DT 28328

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28328

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a very cold, frosty and foggy Oxford. I don’t know who set today’s crossword but it isn’t Ray T. I thought it was good fun and not too tricky but I’m sure some of you will disagree with me and that’s fine.

In these hints the definitions are underlined and the answer is hidden under the bits that say ANSWER so only do that if you need to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.


1a            Lots in police will get backing to be forceful (7)
DYNAMIC — A word meaning lots or several is inside (in) a branch of our police force and then the whole thing needs to be reversed (will get backing).

5a            Drink left for set of fans (7)
SUPPORT — A verb to drink is followed by the nautical term for left.

9a            Some Spanish ruggedly showing sign of indifference (5)
SHRUG — Our first lurker or hidden answer indicated by ‘some’ – it’s hiding in between the second and third words of the clue.

10a         It’s a crime to disband guarantor of peace? (9)
ARMISTICE — An anagram (to disband) of IT’S A CRIME.

11a         Suitable pressure to produce commercial vehicle (5,5)
GOODS TRAIN — Split 4,6 you need a word meaning suitable or appropriate followed by another word for pressure or stress.

12a         Stand holding up someone that’s pegged out — alcohol’s mentioned (4)
BIER — A homophone (mentioned) of an alcoholic drink made from malted barley and hops is a stand for a coffin. I wonder if some of you will say that you don’t pronounce these two words in the same way as so often happens with homophones.

14a         Fantastic age for a firm’s dairy product (7,5)
FROMAGE FRAIS — An anagram (fantastic) of AGE FOR A FIRM’S.

18a         Skill required in smart job — competitive opening? (8,4)
STARTING POST — A short word meaning skill or ability is inside another word for smart or tingle – this is followed by a job or a position.

21a         Military force mad to lose leader (4)
ARMY — A five letter word meaning mad or batty without its first letter (to lose leader).

22a         Bright person touring a remote island venue for game (6,4)
SAFARI PARK — A clever or quick witted person, often referred to as ‘a bright *****’ contains (touring) the A from the clue, a word meaning remote or distant and the abbreviation for I(sland).

25a         One for whom no order is welcome? (9)
ANARCHIST — A cryptic definition of someone favouring a complete absence of law or government.

26a         Report of man that’s stood by castle in dark period (5)
NIGHT — A homophone (report of) a chessman gives us the hours of darkness.

27a         Grey metal workman heading off with lorry, discontented (7)
ELDERLY — Someone who works with metal using any of several methods without its first letter (heading off) is followed by (with) the first and last letters of L(orr)Y (discontented, or without its middle or content).

28a         Bit round river? This is unseen in Greek city (7)
CORINTH — This ‘bit’ is money – a word meaning some loose change contains the usual one letter abbreviation for R(iver) – it’s followed by TH(is) – is unseen.



1d            Plan to remove authorisation? (6)
DESIGN — This plan or draft could mean to remove an endorsement of a document.

2d            A bishop comes in at this time, tight (6)
NARROW — The A from the clue and the two letter abbreviation of a bishop – R(ight) R(everend) – are inside a word meaning at this time or at present.

3d            One on the bench taking millions is a target for abuse (10)
MAGISTRATE — The one letter for M(illions) is followed by an anagram (for abuse) of IS A TARGET.

4d            Consider initially what could get cut in professorial role? (5)
CHAIR — The first letter (initially) of C(onsider) is followed by some stuff that grows on your head which sometimes needs cutting.

5d            Calculated work for a mathematician — or a judge (7-2)
SUMMNG-UP — A double definition – a mathematician would call it doing some addition and a judge would call it presenting a brief outline of a case.

6d            Refined tempo shortened? Not altogether (4)
POSH — Our second lurker (not altogether) – again it’s hidden in the second and third words of the clue.

7d            Creative test to be entered by one with spirit (8)
ORIGINAL — A spoken rather than written test or exam contains (to be entered by) the letter that looks like a one and an alcoholic drink made from distillation (spirit)

8d            Article on riots disturbed ideologue (8)
THEORIST — The definite article is followed by (on) an anagram (disturbed) of RIOTS

13d         Cricketer turned wrong’un around start of play (3,7)
OFF SPINNEROh dear – here we go! A short word meaning turned or rotten and unfit to eat is followed by a ‘wrong’un’ or someone who has offended especially from the point of view of religion – this ‘wrong’un’ contains (around) the first letter (start of) P(lay).

15d         Fellows, volunteers, switched on with variable way of thinking (9)
MENTALITY — Some fellows or chaps, our usual two letter volunteers and a word that means switched on or illuminated are followed by one of the letters for a mathematical variable – not X – the other one.

16d         Curious case comes before ‘father of French adventure‘ (8)
ESCAPADE — An anagram (curious) of CASE is followed by (comes before) a short affectionate way of referring to your Dad and is finished off by the French word for ‘OF’ (of French).

17d         Following a service, abbreviated bit of applause one milks, perhaps (4,4)
FARM HAND — The first word comes from the abbreviation for F(ollowing), the A from the clue and the two letter abbreviation for the R(oyal) M(arines) (service). The second word is just a bit of applause, as in ‘give them a big ****’ when people have performed.

19d         Element underpinning start of joint talk for specialists? (6)
JARGON — The first letter (start of) J(oint) is followed by (underpinning) a colourless, odourless, inert gaseous element. No, I certainly didn’t know any of that – I looked it up.

20d         Small vessel in artistic work (6)
SKETCH — The one letter abbreviation for S(mall) is followed by a two-masted sailing vessel.

23d         After a time, credit’s cut short in storage site? (5)
ATTIC — Begin with the A from the clue and the abbreviation for T(ime) and finish off with an informal word for credit or delayed payment without its last letter (cut short).

24d         Indelible mark in cliff (4)
SCAR — A double definition – the first being a mark from an old injury and the second being a steep place on a hill face.

I liked 12 and 18a and 4 and 13d. My favourite was 27a.

Now then – this Quickie pun caused me more grief than the whole of the cryptic crossword. I knew the second word but have never said it – it’s hardly the kind of word that’s used in everyday nattering so I had no idea how it was pronounced – I know now.




  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    2.5*/4* for an enjoyable challenge today. This was great fun, just slightly marred for me by the re-appearance of one of my bugbears in 26a.

    17d my last one in, and I struggled for some time trying to justify “maid” as the second word until the penny dropped.

    25a was my favourite, with 13d in second place.

    In his comment on DT 28326, made in the early hours of yesterday morning when most of us are asleep, Tstrummer asked how hard can it be to come up with a different word to “tier” to slot into _I_R? Mr Ron kindly supplies the answer today.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath.

    • Tstrummer
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      You beat me to it

    • Jose
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      RD. Mildly interesting, a recent question on The Chase: How many castles does each player have at the start of a chess game? Bradley Walsh can’t be wrong – he’s on telly.

  2. Gazza
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Kath for an enjoyable puzzle and an excellent review. When I solved 26a I immediately thought that we’d get a complaint from Rabbit Dave (and it seems I was right) :D

  3. Toadson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Tried to write one of the across answers in the wrong place today. which messed the whole thing up for me, so resorted to an early hint to tidy things up. Thanks to Kath, therefore, and the setter. (Should have reprinted it and started again really).

  4. Senf
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Not that I would disagree with Kath on purpose, but, lots of head scratching and some electronic assistance for me, especially in the SW corner – ***/***. 27a and 15d were particular problems, although I really liked the use of ‘discontented’ in 27a, so I think that has to be my favourite.

    Like Gazza, I expected a complaint on 26a, but I couldn’t remember who it would be from.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Kath.

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this excellent crossword. Like RD at #1 I thought 25a and 13d were very good, but I went for 28a as my COTD. A good clue mix and overall this was 2.5*/4* for me.

    Thanks to the Thursday Mr Ron and to Kath for her hard work.

  6. Jose
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Talking about MP’s foibles (yesterday), do other crossword fans have any idiosyncratic rituals/habits whilst solving? I always start by putting large black dots and bold dashes into the grid to correspond with commas and hyphens in the enumeration in the clues – I simply can’t begin without these. And when I’ve completed I draw a huge 8-pointed asterisk through each set of clues to emphasise that it’s done and dusted. Also, when doing a Sudoku puzzle I can’t begin until I have drawn a short horizontal bar through the leg each of each 7 in the grid and each further 7 I insert has to have a bar also. This is particularly weird because under any other circumstance I’ve never written a 7 like that before in my life. Why do we do these things?

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Oh dear.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      To get rid of the temptation of the mini sodoffku on the toughie page I write the number 13 in all of the empty squares

    • Vancouverbc
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I have to insert the hyphens and word breaks as well before I start the puzzle. I also put a bar through the leg of seven but not just in sudoku puzzles and i put a diagonal line through zeroes. I also never tick a clue as done. My psychiatrist says I’m coming along nicely 😀

      • Kath
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        So glad to hear that the psychiatrist thinks you’re doing well! :smile:

  7. Angellov
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Yes Kath that was great fun with just enough brain fodder. Top half was plain-sailing but a couple of hiccups in the bottom half. 18a and 28a particularly appealed. Can’t believe I failed to parse 6d. Dubious grammar in 4d clue! Thanks Mysteron and Kath.

  8. pete
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    This for me was the hardest solve for a long time. I really struggled with the NW corner, but I did manage to finish without any help. 4*/3* Many thanks to the setter and to Kath, who always seems to get the difficult ones to work out.

  9. Jose
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve always pronounced the second word in the Quickie pun to rhyme with “lion”. Pronounced in my mind, that is – I don’t think I’ve ever actually said it out loud, just seen in many times in crosswords. Something else I’ve learned on here…

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s how I say it too – and a check on the interweb would agree with us.

      • Kath
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Maybe I’ve got the whole pun wrong. :unsure:
        Has anyone else got any better ideas?

        • Miffypops
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          The answer is revealed. When you click on it ‘click here’ is revealed. You are correct though

      • Jose
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        If you go onto Collins Online and enter the word you can click on the red speaker symbol and hear it audibly. I can’t, though – the volume on this public computer is diabled at zero.

      • Jose
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Apparently, it’s pronounced “sigh-on”.

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think I’ve ever said it – it really caused huge problems. I eventually looked it up in the BRB but I’m pretty hopeless at interpreting their pronunciation instructions – perhaps I really should get to grips with them. I did, at least, learn that the ‘C’ doesn’t come into it which was a plus. :roll:

    • Mr Kitty
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  10. RayS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one. Top half solved quickly, few more challenges down below, but got there in reasonable time. I like 22a, 27a. Why the antipathy to 26a? 2*/3* for me today.

  11. Mr Kitty
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Took me a while to get going with this one, but the pace picked up once a few long answers were in place. My cricket knowledge is minimal – does a 13d actually bowl a wrong ‘un? 26a didn’t bother me because I missed the chess allusion and just pictured Lancelot outside Camelot. I liked 18a even though we’ve seen something similar quite recently. Favourite today is 28a. Thanks to the setter for a fun solve and thanks to Kath for her enjoyable set of hints.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      The wonderful Jim Laker certainly never did, but I have a feeling some of the modern Asian crop of so called 13ds probably do from time to time.

    • Michael
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      The wrong-un, googly, bosey and doosra are the same thing and as I understand it, goes the opposite way to the bowlers normal ball – ie a leg spinners ball is normally going to leg and the wrong-un will go the other way to off – as I said that’s how I understand it.

      But the big thing to be said is that the spin bowlers art is a bit of a mystery and I could be completely wrong!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure that you are quite right there, Michael, but being an old fogey who has played cricket for over 60 years my understanding may well be out of date so I could be wrong.

        There are broadly two types of spin bowling – finger spin (“off breaks” for a right handed bowler [the ball spins from off towards leg] and “slow left arm” for one who is left handed [the ball spins from leg towards off]) and wrist spin (“leg breaks” for a right hander [the ball spins from leg towards off] and “chinamen” for a left hander [the ball spins from off towards leg]).

        The “wrong-un” is a wrist spinner’s delivery which spins the opposite way to normal despite being delivered with what looks to the batsman like the same wrist action. For a right handed bowler a wrong-un spins from off to leg. A googly and a bosey are other names for a wrong-un. The name bosey comes from Bernard Bosanquet, who is acknowledged to be the first cricketer to bowl this type of delivery sometime in the very early 20th century.

        The doosra is a more recent development, which is when a finger spinner turns the ball the opposite way to normal with the same action.

        • Kath
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Verging on ‘too much information’ – it certainly is for me anyway! :scratch:

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            I hope you are coming to the Birthday Bash, Kath. Not only will it be good to meet you, I can test your understanding of wrong-uns.

            • Miffypops
              Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

              Kath was unsure about attending. She will be a definite NO now RD

          • Jane
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            And me! I was just happy to recall the answer…….

          • Merusa
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink


        • silvanus
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Bernard Bosanquet was also the father of ITV newsreader Reggie, for those with memories as long as mine!

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Oh – maybe I’ve missed something here – it wouldn’t be the first time with anything cricket related. I just interpreted the ‘wrong’un’ as being a bit of a naughty boy – I had no idea that it was actually a ‘crickety’ expression which I think is what you’re all implying.
      Sorry everyone. :sad:

      • Miffypops
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Kath. Your underlining of the definition and your hint for 13d are both perfect. For a time I was referred to as ‘The Sinner Boy’ or Sinner Boy Smith’ I have no idea why. My dad once said that I had always been a ‘Wrong Un’

        • Jose
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          Yes, absolutely. Wrong ‘un has existed as a general term for a person of bad character long before it was adopted in the cricketing world to describe a googly.

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        A wrong’un is, loosely, a delivery from a spin bowler launched to move off the pitch in the opposite direction to what would be standard for the bowler ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googly ). It has different names for different types of bowler, which is what my question was about.

        The hint is perfect – the crickety aspect to the clue just smooths the surface a bit.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Are you a member of the Barmy Army?

          • Mr Kitty
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

            Ah, the Tebbit test. The answer is no – when it comes to cricket (and rugby) I support New Zealand.

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Ended up with a grid fuller than usual as B in 21a and W in 27a remained outside.
    B&W. That’s exactly the colours of this crossword. What a strange coincidence!
    Thanks to the setter and Kath for the more colourful review.

    • Mcmillibar
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Wacky, but fun.

  13. neveracrossword
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to say, Kath, that it’s a beautiful sunny day in E Devon.
    I got off to a false start with this, by writing “polemic” in 1a ( on the basis that it was an anagram of police with an “m” inserted). Soon sorted, however. Nothing to upset Brian today.
    Thank you setter and Kath.

  14. Miffypops
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Although I knew the correct answer to 11ac I wrote in Ghost Train because Ghost trains are much more fun than the other sort. That meant 2d had to be Nernst who was not a Bishop but a Chemist who was awarded a Nobel prize (like Bob Dylan) 3d I just spelled incorrectly.

    Does that answer your question Jose

    What a super good fun puzzle today. Thanks to all concerned.

    • Jose
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes it does answer my question – you’re more idiosyncratic than wot I am… :-)

  15. Michael
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Coo – that was difficult, on my first pass through I only got 6d. Lots of electronic help required and I gradually started to get a few clues. It didn’t flow, however, and virtually every clue had to be wrung out of my brain.

    I can’t say I enjoyed it, a bit like the feeling when you stop hitting yourself over the head with a hammer – you’re mighty glad when it’s all over!

    A very clever puzzle no doubt, but not to my taste I’m afraid, purely due to my own inadequacies I’m sure’

  16. Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Like Kath I found this one pretty gentle and I very much liked it. I can’t pick out a single favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath.

  17. Killer Watts
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Quite tough for me today, but did manage it. Last in was 27a which, once I’d got it, thought it a very nice clue.

    Regarding the quickie pun, I looked at google for pronunciation of the second word. All agreed it rhymes with lion, but I believe there may be an American pronunciation ?

    Thanks to setter and to Kath.

  18. Beaver
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Kath’s **/***, good week so far for enjoyment . Read Kath’s explanation of the first word in 17d, my derivation was F for Following then a service ARMY abbreviated to give ARM , combine the two and voila- FARM ! I was a bit suspicious with 21A being army but thought the setter was being clever.
    Blew up the brilliant pic for 22a and saw the look on the poor passengers face-thought I was having a bad day!

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you’re right about the first word of 17d – I suppose either works.
      I chose that pic for 22a because it actually happened to some friends of mine.

      • Beaver
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Noticed the mirror and wipers were a bit worse for wear as well- what are those two doing in the case ! Not sure if fully comp covers this one, at least there’s a dash cam photo.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I prefer Kath’s explanation. With the ‘army’ route the ‘a’ in the clue is redundant.

  19. Mcmillibar
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    What a great week so far for quality Crossies. Liked this one almost as much as yesterday but was prevented from getting the ‘All answers are correct’ gratification from my iPad. Searching through Kath’s decode I realised I had FarmYard instead of Hand. Doh. thanks Kath for straightening me out. Less haste more speed methinks.
    If you don’t use an iPad (other electronic devices are available) and are interested in what it says when you have errors, it is the rather polite: ‘Sorry, some of your answers are incorrect’

  20. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Reasonably straightforward although i couldn’t parse my bung in for 17d and needed 27a explained as well. The latter for me is a continuing problem of spotting the definition from the fodder. I did like 28a&7&19d. Thanks to the setter and Kath for the hints.

  21. Paso Doble
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Quite difficult and not particularly enjoyable ***/**
    Thanks to Mr Ron and Kath
    See you all at the bash.

  22. Jane
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Must admit that I had Shamus pencilled in for this one but, as no-one else has suggested him, I guess I was wrong!
    Either way, I really enjoyed it, especially the cleverness of 1a, the humour of 11a and the homophone at 12a.

    As expected, RD was upset by 26a but I notice that there have been no comments regarding the fact that not all elderly people are grey and conversely, not all grey-haired people are elderly!

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to Kath for an excellent pictorial blog.
    For anyone who may be considering it, the PJ Toughie is well worth a try.

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes – the PJ Toughie is brilliant and even for people who normally can’t do them (me, for example) it’s not that difficult although I confess to a few that I can’t quite explain – just on my way to the ‘other side’ now.

  23. Una
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I also thought it might be Shamus .
    22a was my last one in , as I tried in vain to think of sports arenas .Nicely misleading.
    Thanks to the setter and Kath.

  24. Kath
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    My only reason for not suggesting Shamus is that I normally find him pretty tricky and I didn’t have too much trouble today. It is about his turn so who knows . . . ?
    The 2K’s are very reliable Shamus spotters so let’s see what they say.
    We should find out as he almost always calls in when he’s the setter.

  25. Merusa
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the loved-it camp, though I did have a little difficulty getting a toehold. I remember having the same problem with the last Shamus, so you may be right, Jane.
    I put “camp” in for the second word of 22a, so that made 20d a little tricky, but I soon solved that and corrected 22a.
    I’m not going to choose a fave, too much good stuff here.
    Thanks to setter and to Kath for the hints and pics.

    • Merusa
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Who the heck is this guy Denis Istomin? I seem to recognise the garish outfit, but can’t remember seeing him play before – and he beat Djokovic!!

      • Tstrummer
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 12:58 am | Permalink

        Djokovic needed an anti-Istamin

        • Merusa
          Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Now, that’s damned clever, Tstrummer!

  26. silvanus
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Probably the toughest backpage challenge so far of 2017, and at the same time comfortably the most enjoyable puzzle of the week for this solver at least. I thought that the clues were of an exceptionally high standard, with some superb, if tricky wordplay and first-rate anagrams.

    I found the NE corner to be the trickiest, although my stupidity in originally entering “totting up” for 5d was largely to blame for that. 22a, 13d and 17d stood out for me amongst some very impressive competition.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Kath.

  27. Gwizz
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! A really good puzzle which was a pleasure to solve. It’s gotta be Shamus hasn’t it? Two clues I liked were 22 and 28a. I refuse to acknowledge 27a for obvious reasons! (Another decade looms…)
    Thanks to the setter and also to Kath for her review.

  28. Amanda
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t get 13d at all! Thanks for your help!

  29. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    We are going to stick our necks out and guess that this is by Shamus. We thought so at the time of solving and overnight cogitation has not changed our minds. Lots of fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Mr Ron (Shamus) and Kath.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I’m the Shamus camp too….

      • Jane
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I notice you waited for 2Ks remarks before committing!

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Well they have had several hours more to think about, and you don’t want to rush these things …

          • Jane
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            So now we all wait with bated breath……

            SHAMUS -where are you?

            • Shamus
              Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

              My cover’s truly blown and there’s only one way out! Thanks so much as usual to Kath for her meticulous review and everyone for commenting.

              • Jane
                Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

                Thank you, thank you – but my word you made us wait!

                Is there any chance that you’ll be able to pop in to the party on 28th? I’ve never met a real live leprechaun before………..

              • Kath
                Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for dropping in, Shamus, and for the good crossword – both are, as always, very much appreciated.

              • Miffypops
                Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

                Whenever I briefly comment as above using words like super and good fun it is always a Shamus. Great puzzle. Even if I did alter it to suit myself as per comment 14. Yes. I really did that.

    • Kath
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Oh well – I’m still really really REALLY not in the Shamus camp. In fact I feel a bit like Billy-no-mates. :sad:
      When/if I’m proved wrong I’ll admit defeat gracefully and cheer myself up with the thought that I must be getting better at his crosswords, if not actually being able to spot him as the setter.
      pommers is another good Shamus spotter – where is he when he’s needed?

      • Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        If it helps, Kath, I’m very much with you (as I have been with your overall experience of today’s puzzle). Mr K remarked to me much earlier (before I’d even looked at the crossword) that he thought it might be Shamus, so the kitties are in different camps on this one. Keeps life interesting. :)

        • Kath
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Oh good – thanks – now I don’t feel like Billy-no-mates any more! :smile: It’s always good to have a friend/accomplice/partner in crime.

      • Kath
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm – oh well – when I said that I’d give in gracefully if/when I was proved wrong I might have fibbed just a little tiny bit . . .
        Only joking – perhaps I’m fibbing a little tiny bit again!
        Whatever – all good fun.

  30. Framboise
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Hello everyone! Not been very present this year … because we have a new puppy cockapoo Fifi who is keeping us very busy! This morning, however, I almost completed today’s puzzle while Fifi slept. It took me a while to get into it and much to my shame did not get ‘fromage frais’ for 14a. 27 got me scratching my head for a while – I was looking for a grey metal and suddenly the penny dropped. Got the second word of 13d – of course my ‘top’ instead of ‘off’ was wrong. Favourite was 22a. In all it was a bit tricky but very enjoyable. 3*/3*. Unfortunately I do not think we shall make the bash on account of our puppy being housebound till her second lot of vaccinations in mid February Many thanks to setter and to Kath’s review which helped me completing the puzzle.

    • Jane
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      That’s a shame, Framboise – I was really looking forward to meeting you at last.

      • Framboise
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Oh thank you Jane, how nice of you! Well, at present it looks as if we shall not make it but who knows we might be able to get a dog sitter!

        • Merusa
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Looking at your gravatar, she’s positively edible!! I just love it. How predictable can one person be.

          • Jane
            Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            And me! I bet she’s got that delicious puppy smell behind her ears as well.

            • Merusa
              Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

              Ooooh, don’t you just love that puppy smell? If I could, I’d market a scent of it, I’ll bet it would make millions.

        • Kath
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Oh – she’s sweet – what a pity that it’s too early for you to be able to bring her on 28th. Presumably she will, eventually, be a good traveller because of your time being divided between here and France.

    • Miffypops
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Dogs? Dearie Dearie me!

      • Jane
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Just getting our own back for the cricket, the rugby, the football ………………

  31. Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh no … don’t tell Mr K!

    • Jane
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      First chance I get!

      • Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Too late :( . He’s being insufferable now!

  32. Ora Meringue
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Found this one decidedly tricky, but got there in the end.
    Had to resort to the electronic aid for 1a…..just could not see it at all, but managed to get the rest ‘all my own self’ as a junior Meringue used to say.

    Very much needed the hints for the parsings, though, so many thanks to Kath and to Shamus.

  33. Salty Dog
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I must take issue with 27a; a touch of silver at the temples is s sign of wisdom and distinction. Those so blessed are certainly not elderly! Overall, 1*/3.5* and favourite clue 22a. Thanks to Shamus, and to Kath.

  34. Jon_S
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    About ** for difficulty, easier than I usually find Thursdays, and thoroughly enjoyable.

  35. Tstrummer
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    I had Shamus down for this one before I was half-way through – but seeing as he’s already fessed up this observation was redundant before it was written. Like Kath I often struggle with his challenges, but this one slid together like two asps in a goblet of lard. I’m going for 22a as my pick of the pops. Ta to Shamus and the redoubtable Kath. 1*/3*

  36. Heno
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter and to Kath for review and hints. Too tough for me. Needed the hints for 1,27a & 2,3,17d. Had 22a wrong. Was 4*/2* for me.

  37. Jose
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I did this one yesterday afternoon and found it slightly more challenging than the previous three, just above average for a back-pager and marginally the best of the week so far. For 14a, and simply because I had a G in the grid, I recklessly bunged in “cottage cream” (a delicious combination of cottage cheese and clotted cream?), which held me up a a while. Let’s hope we get a cracker from G today, to make up for a pretty tame week. 3*/3.5*.

  38. Nigel Burin
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this crossword. I thought there were some very nice clues. Thanks to the setter, and also to Kath for the hints. 3*/4*.

  39. Doug
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    What is the problem with 26a? Is it the use of “stood” instead of “standing”?

    • Gazza
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Doug,
      No – it’s the use of castle for the chess piece rather than the correct name ‘rook’, although, to be fair, castle does make the surface better.

      • Doug
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your reply. I have played chess for nearly 50 years and I have no problem in calling the “rook” a castle! So do we “rook” instead of “castle” when we move the king and rook/castle?

        I live in Hong Kong and we get the crossword puzzle about a couple of weeks late here in the free English language newspaper The Standard. I only started to do cryptic crossword puzzles about six months ago but through reading this blog after every crossword I have made good progress. So thank you for an excellent blog. I also do the Times crossword which appears in another English language newspaper South China Morning News (not free) but I find that less interesting as it requires a lot of general knowledge that I did not pick up via a grammar school science education in the North of England!

        • Gazza
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter. Don’t worry that you’re a couple of weeks behind us – the blogger gets notified by email of any comments made on his/her blogs. Alternatively you could subscribe to the Telegraph puzzles site (about £35 per year) in which case you’d get the puzzles on the same day as the rest of us (or in your case a few hours before us).
          I don’t think anyone would allow ‘rook’ as the verb. You may have to debate with Rabbit Dave if you wish to use ‘castle’ for the piece itself.