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DT 28789

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28789

Hints and tips by a duntish* pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I have to confess to being rather hungover this morning so the puzzle might be a lot easier than I found it.  There was some serious drowning of sorrows last night after England managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory which nearly matched the level of the biblical drowning that caused that chap Noah to build an ark.
Anyway to the puzzle. I’m pretty sure this is a RayT production as all the markers are there apart from Her Majesty has taken the day off.  Perhaps she too is recovering from a drowning of sorrows.  As I said I found it a tad tricky but very enjoyable and I hope you found it the same.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Purge using concoction of bitter aloe (10)
OBLITERATE:  Anagram (concoction of) of BITTER ALOE.  At least this was a reasonably benign start.

6a           United following team’s card (4)
MENU:  U(nited) after a word that could be a team but is more commonly clued as soldiers.

9a           Animal also carried by father (5)
PANDA:  A word meaning also inside (carried by) your father.  Spent too long trying to use TOO for also which shows the brain’s clutch is slipping.

10a         Can or tin formed to hold preserve finally? (9)
CONTAINER:  Anagram (formed) of CAN OR TIN with an E (preservE finally) inserted (to hold).

12a         Polishing some bars and ingots (7)
SANDING:  The first lurker.  It’s hidden in (some) the last three words.

13a         Expressed arrogance of those due to succeed (5)
HEIRS:  These people who will succeed as in inherit sound like (expressed) a word meaning arrogance, which is often followed by “and graces”.

15a         Regularly sleep in, having guaranteed free time (7)
LEISURE:  Alternate letters (regularly) from sLeEp In followed by a word meaning guaranteed.  I could have done with a sleep in this morning!

17a         Time ship worker set off (7)
TRIGGER:  T(ime) followed by a guy who might be the one looks after the shrouds, stays, halyards, etc, on a sailing ship.

19a         Place hollow elm in box and burn (7)
CREMATE:  Take the middle letter out (hollow) of elm to leave EM.  Insert that into (place . . . in) a large box.

21a         Part is tempting embracing actress, say (7)
ARTISTE:  Another lurker.  It’s hidden in (embracing) the first three words.

22a         Scene of depravity overlooking morals initially (5)
SODOM:  First letters (initially) of the other five words.

24a         Fitter going after plug for electrical device (7)
ADAPTER:  A plug or bit of publicity followed by a word meaning fitter as in more appropriate.

27a         Wasted time, aimed to be prompt (9)
IMMEDIATE:  Anagram (wasted) of TIME AIMED.

28a         Vacuous English politician facing vacuous Tory (5)
EMPTY:  E(nglish) and the usual politician followed by TY (vacuous T(or)Y).  I think this clue is trying to be a bit topical.

29a         Wash  old socks (4)
HOSE:  A word which could mean to wash, your patio perhaps, is also an old word for socks and stockings etc.

30a         Attractive Democrat fit for office? (10)
DELECTABLE:  D(emocrat) followed by a word meaning fit for office as in capable of being voted in.


1d           Lifted ladle dropping end? Silly me! (4)
OOPS:  Take another word for a ladle and remove the last letter (dropping end) and then reverse it (lifted in a down clue).

2d           Left in saddle breaking runaway (9)
LANDSLIDE:  Runaway as in runaway victory.  It’s L(eft) followed by an anagram (breaking) of IN SADDLE.  If their first half chances had been put away England might have had one of these..

3d           Coach possibly coaches (5)
TRAIN:  A word meaning “to coach” is also a word for a series of linked coaches on a railway track.

4d           Lie concerned with Conservative policy (7)
RECLINE:  Lie as in lie on a sofa not telling porkies.  It’s the usual two letters for about followed by C(onservative) and a word for policy as in “toe the party ****”.  That’s what I’m going to do when I’ve finished this blog.

5d           Later today drunk takes refusal the wrong way (7)
TONIGHT:  Take a word meaning drunk, no not pommers it’s an adjective not a noun, and insert (takes) a two letter refusal but it’s backwards (the wrong way).

7d           Tiredness for all in unlimited sport (5)
ENNUI:  The letter that denotes that a film is suitable for all to see is inserted into (in) the sport that’s going on today in London SW19 but without its first and last letters (unlimited).

8d           Free, not having been booked (10)
UNRESERVED:  This word meaning free could also describe a restaurant table which hasn’t been booked.

11d         Sceptic hates it to be otherwise (7)
ATHEIST:  Anagram (to be otherwise) of HATES IT.

14d         Craftsman worked hard accepting need’s minute (10)
BLACKSMITH:  You need a word for need’s (don’t forget the S) and an M(inute) and insert them into a word for worked, as in when an action policy began to have an effect it begins to ****, and an H(ard). 

16d         Rude man flashing, exposed (7)
UNARMED:  Anagram (flashing) of RUDE MAN.

18d         Talk purchasing posh drinks raised in bar (9)
GASTROPUB:  A word meaning to talk has inserted (purchasing) a reversal (raised in a down clue) of the single letter for posh and some drinks of fortified wine.  Hands up those who, like me, thought that the GAS at the beginning was the TALK, d’oh!

20d         Sweetheart with partner harbouring a new issue (7)
EMANATE:  E (swEet heart) followed by a sexual partner or just good friend with the A from the clue and N(ew) inserted (harbouring).

21d         Article arrived comprising of French scholarly world (7)
ACADEME: Take an indefinite article and a word meaning arrived and insert the French word for OF.

23d         Scraps of potato served up around meal’s starter (5)
DUMPS:  Scraps as in gets rid of not little bits.  You need a colloquial term for a potato, reverse it (served up in a down clue) and then insert an M (Meal’s starter).

25d         Lifting one newspaper’s short title (5)
THEFT:  Lifting as in taking without permission.  It’s what the pink newspaper is commonly called.  Nicely obscure definition.

26d         Occasionally play Greek instrument (4)
LYRE:  Alternate letters (occasionally) from  PLAY GREEK.

A lot of very good stuff here but my podium is populated by the three political clues at 28a, 30a and 4d.  I can’t believe that there’s a lie concerned with Conservative policy or that a politician could be vacuous.  :lol:

(*)  From The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd:-
Duntish (adj):  Mentally incapacitated by severe hangover.

Quick crossword pun:   SHARE     +     PURSE     +     SPY     =     SHEPHERD’S PIE


84 comments on “DT 28789

  1. The Gods of Cruciverbiland must have known that we peasants would need gentle handling on this morning. 

I took *** time to finish, but only because I insisted on parsing all my bung-ins. Last one in was 22a, which shows just how slow on the uptake I was today.

    Many thanks to Ray T., Pommers, Gareth and the lads.

  2. As someone who didn’t drown their sorrows last night (even though England is my team in the office sweepstake, but I’ve made a profit of at least £5 so far), I thought this the most friendly Ray T puzzle ever, with all the usual enjoyment factors thrown in.

    Thanks to Mr T and Mr P

  3. Another fine crossword from, Ray T, but I’m surprised he used the expression ”comprising of” when it should be either ”comprising” or ”consisting of” which would have worked well for this clue.

    1. Thought same at first but the answer actually comprises “of” in french so the clue is precise.

      1. Sorry, Graham. I’m not with you.

        It should read…

        ”Article arrived comprising French scholarly world” (meaning the clue wouldn’t work)


        ”Article arrived consisting of French scholarly world” (meaning the clue would)

        The present participle ‘Comprising of’ is a classic boo-boo.

        Apologies, once more, if I’m being slow out of traps.

        1. Sir L. 21d: The “of” in the clue doesn’t belong to the verb “comprising” and isn’t intended to. Therefore there is no grammatical boo-boo. See the full explanation in #5, below.

  4. No hangover in this household this morning, just cries of TGIt’s all over. For those boys in Thailand as well.
    A most enjoyable puzzle. Pommers hint for 7d was a great relief as just could not see the parsing.
    Many thanks.

  5. Yesterday I left home at 6 am and didn’t get a chance even to open the paper until 10.30 pm. In the end I’m glad I did as both the Dada Toughie and Jay’s back-pager (which I thought was tougher than the Toughie) were excellent and cheered me up after our defeat in the World Cup.

    If I am allowed to say it, I found today’s offering easier (although unscrambling the parsing for 14d proved to be quite a challenge). It was nevertheless great fun with a rating of 2* / 4*. Is Her Majesty perhaps in hiding today pending the arrival of the US President?

    The wordplay for 21d requires the use of one of my grammatical bugbears. “Comprise” should never be followed by “of”, but as Ray T is one of my favourite setters I’ll let him off on this occasion.

    There are too many excellent clues to be able to pick a single favourite, but I did particularly like the two clues where the definition was repeated in the wordplay (28a & 3d).

    Many thanks to Ray T and to pommers.

    1. RD. 21d: Don’t read it as “comprising of” but as “comprising: of, French” – meaning, in other words: consisting of (comprising) “of” in French (ie the French word for “of”). Hope you can follow that!

      1. Jose, I understood the intended wordplay in the way that you describe. My sole concern is that the wordplay leads to a surface conatining a grammatical howler.

        1. But the surface doesn’t contain a grammatical howler (only if you misinterpret it!). The setter has quite rightly omitted any punctuation from the clue that would help the solver to parse it more readily. The “of” simply doesn’t belong to the verb “comprising” and it isn’t meant to. To re-write the clue using plain, punctuated English making it more lucid: Article arrived including [comprising] “of” (French) scholarly world (7). Giving: A + CA(DE)ME. As BD once said: Cryptic clues are word puzzles, not pieces of precise literature.

          1. Are you any the wiser, Rabbit Dave, as Hose A’s explanation is way over my head?

            Maybe I’m still in a daze from last night.

          2. Jose, I think we are debating different things. As I said before the wordplay (as you describe in great detail) is perfect.

            My point is thst the surface, which is how the clue reads as an English sentence (and does not necessarily affect the solving of the clue), contains a grammatical error.

            1. The surface does not contain a grammatical error – you are not reading it correctly. The clue doesn’t include the grammatically wrong conjoined phrase “comprising of”. See my further explanation to Sir L below.

              1. Sorry, Jose, you are wrong on this. The “surface reading” is nothing to do with the solving of the clue. I can’t put it any more clearly than I have done in my comment above and obviously we are never going to agree so let’s stop this now.

                1. Nowhere in ‘the rules’ does it say that a surface reading has to be grammatically correct, or indeed make any sense at all (better if it does though). The surface is there solely to confuse and distract so I would say this one succeeded admirably!

                2. RD. There is more to clue surfaces than you think, especially where the surface is grammatically erroneous in its entirety because it makes no real literal/logical sense when read as a piece of normal prose. In that case, the reading/meaning/interpretation of the surface is subjective and is likely to vary depending on the individual reader. There is no reason when reading this particular clue surface that one is forced to conclude that in contains a particular 2-word grammatical error. I haven’t the energy (or time) to give a long, detailed explanation – you would stubbornly refuse to listen anyway. I will respectfully leave you to ponder deep and long and work it out for yourself. Good luck!

                  1. Jose, I will try one last time to explain to you that you are confusing wordplay and surface.

                    Your arguments relate to the wordplay and the answer to the clue is arrived at in precisely the way you have described.

                    The surface is unrelated to the wordplay and is simply how the clue reads in English. Sometimes a setter will use a non-grammatical surface as accurate wordplay should always be the priority, which is the case here. I apologise if I was not clear before but the only point I have been trying to make (which is irrefutable) is that as an English sentence ” Article arriving comprising of French scholarly world”.is ungrammatical.

                    The end.

                    1. RD. Sorry if I was a little brusque before, and I’ve understood what you are saying from the start, but consider the following and imagine it is a cryptic clue surface (no word play). Don’t forget, setters often omit most of the surface punctuation to confuse and misdirect:

                      Of spelt wrongly? No essays were found comprising of as off!

                      Does that clue surface contain the offending grammatical error as well? Of course not! The “comprising” simply means “including” (a direct, exact synonym) and in no way can be read as the phrase “comprising of”. That’s because you naturally read it as: “Of” spelt wrongly? No essays were found comprising “of” as “off”.

                      Apply the same logic/procedure to 21d surface and the “comprising of” phrase disappears!

                      Is that clear?

                    2. PS. Read as a whole, the 21d surface is largely gobbledygook, therefore the reading of the surface is subjective. Forgetting any wordplay at all, the only way I can interpret it to make it something like correct English is to read it as: Article arriving comprising “of, French” scholarly world. To me, there is no compulsion to see the phrase “comprising of”.

          1. Late appearance by me but Jose is spot on. If the other school is right then “de” comes from nowhere.

            1. I’ll try this one more time then call it a day.

              As we all know, ‘comprising of’ is grammatically incorrect.

              If Ray had put ‘consisting of’ then everyone would be happy.

              People are forever mixing up ‘comprising’ (no ‘of’) with ‘consisting of’.

              It’s like the old classic ‘irregardless’ when people confuse ‘regardless’ and ‘irrespective’. It’s hilarious.

              I won’t reply to any more comments on this one.

              1. I will also try one more time to elucidate further (you don’t need to reply). Your/RD’s misunderstanding/misreading of the clue is caused by the fact that the united/conjoined phrase “comprising of” is indeed a solecism quite often found in everyday prose – but it doesn’t occur in this clue.

                The words “comprising” and “of” in the clue are not meant to represent the (grammatically wrong) conjoined phrase “comprising of” – no such conjunction exists or is intended.

                The relevant section of the clue is just another way of saying (simplified): Article arrived comprising [including] “of” in French.

                NB. For your/RD’s theory/assertion to hold water the clue would need to include the word “of” TWICE, thus (simplified): Article arrived comprising of “of” in French.

                Thank you.

                1. I know I said I wouldn’t reply but I feel I now maybe missing something.

                  What does the surface read actually mean? To me it’s a French article written by (or for) a senior academic person/people.

                  Could you phrase it for me in another way or explain exactly what it means?

                  1. To me, the surface of this clue doesn’t make any real/definitive literal or logical sense when read as a piece of normal prose. But there is nothing unusual in that – clues often arise in the DT and elsewhere with nonsensical surfaces. Cryptic clue surfaces are not obliged/required to be grammatically or factually correct.

    2. For me this was the most enjoyable puzzle I can recall for a long while, one can only marvel at the skill of the setter. Just the tonic after last night’s disappointment, which has left an all pervading feeling of flatness.
      3*/4*, could have picked any of a dozen for COTD.
      Thanks to Ray T and to Pommers for an entertaining and informative review.

    3. First things first: thanks to RayT and pommers.

      I’ve not been doing many crosswords lately, and I’d saved this for another day.

      But this little storm in a teacup has come to my attention.

      I really don’t want to waste more screen space on this, but I know that if I were RD I’d appreciate it. So here’s what I think.

      Surface reading: how the clue reads normally in English
      Cryptic reading: how the clue breaks down so as to lead to the answer

      All RD was saying was that the former contains “comprising of”.

      Others then misunderstood and jumped in to defend the cryptic grammar, which is fine. This muddied the waters.

      RD clarified that he was only ever commenting on the surface and not the cryptic reading. End of story. Should be, but …

      Now Jose seems to be claiming that the natural reading of the clue is not to read “comprising of” as it reads naturally. This is surely wrong.

  6. Another fine puzzle from Ray T, with consistently good clues. Certainly not his most difficult, but a reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. 3* / 4*

  7. A fair bit easier than yesterday and I managed to fill it in before the hints. I still needed the hints to parse a few including the pub. Is the GMoLI an 18d?
    Thanks to pommers and Ray T.

          1. My local serves pickled eggs in a bag of crisps. A lovely blend of crunch and chew and salt and vinegar.

  8. Just to prove that this is a wavelength thing, I found this enjoyable but monarchless Ray T offering very straightforward with no hold-ups. I would nominate 4d as my favourite of many fine clues, with 28a a worthy runner-up.

    Many thanks to Ray and to pommers for the blog.

  9. Another enjoyable solve for me with 1D my favourite , big smile .

    Watched the footie last night and , being objective , England did not look dangerous enough in open play compared to the opposition .

    ITV 4 delayed the cycling coverage until 10pm to enable anyone to watch both big sporting events . Very considerate .

    Thanks to everyone.

  10. Agree with Pommers ***/****, last in was 14d which I did eventually parse but did not really like ‘bit’ for ‘worked’- thanks to Pommers for the explanation which eluded me.
    The SW corner slowed me down and I was slow to spot the anagram in 27a and the’ first letter’ solution for 22a,
    Liked 30a.

  11. Now that’s better, so much more fun than yesterday’s dreary thing.
    A nice anagram to get things going then some clever clues such as 30a and 23d. No queen today so wasn’t sure it was a Ray but very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Yesterday was never going to work for England, playing in all white, televised by ITV and a dreadful crossword, all bad omens. Well done though for getting this far and playing with pride in the shirt.

  12. Quite an easy one by RayT’s standards.

    The only bit I needed help with was the “bit” in 14d – Thanks, pommers.

    Not sure that I understand the surface reading of 14d … maybe it will make more sense when I sober up. Tomorrow, perhaps?

    1. The surface of 14d makes no sense to me either but I put it down to severe duntishness.

  13. Broke all records for the LHS, beaten by the RHS mainly because I cant spell 11d and never heard of 18d and still don’t understand the hint.
    Much harder than yesterday.
    Thanks all.

    1. The single letter for posh is U as in U or non-U, the drinks are PORTS so reverse them (raised in a down clue) and put them (purchasing) inside GAB for talk and you get the GASTROPUB which is loosely a bar.

      Sorry, in the hint I seem to have forgotten the reversal bit. Told you I was duntish. Now put right.

    2. Do any of these help for the spelling of 11d, Hoof?

      1. ”HE IS in existence…or is he?” (”he is” is in the word)
      2. ”I am THE 1”…”Are you?” (‘THE 1’ is in the answer)
      3. ”Does HE exist?” asks 11d (‘he’ is in the word)

      No probs, if they don’t work.

      1. On the subject of the word atheist (a non-believer in God), if you split it (1,6) you get “a theist” – an absolute believer in God. I don’t really know why I mentioned that…

      2. I think I’ll just try and make a mental note of how to spell it.
        ‘I’ before ‘E’ except after ‘C’, except in this case…

        1. I was always taught that “the I before E” phrase is only needed where the letters make a single sound of eeeee.
          So it’s not really applicable here as you pronounce the E and the I individually.
          There are several exceptions to this though and the phrase I was actually taught was
          I before E, except if you please, in that little word seize

          1. I’ve never heard that but I’m going to try to remember it. I always have a problem with the I before E thing, so anything that helps is welcome.

  14. As hard as yesterdays but so much more enjoyable. Been a bit disappointed with the puzzles for the last couple of weeks and have put it down to my grouchiness post holiday. This was a delight from start to finish.

  15. Mr Terrell at his most benign I thought, with all the usual trademarks in evidence other than Her Maj. Perhaps she’s busy getting ready to meet Mr Trump?

    My top two clues were 29a and 16d.

    Many thanks to RayT and pommers. Not sure that I agree that England snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last night. The longer the game went on, the more dominant Croatia became and they were deserved winners.

    1. Yes, agree about the football. Wonderful to experience something like Italia ’90 having witnessed England’s dismal showing against Iceland a couple of years back.
      While they exceeded all expectations, it is worth remembering that Croatia was the first side of real quality that we met and were found wanting. The best team won. Still work in progress.

      1. I’m no footie pundit, but 1-0 up at half time and we should have had at least one more.

        Second half we should have parked the bus, but we stayed static while Croatia warmed up and worked out how to get round us.

        I have huge respect for Gareth, but I do think he missed a tactical trick there, unfortunately.

    2. I hope he’s not as rude to her as he was to Mme. Macron. I can’t bear the thought of it, I hope there’s someone to protect her.

  16. Funnily enough I did not find this as enjoyable as yesterday. Finished, with queries on parsing/and or meaning on 6 clues. Could not get card in 6a, although it may be a standard crosswordland answer. Did not see the initial letters in 22a. 7d Once again foxed by the U; it appears so rarely for me that I always forget it. For beginners it must be impossible unless maybe its written “for all to see”. I’m not a great fan of conventions like this. Its too tricksy and you have to be in the know. 11d was ok but I looked up Agnostic as I’ve always thought this was the definition of the clue, but I find I’m wrong, it seems that one is a synonym of the other unless its a noun or verb, whatever? 14d had me foxed and needed the explanation for Bit (I’m sure I’ve seen this before probably). 18d I had Gas for talk.
    I normally finish Ray T’s but nearly always have queries. Somehow, today I though I would voice them and its easier to respond using a PC keyboard.
    Thanks to Pommers for setting me straight.

  17. Mr Terrell, thanks for another great puzzle. 21d: Did you really include a “grammatical howler” as they are suggesting above? Surely not!

    1. No, he didn’t. I’m pretty sure that Ray T would never make a grammatical error.

      1. Yes, indeed! No professional setter would make such an error – that’s what I’ve been trying to explain and emphasise above.

  18. Being a Ray T still found this tricky even though there was quite a few straightforward clues, but I always have an issue getting on this setters radar. Enjoyable nonetheless regardless of the head scratching. Last in 7d and did get held up in the NE corner for a good while. A fair puzzle that I found more difficult than it actually was.

    A good world cup England, but I think last night’s game looked like one game too many for them against better opposition.The future looks bright though.

    Clue of the day: 30a / 1d / 18d

    Rating: 3.5* / 3.5*

    Thanks to Pommers and Mr T

  19. Much much more doable than yesterday. Only needed hint for 30a. 25d caused a bit of pondering, but got there before hint. Thanks Pommers and Ray T. Shame about footie.

  20. Well, a ‘wavelength thang’ on a Thursday because I fairly rattled through this one which is something I never ever manage with a RayT crossword!
    30a was my favourite clue out of several contenders.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Pommers for the not-so-duntish review.

  21. Undoubtedly the most benign RayT! I broke my number one rule, never use electronics until you’ve reached an impasse, but today, I spotted the anagram in 1a, picked up the iPad and solved it. When I had all those first letters, I was off, bit between the teeth and off and running – pure Senf-ism.
    I did miss a couple in the SW, consulted the hints, and then finished. Not bad at all, especially after yesterday. I needed the hints for some parsing, considering the setter, not bad at all.
    Hard to choose a fave, maybe 25d or 22a?
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

    1. Well done Merusa really pleased it wasn’t an ‘ouch” puzzle for you!😊

  22. If this is a *** difficulty then I feel quite chuffed today. Just as well as needed cheering up after yesterday’s struggle, and an afternoon spent watching England sadly lose. It was shown live over here at 2pm our time on American TV.
    Very much enjoyed this puzzle, thanks Ray T and Pommers.

  23. This was a fun run with just a couple of hold-ups en route. Southwest was last to surrender. Can’t believe I missed the initially indicator for my 21a bung-in. 18d took a bit of parsing. Lots of good clues but once again no real Fav. Have been spared football hangover from watching yesterday’s World Cup game because two outstanding tennis matches (Federer vs, Anderson and Nadal vs. Del Porto) took precedence. Thank you RayT and pommers.

  24. Definitely a benign Mr T – just the one slight sticking point over the synonym for ‘worked’ in 14d.

    Top of the shop for me was the attractive Democrat in 30a.

    Devotions to Mr T as always and thanks to Pommers for the blog. Some of us did our celebrating today – the scheduled TV programmes might now actually be shown on the day and time specified in the Radio Times!

  25. All the good fun that we expect from this setter and it all slotted together smoothly for us. Checked the word count of course too.
    Thanks RayT and pommers.

  26. Had I drowned my sorrows over anything yesterday it would have been about Federer going out of Wimbledon but I didn’t.
    So no hangover – I found this pretty straightforward for a Ray T.
    My main problem was untangling what had to be the right answer for 14d – what a battle I had.
    Always nice to start off with a fairly easy anagram going a long way across the top so lots of first letters for the downs.
    I think he (Ray T) should go on a hunt for his naughty hat.
    Loads of good clues as usual on alternate Thursdays so thanks to Ray T for another splendid crossword.
    Thanks also to the hungover one – I can’t imagine anything worse than doing crossword with a hangover let alone doing the hints too so thanks to pommers as well.

  27. A nice and straightforward ** for difficulty. But there again I greeted last night’s result with a shrug and an “It’s just a game.” ::-)

  28. Evening all. Apologies for the tardiness, but many thanks to pommers for the elucidation and to all for your comments.


    1. Hi Mr T – no need to apologise, you are one of the few setters we can rely upon to keep in touch with us.

  29. Did most of this last night after a pleasant day in Lichfield. Polished off the nine remaining when I woke up this morning. Last two in were 22 and 29a. Did struggle with the parsing of 14d. Favourites 13 and 27a and 1 5 and 25d. Surprised HM did not make an appearance. Sorry that our 92 year old treasure has to suffer the embarrassment of meeting an egotistical megalomaniac, This is a diplomatic disaster waiting to happen. Perhaps HM could have a diplomatic headache. Quite how this man was elected and has survived so far is beyond me.

    1. Beyond everyone else too, WW, and what is more mystifying is that he has a substantial base that will put him in again. I think it’s an underlying dislike and distrust of anyone not WASP in the heartland. I thank goodness I live in Miami where we have a well-integrated society that includes all, in fact, more people speak Spanish here than English.

    2. We wonder the same ourselves over here. How did this happen and when will it be over?

  30. Must admit that I gave up trying to parse 14d and just bunged it in.
    Bit of a hangover too but for different reasons. Had a few friends round last night cos “on est en finale!”.
    Not that I care too much but have to go with the flow.
    Thanks to RayT and to pommers.

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