DT 27865 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27865

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27865

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I’ve got a pretty good idea as to the identity of today’s compiler (though I’m not going to spell it out in case I’m wrong). I thought this was quite tricky in places but I did enjoy it a lot. 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 Month with retired salesman in Irish county in holiday vehicle (6,3)
CAMPER VAN – the abbreviation for month is followed by the reverse (retired) of a short word for a salesman and all that goes inside a county which is in Ulster but which is not part of Northern Ireland.

8a What’s needed for morning, afternoon, evening? (5,2,3,3)
ORDER OF THE DAY – cryptically this could describe the sequence of morning, afternoon, evening. The definition means ‘something necessary’ as in ‘On Sundays a black suit used to be the ***** ** *** ***’.

11a Irritating glitch youngster concealed (5)
ITCHY – you can’t ask for a much clearer hint than the word ‘concealed’.

12a Characterising a current note young man turned over (5)
TIDAL – a note from tonic sol-fa followed by a young man reversed.

13a Spirit of gloom (5)
SHADE – two meanings, the first a literary term for a spirit or ghost.

16a Show off note about article from Dior, peut-être? (6)
FLAUNT –a musical note contains an indefinite article from the language of Christian Dior, for example.

17a A shoe anklet’s behind showing charm (6)
AMULET – string together A (from the clue), a backless shoe or slipper and the rear letter of anklet.

18a Local worthy chopping man’s tree (5)
ALDER – start with an elected or appointed local official in various jurisdictions (the title is still used in the City of London but no longer in most of the UK) and chop out MAN.

19a Particular  military group (6)
DETAIL – double definition, the second being a small detachment of troops given a special duty.

20a Discover boxing name in dazed state (6)
TRANCE – a verb to discover or unearth contains (boxing) the abbreviation for name.

21a Opening means in flat changed (5)
LATCH – our second hidden word.

24a Indian side needlessly discontented child’s guardian (5)
NANNY – side here is being used in its North American sense of a side order. Follow what you may order to accompany your Tandoori chicken with the outer (dis-contented) letters of needlessly.

26a Protrusion in horn after some internal adjustment (5)
BULGE – start with a 26d instrument and swap the order of two internal letters.

27a Normal conversation in place of business? (5,8)
STOCK EXCHANGE – charade of an adjective meaning normal or standard and a conversation or dialogue.

28a Reduce declaration describing refugee (9)
STATELESS – split 5,4 the answer could mean to reduce one’s verbal output.

Down Clues

2d Imitation of a set of exercises on tracks (5)
APERY – A followed by the abbreviations for physical exercises and tracks.

3d Cut a way through  group of stars (6)
PLOUGH – double definition, the second a group of seven stars also known as the Big Dipper.

4d Chubby tailless fish netted by angling device (6)
ROTUND – an edible fish without its final A (tailless) goes inside what an angler may use on the riverbank.

5d Watchful consort barring bachelor (5)
ALERT – drop the B(achelor) from the name of a Victorian consort.

6d A port’s certain to undergo change in delay (13)
PROCRASTINATE – an anagram (to undergo a change) of A PORT’S CERTAIN.

7d Pop star’s first to acquire position in field and fly (5-4-4)
DADDY-LONG-LEGS – start with another term for the individual that a child may call pop and the first letter of S(tar), then insert (to acquire) a cricket fielding position far from the wicket on the ‘on’ side.

9d Reserved daughter taken with famous poem I study in paper (9)
DIFFIDENT – the abbreviation for daughter is followed by the title of a famous poem by Kipling. After that we have to insert I and a study into the pink newspaper.

10d Mixed herb later required by one with partiality to rabbit? (9)
BLATHERER – an anagram (mixed) of HERB LATER.

13d Halt vehicle accidentally in part of market (5)
STALL – double definition, the first a verb to cause an engine to stop running accidentally (when trying to pull away from traffic lights, for example).

14d A Buddhist oddly avoided investigation (5)
AUDIT – A (from the clue) and the even (oddly avoided) letters of Buddhist.

15d Symbol of home hard to avoid in ground (5)
EARTH – remove the initial H(ard) from the area in front of a fireplace which is used as a symbol of one’s home.

22d View taken by a group of onlookers? Not half (6)
ASPECT – A and the first half of a group of onlookers (at a sporting event, for instance).

23d Abandon section of church overlooking hotel (6)
CANCEL – the bit of a church near the altar without (overlooking) the letter that Hotel is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

25d In which one could cruise with unknown rowers on Rhine? (5)
YACHT – a mathematical unknown followed by the German word (on Rhine) for the number in a full rowing crew.

26d Nerve of some players! (5)
BRASS – double definition, the second being one of the sections of an orchestra.

The clues which I liked best were 8a, 27a and 7d. How about you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: AFRO + DYE + TEA = APHRODITE


130 comments on “DT 27865

      1. I agree Brian and I can’t find a reference to the queen. However, Gazza was right; it is hard

  1. Like Gazza, I found parts of this tricky and enjoyed it too. Couldn’t see 7d but kicked myself after I’d used electronic assistance as I’ve been foiled by that answer before… Thanks to Gazza and setter ***/***

  2. Quite interesting to see that Gazza has chosen three of the longest answers as his picks for today and we totally agree with him as these were the last ones for us to parse. Would probably add 3d to the list as well. Good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  3. A difficult but enjoyable solve. Quite a few learning words for me, actually got 7d by looking at the check letters and then noticing the definition single word !. Found I had got the answers but couldn’t work out the word play in quite a few.

    Liked 3d, 25 d, 23d and 21a most.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza !

    A challenge – 4*/3.5*

  4. Wow that was tough! One of those that you don’t fully understand the clue until you have the answer. 7d really got me puzzled until I realised that pop and Star were not to be taken together, clever misdirection I thought. Likewise 16a was tricky to understand, thx to Gazza for the explanation. Not come across Apery as a word before but the wordplay was obvious and the BRB supplied the rest. Not sure enjoyable best describes this puzzle, more relief to have completed it.
    Thx to all.

    1. Yes, tough, and I agree about the clues and the answers. I ended up getting the answers and then working out why. As you say, not so much enjoyment more of a relief but I feel quite pleased with myself! I thought 9d was very clever, it was all there you just had to unpick it.

  5. A slog for me but got there with a lot of electronic help.

    I haven’t heard of the single word in 26d as a synonym for nerve. ***** neck but not just *****.
    Also I thought i read some discussion on one of these blogs about anagrams where the letters are not shown in the clue, eg 26a…..was this not considered to be unfair?

    Overall this one was too hard for me…..but then I am ‘entry level’ as I discovered on Saturday.

    1. Indirect anagrams (where the letters to be rearranged are not shown in the clue) are verboten but 26a just escapes because, as it’s phrased, it’s not exactly an anagram. You just have to reverse two letters.

        1. You didn’t have to make an anagram of it, just swap two letters around (but I admit that it’s a fine point).

          1. I think you are splitting hairs, admit it, it is an indirect anagram and as such a little naughty. The BRB defines an anagram as:

            A word or phrase formed by the letters of another in different order
            And Bulge is a word formed from Bugle.

  6. 3*/4*. I found this an interesting, challenging and very enjoyable puzzle with 16a my last one in and 8a my favourite. But, of course, I must give a special mention to 10d too.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

  7. Must have been on the same wavelength today as our setter, I put a **/*** rating down before reading the blog, I thought that the pop star element of 7d was rapper (p).daddy’s surname with the cricket position in the middle to obtain the fly- perfectly logical ! apart from checking the Irish county which was new to me all fell into place .Thanks Gazza for the ‘americanism in 24a, and setter-Ray T-? for a clever amusing crossword.

  8. ****/****

    A Machiavellian delight. I could happily solve crosswords like this everyday. I actually started off quite quickly but reality kicked in for the RHS.

    Loved 8a, 27a, 6d and 7d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a great blog.

    Does anyone know how ‘doable’ the Toughie is?

  9. For a while I thought this was clunky and was not enjoying it but it was a slow solve and as time passed some great clueing revealed itself. It is good to see some unusual words and a new french article indicator alongside a note that was not Doh Re Me etc. I struggled to see the most obvious constellation in the night sky and despite having several on my camping field right now I missed 1ac for an age. Good sensible pictures Gazza. I think you may have be on the path to righteousness. Will read the hints later. Petijean or Seamus? It is Saint Sharon’s birthday today so she is taking me out to The Crabmill at Preston Bagot and treating me to a meal. She is a good old girl and fully deserving of a little piece of perfection such as me.

    1. Re: your last sentence, the first part seems pretty accurate, the last part…well I haven’t thought of a word yet MP. Unbelievable leaps to mind. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  10. Yes, challenging for me – I was hung up on 26a and 26d and now kick myself having read Gazza’a hint. Many of my solutions were ‘bung ins’, being beaten by the wordplay. But I will give it a high mark for inventiveness in cluing!

    So,I would agree with 4*/4*

  11. Bit of a struggle but got there in the end & would agree with the ratings that Gazza has given. Tough but fair sums it up for me,many thanks to the setter & Gazza for his excellent review.?

  12. Certainly had to sit up and take notice to get the parsing for some of these – 3*/4* for me.

    1a – woeful lack of knowledge re: Irish counties.
    13a – not familiar with the literary meaning.
    24a – think we’ve had this debate before but I have only ever seen this spelling of the Indian side order in crosswordland!
    7d – so proud of myself for getting the cricket position (although I did start out with a different sport and a ‘wing’) but then took ages to parse the ‘easy’ bit!

    Hard to pick a favourite from 27,28a, 7&9d but I think I’ll go with 9d.

    Not sticking my hand up for the author of this one because I got it wrong last time, but I suspect Pommers may do so!
    Thank you, Mr. Ron – a very enjoyable puzzle – and many thanks to Gazza for his usual high quality review.

  13. 3*/4* my favourite was 25d.

    I hadn’t noticed the grid until I read a comment on Times for the Times about the symmetry of today’s Telegraph grid.

  14. I was very slow to get started on this one ; it was the hidden words that made the first incursions.By the time I solved 28a I was in admiration.9d and 7d and 8a were also stunning.
    I needed several hints, although I was kicking myself about 3d.
    I agree with Ora Meringue and question Gazza’s charitable view of 26a.
    Well done setter(Shamus ? ) and thanks Gazza.

    1. We had a clue two weeks ago (by, I suspect, the same setter as today) which flirts with being an indirect anagram in the same way as 26a:
      Food from Orient slightly altered (4)
      You start with EAST then swap round the last two letters.

      1. I am not really arguing with you but in that clue the “slightly” tells me which letter to alter, while 26a does not, although I got it anyway.

  15. Sensed this wasn’t to be a going day for me on first pass, which yielded only one across solution (although five down ones), and subsequent events confirmed my suspicion – finishing with eight unsolved.

    Of those I did get I couldn’t fully explain a13,16 and 7d. Favourite was 28a with 21a in the runner up slot.

    Certainly four (possibly even five if I’d stayed at it) star difficulty for me but an enjoyable tussle nonetheless so four stars for that too.

  16. Whew! What a difference a day makes! Really had to think on this one and had quite a few head scratching moments. But, managed to finish without recourse to the hints, which is always a plus for me and determines the difficulty rating I give it. So this one I give 2*/4*. I thought 25d a brilliant clue…my favourite, although 10d was also one (I would say that wouldn’t I?). I loved 7d…my second favourite, 20a was also good….nearly got me on the Tyson trail but soon realised the red herring. For some reason 27a eluded me for a while…having got the first word of the clue, my brain just couldn’t stretch to the second…but got there eventually. I also liked 17a ..again nearly got sidetracked trying to use ‘ankh’ in there somewhere. An enjoyable puzzle, thanks to setter and to Gazza.

    1. I did chuckle and think of you Liz as soon as I saw the anagram and realised the answer.

  17. I won’t get round to this until the wee hours, but re yesterday’s poetry discussion, I offer this by my oldest and closest friend, Paul House (paul-house.com):

    Poem for Anna

    Across all the miles that separate us,
    More than twenty years away from your home,
    You tell me of an unloved city,
    The honeysuckle and the baffled men
    Who look at you like tourists.

    You should be here where the sky is postcard blue,
    Where the morning is a soft withdrawal of the night
    And not another day that you have to live through.
    For a whole day I’ve sat here waiting for you.
    I saw the gypsy come early with his flowers, and go.
    I saw the nuns, like dominoes, wooden and stiff,
    Toiling up the hill as the church bell listed,
    I saw the lunchtime shoppers, arms full of fruit,
    And tasted the sweetness of cherries on my tongue.
    I sat on, waiting in the siesta sodden sun,
    The slow hours of the afternoon, lazy voices speaking,
    In the square, a beggar bent over a sandwich,
    Looking at it the way some of us look at books.
    In the evening a straggling queue began to form
    Outside the bright, peeling posters of the theatre,
    And I imagined you there, excited and eager to go.
    A boot black walked across to me as the evening fell,
    His fingers bent and the colour or raw walnuts.
    He stretched like an athlete preparing for a race
    And told me he had news from a faraway place.
    He didn’t, of course, so I just bought him a beer
    And let him talk, with his drunk tongue stubbing the words.
    At midnight we were swept back out into the street
    And we hugged, said goodbye like old friends.

    I wrote this, Anna, because it’s good to think that maybe
    In another life we might have passed by here together.

        1. Jane, I believe Harbour is his best novel, but many people like Common Places, too. I’ll tell him, he’ll be delighted – although he lives in Madrid, we talk most days.
          BTW If you love the beauty of the words, you must beg, steal, borrow – or maybe even buy if you can find it – the Penguin Modern European Poets version of Marina Tsvetayeva, Selected Poems. It is my favourite book, full stop. Achingly beautiful, with immense lyrical power.

          1. For when you pop in, TS. Which translation of the Selected Poems do you recommend?
            By the way – I did leave you a comment on last night’s blog, if you get the chance to look.
            Hope today has been a little less tortuous!

            1. Well, the one I have is the only one I know, by Elaine Feinstein, who also gives an excellent introduction about the difficulties of translating from the Russian. There may be better versions out there, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It also has a moving account of MT’s tragic life – and death.
              BTW Jane, there are two versions of Harbour out there. One is an uncorrected proof version that he was daft enough to get printed. The corrected version is almost exactly the same, but minus some irritating liberals and one tiny plot glitch. Annoyingly, Amazon has sold out of the right ones, but you can still get them from The Book Depository online. His publisher went bust, unfortunately.

              1. That should be literals, of course. Not that Liberals aren’t also irritating, but there is none in Harbour. Flipping autocorrect

                1. And here’s a little something for you, Jane

                  The last corner

                  It all happened too quickly
                  Just a flash and it was gone
                  A shy glint in the sunlight
                  A whisper of smoke.
                  And whatever it was you said
                  (Or wished you had said)
                  Went unheard.
                  It didn’t matter.
                  It was just something to say
                  To the pale tail-light
                  Turning the last corner
                  The way back burnt in the heat
                  Of a battle lost
                  To accidental decisions

  18. Unusually I found this relatively straightforward :) Funny old game! The only stumbling block was 20a :( for which I thank Gazza for his hint. I could not get away from “pugalism”. Some really nice clues */***

  19. Perhaps it’s because I tackled the toughie first so was geared up, but I found this fairly straightforward to complete, though I did need the hints to parse 7D and 13A. 10D was my favorite, with 25D close behind. Thanks to the setter, whoever he or she is, and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  20. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif I agree with gazza’s 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment – I’d decided that if he’d only given it one or two stars for difficulty I was going to cry.
    16a was my last answer and I needed the hints to understand 7d (don’t know why) and 25a – I don’t know any German at all and the number just didn’t occur to me.
    I don’t know any Irish counties either, apart from the very well known ones, so had to check 1a.
    I liked 16a and 3 and 26d. My favourite was 10d.
    With thanks to whoever set this one – I’ve given up speculating but I don’t think it’s Shamus – and to gazza for the rescue.

    1. If you write Cavan , even spellcheck doesn’t recognize it .
      25d was a bung in for me although I can count to ten in German, I had to see Gazza ‘s clue to understand it.

  21. Sometimes, after struggling with some of the clues, we look up the answer and groan. However, I thought this was a very fair puzzle, even though we needed some help to finish it. So thank you very much Tuesday setter and Gazza. Probably ***/ ***.

  22. I thought that this one of the more testing, but no less enjoyable, weekday puzzles we have seen for some time. You had to really concentrate on each word, each meaning or subtle phrasing to solve it. Very few answers just jumped off the page (or tablet in my case). Many congratulations to the mystery setter and Gazza for a top review and a fair appraisal. 4/4 for me too.

  23. Felt like two toughies on the same day.
    Which is a good thing as I am homebound after breaking my little toe at my brother’s place yesterday.
    Apparently the wee thing will mend itself.
    Favourite clues were 3d and 25d.
    I would put my money on shamus being the setter.
    Thanks to him and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Poor you, what a frustrating thing to happen. Hope that it mends itself quickly and you are soon feeling better.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    2. Commiserations – I’m sure the “pinky” toe is v. painful but trust it will soon heal (if you rest it?!). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    3. Mrs JP has just broken her middle toe and has had it strapped to the neighbouring one and been told to wait for 4-6 weeks for it to heal, so my sympathies to you.

      Why not hobble to La Regence and have ‘une pression’? You probably won’t be able to get up the hill to Chez Marius or l’eau a la bouche but you probably won’t be too concerned!

      1. When that happened to me the doctor definitely said I must totally rest for 46 weeks. He also said I should not be opposed. This is when living with a Saint comes into its own

        1. Oh no!
          I have to be back at work on Thursday night. I don’t have a st Sharon to replace me.

        2. How rude of me.
          Happy birthday to St Sharon and congratulations for baby Arthur.

      2. Thank you all for your concern.
        I like going to the Regence but Marius is no more as it’s last owner managed to sink the business. And l’eau a la bouche has become very dull. It’s not the bohemian place it used to be. You probably remember it with the garden swings and little salons. Now just a plain terrace with military lined tables.

        1. Yes – I remember the garden swings and balmy evenings. In fact, I think it was a Jean-luc who was ‘le patron’ there. I also remember an elderly(ish) chap with a white beard who’d frequent the local hostelries in the area . My dad used to live in hyeres and I’d often walk up the hill with the ruined castle and look out over porquerolles (and watch the Ryanair flight land).

          I also remember that it was nearly impossible to buy cigarettes on a Sunday – thankfully I knocked that habit on the head a couple of years ago.

      1. Thanks.
        I heel quite quickly usually. I always burn or cut myself and it’s over in a couple of days.

        1. Suspect it might take more than a couple of days, JL – but here’s hoping!
          By the way – you never did mention how you came to break that poor little toe. Flip flops, swimming pool, alcohol – or maybe a combination?!!!

            1. Oh dear – poor you. A little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to cheer you up.
              A broken toe is very painful and there’s not much that can be done to hasten its recovery.
              I’m not sure if we know how you came to break your toe but I’ll tell you how I broke my big toe. Many years ago I lost my temper with a very old lawn mower – it was always an absolute pig to start and on one particular day it just really wasn’t going to play – I kicked it – I kicked it really hard – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    4. Ouch. When I did that as a schoolboy, it hurt like hell and took ages to recover. I still since at the thought of it. Bonne chance.
      PS A grown man should never wear flip-flops, or thongs, as they innocently call them in Australia. What do call a French shoemaker? Phillipe Flop

  24. A very enjoyable puzzle from today’s Mr Ron with some really good clues. Liked 7d & 8a amongst many others, but my favourite has to be 25d. Because of that clue I will stick my head above the parapet and go for PJ…….I think http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

    Thanks to the Mr Ron for the enjoyment and Gazza for the review.

    The Toughie is do-able but has a whole host of obscurities.

      1. Hi Heno – perhaps PJ might pop in and enlighten us.

        I’m off to the cricket tomorrow to (hopefully weather permitting) see the first day’s play. I will probably be as wet on the inside as I will be on the outside, therefore I shall stay away from tomorrow’s reviews. Beer and the internet do not go together well http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      1. I thought that was who you were thinking of – it really isn’t a Shamus, is it? I’m not mentioning it either . . .

    1. I’m going to stick my neck out and say ,that to me, it feels more like Shamus.

  25. Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. A fabulous puzzle. I was beaten by 3d&the first word of 8a, but delighted to solve the rest. Favourites were 7d&26a. Had to get the thinking cap on today. I liked the grid, especially the 5 letter squares in the centre. Just clouded over in Central London. Was 4*/5* for me.

  26. Wait a minute, the Rhine also flows through the Netherlands (25d). Luckily the Dutch word for eight is “acht”, pronounced with a bit more guts than in German. No doubt it is this Dutch version that the setter intended.

  27. A challenging solve today but couldn’t see 3d until I looked at the hint and then so obvious , but thats the way of a good clue : liked 7and 10d and both 26a and 26d. Very pleased to finish this one ; it had some great cluing . Thanks to the setter and Gazza ****/****

  28. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif my trusty pencil, an awful lot of head scratching and the electronic super toy finally got me to the stage where all the squares appeared to be filled. However, my sincere thanks to Gazza for explaining what I had done and why I had bunged in where all else failed. Seeing four stars I nearly gave up but knowing that help would be at hand made me persevere. No more cupboards under the stairs for me. Thanks also to mystery setter. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    1. I’m a bit sorry about you closing down the cupboard under the stairs, Hilary. I made the mistake of tackling the Toughie and right now I could do with a small, dark space and a box of tissues. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. I suspect that at some stage me and my trusty box of tissues sill be back in the cupboard but the euphoria of finishing a Gazza-marked **** crossword went to my head. Hear is something to cheer you up http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. Well done Hilary!

          And Jane, I wouldn’t worry about it. The Don is the only setter here and the The Times that can make me feel like that on a regular basis. I find alcohol helps.

          On a completely unrelated topic to alcohol, I hope that Pommers and Pommette are having fun.

  29. First impression was that this was going to be impossible but I gritted my teeth and somehow (thanks to quite a lot of electronic help) I made it through. Will be fascinated to learn who set us this testing challenge. Liked 20a and 10d in spite of it being merely an anagram. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza? ****/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  30. I found this really tough but hugely enjoyable with so many clever, clever clues.
    I had to use my electronic gizmo for help with a couple, 16a and 20a, though, in retrospect, I have no idea why I found them so difficult.
    There were so many standout clues, too many to mention, but my fave was 7d, just because it was one of my fave books as a young “gel” at school.
    Thanks to setter, whoever you are, and to Gazza for his review.

    1. 7d – one of my favourites too, Merusa – read it many times. I also enjoyed the film but can’t for the life of me remember who was in it!

  31. Got really held up on the lower half, last in was 22d.
    Had to think hard about this and agree with Gazzas ratings. Liked 7d best.

  32. An interesting and entertaining puzzle, with some inventive clue constructions and clever container/missing word indicators.

    Like Shropshirelad, 25d was my favourite and I was pleased to see Rabbit Dave acknowledge 10d, as I did have him in mind when solving that particular one!

    Many thanks to the etter and to Gazza.

    1. I was also glad that Rabbit Dave mentioned 10d – just surprised that he didn’t mention an awful lot of us here! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  33. I was slow to get into this but slowly bit by bit it came together but needed the hints to explain a couple of my answers eg 20a &15d. Can’t believe my last one in was 3d!. Good puzzle though.

  34. Hurrah!
    The back page puzzle has, at last, returned to the standard it should, perhaps, always be.
    Difficult, that is.
    So, a welcome, temporary lull in Training and Junior Telegraph days.
    Too many excellent clues to single out one.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the colourfully and aptly illustrated review.

  35. Really enjoyed this one but needed the hint for 8a which was my failure of the day. Mr Framboise helped me solve 7d which was so clever, I thought. Got 25 d but needed the hint to understand my answer. My favourite was 26 a which made me chuckle when the penny dropped. It was a bit challenging but doable nevertheless so many thanks to the setter, whoever he/she may be – are there female cryptic crossword setters? – and to Gazza who put me out of my misery re 8a. 3*/4*.

  36. I must have been doing a different puzzle, because l would score this at 2*/4*. The bottom half was tougher than the top, but nothing to frighten the horses. Three clues caught my eye: 25d (well, l am a sailor), 10d (nice misdirection by the use of “partiality” rather than, say, “tendency”) and 7d (just a very good clue). Thanks to the setter, and to Gazza.

  37. Sorry to confound Gazza, Kath, Shropshire Lad and Heno but this is actually one of mine – thanks in any case to Gazza for his usual splendid review and everyone for comments. If it was tricky, I hope that didn’t detract from the enjoyment.

    Anyone with a quizzing frame of mind might be interested to know that I have been writing questions for Channel 4’s new Fifteen To One series (shown at 3pm on weekdays) so do pop in and give it a watch if you have time – all boosts to the ratings are welcome!

    1. Thanks to Shamus for a very entertaining puzzle and well done to Una and Jean-Luc for spotting the setter.
      Shamus, do you think that 26a is on the borderline of being an indirect anagram?

      1. Hi Gazza. No, I don’t think it’s an indirect anagram (or even on the borderline of one) and would never knowingly use one as I think they’re unfair to solvers. The wordplay in 26a is asking the solver to shift internal letters in ‘bugle’ (in this case a direct transposition of g and l), not to think of an entirely new word and jumble it.

    2. Well done re: Fifteen to One. I’ll shall tape it and see how badly I fare.

      And thank you for this puzzle, an absolute joy from start to finish.

    3. Well, you got us there, Shamus! I thought the direct reference to an Irish county made it too obvious for one of yours – but when CS pointed out the shape of the grid I did begin to wonder about an Irish shamrock……….but maybe that’s a touch too fanciful?

    4. I am never, ever, ever sticking my head above the parapet again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif.

      Well done Una & JL – what pointed you towards Shamus?

      Thanks to you Shamus for dropping in with my ‘coup de grace’ and providing us with an excellent puzzle today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif As always, it’s great that the setters drop in and comment on the blog. Makes it feel more personal. Long may it continue.

    5. Thank you, Shamus – I love it when the setters “pop in” – I really didn’t think it was one of yours so I give in disgracefully. A http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you and a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif for me.

    6. I just blooming well loved it once the first passes were done Used the word clunky and my first passes were clunky to me. Clunkily doable but lots left to work out. Thank you Seamus.

  38. I found some of this on the tricky side, and all most enjoyable. On a few occasions I was left staring at an obviously correct answer, busy untangling the wordplay. Got the comb smoothly though it all in the end.

    I giggled at 10d, with one of our commenters in the clue … and several in the answer! Long may that continue. Top spot today though has to go to 26a. A dangerous flirtation with an indirect anagram perhaps, but it did make me laugh.

    Thanks to Shamus – for both the puzzle and for dropping in to take a bow – and thanks to Gazza for keeping up his excellent standard of reviews.

  39. Thank you Shamus for a difficult but enjoyable solve. Thank you too Gazza for the review, which was very much needed to get through some tricky bits. 7d has to be favourite as I have just finished reading the book. Bought it second hand from a fantastic book shop in an old railway station in Alnwick, Northumberland. Impossible not to pop in if you are in the area. Home made food and log fires burning. A pure delight. Guess this July, log fires will still be burning !!

    1. She wrote a sequel, the name escapes me right now, but you could google it. Just as entertaining as DLL, I’ve read them both a few times, if only to relive my teen years. Oh, so long ago, and, oh, so much fun, not a care in the world!

  40. This was the best back-pager we’ve had for a long time. I, too, thought Shamus, if only because I found it delightfully straightforward. If it had been PJ, I’d still be there now. Almost every clue was a joy and I’m loath to single one out, but I’m going to anyway. 25d, take a bow. You are the Roger Federer of crossword clues: elegant, unassuming, and totally devastating. So good was this puzzle, that I was heartily disappointed to finish it so soon. The whole thing fell like a 60s tower block on the first pass. I only had to go back for 20a, my last one in for some reason. Fabulous work from an excellent setter. Thanks too to Gazza, although the concise hints were not needed, it was good to see a VW camper van: I had one of them once and the pop-up top blew away in the middle of the night in a gale overlooking Lulworth Cove, with two children sleeping in bunk beds inside it. Then the clutch went on the limp back to London. How we laughed.

    Oops, I nearly forgot to give stars. Here goes: 1*/5*

  41. When I have only got 5 before needing to seek help here, either someone slipped the toughy in the wrong envelope or its time I gave up crosswords altogether. I get no pleasure from looking up answers so it will stay incomplete.

    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment required moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

    1. The musical note is a FLAT into which is inserted UN (French indefinite article).

  42. I doubt that I’ve seen a bigger turnout here! Great content too. Super to see Shamus make an appearance. Now the puzzle: Symmetry was the first thing that struck me and with long ‘outside’ answers this usually suggests a doddle. How wrong and what an enjoyable solve. Deep digging was required in almost every clue and paid off with the reveal. Last in was 3d and kick myself did I. The general tone of the crossword lulled me into ranging for the more complex stellar names when the answer was the very simplest of all. No help required apart from 3d but boy, did I work for it. Thank you Shamus and Gazza. Sterling stuff!

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