DT 27757

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27757

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

We crossword solvers are a demanding lot – we want a puzzle that puts up a bit of a fight, ideally gives us a couple of laughs but finally submits so that we get a sense of achievement. No single puzzle can possibly fulfil that remit for the range of solvers out there, so for every person who thought that this one was pitched at the right level and enjoyed it there’ll be someone else who thought it was too easy. I thought it was pretty straightforward with a liberal sprinkling of old chestnuts and not a lot of sparkle but if you enjoyed it then it’s done what was asked of it. Do let us know your thoughts.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Be little affected by island in break (6)
RESIST – insert the 2-character abbreviation for island into a break or breather.

4a Time left in decrepit flat despite everything (5,3)
AFTER ALL – a distinct period of time and L(eft) go inside an anagram (decrepit) of FLAT.

10a Spell over probing unusually rude conduct (9)
DEMEANOUR – a verb meaning to spell (as in ‘floods could spell disaster’) and the cricketing abbreviation for over are inserted in (probing) an anagram (unusually) of RUDE.

11a Precise legislation from the past? (5)
EXACT – split the answer 2,3 for legislation from the past.

12a Sprawling tree blocking vehicle for food source (7)
CATERER – an anagram (sprawling) of TREE goes inside (blocking) a vehicle.

13a Old retired volunteers with tea, say, being pale brown (7)
OATMEAL – string together O(ld), the reversal (retired) of the old abbreviation for our part-time soldiers and what tea can be an example of.

14a Abandon  period off duty (5)
LEAVE – double definition.

15a Shot behind river showing shipbuilding, perhaps (8)
INDUSTRY – a shot or attempt follows a long Asian river.

18a Introduction first character’s forgotten in role group played (8)
PROLOGUE – an anagram (played) of (r)OLE without its first letter and GROUP.

20a Place of relief offering nothing in current state (5)
OASIS – start with the letter that resembles zero and add a phrase (2,2) meaning in current state or unaltered.

23a A lot among police turning forceful? (7)
DYNAMIC – insert a word meaning a great number into one of the branches of a police force and reverse the lot (turning). I’m not sure why there’s a question mark.

25a Timeless part soon devised for singer (7)
SOPRANO – an anagram (devised) of PAR(t) SOON without the abbreviation for time.

26a Go along the edge of  feminine garment (5)
SKIRT – two definitions.

27a Cruciverbalists love ruses in cryptic form (9)
OURSELVES – an anagram (in cryptic form) of LOVE RUSES. This was my last answer as I was trying hard to fit ‘solver’ in there somewhere.

28a Complaint about teachers’ union? It’s hard to crack (8)
NUTSHELL – split the answer 3’1,4 and you have a statement disparaging a teachers’ union.

29a Old-fashioned fellow orchestrating a duel (6)
FEUDAL – the abbreviation for a fellow (of a society, say) is followed by an anagram (orchestrating) of A DUEL.

Down Clues

1d Dictator once caught breaking law getting derision (8)
RIDICULE – the forename of the old Ugandan dictator and the cricketing abbreviation for caught go inside (breaking) another word for law.

2d Trauma’s convulsed Asian island (7)
SUMATRA – an anagram (convulsed) of TRAUMA’S.

3d Look hard, we’re told, and skilfully for flight location (9)
STAIRWELL – what sounds like a verb to look hard or eyeball is followed by an adverb meaning skilfully or competently.

5d Sentimentality in car, touching hand, say, as an extra element? (3,4,7)
FOR GOOD MEASURE – insert a word for excessive sentimentality into a make of car then add (touching) what a hand is an example of (when you want to find out the height of a horse).

6d First woman not lacking heart in race, say (5)
EVENT – bring together the first woman in the Bible and ‘not’ without its middle letter.

7d A way to finish game, game taken up without expertise? (7)
AMATEUR – string together A (from the clue), a way of finishing a game of chess and the reversal (taken up, in a down clue) of the abbreviation of a fifteen-a-side game (of which we had a feast last Saturday – well done, Ireland!).

8d Young  female violinist (6)
LITTLE – double definition, the second the surname of Tasmin, the classical violinist.

9d Getting on train in Harrow, for instance (8,6)
BOARDING SCHOOL – charade of a present participle meaning getting on a vehicle and a verb to train or educate.

16d Prove knight maybe is a fine specimen (9)
SHOWPIECE – put together a verb to prove or demonstrate and what a knight is an example of in a board game.

17d Support Poles organised around America (8)
ESPOUSAL – an anagram (organised) of POLES goes around the abbreviation for the bit of North America between Canada and Mexico.

19d Act wildly with stunted creature touring carnival venue (3,4)
RUN RIOT – a stunted creature (the smallest in a litter) contains (touring) the usual carnival city.

21d Desperately lacking in cheer? (7)
STARVED – gentle cryptic definition. Cheer, here, means food.

22d Peculiar family member more than likely (4,2)
ODDS ON – split the answer 3,3 and you have a peculiar relative.

24d Equal  striker in game (5)
MATCH – triple definition, the first a verb to equal or be on a par with.

My pick of the clues today was 9d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: MAINE + COARSE = MAIN COURSE

 


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92 Comments

  1. George
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Not so straightforward for me! I struggled a bit with this one. A very slow start with entries sprinkled all over – but then I started to get some progress. For me though, I would say it was well at the upper end of the 3* difficulty – maybe even 4*. I had never heard of 8d – my GK of people is always suspect! But it was obvious, and then I had to look her up. I always resent 7d being regarded as having no expertise as for me this is more about money.

    So a good challenge, but enjoyable as are most puzzles! 3*.

    • Brian
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Would very much agree, being professional doesn’t necessarily make someone better. Some of the best horse riders I have watched and competed against were amateurs.

      • Collywobbles
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Were you a horse rider, Brian?

  2. dutch
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Interesting, 9d was also an answer in the Times yesterday with same definition.

    last one in today was 20a (place of relief, I kept thinking “gents”) which was waiting for 21a (desperately lacking in cheer) – took me ages to see.

    Was anyone else silly enough to fill in polemic (anagram of police plus “M” for “a lot”) in 23a (a lot among police turning forceful). It almost works, just the wrong part of speech.

    My favourite was 27a (cruciverbalists). I might have liked 29a (old fashioned fellow orchestrating a duel) but I thought “orchestrating” was a funny choice, must be some simpler words for arranging that would have given a smoother surface.

    Many thanks setter and Gazza

  3. Beaver
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Agree with Gazza’s rating, yes it was straight forward but lots of good cluing and nothing too drawn out , liked 19d and 1d ,no doubt more difficult solves will arise later in the week-Thursday probably.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    3*/2*. I couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength today for quite a while and I found it all rather dull, with the NW the last corner to fall. Too much “Lego” today for my taste with some clunky wordplay, and I thought 8d & 21d were very unsatisfactory clues.

    Roll on tomorrow!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

    • Redcar
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      yes agree very much about 8D & 21D.

      • gazza
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog, Redcar.

  5. Collywobbles
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I think that the puzzle has done what I would ask of it

  6. Sweet William
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter, I agree Gazza – not the hardest of puzzles, but enjoyable all the same. Time for other stuff ! Thanks for your review and hints Gazza.

  7. Owdoo
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Fairly average I thought. 10a was a bit clunky but I enjoyed 3d which gets my vote for favourite.
    1.5*/3*
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    It never ceases to surprise me when, with so many words to choose from in the English language, the same words often reappear in quick succession albeit with different clues. Both 7d and 16d appeared in the last 3 days with one of them even being positioned identically in the grid!

  8. Hanni
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    ***/***

    This got a 3* difficulty score because of 29a. It was my last answer in and despite the fact I knew it was an anagram and had the letters, I still couldn’t see it. I just stared at it. Then I made a coffee. Got there in the end.

    The rest of it was pretty standard stuff. Favourites, sorry Kath…I’ll go into self-imposed exile, are 9d and 27a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for your usual excellent blog.

  9. Paso Doble
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    **/*** for us. Not all plain sailing. Particularly liked 27a but, like Gazza, we wasted quite a bit of time with ‘solvers’! We managed to finish it but needed the expert assitance of Gazza to find out why some of our answers were right.

    • Domus
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly – clearly**

  10. Angel
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    This was OK by me. Thanks Mr. Ron and Gazza particularly for the Tamsin Little clip – she never fails to enchant. Liked 20a, 3d, 9d and 19d. Completed East side before getting a single West one but it soon all fell into place. **/****.

  11. Brian
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    One of those puzzles that one finishes but without fully understanding the clues. I needed an explanation for 20a, 23a, 7d, 8d (not heard of this lady which didn’t help), and 21d. Still don’t get 28a, what on earth is nut s hell meant to convey? Where is the complaint? Beyond me I’m afraid.
    Not difficult but with some sloppy clues. I agree that 27a is by far and away the best clue.
    Thx to all.

    • Mhairispiper
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Put an apostrophe after nut and before the s – maybe that will make more sense to you, Brian?

    • Jane
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brian – National Union of Teachers is hell. OK now?

      • George
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Not really – is hell a complaint? Since when. Then, this is not hard to crack if you have the right tool. I thought it was a very poor clue.

        • Miffypops
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Hell, yes it is George

        • gazza
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          It’s not that hell means a complaint. If someone made a complaint about the teachers’ union they might say ‘The NUT is hell’. However, I agree that it’s not the greatest clue.

          • Miffypops
            Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            He’ll, yes it is Gazza

  12. Angela
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Like George, slow start. Thought it might be a 3 and 3 today, surprised a 2 for difficulty, but perhaps I was just being a tad thick. Enjoyed.

  13. Miffypops
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Loved it. Masseur, Masseuse. Solver, Solveuse. have a funeral on.. The deceased’s employer has attended with a bottle fed Lamb. Bizarre.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      How peculiar. Have you offered it a drink?

      • Miffypops
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        He asked if it was all right to have the Lamb indoors, to which I replied “As long as it has brought it’s wallet”

        • Hanni
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          You did actually say that didn’t you? Have you got any mint sauce?

          • Miffypops
            Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            I did actually say that. You know me well.

            • Hanni
              Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

              Well enough to know it’s crib night. Best of luck. Hope the lamb didn’t have too much to drink.

              • Miffypops
                Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

                We are away to Harbury Club tonight. The tension can be felt throughout Warwickshire and possibly the surrounding counties. We need to stop the rot and get back to winning ways. Captain Cobley is back to lead us. GMLI play Southam SSC who will be seeking revenge for a recent cup defeat. Phyllis will be on the warpath.

                • Hanni
                  Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

                  All day I’ve felt on edge. Is it end of month reports? Is it England’s inability to play any sport? Am I worried about the up coming elections or the fact that I lost a bet about snow boarding? No. It’s crib results.

                  Captain Cobley. That’s a great name for a literary character.

                  • Miffypops
                    Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

                    Harbury Club 5 – 2 Green Man. Bugger
                    GMLI 5 – 2 Southam Sports and Social Club. Well done.

                    • Hanni
                      Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:47 am | Permalink

                      Bugger indeed. Congratulations to GMLI.

                    • Kitty
                      Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

                      What Hanni said.

    • Ginny
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I don’t suppose anyone took a photo of it?

      • Miffypops
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Me!

        • Ginny
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Good o :)

  14. Jane
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Something of a confidence booster after my miserable efforts with the Rookie yesterday! 2*/3* and a fair sprinkling of goodies. I’d agree with 9d as favourite but also liked 28a,19&22d.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza – especially for the music!

  15. Kath
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what I think of this one – while I was doing it it felt quite tricky but it doesn’t now. Maybe a bit more than 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I did think there were lots of anagrams or part anagrams – I don’t mind that but I’m surprised that no-one else has mentioned it yet.
    28a had to be what it was but I couldn’t make any sense of it and I wasn’t very sure about the “mean” in the middle of 10a either.
    Like others I spent ages trying to make ‘solve’ or ‘solver’ come into 27a somewhere.
    I’ve never heard of the 8d violinist but it couldn’t have been much else so I looked her up – I’m not sure that young is necessarily little.
    I liked 27a and 9d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Might try the Toughie – or might get the pressure cleaner out to do patio – not sure. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif If I carry on faffing around for long enough it’ll probably rain anyway!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I’d give the Toughie a go Kath – I don’t know what to make of it. I thought it was relatively difficult whilst doing it, but now I don’t know.

  16. fran
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    By no means plain sailing although once into my stride it all came together quite quickly: but not 8d ,poor clue , and didn’t have 13a ( not sure why but …) I had to look at the hints .***/***.
    7d echo the comments of others

  17. Miffypops
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    This took a lot longer to solve than normal but it gave a lot of pleasure as I solved whilst watching St Sharon prepping up,to cater for a funeral. I offered lots of advice and shouted encouragement to help her along.. I could not get the two long down clues for far too long. Strange as we have seen 9d before in various guises (Eton et al). Writing SIS as a relative at 22d didn’t help but I saw the error soon enough. I liked it. Ta to all

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Will I ever disagree with Gazza?
    Not today anyway.
    Found it quite straightforward to solve and the long 5d was my last one in.
    These kinds of idioms are always difficult for me.
    No real favourites .
    I’m sure Kath can do both her patio and the toughie. Another one that is not too taxing I would say.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      I am always amazed at your grasp of the English language!

  19. SheilaP
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    This puzzle took quite a bit of puzzling out and we had to check one or two of our answers to make sure. I didn’t like 28a. If your going to replace a letter with an apostrophe, surely the resultant phrase has to make some sense, which it doesn’t. I think it was a ***/*** for us. Thank you to the Tuesday setter and to Gazza.

  20. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thought that this was a crossword of two halves – the West side went in fairly quickly, but the East side didn’t cough up the answers very easily. I agree with several of the others that ‘amateur’ doesn’t mean lack of expertise. I’ve watched many a game at my local amateur rugby club and compared to what was I’ve seen over the 6 Nations competition, I think some of the players should hand back their match fee (that’s the ‘professionals’, of course). Sorry, rant over http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  21. Heno
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it very tricky, just couldn’t get the last half a dozen answers, needed the hints for 5d,23&26a. Favourite was 3d, was 3*/3* for me.

  22. Merusa
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one, did not find it easy but got there in the end. Fave was 27a.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  23. Gwizz
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Not one for lasting long in the memory I feel. No real hold ups, other than 8d which I agree with RD was clunky, as was to a lesser extent 21d for that matter.
    27a was my favourite. 2*/3* over all.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza for his review.

  24. Ian
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    **/*** loved 27a L’d OL when I got it. Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza. Mr Ron is the Stig of the crossword world. Will he/she ever take their helmet off?

  25. Una
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    This puzzle fulfilled all three criteria as outlined by Gazza; a bit of a fight, amusement and it surrendered. 27a obviously stands out as the best clue.I also liked 3d, 5d, 9d and 15a.Thanks Gazza and setter. I would love to know who that setter is.

  26. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Like Dutch, we tried to fit LOO or GENTS into 20a. 8d required a confirmatory check in Google. Apart from those it all went together without much delay. Pleasant enough and it did not hold us up for long from the diversion, that we are careful not to mention here, that really has all of NZ buzzing at present. The tension on Sunday is going to be unbearable!
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • Angel
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I battled with loo for a bit too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Franco
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      What an entertaining “diversion” this morning / last night …

      Good Luck to the Black Caps next Sunday!

  27. Liz
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Not too bad today **\*** I really liked 1d. I solved 28a but couldn’t ‘Get it’ without looking at the explanation – just thought it was a bit of an ‘iffy’ clue. So far so good this week – can it continue…….?

  28. Chris
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Started as a 1* for me, but ended like a 3-4* difficulty – so 3* overall. It took me ages to see what 5d was, partly due to brain fog and partly to other problems in the SE corner. I disliked 21d and thought 8d was a bit weak. On the brighter side I liked 7d despite agreeing with the comments about its surface. (Even here I spent far too long trying to see how a mat could finish a game: judo perhaps? It was as if I had never played chess in my life.) My favourite was 27a, well worth the effort needed to solve it last of all. Many thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  29. Kitty
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    We very much enjoyed this one. I even let Mr K start us off (though I couldn’t resist being first to the finish). I’m inclined to think it was an easy one as we had no real problems and it all went in smoothly.

    10a felt like it could have been so much better.

    With the crowd as regards 27a. Eusolvers? Nup, start again… wait for more checkers… aha! I like Miffypops’ solveuse and wish I’d thought of that. Also jealous of the bottle-fed lamb. So cuute! But if I’d been around, the poor thing would have been told how tasty it looked.

    Also joining in with the general “meh” for 28a – still, am agreeing with Gazza: it’s not the best, but okay.

    We had to look up Tasmin, though not after a fruitless search for a violinist named Litter. Hmm. Sorry Mr K, for those minutes you will never get back.

    Mr Kitty’s first idea for 21d was the same as mine – but the wrong number of letters however you spell it. There is plenty of cheer around at the moment here. Appetites are being sated and felines are going to have to reduce their caloric intake soon. Nomnomnom.

    We were thinking along same lines as Dutch et al for the place of relief. It was our penultimate one in and Mr K beat me to it – go him. (17d was last.) I am very proud of my apprentice.

    Can’t isolate a single favourite today and can’t pick a bunch and upset Kath, so will just thank the setter and Gazza and leave it at that.

    Thanks, setter and Gazza!

    P.S. It has been a good animal day today, spotting my first bunnies of the year. So delic cute! The goose family in Kensington gardens still have six little bitesized members. They looked a bit worried when I described them as such, and edged away warily. They don’t know that I’m all talk and no teeth.

  30. John
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I found today’s opening remarks very condescending.

    • gazza
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      You’ve changed your alias since your last comment so this one needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.
      You’re entitled to your view.

    • Kitty
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      I found today’s opening remarks very well thought out and fair.

      Your remarks, however, well… As Gazza says, you are entitled to your opinion.

    • Kath
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      I think your comment is very condescending. I also think that gazza is a top notch hinter, blogger and setter – he’s an absolute star – insult him at your own peril as far as I’m concerned and I suspect that others will probably agree with me.

      • Jane
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Most definitely, Kath. Gazza not only does brilliant reviews, he’s been my saviour many a time when I haven’t understood a clue, a hint or an answer. Never once has he been condescending – even when I’ve been really, really thick!

        • Hanni
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          I echo the comments above. I will always recognize, try to respect and understand that people have differing opinions. However, Gazza has demonstrated an incredible knowledge and understanding of ability levels in crosswords. He is patient, open to our many many questions and a fantastic ambassador. This blog is inclusive thanks to people like him. And all the other rather amazing bloggers.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Sorry John, but I found Gazza’s preamble to this puzzle to be both erudite and fair. As he said…..everyone is entitled to their opinion. I wish that I had the same capacity to provide a helpful review on such a regular basis on both the back pager and the Toughie. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      I really do not know where to start with this one John has a point which may be valid but has offered no supporting argument. Gazza has always been helpful and fair as I see it. Do we have to justify each comment we make. We do this voluntarily and unpaid because we enjoy doing so and hope that we can offer the help that we never had. Take it or leave it. It is what it is. Feel free to complain about the piccies though. Sexist and awful on occasion

      • Hanni
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        John, if you offer supporting arguments to your comments, it may help.

        As for the pics MP…they’re fantastic. Leave them be. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Kitty
          Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          Again I am in agreement with Hanni.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Quite enjoyable but not too taxing: 2*/3* or so. I enjoyed 27a, but am forced to confess that l have never heard of the violinist at 8d – by heck, that lass can play a fiddle! Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  32. John
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for allowing me to have my own opinion…..I wondered if my comment would be published. Good to know we are a true democracy.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Just noticed this post. You’ll always be welcome on this blog……. as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, Have a look at some of Brian’s comments http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Tstrummer
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:52 am | Permalink

        Well, I’m not so sure. You can be rude about the crossword, but not the setter – they try their damnest to keep us informed and entertained. You can be rude about politicians, Citroen cars and Abba, but not about the great men and women who give freely of their time to unravel these puzzles for us lesser mortals – and certainly not about your fellow commenters.

        • Miffypops
          Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:02 am | Permalink

          Thanks Ts. Does this place me on a par with Sir Isaac Newton?

          • Tstrummer
            Posted March 26, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink

            I reckon you probably sit comfortably somewhere between Trigger and Einstein, with a dollop of extra kudos for your musical tastes. Think how much better Einstein would have been if he’d been listening to Van while trying to work out equations.

        • Hanni
          Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:10 am | Permalink

          Being rude about Citroen cars is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Though the same could be said about politicians. The latter having more scope and being infinitely more fun.

          • Tstrummer
            Posted March 26, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink

            You might not think that if you had my car

  33. Tstrummer
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    This was more or less a read and write for me and I almost finished it on the train home, held up only by a couple that a pint of Marston’s Pedigree eased out when I got home. I too had never heard of 8d but it couldn’t have been much else, so I wrote it in and trusted that Gazza would prove me right. I also agree with all the examples of slightly clunky clues here and there, but the checking letters sorted them, but not very enjoyably, I’m afraid. 2* for entertainment value and 1.5* for difficulty. Thanks to Gazza and the mystery man/woman

  34. Gordon
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Did nobody else have SHIFT as the answer to 26a, being a four letter word for “go” around the front edge of feminine, and meaning “garment”? I thought it was very funny and looked no further.

    • gazza
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      You might see that in Private Eye but certainly not in the Telegraph. :D

    • Kitty
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Love it! I like to think the setter was aware of the alternative parsing.

  35. John
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, I certainly didn’t expect to generate such a response!

    I’m asked to justify my opinion. Ok, here goes. I felt (maybe wrongly) as though I was being talked down to, that I was a lesser mortal, for having struggled to complete this puzzle (which I and my occasional crossword co-pilot did however manage, unaided). I got the impression that I was not worthy to sit at the table of crossword royalty, who found the puzzle to be “easy peasy” (my words – my interpretation).

    I appreciate that I’m very much in the minority, and maybe I’m being over sensitive, but I do find that I have a habit of speaking my mind, the older I get. I rarely contribute to these pages, as it’s more often than not almost midnight before I have a chance to sit down with the crossword, however I shall make more of an effort in future (today being a case in point)

    Yes, I have read Brian’s comments in the past – maybe he’ll have a partner in crime!!

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      so really all that was needed was for Gazza to have included ‘found it very difficult’ or words to that effect when he wrote his prologue.

    • John
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      CS – I was asked to justify my comments. I have done so. Are we now to have a debate about my comments?

  36. Expat Chris
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    My goodness! I did not get around to this puzzle yesterday and just popped in today catch up on the doings of my fellow solvers. I want to add my tuppence-worth to the conversation that has dominated the comments. The prologue is Gazza’a personal opinion, based on his experience. And like you, he’s entitled to that opinion. Aging is no excuse for rudeness. Many of us here, including me, are well past retirement age. In my experience, Gazza is always fair, always helpful, and never, ever condescending. He’s also very accessible and responsive when one of us gets into difficulties with a clue. We are lucky to have this blog and I appreciate all the bloggers who put in so much unpaid time on behalf of us all.

    • John
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your tuppence worth Chris. There seems to be some mistake here. I wasn’t being “rude”. I was expressing how I felt. I felt that the remark was condescending. You don’t agree with me, that is your choice. I have attempted to explain the thinking behind my original post, but now I seem to find that I am being attacked all the more. Maybe I should just have skulked off and hidden beneath my rock, that would no doubt have been more acceptable for you.

      • Liz
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Hi John. A bit late with all this hoohaa, but I can see what you mean. I hesitated ages before joining this blog as I found it very irritating when I had struggled for hours to solve a puzzle only to read comments which basically said it was ‘Easy peasy’. However I decided to put my tuppence worth in after all. It is all about respect for the opinions of others,I guess. So basically I don’t care if I found a puzzle hard and others found it really easy – good for them! Just enjoy doing them and the devil take the hindmost!,

        • John
          Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          Liz, I’m in love with you! Someone who can at least see things (to an extent) from my point of view http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

          • Paso Doble
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

            We don’t really understand how Gazza’s comments could possibly be construed as condescending. And I would also like to add to the comments of others that Gazza is always helpful and responsive when any of us are in trouble. It is always irritating to find that other people find a puzzle easy when you have spent hours agonising over it but this puzzle has a standard and the ratings in the blog only serve to indicate the general feeling of all the contributors. People of all solving abilities enjoy the puzzle and the hints and tips on the blog help all of us newcomers to improve. We only started doing it fairly recently and the blog has helped us enormously to get the hang of how things work and we are extremely grateful for it – in fact, I am not sure we would have persevered with the puzzle without it. It is a friendly and helpful place and we find the rating very useful as an indicator of how we are doing and, indeed, as an indicator of whether or not we should even attempt the Toughie.