward solve punctuated by the usual Rufus cryptic definitions that one has to employ a bit of lateral thinking in order to solve. Thanks to MP and Rufus **/***

  26. Great review. Thanks to MP.
    Quite a lot of all in one clues but very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Thanks to Rufus.

  27. Enjoyable start to the week if a little on the straightforward side Could not see 19d and still not sure . Thanks to miffypops for some embroidered hints

  28. We wonder if anyone else tried ‘call me stupid’ as a first attempt at 14a. It fitted the checkers we had at the time but did not help much with the rest of the puzzle and so ended up being appropriate after all. That was the only significant delay in the solving process. Good fun, lots of chuckles.
    Thanks Rufus and Miffypops.

  29. I liked this. **/**** here. Nice clues no ambiguity – and a sense of humour. Favourite clue 8d. Thank you to the setter and Miffypops . Enjoy the Caviar

  30. I agree with the ratings, and a very enjoyable it was. Favourite 11a.Thanks Miffypops and Rufus.

  31. **/**** for me. Last clue in was 19d and needed the blog to find out why? Reminds me why I love crosswords so much as they never cease to provide opportunities to extends one’s knowledge. Fav clues were 26a and 27a

  32. Am I the only person to find Mondays the hardest day of the week in the Telegraph? Consistently 2-3 the time taken to solve any other day. Gah. Perhaps Rufus just takes some getting used to.

    1. Welcome to the blog Jon

      Yes, Rufus does take some getting used to, but stick with it and your efforts should be rewarded.

    2. That’s the way of crosswords Jon. One mans meat is another mans poison. Anyway welcome to the blog.

    3. No, you’re not the only person to find Mondays tricky – I usually do but for some reason I didn’t today. The other day that I really do always struggle with is Friday.
      Whatever – welcome from me too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Hi Kath – I’ve been waiting for you to sign in. Not sure you will have had chance to look at the MPP yet so wanted to possibly be the first to tell you that Alchemi has decided to make available online a collection of his puzzles – including several specialist cricket-themed ones. To quote a rather risqué slate coaster I saw today – ‘I laughed so much the tears almost ran down my legs’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  33. When 1a and 5a – I did like that one – went straight in, it was a good start. It became a little harder at the end, but I got there.

    I had the same doubt as Hanni with 22a, and like Jane I had plane initially at 7d. 19d was one of those ones I didn’t know I knew until I knew I did. That doesn’t quite make sense but never mind!

    20d made me smile thinking of some of the comments we get here.

    What an interesting factoid about 9a. I had to have a google for myself, and find that Chris is probably closer to the truth – but have learned in the process, which is what it is all about. The more I stuff learn one day the more I get to forget the next.

    The 28a comment made me laugh. I love Les Mis, though the ending rings false. My version would leave no survivors.

    26a is my clue of the day.

    In reply to MP’s comment at 15d: you alone know why you put yourself through it but it is to our great benefit that you do, for which very many thanks.

    I cannot make a succinct comment about the national day, and this is not the place for a long one.

    Thanks to Rufus too. I am off now to have as much fun as an ordinary Monday night will generally allow.

    Adieu! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. Hi Kitty, I seem to recall from my legal history lectures, that hardly anyone attended, there is no direct evidence that Sir Buller ever used those words in court. I could go and look in the many legal tomes I have, but I have taken horizontal residence on a sofa and they are at least 8m away. Lazy? Possibly. DOMS definitely. Pain…oh God yes.

      The national day is just a very good thing for people to be aware of.

      I hope you’re enjoying your ‘ordinary’ Monday?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      I’m pondering why I thought it would be a good idea to walk 30 miles at the weekend.

      1. Hi Hanni. Horizontal residence on a sofa sounds lovely, and certainly not something to be disturbed without very good reason. As a rule I like to be either vertical or horizontal rather than “folded” – though I happily make exceptions for eating and drinking. So quite a lot of exceptions.

        Long walks are good. DOMS comes firmly under the category of “good pain” for me, unlike that resulting from imperfectly fitting shoes (otherwise known as shoes). Grr.

        Monday has turned out okay. I have found cats to stroke and unexpected toads to not stroke. Have had a few more meals than the normally accepted number. Next to be tackled is – wait for it – Tuesday.

        1. I was that toad Kitty. Just shapeshifting and dropping by to see that you were ok.

          1. Aww, thanks. That makes me feel slightly less nutty for talking to it/you. You’ll have heard me tell you to move off the path in case someone were to tread on you. In fact, it’s lucky that I didn’t. It wouldn’t be so great if I’d squished you to death…

        2. Hi Kitty, kudos for staying away from toads, and that cats are suberb.

          I do get that DOMS can be good. I also get that Choo’s are less painful. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

          Now to get up from this sofa??

          EDIT…. During my time on the sofa I have mastered paper aeroplanes.

      2. Where did you walk Hanni? I have had DOMS so many times without ever realising I had it

        1. Outside of the Queen Catherine Osmotherly to Castleton via Roseberry Topping. What are you doing to get DOMS without your knowledge?

          1. According to my online searches DOMS is an abbreviation for Devil On My Shoulder – NOW I understand how both you and MP appear to suffer from it so badly. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

          2. Ah. Cleveland Way country I think. Miffypops has walked miles in his time but not enough miles. it used to make me smile after a weekends walking to struggle with the first few steps every time I stood up to walk. Is that DOMS? Then there were the idiots who asked how we knew where we were going and those who couldn’t see the point but spent all weekend on a sofa playing catchup with Eastenders.

            1. Yes a lot of it was the Cleveland Way. But we all tend to ‘bracken bash’ a bit..aka go off the path. Not with me navigating.

              Sounds like DOMS. Does it hurt to move?

              I don’t watch a lot of TV so I can’t comment. I watch even less now that England have decided using a ball and bat at cricket are pointless.

              Hope the Amazon is treating you well? :-) EDIT walking in the Amazon is difficult. Giant centipedes and no pubs.

              1. I take it you haven’t quite made it off the sofa yet Hanni?

                We should get together and have a paper aeroplane competition.

                It’s not nice to disparage other people’s interests and hobbies*, but I do so want to venture to suggest that using a bat and ball at cricket is always pointless…

                *am reminded of this:

                1. Still here. Due to various genetic idiosyncrasies, cricket is part of my life.

                  Love the paper aeroplane idea. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif Unless you’re an engineer. The only reason I was making origami ones tonight is because engineering types get excited by them.

                  1. I’m definitely not an engineer. I am a physicist apart from the fact that I can’t really remember much physics these days. Planes fest is on!

                2. Loved it, Kitty. I do try to follow the advice but I think a slightly glazed expression gives me away. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

                  1. That just shows how hard you are trying.

                    Right, that’s it. I really must drag myself off to bed.

                    Thanks all of you for the fun tonight. Goodnight! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    2. Hi Kitty, so relieved to hear that someone else fell into the ‘plane’ trap at 7d. As for 19d – that only came to me because the first church I ever attended (as in – you WILL go to Sunday school) was St. John the Divine in Brooklands – just a step away from the home of Sale Sharks, where I spent a great deal of time a little later on at the Friday discos!

      Re: 28a – No. 1 daughter has been to see Les Mis more times than I care to remember and always comes home in tears. I think I will spare her your alternative ending.

      The 9a explanation as given in MP’s review is one I’ve certainly heard before – I think it also applied to canes for schoolchildren – but the ‘thumb’ measure is possibly more PC! However, I always understood it to be the distance between the tip of a thumb and the first joint (minus any extending nail) and that does seem to be far more plausible – one would need to have extremely large hands to measure 1ins. across the thumb.

      Wonder whether you are into countdown yet for Mr. K, although I suspect you may only be half way through. Sorry that he hasn’t been on the blog of recent – it was rather nice to ‘see’ you both together some evenings.

      1. Hi Jane. I was also made to go to Sunday school – it taught me lots of things that weren’t its aim, and not a lot of what was intended. I’m glad I went.

        A good friend introduced me to Les Mis. He bought me the sheet music and the novel. Not wanting to spoil the story, I read the book before so much as peeking at the songs. Only after that did I see the musical. Now, a couple more performances and several recordings down the line, I have forgotten nearly all of the details of the novel. There was another sister of Éponine’s and lots of boring stuff about the running of convents, but the love story was a whole lot more convincing and the characters had rather more in the way of a 3rd dimension. In addition to changing the ending, I have made one or two other “improvements.” You do not want to hear my alternative lyrics to “On my Own.” http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        Mr K is very busy at the mo and thus out of the crosswording habit. On the plus side, he’ll be here in less than a week, and with my expert tuition will be solving again in no time. Or perhaps preventing me from solving. Either way is good. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        1. Think I was far too young to learn much of anything at Sunday school – confirmation classes later on were a whole different ball game!

          So glad that Mr. K will be back soon – his ‘rota’ is obviously very different from that of No. 2 daughter’s fiancé – she’s still got about four weeks to wait for his return. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif At least he will then be back for 6 weeks but, given that they’ve just moved in to their first house together, I think his ‘jobs’ list will cover far more than simply making his young lady personally happy to see him! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

          As for Les Mis and your info and suggestions – think I’ll refrain from involving No. 1 daughter – she gets very emotional about most things.

          1. I do hope your No. 2 daughter is coping okay with the wait. And that the fiancé does a good job of making her happy on his return. Emotions are difficult. The happy ending can stay in place just for your No. 1 daughter.

    3. I am surprised not to be reading “and when shall we three meet again” here

      1. Somehow I suspect that Kitty would not be looking for a third party to join in the celebrations when Mr. K. returns!

  34. Not happy with 7d – got ‘Warplane’ which I think is better. Consequently messed up NE a tad. BAH! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. Loving it, Jean-luc – some of the earrings I see around would greatly benefit from an ‘aid’ to hold up the wearer’s lobes!

        1. When my Dad saw someone like that he used to say, “You put your foot on it while I get a stick”! Oh dear – we really couldn’t take him anywhere.

              1. I’m lost too on the slate coaster? I have some Cumbrian slate coasters?

                No doubts that your father was really rather incredible.

              2. It’s one of those little round jobs for standing the red wine glass on so as not to slosh said wine onto the table top. The particular ones I was looking at were made of Welsh slate. Just happened to notice them on my mission to order a Welsh slate house name plate for No. 2 daughter – a requested house -warming present to remind her of her Mum!

                Hope you spotted my previous post re: said coasters.

            1. I’m glad you like the sound of him – he was wonderful and very funny – yet another http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif for him.

    1. Hi Little Dave, I even got as far as adding ‘alda’ for 12a – as in the MASH doctor, before I realised there was no chance of 14a working out!

  35. Phew – a bit late here this evening. Been out and busy doing very boring but essential “stuff” all day. Husband said he’d cook supper and, although I didn’t really feel like it, I had a go at the crossword. I’m so glad that I did.
    Mondays aren’t always my favourite crosswords but I really loved this one. I think 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I got a bit stuck with my last two – the second word of 15d and 27a – but other than those I didn’t have any serious problems.
    Lots of lovely clues – far too many to mention all so I will restrict myself to a few:- 9, 14 and 27a and 13 and 15d. My favourite was 16d – I was very involved with a Geoff in my dim and distant past – the answer was where he belonged!
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. Well thanks you so much MP. I’m early tonight, as I have been entrusted to be in charge of foreign parts this week, which means no exciting domestic politics (such a shame with all this phoney electioneering going on) but instead more pedestrian issues such as Isis, Boko Haram, Greece and Silvio Berlusconi (to us journalists, he is the gift that keeps on giving). This means I can – almost- get to contribute on the same day as the crossword is published, as abroad goes off stone before home.
      As a fellow Van the Man fan, thanks for the clip. Not so sure about Bjork, but I’ll give anything a try.
      As for today’s Rufus, I enjoyed it even though it was a bit of a read and write (while listening to Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express, probably the best live ban in the world right now). So thanks to him, and to MP for the usual high standard review.

      1. Always look to see if you sign in when I’m doing a late night stint on the blog. Can you tell me where the expression ‘off stone’ comes from? It sounds slightly worrying.

        1. Hi Jane. Back in the days of hot metal printing, the area where journalists and printers (or inkies, as they were known) was called the stone, because of the large table-like bench where the “stone sub” (a sub-editor charged with proof reading and making sure all the disparate elements of stories went in the right place and in the right order) worked. This bench was known as the stone, probably because in the very early days, it had been made of stone, as were the footings of the Linotype machines that punched out the words, in mirror image. Learning to read small type in mirror image is one of those skills that took me ages to master when I was a young sub and is now of no use at all, except for reading the writing on the front of ambulances when I’m not in the car. So “off stone” was the moment that the edition of the newspaper was complete and we all went down the pub, only to return and do the next edition. In those days, the DT had five editions a night and we worked through until about 4am. Nowadays, on my current paper, we do two, with various “slips” to add new stories, make corrections etc until it is too late to bother – usually about 2.30am. By then, the pubs are all closed. Fleet Street is not what it used to be.

  36. Thanks to Setter for this which I didn’t have time to finish yesterday, mainly because I found the top half more difficult than any of last week. Thanks to MP for the very clear review which I did not need after using 3 letter hints and giving in to brainfade on some of the anagrams. Favourite was 27a. 12a then 7d were last in. MP, may I please respectfully point out a spelling error at 3d. It must be all the recent talk of seafood. Thanks again.

    1. Two As Two Es. I have three as. Corrected now. I am surprised nobody pulled me up on it before though. I will dig out an Autumn Joy Sedum Shoot for you Ginny. Take care.

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