DT 27967

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27967

Hints and tips by Hanni

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today, thanks to some mentoring by Miffypops, we welcome Hanni with her maiden blog. It’s a pity that due to problems with the server on which this site is hosted it is appearing seven hours later than intended and this has also meant that there was no time for pictures or music clips (although I have now been able to add two suggestions from Miffypops). BD

Good morning from the moors on another cold and wet day.

Not the easiest of Tuesdays but that could just be me. Below are the hints that are hopefully there to help. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Someone will always point you in the right direction. Perhaps you have followed the blog and never commented before. Let this be your first day. It’s my first time blogging.


5a Piece of advice given by experienced writer (4,3)
FELT TIP: A verb meaning to have experienced something such as an emotion is followed by something piece of advice, the kind you might hear at the horse racing.

7a Accumulate a million as head of state (5)
AMASS: Lego time. Start with ‘A’ from the clue followed by an abbreviation for a million. To finish add the middle word of the clue and the first letter of State (head of).

9a Good packaging, reportedly, for brandy (6)
GRAPPA: ‘G’ to (Good) start, followed by a homophone of something you would take off a chocolate bar before eating it. If you eat chocolate that is. I don’t.

10a Desperately got bag on sledge (8)
TOBOGGAN: Pencils at the ready, anagram (desperately) of the middle three words.

11a Flier, untrained for battle (5,5)
GOOSE GREEN: Start with a ‘flier’ that is sometimes served on Christmas day followed by synonym for someone who is inexperienced. You should end up with a battle that was fought during the Falklands war.

13a Join forces, gathering right away (4)
ALLY: Another word for a gathering with the first letter removed (‘R’ / right away).

14a Article by newspaper on personality’s fraudulent practice (8,5)
IDENTITY THEFT: Begin with another word for one’s personality, how we think of ourselves. What makes us special. After that put together a three letter word for article plus an abbreviation for a pinkish coloured newspaper.

16a Chum after ring and gemstone (4)
OPAL: Here we begin with our usual one letter abbreviation for ‘ring’ followed by a three letter synonym for a chum…or mate…or?

17a Snake caught constricting flightless bird (10)
COPPER HEAD: Place the past tense of a verb meaning to catch or arrest around a South American flightless bird. The result is an utterly terrifying thing.

19a Fizzy thing — better bedtime drink (8)
NIGHTCAP: Split 5,3 this is an anagram of ‘THING’ (fizzy) followed by a three letter word meaning to outclass.

20a Some worship a god, attending temple (6)
PAGODA: Look carefully. The answer is hidden within.

22a Bird close to old gardening implement (5)
DRAKE: Take the final letter of the word olD (close to) followed by a gardening implement that gets a great deal of use at this time of year.

23a Pragmatic type on a roll (7)
REALIST: Not sure where the ‘re’ comes from here [it comes from the ON in the clue – BD]. But the definition is one who lives in the real world with the latter part of the clue meaning something we might write out before we go shopping.

1d Mates capsized in smack (4)
SLAP: The same ‘mates’ that were mentioned above are here reversed (capsized) to give a four letter word for a smack.

2d Fidgeting, sat Right Honourable (8)
STRAIGHT: Anagram (fidgeting) of SAT RIGHT. No pencils were harmed in the solving of this clue.

3d Flimsy element (6)
CARBON: Double definition. I struggled with this but you could think of the flimsy bit as being like a typewriter ribbon (ta MP) [it’s actually a ****** copy on thin paper, according to the BRB – BD]

4d Left in Aden, bags possibly heading for hilly Asian country (10)
BANGLADESH: Anagram time again. L (left) is inserted into ‘ADEN BAGS’ (possibly) plus ‘H’, the first letter of ‘hilly’. Jumble the letters up and you get an Asian country. My pencil was used for this clue.

5d Sacrifice, to the advantage of work (5)
FORGO: If we split this 3,2 you start with another word meaning advantage and follow this with a 2 letter word for work.

6d Wrote up Peter Pan merrily receiving crown (3,3,2,5)
PUT PEN TO PAPER: An anagram (merrily) of ‘UP PETER PAN’ around (receiving) a three letter word for ‘crown’.

8d Colour Zeiss perhaps introduced to series (7)
SCARLET: This was my last in and requires a thanks to Google. Begin with a three letter word for series and insert (introduce) the forename of a German inventor of microscopes and optical instruments who was born in 1816. That one was completely new to me.

12d Levy that could make Take That awfully cross? (7,3)
STEALTH TAX: Anagram time again. A 5 letter word for ‘take’ plus an anagram of ‘THAT’ (awfully) and X (cross). This will give a levy that is largely unnoticed.

14d Understood mischievous child was untruthful (7)
IMPLIED: Begin with a three letter word for a mischievous child. Follow that with a four letter word for a not telling the truth.

15d The turn involving a cast member (8)
THESPIAN: Is this Lego is this not? Another word for turn with ‘A’ inserted into it (involving), is all preceded by ‘THE’ from the clue.

17d Rides in circles (6)
CYCLES: Double definition.

18d Examination of accounts — part of fraud itself (5)
AUDIT: This took me awhile to spot even though the clue was clearly waving at me as to how to solve it. The answer is tucked up and neatly hidden within, (part of…)

21d First of games, a home win (4)
GAIN: Start with ‘G’ (first of games), add the ‘A’ from the clue and finish with another word for being at home.
My favourite clue is the lovely 11a. Yours may be different.
P.S Thanks to Miffypops for everything. What can I say? You’re unbelievable.

The Quick Crossword pun: nose+cord+roars=no-score draws


  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Had you been a shorthand typist in the 60s and 70s you’d have known all about carbon copies on ‘flimsy’ paper.

    • Jane
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      I remember them only too well, CS! Do you recall the euphoria we all experienced with the advent of the ‘daisy-wheel’ self-correcting ribbons?

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Cor the exciting times you have lived through

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        I remember when they invented tippex paper and we were told not to use it in typing exams because it would rub off when all our exam papers were piled up. These young hunt and peck typists who only use some of their fingers don’t realise how easy they have it

        • Jane
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes – and my head is now full of the William Tell Overture which we were supposed to keep in time with during our practice sessions!

          • crypticsue
            Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            We had to type to Victor Silvester!

    • Wahoo
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Always messy stuff, the flimsies. The typists in my office used to hate me when they had to re-type a whole page, because of a couple of mistakes that tipex couldn’t clear.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Good heavens. I have only just got around to looking at today’s crossword and it looks like I am the first to post.

    1*/2*. I found this quite easy and rather bland, although, having bunged in the answer, I did need Hanni’s help to parse 17a.

    Thanks to the setter, and many thanks and congratulations to Hanni for an absolutely sterling first effort.

  3. Jane
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow – well done to you, Hanni. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    After RD’s post it looks as though I could be going out on a limb here, but I rather enjoyed this one. 1*/4* for me with the leader board housing 1&14a plus 3,6,12&15d.
    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Hanni – I think you deserve to break your ‘no alcohol mid-week’ rule tonight! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  4. silvanus
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I found this easier than the unusually tricky Rufus effort yesterday, assisted somewhat by the fact that there were six fewer clues! 26 clues must be the absolute minimum permissible in a DT puzzle, I suspect.

    Like Rabbit Dave, I needed the blog to decipher the parsing of 17a as it had eluded me.

    Favourite was 12d, but 5a ran it close.

    Many thanks to the setter and well done to Hanni for an excellent debut. What a pity it had to coincide with technical gremlins preventing normal access for most of the day.

  5. Cryptor
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Well done Hanni, nicely economical with words and excellent explanations. Agree with **/***, and like you queried 3D. Before my time …

  6. Gazza
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Hanni on a fine first blog. I thought that this one was well up in the enjoyment stakes for a Tuesday back-pager and I liked 11a and 12d.

  7. Gwizz
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Gazza… this was well up there with the usual Tuesday standard. I liked 17a just because I needed to leave it for a while before the penny dropped. (no pun intended…) 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, and well done to Hanni!

  8. cat
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t manage 17a or 17d, so many thanks for your hints, Hanni. A great start, well done!

  9. Florence
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Well done Hanni on your maiden review. So impressed. Had to check 7a, but I had the right answer. I now know what is meant by a Lego clue, so thank you. I have taken the liberty of celebrating your success with a glass of red wine, and hope that you can join me in something. Unfortunately I can only have one glass tonight as I have a concert tomorrow night, so must remain compos mentis.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi Florence.

      I have taken Jane’s advice and am having a glass of wine too. I will regret this immensely as I haven’t eaten today. Hope rehearsals are going well?

      • Florence
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Rehearsals have been going fine thanks. We have a very large choir with a very enthusiastic choir mistress. I just struggle a bit learning all the words as we can’t have them on stage and we’re singing ten songs tomorrow night. At least I’m not a soloist so don’t have to be near the front. Glad you are having a glass of wine and relaxing. You’ve done a splendid job today. Thanks to the setter too.

        • Hanni
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

          I’m still happy to sing solo…so long as it’s just me and a piano in the room. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  10. Wahoo
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable fun this afternoon, then I did the crossword whilst you were off line.

    Thought 17a a bit “odd” – in the sense that I don’t like slang words and (probably mistakenly) think the 6 letter synonym for caught is even stretching slang? Never heard of the snake so needed the internet to check the answer.

    The Take That clue (can’t be bothered now looking what number it was) had a nice surface.

    **/*** for me.

    Hope your server people, or whatever one calls them are up and running BD.

    P.S. Thanks Mr Ron – keep it up!

    PPS I’m in England at the moment – How the heck do you guys cope with this cold weather!!!

    • Jane
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      You think this is cold? Just wait!

  11. från
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done Hanni ! A great set of hints . Can I say that having researched the” bird world”, I found a copperhead is also a name given to a north american hawk , not that I knew that before . The puzzle today was in my opinion significantly easier than yesterday . I particularly liked 3 ,8 and 12d , although initially I couldn’t see carbon ” ribbon ” I assumed that carbon in a pencil is very flaky i.e. flimsy */***.

  12. Expat Chris
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Oh, well done Hanni! You’re braver than I ever would be.

    I enjoyed this even if it wasn’t overly challenging. My favorite is 17A because it brought back memories of the time that Mr. Expat, who is deathly afraid of such critters, had to check out a potential project to prevent a mine collapse deep in the woods in Western Maryland. He walked into a clearing and there were hundreds of 17A basking in the sun on a rock outcrop. He ran all the way back to his car and hightailed it out of there. His company declined to bid the job.

  13. KiwiColin
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Hanni and welcome to the team. Always feel we are on short rations when this grid gets used as it only gives us 26 clues to work with. It all went together smoothly without major hold-ups. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Hanni.

  14. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Well done Hanni on your first outing as a reviewer – I thought you did greathttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif.

    Although I’ve never been a shorthand typist, I do remember them ‘flimsy’ things – Gosh, them were the days. I also learned how to touch type using all fingers and thumbs with 100% accuracy (albeit at only 3 wpm), but there you are.

    I thought it was an enjoyable crossword with a couple of gems in 5a & 12d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle and, again. Hanni for her début. I’ll buy you a drink in January (notice I didn’t say what in what year).

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Another thing about typewriters v keyboards. Why is the hard return on a keyboard on the right but on the left on a typewriter?

      • Wahoo
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        Left handed coiled spring maybe? Who’s the scientist on this site? Do springs have a left or right side?

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          I’m an engineer, and I can’t recall left or right sided springs – I think we need the ‘Physicist’ on this one http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

  15. Michael
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward but very enjoyable – really good fun – I must get out more!

    ‘Gant’ advert today – not a tattoo in sight!


    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      I’ve got people wanting to value and buy my car http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Florence
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got anti-wrinkle cream http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  16. Una
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    All those people above managed to post and I couldn’t despite two attempts. ! Hummmp !
    Congratulations Hanni, on your debut, and a terrific blog it is.
    The crossword was , um, normal or yesterdays 13a.

  17. dutch
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    ah, site is up!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    many thanks Hanni, brilliant first blog! I really enjoyed it.

    Typing has never been my thing and I didn’t quite get flimsy, though I had the answer. On the other hand I am completely au fait with Zeiss and his microscopes etc, so that offered no issues. But I was not familiar with the Falklands battle.

    I loved “on a roll” (23a) and “rides in circles” (17a), also 7a clever surface.

    Many thanks setter and Hanni

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Dutch

      Re – Goose Green, one of the major battles to take place in the fight to regain the Falkland Islands in 1982. I think you would find it interesting.

      • neveracrossword
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        2 VCs were awarded.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          Yep, both Para’s – Col. H. Jones and Sgt I McKay

  18. Hanni
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. Gosh it’s nerve wracking and I can’t take all the credit. MP and BD were on hand to help. They deserve the credit too.

    Toughie time. Hope Samuel is in a benign mood.

    • Una
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Well done, as Samuel said.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      I never done nuffink. Honest injun.

  19. mre
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Good evening everybody.

    Horrible puzzle. Mostly too straightforward but with some clues contrived only to prevent completion – the trademark of a lousy puzzle and as I’ve seen commented here before if I wanted that I’d do the Grauniad. 8d is quite possibly the worst clue I’ve encountered in any crossword puzzle.

    Couldn’t and still can’t see where 17a comes from.


    • Una
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Re 8d , I agree totally.

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Easy to criticise. Compile a better one

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi mre

      Colour left traces, perhaps (7)

      Graun cryptic 08/02/2001 – I rest my case

    • Jane
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mre,
      17a – ‘snake’ is the definition and to arrive at it you start with an informal/slang 6 letter word for caught and insert into it (constricted) a variety of flightless bird. The whole is a pretty nasty creature, by all accounts!

      • mre
        Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink


        I see it now. Never heard of the snake though.

    • Angel
      Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      My goodness you’re tough on the setter – unjustly in my view.

  20. Jaylegs
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Well done Hanni for a nice blog? **/*** What a feast for the bird watcher Goose, Rhea, then I had to go and spoil it all with Crake ( by adding the first letter of close to the garden implement) ? Thanks to Mr Ron for 11a, 17a & 8d ?

  21. Dr_Bob
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Congrats to Hanni on the blog.

    Much easier than yesterday and, for me, more enjoyable too. */***

    11a was my favourite too.

  22. Kitty
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the bloggers’ table Hanni :) . What a fine debut, especially considering the difficult circumstances.

    I agree that the crossword was a little stiffer than Tuesdays can be – mostly due to the last few.

    I’m not sure if I’ve met 17a before, but made him up once I’d stopped being stupid at 17d with an inexplicable mental block.

    At 3d I bunged in the answer from the element, but didn’t know why it would be flimsy. I thought of copy paper but it seemed – well, flimsy. Now I know what flimsies are, so all is clear. I suppose I can blame my age. That is going to be harder to use as an excuse as time goes by.

    8d was a guess. It had to be a name, I found one that worked. Job done.

    The one where I did have to turn to the interwebs was 11a, which was frustrating because I knew what I was looking for but couldn’t think of a flier to fit the first word. I’m not good at battles.

    Thanks to the setter, and thanks, congrats and well done to Hanni.

    • Kitty
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I think I’ll pinch SL’s picks of the clues: 5a for the smooth surface, but also because the answer always makes me smile, and 12d, which is brilliant.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Kitty – you are more than welcome to pinch anything of mine anytime – Mr K and Mrs SL permitting of course http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

        • Kitty
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          Well, that was a genuine lol – and for free! :)

  23. pommers
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Nice one Hanni – well done and welcome to the team. Now I know who MP meant the other day although I did suspect it might be you.

    Not done this puzzle yet, or any DT puzzle, for about 10 days due to having a houseful of visitors, none of whom have the slightest interest in crossies . Don’t know why pommette invites them apart from they are all good friends and it was her 60th we were having a bash for. Thankfully the last one went home this evening so it’s back to normal now so I thought I might just pop in to see what’s been going on – to find a new blogger and an off-line site. Oh well, could be worse I suppose.

    Cheers Hanni – great to see you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Hanni
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Cheers Pommers…to Pommette, Happy Birthday, hope it was a good one !!! Sorry you’re not going to be there in January. Another year, SL is getting the drinks in.

      • Kitty
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        – and I have permission to pinch them!

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          Now, now you lot – I’m off to bed http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      Belated congrats to pommette on her birthday, pommers – sounds like you had a good time.

      BTW pommers – emailed you, but I’m still having problems with connections. Did you receive my reply from the Gmail address? If not. I’ll try again tomorrow from a different address.

      • pommers
        Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Last message from you was Saturday from your Gmail address.

  24. Kath
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Just about to have one last go at commenting – will keep it short as I’ve written screeds numerous times and then “Error blah-di-blah” each time I’ve tried to post it.
    Well done, Hanni – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif – just such a shame that your first day was beset by IT problems – not that all that seemed to stop your gallop.
    I really enjoyed this crossword.
    Untangling 17a took a long time and as for Zeiss – well, what would most of us have done before the nice knowledgable Mr Google was around to ask for help?
    I liked 1 and 11a and my favourite was12d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron – been wrong far too many times to make any guesses as to his identity – and thanks and well done again to Hanni. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    I wonder what gazza did with his extra morning off – whatever it was I hope he enjoyed it.

  25. Angel
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Good that server problem was solved – what a worry once again for you BD. As always many thanks for all your efforts on our behalf and the pleasure you continue to give us. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif I join with so many other bloggers in welcoming and thanking Hanni for your excellent
    première. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif. Puzzle was pain-free and enjoyable. Thanks also to setter http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif. Like “fizzy” and “merrily” anagram indicators. Unaware of Zeiss association in 8d. Joint Favs 5a and 17a. ***/***. And so to bed.

  26. Heno
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Hanni on her maiden blog. Quite a straightforward puzzle, favourite was 12d, no real problems. Was 1*/2* for me. Thanks for getting the site back up BD, felt like I’ve a fish out of water all day. Just shows what a great site it is http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  27. Jane
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Hi TS, just to return to TGG for a moment. The copy I have is from the Wordsworth Press and the introduction (all 15 pages of it!) plus notes were written in 2001 by Guy Reynolds – Rutherford College, University of Kent. Interestingly, it makes no specific reference that I can see to what you believe to be the main point of the book. Instead it concentrates on the novel being a ‘mapping of the contemporary urban world – a technological, consumerist, leisure society seen here in one of its first fictional representations’.

    No doubt the film-makers just picked out the elements that they felt would ensure a box office success!

    Mrs. Bridge is on her way – another American author, I note!

    • Tstrummer
      Posted November 25, 2015 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      Hmmm. Prof Reynolds is entitled to his views, of course, but TGG is no more “about” what he suggests than, say The Mayor of Casterbridge is “about” Hardy’s disquiet about the changing face and increased mechanisation of agriculture. It forms the setting, but the underlying themes explored within that setting are as I indicated yesterday, in my view. As I tried to post last night – and failed – my well-thumbed Penguin edition from 1974 has no foreword and no notes. My guess is that you’ve got hold of a schools edition.
      And, yes, another American writer. Connell was (died last year) an extraordinarily varied author. As I may have said before, I’m with Alan Bennett on this one: English novelists of the past 20 years or more cannot compare with the riches across the Atlantic. Rushdie, Barnes, McEwan, Amiss & co just make me cross – they’re either simply unable to write memorable characters, or even memorable sentences, or they try too hard to be complicated and get lost in a thicket of unnecessary words. This is why the Booker prize now admits writers from around the world, the gene pool in this country being too thin a gruel. IMHO.

  28. Paso Doble
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Well done Hanni for a great first blog and thanks to Mr Ron for a lovely puzzle. Bedtime!

  29. Tstrummer
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I found this more like a Rufus than yesterday’s Rufus. Lots of great clues, but nothing to cause equine disquiet. Too many goodies (plus a few gimmes) to mention, but I thought 12d was genius, so it gets the gold star. Silver goes to 17a (my iPad just has blank spaces where pics/music are inserted, but I’m assuming that Copperhead Road by Steve Earle is the missing addition to that hint). 14a has to make do with bronze.
    Well done indeed to Hanni for a sparkling debut in trying circumstances. My only quibble – and it’s not really a quibble at all – is that the Falklands was not a war (even though it was). Because war was not declared by either side, we always have to refer to it as “a conflict”. Thanks too to the setter for a most enjoyable challenge. You can come again. 1*/4*

    • Tstrummer
      Posted November 25, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

      PS And thanks to BD for all the work he does to keep this site going. I got frustrated last night when I kept getting error messages, and this morning when I tried again. To find the site up and running when I got home tonight was like finding an old friend waiting on my doorstep with a bottle of Aberlour and two glasses.

  30. Werm
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Was I the only one who got 8d easily because of the Football Team Carl Zeiss Jena ? Never heard of the scientist but the team reminded me of nights by the radio in the 70s

    Thanks Hanni for the blog.

  31. weekendwanda
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I think I am in a minority of one. Could hardly get a foothold into this one. Not helped by putting 1d the wrong way round. By comparison Monday’s was a breeze. Usually find I am in agreement with Kath but not this time……..Only consolation was not many clues so once made a start the end came quickly. Congrats Hanni, Apologies to setter as I could not set but no fun.

  32. Brian
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Personally I found this easier than Monday’s but as always it’s about getting on the right wavelength. Shame about the site problems.
    Thx to all.

  33. judetheobscure
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    A mixed bag. Found it more tricky than most. Enjoyed 12d and 8d. Not so keen on 5a (is “given by” standard for put them the other way round?) and 3d (don’t agree that the first part = the answer). Didn’t know the 17a snake. 3*/2*