DT 27891

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27891

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Hola from the Vega Baja again.  It’s not often I do two weeks in a row nowadays but I’ve swapped with Kath as I’m at a bit of a loose end this week. Pommette is in the UK helping her Mum move to a new care home and she said it’s too hot for me to do anything so hasn’t left the usual list of jobs. Result or what?

On to the crossword and I’m not sure what to make of it.  It took me nearly into 4* time but that wasn’t because of tricky wordplay but more because some of the definitions and synonyms are stretching things a step too far IMHO. Consequently I didn’t find it a lot of fun, more “what?” moments rather than “d’oh!” moments. I’ll be interested to see your views.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons.  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

1a           Irish broadcaster’s brogue ultimately wearing thin – this may be considered unlucky (8)
THIRTEEN:  Take the initials of the Irish radio and TV broadcaster and follow with E (broguE ultimately) and around that (wearing) you need to put THIN (from the clue).  If you don’t know the Irish broadcaster just Radio Telefis Éireann

5a           Check then decline cost (6)
DAMAGE:  A charade of a word meaning check, a stream perhaps, and a word for decline as in get old.

9a           Was jumper found in H&M loo? (8)
WASHROOM: Start with WAS (from the clue) and follow with the usual Australian jumper inserted into HM.

10a         Call work flipping imaginative (6)
POETIC:  A word meaning call or quote and the usual crosswordland work but it’s all reversed (flipping).

12a         Masculine minced pork pies (9)
CALUMNIES: Anagram (minced) of MASCULINE.

13a         Dispense with non-universal kind of strike (5)
ALLOT: You need a phrase (3,3) for a type of strike as in industrial action and you need to remove the U (non- Universal).
strike

14a         Deal with company to get record when retiring (4)
COPE:  The usual company followed by one of the usual records but but the record’s reversed (retiring).

16a         Skippers first in fitting boom (7)
PROSPER: Take a word meaning fitting or seemly and insert an S (Skipper’s first).

19a         Beyond reproach, Brandreth I calculate’s content (7)
ETHICAL: A lurker.  It’s hidden in (content) Brandreth I calculate.

21a         Performer who’s likely to return a high score (4)
BASS:  This performer is a singer and he’s likely to return a score that’s full of high notes.

24a         Evergreen rock idol, with energy (5)
OLDIE:  Anagram (rock) of IDOL followed by E(nergy).

25a         See other arrangement constricting male trio (9)
THREESOME:  Anagram (arrangement) of SEE OTHER with M(ale) inserted (constricting).

27a         Demonstration rearranged for everyone there (2,4)
IN SITU:  Here you need a type of demonstration or protest (3,2) and rearrange the two words so it’s (2,3) and then follow with the letter which indicates that a movie is OK to be viewed by everyone.  Isn’t this straying into secondary anagram territory?

28a         Jam and whipped creme bun (8)
ENCUMBER:  Anagram (whipped) of CREME BUN.  I’m not sure that jam and the answer really mean the same thing.

29a         Roughly means to restrict a matelot (6)
SEAMAN:  Anagram (roughly) of MEANS placed around (to restrict) A (from the clue).

30a         Succeeded team’s leading stopper (8)
SCREWTOP:  S(ucceeded) followed by a team, on a boat perhaps, and then a word for leading or best.
screwtop

Down

1d           Finish off roast chop sandwiches with buffet (6)
THWACK:  You need the T from roast (finish off?) and follow with another word for chop, with an axe perhaps placed around (sandwiches) W(ith).  I don’t think this works,  Finish off should mean take the last letter off and use what’s left. To indicate using the last letter it should be finish of. I wonder whether this is a misprint as similar wordplay is used correctly in 26d.

2d           Avoiding A&E, bandage injury (6)
INSULT:  Start with a word which can just about mean bandage, as in bandaging water pipes to stop them freezing, and then remove the A and the E (avoiding A & E).  The word you need and bandage don’t come up as synonyms in my thesaurus but they do have synonyms in common so I guess it works, but this is what I meant by a step too far.

3d           Sound of ‘The Chain’ in umpteenth ‘Rumours’ (6)
THRUM:  Another lurker. It’s in umpteenth rumours.  I guess you were all expecting this one . . .

4d           Volume is turned up — one has to get sensitive (7)
EMOTIVE:  Reverse (turned up in a down clue) a word for a large book and follow with an abbreviation for one has or I have.

6d           Nothing in a loan sum that’s out of order or exeptional (9)
ANOMALOUS: Anagram (that’s out of order) of A LOAN SUM with O inserted (nothing in).

7d           Soldier to run away, secretly timid creature (8)
ANTELOPE:  One of crosswordland’s soldiers, but not a military man, followed by a word meaning to run away secretly.  The “run away secretly” bit is neatly confused by having the comma.
antelope

8d           Latin and so on (2,6)
ET CETERA:  This isn’t really cryptic. It’s simply the Latin phrase meaning “and so on”.

11d         Like a P in PDQ (4)
ASAP:  A word meaning like followed by the A and P from the clue gives an acronym of a phase meaning “Pretty Damn Quick”.  I thought this should be enumerated (1,1,1,1) as per Collins but I see it’s in the BRB as a word.

15d         Band‘s trunk carried by soldiers and gunners (9)
ORCHESTRA: Take some soldiers (2) and follow with a trunk or large case and then the usual gunners or artillerymen.

17d         Exercises a drag to set up, in charge of Seconds (8)
AEROBICS:  A (from the clue) followed by a reversal (to set up in a down clue) of a word meaning a drag, then the two letters for in charge and lastly S(econds).  I have no idea why Seconds is capitalised.
aerobic

18d         Cast adore his setting for ‘Cecil’s Place‘ (8)
RHODESIA:  Anagram (cast) of ADORE HIS gives the old name for an African country which was named after Cecil whatsisname.  He’s the one that said “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life”.
cecil

20d         Regularly flaunt electronic instrument (4)
LUTE: Alternate letters (regularly) from flaunt followed by the usual letter indicating something is electronic.

21d         Broodingly romantic and persistent, by ousting companion (7)
BYRONIC: You need BY (from the clue) and then a word meaning persistent and remove (ousting) the abbreviation for Companion of Honour.  Unless I’m missing something this clue doesn’t work. Persistent and by are the wrong way round.
Take a word meaning persistant and remove the Companion of Honour from the beginning and replace it with BY (BY ousting).  Told you I was missing something – thanks Gazza.

22d         Doctor cuts through plaster in battle (6)
COMBAT:  Put one of the usual medics into (cuts through) a word which can mean to plaster as in cover.

23d         Shred is what blubber under stress may do (4,2)
TEAR UP:  Double definition. For the second to work you need to twig that a blubber is someone prone to crying.

26d         Start off trick and escape (5)
ELUDE:  Take a word for to trick or decieve and remove the first letter.  See my comment on 1d.  This time it’s done correctly.

No stand out favourite for me today but I did quite like “Cecil’s place” as the definition in 18d.
Not very good photo opportunities today!


The Quick Crossword pun: too+Bjorn+nod+tubby=to be or not to be


115 Comments

  1. JonP
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I found this quite tricky in places and it took me a little while to work out the wordplay in some of the clues. Overall an enjoyable solve with thanks to pommers and setter ***/***

  2. Helen
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks Pommers. I definitely needed your help today. Completely stuck with 21a and 21d which didn’t help with 30a. Otherwise pretty straightforward but not overly exciting.

    • Kevin
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      mee too !!

  3. Graham
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    All I can say is “pants” didn’t help by putting Alto in for 21A which seemed to fit better than the real answer, definitely not on the same wavelength today.Many thanks to Pommers for his review.?

    • Vince
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I still don’t see how the “real” answer fits?

      • pommers
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        The performer is one who sings low notes so he’s likely to reject (return)a musical score that’s full of high notes (a high score) – one intended for a tenor for instance because he wouldn’t be able to sing it.

        • Vince
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Yes, thank you, I see that, now.

        • Ron
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          I think that is the worst back pager I have ever attempted in terms of the obscure and bizarre clues. Maybe the compiler was trying too hard but well done Pommers et al for solving it despite the clues.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • oddjob
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      I thought alto too , that’s how a proper clue would read.

  4. John and Phil
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Agree entirely – far too cryptic and obscure in fact have difficulty in relating the solution to the clues even with your explanations. Thinking of giving this crossword up for another daily.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Welcome John and Phil

    • pommers
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Hi from me too. There’s a very nice Orlando in today’s Grauniad which can be found here:

      http://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/cryptic/26661

    • Roger
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Hang in there, John and Phil. I too am a relatively newbie to cryptics but gradually got to grips with it – which is part of the fun. Thursday’s can be tricky and I remember having a real old rant about tricky Thursday crosswords at times in the past. Really threw my teddy out of the pram.

      But gradually you will find that it does click. Having said that I really struggled with this one !! So we all have our off days.

      You mention other dailies. Mmmm…well, I’ve tried Rufus on Monday’s Gruniad as I’m used to his ways since he does the Monday’s here. The Times I might manage to solve 75% of a crossword once in a blue moon. Most days, I cannot get even one clue. I’ve not looked at the others.

      And the biggest plus of sticking to the Telegraph is that you’ll not find a friendlier more helpful bunch of people then you do on here !!

  5. neveracrossword
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I agree with the rating given by Pommers (and with his comments generally). No favourites, but found 1d the most painful to solve – think I prefer going to the dentist. Thanks to Ps and setter.

  6. JEM
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Found this very difficult and thought the setter’s clues were in several instances overly-misleading ….

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      You’ve changed your alias – you were John before

      • JEM
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Sue – I tend to change my name every time the wind changes – trying to standardize to reduce the strain on my ageing brain!
        Is this a problem?
        Still thought today’s was one of the worst in my limited memory.
        John/JEM ….

        • crypticsue
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          It just means that if it is a “new” name the system doesn’t recognise, one of us has to rescue you from ‘moderation’.

  7. gazza
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks to PJ(?) and pommers for the blog. I liked this a lot (as I usually do with this setter’s puzzles) – best back-pager of the week for me with some good d’oh moments.
    For 21d I think that ousting means replacing, so you have to replace the CH from the adjective meaning persistent with BY.

    • pommers
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Told you I was missing something :oops:

  8. Beaver
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Found this difficult today, particularly the NW corner-1a and 1d the last in! and can’t say that I enjoyed the solve a ****/** for me, agree with John and Phil that it was ‘obscure’ that’s about it.

  9. Una
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I was really enjoying it until I tried to finish the last 5. I still don’t get 13a and 21a is really obscure , IMHO, although pommers liked it . It was my last in.I didn’t like 21d either.
    Ia had me trying to think of people like Wogan or Graham Norton (he used to be so coarse and vulgar but he has improved in recent years).Nice misdirection .
    I liked the surface readings of the anagrams, 12a,25a and 18d.
    Favourite : 1a.
    My ratings : 4.5 for difficulty and 3.5 for amusement.
    Thanks to the mysterious setter and pommers.

  10. Jaycat
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Whew, didn’t like this one bit, very obscure clues and wordplay. Some questionable wordplay and definitions here doesn’t make for an enjoyable puzzle but having said that it’s always good to get a puzzle with a different slant on things for ones general experience.

    4.5*/1.5*

    Thanks to setter and pommers for the needed hints.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    We also thought it had a Petitjean feel about it and good fun. We had not heard of the Irish broadcaster but guessed it must have been something like that. Last one in was 21a and a real d-oh moment when we got it. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and pommers.

    Ps The toughie is at this stage also by Mr Ron but we have no idea who to guess there. Will find out in the morning no doubt.

    • Jane
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      We had the Irish broadcaster quite recently but can’t recall which puzzle – maybe the same setter?

      • Liz
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        I thought the Irish broadcaster could be Terry Wogan…. So was way off track!

  12. Jane
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Found this one hard work and agree with Pommers’ ratings.
    21a – I got ‘best’ (good old Georgie!) and think that works better.
    21d – the order seemed fine to me. Take a word for persistent (chronic) then replace the companion (CH) with BY. Isn’t that OK?
    I liked 7d but favourite slot goes to 11d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron (PJ?) and to Pommers (who doubtless has his feet up and a lunchtime glass in hand!).
    By the way – the Quickie pun had me on the run – didn’t think to include the fourth word. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      The pun clues aren’t in italics in the paper which usually points to four words so I don’t suppose you are the only confused person today

  13. Hanni
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    ***/***

    I think I liked it and at the same time some of the definitions left me cold.

    8d is just not cryptic at all.
    1d didn’t work for me.
    1a and 13d were fun.
    18d gets the favourite award.

    Think I need to get into PJ’s way of thinking…if it is PJ.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for blogging.

    Is the Toughie as difficult as yesterdays?

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      No – it isn’t difficult for a Toughie either IMHO

    • Jane
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Haven’t looked at the Toughie yet, Hanni. Brain is resting after the back-pager! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

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

  14. Robin Newman
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    needed the hints more than usual-much appreciated

    Telegraph only rates this * for difficulty..?

    liked 18D

    ****/*

  15. Bluebird
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I wrote in 1d without really understanding why.

    Ended up with 17d and 30a missing.

    It was clever, but a bit too clever, with some clues falling into parts that denoted 1 or 2 letters at a time in a lengthy word. That might be described as tiresome.

    12a and 6d took a long time but were satisfying once got!!

  16. George
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I had a battle with this one too. I finally managed it all except 5a, and looking at pommers’ hint I can see why as in my opinion it is a poor clue. I agree with all the comments above.

    4*/2* would be my rating.

  17. pete
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled to get half way today. Have to say, even knowing the answers, I think a lot of them are not up to the standard I would expect from the Telegraph.

  18. dutch
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Hm, slowed down a bit in the bottom half. SW was last, not much traffic between quadrants. Took me ages to see 21a (high score) and to twig the demonstration rearranged (27a), which i guess escapes being an indirect anagram because it isn’t strictly an anagram.

    Isn’t creme normally some cosmetic paste? doesn’t make for an appetising sandwich (28a).

    the setting for Cecil’s place(18d) I should have seen much sooner, and the broodingly romantic (21d) took me a while to parse after I had the answer.

    I thought 15d was a refreshing new clue for an old friend, and I really liked 11d (like a P), 9a (jumper in H&M loo) and 12a (masculine minced pork pies)

    Didn’t know the irish broadcaster, so took me a while to parse RTEE.

    I thought 8d was a cd of sorts, the surface suggesting Latin and other languages/subjects

    Many thanks Mr Ron and pommers

  19. Heinz
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Pommers for excellent guidance, I don’t know how you do it. Did not enjoy this much at all. Many clues were over complicated and real “clunkers”. I agree that neither 1d and 2d work, just a lot of hard work for not much reward. ****/*.

  20. Angel
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid I found this completely uninspiring so much so that I threw in the towel half-way through. Discretion being the better part of valour I will say no more except to thank Pommers for saving the day and Mysteron who will doubtless have pleased others. *****/*. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  21. Kath
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was great but very difficult – at least 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment. It’s taken me ages and I’m hugely relieved that pommers and I swapped weeks!
    I’m sure others know better than I do but I half wondered about Shamus – if only because of 1a which probably isn’t a good enough reason.
    I’d forgotten the Irish broadcaster so 1a took a long time; I got into a terrible pickle in the bottom right corner with 30a and 21d.
    With 21a I still don’t really see why the lowest voice sings high notes. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    And one last thing – I almost decided not to admit to this so everyone has to promise not to think that I’m a total twit but with 18d I’d forgotten about that chap and thought we were talking about the lion! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif
    I liked lots of these but particularly 9 and 27a and 3 and 11d.
    With thanks to whoever for the crossword and to pommers for the hints – and well done too!

    • Jane
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath,
      I did wonder about Shamus but thought some of the clues were too convoluted for him? Wish I could recall the recent puzzle with the Irish broadcaster – was that one of his, I wonder.
      Thought about you with 21d. Before any checkers went in, I SO wanted to put ‘Poldark’ as the answer! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

      • pommers
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        RTE was most recently came up in Toughie 1445 by MynoT on 11th August

        24a Inhabitant of no.15 receives Irish Radio and Television kind of well (8)

        The answer to 15 was ASIA

        • Jane
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that, Pommers. Obviously no help whatsoever re: today’s setter – I’m still veering towards PJ – but it was nice to discover where we’d seen it before. Looks as though that one’s settled in the memory bank – wish the same could be said for many of the others! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • pommers
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I wondered about Cecil being the lion too but I thought that the puzzle was probably submitted before the events of 1st July so didn’t mention it.

      Perhaps PJ (I reckon it’s one of his) will drop in and let us know.

      • Merusa
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you and Kath re 18d, was sure it was Cecil the lion, Rhodes never occurred to me. How soon we forget.

  22. Ann Atkinson
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Strange clues, I have to admit giving in and looking at your answers, all too esoteric for me this morning so this is one that remains unfinished by me

  23. Mike and Penny
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Way over the top
    A poor crossword on a miserable day

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog

  24. Kitty
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ll admit to a teensy bit of cheating today. I liked the puzzle but am pretty sure I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d been in the mood for a hard one. I probably will be later: I have a busy afternoon/early eve ahead but when I return all will be peaceful and serene. Maybe I’ll celebrate with a Toughie, maybe I’ll shatter the peace by making horrible noises on the piano.

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

    P.S. 15a in the Quickie made me laugh after Hanni’s comment yesterday.

    Thanks to PJ (I’ll eat my hat if it’s not) for the challenge and also to pommers for the excellent work.

    • Hanni
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just looked at 15a…http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kitty – please pass on my thanks to Mr K for his comment on yesterday’s blog. Will he be about at the next birthday bash?

      PJ normally signs in by now – I hope your hat is tasty http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Kitty
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Done. No idea about the next birthday bash – I’m not even sure I’ll be about because I have to survive Christmas first… If I’m still alive, I’ll definitely be there though :).

        I stand by my guess at the setter, but don’t blame him for not making an appearance here after all the nasty comments :(.

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Yet another crossword that I found more difficult than the toughie.
    With 27a being my last one as the parsing eluded me for a while.
    Voted favourite of the day.
    A proper head scratcher and quite a challenge.
    More Shamus to me than PJ. Could be wrong though. Like the toughie. I think it’s Dada but yet again I don’t have a clue so far.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers for the review.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      The Toughie is definitely Dada.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Wow! Thanks CS.
        My only expertise was blind wine tasting before. I never could recognise a setter before joining the blog.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Mind you, I had another thought. This grid is one we often see on a Sunday. Could Virgilius set a puzzle during the week?

      • Ora Meringue
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        I often struggle with the Sunday Cryptic, but Virgilus is always fair with his clues…..

        • Brian
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          I agree, Sunday is tough but fair which this one was not.

  26. Heno
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I didn’t like this one at all. Far too obscure with the definitions. I needed 12 hints to finish. Hated 1a & 1d, no Favourites. Was 4*/1* for me.

  27. badger
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I found many of the clues abstruse and the whole not, as it is supposed to be, enjoyable. If a puzzle like this is required, do the “Toughie”. Awful

  28. Ora Meringue
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Did not enjoy this one. Far too obscure for me. Needed the hints for almost half of the clues.
    Not a good day. Makes you want to give up when they are as difficult as this to understand.

    Thanks to Pommers.

  29. Young Salopian
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    There were just too many clunky or plain unfair clues to make this enjoyable. This was one of the most difficult back-pagers for some time, and I can honestly say I didn’t like it one bit. I cannot remember the last time, if ever, that I have commented so negatively on a DT cryptic. Well done and congratulations to Pommers for a top effort. 4/1 I’m afraid.

  30. Owdoo
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Tricky, but doable. I enjoyed the challenge and didn’t find this as bad as some of the above commenters seem to have done. It did take me a lot longer than usual though, which was bad news for the list of tasks I originally had to do today.
    The two 21’s were both rather clever I thought and elicited a smile when the penny dropped although 21d is not a word I’d use very often, if at all.
    3d also raised a smile and, yes pommers, I did look forward to hearing it when I read the blog. Our eldest has recently started to learn the bass guitar and it was the first thing that I asked her if she could play.
    4*/4* from me.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and pommers.

  31. Brian
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    What a stinker! It’s one thing not being able to answer the clues but quite another when they make no sense at all such 11d. Clever they may be but way out of my ability.
    For me zero for enjoyment and 7+ for difficulty. Thx to Pommers for trying to explain this dreadful offering but no thanks to the setter.

  32. Toadson
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Needed a few hints today, so thanks to Pommers for the review, and thanks to the setter too.

  33. Hilary
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Brain dead off to lie down, it was my Thursday nemesis with knobs on today, poltergeist devoured all the tissues Boo Hoo. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    • Hilary
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry forgot my manners thank you to Pommers for sorting me out and thanks to setter for confusing. Talk about bung it in and hope for the best.

  34. Jay legs
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Well it is a Thursday after all ? Too difficult for my pay grade ****/** very convoluted! Still Suns out surfs up so must not grumble. Big thanks to Pommers for explaining it all so well ?

  35. Tyke
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Too hard for me after 2hrs of root canal work. I’ll give it 5 as I have now given up.

  36. Franco
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    27a looks like a blatant indirect anagram to me, but … as Manuel used to say “I know nothing!”

    Gracias! Señor Pommers! Much help was needed today.

    Maybe I will do better tomorrow… mañana, mañana,mañana ?

    • pommers
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I have learned over the past few years that mañana does not really mean tomorrow, although that’s what the dictionary might say. What it really means when a Spaniard says he’ll do it mañana is that he’ll do it in the fullness of time – providing it’s not too hot :lol:

  37. silvanus
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I agree totally with Owdoo – tricky but definitely solvable provided you have the patience (and inclination). I’m quite surprised by the numerous negative comments – maybe Ray T withdrawal symptoms?

    I loved the unexpected anagram in 12a, and my favourite was 21a – a real “d’oh” answer as 2Kiwis rightly said.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  38. Merusa
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Far, far too difficult for me. I had to give up with six undone and needed help from pommers. I found the clues so convoluted it made my head spin.
    However, there were some really standout clues, e.g. 15d and 21d, offset by some real clunkers.
    I don’t think I’ve ever been this negative in a comment before.
    Thanks to setter, and many, many thanks to pommers for unravelling some really complicated knots.

  39. MadManMoon
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I have been, by and large, completing the DT “backpager” on my journeys to and from work for the last thirty odd years. I do so because I can, in the vast majority of cases, complete the puzzle without having recourse to external sources in the timeframe of my journey. This was impossible with this monstrosity, which should have been consigned to the realms of the online Toughie, where those with the time to spend hours solving it (or those with greater intellects!), can do so at their leisure. Sadly this is symptomatic of the recent change in standard of the back page puzzle, that leaves me wondering whether my old friend has passed away. Either that or my intellect has diminished recently with the onset of later middle age!

    • Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog MadManMoon

      A Toughie needs to be more than just a difficult puzzle – it needs to have some flair as well. You can guess what I think of this one.

  40. overtaxed
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Way above my pay grade. 5*/*
    Too many insolvable clues, and even the hints didnt reveal all of them.

  41. Shropshirelad
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to say that this was not a puzzle that I found to be very enjoyable. As pommers said – there were too many ‘what’ moments instead of the ‘of course, d’oh and Aha’ moments. However, such is life. No particular stand out favourite today but I do agree that 27a seemed to be a tad ‘iffy’.

    Thanks to today’s Mr Ron and pommers for his usual excellent review.

    Mrs SL and I are off to Edgbaston for the weekend, so I’ll take the opportunity to wish you all a super Bank Holiday weekend. Have fun http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  42. MichaelP
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I got there eventually with the aid of five hints and one cheat but agree with most of what has been said above. If a Crossword is hard work but you kick yourself when the penny finally drops it can be enjoyable. In this case the only person I felt like kicking was the setter. Some of the clues were not just misleading but seemed to bear little relation to the eventual answer. I hope this was a one off aberration!

  43. Gwizz
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That was a challenge and a half! I so nearly completed but I bunged in SIDESTEP for 30a and that did not help proceedings at all. So silly because I knew that it didn’t stand up to scrutiny. I got 1d but failed to parse it for some reason so 1a then also caused problems. Oh well, you can’t win them all I suppose. I liked 18d and overall 3/3* . Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for sorting me out with his review.
    It was not in any way a ‘comfortable’ challenge, but hey! that’s no bad thing! I fail to see why there is so much negativity…..
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  44. Ian
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    21a. Surely a bass ilikely to return a low score. Don’t sopranos sing high?

    • pommers
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Look at my reply to Graham and Vince at #3.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      We think the point is that the sheet of music which has the high notes on it, is no use to the Bass so he returns it. That is how we understood it. Cheers.

    • Kath
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      I came to grief with that one too and needed pommers to sort me out!

  45. oddjob
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Rooky corner on a Thursday?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  46. Liz
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    No, this didn’t work for me. Took ages to get going and got stuck in NW corner, so had to use the hints. There where some very good clues though…especially liked 11a, very neat and 9a was good too. Nice anagram at 12a. Otherwise a bit of a slog and not particularly enjoyable. This week has been a bit dire really (IMHO), not holding out much hope for tomorrow, then. 3*/2*, and thank to setter and Pommers for the welcome hints.

  47. Michael
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Quite tricky – I can’t say I enjoyed much – but better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick – just!

    • Liz
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Or a smack round the face with a wet fish!

      • oddjob
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Or a ,sorry, no- i’m too polite!

  48. pommers
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Well, I said I’d be interested to see your views and they have surprised me quite a bit. I know i said I didn’t find it a lot of fun but I didn’t think it was as bad as most of you guys seem to think.

    Anyway, I’m off to bed now as I have to be up at 0515BST tomorrow. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  49. upthecreek
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Drat and double drat. I expected a RayT today and got this load of rubbish and then found out that Ray set the Toughie yesterday. C’est la vie!

  50. Cat
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I found this really, really difficult so it was nice to know I was not alone, thank you everyone. I did eventually get most of them even if I didn’t really know why, so many thanks Pommers for your excellent explanations. I thought most of the clues were rather obscure and it was not particularly enjoyable today, I’m afraid, for me a ****/**. Also agree with the comments on the Quickie. Tomorrow is another day!

  51. oddjob
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    It seems (that) the only person to enjoy it was JonP. Please don’t rush to any conclusions.

    • Kath
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Excuse me – I enjoyed it too. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a bit of a battle but I thought it was good and it kept me occupied and out of mischief for far longer than I’d care to admit!

      • Hanni
        Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        I gave it 3* enjoyment stars.

    • silvanus
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I enjoyed the solve as well, as did several others including Gazza, although we seem to be very much in the minority!

      Re-visiting the puzzle this morning, I’m even more bemused as to why this has received so much criticism. Although it was certainly tricky, at least a quarter of the clues were either anagrams or hidden words, and even if some were very well disguised, they were never unfairly so.

      8d was as easy a clue as you’d find in any DT back-pager, even a Rufus one.

  52. Sam Kelly
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Cumbersome, contrived and unsatisfactory, and some downright wrong (16a boom is not synonymous with prosper, and 30a, since when did S mean succeeded?). Another one like pulling teeth.

  53. Salty Dog
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    For various reasons l completed this in three bites; perhaps that contributed to 3* time/difficulty. As for enjoyment, l wouldn’t go above 2*. There were some decent clues (l quite liked 11d) but some others (like 21a) that l didn’t think worked that well. Still, thanks to the setter, and to Pommers for the review.

  54. Franco
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this because the clues in the newspaper were exactly the same as the clues in the on-line version!

    Has this ever happened before?

  55. Anthony ffrench-Constant
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been doing this crossword every day for 25 years, and have never before been moved to say: ‘What absolute rubbish’.

    • Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Anthony

      It seems you are not alone.

  56. Miffypops
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I have not read the blog, the comments, nor looked at the pictures but after several read throughs I have only six across clues in and seven downs and no ideas. normally by this many read throughs I would be finished or grappling with the last couple. Stumped Stumped Stumped. I have no charge on the ipad so cannot have a go now. Heigh ho. it happens. Well done pommers and serious praise to the setter.

  57. Jane
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Hi TS – when you pop in later. I return MT to the security of your bedside – I’m sorry to say that the lady met with very little appreciation here. I have tried so hard to see what you obviously can see in her writing, but I’m afraid it has fallen on deaf ears. To be honest, I thought her more than a little deranged and her words extremely depressing – she must have been a truly tortured soul.
    Sorry, I’m sure that’s not what you wanted to hear by way of an opinion.
    Still awaiting delivery of ‘Common Places’, goodness knows why it’s taking so long. Hopefully, I’ll have a brighter report to give on that one! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Tstrummer
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:23 am | Permalink

      Well, I never expect to win them all. I just love her work, even though so much is lost in translation. Anyone who can write “Your hand is pale from holy kisses, no nail of mine” gets my vote. Anyway, it’s very good to hear from you again. I shall think most carefully before making another recommendation, although so far, I make it one-all. What about Robert Frost, although there’s a lot of pap there, there are also some of the 20th century’s greatest verses, IMHO?
      BTW spoke to PH today and he was most chuffed that you enjoyed Harbour, and also that you (and others) had visited his website.

      • Tstrummer
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:58 am | Permalink

        PS I am genuinely sorry that you didn’t like MT. I feel that you have wasted your money on my behalf. If you did feel like a crack at Frost, though, all the good stuff (After Apple picking, The road less travelled, Stopping by woods on a snowy evening, For once, then, something) are available free online.

  58. Vancouverbc
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    *****/*. What a chore. Its my birthday today and this was no present. Far too obscure to be enjoyable. Well done Pommers for explaining it. To the setter – hmm, I better not continue.

  59. Tstrummer
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    The lateness of the hour shows how much I struggled wth this one. I will echo Walter Kerr’s famous (and shortest in history) review of Isherwood’s “I am a Camera” on stage in New York: Me no Leica
    Thanks to Pommers for a manful struggle to help me to explain my bung-ins 4*/1*

  60. Hrothgar
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Did not like 1d, 1a, 21a.
    All stretching it a bit, I thought.
    My 21a would be Bush, as in Kate Bush.
    A better answer than the setter’s, perhaps.
    11d was very clever, I thought.
    Otherwise a routine tussle.
    Thanks to the setter, and pommers for the review.

  61. badger
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Agree totally with MadManMoon. Have been doing back page for over 50years and it has changed (or I have!!) for the worst in recent years.

  62. McMillibar
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I stopped reading the Telegraph long ago and only get to see the crossword late in the day and only then when it arrives free with shopping from a certain supermarket. I was of the view that the ONLY area where standards have remained intact was the Cryptic.
    I filled in the SW corner of this one and got stuck. Tried again the next day… Still stuck.
    I have been completing this puzzle for 30+ years and if this sort of crossword is to appear regularly then it will be a very sad goodbye from this average solver. I don’t have enough heartbeats left to waste on this sort of thing.

  63. Margaret
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I’m normally a ‘lurker’ but really enjoy the camaraderie on here. The reason I’ve come out of the shadows is to ask – could somebody please explain to me how the end result of 1d is thwack? How does that equate to buffet? Sorry to be negative on my first visit, but I hated this one and gave up half way through.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Margaret, I hope now you’ve ‘de-lurked’ you’ll comment again.

      Buffet as a verb can mean to hit as can thwack.

  64. Margaret
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Sue. I still wouldn’t equate the two words. I would say buffet was more to ‘knock about’ as in maybe on choppy water rather than a one-off ‘thwack’. Thank you for your kind welcome. As you see I’m normally very late to the party as I’m a ‘desk jockey’ so am at work all day so don’t get to the crossword until mid to late evening. I do love reading all your comments, though

    • Hrothgar
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I, too, as I said, was extremely irritated by 1d.
      As you say, Margaret being buffeted is not one hit.
      Being hit more than once by choppy seas is a very good example.

      • gazza
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        I can’t see the problem with thwack/buffet. The first definition of the verb to buffet in the BRB is “to strike with the hand or fist” and the first definition of to thwack is “whack” (which is defined as to “strike hard and smartly”).

  65. Mark
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this. However, I put the wrong answer in for 21a and therefore couldn’t get 21d.

    I thought 8d was a poor clue.