DT 27853

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27853

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s the turn of the more interesting (to my mind) Tuesday setter this week. I would have given this three stars for difficulty but I spent some time, without success, trying to make 10a into something more than a cryptic definition. Do let us know how you got on and give us your rating.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Firm line held in competition in vessel (7)
CORACLE – start with the abbreviation for a firm then insert the abbreviation for line in a competition or contest.

5a Incompetent prescription against consumerism? (7)
USELESS – split the answer 3,4 to get a prescription against excessive squandering.

9a Extremist engaged in awful trade (5)
ULTRA – the first of today’s hidden words.

10a Places where some are dazzled and most are kept in the dark? (9)
AUDITORIA – I was looking for some wordplay here but I couldn’t find any, so I think it’s just a cryptic definition (unless you know better) of places with the lights dimmed where the audience can be dazzled by the entertainment provided.

11a Sudden inspiration in bar, potentially? (10)
BRAINSTORM – this is a reverse anagram where the wordplay is in the answer. Split the answer 5,5 and treat the second word as an anagram indicator and the first as the fodder – you should end up with IN BAR.

12a Impressively long English film (4)
EPIC – the abbreviation for English followed by an abbreviation for a film.

14a Flag approaching mile in circuit? That’s illuminating (8,4)
STANDARD LAMP – another word for a flag or banner precedes a circuit of the track with the abbreviation for mile contained inside it.

18a Check high-level craft needed for executive position (12)
CHAIRMANSHIP – the abbreviation (in chess) for check is followed by high-level craft or competence in the cockpit.

21a Over drink, reviewed work (4)
OPUS – the abbreviation (in cricket) for an over is followed by the reversal (reviewed) of a verb (used mainly in the north of England) meaning to drink.

22a Revered figure engineered fuss about penalty, being strait-laced (10)
STUFFINESS – start with the abbreviation for someone revered in religious circles and follow this with an anagram (engineered) of FUSS containing the sort of penalty that a court can impose.

25a A posh drink hidden by variety of beer is purple (9)
AUBERGINE – A (from the clue) and the letter that’s used to mean posh or upper-class are followed by an alcoholic drink inside (hidden by) an anagram (variety) of BEER.

26a ‘Brief Encounter’ — selected screens (5)
TERSE – the second (and best) of today’s hidden words.

27a Affair produced by female hairstyle? (7)
SHEBANG – a female pronoun followed by a hairstyle where the hair is cut square across the brow.

28a Talk endlessly about old weapon (7)
HARPOON – a phrasal verb (4,2) meaning to talk endlessly and tediously contains O(ld).

Down Clues

1d My  discovery inside toaster? (6)
CRUMBS – double definition, the first an exclamation expressing dismay or surprise (My!).

2d Working group in retreat held up? It’s often repeated (6)
RITUAL – the abbreviation for a workers’ organisation goes inside the reversal (held up, in a down clue) of the retreat or den of a wild animal.

3d This one car represented in retail outlet (5,5)
CHAIN STORE – an anagram (re-presented) of THIS ONE CAR.

4d Bang on outside of court after fire arises (5)
EXACT – the outer letters of court come after the reversal (arises) of a verb to fire or dismiss.

5d Traffic facility spared sun possibly (9)
UNDERPASS – an anagram (possibly) of SPARED SUN.

6d Food from Orient slightly altered (4)
EATS – start with another word for Orient and swap the order of the last two letters. Without the word ‘slightly’ we’d probably be accusing the setter of providing an indirect anagram.

7d Pole, say, that’s seen shortly in back of canoe? (8)
EUROPEAN – what is the last letter (back) of canoe an abbreviation (shortly) for?

8d Artistic view in the main? (8)
SEASCAPE – a gentle cryptic definition of a work by J. M. W. Turner, for example. The main is a literary term (as in the ‘Spanish Main’).

13d Manage a day with second of vicars in church (10)
ADMINISTER – string together A (from the clue), the abbreviation for day and a large church with the second letter of vicars inside it.

15d After nagging, initially only human to shed pounds? It’s almost disastrous! (4,5)
NEAR THING – after the first letter (initially only) of nagging we need a word for a human (as opposed to someone from another planet) without the abbreviation for pounds sterling.

16d Lithe performers in a musical entertaining mug (8)
ACROBATS – A (from the clue) and a Lloyd Webber musical (probably Kitty’s favourite) containing a verb to mug.

17d Watch, perhaps, woman with shift in a blue (8)
VALUABLE – start with the short form of a female forename and add an anagram (with shift in) of A BLUE.

19d Eccentric party below river feature (6)
WEIRDO – a festive party follows (below, in a down clue) a river feature.

20d What’s behind master negotiator in part? (6)
ASTERN – the third and last of today’s lurkers.

23d Fellow with tie lacking a physical presence (5)
FLESH – the abbreviation for a Fellow (of a learned society or college) is followed by a tie or tether without its A.

24d A song for promotion, operatic number (4)
ARIA – A (from the clue) precedes the reversal (for promotion) of a song or tune.

The clues which got the medals from me today were 26a, 1d and 4d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: WELL + FAIR = WELFARE

 


Advertisements

98 Comments

  1. mre
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    An early visit to the caff was rewarded with a pristine copy of the paper and a very nice puzzle. This is what a Telegraph crossword should be. No dodgy usages, not a Spooner or a chirpy cocker-nee in sight yet plenty of enjoyment and solvable in a sensible time.

    For me this was a three going on four in difficulty and, at least, a four for enjoyment.

    Lots of nice clues (a10,12,18,25,27,28 d2,7,16,23) ~ didn’t fully understand 7d or 27a.

    Favourite was possibly 2d which took me what seemed like an age to get.

    10a just appeared for me when I wrote the ‘t’ in.

  2. JonP
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I struggled to get a foothold in this puzzle and was mildly concerned as to whether or not I’d be able to complete it after just a couple of clues solved but it soon fell into place after a few more fell. Enjoyable solve, with thanks to Gazza and setter 2.5*/4*

  3. Angel
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    This was just up my street in terms of challenge and amusement. Thank you very much Mr. Ron and Gazza. ***/****. IMHO 11a is not exactly a sudden inspiration which is rather more a brainWAVE. 17d is rather vague. Fav 25a after realising it wasn’t gin that was being referred to as the “posh drink”! Learned alternative spelling of straightlaced. I also enjoyed the Quickie. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I had the same thought about brainstorm/brainwave but the BRB has for brainstorm: a sudden disturbance of the mind; a sudden inspiration. The ODE says a brainstorm is a North American informal word for a sudden clever idea.

  4. Beaver
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    As usual decided on my rating before reading the blog and came up with a **/****,most enjoyable for a while for me. Regarding 10a,, I just assumed that the ‘cast’ on stage were under the spotlights ie dazzled, whilst the audience were watching from the dark seated area. The solution for 7d was evident from the checking letters ,but the back of canoe -e-abbreviation evaded me until I read Gazza’s blog- thanks. lots of excellent clues all round,favourite 15d,and the 25a charade.Thanks to setter for the fun.

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      … but the stage isn’t part of the auditorium.

      • Beaver
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        I accept that this is the case in English usage, but I did find a definition which said, I quote,’ North America-a large building or hall used for public gatherings, typically speeches or stage performances’-this definition .I submit,allows both cast and audience to be present

  5. neveracrossword
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Challenging but very enjoyable. I agree with Angel re11a and with Beaver re 10a.Thanks Gazza and setter.

  6. Cat
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Like Jon P, I struggled to get started and then got on the right wavelength but had to read the hint for 7d several times before it fully clicked why. Really liked 1d. Thanks to Gazza and setter.

  7. Rabbit Dave
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    3*/1.5*. There was much too much Lego to be found here, with several clues having clunky surface readings. I thought 17d was particularly awful. I am sorry to say that this outweighed my enjoyment of some good clues. This puzzle was not my cup of tea at all, but I am glad others seem to have enjoyed it.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza. Roll on tomorrow.

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I don’t see why 17d is particularly clunky. You can read it to mean ‘Watch … a woman wearing a shift (dress) in a (shade of) blue’.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I beg to differ, Gazza. To me “Perhaps watch woman with a blue shift” would read and parse perfectly, but ending with “… with shift in a blue” seems to be an unnecessarily artificial construction.

        But this site would be a lot less fun if we all agreed with each other all the time.

        • Jane
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Hi RD,
          Have you ever had a try at compiling? I reckon you’d be rather good at it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            No I haven’t, but thank you kindly. You’ve made me blushhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

            • Jane
              Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

              Stop blushing and get writing – you know you can! How about we set you a target of getting something done in time for the next birthday bash? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              • Rabbit Dave
                Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

                A bit of flattery and a bit of bossiness! Nice try, but not a chance. Mrs RD says I spend too much time on crosswords as it is, and I know on which side my bread is buttered.

                • Hilary
                  Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

                  Should you be eating butter at your age?

                  • Rabbit Dave
                    Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

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

  8. Hanni
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    ***/**

    Hmm. Not for me. Last in was 7d because I couldn’t justify it. Like RD I didn’t like 17d and also wondered if I’d missed something re 10a.

    I was quite happy with 11a, just took it to mean one of those God awful meetings where someone has the hideous idea to do that.

    Not all bad though, 1d and 26a were rather good fun.

    Many thanks to the setter and Gazza for blogging, particularly 7d!

    My brain really doesn’t want to do the Toughie over lunch.

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      The Toughie is very straightforward and I found it easier than this one, so go for it!

      • Hanni
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza. I’ve just had a look and you’re absolutely right. Bit of a relief. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Let’s brainstorm is one of those mind-numbing phrases which makes me want to take to the hills especially if there is a whiteboard and a selection of markers involved. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

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

      • Kitty
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Well, it can be a useful technique when used appropriately – but that’s definitely not in meetings.

        • Tstrummer
          Posted July 15, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

          Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever resolved or decided in meetings.

          • Hanni
            Posted July 15, 2015 at 1:30 am | Permalink

            After nearly 28 years of sheer dedication and commitment to the cause, that I don’t have to attend meetings, I am free. To be specific, those that contain anything that pertains to ‘W**k Word Bingo’ ones..aka management speak.

  9. Una
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Definitely a challenge and very enjoyable.I came across a clue remarkably similar to 17d recently , which was why I got it .”Watches, say….”and the solution was valuables.We had “My” last Sunday. and 14a, as well as several others, quite recently.On the subject of “My”, don’t people say “Oh my” or” My my !” , rather than just my by itself.
    I can’t pick a favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  10. Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve added three more albums to the Gallery.

    Cruciverbal Meetings 2015

    I particularly like this one of Crypticsue with her new best friend:

    • Beet
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Was I standing in a hole for the Rookie Corner group shot? In my head I’m taller than that…

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

        You’re normal height, Beet – it’s just that the rest of us are especially tall ;-)

        I had forgotten how convenient Sprocker found my shoulder to rest his drinking arm!

  11. Young Salopian
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I thought this a solid ****** today. Everything just fell into place without any great trauma, with the pick of the clues being 10a and 15d. I did think 7d was a little forced and it took me a while to work out why I had the right answer. Dismal, dank and drizzly in the Marches at the moment, with no sign of the mugginess that the forecasters seem so keen on. Well done and thanks to the setter and of course Gazza for top review.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Having trouble with my stars today. Rating should read **\**** (2/4)

  12. Miffypops
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked this puzzle but there are I few bungitins that I will have to justify later. Ta to all.

    • Paso Doble
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Miffypops…but the bungitins were right and gazza helped with the parsing….Good stuff, very enjoyable.

  13. Kath
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    For some reason I didn’t enjoy this one as much as usual – don’t know why – probably just me – grumpy! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I found it quite tricky and took a long time to get started. I’ll go for 3*/4* difficulty and 2*/3* for enjoyment.
    I kept going after the wrong definition – thought 16d was ‘lithe’ rather than ‘lithe performers’ and there were others like that.
    7d took me ages and even when I bunged it in as the only possible word that would fit I couldn’t see why.
    2d also took a long time and then an even longer time trying to see why it was right.
    I did like 11, 26 and 27a and my favourite was 1d.
    Not my day – might try Toughie . . .
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Do try the Toughie, Kath. It will restore your joie de vivre. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you are worried about your poorly lawn mower.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  14. dutch
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Tricky puzzle with some clueing more typical of a toughie – today’s toughie, by comparison, is fairly easy (as gazza mentioned).

    I had the same concerns about the 10a cd (was I missing something?) and I also thought we had a near indirect anagram (6d). But a fun puzzle all the same

    many thanks Mr Ron and Gazza of course for the review.

    • mre
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Are indirect anagrams considered bad form?

      While not immediately obvious to me I didn’t think 6d was anything other than straightforward.

      • gazza
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Indirect anagrams are a hanging offence. :D

      • Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Since being outlawed by Ximenes, most setters have avoided them. Consider this clue from yesterdays Rufus in the Guardian:

        Loathe articles in disorder (4)

        The definition is “loathe” and the answer is an anagram (in disorder) of the articles in [lo] A THE

        Indirect anagram – yes or no?

        • mre
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Thankyou

          I like to think I’d have solved that Grauniad one but I know what chicanery to be on the look out for now.

          ‘Death to the indirect anagrammers’ will be my motto from now on…

        • dutch
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          That’s a rather interesting one! – there seems to be a school of thought that suggests that if the letters to be anagrammed are in plain view (as they are here, and also in odd/even deletions, acronyms, etc) then all is somehow ok and not as indirect as could be. However, the definition (LOATHE) is naughtily doing some double duty in that case. A self-respecting indirect anagram would involve the anagram of a synonym, without revealing all the final constituent letters.

          Others might argue that anything that requires an extra step to generate anagram fodder is dangerously crossing Ximinean boundaries.

          • Kitty
            Posted July 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            I agree, Dutch. Surely if the articles we need here for the anagram fodder are those in LOATHE then it’s doing double duty. To avoid that, you have to pick the articles out of thin air. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

            • dutch
              Posted July 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

              i am a little surprised to see such playfulness from Rufus,who I imagined was a strict Ximenean.

  15. Florence
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Agree about 10a, which I thought was a brainwave. Slow start for the top half, but the rest filled in quit nicely. Only exception was 25a. Tried to think of a posh drink, and put in aperitif, then realised that I was a letter short. Wish I had bothered to get a pencil to rub things out, as the thick black pen I used made the SW corner almost illegible. Feel a bit sad it’s finished so maybe I should tackle something else. 3*/3* for me. Thanks to setter and to Gazza. I haven’t quite got to grips with who sets what, when, but I am sure that will become clearer over time. I have recognised one setter who always seems to have a reference to the queen somewhere.

  16. Miffypops
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Re 7d. How many ways are there to indicate the letter E? Would “Spaniard using the fourth of five”. Or “Frenchman taking the first of English lessons” make a clue with that answer?

    • Himself
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      By gum you’ve missed the start

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Greek, say, shortly to be broke finally (8) ?

      • Jane
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Ouch!

        • Miffypops
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          The Greeks won the Euro 2004 football tournament. Now they wish they had 2004 Euros

          • Tstrummer
            Posted July 15, 2015 at 1:18 am | Permalink

            AnD they got beat at home by the Faroe Islands, a world first, so they sacked their manager. Leicester City thought that made him good enough to be their manager. Cue relegation battle

      • Kitty
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Much better clue. When is a national paper going to put you on their payroll?

        • gazza
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Never – I have no aspirations in that direction.
          When are we going to get a puzzle from you? Or have we already seen one under another alias?

  17. Jane
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Coming hard on the heels of the stressful NTSPP and Rookie Corner, this was far from the R&W I was hoping for! 3.5*/4* for me.
    1a – took me ages to decide what was to go in what.
    10a – think I’ve only seen ‘auditoriums’ used as the plural in the past.
    2d – so wanted it to start with re….
    4d – given this setter’s love of slang terms I’d got ‘bang on’ as the likely definition but was thinking along the lines of someone ‘banging on’ about their pet topic.
    7d – got it eventually when all the checkers were in place but had completely missed the significance of the ‘e’.

    Both 9a & 20d in the paper version split into two lines at just the crucial point – that’s so cruel!

    Liked 5,14&28a plus 1d. Favourite slot for 15d.

    Thanks both to Mysteron and to Gazza – I was so glad you gave it some extra stars for difficulty. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Now – can I really face the Toughie? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Once again it’s Gazza’s turn to blog a most excellent crossword. Some are going to be very envious.
    SW corner was a bit more tricky but I also remembered the watch in 17d from not long ago and the affair in 27a from another crossword.
    11a was very clever.
    However in 4d the “outside of” is a bit superfluous as court is already ct in crossyland. Imho as we say.
    Agree with Dutch on the indirect anagram in 6d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Joyeux Quatorze Juillet, Jean-Luc.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Merci.
        We had fireworks on the harbour last night and tonight it’s the big parade with all our military personnel ( naval base and 54th infantry regiment) and most of all, the massive contingent of firefighters protecting us from forest fires.
        Another fireworks display at 22h30 and bal populaire till the small hours.

  19. Gwizz
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    As others have said, a slow start followed by an acceleration with the resultant checking letters being very helpful. I found I had completed the bottom half quite quickly and then the intricacies of the top half slowed me down again. I quite enjoyed the challenge.
    2d was my favourite and 2/3* overall.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his review.

  20. Derek
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Back again to serious solving now that Wimbledon is out of the way.

    Enjoyed this puzzle.

    Faves : 5a, 27a, 7d & 17d.

  21. Vancouverbc
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hats off to Gazza for the review which I definitely needed. I had too many of the answers correctly written in the margin but couldn’t explain them. This was definitely a 4/5* for difficulty for me and therefore a ** at best for enjoyment. 7 and 17d were the least satisfying. A grudging thanks to the setter for a puzzle that could finish off any interest in a newcomer to cryptics.

  22. Paso Doble
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle…..***/****
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and gazza.

  23. Nickinchester
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Day 2 – stinking hot in Crete! Found a water bar so you can dip your feet in the water whilst battling with the crossword and enjoying a cool one ( it sells more than water!) Having 2d as a pottery outlet didn’t help and needed a couple of hints, so thanks Gazza. Lovely use of The Fighting Temeraire too – I have a copy at home on the wall. It’s a 3/5* from me, because, frankly, doing anything here would get max enjoyment rating. Looking forward to tomorrow – I’ll have to get up earlier to have a go at Weds puzzle – scuba diving tomorrow afternoon.

  24. Hilary
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Took one look at Gazza’s four stars and nearly went off to do something else. I have to own up to a certain amount of electronic help but felt I could pat myself on the back for a good effort. Too many to find a specific favourite but 22 and 25a on the list. Thanks to setter and Gazza off to write notes for meeting tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  25. Heno
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but very tricky puzzle. I needed the hints for 1,2,17d, and to parse 10a, 7&15d which I bunged in. Favourite was 27a. Was 4*/4* for me. Very cool in Central London this afternoon.

  26. Liz
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    This would have been a lot easier for me had I not put ‘athletic’ for 16d.
    I did think of acrobats first, but then decided it was an anagram of ‘lithe’ and ‘act’ with mug as the anagram indicator……quite a reasonable solution, I thought. Perhaps that was the setter’s intention??
    But this meant that the whole of the SW corner was unsolvable, with 18a a real problem. Once I had referred to the hint for this, I realised my error and from there on all was hunky dory! A nice puzzle and satisfying clues. I will have to make this a 2* as I needed to refer to the hints, but definitely a 3* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I rather like your take on 16d, Liz. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      • Liz
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I thought it was OK…..and I thought I had come across a new anagram indicator……….but unfortunately it scuppered the rest of the puzzle. I now have learned that indirect anagrams such as this are no-nos!

        • Miffypops
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          I reckon that there are 14,326 anagram indicators Liz. Honest I do.

          • Jane
            Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Prove it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            • Miffypops
              Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

              Ok. Type this into google. 14,326 anagram indicators. And see what comes up

              • Jane
                Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                Strangely enough, it comes up with you saying exactly the same thing. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

                • Miffypops
                  Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

                  It must be true then.

                  • Jane
                    Posted July 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

                    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
                    By the way, how’s Theodore coming along? Sounded as though he has a bit of catching up to do.

                    • Miffypops
                      Posted July 14, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

                      He will be fine. His umbilical cord was strangling him so an emergency Caesar section was carried out. Thanks to modern monitoring methods I think. He has a cleft lip and palette so surgery will be needed on that. We knew about that beforehand. We go to see him on September 4th on our way to a tour of Scottish seafood restaurants. Deep joy for SS.

          • Liz
            Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps now 14326 + 1??

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately an anagram of LITHE and ACT doesn’t work because the word ACT doesn’t appear in the clue. Substituting ACT for ‘performers’ would make the clue a definite indirect anagram which is a no-no.

      • Liz
        Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Hi Gazza, please can you clarify an ‘indirect’ anagram? I’m assuming it is where not all the components of the anagram are present in the clue? Why is this a no-no?

        • gazza
          Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          It’s a convention, but one that’s adhered to pretty consistently, that all the letters for the anagram fodder should be in the clue. So for the word Anachronism a clue like
          A drunken Cornishman is a throwback to the past (11) is ok, but
          A drunken man from Lands End is a throwback to the past (11) is not.
          The reason is that the second involves a two-stage process so is deemed to be unfair.

          • Liz
            Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            No lateral thinking allowed then!

  27. John C
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Did anybody else notice that there were eleven question marks in the clues? I had to rely heavily on the checking letters.

    • andy
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Not until you said that, you are right, a lot of out of box thinking

  28. Framboise
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    A great puzzle, a pleasure to solve. Loved 1d! 2*/4* for me. Went paddling in a coracle – learnt the word that day – many years ago on the Cauvery river in South India… Used to do the cryptic crossword in the Hindu, a great daily from Chennai. I do miss India… Today is my country National Day but alas no fireworks here in West Sussex. I almost completed the Toughie so a great day after all! Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for his review.

  29. Jay legs
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Although I managed to solve today’s puzzle I did find it as someone previously remarked a little”clunky” :(. ***/*** My last two in were 22a and 23d Thanks to Gazza for explaining how I arrived at some of the answers :)

  30. Kitty
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    This felt like quite a challenge mid-solve but didn’t take any longer than usual until the last few stragglers. I may have employed some gentle cheating to nail the last couple.

    I’ve heard 11a to mean brainwave, but always considered it an incorrect usage. No doubt it is in Chambers. I had parsed 10a a la Beaver but Gazza’s point is well-made. In 18a I had a brain-fail and couldn’t work out where the MAN came in – I wanted ch-airship with man inside – but he was given no permission by the wordplay to be there. D’oh. 7d was my last in and it took some head-scratching before I understood what the back of canoe had to do with things. Just before that was 17d – I agree with our Rabbit that the surface is a little clunky but with our Gazza that it just about makes sense.

    I liked lots of the clues, but there’s not a single one jumping out shouting “pick me!” so won’t choose a favourite today.

    Gazza is right that I like the musical in 16d, but it is not my favourite. I’m not going to disclose publicly what that is.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  31. silvanus
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I was rather surprised to see that some of today’s clues were described as clunky – I think that’s extremely harsh. There was certainly some unusual cluing in places, but none of the surfaces particularly jarred to me.

    I got 7d without understanding why until reading the blog, and I guessed the answer to 2d, but otherwise everything went in fairly smoothly, albeit slowly. I had not previously heard of the hairstyle in 27a.

    Favourite clue was definitely 1d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  32. Brian
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Why is this HORROR on the back page? It is so way above back page level as to be invisible to most. Most of the clues are just a meaningless jumble of words to me.

    • Jane
      Posted July 14, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brian,
      How did your grandson get on with it?

    • Hanni
      Posted July 15, 2015 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Did you see yesterdays blog?

      I don’t think it was impenetrable though. Perhaps not normal fare and not to my taste.

      Where’s CS when we need her? The Toughie was just lovely.

  33. Salty Dog
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Pretty close to 4* difficulty for me, and l struggled to get on wavelength throughout. I too think 17d is a bit of a stretch. I had my doubts over 22a as well, but l suppose it works if “being” is seen as part of the definition. All in all, l can’t say l found it particularly satisfying. However, l happily acknowledge there are some rather clever clues (1d, 11a, 27a, 7d), some of them with constructions l hadn’t met before. My thanks to the setter (is it really Mr Ron?) and to Gazza for the review.

  34. Owdoo
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Really quite tricky this one. Very satisfying on completion though.
    2d held me up the longest and was last one in.
    4*/3*
    Thanks for the challenge Mr Ron and also Gazza for the review.

  35. Tstrummer
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Well, I quite liked it and managed to finish in 2* time without outside assistance. Some of the clues were inspired, I thought (1d, 16d, 19d, 27a and 29a), and they made up for some slightly questionable others (10a, 17d), but they were easily doable once the checkers were in. Re 10a, although it is strictly speaking correct, most writers use the anglicised version these days of nearly all -ium words – ie stadiums – with the exceptions of media and millennia. I particularly liked 28a and 2d, my last one, which I bunged in and then spent ages working out why. 2*/3*, with thanks to setter and Gazza for the expertly constructed review.
    PS: I have confined myself to the details of the puzzle to tonight for the benefit of Liz, who, for some reason, takes offence at discussions about sailing, ornithology, popular music, children, grandchildren, lawn mowers, cartoons, James Thurber, my boat, cats v dogs and S&B gatherings (spellcheck tried to change that to S&M, which would be a whole different thread). However, all those things, and many more, are why I return to this site every day that I can. You are all welcome guests on my late-night sofa.

    • Hilary
      Posted July 15, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Thank you, I always log in as I am drinking my early morning tea just to read your thoughts.

      • Hanni
        Posted July 15, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Great isn’t it http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif Although Tsrummer forgot…how clean is your tantalus, the pros and cons of all sports, golf (not a sport), olives, weather chat, female tennis, MP’s crib league, hold up stockings, the merits of pencils and daffodils. I’ve probably forgotten something too.

  36. almo
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    24d … reversal (for promotion) – are these really synonyms ? – can someone explain why ? – grazie

    • gazza
      Posted July 15, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      This is a down clue so to reverse AIR we are moving it upwards (i.e. promoting it, in the way that someone may be moved upwards or promoted in an organisation).

      • almo
        Posted July 15, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        many thanks, Gazza – but I still don’t like it ! It was one of the first answers I put in, and then spent the rest of the time wondering why.
        It isn’t a word, to my knowledge, but AIRA should have been the answer, i.e. promoting the song to the top of the down clue. If you promote someone you don’t turn them upside down !
        Aria is a hugely regular answer and I must have seen hundreds of clues to give it, but in my humble opinion – how do they spell it in computer speak (IMHO?) – this is the pits !!

  37. EJL
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I sat in the departure lounge waiting to fly to Croatia and read through the clues with dread. Just like sitting another maths exam i thought! However by the time we were approaching Rijeka i had 3 to do ,1 down i couldn’t fathom until thanks to my wife i had a eureka moment. Best clue of the lot. Shortly after it was mission accomplished. Although i guessed 2 down which was the last one in.Thanks for the explanation Gazza. I do admire you solvers when faced with a beast like this! Don’t suppose i’ll see another telegraph all week. Regards to all.