DT 28014

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28014

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

This was definitely a ‘read and write’ for me but it was enjoyable while it lasted. Do let us know how you fared and what you thought of it.

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 Vehicle insurance required to cross upper-class Canadian city (9)
VANCOUVER – a type of road vehicle and another word for insurance go round (to cross) the letter used to mean upper-class or posh.

6a Note no intro for stringed instrument (4)
HARP – drop the first letter (no intro) from a type of musical note.

10a Man on board losing head in the dark (5)
NIGHT – the board is a chess board and the man loses his first letter (head).

11a Homes were vandalised, at a place not specified (9)
SOMEWHERE – an anagram (vandalised) of HOMES WERE.

12a Changed them at one, shabby in appearance (4-5)
MOTH-EATEN – an anagram (changed) of THEM AT ONE.

14a Fool about to produce gunpowder ingredient (5)
NITRE – an informal word for a fool is followed by a preposition meaning about or concerning.

15a Soccer player in rear of bus with someone crying (7)
SWEEPER – bring together the last letter (rear) of the word bus and someone who’s crying.

16a Sovereign exercises right in capital, upon return (7)
EMPEROR – the abbreviation for physical exercises and R(ight) go inside the reversal of a European capital city.

18a Was left holding son (7)
EXISTED – a verb meaning left (the stage, for example) containing the abbreviation for son.

20a Boasted about any number installed (7)
CROWNED – a verb meaning boasted or bragged contains the letter used in mathematics to mean ‘any number’.

21a Rule: keep leader of government in check (5)
REIGN – insert the leading letter of government in a verb (or noun) meaning check or control.

23a Wisecracks made by individuals touring ship (3-6)
ONE-LINERS – individuals go round (touring) a passenger ship.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

25a Rude when drinking drop of vodka on the rocks (9)
INSOLVENT – an adjective meaning rude or impertinent contains the first letter (drop) of vodka.

26a Small figure in corner may be from fashionable collection (5)
INSET – charade of an adverb meaning fashionable or trendy and a collection or group.

28a Row in dead heat on river (4)
TIER – a dead heat or draw followed by R(iver).

29a One delivering goods, perhaps confused by an order (6,3)
ERRAND BOY – an anagram (confused) of BY AN ORDER.

Down Clues

1d There’s this malice in missive, no mistake (5)
VENOM – hidden word. The word ‘this’ in the clue seems to be redundant.

2d Silver’s following Tonto’s third horse (3)
NAG – Silver was of course the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse so the surface makes sense. The chemical symbol for silver comes after the third letter of Tonto.

3d In a difficult situation   there (2,3,4)
ON THE SPOT – double definition, the first meaning forced to make a difficult decision or answer a difficult question.

4d Tourist, Italian, wearing eyeshade (7)
VISITOR – the abbreviation for Italian vermouth is contained inside (wearing) an eyeshade.

5d Love affair beginning in remote country church (7)
ROMANCE – string together the beginning letter of remote, a Middle Eastern country and the abbreviation for the established church in England.

7d Row after vehicle on round brings contaminant (5,6)
AGENT ORANGE – this is the code name of the contaminating defoliant used extensively by US forces during the Vietnam war. A row or chain (of mountains, say) follows a vehicle or means and the round letter.

8d Page handed over is liked better (9)
PREFERRED – the abbreviation for page is followed by a verb meaning handed over or passed to someone else (for a decision, say).

9d See 22d

13d Newspaper article on grown-up children (3,3,5)
THE BIG ISSUE – this is a street newspaper sold by homeless people as a means of earning a legitimate income. String together a definite article, an adjective meaning grown-up and a legal term for children.

15d Flavour of small juicy fruit, perfect (9)
SPEARMINT – the abbreviation for small is followed by a juicy fruit and an adjective meaning perfect or in pristine condition.

17d Preparation for eyesight (9)
PROVISION – a preposition meaning for or ‘in favour of’ followed by another word for eyesight.

19d See cod? I see flounders (7)
DIOCESE – an anagram (flounders) of COD I SEE.

20d Cold and stern — welcoming to architect? (7)
CREATOR – the abbreviation for cold and a stern or backside contain (welcoming) TO.

22d/9d Sound of a bell heard by Welsh boy and English actress (4,4)
NELL GWYN – charade of a homophone (heard) for the sound of a bell (especially at a funeral) and a Welsh male forename.

24d Delay eating a Malaysian dish (5)
SATAY – a verb to delay or suspend legal proceedings contains (eating) A (from the clue).

27d Blubber may be extracted from whales, obviously (3)
SOB – our second and final lurker of the day.

The clues I liked best were 18a, 13d and 19d. Which one(s) have you awarded a star to?

Today’s Quickie Pun: HARE + STILE = HAIRSTYLE


  1. Young Salopian
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I completely agree with Gazza this morning. Nothing to scare our equine friends, but still an enjoyable and satisfying solve.

    1*/3* with thanks to our setter and Gazza for a fun blog.

  2. Spook
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Whoopee my second write in, many thanks to Gazza and setter. As a write in **\*** for me, am I at last getting the hang of this?
    Favourite clue must be 7d.
    I suppose tomorrow’s crossword will be a stinker so it will be back to head scratching.

    • Heno
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Well done for today. Tomorrow will be Jay, who can make you think, but not really top-end difficulty.

  3. dutch
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Many thanks Gazza – especially for the 23a and I think you’ve done very well finding the right illustration of the stringed instrument.

    Nice to see 1a get a mention, a lovely city where I spent 5 years as a young adult. I really like “drop of vodka on the rocks” (25a). Also 18a (was left holding son), and the newspaper article (13d), and preparation for eyesight (17d). I didn’t know the actress (22d), and had the wrong welsh boy in there (my son’s name is Owen!)

    many thanks setter

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I think Pommers was the first to find and use the naked harpist. I could be wrong.

    • Merusa
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The actress was King Charles’s mistress, not a current actress.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    2*/3*. Although I found three quarters of this enjoyable puzzle R&W, I struggled quite a bit with the SW but with hindsight I’m not sure why.

    I particularly liked 25a, 13d & 19d, and my favourite was 18a.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza.

  5. pete
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Fairly straight forward puzzle today except for 7d, never heard of it before. 25a and 20d were my favourites.

    • Stone Lee
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      You are probably one of our younger bloggers – anyone who lived through the Vietnam war years would remember it.

      • pete
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I wish I could use that as an excuse, but I was around then, I remember the Vietnam war but the name of the contaminant must have passed me by.

  6. Stone Lee
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    **/*** for me – but like RD, I am not sure why it took so long. Didn’t help that I was trying to find an actress with the surname Ewan! 25a favourite with 13d a close second. Thanks to Mr. Ron and Gazza for entertaining crossword and blog.

    • Angel
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Me too with the actress hence Geraldine McEwan came to mind!

  7. Beaver
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Has to be a */***, although the 7d contaminant came immediately to my mind, the cluing was difficult- have bet Mrs B that there’s one solution she won’t get !-we shall see. Apart from this straight forward and entertaining, knew we could rely on Gazza for the harpist’ reminds me of musical appreciation at grammar school- thought a picture of the Titanic would have been apt for 23a.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Very much a read and write for me too and would have taken even less hard work if I hadn’t put two F and one R in 8d.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review. I just love good bad jokes or is it bad good jokes. :wacko:

  9. Jane
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much R&W although I did need to verify my answer for 7d – a new one for me.
    Top spots go to 18a&13d.
    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Gazza for a brilliant blog – laughed out loud at you giving Hanni a second chance to spot the naked lady!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      7d was a new one for me too until it cropped up about a month ago. I just checked back and it was on Saturday 12th December in DT27983.
      Were you off duty that day? :unsure:

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Surely Jane has to have some time off RD, what with all them birds that need watching :whistle:

      • stanXYZ
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Jane was present … very late for the Saturday one … but very early for the Sunday one!


        I don’t think that Jane gets the week-end papers – trying to reduce the deforestation of the planet, perhaps?

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Blimey, doesn’t she sleep?

      • Jane
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Just to confirm – I don’t get the weekend papers, just pop in now and then to make sure you’re all behaving yourselves. :wink:

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Gasp! Does that mean you never get the opportunity to enjoy a Virgilius puzzle? It’s worth getting the Sunday Telegraph just for that if nothing else.

          • Jane
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            I’ve certainly been tempted, particularly when I read the rave reviews on here.
            By the way, RD – I’m sure you said months ago that you were hoping to get to the birthday bash – still up for it?

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

              Not just hoping but hopping too. :yahoo:

              • Kitty
                Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink


                (I do hope he likes his beer hoppy too.)

            • Kitty
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

              Jane, I’ll let you rest on Saturdays but I’m sending you a copy of Sunday’s from now on!

          • dutch
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            I’ve given up on the paper and subscribe to the DT puzzle website, which does include the weekend puzzles (though annoyingly doesn’t let you submit them for the competition).

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

              The DT is not as modern as Mrs BD. They still want you to send a hard copy with a beautifully crafted envelope. I find this quite nice.

              • Kitty
                Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

                I wonder if they accept submissions by telegram.

            • dutch
              Posted January 20, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

              The iPad version (subscription) allows electronic submissions – winner gets £50 (not the coveted telegraph pen). I won once, and found the notification by accident in my spam folder. Maybe I won more than once.

    • Hanni
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think she does get the weekend papers.

      She was good enough to give me a heads up about the naked harpist though. Oh and Jane…I’ve got an awful feeling I might not have noticed! Again. :wink:

      • Jane
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        You really are something else, Hanni! Are you perhaps quite used to seeing naked harpists in your neck of the woods?

        • Hanni
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          I’m not joking either, and I did look at the blog after I spoke to you.

          As for the naked harpists, yes all the time.

          Joking apart you do see some funny things on the moors. A car pulled up near the ski/sledge place, two men got out in lycra shorts and got ‘bits’ of bikes out of the boot. Nothing unusual there, OK yes it was freezing and a foot of snow, but you know bike ride in the snow etc. Except they weren’t bikes, they were unicycles. And off they went.

          The rest isn’t suitable for the blog.

          • Kitty
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            Wow. Just wow.

  10. Angel
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Short sharp fun but OK while it lasted. 15a was obvious but I had no idea what it had to do with soccer. I have used 14a instead of alcohol for years to make gravadlax but know it as something else. Readiness came to mind for 17d. Not sure whether 26a is necessarily in the corner. Thanks Mysteron and Gazza. ***/***. :neutral:

    • dutch
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      perhaps the “may be” in 26a means the setter doesn’t think it’s necessarily in the corner either. I’m a bit worried about your gravadlax.

      • Jane
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Me too!

      • Angel
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s a recipe given to me by a Norwegian friend YEARS ago long before gravadlax was known about here. In fact I don’t think one can buy saltpetre any more so whisky/gin/vodka will have to do! In fact, it’s a while since I made it – lazily – as it’s now readily available to buy but certainly not as good, usually rather slimey!

        • Una
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I just use coarse salt, sugar and dill.

  11. Paso Doble
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    We agree with Gazza that it’s a */***. We were rather disappointed when we saw that everyone else had found it relatively easy as we had hoped that we were getting cleverer! Thanks to Gazza and Mr Ron.

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      Don’t be disappointed, this was beyond me today.
      A few weeks ago I struggled to get 3 answers, now I tend to do about half before getting stuck. I look at this as progress rather than failure!!

  12. Gwizz
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    A very gentle examination of the grey cells today. Virtually a R&W and only putting EWAN in held things up for a while. 1/3* overall and 25a was bestest.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for his review and joke…. and picture…. :whistle:

  13. jg
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    How many times must I see ‘see’ before i think first of a bishopric

  14. Expat Chris
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was R&W too…until I checked the review and found I was wrong on 22/9D. Well, for all I know there could be an English actress called Nell Owen! Favorites are 1A, 2D and 17D. but I think 2D gets my top spot. Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

    • ezfer
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Ha! I also thought there must be an actress Nell Owen. When Google didn’t reveal anything about her though, inspiration struck re. the real actress (think I usually spell surname with an extra n & e which didn’t help). Also with you on 1A & 2D favourites. Very satisfying solve – easy enough to get answers with some wonderful surfaces. Many thanks to setter & blog.

      • Kitty
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        I too guessed at Owen for 9d then Googled and noticed the answer. I then spent some time Wikipedia surfing and brushing up on some history. Of course, the very next thing I saw on TV was Gemma Arterton plugging her new West End play!

  15. Heno
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but was pretty much a read and write. Favourite was 23a. Last in was 15d. Was 1*/3* for me. Lovely clear sunny day in Central London.

  16. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m also in the R&W camp with the exception of being held up slightly in the SW corner as I couldn’t get ‘edge’ out of my head as the last word in 3d. An enjoyable puzzle nonetheless with 18a across as my favourite. I thought Gazza was quite reserved on the picture choices eligible for the 22/9d combination.

    Thanks to our Tuesday Mr Ron for the puzzle and Gazza for his inimitable review.

    The toughie from Warbler is well worth a go if you haven’t already tried it :yes:

    • Jane
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      I’ll second that, SL. Warbler puzzles always leave me believing that I actually can do Toughies!

  17. Jaylegs
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree a nice straightforward and enjoyable crossword */*** :yahoo: Thanks to Gazza for an enjoyable blog excellently illustrated and to Mr Ron. Plenty of na gar ams Liked 19a & 25a

  18. pommers
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everyone else’s rating. Possibly the easiest DT cryptic ever but quite fun. Some nice surfaces and I agree with Gazza’s favs but also liked 27d. */*** from me too.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

    P.S. Nice to see the harpist again, I’d forgotten about her.

  19. Michael
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Well it was all about 7d for me – I got the answer easily enough but could not understand the wordplay – I sought assistance and I think I understand it now but from my point of view I found it a poor clue – ‘vehicle’ – ‘agent’ umm, ’round’ – ‘o’ fair enough, but ‘row’ – ‘range’ umm again!

    I emphasise it’s only my opinion but let’s just say it’s not one of the compilers best clues!

    Apart from that I enjoyed it – a lot!


  20. Hanni
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Gazza’s ratings.

    R&W but a very nice one. Thought 15 and 25a were very enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a great blog. Loved the joke, and this time I did spot the naked harpist. Cause I completely missed her last time.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Shouldn’t you be stressing over some spreadsheets instead of being here? Tut, tut :wink:

      • Hanni
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Me, stress about spreadsheets..never! :wink: The child type things ongoing plans for N. Korea worry me enormously. There is now a campaign map with detailed invasion tactics pinned to the side of the island in my kitchen. She’s even mapped out no fly zones. What the….

  21. Peta
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    We struggled today. Plain biscuits will be our only reward.

  22. Amy Field
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again – so lovely to share in all your expertise – again a good mix of clues and fun to work through Greatly appreciate this site Thanks again

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Everyone always learns something new on this site, that’s why it’s brilliant IMHO :yes:

  23. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    */***. First one in was 1a. What a surprise! The rest fell into place until I just wrote in shearer for 15a and it took a little time to see the error of my ways. Thanks t the setter and Gazza for the review.

  24. Maeve
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    **/*** for me. Just one little niggle which has occurred before (possibly by the same setter) and that’s with 6a. As a qualified musician I do not consider ‘sharp’ to be a note. ‘A sharp’ certainly, but sharp and flats are known as ‘accidentals’. Having got that off my chest, I just loved the picture!
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for parsing 7d for me.

    • pommers
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Pommette said the same about the note – she’s a viola player.

      • Maeve
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. I wonder if the setter or Gazza would like to comment?

        • Ora Meringue
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          I did not get 6a either until I read the hints.
          My thoughts were Lute as in Flute without the F.

          Probably just being dim.

          • Paso Doble
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            We were taught at school that there were only seven notes but I argued the fact that sharps and flats must make other notes making that into fourteen notes,
            I was obviously wrong about this even according to Mr Fryer, our music teacher. But when you put a guitar chord (such as A flat minor 7th diminished) together, how many notes are there?

            • stanXYZ
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

              Is this a musical clue?

              ♫♫ ♪ ♫♫ ♪

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

              Paso Doble, I’ll try but probably fail to explain simply.
              The scale of C major consists of 8 notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C where the final C is an octave (8 notes) higher than the lower C. The interval between the notes differs. C to D, D to E, F to G, G to A, and A to B are one tone apart, but E to F and B to C are only a semi-tone apart. Accidentals as mentioned by Maeve are sharps and flats which move a note up (sharp – symbol #) or down (flat – symbol b) a semi-tone. The most common western music system is based on notes being at semi-tone intervals, so if you look at a piano the white keys are the notes in the C major scale and the black keys are the flats/sharps which sit between the notes which are a full tone apart:
              White C…….D…….E F…….G…….A…….B C
              A major chord consists of the 1st, 3rd & 5th notes of the scale:
              i.e. C Major = C E G
              A minor chord replaces the 3rd note with the 3rd flattened:
              i.e. C Minor = C Eb G
              Guitar chords can consist of anything between 2 notes (an example being the infamous “power chords”) and 6 notes although in the latter case at least one of the notes is likely to be the same as another note but played one or two octaves higher.
              Here endeth the lesson.

              • Paso Doble
                Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

                Thanks very much RD…I understand that perfectly.

  25. Snape
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m still not at the stage where anything is read and write, although it did start off like that in the top left – and an easy 1a is always a pleasant welcome. Nice and enjoyable, and my favourites were 25a and 19d.

  26. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    A nice quick solve. */**. No standout clue for us and nothing to moan about either. Good stuff, and not surprised to see Vancouverbc’s reference to 1a – would have been bad not to spot that!

    Thanks to Gazza and the setter

  27. Brian
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Found this decidedly tricky in places. 26a held me up for ages as I could not see the relevance of the picture in the corner and still think it is obscure. Where is the vehicle in Agent Orange, not sure it is best described as a contaminant, that implies its something that is added incidentally and Agent Orange as a defoliant was certainly not used incidentally.
    For me OK but nothing special.

    • dutch
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      yes I also thought the contaminant bit was slightly weird – my understanding is agent orange had a very toxic contaminant, which to me doesn’t mean it is a contaminant itself. I also agree with the corner – it works, i think (see comment 10), but I think it would also work without reference to corner.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        BRB – Inset ‘a small map or figure inserted in a spare corner of another’

        Make of that what you will – clear as mud

      • pommers
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        I think it could get contaminated with “dioxin” which is actually 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and it is very nasty stuff indeed.

    • Una
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      I thought the same about 7d, a defoliant , not a contaminant as such.

  28. mre
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    Found this very straightforward and not much above one star time which is set to be virtually unachievable. Not being at the leading edge of popular culture I thought I might struggle with the actress but it was not to be. Favourite clue 25a.


  29. Merusa
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree, pretty easy-peasy today.
    Fave was 27d, with 22/9d strong runner up.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the hints, always entertaining.

  30. Una
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    A little bit too straightforward.I agree with Merusa, in that 22/9d is a good clue as well as 13d and 20a also.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    We raced through most of the top half and then slowed down a little in lower half. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • Barry Carr
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Hi from New Zealand, I was a fairly recent visitor to the DT cryptic and used to rely on Big Daves hints to help me through, I was improving quite well but still found it a stretch without training wheels on. Our local metro has decided, [without warning] to discontinue with publishing the DT puzzle, a damn nuisance I might add. So, as one of the contributors to Big Daves blog are the 2 Kiwis, I was wondering if it’d be possible for you to make contact with them and get them to E/M me with a view to picking up where we got dumped off?. I have an idea in N.Z. we were running about 1 month behind and I was able to track the puzzles by adhering to the numerical sequence No’s of each particular puzzle, [with the exception of the chrissie period where the UK puzzles became a bit mixed up as your yuletide versions evidently would’ve made little sense to us down under], all gone now sadly, I have no idea where we are in the cycle.
      So with cap in hand?? please if you could.
      Kind regards, Barry Carr.

      • Gazza
        Posted January 20, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog, Barry. When the 2Kiwis wake up I’m sure they’ll see your comment and reply to it.

  32. Hrothgar
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I often fantasize about a naked harpist.
    Or drummer.
    Enjoyable solve,
    Especially liked 15d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  33. Steve in St A
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Easy when you know how. I remember my years doing lunchtime DT crosswords with work colleagues in the days when we could take an hour for lunch. I wasn’t very good then but gradually I picked up the meanings and could eventually “read a clue” more often than not (didn’t mean I could get it). We sometimes forget the joy of getting a few clues right to start with and then eventually gping on to complete a cryptic crossword (sometimes days later). I really appreciate that the DT still provides doable crosswords so that others can enjoy the same path that so many of us have been down. Thanks Gazza for your helpful hints. You are in my view providing a public service!!!

  34. Salty Dog
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Rather a gimme, but not without its joys: 1*/3*. I liked the 22/9d combo. Thanks to Mr Ron, to Gazza for the review, and to my fellow contributors for their part in making the latter so entertaining.

  35. AnntheArt
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    As a newbie to serious cryptic solving and a new commenter on this wonderful blog, I was for once quite relaxed to see that most thought this one straightforward…because so did I! Glory be! Only one hint needed for 20d. But must admit to getting some help from My other half. Thanks all for making it all so much more fun now and less of a struggle.

    • Jane
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the gang, Ann – glad you’re enjoying it so far.
      Please keep on commenting, we’re a friendly bunch!

      • AnntheArt
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jane. It was quite a relief to no longer be lurking!

  36. Kitty
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    It’s all been said. My finish time was quite a bit later than my start time, but that was almost all down to a wiki-surfing interlude. Otherwise, all nice and smooth with just a slight hold up when I made a typo in the SE. I have been known to make typos.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  37. Tstrummer
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    R&W, with some clues oerhaps too easy (21 &28a, for instance), but also some good ‘uns in there (22/9, 25a). Favourite has to be 18a. Thanks to Gazza for a fun review and to the mystery setter. 1*/3*

  38. Cornishpasty
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    My brick wall today was 8d, just could not get it without the hint, other than that satisfyingly easy with a few that took longer than others.

  39. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Having a new kitchen fitted, so in chaos and did not get round to looking at it until the following morning.
    Oddly, I found this MUCH harder than say, last Saturday’s prize one which I finished ok.
    Still, I’m a novice, so I suppose I can look at getting about a third done as progress.
    Many thanks for all the much needed hints to Gazza and, of course, the setter

  40. almo
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “7d Row after vehicle on round brings contaminant (5,6)
    AGENT ORANGE – this is the code name of the contaminating defoliant used extensively by US forces during the Vietnam war. A row or chain (of mountains, say) follows a vehicle or means and the round letter”

    Is agent really a synonym for vehicle ??

    • Gazza
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      An example given in the Oxford Thesaurus of English is ‘a cleansing agent’ with the synonyms given for agent being: medium, means, instrument, vehicle, power, force.