DT 27747

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27747

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where I’m running a little late due to oversleeping, oops. I blame the final glass of vino collapso!
This is a pretty good puzzle which was comfortably in 2* time until I got to the SW corner which refused to reveal itself easily so 3* it will have to be.  I found it fun as it has one or two rather off-the-wall definitions. I know some of you will complain because only seven of the twenty six answers have their first letters checked.

As usual the ones I like most are in blue and the definitions are underlined in the clues. The answers are under the click here buttons so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


7a           Cucumber grown originally by that woman’s family (7)
GHERKIN: Start with a G (Grown originally) and follow with the usual words for “that woman” and family, not clan, the other one.

8a           Run out with me, almost as a favour (7)
ROSETTE: The letters denoting Run Out in cricket followed by what the person writing the clue is but without its last letter (me, almost).

10a         Foreign money set out before ride in unreliable outlet (6,4)
BUCKET SHOP: A word for some foreign money, American perhaps, followed by an anagram (out) of SET and then a slang term for a short ride. Put that lot together and split (6,4).

11a         Little creature went off (4)
NEWT: Anagram (off) of WENT.

12a         Source of wheeze by teachers becoming a cliche (8)
CHESTNUT: The part of the body which may wheeze followed by the National Union of Teachers gives a word for a cliche that’s used on this site to describe clues which ought to be in the rest home for tired crossword clues.  I think 7a is one of these.

14a         Exile having two keys left (6)
DEPORT: Exile as a verb is two musical keys followed by a word meaning left.

15a         Communicative  in the near future? (11)
FORTHCOMING: Double definition.

19a         Reserve player runs round for each ace (6)
SUPERB: Ace as in very good. An abbreviation for a reserve in a football team goes around a word meaning for each.

20a         Small room European’s holding in hotel — means of escape needed (8)
LOOPHOLE: Start with the smallest room and follow with our favourite European around (holding in) an H(otel).

22a         Quarrel is historical with son foremost (4)
SPAT: A word for historical (?) as in remembered but with an S at the start S(on) foremost.  Historical is PAST – then move S(on) to the front. – Thanks Gazza.

23a         Red agenda is to agitate about married woman of status (6,4)
GRANDE DAME: Anagram (is to agitate) of RED AGENDA about M(arried).

25a         Critical of vintage spy agency making contact with student (7)
CRUCIAL: A word for a vintage (think French wine) followed by the US spies and then the usual letter for a student.

26a         Present favourably mum’s stuffing ingredient? (7)
MASSAGE: What you might do to some figure in order to present them favourably. Its mother’s (3) followed by a herb commonly used in stuffing for the roast chicken.  For some reason I really wanted the answer to this one to be SAUSAGE! Well, it fits the checkers and it’s often found in stuffing.


1d           Consideration despite the fact that time’s short (7)
THOUGHT: A word for meaning despite the fact followed by T(ime).

2d           Trio from Italy with King making journey (4)
TREK: The Italian word for three followed by King in chess notation is a long journey.
Star trek

3d           No pits can supply what’s needed in engine (6)
PISTON: This bit of an engine is an anagram (can supply) of NO PITS.

4d           Father twice meeting daughter — Greek character’s served up Indian snack (8)
POPPADUM: Two different words for father followed by D(aughter) and the reversal of a Greek letter.

5d           Woman on quiet island gets to be miserly (5-5)
PENNY PINCH: What you do to be miserly is a womans name followed by the letter for quiet in music notation and then a Scottish word for a small island.  Don’t know about you guys but I don’t like it when the setter uses “woman” or “man” to clue a proper name as there’s hundreds of them to choose from.

6d           Waiter set wrong charge (7)
STEWARD: This waiter, in a private club perhaps, is an anagram (wrong) of SET followed by charge as in a young child in your care.

9d           Low lie chart reproduced describing some crime? (5-6)
WHITE COLLAR: Anagram (reproduced) of LOW LIE CHART.

13d         A fuming column? (10)
SMOKESTACK: Cryptic definition of something on the top of your house which fumes.  The penny resolutely refused to drop on this one and it’s probably to blame for the difficulty third star.

16d         Awkwardly got bag on winter vehicle (8)

17d         Significance of claim (7)
PURPORT: Double definition.

18d         Bird’s adornment requires choice and time (7)
PLUMAGE: A word for choice or desirable followed by a long time.

21d         Bowler, say, getting past it (3,3)
OLD HAT: A bowler might be one of these. Not a cricketer but that thing on your head.

24d         Medicine held up by nurses oddly (4)
DOSE: It’s hidden (held) but backwards (up, in a down clue) in NURSES ODDLY.

No real favourite in this one but, if pushed, I’d probably go for 17d, or maybe 20a.

The Quick Crossword pun: crew+sibyl=crucible



  1. andy
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I’ll be the one of the first to complain about the grid. Why on earth use it?

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      As I don’t consciously look at the grid until I have worked my way through all the clues and entered the ones I can solve, I didn’t even notice the ‘problem’

      • andy
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Donk used another weird grid in the Indy today, for a reason, that’s me point.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      When I saw this grid at 2.30am I thought that somebody would comment on it but blimey O Riley I didn’t think it would so early and first past the post.

  2. George
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    This one took a bit more thought to finish. My trouble was misspelling 4d and entering LEFT for 11a not spotting the anagram – but I did finally figure that out. I would agree with 3* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.

    • Czaz
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Fell into the ‘L-Eft’ trap as well. F-elt it should have been better disambiguated!!

      • gazza
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog, Czaz.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I did exactly as you did, and it didn’t ‘arf screw me up.

      • Poppy
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        And me!

    • fran
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Also had problems spelling 4d that tied in nicely with14a being outlaw ; this led to some serious unravelling later needless to say 8a last one in

  3. gazza
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    For 22a I think historical is PAST – then move S(on) to the front.

    • George
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      That’s how I read the clue too.

    • pommers
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Well spotted Gazza!

    • Hanni
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Cheers Gazza.

  4. Graham
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Today I did need the hints on a couple of clues but unlike pommers I thought 13D was to easy not really cryptic. My favourite was 8A very nice in my opinion,3D reminded me of my apprenticeship when I used to rebuild industrial Diesel engines and having to set the bump clearance using shims under the piston barrels.Many thanks to the setter & Pommers for his review.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I’m inclined to agree with you about 13d. However I can see a bit of misdirection with the use of the word ‘fuming’.

  5. Hanni
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink


    Satisfactory solving.

    I didn’t find the grid too unkind but you can add me to your list of not understanding the second part of 22a, still don’t. Also wanted ‘sausage’ for 26a.

    12 and 20a made me smile. The former more so given how much ‘old’ ones come up.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers for the lovely blog. Glad you enjoyed your wine. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  6. dutch
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I should have noticed the grid, but I didn’t. Yes, 12a is a chestnut! Like it just for that. I too ended up struggling in SW – last ones in were 22a (historical quarrel) and 17d (significance of claim).

    I liked 8a (run out with me..), surface and construction, and I liked 24d (medicine held up..) for surface, clever hiding, and misdirection from “oddly”. I liked the definition in 26a (present favourably).

    I did think the definition in 9d (describing some crime) could be describing crime or any other profession. For 13d (fuming column), I could think only of the answer and wondered why this was cryptic, the newspaper article meaning occurred to me only much later – a danger with this type of clue. 16d (winter vehicle) might have been less of a giveaway without “winter”.

    23a (red agenda) doesn’t work for me. Apart from not being sure what a red agenda is or has to do with married women, agitate is a transitive verb and hence I don’t think the grammar works in the surface or cryptic reading, resulting in a clunky read. “Agitated” might just have worked, with the agenda becoming the object.

    Many thanks setter and pommers

    • Mhairispiper
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      My apologies for sticking my nose in ‘Dutch’, but RED AGENDA + M for married gives an anagram of the answer. It’s nothing more devious than that.

      What’s was so special or different about the grid? It works well enough for me.

      Solving was no great trouble once I realised that ‘MARKET SHOP made no sense and of course it didn’t work for 10 across.

      A lovely crossword – thank you setter.

  7. Nickinchester
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    First post for me on this excellent blog! Although pretty poor at crosswords I did manage to complete today, although the variety of potential spellings for 4d added confusion to an already bewildered brain! Totally agree with Pommers about proper name clues. Favourite clue 15a. Thanks to all of you for a brilliant and often sanity saving blog.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Nick – I hope now you’ve de-lurked, we’ll hear from you again

      • Miffypops
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Hi Nick. You are not that poor at crosswords if you can finish them occasionally.

    • Hilary
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      If you finished today you are bordering on brilliant – I usually struggle and end up with box of tissues in cupboard under the stairs on Thursdays.

  8. Jezza
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this one. No real problems; last one in, 15a.
    Many thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.

    Pommers – it is only a question of when our house sale goes through here, then we will be Spanish neighbours. Looking forward to the vino collapso :)

    • pommers
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Which part of Spain?

      • Jezza
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        About 10 kilometres west of Valencia.

        • pommers
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          About a 2 hour drive from us. Perhaps we should have a Costa Blanca Sloggers and Betters!

          • Jezza
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Sun, sea, and sangria… we’d have a full house! :)

    • Poppy
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Now there’s quite a plan! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  9. Angel
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I was all set to deem this the easiest ride ever having R & W for four-fifths over just half a cup of coffee but then senior moments (or something like that) in the NE caused me stupidly to waver over 5d and 6d. Nevertheless this was a thoroughly enjoyable jaunt. Thanks Mr. Ron and Pommers. **/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  10. Kath
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I started off very slowly and thought it was going to be a tricky one but then it wasn’t so 2* difficulty and nearer 4* for enjoyment.
    I never notice the grid so double unches, the lack of first letters being checked and Ninas always pass me by – no complaints.
    I agree that the bottom left corner was the most difficult – 19a looked very unlikely with alternate letters in but got there in the end.
    I have to admit to looking up ‘pat’ to see if it could possibly mean ‘historical’ before I saw why 22a was what it was.
    I’ve never heard of the kind of crime in 9d so had to check that one in BRB too.
    Liked 15 and 25a and 5 and 17d. My favourite is one of those but can’t quite make up my mind which one it is.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and thanks to pommers too.

    Off to the garden to carry on the fight with the hedge. Twenty plus years ago I planted it between our garden and the field – a mixed one, mainly hawthorn and hazel but with lilac, honeysuckle and climbing roses in it. I thought it would be pretty (it is) – I thought it would keep the cows in the field and out of our garden (it didn’t) and every year around this time it drives me mad. It needs cutting right back and takes ages and is very prickly. Oh well, it seemed a good idea at the time . . .

  11. Sweet William
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter, enjoyable but I needed to look at the hints to unravel my errors in the SW corner – so thanks Pommers for the help and for your review. Interesting comments on the grid – does the setter have any say in grid selection or is that dictated by PMcN and his team ?

  12. Kitty
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Still wearing the dunce’s cap, for me this was slow and steady. It felt quite hard but in a good way. Had to sit on the end bit for a while (6d/8a) before they came. Not sure what took so long there, but for the satisfaction when it unlocked that final block, I’ll go for 8a as favourite.

    I hadn’t heard of 10a and didn’t manage to figure out 22a but stuffed them in anyway. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one not seeing 22a or I’d be feeling foolish.

    Want to make a joke about 15a but will leave it out.

    Hanni and pommers wanting sausage for 26a made me laugh.

    Busy afternoon/evening ahead but will check in again before the day is out.

    Thanks to the mysteron and pommers.

    • Jane
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kitty – 15a joke? Not sure whether to slap your wrist or congratulate you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Dave Hartley
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Was that the one about god telling moses to come forth, but he came fifth and won a coconut.

      • Hilary
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        In our part of the country it was a teapot

      • Jane
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear, Dave – was that what she meant? My idea was somewhat different.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

        • Hanni
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          So was mine. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • Kitty
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            … and you two and Kath and pommers would be right.

            But I like the joke above, ending with: … but he came fifth and won the biscuit.

  13. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I see what you mean about the grid. But that didn’t spoil the fun.
    The different spellings of 4d held me up a bit and for 10a, I thought of Market Shop which would have meant that my 1d was wrong.
    Nice to see our old chestnut in 12a.
    But favourite is 21d.
    Kath, I just love this time of year. Apart from the first Arum blooming (see my gravatar), there’s a beautiful lilac in full flower in the park in front of my house. The scent is gorgeous.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jean-luc, it just goes to show how different your climate is. My Arums haven’t even woken up sufficiently to produce leaves, let alone flowers!

    • Kath
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m with Jane – your climate is totally different and way ahead of us. My lilac won’t be out for another couple of months – and that’s all supposing that it will do anything at all after the “haircut” that it’s had today, by mistake! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  14. Ora Meringue
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Needed the hints for four …which is good for me.
    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

  15. Puzzled Bob
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t like ‘poppadum’, I think the dictionary spelling would be ‘papadum’, but there you go. Only because 15 ac gave the ‘M’ coukd I see what was going on.

    • pommers
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      There are three spellings in Collins POPPADOM, POPPADUM and PAPADUM. I’ve always thought the first of those but who am I to argue?

  16. Brian
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    For me the most dislikable puzzle this week. Too many weird definitions 10a, 25a and 17d. Personally I thought 26a a very poor clue, the answer was obvious but the clueing was clumsy.
    For me ****/**. No favourites and no smile clues.one of those you finish and wonder why you bothered.
    Thx to Pommers for the explanations of my answers.

    • Wayne
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Brian, further to my ‘reply’ yesterday, nice to see you back in the real Brian mode.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear!!

    • Jane
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brian – have to ask, what’s wrong with 25a? ‘cru’ for vintage, CIA for the spy agency, ‘L’ for learner – definition being ‘crucial’ as in ‘the operation reached a critical point’. Works for me!

    • Collywobbles
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Come on Brian, your’e always moaning

      • Wayne
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Brian has been very mellow the last few days, nice to see him back to his old self today.

  17. SheilaP
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    My better half played a blinder today, grrr! and put loads of answers in before I really got going. He did spell 4d a different way (wrongly), which made 8a a bit of a challenge, but we did finish without need of the hints. Thank you to the Thursday setter and to Pommers.

  18. Rick
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I had one of those days where I looked at the clue, looked at the grid and the answer just appeared as if by magic. Being ‘in the zone’ is I think the buzz phrase in sporting circles. All done and dusted with 20% of my 1* time allowance unused.
    The only problem is that Howlin’ Wolf has been in my head all day thanks to 13d!

    • Merusa
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Does this mean that Polly’s spelling is starting to pick up?

      • Rick
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        She had all three variants of poppadum.

  19. Gwizz
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The grid passed me by, I just didn’t notice it. A steady solve; 8a was my lat one in as I had forgotten that meaning of the answer. Market shop also made an early appearance which led to some cartwheels with 1d but all resolved once the error was realised. 4d was my favourite, simply because it was a bit daft but clever.
    2*/3* overall.
    Thanks to the sitter and Pommers for his review.

  20. Jane
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Got the answer for 4d easily enough but there seem to be so many alternative spellings (Collins may only have three but I’ve seen plenty more on the menus in Indian restaurants!) that I left it out until near the end.

    Tried valiantly to justify ‘momento’ at 8a (apparently an acceptable alternative spelling) – always forget that the correct answer is a ‘favour’ and not just a prize awarded at shows. Lack of cricket knowledge meant I hadn’t seen the RO for run out – must try to finally remember that one. Cricket also let me down over 21d. So proud of myself for dredging up Chris Old from the memory bank that I bunged in ‘old man’. Subsequently looked him up and discovered he’s only a little older than me – that’ll teach me!

    Thanks Pommers (aka Gazza) for the parsing of 22a – I was well down the same route as Kath. Speaking of Kath – I missed the hidden word at 24d – think the paper version deliberately split the clue onto two lines at precisely that point. It also happened in another puzzle quite recently.

    Didn’t particularly care for 9d – white collar worker is the only phrase I’m familiar with and I couldn’t make sense of that. Also, had to check the ‘significance’ meaning of 17d – I would only have used it for ‘claim’.

    No real stand-out clues although I did quite like 12&25a along with 6d. 2.5*/2.5* for me.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Pommers – hope you can look forward to a ‘local’ Sloggers & Betters in the not too distant future!

  21. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable puzzle for a murky day here in Shropshire. Some really well constructed clues but no standout favourite for me today. Thanks to the setter for the puzzle and pommers for his usual eloquent review.

  22. Owdoo
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I see Tiny made another appearance at 11a. My eldest son works in the 7a. There are some spectacular views across London from the bar on the top floor, although I guess they can’t compare with those from the Shard but I’ve not been up it to compare yet.

    I was held up in the NE corner with 8a being my last one in, although when the penny dropped I thought it rather a good clue.
    Thanks to both setter and pommers.

  23. Heno
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Pommers for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, didn’t mind the grid. Had sausage for 26a, I should’ve read the clue properly. Favourite was 21d, loved the fact that “chilly” was a bowler. Was 2*/3* for me. Lots to do at the moment as my 90 year old Mum passed away yesterday.

    • Jane
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Many condolences, Heno. Hopefully your Mum’s passing was more of a blessing for her than a shock for you. People seem to live so much more healthily into old age these days that plenty of 90-year olds are still quite sprightly. Certainly doesn’t mean that we want the less fortunate ones to suffer unnecessarily.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        My sympathies Heno, always sad when a Mum passes. Mine lived to be 91, and I miss her still.

      • Una
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        My condolences.I hope she had a peaceful passing.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I’m so sorry to hear that Heno. My thoughts are with your family.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Our thoughts too Heno. One moment we are singing and the next we cry with pain.

    • Hilary
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif from me

    • Collywobbles
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      My condolences Heno. My mum also made 90. Just imagine what they have been witness to in their long lives

    • pommers
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      My condolences as well Heno. Mine wil be 90 on 6th December and she’s fighting fit. Pommette’s (80) has, this afternoon, been admitted to hospital.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        I do hope she’s going to be all right. Keep us informed.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      My condolences to you and your family Heno. My mum died at quite an early age and is still missed, but she led a very fulfilling life and for that I’m grateful.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Our condolences too Heno.

    • Kath
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m so sorry Heno – I think we’ve shared several comments on the subject of our Mums. I hope that you are as OK as it’s possible for you to be – look after yourself and treat yourself gently. Most of the “stuff” that you need to do now can wait for a little while. A little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.

    • gazza
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      My condolences, Heno.

    • Ginny
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Many condolences from me also, Heno. God rest your dear mum. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • andy
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Eek, stay strong. Mine was 76 when she left us last December.

    • Kitty
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      My condolences as well, Heno.

  24. Jon Myles
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the explanation of 22a.
    I got it – but couldn’t for the life of me work it out!

  25. Hilary
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif I did it with only a teeny-weeny amount of electronic help from thesaurus and a quick scribble or two from trusty pencil with anagrams. NW corner held me up until the penny dropped enabling me to finish.
    Back to yesterday – I was early retired in 1993 and bought my first PC, one of my first programmes was a DOS based accounts package, last up-graded 2002 and still going strong on Windows 7.

    • Hilary
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Sorry forgot my manners in the euphoria of finishing Thursday crossword. Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers – love the idea of vino collapso.

      • pommers
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Available from the supermarket “Mercadona” in two litre plastic bottles for €2.25. It’s surprisingly pleasant for 80p/litre.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        • Merusa
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          That’s pretty good! I pay $2.99 an old-fashioned bottle of plonk, real bottle with cork and all, which I think is a fifth of a gallon.

          • pommers
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            In Spain it is possible to buy something that purports to be wine for 50 cents a litre, and it’s 13% alcohol, but it don’t taste good and it dissolves the fillings out of one’s teeth.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

            • Poppy
              Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

              Not understanding the percent part of alcohol, on our first trip to Scotland 40 years ago I wanted to buy Mr P a real treat, so I visited a whisky specialist shop in Oban (on my own) and demanded their very best bottle of Scotch. The chap looked askance at me and waved his hand at an impossible number of differing bottles on the shelves behind him. Undaunted, I noticed they all had little figures & percentage signs on their labels. “What is the highest percentage?” I asked. On being told there was a bottle of 100% whisky I decided that must mean it was the absolute tops, so got it wrapped and that night presented it to my beloved with great pride. His eyes slightly flickered when he saw the label. He poured himself out a minuscule amount, which I then added to generously as I wanted to be sure he knew how much I loved him….. His throat took a few days to heal. And I discovered a vital fact that love plus ignorance can add up to a great big minus. And we’re still together 42 years later – Mr P has a most forgiving heart http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

                Fantastic Poppy! Oh gosh that’s made me laugh.

  26. Salty Dog
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    No problemo: 1*/3* for me, and 26a my favourite (honourable mention for 25a). Thanks to Mr Ron and Pommers.

  27. Miffypops
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I love the extra difficulty these grids offer but found the puzzle surprisingly simple. Thanks to the setter and thanks to pommers. The Vino Collapso reminds me of backpacking holidays in France Spain and Greece in the early seventies when we would buy about a gallon of wine for 40p. The first glass was awful the second reasonable and thereafter it was nectar. I also remember two weeks around some Greek islands where we lived on cheese puffs and grapes because they were so cheap.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I acquired quite a taste for retsina in Greece! Not too sure I’d be able to swallow it now, even with my deplorable palate, developed after eons of plonk!

    • Merusa
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Memories, sitting on a hillside in Aegina amongst millions of wild cyclamen, tossing back the retsina!

      • Collywobbles
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        I did the same with Raki in Crete. It blew my mind

        • pommers
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          I too have been “Rakied”. Does odd things to the head http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

          • Collywobbles
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            That’s it Pommers.My head exploded and I began to start sentences and couldn’t finish them. Come to think of it, nothing has changed.
            This Raki came off the still in the corner of a field and was warm and excellent

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I also did a lot of travelling to the Greek Islands when I was but a lad. In those days you weren’t allowed into Greece if you had nowhere to stay, so our airfare included accommodation in the YMCA in Athens. First stop was Piraeus for a ferry to Spetse and then island hopping all the way back to the mainland, sleeping on rooftops under the stars with nowt but a sheet and some fiery Ouzo and souvlaki in your stomach. Ah, they were the dayshttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      Mind you all you needed was a drink of water the next morning to reactivate the previous nights Ouzo!

      • Jane
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh Lord – Ouzo – don’t remind me!!!

        • Hanni
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Baaaaad Ouzo.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Oh, the wonderful souvlaki sold by street vendors … best food ever!

    • Angel
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Rather than Retsina we used to happily drink our way round various Greek Islands fuelled by Domestica aka Domestos or 7* Metaxa – all rot gut but buvable!

    • Kath
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Having read this lot I became aware that we have a few new additions to the commentariat today – I’m beginning to worry that they must be thinking we’re a load of raving alcoholics! Oh dear . . .

      • fran
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Are they not correct — hic

      • pommers
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        Less of the raving if you don’t mind!

        • Kath
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink


    • Hanni
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Ouzo, cheese puffs and vino collapso aside…

      MP, is that a ride on lawnmower with a personalised numberplate?

  28. Merusa
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Because I spelled 4d incorrectly, I had huge problems right-hand, upper corner. Forgot bucket shop, the phrase used to be frequently used to describe cut-price travel agencies.
    Suffice it to say I didn’t do too well today and needed hints for about four clues. I got 13d straight off, but missed 19a and 17d. As Kath would say, oh dear, not a good day for me.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for his review.

  29. Una
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I think I have seen worse grids, I am thinking of the one with the little black square right in the middle.I enjoyed this puzzle although 10 is a term I haven’t heard in a while.There are two references to cliches , funnily enough.
    We haven’t heard from Derek or Hrothgar for a long while, both of whom I enjoyed reading.
    Thanks pommers and Mysteron.


    • SheilaP
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering about Derek too. He always told us a little about his life each day.

      • Poppy
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        And the wines he would be enjoying with his meal that particular day.

        • Merusa
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          And his meals. I do miss him a lot.

    • Kath
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I’ve thought about them too. And what about RD – he hasn’t been around for a few days and he always comments.
      I think that as well as sounding like alcoholics we’re all becoming border collies . . . . oh dear, again!

      • Kitty
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        Oh, don’t draw my attention to missing commenters. I have a habit of fearing the worst :(. I do hope everyone’s okay.

        • Hanni
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

          I know what you mean Kitty. Here’s hoping everyone is OK and enjoying life.

  30. Collywobbles
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    A splendid puzzle which I found challenging but interesting. The shape did not seem to make any difference to me. Many thanks to Mr, Ron and to Pommers for the hints which were very useful in getting me unstuck.

  31. silvanus
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    The high standard of Thursday puzzles in 2015 was more than maintained by today’s effort which I thought thoroughly entertaining.

    I too fell into the trap of inserting the wrong amphibian for 11a, and then chastised myself for even daring to think that “L” is an abbreviation for “Little” – slap on wrist indeed.

    My favourite is 8a, concise as well as clever I felt.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    The answer for 10a was something we had not heard before and needed some investigoogling before we were persuaded that market shop was not the answer. This of course held us up with 1d. We also were in the left/newt camp. Interesting that both potential answers are to do with the same creature. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

  33. Poppy
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Having firmly written ‘sausage’ in for 26a I couldn’t bear to amend it as I preferred my answer! But so delighted that I got much further on with this puzzle than is usual for me on a Thursday, so feeling very cheered. Didn’t get 17d at all. Many thanks to the setter, and a bouquet to Pommers for another delightful review http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Thank you.

  34. Chris
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t much like the grid, but I’m not complaining. (Seems a bit odd to complain about having no first letters – a bit like complaining the clues are too hard.) Speaking of which, I couldn’t do 17d and having pressed the answer button I now can’t see why I thought it was so difficult. I’m afraid my favourite was 22a.
    3*/3* for me, and thank you to the setter. Even more thanks to pommers, not only for the review but for sponsoring that hilarious discussion on vino collapso.
    My only tinge of disappointment is that we’ll never know what Kitty’s joke was.

    • Kath
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Kitty will pop in again later – perhaps you could ask her what her joke was – knowing Kitty a little bit I wonder if it’s repeatable . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • pommers
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        No Kath, it’s not. To do with fourth coming perchance? I’ll get me coat.

        • Kitty
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink


  35. Jerome
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Can anyone explain how significance can possibly have anything to do with the answer to 17d? This was the only clue i didn’t solve.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      In a word Jerome – No!

    • Chris
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      ‘Significance’ appears in Chambers Thesaurus under ‘purport’, but not in the Dictionary entry (as far as I can see).

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        It is in the Collins on-line dictionary.

    • pommers
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Def 3 in Collins : “meaning; significance”

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jerome,
      I don’t have any of the usual dictionaries always mentioned in this blog, but if you look for synonyms of purport, you will find it. The only confusion I can see is that one is a noun and the other a verb.

  36. pommers
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Off to bed now. Apologies to all for the rather rushed blog this morning. Friend here for lunch yesterday and then things sort of went from bad to worse, hic http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Perhaps Kath’s right about the raving alcoholic bit.

    • andy
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink


  37. Jeff
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    DT 27747
    11a little L creature EFT went off LEFT!!

    • Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Jeff

      Your argument falls down because L is not a recognised abbreviation for little.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 13, 2015 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      Allo Jeff. Your reasoning stands up for me but you will find out eventually that you are not quite correct. I am impressed that you have knowledge of Efts. welcome to the insane inebriated world that is Big Dave’s crossword Blog.

  38. Kitty
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the party, Czaz, Nick and Jon – and now Jeff :).

    Aside from all the entertaining alcoholic reminiscences, we have had lots of comments about the grid. Yesterday we had Graham solving without the clues, today we have had people not looking at the grid. Maybe one day someone will manage both. And with no pencils. That would be most impressive.

    Goodnight all. I need some sleep. Morning always comes too soon.

  39. Tstrummer
    Posted March 13, 2015 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I just wrote a long, self-indulgent post and it’s disappeared. My iPad’s not been behaving lately, so I’ll just leave it at that. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

    • Kitty
      Posted March 13, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      That’s a shame, Tstrummer. I like long indulgent posts. They are interesting to read. Also, they make me feel better about rambling on when I’m so inclined :).