DT 27913

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27913

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Today’s puzzle didn’t put up too much of a struggle. Let us know your thoughts.

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

6a A cod that’s cooked with a plain drink (4,6)
PINA COLADA – an anagram (that’s cooked) of A COD with A PLAIN.

8a Fail in old US college (4)
OMIT – the abbreviation for old is followed by the initials of a college based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

9a My time in Fez, say (5,4)
FANCY THAT – insert T(ime) into what a fez is an example of (5,3). Fez is falsely capitalised in the clue to try to make us think of the city in Morocco.

11a Mention of Fenland place being devious (4)
EELY – this adjective meaning devious or slippery sounds like a cathedral city in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

12a Stray right in US hospital facility (3)
ERR – insert R(ight) in a US hospital facility.

13a Defensive type around court brewed beers in LA (9)
BASELINER – an anagram (brewed) of BEERS IN LA produces a player who is reluctant to attack by approaching the net.

16a Some unweighable men principally facing ring — in this? (4)
SUMO – the principal letters of the first three words and the letter that’s ring-shaped. I’m not sure that the definition really works – aren’t these men inside the ring facing each other?

17a It’s like a top golfer  to withdraw from competition (7)
SCRATCH – double definition, the first an adjective describing a golfer with a handicap of zero.

18a Damage by number of spectators in Kent resort (7)
MARGATE – charade of a verb to damage or impair and the total number of paying spectators at an event.

20a Clot, we’re told, getting to work with needles (4)
KNIT – this sounds like a clot or fool.

21a A route retired name follows, being indifferent (9)
APATHETIC – A (from the clue) and a route or track are followed by the reversal (retired) of a verb to name or specify.

23a Tom, perhaps, and son excluded by players (3)
CAT – remove the S(on) from a group of actors.

24a Award for TV programme unknown eclipsed by a book (4)
EMMA – start with the annual TV award in the USA and replace the algebraic unknown with A.

25a Learner I must follow entering big room that’s messy tangle (9)
IMBROGLIO – the letter identifying a learner driver followed by I (from the clue) go inside an anagram (that’s messy) of BIG ROOM.

29a Bishop with complete stoop (4)
BEND – the abbreviation used to identify a bishop in chess is followed by a verb to complete or finish.

30a Old Cuban free to wander without fellow in high spirits (10)
EXUBERANCE – start with a preposition meaning old or one-time and add an anagram (to wander) of CUBAN [f]REE without the abbreviation for fellow.

Down Clues

1d Litigant not clear in minor quarrel (4)
TIFF – start with someone bringing a case against another person and take away the 5-letter adjective meaning clear or obvious.

2d Unpleasant feeling from French bread (4)
PAIN – double definition. Bread is to be taken literally here, i.e. it’s not a slang term for money.

3d Thin lad consuming prime bit of nutrition (4)
BONY – a lad contains the first letter (prime bit) of nutrition.

4d Police operation staff making contact with racing driver once (7)
MANHUNT – a verb to staff or provide personnel is followed by an old British racing driver.

5d Like a skilful negotiator, I calm top delinquent confronted by inspector (10)
DIPLOMATIC – an anagram (delinquent) of I CALM TOP is preceded (confronted) by the abbreviated rank of an inspector in the CID.

7d Period in a substantial hospital producing consequences (9)
AFTERMATH – insert a period of time (in school or prison perhaps) into A (from the clue), an adjective meaning substantial or hefty and H(ospital).

8d Mistake shown in management? (9)
OVERSIGHT – double definition, the first a mistake or inadvertent omission.

10d Hint coming from line, we hear (3)
CUE – this sounds like a line (possibly of people waiting to get served).

13d Old newspaper to make Net, conceivably (4,6)
BACK NUMBER – if you take the answer as an instruction and obey it you could conceivably end up with net (or owt).

14d Second character covering selling area in anti-fraud device (5,4)
SMART CARD – S(econd) and an amusing or eccentric character contain (covering) a selling area or trade centre.

15d Rewarding development of vital cure (9)
LUCRATIVE – an anagram (development) of VITAL CURE.

19d Here’s first retreat among trees providing sanctuary (7)
HARBOUR – the first letter of here is followed by a shady garden retreat among the trees.

22d Shelling may reveal one’s yellow inside (3)
EGG – cryptic definition of what soldiers are an essential accompaniment for.

26d Unrestricted shop entrepreneur screens (4)
OPEN – an adjective meaning unrestricted (as in a sports championship) is hidden (screens) in the clue.

27d Disclose without permission national symbol, we hear (4)
LEAK – this sounds like the national symbol which will be much in evidence at Twickenham next Saturday.

28d Individual getting caught inside formerly (4)
ONCE – a word meaning an individual thing or person has the cricketing abbreviation for caught inserted.

My top clues today were 9a and 13d. Which one(s) appealed to you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: GROW + CERISE = GROCERIES


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107 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – nice anagrams, not too difficult – right up my street! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  2. JonP
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    This one took me a little while to unravel but I didn’t find it too taxing. Thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron **/***

  3. Hanni
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    **/** sounds about right.

    What a hideous grid. Twelve 4 letter clues and four 3 letters clues.

    Completely agree with Gazza re 9a and 13d. They did make me smile.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for blogging. Brilliantly illustrated and explained as always.

    • andy
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Agreed, and 6 of the 4 letter words starting with an unchecked first.

      • Hanni
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Exactly Andy.

  4. neveracrossword
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    2*/3*. Favourite was 9a. Least favourite 13d (thanks to Gazza for the explanation, though the answer was clear.) Thank you setter, too.

  5. Graham
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Struggled a bit but got there in the end so would put in ***/*** territory for me.Many thanks to the setter & Gazza for his review & I was hoping for a clip of the song in 6A by Rupert Holmes.?

  6. fat-al
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    not too taxing but I struggled a bit more today than yesterday, that’s probably more to do with my brain than the puzzle. roll on tomorrow. struggled with 7 down for some reason

  7. dutch
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    My favourites were also 9a (silly) and 13a (nice misleading definition). In 17a I wasn’t aware of the golf term for a handicap of zero. Oh dear, I think I’ve been mispronouncing the cathedral city! (9a).

    Many thanks Gazza and setter

  8. Jaycat
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Interesting slants in this puzzle, took a while to get on wavelength, then agree that it was not difficult but very enjoyable. Some of the wordplay was complicated but usually I knew the answer had to be right so it was a matter of sticking to it and eventually it became apparent. 30a being an example.
    2.5*/3.5*

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  9. dutch
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Today’s toughie is relatively gentle for an Elkamere, in case you were hesitating…do try.

    • gazza
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I agree it’s gentle but I don’t think it’s by Elkamere.

      • Hanni
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        It gentle for a Warbler too. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

        • Jane
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Oh goody – I do like Warblers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • crypticsue
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        It is gentler than the inside back pager too (and I’m not the only one who thinks this)

        • F1lbertfox
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Agreed – but that’s certainly not a complaint. Enjoyed them both.

    • dutch
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this is Warbler – Elkamere tomorrow

      I made the mistake of looking at the last entry on the toughie compiler list on the telegraph puzzle website.

  10. Beaver
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Not going to quibble over a **/**,and like Hanni says, sounds about right, also agree that 9A ( will listen to the clip when I get home -thanks Gazza) and 13D are the best clues. Can’t say I’ve ever seen 11A in print, but I suppose it’s ok .Last in was 24A, when the penny dropped-also a hidden word backwards in the clue for good measure !

  11. Jane
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Can’t decide whether I like or loathe 13d – I certainly don’t like that wretched US college, forget it every time!
    Favourite was 9a with a mention for 1&5d (nice surface in the latter) and also for 25a, simply because I like the word.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Gazza for a great blog. The Tommy Cooper clip made me laugh – never used to amuse me at all in years gone by, must be an ‘age’ thing!

  12. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    2*/2.5*. This was a bit wordy but proved to be a reasonably pleasant steady solve. I agree with Gazza that 9a & 13d were the best of the bunch, and I didn’t like 13a. 19d was my last one in.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  13. Dave B
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Good crossword.. Loved 9a, and 13a was annoyingly misleading. **/***. Thanks to all.

  14. pete
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    did ok but have never heard of the word eely 11a

  15. Kath
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree 2* difficulty but much more for enjoyment – anything that can make me laugh when the rain is beating on the windows and it’s 10C has done a good job.
    I missed a few things – the first letter (principally) bit of 16a so why that answer was right was a mystery, and also didn’t see why my 13d was right.
    I didn’t know that a top golfer was called a 17a but knew the other part so that one wasn’t a problem.
    I only put 11a in lightly as I couldn’t believe it was right and thought that I might have “come over a bit Ronnie Corbett’ but it did turn out to be right.
    30a took a while to untangle – thought to begin with that it was an anagram of OLD CUBAN and F(ellow).
    I liked 18a and 4 and 7d. My favourite was either 9 or 11a – they both made me laugh.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza – the piccy for 4d http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif more than made up for the one for 16a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif
    Now then – who last had the instructions for building an ark?

    • Jane
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath,
      Think you should be looking for a grey-haired chap with a beard. Probably only around 5ft 7or 8ins since a cubit is apparently accepted as being around 18ins and the distance from elbow to tip of middle finger. That’s just about what mine measures so I’m assuming it’s height related. Maybe it’s not – please all try.

      • Brian
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        It’s not the measurement that bothers me, where do I get gopher wood?

    • Kitty
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      I’ll have a look around for ark building instructions, and if I find any I’ll send them over to you without delay.

      • Kath
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kitty – there were a few floating around on the blog, if you’ll pardon the pun, a couple of years ago when most of the country was under water – I just wondered who had them now . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Kitty
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Ah, I see. The pun need not be pardoned :). Well, since they’re not with me I’ll just have to join the unicorn – but I do hope they surface in time for the rest of you.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Took a little while to get on the right wavelength but got there eventually.
    Except 11a. Didn’t know that word.
    Didn’t know about the golfer either. My bung in of the day.
    Favourite 9a as well.
    Agree about the toughie.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  17. Jane
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Breaking news from today’s DT. It has been discovered that giraffes make a very low, gentle humming noise during the night. They haven’t quite determined as yet whether it’s a method of communication or just their equivalent of snoring.
    Hands up all those who wish that their partner’s snoring resembled a gentle humming noise!

    • Bluebird
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      If you slept with a giraffe, at least its head would be far out of the window……..

      I’ll get my coat…..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_eek.gif

    • Brian
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Llamas do the same. It shows they are not threatened.

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Llamas sleep with their heads outside the window? Wow!

    • Kitty
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Hummm …

    • Florence
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Snoring I can cope with. Whistling to bring back his dog is another story. We haven’t got a dog. In London today, and have just managed to grab last DT on the shelf. Thought that I would read the comments to see if it is worth trying to tackle this tonight or not. Might give it a go.

      • Jane
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Good heavens!
        Have you thought about getting him a dog – or maybe swapping him for a dog?

        • Florence
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Funny you should mention it. Sons have been looking at Vizslas on-line. Dog can’t bring me a cup of tea in the morning, so might have to keep the husband.

      • Hanni
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Goodness me. My other half used to shout in his sleep about an awful year 10 class (he’s a retired teacher), but this is something else. And quite funny. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  18. Bluebird
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    It was at least a *** for me. Although I eventually got them all ( bar 4d) in without help, it was painful enough to be tedious.

    I understood the derivation of 11d, but I couldn’t believe it was actually a word. I still don’t really – can anyone cite me an appearancehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    But 3d was a lovely clue….

  19. Brian
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Disliked this one intensly, far too wordy for my tastes. Eventually completed it with some electronic help but not at all enjoyable. For me **/*. Very tedious.
    Thx for the hints but managed to wrestle this one to the ground without them.

    • Brian
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Having a job writing this through the tears having just watched the clip of the great Tommy Cooper. Once went to s street market in Morocco where there was a man selling clothing including Fezs. He said why do Englishmen stop, put on a Fez and say “Just like that”. Difficult to explain!

    • Hilary
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Brian I entirely agree with you, I struggled through with loads of electronic help wondering why because I was not enjoying myself. No feeling of satisfaction. Roll on tomorrow. Thanks to Gazza for untangling my brain and to setter for doing it in the first place.

    • Ora Meringue
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I struggled too but got there eventually with electronic help and the hints.
      Thanks Gazza and the setter.
      Cannot truthfully say that I enjoyed it today….and have never heard of Eely.

  20. Jaylegs
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice crossword gentle and amusing ☺️ **/*** Although I could not really believe 11a ?
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter ( especially for the Tommy Cooper clip) Just like that! Liked 13a, 8d & 24a ?

  21. Merusa
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Another nice Tuesday puzzle.
    I needed hints for 13a and 30a, the latter mainly because I had the vegetable in 27d instead of the drip.
    Fave is without doubt 9a.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza for help finishing.

  22. Maeve
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I plodded my way through this without much excitement, so **/** for me too. 20a was a bit misleading I thought. Surely getting to work with needles should read knitting and not knit. Oh well, your lives and you learns. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza (especially for the Tommy Cooper video).

    • gazza
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      The definition of 20a is a verb (work with needles).

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      The word told Nd an anagram indicator of (getting to work) had me putting the word DOLT in. For a while.

  23. Robin Newman
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    ***/**

    liked 22D.

    everyone seems to like 13D, but I cannot see it-presumably “Net” stands for nil, but I cannot find this definition in any of the online dictionaries that I use.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      If you reverse or back ‘net’ or as Gazza says in his hint ‘owt’, what do you get?? Then have another look at the solution.

      • Robin Newman
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        I had thought there must be somehow a reference to a number on a roulette wheel, and by “owt” Gazza meant nowt, and so the whole thing seemed rather far fetched

        Now I see it !

        Thanks

  24. Heinz
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    ***/** Doable but not a lot of fun. Totally agree with Bluebird and 11a, never come across this word before and won’t be bothered if I never do again.

  25. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    **/***. Once I got going and attuned to our setter’s style this fell into place quite quickly with just a couple of pauses. Thanks to all.

  26. silvanus
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed it more than I expected to, having initially seen the unusually large number of three and four letter clues in the grid.

    No contest as to the favourite of the day, it has to be 9a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  27. Graham Wall
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Did not enjoy this very much. I could not latch on to the setter’s wavelength and without Gazza aid I would not have completed. It was a 4/1 for me. I am still wrangling with the construction of 16A. Thanks Gazza for the review.

  28. Heno
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, there were some good clues. Not too taxing. I needed the hints to parse 1&13d, having already bunged ’em in. Favourite was 9a. Last in was 24a. Was 2*/3* for me. Had a walk from Blackfriars to Tower Bridge, but it was cold and drizzly.

  29. mre
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon all

    Pretty straightforward for the most part. I wasn’t keen on 8a (not a synonym for fail in my language), and I couldn’t fathom 9a or 13d at all and I reckon the setter’s made 11a up. 16a raised a smile. 4d and 13a were my favourites.

    Stretched into three star time so three/three for me.

  30. Toadson
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Looking like reasonably plain sailing so far .. will finish later this eve. In the meantime can anybody explain the answer (and indeed the clue!) to 2d in yesterday’s quickie??

    • Robin Newman
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      the & a are indefinite articles, grammatically speaking

      also, an essay is, I suppose, a written article perhaps for a publication

      • Kath
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Sorry – you beat me to it – at least we seem to agree.

    • Kath
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Not sure that we’re supposed to talk about the quickie here but, since it’s yesterday’s rather than today’s maybe it’s OK – I’ll risk it! 2d – the answer is ‘article’. You’ve got ‘The’ (definite article) ‘a’ (indefinite article) and an ‘essay’ is a piece of writing or an article. Well, that’s what I thought anyway.

      • Toadson
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to you and Robin. I was thinking the semi-colons were of some greater significance maybe. Too used to doing cryptics now! At least that has put me out of my misery.

  31. Shropshirelad
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Not a lot to scare the equine breed of the New Forest, but quite enjoyable nonetheless (apart from 11a – groan). Spent too long on 1a to start with trying to get ‘soda attach’ to mean something – D’oh! After that, everything slotted in quite neatly so didn’t take a lot of time. Like Gazza, my favourite for today is 9a purely for the reminder of dear old Tommy – he may have been a philandering old b****r, but he did make me laugh and still does.

    Thanks to the Tuesday Mr Ron for the puzzle and Gazza for his review and the TC sketch.

    As others have pointed out, the toughie (?) is quite do-able.

  32. Hilary
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I hate to be a total Philistine but am I the only person in the whole wide world to find Tommy Cooper unfunny and wildy overrated? My OH spends hours watching him on YouTube, laughing loudly and I am completely unmoved.

    • Robin Newman
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      another Philistine here-also, I imagine people in those parts of the world where these hats are worn as a matter of course may not consider them fancy-anyway, that is my reason for having found this clue difficult to solve

    • Angel
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Leaves me cold too I’m afraid. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  33. Kath
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who liked 11a? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • Jane
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Possibly! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

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

    • Angel
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      You may be!

    • Hanni
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Maybe? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      It was not a goonerspooner clue. So I liked it. Nice and slippery.

    • Kath
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Well, and ‘oh dear’, and to hell with the lot of you then! I loved it – it made me laugh, quite a lot actually, so I’ll just chortle away in my little corner all on my own. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        I liked it Kath. See my comment immediately above your last one.

        • Liz
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink

          So did I

      • Maeve
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Lots of us liked it Kath. See earlier posts. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Sam Kelly
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes?

  34. Stone Lee
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Few problems with this one – mainly cos I failed to scroll to the bottom of the puzzle and therefore was a letter short on a couple of clues – was early in the morning. Surprised by the convoluted reasoning given for 13d – there was me thinking that NET was simply TEN in reverse! Or am I being too simplistic? Thanks Gazza and setter.

    • gazza
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      13d seems to be causing a lot of confusion. The answer is BACK NUMBER and if you reverse (back) the number TEN you get NET. I wish now that I hadn’t added another example, but I did – if you reversed (back) the number TWO you’d make OWT.

  35. Una
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    It took me ages to get on the right wavelength but it remained enjoyable throughout .
    I found I liked many of the short clues , such as 1d, 2d, 3d,16a,24a,28a,29a.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  36. Bob H
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t get 13d. Where is the indication to back net? Ah! OK just got it. So forget this post. It’s a good job Gazza’s on the ball

  37. Miffypops
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this puzzle. It was slow going due to getting other things done but it fell slowly and surely. I missed a leak/leek because I could not get the Canadian Maple Leaf out of my mind. I failed with 4d too as I had hand in mind for staff. Daft really. I am getting excited because tonight we play crib against The Dun Cow at Hornton Oxfordshire. The furthest we travel and a nice bunch to play. Let battle commence, and drinking.

    • Kitty
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Good luck with the crib – enjoy the battle and win the drinking.

    • Hanni
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Hope it went OK.

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        Audrey and I won the first pairs two – zip. Like a train. The team lost 4-3. A good night out.

  38. Kitty
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I must have been having a woolly-headed day then. I turned to the blog for 11a and 4d, but very much enjoyed the rest. As for how long it took – well, I’d tell you, but there’s a pesky house rule in place preventing me. What a shame!

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      4d was my last answer – don’t know why – James Hunt is the only racing driver I’ve heard of. The piccy was worth the struggle with the answer – a pity about the pesky blonde in the background trying to steal the limelight.

      • Jane
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Think yourself lucky, Kath – I could only think of Stirling Moss before some checkers went in.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        I think she was the first in a very, very long line Kath. As for Stifling Moss – I remember seeing his house on one of ‘Through the Keyhole’ programmes many years ago where he had every mod con fitted. Like something out of Thunderbirds Tracy Island. Sadly a couple of years ago, his lift didn’t work correctly and he ended up with shattered ankles http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        Sorry, it’s from the Graun..

        http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2010/mar/08/stirling-moss-admitted-to-hospital

      • Tstrummer
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:12 am | Permalink

        I had a long liquid lunch with James Hunt years ago. He was quite brilliant company – completely outrageous

  39. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    We mumbled a bit about the grid with all those four letter words and had a good chuckle about 9a. It all went together without too much of a fight although we did start off having afterward in 7d with the ward coming from hospital. Soon sorted. Amusing enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  40. Angel
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Not a lot to say about this one so will just thank Mysteron and Gazza. Needed help with 9a (although had considered a TC association), 13a (in spite of all that Davis Cup excitement) and 13d (not wild about that). ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  41. Salty Dog
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Quite straightforward but pleasant nevertheless: 1*/3*. No question about the best clue, for my money – 9a every time. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza.

  42. Florence
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I thought that this was fairly straight forward too, once I’d actually got started. Liked 6a but don’t like 6a, if you know what I mean. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza. Too late to play the Tommy Cooper clip. Will save that for tomorrow.

  43. Shropshirelad
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone out there?

    • Hanni
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      No. I’ve checked. It’s just you!

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        It’s a bit quiet – are we all exhausted?

        • Hanni
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Has Pommers commented today? He’s often on the ‘nightshift’. So predictions for the egg chasing?

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

          Btw- what’s the ‘planning’ all about between you and Jane for BD’s birthday bash? Seems all a bit secretive to me http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

            Hehe. You should know never to question when smart women ‘plan’.

            Hope there’s a date soon. What sort of high brow erudite conversation can be expected?

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

              Re erudite conversation – you will have to catch me early on, as after a few beers I ramble on and on and on……………. just ask Kitty http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

              Time for a bit of shut eye now http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif and a bit of TS chat I would imagine – ‘see’ you tomorrow no doubt http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

                Night.

            • crypticsue
              Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

              As the birthday isn’t until January 2016, I think you’re over optimistic in expecting a date to be announced ‘soon’

              • Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

                My intention is for Saturday, 30th January at The Bridge House, Little Venice again, but I have yet to book the venue.

  44. Tstrummer
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Long, long night at work sorting out other people’s shortcomings, with a looming cold and high temperature. I fear a bout of man flu coming on. Glad, therefore, that this was a bit of a breeze. No hold-ups, only one outstanding clue (9a, of course), although, like Jane, I enjoyed the word at 25a. Off to wallow in the solace that only a fine dram can bring. Thanks to Gazza, as always and to the mystery setter for giving me a straightforward challenge.

  45. titchy dave
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Not too difficult except for 8a. Needed the hint for two reasons. Firstly never heard of MIT college and secondly “fail” is rather a weak meaning of the answer. Also like many others I got the answers for 1d and 13d but couldn’t understand the cryptic bit without your explanation.

  46. fran
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Found this more difficult than many of the recent crosswords .Needed hints to finish.Thanks to Gazza ***/**