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DT 29377

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29377
The Saturday Crossword Club by Tilsit

BD Rating – Difficulty **  Enjoyment ***

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Until the Telegraph resumes the award of prizes for the Saturday puzzles, this post, and tomorrow’s, will be just like the Monday to Friday posts, with hints for every clue and revealable answers.  BD

Good morning everyone from a self-isolating blogger in Warrington.  I have been feeling a bit grotty with coughing spells since Wednesday and have lost my sense of smell and taste.  I went for a swab test yesterday and am awaiting the results, but now plan to completely self-isolate, although, in truth, I have largely been doing that since day one.   The only time I went out this week was to visit my district nurse and to do some shopping at Tesco.  Given the behaviour of some of the people there, I’m guessing that’s where I picked it up.

On to the puzzle.  This was an enjoyable romp, probably either by our longtime Mysteron setter or the new kid on the block.  I found it delivered what I expect from a good Saturday puzzle, a mix of the usual write-in chestnuts, plus a few to make you think.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

The hints follow.


1a Bad mistake: error ousting old Labour leader (4,7)
KEIR STARMER: We start with a clever and amusing clue that wouldn’t be allowed in the Times Crossword. The convention for the Times is that only people who are no longer with us can be used in the puzzle, excepting the Queen. The name of one of our current political leaders is an anagram (bad) of MISTAKE ERROR, minus O (OLD)

9a Distinguished singer keen to make comeback (4)
DIVA: This is one of those clues that is often seen by those who do lots of puzzles. A word for a distinguished female singer is something meaning keen or eager reversed.

10a Lawless Moab — one country that’s evil (11)
ABOMINATION: A word meaning something evil is revealed by taking an anagram (lawless) of MOAB and adding the abbreviation for one and a general word for a country.

11a Latest from all four corners? (4)
NEWS: If something is described as being from all four corners of the place, then it could be in all directions, so take each of the four cardinal points to give you a word meaning the latest (info). The question mark in a clue is there to make you realise you may need to think a little outside the box.

14a Host politician, English, in centre (7)
COMPERE: The name for the host of an event is found by putting the abbreviations for a general politician plus coming from England, inside a word meaning centre.

16a Superhero grabs wheel in transporter (7)
BOATMAN: Someone who ‘drives’ a type of transport is revealed by taking the name of my favourite superhero and inserting the letter that is shaped like a wheel.


17a What fills this after downpour’s onset? (5)
DRAIN: One of those clues where the component parts describes the whole thing. The first letter (onset) of DOWNPOUR plus something that could cause the answer to be full.

18a Former Italian banker seen in trade fair (4)
EXPO: One of those words that has come into use in the back half of the 20th century, but is actually an abbreviation of an old word for a large event or commemoration, usually a giant trade fair. Two short words, one meaning former and the other the name of a river (crosswordese – banker something having banks) make up this word. The first I remember was on in Montreal, I think in 1967.


19a Giant blunder on pitch disheartened Royle (4)
OGRE: The name for a fictional giant is revealed by taking an abbreviation for something that is deemed to be a gaffe by a footballer plus the first and last letters (disheartened) of ROYLE.

20a Adult Glaswegian perhaps in racing venue (5)
ASCOT: The home of racing’s Gold Cup is found by taking the abbreviation for adult and adding that nationality of a Glaswegian.

22a One able to fill some of the time at work (7)
DENTIST: A cryptic definition for someone who spends his time doing a bit of filling as part of their daily routine..

23a American doctor in excursion to find instrument (7)
TAMBOUR: The name for a type of percussion instrument (one practised by our setter as part of his other job?)

24a Uncertain moment with Juliet disappearing (4)
IFFY: Something meaning uncertain or dodgy is found by taking a word for a very short period of time and removing its first letter, represented by Juliet in the NATO alphabet.

28a City vehicle carrying European lad around river (6,5)
BUENOS AIRES: The name for a capital city is revealed by taking the name for a form of public transport and inserting E (European), the word for a lad reversed (around) and the name of a Yorkshire river.



29a Some near loathsome British peer (4)
EARL: A hidden answer. Concealed inside NEAR LOATHSOME is a member of the aristocracy. I think I’ll just leave that there.

30a Order airborne — dare pilot to break record held (11)
LEPIDOPTERA: The name for a biological order of winged creatures is an anagram of DARE PILOT with the abbreviation for a record inside.



2d: Eels bred in odd places in river (4)
ELBE: The odd letters of EELS BRED give the name of a German river.

3d Play concert with introduction deferred (4)
ROMP: Something meaning to play is the name of a concert, one of a series held annually in the summer, with its first letter shunted further down the word; to the end in this case.

4d Cheers — drank liquid from this! (7)
TANKARD: The name of a drinking vessel is revealed by taking a short word meaning ‘cheers’ in an appreciative manner, and then adding an anagram (liquid) of DRANK.



5d Religious words just audible (4)
RITE: The name for a religious ceremony using words or actions is a homophone of something meaning just or fair.

6d Energy movement generates strong feeling (7)
EMOTION: The abbreviation for energy goes before something meaning movement to give

7d Female takes long time in cooking steak (5,6)
FILET MIGNON: The name for a way of preparing steak is found by taking the abbreviation for Female and adding an anagram of LONG TIME IN. Yummy!


8d Justification for being in Paris? (6,5)
RAISON D’ÊTRE: A French phrase that refers to one justifying an action.

12d Money earned by cabbie? That should turn some heads! (11)
SCREWDRIVER: A slang word for money, plus one that means a person who operates a taxi gives you a tool that turns heads when it is used in assembling.

13d Musical work having name for ship at sea (3,8)
HMS PINAFORE: An anagram of NAME FOR SHIP give the name of a G&S oeuvre.

15d Surrealist in modern studio (5)
ERNST: The name for an artist whose works probably define surrealism is found inside MODERN STUDIO. Very much an acquired taste, I’m afraid. Not mine.



16d Chauvinist’s piece about good love (5)
BIGOT: The word for someone who holds strong opinions is made up of something meaning piece with the abbreviations for good and love (in tennis) inside.

20d Normally Laura’s out with sweetheart (2,1,4)
AS A RULE: An anagram of LAURAS plus E (the heart of sweet) gives a phrase meaning normally.

21d Pancake containing a lot of fish sauce (7)
TABASCO: Most of a word for a fish (three quarters of it) goes inside a savoury pancake found in the US and Mexico to give the name of a hot and spicy sauce.



25d Books in excellent opponent (4)
ANTI: The name for an opponent is made up of the initials for some (Biblical) books

26d Fast food one regularly consumes (4)
DIET: A cryptic definition for a method of eating food that is almost fasting.

27d Troubled king coherent, though losing head (4)
LEAR: A Shakespearean king’s name which is found by taking a word meaning coherent or lucid and removing the first letter.

Thanks to our setter and see you next week.

Today’s music is something I discovered last year and now it’s firmly in my list of favourites. Enjoy

The Saturday Crossword Club is now open.

The Quick Crossword pun: pen+tau+sweet=penthouse suite

127 comments on “DT 29377

  1. Found bits of this quite a struggle for a Saturday, must have got up too early. I disagree with the numbering in clues 8d (6, 1’4) and 13d (1,1,1,8) or am I being picky? Also not keen on the 1st part of 12d, a childish word I haven’t used in decades. Penny dropping moments in 21d, 23a, and eventually 30a, my COTD. I trust the combination of 1 & 10a isn’t a Nina reflecting the paper’s political leanings… Thanks to tilsit & setter. 3*/3*.

    1. I agree with you, Nogbad, about the enumerations of 8d & 13d, which brought a couple of audible hmms from me.

    2. So do I, but I’ve beaten that drum several times and got nowhere. So the only thing I can offer is, like RD, to go Hmm.

    3. I agree with your 1st comment about 8d and 13d. The numbering, especially in 8d, was very misleading for me.

    4. I too agree but as we are not permitted to criticise setters Hmm is all one can do.

      1. Sensible criticism has always been allowed – what I don’t like is ranting at the setter because you can’y solve a clue.

    5. Why is the first part of 12d childish?

      It’s a very common term for ‘wages’.

      I must be missing something.

      1. Hear hear. When I started work in 1978 it was common (here in East London at least) to hear ‘are you on a decent screw ‘?). Thankfully they were referring to wages ! A 16 yr old may have blushed !

        1. Calling yourself Harry Monk is hilarious. Luckily, I think most people on this blog won’t know what it’s Cockney rhyming slang for.

          If Big Dave knew, he wouldn’t have allowed it.

          You’ve done well to get this far with it.

            1. Good shout.

              Wouldn’t it be totes hilaire if it was.

              He may well say that it is, indeed, his name as one never tells the truth when the headteacher questions the jape.

        2. Massive respect to you for trying it on and getting away with it, btw….until now, that is.

          Apologies for spoiling your ‘phnarr phnarr’ schoolboy fun. You’ve had a good run.

    6. I also agree about 8d. I have long accepted that possessive apostrophes are not indicated, but I was led to believe that, for example, maître d’hôtel should be enumerated as (6,1’5). Having said that it may be because the Telgrah crossword software doesn’t handle apostrophes and quote marks at all well.

      1. I’ve often thought that too but as they never appear in the paper version I always assumed that is was the norm.

    7. Yes, perhaps the numbering in 8d and 13d was deliberately off to mislead us? If so, I don’t care for that as a tactic. I needed a fair few hints to complete, stopping just now to watch live the SpaceX launch, absolutely fantastic. Say what you want about Elon Musk, but the man is brilliant. God speed Bob and Doug for a successful trip and safe return home.

      I managed to spell Keir as Kier so that held me up, trying to come up with the wrong river. Haven’t had a 7d since the first week of lockdown. Quite enjoyed this puzzle. Thanks to Big Dave and the setter.

      1. Tried to edit as I realized I should have thanked Tilsit today. (Feel better soon.). However, I got a message saying I didn’t have authority to edit it ??

      2. Elon Musk calling our brave guy a paedo says all I need to know about him. Really nasty piece of work.

        1. I agree that was unforgivable. I think he is one of those brilliant people who is borderline nuts. I put this remark down to a moment of madness, not excusing him though,

    8. Oh yes, as soon as I saw your comment about 8d I solved it! (haven’t looked at the clues yet, honest)

  2. 2*/2*. I found this mildly pleasant but unexceptional.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  3. A bit of a head scratcher for me, not caused by the sprinkling of double unches, completed at a fast gallop – 2.5*/3*.
    No standout favourite, but I did like 28a.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.
    P.S. There is more than one Gold Cup in racing – the National Hunt version is held at a course with a name twice as long as 20a.

  4. I fell at the last fence today, unable to complete the bottom. I couldn’t see past “Helicopters” for 30a, and still don’t quite understand 26d.

    Other than those two, all over in *** time.

    Mant thanks to Mysteron and Tilsit.

    1. Re 26d, I saw it as a double definition. The first being the word ‘fast’, and the second being the rest of the clue.

      1. I too marked it as a double definition but safely avoided the helicopters

      1. I put in helicopters too – I’m pleased that I wasn’t the only one! Otherwise, most enjoyable! Thanks to the setter, and Tilsit for putting me right with the butterfly – and for the Weber piece – lovely! Best wishes for a rapid and complete recovery. 🌹
        Here in NZ, we have only one active case of the dreaded virus, as of yesterday! No new cases for seven days – I keep getting requests from my UK family/friends to exchange Boris for Jacinda, which I refuse, politely, of course! 🙃

    2. I wonder how many solvers under the age of 60 would be familiar with the abbreviation necessary to solve this clue.

  5. Far more difficult than the ** the blogger suggested. The last three days have been very challenging needing considerable electronic aid which always irks me. Yet more sloppy slang terms in 12d and 24a. Never heard of 15d but as it was a lurker that’s ok with me. Had to google the instrument. Having said that i did like 13d.
    All in all not my favourite puzzle.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I too thought it was much harder and agree with many of the comments concerning punctuation. Not the most enjoyable ****/**.

    2. Brian, does it actually matter how the blogger rates a puzzle? No. They are subjective, therefore meaningless to anyone else.

  6. A lot was pretty straightforward but there were some interesting clues too. It took a while for the penny to drop with 28a and the moth / butterfly airborne order in 30a. To add my 10pence to the hmms. I think if 13d had been given as 1,1,1 & 8, the answer would have been more obvious and it leapt out at me very quickly. For 8d it would have been more confusing. I wouldn’t immediately think of d’ as being a word in its own right. Overall entertaining enough. Top spots to 30a and 21d. Sorry to hear your news Tilsit. Look after yourself. Thanks to all.

    1. I got both of these straightaway. My only problems were with the sauce (don’t know why) but also the airborne order as I was also thinking either helicopter or those commands that the stewardess calls out when she waves her hands about, or commands from air traffic control to the pilot

  7. This went in quickly until I reached the bottom right hand side. I ended up with helicopters for 30a but finished the rest in 3* time with 3.5* for enjoyment. Like others I was annoyed that 8d wasn’t 6, 1’4. My favourite clue was 12d. Thanks to Tilsit and good luck with the virus, if you do have it. Some people that I have met out walking are already abandoning social distancing so I can imagine what it’s like in the shops. Thanks to the setter.

  8. Apart from disliking 8d and 15d, this was pretty straightforward and enjoyable. I should be used to the fact that crosswordland uses the full number of letters in an acronym, eg FBI would be (3) not (1,1,1), but I’m not. I cheated with 30a and used an anagram solver. The answer to the clue wasn’t one that immediately came to mind. Many thanks setter, and thanks and get well soon wishes to Tilsit.

  9. I had similar doubts about enumeration of those clues too. SE was the last to fall and I “saw” tartare for the sauce I knew it wasn’t cryptic enough but once seen I struggled to see the right answer. I did wonder if 16a was a nod to the setter but I don’t think he is a DT setter.
    Thanks to the setter and tilsit. stay alert and get well soon failing that a drive to Barnard Castle may help. did you see Ian Hislop re Dom C yesterday?

      1. Thanks for that advice.
        Wouldn’t have bothered usually but it was brilliant fun.

        1. Time to draw a line under the DC affair and turn to really important stuff like re-booting the economy as we move slowly out of the crisis. It just isn’t funny in any way.

            1. Not if it’s going over the same tired territory that the press and Emily Maitlis have traversed, re-examined and generally done to death. Enough is enough.

        2. I quite enjoyed it too Gazza whilst acknowledging how difficult it must be to ad lib in a slick way on Zoom or whatever. Sadly that was the last in the series.

      1. Absolutely agree. I used to enjoy HIGNFY and admired their wit but it just does not work in this format and last one was downright misery.

      2. I didn’t watch HIGNIFY last night. It’s on record. Now I’ll have to watch it, if in part, just to see what everyone is talking about.

  10. I found this more challenging than some recent Saturday offerings and I quite enjoyed it. I suspected correctly that the enumeration police might be in action today with a couple of clues. I think I may have seen 12d before but it made me smile. 30a has to be my favourite clue today.
    Thank you as always to all involved

      1. Apologies BD – that was careless of me – thank you. Unfortunately I seem frequently these days to have to type in my email address.

  11. Must say I’m more than a little surprised at the slightly underwhelming comments above. For me this was comfortably the best Saturday production we’ve had for some time. I counted eight 11 letter clues with not a weak one amongst them though I agree with Nogbad’s point re the 24a enumerations for 8&13d. Additionally I liked all 12 of the pesky 4 letter ones which is usually where I struggle. With a speedy identification of the 15d lurker(on a lurker roll) it was a satisfying finish marred only by my ignorance of the Yorkshire river which meant a failure to fully parse 28a, my last one in. Plenty of podium contenders but 30a wins it for me – good job helicopters never occurred to me as I’d have been sure to have bunged it in. 4*/4*
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit – sorry to hear that it looks like you’ve succumbed & wishing you a speedy recovery.

    1. You have said it all for me, Huntsman – with the exception that personally I would add that I cannot abide HIGNFY and find most political humour boring and totally unfunny.
      Best wishes to Tilsit most definitely.

  12. Quite a lot of wordy clues so first impression was of blackness on the page however it was a satisfying challenge to suss out some convolutions. West came through before East. As per Nogbad surely an apostrophe or 3 words should have been indicated for 8d. 4d cheers synonym seems to have become a chestnut. Not keen on 30a clue. Made a booboo with 16a as I resorted to bunging in another superhero to begin with. My Fav was definitely 12d. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

      1. I don’t think the clues are wordy, it is just that there are so many of them, they completely fill the space allotted for them in the newspaper.

  13. I bit of a challenge but very enjoyable. I tend to agree that 13d would have been better not using (3, 8). It threw me for a while until I realised the clue said “name of a ship at sea”. A good diversion, I thought. I liked 16a and 17a but my favourite was 22a being as I am one. Fortunately, returning to work does not affect me as I am one of the “shielded ones” and have to stay in splendid isolation. I did need the help of an anagram solver for 30a and that irked me a bit because, had I persevered, I would have got it unaided.

    Many thanks to the setter for a terrific puzzle and thank you, Tilsit for the excellent hints and I wish you a speedy recovery.

  14. 2*/2* for me. I thought that 26d might have been a double definition with ‘fast’ being the first of the definitions…

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  15. I agree about the enumeration glitches, but I really enjoyed the puzzle and thought it the best Saturday cryptic in some time. Great, big long answers were the blockbusters (would never have solved 1a without anagrams, though I do now remember liking K.S., FWIW), and my top choices are 30a COTD, 8d, 12d. For a change, I did all the 4-letter words first (since they are often betes noires of mine) and then basked in the solving of the long ones–for a fast finish. Thanks to Tilsit: get well soon, sir! And of course to today’s setter, who seems fresh-minted to me. ** / ****

    Dreadful unrest over here, cities burning: one pandemic surrounding another. Lord help us.

    1. I think this pandemic has sent these idiots brains south. This targeting of African-Americans is so disgusting and distasteful, how can we get it to stop. I’m glad they’re getting it all on video so we can show them how utterly abominable their behaviour is. I’ve got to stop or I’ll go on forever.

      1. I saw the film of the policeman with his knee on that poor man’s neck and it made me feel physically sick.

      2. Yes and I read that particular policeman had 18 prior warnings about his behavior. Absolutely awful. Shame on Minneapolis. Not helped by the reaction of the White House inhabitant.

  16. Xword comments secondary to wishes for your good health, hope it soon improves Tilsit. Special thanks for the review in the circumstances & the musical interlude wish my ear-trumpets / bearing loss could do music more justice.
    Puzzle was a curate’s egg.
    As others enumerations of 8 & 13d were very Hmm but then 12d & 30a more than made up for it.
    So overall tougher than recent Saturdays but OK. COTD 12d.. 26d to me is not “fast food” per se but a regimen.
    Thanks to setter. Stay safe all.

  17. Well I enjoyed it and set myself a new pb in the process ! I would have been five minutes faster too if I hadn’t wanted to finish it quickly. Last one in was 30a – unfortunately I put in HELICOPTERS and stopped the clock. Then sat there and thought no, that doesn’t fit the anagram …. on well

    Personally I loved 24a and also especially 16a.

    With thanks to the setter and also to Tilsit.

    Finished the GK and am now struggling with the ntspp….

    Have a good day everyone!

  18. We enjoyed this – great fun and **/*** The left side flew in but we were held up by the RHS Clue of the day for us 30 across – after grumbling about helicopters and realising the mistake.

  19. Quite a mixed bag today – I was somewhat unconvinced by the first definition of 26d and thought it very impertinent of the setter to pinch Mr T’s trademark ‘sweetheart’ to construct 20d!
    18 & 22a raised a smile and my top two were the last to fall – namely 28 & 30a.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the review. I hope that you and all the others awaiting test results have your minds put at rest very rapidly.

  20. Nice crossword, 3/3* for me.
    Completed bar 30A, even with the hint I conceded I’d not have got it unaided.

    Thanks to setter and to Tilsit.

  21. I m in the camp that found this fun and challenging.Struggled for a long time with 30 a but think it a very good clue mainly an anagram but needing an addition.lwould not have got that until fairly recently.Good wishes to Tilsit and to all at this difficult time.

  22. Sorry to hear you are unwell and I hope you get well soon. Thanks to the setter and yourself

  23. So sorry to hear you are unwell Tilsit – drink plenty of water – if that is not an anathema to you as it is for my husband who insists that beer is 90% water. I thought there were some brilliant clues here , lovely misdirection as well. I too fell into the helicopter trap but knew it was incorrect and worked on the anagram – lovely pennydrop moment. Is anyone else fed up with the Cummings affair and the constant stirring of the pot?

    1. I’d like to know where your other half is buying beer that is 90% water, most are 96% or thereabouts.

      1. I’ve been surviving on bottles of Old Crafty Hen (6.4%) & Old Peculiar(5.6%) both of which hit the spot very nicely thank you

      2. I never drink the stuff, that was just a guesstimate. I am more of a gin or bubbly girl.

  24. I enjoyed this setter so thanks to him or her: I only got the partial anagram in 30a because I know the word quite well it being the pastime of the murderer in The Hound of the Baskervilles and I am a SH fan. Doubt I would have got it otherwise. So a top end **/**** for me.

  25. any particular reason why the prize xw hints now include the answers too?

  26. Oh dear, Tilsit! I’m very sorry to hear you are not well and hope you will soon be on the mend. I haven’t yet started this puzzle — am about to go and print it off from The Telegraph. Thank you very much in advance for your review. I saw a beautiful butterfly while I was scrolling down…

  27. Have to say I thought it challenging & thoughtful, bit misleading at times but doable. Most of it completed in 2* time but a few clues pushed me over,,,
    Thanks to Mysteron setter & Tilsit for review.

  28. A heavier than usual foreign language influence in this puzzle, with at least twelve answers which are unchanged in French, plus a sprinkling of other ancient and modern languages. Not a criticism, just interesting! 🙂 Thanks to the setter for a meaty puzzle which was ***/*** for us. All our best wishes to Tilsit, get well soon. 😀😘

  29. Really enjoyed this puzzle even though I didn’t quite finish as couldn’t get 30a! Favourite clue 8d – numbering didn’t spoil the fun! Thanks to the setter and blogger.

  30. I did enjoy this, had no problems with most of it. I never even considered helicopters at 30a, the answer jumped out at me from the anagram. The two that held me up were 1a and 27d, needed the hint for that. I got the Keir part of 1a, thinking Keir Hardie, but I’ve never heard of this dude so went for the hints.
    My fave was 12d, “turn some heads” indeed. Lovely city at 28a, Paris of the south.
    Thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit for his help. Please get well soon, and if you are positive, hope you have the very mild form.

    1. I must tell you that I spent an absolutely unforgettable week in Buenos Aires in 2007, when my arthritis wasn’t so bad that I could still travel. It was magical. I went with a QuinTango musical group that often appeared at our Spoleto USA festival here in Charleston, and so of course we went to tango-related events–but did a whole lot more. One day the gang of us–there were 20 of us tango-besotted norteamericanos–boarded a bus and spent the day at an Estancia where we were treated like royalty. I loved the “Paris of the South” so much that I hoped to return, but only now in wonderful memories. Isn’t it amazing what these puzzles and this blog do for us!

      1. Fabulous country! I stayed with friends so they knew all the best places to see and things to do. I regret that I never did get to see other friends in Jujuy, they have an estancia that used to be a sugar estate near Salta. His grandfather settled it. I also would have liked to visit Patagonia, after reading the sequel to “How Green is my Valley”, called “Up Into the Singing Valley”. I had a friend who had a pub in Drefach in Wales, he said that one day a Welsh Argentinian came in and he said he spoke the purest Welsh! He claimed Welsh is being polluted by English in Wales, but in Patagonia it’s not being spoiled by Spanish.

        1. Not “up into the singing valley”, it’s “up into the singing mountain”!

  31. Late in the day for me to comment so I have nothing to add to the large number already on the site. I thought this was a reasonably enjoyable puzzle with a smattering of fun clues that kept me entertained for a while. 30a was my favourite clue.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit. Good luck beating the virus, if that is what you have. I agree with you about some of the behaviour in supermarkets. God help us all as the lockdown of is relaxed even more.

  32. Found this enjoyable and a challenge in parts. 1a was a bung-in – missed the anagram completely. 17a was brilliant. 19a another bung-in as I was not familiar with the footballing abbreviation. 24a a good clue. Took a long time for the pennies to drop for 30a and 12d.
    I do take issue with Tilsit’s explanation of 25d. Surely the usual biblical books are just the middle two letters, with the outside two being ‘excellent’. Also did not like the setter’s definition for 26d, as others have remarked.
    Anyway, thanks to setter and to Tilsit, to whom best wishes for a speedy recovery. In my island we have had no new cases for a month, and no active cases now at all, so things are easing up. However, my daughter and family have no hope of getting out of Egypt.

    1. Totally agree with you re 25d. I think Tilsit may not have completed his hint?

  33. ***/***. A lot to like about this puzzle with two standout clues at 1&30a, closely followed by 28a, the last foreign city we visited – they shut the airport just after we left. I didn’t think 27d needed troubled but that’s nit picking. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. You’ve got the same symptoms as my sister in law so best wishes. Get well.

  34. I rarely comment as I’m usually a couple of crosswords behind, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one today with 12 down a favourite! Living near Warrington my sympathies to Tilsit from a pie-eater. I’ve been trying to avoid contact too, but some people 🙄

  35. Definately late on parade today, off to Bodmin Moor early for walk and let the dogs have a good canter This was a quality cross word though 8d caused me some problems as I entered something a million miles from the solution and I cannot figure out why. I puposely try not to critise setters and some clues, it must be pretty tough coming up with something different every time they set a puzzIe I know I could never attempt it.
    Meanwhile thanks to setter and Tilsit, sorry to hear you might have succumbed, keep isolated plenty of fluids.

  36. Very occasional poster, long-time lurker here.
    I liked this Sat back-pager, a 3*/ 4* for me
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit ( get well soon)
    Fav clue 22a

  37. Quite straightforward but the numeration in 8d irritated my wife.

    Hope Tilsit recovers soon.

  38. I am a long way from done so won’t comment on the puzzle yet, am also still working on Friday’s puzzle.
    Just wanted to say that i hope you are OK Tilsit. It does sound like you have picked up the dreaded lurgy but hopefully a mild case. Please keep us posted.
    I too went out yesterday for the first time in weeks, suitably masked and obeying the distance rules but you are right, many people just acting like it is life as usual.

  39. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the review and hints. I hope you recover soon Tilsit. I found this quite difficult, and didn’t like 28a,7&13d. Agree that the enumeration was a bit off, in 8&13d, although the correct enumeration would make 13d a gimmie. The rest of the puzzle I enjoyed. Last in was 22a. I liked 26d, but my favourite was 12d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  40. It isn’t the same when we’re unable io
    submit our efforts, enjoy the puzzle but
    I haven’t the discipline to go on, I look for
    your answers not the hints. Love the big
    G.K. though.

  41. Rather late in the day but . . . I enjoyed this one, finding the bottom right corner a bit troublesome. I initially homed in on tartare and helicopters but realised both had to be wrong. Never come across wheel for the letter O before, but have now! Favourite clue is 28a which took some time to sort out, annoyingly because the river Aire is the one in Leeds where I live. Thanks to the compiler and to Tilsit: I also wish you a speedy recovery.

  42. I did this puzzle early this morning and don’t remember much about it apart from the fact that I enjoyed it and it was a bit more of a tussle than normal.

    My main reason for commenting was to say get well soon Tilsit; really sorry you’ve succumbed, but hopefully you’ll shake it off soon.

  43. I too found parts of this puzzle real head scratching, especially 13d with the numbering, but ’nuff said about that. This ended up being my favourite clue despite all the fuss.
    Was doing ok at ** time for solving until the SE corner area and then 2 of the 4 letter down clues at the bottom of the puzzle, then I dropped to ***. Eventually had to give in to look at some of the hints.
    Sometimes those short words are the hardest to solve and to figure out the parsing of them, I find.
    Really liked 22a, 23a, 30a &12d.

    Thanks to Mysteron and Tilsit … get well soon.

  44. I’m in the “I found this difficult but I’m sure it wasn’t as hard as I made it” camp today. I’ve often wondered about the lack of punctuation marks but they always put hyphens in! But hey ho! I’ve just taken it as being the norm. Favourite was the sneaky little 24a. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. I hope you get better and you’re test is negative. I too am awaiting the results of the swab test.

  45. Don’t know about the crossword. I found it difficult. Good luck to Tilsit. I hope the test was ok & you now are improving. I agree The music it great I love it but couldn’t remember what it is. Thank you for reminding me.

  46. Bit of a challenge, certainly a **** difficulty for me.
    Must agree about 8d – the lack of something held me up for some time.
    New word for me 30a which I sort of clumsily experimented with the word play then checked out.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit, good wishes for the result of your test.

  47. Pleasant enough. 30a was tough. Harder than yesterday, I thought.
    A lot of comments about hignfy. I think the format just does not work, but we do need political comment. Ian Hislop was a good mate at school, I could tell you some stories.
    Sorry to hear that you are not well Tilsit, get well soon.
    Thanks setter.

  48. I have just realised I might have been somewhat perfunctory in my wishes for your recovery, Tilsit. You have helped and encouraged me on this blog. I hope and pray for you recovery and I wish you and your family well.

    1. I remember that I loved his last one and often wonder if I should tackle one of his toughies, but think that might be pushing my luck.

  49. Felt like a proper Saturday Prize.
    Just the right level of difficulty.
    Agree with Huntsman about the four letter ckues which usually are a real nightmare for me.
    Wasn’t too bothered.
    Last in were the screwdriver and the dentist.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for the good challenge.
    Thanks and best wishes to Tilsit.
    Love a bit of clarinet, specially as it’s reed probably comes from Hyères. Reed capital of the world among other things.

  50. So sorry to hear about your symptoms, Tilset — especially when you’ve been so careful yourself. It doesn’t seem fair.

    Best wishes for recovery, and thanks for your blogging.

  51. Tilsit is correct about 18a in Montreal in 1967. I had been living in Canada for a couple of years and I was very nostalgic for home when I walked into the English pavilion and the first thing you saw was a lovely English hedge with the soundtrack of the Weather forecast in the background– ‘sea areas Rockall’ and all that! It was lovely. Also lovely — today’s crossword which took me some time and I had to give up on 30a. Thank you Tilsit and I hope that if you have the virus, that it is mild.

  52. Ah yes enumeration. I think you will find that this is done according to convention. It seems to be the convention that social distancing between single letters counts for about as much as it does amongst loonies in my local park. But seriously folks! I’m sure CL has this all sewn up, meticulous fellow that he is.

    Thanks to each of you for your comments (even the one which says this was ‘reasonably enjoyable’) which I always read and try to learn from. But you know what they say about drum machines: you only have to punch the information in once.

    Best to Tilsit, one of the most insightful bloggers around and a talented setter himself. May he recover soon from hopefully very mild symptoms.

    Don E. Brook

    1. Thanks for calling in. We all have some we love and some we don’t, and some we find easy and others not so much. What amazes me is that there are some we all agree on and others where we are all in contention. What I find annoying is those who blame the setter for their own failings. Sometimes a clever construction baffles. However, I continue to learn and I wish that the minority would do the same or either put up or shut up. Some bloggers, especially the experienced ones, go to great pains to explain but I think it is to no avail. Many say “Thank you. I get it now”, Others never respond and I doubt they continue reading after they have had their rant. Keep up the good work and whilst my opinion is not important I got the two with contentious enumeration straightaway. Raisin d’etre – I love French words and phrases in puzzles, and I doubt whether I would have got the G & S straightaway had it been enumerated differently,

  53. Very busy weekend so late in adding copy..
    I wasn’t impressed and found it difficult, The food clues are not my scene, especially fast food! I still don’t have the answer to 26d!
    However I have to congratulate Tilsit on his thorough review of all the clues, especially on his symptoms …hope you don’t have the dreaded Covid 19….!
    I hope next week’s is back to normal.

  54. Busy weekend so just getting around to Saturdays crossword. Favourites were 12d and 22a. Thanks

  55. Quite a challenge, several fresh starts required, I really must start by putting all the full stops in. Took me the length of a four mile walk to come up with 30a, last in, even with the anagram.
    Get well soon.

  56. 3*/4*….
    liked 1A “bad mistake: error ousting old Labour leader (4,7)”

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