DT 28086

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28086

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This is a pangram and it’s somewhat easier than the puzzle we had last Tuesday which seemed to cause some solvers a lot of problems. Do let us know how you got on and how well you liked this one.

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

7a Substitute corded cotton fabric with delicate one (7)
REPLACE – charade of two fabrics, the first having a ribbed surface and the second being delicate.

9a Curt, British queen taken in by trick (7)
BRUSQUE – start with a single-letter abbreviation for British then insert a two-letter abbreviation for queen into a trick or ploy.

10a Inside taverna, a fine place to eat (5)
NAAFI – an acronym for the place where servicemen eat is hidden inside the clue.

11a Produce young ape 20 trained (9)
PROCREATE – an anagram (trained) of APE and the answer to 20d.

12a Something memorable said in passing? (6,4,5)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS – cryptic definition of final remarks left for posterity. Humphrey Bogart’s were apparently “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis” and those of the French grammarian Dominique Bouhours were “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct”.

13a Love  to tell extravagant lies (7)
ROMANCE – double definition, the second a verb to come out with porkies.

16a The old lady ringing rep for dyestuff (7)
MAGENTA – an affectionate term for one’s mother contains a representative or go-between.

19a Possible decision in higher court involving Italian composer you initially put inside (8,7)
MAJORITY VERDICT – an adjective meaning higher or greater and the abbreviation for court contain the abbreviation for Italian vermouth and a classical composer. We still haven’t finished because into all that we have to insert the initial letter of Y(ou).

23a Piece of cake for the professor? It helps one relax (4,5)
EASY CHAIR – an adjective meaning ‘a piece of cake’ is followed by the seat associated with a professor.

24a Failure in comic roles (5)
LOSER – an anagram (comic) of ROLES.

25a Ruffian nicking article and papers is knocked unconscious (4,3)
LAID OUT – a ruffian or yob contains an indefinite article and the sort of papers needed to prove who you are.

26a No trouble, it’s said, landing on net from swing (7)
TRAPEZE – what sounds like a lack of trouble or difficulty follows (landing on, in an across clue) a verb to net or capture.

Down Clues

1d Extremely stiff in coach, I must get out — shift! (8)
TRANSFER – insert the outer (extremely) letters of stiff into a coach or instructor without the letter I.

2d Tight-lipped, showing sensitivity about one ashes vase (8)
TACITURN – a word meaning sensitivity or diplomacy contains the Roman numeral for one. After that we need a vase used for ashes.

3d Foreign correspondent perhaps having little power over troubled Nepal (3,3)
PEN PAL – the abbreviation for power precedes (over, in a down clue) an anagram (troubled) of NEPAL.

4d Top of hill outside ancient city provides hidden shelter (6)
BURROW – the top or crest of a hill goes outside our usual ancient Biblical city.

5d Small bike runs over large group of people (8)
SQUADRON – join together the abbreviation for small, a type of bike for off-road use, the cricket abbreviation for runs and a preposition meaning over or above.

6d Time off in bay (6)
RECESS – double definition, the first a period of time off work (especially one for our politicians, giving them plenty of time to organise their off-shore investments).

8d Sacred song — short sample stirred (5)
PSALM – an anagram (stirred) of SAMPL[e] without its last letter (short).

9d Flower order placed after bishop’s bereavement (7)
BLOSSOM – the 2-letter abbreviation for a distinguished order or decoration (one that is bestowed personally by the sovereign) follows the chess abbreviation for bishop and a bereavement.

14d First to mention a joke, one about royal (8)
MAJESTIC – this 8-letter word is made up of no less than five individual bits. So, assemble the first letter of mention, A (from the clue), a joke or gag, the Roman numeral for one and the single letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately.

15d Pull out leaflet supporting former partner (7)
EXTRACT – a leaflet or short treatise in pamphlet form follows (supporting, in a down clue) the short word for a former partner.

17d See thugs in restaurant as leader of outfit is arrested (8)
GORILLAS – a non-vegetarian type of restaurant is followed by AS (from the clue) and the leading letter of outfit is put inside (arrested).

18d Ratty, one criminal lawyer (8)
ATTORNEY – an anagram (criminal) of RATTY ONE.

19d Male publication wife’s left out deferentially (6)
MEEKLY – the abbreviation for male is followed by a regularly appearing publication with the abbreviation for wife omitted.

20d Page on king and clergyman (6)
RECTOR – a word for the right-hand page of an open book precedes an abbreviation for king.

21d ‘Pretty’ describes it, in truth (6)
VERITY – pretty here is a modifying adverb meaning rather or extremely (as in “he’s pretty fit”). A synonym for that goes round (describes) IT (from the clue).

22d Circulate   matter for debate (5)
ISSUE – double definition, the first a verb to circulate or publish.

I liked 23a and 17d but my favourite clue today was 12a. Which one(s) did it for you?

Today’s Quickie Pun: TUSKER + KNEE = TUSCANY


  1. JonP
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This took me longer than it should’ve on reflection. I was slow to see 14d which held up proceedings. All in all an enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to Gazza and setter **/***

  2. dutch
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Great to see a pangram, which helped me look for a “J” in SW. 11a (produce young ape..) helped me get 20d (page on king and clergyman) – it made me realise that the “P” I had been trying to place as first letter wasn’t in the remaining 11a anagram letters. 1d I had train=coach, wondering where the last letters came from, duh. Lots to like and some clever cluing. Favourite is definitely 12a (something memorable said in passing)

    Many thanks Gazza and setter

  3. George
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, a lot easier than last Tuesday’s offering but still not a trivial solve for me. Some new meanings of some of the partial lego blocks that I had to check in the BRB. I was amused to see 10a – does anyone use this term these days? But then I am not familiar with the armed forces. For some reason, I always have associated it with the WW2 era.

    So I would say 2*/3* for a rating.

    • Attila the Hun
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      It’s still going.

      I preferred the American PX at JHQ Rheindahlen; King Edward Imperial cigars at $5 a box of 50!

    • Graham
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I used to service & repair their refrigeration units on trucks & trailers, one came back once that had been hit by a shell afraid to say it was written off.

    • lincolnlatic
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      The NAAFI exists but not anywhere near on the same scale, it wasn’t really where squaddies went to eat though it was shops, bars with some snacks. Now most if not all the bars have been taken over by someone else the shops seem to be run by SPAR . Even in some overseas places they have been taken over. Of course it is still referred to as the NAAFI and my mid morning break will always be a naafi break.

      • Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Welcome to the blog lincolnlatic

      • Hanni
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:18 am | Permalink

        Hello from me too. Hope you keep commenting. I think you, Shropshirelad and Salty Dog will get in well!

  4. Miffypops
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I did what it said on the tin. Job done. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza of whom I sighed for at 19ac. I have a marvellous clip in reserve for 17d. It’s a shame we couldn’t swap this week.

  5. Attila the Hun
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    10a took me back many years to memories of eating three very large breakfasts one after the other in one establishment near Sennybridge (SENTA) after 48 hours on the Brecon Beacons including “doing the Fan Dance”. Nothing to do with “Selection”, though.


  6. jaycat
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Started quite well but then got bogged down amonst the SE and NE. Didn’t quite have the wavelength thing going today, not sure who the setter was?

    Some new words and clever clues but some a bit obscure (for me anyway).

    2.5* /3*

  7. Spook
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Back to puzzling after slight accident on boat, silly caught finger in winch result 8 stitches. Found this quite interesting puzzle I was a bit stumped by pan gram.
    Being ex forces I didn’t notice 10a. How to feel an idiot.
    Many thanks to Gazza and setter.

  8. pete
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    i struggled to get started with this one, but once I got into it, I found it fairly straight forward. I thought the spelling for 17d was just for the animal not for a thug, but I was wrong. Not too keen on 23a. My favourites were 12a and 19a. Certainly a whole lot more satisfying than last Tuesday. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the hints.

  9. Angel
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    For me this was not the first 3 words of 23a clue but an enjoyable ride nevertheless. Thank you Mysteron and Gazza. Fav had to be 12a although to be pedantic perhaps “something” should have been in the plural. SW corner was last to go in. ***/***.

    • Chris
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Or perhaps ‘Something’ is correctly applied as ‘FAMOUS LAST WORDS’ is a phrase and therefore singular. ‘WORDS’ just happens to be part of that phrase?

      • Angel
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes indeed one could look at it that way too.

        • Chris
          Posted April 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          No, that is the only way to look at it I’m afraid.

  10. Una
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was completely brilliant, but I’d up the star rating on both counts.Most enjoyable crossword in a while.
    12a is my standout favourite and I also really liked 9d, 19a 23a among others.
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  11. HughGfan
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle especially after last week. Got about 80 percent straight away then got a blank patch. Thank for the hints Gazza, 16d non veg restaurant, new one on me. Still after nearly 40 years of doing these puzzles you live and learn something new every day.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Joe’s Bar and Grill

  12. Senf
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Definitely not as challenging as last Tuesday, and completed comfortably before lights out last night – joint favourites 12a and 19a. Very enjoyable – **/***. Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  13. Jane
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Really good puzzle by my reckoning. Only hold up came with justifying the ‘n’ in 5d as I had R for runs and O for over. I’ve no doubt you’re correct, Gazza, but to my mind whilst I might suspend a pendant light over a table or hang a picture over a fireplace, in neither case would they actually be ‘on’ said table or fireplace.
    The pangram was a definite help. If I’m allowed to say so, it’s not the only one in the paper today.

    Top three for me are the same as Gazza’s choices.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron – not going to chance my arm with a guess today – and also to Gazza for the usual high standard review.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Spread butter over your toast?

      • Jane
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Umm – I’d spread butter on my toast.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        I spread honey on my toast. Proper toast and Hyeres honey at the moment.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Found where he put his hives.
          Follow the bees

          • Hanni
            Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            Oh wow! No wonder it tastes so good, how beautiful is it? Stunning, making the bees happy. I didn’t know Edith Wharton had a connection to Hyères!

            I cracked and opened the second jar. It’s worrying how I scraped every last bit out of the first. Thanks again.

  14. Kath
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I could just condense the first two comments and leave it at that but I probably won’t – I agree with gazza’s ratings for difficulty and enjoyment.
    I thought this was more difficult when I was actually doing it than I do now with the benefit of hindsight.
    When I got the Q and the Z I thought ‘pangram’ but then forgot about it – I always do.
    I took me ages to get the first word of 19a which was silly and thinking that the 1d coach was a verb didn’t help much either and was also silly.
    Spent far too long trying to make 20d begin with a P and thought that the 4d top of hill might be a peak which wouldn’t work however hard I tried.
    I’d forgotten the 17d thugs.
    I liked 12a and 9 and 14d.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    Now then – garden or clean windows? Will probably have a go at the Toughie instead :unsure:

  15. Dr M
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Challenging but enjoyable puzzle. Stuck for ages until I cracked 19a and then everything seemed to fall into place. A tad easier than last week’s. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to the setter and Gazza, off to Home base now to get implements for shrubbery act 2.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Did notice the pangram for once and it helped me get the last ones in 26a and 17d. The “see” in the latter got me confused.
    3d is probably the easiest clue of the year.
    The rest was very enjoyable.
    Off to finish Giovanni.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  17. Heno
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but found it very tricky. Complely missed the fact that it was a pangram. Took me a while to get on the setter’s wavelength. Last in was 19d. Favourite was 9a. Was 3*/3* for me. Mixture of Blue sky and black clouds over Kenwood,. May have to run for cover.

  18. Hanni
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I noticed the pangram! Hurrah. I can stop panicking every time I see a ‘Q’ or a ‘J’ now.

    However. I have just had to delete a lot of stuff I typed out. This is because I picked up the Toughie bit and was writing about that when I realised that something wasn’t quite right.

    Nowhere near as tricky as last Tuesday but enjoyable nonetheless. I think I did something similar to Dutch with 1d ( I solved this early a.m). It took me an embarrassingly long time to see the anagram in 18d (having trouble spotting anagrams at the moment).

    Agree with J-L about 3d and my favourite goes to 12a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for a great blog as always.

  19. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Boy, I find this chap tough.
    Almost every answer, I have to go and read Gazza’s excellent hints to find out what on earth the wordplay is about. Luckily, I have a 100% record on this puzzle, but a long way to go.
    Amazing how different every setters approach is.
    Will hit the brick wall soon, but very enjoyable challenge, in a perverse sort of way…

  20. Jaylegs
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Did not find this one easy 😏 ***/** some very clever clues but some like 1d & 17d I did not like . Thanks to Gazza for the hints and to the setter 🙄 Liked 16a & 23a 😊

    To whom it may concern the answers today were once again covered up 👍

  21. Young Salopian
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    12 across also my favourite in this hugely enjoyable puzzle. Keen pangram spotters will have noticed that the quick crossword is also an example today. Presumably the same setter.

    2*/4* reflects my thoughts. Difficult to compare last Tuesday’s crossword with this as there were two different setters. Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I could very easily be wrong here (it has been known!) but I think whoever sets the cryptic crossword also does the quickie.

      • Young Salopian
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I seem to remember reading that somewhere too. Compiling one crossword must be tough, but two……. And every week.

  22. Gwizz
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    No problems for me with today’s fairly gentle offering. 17d floated my boat and overall 2/3*.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

  23. Expat Chris
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t notice the pangram, even after I’d finished the puzzle! 12A and 19A get my vote. Thanks Gazza and setter.

  24. Vancouverbc
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    **/***. Enjoyable and fairly straightforward with a few slow bits in the SE corner. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review. I also didn’t notice the pangram.

  25. silvanus
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    It seems I’m firmly in the minority with this one, as I found it fairly lacklustre and pedestrian to solve.

    The surfaces were generally snappy and concise, but the puzzle seemed to be short on fun for me. I wasn’t too impressed with the construction of 17d, partly because I spent too long looking for a synonym of “see”.

    Ah well, we can all have an off day I suppose!

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  26. Merusa
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What a difference to last Tuesday! This one just flowed for me, and when I realised it was a pangram, everything pretty well slotted in. Last one in was 9a.
    I was sure 20d began with “p”, but 19a solved that and I had to rethink.
    Great puzzle, thank you setter, and many thanks to Gazza.

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Merusa, How come a panagram makes it easier, apart from the fact that there must be answers with X,Z etc???

      • Jane
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Hoofit, helps no end if your last couple to fall happen to be 26a&5d!

      • Merusa
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        For instance, I had tunnel vision with 9a, wanting to put in ER or just R, forgot that Q means queen as well, and as soon as I twigged the pangram, I knew I had to look for a Q, and there it was.

      • Jose
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        HIYD: I agree with you. A cryptic which is a pangram isn’t really any easier because until you’ve finished it and analysed it to see if it might be one (and who does that regularly?), you don’t know that it contains all the alphabet letters! But if you knew in advance, then that might help slightly.

  27. Brian
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Glad you thought this was easy, personally I found it really difficult. Never heard of a ‘recto’ before which makes 20d hard to parse. Just couldn’t get on the setters wavelength at all. For me a 3.5 for difficulty and a 1 for enjoyment. Not my favourite at all.

    • Brian
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Finally completed the dreadful puzzle (at least for me) after having to use the hints extensively. Don’t know who the setter is but I certainly don’t want another from him/her.

  28. Howitzerx3
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Started off really well completing all but NE at a speedy rate for me. Then hit a brick wall with NE with no real amount of letters in, only the ones from 12a. What a struggle in that corner and needed a bit of help from Gazzas hints and tips

    Overall very enjoyable apart from frustrating NE however they are good clues.

    Hints and tips used 11a / 9d
    Favourite clues 23a / 25a / 14d / 17d.
    Rating 3/ 4

    Thanks to Gazza for H&T and the setter

    • Howitzerx3
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Can somebody please explain the pangram in this crossword? Thought I had solved and understood the puzzle?. I don’the read the other reviews until mine is posted,deliberately, so I am not influenced by other bloggers views before I post mine. Just how I am!


      • Hanni
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        A pangram is where all the letters of the alphabet appear in the puzzle.

        Edit..sorry, I don’t know whether you are asking what a pangram is or where all the letters are!

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        If every letter but one is there we call it a pangra Hx3

      • Howitzerx3
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Hanni and Mpops understand it now. The penny has dropped.

        Learnt a bit more on this so helpful site

    • Kath
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Now I’m going to be picky and try to endoctrinate a newish commenter. “Kath’s law” says that since ‘favourite’ is, to my mind at least, a superlative you can only have one. I’ve had this battle for years – I’m going to keep banging on about it and won’t give up my fight. I do hope that you come over to my side.

      • Howitzerx3
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        That’s why you do the hints and tips Kath and I don’t, and it makes good sense therefore from now on Kath’s law will apply to hx3.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        There is such a thing as “joint favourite” in which case the favourite will be the one with the lowest number. Therefore Hx3 should settle for 14d.

        • pommers
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          You can only have joint favourites when you’re betting on something, a horse or motor race perhaps. Otherwise ‘Kath’s law’ prevails.
          Outside of the bookies, as Kath says, favourite is a superlative so there can only be one by definition – QED.
          I don’t think we place bets on crossword clues, unless there’s a whole new world out there wot I’m missing out on, just let me know..

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            That’s exactly what I do.
            Each time I’m about to solve a clue I bet it’s going to be my favourite.
            Just kidding 😊.
            Point taken.

          • Kitty
            Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

            I see your point too, but I still think you can have a number of favourites.

            It would make sense, for example, to talk about the fastest five runners in a race, even though there would be a single fastest out of those. And in something harder to measure, you could have a group at the top with nothing to choose between.

            Well, I will continue to flout Kath’s Law when I feel like it, anyway. Try and stop me! :)

          • Hanni
            Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:20 am | Permalink

            I bet I like 2a tomorrow…if there is one.

      • Jane
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        OK Kath – that brings me back to the question about the pet lambs. Is it acceptable if we say nothing about having a ‘favourite’ but simply refer to those we really love?

  29. Steve in St A
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    A pangram is new to me too – just checked and every letter is there. Good crossword for me with some easier clues and some harder. Crosswords that I can’t get started on are a pain to me but once I have a few clues under my belt I persevere. Thanks to Gazza for explaining a few I got but couldn’t see why.and yes I enjoyed it too.

  30. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    3*/2*. Late on parade today. Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid, due to far too many Russian Doll / Lego clues with 19a being a particularly convoluted example. I spotted the pangram and liked the alliteration in 8d.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Gazza.

  31. Jon_S
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Thought there might be a pangram, but I didn’t need the extra help to finish. Very much * for time, **** for enjoyment. 18d last in, and took a while to fall, for reasons that escape me now.

  32. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Much harder than last Tuesday.
    I think I solved about 6 clues from the wordplay, the rest was just shear guesswork, and luckily I got most of them right.
    Finally resorted to about 10 hints, and even then did not understand them all.
    Clearly this setter is very popular and most understand the clues, so the only option is to grit my teeth and see if I can fathom it out next time.
    4*/1* for me, but I appreciate that my enjoyment is based on my utter incompetence.

  33. Kitty
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve come here later than usual because apparently people who are physically present take precedence. Ok, I grant that might be reasonable :) . Hope there’s room for another little comment.

    It was neither a sprint nor a crawl today but a pleasant amble until something of a pause to ponder the last two: 6d and 17d.

    The pangrams were noticed but not made use of in solving.

    It was nice to be reminded of the 7a ribbed fabric before it slides from memory.

    I’m hoping anagram blindness isn’t catching because I don’t want to afflict anyone else. Today was one day I didn’t suffer from it – yay.

    12a was good, but favourite by a country mile was 23a … unfortunately I can’t tell you why. Just imagine the worst reason you can think of – and rest assured it’s probably worse than that.

    With thanks to the setter and to Gazza for another exemplary blog.

    • Jane
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      There’s always room for your little comment, Kitty -but when it concerns your relationship with 23a – I think it’s probably best kept off the blog?!!!
      Will be asking Mr. K when we next speak……..

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        My lips are sealed :whistle:

        • Jane
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

          Well – that’s interesting. Blows my first theory out of the water……..

          • Kitty
            Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

            I can’t imagine what your first theory might have been, Jane – let alone any second or third ones – but maybe wild theories are best kept off the blog too! ;)

  34. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    We also convinced ourselves that 20d had to start with a P and rattled through parson,priest, pastor and were still looking for others. Clever misdirection. Did not notice the pangram until we had finished so did not avail ourselves of the help it offered. Fun to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  35. pommers
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot. Solved in the local bar this evening over a rather large glass of the vino collapso and some pescaditos.We’d had a very good (and long but not liquid) lunch with some of pommette’s relatives in a retaurant in Torrevieja with a great sea view so are probably a bit the worse for wear. Perhaps that was why it was a bit tricky.

    Tricky but not so much as last week and my guess is Shamus – pangrams are, or at least were, his forte. 26a is now favourite because of Gazza’s piccy.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  36. Salty Dog
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I just squeaked into 1* time, so 1*/3*. 10a gets my vote, even though it’s not a difficult clue. Even though I would never describe that venerable institution as a “fine place to eat”, I have fond memories of it. I recall having my hair cut by the NAAFI barber in HMS DRAKE before we sailed from Plymouth, only to repeat the experience a couple of months later in Port Stanley, by which time he had morphed into a TA Sergeant in the NAAFI Expeditionary Forces Institute.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  37. Mike B
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi All

    Greetings from Cumbria.
    I’ve been a lurker for a few months now – stepping out now in celebration of todays ‘Perfect’ Crossword (contains all letters of the alphabet!).


    • Gazza
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Mike B. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.
      A crossword where all the letters of the alphabet are present in the answers is what we call a pangram.

  38. TheTeesdale2
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle for a miserably cold and wet Teesdale day. We’d forgotten the corded fabric, and needed reminding of the page, though we’d bunged in the answers anyway, as that seemed all they could be, so thanks Gazza for the parsing! Didn’t realise it’s a pangram until finished. Thanks to the setter, much gentler than last Tuesday.

  39. Robin Newman
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    liked 12A
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  40. AnntheArt
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Still struggling with this one and am needing lots of hints. Thank you Gazza! The Russian doll type clue I find difficult…need to do some studying of the hints to get the idea. Was amused by 10a which I saw straight away…I grew up in an RAF family.

  41. Mr Kitty
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one a lot. Got hung up at the end on 6d and 17d and needed to consult the thesaurus to finally get those two. Totally missed the pangram. 23a raised a big smile and 12a gets my vote as today’s favourite. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Re: 23a.
      Not being nosey or anything but…
      Are we talking about the clue or the solution?

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Both. Does that help? :)

  42. mre
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Good evening everybody.

    All very straightforward until 26a which entirely eluded me.


  43. Tstrummer
    Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Spotted the pangram early, because I always start with the down clues, which gave me the the Q, J, Y, K and W, leaving only the Z to discover, I liked the puzzle, but didn’t find it too tricky (which rules out Shamus in my book). Thanks to Gazza for help with parsing a couple and the the setter for a relaxing end to my long day. 2*/3

    • Jane
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Hi TS – you’re in early for once. I was hovering about accusing Shamus – I shall bow to your superiority!

  44. Weekendwanda
    Posted April 13, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Super solve on train and finished in London. Only big problem for me was 17d. Could not really see what I was looking for. Did not resort to the hint but looked at the comments and got down as far as Miffypops before the penny dropped. 26d confirmed the pangram but did not completely parse it . Thanks all.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I am unsure as to whether you read my comment and did what it said on the tin or whether you saw the word Miffypops and immediately thought Gorilla. Either way it got you there.

  45. john carter
    Posted April 22, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Finished it with the help off my 20 year old Boots Crossword solver. But, oh dear! 17d was far too obscure.
    May I make a plea to setters ? The use of abbreviations is becoming a bit silly— why should L mean latin or m mean mother?
    Clever puzzle. My favourite; 12a.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 22, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      L is used in dictionaries to mean Latin. M doesn’t mean mother – if you’re referring to 16a then mother is ma.

  46. maarvarq
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I needed the hint for 17dn primarily for the definition being not at an end of the clue, which is very rare in my experience.