DT 29317 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29317 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29317 (Hints)
The Saturday Crossword Club
Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good morning everyone

Hope you are all safe and well.  I’m off to work in a few moments keeping the trains running.  Just time to blog and make my sandwiches to keep me going till 11 tonight.  I’m picking up some overtime so that if I have to go off down the line, I have my normal income (hopefully!).  

I’ve had some very interesting calls, most of which I can’t talk about, but I thought I’d share this one.

Someone rang in to query whether they could get a refund.

Person wants to get a refund on advance train tickets

Me :       “Where did you buy them?  “

Passenger:          “Trainline”

Me:        “I’m afraid you need to speak to them, they’ll sort it”

P:            “Why can’t you refund me?”

Me         “We’re a different company and you are not travelling on GWR”

P             But you’re a train company, you’re all the same”

Me         “It’s a bit  like going to M&S and then asking Waitrose for a refund.”

P             I wouldn’t be seen dead in Waitrose,..”

<Bangs head against desk>

Anyway, back to today’s puzzle.   The best advice, if you have a blank grid, is to tackle the abundance of three and four letter word answers.  That will give you a hold and you should be able to push on from there. One clue is a bit of a baffler and I’ve enlisted the help of two other wise people and we all arrive at the same idea.

If you are at a loose end, a reminder there are other free puzzles around –  The Guardian website has its daily cryptic, plus a few other slightly easier omes – the Quiptic and the Speedy; the Financial Times has a puzzle by our Sunday setter.   Stay safe and if you want to avoid the gloom and doom, I recommend  Scala Radio, an oasis of calm with some splendid music and broadcasters.

See you soon!

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 Entire ancient city has time for good health (3,3,4)
Something meaning entire is added to an ancient city and the abbreviation for time.

9a European abroad sees wild flower as national symbol (9)
An abbreviation for European plus an anagram of sees wild.

13a Tragic royal’s damaged pectoral area (9)
An anagram of pectoral plus the symbol for area.


17a Rook is served with fish dish (7)
The abbreviation for a castle in chess, plus is, and the name of a fish. Guess we’ll be making these soon….



18a Release gang without charge (3,4)
A word (the one with the most definitions in the Big Red Book) meaning a group and something that doesn’t cost anything.

21a Boxing ace, Prescott walloped onlooker (9)
Made me smile. Around (boxing) the symbol for an ace in cards goes an anagram of Prescott

25a Organism spreads to consume upper-class twit (9)
An anagram (spread) of organism goes round the abbreviation for upper-class.


30a Barnet lies approximately 580 miles from here! (4,6)
Another nice one! An anagram (approximately) of Barnet lies.


1d Ships not completed — take flight (4)
A word for a group of ships, minus the last letter.

3d Mike’s misery over Persian’s remark? (4)
The NATO phonetic letter represented by Mike plus the reverse of a word meaning misery,


4d Give drugs to banish cold and help settle (7)
A word meaning to give drugs to someone, minus (banish) C.

8d Dairy product from perfect female in club (9)
A word meaning perfect or total plus the abbreviation for female inside the name for a club.

13d Youngsters spotted with it cross Yellow River first (10)
This can be normally written (7,3) [the print version has 10,0]. A word meaning yellow or cowardly plus the name of an Italian river all go before the letter that means cross.



19d Art expressing the ultimate in shabbiness? (7)
Three erudite minds (well, two and me) have decided that this is two definitions. Another way of expressing how in the Middle Ages you would say ‘art’ to mean ‘you are’, plus a word meaning very shabby or underhand. [Slightly more of a hint this time]

26d Fortieth curry for Cockneys? (4)
How a Cockney describes a curry (the name of a 50’s singer minus the surname) is the name for an anniversary.

28d Egyptian port mentioned (4)
The name for an Egyptian port also means mentioned.



Some music to finish and we have said goodbye to a country music legend today and this is probably his finest hour: –


[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQPcq-jhOdw” /]

R I P Kenny Rogers

The Crossword Club is now open.

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. If in doubt, leave it out!

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.

The Quick Crossword pun: sill+herb+lack=Cilla Black

117 comments on “DT 29317 (Hints)

  1. 1*/3*. This was a light and pleasant puzzle to start the weekend.

    My only hold up was 19d which was my last one in based on the definition and checking letters. I did consider the explanation given by Tilsit but rejected it as being absurd and totally out of character with the rest of the puzzle. However I suppose it must be right. To quote Sherlock Holmes, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    It was nice to see a different ancient city putting in an appearance.

    Even though it is quite an old story now, I particularly liked the surface of 21a, and my joint favourites were 30a & 13d.

    Many thanks to the Saturday Mysteron and to Tilsit.

    1. As I said to Tilsit earlier this morning, 19d will be the one thing everyone complains about today

      1. Perhaps it would have been fairer to clue it starting with ‘thou art’ – just a thought .

        1. Welcome to the blog – I have redacted your comment as it was an incorrect parsing of the clue

          As we have said elsewhere in today’s comment, let’s all wait until Friday when I will publish the editor/setter’s explanations for 19d

    2. My view is that the answer to 19d could, at a stretch, be “art expressing” rather than just “art”. In Chambers Thesaurus, among the synonyms listed for the four-letter root word in the answer, is to convey or express.

      1. That makes much more sense, BD, albeit a rather abstruse construction. Perhaps thou art expressing the truth?

  2. A very enjoyable if slightly tricky puzzle in places. I really liked 13d, and, as I write, 19d still eludes me. My favourite was 21a. I thought the concise clueing was excellent, adding to the quality.

    Thanks to our Saturday setter and Tilsit.

  3. All fairly easy except for 19D . The iPad now confirms “all correct “ !!
    Thanks Tilsit and the Setter .

    1. And you’ll note that the “Submit” block is below the ‘.Quickie’ which is also numbered 29,317. Another update screwing things up!

  4. I still don’t understand 19d … but I think I deserve some air miles for understanding 30a.

    The Quickie Pun produced a lorra, lorra laughs!

    Many thanks to Tilsit and setter.

  5. I am still wrestling with 19d , even with the help given by the hint . I think my answer has to be correct, but the first definition is a bit of a stretch.
    I needed some electronic help with 4d too … with the resultant ‘doh’ when I saw the solution…..should have had another coffee and another think before caving in.
    Otherwise I thought this crossword was very enjoyable.

    Thanks to Tilsit and good luck with your callers. Thanks to the setter who I hope will post his thinking behind 19d at some point.

    Keep inside and safe, everyone.

    1. I had a problem with 4d as well, but now that I have the answer, I can’t see why I did!

  6. Reasonably straightforward, except for 19d – more on that below – even the plethora of four letter answers did not cause any problems, for completion at a gallop – **/***.
    19d was my last entry and a complete bung-in confirmed as correct on submission, and I am not sure that I understand Tilsit’s hint. I hope that it will become clearer on Friday when the review is published.
    Candidates for favourite – 6a, 13d, and 26d – and the winner is 26d.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  7. Altogether rather tricky and I too am still baffled by 19d, although I accept the explanation provided by cleverer minds than mind (thank you Tilsit). Strangely, I found this harder than yesterday’s puzzle and the clues rather wordy (****/***) and impenetrable. One man’s meat is another man’s poison as they say. The anagrams and 13d (when the penny finally dropped ) were the best part of this puzzle for me. Thank you to the compiler. Off to do some gardening now (keeping 2m from my neighbours, who very kindly offered to get some bananas for me this morning). Sometimes a crisis brings out the best in us rather than the stockpiling frenzy.

    1. It exists just as much as North Manchester or East London, it’s just not a separate entity anymore.

  8. Anybody else agree with Rabbit Dave’s single * for difficulty? I haven’t started it yet, so was wondering if it would be suitable to try to solve with our 7-year-old. (With the schools closed, I need something to occupy the children’s days.)

    So far I’ve only given the 7yo puzzles that I’ve already solved — meaning I can pick the easier ones — but it’d be nice to try one together.


    1. I too gave today’s Prize Puzzle 1* but I’m probably not the best person to ask. The Guardian has a Quiptic crossword every Monday, a mix of quick and cryptic clues – you can find them at all at https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/series/quiptic

      I’ve bought two Usborne children’s crossword books which I was going to take to Northern Ireland for our grandson’s 7th birthday in June – he was very interested in what I was doing when we were there at Christmas, even offering to help with Elgar’s Double Toughie which he thought looked ‘very difficult – but I have a feeling I’ll be posting the books and our attendance at the grandchildren’s double (7 and 2) birthday party may be by Skype :(

      1. Thanks, Sue. I’ve tried the Quiptic in the past and got stuck — maybe cos I generally find so-called ‘quick’ crosswords harder than cryptics, or maybe because there isn’t a hinting service for getting unstuck (Fifteen Squared have explanations, but with the answers clearly visible.) I might give it another go.

        Children’s crossword books seem all to be the non-cryptic type, hence why I’ve been introducing the 7yo to (selected) actual Telegraph crosswords, while providing copious guidance.

  9. The DT App kindly confirmed that my answer to 19d is correct and I think, with the help of the wise heads here, that I just about understand it. The distance in 30a troubled me before I realised today’s setter is a flying crow and not an AA patrol man.
    And needless to say, I still can’t submit my solution electronically…😤
    Thank you as always to all involved.

    1. I downloaded the new App this morning and like the new format. However, I am asked to submit my Quickie answers while I am unable to do so with the Prize Puzzle. Get a grip Telegraph.

      1. Agree. The Telegraph is hardly demonstrating being “Britain’s Best Quality Newspaper” once again. Small beer in current climate but frustrating when the app has been updated.

        Last in 19d which I agree was a tad obscure. Otherwise, pretty uneventful fare. Thanks for review.

      2. I’m sure it would help others if the platform for the DT App was also mentioned – there seem to be so many different flavours – PC, Android, iPad/iPhone apps, Telegraph Digital edition etc. – personally I use the PC based app at Telegraph Puzzles and, occasionally, the Telegraph Digital edition on my Android phone, which includes some interactive puzzles.

          1. Me to YS & it’s beyond a farce. Yet again I had to delete then reinstall to get today’s edition.

            1. Welcome to the blog. We already have a commenter called ‘Nigel’ so it would be helpful if you could change your alias to something different to avoid confusion

              Apart from buying the newspaper from Tuesday to Friday, I believe the only other way to access the Toughie is via a subscription to Telegraph puzzles https:/puzzles.telegraph.co.uk/ will give you all the details.

  10. I scratched my head over 3d. I’d forgotten about that Persian. That was probably straight in for Mr K. Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  11. OK but certainly not ace. As others have mentioned above 30a is an anachronism. Took a while to tumble to Persian in 3d. As RD has pointed out in the past 27d clue really is very wide-ranging. I join the band of 19d queriers – it was my last to go in and was unparsed. 13d raised a giggle. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

    1. I don’t think there is the same problem with 27d as with some which require us to guess a proper noun as a prerequisite to working out the answer. There are thousands of ladies’ names to guess at. In this particular case it is relatively easy to think of a sheep backwards – can’t be too many synonyms for sheep followed by the NATO alphabet Yankee. Even simpler if you have one or both of the checkers first.

  12. I quite enjoyed this and got confirmation that all was correct, including 19d which I guessed at for the first meaning. So now we have a prize crossword that we cant submit, a quickie that invites me to submit but then tells me there is an error in so doing, and continuous jumping about the clues, with a delay in letter entering. I have written to DT again, received the usual platitudes as to how busy they all are and have complete conviction that nothing will happen!

  13. Wow! Completed grid, but heaven knows how? Obscurity is the key word today for me. Some tentative answers I still don’t fully understand, even after reading through for a third time. Never mind, I always ask for a challenge, and today it was delivered. Thanks all round. Stay safe!

  14. I’m in the “Art expressing” school of thought.

    Just happy to have finally finished yesterday’s Toughie.

    Happy Saturday all.

  15. A nice gentle puzzle today, completed in the bath – until I got to 19d, which I still cannot fathomr despite the hints. Got a bung-in but can’t see why. Favourite was 13d, and least favourite was 30a (apart, of course, from 19d!).

  16. A quick solve overall, but I was beaten by 19d. I did like the surface of 21a, and the usual good humoured blog from Tilsit was a welcome break from the information onslaught just now. And yes, RIP Kenny Rogers.

  17. Just to be a bit different I thought that this was one of the strangest crosswords to come out if the Telegraph for some time. I suspect though I am in the minority. All the short clues completed in rcord time. Some real gimmies and some toughies. For some readon it felt like a write in then suddenly a difficult clue. A good old favourite in 2d some good word play in others. Still only needed a couple of hints.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter. Hope you all are keeping safe and not sufferingg to much cabin fever.

  18. Today’s setter certainly gave us a bit of everything – a couple of crosswordland’s current favourites in 9a & 2d, a slight oddity in 30a, a head-scratcher in 19d and a wealth of those 3&4-letter answers that nobody cares for very much!
    6a was probably my favourite and I wish that for all of us.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for manning the fort.

  19. I too was flummoxed by 19d. I eventually bunged in an answer but I cannot parse it and the hints did not make it any clearer, I’m afraid. The rest of the puzzle had its tricky moments and I am not absolutely convinced all my answers are right. There are also some great clues. I thought 30a (despite its anachronistic nature) and 13d were great. The latter came to me with lightbulbs flashing all over the place so this is my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the hints.

      1. We do ask that commenters don’t address their questions to individual comment posters

        With regard to 19d, every effort has been made to assist solvers to get the solution to 19d. Tilsit has given the clearest hint ever in one of the comment threads and has also said that he is going to find out exactly what the setter wanted and this information will be included in my review of today’s puzzle which will be published at 9 am on Friday morning

  20. Thought this was going to be a walk in the park to start with, the top half just flew in. Then when I moved down I ground to a total halt.

    Several clues completely foxed me. 13d for a start, is breaking down answers into sections like this considered fair tactics? 14d
    misdirected me to seek the usual former wife which brought me to the inevitable dead end. As for 19d I still cant see it in spite of all the comments.

    However I actually found the puzzle very satisfying for some strange reason. Maybe I need to think more about what Rabbit Dave says above: To quote Sherlock Holmes, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    Thanks Tilsit and the Setter – whoever you are!

    1. For some strange reason 13 down was marked as (10,0) when I printed the crossword.

  21. Very straightforward after the last two days. The only clue to stand out was19d which I’ve solved but still don’t really understand

  22. Having googled places 580 miles away came up with Loch Ness which put a spanner in the works for a while! Still can’t get 19d despite the hints. Don’t really understand the hints especially as one of the words in the hint would appear in my answer so obviously I am wrong. Has rather spoiled the day.

  23. CS totally right about 19d, didn’t understand and even after the hints it still makes little sense. Could someone explain without going to the naughty step what the answer to 8a had to do with Slough? If you take out the letter referred to what’s left seems a million miles from Slough. I know its no holiday spot but seems a bit derogatory to refer to it as this although Betjeman was not keen.
    Apart from that a very pleasant puzzle that’s about my level. My fav was 13d, made me smile.
    Thx to all
    PS Is this a Prize puzzle, no indication of it on the iPad and it tells you at the end that everything is correct?

    1. Brian, you and I feel the same way about 19d. And if I hadn’t taught the allegorical Pilgrim’s Progress over the years, I might also wonder why poor Slough was being so cruelly being dissed. I’ve had many occasions in my long life when I tried to avoid the Slough of Despond, but often fell right into it.

      1. Well who would have thought it! I didn’t look it up because it was capitalised which I thought was very naughty of the setter.

    2. In this case Slough is the permitted, perhaps questionable, misdirection of using a capital letter where it would not normally be used.

      1. Not sure why it is questionable – setters have been using Misleading Capitals for years and years

        1. I lived there in my youth, but I didn’t fall into the capital S trap. I have always thought it a very fitting name…

  24. This is from Romeo and Juliet

    Juliet: :I come, anon.—But if thou ******* not well, I do beseech thee—

    And a quote from Benjamin Franklin

    “Employ thy time well, if thou ******* to gain leisure.”

    Swap the answer with ‘art’ and you should get the drift.

    Note for Brian: One of the definitions of Slough (sluff)

    I guess our setter today (or the clue writer) may be used to setting more difficult puzzles; this is the sort of clue that could pass muster in a Listener and not in a daily. Don’t trouble yourself too much with it.

  25. I filled in 19d once I had all the checkers without fully understanding it and I read the hints and comments above over and over until the penny finally dropped. Can’t say I particularly liked that clue, but apart from that I really enjoyed the rest.

    13d was my last one in and I liked the penny drop moment so that’s my favourite.

    As others have said, on completion I was told it was all correct even though it’s a Saturday prize puzzle. I haven’t looked at the Quick crossword yet, but fully expect, from the comments of others, to be invited to submit that one.

    Never mind, there are worse problems in life.

    Many thanks to all.

  26. Coming from John Bunyan’s town I got this one. Slough of Despond from his best known work.
    Suffering from not you know what but a lack of rugby both live and on tv. It will seem a long while until we get more.

  27. Like everyone not sure about 19d and was thrown into confusion by 30a.Nevertheless very good challenge and fun .Thanks to all.

  28. I refuse to believe that any of the setters of the often brilliant puzzles we find at DT could be mean-spirited or even sadistic, but if Tilsit and crypticsue are right (what else could it be?) about 19d, I think it must take more than a holy leap of faith to arrive at the correct answer, whichever of the two meanings Tilsit suggests might be possible. As if I had not already suffered enough with 26d, there’s no way on God’s green earth that this American anglophile was ever going to ‘know’ the answer, although a good guess gave it to me. And I don’t think that ‘fortieth’ by itself suffices. Really now. (I thought I knew a great deal about Cockney rhyming, but clearly, though, not enough for 26d.) Jeez.

    Otherwise, a really fine, even superb, puzzle. Podium pushy-full today, with several ties for bronze: 1a, 13d, 30a, 5d, 28d. But 1a is my COTD.

    It’s not often I feel so unsettled about a puzzle (fanks, setter, for 19 and 26d) but these days–with nerves already a bit rattled–I would rather be comforted and pampered a bit here in my shell-on-earth. (Yes, I meant ‘fanks’!) Thank you Tilsit for your conscientiousness and some, but not all, thanks to the setter. ***** / ***

    1. 26a also refers to a quintessentially British songstress famed for soulful ballads inthe late 1940’s and 50’s, who connects to the rhyming slang. Old Cockneys like myself may remember her but I suspect you are not alone in being mystified, Robert.

  29. Pretty straightforward apart from the obvious which was a bung in & in my humble view a pretty poor clue. Overall not really my cup of tea as I dislike & invariably struggle with the 3 & 4 letter ones. 13d was my clear pick of today’s clues. Anyway much to my surprise I was able to procure a good selection of bottled real ales from a nearby ‘offi’ so at least they’ll be something to quaff now that the local hostelry is out of bounds for the foreseeable.

  30. Same as many here. most tripped off my pencil with alacrity but 4d caused a pause (my fault – a checker from 9a was wrong)
    and then 19d LOI and still not fully understood it. I agree with the definition as underlined but no idea how to construct my answer from the rest. Tesco has delivered more bananas than any sensible person could consume in a month of Sundays. If I could only get some 8d I could freeze the nanas and blend them with the 8d to make instant banana ice cream.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter – please pop in and explain 19d.
    6a 8a-gers come here!

  31. ***/****. Very enjoyable even with 19d which was more toughie material than the Saturday prize puzzle. 6a was my favourite mainly because this ancient city rarely makes an appearance. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  32. Straightforward pleasant exercise that didn’t over test .
    Liked the quickie pun
    Thanks to setter & Tilset for review

  33. Quite enjoyable and doable with electronic help and hints so a “***” for me. Yes 19d is a stinker but can be justified at a stretch. The majority of clues were relatively easily parseable justs few needing extra help. Thanks to all

  34. Tilsit mentions the Guardian Cryptic crossword. Is there an equivalent blog to Big Dave’s for the Guardian crossword?

  35. 6a was my favourite and of course I liked the quickie pun. A lot of words concerning 19d – but I think I have it. Thank goodness for something to get our heads around other than you know what. Thank you – Stay well everyone.

  36. 19d incomplete on my grid, the rest ok.
    My doctor told me I must be at least fifteen metres from anyone I choose to hurl obscenities at.

    Anti-social distancing.


  37. Could I perhaps suggest that as the DT has completely undermined its own competition by confirming a correct solve that one of those lucky few who actually understand 19d just come out with the answer and a breakdown of the clue to put the rest of us out of our misery.

      1. And thank you for that. I hate bunging in an answer with having the satisfaction of knowing why.

      2. Brian could change his name to Willieneverlearn if we didn’t have one already. Perhaps Willheneverread?

  38. Did The Two Ronnies do a restaurant sketch where the only thing on the menu was varieties of Rook?
    I believe the Rook 17a was highly recommended.

  39. Enjoyed it today- I was left with 4d and guess- 19d! Those short 4letter ones without the first letter are always a problem…loved the clever anagrams as many agreed.
    4d was the only answer in my 3-15 letter decoder. Thanks Tilsit for your 19d -I will go along with your last suggestion. I was left with a few that once I had all the cross clue letters jump out if you stared at them long enough. It is nice to have a rain free day, but the garden too wet to do very much. Thanks to the setter, hope you give us more of these!!

  40. Easy to solve apart from 19d. Favorite 13d. Can only echo the comments on the iPad. V frustrating.

    The journalism is also getting sloppy, so I will have to think about renewing our subscription.

  41. Perhaps being on the more brutal end of you genteel group of bloggers – lets face it, 19d was a xxxxxx, it didn’t work and however much you stretch erudite brains and urge it to work it does not describe the answer. Off day for the setter. That said I thought the rest of it was a good quality well structured puzzle which I for one thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks all

    1. Welcome to the blog. I can only refer you to comments elsewhere about 19d and the fact that I hope to provide clarification when the review of today’s puzzle appears here on Friday morning at 9 am

  42. For everyone unhappy with 19 down.

    The answer is contained in post 25 if you look carefully enough.

    Most of us have tried to parse it, and still people are unhappy. If you have an issue with it, can I suggest that you wait until Crypticsue’s blog, by which time I will have contacted the Editor to get an answer. To all intents and purposes, it’s a poor clue or at best one that probably does not belong in this sort of puzzle.

    The blog is not for posting direct answers, but we have made an exception.

    1. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle except for 19d. I’m afraid the hint didn’t help, but I bunged in an answer, which I now see was correct, by consulting comment 25! (Thanks Tilsit). Favourite was 3d. Was 2*/3* for me.

  43. Funny old puzzle, mostly very friendly and easily solvable, then a few that were mind bending. Thanks Tilst, finally solved 19d after your beating us over the head so many times. (Still not happy with it)
    Lots to like, 13d and 14d were fun, but fave was 6a.
    Thanks to our setter, and thanks to Tilsit for his hints and pics, and the very special tribute to Kenny Rogers, we’ll certainly miss him.

  44. Totally agree with comments on 19d, but let’s leave it and move on. When I opened the app this morning I was asked to re load which I did and discovered the new format. Started the crossword and noticed the submit button had disappeared. I was actually quite excited about this because I (mistakenly) thought the new app would have a really advanced hi tech means of submission. But no. On completion I too was told I had all answers correct, which is wrong for a prize puzzle, and still can’t submit on line. Really frustrating.
    Yes there are bigger problems out there and let’s hope we can all come through unscathed and quickly.

  45. Many thanks Tilsit, for confirming my 19d bung-in. I would never have understood it without your help.

  46. What a relief, after 2 stinker days, it was a joy to tackle today’s puzzle. Didn’t get to it until after lunch, spent entire morning trying to figure out why clothes dryer is working intermittently. The thought of possibly months with no dryer (we are not permitted to hang washing outdoors here), sent me into a tail spin. No pun intended. Finally crossed fingers and ordered a new timer. If it doesn’t work, then fingers crossed we can order on line from someone still willing to deliver, albeit driveway only and not in house. But huge thanks to the setter for cheering me up and to Tilsit, particularly for hint re the awful 19d, the only bad apple in this barrel.

  47. I have absolutely no idea what 19d is all about and the hint does not help, unfortunately.
    Good crossword, apart from that.
    Thanks all

    1. Sorry, just read Tilset’s comment @25 to explain 19d…”holy smoke” is all I can say!
      Thanks for bringing light to where all was dark.

  48. Phew….I can still solve crosswords! After the horrors of the last two days, this was a real delight! Lots of good clues but 30a made me smile. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  49. Well, I have to confess that I wrote this puzzle. And I suspect I’m not going to get away with claiming that Tilsit wrote 19d when I wasn’t looking. If he did all I can say is that this is a particularly low trick. But no, okay, fair enough, it was me all along.

    No spoilers I guess as this is a prize puzzle, but if I can provide a similar clue as an example, it could help. I hope it does. Here goes:

    Art lecturer in packing box (3,5)

    This sort of thing is not entirely unheard of in Crosswordsville, and I’ve seen it a few times around the place. It uses an archaic form, the sort of thing you might see, well, definitely will see, in Waggledagger, so if thou art a lecturer, then thou TEACHEST. And that’s precisely the same mechanism that’s used here.

    Of course this is not an excuse, and maybe those of you who said so are right that 19d sticks out like a sore one, and doesn’t really belong in a back-pager. If that’s the case, many apologies, as we don’t like to disappoint in any way when we cook up this stuff for you. However, it looks like most of thou enjoydest the rest of it, so I’m glad for that.

    Many thanks for taking an interest, and good luck with your solving, especially now that we all — well most of us — have more time for leisure activities. Stay safe too. On the first day those pubs reopen, you can bet that I’ll be there, and if you are, it’s my round..

    1. Welcome and thank you for coming to explain the thinking behind 19d

      See you at the pub when they are allowed to open again

    2. I love the example you’ve given above, very clever. I’m in the tiny brain club but RD and CS would relish that sort of clue. I did love your crossword today. Thank you for popping in.

    3. Thank you, ebd, for appearing! I may be even more decrepit than I am today when the pubs re-open and the planes fly again, but mine’s a pint o’bitter like the ones I used to quaff at the little pub, called The Crown I think, in Beeston (nr U of Nottingham). It was there that I learned to love British beer. Does anyone know Beeston and the little pub I remember? Landlords Harry and Mary, ca 1971-72. Sorry I sounded as if I were calling you an ogre elsewhere, but I think I might have figured out that lecturer in a packing box. Anyway, you sound like a decent sort, and most of your puzzle today was quite wonderful, you know. Stay well yourself.

      1. The Crown is alive and well, or at least was until Friday night. I am on the other side of town so it is not a pub I frequent but I believe it is still very much the same as it was when you were a regular.

  50. So nice to see all the clues I need help with (on a Saturday) have been hinted at. Thanks

  51. After returning from my earlier comments and reading those that have been posted, I sense that I am one of the few–if not the only one–today who had trouble with 26d (‘Fortieth curry for Cockneys’). So I googled my Scottish friend, who had no trouble at all with 26d, and he went into considerable detail about the answer. Just shows how ‘foreign’ and parochial my upbringing in the 40s and 50s must have been. As a musician (born 1938) knowledgeable about the Big Band era and Swing music and ‘Hit Parade’ popular tunes, I ought to have jumped on the answer (though I can’t remember ever hearing of the answer to 26d). So even if I had known that ‘curry’ rhymed somehow with that name, I still couldn’t have answered it. I’m just trying to mollycoddle myself, that’s all.

    Hope everyone has a peaceful Sunday, self-actuating while self-isolating. PBS’s airing of the opera Turandot last night made a lot of us feel that maybe the world wasn’t ending, although ‘Nessun Dorma’ may have taken on different meanings lately.

  52. I’ve spent nearly as long reading the comments as I did doing the crossword, apart from 19d obviously, and everything has already been said so no further comment.

  53. Lovely blog today – many thanks to all! And to the setter, and Tilsit too, of course – now I finally understand 19d! I rather like 4d and 30a. 🙃

  54. Flummoxed by 19d when solving this earlier today, however, the abundance of explanations has justified it as far as I’m concerned.

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with thanks to Tilsit and setter – about a 2*/4* for me.

    Enjoyed Paul in the Graun; definitely not at full strength but it took me long enough to solve to temporarily forget about the depressing shadow that continues to darken our lives – not too sure how much longer Tennessee has before ‘Lockdown ‘.

  55. There was a lot to like in this puzzle when I completed it last night after a day of FaceTime and phone calls after an early morning final visit to the shops. 11 12 13 and 16a together with 13 and 14d. 13d was my penultimate in but the best of all. There was such a lot of misdirection in it. I was so relieved that even the most accomplished of our happy band had the same problem. I did not have a problem with the synonym for shabbiness it was just the other bit. Now that it has been fully explained by its creator it is crystal clear. The example he gives is absolutely brilliant.
    Thank you all.

  56. 13d. That pesky Italian river again 🙄
    If it had been 7,3 I’m sure I’d have got it but I was trying to get R Y and ?? into chicks as youngsters.
    Never mind, a lovely diversion from the not to be mentioned word.
    Thanks to the setter👍

  57. That lovely rare feeling – when the penny finally drops.
    Will 19d join the top ten of genius clues, GESG (9,4) being the all-time greatest?

  58. My favourite all-time clue. They go in after the shelling and before the soldiers: (3,6).

    1. The clue “3,3,3,1,4” appeared on TV last week. It was in the new ITV sitcom starring Brenda Blethyn called “Kate & Koji”

  59. 3*/3*…..
    liked 10D ” liberal loves convenience “…..all the public ones are closed in Bexhill.

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