DT 29350 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29350

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29350

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

As of last Monday night we are in Level 3 (instead of the maximum Level 4) with Covid 19.
The authorities have emphasised that this is to open up the economy but not to open up social contacts. Many thousands of people are now back at work but the social distancing guidelines are still very much in place. For us life has not changed very much.

We feel so fortunate to have access to quality puzzles like this one to amuse and divert us.

This one put up more resistance for us than usual on a Wednesday so we have upped the difficulty rating to 4 stars.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Trace soldiers with a wife abroad (7)
SIGNORA : A trace or suggestion, then the two letters for lowest ranking soldiers plus ‘A’ from the clue.

5a     Game that’s unfair if not in front? (7)
CRICKET : If the word ‘not’ from the clue is put in front of the answer we get a phrase meaning unfair.

9a     Point after heading off penalty is useless (5)
INEPT : Remove the first letter from a financial penalty and follow this with a two letter abbreviation for point.

10a     How a drink ruined production (9)
HANDIWORK : An anagram (ruined) of HOW A DRINK.

11a     Protecting poor NHS in regions so lacking (10)
ENSHRINING : An anagram (poor) of NHS IN REGI(o)N(s) once the letters of ‘so’ have been removed.

12a     Type of American who’s in now as president? (4)
WASP : A lurker, hiding in the clue. This type of American is an acronym from words describing colour, ethnic origin and religion.

14a     Tense work from Her Majesty after second long freeze (5-7)
SPINE-CHILLER : In the order they appear in the answer string together S(econd), long or ache, freeze and finally Her Majesty’s regnal cypher.

18a     Civil servant floored chief after reorganisation (6-6)
OFFICE-HOLDER : An anagram (after reorganisation) of FLOORED CHIEF.

21a     Question one — capital of Zambia could be part of this (4)
QUIZ : An all in one clue. The two letter abbreviation for question, the Roman numeral one and the first letter of Zambia.

22a     Copper may be puffed, we hear, needing courage (10)
BLUEBOTTLE : A homophone (we hear) of puffed or expelled air, and then an informal word for courage.

25a     Area of the Med — one in Asia being developed (6,3)
IONIAN SEA : An anagram (being developed) of ONE IN ASIA.

26a     Spike covering new weapon (5)
LANCE : Spike or adulterate a drink say, includes N(ew).

27a     Heavy old Roman emperor bust uncovered (7)
ONEROUS : The abbreviation for old, the Roman emperor known for ‘fiddling’ and then the two central letters of ‘bust’.

28a     Regularly seen wearing Lycra — possibly an offence! (7)
LARCENY : The second and fourth letters of seen are inside an anagram (possibly) of LYCRA.


1d     She drops the man with pride broken, finding rest (6)
SPIDER : The letter that is left after a male personal pronoun is removed from ‘she’ and then an anagram (broken) of PRIDE.

2d     Pole at work may be so smeared! (6)
GREASY : A cryptic description of how a functioning pole may be lubricated.

3d     Performing troupes needing expert for place lacking atmosphere (5,5)
OUTER SPACE : An anagram (performing) of TROUPES and then an expert or virtuoso.

4d     Article about female drained of colour (5)
ASHEN : One of the forms of the indefinite article contains a feminine personal pronoun.

5d     Regular design of coin in Panama perhaps (9)
CANONICAL : What Panama (not a hat on this occasion) is an example of surrounds an anagram (design of) of COIN.

6d     Bird is injected with thiamine (4)
IBIS : ‘Is’ from the clue surrounds the letter and number by which thiamine is better known.

7d     No barriers on air for smart alecs (4-4)
KNOW-ALLS : The answer can be a homophone of a 2,5 phrase meaning without barriers.

8d     Share mainly preserved area in bitter surroundings (4,4)
TAKE PART : A word meaning preserved or retained loses its last letter and is followed by A(rea). All of this is inside bitter or acidic.

13d     Graves may be put here once I lower rent (4,6)
WINE COOLER : An anagram (rent or torn apart) of ONCE I LOWER.

15d     Part of UK greeting schedules for extreme sceptics (9)
NIHILISTS : The part of the UK sometimes referred to as Ulster, then a two letter greeting and schedules or rosters.

16d     Doctor and son left nothing for carrier of disease (8)
MOSQUITO : A medical officer, then S(on), left or departed and the letter for zero.

17d     Plight of a boyfriend after fine? (8)
AFFIANCE : Begin with ‘A’ from the clue, then F(ine) and boyfriend or betrothed.

19d     Example lacking in approach (6)
STANCE : Start with a synonym for an example and remove its prefix ‘in’.

20d     This is why broadcast is blasphemy (6)
HERESY : A 4’1 phrase meaning this is and then the letter that sounds like the word ‘why’.

23d     Parliamentarian turned up holding communication (5)
EMAIL : A reverse lurker hiding in the clue.

24d     Staple food like this needs a good filling (4)
SAGO : A two letter word meaning like this contains ‘A’ from the clue and G(ood).

The two that had most appeal for us and coincidentally both contained homophones were 7d and 20d.

Quickie pun       Venice    +    whaler    =    Venezuela

137 comments on “DT 29350

  1. 2.5*/4*. Lovely fun as ever on a Wednesday. I started to suspect another J-less pangram this week but we ended up with no J, V or X.

    I wasn’t fully convinced by the definition for 18a, and 2d seemed a little strange. Everything else was excellent with 28a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Many crimes are committed in the wearing of Lycra sportswear!

    2. For 2d I think the clue is in two parts, rather than a straight cryptic, with the gap between “so” and “smeared”.

  2. Definitely a 4* difficulty rating from me too – and I’m not entirely sure that this was the work of Jay as it didn’t seem like one of his crosswords at all. My favourite was 21a

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks- as you haven’t given us a nature report today, I’ll just say that I’ve just seen a very busy mummy mallard with ten of the teeny tiniest ducklings following on behind

    1. I too had a suspicion that this was not a Jay production – clues like 18a, 2d, 6d and 17d don’t seem to correspond to his usual style.
      I did enjoy it – thanks to the setter and 2Kiwis.
      My ticks went to 12a, 28a and 13d,

      1. I did too, re question Jay! I usually have no problem unravelling Jay’s answers, but today I had several that needed help with the “why”.

      2. Gazza,
        Thank you for the Tom Lehrer clip in your Toughie hints. Toughie is just too hard for me but I do look at the hints from time to time -great to be reminded of him.

        1. I am very late to this today. wasted most of my free time trying to understand my first post-Covid payslip.
          When I got to the puzzle some stupid mistakes with the fodder of anagrams and missed lurkers made it even harder. 24d sent shivers down my spine as memories of school dinner sago made me gyp. Is 22d a recent repeat or am I just remembering it from a clue?.
          Not sure I have time for the toughie but must have a look as I am a big Tom Lehrer fan too. I am trying to guess which of his many hits will be there the periodic table perhaps or poisoning pigeons.
          I agree it didn’t seem like a typical Jay but I am no expert. 21a by a nose from 15d for COTD.

          Thanks to MaybeJaybe and the 2K’s

          oops I have posted this in the wrong place

  3. I liked this and was obviously on the right wavelength as I got through qute quickly (**/***). 14a was my cotd. Thanks to setter and 2Ks.

  4. All doable, eventually, so for time taken, certainly a **** for difficulty for me.
    Great clues, loved 15d and 20d
    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  5. Clever crossword, with 17 d my favourite ( unexpected meaning of plight). For reasons I can’t explain, and with apologies to the setter, although I enjoy being stretched, I didn’t greatly enjoy this one

  6. Another cracker that I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps on the tricky side for a Wednesday but it came together smoothly after a slow start.
    I wondered if 2d was a vague reference to the climbing of such a pole as it seemed very un-cryptic.
    My top clues were 12 and 28a plus 15 and 16d.
    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for their excellent works

    1. Yes I think 2Kiwis missed the gap between “so” and “smeared”. The clue is in two parts, rather than a straight cryptic.

  7. Another hugely enjoyable masterpiece from Jay this morning. A slow start, then a rapid finish once I got into my stride. I particularly enjoyed 11a for its topicality, 6d for its brevity, and the excellent 13d, my favourite.

    Thanks to all three birds.

  8. I’m rather annoyed with myself. I enjoyed the puzzle immensely even though it took a couple of hours of intense scrutiny. I was left only with 12a and I had two letters out of four! Yet I couldn’t ‘get’ it. Then 2Kiwis revealed the answer was buzzing around in front of me all the time. Oh, the frustration!
    Thanks to the setter and 2Kiwis.

    1. I think it was BD that said “if all else fails look for a lurker”. Very sound advice I have found.

      1. Quite tricky but enjoyable ***/*** 😃 Favourites 13 & 16d Must confess I did spend a long time trying to find a Roman Emperor whose name ended in …..us 😳 Big thanks to the 2xKs and to the Setter 🤔

      2. I think it might have been MP who said that – I could very easily be wrong.
        The thing BD said that I’ve never forgotten is that if you can’t explain your answer it’s probably wrong.

        1. That is true. It’s one of the reasons I hate bunging in an answer because most of my bung ins are wrong.

  9. I didn’t think this was a Jay puzzle and it definitely lacked the smooth surface that he gives to most of his clues. It was tricky and not the usual enjoyable Wednesday experience (3.5*/1.5*). Some of the anagrams were quite intriguing (11a) and I liked 15a. However, there were a lot of over-extended synonyms and the cryptic definition(?) about the pole was very oblique. Thanks to the Kiwis and to the setter. Keep safe and well and lets drink to Boris and Carrie and their new baby boy.

  10. Going for a 2.5*/4* today, nearly a 2* but I was held up by the SE corner!
    An excellent crossword throughout.
    Like Young Salopian I liked 6d and had already made a note regarding its ‘crisp ‘ cluing.
    Agree with RD regarding 2d-it was rather odd.
    Liked the reverse lurker in 23d and the surface of 16d.

    1. I hadn’t noticed that 23d was a reverse lurker. I thought it was a reverse of Liam (Fox) and couldnt work out where the ‘E’ came from. Enjoyable puzzle but tricky and thanks to all. We are still awaiting some rain here in N Norfolk, please send it our way, we need it.

  11. Absolutely terrific – I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the solve – the best I can remember. So many crafty clues with 11a, 27a, 6d, 13d and 20d standing out for me and several welcome opportunities to delve into the vocabulary bank. Thank you to whoever was responsible for this masterpiece (possibly not Jay?) and also MrK for being there in case of need. 👍💐.

    1. So sorry just realised I should have thanked the 2Ks today – it’s all these Ks from Down Under confusing me!

    1. We were more interested in getting the bottle shape correct for a wine from that region (we did) but didn’t look too closely to try and see what colour the actual wine was.

  12. I thought this was destined for the stinker pile, just couldn’t get my head round it. So gave up took dogs out along cliffs. Sat down lit pipe drank coffee, and it started to click. Strangely the bottom half seemed easier, 18a sorted out long anagram. I liked 28a and 5d.
    Another beautifuuly constructed puzzle by Jay.
    Thanks to the 2Ks and again Jay.

  13. Started off quickly in the SE corner then slowed up somewhat becoming (***/***). Some head scratchers, enjoyed 21a & 24d – 12a was good,
    Thx to the setter and 2Kiwis

  14. Not long started this one & am midway through & finding it tough.
    So wanted the answer to 12a to be prat…….

  15. No assistance at all from going in either direction of the Downs and a lot of head scratching required for completion at a canter – 3.5*/3.5*.
    I would also subscribe to the opinion that this may not be a Jay puzzle.
    Candidates for favourite – 6d, 15d, and 16d – and the winner is 15d.
    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  16. Like Angellov, I too enjoyed every minute of it but kept thinking that this was Jay-with-a-Difference, as some have noted. Still, I thought it quite exercising and masterfully done. I wondered how many cottoned on to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, which I immediately got (but missed it as a lurker!–how bizarre is that?). Many standouts, including 2a, which some have questioned, but my medallists today are 15d, 17d, 10a, and 11a…et al. I do enjoy Wednesdays, thanks to the Kiwis and Jay, if it is he. ** / ****

  17. I did feel the need to check on that particular meaning of 5d and – like RD – I was somewhat dubious about the definition given at 18a and thought there must be something more than met the eye where 2d was concerned.
    An enjoyable puzzle nevertheless and I awarded podium places to 11&14a plus 20d.

    Thanks to Jay (assuming that it was one of his) and also to our 2Ks. The reunion of an NZ ‘granny’ with her grandchild shown on TV last night must have given rise to a lot of envy in the UK!

  18. I found this very difficult. Probably a wave length thing. I don’t really understand the relevance of “puffed” in 22a. You’d need to be seriously puffed to turn blue! And to be ultra picky, a civil servant is not necessarily an “office holder”. However, it certainly occupied a good bit of this morning so that’s always a bonus. Favourite 13d.

  19. Got through this in a shorter time than usual but that doesn’t indicate great speed. Am slowly getting to read clues and sort out the parsing for which this was excellent. Pole at work slipped easily into mind but the NE corner caused me some delay. Thanks to the 2Ks and the setter whoever it is. Not sure if it is Jay as I managed to finish it without using the hints which is most unusual. Liked 1 and 14 a and 13 d.

  20. Thank you 2Kiwis for helping me make sense of this one that I was struggling with tlll I came here for guidance.

  21. Having struggled yesterday with the SW, today I struggled with the SE. But I did enjoy it very much, so ****/****. Thanks to all concerned.

  22. Whoever set this I like as I was for some reason on the same wavelength so a ***/**** and being of a certain age could just remember 22a being used as a reference to policeman. Had to guess 17d though luckily correctly as I hadn’t heard of that word before.

      1. Thanks crypticsue. I shall try to remember to contribute when I struggle as well as when I succeed if I think that’s going to be useful to others!

        1. Welcome from me, as well, NAS and we lesser mortals love to learn from the struggles of others.

  23. Toughish for me with NW last to fall. Very pleasurable solve though
    Thought 2d was referencing the expression “climbing the greasy pole” as being the struggle to gain promotion at work. It recalled the episode of “Yes Minister”.
    The series is still a great fun watch in these distinctly unfunny times.
    As one of my friends remarked, these days “BBC News” stands for Bad Bad Coronovirus News.
    Thanks to 2Ks & Jay or whoever

    1. Thanks for the enlightenment of 2d, I’ve not heard that before – makes sense now.

  24. I found this one from Jay (if it is Jay) very difficult. I struggled with the whole thing having solved only four clues on the first pass. These were 9a, 25a, 26a and 4d. I could see the anagram at 18a but I always struggle with anagrams that have multi word solutions. I thought the reverse lurker at 23d was brilliantly hidden. I spent too long trying to work in such words as “cemetery” and “inters” for 13d. I didn’t even think of the wine.

    Thank you to Jay for a challenge I was not up to and to the 2Kiwis for the great blog.

    1. Note your rukel arrived early (23d). How ironic that it was another made up word of recent origin!

      1. Irony well spotted! I did refrain from using “Rekrul” today but then I thought why not? There could be a few from RayT tomorrow.

        1. Perhaps BD can consider adding that dreadful word to the examples of dreadful portmanteau words in item 13 of Comment Etiquette.

          1. Is rekrul which is purely a reversal of a word a portmanteau word?It came when the question was asked on this site “how can we describe a reverse lurker”. It may not have classic derivations but it describes the process pretty accurately.

            1. Many portmanteau words become part of everyday vocabulary such as “breathalyser.”

              1. Saw one highjacked in the Telegraph yesterday “astroturfing” – masking the origin of a campaign to make it appear as if coming from grass roots ugh!

            2. I suppose it all comes down to a subjective, and personal, assessment of degree of dreadfulness – no prizes for guessing for what I think of the dreadful word while I consider ‘breathalyser’ acceptable.

          2. I do dislike “rekrul” – it doesn’t match up to the blog’s strapline “Crossword clues explained in plain English”. Heaven knows what a novice solver accessing the blog for the first time would make of it.

            1. I agree totally – it’s like anagrind and a few others that I can’t remember – maybe they’ll come back to me! :unsure:

  25. Penciled in the answers to 2d and 20d as I couldn’t parse them, even if the answer was quite obvious from the def.
    New word for me in 17d.
    Favourite 13d.
    Thanks to the setter and to 2kiwis for the review.
    Restaurants in France are likely to be closed for another 6 weeks at least. A decision will be taken at the end of May. Disaster looms.

    1. Sorry to hear this, jean-luc. I often wonder about those on this blog who run pubs etc. I hope they are all going to be ok. Good luck to you and them.

        1. So am I, in a way, but we probably are quite lucky as our businesses cost us next to nothing while dormant. I worry for those who have high rents which shall always be due.
          The Garrick in Covent Garden for example pays £96k a year to which you have to add 30% for the universal business rates. I hear that Westminster Council might wave that charge but the landlords will probably want their money nonetheless.
          Ps: Sorry about my avatar. It’s chapter 110 from Moby Dick.

          1. Ishmael tells the reader that Queequeg is a “riddle to unfold,” and a “wondrous work in one volume.”

  26. Beaten by 22a. A term I’d forgotten and not helped by the fact I’d decided 13d was wine cellar not cooler having missed the anagram.

    Great outing this morning up to a garden centre who are at last allowed to operate a click and collect system. I wonder how much our shopping habits will have changed by the end of this emergency.

    Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis.

  27. Way beyond me in my current unconfident state.l needed a lot of help and even with the tips still struggled with a few.lt was Disraeli who said he got to the top of the greasy pole so l will choose that as clue of the day.

    1. You’re not alone. I’ve been doing these since the dark ages, and this one is beyond me.

  28. I really enjoyed this one and have lots of ticks, so no overall favourite. Many thanks to the setter and to the 2ks. The PM is not the only one celebrating today. We are celebrating the hatching of five bluetits. Four more to hatch. I wonder if that will be today or tomorrow ?

        1. Don’t recall that one. We only had spiders in the Guys Hospital student wing. Did a swan span the ball?

          1. The swan neck has an arch that could cover a ball not used in the shot, but could well inhibit the use of other rests. From the arch there is a long swan-like neck that may also serve for the cue to pass over another ball before giving access to the cue ball (I think!)

            1. Rest – slightly flattened X so you can hit the white above or below the centre, depending which way you turn it
              Spider – arched higher than a ball with three U cups, left, centre, right for cuing over obstructing ball
              Extended spider – same, but the three U cups extend 3″ beyond the body of the rest
              Swan-neck – arched, extended and curved up at the end with a single V slot to take the cue
              Haven’t played since March 19th – I’m gonna be rusty!

        1. I once played the Welsh Junior Champion. He thrashed me of course. Afterwards he said “Whatever you do, Steve don’t get good at snooker. Nobody wants to play a game with you.”

              1. He wasn’t going to slow down that night. We played one frame. He smashed the break. I took the only red possible and nominated the blue, the only colour I had half a chance of potting. Alex Higgins asked how I intended to pot the blue. I said I would double it across the table into the middle pocket. He eyed the shot up, shook his head and said he would buy me a pint if I succeeded. I did and he duly bought me a pint. He then rapidly potted ball after ball until all the reds were gone. On 95 points he sent the yellow ball around the angles into a pocket. 97 points and an easy green for the ton. He played the white ball away from the green around the angles back to the green which rolled slowly towards the pocket but failed to go down by the tightest of margins. Needless to say at 97 – 6 with 22 on the table I conceded.

            1. Alex used to come into the White Hart in Dorking with Ollie Reed after the latter had bought Coldharbour Manor – always trolleyed, he would start shoving people around if he was losing. He always seemed to be in a bad mood

  29. Thanks for the explanation for 22a. It hadn’t occurred to me that blue was a homophone. That would have baffled me forever!

  30. A painfully slow start as the first couple of read throughs yielded only 3 confident answers. Once a couple of the anagrams fell progress was a little better but I then stalled with half a dozen remaining. Took a break and went for a walk in the drizzle and immediately rattled them off on resumption but completion edged into ***** territory.
    Whether it was Jay or not I thought this a cracker and at the high end of difficulty for a DT back pager. Agree with RD re 18a but other than that this was really well clued. Particularly liked 13 & 15d but COTD for me was 21a. 17d was a new term to me requiring dictionary confirmation.
    Many thanks to the setter & to the 2Ks for the review.

  31. A puzzle that gave me a bit of trouble in the SE corner, where noone alse seems to have had a problem. The hints sorted it all out.

    Enjoyable nevertheless.

    Thanks to setter and 2Ks for the hints.

    1. I found the SE corner tricky. I had to go to the hints to get 22a, then I could solve the rest.

  32. Solved with unparsed bung ins aplenty in a hurry to get to our new house. Found the puzzle quite difficult really. Thanks to all concerned.

  33. Clearly a wavelength thing as I’m far from an ace solver. However I found this reasonably straightforward and enjoyable. I couldn’t spell 1a so had to look it up. Needed the 2Ks hint to parse 5a properly. Was looking for a different plight until it dawned on me. No odd words for me today. Great stuff.

  34. A real puzzle of a crossword, very satisfying to have finished it and I did like the misdirection of 8 d, therefore it was my favourite.
    12a only had four letters so was not long enough for me to say what I really thought so I settled for the buzzy pest.
    We have had lots of lovely rain in Cambridge and my beans are very happy bunnies. Thanks to everyone as usual.

  35. A slow start and a slow finish for me. I just wasn’t on the wavelength at all, so needed a lot of help from the blog. Still, it helps in the learning process and I am improving, slowly.
    Thanks to the setter and the 2 kiwis.
    BTW, isn’t 24d also a lurker?

    1. Yes 24d is a lurker as well as being parsed as per the Kiwis hint, so two lots of wordplay for one small solution

  36. Really excellent puzzle with shades of the old Friday maestro in the clue construction. Most the fun was in working out the wordplay of the well constructed clues. Learnt a new word in 5d but my fav was 5a, so clever.
    Many thx to the setter for a great crossword. Thx for the hints.

    1. Doubt it’s ‘the old Friday maestro’ as he’s on Toughie duty today. Give it a go Brian.

        1. Brian,
          Gazza said the puzzle was “laced with obscurities” which didn’t sound like your cuppa.

  37. Started this before leaving the house this morning (it was my turn to man the office) and finished it just now.

    My last two in, and my favourites, were 1a and 2d. 2d I just took to mean the …….. pole which is climbed by an ambitious person at work.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it and thank the setter and the 2Ks.

  38. Yup, pretty tricky! I needed the hint for 22a and that got me going again in the SE. I can’t say I didn’t know 22a as we had it not that long ago, I tried to think what goes with “bottle” for courage, so I should have got that.
    I also needed to look up thiamine to get the B1. Thanks to LBROK, I now understand 2d.
    Hard as this was, it was loads of fun, so I’ve had my Wednesday enjoyment. Can’t choose a fave, too much choice here.
    Thanks to Jay (??) and to the 2Kiwis for unravelling a couple for me.

  39. After a very slow start, I found myself more and more on the right wavelength, and finished up disappointed when the last two answers went in. I was defeated by 2d and find it difficult to accept the noun plight as a synonym for the verb which proved to be the answer.
    ****/**** for me, with thanks to 2K’s and setter.

  40. ***/****. Really good puzzle. Liked 22a, 1,13 &23d. Not sure who the setter is but many thanks to him/her. Thanks also to the 2Ks. Canada is starting to open up under the guidance of provincial premiers. Disappointingly Quebec is most eager but has the worst stats in the country. I fear there will be a second round of infections and thank God I’m not in a care home. One unusual aspect of the pandemic is my daughter in England is home schooling our grandchildren, Edward is 2 years old and can now count to ten and James(5) has “cracked” his spelling/understanding of homophones such as wear/were/where. I suspect there will be unseen benefits from this dreadful time.

  41. Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but found it quite in places. Needed the hints to parse 5,12a & 2,6,17,20d. Favourite was 11a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  42. Second R&W this week!! thought this was a cracker particularly when compared to Tuesdays flat, boring GK/Cryptic. Many thanks all.

    1. The use of the term Read and Write is not liked by many who read this blog. Many of us used it until one of Kr Kitty’s surveys revealed how unpopular it was.

        1. It’s disliked because many readers mistakenly picture that solver ripping through the puzzle just writing in every answer, and they find that discouraging. Reading a clue and immediately writing in the answer should take less than ten seconds, which totals five minutes for a 30 clue puzzle. So I’m fine with commenters here claiming “read and write” if they really filled the grid and parsed every clue in under five minutes. But in that case you’d have to wonder why they’re showing off here and not over at Times for The Times where solving times are posted and they could see how they really measure up.

          There are a few true read and write solvers here, but that’s not widely known because they don’t boast in comments about quick they are.

  43. I also found this really tricky but it hadn’t occurred to me that it wasn’t a Jay because Wednesdays always are but now that it’s been mentioned . . .
    I’ve made a bit of a mess of this one – wrong wave-length completely plus a spot of dimness is a bad combination.
    I’ve no idea what a greasy pole is and had the wrong second word for 13d down – cellar instead of cooler – which is what happens when I don’t write anagram letters down (which is why I almost always do.)
    Couldn’t do 22a because of 13d boob!
    I liked 12a (even though I really hate them) and 28a and 13d and 7d was my favourite.
    With thanks to whoever did set this one, Jay or not, and to the 2K’s.

    All in all perhaps not a very good day although I did quite enjoy it while I was doing it.

    1. Hi Kath. I solved this twelve hours ago and I have no recollection of a greasy pole. I’m just about to read through the 2Ks blog. I think I am going to be surprised at just how many bung ins I got away with

    2. I try to explain how I justified “greasy pole” and work in #24. Merusa found it helpful.

    3. I, too, had “cellar” for 13d, missed the anagram completely. Realised my error when I had to use the hint for 22a.

  44. I really enjoyed this and found it quite straight forward although I did put in two words Ive never heard of.
    Thanks to kiwis and setter

  45. Didn’t find it as tough as the **** rating given. Completed in good time and was **** for enjoyment. Found I needed a couple of hints especially in the SW corner as I thought the answers I entered were correct but needed to see the parsing to confirm. Last in was 20d. Candidates for favourite include 14a, 27a, 7d & 15d … and the winner is 15d by a mile.
    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  46. Morning all.
    So we weren’t the only ones pondering if this one might not be a Jay puzzle. We recognised that the answer to 5a had been in a Puzzles Newsletter clue writing competition some months ago but can’t remember what the winning entry was. It did make us wonder if CL might be the setter though. Maybe there is still time for Jay or someone else to pop in and enlighten us.
    Although the answer to 2d was quite obvious we spent some time trying to sort the wordplay. Think that Cambodia Alex above might have found a better explanation than we did.
    Although we did not have a wildlife report this week we did include a picture of a Glossy Ibis which is an Australian bird that very occasionally gets blown across the Tasman and appears on our estuary.

    1. Good Morning both. As I hurriedly (not so hurriedly as I wanted) bunged whatever fit I thought rather the Kiwis than me today. Thirteen hours later having read through the clues and your excellent blog I’m still thinking rather rather you than me. Thank you both

    2. I would be surprised if it was from CL as I can’t usually cope with his offerings and I enjoyed this so much.
      Have only just seen Jay’s confirmation of authorship – thank you to him.

  47. A great accomplishment! Well that’s what it feels like to have completed this poser, albeit in three sections.
    4*/4* a very satisfying solve & a fantastic puzzle.
    Many thanks to setter & 2KWS for review & guidance

  48. Enjoyed this today. Also, it is quite rare I find it easier than the given rating – today by 2 stars no less!

    A couple of new terms for me. Considering the amount of it I put away, how I hadn’t heard of the wine in 13d is beyond me…

    22a was my last in and therefore my favourite clue as the satisfaction in solving was greatest.

    Thanks to all.


    1. Thanks very much for popping in, and thank you for making every Wednesday special.

    2. Thank you for popping in and the challenge – much appreciated by all judging by the comments

    3. So it was you! You stretched my brain cells today but many thanks for commenting on the blog and for the challenge.

    4. Thank you so much Jay for popping in as well as all the great puzzles we get to solve.
      It is a real privilege to blog them each week.

    5. I don’t believe I have ever had the chance to thank you in person, but I am delighted to be able to take this opportunity to do so. The was yet another in a long line of hugely enjoyable Wednesday puzzles.

  49. Late on parade, as they say. I enjoyed this. Was confused by 2d until I looked up the answer plus pole in the BRB and discovered that it has a second meaning in informal British. I don’t often pick anagrams as favourites, but on this one 10a topped my list. That has absolutely nothing to do with the solve being accompanied by a glass of fine Malbec.

    Thanks to Jay for the entertainment and to the 2Ks for the great blog.

    I have noted that attributing the puzzle to another setter is a good way to flush out the true compiler. So perhaps on Tuesday I will, inspired by Jane, confidently thank Shamus for that puzzle (which reminds me – does anybody know where he’s gone?).

    1. There was a comment recently that said he is writing questions for a quiz show. If you search Only Connect you may find what I am referring to.

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