DT 29385 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29385

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29385

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome.  Today's offering felt like a step up from last week.  It's not straightforward by Tuesday standards, but it's definitely worth persevering with.  Highlights include some clever and topical anagrams and several nifty cryptic definitions.  And there's music.  I'm wondering if it's the work of Telegraph Puzzles Editor Chris Lancaster.  What does everyone else think? 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    See 17 Across (10)

6a    Fake priest will ignore article (4)
SHAM:  A priest who works by magic has a grammatical article deleted (will ignore article) 

9a    Tin with one very strong smell (5)
SNIFF:  Link together the chemical symbol for tin, the Roman one, and the musical abbreviation for very strong or very loud 

10a   An insect's awfully persistent (9)
INCESSANT:  An anagram (awfully) of AN INSECT'S

12a   Early intelligence for English king: northern flier approaching border (13)
FOREKNOWLEDGE:  Concatenate FOR from the clue, the single letter for English, the chess abbreviation for king, the single letter for northern, a nocturnal bird (flier), and a synonym of border 

14a   Put down post for tourist landmark (5,3)
LANDS END:  Put down an aircraft followed by post a letter 

15a   One man in a boat turned back to find old address (6)
SIRRAH:  The reversal (turned back) of one of the Three Men in a Boat is an archaic form of address

17a   & 1 Across Clan dissociating, sadly -- to observe this? (6)
SOCIAL:  The wordplay is an anagram (sadly) of CLAN DISSOCIATING.  The entire clue works as a definition, making this a clever and topical semi-all-in-one clue 

19a   Refined revolutionary plot being broadcast (8)
DEBONAIR:  The reversal (revolutionary) of a plot in the garden followed by a (2,3) phrase meaning "being broadcast" 

21a   Jacks lost after playing bowls? (7,6)
SPANISH ARMADA:  A cryptic definition of the collection of sailors (jacks) famously defeated by a commander of the English fleet after he supposedly played a game of bowls 

24a   Almost get rid of church carpet (9)
AXMINSTER:  All but the last letter (almost) of a verb meaning "get rid of" is followed by an abbey church 

25a   Six-footer not about to be small figure? (5)
INSET:  A six-legged creature has the single letter Latin abbreviation for about or roughly deleted (not about)

26a   Upset real toff (4)
EARL:  An anagram (upset) of REAL 

27a   Christmas, now! (7,3)
PRESENT DAY:  The answer could, whimsically, describe December 25



1d    Smut in Springfield not unknown? (4)
DUST:  The answer is the first name of singer Springfield minus a usual letter for a mathematical unknown (not unknown).  Here she is singing with Jimi Hendrix (like many of the commenters on YouTube I had no idea that this duet happened)

2d    Lovers' tiff ending, somewhat tense (7)
STIFFEN:  The answer is hidden as part of (… somewhat) the remainder of the clue 

3d    Covering with wood, temperature in damaged roof ain't safe (13)
AFFORESTATION:  The physics symbol for temperature is inserted in an anagram (damaged) of ROOF AIN'T SAFE 

4d    Barbie's partner wears fashionable second layers (8)
CHICKENS:  The doll partner of Barbie is sandwiched by (wears) fashionable or elegant and the single letter abbreviation for second

5d    From kitchen, a choice snack (5)
NACHO:  The answer is hidden as a selection from the remaining characters in the clue 

7d    Selfish person? More difficult to keep nothing (7)
HOARDER:  A word meaning "more difficult" containing (to keep) the letter resembling zero or nothing 

8d    Peak of affair -- one might blow it (10)
MATTERHORN:  A synonym of affair is followed by something you might blow or toot 

11d   I'll sit on sofa going crazy, accepting SAGE's ultimate protective measure (4-9)
SELF-ISOLATION:  An anagram (… going crazy) of I'LL SIT ON SOFA containing (accepting) the final letter of SAGE (SAGE's ultimate

13d   Lucky escape as criminal chases love (5,5)
CLOSE SHAVE:  An anagram (criminal) of CHASES LOVE 

16d   Carry weapons with sleeves rolled up, reportedly (4,4)
BEAR ARMS:  A homophone (reportedly) of a (4,4) phrase describing the result of rolling up your sleeves 

18d   Church member meeting Queen a hit with the ladies? (7)
CHARMER:  Link together the map abbreviation for church, a member that's a part of the body, and the usual Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth 

20d   Body found in A&E ward finally collected (7)
AMASSED:  A synonym of body is inserted in AE from the clue, and the result followed by the last letter (… finally) of warD 

22d   One loathes half-hearted madman? (5)
HATER:  A madman from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland minus one of his central letters (half-hearted

23d   Support  Remain (4)
STAY:  A fairly straightforward double definition.  When this answer came up not long after I started blogging I illustrated it with the video below.  I recall much-missed commenter Tstrummer responding with a great anecdote about David Lindley.  It's sad that Tom's no longer with us, but remembering his contributions here did make me smile.


Thanks to today’s setter for a fun solve that raises the bar for Tuesday.  I loved the topical pair of 17a/1a and 11d, I thought 21a and 4d were great, and I smiled at the inspired Quickie pun.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  YEAH + GUNK + LOP = JÜRGEN KLOPP (click here if the answer is unfamiliar)

153 comments on “DT 29385

  1. Thanks for the entertaining blog and explanations from Mr K – like many have used this helpful guide on and off for many years (not sure how long!), so I thought I would finally join in the conversation…
    Due to the current limitations I have more time for daily solving – today reflected the state of play with 17a,1a and 11d! No expert but starting to find that I can finish a good number but still lots to learn. It is always satisfying to find the answer to a clue however long it takes especially if you feel a bit daunted at first. It is like learning a new language – speed comes with practice so do not be put off the great enjoyment of solving a crossword if you are new to this form of daily brain teaser…

    1. Welcome from me as well, and thanks for sharing your experience with the puzzle.

  2. Enjoyed this one. 2* brain workout, 4* smile quotient. Some lovely long answers to get your teeth into, & a couple of very up-to-date references. Thanks Setter & MrK.

  3. All fine and dandy until 11d when I didn’t bother to work it out, and just bunged in two words. The last one had the wrong ending. Serves me right. 27a put that right. I loved the misdirection in 4d. Yes, I was misdirected, but not for long. Something in the back of my mind reminded of a similar clue a few weeks ago where we had “layers”. I’ve just been reminded to order more eggs. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  4. I really enjoyed the cluing today and going for a ***/****.
    `17/1/ 11 were very topical.
    Favourite for originality was 21a-glad I had a few checking letters!.
    12a was a charade and a half and liked 24a.
    I assume our man was a third of the boatmen-must check, remembered the name of the dog.
    Thanks Mr K for the top class pics and our setter for the ride.

  5. There were some good anagrams in this puzzle but some of the clues were very fiddly (12a) and over-complicated. I didnt find it particularly difficult but had to give up on parsing 15a and 21a, although it was clear what the answer should be (**/**). I could have done without the clues that remind me of the lockdown. Thanks to MrK for the explanations in the hints and to the setter. Keep safe and well everyone.

  6. I thought this was an absolute cracker, witty, quirky and topical. Mostly straight forward though the NE put up a bit of resistance, especially 15a where I needed the hint.
    I particularly liked the 17/1a combo, along with 4 (brilliant) 18&22d.
    Many thanks to the setter, (I’m going for either Mr Ed or Donnybrook) and to Mr K for their excellent works, and in particular for the clip of the very talented Mr Jackson Browne, an artist I had the considerable pleasure of seeing a couple of years ago.

  7. I pretty much concur with Stephen L’s thoughts at #5, even down to his choice of favourites. My first thought about the setter was CL. If it was indeed him, no doubt he will drop in later to claim ownership of this excellent puzzle.

    Thanks to our setter for the fun challenge and to Mr K for his usual comprehensive review.

  8. This took me well into ***/**** time, but I got there in the end. First time of finishing unaided for a few days.

    I did wonder how long it would take for the compilers to come up with a few topical clues.

    I didn’t know the man in the boat, but the answer was obvious once all the checkers were in.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  9. For me one of the best puzzles the DT has ever produced, gold in every clue. My favourite has to be 15a, but with MinDesp for 21a and 24a. So many thanks to the setter for a fun crossword.
    Thx to all

    1. Wow. Brian, given your past comments about some of his puzzles I expect that assessment made our setter’s day. :)

    2. Agree entirely – I loved it! All went well until 15a which I eventually got and was my top clue. Well done and thanks to both.

  10. Very enjoyable, though admittedly 15a was a guess based on the checkers
    Thanks to Mr Lancaster (no doubt in my mind) for the puzzle and Mr K for the review

  11. Super, fairly straight-forward, but nonetheless entertaining. Needed help parsing 15a, 19a and 22d, so thanks to Mr K. Favourite 9a. Had no idea who Barbie’s partner was, so had to look him up.

      1. Right – it made the news everywhere when Barbie was given a boyfriend! Outrage from all quarters.

        1. Two girls. Rosemary and Joan (Rosie and Joni). Neither had a Barbie Doll. They both read To Kill A Mockingbird and The Colour Purple though

  12. 3*/5*. Brilliant! Brief, accurate clues with great surfaces, and sprinkled with topicality, humour and deviousness.

    I needed a bit of Google to sort out 15a, my last one in.

    Selecting podium choices is grossly unfair on a lot of the other clues, but I’ll go for 17a/1a, 21a & 4d.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Mr K.

  13. A cracking puzzle that was slightly above average Tuesday difficulty for me.
    Topical answers, nothing controversial and some clever clues ***** enjoyment. Remembered the “layers” from not long ago.
    COTD 21a as ex-bowls player it had to be.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for usual enjoyable review.

    Felt ripped off when rescue dog’s medication arrived this morning. Only the human drug used to be available but now they have developed an animal version so he has to dispense that. Result: nearly double the price 😔, what else?
    Prescription & buying on line here we come!

    1. Same happened to us with our now dearly departed cat……at least double the price for the pussy version of amlodipine…..what a rip-off. But what can you do ? I don’t trust drugs off tinternet, so it was full price for us.
      I used to think that a visit to vet ran along the lines of “Good morning” That will be £20. “Is this your cat?” That will be £20. “What is the problem?” That will be £20 and so on……until it often came to just below the insurance excess .

      1. Ora
        Sorry about losing the cat. The worst thing about having the companionship of an animal is losing it.
        We were recommended Animed Direct for prescriptions & have found them very good. Mind you we haven’t tried the drugs but at least the packaging is identical.

        1. As the old adage goes if you’ve got livestock eventually you’ll have deadstock. It’s just a sad fact of life. Unless you’ve got a parrot as they’re quite likely to outlive you.

      2. Ora, as an ex-insurance man, don’t bother with pet insurance, it’s the biggest con going and makes insurance companies and vets a fortune. Just stick £30/month away in a savings account instead.

        1. Hoofs,
          That is what we do & buy the dogs minced steak once a year to run down the pot.

          1. Me too but with two dogs £40 a month, and yesthey get a treat every now and again starngely they have a liking fir steak and ale pie, less pastry.

        2. Agree, that’s what we did when we had the two cats and it works better than arguing with an insurance company about what is actually covered.

          1. I’ve often had four dogs rarely less than two, never had insurance. I’m thousands of pounds in pocket over 50 years.

            1. I’ve never smoked. I’m thousands of pounds in pocket over those who did. I often wonder where those thousands of pounds are.

    2. Oh dear. Here in the US there are some trustworthy on line sites where you can have your veterinarian send the prescription. And even more convenient, some of our pharmacies, including in store pharmacies, will dispense prescriptions for pets. But we did continue to get our sadly departed cat’s insulin from the vet, as we wanted to be sure it had been stored safely and wasn’t past it sell by date.

  14. I didn’t find this particularly difficult. Needed the explanation for 21a. Apart from the Drake and bowls connection it was a bit obscure. I worked out 15a. Sirrah does crop up in Shakespeare’s plays here and there but didn’t get the boat connection although, once explained, it was obvious. 12a favourite. I thought that was a very clever construction. Thanks to all.

  15. Really enjoyed this one. After a fairly slow start answers started to fall into place. Favourites included 19a, 27a and 9d. All time favourite book referenced in 15a. Got hung up with the Simpsons and Illinois in 1d until the penny dropped.

  16. I have no recollection of Dusty Springfield singing with Jimi Hendrix. Not the most obvious pairing!

    1. Indeed. Opening the video in YouTube reveals an intro with more information about it.

      1. Check out Jimi Hendrix, Lulu and Sunshine of your love. Very interesting

  17. A real cracker of a crossword!

    Accompanied by another brilliantly illustrated review from Mr K.

    ps. If I remember correctly, Mr K and Kitty at one time used to blog together. When asked for a suitable blogging name for the duo, Tstrummer suggested “Pussy Galore”.

      1. And me – he was a delightful man. I remember an email exchange we had just before I met him ‘in real life’ for the first time at one of the birthday bashes. You’ll easily recognise me, he said, I’ll be the one wearing a red carnation and carrying a rolled-up copy of The Times. I think he was actually wearing a rock music inspired T-shirt!

  18. Thank heavens for an easier crossword after yesterday’s struggle. 15a held me up, I just bunged in something that looked right and luckily it was correct. Still don’t know why, I shall need to check with Mr.K.
    Very clever to get the C-19 references in.
    Thanks all

    1. Checked the hint for 15a. Fine if you have read the book. I haven’t. It hardly ranks up there with Great Expectations, so too specific IMHO.
      Other than that, superb.

    2. Different strokes for different folks Hoofit. I found yesterday’s really friendly, and today it is clearly above my pay grade. And I have never heard of 15. I was trying to make the butcher, the baker or the cal doe stick maker fit 😊

  19. Absolutely superb – thanks to setter and Mr K.
    I have masses of ticks – I’ll mention 19a and 21a but top clues have got to be the two topical and excellent anagrams at 17/1a and 11d. The Quickie pun is pretty good too.
    With Elgar in the Toughie I keep thinking it’s Friday.

    1. Liverpool supporter then?
      I guess there will be many who need Mr K’s reference. Never realised his second name was the same as Nobby Stiles’ first.

      1. The number of clicks on the hyperlinks presumably says something about the GK possessed by readers:
        Three Men in a Boat: 351
        Jürgen Klopp: 194
        Spanish Armada: 74
        Alice in Wonderland: 62
        Dusty Springfield: 54
        Barbie: 18

        Evidently Barbie and her partner are much better known than the Liverpool manager.

        1. Thank you Mr K.
          Your analysis shows just how much data can be gleaned from our innocent activities on the web. When we click on “accept cookies” (out of laziness in my case) we open ourselves up to interrogation (“data mining”) I guess.
          With Ken as was said, so many of us had daughters who wanted Barbie & anything associated with her. With our sons it was Action Man.

  20. Fully agree with all that this was a gem. Well clues throughout, nice surfaces & some crafty misdirection. Liked the covid clues & unlike CC enjoyed 12a. 4d & 19a were my favourites.
    Thanks to all.
    Ps 1d was my last in – was anyone else daft enough to spend time trying to recall if there was a character called Dusty in the Simpsons ?

    1. Yes, I did, which is mad because I’m a big fan of hers and have hardly ever watched the Simpsons.
      I think it’s because most of the time we only refer to her by her first (nick)name.

  21. Absolutely fantastic puzzle today. Too many clues to single out a favourite although one candidate would have to be my last one in, 1D!! Excellent clues and a superb effort. Well done to the setter; one of the best for a while. Thanks

  22. Definitely a little more of a challenge than recent Tuesday puzzles but full of entertainment, completed at a gallop – 2.5*/4.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 21a, and 27a – and the winner is 21a.
    Thanks to the setter for the topicality and Mr K.

  23. Great fun doing this which I completed alone and unaided.
    Couldn’t parse 14a or 22d properly, though so not a hurrah day for me.
    Almost laughed out loud when the penny dropped for 15a…..great clue.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his excellent review and as always, lovely pics.

  24. A really solid, mind-expanding, and very witty puzzle (my guess is Chris Lancaster, his kind of sharpness and topicality). Sheer enjoyment throughout, especially up to my LOI, 15a, which enabled me to just sneak in at ** time. I don’t know that there’s a gold in every clue, as Brian says, but there’s certainly gold a-plenty: 19a, 21a, 15a, for starters. Thanks to Mr Kitty and to C.L., if it is he. ** / ****

    Sadly, our virus numbers in S Carolina have more than tripled (542 yesterday) since the mean of about 150 per day in April. Too many people ignoring the rules, failing to wear masks, and failing to keep their social distances. Reopeniing too soon has begun to take terrible tolls.

  25. Great puzzle and loved the up to date references.Failed to get 15a although lshould have as l knew the address.Thanks to all.

  26. I rushed at this a bit (in order to give more time to Elgar in the toughie) but Mama Bee is still reading the dead tree so battling with Elgar will have to wait.
    15a was the trickiest for me and the connection to JKJ’s masterpiece was a struggle.
    I loved the topical clues and wonder if they would have been as obvious a few months ago!
    Thanks to Mr K and setter (presumedly Mr Ed)
    Talisker hangover notwithstanding I will have a go at Elgar now.

    1. I managed NINE in the Elgar and then went kaflooey. Totally. Good luck to you, John.

      1. I went kaflooey (great word) after the first read through! It will be interesting to see the hints so as to see how the parsing etc works. I think it will be a while before I can tackle an Elgar but I know there are others who will be relishing it.

      2. I did about the same before going to Cs’s hints but it is a (vanishingly small) bit easier than normal Elgar’s. Clocking the theme in the first line helped. Kaflooey – lovely word.

  27. Thanks for the write-up and the positive comments so far. I thought I’d jump in early and own up to being today’s compiler; I wasn’t expecting so many solvers to guess correctly. I’d best also own up to being a Liverpool fan.

    Good luck to all with the Elgar Toughie!

    1. Thanks very much for popping in and for providing us with a superb puzzle.

    2. Thanks for dropping in, Chris, and many thanks for providing a wonderful puzzle to solve and to blog. Please do it again soon.

    3. Thank you, Chris. It was a most enjoyable treat. I echo the call for more please.

    4. Great puzzle. Mrs Vbc is a Liverpool fan whilst I’m of the blue hue. However I have to admire them in this disrupted season for achieving one of the most consistent series of winning games I’ve ever witnessed.

    5. Good topical crossword. Thanks Mr K for helping on 15ac! Chris thanks for the crossword and if you are still monitoring I have a question. My 94 yo mother takes the Telegraph and I help her to solve the Saturday prize crossword. Unfortunately she suffers from macular degeneration which involves a monthly injection in each eye. She can hardly read the clues, so I type up Saturday’s crossword in 18 pt and send it to my brother who prints it for her. But increasingly she cannot see the grid numbers and I am unable to reproduce that.

      At present when I call her she has to deal with 2 A4 sheets of clues from me, the grid from the paper and a magnifying glass!

      I was wondering whether it would be possible to produce a larger grid that somehow I (and perhaps many others) could download?

      I know it’s a big ask, but if it were possible I am sure many would appreciate it. Perhaps even I in years to come!

      1. We use an app called Notability to photograph the grid and clues on an iPad which can then be easily ‘stretched’ to make parts of the grid bigger for a long as you want. If you get a stylus pen you can write the answers directly onto the screen and erase them if you make an error. This would solve the problem but only if your mother is a bit iPad savvy – my 85 yr-old mum is.

        1. Thanks Fuseman. I’m afraid even installing a hands-free phone was just about as much technology my mother can take. Savvy iPad … no way.

        2. I have an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the Notability app, but it hadn’t occurred to me use these for solving crosswords. Thanks for the tip.

    6. Great crossword Chris & as Oliver said Please sir can I have some more.
      Ps is there any prospect of getting the 4 days of the Toughie included in the iPad edition ? Doesn’t seem a great deal to ask for.

      1. I think that is imminent Huntsman. Imminent may be as stretched as a RayT synonym though

    7. Many thanks, Mr Lancaster, for the marvellous puzzle and for all you do on behalf of us in Crosswordland…and for this old octogenarian in our collapsing world over here across The Pond. I thought 15a was just brilliant, by the way. Had you been saving that one for an especially delicious puzzle?

  28. A great puzzle although I have never heard of 3d and how does the answer to 1d relate to smut? Two very topical anagrams at 1/17a and 11d. In view of Robert Clark’s comment maybe we should continue with these?

    I liked the simplicity of 9a (and the picture with the hint) but my COTD is 15a because I thought the book hilarious.

    Many thanks to Chris Lancaster for the enjoyment and to Mr K for the hints.

        1. Getting smuts in the eye was a frequent event in the olden days…….
          I.e. when we had coal driven industry……..

          1. Gosh, yes – I remember smuts now! My mother would always want the train carriage window closed in case smuts from the engine smoke got in and ruined her dress.

            1. When visiting the Nene Valley railway with my 8 year old grandson, a shunting train compelled me to get him to accompany me up onto the bridge in time to experience fully the damp, warm steam/smoke experience. Probably not too healthy but as a one off I think forgivable. That’s what grandpas are for.
              Oh, great crossword by the way.
              Thank you to all involved as usual.

              1. Mrs. C and I have enjoyed a few murder mysteries on the Severn Valley Railway and I loved opening the window so the smoke and steam could waft in. Took me straight back to childhood apart from the fact I was not asked to solve a murder back then!

                1. As a boy I was told that the number of clickety-clicks in 41.5 seconds represented the speed in miles per hour. Another useless fact!

              1. As a fully paid up anorak was told a different reason to do with trains colliding with things. Also it was easier to see the trackside markers when we were timing the speeds something I presume GranD didn’t do!

                1. one elephant 2 elephants 3 elephants…
                  15 elephants per quarter marker = ?MPH

                  1. John,
                    We found it difficult to get the elephants so used a physics department stopwatch.

      1. Smut was the (dubious) magazine Dusty the Clown in The Simpson’s like to read. I think?

        1. Welcome to the blog, Phil, and thanks.

          There’s more info about Krusty’s reading material here.

    1. Thanks for all the anecdotes in this thread. Steam trains are before my time, so I learned a lot.

  29. A really enjoyable puzzle and good spread of clues. Re 15a: did anyone else try to find an answer from “one man” inside a reversed word for boat? The correct answer came to me after putting the paper to one side for a while. Fortunately I could only remember this man’s name and the dog’s. Favourite clue is 21a. Thanks to the compiler and Mr K – I liked the camouflaged cat in particular, an accident waiting to happen!

    1. Yes, that was an inordinate amount of minutes I’m not getting back.
      I knew the forward version (literature refs etc), but not the backward version.

    2. Yes, I started out going down the same dead end path on 15a. Clever misdirection by our setter.

  30. 27a all day.

    Thanks Mr K. Setter pls come back soon as you helped brighten a very boring (and wet) day here in Honkers.

  31. Another really great crossword, strange how quickly you get on compilers wavelength (sometimes) completed well within single cafetierre time. About to settle down to repot tomatos and cucumbers.
    Thanks to Mr K and to Chris Lancaster.

  32. I agree with *** for difficulty.
    There were lots of fun items, but you had to have a pretty diverse general knowledge to complete this puzzle and the pun in the quickie.
    Does anyone remember the 2d’d supports represented by the plural of 23d? I do, because I helped my Granny get into them……

    The puzzle did hang together really well in terms of topicality. And the long anagrams were fab.

    In terms of (eventual) enjoyment – “oi’ll give it foive”

  33. A pleasant assignment from the Ed today. West beat the East to it. Was unaware of 15a and stupidly parsing for 22d bung-in eluded me. 27a was probably Fav although I do feel that the commercialisation of Yuletide has got horribly out of control 🎁 🎁. I frown on the clue’s derogatory term for 26a and 25a is becoming a chestnut . Thank you CL and MrK.

  34. I found the puzzle very tricky but great fun. Frustratingly, I fell one answer short. Like ‘Thatch’ above, I spent too long at 15a trying to find a reverse of a boat containing (maybe) ‘im’. It’s a very clever clue and I’m kicking myself now.
    Lovely day in Surrey, very still. The recent rain has brought the hydrangeas on quite a lot. Roses to be deadheaded before luncheon.
    Favourites of the day are 24a and 4d.
    Thanks to Chris and Mr K.

  35. I agree with everyone , a smashing puzzle. But my goodness, do you all spend the morning on the crossword? I’ve changed the bed, put the washing on the line, put the vacuum round – maybe I have my priorities wrong? My favourite was 24a which made me lol (as they say) and the illustration could well be Thompson, the cat my grandson dumped on us when he went off to uni. I must make a note of kaflooey. It could be useful. Many thanks for the amusement

    1. Daisy, you put us all to shame! For myself, no I don’t spend all morning doing the crossword but I am up very early! I would say we should get out more but, of course, we can’t.

      1. Please rest assured, I ain’t no model housewife! But Tuesday is clean sheets day and aforementioned Thompson leaves hair everywhere. The crossword is our lunchtime pleasure.

        1. Forgive me Daisygirl, but anyone uttering the sentence “Tuesday is clean sheets day” is already on the slippery slope to becoming a model housewife, surely?
          I will, however, allow you to spend your mornings cleaning up doggy hair.

          We once had sofas with white covers and a dog with black hair.
          I’ll leave it at that….

          1. From yesterday DG has taken 63 years to get into the slippery slope can’t see her ever getting to the bottom! 😎

        2. Clean sheets day is Saturday in our house, a habit from when we were both working full time, and never moved the day once we retired.

          1. Monday here, although as I’m on my own these days, it’s now every other Monday with a change of sleeping side in between for me. Works well as long as I remember which side of the bed I’m on if I need to get up for a loo visit in the middle of the night!

            1. I have been completely put to shame by the bed changing habits of other ladies on this blog.

    2. Daisygirl. I wake early. Make and pour tea for two. Read the paper. Solve the quick and the cryptic crosswords and write a list of chores and jobs for Saint Sharon. Watching her accomplish her tasks keeps me busy for hours

  36. An excellent performance by Mr Ed, proving that he still manages to find time to set very good puzzles as well as checking the offerings from others, producing the Puzzles Newsletter and laying on extra puzzles to relieve lockdown boredom. Poor man deserves a long holiday when all this is over!
    Like Greta, I solved 15a from the Shakespeare connection – must get round to reading the book sometime – but I won’t be giving any podium places to the topical references as I really want there to be some ‘virus free’ areas in my life…….
    Top marks here went to 21,24&27a plus 4d.

    Many thanks to CL and also to Mr K and the Kitty club. Loved the carpet cat, reminded me of those Magic Eye books that were popular some years ago.

    1. Jane, I’m looking forward to seeing “Organise” in the cryptic.

      Do you have space on your walls to have it framed?

      1. Thank you, Stan. I’m actually still awaiting delivery of my gold medal although Mr Ed assures me that I’ll be waiting a long time!

  37. Oh Mr K,3* difficulty?,more like 0* !
    All done in ********* except 15a,which I still haven’t got.
    I’m fed up enough with the Virus without it infecting my favourite crossword as well!

    1. You know that box at the bottom of web marketing where it says: “ I am not a robot”
      Do you tick it?

    2. Or ***** if you haven’t completed. Average 0 & 5 is 2.5 rounded is 3 so Mr K was correct after all. (I saw the time before it was redacted)

      1. You don’t know the time the Green One started……they might have been thinking solely about 15a for 5 hours……..

  38. Great puzzle and blog. Thank you Chris Lancaster and Mr K for the best enjoyment this year. 12a and 21a my favourites among a host of great clues.

  39. Thank you mr Lancaster for a marvellous puzzle with great hints as well from mr k … but alas I just couldn’t get 1d because of a mistaken Simpson’s assumption … doh!

  40. I really enjoyed most of this but 20d & 25a had me bemused 🤔 ****/**** also 1a in the Quick Crossword 😳 Favourites were 14 and 27a and also 8d Thanks to Mr K for his much needed help and to the Crossword Editor

  41. It was fun solving this, I enjoyed 1& 17 across as well as 21a & 27a not to forget 11d, 15 across was a new word for me but easily solvable by the clue, time well spent.

    Stay Safe Everyone TTFN

  42. Top banana, as one of my golfing pals used to say. ***/*****. A nice mix of clues, some very topical. My favourite was4d because it raised a broad smile. I got 15a but not why until I read the hints. Thanks to Mr Lancaster and Mr K for the equally enjoyable blog.

  43. Thank you Messrs. Lancaster and K. I needed quite a bit of help today, unlike yesterday, and definitely found this on the tricky side. But one to please the clever solvers for sure. 15a was totally new to me, and I took the wrong fork in the road on a few others. The anagrams were fun. But clues like 12a make my brain hurt, when I look at a hint that includes the word concatenate I know I am in trouble. Luckily I got it from the checkers anyway. Will have a go at 607 from yesterday later today.

  44. Loved the topical clues – filled in all the squares but needed Mr K’s help with the parsing although I have read Three Men in a Boat. Thanks to him and CL.

  45. A more difficult puzzle for today but a fun one with the current ‘new’ phrases intertwined. Nicely done. Rate as 2.5*/**** with some really nice clues today including 1/17a, 12a, 14a, 24a, 27a & 11d. Liked 12a for the clue construction and liked 27a for its simplicity, yet it took a while for the penny to drop … so 27a is my winner today.
    15a was unknown to me so really the only one I had to use the cheats for, but learnt something

    Thanks to setter for the great construction and Mr K for the hints.

  46. Great puzzle. Cleverly topical. Favourite was 15a although took a while because it’s 65 years since I read the book. Couldn’t remember the names of the boating people. Loved the kittty pics. Thanks CL and Mr. K.

  47. I loved this and was right on wavelength from the start. The only one that held me up was 21a, which I bunged in as it was the only thing I could think of that fit the checking letters. I have to thank Mr. K for explaining it, how clever is that? It could be my fave, though 15a is in the running because of the book. So many could qualify as fave, super puzzle.
    So many interruptions, running late, but must get in the pool and do my routine.
    Thank you Mr. Lancaster for the fun, and Mr. K for unravelling 21a.

  48. Here in Illinois we get the puzzle at bedtime and attempt it before nodding off. Last night, we started this one and quickly gave up. Seemed too hard and boring. If only we had started with “Christmas, now” we would have changed our misinformed opinion. This morning was a completely different story – we so thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle! Only problem clue was the same as everyone else’s, where we bunged in “shariah” and couldn’t figure out how that would relate to Jack’s bowling balls. Given the theme we wondered if somehow shariah law had been put into effect to enforce s***** d*********. Certainly hijab was ahead of the curve on self-isolation.

    To clarify a factual error earlier on in today’s comments, the Simpsons is not set in Springfield, Illinois. This is a widespread example of fake news. The creator of the original cartoon went to school at U of Oregon, set in Eugene, with the adjacent community called Springfield. For whatever reason, most U.S. states have a Springfield.

  49. Ah the lockdown crossword, are they trying to tell us something… Went on a lovely 5 mile ‘breakout’ walk today, met others doing the same. At least deaths have now reached zero in our town.
    Completed without needing the hints though not being a three man in a boat fan I struggled to understand 15a.

  50. It’s 5:30 and after a great day of cycling this was a treat to round off a great day. Looks like hundreds of favourable comments before mine and it’s so nice to see that others enjoyed it too. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  51. Perhaps I am not alone in knowing absolutely nothing about soccer but the Quickie pun completely escaped me and I take exception to it particularly as pronunciation of the foreign first name takes no account of the umlaut – altogether too clever by half!

  52. I’m in the “hard but fair and really enjoyable” camp this evening. I did manage to parse them all myself including 15a but had to Google it as I’d never read the book. I did toy with sirreh a variant of surreh, a local term of address if said in a Leicestershire accent with the hard ie (ee) at the end, but discounted it as too unlikely and probably not in the BRB, I’ve been here before. Favourite amongst many 12a. Many many thanks to CL and Mr. K. Back to watch the videos now.

    1. I think surreh and sirreh have the same origins. I do remember the answer from Shakespeare and when young often heard men greeting each others in Nottinghamshire with “How do, Surreh” but no idea how it would be spelt. Also in Notts it would be pronounced with e (as you would pronounce it in egg). Y at the end of a word was also pronounced E (as above) rather than I (as in is) which makes it even more difficult to spell this out of use colloquialism.

  53. We needed to do a Google name check for the character in 15a but our assumption proved to be correct. Not quite sure that 21a works for us and wondered if there was something we might have missed there. Apparently not.
    Plenty to enjoy and appropriately topical too.
    Thanks CL and Mr K.

  54. Great puzzle. Glad I persevered with it. Had to Google Barbie’s partner, though.
    I think I’ve come across 27a before, but it made me chuckle.

  55. Such a good puzzle!! Thank you Mr K for explaining 21a, and i’m taking my imaginary hat off to Mr Lancaster.

  56. A splendid and most enjoyable puzzle. Loved the topicality. Lots of positive responses today.
    Thanks to all involved.

  57. Great crossword – thank you CL. You must be particularly pleased with one of the comments above which has made my day. Thanks to Mr K also. I would not have been able to parse 21a without the hint although got the answer with the checkers. Very devious I thought especially with a jack (also known as a kitty) being a ball in bowls. Further research has shown that the first use of the word in this connection is believed to be by Shakespeare in Cymbeline. As this was written soon after the Spanish Armada I wonder if this is simply a coincidence. I will not delve further into the history of Sir Francis Drake as would wish to avoid further statue desecration.

  58. I agree! This was a truly excellent crossword. Every clue gave enjoyment. Favourite was 4d! Had a soft spot for Thomas Whitty’s invention at 24a. There are too many other delightful clues to begin to list them.
    Thank you very much to CL for the entertainment and to Mr Kitty for the excellent review.

  59. 3*/3*…..
    liked 18d “church member meeting Queen a hit with the ladies? (7)”

  60. Still a bit behind but plodding along nicely.
    Agree that this crossword was a real joy.
    Had to check on 15a. New word for me.
    Nice little lot of anagrams.
    Thanks to Mr CL and Mr K.

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