DT 27859 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27859

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27859

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

This is the type of puzzle that turns up regularly on a Tuesday. It’s straightforward, the clues are all fair and most of the surfaces are meaningful but it all seems a bit mechanical and I end up feeling that there’s something missing – it’s like eating naan bread without a curry. 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 Row as spaceship advanced for oxygen (6)
RACKET – start with a spaceship, or more properly the carrier that takes it out of the Earth’s orbit, and replace the chemical symbol for oxygen with the abbreviation for advanced.

4a Page in small book shows butter knife, for example (8)
SPREADER – insert the abbreviation for page between S(mall) and a book used by students.

9a Shrewd to include an early king of England (6)
CANUTE – an adjective meaning shrewd or astute contains AN (from the clue).

10a Sprang up to deliver receptacle for flowers, as trophy? (8)
ROSEBOWL – a charade of a verb meaning sprang up and  a verb to deliver (at cricket) a receptacle for displaying cut flowers. I did at first think that the trophy referred to the annual American Football extravaganza but that seems to be spelt 4,4, so I think that this is just an example (hence the question mark) of a trophy awarded for success. (Thanks to oddjob for correcting the wordplay) The definition is ‘receptacle for flowers’ and it can also be used as a trophy.

11a Chap, one I transported across island in ancient land (9)
PHOENICIA – an anagram (transported) of CHAP ONE I goes round I(sland).

13a Correspond with supporter after end of test (5)
TALLY – a supporter or colleague follows the end letter of test.

14a Put off speech about one in decline (13)
DETERIORATION – a verb to put off or dissuade and a formal speech contain the Roman numeral for one.

17a Learn about what is going on round a track and avoid being caught (3,4,4,2)
GET AWAY WITH IT – start with an informal phrase (3,4,2) meaning to learn about what is going on or bring oneself up-to-date with the latest trends and insert A (from the clue) and a track or route.

21a Some from a hallowed place in Nebraska (5)
OMAHA – hidden in the clue.

23a Ran estate in eccentric way breeding aardvarks, say (9)
ANTEATERS – an anagram (in eccentric way) of RAN ESTATE.

24a One who judges animals, tailless kind (8)
ASSESSOR – hoofed animals followed by a word meaning kind or type without its tail letter.

25a Put a stop to hoax? Endless nonsense (6)
KIBOSH – a verb to hoax or tease without its final letter is followed by an informal word for nonsense or foolish talk.

26a Wall hanging records trial (8)
TAPESTRY – a verb meaning records on an old-fashioned medium is followed by a trial or test.

27a Free Turkish commander back in Moroccan port (6)
AGADIR – string together a verb to free or purge and a Turkish commander then reverse (back) it all.

Down Clues

1d Instructions: put boiled rice on edges of plate (6)
RECIPE – an anagram (boiled) of RICE precedes (on, in a down clue) the outer letters of plate.

2d A leader in Turkey supporting deception over line in pact (9)
CONCORDAT – A and the leading letter of Turkey follow (supporting, in a down clue) a deception or hoax and a line or string.

3d Put out mischievous text about elected Conservative (7)
EXTINCT – the answer is an adjective meaning put out or no longer alight. It’s an anagram (mischievous) of TEXT containing an adverb meaning elected and C(onservative).

5d Leading player waving to organist after start of pastorale (11)
PROTAGONIST – an anagram (waving) of TO ORGANIST follows the starting letter of pastorale.

6d Choose artist to portray complex Greek girl (7)
ELECTRA – string together a verb to choose or pick and the usual abbreviation for a recognised artist to get the name of a princess from Greek mythology who had a complicated family life.

7d Funny turn after onset of dizziness (5)
DROLL – a verb to turn or rotate follows the first letter of dizziness.

8d Broadcasting about egg production? (8)
RELAYING – a preposition meaning about or concerning followed by the process of egg production from the viewpoint of the bird.

12d Ingratiate oneself to groom with act of kindness (5,6)
CURRY FAVOUR – charade of a verb to groom a horse and an act of kindness or ‘good turn’.

15d Up for a swing instrumental? (2,3,4)
IN THE MOOD – double definition, the first meaning ready and keen to get involved.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d Rating on manoeuvres in the dark (8)
IGNORANT – an anagram (manoeuvres) of RATING ON.

18d Swears violently catching second fish (7)
WRASSES – the plural of fish can be fishes but it can also be fish. An anagram (violently) of SWEARS contains (catching) S(econd).

19d Male circle welcoming a trial (7)
HEARING – a male pronoun and a circle contain (welcoming) A.

20d Queen of Persia protected by Xerxes there (6)
ESTHER – according to Jewish belief this was the queen of the Persian king Xerxes. Her name is hidden (protected) in the clue.

22d Old author a model set up (5)
AESOP – we finish with a very old chestnut. Start with A (from the clue) then reverse (set up, in a down clue) a verb to model or sit.

The clues which I liked best were 17a and 12d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: BEAST + ROSE = BISTROS


104 comments on “DT 27859

  1. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. Would totally agree with Gazza’s rating. Puzzle seemed to lack sparkle. Last in was 1a. Favourite was 25a. Was 1*/2* for me. Sunny today in Central London.

  2. Ouch – that was a bit harsh, Gazza! I found it rather enjoyable, despite the first read through putting the GK sensors on alert. In the event, I found I could ’17a’ it by virtue of the wordplay and checkers.
    The only slight hesitation came at 3d – not a regular usage of the word, perhaps?
    1.5*/3* for me with the podium list comprising 14&26a plus 12&15d. Maybe I’ll give the nod to 15d for making me smile. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza – I hope I’m not the only one to disagree with your ‘enjoyment’ rating!

    1. I find all crosswords to be enjoyable with only a few exceptions – otherwise why would I do them? (I admit some do get under my skin!). I suppose it is just a matter of a relative estimate.

      I did find this one quite straightforward, 1* for difficulty, and I would rate it as at least 3* for enjoyment so I am in agreement with you on that.

  3. It’s such a welcome change to solve a straightforward crossword every now and then.
    The toughie is along the same lines and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
    Favourite is 9a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Hi JL,
      Thanks for the recommendation. Still waiting for a few light bulb moments in the SW corner but most enjoyable thus far. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    2. Oh dear – crossed the Toughie finishing line and raced to look at the blog……..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      I know you wouldn’t declare a ‘rest day’ without extremely valid reasons, BD – you’ve given us all this wonderful blog and I for one accept your decision without reserve.

  4. 2*/2.5*. Not difficult and moderately enjoyable but a bit lacklustre.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  5. I would go a tad above Gazza for difficulty and rate this 1.5/2. I think the enjoyment quotient is often determined by the complexity of the puzzle rather than the time in which you can complete it. Personally I get very little pleasure in charging through a puzzle in record time, a la Inspector Morse, ( though that is a rare occurrence). A top crossword should surely be that perfect balance of fair clueing and comprehensible answers – nothing too obscure but equally nothing too simple.

    1. I agree with you about getting little enjoyment from charging through a puzzle. I don’t compete against the clock and often get diverted into checking out something interesting or novel in a clue before returning to the puzzle. Enjoyment for me comes from the d’oh moment of a well-disguised definition, a cleverly constructed clue or a humorous surface. Probably that’s why I don’t enjoy Quick or GK crosswords.

      1. Well said gazza…we don’t enjoy the quickies and GK’s either. Even though today was a bit of a breeze, it didn’t spoil the enjoyment. So we’d say * for difficulty but bump it up a notch to *** for entertainment.

      2. ‘Quick’ usually takes a hell of a lot longer than the DT cryptic as there are often too many possibilities. At least with our cryptic there should only be the one answer.

    2. I agree with you and gazza about there being no enjoyment in whizzing through a crossword in as fast a time as possible – it’s not a race and I never time myself.
      On the other hand as far as I’m concerned Morse can do no wrong!

      1. I find that if I ‘race’ thru a puzzle then I’m left with several bottles of beer left , the drinking of which I would find hard to justify to Mrs S as it is usually a case of – “I’ll just have another while I solve the rest of the crossword.”

        p.s. on Sunday we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary so I must be doing something right.

        1. In that case, I would imagine your difficulty stars are pretty much congruent with your enjoyment ones!

          It also sounds like a good reason to do the Toughies :).

  6. I’m going one star above both of gazza’s ratings so 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment.
    I wasn’t too keen to begin with but it’s grown on me.
    1 and 11a and 2d were my last answers – could see that 11a was an anagram but took ages to get it.
    I liked 17 and 24a and 12d. My favourite was 5d – it was a good anagram and the clue made sense.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.

  7. Thanks to the setter for giving me a puzzle I could actually manage – with delight! 1a was my last one in. And thank you to Gazza for both hints as well as including the delicious sounds of 15d, so that has to be my favourite. I’ll now slip into something gossamer light, and call for a mint julep on the Terrace…

  8. I found it a bit more difficult than one star.I think I should really do cryptics later in the day when the brain , such as it is , works a little better.
    I liked 15 d best.Also nice to be reminded of a holiday in Agadir , long ago, though I wouldn’t go there now.
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  9. Nice straightforward puzzle sometimes you need to just “unscramble” the brain. Last one in 20d
    Thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron.
    Watching weather to see if ok to venture onto the Briney.

  10. Very similar to yesterday’s puzzle in terms of the degree of challenge, i.e. everything went in fairly smoothly and with no real hold-ups.

    The US city in 21a made another regular appearance, and because I’ve never seen it in a crossword before, my vote for favourite goes to 25a. I liked the constructions used in 1a and 3d.

    I think “mechanical” was a rather harsh adjective to use in describing the puzzle, but I accept there were few if any “d’oh” moments. I feel that the established mix of easyish early week puzzles and more difficult Thursday/Friday ones works really well though, and long may it continue.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  11. Who are all these people ‘whizzing’ through cryptic crosswords. Chance would be a fine thing as far as we’re concerned. Today’s was good for us and we didn’t need the hints, and we don’t time ourselves. If we can do them, we enjoy them and if we can’t, we don’t. Thank you to the Tuesday setter and to Gazza.

    1. Sorry Sheila – I suspect I was the one who mentioned ‘whizzing’. What I actually meant was trying to do a cryptic crossword in as short a time as possible, i.e. noticing what time it is when you start and when you finish and constantly trying to beat your own record – I have to say that would feel rather pointless to me. I didn’t mean to offend anyone and, trust me, I certainly never do crosswords quickly.

      1. I don’t set out to whizz – I sit down and solve the crossword – I time the Telegraph solves for blogging/star rating purposes and the Times for ‘training’ purposes. Sometimes I’m quick, sometimes medium and sometimes slow and occasionally I don’t finish a puzzle at all – but I get the same enjoyment and entertainment either way. I’m a fast reader – I have people who won’t go round museums with me because they get fed up with me saying ‘Ah’ or ‘Oh’ before they are halfway through the description. I’m also a very fast typist and in my heyday had a mean shorthand speed too.

        1. I couldn’t whizz if I tried – you don’t even need to try – you just do! I know how long you take to do the average crossword because, although I’ve never asked you directly (not sure that I’d dare!) I have asked others how long it takes you. I never time anything and wouldn’t dream of doing anything for ‘training’ purposes. I’m so not competitive and it would probably stop me enjoying crosswords – something that I’m really not in a hurry to do. I’m also a very fast reader and a very fast (although, these days terribly inaccurate) typist. Could do shorthand (Pitman’s) at a pretty good speed too but didn’t use it for long enough to remember much now.
          I suppose my question is do you enjoy the crossword while you’re doing it or is that only possible in retrospect?

          1. Ah – good old Mr. Pitman.
            Repeat after me – pee ,bee, tee, dee, chay, jay and NEVER forget the importance of the ‘-shun hook’.
            Sound vaguely familiar?

            1. For God’s sake, did you really, really have to bring up those memories? I shudder.

              1. What makes me shudder is the recollection of our tutor, Miss Coulson. Poor lady must have had something badly wrong with her feet and went everywhere wearing a large pair of men’s carpet slippers. Despite that, you could always hear the pounding of her footsteps reverberating along the corridors of ‘Miss Wilkinson’s Academy for Gentlewomen’.
                Fearsome, fearsome lady. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

            2. Mr Pitman. There was a time I would have gleefully slit his throat. I had to learn shorthand (at the age of 26) with a bunch of 16-year-old girls at the tech college. They were all better than me, but their skills are now largely redundant, while I still use it every day, and what a boon it is. No one except me can read it, though, and sometimes I even baffle myself, but I wouldn’t be without it. A most useful tool.

          2. I do enjoy it while I solve it because I put rings round the clue numbers that are my favourites and/or have that certain je ne sais quoi, as I go alog – and yes most days I do have several Os.

  12. Back in cloudy Macclesfield…
    There were clues I liked with good surface today

    13a (correspond with supporter..)
    25a (put a stop to hoax)
    5d (leading player waving to organist)
    7d ( funny turn after onset of dizziness)

    At first I thought “in eccentric way breeding” (23a) was overkill as an anagram indicator, but I guess breeding is a link word to the answer.

    Many thanks Mr Ron and gazza

    And the toughie is a lovely puzzle by Excalibur, not too hard with beautiful surface readings ( although she sometimes gets a little yoda-like) – do try!

  13. 10a and 25a both caused me problems, so ** for difficulty, otherwise all very enjoyable…

  14. This was fine and certainly not 1* difficulty, for me at least. I’d gently push back about the lack of fun in being being able to speed through a crossword: 1*/4* or even 1*/5* is quite possible IMHO. I’m not sure about the connection with quick crosswords, particularly the DT one: I get satisfaction from spotting the pun without actually filling the grid in… ah well… we’re all different. 3*/3* for me. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the hints (which I needed)

  15. Thanks BD for letting us know there will be no toughie blog today.

    There are times when I find the Yoda-like style of Excalibur frustrating, however today I was impressed by elegant surface readings. This is the wrong page but there is no other, so I will quickly say that 11a made me laugh, and I enjoyed the elegance of 14a, 20a, 26a, 29a, 30a, 7d, 15d, 18d, 22d, and 24d. I liked the clever &lit ( all in one) clues 15d and 18d,

    Do try, and make up your own mind.

    I did think that in 28a, Killer should be Killing to correct a noun/adjective thing.

    1. Hi Dutch,
      Thought 8,20 & 23a plus 6&18d were very good (particularly 20a when I finally saw the parsing!).
      28a worked for me – a disease may well be referred to as a ‘killer’ in which case it would certainly be fatal, would it not?
      The one I took issue with was 16d – I don’t see that pleasant=ingratiating.

      I did enjoy it but – as commented above – I respect BD’s reasons for not posting a review.

      1. I’m also completely happy that BD has his views, wouldn’t want it any other way, this blog needs to have freedom of speech.

        I think killing would work equally well and it resolves the awkward if not plain illegal killer (noun) clueing lethal (adjective)

        Yes, pleasant is a loose synonym, and I’m not a fan of loose definitions.

        1. I bow to your superior knowledge, Dutch, but it does seem that ‘killer’ can also be used as an adjective.

            1. Ah thanks – superior knowledge bosh, clearly I often get stuck in thinking ruts and need you guys to put me straight

  16. I think a **/** is fairer, if only for 25a,yes all agreed straight forward, but I thought the cluing was good and overall ok for a Tuesday.
    Had time on my hands for a change so like Dutch went on to the toughie .After the solve went onto Big Daves blog to see what sort of review it would be given, but obviously there is some past history here and no blog ! I can,t make a comment on the toughie site, and am not sure if a review will eventually arrive? anyway a **/*** for me.

    1. If the blogger who promised to send in a review does so then I will update the post. I have no intention of solving the puzzle myself.

  17. Somewhat similar to yesterday’s for me.

    First pass got a11 (though unsure of correct spelling),13,14 and d1,3 (subject to 11a) 6,7,13,16,20 and 22. Second pass got a9,10,21,23,24,26 and d5,8,15. So eight to solve – a tidy start for me even with the spelling issue.

    4a and 17a went in before having to engage grey matter. 2d (not fully sure why) and 1a then a wrangle. Eventually figured 18d (helped by two boys who I asked if they’d check on their new fangled telephones whether Google might recognise such an apparently bizarre word…).

    Another hold up chiefly due to misreading my own writing of the first letter of 19d, then 27a and, finally 25a, which I didn’t fully understand but have now looked at the hint and see properly.

    I’d like to say one/three or something similarly flashy but the last four took me a good while so three/three it is. No real favourite although I rather liked 15d.

  18. Thank you, Setter. I did enjoy this one. Thanks to Gazza for the delightful accompaniment to 15d, which thoroughly elevated my mood, and for help with 1a and 3d. Favourite was 1d as the surface meaning tied in so closely with the answer, and conjured up a nice risotto.

  19. I thought “deliver” = “bowl” in 10a -Trophy is questioned as it is superfluous, but i’m probably wrong again.

    1. I think you’re probably right that the bowl comes from ‘to deliver’ – I never thought of that. Thanks, I’ll update the blog.

      1. Doubtless you’re both quite correct, but my way made the clue so much easier for those of us who almost NEVER think of cricketing terminology. I do, however, have a certain penchant for ‘silly mid on’ – you’d need to be extremely stupid to stand there, never mind just ‘silly’! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Could you ask jp if it’s doubtless or doubtlessly please. These adverby things always confuse us Comp boys.

  20. Having decided not to continue camping out at Edgbaston till next Wednesday, I have returned to the sanctuary of my conservatory to slurp a glass (or 2) of a very nice Pinot Grigio whilst completing today’s puzzle. I agree with Gazza that the ‘sparkle’ is not there in a competent puzzle with some perfectly acceptable clue constructions, albeit with a few ‘iffy’ definitions. However, I did enjoy it – with my favourite being 5d. So thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle and to Gazza for his usual excellent review.

    As said by other posters, today’s Toughie is quite do-able and has some good clues. The SW corner gave me a bit of grief and was my last part to complete. Maybe BD will allow comments/ hints to be posted for those that require a little help on the other thread http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. Glad you quit on the camping out, SL. My scouts assure me that the Real Ale bar is devoid of ale – real or otherwise – at the present time. Far better off with the Pinot Grigio anyway……..but that’s just a personal opinion!

  21. For some reason this took me a long time to get started but once I had the long across clues, things fell into place Ok. Just a small hold up because I Had convinced myself 11a was ‘Patagonia’…….no idea why as this is not an ancient country….and missed the anagram indicator completely. Anyway, I found it enjoyable and didn’t need the hints. I thought 23a, 6d, 12d and 1a were great clues. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for hints….I think 1*/3* fair rating…..perhaps I’ll give the Toughie a go as its a while since I’ve been able to finish one! Why do I keep having to put my name and email address in each time I open the blog? Never had to before! Another mystery of the Universe!

    1. Your name and email address are stored in a cookie on your computer – maybe you have changed your settings recently.

    2. Not to worry, Liz – I worked out the anagram (so I thought) and then worried that the answer wasn’t actually an island and I had an ‘e’ I didn’t know what to do with! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif
      Spelling, spelling…..

  22. I started. I finished all but 2d. No smiles. No dohs. A workaday puzzle. The best bit was Gazza’s picture of a fish.

  23. I enjoyed this, and certainly found it more than * for difficulty.
    There were quite a few good clues, but fave is 15d, probably because I love the music.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for his review.

  24. I enjoyed this, mainly because I could complete without hints, a rare treat so not surprised most of you guys found this quite straightforward. Funny how we all get different stuff. I got 10a, 11a quickly but 24a last in. Maybe should have held a mirror up to see the animal!! Thanks to setter and all bloggers for a fun read on my train home.

  25. Yes, the puzzle was gentle enough, but there were a few that caused some longish pauses for thought. As for sparkle – for me, Tuesdays are pretty lacklustre before we bring the crossword into it! Just one reason of many that I don’t give star ratings. Anyway, I agree with Silvanus that having a range of difficulties and styles is a good thing.

    I had to cheat to get 27a. Also had to look up the last bit of 25a – didn’t know bosh=nonsense. No other real hold-ups. The answer was easy enough to get, but I did need to check that curry = groom a horse, and have discovered that the answer started life as curry favell according to Chambers – or curry Fauvel according to everywhere else. It’s nice to learn something new.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for another excellent set of hints.

  26. Nice easy stroll through today but nothing earth-moving for me. Very quiet here today after yesterday’s masterpiece, re-read through it this morning to refresh my memory great fun especially MP’s avatar what ever next? Sad to see that there are those who do not like quickie or GK think I thinkmust be mad because I like crosswords full stop. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  27. P.S. 9a reminded me of the following clip. Which also mentions Midas, who we saw a couple of weeks ago (July 6th).

    1. Thanks for that silly little moment. Now I know why it was my favourite clue.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  28. Hello, many seem to find today’s quite straightforward, the contrary for me, could not have got close to complete without your thoughtful hints and tips. Feel frustratingly thick, thank you for the help.

    1. Don’t feel thick – it’s all to do with whether or not you’re on the right wave-length. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  29. I found this trickier than a 1* today… guessed some and needed the blog to check why they worked. Pretty quiet today Brian…

  30. I understand now.
    It’s Beginners Week.
    Welcome and good luck.
    Thanks Mr. Ron (never understand what that means) and Mr. Gazza for the review.

    1. When we first started commenting an unknown setter was always referred to as a Mysteron. We chose to personalize this by using the homophone Mr Ron. It seems to have stuck. Blame us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      1. Well, I didn’t know that one was down to you! No wonder it ‘stuck’ – nice one, 2Ks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  31. This was speedily finished without any hassle prior to a perfect day chez friends in warm sunshine at much improved Littlehampton (before the Summer mobs hit it) and including excellent fish lunch at East Beach Café. 1a last to go in as I failed to parse it so tossed up between “o” and “a” for the first vowel. **/***. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza particularly for the old-time 5d clip. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  32. Certainly not too challenging to solve but pleasant enough, so we are satisfied.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

      1. Oh goodness – I’d forgotten all about the porridge……maybe I made a deliberate attempt to put it right to the back of my mind?!!! However, I do now recall that we never found out who actually ate it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  33. I didn’t have any problems (for once) with today’s offering. I agree that there was nothing to get really excited about but it provided a pleasant enough challenge.
    2/3* over all and favourite clue I think is 25a just cos it’s not a word that one sees in a crossword that often.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review.

  34. Completely started up the wrong path with 4a. Small book, diary, butter, dairy. Got it. Just need to add the p from page somewhere, and I will get a knife!!! One day I might just get the hang of all this. Struggled through this one with lots of help, but did manage 5d and 15d which were my favourites. At least my Bridge playing went well this morning. Perhaps I should stick to numbers, but I can’t stand Sudoku.Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the much needed help.

  35. Well, 25a completely kiboshed me.
    Without that, this might have been a one pint puzzle.
    Do agree, there wasn’t a lot to curry favour here.
    Another puzzle with one clue missing to add to the tally, so no rosebowl for me!
    Am in the mood for a toughish killer suduko now. But might be a recipe for disaster.

    1. Hi John.

      I welcomed the other newcomers to the blog yesterday, but missed you because I’d put the blog away for the night. So, welcome from me. I love your pint = difficulty star system and like the idea of adopting a similar one … except that I generally solve over breakfast, so maybe not such a good idea!

      1. Breakfast? As a late riser, I never do breakfast. I do brunch, which is a mixture of breakfast and lunch. The 2Kiwis tried this the other day, but I don’t think they’ve quite got the hang of it yet

  36. Probably was in the mood this morning as encountered no difficulty in solving this puzzle. 1.5*/2.5*. Admittedly guessed 2d and needed Gazza’s review to parse it. Discovered that I had rocket instead of racket for 1a, oops! Liked 15d and 9a. Many thanks to Setter and Gazza.

  37. Seems I’m largely on my own in struggling with a few clues.

    The 1a type of clue almost always throw me which today made 3d difficult. I would never have got 25 across in a million years. I think of bosh to mean hit. I rarely get music related clues which meant 15d was lost on me.

    I enjoyed the rest of the crossword though. ***/*** for me today.

  38. I found this a bit of struggle in parts today, needed help with the ancient land, Greek girl and learnt a few words too. 25a needed a big hint. All in all enjoyable and experience giving.
    2.5*\ 3.5*
    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  39. Good enough, but not great and I found myself reliant on Gazza (again) to help me understand the thinking behind some of my answers (17a especially). I thought 18d was a bit of a stinker; whoever refers to fish in the plural like that? I’ve never heard an angler say, “I caught two salmons, or two cods, or two mackerels, or two trouts”, although, on reflection, I suppose you could say minnows or sticklebacks – but wrasses? Favourite contenders include 6d and 11a, but the yellow jersey goes to 15d, for reasons too salacious for a family blog. 1*/2*
    PS Note to Gazza: there’s nothing old fashioned about tapes. Although the technology is elderly, it still provides the best means of capturing the true essence of music. Digital recording compresses the sound, removing highs and lows, providing an inaccurate representation of what is being played.

  40. 2*/3* for me today. Never got the parsing for 25a but filled it in anyway. Thanks to setter and Gazza for picture of a wrasse.

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