DT 27868

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27868

Hints and tips by Shropshirelad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning everyone from a warm and sunny Shropshire. Today BD has given me the opportunity to blog a Giovanni and what a benign mood the Don is in. No obscurities and a fine selection of clue types. I do hope that my attempt at blogging today aids anyone requiring additional help. Happy solving.

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.

Across

7a    A vehicle’s following another — and some others (8)
CARAVANS: Take 2 types of vehicles sandwiching ‘A’ and then the ‘s from the clue to find heartbreak for holiday motorists – especially on the A38 after Plymouth.

9a    Instrument for shaping clay  bed (6)
PALLET: Double definition

10a    Discharge  energy (4)
FIRE: Another double definition. As they said in Blackadder ‘Ready, Aim…..’ – but much quicker.

11a    Remark about exercise involving fifty members of crew (10)
COMPLEMENT: How did Giovanni know that I was in the RN? A sandwich clue consisting of ‘the Roman 50’ in ‘exercise’ in ‘make a statement’

12a    Favouring dull layout (6)
FORMAT: If you’re not against… and a lot of The DT cartoonist

14a    Honoured person deceased, having swallowed chemical compound (8)
LAUREATE: The usual word for deceased containing (having swallowed) a chemical compound – CO(NH2)2

15a    A thing without love, miserable (6)
ABJECT: A from the clue and a 6 letter word for a ‘thing’ removing (without) the usual letter meaning nil in tennis.

17a    Something precious in one group of stars (6)
GEMINI: I was born on the 1st of June, so these stars mean something to me.

20a    Good person to encourage Scottish politician (8)
STURGEON: A charade of a good person and split (4,2) to encourage.

22a    Bird publication with bits half missing (6)
MAGPIE: Glossy periodical with another 6 letter word for bits, missing the latter half.

23a    President in the bathroom? Not to be disturbed (10)
WASHINGTON: A function you would doing in the bathroom (No.. not that one!) and an anagram (to be disturbed) of NOT.

24a    Rugby home a wreck (4)
RUIN: The usual abbreviation of the game that men with odd shaped balls play and to be at home.

25a    More beloved member embraced by the German (6)
DEARER: A human organ (member) in (embraced by) ‘the’ in German.

26a    The fellow overdue comes round in the afternoon to be companion (8)
HELPMATE: 2 letter pronoun of the fellow plus, overdue containing (comes round) the 2 letter abbreviation for the afternoon.

Down

1d    Nipping one flower spoils a plant (8)
MARIPOSA: A 4 letter word for spoils contains (nipping) one and Crosswordland’s favourite 2 letter river (flower) followed with the ‘A’ from the clue.

2d    Ordered famous airman to finish prematurely (4)
BADE: A shortened (prematurely) name of that famous WW2 fighter pilot come golfer.

3d    Line worker put around church window (6)
LANCET: Abbreviation for line plus a worker insect containing (put around) abbreviation for church.

4d    Fruit around Australia gets praise (8)
APPLAUSE: A type of fruit containing (around) the shortened version of Australia (no, not Oz)

5d    Asleep, Carol is interrupted by awful rumble (10)
SLUMBERING: To carol at Christmas containing (is interrupted by) an anagram (awful) of RUMBLE.

6d    Bit of food woman served up for dog maybe to eat (6)
PEANUT: A woman’s name (Miss Stubbs perhaps) reversed (served up) contained in (maybe to eat) what you would call a dog, cat etc. I don’t particularly like this type of clue as the name could be anything.

8d    Representative and politician engaged in commercial activity (6)
SAMPLE: The usual term for a politician contained by (engaged in) a commercial activity which is now not restricted to Boxing Day.

13d    Ex-PM following two others in musical interval (5,5)
MAJOR THIRD: Ex PM who was Edwina’s secret squeeze plus where you are placed for a Bronze medal (following two others).

16d    What’s less productive in Civil Service? They shouldn’t sweep things under the carpet! (8)
CLEANERS: What a company becomes when it downsizes, in a common abbreviation for the Civil Service.

18d    Greek character and I can turn up after one in institute (8)
INITIATE: 3 letter Greek character and ‘I’ from the clue plus a container, all reversed (turn up in a down clue) after ‘one’

19d    Heartless son longing to be a telltale (6)
SNITCH: S(o)N (heartless) plus something that needs to be scratched.

21d    London banker (6)
THAMES: &lit

22d    Covering of long hair hiding end bits of tail (6)
MANTLE: A name for long hair on a horse containing (hiding) end bits of (T)ai(L).

24d    It’s odd having parking behind (4)
RUMP: A 3 letter word for odd plus (P)arking

I need a secretary as this took about 3 times longer to type than it did to complete. I hope it all makes sense to you. My favourite is 1d, which one(s) tickled your fancy?


The Quick Crossword pun: stake+haulm=stay calm

91 Comments

  1. JonP
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I got a bit confused with the wordplay in 1d, but apart from that I found it to be reasonably straightforward and a steady solve. Thanks to Shropshirelad for the review and thanks to Giovanni **/***

  2. overtaxed
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I think an award for bravery is due, starting reviewing with a Giovanni. Well done SL. Agree with the ratings, but have to admit was held up by 1d (never heard of it) and needed the hint for 13d for similar reasons. Favourite clue 20a, though not my favourite person.

  3. dutch
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Well done Shropshirelad! Congratulations on your debut blog. And an interesting puzzle it was too, free from unusual words as you say but still quite tricky i thought. Quite a lot of nice clues, I liked 15a (a thing without love), 17a (group of stars), 22a (bird publication), 23a (president in the bathroom), 5d (asleep, carol is interrupted..) and 13d (ex-Pm followed by 2 others).

    Some companies would argue that the inserted word in 16a is more productive – but perhaps not the civil service

    Many thanks Giovanni and thank you Shropshirelad for an excellent and amusing blog

  4. mre
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A nice back page puzzle today with a number of nice clues. 6d was probably my favourite with 11,14,17 and 20 across all mentioned in dispatches.

    Ended up with 1d (I’m hopeless with flowers and not much better with flow-ers) and 9a unsolved. Not sure I’d have got either and the caff was pretty busy so it seemed fairest to let somebody else have the newspaper.

    Despite not finishing I’d say this puzzle was probably a three for difficulty. For me it was a four for enjoyment.

  5. George
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I managed all but 9a and 6d. – stuck by my ignorance of pottery and a possible female name – so I needed the hints above. I really was not impressed by 6d as there are so many possible names and this one is hardly common.

    So yes, 3*/3* would be a fair rating.

    Thanks especially for the hints today and to the setter.

  6. Hanni
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    **/***

    Nothing to scare the horses. Biggest hold up was 17a. I’m one too, evidently, also had to check 1d.

    Very gentle for the Don. Perhaps after X amount of years I’m finally on his wavelength. Doubtful.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to SL for an excellent blog. Great stuff.

    How many people actually knew the chemical formula for 14a?

    Have a good weekend all.

    Edit..how scary is the Toughie?

    • dutch
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      i don’t think it’s scary and some fun clues, I gave it ***, do try.

      • Hanni
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Dutch.

  7. Salty Dog
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant little puzzle with some inventive cluing; 2*/3.5*. I liked 13d very much, so that clue gets my vote for top spot (despite the attraction of 11a to another ex-RN cruciverbalist!). Back home now, and pleased to report that my go-faster mod seems to have done the trick. Thanks to Giovanni, and BZ to Shropshirelad for a thoroughly seamanlike review.

  8. Miffypops
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle. 6d had me looking at Tuna as the bit of foot and looking for a way to curtail the pet for the PE. Got there in the end though and enjoyed the Tuna with the caviar at 20ac

    Ta to The Don and Ta to SL. The blog will remain unread until our funeral guests have left. It is a treat in store for me.

    • Jane
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      If your foot is made of tuna, MP, then I’m not surprised you have problems with flip flops. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Silly me I opened my mouth and put my food in it

        • Kitty
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Comment of the day.

  9. Una
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Shropshirelad, on your elevation. Well done.I particularly liked your hint in 6d.
    My favourite is 20a.
    Thanks also to Giovanni.

    • George
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Aarg – an unfair advantage methinks!

  10. Reggie
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Straight forward and enjoyable except for 1d/15a. I have never heard of the plant in 1d and struggled with the clue. I finally entered a flower with the same first 4 letters that gave me a d as the first letter of 15a. I entered a word that sort of fitted but again didn’t really fit the clue. Thanks to Shropshirelad for putting me to rights!

  11. gazza
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Shropshirelad on a fine first proper blog and thanks to Giovanni for the unusually benign back-pager (though I’d never heard of 1d).
    I think that 21d is a cryptic definition rather than a &lit.

    • mre
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I think so too.

      I don’t like the ‘banker’ malarkey for rivers. Nobody ever calls a river a banker.

      May I ask what &lit means?

      • Ora Meringue
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        I’d like to know what &lit means too, please.

      • gazza
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        &lit is another name for what we usually call an all-in-one clue. BD has explained it here.

        • mre
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          Many thanks.

          • Ora Meringue
            Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

            Thank you.

  12. Brian
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I thought that perhaps this as one of the Dons gentler offerings. Only one slightly odd word in 3d, not so much an odd word but a meaning that was unknown at least to me.
    My favs were 14a, 22a and 14d. Nothing to frighten the horses todayhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif
    Thx to all. Sorry just realised we have a new hinter, welcome and thx.

  13. Ora Meringue
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I found this one just as hard as the rest of this week.
    I had never heard if 1d . Nor of the clay shaper at 9a, nor of the window at 3d.
    I thought that 6d was impossible without the excellent hints.
    Just not my day or indeed my week.
    Thanks for the hints.

    • mre
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      The same four I had most trouble with.

      With 3d the clue seemed so clear {x-yy[zz]y} I felt justified putting the solution in, resolving to look it up when I got home.

    • Steve in St A
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Not my week either. Everything too hard. If i get half i will work away at it but didnt ger anywhere near that this week. Wondered if Telegraph commissioners of crosswords are on holiday and let these through. If I wanted such a series of near impossible crosswords I would have bought the Guardian.

  14. SheilaP
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    This was an unusually reasonable crossword for a Friday, even though we struggled with about 5 clues i.e. 1d, 6d, 18d and a couple more, so thank you to the Friday setter, and to Shropshirelad.

  15. Nicola Ison
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Please put some pictures on to help me as I am a beginner to cryptic crosswords and I find them so useful.
    Many thanks
    Nikki Ison

    • gazza
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Nicola.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      A warm welcome from me as well. Sorry there are no pictures, but I was severely running out of time. If I’m asked to do another blog, I will endeavour to find some relevant pics. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Jane
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I think today’s offering will most definitely result in your being asked again, SL. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Hello from me too Nicola. Pictures can be informative, mischievous, completely unrelated to the clue or simply too funny to pass up

      • Jane
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Speaking of pictures, MP – how’s the newest member of the family progressing? Do we get to see some pics soon?

        • Miffypops
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          There are three now Jane. All great nephews. All doing well as are their mums. I have Jonis permission to show off Harrison but have not asked about the other little chaps yet. i will see what I can do.

  16. Shropshirelad
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Just popped in to see how the hints were going. Thank you all for your positive comments http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    I agree with your comment on 21d Gazza, how foolish http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    Thanks also to my oppo, Salty Dog – BZ right back at youhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif (couldn’t we have a great deal of fun if we adopted Jack speak)

    • Kath
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      What does BZ mean, assuming that it’s repeatable here! I know what navy speak is like!

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        In a way, it’s pretty self – explanatory. Bravo Zulu is something you get when being congratulated for a job well done.

        I take no responsibility for the contents of this link http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

        http://www.rnsubs.co.uk/Dits/Jackspeak/index.php

        • Jane
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          Hi SL,
          Thank you for that! I particularly liked the ‘bunting tosser’ and now I know why my ‘son-in-law to be’ refers to my waste disposal machine as Peter the eater despite it’s ‘real’ name of Red Panda being emblazoned on the front!

        • Kath
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Thanks SL – don’t think that there’s anything that you should worry too much about taking responsibility for in there.
          Lots of stuff that I’ve heard and is part of usual chatter in our family but not all of it is how I interpreted it when I was a child – my Dad was also in the Navy.

      • Miffypops
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Good question Kath. One of our commenters worked with the man that wrote this book

        http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/jackspeak-9781844861446/

  17. Kath
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree with overtaxed – Shropshirelad deserves an award for bravery for doing Friday hints.
    I didn’t think that it was straightforward at all but then I never do on Fridays – wrong wave length completely – at least I know that now and no longer have to trot off to do a quick count of the marbles.
    I never did get 1d – it must be a fairly obscure plant – I know a lot of them and have never heard of it and neither is it in my gardening “bible”.
    I only got 22a from the checking letters – I don’t know what the magazine is.
    23a took ages which was really stupid.
    Another Geminian here – June 2nd, as is Giovanni.
    I liked 14 and 20a and 16d.
    With thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and thanks, well done and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to Shropshirelad.

    • Jane
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath,
      Not sure how serious you were being about 22a? The definition is a bird and it’s composed from MAG(azine) + half of PIE(ces). The answer was also a favourite TV show for both daughters – I’m still word perfect on the signature tune! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Kath
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid that I was perfectly serious! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif A complete mental block.
        I thought the . . . actually it’s really too stupid to go into in detail!

  18. Florence
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Where do I start with this, or rather where did I start? I immediately put tramcars in for 7a. I then looked at 11a and thought that ‘Remark’was the definition. Worked out that exercise would be PE and there would be an L for fifty. Wrote in pleasantry, then tried to work out where the members of crew fitted in. How to get things wrong big time. Thank you Shropshirelad for such a splendid first review, and for setting me straight. I didn’t know 1d, so appreciate a new word. I had to look up 21d, banker, in the Bradford to discover it could mean a river, so the answer then became obvious. I managed to get through it in the end, so thanks to Giovanni. I still seem to struggle where others find it easy.

  19. George S
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    My crossword education continues. I managed to get 3 on my own today – and that is a 200% improvement on yesterday!! 7a, 19d, 10a. My wife kindly gave me 4d. I think I might be hooked now. Tomorrow’s target is 5.

    • gazza
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog with your new alias.

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Was left with the pilot of 2d. Still don’t know who he is and I am definitely not going to try the whole alphabet.
    This shall be the obscurity of the day for me.
    Liked 15a very much.
    Thanks to the Don and to SL for a great review.
    Favourite hint is 17a.

    • Jane
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi JL – Douglas Bader. Well worth looking him up – an amazing man, albeit apparently with some personality ‘issues’ that didn’t endear him to all!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Sorry JLC – I didn’t take into account of people not this Isle (something to remember). Here’s a link to explain

      http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/douglas-bader-fighter-pilot.aspx

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Thank you both. I don’t think I would have been able to get the answer without your help.

  21. Jane
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    No obscurities, SL?!! I most certainly didn’t know the plant at 1d, the chemical formula at 14a or the musical interval at 13d. Got the two latter from the wordplay but had to ask Mr. Google about 1d – thought the wordplay there was a touch convoluted when it led to an answer that a lot of people wouldn’t be familiar with.
    Not my favourite puzzle of the week and no real stand-out clues to mention – 3*/2* for me.

    Thanks to DG and apologies for not being more enthusiastic.
    Well done indeed, SL – an extremely professional blog and well worth the time it took to type! Could you perhaps ‘bribe’ Mrs. SL to act as secretary? Possibly you would have to offer something other than a day in the Real Ale bar at a cricket match. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jane – Mrs SL is extremely fast on the old keyboard. In fact, it was she who typed out my impromptu blog on last week’s Toughie. Unfortunately she wasn’t available this morning – so I was so glad to see that BD sends you a template with the clues already typed http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

      |But that just goes to show how sloooow I really am on the keyboard.

      • Jane
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        If her ‘prize’ last week was a day in the afore-mentioned Real Ale bar, then I’m not altogether surprised to learn that she was unavailable this morning. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          No – she was at work but she loves to come with me for the T20 Blast finals day. Now that really takes stamina http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

          She also has my undying love and respect.

          • Kath
            Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            I have absolutely no idea what the T20 Blast finals day means but I think your last sentence is brilliant. Your wife is very lucky – I’m sure she knows it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif to you and her.

            • Jane
              Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

              I looked it up, Kath. You really don’t want to know………it’s cricket that goes on and on and on and………!

              • Hanni
                Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

                In defense of T20 blast it is only 20/20 so the games aren’t endless. Ok I’m going to get mauled for defending cricket? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

                • Jane
                  Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

                  Oh yes – very definitely. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Not everybody gets a Template SL. How the whole thing works is as much of a puzzle to me as the puzzle.

        • Kath
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          No – nor me but it’s taken a very long time for me to get to the stage where I can do it “all my own self!” Sometimes it still goes a bit wrong and husband has to rescue me! Oh dear – pathetic or what! Just not a technical animal. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        • Kath
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          PS – Here’s one for BD to reply to, if he has the time.
          How do you know who needs what on which day of the week etc etc.
          It all works like clockwork but it must be a bit like a jigsaw to work out. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  22. Merusa
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this easy but I did manage to finish, even though I got two answers wrong; I had “marigold” for 1d, never heard of the correct one, and this made 15a wrong with “deject”. I got 6d but had no idea why, so thanks SL for the explanation.
    Thanks to Giovanni for giving us a doable, albeit tricky, puzzle today.
    Many congratulations to Shropshire lad for a perfect debut!
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  23. Toadson
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable end to the week after another Thursday puzzle not finished. (I’m starting to worry about Thursdays!). Thanks to the Don and the new reviewer, and have a good weekend all.

  24. Young Salopian
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A fair puzzle for Friday I thought. 3/3 with no real dramas, although 1d took some parsing. Never heard of it. England close in on victory in Birmingham. Thanks to setter and my fellow Salopian for your hints.

  25. Hilary
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to SL for a stunning debut and to Giovanni for a lovely Friday treat. Never heard of 1d although abject made sense for 15a. Thought 9a would defeat me so looked it up in BRB and there it was so bunged in 6d and waited for SL’s clarification.
    Feel slightly battered by the week just glad to have survived, if it goes on like this next week I will have to consider fitting out the cupboard under the stairs with a few vital provisions and ordering some more tissues. Have a nice weekend. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  26. Jaycat
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t enjoy this, didn’t find it easy at all, wrong wavelength kind of day, even worse than the last two days. Oh well.

    4*/2*

    Thanks to setter and SL !

    • Kath
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you completely. Here’s to us http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  27. Framboise
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Made a dog’s dinner of this – again – definitely not my week! Got four wrong, invented words – have you ever heard of a healmate? What about a madras as a head cover? Want more? I should think not!!!! I even got the Quickie pun wrong as I thought it was Stockholm. Enough said. Apologies to Giovanni for this disgraceful effort of mine and many thanks to SL review which revealed my errors. Oh dear, a black Friday for me.

    • Florence
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Glad someone else managed to put a few wrong words in. Thought it was only me. Interesting that your wrong words were a different set to my wrong words. At least we both got Stockholm wrong.

    • Hanni
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I once invented a seabird called a ‘stora’ I think it was. It seemed to fit the answer at the time.

      I like the sound of your ‘healmate’.

      Edit…evidently you can have a motorbike helmet called a ‘healmate’ and there is a cream called ‘healmate’!

      • Jane
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I remember your stora, Hanni. Sadly there still isn’t one – but there definitely should be. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  28. Robin Newman
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    liked 20A and 23A

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

  29. Angel
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Not my scene at all – have thrown in the sponge. Better luck tomorrow hopefully. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  30. Jane
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Just remembered that there won’t be a ‘drop in’ from Tstrummer for a whole week now – that’s a terrible shame. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Kath
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes – we will all miss him. And on a similar subject where are Paso Doble – either I’ve missed their contributions or they haven’t been around for at least a couple of days – perhaps more?

      • Jane
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear. Maybe they’ve gone on hols without requesting permission?
        Come to think of it – where’s ‘onward and upward’ disappeared to – and what’s happened to Mary’s supposed broadband fix?
        Whatever is the world coming to………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

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

    This was the hardest one of the week for me and I had to resort to the hints to be able to finish. NW corner was the main problem, but I also got completely snagged up with convincing myself that the answer to 14a was ‘laudanum’. Once I had 5d, I realised that it could not be, so had to use the hint. Never heard of the plant in 1d, thought it might be marigold, but that soon went out the window once 15a was in, so again had to use the hint. All in all I thought this was quite hard. My favourite clue was 13d….I love musical clues. Thanks to setter and to SL for the (very welcome) hints…..couldn’t have finished without them, so that makes it 4*/4* for me. Gorgeous on the beach here in N Norfolk this afternoon…..looking for fossils….no luck though.

    • Jane
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Hi Liz,
      I tried hard with ‘laudanum’……….I tried really, really hard! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
      Good luck with the fossil hunting. I’ve picked up one or two half-decent ammonites but, having seen samples of various other fossils in the collections of experts, I think I’d have been very unlikely to spot most of them! Maybe I’ll just stick to picking up cowrie shells – family tradition that dates back to when I was a child. I have a huge collection including a couple of ‘shop-worthy’ specimens picked up on a beach in the Seychelles. Both daughters have inherited the ‘bug’ and competition is rife whenever we’re all out on a beach together.

    • Kath
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree – hardest of the week for me – Fridays always are – wave length stuff.
      It must have been lovely to be on a beach – pity about the lack of fossils – better luck next time.

      • Liz
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kath & Jane. Yes, I only seem to find them when I’m not really looking. Got a couple of nice sea urchin type fossils with the little sucker thingies clearly visible, and we also have quite a few bellamites. Keep hoping to find a mammoth tusk or something. There have been some good finds just up the coast from me at Overstrand…..apparently this area was once a large forest connected to the continent, but went under the sea when the ice age ended, so who knows what might crop up?…..makes a change from old plastic cups and bits of rope!!

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    There were three places in this puzzle where we originally headed down a wrong path. These were ‘marigold’ for 1d, ‘deject’ for 15a and ‘major chord’ for 13d. When we could not parse these and the definitions were not quite right, we started looking further and did come to the right answers. This did mean that it was not a particularly quick solve for us. We enjoyed it.
    Congratulations on the blog SL. We remember how nervous we were (and often still are) with our first blogs and were thinking of you. Well done.
    Thanks Giovanni and Shropshirelad.

  33. Kitty
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree with SL that this was the Don at just about his gentlest. Only a couple held me up: 9a (eventually found the goods in a dusty corner of my brain) and 1d (which I cheated on to find a word that fit, and the parsing made it clear that it was right).

    Thanks to Giovanni and to SL for a great debut (planned) review. Your hints for 23a and 25a made me chuckle. No, there was no President ****ington. I think I’d better stop there…

    I liked the aforementioned clues, but my top two today are 15a and 13d.

    Congratulations on becoming a proper blogger, SL. BZ :).

  34. Shropshirelad
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for your kind comments – have a really good weekend http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  35. Derek
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle from Giovanni – not as tough as they usually are from him!

    Faves 1d & 23a.

    Best wishes to Shropshire Lad!

    Shall be up late tonight as must see the Blue Moon!

  36. Heno
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, but quite tricky I thought. Needed the hints for 1d, never heard of it, 10a, would never have got it. Agree with Shropshire Lad about 6d. Favourite was 15a, was 3*/3* for me. Late commenting due to attending the North Weald beer festival yesterday. The toughest week for back pagers that I can remember.

  37. Gwizz
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I finally finished this crossword this evening; I found it a tough so-and-so to say the least! I was determined not to use the hints so I had to suffer for a long while before the various pennies dropped! I actually knew (vaguely) of 1d having heard my nearest and dearest mention the word at some point in her gardening.
    I liked 13d best, and overall I think 3/4*.
    Thanks to DG and congrats to SL for his review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  38. crypticsue
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Letter in Tues 4th DT

    “I highly disapprove of that ghastly woman north of the border entering the hallowed ground of the Telegraph crossword … in the form of a “good person to encourage Scottish politician”. A better version might be “ghastly Scottish politician will encourage ‘no’ (idiotically) while on the road”.

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

  39. Franco
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    20a in this puzzle made an appearance in yesterday’s (4th August) Letters to the Editor.

    Scotland’s false saint

    “SIR – I highly disapprove of that ghastly woman north of the border entering the hallowed ground of the Telegraph crossword (number 27,868) in the form of a”Good person to encourage Scottish politician”.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The correspondent then offered an absolutely appalling alternative clue. Not worthy of repeating.