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DT 27783

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27783

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***/****

Good morning everyone – no sun in Oxford, but there’s still time although it’s not looking particularly hopeful at the moment. I thought this crossword was fairly straightforward. When I first started it I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it but it’s grown on me and I think it was good fun – as always, please feel free to disagree with me. It’s certainly not a Ray T but I don’t have the first idea about who the setter might be.

The answers are hidden under the things that say “Click here” so try not to do that by mistake.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a            Say something tactless and lose a real friend (4,1,5)
DROP A BRICK — I think this is probably a double definition – a colloquialism for saying or doing something tactless or horrifying could literally mean to shun a supportive friend.

6a            Lie alongside a capsized unwieldy vessel (4)
ABUT — The A from the clue is followed by a reversal (capsized) of a clumsy ship or boat.

10a         Gusset in cardigan and jumper Terry Wogan originally let out (5)
INSET — The kind of jumper and cardigan worn together, and often by old ladies with a string of pearls, has the first letters of T(erry) and W(ogan) removed (originally let out).

11a         Delinquent pedals around an English seafront (9)
ESPLANADE — An anagram (delinquent) of PEDALS goes outside (around) the AN from the clue and is then followed by E(nglish).


12a         Stout turned cheese into silky stuff (7)
TAFFETA — A reversal (turned) of a word meaning stout or if not actually obese then certainly a touch on the chubby side is followed by some yummy crumbly Greek cheese.


13a         Bird dips into quantity of money that’s hidden in chest (7)
STERNUM — An aquatic bird is contained in (dips into) an amount of money.

14a         Author’s head failing to generate ideas (7,5)
WRITER’S BLOCK — Another word for an author – any old author, not one in particular and don’t forget the ‘S, – is followed by a slang word for a head, often used as, “If you do that again I’ll knock your ***** off”.

18a         Memorably observe eminent person pinching contents of till (12)
NOTEWORTHILY — Begin with a verb meaning observe or become aware of, follow that with an eminent person or VIP which contains (pinching) the middle two letters (contents of) t(IL)l. Oh dear – that looks a bit odd – hope you all get the idea.

21a         Reserves support look good (7)
BACKLOG — A word for support or advocate is followed by a two letter archaic word to look or behold and then G(ood).

23a         Very loud seaman in the drink? Gracious! (7)
AFFABLE — The two letter musical abbreviation for very loud and another two letter abbreviation for a seaman or sailor contained in (in) another word for beer.

24a         One’s got it all over with tragic demise (RIP) (9)
EPIDERMIS — We’re all covered in this – it’s the outer layer of the largest organ of your body. It’s an anagram (tragic) of DEMISE and (RIP).

25a         Chick might settle on this jumper with short sleeves (5)
ROOST — Begin with a “jumper” – not the kind that we had in 10a but another one – he’s a marsupial and he lives in Oz – follow him with the first and last letters (sleeves) of S(hor)T. The last two letters gave me a bit of a headache for a while . . .


26a         Characters in Tokyo gangs attaining spiritual discipline (4)
YOGA — . . . but strangely, and just for once, this hidden answer (characters in) didn’t!


27a         Give up present title for 24 hours? (4,2,1,3)
CALL IT A DAY — A double definition, I think, a bit like 1a. A colloquial expression used when you’ve had enough and want to stop doing something, “Let’s **** ** * *** and carry on tomorrow”. Literally it means the second of the definitions.



1d            Delicacy isn’t commonly penetrating outskirts of Dudley (6)
DAINTY — How someone who didn’t know any better (commonly) might says isn’t is put inside (penetrating outskirts) the first and last letters of D(udle)Y.


2d            Rouse stiffly off and on and become rigid (6)
OSSIFY — The odd letters (off and on) of the first two words of the clue.

3d            Welsh factories redeveloped directly (2,3,4,5)
AS THE CROW FLIES — An anagram (redeveloped) of WELSH FACTORIES.

4d            Civil War soldier perhaps or a recent revolutionary (2-7)
RE-ENACTOR — Another anagram (revolutionary) of OR A RECENT.


5d            Policeman points and carries on (5)
COPES — A short slang word for a policeman is followed by two points of the compass.

7d            Clever clogs support popular TV (8)
BRAINBOX — Begin with the usual bit of women’s undies (support) follow that with the usual two letters meaning popular and end with a slang word for a TV. I just couldn’t resist the piccy for this one!


8d            This lot going about in a frenzy, heading off for London (3,5)
THE SMOKE — THIS lot (as opposed to THAT lot) contains a word meaning in a frenzy or running riot without its first letter (heading off).

9d            Skip how to find use for a nut? (4,1,4,3,2)
MAKE A BOLT FOR IT — This kind of ‘skip’ isn’t what children do in a playground – it means to leg it, escape or do a runner. The nut isn’t a slang term for your head – it’s something that might be bought in a DIY store or hardware shop.

15d         Production of Lear outside picks up in run-through (9)
REHEARSAL — An anagram (production of) of LEAR contains a word that means picks up (with your ears). I seem to remember doing a hint for the same answer in last week’s Thursday crossword.

'Do you think this is the right place,James?'

16d         Pride drooling — lion’s first to go out and last to tuck in (8)
SNOBBERY — Think of another adjective for drooling or dribbling – it has an L as its second letter which needs to be removed – L(ion’s) first to go out. Replace the L with the last letter of (lio)N (last to tuck in). Oh dear – I’ve made a bit of a mess of that – it’s one of those that’s easier to solve than give a hint for.

17d         Carrying hose (8)
STOCKING — A simple double definition – the hose isn’t the kind that you’d use to water plants in the garden.

19d         ‘Une route secondaire’ in France maybe (6)
ABROAD — Or in Spain, or Italy, or anywhere other than where you live – translate the first three words in the clue.

20d         One fat fly starts off smartly (6)
NEATLY — Remove the first letters from the first three words of the clue (starts off).

22d         School waiving rights for third grade (5)
GAMMA —A secondary school in which academic subjects predominate has an R as its second letter and as its last letter – take both of them out (waiving rights). I’m not sure that this kind of school exists any more but I could very easily be wrong.

I liked 1 and 25a and 8 and 20d. My favourite was 19d.

The quickie pun (Rob)+(Inns)+(Honk)+(Rousseau)=(Robinson Crusoe)


135 comments on “DT 27783

  1. 8a in the Quick is in italics too so it is a four word pun – solve that and you’ll ‘see’ the pun

    1. Hidden in case someone who hasn’t yet solve the Quickie reads the comments here and has their fun spoiled.

  2. Enjoyed this puzzle.
    Thanks for the hints which cleared up a couple wordplay issues I had.

    Anybody else trying the new Telegraph IPad app?

    Navigation in the main body of the paper, and the crossword is interesting to say the least.

  3. Very straightforward, but enjoyable. Completed comfortably before lights out last night. Happy birthday to Bill Shakespeare, and Happy St George’s Day.

    1. Rats, again! Thanks – I’ve changed it now (and feeling smug because I’ve never dared to do that before) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            1. Maybe not, technically – but the daughters and their friends often referred to ‘slobbing out’ when they were engaged in doing not very much of anything whilst dressed in their scruffiest clothes!

              1. Our Lambs too – and probably not dressed in their scruffiest clothes, in fact not dressed at all – still in PJ’s. Hopeless – I sometimes think we brought them up badly except they’re really pretty good. A little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to both of them, not that they read this!

        1. This is what some dogs are eg St Bernard’s, Boxers and others with jowls that drool….then take the L out and replace with N

  4. I don’t know what it is about Thursdays, but I had more of a struggle with this one than I probably should have. Anyway, finished in 3* time but it was a bit of a work out. Seemed not to grasp what the clue was looking for in many cases. Enjoyment level – well 3* I think.

  5. Interesting puzzle, managed it before the school run (just), some really nice clues and some pretty dodgy definitions.

    I liked 14a (author’s head), 18a (memorably observe…. mainly for surface), 25a (jumper with short sleeves), 3d (welsh factories – great anagram), 19d (in France, maybe)

    Although readily solvable, for a few clues I thought the definitions weren’t quite accurate enough for me to enjoy: 21a (reserves – to me the answer means something slightly different), 4d (civil war soldier – I don’t think “perhaps” is enough to suggest this person isn’t a soldier at all), 8d (London – I have never heard this – I’ve heard “big” smoke), & 22d (third grade – couldn’t find evidence for this, when would you use this context?)

    I thought the “present title” in 27a was a little awkward – had to read it several times to make it work for me, then I lost it again.

    Thanks setter and Kath

    1. Hi Dutch,
      I thought London was the Old Smoke.
      As for 27a I think you have to cut the clue : Give up present (time) and title for 24h.

      1. I interpreted it as:
        a) give up = straightforward definition
        b) present title for 24 hours? = suggested cryptic definition for the action of informing someone (presenting) what the name is for a period of 24 hours
        … but I could be wrong :unsure:

      2. J-L – I think you might be confusing London “The Smoke” with Edinburgh “Auld Reekie”.

        Chambers actually gives “The (Big) Smoke” but as a Londoner (albeit I have lived in Worcestershire these last 38 years) I have only ever heard it being called “The Smoke”. Some of us can remember “The Great Smog”, which was also known as “The Big Smoke”.

        1. Pea soupers….. The great smog of 1952…..then we had the ‘clean air act’ of 1956 and a later one in the sixties which helped to clean things up

  6. Very enjoyable even though some clues were familiar like the anagram of welsh factories or 11a that we saw not long ago.
    The nuts and bolts of 9d made me laugh and I think Kath explained very well the exchange of letters in 16d.
    12a made me laugh also.
    The surface was very good in all .
    Shamus is not too scary on the toughie. Early solvers should have a go.
    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for the enjoyable review.

  7. I agree exactly with Kath’s ratings, her opening comments and her choice of favourite. We have been treated to an excellent sequence of really good puzzles recently. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Kath for a first rate review.

    1. Welcome to the blog Brian

      If you read the blog regularly you will know that we already have a regular contributor who uses the name Brian, so please choose a different alias, or qualify your present one, before posting again.

          1. On the other hand – if he IS cut from the same cloth as ‘our’ Brian he could perhaps be ‘Brian squared’ – that would go rather well with his present avatar. Bit worried as he seems to have sticking plaster all over either his nose or mouth – can’t quite decide which. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    2. Welcome to the blog from me, New Brian. Thanks for commenting – I’m now worrying that all of the above banter must feel a bit off-putting to a new-comer.
      You probably need to understand a few things. The first, and probably most important, is that this is a very friendly and welcoming place with lots of very knowledgable people. The second is that we already have someone called Brian who comments regularly – he doesn’t mince his words hence some of the above comments but to have two people called Brian is a bit tricky. The third thing is that having a new commenter is always lovely so please keep going. A little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif from me.

  8. Enjoyable with some good challenges but nothing too significant to tax. Many thanks to The Setter and for the review. Top notch.

  9. Really enjoyable even though I did need some hints in NE – thanks Kath for those and thank you Mr. Ron for several nicely cryptic clues. Tried for some kind of set (train?) in 7d. Fav sans aucun doute was 19d. ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  10. I found this quite difficult today for some reason but enjoyed the solve so a ***/***,liked14a and 9d provided a d’oh moment-excellent surface read and 4d took a bit of working out ’till I remembered a friend who was an avid Sealed Knot Participant-seemed like a lot of fun I gather like Poldark On Sea !Thanks Kath for the blog Pics-loved the cat

    1. Welcome to the blog Ray

      As Crypticsue has mentioned elsewhere, we don’t display answers to clues in the Quick crossword – you will note that the pun at the bottom of the blog has to be revealed before you can see it. Many solvers save the Quick crossword for later and displaying answers can spoil their enjoyment.

  11. I allowed myself 2 hints to kick start the solving process after flying back into the UK today and hauling my suitcase from Heathrow to Charing cross in the busy rush-hour tube mayhem – will definitely not be doing that again. Fairly straightforward after I used the 2 hints. I do not like jet-lag. Thanks to Kath and setter 2.5*/3.5*

  12. There are two comments ‘in moderation’ awaiting approval on the subject of the quick pun which Kath has now corrected.

    If I ‘approve’ you, I’m going to have to delete the contents of one of the messages so I think I’d better leave you in limbo.


  13. Very nice crossword today, I thought, which took me a little over half of yesterday’s time.

    I’d have put 1a as a single definition plus components. I only bring it up because I often have trouble with what to underline in cases like this.

    I had problems with the short sleeves too and several other bits of parsing took some head scratching. Am finding it difficult to pick a favourite but might go for 17d – short and sweet, suggestive of a fireman but actually rather different. I also very much liked 24d but the surface wasn’t quite smooth enough for me to make it favourite.

    Lovely hints as usual – thanks Kath. I like one for 14a and absolutely love the cartoon for 4d.

    Thanks also to the setter. More please!

              1. It’s all well and good unless a human tries to use my litter tray. They do not understand the problem. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  14. A good challenge with some interesting clues. I did like 9d which was my favourite.
    Re: the term for London…. strange, but I’ve never heard it called the Old ***** in all the years that I lived there. Guess I must have been in the wrong part of town!
    2*/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for an excellent review. I have to admit I liked the accompanying pic for 26a!

  15. Thank you setter – I found that quite tricky, but good fun as I worked my way through it. A few bungitins and then a while working out the wordplay. Thanks Kath for your review and hints. Lovely day here in NW – at the moment, but not for long I gather.

  16. Yes, easier than yesterday’s but interesting and good fun all the same…
    …but not as much fun as your cartoons, Kath. ( I have been known to save the images).

    Thx especially for the cake pictures. I was chuntering and grumbling for a while because I’d forgotten that ” dainty” could also be a noun. I did once work in a cake shop as a holiday job, so should have known better. I think we probably called them “fancies”.

  17. ***/***

    I made hard work of this and I’m not sure why. I wasn’t positive about ‘brick’ being a synonym for friend. Couldn’t see how to link Terry Wigan to a gusset for awhile, and suffered from a severe case of 14a for 9d. Hey ho. Got there in the end and quite enjoyed it.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a great blog.

    1. I think quite a few women would have liked Terry Wogan linking with their gussets Hanni. A bit like you and Cliff methinks.

      1. Terry and Cliff? Ye Gods no! Though El Tel provided some amusement when he got completely hammered on Eurovision.

        1. I seem to recall that Kath is rather a fan of Terry Wogan. Not sure who Terry Wigan is…

  18. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, quite straightforward. Favourites were 8,9,16d sorry Kath :-) Last in was 18a, was 2*/4* for me. Lovely sunny afternoon in The Smoke :-)

  19. Yet another failure for this week. Just can’t get to grips with these wordy clues at all.
    I’m afraid clues such as 10a, 18a, 25a, 16d and 22d will always fox me.
    Still don’t understand 8d even with the hint, I can see the answer but what it has to do with this or that lot and frenzy is beyond me.
    Did like 27, 17d and 19d so not a total loss.
    Thx to all.

    1. Those. A(mok). Does that help Brian. I used to wonder if you were a customer of mine but he died and we cremated him last Monday so I suppose you are not him. You would have got on well together though.

      1. No – not those – these. This lot = these and that lot = those. Now you’ve got me in a muddle! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      2. Amok used to be a banned word on the old “real” DT of Fleet St days under the autocracy of Peter Eastwood, managing editor – “Only Malays run amok” he ruled. He also banned Iran and insisted we call it Persia on the grounds that “whoever heard of an Iranian carpet?”

    2. Hi Brian,
      8d – THESE (this lot) put around a word meaning ‘in a frenzy’ – AMOK – with its heading off. Thes-mok-e.
      Any better?

      1. Thx, I get it now but have to say I would never have broken it down like that in a month of Sunday’s.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  20. This was a good fun puzzle almost on the same wavelength as yesterday, so we are wondering whether it might not be the same setter. 1a was an expression at school for going to the toilet for a number two. Thanks to Kath for a SUPERB review!

  21. Yesterday I had Eliza instead of Erica. Today I have Deftly at 20d. As I cannot justify it’s being there I will have to accept Kath’s answer as being the right one. This was a super puzzle but a little too easy. Kath’s blog is also a wonderful piece. I like the wit and the honesty. 225 could learn a lot from this site. Great pictures and jokes. All that is lacking is the occasional blast of Bob Dylan for Jane’s entertainment. Rock on Kath.

    1. I look forward to your blog on Monday. You are in danger of being taken over as wittiest blogger by Kath.

            1. Or even guerilla warfare perhaps?
              Pedant Dave

              PS. I resisted the temptation first time, but I couldn’t let it go twice :wink:

                1. I went to a Comprehensive school where I took five O levels. the results spelled F,U,D,G,E. Need I say more?

      1. Me too…… Only realised I had it wrong when I Read the blog! That’s what happens when one just bungs ’em in and doesn’t bother too much with the reasoning (see comments below).

    2. Hi MP – managed quite well without the blast of Dylan, thank you – but I’m sure Kath would have treated me to a Dire Straits clip if she could have found an excuse to do so!

      However, I did like your cat ‘clip’ so you can have the odd Brownie point for today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  22. Just loved every minute of this one. Anagram indicators that weren’t, deceptive punctuation (23a) and so many laugh out loud moments that I have a list of at least 9 potential favourites. 2*/4* for me.

    18a is definitely cringe-worthy as is the Quickie pun.
    16d was last in – took some time to see the wordplay even when the answer had become obvious.
    Thought we’d seen 15d very recently, as Kath confirmed, but it still worked well.

    Any possibility that I’m seeing ‘Irish’ eyes twinkling in this one?

    After a huge inner debate I’ll go for 9d as favourite but it really could have been many of the others.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron for best laughs of the week and also to Kath for following through in the same spirit with her excellent blog. The 26a & 15d pics. were brilliant and I really smiled at your 7d nod to your faithful friend. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Any possibility that I’m seeing ‘Irish’ eyes twinkling in this one?

      I think that he’s the setter for today’s Toughie …

      … but you may be right …

      … was there once an occasion when the back-pager and the Toughie were set by the same compiler on the same day?

  23. Great puzzle. I got 20d wrong, so thank you, Kath, for correcting that.
    So many clever clues, but I think 1a has to be fave, with 9d and 19d as close runners up.
    Thanks to setter, and many thanks to Kath for the review, particularly for the pics; can’t go wrong with dogs and cats.

      1. Just been up to a local nursery (plants not kids). They have lots of birds of prey. There’s a new sign outside saying, “Baby pet rabbits for sale in the birds of prey section!” I might be missing something here but it doesn’t sound the safest environment for baby rabbits. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        1. Good lord – hopefully it’s just a clever sales gimmick (made you look!) but, having just read ‘H is for Hawk’ I doubt it would do either bunnies or predators many favours to be in such close proximity!

        2. Ouch, that’s given me a funny turn.

          But it’s also reminded me of another bizarre sales gimmick which was used by our local card shop offering three Valentine cards for the price of two…

  24. I thought it was a tad more than 2* for difficulty, but good fun.Having seen the welsh factories before, in the Sunday Times, I think, helped.
    I liked all the “phrases” clues.Thanks for the explanation of 16d, Kath , which I solved without getting the mechanism.Lots of nice pictures too.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  25. I still don’t get the significance of “present” in 27a (although I quickly guessed the answer). Is this present as in gift, or the tense or the verb?

    1. It’s a verb. To ‘present a title for 24 hours’ is to give a name to a 24-hour period, i.e. call it a day.

      1. You have such a wonderful way with words, Gazza. Sensible, succinct and always ‘spot on’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        1. Yes, Gazza, Jane is absolutely right.

          I love your answer for two reasons. Firstly, it confirms what I believed the parsing to be although I wasn’t confident I’d got it right. Secondly your explanation is a model of brevity and is precisely what I would have liked to have written in comment 8 above but waffled instead with “suggested cryptic definition for the action of informing someone (presenting) what the name is for a period of 24 hours”. You are a star!

      2. What would you have underlined as the definition? I got the proverbials into a terrible twist about what to underline in 1 and 27a – oh dear, for the umpteenth time today!

        1. Just ‘Give up’ as the definition, I think. The rest is just subsidiary wordplay. Similarly, in 1a, I think that the definition is just ‘Say something tactless’.
          It was a great blog today, Kath, and the pictures were brilliant.

          1. Thanks gazza – really appreciated. When I read the first three words of your comment I thought you were telling me to clear off and get out of the way http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif!
            But then I read the rest of it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

          2. Yes, thanks Gazza. It’s not something that matters hugely when solving, but is the kind of thing I can lose sleep over on a Monday, which was why I mentioned it. Very happy to have expert confirmation.

  26. Happy St George’s Day!

    We English certainly know how to celebrate in style – not even a Bank Holiday!

    Nice puzzle from the unknown setter (2d – seems a bit risqué?)

    Thanks to Kath for the review – nice piccies!

        1. True, it was sticking out a mile, but I can’t imagine why you thought I’d be the one to grab hold of it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  27. Quite liked this one and didn’t have to call on the hints, except to check my thinking was correct. I liked 8a and 13a. I don’t bother too much with whether an answer is precisely in line with the clue as some appear to do…….if it fits and makes sense, what’s in a letter or two? I know this is probably crossword heresy to some but too much pedantry spoils the fun….and that’s what these puzzles are meant to be…………..aren’t they ….or is it more than a game?? Perhaps I’ve missed the point. I think the Toughie was quite enjoyable too today ….I even managed this without the hints, so if I can do it , why not have a go? **/*** and thanks to setter and Kath.

  28. Very enjoyable and a thoroughly worthy upholder of the Thursday Gold Standard that we have come to expect on this particular day of the week.

    Some delightful cluing, in particular my personal favourite 25a.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and the very 23a Kath!

  29. Well it has taken considerably longer to read all the comments this morning than it did to solve the puzzle yesterday. However both were good fun and much enjoyed. Everything that could be said about the puzzle already seems to have been said so we will just add our thanks to Mr Ron and Kath.

  30. As you live in Oxford …and Bucks (the County nextdoor!!)isfull of Grammar Schools..(they refused to be bullied into the crackpot idea ofgetting rid of them) …im amazed you dont know they still exist…hey ho.

  31. Managed to complete this one on my ipad on the train which pleases me very much. (no scribbling facilities, or if there are I don’t know how to scribble on an ipad).
    I think I may be improving, but I have been here before and suffered a dreadful disappointment the next day…..

    Thanks very much to Kath for the hints and review which cleared up some of the parsing for me.

    Thanks also to the setter.

  32. I only discovered this site recently, but am delighted to say it has helped me to persevere with puzzles which I would have abandoned previously. I’m challenging myself to look up as few hints as possible . Today was 6 hints and one answer looked up, with all the rest worked out – not bad by my standards for a midweek crossword. I’m sure they get harder as the week progresses.

    1. Hello Sheepy. Well done on your progress so far – now that you have found us, I’m sure you’ll go from strength to strength. Do keep commenting.

    2. Hi Sheepy. You can learn a lot on this site. Be careful not to learn too much though. You might end up on the blogging team.

  33. Not hard, but great fun – 1*/4* by my (admittedly idiosyncratic) scoring system. Some very enjoyable clues, from which l choose 19d on the grounds that it made me snort with suppressed laughter. Thanks to the setter, and to Kath for a splendid review.

  34. Good blogging from all concerned today (although the thought of Kitty’s litter tray allied with Paso Doble’s schoolboy slang gave me a nasty turn). Good, too, to see a coupe of lurkers unmasking themselves. Let’s hope they keep coming back.
    A difficult day for me – the so-called smartphone that isn’t failed to wake me up in time and I had to do 25 minutes live radio in my pyjamas with no preparation, then spent the day immersed in election politics before another radio slot which meant that I had to run to get the last train, and we elderly smokers are not good at running. Then home to the mysteron’s crossword: very enjoyable end to the day, solved while listening to John Martyn (still miss him) although I, too, had ‘deftly’ for 20d, so thanks to Kath for sorting me out. 19d was my favourite. In Newcastle, they have an ale called Writer’s Block, very tasty, and so 14a has to be my second on the podium, followed by 10a (you’ve gotta love a gusset). 3*/3* for me. Ta to Kath and the setter

      1. Yes, it’s always worth popping in again every morning particularly to pick up Tstrummer’s late night comments.

        1. It is. Sorry – I won’t mention such things again, Ts. In my defence, RD started it!

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