DT 28094

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28094

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where a very wintery March has given way to quite a glorious April.

I have no idea who set today’s puzzle but it is definitely not RayT. Not only has he taken the day off, Her Majesty has also taken time off to celebrate her birthday.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a   Calm businessman on river, not for all to see (6)
REPOSE — a colloquial travelling salesman and a northern English river having lost its film certificate

4a   Trusted figure reformed law in beginning (8)
STALWART — anagram (reformed) of LAW contained in a word meaning beginning

10a   Close to camp, European’s moving clear of northern fog (9)
PEASOUPER — the closing letter of (cam)P followed by an anagram (moving) of EUROPEA(n)S without (clear of) N(orthern)

11a   Government agency backed religious books in course (5)
ASCOT — start with a government agency which facilitates child maintenance payments going in reverse (which would appear to accurately describe its progress in dealing with its case load); then add a set of books from the Bible

12a   Food before wine recalled as stew (7)
CHOWDER — a slang term for food followed by a reversal (recalled) of a very general category of wine

13a   A scientific establishment attended by a scholar in state (7)
ALABAMA — string together A (from the clue), a place where scientists work, another A (from the clue) and the holder of a higher degree in arts

14a   Sign with ex-London Mayor as recipient? (5)
TOKEN — how one would address a parcel intended for the ex-Mayor of London

15a   Kiss doctor in ornamental accessory (8)
NECKLACE — to kiss amorously and then doctor the punch perhaps

18a   Concoction of rum? It is a dessert (8)
TIRAMISU — anagram (concoction) of RUM IT IS A

20a   Frugal items parent is keeping (5)
SPARE — lurking in the clue

23a   A book with instruction for crossworders is free (7)
ABSOLVE — A (from the clue), B(ook) and a word that denotes what a crossworder is attempting to do

25a   Cuts damaged a US city and foreign region (7)
TUSCANY — anagram (damaged) of CUTS, A (from the clue) and a US city; it may be significant that the setter specifies US city rather than United States city

26a   See in leather a hooked feature (5)
TALON — an archaic exclamation meaning “See!” contained in a verb denoting to beat produces a feature characteristic of creatures such as yours truly

27a   Obstacle in much of language recited initially by a new church (9)
HINDRANCE — a language from the Indian subcontinent without its final letter, the initial letter of R(ecited), A (from the clue), N(ew) and the short form for the English state church

28a   Right-winger with allure creating offence (8)
CONTEMPT — an abbreviated member of a right-wing political party and a verb meaning to attract

29a   Change limited article for bandage (6)
SWATHE — a verb meaning to change or exchange without its final letter and a definite article


1d   Greed shown by king with potential to lose head (8)
RAPACITY — the Latin abbreviation for king followed by a synonym for ability or potential with its initial letter removed (to lose head)

2d   English poet, vain creature (7)
PEACOCK — double definition; the poet was a contemporary and close friend of Shelley

3d   Two directions misinterpreted in a wood and mountainous area (9)
SNOWDONIA — two compass directions followed by an anagram (misinterpreted) of IN A WOOD

5d   Master of form at Cheltenham, maybe? (4,10)
TURF ACCOUNTANT — someone who would be well acquainted with the racing form for entrants in the Gold Cup

6d   Before noon, everyone gets up to see animal (5)
LLAMA — reversal (gets up) of the designation for before noon and a pronoun denoting everyone

7d   Rising member of academy, one in stylish old hat? (7)
ARCHAIC — reverse (rising in a down clue) the usual artist, then follow it with a word meaning stylish into which you have inserted the Roman numeral for one an indefinite article designating “one”; this “old hat” is an adjective — not a noun; kudos to Chris Mills for spotting the faux pas

8d   Two notes on an artist (6)
TITIAN — two instances of the North American version of the seventh note of a major scale in tonic sol-fa followed by an indefinite article

9d   Preppiest chain devised training scheme (14)
APPRENTICESHIP — anagram (devised) of the first two words of the clue

16d   Take on ex-Foreign Secretary, showing tipping point in exasperation? (4,5)
LAST STRAW — a verb meaning to take (in the sense of to have or produce the intended effect) followed by a former Labour cabinet member

17d   Fabric entirely altered I put out on back of settee (8)
TERYLENE — anagram (altered) of ENT(i)RELY with the I removed (put out) and followed (on in a down clue) the final letter (back) of (sette)E

19d   A lot of abuse linked to popular hormone (7)
INSULIN — all but the final letter of a synonym for abuse followed by the usual suspect for popular

21d   Con — a party’s aim in election on street (7)
AGAINST — A (from the clue), a word that describes a seat taken by a party that it did not previously hold, and ST(reet)

22d   Part of game? It’s relayed by bookies with parts swapped (6)
TACTIC — an action carefully planned to achieve a specific end; swap the positions of the syllables and you have a type of semaphore code used by bookies to exchange information

24d   Sudden move in winter sports event around November (5)
LUNGE — insert the letter represented by November in the NATO phonetic alphabet into a winter sports event in which competitors make a timed descent of a course riding a type of sled

I found this puzzle to be fairly challenging with clues that generally have very smooth surface readings. Contenders for favourite clue include 10a, 3d and 9d.

Today’s Quickie Pun: PAUSE + LANE = PORCELAIN


  1. dutch
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks Falcon

    I liked the fog, the dessert and the mountainous area. Had to work out the Government agency. Nothing much to scare the horses (but today’s fairly easy RayT toughie isn’t kind to them)

    Thank you setter

  2. crypticsue
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Many Happy Returns to Her Majesty, Big Dave and (the much missed) Libellule too

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Yes – Happy Birthday to all of them from me too.

    • Libellule
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much for the birthday wishes, I do lurk from time to time :-)

      • Kath
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        It would be nice if you de-lurked from time to time too. You used to do the Monday hints when I first dared to write a comment. Happy Birthday again. :smile:

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    2*/2*. A tale of two halves. The RHS went straight in but I found the LHS more challenging. Too much Lego for my taste.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon, and Happy Birthdays to HM, BD & L.

  4. bifield
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The right hand side went in easily but the left hand put up a bit of a fight. Overall very good with some nice clues. Thanks to the compiler and to Falcon for the review. Happy Birthday to Her Majesty and to Big Dave & Libellule and any others on the blog who are celebrating today.

  5. George
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I really struggled with so many of the UK references in this one. Not too much idea of past mayors and government agencies and political figures and race courses, I am afraid.

    So 4*/2* for me today.

    • Falcon
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Fortunately, when it comes to ex-Mayors of London, there are not many to choose from.

  6. Crack On
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Is anyone else struggling with iPad version? I got half way through and then screen lock on all the puzzles. 😖

    • Attila the Hun
      Posted April 22, 2016 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      My iPad app started to do strange things. No auto-advance and selecting a square caused the previously-entered character to be entered without it being typed. It affects all the puzzles, and continues today (Friday). Neither restarting the app nor rebooting the iPad fixed it.

      Did you manage to fix your problem?

  7. Patsyann
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    1a was last in -even with the hints it took a while to understand. Favourite today was22d. Many happy returns to BD and ER.

    • Killer Watts
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Ditto Patsyann. Made good progress elsewhere, had the solution to 1a, but hadn’t fully understood, so consulted the hint.
      Thanks to all.

  8. Dr_Bob
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Thought this was quite tough overall. The LHS took no time at all but the right got me scratching my head. At least until I’d solved 5d. I think 10a was my favourite. I needed the hint to understand the wordplay for 11a. Thanks to setter and Falcon. ****/***

  9. Jaycat
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Another struggle for me today although not quite as bad as yesterday. I must say I didn’t see a lot of the wordplay until I read the hints.

    Quite enjoyable and a learning puzzle for some clues.


    Thanks to setter and Falcon and Happy Birthday to all concerned.

  10. Beaver
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I’m going for a **/*** overall as I started slowly but soon reached ramming speed, and I really enjoyed the solve, thanks Falcon for the explanation to 26a-very apt I thought !.Mother in law 90 next week, whenever she sees a picture of the Queen she always asks ‘do I look younger than her ? ‘ to which we reply ‘yes maam’ and you still drive!

  11. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hare’s running…RHS seems ok, LHS not so…
    Thinking cap needed….

  12. Kath
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I accidentally saw Falcon’s ratings before doing the crossword – when I see 3* difficulty from him I’m wary!
    I didn’t find it too tricky so 2* difficulty and 3* for enjoyment from me.
    The clue I had the most trouble with was 29a – spent ages trying to make the definition ‘change’ and the answer ‘switch’ which would have made 17d a bit interesting.
    I faffed around for too long with 2d – didn’t know the poet and thought it was going to be far more complicated than a double definition.
    I can never spell 18a but at least I know I can’t so always look it up – yuk – really don’t like it.
    Missed the hidden 20a so nothing new there.
    I liked 10 and 23a and 3 and 5d. My favourite was 13a, I think, or it might have been 22d – can’t quite make up my mind . . .
    With thanks to our setter and to Falcon with his 26a’s.
    Can’t resist trying the Beam Toughie even though I really should be doing other stuff.

    • Falcon
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Kath, as for the difficulty rating, as George has already pointed out, I expect this one was a tad more of a challenge for those of us outside the UK.

      • Kath
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes – sorry – you’re right, of course.

  13. Jane
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one quite a lot – initial thought was PJ with all that food finding its way into the grid and definitely a cringe-worthy Quickie pun.
    Podium places go to 15a plus 16&22d, with an obvious top spot or me going to 3d – only a tiny bit of snow clinging on there now but doubtless the usual amount of folk misinterpreting directions and getting woefully lost!

    Many thanks to both setter and Falcon.

    Off out now, so ‘Beaming’ Mr T may have to wait a while.

  14. Chris Mills
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    7d is ARCH A IC not ARCH I IC so is not the Roman 1 in AR CHIC but the letter A

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that, can ‘one’ = ‘a’ in crossword speak??

      • Kath
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes – ‘a’ can mean ‘one’ in crosswordese.

        • HoofItYouDonkey
          Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Ta Kath.
          “You have much to learn, Grasshopper”

        • Mary
          Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          I like ‘crosswordese’ :-)

    • Falcon
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Well spotted. I could steal a page from Miffypops’ book and claim that this is merely the mandatory intentional mistake!

  15. Chris
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    ****/** for me. Enjoyment level always lower when I’m unable to finish unaided. Not being much of a foodie I failed to get 10a Peasouper and 12a Chowder although I did manage the much easier 18a Tiramisu given that I already had the U on the end. 1d Rapacity also beat me, despite having Rapacious in my vocabulary. Getting there slowly! Thanks for hints Falcon.

  16. Martin
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Picking up speed lately as doing it on my own since I lost my wife 2 years ago, she was much better!. Finished yesterday to my delight and nearly today apart from 1d, 1a, and 11a. Enjoy the solutions and comments. M.

    • dutch
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Condolences, I’m sure she’d be happy to know you’re picking up speed, well done!

  17. Podiathing
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    7d, if one puts the Roman numeral for 1 into chic one gets chiic not chaic, the “one” must apply to the letter A.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Podiathing.

  18. pete
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled to get going with this one. I found the left side much easier than the right, but I got there eventually. Although I found it quite difficult it was enjoyable. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the explanations.

  19. Conrad Cork
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Nothing wrong with calling Peacock a poet of course, but his reputation today rests on six masterly short comic (hilarious even) novels. Try Nightmare Abbey if he is new to you.

    Really enjoyed the puzzle.

  20. JonP
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward today, but I found that I’d entered a few answers without parsing them completely till post-solve.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon **/***

  21. Rod
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    There is something wrong with 7d, both in the clue and in Falcon’s hints. There seems to be a one too many and no indefinite article.
    Surely 10a is hyphenated 3-6 and I still can’t understand the word ‘take’ meaning the first word in 16d
    Didn’t enjoy this one very much.

    Thanks Falcon

    • Gazza
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing wrong with the clue. ‘One’ is A. I suspect that Falcon has put in a deliberate mistake to see how many people spot it! Pea-souper is hyphenated in Chambers. Take means last as in “The game will last/take all day”.

  22. Longers
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    An appropriate day to come out of the shadows and not only wish you, Big Dave (and of course Her Majesty) a very happy birthday but also to thank you for your wonderful site. Two years ago I could only dream of completing a back pager, but with your daily help & that of your brilliant team I am increasingly achieving a full solve without hints, the BRB, Thesaurus, Internet, electronic crossword solver, The Don”s book or anyone in earshot. It was Mary in the early days whose words of encouragement kept me going and I still remember her advice when struggling. I’m sorry I’m not a “blogger” but I do check your site daily, either for hints or to be disappointed with a */** difficulty rating giving to most of the ones I complete unaided. Perhaps it’s the occasional ill mannered comment or unreasonable criticism of the setter’s work that puts me off! I’m still in the camp that thinks all setters are brilliant in what they do. “Rufus” was my early favourite and still is and I still struggle with “The Don” despite buying his book. Ray T can fox me and Sunday doesn’t always run smoothly. Today – good, unaided solve. 10a favourite, once the fog had lifted! Thanks to Setter, Falcon for review and again to you Big Dave – my hero.

    • Longers
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – got so excited, forgot to mention Gazza. You are also my hero – thanks for your continued assistance.

      • Heno
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Well done Longers. Today’s offering was quite tricky.

  23. Phil Oliver
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    No clue for the quick pun today?

    • Gazza
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      There is now.

  24. Bluebirds
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Doctor the punch = lace?
    None the wiser.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      to add an amount of alcohol drink to a bowl of punch to make it even more alcohol-filled.

    • fran
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      I think if anyone had laced your drink , you would know this one ! Someone spiked/laced my drink at a sportsman’s dinner .I left early in a taxi and felt awful the following day . Not a practice to be recommended , quite dangerous in fact

  25. Senf
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Almost not completed before lights out last night, I was at a dead stop on 11a and 7d; stumped by the government agency, there seem to be so many new ones these days. Finally ‘cracked’ 11a with the aid of a Scrabble word finder web site and 7d followed almost immediately. So, ***/** for me with a favourite of 5d. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  26. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    All done, needed the hint for 1a, “having lost its film certificate” is a new one on me!!!
    Many thanks Falcon, for the hints.
    As it’s fairly early, I shall attempt yesterday’s Toughie, which the experts tell me is nearly of back-pager level; a likely story!!!
    Thanks to the setter. Fav was 22d, made me smile

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t find yesterday’s Toughie back-page level at all but if it’s called a Toughie I can’t do it – something to do with the name automatically tells my brain that it’s not going to be able to do it and then it can’t. Daft, I know, but . . .

    • Falcon
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I confess that “having lost its film certificate” is a rather cryptic way of directing the solver to discard the one letter in the name of the river that is also a British film certificate category — specifically the one designating a film as fit for all to see.

  27. Hanni
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant solve.

    Really liked the training scheme, the fog, the visit to France and the vain creature.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for a first rate blog.

    Happy birthday to HM and to the wonderful BD :rose:

    Beautiful day again so I’m getting ready for the snow at the weekend. Beam later.

  28. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The UK references didn’t cause any problems. We have a government agency called CSA in France also but it’s the audiovisual superior council which monitors what is shown on all screens.
    The winger with allure in 28a made me think of the vain creature in 2d and was looking for another bird somehow.
    Favourite is 22d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the review.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Forgot to wish BD a very happy birthday.
      And to queenie of course.

  29. Heno
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and to Falcon for the review and hints. I managed this ok, but needed the hints to parse 1,11,26a. Had never heard of the poet in 2d, but the wordplay was clear. Last=take was interesting in 16d. 8d was an old chestnut, as was 22d. Last in was 20a, which was a great lurker. Favourite was 10a. Very enjoyable puzzle, was 3*/3* for me. Down to the last 4 semi finals tonight in the squash Tournament, Finals on Saturday afternoon.

  30. Expat Chris
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I did enjoy this. I had no trouble with the UK references apart from 2D, but then I’m British by birth and read the newspapers on line daily. My problems mostly arise with modern slang terms. I checked 15A, 5D and 22D. Much as I loved 22D, I ‘m picking 5D as my favorite because it’ mentions my home town. Thanks to the setter and Falcon, and Happy Birthday to Big Dave and Her Majesty.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    2*/3.5* for my money, and favourite clue either 1a or 14a. Mind you, I was sorely tempted by 8d, which brought to mind my favourite smutty limerick (“When Titian was grinding rose madder, his model was posed up a ladder. Her position to Titian suggested coition, so he dashed up the ladder and..” – well, you can guess the rest if you don’t know it already). My God, that made us laugh immoderately as 14 year olds, and indeed still does 50 years on.

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon, happy birthday to HM the Queen, and fondest farewells to the peerless Victoria Wood.

    • silvanus
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Terrific limerick, certainly on a par with the Bishop from Birmingham one which I won’t repeat here but is worth Googling!

      I totally concur about Victoria Wood, her talent was simply breathtaking.

      • Kath
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know the one about the Bishop from Birmingham but my favourite, because it’s so silly, is:-

        There was a young girl from Japan
        Whose poetry never would scan
        When I told her so
        She replied, yes, I know
        But the trouble is that I have to try to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can.

        Silly but at least it’s clean!

        • dutch
          Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          haha! the version i remember was:

          There was a young man named dutch
          who tried to write a limerick
          his verse didn’t scan
          there was b*****-all rhyme
          and he didn’t really seem to care how many words he had in the last line either

          great think about limericks is that so many others come to mind, none suitable for here.

        • Florence
          Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Really needed that Kath. It cheered me up and made me laugh. Thank you.

          • Kath
            Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            I’m glad that it cheered you up and made you laugh but sorry that it was necessary. :smile:

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh my god!. Victoria Wood! Just learned from your post.
      Very sad loss indeed.

      • Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Would good people stop dying please? At least for the time being.

        • Kath
          Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Yes – so many wonderful people in the last few months.

          • Hanni
            Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            The singer Prince now.

            • dutch
              Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

              yes – genius

  32. Brian
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What a thoroughly dislikable wordy mess and without meaning to criticise Falcon I did find the hint for 8d almost unfathomable
    Finished but with no enjoyment whatsoever mainly because the answers were so difficult to parse even when correct. I would almost(!) have had a Ray T than this concoction.
    Thanks to Falcon for trying to hint this horror.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      How’s the leg Brian? Mending I hope.

  33. Hrothgar
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    8d was a super brilliant clue amongst many.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this super puzzle.
    Got there unaided, except for spotting in this Thread that ‘last’ could mean ‘take’.
    in many instances, got the word and then parsed.
    More from this mystery setter please.
    Many thanks indeed.
    And to Falcon for the review.
    No mean feat.

  34. Mad Man Moon
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m really beginning to look forward to Thursdays. On first pass I solved relatively few but by working through the puzzle logically the answers revealed themselves. Thanks for the review and thanks to the setter. BTW, how do you know who the setter is each day? Is it by style or are they known to the blog?

    • Hanni
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      If you have a look in the FAQ’s at the top of the page. it’s mentioned in there.

      • Mad Man Moon
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Hanni, for taking the time to answer my question.

      • Mad Man Moon
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Following up on the setters, I was not at all surprised to find that Giovanni is Crossword editor for the Church Times!

  35. Dr M
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Pretty straightforward once 5 and 9d were cracked. Had trouble with 22d at first which posed problems with 23a until I realised my error (read the clue!). 13a my favourite.Thanks to falcon and the setter.

  36. silvanus
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Unlike RD and certain others my main difficulty was in the NE corner which yielded only slowly. Strange how most of the answers in that quadrant were dominated by As and Ls.

    I felt that there were a few too many clues involving the deletion of a single letter (I counted at least six) and I didn’t find 5d that convincing unfortunately. The poet in 2d was a little on the obscure side although I do have a vague recollection of him. My two favourites were 10a (even without a hyphen) and 7d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Falcon. Many happy returns to BD and Her Maj. Another national institution, Sir David Attenborough, will also be 90 in a couple of weeks.

  37. e cook
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Again no click button

  38. mre
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint effort today. Didn’t take very long. Only point of interest was that we couldn’t fully rationalise 10a. 14a was quite witty.


  39. Framboise
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Found it tricky today but managed to complete it without ‘cheating’ – I had, however, to get help to parse some of my answers, a recurring move for me. Many happy returns to BD and of course to our Majesty who looks fantastic for a nonagerian. My favourite clue was 22d. 2.5*/3*. It would have been such a fluke if our newly arrived Martin Smith was the friend from our Nigeria days. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  40. Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this and found it a nice level of challenge. I’m afraid I didn’t really take the time to savour it properly because I was impatient to start the Toughie (which I didn’t take to bed with me last night as I was trying to sleep early, trying being the operative word).

    My biggest problems were in parsing 15a (d’oh) and solving 5d, which I’ve managed to get through a few decades of existence without encountering. Not a big racing fan.

    Unlike Kath I do like 18a. In fact I indulged in some recently. I like that one, but my favourite today is 23a.

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon for the good work. And to Gazza for the quickie pun.

    Wishing a very happy birthday to all the birthday boys and girls, especially our very own reigning blogmeister.

  41. Howitzerx3
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    This was a hard one for me but completed with three H//T. Got really stuck in NE corner. However delighted to have solved, what I call a lot of the difficult ones. Particularly pleased with solving 10a / 3d with no help. Learnt a lot again.

    Favourite clue: 3d

    H /T used: 13a / 7d / 8d with no answers revealed. Overall rating 4 / 3

    Thanks to Falcon for the help and thanks to the setter.

    Thanks to Kath as well for the advice yesterday. Noted Kath.

    • Howitzerx3
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      PS. Happy birthday to all concerned.

  42. Young Salopian
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Like many before me, the LHS proved considerably tougher than the right, and the NW corner the hardest of all. Plenty of geographical topics and food contained in this one, with 3 down my favourite of many fine clues, although there was a surfeit of Lego if I am going to be picky.

    3*/3* with thanks to Mr Ron if it is he, and Falcon. Birthday greetings to BD and ER.

  43. Michael
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Umm – too tough for me but my excuse is I’m out of practice and I’m a bit thick anyway – so I won’t worry too much!

    It’s easy once you’ve read the blog!

    **insert emoticon with revolving eyes**

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      The emoticon with the revolving eyes is:- colon then . . . . – oh sod it – if you go to the FAQ bit it’ll tell you how to do all of them.
      I’m quite sure that you’re not thick at all.

      • Michael
        Posted April 21, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink


        Blimey – it works!

  44. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    The number of specifically UK references in this one certainly added an extra level of difficulty for us although we did eventually manage to work them all out.
    Birthday wishes where appropriate.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

  45. Jon_S
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I was heading for a ** time, but then got completely stuck on 1ac and 2d, which took the same time again. The poet was rather obscure, wasn’t he?

  46. Florence
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday to Her Majesty and to Big Dave. Thank you setter and Falcon. I guess pride comes before a fall. I struggled with this and had to click on lots of answers. The smug look has now been wiped off my face, and I am trotting off with my tail between my legs.

  47. Gwizz
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought this crossword was OK! Certainly a bit different in make up of clues, but that’s no bad thing I feel. I liked 1d and overall a steady 3/3*.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.
    Happy BD BD!

  48. snape
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Only really managed the NW so far, but slowly spreading, just popping in to wish BD and HM a happy birthday (I know she’s a big fan). Cheers to the setter and Falcon, whose hints I’m sure I will need.

  49. AnntheArt
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Found this one quite difficult but did enjoy many of the clues once the penny dropped. Did resort to hints, notably 5d…so straightforward with hindsight. Got 10a but couldn’t work out why without the hint, also had trouble with 1a and 27a.
    But I do feel that with the help of this blog I am getting so much more from the solving and am now learning, as someone said the other day, to work slowly through taking each word at a time.
    So thank you falcon and the setter and everyone for the fun. Goodnight all.

  50. Gillian Hickey
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Today I got 6 answers by myself, before having to resort to help from Big Dave. Getting better every day! :-)

    • Gazza
      Posted April 21, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Gillian. and well done. You’ll be getting all the answers yourself before you know it.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 22, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      Hey Gillian. Hello from me too. You can become a fully paid up member of the used to useless but now I attempt the toughie club if you read the hints on a daily basis.

  51. Tstrummer
    Posted April 22, 2016 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Nothing too tricky here, but I found it on the whole rather flat.thanks to Falcon for his efforts, to BD for being there and to the setter, even though I can’t pick a favourite tonight. 2*/2*
    Off to bed now with a whisky and morphine cocktail in the hope of getting at least a partial night’s sleep