DT 29337 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29337

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29337

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another locked-down Tuesday.  I found that filling the grid today took about the time that's become average for Tuesdays, but that parsing everything took a little longer than usual.  There were a few clues where I had to scratch my head and ponder whether the wordplay was quite legal or if the clue was a double definition or something else.  There are two setters I'm aware of that sometimes do that to me, and so I wonder if today's compiler is one of them.  Of course the only way we'll know is if they comment below ... 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer will be here 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    Singer inspired by Mozart, an Israeli looking back (7)
SINATRA:  The singer is hidden in the reversal of (inspired by … looking back) the remainder of the clue

5a    Sharp look, as redundancies made (4,3)
CREW CUT:  This sharp look to one's head could also be a reduction in the size of a group of workers

9a    Parent with gun, awfully offensive (9)
REPUGNANT:  An anagram (awfully) of PARENT GUN

10a   Moderate king touring US city (5)
RELAX:  The Latin word for king containing (touring, as in going around) the abbreviation for a large US city

11a   Inept earl admitting baron initially more competent (5)
ABLER:  An anagram (inept) of EARL containing (admitting) the first letter (initially) of Baron 

12a   Something to grease palm  sugar, say? (9)
SWEETENER:  A double definition.  The second is by example ( …, say?

13a   Every one going back and forth, the race frantic around house (4,5)
EACH OTHER:  An anagram (frantic) of THE RACE wrapped around the abbreviation for house 

16a   Country wintry, by the sound of it (5)
CHILE:  A homophone (by the sound of it) of wintry or cold 

17a   A fruity beauty? (5)
PEACH:  The answer is both an adjective referring to a stone fruit and noun meaning a beauty or fine example of its kind

18a   Is gripping crime Japanese, perhaps? (9)
ISLANDERS:  IS from the clue containing (gripping) a spoken crime.  Another definition by example ( …, perhaps?).  I spent ages trying to find a good version of a song that would have fitted 17a.  No joy there, but I did find this excellent early performance by the same group of a song referencing this clue's containment indicator

20a   To penetrate concrete, picks up drill (9)
REHEARSAL:  Picks up with the ears inserted in (to penetrate) concrete or actual

23a   Transport mechanism's principal emblem (5)
TOTEM:  Transport or carry followed by the first letter of Mechanism (mechanism's principal

25a   Corner Belfast revolutionary (5)
NICHE:  Put together a two-letter abbreviation that could replace Belfast used as an adjective and the usual South American revolutionary

26a   Given further coaching, kept bagging runs (9)
RETRAINED:  Kept or held onto containing (bagging) the cricket abbreviation for runs 

27a   Double-dealing gets around trading place quickly (7)
SMARTLY:  Double-dealing or crafty containing (around) a place of trade 

28a   Very anxious, seeing cut in wages (7)
PANICKY:  Cut or notch inserted in a synonym of wages 



1d    Top expert on the water? (7)
SURFACE:  The answer split (4,3) could be expert at a sport involving waves 

2d    Country friend from Tyneside? (5)
NEPAL:  The answer split (2,3) could be a friend from Tyneside or thereabouts 

3d    Something like a butterfly fluttering right to me (5,4)
TIGER MOTH:  An anagram (fluttering) of RIGHT TO ME 

4d    Gather before noon on a ship (5)
AMASS:  Concatenate the abbreviation meaning before noon, A from the clue, and the abbreviation for a steamship 

5d    Church leader in captivity had later converted (9)
CATHEDRAL:  The first letter of (leader in) Captivity followed by an anagram (converted) of HAD LATER 

6d    Bird in water gently rising (5)
EGRET:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (rising, in a down clue) of the remainder of the clue 

7d    Waste cleaned in plant (9)
CELANDINE:  An anagram (waste) of CLEANED IN.  I did not know this plant.  It isn't found in Wikipedia's List of plants by common name or in its List of garden plants.  Nor is it in The Plant List (an impressive working list of all known plant species, boasting over a million entries), which means the answer's not a scientific name.  But once all the checkers are in place there are only 24 possible ways to insert the remaining four letters.  At that point you could look up all the ones that might be plants, or you could just turn to something like the anagram solver in the BRB app which has heard of it.  You can read about one version of the plant here, where I learned that it's a folk remedy against warts in France, Bayer is under investigation for using it in a drug for gastric issues, and that it's poisonous to chickens.  So at least it's not a dull plant

8d    Ash perhaps stealing a kiss, female duty abandoned (3-4)
TAX-FREE:  What ash defines by example (perhaps) containing (stealing) the fusion of A from the clue, the letter representing a kiss, and the abbreviation for female

14d   Dance where man drops foot three times? (3-3-3)
CHA-CHA-CHA:  A synonym of man without his last letter ( … drops foot, in a down clue) repeated three times 

15d   A setter of some style? (9)
HAIRSPRAY:  A cryptic definition.  Setter here is being a substance that fixes something in place, not a canine or a crossword compiler

16d   Criminal's art promoted in force (9)
CONSTRAIN:  Link together a usual criminal with his S from the clue, the reversal (promoted, in a down clue) of ART from the clue, and IN from the clue 

17d   Father calls for the shaved off bits (7)
PARINGS:  Follow an informal name for one's father with calls on the telephone 

19d   Speak about renovation of dome in the future, perhaps? (7)
SOMEDAY:  A synonym of speak is wrapped about an anagram of (renovation of) DOME 

21d   A fellow negotiator (5)
AGENT:  A from the clue and a fellow or man or chap 

22d   Tulip cultivated -- as bulb may be? (3,2)
LIT UP:  An anagram (cultivated) of TULIP 

24d   Note that's refreshing (5)
TONIC:  The first note of a musical scale is also a short name for a variety of bubbly water 


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve.  Top clues for me included 20a, 26a, 1d, and 15d.  Which clues did you like best?  I believe that a good way to avoid getting cabin fever or going stir-crazy during the current lockdown is to participate here on the blog.  So, in addition to posting your thoughts on the crossword, I invite suggestions for other ways to avoid those confinement-induced conditions.  Incidentally, Chambers classifies both cabin fever and stir-crazy as Americanisms.  Is there a UK equivalent?



140 comments on “DT 29337

  1. A fairly straightforward solve today, completed in **/*** time. The NW was the last quadrant to fall, mainly because I had the wrong fodder for 9a.

    I think getting the Quickie pun took as long as any of the cryptic clues.

    Great fun on this beautifully sunny day in Manchester, and thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    PS the SE corner of the Quickie took me a while, because 13d is an Americanism which I hadn’t heard before.

    1. I thought this was a real fruity beauty with some great misdirection and penny drop moments in the NE especially. Obviously compiled by a “setter of some style”.
      Slight hmm about 5d where “church” seems to be doing double duty but loved 5 and 20a plus 8 and 15d.
      Many thanks to the setter, and to Mr K for his usual excellent blog. Loved the clip of The Stranglers, saw them live many years ago…mega talented band with a fabulous discography.

        1. Well it gets a conversation going I saw The Stranglers in their early days when spitting at them was all the rage. I actually felt sick and turned away from the stage. Much better years later when that silliness had stopped and I looked after them at a global gig. Very nice chaps they were too.

          1. I was Ents Sec at my Uni, paid them £50 to play a free gig in the corner of a bar on a Thursday night & they had to be escorted off the stage when they started spitting at the audience. Six months later, I paid them £1500 to headline our Freshers Ball.

          2. Hi MP
            I saw them towards the end of their classic lineup, by which time their music had become quite sophisticated…of course they were never exactly how they liked to initially portray themselves…all were consummate musicians. Burnel (who was a classical guitarist of some note) said they considered themselves to be “punk plus…and then some”. I think that sums them up nicely.

            1. I saw them when they supported Public Image Limited in Shrewsbury. The crowd were spitting at PIL but when The Stranglers came on they pointed at the crowd and yelled “No spitting or we go off!”.

                1. I saw them once, in 1983. Great show, but I do remember being disappointed that they didn’t play “Grip”. They were probably sick of it by then.

      1. Hi, Stephen. You’ve probably figured out by now that 5d is OK – the initial C comes from leader in captivity. Glad you liked The Stranglers clip. I picked it because it demonstrates how good JJ is on bass.

      1. Yeah. I put that pun in rather nervously because it was all I could come up with, but I wasn’t 100% sure about it. Relieved to see that nobody has suggested a better answer.

  2. Started off like a train but then slowed down and struggled a bit. Last in was 23a which i could not parse until the hint!
    Also trying to solve an anagram of an obscure plant was a bit uncalled for I thought. No particular favs but quite enjoyable.
    Thx to all

    1. Since when has a celandine (greater or lesser version) been an obscure plant? We have carpets of these bright yellow woodland flowers here in Shropshire and have done for several weeks. They are among some of the first wild flowers to appear each spring. Wood anemones are plentiful just now as well. Nice simple crossword for a Tuesday evening after a busy day in the garden. Most enjoyable. Ta to all :-)

    2. Believe me I’m no gardener, but somewhere in the back of mind I found the answer and then realised it was an anagram.

  3. Very gentle. 1* time, 3* happiness quotient; liked 2d because I have friends & family from the Tyneside region so it made me smile. Good to see our old friend back in 25a. Took ages deciding the quicky pun referred to a ferry going every day to somewhere special! Thanks as ever to Mr K & the Setter.

  4. A gentle solve. The celandine (as far as I know) is not a cultivated plant. It’s a small, yellow woodland plant and not uncommon in my corner of Kent. I have no idea what to do with the rest of my day either! Well, OK there’s always housework but I’m skilled in avoiding that at the best of times and am feeling quite virtuous from having cleaned the oven over the weekend.

    1. I’ve got two thirds of the Toughie done, it seems accessible, and more fun than housework.

    2. It’s a very common weed, quite pretty and we’ve loads in my garden. I though it was well known and it’s definitely in google.

      1. Celandine was my first in. In the East of England it was one of first signs of spring.

  5. 2*/3.5*. A pleasantly gentle puzzle which was good fun. My only hmm was for the surface of 12a, which would benefit from the addition of punctuation, such as a dash, after “palm”.

    Podium positions awarded to 5a, 20a, 1d & 15d.

    Many thanks to Messrs R & K.

    1. I just thought, well, palm sugar is a thing, so it intensified the misdirection. Adding a dash would make it a bit too straightforward as a double definition. Maybe I’m too sadistic, although I bow before your experience RD.

  6. I’d forgotten the required synonym for transport, so that was my last one in once I’d got some checking letters. 22d was straight in but I loved the misdirection. Many thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty. Looking forward to the Ngala Game reserve live streaming (2.30 I think), where I hope to see some big cats.

  7. The Lesser Celandine

    There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
    That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
    And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
    Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!

    When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm,
    Or blasts the green field and the trees distressed,
    Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
    In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.

    But lately, one rough day, this Flower I passed,
    And recognized it, though an altered form,
    Now standing forth an offering to the blast,
    And buffeted at will by rain and storm.

    I stopped, and said, with inly-muttered voice,
    “It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
    This neither is its courage nor its choice,
    But its necessity in being old.

    “The sunshine may not cheer it, nor the dew;
    It cannot help itself in its decay;
    Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue.”
    And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey.

    To be a Prodigal’s Favourite -then, worse truth,
    A Miser’s Pensioner -behold our lot!
    O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth
    Age might but take the things Youth needed not!

    William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

  8. I have enjoyed reading the blog, usually for the parsing of answers I have got. Today I still don’t understand the parsing of 20 across though the answer wasn’t difficult.

  9. ) An excellent romp through the delights of Cryptic crosswordlands trickery. Loved it all. Today’s Toughie from our very own Silvanus is very accessible for those with a bit of patience. The Quickie took longer to solve than either today’s cryptic or today’s Toughie (if you leave 6d out of the timings For The Toughie) thanks to all concerned

    1. I’m still stuck on that little 4-letter stinker at 6d in the Toughie. Sailed through the rest of it.

  10. I found some of the clues in this puzzle a little irritating. It took me longer than usual to finish it and to see the rationale behind the parsing of the clues (***/*). 8d wasnt too bad but apart from that there was little to enjoy. I got the celandine because one corner of my garden is covered inthe weed. There is no shortage of ideas for what I need to do this afternoon—weeding. Keep well and stay safe everyone. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the setter.

        1. Hamlet. I’ve been Jay Gatsby, Katniss Everdeen, Little Dorritt, The Mad Hatter, and Nicholas Nickleby over the past few weeks. Ophelia today for the Toughie blog. What next for a week on Thursday? I have a choice of two.

    1. Welcome from me as well, Pippa, and thanks.

      It does appear that many solvers are more familiar with the plant than I was, so perhaps I shouldn’t have grumbled quite so much.

  11. All done, dusted & fully parsed in bang on ** time with, most unusually for me, both reverse lurkers promptly spotted – more than I can say for the Quickie which I’m unable to finish. No particular favourites but pretty enjoyable nevertheless. I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself however as I returned to yesterday’s Guardian cryptic (abandoned at 75%) & with the aid of one reveal finally finished albeit with more bung ins than you see at a busy council refuse facility.
    A good deal warmer in Harpenden today with the sun shining so today’s daily walk beckons…
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K for the review

  12. **/*** for me. Managed the top half very quickly and the bottom half gradually fell in place. The abundance of anagrams helped and I seem to be getting better at spotting lurkers.

    Enjoyed reading the hints, which showed how close I was to understanding the compiler’s thinking.

  13. 1 and 15d share my top spot this morning from this very accessible and enjoyable puzzle. The two rekruls were also very good. It would be terrific to hear from our setter if he or she is familiar with the blog. Thanks to whomsoever set this fun crossword and to Mr K for his usual comprehensive review.

  14. The two clues about hair got me really depressed 🙎.
    Just been given another straight month of strict confinement and I start to look like the man from Neanderthal.
    Liberate my barber is all I want.
    Le Jardin is 20 today. Happy birthday…not really.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

    1. Many congratulations to Le Jardin and its owner. Just think of the great excuse you’ve got for a blow-out party when we get to the other side of this, JL!

    2. Thanks for the good wishes.
      It was also my dad’s 80th birthday. He’s quite happy that the whole thing is differed. Makes him feel younger as he doesn’t want to turn 80 until the big family reunion.

    3. Hi Jean-Luc, and Happy Birthday to Le Jardin. For newcomers to the blog, that is Jean-Luc’s excellent restaurant in Hyeres.

      I just took a look at what Trip Advisor has to say about it. Among the many compliments and five-star reviews there’s a recent comment that says: We made a point of going back and were not disappointed. The proprietor was witty, friendly and had a great command of English too – we made jokes about Monty Python and Fawlty Towers as it turned out he was a John Cleese fan! That sounds like J-L :)

      1. Thanks a lot.
        Hope that all our foreign friends will be able to enjoy our hospitality again soon. Our airport is down to one flight a week to Paris only.

    4. Congratulations, J-L.
      On another matter – are you still in touch with Framboise and is she ok? She hasn’t commented on the blog for some time.

      1. Hi Gazza,
        As it happens, yes. Mrs and Mr Framboise are in Hyeres since the beginning of March. As soon as things blow over we shall meet for a nice get together.

  15. A good example of an enjoyably gentle Tuesday puzzle, completed at a gallop – **/****.
    No problems with 7d plant, always plenty of the ‘lesser’ variety in the ‘woods’ where I grew up in Surrey.
    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 12a, and 16d – and the winner is 12a, although I agree with RD about the need for some form of punctuation in the clue.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  16. A girl after my own heart in the bonus picture for 10a!
    Enjoyable puzzle that seemed as though it could have been constructed by an amalgamation of setters. I have an idea about whose style that is but am not sufficiently sure to commit to naming names.
    Top two here were 28a and 15d. Speaking of 28a – my elder daughter is apparently far from alone in finding that her 80% wage now that she’s been furloughed actually leaves her rather better off each week, cost her more than the missing 20% to journey to work every day!

    Thanks to the Tuesday man of mystery and to Mr K for a great blog to blow away the cobwebs. Regarding your ‘cabin fever’ query – I think the closest we have in the UK is ‘climbing the walls’. As for ways of avoiding ‘confinement-induced conditions’ – I find that dreaming up reasons for continuing to avoid all those jobs that you promised yourself you’d get around to when you had the time is quite a good exercise………..

  17. Nicholas beat me to it, but I was going to cite the poet Wordsworth, who has a lovely poem about the Celandine, which we mostly call the Celandine Poppy over here, I think. And thanks for the whole poem, miffypops! “Age might but take the things Youth needed not”, indeed!

    I thought this a pleasant, gentle puzzle for Tuesday, and I just systematically (though enjoyably) glided right through it. The only hold-ups were the Japanese and the redundancies–but not for long. Winners today: 1d, 13a, 5a, and 18a, with a tie for the Bronze. Thank you to Mr Kitty for his always enjoyable review and the setter. ** / ***

    My area of Charleston escaped the worst damage from a system of tornadoes that swept across South Carolina yesterday, but nine people in our state lost their lives–and scores more throughout the SE. Now, a few thousand people who lost their homes do not have a home to stay confined to, and if that isn’t adding insult to injury, I don’t know what is. What next? As pommers wondered yesterday, ‘locusts’? Oh yes, The Abomination in DC yesterday proclaimed himself the New Messiah.

    1. You really do have the world on your shoulders – what with the virus, tornadoes and the new Messiah. I thought I was badly off but you have made me feel rather mean.

    2. I thought of you while watching the news last night, glad you didn’t get any damage.
      Re the Messiah, I’m at a loss that they’re letting him get away with it. It’s not hearsay, it’s documented on video.

    3. If the New Messiah were captain of the Titanic:

      There isn’t any iceberg. There was an iceberg but it’s in a totally different ocean. The iceberg is in this ocean but it will melt very soon. There is an iceberg but we didn’t hit the iceberg. We hit the iceberg, but the damage will be repaired very shortly. The iceberg is a Chinese iceberg. We are taking on water but every passenger who wants a lifeboat can get a lifeboat, and they are beautiful lifeboats. Look, passengers need to ask nicely for the lifeboats if they want them. We don’t have any lifeboats, we’re not lifeboat distributors. Passengers should have planned for icebergs and brought their own lifeboats. I really don’t think we need that many lifeboats. We have lifeboats and they’re supposed to be our lifeboats, not the passengers’ lifeboats. The lifeboats were left on shore by the last captain of this ship. Nobody could have foreseen the iceberg.

  18. I had too many bung-ins for my liking today. They were correct but I do like to be able to see why. The rest of the crossword was enjoyable enough and I particularly liked the reverse lurker in 1a. However, my COTD is 16d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the great blog. Also, thanks to NN for the Wordsworth – I had forgotten that one.

    Lockdown is not affecting me too much but the pink elephants in the back bedroom are getting restless! :grin:

  19. An enjoyable start to the week with yesterday’s and today’s crosswords nicely constructed and satisfying. For me also a **/***, with 1d and 8d my favourites.

  20. A pleasant challenge which was completed in the West before the Orient. Not too sure about 5a being sharp even in U.S. where sharp = stylish but ‘redundancies made’ saves the day. Lots of clever clues with 28a, 5d and 15d capping them for me. Always great to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes. Thank you to whomever the setter may be (Silvanus?) and MrK. Quickie pun fun to say out loud.

    1. It’s unlikely to be Silvanus as today’s (very good!) Toughie is one of his and the Telegraph policy is not to use the same setter for the back-pager and the Toughie on any particular day.

      I’m not sure but I’m going make a wild guess that this one was set by our editor, Chris Lancaster.

  21. Thank you for the blog, Mr K. I’d been saying the quick crossword pun out loud for ages without managing to make it sound like anything! And that information about the not-dull plant was interesting, too.

  22. Enough clever and original clues to keep us entertained, sufficient logic and clarity to enable a help- free solution, so both encouraging and fun: many thanks to the setter, and thanks also for this blog which provides daily company even when we don’t comment. 🙂🙂

  23. A nice straightforward puzzle no help required **/*** for me today, so I will return to the garden/greenhouse and plant on my toms, french beans and courgettes on this beautiful day in Congleton.
    Fav was 5a.
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  24. Thank you everyone, as usual, for an entertaining crossword – 18a was my sticking point, I just couldn’t crack that one so
    had to uncover the answer. Thank goodness the sun has come out, it was freezing this morning.

  25. Filling in the squares was good fun with some clever and amusing clues.Had to think hard and sometimes in retrospect to sort out the parsing.l would not have got 13a without your hint.Thankyou to setter and Mr K.

  26. Will somebody please answer a question for me? I am pretty worried about this situation and
    when the paper is kindly delivered by a young neighbour ( in normal times we collect it ourselves,#
    but are self isolating) I pick it up wearing rubber gloves and take it through to the kitchen where I run
    a hot iron over it, back and front. Will this kill off any virus? Am I being paranoid? My husband thinks he
    is in an episode of Downton Abbey with the butler ironing The Times to set the print!

    1. I think you are paranoid to iron the back page as it is pre-folded by machine before leaving the printers. I just don a pair of surgical gloves and tear off the front page and dispose of it. Despite being a subscriber we can only get the Saturday edition so the rest is wasted because our Chairman of Parish in our small village (an ex GP) also takes the view that papers can be contaminated and won’t allow the fantastic little band of volunteers to touch them. I just wish the DT would put the Toughie on line as I’ve PAID for it in my sub and don’t see why I should pay extra. Sorry, rant over! Great puzzle today, completed in good time. Thanks to all.

    2. I started doing the butler thing for a week or two, but we no longer get a newspaper delivery.
      My understanding (and this is hot research because it’s specific to each virus so remains to be ratified at a later date) is that the highest transmissibility or proliferation rate of Covid 19 is between 5 and 12 Celsius, similar to other flu viruses, but is more robust and still survives at lower temperatures, incl fridge and even freezer. But it is more vulnerable to higher temperatures because of its fatty coating, so cooking, microwaving, or exposure to e.g. hot metal will kill it.
      I’m late here today as I had a Sainsbury delivery, so I remove everything from its plastic bags, its plastic and cardboard covers and rub over with a bleach cloth, even if it’s going in the freezer. And I try not to “waft” anything about, as aerosolised virus might survive for an hour or two – that’s why I ironed newspapers and why I still “ quarantine” mail in bags for 2-3 days. During my interaction with non-home items, I wear gloves, safety glasses and a head bandanna over my mouth and nose, only because it stops me from touching my face. I saw a video of an American GP scrubbing each item of fruit and veg for 2 mins………it might work, but, at the risk of an unseemly cliche, life is too short for such extreme paranoia .

      1. We only get a local Sunday newspaper delivered. I pick it up from the driveway where it is tossed, with gloved hand, remove and bin the plastic wrapper. Then paper is laid on floor in hallway. After 24 hours I flip it over. Then on Tuesday I finally read it. I do wash fruit, including apples, lemons and bananas with hot soapy water and then rub dry. Berries just get their usual rinsing.

        After our weekly grocery shop, we take off shoes at the door, spray them with disinfectant and leave to air. Remove t shirts, and put aside for washing, along with gloves and masks. Wash hands and face. Gargle with Listerine and spray nose with saline spray. I’ve read that most of this is a waste of time, but it makes me feel at least I’ve tried to keep us well. Also have dishwasher set on sanitizer wash.

        Having said all that, I think a lot more of us have had the virus than we know. After Christmas and through into early February, several friends and family members had bad “colds”, with coughs, fever etc.

        1. I would like to think that my “bad cold + fever” in February was Coronavirus although that doesn’t apparently include a runny (streaming) nose so I doubt it. 🤧

        2. Blimey! I don’t do any of that, just rip the plastic off the newspaper, put that for recycling, and then read the paper! I once sprayed an amazon box with disinfectant as I read the virus can live for three days on cardboard, but I’d forgotten about that. I don’t do anything with the groceries that they leave on my front step. I did use a pickstick to pay my lawn mowerer this morning with his cheque, “social distancing”, so I suppose that’s a step in the right direction. Oh dear, I’m doing it all wrong!

    3. Did you ever hear the spoof chat between Walter thealeigh and his boss by Bob newhart. Roll tobacco in and set fire to it.

  27. I started off a bit slow but my usual bouts of insomnia helped me find clarity and I managed without extra hints. Though I read them all afterwards anyway.. I love the pictures!

    I have been trying to think of an equivalent for Stir Crazy and Cabin Fever. I’m not coming up with anything. I remember my grandmother talking about being in air raid shelters in the garden and also going to the Underground (Tube) in London during bombing raids but I don’t remember her using a particular phrase to describe it. In fact she would often say that the atmosphere in the Tube Stations was very jovial. I would love to hear if anyone else has any ideas.

    1. Don’t suppose that this is any help, but the Norwegian equivalent of ‘cabin fever’ is translated literally as ‘barrack sickness’ .

      1. Ah yes, I can see that would work. Thanks.

  28. Celandine is a very pretty little wild flower out at this very moment in the woods. I can send a pic if you’d like one

      1. Thanks Big Dave, and thanks so much for doing such a brilliantly helpful web site. And for doing it every day! The way you write the hints is perfect, simplifying the clue but still allowing for some working out, with the Reveal as a last resort. It’s making lockdown much easier!

    1. Welcome from me as well, Kate. A picture of the plant in the wild would be fun. I’ll email you.

  29. Managed to solve today’s puzzle in double-quick time. I even had a bit of lunch left to devote to the toughie but that is proving a different kettle of poisson.
    I pondered 6d for quite a while and even pencilled in the checkers for my first guess (Grebe) g for gently plus the (up)rising River Eber. I had to administer a slap to the head when I remembered that the river was the Eder.
    After last weeks tonsorial discussions I wondered if MrK has yet administered the No.2
    18a was a tricky one too as I don’t think of Japan as an island, more a collection of them but I suppose we are all 18a in one way or another.
    7d well known here too and often confused with the buttercup used to test the underside of the chin to see if you like butter.
    I remember seeing The Stranglers in Leeds on the No More Heroes tour fortunately after the spitting had passed.
    Lots of travel today Nepal, LA, Chile, Norn Iron and Japan.
    Thanks to MrK and setter.
    I will resume battle with the toughie

    Granny Bee always enquired if we had “Ants in our Pants” if we were a bit fidgetty – not sure if that is synonymous with Stir crazy though

    1. Hi, John. Still working up the courage to have a go at the No 2 myself. Although it might be better to try sooner rather than later to give mistakes time to grow out.

  30. ***/***. Struggled with the SE corner for reasons I know not what. The rest fell into place quite quickly. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  31. Enjoyable puzzle, mostly straightforward 😃 but as always a couple of head scratchers ***/*** 😳 Favourites 5a, 18a & 17d 🤗 Thanks to the Setter and to Mr K. Perhaps it is an East Anglian thing, but as Walkerbob says, there is always a profusion of the little yellow flowers as the first sign of Spring

  32. I had the same experience as some others – they were easily bunged, but needed slightly longer than usual to figure out. Thanks to the setter as I enjoyed it mostly.
    The only bit I never got was the first word of 5a – I never think of that as a sharp look. It’s so old fashioned and militaristic – you couldn’t possibly put it together with a Tom Ford suit – now, that’s a sharp look.

  33. **/*** for us. Got all the answers but still don’t understand 13a
    Mr K says Every one going back and forth, is the definition.
    Can someone explain to me why this equals the answer? Beggared if I know.
    Thanks to Mr K & unknown setter

    1. Hello Pommette – I think it’s getting at the reciprocality of ‘each other’ as opposed to us or we – not an easy one to define!

    2. Hi, Pommette. I checked that one in the dictionary and decided it was close enough. The Oxford Dictionary of English gives as an example they communicate with each other in French. It’s clumsy, but they communicate with every one going back and forth in French is more or less the same.

  34. A nice gentle puzzle for a Tuesday morning. Several I couldn’t parse until I looked at the hint to see why the answer I bunged in was actually correct. 3* for enjoyment. Favourite clues: 5a, 25a, 2d & 8d
    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  35. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, enough clever wordplay and mis – direction to give what’s left of my grey cells a welcome workout. I know I don’t comment that often but I lurk every day and hugely appreciate those who contribute regularly – you make the blog and I’ve come to look on you as friends. By the time I get round to it however everything I thought I might say seems to have been said! Maybe it’s just that I don’t really understand any form of social media. Anyway everyone keep at it and God Bless in these extraordinary times.

    1. Thanks, BB. That’s perfect. I believe that everyone appreciates comments contributing to the sense of community here.

  36. A very late finish today after an early start. Too many chores in the list presented by my beloved had to be completed to her satisfaction, said he jokingly. All done and I was then able to complete the crossword without too much difficulty. One or two “hms” and I had to work hard to parse a few answers. No particular favourites, but I did enjoy 5a and 12a. Thanks to everyone for their comments, to the setter and to Mr K.

  37. This wasn’t a walk in the park but I did enjoy it. I was held up in the SE, was about to give up when I had my road to Damascus moment and got 26a. From there the rest just slotted in. I knew 7d, not just the Wordsworth poem, but as a colour; she wore a dress of celandine cotton. I rather liked 14d.
    Thanks to our setter, and to Mr. K for the usual fun pics, I always look forward to that.

  38. I didn’t find this as straight forward as a lot of you, and struggled a bit. Perhaps the paint fumes are to blame. Thanks to setter and Mr K for the hints, and the picture at 6d. We have lots of these birds here in South Florida, and have a frequent Greater Egret who visits the lake behind our house, we call him Eric😊

    Had a chuckle at 16a, and also liked 20a and 1d.

  39. Solved over lunch except 1d which I just couldn’t get. Was about to reach for the e help when an answer that fitted the checkers came to mind. Took writing it in and then staring at for another few minutes before I was convinced it was right, and I could explain it….

  40. It feels like a long time since I completed this this morning, but I do remember it didn’t take long, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

    Many thanks to Mr. K and to the setter.

  41. Managed to complete this, but there were quite a few I could not parse.
    This is happening ever more often these days.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.
    Loved the moderate drinking picture! Mr Meringue and I are turning into bloated alcoholics with all this confinement…..but our view is that we would prefer to go with a smile on our faces and the taste of wine and chocolate in our mouths!
    Keep safe, stay home, everyone.

  42. Great fun puzzle once again with an absolutely groan-worthy pun in the Quickie.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  43. Well it took me nearly as long to trawl through the comments as to do the crossword, it’s good to talk especially in these troubled times. As with most of the comments I loved this, I would have finished it more quickly if people didn’t keep interrupting me by sending texts, WhatsApps, emails etc. I hope they don’t stop. Favourite 7d just because I got straight off. Many many thanks to the splendid setter and Mr K.

  44. Enjoyed this. Nothing too taxing, but plenty of enjoyably phrases clues. And for once I knew the plant with having to look it up. 15d my favourite of a good bunch!

  45. We romped through this in record time with nary a pause. BUT frustrating thing was that both of us thought we had seen at least a dozen of the clues and answers before (or at least very close variations). So part-way through we resolved to visit the blog immediately at the end to see if anyone else felt the same way. But reading through the above no one else has. Maybe it’s just us?

    Sometimes you get the odd clue that rings a bell, but on this puzzle it happened to us again and again. Loud ringers were 13 16 18 20 23 25A and 2 4 19 21 22D. Wierd. Maybe we need to get out more.

    1. Hello, Pete. I haven’t updated my database of Telegraph, Guardian, and Indy clues since the start of the year, but I’m not finding matches in 2019 and earlier for many of those clues. 20a has been done a few times with some combination of concrete and drill, the decomposition and definition in both 2d and 4d have appeared a few times, and the anagram in 22d is popular. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place or time – which puzzles do you solve regularly and how far back does your memory go?

      1. Thanks for that Mr K, I really put up the comment to see if anyone else had the same déjà vu, but now you have confirmed a few of them I will do my own search and report what comes up from the depths of our cerebellums.

  46. With regard to the whole Celandine thing, we have it in our garden/woods too I think. It’s not here yet but I will certainly take a look at the yellow flowered weed when it arrives. Well not a weed, an opportunistic wildflower. I am so looking forward to the Trilliums this year too.

    I do have a fairly typical ‘me’ type story (true) about another plant that showed up all over our property The spring after we moved in. I don’t want to step on any toes and end up on the naughty step but if Big Dave approves I am happy to relate my tale of taking a certain plant to the local police station. No worries if not OK. Right, tomorrow’s puzzle is now printed so I am off to get stuck into that!

    Stay safe everyone.

      1. OK then. We moved here 22 years ago and when we bought the place the garden was immaculate, not a weed in sight on the ‘garden’ bit, we are surrounded by acres of woodland and brush that isn’t ours, it’s Crown Land.
        Anyway the next spring it was a lot less manicured and weeds started popping up all over. Sumac, Trilliums which are lovely, and various others but what caught my eye particularly was one type of weed that was just popping up everywhere. Green, seven leaves that are kind of shaggy looking, the leaves are serrated.
        So I picked some and looked up what I feared it was, holding my weed up to the computer screen and it sure looked like the same thing. When it got to over a foot tall and developed flowers I announced to my husband that I couldn’t stand the worry any more and picked a bunch and headed down to our local police station. I walked in and the nice lady behind the desk asked how she could help so I plonked the plant down on her counter and said
        “Can you tell me what this is?’
        She did a classic double take and yelled ‘Frank! Can you come and see this lady? She’s got a plant shee wants to show you.’
        Frank turned out to be the Police Chief and he came up to the desk and it went like this. BTW I swear this is true and apparently the story lives on, much to the amusement of people around here.
        Me: I’ve got this plant. Can you tell me what it is?
        Frank: And you are?
        I gave my name and address and he said he knew the house, had heard it had been sold. We live in a geodesic dome home.

        Frank: Well Carolyn this appears to be Marijuana. Are you growing it?
        Me: No! Oh I was afraid you were going to say that.
        Frank: So you decided to pick it and bring it to me?
        Me: Yes. Oh Lord it’s is all over our garden, we have an acre, there isn’t enough RoundUp (a weed killer) in the world to get rid of it all. The thing is, I am not really sure what the stuff looks like but we are newcomers to a very small community, we have funny accents (we both still sound British), we live in a funny shaped hosue, we have a teenage son still at home, and I work online as a programmer so I have a horrible feeling that we tick all the boxes as being a bit odd. Oh by the way, it doesn’t smell of anything.
        The lady on reception was giggling up a storm by this time and Frank was looking at me as if I had completely lost my mind.
        Frank (sniffing my plant): Hmm you’re right, no smell. Hang on a second.
        He went to the room behind reception and then reappeared with a whopping great big plant that was about 5 feet tall and a bit dried but it looked the same as my smaller plant. Only difference was the positioning and colour of the flowers and buds.
        Frank: OK this is the real McCoy, we raided a place a couple of days ago and we are just waiting for our drug expert to come over and test. Have a sniff of this.
        I did and it was pretty vile and strong.
        Me: So what should I do now?
        Frank: Well leave it with me Carolyn and when our guy comes he will test it and let you know what happens next.
        Two days later phone rings
        Frank: Hi Carolyn, it’s Frank, we dried and tested your plant and though it is probably a hybrid from a real plant some years ago, yours does not have the drug in it so you are OK. It doesn’t smell and it is not growing high enough, the real plants are much taller.
        Me: That’s a relief!
        Frank: I should warn you, this story has gone around the town like wildfire and the community are finding it very amusing that you actually walked into a police station with what you thought was a drug. Anyway, you don’t have to nuke your land to get rid of it but if it gets any higher, or you get any higher, come back and we will have another chat.

        It didn’t. Later that summer the ‘bear policeman’ came by to check on us because we had reported a bear sighting, you are supposed to report sightings so that they can track migratory patterns, I showed him the plants and he said that he had it all over his place too and told me that they still chuckle about the whole thing.

        So there you have it. :-)

      2. I think the M word may have hit your censor software. Hope you can retrieve it!

        1. It went into the spam folder, probably because of its length. I have released it now. Great story :)

  47. Very late and very good.
    Did not know the flower, I’m ashamed to say.
    Thanks all.

  48. Really enjoy having your help for the clues we can’t work out.
    Just to say celandines are a very common wild flower particularly at this time of year. I used to muddle them up with buttercups when I was a child.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      We have a lovely lot of celandines in our (supposedly) weed-free lorry load of topsoil – makes everywhere we put the topsoil look very pretty

    2. And welcome from me as well, John. We bloggers are always happy to hear that readers find BD’s site helpful.

      I evidently did not live in the UK long enough to become well-acquainted with the celandine. But as a result of this set of hints and tips I expect that I will recognise him the next time he appears.

  49. 3*/4*…..
    liked 3D ” something like a butterfly fluttering right to me (5,4) “

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