DT 28002

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28002

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

I didn’t get a great deal of enjoyment from this one. Most of the clues were very straightforward with a number of old chestnuts. On the other hand, if you’re just starting out on cryptic crosswords then this is probably just the sort of puzzle you need, except that if you’re under forty you’ve probably never heard of the actress in 1d or the pianist in 4d. I know that I’ve harped on about this before but I do wonder whether the inclusion of such names is the way to attract younger solvers.

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

1a See very fast start (3,8)
GET CRACKING – a verb to see or twig is followed by an adjective meaning very fast.

9a Not living together, guys before beginning to tenant flat (9)
APARTMENT – if you’re not living together you are living *****. Add another word for guys and the beginning letter of tenant.

10a Master, extremely disagreeable in a gym (5)
ADEPT – the outer (extremely) letters of disagreeable go between A (from the clue) and an abbreviation meaning gymnastics or drill.

11a Difficult, old emperor coming to America (7)
ONEROUS – string together the abbreviation for old, the name of a Roman emperor and a two-letter abbreviation for America.

12a Toy dog lost during short march (3,4)
RAG DOLL – an anagram (lost) of DOG is inserted in a march or parade without its final letter (short).

13a Doctor shown with maiden, a character in pantomime? (9)
RIGMAROLE – a verb to doctor or falsify is followed by the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over, A (from the clue) and a character or theatrical part.

16a From Elvis, anniversary card (4)
VISA – hidden (from) in the clue.

18a Barrister cutting fine cheese (4)
BRIE – an informal word for a barrister without the abbreviation for fine (as used in the categorisation of lead pencils).

19a Stew at last in bistro? A controversial issue (3,6)
HOT POTATO – start with a stew popular in Lancashire and add AT (from the clue) and the last letter of bistro.

22a Piece of deep-fried food is more appropriate? That’s about right (7)
FRITTER – a comparative meaning more appropriate or more pertinent contains an abbreviation for right.

23a Alarm worried Rupert Bear, initially (7)
PERTURB – an anagram (worried) of RUPERT followed by the initial letter of Bear.

25a Wine jar I smashed tackling opening of ordinaire (5)
RIOJA – an anagram (smashed) of JAR I contains (tackling, in the sense of setting about) the opening letter of ordinaire.

26a Home eleven dismissed? Comprehensively (6,3)
INSIDE OUT – charade of an adverb meaning home or at home, what eleven means in a sporting context and an adverb meaning dismissed at cricket.

27a One leading the way in movement — crossword compiler (11)
TRENDSETTER – a movement or drift is followed by another name for a crossword compiler.

Down Clues

1d Allure of grand Hollywood actress (7)
GLAMOUR – the abbreviation for grand ($1,000) followed by the surname of Dorothy, the actress who appeared in several of the Hope/Crosby ‘Road’ films.

2d Find and copy (5)
TRACE – double definition, the first a verb meaning to find or track down.

3d Clear-headed on trial, a criminal (8)
RATIONAL – an anagram (criminal) of ON TRIAL A.

4d Musical about pianist Dame Myra (5)
CHESS – an abbreviation meaning about or approximately is followed by the surname of Dame Myra who was most famous for organising and playing in lunchtime concerts in London throughout WWII.

5d Cross put in ground, by order (9)
INTERSECT – a verb to bury or put in the ground and a religious order or splinter group.

6d Good variety in farm (6)
GRANGE – the abbreviation for good followed by a variety or assortment.

7d In charge in Italian city, woman … (8)
VERONICA – insert the abbreviation for ‘in charge’ into the Italian city where Shakespeare housed two gentlemen.

8d … set off, all upset to see girl (6)
STELLA – an anagram (off) of SET followed by the reversal (upset, in a down clue) of ALL.

14d Riding or running in sports field in America (8)
GRIDIRON – an anagram (running) of RIDING OR.

15d Prudent to support unmarried mother in a different way? (9)
OTHERWISE – an adjective meaning prudent or sensible comes after (to support, in a down clue) the word mother without the abbreviation for married.

17d Something for breakfast  time? (8)
PORRIDGE – double definition, the second an informal word for time spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

18d Live number heard earlier (6)
BEFORE – a verb to live and a homophone of a single-digit number.

20d Satellite perhaps bore it out — Russia’s first (7)
ORBITER – an anagram (out) of BORE IT followed by the first letter of Russia.

21d Sound level in the auditorium (6)
STRAIT – sound here is a noun meaning a narrow stretch of water. The answer sounds like (in the auditorium) an adjective meaning level or horizontal.

23d Model daughter put forward (5)
POSED – a verb to model or sit followed by the abbreviation for daughter.

24d Vessel about to be destroyed (1-4)
U-BOAT – an anagram (to be destroyed) of ABOUT.

Best clue for me is 15d. Which one(s) cut the mustard for you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: CELL + BIDE + EIGHT = SELL-BY DATE


  1. Michael
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Umm – a bit unsatisfying!

    I got it in my mind that 7d was ‘senorina’ for some reason – and it was only when I read the blog that I realised my foolishness – I found 10a a bit tenuous but what do I know – etc etc

    Not really all that enjoyable – IMHO.


    • Una
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Me too, though I had “senorita ” for a long while.

    • Veronique
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      7D was my last one in despite it being my name!

    • Arthur Ennimore-Empties
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t get 7d. Unmarried Italian woman is signorina and a married lady signora.
      Señorita is Spanish.

  2. bifield
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    A very mechanical crossword with no pleasure in it for me today. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Una
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    It definitely wasn’t one star for me.I don’t think anybody could accuse me of being young, but I never heard of 4d.
    I found this puzzle to be quite mechanical in parts , such as 9a and 13a , 26a.
    Thanks for explaining 15d, as I was reading “other” as the “other” woman.Which seemed a bit odd.Probably is the best clue.
    Thanks also , Gaza for the tip on “The Bridge”. I have watched both seasons now and really enjoyed them.I am currently wading through ” Arne Dahl ” which is also pretty good . I welcome suggestions
    from yourself or anybody else of good TV dramas.
    Thanks also to the setter.

    • Bluebird
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Una –
      The Tunnel (UK-French version of the Bridge), Borgen, Spiral, The Killing series, Homeland, Madmen, The Wire and Montalbano are all dramas we’ve enjoyed in the last 2-3 years. You might have to buy or hire DVDs or do something not entirely legal to see some of them at this stage.
      4OD are currently showing a whole slew of European dramas, but I haven’t seen them yet.

  4. dutch
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I liked “character in pantomime” (13a), the anniversary card from Elvis (16a), Rupert Bear (23a), the wine in 25a, the unmarried mother (15d), and the simple but (i thought) clever anagram in 24d.

    I had to check the actress and the pianist and I’m over 40 (just).

    Many thanks Gazza and thank you setter

  5. Graham
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I agree with Gazza’s comments as never heard of Dame Myra but googled it. Thanks to the setter & Gazza for the review.

  6. Paso Doble
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    We agree with Gazza’s assessment on this one. We never time ourselves but this must have taken
    the time it took to make the coffee and toast.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  7. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    1*/2*. Most of this was R&W but a few clues needed a little bit of cogitation with 21d my last one in. I too needed Google for Dame Myra although the answer was obvious from the checkers. Full marks to the setter for clearly pointing out the American usage of 14d. I did like 15d & 24d.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  8. JonP
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this one, although had to Google Dame Myra.

    Thanks to Gazza and setter */***

  9. pete
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I managed the bottom half quite easily but struggled with the top half. Never heard of the woman in 4d but got it from the musical bit. I couldnt get 1a so struggled to get the answers for the down clues from it., cant say ive ever heard of the woman in 1d either

  10. Spook
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Fairly atraightforward for me, which I suppose is good news as I seem to be getting the hang of this.
    Many thanks to Gazza and setter

  11. Angel
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    No real gratification or enjoyment here and no Fav to nominate. We do seem to get 17d and yesterday’s ‘nick of time’ in various guises on a regular basis these days. Sun shines in West Sussex – at last. On with Twelfth Night chores. Have to admit to having met Dame Myra and heard her play several times via some of her relatives who were our neighbours. Thank you Mysteron and Gazza. **/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  12. Expat Chris
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I agree it was on the pedestrian side, though I did rather like 15D. As Gazza says, a good one for new solvers to get their teeth into. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    Brrr. A chilly -8C here this morning.

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Not for me (as a new solver), I can make absolutely no sense of this, disappointing having finished last Saturday’s prize crossword.
      Goes like that sometimes, I suppose when you are new to it.

      • Hanni
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Don’t get disheartened. It can happen to those of us that have been solving for years.

        • Merusa
          Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          I’ve been doing them for over 60 years and this one stumped me.

          • HoofItYouDonkey
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Just a bit of a downer when so many post how easy it is when I have been staring vacantly at it for hours!!

            • Merusa
              Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

              I know, but I manage to finish most of them, so one doesn’t matter to me. I lose interest when I am so far off wavelength, then I just give up and look at the answers.

              • Hilary
                Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

                That is exactly what I did today, lost interest and completed thanks to Gazza.

      • Steve in St A
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Me too. Gazza usually underrates crossword difficulty for me I find. Don’t know if others think this too.

        • Gazza
          Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          I work on the basis that an ‘average’ back-pager should have 3 stars for difficulty. However, since I always blog the Tuesday puzzle and since the Tuesday crosswords are often at the easier end of the spectrum, I quite often end up giving them less than three stars.

          • Kitty
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            That’s exactly what I do when I’m allowed a Monday review to play with. Difficulty ratings for later in the week tend to be lower than I’d give.

  13. neveracrossword
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Over too quickly. I must be quite old, since I had no trouble with the actress and the pianist. (Though the wartime concerts were a bit before my time).Thank you Gazza and setter.

  14. Jane
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Well – I quite enjoyed it! Didn’t know the lady pianist but the musical was obvious enough and it didn’t take long to check on her name. Certainly didn’t know the American sports field!
    2*/3* for me and I’d agree with 15d for the top spot. I also rather liked 26&27a plus 21d.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and also to Gazza – I’m sorry that you haven’t got much enjoyment out of several of the recent puzzles you’ve been given to blog.

  15. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m only half way through my train journey back to Hyeres and have already finished both crosswords.
    Good thing I took the Saturday supplement from 26/12 so can have a go at Kate Mepham. And I mean it in more ways than one.
    Simple back pager but with some good clues.
    Liked 12a and 13a the most.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review.

    • Hanni
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Gosh! Your train journeys sound interesting J-L!

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Hi Hanni,
        I took the train from Clermont to Lyon at around Midday.
        Then hopped on the Genera to Ventimiglia. Just stopped in Marseille to have a quick cig. Yes you can still smoke by the train in France.
        Should be arriving in Toulon any minute now and then a small train to Hyeres. Should arrive by 6 o clock my time.
        It’s only been a week and I miss Hyeres already.

    • Jane
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Your abilities never cease to amaze me, JL. Two crosswords down and still time to have a go at Kate Melham before your train arrives back in Hyeres. You must be convinced of your powers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane,
        The Kate Mepham is a bit hard.
        Most of it is: Either you know it or you don’t.
        Quite a lot of blank spaces I’m afraid.

        • Jane
          Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Ah – either you’re talking about just the crossword or simply refusing to take the bait! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            There’s a little vignette of her face in the corner of the crossword.
            I’m sure she used to smile a while back
            Now she looks like a mix of Morticia Adams and Vicky Pollard. Not very appealing.

    • Hanni
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s impressive. Some friends of mine were in Lyon the other day. They were meant to be flying into Chambery but they went into land and pulled out twice. Got diverted to Lyon where they were stuck on plane for three hours before returning to Chambery. I think I might get a train back after that.

      So you found Kate hard?

  16. Hanni
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Not much of a challenge but I got bit more pleasure out of it than some. I hadn’t heard of the actress in 1d but bunged it in and Googled it later. Had heard of the pianist. Also thought of ‘senorita’ but it just didn’t ‘fit’.

    Quite liked 13 and 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for an excellent blog. Hopefully you’ll get a good Toughie tomorrow.

    £38bn wiped off the FTSE, my reaction..go riding. And very enjoyable it was too.

    • Jane
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Did you see the Matt cartoon this morning? Under the heading of ‘markets crash’ the legend is – China suspended trading and the City of London cancelled Dry January.
      Thought that might appeal! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Hanni
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I hadn’t noticed that until you said. Yup…Matt got it spot on. I rarely drink midweek but I can see the appeal at the moment.

    • mre
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I find it very curious that nothing is ever wiped on to the FTSE…

  17. Young Salopian
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I struggled.a bit with this one early on, and having completed it, I have no idea why. I think perhaps I was trying to make it harder than it really was. Anyway, with 12 across as my favourite and 13 across as my last entry, I will somewhat reluctantly mark it 2.5*/3.

    Thanks to Mr R and Gazza for his review.

    As a postscript, I disagree with Gazza’s comments about the young possibly being put off cryptic crosswords because of names they have never heard of. The world of entertainment in most of its many and varied forms seems aimed specifically at the young, and those with the attention span of a goldfish. Let’s hear it for adult entertainment in an adult form.

    • Angel
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear to your “PS”.

    • Eeyore
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I think a balance has to be struck. I had never heard of the person in 4a (I’m over 50 with what I like to think of as a reasonable general knowledge) and I think the setter recognised that most solvers would be in the same boat. ‘pianist Dame Myra’ is so specific as a part clue that you either know it straight away or just ignore that part completely. Not a good clue.

      I have less of an issue with 1d but I do think another marginal historic celebrity was one too many for this crossword.

      I actually enjoyed the rest of it and particularly enjoyed 17d even if it is an old chestnut for many. 2*/3* overall.

  18. Jaylegs
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Now I on the other hand found this a lot trickier than yesterday http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gifthough not as agreeable ***/** Did not like 21d, liked 3d, 15d & 22a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Thanks to Gazza and to the 27a

  19. Robin Newman
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I have a feeling that this will not be a very clever question, but relating to 4D, I cannot see how “chess ” is the answer to the definition “musical”.

    Seems to me that if solvers want a challenge they can always wrestle with the toughie

    • Hanni
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Chess the musical.


      Written by former Abba members! MP’s secret favourite band.

      N.B it’s my sisters favourite musical..simply on the basis that she has been able to kick my backside at the game since she was 6.

      • Robin Newman
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks !

        I did try Wikipedia, but missed the line in the disambiguation

  20. Beaver
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Apart for the brief dalliance with the senorita in 7d, not very taxing and a */** for me, liked 13a.Thanks to Gazza, thought we might encounter Miss Lamour in a sarong !-remember the road to Morocco.

  21. Framboise
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward solve today although it took me three goes to get 18a – feta and edam went in first! Quite liked 1d. My favourite was 13a. I too had to google Dame Myra as I had never heard of 4d as a musical. Hopefully it will logged in the grey cells as it might come in handy in future. 1.5*/2.5*. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  22. Kath
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everyone else – not too tricky (just as well as the brain is full of other things) and of average enjoyment.
    I’m certainly not under forty but I’ve never heard of the 4d pianist and I’ve only come across the 1d actress in crosswords.
    If I’ve met this meaning of 14d before I’ve forgotten it.
    It took me too long to see why 1 and 19a are what they had to be.
    I liked 12a (but felt a bit sorry for the lost dog) and 15 and 18d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Having my usual January 5th trouble – being the shortest person in the family is all very well but the rest of them like decorating the Christmas tree but are never around to take it down – I can’t reach so now resemble a small green hedgehog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  23. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Pretty straightforward offering today with nothing to send Pegasus fleeing to the sky for safety. It’s a good puzzle to bolster confidence for people new to cryptic crosswords and I thought that quite a few of the clues were an enjoyable solve. No standout favourite today and, like others’ I did have to check the Dame Myra connection and I’m most definitely on the wrong side of 40 – physically that is, not mentally http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Thanks to Mr Ron for the puzzle and Gazza for the review.

  24. Bertie
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Last one in 13a. Guessed it then looked for explanation – still do not get the connection with ‘pantomime’. Do not like to look at ‘explanations’ before finishing puzzle as it does not give you satisfaction of having completed it yourself. Most can be completed if you just stick at them.

    • Hilary
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      But you have to have the will to carry on, like today I loose interest and cannot be bothered. Very rare but it does happen.

  25. silvanus
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    “Mechanical” was used earlier to describe this puzzle, and that adjective was spot on for me too. The one clue I did give a tick to was 15d.

    A little surprised that so many posters seemed not to have to hear of “pianist Dame Myra”, although perhaps as an alternative “Nazi Rudolf” would have been somewhat inappropriate! It was even more surprising that the answer in 4d was unknown to some too.

    Sad to relate, but I do think that, with reference to Gazza’s comment about younger solvers, cryptic crosswords are largely lost on the modern generation irrespective of topicality, and as we who love them naturally age and dwindle in number, they could end up becoming an eccentric curiosity rather than standard daily fare. I do hope I’m wrong, but I fear for their long-term popularity.

    Many thanks to Gazza and today’s setter.

    • Hanni
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I hope you’re wrong too. I sometimes teach my youngest child type thing how to solve certain clues (she’s 9), and she loves it when she gets an answer or twigs about how I solved one. She thinks they are clever.

      • silvanus
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        That’s lovely to hear Hanni. Keep up the good work!

        I first got interested in crosswords around the same age as your youngest (8 or 9) by tackling the picture puzzles (all clues were pictorial only) that used to appear in the old London Evening News, encouraged by my grandfather. I then graduated to verbal puzzles as I approached and entered my teens.

        My main worry is that today’s youth do not seem to have the patience to sit and tackle a puzzle and derive the immense satisfaction and enjoyment that it can provide when there is so much other “instant gratification” far more easily available via modern forms of media. Ironically, quizzing and answering trivia questions have probably never been so popular as they are today, but I do wonder if the majority of the young consider cryptic puzzles to be “something only old people do”?

        • Young Salopian
          Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          If these crosswords contained clues that referenced modern pop singers, so-called celebrities or tv chefs I would be well and truly incapable of answering them. Surely it is a horses for courses thing? Bear in mind that nearly six million people visited this site in 2015. Many of those would have clicked on to get the hints for clues, such as the pianist today, that they had never heard of. By reading the clues, perhaps looking at the answer, they would understand the wordplay. Isn’t that the point?

          • silvanus
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            I couldn’t agree more.

            My point is that topicality is probably irrelevant when it comes to attracting or discouraging young setters, as there are likely to be fewer and fewer of them in the future anyway owing to other ways of spending their time.

            • Hilary
              Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

              Also how many youngsters would read a newspaper with the easy availability of ‘news’ on phones, etc? I have not graduated to crosswords on anything but paper and am probably too old to change.

          • Paso Doble
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            We agree that it is ‘horses for courses’ but the point is that they hardly ever reference anyone vaguely modern that the majority of people (including my 95 mother) would have heard of, for example, Jamie Oliver, Kanye West, Oasis or Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Craig or Adele – however, she can’t remember Dame Myra Hess!!

    • Brian
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      They will only wither and die if we can’t convince setters to come at least in the 20th century (too much to hope for the 21st). So often it’s not only the references like Dame Myra (I had to Google her, never heard of her before and I’m 67) and Dorothy Lamour (only known to me because of the Road movies) but often the slang and the terms are archaic. This together with the obsession with religion will only serve to alienate younger solvers.

      • Michael
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        There’s too much catering to ‘yoof’ in this country – let us old fogies have something to our selves – I’m younger than you and knew of Dame Myra Hess and Dorothy Lamour (from the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope films) and the musical Chess – where does anyone get their General Knowledge from?

    • Kitty
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure, Silvanus.

      I think the types of people that were drawn to crosswords in the past still might be today – though you’re right that there are many more competing entertainments.

      Does anyone know of any stats?

  26. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    **/**. Pretty straightforward and no real hold ups. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review. Light snow this morning but rain more likely for the rest of the day.

  27. Merusa
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I failed miserably with this one. I was so far off wavelength as to be pathetic. I gave up after solving some of the RHS, but then I lost interest.
    Sad, because I knew both the actress and the pianist, but never heard of the musical.
    Dear setter, this is not to say you aren’t a good setter, just that I was a really bad solver today. I thank you anyway and also thanks to Gazza for the answers,

  28. Brian
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    For me a puzzle of two halves. The bottom was a R&W and the top was almost Toughie level, at least 4*. Was a real satisfaction to finish it.
    Strangely I rather enjoyed it despite my brain hurting at the end.
    Thx to all

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    One of us at least knew both 1d and 4d so no hold ups there and the rest all went together without too much fight. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  30. Florence
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    SE corner went straight in, but I lost the plot with the rest of this one, despite coming back to it a few times. I was absolutely frustrated with it. Thank you Gazza for the much needed review and to the setter for giving many of us such a challenge. Perhaps dry January is taking its toll. Why do they always seem much easier to solve with a glass of wine in the hand to mull things over ?

    • Kitty
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      I enjoy solving crosswords over a glass of wine but I usually tackle them over breakfast and don’t want anybody to be staging an intervention.

      • Florence
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        I need to practise bridge after breakfast so always have to leave the crossword until later.

  31. Kitty
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    A bit name-heavy for my liking.

    I didn’t know the pianist but that didn’t cause much of a hold-up. The actress (unknown or perhaps forgotten) caused more of a headache.

    It was a very bitty solve for me, fitting as it did around doing other things. I must have been a bit brain-dead today as I have to shame-facedly admit to needing help to finish, so not the happiest of endings. No matter.

    Enjoyment stars fell out of the sky as I slept – for more hours than the previous two nights combined! Bliss! The crossword was ok too.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  32. Salty Dog
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    1*/3* (I can’t bring myself to give less than 3* – I certainly couldn’t churn out viable crosswords as often as our regular setters do). Favourite clue – 15d. And thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  33. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Judging by many of the entries above, we found this harder than we should have. Like Young Salopian, even with hindsight we cannot see why. Favourite clue was 14d because its anagram indicator was so beautifully hidden in a nice surface reading.
    **/** for us, nice blog Gazza. I knew the actress but I’m giving no hints to my age!

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Btw, Mrs Sheffieldsy is a few years younger than me.

  34. mre
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Good evening everybody.

    A very straightforward puzzle that I managed to make slightly harder by initially putting in an incorrect solution at 27a and writing the solution to 24d at 21d…

    1d and, last one in, 13a were my favourites.


  35. Gwizz
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    By keeping the serious Manflu at bay I was able to complete this crossword with only the senorita causing a hiccup. Nothing new there then. Once I realised my error I thought this was a good clue which was strange for me as normally I’m not a great fan of clues that have names as the answer. 2/3 overall.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

  36. Tstrummer
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Straightforward enough, with only 13a giving much pause for thought. I needed all the checkers before I finally twigged and as a result it breasts the tape equally with 15d in this novice chase. I’m a bit baffled that otherwise experienced solvers struggled with 1d (all those films on telly back in the day – “Like the Encyclopaedia Britannica, I’m Morocco bound)) and 7d. Verona is such a famous city – Shakespear’s two dudes, location for Romo and Juliet (Juliet’s balcony is a major tourist attraction, but it was built in the 1930s). Plus the oldest Roman amphitheatre in the world and it’s still in use today for summer concerts, operas and pop gigs. Just bung IC into it. Oh well. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a concise but unneeded review. 1*/3*

  37. weekendwanda
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve reverted to being a morning after solver. Looked at it and drew a blank. Looked again and the answers wrote themselves in just like a scratch card. Dame Myra’s surname was in my head although I really know nothing about her. 1d – old actresses had glamorous names and just had to think hard. I do not object to these sort of clues. I think unused words are more difficult to justify unless made clear that it is not a current term. I liked 15 and 17d and don’t mind the words you build such as 26a but no real buzz for me unlike Monday’s