DT 28130 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28130

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28130

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa where we have been enjoying an extensive spell of hot, sunny weather. I am sitting in today as Kath is off engaging in wild and crazy shenanigans to celebrate her special day. Happy Birthday, Kath. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (which gives you carte blanche). I hope you didn’t think this banner day was going to slip by unnoticed.

Kath will also be happy as this is not a RayT day so she has not missed out on that count. I found the puzzle to be a bit of a challenge and was pushed to the upper limits of *** territory — if not beyond. It was also an enjoyable solve with several penny-drop moments. As for the setter, although I might hazard a guess, I think I will keep my powder dry for the moment.

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

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a   Sort of morning for this Christian? (5)
AMISH — the letters that indicate before noon with a suffix denoting “sort of” give us a Christian sect that migrated to Pennsylvania nearly 300 years ago — and have scarcely changed since; this was nearly my last one in as I had earlier rejected it out of hand after making the mistake of reading the definition of ‘Amish morning’ in the Urban Dictionary

4a   Firm into mobile phones and poultry equipment (3,5)
HEN COOPS — insert the abbreviation for a business firm into an anagram (mobile) of PHONES

10a   Cook al dente udon noodles with the German tucking in (7)
UNDERDO — anagram (noodles) of UDON enveloping a German definite article

11a   Little Teddy bears aren’t commonly spoilt (7)
TAINTED — a shortened version of Teddy holds (bears) a non-U way of saying “aren’t”

12a   Incomplete tenure for pasture-lands (4)
LEAS — remove the last letter from a word for the rights under a contract for the use of property in return for payment

13a   That is to accommodate elderly relative — it’s vacant (5)
INANE — the Latin abbreviation meaning that is embraces an affectionate term for an elderly relative

14a   Recess in rap session (4)
APSE — the first lurker of the day

17a   Sending old news out that shows verbosity (4-10)
LONG-WINDEDNESS — anagram (out) of the first three words of the clue

19a   Hunt of the slugs to be resettled — that shows consideration (14)
THOUGHTFULNESS — anagram (to be resettled) of the first three words of the clue; not much of the solution was shown in the choice of link works in the last two clues

22a   A swell breaking in another way too (4)
ALSO — break the first two words of the clue as (2,4) rather than (1,5)

23a   Prayer leaders, ones welcoming mother (5)
IMAMS — the Roman numeral for one and the S that is attached to it embrace an affectionate term for a maybe not so elderly relative

24a   Mad about opera’s ‘fat lady‘? (4)
DIVA — the reversal of a word meaning mad or wildly enthusiastic gives us the opera star whose performance brings down the curtain; apparently the phrase “it ain’t over til the fat lady sings” was coined only 40 years ago

27a   Japanese massage — it has us reeling (7)
SHIATSU — anagram (reeling) of the three preceding words

28a   New joke in lavatory cubicle? Far from current (4-3)
LONG-AGO — N(ew) and a joke (or what one might do if the stench were unbearable) in the common British toilet

29a   Parody personal appearances by little fellow with energy (8)
PASTICHE — abbreviation for P(ersonal) A(ppearances) — not forgetting the S — followed by a little person (who’s even smaller than usual) and E(energy)

30a   Cause irritation using drill on previous day (5)
PEEVE — a physical workout preceding the day before a notable event


1d   An odd girl makes a bloomer (4,4)
ARUM LILY — a charade of the appropriate indefinite article, an archaic word meaning odd, and a girl’s name


2d   Pub’s entertaining sketch withheld (7)
INDRAWN — another word for pub around a verb meaning to sketch

3d   Rent‘s gone up, we hear (4)
HIRE — this sounds like a comparative adjective denoting a more elevated position

5d   Bred clan (8,6)
EXTENDED FAMILY — as Gazza and Crypticsue point out in the comments, this is a double definition which also seems to work — and is the way that I initially saw it — as a cryptic definition implying that measures have been taken to increase the size of a group of people related by blood or marriage

6d   Lick  cut (4)
CLIP — double definition; the first meaning at a fast pace

7d   Month’s work for army type? (7)
OCTOPUS — the abbreviation for an autumn month and a musical work give us a well-armed beast

8d   Reed‘s flourished in wetlands’ edges (5)
SEDGE — the second lurker of the day

9d   Sad  symptom of pillow-fight victim? (4,2,3,5)
DOWN IN THE MOUTH — double definition; the second being the literal outcome of a pillow fight

15d   Admit pained expression greets rise of wordplay (3,2)
OWN UP — an exclamation of pain followed by a reversal of what Samuel Johnson referred to as the lowest form of humour

16d   King meets mistress to give a ring (5)
KNELL — a K(ing) from the chessboard or deck of cards and the mistress of Charles II

18d   See dons get free cut of meat (8)
ESCALOPE — an archaic exclamation meaning “See!” puts on (dons) a verb meaning to get free

20d   Ironic title for that writer’s points (3,4)
HIS NIBS — the possessive pronoun that would take the place of “that writer’s” followed by the points of his writing implements

21d   Eat pile — strangely, it’s one way to do this (7)
EPILATE — this is a semi-all-in-one clue in which the entire clue constitutes the definition and embedded in it is an anagram (strangely) of the first two words of the clue; pile is soft fine hair, fur, wool, etc. and eating it would be one — albeit rather unconventional — method of achieving the solution to the clue

22d   A model’s upset — this man told stories (5)
AESOP — A (from the clue) and a reversal (upset) of a synonym for the verb model

25d   A case in perpetuity (4)
ETUI — the third (and final) lurker (it will needle you should you miss it)

26d   Spell span incorrectly (4)
SNAP — anagram (incorrectly) of SPAN gives a term usually associated with a period of cold weather

It took me a long time to twig to 28a and 18d; 4a and 7d produced penny-drop moments; but my favourite clue is the rather unappetizing meal at 21d.


121 comments on “DT 28130

  1. Thanks very much. Completely stuck on 4ac despite having several letters.7d made me laugh. A most enjoyable start to the day. Thanks due to the setter.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Grahame.
      If Falcon’s hint doesn’t help you to get the answer you can click on ‘Click here!’ to reveal it.

  2. Thank you Falcon, your hints rescued me for 1d and 18d and provided an explanation for the delightful 7d; I had cobbled together an alternative based on a clothing brand (sigh). 20d is my favourite. Definitely ****/**** territory for this novice solver.
    Many happy returns Kath.

  3. My mad hat is on today! I loved this. The army chap made me smile, as did the sort of morning. The NW was my only big hold up (other than having to double check the wonderful 6d; 16d also took a while): 1d was new to me. One of the clues sounds to me like a prediction. 21d makes the mind boggle – ugh! At first I put the final letter of 4a at the front of the second word and wondered if that was a thing … then I stopped being quite so silly.

    There is lots of choice, but I think 9d simply has to be my favourite. Just one today, just for Kath. Happy birthday Kath.

    Many thanks to PJ (or I’ll eat the aforementioned) and to Falcon for expertly standing in for the birthday girl while she engages in those “wild and crazy shenanigans” …

      1. That presupposes my diet isn’t usually hat-based. A reasonable assumption, but then some peculiar things have been suggested as consumables today. Thanks again for the puzzle, and for swinging by to claim it. :)

    1. Well done, Kitty – I’d never have stuck my neck out so soon – been wrong far too many times before.

  4. Super puzzle – thanks to the mad-hatted one and to Falcon for the review (and Happy Birthday to Kath). I’d pick out 1a, 11a, 22a and 9d for special mention but the clue of the day has to be the magnificent 7d.
    I read 5d as a double definition but I can see that Falcon’s interpretation also works.

    1. Gazza has said what I was going to say, including good wishes for the Birthday Girl. :rose:

    2. Now that I examine it in that light, I can see your point about it being a double definition. As you say, it is a clue that seems to work on multiple levels.

  5. Kitty, if you are wrong about who the setter is for this one you can take some consolation from knowing that you are not alone. We also have PJ written in the margin. Certainly at the tricky end of the spectrum for a back-pager in our opinion. Lots to keep us laughing, “army type” drawing the loudest guffaw. The NW was the last corner to get sorted. Really good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Falcon.

    And Happy Birthday Kath.

    1. We all seem to be in agreement so far. If hats need to be eaten, you may recall that I have one made of cake squirrelled away for such an occasion.

  6. I found this puzzle to be a mix of the simple and the baffling. I filled in about half of the grid, then scratched my head for quite a while to get the rest. 4*/3* for me today.

  7. Everyone seems to be bright and early today. I really enjoyed this one and did not find it too taxing. COD is, of course, 7d. I couldn’t remember the the word for Japanese massage but managed to assemble the letters in the correct order by following the spelling of the Japanese dog.
    Good wishes to Kath on her birthday.

  8. I loved this and my favourite has to be 9d, although 7d comes a close second. I thought it was pretty straightforward although it took me a while to get 1a, which I thought was clever. **/*** for me and thanks to setter and 2Ks.
    Happy Birthday Kath, have a great day.

  9. As soon as 9d went in I thought PJ so I’ll be eating my hat along with plenty of others of you if I’m wrong!
    Quite a tricky little number for a back-pager but very much enjoyed.
    So many contenders for podium places – 1a plus 1,5,7,9&20d and I’m struggling to choose between 7&9d for favourite.

    Many thanks to PJ (it is you, isn’t it?) and to Falcon for the bright and early review.

    Very many happy returns to our birthday girl – enjoy your shenanigans!

  10. My rating today is 3.5*/3*. While I was working on this I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to like it. However, as it gradually fell into place, I began to appreciate the unusual and clever cluing, which was generally commendably brief with smooth and entertaining surfaces.

    I don’t like the abbreviation for “personal appearances” in 29a, which seems very contrived to me (but I concede that it is in the BRB). 19a conjures up an amusing image, although I thought the surface was a bit clunky. In 8d, isn’t the “’s” unnecessary (but full marks for the correct apostrophe at the end of wetlands!)?

    I thought 9a was going to edge out 7d to be crowned as my favourite until, after a struggle, I finally managed to parse 22a, which then took the top spot.

    Many thanks to PJ and to Falcon.

    P.S. Happy Birthday, Kath! This seems to be open season for bloggers’ birthdays.

  11. Held up in NW corner with 6down 4 across and 11 across. Wrong answers for 6dn rout and later trim after solving 11 across. Found this puzzle extremely challenging as nearly always on Thursday. Thanks to Falcon for much needed assistance and to the setter.

  12. Really enjoyed this and would happily solve it all over again.

    Last one in was 22a as it took my the longest time to parse.

    Too many good clues to name a favourite…so all that remains to be said is…

    Many thank to PJ for a great puzzle and to Falcon for a fantastic blog.

    Also Happy birthday to Kath. Have a great day. :rose:

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword, which, astonishingly I solved with no electronic help or recourse to Falcon’s excellent hints.

    This blog has been a huge help to me, thanks to everyone who contributes to it.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

      1. Thank you.
        I’m trying not to get overconfident ….or too proud before the inevitable fall.

  14. I always enjoy the Petit-Jean back-pager far more than his Tougher variety in the inside pages. I wonder why?

    Really enjoyed this one. The best Thursday puzzle for some time. (Sorry RayT fans.)

    Thanks to P-J for the puzzle.

    Thanks also to Falcon for the very entertaining and very early review. Here in SE England It’s not exactly as cold as a Canadian winter but it’s nothing like summer! Brrrr!

  15. Like most of you, I really enjoyed this, especially the less common ‘around’ indicators like “dons” and ” bears”. Thanks to PJ.

    Loved the “army” type
    The writer’s points
    And the pillow fight.

    Thank you Falcon for the explanation of 22a – (smacks self on head).
    Kitty – you made me laugh with “hen scoop” – good way to round up the little blighters.

    For me it was **/****

  16. NE corner held me up for a while as I put trashed into 11a. Once I’d backtracked everything came together. I liked 17a and 19a. 2*/3*for me. I wasn’t expecting the review to be up so early. I finished over breakfast, but then had to go out and take some pictures to the framers. Came back and was surprised at how many had already signed in. Thank you Falcon and setter and Happy Birthday Kath.

  17. Thanks BD for the birthday banners and balloons – what a good way to start a birthday – and thanks to everyone else for the good wishes.
    I absolutely loved this one – 5* for enjoyment – I must have been on the right wave-length as I didn’t find it too tricky.
    I have a confession to make – the relevance of ‘army’ in 7d completely by-passed me – I even looked it up in BRB in case it was something I didn’t know. Oh dear – how dim. :oops:
    Didn’t know the Japanese massage but there weren’t too many alternatives by the time the checking letters were in.
    The sorting out of 18d took a while.
    So many of these made me laugh that choosing a favourite could be almost impossible – I’ll just have to have an extra long list of ‘likes’.
    Here goes – 1a (always love the ‘ish ones) 19a (very appropriate round here at the moment and I don’t show them any consideration) and 22a and 5, 16 and 20d. My favourite was either 7 or 9d.
    With thanks to PJ for such a brilliant crossword and to Falcon for the hints and pics.
    Off to see if the grass is dry enough to cut – I know how to have fun on my birthday – friends here for supper tomorrow though. :smile:

    1. PS – I’ve often thought that this blog is populated by insomniacs – now I know it is. I’m always amazed by how late people go on commenting but it doesn’t seem to stop there – you’re all up early too. Don’t any of you need to sleep? :unsure:

    2. The relevance of ‘army type’ passed me by too for quite a while so I’m glad I’m not alone. I thought perhaps it was a kind of multi-purpose vehicle or something!

      1. Oh good – so far it’s just you and me – always nice to have company. I even looked it up in BRB to see if it was something to do with the ‘army’ – oh dear, again. It wasn’t until I saw Falcon’s pic that I tumbled to it.

  18. Some of the pointers for anagrams are just bizarre

    take just 2 examples –

    2a – mobile?

    10a – noodles? I thought ‘cook’ was a pointer?

    is there a definitive list of anagram pointers?

    1. The BRB (11th edition anyway) has a list of anagram indicators which I quite often look at when solving/testing and/or blogging

    2. Noodle, as a verb, has a slang usage meaning (according to Chambers) to improvise on a musical instrument in a casual or desultory way, especially in jazz. So it seems fine as an anagram indicator.

    3. Anagram indicators are usually verbs or adjectives denoting movement, transformation, or not being in a normal state.

      2a – mobile : (adjective) able to be moved easily; not fixed

      10a – noodle : (verb) to improvise on a musical instrument in a casual or desultory way, especially in jazz

      Perhaps somewhere there is a list but I find setters keep coming up with new ones.

      1. There is in my version of the BRB, additionally on the definitions it mentions ‘Anagram Indicator’

    4. It’s just the way my brain works. I remember the first time I heard or read mobile and phone together I started thinking of anagrams. I don’t think I’ve used swimming coach/pool/baths/etc, but swimming works for me as an anagram in those contexts. Any ‘definitive’ list makes me want to come up with an alternative that isn’t on it. JP

      1. Quite right JP. In the same vein, can you possibly encourage your fellow setters to try and find something different from the ubiquitous ‘U’, ‘urn’ and German cars used in their clue constructs? :whistle:

        Loved the puzzle and would have loved to have the chance to blog it – very jealous of Falcon.

        1. I said almost the exact thing to Jane before about blogging this puzzle. It really was superb.

  19. Lovely stuff! 1A was my last one in and a D’oh moment since we often see them driving around a few miles further south of here. 7D romped past the finishing post ahead of the field. Thanks, PJ, and thanks to Falcon. Glad to hear you’re enjoying some sunshine. Here in MD it’s been in the low 90’s for the past few days.

    Happy Birthday, Kath!!

  20. Thanks to Petitjean and to Falcon for the review and hints. I really enjoyed this one, lots of laughs along the way 1a,7&9d. Also liked 15,16,20&21d, but my favourite was 5d. I don’t normally like double definitions, but this was so clever. Last in was 18d,which seems to be flavour of the week for meat cuts if you’ll forgive the pun :-) Was 2*/4* for me. Great entertainment. Happy Birthday Kath.

  21. Just finished in 2* time for me – must have been on the right wavelength. Thanks to Falcon for the review and explaining 22a. Favourite clues were 6,7,16 and 20 (all d). 20d last one in – expression that I haven’t heard in a long while. Thanks to PJ for very enjoyable solve. Happy birthday Kath.

  22. Woke up at midday. Haven’t had a lie in for so long.
    Happy birthday to Kath.
    As the toughie didn’t put much resistance, I managed to find enough time for this back pager.
    For once the little words fell in smoothly and was only held up by 20d (ironic title) which I had to drag back from my memory.
    Liked the same clues as everyone else.
    Thanks to PJ and to Falcon for the review.

  23. An absolute joy of a puzzle. Cant remember when I enjoyed one as much as this. I was stumped for a while, didnt think I was going anywhere, but once I got into it, I thought there was some great clues, especially 6d which made me laugh. 3.5*/5*. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the hints.

  24. I so enjoyed this one, and I didn’t really find it so difficult, apart from 1a which I never did get but how clever was that!
    There are circles of letters all over my paper, but the long anagrams helped.
    There are so many choices for fave, but I think 7d has to be it.
    Thanks to PJ, and to Falcon for the review, and parsing 22a!

    Have a very special birthday, Kath, why not let the grass wait another day?

    1. Your last sentence reminds me of many years ago when Elder Lamb was probably about fourteen. She came home from school on my birthday and I was doing the ironing. She said, “Mum you shouldn’t be ironing on your birthday”. Rather stupidly I thought she was going to offer to do it but then, “Why don’t you leave it until tomorrow”.
      As for the grass well, no, it can’t wait another day – going by the weather at the moment it could be chucking it down again tomorrow and anyway we have friends coming for supper and will probably spend the day cooking. Thanks for the thought though.

          1. Brilliant Gazza! No idea where you got that from but loved it…the Dumb and Dumber bit is priceless!

          2. Very funny Gazza. Just emailed the link to my husband. He is very protective of his lawn.

          3. :). I’m all for letting the grass grow, unless you want to play tennis or some other sport, in which case keeping a neatly mown lawn might make for a more enjoyable game.

            1. See – there you go again :whistle: I think that you’re really Mrs Mills from the Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine.

        1. There’s long and then there’s LONG – when it’s LONG, which it is at the moment after all the rain, it looks a bit ‘field’. Just going to finish cutting it and then will have a look at Gazza’s interesting conversation and lawns.

  25. Excellent fun puzzle, plenty of anagrams and 7d which reminds me about ‘where do countries keep there armies?’ – up their ‘sleevies’ – sorry.

  26. I will venture this is the hardest back-pager for quite a while. As long as I complete them, which I did with this after a bit of a tussle, the tough ones always seem more enjoyable as a result. This was certainly no exception. Several brilliantly put-together clues, and the regular sound of pennies hitting the floor. 7 down just gets the gold medal, although 9 down gave it a good run for its money.

    I will put 4*/4* in the honesty box and say many thanks for a genuine challenge to PJ and Falcon for his hard work.

    And a very Happy Birthday to Kath.

  27. We found this one quite tough but very satisfying – we finished a while ago but have been delayed in writing on the blog as the dogs rolled in a disgusting dead fox and we have been out in the garden trying to remove all traces of it from their horrible little bodies. Thanks very much to Falcon for the review and to P-J (?) for a great puzzle.

  28. On other days when people find it a breeze, I often grit my teeth. Today , however , it was so much fun and all went in quite easily.

    1a was my second last and favourite , among lots of great clues.

    Thanks PJ and Falcon.We are having great weather too.

  29. ****/***. Thought this was very tricky but perversely very enjoyable. Needed some help from Falcon (many thanks) to get finished. Really liked 7d and 28a. Thanks also to the setter.

  30. Good afternoon everybody.

    A joint solve today. I only added a few here aned there but it took a touch longer than usual so


  31. Today I’m fully in accord with my soulmate RD once again, apart from his choice of favourite – for me 9d easily takes the crown. His first two paragraphs though I could have repeated almost exactly, it is certainly refreshing to see such clever and unorthodox cluing. I particularly appreciated the deceptive use of indicators disguised as nouns, such as “bears” in 11a and “dons” in 18d. I also warmed to “army type” as the definition in 7d.

    Many thanks to Mr. Pidgeon and to his potential avian predator for the hints. Happy Birthday to Kath as well.

  32. An enjoyable romp through the ‘nearly back page’ ‘back pager’. If I was thinking of changing my mobile network provider – then (Thanks to the DT) Vodaphone has lost a customer.

    I thought this was super fun with lots of clues in a scramble to reach first place on the podium. But the one clue for me that stood out is 7d – loved the ‘army type’ definition. Still chuckling :smile: It also raised a suggestion that this was going to be ‘mad hat’ production. So well done Kitty for having the confidence to stick your head above the parapet.

    Thanks to PJ for the enjoyable puzzle and to Falcon for his splendid review.

    Finally, very many happy returns of the day to our birthday girl. Hope you have a great day :rose:

  33. Not difficult but containing some dreadful clues in 22a, 7d, 21d and 18d, all really daft clues in my opinion and still cannot for the life of me see what the hell an octopus has to do with an army type. Although you could work out the answers, these clues were not good IMHO.
    Still at least it was not a Ray T, that was a real plus.
    Thx to all

    1. Glad to see nothing changes Barrie – oops, sorry, of course I meant to say ‘Brian’. You can see how easy it is to get them mixed up :wink:

  34. Yes what a good one today – put in clip for 6 down but needed Falcons tip to understand why. So many clever clues including underdo for all dente – how I like it and how my partner doesn’t!!!

  35. Quite tricky ***/*** but very enjoyable 😉 Sorry Brian but 7d was my favourite. Big thanks to PJ and Falcon ☺️

  36. I thought this was going to be a bit of a stinker, but once I got a foothold in the SW corner the whole grid fell nicely into place well within (my) 1* time. It was fun, though, so 4* for that. I had little smiley faces against 10a, 11a and 7d, with the latter gaining the laurels. Many thanks to the setter, and to Falcon.

    Kath – I’m honoured to share a birthday with you, but depressed that the nearest my own has come to “wild and crazy shenanigans” (so far, at least) was lunch at The Old Inn in Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

    1. Many happy returns of the day shipmate – surely that must prompt a signal to ‘splice the mainbrace’

      Back in the old days when men were made of steel and ships were made of wood – Hic :wacko:

    2. Happy Birthday Salty Dog,
      May you lower your anchor amidst peace and good friends

    3. Well Happy Birthday to you, Salty Dog – I reckon that lunch out anywhere beats the hell out of cutting the grass – no wild and crazy shenanigans for me today but watch this space for tomorrow evening . . .

  37. Feeling quite pleased with myself, the consensus of opinion seems to suggest this was a relatively hard solve and I finished it unaided! Makes up for all the dismal failures. I’ve never thought of an octopus as an ‘army type’ more an agile predator so 7d was my least favourite clue. 1a was definitely a ‘doh’ moment.

    1. No – I think you may have missed the point with the ‘army’ bit – I did too. An octopus has lot of bits – call them whatever you like – tentacles is probably the nearest to being correct but legs, arms etc would do hence ‘army’ . . .

  38. What a smashing crossword! A pleasure to complete I must say. Both 7d and 28a tickled my fancy. Like the birthday girl I too was wondering about an army machine….
    3/4* overall today.
    Thanks to PJ, and to Falcon for his review.
    Happy berfday Kath, and Salty Dog.

  39. Thursdays are a complete ‘no-no’ for me.I am a million miles from the wavelength of Ray-T or PJ.
    Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to the setter.

    1. Funny, I cannot crack RayT’s wavelength, but I was dead on PJ’s wavelength today. I wonder what it is that makes us think so differently!

  40. 9 Down was in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, I originally put
    down in the dumps then, but not today.

  41. Hello everyone and Happy Birthday Kath,
    What a stunningly good offering today. I thought that I was going to perish in the desert with this one but kept at it steadily solving and parsing until all was done with no help and in one sitting – not telling how long I spent though – Really satisfying with some great clues. Thanks to the setter for a rewarding time whilst listening to Mahler’s 9th on the stereogram. Bliss.

    1. I actually had to check what a stereogram looked like.
      Research inconclusive.
      Please provide more information.

  42. This one put up a bit of a struggle. The NW corner went in very slowly but then things speeded up a bit and it all fell into place eventually with 18d being my last one in.
    Brian’s list of “dreadful clues” looks much like my list of favourites, with the possible exception of 21d which I was less keen on. My top vote goes to 22a which I actually failed to parse fully when solving but it clearly had to be that, and when Falcon shone full light on it I thought it a very clever clue.
    Solving time pushes it into a 4*/4* rating from me.
    Thanks to PJ for the rewarding challenge and to Falcon for the blog.

  43. Came back to earth with a bump today, having been so happy with yesterday’s puzzle, I found this one tough going. Thanks to Falcon for the hints. I got stumped at 20d having misspelt 27a. Stalled on 28a and 5d.

    1. Keep the faith BL. Now, if you managed to complete every crossword without any help – where’s the fun in that? :smile:

  44. Thanks PJ for that which I thought was a rather unusual puzzle but which was nevertheless much fun to polish off. Thanks Falcon for the hints which were of course there for us bright and early. That is much appreciated as I usually do as much as possible of the Cryptic over breakfast but unfortunately my schedule today didn’t permit that. Fav was 9d particularly when I realised that the last word made it more amusing than dumps. ***/***.

    Felicitations and many happy returns of the day Kath.

  45. Thank you everyone for lovely Happy Birthday messages.
    Thank you Falcon for doing the hints today, especially as I’d have completely screwed up the wonderful 7d which would not only have been a real shame but would have caused me huge embarrassment! :oops:
    Thank you again to PJ for a wonderful crossword.
    I’m now well past my best and going to bed. Night night all :yawn:

  46. Didn’t break sweat on this delightful puzzle .Some great clues mentioned by many */ **** Thanks to the setter and Falcon

  47. 29a, does it work or am I splitting hairs? Is not a little fellow a “titch” not a “tich”.
    Have I missed something?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Caro.
      Tich is a valid alternative spelling according to Chambers.

  48. Belated Happy Birthday Kath!
    Have not been commenting as have been away and out and about but have been quietly lurking and enjoying the blog.
    A very satisfying and entertaining puzzle even though it did take a while and one or two hints, but got there.
    Thank you Falcon and PJ for a lot of fun.

  49. This one was very good – a bit similar to a Ray T and a worthy substitute. I can’t for the life of me understand how any cryptic crossword fans cannot appreciate “army type” in the word play for the answer OCTOPUS? Completely beyond me.

    PS. BD: This is comment No 54, which is well above average. What is the record for the highest amount of numbered comments for a single DT cryptic?

  50. Boy am I glad to find this site.I live in New Zealand and I’ve just started subscribing to the DT cryptic crossword but have been doing them for years. Usually get stuck on the last 4-6 so can finally finish them and get a good nights sleep! Glad to meet like minded crossword geeks.

  51. 7D. Octopus?? Really? Even after it was explained, it still didn’t make sense. Every else was fine.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Terry.
      I presume that you’re from Canada where that puzzle has appeared in the National Post today. It was originally reviewed by Falcon on this site and he’s re-reviewed it on his crossword blog today.
      You need to think of ‘army’ in a cryptic way as meaning ‘having arms’.

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