DT 28354 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28354 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Saturday Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.

Across

1a    Body of water in East Anglia, I hesitate to say, could be clearer (7)
One of several bodies of water in East Anglia followed by a word of hesitation

5a    Powerful bishop and pawn on row (7)
A charade of P(awn), ON from the clue and a row or argument

10a    Simple goal — mine at home (3-2)
A verb meaning to mine or exploit followed by our usual two-letter word for at home

11a    Sample tea, perhaps, a little at a time (9)
A five-letter sample followed by the type of repast of which tea, not the drink, is an example (perhaps)

14a    Strain within small company to get capital (5)
A strain or tune inside CO(mpany)

18a    Dramatist confronts nits dismissing first character for lack of grit (9)
The surname of a 20th century British dramatist followed by some nits, of the kind often found by the nitty nurse, without (dismissing) their initial letter (first character)

22a    Leave carrying early paper celebrating the past (3,3,5,4)
A verb meaning to leave or abandon around an adjective meaning early or ancient and a national newspaper

24a    Politician interrupting rises nervously, smiles coyly (7)
Our usual politician inside (interrupting) an anagram (nervously) of RISES

Down

1d    Almost get angry touring round English city (7)
Most of a verb meaning to get angry around (touring) the round letter

2d    Elated, as Hillary once was? (2,3,2,3,5)
This Hillary is Sir Edmund, the New Zealand mountaineer!

4d    Go over, touching ceiling (5)
A two-letter prefix meaning touching or about followed by a ceiling of upper limit

5d    Soldier on exercises runs hard (9)
Some exercises followed by R(uns) and an adjective meaning hard

8d    Sloshed, I initially fell over in opera (7)
An adjective meaning sloshed or drunk, I from the clue and the initial letter of F[ell], all reversed (over in a down clue)

14d    Mo changes exotic Chinese dress (6-3)
An anagram (exotic) of MO CHANGES

15d    Fortune endlessly provided, put on the Queen and deuce (7)
The first three of the four letters (endlessly) of a word meaning fortune followed by the usual two-letter word meaning provided and the Queen’s regnal cipher

20d    Awards for TV programmes, some of them mystifying (5)
Hidden (some of) inside the clue

The Crossword Club is now open.


Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: Figaro+fate=figure of eight (or figure of hate)



102 Comments

  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    A curate’s egg day for me today with some very good clues and some which seemed rather contrived. I also found a large range of difficulty from R&W to very tough.

    Even though the answer was obvious from the definition and checking letters, I failed to parse 8d because I couldn’t get out of my head that “over” was being used in a cricketing sense.

    5d with its beautifully disguised definition was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to BD, particularly for the explanation for 8d.

    • Tantalus
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Curate’s egg seems somewhat harsh. We enjoyed it thoroughly and also had 5d as LOI. COTD was 2d (just enough currency to lead us down the garden path).

      Back to toast in bed this morning. Thanks to VnD and the Cryptogmones.

    • Jose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      RD. How come you and BD haven’t rated this with stars? Do we not do it for the Saturday Prize?

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

        BD doesn’t give stars on a Saturday; RD usually does, and I’m about to do so when I draft the review, once I’ve sorted out the illustrations for the NTSPP review

        • Jose
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, of course – thank you for that.

  2. Mr Kitty
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    A few obscurities today had me wondering if Saturday is the new Friday. Overall I had mixed feelings about this crossword. The 15 letter answers were pretty much R&W, I don’t associate 24a with a coy smile, and isn’t 3d one of those unindicated Americanisms some here are so fond of? However, on the plus side, I thought 12a and 15d were quite brilliant. Thanks to the setter, and thanks to BD for the hints and for repelling the latest group of DDoSers.

    • Jose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Mr K. 24a. Isn’t the answer a pretty precise definition of “smiles coyly”?

      • Senf
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        That’s what the BRB suggests with confirmation from on-line sources.

        • Jose
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thank you S, and for that I’ll award you a limerick:

          Senf is his name, it’s his label
          He solves crosswords and is very able
          And when commenting on here
          It’s patently obviously clear
          He’s on horse not sat at a table.

          :-)

          • Senf
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Thank you for the limerick, Jose. Greatly appreciated.

        • Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

          No – that is not what the the brb says. It says to smile in a silly, weak or affected manner. Coy is rather is different.

          (Oxford’s definition of the word in question is indeed a little wider and includes coy in its description, but I’m in agreement with Mr K that that doesn’t feel quite right. Since it’s in Oxford, the clue is sound and the setter is justified, but I think it’s perfectly fair to express the opinion that one prefers the definition given by Chambers.)

          • Jose
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

            K. My BRB is at home, but in Chambers Thesaurus: s*****ing = coy. And of course, it’s absolutely fair to express opinions and preferences on here – that’s what a blog is for (isn’t it?). And in my opinion, even without deep research, the clue is 100% OK from any angle.

    • JonP
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been finding Saturday’s puzzle trickier as of late. The Tuesday slot has also upped its difficulty too IMHO.

    • Tantalus
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “…Americanisms some here are so fond of?” – I suspect the voice of the Mysteron was intended to be understood by all earthlings.

      • Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Mr K was simply alluding to the fact that some commenters do not like unindicated Americanisms. While that is true, I don’t think 3d is particuarly an Americanism (and neither does Chambers).

    • Jose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      3d. I’m not so sure that a US indicator is necessary. It may have originated there but the term has been in common usage in the UK for so long that categorising it as an Americanism is probably an anachronism by now. Personally, in my lifetime, I’ve never called it anything else but the answer. That’s my opinion – others may disagree.

      • Badger
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I agree with Jose – but Americanisms like ‘guy’ are anathema to me- what’s wrong with ‘bloke’ or ‘chap’? Did ‘perk’ come from the US?

        That said I did enjoy the puzzle today and thought 9a very clever as well as 11a (last one in). Being a bloke I’d never heard of 14d – anyone else?

        Many thanks to BD and Mr Ron although didn’t need a hint it was comforting to scroll down just for a check….

        • Kath
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Well, I’m not a bloke and I’d never heard of 14d either.

          • Merusa
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Miss Saigon?

            • LabradorsruleOK
              Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Nope – I’ve never been to Saigon.

              • Merusa
                Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

                Musical, Mr. Comedian!

                • LabradorsruleOK
                  Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  I can whistle & play the spoons (well could).

        • Angellov
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

          My husband always admired Cathay Pacific 14d’s!

        • Vancouverbc
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

          …. and 14d isnt hyphenated either.

  3. jane
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    A few bits of GK to deal with today, one of which I had to check out with Mr. Google – 15d.
    Made life difficult by putting the wrong first word into 3d – that made 1a interesting for a while!
    My BRB has 14d as one word but I see that BD’s hint pic does indeed include the hyphen.

    22a was probably my favourite in this enjoyable Saturday exercise.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron and to BD as ever.

    • Faraday
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I too was confused by 14d. This in part was due to my masculine ignorance of fashion but when the wood was beginning to emerge from the trees my online BRB giving the answer as a 10 letter single word didn’t add clarity. 3d is also hyphenated in the BRB. Are hyphens normally indicated? I’m getting old and can’t remember….😂
      Thank you to BD et al as usual.

  4. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Found bottom half fell into place but had to tease out most of the top. Fell for every little trick & spent ages with 3d as couldn’t get my 6 letter wrong place of my head. Like RD needed BD’s help to parse 8d.

    5d was LOI and was my COTD.

    Thanks to setter & BD for help.

  5. Gazza
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The improvement in the Saturday crossword continues, in my view. Thanks to BD for the hints. I thought that 5d was a superb clue.
    I had the last word of the Quickie pun being numeric but I can see that what’s given also works.

    • Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think I prefer your pun.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I too thought the last word of the pun was numeric

      • Angellov
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Me too!

    • Jose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I reckon it has to be the numeric option because the other one, in certain regions, would require the sounding of the aitch.

  6. Senf
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Completed at a fast canter, with reliance on electronic assistance for my last two in. I might be wrong, but there seemed to be a ‘sprinkling’ of ‘oldies but goodies.’ However, I am not going to stick my neck out and say which ones because I might be wrong (and it’s a prize puzzle).

    I enjoyed the three non-anagram 15 letter clues, especially 2d when I realised the reference to Hillary was to a ‘different’ Hillary (thank goodness).

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  7. Aljanon
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My original comment disappeared into the ether… I too thought that there was a varying degree of difficulty with this puzzle but, nevertheless, it was still enjoyable and I see that I’m not in a minority when I say that my favourite was 5d.

  8. Banksie
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No golf today, so an opportunity to do the crossword in one hit. 5d v clever and had me confused for a while.

    All done though. Hurrah!

    Actually the real reason I’m posting is so that Pos (a lurker) knows I finished it before him.

    • Senf
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      So, are you trying to ‘shame’ Pos into being ‘The Lurker Who Came in from the Cold’ (with apologies to John le Carré).

      • Banksie
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I just need him to know

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Posting here proves only that you are able to
          post

      • Tantalus
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Groans from Boston…

  9. Angellov
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    10a comes to mind today. Getting the four long-uns helped. Bottom finished almost R & W followed by the top after a bit of cogitation. People don’t seem to use 16a much nowadays. Foolishly I needed your help BD to parse 18a. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD.

  10. crypticsue
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve apparently got to help Mr CS in the garden before I can settle down to draft the NTSPP, and today’s back page, reviews but I thought I’d pop in and say that I highly recommend everyone gives the Phibs NTSPP a go.

    • jane
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m certainly ‘giving it a go’ CS, but it’s fighting back fairly hard at the moment!

  11. Paso Doble
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finished off with a bit of difficulty but particularly enjoyable.
    Thanks to Mr Ron and BD.

  12. Orphan Annie
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Guess who got 2d as almost her first answer? Anagrams tripped off my trusty pencil, :-favourite has to be 5d because that is what I have to do everyday. Thanks to setter and BD for making a little old lady very happy, off to do GK.

    • Merusa
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well done!

  13. Jose
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Average for a Saturday Prize, but maybe a little more enjoyable than most. 2*/3*.

  14. Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It took a while for me to get going, but I then got into it. Much enjoyed. I had to check 14d but that does seem vaguely familiar now.

    Some really super clues, but my biggest smile was probably 17d …

    I have a couple more comments, but today is not the day to languish in the naughty corner so they will have to wait for the appropriate time and place.

    Many thanks to the setter and BD. I hope everyone (apart from the enemies of the site) is having a great weekend.

  15. Kath
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found most of this quite tricky – don’t know why – very enjoyable though – the style of the clues felt unfamiliar.
    I convinced myself that 5a had to begin with a B which wasn’t a good start.
    I dithered before putting in the first bit of 2d which was just as well as my first thought was wrong.
    14d was my last answer – it was obviously an anagram but I’ve never heard of it.
    8d took ages to untangle and trying to see what the 5d definition was did too.
    I liked 12 and 22a and, even though it was a lurker, 20d.
    With thanks to the setter and to BD.

  16. John Bee
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Relatively easy canter through this one. I liked that 3/4 of the big answers were not anagrams and I may have got it done before Big D came to the rescue but I was taken from the crossword by a trip to the Rhubarb Farm for the makings of a nice crumble for tomorrows pudding. When we got back The NW corner was pretty blank and I struggled with 12a until I sorted out my angry British cities.

    Fave clue 2d A fellow Kiwi for Senf!

  17. Kath
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is anyone else having trouble trying to print out the NTSPP?

    • Senf
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Kath – yes. When I clicked on ‘the above grid’ I got a screen message saying that the page could not be found.

      • Kath
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Me too – I’ve just tried again and the same thing happens. I’m glad it’s not just me but it doesn’t help much, does it?

      • Kath
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

        PS – going by how few comments there are perhaps it’s happening to everyone.

        • Gazza
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          It was ok earlier on when I printed it out.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It has worked for me all afternoon – I’m sure BD will be able to shed light on the problem. I had a quick look at the dashboard but can’t see a problem there.

      I was wondering why no-one had taken me up on my recommendation :(

      • Kath
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks CS and Gazza – I’ve just tried again and it’s still saying “Safari can’t find the server” . Being a technotwit I have no idea what that means in plain English – oh well, too bad.

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I just logged off from my WordPress login to see if being logged in was why I could access the puzzle and you can’t but that isn’t the answer either as it works for me logged on and logged off. Curiouser and Curiouser said Alice.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      We are having the same problem. Our usual method of overcoming this by putting a different code into our router is not working either.
      Perhaps some kind person could email us a PDF?

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        The Kiwis, Kath and Senf now have mail

        • Kath
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thanks very much, Sue. A little :rose: for you.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Sue. Much appreciated.

    • Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

      The NTSPP is also available here:

      http://crossword.info/BigDave/NTSPP_367

  18. Merusa
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this one. The four long answers went in quite quickly which gave oodles of help with the rest of the clues.
    I can’t choose a fave, so I’ve decided not to. Maybe the four long ones are the stars.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for his hints.

  19. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I know most on here are rugby fans, but over the moon about Millwall’s third premier league scalp of the season in the FA cup. Premier league champions as well.
    Better look at the crossword now!!!

    • Brian
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      And what about Lincoln! V pleased for them and some much needed revenue, just a pity that it’s meaningless as the FA cup is now totally devalued by most of the big clubs.

    • neveracrossword
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      As a Leicester supporter, I’m sick as a parrot.

      • hoofityoudonkey
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I just hope you avoid the drop, especially at the expense of Crystal Palace

  20. Brian
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t think I have ever come across a DT crossword where I have failed to fully understand the answer for so many clues. For instance why the I in 1a, why should mine mean the3 letters start in 10a, why is 21a snappy, had to look up the alternative definition for Deuce, new one on me and 4d just doesn’t work for me at all.
    A bit of a slog and v little fun.
    Thx for the hints

    • Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      In 1a the two-letter suffix is what I say when hesitating. The first three letters of 10a are explained in the hint (did you read it?).

      • Robin Newman
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink | Reply

        1.bit lost on the definition to the answer to 1A.
        2.also, any chance of a hint to 7D-answer is obvious (I think) but cannot see why.

        • Robin Newman
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink | Reply

          1.have read the subsequent comments to 1A, so now understood-Thanks.

        • Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

          7d Before anything else, leading article must be suppressed (2,3,5,5)
          A phrase meaning leading (2,5,5) around (must be suppressed) the definite article.

          • Robin Newman
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Many Thanks !

  21. Mcmillibar
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Simply superb lunch at Julius Meinl in Vienna today – bit pricey though. Consequently took a bit of time to pare this one out but got there in the end. V good puzzle it’s 11a the winner. 5d probably would be but it I started the one that eludes me so far. It’ll be worth the sweat by your comments. ***/***

  22. Ora Meringue
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Managed to get the bottom half of this one done fairly quickly then ground to a halt with the top.
    Eventually pennies dropped and I only needed hints/electronic help with three.

    Got 8d but would never in an millenium have been able to parse it.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  23. Jon_S
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A mixture of pretty straightforward clues, and a few that needed a little more thought, first and foremost amongst them 14d where I needed all the checking letters to be sure of the answer, and even then I wasn’t that sure. :-)

  24. Heno
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, a lot of the clues needed some serious thinking. Favourite was 3d, even though I initially got the first word wrong. Last in was 5d, which was also very good. 14d was a new couple of words for me. Great entertainment. Was 3*/4* for me. Needed the hints to parse 8d.

  25. Una
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable .
    I know we don’t do politics on BD’s blog , but I found the double entendre ( if it was intended) in 2d amusing .
    Thanks to the setter and to BD.

  26. BusyLizzie
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pretty hard work today, but did manage to finish over lunch. Not without the hints and Mr Google though. 5d was favorite although it did not go in at first sitting. Just happy site was working.

  27. Duggyson
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Can anyone help me understand the answer to 1a. The clues are ok but the answer does not seem to match the last word of the clue? Am I missing something?
    Thanks for any help.

    • Leveret
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree. Took me ages to do the top half but managed eventually without hints, apart from checking the dictionary for obscure clothing items!

    • Senf
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Without the hesitation, the last word of the clue is included in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary listing for the answer. So, it may be a bit of a stretch, they can be considered as synonyms.

  28. Framboise
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lost my first comment so I am having another go. Quite tricky but most enjoyable. Managed to complete it without help although needed BD’s hint to parse 8d. Hesitating between 5d and 5a for favourite clue… 14d was a new word for me – never came across it – even in China where I spent quite a few weeks accompanying Mr Framboise on several projects. Good to learn a new word. 24a was also a new addition to one’s vocabulary. Our puppy is growing fast both in size and mischief! Fifi keeps us on our toes. Many thanks to setter and to BD for his hints.

    • Merusa
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      My Chinese friends have told me that 14d is not really Chinese but more common in Indochina.

  29. Salty Dog
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A jolly little puzzle. I took a few minutes to get going, but in the end completed well inside (my) 1* time. 4* for enjoyment, though, and l particularly liked 8d. I enjoyed the Quickie pun too. Thanks to the setter, and to BD.

  30. Gwizz
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A puzzle of two halves for sure. Lower half pretty much R&W but the upper half much trickier. 5a was my fave, and overall 2/3.5*
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD for the hints.

  31. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Goodness what a game of two halves!!
    The bottom half was ok, but the top half very tricky.
    Like Brian said, many that I could not parse, and like so often on a Saturday, most of the ones I can’t parse are the ones that there are not hints for, so a long wait for the complete solution, by which time I can’t remember the original puzzle!!
    There was lot’s to like though, so many thanks to the setter and to BD. I hope the idiots have taken up another hobby, like bear-wrestling or something.

    • LabradorsruleOK
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Can’t have everything Hoofs. Think most found the bottom half OK & even RD had problems up top. Get the checkers from the hints & I’m sure you’ll get there.
      Hope the draw is kind.

      • hoofityoudonkey
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Hi there LRok, I got there ok in the end, apart from 8d. I had not heard of the definition and the wordplay was beyond me.
        Looking forward to the draw and Sutton on Monday, after Lincoln, lightening cannot strike twice in one weekend, can it??

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Hoofs,
          Strange I guess with the draw, do you want a big team with a big pay-day or a lesser team with a chance of reaching the semi.
          Re 8d all I can say is think ********* along with the underlined word in the hint.

          • hoofityoudonkey
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Chelsea or Arsenal, though I don’t think the Met would fancy it!!
            My knowledge of Opera’s is very poor

          • Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink | Reply

            Any hint that is prefixed by “think” is probably giving away too much information.

            • LabradorsruleOK
              Posted February 19, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

              Apologies BD I was trying to avoid the naughty stair, & failed obviously.

  32. Young Salopian
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This late in the day I guess it’s pretty much all been said, but I thoroughly enjoyed this terrific Saturday puzzle. I couldn’t split the best two clues, 5 and 8d. I would mark this 2.5*/4* overall. Many thanks to our setter and BD.

    I have yet to encounter any problems with the site this week, accessing it as I am from our hotel room in St Lucia much later than usual. Perhaps all the idiots have gone to bed by now?

  33. Rob
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is the first Saturday puzzle I have finished in xx minutes…it usually takes me two days! Main problem for me was top right hand corner..esp 5a and 5d..oh yes and 8d as I cannot abide opera and still not used to the codes for reversing

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome. We don’t mention solving times in case we discourage those who take longer. Congratulations on your new personal best

  34. Silly Sally
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a fab forum! With your help I’m getting the hang of it (I think :) ) and have managed to finish one! My father (way back when) used to whizz through the DT cryptic and I could never understand how the ‘clues’ meant anything at all – now I know…
    Any way, really enjoyed this one. Favourite has to be 18a for me. Like others, still cannot parse 8d even though I got it pretty quickly from the checking letters.
    Thank you setter, BD and all of you!

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Silly Sally

      That’s why we are here – glad you enjoy the site.

      With 8d, write the answer down backwards then split it (5,1,1) and all should become clear.

      • Silly Sally
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thank you and thank you :)

  35. Jumbosailor
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No one seems to have commented on 15d – it confused me the only word that I can fit is to do with matches or **** and I dont see the connection to “deuce”

    • Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Jumbosailor

      Please don’t put alterntive information in comments about prize puzzles. You can say “I don’t see the connection between the answer and deuce”.

      Deuce is yet another word for the answer – see definition 2 in Chambers.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog.

      I seem to remember that someone did comment on Saturday saying that they didn’t see the connection. I’ve explained about it in my review which will appear on Friday morning

      Alternatively, if you can’t wait that long, look up the various meanings of both your solution and ‘deuce’ in the dictionary

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