DT 27763 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27763

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27763

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I probably took longer than I should have to solve this puzzle because when I’d finished I couldn’t see why I’d been held up. I put it all down to a night of little sleep including getting up to check that the loud noises from outside were just dustbins and other bits and pieces being blown around rather than my roof being torn off. There’s not a lot to complain about (in the crossword, that is) except perhaps the sunburn. 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 Inexpensive pile acquired by company (6)
CHEAPO – to get this informal adjective meaning inexpensive and of low quality insert a pile or stack into the abbreviation for company.

4a Guide unhappy in moment of truth (8)
SHOWDOWN – charade of a verb to guide or usher and an adjective meaning unhappy or depressed.

10a Materials used to portray pond plant (5-4)
MARE’S TAIL – an anagram (used) of MATERIALS.

11a Greek character faithfully reproduced songs? (5)
MUSIC – the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet followed by the Latin word appearing in brackets after something written that’s incorrect or dubious to show that the writer has faithfully reproduced it and hasn’t made an error in transcription, e.g. a menu offering pasta’s, jacket potato’s and panini’s (***).

12a Hellish poorly? No end, having caught a sunburn (7)
SATANIC – an adjective meaning poorly without its last letter (no end) contains (having caught) A (from the clue) and sunburn (?This word normally means a shade less red than sunburn).

13a To cool food, such may be blown (7)
FANFARE – charade of a verb to cool and a word for food or provisions.

14a Understood tense account given by Italian (5)
TACIT – string together three abbreviations – the first for tense (in the grammatical sense), the second for an account or invoice and the third for Italian.

15a In document, called mad (8)
DERANGED – inside a legal document we have to place a verb meaning called on the phone.

18a Sweet  spot at the centre? (5-3)
BULL’S-EYE – double definition, the first a hard peppermint sweet.

20a ‘Twelfth Night’ character explosive? Not half, involving leader in Illyria (5)
VIOLA – having laboured through Twelfth Night for a whole term for English ‘O’-level I can’t say that it’s a play I ever want to see or read again, but I do remember the name of the female heroine. Start with an adjective meaning explosive or subject to rapid and unpredictable changes and drop the second half. Now insert the leading letter of Illyria.

23a Employed by national paper? Now and then (2,5)
AT TIMES – this could meaning working for one of the Murdoch papers.

25a Writer cast lots in play (7)
TOLSTOY – insert an anagram (cast) of LOTS into a verb meaning to play or trifle.

26a Ear, perhaps, for what’s played in church (5)
ORGAN – double definition – I don’t think I need to say more.

27a US artifacts ace airman transported (9)
AMERICANA – rather appropriately we have the US spelling of artefacts in the clue. We need an anagram (transported) of ACE AIRMAN.

28a Behind everyone else, in spite of everything (5,3)
AFTER ALL – literally this phrase could mean lagging behind the others.

29a Rise when clubs close (6)
ASCEND – string together a conjunction meaning when, the abbreviation for the card suit clubs and a word meaning close or finish.

Down Clues

1d Many a holidaymaker here affected by said vision? (8)
CAMPSITE – charade of an adjective meaning affected or effeminate and what sounds like (said) the sense of vision.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d Odd quote about a bishop keeling over (7)
ERRATIC – a verb to quote contains A (from the clue) and the 2-letter abbreviation of the title used for a bishop. Having assembled it we now need to reverse it all (keeling over).

3d After giving birth, plan a tot’s needs to have development (9)
POSTNATAL – an anagram (needs to have development) of PLAN A TOT’S.

5d Agony over boundary reportedly hit very hard and extremely fast (4,3,7)
HELL FOR LEATHER – start with a word for agony or torment and add (over, in a down clue) what sounds like a shot reaching the boundary in cricket and a verb to hit hard with a strap.

6d Female has week visiting country (5)
WOMAN – the single-letter abbreviation for week precedes a country in the Middle East.

7d Performing in two legs (2,5)
ON STAGE – the first leg relates to one side of a cricket pitch and the second is a distinct part of a longer journey.

8d Steal the Spanish piece (6)
NICKEL – an informal verb to steal followed by one of the Spanish definite articles.

9d ‘Masquerade: class band’, flyer broadcast (5,5,4)
FANCY DRESS BALL – an anagram (broadcast) of CLASS BAND FLYER.

16d What a stall on the pier may sell — book matches? (9)
NOVELTIES – charade of the type of book you’d find in the fiction department of your local bookshop and matches or sporting contests in a knockout competition.

17d Arrive after month crossing heart of large US state (8)
MARYLAND – a verb to arrive by air or sea follows a month containing the middle letter of large.

19d Out of bed, drunk is on edge (7)
UPTIGHT – charade of an adverb meaning out of bed and an informal adjective meaning drunk.

21d Eccentric hoarding silver? Shock horror! (7)
OUTRAGE – an adjective (of French origin) meaning beyond the normal standards of behaviour contains (hoarding) the chemical symbol for silver.

22d Savoury from Greek island area (6)
SAMOSA – this spicy savoury comes from the name of a Greek island followed by A(rea).

24d Landed estate‘s custom, we hear (5)
MANOR – this sounds like (we hear) a custom or way of behaviour.

My pick of the clues today were 11a and 16d. Which ones tickled your fancy?

Today’s Quickie Pun: PALACE + AIDE = PALISADE


113 comments on “DT 27763

  1. 1.5*/3* for me, thanks to the Mysteron and Gazza.

    The ‘Toughie’ only takes a slurp of tea or two more than the backpager today so why not give it a go.

    1. Just had a quick look before going to golf and already finished a quarter. Looks a good puzzle. Will have another go later. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, a lot of clues reminded me of Catchphrase say what you see. I was straight on the wavelength. Favourite was 1d, needed the hint to parse 20a, I remember the play well, as I did for O level. Last in was 22d. Was 1*/3* for me. Off to sunny Poole for the day.

  3. SE seemed much easier compared to the rest. Last one in was 5d (extremely fast) – I think I’ve heard this but not an expression I use much.

    Some lovely clues: 13a (blowing to cool food is a great surface, my favourite), I like “sweet spot” in 18d – nice version of an old friend. I liked 6d too (female has week visiting country) , simple & elegant.

    many thanks setter and Gazza

  4. Same rating as yesterday for me: 2*/4*. What a contrast in style, but equally enjoyable.

    I was worried to begin with as on my first pass I only managed 14a in the top half, but then suddenly the bottom half went in as R&W. The NE corner gave in after a brief tussle, with more persistence needed for the NW.

    I needed Gazza’s review to understand the wordplay for 7a. The excellent 11a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  5. I agree with everything Gazza has to say about this one, except for his views on Twelfth Night. I did it for ‘O’ level and loved it. I promptly adopted the philosophy and lifestyle of Sir Toby, and have tried to emulate him ever since.

  6. **/***

    The NW corner caused me a few problems today. I had to check 10 was a plant. I didn’t really care for 12a, a tan is not sunburn?

    The rest was pretty straightforward and enjoyable. Favourite is 11a, very clever.

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

    Think I’ll brave the Toughie over lunch, thanks CS.

  7. Got all the answers but with some rotten clues.
    For instance 7d should be to be plural to reflect the legs in the clue, a tan is most definitely not sunburn, why is a nickel a piece, how are you supposed to work out to only use the w in week and as for 1a, words fail it is just so awful.
    And I still cannot parse 20a even with the hint, why explosive?
    A poorly constructed and sloppy crossword in my opinion with which I have no doubt others will disagree and I fully defend your right to do so.
    Thx to Gazza for the explanations.

      1. I go along with this post, at least, if not your first one, Brian.

        Whenever I write something in irritation, I generally find it pays to go back and remove at least half of it, but that’s just me……http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      2. Quite enjoyed and found out what the invasive weed that has only appeared in the last couple of years is called. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

      3. Agree mares tail not specifically pond plant it will grow anywhere and its hard to eradicate as I know only too well !!

    1. I don’t understand your 7d comment.
      8d a piece is a coin (as in ‘pieces of eight’)
      20a explosive is VOLAtile.

        1. I look at it a bit like blackjack….if you’re dealt two 7s, you can burn them to create two new hands, each of which would only have one 7 (probably).

          If you can understand that analogy, you’re a better man than I am (although I’m not actually a man, come to think of it…)

      1. Hi Gazza, just thought I’d mention that I think there’s an additional hidden solution for 7d. When I googled this morning, I found that the two curtains on a stage that conceal the wings are called legs. So, “in two legs” would imply that one on stage has a leg either side of them.
        I don’t know if this was intentional on the setters part, but it appears to be valid.
        Many thanks. R.

        1. Thanks Roland,
          I’ve just checked my version of Chambers which doesn’t have that meaning for leg, so I doubt if that was the setter’s intention.

        2. Much better notion, Roland. Thank you!

          Legs:- Tall, narrow stage drapes used to mask the wings on either side of the stage.

          1. If that had been the setter’s intention, wouldn’t he/she have clued it as “performing between two legs”?!

  8. Like Gazza, I couldn’t work out why this took me so long. All pretty straightforward in retrospect. 11a favorite. Thanks to compiler and Gazza.

  9. I found it easier than yesterday, which I rated 2.5 .
    Didn’t need any help with this, but took me a little bit longer, so it’s a 2.

    A few nice clues and a couple of painful ones. Nearly put Pakora for 22d for no good reason…..there are a lot of Islands to choose from, although I’ve never been there. Would people recommend it?

  10. Not many in after the first read to but then an explosion of read and writes. 27ac may be a new word to some. Lots of Americana music on YouTube. Ta Gazza Ta Mr Ron and Ta very much for welcoming Macavity yesterday. He is a top girl. She is a top bloke. ( I am notvsonsure about those who called me depraved and highly mischievous though

    1. I stand by my comment about being highly mischievous. Completely and utterly stand by it. Remind me again who has ‘misbehaved’ so often in the past that he is no longer invited to go shopping? Instead he waits at home for St Sharon to bring him back treats? Hint..the answer isn’t Itchy or Scratchy. Need I go on?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    2. I do go shopping but I do my waiting in a pub. Thinking of nice things to do the benefit of mankind.

          1. Hmmm. Whilst your altruistic nature is in no doubt, neither is your impish side.

            Then again my other half and his friends are hardly synonymous with good behaviour. Certain public schools have a lot to answer for.

            Are you ready for tonight?

            1. Now there is a loaded question just when I am supposed to be on my best behaviour.

              1. Not at all. Just hoping you’re on top form. You know they say about playing your cards right. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                1. We are at home to The Cottage from Ashorne tonight. We are top, they are bottom. I fear the worst as I usually do. They are a very nice team to host and also to visit. Saint Sharon’s team have a Bye so they will be out in force whooping and a hollering, cheering every good play from a Cottage player and sneering a a jeering at our play. This could negate the home advantage we have. Keep the back peg moving. It is a long run in to the end of the season.

                  1. Right, maybe there’s something about fair play in the rule. How’s Captain Cobley and the Rugby? I’ve forgotten to check Coventry’s results for awhile.

                    Oh God it’s snowing again.

                    1. Coventry have no hope of promotion now. They lost to Ealing on Saturday despite being ahead with seconds to go. Captain Cobley says she will be in early tonight for a practice. I am going to eat meat before the game..

                    2. A perfect night.. Best barmaid turned up. The cottage team arrived and announced that they had beaten The Butchers last night in the catch up game (postponed due to snow in January) We beat The Cottage 6 – 1. Guess who the only losing player was? I did win in the pairs with Captain Cobley 2-0. Four to go. OMG.

                    3. Victory is yours. Well done MP.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                      Very glad your best barmaid turned up, though as Lord of the 24d I’m mildly curious that you don’t know staff schedules.

                      Anyway, last 4. I can’t work out whether I’m happy or worried that I now care about a crib league in deepest darkest Warwickshire. Who’s next week?

                      We lost the quiz because our scribe is an engineer.

            2. We won. I have dates, Olives, Dried fruits and another of tub of caviar. Life is sweet

              1. Add some fried hallumi or feta, though that’s my preference. Ignore it.

                You won. Well done Captain Cobley and the GM.

    3. If you’re looking for Americana on YouTube, look no further than Lucinda Williams or Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express (and go see the latter on tour all over Britain in May. I know I will).

  11. I started off with great progress, happily putting in solutions right and left … then to get the last few took me far too long. I struggled with 10a not recognising the anagram prompt, thinking it might have to do with artist paints, and not knowing the plant. I then did not clue into 13a properly, so took too long over that. Then I am always totally ignorant of anything religious so had no idea about abbreviations for bishops and stared at the answer there totally unable to understand the wordplay. Then Shakespeare is one of my other weaknesses as my experience at English Lit. ‘O’ Level totally turned me off Shakespeare. I have never understood his popularity, I am afraid. So knew nothing about Twelfth Night. Now had it been about cake mixes, I might have been better off!

    So it all took me 3* time, which is probably much longer than it should have taken. Only a 3* for enjoyment due to my growing frustration with it!

  12. Just completed,having had to capture & then refit the tarpaulin on my garage roof,very strong winds in the Deep South as in other areas I suspect. Like others we had to do Twelfth night guess we are all of a similar age.My favourite was 25A,many thanks to the setter & Gazza for his review especially the clip for 1D.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  13. Much enjoyed despite a couple of initial setbacks. 4a – started out looking for a word meaning unhappy to go IN a moment of truth to give a guide. 1d – looked for a specific place rather than a type of same. Thought Corn Wall had rather a nice ring to it!

    Can see why everyone loves 11a but have a bit of an issue with the definition being ‘songs’ even with a ? Wouldn’t ‘sounds’ have worked rather better?

    Not overly convinced by the clueing of 5&7d but perhaps that’s just a result of sporting references not being uppermost in my mind.
    27a seemed a little weak and I did have to consult a map to get 22d – Greek islands fall into the same category as abbreviations:- look hard enough and you’ll find one to fit!

    Oh – 10a – I can verify that it doesn’t care where it grows!

    Reading this, it doesn’t look as though I enjoyed the puzzle at all, but I did! 2*/3*. Favourite is definitely 23a. Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza – loved the punctuation lesson! As for the Shakespeare – my idea of heaven is a week in Stratford with a visit to the Swan (and the Mucky Duck) every evening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Hi Jane

      Just a quick ‘hope you’re OK’ message, and that things have calmed down a bit. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  14. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Hmmmm – looks as if it’s just me then. Either I was on the wrong wave length or I’m having a very dim day.
    This has taken ages – I’m not even sure I ever remember taking so long with a back page cryptic. 4* difficulty for me and 3* for enjoyment.
    I started off thinking the first word of 10a was bound to be ‘water’ but gave up on that idea and eventually realised that it had to be an anagram – I agree with Brian and Bluebird – it’s not a pond plant, it’s a very invasive weed and, thankfully, one of the few that we don’t have in our garden.
    Looking at the whole crossword again now I’m not sure why I found it so difficult – just did – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I liked 13 and 18a and 1 and 17d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    VERY windy – everything crashing and banging – Camellia flat on his back. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Sure you’re not thinking of Camilla? Don’t think I’ll enlarge on that one – could have the Palace guards down on my head. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  15. Thank you setter, I enjoyed the puzzle and for me it wasn’t easy. Got stuck with the NE corner, but a shopping trip helped to rethink and solve it eventually. I did need to look at your hint Gazza for 7d to explain my answer ! I thought 16d was rather amusing but 20a rather convoluted. Thanks for your review Gazza and hints which are always helpful for explanations http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  16. I found this very mechanical , and not as much fun as usual.Mares tails are certainly not aquatic plants.Thanks Gazza.

  17. I have been tempted for some time to join the crew,so here goes ! I really enjoyed today’ offering. I agree totally with all the supporters of 11 across but must join issue with Brian who seems to complain a lot ! Mare’s tail is indeed a weed but it is also a member of the Hippuris vulgaris water plant genus.However,as a fellow golfer,I am prepared to forgive him on this occasion ! Many thanks to setter and reviewer.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Abe. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become one of our ‘regulars’.

  18. A very enjoyable puzzle which took us long than it should have done really, mainly owing to total stupidity over 9d. Thanks to Gazza and to Mr Ron (Captain Scarlet’s enemy!) Thanks Crypticsue for the thumbs up on the Toughie – will give it a go.

  19. Sorry big mistake gave away an answer to a clue when replying to Brian ” mea culpa mea maxima culpa “.
    Not easy to get started but once I looked at one or two hints it seemed relatively straight forward ***/****

    1. It’s only for Prize Puzzles that answers are banned in the comments. For other puzzles we assume that anyone reading the comments has already completed the puzzle.

  20. Took quite a lot longer than yesterdays, but very enjoyable. 1d and 16d were my favs.

  21. This took me a considerable time to solve.
    And I haven’t finished yet.
    I’ll have to go and reveal 5d and 25a. Just can’t get the idiom and the writer. Put it down to my foreign handicap.
    2d held me up a bit as I thought the abbreviation for bishop was DD for some reason and for 11a, I thought it was Micro.
    23a made me think of our own Tstrummer.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza in advance for giving me the answer to the two clues I failed to get.

    1. DD = Doctor of Divinity.. RR = Right Reverend. B = Bishop. A Bishopric is a See and a See is a Bishopric. Ely is a See and also the ending to many words. Crossword setters can have a lot of fun with all things Bishopy.

      1. Thanks MP,
        I knew I had seen that abbreviation before even if I’m a great one for inventing new words.

    2. Newspaper of the Year (yet again) – shame about the crossword. J-L, this must be one of the only times I’ve seen you stumped by idiomatic English, despite your modesty. My admiration for you (and Framboise & Dutch) knows no bounds

  22. Well, I enjoyed it! 17D is my clear favorite, since it’s where I live, though it took me longer than it should have to see it. I also loved 11A. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  23. Good start, then slowed down and needed a bit of prompting to finish, though the answers were all fairly straightforward we thought. I thought belch, as in Sir Toby would have been a good explosive answer for 20a, though of course it didn’t fit. I always thought mares tail was a sort of grass on the rare occasions when I think about it at all. Thank you to the Tuesday setter and to Gazza.

  24. An enjoyable puzzle, 3* for enjoyment, with 10 across holding me up for a while until I realised it was an anagram. Doh!

  25. Late tackling this today and then it wasn’t too entertaining or plain-sailing particularly in the NE. Several iffy clues mostly mentioned by other bloggers above so wont repeat comments. Even found BD tip from 2009 for 13a chestnut! Second word in 5d is of ‘course’ relevant to golf as well to cricket! Thanks Mr. Ron and Gazza. ***/**. Away now until after Easter for lots of lovely Easter music http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif in Leipzig so crosswords probably on back burner.

    1. For 5d are you thinking of a homophone of ‘Fore!’ for the second word? As far as I know that’s a warning shout and doesn’t mean boundary.

      1. Yes indeed – to be exact I should have inserted the word homophone and referenced boundary. However you got the idea!

  26. Took a bit of time but got there in the end. Enjoyed it too. 5d was new to me – got ‘hell for’ but was saying aloud weather, leather when Mr Framboise put me right. 8d made me smile – for me no problem with piece meaning a coin probably because pièce means coin in French. 2.5*/3* with 11 as favourite. Many thanks to Gazza for the review which I needed to check a few answers and of course to Mr Ron.

    1. Well it was certainly “hell for weather” here in London last night with gale force winds!

  27. Couldn’t get to grips with this at first, but once I got 9d things started to fall in place. Struggled with 5d. Realised there was cricket involved, but didn’t get the word play for four and as leather also refers to the cricket ball….. So got held up and had to use the hint! Favourite was 13a. Electronic help not much use today, so had to work out 9d on my own, using my own brain cells! Everyone seems to get very wound up about clues not being completely accurate….. I am usually so delighted to actually get it that if it doesn’t quite seem to fit, I really don’t care! I think quite a lot of my solving is intuitive with some guesswork and familiarity with the language. This will probably be regarded as heresy by some, so I had better shut up! An enjoyable puzzle, a bit difficult at first, but got there in a rush at the end. Give it ***\***. Thanks for the hints and to the setter.

    1. PS. Blowing a Hooley over here on the North Norfolk coast too – good job the wind is from the west otherwise we might have problems with coastal flooding again.

        1. Can be a bit wild when that Nor’easter gets going…… but lovely all the same …. Great beaches and not over crowded…..can look for fossils and go for walks with the Granddog.

          1. Lucky you Liz. We come down to the North Norfolk coast for a week in early October every year – renting a cottage and working our way up and down the coast from Hunstanton in the West to Cley and Salthouse in the East – all in pursuit of our feathered friends. Which reminds me that it is only just 3 weeks away to our annual two week trip to Suffolk. We love your part of the country – the weather is so much better than West of the Pennines. Plus fresh asparagus too ! – and the occasional pint of Adnams !

            1. Yes, good birding here. Not that I’m into that although do belong to RSPB a and occasionally visit Cley…. Love the skies here. Hills and mountains are nice too, but they get in the way of the skies!

            2. I remember as a child, when my great-aunt lived in Cley going down to the marshes/rocks in the sea and picking samphire (sampha) seaweed to eat and wondering, as a child, why on earth anyone would eat it.

              1. Great memories for me too having lived near Bury St. Edmunds for some 30 years during which time we visited North Norfolk coast frequently and either picked samphire in the dunes or bought it from a little cottage in Cley. Now of course the supermarkets sell it but it’s not the same as freshly picked. I quite like it for a change with fish etc. – a bit of a performance to eat though!

      1. I taught a summer school at UEA in 1978 and as I remember it comprised mainly playing football, drinking beer and visiting vast and glorious,y empty beaches. In Norfolk, you can do all three at once.

  28. How comforting to have such an oasis of calm as today’s puzzle whilst the wind is attempting to do its worst outside.

    A very even standard of clueing, no stand-out ones but no eyebrow raisers either.

    I was unaware that “artefacts” was spelt differently across the pond, but vive la difference.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his hints and tips.

  29. Hilary assures me that she is well. Just having Hilary type issues but reading the blog daily. She will be back.

    1. Thanks MP. I was worried. Hurry back Hilary, we miss you.

      Enjoy your pre-match meat dinner.

  30. Not the best Tuesday puzzle I’ve solved but there are some nuggets of gold in there, or maybe silver (from 21d). The LHS went in fairly quickly but the RHS required a bit more teasing out. Like Gazza, when I finished I did wonder why It had taken so long to complete.

    Thanks to the Tuesday Mr. Ron and to Gazza for his review.

    PS – V windy in Shropshire, it has taken me an age to recover my recycle bins after being emptied.

  31. I enjoyed this, no real sticking points.
    Fave was 11a.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for review.

  32. Like Gazza this took more time than (I like to think) it normally would have, but I’m lacking sleep after two weeks of fun followed immediately by being blessed with visitors to entertain. Was not solving in peace either, but next to a chatty wriggly nephew who is killing zombies.

    From what my addled brain can judge, it was a nice puzzle. I share the question mark over the suntan.

    I needed to look up 10a and the hint for the first bit of 7d. Cricket again – of course it was.

    I liked 11a too, and 19d, but my favourite is 13a.

    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  33. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

    Alas, not me! I fail on all three counts!

    Found it a bit of a struggle today!

  34. Now that you have changed your clocks we get the puzzles an hour earlier, so just had time to do this one before Tuesday afternoon Bridge. When we move our clocks next week we might be able to fit in the Toughie too. It all went together smoothly and we enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza

  35. Today’s offering took me ages to complete. Now that I have done so I don’t really understand why. Just one of those days I guess. Several good clues but 13a was my favourite. Sloppy? No, I don’t think so. Just different.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  36. It felt a bit awkward today, and although I liked some clues (eg 2d) I didn’t think much of 9d which seemed a bit clumsy in surface reading. I was not keen on 8d’s idea of a ‘piece’ but must grudgingly admit it is fair. My reservations about 7d were laid to rest (as often happens) by the explanation from Gazza – thank you. (This blog is so useful.) many thanks to the setter.

  37. Struggled with this for sure. Nearly a week since Lupo joined us. Friends rescued the Romanian street dog alsatian / german shepherd but couldn’t cope. I’m no dog whisperer but he’s going back to them on Thursday much calmer . Cynth is going to be upset, but i’ll be back at work and able to do crosswords in my usual way and comment again. Thanks to Setter and Gazza

    1. Oh, Andy, how wonderful that your friends rescued a needy chap, and that you have undertaken to teach him manners and calmed him down. I hope it works out for you and them, let us know. There are so many out there, he’s just one, but there’s a saying in Jamaica, “one-one coco fill basket”, each one saved is a triumph! Good luck!

  38. Odd, most seem to have found this easier than yesterday’s, but I did that very quickly without reference to the dictionary, wheras today I got 5 and couldn’t see any more. Not had a very good run of late, apart from yesterday’s most have been inpenetrable for the last 10 days or so…. Oh, well!

    1. That is the joy that crosswords bring. I read and write one day and struggle the next.

  39. Quite gentle; just into 2* time, and 3* for satisfaction. I think 16d is amusing, so that gets my vote for top clue. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for the review.

  40. The left-hand side went in without bother on the train home, the SE corner fell neatly into place once I had gained the sofa, but the NE corner took me into 3* time – I struggled with why 7d was what it was and wasn’t helped by putting ‘lyric’ for 11a which made the only possible answer to 6d ‘Wales’, which it couldn’t possibly be. However, thanks to a pint of Norfolk bitter (see above) picked up from M&S Simply Food at the station – it stays open until midnight – the answers finally came, but I needed Gazza to explain the two legs of 7d. All in all, a good challenge, so I’ll give it 4* for fun. Particularly liked 13a and, obviously, 23a.
    PS All you Twelfth Night loathers in particular and anti-Shakespeareanists in general need to get yourselves to a decent theatre and see a proper production. You don’t know what you’re missing.
    PPS Thanks to Gazza and Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Teron

  41. Hooray. Finished it without help. Very very rare occurrence for me and very very very excited to see that it got three stars (ok not from all of you!).

  42. Finished this off this morning(Wednesday) but had to use a lot of clues for the left hand side.
    So not my best effort.
    Going to have a stab at today’s now with every expectation of being made a fool of.
    Thanks to the setter and many thanks to Gazza.

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