DT 29339 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29339

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29339

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty ***/****Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. Here we are coming towards the end of the fourth week of being stuck inside. I hope you’re all well and safe,  managing to keep occupied and at least still enjoying the crosswords. I think this is a Ray T production, if only because the quick crossword is all single words both for the clues and the answers and it is his week.  I found the cryptic crossword difficult – maybe it’s one of those “just me” days. It had very few of his trademark clues apart from the ‘sweetheart’.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.

Across

1a        Covers difficulties consuming Left (6)
BLINDS — another word for difficulties or annoying situations around (consuming) L[eft]

4a        Emotional having drunk gin on tap
POIGNANT – an anagram (drunk) of GIN ON TAP

 

9a        Like Hamlet, perhaps, a somewhat desperate man? (6)
DANISH — the first name of a character in a children’s comic was prefixed with ‘desperate’ so if he was ‘somewhat’ desperate he could be described like this – oh dear – I just knew that I was going to have trouble doing a hint for this one!

10a       Sort of rum made with rare rum (8)
DEMERARA — an anagram (rum) of MADE and RARE

12a       Top Tory admitting centre of Britain is closed (8)
AIRTIGHT — top, or the very best (you need a letter and a number) is followed by another word for Tory which contains (admitting) the middle letter (centre) of [bri]T[ain]

13a       Second step upset batsman? (6)
SLEDGE — the abbreviation for S[econd] is followed by a step or a shelf

15a       Male seclusion could become mixed (13)
MISCELLANEOUS — an anagram (could become) of MALE SECLUSION

18a       Unappreciated one separates, tense, in temper (13)
MISUNDERSTOOD — begin with the letter that looks like a one, then an archaic or poetic verb meaning separates or splits and the abbreviation for T[ense] and then bung that lot into another word for a temper or grump

22a       Honour in clinching silver (6)
HOMAGE — if you’re ‘in’ you’re not out so you could be said to be at **** –  that word contains (clinching) the chemical symbol for silver

24a       Scam can, with European Union rejected, resume (8)
CONTINUE — a synonym for scam or swindle, and a can or a container  is followed by a reversal (rejected) of the E[uropean] U[nion]

26a       Authorise small step around moon finally (8)
SANCTION — the abbreviation for S[mall] is followed by a step or a move which contains (around) the last letter (finally) of [moo]N

27a       After final word, detective reforms (6)
AMENDS — the final word, said at the end of a prayer is followed by one of the two letter abbreviation for a fairly senior detective

28a       Fixed wound, with being inside (8)
STANDING — the pain caused by a wound, either a physical or a verbal one, contains (being inside) another way of saying ‘with’

29a       Missing leading edge, fellow ultimately loses Ashes (6)
EMBERS — another word for a fellow or an associate without it’s first letter (missing leading edge) is followed by the last letter (ultimately) of [lose]S – I’m not terribly happy about this one – I think I could have missed something here

 

Down

1d        Plot hit, causing chaos (6)
BEDLAM — this plot is part of a garden or an allotment rather than a cunning plan and it’s followed by a verb to hit or batter

2d        Halfwit is terribly smug on air (9)
IGNORAMUS — an anagram (terribly) of SMUG ON AIR

3d        Detective’s oversight leads to release (7)
DISMISS — a two letter abbreviation for a detective – a different one to that used in 27a, I think this one is a bit more senior – and then an oversight or mistake

5d        Old people providing warning (4)
OMEN — the abbreviation for O[ld] is followed by a general term for people

6d        Bug Russian government ousting leader for good (7)
GREMLIN — the first letter of the Russian government is swapped (ousting leader) and replaced by the abbreviation for G[ood]

7d        American Democrat assuming conflict is present (5)
AWARD — the one letter abbreviation for A[merican] and the one letter abbreviation for D[emocrat] containing (assuming) a synonym for conflict or combat

8d        Cross Tory oddly reluctant (8)
TRAVERSE — the first and third letters (oddly) of ToRy are followed by another way of saying reluctant or unwilling

11d      Went round with the man sweetheart escorted (7)
WHEELED — the one letter abbreviation for W[ith], is followed by the masculine form of the third person pronoun and that’s followed by  the middle letter of ‘sweet’ (sweet heart) and, finally, a synonym for escorted or taken

14d      See City of Light stifling a sigh occasionally (7)
GLASGOW — the ‘A’ from the clue and the first and third letters (occasionally) of S[i]G[h] go inside a light or glimmer

16d      Regulation of manoeuvring done in car (9)
ORDINANCE — an anagram (manoeuvring) of DONE IN CAR

17d      Conservative MP has issues about power (8)
EMPHASIS — the only lurker, or hidden answer, today – indicated by ‘about’

19d      Repealed demand to purchase gun (7)
NEGATED — a synonym for demand or require contains (to purchase) a kind of gun or revolver

20d      Plump old lady embracing current model (7)
OPTIMUM — this ‘plump’ isn’t another way of saying chubby or a bit too fat, it’s a verb to make a choice and then you need an affectionate term for your mother (old lady) –  the physics symbol for electrical current goes in between the two

21d      Trifles with male over curvy characters (6)
MESSES — the abbreviation for M[ale] is followed by some letters (characters) that are curved

23d      Ray cheers supporting staff (5)
MANTA — a slang way of saying ‘thank you’ or ‘cheers’ follows (supporting) a verb to staff or crew

25d      Zip on wife’s new frock (4)
GOWN — a little word that means zip, or vim or energy and then two abbreviations, the first is for W[ife] and the second for N[ew]

I liked 9 and 13a and 6 and 25d

The Quickie pun:- TORE + KISS + CHEEP = TALK IS CHEAP

 

129 comments on “DT 29339
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  1. Fast start , slow finish best describes my effort today .
    COTD 9A
    Not my favourite crossword but kept me quiet for a while so much appreciated by my wife .
    Thanks Kath and , it seems ,Ray T .

  2. Grid completed, but a couple of umms? 11d and 17d in particular.

    In your hint Kath, aren’t you missing an ‘e’ in 11d?

    Finished in *** time, with just a tiny bit of electronic help.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

  3. I found this more difficult than the toughie today. Just a word on the hints, in 11d you may have left out the sweetheart aspect of the clue.
    Favourite 20d .
    Thanks setter and Kath

  4. Usual tough offering from Ray T needing two visits and some electronic help. Best clue for me was 13a. Many that I didn’t understand the wordplay (nothing unusual with him) so thanks for the hints to explain my answers.
    ****/***

  5. 3*/4*. Very enjoyable RayT puzzle despite Her Majesty maintaining her social distancing regime. Not a specific repetition but two very similar detectives put in an appearance today.

    My podium aligns with Kath’s: 9a, 13a, 6d & 25d.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    P.S. A couple of the answers are not hidden in the review.

  6. Another winner from RayT. Who went down the fat route at 20d? I did. Great clues. Concise clueing. A challenge issued and met. Thanks to RayT and to Kath. It’s another fine day where garden planting, garden landscaping, internal decorating, internal finishing are all held up by the lockdown. The repair shop job on the old chest of drawers is ready for polishing and reassembly so progress is made.

  7. “Time for us girls” by Pam Ayres Jan Beaumont

    I’m normally a social girl
    I love to meet my mates
    But lately with the virus here
    We can’t go out the gates
    You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
    We need to stay inside
    If they haven’t seen us for a while
    They’ll think we’ve upped and died
    They’ll never know the things we did
    Before we got this old
    There wasn’t any Facebook
    So not everything was told
    We may seem sweet old ladies
    Who would never be uncouth
    But we grew up in the 60’s –
    If you only knew the truth
    There was sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll
    The pill and miniskirts
    We smoked, we drank , we partied
    And were quite outrageous flirts
    Then we settled down, got married
    And turned into someone’s Mum
    Somebody’s wife, then nana
    Who on earth did we become?
    We didn’t mind the change of pace
    Because our lives were full
    But to bury us before we’re dead
    Is like a red rag to a bull!
    So here you find me stuck inside
    For four weeks maybe more
    I finally found myself again
    Then I had to close the door
    It didn’t really bother me
    I’d while away the hour
    I’d bake for all the family
    But I’ve got no flaming flour!
    Now Netflix is just wonderful
    I like a gutsy thriller
    I’m swooning over Idris
    Or some random sexy killer.
    At least I’ve got a stash of booze
    For when I’m being idle
    There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
    If I’m feeling suicidal!!
    So let’s all drink to lockdown
    To recovery and health
    And hope this awful virus
    Doesn’t decimate our wealth
    We’ll all get through the crisis
    And be back to join our mates
    Just hoping I’m not far too wide
    To fit through the flaming gates!

    1. Thanks Kath. I got this yesterday from a friend and passed it on to another group. What with WhatsApp and email generally, these items go round the world faster than any typical internet marketing campaign (that’s me trying avoid the ‘going viral’ phrase).
      Far better than those FB cod-philosophy chain-posts which I just find irritating and never pass on.
      It’s dizzy-making.

      “More input”

      1. This was sent to me at the beginning of the shutdown. I’m glad to have it identified. I should have guessed it was by Pam Ayers. She is a national treasure.

    2. Thanks so much Kath, we very much enjoyed this. I used to love watching Pam on the tele, she always hit the nail on the head, while being so funny. She’s got the perfect attitude to help us all through the lockdown.

      1. Pam Ayres is one of the few genuinely funny women that makes me laugh out loud. I saw her last year in Leicester, what a treat. I’ll pass that on if I may.

    3. This poem is entitled Let’s All Drink to Lockdown and is not Pam’s poem. Please take steps to attribute it to me as soon as possible. Pam herself has stated on more than one occasion that it is not her poem and I’m sure she is as frustrated as I am. I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. I found this really tough and not as enjoyable as the usual Ray T (*****/***). Some of the anagrams were enjoyable (4d, 15a and 18a). I needed help in parsing 11d and 17d so thank you Kath. I also used electronic help for 12a. Thank you to our setter. Is it Ray T? Keep safe and well.

  9. I found this tricky (4.5* difficulty) and about average for enjoyment.

    Thanks to Kath and Ray T (I’m presuming it is him because of the sweetheart)

    Nature update: more happy skylarks and reed warblers and possibly the first house martin of the year, I’m also pleased to report that you can now ‘cast a clout’ as the hawthorn (may) trees are in full flower

    1. A toughie. Here our skies are empty. No swifts, swallows, bee-eaters or martins and haven’t yet heard the hoopoe. It’s eerie and definately a problem at this time of year. Yesterday I did actually see a few swallows, but perhaps they’ve continued north.

      It seems from reports that many perished in Greece due to strong cold headwinds. Anybody know anymore?

      Thanks for some tips Kath and to Ray T for the challenge.

      1. I read that unseasonably cold winds had killed of lots of birds on migration routes from Africa
        through Greece . Swallows, swifts and martins were mentioned.

        1. Yes Chriscross, you mentioned this in another posting and I found some details about birds dying in Greece. I was wondering whether other posters were, say in Spain, France or Greece were noticing anything different from the norm.

  10. I think someone commented on last Thursday’s Beam that anagrams aside, there really isn’t a lot of difference between a Beam and a Ray T. On the evidence of today I tend to agree. I needed a touch of electronic help to finish and was unable to fully parse 18a so thanks Kath for explaining that. I’d never heard of the second synonym of 1d or of 23d.
    Plenty of great Ray T clues though, the ones that stood out for me were 13a plus 6, 20 and 21d.
    4/4*
    Many thanks to Mr T and to Kath for a great review.

  11. This was more than a bit tricky and some external assistance was required. I did go down the “fat” route in 20d, so well done for that. For me *****/***, and thanks to all.

    1. The words pride and fall spring to mind. Having been very smug about my back page and toughie success this week this brought me up with a round turn. Struggled through and needed help to sort 20d and 29a. Still going to give the toughie a go though.

      1. I’d give the Toughie a go but I photocopied the wrong side before I passed the paper to my neighbour. I now have an easy wordwheel and a silly sudoku. Oh dear

        1. “Passed” the paper?
          I hope it was on the end of a broom handle, Ophelia.
          Or perhaps a skateboard….
          Or wrapped around a Rugby football…..and converted over the fence.

      1. Welcome to the blog

        I’d be willing to bet that many people, including me, first found this blog when they needed an actual answer

          1. Me too but ten years ago I wasn’t smart enough to do that kind of thing so I confess that it was my husband who found the blog – there was an answer that I just couldn’t get and I was driving him mad – he got to the blog and I’ve been here ever since.
            Just for the record he said, after a few days, “Don’t get too hooked – blogs come and go.”
            I don’t go in for the ‘hmmms’ that seem to have become part of every day language on the blog but I think one is justified here . . .

    1. No – not rubbish. Difficult, yes, but not rubbish – well I don’t think so anyway but we’re all entitled to an opinion.

    2. I agree that it wasn’t a rubbish puzzle. They never are. I would like to know why you thought it was rubbish as I am curious to know. :good:

    3. I always struggle with Ray T puzzles, and don’t think I’ve ever finished one without hints, but they are definitely not rubbish. Above my pay grade, certainly. Rubbish, definitely not.

      1. With RayT if you follow the instructions you will find the answer. I struggle with some setters but with RayT I might struggle a bit but I always get there in the end.

        1. Precisely. I nearly threw in the towel but persistence paid off. Another one of those crosswords where one has to first fill in the answers in order to solve the clues.

  12. No Kath I don’t think you were having a “just me” day – I found it hard going as well & it took me beyond ***** time to complete. The SW corner was the big problem. As per usual it took an age & a day to clock the lurker in 17d & once 18a then fell the remainder were slowly (painfully so) solved. I’d never heard of the ray nor was I aware 10a was a type of rum so two new facts acquired. There were certainly a couple of reasonably confident bung ins where I struggled to parse the answer but got there eventually. Loved the 15a anagram which I got immediately unlike the one in 4a that required pen & paper. 14d was the last in & that penny took a while to drop also. Thanks to all.
    Ps I was also struggling to make sense of the Quickie pun until I realised I’d put the wrong past tense in for 1a so perhaps on reflection I’m also having a just me day……..

  13. Unlike Malcom, I thought this was a cracking puzzle and a satisfying struggle to finish, whichI did. I liked the lurker at 17d. I didn’t see it for quite a while. I will also single out 12a and 20d with 9a getting gold. Thanks Ray T.

  14. A good cranial workout where some of the parsings, 18a for example, took longer than some of the solvings but I still managed to finish at a fast canter – ***/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 18a, and 1d – and the winner is 9a.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath especially for the Pam Ayres.
    P.S. Kath – The first word in the Quickie Pun is incorrect – it should end in a vowel not a consonant.

      1. It doesn’t matter how many times a mistake gets pointed out – I certainly never mind, specially now I’ve mastered how to go back in and do a spot of editing without worrying about blowing the whole place up! :unsure:

  15. Not an enjoyable solve today. Was it RayT? I’m not sure. I did get off to a good start but soon became mired in the mud and needed a fair bit of electronic help and hints. I wouldn’t have finished, otherwise. Some clues did raise smile – 21d for example – but I cannot single out any one for the podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for the hints and excellent blog. Don’t worry about finding a couple of clues being difficult to hint. It certainly wasn’t you.

    1. If 21d.made you smile, could you explain it, please. I discarded what seems to be the correct answer, mas I couldn’t make it work.

      1. Hi Vince
        It’s the abbreviation of male (m) followed by how you would describe the 19th letters of the alphabet (which are curvy!), to give a synonym of ‘trifles with’

  16. I’m the same as many.
    Got through the top half flash bang wallop, no trouble.
    I should have known better………

    SE took a while and never did get 29a – thanks for that, Kath.
    SW took a really long time – guessing 18a, because I pursued the word “mood”, followed by a trudge through the rest of the parsing (only think of the middle term in its intransitive sense (asunder) helped me with the rest.

    Now, what is it about getting up for a 5 min wander before coming back and “seeing” an answer? That happened to me with 21d. And again with the 17d lurker which released the SW logjam. I assume it’s a form of decluttering of the cells, like dreaming but weaker. The jammed-up letters vacate the Neural countertop and make space.

    Thanks to Ray T. I enjoyed it a lot.

  17. I finally seem to be on Ray T’s wavelength, though I didn’t think today’s puzzle was as witty and sinuous as most of his are. (I didn’t know who or what 13a is but bunged it in, thanks to the clue, and I have a vague feeling that xxxxxx has caught me out before. I gather that the term is rather like trash-talking in American football?) I finished in good time and particularly liked 14a (COTD), 12a, and 10a. Thanks, Kath, for your hints and especially that funny, wise, and with-it poem by Pam Ayres, and regards to Mr T (whose Quickie pun deserves a medal). ** / *** Hope everyone is coping well enough and is safe.

  18. This was particularly difficult for me bit of a change from the usual RayT, I can usually get the anagrams but today brain not working well. Matters not helped by internet dropping out. Still using the usual methods finally got the puzzle completed.
    All quiet here in NC police keeping the incomers out.
    Thanks to Kath and RayT.
    Keep safe everyone, hopefully not much longer to go.

  19. Certainly a puzzle of two halves for me with a straight forward upper** and a difficult lower****.
    Enjoyed the solve and overall a***/****..
    Some cluing was toughie standard and I note Dave Lawes comment that he found that the toughie was easier today.
    I have completed the toughie and it was around ** for me,
    Anyway favourite clue was 18a which took a while to parse . I also liked 20a- which was a new or rarely used synonym and a clever surface.

  20. I had a tricky moment with the plump old lady – the one in the crossword before anyone asks – and was relieved that I remembered the 13a cricket term from a previous puzzle. No other problems to report.
    My favourite was 6d with an honourable mention for the Quickie pun.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review.

  21. I should have realised this was a Ray T. It took me ages and two sittings but completed in the end. Yes, I also went down the fat route in 20d to the extent that I wondered if someone had invented a new word – an Amercanism that had crept into our language unnoticed by me! And yes, working out the why took just as long as working out the answers. It took me stupidly ages to spot the lurker in 17d. But, and this is the real bonus, it kept me occupied.

  22. Can someone please explain 13a to me? No-one else seems to have had difficulty. What on earth has a sledge to do with a batsman? Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable offering from RayT. Many thanks to him and to Kath for the blog.

    1. Sledge is a verb that means someone making the kind of comments that would upset a batsman just at the wrong moment so that he misses the ball.
      Sorry I should have explained further.

      1. Someone once told me one of the ‘sledging thingies’ that sounded, to me anyway, like mutual sledging,
        “Why are you so fat?”
        “Because every time I go to bed with your wife she gives me a biscuit”.

  23. A good crossword, I like many others found the top half ** bottom half **** 20d and 29a were the last one’s, my fav COTD 21d it brought a smile to my face podiums to 11d and 14d.
    I’ll give it a ***/****
    Thanks Kath and Ray T.

  24. Right – sorry everyone.
    As Margaret has pointed out the poem was not written by Pam Ayres but by Jan Beaumont so apologies to everyone, including Jan Beaumont!
    That will teach me to check my source, who shall be nameless but is known to be unreliable, and that’s all I’m saying!
    :oops:

  25. Took me a while to get to grips with this and was not helped by filling solution to 15a into 18a. Impressed that you knew 13a Kath – I didn’t know/remember it. For no good reason thought of bunging in Portuguese fortified wine for 10a. Obviously not alone in working around tubby in 20d. Thank you cheers makes another iffy (for me) appearance in 23d. Wrong final 3 letters at 28a messed up 25d. Waiting to hear any minute now an announcement of extension to lock down …. shucks! Thank you RayT and Kath.

  26. This took me a tad longer than usual for a Ray T but I suspect it was a combination of a long walk plus the sun that was to blame. Great fun as always, with terrific clues throughout. Loved the poem.

    Thanks to Mr T and Kath.

    1. In my inexcusable ignorance, Mr T, I thought ‘sledge’ might be the surname of a famous cricketer, so I thank you for the aha moment and for the entire puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m an American, in case you didn’t know, and thanks for dropping in.

    2. Couldn’t get on your wavelength today, RayT but many thanks for the challenge. I click occasionally with your offerings as I did with your last puzzle.
      Always good. Always fair. Occasionally obscure.
      Now for the forecast for Forties, Dogger, German Bight and Humber! 😀

  27. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky. Needed the hints for 12&29a and 11&21d. Favourite was 9a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  28. Way beyond my ken! I didn’t help myself by putting “touching” for 4a, touch=tap and anagram of gin. Maybe I should have a little gin and angostura!
    My fave of the few I could solve was 9a, by a country mile!
    I had a banner day yesterday, I’m fine with not having a puzzle for a tiny brain every day.
    Thanks to RayT, and huge appreciation to Kath for unravelling that.

  29. Found it quite hard but perseverance paid off.
    Took a while to parse some.
    A good workout.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.
    Warning ⚠: Possible bad joke!
    On Thursdays you all congratulate your hospital staff.
    They do a wonderful job and having to face this dreadful Coronavirus, surely the last thing they want is to be given the clap.

  30. I’m in the camp of those that found this to be a game of two halves. At one stage the top was complete whilst the bottom empty. 14d was my favourite clue which made me smile when I finally realised Paris didn’t feature. Thanks to Kath and the setter.

  31. Really struggled with this today, just don’t get on with RayT at all. Hey ho will keep trying. 6d however, made me smile.
    Thanks to RayT and Kath

  32. *****/***. I found this very difficult and not as enjoyable as normal. I needed help with several so thanks Kath. Thanks also to Ray T.

  33. I’m afraid I can’t seem to get on with Ray T puzzles, managed about half before throwing in the towel. Thanks to Kath for the hints.

    1. I have to say that I don’t either but it is in the BRB so I suppose it has to be OK and it is stuck in the middle so would qualify as a lurker . . .

  34. This was one of those days where I had finished the crossword with only the checkers actually written in.

    Once I finally solved 20d (I also went the fat route for a while), I filled in the grid. 11d required the hint though.

    As with others, found a few tenuous or too much for my feeble mind:

    17d – I don’t remember “about” ever being used as a lurker indicator before.
    18a – misunderstood must be the 15,000th synonym for unappreciated in the BRB.
    13a – used a cricketing term, which may as well be Klingon to me. Not one of the usual cricketing terms I have been forced to memorise. ;-)

    Anyway, a good result for me with a Ray T, so can’t really complain! Thanks to Ray T and Kath. :-)

    ****/*** today.

  35. Thanks Ray T and Kath, but clearly over my head today. Only solved about a dozen answers before I resorted to the hints. But when I got to 12a I knew I was in trouble, and my time would be better spent up the ladder with the paintbrush.

  36. Late to this today and all my observations have been mentioned above.
    I am in the top half easier than the bottom half camp and also a member of the fat lady camp.
    17d = power … Hmmm too
    But definitely not rubbish. I liked 9a and 16d and will give the laurel to 16d.
    Thanks to Kath for the poem and cleaning up the sledge a bit. also for explaining my parsing failures.
    Thanks to Ray T too.

  37. All the usual fun from RayT and much appreciated.
    Word count checked.
    Thanks RayT and Kath who gets an extra thank you for the poem.

  38. A thoroughly enjoyable crossword, hard but fair. The last 5 clues took me as long to get/parse as the rest of the crossword. Favourite has to be 13a, I remember thinking this will be hard for non cricket buffs as I wrote it in. Many many thanks to RayT, thanks for popping in again, and Kath. Keep safe everyone and keep commenting.

  39. I’ve just about had it for today so off to bed in a minute but thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to everyone who’s commented – please keep doing so, especially at the moment – we’re all in the same boat so night night, stay safe and well and have a good sleep.
    :smile: and :yawn: to everyone

  40. Nice autumn day on the way here in Brisbane with the weather bureau predicting 33 degrees! Thanks Kath for clarification of some of the clues, particularly 18a (I’m still thinking about it). 4a looked familiar from a few weeks ago. My candidates for COTD, 9 and 13a. Thanks to the setter as well🦇

  41. A game of two halves for me today – the top half went in quite quickly, but the bottom half was another story!
    Thanks to Kath, for the hints and the poem, which is lovely, and to Ray T, for the excellent mental workout!
    I rather like 6d, probably because I immediately imagined “Vlado” as the answer, which produced much laughter!

  42. A bit late…
    Hugely enjoyable and hard, thanks Kath for providing so much amusement in the blog.
    One thing…is the word in 21d to describe ‘Curvy characters’ really a word?
    Thanks Ray-T.

  43. Oh dear! For the first time since I was a lad no answers on my first read through. Managed top half after several insomniac episodes during the night. Then needed hints and answers to complete and see that all the answers are really obvious if you are clever enough to work them out! Really enjoyed the effort. 5* Great crossword. Thanks to all. Keep safe & healthy.

  44. Thanks for Pam Ayres and thanks Ray T and Kath. All good for me but the SW did for me, probably because I didn’t know Manta and I thought of standard for fixed.

  45. Really enjoyed this battle, despite the proliferation of Tories and the like. Setters often seem to get fixations. Anyway, Ray T is definitely my favourite back pager, stretched synonyms or not. 11d last in, 4a my favourite, just for the excellent surface.

  46. Quickie clues,, 7D “agile” and 21D “ray”……could the answers constitute a slightly self flattering nina by the setter ??
    also the clues I suppose.

  47. Just finished a satisfying tussle with this one – didn’t start till yesterday. I wondered if Mr T had signed it with the first word of 23d, where he may also have alluded to Thursday evening applause?

  48. Took me until today – had to resort to Kath’s hint for 12a, then managed to get 11d. Very tough but loved the anagram and clever concealment of it in 18a. Some synonyms almost overstretched – for my taste anyway!

  49. Hello again, everyone,
    I’d just like to repeat what I said last Thursday afternoon about the author of the very funny and much appreciated poem.
    This was not by Pam Ayres but by Jan Beaumont.
    I have emailed Jan and apologised to her for my mistake.
    Kath

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