DT 28046

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28046

Hints and tips by Shropshirelad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **/***

Good Morning from a clear and frosty Shropshire, brrr. Today’s puzzle is definitely not by Ray T as he is in ‘Toughie’ mode and this contains none of his trademark clueing. The experienced solvers amongst you will have little trouble completing this but it’s a good puzzle for the new solvers to ‘cut their teeth’ on. Tip of the day – start with the ‘down’ clues.

If you can’t get the answer from the hints, click on ‘click here’ to see the solution. Definitions are underlined.

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    Artist’s medium in van, say (7)
VEHICLE: A general term for a van or car gives us a term used by ‘luvvies’ along with ‘genre’. I’m not sure if this should be a double definition.

5a    Ministry in charge expressed hesitation a bit (7)
MODICUM: Our defence department abbreviated with ‘in charge’ abbreviated and a term used in crosswordland for ‘hesitation’ (and it’s nor ‘er’)

9a    Pursue hospital in legal matter (5)
CHASE: The one letter abbreviation for hospital inserted (in) within a legal matter taken up by a solicitor.

10a    Powerful guy amongst assembled number around Republican (9)
STRONGMAN: An anagram (assembled) of AMONGST with the abbreviation for number, all around the letter ‘r’ (Republican).

11a    Reach inlet abroad without suspicion (2,3,5)
IN THE CLEAR: Anagram (abroad) of REACH INLET.

12a    Interpret for audience quiz answer (4)
PASS: What is supposed to sound like (for audience) a verb meaning to interpret [does it work for you? It doesn’t for me. BD] is actually a term used in ‘Mastermind’ when you don’t know the answer.

14a    Dog with German entering alone in amazing fashion (12)
STAGGERINGLY: A type of dog (not the four-legged variety) that a soldier would wear and the 3 letter abbreviation for ‘Germany’ inserted in (entering) a term for doing something on your own.

18a    Adjustable scale over cover in financial summary (7,5)
BALANCE SHEET: As it says on the tin – a type of adjustable scale followed by (over) a type of cover you put on your bed. I’m confused by the term ‘over’ being used on an ‘across’ clue.

21a    Tense thoroughfare in Paris? That’s constant (4)
TRUE: Single abbreviation of tense with what a street in France is called.

22a    A result of being dubbed? (10)
KNIGHTHOOD: What you get when being attacked by a member of royalty using a sword.

25a    Slips etc in foreign articles on Spain amid conflict (9)
UNDERWEAR: Proper Lego clue. Two foreign articles, one French, the other German + the IVR code for Spain inside (amid) a conflict.

26a    Better  barbecue? (5)
OUTDO: When split as (3,2) this is a kind of ‘tongue in cheek’ definition of a barbecue.

27a    Gold found in river stream (7)
TORRENT: Popular crosswordland abbreviation for gold, inserted (found in) in a river.

28a    Have too much of board? (7)
OVEREAT: The board in this clue refers to food i.e. ‘bed & board’


1d    Two short men, one suffering a crime? (6)
VICTIM: The names of two men, shortened. I’m not a fan of this type of clue.

2d    Toast  in sound condition (6)
HEALTH: Double definition (I think) although the latter reads like it should end with a ‘y’

3d    In church, unexpectedly let in men bringing fruit (10)
CLEMENTINE: Two letter abbreviation of church surrounding an anagram of LET IN MEN.

4d    Parade a selfie? It’s restricting support for artist (5)
EASEL: A lurker.

5d    Thin figure entering boggy area in African city (9)
MARRAKESH: Four letter description of a thin person inserted (entering) in a boggy area.

6d    Unpleasantly damp part of old Ankara (4)
DANK: Another lurker.

7d    A PC in mag rebooted for operations (8)
CAMPAIGN: An anagram (rebooted) of A PC IN MAG.

8d    Object to view around yard in contemplation (5,3)
MIND’S EYE: A term meaning ‘object to’ with ‘see’ (view) containing (around) the abbreviation for ‘yard’.

13d    Note place for eggs by river — and singular soup (10)
MINESTRONE: Yet another Lego clue. A note (from the soh – fah scale) plus ‘a place for eggs’ plus (by) the abbreviation for river plus (and) the three letter word for ‘singular. Phew!

15d    Feature on course before strike in protected area (5,4)
GREEN BELT: The feature here can be found on a golf course and a four letter word for ‘strike’. I had my hands (and wrists) warmed up many a time at school by that type of strike.

16d    Get in way of old boy with lorry largely occupying street (8)
OBSTRUCT: Crosswordland’s usual abbreviation for ‘old boy’ plus (with) a word for a lorry with the end letter removed (largely) inside (occupying) the two letter abbreviation for ‘street’.

17d    Fish left in sink (8)
FLOUNDER: Abbreviation for ‘left’ in a term used to describe how a ship might sink.

19d    Calm soprano with glasses and tenor haggle after vacation (6)
SOOTHE: The abbreviation for ‘soprano’ and the same two letters that would look like spectacles and the abbreviation for ‘tenor’ followed by ‘haggle’ after vacation (emptying).

20d    Skilful medic probing a round object (6)
ADROIT: An abbreviation for a doctor (medic) inside (probing) ‘a’ from the clue and ‘o’ (round) and a term to describe an object.

23d    Uniform, perhaps, put on old film star (5)
GARBO: A term relating to clothing with (put on) ‘o’ (old).

24d    Rupees given in payment — or no charge (4)
FREE: The abbreviation for ‘rupees’ inserted in a type of payment for work done. Unless I’m missing something, ‘or’ from the clue seems to have no function.

I think this puzzle will prove to be a bit of a ‘curate’s egg’ for a few commenters. I enjoyed completing it with 19d is my favourite of the day. What clue(s) ‘floated your boat’?

The Quick Crossword pun: filly+Pinot=Filipino


  1. MalcolmR
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I agree with your comment on 12a. It doesn’t work for Northerners! It was the last one in for me.

    • rod
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      It doesn’t work for the Irish either. Thanks for the hints and your comment on 12a SL

    • Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure that it works for anyone. Chambers gives the pronunciation of pass as “päs” and parse as “pärz” or “pärs”. The ODE gives “pɑ:s” and “pɑ:z” respectively.

      • Kitty
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        It works for me, but I’m no authority on how to speak proper :unsure: .

        • Killer Watts
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          Like what we Londoners does, and no mistake guv’nor. Straight up.

          • Arthur Ennimore-Empties
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Stand on me!

      • Jose
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        BD and Shropshirelad, 12a. This clue works fine for me. If you pronounce “pass” with an exaggerated posh/plummy southern English accent with a “long a” (rather like the Queen speaks, but even posher), it sounds almost identical to how most people pronounce the word “parse” (to interpret). It’s a pronunciation that (still) exists narrowly in real life, but probably won’t be described in any dictionary. That’s where the “audience” bit of the clue comes from. And on Mastermind, “pass” does mean you don’t know the answer but it is a response to a direct question and therefore “pass” is indeed a “quiz answer” (the clue definition). I’ve only used the word pass because you already have, so I assume it’s OK.

        • Physicist
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          I’m southern English, and I do use the long ‘a’, but my ‘pass’ still sounds different from ‘parse’ because it ends ‘ss’ rather than ‘z’.

          • Weekendwanda
            Posted February 26, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            Does anyone remember the 2 Ronnies Mastermind Sketch? I think the only one that one of the Ronnies got right was one where the answer was “Pass”

    • snape
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Being from North Yorkshire, and having only about four vowel sounds, most homophones work for me, but I found 12a completely unfathomable, and I needed the hint. I then found I’d got 2d wrong, having bunged in ‘hearty’ with a shrug (it doesn’t really work, but then I didn’t think the answer did either). Other than that, the answers seemed to fly in, relative to normal.
      Thanks to SL and the setter.

    • Una
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t make head nor tail of the clue , even though the answer fitted.

      • Heno
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Works for me as a Cockney.

        • Michael
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          I’m a cockney now living in East Herts and it didn’t work for me – I have difficulty using the word ‘parse’ and have to surround it with parenthesis – far too ‘poncey’ for me!


          • Jose
            Posted February 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            I think there’s a regional dialect thing going off here. In this neck of the woods, we pronounce parse as it is spelled (presumably, the setter does also) not as “parze”. And that way the clue works fine.

  2. Brian
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Not too tricky and quite enjoyable but couple of clues I am not sure about. Surely 19d should be vacating rather than vacation if it is meant to be taken as an instruction to empty a word and can’t say I like barbecue as an indicator of an outdoors event. Bit uncomfortable with the artist reference in 1a as well.
    On the other hand I really liked 22a and 5d.
    Thx to all.

    • Weekendwanda
      Posted February 26, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I agree with you Brian. I could not get 26a or 19d and did not have a “doh” moment when I looked them up

  3. Kitty
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I very much liked this and would add extra stars for both difficulty and enjoyment. (Having said that, the first time I encountered the glasses which featured in 19d they annoyed me no end.) I had to check that the synonym in 14a was kosher (I thought the army tag would need a “type of” at the start of the clue), but it’s in the thesaurus as a verb.

    I don’t have any raging favourites but I liked the penny-drop at 26a; after yesterday the surface of that one reminded me of Betty Botter and her bitter butter. Which reminds me, I meant to share my favourite tongue-twister:

    I’m not the pheasant plucker,
    I’m the pheasant plucker’s son,
    And I’ll be plucking pheasants
    Till the pheasant plucker comes.

    With thanks to the setter – I’m not making any guesses on that front today – and many thanks to SL for a fine review.

    • Jose
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Kitty, your little poem – Language, Timothy! (Potentially)… :rose:

      • Kitty
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Shut up, father! ;)

        • Arthur Ennimore-Empties
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Nice one Kitty.
          Although the limerick must vary in different parts of the country.
          I thought it read
          I’m not a pheasant plucker,
          I’m a pheasant plucker’s mate.
          I’m only plucking pheasants
          ‘Cos the pheasant plucker’s late.

        • Jose
          Posted February 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          Kitty, do forgive me – I didn’t mean to send you that rose emoji, it should have been one of these :-) Don’t want to get a reputation as some sort of an aging (well, middle-aged) Lothario!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Six fûts, six caisses : la main entre les caisses, le doigt dans le trou du fût.

      • Hanni
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Jean-luc!!! :whistle:

      • Kitty
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink


        • Jane
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          Don’t worry, Kitty – I haven’t got a clue either! :unsure:

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Just as your little poem:
          Caisses becomes Fesses and Fût becomes Cul.

          • Kitty
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            Well that’s a bit rude.

            • Angel
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

              Indeed – une contrepèterie possibly below Dr. Spooner’s standard! :oops:

    • Michael
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m not pheasant plucker
      I’m a pheasant plucker’s son
      And I’m busy plucking pheasants
      ’til the pheasant plucking done

      Scans much better!


      • Kitty
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        … but in that one the pheasant plucker never comes.

        • Michael
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

          ….yes but it rhymes!


          • Kitty
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

            Careful … people might pop up to tell us that it doesn’t!

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with everything SL has said with one notable exception. My rating is 1*/2.5*. Most of this was read & write although I was slightly held up with my last two in: 26a (my favourite) and 19d (which IMHO is simply awful – you might just as well sling together single letter abbreviations of each letter in the answer).

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to SL.

    • Angel
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear RD re 19d – dreadful!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The clue and answer for 19d reminded me of the ‘Statler & Waldorf’ sketch in The Muppet Show – but in reverse.


      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :cool:

  5. Kitty
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Looks like it’s just me having a slow day then :unsure: .

  6. Angel
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    No sweat today but a pleasant enough work-out without throwing up any Favs. Thank you Mysteron and SL. **/***. :neutral:

  7. Gwizz
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Although 12a was my last entry I didn’t have any problems with the answer; it seemed quite reasonable to me. My favourite was 14d really because the ‘bits’ required weren’t the usual suspects. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Not Ray T and to SL for the review.

  8. Miffypops
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Come on Yorkshire Rows. Less than five miles to row. The end is in sight. Come on

    • Hanni
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Land ahoy for the girls! Come on girls.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      They have reached the shore. Well done Yorkshire Rows.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Not ashamed to say I shed a tear. Get in girls. What an achievement.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Major achievement or what! Well done. :good:

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Not that it has been announced on the pathetic Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge website. All the teams have put the effort in. Why haven’t Talisker

      • Hanni
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        The website really wasn’t the best for supporting them at all SL. Still…just amazed at what they have done. I had butterflies tracking them the last bit.

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          I was getting up through the night to see how they were doing.

          • Hanni
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            I bet! It was the first thing I checked on this morning, still in bed and before emails. Really hoping that they put another video up on YouTube of them crossing the line.

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          According to the Talisker site the ladies are still out there. Unbelievable. What a very poor website

          • Hanni
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            You’re kidding me..I’ll have a look.

  9. Young Salopian
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I took a tad longer than SL to solve this but not by much. Like many of you, I felt that 12 across was somewhat forced and could have done with a rethink from our mystery setter, and 19 down was horrible, but other than those small gripes this was a pleasant enough puzzle to solve. No outstanding favourites today. 1.5*/2.5* from me with thanks all round.

  10. Hanni
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I did wonder what sort of problems 12a would cause people today! I have a pretty much neutral/RP accent and it did make me think.

    However I enjoyed the puzzle as a whole. Struggled to parse/pass 19d but 26a more than made up for that. Also took me a little while to spot the hiddens…when does it not.

    Many thanks to the setter and to SL for a great blog!!! Good to have you back. :good:

    The 3d pic looks pretty and well done on the 25a pic!

  11. Miffypops
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Re 12 across. If you are from the hard north it will never work. If you are from the soft south where you raise a glaaaaass as you park your arse on the graaaass and paaaass the salt the clue should work perfectly

    • Hanni
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      What if you’re from somewhere in the middle?

      • Jane
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        I suspect we just count as being from the middle of nowhere in the eyes of our southern compatriots!

        • Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          You’re more like the edge of nowhere!

          • Hanni
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            She does have amazing views to make up for it…but yes the middle of nowhere.

          • Jane
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            Often the best place to be – on the outside looking in. :wink:

            • Hanni
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

              Good point..through lovely big shiny windows? :wink:

            • Kitty
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

              Edge or middle, nowhere is good.

              You have internet and that is crucial :) .

    • Wahoo
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Was it yesterday (Tuesday’s I think – doing these at night I lose track of time) but homophones do not work in every accent, surely? You must all be in bed now so you wont read this but never mind. Late in your day (apart from Westerners and as for 2 Ks’ I never can work out their time zone) but about to look at your tomorrow’s (the Don)

  12. Jane
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I did dither a bit over 1a once the ‘V’ was in place – so many painters seem to have names that begin with that letter.
    Needed the pennies to drop before 22a went in (should be used to that old chestnut by now) and stared at the checkers in 26a for quite a while – possibly finished up being my favourite.
    As for 12a – happy to confess that I did actually confer with Hanni as to whether that could possibly be the correct answer. Two northerners perhaps not the best collaboration on this one!
    Certainly a few ‘wordy’ clues today – notably 25a & 19d – seem to recall saying that about another puzzle recently. Same setter, maybe?

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to SL – good to see you back in the ‘chair’ and an excellent job if I may say so. :good:

    PS If you’re looking in, Gazza – yes, I did smile over ‘T’ for tense. Didn’t cause me any problems today!

    • Hanni
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is neither of us sound particularly northern! :yes: But not southern either.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Is that classy or claaaaaaaassy?

      • Hanni
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        I think you’ll find we are claaaaaassy. Although maybe not when I fall of horses!

        • Jane
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          I reckon we’re just in a claaaaaas of our own. :yes:

  13. Expat Chris
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Not much to add. I’m in the ‘don’t like’ camp for 12A. I had hearty for 2D. Obviously I couldn’t parse it but it made more sense to me as being in sound condition than the answer does. Liked 1D and 20A, though. Thanks to the setter and SL.

  14. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Found the surface a bit poor in some of the clues like 13d, 10a, 18a and 25a whereas others were quite good.
    19d made me smile actually and didn’t have a problem with the homophone in 12a.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to SL for the great review.

  15. Hrothgar
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    12a and 2d were decidedly dodgy and didn’t work for me.
    Otherwise, the remaining was pretty workmanlike.
    Thanks Mr/Mrs/Ms Setter and Shropshirelad for the review.

  16. badger
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    19 down – ludicrous !!!

  17. Killer Watts
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    A rare one hour solve for me. Well, last in was 8down, and have to confess I needed a hint. Thanks to setter and SL.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must retrieve my son from up a tree. Talk about being left in the larch…

  18. silvanus
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Another very straightforward solve – I wonder if Giovanni will allow it to be five in a row tomorrow?

    I did think the homophone in 12a was slightly stretching the envelope a tad, but I actually quite warmed to 19d (sorry RD and others) as I thought the “with glasses” and “haggle after vacation” were clever constructs.

    No favourite clue that stood out from the rest, most were of a fairly level standard.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Shropshirelad.

    P.S. Quite surprised at the lack of mention here of the Daily Telegraph’s momentous milestone today in reaching 50,000 issues. Congratulations to all concerned at the paper which provides with us with our daily fix and maintains such a high standard of crosswords. Today’s re-printing of letters to the paper over the years from the likes of Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, Kingsley Amis and Bertrand Russell was a delight to read.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      But will it reach issue 55,000 or will it go the way of the Indie? Its audited circulation (over a million in 2002) is now down to 472,000 and dropping by about 5% per year.

      • silvanus
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Only time will tell, Gazza, but I certainly hope not. Admittedly its circulation figures are well down on what they once were, but then I think most if not all UK national dailies are in the same boat these days. The Telegraph still remains ahead of The Times and is only behind The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror I think. I suspect that the next paper to follow The Independent’s route may be The Guardian.

  19. Hilary
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Must be me being a bit grumpy but Just for once I did not find much enjoyment in the crossword. Even though I finished with a small 5a of electronic help I did not feel my usual sense of achievement. However, the quickie pun made me smile so perhaps all is not lost. Bright but very chilly here today. Thanks to setter and SL. :bye:

  20. Paso doble
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly agree with SL about 1a and 12a – not keen at all. Apart from that an enjoyable and fairly straightforward solve. Thanks to SL for an excellent blog and thanks to the setter. Lots of tunes spring to mind after doing this puzzle. We don’t think other solvers will enjoy Wreckless Eric’s ‘Semaphore Signals from the Greenbelt’ so have settled for something a little easier on the ear! ………


    • Miffypops
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I have spent nearly fifty years trying to wipe this awful song from my memory. Whatever was Neil Young on when he agreed to join them?

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Good job I didn’t manage to find a clip of 10cc then. :yes:

        Oops, I did

      • Arthur Ennimore-Empties
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        He was on a nice little earner.

  21. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    **/***. The SE corner proved difficult for reasons I don’t understand once I’d finished. Favourite was 5a. Thanks to the setter and SL for the review.

  22. Una
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    From beyond , far beyond ,the edge of nowhere , like the dark side of the moon, it was very easy indeed, which is nice , once in a while.I also found the double definition at 1a rather (or should I say rathah ) odd.
    Thanks to the setter and SL.

  23. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    As we were writing in the answer to 12a the comment was made, ” Bet there is a lot of discussion on this one.” Looks like we got that right. It all went together without many delays for us. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Mr Ron and SL.

  24. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Amazed this is one star, to me, this is by far the hardest one of the week so far.
    Thursday is always a struggle.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Sorry to hear that HYD – I think ratings are purely subjective, one man’s meat etc….. However, I do hope the hints went some way to shed the light on how the clues were constructed.

      • HoofItYouDonkey
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        They do, thanks.
        I find Thursdays is predominately wordplay and being a novice, I’m not very good at that.
        Anagrams, cryptic etc, no problems, but when it comes to charades and taking bits, reversing them, chopping a bit off, adding a mneumonic for a pregnant Tibetan Nun’s aunt and then inserting it into the initials of Marco Polo’s Jack Russell – I’m all at sea.
        Thursday’s are always the same and a non-starter in terms of solving, but the hints help me learn, thanks.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          There is a book called ‘Chambers Crossword Dictionary’ which offers advice on clue constructions and how to identify them. It also has a comprehensive list of anagram indicators, containment indicators etc. Combined with a very good list of synonyms used in crosswords and lists of groups (i.e. composers, writers etc), it’s a great help for both the solver and the setter of puzzles.

          My copy is quite a few years old and I don’t know if it’s been reprinted – the ISBN number is 978 0550 10081 8

          It’s probably worth having a look. Hope that’s helpful. Having said all that – BD’s Mine is just as good to find info.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            ‘The Mine’ can be found through the ‘Features’ tab.

            • HoofItYouDonkey
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

              Many thanks.
              Today has not been a good day, sometimes my head is just not set for a crossword.
              Thanks for the advice.

              • HoofItYouDonkey
                Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

                Anyone help a novice??

                1a – How is a “vehicle” an “Artist’s medium”?
                2d – How is “Health” “In Sound Condition”? Surely ‘Health’ is a noun?? Healthy would be the adjective
                12a – Have not got a clue what the cryptic bit is all about

                Thanks to setter and to SL for the hints

                • snape
                  Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

                  1a. This is copied from Collins Online for vehicle
                  Also called: base a painting medium, such as oil, in which pigments are suspended
                  so that is fair enough
                  2d ‘in’ is a link word, so not part of the definition. ‘Sound Condition’ is the definition, but this threw me, too. On Alberich’s crossword site he discusses ‘to’ as a link word, and suggests it is OK unless makes what follows appear to be a verb when in fact it is a noun, as that is unfair on the solver. It seems to be something similar to what is happening here with ‘in’
                  12a In certain parts of the country (very few, it seems from the comments), a word that means interpret (parse) is a homophone (indicated by ‘for the audience’) for the answer. Homophones are quite subjective, though. I usually like them, especially the bad ones, but I got nowhere near this one.

                • Gazza
                  Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

                  1a Chambers has for vehicle: a medium, e.g. for the expressing or performing of something.
                  2d e.g. ‘she was restored to health’.
                  12a The setter is claiming that ‘parse'(interpret) sounds like (for audience) ‘pass’ (a quiz answer). As far as I’m concerned they’re totally different sounds and this is a dreadful clue.

                  • Jose
                    Posted February 27, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

                    G. 12a: This is a regional dialect issue. I have only ever heard the word parse pronounced (even on TV) as it is spelled, never as “parze”. If you compare that to the word “pass” pronounced with a very posh accent and “long a” they sound identical. This must be how the setter constructed the clue. If you have only ever heard it pronounced “parze”, you’ll never get or agree with the clue. You have to forget about the exact phonetic descriptions or audible examples found in dictionaries and on the net and just go with the flow. For me, this was an excellent, bordering on brilliant, clue – but I know you won’t agree. The problem is: you’re not mispronouncing it correctly! :-)

                    • Gazza
                      Posted February 27, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

                      I know that many English speakers don’t pronounce an R unless it’s followed by a vowel so that for them paw/poor and pa/par are pronounced identically. However, there are millions who do use the rhotic R. My argument is that setters shouldn’t use homophones which don’t make any sense to half the solvers.

                  • Jose
                    Posted February 29, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

                    Gazza, all I can do is quote Bob Dylan:

                    You are right from your side
                    And I am right from mine
                    We’re both just too many mornings
                    And a thousand miles behind.

                • stanXYZ
                  Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

                  1a – Pass
                  2d – Pass
                  12a – Pass

                  As Magnus Magnusson would say: “You have three passes and no correct answers”

                  • Hanni
                    Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

                    :yahoo: NIce one Stan!

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

                  Oh for heaven’s sake – it’s only a crossword after all. I’m not a professional crossword setter, I just try to help people who perhaps struggle with decrypting a cryptic crossword by giving my idea of how a clue is constructed. I’m not always right – but there you are. Can’t we just ‘chill’ and enjoy the beauty of the English language? :smile:

                  • snape
                    Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

                    Indeed, and apologies if you thought the above was any criticism of the blog – it wasn’t, and your hints certainly helped me with those I had missed.
                    I think I would actually have been quite happy with the homophone (or non-homophone) if I’d considered ‘pass’ to be a quiz answer – it’s not really an answer, is it?

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

                      It’s been a long and eventful day for me, so forgive me if I’ve come across as ‘snippy’. I do apologise.

                      Allegedly ‘PASS’ is an answer in Mastermind. Maybe Tilsit could verify? :unsure:

  25. Bluebell
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. Certainly a one star from me as I found this much easier than yesterday. Liked 19d and14a in particular.

  26. Heno
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. I enjoyed most of it, but didn’t like 19d. Last in was 12a, which did work for me as a Cockney, but still needed the hints to parse it. No pun intended. Favourite was 5a, was 1*/3* for me.

  27. Jon_S
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    A little more difficult than a one *, I thought, with 12a, which doesn’t work for the Welsh either, holding me up for an age. Kicked myself when I finally got 22a, very nicely done.

  28. Florence
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Needed a bit of help with this today. Thank you to the setter, and to Shropshirelad for the review. I’m in the same camp as many others regarding 12a. I’m a northern lass not a northern laaaaarrrsss. My sons are born and bred southerners. They would have parsed it.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Florence.

      Hope you’re well? How’s choir going? I too am northern born and bred yet don’t have much of any accent…odd I know. Jane and I were actually talking on the phone both saying paaarss and pass!

      • Florence
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        Hi Hanni, I’m fine thanks. Just got back from snowy Madeira. Should have taken skis. Loved the island. Will return one day when not snowing to see and do …all the things we couldn’t see and do!!! Choir great last night, and more charity events in the pipeline… plus a few nursing homes. Lots of words to learn in the coming weeks. Felt very rusty with today’s crossword. The brain has gone into serious decline.

        • Hanni
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink


          I did wonder where you had been! Wow…snow in Maderia? I’ve never been there but it just somehow doesn’t seem to fit. I can imagine it’s rather beautiful though. Hope you have a few good things to rehearse. It always feels more of a ‘slog’ if you don’t enjoy a song etc. I feel that way about Rachmaninov!

          I think you are right about crosswords..you really can get our of practice quite quickly. Tomorrow is another day though. Let’s hope Giovanni is in a generous mood!

  29. Tstrummer
    Posted February 26, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I found this easy enough, but I have one quibble: 2d. I put hearty, not health, and I stand by it. Health is not sound condition, it can be good, bad or indifferent. It’s also not a toast in English. Good health is, or Your health, maybe, but never just health. However, Hearty is in sound condition, and cheers is a toast and you have hearty cheers. However, I though it a very poor clue that marred an otherwise adequate puzzle, with perhaps 26a as a favourite. 12a posed no problems for this anglicised Scot. Thanks to SL for the review and to the mystery setter. 1*/2*
    PS My train took me home tonight, first time this week.

    • Hanni
      Posted February 26, 2016 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      I’ll trust your judgement TS. :smile: I’ll stick with slainte…my father was Irish.

      I’m very glad your train got you home. Charles Horton must be due a raise.

    • Jose
      Posted February 27, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Ts: 12a. Thank goodness someone else appreciates this brilliant clue from a regional dialect perspective.

    • Jose
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Ts. I’m just catching up with reading these comments (my favourite part of the blog) and I have to agree about 2d. I too entered hearty by mistake, but for me the clue is slightly flawed – it doesn’t work exactly for hearty or health.

  30. Sapphire
    Posted February 26, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Devonshire born and bred, “parse” has an ‘r’ in it, which I as a rhotic speaker pronounce. 14a had me puzzled but the funniest was 25a

  31. Jose
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    This one was OK, mildly challenging. But 12a was a great clue. 1.5*/2.5*

  32. Margery
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    12a in grammar parse is ‘to analyse’. Is that what he had in mind?

    • Posted February 27, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Margery

      I’m sure it is what the setter had in mind. Our main issue with this clue is whether parse and pass have the same pronunciation. Even if it works in some parts of the country, and I have my doubts, if it doesn’t work everywhere it shouldn’t be used. The only exception would be if, for example, it worked in Yorkshire and the clue contained a suitable regional indicator.