DT 28563 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28563



Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28563

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a dank, damp October day.

A touch of the ‘old’ Giovanni today, with some scriptural and ecclesiastical references and the odd bit of archaism. All accessible from the wordplay, as usual.

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 them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a           Awkward German chaps not given right drinks (10)
CHAMPAGNES – Anagram (awkward) of GE(r)MAN CHAPS with the Right removed (not given).

6a           Endless humiliation for phoney (4)
SHAM – Remove the final letter from a word for ‘humiliation’.

9a           One financially successful forger? (10)
MONEYMAKER – If you are financially successful you —– —– (5,5). If you are a forger you could also be said to do this.

10a         Risk rises — dagger being concealed (4)
KRIS – A Malay dagger is hidden in the clue.

Image result for kris dagger

12a         Rush from wood after break of day (4)
DASH – The first letter (break) of Day, followed by a variety of tree.

13a         City made to look bad by secret lie (9)
LEICESTER – Anagram (bad) of SECRET LIE.

15a         Sailor with spots stays dry (8)
ABSTAINS – One of the usual sailors (the one who’s an able seaman) followed by some spots or marks, giving us someone who stays dry by keeping off the booze.

16a         Old country with ancient South Americans invaded by the French (6)
MALAYA – Put one of the versions of the French definite article inside some of the ancient inhabitants of Mexico (Central rather than South America) to get the former name of an Asian country.

18a         Quality of Britain admitted by the enemy (6)
TIMBRE – The dimension sometimes known as ‘the enemy’ wrapped around an abbreviation of Britain.

20a         According to Spooner, obese bird in unseemly conflict (3-5)
CAT-FIGHT – This might be what Dr Spooner would call an overweight bird of prey (3,4).

23a         What could make you groan at us and bark (9)
ANGOSTURA – Anagram (could make) of GROAN AT US. This is an extract of tree bark most commonly seen as a bitter flavouring in some cocktails.

24a         Trick makes character go the wrong way (4)
TRAP – Reverse (go the wrong way) another word for a role or character in a play.

26a         Stylish award for work in theatre (4)
TONY – An annual award (like an Oscar) which could be said to be style-ish, if the French word for style or fashion is used.

Image result for tony awards

27a         The style of some station announcements (1,1,1,7)
BBC ENGLISH – These are broadcasting stations, not railway ones.

28a         Lots of pieces of paper to peruse, twice as many at the end (4)
REAM – Start with a word for ‘peruse’ then replace the final letter, which is a Roman numeral, with the Roman numeral which is twice as large.

29a         One bishop has little hesitation to get into affair that’s un-bishop-like! (10)
IRREVERENT – Put together the Roman numeral for one, the letters used as an abbreviation for the title of a bishop, and an affair or occurrence wrapped around a short word of hesitation.


1d           Singer celebrating magic moments in Italian lake (4)
COMO – Double definition: the surname of the singer of Magic Moments; or a famous Italian lake.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d           Plants found in reference books (7)
ANNUALS – Double definition: the sorts of plant which have to be grown anew every year; or some reference works updated every year.

3d           One having room with couch or typist’s chair possibly (12)
PSYCHIATRIST – Anagram (possibly) of TYPIST’S CHAIR.

Image result for psychiatrist cartoon images

4d           Mark at Old Trafford completely exhausted, having little energy after game (4,4)
GOAL LINE – To get one of the markings on the pitch at Old Trafford (or any other football ground) start with a board game which originated in China, then add a phrase (3,2) meaning ‘completely exhausted’ followed by an abbreviation for Energy.

5d           Name this person turning up to provide a sort of medicine (6)
EMETIC – Start with a verb meaning ‘name’ or ‘quote’, add a pronoun for ‘this person’, then reverse the result.

7d           Breathe freely — here’s a sort of infusion (4,3)
HERB TEA – Anagram (freely) of BREATHE.

8d           Scoundrels in terrible crimes meeting social workers? (10)
MISCREANTS Anagram (terrible) of CRIMES followed by some of the usual social insects.

11d         Result of stress that is very undesirable for air travellers? (5,7)
METAL FATIGUE – Cryptic definition of a material failure which caused the early Comet jet airliners to fall out of the sky.

14d         History teacher is accomplished expert (4,6)
PAST MASTER – another word for history followed by another word for a (male) teacher.

17d         Like certain swine, eager and silly (8)
GADARENE – Anagram (silly) of EAGER AND. These were the unfortunate animals in the New Testament who were the recipients of a set of demons exorcised by Jesus: they promptly rushed downhill and were drowned in a lake.

19d         Particular hue of male political worker, leader of agitators (7)
MAGENTA – Put together Male, the political worker responsible for organising an election candidate’s campaign, and the first letter of Agitators.

21d         Rock from part of UK in fireplace feature (7)
GRANITE – The part of the UK which is not GB, inserted into the part of a fireplace where the fire actually sits.

22d         Maybe one is having less feeling (6)
NUMBER – Same spelling, different pronunciation: ‘one’ is an example of the first; ‘having less feeling’ the second.

25d         When Christians celebrate a bit (4)
WHIT – Here we have an old word for ‘a bit’, generally only seen now with a negative in front of it. It is also the short form of the alternative word for Pentecost, the Christian festival 50 days after Easter. Our late Spring Bank Holiday used to carry the designation —- Monday until it was detached from the liturgical calendar and fixed as the last Monday in May.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

The Quick Crossword pun RUE + DIM + HENCE = RUDIMENTS

105 comments on “DT 28563

  1. Old Giovanni but enjoyable so thank you to him and DT

    In case your local shop didn’t tell you this morning, if you are a buyer of the paper, you will be as grumpy as me to learn that the cost will go up by 20p on Monday :(

    1. If you spend more than ten pounds in Waitrose (including the price of the Telegraph and a free coffee) you can get the Telegraph gratis. You just need to produce a Waitrose card. Bad luck if you don’t have a W store in the neighbourhood.

  2. But the fee for those of us who set the crossword never goes up, so are we allowed to be grumpy as well? By the way, there’s no such thing as ‘old’ or ‘new’ Giovanni. We all draw on our experiences and awareness of language, and it is inevitable that these will manifest themselves in different ways in different crosswords as we fill the grids and write the clues.

    1. Since you and your colleagues are a major source of pleasure and entertainment for (I would guess) many of the readers, and indeed a compelling reason to buy the paper, I think you have one of the best claims to a share of our extra 20p!
      PLEASE don’t go on strike.

    2. Don’t they know you and your setter colleagues are why we get the Telegraph? Shame on them if they don’t pay you more. Had withdrawal symptoms when we moved across the pond… I was subscribing to the puzzles on line long before I subscribed to the paper itself. The thought of coffee and the cryptic is what gets me out of bed every day. Thank you!

  3. I must’ve not been on wavelength today as this took me a fair while to crack. Initially I thought I was going to solve it quickly, but there were several clues that held out for quite some time.

    Thanks to DT and Giovanni 3.5/3.5

  4. Enjoyable and I thought a bit less difficult than some Giovanni puzzles. (I couldn’t see where ‘stylish’ came from in 26a except by DTs explanation that I’d discarded as too awkward and unconvincing but it seems the only option.) 27a’s initials defeated me as I’d forgotten the other use of ‘station’. Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. PS Having looked up the first part of the 26a answer in the BRB I must admit the clue (as usual!) is entirely fair.

      1. What a great post Woolgatherer. I do dislike those comments that call clues unfair or rubbish when they are perfectly ok.

  5. Seemed to be on the setter’s wavelength for once so only needed DT’s help on 17d and 25d. Some excellent clues but 11d gets my vote as the favourite with 23a a close second.

    Thanks to the setter and DT for the hints.

  6. My mother used to use the word ‘tony’ to mean stylish or showing off a bit.
    She is the only person I have ever heard using it. I had no idea that the derivation was French.

    Enjoyed today’s puzzle very much.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for some untangling.

    1. I think my mother used to have a tony or perhaps Toni home perm in the fifties. If I remember rightly that used to be stylish. Perhaps that’s the origin.

    2. I got 26a immediately because I’d picked up that meaning of tony somewhere in my travels. The ODE says it’s an Americanism: “tony:▶ adjective (tonier, toniest) North American informal fashionable among wealthy or stylish people: a tony restaurant.”, so that must be where I acquired it. I parsed the clue as a double definition, reasoning that if both definitions are American it’s OK not to explicitly indicate that in the clue.

      1. My Mum did live in Canada for some years, so that would fit with it being a North-Americanism.

        Toni perms……ghastly memories both of the application and the results…..

  7. A bit tricky, particularly if one doesn’t know the history behind 11d, the Biblical pigs at 17d, the French for ‘style’ at 26a, the C16th foreign word at 10a or the 1d singer born in 1912, (apparently). Clued well enough to get though, so mustn’t grumble.

    Liked 14d. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT

    PS £1.80 for a short chess column and a couple of crosswords is a bit steep methinks, might just stick to the blog instead.

  8. Well my attempt at this was a little like Peter Crouch doing a 110m hurdles race. The first 80 went at a canter, but the last 30 was nothing but a blur of whirling legs, arms and hurdles flying through the air.

    For me, 2d is what the Beano published at Christmas, I didn’t know the biblical reference in 17d, could only think of Aztecs or Incas for 16a and I still don’t get 26a.

    Shame, I don’t like failing like that.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT.

    1. In 26a the French word for style or fashion is ‘ton’. So something which is style-ish could be ton-y – just as something yellowish could be described as yellowy.

      1. My understanding of 26a was a double meaning: the theatrical award and the American use of the word ‘toney’, as in ‘high tone’. I used to live in the States and it was in common usage among certain ‘toney’ types.

  9. I enjoyed this mixture of “old” and “new” Giovanni.

    23a – Not sure what “you” is doing there …

    1. The clue is telling you that an anagram of the answer could make you (or give you) the phrase ‘groan at us’. The word ‘you’ could be omitted, but then the surface reading of the clue would make no sense.

      1. Mmm… I’m not convinced. The “you” seems to me to be padding and this clue made me groan.

  10. 2/4 overall for this very enjoyable and accessible Giovanni offering this morning. 11d was my favourite of many, and I thought the balance of clue types was just about right.

    Many thanks to The Don and DT.

    I seem to remember that the online subscription version went up last year from £99 to £125. Having said that, The Telegraph don’t seem to mind how many in the ‘household’ use my password to access it.

  11. A couple of new words today, but all fairly done. Good fun. I thought.Thanks to DT and The Don. 15a reminded me of Captain Pugwash, but I won’t go any further with that!

    1. The daughter of Captain Pugwash creator John Ryan has revealed how her father was traumatised by urban myths about rude character names that never existed. Isobel Ryan said her father’s childlike innocence was lost after student newspapers in the 1970s created malicious rumours about the supposed smutty names of the show’s characters.
      While it did feature a Master Mates and a Pirate Willy, characters like Seaman Staines, Roger the Cabin Boy and Master Bates just did not exist on board the Black Pig pirate ship.
      Yet the myth endured for years, and even found their way into news reports.
      Mr Ryan won libel damages from two newspapers in 1991 after they published stories that the BBC had taken Captain Pugwash off the air because of the risqué names.
      Mr Ryan’s family were forced to turn to the courts to salvage the reputation of his life’s work, which he began creating in 1950 on a shoe string budget with his wife Priscilla.
      Isabel said: “We had to sue the papers and the stories were retracted. He gave the money from the courts to lifeboat charities.”
      There were 21 Captain Pugwash books but the character is best known for the mid 1970s animated TV series.
      There was also a black and white cartoon in the 1950s and 60s and the character was revived for a further series in the late 1990s.
      The character’s creator passed away in 2009 aged 88.

  12. Think we must have seen the 10a dagger previously as it didn’t cause me a problem, unlike the poor creatures in 17d who I had to check out with Mr G.
    Took a while for the penny to drop over the ending of 28a and wasn’t sure whether I’d missed something in 26a – apparently not!

    Front runners for me were 12a plus 14&22d.

    Thanks to DG and to DT.

  13. The year on year rise in price far in excess of the inflation rate may force me to stop subscribing to the DT. I am sorry to hear that contributors like Giovanni do not benefit at all from the price hike. As for the puzzle, apart from being unable to parse 26a and 28a though the answers were derivable I had no difficulties. Thanks to DT for help with parsing and to Giovanni I repeat the consoling words often said to me during my professional life ‘you will get your rewards in heaven’.

    1. I Remember that on decimal day, 15th Feb 1971 the price became 3p. Even with inflation the new price is some mighty increase.

  14. 2/2. A curate’s egg for me today. I didn’t like 23a & 26a and I did like 28a, 29a, 11d & 14d.

    DT, my father always enjoyed his pink gins, but I remember him telling me that 23a bitters are nothing to do with 23a bark. Wikipedia appears to confirm this.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

    1. Another oddity started on the site for me yesterday and it seems to have afflicted YS too. Asterisks that I type in the comment box disappear when the comment is loaded. How weird is that?

      1. The disappearing * happened to me a couple of days ago. It was also one of those days where I had ‘awarded’ half stars, eg 2.5*, and the number components were ‘automatically’ italicised.

        1. That seemed to come out all right. I’m using a laptop PC with attached keyboard.

          Looking at LetterboxRoy’s post above, the underlying text comes out as
          I’ll try again *'<‘strong’>’/'<‘/strong’>’

          and the start of YS’s post is


          (Ignore the single quotation marks which I’ve put in to stop the coding from operating.)

          Both suggest that there is some key board shortcut on the machines used which affects the outcome.

          1. Perhaps putting single quotation marks will stop the automatic formatting? That didn’t work.
            My keyboard/PC is the same I’ve been using since day one… oh well, 2/3 it is then

            1. I comment via my iPad. I did notice that the asterisks were not appearing once I posted the comment about two days ago. Weird.

    2. I don’t know where the “bark” comes from, i have always believed it’s made of herbs and spices. The brew is a secret, only known to the top honchos, so maybe it does contain bark!

      1. Hi Merusa, Wikipedia says:

        Angostura bitters is a … botanically infused alcoholic mixture, made of water, 44.7% ethanol, gentian, herbs and spices by House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. It is typically used for flavouring beverages or, less often, food. The bitters were first produced in the town of Angostura (Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela) hence the name, but do not contain angostura bark.

          1. Quite expensive but used sparingly it’s great for flavouring gravy – thanks to the herb content.

  15. I struggled with this one – never heard of the Malay dagger, what’s ‘stylish’ about Tony (a bung-in for me without understanding it!), 4d was another ‘bung in’ without understanding the wordplay at all, I didn’t get 28a and put in ‘read’ as a desperate measure!

    I stared at 17d for ages before I saw the anagram but had to check with the BRB before confirming it – a nice clue. 14d is a bit of an old chestnut that appears regularly, always welcomed back!

    All in all a bit of a ‘curates egg’ IMHO!

  16. Once again, a Giovanni gem, very straightforward, very enjoyable, and completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 27a (for the immediate assumption of railway stations) and 28a (for the Roman arithmetic).

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  17. Great Puzzle from The Don who just is what he is. Just like the rest of us. I could not work out the why’s and wherefores of 28ac so Thanks to DT for that. Also. Thanks for the Perry Como who is as welcome as my favourite and oldest jumper. Thanks to Mr Manley for the puzzle. Yesterday we attempted to throw the tired old schooner into the bin. Can the curates egg please follow it?

  18. Back in the saddle help pass a long day inn hospital. I must make more of an effort to do the puzzles on day of publication. I miss you all.
    As for this Giovanni, I was only stumped by 16a simply because I stupidly couldn’t get Canada out of my head and was grateful to DT’s hint, so thanks to him and the Don for the challenge. 2/3

    1. We miss you too, Tstrummer. It’s good to hear from you and here’s hoping your treatment is going well. Keep on posting when you can.

    2. Yes indeed, we all miss you, TS, and are hoping that the medics are making headway with your treatment. Strange coincidence that you should pop in today – I was thinking last night that I would email BD over the weekend and ask him to check that you are OK. Any time you feel able to post, we shall be glad to hear from you – regardless of which/any puzzle you have been doing.

    3. I heartily second what RD and Jane have said above. It’s good to have you back, get well soon.

  19. Best puzzle for a while for me, showed my age when I started with 1d, and seemed to be on the Don’s wavelength throughout, going for a **/**** thanks – one of my favourite restaurants is Giovannis in Manchester-I digress.
    For a change I liked the spoonerism, either you get them quickly or not.
    I thought the cluing was top draw and was sorry when the last solution went in-28 a which I didn’t parse!
    Favourite 3d ,most apposite.

  20. I thought that ” tony ” was an americanism for stylish ??? I found this bitty but , as RD has already stated a curate’s egg of a crossword , and difficult , although they all fell eventually except 17d ; I needed electronic help for this .I particularly liked 27a ,4d and 11d . Thanks DT */

  21. Can anyone explain why the paper will be £1.80 on Monday – when there are more full page
    colour advertisements than ever before?

    The i is beginning to look distinctly attractive…………………….

    1. The Telegraph (like most other “paid for” newspapers) is losing its readership fast (its circulation has halved in the last 14 years) so it can charge less for advertisements.

    2. I resent paying more and more for that which is suposed to be a NEWSpaper but is becoming more like a women’s fashion/home magazine filled with advertisements particularly at weekends.

  22. Enjoyable puzzle ***/**** 😃 Favourite 11d closely followed by 9a & 21d 🏆 Needed the hint for 24a 😬 When I checked up on the answer to 23a I was informed that it didn’t come from bark 🙁 Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for an enjoyable blog, where has Friday morning disappeared to 😳

  23. Very enjoyable puzzle from the Don. Most went in quickly then some fun head-scratching to complete the job. I, too, had trouble parsing 26a, and I was not entirely convinced until I found this quote on Wikipedia –

    ‘”The ton” is a term commonly used to refer to Britain’s high society during the late Regency and the reign of George IV, and later. It is a French word meaning (in this sense) “manners” or “style” and is pronounced as in French ([tɔ̃]). The full phrase is le bon ton meaning “good manners” or “good form” – characteristics held as ideal by the British beau monde.

    2* with some 3* for difficulty and 5* for enjoyment. I liked 16a, 20a, 27a but the clever little 28a did it for me today.

  24. A friend of mine , who died very suddenly about two years ago, wrote a letter to the local newspaper , using the word ” Ultramontane ” and he was most surprised that none of the rest of us knew it.
    I expect it’s the same with Giovanni, as in 17d and 23a.
    I’ll pick 27a as my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  25. I enjoyed this far more than most Friday puzzles, although knowing the General Knowledge references certainly helped.

    My three ticked clues were 3d, 4d and 14d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and DT, and a good weekend to all.

    Can I suggest to those normally buying the paper versions each day to consider becoming a “Telegraph Subscriber” to mitigate the price increase? I’ve been one for several years now and receive the seven weekly editions for a combined price of £8, an immense saving if one aggregates it over a year. Although it means paying for the paper a minimum of six months in advance, it’s well worth it in my opinion.

      1. Hi LBR,

        It’s not an electronic subscription (which as Jaydubs says doesn’t include the Toughie) but basically a discounted way of buying the newsprint version on a daily basis but paying for it in advance – provided you have a shop where you can redeem the vouchers of course, as MP says.

          1. HI MP,

            I think it’s only electronic if you choose the Premium/Digital option, as you obviously have.

            I’m on the cheaper Premium version which doesn’t give access to the digital paper unless I’m mistaken?

            1. I too am on “Premium” which includes a lot of the digital content but not the puzzles. My frequent complaints about this fall on deaf ears.

              1. I get all of the paper. But of the puzzles I get The Cryptic, The Quickie, The Codeword and a Sodoffku. No Toughie which rankles. The paper comes in at the earliest and rarely midnight and at the latest if I remember correctly about 5am. The hard copy of the newspaper arrives when Mickey our forty year old paper boy turns up on his £4,000 super bike. They must pay well at that newsagents.

      2. Thanks for the info chaps.
        Frequently there is no Telegraph to be found in Dorking, thus I have become quite accustomed to solving from the clues on the blog (trying to ignore the hints) without a grid. It’s more difficult, but quite achievable.
        Even when I do have a paper, I often do it mentally, but don’t fill it in so that Lady LbR can have a go at it later. It’s good practice, I’ll probably stick to that routine since I’m always short of money. (Cue violins…)
        That’s part of the reason Rookie Corner on Monday is a treat for me – I get a grid and checkers!

      3. A subscription to the puzzles site for £36/year gives you access to all of the daily crosswords and an archive of previous puzzles stretching back to 2001.

        1. But it doesn’t work on iPad!

          As the DT says in their FAQ #39: “Unfortunately the Telegraph Puzzles website cannot be accessed from the iPhone or iPad as they do not support Adobe Flash.”

          1. I don’t get on with Apple stuff so I haven’t tried it myself, but apparently the puffin browser is one solution on iOS.

            DT 28404

          2. Hi Stan, does the Ipad support the Puffin browser?? If so, the DT on the Ipad will work fine. I have it on an Android tablet and it works fine

          3. StanXYZ, try using Crux, It works for me on Ipad. You will need to put in your Telegraph Puzzles password. You will find a range of British and American puzzles are available.
            The Indy only works on their own online site.
            Best of luck!
            I have to admit I am not au fait with solving on the Ipad. It’s something I ‘m having to teach my old brain to do…

      4. The app Stand Alone Inc. has been recommended on this site before. Pay once get free DT puzzles forever. Better value than the puzzles subscription..

        1. I don’t think that’s quite right. On their support page it says “Telegraph Puzzles subscription required”.

          But that app does look like a convenient way around the lack of Flash support in iOS.

    1. I too am a Telegraph Subscriber. I get access through my Ipad and vouchers that I can exchange for the paper. The vouchers get left with the village newsagent who arranges delivery of the hard copy. Me i turn on the Ipad as soon as i wake up and read the paper snug as a bug in a rug. My solving times are quicker on the Ipad oo, I can read what i have put.

    2. Hi Silvanus – like you, I’ve been using the subscriber service for some years now – and, yes, there is a saving. But the price of that goes up and up. I am on the cusp of cancelling the paper version. I pay to have it delivered as well – that is when the paperboy turns up!. Gone are the days, unfortunately, when papers were more or less given away and were funded by advertising. I imagine the days of paper papers are numbered since falling circulation and other media for advertisers force price rises to cover the cost of production. Progress, eh?

    3. A bit challenging today, the 4 letter words proved the most difficult. Thanks to DT and setter.

      In reply to the PS, I was forced to change to the digital version as my local shop closed last year. I had been considering the change anyway when I realised I was paying £400 for my subscription. It took a bit of getting used to and the Toughie is not included. I pay £120 a year.

      1. Yes, they want you to shell out for the puzzles subscription on top if you want the Toughie. And it would be nice if you could send the cryptic and the quick to a printer – but that would be far too useful.

      2. Our nearest newsagent is seven miles away. We used to get the postman to deliver it, but sometimes he arrived at 3pm. If the papers arrived after he left, we had no delivery. So I started to collect the paper each day. Even with the vouchers, by the time I had driven 14 x 7 miles per week, I soon realised it was cheaper to buy a quality tablet and download the digital version. That has to be the way forward. The only downside is that we have a shortage of newspaper to light the wood burning stoves. iPads don’t work as well.

  26. A worthy Friday challenge giving several head scratching moments. 27a was my favourite; only cos my dear mother used to go round with a BBC clipboard asking members of the public what they had watched or listened to the previous day.2/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to DT for the review.
    So another week is over….

  27. Am I alone in thinking that the Telegraph will still be good value at its new price? For me, the price of the paper is justified by the pleasure which the cryptic crossword gives me every day. Newspaper sales continue to fall at an alarming rate, declining circulations force advertising rates down, and newsprint costs are rising sharply. The daily crossword alone is well worth the new weekday cover price of £1.80, in my opinion.

    1. For me it’s mainly the cryptic crossword, Matt cartoon and sports coverage, plus occasionally the Toughie.

  28. Happy International Sloth Day everyone!

    I was slow to wake up today, but once I made myself concentrate picked up the pace from sleepy sloth to slightly speedier sloth.

    Re 7d, I like to call infusions of the non-Camellia type “ti” — to be pronounced the same as tea (short for tisane). This enables me to mollify anyone who objects to the broader usage of “tea.”

    The bottom line is that I liked the bottom line best (28a and 29a).

    Thanks to Giovanni and DT.

  29. And I was a fan of Giovanni until this horror appeared. Way above my pay scale I’m afraid.
    For me *******/*
    Thx for the hints

  30. Similarly to RD and MalcolmR this was a mixed bag for me as I had a smooth start but a few hiccups afterwards however once again, Giovanni, you have provided a satisfying challenge – thank you and also thanks to DT for your helpful elucidation.

  31. Well I quite enjoyed that. I made a couple of mistakes (mock for 6a and scam for 24a) but once DT helped with the tricky 11d they too fell in. I thought I learned that the bitter stuff in a pink gin came from a bark but I better check Wikipedia to find the connection. I usually struggle with Mr Spooner clues but this one revealed itself quite quickly. My french is such that i didn’t really parse the answer until I read the blog. Top half was easier than the bottom but all my faves were there. (17d 21d and 28a)

  32. I really enjoyed this one, though I never did solve 20a. I don’t know why, but as soon as I see the word Spooner, my brain shuts down. I still should have been able to get it.
    Lots of good stuff, no trouble recognising the swine, and I still use 26a to describe something smart or, well, tony. The dagger has also appeared before in puzzles.
    I wanted to put “calling” in 27a, then I got checking letters. I think that is my fave.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to DT for his hints.

    1. Same here, Spooner just makes my eyes glaze over and brain turns to mush. A bit like cricket clues 😉

  33. I couldn’t sort the Quickie pun in spite of saying it out loud numerous times so have just peeked – I like it!

  34. Thanks to Giovanni and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. I was beaten by 17d, I new it was an anagram, had four vowels as the checkers, but my lack of knowledge of the Bible let me down. Also couldn’t get 24a, couldn’t think of character =part, my fault not the setter’s. I liked 4d, but my favourite was 1d. Was 3/3 for me.

  35. Top end of 1/3.5. My favourites were 15a – can’t say l remember any “dry” ones – and 27a. Thanks to the Don, to DT, and to MP for the education re Cap’n Pugwash!

  36. Enjoyable, and on the easy side. Easy, that is, apart from 25d, which wasn’t. Partly because I considered every possible letter at the start apart from the one it was before the penny dropped.

  37. Late in today, and totally failed to get on Giovanni’s wavelength, but as always, enjoyed the challenge. Just wish I was one of the clever folk who found it easy. I would definitely have got a “could do better” if this was a school paper 🙁

    1. Nice comment Busy Lizzie. I don’t consider myself one of the clever folk just one of the more experienced folk with a good memory. Therefore the challenges are fewer and the fistfights with Giovanni and RayT that they used to win with ease are now me slapping them down with a smirk. This site has helped me to do that. And I blog puzzles on a wing and prayer but always with honesty.

      1. Yes perhaps it is a memory thing. Husband has memory and recall of an elephant and can easily recall past events, even the year, that I don’t remember at all. But he can’t remember phone numbers at all. I do win there.

  38. Seems I found this harder going than many did. Oh well. Knew tony and the knife but I’d never heard of the swine. Lots of fun though, with 8d probably winning favourite spot. Thanks to Giovanni and to DT.

  39. Well well. I’m in Jamaica Feb 2018 and I bought a bottle of wine which was wrapped in a copy of ‘The Gleaner’ newspaper. Saw this crossword and thought it looked like one from the DT. Hey presto, it is, and I can get the hints for 27a (which with my Toughie hat on thought related to such as OBE… station in life etc.). Obvious innit?

    I’ll be looking out for the next issue of ‘The Gleaner’!

    1. You’ve changed your alias since you last commented (in 2012!) which is why your comment went into moderation.

      Welcome back.

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