DT 27795

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27795

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Although he had mentioned it to me before, Dutch and I discussed his desire to have a go at blogging over a curry and a pint of Cobra in the Maharajah, Cambridge. The Kiwis’ pilgrimage to the UK presented an ideal opportunity and the original idea was that he would start yesterday. As he explains below, that became impossible and pommers agreed, at the last minute, to swap days. Over to Dutch.  BD

First of all a big thanks to pommers for doing the blog yesterday: we were in South Wales at the funeral of our favourite auntie. What is normally a 3-hour drive became 6 hours due to appalling weather and traffic. Today, weather in Macclesfield has not improved sufficiently to distract anyone away from voting – please don’t forget to vote, even Russell` Brand says he is voting now.

Today’s puzzle started out gently enough but the SW corner and 8d (with 3 checking E’s, my last one in) nudged it into 3* difficulty for me today. This is my first go at hints and tips, so please bear with me and feel free to correct me and make suggestions. The definition part of each clue is underlined.

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.


1a    Get the wrong idea about tailored denim perhaps (12)
MISAPPREHEND: Nothing like a nice anagram to get us started: rearrange the letters of DENIM PERHAPS (tailored) to give a verb meaning to not understand

9a    Passing criticism for punch not delivered head-on (9)
SIDESWIPE:    A double definition – a verb meaning to give criticism in passing, or to hit from the side (also in a car, say)

10a    Mock intermittently flawless English (5)
FALSE:    Take the odd letters of flawless and add the abbreviation for English giving a word meaning not genuine

11a    Seedily fashionable seafront’s disappearing — it’s closed some of the time (6)
EYELID:    An anagram (fashionable) of seedily without the first letter of sea (seafront) gives you a facial feature that is not always open

12a    Spring horse race according to Spooner’s pal (8)
PLAYMATE:    Take a spring month, and a name of a race which is also something you eat your dinner from, and swap the consonants at the start (according to Spooner) to give you someone to have fun with.

13a    Bill’s temperature dropping, becoming more poorly (6)
SICKER:    This bill is the kind you post on a wall, or use as a label, without the abbreviation for temperature to give you (becoming) a word meaning less healthy

15a    Concoct a résumé including number for online identity (8)
USERNAME:    An anagram of A RESUME including the abbreviation for Number will give you something you need to sign on (not the password)

18a    Fixed jailbird’s meeting with good man, social worker (8)
CONSTANT:    Lego time, take our favourite abbreviation for jailbird or criminal, add our favourite abbreviation for a good man, then add our favourite insect that works cooperatively in colonies to give something that does not change

19a    Call round in pursuit of a cold tart (6)
ACETIC:    Reversal (round) of a verb meaning call or name comes after a (from the clue) and the abbreviation for cold to give a sharp flavour

21a    Pub reportedly having top-notch ham (8)
INEXPERT:    A 2-letter word that sounds like a pub (reportedly) plus a word meaning professional or top-notch to give a word meaning ham or amateur

23a    Went dizzy between rounds getting quick punches (3-3)
ONE-TWO:    This quick succession of punches with one fist then the other in boxing is derived from an anagram (dizzy) of WENT in between two letters that are round

26a    New Saab losing rear end crashed by learner — it’s to do with the hooter (5)
NASAL:    N for new followed by an anagram (crashed) of Saab but without the last letter (losing rear end) plus the abbreviation for a learner driver gives you an adjective meaning to do with a facial feature

27a    Fred’s partner given fruitcake and biscuit (9)
GINGERNUT:    Fred’s partner here is not Barney which messed up my grid (don’t know why I thought this instead of Wilma), but his dancing partner, which together with a 3 letter word for a crazy person will give you a popular biscuit

28a    Anticipated accepting nothing traitor coughed up (12)
EXPECTORATED:    Coughed up in the medical sense, another word for anticipated goes around (accepting) a letter for nothing and a 3-letter word for traitor


1d    Sum up South: Presley denied half a dozen shellfish (7)
MUSSELS:    Reversal of SUM, abbreviation for S(outh), plus the first name of the king of rock and roll (Presley) without (denied) the roman numeral for 6 gives you this shellfish. I like the “half a dozen” mislead that is associated with oysters

2d    James left note for creep (5)
SIDLE:    The first name of the Carry-On actor plus a letter for Left and a one-letter note gives a verb meaning to edge along sideways (sometimes romantically)

3d    Shut up about access to field possibly causing trouble (9)
PESTILENT:    A 4-letter word meaning shut up or enclosed goes around the type of country access across a fence or wall which is not a gate gives you something which could make you 13

4d    Engineers regularly raised limit (4)
REIN:    Even letters in reverse (regularly raised) in “engineers”

5d    Paying no attention like the proverbial chicken — using Ecstasy not the answer (8)
HEEDLESS:    An adjective describing a chicken with very poor prognosis that runs around aimlessly, in which we need to swap an A (answer) for an E (ecstacy) to get the answer

6d    Smart new 12-inch Sony at last (5)
NIFTY:    N for new (again), plus the equivalent of 12 inch (a number plus an abbreviation), plus the last letter of Sony

7d    Welcome appeals by a conservation group (8)
PLEASANT:    The kind of appeals you might hear in court, next to (by) “a” from the clue and the abbreviation of a heritage and conservation group

8d    TV comedian’s housing rent cut (6)
DELETE:     A 3-letter surname of a comedian (first name Jack) goes around (housing) a 3-letter verb meaning to rent or lease

14d    Concentrate with not very clever trick first (8)
CONDENSE:     3-letter verb meaning to dupe or trick comes before (first) a 5-letter word for not very clever or thick

16d    No vehicle backed up? Strangely true, one can tell (9)
RACONTEUR:    “NO” plus the most common 3-letter vehicle, all reversed (backed up), followed by an anagram (strangely) of TRUE

17d    Puzzle unusually tiring for everyone on earth (8)
INTRIGUE:    Anagram of TIRING (unusually) plus a single letter meaning “for everyone” (as in a movie) plus the single letter abbreviation for E(arth)

18d    Regular claim in court (6)
CLIENT:     A 4-letter word for claim or right inside (in) the abbreviation for court gives you a regular as in customer

20d    Did recruit make appreciative noises over pithead now and then? (2-5)
CO-OPTED:    3-letter word to make appreciative noises (doves do this too) followed by the odd letters (now and then) of pithead

22d    Flowers in bunches by the sound of it (5)
PHLOX:     Garden flowers that sound like bunches of sheep

24d    Take sides with clear opinion (5)
TENET:    The first and last letters (sides) of “take” plus a 3 letter verb meaning clear (as in income)

25d    Hit back causing swelling (4)
KNOT:     This type of swelling, or lump, can also be tied in a string and is the reversal (back) of a word meaning to hit that I don’t use often

My favourite clues were 11a, 1d, and 6d. Which were yours?

The Quick Crossword pun: laid+air+hoe+zen=lederhosen



  1. JonP
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I found this difficult and it took me into 4* territory, but, as usual, looking at a completed grid I wonder why it took so long…. Thanks and well done to dutch on his debut and thanks to the setter ****/***

  2. Collywobbles
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Welcome Dutch to a superb blog and I wish you well in the future. It is often useful to let us know who the setter is, if you know it, because it indicates the style before we start. Today is often RayT, for example, and there are extreme views about his style to which I will not contribute

    • dutch
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      thanks and yes, I agree that would be useful in general. I don’t know who today’s setter is, can anyone guess?

      • JonP
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink


    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      We don’t know any more than you do, but based on this puzzle and the Quick Crossword, I would guess at Petitjean

      • Franco
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Why did today’s Quick Crossword make you think it was Petitjean?

        Pourquoi? Je ne comprends pas!

        (Staying up all night to watch the “Swingometer” – the only interesting bit of a General Election!)

        • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          The fact that it took me twice as long as usual and the “cleverness” of the pun.

    • Kitty
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      I agree with the guesses as to today’s setter, but unlike Collywobbles, I think it can be nice not to know in advance who it is. For exactly that reason – knowing the style to expect makes it easier, and so could feel almost like cheating. I would like sometimes to solve first and guess at whose work it is. That said, I do like to know, so come take a bow, PJ (or Mr Ron), please!

      • Jane
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kitty,
        I’m really interested that you think that knowing who the setter is in advance makes it easier. There are some setters whose puzzles I expect to be able to complete and others whose very names fill me with dread, so it may be that I approach them in a different frame of mind – does that make one easier than the other? I’m really not sure.
        I think I’m getting better at picking up on the different styles of some of the setters, but they all seem to be more than capable of setting a real ‘stinker’ if the mood takes them!

        • Kitty
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Hi Jane :)

          Well, on Mondays I expect cryptic definitions. Oh, how I used to be mislead by Rufus. Not any more. (I think that was why I used to loath cryptic definitions: I’d spend ages on a wild goose chase looking for the wrong kind of wordplay, and feel disappointed on discovering a “straight cryptic.” Now I love them at their best, but still detest a weak one.)

          On Thursdays I am particularly on the look out for more oblique (but still completely fair, Brians of the world!) synonyms.

          On Fridays I am less likely to spend forever bashing my head against the wall trying to come up with a word, and will reach for reference materials more readily. I count it as a fail if I look up something that it turns out I knew.

          On Sundays I expect something a little different, and know that there is unlikely to be anything I can’t get with a bit of thought.

          So yes, generally it makes it easier to know what I’m looking for. But it makes it harder if the setter does something a little different, so it can work both ways.

          All good fun. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • Jane
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Fridays and reference materials certainly rings a bell! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  3. elcid
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Way to go Dutch! I enjoyed your blog but did not need your hints today. Agree with you on the ratings but for the life of me could not understand why it had taken me so long. Thanks to you and the setter.

  4. gazza
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    A big welcome to Dutch as a blogger and congratulations on your excellent first blog – you weren’t given a very easy one to start. My favourite clue was 11a.

  5. Beaver
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Second ***/**** in a row for me, very enjoyable with difficult parsing for some clues which added to the pleasure of the solve like 18d and 21a ,Thought 22d must end in s until 28 became apparent ! and initially had knob as an alternative to 25d-thanks to Dutch for unravelling the spoonerism in 12a -I usually find the explanation difficult and also for the 12a pic -reminded me of Miss Harry who was once employed thus.

  6. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    3*/3*. This was quite a challenge but good fun. For some strange reason today I decided to start with 25d and work backwards. I immediately wrote in the answer knob, which is a backward bonk (“ooh er, missus”). Well it works doesn’t it? The only trouble is it’s wrong.

    8d was my last one in, and I needed Dutch’s excellent debut review for the wordplay for 24a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Dutch.

  7. Spook
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Well done Dutch thanks for entertaining blog also thanks to setter. I have been reaching for the thesaurus again.
    Favourite clue 21a most confusing to me anyway 12a.i was fixated on trying to find a horse race in the summer.
    ****\**** for me.

  8. Jezza
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one today. Many thanks to setter (Petitjean is my guess), and to Dutch for the review.

  9. Kitty
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Mighty fine hints Dutch – well done!

    I was late starting the crossword today and inclined to be grumpy, but a nice easy anagram and a few other gentle ones got me started well. After that, things got harder. Then Mr Kitty, in almost the same time zone as me at the moment, came online and provided some competition. I did not like being beaten to a few of the answers despite my head start! Grr!

    Because Mr K beat me there (he didn’t give me any help, mind) and because I now want one, I’ll choose 27a as favourite. What a shame RD’s answer to 25d wasn’t the one required – otherwise that would have won hands down.

    All in all, I found this pretty stiff (I would probably have added another difficulty star) but completely fair and I enjoyed it. So thanks to the setter, and thanks again to Dutch for the most accomplished debut blog.

  10. Miffypops
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Sid James died too long ago to be fairly used in a puzzle today. IMHO

    • Kitty
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Maybe, but I’ve seen much worse.

    • Jane
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Elvis died only a year later.

      • Kitty
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        There are more considerations than just date of death. I was still alive last time I checked but would never expect to feature in a crossword.

        • Jane
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Maybe not – but I reckon there aren’t too many folk around who haven’t come across the Carry On films.
          In fairness, MP did only refer to date of death and you know how many pedants there are lurking around these parts. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

          • Kitty
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I agree. We like a bit of pedantry http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

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

      • fran
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Having put calyx into 22d I “died” in in the bottom left segment !!.

    • Brian
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      If you take that stance then 27a is unreasonablehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  11. Harport
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I had trouble with 28a because I’d got ‘knob’ for 25d. Well it is ‘bonk’ backwards, which seemed to fit the clue.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Brian
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Just as reasonable an answer as the one given.

    • Heno
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      So did I.

  12. Harport
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I do admire those who are able to identify the setter. They all seem the same to me.!!

    • Brian
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Ray T is easy to spot, no phrases, he is allergic to them.

      • Jane
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Good grief – just realised that it’s HIM doing the Toughie today. That’s the evening sorted.

      • Kath
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        Just as you are allergic to him.

  13. rod
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Very well done, Dutch. You deserve a medal for solving 8d. I failed on this one as I never heard of the comedian. I also had gnat for 25d. Found some clues to be a bit obscure. You can be 18d without being a regular, for example. My favourites were 11a, 3d and 6d.

    Go to the top of the class, Dutch.

    • Brian
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Went to a recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Jack Dee was hilarious, I’ll never listen to the program again in the same light.

  14. Jane
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Well into 3* time today mostly due to a stupid inability to see the anagram at 1a which robbed me of several much needed checkers for quite a while, followed by all sorts of problems with 18d and 21a.
    With a couple of checking letters in, I was convinced that I should be looking for some type of pork at 21a and I was rather keen on getting ‘cadent’ to parse for 18d.
    Oh, but what a sense of satisfaction when I finally got a completed grid! A ‘top-notch’ puzzle and plenty of contenders for favourite spot. Really liked 27&28a plus 1&5d but will give the bouquet to 22d. A definite 4* for enjoyment.

    Many thanks to PJ(?) and a well-deserved pat on the back for Dutch – hard to believe this is a debut review! Loved the cartoon at 5d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  15. Freddie
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Just for MP…

  16. Paso Doble
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    First of all, we must congratulate Dutch from coming off the subs bench and playing a blinder, so let’s hope he’ll make the first team soon, unlike his compatriot Robin van Persie at this particular moment.

    We found this fairly challenging with some really nice clues but of course, we are far too young to remember Sid James (hahahahaha, in gravelly voice)…..

    So we think ***/**** for this one. Thanks again to Dutch & PJ (if BD is right about the setter).

  17. SheilaP
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Much harder than the last 3 days for us, so well done to those who found it reasonably easy. It doesn’t matter who the setters are on Thursdays or Friday’s, they are always too hard for us to untangle without quite a lot of help…..take a bow Dutch. Thank you to the Thursday setter and to Dutch.

  18. Expat Chris
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    The last three (11A , 17D and 22D) took longer than the entire rest of the puzzle. I did enjoy this a lot. Quite happy to see old Sid make an appearance. I didn’t know the comedian in 8D but it was simple to work out. I liked 18A and 16D , but 11A is my favorite.

    Congrats on a great debut, Dutch! Thanks to today’s setter, also.

  19. Hanni
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


    More of a challenge today, and a very welcome one. The anagrams set the ball rolling well and my stupidity brought it to a grinding halt. Today I decided to misspell 1d. Well not misspell just lazily write the wrong version in.

    I also made an anagram for 28a of ‘anticipated’ + ‘o’…’decapitation’, but that had very little to do with the answer. It was early a.m. when I did the crossword.

    Many thanks to the setter and very many congratulations to Dutch on your first blog. An exceptional debut. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  20. Kim
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the very helpful blog. I have only visited this page when I run out of ideas and I found today’s crossword difficult although like others , when grid completed I don’t know why . Obvious when you know the answers!! Keep up the good work as I hate waiting a day to see the solution!

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Kim/strong>

    • Jane
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Oh – there’s always plenty of ideas on this site, Kim! Not necessarily strictly confined to the crosswords at all times, but hugely enjoyable. One of the best things though is that if you just can’t make sense of a clue or an answer there’s always someone willing to help out.

  21. Brian
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t going to even look at today’s in case it was you know who but glad I did. Interesting puzzle with some nice clues such as 11a and 23a but with what I thought were dodgy ones on 21a, 17d, 18d and 25d. I would take issue that a ham was inexpert, I’ve know some really expert actors who could be real hams! U for everyone was a bit of a leap of faith for me and I thought 25d was just a bit clumsy.
    However, all in all not too difficult and very enjoyable. For me **/****.
    Thx to all.

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      “U” is a film certificate that indicates not “everyone” but “for everyone”

  22. Ron
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    How on earth can Russell Brand vote? As far as I’m aware there are no Monster Raving Loony Party candidates, they all defected to the Swivel Eyed Loon party.

    • Kitty
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I imagine he’ll just try and fill all the boxes.

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

        You’re terrible :lol:

    • dutch
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Apparently he tweeted urging people to vote for a particular party, which is what he was going to do.

      • Kitty
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        I know, I was just trying to be funny.

    • Merusa
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      That was sooooo funny!

    • Tstrummer
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:35 am | Permalink

      He couldn’t vote, as he hadn’t registered in time – which makes him even more of a @#¥*##.

  23. Miffypops
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    What a setter! He organises three funerals at once and books a comedian to cheer us up. We then get fed my favourite shellfish and biscuits as the blog descends into an orgy of backwards bonking which Kitty found pretty stiff. Well done Dutch with a blinder of a blog. You should give lessons. As for the setter. Thanks for the fight. More of the same please. Ta to all.

  24. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Dutch on an excellent maiden blog. Well done. Managed to complete this one before setting out for more public transport adventures this morning. It all went together smoothly enough to let us believe that we are adjusting to the changed time zones. An enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Dutch.

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Good on you Dutch.
    Don’t know where you find the time. It would definitely be a full time job for me.
    Was held up by 12a and 8d for a while and it was a good thing I had the x in 22d otherwise I never would have got it.
    Liked 13a and 18d the most.
    Thanks to the setter and to Dutch for his first review.

  26. Sweet William
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter for an excellent puzzle and many thanks Dutch for your terrific debut blog. We were lucky with the weather today – a nice morning at Minsmere then pouring with rain at lunchtime, just right for tackling the puzzle. Some good birdies showing today !

  27. Merusa
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Dutch. Your maiden blog and you made a splendid job of it.
    I needed far too many hints to mention, so thanks for them. Really a hard puzzle for me.
    Thanks to setter and to Dutch for helping me to complete this.

  28. Jay legs
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    A proper Thursday puzzle whoever set it :/thanks very much to Dutch for the excellent hints, bravo! Without them I would be still looking for my phlox ****/*** Did not like 19a 20d :(. Liked 1d 11a & 16d. :)

  29. Heno
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Dutch for his maiden voyage. Very well negotiated. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I surprised myself by completing without the hints. If I’d been blogging, I would’ve been sweating buckets over the last two, 21a & 18d, which I got in the end. Also had knob for 25d, but corrected it when I solved 28a. Favourite was 22d. Great misdirection in 26a. Took ages to see 1a was an anagram. 22a was a very clever clue. More of the same setter please. Was 3*/4* for me. Off to see UFO tonight, so might be a bit Mutt & Jeff tomorrow :-)

  30. Derek
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Excellent first blog Dutch!

    Faves: 11a, 27a, 1d & 5d.

    Started this in the afternoon sitting in the sun looking across to St-Tropez.

    My daughter emailed me that they are enjoying thunderstorms up in Nederland!

  31. Liz
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Another tricky one..and a bit harder than the earlier puzzles this week. I spent ages trying to make an anagram of Wilma and cake to make a biscuit, and then finally had to check the hints…then things started to improve. I thought 5d and 6d were amusing and liked 28a, however my favourite was 22d…nice one. I took ages to get 11a and when it dawned it was a real DOH! moment. Thanks Dutch for the hints….I just got the wrong Fred for 27a, and wouldn’t have got there without your hint. This was definitely a ***/*** for me today.

    • dutch
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Glad I wasn’t the only Flintstone!

      • Tstrummer
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:38 am | Permalink

        Me too

  32. silvanus
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was an absolutely fantastic puzzle – probably the best for weeks :-)

    So many superb clues to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but I loved 12a, 23a, 3d, 6d in equal measure.

    My initial reaction to “Fred’s partner” was to think of “Barney” (Flintstones) before I twigged who it really was!

    It seems almost churlish to mention it, but my sole quibble was that “new” was used twice to indicate “n” in 6d and 26a, but I’ll forgive the setter for that.

    Great entertainment and well done Dutch on your debut.

  33. pommers
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Nice one Dutch and welcome to the team. Sorry not to have commented earlier but we’ve been out all day fettling apartments for the coming season. first guests arrive in two weeks in both.

    Pretty fair puzzle we thought but 8d really legged us up for ages. Got there in the end so we’d have to go for ***/****.
    Fav was 26a just for the silly definition.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and thanks to Dutch for a splendid maiden blog. Hope to see many more.

  34. Framboise
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Bravo Dutch for a brilliant first blog. Managed to solve this tricky puzzle except for 8d. Mr Framboise got 22d for me. 28a gave me grief and was my last one in – should have got it as we use expectorer in French. Agree with 3*/3*. Favourite was 11a. Thought that fruitcake as mad was nuts not nut but laughed when I got ginger as Fred’s partner, nice one. Is the setter Mr Ron or Petitjean? Whoever gave us a lovley puzzle to solve.

    • John Pidgeon
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Me. I wasn’t waiting for a flattering comment before owning up, it just turned out that way. JP
      Thanks, as always, to everyone for putting up with me.

      • dutch
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for saying hello and for your excellent puzzle

      • Miffypops
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:05 am | Permalink

        I would fight you anytime anyplace anytime. Just loved it. Please remember the food. It is so important. A tipple or two is most welcome too.

  35. Angel
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    This was another good run for my Telegraph money. North was OK apart from 8d where the comedian didn’t occur to me in spite of being a regular ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ viewer (like Brian). 18d also foxed me. I tried to justify ‘reverberated’ for 28a which allowed ‘knob’ for 25d (as with Harport above) but presented a problem for the 22d flower (either plant or river!). Thanks Mr. Ron and welcome/thanks Dutch for enabling my home-run. Might attempt the Toughie later whilst following the Election results. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  36. Ora Meringue
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least I did a bit better today than I did yesterday…but not a lot.
    Needed a lot of help and a lot of hints, so thank you very much to Dutch.
    (And to the setter.)

    Did not know tonk, nor do I think that welcome means pleasant.

    Really liked 23a.

    • Jane
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi OM,
      I decided that a ‘welcome change’ and a ‘pleasant change’ were fairly synonymous – might that work for you?

  37. Una
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Dutch , a very tricky beginning which you coped with wonderfully. I found this really difficult.I wish all setters would forget about spoonerisms. I loathe them.
    I liked 5d and 27a, amoung others.
    Thanks John and Dutch.

  38. Salty Dog
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    2* difficulty, but 4* entertainment! My favourite was 6d, which made me laugh immoderately, but I was sorely tempted by 13a – it reminded me of the old joke (“bill stickers will be prosecuted”, “poor old bill, they’ve really got it in for him”). I know – it’s not very funny; it’s the way l tell them. Thanks to the setter, and to Dutch for a splendid debut review.

  39. Gwizz
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, that was a tricky blighter! I put SEVER-E for 8d but I had reservations…honest!
    Oh, and GNAT for 25d. Well it made sense to me. Otherwise a slow battle which eventually got me more or less to the finish line. 3*/3* overall and fave clue probably 22d.
    Thanks to PJ and nice one, Dutch.

  40. Rob Wilson
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Not too taxing for me today except for 22d. Think I need to swot up on my flowers.

  41. Deep Threat
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    A slightly belated welcome to the blogging team from me too.

  42. Kath
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Blimey Dutch – a baptism of fire or what? Three http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to you.
    Been out all day hence terribly late comment – too knackered to go on at length now but I thought this was really tricky.
    I never did 8d and dithered about 25d too.
    Was stupid and slow with 22d – have lots in the garden and still didn’t get it for ages.
    I could go on but . . .
    On another day I would have really enjoyed this one but didn’t start until very late – too late really.
    I think my favourite has to be 26a – for lots of reasons it made me laugh.
    With thanks to Petit Jean and thanks and congratulations to Dutch. A well deserved http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.

  43. Miffypops
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I suppose I ought to extend a welcome too. So welcome. Just turn up and be brilliant. That will do. Get sent to the top of the class by Rod at comment 13. Nobody likes a smarty pants bucko. But. Blooming well done on a difficult puzzle. Welcome on board.

  44. Tstrummer
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    At first glance I thought that this was going to be a stinker. A second glance seemed to confirm the first glance, but one or two fell into place and from there it was a steady task, with several good moments on the journey. I had Wilma in my head for too long on 27a, but knew there had to be a nut in there somewhere. I loved 1d, which was my favourite, but also liked 28a. 8d had me foxed for a while, as I don’t watch TV and thought this was someone I didn’t know – but I do listen to the radio and that got me there in the end. Jack Dee is good, but how I miss Humph.

    Congratulations to Dutch for most professional and enjoyable review and thanks to PJ for good fun and games after a trying day at the election coalface. Mercifully, this is the first GE in more than three decades when I have been spared from the all-night team, although I’ll be back there in 9 hours’ time for the challenging where-on-earth-do-we-go-from-here phase. Sigh.

    PS: This one’s for Rod, Jane and Freddie. Who knew kids’s programmes did this…

  45. alan
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    First time on this blog and very helpful. Did not finish but bizarrely got the right answer in a wrong way.
    13a – William Sickert is also sicker when temperature dropped.