DT 27817

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27817

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Good morning from North Devon on what is another dark, cold, wet and thoroughly miserable June day. My mood wasn’t lightened much by this puzzle. It has a plethora of proper nouns, including a mini Poets’ Corner in the SW quadrant. It’s also a pangram. Do let us know how you got on and give us your verdict on the puzzle.

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

7a First name for Arnold‘s proclamation on Scottish peak (8)
BENEDICT – so, which Mr Arnold do we need? It’s not Thomas or Matthew but the American general who switched sides during the American War of Independence to join the British army. A proclamation or decree follows a Scottish word for a high mountain.

9a Tigress in river? (6)
AMAZON – double definition, the first being a cryptic description of a powerful female fighter. Ideally the question mark should be next to the tigress – the river is a straight definition, it’s the tigress which is cryptic.

10a Make a mistake getting backing of students (4,2)
SLIP UP – reverse some students.

11a Avoid, therefore, winning film (4,4)
DUCK SOUP – to build the name of this Marx Brothers’ film we have to string together a verb to avoid or dodge, a conjunction meaning therefore and an adverb meaning winning or in the lead.

12a Article penned by blues musician, to make things more confusing (5,3,6)
MUDDY THE WATERS – a definite article is inserted (penned) into the stage name of an American blues musician.

15a Horse circling male groom (4)
COMB – a powerful short-legged horse contains M(ale).

17a Stubborn son spat (5)
STIFF – the abbreviation for son is followed by a spat or minor quarrel.

19a Helpful hint about river excursion (4)
TRIP – a helpful hint contains the abbreviation for river.

20a Problems ahead for company that makes beer? (7,7)
TROUBLE BREWING – cryptic definition of a phrase indicating that problems are developing.

23a Complete game of golf away (5,3)
ROUND OFF – charade of a game of golf and an adverb meaning away or absent.

25a Organ at the side of hot fireplace (6)
HEARTH – a bodily organ is placed next to H(ot).

27a Got into English poet, foremost of Dadaists (6)
DONNED – the surname of an English poet followed by the foremost letter of Dadaists.

Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee

28a Garment bound to fit (8)
JUMPSUIT – charade of a bound or leap and a verb to fit or be appropriate for.

Down Clues

1d Screen showing part of festive illuminations (4)
VEIL – hidden (showing part of) in the clue.

2d Remote, perhaps essential, placed on cushion (6)
KEYPAD – remote here is a noun, being the device that you can never find when you want to change channels. An adjective meaning essential or fundamental is followed (placed on, in a down clue) by a cushion or piece of soft material.

3d Examine clipped earring (4)
STUD – clip off the final letter of a verb to examine closely.

4d Intrigued, not half, over a panel (6)
FASCIA – the first half of a past participle meaning intrigued or enthralled precedes A (from the clue).

5d Knock male in group with criminal record (3,5)
RAP SHEET – this is an informal US term for a criminal record. Start with a verb to knock or tap, then insert a male pronoun into a group or gang.

6d Small number to interrogate? Undoubtedly (2,8)
NO QUESTION – the 2-letter abbreviation for number is followed by a verb to interrogate.

8d Representative put in cracking suite, as an incentive (7)
IMPETUS – insert the usual abbreviation for one of our elected representatives into an anagram (cracking) of SUITE.

13d Bridge player, old, in duo trained by eccentric (10)
UNORTHODOX – the name for one of the players at a bridge table (the full name, not the usual abbreviation) and O(ld) go inside an anagram (trained) of DUO. We finish with the letter used to indicate that one quantity is to be multiplied ‘by’ another.

14d Pick of the Spanish, Italian, and English (5)
ELITE – string together a Spanish definite article, the abbreviation for Italian vermouth and E(nglish).

16d Bishop having argument about Northern poet (8)
BROWNING – the poet could be either Robert or his wife Elizabeth. The abbreviation for bishop in chess notation is followed by a present participle meaning having an argument containing N(orthern).

18d Get on with poor actor in Hants town (7)
FAREHAM – charade of a verb to get on or cope and an informal term for a poor actor.

21d Meditative, family close to bankruptcy (6)
BROODY – a family (of young chicks, for example) followed by the closing letter of bankruptcy.

22d Swears, cooking fish (6)
WRASSE – an anagram (cooking) of SWEARS.

24d Fellow judge and I touring independent country (4)
FIJI – the abbreviations for fellow and judge are followed by I (from the clue) and contain the abbreviation for independent.

26d Dapper tenor on edge (4)
TRIM – the abbreviation for tenor precedes an edge or lip.

I don’t have a favourite clue today. Do you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: BLOC + AIDE = BLOCKADE




  1. Angel
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Gazza – this wasn’t exactly a barrow-load of laughs. South was 11a but North was a different kettle of fish and requiried a bit of Googling. I’m afraid have never heard of 12a musician or 5d. Weather ghastly here in W. Sussex too but we are promised a switch to Summer this weekend – hope they’re right as due to attend Saturday large barbecue party. Fingers crossed for fine weather in Paris for Andy Murray. Thanks Mr? Ron and Gazza. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  2. Hanni
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink


    I found this most pleasant. 12 and 20a went straight in which helped. 16 and 18d were my last in. No horses scared though a mention of them in 15a.

    Thought 27a was clever and appropriate for today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for blogging.

  3. dutch
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    12a: Great to see the clue with the blues legend! Made my day! Excellent!

    I’m not hot on poets but that didn’t hinder the answers in 27a & 16d, thanks Gazza for the verse.

    Seems only recently I was trawling through Hampshire looking for a town, last one started with an R.

    I quite liked 13d, (bridge player). 22d (swears), 28a (garment bound to fit)

    Last one in was 9a, took me a while to see Tigress.

    Many thanks setter and Gazza

  4. Graham
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    pants just like the weather we are having at the moment,I used to live in 18D in fact bought my 1st house there many moons ago.Many thanks to Gazza for his review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  5. George
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Another straightforward puzzle this week – 4d was my last in as I did have to think a bit over the wordplay.

    Why are authors, musicians and poets so much more common than mathematicians or physicists, he asks with a grin.

    Toughie is quite doable today as well.

    1.5*/4* for me,

  6. Franco
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    With the grid I was expecting a nina … but it’s just a pangram.

    Isn’t this a Don Giovanni production? (27a & 11a)

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Giovanni’s done the Toughie. I thought this one came from one of our usual Mr Rons (the one who likes American references).

      • Franco
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink


  7. Bluebird
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I found it fun, especially involving one of my very favourite musicians (Kath not allowed a say here…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    I have many favourites……

    Favourite clue here 11a.

  8. Sweet William
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you setter – I enjoyed that after a rather slow start – even with the GK. I am never too sure about these technical matters but Is the poet’s corner in SW rather than SE ? A rare journey into the world of pedantry for me ! Thanks for the review and hints Gazza. I think at 62-4 they could do with a bit of rain over in Yorkshire !

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      You’re right of course – thanks for that, now corrected. As Captain Mainwaring would have said ‘I was waiting to see who’d be the first to spot that!’. :D

      • Sweet William
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Delighted to be of assistance Gazza !

  9. Sheepdog
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    if we’re being pedantic you mentioned a poet and then quoted a piece of his prose. This is the man who according to Quiller-Couch wrote ‘the most disgusting {poem} in our language’ The Flea

    • Liz
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant poem…very witty and seductive in an Elizabethan way.

  10. Jane
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Gazza, but I liked this one – in fact, I liked it rather a lot! First glance had me mentally reaching for the reference books (notable bridge players, bishops, rivers, mountains etc.) but, in the event, none were needed. Cruised along nicely to a 1.5*/4*.
    Particular mention for 12&20a, along with 27a for the ‘nod’ to the birthday boy.
    Just a shame that I couldn’t fit Omar Sharif (the only bridge player I know!) into 13d – thought at first it was going to be some obscure Russian chap.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza – hope the Toughie cheers you up a bit. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      No need to be sorry, Jane. All views are welcome.

      • Miffypops
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Even wrong ones

        • Jane
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          A view that varies from your own, MP, is not necessarily ‘wrong’ – but I would always acknowledge your equal right. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  11. JonP
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant and pretty straightforward solve. Thanks to Gazza and setter 1.5*/3*

  12. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    1.5*/2*. Straightforward and dull with a couple of obscurities thrown in.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Not often that we disagree, RD. I’m rather interested to know why you found it so dull – did you feel that any particular element was missing?

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        It’s just that I didn’t laugh or even smile while I was solving it. That might however be as much due to me suffering from quite an unpleasant bout of “man flu” since Sunday evening, although Rufus certainly lifted my spirits yesterday. I might tackle the Toughie later and see how I get on with that.

        • Jane
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          MAN FLU – oh dear, RD, you poor thing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif
          Hope you’re prepared for the torrent of female abuse that may now descend upon your head. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Nothing could make my head feel worse than it does at the momenthttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

            Pathetic whimpering sounds heard coming from SE London

  13. Paso Doble
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    We enjoyed this but got a bit stuck in the Devon/Cornwall area until we realised that 21d was way off the mark. That resolved, everything else slotted into place. Thanks to one of Gerry Anderson’s creations and to Gazza whose hints and tips always make the puzzle more entertaining.

  14. Beaver
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Brain a tad slow today after a wine tasting in Chester yesterday-I know you’re not supposed to drink it all but I can’t stand waste- 20a just summed it up!. Going to settle for a **/***,liked 11 and 12a,last one in was13d as the x eluded me-thanks Gazza

  15. fran
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I concur with RD ,rather dull notwithstanding 12a , but found 4 and 5d difficult , and surprised to see the ducks out again (11a), it must be the weather .
    2.5*/ 2
    Thanks to Mr.Ron and Gazza

  16. Brian
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Took a bit of work to sort this one out but came together well in the end.
    Thought ‘off’ for ‘away’ was a little tenuous and 18d took some understanding.
    However, these are minor points in an otherwise good puzzle (no religious clues!).
    I too loved 12a (what a great musician he was) and also 11a, my favourite Marx Bros movie.
    Thx to all.

  17. Heno
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one. Nice to see the Marx Brothers and Muddy Waters, which was my favourite. Was beaten by 27a, English poets are not my forte. Was 2*/3* for me. Horrible drizzle in Central London.

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Was left with the poet in 27a unfortunately.
    But found it a bit uninspiring.
    Quite liked 28a. I first thought of camisole which in France is a vest used to restrain mad and dangerous people like the one Annibal Lecter wore in silence of the lambs.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jean-luc,
      How things change in translation! A camisole to me is a rather decorative item of female underwear. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Jane. The thought of the English meaning of camisole has brought a smile to my face.

        • Jane
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          Amazing what cures man flu! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane,
        The complete name is in fact “camisole de force”. Maybe we should call it “shirt with incredibly long sleeves” to stop the confusion.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Jane
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          We’d call it a straightjacket which, upon thinking about it, is just as oblique as your camisole. It could simply be a reference to a jacket that is ‘straight’ rather than ‘fitted’ to one’s figure. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            We may call it a straightjacket, but it’s actually a straitjacket!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif
            P.S. I just looked it up on Wikipedia where it says: “Although straitjacket is the most common spelling, strait-jacket is also frequently used, and in Scotland strait-waistcoat, which is generally deemed archaic. Straitjackets are also known as camisoles”. The Scottish version doesn’t quite seem to have the same impact to me.

            • Jane
              Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

              My goodness, you ARE feeling better!
              As I sit here looking across the Menai STRAIT, it would be fair to say that most of the jackets I can see being worn by folk bobbing about on boats are (besides being very yellow) securely fastened with tapes. Perhaps we should add that to the mix?

              • Rabbit Dave
                Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

                Not forgetting, of course, the best straits of all – Dire Straits!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                • Jane
                  Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink


          • Zofbak
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            I have seen examples of these “faux amis” used on Only Connect in the past – others might be “coin”, “crayon” and indeed “bras”, to elaborate on the “camisole” connection!

  19. Young Salopian
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one. 2 and 4d the last ones in. Blown away by the blues musician, rather like the half the garden here in the Marches.

  20. Derek
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward solve today.

    Faves : 12a & 4d.

    Re 13d, I think the last word in the clue should be concentric!

  21. Expat Chris
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The only problem I had was 28A, and I was convinced it was some Asian or oriental garment I’d never heard of. The much reviled Benedict was the first name that popped into my head for 7A. I did like 12A (a favorite of my husband). Thanks to today’s setter and to Gazza for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris,
      28a – I started out with trying to find a variation on the spelling of gymslip – one size fits all when it’s bound round the waist with a school sash!

      • Arthur Dent
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Oh Dear!
        First camisoles, now gymslips (and then corsets!) Will you lot please stop it.
        I’m off to have a cold shower…

  22. williamus
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I was convinced 28a had to be a corset but that’s probably just the way my mind works http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif I found this a tad esoteric in places but with checking letters and the BRB got there eventually. 12a was excellent, my favourite. Thanks to Mr Ron (?) and to Gazza for the review.

  23. Liz
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    A bit of a trudge today. Most went in OK and I liked 12a & 20a. Got a bit held up on 27a, thinking it was the name of an artist…not very familiar with Dada..then realised I was on the wrong track. only needed the hints for 7a otherwise managed without. Got 13d, but didnt really understand why, even having read the hint….then I suddenly got it (not a bridge player you see.) A pleasant enough puzzle 2*/2*. Thanks to setter and to Gazza….really needed that hint for 7a otherwise I’d never have finished it. Suns out at last here in Norfolk but wind roaring in the chimney and I might just light my open fire to warm up a bit.

  24. Ora Meringue
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Managed to compete this but needed the hints to understand a few.

    What do you experts call a clue like 4d where you have to guess a synonym for one of the words in the clue, then use part of it?
    I have to say I find those kinds of clues very difficult …and don’t particularly get any feeling of satisfaction when I solve them either.
    But this may be because I’m not very experienced yet.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m not aware of any special name for clues like 4d. You can take some shortcuts though. ‘Over a’ in a down clue possibly means that the answer ends with A – which would mean that half of ‘intrigued’ is 5-letters and therefore ‘intrigued’ is 10-letters long. It looks now as though ‘panel’ is the definition. Especially if you have other checkers ‘fascia’ now looks good for the answer. It’s unlikely that the ‘intrigued’ word ends in -CI so FASCI are probably the first 5 letters of ‘intrigued’ and the required word leaps out at you.

      • Wahoo
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink


      • Ora Meringue
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Thank you very much , Gazza.
        It all sounds so clear when you explain it…not so easy for me when I am head-scratching.

  25. Vancouverbc
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    ***/***. Enjoyable challenge which I made more difficult until I realized 23a didn’t end in out. My favorites were 10a and 12a. First rains for ages after May set dry records which bodes for lots of forest fires this year.

  26. Shropshirelad
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Not a particularly enjoyable / difficult challenge today and I think Gazza’s review says it all. Maybe I’m just a bit grumpy today after an excessive amount of alcohol this weekend at Twickenham and also my birthday BBQ (yesterday cooked in the garage) http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

    No particular favourite but thanks to today’s setter (thought it was meant to be Mr Manley) and Gazza for the review.

  27. silvanus
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    This one seems to have split the audience right down the middle on the enjoyability front, but I’m in the thumbs up camp, even more so when I spotted the pangram!

    Favourite for me was 12a, but there were plenty of other good clues.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    • Miffypops
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Spotting the pangram would have helped me with 13d. That took a while. Ta to the setter. I enjoyed it. Ta also to Gazza.

  28. 2Kiwis
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    This one all went together very quickly for us. The only minor hesitation was for the town in 18d which was new to us but easily guessable from the wordplay. We had spotted the pangram too.
    We note that Kath has not appeared, understandable as she was going to be in France, but on the off-chance that she might get to peek at this, Happy Birthday Kath.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.
    Ps. Note that we have been polite and not mentioned the cricket.

    • Hanni
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s very decent of you to not mention the cricket. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif I’m trying not to mention it now. Well without swearing.

      Happy birthday Kath. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif I hope you’re having a lovely trip.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        And from me too http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • silvanus
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      The very least the Blackcaps deserved was to draw the series. The way they play is a breath of fresh air and they have the most tactically astute captain in world cricket.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        You are absolutely right, there Silvanus, and the sooner England wake up to the new order of things the better. Cook should be relieved of the captaincy immediately and just allowed to concentrate on what he is best at – being a top notch opening batsman.

        • silvanus
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Totally agree, RD. Cook never has been and never will be a great captain, as he’s too cautious and defensive. I would personally like to see Root given the job (and right away), but that may have to wait unfortunately.

    • Jane
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      And a very Happy Birthday from me as well. I do hope you’re enjoying a lovely couple of days. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  29. Una
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Quite straightforward.I liked 20a and 12a.Happy Birthday Don Manley.
    Thanks Gazza.

  30. Salty Dog
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to me as well! This was a pleasant enough post-prandial puzzle, say 2*/3*. I liked 5d and 11a equally. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a birthday flower for you as well, Salty D. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  31. Whybird
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Overall enjoyable, and managed to solve without hints, but I think 2d, 4d are pushing it a bit – not really precise, even with deception built in. 9a is also misrepresented, but I was looking for a home for a Z so that helped. This kind of subtlety seems to go out of the window when it suits the setter, especially when you consider the importance of “by” to parse 13d, not that it could have been anything else. Thanks Gazza for the latter!

  32. Tstrummer
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Straightforward, trouble-free solve. 12 and 20a went in straight away, and while I bow to no one in my admiration for Muddy, I would have preferred for both these clues something a little bit more tangential. I liked some others though – especially poets’ corner: JD is one of my favourites, although I’m not so keen on the gravy man or his wife (or their damn dog). Thanks to Gazza for the history lesson at 7a and to the mystery setter who has allowed me a much-needed early night

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted June 3, 2015 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      Hi Ts – hope that some feeling is returning to your hand. I take it you didn’t find today’s Xword particularly taxing?

      • Tstrummer
        Posted June 4, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Thanks SL. The hand is much better, stitches gone etc, but I still can’t play the guitar or hold a golf club with any purpose. I’m hopeful this will only be a phase, otherwise I’m left only with crosswords and the boat as my raisons d’être – and if all puzzles are as lightweight as this one was, even that small joy is lessened

  33. almo
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    13 d – can someone please explain the relationship of the last letter in the answer with anything appearing in the clue. I’ve seen what Gazza has kindly written above, but still don’t get that final letter, the pre penultimate one in our alphabet !

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 3, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      If you were doing some multiplication, you might say multiply 2 by 4 or 2 X 4. So in Crosswordland and elsewhere – X = by

      • almo
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        many thanks, Crypticsue, classic senior moment – had convinced myself that “trained by” was a partial “flag-up-anagram” word – oh dear !!

  34. Reggie
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    At first this seemed very difficult and I don’t like having proper names much. However, working at it I found it quite enjoyable and thought that the parsing was closer to a toughie than a back pager.i’d rate 3* allround

  35. Kitty
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t been able to so much as look at crosswords for a few days. Maybe not the right time to start again – will leave the next one until a later date. I wasn’t acquainted with that Mr Arnold, but everything else was just a matter of pondering. Any lack of enjoyment was certainly not the setter’s fault, so thanks to him. Thanks also to Gazza.

  36. Kitty
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    P.S. Best belated birthday wishes (whether they get read or not) to Kath, Shropshirelad, Salty Dog and Giovanni. I bear no gifts but a promise to check thoroughly any links I post and not to simply rely on memory.