DT 27862 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27862

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27862

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

Fans of mechanical puzzles, where you read the clue and then insert the answer, will love this one – but I’m not one of 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    Love very evident in pleasant young monk? (6)
NOVICE: O (love) and V(ery) inside an adjective meaning pleasant

4a    Pound made of metal almost entirely, right? (6)
NICKER: this somewhat dated slang term for a pound sterling is derived from most of a metallic element followed by R(ight)

8a    Getting stale and falling asleep? (5,3)
GOING OFF: two definitions

10a    Arrogant knight enters covered in muck (6)
SNOOTY: the chess notation for a knight inside an adjective meaning covered in muck from a fire

11a    Foul and wicked, beginning to end (4)
VILE: start with an adjective meaning wicked and move the first letter to the end of the word

12a    Rodent running around poet’s sheets (10)
TARPAULINS: the reversal (running around) of a three-letter rodent followed by a Northern Irish poet and the S from ‘S – have you ever heard of this poet? Or have I missed something

Is this really poetry?

Our aim – no mine –
was to slash the badger
(that’s such bad language)
but we hit a real one
on the road to Drumquin…

13a    Area east of city or town  in which one may sit (12)
CHESTERFIELD: – an area of land to the right (east) of an English city gives a town which gives its name to a heavily padded sofa

16a    They may examine houses, say, going into each toilet (6,6)
ESTATE AGENTS: a verb meaning to say inside EA(ch) and a male toilet

20a    Sweetheart having fling — I’d err terribly (10)
GIRLFRIEND: an anagram (terribly) of FLING I’D ERR

21a    Prod  sack — one with pig in? (4)
POKE: two definitions – a verb meaning to prod and a dialect word for a sack or bag, usually only seen in the expression “a pig in a ****”

22a    Island to leave by boat possibly (6)
TOBAGO: a two-letter verb meaning to leave preceded by an anagram (possibly) of BOAT

23a    Threatened punishment? Son accepts it can upset (8)
SANCTION: SON around (accepts) an anagram (upset) of IT CAN

24a    Tamper with  instrument (6)
FIDDLE: two definitions

25a    Change one’s mind with respect to hypocritical talk (6)
RECANT: A two-letter word meaning with respect to followed by some hypocritical talk


1d    Primitive tools abandoned in hostel (8)
NEOLITHS: an anagram (abandoned) of IN HOSTEL

2d    Way to avoid a scene of action (5)
VENUE: – a way or road without (to avoid) the initial letter A (from the clue)

3d    Laugh and talk regularly during dull task (7)
CHORTLE: the odd letters (regularly) of T[a]L[k] inside (during) a dull task

5d    Establish home overlooking country (7)
INSTATE: the usual two-letter word meaning home followed by (overlooking) a country or nation

6d    Information pack’s final component currently on shelf (9)
KNOWLEDGE: the final letter of [pac]K followed by a word meaning currently and a shelf

Especially for Miffypops, a quote from Frank Zappa:

“Information is not [insert the answer].
[insert the answer] is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST.”

7d    Reprimand baddie (one no good) (6)
RATING: a baddie followed by I (one) and NG (no good)

9d    The fears for discarded predecessors (11)
FOREFATHERS: an anagram (discarded) of THE FEARS FOR

14d    Musicians need blast to be blasted (5,4)
STEEL BAND: an anagram (to be blasted) of NEED BLAST

15d    Post elsewhere for police job (5-3)
STAKE-OUT: a post or pole followed by a word meaning elsewhere

17d    Disturbance in posh room with work going on outside (7)
TURMOIL: the usual single-letter for posh and R(oo)M with some work around it

18d    A daughter in time of fast — ultimately she hardly cooked at all! (2,5)
AL DENTE: the A from the clue followed by D(aughter) inside a period of fasting and then the final letter (ultimately) of [sh]E

19d    Why is snooker player having a problem? Inside info here (3-3)
TIP-OFF: this would be a problem if it happened to the cue of a snooker player

21d    Ex-PM requires a particular sort of bread (5)
PITTA: the surname of an old Prime Minister, whose father held an equivalent post before him, followed by the A from the clue

Deep Threat will be unavailable for several Fridays, starting today.

115 comments on “DT 27862

  1. I thought this was straightforward for a Giovanni with the bottom half being a write-in and the top-half taking a bit longer to organise. I found it enjoyable enough, with thanks to BD and Giovanni 1.5*/3*

  2. Well, it kept me occupied this morning, although it was easier than the last two days. I wondered about the poet for 12a. My favourite had to be 13a, but I do live there!

  3. I agree with Big Dave not the best puzzle, I still don’t see 12a obscure to say the least.
    Maybe it’s just the way my brain is wired or not as the case may be. Rating for me **/** but thanks to Big Dave, here’s to Saturday Prize Cryptic.
    What idiot said that the weather was improving so sailing might be an option, lots of rain and mist some wind but squally. Ho hum always the weekend.

  4. Why thank you Mr Big Dave. I saw frank Zappa on September 14th 1973 at The Empire Pool Wembley. Such a good guitarist.

    1. I never got to see him, but I love his music. A lot of it makes me laugh, but he was great technically.

    2. I have a vinyl box set called Shut up and Play Yer Guitar, which is hours (!) of live instrumental recordings. It’s one for the purists (me) and it’s brilliant. Never saw home though, sadly. “Don’t you go where the huskies go/And don’t you eat that yellow snow”

  5. Very unusually for a Friday, this was R&W for me, and I might have been tempted into hat eating again today as there were swathes of white space in the clue columns and almost no obscurities. The main giveaway that this was a Giovanni puzzle was the extremely obscure poet in 12a.

    Thanks to setter and to BD.

    1. If the quote I dug up is typical then that would explain why he is obscure.

      Give me John Cooper Clarke any day:


      Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.
      Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend.
      You give me the horrors
      too bad to be true
      All of my tomorrow’s
      are lousy coz of you.


      What kind of creature bore you
      Was is some kind of bat
      They can’t find a good word for you,
      but I can…


      1. My favourite JCC (among many):
        The burger bar around the bend
        Where the meals, thank Christ, are skimpy,
        For you that’s how the world will end
        Not with a bang, but a Wimpy.

        He also wrote my favourite haiku:
        To convey one’s mood in seventeen syllables
        Is very diffic

        He has never been published, although he is on the GCSE English syllabus with one poem: I wanna be yours
        I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
        Breathing in your dust, I wanna be your Ford Cortina
        I will never rust etc etc

        The only other “literary” Ford Corina I know came from the brilliant mind of the late Ian Drury, but that’s not suitable for reproduction on a family website

    2. Tom Paulin is NOT an obscure poet. The fact that I don’t think he’s a very good one shouldn’t detract from the fact that he is widely respected in poetry circles, although, in my view, he got there on the coat tails of Seamus Heaney. He is about as big it as it gets among late 20th century British odesmiths

  6. Good morning.

    I found this puzzle a little dull, possibly partly reflecting an unusually early visit to the caff today.

    The 14 solutions required after two passes seemed to go in steadily enough before a slight hold up with five left. 4a,7d and 10a went in.

    I looked at the final two for five minutes before electing to quit. I couldn’t see beyond one possible ‘solution’, that made no sense, for 15d and so was stupidly foxed by 21a which I see would have become clear had I solved 15d…

    Favourites were probably 12a and 16a. I wasn’t keen on 7d and, particularly, 17d.

    Three/two for me.

  7. I always follow the comments here with interest — they add to the feedback I get from amateur friends .Naturally I enjoy the banter but take some of what is written with a cellar full of salt I don’t regard Tom Paulin as obscure, at all — he has often been on Newsnight with his strong Ulster voice and I would know about him even if I didn’t live in Oxford. I always thought of crossword solvers as having a wide interest in words, but there you are!

    Of course one can never get a level of difficulty that suits everyone and for many the Telegraph will always bee too near the entry level for solvers ( which is why we have the Toughie aimed more at The Times solvers). Today is an extreme example — one star from your reviewer ( a very experienced solver) and five stars on the Telegraph crossword website (heaven knows what that really means or how it is calculated). I am sure that my long-standing old friend Gordon will tell me on Sunday that he found it about right!

    For those of you within earshot of Radio Oxford (Kath maybe) I will be on at 3pm this afternoon. In the meantime lunch, and do talk among yourselves. Greetings to all!

    1. Hell Don. Thanks for dropping by. I would rather see an obscure(for me) poet than the overused Dryden or Browning anyday. If the wordplay is fair (as it is at 12ac) it does not take much checking. I like the obscure words you use and the religeous references. If the toughies appeared on my ipad I would do them rather than the back pagers, but they do not.

      1. Given some of the drivel that does appear in the online DT, I agree that to include the Toughie would be a real plus. Sorry but I agree the poet is very obscure and judging by the dreadful verse above, I pray he remains that way! But hey, that’s only my opinionhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

    2. Personally, I applaud you for getting that poet’s surname into an answer IN ITS ENTIRETY…for your cheek, if not your intellect…..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_razz.gifWouldn’t it be a challenge to do a whole puzzle where every answer had that requirement? No? Oh, all right then…

      Anyway, I do remember Tom P from the BBC late night review show a few years back and I also remember shouting at the screen when he was at his most pretentious. Did he ever turn up in Pseud’s Corner? Not somewhere you are likely to find Cooper Clarke (although he may have been found in a few skips…)

      1. I agree that Paulin could be very annoying on the Newsnight review panel but he did often wind up Germaine Greer, so he wasn’t all bad.

    3. I accept that the DT is a British publication and thus quite understandably has British references, but living outside of the UK, I had never heard of Paulin. But I did manage to solve the clue in any case but had to resort to Google to try to figure out the wordplay. For quite a while I rejected this answer because I could not understand where the poet came in.

      It is nice, though, when GK is broader than just the UK, in my opinion.

      1. I’ve lived in the UK for many a long year and hadn’t heard of him either!

      2. Don’t make the assumption that all UK folk know the man, George. I can promise you that a lot of us were just as much in the dark. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      3. I have to stick my hand up. I have heard of him. Mind you its not a surprise when I let you know he was one of my tutors at university.

        1. I remember you well – you used to do the Monday hints when I first found this brilliant blog (well, I think, it was Mondays) I hope that all is OK with you. Maybe you could start commenting – just as a commenter rather than doing hints – a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif from me.

          1. Hi Kath, I did ask the question earlier about what was said on your local BBC Radio station by Mr Manley today,,,,, perhaps you could enlighten me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

            Was it enjoyable?

            1. Et al,
              Thanks for the comments, all is fine. I do read the blog regulary, but only comment if I think I have something to say. Miffypops – for my sins I have blogged Friday, Thursday and Monday in the past. TTFN

      4. Me too , never heard of the fella , but I am sure we have knowledge in other areas that some of the other commentators don’t have ; still having now seen some of his work I don’t think I’m missing much .I prefer Mike Gary and Cooper – Clarke
        Actually put ” tarpauling ” as my original answer

    4. Thanks for dropping in Don. I’ve never understood the difficulty ratings on the telegraph puzzles site – toughest toughies get 1 star and nice easy back pagers get 5 stars.

    5. Of course I had heard of Paulin.
      Who hasn’t?
      He was often on the BBC Newsnight Arts Review programme on Friday nights.
      And is frequently on TV.

    6. Very good of you to drop in Don. You are one of my favourite setters, but I must take issue with you on a couple of points: I do not regard myself as “entry level”, having been doing the DT crossword for more years than I care to remember, but I generally prefer the back-pager to the Toughie, not because it’s easier (because sometimes it isn’t), but because the clues almost always scan better, whether straightforward, or more complex. For instance (random selection). Today you gave us “They may examine houses, say, going into each toilet”; easy, but brilliant. Compare this recent Toughie clue, which just happens to be on my coffee table: “Gloomy Cardinal turned up half of beds, then got up”. Perfectly solveable, but there’s no joy there. It’s just inelegant (and shouldn’t have a hyphen in two thirds, it’s not adjectival). Rant over. Keep up the good work

  8. R & W for me in the South and then slowed a bit in the North but no big deal in the end. Actually quite enjoyed this walk in the park. 21a raised a giggle. Thank you Giovanni and BD for being on hand in case of need. I discover poet included in 12a is Irish (Tom ——) born in 1949. (Edit: have only just read your comment at No. 5 BD plus others) ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  9. Not quite R&W for me owing to a couple of hold ups with 1d & 4a.

    Missed the anagram indicator in 1d and, once the answer became obvious, lack of knowledge in that area made me think that the answer related to the people rather than their implements so I couldn’t see where ‘tools’ came into it (thank you Mr. Google!).

    First checker in for 4a was the ‘K’ which set me wandering off down the route of OK for ‘right’. Bad move!

    Got more enjoyment out of this than BD appears to have done – 1.5*/3* for me with a mention for 15&18d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, not least for ensuring that today’s obscure word was ‘guessable’, and to BD for manning the blog in DT’s absence. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Good morning Jane. As usual I agree with everything you say today. How is the weather up north? It is grey and mizzly here in Downtown LI so no outside chores for me today. Instead I will plan a little more of our holiday in September. To celebrate my birthday we are going from Downtown LI to Uptown LA. I am really looking forward it.

      1. I would very much like to believe that you concur with anything I say, MP, let alone everything – but somehow I doubt your sincerity! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

        As we’re sticking to weather reports, I can tell you that it’s dull and overcast here as well but the sea is calm, the little sailing boats are tootling happily along the Strait and the Puffin Island cruises are running to schedule.
        Having dealt with the back-pagers and decided that Elkamere would likely reduce me to tears without a few glasses of wine inside me, I’ve made a start on TS’s recommended reading of Garrison Keillor. Early days to give an opinion but, thus far, I’m having ‘wavelength’ issues and getting somewhat irritated by all the ** that refer you down to paragraph after paragraph of incidentals that seem to spoil the ‘flow’. Ah well – the Thurber was much enjoyed so I’ll battle on!

        1. I do I do I do Jane. 4ac was my last one in and I could not get Tinker out of my head, nor could I make it fit the clue.

          I only saw Tools as being used as an anagram at 1d and was searching for the other two letters

          I too okayed a clue but it was 6d not 4ac.

          We all enjoy Giovanni more than BD

          My earlier reply to The Dons post mentions the fairness of todays obscurity

          So agreement all the way. We are true soulmates today. It is for the best that there are many miles between us.

          Well done for not picking up on the Uptown LA.

        2. I hope you persist with GK, I believe he is worth it. BTW today, he announced that he is to retire from presenting The Prarie Home Companion radio programme that six million Americans love. It used to be on Radio 4 sometimes, too.

  10. Agree with Jon P that the bottom half was a write in and everything north of Chesterfield took some thought, it was a little different and agree With Jane’s 1.5*/3 *, from the examples given, wouldn’t be surprised if the poet wrote the script for Train Spotting or Mr Connolly’s jokes,- 11A seems apt.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, just my sort of crossword puzzle. Last in was my favourite which was 4a. Never heard of the poet in 12a but no matter, the answer was there. After yesterday, it was a real pleasure to sit down with this even if Miffypops did find me out!
    Thx to Giovanni for the puzzle and to BD for the hints though not needed today.

  12. Typical Giovanni puzzle – obscure poet and all – thanks to him and BD.

    I really popped in to ask if anyone else laughed out loud outside the newsagents when they saw today’s Matt cartoon? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Matt was brill (I employ a local Morrocan so he don’t charge much as he has 7 alcohol free days a week)

      1. Gosh – I once heard a rumour that there are seven feasible alcohol free days in a week – I didn’t believe it….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    2. Certainly did! There MUST be a chap like that somewhere in my village – maybe the one who gets up early to deliver the papers?

    3. It must be me in our village I am drinking the alcohol but I seem to be missing out on the payments for doing so

  13. Oh dear.
    Still, must be the last day of ‘Training Week’
    Looking forward to the real World, that is, the competition crossword tomorrow.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD
    (Something wrong with my iPad, there are no lovely illustration, as there usually are, in BD’s review)

  14. It is extraordinary that you quote Paulin , BD. I was sat beside him once , in Bewleys , in Grafton Street, many years ago.He and a fellow poet were going on and on about the vital nature of poetry to one’s life and to the continued existence of civilization as we know it.At that time I had two babies under two , was up to elbows in nappies and bottles, lacking sleep and just barely hanging in there. I interrupted their conversation to disagree with them strongly.I find it very satisfying to find out now that he is an awful poet. So thank you.
    Re the puzzle, I agree with you.

    1. Could cope with nappies and didn’t do bottles – the lack of sleep was the worst bit – if one the Lambs was asleep the other one wasn’t – they almost seemed to take it in turns and the only one who didn’t get a turn was me! Oh dear, and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif As for poetry – well, nothing could have been further from my mind and I’m glad you told them what it was like in the ‘real world’!

      1. Well ive got five, and used to read them Under Milk Wood and Fern Hill while rocking the cradle to get them to pass out. Poetry is not a vital part of life, but, for me, it sure helps – and still does. I have Marina Tsvetayava by my bed (in translation, unfortunately, as my Russian is a bit rusty) and she is a great late-night companion.

        1. It isn’t poetry I object to, it was these two guys congratulating themselves for being at the beating heart of all that is important. It was their smug drivel that provoked me.I also enjoy poetry , from Ovid to Yeats, Heaney , Kavanagh etc.

  15. Hello all

    Not done the crossie but I have a bit of web access so thought i’d drop in and say hello. In Phuket at the moment where it’s not as hot as Alicante but the humidity is unbelievable. I’m dripping http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    Off on boat tomorow which will be some fun. First night anchorage will be thebay where “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed. We vittled the boat today and I think there’s enough beer – 72 tins for three or perhaps four days? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    Anyway, shower and dinner beckon.

    See y’all soon

      1. No, the 72 have to do for both me and Henry (and he drinks 3 to my 2) so it is a bit of a worry. Still, there’s a case white wine and a litre of brandy so we should manage. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  16. I really enjoyed this today, which seems to put me in the minority! Being an engineer, I find pretty much all poets to be fairly obscure, so 12a was fine, in my humble opinion. Enjoyed 13a for obvious reasons, and this was my fav. Overall, this was great fun and a lovely puzzle, so thank you, Giovanni, and Big Dave for this excellent blog, even though I didn’t need hints today, which is a very rare occurrence. **/**** from me.
    Crete today is too hot, so I have had to curtail sunbathing. Only one day left, and then it’s the daily rail commute to Manchester again…… http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. NO sunbathing – oh, how my heart bleeds for you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif
      As for the commute – lady along the way from me does the same one, only she starts out from Anglesey. You expect sympathy?

    2. Your commute is probably quicker than the two hours it took me to get ten miles home tonight on public transport in the lashing rain

  17. A fine puzzle that was on the easy side, but still very enjoyable. I was surprised to see 13a as I had never heard of this term until I came to North America. I did not know it was used in Britain.

    1.5*/4* for me today. Thanks Giovanni and BD

    1. The piece of furniture was named after a 19th century British earl – possibly why we know it? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  18. */***

    Apart from guessing and later looking up 12a, it was a complete R&W. No pencils needed for anagrams, no hold ups whatsoever. I still found it enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the Don and to BD for blogging. Love the poem.

    Have a good weekend all.

  19. I’m assuming R&W is read and write? I’m very new to the blog so am still picking up the jargon. I’ve never heard of Paulin – fortunately, I think! – but I find part of the pleasure of cryptic puzzles is finding new words or meanings. I’ve learnt quite a lot over the years.

    1. yes, read and write – we try and be a jargon-free site, but do keep asking if there is some jargon that has slipped through. Welcome.

    2. Yes – you’re right about R&W – at least I think you are. It’s not something that I’ve ever had reason to W!

      1. Come on, Kath – R&W is easy! ‘Read’ the clue then ‘Write’ stuff all over the place. It’s Read and Answer that I often find difficult…….http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  20. I didn’t know the poet, looks like i haven’t missed much – but I had no issues with the clue.

    I liked 16a (they may examine houses…), can just see these people taking notes. I liked “Information pack’s..” (6d), and i liked 14d (musician’s need blast..) just because i like clues where the same word is repeated with different functions. I also quite liked the way the definition fit into the story in 18d (a daughter in time of fast…).

    Rat used twice, but no big deal.

    Many thanks Giovanni and BD for the poetry.

  21. An OK puzzle with some good clues…2d, 6d,17d,18d especially. I needed to be reminded of the slang term for a pound in 4a…I had ‘tinker’… Thinking that tinkers probably pounded when mending pots and that tin was the metal..just couldn’t account for the ‘k’ and the ‘e’in the rest of the clue. I have never heard of the poet in 12a…a bit unfair I thought although easily solveable. Also in 3d why does the clue give ‘talk regularly’ when it is the odd letters that are required (1st and 3rd) …should be ‘talk oddly’ ! Anyway I enjoyed it and it didn’t give me too much of a headache….2*/3* thanks to setter and BD for hints.

    1. Hi Liz,
      My take on it is that ‘regularly’ simply refers to a sequence – take a letter, miss a letter etc.

      1. Hi Jane. Yes I get your meaning, I suppose I’m being a bit too precise here, as there is no indication where the sequence starts, although it’s obvious there is no such word as chorake……..or is there??………

        1. Not sure about that one, Liz, but ‘chore ache’ is something I’m very familiar with!

      2. … and regularly doesn’t always mean every other letter. It means a regular pattern so it can mean, for example, every third letter.

  22. I don’t think I have ever marked a DT puzzle 1/1 but that reflects today’s rather unexciting fare. As for our poet, on the evidence of BD’s hint, I can only assume that this one was composed while still at primary school and scrawled on a toilet wall. Thanks anyway to our setter and of course BD for giving me a guilty laugh.

  23. I never find Friday crosswords easy – didn’t find today’s easy but it wasn’t as tricky as usual.
    Needless to say I’ve never heard of the poet – going by what I’ve read here today I don’t think I’m missing much but, having googled him to check his existence, he has got quite a nice face!
    If I’ve ever heard of 21a being a sack I’ve forgotten about it.
    I was pretty slow with the whole of the top right corner.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to BD.
    Very relieved that it’s raining – proper rain, the really wet kind and the first we’ve had since mid-May. No wonder the garden looks like a dust bowl.
    Might have to try the Toughie although I’m pretty sure that Elkamere on a Friday will make me cry!

        1. Hi Jane,
          I started on it last night after work after having read Christian Adams’ article you mentioned. Brought me back some good memories when playing with my mum.
          Anyway, that’s about how many clues I managed to solve before going to bed when usually I stop when I have about half. This morning yielded at least 3 or 4 more and pre lunchtime break the rest. I was still 6 short when I gave up.

        2. I’ve looked – got five and I’m not sure about one of those! Oh dear! Off to the ‘other place’ shortly if only to get a couple of hints to get me off the ground. See you there . . .

  24. Like the majority of people, I found the bottom half went in quite easily and the top half put up a bit of a fight. I also agree that the poet(?) in 12a was unbeknown to me and my trusty Chambers Crossword Dictionary – something which I always refer to for the names of authors, philosophers, poets and composers that I have not come across before.

    This is not because I am not well read, as Giovanni has hinted at in his post, but in all walks of life obscurities will always pop up. I can’t always tell my ‘clerestory’ from my ‘diaconicon’ , but I can answer questions on nuclear physics, boiler enthalpies and a whole lot more about engineering. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    So thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and BD for his review (sorry I couldn’t manage today, Fridays are busy days for me – maybe next week).

    BTW – my favourite clue was 16a.

    Today’s Toughie is not for the faint hearted IMHO.

  25. A couple of days ago, the quote was: Life is an adventure in forgiveness.
    I forgive you Giovanni for including a spanner in the works in all your crosswords.
    I forgive you BD for disliking reviewing some of the crosswords.
    In fact, I forgive everyone for their little quirks.
    Agree that today’s was a bit mechanical but it was a welcome break from the toughie which exhausted me.
    Thanks to all.

    1. BD’s blog got two mentions because a “Greenman” emailed – now, there’s a thing!

      1. Can someone tell me what was actually said about the blog, without having to listen to the whole Alex Lester show? Thanks http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Not all that much, other than the fact that it existed. He said that he set crosswords for almost all the national papers and tried to make the crossword suit the people who were likely to be doing it, i.e. the people who would buy that particular paper. He went on to say that there were lots of blogs around and mentioned BD’s. Then, a bit later on, Alex Lester said that a “Greenman” had been in touch and said just how many people had viewed the site since it had started.

          1. Thanks for that Kath – much appreciated. A question : Am I alone in thinking that Mr Manley’s comment on the blog today was a touch…………?

        2. No. It was all after the very beginning of the show. The Don mentioned 15squared (boring) and Big Dave’s site (Class) Alex Lester then mentioned Big Dave’s site again having over thirty million hits and asked if this was cheating. The Don was very kind and mentioned shared knowledge.

  26. Perhaps the clue involving Mr. Paulin would have attracted less criticism if he was better known as a poet than an erstwhile arts reviewer, but I suspect it’s at least ten years since his last regular TV appearance on Newsnight and therefore I think the term “obscure” is fully justified. Having said that, it didn’t prevent the clue being solved.

    Until today, I had always assumed (erroneously) that 4a was spelt with an initial “k”, so it was a surprise to learn otherwise!

    Like Shropshirelad, my favourite clue was 16a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Big Dave.

  27. I enjoyed today’s although I wouldn’t quite call it a R &W. Had to spend some time on one or two. Still a bit of a 1a myself, so happy that I could complete it without help. 13a favourite. My mother-in-law was brought up in the little house next to the church with the crooked spire, so we occasionally have a trip back. Just listened to the Don on Radio Oxford and good to hear that BD got a mention. Thanks to Giovanni for setting, and to BD for the review.

  28. Must admit that I enjoyed this one, which is unusual for a Giovanni. May be its because the old home town is taking centre stage. Favourite was 21a as it gave me a giggle. Never thought about this Paulin chap – just stuck the obvious answer in.

  29. A welcome gentle reintroduction to puzzling after a week of social high jinks. I made this 2*/3*, but then l’m a bit off the pace and obviously more easily pleased than some. I liked 18d (although personally l like my vegetables cooked). Ta to the Don, and to BD for the review.

  30. Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I quite enjoyed this, but didn’t find it a read and write. After the first pass I was 14 missing, but felt obliged to carry on as BD had only given it one star for difficulty. I got there in the end. Of course I had never heard of the poet, but if that quote was serious, then it was so awful, it was hilarious. Favourite was 6d,good ol’ Zappa. Last in was 7d. Was 2*/2* for me. Raining cats and dogs in Central London.

    1. Rain in Oxford has been more like “kittens and puppies” than “cats and dogs” in Oxford but still useful and much better than nothing.

  31. Certainly not a R & W for me but an enjoyable puzzle on the easy side. Although I did not know the poet for 12a, I managed to get the right answer. My last one in was 15d after I sussed out what 21a was – thought it was funny. Thanks to Giovanni for a ray of sunshine in a gloomy day and for BD for his review – needed to check a couple of my answers. 2*/4*. I always wondered what the DT rating of their puzzles meant. Would 1* be the toughest?

  32. The top right corner had me stymied for quite a while; I had dismissed the answer for 4a cos I was certain that it started with a K. D’oh! (and don’t mention Ernie!)
    I spent too long trying to make the Italian dance fit the ‘poet’s sheets’ and that didn’t help either.
    The rest of it was almost R&W, well, almost….
    3d was my fave; I just like the sound of the word. 2/3* over all.
    Thanks to Mr Manley and to BD for extra duties.

  33. Seeing BD’s one star I thought goodie I’ll be fine but it was not to be. Working up as usual I felt confident of a good result but it all fell apart at some stage. Never heard of poet but bunged answer in, lots of lovely guesswork which proved to be correct when I checked blog thanks to Giovanni and BD for exercising my ancient brain. Back to book. Have a nice weekend everybody. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  34. Too late for me to finish now. Back from seeing Ladysmith Black Mambazo – enormous energy and warmth. Now packing for work in the Lake District, and it looks like we’ll need our water wings next week. Thanks to the setter as well as BD. Greetings to all.

  35. This was on the less demanding side of the Don’s challenges, but it was an enjoyable romp with, for once, no obscurities and no religious GK posers that I often struggle with. But, all in all, a most elegant offering, as usual. I thought 16d was going to win my blue ribband but then I did 13a and it rose, like a second row forward at the line-out and snatched the spoils. Many thanks as ever to BD and the Don, who kindly popped in to puff his radio appearance – and good of him to puff this marvellous website while he was at it. 1*/4*

  36. “…and for many the Telegraph will always bee [sic] too near the entry level for solvers…” Gosh, how patronising is that?

  37. Just my sort of puzzle – not R&W for me but filled up the southern quadrants quite quickly. Thanks to Giovanni and Big Dave for entertaining puzzle and blog.

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