DT 27973

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27973

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I quite enjoyed this one, especially the crown jewels (a bit cheeky for the Telegraph?). Do let us know what you thought and how you fared.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

8a Some admired a lively artist (4)
DALI – hidden (some) in the clue.

9a Contemplation after minute’s gone in exercise (3)
USE – start with a period of contemplation or reflection and take away the abbreviation for minute.

10a Pass drinks hidden in middle of beer (6)
ELAPSE – insert a verb meaning drinks, in the manner of a cat, between the middle two letters of beer.

11a Opening? It has developed around university (6)
HIATUS – an anagram (developed) of IT HAS goes round an abbreviation for university.

12a Object in collection, remarkable type (8)
SPECIMEN – double definition, the first what may be on display in a museum, for example. I’m not too keen on this one – the two definitions are pretty similar.

A deaf old man goes to the doctor, wife in tow. The doctor tells him ‘I need a urine sample, a stool sample and a sperm sample.’
The old man yells at his wife ‘ What did he say?’
She yells back ‘He wants your underwear’.

13a Source of legitimacy in post? (8-7)
FRANKING-MACHINE – cryptic definition of a device used to stamp outgoing mail to show that postage has been paid.

15a Set of bars showing good value (7)
GRATING – the abbreviation of good is followed by a value or assessment.

17a Lie back in park, beside path (7)
RECLINE – the abbreviation for a local park and a path or course of action.

20a Devise block to berserk development finally in well-to-do area (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT – make an anagram (devise) of BLOCK TO BERSERK and finish with the final letter of development.

23a Scoundrel sick to get bill for car (8)
CADILLAC – string together a scoundrel, an adjective meaning sick and the abbreviation for a bill or invoice.

25a Swollen gut? I’d fancy that’s about right (6)
TURGID – an anagram (fancy) of GUT I’D containing the abbreviation for right.

26a One with barely seen family jewels? (6)
NUDIST – cryptic definition of someone suffering from clothestrophobia.

27a Pair from union in function (3)
DUO – insert the abbreviation for union into a function or party.

28a Solicitor disclosed after beginning of trial (4)
TOUT – an adverb meaning disclosed or in the public domain follows the first letter of trial.

Down Clues

1d Item that’s thrust from artist on jetty (6)
RAPIER – the usual abbreviation for a recognised artist followed (on, in a down clue) by a jetty or landing stage.

2d Duke with natural inclination to avoid North once? That’s clear (8)
DISTINCT – the abbreviation for duke is followed by a word meaning natural inclination or inborn tendency without the first N(orth).

3d Poser with talent, suspect character (15)
QUESTIONABILITY – charade of a poser or something requiring an answer and a synonym for talent or expertise.

4d Dining area with time for communication (7)
MESSAGE – a dining area for members of the armed forces is followed by a period of time.

5d Occasion when crosses are placed countrywide? (7,8)
GENERAL ELECTION – cryptic definition of our regular opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

6d District with church that’s roughly normal? (6)
PARISH – the question mark indicates that ‘roughly normal’ is a made-up term which, if it existed, might mean ‘more or less standard’.

7d Dogs, maybe, in section of supermarket heard (4)
ISLE – Dogs is placed at the front of the clue to conceal the fact that it has to be capitalised – it is the last bit of the name of an area of London. The answer sounds like what you walk along in a supermarket.

14d Sister, not a person appearing in speech (3)
NUN – this sounds like a word meaning ‘not a single person’.

16d One starts in regularly undertaken tasks (3)
RUT – the starting letters of three words in the clue.

18d Free period in company supplying many lines in story (8)
LIBERATE – a ‘Russian doll’ clue. A long period of time goes inside a communications company (one supplying many lines) and all that goes inside an untrue story.

19d Give up trick with top player, we hear (7)
CONCEDE – join together a trick or scam and what sounds like a top player (at Wimbledon, possibly).

21d Appeal lies in more than 50 per cent of sport for reviewer (6)
CRITIC – a short informal word for sex appeal goes inside more than half the letters of a popular sport (though it’s not very popular with many readers of the blog).

22d Ring, conceivably, as bedridden? (4,2)
LAID UP – this is a reverse-type clue with the wordplay being in the answer rather than the clue itself. If you apply the second word of the answer to the first you end up with a verb to ring on the telephone.

24d Neighbour with instrument in lift (4)
ABUT – the definition here is a verb. We’re instructed to reverse (in lift, i.e. going up, in a down clue) a musical instrument. I’m not too sure about ‘in lift’ because you can go down as well as up in a lift – what do you think?

I liked best the clues which raised a smile – 26a and 6d. Which one(s) exercised your laughing muscles?

Today’s Quickie Pun: COWER + DISS = COWARDICE


  1. Beaver
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    More difficult than usual today with a diverse array of clues, liked 3d and the surface read of 18d-took a while to parse, as did a few others. Last in 6d ,accompanied with a d’oh moment-a good way to finish-going for a ***/**** as for me a satisfying solve ,Thanks Gazza for the ‘crown Jewels’

  2. Dr_Bob
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I found this very enjoyable and much easier than yesterday! **/****

    Plenty of well constructed clues and hard to pick a favourite. 26a definitely made me smile but 18d (the Russian Doll clue) and 22d (once the penny had dropped with the word play!) were also gems.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza

  3. Michael
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I thought this was a brilliant puzzle with some marvellous clues – 3d, 5d, 13a and 20a deserve special mention. I struggled initially but it came together very nicely.

    Polo by Ralph Lauren and Mature Dating UK are back again today – I’ve decided that someone has been using my iPad while I’ve been otherwise engaged.

    I had a nice Indian man called ‘Stephen’ on the phone this morning telling me that my Computer had been running slow and was at risk from hackers and that I should go online and run a particular transaction to sort out the problem – when I told him that he must think I’m a complete mug and the he should ahem.. ‘Go forth and Multiply’ we got mysteriously disconnected – just when I was hoping he could help me with my Mature Dating UK problem!


    • Dr_Bob
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I frequently get those calls. It’s great fun to play dumb and string them along for as long as possible.

      • neveracrossword
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        We’ve had them, too. The sinister aspect is that they knew my ex-directory telephone number and my account number with TalkTalk. However did they get hold of those, I wonder?

        • Lars Porsena
          Posted December 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          Probably hacked from Talk Talk. My brother-in-law had the same scam and nearly fell for it. Talk Talk of course deny that his account details came from them.

          • Gazza
            Posted December 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Welcome to the blog, Lars Porsena.

    • Jane
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Well, that would make a change. I’m still inundated with calls about government sponsored solar panels and replacement windows. I have discovered that if you listen to the entire diatribe of the ‘electronic’ calls you are given the option to be deleted from their call list but why should we have to do that? Person to person calls I find a bit more difficult to deal with – I always feel rather sorry for someone who has to reduce themselves to that level in order to make some sort of living, although I’m sure that doesn’t apply to all of them.

      • Young Salopian
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Once they have introduced themselves and asked their first question, I always ask them for the password. It’s non-existent of course, but it confuses the hell out of them when you tell them you don’t have authority to proceed without it. Mrs YS’s favourite to any spurious call from someone purporting to deal with computers, is to tell them she will “just transfer them to her IT department head.” That gets rid of them.

      • Angel
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        I have found that registering with the Telephone Preference Service has helped to cut most cold calls. If companies do cold call and you can identify (not always easy – numbers withheld etc.!) and report them they of course get fined. Most of them hang up when I say I’m registered with the TPS.

    • merusa
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, well, well, it’s nice to know we are not the only people who get these calls. I did like the “go forth and multiply”, which is basically what the caller said to me yesterday when I suggested that if I had a problem I would have my IT fix it and not some Philippino.

    • Salty Dog
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Until we bought a new telephone, which has totally solved the problem (check out the BT 8500) we either pressed the button on a small Dalek which repeatedly threatened the caller with extermination, or I would say “Hang on, I’ve just got to turn the oven down”, and then take the dogs for a walk!

  4. Angel
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    SW corner held me up but otherwise plain-sailing. Got 26a but needed Gazza’s risqué cartoon to parse it. Meaning of lift in 24d didn’t occur to me and hence the musical instrument eluded me for a while although I had the solution. Overall not too inspiring. Thank you Mr. Ron and Gazza. ***/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_arrow.gif

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    3*/3*. I started easily enough and was looking at 1*-2* time. However I got held up with a few clues which put up quite a fight, with 12a my last one in. I wasn’t happy with this clue and thought that the review might show I’d missed something, but Gazza seems to be of like mind.

    Full marks to the setter for mostly brief cluing with good surfaces, and only a small number of Lego/Russian Doll clues.

    26a was my runaway favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  6. Hanni
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink


    This would have got a lower difficulty score but unbelievably I got completely confused by 18d. Specifically the ‘company’ bit. I bunged the answer in but despite writing it down, writing bits of down, I couldn’t see where the company was.

    Re 24d it hadn’t occurred to me about a lift being able to go up and down, but now you’ve mentioned it…

    The rest was quite scrumptious with 26a making me laugh out loud. I wondered what pic we’d get for that.

    So many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a first rate blog.

    I’m currently covered in sap after an argument with a Christmas tree. However life is sweet and the day can only get better.

    • Jane
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Never argue with a Christmas tree, Hanni. They simply shake their heads in disgust and that’s another whole mess you’ve got to clear up. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        I know. It’s bigger than me and has things that can poke into me. Trouble is round two is coming up. Maybe if I ask nicely it might cooperate. Or beg…

        Everywhere smells of pine!

        • Kitty
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          Oh Hanni. It’s not safe to phrase a comment like that with me around!

          As for the argument, my advice is don’t take any stick – make it beg if necessary http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif.

          • Tstrummer
            Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:19 am | Permalink

            In Ludlow a few years ago, a pub opposite the castle had a huge notice outside suggesting: “Poker on Wednesdays”

  7. Meggi
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I found it more difficult than usual, but loved your “specimen” joke

    • Gazza
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Meggi. I hope that this will be the first of many comments from you.

  8. Jane
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    First read through made me think this was going to be tough but in the event it was done in 2* time. Definitely 4* for enjoyment.
    Like Gazza, I wondered whether the DT would allow the obvious answer for 26a – as a result I spent a while trying to justify ‘rubies’ before 3d put a stop to that. Speaking of 3d, the answer didn’t sit too well with me. I realise that it has to be what it is but I’m not sure that ‘suspect character’ quite works. That would seem to suggest an ending of ‘able’ rather than ‘ility’.

    Leaving aside that glorious 26a, my picks for today would be 13a plus 5&6d down.
    Thanks to our setter (26a puts me in mind of someone) and also to Gazza for the excellent review. The cartoon was brilliant but I bet you had fun looking at alternatives. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink


      • Jane
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        That was certainly the name that occurred. I was waiting to see whether Pommers was going down that route – he’s usually fairly accurate when it comes to guessing PJ puzzles.

        • Gazza
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          At the risk of an egg-on-face moment I don’t think that this is one of PJ’s – there are no food or music references. If I had to guess I’d go for Shamus but that may be totally wrong.

          • Hanni
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            That’s not a bad call. Either way I enjoyed it.

          • Jane
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            It was the absence of food and music that slightly bothered me as well, but there were no Irish references either which made me doubt that the twinkly-eyed one had a hand in it. I think we had an ‘is it, isn’t it’ one a couple of Tuesdays ago and no-one owned up. Maybe there’s a new contender for the title of Lord of Misrule?

          • Shamus
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            Well spotted, Gazza. Thanks to you for the blog and everyone for comments. Perhaps I need to devise some more easily identifiable trademarks of my own!

            • Kitty
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

              Yes please Shamus!

              Thanks for dropping by and exposing yourself, so to speak – it really is much appreciated. Thanks again for the entertainment today :) .

            • Gazza
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

              Thanks for the fun puzzle, Shamus. As you can tell from the comments it was much enjoyed (if you ignore Brian!).

            • Jane
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

              Oh balderdash – that’s twice I’ve failed to spot one of yours! Where were the Irish references? Yes please – a trademark would be much appreciated. 26a made us all laugh today!

            • pommers
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

              So long as they’re not the family jewels :lol:

        • pommers
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          Def not a PJ. As Gazza said, no food or modern music so I really don’t have a clue who it is,but I’m the world’s worst setter spotter. Possibly Shamus but somehow it felt like a new setter to me, which is the comment I made to pommette over lunch. I see that whoever it is hasn’t enlightened us yet.

          • Kath
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            And the only time that Shamus came into my head in one of my very first solo hinting days I emailed you and said, “Shamus?” and you said, “Possibly but that you’d go for PJ”. It was the one that had “jumpy” in it.

            • Kath
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

              PS – and the only time I’ve ever given a crossword a 5* for enjoyment.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:27 am | Permalink

      Hi Jane: yes I saw your comment on Saturday, but not until yesterday. So glad you liked Mrs B. There is also Mr B, written a decade or so later, telling exactly the same story from his POV up until he dies. It’s also brilliant. I have not seen the film of The Cider House Rules (I try not to watch films of books I have enjoyed, they nearly always let me down). Also, not having a telly means that I am never tempted.

  9. dutch
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Well that felt different – I was well impressed with the concise clueing. Ticked lots of clues. Thank you Gazza for explaining 14d and 18d and adding even more humour. I agree the 2 defs in 12a appear related. I thought lift was probably fine (24d), i was thinking maybe only the surface lift goes down as well. Good chuckle at 26a.Took me a while to convince myself i had the right answer to 13a.

    Very enjoyable, many thanks setter and Gazza

  10. mary
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gazza, thanks for blog, at last Telegraph have sorted out my subscription, all thanks to Dave for supplying me with the last couple of days puzzles, I think I agree with the 3 star for difficulty but only 2 for enjoyment, there were one or two I liked 22d & 24d but 16d … although its obvious what you have to do it isn’t really giving you a definition?????

    • Jane
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary,
      To liberate someone is to free them?

    • Gazza
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary. Now that your subscription’s sorted I hope that you’re not going to ‘disappear’ again.
      For 16d the definition is really ‘One’ i.e. one of these.

      • mary
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh I see, don’t really like it though http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif … I keep meaning to come onto blog every day but things get in the way!!!!New years resolution http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

        • Jane
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Apologies, both – I was looking at entirely the wrong clue. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

        • Gazza
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Another good NY resolution would be to come to the blog’s birthday bash in January. I’m sure that we’d all love to meet you in person.

          • Jane
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            I’ll second that, Mary – I’d love to meet you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

            • Kitty
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink


          • mary
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            You are all so lovely, thank you …I’ll have to think about ithttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gifI really don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such nice comments though!!!!

            • crypticsue
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

              If Gazza can come from deepest darkest Devon, I am sure you should be able to get permission to leave Wales

              • mary
                Posted December 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

                so many people disappeared from original days sue … Franny, Lea, Barry, UTC, Gnomey, Prolixic to name but a few …

                • crypticsue
                  Posted December 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

                  “Barry” is still around http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif Gnomey has a very busy job but still joins me in reviewing weekend puzzles. Prolixic is around too but doesn’t comment on specific puzzles now he sets crosswords for the Independent.

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Hello – nice to ‘see’ you again. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • mary
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kath http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  11. spook
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Well that was different, after yesterday’s success down to earth with a bump, in study with thesaurus and dictionary. Loved the joke though.
    Many thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron.

  12. Kath
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I started off really well and thought it was going to be a doddle but then ground to total halt for a while – 3* difficulty and nearer 4* for enjoyment.
    I agree with Dutch – this one felt different.
    I was slow to get two of the four long answers – 13a and 5d were fine but even knowing that 20a was an anagram it took a long time and I tried to make 3d another anagram which didn’t help.
    I spent ages trying to find a better explanation for 12a so didn’t like that one too much and 18d was tricky – even having got the answer I couldn’t see why for far too long.
    My favourite was either 26a or 6d – anything that ends in ‘ish’ always makes me laugh and 26a was brilliant. I’d just like to point out that I haven’t got two favourites – it’s definitely one or the other.
    With thanks to Mr Ron for a great crossword and to gazza for an equally great set of hints and piccies.

  13. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Found it quite difficult but not impossible.
    Thought of Rubies too in 26a until the penny dropped and was trying to end the word in 17a with lane.
    Still don’t understand the set of bars in 15a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review. Loved the pun in 26a and the joke in 12a.

    • Hanni
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Re 15a, think of ones found on the bottom of an open fire. You put your kindling and paper on it and the ashes drop through. Or do you mean the clue?

      Either way, afternoon J-L. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Hanni.
        I knew about the grate but never saw it being called grating before.
        I thought it had something to do with music.

        • Jane
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Hi JL,
          I think ‘grating’ can refer to many different sorts of bars. The OED gives the definition as ‘a framework of parallel or crossed metal bars’ so plenty of scope there.
          By the way – I also started out thinking of music!

          • Kitty
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            I also spent some time preoccupied with musical interpretations.

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

              My first thought when I see bars involves alcohol.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

                Quite right too.

    • Miffypops
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi JLC I set my newspaper and kindling on the grating and add coals. I then set sparklers into the mix and a gentle tall firework at the front. The whole fire is lit by lighting the firework and watching it burn down to catch the newspapers. Eventually the sparklers catch and give a display. That is how to start an open fire. Great fun when there are strangers in and I light the firework and run and hide behind a wall

  14. Kitty
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Much more meat than usual for a Tuesday, and tasty with it. I found it quite slow-going – mainly due to the grid I think – but enjoyable. My smiles were caused by the same things as Gazza’s. I also liked the Russian doll and more things which I’ve already forgotten.

    My last one in was 13a which seems a bit wishy-washy unless I’m missing something. I probably wouldn’t have got that (or been sure it was correct if I had) without all the checkers.

    Thanks to the setter – more please! Thanks also to Gazza for the review which is a model of excellence as usual.

  15. Young Salopian
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    3/4. I can’t really add anything more than has already been posted. A very enjoyable and diverting little cracker of a puzzle. Loved the cartoon for 26a which doubled the fun of the original clue. Well done Gazza and to Mr Ron for a delightful crossword.

  16. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    ****/**. What an interesting puzzle. I got 13a with no checkers but failed on a few clues until Gazza enlightened me (for which much thanks). My enjoyment score was lower than normal because I did need hints today. Thanks also to the setter for stretching my solving skills.

  17. Brian
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Fair to say that I hated this on so many levels. For me ******** for difficulty and -100 for enjoyment. I found this absolutely ghastly.
    Please can we go back to our normal Tuesday and leave this sort of thing for the Toughie.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Your opinion on this puzzle, Brian, is just like the problem with crime in multi-storey car parks – wrong on so many levels.

      • Michael
        Posted December 2, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Tim Vine lives!


        • Michael
          Posted December 2, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Here’s one of his:

          “I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can’t remember his name, it’s P something T something R. ”


        • jose
          Posted December 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          I’ve made a Tim Vine joke up: “That origami’s getting very popular as a hobby – it’s inCREASED tenFOLD”. Well I think it’s funny……………

  18. JonP
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Certainly a bit trickier than recent Tuesday puzzles, but like Kitty said above, the grid didn’t help too much. Enjoyable solve, with thanks to Gazza and setter **/****

  19. Paso Doble
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I (Paso) did this on my own today and found it very enjoyable with no particular problems because the 15 letter words went in very
    quickly which made everything else a bit easier…**/****
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and very naughty cartoon.

  20. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Found this to be trickier than the toughie with a wide assortment of clues that really got the grey matter going.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Really don’t know how this comment got here as I hadn’t finished typing it.

      • Kath
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        I do sometimes find that comments have minds of their own and just leg it when you’re least expecting it – funny, isn’t it? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Very true Kath – made even worse with the server trouble. I’ve now got into the habit of copying my comment before posting. Just in case http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

          (second try at posting)

  21. Miffypops
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Loved it. Found it tricky. I even put pen to paper to solve an anagram at 3D that wasn’t there in the first place. I don’t know what came over me.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it was the sap from Hanni’s Christmas Tree?http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Don’t blame me!. The Christmas tree is finally in the living room and in a stand that was clearly designed by a mad man. It took me an hour to put together. And there’s only 5 parts to it. Like one of them impossible logic puzzles.

        Edit..how can it take an hour to put together 5 things…with a set of instructions including diagrams.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          I would help – but after my blunder on purchasing rail tickets, I’m not sure I would be of much assistance http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            Honestly I thought I was going to throw the thing out of the window. Even worse when I realised I had put the tree into part of the base and then construct around the darn thing. But to keep the tree upright I had to tie it to a door because it kept sort of falling onto me. Then when the base was built it had to be inched across the living room and it’s scratched part of the floor.

            Oh and the bl***y lights don’t work. Again.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

              Have a glass of wine – I always believe it helps http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

              • Hanni
                Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

                I rarely drink midweek. But would kill for some mulled wine now!

        • Angel
          Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          That’s par for the course, Hanni – all part of the rich tapestry of (Christmas) life but hopefully all in a good cause! For the first time ever I don’t plan to have a tree this year as I am playing truant and will be abroad (Vienna) most of the time and have to say it’s a weight off my mind! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_razz.gif

          • Hanni
            Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            I cannot tell you how envious I am of that! Vienna at Christmas. Enjoy.

            The tree is leaning to one side.

            • Kitty
              Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              Perhaps if you have some well-deserved mulled wine the tree will appear straight.

    • jose
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Miffypops, I did that with 3d too! Poser with talent (15 anagram letters), suspect (anagram indicator) character (definition). Do you reckon the deception was a brilliant ruse?

  22. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Found this to be trickier than the toughie with a wide assortment of clues that really got the grey matter going. Was trying so hard to fit an anagram of ‘poserwithtalent’ in 3d which I thought would be along the lines of ‘Postelthwaiteian’ http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif How stupid can you get? Nearly as stupid as purchasing my rail tickets this weekend for the Birthday bash.

    Went on line with ‘Virgin’ as they run a no change service from Telford to Euston. Perused and picked the train times, then purchased them as an e-ticket. Only when I printed them off that I noticed that after I would have arrived in London on the Saturday, I may as well have sat on the train and gone back home 30 minutes later – D’oh!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

    Anyway, thanks toy the Mr Ron for the puzzle and Gazza for the review. Loved the joke for 12a

  23. Dr_Bob
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The comments today definitely highlight the significance of ‘setter wavelength’ in solving a crossword!

  24. Heno
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very difficult puzzle that I struggled with, and didn’t enjoy. I always struggle with double definitions 12a was no exception, even with the joke, I still couldn’t get it. Had fortune for 16a, so I couldn’t get 16d. Favourite was 6d, was 4*/2* for me. Nice morning in Central London, but it’s clouded over now.

  25. Hilary
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Brian I absolutely loved this one, perhaps because it was a pleasant change from some of the rather pedestrian ones we have had recently on Tuesday and also it was a bit of a brain workout requiring the use of my little grey cells. Agreed with most of Gazza’s thoughts including 12a, managed the anagrams with a small amount of scribbling in the margin and admit to some electronic help to check what looked like suspect spelling. Thanks to setter and Gazza, off to make tea http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  26. Vince
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    14d. I don’t know anyone who pronounces “none” this way!

    • Gazza
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I do – and the first pronunciation listed by Chambers is identical to that for nun.

    • Kath
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I do and I can’t think of any other way of pronouncing it.

      • Tstrummer
        Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        Oop North, some say non, but regain sanity when they cross the border

    • dutch
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m finding myself trying variants now – noan – noun – nan – i better stop before i get into trouble. (and I missed the clue, so I can’t speak)

  27. silvanus
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Lots of concise and, dare I say, Ray T type clues and much to enjoy.

    It was a pity that the construction of 7d made it seem that Yoda was the compiler!

    Undoubtedly 26a has to be the favourite. I’m utterly convinced that not so long ago, a semi-risqué clue like that would never have made it into a DT puzzle, but clearly times have changed and that’s no bad thing.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure that Sir Herbert Gussett wouldn’t approve of 26a and is probably harrumphing (what a wonderful word) into his G&T at this very moment.

      • silvanus
        Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, and “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” is no doubt joining him!

  28. Framboise
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Needed the blog for 15a – was thinking of musical bars – so thank you Gazza! Really enjoyed today’s cryptic offering – 26a made me chuckle – like many of us started off with rubies… Gazza’s cartoon is hilarious. ***/*** Going back to Sussex at the end of next week and this till end of February. We shall come to the Blog Birthday Bash so see you all there! We shall certainly miss this glorious warm weather we have enjoyed here.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      Looking forward to meeting you again at the bash

  29. mre
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    An excellent back page puzzle, not least because it was on the back page, and it took this solver a fair while to finish. Lots of clever clues with my particular favourites being, in ascending order, 24d, 9a, 3d and (last in) the very amusing 26a.


  30. KiwiColin
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I spent a lot of time trying to find an anagram for 3d, but even more trying to justify printing-machine for 13a. Favourite 26a. Lots of fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  31. Popeye
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Found today’s really enjoyable. Much more than yesterday’s. Loved 26a and enjoyed 3d and 13a. 23a should also get a mention. *** / ****

  32. Una
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Quite tough but it got more enjoyable as I progressed.After 1d and 8a , I thought “Oh no, another read and write ” , but not so , at least in my case.Re 26a, that was my first thought , but then I thought, not in the Telegraph, surely.
    3d was my last one in, and my favourite.7d was also late to surface, as I had forgotten all about that region of London. There were many other good clues.
    With thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  33. Mary Mary
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    **/**** Loved this after yesterday’s dismal one ( to me anyway…) ! It’s a long time since I heard the term ” Laid up” for “bedridden”, an expression my dear old ma would have called “common”. But then what would she have thought of 26a ? And why do I think of the expression ” Under the doctor ” when writing “laid up” ? O dear, I’m obviously VERY COMMON.

  34. Miffypops
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    As usual I forgot to thank the setter for this marvellous puzzle. So thank you setter. Also thank you Gazza for a most mischievous blog. Great fun all round. Thanks as well to all who comment on this site.

  35. Owdoo
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    The most annoying thing about this puzzle is that I got totally stuck on 12a as my last one in. I then showed it to a work colleague who professes to be no good at cryptic crosswords and he got the answer in seconds whilst I had just spent 10 minutes fruitlessly trying to fit a 5 letter synonym for object into ‘set’ for collection. It never even occurred to me that it might be a very simple double definition. A sobering lesson I guess!
    Otherwise, this was an enjoyable accompaniment to lunch in the canteen, or “staff restaurant” as they insist on calling it these days.
    Thanks to both setter and Gazza.

  36. Salty Dog
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    A very worthwhile tussle, particularly for a back-pager: 2*/4*. I enjoyed 22d and 26a, but my favourite was the deceptively simple 7d. Thanks to Mr Ron, and to Gazza for a typically entertaining review.

  37. Jaylegs
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely crossword ? But oh so tricky ***/**** I thought that Thursday had arrived two days early ? But so satisfying when eventually you crack it ? Big thank you to Gazza for the lovely blog and to the setter especially for 4 X 15 letter answers which it took the best part of the evening to solve ? Favourites have to be 6 & 7 down

  38. Tstrummer
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    No moaning, whining or whingeing from me tonight. I thought this was a terrific puzzle, with plenty oh-so-tricky clues (and a few gimmes). I loved all the 15-letter answers, but liked even more the pesky 3-letter ones. I wasn’t sure at first whether I liked 12a, my last one in, but it was so deceptive that it almost wins today’s garland, but is just beaten to the tape by, you guessed it, 26a. Shamus did cross my mind, but I ruled him out because of the lack of any Emerald 7d reference. Many thanks to Gazza for an entertainingly frisky blog and to Shamus for the fun. 3*/4*

  39. Matt
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    24d. “Lift” could also mean as in ballet or gymnastics (or even rugby line-out) where it’s definitely up. Although the lifter usually has to put the liftee down at some point as well!

    • Gazza
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Matt.
      The reason I thought that the clue was referring to an elevator-type lift is that the clue says ‘in lift’ which doesn’t fit so well with your other examples.

  40. Gwizz
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a really fine crossword with some lovely clues, including of course 26a! My own favourite was, unlike a lot of people, 12a. Simply because not only was it my last in but I was fooled into looking for a more profound answer.
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks Shamus and ta to Gazza for the cartoon …. and the reviewhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif