DT 28187 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28187

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28187

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

Today’s hints and tips have been prepared for you by Miffypops [but blame BD not Miffypops for the ratings!].

The solving of a cryptic crossword puzzle should be a pleasant experience overall. Filling in the last of the white squares is greatly satisfying. There may be some frustration and bewilderment along the way but this is offset by the ‘Doh’ or ‘penny drop’ moment when the mystery of the wordplay becomes clear and the answer reveals itself.

Big Dave’s site aims to help solvers of all abilities to complete their Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword puzzles and to explain in simple English how each and every clue works.

Just as Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword setters are recognisable from their individual style of setting so it is with Big Dave’s team of bloggers. Each of us writes in our own style to provide hints and tips and occasionally comment upon a clue or its answer. Often the comment is an attempt to inject humour into a blog that might be somewhat dull without it. I have looked at other sites which offer help with puzzles from other newspapers and found them very flat in comparison.

As far as I can see, this is the only site that provides illustrations and musical clips to sit alongside the hints to some clues. This provides a place for the odd bit of humour and can allow a blogger’s personality to shine through the hints.

All of the above has made Big Dave’s site the wonderful friendly place that it has become which can be clearly seen from reading through the comments left after the hints. So with the above in mind I will begin to provide hints and tips for today’s puzzle No 28,187 in a way which I hope will inform where necessary and amuse on occasion. No offence is meant to anybody but just in case, sorry in advance.

The hints and tips below are my attempt to guide you through this puzzle and cut through the mystery that surrounds the cluing of cryptic crossword puzzles. Definitions are underlined. If you are still bamboozled after reading the hints and tips then click on the greyed out box to reveal the answer.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Friendly question of what I can do (7)
AMIABLE: Split 2,1,4 the answer asks if one can do something

5a    Cut by instrument, doctor is cross (7)
SCISSOR: Todays first anagram (doctor) IS CROSS

9a    Currency comes in handy getting Dutch pottery (5)
DELFT: The symbol which denotes our English pound is placed inside an adjective meaning demonstrating skill and cleverness.

10a    Launched attack but he’d give in, beaten (9)
INVEIGHED: Anagram number two (beaten) of HE’D GIVE IN

11a    He struggles to study before exam — exemplary worker (10)
CONTESTANT: Place three little words suggested by the clue together to find one who struggles. The words to look out for are STUDY 3, EXAM 4, and WORKER 3. I am not altogether happy about the definition here but feel that if was able to solve the clue then with a few checkers and a following wind, so should you.

12a    Give aid to a Yankee (4)
ABET: A from the clue and a type of wager on four or more horses to win or be placed.

14a    One puts things right at last (4-8)
SHOE REPAIRER: This last is a metal or wooden model used by a cobbler. The clue is asking for another name for the person who uses a last.

18a    Wholly dedicated to remaining unmarried? (6-6)
SINGLE-MINDED: A cryptic definition of a person set or determined on one thing only.

21a    Part of foot to move slowly (4)
INCH: A double definition. This foot is not at the end of your leg. It is a measurement which can be broken down into twelfths.

22a    Night-watchman (10)
ASTRONOMER: A cryptic definition of one who gazes at the heavens.

25a    Greatest respect for commercial delivery (9)
ADORATION: Our two lettered commercial is followed by a vocal delivery.

26a    In modern times, consuming anger is publicly displayed (5)
AIRED: The abbreviation used to denote times after the birth of Christ contains (in) a noun meaning anger. The modern trend in academia is to use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) so maybe we will see those abbreviations creeping their way in to crosswordland.

27a    Making uniform or sort of dress that’s formal (7)
EVENING: Another double definition. The first meaning ironing and the second Black Tie.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a    Frightful house — I’d move (7)
HIDEOUS: Anagram (move) of HOUSE and I’D


1d    One may go to pot (6)
ADDICT: Pot here is a mind-altering substance and this describes one who is an enthusiastic devotee of it.

2d    Having nothing particular to do, I would fish (6)
IDLING: “I would” in its shortened form is followed by Crosswordland’s favourite fish which can be found in the Usual Suspects section under the cryptic crosswords banner at the head of this blog. This will also tell you the shortened form of I would is also a fish.

3d    Bet it’s the wife! (6,4)
BETTER HALF: A common term referring to our partners is the answer to this clue. Once we have the answer we can see that BET is a certain fraction of the answer. Further discussion is invited on this one. It seems we need the answer to get the clue.

4d    Are no longer first (5)
EXIST: To Be. To live and breathe. A short term meaning no longer is placed before first as written as a symbol. Work backwards from 4th 3rd 2nd. Got it? Good.

5d    Number observed to hold race, perhaps (9)
SEVENTEEN: Place a thing that happens or takes place such as a race inside a word meaning observed to reveal this number

6d    Something missing from Irish flag (4)
IRIS: The something that is missing from IRIS[H] is the “H”.

7d    A noted work of his remained unfinished (8)
SCHUBERT: The word noted here refers to a musical score. We are looking for a composer who wrote an unfinished symphony. The one that fits the bill came from Austria and lived from 1797 until 1928. This unfinished work would have been his Eighth Symphony had not death got in the way.

8d    Flier makes Marxist jump (8)
REDSTART: Our usual communist precedes a jump of the kind one does when suddenly frightened.

13d    Assume responsibility for fool employee (4,2,4)
TAKE IN HAND: Find a phrase meaning to fool (4,2) and add a manual worker.

15d    Unhappy men she upset, spilling gin and getting engaged? (9)
ENMESHING: An anagram (unhappy) of MEN followed by another anagram (upset) of SHE followed by yet another anagram (spilling) of GIN.

16d    Some folk carelessly drop this character in the middle of nowhere (8)
ASPIRATE: The sound that some folk carelessly drop is also the sound made by the middle letter/character of the word nowHere.

17d    Account with date once rendered (8)
ANECDOTE: Anagram (rendered) of DATE ONCE

19d    It needs to grow by more developing (6)
EMBRYO: Anagram (developing) of BY MORE

20d    Sorts out degrees (6)
GRADES: A double definition

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    The US stock market depends on its products (5)
RANCH: Where stock such as cattle are raised in the good old USA

24d    Vehicle to move before take-off (4)
TAXI: Another double definition, the second being the movement of an aeroplane before take-off.

Epilogue. A fairly easy solve today and a relatively easy blog.

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

The Quick Crossword pun: scent+tense=sentence

110 comments on “DT 28187

  1. A solo effort today before breakfast. R&W throughout but plenty to enjoy so 1*/3*. Favourites were 13d and 18a.

    Thanks for the review, MP.

    On 3d I’m not sure what MP is asking for input on otherwise; we often need to get the answer to understand half of the clue, do we not? 1a in Friday’s Toughie is a case in point.

    Thanks as well to the setter.

  2. I quite agree with Miffypops’ comments. The site is invaluable to me especially when */** should be **/*** for me

  3. Fairly straight forward apart from 16d, if I sat here till Christmas, I doubt I would have worked that one out. Not too keen on 3d, favourites were 10a and 15d. Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for explaining 16d.

  4. Straightforward but very enjoyable with lots of nice clues */**** 😊 LIked 1a & 16d thanks to MP and the Setter 👍

  5. This site is informative, fun and educational, we look forward to reading the blogs, but now down to 28187, I found this quite difficult but as usual I get fixated on an answer only to discover that I couldn’t be further off track if I tried.
    Still todays offering definitely ****/**** some setters wave lengths I can get on straight way others like today I need electronic help, but not too many reveals. Beautiful day in North Cornwall.
    Many thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  6. I absolutely agree with the ratings – a pleasure to solve, and entertaining with it. Favourite clue 23d – didn’t immediately see it, but it made me smile when I did. Many thanks to Big Dave and the other valiant hint-givers. You have all added an extra dimension to crossword-solving.

  7. Finished thanks to the odd nudge from MP. Shows the value of the site. Also thanks to setter for, what was for me, a stretching puzzle

  8. */**** Today (I’ve still got 4 or 5 from last week’s Rufus to solve). 16d last one in; guessed at the word and was happy to see it was a noun. Liked 3 d as one of those inverted clues although I didn’t see it at the time. 12a was made easy by me learning that Yankee was a type of bet in a crossword not that many days ago. 10a was a new word and 8d a new bird.
    Thanks all.

  9. On behalf of all the lurkers, I would like to say a big thank you to all the bloggers, your efforts prevent much head scratching when answers seem obscure. I am laid up with a sprained ankle so got to solve the crossword much earlier than usual. 1a made me chuckle and I almost forgot the measurement in 21a. Thanks also to the setter for an enjoyable solve.

  10. A Rufus Monday always feels like a bit of a come-down after a Virgilius Sunday, but he always provides a gentle start to the week. Re: 3d Alf Garnett had a different take on how to refer to his wife! . Rufus used a similar construct (where you needed the answer fully to understand the wordplay) in a clue published in another place. The clue was “Graduate as footballer? (8). The answer was “Halfback”. Thanks to setter and dissolver.

  11. Nothing is R/W for me: my ” PB” is ***, I would think R/W would be under ***.
    I can accept that experienced solvers would romp through some puzzles & others like me find the same puzzle a little more taxing and time consuming
    This one was middle of the road for me; just had a slight hold up with the SW corner through being slow witted.
    Can see both sides of the 3d discussion but I didn’t care for the clue as it left me thinking I should be looking for something else.
    Thanks to setter & MP liked the hint for 25a.

    1. We use star ratings for puzzles as a guide to difficulty and to specifically to avoid discussion of actual solving times, which are different for everyone. An oft quoted example is that of Magoo (Mark Goodliffe) who correctly solved all three puzzles in the final of a Times Crossword Championship in under 18 minutes, a figure which is out of the reach of almost everyone else.

      1. I absolutely understand it was just a couple of posts recently related * rating to the time it had taken. My point was that * rating I find preferable to R/W which seems to indicate less than 1* (although Sheffieldsy in comment #3 uses them as interchangeable).

        1. They’re not interchangeable. They’re like the Olympic gymastics marks for style and artistic impression. I my post above, 1*/3* means one star for difficulty, three stars four enjoyment. Hope that helps.

          I see also that my comment has mysteriously been promoted from #3 to #1. What happened there?

          1. I’m afraid I couldn’t edit when I noted your “promotion” I think some comments to do with 3d have gone AWOL.
            It was the 1* & R/W as you do use both in the first line, presumably as a difficulty indicator. The explanation for the rest helps thanks.
            I guess like Jim Furyk yesterday you found the task straightforward (whilst others didn’t) and enjoyed the fact that you were able to take advantage of it. Hence 1* / 3*.
            My “artistic impression” relates to the satisfaction of completion without help (or not as the case may be).
            So it was 2* / 3* for me

            1. I see now, LROK. For me, one star is only ever given for a R&W puzzle, and R&Ws always get one star so, yes, they are interchangeable from this contributor. Others may differ, though!

  12. Pretty straight forward until I encountered the speed bump that was 16d. Had me beaten. Great clue though. Thanks to all.

  13. I needed a bit of help today – some of these clues are dense, perhaps even a bit obscure ( not the answers, but the working out), so thanks to a couple of electronic wotsits and thanks to MP for the “explanation” of 3D. Hmmm…

    I didn’t know the bird in 8d and, although I guessed the Yankee clue from ‘aid’, I’d forgotten about the wager reference and used the short form of President Lincoln followed by a pointless last letter………

    Not much fun and 2.5 for difficulty for me.

  14. 1*/4*. Just what you would expect on a Monday. Good fun from start to finish. 3d was my favourite. Short and sweet – just like my 3d!

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP.

  15. Our friendly publican is obviously in loquacious mood this morning – I agree whole-heartedly with his comments regarding the difference between this site and others that are available.

    Today’s puzzle gave a gentle start to the week, particularly after the rigours of the MPP & NTSPP!
    I wasn’t very keen on 11a but there were definitely some podium contenders. I’ll opt for 1,14&18a plus 4&13d.

    I do hope the BCE & CE abbreviations don’t catch on in crosswordland – not sure I could cope with those!

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP. Can’t get the video clips to play but will try again later. Also need to check back for today’s deliberate mistake!

    1. No deliberate mistakes today Jane. There were no easy opportunities just as there were on easy opportunities to play Tom Waits or Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen snuck into the epilogue slot because Marianne died.

  16. I’m no nearer understanding 3d. I realised what the answer was from the checkers but was left, as was LabradorsruleOK, asking ‘why?’ One of these days I’ll remember that ‘doctor’ can be an anagram indicator as well as a set of initials. Had I done so today 5a would have gone in much sooner.

      1. Of course – how stupid is it possible for me to be? Please don’t answer that anyone. :oops:

  17. As a Yorkshireman with a 25 letter alphabet I should have recognised the answer to 16d, but I didn’t!

  18. I love this site and have learnt so much from it. I managed to fill in 12a from the checking letters but looked at the review as I didn’t know the expression ‘a Yanky’ could be used in that way. The rest was fun, and although I got the second and third part of 11a, I just bunged in the first part. I still don’t understand why ‘con’ = ‘to study’. Thank you Miffypops for the review. I am always appreciative of the reviewers who give up so much of their time to help us all. Thank you setter for a great star to the week.

    1. “Con” is often used in crosswords to mean study – as is “den” and “read”. It’s worth filing in the memory banks. It may come from the French “connaitre” meaning to know, but that’s just a guess on my part.

      1. Thanks Alec. I’ve just remembered ‘do you con? ‘, as in ‘do you understand/connect’ which I guess is along the same lines.

    2. The BRB says for ‘con’ : to know, to learn, to study carefully; from the Old English word ‘cunnan’, to know.

  19. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. Started with 2d,finished with 22a. Favourite was 3d. No real problems, was 1*/3* for me. Off to the GBBF tomorrow.

  20. Enjoyed MP’s disclaimer and the crossword too.
    A typical Rufus in my opinion with the right amount of cryptic definitions.
    7d becoming obvious from the checkers as a few composers have unfinished works.
    Favourite is 16d.
    Thanks to Rufus and to MP for the review.

    1. I bet most composers, like most writers, have unfinished works, it’s just that they are so unfinished that they’re not worth publishing

  21. I make this 1/2* difficulty and 3* enjoyment, with 1a as favourite clue. A gentle enough start to the week, which is OK by me. I fully expect to be bamboozled before close of play on Friday. Thanks to Rufus, and to Miffypops.

  22. A very pleasant crossword, as always, from Rufus. 29a “Frightful house – I’d move” appears also in the Guardian today at 19a

  23. I also thought 3d was a bit iffy and although 16d had to be what it was I would never have understood why without the hint.
    So many thanks to MP and also to Rufus.

    1. Well done, Tony, and to think I believed MP when he said there were no deliberate mistakes. Rats!

  24. 2/1.5. I didn’t enjoy this much on reflection. 1a and 16a my favourites and 3d my least liked. Nevertheless thanks to the setter and MP for the review.

  25. We struggled with this but got there in the end probably due to the lack of
    practice recently. We thrashed Hornsey Bowls Club yesterday so will be
    attempting yesterdays Virgilious later.

    Thanks to Rufus and Miffypops.

    1. You’re back – yippee! Questions have been asked by the keeper of the pink slips…….

  26. A straightforward start to the week and very enjoyable. Thanks to Rufus and to Miffypops for the entertaining review.

  27. Yes thanks Miffypops for your valued introduction too. It is such a great site and I think unique and so valuable to all of us additcts. Today I got the letters for 16d but that was it – your explanation helped me understand why it was correct.

    Our swifts have definitely gone a few days earlier than usual. We are always sad to see them go – it’s an unwelcome ending of a part of summer but they will be back next year.

    1. Yes – and I heard the geese flying overhead this morning. Autumn is closing in on us.

  28. The customary gentle introduction to the crossword week, surfaces so polished that they were positively gleaming! A few old chestnuts, half a dozen anagrams, typically subtle cryptic definitions – so much to enjoy.

    My three particular ticks went to 18a, 22a and 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Squires and to Miffypops.

  29. I agree with BD’s ratings today.
    As always a few answers held me up at the end – 22a and 16d were my last two.
    I kept thinking that I was missing something with 3d – maybe we all are – it seems like a rather odd clue to me.
    I liked 18 and 28a and 4 and 13d. My favourite was 16d – hunted through it several times as I was looking for a lurker – it seems I’m not just missing them when they’re there but seeing them when they’re not.
    With thanks to Rufus and to MP.

    1. At least I was right about something – I was missing something with 3d. Thanks Dutch.

  30. Oh dear fell into the “doctor” trap AGAIN – 5a. Must remember that it is an anagram indicator as well as MD, GP etc.

    Con – test – ant = “He struggles.” 11a. Don’t agree with that necessarily

    I was trying to find something else for Bet = Better 3d.

    Tricky anagrams today – 10a and 15d.

    14a – wow – a last!

    So easy when you know the answer – 22a.

    Must remember ad = commercial – 26a.

  31. All fairly run-of-the-mill for me today – wouldn’t say a R&W though.

    I don’t like 16d at all; the clue states that ‘some folks’ ‘do it’, but doesn’t indicate the answer is what they do rather than the ‘folks’. Seems muddled to me.

    3d on the other hand is a perfectly good clue. Overall, though, below par I think. **/**

    Thanks to all.
    PS – well said in the preamble MP

    1. I read the ‘this’ as the definition: some folk carelessly drop ‘this’. Then ‘character in the middle of nowhere’ is the wordplay. The answer is a noun.

      1. A noun – really? Is that in the BRB? Guessing it must be, but I still don’t like it. Logic would therefore dictate that some who drinks would be called a ‘drink’. Nah, not having it!
        It is not a great clue either way IMHO, but thanks for your insight all the same.

        1. But something that you drink is a drink, so logically something that you aspirate is an aspirate…

          1. Ah, yes… suppose so. I could never previously thought of it in that way. Thank you yet again for access to your clarity of thinking and taking the time to help out.

        2. If you are going to try to apply logic to the English language you are destined to fail. Try Esperanto instead.

          Extracted from the BRB:

          transitive verb and intransitive verb
          1.To pronounce with a full breathing, ie the sound of h, as in house (phonetics)

          1.The sound represented by the letter h

          1. Must get one of those. I did try Esperanto, but it was boring.

            I take my hat off to you Sir, and all the people that make this (the wonderful) blog what it is. Thank You to all.

  32. I loved this. As usual, dead on Rufus’s wavelength.
    What a pleasure the music illustration for 27a, reminded me of kindergarten. Thanks for that M’pops.
    Fave was 3d, see nothing wrong with it.
    Thanks to Rufus and to M’pops for crossword and hints.

  33. Light and fluffy and fun on a cold day with 22a taking the favourite award. Perfect for a Monday.

    Many thanks to Rufus and to MP for his usual great blog.

      1. No such luck. Hols later this year. Just work/childcare etc. I went to comment on a puzzle last Thursday or Friday…was half way through typing and realised it was the wrong puzzle. I said the odd swear word and closed my laptop. :grin:

  34. A very gentle start to the solving week from Rufus. Not much to complain about although I agree with others that 3 down was a little dodgy. 16 down my favourite and 1.5*/3* overall.

    Thanks to Rufus and to MP, particularly for his very sensible and enlightened comments at the top of the page. I agree wholeheartedly.

  35. Enjoyed this, particularly some of the bolder clues (3d, 4d, 5d). Happy for the name drop in 9a.

    Like happy days @22, I was very surprised to see 28a repeated verbatim in today’s guardian. In the guardian, Rufus even had some lift-and-separate clues (10a and 29a), which surprised me as well. ( in Copperbelt meaning inside CU, and useless meaning use less)

    I was happy with contestant = he struggles, as in he vies or competes

    Many thanks Rufus and mp

  36. Thank you MP for your erudite preamble, I too have browsed other sites and they mind-numbingly dull compared with BD – three cheers for BD and all who blog there. Nice gentle amble for Monday from Rufus which was welcome as it has been ‘ one of those days’. Off to have a lie down with ice pack on my head, definitely miss the odd glass of something on such days.

  37. Late getting to this for reasons too complicated to go into but complicated was one thing this puzzle isn’t. Rufus in ultra-benign mood.
    Over the customary pre-prandial we got all but two of the acrosses and then every one of the downs. Good fun for the short time it lasted. */**** from us too.

    Thanks to Rufus and MP.

  38. No, I haven’t obeyed the command in MP’s hint for 22a! – I’ve just been busy today. The cartoon made me smile, so thanks to our Miffypops for that, as well as the rest of the hints. Very readable and entertaining as ever.

    I didn’t find this a complete write-in, but I feel I am moving away from the Rufus wavelength … in which direction I’m not sure! I was aided in solving 12a by learning about the Yankee in a recent crossword. I was slow to parse 3d; if I have a gripe with it it’s that I’m not sure there’s sufficient indication of the reverse aspect of the clue, but maybe I’m just annoyed at myself. 7d needed checkers, for there have indeed been many composers who have left unfinished works. (I have written the beginning of a masterpiece. That was easy. It’s finishing it that I am not going to be able to manage.)

    Many thanks to Rufus.

  39. Mainly r&w today…but despite Miffypops splendid blog still can’t get 16 down….my fault not his …could any one have another go at explaining it???!!!

  40. The middle letter of the word now h ere is dropped.. People who drop their H’s ********. Hope that helps.

        1. Controversial because a) usually it’s the sound made by the letter rather than the letter itself and b) it doesn’t make that sound when in the middle of words like nowhere.

    1. We have so many problems with this letter in English.
      In most cases the “H” is aspirated in French and when we speak English we forget about it or add one when not necessary like “walking on Hair” or your queen being called “helisabeth”.
      For my part the only “H” I aspirate is Hashish.

  41. I often find Mondays to be the hardest of the week in the Telegraph, but today only struggled in the NW corner with 1d and 9ac. So probably a */** for difficulty then. :-)

  42. Rather late doing the puzzle today. Golf and Olympics took precedence. (Is this a naughty step offence?)
    R&W for half of the puzzle, electronic aid for the other. So it is 2*/2*. Thanks to BD, MP and Rufus

  43. More ** than * difficulty for me today, and not sure I will ever be able to boast of R&W, although have got much better since discovering this great blog. Was reluctant to fill in 3d as answer seemed just too obvious, but checkers confirmed it. Didn’t care for 11a and 16d, and 8d was a new bird. Favorite was 1a which was first it, and 18a. Small issue with 14a, as they were always called Menders in my day, not Repairers. Cobblers to that… Thanks MP for great hints as usual.

  44. I got 16d but was stumped by 22a , stupidly.I did it while travelling down to Cork to an aunt’s funeral ,with my my better half. He though it had something to do with cricket, apparently a night-watchman is a term used for the batsman who last in the evening and again next morning.
    When someone who has had a long and happy life and whose death is a merciful release, dies in Ireland , it is not a particularly sad event .The funeral is a gathering of all the children, grandchildren and cousins, and surviving brothers and sisters.It is never by invitation and you are expected to attend, if possible.While regretting the loss, meeting up with everyone is a great consolation.

  45. You are right MP, because of you and BD and the others solving DT cryptics is, indeed, a pleasant experience. Learning so much because of this site, and enjoying every minute. Todays was especially good. Enjoyed your clips and all the trouble you go to. Thank you very much, and to the setter too – great fun.

  46. I too appreciate this site , since it taught me all I know about cryptics and how to solve them.
    In a way , more importantly , this site makes doing the puzzle more fun. I also do the cryptics in other publications, but I much prefer doing the Telegraph, since I know there will be a discussion, banter and the occasional difference of opinion.
    So thanks to Dave and all the team.

  47. Maybe I’ll be the last to comment today although I suspect not.
    I just thought I’d say thank you, well done and at least three :good: to BD for not only having the idea in the first place but for keeping everything up and running like clockwork. It’s all so much appreciated by so many people.

    1. I was thinking only today about just how many hours BD must give to running this site for us. Hopefully, he’ll have been gratified by the comments left by many of ‘the gang’ following MP’s opening remarks.

    2. Thanks for that post, Kath. I think we all think what a splendid chap BD is, what a brilliant concept to help us all to hone our cruciverbalist skills, and your sentiments are spot on. Thank you, Big Dave, from us all.

  48. I didn’t find this one easy. I hit a wall with about a third completed and then had a hint injection which set me off again.
    Is 1a an old chestnut? I ask in all candour because I don’t know these things. But it’s a great clue whatever. And I got it!
    Unfortunately I had to look at the hint for 5a. Oh dear!
    All of which goes to prove the undeniable fact that this is a great blog and I’m so glad I found it. I join with the others in thanking BD and team for all the effort put in. Please know that you are appreciated in so many ways by so many people.

  49. Thanks to Rufus, MP and BD for an entertaining start to the day before a long gap hoping that 16d would eventually dawn on me but no such luck so help much appreciated. I had not been helped by plumping for ‘arch’ in 21a. I agree with several bloggers re 3d not being the best of clues. **/***.

  50. Joyfully bringing up the rear (joyful because for once I’m able to do the puzzle on the day it comes out), I’ll give it 2* for difficulty and a fun factor of 3*. So thanks to Rufus for the diversion and to MP for his eloquent preamble, with which I heartily agree. I do hope soon to return to being a daily commenter, but things are taking much longer than I’d like to sort themselves out health-wise and I’m usually just too tired after work to contemplate cruciverbalism, especially on alternate Thursdays (Brian and I agree only once a fortnight). Many thanks too to BD for all the reasons already mentioned – and a few more.

    1. You, Brian and I agree once a fortnight! A very elite trio as I don’t think anyone else agrees with us.

  51. A rare ‘no hint’ day for me, but I shall go back and read MP’s hints, as they are always amusing and informative.
    3d was my favourite, a few seconds of head-scratching until the penny dropped, I though 4d was clever as well.
    Thanks again, MP in advance and to Rufus, it makes a change for me to do a Rufus puzzle.
    A week in North Devon next week with a five year old and an eighteen month old should see what is left of my hair another shade of grey.

    1. HIYD: A non-crossword question as you said I think, you referee soccer.
      In the match SuNday both teams kicked off directly backwards. Didn’t see Euros as was in the States but my friend said they did it there too.
      Have they changed the rule? Been a football player & fan for over 60 years & was amazed. If they have can’t see why.

      1. Hi there,
        Yes, indeed I am a referee.
        I am at a meeting tonight to discuss the various ‘law’ changes (we get a bollocking if we call them ‘rules’ LOL) where this will be discussed.
        The problem with the kick-off has always been that the players must be in their own half and the ball must go forward. It is a very difficult law to enforce as frankly it makes no bloody difference if the ball goes sideways or backwards slightly or if the player is six inches into the opponent’s half of the field of play (not ‘pitch’ LOL). As referee’s, if we stop play to enforce these laws, players see these laws as ‘petty’ and it does detract somewhat from the relationship we try to establish with the players.
        So yes, as I understand it (and this was certainly the case in the Euros) the law has changed to allow the ball to be passed backwards. FIFA always introduce these law changes for a ‘trial’ period, so we shall see how it goes.

        1. Thanks, for a definitive reply.
          I knew about the Laws bit & apologise for the slack drafting: as an R&A qualified golf rules official I know how jealously officialdom guards terminlogy.
          I agree the “old” law was manna to the over-zealous official but as used by both teams on Sunday it resulted in the ball being kicked to a player on the back edge of the centre circle thus 15 to 20 yards from the nearest opposition. Won’t take long for the bus parkers to kick off straight back to their goalkeeper I fear (or have the law makers seen that coming).

          1. The rules of golf!! Now there is a science. I have been playing the game for 30 years and I am still very vague about some of the more obscure rules.
            With regard to the FIFA law changes, I don’t suppose there will be anything in law about passing back to the goalkeeper straight from the KO, but in theory that could have happened with the old law, albeit with a pass forward first.

            1. Sorry should have said Hi there from gloriously sunny S. Wales
              Yes the bus parkers did I know – it will just be a tad easier now.
              As regards ROG they are a black art not a science. You have “enjoyed” your golf for the last 30 years (handicap?) don’t spoil it now by thinking about rules you will never need. Just like I turned to you with my query I get 3 or 4 calls a month from players & clubs asking for obscure rulings.
              That’ enough sport now for today’s test.
              Hope your weather is as good as here, Lovely at 6.45 walking the dogs on the golf course.

              1. I play off 7, but a struggle at the moment, I have developed a duck-hook that costs me about 4 shots a round, luckily I have a good pro, so like all golfers, I believe that the answer is just around the corner!!
                Lovely day here in Surrey, a walk with the dog due in a minute…

      2. Thanks for asking that question and for the answer. I too have noticed recently that in TV football matches there is only one player at the ball for a kick-off and he passes it straight back. I assumed the rules had changed, so now it’s confirmed.

  52. Very mild start to the week as usual, but fairly enjoyable. 3d is a weird, amateurish clue. I hate it when part of the answer is contained blatantly in the clue (BAT). I usually take any clue in my stride and accept them as they are – but this one generally annoyed me. 1.5*/2.5*

    PS. BD: Couldn’t we have a weekly competition on here where you or one of the other expert bloggers picks (on a Monday) the poorest, most obscure or flawed clue of the previous week (like 3d) and anyone can submit their own alternative “better” clue. Then you can choose the winner (with annotation perhaps) and publish it the following Monday. I’d be entering that like a shot – and it would give regular or occasional commentators a chance to have go at coming up with a good (or maybe brilliant) alternative and would also stimulate some extra and pertinent crossword debate.

    1. Welcome to the blog lowfleer

      That observation has already been made – see comment #25 above. It’s always a good idea to read through the comments before leaving one of your own.

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