DT 27914

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27914

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

“Kia ora. Kiwis are normally shy creatures who spend most of the day asleep and come out only at night, but we have emerged, blinking into the light to bring you our very first review of a Wednesday puzzle. It has taken much beak scratching.
We have been solving and enjoying Jay’s puzzles for several years now and regard them as a consistent yardstick for Telegraph Cryptic Crosswords. Jay, we feel honoured to be blogging your puzzles.”

The above is a ‘cut and paste’ from DT 27603 that appeared here on 24th September 2014. Our very first blog!
A year on and we are still finding the process good fun, and we are certainly much less nervous about it than we were.
Enjoy today’s Jay, we did.

Please leave a comment telling us your thoughts.


1a     Remedies protecting against snakes (6)
CURVES : Snakes here is a verb. The one letter abbreviation for the Latin word meaning ‘against’ is included in a synonym for remedies.

5a     Mouths off about heartless guys in rogues’ gallery (8)
MUGSHOTS : An anagram (off) of MOUTHS has the first and last letters of guys inserted.

9a     Panic, seeing stars forgetting lines replaced by sailors (13)
CONSTERNATION : Take a word for a collection of stars, remove the two letters which are each the abbreviation for line and replace them with the UK military force of sailors.

10a     Creature, male, by river shrouded in mist (8)
BULLFROG : A male animal, possibly bovine, and then the abbreviation for river inside a word for a mist.

11a     The girl adopted by father is frustrated (6)
DASHED : A common name for a father surrounds a female personal pronoun.

12a     Look thus, if lost (6)
SHUFTI : An anagram (lost) of THUS IF.

14a     Put up with the French charge on heads of tourist office (8)
TOLERATE : Start with the first letters of tourist and office, then French word for ‘the’ and a word meaning charge or cost.

16a     Cavalier lacking means of transport to cross East (8)
CARELESS : The abbreviation for East is inside a word meaning not having your own personal motor transport.

19a     Caught many a poor reptile (6)
CAYMAN : The cricket abbreviation meaning caught, then an anagram (poor) of MANY A.

21a     Not on film location to provide a counterbalance (6)
OFFSET : A three letter word which is the opposite of on, and then what a film location is called.

23a     Issue a statement giving little weight to girl (8)
ANNOUNCE : A girl’s name and one of the smaller weights in the Imperial System.

25a     Fancy a blonde type? He is unacceptable! (6,3,4)
BEYOND THE PALE : An anagram (fancy) of A BLONDE TYPE HE.

26a     Apologist to give way, accepting conclusion (8)
DEFENDER : A word meaning give way or concede to, surrounds a word meaning conclusion.

27a     Gets wind of ship carrying cargo of American cash (6)
SCENTS : The smallest American currency unit has the abbreviation for a steamship around it.


2d     Vulgar, like diamonds might be full of love and hearts (7)
UNCOUTH : How diamonds in the rough might be described includes the tennis love, and lastly the cards suit H(earts).

3d     Meat injected with nitrogen is corrupt (5)
VENAL : Meat from a young cattle beast includes the chemical symbol for nitrogen.

4d     Gloomy pioneer regularly associated with planet (9)
SATURNINE : The sixth planet in our solar system and then alternate letters from the word pioneer.

5d     Special man with clout to impound car (2,5)
MR RIGHT : A luxury car is included in a word meaning clout or force.

6d     Good boy given new organ (5)
GLAND : Abbreviation for good, then the abbreviation for new inside a synonym for a boy.

7d     Setter aiming for the top? (9)
HAIRSPRAY : This setter comes in an aerosol can.

8d     Cosmopolitan gentleman taking the Circle Line (7)
TANGENT : A geometric line that touches a circle is hiding within the clue.

13d     Crawl to the finish in such an event (9)
FREESTYLE : This swimming style is sometimes known as the first word in the clue.

15d     Harassed client with no time understands publicans (9)
LICENSEES : An anagram (harassed) of CLIENt once the T has been removed, and then a word meaning understands.

17d     A strong story with a moral, showing good humour (7)
AFFABLE : A from the clue, the musical strong or loud, and a story possibly by Aesop.

18d     Shilling, milliner, shows dash (7)
SHATTER : The abbreviation for shilling and another word for a milliner.

20d     Nice changes in a religious tome dating from long ago (7)
ANCIENT : A from the clue, then an anagram (changes) of NICE, and one of the main sections of the Bible.

22d     Superbly muscled, but somewhat put on edge (5)
TONED : He might have a superb torso but still chooses to hide it in the clue.

24d     Maturity shown with American custom (5)
USAGE : The abbreviation for American and a word meaning maturity.

Our favourite this week is 7d.

Quickie pun    phew  +  chair  =  future



  1. Beaver
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    A puzzle of two halves ! as is my habit started off in the top left had corner and then moved on to the top right. I found the cluing quite difficult at first and meriting a *** difficulty . When I undertook the bottom half ,this gave in with barely a whimper , so a * for me . Did enjoy the solve overall and eventually arrive at a**/*** in agreement with the 2K’s.Thanks for the amusing picks, liked the 5d.Best clue 9a.

  2. Graham
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Tough but fair in my opinion & nice to see Miffypops featuring in two clues 5D 15D, I was going to include 2D & 20 D but that would be a little unfair, and definitely not 22D.
    Many thanks to the setter & the 2 Ks for their review.?

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      This could go either way, Graham. MP and his partner won their games last night, but the team lost out in the end.
      Your fate will doubtless be determined by how sore his head is today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Miffypops
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Jane. My head is never sore after drinking. I have had too much practice. Graham. Your comments made me laugh. Call me anything you want but don’t call me late for breakfast.

        • Kath
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          My Dad used to say he didn’t mind what anyone called him as long as it wasn’t early.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


  3. dutch
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Many thanks 2Kiwis,

    I enjoyed todays puzzle which I found fairly gentle. Clues I liked most were 1a (remedies against snakes), 10a (the creature by the river – this has a semi-all-in-one flavour), 12a (very nice, though the answer was new to me), 19a (poor reptile) and 22d (superbly muscled – a nice hidden clue I thought)

    The other hidden clue (8d) was a bit disappointing with “gent” hiding in “gentleman”. My last one in was 7d (setter) which took me a while – should have seen it faster from the checkers – and i’m not sure whether i like it, it is a good mislead, but i didn’t have an “aha!” more of an “oh, that…”, perhaps because “top” is very general.

    Many thanks Jay and Kiwis

  4. JonP
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    A gentle and highly enjoyable puzzle today. Thanks to the 2Kiwis and Jay */****

  5. Harport
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    18d. I was reminded of Mrs Shilling who used to wear big hats at Ascot.

  6. Jezza
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable for me – 2*/4*
    Many thanks to Jay, and to 2Kiwis.

  7. Kath
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Happy Bloggy Birthday, Kiwis! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif and I’d do lots more little faces if I didn’t think that more than two automatically stick me into moderation.
    Loved it – I think I’ll go up 1* from each of the Kiwis ratings so nearer a 3* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    I agree with Beaver in that the top half was far trickier than the bottom.
    7d was my last answer and I was pretty slow with most of the top left corner – couldn’t see 1a for ages.
    While I was doing it I felt as if there were quite a few anagrams but have counted now and, just for a change, I’m wrong – only six which is about average.
    I always think that 13d is a bit of a misnomer – freestyle now means front crawl – when I used to swim competitively in my teens you could choose which stroke you used.
    I liked 1 and 25a. My favourite was either 12a (one of the expressions that my Dad used) or 7d.
    With thanks to Jay and the K’s – hope that you’ve both recovered from the lurgy.

    • Kath
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      PS – I had two possible interpretations of the quickie pun – wasn’t sure which to decide on.

      • andy
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Me too

        • Kath
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          Oh good – not just me then. Was yours a plant with pendulous flowers, usually pink, red or white or a mixture of those colours?

          • Jane
            Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            Glad you’ve cleared that one up, Kath. I thought perhaps you were digging in the realms of whoopee cushions!

          • gazza
            Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            I did wonder whether the third (and fourth) word(s) were some specific strain of the droopy thingy, but since I’ve no idea what strains there are, I didn’t get very far.

            • Jane
              Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

              Just had a quick scan through the listed varieties. There’s one called Fuchsia Prosperity which could have made for a good three-worder, but my favourite was Grumpy – wonder how that one got its name?!!

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I remember a gardening programme called “Back To The Fuschia”

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Miffypops, suspect that the programme was called ‘Back To The Fuchsia”.

        Must admit this possibility did not occur to us and agree it is at least as valid as our choice. We did explore the next few words and even the last line of the grid in case there was more there. It is a pity that italics are not used for the on-line version if the number of words could be in doubt.

        • Miffypops
          Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:47 am | Permalink

          Anybody that reads my blogs knows that should be sacked immediately. But my poor little uneducated orphan boy status keeps me in the loop

      • Kath
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Fuchsias were named after a German botanist called Leonard Fuchs – it’s such an obviously German name that, once you remember that, you never spell them wrongly again. I love them – they’re beautiful.

        • weekendwanda
          Posted September 24, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          As a girl I used to giggle everytime news of the explorer of that name – Dr Vivian Fuchs – came on the radio. Can’t think why!

  8. neveracrossword
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I agree with Beaver that this was a puzzle of 2 halves. The top half caused me some 9a for a time.
    Thank you 2 kiwis and setter.

  9. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    2*/4*. I agree with those who found the bottom half a doddle and the top half much tougher, but overall this was a highly enjoyable puzzle.

    I have always thought of 9a as something much less alarming than panic, but I suspect if I check my BRB that I will find that Jay is correct!

    My favourite is 7d, even though this is something of which I have absolutely no need :sad:

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  10. pete
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Did pretty well today. I found the bottom half of the crossword much easier than the top half. 1a and 7d were the hardest for me.

  11. Angel
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Delightful – TVM Jay. First thought was that this was going to be a killer but, as frequently is the case, it turned out to be just nicely testing. I’m with Kath on ***/****. East side was uncomplicated and went in before the West. Thanks 2Ks for parsing 1a and 22d bung-ins for me. Aware of 19a Islands but not the reptile. Fav 8d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • Angel
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Just noticed second emoticon is there in error – should have been erased.

  12. Shropshirelad
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Strange puzzle from Jay today, inasmuch that I started from the bottom and worked my way up. Anyway, fairly straight forward once I got going and full of well constructed clues etc. Lots to like but I will go for 7d as my favourite.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and many congratulations to the 2K’s on their first blogging anniversary – may you both have many more http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Today’s toughie by Elkamere is something to get your teeth into – smashing.

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi SL,
      Currently, the music man has me on the run with the last three or four clues – much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on at this end. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    • Kitty
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      The bottom yielded first for me too, SL

      Attempting any Toughies at the moment might just finish me off. I haven’t even managed to get round to doing any Rookies.

      Re your comment yesterday about rambling on after a few beers, I found your conversation perfectly fine. … but then I may have had a few too! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        You’re far too kind Kitty – have I told you you’re my favourite? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Kitty
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink


      • Mr Kitty
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        You’re my favourite too http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        • Jane
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t worry too much about the ‘competition’, Mr. K. If you flick over to the other side you’ll learn that the guy carries his blankie around with him and cries a lot. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

            You’re my favourite too http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

            But don’t tell Kitty – or Kath as she’ll send me to the naughty step.

            • Jane
              Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

              http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif I just KNEW Mum was wrong when she kept saying ‘jealousy will get you nowhere’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  13. Robin Newman
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    completed with electronic aids


  14. Brian
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    First pass yielded no answers at all. However, pervervation gradually revealed the answers but it was a bit like pulling teeth, a long and rather protracted operation.
    Satisfying to complete but not much fun along the way. Having said that I did like 7d which was clever.
    Thx to all

  15. Hanni
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


    I found the bottom much harder than the top! But the whole thing nicely crafted. 8d was my last in as I couldn’t parse it…no surprise when it turned out to be a ‘hidden’.

    Thought 7d was good but adored 25a.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for a great blog. Congratulations on your one year anniversary. When I read the intro it did seem familiar!! Brilliant bloggers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    Currently having a huge argument with the Toughie.

  16. Peta
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    We struggled today. We always find Jay a challenge. We just don’t think the way he does.

  17. Jane
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Waiting for a few pennies to drop in the NW corner put this into 2* territory for me – 4* for enjoyment.
    The anagram at 12a could have gone unseen had it not been for the helpful final letter checker from 4d and I did try quite hard to get a camel into 16a!
    Liked the nod to David, milliner extraordinaire, at 18d and thought 8d was a ‘smile’ moment.
    The history behind 25a is quite interesting – but you doubtless all know it!
    Favourite is 13a although, as Kath rightly said, ‘free’ style used to mean exactly that.

    Thanks to Jay for the fun and to 2Ks for celebrating their blog anniversary in style. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Loved the scenario conjured up by the 19a pic and the one for 5d put me in mind of that excellent Mr. Men puzzle we had a little while ago.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Jane & Kath, I’m pretty sure that “freestyle” still means that competitors are allowed to use any recognised stroke but because front crawl is normally the fastest for most people that is what you always see in top events. Paradoxically, for medley relays competitors must use the front crawl for that leg even though it is still termed “freestyle”.

      • Hanni
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Spot on RD. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif Only other rule is that after the first 15m, some part of the swimmer must be above the water.

  18. Adelma
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Struggled. I thought 22d could have been ‘honed’. Always a delight to hear from the Kiwis.

  19. Killer Watts
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Quite a pleasant solve I thought. Always a relief to solve one without resorting to hints, such a rarity is it for me. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis, my rating is **/**** . Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to report to work, where I roll cigarettes for arthritic smokers. Well, it’s better than twiddling me thumbs …..

  20. SheilaP
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable today. We thought it was going to be very hard but once we got a few answers it didn’t take too long. Last one in was 25a for some reason. Thank you to the Wednesday setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  21. Cat
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Like others, I found the top half harder than the bottom half. Kept thinking I was stumped when I suddenly clicked. I was also confused by ‘setter’ initially but then got it from the checkers. Last in was 8d, I was literally reaching for the laptop to look at the hints when I realised what Circle Line meant and it was so obvious, I could have kicked myself for being so dense. I would say ***/****, thanks to Kiwis and Jay.

  22. Stone Lee
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the 2Ks rating. Started well at the bottom and worked up. Liked 12a as I hadn’t heard the phrase ‘a quick 12a’ for many years. Thanks to Jay and @Kiwis.

  23. Maeve
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    3pm and only three replies. Surely that can’t be right?

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Not quite sure how you can only see three, but you are comment no 23??

      • Maeve
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for replying CS. The same thing happened to me yesterday. At 3pm today there were only three comments, yet as soon as I posted mine nineteen others popped up. Weird!

        • Miffypops
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          Hi Maeve, Hit the F5 button occasionally. The page will refresh.

          • Maeve
            Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Thank you so much Jane.

            • Jane
              Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

              As RD has just pointed out, I told you the LEFT column when I should have said RIGHT.
              There you go, Maeve – be grateful you don’t have me as a map reader. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

              • Maeve
                Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

                My thanks to RD. I found it and subscribed (successfully I hope)

  24. Framboise
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    All went well till 7d – I was so convinced that setter was something to do with crosswords! In desperation – my electronic machine having not yielded anything with the checked letters – I put the grid in front of Mr Framboise and by Jove, he got it! Realized that 12a was an anagram after solving it, very clever clue I thought. Many thanks to the 2KWs for their review – I did not know the origin of pale in 25a and to Jay. 2*/4* with 9a as my favourite.

  25. Maeve
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    A satisfying puzzle for me. I’ll give it **/****. 7d was my last one in, which isn’t surprising really. Thought 18d was very clever naming Shilling as a milliner, which he was. He use to design really crazy hats for his mother to wear at Ascot way back in the 70s. Loved 9a! Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

    Can someone out there please explain why your blogs don’t show up until I have posted a comment?

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Maeve,
      If you look in the column at the left of the review, there’s an ’email subscription’ bit. If you put in your email address and press ‘subscribe’ you should get an email pinging into your inbox when reviews are published. It will also let you know when there’s a new ‘NotTheSaturdayPrizePuzzle’, Rookie Corner puzzle and monthly Prize Puzzle.
      Be warned – you’ll never again have enough hours in the day for anything else! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Left?! I wouldn’t want you as a human Satnav, Jane :wink:

        • Jane
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          No, you certainly wouldn’t! I think we’ve had this discussion before, but I confess to being totally dyslexic where left and right are concerned (as is Kath, if I remember correctly).
          In my defence, I was waving the right hand about when I was replying to Maeve – not my fault if she couldn’t see it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      And one more time. The F5 tab will refresh the page.. On an iPad hit the three dots at the top right hand side and then hit refresh

      • Maeve
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much MP. I really thought I was going mad to have this happen two days in succession>

  26. Liz
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    A great puzzle with some excellent clues. Took me quite a time to get into it and only managed the SW corner at first, but got there eventually. The stand out clues for me were 5a, 10a, 12a, 19a and 2d….all cracking clues and very satisfying to solve. I was held up a bit by 19a as I always thought this animal was spelt ‘caiman’ but a dictionary check showed the alternative spelling, so all was well. 27a and 3d also gave me some trpuble…silly really as its so obvious when you have the answer!!! I didnt need the hints today, happily, but did have to use my electronic helper a few times, so I agree with the 2Ks rating of 2* for difficulty, but for me 4* for enjoyment. Thanks to setter and to 2Ks.

  27. Merusa
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Nearly every clue a gem! No chance of choosing a fave.
    Loved 12a, haven’t heard that in a while, must start using it again.
    Last in was 7d, and I had to use my gizmo to get it, I was so convinced it had to do with crossword setters … moral, remember “lateral thinking”!
    Thanks to setter and to 2Kiwis, congrats on your anniversary!

    Kath, lovely pictures in the online DT of gardens at Oxford Colleges, so gorgeous.

  28. Miffypops
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Poor old Japan. Beaten up by South Africa on Saturday and having to play only four days later when still feeling the effects. Cracking puzzle today. Is it really a year Colin and Carol? Come on Japan.

  29. Hilary
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle again today, lots of head scratching and frequent references to the super toy. Perhaps it is because I am a year older today but all of a sudden my crossword solving ability has plummeted. However, when I had finished I was at a loss as to why it had proved so hard. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif Thanks to 2Kiwis and Jay, off to have nice cup of tea.

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Many happy returns, Hilary. A whole bunch of http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for you.
      I’m sure this auspicious day deserves to be celebrated with something slightly more bubbly than a cup of tea!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Many Happy Returns of the Day from me as well Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        There you go Hilary – BD’s given you the headlines http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday to you too.
      Just had lunch celebrating my daughter’s 17th and her maternal grandfather’s 73rd.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        ‘Bon anniversaire’ to your family members as well JL – I remember when my daughters were 17 http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

        • Kath
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Yes – I remember daughters at seventeen too – and thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen and don’t even talk about now. I agree – see later comment! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Happy b’day to your family JL. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      HBTY Hilary

    • Hanni
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday Hilary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Angel
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns of Today, Hilaryhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    • Ginny
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Happy birthday dear Hilary http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • Kath
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      A bit late now but Happy Birthday from me too. Another little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to add to the vase.

  30. silvanus
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Excellent entertainment from Jay, so many delicious clues from which to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 7d as I loved the misdirection.

    Just the right level of difficulty too I felt.

    Many thanks to our Wednesday setter and congratulation to 2Kiwis on achieving a full year of providing invaluable midweek hints :-)

  31. Young Salopian
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Made it back from the beach in time to solve this excellent and enjoyable puzzle. Like my Salopian friend above, I, too, completed the bottom half before anything went in the top. IMHO, Jay rarely if ever fails to deliver. 2/4 http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.giffor me, with thanks to the aforementioned and the 2Ks.

  32. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the toughie made my brain work on full steam as I didn’t encounter a single obstacle while solving.
    Just 19a where I thought of crotal for the reptile. It’s underlined in red as I write it so it doesn’t seem to exist in English.
    7d and 8d were my last ones in. Didn’t spot the hidden word for a while.
    Favourite 12a.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2kiwis for their birthday review.

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi JL,
      Just had quick look online – I came up with crotalus, a fairly nasty collection of pit vipers. Is that what you had in mind?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Yes Jane,
        You call it rattle snake. And I saw it was also used for some kind of bell which resembles a rattle presumably.

  33. Heno
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but very difficult for me. Managed the bottom half ok, but struggled with the top half. Needed 5 hints to finish. Would never have thought of 7d, maybe because I’m bald :-) Favourite was 12a. Was 4*/3* for me. Went halfway up the Shard today, great views.

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Was that to The Aqua Bar Heno?

  34. Jaycat
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle which had me stuck on 16a and 21a for ages but got there in the end, didn’t help I had “parable” for 17d !. Got 7d quite early on which I was pleased with ( I am bald too!). Didn’t know the word for 3d but loved the wordplay and indeed loved most of the wordplay throughout the puzzle.
    3*/4* for me

    Thanks Jay and 2Kiwis.

  35. Dave B
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    **/****. Very enjoyable. Particularly liked 12a and 7d. Thanks to all.

  36. Franco
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to the 2Kiwis!

    Another year older, another year wiser? If only …

  37. Hilary
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Gosh I feel s bit overcome, thank you BD for my birthday banner no-one has ever done anything like that for me before. Happy greetings to anyone else who is celebrating. It is times like this that I wished my dilapidated state did not preclude me from having a decent drink. Thank you.

    • Killer Watts
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Sorry you are in a dilapidated state, Hilary, but mhrotd from a relatively new member here, but a long time DT solver, must be 30 years now !

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      The same banner is on The Toughie page Hilary. Maybe you should rattle it off quickly and comment on “The Other Side”

      • Jane
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Which, of course, is exactly what you’re going to do, MP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

      • Kath
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        You must be having a laugh! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    • JonP
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Happy Birthday!!

  38. mre
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon all.

    I enjoyed this puzzle and thought there were some very good clues, notably lurker 8d and 9a,13a,7d,4d,2d and, my favourite,12a – a word I’ve not heard for what seems like an age.

    My only gripe is with 1a which I thought was a bit of a stretch. However, I’m nothing if not open minded so in the interest of sound cruciverbalism I’ll see how the better half reacts on being told she has snakes in all the right places…


    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      ummm – I think you were meant to see ‘snakes’ in the verbal sense as in ‘ the road snakes round the hill’. However, you could try referring to the other half as ‘snake hips’ – she might like that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  39. Kitty
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I was on wavelength today, which is fortunate. It was all lovely, and 6d was my favourite clue. My favourite hint was that for 22d.

    A very happy birthday to Hilary and Jean-Luc’s family members.

    Congratulations to the 2Ks on a year of superlative and entertaining blogs. May there be many more.

    Thanks to all the birds involved in today’s crosswording delights.

  40. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Morning all. Looks like we got most of it right once again.
    The persistent ailment that got a mention or two last week is living up to its reputation. Certainly not as debilitating as last week but the minor symptoms just seem to go on and on. Heartily tired of them by now and looking forward to waking up without a cough and sore throat. By next week perhaps.
    Anyway, there are still plenty of good crosswords to enjoy.
    Happy birthday Hilary.

    Ps , As I am writing this we are having a mild, long-lasting little earthquake. Will have to find out where it was centred.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Magnitude 5.3. Several hundred Km north of us at depth of 150 Km.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Does it mean that NZ is going to be even further away than it already is?
        But don’t worry. BD ‘s blog will always bring us closer.

        • KiwiColin
          Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          We don’t have much opportunity to move further away than we already are. We have worked out that Pommers is about as far away from us as it is possible to be on the surface of our planet.

  41. Gwizz
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    A really satisfying crossword to solve. No problems of note and no stupidity on my part which always makes for a refreshing change!
    Favourite clue was 12a – I love that word; it’s like ‘decko’ which I also like.
    2/3* overall. Thanks to Jay and well done to the 2 K’s for their efforts over the last yearhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  42. Jaylegs
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Another nice solve **/*** ? Thanks to Jay & the 2 Ks Liked 10a, 12a, 9a & 13d

  43. Kath
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    A bit late now so maybe no-one will read this but just filling in my own pink forms for a day when I won’t be here tomorrow. I had a, “Help, help, Mum” phone call from elder Pet Lamb and her partner this evening so heading off to London tomorrow complete with hoover, cleaning stuff and food. Husband is on call in the hospital all day. If I’m back from London and he’s back from the hospital in time we’re going out to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
    Please, all of you, look after pommers and be nice to him http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Jane
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      What a way to spend your wedding anniversary, Kath! You really are a very special Mum. Here’s a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.giffor you and another one for your anniversary. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Happy Anniversary wishes to you and Mr K for tomorrow. Mrs SL and I have ours this Friday and we’re off to our favourite eatery for a decadent evening – Hurrah http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        Night all.

    • Hanni
      Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations to you and your husband Kath. Brilliant mum. Oh the things we do we do at the drop of a hat for child type things (pet lambs). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 24, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Another thing we share, it is our wedding anniversary today (thurs) too

  44. Jane
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi TS – just leaving you a note before I head off to the land of nod – long day tomorrow.
    I have left you several late-night posts recently but you haven’t responded – I guess long hours at work and long nights with PH have left you somewhat disinclined to look back over previous blogs!

    It would seem that BD is hoping to book The Bridge House again for the birthday bash. I wondered whether(with you being a relative local) you knew of any decent, but not wildly expensive, hotels in the vicinity. I’m hoping to make it but think it could be rather a long haul to make it a day trip.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      Hi Jane. Rest assured that I have read, enjoyed and appreciated all your comments. I shall be at the Bridge House again in January (my boat was moored right outside just a couple of weeks ago). Good venue, even better company. However, it’s not my part of town, so I’m no expert, and it’s in an expensive area – when I was in Paddington basin just down the water, the estate agent was selling a studio flat (that’s one room and a bathroom) for £960,000! However, there are Premier Inns and Travelodges that serve Paddington, and they tend to be clean and affordable. Do come, but don’t be tempted to make it a day trip – you’ll miss all the fun by running off to get your return train. People were still arriving as I was leaving last time.

      • Hanni
        Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        The flat I lived in in Wimbledon village, many moons ago, was recently on the market for 1.1M. You have got to be kidding me? The one in Forest Hill for 475K.
        Rightmove is not my friend. Am gutted I never bought the house on Roupell Street SE1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_evil.gif

        Edit..ok the one in Wimbledon is bigger now and has a roof terrace…but still! The Forest Hill one was just awful!

    • Miffypops
      Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Jane. I am looking to stop over too. which is why I have asked twice for dates. It will be what it will be. Good fun. I may be there.

    • weekendwanda
      Posted September 24, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Jane – have you thought about Airbnb for a night’s stay in Little Venice or environs? You may even get a boat.

  45. Tstrummer
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jay for a delightful solve, with no hold-ups, head scratching or banging my head on the kerb outside. I loved it, especially 7d, my clue of the week so far, and 9a. I must to bed now to nurse my man-flu – got to be up early to croak on the radio (no idea what about yet).
    Thanks also to K-squared and congrats on the first year of many to come, and honourable menshes for the birthday girls and the anniversarians.

  46. weekendwanda
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I am always a day after everyone else – doing the Xword in bed the morning after! However could not resist saying this was brilliant. I am fascinated by the comments and our brains. This was the quickest ever solve for me. I found no difference between North and South and the NW was straight in. For some inexplicable reason 11a was on its own for a little while and last in. Perhaps because I was thinking of Pa or Fr for father. Thank you Jay – a great confidence restorer. I am hoping to come to the Cruciverbalists’ convention but a little nervous of such august company.

    • judetheobscure
      Posted September 24, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      I’m invariably at least a day late – sometimes much more.
      This was a lovely solve. Favourite, like many, 7d. Last in 16a and then 8d, because I couldn’t parse it; is ‘taking the’ the “hidden” indicator?