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DT 28572

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28572

Hints and tips by Mr Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello, everyone.  While the Americanisation of October 31 is being suitably recognized over on the Toughie blog, here the date is cause for a more personal celebration, because today marks the one-year anniversary of my first nervous ascent to the blogging chair.  Thanks for letting me experiment on you every Tuesday as I’ve been figuring out how to write hints.  I hope those hints have helped some of you improve your solving skills, and if along the way I’ve also managed to convince a few of you that those repeated answers we see every week are just coincidences, that’s even better 😊.  Befitting the date, today we have a treat that contains a lot of trickiness.  There is some masterful misdirection and disguising of definitions here.  That may not be for everyone, but I enjoy untangling that sort of clue.  I found this crossword significantly more challenging than last Tuesday’s puzzle, which the most recent survey rated at 3.3*, so I have increased the difficulty rating accordingly.

On the topic of last week’s survey, a big Thank You! to the 352 solvers who filled it out.  Because of you, anybody curious about how long the average reader spends on a puzzle and what solving aids they use can now click here and find out.

In the hints below underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and most indicators are italicised.  The answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will usually enlarge it or do something else.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Track restoration of Sacre Coeur (10)
RACECOURSE:  An anagram (restoration) of SACRE COEUR

6a    Dairy product formed the wrong way (4)
EDAM:  This Dutch dairy produce is the reversal (the wrong way) of a synonym of formed

10a   Puzzle  remnant (5)
STUMP:  A double definition

11a   Actor, terrible at reading (9)
TRAGEDIAN:  An anagram (terrible) of AT READING

12a   Smart clothes also showing status (8)
STANDING:  A word for smart or burn contains (clothes) a synonym of also 

13a   Bay allowed to trail in (5)
INLET:  Allowed or permitted follows (to trail) IN from the clue

15a   Work in secret a reporter sent back (7)
OPERATE:  The answer is lurking reversed (sent back) in the clue.  Some call this type of clue a rekrul.

17a   Remarkably easy, he having bagged fifty as batter? (7)
EYELASH:  An anagram (remarkably) of EASY HE containing (having bagged) the Roman for fifty.  Recall that in crosswordland a flower can be something that flows, a winger can be something with wings, and so a batter could be something that …..

19a   Buried in waste, America put off (7)
SUSPEND:  An abbreviation for America inserted into (buried in) a verb that could mean waste (money, perhaps)

21a   Plan talk ending in discussion (7)
PATTERN:  Talk or spiel, followed by the last letter of (ending in) discussioN.  The foreground 21a and the distant mountains in the image below are sculpted from salt

22a   Person flying towards brink, backwards (5)
PILOT:  Link together synonyms of towards and brink, and then write that letter combination in the grid backwards

24a   Short interval in game, no time seemingly for comeback? (8)
SEMITONE:  Another reverse lurker (in …..for comeback)

27a   Faint design ends on hot pipe, boarding cosy old ship (9)
WATERMARK:  The last letters of (ends on) hoT pipE are placed inside (boarding) cosy or hospitable, and that’s all followed by a biblical ship

28a   Dance beat has energy (5)
TANGO:  Beat or flog followed by (has) energy or vigour

29a   River and powdered lava in eruption (4)
RASH:  The usual abbreviation for river and a short word describing lava in powder form

30a   Man soon set to build — builder! (10)
STONEMASON:  An anagram (to build) of MAN SOON SET



1d    Tear  grass (4)
RUSH:  A double definition

2d    For a start, satisfaction in cryptic clues not infinite (9)
COUNTLESS:  Place the first letter (for a start) of Satisfaction in an anagram (cryptic) of CLUES NOT

3d    Chicken wearing hat? (5)
CAPON:  Split (3,2), this male chicken could mean “wearing hat”

4d    University books on drink, free (7)
UNTWINE:  Concatenate the abbreviation for university, the abbreviation for some books of the Bible, and an alcoholic drink

5d    Under lid of sparkly piano, view shiny disc (7)
SPANGLE:  The musical abbreviation for piano and view or perspective both go after (under, in a down clue) the first letter of (lid of) Sparkly

7d    Exercise a bit on this? (5)
DRILL:  The precise definition is an exercise or practice.  The remainder of the clue is what I believe Falcon calls a cryptic elaboration, which here makes the entire clue into a cryptic definition of a tool that uses (exercises) a bit to create holes

8d    Insignificant worker, one keeping going round the clock? (6,4)
MINUTE HAND:  Make a phrase from synonyms of insignificant and worker, and take the definition literally

9d    Tenant perhaps offering regular payment to save face (8)
RESIDENT:  The answer is obtained as (offering) a regular payment that contains (to save) another word for face or surface

14d   Engine’s stable capacity? (10)
HORSEPOWER:  Presumably this is supposed to be a cryptic definition of a measure of engine output that has a connection to the inhabitants of stables.  It doesn’t work for me.

16d   Flower at the bottom of a fresh hole (8)
APERTURE:  Place a North Yorkshire river after (at the bottom, in a down clue) both the A from the clue and a synonym of fresh

18d   Copy name and numbers in range (9)
APENNINES:  Chain together a three-letter word for copy or imitate, the abbreviation for name, and the plural of a number slightly less than ten.  This range is Italian

20d   Two notes barely sufficient for singer (7)
DESCANT:  Stick together two different musical notes and an adjective meaning “barely sufficient”.  The singer of the answer is explained here

21d   Family after shoe, orange leathery thing (7)
PUMPKIN:  Place crosswordland’s favourite word for family after a flat shoe.  Kitty generously provided these topical illustrations of the answer

23d   Flower, third of fourteen in a large bunch (5)
LOTUS:  Place the third letter of foUrteen in another word for a large bunch

25d   Transport minister’s first item that’s revered (5)
TOTEM:  Transport or carry, followed by the first letter of (…’s first) Minister

26d   Sad wife hugged by professor (4)
DOWN:  The abbreviation for wife contained in (hugged by) a short word for professor


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun challenge.  It reminded me a bit of DT 28476 – I wonder if it’s the same setter?  Perhaps they’ll comment and tell us?  On my podium today are 17a, 24a, 27a, 29a, 2d, 7d, and 16d.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  HOWDAH+ SEAT+TWERK= HOW DOES IT WORK?

Since the results of the first survey imply that some readers may not be familiar with the third word of the pun, here’s a brief video explanation:

116 comments on “DT 28572

  1. Well, that will teach me to make disparaging remarks. Yesterday’s compiler clearly had words with today’s, who took me into a small room, shut the door and dealt with me.

    This was a 5* by my reckoning. Parts of the SW were worthy of a Toughie. I couldn’t finish it, and had to resort to help for three clues. One point I will try to score in my defence, that the answer to 20d only works in America, according to my dictionary.

    Funnily enough after yesterday’s comments, today’s 27a was my COTD, closely followed by 24a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K. I will now go into a corner for the rest of the day and nurse my wounds. I may just go and thrash the Quickie in revenge.

  2. I am very pleased to see **** as I am completely stuck!! Time for a break and hopefully the brain will regenerate!!

  3. Good morning everybody.

    Tremendous back page puzzle. The best for a good while in the Daily Telegraph. Many fine clues notably a very good lurker at 24a, two excellent double definitions at 10a at 1d and a nice anagram at 2d. 12a and 19a are mentioned in dispatches but today’s favourite must be 16d which was last into a grid I long thought I’d not complete. A big up to Mr Ron.

    Congratulations to Mr K for the anniversary and a stern early morning workout.


  4. 4/5; I loved this one… for me, the best backpager for a while!

    Many thanks to setter, and to Mr Kitty for the review.

  5. This was definately a two coffee mug puzzle it had all the qualities, a bit of misdirectin several “doh” finished off the a dash of excellent word play. 17a had me foxed for a little while and i must confess sought electronic help.
    Thanks to Mr Kitty and setter

  6. Wow, this was hard, for me anyway. I started this last night and managed to get about halfway by one o’clock but was completely stumped and gave it up as a bad job.

    I picked it up again this morning, and managed to get a few more with the help of some electronic assistance. I was finally left with 1d, 10a and 9d and needed Mr K’s help to complete it – thanks for that! (I still don’t understand 1d, how are ‘rush’ and ‘tear’ related?)

    As far as Halloween is concerned – I hate it. Maybe it’s because I come from a generation where it didn’t exist, Fireworks night was the big thing for us, setting fire to the neighbours fence or putting bangers own drainholes were great fun. But kids running around the streets begging for sweets is not my idea of fun, maybe it’s resistance to the American influence trying to impose their commercialism on us, I don’t know, but I hate it!

    1. We have always celebrated Halloween in Scotland.
      Kids go round the doors ‘guising’ ie doing a ‘turn’ of some sort, singing, dancing, telling a joke etc for payment…usually sweets.
      All treats, no tricks.

    2. Hear. hear on Halloween ‘activities.’ The worst part is that almost all of those participating (of all ages) have no idea of the historical/religious background to the day.

    3. I manage to hold opposite opinions simultaneously on a lot of things, and Hallowe’en is one of them. So I both agree and disagree with you!

      Anyway, you are going to hate today’s Toughie blog. Sorry.

      Fireworks night is great for kids, but these days I find myself troubled by the smoky air and unhappy in sympathy with all the terrified creatures, tame and wild.

      1. I sit in the sitooterie at the back of the house, with all the animals around me, and ignore the whole thing. In any case, my doorbell doesn’t work.

        1. The good thing about where I live is that it’s easy to ignore. There are a few decorations scattered around and places to go for those who wish to, that’s all.

          I was only using the date like I do any other day, for instance Talk Like a Pirate Day. Just trying to have a bit of fun with a theme to make the hard work part of the hints worth it.

          (Possibly the most scary thing is that I spent more hours working on that last night than I did sleeping. I think I might put sleeping higher up the agenda in future.)

    4. I have just electrified the fence, sent out the hungry alsatians to the perimeter, buried the Claymores and laid the anti-personnel mines, so all ready for tonight.

    5. Ugh Halloween… it was new to us when we moved to the US 35 years ago, and I was horrified when our girls came home from school excited that they were invited to join their friends for trick or treating, explaining to me that the trick part included egging cars, or wrapping them in toilet tissue, etc. Of course I told them they could not take part and they have never forgotten how I spoilt their first Halloween.
      Of course this paled in significance when they came home one day from a friends house and said they had been shown a gun kept in the garage…. but that is another story.

      1. Oh – awful – perhaps you should move back to the UK where the worst things that happen to the ‘little dears’ is being given chocolate covered sprouts as a ‘treat’!

        1. I gave out protein bars last night (chocolate ones), which the kids took happily but I heard a couple of snarky remarks from their mothers ….😏

  7. We were also closed in the room with MalcolmR 😂 would somebody please explain 16d and what a flower had to do with anything 🙃.
    Thank you to the setter and Mr Kitty without your help for the last three I would still be in the punishment room.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Dax F.
      In Crosswordland a flower can be something that flows, i.e. a river. So 16d is A (from the clue) + PERT (fresh or impudent) + URE (name of river).

  8. Is this a ‘wrong envelope’ day? It certainly seemed like it to me. A great deal of head scratching and electronic assistance required – ****/*.

    No obvious favourite, but I did like 8d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Finally finished this at second attempt – really hard going in places! Have had a wonderful time reading all the comments – giggling so much I half tears rolling down my face so thank you all for cheering me up!

  9. Brilliant. Brilliant. Best backpager for a long time. I got off to a slow start but gradually increased my pace as I got onto the setter’s wavelength. ****/*****. Can’t give 6 stars, can I? Plenty of tricks and plenty of treats. Clever, tricky but fair clues. Almost too many to mention, but here goes – special mentions to 12a, 17a, 19a, 24a, 27a, 3d, 7d, 16d and 21d. Gold medal to 19a – I was convinced it was a lurker and scratched my head for a while trying to make ‘steamer’ fit – excellent misdirection. Thank you setter.

  10. Far too far above my pay grade, so was very relieved to see the 4 asterisks …..I am (probably) not losing what few marbles I have so far retained.

    Gave up and dived into the electronic aids but could not see the parsings until I read the blog.

    Many thanks to Mr K and to the setter.

  11. I havent posted a comment for quite a while, but had to see what others thought of todays offering.I couldnt even manage to get halfway before being completely stumped. At least I wasnt the only one.

  12. This was an excellent workout. Tough, but excellent. Lots of clever misdirection. Agree with the ratings. Given the day I’m going for 21d as my fave.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K for an entertaining review.

  13. Wow, yes, tricky (but generally fair)! Still don’t understand 24a, though – what is the game?….

        1. Sorry, Omar – my original hint for 24a probably sacrificed clarity to an attempt to be funny. I’ve now edited it.

  14. Well, that was a bit of a stinker. I am proud to say I managed to finish it but it took me ages. Thanks Mr. K. Too grumpy to thank setter but I suppose he was only doing his job.

  15. I thought that this was an excellent puzzle. Thanks to setter and Mr K.
    The clues I liked best were 3d and 21d.

    1. Good Quickie pun as well. I normally work out the Quickie pun before embarking on the back-pager and as a rule the better the pun the better the back-page cryptic will be.

  16. Really good, difficult crossword that defeated me on two clues so thanks to Mr Kitty for explaining 9 down which I simply could not resolve. I was never going to get 21 across as I appear to be incapable of spelling 18 down correctly (probably due to excitement of actually being able to get 18 down).

    7 down was for me the perfect clue: concise, accurate and funny.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty

  17. I’m sure this has been addressed before, and so apologies if this is the case, but how do they assign difficulty levels on the Telegraph Puzzles page? Today’s is given a 1 star rating which clearly it isn’t. At least judging by comments above.

  18. Loved this, though I didn’t really have the time to be held up on the last three. I’d put money on the setter being the chap also known as Paul. My favourite surface is probably 2d, but the highlights for me were scattered bits of misdirection and deviousness.

    Many thanks to the setter and the anniversary boy.

    1. It put up the same fight as a Paul puzzle. I do like his puzzles when I occasionally see them in The Grauniad

      1. Talking of the Guardian … how very Grauniad-like that a correction above today’s cryptic puzzle by the Don (Pasquale) mentioned the 31 November 2017.

  19. Thoroughly enjoyed this quite testing and thought-provoking Tuesday puzzle. 17a was a gem of an anagram, and it became my favourite of many fine clues. 3.5* /4* overall for me, with many thanks to the devious mind who complied this and to Mr K.

  20. I thought this was really good and agree with others that it was trickier than usual.
    In total despair as two big problems were the blasted lurkers – 15 and 24a – even once I had the answers it took ages to see why – I know I’m bad at them but really . :roll:
    I had trouble making spend = waste in 19a although it’s in the BRB.
    I was a bit doubtful about 14d.
    I particularly liked 17a (once I realised what kind of ‘batter’ we were after) and 22a and 3 and 8d.
    Thanks very much for such a good crossword to whoever set this one and to Mr K for the hints.

    1. Kath, I spent (wasted!) some time on 19a trying to conjure up a definition for the irrelevant lurker “steamer”! :oops:

      1. Yes, I did exactly the same with 19a – and the clue contained a (false, in this case) lurker indicator with “buried in”. Crafty beggars, these setters…

  21. I found this one tricky. Had to use hints for half of it! Only have about half an hour to do it (over coffee) so if I’m running out of time I’m very grateful for the hints and tips! Bizarrely 1d and 9d gave me trouble 😏

  22. 4* / 5*. I found this very challenging, with the NW corner holding out the longest, and hugely enjoyable. I gave double ticks to 12a, 17a, 24a (a great lurker!), 2d, 3d and the very topical 21d.

    27a was a nice Lego construction but unfortunately this came at the expense of the surface.

    Many thanks to the setter for such good fun. Please reveal yourself! Happy blogging anniversary to Mr Kitty, and many thanks to him too for the review.

  23. Well, I filled in the top half without a pause, then took a little longer in the SW corner then slowed up in the SE ,which upped the difficulty rating by a *, so overall a ***/****, going by the comments of most of the bloggers I must have had a good day ! Lovely surface in 17a.
    Certainly very enjoyable, the key to completion was the reverse lurker, didn’t help when I put two P’s in 18d either to begin with .Thanks setter and Mr K.
    Excellent Quickie pun too.

  24. What a great puzzle. This is the challenge I want every day. Just right. Thanks to the setter and thanks to Mr K for the blog.

  25. Took me ages to see the batter and the two notes (i was trying to get 2-letter notes to work). All great stuff, certainly the difficulty was up a notch or two. Also liked 11a and 2d.

    Many thanks setter and thanks Mr K.

  26. I seeked electronic help for interval in 24a and discovered the answer. I missed the reverse lurker ! Clever setter. Needed the blog for many answers – thankyou.

  27. Finished with some considerable electronic aid. Would take issue with 5d being a disc and pert being a synonym for fresh certainly not in my copy of the BRB. All in all wasted on the back page and IMHO somewhat pointless. Save these weird and wonderful ones for the experts in the Toughie.
    For me ****/*
    Thx for the hints in e planning many of the answers.

    1. B, 5d. But a spangle is a small, shiny disc – often sewn onto a garment or linked in a decorative chain. And fresh does = pert, disrespectful, forward, etc (from LRB). As in (topically): “the government minister started getting fresh with me, so had to be told”.

  28. Much too hard for me.
    Agree with Brian, stick puzzles like this on the Toughie page, can’t see the point of two Toughies on the same day.
    Thanks Mr K for the hints.

    1. Oh, go on, Peta. It was unusually tough today for a back-pager so you should spoil yourself and your Mum and have a chocolate biscuit each as a consolation.

    2. RD is right, Peta. This is unusually difficult for a Tuesday back-pager. Moreover it’s difficult in a way that we don’t often see here, with many clues filled with red herrings and dead ends just to misdirect us. You both deserve biscuits just for attempting it.

  29. A definite **** for difficulty, and top marks for enjoyment too. Well judged by the setter, there were enough easy clues to allow inroads into the grid, and the passing thought that this was going to be pretty easy. The last third, though, took an age. Last in the SE corner, where unknowns at 20d and 18d took all the cryptic bits to unpick.

  30. Tricky indeed! Took more than twice as long as last week’s. I only know that because last week I had my blogger’s timer running so I could fill in Mr Kitty’s survey. So, ****/**** from me too.

    3d fav and 14d least liked.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty.

          1. I didn’t think I would like the content either. I really like Patti Smith’s version of that song but then I like Patti Smith’s version of whatever she sings.

            1. Completely agree about Patti Smith. After waiting years to see her live, I finally got the opportunity when she played a small venue in Brighton several years ago. I remember clearly how, almost thirty years after “Horses” and with her hair now gray, she laughed singing the line “I was young and crazy so crazy I knew” in “Kimberly”. Chatted to her afterwards and she signed my copy of her book of lyrics. Just a wonderful night. So let’s have more Patti Smith on the blog. :)

  31. Having run out of ideas I finally put sustain in 19a , do’t ask me why grrrr , this meant descant was a no- no , but nevertheless I thought this was a very challenging and enjoyable solve . I have to say I wouldn’t like to have this ” standard ” every day !! ****/**** .Lots of refs to another paper today , I have never tried it , surely it can’t be as good as the DT . Is it populated by the same setters ? Any responses ? Finally thanks to the setter and especially to Mr Kitty.

  32. Blimey, this was hard. At the end I found I was using too much electronic help, when I do that I lose interest.
    I read the clue for 2d over and over again, I thought it meant “not” infinite, so was sure the answer was wrong.
    I had at least six unsolved, I think this is the biggest failure I’ve had for a long time.
    Thanks to setter, not your fault I’m so dim! Thanks to Mr. Kitty for unravelling that lot.

    1. Me too Merusa. We are probably too excited re Mr Mueller’s actions to concentrate 😊

  33. Nice puzzle. Fave 19a, 14d least so, didn’t know 20d, but the wordplay is clear.
    Very enjoyable, thanks to setter and to Mr Kitty for the review *** / **** for me.

  34. A good one to get me back into the swing, after a short break from crosswordland. I agree entirely with Mr. Kitty’s ranking for today’s effort. Pretty hard going – certainly a few refugees from Toughie Land here. What I did like was the fact that the clues were robust enough to pull out solutions to everything – including some very cunningly constructed targets (27a to name but one!). Fav was 17a – a very neatly derived clue (plus great accompanying image amidst the hints).

  35. A very enjoyable puzzle – with some tricky clues mixed with the extremely easy 6a. My children always came up with this one, when they were young, whenever we had the cheese in question.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  36. Pass the tissues, far too hard for me. Bit sad as I was beginning to think I was back in the swing but today set me back to square one. Even the supertoy failed me.

    1. Dry your eyes, Annie – this was clearly a tough one, so it’s the puzzle, not you. There’ll be another along in the morning.

  37. Agree very tricky but enjoyable****/**** 😬 Above my pay grade so I had to use my friend Electronics a little too often 😳 Talk about misdirection!! Many good clues but I liked 8d, 18d 17a 😃 Thanks to Mr K for explaining things so well and to the Setter

  38. Surprised to see that so many people found this tough and rated it highly for enjoyment, I thought it was fairly average in both categories, perhaps the low number of anagrams caused difficulty for some solvers.

    My top clues were 11a (good anagram) and 12a (clever construction and good surface).

    Thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K, many congratulations on your anniversary and providing such an interesting wealth of statistical information during that time.

    1. I am also somewhat surprised that most of the commentariat found it so difficult.

      Almost a R & W for me.

      1. I suspect this one was tough for many solvers because it’s different to most back page puzzles. In my opinion the difficulty (and indeed enjoyment) arose from some outstanding misdirection, and not from the complex wordplay or obscure answers that usually cause problems here.

        Having seen what Mark Goodliffe can do, I propose that we reserve R&W for a fully-correct unaided solve completed and parsed in under seven minutes. :)

  39. Found this quite tricky but managed to complete without external aid. Lots of great clues which took time to unpick. My favourites were 12a and 17a. Congratulations Mr K. I always look forward to your educative reviews and long may you continue to inform and enlighten the BD community.

  40. I was also relieved to see the 4* rating – a challenging but most enjoyable struggle. Favourite clues were 16d and 17a (loved the batter). Needed the blog to parse 7d, 9d and 20d, but I thought that a descant was something sung, not the actual singer. There’s always something new to learn. Many thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  41. This was a real head scratcher today for me, been picking it up and putting it down all day! Finally gave up on 24a and 20d, many thanks for the hints. Liked 17a very much, thanks to the setter.

  42. I lose interest when I need too much help, and when I cannot solve even with the hint it is definitely time to throw in the towel. I realize some of you love these very tricky ones (isn’t that what the Toughie is for), but this one was a ****** difficulty for me, far above my pay grade. If they had all been like this years ago when I started I doubt I would have got hooked on cryptics, particularly as I used to tackle the crossword over a mid morning frothy coffee break while the girls watched Playschool on the tele. Happy memorIes.

  43. That was excellent fun. I needed electronic help for my last two, having decided my floral knowledge must be inadequate (since 16d with all its checkers in, couldn’t possibly be a river). 9d was the other problem and should have been possible – sadly not today.
    Standout favourite was the beautiful 17a, which had me chuckling for several minutes. 24a was such a great reverse lurker and took ages to spot.
    What a treat. Thank you to the setter and Mr K.

  44. Definitely a ‘game of two halves’ for me, I found the top half relatively straightforward but the bottom half was full of wide open spaces until I sought refuge in the blog. So a big thank you to Mr Kitty and the setter.
    And I too can’t stand Halloween – doorbell switched off, lights off, hiding in the back room! 😉

    1. Hallowe’en is a ridiculous affair.
      When my ex (draw your own conclusions) insisted on a daft pumpkin/candle thing, I hid in the shadows of the garden and jumped out with a roar when the children arrived. They all ran away screaming, except for one poor boy who just froze and wet himself.
      Oh well, the ‘sanity’ of Christmas is just around the corner.

  45. Needed my aids plus the blog to do this one but got there in the end. Certainly would not have solved this one 18 months ago prior to finding this blog. Thanks again BD.

    **** / ***

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  46. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, took me a while to get going, but it fell into place eventually. Both double definitions took me a long time 10a&1d. I didn’t have much idea where 5&18d were going, but I realised they were Lego types and just went along with them. Last in was 20d, which I just about remembered. Favourite was 16d. Was 3 ✳ /4 ✳ for me.

  47. What a relief to come to the blog and find that I’m not alone in having had a real struggle with this one. I came near to calling it a day but hung in there and I did eventually make it. I didn’t help myself by misspelling 18d. Hadn’t met 11a before although it had to be and I failed to parse 12a. I think I thank Messrs. Ron and Kitty but in so doing I also hope for rather more fun tomorrow. 😥

    1. I hope we get a good one tomorrow. It’s crib night so lots of beer until very late to fuzz the head in the morning. We have won. That usually results in extra beer. I fear the worst

  48. Wow – I came down with a bump today. After the first pass I had the edge clues and little else, lots of musing and coffee I had about 2/3rds done but even after the excellent hints I failed to solve 19d and 27a. I concur on the 4* difficulty but enjoyed the fight. I particularly liked the pumpkin pic as it reminded me of the chap who invented cats eyes when he saw a cat waĺking towards him at night. Just think if the cat was walking away he might have invented the pencil sharpener!

    1. Thanks, John

      The 27a faint design is found on banknotes, for example. The old ship belonged to Noah. There isn’t a 19d? If perchance you meant 16d, see Gazza’s comment at #7.

      Kitty deserves all the credit for both the cat pumpkin and the one which appears when you click on it.

      1. Not quite all the credit, since I neither carved the pumpkins nor took the photos. :)

        I have all the artistic skills of … well, of a pumpkin.

  49. Pretty stiff for a back-pager. Only just short of 3* difficulty, but 4* enjoyment. The 2d/10a combo held me up for a while, but 9d gets my vote for top clue. Many thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for the review.

  50. Phew! That was a corker! I took several passes before I completed it; there were a bunch of good clues involved. I liked 17a especially. 4/4* overall I think.
    Thanks to Mr Ron, come back soon, and to Mr K for his review. Congrats on the first year anniversary; keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks, Gwizz, to you and to everybody else who congratulated me on my one year anniversary. Much appreciated.

  51. Really chuffed because for once I finished it “toute seule comme une grande” with No Help – albeit at 3 a.m.! However am I the only uncool member of the planet not to know (Quick Crossword) that “twerk” meant to dance provaocatively in hip-hop style?

    1. Given what we now know about the readership demographics, I would put money on you not being the only reader unfamiliar with twerk. That’s why I added the helpful video under the quickie pun :)

  52. Wow, what a lot of comments on the blog! The setter certainly stirred us all up! I found this really really hard and was supremely grateful for Mr Kitty’s excellent hints. Nothing unfair in the clueing though – just very clever.
    I can cope with facing an occasional puzzle at this level but if they were like this every day I would retire permanently to a dark room and wail.
    Was late getting to it as the Proper Charlies were at our local pub’s quiz night and returned late without a clear head . . .

    1. “Nothing unfair in the clueing though – just very clever.” sums this one up nicely. I was reading back over the comments last night and noticed that 9d comes up often. That clue epitomizes your point. RESIDENT defined as “tenant perhaps” and decomposed as SIDE in RENT – you can’t help but admire the setter who can hide something so simple in plain sight in a way that eluded many capable solvers.

  53. This one was excellent, definitely not (dare I say it?) R & W. A significant challenge which kept me scratching my head, on and off, all afternoon. I wish every back-pager was like this. Very enjoyable, with a real sense of achievement when finally finished. 4* / 4.5*.

    1. Hi, Jose. I get what you mean, and I think it’s useful to have one of these every now and again, but I believe that if every back-pager was like this participation would plummet and the DT crossword would rapidly become uneconomical. As I understand it, the Toughie was created to meet the needs of solvers who do want a daily crossword at this level.

  54. Finally finished this at second attempt – really hard going in places! Have had a wonderful time reading all the comments – giggling so much I half tears rolling down my face so thank you all for cheering me up!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Michael. As you will see from the comments above, we already have a commenter calling themselves Michael, so when you next post could you modify your blog name so we can distinguish you?

      On that clue the answer is fairly clear, but I couldn’t see a satisfying way to parse it. Perhaps the setter intended “engine’s stable capacity” to mean something like “engine’s maximum output”, but I find that too much of a stretch. “Engine’s capacity” would work as a definition, but cryptic convention does not allow for the definition to be split as that interpretation would require.

      In cases like these, I do wish that the setter would drop in to explain what they had in mind.

  55. Last but not least! Picked up this one clearing up old newspapers and wished I hadn’t looked at it!! 2 days later. Really difficult one but enjoyed it in retrospect.

    1. Welcome from me as well, PTP, and thanks for commenting. Here, late is always better than never.

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