DT 29364 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29364

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29364

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. Another sunny start to the day as we take tiny steps towards restoring some form of normality. I spent yesterday afternoon in a socially-distanced working party helping to prepare our croquet club for some socially-distanced play – singles only, no doubles, book in advance, no tea, no bar, don’t hang around after your game is over. Is it worth the effort, I ask myself.

I found today’s puzzle reasonably challenging, hence the *** marking. It will be interesting to see what the commentariat has to say.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

1a           Training run and jog Ben has in city (12)
JOHANNESBURG – Anagram (training) of RUN JOG BEN HAS, producing a South African city.

8a           Consultant, regularly paid, avoids worry (7)
ADVISOR – Alternate letters of the last three words of the clue.

9a           Somewhat difficult mess engulfing River Police officer (7)
HARDISH – Put together River and the abbreviation for a detective rank in the police force, then wrap a mess (as in ‘make a —- of it’) around the result.

11a         Sick notes in disrepute (3,4)
ILL FAME – The first word is another word for ‘sick’. Split the second (2,2) and you get two notes on the tonic sol-fa scale.

12a         Overheard legend resisting wine (7)
CHIANTI – A homophone (overheard) of another word for the legend found on a map or chart, followed by another word for ‘resisting’ or ‘against’.

Buy Renzo Masi Fiasco Chianti 2018 | Price and Reviews at Drinks&Co

13a         Guard criminal (5)
FENCE – Double definition: a guard to keep people away from a piece of machinery; or a dealer in stolen goods.

14a         A second prisoner departs, having stuffed sack and escaped (9)
ABSCONDED – Start with A (from the clue). Then put together an abbreviation for Second, one of the usual crossword criminals and an abbreviation for Departs, wrap the sort of sack you may use to sleep around the result, and add all of this to your starting A.

16a         Game’s copyright superseding patent, initially it carries charge (9)
CARTRIDGE – Here we start with a game bird, possibly found in pear trees in December. Then we remove the Patent from the beginning of the word (initially) and relace it with Copyright.

19a         First sign of parish notice about priest (5)
PADRE – Put together the first letter of Parish, a short word for a commercial notice, and the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’, to get a word for a priest, especially one in the armed forces.

21a         Sheer material in newspaper attracting unknown journalists essentially (7)
ORGANZA – Another word for a newspaper or magazine (think Lord Gnome and Private Eye) followed by an algebraic unknown and the middle letter (essentially) of journAlists.

23a         Cartoon strip that’s of little worth (7)
PEANUTS – The title of the long-running cartoon strip drawn by Charles M Schulz is also a pejorative word for a small sum of money.

Why Snoopy Is Such a Controversial Figure to 'Peanuts' Fans - The ...

24a         Chicken given supplements ultimately displays signs of ageing (7)
YELLOWS – A word meaning ‘chicken’ or ‘cowardly’ followed by the last letter (ultimately) of supplementS.

25a         Nothing leads this writer, discontented refusnik, to back foreign government (7)
KREMLIN – Put together another word for nothing (often used in football results), a pronoun for ‘this writer’, and the outside letters (dis-content-ed) of RefusniK, then reverse (to back) the result to get a term often used for the government in Russia.

26a         Frugal Norm, simple character confronting debts (12)
PARSIMONIOUS – Put together another word for ‘norm’ or ‘standard’, the simple character who met a pieman in the nursery rhyme, and some acknowledgements of debt.

Down

1d           Spear, article Indonesian discards before river rises (7)
JAVELIN – Remove the indefinite article from a word for someone from one of the islands making up Indonesia, then add on the reverse (rises) of an African river which flows into the Mediterranean.

2d           One kept prisoner for 18 years under army (7)
HOSTAGE – The ‘18’ in the clue is a reference to the answer to 18d. Another word for a (large) army followed by a long period of years.

3d           Am insured to cook for nanny (9)
NURSEMAID – Anagram (to cook) of AM INSURED.

4d           Moral belief within Elizabeth I consistently (5)
ETHIC – Hidden in the clue.

5d           Tortilla dish, whisper love eating it (7)
BURRITO – A rough whisper and the letter which looks like a love score at tennis, placed either side of IT (from the clue).

Beef and spinach burritos | Tesco Real Food

6d           Son leaves showing calm acceptance, having prevailed (7)
REIGNED – Remove the Son from a word for showing calm acceptance (as in ‘——– to one’s fate’).

7d           Good enough outside, it’s a fantastic small plant (12)
SATISFACTORY – Anagram (fantastic) of IT’S A, with Small and an industrial plant placed outside it.

10d         Occupation accustomed to everyday shocks and sometimes severe cutbacks? (12)
HAIRDRESSING – Cryptic definition of a customer service which we are all missing during lockdown. There were reports of queues forming at midnight in New Zealand ahead of these establishments being released from lockdown.

15d         Coat perhaps keeps flashing inside leg area (9)
SHEEPSKIN – An area on the front of the lower leg wrapped around an anagram (flashing) of KEEPS.

As legendary football commentator John Motson announces retirement ...

17d         Ceremonial emblems Algeria reforms (7)
REGALIA – Anagram (reforms) of ALGERIA.

18d         Lintels beginning to go for extortionate prices (7)
RANSOMS – Remove the initial letter (beginning to go) from another word for ‘lintels’ to get the extortionate sums demanded by criminals for the release of a captive.

19d         It’s not designed to cure home with unpleasant smell (7)
PLACEBO – Another word for ‘home’ (as in ‘come round to my —-‘) followed by an acronym for an unpleasant bodily fragrance.

20d         Makes twice as many shots in snooker? (7)
DOUBLES – Two definitions’ the second being snooker shots where the object ball is hit into a cushion with the object of making it rebound into a pocket.

22d         Tea service close to grandma getting knocked over (5)
ASSAM – Put together a religious service and the last letter of grandmA, then reverse the result.


The Quick Crossword pun PLEASE + FALSE = POLICE FORCE

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99 comments on “DT 29364
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  1. I found this tricky but solvable. I am always given a boost when the first clue drops in immediately as 1a did today. I managed today’s offering practically unaided, which seems to be the trend for me at the moment. However, I will no doubt be slapped down soon.

    10d was clever as was 19d but I have no real favourites today.

    Grateful thanks to the setter for the challenge and DT for the hints and Beatles.

      1. Haven’t started the cryptic yet, but quite agree about the pun. Even allowing for my late mother-in-law who would have pronounced the second word ‘fawlse,’ it really is stretching it a bit!

            1. fɔːls
              This is how my dictionary pronounces it, the same way I do. It was a genuine question, but I do agree it doesn’t sound like the pun!

              1. I pronounce it folse and have mostly heard it that way. However I have lived out of England for so long that I may well be pronouncing it incorrectly …

  2. Was it just me, or was that Toughie territory? Just into 4* difficulty, but I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it that much – can’t put my finger on why. Thanks anyway to Setter for the workout, and to DT for confirming what I thought was quite a weak 11a.

    1. Not so enjoyable as the last couple of days – too many convoluted clues for my liking. Needed quite a bit of electronic help, and grateful for the parsing explanations of the several I failed to understand.
      Some real favourites balanced with some less so. Favs were 8a, 24a, 25a, 26a, 7d, 10d, 15d, 18d and 22d. But not so happy with 9a, 11a, 14a, 21a, 2d, and 6d. Still don’t understand 12a, despite the explanation.

      1. The legend on a map or chart explaining the symbols used is the key, which sounds like the ‘chi’ in the answer. Someone who resists somering may be an ‘anti’.

  3. I found it was 4* for difficulty too but could only give it 1* for enjoyment. I think it was because I found the clues too contrived, long-winded and over-complicated. Some of the clues were, however, very clever. 10d was good fun but otherwise fun was in short supply. Thanks to DT for the hints. There were several bung-ins that I could only partially parse. Thanks to the setter, it was clever but not my cup of tea. Stay safe and well everyone.

  4. I found it was 4* for difficulty too but could only give it 1* for enjoyment. I think it was because I found the clues too contrived, long-winded and over-complicated. Some of the clues were, however, very clever. 10d was good fun but otherwise fun was in short supply. Thanks to DT for the hints. There were several bung-ins that I could only partially parse. Thanks to the setter, it was clever but not my cup of tea. Stay safe and well everyone.

  5. I enjoyed today’s solve, and a **/*** for me.
    The whisper synonym was new to me, I thought it was some kind of mule!
    14a contained one of my pet hates, the dreaded abbreviation, I always think that this smacks of desperation on the setters behalf.
    Liked 23a ,I’m sure that this has appeared before, and 16a when the penny dropped.
    10d is most apposite at the moment, almost as rare as finding a dentist if you need one.
    The quickie pun didn’t work for me.

  6. We are all different. I enjoyed this one hugely, and didn’t really find it more than ** for difficulty. No real favourites, but many good clues. No doubt I shall get my come-uppance when I try to tackle today’sToughie

  7. Hmm. 3.5*/2.5*. A curate’s egg puzzle for me today both in terms of varying difficulty and varying enjoyment.

    – 11a is an unfamiliar term for me. It is in my BRB although Collins suggests it is archaic.
    – 16a is an example of a clue type that I am not keen, on replacing one relatively obscure single letter abbreviation with another and wrapping the whole thing up in a meaningless surface.
    – I’m not impressed by the use of “18” in 2d to refer to 18d. This would really only make sense to me if 18d were singular.
    – Talking of 18d, would it ever be used in the plural form to mean “extortionate prices”?

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to DT.

    1. 16a you aren’t replacing an abbreviation with another – you are replacing it with an ‘initial’ as indicated by ‘initially’

      I wasn’t entirely sure the 18 in 2d did refer to 18d, I took it to be 18 years of [the last three letters of 2d]

      1. Re 2d, before I had bothered to enter many across clues, I kept trying to put in History, as in someone who had served in the 1979-1997 government. It doesn’t really parse, but I amused myself with the combination of 18 (years) and Tory. Well, it’s a matter of opinion whether one regards that as having been a prison……..
        I’d better get my coat before BD starts chasing me with a big stick for random and unwarranted political comment.

    2. Just like to point out that one ransom demand is often followed by another and another before the hostage is released. Or as more often the case, unfortunately not.

  8. Even though I got the 4 perimeter clues quite quickly I still found this quite 9a, and to be honest a bit of a mixed bag, as a couple of the clues felt overly manufactured. I didn’t like 11 and 16a (which was a bung in) and the rather clumsy 1d. On the plus side I liked the concise 19a, 26a and my COTD 19d.
    4/2*
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for his excellent review .

  9. Well I thought it was perfectly pitched for a Friday back pager (I’m quite looking forward to a time when I might buy a weekday paper and be able to complain about the crossword being on the inside back page) and I enjoyed the solve.

    As I peer past my fringe which is growing ever longer, there is only one clue that can be today’s favourite – 10d

    Thanks to the setter and DT

    1. I very gingerly and cautiously took the scissors to mine yesterday cutting upwards in short little snips. Don’t know what the lovely Gary will say when he sees it. I wasn’t going to be outdone by Nicola flippin Sturgeon.

  10. Strangely, I found this easy enough and a lot easier than Ray T’s yesterday. I’m obviously not wired up right! 11a doesn’t really crop up in normal conversation. In my household the alternatives would probably include expletives. I think burr = whisper is stretching things but this is crossword land. Favourite 26a for its sheer simplicity. No idea who is the setter, as ever but thanks anyway to all.

  11. Don’t really know what to make of this one. Little surprised reading the comments that others remark on the difficulty as I sped through it reasonably quickly despite being held up by entering ‘ers’ instead of ‘ing’ at the foot of 10d. Unfortunately though it was a failure to finish as I’d completely forgotten the lintel synonym(& that there was a reference to the clue in 2d) so having stared blankly at that clue for longer than it took to fill in the rest I lost patience & pressed reveal as the review wasn’t out yet. Agree that a few of the clues were a tad clunky. No favourites today but always think 26a is a lovely word for some reason.
    Thanks to the setter & DT for the informative review.

  12. Not too difficult providing you ignore the wordy and frankly irritating wordplay and just look for the definition.
    Not my favourite I’m afraid.
    **/**

  13. I’m in the ‘found it quite tough’ camp today but, as CS said – it is a Friday.
    My favourite has to be 10d (how I wish…. ) but I also gave ticks to 11&24a plus 15d. I have an aversion to what I refer to as made-up words so 9a got the thumbs down as did the Quickie pun – I swear I could hear Gazza groaning from here!

    Thanks to our setter and to DT for the review – I doubt that you’ll be alone in wondering whether the current restrictions governing games and sports make them worth the effort. Nothing to decide here in Wales as we’re still under total lockdown.

    1. I did groan at the Quickie Pun, Jane. I do try to allow some licence to the Quickie pun (much more so than to homophones in the crossword) especially if it’s amusing. I didn’t like today’s though it was nowhere near as bad as the worst ever (in my view) which was Ray T’s ‘Bound Chunter’.

  14. Finished it, but 7d had me scatching my head for ages trying to think of the name of a small plant! Didn’t like the answer to 9a – a bit contrived and shoehorned in to fit I thought – not a word used in everyday speech?

  15. Many thanks to DT for his review and to those who have commented thus far, I’ll probably pop back later to thank others, whether or not the puzzle was your cup of tea!

    Those complaining of wordiness might be interested to know that the average number of words in the Across clues is 6.57 per clue (the same as RayT yesterday, coincidentally) and it’s 7.07 for the Down clues.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Silvanus. Always good to hear from the setters and greatly appreciated. Many thanks for the puzzle.

    2. Silvanus
      Thanks for the diversion & doing the honour of a visit.
      I am sure you were “guided by the science” when you crafted the clues based on a statistical analysis of the word count!
      (What if if all clues had, say only 0.57 of the last word).

    3. Life’s too short says the man who used to count the squares filled by anagrams in order to present a percentage figure. Hang about, didn’t you set yesterday’s Toughie. Is this a takeover bid?

      1. Hi MP,

        It’s Mr Lancaster who schedules the puzzles, not me, but it’s a pleasure and privilege to appear on successive days :-)

        Thanks for resurrecting my first-ever Toughie for your avatar, glad you’ve kept it.

    4. Hello, Silvanus! Thanks for yesterday’s brilliant Toughie and today’s less- rigorous but still challenging Cryptic. Did you, by the way, intend 2d to connect with 18d? I didn’t think so. Anyway, thanks for joining us today.

      1. Hi Robert,

        Thank you. When you said yesterday “come back soon”, you probably weren’t expecting me to be back again quite so quickly!

        I have to admit my intention was for 2d to refer to 18d, but I can see how it could be interpreted differently.

  16. Gosh another crossword whereI was on setters wavelength, it will probably go to pot tomorrow but another successful solve. Another lovely day in North Cornwall a few of us are meeting sgain for socially isolating drinks. At keast it helps us all to keep in touch face to face instead of ekectronically. I feel for those of you across the water in Wales. I am sure lockdown will end soon.
    Thanks to DT and Silvanus

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Spook, but I think most of us here appreciate why Welsh regulations haven’t been eased as yet. Our virus ‘peak’ is only just starting to happen which does make me wonder why so many folk from across the border seem to be hell-bent on getting here!

      1. Quite a few garden centres now open and yesterday Dobbies staff were managing customers well on entry and exit (one in, one out, sanitised trolleys, markings for queuing).
        The only things that bothered me, as someone who hasn’t ventured to any shops or out of my neighbourhood for 8 weeks, were the people who were quite slow and browsing non-gardening stuff, not being aware of other shoppers‘ positions and not doing as they were instructed re queuing- some seemed to be in a trance. Also, despite the general safety procedures, there was some aggressive air conditioning which, at best, was unnecessary and, at worst, was blowing a lot of potentially aerosolised virus straight in your face. Not much point in 2 metre distancing if you have positive airway pressure………..Psychologically, people feel “fresh air” in air con to be safe. Actually, it’s the opposite.
        I will be adding a mask to my safety glasses next time.

        1. I’ve run into the same people in the supermarkets over here. The aisles are currently one way only, so when someone stops to lift something off a shelf, you politely stop as passing them closely by negates the 6ft rule. However, so many pause and stare vacantly at the shelves, in one instance I waited a full 2 minutes before giving up and returning to that aisle later. On the other hand, as I moved briskly down my aisle and reached for something myself, without hardly a pause, another shopper overtook me without a thought. The rules only work when observed sadly.

  17. Stuttering would best summise progress today. LOI was 25a. Although it has featured fairly recently didn’t realise it was a word for the Russian parliament then & it had disappeared into my forgotten file today. Also had “ers” not “ing” for 10d
    No real stand-out – spoiled by yesterday’s 15d I guess.
    Thanks to setter and Falcon for the review, needed to full parse a couple. Note comments on croquet. In most amateur sport a significant part of the enjoyment comes from the social side of the game. As I was taught “The first thing you give your opponent is a drink in the bar”.

    1. Apologies DT for wrong attribution.
      Re croquet one of the few ball games I haven’t had the pleasure of playing. At the top level can be quite cerebral I understand.

  18. Found today very enjoyable. Just worked for me .
    Thanks for parsing 11a which was a struggle.
    So enjoy sharing North Cornwall with Spook.
    Socially isolating walk in wonderful light.
    Thanks to setter and D T as well as BD for the facility.

  19. Unusually l found this easier than some others and really enjoyed it.Only doubt would be 9a and l needed help to parse 5d.Fancy me forgetting John Arlotts burr.A lot of very good humour shown e.g.13 and 24a.Thanks to all.

  20. I initially thought this was going to be read and write but eventually slowed to a ** time with 18d being the main culprit. 16a was my favourite clue with 22d as a close runner up. Overall, very enjoyable. Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  21. Tough going for me today, ****/**.
    For the quickie pun, I think you have to say it like Janet Street Porter would, it sort of works then. 🤔

        1. So, a needle pulling thread, / Fa…./ Ti or Te, a Drink with Jam and Bread…oops, Re, a Drop of Golden Sun… (they didn’t know what to do with ‘la’ and just allowed it to be ‘a note that follows ‘so’!) and back to ‘do’, a Deer, a Female Deer. There, almost got it all, John Bee.

  22. I loved this puzzle! Favourite clue 10d, although liked them all except 2d and 18d which I struggled with. I don’t mind struggling over a mostly filled grid, it’s when it’s mostly bare and I’m struggling that it’s a bit disheartening (quite often recently). Thank you setter and DT.

  23. A comfortable and thoughtful solve for me, with 7d my favourite. I enjoyed the concise clueing, which always gives a puzzle a boost to my mind. 10d was topical and fun. I shall need an estimate before having mine cut I fear.

    Thanks to Silvanus for the fun challenge and to DT.

  24. I enjoyed this one, with several clever clues. Not sure though what outside is doing in 7d. Did not know the lintels but a bung in from the checkers. Thanks to setter and DT.

      1. True, but it works just as well if the other S is the Small, so ‘outside’ is somewhat redundant
        ‘… it’s a fantastic small plant’ does the same job

    1. Hi Judy
      21a….a synonym of newspaper or journal ‘organ’ plus a mathematical unknown ‘z’ plus the middle letter of journalists.

  25. I didn’t mind this although I spent quite a long time on the second word of 11a – tried lots of combos using the solfa clue, but not the actual one.
    I also took some time getting the lintels synonym – for some reason, I connect it with boats…….

    Then , after quite a few of the less frequent consonants had gone in, I wondered about a pangram, with only Q and X to go. They never arrived!

    Lots of faffing about, but did like 25 and 26.

  26. Like RayT’s yesterday, today’s was a puzzle of two halves for me. Off to a flier for the top but there were a few ‘speed bumps’ in the south. Mrs Flyingfox helped with 21a from her years in the rag trade. Quite a few candidates for COTD but my winner 16a. I liked the connection with 2 and 10d when it clicked. Compliments to Silvanus and DT for the review🦇

  27. I feel slightly intimidated about making an adverse comment when the setter has popped in to say hallo, because really I am just so happy to have a puzzle to get my teeth into, But human nature being what it is, one is bound to have favourites. I did finish it apart from 11a which really stymied me and I had to look to DT for enlightenment. And 5d was a bung in which is slightly cheating IMHO as my grandson says. Thank you everyone, I enjoy reading the blog and the comments and especially at this time it is certainly a divertissement.

  28. Much more difficult than recent puzzles, for us, but very satisfying when solved. We needed the blog for the parsing of 16a which was our last one in: a real d’oh moment when we read the explanation! 😂 Many thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  29. Toughest Cryptic this week, I think, but still quite manageable. I had to google 11a to see if such a phrase as I’d ‘concocted’ really existed; well, yes it does, though I’ve never heard it spoken. For some reason, that corner held me up the longest, with 13a and 2d my last ones in. (Why did I keep thinking ‘hessian’ and ‘hussars’??! Been indoors TOO long.) Podium winners: 25a, 19d, and 1d. Thanks to Deep Threat for the hints (though that pun translated doesn’t work for me at all) and to Silvanus. ** / ****

  30. Completed this early this morning so I have just read all the comments to remind myself. I find that I am in accord with only a few on the difficulty level as I found it easier than a lot of recent puzzles.

    However I remember disliking both 9a and 11a, both of which jarred with me as obscure and unpleasant words/terms.

    I would never have solved 18d without looking up lintel in the Thesaurus, but having done so the answer was obvious.

    On the whole I enjoyed it.

    Many thanks to DT and Sylvanus.

    PS: I agree with others – the Quickie pun does not work

  31. Only just had time to do this and thought it a solid ***/***. Some clues really enjoyable – 7d for instance where I was misdirected to running through my appalling knowledge of plants until reason came to bear, and some quite stubborn – where I stupidly did not follow the refusnik (actually spelt refusenik I think) direction and wasted a while.

    Thanks to the setter for a high quality offering.

    I’ll do better next time!

  32. Busy with the business most of the day – really enjoyed this just now. One of those occasions when I’ve sat down with a nice cup of char and gone from top to bottom pdq😁. 19d jumped at me from a random memory of a MASH episode when olde doc Potter made up said potion upon running out the real stuff for post op patients!
    Thx to Silvanus and DT

  33. Enjoyable puzzle (if I can solve it I enjoy it 😉) **/*** Favourites were 19 & 26a 👍 Thanks to DT and to Silvanus 😃

  34. ***/***. Started quickly with 1a&1d and immediately thought pangram. Slowed down significantly and of course not a pangram. 9a was a clumsy word IMHO but I did like 10, 18, 19&22d. Thanks to Silvanus and DT. Our long weekend may reverse excellent progress with the virus especially if it’s warm. Not often I pray for rain.

  35. Not sure what to make of this one…..I did finish it, guessed quite a lot of answers and couldn’t really work out why. Wasn’t quite my cup of 22d but it gave the brain a workout! Thanks to Sylvanus for the crossword and DT for the hints and tips.

  36. I found this tough going and have been dipping in and out of it all day in between bouts of gardening but surprised myself by getting there in the end however not without some quibbles and bung-ins. No real Fav. Thank you Silvanus and DT.

  37. Last night we had rain, glorious rain! I slept in this morning listening to the rain pelting down, I was so late starting my day.
    I found this really tricky and with my late start it’s taken me forever. The answers came quite readily and I bunged in so many with having no idea of the why. I even had to enlist e-help from time to time.
    I liked 26a, as I usually do, I’ve chosen a fave from the sound. On reading 1a I knew it had to be but took a long time to know which words made up the anagram! We’ve had 23a before, and I don’t think too long ago.
    Thanks to Silvanus, I’m in the enjoyed it camp, and to Deep Threat for the unravelling of some.

  38. Really good fun and much enjoyed.
    When we were pondering who the setter might be we dismissed Silvanus from the list of possibilities as he has set Thursday’s Toughie. We sure got that wrong.
    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

  39. I thought I was in with a real chance today, as quickly got 1a and 1d, and the other 3 long outside clues. But struggled over the last few clues, and didn’t care for the more convoluted as as 12a, and 5d stumped me. Tougher than yesterday’s. But kept me amused, and from spending too much time on a very annoying jigsaw with two much foliage and blackness to fill in. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  40. I’m very late to the table today due to time spent on an uplifting walk; and a less uplifting trip to the supermarket. It’s the disinfecting that I find so exhausting – first all the shopping has to be doused and then it’s my turn.
    Found today’s puzzle tricky and needed DT’s help here and there – particularly 11a and 16a.
    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  41. Thank you again to everyone who has taken the trouble to comment, it’s always interesting to read solvers’ opinions, likes and dislikes.

  42. This puzzle has left me completely cold – much of a struggle from beginning to end. I didn’t care for it one little bit. Maybe lockdown, shut in or whatever has finally got to my brain I don’t know, but although I’ve yet to look at today’s Toughie, I have found this week’s previous three far more entertaining than this back pager. Sorry setter, not my cup of tea. Thanks for the challenge and thanks also to DT. Now to check out proXimal . . . . hoping this one is more to my liking.

  43. I’ve read the blog and the comments but cannot find the synonym for lintels despite going through the alphabet attaching each letter to the front of 18d. Help anyone please? In other news, I found this really hard (as opposed to 9a) and had to restart it this morning. Got the top half in and then gave up. Thank you to Silvanus, I love to read the setters’ contributions, and to DT.

  44. I found this particularly tricky. For me, the clue of the day had to be 26a. It had me reminiscing about happier times at Christmas, and my yearly and ritualistic viewing of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, with its vivid description of old Ebeneezer.

  45. Yesterday was ‘one of those days’ generally and I couldn’t do the crossword.
    I’ve finished it this morning but found it very difficult – very good but tricky.
    Not much point in saying more as it’s all been said already so thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

  46. The SE took some serious thinking and managed to get 23a as it appeared in the toughie.
    Then 15d, 25a and the rest fell.
    Very enjoyable indeed.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT

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