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DT 28387

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28387

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****


Kia ora from Aotearoa.
We do have to believe that it is autumn now. We are having a run of warm sunny days but the shortening daylight hours, colour change on deciduous trees and particularly the departure from the estuary of our special flock of godwits, all tell us that frosty mornings and cosy wood-fires in the evening are not too far away.

Jay has again delivered a quality puzzle for our Wednesday treat We found it a little trickier than the last few have been.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Street kid appears in magazine over being adopted by travelling funfair (10)
RAGAMUFFIN : A three letter abbreviation for a magazine is reversed (over) inside an anagram (travelling) of FUNFAIR.

6a     Person who rules eastern border going west (4)
EMIR : The abbreviation for eastern and the reversal (going west) of a border or edge.

10a     Boys seen around new estates (5)
LANDS : A synonym for boys contains the abbreviation for new.

11a     Coach taken in by others getting control (9)
RESTRAINT : A word for coach or educate is inside a word for others or the remainder.

12a     Mop has gone to pieces, love – this’ll fix it! (7)
SHAMPOO : An anagram (gone to pieces) of MOP HAS and then the tennis score love. (Another clue for this could be sawdust behind a rocking horse).

13a     Novel-sounding court case — not independent or impartial (7)
NEUTRAL : Three letters that sound like the word new and then a court case has the abbreviation for independent deleted.

14a     Minimum requirement to generate reaction, revolutionary racist claims (8,4)
CRITICAL MASS : An anagram (revolutionary) of RACIST CLAIMS.

18a     Betraying line with first thing to be taken to market (8,4)
SHOPPING LIST : Betraying or ratting on, then the abbreviation for line and first written as a three letter ordinal number.

21a     Dirty, like a lake? (7)
TARNISH : The answer is a verb. The wordplay describes the qualities of a small mountain lake.

23a     Walk indignantly away from fringe (7)
FLOUNCE : A double definition. The fringe could be found on a women’s dress.

24a     Executive committee in favour of keeping nothing built badly (9)
POLITBURO : A three letter word meaning in favour of encloses the letter that signifies nothing and an anagram (badly) of built.

25a     Foodstuff requiring journey east ? (5)
TRIPE : A word for a journey or excursion and the abbreviation for east. (Many people would question whether this should be described as a foodstuff at all).

26a     Finally books a quiet band (4)
SASH : The last letter of books, then A from the clue and a request for silence.

27a     Labour facing Tory inheritance (10)
BIRTHRIGHT : Labour that could be in the domain of a midwife, and the political wing of a Tory.


1d     Appreciate dressing for dinner (6)
RELISH : This dressing for dinner is often made with tomatoes, onions and other goodies.

2d     Affable senior officer taking one for the Queen (6)
GENIAL : A substitution clue. Start with a senior military officer and replace the Queen’s regnal cypher with the Roman numeral one.

3d     Nick, married, is suitable (14)
MISAPPROPRIATE : The one letter abbreviation for married, then ‘is’ from the clue and a word meaning suitable.

4d     Omitted all bar one of the team and lost (9)
FORGOTTEN : When the answer is split 6,3 we have a phrase meaning did not remember most of the members of a football or cricket team.

5d     Dramatist at home infected by disease (5)
IBSEN : The three letter description of Mad Cow Disease is inside the short word meaning at home.

7d     Mother with iron disorder — notice artery (4,4)
MAIN ROAD : A two letter informal word for mother, then an anagram (disorder) of IRON and a notice or advert.

8d     Book girl, not as unforgiving (8)
RUTHLESS : An Old Testament book and then the wordplay implies that the eponymous character is missing. (We are not certain we have sorted out the wordplay correctly here. Any thoughts?)

9d     Fixer to others worried when importing foreign currency (14)
TROUBLESHOOTER : An anagram (worried) of TO OTHERS surrounds the basic unit of currency in Russia.

15d     Weather feature that’s source of corrosion on antique facade (4,5)
COLD FRONT : The source of corrosion is its first letter next is a word meaning antique and one for facade.

16d     I like that poet’s new elementary forms (8)
ISOTOPES : I from the clue, a two letter word meaning ‘like that’ and an anagram (new) of POETS.

17d     Basic technique of a seamstress? (2-6)
NO-FRILLS : This possible technique of a seamstress is when she does not use the article encountered in 23a.

19d     Boyfriend in Germany keeping close (6)
ENDING : A lurker hiding in the first three words of the clue. We spent ages trying to justify the first three letters as a boyfriend before the penny dropped.

20d     House evacuated, surrounded by top command (6)
BEHEST : Evacuate house by removing all the central letters and then put what is left inside a verb meaning  top or overpower.

22d     Beautiful young woman appointed time on island (5)
HOURI : The appointed time is one of the 24 parts of a day and then the one letter abbreviation for island.

We are going to be boring and pick 1a as favourite once again but plenty of others also got ticks.

Quickie pun     cull    +    chuck    +    lash    =    culture clash

105 comments on “DT 28387

  1. I’ll go along with the 2Ks’ rating of 3*/4*. In practice though this was a tale of two halves, with the top half falling into place very quickly (apart from 8d, my last one in) and the bottom half putting up quite a fight.

    22d was a new word for me and it took me quite a while to parse the obvious answers for 8d & 16d until both pennies finally dropped.

    Lots of ticks today with double ticks for 21a, 27a & 16d.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. I have come across 22d somewhere before, heaven knows where, and I got it without checkers but it did need a BRB check.

      1. Perhaps subconsciously your memory retains information about beautiful young women?

        1. Like ‘desperado’, 22d is one of those words that I always wonder whether there are still any in ‘real life’ rather than in crosswords

          1. Perhaps Chambers, and other dictionaries, should come up with an annotation for ‘only used in crosswords.’

        2. Thu 4 Apr 02 DT 23708 Alluring lady appears at one o’clock (5)
          Sat 10 Jun 06 DT 25015 Time I have for alluring woman (5)
          Thu 8 Jan 09 DT 25820 Beautiful woman who becomes single after the appointed time (5)
          Mon 14 Dec 09 DT 26111 A nymph puts a spell on one (5)
          Tue 29 Oct 13 DT 27321 Alluring woman in island after period of time (5)
          Sat 12 Mar 16 DT 28060 Time accompanied by one alluring woman (5)
          1. That’s good news, Mr Kitty. I couldn’t recall having seen that word before, and BD’s comment that she had put in an appearance in quite a few earlier puzzles worried me slightly. However I was on a beach in Mexico on Saturday 12th March 2016, and I can forgive my lapse of memory from October 2013 when I see I commented that it was a new word for me then! The other occurrences predate my cryptic crossword career.

            BTW, I tried to use the site Google function to check DT 27321 but it returned no results. I found Gazza’s review of this puzzle on BD’s site by using normal Google. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, can I recall BD reporting a problem with the site Google function related to changes he needed to make following the DoS attacks?

            1. I may be wrong (I often am) but I don’t think the “Search this site … using the power of Google” function can detect the hidden answers. Mainly because they are hidden from the script. Not even Google can find them.

              1. No, you are right, Stan. That was the problem I was trying to recall.

                Earlier today though when I searched using the site Google function for the puzzle number, e.g. 28060, this returned nothing. I’ve just tried it again now, and it seems fine again.

  2. I raced through this until hitting 20D went away did the chores came back had another look & a doh moment and for that reason is my star clue of the day,with 23A also on the list.Many thanks to the setter & the 2kiwis for the usual splendid review although I didn’t appreciate the picture of tripe horrible stuff.

  3. I thought that today’s puzzle was the most enjoyable for a while with some first class surface reads-like 12a,,27a,1a, 14a- I could go on-thanks Jay- and 2K’S for the pics
    I am going for a ***/*****. Last in was 19d and most apposite as it was a happy ending to a very good crossword.

    1. I’ve edited your alias to the one you usually use because I assume you didn’t intend to use “i”.

  4. Very enjoyable and quite tricky – I had a couple of passes through before I got started.

    22d was a new word to me!

    I have a query – 2d is a bit of a mystery to me – substitute the Regnal Cypher – I thought the Queens Regnal Cypher is ‘E II R’, into Roman Numerals? I’m being thick today – I just don’t get it!

    1. Hi Michael,
      The queen’s regnal cypher is ER. Take those letters out of a particular senior officer and replace them with the Roman numeral for one.

      1. Ah, I see – I was thinking the first three letters were an abbreviation of the senior officer plus ‘i’ for one from the clue – and was then trying to make ‘al’ from some sort of Roman Numeral substitution – trying to make it more complicated than it actually was.

        Thanks for the clarification.

        1. I did the same and spent a few minutes thinking “I can call you Betty and you can call me Al” ……

          Well, perhaps there is a queen called Al, who is a friend of our own dear Betty….👑

  5. Rather relieved to find that 2Ks found this a little trickier than usual – it was certainly a ‘dart about the grid’ day for me.
    I confess to being another who tried to find a 3-letter boyfriend to fit into 19d and I thought I’d missed something in the parsing of 8d.
    22d was a new word for me.

    Top three places went to 23&27a plus 17d.

    Thanks to Jay for the workout and to 2Ks for the review – still pondering your alternative clue for 12a………..

  6. Another fine puzzle from Jay which I found a bit tougher than usual (in fact it took me longer than the Toughie). Thanks to Jay and our friends from down under.
    I think that 8d is just a charade of an OT book named after a girl and an adverb meaning ‘not as’ or ‘to a smaller extent’.

    1. I agree with you, Gazza. That was my interpretation too, although it did take me quite a bit of time to work it out.

      1. I agree with Gazza and RD-I remember her as a gleaner of alien corn with a sad heart., was she the derivation of ruthless?

  7. A very enjoyable Wednesday puzzle – **/*** for me. I liked that the majority of the anagrams (by my count) were ‘partials’ as parts of charades – I find that that makes them a little more tolerable.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 23a (two very different definitions) and 5d (the disease caused a little head scratching) – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks Jay and the 2Ks.

  8. Another excellent Weds puzzle. Almost always my favourite crossword each week Agree with ***/****

    22d was a new word for me and had to google it to check my answer was correct. Ditto for 2nd definition in 23a.

    21a was my favourite.

    As soon as I bunged in 1d I was hoping beyond hope that the hint for 1d would make some reference to Sheffield’s finest – Hendersons. :-)

    Thanks to setter and 2 Kiwis

  9. A lot like yesterdays puzzle for me. Some clunky and some long winded clues and not a lot of enjoyment but doable. 3*/1.5* Many thanks to the setter and to 2kiwis.

  10. I’m still scratching my head over 8d. Something is missing from the clue, I’m sure. Along with others, 22d was a new word to me.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  11. 25A; ‘ Foodstuff requiring journeY EAST’ – Am I the only one who fell into this trap?

    Put my SE corner on hold for ages….What a load of Tripe!

    1. You’ve expanded your previous aliases so your comment needed moderation. All three varieties should work from now on.

        1. You’ve changed your alias since your previous comment (in 2012!) so this needed moderation. Both your aliases will work from now on.

  12. This was definitely at the tougher end of Jay’s spectrum, and for me it was one of the hardest back-pagers for some time. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and this was a 4*/4* overall, with 27a just about the favourite of many finely-constructed clues. I think our beautiful lady at 22d has put in an appearance in recent memory?

    Many thanks as always to Jay for a fine workout, and to the 2Ks for their review.

    1. I think you are right but can’t recall when. I’m sure there is a man who will however.

        1. Thanks very much for the info. I knew it had popped up in the recent past, although a year ago almost to the day seems further back than I remember. The fact that the word was there tucked away in my memory bank is a pleasing testament to my ability to recall.

          1. I think time passes more quickly in crosswordland. I am constantly finding that blogs or clues I thought I’d seen in recent weeks actually appeared months ago.

            1. I think this may be an effect which Einstein described in his theory of Cryptic Relativity.

              1. :good:

                I have a theory that if you do a 14a of crosswords it generates a big cranial explosion from which you emerge with superpowers like those exhibited by CS et al: all of these things seem like only yesterday and are recalled at the speed of light (that’s c in Crosswordland as well as the Physicsverse) to produce championship level solving speeds.

                (Of course I may well be talking 25a.)

  13. The bottom half took a bit more time to unravel.
    At one point I thought my answer in 24a was wrong as I was trying to bung in Haiti in 22d.
    The lurker in 19d and the hanging strip in 23a were the last to fall.
    Loved the construction in 2d.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2ks for the review.

  14. A splendid crossword today! As has been said the top half went in fairly reasonably but the lower half did take longer to tease out the answers. My last entry was 19d; I too spent too long trying to make the first three letters into something before the penny finally dropped. 19d is therefore favourite. 3/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Jay, and to the 2K’s for their review.

  15. What a great backpager. Some, to me as a crossword philistine anyway, great clues. Near the edge of my ability so very satisfying to finish without needing assistance. Perfect pick-me-up for a grey damp day here in S. Wales.
    As a sort-of scientist that 16d was one of the last in makes it my COTD but had starred 5 or 6 others.
    Thanks to setter & 2K’s for the review (particularly putting me right on 2d. Right answer though I was not good enough to know why).

  16. Someone recently reminded us that the setters are required by the Telegraph to produce different levels of puzzle according to the day of the week. Jay, Giovanni, and – to some extent – Rufus, have shown recently that they can all vary from that formula. This was certainly tricky for me, but enjoyed it in the end. Have not heard of BSE for a good while, and liked the simple wittiness of ‘tarnish’. Thanks to all.

  17. Another very enjoyable Wednesday offering from Jay.

    Came here for a full explanation of 8d – still not certain how it works.

    Now I need clarification of the 2kiwis’ alternative clue for 12a !

    “Another clue for this could be sawdust behind a rocking horse.”


          1. Watched a’ best of Tommy Cooper programme recently’ recently and he bemoaned the fact that he was born unlucky and said ‘I had a rocking horse when I was young, but it died !’

  18. 2d and 19d gave a bit of stick but otherwise straightforward enough. Ta to all as usual

  19. Phew! That was a bit tricky 🤓 But so enjoyable ***/**** So many brilliant clues it is difficult to select a favourite but it would be from 1a, 3d or 27a Thanks to Jay and the 2xKs 😀

  20. Lots to like as always from Jay, hard to pick a pick out a fave, but 2d, 21a & 19d are all contenders.
    Many thanks to Jay and to 2Ks for the review.

  21. Excellent puzzle today. Took a bit of work to get finished. And I needed help to understand 2d. Clever. 3*/4* for me. I liked 21a, 27a, and 16d with 2d being my favourite – once I understood it.

  22. Another excellent wednesday workout, although I needed some help with 24a I spent ages trying to get FOR into the answer rather than PRO duh! Otherwise 14a & 27a I liked very much.
    So thats 3*/4* from me.

  23. Another top quality puzzle from the ever-consistent Jay, certainly up there with his best I thought.

    My personal favourites were 14a, 21a, 27a and 9d. A fairly rapid reappearance of 23a after it also featured in RayT’s puzzle last Thursday.

    Many thanks to Mr. Mutch and the 2Ks.

  24. Phew! As a beginner and having finished Monday and Tuesday’s without needing help, this brought me down to earth. I needed my word checker and help from 2Kiwis for 1 or 2, but I did get 23a by myself! Challenging.

  25. I took ages to do this and had to resort to the electronic aid for 17d.
    No one else seems to have had trouble with the seamstress. Don’t see why she’s in the clue, really…except to mystify me I suppose.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis for the hints.

    1. I supposed that to a seamstress, adding a ***** would be more a advanced procedure, so a basic skill of hers would be (the answer).

    2. Agree, thought the seamstress was a weak clue, and put me off track for a while.

  26. Have a go at today’s Toughie, if you haven’t already Easier than this back pager imho.

    1. I seem to be at odds with most today; rattled this off but found the Toughie a bit of a slog.

  27. There is a lovely comment at the end of yesterday’s blog by Mr Kitty posted by BJS. It is well worth a read.

    1. MP – thanks for the lead to BJS’s comment. As you said, worth a read, and it is nice to be appreciated (as an et al) by a former lurker. So, thanks BJS.

    2. MP
      The post echos what many of we “amateurs” appreciate: the enjoyment understanding the “crossword process” gives us . As I said in post #15 it brightened my day to be able to solve today’s puzzle wouldn’t have been able to get 1/2 way through without you “tutors”.
      In fact I thought Chippy Dave in your blog also showed the pleasure, simple though it might be, we get as well. His apology for going on because “I just had to tell someone” summed up what this site is all about to me.

      1. There is no ‘pro’ or ‘amateur’ in my view – just some people that do various crosswords every day and have been doing so for years, and those that are no so well versed.
        Most of us are somewhere along that timeline, and it really doesn’t matter whereabouts.

        I wholeheartedly agree what a good blog this is to be a part of; it has taught me a great deal. Someone always knows!
        Enjoy :smile:

        1. Roy,
          Agree, it is the reason for the inverted commas relatively inexperienced / experienced would have been better.
          To paraphrase Gary Player ” The more I practice the better I get”.

  28. As usual a brilliant Wednesday crossword and, as usual, my last few answers took as long as the rest of the crossword.
    I got into a hopeless muddle with the 24a executive committee.
    I missed the 19d lurker.
    The other two that caused trouble were 14a and 16d, my last two answers – I’m not terribly scientific.
    I loved 21a – the ones that end in ‘ish’ always make me laugh for some unknown reason.
    I also liked 12 and 18a and 9d. My favourite was either 1 or 27a.
    With thanks to Jay and to the 2K’s.
    Need to cut grass but might have to have a peep at the Toughie first.

    I often wonder if Jay reads this blog and I really hope he does so that he can see how much his crosswords are appreciated every week.

  29. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. Another super puzzle from Jay, I managed all ok except for 17d&21a, had to look these up, even though I go hillwalking, still couldn’t get the latter, doh! Nice to see 9d again with a nice reworking. Enjoyed the science clues 14a&16d. My favourite was 18a. Was 3*/4* for me. Cold and dull in Central London.

  30. Most comments here are highly appreciative of today’s puzzle. It was not my cup of tea. Weak clues for me are 21a, 23a and 9d. 1a is unnecessarily wordy given that there are two words and an article in the answer just waiting for synonyms. I do applaud 12a, 27a and 4d. But 8d is so bad that I stop applauding and throw a tomato 🍅. *** difficulty and *enjoyment from me.

    1. I do beleive that is the first tomato ever to have been thrown on this site. I do hope there are not any more.

    2. From my perspective, if every crossword was compiled to meet the expectations of one person, there would be a very large number of unhappy people and there might not be enough tomatoes available.

  31. Well after the ease of Monday and the relative ease of yesterday I suppose that there was no surprise today’s would be a stinker.


  32. ***/***. Three stars for difficulty as I made a stupid mistake with 14a. I put it in 18a. Deep joy. Once I realised my error nearly 40 minutes later the puzzle began to fall in place. Needed an explanation for my bung in at 2d (thanks 2Ks) and Mr Google to explain 22d. Some really nice clues – 21&27a and 4&19d. So thanks also to Jay. We begin a month of travel today and glad to be away from the rain which has been incessant.

  33. For me this was trickier than many Wednesday puzzles, but also very satisfying and very enjoyable. Lots of clever clues, of which I’m choosing 14a as favourite. Thanks to Jay for the entertaining crossword and to the 2Ks for a great blog. I loved your alternative clue for 12a.

  34. The top half slotted in nicely, but I sweated bullets for the bottom half, not helped by misspelling 3d.
    My iPad is on the fritz, techistocrat Godson is due tomorrow, but in the meantime I can’t look stuff up as readily, which held me up somewhat.
    I missed 19d, this is the second time this week I’ve forgotten the lurker rule. As Kath would say, oh dear!
    Fave was 27a, but lots of good stuff today, runnerup is 8d.
    Thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis for help with 19d.

    1. This may not help, depending on my interpretation of being ‘on the fritz’, but if you hold down both buttons on the device for a short while, you can reboot it.

      1. Thanks I’ll try that. I have a feeling it’s something to do with the “cloud”, but as I only have the very vaguest idea what the “cloud” is, I’m a bit stuck. I’ll let you know.

  35. Dear me but this is tough! At least a 4.5 for me. Too hard to be enjoyable, had to admit defeat and give up.
    Just not on the setters wavelength at all. One for the experts I think.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Been through all the hints but most of them I still had to reveal the answer before I understood them. However, I still don’t understand 12a, where in the clue is any reference to shampoo ( much prefer the alternative and humorous clue).
      Can see the construction thx to the hint but what shampoo?

  36. “Mop” is hair here !
    Loved the clues except for 7d and 22d which were my last and needed the hints.
    Many thanks to brilliant Jay.
    Oddly enough, I “got” 19d straightaway but puzzle was still 3*/4* for me.

  37. I began at a gallop and began to think that a personal best solving time was possible, but I came to a complete standstill in the bottom left corner. Very slowly the answers dawned, but I left 16d till last as I couldn’t believe my word was correct. Having no alternative, I bunged an answer in and checked the blog. Overall an enjoyable solve with 9d, 24 & 27a as favourites. Thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks for their explanations for those answers that I had difficulty in parsing.

  38. I still managed to complete this over breakfast so too soon to comment however a little more exercise of the old grey matter was required but that’s no bad thing. As with other commenters above I found the top half more demanding than the lower. Have reservations about 4d. Missed the lurker in 19d so bunged in. Have come across 22d previously but had 4d so help was needed. Many thanks Jay and 2Ks.

  39. Good morning all.
    A special thank you and apologies to Kath. We got her out of bed early in the morning, when she would much have preferred to stay there, to help us sort out 8d. After the exchange of several emails we ended up with comments that good old Gazza would sort it out if we had not got it quite right. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened, so many thanks Gazza too.

  40. Well that was hard work, and would not have been able to finish today without this wonderful site and 2Kiwis hints. Did not know that was the spelling of 24a, thought it ended like the desk – oh oh. The science ones fell in just because of the checkers more than the result of any science I remember from school. Oddly 8d was one of the first in for me. No favorite today.

  41. I’m going to swim against the tide and say I thought that was fairly straightforward – * time for the most part, until I got to 21ac/22d which pushed it into ** for difficulty. The former was also my favourite clue in a very good puzzle. 22d I must have heard somewhere, because when the penny finally dropped I typed it in fairly confidently.

  42. I’m swimming with you, Jon S. I made it 1*/4*, and enjoyed it very much. My pick was 24a, but there were plenty of other nicely-pitched clues. Thanks to Jay, and to the 2Ks.

  43. Thumbs up from me, and no tomatoes other than nice ripe ones to be eaten. A visit to the park: walking first to warm up and then a few swings and roundabouts to exercise the crossword muscles in a fun way. No problems with the 8d book girl, but the 22d beauty took a while to come to me. All good in the end, and the only help I needed was for the Kiwis’ alternative clue (d’oh!).

    I can’t pick a favourite, but will say that in addition to the ones I mentioned already, I liked the 12a mop, the dirty 21a and the 19d lurker. Lots more besides.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  44. Good evening everybody.

    Very good puzzle today. Favourites 21a and 17d, the last pair of half a dozen that held me up for a while. 22d was a guess but seemed clear enough from the clue.


  45. After last week’s read and write Jay has given us a look and learn. This took me far longer than I’d care to admit and I struggled with quite a few. I’d forgotten that I knew 22d and had to check in the book. Thanks to Gazza for sorting out 8d for me/us. I reckon Jay was wearing RayT’s hat because I found some of the definitions overstretched. Having said all that, it was a top-class effort, with a photo-finish between 21a and 19d (LOI) for clue of the day. Thanks to Jay and the Ks. 3*/4*

  46. I had to use up every last star in my star box to award ****/***** – same as Beaver. I cannot remember a better Telegraph Crossword and I go back to about ’88. Bravo Jay and thanks to K-squared for the blog none of which was needed. I guess there was a favourite but I make no notes and, having had to revisit this one twice, can’t really say – that lurker was a humdinger though.

  47. Tricky but enjoyable, I guessed 1a, but could not bung-in as I could not parse, that held me up.
    I needed a couple of hints as I was very late again and needed to get up to date.
    Thanks to all….Jay is a top man. (and the two K’s – and woman, of course)

  48. Found this to be the most enjoyable for a while.
    Surprised myself at being able to complete without the hints, after only solving one on the first run through

  49. Very challenging but good puzzle although I never got the SW corner. Eventually looked up 22d which then helped me with 24a. Had thought of 24a before but could not parse. Note to self – remember splitting a word by adding a letter. Was then left with 16d and 21a and admitted defeat and resorted to hints. Unlike some had no problem with 8d which I thought clever. Perhaps I over-simplified but thought Ruth for book girl (Book of Ruth). Less I thought was synonym for not as (eg not as pretty). Definitely a brain-stretcher from Jay.

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