ST 2979 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2979 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2979 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, on Friday, we had a heatwave with a high of plus one degree and, in Marseille, Canada (finally) qualified for next year’s Rugby World Cup overcoming Germany, Hong Kong, and Kenya in a round robin repechage  (I thought they only happened in rowing) and for their efforts they will be in Pool B with the All Blacks and Springboks.

The second Sunday puzzle from Dada which I found less challenging than last week but still in the Toughie end of the spectrum and a slightly ‘odd’ grid with 11 acrosses and 17 downs.

Joint favourites – 15a and 4d.

Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in red at the bottom of the hints!

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


6a Fine not yet paid (11)
A double definition to start – the first is a synonym of fine which is nothing to do with the second.

9a Gannet, one curious bird (6)
A synonym of gannet (nothing to do with the flying variety) and an anagram (curious) of ONE.

11a Clipped shot during game of tennis one’s played (6,4)
A synonym of a type of shot with the last letter removed (clipped) contained by (during) one of the variations of tennis.

15a Hen’s job to come by good egg — skill of home-making perhaps? (11)
A single word for a hen’s job after (to come by) a single word for a person who might also be described as a good egg.

22a Community decision (10)
A second double definition – the first might be a historical community.

25a Grey substance Greek character found among the ashes? (8)
The 21st letter of the Greek alphabet contained by (found among) where ashes might be found.

28a Fruit with flower and blossom? (5,6)
A liquid found in the body (it flows, so is a flower?) and a fragrant blossom.


1d Grand reserve bottles for every one (6)
An abbreviated form of a type of reserve player containing (bottles) a single word for for every one.

2d Time awaiting payment nerve-racking at first, cause to get agitated about it? (6)
The initial (first) letter of Nerve-racking contained by (about it) of an anagram (to get agitated) of CAUSE – it’s in the BRB!

4d Credentials are on report, probably (1,4,3)
A two letter abbreviated term for credentials, ARE from the clue, and a synonym of report separated out in accordance with the enumeration.

7d US president with nothing in diary, apparently (5)
A slang synonym of nothing and a single word that can be equivalent to in diary, apparently.

12d Blooming colourful circle inside kaleidoscope (3)
A lurker (inside) found in the last word of the clue.

17d Gatecrashing little party, excited for sure (4-4)
A synonym of excited contained by (gatecrashing) an abbreviated form of a political party.

19d Green vegetable black, by the sound of it? (5)
A homophone of a synonym of black which could refer to being overcooked.

20d One admitting failure at the outset — probably not working out? (5)
The type of numeral that one is an example of containing (admitting) the first (at the outset) of Failure.

26d London landmark burning up (4)
A synonym of burning reversed (up).

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

Chuck Berry started 4 weeks at number one with this little ditty (Wikipedia classifies it as a novelty song) on this day in 1972:

133 comments on “ST 2979 (Hints)

  1. Ditto last Sunday’s opening comment, ‘where is everyone?’ I’m afraid another out of my comfort zone crossword. Yesterday’s was just fabulous. Thank you Navy for a great puzzle. Reading the comments I guess you are young. What a great start. Thank you and Tilsit.

    1. Can you please repeat your comment about yesterday’s crossword on that Hints page as Navy is more likely to see it there than here

      1. Yes of course I will with pleasure. Penny beginning to drop with our new Sunday setter. I can hear the cogs grinding very, very slowly. Maybe a good thing🤪

    2. They’ll probably be along later after spending several hours on it. I’ve got better things to do than spend all day on a crossword. Here’s a thought, Why not put the puzzles that are more difficult than average in another separate puzzle and call it something like a toughie. Or a prize crossword and leave the standard crossword on the back page for we dolts. BTW I concur re yesterday’s puzzle.

        1. CS yes it is, but for me it’s a bit like someone who does the Park Run finding themselves in the Olympic 5000m final.

          If they are to have a “Toughie prize crossword” on a Sunday I will simply not bother. Sad because I do enjoy my “fun run”

          So TaTa DaDa.
          Thnks to Senf for the hints and DaDa for his test too far for me.

          1. Sadly I agree. Disappointing as it does appear that this has become the Sunday Toughie. Ok if you are brilliant, but I’m not.

            1. Yes Lizzie, I can think of 1,000 better ways of spending 6 hours than on a crossword, going to church probably even creeps in at 980.

        2. As I said in my comment, have a separate PRIZE CROSSWORD so that we mere mortals can have our erstwhile enjoyable Sunday mornings. Or is there another puzzle for the likes of me that I can engage in?

    1. Yep it’s him again – two Sundays on the trot – I have decided he should be referred to as “obtusum” for taking the fun out of Sundays grrrr !

        1. In which case I think it’s time to cancel my subscription. Sad after 30 odd years. Perhaps the economic realities of others doing likewise may eventually bite. I won’t hold my breath.

          1. I think that’s called cutting off your nose to spite your face! Do like I plan to do, not bother with the Sunday offering and enjoy the other six days.

            1. Could you suggest another publication with a crossword of a similar nature to the previous Sunday offerings? My career demands mean that I work a lot of hours and this was my Sunday morning oasis! My problem is that I am also becoming a little tired of the direction the other puzzles have been taking recently. I have always managed to do them in a couple of short breaks I could grab during the day. That’s become difficult recently. Maybe I’ll come back when I’ve retired in seven or eight years.

              1. I grew up in Jamaica where my English father started me on crosswords in our local paper, The Daily Gleaner. They printed the Telegraph puzzles during the week and on Sundays they printed the Times Sunday crossword, which I found very friendly. To do that you’d have to pay for two subs, The Times has a bonus of a Jumbo cryptic that used to take me all week to do but a great puzzle. I cancelled my sub mainly because I refused to put any money in Murdoch’s pocket.

  2. Mmmm…..I’ll stop by tomorrow when hopefully there will be a crossword that I can do ! Above my pay grade, I’m afraid.

  3. Why aren’t Sundays enjoyable anymore? Could have something to do with the Telegraph cryptic crossword. Almost impossible to fathom they’re not at all enjoyable anymore.
    Thanks to all.

    1. 27a to get a swallow you need to reverse (counter) a way of saying stuff and an egg
      23d The definition is RC feast once – the ‘starter’ of muffin is ‘scoffed by’ some priests

  4. Utterly baffling! At the moment I cannot find any anagrams or even solve a single clue! Still trying.

    1. I give up. Even with the hints which are more cryptic than the clues, I am completely stumped.
      For me the worst Sunday I have ever attempted.

      1. You have said all of this many times before and it is blatantly untrue. For starters, every hint separates the definition from the wordplay which the clue doesn’t. If you wind the clock back to before Brian Greer took over the Sunday puzzle, this new setter is a considerable improvement.

        1. I don’t think I even attempted the previous setters puzzles and am normally a great fan of the Sunday puzzle but I do feel this one is a step too far. The setter could at least include one ‘ordinary ‘ anagram to help the less able of us to make a start instead of these instruments of Satan, the half anagrams. Believe I am not denigrating the setter, all I am asking is that as there is only one cryptic on a Sunday it should be within the capabilities of the non-expert or non-experiencesd as CS would put it. After all you guys have the Toughie all week which most of the time is way out of the range of many solvers. As you see from the comments following this, I am not alone.

          1. My issue is with your comments about the hints, which you have repeated on several occasions. A lot of people give up a lot of time to bring these hints to you, without any form of payment, and they are not “more cryptic than the clues”. To say the puzzle is too hard for you is one thing, but to blame others for your lack of success is unacceptable.

            And while I am at it – stop repeating your views over this and other posts, once is more than enough. Next time I will delete all of them.

            1. Here I go headfirst into where I don’t belong. I would plead for Brian in this case in that I don’t think he is attacking Senf. I think that some of the hints are very obtuse, but that is not Senf’s fault, he can only work with what he is given. I have untold admiration for Senf for even tackling this puzzle’s hints, he must be some sort of rocket scientist to have solved the thing, much less hint for us lesser mortals. I hope I haven’t incurred your wrath with this, but I felt it had to be said in Brian’s defence.

              1. Merusa

                Brian is continually sniping at setters and bloggers when he knows where the real problem lies. I’m afraid that sympathising with him will only encourage him. He stated that the hints were “more cryptic than the clues” and that is untrue and I will not allow him to continue peddling that nonsense.

  5. If the ST wants to have a “toughie” each week can they please label it as such and also provide an alternative which is at the “doable by most people” level.
    */* so far as I am concerned and I’m not wasting any more time on it

      1. Had the grandchildren visiting today, so I managed only 6 clues before they arrived. I am all played out now and really cannot be asked to attempt more. I do agree that this should be labelled the Sunday Toughie, so that keen cruciverbalists of moderate ability would not be so bitterly disappointed, whwn they realise that the goalposts have been moved.

    1. Wasn’t Dada’s raison d’etre to be in opposition to the cultural values of the incumbents?

      1. According to Wikipedia
        the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works.
        Which just about sums it up

          1. You may well be correct, I was responding to the post by Tantalus which seemed to refer to the art movement of the same name 🤔

  6. Come back Virgilius…

    Although this was nothing like as tough as last Sunday’s prize puzzle it was still a stiff challenge, particularly the top half. I did find it a bit more enjoyable than last week’s offering with 15a my favourite with 4d & 5d joining it on the podium and 7d raising a smile.

    I eventually finished but had to bung in two answers each of which fitted with the checkers and with what I took to be the definitions. Senf has explained the wordplay for 11a but I still can’t parse 27a.

    I think 28a is unconvincing as the fruit and the blossom are both associated with the same thing.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Good morning. Well unlike last Sunday I got to the finish line with this one. Lots of electronic help and hints above for which I give thanks to Senf. However not very satisfying and has left me rather grumpy. Need to go and take my frustrations out in the kitchen!

  8. Week 2 of the new Sunday setter and progress is being made. But even with Senf’s help I still have some unparsed.
    27a was one but thanks to CS light has been shed on those lights. 5d however has defeated me and the fact that the word wizard can’t fit anything in my checkers makes me doubt others too.
    I know CL the puzzles ed reads the blog but maybe gripes about difficulty would be better directed at the telegraph’s own forum. I for one am still trying to get on the Dada wavelength.

    1. 5d definition is one living on island – two animals, the second one of which is ‘tailless’

      1. Thanks Sue I have an answer now without changing any crossers so v happy. Couldn’t find the right animals.

  9. My comments disappeared into the ether.

    In short, finished in less time than last week, so heading in the right direction, 7d my favourite, and quite prepared to stick at it over time to get to learn Dada’s setting style. Following Virgilius was always going to be tough for the setter, and indeed for we devotees of his puzzles, but surely as crossword addicts we like a challenge?

    Thanks Dada and Senf.

  10. Have to say that I found this every bit as hard as last Sunday’s offering and I can’t say that I really enjoyed it.
    Got into a pickle with 1d where, having got the first vowel as a checker, I thought I’d dealt with ‘for every one’ – wrong!
    Also struggled to parse 27a – seems that CS saved the day there for many of us – and took a ridiculously long time to sort out 17d.

    I did like 15a along with 4&7d but I miss Virgilius dreadfully.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints – I’ll forgive you in time for the Chuck Berry clip!

  11. Well I did it without seeing the hints with SW corner last in mainly due to entering the wrong answer for 21A .
    Very slow start today but eventually got going . Favourite 9A .
    Thanks to everyone .

  12. Got 6a, 9a and 10a straight off, thought I was on a roll but came to an abrupt
    stop. Far too hard for me. Glad I’m not the only one to be defeated by this Toughie grade puzzle.
    Ta to Dada & Senf

  13. Chuck Berry’s My Ding A Ling was recorded live at The Locarno Ballroom Coventry on the 3rd February 1972. I was there. As far as I know it is the only number one single that I have sung on. The puzzle is indeed tough.

    1. Yes you are correct, revision made – I think my brain was confused by the pluralisation of credentials, probably the result of too much or perhaps not enough Mouton Cadet Blanc.

      1. Too much wine? Not possible. I either fall over, fall asleep, or both long before ‘too much’.

  14. I got about half way and rpground to a halt. Even with the hints, it was slow going. So it’s another Sunday capitulation and the chance to look forward to a puzzle more my level on Monday (hopefully). Well done to everyone who got on the right wavelength and thanks the Senf for the hints.

  15. I liked it too Rick. Much as I love and miss the puzzles Virgilius treated us to (or Rufus for that matter), I am also quite happy with a Dada puzzle.

    Many thanks to him and to Senf

  16. After spending what would be a ***** time on it, I have solved 5 or possibly 6 clues.

    I agree with many comments above. Surely the prize puzzles should be solvable by more than the elite. Label this one a Toughie and please give us mortals a chance with a proper one.

    Thanks to all.

  17. There’s a website called Dan’sworld which gives the anwers but even so I couldn’t match many of the clues to the answers.

    Thanks to all

  18. I’m in the “Too hard for me” camp. Doing this at the bar over our Sunday lunch preprandial we were well into 5* time. Got just 2 across and 5 downs. Pommers has finished it and said we were “just being thick”. Easier than last week, but I can’t get on Dada’s wavelength though.
    Thanks though Dada for the puzzle and Senf for the hints.

  19. I couldn’t begin to get to grips with this horror – not my scene. Life is too short to do battle with the likes of this. Those of you who completed are all Gungo Dins to me. I only managed to fill the grid in thanks to much outside assistance – not my idea of weekend fun. Certainly no Fav and I won’t bother to list all the clues with which I have a gripe. Thanks anyway to Dada (?) for time spent on compiling this and particularly to Senf for services rendered. 👎😢

  20. Thanks to Senf’s hints giving more checkers, one that remains a bung in and sheer cussedness I finished.
    Doesn’t seem the same when basically somebody else does the hard yards though.

    I think that is the problem for me there are just not enough checkers I can get that gives me a chance to get things I can see no shape to

    Perhaps with coaching I will improve, or then again painting the skirting boards may
    Thanks again Senf.

  21. I don’t usually comment much but today I will. I can usually solve most DT puzzles without too much trouble but the last two Sunday puzzles have seemed unusually difficult to me.

    I really enjoyed Vergilius with my morning Cappuccino on a Sunday – but these two puzzles have taken me a long time to solve with three sessions today. More time than I really want to commit to a Sunday puzzle.

    I don’t doubt there are many solvers here who relish such puzzles but I think they are far too difficult for most solvers and thus not as enjoyable.

    I am saddened at this change and wonder why it has occurred.

    Likely I will not bother tackling these puzzles on Sunday in the future – more because they are just too time consuming and not very enjoyable. I have other things to do with my time.

    I can only hope that more reasonable puzzles appear in future weeks as this should be an enjoyable experience for most solvers.

  22. I suspect the DT has had complaints about no Toughie on Sundays. So rather than add one, they have sneaked it in disguised as the Sunday Prize Cryptic. A wolf in sheep’s clothing to be sure. So now I only get 6 cryptics to enjoy each week, instead of the 7 I pay dearly for. Although retired, I can’t spend all day googling to find the answers, and what is the point in that? I got exactly 8 unaided answers today. For others who only have time to play at weekends this must be very disappointing. I know you can’t please all the people all the time, but this seems to be aimed only at the truly gifted solvers.

  23. Oh no, comment lost to the ether again!
    I agree with Jane.
    Not quite as difficult as last week but definitely not enjoyable.
    Managed to finish it but what a slog.
    Maybe we’ll get used to it.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  24. Oh and thanks to Senf for the hints. Total in awe that you can solve all of these. Clever man to be sure.

      1. Oh sorry, I had no idea. Clever lady then. I always had this picture of a big burly Canadian chap shoveling snow… nice to know there is yet another smart solver on the team, in addition to CrypticSue and Kath.

      2. On reflection I think you (Toni) might have misread my comment addressed in fact to Senf. So perhaps I am right with my Canadian chap assumption?

        1. I had assumed that your comment was directed my way and it was just that Toni’s (first) comment was ‘sandwiched’ between your two. However, some of your thoughts are incorrect – not big and burly, don’t shovel snow, have two passports both underwritten by HM, have got the knack of solving crosswords with years (too many to admit to) of practice. I should stop there.

          1. I stand corrected. But you are definitely clever. I too have years of practice, but I still struggle with *** difficulty, and could never provide the hints.

            1. I was surprised.
              Although I always complete them I’m nowhere near the standard of Kath and CS and certainly couldn’t do the hints unless you wanted them at midnight!

  25. Starting to get the measure of Dada, seems like he is changing the wolf and the clothing. We like the new challenge – our laurels were starting to itch a bit anyway.

    And – for those who prefer a Sunday amble, try Navy’s first:

    Thanks to the confused dead fans.

    MTs and Mrr

    1. Thank you for the link.
      It enlightened me to the age references yesterday. I certainly felt my age when I realised I am 61 years older than the compiler of the DT crossword! I doff my cap to you Navy (and thank you again).

  26. Finished! I usually do Sunday’s puzzles late on Saturday night. I gave up after only five answers, in case the cock started to crow. But with 5d being near to me I thought it would all fall into place after a morning walk on the beach. Not quite. So off to Church. And lo, divine intervention (sorry Brian) seemed to take hold and it all fell into place quite nicely.

    So, I just need to plan three sittings for Dada and, with a few more of his puzzles under the belt, I will hopefully get more on his wave length. And if it takes three sessions, that’s fine by me – night time rum, coffee after the beach and ice cold dry sherry after Mass!

    Thanks Dada and Senf; I suggest you might think about a winter bolt hole as it’s a very pleasant 84f and sunny here today.

  27. I have been solving all of Dada’s crosswords for the last few years, in the telegraph and as Paul in the Guardian.
    I do find him hard to crack but getting the solutions always provides such a great penny drop moment.
    Keep them coming.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review.

  28. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. I used to really enjoy the Virgilius puzzles on a Sunday. Alas, if this is going to be the norm, I will not even be looking at the Sunday puzzle. No criticism of the setter, but it’s just too difficult. I couldn’t even understand some of the hints. I’ll have to wait for Sue’s review, I’m still 6 answers short. Only managed to solve 3 clues, before resorting to the hints. Absolutely unfathomable. Was 5*/0* for me.

  29. Had a hard afternoon teaching Photoshop. Came back in the hope of relaxing with the crossword. On first run-through I got no answers and not any idea what was required. Even when I first started I could get one or two but none is my new record. I will have a look at the hints but don’t expect there will be a revelation. Cancelled my print subscription and was assured someone will ring me back to amend it to a digital subscription that was 5 days ago. No call received. I will probably get the I in future.

  30. Well, I’ve not finished this and have a couple left which Senf didn’t hint (but much thanks anyway). The comments are an interesting mix and polarised. I’m in the not happy camp because Sundays were probably the most enjoyable puzzles of the week. This was humourless and obscure for me. Like Merusa, I’ll still tackle the remaining six days but I think I’ll skip future Sunday DT puzzles for something more rewarding. Thanks to Dada in any event as I’m sure you spend much effort to put this puzzle together.

  31. This was not enjoyable. Without a few online searches and more beer than usual to ponder over the clues we would not have completed it. I suppose with more exposure to this setter we will start to become accustomed to his style, but even when you have some of the answers (e.g. 2,7 and 8d) it is hard to be convinced the answer is a definite fit with the clue, such is the tenuous nature of the link. I have never come across 2 or 23d. Whilst some may relish this level of challenge, I would cancel my DT crossword subscription if this style of puzzle were to become the norm.

  32. Well, Mr and I really struggled this week as well.

    And to us it was kind of sneaky because we got the first few across quite easily. I just want to say that 2D is not a term I’ve ever heard before despite 30 years and more as a beancounter.

  33. Another very difficult solve but 24d reminds me of a Ray T crossword clue (the clue made reference to motorway madness) some time ago. Brian, after an explanation from another comment, suggested it was way above his pay grade. After much practice, Brian seems to be a convert to Ray T puzzles. Lets see how we all feel in a few weeks when we get the hang of the setter!
    I have not come across the answer to 2d before so a plus point for me.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  34. I was reluctant to make any comment last Sunday, and I am equally reluctant to say anything today either.
    I do not like to make any criticism of any puzzle, especially considering the hard work that each setter puts into their creation…
    However, I will say, that in my opinion, the level of difficulty this week and last, is a little higher than I want to see on a Sunday morning. I have no adversion to a tough puzzle, and actually I relish the challenge, but I am not sure I want to be mentally pushed to this extent on a lazy weekend.
    There is a fine line between a challenging prize puzzle and a toughie.
    I just hope that the DT won’t continue to set its level too high on a Sunday, because I for one will abstain, and will maybe print it off mid-week when the children are at school and life is more serious.
    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  35. Phew! I’ve completed it. Couple of bung-ins but I think I’m ok. Yeah, it’s a challenge but I would far prefer that to a R&R. My problem is I’m finding the site hard work with all the negative comments.
    Things will settle people… have faith!
    11a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the hints.

    1. The Cryptic has always offered a happy medium between R & W and Toughie levels – this certainly did not fit that bill. Let’s hope the Ed is listening to all of us.

  36. Well, what do I say? Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. Did I get all the answers without a source of reference or two? No. Have I finished it? You bet I did, lol. So what? It’s only a bit of fun to keep the old grey matter exercised. I first began by doing crossword puzzles with my mother when we ‘did’ the Sunday Express Skeleton and General Knowledge crossword puzzles back in the days when that newspaper was a broadsheet in the 1960s. We used dictionaries, the Bible and the Arthur Mee Children’s Encyclopedia when we needed outside help, broadening our knowledge as we went. Nothing has changed – or has it? Now we have the Internet at our disposal and battery operated word solver ‘thingies’ for those occasions for if and when our knowledge is lacking or age makes us forgetful in the things, as my wife says, “we used to know”. I like to solve totally unaided and personal pride largely demands that I do, but when I’m confronted with a setter whose ‘thinking’ is way outside mine then I’m certainly not too proud to look for outside inspiration. If I’m really stuck for an answer I’ll type out the whole clue into a Google search and who’s there to help? That dreadfully clever so and so Dan Ward – does he know everything? I sometimes believe that he does. I can’t pretend that I actually enjoyed today’s solve, but it was most definitely easier to solve than last Sunday’s. With time I think and hope I’ll get into this guy’s way of cluing as indeed I did with RayT/Beam and Mr Manley – the day when they finally hang up their cross-wording boots will be a very sad day for me. However, my Sunday epistle now over, so thanks to both setter and Senf – I’m off to my darkened room to chill with a craft gin – or two. :-)

  37. Many thanks Mr. Setter for stretching my crossword solving skills to the limit.
    Only a few to go, but I shall persevere.
    Some very ingenious constructions.
    Thanks Senf for the nicely illustrated review.

  38. Our second Dada Sunday Toughie, and my second DNF. At the close even with the help of a word finder I was unable to pick any likely looking answers, so gave up. If the puzzle had been at all accessible, enjoyable, or engaging I might have continued, but this offering didn’t fall into any of those categories. Several of the answers I did get I simply couldn’t see why. I don’t like to be so negative about a crossword, but this was simply quite depressing.

  39. Perhaps have a Dada Toughie like this on a weekday where a full set of hints are available at 1100, I think the issue is wavelength rather than difficulty, certainly for me. The trouble with it being on a Sunday is that CS’s full explanation is not available for about 11 days by which time we have all forgotten the puzzle.

    1. there’s certainly a whole world of difference in difficulty between the Dada that appeared in the middle of the paper last Tuesday and the two Sunday puzzles.

      Some people have put knots in their hankies to remind them to look at my review of last Sunday’s crossword on Thursday morning; perhaps a double knot might remind them to look at the review of this one, coming to a blog near you on 6th December

      1. Yes, Sue looking forward to last week’s review on Thursday.
        I don’t suppose you would email me this week’s review if I promise not to enter the prize?

  40. Oh – not just me then – thank goodness for that
    After a pretty hectic weekend I’ve just had a quick look – I have precisely four answers but haven’t looked at hints or read the comments other than what is enough to get the general feeling.
    Lots of people have been here for the weekend and we still have our Younger Lamb – I’m going to take her back to London tomorrow and might continue what I suspect is an equal struggle with today’s crossword when I get home.
    With thanks to Dada and, in advance, to Senf for the hints that I’m sure I will need – hmmm, a pity no answers as I think I’ll need them too.

  41. I can’t help feeling that somewhere Dada is reading this blog and is quietly pi**ing himself laughing.

      1. Merusa,
        I don’t know these things probably because he composed the things weeks ago & I guess what went in this week probably was also.

        On HIYD comment. I find it very sad if that is true. Yesterday a teenage first timer took great delight in having her puzzle universally praised yet (if your theory is right) today a seasoned compiler would find pleasure in spoiling what has become a feature of their weekend. At least it has provoked a lively blog! Bit like Albert poking Wallace with his stick with the ‘orses ‘ ead ‘andle.
        On your wavelength theory you may be right & in a couple of year’s time I might be used to Dada (as it did to get the last setter, learning curves tend to get much less steep at my age). Problem is at my age it becomes a law of diminishing returns.

  42. I like this puzzle. The styles are always changing… over the last 50 years or so I’ve gotten used to re-thinking and I am amazed at the new subtleties that appear. Of course it can be hard to solve a puzzle – but for me that is far, far easier than constructing it. Hats off to the compilers – without you I would lose some serious mental exercise.

    Oh, and I think they are getting tougher – my wife has become pretty good at them and I now have to rely on her to sort them out!

  43. Wow. Have there EVER been as many comments as this before? It was certainly difficult, I am still stuck on a couple but I just accept that I am not going to complete every single crossword I come across. Thank you Senf for your hints but you didn’t cover the ones I was stuck on. By the way, Wahoo, here in Cambridge it is a whisky Mack after church it is so cold. But I do not for a moment imagine anyone ever reads me as I come in so late. And taking advantage of that fact, just what possesses people to bother to put their text in single letters? That is far more annoying than a difficult crossword!

  44. There seems a lot of negativity regarding this puzzle. Yes, it’s a very difficult crossword. I got it down to four, sadly for me two of those had no hint. But, being realistic, I solved 24 of 28 clues, a total I’m not displeased with, given the degree of difficulty. I’ll mark it *****/**, and soldier on.

    Thanks Senf for the hints.

  45. I’ve never got on Dada’s wavelength, and this was no exception. I got 2, with no real idea how to solve any of the others…. at least I wasn’t alone!!

  46. Took me a while, but I got there in the end. I really enjoyed it, but it needed a significant investment in time – which I happened to have spare. I can understand the comments from those that didn’t. I don’t see why the occasional Sunday puzzle shouldn’t be of Toughie standard, though.

    1. Frequently asked questions (FAQj at the top of the page. No 22 explains how to set your own avatar KW. As you may have noticed I change mine quite often

  47. Way above my pay grade, I’m afraid. Only had 3 answers when I lost the will to persevate.
    Thanks to Senf for the hints which only helped me to solve another couple. When I lost my encounters with Mr Greer I was happy to concede because it was usually obvious why he’d defeated me. In this puzzle I am completely lost.

  48. We get used to change.
    I’m getting used to Macron, the Americans are getting used to Trump and the rest of you better get used to Brexit.
    You’ll soon love Dada.

    1. Where exactly do you get the idea that Americans are getting used to Trump? Every day he does something that was worse than the day before.

  49. The most difficult puzzle we have encountered in years. Took us until Thursday to get all except 27a, which even with the hints, we still can’t see. So we are one under par. Does that count as a birdie?

    1. Split your answer 3,3 and read in reverse. The first word is an egg. The second means to stuff. The whole read the right way is a bird as in the first word of the clue. Hopefully this hint only works if you have an answer to work from.

      1. Doh! Spelled the feast wronglly. Now I feel like Homer Simpson. But at least my birdie comment was prescient! Tvm Miffypops.

  50. I eventually completed this yesterday (Sunday)! What a struggle!

    I was lulled into a false sense of security to begin with — 13 solved in the first pass. That slowly grew to 17, and the rest was a battle royal. I picked it up and dropped it, getting one or perhaps two to keep me going. Finally, having got as far as I could on my own, I consulted Senf’s excellent hints for the those that totally defeated me. I would never have got 28a without the hint. I’m still not sure about a couple of my answers.

    My fave was 15a which I got very early on.

    The greatest enjoyment gained from this crossword was merely being able to solve some of the clues. It was way too difficult for me.

    Many thanks to Dada for the puzzle and to Senf for the super hints.

    1. This needed moderation because you omitted one element of your usual email address – I’ve inserted it for you.

      1. Thank you very much Gazza. Big apologies. I’m sorry to have put you to unneccessary trouble.

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