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DT 28329

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28329

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a cold and frosty morning.

I finished today’s Giovanni in ** time, but it felt harder than that as I was doing it. The count of more obscure words is perhaps higher than in recent weeks, and some definitions are a little stretched. But it is a pangram, which may help.

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. 


5a           Meetings of groups of students outside university (6)
FORUMS – A name given to groups of students in a school, wrapped around an abbreviation for University.

8a           A failure departed being hugged and flattered (8)
ADULATED – A failure (like a firework which doesn’t go off), wrapped around a word describing a departed person.

9a           Son, inept person making run (7)
SMUGGLE – An abbreviation for Son, followed by a person who (in the Harry Potter universe) has no magical ability.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a         Regarding cold places, it’s what you expect — see about going inside (5)
POLAR – The expected score on a golf course, for example, wrapped around the reverse (about) of a word meaning ‘See!’

11a         Walk away from part of football ground depressed (5,4)
STAND DOWN – A place where football spectators sit, followed by a word for ‘depressed’.

13a         Restrained ceremony offered by Brazil, say, with love (8)
RITENUTO – This is a musical term. Put together a formal ceremony, the food item of which a Brazil is an example, and the letter which looks like a love score at tennis.

14a         Country paper’s content sent back, requiring editor’s intervention (6)
SWEDEN – Reverse (sent back) what The Daily Telegraph exists to provide (no, not puzzles and adverts), and insert the abbreviation for EDitor.

17a         Rested one day of the week (3)
SAT – A word for ‘rested’ which is also the short form of one of the days of the week.

19a         Guide losing character at the back in field (3)
LEA – Remove the final letter (character at the back) from ‘to guide’, and you get the field the lowing herd winds slowly o’er.

20a         Madame in vessel, one causing a blockage (6)
JAMMER – The sort of vessel you keep marmalade in, wrapped around the abbreviation for Madame.

23a         Was responsible for a sound game and came first (8)
WHISTLED – A card game which was a predecessor of bridge, and is traditionally played in church halls, followed by ‘came first’ (in a race).

26a         Female relation given piece of furniture, as may be allowed (9)
GRANTABLE – A short form of a senior female relative, followed by a common piece of furniture.

28a         Chinese measure seen to be spiteful (5)
CATTY – Double definition, the first being a Chinese weight equivalent to about 500 grammes.

29a         You want this puzzle to be so crazy (7)
CRACKED – Double definition, the first being what you (the solver) want the puzzle to be.

30a         Rover and very small governor form a relationship (8)
VAGABOND – Put together a short form of Very, an Oriental governor, A (from the clue), and ‘form a relationship’.

31a         Spring up, having to talk bombastically about end of war (6)
SPROUT – The last letter (end) of waR is inserted into a verb describing what a bombastic or prolix orator may do.


1d           The last character to come on the scene lacking a sort of control (6)
ZAPPER – The last letter of the alphabet, followed by ‘come on the scene’ with one of its As removed (lacking a). The answer is an informal word for the control used to change channels on a TV.

Image result for remote control

2d           Non-discrimination not the foremost attribute (7)
QUALITY – Remove the first letter (not the foremost) from a word which means ‘non-discrimination’ or ‘treating everyone the same’.

3d           To talk down to a person — it is nasty (9)
PATRONISE – Anagram (nasty) of A PERSON IT.

4d           The old man breaks snooze maybe for a meal (6)
REPAST – A snooze or period of relaxation wrapped around one of the words for ‘the old man’.

5d           Become more girly maybe in short garments, charge around (8)
FEMINISE – A financial charge wrapped around some short garments first popular in the Sixties.

6d           Equipment I had to make very firm (5)
RIGID – Another word for equipment or kit followed by the short form of ‘I had’.

7d           Plant we liked, wild under top of mountain (8)
MILKWEED – The first letter (top) of Mountain followed by an anagram (wild) of WE LIKED.

Image result for common milkweed

12d         Boy‘s big book left unfinished (3)
TOM – Remove the last letter (left unfinished) from a big, heavy book to get a boy’s name.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d         Garment was falling short, one to cast out (9)
WAISTCOAT – Remove the last letter (falling short) from WA(s) (from the clue), then add the Roman numeral for one and an anagram (out) of TO CAST. The answer is part of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s working garb.

Image result for ronnie o'sullivan

16d         Bit of wire stuck into locks? (4,4)
HAIR GRIP – Cryptic definition of something used, mostly by women, to control the locks on top of the head.

Image result for hair grip

18d         A fighting group having the last word to get the latest in excellent equipment (8)
ARMAMENT – Put together a word for one of the branches of the Services, the final word in a Christian prayer, and the final letter of excellenT to get the sort of equipment needed by the Services.

21d         Bird not far off the ground, beginning to end (3)
OWL – Start with a word for flying not far off the ground, then move the first letter to the end.

Image result for owl

22d         Unit with weapons also having to be in scheme (7)
PLATOON – A scheme or design wrapped around another word for ‘also’.

24d         Spell cast on poor actor in northern town (6)
HEXHAM – A three- letter word for a magic spell or curse followed by a sort of stage actor, producing a town in Northumberland.

Image result for hexham

25d         Nymphs out of water and awfully sad (6)
DRYADS – A word describing a well which has run out of water, followed by an anagram (awfully) of SAD.

27d         Carried by man, a choice bit of Mexican food (5)
NACHO – Hidden in the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun HOLE +SAILOR = WHOLESALER

109 comments on “DT 28329

  1. Hard to get into this one, getting half way down the Across clues before the first one solved. But steady progress thereafter and spotted a potential pangram at the half way mark. This is the first time I can recall when spotting a theme has materially assisted in completion: I had one letter missing and it was the initial letter of LOI, 30a.

    Some delightful clues today: high marks awarded to 1d, 2d, 8a, 15d, 23a, 25d. Favourite, though, is 14a which I thought very clever.

    I’m aware that 5a is the accepted plural form but only learned today, on checking the dictionary, that ‘fora’ is used when talking about Roman public squares.

    I worked out 13a from the wordplay – thinking “there can’t be such an ugly word” – but, on checking, there is. The only bit of the puzzle that felt a bit forced – and I suspect there’s simply nothing else that would fit.

    Thanks to setter for a very clever and enjoyable challenge and to DT for the review.

    1. I see your one at the top as your ‘normal’ one – this comment one is one of those generic ones. Shropshire Lad had trouble the other day but it soon reverted to normal

      1. When I posted the comment the ‘normal one’ appeared in the comment header – the reverse of what you could see! But now all seems to be back to normal.

    2. I thought I had fixed it before anyone noticed. Either WordPress has changed how it processes gravatars or you have made the status of your gravatar something other than “general”. I had to drop the code “&r=G” (general) from the stylesheet.

      1. I am sad to report that DT is still purple, albeit smiling, on both my e-reader and our home PC

        1. Can’t get my head round this – DT’s ‘normal’ gravatar appears in his review header. But all further posts appear as a purple smiley. As I had a similar problem – I went to the gravatar site and changed my gravatar – come on the BD site – returned to gravatar site and changed my pic back. Everything then went back to normal.

  2. :phew:
    5*/3*. Definitely a wrong envelope day! The benign Giovanni seems to have vanished and has defeated me.

    Nevertheless I did enjoy what I eventually managed to complete and, with the help of my BRB, I learned four new words in the process: 9a (I only knew the Harry Potter meaning for the last six letters), 13a, a new second meaning for 28a, and 7d.

    I couldn’t completely solve 16d as there were two equally plausible answers, the choice of which depended on the checking letter for the second letter of the second word which I hadn’t got as 29a had beaten me. I also couldn’t solve 1d.

    I am not convinced by the wordplay for 30a as an Aga is a governor not a small governor, so “small” seems to be padding for the sake of the wordplay. I took “form a relationship” to be “bond”. Otherwise “form” has no purpose.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT particularly for supplying the answers to 29a & 1d.

    1. Rd. 30a: I don’t think the “small” relates to the governor – it’s an essential indicator to abbreviate “very”. Isn’t it?

      1. I take your point Jose, and I agree that the wordplay:

        V = very small
        Aga = governor
        Bond = form a relationship

        seems the most plausible except that v = very is an accepted abbreviation (vide the BRB) without needing “small”.

            1. These all appeared on Fridays over the last eight years. There’s a variation on today’s usage among them.

              25780 A very small monarch, say (4) AVER
              26103 A very small insect on ground by house, lacking tail and not boringly normal? (5-5) AVANTGARDE
              26228 A very small animal rescuer crossing a road for an animal (8) AARDVARK
              26300 Drowning in drink is a very small rodent (6) Beaver
              26647 Appreciate having very small drink outside university (5) VALUE
              26737 Simplest home — excellent with very small interior (7) NAIVEST
              27084 Behind very small ruler spy a tramp (8) XXXXXXXX
              27258 Pomposity of the male saints going round each very small home (9) HEAVINESS
              27288 Very small one with wise appearance (6) VISAGE
              27360 Boast of very small relation (5) VAUNT
              27443 Very small star, about four, seen to be lively (6) VIVACE
              27497 Drowning in drink is a very small animal (6) Beaver
              27515 Very small country — it has hidden energy (8) VITALITY
              27874 Maiden is clutching a very small bird (5) MAVIS
              28083 Adds different colours to very small sign around entrance (10) VARIEGATES

              1. Thank you, Mr Kitty. You have proved Gazza’s assertion with data!

                I shall have to remember this in future on Fridays.

                  1. With one exception, “very small” = V appears only on Fridays. The first time was in November 2008. Could that indicate roughly when Giovanni took over the Friday slot?

          1. I reckon that “very small” (meaning simply: very, small) to indicate V is fine, especially when the surface would be wrecked without the small.

            1. Jose, I agree. Whether or not ‘small’ is needed to justify abbreviating ‘very’ to V, without it the clue would require something between ‘very’ and ‘governor’. ‘Small’ seems to do the job perfectly.

      2. But, does that mean that the ‘a’ in front of relationship is superfluous, or just there to ‘smooth’ the surface reading? Editorial ‘participation’?

      3. Yes, I think you’re right. But according to DT’s parsing, there’s an aberrant A in the answer – V, AGA, A (from the clue), BOND.

        1. Not any more, there isn’t! I did the Across hints before going to bed, and the lateness of the hour was obviously getting to me.

          1. Thank you DT. And thank you (and the rest of the team of regulars) for the H+T – without people like you this great blog simply wouldn’t continue.

  3. Yesterday it was the SW corner that I had problems with, today it is the NW corner (10a, 1d, and 2d); I hope that I am not moving around the compass on a daily basis. With electronic assistance, considerable head scratching, and more thumbing through the Small Red Book, I finally 29a’d it – *** (almost ****)/***.

    Many candidates, 9 in total, on my candidates for favourite list. The winner by a nose, or should it be a beak, is 21d.

    Thanks to Giovanni for a very good cerebral workout and to DT.

      1. I went clockwise from the NE area and all went OK till the NW corner, when it went pear-shaped.
        I was all set to seek help, but I thought, b****r it and kept plugging away until it was on the floor. I will not be defeated by my favourite setter!

        Not that I’m feeling any way smug….not at all…oh no.

  4. So I thought this fairly gentle for a Friday but was severely held up at the final fence. The penny dropped when I solved “cracked” and realised that Hair Clip was the offending wrong ‘un.

    Thank you Giovanni and DT

    Good weekend all

  5. I thought yesterday was the hardest for a while, this was even harder. I could only manage about half the puzzle. While there are some very clever clues, there are also some which seem very tenuous to me. 5*/2* Many thanks to the setter and especially to DT for managing to explain this puzzle.

  6. Phew!

    Very self-satisfied as managed all of this without aid, electronic or in the form of DT’s excellent hints.
    To add to the smugness, I also noticed that it was a pangram which helped a lot.
    It was a monster, though and there were a lot of bung-ins.
    Held up by putting in clip rather than grip for 16d , so last in , appropriately I suppose, was 29a.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  7. Didn’t find this as difficult as others so far seem to have done. Just needed to double-check with the BRB that I’d got the correct answers for 13&28a.
    Really didn’t like 20a and 26a comes perilously close to being one of those notorious non-words in my book.
    No particular favourite although 23a rather appealed.
    Thanks to DG and to DT – shame that the gentleman singing 9a had neither the range to cope with it nor the ability to hold a note!

  8. The biggest puzzle for me was how DT only awarded ** for difficulty?. Certainly a ***** bottom half for me, maybe a *** top- so lets combine the two for a **** and I suppose about a *** for enjoyment as it took too long and I got fed up!
    Liked 21a-remembered one of my favourite clues ever-LOW flying bird !

    1. It was a five star in my on-line version that I started at approx 10am GMT. The combination of Giovanni and that level of difficulty gave me a feeling of foreboding. I got there in the end but it was hard work.

  9. Not finished yet and have to go out now .. Will try to finish tonight. Glad to see some others found it hard.

  10. I can proudly say I’ve never seen a Harry Potter film and don’t want to see rubbish references like ‘muggle’ in a crossword. Poor show.

    1. Rob & Angellov, I was surprised but the word “muggle” does exist outside of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It’s not in my BRB, but Collins Online gives the definition as “a foolish or inept person”.

    2. Seems a little harsh RB. Whether one is a fan or not, JK Rowling’s works are of sufficiently high profile to justify including a reference. Would you feel the same way about ‘hobbit’, ‘dalek’ or ‘Oz’?

    3. Oh good. :good: I was beginning to think that I was the only person on earth who has never read a Harry Potter book – never seen any of the films either. Younger Lamb thinks I’ve missed out.
      Having failed to find ‘muggle’ in the BRB I googled it. It says, “No IT background, understanding or aptitude at all”! That’s me to a T.

  11. I’ve partially solved this one (sporadically, whilst working) and according to the early comments it sounds a good ‘un. I’m looking forward to finishing it at home. But what I can’t understand is why some people rate it 5* for difficulty but only 2* or 3* for enjoyment? Surely cryptics are supposed to provide a good, rigorous challenge, so I would have thought that a difficult 5* one would be more enjoyable. If I rate it 5* for difficulty it’s going to get a deserved 7* for enjoyment!

    1. That just goes to show how different we all are, Jose.

      For me difficulty and enjoyment are not necessarily connected; difficulty just for difficulty’s sake is of no merit. After a 5* tussle I could finish feeling elated or deflated, or indeed anywhere in between. Conversely, if I happen to be on a particular setter’s wavelength and finish in 1* time, I could still gain immense pleasure from it and rate it 4* or 5* for enjoyment; or, after a very quick solve, I might feel that it was really not worth the bother.

      1. Yes, of course we are all different (thank goodness) and I respect your opinion. But due to the nature and purpose of cryptic crosswords, I can’t see the logic of 1*/5* or 5*/1* ratings. I must be old-fashioned or something…

  12. Yes, there were a couple of bung-ins – I had never heard of the Chinese weight, or the plant, so thanks to DT for that and to G of course.

    Loved 16d and 29a.

  13. The Northwest corner defeated me for quite a while, 2d and 13a in particular, so I was very grateful for DT’s hints.
    However I did enjoy it and it was good to see a local answer, 24d, as I live in a village not far from there.
    Thanks to DT and setter.

  14. I had to pull out all the stops to finish that which IMHO was a somewhat humdrum puzzle. Slow start followed by a bit of clear water in the NE and then eventually the whole was accomplished but without providing much satisfaction or fun along the way? A few clues did however jar including 20a, 16d and 29a. New to me were 13a and 8a (await the Kitties’. comment on that one!). Thanks DT and also Giovanni even if this wasn’t as much fun as you usually provide. No Fav. ☹️

  15. Oh dear, not getting it at all today.
    I had to admit defeat and use ‘click here’ far to many times.
    Just when I think I’m sort of getting the hang of these something like this crops up to remind me I am still a complete novice.

    1. I found it trickier that usual too, relatively speaking. Instead of admitting defeat, have you tried putting the crossword down and doing something else for an hour or two. You’ll find that a bit of cogitation time, where a bit in the back of your brain works away on the clues even while you are thinking about something else entirely, usually works wonders.

    2. I agree with CS – do as she suggests and then, if you’re still not getting anywhere, just put it down to being on the wrong wave-length. Everyone has some setters that they find more difficult than others – don’t get discouraged. :smile:

  16. Dear oh dear, me too. Needed hints +++. Didn’t like 20a, not a word that sprang to mind. I suspect it’s there just to get a J to complete the pangram.
    Thanks to DT and setter

  17. I rarely comment now on this blog, though I read the remarks with interest and am grateful for the hints, however, I just had to say that I was both christened and con
    firmed in the Abbey shown in the picture for 24d. This Northumberland market town was a very nice place to spend one’s childhood.

  18. 3*/4*. Notwithstanding some of the earlier comments regarding a couple of the clues, I found this Giovanni harder to solve than usual, but my enjoyment was enhanced as a result. I did not think any were impossible, and generally the wordplay was precise enough to retrieve the answer. 23a just about took the top of my podium and 2d was my final entry.

    Thanks very much to The Don for a pretty hard tussle and to DT for a stimulating review.

  19. Definitely a tricky one for me today. 13a a new word for me. . Needed a few breaks to clear my mind and get some inspiration but got there in the end. Thanks to The Don for the workout and to Deep Threat for help with the parsing.

  20. I too found this a real struggle. I can’t really say I enjoyed a puzzle if unusual meanings (eg 28a) are used or indeed slang words (1d and back end of 9a). I was a chorister for more than half my life and never saw 13a.

    I would rate it ****/**

    Thanks to The Don and DT.

  21. :phew: I’m so glad that others have found this difficult too – thought it might be just me.
    As I’ve said in an earlier comment I’ve never read Harry Potter books so 9a was a mystery to me – anyway, I’d already thought that it might be ‘scarper’ and having thought of that I couldn’t think of anything else for ages.
    It was mainly the top left corner that defeated me – couldn’t do 10a or 1 or 2d for a ridiculous length of time.
    Couldn’t do 20a either – rather stupidly I was trying to fit just an ‘M’ into a five letter vessel rather than the ‘Mme’ into a three letter vessel.
    I missed the pangram completely – I always do – I did notice the number of double unchecked letters and the low anagram count – only three unless I can add an inability to count to my failings today.
    I’ve never heard of 13a and couldn’t find 28a in the BRB – well, not with that meaning anyway.
    I liked 29a and 12d (my best nephew) and 24d. My favourite was 21d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and thanks and admiration to Deep Threat.

      1. Hi Hoofit,
        A pangram occurs when the setter has contrived to fit every letter of the alphabet into a puzzle.

        1. Hi, I too did not know what a pangram was, until you told Hoofit. But having understood that will help in future. Thanks! I got that “The last character” was “Z”, (it was hardly likely to be “omega”), straightaway, the “Q” in quality also seemed obvious. What I love about reading these comments, which I only do once I have solved the puzzle, is how different people find different clues hard to solve.

          All in all, a difficult one. 26a seemed too obvious, 28a I only got half of the clue so didn’t really trust it until all the rest fitted in. I agree with all comments about Harry flipping Potter, (proud to have never read or seen). 29a to me was a read and write in so surprised others struggled with it. and 16d could not have had “clip” as part of the answer although I thought about it, as you cannot pick a lock with a hair clip!

          13a had my Franklin Puzzlemaster fooled, but it happens quite a bit!

          MUST, MUST MUST remember that the last word is “Amen”, it crops up so often.

          As you seem to know these things, could you tell me what the BRB is that everyone refers to? I use the OED, but I get the idea BRB means Big red book, which makes no sense to dumb little me.

          Have a nice weekend

  22. I filled the grid in red with the ones I could answer and in blue for the ones with which I needed help. The blues won, I found this much harder than any recent ones. Thanks to the setter and those from South Staffs.

  23. I too found this distinctly above average in terms of difficulty, with several that held out much longer that the others. The pangram was a bit of a lifesaver at the end. No problems with 9a or 13a (being a non-magical musical thing), but I don’t recall coming across the 28a Chinese measure before or the town in 24d though they were clear enough.

    All most enjoyable. My favourite is 6d, for the big smile it brought about. I also thought 25d pretty perfect.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat.

  24. I enjoyed this pangram, it was certainly on the tricky side and both 13a and the Chinese measure in 28a were new to me. It was rare to see a fourteen word clue (18d) in a DT backpager, and it was joined by one of thirteen letters too, perhaps Mr. K can reveal when there were last two clues of such length together in the same puzzle?

    I gave ticks to 8a, 14a, 23a and 26a, even though I shared Jane’s slight reservations about it.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT, and a good weekend to all.

    1. The last time a puzzle had both a 14 word and a 13 word clue was DT 30101 on 15 November 2016, so it’s not actually that unusual.

      1. Thanks, Mr. K. Surprisingly recent indeed! I think that the puzzle’s enumeration must have been different though.

  25. I found this logical but rather joyless, so have left it unfinished. Suppose you can’t love ’em all.
    Thanks to DT and The Don

  26. I scanned the clues twice before getting a single answer – and then it just sort of fell into place. The only obscurity that I hadn’t come across before was 12a – another one for the memory banks. No stand out favourite but I thought 29a was quite clever. I also thought that using ‘interrupted’ instead of ‘breaks’ might have made the surface a tad smoother for 4d – but that’s just me :)

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and to DT (he of the disappearing avatar) for his review.

    Have a good weekend all – I’m now going to see how the ‘Inauguration’ unfolds.

  27. *****/***. It was all going so well. I got 1d early on and instinctively thought of a pangram. However, 5d was my downfall. I put in feminiNe – then I saw the hints and realised the definition was a verb. So the SE corner was a bit of a nightmare. Even so enjoyable for the rest of the quadrants. 13a was new to me but parsed well and 21d brought a smile. Thanks to Giovanni and DT for the hints.

  28. Blimey, I found this hard! I never did get 29a, like RD I put “clip” in for my second word of 16d. I put “hamper” for 20a as a bung in, not recognizing the pangram. My 1d was correct, no one more surprised than I, but it was a desperate bung in just to finish the thing. I suppose I should have spotted the pangram at that point.
    I made copious use of gizmo and it still beat me. Oh well, you win some, lose some, but I hope tomorrow is a little better.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Deep Threat, I don’t know how you did it.

    Watching Australian Open, some good tennis. All taped of course, no way I’ll get up at three a.m. to watch anything!

  29. Finished unaided but using a bit of extra time (and a dictionary to see if 13a was really a word). Very enjoyable: and thanks to Giovanni, and to DT.

  30. Tricky? Yeah, but quite ‘do-able’ I thought. I had to work from the bottom up as the top half refused to reveal its secrets. However once under way everything seemed to fall into place. The pangram element escaped me but that is nothing new! 8a was my favourite and overall 3.5/4*.
    Thanks to the Don, and also to DT for the review.
    I must just say that I think this week’s crosswords have all been pretty good.

  31. A stiff test for a back pager but really rather enjoyable – 3.5*/4*. 13a was a new word for us.

    We think it’s good to have a tough one at the end of the week every now and then.

    Now back to the Toughie which is only half done.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni.g

  32. An answer that is clued with the definition ‘northern town’ can be a real challenge for people like us but we did work it out from the wordplay. We were also surprised when we looked in BRB for the word we had worked out from the wordplay in 13a and found it did exist. Spotting the pangram was a help with our last few answers. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Giovanni and DT.

  33. Very very enjoyable if a little spooky in 24d as we have just this week moved to Hexham! How did Giovanni know?😀
    Thx to all.

  34. This never felt easy when I was solving it, and I wasn’t convinced for a long time that this was actually Giovanni, but the finish time was about **. I guessed it was a pangram part the way through, but TBH it didn’t really help. An enjoyable change of pace from the Don, if this is him.

  35. Found it a bit tough but very enjoyable.
    Never ticked so many clues in a Giovanni before.
    Loved the wit in 30a and 25d , the surface in 14a and 26a, the definition in 23a and the construction of 21d.
    Re 5a: We seem to be able to do anything with Latin nowadays. But I still prefer to see an S at the end of a singular rather than on a plural like agendas.
    Thanks to the Don for a super crossword and to DT for the review.

  36. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, but found it very tricky. Had 15d as hair clip, so that made 29a impossible. Needed the hints for several others. Favourite was 30a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  37. Phew ! SO comforted by reading that many cleverer folk than I found this difficult, too !
    ****/** Depressed by the struggle – plus watching the Inauguration ceremony ……… Long live Royalty !

  38. Very tricky, many answers I could not parse and needed several hints.
    One for the experts today, not for the likes of me.
    Good fun going through the hints and the blog though.
    Cheers Giovanni and DT

    1. I think I know what a panagram is, but I would really appreciate someone pointing out what it is in this puzzle, all I can see is “ZQPR…”

      1. The dictionary definition of a pangram is a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet. For example: A quick brown fox………… The crossword community has borrowed this word to mean any crossword where every letter of the alphabet is found within the total grid of a puzzle. They are always scattered throughout the puzzle, not just in one row or column as you have quoted.
        Hope that makes sense for you.

        1. Thanks.
          I was confusing it with the thing where there is a hidden sentence in the letters…
          There was one in the toughie the other week…

  39. Entertaining but quite taxing. A ***/*** from us. Many thanks to The Don and DT.

    Sounds like 1d…..

  40. Yes. I couldn’t work out if it was me – I’m well and truly overtrumped tonight – or whether this was really the Don upping his game after a few recent score draws. I’m relieved to see that it was the latter. Thanks to him for disengaging the 45th president from my aching brain and to DT for parsing a couple of bung-ins. 4*/3*

    1. … and to Kitty for the biggest smile of what’s been a long, trying day. And to think, I never even saw it

  41. I found this quite tricky and wasn’t able to complete until the next morning. I often find if I’m stuck and then sleep on it, I get it quite quickly the next morning. Is this the brain working while I’m asleep – it certainly doesn’t always when I’m awake. Anyway – enjoyable puzzle, 3*/4* for me. Spotted the pangram which helped with 1d. Never heard of atty as a measure although catty was the only word which would fit. I like 29a and 9a.

    1. The measure, which is an ancient Chinese one, is a catty – though you may still not have heard of it.

  42. Another excellent one from G – quite challenging, very enjoyable and the best of the week by a fair margin. 13a was a new word to me but easy to parse, sequentially, from the wordplay. I didn’t know that 28a was a Chinese measure. 3.5*/4*.

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