DT 27781

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27781

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I thought that this was a bit meatier than we usually get on Tuesdays and I enjoyed it (or possibly I’m just in a good mood because of the lovely weather we’re enjoying). Do let us have your verdict.

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 A Lib Dem grandee welcoming American jolly (7)
AMUSING – A (from the clue) and the familiar name of an elder statesman (and one-time leader) of the Liberal Democrats contain (welcoming) a two-letter abbreviation for American.

5a One who denounces account about drug addict (7)
ACCUSER – start with an abbreviation for an account or invoice and add an abbreviation meaning about or approximately and a drug addict.

9a Farm labourer‘s lovely, large shed (7)
PEASANT – drop the L (large shed) from an adjective meaning lovely or agreeable.

10a Guy I’m regularly with tipped over beer — dress will be needed (3,4)
GYM SLIP – regular letters from “Guy I’m” are followed by the reversal (tipped over) of a type of lager.

11a Madness to ignore first son’s stupidity (9)
INANENESS – start with another word for madness and remove the first of the three S(ons) from it.

12a Up a trail (5)
AWAKE – A (from the clue) and the trail left behind a boat travelling through water.

13a Landscape viewed from the sound (5)
SCENE – this sounds like a past participle meaning viewed.

15a In front of judge, I’m unhesitating (9)
IMMEDIATE – a verb to judge or arbitrate has I’M placed in front of it.

17a Firm hug can end upset (9)
UNCHANGED – an anagram (upset) of HUG CAN END.

19a Shot radical outside church (5)
RACED – the abbreviation for a radical in politics goes round one of the abbreviations for church.

22a It could be about to go on vessel (5)
CARGO – this is a semi-all-in-one. The single-letter abbreviation for about or approximately (the same one that was used in 5a) is followed by the name of Jason’s ship in Greek mythology.

23a Small outburst initially — that is after Conservative joins clubs (9)
SOCIETIES – there are lots of little bits to assemble here. Join together S(mall), the initial letter of outburst, C(onservative), the abbreviation for ‘that is’ and a verb meaning joins or connects.

25a Left in very old tin, old type of firework (7)
VOLCANO – insert L(eft) into the abbreviations for very and old and another word for a tin. Finally add the same abbreviation for old once more.

26a Holding head in irritation, I snore unfortunately louder (7)
NOISIER – an anagram (unfortunately) of I SNORE contains the leading (head) letter of irritation.

27a Show esteem to  relation (7)
RESPECT – two meanings, the second meaning relation or applicability as in the phrase ‘in relation to’.

28a Please explain about broken fist (7)
SATISFY – a verb to explain or articulate contains an anagram (broken) of FIST.

Down Clues

1d Servants to the French couples (2,5)
AU PAIRS – ‘to the’ (masculine singular) in French and couples.

2d A Parisian with things for sale crossing area in the dark (7)
UNAWARE – an indefinite article in French (a Parisian) and a word for things for sale of a specific type (e.g. kitchen****) contain (crossing) A(rea).

3d Picture that is in magazine? On the contrary (5)
IMAGE – on the contrary means that, rather than ‘that is’ being in a magazine, the abbreviation for magazine goes inside the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’.

4d Meeting Georgia with the piece of jewellery (9)
GATHERING – the standard abbreviation for Georgia (the US state, not the European country) is followed by THE (from the clue) and a piece of jewellery.

5d Head of army, for example, is giving protection (5)
AEGIS – string together the first letter (head) of army, the abbreviation meaning ‘for example’ and IS (from the clue).

6d Officer in charge removing Ecstasy from pocket for military use (9)
COMMANDER – remove one of the abbreviations for the drug Ecstasy (it doesn’t matter which one) from a verb to pocket or appropriate for military use.

7d Middle Eastern ruler a bit of a fruitcake? (7)
SULTANA – a Middle Eastern ruler is followed by A.

8d Full theatre allowed me to ignore money (7)
REPLETE – string together the abbreviation for a type of theatre in which a permanent company of actors puts on different plays, a verb meaning allowed and ME. Finally, remove (ignore) the abbreviation for money.

14d Fancy picking up package of goods before lecture? (9)
ELABORATE – reverse (picking up, in a down clue) a bundle or package of goods (a word more often used for a bundle of hay or cotton) and follow that with a verb to lecture.

16d Since I’m sick, editor gets in remedies (9)
MEDICINES – an anagram (sick) of SINCE I’M containing the abbreviation for editor.

17d Run to cook holding chap’s grub out (7)
UNCOVER – an anagram (to cook) of RUN contains a dated informal word for a chap or bloke.

18d Rings  groups of people sharing an interest (7)
CIRCLES – double definition, the second being groups of people with a shared interest (e.g. sewing) who meet regularly.

20d Signs of nerves, perhaps, after crime’s cut by 50%; they’ll no doubt find faults (7)
CRITICS – nervous twitches follow just 50% of “crime’s”.

21d Best dry toes at sea (7)
DESTROY – best here is a verb meaning to defeat or trounce. It’s an anagram (at sea) of DRY TOES.

23d Quiet, exposed bay (5) (online clue)
23d Quiet before drunk’s scream (5) (paper clue)
SHOUT – an injunction to keep quiet is followed by an adverb meaning exposed or divulged. Bay is a verb meaning to roar or clamour. The clue in the paper has the same request to keep mum followed by an adverb meaning drunk (*** of one’s skull, perhaps).

24d Live in flat six — endeavour coming up? (5)
EXIST – hidden (in) and reversed (coming up, in a down clue) in the clue.

The clues I liked best were 9a and 19a. Which one(s) appealed to you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: BAR + BEE + QUEUE = BARBECUE

 


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80 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Glad you thought it was meatier today too – I did wonder whether it was just me. No particular favourites. Thanks to the Mysteron and Gazza.

    Many happy returns of the day to Her Majesty, Big Dave, Libellule and Jane in the office (who doesn’t do crosswords but I thought I’d mention her anyway)

    • Jane
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Wow – birthday boy! Very many congratulations, Big Dave, and a great many thanks for getting (and keeping) this site up and running. It gives an enormous amount of pleasure and encouragement to a lot of people and I, for one, am deeply indebted to you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Ditto to Big Dave! I, for another one, am deeply indebted to you.
        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Heno
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          As am I

      • Steve_the_Beard
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Seconded :-)

      • Merusa
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Fourthed, fifthed, or whatever the number is, to our STAR! Very appropriate that you share your day with our beloved Queen.
        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Angel
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Felicitations, admiration and respect for Her Majesty and Big Dave who both continue to give their subjects so much joy. Long may they rule. Thank you Mr. Ron for a pleasant ride today. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif. Happy Birthday to You.

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes – happy birthday to BD – another little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to add to the ones you’ve already been given and a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif too.

    • Hilary
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Me too Happy Birthday BD http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday from us too Dave and we are really looking forward to meeting you in person in just a few weeks.
      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Tstrummer
      Posted April 22, 2015 at 1:13 am | Permalink

      And further felicitations from me. BD sounds like an abbreviation for birthday, so happy BD to you

  2. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Luckily we had remembered the politician in 1a from a previous puzzle, so we were not held up there. For some strange reason 18d was our last in. Perhaps it was because it was more straightforward than we were expecting. Cartels had gone in as a first attempt, but would not work with 25a so needed a re-think. We agree that it was a bit meatier than some Tuesdays have been lately and good fun to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  3. Miffypops
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I liked it. I find Tuesdays Mysterons to be absolutely constant with reference to difficulty but widely disparate on enjoyability. This was was most enjoyable to me as it was solved at 4.00am as I downed a Lemsip with honey. I did sleep well afterwards. Happy birthday to all of the above and also to Steve Murray. ta to all concerned.

  4. Kitty
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    It felt meatier to me too, but the time on the clock suggests that might be an illusion. I did make a couple of silly slips so have failed on accuracy today. Bad Kitty.

    9a was last in, and how silly I felt when I got it. 14d is favourite for a surface evocative of university days.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  5. Sweet William
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you Tuesday setter, no real hold-ups, last in SW corner and an enjoyable challenge. Thanks Gazza for your review and hints. I dread to think what Scchua would have made of 10a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif I thought you dealt with it in a most tasteful way !

  6. dutch
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this with no major hold-ups except possibly my last one in, 12a (up a trail), where I was beginning to guess letters then suddenly saw it – a lovely clue with an “aha” for the right meaning of up (I was looking for something meaning on horseback)

    Other favourites include 26a (I snore unfortunately louder) and 24d (live in flat six – where I was desperately trying to work in “VI”)

    I did think the two definitions in 18d (rings groups of people) were too closely related.

    Very nice, many thanks setter and gazza

  7. Brian Wilson
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Most strange that 23d has a different clue to that shown above, but the same answer. Presumably a different edition of the paper. Our clue is “Quiet before drunk’s scream*.

    • gazza
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog,Brian and thanks for that.
      I don’t think there’ll be changes between different editions of the paper. My version of the clue comes from the Telegraph Puzzles site and occasionally the clues do differ there from what’s in the paper.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Hello from me too Brian

    • Franco
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      How many Brian Wilsons are there?

      God Only Knows!

      • Kath
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  8. Beaver
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward and amusing for me today so a **/****,remember the firework in 25a from my youth, used to be called Vesuvious , made either by Brock or Standard Fireworks-who incidentally had the best ‘Bangers’ ! Liked the wordplay of 17d.Thanks Gazza for the pics , knew you wouldn’t let me down with 10a -a real St TrInians belle no less !.

  9. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    4*/3*. I found this very difficult but mostly enjoyable despite a handful of things I don’t understand.

    1) In the paper version of 23d why does drunk lead to the final three letters?
    2) Is it really OK to use the abbreviation m for money? Some setters seem to have free licence to use the first letter of almost any word as an abbreviation.
    3) What has grub got to do with the answer for 17d?

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD.

    • gazza
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      1) I’ve updated the blog to include the paper version of the clue.
      2) You know what I’m going to say. M for money is in the BRB.
      3) ‘Grub out’ means to root out (like a pig finding a truffle).

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks very much, Gazza.

        Of course you are right about M = money being in the BRB. I didn’t look it up because it seemed so utterly implausible. Whenever would you want to use that particular abbreviation?

      • Paso Doble
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for 3) explanation Gazza…didn’t really know what it meant. I lived in France and Italy for 22 years. The French use pigs to find truffles and the Italians used trained dogs. The reason behind this, is that pigs find them very quickly but have a tendency to eat them because they like them. Dogs don’t like them so take a bit longer to sniff them out but can be sometimes well worth it. A friend of mine with his dog in Piemonte truffle hunt for a hobby but make a fortune at the same time. The last time I saw him he had just sold a ‘whopper’ to a restaurant for 700 euros…..White Alba truffles of course….THE BEST! You love ’em or you hate ’em, just like Marmite!

    • fran
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Agree with you RD on your. points 1and 3 . My neuronal circuitry must need tweaking 17d held me to ransom on bottom right corner

  10. George
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was quite straightforward today – no holdups at all. I would not say it was a memorable puzzle for clever clues, however – a bit pedestrian, I thought.

    Anyway, I finished it in 2* time and I suppose a 3* for enjoyment.

    Thanks to all as usual.

  11. crypticsue
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see that, so far, only Miffypops has read my comment http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I always read your comments CS. I get a smug feeling when I have breezed through a puzzle that you call tricky. Now how many times has that ever happened? Not many. That is for sure.

    • Merusa
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I always read your comments, too. You are always fair in your comments.

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      I read your comment too, CS. I always read all the comments but I’m not sure what you’re getting at now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Jane
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Possibly the fact that no-one else had wished BD a happy birthday at that point?

        • Kath
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Yes – you’re probably right. Although I do always read all the comments I don’t notice times.

  12. Hanni
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    */****

    Most satisfying. Didn’t find this overly difficult, although I spent some time justifying 24d. Reverse hidden clues are my nemesis. Loved the rest of it. Favourite clue is 9a.

    Happy birthday to Her Majesty and bloggers. BD, have a wonderful day.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for blogging.

    Looking forward to the Toughie blog. Goodness I’m struggling.

    • Vince
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Hanni, one problem with 24d is the use of the phrase “coming up” to indicate that something should be reversed. Whether an across or down clue, all being written horizontally, a reversal can never be “coming up”. To “come back” or “return” would be more appropriate.

      • Bob H
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Possibly, but the meaning in this case was clear.

        • Hanni
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Whist I agree that it was fairly clued, given that we’ve seen the phrase before, I’m inclined to agree with Vince about the wording.

          There is still no excuse for my inability to spot the things.

  13. Paso Doble
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    A very slow start today but when we finally got a few jotted in, the checkers made it a very enjoyable puzzle indeed. We agree with Gazza’s difficulty/enjoyment evaluation because it was one of those crosswords where you can see the answer and have to go back and work out why! Well done Gazza for the review and obviously, one of Captain Scarlet’s foes for making this a very p(l)easant, amusing, satisfying noisier and volcanic morning.

    • Liz
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes PD, I find that too….can clearly see the answer, but no idea why…so have to check the hints to find out the rationale. Seems to work OK though…..most of the time.

      • Paso Doble
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Liz, we rarely fail to finish a puzzle these days but thanks to this blog we understand why and therefore, learning all the time. I don’t think we would be so interested in crosswords if it wasn’t for Big Dave and the fabulous team.

        • Liz
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Exactly!

  14. Jane
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    A most 1a puzzle with more than enough to 28a those of us 20d’s who believe that a ‘cryptic’ crossword should be just that – nothing more, nothing less.

    Slow in the SW corner but last in for me were 12&19a. In all honesty I also have to include 11a as, for some reason known only to me and my over-worked little brain cell, I had written in ‘au peres’ at 1d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Agree Gazza’s ratings and favourite options but would add 23a to the list.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron (love to know who you are and to see more of your puzzles) and to Gazza, both for the excellent review and the chance to view the Rep in action again!

  15. Kitty
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday Big Dave. I hope you have a lovely day. Thanks – not for the first or the last time – for this magnificent site.

    Usually I maintain that all the best people have birthdays in October, but I might add an “or on the 21st of April” to that assertion!

    Many happy returns to all the birthday guys and gals, including my cousin Bindu.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Found it a bit trickier than usual too. Even more than the toughie which took less time to complete.
    The SW corner held me up as I wrote Couples in 18d for some strange reason and that made 22a almost impossible to get.
    Thanks to gazza for explaining my Bung in of 6d.
    Happy birthday to our host and thanks to the setter.

  17. Paso Doble
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday from all of us here in Camden to BIG DAVE!….That includes Paso Doble and the menagerie that shares this wonderful house. We would also like to echo the sentiments of many others and thank you for the huge amount of pleasure this blog gives us.

  18. Liz
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    A bit slow off the mark today….quite a bit more tricky than yesterday’s puzzle. Then suddenly everything started to fit in…..except the SW corner! Just didn’t get 22 a for ages (doh!) and had to use hint for 17d. Like Paso Double, I often get the answer without quite knowing why, then need to check the hint to find out the reasoning. I also struggled with 9a thinking of all kinds of agricultural buildings and various words for shed, cast off, slough etc……. Then the penny dropped. Favourite clues were 11a and 8d. I also completely missed the reference to the lib dem grandee…….spent ages trying to make an anagram from A Lib Dem into some kind of American celebration. Thought processes are really interesting!! **/*** today. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for hints. Don’t know BD or anything about him (presume he is a him) but just to say.. All the best people are born in April !

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Have you honestly never met BD? Really? He is a legend round these here parts you know.

      • Liz
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        No never! To which here parts do you refer? We never meet anyone legendary up here in Norfolk, Miffypops!

        • Miffypops
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          I was in Norfolk on Sunday October 12th last year. We snuck up the coast from Oulton Broad to Wells Next The Sea and left for York on Monday 13th.

  19. SheilaP
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    This took us ages to get going, but at last we’ve managed to finish with some help from the hints. I think some of the definitions are a bit iffy even if they are in the BRB e.g. to best someone doesn’t necessarily mean to destroy them IMHO. A Happy Birthday to all those distinguished people who’s birthday it is today and thank you to the Tuesday setter and to Gazza for his help.

    • gazza
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I think that ‘destroy’ is being used in a sporting context, e.g. ‘Australia destroyed England in the last Ashes series’.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Did you have to use that example?!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

      • SheilaP
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        I say! That’s a bit strong.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  20. Heno
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I agree with CrypticSue a very meaty puzzle. Managed it ok somehow, but it took ages. Was completed in four segments, NW, NE, SE, SW. Last in was 18d. Favourite was 10a. Was 3*/4* for me. Having a nice walk round Kenwood. Lovely sunny day.

  21. Poppy
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Like Queen Victoria I didn’t find 1a at all, and didn’t like to bother Mr P with a query about politicians’ names… So not quite the last one in, but nearly. Have never seen that particular clip of the Two Ronnies so enjoyed that immensely. Thanks Gazza and thanks to the setter. And as for the birthday folk – here’s a galumph of grateful birthday balloons filled with the very best of ales for our Great Leader and Founder BD. You’re a hero and must have a global fan club by now. Thank you for all you do behind the scenes to keep this site the wonder that it is. Hope you’re having a fabulous day. Greetings to all.

  22. Michael
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    A bit unsatisfactory with quite a few dubious clues and answers :-
    19a – does raced mean shot, ‘ac’ for church?
    23a – does shout mean scream?
    Nitpicking? Yes but pretty poor in my book!

    • gazza
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      In 19a raced means shot in the sense of ‘he raced/shot to the door’. It’s RAD (radical) containing CE (Church of England).

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        I had trouble with that and thought of Red with A(nglican) C(hurch). It was very silly o clock,in the morning.

        • Jane
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Ditto – but no excuse for the time of day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  23. Merusa
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    CS, “meatier” was an understatement. I sweated bullets with this one, but such a feeling of satisfaction when I solved one. I never did get 1a, 9a or 2d. Don’t know the gent in 1a.
    Like this setter, it seems we’ve had him/her before. In any case, thanks for the workout.
    Thanks to Big Dave for the review. I hope you spend the rest of the day enjoying yourself.

  24. Brian
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Way way above my level, managed seven clues, for me *****/*
    No fun and far too difficult for a back pager in my opinion.
    Thx to Gazza.

  25. Sweet William
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday BD. Have a lovely evening.

  26. Ginny
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    BD, Happy birthday from me too and very many thanks for this indispensable website. You don’t have an icon for a gold medal. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  27. Gwizz
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    ‘Meatier’ is quite a good description of today’s puzzle. I eventually completed it, 19a being my last to solve. Favourite was 4d just because it sounded good. 2*/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza. Happy Birthday BD!
    Ps. Welcome back Brian!

  28. Kath
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I liked this one too and agree with gazza about 3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    12a was my last answer – don’t know why but it just was – something had to be.
    Like dutch I spent far too long trying to fit VI into 24d – oh dear.
    I wasn’t too sure about 27a and the relation bit but the answer had to be what it was and gazza’s hint sorted that one out.
    I’m not convinced that a 1d would appreciate being called a servant although I’m sure that some of them are used as such.
    I liked 9, 17 and 26a and 4 and 21d, although how anyone could dry their toes at sea is a mystery to me.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Pommers and pomette were here yesterday (that sounds like graffiti “pommers woz ‘ere) – lovely to meet them. Pomette even cut the claws on our little nearly twenty-one year old cat – something I’m too scared to do in case I hurt her.

    • Merusa
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Lucky you meeting the pommerses. They sound such a cheerful couple and good fun. B

  29. Framboise
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    First of all and most importantly happy birthday to BD and a good excuse to have another apéritif! Just wondering about what to say about today’s puzzle. Completed it without grousing to Mr Framboise to the tune of ‘Gosh that was hard’ so I suppose it was not bad. No clear favourite but just a good feeling of having finished the job. Thanks to Mr Ron and to BD – I did check a few answers, 5d being one of them.

  30. Una
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to Big Dave and to your Queen and all the others.
    Definitely meatier than usual and all the better for that.I was nicely misdirected by the” large shed “in 9a and I give it my top vote for its smooth surface.Thanks setter and Gazza.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Odd, isn’t it? I found this pretty easy (as did some other contributors), but the majority opinion seems to be otherwise. I only got into 2* time because l was listening to the 2nd Test vs the Windies, and would have to score this 1*/3*. As for favourite clue, as an unreconstructed sad old git it can only be 10a. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza. And happy birthdays to HM and BD!

  32. Ora Meringue
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Managed the E side but struggled with the W side, particularly the down clues.
    Still not really understanding 23d.
    I do not think many farm labourers would appreciate being called 9a. Wasn’t there an altercation in The Archers about just that?

    Enjoyed the bits I could do.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza .

    And if I’m not too late, Happy Birthday Big Dave!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • gazza
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      For 23d you start with SH (an instruction to keep quiet) and follow this with OUT which, depending on whether you’re solving online or from the paper, can mean either a) exposed or in the open, or b) drunk.

      • Ora Meringue
        Posted April 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Gazza.
        I am familiar with ‘out of one’s skull’ or similar phrases for being drunk, but have never heard it contracted to just ‘out’.
        Perhaps I’ve led a sheltered life.

        • gazza
          Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          I haven’t heard of out (on its own) meaning drunk either and the BRB doesn’t admit to knowing it.

  33. Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for all the Birthday greetings. I’ve had a day away from crosswords and the blog!

    I would also like to extend Birthday greeting to Chris Lancaster, the editor of the Enigmatic Variations crosswords in the Sunday Telegraph, who shares this day with Libellule and myself (and her Maj).

    • Beet
      Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Belated happy birthday BD – glad to hear you gave yourself the day off and hope you had a good one!

  34. Tstrummer
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    Meaty, Beaty, big and bouncy. Indeed. My only real trouble came after putting “cartels” for 18d (still makes sense to me) but that stymied 25a, and consequently 17d. Once I had untangled that mess, I found that I had strayed into 3* time, when everything else had slotted in so smoothly. Thanks to Gazza for the review, setter for setting and, most of all, to BD for all this, all that has gone before and all that is yet to come

  35. almo
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Can anyone tell me what BRB (used frequently above) stands for ? Google says “be right back” or Birmingham Royal Ballet !!

    • Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Immediately above where you entered your comment it says “… if you are asking a question please check the FAQ first!”. Try looking in there!

  36. fortis
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    i must concur with salty dog, i found it rather simple and as for commander, i really don’t think the clue was cryptic by any means somewhat disappointing