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DT 27974

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27974

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***


One kiwi only again this week. The traveller gets home tomorrow so it will be back to normal next Wednesday.
Jay has supplied us with an enjoyable puzzle once again. Not too taxing this week.

Please leave a comment telling us your thoughts.


1a     A theatre emptied by prudish church leader (7)
PRIMATE : Start with a four letter word meaning ‘prudish’, then A from the clue and the first and last letters of theatre.

5a     Senior churchman accepts notice quietly, with a straight face (7)
DEADPAN : The abbreviation for a notice or advert is followed by the musical symbol for quietly. All this is put inside a senior church official.

9a     The French framing a note in error (5)
LAPSE : One of the French definite articles surrounds A from the clue and a note added at the end of a letter.

10a     Criminally obtained title long challenged (3-6)
ILL-GOTTEN : An anagram (challenged) of TITLE LONG.

11a     Drunk chased by partner, initially with popular item of kitchenalia (7,3)
ROLLING PIN : Another of the many synonyms for drunk, the first letter of partner, and the little word that can mean popular.

12a     Give up, as chef does on and off (4)
CEDE : Alternate letters from two words in the clue.

14a     Greece, in debt to Spain, possibly having teething problems (7,5)
GROWING PAINS : The IVR code for Greece, then a word meaning having money outstanding, followed by an anagram (possibly) of SPAIN.

18a     Quite attractive? Maybe too twee (6-6)
PRETTY-PRETTY : The first two words of the clue have a common synonym that, when repeated, gives the answer.

21a     Nothing to the west of European river (4)
NILE : Nothing or zero and then the one letter abbreviation for European.

22a     Troubled, as it is then quite the contrary? (10)
ANTITHESIS : An anagram (troubled) of AS IT IS THEN.

25a     Something that attracts many on the air — quality (9)
LODESTONE : A homophone (on the air) of a word that means many or heaps and a synonym for quality.

26a     Stop patient eating last of cheese (5)
CEASE : Another word for a patient or someone receiving medical attention includes the last letter of cheese.

27a     Admittedly bound to change (2,5)
NO DOUBT : An anagram (to change) of BOUND TO.

28a     Tea judges perhaps set rats scurrying (7)
TASTERS : An anagram (scurrying) of SET RATS.


1d     Miserable friend — Conservative losing love (6)
PALTRY : A three letter friend and then a word for a Conservative with an O removed from it.

2d     Simple manoeuvres for forces (6)
IMPELS : An anagram (manoeuvres) of SIMPLE.

3d     Better make a speech after running a mile (10)
AMELIORATE : A word meaning ‘make a speech’ follows an anagram (running) of A MILE.

4d     Looking at, for example, embracing Chinese principle (5)
EYING : The abbreviation that means ‘for example’ surrounds the Chinese principle that is usually partnered with ‘yang’.

5d     Brief affair of union supporting Germany (9)
DALLIANCE : The IVR code for Germany goes in front of a synonym for a union or combining of resources.

6d     Second to interrupt when showing book (4)
AMOS : A word that means ‘when’ surrounds an abbreviation for a short period of time.

7d     Sorry, seeing quote put up after course (8)
PATHETIC : A course or track precedes the reversal of a verb meaning to quote.

8d     Absence of touch, for example, is baloney! (8)
NONSENSE : A prefix that implies ‘the absence of’ and then something that ‘touch’ can be an example of.

13d     Places outside European-sounding inspections (4,6)
SPOT CHECKS : A word for places or sites surrounds something that sounds like an inhabitant of a particular European country.

15d     Getting rid of branch employing Greek character abroad (6,3)
WIPING OUT : A branch or limb includes a Greek letter (3.14….) and then abroad or ‘not at home’.

16d     Launch scheme for such an office (4-4)
OPEN-PLAN : Synonyms for launch as a verb, and then one for a scheme.

17d     Secret society avoided getting caught inside (8)
SECLUDED : The abbreviation for S(ociety), then a word meaning avoided or dodged, with the cricket abbreviation for caught inserted.

19d     What might be left by Eastern nation? (6)
ESTATE : The abbreviation for Eastern and a nation or country.

20d     The girl’s supporting American guides (6)
USHERS : The feminine possessive pronoun follows the two letter abbreviation for American.

23d     Incompetent writer held up by it (5)
INEPT : IT from the clue surrounds the reversal of a writing instrument.

24d     Biblical character taken in by apples — a usurper? (4)
ESAU : And last of all, a lurker, hiding in the clue.

No particular favourite for me today. I’ll just wait and see what others choose.

Quickie pun    Mars   +   hoop   +   heals   =   marsupials

174 comments on “DT 27974

  1. Very pleasant puzzle today. 11a (drunk chased by partner..) is just brilliant, I have images of Andy Capp being chased by Flo. I also like 14a (Greece in debt…) and many more

    many thanks Jay and thanks Kiwi

  2. Very straightforward today I thought. 9a tricked me a bit as I went through the full octave before realising it was a different type of note. I’ve not seen the word “kitchenalia” before.
    Thanks to both Jay and the 1K

  3. I found this to be the easiest Jay puzzle for a while, if not ever. Thanks to the 1 Kiwi and Jay – 1*/3.5* (docked half a star as it was over all too soon..)

  4. Definitely at the easy end of Jay’s scale today. Only pauses for thought came with ‘prelate’ being my first guess for 1a, thinking of moths and flames at 25a and looking for a secret society at 17d. Just enough to push me into 1.5* time – probably 3* for enjoyment.
    Favourite was 14a with 11a taking second place.

    Thanks to Jay and also to 1K – hope you’re getting the housework done today! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  5. */****

    I do like Wednesday’s. We invariably get a good puzzle from Jay. This was no exception. 9a made me laugh quite a lot…so clever. Also liked 14a and 3d, but that’s mainly because it’s such a lovely word. Bunged in 9a and didn’t bother to parse it until later…missed the PS bit. In my defense I did this at stupid o’clock this morning.

    All in all a great solve.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the solo Kiwi for a great blog as always.

    I need the blogs help please?

    I’m setting two Christmas quizzes and I’m stuck on tie-breakers for both. They have to be numerically based answers i.e in what year did Sunderland last win the FA cup?

    One is a sports quiz and one general knowledge. I’m struggling to come up with some decent obscure questions for the tie-breaker. Any help will be gratefully received.

    1. Give them a good fraction division to work out Hanni. What is five eighths of three quarters or what is three quarters of five eighths.

      How much does the internet weigh

      How tall would the Eiffel tower have been if the chinese acrobatic monkeys had not managed to attach the final finial?

      There you knew I would be of help and I was.

      1. There are no words MP…unbelievable. I can’t tell you how helpful that is. Without swearing.

        “How much does the internet weigh”?


        If I have 4 horses and you have none, how many planets are there in the universe?


        What is the collective weight of Coventry’s rugby team minus the weight of a balloon?

        N.B in my original post I meant to put I found 11a funny.

          1. Would that be at maximum density though? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

            I’m struggling with weird historical numbers/questions too.

            1. A weird historical question –
              Which famous military leader died of a nosebleed on his wedding night?
              Answer – Attila the Hun.

        1. What star is used to measure the Earth’s circumference?

          Why can’t we see the other side of the Moon?

          What is the origin of the following words:

          Boycott, Quisling, Gerrymander and Chortle.

          All selected from my ‘Dangerous Book for Boys 2007’

          1. I would imagine that everyone knows the answer to these questions, but the one that I think is brilliant is ‘Chortle’

            1. Because it’s a great word
            2. The description from the book reads:

            Chortle – A word invented by Lewis Carroll as a combination of ‘chuckle’ and ‘snort’. This type of combination is known as a ‘portmanteau’ word. He also invented the word ‘portmanteau’ to describe words of this type. Clever man http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

            My book also has a section on ‘girls’

    2. Name the four Premiership football grounds with the highest capacities in order.
      Ans ,Old Trafford 75731, The Emirates 60432, Etihad 55000, St James Park 52405
      The last will catch out a few.

      1. Four – two in the front and two in the back.
        How many hippos (not even going to attempt the plural spelling in this company) can you get in a Mini?

        1. For some reason my reply has disappeared……

          The answer Four – but they have to sit on the elephants’ knees.

          1. No – the answer is none because there’s no more room – there are already four heffalumps in the mini.

    3. A more sensible one and topical in view of the Queen outlasting Victoria.

      Who was the third longest reigning British Monarch?

      George III at 56 years and 96 days.

          1. I’m not very good at sequences but I don’t see the reasoning behind the answer.

            1. Mathematically it is a random sequence, and to know the answer you probably need to have spent a lot of time in pubs playing or watching people play darts.

    4. The best quiz tie break question ever is “What is myosotis?” I could actually hear the cogs of my brain turning before the penny dropped and I said the answer so our team won!

      1. OK, CS, I give up! Either I’m being stupid or you’ve spelt it incorrectly.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        I’m hoping the latter!

        1. Sorry. Memo to self: never post a comment until you have time to check spellings. I have added the missing O now

      1. I’ve added that to the GK quiz Kath. Might add some of the others too. I was asked to set these about 2 months ago and forgot.

    5. Well I’ve got the answers to some of the questions. Never would have got the dartboard. The forget-me-not was clever and I’ve no idea about blue steam or the internet.

      My quizzes are going to fantastic. There are bonus rounds that involve drinking and the 12 days of Christmas.

      P.S..white horses are always are invariably grey.

      How rude of me…THANK YOU everybody. Feel free to keep suggesting things.

          1. That one has gone completely over my head Gazza! Then again I should have got the dartboard one. Not that I play darts.

              1. Only Kath can tell if I’ve got it right – she didn’t agree with my elephant/mini/hippo answer http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    6. So you want tie break questions where the closest wins? Something like How many words/verses in the Bible? Or Number of Weeks Dark Side of the Moon was in the US charts? Distance from the Earth to the Sun?

      1. If you are at the birthday bash, I owe you drink. That is exactly the tie-breakers quizmasters set. Except I’m not a master. I just get dragged in to set every so often.

        Can you think of any obscure sports one? Not my area unless it’s cricket, and they will get any I know.

        1. How many goals were scored in the Premiership last year? You’d have to Google the answer as I’ve no idea but nearest wins.

              1. Yup…that’s now on my word document as a tie-breaker. Given me a few ideas to change some of the questions too.

                1. Contact pommette – she ran a weekly quiz for about 5 years so has more questions than Rufus has clues – not quite but a hell of a lot anyway!

                    1. I’m not going to post her email in public so you will have to ask Big Dave to forward a message from you to her.

                      Until a couple of days ago I could see your email on your post but not any more. I’ve asked Dave why I’ve been demoted in editorial status but have had no answer yet.

            1. Not rugby but beautifully cryptic: Guess the singer-songwriter from this clue; Raincoats in the churchyard
              Who is the only person to win a Nobel prize and an Oscar? (And it’s Not Al Gore- the film won an Oscar, but he didn’t)

                  1. I wouldn’t have got that without looking it up. Great fact that is now added into my list of questions. Thank you.

        2. Not sure about the birthday bash – I’ve got a hockey match, but might be able to make arrangements…

          Shane Warne was hit for more sixes in Tests than any other bowler. How many? (170)

          If I do make it, maybe I’ll bring the picture quizzes I used to do for Christmas quizzes- all appalling homophones. It was when I ran out of ideas last year that I decided to have a go at writing a crossword, and had to do some hurried research…

          1. Oh the nightmares/flashbacks of Saturday hockey in January, 10 years since I did that. I like picture quizzes.

      2. Dark Side Of The moon was in the charts for far too many weeks. Pop Pap. The most cynically commercial album ever recorded. Why can it not be seen through as such? Oh well records by Queen sold well and they had no merit.

        1. I beg to differ. I was at a friends the other week and had to watch TV…don’t do TV. There was an advert for Kylie’s Christmas album 2015. Is that not cynically commercial?

          1. No Hanni. The delightful Kylie is commercial with bells on. There is nothing cynical in it. Pink Floyd played upon their fans and the publics gullibility with DSOTM. An awful album. As I said Queen have no merit just a frontman. Kylie is the sweetest most unaffected naturally nice person. I met her once after my cousin and Pete Waterman persuaded her to come to England and launch a pop career. She is beautiful all the way through

            1. Oh my goodness. Yes she is lovely but we are talking about being cynically commercial. Isn’t that the nature of albums like Christmas ones? It has to be. DSOTM doesn’t do anything for me but it terms of marketing and sales I have no issue. So which has more artistic merit?

              P.S I get the impression you’ll be right anyway!

  6. No real problems today – 6d had me baffled but it was the only four-letter book beginning with ‘A’ I could think of – thanks for the explanation!


  7. 2/4. I found this as relatively benign as earlier commentators. Great clueing by Jay made it more enjoyable however, so many thanks to him and our lone Kiwi.

  8. Brain fade this morning but still managed to complete even though it took me nearly twice as long as usual, which is not surprising as we spent most of the night at the Hospitital, my partners mother has been in since March & we received a call just before midnight from the doctor saying we had better come in,we stayed until 5:30 both of us extremely tired got to bed around 6 when we got another call saying she had passed away, I’m glad that we got to say our good byes but equally sad that we weren’t there at the end. Agree with the ratings & many thanks to the setter & 1 K for the review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    1. That’s really tough on you and your partner, Graham, but I think it often happens that way. Almost as though the person concerned feels that they have said their goodbyes and can then allow themselves to drift away.
      She was obviously a much loved Mum – the next few weeks won’t be easy for you. Take care.

      1. Sincere condolences to you and your partner Graham. One of life’s most challenging experiences is the loss of one’s mum. Thoughts and prayers for you both.

  9. No I have not even looked at the crossword but having broken off from the ironing for a coffee I would like to ask a general question. Am I the only person amused and/or sadden by remarks like those about Wisden earlier in the week, if you wish to nit-pick it was not a pure cryptic clue but surely not beyond the general knowledge of Big Dave’s gang. Your thoughts if you have a moment please.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. It’s a good question Hilary. I firmly believe in the Ximenean principles that clues should always be fair to the solver. I don’t think that clue was particularly fair as it couldn’t be solved from the word play alone, (unless I’m forgetting something). You had to have knowledge of the person in question.

    2. I did know about Wisden, However, I always see the ‘don’t know’ stuff as an opportunity to learn something new and file it away for future reference as it will probably turn up again sooner or later.

      1. Well said, C’Sue. In retrospect I had heard of it as I had a cricket mad brother growing up, however, that was a long, long time ago. I agree, it should be an opportunity to learn rather than gripe.

    3. They can throw whatever they like at me Hilary but it should be solvable from the wordplay and that one was not. Mr Roger Squires has written over one million cryptic clues in his life and can therefore be forgiven this one.

    4. Tough call, Hilary. I am certainly not a cricket fan but did know the answer, so I guess I assumed that it was reasonable as a GK question. However, as others have pointed out, it was not cryptic and therefore couldn’t be worked out from the wordplay. Maybe that sort of thing is more acceptable in a Toughie than a back-pager?

    5. As cricket terms go, what about:
      Drop line and short leg from Willesden Green champion. (6)

    6. I think that in a cryptic crossword it should be possible to work out the answer even if it is an unknown word. I did know it but only because I’d looked it up a day or two before which wasn’t enough time for me to have forgotten it.

    7. There was definitely nothing cryptic about it – you either knew it or you didn’t, I knew it – happy days!

      Cue Jonners and Aggers sniggering about ‘not getting his leg-over’ or ‘the bowlers Holding the batsman’s Willey’ or ‘there he is with his legs wide apart waiting for a tickle’ – snigger – snigger!


  10. A short case of dyslexia slowed me down as I wrote Stop Checks in 13d.
    Not helped by writing Nonsence in 8d.
    Oh dear.
    Apart from that, and after correction, everything went in smoothly.
    Favourites are the same for me. 11 and 14a.
    Thanks to Jay and to KiwiColin for the review. Ma’a Nonu shall play on Saturday for his maiden match in Toulon.

    1. Judging by Toulon’s performance against Wasps a couple of weks ago they are in dire need of some help. When Leigh Halfpenny is out injured they seem to fall to pieces.

      1. Absolutely.
        Between the Top 14, the H cup, the world cup and injuries that followed, Toulon needs a bit of respite.

  11. This was a very easy puzzle to those of us who have solved cryptic puzzles for many years. I wonder how the newcomers have fared. Perhaps they can delurk and tell us what they made of it. The note at 9ac wont be jumping out. The anagram indicators, Troubled, scurrying, manouvres and challenging are – well- challenging as they fit the surface reads so well. Other surface reads at 6d particularly will be inaccessible to newcomers. So whilst we old stagers bask in the rosy glow of self satisfaction can the newcomers speak up?

    Thanks to both birds today

    1. Delurking as requested! I’ve only been doing cryptics properly (i.e. every day) for the last month or so and this was the first one I’ve ever managed to complete, so it must have been easy! I usually get 20-25 of the clues.

      25a (Something that attracts…) 7d (Sorry….) gave me the most difficulty, despite having every checking letter for both of them I was still staring at the page for a good fifteen minutes to get them! Good sense of satisfaction from actually having completed one though, I’m generally happy with the difficulty levels of the DT crosswords, but you need a more straightforward one from time to time I think to draw newcomers like myself in.

        1. Thanks all, this website is a godsend for learning the little ins and outs (like OP for work, would never have got that by myself) and it’s good to see such a friendly community ?

    2. Well, it started off with a laugh at the clue for 1a – I enjoyed the mental image of the prudish church leader. 5d was the first one in, and I made fairish progress but there were quite a few tricky bits. 6d I could not get – let’s hope it comes up again soon!
      I got 25a but did not appreciate that ‘on the air’ has that meaning. I also thought that 26a must be ‘cease’, but could not reconcile this with the clue, as ‘case’ is a bit of leap from ‘patient’, rather inhuman!
      You mentioned the note in 9a. Oddly, that came to me sooner than ‘la’ for ‘The French’, which is more obvious once you read it right.
      I got Esau without spotting that it was a lurker. I find those hard to spot – what is the indicator in 24d?
      I got 27a from checkers but did not spot the anagram indicator.
      My favourites were 11a, 25a (because the word is pleasing) and 18a.

      1. Hi Drapdor,
        In 9a the French word used is ‘LE’ with ‘A PS’ as the insertion. To use ‘la’ wouldn’t work with the wordplay.

        1. Thank you. You are quite right and looking back, I did actually get that but clearly forgot it in trying to give a snapshot of the beginner’s eye view – perhaps making it seem worse than it is!

          And thank you to the setter and to 2Kiwis for the wonderful hints.

    3. I’m a semi-lurker, as I usually only delurk on Rookie Corner, as I often don’t have time or ability (mainly ability) to do the DT ones. A rare venture into a Wednesday, and I was happy to find I could do three-quarters of it fairly straightforwardly (apart from Amos) but struggled in the SW corner and needed the hints and cheats. I enjoyed it without having a particular favourite – if pushed, 14a.
      Thanks to Jay and the 1Kiwi.

  12. Nothing to frighten the horses today! Jay at his most benign for sure.
    I liked 5a and overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to Jay and the Lone Kiwi.

  13. Apart from 6d which is a total mystery to me even with the hint, it’s nice to see a return to normality after yesterday’s insanity!
    Very enjoyable with some good clues in 22a and 25a.
    Off now to look up Amos and see if I can sort out 6d.
    Thx to all

    1. Had a look in the BRB but it doesn’t list Amos. Is it an obscure novel or some such. Got me really puzzled.

      1. it’s listed (under bible – books of the prophets) in BD’s comprehensive “mine” under the features tab above

        1. That’s very useful but you had to know it was a bible book to begin with. I do so dislike religious clues, I find them offensive.

          1. Dear Brian

            I don’t know whether you have sent your list to Father Christmas yet but if not can I suggest you add a copy of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It is full of fascinating information, including your new friend Amos, and would add to your crossword ‘knowledge’.

            Best wishes
            Your mentor

  14. Found this quite tough but perseverance always pays, put it down look out of the window, pick it up and usually something gels. Needed some help from the 2 Kiwis though. Many thanks to them and to Jay.

  15. Been absent of late, but today finally got a chance to do the cryptic before my work day starts. I do like Wednesdays. Always a pleasing puzzle. 25A is my pick for the top spot. Thanks to Jay and K1.

  16. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I made a bit more difficult by misspelling 25a. Which stopped me getting 17d until I realised my mistake. Favourite was 22a. Was 2*/3* for me. Sun back out in Central London. Off to Hackney for the Pig’s Ear Festival.

  17. It might have been on the easy side but I thought the overall cluing was good and some excellent surface reads like 14a. and 25a, which solution, like Heno, I too put in the alternative spelling, making 17d unsolvable . Going for a **/***,as I enjoyed the solve- thanks 1K for the review .Had a BT computer ‘glitch’ this morning which ,having finally found a phone contact number, took an age to try and resolve, involving them taking over the screen-its since gone wrong again, but Im not up to a rematch today.

  18. Well that was as near a write-in as I’ve ever done. Pommette and I only missed one of the acrosses on first pass (25) and then got all of the downs. 25a was then obvious so the whole thing was over in no time at all.

    Enjoyable while it lasted with 25a favourite. 1/2*/*** from us.

    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwi.

  19. 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment – loved it.
    My last few answers were all in the bottom right corner – they weren’t even the trickiest clues – oh dear – very dim today.
    I spent too long thinking of musical notes in 9a – dim again.
    I really liked 11a and 8d.
    With thanks to Jay and to the one lonely Kiwi.

  20. Very enjoyable puzzle to get on with on a dark, blustery day in Shropshire, brrrr. The only complaint I have is the same as pommers – over far too quickly.

    Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and 1K for the review.

    Edit – the server appears to be happier today.

  21. Thanks for blog 2Ks, needed help with 17d and 25a! Bit of a brain fog today combined with a stinker of a cold http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif… well that’s my excuse,another real miserable day here in West Wales and one of my busiest weeks for flute tooting duties etc and everything has been cancelled because of a silly cold … bah humbug!!! Thank goodness for this blog and the crosswordshttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Hope that you feel better soon and get back to the flute tooting soon – nothing worse than snot in a flute. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  22. *//***. What a lovely way to start my day. A cup of earl grey sat in bed having fed the dogs and washed up after last nights dinner party. Some pleasant clues (14&25a and 13d). Thanks to the setter and 1K for the review.

  23. Good, but very annoying crossword. **/***.. Never heard of 18a. Doubly attractive would have been more helpful. 8d was my favourite.
    Thanks to all

  24. I am inclined to agree with Jon P above.I liked 25a , 14a, and 11a.
    thanks for the fun , Jay and Kiwi Colin for the blog.

  25. Very enjoyable puzzle by Jay today.
    Like Kath, spent far too long looking for musical note in 9a.
    Fave was 11a, followed by 25a and 18a.
    Thanks to Jay and solo Kiwi.

  26. Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today of which I contributed eight on pass one and the last two. Didn’t take very long.


  27. Well-constructed as ever by Jay but I found it a little uninspiring if I’m absolutely honest. That normally only happens on a Friday!

    Favourite was 25a, closely followed by 18a.

    Hadn’t previously heard of the awful term “kitchenalia” and I hope I don’t encounter it again!

    Thanks to Mr. Mutch and to Colin.

  28. Good morning everyone. Not a lot of time for chat this morning as I have about two week’s worth of house-keeping duties to catch up on in the next couple of hours before heading to the airport to pick up Carol.
    Cheers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

          1. Someone told me years ago that I should spray polish round and also clean the kettle. The theory is that (a) people think you have done the polishing and (b) if you have had time to clean the outside of your kettle, the rest of the house must be perfect!

            1. No – the answer is that if your house is a bit of a dusty muddle you should always have the hoover out so that it looks as if you were just about to do it . . . .

              1. Ooh I don’t go anywhere near hoovers Kath. Far too frightened of the spiders they might have sucked up. Oh No!

                1. Don’t! Don’t do spiders. There is a tarantula that has moved into the en-suite. I specifically didn’t invite it. I’ve developed a mini flamethrower that incorporates a can of hairspray and a clicky lighter thing. Yes it might burn the tiles but it’s the only way to go.

                  Until I pluck up the courage to use it, that bathroom is off limits. Which is annoying.

                  1. Hoover it up. Then get somebody else to take the Hoover to the tip, possibly a tip in another county further away from Warwickshire just in case. Buy a new Hoover. Repeat as necessary.

                    1. It’s bigger than tube attachments I’m sure. So every time I need to get rid of spiders I have to buy a new Hoover? I’m not saying no, just checking. I saw the film Arachnophobia with the girl in shower.

                      I think my improvised flame thrower has some merit.

  29. Enjoyable puzzle, easiest so far this week, ? **/*** Thanks to 1 x K and Jay. Like many before me I was puzzled by 6d ? Liked 5a, 14a & 1d

  30. loved the puzzle loved the blog everything had been said,really glad someone else misspelt lodestone.In fact chaps if I could spell I would surely finish the puzzle much earlier.I am about to start to learn how to do the toughie.Hope there are hints to be had.

    1. Well done ginniebd. And, yes, there are always hints for the toughie but they generally appear about 2pm of that day. They are called ‘toughie’ for a reason so do not lose heart at your first attempts http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  31. No sweat today. It’s a while since I finished so am trying unsuccessfully to recall my thoughts at the time and just skimmed through the comments. Really nothong to add. Thanks Jay and 1K and welcome back to your home Second K. */***.

  32. I hate to show off but it has been a gorgeous sunny day here which matched my feeling about this lovely Jay crossword, thanks to him and ColinK. Initially wondered how I would get on but worked my way up starting with 24d and by the time I had reached 1a I was optimistic that all was well. Favourite was 25a because I love the sound of the word runner-up 10a for same reason. Thanks for earlier replies I remain to be convinced what about 6d today? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  33. Enjoyable with no quibbles and over too soon, so I’m with JonP and RD and the like on this one.

    Thanks to Jay and Kiwi Colin.

  34. Yup. Jay delivers again. No problems here, although 9a took me a moment of chin-stroking. 11a takes the biscuit. Talking of which, what’s happened to Peta and Mum? Early start in the morning for the last ABC segment of the year. They go off on their summer holidays until the end of January and I get a few weeks to have a lie in on Thursdays. Thanks to Jay and Kiwi Colin

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