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DT 27768

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27768

Hints and tips by Kitty & Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from the slightly less Hidden Paw, who I can now reveal was really me, Kitty in disguise!  Very many thanks everyone for the warm welcome last week.  Your punishment is more of me.  I am delighted to be back in the blogging seat again, this time tackling the across clues.  My assistant Miffypops will take you through the downs.

I do hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend, however you may be spending it.

We have a fairly typical Monday puzzle from Rufus today, full of his trademark double and cryptic definitions. I found most of it straightforward but got held up in the NW by virtue of putting in the wrong first word for 8d.

The hints and tips below are here to help and guide you. I hope they serve their purpose. Definitions are underlined. If you still need an answer after reading the hint then press click here and the answer will be revealed. If you do not want to see the answer – do not click.

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

Across by Kitty

1a    Practise how to be a pickpocket (3,4,4,2)
GET ONE’S HAND IN: To solve this, I recommend concentrating on the wordplay, which describes literally what a pickpocket may do. The answer means to become practised in something.

10a    Restore two kinds of fabric (7)
REPLACE: The first type of fabric is a corded cloth whose three convenient letters ensures it will be familiar to seasoned crossword solvers. The second is a delicate ornamental fabric which the city of Bruges in Belgium is known for.

11a    To enjoy himself Sid’s knocked back wine (7)
DISPORT: SID is reversed (knocked back) and then a fortified wine is added. The answer is a literary term meaning to divert or amuse oneself (himself in Sid’s case).

12a    A particular variation of time (4)
ITEM: This particular is an anagram (variation) of the letters in TIME.

13a    Travel in colourless form of transport (5)
WAGON: Insert a two letter word for travel into a three letter one meaning lacking colour. Pale rather than white or transparent. Inexplicably, the wheels are made of biscuit and marshmallow coated in chocolate, which made them a popular lunchtime snack when I was growing up.

14a    Lisp a salutation to friends (4)
KITH: Take a familiar greeting, then say it with a lisp and spell it accordingly. If you have lithped the right word you should have something which is obsolete except when used in conjunction with another word meaning family or kind.

17a    The French cry ‘Attack!’ (4,3)
LASH OUT: Today’s French definite article is the feminine one, and the cry is a loud yell. Place them one after another in the order they appear in the clue.

18a    Sleeping fish? (7)
KIPPERS: A cute cryptic definition. The answer is some fish. Also some things which are napping. Spoilt for choice for pictures here.

19a    A cider’s mixed in a cocktail (7)
SIDECAR: Cider is not an ingredient in this cocktail, made in fact with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, but it is part of the ingredients for the anagram: the first seven letters in the clue are mixed.

22a    Shout out various numbers during course of test (7)
EXCLAIM: Another shout, this time one of surprise, formed by slotting three letters which are also Roman numerals at various points into a four-letter word meaning test. Not oral, the second favourite one.

24a    Emperor in knight’s armour (4)
TSAR: This Russian emperor is lurking in the clue.

25a    Theatre supporter, a name back stage (5)
ANGEL: An informal word for a financial backer, especially of theatrical ventures, is formed of the A from the clue, N(ame), and then a reversal (back) of part of a journey or sporting event. Also a divine messenger or ministering spirit, or a mortal person with similar qualities. I am often protesting to incredulous ears that I am one.

26a    Horse that’s fired with enthusiasm in a Western? (4)
COLT: This young horse is also the name of a handgun favoured in Westerns.

29a    Parson crazed with love for a trebly gifted female (7)
SOPRANO: An anagram (crazed) of PARSON and the letter for a tennis score of love together give rise to a female who is gifted – not thrice (necessarily – doubtless more!), but in vocalising in the higher musical registers.

30a    Make it a struggle to point a weapon (4,3)
TAKE AIM: Anagram (struggle) of MAKE IT A.

31a    A fair exchange in sight? (2,3,3,2,3)
AN EYE FOR AN EYE: Not a pleasant exchange, but one of Biblical retribution. Cryptically defined as a swap of sight organs. I like the use of the phrase in this happy song:

ARVE Error: need id and provider


Downs by Kitty’s assistant, Miffypops, who is wondering how to follow that wondrous blog

2d Talk  non-stop (7)
EXPRESS: A double definition. The first being to convey (a thought or feeling) in words or by gestures and conduct. The second being a fast train which travels directly from station to station.

3d Approve of American fashion (4)
OKAY: This four letter American word has only two letters in England and therefore uses less ink in printouts. The English version is greener and will help to make the planets resources more sustainable. OK?

4d Neat rum overcomes member showing refinement (7)
ELEGANT: A mixy up the letters clue with an insertion. A beautifully indicated anagram (rum) of NEAT with a member inserted. Newer solvers need to know that members can be arms or legs. I know not why. So play away sticking an arm here or a leg there until you find a word that means showing refinement

5d Fish and wine served with inclusive supplement (7)
HADDOCK: A German wine needs verb meaning to supplement inserting (inclusive)

6d Dandy heard to grind his teeth (4)
NASH: Golly bongs. The things you need to know or research to blog a puzzle. I wish I had done the across clues today. To grind ones teeth is the easy bit. The dandy or leader of fashion was born on October 18th 1874 which make him the same age as most solvers. His first name was Richard but he was known as Beau.

7d To exalt one so idle is wrong (7)
IDOLISE: I (one) followed by an obvious anagram (wrong) of SO IDLE

8d A job done for nothing? (9,4)
FRUITLESS TASK: A clever all in one clue. The first word is an adjective meaning failing to achieve the desired results; unproductive or useless. Or of an apple, orange or lemon tree producing no apples, oranges or lemons. The second word is a simple synonym for work.

9d Nevertheless  simultaneously? (2,3,4,4)
AT THE SAME TIME: A double definition easily worked out from the checkers if you can get them.

15d Bus or train (5)
COACH: Another doubler. A charabanc or to train a sportsman

16d Spot and point to how birds eat corn (5)
SPECK: a point of the compass is followed by a verb which aptly describes the action of a bird eating

20d Departed on vessel, showing no emotion (7)
DEADPAN: An adjective meaning no longer alive is followed by a vessel used for cooking

21d No engaged signal, but put the phone down (4,3)
RING OFF: The sign is one that indicates a girl is engaged to be married. If that is not being worn it is the same as ending a telephone call.

22d One chooses to do one’s duty in a democratic way (7)
ELECTOR: This chooser is a voter in an election. We have an election coming up. It matters not a jot who or what you vote for. You will always end up with a government

23d Loan may get arranged, though it’s irregular (7)
ANOMALY: The words “get arranged” might just indicate that the words LOAN MAY are an anagram.

27d Take it away from work? (4)
EASY: When we are away from work we take it thus. In the absence of any inspiration of how to write up this clue I will say this. The opposite of hard. I did not solve this clue myself and had to ask my fellow reviewer for the answer.

28d Personal cover (4)
SKIN: Your epidermis. The thin layer of tissue forming the natural outer covering of the body of a person or animal.

Many thanks to Kitty for the pictures, the correction of a mistake, the reason another answer was right and the answer to 28d which had me stumped. I suppose I ought to thank her for reviewing the across clues so brilliantly that my down hints have been totally eclipsed. Nice one Kitty.

The Quick Crossword pun: consent+rated=concentrated

134 comments on “DT 27768

  1. 1*/3*. Very enjoyable despite being easier than usual for a Monday, with exception of the first word of 1a, for which I could only think of one possibility – although I didn’t like it much and so didn’t write it in. I also needed to Google to confirm that my answer to 6d was a renowned dandy.

    Many thanks to Rufus, and to Kitty, particularly for confirming that my guess for word one for 1a was right (although I still find it unconvincing!), and to MP.

    1. Yes, I left the first word empty because I kept thinking of all kinds of different answers – only when I had the cross checking letters in was the die cast. I like others did not think of this as being the most likely answer until it was forced to be so.

    2. 1a is actually a very well known saying – oh dear (to quote Kath), is someone going to tell me it’s an ‘age thing’?

        1. I am very familiar with “keep” as the first word but had never before heard of the actual expression in 1a.

  2. I wonder if to start with, you put in thankless for the first word in 8 D,because I did and it certainly held me up in NW corner!

    1. Yep – nearly went there, but it would have negated 12a, which I already had in place.

  3. A pleasant effort made more difficult by putting Thankless Task into 8d.
    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to completely fail with 27d. Far too tough for me so that has brought the whole thing into *** territory and left me feeling a bit bereft. Shame because otherwise it was a very enjoyable crossword.
    Thx to all.

    1. Brian,
      You and I had the same problems. Thankless did make the whole top left rather, er, thankless and 27d defeated me. I agree with your rating! Now I am going off on my bicycle to do one thing far more fruitful!

    2. I too was held up by putting thankless into 8d. I also took a while to ‘see’ 27d.

      Thanks to Rufus and the purring duo.

    3. Me too. This also made 10 across problematic by putting ‘hopsack’ as the answer.

  4. Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty & Miffypops for the review and hints. Hooray, my first completion for ages. A very enjoyable puzzle, the last four took a while to fall, so 2*/4* for me. Favourite was 23d, last in was 14a.

  5. A lie-in this bank holiday for K&M ?

    Not too keen on the forced entries for 14a, 25a and 27d, not as clean and crisp as I would like.

    Take it 27d on the easter eggs ………….. !!

  6. Well at least yours wasn’t a fruitless task as I was totally brainless.
    Brainless being the only word I could find for 8d.
    I liked the fish combo a lot and the French clue.
    But I liked the review even more except for the suicidal song. I nearly jumped out of the window.
    Thanks to Rufus and to Kitty and Miffypops.

  7. Very enjoyable ,though not easy.I like the all in one clues as well as the double definitions.Thanks Kitty, Miffypops and Rufus.

  8. I found this to be of middling difficulty. I did get 27d after some thought as i could not find anything better!

    For some reason was not filled with joy at this one though. Cannot exactly say why – maybe just because I am still buried in snow and grumpy. It is supposed to be warm and bulbs everywhere by now! This winter has been very long!

    2.5*/3* would be my rating.

  9. First few clues went in easily, but then the rest took a bit longer and we had to look up 27d, our last one in. Lots of multiple word answers which I like, so thank you to the Monday setter and to the 2 hinters.

  10. Didn’t the girl do well http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Just one complaint, Kitty – your music choices seem to be on a par with MP’s. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Your hint for 13a confirms my suspicions that you are much younger than many of us, although I would dispute MP’s assertion in his 6d comment!
    Lovely pic. for 18a.

    Sorry – this is meant to be about the puzzle! Most of it went in fairly easily but I was pushed into 2* time by dithering over the start of 8d and the answer for 25a (which I subsequently distantly remembered). I also got obsessed with wanting to put in ‘canoe’ at 13a.

    Honourable mentions for 18a & 20d but my vote of the day goes to 14a. 2*/3.5* for me.

    Thanks to Rufus and to Macavity (do keep the name!) & the unusually retiring MP!

        1. Yes. I would have come clean eventually, but wanted to enjoy playing in hiding for a while first. Oh well.

          1. What about McKitty – just a thought? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif Not that there’s anything wrong with Kitty, of course!
            Well done again and hope that the nerves weren’t so jangled this time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            1. Thanks Kath. Not too bad. I got started before the nerves had really woken up I think.

              As for names, http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif.

              1. What about that character from Goldfinger … Although on second thoughts, perhaps not in these more enlightened times

    1. Thanks Jane. Glad you like the music ;). I discovered and considered a Beyoncé track for 21d but thought that would be even less well received by people here. Also not really my thing, whereas I love Mary G. But if there are any lurkers – perhaps younger ones – with different music tastes, do come forward and be counted!

  11. Umm – a couple of problems!

    1a I put ‘your’ instead of ‘one’s’ – which I think is the more normal phrase, and it took me a while to realise my mistake. (One is not the type of person who uses ‘one’ in everyday conversation!)

    27a – I just couldn’t see it and had to rely on another website for the answer – which brought a ‘Doh’ moment when I realised how thick I was being!

    Altogether a very enjoyable puzzle!

    1. With you on 1a but smelled a rat so didn’t commit until 3d was safely in the bag. I’m guessing that your other comment refers to 27d – for some reason I thought of MP and it all became clear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    2. Yes I did the same so this together with the 8d wrong first word made what started out as a fairly straightforward solve into a more taxing exercise.

  12. 8d had be beaten also . I had brainless task but that is obviously me . Thanks for hints . First time but not the last .
    David Kneen

    1. Welcome from me too David. Brainless was my second thought after thankless didn’t fit. But fortunately I spotted the fruit which hit the spot.

  13. Good Bank Holiday fun. Many thanks Rufus, Kitty (welcome now you have come out of the closet) and Miffypops. ***/****. South went in before North mainly due to faux-pas on 8d. Liked clues for 25a and 29a and 4d. Needed explanation for 14a where I had nearly settled for high (hi) without parsing lisp. Sun shines beautifully so what am I doing sitting indoors?

  14. Brainless for me too, and beaten by American approval…. I always forget the U.S. version. 27d also caused problems, I had the right answer but decided it couldn’t be. D’oh!
    Otherwise I enjoyed it! 2*/3*
    Thanks to Rufus and the conglomeration what reviewed it.

    1. I did wonder what to call a collaboration betwixt Kitty and MP – I thought perhaps a Catscribble?

  15. Really enjoyable puzzle today – we got the first few multi-word clues in like a flash, only to find that 8d was wrong on the first two attempts and also the second word in 1a wasn’t quite right. All of which caused quite a bit of frustration! Thanks to Kitty and the ever-entertaining Miffypops (golly bongs is now an expression that has become part of our vocabulary) and thanks to Rufus for a delightful holiday puzzle. **/****

  16. Just listened to the track above and now Mrs B is running around hiding the knives!

    1. Haven’t listened to the track yet – maybe I shouldn’t! Good for Mrs B hiding the knives . . .

      1. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It is positively uplifting!* As is “I Drink” from the same album, and pretty much everything else of hers.

        *may contain traces of lie

  17. I struggled with this one as I had no checking letters from the across clues. Kitty had them all. I didn’t find 27d very 27d at all.

  18. Thank you Rufus, I thought that this was going to be quite straightforward when I started, but it seemed to get trickier the further I got !. I seem to have shared the same problems with others – I had never heard the expression in1a with “get” I had always thought of it as “keep” one’s hand in for practising. I also went for thankless at 8d initially and finally with only 27d to do, gave up and went for the hint. All good fun though – and a beautiful day in the NW. Thanks MP and Kitty for your excellent review and hints – particularly 27d http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  19. Brilliant stuff, Kitty and Miffypops. Worra team! Needed clarity for 8d as I’d considered thankless, but then wrote in Worthless which didn’t help at all. Thank you both. And thanks to the setter, altho its meant I haven’t got mch shed painting done… Seated on a stool to protect my poorly back caused me to get a brushful of blue shed paint across my left eyebrow, cheek and hair, as my heroic Mr P worked n the higher ranges. And Poppy thought it was a joke purely for her amusement. Greetings to all.

  20. I’m going to have to go for at least 3* for difficulty because of two answers which I never did get. Oh dear!! 3* for enjoyment too.
    My two nemeses were 14a and 27d – total blank on both. This is not a great start to a new week – had a bad week, for crossword ability anyway, last week and don’t need another one.
    I didn’t get the first word of 8d wrong but only because I already had 10 and 12a in and I was sure of my answers for those.
    I missed the anagram indicator in 30a.
    I liked 11 and 31a and 6 and 28d. I think my favourite is one of those two down clues.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP and thanks and well done to Kitty – specially for getting 27d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Just to go back to 1a for a moment. When I worked in the cardiac department we had an absolutely lovely Greek doctor who spoke very good English but was keen on improving his use and understanding of idioms. We taught him what it meant to keep your hand in. The next time he came down he announced, very proudly, that he was there to “keep his hands warm”.

    1. Hi Kath,
      In my experience, doctors always have cold hands – perhaps you can offer a personal perspective?

  21. Great puzzle, as we have come to expect from Rufus. I didn’t get 8d wrong as I had 10a and 12a in and was sure of those.
    I really didn’t have many problems, even got 27d eventually. Last one in was 14a, I, too, wanted to put in “high” but knew it was wrong, so I worried it until it revealed itself.
    Thanks to Rufus, and many, many thanks for the review to Kitty and M’pops.

  22. A little too easy for a Bank Holiday , I thought. Last in 27d which didn’t quite work for me. Hopefully more of a challenge tomorrow. Need to give brain cells some exercise. Thanks BD and for the review. And to Mr Setter too of course. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    1. Hi Little Dave – if you want to stretch the old grey matter, give the Prize Puzzle a try – and maybe the Rookie. Plenty of grids to get you through until tomorrow!

  23. I took as long not getting 14a and 27d as i did getting all the rest. So have to be rated a failure today.

    1. Ditto …my last two not in were 14a & 27d. I didn’t find 27d “easy” and 14a was far too difficult for a man from ethics Essex.

    2. I feel a new “corner” about to happen. One for those of us who have failed to get an answer without resorting to a hint – heaven forbid an answer.
      We already have a “naughty corner” for those who transgress the rules at weekends.
      We have a “pedant’s corner” – RD is already ‘head honcho’ there so please, RD, don’t pick me up on my punctuation.
      Now all we need is a “failures corner”.
      What about it?
      All those in favour – oh, favor for our American friends . . .

      1. I am with you in this one Kath as I too failed on 14a and 27d. Definitely a 3* difficulty for me. Also had thankless for 8d. Oh dear, a bit of disaster today.

        1. Yes – disastrous crossword day here too – 14a and 27d. Both good and very clever clues but I couldn’t do them. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      2. But what about those of use who might find ourselves simultaneously in the naughty corner, pedants’ corner and failures’ corner… ?

        While we’re on the subject of failures, I never did understand 3d. I thought of okay, but couldn’t work out why because I thought if anything OK is the more American version. References I have looked at simply have them as interchangeable. I’m glad I had the acrosses today, is all I can say.

        1. You can’t be in two places, let alone three, at the same time. There again if the “bad” corners were close enough together we could flit between them, depending on what was on offer, who was there for company and when – a few nice starters, a glass of wine, a piece of cake etc etc . . . don’t be silly, Kath – shut up and go to bed!
          Night night all – sleep well.

            1. How about we buy an assortment of tricorns and just turn them around depending on which corner we’re feeling we should be sitting in. That way, we could all sit together and carry on eating, drinking etc. without having to keep moving from corner to corner. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      3. Save me a place in the new failures corner. Despite it being Monday, and this puzzle initially looking easy (huh!), I missed the correct 1d solution like many others, and thereafter failed to do the top across clues. After a while trying to decide what was wrong I gave up!
        (But I did solve 27d.)

    1. That depends on which Richard Nash you choose. The 1674 Nash from Bath or the 1874 Nash from Tunbridge Wells who championed Frilly Knickers. Ray Davies used him as inspiration for the song Dedicated Follower Of Fashion. I kid you not.

  24. Few alarms for a Bank Holiday Monday as one would expect and very enjoyable to solve.

    To me “Get one’s hand in” sounds so much less elegant than “Keep one’s hand in”, but of course the constraints of the grid must be respected !

    27d was ironically the hardest for me and the last one in, but I’m glad I wasn’t alone in scratching my head on that one.

    Favourite was 21d, although I did like 14a and 25a too.

    Many thanks to Rufus, Miffypops and Kitty (sounds like a music hall act from the 1940s !)

    1. We will see what we can do Silvanus. Maybe a sand dance a la Wilson Keppel and Betty. Opening night and debut at a Sloggers and Betters.

  25. I enjoyed this one and started off well, but soon came to a grinding halt in the top left hand corner (or should that be NW?). Like others I had ‘Thankless’ as the first word for 8d, and also had ‘your’ as the second word in 1a. In desperation I also had ‘hopsack’ for 10a to fit in with my wrong answers…….don’t even ask me why…… Brain was grasping at straws. Otherwise it was OK. **/*** . Confidence restored after last Friday’s Toughie debacle!……thanks to setter and hinters..

    1. I do so love it when people are honest enough to admit to their desperation answers. Makes you realise that you’re never alone in the land of ‘if, but, maybe’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  26. With 1a we were tossing up between ‘your’ and ‘ones’ for the second word and settled for ‘your’ with ‘yeah’ for 3d. A bad choice. However, soon sorted and the rest all flowed smoothly. We are very impressed with the quality of the review, especially the across clues which read as if they had been written by someone who has been doing it for years. The downs are good too, but we have come to expect that. Good fun.
    Thanks Rufus, Kitty and Miffypops.

  27. Nice one Kitty. When are you going solo?

    This one was a write in for us until the last two, which were unreasonably slow to fall. Our fault entirely as they aren’t even tricky. 27d and 14a if it’s of any interest.

    We wold have to go for ***/*** because of them.

    Thanks to Kitty, Miffypops and Rufus.

    1. Not far off solo today pommers. The intro, the across clues and the piccies were all Kitty’s. I merely did the downs but needed Kitty’s help for 27d. I have three members of staff that I have never employed. They turned up encouraged by their elder sister and have never gone away. I give them shifts and I pay them but I never officially employed them. Kitty has arrived on the blog from beneath the radar. I am not sure how that sits with Big Dave. But like it or lump it the solo date is known to Kitty and I. Kitty rocks OK or to our American cousins Okay.

      1. I’m sure it sits very well with BD as he now has more bloggers than puzzles to blog so hols, illness, social events etc are less of a problem. BTW, Kitty’s also very good at it, unlike Man City at football http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. Thank you pommers. Very happy to be part of this amazing club. Your words of praise have rather swelled my head I fear!

                1. I was going to say “If the cap fits, wear it” but maybe it don’t fit no more? Wear it anyway http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              1. Rebel Leader, Rebel Leader, Rebel Leader
                Rebel Two, Rebel Two, Rebel Two
                So who’s next on your radar? I have a potential bandit on mine.

                  1. I’ll happily go along with RD & Brian – as for the third party, I’m guessing it could well be you! I’d run a million miles but I reckon you’re made of stronger stuff (and appreciably better at crosswords!).

                    1. I’d rather deal with ‘that’ Triffid again.

                      You should blog Jane. Don’t underestimate yourself, we don’t.

                      Is it just me or do others feel quite protective of all us females on here?

            1. Hi Kitty – the proof of the pudding and all that. I’m sure BD is more than happy to have you on board – I think the same goes for all of us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  28. */***

    Stunningly glorious days on the NY moors with a 10 mile walk dealt early a.m. This was followed by a visit to the in-laws to remove ivy from their garage.

    No problem we thought. Yes there was a lot of it but we had various power tools and ladders. 20 minutes in and hidden under the ivy was some sort of Triffid/Kudzu hybrid. This plant had grown itself into the rafters of the garage.

    Bigger toys needed.

    After three hours of fighting with the stuff my father in-law decides to tell us there is asbestos in the roof. It was this point my OH decided to swear loudly much to my surprise when I was on top of the ladder.
    Upshot of this…today we have discovered 2 wasps nests, a ducks nest actually on the roof and that the Triffid hybrid was structurally integral to parts of the garage.

    I’m telling you this because the crossword was a R&W.

    Many thanks to all.

    1. Photos would be nice Hanni. It all sounds very exciting. Itchy has been on the highest part of our roof tonight.

      1. I’m not sure about your idea of excitement? Watching my other half argue with his dad whilst his rather deaf mum decides it’s Procescco time, as I’m up a ladder covered in sap wasn’t my idea of excitement. The spiders were cute though. However for some reason taking pics of the whole thing didn’t cross my mind. I might when we work out how to deal with the other structurally unsound bit. Hope Itchy is back.

        Congratulations on blogging Kitty. You’re a natural and deserve all the praise you are getting. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. Thanks Hanni. This praise is all getting too much for me! I am more used to hiding in the corner than basking in the limelight.

          1. Enjoy it Kitty. You are giving your time and effort for free on a wonderful blog. Thank you.

          2. Kitty – having met you I think that the last bit of your comment is very true – you should bask in the limelight a bit more. Have you ever watched the film “Dirty Dancing”? If not you should . . .

            1. I have seen it yes.

              But the limelight hurts my eyes! Plus, you can have a lot of fun hiding in the corner http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

    2. The first part of your day sounds great, Hanni, but I don’t envy you the later stuff. Phew!

      If you want an instant way to multiply the difficulty of a crossword by at least three, try having to blog it.

      1. Congratulations on becoming a blogger, Kitty. As you’ve no doubt discovered it imposes a great discipline for making sure that you fully understand all the clues.

  29. I too had a few unsuccessful forays in the NW corner, which put me into 2* time, and – for no good reason – didn’t enjoy this as much as the usual Rufus offering. Still, what do l know? Anyway, l refuse to be grumpy on a beautiful day in which l saw my first swallow of the year, and polished my boat’s topsides in preparation for relaunch on Wednesday. Thanks to Rufus, and to Kitty and Miffypops for the review.

    1. Hi Salty Dog,
      Saw my first Swallow of the year on Saturday, flying across the sand dunes in Harlech. Spring is sprung! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. That’s weird. Not seen a swallow here yet and we’re 1500km south of you. I’ve not really been looking but I’ll let you know when they get here. There’s usually about 200 of the little beggars live around the village so they are difficult to ignore.

        1. There’s usually a few ‘scouts’ who make the trip first – you possibly wouldn’t notice until the main body arrives a little while later. I think there’s only a few been spotted in the UK so far – mostly flying north up the coast.

  30. A splendid blog, chaps, possibly the greatest male/female double act since Esther and Abi Ofarim. A great combination of wit and wisdom. It must be time to open the cat flap and let Kitty out on her own – microchipped, of course.
    As for the puzzle, it was heading toward half* time until the common mistake on 8d held me up in the NW corner (I always do the Down clues first). When I saw the error of my ways, I thought it would be 1* time, and it would have been had it not been for 27d, which I spent as long as the rest of the crossword staring at before a 100-watt bulb lit up above my head. I think it was a brilliant clue and so my favourite by a distance. So 3*/3* for me.
    Many thanks to Rufus and to my new favourite mixed doubles pairing – I just hope you don’t do high-fives after every clue, like they do at Wimbledon after every point.

    1. Hi TS. I will try taking Kitty to the vets to be microchipped if I can coax her into the basket. Watch the high fives during The Ryder Cup. The Americans never miss. They have done them all their lives. The Europeans fail every single time. Laughably so. A good captain would tell our boys not to bother. As for 27d it was Kitty’s answer Not mine. Bob and Joan made a good double act.

    2. Thanks, Ts. What a lovely comment. Microchipped? The vets? I am not getting into the basket. No no no!

  31. Enjoyed this one. Never heard of 25a as meaning a theatre supporter. Am I the only one?

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