DT 28101

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28101

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a bright but very windy morning.

If you’ve come across some of the more obscure words used in today’s Giovanni you should find it straightforward. If you haven’t …

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.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Maiden possibly facing accusation as cheat (10)
OVERCHARGE – We have a four-letter cricketing term, of which ‘maiden’ is an example, followed by a formal accusation.

6a           Drink nothing, coming back for work (4)
OPUS – Start with another word for ‘drink’ followed by the letter which looks like a zero, then reverse (coming back) the lot.

9a           Officer returning with hesitation as one to fill a gap? (5)
LOCUM – An abbreviation for a senior regimental officer followed by a hesitation, giving us someone who stands in for a doctor, perhaps.

10a         Optical instrument must be awfully precise when surgery’s involved (9)
PERISCOPE – Anagram (awfully) of PRECISE wrapped around an abbreviation for a surgical procedure.

Image result for periscope

12a         Soldiers calm when guarding hospital or academic institution (7,6)
PRIVATE SCHOOL – Some common soldiers followed by a word for calm wrapped around the abbreviation for Hospital.

14a         Quickest run by runner in Hants (8)
FLEETEST – To run, as in run away, followed by the Hampshire river which meets the Itchen at Southampton.

15a         Dissolute editor stopped indulging completely (6)
FASTED – A somewhat dated term for dissolute (think ‘xxxx women and slow horses’) followed by an abbreviation for editor.

17a         Government department has uncertainty with unknown change (6)
MODIFY – Put together the initials of a Government ministry, a conjunction indicating uncertainty or the existence of a condition, and an algebraic unknown.

19a         Steward in club at Etihad Stadium with one short request (8)
MANCIPLE – Put together a Manchester football club (not Man U, the other one), the Roman numeral for one, and a request or entreaty with its final letter removed. This gives you an archaic term for a steward or purveyor, one of whom appears in The Canterbury Tales.

21a         One with exaggerated respect for priests could become so strait-laced (13)
SACERDOTALIST – Anagram (could become) of SO STRAIT-LACED. It helps if you know the Latin word for priest.

24a         Gross rage may come from this belligerent person (9)
AGGRESSOR – Anagram (may come from) of GROSS RAGE.

25a         Bosses of firm lacking enthusiasm, we hear (5)
BOARD – The top level of management in a company – a homophone of ‘lacking enthusiasm’.

26a         Long periods of leisure on sabbatical (4)
EONS – Hidden in the clue.

27a         Tense learner at university, outwardly faultless (10)
PLUPERFECT – A grammatical tense which I had hoped to avoid using – but now I have! Put the letter indicating a learner driver and a two-letter word for ‘at university’ inside a word for faultless.


1d           Look after seaman in capital city (4)
OSLO – A seaman ranking below an AB, followed by a command to look, which gives us a Scandinavian capital.

Image result for oslo

2d           English witness wants capture of top person who’s got away (7)
ESCAPEE English, followed by a word meaning ‘witness’ wrapped around a top (on a bottle , for example).

3d           Join branch of police and achieve legal recognition (4,4,5)
COME INTO FORCE – This expression, which refers to a piece of law beginning to have effect, could also describe the act of joining the police.

4d           A quiet break interrupted by onset of loud cheers? (8)
APPLAUSE – Put together A (from the clue), the musical symbol for quiet, and a break in proceedings wrapped around the first letter of Loud.

5d           Shrub getting good ‘ack? (5)
GORSE Good followed by something of which an ‘ack is an example.

Image result for gorse

7d           IRA member on street becomes a dignitary (7)
PROVOST – The term applied to members of one of the branches of the IRA followed by the abbreviation for street.

8d           Something in tool shed maybe has left little darlings upset — snake (10)
STEPLADDER – Start with Left and some little darlings (human or animal), reverse the lot and follow the result with a venomous snake.

Image result for stepladder

11d         Conservative in party flexible — one out to impress superiors (6,7)
SOCIAL CLIMBER – A variety of party – a fairly sedate one of the sort that might be held in a church hall – and a word for ‘flexible’, placed either side of Conservative.

13d         Not following official line, could make some gaffes (3-7)
OFF-MESSAGE – Anagram (could make) of SOME GAFFES.

16d         Male in the manner of rugby player who couldn’t find the right words? (8)
MALAPROP – Put together Male, an expression (1,2) for ‘in the manner of’, and a front row forward. You get the lady in Sheridan’s play The Rivals who described another character ‘she’s as headstrong as an allegory’.

18d         Figure in endless pain after a month (7)
DECAGON – A geometrical figure is made up of an abbreviation for one of the months of the year followed by a word for severe pain with its final letter removed.

Image result for decagon

20d         Servant eating too much stew (7)
POTTAGE – A three-letter expression (1,1,1) informally used to mean ‘too much’, is inserted into a junior male servant. The result is the sort of stew which Jacob sold to Esau in return for his birthright.

22d         Bird in roofless building overlooking lake (5)
OUSEL – A building with its first letter removed, followed by Lake. Second time this week that this bird has made an appearance.

Image result for ousel

23d         Revolutionary movement bringing change (4)
EDIT – Reverse (revolutionary) a movement of the seas.

The Quick Crossword pun FASTEN + HATING = FASCINATING


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    2*/2*. I didn’t find this difficult but the cluing was generally too verbose for my taste. 8d in particular seemed rather clunky.

    I didn’t know that the last six letters of 11d could be used an adjective meaning “flexible”; 19a and 21a were new words for me; and I have always spelt 20d with only one T. However all of these words are in my BRB.

    25a is not a homophone in my book; and isn’t “branch of” unnecessary in 3d?

    22d is obviously the bird of the week.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  2. Dutch
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    19a and 21a have been added to my vocabulary – apart from these, i thought the puzzle was fairly kind. I liked 13d (not following official line) and the simple 25a made me smile.

    Many thanks Giovanni and Deep Threat – I was impressed that you had used the tense!

  3. Graham
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Almost a R&W until I hit 21A, 27A. But managed to sort out without resorting to thr hints,this put it in ***/*** territory for me. Many thanks to the setter & DT for his review.

  4. Brian
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    On the easier side of a Giovanni I thought but great fun nonetheless. The usual quota of obscure words in 21a (had to look this up) and 19a which I thought very clever. The best clue for me however goes to 8d even if I do keep mine in the garage😀 .
    Ment in Despatches for 27a which takes me back to my school Latin days.
    Thx to all esp to the Don for once again restoring my confidence and the fun of crosswords.

  5. MalcolmR
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A couple of new words for me; (19a & 21a). If I have to resort to either the BRB or electronic assistance, I think it warrants at least 3*.

  6. Jane
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Got back home last night following a week of emotional highs spent celebrating my daughter’s wedding in Wiltshire. Still ready to burst into tears again at the drop of a hat so am grateful that DG kept his religious references off the subject of marriage!
    Thank goodness I wasn’t attempting this on the train journey home as I definitely needed reference material for Etihad Stadium, the steward and that unbelievable 21a. Even when all the checkers were in place in the latter, I struggled to make a word I could even pronounce!

    Best of the bunch for me were 8d (yes, I did try for some sort of anagram) and 27a, which made me shudder a little with recollections of school day language lessons.

    Thanks to DG and to DT for the revision of ‘tenses’.
    Hope you’ve all been behaving in my absence?

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      27a reminded me of the old chestnut where it is (just about) possible to string together 11 “hads” in a single sentence. Rather than trying to remember it, I found it in Wikipedia:

      James, while John had had “had”, had had “had had”; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

      The explanation is that James and John were required by an English teacher to describe a man who, in the past, had suffered from a cold. John wrote, “The man had a cold,” which is incorrect, while James wrote the correct, “The man had had a cold.” Since James’ answer was right, it had had a better effect on the teacher.

      And yes, Jane, of course we missed you. Welcome back. And, of course, we have all been behaving!

      • Hanni
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        My heads spinning just reading that sentence RD!

        Glad you’re back on the blog!! I suspect I behaved myself. Who knows?

      • Jose
        Posted April 30, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        RD. This reminds me of a daft thing me and my goddaughter (then 10) made up one Sunday afternoon whilst sat (er, I mean sitting) in the car waiting for the rain to stop so we could have a game of tennis. It’s about a famous deceased actor who owns a wood and he likes to go in there chopping wood:

        If Edward Woodward had a pile of wood in his wood, would the wood in Edward Woodward’s wood be known as the wood of Edward Woodward’s wood or Edward Woodward’s wood’s wood?

        She still thinks it’s hilarious now she’s 24!

    • Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      So glad to have you back, Jane. Happy to hear it went well – I’ll let you recover before asking for any details.

      I have of course behaved impeccably in your absence, as always.

    • silvanus
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back from me too, the blog is always the poorer for your absence!

      Now to tackle Mr. Manley’s latest offering, back later, but not too much later I hope…

    • Kath
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Glad that you’re back – hope it all went well. You’ve been missed. :smile:

    • Dutch
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      welcome back Jane, you’ve been missed.

      I’ve tried to behave.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        He really did Jane, him and Gazza have been teaching me German and stuff.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back. I trust there was fun and games, here we are and there we are and much malarkey.

      • Jane
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Hi TS – I’m told that you’re still proffering sick notes. Please tell me that ‘they’ have at least got as far as a diagnosis and that you’re on the mend? I’d hate to think of both The Times and the Australian broadcasting network grinding to a halt!

    • Merusa
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back! Glad all went well.

      • Jane
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Hi Merusa,
        Hanni told me the bad news re: your postponed op. date – how absolutely ghastly for you. Have you got a revised date as yet? These things are bad enough to steel yourself for without getting knocked back at the very last minute.

        • Merusa
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the commiserations, so frustrating. I re-do labs on Tuesday and scheduled for surgery on Wednesday. I just hope this new hip will get me walking again.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Good to see you.
      Glad everything went well and everybody held their peace (of cake) bien sur !

    • pommers
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Behaving? Badly in most cases methinks – welcome back :yes:

    • Jane
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks guys – I’ve missed you all as well. Have to report that I did sign up another convert to our wonderful blog in the shape of the partner of the bride’s best friend – he was checking out the Wednesday review midst the drinks and canapés!

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted April 30, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Hello Jane, welcome back, sounds like the wedding went well….

  7. cat
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    This looked more difficult at first than it actually was, one of those days when I actually found the Quickie more difficult! 19a was a new word to me but the answer was all there in the clue – once I had clicked about the Stadium. Many thanks to setter and DT.

  8. Mad Man Moon
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Plain sailing until I came across 21a and the SE corner. Had to resort to an anagram solver for the ecclesiastical obscurity in 21a. 19a was also new to me. I found the clues a little verbose,

  9. Beaver
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Basically agree with the blog comments so far, in that it was pretty straight forward with a couple of googlies thrown in for good measure, never heard of 13d either, didn’t mean anything to me. Liked 16d, overall a **/** as there were also a few ‘iffy’ clues like 11d.
    20a was apposite as I have been enjoying the snooker this week, which in my view was far more enjoyable than the dire football served up-especially by 19a !

  10. pete
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I must be having a bad day, for me this was very difficult. Never heard of 19a, 21a and 27a before. 5d, 8d and 18d all seemed clumsy to me. I usually like the offerings from Giovanni, but I am left feeling dissatisfied with this one. Maybe I am just in a grumpy mood, been snowing all morning here in Gateshead. Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the hints.

  11. Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I found three quarters of this straightforward, but the SE took a little more time and thought. I’m another who didn’t know 19a (or Etihad stadium). Or 21a, or even the IRA member in 7d.

    23d was neat, and I liked 11d (I wanted to start it with sucker, as in sucker-upper, but sadly no). My favourite is 27a – both clue and hint.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      sucker upperer fit

      • Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Yes. But just because something fits doesn’t mean it should go in.

        • Merusa
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Oops! oh dear, oh dear!

  12. Young Salopian
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Definitely 3*/3* for me, as the obscurities held me up. I think the bird in 22 down flew into an earlier crossword this week. No standout favourites, but this was nonetheless a pleasant solve overall. Thanks to the Don and DT.

    The quick crossword is a pangram by the way, with a less excruciating pun than yesterday.

    • Kath
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I think that Friday quick crosswords are always pangrams.

      • Young Salopian
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I thought that might be the case. Thanks for the confirmation Kath.

  13. jaycat
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Found this a bit long winded and needed hints for the unknown to me words 27a, 21a and 19a.

    Liked some clues but not others.

    Thanks setter and DT for the hints.


  14. Angel
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    A game of two distinct halves – sailed through most of the West (with a little help from gizmo friend) but East was different kettle of fish so thanks to DT for bailing me out there. TVM Giovanni for entertainment and for increasing my vocabulary viz 21a and 19a where Etihad rang no bells at all so needed Google. ***/***.

  15. Michael
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 19a and 21a were new words to me as well that I found with my Wordsearch program – the rest of it was straight-forward.


  16. Bluebird
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Well, the SE corner definitely did for me.

    I could never give ** for anything where I didn’t know 2 words at all (19,21) and failed to dredge up two words I knew (16,20) and one (27) which had hidden Itself away in very old brain vaults (sorry, couldn’t resist that…)

    Not my usual enjoyable Friday puzzle so ***/** and thanks to DT for the answers.

  17. pommers
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Being a Mancunian, albeit a red, I knew of the Etihad Stadium and I’d also heard of the steward so that one went in fairly easily but the priests? Where did that come from?

    Otherwise I thought it was tricky enough to be interesting but not one to give you brain-ache.

    Thanks to the Don and DT.

    BTW, just been watching a bit of the Tour de Yorkshire and the weather here today is pretty much the same as it is there. Where has the spring gone? :sad:

    • Hanni
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pommers,

      Love the Tour de Yorkshire. Was helping a friend put bunting up the other day for it to go past. No idea where spring is mind.

      Think it might help to be Catholic for the priests clue.

    • Ora Meringue
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Sacerdos is Latin for priest…..I thought everyone knew that….😉

      • pommers
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Last studied Latin for O level in 1969 so memory has faded more than somewhat in the intervening years! Now you come to mention it I probably did know once upon a time.

        • Ora Meringue
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          I am absolutely sure that you did know it….they were always going on about their Gods when they weren’t maundering on about Caesar’s Gallic wars or the Punic wars or whatever. 5 years of my life studying Latin that I will never get back…..but sometimes it is helpful for crosswords, so perhaps Beaky, Basher and Noddy, the triumvirate of Latin teachers that struggled with me did some good.
          Forgot about Plug, the fourth one…but he was eminently forgettable.

          Do schoolkids still have nicknames for teachers ?

          • pommers
            Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            I never really understood the nicknames for some some of our teachers. We had a ‘Basher’ Bailey who never bashed anyone but was a pleasant chap who allowed small groups of boys to join in with his weekend fell-walking in the Peak District. It was he who once dragged me up Kinder Scout!

            We had a Mr Levi who was known as Sid for reasons lost in the mists of time (his real first name was Isaac).

            And a ‘Slick’ Nick who was really Mark Nicholson but what was Slick about him I can’t remember but well-dressed he certainly wasn’t but he was a county standard badminton player, not that that’s relevant.

            The only one I did understand was ‘Gospel’ Verity who was my O level latin teacher.

            • MalcolmR
              Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

              Basher Bailey? I know which school you went to then. Sapere Aude.

              • pommers
                Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

                I take it that you are an Old Mancunian. if you know about Basher. I was there from 1965 to 1971. Were we contemporaries perchance?

                • MalcolmR
                  Posted April 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

                  You’ve got the years on me, I was 1969-1976. I would be a sprog when you were in the Sixth form!

                  • pommers
                    Posted April 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

                    So we had a bit of overlap at least. And maybe a lot of shared memories in the 500th anniversary top 50. Did you get those emails? Sivs was my favourite by a long way.

                    As you say, Sapere Aude.

              • HoofItYouDonkey
                Posted April 30, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

                My carpentry teacher was ‘hoppy’ Baker, lost his right leg at Gallipoli.
                Threw a chisel at me once, it missed and embedded itself in the desk!! Mad as a box of frogs.

      • dutch
        Posted April 30, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        never had any Latin – don’t know whether i’m lucky or not

  18. Hanni
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Nothing too bad from the Don this morning…then again I did the Elgar first so maybe made it seem straightforward.

    Very unusually I had heard of the Etihad and knew which team played there…not sure how or why as I know nothing about football, rugby and cricket yes, football, just no.

    Very glad that the bird came up again as it’s one I know so always feel a it smug when I get a bird answer right.

    Enjoyed the anagrams which were solved with a pencil circle. Biggest mess up was putting the wrong spelling of 25a in even though I knew the right answer. Lack of concentration on my part.

    Liked the shrub getting ‘acked’ and 13d.

    Apparently you can make a wine out of 5d. I haven’t tried but it tastes coconutty so it seems.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for a great blog.

    Quick ride out this morning but worth it. Hope everyone had a good bank holiday weekend.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Just realised I know more about football stadia.

      Arsenal = Emirates
      Newcastle = St James
      West Ham = the olympic one
      and there is a team that play at Stamford Bridge.


      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        West Ham haven’t quite reached the Olympic Stadium yet; they will be there in a few months’ time.

        And who plays at the delightfully named?

        Stadium of Light
        Theatre of Dreams
        Liberty Stadium

        Can these really be apposite names for football stadia?

        • Hanni
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Damn…thought I was doing well.


          I’ve just realised that I know who play at the Stadium of Light..Sunderland.
          Middlesbrough = Riverside.

          No idea about the other two but I love the name Theatre of Dreams. That’s just gorgeous.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Theatre of Dreams – Manchester United
            Liberty Stadium – Swansea City

            • silvanus
              Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

              Benfica would have also qualified as a correct answer for the Stadium of Light!

              Very appropriately for next season, an anagram of West Ham United is The New Stadium :-)

            • Hanni
              Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

              I wouldn’t have got those at all. Hang on…Old Trafford rings a bell for Manchester United? Or is that just cricket?

              That is quite good re the anagram Silvanus :-)

              • silvanus
                Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

                Hi Hanni,

                The “Theatre of Dreams” is a nickname for Manchester United’s stadium at Old Trafford, which is the area of Manchester where both the football and cricket grounds of that name are located.

                • Hanni
                  Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                  Ahh. :oops:

                  Thanks Silvanus. :-)

                • pommers
                  Posted April 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

                  And where I was born.

                  • Shropshirelad
                    Posted April 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

                    What – you were born in a football ground?

                    • pommers
                      Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

                      Thought someone would say that :yes:

                  • Shropshirelad
                    Posted April 30, 2016 at 12:11 am | Permalink

                    Yes pommers and I bet you knew it would be me :)

                • MalcolmR
                  Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

                  And just to confuse things, the Old Trafford Cricket ground is also called the Etihad.

                  • Hanni
                    Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

                    Yup, that just adds to the confusion. :-)

    • Dutch
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      sounds like an experiment in the making

      • Hanni
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Only if someone picks the gorse! Had enough run-ins with the stuff. But yes it is very tempting. I’ve been thinking I need to branch out more and Jane said I wasn’t allowed distilling thingy. Not sure why. :unsure:

        • Jane
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear – please tell me the gorse experiment isn’t going to be in progress whilst I’m there……….

          • Hanni
            Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            Yes..yes it will be. I thought it could be a fun thing to do. Fingers ripped to shreds picking tiny flowers, boiling them up with sugar etc. Bet the distilling thingy is looking better all the time! :cool:

  19. Kath
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear – my usual Friday pig’s ear. 3* difficulty and 2* for enjoyment.
    Like most others I’d never heard of 19 and 21a – it could be tricky to slip those into conversation to fix them into the brain – or the Etihad Stadium.
    I didn’t know the 7d IRA member or the expression at 13d either.
    My boob of the day was to have the 18d month as ‘Oct’ so the figure was an ‘Octagon’ – all perfectly logical but it didn’t half mess up 17 and 21a.
    I liked 12 and 27a and 16d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

    • pommers
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, we went for Octagon on first pass too :oops:

      • Kath
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh good – glad it wasn’t just me – I bet you realised the mistake more quickly than I did though – I didn’t spot it until 17 and 21a became impossible. :roll:

        • pommers
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          I only twigged it was wrong when looking at 21a which was last in. I thought I had all the checkers so guessed the end would be -ALIST. Then there aren’t many realistic combinations of what’s left so I looked them all up in the BRB and guess what? None of them were there. Then I started looking for which checker might be wrong and it was only then that the fact that there was an alternative to OCTAGON jumped out and slapped me around the head with a wet haddock,

          Have to say I’m not keen on clues where there are two equally good answers and it’s only the checkers that tell you which one is correct.

    • Salty Dog
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Me too – another octagonner until 17a forced me to look again. OK, 21a was a new word to me, but I never bump up the difficulty for words I don’t know (after all the whole point of a cryptic crossword is that you should be able to work out the answers from the clues, otherwise it becomes a GK test). So 1*/3* and favourite clue either 8d, 16d or 27a. Ta to the Don and DT.

    • Jane
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Smug person here – I’d got 17a in so never thought beyond December!

  20. Ora Meringue
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Really did not do well with this one….only got about half of it without hints…and I am probably being generous to myself.

    But I shall plod on.

    Many thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.

  21. AnntheArt
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I think I will have to get used to feeling really inadequate on Fridays! But realised early on that this was a learning opportunity and so made rich use of the hints. Many clues, such as 8d, were of the million years variety, as in it would take me that long to get them.
    I also, like Hanni, had the wrong spelling for 25a…doh!…I might have got 20d more readily but for that.
    Of the clues I did solve, I liked 9a, 10a, 13d. Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  22. neveracrossword
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    21a was my first one in. Although I have never heard the word before, I remembered from Latin A-level that “sacerdotes” were priests. The Latin also helped with 27a (“plusquamperfectum” ). 22d, although a “rara avis”, has been spotted twice in one week. Thanks to DT and “gratias” to the Don.

  23. silvanus
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Despite the obscurities which made the right-hand side more of a challenge than the left, I thought that this was more enjoyable than usual for a Friday back-pager.

    Luckily my Latin knowledge helped me with 21a, but 19a was a new word, and like RD, I had only encountered 20d with a single “t” previously. I also agree with him about the unsatisfactory homophone in 25a, perhaps it does qualify in certain Scottish accents? SL, any thoughts?

    I ticked five clues which I really liked, namely 1a, 12a, 27a, 13d and 16d. Mr. Manley has a merit mark deducted, however, for the repetition of “become”/”becomes” in 21a and 7d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni, Deep Threat and a good weekend to all (I hope the rumbles of thunder I’m hearing as I’m typing this are not a bad omen for the Bank Holiday!)

  24. Tstrummer
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Not one of the Don’s greatest fans, but I enjoyed this one very much. Only the priest-lover caused head scratching and was my last one in, but became fairly straightforward by then as I had so many checkers. Lots to like, but I’m plumping for 18d as my hot shot. The only downside – and I won’t bore you with this again – was the execrable 2d. I’ve chastised the Don for this before; he should know better and he loses an enjoyment star because of it. Thanks to DT for parsing 8d for me. 2*/3*

  25. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    So refreshing.
    After a real struggle with Elgar, this felt like a walk in the park.
    Had to check the stadium and the word that resulted from the parsing.
    21a is common knowledge in France.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  26. mre
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    Another joint effort today and mostly straightforward enough after a slow start.


  27. Merusa
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I made a huge mistake in 11d and put “secret admirer” because it fit, but I suspected it was wrong.
    I knew 21a was an anagram but resorted to gizmo for solving because it didn’t look like anything I knew.
    I never got 19a or 25a, Etihad Stadium is pretty esoteric.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and particularly to DT for helping me unravel my mistakes.

  28. Jaylegs
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but I found this hard going 😕 I did complete it (I can’ t come to the blog for a hint as once again they are uncovered) ****/*** I mean who had ever heard of 21a 😥 So pleased to see that 22d are still passing through in spite of the weather 😉 Liked 20d & 27a 👍 Thanks to DT for the blog and the picture of the Mountain Blackbird and to Giovanni for a tricky but solveable crossword 😁

  29. Howitzerx3
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Afraid I’m not on the same wavelength as “The Don” just can’t seem to break the clues down like I can for a lot of the other setters. Yet a lot of the clues are reasonably straightforward from DT hints and tips, although some of the answer are words I am not familiar with?

    Anyway not a good day and a 3/10 for my effort. However learnt a lot from DT hints and tips, hopefully for a better effort for the next Don puzzle?

    Special thanks to DT your efforts were not wasted today, and thanks to the setter.

    Looking forward to the Saturday Prize puzzle.

    • Kath
      Posted April 29, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I’m not on his wave length either – I always find Fridays the most difficult of the week. It’s silly really because when you look at the crossword when (if) you’ve finished it all the clues are perfectly fair and even when the answer is a word that you don’t know if you try hard enough you can usually work it out. Who knows? Whatever . . .

      • Kath
        Posted April 29, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        PS – Anyway I haven’t yet forgiven him for using ‘bedmaker’ as a synonym for ‘nurse’ – that was a bad move! :negative:

        • Howitzerx3
          Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for your support Kath as usual.The problem for me is I think I look to deeply at his clues and miss the blindingly obvious. Very silly of him to cross you Kath I certainly wouldn’t and I’ve worked with ward sisters from our generation!

          Thanks again.

  30. Gwizz
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought today’s crossword was a bit of a curate’s egg to be honest. A few interesting clues, a few indecipherable answers as well as a few good ones. I likes the ‘ joining the police’ one at 3D and this is my favourite I think. 21a was my last one in and was a bit of a guess, Latin never was my strong point, even with the redoubtable Miss Gunning all those years ago trying her hardest to get me enthused.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  31. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    We started off with WASTED for 15a from the definition ‘indulging completely’ but a closer look soon sorted that out. A few words that did stretch our vocabularies but we expect that on a Friday and readily justified from the wordplay. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  32. Jon_S
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I made heavy weather of this, struggling each step of the way. On a different wavelength, or is it just the Friday blues?

  33. JonathanR
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Not too tricky until 19 and 21, neither of which I’d heard of or managed to get. Only very vaguely heard of the stadium in 19 as well so that confused me. Liked 16, mainly because I just like the word. Thanks to those who put so much effort into the blog, it’s helped me loads over the years.

  34. Vancouverbc
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Only just finished due to preoccupation with a Rick Stein Lamb Dopiaza. ***/*** for me. Two new words at 19 and 21. Thanks to the setter and DT for the review.

  35. Shropshirelad
    Posted April 30, 2016 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Totally off blog subject – does anyone feel like meeting up for a day at the cricket during the forthcoming tests this summer?

  36. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 30, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    SE corner did for me a bit, I needed a couple of hints to complete…
    A much better showing by me today from the usual, poor performance on a Giovanni puzzle.
    Just read the blog, don’t get me started on West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium, as a Millwall fan and a London rate payer, I have to pay for it!!!!

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted April 30, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      19 and 21 were new for me, probably parse-able, but I was already a day behind.
      Some lovely clues…1a was probably favourite as I liked the way the setter tried to fool us into thinking ‘cheat’ was a noun.
      Good stuff, again thanks to DT for the hints and the setter for a good challenge.

  37. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 30, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Stroke of luck with 14a, I knew that ‘Fleet’ was a town in Hants, couldn’t sort out where the ‘est’ came from, who cares, I thought!! It’s right!! Only when reading DT’s hints did I realise how way-off the wordplay I was, I should know the river Test, as part of it run’s through my uncle’s farm!!

  38. Jose
    Posted April 30, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Tackled this yesterday (Fri) aft/eve and it took about 3 times longer than normal for a back-pager. I learned 3 new words (19a, 21a and 27a) and managed to get them just using the checkers, BRB, logic and intuition. So instead of 2.5*/3* without those 3, it’s 3*/3*. An excellent crossword and very enjoyable to solve.

  39. Heno
    Posted April 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Found it impossible for the most part. Needed 11 hints to finish. Had never heard of 19,21,27a. Was 4*/1* for me.

  40. judetheobscure
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I need a window into Deep Threat’s mind. As far as I was concerned – difficulty rating 1* (finished in double-quick time), previous Friday 4* (4 clues left unsolved).
    According to DT, 2* for each :o