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DT 27856

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27856

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs, where the sun is trying to break through the clouds after some heavy showers.

After the tough back-page crosswords of the last two days, we seem to be back to normal with Giovanni this Friday, though not at his most benign.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Storyteller‘s introduction to mystery as worker swallows poison (10)
MAUPASSANT – Start with the first letter of Mystery, followed by AS (from the clue) and one of the usual crossword workers, then insert the name of a mythical poisonous tree, and you end up with a 19th-century French novelist and short story writer.

Image result for maupassant

6a           Experts? They can be worth more than kings and queens (4)
ACES – … because they outrank them at bridge or poker.

9a           Pure rascal, English Conservative with old-fashioned message (10)
IMPECCABLE – Put together a rascal, English, Conservative, and a telegraphic message from the days before wireless.

10a         Girl from London in Andover (4)
NINA – A girl’s name is hidden in the clue. I did wonder whether this was a hint that one of these was hidden in the grid, but I couldn’t find one, assuming the vaguely rude word in row 6 wasn’t deliberate.

12a         Hurry back for jazz (4)
TRAD – Reverse a word for hurry, or make a sudden movement, to get a variety of jazz.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a         Publicist apt always to make a quick buck (9)
PROFITEER Put together an acronym for a corporate publicist, a word for apt, and a poetic word for always.

15a         Disliked being dispatched into the grass (8)
RESENTED – A variety of grass wrapped around a word for ‘dispatched’.

16a         A few words of adulation one issued about hospital (6)
PHRASE – Take the Roman numeral for one out of a word meaning adulation, and wrap the result around Hospital.

18a         Frustrate successive characters wanting to have a meal (6)
DEFEAT – Three successive letters of the alphabet, followed by ‘have a meal’.

20a         Fish swimming ashore starts to seem exhausted (3,5)
SEA HORSE – Anagram (swimming) of ASHORE, followed by the initial letters of Seem Exhausted.

Image result for sea horse

23a         Put together record about one outside residence (9)
CONFLATED – A sort of domestic residence with ONE (from the clue) wrapped around it, and then the sort of record that superseded the LP wrapped around the result.

24a         Helps to make incursions, demolishing front (4)
AIDS – Remove the first letter (demolishing front) from a word for incursions.

26a         Meal given to thousand people who work together (4)
TEAM – An afternoon meal followed by the Roman numeral for a thousand.

27a         Composer wandering in alien parts (10)
PALESTRINA – Anagram (wandering) of ALIEN PARTS.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a         Season for international talks on arms limitation (4)
SALT – Double definition: the first is a verb with a culinary sense; the second an acronym.

29a         Cook determining, having lost heart, what to put in food (10)
INGREDIENT – Anagram (cook) of DETER(m)INING with its central letter left out (having lost heart.


1d           Most important chap concealing ego (4)
MAIN – The English version of the Latin pronoun ego, inside another word for a chap.

2d           Politician has anger when restricted by American law-enforcers (7)
UMPIRES – The usual politician and a word for anger, placed inside one of the abbreviations for American.

Image result for umpires

3d           I had bumped into Mark, someone on the same side, by chance (12)
ACCIDENTALLY – The short form of ‘I had’ placed inside a mark or stress, followed by someone on your side in an argument.

4d           More irritable photographer at seaside may do this (8)
SNAPPIER – Split (4,4) this could describe what a photographer taking a picture of a seaside landmark does.

5d           Foreigner’s refusal to accept golfer as national hero (6)
NELSON – A South African golfer inside a French refusal.

Image result for nelson

7d           Harmony comes with artist — fancy! (7)
CHIMERA – Another word for harmony (not perhaps in common use) followed by the letters distinguished British artists may have after their name.

8d           Little son, terribly dreary, yet can be very optimistic (6-4)
STARRY-EYED Son followed by an anagram (terribly) of DREARY YET.

11d         Somehow he had glitter, being none too serious (5-7)
LIGHT-HEARTED – Anagram (somehow) of HE HAD GLITTER.

14d         Affirms what may be said of subjects (10)
PREDICATES – Double definition: a verb meaning affirms or asserts; and a grammatical term describing the plural of the part of a sentence which is not the subject, and which says something about the subject.

17d         Theologian embraced by explosive king, being cherished (4,4)
HELD DEAR – The acronym of a variety of explosive followed by a Shakespearean king, with the letters indicating the holder of a higher degree in theology inside the result.

19d         Female with a new man, we hear? That could mean love letters (3,4)
FAN MAIL – Put together Female, A (from the clue), New, and what sounds like the gender of a man.

21d         Communist policy establishing absolute boundary (3,4)
RED LINE – The usual crossword Communist followed by a political term for the way a policy is presented.

22d         Exert to the utmost in race (6)
STRAIN – Double definition: a verb for great exertion; and a noun for a race or breed.

25d         Loose? Yes and no (4)
FAST – Double definition: figuratively, describes someone of loose morals; literally, describes something which is not loose because it is tied up.

The Quick Crossword pun LIEDER + BORED = LEADER BOARD

111 comments on “DT 27856

  1. Cracked through this one remarkably well for a Friday! Very pleased with ourselves today. Many thanks to the setter for an enjoyable start to the day and to Deep Throat for clarifying some answers we couldn’t justify.

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment (in 2013) so this needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on. You’ve obviously escaped from the mangle. :D

      1. Sorry! It’s a long time since my last comment and I’d forgotten what it should be.

  2. This was indeed light relief after yesterday’s horror. NW last to go in mainly due to having wrong first two letters in 3d. Initially used dine instead of eat in 18a and almost settled for Fall in 28a. Thanks Giovanni for an enjoyable journey and DT for being on hand and particularly for providing a nostalgic Acker Bilk clip. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif. **/***.

    1. It’s not just Acker on that clip. I played it long enough to get to Humphrey Lyttelton, and I think there are others.

        1. Have just played it right through. What a feast! I couldn’t sit still for a second – Acker Bilk, Humph, Chris Barber, Kenny Ball, Lonnie Donnegan plus, plus. Glad I didn’t come across it whilst doing the crossword or that would never have been completed! Thank you lots DT. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  3. Thought this was quite difficult, but less so than yesterday ,so going for a ***/***,liked the charades13a and17d-my favourite, lots of clever wordplay for example 7d,16a and just about right for a Friday, thanks to setter and DT-back to the cricket !

  4. After the brain overload of yesterday’s back-pager this one came as quite a relief!
    A few minor hold-ups:-
    1a didn’t know the tree so resorted to electronic help once the checkers were in place.
    3d wanted ‘dent’ to be the mark so struggled with the parsing.
    17d always forget that abbreviation!

    Interesting that our setter chose, for 27a, a composer who shares his name (yes, I did have to look that up!).

    25d took longer than the rest of the puzzle put together but finishes up as my favourite with a mention for the fun of 4d.

    2*/3* for me and many thanks to both DG and DT.

  5. I found yesterday child’s play compared to this one and admit defeat. Possibly my mind was elsewhere and dwelling on the abysmal weather forecast for the RIAT Air Tattoo on Sunday.

  6. An early visit to the caff but a longish wait for the paper to emerge. When it finally did things started promisingly enough before coming to a full stop with a1,13,16,27 and d5,7,25 unsolved.

    Along the way there were a few that I didn’t fully understand, notably d3,14,22. I’m still unconvinced by affirms in 14d.

    It turns out I couldn’t have solved 1a and 27a. I was on the right lines for 5d (couldn’t think of the golfer) and 7d (not convinced at all by this one).

    Overall pretty much as yesterday for me four/four. Favourite was probably 9a for doing what it said on the tin…

  7. Really enjoyed this excellent Friday puzzle. No real dramas but great fun with some laugh-out-loud moments as well as a couple of head-scratchers. It helped that I studied 1a for A-level French some time long ago before the great quest for fire began, and as a lover of classical music the composer was not unknown to me. 2/4 I think, with thanks to the setter and DT for top review.

  8. Enjoyable as usual from The Don. We didn’t think this was too difficult although there were a few slightly obscure answers. A 2.5/4 for us. Thanks to Deep Threat for the hints and tips.

  9. Re. 8d, one of the best ever auditions for The Voice (sorry to lower the tone …..)

  10. As always on Fridays I had a few problems but finished now. 3* difficulty and probably the same for enjoyment.
    I’ve never heard of the 27a composer and missed the anagram indicator in 29a so until I sorted those out I didn’t have a hope of getting 25d but got there eventually.
    Couldn’t do 1a until I had alternate letters in – had forgotten the poisonous tree.
    I always forget the golfer in 5d – he must be quite useful to crossword setters!
    I didn’t know the grammatical bit of 14d.
    I liked 4 and 19d. My favourite was 25d – my last answer.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.
    Elder Pet Lamb and her partner, some friends of theirs plus their four year old daughter and baby all coming later on for the weekend – need to cook and make beds etc. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. Sorry Kath, I missed your comment on yesterday’s. I wasn’t being contrary, honest, I was just on the Setters wavelength for a change. But quite right, any Thursday without a Ray T is a good day for mehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  11. Afternoon peeps. well after 62 hours of no internet we are finally back online.
    Not done yesterdays yet so that pleasure awaits us.

    Struggled with 1a and 23a – never heard of either – but mostly got through it ok.
    I’d rate it 4* / 3* . . . too many unknown words for me.
    Had to look up the tree in 1a – my dictionary & Wiki says it has a wide distribution in tropical regions – as opposed to being mythical?
    Thanks to setter & to DT for the review.

    1. Good to see you back, Pommette! Yesterday’s back-pager was almost universally put into the ‘stinker’ category. Some of us guessed at a PJ (Kath thought not!) it will be interesting to see what you both make of it.

      The Mr.T/Beam was somewhat of a challenge as well so a lot of ‘my brain hurts’ comments on the blog by the evening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      Perhaps you were far better off without the strain of it all! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    2. The tree used to be a ‘chestnut’ in the quick crossword for more years than I care to remember. It has obviously fallen out of favour recently, a bit like the pochard duck which was always in the back pager in the 70s.

        1. Whenever anyone mentions Wodehouse, I always think of his description of Honoria Glossop: “A healthy girl with laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge.”

  12. 3*/3*. For a Friday puzzle I found this very pleasant today and an enjoyable challenge. I was lucky enough to have heard of the obscure composer in 27a. 14a was my favourite, bringing back fond memories of a meticulously precise English teacher at school who did much to develop my sense of pedantry.

    Many thanks to DG and DT.

        1. Haha :).

          … but how do you get your little tail between your legs? A flexible Rabbit indeed!

  13. Wasn’t everybody compelled to read 1a at school ? I know of 27a only as a choir, I didn’t know he was a composer. 5d was my favourite .
    Thanks to all concerned.

    1. The Guy in 1a was a very welcome relief from the other French writers I had to study for French “A” level.

      Molière, Corneille, et aussi, Racine! Merde!

      1. I had Molière (so-so), Beaumarchais (so-so), Rostand (ok), Maupassant (good) and Voltaire (excellent).

        1. I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.


          (Isn’t Google wonderful?)

      2. I had Moliere, Voltaire, Beaumarchais and, absolutely best of all and still one of my favourite writers, George’s Duhamel

  14. Not my favourite Giovanni, too many odd words such as Upas, Palestrina, predicated and conflated. All were solvable through the wordplay as is normal for a Giovanni but somehow less fun than normal. No clues that make you go ‘that’s clever’.
    However, after the two toughies that got onto the back page this week, I am not complaining.
    Thx to all.

  15. ‘”That’s the way I like it'”! Challenging enough to tickle the grey cells but doable and entertaining. Some great clues – loved 4d and 18a. 1a is ones of our great writers – the short story ‘the necklace’ is absolutely heart- rending. I remembered the Italian composer from my music lessons at the lycée – we were taught music quite in depth as part of the normal curriculum. So in all I am a very happy bunny today. Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the review – enjoyed the jazz bit…

    1. Hi Framboise,
      After your comment I read ‘the necklace’ on line and wonder what particular element of it struck you as being so heart-rending.
      The person I felt sorry for was the husband. He did everything in his power to give his wife what she wanted and, after she lost the necklace, grafted for ten long years to make the repayments on the money he had to borrow to replace it. When, after those ten years, she met up again with the woman she had borrowed it from, she had the nerve to blame her impoverished state on this friend who had been so generous to her. What a thoroughly ungrateful little madam!

      1. Hi Jane, the necklace that was borrowed was a fake unbeknownst to the lady and her husband. They therefore spent years saving and scraping to be able to pay back the loan that they had used to replace the necklace with a real pearl one. The borrower of the necklace then meets the owner of the said necklace and finds out the truth… This is how I remember the story.

        1. Yes, that’s true, Framboise, but read the story again when you’ve got time (readily available free on line) – I’d be surprised if you don’t agree with my opinion of the lady!

          1. Will do! The lady who had borrowed the necklace was terribly bitter as she felt they should have been told that the necklace was a fake in the first place. I felt so sorry for them when I first read the story in French of course a long time ago and then there was a rendering of it on Television here in England which did not alter my empathy towards the borrowers. Interesting how can several people react so differently to the same story.

            1. That’s the beauty of the short story form. When done properly, it’s like poetry, allowing different readers to get different, often conflicting, messages. When done badly, everybody says the same: so what.

  16. I found this a bit more tricky today. Not helped by having ‘incidentally’ for 3d instead of ‘accidentally’ which made 1a impossible to solve, and for some obscure reason, I had ‘knot’ for 25d, so that scuppered 27a…can’t quite recall my reasoning for that one, but it seemed a good idea at the time. I liked 2d…after going all round the ‘sheriffs’; deputies’ and ‘marshals’ territory, it finally clicked! I often get the answer just by identifying the definition, but then have no idea how the clueing works……thank heavens for the hints!! I had to check 1a, then realised I must have a wrong letter, and the same for 25d, otherwise not too bad. Thanks to DT and to the setter. 2*/3*

    1. Hi Liz,
      I started out with incidentally at 3d but changed it eventually when I couldn’t figure out the parsing. As for knot – I had a try for that as well! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. Hi Jane. Yes I was completely stuck on 1a until I looked at DTs hint, then of course I knew the story teller, and realised my error in 3d. From then on it all went OK and finished in a trice! I thought ‘knot’ was a great answer…unfortunately wrong though!

      2. I wanted KNOT for 25d. knew it wasn’t right but it elbowed out the correct word if it would have otherwise entered my head – and I like to think that it would http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif.

        1. Don’t think you can ‘elbow out’ something that isn’t there, Kitty – but I’m quite happy to believe that you would give it your best shot. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    2. Hi Liz, I have often said that doing the quickie puzzle on a daily basis will hone your crypic solving skills. It sharpens the ability to solve from the definition, bungitin and think about the wordplay later. The same setters do both puzzles each day.

      1. Hi MP. Yes, I think you’re right. I don’t often do the quickie these days, but have done loads in the past…….of course it does rather depend on identifying the definition correctly…..otherwise…….??!!

        1. How true, Liz. I think the Quickies are often like a complex Lego structure. Today, for instance, ‘sculptor (7)’ – no way to answer until you get a few checkers in place. At least with the back-pagers you have a chance to get there through the wordplay.

          1. Yes,…..and how cringe making it is when one can’t finish the quickie…..thought I’d give it a try after talking to you all….got the sculptor OK.. but still one short!!

                1. No Jane. It was 19d and that was because I had the wrong kind of ‘pull’ in for 18a, so the first letter was incorrect. Mistake realised and rectified….it’s always those pesky littles critters that cause the most bother!

  17. Having struggled with this through three sittings (the last two with my feet dipping in the water at the pool bar in 31 deg heat) I needed the composer hint because I am obviously an engineering minded heathen and have never heard of the chap. Similarly 1a needed googling! I found this a really tough solve today (worse than yesterday), but having read back through all the clues, I don’t really know why as they were all pretty fair, apart from the proper nouns which I hate! An enjoyable challenge, despite that, so a 4/4 from me. On the plus side, the tan is coming on nicely. Only 8 more days of paradise to endure.

    1. Goodness, don’t we all feel sorry for you. All that rotten paradise and then a struggle with the back-pager – you poor soul. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      1. We can feel sorry for poor Nick in eight days’ time when he’s expelled from paradise to return to the other place with the rest of us :).

            1. Look, it’s tough here. All I’ve got to look forward to tomorrow is another day by the pool, the beach, the bar, the unbroken sunshine etc etc ……..

                  1. Hi Franco: I’m the London Correspondent for ABC in Australia and, among other things, do a live weekly light-hearted round-up on Thursdays, morning for us, evening for them on Evenings With Peter Goers; and I do the Night Editor slot on BBC Radio 5live on Thursdays on the Up All Night programme, which goes out at some ungodly hour and is repeated at some even more ungodly hour. I am sure you have better things to do

                    1. Strewth … I’m a great fan of “Up all night” – Dotun Adebayo – World Football Phone-In and Virtual Juke Box!

                      Recommended listening for all insomniacs!


  18. Enjoyable solve, so much easier than yesterday :) **/**** I did learn two new words predicates and and conflated, and a new composer Palestriina. All in all a good puzzle ;) Thanks to DT for hints and to the compiler for the puzzle.

  19. Like yesterday I completed all but four with not even a pencil to help me, then turned to one of my electronic friends for a little help finishing. Unlike yesterday the route up until then was smooth and untroubled and the cheats turned out to be things I didn’t know: the 27a composer or the 1a author (or tree for that matter). Now I think of it I know I’ve seen the golfer in 5d in previous crosswords, but he’d escaped my brain (I don’t blame him). The final mental block was at 25d but I have no excuse for that. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you more than “something grammatical” for that bit of 14d, so thanks to DT for the explanation which has passed right through my head leaving nary a footprint. Will have another look :).

    As for yesterday … well, I suppose I should toddle off and write a comment in the relevant spot.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  20. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, but with some very tricky clues. I always struggle with double definitions. So needed the hints for 14&25d, also for 23&27a which I had never heard of. Had 26a&3d both wrong, so I really struggled. Favourites were 18a&4d. Was 3.5*/2.5* for me. England under the cosh.

  21. This has nothing to do with today’s puzzle but I wanted to thank Tstrummer for his kind comment yesterday. One hopes for a miracle to stop the progression of the nervous disease my brother has recently been diagnosed with.

    1. I’ll join you in your hopes, Framboise. My thoughts are with you and your brother. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      1. Just scrolled down to this one, Framboise. What a truly miserable time for all of you. I’ve had a little personal experience of this sort of thing through a friend of mine and the worst of it is feeling so helpless about one’s lack of ability to just ‘do’ something to make the situation better for them.
        I found that just acting as normal around him, whilst very difficult, was the most appreciated thing.
        Good luck – I hope you’ve got plenty of support.

        1. Thank you Jane. I have just had a long chat with him tonight – he is waiting for a bed to be available to undergo extensive tests. Sadly Medical care in France once superb is now becoming severely hampered by budget cuts…

  22. **/****

    Much much easier than yesterday. Slight hold up trying to figure out 1a. I have heard of, and rather like 27a. Also been looking for a 10a but like DT can’t find one. Then again I rarely do.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for blogging.

    Have a good weekend all.

  23. Oh dear, I was doing very well until I ground to a halt with 1a; all because of IN and not AC in 3d…. and I had forgotten the tree as well. However I wasn’t quite so discombobulated as I was yesterday….
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for digging me out of the hole I made for myself!

  24. A good solid 2*/3*. A lot less brow-furrowing required than for yesterday’s back-pager! I enjoyed both 9a and 23a. Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the donkey-work.

  25. First of all thoughts with Framboise over family circumstances. You have to be there for the long hall, and some people just don’t get it.
    Second, I have not done today’s crossword. Been travelling in to London, and didn’t manage to grab my DT. I will do catch up some time. Finished painting flat of my offspring, and as a gift, they have bought four tickets to Lords tomorrow for the third day of the Ashes test. After today’s disastrous result, I shall try and grab a DT tomorrow for the prize puzzle !!! At least it looks as though the weather is going to be kind to us. Have a wonderful solving weekend everyone.

    1. I guess some would think that a good present, Florence! My only experience of watching cricket (at MCC) is seeing a lot of small white dots moving about miles away, wishing I had a pair of binoculars with me – and a running commentary in my ear – and learning how to make ‘roll-ups’ courtesy of the Italian boyfriend whom I was trying to impress by showing some enthusiasm for the match!
      ps. I was only about 16 at the time but haven’t felt inclined to go to a cricket match ever again!

      1. How sad. Cricket is a fantastic game. Something you can enjoy for a whole five days, right down to the last over. Not just a couple of hours like Wimbledon. Support from someone please. I enjoy all sport, well not quite. Don’t like football, but will watch England play. As far as I am concerned, I have been given a very thoughtful present, even if we lose. Don’t want to discourage my kids from buying me things. However, should it turn out to be boring, I could be filling in the prize puzzle. I have already given up trying to win a pen. Waste of s stamp.

        1. Hi Florence and Jane,

          There are far too many plus points of cricket to go into. I was indoctrinated/brainwashed at an early age. Memories of my grandfather listening to the radio and giving a running commentary to nobody in particular.

          20/20, Ashes…it matters not. I’ve watched many an appalling 3rds match, I’ve watched England playing and wanted to scream, ”Well I could play a better sweep shot than that!”…FYI I couldn’t.

          Jane, cricket is made infinitely better by drinking G & T in the sun. Or just drinking G & T. However you and I will always agree in golf. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

        2. Support from me. Test cricket is the best sporting competition. My children used to hate going on summer holidays when I had the radio on for the tests. They took special exception to Henry Blofeld. They are now all grown up and family holidays are a thing of the distant past, but Blowers is still there, muddling up the players’ names, the score and, sometimes, even the venue. I wouldn’t be without him. A day out at Lord’s is a special thing and there thousands around the world who would give their eye teeth (whatever they are) for your ticket.
          PS I love football too. Season ticket holder at White Hart Lane

          1. Oh dear, TS – you wobbled on the pedestal for a moment there! The only thing I enjoy about cricket is the occasional (well, not that occasional) faux pas from the commentators.
            By the way – eye teeth are those long pointy ones that vampires seem to be particularly well endowed with.

            1. Pedestal? Oh dear. Life, and this website, would be a poorer thing if we all only liked the same things. Competitive sport is what distinguishes us from the animals, and the ability to lose with aplomb is an endearing British characteristic. BTW, my favourite piece of commentary: “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey.”

              1. Yes, I remember that one – I think it has had regular airings ever since! I’m also rather partial to the long discussions about pigeons, cake and so forth.

        3. I went to an all girls Grammar school in Surrey and we had to play cricket in the summer, so I quite like it. My husband is from Kent, so when Kent and Surrey are playing each other, things get a bit fraught!!

          1. That must be rather unusual? We had lacrosse/tennis in the summer and hockey in the winter. Cross country sadly went on all year round. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

              1. I think it had more to do with the ‘country’ being a ’round the roads’ experience, which evoked much hilarity from the locals – not to mention ‘encouraging’ remarks from the inmates at the Boys Grammar School.
                I should add that, in those long-gone days, our outfit consisted of a flimsy aertex blouse and a pair of navy blue knickers (with a handkerchief pocket). Wonder what the PC brigade would have to say about that, these days!!!

              2. We played lacrosse in the winter…never could get the hang of it! I’d be running along ‘cradling’ only to find the ball had mysteriously disappeared from the net thingy several yards ago. I’d much rather have played hockey, but we never had that option…now netball!…..that was another story altogether. Never had the pleasure of cross country…I don’t think they dared let us out to rampage around the peaceful North downs!

                1. Netball, YES! Hockey – forget it – far to hard on the shins, what with that wretched puck and a welter of enthusiastic girls wielding sticks at it. I found it best to grab a left or right wing tabard and proceed to run up and down on the fringes of the melee looking very busy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

                  1. Ahh yes those gym knickers. Delightfully warm.

                    Hockey was OK. Play fast out on the wing or play dirty in the centre.

                    Completely agree about netball though. Adored it.

                    1. Once the knickers had seen better days my dear old Mum used them as dusters! She reckoned they were really good for the job – I was always a little worried about the whole idea. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  26. Thank you to Deep Threat for the hints. Recognised one of the cricket umpires as Billy Bowden. Can anyone tell me who the other umpire is ?

  27. Typical Friday fare from the Don, I thought. Not too difficult and the obscure proper nouns gettable from the wordplay or anagram fodder. 27a was new one for me and I had to look him up (my knowledge of music that lacks guitars can be written on the back of a postage stamp – with a paintbrush). 25 d would be my top trump. Many thanks to DT for filling me in with why 1a was what it had to be and a thoroughly comprehensive (is that tautologous?) review. And thanks too to the Don for making me feel clever again after yesterday’s effort put my brain through the Moulinex.

    In other news, the hand has recovered enough for strumming to resume – all I have to do now is re-learn everything I used to know after six months’ inaction.

    1. I wonder whether the same will apply to the golf?
      By the way – Lake Wobegon Days is being despatched as I write. I’ll keep you posted!

    2. Good to hear Tsrummrer. I didn’t want to ask about your hand, which is ridiculous. You’ll pick it back up soon enough. Guitar is a difficult instrument, I’ll stick with piano. A forgiving instrument.

      1. Hanni, I’ve been playing guitar for more than 50 years and I’ll never be as good as my youngest son, who hasn’t. He’s good on the piano, too. I’m not

  28. To my shame, the French writer fell when I got the last checker in 2d.
    The anagram in 27a took a few trials.
    Didn’t understand the second part of 14d.
    13a was seen in the toughie too.
    It was my favourite then and it is my favourite now.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  29. One of the rare days when I had to resort to hints. I don’t mind the occasional obscure word to expand ones vocabulary, and I don’t mind the occasional name to expand ones general knowledge. But both in the same clue, 1a, I think is bordering on unfair.
    Likewise with 27a where even when you have all the checkers and have parsed it correctly it’s flipping difficult to get the answer if you’ve never heard of the person. On the other hand, I enjoyed the audio clip immensely so maybe I should find out more about him!
    Thanks to DT for the informative and helpful review, and thanks to Giovanni for his efforts but this was not one that enjoyed I’m afraid.

  30. Found this difficult again, seriously out of touch with these compilers! Baffled by 22d.

  31. Probably coming to this far too late to get an answer, but how does parsing of 13a work? I’m thinking PR+FIT+EER, in which case where does the O come from? Otherwise I’m similar to others – didn’t know tree in 1a so whilst guessed at name, couldn’t justify (& not helped by fact I’d also made ‘in for ac’ mistake in 3d) and didn’t consciously know composer in 27a though seemed like the most likely anagram so maybe I did know somewhere at the back of my mind… Loved 4d

  32. thanks Gazza also – impressed 2 people came so promptly to my aid so late in the day! Couldn’t find when googled “PRO publicist” etc – I see it comes up on searching “pro public relations” though…

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