DT 29381 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29381

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29381

Hints and tips by Ulysses Everitt McGill

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Gdanga from the heart of Downtown L I where we are enjoying a very quiet time in our lives. Not much is happening at all. No jets flying into Elmdon Airport as was. It is eerily quiet although the Corvids can make a deal of noise when aroused.

There have been a few comments this week about successfully solving without help over several days running. These are usually followed the modest suggestion that this is because of an easy run of crosswords. If this applies to you, please don’t do yourselves down. It is more likely that your solving skills are improving. Well done.

Thursday’s puzzles should be tough but fun and I certainly found this puzzle to be both. As enjoyable as a RayT (which Kath gets to review every other week). I have no idea who the setter might be but puzzles like this are welcome any day of the week for me. I enjoy a good tussle and this puzzle provided one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Silly frolic — we’d created a false impression (5,4)
CRIED WOLF: A nice little anagram to start proceedings. FROLIC WE’D provides then anagram fodder. The word silly is the anagram indicator

6a ‘Purple lady’ in silly diamonds (5)
LYDIA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The word in tells us that it is so.

9a Criticise a doctor in a certain mould (7)
LAMBAST: The letter A and a two-lettered medical man sit together comfortably inside the mould a cobbler might use and should stick to according to the old adage

10a Team showing no enthusiasm, we hear — absence of trophies in this, then? (9)
SIDEBOARD: A synonym for a team is followed by a homophone of a word meaning without enthusiasm to give a piece of furniture where trophies might be displayed. It was there or on top of the telly in my playing days. Now I don’t have the former and the telly is so thin I wonder where the gubbins go that make it work.

11a Clothes making Martine look fancy (7)
RAIMENT: Anagram (look fancy) of MARTINE

12a They may barely enjoy being in a camp (7)
NUDISTS: Barely here means unclothed. The clue suggests a camp for those who enjoy being bare

13a Ostentation of spinster seen out in new guise (15)
PRETENTIOUSNESS: There is an anagram (in new guise) hiding in here somewhere. SPINSTER and SEEN are part of it for sure. I presume OUT is included too. I needed checkers for this one.

17a Sugar cost changing in brewing of ale (7)
LACTOSE: An unusual double anagram for those who like anagrams. The changing of COST fits inside the brewing of ALE

19a Travelled in vehicle and rushed into lad on bike maybe (7)
MOTORED: A synonym of rushed sits inside a lad on a bike maybe. Maybe back in the early sixties when the lad mentioned wasn’t a rocker and the bike wasn’t a Triumph Bonneville but a Vespa or Lambretta

22a Liquid accidents? One will dry things up (9)
DESICCANT: Anagram (liquid) of ACCIDENTS

23a Fidgety and not totally at ease around 4 (7)
RESTIVE: A word meaning relaxed or at ease minus its last letter sits around the Roman numerals for the number 4. Often when a number is presented as a digit it refers to the clue or answer of that number. Not so in this case which may have saved me some time during both the solve (A bung in) and the writing of the blog

24a This weather is too much — get agitated (5)
SWEAT: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words ‘is too much’ suggest we take some letters away from the words ‘This weather’

25a I had trouble ultimately in inadequate form of illumination (9)
SIDELIGHT: Begin with the contraction of I had. Add the last letter of the word trouble. Bung what you have into a rather stretched synonym of the word inadequate


1d Storage space allows length of cloth to fit in vehicle (6)
CELLAR: An old unit of measurement sits inside the vehicle most of us used to use on a daily basis before we learnt the pleasures to be gained from taking our time during this government imposed holiday

2d Yours truly’s on the phone, not going anywhere (8)
IMMOBILE: A contraction of I am (yours truly) followed by a hand-held cordless communication device

3d What is green in river bank? (6)
DRAWEE: Pick a river. One from Cumbria will do. Or one of two In Scotland. Or the one that flows between England and Wales. Insert a word meaning green or fresh. The result is the person or organization, typically a bank, who must pay a draft or bill.

4d Unfashionable group from the word go (6)
OUTSET: If trendy or fashionable lead to the word in then the word unfashionable leads to isn’t that difficult to deduce. Add a group of likeminded people

5d Enthusiast goes round and starts to get out for lively trip (8)
FANDANGO: A three-lettered enthusiast and the initial letters of get and out sit around the word and.

6d Greek characters having area inside for dances (8)
LAMBADAS: The plural of the Greek alphabet letter L contains the abbreviation for area

7d Daughter has head stuck in books? Result of fears (6)
DREADS: The abbreviation for daughters is followed by what one does with one’s head stuck in a book

8d A group of investigators round little girl — medical problem (8)
ACIDOSIS: The letter A from the clue is followed by the abbreviation for the Criminal Investigation Department. These are following by a round letter and diminutive term for a female sibling

13d Fighters for a cause, chums suppressing a noise (8)
PALADINS: Your mates hold the letter A from the clue and a word meaning a noise.

14d Dispeller of evil has to be strangling monster (8)
EXORCIST: A word meaning to be includes a three-letter monster. A member of an imaginary race of humanlike creatures, characterised as ugly, warlike, and malevolent.

15d Plates one put out for dogs to eat (8)
TOENAILS: These thin organic plates cover the ends of your extremitiesto protect them. An anagram (put out) of ONE sits inside the plural of a verb meaning to dog or to follow someone closely and persistently. This is  nothing to do with Cockney rhyming slang. One of the definitions for Plate is a thin, flat organic structure or formation. 

16d Putting into the ground the grain to sprout (8)
EARTHING: Anagram (to sprout) of THE GRAIN

18d Function of church, hiding old wickedness? (6)
COSINE: This trigonometric function can be found by placing the abbreviation for old and a wickedness against god inside the abbreviations for the Church of England

19d Tiny boy turning up, looking embarrassed, wearing a special hat (6)
MITRED: The poor little son of Bob Cratchit is reversed and set before the colour of embarrassment

20d Guy, 50, a prickly type (6)
TEASEL: Guy here is a verb meaning to make fun of or ridicule. It is followed by the Roman numeral for Fifty

21d ‘Brill’ old form of therapy? There’s something wrong here (6)
DEFECT: A three-lettered informal adjective meaning excellent (Brill) is followed by the abbreviation for electroconvulsive therapy which must be as bad and as cruel as it sounds

Quickie Pun: batter+Ingrams=battering rams


145 comments on “DT 29381

  1. Oh dear. 14 double unches, and an abbreviation in “yoof-speak” with which, I would posit, the majority of Telegraph readers were unfamiliar – couldn’t find it in the online BRB, either. Didn’t enjoy this one at all. Off to see if the Toughie holds any greater pleasures! Thanks anyway.

      1. With a subscription to Telegraph Puzzles. Not with a subscription to The Daily Telegraph

    1. Re the 21d slang term, Oxford has it (though I only got it by deconstructing the answer).

      Janet Street-Porter labelled BBC2 programmes aimed at teenagers with the brand ‘DEF II’ in 1998, which was well before any current youths were born.

    2. Didn’t enjoy this one. Too many obtuse answers. The compiler trying to be too clever I think.

  2. Definitely at the tougher end of the back page spectrum

    Thanks to the setter and whoever the blogger thinks he is today!

  3. That was difficult! I struggled with most of it so not enjoyable for me. I’m still not sure I have them all correct so will check the hints,

    Many thanks to the setter and to UEM.

  4. Entertaining, although I did struggle to parse 9a and 21d, not being familiar with the cobbler refererence or the synonym of Brill. 19a and 15d were my favourites today. Thanks to Miffypops and today’s setter.

  5. I wish I hadn’t put prestigiousness into 13a. It gave me a few problems with the bottom half. I enjoyed the tussle today. Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops. The pic at 2d is the sort of scene well known in the NE for those that haven’t checked the tide timetable going across to Holy Island.

  6. A thoroughly enjoyable and worthy challenge this morning. Tough but fair I thought. The three letter abbreviation for brill caused a raised eyebrow but otherwise no complaints. I will select 14d as my favourite for the smooth surface and I like the word.

    Thanks very much to our setter and MP.

    1. Weirdly, I got that brill synonym because when we watched The Wire, we had to have the subtitles on for Season 1.
      Not to be confused with ‘mos def’, which means ‘most definitely’, as well as being that rap artiste.

            1. I know I’m on a hiding to nothing here, but perhaps it’s a generation thing. I’ll bet not one person here has actually listened to any rap music?

              De La Soul – Three Feet High and Rising; Dr Dre (feat Snoop Dog) – Still, Dre 2001; Eminem – Slim Shady EP; Lightnin’ Rod – Hustler’s Convention (feat Grandmaster Flash); Public Enemy – 911 is a Joke; these are all contemporary artists highlighting the cultural issues of modern society, frequently on the topic of racial tension and social injustice. If you’d prefer to stick with ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, good for you, but that was 50 years ago and before I was born.

              I am lucky in that there is no music I do not like; I keep an open mind and will do any artist the justice of at least listening to their work. Just saying.

              1. Agreed. Not my choice but plenty of great music to be found amongst the dross.

              2. I’m in my sixties but I love eminem, just saying 😊
                However, didn’t like the puzzle, far beyond my capabilities. Still I like to read the blog and see how it all works out.
                Thanks to all.

                1. I may be wrong here but I believe Eminem is a Hip Hop artist. Almost like Rap but Hip Hop is more about the musical beat. Rap is more about the poetry of the words.

                  Perhaps the rap aficionados can correct me if I’m wrong?

              3. I appreciate that there are many who love Rap, LBR but, it is not in my list of favourite musical styles. I love classical music but not all of it – Stockhausen, for example, is not for me. I didn’t mean to imply rap is bad just that it does nothing for me. :smile:

                I also acknowledge that some Rappers are great musicians.

              4. I was just making a joke (badly as I typed the wrong letter as SC pointed out).
                I listen to all sorts and have just spent a while listening to what is probably the finest cover version I have ever heard
                https://youtu.be/u9Dg-g7t2l4 Disturbed and their version of Sound of Silence.
                Their Heavy metal music is not normally something I would seek out but even Paul Simon likes this version.
                I am not a huge reggae fan but this version of Redemption Song from Voice Kids France is mega too.

                I don’t really get all the lyrics in this french song either but his voice is amazing and I get the gist of what this song is trying to say as well.

                I have a wide taste in music and also a sense of humour for weak one-liners that prompted my original attempt at humour.

                1. Oops, I guess I spammed too many links – the moment has passed, please delete.

              5. 49. Ex bar owner so listened to my share of it. Found the puzzle a tricky one and couldn’t finish without hints. Very enjoyable though.

  7. The ones that got me were 3d, it took ages but really stupidly I just didn’t see 24a, duh! The rest seemed pretty much ok.

  8. Some high quality clues and I thought a ***/*** marked down slightly on the enjoyment side a little for the GK element: I guessed correctly 8d and 13d but see I failed on 20d and hadn’t heard of that one before. Thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

  9. Not really my cup of tea this one, had a very dated feel about it.
    6a plus 13&20d were new to me but all sympathetically clued so no complaints. However Is a bank really a 3d? Only in a certain situation…they’re not really synonymous. I needed help in the parsing of 6d and couldn’t readily see the lurker indicator in 24a, one to look out for in the future. 16d, although obvious isn’t a word you come across every day of the week either.
    Reminded me a little of the Fridays of old.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for a top notch review.

  10. What a change from yesterday I found this to be tough but in the end it gave in. 4d had me stumped for spme time just couldn’t see it, so resorted to hints. I got 13d wrong but after the brain kicked in again I got it. All in all pretty good for me. Favourite clue 5d.
    Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

  11. To use my granddaughter’s vernacular, omg. I’m guessing it’s Ray T because I always find those difficult and this was no exception. I couldn’t come up with anything half way sensible for 3D so thanks for that explanation. I guessed 21d but to my mind it could just as easily have been deceit as I was unaware that brill=def! That one hasn’t caught on with the grandchildren at all. Everything else was doable but took some working out. I had a hmm moment with 19a because the mods used scooters not bikes – that was their opposition! 15d is just weird. Toenails = plates? Really? Plates of meat = feet in Cockney rhyming slang but this is a stretch. However, it kept me occupied so that was a bonus. Glad Tilsit is ok ish. Thanks to all.

    1. Hi Greta. It definitely is not a RayT.

      Only uses single word clues in the quickie puzzle (Each days setter usually compiles both The quick crossword and The Cryptic Crossword
      Never uses single word answers in The Cryptic puzzle
      Has a maximum count of eight words per clue
      Often includes The Queen or Her Majesty in a clue
      Nearly always has an acrostic or initial letters clue
      Nearly always uses the sweetheart indicator for the letter E
      Sets every other Thursday. He is Kath’s delight

      1. Ok. This setter is definitely on a par with Ray T. Or I’m just having a thick day which is entirely possible!

        1. Don Manley who was our regular Friday setter Giovanni is favourite today

  12. Like others, I had trouble with the synonym for ‘brill’ in 21d and had never heard of a 3d, although I had worked out the letters from the clue. A real challenge so 4* for difficulty but only 3.5* for enjoyment. I did like 8d and 20d and I learned something new about Lydia of Thyatira, seller of purple! Thanks to the setter and to the man of many aliases for the review. Keep safe and well everyone.

  13. What a tussle!
    Got there, though, in spite of it being a ***** for difficulty.
    Satisfying to construct at least two words correctly, all new to me.
    Started at the bottom and worked upwards.
    Many thanks to the setter and to the reviewer..

  14. Felt I dragged myself over the line. Well nearly – bunged in sleet for 24a but couldn’t parse. After ” “wrong answer” came up I saw the lurker but had not come across “too much” as an indicator before. Don’t think it works as to me it indicates take letters off the end only.
    Didn’t find the experience over enjoyable but it was as tough as anything we have had recently.
    Thanks to setter & Reviewer aka whatever takes his fancy

      1. Trouble is sleet is almost the weather today. Our brass monkey has his thermal underwear on!

    1. Hi LROK. Thanks for your comments the other day…
      Just had a putting lesson today, first one ever. Now I realise why I am such a bad putter!!

      1. Oh dear Hoofs you must be desperate, putting lessons! Get the Dave Pelz book.”Short Game Bible”. It is the BRB of putting. Or lobby the R&A about speeding up the game. Increasing the hole size to 6″ (150mm ) would do wonders for P.O.P. and your putting!

        Stay safe

  15. Just realised I was befuddled by the “posted by Miffypops” and missed the “reviewed by Ulysses Everitt McGill” and that my thanks should have been directed to both rather than just Miffypops!

  16. Top half went in OK, but having misspelt 13a,( put C instead of T as the 7th letter) because I couldn’t be bothered to do the entire anagram, that put 15d, 22a and 18d into obscure territory. Eventually got the long anagram right, but had “toeholds“ for 15d and “dishcloth“ at 22a. The latter at least made sense, even if I never saw the anagram..
    ….. and never saw Tiny Tim…….
    and never managed to parse the mod on the Vespa.
    Thanks to MP for sorting those out.
    I think it was a 3*, but my substandard performance meant it took me longer than it should.

    5d made me think of a Whiter Shade of Pale because of the juxtaposition of “ trip” and the answer – was that lyric just a mistake, or was it a clever pun? I think the former…..

    1. At least you got the right word for 13a, even if you erred slightly with the spelling. I didn’t even get the right word.

    2. Yes, similar here, spelt with an ‘s’ instead of ‘t’. So lots of headscratching until we saw the problem. Not totally convinced with “plates” other than the cockney rhyming link. Couldn’t parse 19a but left it in as it fitted with the down clues. Difficulty not helped by my own spelling mistake. Thanks to all.

  17. Sorry I am being dense today, could someone explain the Purple Lady in 6a? I can see its a lurker of a woman’s name in the rest of the clue but the first bit has me stumped.
    I enjoyed todays and found it rather easier than yesterdays. Best clue by far was 12a, a real smiler!
    Thx to all

    1. It is a Biblical reference so I’m not sure you’ll be happy. 6a was a lady who ‘sold purple’ in the Acts of the Apostles

        1. Oh Brian! Think of your blood pressure and don’t waste fury on a crossword.

          1. Why should someone be furious about a religious reference even if they are an atheist, agnostic or some other reason known only to themselves. We should not be furious about something because we do not like the subject matter. I do not like golf but have learned some of the terms by doing crosswords. We all have different interests, levels of academic knowledge, foreign languages etc. You cannot please everybody. I thought this was the hardest crossword for a long time but I am not annoyed.

            1. Hear, hear W.W. In any case I have reserved my ire for ‘toenails’ . Grrrrrrrrrr :-) :-)

  18. Very hard and obscure , too many double unches and I’ve never heard of “Def” or paladins.
    So thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

  19. That was difficult and clambered over the line on my hands and knees. Double unches made it all the harder.
    Parsing to check, but I’m not sure that this was my cup of tea.
    Thanks MP for deciphering and the setter for the challenge

  20. Talking of the lad on the ‘bike’, does anyone remember the tiger tails?

    1. Yes. Put a tiger in your tank. I thought it was great fun. I was quite young at the time. 1964.

      1. You got them from petrol stations and had to stuff them with something or other and then attach them to your aerial ( or satchel if you didn’t have a scooter)…….
        I was just getting interested in boys, but actually once went out with a rocker……they wouldn’t be seen dead with a tiger tail – that was Mod territory.

  21. The good run comes to an end. I needed several hints from the master of many disguises today, particularly in the south. and I have just noticed the trickiest (for me) 13d and 19d don’t have definitions underlined. Still worth the effort tho and I am glad that we were spared a pic for 12a or the rather dull Collectors version of 6a purple. Bob was a much better musical interlude.
    Thanks to UEM and setter.

  22. Feel a bit short changed by the quickie pun – it’s even spelt correctly
    Thanks to setter and Soggy Bottom Boy

  23. I enjoyed this crossword: thought there was plenty to think about. Took me a while to suss out 14 and 15 down, as well as 22a. Got 22a first which helped with the other two. Didn’t solve 21d though and was trying to make something of “dece” for brill (which I did find, meaning awesome) and “it” for some sort of therapy (which I didn’t find!). I’ve never come across “def” for brilliant – please could anyone throw some light on this. Is it an abbreviation or a slang word? Thanks to the compiler and to UEM/MP.

    1. Both def and brill are defined as excellent in my google dictionary

    2. Def is a slang contraction of ‘definitive’ as in the real thing or absolute, or the abbreviation of ‘definite’

      1. Thanks for the explanation from both of you – all is now clear. Just need to remember it for the next time!

  24. I took longer to get 3d and 21d than the whole of the rest of the puzzle. Never heard of the synonym for brill. Started off thinking it was a fish! Not particularly enjoyable I’m afraid but thanks to the setter and for the hints which were more fun than the puzzle.

  25. This was a mixed bag of blatantly obvious and sapient but enjoyable on the whole. From my standpoint 15d and 21d are debatable. 6a was a bung-in but now enlightened. Had to look up 18d and also ell for 1d. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  26. I too quite enjoyed this puzzle although I think much of my satisfaction came from overcoming the challenge of a crossword which was in a different league of difficulty to those early in the week.
    Sorting out the anagram for 13a boosted confidence early on and I sort of remembered the CrosswordLand specials needed for 1d and 21d. I too initially forecast sleet in 24a. As I have a teenage memory of viewing a seemingly never ending convoy of “young gentlemen” on scooters on their way to do battle in Margate in the ’60’s, the choice of “bike” in 19a seemed strange.
    Thank you to all involved as usual.

    1. The word gentleman might be an exaggeration from my memory of sitting on the back seat of a scooter!

  27. Except for 3d, I thought this was quite brill, ha ha. Had to seek help for that that bank–and it turns out to be a word I wish didn’t exist. (Well, if payee is legit, then d****e ought to be also, I guess.) Otherwise, I mostly sailed through but 15d and 21d held me up a bit. Top winners today: 14d, 22a, and 8d. Thanks to MP and today’s setter. *** / *** The toughie is really quite wonderful today.

    Three cheers for Gen. James Mattis!!

  28. That brought me down to earth with a bang. I sailed through the top half (apart from 3D which eluded me) and the SW corner and liked the long anagram. I wondered if I should be looking for a dance theme after 5 and 6d! But then I came to a grinding halt and was completely foxed by 15d and 21d. I liked the Tiny Tim clue – Brian would love our new vicar who waltzes round the village in a biretta and has designs on becoming a lady Bishop.

    1. :lol:
      Daisy, I keep wondering about the actual gender of your new vicar……….
      Either way ( or, perhaps ‘any’ way), it’s given me a great image.
      One if my oldest friends, a ‘lady’ vicar, made do with vivid, colourful and personalised stoles. They had to be seen to be believed.
      Now, she’s not quite purple, In the shirt department, but almost……

    2. Daisy
      Given your Avatar, coming “down to earth with a bang” must have brought tears to your eyes.

  29. Definitely a challenge, most of it hard but fair. Didn’t like 21d because ‘hip hop culture’, from which def is apparently derived according to the BRB, passed me by at some point without any awareness on my part. It is however in the BRB as being a slang term for brilliant, so fair game I suppose. Thought 15d was a poor clue, ‘plates‘ in my experience (and according to the BRB) is a slang term for feet, not toes, so not even a stretched synonym in my book. Otherwise however got there in *** time with a sigh of relief but only ** for enjoyment because of the above. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops

  30. Lockdown and wet weather meant l needed something to occupy time and get the brain in gear.This was just the ticket to do both.Needed help from M.P. to get 3 and made life hard for myself by putting dishcloth for 22 a.which took some time to sort out.I thought 5 d was in Bohemian Rhapsody and cannot bring it to mind in the Procal Harum song.I am probably wrong about that but am grateful to be taken back nearly 50 years.Thanks to setter and M.P. in his latest guise.

    1. Lyrics (To Whiter Shade of Pale)

      “We skipped the light fandango
      Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
      I was feeling kinda seasick
      But the crowd called out for more.“

      Also in Bohemian Rhapsody, as you say.
      “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango……..“

      1. Thanks l remembered the line almost as soon as lead gone for a walk.l think that was more than 55 years ago.Shame the short term memory is not so good.

      2. Bo-crap has an awful set of lyrics. Dreadfully written dreadfully sung. The record helps to prove Barnum was right when he said there is one born every minute

        1. At our vicar’s quiz last weekend we learnt that Bohemian Rhapsody was the most-sung karaoke song in the UK last year. I realize it’s popular, but still to be number 1 all these years after release?

          Fortunately for the point we only needed to guess a track in the top 5, which we did with George Ezra’s Shotgun, which was handily in our minds because it’d been on Little Radio when we’d put on for the children earlier in the day.

  31. Well…! That was really tricky and my golden run definitely came to an end today. I too reached for the dishcloth but knew it had to go back on the towel rail because I had the ‘t’ from the tiny fellow at 19d.
    I could have remained staring at the page until Michaelmas Day and not solved 3d, 8d, and 18d.
    All my problems were the downs because I found 15d a bit bizarre.

    Two paperweights required today. Chilly in Surrey – the neighbours’ cat is asleep next to me on a chair, rather than her customary and favoured spot in the sun (of which there is no sign today).
    Thanks to the setter and brave Ulysses.

  32. UEM talks about people’s solving skills getting better… and I think mine are… but this was different league for me! This is the worst I have done since I started doing these daily when lockdown started. That is despite getting 13a really early which should have opened up the bottom half. Thanks for the tips but not much fun for me I’m afraid.

    1. Don’t beat yourself up Stupee. There was a lot of General Knowledge required in order to complete this puzzle. You will know some of it, be able to find some of it but some of it may remain a mystery with a puzzle like that. A lot of us will have been stumped by something they didn’t know today!

    2. Not quite Tuesday SP. One of the points I should have made then, is that the DT crossword editor visits BD often if not daily, if too many say the back pager is too easy he could start to include more like today which would be detrimental to your enjoyment.
      Lockdown has probably improved the skills of many of us. It demonstrates “the more I do the better I get”.
      Using today’s with the review should expand your solving ability. I learn more from visiting the Toughie review every day, even though I can’t get the puzzle.

  33. Well, I was not impressed with some of the cluing today,
    Last for mould !-not in my Chambers. Def for brill -I ask you, and the plates of meat to cap it all ? no reference to cockney rhyming slang, even if there was it would still not be relevant as far as the definition was concerned.
    No further comments.

    1. A last is a device used by cobblers to shape shoes thus a mould was how I saw it Beaver.

    2. I’m glad our setter today was correct on all three points you have mentioned. A peek at the dictionary proves that def does equate with brill. A last is a mould used by cobblers and shoemakers. The organic plates that protect the ends of our fingers and toes have nothing to do with Cockney rhyming slang which is why there is no reference to it

  34. Clearly way above my pay grade. At first pass I got just 3, and from the definition, and couldn’t parse 2 of them. They were both right when I checked the hints, but still don’t understand why. Too many stretched and questionable clues. More like Toughie territory today. Even the Quick is very strange today, with a never heard of tree, and a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Disappointed, but thanks for the hints MP. Hats off to all who can understand this one. Too hard for these dumb folks.

    1. I agree about the quickie, Lizzie, I’m glad someone else thought it was a bit odd!
      Back pager was difficult, hopefully easier tomorrow.

    2. Ah. The clues to the quick crossword provided the clues to the identity of today’s setter

  35. 15 down has nothing to do with Cockney rhyming slang. One of the definitions for Plate is a thin, flat organic structure or formation.
    “the fused bony plates protect the toes soft parts”

  36. Thanks Miffypops – spot on – I found this easy then got stuck – so for me a good crossword drawing me in and Making me determined to finish it.

  37. I was confused by brill as I would say deffo, def i have have heard of but i am not familiar with, 15d my personal COTD, so onward to the toughie.

    Stay Safe Everyone TTFN

  38. Found this slightly easier than yesterday’s, although still needed a few hints, for which many thanks. Did not understand the 6a reference. 8d was a new word for me. Really struggled over 15d until the penny dropped. That is now my favourite.

  39. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops for the review and hints. I enjoyed some of this but some of it I didn’t enjoy. On the plus side, I liked the mathematical and scientific references, but not the biblical. Depends what one is into. So something for everyone. Not keen on the slang in 21d or the definition of 15d. I just bunged in “dishcloth” in 22a, had to laugh when I saw the correct answer. I wondered what was cryptic about mine. Favourite was 17a, was 4*/3* for me. Needed the hints for 3,8&15d.

  40. Beat me. ‘DESSICANT’ , what’s that all about?
    ACIDOSIS? EARTHING? No pleasure in making up obscure words, not in any kind of use.

    1. Do enough crosswords and you’ll know them 22a is one of those words where you have to pause and say ‘is it two Ss or two Cs?’ Well I do anyway

      1. I suppose you could say “one Sleeve and two Collars”. It’s how I learned “necessary” – “one Collar and two Sleeves”. Then, of course you would get them mixed up! :grin:

  41. We got it all in the end except 3d, but needed the blog to understand parsing of 15d and 21d, for the reasons stated by others above. We enjoyed it nevertheless! 🙂🙂 ***/*** for us. Thanks to setter and Miffypops.

  42. I got a total of five before retiring – too much like hard work! I’ve had fun reading the comments and three days of superb puzzles, what more can a girl want? I used to enjoy most of Giovanni’s offerings, but this was a bridge too far.
    Keep fit and well all.

  43. After yesterdays’ silky smooth delight I found this messy and over reliant on obscurities and stretched definitions. Not my cup of tea at all. Thanks to all.

  44. 4/1. A very tough crossword not helped by the construction of the clues. 10a on rather than in; 19a scooter rather than bike; 21a brill as def; 3d – really? I did like 15&19d. But overall a slog not a joy. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  45. Had one helluva an early morning tussle with this fella and thoroughly enjoyed it. Completion just edged into 6* time but a substantial portion of that was spent on the last two in – 8 & 21d. Deliberately delayed commenting until later as guessed this offering would elicit some contrasting views. I’m with the Soggy Bottom Boy in that I thought this a great back pager – challenging but fun (& still a breeze compared to what Gazza reckoned was an easy Toughie yesterday). I thought the 8 six letter clues were great though like others the ‘Brill’ synonym was new to me & I couldn’t get dab out of my mind which was always fishy.
    Thanks to the setter & to MP for the review (required annoyingly to parse 19a)
    Ps Thoroughly approve of your guise today MP – one of my favourite films by the Coen Brothers with a great T- Bone Burnett produced soundtrack. Have recently been listening to a John Mellencamp album, Life, Love, Death & Freedom, which he produced & which I’d strongly recommend to music lovers (not rap)

  46. Definitely the most difficult this week, so far and for me anyway, but if it is our old Friday setter I’m not going to beat myself up about it – I always found his crosswords the trickiest of the week.
    I can’t do biblical stuff (or golf or football etc etc) so 6a defeated me until I saw the lurker and even then I didn’t get the ‘why’ bit.
    Looking at the whole thing again now having finally finished it I’m not sure why I found it difficult – just did – frozen brain perhaps – it’s really cold in Oxford (13C) and husband wants me to light a fire – I’ve said, “Don’t be silly – NO – it’s June”.
    Having said all that I did think there were some good clues including 1 and 22a and 14, 15 and 18d. My favourite was 20d even though I really really don’t like the plants – nasty spiky things!
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to the man of many names – one of those ‘rather you than me’ crosswords.

    1. I thought rather me than you Kath. I really enjoyed solving and reviewing this one.

      1. Not in our house it isn’t . . . I’m much better at it than he is and so I always do it, except not tonight – it’s JUNE for goodness sake whatever the temperature says.

  47. Needed a lot of electronic help for this one .
    Not my cup of Earl Grey.
    Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  48. Well a lot harder than yesterday’s, but not very satisfying. Don’t like either 3D (oddly worded, and not sure it needs the question mark, which makes it seem a lot cleverer than it is) and 15d is a dodgy definition at best. 22a wins my prize for hanging together so neatly.

  49. Too many double unches so very unfriendly grid. Most of the little used words were possible to find, however, as the clueing was precise. I got words I didn’t know I knew. However, I lost patience with my last two and looked at the hints (thank you MP). These were 3d which seemed to perplex many and 15d. I had the river in 3d but could not get the rest. I did not know that the word could apply to an institution. I don’t thInk I would ever have got 15d. 12a was my favourite. Perhaps I need to get back on to Giovanni’s wavelength.

  50. I’m in the “I didn’t enjoy this at all/too many obscure clues” camp today. Obscure medical condition, biblical reference, slang term, name of bank. I could go on. So no favourite. A thankyou to the setter for putting the time in to compile a crossword and MP for the blog.

  51. A query, if I may. I am signed up to John Halpern’s (Dada) webinars but they air on a Saturday evening. Lovely Mrs C would kill me if I left her to watch something about crosswords on a Saturday evening.

    Are they recorded at all?


  52. What are double unches?! I love this blog but sometimes it’s as cryptic as the clues 🤪
    Well, a tricky one for me today. I seemed to get a lot of the answers but without always knowing why so I learnt a few new things in checking them like the purple lady and that weird old length of cloth measurement that doesn’t seem to have thrown anyone else. But I thought a lot of the clues were just a bit off centre: is 19d really used as a verb? Is to 1d really to create a false impression? Does anyone ever say 16d? What on earth is 8d?and I’m with everyone else in finding 3D and 15d a bit awkward. So not a lot for me to love today, sorry setter, despite only needing hints for 3 answers.
    In other news… although I’m posting as Boatlady still, I sold the boat yesterday! Hurrah! Maybe I can afford a Telegraph puzzles subscription now instead on relying on sporadic old school paper purchasing…

    1. I believe an unch is an unchecked square, ergo a double unch is two unchecked squares.

      Those with better knowledge will be more forthcoming.

      Don’t worry, I knew nothing of these terms when I joined the blog. Not sure I know them all now!

      1. Oh no, even with the explanation I’m still none the wiser! What’s an unchecked square?! Unchecked as in it’s blank ie people are saying they’ve got too many blanks? Or is it something to do with the answers not intersecting with enough other answers and therefore can’t be checked?

  53. Thought I must be stupid to struggle so with this. It was a relief to read the comments of others.

  54. I had a bit of a struggle with this too! I couldn’t get onto the right wavelength and It has left me feeling ‘far from gruntled’. Once I worked out the parsing all was clear, but in the end two clues eluded me.

    I am most grateful to Miffypops for the lovely clear explanations. And my thanks and apologies to the setter for what is a fine puzzle that is rather wasted on me.

  55. Took me at least 4,visits to finally solve this crossword.
    Last ones in were 3d, 21d and 24a.
    Toyed with Sleet as well in the latter.
    In 21d, I thought the therapy was EST for electro shock treatment. Should have checked that a bit sooner.
    Favourite is the toenails. Smooth surface.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

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