DT 27958

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27958

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a wet and blustery morning.

I didn’t find today’s Giovanni too difficult, though the parsing of 7d took a little while, and pushed me into ** time. There are one or two slightly unusual clue constructions.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ‘Click here!’ buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

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           Dirty game with one vehicle leading another is a seaside attraction (9,5)
BLACKPOOL TOWER – Put together the sort of dirty you get from playing with coal, a game played on a special table, and a word describing a vehicle which is pulling another along.

Image result for blackpool tower

10a         Elegance of ten saints in new guise (9)
NATTINESS – Anagram (in new guise) of TEN SAINTS.

11a         Desires to move briskly ahead, first to last (5)
URGES – A synonym of ‘move briskly ahead’ with the first letter moved to the end.

12a         Agent with hat is a treacherous person (7)
REPTILE – A commercial agent followed by some old slang for a hat.

13a         Old money for a man who got to hide (6)
TANNER – This informal term for a piece of pre-decimal coinage is also the chap who turns animal hide into leather.

Image result for old sixpence

15a         Think to entertain, bringing out article (4)
MUSE – Remove an indefinite article from a word meaning to entertain.

17a         Visionary cities laid out (10)
IDEALISTIC – Anagram (out) of CITIES LAID.

18a         Mother meeting request, got up in something pink and fragrant (6,4)
DAMASK ROSE – Put together a racehorse’s mother, a verb meaning request, and a synonym of ‘got up’.

Image result for damask rose

20a         Yield from what gardener puts down being reported (4)
CEDE – This sounds like (being reported) what a gardener puts into the ground in the hope of getting a crop.

22a         Capital city getting hit — what river floods it? (6)
TEHRAN – An interjection like ‘What?’ and an abbreviation for River, all placed inside a word for hit or beat, getting a Middle Eastern capital.

23a         A moggy set about eating very good old starchy food (7)
TAPIOCA – Reverse (set about) another way of saying ‘a moggy’, and wrap the result round ‘very good’ or ‘sanctimonious’ and Old.

26a         Medicine is key (5)
TONIC – Double definition: a pick-me-up; or the first note in a scale.

27a         Odious administrator with competence to restrict worker ultimately (9)
EXECRABLE – An abbreviation for a middle-ranking or senior administrator and a word for ‘with competence’, placed either side of the last letter (ultimately) of workeR.

28a         This addict — he, we suspect, lives very dangerously (5,4,5)
DICES WITH DEATH – Anagram (suspect) of THIS ADDICT HE WE.


2d           Accommodation costing more? Respite wanted (3-2)
LET-UP – The definition is a release of pressure or a slackening of an assault, but it could also be a way of saying that rent had been increased.

3d           Upset Catholic is repeatedly creating emergency (6)
CRISIS – Reverse (upset) the letters denoting a member of Pope Francis’ flock, then add IS (from the clue) twice (repeatedly).

4d           Insincere folk sore when grabbed by newspaper folk endlessly (10)
PRETENDERS – A word for sore or painful inside a truncated form of the general word for newspaper folk.

5d           River to flow gently, as one might say (4)
OUSE – This could be one of several English rivers, and it sounds as though it is full of mud and doesn’t go very fast.

6d           Start of the warm weather and friend abroad is in natural disaster (7)
TSUNAMI – Put together the first letter (start) of The, what you see in warm weather, and a French friend.

7d           Small vehicle engineer has travelled in last to arrive (9)
WAGONETTE – Put a word meaning ‘travelled’ or ‘departed’ inside the surname of one of the pioneers of steam power, then add the last letter of arrivE.

Image result for wagonette

8d           Delaware always has this zone of limited access (10,4)
RESTRICTED AREA – The second half of the clue is a straightforward definition. In the first half, ‘this’ could be replaced by the answer, pointing out the fact that the second word of the answer is hidden in DelawARE Always.

9d           A nude permitted to roam without prior consideration (14)

14d         Fleet deployed with haste — such must come out at night (5,5)
FALSE TEETH – Anagram (deployed) of FLEET and HASTE.

16d         Like some music? My, Chopin’s fantastic! (9)
SYMPHONIC – Anagram (fantastic) of MY CHOPIN’S.

19d         Positions of saints placed on the outside of brown church (7)
STANCES – A word for brown (in the sun) and an abbreviation for the Established Church, with an abbreviation for Saint placed first and last.

21d         Plant in soil initially clean (6)
SPURGE – the first letter of Soil, followed by a thorough cleansing.

Image result for spurge

24d         Soldiers on a little path that goes round (5)
ORBIT – The usual soldiers who are not officers followed by ‘a little’.

25d         One sort of queen or another entertained by character in Athens (4)
PERI – The Fairy Queen in Iolanthe is one of these; put the letters denoting our own Queen inside a Greek letter.

The Quick Crossword pun LASSIE + CHEWED = LASSITUDE


  1. Collywobbles
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Good morning from the Languedoc on a bright sunny day with temperatures rising to 28 degrees and possibly more. If anybody sees the memsahib could they please let her know

  2. Angel
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    No pain today mainly due to so many anagrams. Thank you Giovanni and DT. Have always spelt 22a with another e but suppose it’s phonetic anyway. Long clue for 25d seems a bit vague – sort of what? Song hint to 4d came immediately to my mind too. Had to scratch my head a bit to come up with 27a. ***/***. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • neveracrossword
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      There are 2 sorts of queen. One is the answer and the other is the filling in the cryptic sandwich.

      • Angel
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I got our Queen inside Greek character but still can’t parse the answer which presumably is a queen of sorts? It seems I’m being slow in the uptake! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Deep Threat
          Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          The BRB gives ‘peri’ as a beautiful fairy, which might by extension be a queen of the fairies. But it’s not the clearest link.

          • Angel
            Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

            Thanks. I also found that but rejected it. Glad I’m not quite as thick as I feared! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

          • pommette
            Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            25d to me has always just meant Fairy – not queen.

            • Kath
              Posted November 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

              Me too – and before anyone says, “Look it up” I did.

              • crypticsue
                Posted November 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                Me too – and I’ve looked it up in dictionaries and Brewers too – although in some of the books, she is more malevolent than beautiful.

                • Kath
                  Posted November 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

                  That certainly describes her better as she is in this crossword – she was a right pest!

            • Merusa
              Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink


        • Himself
          Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          In language of another age fairies were queens.

  3. Miffypops
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    A good puzzle to end a good week of puzzles in the DT. I needed Dts help to parse 22ac and 7d so thanks to DT for that. Thanks also to The Don for a damn fine puzzle and a neat little wrestle. I have had a good week bringing off something I would never have thought possible. Can anybody out there please lead me to any piece of literature that describes toast? I am sure I have seen one where the image of the butter melting through the hot browned bread made we want to eat toast. Thanks.

    • Crack On
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Hi there. Don’t know if this helps but the cook, Nigel Slater’s autobiography was titled Toast and had a buttered piece on the cover if I remember rightly.

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that. Toast is a mighty fine book.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Not really a lot to go on but there are bits…

      “When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries”
      – Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

      Some images…


      There is more…I’ll keep looking. Sure it’s mentioned in Alice in Wonderland.

      If I sort your toast problem out, will sort my logistics problems out?

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        That is it Hanni, I was off to Laurie Lees Cider With Rosie whilst you went to Toad hall and won the prize. Thank you.

        • Hanni
          Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome.

      • Jane
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes – one of my favourite books of all time. Good old Kenneth Grahame. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Miffypops
          Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          I am glad you have dropped by Jane. Your Christmas present arrived this morning (by pigeon post of course). I have already sent Hilary hers. Do you mind if I email for an address to send it to? It will be better delivered before the birthday bash.

          • Jane
            Posted November 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            Fair enough. I do hope I’m not going to regret saying that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

      • Salty Dog
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful excerpt of a wonderful book. Bless you, Hanni!

        • Kitty
          Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Oh! You edited your comment. I liked Hannibal :) .

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    3*/2*. A dull Friday both for the weather and the crossword, although I did like 8d.

    14d is a nice idea but spoilt by the clunky surface reading, and I thought 22a was particularly poor.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT.

  5. pete
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I did manage to finish without any help, but not the most enjoyable. Have to agree with Rabbit Dave with regards to 14d and 22a

  6. Hanni
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink


    This went to 2* difficulty as I couldn’t parse 22a. I also had to double check 25d. Plenty of nice anagrams where my pencil circles were used. No real favourite but a pleasant solve.

    Many thanks to the Don and to DT for blogging

    Glorious sunshine here now. Which is damn site better than what I can only describe as driving sleet on the moors early a.m. Nearly froze to death. I’m a lot warmer now.

  7. Michael
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Lots of anagrams gave a very good start and a framework to fill in the gaps – a couple of dodgy and convoluted clues like 7d and 22a but they must be right!

    Oh, and I’ve never heard of ’tile’ being a slang word for hat, but it’s in the BRB so it etc etc – you live and learn!

    It’s peeing down here in Bishops Stortford – Hurricane Abigail is in for the weekend!


    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Here is a link to the famous old song about a hat:

  8. williamus
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I always find Giovanni’s puzzles a bit of a challenge, so pleased to be able to finish this one without too many problems. Some signature clue constructions (which always trip me up) but some nice anagrams to keep going with. Much more of a *** for difficulty for me but I did enjoy it so ****. Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

    While I’m here, I managed to miss the unpleasantness on Saturday so I’d just like to add my vote of thanks to Big Dave and the team for the blog and the reviews. Cheers

  9. Paso Doble
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Quite tricky for us too but we plodded on and finished it without any help. However, we did, like Miffypops, have to revert to the blog for parsing purposes.
    Thanks to the Don and Deep Threat.

  10. Paso Doble
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Symphonic stuff in ipad as we know that some of you use this implement for puzzling.


    • Angel
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Clever stuff but what a racket!

      • Paso Doble
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes Angel, clever stuff indeed and a bit of a racket too. However, some rock bands are intelligently using iphone apps attached to their guitars to bend notes etc.

  11. Hrothgar
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t understand 8d.
    I’m thick.

    • Dr_Bob
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I had the answer quite quickly but needed the hint to help parse it. I still don’t think it’s a good clue though :-(

    • Deep Threat
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      ‘Area’ is hidden inside ‘DelawARE Always’. In cryptic crossword terms you might say that ‘Delaware always’ has ‘restricted’ (wrapped up or trapped) ‘AREA’.

      • Dr_Bob
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Does make sense now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  12. Dr_Bob
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I completed most of this really quickly and then got stuck on a few (22a, 27a, 7d and 20a) Got there eventually with a bit of thesaurus help. Don’t like 8d at all but some nice clues in there too. I think 1a was my favourite.

    Thanks to setter and Deep Threat for the blog.

  13. Hrothgar
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks DT
    Like Dr. Bob, not, in my view, one of Giovanni’s better clues.

  14. Young Salopian
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff from the Don today. A nice mixture of the obvious and the tenuous. Not overly testing but a good workout nonetheless, and 2/3 for me. I agree with MP above that it has been a good week for puzzles in the DT. Thanks to Giovanni and Deep Threat.

  15. Brian
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Odd mixture today of great clues like 6d and 14d and really weird ones such as 22a (flood is a bit odd), 23a (never come across Pi as a word before, pious yes but not Pi which I though was a mathematical construct) and 8d which must be one of the strangest clues I have ever seen.
    Not my most favourite Giovanni, not up to his usual elegant high standard IMHO.
    Never mind, it completes a week of Curates Egg crosswords, some good, some not so good and one ….. Well you know what I mean!
    Thx to all.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      You have, you know Here

      • pommette
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Ha – and he was reminded there too!

  16. Jane
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Like Hanni, I was pushed into 2* time by a couple that I couldn’t parse. For me it was 23a (‘pi’ for very good) and that wretched 8d which I really don’t like at all!
    No stand-out favourite although 14d raised a smile.
    Thanks to DG and also to DT for explaining the ones I had trouble with.
    The Platters! That took me back – a very long way…..

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I am glad you have dropped by Jane. Your Christmas present arrived this morning (by pigeon post of course). I have already sent Hilary hers. Do you mind if I email for an address to send it to? It will be better delivered before the birthday bash.

  17. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Like most, the parsing of 8d took a while but I found it quite clever actually.
    Agree that the rather high number of anagrams did facilitate the solving and 14d made me laugh.
    Thanks to the Don and to DT for the review.

  18. Beaver
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    A few ‘iffy’ clues for me today, thought 7d was somewhat convoluted much in the style of 22a, clear enough with the checking letters in but clumsy . Thanks DT for the pics , nice to see the Platters again-unique sound ,what a lead vocalist. Anyway had decided on a **/***before I read the blog ,liked 1a.

    • pommette
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Loved the Platters. My mum had one of their albums and she played it all the time.
      I know they were more popular in the 50’s but they bring back some lovely memories of the the 60 ‘s for me.

  19. pommette
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Not too difficult today – although had a bit of a tussle with the acrosses.
    We got all the answers but not happy with some.
    As I said above, 25d to me is just a fairy and I hate the type of construct used in 8d – although seems to be getting much more popular.
    Thanks though to The Don and Deep Threat for the hints and some nice piccies and vids

  20. dutch
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked the 8d (delaware always) and I thought 9d was a nice anagram. I also liked the story of the addict who lives dangerously (28a), I thought the agent with hat conjured up a nice image. 14d (such must come out at night) had a great definition, but I didn’t see an obvious connection with the first half of the clue, pity.

    Many thanks Giovanni and thanks DT

  21. Kath
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I thought it all seemed a bit of a plod, and quite a tricky one too. At least 3* for difficulty and 2* for enjoyment.
    For no good reason I managed to convince myself that the second part of 1a had to be train – didn’t actually put it in but it slowed me up.
    I didn’t think there were that many anagrams.
    Didn’t understand 7 or 8d.
    I liked 28a and 14d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  22. Gwizz
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Horses for courses etc….. but I enjoyed today’s puzzle. Yes, there were some offbeat clues but nothing too demanding. 14d was my favourite and 27a was almost as good.
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the Don and DT for his review, which I needed to explain why 7d was what I had put in. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  23. Organum
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable but tougher than yesterday’s, so 3*/3* for me.

  24. Merusa
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I thought this a quite nice Giovanni puzzle.
    Last in was the fairy at 25d, spent far too much time trying to find some obscure queen.
    I was also held up by 22a, like Angel, always thought it had an extra “e” but checked it out and, sure ’nuff, that is the correct spelling.
    Unlike most, I thought 8d was clever and is my fave, with 14d running close.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and thanks to Deep Threat, particularly for the Platters.

    • Merusa
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Spurge is the euphorbia family, probably the largest plant genus, it includes poinsettia, and some look like cacti.

      • Miffypops
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        I am a little ball of euphorbia Merusa.

  25. Jaylegs
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Easier than yesterday but not quite so enjoyable ***/** ? Thanks to DT for explaining 8d & 22a and to Giovanni ? Liked 1a, 18a & 21d ( a new word for me) Off to batten down the hatches ?

  26. Collywobbles
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Normally The Don gives us a good, but challenging puzzle on Friday but I found some of these clues a bit dodgy. Particularly 22a which was rubbish

    Many thanks for the hints DT they were most helpful

    • Collywobbles
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for the platters. That took me back a long way. I will savor it this evening around the rugby

  27. silvanus
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    A few too many obscurities and convoluted clues for my taste, but one has come to expect these often on a Friday!

    My favourite – and probably the only smile of the day – was 14d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Manley and to Deep Threat.

  28. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    We also had problems justifying the answer for 25d. Eventually we decided that by using ‘queen’ and ‘fairy’ in a more colloquial context where they can be synonyms, we could get to peri. Our concern though is that this could be seen as two steps needed to get to the answer. It was the best we could come up with after doing similar research to others above. We have picked 8d as our favourite as it took a while to sort out the wordplay. 22a with ‘what’ for ‘eh’ also amused us. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  29. Kitty
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this. I do agree about 25s but liked 8d once I eventually twigged. It wasn’t the fastest solve (partly because I didn’t write out any anagrams) but I didn’t need to look anything up except for the answer to 21d.

    The clean part of 21d describes much of my day. Lots of hard work from the past now of no use and finally sorted and destined for the recycling. Even more still to go. Yay. I will save the shredding for last. Now that is fun.

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    May you all have a weekend filled with joy.

  30. Heno
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, got the left-hand side quite quickly, then struggled with the right until I was left with 27a & 21d. Needed the hints for both. Also needed the hints to parse 22a,7&8d. The latter was very clever. I liked 28a,but my favourite was 13a. Was 3*/3* for me. A lot colder today in Central London.

  31. Salty Dog
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m not really into anagrams in such quantity, but I know some others love them. 1*/3* for me, and 27a was my favourite. As for difficulty in parsing, I don’t knowingly parse anything – there’s nothing wrong with an inspirational “bung-in” (mine are usually correct) when the clue isn’t immediately decipherable! Thanks to The Don, and to DT for the review.

    • Salty Dog
      Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      BTW, does anyone know where my old “face” has gone? I used to have a round green smiley face with dark glasses; now I have rather grumpy pink/purple star.

      • Kitty
        Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        It’s generated from your email address, so I’m guessing you changed yours, SD.

        • Posted November 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Kitty is right – I’ve changed this comment back to your old email address!

          • Salty Dog
            Posted November 13, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Many thanks. That feels a lot better!

  32. Hilary
    Posted November 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    1a reminded me of holiday there (Dad and I saw Frankie Howerd in show), loved the anagrams although I admit to a fair amount of scribbling in the margins,, 23a not my favourite pudding, thanks go Giovanni and DT for a great end to the week. Have a good weekend everyone. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Tstrummer
      Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:23 am | Permalink

      We’ve been down the milk pudding road before (last time tapioca came up) so suffice it to repeat that my mother’s tapioca, with a dollop of her raspberry jam from our own canes, would change your mind. Still not as good as Ambrosia cream rice eaten directly from the tin, standing up, looking furtively over the shoulder.

  33. Tstrummer
    Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    To put it mildly, this has been a difficult evening. Just as I was about to fade into the distance and head down the pub, events in Paris took a terrible turn and I know most of you will howl in indignation when I say that, for people in my trade, this is what we live for. Pubs inSE1 emptied out as first-class journalists came back, unasked, to lend a hand in whatever way they could long after their shifts had finished. My day in the office was a mere 14 hours without a break, apart from the odd fag. By the time I got home, my head was spinning, which may be why I struggled a bit with this offering from Giovani. Some excellent clues, my favourite being 14d, but also some real clunkers and one or two that even an entry-level setter would be ashamed of, viz 13a, and 22a. Thanks to DT for helping me to parse a few and to the Don for taking my mind off things. 3*/2*