DT 27939

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27939

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we are in a period of transition — from the warm days of early autumn to the crisp days of late autumn, from baseball to hockey, and from the Conservatives to the Liberals.

I found today’s puzzle to be very tricky but I also had a lot of fun doing it and have therefore given it four stars each for difficulty and enjoyment. Perhaps those of you from across the pond will have a different view, being more familiar with such things as local amateur sports venues and football legends.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. 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.

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.


1a   Pub’s daily hours in this part of the world? (5,5)
LOCAL TIMES — another name for a pub followed by a mischievously non-capitalized newspaper

6a   Caught with joint in nick (4)
CHIP — caught as seen on a cricket scorecard trailed by a body joint

10a   Showing contempt for losing out in short-lived affair (5)
FLING — a term for showing contempt for or defying convention after removing (losing) OUT

11a   Edna anonymously appearing in Cornish resort to get tranquillisers (9)
SEDATIVES — EDA (Edna anonymously, i.e., displaying no name) finds herself in a Cornish resort which seems to have been abandoned by a large segment of the cat population

12a   Shock about family’s use of cosmetics etc (8)
SKINCARE — shock or frighten containing a collective term for members of one’s family

13a   Note Greek ship or what it could carry (5)
CARGO — a musical note precedes the arrival of Jason’s ship

15a   Most violent  end (7)
EXTREME — double definition; an adjective and an noun

17a   Magazine welcomed by senior as part of the breakfast ritual? (7)
SOLDIER — a magazine that, despite its name, is apparently not solely targeted at seniors is here consumed by an abbreviated senior

19a   That woman frequents bar where footballers may be found in Hackney (7)
MARSHES — a feminine pronoun found in a tasty bar provides a venue for amateur Sunday league football

21a   Poles holding unruly rogue who is handy with a knife (7)
SURGEON — geographic poles containing an anagram (unruly) of ROGUE

22a   News about variable look for material (5)
NYLON — two instances of N(ew) containing an algebraic unknown and an archaic exclamation meaning “Look!”

24a   Left on grumpy donkey, abandoning yen for quiet sheltered beach (3,5)
LEE SHORE — L(eft) followed by Pooh’s grumpy companion with Y(en) replaced by a behest to be quiet; I note that the setter flouts the convention for the use of “on” in an across clue; it would also appear that this nautical term does not mean a “sheltered beach” but a shore lying on the sheltered side of a ship and thus a danger to the ship since the ship could be blown onto it in foul weather

27a   Cause of misery — troops lurking between hills … (9)
TORMENTOR — one of the terms for ordinary soldiers is positioned between a pair of hills typical of South West England

28a   … still suppressing a small source of uprising (5)
YEAST — an adverb meaning still is wrapped around A (from the clue) and S(mall); this uprising takes place in a bakery

29a   One’s got out of bed to go on the roof (4)
REED — a cryptic definition for a type of roofing material — and, no, it is not TILE which was my first thought

30a   Classic vehicle driver, fancy hot racer touring Italy and then Europe (10)
CHARIOTEER — an anagram (fancy) of HOT RACER is going around (touring) first I(taly) and later E(urope)


1d   Roof space: length 0-12″ (4)
LOFT — liveable space under a roof is provided by a charade of L(ength), a letter that looks like a zero, and an abbreviated unit of measurement equal to 12″

2d   Stein in Crete whisked up batter? (9)
CRICKETER — an English chef in an anagram (whisked up) of CRETE; to me the definition sounds like a baseball player, but perhaps that is because I just watched the Blue Jays stave off elimination

3d   Record playing that can provide a way in (3-2)
LOG-ON — the sort of record kept by Captain Kirk plus the usual suspect for playing gives you a way to access your computer


4d   Fit in untidy heaps (2,5)
IN SHAPE — IN (from the clue) plus an anagram (untidy) of HEAPS

5d   Constant as Douglas’s cats? (7)
ENDLESS — how one might describe felines from an island in the Irish Sea

7d   Hang around shack eventually changing hands (5)
HOVER — another name for a shack with the final letter changed from L(eft) to R(ight)

8d   Pressure is on in Herts town to supply engine part (6,4)
PISTON RING — a charade of P(ressure), IS (from the clue) and a town in Herts into which the ON (from the clue) is injected

9d   Pedant succeeded with puzzle (8)
STICKLER — a charade of S(ucceeded) and a difficult or delicate problem gives a type of person for whom we have set aside a special corner on this blog

14d   Iron matter turned into cyborg (10)
TERMINATOR — an anagram (turned into) of IRON MATTER

16d   Risked cold being replaced by extremes of emotion and brought about an improvement (8)
ENHANCED — a synonym for risked with the initial C(old) being replaced by the first and last letters (extremes) of E(motio)N

18d   Stylish runny brie scoffed, being drunk (9)
INEBRIATE — a two-letter word denoting stylish, an anagram (runny) of BRIE, and a verb meaning scoffed or consumed gives us a drunk or a sot

20d   Southern chipotle cooked after cutting the end and top of it could make mess (7)
SPLOTCH — S(outhern) plus an anagram (cooked) of CH(i)POTL(e), what is left after removing (cutting) both the final letter (end) and the first letter (top) of I(t)

21d   Former striker, he’s rare wanting work (7)
SHEARER — anagram (wanting work) of HES RARE gives us the all-time leading scorer in the Premier League

23d   Lighter top going for pound which is generous (5)
LARGE — another name for a big open boat with its initial B removed and replaced by the symbol for a pound sterling

25d   Statement of resignation they hope provides a case (3-2)
HEY-HO — Kath will be pleased to learn that this lurker successfully hid itself until the bitter end

26d   Porridge can make you churn (4)
STIR — double defition, the first being British slang for a prison

Although choosing a favourite is a difficult task today as there are so many deserving clues, I have settled on 11a. However, it is part of an outstanding ensemble company including 10a, 24a (despite my quibble with the definition), 16d, 20d and others too numerous to mention.

The Quick Crossword pun: gnasher+nulled+trussed=National Trust



  1. Miffypops
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I could not parse the bed bit of 29 ac and found the anonymous at 11ac a bit tenuous.
    Otherwise very pleasant but tricky. Neil McCormack’s review (in today’s Daily Telegraph) of The Bob Dylan concert I went to last night at The Royal Albert Hall is spot on. I hope tonight’s show is as good. (Of course it will be). We are visiting The Horniman Museum this morning and The Foundling Museum this afternoon. Dinner at the Spaghetti House on Kensington High Street before the concert. There will be beer somewhere too. Gosh It’s like Facebook for crucivebalists

    • dave lock
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Miffy, the bed bit of 29a is not so arcane. You get reeds out of a “reedbed”, which is where they grow. It’s as simple as that.

      And talking of Bob Dylan, in 1969 (I was 16) me and my mate Roy thumbed it all the way from Whaley Bridge to the IOW mainly to see Bob at the rock festival. We spent 4 nights sleeping in a field of hay and had to thumb it all the way back looking like a pair of Wurzel Gummidges!

      Dave Lockett.

  2. Angel
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Thought this was going to be a mindbender but after a couple of deep breaths it turned out to be a very pleasant combination of fun and thought. Many thanks Mr. Ron. Thanks also to Falcon (good luck with your governmental “period of transition”!). Came up with say so for 25d which initially caused problems. SW corner last to fall into place. Tried to use tankard/mug for 2d. Wonder whether 24a is sheltered? ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Falcon
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      “Say so” was also the first thing that came to my mind.

    • newminster
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you.
      Sheltered is not usually the first thing that comes to mind.

  3. Paso Doble
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    We really enjoyed this tricky puzzle but needed Falcon’s help to parse a few of the clues. Highly delighted that it has been given a **** as we managed to finish it! Any idea who the setter is?

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Mmm. Not sure what to make of this. Some parts good, some parts awful. Some parts easy, some parts mindbending. On balance 3*/3*.

    I thought that 17a and 28a were dreadful, and I doubt that anyone but a Londoner would fully understand 19a (luckily for me, I did play football there in my youth!). However, I loved 1a, 11a 16d & 20d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      As pointed out below under comment 10, I meant 29a not 28a.

      P.S. I am feeling gloomy today as I needed to take my poorly rabbit to the vet this morning. He has been off his food since yesterday (the rabbit not the vet). The diagnosis is an intestinal infection. Antibiotics administered and fingers crossed…

      • Kath
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – poor Bunny. I hope that he’s better soon.

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Thank you very much, Kath.

      • Kitty
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        :( . Best wishes to your rabbit, Dave. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

      • Merusa
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        All good wishes for Bunny. It is always sad when a “friend” suffers and they can’t understand that you’re only trying to help.

      • Hanni
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Hope he recovers quickly RD.

      • Jane
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Chin up, RD – with such a devoted ‘Daddy’ he’ll be fine. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Thanks so much to you all for your kind words. Hopefully I’ll have some better news tomorrow.

    • dave lock
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      RD, 19a was an OK clue. I’ve lived in Derbyshire all my life and got the Hackney Marshes link straight away! If anything it was a little easy/obvious!

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What we particularly noted was the number of clues that would be a challenge for people outside the UK. 11a, 17a, 19a, 5d, 8d and 21d all had references either in the clue or the answer that needed specialised UK geographical or general knowledge.
    We managed, with the help of Google for a couple, to get them all but it did add an extra star or two for difficulty for us. Apart from that we enjoyed it.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon

    • Merusa
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      The ones that I object to are the ones like 21d, that is pretty specialized.

  6. Hanni
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink


    Agree with pretty much everything RD’s already said. Didn’t know the footballing part of 19a. In 4d you can also make the anagram ‘phase in’, which I pencilled in but it didn’t ‘fit’.

    No standout clues but very enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for blogging.

  7. mary
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Verging on a ‘toughie’ for me today, had to have my brothers help to finish http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif, I agree with 2Kiwis, for some of them particularly 19a and 8d were quite a challenge for me , living outside of England http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    Thanks for blog Falcon, never heard of the magazine either!!! A definite 4* difficulty for me today and only 2* enjoyment

  8. Young Salopian
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    This was certainly more testing than yesterday’s walk in the park, but not so difficult as to make it beyond a good workout for a dull and breezy Thursday morning. I think 3/3 is an honest appraisal of the puzzle. 11a was a standout favourite, very clever and with a good laugh out loud quotient. Thanks to Mr. Ron and our Commonwealth reviewer.

    • Domus
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your remarks and rating

  9. pete
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Rabbit Dave, I did manage most of it but some of the cryptic clues were terrible. Even looking on here I am still struggling to understand a couple of them.

  10. dutch
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Rabbit dave, some clues were dreadful, others were lovely.

    Seems to me that Manx cats definitely have an end, they just don’t have much of a tail (5d)
    15a I don’t think violent is relevant – could be most violent, could be most anything else at all.
    17a – couldn’t parse, had never heard of this magazine
    19a – did not get the football reference.

    I thought all donkeys were grumpy but Pooh’s friend was more depressed. Poor fellow, no-one understand him.

    I did like “source of uprising” in 28a (sorry RD), I like the cooking surface in 2d, especially since Stein has done his mediterranean tours etc including Crete, I liked the iron matter cyborg, and I liked the surface in 21d.

    Many thanks setter and Falcon for finding the magazine.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      No need to apologise – it was a typo! I meant 29a but the R which I had written in the grid had partially obliterated the clue number. I did quite like 28a!

      • dutch
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I do that – I invariably write over the clue number – drives my friends mad

        • Miffypops
          Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          I used to do it but cannot do it on the ipad

          • overtaxed
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Can’t get my tablet to open it today. All I get is the menu and an eggtimer when I try to connect.

    • Kath
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you about poor old Eeyore – he was miserable not grumpy – he spent a lot of time in his gloomy place.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Dutch, I was a bit bothered about 15a, but our bible the BRB gives the following definitions for the answer:

      “outermost; most remote; last; highest in degree; greatest; most violent; (of opinions, etc) not moderate; going to great lengths; stringent”

      • Kitty
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I thought it might be a triple definition. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  11. Spook
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    My my this was a bit of a struggle not sure about 20d though and there were several Homer moments “Doh” but over all ***\*** for me.
    Many thanks to Falcon and setter. Waiting for a break in the weather as we have a rich mans pointy ended gin palace to deliver. Still it will make a change from sail.
    My son in law went to Wednesday’s Dylan concert his words great. Oops don’t do Facebook style.

  12. Wahoo
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a very good puzzle and not too challenging although I confess that 17a (never heard of the Mag – although the Army have a magazine with the same name as the answer ) and 19a (thinking of the wrong type of bar) were bung-ins, that had to be what they were, so overall **/**** for me last night.

    2d just beat 11a as favourite, but so many others came close . Thanks to setter (anyone know who it might be?) and Falcon for the review

  13. Michael
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Umm – a little tricky in parts and easy in others – very up and down and I still don’t understand 29a!

    Time to go and attack the garden – those pesky fallen leaves are getting out of hand!


    • dutch
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      29a I didn’t like much – the answer is something you can, I suppose, get out of bed (think flower bed or garden bed or even river bed) and is then used in a particular kind of roofing typical of old traditional cottages.

      • Miffypops
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Or even a reed bed

        • Merusa
          Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          I agree, M’pops. Where they harvest reeds for thatching is known as a reed bed.

  14. Kath
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I really liked this one so 4* for enjoyment and 3* for difficulty although I can see that lots of these clues/answers would have caused trouble for non-UK residents.
    I looked at 17a upside down and inside out and still didn’t work it out – I’ve never heard of the magazine and didn’t get as far as thinking to look it up.
    24a took ages but shouldn’t really have done so – I spent too long trying to make ‘grumpy, an anagram indicator.
    25d was my last answer – no surprises there – I should have got it sooner as my sister-in-law says it all the time – she’s a teacher.
    19a had to be what it was but I had to ask Mr Google to make sure and then it took a while to work out the ‘bar’ – dim!
    I liked 1a and the 27/28a combination and 2 and 16d. My favourite was 11a.
    I’m not sure whether or not to stick my neck out and suggest who I think today’s setter might be – on balance perhaps not – been wrong too many times!
    With thanks to the setter, whoever he or she may be, and to Falcon for the hints.

  15. Frank
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi,for last couple of days I cannot reveal answers .I click on the new vertical bar but nothing happens.Previously the word click appeared in the left hand column which always responded–the new bar does not.Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Frank

      As I have said elsewhere, no changes have been made. On all the browsers that I have tried, leaving the window open for a while seems to work.

      • Frank
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Thanks,eventually the system came alive!

      • Hilary
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Thank you that answers my question.

  16. Heinz
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    ****/** Some tricky clues, didn’t like 11a or 17a much, but appreciated 12a and 21a.

  17. Organum
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Tricky in parts but lots of fun. 17a, 19a and 29a were the last to go in – got the senior and magazine confused which didn’t help. I’ll go with 3.5*/3.5*

  18. Kitty
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I found this just right at first, then it got decidedly trickier. I did enjoy it. There was a considerable amount of local knowledge required, so not a puzzle which will travel well. Fortunately for me, I knew or half-knew the necessary stuff. I knew of the 8d town, but couldn’t have told you its county. The 17a magazine sounded about right but I don’t know if I knew it. 19a: ditto. The only thing I missed was Mr Stein – d’oh. I wouldn’t knave known the proper definition of 24a but I rode home on the donkey. Is he grumpy or miserable? Positively happy.

    There are some great clues, but I am in an indecisive state, so not able to pick any favourites.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter – PJ, surely.

    • Kath
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      That’s very brave of you Kitty – I was going to keep quiet about the setter but I do agree with you – my only minor doubt is that I think he usually has something musical in his crosswords.

    • Falcon
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      PJ is also my prime suspect — but having been wrong on so many occasions, I am always hesitant to venture a guess.

      • Kath
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        . . . in stereo!

        • John Pidgeon
          Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink


          • Kitty
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Yay! Thanks for dropping in :) .

          • pommers
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            Thought so! Nice one http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

          • Falcon
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            Thank you for dropping by and thank you for what I found to be a most enjoyable puzzle — even though (or perhaps because) it was a bit of a stiff challenge for those of us overseas.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            Nice to see you drop in JP http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

          • Jane
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            Nice to hear from you, PJ. Loved this one. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

          • gnomethang
            Posted October 22, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Agree with that, Falcon and nice to see the man himself drop by. Personally I thought that 19a (and possibly 21d) would be very hard for anyone outside of London and football so Kudos to you.
            I might also quibble with Cyborg = Terminator as a definition by example since there are, for example, many four legged animals that don’t kill anything at all whereas the cat…..
            Maybe I need to get out of the Sci-Fi more….
            Apart from that I really enjoyed the challenge.

  19. Heno
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but was beaten by 29a&23d. Favourite was 27a. Was 3*/3* for me. At the Twickenham beer festival at the moment.

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Glad I’m not the only one to have found it quite tricky.
    Some of the constructions were definitely more suitable for a toughie than a back page.
    A mechanical solve but enjoyable.
    No real favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

  21. Shropshirelad
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much done and dusted with my Thursday breakfast treat. A couple of dubious clues but outranked by more superior ones. However, I must agree that some of the clues are not ‘foreign’ friendly – much the same as yesterday as I recall. Not going to put my head above the parapet for the setter but would probably put a hat on a stick and wave it wildly if pushed http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    I will go for 8d as my favourite, with a nod to 2d which reminded me of another clue along the lines of :

    He played a terrible cricket shot (11)

    Thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle and Falcon for his review.

  22. pommers
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I’d agree it’s a probably PJ as the slightly mad hat was certainly required :grin:

    Most enjoyable and I agree with **** enjoyment. Not sure about difficulty as we did it over a very excellent lunch in a local bar but at least *** and maybe **** as Falcon says. How anyone outside London is supposed to have a chance of getting 19a is beyond me. Some very well concealed definitions.

    Too much good stuff to pick a favourite.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon.

    • Falcon
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Re: “getting 19a”

      One can only construct a plausible solution from the wordplay and then rely on Wikipedia to explain why it is correct.

      If one should fail to stumble on the correct meaning of “bars” this becomes a rather difficult exercise http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • pommers
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        I guessed it from the checkers. Well, SHE fitted round the H and then what was around that was a bar so I was fairly confident. A check with Mr Google when we got home confirmed but it’s so obscure as to be a little unfair IMHO.

  23. Rob Wilson
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Nice to have something more challenging to have a go at today. I put rose for 29a and didn’t see the meaning of lighter in 23d, but was pleased to get all but those two for a 4*!

  24. Brian
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    What a stinker! Zero fun and extreme difficulty. Definitely should have been on the aToughie page.
    Thx to Falcon for at least attempting to explain this thing.

  25. pommers
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    BTW, as Falcon says 24a is factually incorrect. A “LEE SHORE” is anything but a sheltered beach. It is an exposed shore which would be avoided at all costs by old fashioned sailing vessels without reliable engines. Even in our modern yacht pommette and I gave such shores a wide berth in bad weather unless actually trying to make harbour there.

    • Angel
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Exactly my thinking as per my comment in 2 above.

  26. Una
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The especially English references in 19a and 8d had me stumped.My favourite is 2d though the Kiwis might add that clue to their list of unknowns in the other hemisphere , as I am not sure Rick Stein is broadcast outside of Britain and Ireland. I also never heard of that magazine.
    Downright tricky but still enjoyable.I really liked 25d and 28a.
    With thanks to the setter and Falcon.

    • Kath
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I think that Rick Stein is probably quite well known in the Antipodes too – he lives just south of Sydney for at least part of the time.

      • Merusa
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        He has appeared on our TV here in Miami, too. I love his programmes.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      We thought of putting that one in the list but left it off as we do get, and enjoy, his programmes here.

  27. Vancouverbc
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    *****/***. I found this very difficult even with checkers in many instances. Lots of electronic help required and much head scratching to parse the answers. However, I loved the 11 and 27a. Thanks to the setter and Falcon for explaining my bung ins.

  28. mre
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today with me contributing about half of the solutions. Didn’t seem too hard so ***/*** for me. I agree that some of the clues were not very elegant.

  29. stanXYZ
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    The most entertaining Thursday back-pager since the last Thursday offering from P-J

    Perhaps, somewhat unfair for some … but I loved it.

    (Aargh! Sunday morning football on the wet, cold and very windy Hackney Marshes! Why did I do that?)

  30. Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Found this almost unfathomable?
    Too many ambiguous and inaccurate
    clues. Who compiled this rubbish??

    • Kath
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion but, to me anyway, that’s very rude – rudeness is never necessary, or forgivable.

    • pommers
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Only one inaccurate clue as far as I can see. Ambiguity is at the heart of a cryptic crossword. If you’d bothered to read other people’s comments you would know who the compiler is but apparantly you couldn’t be bothered. Lazy.

      The only rubbish here is your comment.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      William, if you found this almost unfathomable, maybe you’re a “rubbish” solver? Hmmm?

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Hi William, I don’t recall seeing you post before, so If it’s your first time – welcome.

      As other blog contributors have said, opinions are your entitlement but I do think there is a difference between constructive criticism and rudeness. Many of the setters read and comment on the blog regularly and I’m sure they take on board any constructive criticism of their puzzles. I do hope that you find the middle ground on future comments.

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

      Do you mean “who compiled this puzzle that I am finding difficult to solve”?

      • Young Salopian
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        I have been attempting the back pager for over 30 years, and realised long ago that I was never going to be a 10 minute solver, but gradually, over time, I have become quite adept at completing the puzzle in a fair time. William, I urge you to put any negative thoughts aside and persevere. It is well worth while, and the sense of achievement is very satisfying, no matter what or how you gauge the difficulty.

    • Angel
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      I find your comment completely out of order. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    • Expat Chris
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      I can understand the frustration of being thoroughly trounced by a puzzle. I’ve been there many a time. However, the review has always shown that my lack of unravelling skill was the underlying fault. I improved with time. I think all of we regular commenters are more than willing to welcome a new person to our midst and to make allowances for unfair comments posted in the heat of the moment…but only once. We respect each other and the setters. I hope you will come back again in a more receptive, and dare I say more humble, frame of mind.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink


    • dave lock
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      This was a perfectly good cryptic crossord, of average difficulty. I suggest you lower your sights and try the puzzles in the Sun or Mirror. Tackling cryptic crosswords is like playing chess – there are many different levels of skill and understanding involved. The Telegraph is obviously not for you!

  31. Fluvialgeo
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Annoyingly I had “Marionette” in for 14d – not really a cyborg, but was the anagram I came up with. That slowed me down a bit.
    Couldn’t understand the football reference in 19a other than that fairly straightforward. I liked 30a but my last one in was 2d, did not get the Padstowe fish cook reference at all and was desperately trawling all culinary knowledge for some kind of cake, doughnut or pancake reference. We live and learn

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog.

  32. Toadson
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Took a while to get ‘on the wavelength’ today, but enjoyed it in the end. Couldn’t 100% parse every clue, so thanks to Falcon for the review.

  33. Anne Graham
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t seem to be able to open the ‘spoiler’ to see the answers? What has changed, please?

    • Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Anne

      I don’t know what is causing it, but if you leave the page open it usually sorts itself out.

  34. Merusa
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    While many clues were UK specific, others should have been GK; for instance, 11a, what English-speaking child never learnt “as I was going to St. Ives …” etc.
    I love the Rick Stein DVDs and have most of them, so 2d no problem.
    Other clues, such as 19a, were easily googled, e.g., “Hackney football” and up pops Marshes.
    Clues such as 21d are a bit esoteric.
    Nonetheless, I enjoyed this immensely, but it was decidedly tricky.
    Thanks to PJ, I feel quite chuffed that I actually completed one of your puzzles! Also many thanks to Falcon for your review.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I like Rick Stein too and still do some of his recipes even if the book I have is already over 20 years old. See avatar.

  35. Jane
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I did have a good time with this one! Just about into 3* time as I needed to check on 19a and wondered about 24a, but those were minor niggles. A 4* for enjoyment. I thought of PJ quite early on and now I see that he’s accepted responsibility.
    Hard to pick the ones for the podium but I’ll go with 24&28a plus 5&20d.
    By the way – a friend lent me some back copies of 17a – rather enjoyed it. Along the lines of Private Eye.

    Nice one PJ – thank you – and thanks also to Falcon, whose hints I didn’t need today.

    Off to have a word with Mr. T over in the other place – doesn’t sound easy!

  36. Jaylegs
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I am a UK resident but I found it extremely difficult ? ****/**** so thank you to Falcon for the hints. Nonetheless there were some really good clues and lots of satisfaction when the answer was arrived at ? So thank you PJ. Thought 11a, 21a, 2d & 29a very good ?

  37. neveracrossword
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I know you about Hackney is that there are marshes.Surprised to learn they play soccer there. I know a little about lee shores, having attended navigation classes – still, the answer was fairly obvious. 3.5/3.5. Thank you Falcon and setter.

  38. Robin Newman
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    liked 1D & 2D

    Thanks to PJ & Falcon-hints appreciated today

  39. Expat Chris
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this and even though I’ve been away from the UK for a very long time I had no difficulty in completing the grid, and only a couple of parsing difficulties. Never heard of the magazine in 17D or the chef but I have heard of 19A and 21D rang a bell. Isn’t Rooney getting up there? Unlike some others, I liked 11A (my favorite), 28A and 29A. Thanks PJ and Falcon. Bring on hockey season! Maybe the Caps will do better this year! We live in hope.

    • Merusa
      Posted October 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      I first saw Rick Stein (and his terrier Chalky) on PBS. If you should see them come up again, have a look, or if you have something like amazon streaming, they are well worth the half hour. I cried when Chalky died!!

      • Kath
        Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        So did I – the Chalky bit I mean. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

  40. Salty Dog
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I can understand why Falcon – and others not steeped in UK-centric lore – found this a mite testing, but l would score it at 2*/3*. My favourite (even though l too deplore the setter’s cavalier misuse of the nautical term) is 24a. 8d gets an honourable mention. Thanks to the setter, and to Falcon for the review.

  41. silvanus
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Late to tackle this one as my computer required emergency surgery earlier today, but what a tricky little blighter it turned out to be!

    Despite several obscure and somewhat parochial references, I really enjoyed tackling this one, and I thought that a number of the clues involved some extremely clever devices.

    My favourite was 11a, a lovely surface and I liked the idea of “anonymous” meaning to remove the letter “n”.

    Many thanks to the unlikely avian combination of Pidgeon and Falcon.

  42. Whybird
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Most of this was do-able for a Brit even for a non-ray t Thursday, but I failed with 23d and the very obscure 29a (even if it is obvious once the answer is there). I much prefer setters who don’t need three lines of clue, and there were too many of these, 16d and 20d being particular examples of this clunkiness.

  43. Angel
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Help ……. recently I have been unable to comment via BD daily emails and when I try so to do I receive message “Error, please fill the required fields (name, email)” however there’s no problem when I download via Web (Big Dave 44). Can anyone please tell me WHAT I need to do? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

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

      I don’t have to log on (as a blogger etc) at home on the home computer or my tablet, but at work I have to log on every day, whereas the login used to last a fortnight or so before requiring me to prove who I was. I don’t know whether it depends on what browser you use – home is Firefox, tablet is Google Chrome and work is IE.

      BD might be able to suggest something but he’s on his travels at the moment so you may not get an answer straight away.

      • Angel
        Posted October 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much Sue for your help. My desktop and Ipad are also Firefox/Google Chrome and, to add insult to injury, also TalkTalk – it never rains but it pours! I’ll see what I can do.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

  44. James Currie
    Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Will there be some sort of Big Dave celebration for the DT Cryptic number 28000 ? On Friday 2nd Feb 2016 (I think). It’s more exciting that when the odometer on the car goes round another 10,000.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Welcome James – BD normally celebrates blog-related anniversaries. I would think the DT would celebrate it in some way.

      Also if you want to continue a thread as you have in your next comment, it is best to click on reply, even if you are replying to yourself!

  45. James Currie
    Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Hold on, it may be end of January depending how many days don’t have a Crossword over Christmas and New Year

    • Falcon
      Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      By my reckoning, given that there are 61 puzzles to Number 28000 and 6 puzzles per week, the date should be one day over 10 weeks which would be New Years Day (not taking into account any skipped dates).

      • Vindaloo
        Posted October 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes that’s more like it – hopefully they won’t miss out any papers for Xmas and New year and it’ll be 1st Jan 2016 like you say

        • silvanus
          Posted October 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          The Telegraph will not publish an edition (or a crossword therefore) on Friday 25 December, so I think puzzle number 28,000 should appear on Saturday 2 January 2016. It’s a pity that the anniversary won’t coincide with New Year’s Day unless they decide to publish two puzzles on one of the preceding days, which is extremely unlikely.

          Those of us with longish memories will recall the rather unusual combination of numbers and letters used for puzzle 24,000, but I don’t recall anything too special for more recent landmarks.

  46. Tony Gardner.
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! This is the only site where I can find an explanation for my solutions. Thanks

    • Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Tony

      That’s why we are here!