DT 28793 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28793

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28793

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****


Hello, everyone.  Just like last Tuesday, today we have a puzzle with seven anagrams.  But unlike last Tuesday, I did not find this to be a straightforward solve.  In fact, the grid fill and parsing took me longer than I've spent on a back-page puzzle for several months.  Motivated by that contrast and by the discussion last Tuesday about the differences between the initial comments and those coming in later, I've been wondering how many visitors to the site today will come here seeking help with some aspect of the puzzle, and how many will come here after completing the puzzle to see what other solvers thought of it.  Under the following spoiler box is a very simple survey that will give us the answer to that question.  If you've read this far, please take ten seconds to answer the single yes/no question and then press the Finish Survey button (you can also open the survey in a new window by clicking here).  If you want to add a comment but you aren't ready to delurk, you'll find a comment box hiding at the end of the hints.

Click here to record the reason for your visit


In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the Answer buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Bone put in pile on the way out (8)
MORIBUND:  A chest bone inserted in (put in) a pile or heap

5a    Old Dutchmen chaining ten dogs (6)
BOXERS:  The 17th century Dutchmen who settled in South Africa containing (chaining) the Roman numeral for ten

9a    Polite? I'm amazed! (8)
GRACIOUS:  A double definition, the first an adjective and the second an interjection

10a   Rip off  beastly coat? (6)
FLEECE:  Another double definition.  The second is the coat of the beast in this picture

12a   Like some grins? Also yours (6)
TOOTHY:  Put together a synonym of also and an archaic form of yours (EDIT:  See the discussion at comment #33 below)

13a   Complex building finished (8)
FIENDISH:  An anagram (building) of FINISHED

15a   Problem getting in shape, eat! (7)
CONSUME:  A problem in arithmetic is inserted in (getting in) the shape of an ice cream cornet, for example

16a   Fragile thing cut somewhere on the face (4)
CHIN:  All but the last letter (… cut) of a fragile thing that could be a plate, a tea cup, a saucer, etc.

20a   State I love, well to the west (4)
OHIO:  I from the clue and the letter resembling a love score in tennis, both preceded by (… to the west, in an across clue) a short word that could mean well

21a   Stone tearing rocks (7)
GRANITE:  An anagram (rocks) of TEARING

25a   Share not quite redistributed (8)
QUOTIENT:  An anagram (redistributed) of NOT QUITE

26a   A vet upset with service in pub (6)
TAVERN:  An anagram (upset) of A VET, followed by the abbreviation for a branch of the UK armed services 

28a   One with famous voice, not entirely tragic character (6)
ICARUS:  The Roman numeral for one with Enrico the famous Italian tenor, minus his last letter (… not entirely)

29a   Using face creams etc, risk acne unfortunately (8)
SKINCARE:  An anagram (unfortunately) of RISK ACNE

30a   Expert batsman, key (6)
OPENER:  A double definition.  The skilled batsman who begins an innings is also, somewhat cryptically, a key that allows entry 

31a   Taken around play area, toboggan was scintillating (8)
SPARKLED:  Another word for toboggan is taken around a generic play area.  I'd have said that the toboggan synonym was a North Americanism, but Chambers does not show it as such



1d    Very, very strong (6)
MIGHTY:  Another double definition, the first an adverb synonym of very or extremely, and the second an adjective meaning very strong

2d    Sense a boy overcome by extremes of rage (6)
REASON:  A from the clue and another word for boy are preceded by (overcome by, in a down clue) the outer letters of (extremes of) RAGE

3d    Sound of lift in UK resort (8)
BRIGHTON:  This East Sussex seaside resort is a homophone (sound of…) of a word meaning lift or make cheerful

4d    Absence of American common sense (4)
NOUS:  Stick together "absence of" and an abbreviation for American

6d    Old couple yearn for tea (6)
OOLONG:  A couple of copies of the abbreviation for old are followed by a synonym of yearn

7d    Figure welcoming fine faculty (8)
EYESIGHT:  A figure between seven and nine containing (welcoming) a word of affirmation, agreement, or consent 

8d    Furious, grasp object (8)
SEETHING:  Cement together grasp or comprehend and a generic object

11d   One of thirteen in band, I am on drums (7)
DIAMOND:  The answer is hidden in the remainder of the clue

14d   Artisan working for Russian empress (7)
TSARINA:  An anagram (working) of ARTISAN

17d   Fly low around capital in Sweden, then leave (8)
MOSQUITO:  Low like a cow is wrapped around both the capital letter in SWEDEN and a synonym of leave

18d   Wine in soup bottles (8)
PINOTAGE:  A thick soup contains (bottles) IN from the clue

19d   Novel retains minimum of respect -- there are holes in it (8)
STRAINER:  Follow an anagram (novel) of RETAINS by the first letter of (minimum of) RESPECT

22d   Item used by trumpeter to keep in time (6)
MINUTE:  An item used by a trumpeter to muffle the sound of the instrument containing (to keep) IN from the clue

23d   Stop and give a lift to storyteller and journalist (6)
DERAIL:  The reversal (give a lift to, in a down clue) of the concatenation of a teller of untrue stories and the usual abbreviated journalist

24d   Popular contract, without doubt (6)
INDEED:  Fuse together the usual word for popular and a legal contract for the transfer of property, perhaps

27d   Miss second nap (4)
SKIP:  Join together an abbreviation for second and an informal word for nap


Thanks to today’s setter for an enjoyable puzzle that presented a stiff challenge without ever becoming a grind.  I have a long list of ticks, including 1a because the answer is a wonderful word, 12a because the PDM produced a grin, 29a for presenting a clever and original anagram, 30a for its misdirection, 3d for the memories, 4d for a surface describing what just happened in Helsinki, and 6d for its creative wordplay.  I also liked the Quickie pun.  Which clues did you like best?


The spoiler box below hides a comment box for readers who have something to say but who aren't yet ready to go public.

Comment Box



The Quick Crossword pun:  ARM  + MERRY  + CAR + KNOWS = AMERICANOS

124 comments on “DT 28793

  1. Nope, too much for me. Not even half completed after **** time.

    Congratulations to anyone who can solve that without electronic help. I daren’t even glance at the Toughie.

    The Quickie pun has four words in the print edition

    1. I didn’t find the Toughie all that tough (this took me about 50% longer). That said, it might be tricky for someone unused to the setter’s distinctive style – it’s hard to say.

      Thanks for confirming the quickie pun.

  2. I think the quick crossword pun includes 8 across; thus a five syllable answer which has several meanings including a particular type of coffee drink.

    1. Good spot, Ronald. Mr K will change it when he gets up. (I’d do it myself but the code he uses for his blogs these days is complex and I’m a little scared of breaking something.)

  3. I managed to finish this just before the review went up. I’d already looked here a couple of times for some help but resorted to the BRB instead. I wondered if jet lag was making it a slow solve, but clearly the reviewer found it tough, too – but enjoyable, as did I.

  4. Thanks for the hints and tips Mr K.
    There appear to be two ‘comment’ boxes and no ‘question’ for your survey.
    Although it took me a fair while, I managed to get all except 11d. I couldn’t get ‘timpani’ out of my mind – but it was obviously wrong when 15a was sorted.
    Thanks to the setter for the enjoyable challenge. Is he/she US based?

      1. All I can see in mine is “Click here to record the reason for your visit “. I’m using Firefox and Linux – if that makes any difference to anything. When I click, I get a blank box.

        1. Well, it means it’s harder to test. I’m using Firefox but on (the totally foxed up post-update) Windows. It’s 5am for Mr K, and he was having internet issues last night, but we’ll see if he can fix things when he’s up.

      2. I couldn’t see it on my phone but I could once I logged on to my computer.

  5. The hardest I have tackled for a long time. I managed the right hand side, but completely bamboozled on the other side. Certainly not on my wavelength.

  6. On first read through I thought this was going to be impossible, but I got there bit by bit and was left staring at the south west corner. With s little bit of electronic help I managed to finish.
    Thanks to all.

    1. Welcome from me too, Sandra, and thanks for sharing your experience with the puzzle.

  7. Overall a very pleasant solve in spite of a sticking point in the SW where I had to seek help. Joint Favs (which do occur in horseracing after all!) were 12a and 17d. Today’s Quickie was for me probably the most entertaining ever. Many thanks Messrs. Ron and K.

  8. Agreed this was stiffer than the usual back page brew. I could only vaguely remember the singer needed for 28a and took quite a while to fathom the lift taking us to my old stomping ground 3d.

    I enjoyed lots, but top of my list are 6d and 18d.

    Cheers all.

  9. This was a great puzzle which I really enjoyed, the left side was very challenging, I had to have help for 28a & 22d so thank you Mr K.

  10. I found this pretty tough but very enjoyable – thanks to the setter and Mr K. I think some of the definitions were woolly (e.g. ‘complex’ in 13a and ‘stop’ in 23d) which made the solving process trickier than it might otherwise have been. I’m not sure why the 30a batsman is an expert (‘specialist’ ok, but expert?).
    I liked lots of the clues including 29a, 17d and 18d.

    1. Oblique was the word that sprang to my mind, but woolly is an appropriate adjective, fitting nicely with the 10a pic.

    2. I agree about 30a. I have played cricket for over 60 years and much of that time I have been a 30a. Experienced I may be, but certainly not an expert.

      1. I know little about the technical side of cricket, but I was OK with the clue because I had imagined that a 30a was one of the team’s best batsmen, inserted to see out the new ball. But thinking about it more, I then have to wonder why top-ranked batsmen like Joe Root and Steve Smith bat further down the order?

        1. Mr K, it generally requires a different mindset/skillset to bat against the new ball particuarly in longer forms of the game (i.e. when played over 3-5 days) when it can often be better to hold back your most prolific batsmen until the ball is older and the bowlers less fresh.

          Be warned, I could probably bore you with a lot more more details if you attend BD’s Birthday Bash in January …

          1. I’m hoping that I can get to the Bash, in which case I will happily take you up on your offer.

          2. Who are the two most prolific English batsmen in test history?

            Cook and Gooch: both openers and both from Essex!

            1. Well I do have a bit of a soft spot for Essex boys, I married one.

    3. Just for the record, specialist and expert are synonyms of each other in Chambers Thesaurus, online.

  11. I finished without looking at the hints but 18D only got by educated guess with iPad then confirming all correct .Additionally , 2D fitted but the why was not obvious until reading the hint .

    There were some quality clues eg 17D but COTD goes to 14D in the “quickie “ which is also difficult .

    Thanks to everyone

    1. Do you mean 13d? I raised my eyebrows at a couple of cryptic definitions in the quickie (which I didn’t finish without cheating).

  12. 3.5* / 4*. I’ll go along with the consensus that this was tough (particularly the SW for me) but very enjoyable.

    Does “well” in 20a really equate to “oh”, and “expert” in 30a seems rather incongruous.

    I’ve got lots of ticks all over my page and my joint favourites were 17d & 18d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

    1. Hi, RD. The BRB has oh listed only as an expression of surprise, but Collins has a second definition, as a sentence connector: “An expression used to preface a remark, gain time, etc: oh, I suppose so” . In that usage I was OK with well replacing oh.

    2. Well and Oh are both expressions of surprise – they’re listed in Chambers online. Also used in exclamations such as “Oh, my word!” and “Well, I never!”

  13. This certainly was tough .Just when I think I have attained some competency , this comes along . That’s me put in my place .
    I’ll pick 9a as my favourite .
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter .

  14. This was a bit of a stinker, finally completed after several atempts and dog walking.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter

  15. For me,unbelievably, this was “A Penny Drops” crossword. Needed help on 28a and 22d, as did Jeanjeannie. But a wonderful brain workout for me and proves I still have one! Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  16. Wow this was a tough one! I set off at a gallop and was feeling quite clever and then crashed to a screeching halt. Even with the extra clues here I was still stumped and had to ‘cheat’ and look at the answer on several.

    Odd week coming up. Tomorrow evening I fly to London, unfortunately won’t be able to print off crossword to do on the plane so I shall be sure to buy a copy of the Telegraph when I get to London. Friday I have a day to myself so if you see small confused white haired woman wandering in the area of Primrose Hill or Regent’s Park feel free to say hello. Also spare a thought for the staff at an Italian restaurant on Saturday having to deal with a mini school reunion. Trying to cope with a gaggle of convent boarding school (VERY!) ‘old girls’. :-) Then home again on Sunday. All on frequent flyer miles that would otherwise have expired!

    1. I see I am ‘awaiting moderation’. Have I been naughty or is it just that I have changed to a new computer?

        1. Ah yes, couldn’t remember what my old tag line said. Thank you! I am easily confused at the best of times. Thanks as always Big Dave.

  17. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but it was much too difficult for me. Was 15 answers short when I started to look at the hints. Only managed to get two more from the hints and a couple from the new checkers, had to look the rest up. Couldn’t get the double definitions in 9a&1d, missed the anagram in 13a, even though the clue only had 3 words, doh! Had never heard of 18d, and although I had heard of the famous tenor in 28a, I would never have thought of him. Hardest puzzle I’ve seen on the back page. Favourite was 23d. Was 6*/3* for me.

  18. Would it not be more sensible to set a puzzle like this on a Monday when there is no Toughie???

    1. Anyone looking for a lighter challenge, yesterday’s Guardian is excellent.

  19. Harder than some recent toughies.Even Mrs. B K hasn’t finished yet.
    Anagram indicators seem to be proliferating and some are extremely obscure.

  20. I agree with hoofityoudonkey we do the puzzle for fun not as an exercise in torture

    1. I find an easy way to find out if the clue is an anagram, whether or not it had an indicator, is if it is a series of words that seem odd together and make little sense then it is most likely an anagram.

  21. Wow – that made me sit up and take notice! Definitely a tough solve for me but a most enjoyable battle.

    Plenty of ticks with 17d making it into pole position.

    Thanks to Mr Toughie Ron and to Mr K for all the hard work.

  22. Finished but a thoroughly unpleasant puzzle. Someone should also tell the setter that the Quickie is not meant to be cryptic.
    Don’t know who this setter is but I for one hope we don’t see see him/her again

    1. I’d be delighted to get one like this on the back page every day from Mon to Sat.

      1. I’m very happy to see one like this every now and again, but if every day was at this level it would be very hard for new solvers to get up to speed, and I’d worry that the Telegraph cryptic-solving population would dwindle to the point where the crossword is not economical.

        1. Yes Mr K, you might have a point there but I’ve been doing the back-pager every day since 1970 and until fairly recently they’ve always been the same – challenging but fair. I don’t like them messing about with “my” back-pager (for “marketing” reasons) like they have in the past few years. Anyway, I see you’ve produced a new (mini) survey. I was wondering, if you do another more comprehensive one, could you ask what star sign the solvers are? Maybe people who are long-term cryptic crossword enthusiasts/experts belong predominantly to a particular zodiac sign group. It might prove interesting…

          1. Could be interesting………. but then I suspect a perusal of our old school reports might also show common traits. I attended multiple schools (10 by the time I was 10 in a number of countries and NO I was not expelled from any of them) and then another 3 after that. The common denominator word on my school reports – erratic. It is only now that I am in my 60’s that I have come to understand that the word really is a bit of a badge of honour.

            1. Mr BL and I are the same sign, within 5 days of each other, but he only got interested in crosswords a couple of years ago, whereas I have been doing them since the 60s. Also, you couldn’t find two more different people (apart from our sense of humour), so I think you will find we are from all over the spectrum.

            2. Mr K, thank you. Also, maybe you could ask (something like): What qualities do you think are most likely to help you become proficient at cryptic crossword solving?

              Maybe things like:

              1. A good knowledge of words/semantics.
              2. A high level of general knowledge.
              3. A high IQ.
              4. A good ability to think laterally.
              5. Tenacity/determination.


        2. I agree Mr.K., the occasional one is fine as there needs to be a good ‘range’, this shows how far I still have to go.
          If they were like this every day, I would be doing something else.

  23. Another good workout which had me flailing at thin air for a while but I managed to get back to my stool, at the end of the 15th, in one piece though I had to wave the white flag at 28a.

  24. I wish the Telegraph would stop using this grid for their cryptic crosswords. Its effect is to split a puzzle into four separate ones with very little intersection between them. The Times had a major review of its grids several years ago under the editorships of Greer and Laws, partly in order to eliminate this sort of problem, and it would be a good thing, in my view, if the Telegraph were to follow suit.

    1. Welcome to the blog, RichardCV22.

      It’s not clear to me what the Telegraph policy is on grids, because there have been a large number of grids that appear only once. That makes me wonder if, in addition to providing a grid library, they also allow setters to create their own grids.

  25. This one looked like a Ray T, with its concise clues and exclusively one-word answers and I’d rate it as on a par with a typical one of his. Very good clues, quite a challenge and very enjoyable to solve. I can’t see a problem with “expert” in 30a. An expert is someone very skillful/knowledgeable in their field – the sort of batsman you’d select as a opener. Would the objectors pick a trainee greenhorn instead? 3.5* / 4*

  26. A tougher than normal solve for me as well, the NE and SW corners putting up the most resistance, but a very enjoyable tussle.

    My top clues were 12a, 13a, 11d and 17d.

    Many thanks to today’s setter and to Mr K.

  27. I found this one difficult, but managed to complete the grid unaided by either electronics or the hints.
    I did have to have Mr Kitty’s help with the parsings of 16a, 28a and 7d though.

    After last week’s horrors I am more than a little surprised that so many people found this one so difficult…perhaps the solving of cryptics is really more of a ‘wavelength thing’ than I believed.

    Thanks to the setter for a good tussle and many thanks to Mr Kitty for his hints.

    1. Hi, Ora. The solving times appearing on the puzzle site leaderboard last night indicated that most solvers found this one challenging. So I think you should feel very pleased with your solve.

      1. Thank you, Mr K.

        Smug mode engaged, as my son used to say. (Too much watching Red Dwarf.)

        1. There is no such thing as ‘too much Red Dwarf’.
          Well done on the puzzle, I am still going…

          1. Thank you, Hoofit. Glad to find another afficionado.

            Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!

            1. Love it! Do you think that cryptic crossworders are generally quite mad/have that off kilter sense of humour which draws us to that kind of comedy…. or does a bonkers sense of humour lead us to cryptic crosswords?

              1. Not sure about that, though I certainly admit to a ‘bonkers’ sense of humour. This is shared by both husnband and son , but sadly neither of them have any interest in cryptics.

                Time for another of Mr K’s amazing surveys, perhaps?

                1. Can you or Carolyn suggest a suitable multiple-choice question that I could include in the next survey?

                  1. Ooooohhhh….. I am still a newbie here so not sure about past surveys but

                    If money were no object, not to mention the logistics of getting it delivered/printed – where would you most llike to be as you grapple with the crossword?

                    Home. Beach. Half way up a mountain with a sage but silent goat. In a little cafe watching the world go by. On a luxury cruise ship. Bundled up in a warm blanket with a raging snowstorm outside and a nice glass (in my case vat) of wine.

                    1. I’ve done three surveys so far.

                      The first was on reader demographics.

                      The second was on solving times, use of aids, etc.

                      The third posed a collection of questions suggested on the blog – number of puzzles solved per week, male/female, retired/working,….

                      I’ll add your question to the list of potential questions for Survey 4.

                  2. What about:

                    I would describe my sense of humour as:

                    1   bonkers
                    2   well developed
                    3  average
                    4  hard to find
                    5 non-existent

                    Although relying on people’s self report of their sense of humour may not be the most reliable way of assessing it…..

  28. After a slow start in the NW I tuned in and steadily completed the solve, looking at the blog comments I think I had a good day ! About a ***/****
    Not heard of the tea before.
    Like RD I played a lot of cricket and concur.
    Some excellent cluing, hard to pick a favourite, liked 28a and 17d, my family had a stack of old 78 records of Caruso which were played on the old HMV type gramophone using a needle.
    Best clue of the day was the Quickie 13d.
    Thanks all.

  29. Probably out of my depth with this one and started it early due to other commitments a good job I did. Not my type of puzzle but horses for courses I guess. Needed Mr K’s help with three clues 28a last in, 11d and 6d. Overall not much fun although completed, did enjoy a few clues but when the toughie is easier than the back pager again, that does not make sense. Well done to all who found it a walk in the park, more like a walk in the desert for me!

    Clues of the day: 5a / 17d

    Rating: 5* / 2.5*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  30. *****/***. This was a little tinker. I needed Mr K to explain 4 of my bung ins which were correct but beyond me to parse successfully. I also needed three clues completing. Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  31. OMG what a corker. Liked the pussypic. Managed about 25% without help. Favourites were 28a and 11d -very clever! Thanks Mr K.

  32. I found this puzzle tricky and time -consuming, although I did finish it in the end, albeit after taking a break and coming back to the south-west corner! A little electronic help concerning types of wine helped to break the deadlock and I am now much more knowledgeable in that area.

  33. 12a. Surely the archaic form of yours is thine? I don’t think this really works.

      1. Roy, somehow, my reply to you has not registered. I’ll try again. I think “thine” means yours, as on ” it is thine” Whereas “thy” means your, as In “thy sword”. Am I being too pedantic?

        1. Pedantic? Not at all.

          thine – (old use or dialect, also relig pronoun) something which belongs to thee.
          adj (sometimes used before a vowel instead of thy) belonging or relating to thee.

          thy – (adj, old use or dialect, also relig) belonging or relating to thee.

          So either can be correct I would think.

        2. Vince, now that I’ve had a chance to do more research, I agree with you. The Oxford Dictionary of English definitions include:

          thy: (possessive determiner) archaic or dialect form of your

          thine: (possessive pronoun) archaic form of yours

          I cannot find any examples in which yours could replace thy.

  34. I enjoyed this one even if it was I was a bit slow to remember Enrico (my dad used to like his singing). I use the telegraph app as we live in the middle of nowhere and can’t be bothered to drive for eight miles before breakfast to collect a newspaper. Since the last update, my iPad has deleted all inserted letters if the iPad is rotated or I close the app for any reason. Most frustrating. I wonder if I’m alone in this?

  35. I loved the challenge. of this puzzle and am pleased to see it wasn’t only me that found it difficult. I needed hints for three in south west corner. Spent a happy couple of hours with it on a sunbed round the pool staying with friends near Bergerac, France. It’s hot!! Thank you Mr. K and the setter.

  36. Good for the experts to have two crosswords to solve today, but no good for me.
    Thanks all.

  37. This was incredibly tricky! I reached a brick wall about halfway through and resorted to electronic help. Then I had to reach for a hint to get me going again, finally, gave up with about four missing. Alas, I had the wrong state in 20a, so that screwed up that corner. Never heard of 18d so probably made no difference.
    My fave was undoubtedly 4d, how short and sweet and how appropriate and topical. The backlash warms my heart. I must give a shout out to 1a, like Mr.K I like the sound of it.
    Thanks to setter and Mr. K.

  38. I made an early start on this one and completed a large swathe of it from the NW to SE corners without too much difficulty. Domesticity then intervened and I didn’t pick it up again until this afternoon when I started wading through treacle.
    If it’s a wavelength thing then I’d definitely drifted off the station in the intervening time. I duly used Mr K’s helped and completed his survey. I enjoyed it – I think…
    Thanks to all involved as usual.

  39. Phew what a stinker! Took me forever even with the hints and couldn’t even finish the quick one. Not quick today!
    Thanks to both

  40. Several that eluded me today. For those interested in the psychological aspects of solving,can I just mention 20 ac that turned out to be “OHIO” . Clue “State I love, well to the west”. Well, muggins here started “I love = IO”. So it is IOWA !. A bit of false parsing followed – how to explain “WA”? Well Washington=WA , a state well to the west of Iowa!. Job (erroneously) done.
    Needless to say this error made the SW corner impossible.. and while I had few problems with the eastern half, the NW corner also foxed me.
    Merusa doesn’t say but I’d bet his/her “wrong state” for 20 a was also “Iowa”. A worthy puzzle today, I thought. thanks to all.

    1. Yep l had Iowa for a while until the light came on how dopey is that. As they say ” you need to justify every answer” and once the correct state was in there was no way I could justify the original answer? Desperation it’s called!

    2. Of course, I (she) parsed it exactly as you did, and consequently missed the same clues. I did want to put the correct answer in 17d but didn’t, could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

    3. I too started out with Iowa for 20a. I expect that’s what the setter wanted us to do.

  41. :phew: but I loved it – as no-one else has suggested this I’m almost certainly wrong but I did wonder if it was a PJ Toughie which had lost its way to one of the middle pages.
    I don’t remember the last time that a so-called back page cryptic took as long as this one has – not that it matters.
    Without the very helpful anagram at 25a I might not have got the answer to 17d which in turn meant I probably wouldn’t have registered my wrong answer to 20a which would have scuppered the whole of that corner.
    I’ve already gone on for long enough, just for a change.
    I particularly appreciated 12a and 18 and 27d. My favourite was 17d.
    With thanks to the setter whoever he or she may be and thanks and much admiration to Mr K.

    1. I like your speculation on the setter. This puzzle felt different to anything I can remember encountering on the back page, but I think the unusual ordering of the wordplay ingredients in 18d is sometimes seen in the Toughie. On days such as this, I do wish that the editor would reveal the setter.

  42. I found this tough but fair and manageable, albeit with Mr Kitty’s hints to finish, and even the cricket clue didn’t defeat me for once. In the beginning I was going to say this puzzle was definitely 13a but it got better as I went on. As mentioned above, we enjoyed 13d in the Quick today, even though it is a bit on the cryptic side.
    Had never heard of 18d.
    Despite being a **** I quite enjoyed this, thank you setter.

  43. So they published the Toughie by mistake on the back page? I got there in the end, but blimey, that was tough, with the SW corner particularly so.

  44. Wow over 100 comments.
    I too struggled today but for me the NW beat me 1a 9a and 12a wouldn’t come to mind at all. I did like 4d and made the same mistake with Iowa too. I enjoyed the struggle and will live to fight another day.

  45. Certainly a tricky solve which was the polar opposite of last Tuesday. I think the difficulty level of some DT backpage puzzles has increased over the last few months. I find I’m spending a similar amount of time on it as some Toughies and some other daily ‘broadsheet’ puzzles.

    Enjoyable solve, thanks to Mr K and setter 3.5*/3.5*

  46. What an amazing number of comments. Glad to see that I was on a par with many of you. Went to bed leaving some in the bottom half and 15a. Woke up got said 15a. Don’t know why this fixed me. Then got SE. Leaving me with mini puzzle SW. got 17d – a very good clue and was pleased with myself when I achieved 28a. Having the first letter helped as I could not get beyond Juliet for a long time. 30a followed and I had no problem with “expert”. Got 18d but stupidly could not parse. Should have written it out horizontally and must remember “bottles”. Spent far too long thinking different types of bottle. Left with 22d and admit to resorting to MrKs hint. Sorry now I did this as had been overthinking it. Just googled the first four words of the clue and judging by the number of entries this beat crossword solvers everywhere. Thank you setter but perhaps give us a break now for a time.

  47. I am so pleased I found you, Big Dave (by accident) very entertaining. This crossword certainly gave rise to a lot of comments. Oddly enough I sailed through it apart from 1a and 9a but managed to solve them with the aid of your prompt. I LOVE my dt crossword.

    1. You shouldn’t feel bad, Mike. This was a very tough back page puzzle. In hindsight I probably should have rated it 5* for difficulty.

  48. 11d ……..having a quick flick through all the above, I can’t see anyone asking what the answer has to do with “one of thirteen”.somebody – please explain -thanks, Almo

      1. many thanks, Toni. As you can gather I’ve never been a bridge or other sort off card player – my mother played 8 afternoons per week, probably something to do with it !!

        Thanks again, Almo

  49. Got so scared after reading the comments on the toughie but was very relieved to be able to finish it last night before bedtime. 2 am in my case.
    Last to yield was the NE corner.
    Lots of great misdirections made this a real challenge.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

  50. Late on parade for this one. Reading the blog I was surprised to see the reaction to this crossword. Yes it was stiff, but it was doable with a hefty dose of thought. I was delighted to complete it I must say.
    1a was my fave, simply because of the sound of the word.
    Thanks to Mr Ron for the challenge, and to Mr K for the review.

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