DT 27765 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27765

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27765

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where the weatherman tells us that we will be experiencing some rather strange weather today. Freezing rain and a high of 12° C — a highly unusual combination. Since I am writing this Wednesday evening (my time), I have yet to see how the forecast actually pans out.

I am very appreciative that the UK has gone on BST since I last blogged two weeks ago — allowing me to start my duties an hour earlier than was the case on that occasion. I am appearing out of my normal rotation as later this month I will be trekking through the battlefields of Northern Europe retracing the footsteps of Canadian soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

I may not be the only one who is out of their normal rotation. I expected it to be a RayT puzzle today, but I am quite confident that it is not. Rather than hazard a guess on the setter, I will leave it to those better versed than I in the art of spotting setters to offer an opinion.

I got off to a quick start but progress soon slowed markedly. The top half went in without too much difficulty. The bottom half required considerably more mental effort and a bit of assistance from my electronic aids.

Please leave a comment telling us your thoughts on today’s puzzle.


1a   House cleric organised for partial figure (10)
SEMICIRCLE — start with a type of house favoured by those who like to cosy up to their neighbour and follow it with an anagram (organised) of CLERIC

6a   Disagreeable family creating fairytales, we hear (4)
GRIM — this sounds like (we hear) the family name of the German philologists and folklorists Jacob and Wilhelm

9a   Country lawyer featuring in paper (5)
SUDAN — a US prosecutor in a British tabloid; might she be on page 3

10a   One in lodge scrawling forenames (9)
FREEMASON — an anagram (scrawling) of the final word in the clue gives us a member of a secret society

12a   It made one smart on board in the main? (3-1-4-5)
CAT-O-NINE-TAILS — a cryptic definition of an instrument of punishment once used on naval vessels

14a   Room Serb fashioned for headwear (8)
SOMBRERO — an anagram (fashioned) of the first two words of the clue

15a   Coverage obtained in Germany for aircraft (6)
GLIDER — place the type of coverage applied to a jar inside an abbreviation for Germany

17a   Foreign correspondent not available for meeting? (3,3)
PEN PAL — cryptic definition of someone you exchange letters with but will likely never see in person

19a   Plain verbal wit from a former PM? (8)
HOMESPUN — if black, sticky stuff from John denotes MAJOR STAR, what is verbal wit from Sir Alec?

21a   Daughter into volunteering possibly given to excess? (13)
OVERINDULGENT — introduce D(aughter) into an anagram (possibly) of VOLUNTEERING

24a   Rank  attacking action (9)
OFFENSIVE — double definition; the first an adjective, the second a noun

25a   Tone adopted by cretin generally (5)
TINGE — lurking in (adopted by) the final two words of the clue; would not the pejorative use of a word describing someone suffering a medical affliction be considered rather politically incorrect in this day and age?

26a   Shout, ‘Previously you should take left and left again’ (4)
YELL — start with an archaic form of the second person pronoun and append a double helping of student drivers

27a   Night-time comforts provided by feast in county (10)
BEDSPREADS — a colloquial term for a lavish meal consumed in the shortened form of a county of south central England; perhaps a feast of clangers


1d   Piece of ribbon put under second tree (4)
SASH — insert the correct punctuation and it becomes clear that one is to place a tree under S(econd)

2d   Instant maxim with time forgotten a bit (7)
MODICUM — a short word for a short period of time is followed by a popular saying or maxim (or, conversely, a formal or authoritative statement of opinion) from which an even shorter representation of T(ime) has been removed

3d   Dismay one inside with austere allowance that’s not right (13)
CONSTERNATION — a charade of someone doing time inside, a word denoting unpleasantly serious in appearance, and a fixed allowance in time of shortage with R(ight), its leading letter, removed

4d   Whistleblower in Eastern network, source of valued stuff? (8)
REFINERY — string together a short term for one who blows a whistle on a football ptich, IN (from the clue), E(astern), and a short form for a network on which locomotives and their followers travel

5d   An extension to being out? (3-2)
LIE-IN — if you were out for the evening and got in late, you might then be out for the night and do this in the morning

7d   Cancel note on small college in Germany (7)
RESCIND — a charade of the second note of the major scale, S(mall), C(ollege), IN (from the clue) and the IVR code for Germany

8d   None merits exotic soup (10)
MINESTRONE — an anagram (exotic) of the first two words of the clue

11d   Let me tote card freely? It’s needed for security (5,8)
METAL DETECTOR — an anagram (freely) of the first four words of the clue

13d   Making cross a subject in this study? (10)
PSEPHOLOGY — a cryptic definition of the statistical study of elections and voting patterns

16d   Lacking ambition like one that’s poor when striking? (8)
GOALLESS — how one might describe an unsuccessful football player

18d   Oral work by female university student is requisite (7)
NEEDFUL — start with a word that sounds like to work bread dough and append F(emale), a very short abbreviation for an institution of higher learning, and yet another student driver

20d   Plant one favoured beside college area (7)
PETUNIA — string together a favoured one, a longer abbreviation for an institution of higher learning, and A(rea)

22d   Impulse shown in organised campaign (5)
DRIVE — double definition

23d   ‘Pet Sounds’ discovered in a small way? (4)
MEWS — sounds made by kittens are also short streets on which people have evicted the horses; hardly my favourite Beach Boys song

It is not always the case that a puzzle that is fun to solve is also enjoyable to blog — but this one definitely was and it seemed to grow on me as I wrote the blog. Clues that I liked included 12a, 19a, 11d, 13d and 16d. As my favourite, I will nominate 5d. Perhaps a psephologist or two will be analysing the voting in today’s comments.

The Quick Crossword pun: shed+Yule=schedule

137 comments on “DT 27765

  1. It is raining here in East Kent this morning but thankfully not freezing.

    No particular problems with the backpager (yes it really is there!) or the ‘Toughie’ today, so I suppose I’d better get on with what I am paid to do http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    Thanks to Falcon and the Thursday Mysteron.

  2. Not on the right wavelength again today. Filled in most of the puzzle but many of the wordplays totally went over my head. Never heard of 14d. Definitely into at least 4* time and 2* enjoyment for me.

    I always seem to struggle on Thursday for some reason!

  3. Top went in with no problems but the bottom half needed some headscratching and some judicious googling to get there. Re 10a, it can’t really be a secret society if everybody knows about it. Thanks to setter and to Falcon for the hints.

  4. I was looking forward to a Ray T, but a glance at the Quick Crossword quickly disabused me of that hope.

    Today’s offering was a bit of a puzzle for me! I enjoyed and disliked the clues in equal measure and I found them easy and difficult in equal measure, but it wasn’t always the enjoyable clues that were easy and vice versa.
    My rating is 1*/3* or 3*/1*!

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Falcon.

  5. **/***

    A bit like RD here. I’m not entirely sure what I made of this. I am entirely sure that I spent a long time trying to make a 10 letter word out of ‘house cleric’ for 1a.
    Don’t bother trying to make a 10 letter word, it doesn’t work.

    I’m not sure I’d have got 13d if it wasn’t for election coverage at the moment.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for a fine blog.

      1. Glad it wasn’t just me. When I realised that it was 11 letters, I then went through synonyms/abbreviations for ‘cleric’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        1. I went one better – totally convinced myself that the answer was ‘silhouette’. Justified by ‘house’ + ‘title’ (the latter bound to be something to do with a cleric as most things seem to be if you look hard enough!).

          1. Snap – I played around with silhouette as well – after checking how to spell it properly!

  6. Nice puzzle esp for a Thursday. No huge problems except for 23d which completely foxed me. Thx Falcon for the hint.
    My favourite was probably 26a, silly I know but I did like it.
    12a and 17a were v clever clues and learnt a new and topical word in 13d.
    For me **/****
    Thx to all

      1. Well that was enjoyable! It took two sittings and I did have to resort to hints for three but great fun. 28a ending in orical used to be a very sixties word (Oh dear I am showing my age!). It’s also a rather gruesome computer game. Thx for pointing me in the right direction.

        1. You need to say all that again on the Toughie blog so that Petitjean will see it.

        2. Thank you, Brian – with your alternative ending I remembered where I’d heard it before! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif In the sixties -not on the computer!

  7. 13D was a new word for me I had the ology part but needed the hints for the rest of it.27A made me smile especially the selfie from Falcon.Favourite for me was 19A,many thanks to the setter & to Falcon for his review & night time eating habits

  8. Thank you setter, good fun and not too difficult. I had heard of 13d but didn’t know the meaning – topical indeed. Difficult to believe that there are 5 more weeks to go http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif – I have had enough already. Thank you Falcon for your review and hints and interesting photos !

    1. Suppose you lived here? We seem to be in full election mode and it isn’t until 2016!

  9. I had never heard of 13d but psychology did not fit the checkers. Took me ages to work out “oral work” in 18a.

    Some clues didn’t do much for me. I think of a bedspread (27a) as something to cover your bed during the day and you take it off at night, so hardly a night-time comfort. I think 12a (on board in the main) depends entirely on the enumeration – both halves of the clue are rather broad. In 4d (source of valued stuff), I felt disappointed by “stuff”.

    I liked 19a (plain verbal wit..) and 21a (daughter into volunteering..)

    Many thanks Mr Ron and Falcon and Graham for making me laugh about Falcon’s selfie.

  10. After a nice long sleep and having begged out of today’s trip, I happily managed to engage my little brain and was thoroughly enjoying the crossword…

    …until such point as I had five to go (13d and the linked 19a, 16d and 27a). Then it became more of a challenge. No problem: I like a challenge. Then it became a frustrating banging of my head against a wall with no progress. Eventually I gave up and turned to the hints. I have never heard of 13d, so fair enough: I have learnt a new word. (More annoying there was that it made me doubt my answer to 17a, because psychology seemed like a just about plausible answer.) Should have got the others. Forgot that PM, got hung up on striking being hitting of some kind (maybe a bad drummer) and kept wanting to make 27a end in dreams. Grr grr grr.

    Before the grrs there were many purrs. I resisted the (strong at times) temptation to get out a pen for the anagrams and so enjoyed them when they resolved themselves in my mind. I liked 12a quite a bit and 23d a lot. Favourite is 18d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon.

    1. Hi Kitty

      Your solving experience appears to correspond remarkably closely to mine. I am not surprised that 23d appeals to you. Perhaps I should have written “kitty” instead of “kitten”!

      1. Hi Falcon. It’s nice to have such good company :).

        Your favourite today is also one of my favourite things. It’s because I was able to have one this morning that I am so chatty today.

    2. Kitty, don’t bang your head on the wall, it hurts too much. Do what I do, bash myself on the head with a thin metal tea tray which makes a lot of noise but doesn’t hurt. You probably heard it when the penny dropped on 5d.

        1. Good grief, Kitty – is there something you’re not telling us about your living arrangements! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

          1. Maybe… Or maybe I just had some padding added to the walls of the corner one particularly evil Friday.

  11. It feels like Friday today, and a taxing crossword to boot, going for a 2.5*/3*,like most ,13d was a new word and have to confess to using the ‘doofer’ to obtain the right ‘ology’. As Rabbit Dave says ,the clues were ‘various’, wasn’t sure what I was looking for in 27a,thought it was ….dreams with the checking letters until I saw it was county not country-never mind . Thanks to Falcon for the blog/picks

  12. Oh dear – it’s another of those “just me” days – there seem to be rather a lot of them at the moment. I found this really tricky. 4* difficulty and 3* or maybe 4* for enjoyment.
    I was completely thrown because I was expecting it to be Ray T today.
    I think I had about six answers after the first read through of all the clues but then got a few more and another few more but all very slowly.
    Don’t know about the wording of the clue for 1d – I wondered if I was falling into a trap.
    I’m never sure about clues like 13d – it’s something you either know or you don’t know and there’s no way to work it out from what you’ve been given to ‘play’ with.
    I liked 12 and 24a and 2 and 23d. My favourite, and one of my last answers, was 19a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.
    Might try the Toughie or might head for the garden . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. Kath,

      Re 1d, the key is to pause at the correct point when reading the clue “put under second, tree”.

      As for it not being RayT today, it will be interesting to see who gets his next puzzle. Will it be pommers or you?

      1. Still don’t really like 1d.
        Don’t know about Ray T crosswords – maybe he’s having a rest, or a holiday or something or maybe he’ll be here next week. It all depends – suppose the answer is that we don’t know.

  13. Well, my prediction of pride going before a fall yesterday has come true in spades…..I was rubbish at this one today and. had a bit of a struggle to get the solutions even when I had read the clues too. (Absolutely no reflection on Falcon. When I worked them out his clues were excellent.).
    Was going to try the Toughie yesterday but discovered that the paper had been put in the recycling…and I’m not raking through that bin for anything.
    Perhaps just as well going by today’s miserable performance.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter too, but I am just not on the same wavelength at all.

  14. He we are again with the puzzle solved but we had to BRB 18d although I had heard the word before but wasn’t quite sure what it meant. We do now! Very surprised that Kitty (aka Macavatiy) didn’t have a little purr towards 12a. As usual, a very enjoyable puzzle and we agree with Falcon’s assessment.

    1. I did! But not as much as 23d. When staying in London I can spied a cat through the window of a place in [Name] Mews. So I called it [Name] because I’m sure it does!

      18d made me chuckle hard though, so it had to win.

      1. Well done Kitty. The mews of our cat and kittens may become howls in the near future because they think that our new raised beds are gigantic litter trays.

        1. :). To borrow from Kath, oh dear! Our old cat was the opposite: she’d actually come in just to use her tray, despite our best efforts to encourage otherwise. We couldn’t not have one because of a lack of cat flap. She was just too much of a princess to use the outside toilet, it would seem. Not the best part of cat ownership :(.

          1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif Just how slow is it possible to be? I’ve only just realised who Macavity is – well done to you and really sorry for not saying so before now. Scary isn’t it, but fun too! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            1. Ah, I thought you were a little quiet! Thanks – it is very nerve-wracking. And tiring. It took me an unbelievably long time to write a few hints; when I’m in the spotlight I lose faith in my knowledge of almost every word. Why is something that doesn’t matter so scary? Getting it all correct, I mean – the hints do matter very much, but inaccuracies almost always get helpfully pointed out in the comments.

              You’re also right about it being a lot of fun. Monday was a fraught day for me for lots of reasons, but having the blog to come back to kept me going and meant I ended the day with a big smile on my face.

              1. Ah, so you’ve been outed !

                Congratulations on your efforts on Monday, I hope you’ll make a reappearance soon, so long as it doesn’t prevent you popping into Rookie Corner !

                Well done :-)

                1. Thanks silvanus :).

                  You’ve just reminded me I have yet to look at the latest Rookie. And people are recommending the Toughie and I have “important” things that I’m meant to be doing too. Arrgh!

          2. Aren’t animals wonderful? My rabbit’s hutch, complete with litter tray, is in the garage (was there ever a time when people kept cars in garages?). He spends a lot of time in the garden but always goes back into the garage to use his litter tray.

            1. We understand now why your moniker is Rabbit Dave, Rabbit Dave. Going back to your question, I once had a double garage where half of it was used as a darkroom and the other half as a workshop with both cars parked blissfully outside in the Italian rain.

  15. Don’t know what to make of this one either.
    Didn’t get 13d. Definitely a new word for me. And was trying desperately to end 19a with spin.
    Thanks to Falcon for the help and to the mystery setter.

  16. Found this one a bit more difficult today, but managed with some electronic assistance and a couple of hints. Like others, I had never heard of 13d, so had to use my trusty Oxford solver for that one. I liked 20d …reminds me of an old song which goes….’I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch…..dum de dum de dum’… Wrestled with 21a until I realised it was an anagram, and had 27a in mind as ‘eiderdowns’ at first but couldn’t see where the feasts fitted in before twigging it was completely wrong!! Enjoyable puzzle, ***/*** for me….not sure I’m up to the Toughie today… Got to work this afternoon, so may try it later.

      1. I found the Toughie MUCH more difficult than this one …. Perhaps I was not quite on the right wavelength. May still have a go tomorrow. The poor old brain is having a union meeting and may be making representations to management re stress inducing workload!!

  17. Too hard for me – I struggled with the Quick Crossword and found the Cryptic just a bit too tough!

  18. Bottom half took rather longer than the top, and that took a bit of doing. Never heard of 13d and not likely to remember it. Thought the clues were good though, and, with some electronic help, finished. Thank you to the Thursday setter and to Falcon.

  19. That’s two trickyish Thursdays in a row by my reckoning. We agree with Falcon’s ***/*** and 18d as favourite.

    Wonder what next Thurs will bring? It’s me in the chair so hopefully it will be a RayT.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Falcon

    P.S. Do have a go at the Petitjean Toughie. It’s a great puzzle and it’s easier than his back pager from last Thursday.

    1. OK, Pommers – I’ll give it a whirl. Having not really enjoyed the back-pager and being stuck with only the D. Mail puzzle available whilst waiting to hand over a small fortune at the ‘bodyshop’ for repairs to my beloved Honda (victim of supermarket car park careless parker) I could do with something to brighten the day.
      On your head be it…………. I’ll get back to you later! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      1. Um……… think I’m still stuck in the slough of despond, but there were a few bright moments!

  20. Got off on the wrong foot today – a) I was looking forward to a Mr. T and b) I tried really hard to make ‘silhouette’ fit in at 1a. (for justification, see previous comment!).
    12a in the forefront of mind following last night’s edition of QI but 13d has never entered my vocab. and probably never will.
    Didn’t really get much pleasure out of this one although 17&21a raised a smile. 2.5*/2* for me.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Falcon – I may not see why you enjoyed the puzzle but I can certainly understand why you enjoyed doing the blog – you may even take the prize for getting more scantily clothed females into a review than anyone has previously achieved. Not an objection, just an amused observation!

    1. Jane,

      You are far too lavish with your praise. I am sure scchua could have easily had that number illustrating a single clue.

        1. I think scchua may have been before your time on the blog. He blogged the Wednesday puzzles prior to last September when the 2Kiwis took over.

          1. What on earth did you Google to get that picture? Unless it’s one you already had. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

            Either way, top effort!

            Edit..I mean the pic for 27a.

            1. I’ll stay mum on that. Graham thinks its a selfie and I wouldn’t want to disillusion him.

              It’s amazing what results Google Images offers up in response to some of my queries. The suggestions for 18d (none of which were usable) had nothing to do with bread making — unless they were getting paid for their efforts.

              1. Strangely enough having just put ‘oral work by female’, into Google images, non of the pictures represent the answer. How odd. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

                  1. Me too. Mostly. Funny: I didn’t do any dental work at all when I was a uni student. (Unlike my sister, but she is now a dentist, so that makes sense.)

            1. I think he left voluntarily. He seemed pretty immune to the frequent attacks from the PC brigade.

            2. He went, although a few from the PC brigade did grumble a bit about some of his piccies. Have you really only been commenting since he left – thought it was much longer than that.

            3. Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once . . .

              In the beginning it was BD on Wednesday with Falcon doing one every 4 weeks. When I joined the team I took over on Weds from BD. Falcon and I did the Weds slot for about 2 years. Then scchua joined the team for the Weds slot so Falcon and I moved to Thursday, which BD had been doing himself up to that time. Then scchua left us last year and the 2Kiwis took over on Weds and lastly Kath has now joined to do a share of the Thursday blog.

              I think scchua went of his own accord as he does a lot of blogs on 225 and it was probably all a bit much.

            4. Loved Scchua’s blogs, they were always something to look forward to. He is a prolific blogger on other crossword sites and it must have become too time consuming for him to carry on. I hope he is well http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

              1. Scchua .. his picture quizzes are always an additional treat on “that other site.”

                Never fully solved one myself! But maybe … one day?

  21. I agree with Falcon that the top half was easier than the bottom. Some excellently crafted clues, 12a, 21a and, in particular, 19a were my personal favourites.

    I was interested to see “in Germany” and “college” both making two appearances, but each one cleverly led to completely different abbreviations.

    I’m surprised that nobody has yet commented on the over-abundance of question marks today. More than one third of the clues contained one, and in many cases I would say they are utterly superfluous, such as 17a, 5d or 16d. It suggests to me that the setter is perhaps not totally confident as to the interpretation of his/her clues. Were ten question marks to appear in a single puzzle in Rookie Corner I suspect that it would definitely not go unnoticed !!

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to Falcon.

  22. My previous post seems to have disappeared somewhere into the ether.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    I was also expecting a RayT puzzle today but was not disappointed by this offering from the Thursday Mr Ron (although the clue for 18d was heading towards RayT territory). A couple of old chestnuts but overall quite enjoyable.

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

    1. Only in your mind, Shropshirelad – or maybe in your dreams? Oops – I feel a censor striking.

  23. This was a touch difficult for me so I resorted to the hints. Thank you Falcon. Thank you setter.

  24. I was expecting RayT and was surprised when the top half just slipped in so nicely. The bottom half needed more work.
    I put psychology in for 13d, hence never did get 17a.
    Fave is 19a, but I think 17a deserves honourable mention.
    Thanks to setter and to Falcon for helping me to finish this.

  25. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. Like most people, the top half went in quite easily, but got stuck at the bottom half. Never heard of 13d, also needed the hints for 27a,13,16,23d. Didn’t really enjoy it, hope Ray T is back soon. No real favorites, was 3*/2* for me.

  26. A fine puzzle with many enjoyable clues. Many thanks for the hints Falcon and to Mysterion as well for providing good entertainment

  27. First of all thanks to MPs for his email, as you will know things have been a bit fraught but hopefully are now beginning to sort themselves out. I have been reading the blog on a regular basis and it has certainly helped to cheer me up. Today’s crossword was, for me, a typical Thursday but I persevered and thanks to the electronic supertoy and BRB I got there. 13d was new to be but now added to my memory (I hope), no particular favourites but just glad to be back in the land of the living.

    1. So glad you’re back, Hilary. Strange – but delightful – that BD has made us all feel like a family. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      1. Yes, with collie Kath to keep an eye on us and round us up when we stray http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

        Kath, I do hope you’re not insulted by being called the family dog… in my defence it was you that said you’re like a collie! Please accept a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif.

        1. Not insulted at all thanks Kitty. I am a bit of a collie – my Pet Lambs say that my hair even feels like a collie’s! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    2. Good – glad to have rounded up the stray one. Hope that all is OK with you, Hilary – nice to have you back, as everyone else has already said.

  28. We were slow in the SW corner, mainly because we had never heard of 13d. Also had trouble justifying the definition with the answer in 18d, but guess they can be synonyms in certain contexts. Harder than average difficulty for us. Enjoyable to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

    1. If you can work it into the same conversation with 28a in the Toughie, it would be outstandingly brilliant. I’m quiz master in two weeks and plan on using them as some of the tie-breakers.

      1. The figures used by Labour’s psephologists to arrive at a forecast of a landslide victory for the party in the forthcoming General Election are nothing short of phantasmagorical.

        Would that work?

        1. There are many reasons that I have come to know, deeply respect and like you immensely Jane. That sentence has cemented every single one. If we meet at an S&B I owe you a rather large G&T. Brilliant. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  29. Did this one this evening over a few beers with the boys. The boys being two 19 year-olds. Was a bit tough but we got there apart from 23d, stupidly. The boys are also in a band and are doing quite well in the industry. Crosswords.. The new Rock and Roll!
    When the are a few heads working on a solution the solving effort is much greater.
    Thanks to Falcon for the fun decode.

    1. That’s utterly suberb that the two ‘boys’ are crosswording. Great to hear. Hope their success continues in the music industry. Are you allowed to name names?

      1. Yes – I’m all for the younger generation getting into crosswords – Kitty is a brilliant example. I’ve given up with my Pet Lambs – just hopeless! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  30. That was fun today – thanks everyone.
    Thanks to Falcon too and I hope that your Northern European trip goes well.

  31. Nope, sorry, didn’t really get this one today. Failed on 5, namely 17a (kicked myself when I saw the answer – I actually think this is my favourite clue of the day, even though I didn’t get it – that IS allowed, isn’t it?), 19a – figured out the pun bit, but Sir Alec evaded me, 13d – never heard of it, not having 17a made me think it must be psychology, and that 17a must be “con man”, 16d – again obvious if I had a brain, and 23d – which I only realised I’d missed out when reading through the hints above

    Several answers written in without fully understanding why, 2d springs to mind straight away. Didn’t see the anagram in 21a, but figured out the answer with only one checking letter in.

    All in all, not a particularly inspiring puzzle for me today, sorry!

  32. What with all the tension and excitement of the election “debate” tonight, I forgot to bring the paper home from work, so had to do Tuesday’s dull Toughie instead, but just thought I’d pop in and say hello. Hello, and welcome back Hilary and kind thoughts to all who are going through tough times. There is light at the end of the tunnel, believe me

  33. For a Thursday on the easy side although 13d stumped me , nice to see the answer to 1a quickly **/**** 18 very clever possibly my favourite

  34. Finally got round to this today. East side was straightforward, west side was another story. Got there in the end, but not without a struggle, probably because it’s too early for beer to lubricate the brain. Thanks to Falcon for the Sschua-style review and to the mystery setter

  35. Hi Big Dave! Thanks Falcon! Like yourself I was stumped by bottom left corner of telegraph cryptic No 27,765 and I also initially thought it was ‘silhouette’ I would never have got ‘psephology’ !! Cos Friday was a bank holiday I was unable to get Telegraph and panicked thinking I’ll never know the answers!! So searched online (my psychiatrist says computer/ internet is a ‘paradigm shift’ in our lives which I agree with and probably appreciated more by us older people who remember when even TVs were steam powered) and found your website V Good! Also loved your photo which could be titled ‘naked lunch’. Raining again in Dorking.

    1. Welcome Bobby. Hopefully now you’ve found us, you’ll come back and comment again.

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