DT 28080 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28080

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28080

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This seemed to be a little bit trickier than what we’re used to on Tuesdays and quite enjoyable I thought, although there were a few clues (especially 11a and 21a) which I didn’t like much. Do let us know how you got on and how well you liked it.

If you click on any of the areas showing ‘Click here!’ you’ll see the actual answer so only do that as a last resort.

Across Clues

1a Providing caring service for a small charge (4-7)
BABY-SITTING – cryptic definition. The small charge is a youngster temporarily in one’s care.

9a Naval officer gets award by ministry put in centre (9)
COMMODORE – insert the abbreviation for an award in the personal gift of the monarch and the abbreviation for a ministry or government department inside a word for centre or nucleus.

10a Fake knife ignored with packaging removed (5)
FEIGN – remove the outer bits (packaging) from two words in the clue.

11a Again suspend   alteration in gallery (6)
REHANG – double definition, the second is a term for a new presentation of works of art in a gallery. I don’t like this much – it seems to be the verb and noun forms of pretty much the same thing.

12a Trio from Italy featuring in plain TV series (4,4)
STAR TREK – the Italian word for three goes inside an adjective meaning plain or unadorned.

13a Retired, having procured right that’s hereditary (6)
INBRED – a phrase meaning having retired for the night (2,3) containing R(ight).

15a Swaggered in street with furrows (8)
STRUTTED – the abbreviation for street followed by an adjective meaning ‘with furrows’.

18a Impassiveness with time spent — or firmness (8)
SOLIDITY – remove the abbreviation for time from a word meaning impassiveness or lack of emotion.

19a Esteem a doctor penning note with energy (6)
ADMIRE – A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for doctor contain (penning) a note from tonic sol-fa. Finally add the abbreviation for energy.

21a Exchange for screening? (4,4)
CHAT SHOW – this seems to be just a weakish cryptic definition (unless you can see something more). It’s a TV programme where the host exchanges banter with invited guests.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a Merrymaking men recalled in film largely (6)
FROLIC – reverse the abbreviation for non-commissioned soldiers (men) inside an informal word for a film without its last letter (largely).

26a Measure first of treasure pocketed in old currency (5)
LITRE – the first letter of treasure is inserted (pocketed) in the plural form of the Italian currency in pre-Euro days.

27a Number in bar tipsy with little hesitation? It needs minimal thinking (2-7)
NO-BRAINER – string together an abbreviation for number, an anagram (tipsy) of IN BAR and a short expression of hesitation.

28a Bill’s ending lost near, say, ground (5,6)
ROYAL ASSENT – this is the final stage (these days just a formality) in a Bill becoming an Act of Parliament. It’s an anagram (ground) of LOST NEAR SAY. The surface isn’t brilliant.

Down Clues

1d Drink‘s lure almost stifling witty character (7)
BACARDI – put a word meaning lure or enticement without its last letter (almost) round a dated word for a witty and eccentric character.

2d Useless info Greek character’s written up in book on pub (5)
BUMPH – reverse (written up, in a down clue) the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet and insert it between abbreviations for book and pub.

3d Court payment daughter gives tutor without thought (5-4)
SPOON-FEED – start with a dated verb to court or canoodle in a sentimental way and add a payment or charge and the abbreviation for daughter.

4d Wrench, say, with money to be raised (4)
TOOL – reverse (to be raised, in a down clue) an informal word for money (with a suspicion that it’s been obtained illegally).

5d One has depression meeting one totally vacant character (8)
IDENTITY – string together the Roman numeral for one, a depression or pit, the same Roman numeral again and just the outside letters (vacant) of the word t[otall]y.

6d Fancy green light installed on square, we hear (2,3)
GO FOR – the meaning of a green light or instruction to proceed is followed by what sounds like a small square number.

7d Signal agreement about new bit of snow kit designed to prevent slipping (3-4)
NON-SKID – a verb to signal agreement non-verbally contains N(ew) and a piece of sports equipment for use in the snow.

8d Patience, say, could come from such books (8)
LIBRETTI – cryptic definition. Patience, here, is the name of an opera by Gilbert and Sullivan and these books are the words of an opera (as opposed to the music).

14d Singing style notable for rendition around start of concert (3,5)
BEL CANTO – an anagram (for rendition) of NOTABLE contains the starting letter of concert.

16d Subordinate to OK traffic facility (9)
UNDERPASS – charade of a preposition meaning ‘subordinate to’ and a verb to OK or authorise.

17d Suit specialist in New York? (8)
ATTORNEY – cryptic definition of someone in New York (or anywhere in the USA) who specialises in lawsuits.

18d Lay new clause before meeting resistance (7)
SECULAR – an anagram (new) of CLAUSE followed by (before meeting) the abbreviation for resistance.

20d Part taken out of book, but retaining element of traditional education (7)
EXCERPT – a preposition meaning ‘but’ or ‘other than’ contains any one of the three letters used to describe a traditional education.

22d Outright source of hope in prophet (5)
SHEER – the first letter (source) of hope goes inside a prophet or fortune teller.

24d Sudden movement in sitting room, nothing less (5)
LUNGE – start with another word for a sitting room and remove the letter that resembles zero or nothing.

25d For flipping, throw over ancient coin (4)
OBOL – this is an ancient Greek coin worth one sixth of a drachma. Start with a verb to throw or toss up and add the cricket abbreviation for an over. Finally reverse what you’ve got (for flipping).

I liked 13a but my favourite clue today was 1a. Which one(s) did you 6d?

Today’s Quickie Pun: HOLM + GROAN = HOME-GROWN

136 comments on “DT 28080

  1. Quite a tussle for a Tuesday and I’ll be surprised if there aren’t a few cries of ‘wrong envelope’.
    Needed to confirm my answers for 8,14&25d and took a while to see the ‘impassiveness’ in 18a.
    Top three for me are 1&13a plus 6d which made me smile.

    Thanks to Mr. Ron (not going to guess because I’ve got it wrong almost every time recently!) and to Gazza – thought you’d rather enjoy this one. Great pic. for 16d!

  2. I quite enjoyed this one, although my last in (21a) did not overly appeal to me.
    3*/3.5* for me – thanks to setter, and to gazza for the review.

      1. Absolutely Heno..completely different styles. Although they both seem to annoy Brian.

  3. Goodness me, this is a rib-tickler, no mistake, but actually enjoying the challenge in a masochistic sort of way!!!

  4. What a struggle found this pretty tough,no favourites though. Still better luck tomorrow.
    Thanks to Gazza and setter.

  5. I found this one extremely difficult – It took several passes to even get a single answer in. Progress was extremely slow. This was harder than many of the toughies in my opinion. 5*/1*

  6. I agree with the first part of Gaza’s opening comment. Over the last few weeks I was coming to the conclusion that Tuesday was now the easiest day of the week, but today appears to have proved otherwise. Around half a dozen open entries at lights out last night which were completed without resort to the hints this morning – so, ***/* for me, not much fun at all, and no real favourites. Thanks to Mr Ron and Gaza.

      1. Perhaps, but difficult to judge on a sample of one; and, a Ray T puzzle is usually more enjoyable than this one was.

        1. I’m getting better with RayT, and while I seldom finish them, I usually manage to do most of it. I had so many unsolved clues today, i really lost interest, totally and absolutely off wavelength. Very discouraging.

  7. I thought it was a bit trickier than an average Tuesday – 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment but wouldn’t go so far as ‘wrong envelope’ day.
    My last four or so took longer than the rest of the crossword.
    I didn’t know the 25d old coin and, although I suspect we’ve met the 14d singing style before, I’d forgotten it.
    It took me ages to see why my 6d was right – completely missed the significance of ‘square’.
    I didn’t know that meaning of the first word of 3d and that one was my last answer.
    I liked 10a, even though it’s a lurker, and 1 and 17d. My favourite was 1a.
    With thanks to Mr Ron and to gazza.
    1a reminded me of the day a long time ago when my sister and I went to our Gran’s funeral leaving our four children – the eldest was four years old and the youngest was eight months – with their Dads in our house. When we got home we found total chaos – washing up all over the kitchen, a thin film of Lego covering all floors and supper not even thought about. We did express mild annoyance but they said they’d been looking after the children . . .

  8. Tougher than the usual Tuesday fare, with one or two “doh” moments. Not keen on 21a.

  9. Certainly tougher than would expect on a Tuesday, but doable and got there at relatively good speed. That a piece of cutlery could mean court (3d) was a revelation. Favourite was 6d – a very clever clue – but many very good clues so many thanks to the setter.

    Would give it 2*/3.5* and thanks to Gazza.

  10. I thought this a delight from start to finish. My level of difficulty which means answers have to be teased out from clues and I have a smilier face when they they eventually reveal themselves. Not quite as easy as falling off a horse but very solvable. I loved it. So PJ or Shamus? We have whimsy so Shamus? We have a bit of Music so PJ. Who knows but thanks to whomsoever. Thanks also to Gazza for explaining 2d and 6d I liked the whimsical clue at 21ac

    I am told that somebody went to The Doctor yesterday because their whole body hurt. If she touched her shoulder it hurt. If she touched their leg it hurt. The same problem all over her body. It turns out she had broken her finger.

    1. It’s very tricky to fall off a horse MP….to do it with finesse anyway.

      Did you know I broke my finger at the weekend? It really hurts. But on the other hand I’m fine.

      1. I don’t wish to point the finger but there are people on here who tell very bad jokes :-)

      2. Bad jokes ? Never. I was playing darts with Eric Bristow recently. He said to me “Killer, why have you put superglue on one of my darts ?”

        I said “You just can’t let it go, can you Eric.”

        1. I was played darts with Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and Leighton Rees.

          They didn’t stick in unless I used a lot of force.

  11. What a ghastly crossword. Three times I gave up on it but sheer cussedness kept me coming back. Very tough with obscure words such as14d which was new to me at least, lots of only half understood clues and many leaps of faith, a Giovanni it was most certainly not! Fair to say although completed I derived very little enjoyment. One of those sets of clues that leave you thinking “Life’s too short to wade through this quagmire”
    Thx to Gazza for the explanation of about half the clues.

      1. I must be weird – I love tough cryptics that require “sheer cussedness”, doggedness and umpteen attempts to finally finish – a bit like a war of attrition.

  12. Tougher than the normal Tuesday. I had to keep going into the kitchen to bake something, just to get away from it and come back and have a fresh start. Putting inborn into 11a meant I was totally stuck on 3d. Thank you for the review Gazza. Favourite was 27a, but I have to admit to liking 21a. 3*/3* for me. Thank you setter, please drop by and say hello.

  13. Trickier than normal for a Tuesday but what fun.

    Lots of likes including 1a, 13a, 21a, 27a but my favourite is 23a.

    Who is the mystery setter..no idea but very enjoyable.

    Another rainyish day on the moors where wizards wule. We have wizards on the moors, apparently. No riding today.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for an eloquent blog.

    Toughie time.

      1. I’m inclined to agree but I don’t have the best track record at this. Nice illustrations today.

      2. I’d plumped for PJ so it will be interesting to see whether either one of us is correct

        This comment has been made, not just because I’m interested to know who the setter was, but I’ve been able to get onto the blog all morning, click on things without it crashing and it recognises me too.

        1. I’m not aware that Shamus has any connection with Ireland. He uses the pseudonym Shamus because it’s an old slang term for a detective.

            1. I really should try harder to remember the pseudonyms of my favourite setters. I found a page that listed them all once. That way I can check. See I didn’t know he was SLEUTH but I rarely do the FT. Ta Pommers!

              1. There’s a few DT setters also do the FT. Apart from Shamus/SLEUTH there’s Giovanni as BRADMAN, Dada as MUDD, Jay as ORENSE and Rufus as DANTE. I think that’s the lot but others may know more.

                1. Ah, forgot a couple. there’s also Elgar/IO, Elkamere/LOROSO and Osmosis/AARDVARK.

  14. Thought this was the best puzzle for a while for me so a ***/****, seems to be general agreement that it was trickier than normal. I found several clues hard to parse eg 18a. Liked 15a and the surface read of 1a and 21a.Thanks setter and Gazza

  15. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ghastly, but it was a bit too much hard work.

    Now then – it is my honest opinion that no-one in the history of the English speaking world has ever said the word referred to in 18a before the T is removed. Like many other acceptable adjectives, the associated noun remains on the shelf.

    And never try saying it with anything resembling crumbs in the mouth….

  16. Quite a challenge but very satisfying to complete.
    4*/4* for me today.
    Thanks to the mystery setter for the mental workout and Gazza for the review.

  17. Agree with the majority about the level of difficulty and hesitated quite a bit before writing the answers in 3d and 21a. The “No Bungs In” rule I try to observe caused the problem.
    The money in 25d is still used in France to describe a small sum of money given to charity (verser or donner son obole).
    Favourite is 23a.
    Thanks to the setter with or without his mad hat and to Gazza for explaining it all.

  18. OK, perhaps a bit trickier than usual for a Tues but enjoyable nonetheless. I’ll guess at Shamus which means it’s almost certainly a PJ.

    Apart from the two Gazza’s mentioned (which we weren’t keen on either) the rest is worth ***/**** from us.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Gazza.

  19. Way beyond me and Mum…only managed three or four on our own, and couldn’t understand many of them even with help. We are having a cuppa and grumbling about this puzzle being a load of 2d, before we tackle the Toughie…

    1. This could be my favourite comment of the year Peta. The back pager has knocked you and Mum for six so you are off to tackle The Toughie. Brilliant. that’s the spirit.

  20. I was confident ‘room’ was the second word of 21a which messed up getting 22d. Really should have remembered the 4-letter word for prophet as I may then have noticed my error. Other than that it was an enjoyable challenge other than that! Many thanks to Gazza for helping me rectify my error!

  21. I agree with Gazza’s comments and rating. Mrs n and I enjoyed meeting Pommers and Pommette in the Spanish sunshine at the weekend.

    1. Yes, a pleasant interlude. Unfortunately not much in the way of Spanish sunshine today, it’s been raining on and off all day :-( Still, normal service is forecast to return by lunchtime tomorrow :-)

  22. Well that was completely beyond me.
    Oh well, nothing to do but read and try and understand the hints, I guessed 9a. For the hard of thinking, what does this mean -“abbreviation for an award in the personal gift of the monarch” mean????
    Thanks to Gazza for the hints, you must have a brain the size of New Mexico!!
    Thanks to the setter.

    1. OM…Order of Merit. Was it King Edward that started it? Could have been George V.

        1. You’re welcome. I promise you that even the most experienced of solvers will still come across a new definition or bit of word play that challenges them. All part of the fun. :-)

          1. Thanks, Hilary. When the kitties saw that label in the Waitrose wine section we had to try it, of course. It didn’t quite reach the heights of the fine Marlborough whites that ShropshireLad is extolling over on his fine toughie blog, but it wasn’t bad at all. And it provided the perfect avatar.

              1. Hello, Jane. I’m somewhere bigger than Leamington Spa, but I hope to be here before too long.

            1. Good to see you around.
              Difficult to follow the threads on my wee phone 📞. Didn’t notice until now.
              Like the pun on the bottle. My fellow countrymen might cringe at the homophone though.

              1. Hi Jean-Luc, good to see you too. And I know what you mean about the challenge of following the blog on a phone.

                I don’t know which nation is responsible for the punning homophone, but the map here http://www.petitchatwine.com/cats-tale/ suggests that the wine itself is made just down the road from you.

                1. Wow! They are pretty professional. Recipes and all.
                  Ours are around Bandol. Don’t know if they have discovered t’internet yet.

                  1. I had overlooked that recipe page, Now I know that the next time we drink the red, we should pair it with toffee apple treats. That would never have occurred to me.

      1. I think it’s rather similar, MP but with fewer spring bulbs and Pump rooms and more Meth motorhomes.

  23. Tricky stuff as others have found too, and I agree with Gazza that a few of the clues felt somewhat unsatisfactory. My pet hate (repetition of indicators) was evident with “meeting” in both 5d and 18d.

    I am also in agreement with Gazza regarding the favourite clue, 1a for me as well.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Gazza for his hints and tips, more in demand today I suspect than on recent Tuesdays.

  24. Thanks to the setter and Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable but very tricky puzzle. I need to brush up on my music, never heard of 14d or the G&S Opera in 8d, hints needed for both. Actually remembered the obscure 25d, so knew it was correct when I guessed at the wordplay. Favourite was 12a, as I’m a fan of that series. Was 4*/3* for me. My guess is Shamus.

    1. I was not fooled by Patience, as I was in it once. I have most of the checkers but still have no idea what the answer is!!!!

    2. 14d. I was reminded of a reheasal many years ago when we had a soloist with a particularly loud Welsh tenor voice.

      My desk partner remarked ‘not so much Bel Canto as Can Belto’

      These things stick in the memory.

      Almost 4* for difficulty but I am suffering from a very heavy cold. On another day, who knows. Can’t say I enjoyed it

  25. Another day, another “ow” on the back page, so I was relieved to see that it wasn’t just me. Really thought I might have to get some help, but managed to sort everything out eventually. I won’t say how long it took me. (I think I am getting worse at the easier puzzles as I improve on the harder ones, and would be joining the wrong envelope brigade today.)

    I thought of the answer for 11a early on but thought I was missing something, and 21a was my last in, so it was nice to hear Gazza’s comments regarding those two.

    Favourite today by a whisker is 27a with a trio of other picks: 18a, 3d and 6d.

    Many thanks to the setter (I’m going to join Kath on the fence here) and to Gazza.

  26. The best Tuesday back-pager for quite some time … far more challenging than the normal R&W.

    It took me a very long time to get started and ages to finish … but patience was rewarded in the end.

    Thanks to the Setter and Gazza.

  27. ****/**. Tricky and not very entertaining. Some clues were more GK than cryptic requiring electronic help to solve. I agree with Gazza, for whom much thanks for explaining some of these, that 11&21a were a bit of a stretch. Thanks also to the setter. BD, some of the reviewers inserts (e.g. 16d) are not displaying on my iPad. Just get a small square outline. Curious?

  28. Hmmm. Thought I would be in trouble when 2 of the answers ended in I. An almighty struggle but I got there in the end, just needing to check 8d was correct. 1a was my favourite. Can’t say I enjoyed it but felt relief and satisfaction at the end, rather than the golden glow I felt at the end of yesterdays puzzle. Off to rest my battered brain. Thanks to Gazza, and somewhat masochistically, to the setter.

  29. Greetings from the cupboard under the stairs, could someone please nip out and get me another box of tissues. Absolutely hopeless, even with Gazza’a helpful hints I could still not understand. Roll on tomorrow.

    1. I’ve got you the nice Balsam ones Hilary..and and as you say, tomorrow is another day. :-)

      1. Thank you, sorry to hear about your finger. There seems to be a lot of it about with Dutch and Brian and I had email from friend in Dunstable to say her four year old had broken his arm.

        1. Oh dear. Always worse when it’s child though, hope he recovers quickly. I just have a stupid hobby, Brian plays with ladders and Dutch did something he won’t tell us about…I suspect it was to do with a set of juggling balls, a few pints and the stairs.

  30. The setter , who ever it is , deserves the description the “torturer”, this time. Phew !
    One of my least favourite was 2d, I had to just guess a great many and look at the parsing here.
    I actualy liked 21a, because I could understand it.
    Anyway, thanks Gazza and Torturer.

  31. I’m glad I was not alone in finding this a real struggle. This was certainly at the tough end of the spectrum, and I had to bung a few in and parse them afterwards. Normally the tougher they are, the more enjoyable the challenge, but I did not get as much out of this little tinker as I might have expected.

    I enjoyed 1 across very much and will nominate it as my favourite, and rate this 4*/3*.

    Thanks to the mystery setter for the tussle and to Gazza for getting the job done.

  32. What a horrible crossword. My utmost respect to anyone who managed to finish this without help. I often find the tougher ones to be quite satisfying, but not this time. Many thanks to Gazza for his explanations, without which I would have been completely stumped.

  33. I agree with Stan – one of the best Tuesday back-pagers for a while.

    Thanks to Gazza and the Mysteron – who still hasn’t turned up to confirm which of our ‘plumpings’ is the correct one.

    1. Maybe it’s neither Shamus nor PJ – they’ve both usually popped in by now, I think. I’m still on the fence and it looks as if I might be here all night – could get a bit chilly.

      1. Just popping in to fess up before it’s too late! Thanks to Gazza for his blog and all for comments – for those who found it hard, I hope it wasn’t totally torturous!

        1. Thanks for putting us out of our misery, Shamus! Now poor Kath and Kiwis can get off that fence and come inside into the warm.

          My comment didn’t make it clear, but I did very much enjoy the puzzle. Thank you.

        2. Well we got that wrong but at least we don’t need to perch on the bleeding fence all night after all.

        3. Thanks for looking in, Shamus and thanks for the enjoyable puzzle. You’ve certainly divided opinion and generated a lot of comments (which is good).

        4. OMG! Spotted a setter correctly. That’s got to be a fluke.

          Many thanks Shamus for a great puzzle.

        5. In hindsight, I knew that it was either Shamus or Petit-Jean (or someone else!)

          Many thanks, Shamus … I enjoyed it!

        6. Nice to ‘see’ you Shamus – thanks for calling in. I do wish you’d reassure the doubters that you really are a twinkly-eyed leprechaun. All that nonsense about detectives and so forth………

        7. Well – blew that one. I have come to the conclusion that I know nothing about a setter’s style unless he/she is named or it’s a Monday, Wednesday, the occasional Thursday or a Friday back pager. ’nuff said :(

  34. Too hard for me but thanks to Gazza for explaining the 90% of clues I couldn’t get anywhere near. Wouldn’t like to see too many crosswords like this. OBOL may be sort of obvious as a reverse of LOB O but it really is such an obscure word – very few ah hah moments even when the parsing was explained – so no I didn’t enjoy it much either.

  35. I thought this to be one of the most difficult crosswords of recent vintage ( not including the toughies )It’s always enjoyable to solve difficult clues but today I didn’t feel the same buzz *****/* Thanks to Gazza for the much needed hints. 6d was a stretch too far / for !! 8d was GK , I could go on — buff said

  36. We certainly found this one trickier than Tuesday offerings usually are, but none the worse for that. We did have a discussion on who the setter might be with emphasis on the two already mentioned without any strong feelings either way so. Eventually decided that it must be someone else entirely. Looks as if we are not going to be enlightened by a ‘pop-in’ anyway. 17d held us up for some time as we kept trying to get the city’s initials in as part of the wordplay. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Gazza.

  37. Late to this today. Nightmare pet – nightmare Toughie blog and nightmare friend (he’s brilliant really, he just drinks all my wine).

    I enjoyed today’s puzzle a lot and I’m really not sure that it’s a ‘Shamus’ or a ‘PJ’ production – although I’ve been known to be wrong (often).

    Lots of good clues – so thanks to the setter for the puzzle and to Gazza for his review (and his help on the Toughie) :)

  38. The cryptic definitions at 8/17/21 caused me no end of difficulty. The rest was on the tricky side too, for that matter. :-) I thought it made a nice change, very different from what we’re used to Mon-Fri.

  39. I thought this was an excellent tussle! Took me ages to get under way and eventually found myself working from the bottom up. It all – eventually – came together.
    6d was my favourite and overall 3.5/4*
    Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza for the review.
    Now for yesterday’s……

  40. Demoralising for a beginner, but makes this site all the more useful. Thank you so much Mr BD and Gazza.

  41. Agree with Jan a bit out of my league managed about half with no hints and tips and left it there as I ran out of time. Back to reality after a good Saturday and Monday with the DT crossword . Ah well always tomorrow. Thanks to Gazza and the setter I think?

    Rating 5/1

  42. For those who found this puzzle very difficult and have hit a brick wall without getting very far with it (it’s a stage that we all go through at some stage) I’d like to suggest a technique to improve your solving skills. Try the following:
    Use the hints to attempt to solve all the across answers only – if you still can’t get an answer then use the ‘Click here’ facility to get the answer but try to understand the wordplay in each case. At the end of this process you should have all the across answers written in. Now close the blog and try the down clues again but now you’ll have lots of very useful checking letters in place. Finally, whether or not you’ve managed to finish, go through all the clues, using the hints if necessary, to make sure you understand the wordplay for each. If there’s anything you don’t understand then ask.

      1. I have some, MP.

        1. Ask her
        2. Listen to what she says
        3. Pro tip: listen to the actual meanings of the words she says, not just the sounds

        … rinse and repeat.

    1. Thanks for the tip Gazza will try that and let you know how Iit goes. Such a helpful blog.

    2. Excellent advice Gazza, and advice I will take on board.
      For people like me, relative beginners, the approach to take is that tackling crosswords like this, falling at Beechers Brook very early, scrutinising (and understanding!!) the hints and absorbing the information is the approach to take.
      Above all, to think ‘Robert The Bruce’s Spider’ and not to get disheartened.

    3. I’ll definitely take you up on that too.
      From now on it shall be: If you don’t understand ask Gazza.
      You might be on an earner there.

  43. I won’t try and guess the setter, but it’s pretty stiff for an early-in-the-week back-pager. I made it 2*/3*, but perhaps the difficulty score should be higher – say 2.5* – because I needed the hint for 3d. I’d forgotten about spooning; in my day we didn’t do it. As I recall it, we petted (usually heavily) – what my mother-in-law referred to as “shenanigans”! No particular favourite clue, I’m afraid, but I thought 21a was a bit weak. Thanks to the setter, and to Gazza.

    1. Remember that old song, “by the light of the silvery moon”? It all seems so very, very long ago.

      1. By good old Doris – she turned 94 last weekend. I loved her voice – swoon.

  44. Thank you for your tips, Gazza. Hugely appreciated. Enjoying learning, and listening to all the lovely bloggers.

    1. You wasted an easy chance there Jan. You could have put “and Miffypops” at the end of your post.

  45. Failed at 10a, 21a & 8d so ****/** Thanks to Gazza for his assistance and to Setter for a real test 😢 Liked 9a & 28a 😜

  46. Like many others, I was too far off wavelength to complete this one or to enjoy it, but I’m glad plenty did. Thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  47. Usually manage to complete or at least make a big dent in the Cryptics over breakfast but with this one I got virtually nowhere and then I had a busy day with charity work so decided to give the whole thing a miss for today and hope for more luck/fun tomorrow. Anyway thanks Shamus for providing the puzzle and Gazza for your hints which I haven’t in fact got around to reading. And so to bed.

  48. Well, I finished it without cheating but with several bung-ins along the way. I thought one or two clues were like a visit to the dentist without anaesthetic – viz 18a – and others were more like homework (8d). Maybe it’s because I’m tired and grumpy after a long, difficult day, but the best I can say is that I’m relieved it’s over. Sorry Shamus, but you are forgiven because I enjoyed 1a, 1d and 27a. Thanks to Gazza for explaining the square in 4d. 4*/2*

  49. Well what a relief, others found this one a tad difficult too, only just finished it and needed one hint to do so. Lol re Kath’s 1a comment.

  50. Agree 11a and 21a below par. V pleased when I got 28a with only the final T. Took ages on 1a and had to check Big Dave as I couldn’t believe I’d finally cracked it.

  51. Good evening everybody.

    Found this tricky, though not excessively so, but failed on 8d which I’ve just looked up here. Despite not finishing I’ll say ***/**** as the rest of the solutions went in about three star time and more than usually enjoyable.

  52. This was a bit of a beast – just how I like ’em. I tackled it sporadically over a 30 hour period, finally getting 14d in last night. And I only used my BRB to help. A cracker! 3.5*/4*.

  53. Pleasantly surprised that I didn’t find this too tricky and completed without help.
    Had to check the coin at 25d and needed Gazza’s help to parse 20d.
    Not the biggest fan of obscure cryptic definitions but there were plenty of smiles as compensation – 13a, 23a, 27a (even though a little clunky), 14d.
    Thanks to Shamus, Gazza and pommers, who very kindly provided me with a copy of the crossword :)

  54. 11 and 21 ac were just ugly, 28ac had a gibberish clue and an obscure solution, 2 dn is little more than slang, and my last in which was the only clue I needed for more than confirmation was a miserable straight cryptic. Yuck.

  55. What a toughie! Took ages to complete but enjoyable, completed a Times one faster than this one.

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