DT 27959 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27959 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


7a    Charge independent politician separately (7)
I(ndependent) followed by our usual politician and an adverb meaning separately

9a    Tree  maintenance (7)
Two definitions – a type of tree and maintenance or overhaul – I found an identical clue in one of last year’s puzzles

12a    Confined below, lay, knocked out (5,4,3,3)
A word meaning below followed by an anagram (out) of LAY KNOCKED

19a    The Express newspaper’s report? (8,7)
An adjective meaning express or specific followed by a report in a newspaper

23a    Dessert with my new vegetable (9)
A dessert or final course of a meal followed by an interjection similar to “my!” and N(ew)

26a    Mechanic, in part, is answerable (7)
Hidden (in) inside the clue


1d    Volume is to include nobleman (8)
V(olume) followed by the IS from the clue and a verb meaning to include or reckon

2d    Former exam relating to the countryside (8)
An adjective meaning former or previous followed by a type of exam

3d    Decisively beat Oscar? Jolly good! (6)
A verb meaning to decisively beat followed by the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

4d    Encourage operator to release latest of numbers (4,2)
A medic who carries out an operation without (to release) the final letter (latest) of [number]S

6d    Back with fish to sell down the river (6)
A verb meaning to back, for example, a horse followed by a flat fish

14d    Caught wearing muddy loafers outside (8)
C(aught) inside (wearing) an anagram (muddy) of LOAFERS

17d    Go against country importing it (8)
The single letter that represents against followed by a European country around (importing) IT from the clue

18d    Regular air service (8)
An adjective meaning regular or unvarying followed by an air or tune gives a church service

19d    Abandon in wilderness (6)
Two definitions

22d    Musical  game (5)
Two definitions – a musical based on a game and the game itself


The Crossword Club is now open.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.

The Quick Crossword pun: tack+ticks=tactics

For the benefit of those who have been given the wrong puzzle, a pdf can be downloaded from here.


  1. dutch
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Sickened by the news today.

    I found today’s puzzle to be very good – the last 4 took me a while 9a, 26a, 6d and 17d. 17d (go against country importing it) was my last one in and my favourite. All very satisfying (well, I diid get a bit annoyed at the tree – unlike BD, I didn’t recognise it from before)

    I had also ticked 7a, 12a, 25a – very clever with an all-in-one character to them.

    I tried to make the adjective in 19a work as a homophone indicator to no avail.

    Unusually for me, I tried the quick puzzle today and found it near impossible! – but it is a pangram.

    Many thanks setter and BD for the review

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Apart from 9A, which I’ve never heard of, I thought this was very straightforward and a tad on the boring side to be honest. Never mind, the NTSPP is to come. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    • Una
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      After the news today, frankly anything even slightly boring is good.

  3. Iain F
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Can’t access today’s prize crossword on iPad – only getting last week’s, no 27953. Anyone else having a problem?

    • Brian
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Me too, cock up at the DT. Perhaps today’s tragic news has caused a problem with having to change everything dynamically as the story unfolds.
      Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Parisians.

      • Young Salopian
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        And me. I had hoped these problems were behind us. Well said Brian. The lack of a crossword seems somewhat insignificant when put against the agonies in Paris.

        • John
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          I can only echo these comments, it seemed impossible to react to the lack of crossword when so many have suffered in Paris.
          Our thoughts are with the Parisians and the French nation at this time

        • Organum
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Ditto – solution appears in place of a new puzzle and is listed first.

          • Young Salopian
            Posted November 15, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            Saturday puzzle appeared on Sunday morning within the Saturday edition where it should be after I downloaded the Sunday edition.

            • Kitty
              Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

              For me too. I thought, “oh good – how uncharacteristically quick they have been in sorting out a problem.” Then I opened the Sunday edition and found they’d done the same thing again. I wasn’t annoyed because it was too funny.

              EDIT: I see they’ve updated today’s now, too. On the same day – wow, impressive :) .

              • Young Salopian
                Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

                I wouldn’t mind so much if we got an explanation, an e-mail or, heaven forfend, an apology.

                • Kitty
                  Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

                  Agreed. The DT have shown an utter disregard for their paying customers.

        • Little Dave
          Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Hear hear. Terrible news.

  4. Michael White
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. Just spent a couple of hours graft and missing four answers. So looked in on Big Dave only to find nothing relevant. The iPad version is a different puzzle entirely. I find the new DT app hopeless…

    • Ade
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      “DT app hopeless”
      If only it was that good!
      Programmers have been allowed to design this unfortunately. It’s like one of those over elaborate web sites that used to prevail, and take you about a minute to cut through the c^*p to get where you wanted. It’s slow to build, and worse than that it leaks memory so if you put the app in background and come back to it, it slows down the whole operating system and you have to reboot it.
      I don’t much care about whether the contents button builds in an elegant way, I just want the damn thing to be quick
      Just terrible. I have moaned at them constantly, to no avail

      • Michael
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Ditto with the IPad app – I notice that the blurb on the printed version says you can enter the Puzzle by post OR by scanning the puzzle and emailing it to puzzles@telegraph.co.uk – no mention of the app!

        I’ve never noticed this before is it new? What a cock-up!


  5. Graham
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Normal Saturday fare nothing too arduous & finished far to soon but entertaining for a damp miserable November day. Many thanks to the setter & to BD for the hints. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  6. Mike
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Had to do today’s puzzle on my print copy. The iPad edition is from a previous week with my answers still in. We shouldn’t be having such problems at this stage of the app’s life.

    • Crack On
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Ditto re. iPad, wish we could have the old version back but maybe Brian is right so perhaps we can forgive them this time. Such terrible news.

    • Attila the Hun
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      It’s the solution to last week. It should be in addition to today’s crossword.

      I doubt it has anything to do with the tragic events in Paris? The Puzzles should be baked long before the lead News story goes to bed.

      Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tous les Français.

      PS: any chance of the grid and clues?

      • Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog Attila the Hun

        You’ve got mail!

        • Toni
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Please could I have it Too?

          • Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            You too have mail.

          • Toni
            Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Thank you very much

        • Attila the Hun
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, but I’ve been around a while. A change of device left me signing in anew, but my avatar was still there. Thx for the mail, and BTW, a truly great resource here.

          • Posted November 14, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            You’ve changed from “Attila Thehun”

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        And be careful. That’s how Big Dave got me hooked to his blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  7. Brian
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable crossword but 19a got me puzzled as the answer was obvious but couldn’t parse the clue until the hint explained it. Is it me or is both capitalising and italicising Express was a bit naughty? Apart from that no great problems.
    Thx to all

    • williamus
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Yes… it’s just you Brian http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif – joking apart, I just took it as misdirection…

      • Brian
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        It’s certainly that?

  8. Kitty
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Awful news. My thoughts are with the people of France.

    Crossword-wise, I liked it – once I’d waited the usual age for it to load, ascertained that this week’s puzzle was nowhere to be found on the app, sourced it from a friend and printed it out. Still, it doesn’t feel like the day to gripe.

    I had forgotten the tree, and also raised an eyebrow at 3d meaning jolly good and had to check it in the brb. Otherwise, all pleasant with some really nice clues.

    Thanks to the setter and, as ever, many thanks to our wonderful BD.

  9. williamus
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this. I thought it was a nicely balanced Saturday puzzle. I too had forgotten the tree and had to look it up having got the answer. Lots of potential favourites but my vote goes to 11a. Bizarrely, 14d was my last in and was a definite “doh” moment. **/**** for me. Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  10. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    What dreadful news. I’m sure all our thoughts are with the whole French nation today. It is a bizarre and unfortunate coincidence that today of all days we should have a clue mentioning “Parisian’s street”.

    It took me a few moments today to get onto the setter’s wavelength today after which this was pretty much read and write with my last one in, 9a, needing a quick check in my BRB regarding the tree. 17d was my favourite.

    I did enjoy this. Full marks and thanks to the setter for admirably brief cluing. Thanks too to BD for his review.

    • Caravaggio
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your sentiments, Dave, and I’d picked up on the unfortunate wording of that clue too. Yes, I enjoyed the puzzle as well but my favourite was 6d – it was the wording which appealed to me – although I appreciate that it probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.

  11. Collywobbles
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    What terrible events in Paris. The whole country is in mourning. When will it ever stop.

    Todays’ puzzle was the easy Saturday fare but none the less enjoyable for that. Many thanks to the stranger who set it and to BD for the hints, a couple of which helped me move on. I vote todays’ worst clue as 23a (for the second half) and 3d for all of it

  12. NHF7
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The board is the wrong way round. Remember; white to the right (white square to the right). OK, what’s that got to do with it? Nothing really but I am in BD’s local pub and thought I would let him know one way or another…

    • Posted November 14, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog NHF7

      You are quite right – I’ll look for a better picture.

      By the way, I live next door to the pub – opposite side to the butcher’s shop.

      • Neil
        Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        I know, I live in Hanley Castle but work in Welland so pass The Swan (and pop in) everyday.
        Have done so for 12 years.
        You are a bit of a Legend in these ‘ere parts.
        If you see me and mine, you will know who we are. Hint: NHF7 is my number plate.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      NHF7 – A nice opening gambit! Well spotted!

    • Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      New illustration added for 22 Down.

  13. Sarah
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed today’s offering, mostly because I do the print version. None of you sell the electronic version very well!!! 9 a was a new one for me but otherwise it was reasonably r and w for me today. A good mix of clues methinks.
    Thanks to all ?

  14. Kath
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I found this more difficult while I was actually doing it than I think it was now that I’ve finished – has my grammar deserted me?
    I think there were only a couple of anagrams so maybe that’s the reason I was slow to get going.
    I’ve been ‘had’ by 9a before but that didn’t stop it catching me out again.
    For some reason I got in a muddle with 25a.
    Thought the 17d definition was ‘go against’ which meant I was looking for a six letter country beginning with the *. No naughty corner for me today!
    I liked 10 and 19a and 14 and 20d. My favourite was 3d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to BD.

    Thinking of the whole French nation.

  15. Paso Doble
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Like Dutch, we are sickened with the Paris news. Paso rather than Doble, lived for a period of time at number 19 bd Voltaire in Paris. The Bataclan is number 50, just over the road where most of the victims perished.
    We are happy that nobody we know was killed or injured but our hearts go out to those who did…..

    Going back to the puzzle. Entertaining, pleasing and good Saturday stuff. 4d we didn’t get but should have done and had to look at the blog for the hint.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron for a great puzzle and Big Dave for an excellent review

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      At the risk of turning into the pedantic part of Rabbit Dave’, BD provided the hints; the excellent review is the thing I’ve just drafted for a tiny minority of people to read on Friday morning.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        What’s that apostrophe doing after “Rabbit Dave”?

        • crypticsue
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          Before I rewrote my comment and posted it, there was a different first part of the sentence which had an apostrophe before you too. I’d better not put it back or remove the second one as if I do this ‘conversation’ won’t make any sense at all.

  16. Miranda Lewis
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I didn`t like 3d. Certainly not a comfortable synonym. Still defeated by just 6d and 10a. Any thoughts? On a wider scale are we heading towards a world war?

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      BD has given a very clear hint for 6d
      10a is equally straightforward – when you see Conservative in a clue you are usually looking for the letter used to abbreviate it and this should be followed by a word meaning ‘inclined towards socialism’

      As for your last comment – I sincerely hope not.

    • Robin
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      For those who remember the Jimmy Edwards sitcom, 3d is clear enough. The word indicates Jimmy’s love of caning his pupils, but is also archaic slang meaning jolly good. I’m sure Terry-Thomas used it thus.

    • Kath
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      On the wider scale I have a horrible feeling that we’re already having a world war.

    • McMillibar
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      An ideological war certainly, which will be world wide.

  17. Cornishpasty
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyably easy! Was stuck on 24a until I realized xxxxxxxxxxxxx Edited because of giving away part of the solution to 17d instead of just saying “I had a wrong letter in 17d” cs

    I always read the comments of the others before, find them interesting and occasionally humorous. However, today’s is tempered by the horrific news from Paris.

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The whole country is in a state of sideration and extremely angry at what just happened.
    Everyone I know is safe and my heart goes out to all the victims’ families and friends.
    Everybody in France are also very grateful for all the support from abroad for the second time this year.
    Thanks to all.

    • Jane
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi JL,
      Relieved to hear that your personal friends are safe, as indeed are mine, but I join you in heartfelt sympathy for those who have not received such good news.

  19. Miranda Lewis
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you crypticsue I`m there now.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      If you click ‘reply’ in the comment to which you are replying, it keeps the ‘thread’ of comments together.

  20. Merusa
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I found this on the easy side, and I remembered the tree from before, so maybe senility isn’t setting in yet.
    I never did get 22d as I put the wrong sounds like, silly me, I should have revisited it as I felt I knew what 22d answer should be.
    My fave was 3D with 18a as runner up.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for the hints – note CS, hints not review!

    The news from France is so horrific, somehow words can’t describe the suffering.

    • Angel
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Presumably your runner-up is 18d rather than 18a and if so I agree.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_question.gif

  21. Michael
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Plod, plod, plod – yawn – yawn – plod, plod – not what was required for a miserable Saturday!

    The only bright thing I can say about this offering is – Sorrus Domestica – a new one on me!

    I don’t think much of BT Sport but their Rugby coverage is pretty good and the only bright spot on these terribly boring International Break weekends – I’ve just read this morning that there is another International Break over the Easter Weekend and therefore no Premiership football at all over the Easter Holiday – these International Breaks are dire!


  22. Miranda Lewis
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Sorrus domestica is incorrect

    • Michael
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Oops – of course I meant Sorbus Domestica – spellication mishap!


      • oddjob
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Not what I was thinking!

  23. pommers
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Too many nutters, too few asylums. The world is a mad place http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Crossword was OK but a bit irrelevant.

  24. Hilary
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    After struggling with NTSPP crossword I hoped for some respite, 9a nearly defeated me but dear Mr Google rescued me at 11th hour. Page now looking very scruffy thanks to rethinks but I appear to have finished. Thanks to setter and BD for boggling my antique brain, off to try GK after washing up. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif

    • oddjob
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Viz comic has a view shared by Nanette Newman on washing-up!

  25. Una
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I find the routine of a crossword very comforting in these awful times.To answer Collywobbles ” when will it ever stop ?”, not soon . 12a would also be very apt for today’s tragic events.
    I enjoyed this pleasant distraction .
    With thanks to BD and setter.

    • Kath
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, about the comforting distraction, Collywobs about when will it ever stop and pommers about too many lunatics and not enough asylums. Oh dear – that sounds a bit trivial . . .

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid to say that there are plenty of asylums, it’s just that the lunatics are running them http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

        Edit …….and that’s not meant to be a cheap pun!

        • Una
          Posted November 14, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          And some of the lunatics are in power or would be if Corbyn ever gets in.

      • Una
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        We cling to these minor pleasures.

  26. Miranda Lewis
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    If I can be pedantic it is Sorbus domestica. The second part of the latin name of a plant always begins with a lower case letter. Blame Carl Linnaeus.

    • McMillibar
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      I take joy in your pedantry. That is worthy of Pedant’s Corner in Private Eye!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to Pedant’s Corner. You have my permission to be as pedantic as you want whenever you want, Miranda. Well done!

      • Jane
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear, RD. Wasn’t it you who pointed out that it should read Pedants’ Corner? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted November 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Well spotted, Jane!
          It was of course to see a deliberate mistake to see if anyone noticed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif
          If you believe that you’ll believe anything …

  27. McMillibar
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Quite a good Crossword today. Best 25a, worst – by a long way – 3d. Ugh! Needed a bit of BD’s guidance for 17d which, now I understand it, is a rather fine clue.
    We humans have made a mess of a lovely planet with our daft ideas pursued with vigour.

  28. Angel
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Saturdays are fun these days. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. Not sure about “muddy” in 14d and not mad about 23a. Fav 19a. Nous tous en Angleterre sommes en deuil avec la France après le carnage affreux. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  29. Salty Dog
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    2*/3*, with some nice clues (17d and 4d) but my favourite – as an old git, I remember Jimmy Edwards all too clearly – was 3d. Thanks to the setter, and to BD.

  30. Popeye
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Have used BD for assistance in the past but this is my first comment. Agree 23a not good clue and 3d is what it is!!!

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Popeye

    • Salty Dog
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      From one sailorman to another – good to have you aboard, Popeye,

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        Consider yourself ‘piped aboard’ from another matelot http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Kath
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me too – we still have spinach growing in our garden – I picked enough for supper tonight.

  31. Popeye
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your welcome. Sorry to say I don’t actually like spinach!!!!! Have been doing the DT Crossy for years. Nice to find all of you. Popeye is from a long time ago but it suits……

  32. Tstrummer
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Having finally recovered from the efforts of last night and awoken with (yet another) streaming cold, I was glad of the distraction of the puzzle, but feel a bit deflated by its straightforwardness – it was over far too soon. No real stand-out clues. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter. Reading others’ comments makes me even more glad that I do the paper version. 1*/2*

  33. weekendwanda
    Posted November 15, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks Setter and BD. Enjoyed reading all your comments this morning. Interesting as many different views of the clues and of the difficulty or otherwise. No particular corner seems to have held up the majority or even a substantial minority. Thanks to BD for the explanation of 4d. Knew what the answer had to be but was not thinking of that sort of Operator at all. Last ones in 14d (because I did not spot the anagram) and 23a. I was over complicating 23a looking for an exotic foreign dessert or vegetable!
    3d was a Marmite clue – it is an age thing.

  34. Heno
    Posted November 15, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I quite enjoyed this, the top half went straight in. I managed to remember the tree. The bottom half put up more of a struggle. With 17d last in. Favourite was 19a. Was 2*/3* for me. The world is going mad.

  35. Gavin Andrews
    Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I know the majority of people here find these puzzles easy but for me it’s always a bit of a struggle but after two days pondering and sharing the paper around the kitchen table a bit we have our first ever completed prize puzzle! It’s a big day for us! Many thanks for the daily hints, it’s those I’ve been using over the last week or so to help me towards this happy day.
    I got an answer I was happy with for 11a, definitely the right word to start but not so sure about the second half…. and not really convinced by the definition of 3d but it seems close enough! Thx!

    • Kitty
      Posted November 15, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Well done Gavin! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted November 15, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations from me too.
      And you’re one up on me.
      Still can’t get 3d and the hint being a repeat of the clue, I’m totally at a loss.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 15, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        The solution is a particularly English and dated informal interjection which is an expression of enthusiasm just like ‘jolly good’. You need a word meaning to beat decisively followed by the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

      • Kitty
        Posted November 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Gavin – if you google “define” and then your answer, or look it up in Chambers, all should be revealed. I hadn’t heard it either – I think Weekend Wanda is right that it’s an age thing. JL – have a guess at some possible answers from the parsing and look them up. The second word of the clue may be more helpful in thinking of possibilities.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted November 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Thanks ladies.
        But I can’t reconcile my answer as Michael Jackson keeps popping in my head.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  36. Firkin nell
    Posted November 15, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you setter and BD. After the recent awful events in Paris a time for thoughts and reflection and courage in the ensuing days

  37. Gwizz
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I completed this quite happily and then the horrors of Paris took over.
    The crossword was good; 2/3* overall and 14d was my fave.
    Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints.