DT 28022

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28022

Hints and tips by Shropshirelad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

Good morning from deepest, darkest Shropshire (actually it’s quite bright) and a Very Happy 7th Birthday to the blog. Congratulations to BD for devising and maintaining this site for all budding cruciverbalists and establishing a forum for like-minded people to exchange views. From the amount of daily comments posted and hits on the site, I think it can be considered a success.

Today’s puzzle will please anagram solvers as there are plenty to choose from. I was hoping that there would be a few ‘Lego’ type clues as it is the 57th anniversary of the bricks being patented. Anyway, it is an enjoyable, if untaxing, puzzle nonetheless.

If you don’t want to see the answer – DON’T click on the ‘click here’ buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    One that’s organised stamp store? (10)
POSTMASTER: I would say that this is an &lit anagram (organised) of STAMP STORE.

6a    Check  flower feature (4)
STEM: Double definition.

9a    Period at work in loose dress (5)
SHIFT: Another double definition.

10a    Model sportsman with run seconds away (9)
BLUEPRINT: A sportsman at university with a verb meaning to run or dash minus the abbreviation for S(econds.

12a    Chef among retinue of rogue making Chinese speciality (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE: Take another 4 letter word for chef and place it (among) an anagram (rogue) of RETINUE OF.

14a    Huge damage found in a product of mine (8)
COLOSSAL: Take a 4 letter word meaning damage and surround it (found in a) a black fossil fuel.

15a    Cancel engineers, leading to ding-dong (6)
REPEAL: The usual 2 letter abbreviation of engineers and add (leading to) the sound made by bells (ding-dong)

17a    Posh artist taken with return of star and planet (6)
URANUS: The usual, often used letter for ‘posh’ and add the usual abbreviation for ‘artist’ and add the star that keeps us warm reversed (return). Hurrah, a ‘Lego’ clue.

19a    Collapse of the Spanish occupying mount, dejected (8)
MELTDOWN: Insert the Spanish word for ‘the’ in (occupying) the 2 letter abbreviation for mount and add a 4 letter word for feeling blue (dejected).

21a    Facing misfortune together  like eight during competition? (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT: I would say that this is a double definition, others might disagree.

24a    Bishop among pair in Rome by altar, say, and cross (9)
IRRITABLE: Two letter abbreviation for ‘bishop’ in (among) pair in Rome (the Roman numeral for 1 x 2) and alternative 5 letter word for an altar.

25a    Air awkward leading question for Baghdad citizen? (5)
IRAQI: An anagram (awkward) of AIR plus how question 1 would be seen abbreviated.

26a    Characters in revamped ‘Dynasty’ go round in circles (4)
EDDY: Our first lurker of the day.

27a    City’s teams with training done methodically (10)
SYSTEMATIC: An anagram (with training) of CITYS TEAMS.


1d    Press  being offensive (4)
PUSH: Another double definition.

2d    Capable runner, fellow in period of calm almost (7)
SKILFUL: A runner used by people travelling down mountain slopes and F(ellow) in a period of calm shortened (almost)

3d    Dean terms tutu out of order for particular kind of learner (6,7)
MATURE STUDENT: Another anagram (out of order) of DEAN TERMS TUTU.

4d    Underwater mariner, perhaps, not fully evolved (8)
SUBHUMAN: Miffypops suggested that this answer described me. I do hope he was talking about me being in the Submarine Service. Take an abbreviation of an underwater vessel and what we all are. Unless I’ve parsed this wrong, it’s not one of my favourite clues.

5d    Avoid overture, eschewing publicity (5)
ELUDE: An alternative 7 letter word for ‘overture’ minus (eschewing) a 2 letter abbreviation for ‘publicity’.

7d    Catch when touring river a few drops (7)
TRICKLE: A 6 letter word for a catch in your throat round (touring) (r)iver.

8d    Anthem lord composed in place of origin (10)
MOTHERLAND: An anagram (composed) of ANTHEM LORD.

11d    Cite no imports for review — as evidence of this? (13)
PROTECTIONISM: An anagram (for review) of CITE NO IMPORTS which is required to be read alongside the definition to make the answer (I think).

13d    Examine container carried aboard Sweden pleasure trip (10)
SCRUTINISE: Normal 3 letter word for container (not can or urn) in (carried aboard) the IVR code for Sweden and a holiday afloat. Well, I would hope you stay afloat.

16d    Forceful old soldier defending macho types (8)
VEHEMENT: Abbreviation for an old soldier (more often used in the USA) surrounding (defending) macho types.

18d    Turned out I should get into a dry wine (7)
ATTIRED: The letter ‘I’ from the clue, in (should get into) ‘A’ from the clue plus an abbreviation for a non-drinker (dry) and a colour of wine.

20d    Like a newspaper’s evening edition  weather? (7)
OUTLAST: Another double definition.

22d    French priest overlooking yard in devotional site (5)
ABBEY: A French word for priest (without the acute) and add (overlooking, in a down clue) the abbreviation of ‘yard’.

23d    Element of jazz in club (4)
ZINC: Our last lurker.

As I said in my prologue, there are quite a few anagrams and it’s only when I’ve come to write the review that I’ve noticed how many. So there will no doubt be a few moans. I do hope you’re not put off.

My favourite is between 18d and 21a for the obvious reasons to those who know me. I am now out for the day to purchase a new keyboard as this one has problems with the letter ‘w’ which has held me up no end. I can’t believe ho many ords have the letter ” in them.

Please let us know how you got on and feel free to leave a comment on today’s puzzle.

The Quick Crossword pun: keeper+Brest=keep abreast


  1. Bluebird
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, I’m out of kilter again. It proved a hard one for me, mainly due to the NE and a bit of the SE (20d) and 11d which I’d never heard of.
    General incompetence then.
    Or not enough sleep.
    I sometimes play patience on the iPad and I foolishly succumbed to another sort of game it was pushing, which proved addictive in the manner of Rubik’s cube. Suddenly 3 hours had disappeared…………

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    5*/2.5*. Definitely a wrong envelope day. I eventually finished this with a lot of persistence but it was more with a sense of relief than enjoyment.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and to Shropshirelad. A very Happy Birthday to this wonderful site, and heartfelt thanks to BD and all his team of bloggers.

  3. dutch
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Many thanks SL for a great blog

    Yes 4d wasn’t my favourite either. My last one in (well it was at the bottom of the puzzle) was 26a (characters in revamped dynasty) – very clever. I liked “cross” keeping to the religious theme in 24a. The long anagrams were nice, and starting with an all-in-one anagram for 1a is impressive. I counted 5 full + 2 partial anagrams which I think is OK. I hadn’t realised until reading the review how many double definitions there were! Some had a cryptic element, so no complaints.

    many thanks setter and well done Shropshirelad – I wasn’t sure how catch could mean what it had to for 7d, so thank you for explaining that

    • Gazza
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Well done, SL and thanks to Mr Ron.
      I took tickle to mean catch in the sense of to catch a fish, i.e. tickle a trout.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Hi Gazza, I think your suggestion is probably the correct parse. I can’t change any clues, but you’re welcome to change it on my behalf :yes:

        • Jane
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          I thought about tickling trout as well but wondered whether that has more to do with attempting to catch said fish rather than the landing of same.

          • Angel
            Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

            Jane, I was definitely with you about tickling trout rather than a catch in the throat but had the same reservation re catch/land.

        • Gazza
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          I think that you should leave it as it is for the time being to see if anyone comes up with any other suggestions.

          • Jose
            Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            For me, it was 100% tickle as in tickling (or catching) a fish – it does maintain the “theme” of the clue because of the river reference. I doubt if a catch in the throat was in the mind of the setter (it never occurred to me at the time) – it just doesn’t seem likely at all. But I could be wrong – who knows what thoughts lay in the dark corners of the setter’s mind.

          • Jose
            Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            G. I’ve been thinking more about this clue. The river abbrev. for R (another word beginning with R could easily have been chosen), catch (a fish) and the definition ‘a few drops’ all give a consistent ‘watery’ theme to the clue, leading to TICKLE (a trout) in the answer. I am aware of the expression ‘a catch in the throat’ but have virtually never heard it spoken or read it anywhere – surely this can’t be what the setter implied. There again, all the watery stuff might have been a dastardly red herring (pun intended)? Can’t we ask and find out – I hate untied loose-ends like this.

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I too thought of tickling trout but am happy with a tickle in the throat as well. What does the BRB have to say on the subject?

      • Vancouverbc
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        The first tickle that came to mind was as in cricket but that’s the way my mind works :smile: this was a tricky puzzle but perseverance paid off. Definitely into 4* territory but enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to the setter and SL for the review.

      • Michael
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes, tickling trout was what came into my mind – a tickle in the throat never occurred to me – but unless the original compiler drops in and puts us out of our misery I suppose either would do!

  4. pete
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed today, much easier than yesterdays puzzle for me. 20d stumped me for a while, but got there in the end.

  5. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Got to this before late afternoon for once. Thought we were in anagram city early on, which gave us a headstart. Proceeded at a brisk pace throughout. We’re 21a as Shropshirelad in terms of it being a benign puzzle, perhaps surprisingly so for a Thursday. Favourite was 18d.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Where are my manners? Thanks to SL for the blog and Mr Ron for the puzzle.

  6. Michael
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I did ok – I was left with 1d where I was tempted to put in ‘pest’ and 20d where it was a toss up between ‘outcast’ or ‘outlast’, l don’t understand what it’s got to do with ‘weather’?

    I keep losing my userid and email address from the iPad version of this blog any ideas?, I’ve got allow cookies on in settings – it’s been happening for a couple of days – since I tried to enter my details into the ‘subscribe to email subscriptions’ field, I wonder if that’s got anything to do with it? Oh, and whatever is supposed to happen when you subscribe to emails is not happening!


    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      We took weather as a verb, as in ‘weather the storm’

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        That’s how I read it :smile:

        • Sheffieldsy
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Got your keyboard replaced quickly, then?

    • Brian
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      If you manage to find out what is causing it, please let me know. It’s been driving me made since Christmas. It started when the blog had its problems and has never come back! BD any ideas?

      • Michael
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Oh, not just me then – I thought I was going nuts – I use an iPad and a laptop to access this site and the userid an email address have started to disappear from both versions. I’ve been racking my brains (for what they’re worth!) for anything that I’ve done and I’m at a complete loss. I can live with it but it is very frustrating!


        • Angel
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

          Me too for weeks now. :evil:

  7. Jane
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Glad to see that I’m not the only one who found this a little tricky in places, despite the number of anagrams.
    2* for enjoyment seems about right but I’d go for rather more than SL on the difficulty factor.
    Favourite was 21a. There were others that I liked but they missed out on podium places due to the surface reads.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and congrats to SL on an excellent blog.

  8. Miffypops
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    This was a very enjoyable puzzle which put up a bit of a fight but fell in the end as they usually do. I am uncertain as to whether there is any point in wishing a blog a happy birthday but I am sure that everybody involved in whatever way at all should feel very pleased with what we have here. Thanks to today’s setter whoever you are. Please make a swift return. Thanks to our subhuman reviewer who I am told does not receive the newspaper until 8.00am.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      But he has a friend who can email his iPad copy before then :whistle:

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes I remember. At silly o clock.

  9. JonP
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I found this fairly straightforward today, although I first looked at it at 4am i thought it may be tricky but when I got back indoors it all fell into place pretty quickly.

    Thanks to SL and setter **/***

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the trout tickling camp for 7D, and I’m another who didn’t much like 4D. In fact that was the only one I failed to solve. All in all, I thought this was a bit trickier than today’s toughie, but really not that bad. My runaway favorite is 11D, which I thought was splendid, but I also checked off 20D and 21A. Many thanks to the setter, and congrats on the blog to SL.

  11. pommers
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I was just about to tackle this one over the lunchtime sandwich but pommette has now decided she wants lunch in Bar Martin at the end of the village. It’s a tough life. I’ll take the puzzle with us though for solving over the coffee.

    As Miffypops said, there’s probably not much point in wishing happy birthday to a blog but, what the hell? Happy Birthday Blog :rose:

  12. Beaver
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    A **/*** for me today, and I assumed it was the ‘trout’ in 7d,knew someone who could do it once, but it’s now not PC and you have to go ‘on line’!.
    Straight forward enough with anagrams supplying the checking letters , liked 12a and 10a.
    Still having to enter the puzzle number in google to locate todays crossword, the big dave blog in my favourites seems frozen in time

  13. Brian
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    What a relief after yesterday’s very tough offering. No great problems, lots of nice anagrams, perhaps 24a and 28d were a little clumsy but did like 19a.
    For me */***
    Thx to all
    PS So nice to have a Thursday crossword!

    • Jane
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Actually, Brian, I seem to recollect that we get ‘cross words’ from you at least every other Thursday. :whistle:

  14. Ora Meringue
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Struggled with quite a few on this one. Found it harder than yesterday’s and needed the hints for several clues.

    Thanks to SL and the setter.

    Happy birthday to this wonderful blog!

  15. stanXYZ
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Where would we be without the wise and wonderful BD bloggers?

    Thanks to Shropshirelad for today’s review and to the unknown setter.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      When my “W” key doesn’t work I always use a double “UU”.


  16. Mary Mary
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    ***/** for me today as I struggled with NE corner and spent ages trying to make an anagram out of 12a ! Was just glad to complete puzzle, though only with help from the hints . Like anagrams but too many for bronchitic self today ! :cry:

  17. pommers
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    An OK puzzle I thought but a much better lunch, although I dread to think how many calories there were in the chocolate dessert. Somewhere around Avogadro’s number I would think.

    **/*** from me with 4d as least favourite.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to SL for the hints and for stepping into the breach during Kath’s absence.

  18. mre
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    Tricky in places. Biggest challenge today was arguably the copious smothering of jam bequeathed by a previous reader. Lovely.

    Favourites were 11d and, last in, 20d. Wasn’t sure about the derivation of 18d but explained perfectly above.


  19. Salty Dog
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    A bit anagram-heavy for my tastes, but nothing to take exception to:1*/3*. My favourite? Either 20d or 18d. Thanks to the setter, and to ShropshireLad.

  20. Merusa
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I certainly didn’t find this only 1* for difficulty, but I did get there in the end and really enjoyed it.
    Fave was 21a, but liked 24a a lot. Many good clues today.
    Thanks to setter, and well done Shropshirelad for the review. I did need your hint to explain 2d.
    Happy Birthday Blog, I am so glad I found you.

  21. Hilary
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to BD and the blog, it has certainly improved my solving skills as well as my social life. Delightful crossword with lots of lovely anagrams, no scribbling so I must be getting better. Thanks to setter and SL, rather liked 21a once the penny dropped. :bye:

  22. silvanus
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I must have been on the setter’s wavelength as I found this fairly straightforward.

    Half the clues seemed to involve anagrams or containers, so it had a slightly formulaic feel, although I enjoyed the solve.

    I share the reservations expressed about 4d, the favourites for me were 10a and 20d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to SL, and a very Happy 7th Birthday to the blog, I do hope BD isn’t feeling itchy!

    • Jane
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      BD feeling itchy? Is this something we all need to be made aware of? Should we resolve not to sit anywhere near him? :wacko:

      • silvanus
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Seven year itch?

        I’m sure if he does start scratching on Saturday that would have to be the reason :-)

        • Jane
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Ummm … I guess he must feel as though he’s ‘married’ to the blog sometimes!

          • Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            That’s certainly what Mrs BD thinks!

            • Jane
              Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

              Is your good lady going to be with us on Saturday? I’d love to meet/sympathise with her.

              • Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

                I’m afraid not – but she is coming with me to Macclesfield in March.

                • andy
                  Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

                  Looked into train times for Mcclesfield, a long trip from here . Not sure I can make it but who knows

  23. Hrothgar
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Very satisfying.
    Good mix of hard and relatively easy.
    Thought 20d sheer brilliance.
    Many thanks to the setter and Shropshirelad for the review.

  24. Jaylegs
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Now that is what I call aThursday puzzle, for me ****/*** :negative: Would never have finished without the blog, so thank you SL and the setter for making Thursday’s as they should be :good: Learnt a new word which I thought was the answer to 4d Submaran an under water drone, solar powered (which could be tricky) I presume SL knows all about these :whistle: Liked 18 & 20d. Congratulations to BD and his blog :yahoo:

  25. Robin Newman
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    enjoyed this one
    anagrams well constructed
    also liked 13D & 16D

  26. andy
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    28th, Saturday of course the official day. Sorted logistics, trained my lodger to walk Leia, yup it was that way around :) Cynthia and Cuth say ta to all. 18d gets my vote

    • Merusa
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      How is Leia doing?

      • andy
        Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Hi Merusa yes she is doing fine, a few moments every now and then but she doesn’t have the threat of being put down now over her head / mine thank your lord. The police and council are satisfied she is not dangerous just the way she was previously maltreated. I’m no dog whisperer but she has come on leaps and bounds and as long as we stay vigilant can take her into a pub / park with no problems. Crosses fingers

  27. Amy Field
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    As ever – my day would not be complete without your help and fun – so appreciated and huge thanks to all for such a great site – over these years Warmest birthday congratulations!!

  28. Clarky
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Everything from * to ***** rating in the blog. I’m in the middle, edging to *** as I see I made a silly error at 18d but finished – after various interludes for taxi duties – without need of the hints.
    I liked1a and 24a.
    Thanks to setter, Shropshirelad and to BD, on the 7th anniversary of the blog. It has taken me from rank beginner to almost nearly approaching basic competence in 3 years! An achievement.

  29. Una
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I found this testy enough, in particular 7d and 18d.My favourite is 19a, followed by 10a and 21a.
    Thanks to the setter and SL.
    Many happy returns to BD and all the bloggers who have collectively brought me , like Clarky above, from an absolute beginner to being able to almost complete the Toughie.
    Merci Beaucoup !

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      And that is what makes it all worthwhile. Thank you Una.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Although not being a regular reviewer, I think I can definitely say that any positive comment is very much appreciated by all reviewers. I, for one, do not profess to be an expert in solving crosswords – so I am very pleased that people have found my review helpful. We are all on a learning curve and that, I believe, makes the solving of a crossword so enjoyable – a tussle with a particular setter, being introduced to new ways to manipulate our language and the end result of seeing that the answers you have come up with are, in fact, correct :yes:

      Thank you all for your kind comments and I hope to see many of you on Saturday. :good:

  30. KiwiColin
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    20d gets my vote for favourite today because of its nicely disguised definition. I think the number of anagrams was within the usual limits but they did tend to be long ones and in strategic areas of the grid which makes them feel dominant. No complaints from me, I enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and SL.

  31. Gwizz
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable enough challenge for sure. A few too many anagrams for me but yeah, overall quite satisfying. 10a was my favourite and overall, 2/3* I think.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to SL for the review.
    Congratulations to BD for seven years!

  32. Kath
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Hello all – well done and thanks for standing in to SL and Happy Birthday to the blog. :yahoo:
    I thought this was really difficult – don’t know why but I just did.
    Spent ages trying to make 12a an ordinary anagram and didn’t think of the ‘cook’.
    I think my favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to SL and have fun to all of you who are going to London on Saturday.

    I’m learning to speak ‘New Zealandish’. You don’t put on the kettle you ‘plug in the jug’, what we call a cattle grid is a ‘cattle stop’, a dead end is a ‘no exit’ (at least I assume that’s what it means), and last of all and my favourite a no entry is ‘wrong way’! Off to Oz on Saturday and will probably be very busy being silly and giggling with a friend I haven’t seen for about thirty years so may not be around here much for a while.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath, my brother lives in Australia. his name is Neil. If you see him say hello from me.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        To steal Hanni’s usual comment……… there are no words

  33. Kitty
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Good evening to deepest darkest Shropshire and the Lad who dwells within. Also, to everyone else :) .

    I found this decidedly trickier than usual, but enjoyed it. A slow and steady solve with some nice easy ones to get things moving and then others that were not so easy but at least equally as nice. A lovely accompaniment to a late brunch – though not so late that it wasn’t long enough ago that I can’t remember many details.

    Reading through the clues now, I am drawn to 18d – mainly because I am at present attired in a dressing gown slurping a very palatable Malbec. Purr!

    Thanks to SL for the review, and for putting forward one explanation of the tickle. Thanks to Gazza for the other tickle. I like the comment for 4d.

    Thanks also to today’s mystery setter.

  34. Young Salopian
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, thanks to our setter and well done to SL for the review. I celebrated my own birthday yesterday while on a short visit to Tenerife and have had variable Internet connectivity. I would love to be able to come to the bash on Saturday but we are flying home that evening. I hope all who attend have a wonderful time. I thought this was at the easiest end of the spectrum but no less enjoyable. 2*/3* with 11 down probably my favourite.


  35. Paso Doble
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Congratulation to SL for a great blog and to the blog itself on it’s 7th Birthday. May we take this opportunity to thank everyone whose hard work contributes to making it such a great place to visit every day.
    We enjoyed this puzzle – a **/*** from us.

  36. Chris
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to this superb blog and thanks for all the help to BD and all the regular contributors and reviewers. You are all much appreciated.

  37. Florence
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Finished this earlier, but needed to dash off to a late night supermarket. Had to sign in to say Happy Birthday, and a massive thank you to BD and to all the terrific and dedicated reviewers, especially SL for today. Thank you also to the setter. My guess not RayT as I was able to complete it without help, and I still look forward to the day when I can finish a RayT on my own. Favourite today was 18d. Like others, I thought 7d referred to tickling a trout. Reminded me of a time years ago when we took the children trout fishing for the first time in the Vendee region of France. Lake was so well stocked the boys both caught a trout first cast. They wanted to go fishing again when they got back to England, and spent all day in the cold and rain and caught nothing. That’s fishing for you.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi Florence – I think you, and the rest of the ‘trout’ persuasion, are correct. The clue, with the nod to a waterway analogy (river), is probably what the setter suggested. In that the ‘catch’ indeed points towards the technique used by many a poacher. Well done Gazza – I should have ‘phoned a friend :good:

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        Not at that time in the morning>

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

          I tried, but no one answered :sad:

          • Miffypops
            Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

            I was out shooting kingfishers

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:21 am | Permalink

              I am so looking forward to Saturday – best regards to Saint Sharon :rose:

              • Miffypops
                Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:24 am | Permalink

                Saint Sharon will be there as will daughter Rosemary for a while.

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

                  Brilliant, looking forward to meeting you all – and that, as they say. Is that. I have no idea what that means :wacko:

  38. Hanni
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Late on parade.

    Happy birthday to the blog!

    Liked the puzzle. Had same thoughts re tickle trout. I think. It’s awhile since I solved it.

    Many thanks to the setter and to SL for a first-class blog. Nice one. :good:

  39. Angel
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Started this over breakfast prior to a depressing long day in Wolverhampton for a funeral but a joy to return tonight and finish off in a relaxed way over glass(es) of grape juice. So many great clues in spite of complete lack of any GK and overkill on anagrams,. Favs 21a, 11d, 16d and 20d. Thought 2d and 18d a bit contrived. :yes:

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      Greatest of comments.

  40. Heno
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, much more so than yesterday. Needed 5 hints to finish. Was 4*/3* for me.

  41. Tstrummer
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    After yesterday’s stroll in the park, I struggled a bit with this one, possibly because of poor clueing, probably because I’m tired and wasn’t in tune with the setter’s mind. I thought there were too many poor clues, most notably 4d and 7d (I’m in the catch in the throat camp) which detracted from the enjoyment factor – the more I look at 4d, the worse it gets. As an anagram fan, however, there was much to enjoy, especially 12a, despite the clumsy surface. 19a and 20d breasted the tape together in the Favourite Stakes. 3*/2*

    Happy Blog Birthday, thanks to SL, the setter and most of all, on this auspicious day, to BD for his time, generosity and all-round BDishness.

  42. Jose
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Very good. A tad more difficult than yesterday – 3*/3.5*

  43. David Kelly
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    5 down threw me. I put in evade. AD inside eve. Then I looked up the meaning of eschewing.

  44. Scatterbrain
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Hallo. Thank you so much. I love Big Dave.
    I made 20 Down Outcast – but then, I am Scatterbrain!

    • Posted February 2, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Scatterbrain

      You’re in good company here!