DT 27383 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27383

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27383

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on an overcast morning with perhaps a touch of frost.

I found myself a little more on Giovanni’s wavelength today, hence the ** difficulty, though I shall be interested to see what others make of it.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Cloud that’s bust in a storm, violently (12)
{ NIMBOSTRATUS } Anagram (violently) of BUST IN A STORM.

9a           Conservative politician holding a party (4)
{ CAMP } The abbreviation for Conservative, and the usual politician, either side of A (from the clue).

10a         Notice opening made by one holy person who looks for golden age? (9)
{ ADVENTIST } A charade of a shortened form of commercial notice, an opening, the Roman numeral for one, and an abbreviation for a holy person.  The golden age is to come after the Second Coming.

12a         Horrified Arab leader met with stone — one knocked out (6)
{ AGHAST } An Arab leader (though the BRB says he’s a Turk, which is not the same thing) followed by ST(ONE) (one knocked out).

13a         Fictitious place — in short, not one in map book (8)
{ ATLANTIS } A shortened form of ‘not’ and a Roman one, inside a book of maps.

15a         One may have spotted suits at work (3-7)
{ DRY-CLEANER } … or stained dresses.

16a         Outdoor festival — cut a cheese (4)
{ FETA } An outdoor festival (often preceded by ‘garden’) with the final E removed (cut), followed by A from the clue.

18a         Rescuer of limited number — gosh! (4)
{ NOAH } A shortened form of ‘number’ and an exclamation like ‘gosh!’, giving someone who rescued creatures two by two.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20a         Article penned by performer at end of month as a dissenter (10)
{ SEPARATIST } Start with a shortened month name, then add a performer with an indefinite article inside.

23a         Controversial writer exposes European dimness (8)
{ POLEMIST } A person from an Eastern European country, followed by dimness or haze.

24a         Drink that’s swallowed time and time again to make one stronger (6)
{ BETTER } An alcoholic drink with TT (time and time again) inside it.

26a         In part of the river US trainee gets into difficulties (9)
{ ESTUARINE } Anagram (gets into difficulties) of US TRAINEE.

27a         Religious person meddled — eyed doing a bunk (4)
{ MONK } Remove EYED (doing a bunk) from the end of a word meaning meddled, to get a member of a religious order.

28a         Hard bargaining that is part of stable business? (5-7)
{ HORSE-TRADING } Double definition, the first being a metaphorical application of the second.


2d           Hint about his misbehaving like a naughty child (8)
{ IMPISHLY } A verb for hint with an anagram (misbehaving) of HIS inside it.

3d           Tolerate  Paddington? (4)
{ BEAR } Double definition, the second being a fictional character of that name.

4d           Come to the rescue and put that date in your diary! (4,3,3)
{ SAVE THE DAY } What you might do if you reserve a date in your diary.

5d           Track opening old city up (6)
{ RUNWAY } An unusual word for an opening or chasm, followed by the usual ancient city, the whole thing then reversed (up, in a Down clue).

6d           What will serve as national emblem? It’s said the thing here will (7)
{ THISTLE } The national emblem of part of the UK sounds like (it’s said) a pronoun meaning ‘the thing here’ and a contracted form of ‘will’.

7d           At the end of the day is workplace OK? (12)
{ SATISFACTORY } A short form of one of the days of the week followed by IS (from the clue) and an industrial workplace.

8d           Jazz fan leading dance in China long ago (6)
{ CATHAY } A somewhat dated word for a jazz fan and an old country dance, giving an old name for China, or part of the name of a modern airline.

11d         First words from pen aid scheme being hatched (6,6)
{ MAIDEN SPEECH } Anagram (being hatched) of PEN AID SCHEME, giving the first words of a new MP or peer in Parliament.

14d         A striker we found to be fantastic sportsman? (5-5)
{ WATER-SKIER } Anagram (fantastic) of A STRIKER WE.

17d         Desperate fellow drinking beers, male who may live in Yorkshire? (8)
{ DALESMAN } A fictional eater of cow pie with another word for beers and Male inside.

19d         Like a great show with everyone under the sun? The opposite maybe (3-4)
{ ALL-STAR } A word for everyone followed by what they might be under at the opposite end of the day from when they are under the sun.

21d         Design home to have number, then fifty times as many (6)
{ INTEND } The definition is a verb. Take a two-letter word for ‘at home’, add a number (spelt out as a word), then a Roman numeral for a number fifty times bigger than the first one.

22d         Spike is devilish type when given drink (6)
{ IMPALE } Again the definition is a verb. A small devil is followed by an alcoholic drink.

25d         What’s done in river, a little depth below (4)
{ DEED } The name of one of several rivers in the UK followed by an abbreviation for Depth.

The Quick Crossword pun { FORCE }{ TALL } = { FORESTALL }

In further news from the home of the 2Kiwis, the England croquet team followed up its beating of Australia with an 18 – 3 win over USA, to set up a decider with the equally unbeaten New Zealand team, starting on Saturday.

101 comments on “DT 27383

  1. The availability of the on-line pdf is a bit hit and miss – I was able to print off today’s cryptic at 11.30 last night and had a good go at it before going to bed.

    Quite a straightforward puzzle – my anagram program didn’t find 1a but I knew it roughly and was able to find it elsewhere.

    Good fun!

  2. Possibly my fastest ever application of correction fluid to a crossword, as I invented a new word at 1a (STRATONIMBUS).
    Apart from that blunder, the rest went in without too much trouble. Last one in was 20a.
    Many thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat for the review.

    1. It’s a real word apparently!

      “The stratonimbus replaced its ancestor the Nimbus. With the evolution of the more successful cloud nimbus, nimbus was pushed to edge of the Troposphere.”

      Or is this one of those mischievous Wiki spoofs?

      1. I think its probably true spindrift, it’s just got that kind of ‘right’ feel to it, one vote for true :-)

      2. You are havering Spindrift or making mischief – or wiki is. A humorous haver however, I grant you. We should all know Ns cloud after the past month!

    2. Me too – stratonimbus was my first word in. Fortunately Paddington Bear quickly came to my rescue to highlight the error of my ways.

    3. Me too. Felt quite pleased to have spotted this one straightaway… not. To be fair it’s not in my BRB app.

      1. me too until 3d and 4d corrected the situation.

        I wonder how many other words are like this – same letters used differently to produce two different words that have the same meaning! Is there a name for that sort of thing?

  3. I thought I had it cracked with the exception of 5d. Much head scratching before I realised I had spelled 1a incorrectly. Many thanks to DT for putting me straight. I really enjoyed this today, both the puzzle and the explanations.

  4. Thank you DG – I found this quite difficult and needed your review DT to decode some answers. 12a and 27a come to mind. All good fun and thanks DT for the review and hints and photos. The jet looks a bit low in 8d – did it clear the mountains ?

  5. Straightforward for a Friday – */** and **** – finished easily before lights out last night. Several favorites too numerous too mention. Thanks to the Don and DT (mostly for the pleasing pix).

      1. Thanks MP this is one of those viral lurgy things which really doesn’t want to let go along with a bronchial cough!!!!

      2. Miffypops – Yes I thought about that while I was writing my comment. However, I thought today’s selection was tasteful and not overdone in quantity.

        1. I will bear that in mind on Monday. We can only work with what the setter presents us with. Yesterdays Ray T only had 4 picture opportunities.

      3. Miffypops – I can take or leave the pictures, but I do like the style of your reviews. I’ve read some reviews in the past that I’m sure were more difficult that the puzzles! ;-)

  6. Morning all still feeling pretty grotty, I have been doing the crosswords and catching up with the blog the following day but don’t feel very chatty! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif Anyway today I will make the effort at least to say Hi :-) , I still don’t understand the construction at 20a although I got the answer, fav clue 7d, a few obscure ones today IMHO but not too difficult, a two to three star for me

        1. Of course it is!!!! I am sooo stupid, I just couldn’t see that, thanks Kath for saving my sanity :-)

        1. Me too. I hope you feel better soon. I have had a cold since before Christmas which comes and goes. just when I am feeling better it creeps up from behind and beats me up all over again.

  7. I was held up on 15A as I was convinced that the first word had to be DAY – how wrong can one be! Other than that, everything went in fairly easily – another of the Don’s fun puzzles.

    More washing again today – then a few weeks looking at it and muttering ‘I really should iron that’

    1. A friend of mine irons on a ‘need to’ basis – if it needs ironing she doesn’t need to wear it.

      1. I’ve been a widower for 37 years and I never did find where my dear wife kept the iron.
        But no-body ever notices, especially if I wear a pullover.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  8. This is obviously another case of “just me then”. I thought it was really tricky – at least 4* difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    Like Jezza I invented a new word and got 1a wrong – that was sorted out fairly quickly when I started the down clues.
    I didn’t know that the 12a Turkish chap could have an ‘h’ in him so that was a mystery until I looked it up.
    My first thought for 11d was that it was going to be a biblical reference of some kind that I didn’t know – having thought of that it was impossible to think of anything else.
    I missed the anagram indicator in 14d for ages.
    My last ones were 26a – missed the anagram indicator in that one too – and 27a.
    Not my day really although I did enjoy it – just on completely the wrong wave length.
    I liked 15 and 28a and 6 and 22d. My favourite was 19d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

    1. As often, I completely agree with you, far harder than ** for difficulty. I too was unaware that Aga could be spelt with an H (sure they make these words up as they go along sometimes!) how did you get on with 23a, had me stumped for a while?

      1. Yes – trouble with 23a too. I got the ‘dimness’ (mist) pretty quickly but because I thought the ‘e’ was the ‘European’ I spent too long searching for a ‘writer’ called ‘Pol’ before finally realising that the definition was ‘controversial writer’ rather than just ‘controversial’. Oh dear – as I said, not my day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

    2. Not just you Kath… happy to agree **** difficulty. 26a was my last one in and I have to admit I’d never heard of it. I admire Giovanni’s wordplay and construction, but I do have problems getting on to the right wavelength sometimes. A tad too esoteric in places for me… if that’s an admission of failing intellect, I resemble that. Enjoyed 7d, 11d and 28a (mainly because they went in straightaway!) Many thanks to Giovanni and DT… disappointingly I needed your help more than I felt I should have. Off to visit the amazing Bartons Arms in Aston tonight complete with wall-to-wall Minton tiles, Oakham Ales and Thai cuisine.

      1. Barton Arms – yes, weird.
        An oasis in a sea of concrete.
        Went once, but not my style of cuisine or decor, sad to say.

        Victorian interiors (especially municipal) drive me to distraction, make my teeth itch and set me craving cool pale walls, still water and blond wood with absolutely no carving on it.

        PS I do accept that we owe something to generations of British craftsmanship………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

        1. Not my style either, Oakham Ales do own some quirky pubs, my local is one of theirs and its on a dutch barge moored on the river Nene called Charters. Another one also in Peterborough is called the Brewery Tap where Oakham ales were once brewed. All do Thai food, that’ll be the owners wifes influence.

  9. As usual a fine puzzle a a bit of a work-out for my little brain. far too many really good clues to mention. Thanks DT for the song at 18ac which took me back to when my children were little and I used to play my guitar at their school and the little children sang along with interesting timings unusual key changes but always with bright shiny faces and bags of enthusiasm. We played My Grandfathers Clock. Lord Of The Dance and we always finished with Grandmas Feather Bed. Oh and Emma’s mum was always a beat or two behind the kids whilst Sue the vicars wife was always a beat or two ahead. Such happy times

  10. Thought that was far trickier than yesterday’s with some odd words like 20a, 26a and 11a. Bit of a curates egg for me with some lovely clues such as 28a and 13a and a couple of dreadful ones – 20a and 23a.
    For me ***/**. At least I only the 3 religious clues today.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Thx to Giovanni for the puzzle and to DT for explaining 27a.

    1. Golly. I thought I had finished but 25d is not filled in. Weed is definately the better answer and offers a far better photo opportunity

    2. Misspent youth or failure to plan ahead?

      I’ve always assumed there was a convenient secondary function for waders – apparently, the Queen Mum was out there for hours waiting for a catch…..

  11. A nice wee crossword from Giovann today, nothing too difficult and yet tricky enough to make you think. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for the amusing review, but I see you have purloined my avatar for the clue for 17d.

  12. I found this quite tough but enjoyable, and, for me, this was one of Giovanni’s better offerings in that it was not spoilt by obscurities. My rating is 3*/4*.

    26a was a new word for me, but easy to work out from the clue.

    I too made the same mistake as many others with 1a, wrongly using the analogy of cumulonimbus to assume n i m b u s must be the final six letters.

    Although I got the answer for 12a quickly, I spent a long time on the wordplay trying to understand the “one knocked out” part. ST is an abbreviation for Stone, so “one knocked out” seems to me to be totally irrelevant or am I missing something?

    in 14d, why is “fantastic” an anagram inidcator?

    23a was my last one in. I always thought the word was polemicist, but, of course, the alternative spelling is revealed in the BRB.

    I thought 21d was a very clever clue and it just takes my vote as favourite closely followed by 1a and 20a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Per the BRB, ‘fantastic’ = ‘fanciful; not real; capricious; whimsical; wild’ as well as its more common modern informal usage as a synonym for ‘excellent’.

  13. 21 and 27 were my last ones in – and what a marvellous pair they were!
    11d was the first one in having been on that wavelength after 6d in the QC.

    I reckon **|****

  14. I too invented STRATONIMBUS, before discovering the correct answer. Which leads me to ask: what do people here consider appropriate research, or cheating?

    To solve it I looked up cloud types on Wikipedia, and found one that matched the anagram. Having never heard the word before, I’d not have reached it on my own, especially with my invented cloud type. So was researching clouds cheating? Or is it what we should be doing, educating ourselves as we solve the puzzles?

    (Really enjoyed today’s, and got all but 25D. 6D made me chuckle.)

    1. Hi John. I think it’s a very personal matter regarding what is or is not “cheating”.

      I allow myself a maximum total solving time although with more difficult puzzles I will attempt them in several hits as taking a break often helps with some clues when you come back to them.

      If I think I’ve got an answer but it’s a new word for me I’ll use a dictionary to check it. Like today with 23a; the wordplay led to Polemist, which turned out to be an alternative spelling of Polemicist.

      When all else fails and I am nearing my time limit, then I will resort to Google, Anagram Solvers and Crossword Solvers, and, of course, the best resource in the world – this blog!

    2. I very much doubt that the setters manage without reference books. I used to use various dictionaries and other reference books quite a lot. Nowadays hardly ever at all. I don’t think it matters how you get there as long as you are having a go. This site will certainly help to unravel the mysteries that are cryptic crosswords.

    3. That’s a really good question John! For me, there are degrees of cheating… on a scale of one to ten:

      1. No recourse to dictionaries, reference books or any aids (I’m feeling pleased with myself)

      2. Reference to the BRB App to check the odd spelling (I’m okay with this, it’s not really cheating, is it?)

      3. Reference to Roget’s or the Thesaurus App (Hmm… I’m starting to feel uncomfortable)

      4. Wikipedia or Google (I’m struggling and I need some serious help. I think I’ve crossed the line)

      5. Crossword dictionary 2, 3, 4 et seq alpha lists (I know I’m cheating by now but they’re obscure words right?)

      6. Big Dave with a few left (yes I’m cheating but it is only a couple isn’t it?)

      7. Big Dave – with only a few solved (I need some help to get started, then I’ll be ok)

      8. Big Dave – “accidentally” moving the cursor over the pictures (all pretence of doing this by myself has evaporated)

      9. Big Dave revealing the answers in the brackets (I know they’re there but I’d rather wait till tomorrow)

      10. Electronic Crossword solvers (you’re not serious, right?)

      An entirely personal and slightly tongue-in-cheek view and others will have a different one. A little trite perhaps, but I guess it’s fine to start as far down my list as you like as long as you have an aim to move to flying solo.

      1. Brilliant Williamus, I think you’ve summed up the solver’s dilemma to a tee. I only count it as a completion as in your item 1.

      2. Heh, that’s superb!

        I think I’m more generous to myself, maybe allowing myself one or two more steps before I call it “cheating”. The day I finish one without a dictionary to check spellings is still a way off for me – not having to “ask Dave”, as my wife and I say, is my mark of success!

        I remember this fantastic little Collins pocket book my parents had when they taught me Telegraph crosswords as a teenager. Lists of words by topic. Superb for cheating when all other hope was gone, and long before BD existed!

    4. I really don’t think that you can cheat yourself – the most important thing, to me anyway, is to enjoy the crossword.
      As for looking things up – BRB, google or anywhere else for that matter – isn’t that how we learn new words? The only problem is remembering them!
      My two most recent ones are ‘catenary’ (in a Giovanni crossword) and ‘quiddity’ (think that was a Micawber Toughie).

  15. Another goody, thanks Giovanni. Never come across 26a. Guessed 27a so needed Deep Threat to explain rather contrived solution hence thank you for that. Liked 10a, 15a and 7d and, yes Gazza, I went for weed.
    ***/****. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  16. I’ve been a fan of the blog for a while as completing the cryptic crossword was one of my ambitions when I retired and I had no idea where to start ! It has really helped although how many I can do without the blog varies tremendously despite having a double languages degree ! So thank you to all for the hints and the comments underneath as I don’t feel quite so stupid when I read that others struggle too ! How long should it take me to be able to manage without it though?! The comments on cheating/ acceptable research cheered me up !

    1. Welcome to the blog Jules

      As Will Shortz famously said “It’s your puzzle; you can solve it any way you want. And I think that if you have to Google something to help you complete the puzzle and you learn something from having done it, that’s a good thing.”

    2. Welcome from me too. I too on occasion resort to Google and electronic aids mainly due to time constraints. If I can then parse the answer i.e. work out why it is what it is rather than just fill the squares then I see no problem. Also I think the ratings are, as Big Dave repeatedly says, just a guide, not science. Keep at it Jules 55

  17. Enjoyable puzzle today. Gave my brain a good workout! Thanks DT for the explanations. I had 12a but took it as “a” for Arab leader and then some weird rock which was spelled ghast with an “i” (one knocked out) in there somewhere. My husband’s a geologist and was no help! Now I see why :).
    Lots of good clues today. I liked 20a and 18a.
    DT, I took 19d to mean “sun” under “everyone” (the opposite maybe) to get all-star.
    Thanks again for the explanations and thanks to DG for the puzzle.

    1. Is this the same Catherine who holidayed in Britain and is from Canada and hasn’t said much recently ? If so, I missed you and welcome back. If not , ignore this comment !

  18. Late start and later finish today. Brain a little fuddled today but managed most of this one before calling on hints.
    26a is a new word to me. I struggled with 20 & 22a.
    My favourites were 6d & 15a.
    Thanks to G and DT for their sterlIng work.

  19. I think I was just in ** and *** for enjoyment on this one. The obsolete word for China was nearly my last in, I must admit to looking up CATHOP in the dictionary…

  20. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni. I always seem to learn a new word on his puzzles. Today was 23a. Found it quite tricky, and ended up 4 short which I got from the hints, 9a 18a 5d and yes I put weed for 25d. Favourite was 17d. Was 3*/4* for me. Rain just started again in Central London, a bright day forecast for tomorrow.

  21. I did find this difficult ( 3*) but very enjoyable (4*) Needed to use three hints to put it to bed. I originally discounted answer to 1A as I thought it should have been hyphenated. BRB sorted that for me. 18A was my favourite smiler. With regard to the use of dictionaries and other aids, they may provide options for the answer but the solver still needs the nous to select the right one. My thanks to DT for the review.

  22. I found this difficult to get up and running, but enjoyable trying to solve. Some answers I put in and needed DT’s hints to know why, 27a for instance. Hard to pick a favourite as loved 15a, 28a and 7d all equally. Thanks to DG, and to DT for the explanations needed today.


  23. Thanks for the welcome ! Yes I’m hoping I will gradually not need the hints as much ! We’ll see ! It’s a bit like having a bar of chocolate in the cupboard …. Once you know it’s there …. !

    1. Welcome from me too. Please don’t think that I’m being bossy but if you are replying to a comment it’s probably better to click on the thingy that says ‘reply’ because then everything is kept all up together.
      You will learn lots from here very quickly because everyone is very helpful and friendly – no-one will ever make you feel dim so if you don’t understand something all you need to do is ask. This is particularly useful at weekends when, because they are prize puzzles, there are no answers hidden in the brackets and there isn’t a hint for every clue.
      Good luck, and keep going.

  24. 3*/3* for me. I did not know that “hay” is dance, nor that “polemicist” has a shorter spelling.

  25. We also needed Paddington to rescue us from getting the cloud the wrong way round, which did slow down our start slightly. Thought it was a very good puzzle, with all the classic Giovanni qualities.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

    1. DT..I had to do some pretty serious on-line searching to find any mention in the local media of the croquet tournament going on in Christchurch. We of course are totally confident that our lot will give the Northern Hemisphere visitors an absolute thrashing in the final. :)

      1. Hi Colin

        It was only the first round of matches which happened in Christchurch. the second round was in Hawkes Bay, and the 3rd round is at Mount Manganui. There has been some info here and when the matches start there will be commentary and results here – though the jargon may be impenetrable if you’re not a croquet player!

  26. I found that quite hard today . Thanks to DT for the explanation for 12a.it could only be what it was but couldn’t see where the h came from .

  27. A lovely solve today as I was on the wavelength, apart from starting with 1a without checking the anagram fodder, and putting in cumulonimbus which, I thought, was the thundercloud!

    Soon realised my mistake, and went happily on my way.

    Many thanks to all.

  28. I thought this very enjoyable.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif Like Kath and others, though, I didn’t find it all that easy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gifI managed to complete without the hints, but did need to resort to electronic help for a couple of clues. (I usually try not to use anything, but needs must on occasion!) 26a is a new word for me. And I did have to check the Met Office site for 1a! The clues I liked most were 15a, 18a, 27a, and 21d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
    Many thanks to Giovanni for an entertaining puzzle which really made me think. And many thanks to Deep Threat for excellent hints.

  29. Managed to upload the DT before climbing on a B777 for a 13 hr flight with ‘senior management’. Since I had her captive so to speak, I tried to involve her in a little threesome with Giovanni and we completed it with a few wrong letters here and there. She seems to like the idea of the BD blog where we can all flock for sterling assistance and the good-natured and polite commenting. For me then a **/*** and *** for enjoyment. thanks Gio and DT.
    Slight problem… It takes me longer to read and digest all the blog comments (which seem to be growing by the day) than to do the crossword and both are equally compelling. Like everyone else we have to fit a life in there too. What to do?

    1. Yes – I sometimes find it difficult to fit life in around the blog but sometimes the blog is more interesting than life is at the moment – ancient mother problems – and the blog is quite funny whereas Mum isn’t. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. Aw, sad to hear. I’m sure she was though… To someone. Off to visit my ‘ol mum this week. Always kills me.

      2. One of these days, with luck, we will be ” ancient mothers”. When I get there, I sure as heck would not like to be a passing comment on a blog. Treasure your parents while you are still lucky enough to have them.

        1. I hear you Expat Chris; of all the ten commandments , “honour thy parents” is considered the most difficult .

  30. Glad that others found some difficulties with this, and also found some of the words rather obscure (eg 23a, 26a), because I had more problems than I’ve ever had before with a Giovanni. Where were all the useful medieval liturgical and theological references that normally help to get it done and dusted?? :-)
    I felt as if I’d swapped brains with Obelix. I had the whole of the right half solved, but most of the other side was swathed in thick fog until a few of Deep Threat’s Useful Hints kick-started some of the left-half brain cells to solve the left half of the x-word. If that’s how it works…(NB – I cannot pretend to neurological expertise, so that underlying assumption may well be flawed…)

  31. Another tricky one for me and I needed the hint for 20a, which was actually blindingly obvious. I suppose that’s what comes of not having time to do the puzzle until after work – and I work nights – when my brain hurts before I even start. 4* difficulty, 3* enjoyment. Thanks to DT and the Don

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