DT 28365

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28365

Hints and tips by ShropshireLad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment */**

Good Morning from a rather damp, dreich and dismal Shropshire. I have been given the opportunity to review this Pangram puzzle from Mr Manley as Deep Threat is engaged elsewhere. It’s been a while since I last blogged – so please forgive me if I’m a bit rusty.

There are lots of clues that cover chess, golf and cricket with an awful lot of inserting and removing letters that I hadn’t noticed until I started to write the blog. There is only one answer that could possibly be considered a bit obscure (14d) but I’ve come across it before and it is very gettable from the word play.

The definitions are underlined to give you a head start – then my (hopefully) helpful hints and if all else fails you can reveal the answer by clicking the ‘click here’ button.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Muffling sound of modern music-making (8)
WRAPPING: A homophone (sound of) of a genre of music produced by the likes of Dr. Dre & Jay Z. Or so Mr Google tells me.

5a    Chess move in contest finally eliminated piece (6)
GAMBIT: Take a 4 letter synonym for a ‘contest’ and remove the last letter (finally eliminated) and add a synonym for ‘piece’. I so wanted this to be RD’s favourite chess bugbear but – alas – it isn’t.

9a    Doris with Nan dancing in the club (4,4)
SAND IRON: An anagram (dancing) of DORIS & NAN.

10a    Meaner Conservative, one suffering defeat (6)
CLOSER: Start with the standard single letter abbreviation of Conservative and add a synonym ‘one suffering defeat’. I’m pretty sure that this clue, along with 7 down, will get Silvanus’s radar going.

12a    Bird left home to get fish? (6)
LINNET: A ‘Lego’ clue comprising the abbreviation for ‘left’, Crosswordland’s usual synonym for ‘home’ and add what you would use to land a fish.

13a    Gained release, almost looking embarrassed (8)
ACQUIRED: A 6 letter synonym for ‘release’ without its last letter (almost) and add the colour associated with ‘looking embarrassed’.

15a    Celebrations for groups at Westminster (7)
PARTIES: I think that this is a DD but I am quite happy to be informed that I’m wrong.

16a    Worry making feeble folk roll over (4)
STEW: Take a synonym for ‘feeble folk’ and reverse it (roll over).

20a    Old fellow in Middle East location (4)
OMAN: Pretty straightforward clue – start with the abbreviation of ‘old’ and add another word for ‘fellow’.

21a    Enthusiasts’ publication that is excellent, circulating around a country down under (7)
FANZINE: This is a containment type of clue where you will start with a synonym of ‘excellent’ and then put it round (circulating around) the ‘A’ from the clue and the country where our 2K’s reside. I think the synonym of excellent is a bit stretched.

25a    Music once played, engaging performance (8)
NOCTURNE: An anagram (played) of ONCE surrounding (engaging) a synonym for a performance on a stage perhaps.

26a    Seem to be a listener, keeping very quiet (6)
APPEAR: Start with the ‘A’ from the clue and a part of the body that allows us to hear (listener) and put that round (keeping) the abbreviation for ‘very quiet’.

28a    Hundred yobs in strikes (6)
CLOUTS: Take the Roman numeral for a ‘hundred’ and add a synonym for ‘yobs’.

29a    Cunning, keeping one period of abstinence without talking (8)
SILENTLY: Start with a 3 letter synonym for ‘cunning’ and put that round (keeping) the Roman numeral for ‘one’ and the period of abstinence which commenced on Wednesday.

30a    Surviving no longer with blemish, having lost heart (6)
EXTANT: The usual 2 letter abbreviation for ‘no longer’ is followed by a synonym of ‘blemish’ without its middle letter (having lost heart)

31a    Happen to regret meeting with space traveller (4,4)
COME TRUE: Start with a ‘space traveller’ such as 1P/Halley and end with a synonym of ‘to regret’.


1d    Desire cut short, see, as befits a sage (6)
WISELY: A 4 letter synonym for ‘desire’ without the last letter (cut short) (hang on, haven’t I typed this already?) and add Crosswordland’s over-used diocese (see).

2d    Shelter beginning to be needed with day fading (6)
AWNING: Start with a synonym for ‘beginning’ as in daybreak and remove (fading) the abbreviation for ‘day’. Not my favourite clue.

3d    Very early in toilet, turning up after five, say (8)
PRIMEVAL: Colloquial term for ‘toilet’ is reversed (turning up – in a down clue) after what the number five or even three could be an example of.

4d    End of bout in ring possible, upsetting corner (4)
NOOK: This is a reversal (upsetting) of the way a boxing match could end (end of bout in ring) and a synonym of ‘possible’.

6d    Fully committed, like a cricket team soon to be fielding? (3-3)
ALL-OUT: When a cricket team lose one of their last batsmen they are ‘collectively’ no longer ‘in’.

7d    Meaner goddess engenders a measure of interest (4,4)
BASE RATE: A synonym for ‘meaner’ and the name of a ‘goddess’ contains (engenders) the ‘A’ from the clue.

8d    Perform again in urban community that’s destroyed (4,4)
TORE DOWN: Start with a synonym for ‘perform again’ and place it in what can be described as an urban community.

11d    Fast movement of crazy horse, sadly unseating Ray (7)
SCHERZO: An anagram (crazy) of HORSE SADLY without (unseating) RAY. . An anagram (sadly) of CRAZY HORSE without (unseating) RAY. Thanks to LabradorsruleOK for pointing out my mistake – I knew what I meant to put in – I think.

14d    Tries very hard to produce tunes (7)
STRAINS: Again, I think this is a DD and again I’m willing to be told otherwise.

17d    Coastal road firm gets Rex ideal position (8)
CORNICHE: An abbreviation of a ‘firm’ or a business is followed by the abbreviation of ‘Rex’ and ends with a synonym for an ‘ideal position’.

18d    Reveal as phoney what fielder may claim, wanting verdict against batsman (5,3)
CATCH OUT: In two parts –

When a fielder successfully fields the ball hit by a batsman (without dropping it) he will claim this action. then

Ask the umpire to send the batsman off the field.

Sorry, this is a terrible clue to parse and the answers not much better.

19d    A particular queen, possibly in type of swimsuit? (3-5)
ONE-PIECE: This term of ‘a particular queen’ could describe one of 32 men on a chessboard. Couldn’t resist the opportunity – sorry.

22d    Name of man recently elected (6)
JUSTIN: No – not Mr Trump. The answer split 4,2 could mean ‘recently elected’.

23d    Shakespearean fool has little right to be sore (6)
FESTER: The name of a character from ‘Twelfth Night’ (Shakespearean fool) is followed by the abbreviation in lower case of ‘right’ (little right). Yes, I know that this isn’t the Shakespearean character.

24d    Pattern exceptionally large framing edge of doorway (6)
ARGYLE: An anagram (exceptionally) of LARGE containing (framing) the last letter of ‘doorway’ (edge of doorway).

27d    Beginner starts to think it’s really obvious (4)
TIRO: An initialised clue (starts to) of ‘think it’s really obvious’.

The puzzle didn’t really take up much time to solve – but trying to parse the convoluted clues took far too long. Definitely out of practice. I do hope the hints were useful.

The Quick Crossword pun: sunk+ream=sun cream



  1. Senf
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Hmm – cricket, golf, and chess (and 21a) – I can’t see that working for some solvers (and I am thinking of one in particular).

    A good Friday cranial workout – 2.5*/3* for me with quite a lot of head scratching and some electronic assistance especially in the SW corner.

    Favourite 17d, partly because it is one of the clues with the lowest word count in a quite ‘verbose’ puzzle (4 clues on page 2 with my printer and paper size), but mostly because it is a very good clue.

    Thanks to Giovanni and SL (not rusty at all).

    • Kath
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Cricket, golf, chess (and 21a) and boxing. :sad:

      • Senf
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        I missed the last one! But, I was thinking of you with my opening line.

    • Brian
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Best clues on the board 😀

    • Vancouverbc
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Senf, right click and print preview then scale the page (try 95%) to make it one page. It sometimes needs some manual inking in but generally it will fit one page fine.

      As to the puzzle much of the east side needed hints. I found this in 4* territory for difficulty and guessing it was a pangram didn’t help me either. Thanks to SL and the setter.

  2. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I think 11d is an anagram of (“sadly”) ” crazy horse” without Ray not “horse sadly” – I spent ages trying it as you put.

    Not too nice for me like the weather for the dog walk. Satisfying that I finished though.
    Thanks to setter & SL for hints.

  3. Michael
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Phew – that was tricky and strangely unsatisfying, very bitty clues that I found difficult to string together – I didn’t know the Shakesperean fool so that didn’t help.

    It was like hitting yourself over the head with a hammer – you’re happy when it ends!

  4. Toadson
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Are you sure you meant 14d SL?

  5. pete
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, sorry to say but I found this very difficult, frustrating and no real enjoyment. Managed about two thirds without really understanding the clues properly. I have more understanding taking in SL,s comments definitely not my cup of tea.4.5*/1* Many thanks to SL for his considerable help.

  6. Gazza
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this – thanks to G&S. Giovanni’s new ‘no obscurities’ policy is obviously a permanent feature. My favourite was 31a.
    I did so want 1a to be ‘baffling’.

  7. Toadson
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    A bit of a work out for me, nothing stupidly obscure, more like gentle reminders of words already in the back of the mind (tiro and corniche for example). Ta to The Don and SL.

  8. Jose
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    This was excellent from G – best of the week for me. The clues were a bit above average for difficultly and it was a very entertaining solve. I got delayed a little by initially and rashly bunging in three wrong’uns: 17d, LITTORAL just because I read “coast”; 22d VICTOR because the T fitted and a recently elected man is a victor; 24d ARGYLL which is very similar to the answer. 3*/4*.

    • ShropshireLad
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      If I hadn’t been doing the blog I would have upped the enjoyment rating – perhaps I am being harsh as it took me longer to write the parsing of the clues than it took to solve them.

      • Jose
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        SL. I forgot to add – welcome back to the blog as a Hint and Tipper and may your efforts continue for a long time.

    • Jose
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      PS. 21a: I reckon the synonym of excellent is very good (in fact, it’s fine).

  9. Spook
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I think that was one of the toughest yet, electronic assistance much needed, although only had to resort to click here once. Nevertheless a real tough one. Certainly a case of brain strain.
    Thanks to ShropshireLad and setter.

  10. jane
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Goodness, I made heavy weather of this one!
    Like SL, I longed to get RD’s favourite chess piece/manoeuvre into 5a and then I tried hard to justify ‘torn’ as the first word of 8d.
    The sporting references didn’t trouble me too much but I wasn’t at all keen on 4d.
    Hadn’t heard of 21a before and had forgotten the non-Rolls Royce meaning of 17d.

    Top two for me were 31a & 22d.

    Thanks to DG and to SL for a confident return to the hot seat. Enjoyed the clip from Love Actually.

  11. Kitty
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps my brain wasn’t properly screwed on this morning but I had a pretty terrible time with this (which, somewhat masochistically perhaps, I really rather enjoyed).

    I don’t have the crossword to hand now but may not be around this evening so am just dropping in to say thanks to SL for the review which I shall check out properly later – and last but not least, thanks to Giovanni.

    I do remember that I enjoyed the musical ones.

    Have a great weekend everyone. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!

  12. Kitty
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    P.S. If it’s one of you, many many thanks to “Anon” for the very generous donation!

  13. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    3.5*/2.5*. Like Jane I made heavy weather of this, particularly in the SW corner where I followed Jose’s example and initially put in “Victor” for 22d. I found this less enjoyable than the recent good run of Friday puzzles as some of the cluing seems to have drifted back to Giovanni’s more convoluted style.

    5a is an excellent chess clue :good: but, in common with several others, 31a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to SL. It is nice to see him blogging again, and very good it is too.

  14. Angellov
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Another post has disappeared so here we go again. I found this distinctly testing but I really enjoyed every minute (wont say how many!) of the challenge including the sports/pastimes references. SW last to fall. Couldn’t get ‘how’s that’ out of my mind for 18d. 21a and the goddess part of 7d new to me but former was helped by 2Ks’ homeland. 22d was my last in and may be a chestnut but it became my Fav replacing 6d. See in 1d certainly makes regular appearances too. Special thanks to Giovanni and indeed to SL – welcome back.

  15. Kath
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this in an average kind of way.
    I got 12a all a*** about f*** and thought I was after a fish – spent too long trying to find a bird called a Mar – no excuses at all.
    I’ve never heard of 21a but BRB reliably informs me that they are mainly concerned with pop music, science fiction and football so . . .
    I got 18d from the ‘phoney’ bit rather than the ‘crickety’ bit.
    I liked 16a and 11 and 19d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to SL – really nice to see you back blogging again.
    Wet and cold in Oxford – just wondering if I have enough grey cells left to have a go at the Toughie.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I too tried to use Mar but not for long. My knowledge of Burscough Football Club got me the correct answer Kath.

  16. fran
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Having put wisdom in for 1d early on in the piece , it then became impossible to solve the top corner . Also can’t say I know ” feste ” and although the golf clue lay thick on the ground I didn’t twig ” Justin” ( Rose) very clever if meant . Altogether too bitty for me and was quite relieved to finish it , with help from SL . ****/** Nevertheless thanks to setter and SL

    • Angellov
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Me too with wisdom.

  17. neveracrossword
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    3*/4* for me. Just the job for a wet day. I also give myself 3* for spotting a pangram for the first time ever.
    1a is very similar to a recent clue in the Times Saturday crossword.
    Unlike some others, I finished the SW corner first.
    Thank you SL and Giovanni.

    • Toadson
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      And similar to a clue in the Guardian puzzle which featured in the tv program earlier this week (wrap/rap).

  18. RayS
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Toughest one of the week so far. I just couldn’t get 22d. I can’t say I enjoyed the cluing too much. 3.5*/3* for me. I remembered the clown from Twelfth Night from ‘O’ Level English!! 11d was my favourite.

  19. Ora Meringue
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I found this very difficult and had to resort to the electronic aid for 30a and 2d.

    Haven’t seen 23d as a noun before, but I expect it must be.

    Spotted that it was a pangram, so I can be pleased about that.

    Thanks to the setter and to ShropshireLad.

    • Angellov
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      OM – I read 23d as a verb – to be sore.

  20. Brian
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Bit harder than ** for me, at least a ***. Had to have the hints to explain 10a, 30a, 3d, 8d, 19d and 24d. All the answers were there from part of the clue but still don’t see why Closer is Meaner. My favourite was def 9a.
    Enjoyable as always for the Master but not easy by any means IMHO.
    Thx to all.

    • Senf
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Brian – closer/meaner – the BRB, in ‘close’ definition 1, includes miserly (=mean).

      • Toadson
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure I’ve heard the phrase ‘he’s a bit close with his money ‘, or something like it.

        • Angellov
          Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Indeed close = tight = mean.

  21. Brian
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry probably being stupid here but in 7d, if you take BASE as the synonym for Meaner and remove the A that’s leaves RTE, where is the Goddess?

    • Brian
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Ah now I get it, the Meaner is Baser then add the A to get ATE apparently the goddess of mischief, who knew that!

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        As I say below, we’ve had her in crosswords before – quite recently because I remember checking up what she was the goddess of before I typed a review, but don’t ask me of which crossword

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I thought the synonym had an R at the end (as meaner does) and the goddess was ATE (we’ve had her in crosswords before)

    • Senf
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Brian – SL’s hint does not suggest removing the A from BASE. Some potential confusion – there is a Greek goddess ATE, and a Polynesian Ocean goddess TE (fiti) as seen in the Disney film Moana (so Google tells me).

      The way I parsed the clue was the BASER as a synonym for meaner and ATE (then split 4,4), with engenders creating a measure of interest.

      • Jose
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        This is all very confusing. I don’t think that “engenders” is a containment indicator for A as in BASER(A)TE, where TE is the goddess. I reckon Senf is right thus: Meaner (BASER) + goddess (ATE) engenders (or produces/gives/leads to) a measure of interest (or BASE RATE). The “engenders” is a link between the wordplay and the definition.

        • Jose
          Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Or maybe I should say that “engenders” is an essential part of the wordplay not just a link.

          • Robin Newman
            Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Found this puzzle tricky.
            Thanks for clarifying 7D, which now seems quite straightforward !

  22. Young Salopian
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    No need to look any further than the brilliant 31a for the COTD in this rewarding and hugely enjoyable Giovanni offering. I agree that it was a tad more difficult than usual, but that just increases the fun and overall satisfaction. Many thanks to The Don for an excellent backpager, and to my fellow Salopian for his review. 2.5*/4*.

  23. mcmillibar
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Lovely Pangram and I agree with Senf as to the rating of 2.5/3 stars – spot on for me. Thanks Giovanni for a very good crossword with just the right difficulty level for this solver. Think we’ve seen 28a very recently unless I am getting mixed up with The Times. I have to admit though falling flat on my face half-way over the finish line by bunging in GRAYLE in 24d – it is a word but a pretty dumb one. (lesson: bung-in at thy peril because you forget and accept it) Thank you for sorting me out on that one, SL, I owe you a half.
    Jeepers, that is another week gone!

    • Senf
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      mcm – 28a, I am reasonably certain that we have had yobs/louts recently, not sure if it involved a hundred.

      • Mr Kitty
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Senf, you’re right. The hooligans probably feel familiar because Giovanni has used them twice in recent weeks

        Fri 17 Feb 17 DT28353 Yobs — many besieging university (5) LOUTS
        Fri 24 Feb 17 DT28359 Kid endlessly pursued by yob? Calm down! (5,3) CHILLOUT

        Looking further back, he once used similar wordplay with a quite different definition:

        Fri 7 Oct 11 DT26677 A hundred yobs — they’re supposed to disappear in June? (6) CLOUTS

        I was amused that Rufus, OTOH, prefers crickety worldplay:

        Mon 20 Oct 03 DT24190 Hit 150 before getting dismissed (7) CLOUTED
        Mon 23 Feb 15 DT27732 Hit 150 before getting dismissed (5) CLOUT

        • jane
          Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          I do love that you always take the time to check things out for us, Mr. K. Thank you – it saves so much brain ache!

        • mcmillibar
          Posted March 4, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Seriously impressive. You should be head of statistics for HM Government. Perhaps you are/were? Thank you.

  24. Paso Doble
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    We found this a bit of a struggle and not one of our favourite puzzles. A ***/** from us, with thanks to SL and Giovanni.

  25. Merusa
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I found this the hardest puzzle I think I’ve ever done. I had so many clues unsolved, I’m ashamed to say how many, but I really lost interest. Strangely, one of the ones I did solve was 14d! Never heard of 21a. Loved 31a, good one.
    Thanks to Giovanni, not your fault I’m so thick, and to S’lad for all your help.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Not thick – just not on The Don’s wavelength.

  26. BusyLizzie
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Phew, this was **** difficulty for me. In the old days, before I found this blog, I would have given up. Just glad it wasn’t my first attempt. Thanks to Shropshirelad for the hints, without which I would have been quite lost. Even when I got the answer on my own, 10a for example, I was not confident enough to write it in as it didn’t appear to meet the definition. Favorite was 31a out of the few that made sense to me. I’m with Kath on too many sporting clues. Definitely not a crossword for us lesser mortals. Oh well you can’t win them all.

    • Kath
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Just because we don’t ‘get’ sporting clues doesn’t make us lesser mortals – to quote our Elder Lamb, “We’re just good at different things”.

  27. Mr Kitty
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    This felt like old school Giovanni, and for me it was the longest grid fill and parse of the week. In a few places the answer was clear from the checkers and from working out which end of the clue held the definition, but the parse took some head-scratching. Satisfying head-scratching though, with several smile-inducing penny drops. I needed to verify both the definition of 11d and the fool. Having just returned from that country down under, favourite has to be 21a. Thanks to the Don and to SL.

  28. Bluebirds
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Some of these were a tad far fetched.

    Closer = Meaner?

    Anagram indicator for argyle stumped me (to keep the cricket theme going)

  29. silvanus
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Like certain others I found the SW corner the trickiest, and I also echo the majority in voting for 31a as my favourite.

    It’s great to see SL back in the blogging chair, he needn’t have worried about whether “meaner” appearing twice in the clues would make my repetition radar bleep though. It didn’t, as they were both used to clue different words, but I still would have preferred one of them to be replaced with one of their numerous synonyms.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to SL, and a good week-end to all.

    • Mark
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always spelt 27d with a y not an i. Is it a word with alternative spellings?

      • silvanus
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Me too, Mark. Yes, it is an alternative spelling, very useful for setters! 24d is another alternative spelling.

      • Angellov
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear – I had commented on that spelling before my Comment 14 fell by the wayside and had to be rewritten.

  30. Miffypops
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    A tricksy puzzle with more than a few bung ins and parse later than usual. Very enjoyable as always. Just my sort of anagram at 24d. Ta to The Don and thanks to the lad from Salop for the review. I am in Grassington in The Yorkshire Dales for bit of walking and Wharfedale V Harrogate at Rugby tomorrow. Oh dear there will be Beer.

  31. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Started on the wrong foot by bunging in “lonely” in 1d : Desire=long and sage=hermit. Well you get the drift.
    After that it went sort of smoothly but I wasn’t really concentrating.
    As for the cricket clues, I wish they were 6d.
    Liked the subtracting anagram in 11d and favourite is 29a.
    Thanks to the Don and to our one handed reviewer.

    • jane
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, JL – I tried to justify ‘lonely’ for exactly the same reasons!

  32. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    We certainly found this puzzle much trickier and more enjoyable than SL did.
    And now confession time. When we came to solve 21a we already had the Z from 11d so we both thought, ” Ah, he is talking about Australia” and proceeded to put an O in front of the Z. It was not until we had another checker and sorted out the wordplay that the truth dawned. It just has to be our favourite.
    Thanks Giovanni and SL.

    • jane
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes again – OZ was definitely my first thought!

    • ShropshireLad
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi 2K’s – Can you please bring some light to a question? When doing the solve, 7d virtually wrote itself in with all the checkers I had. It was only when writing the review that I became stuck on the parse. I was pretty sure that ‘meaner’ = ‘baser’ (not a pretty word) but when I came to the ‘goddess’ part I had convinced myself that the whole clue had to be structured as ‘Baser’ + the name of a goddess bearing (engendering) the A from the clue.

      When I checked on Mr Google for a goddess ‘Te’ it came up with a Māori goddess ‘Te fiti’. What does that translate to?

      PS I enjoyed the crossword – just didn’t like to have to write the review as it took ages :)

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        We had never heard of Te Fiti. A quick Google seems to suggest that she was invented by Disney for the movie Moana that means the sea. We parsed the clue as meaner = baser and then the Greek goddess of mischief Ate. She is in BRB.

        • ShropshireLad
          Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          Yes – I have now stored that information into my memory banks (ask me again in 24 hours). I should have ‘phoned a friend :)

  33. Killer Watts
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Toughest puzzle I’ve seen in many a month. I needed half a dozen hints today. I only know 27D with a Y.

    Thanks to setter and to SL.

    ****/** from me.

  34. Una
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I made a complete and utter hash of that.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      So did I! You have no idea how comforting it is to see so many others did too. I thought I’d lost my touch.

      • ShropshireLad
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Cheer up guys – it is after all just a crossword. We all come across ‘bumps on the road’ every now and then. In fact my hints for 7d have proved to be c**p :)

        I will have to try better on Monday as I’m standing in for MP whilst he’s ‘swanning around’ various hostelries pretending he’s on a walking trip with Saint Sharon.

        Have a good weekend.

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          It is great to have you back. Wrt 7d it is great for we students that you “elite” sometimes get the right answer for the the wrong reason. I thought that was our preserve.
          A large number seem to have found this difficult to fathom (including the mercurial MP). Probably not the best to get back into the hot seat with.
          With another guest appearance on Monday you are fast becoming “Locum”.

          • ShropshireLad
            Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            Hi LROK – Thanks for your comment – it is much appreciated. However, with regard to the ‘elite’ tag – nothing could be further from the truth (I speak for myself but I hasten to add that I would be pretty sure that other reviewers would agree with me). I just enjoy doing crosswords and have gained some knowledge over the years. Sometimes I’m right – sometimes I’m wrong, but I always try to learn from my mistakes.

            Have a good weekend.

      • Una
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Thanks , Merusa, so glad I wasn’t the only one.

  35. Gwizz
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, hard but fair. I actually really enjoyed the challenge. Clues 1a and 31a were good but I liked 12a best. 3/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the Don, and to SL for being back on parade.

  36. Mr. K. L. Wall
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    ‘Tiro’? Well that’s a new one.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Welcome. One of two ways of spelling this word

    • ShropshireLad
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me too.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s usually ‘tyro’. Daft and useless crossword-land word.

  37. Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Charmless, with too much Lego and little that requires a true facility with words. What ‘s going on?

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


    • ShropshireLad
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Welcome from me as well.

    • Miffypops
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      Hello from me too.

  38. Jon_S
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    One of those that felt quite tricky while solving, but that finished with a time that is indeed equal to the two stars awarded above. Only the two unknowns this week at 9ac and 17d. Was I the only person unhappy with the filler words “in the” in 9ac? Required for neither the cryptic part or the definition, they seem to be superfluous? Or maybe I’m just sore because I was convinced they were part of the definition and so threw me off the scent.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      well – ‘in’ could be a link, and ‘the club’ could be a definition, but i agree it’s not as elegant as could be.

  39. Florence
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I now have a sore finger from ‘click here’ and needing so much electronic help. I don’t mind struggling at the beginning, or struggling at the end if you get satisfaction that you’ve managed to finish. I struggled all the way through this one. Thanks to The Don who completely defeated me today, and a special thanks to Shropshirelad for the much needed review.

  40. LetterboxRoy
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle, but well clued. Thanks to G, and thanks SL for the workings-out. Good job well done matey-boy.

  41. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    If I want a crossword like this, I’ll do the toughie.
    Where’s the Guardian?
    Thanks SL…Total respect to anyone who could do this.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      the toughie today is great

    • Kell
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      I completely agree, what an absolute stinker. It shouldn’t have been on the back page at all. Most demoralising.

  42. Dutch
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t often get around to doing the Friday back pager since I’m blogging the toughie, but when I saw SL was doing the review I thought I’d have a quick go – ha! Took me ages. the toughie didn’t take me as long.

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle that really kept us on our toes. Well done Giovanni!
    I hadn’t come across sand iron or fanzine before, but it was a pleasure to learn. I did spend 5 years in Beirut where there is a famous Corniche, but I don’t have any argyle socks (do I hear I sigh of relief?)

    I didn’t know the shakespearean fool, shame on me.

    I was very much in the BASER + ATE camp, but not to worry SL, your DD calls were spot on.

    Thanks Giovanni, and SL: a real pleasure to see you back

  43. Tstrummer
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    The best thing about this was the return of Kilmarnock’s finest expat to the blogging chair (although 14d an obscurity?). Otherwise I found it a dull grind with only a few splashes of delight amid the quagmire. Liked 13 and 31a, 22 and 23d. Hated 2d, 3d and 4d. Many thanks to SL and slightly fewer to the Don, whom I normally rate much more highly. 3*/1*

    • ShropshireLad
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Good to see you about Tstrummer. I hope all is well with you and your delightful young lady sans dogs. I challenge you to drop 14d into a natural conversation :)

      Thanks for your kind words – but I think you may have blown my cover ‘non de plume’ for Mondays back page cover for MP.

    • dutch
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      do you really mean 14d SL?

  44. Lancashire Lad
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I usually restrict myself to the Saturday crossword which takes me all week to do but I whistled through it this week and decided to do the Friday one.This Friday crossword was much tougher in my opinion than the Saturday prize one. Thanks for your your help Shropshire Lad I don’t think I’d have made it without you.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 4, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink


  45. Terry Chenier
    Posted May 3, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    11D! I had no clue; learned a new word.