DT 29396 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29396

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29396

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where summer has finally arrived, the state of alarm is over and the nights are now drawing in. Just to make you all jealous here’s a link to the Vega Baja weather forecast for the next week:-


Maybe it’s just me but I thought this was the trickiest Monday puzzle for some time but also the most enjoyable.  I didn’t help myself by putting the wrong first word in 12a which made 13d impossible until the penny finally dropped.  I wonder if any of you made the same mistake.  There’s only one full anagram in this puzzle but there are five clues with an anagram involved in the wordplay and a couple of them are rather cunningly disguised. I hope you all enjoyed the tussle as much as I did.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a           Distinct in cloudless section (5-3)
CLEAR CUT:  A word describing a cloudless sky, as we have here at the moment, followed by a word for a section or part.

9a           A Poet Laureate perhaps crossing over on a ship (6)
ABOARD:  A (from the clue) followed by another word for a poet all placed around (crossing) an O(ver).  I think the word laureate is wilfully misleading here. I’d have solved the clue a lot quicker if I hadn’t thought it might have something to do with Andrew Motion or another Laureate, d’oh!

10a         Detail in a small symbol (6)
ASSIGN:  Detail is a verb here.  It’s the A from the clue followed by S(mall) and finally a symbol or omen.

11a         Persuasive speech from Republican ahead of other fluid one by Conservative (8)
RHETORIC:  You need an anagram (fluid) of OTHER followed by the letter that looks like a number one and a C for Conservative.  Before that lot (ahead of) you need an R(epublican).

12a         Suddenly agreed to knock down dive (2,3,4,5)
AT ONE FELL SWOOP:  A phrase (2,3) meaning agreed followed by a word meaning to knock down, a tree perhaps, and then a dive.  This is where I had the wrong first word for a while.

15a         Struggle with appearance (4)
VIEW:  A word meaning to struggle followed by a W(ith).

17a         Measure of monarch? (5)
RULER:  Double definition.  I suppose this could be viewed as a cryptic definition or a sort of &lit. I leave it up to you to decide.

19a         Sign of boredom? New approach backfired (4)
YAWN:  N(ew) and an approach or method all reversed (backfired).

20a         Ostracise NCO, voted out after cutting guard (4,2,8)
SEND TO COVENTRY:  You need an anagram (out) of NCO VOTED and insert it into (cutting) a guard or sentinel.

23a         Foolish friar receiving fine, leading very loud mob (4-4)
RIFF RAFF:  An anagram (foolish) of FRIAR has F(ine) inserted (receiving) and that lot is placed before (leading) the musical notation for very loud. I couldn’t believe there could be this many F’s in the answer.

25a         Discover the truth about doctor breaking law (6)
RUMBLE:  One of the two letter doctors inserted into (breaking) another word for a law.

27a         Rare panic involving head of chambers (6)
SCARCE:  To panic or frighten with a C (head of Chambers) inserted (involving).

28a         Hurry up, or set point lost (4,2,2)
STEP ON IT:  Anagram (lost) of SET POINT.


1d           Area final cut short, unfortunately (4)
ALAS:  A(rea) followed by a word for final without its last letter (cut short).

2d           Some of Horatio Nelson’s quota (6)
RATION:  A lurker hiding in (some of) Horatio Nelson.

3d           Celebrity‘s naked? Not half! (4)
STAR:  A slang term meaning naked but only the first half of it.

4d           Crime writer succeeded when introducing the ultimate character in Ellery Queen (6)
SAYERS:  This is the crime writer who created Lord Peter Wimsey. Start with an S(uceeded) and after it put a two letter word meaning when.Into that you need to insert a Y (ultimate character in EllerY) and the usual two letters for the Queen.  This one of those that’s easier to solve than write a hint for.

5d           Dr No with strange ploy for domination (8)
MONOPOLY: Another of the two letter doctors, not the one in 25a, followed by the NO from the clue and finally an anagram (strange) of PLOY.  Here’s the best bit from the film . . .

6d           Support ruling’s reasoning (10)
BRAINPOWER:  The support garment for a lady’s chest followed by a phrase (2,5) describing the ruling party in parliament.  I can think of other phrases describing the current ruling party but BD would probably edit them out on grounds of decency!

8d           Talk together about single evergreen tree (7)
CONIFER:  A word for talk together or discuss placed around (about) an I (single).

13d         Short journey to exchange safety device (4,6)
TRIP SWITCH: A journey followed by a word meaning exchange or swap.  I don’t thing we need the word short in this clue and it’s not made any easier when you think the first word starts with an N, d’oh!

14d         Ring up describing island shrub (5)
LILAC:  A word meaning ring, on the phone, reversed (up in a down clue) and placed around (describing) an I for Island.

16d         Western firm and new supplier of energy (4,4)
WIND FARM:  W(estern) followed by an anagram (new) of FIRM AND.

18d         Upset about poetry (7)
REVERSE:  Two letters for about followed by a word for poetry.

21d         Tricky question from guy on right (6)
TEASER:  You need to know that to guy is a verb meaning to kid or make fun of.  Another word for that followed by (on) an R(ight).

22d         Hunter of game given stick (6)
NIMROD: A game followed by (given) a stick or bar gives the mighty hunter from the bible who had a maritime patrol aircraft named after him.  It’s also the alias used by Toughie setter Elgar for puzzles in the Independent so here’s a piece of Elgar’s music of the same name . . .

24d         To-do caused by us in force, southern (4)
FUSS:  Take the US from the clue and insert into (in) an F(orce) and an S(outhern).

26d         Landowner taking day off in sanctuary (4)
LAIR:  A Scottish landowner without his final D (taking day off).

Quite a lot of blue today but I think 5d is my favourite as it describes the Bond character Dr No quite well.  Up there on the podium are 4d and 25a.

Quick crossword puns:

Top row:    KNEW     +     WAIVE     =     NEW WAVE

Bottom row:     WREAK     +     WIRE     =     REQUIRE

166 comments on “DT 29396

  1. What a great way to start the week. ***/***** for me. Favourite 6d, but the whole thing laced with good clues. Don’t know the setter is, but please more of him/her?

  2. I found this relatively straightforward today with very few hold-ups. I thought 24d was a little weak, but that aside a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. 5d was my clear favourite, with 4d a close second. I’m sure MP wouldn’t mind being 20a.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. I been there this morning. Then to my Daughters in Kenilworth now on the way to our new house for a couple of hours before beer o clock at 5pm. All beers out of date but free

      1. Does that mean pubs are opening and Brits can get drinking again to replenish our Marmite supply?

  3. I quite enjoyed this though wasn’t keen on 4d and not entirely sure the definition describes the solution in 23a though I did like the wordplay and constuction. I also liked 11&25a but my favourite was 5d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the entertainment.

    1. I was another one with the wrong first word in 12a. I was also held up by the crime writer in 4d. It was a very intricate clue and I’m not well up on crime writers. That held me up with 9a as well I too looked through a century of Poet Laureates. Overall 3*/3* a curate’s egg puzzle with no real favourites. Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  4. Great puzzle to start the week. I also had the wrong 2 letter word to 12a which made me struggle to think of the answer to 13d until I suddenly twigged the mistake!

  5. I did the same as Pommers with 12 and 13. I bet there’s a few!
    Otherwise enjoyed.
    Thanks to our setter and Pommers, although the GB forecast looks identical this week!

  6. I also had the same problem with 12a and 13d which was my last one in. Otherwise an enjoyable solve.

  7. Thank you, pommers, for the wonderful Variation from Elgar’s Enigma, a term I might apply to both today’s cryptic and especially the quickie, which I found harder to solver than the cryptic–which was no gimme for me. Nonetheless, I finished Campbell’s nicely challenging grid in very good time and thoroughly enjoyed the workout. Several usages were a bit new to me as an American–like 25a and 13d, which was my LOI. All of those blue-underlined highlights in the hints could be podium winners today, but I finally settled on 4d / 9a, 20a (a special love of mine), and 12a (like pommers, I had a different, though not really wrong, first word, which also held me up some). Thanks to pommers for the illustrations especially and to Campbell for a robust outing! ** / ****

    1100+ new virus cases in S Carolina yesterday; we’re in deep trouble as Republicans have decided that wearing masks is anti-DoDo in DC, and evangelicals now believe it is God’s scourge against Democrats. I kid you not.

    1. I could do without the daily political updates as this is essentially a crossword blog. The clue’s in the title.

      1. One of the great things about the BD site for me is that, aside from commenting on the puzzles, we do exchange snippets of information regarding ourselves and what is happening in the parts of the world in which we live. I think the feeling that engenders of being part of a little community is appreciated by most of us and does actually make it easier to ask questions about various clues, puzzles etc. where we might otherwise have felt a little foolish.
        BD does have rules in place regarding the voicing of political opinions, religious bias and making insulting remarks to setters and contributors but otherwise we are thankfully left free to chat to each other.
        That’s what makes the BD blog special as far as I’m concerned – I’m sorry if that’s lost on you.

        1. I agree with you, Jane. Anyway, if a comment really does go too far, it can be redacted.

        2. Quite agree Jane and as SC says, it’s hardly a redactable rant as some we’ve seen

        3. I’m all for reading the anecdotes of various contributers, it engenders a welcome ‘community spirit’, and I’ve posted a few myself over the years. What I haven’t done however is continually expressed a political opinion, which as Senf has pointed out is ‘contrary to comment etiquette’. Robert has very eloquently given his reasons for his comments, which I am happy to accept and look forward to his future comments within the spirit of the blog, which like him I very much enjoy in every way.

        4. I heartily agree Jane. It is so fascinating to take in the breadth of the geographical distribution of contributors and get a little bit of local colour.

      2. I agree that this is primarily a crossword blog but think how dull it would be without the personal comments. After all, this site is our window on the world of cruciverbalists outside the UK.

        1. I, for one, would miss Robert’s amusing commentary on the latest news of the great tweeter.

      3. In defense of my political comment, Stephen L., I had just reported the frightening upsurge in virus cases in my state and thought it might be interesting (to all who are endangered by ‘reopening’ problems, and that’s the whole world, as I see it) to note just why and how those numbers are spiraling upwards here. I will refrain from breaking the rules in future, and apologise to you and Senf and others who are offended by my candour. Thank you, Jane, for the heartening comment, but I am fairly new to the blog still and want to be an acceptable part of the commentariat.

        1. You’re more than welcome, Robert, and please don’t feel obliged to restrict yourself to ‘crossword only’ comments in the future, very few of us do and blog life is far more rewarding as a result.

          1. ‘Blog life’, these days to me, Jane, is so very important. As an 82-yr-old anglophile who has lived and taught in your great country, I find my daily ‘fix’ of the blog and my friends who contribute to it one of the great joys of my ungracefully-ageing life. It has become such a vital part of living to me, and I’ve been advised by my internist to be mindful of these new virus outbreaks and to STAY HOME. So, having the daily puzzles and reading the blog help to keep me from lockdown madness. I’d like to thank Steve Cowling, LBR, Gazza, crypticsue, JB and you again Jane, for the kind words of support. I’ll try to be more moderate in future posts. Ah, the ‘joie de [still] vivre’!

            1. I await Merusa’s contribution to this & I think I could write it.
              I get as much pleasure from the multivarious comments that this site throws up as I do from solving the crossword.
              The intent of the site is a crossword blog but its spirit has gone way beyond that & I think BD is pleased that it has

              1. Medusa has been following this thread and going hehehehe! For those who would rather not hear our rants from this side of the pond, I would point out to you that we are no longer islands and the world has become so integrated now, when one sneezes the rest catch the cold. If Der Gropenfürer wins in November, you might want to sit up and take notice, it will also affect you in Europe.

                1. So glad to hear from you, Medusa. LabradorsruleOK and I, especially, welcome your wise and oh-so-true comments. Be safe down there.

                  1. Many thanks, Robert, for your snippet of very interesting information in these troubled times. We can hardly avoid mention of this pandemic as it impinges on all of us. Even posters to this excellent Crossword Forum. And, of course, any such comment is always additional to a comment on a crossword(s)

                2. Hi Merusa
                  I hope you do keep safe at least you have Sadie & the sitooterie.
                  I follow the CV stats on worldometers and had noted the Florida trends.
                  I don’t think it any more political to say POTUS seems to have got COVID so wrong as it is to say PONZ seems to have it so right.
                  Stay safe. Such is your fame I am surprised the spellchecker doesn’t recognise you.

                  1. I’m so lucky to have Sadie for company, it could be pretty lonely otherwise! Also having the pool maintains my sanity, it keeps me healthy as can be given the genes I’ve inherited. Thanks, LROK!

            2. If we just talked about crosswords, it would just be plain boring. I love hearing people’s observations about non-crossword stuff, long may it continue.
              Anyone want to hear about my birdie on the 15th at Rochester and Cobham GC this afternoon?

                1. I’m sure you are all just being polite, but since you ask…522 log leg par 5, shaped a drive down the left hand side of the fairway…see you have all gone to sleep already, I’ll quit while I’m ahead…

                    1. Mr G says 15th at Rochester a Par 4 so Hoofs’ memory playing up. They say about golf that its the 5 inches between the ears that is a player’s real handicap.

            3. Very late to the blog today Robert & I would certainly miss your updates/commentary from over the herring pond so please don’t stop.

              1. Thank you, Huntsman. We’ve chatted before, you and I, and I appreciate your encouragement.

        2. I’m with the majority on this one. I like hearing about what’s going on in other parts of the world. This blog is often more informative (and certainly more amusing) than the so called news.

          1. I am with Robert here. As one of his age group “ locked up” from the beginning, I love reading all the comments, no matter what the bias. Thank you for a great blog,a great crossword,great setter and great bloggers. Each and everyone adds to the enjoyment of my day.

        3. I always enjoy reading Robert’s comments on the DoDo in DC and is it any worse/different from Pommer’s comments in the introduction about our present government? I do not envy ANYONE in power at the present time, it is quite literally a poisoned chalice. (The chalice from the palace is the vessel with the pestle but the something something something has the brew that is true)

          1. Sadly, the chalice from the palace was broken and replaced by the flagon with the dragon which held the pellet with the poison. The vessel with the pestle held the brew that was true.

            1. I KNEW someone would remember it. Dear Danny Kaye. I was on stage with him once in about 1950 at the Albert Hall – delightful man.

          2. More thanks to LabradorsruleOK, Jen, Greta, and Daisygirl! One night at the Proms, at Albert Hall of course, there was a live cannon that fired during the 1812 Overture and it nearly blew me out of my seats, Daisygirl. That’s not quite like sharing a stage with the inimitable Danny Kaye, though. My experience must have been around 1972.

            1. Don’t get excited, I was not a cabaret star in feathers sadly. Just a schoolgirl chosen to appear with him on some big UN production – and just a couple of performances. Makes a good story though!

              1. I am sure Danny Kaye retold it often
                “Who is that on stage with your Daisy?” Your Mum “Danny Kaye”

        4. I have been busy since about 7.30 (which makes a nice change for another Groundhog Day) when I did this crossword (about **/*** for me conincidentally) but thought i’d check out what you all thought about it, only to discover a far more enjoyable discussion about Life, the Universe and All That. Keep it up please. It can even be funny sometimes. And what’s good, no what is excellent, about this site is that there is little or no personal animosity.

          And frankly how blessed we all are to have that very talented and funny man who used to do hints on a certain day and now appears elsewhere bringing us all his news and anecdotes and comments about good beer. Yes, thank you Falcon! 😎😉

          1. Yoo-hoo, Wahoo! Thanks for joining us. It’s been quite life-enhancing for me. And I’ll try not to get Senf’d again.

        5. No need to apologize Robert. This is a fantastic crossword site, but it has also morphed into a virtual coffee shop, where we share the current state of our lives etc., providing much camaraderie and points of interest. Our numbers are shockingly up in South Florida. Probably from the protests. So we are just putting a toe outside right now.

          1. Many thanks, BusyLizzie. Sorry to hear your numbers, like ours, are up down in Florida. I ‘do’ an opera-a-day live-streamed from the Met in lieu of jigsaws…and old classics to read…and British mysteries…and this wonderful blog. Keep safe, you and Merusa, down there. To paraphrase Hamlet and Lear, ‘The [morphing] is all’.

    2. Sadly, We’re in the nearly 4000 a day range. It seems Sadie and I will be in lockdown for the foreseeable future!

      1. Agree. On my fourth jigsaw now. Excitement for the week was the trip to get a cortisone shot for Mr BL.

        1. I have been in lockdown in the UK since early March. Now, there is little chance of me getting home until late September. I may even miss a hurricane season!

      1. There are 18 of you to thank for your kind, supportive comments, jean-luc, some several times over. Merci, mon ami. Hope your restaurant is thriving and that you’re keeping safe.

  8. I found this not too difficult but certainly enjoyable. Yes, I did put the wrong first word in 12a before realising it didn’t fit with 13d. Also why do I almost always miss the ‘support’ reference (6d)? Must learn to look out for it! Enjoyed the Dr No clip, as well as the music accompaniment to 22d. No particular favourites today, but generally good quality clues. Thanks to setter and Pommers. Nice weather here today too – good for gardening, so should probably be doing that rather than crosswords.

  9. 2*/4*. With a nod of thanks to YS, I can simply cut and paste most of his comment: I found this relatively straightforward today with very few hold-ups. I thought 24d was a little weak, but that aside a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. 5d was my clear favourite, with 4d a close second.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  10. I also had the wrong start to 12a until 13d came to the rescue. 6d was my favourite. Thanks to Pommers and today’s setter.

  11. I hadn’t heard of the game in 22d, but the answer jumped off the page.
    My favourite was 25a.
    Many thanks to the setter, and to pommers. It’s fairly hot and sticky here in L’Eliana, Valencia; unfortunately the pesky tiger mosquitoes keep us in long trousers day and night !

    1. Try the repellant that comes in a orange plastic spray and is available from Mercadona. It really works.

      1. Yes – we get through a bottle a week of that stuff; it’s the only repellant that works.

        1. Also try Avon Skin So Soft if you can get it. I was told it’s what the rangers in the Everglades Park use.

            1. me too. The British Army used it in jungle training in Belize. Works all the time – for Tropical mossies that is, don’t know about big Spanish ones.

              Monday. 8.00 pm. Challenge. I will donate £50 to your favourite charity (one only) for the best clue for “Mosquito” from a person on Big Dave, not a professional.

              Best efforts!

            1. Thanks I will try it. Nothing has worked so far – I have bites on top of bites.
              Was told because we are near the sea & in a windy location we’d be OK. Realise I was one of the ones born every minute!

              1. My Godson’s mother and I celebrated 70th birthdays in the highlands. I can vouch for the midges.

              2. Avons Skin so soft has worked for years. I’ve not checked but I think it contains citronella.

    2. Our good mayor invested in state of the art mosquito traps that imitate human respiratory rhythm. Works wonders. We did get a few cases of Zika fever last year. Things are getting serious.

  12. I thought that this was a bit tricky for a Monday, but it had some good clues. The lurker in 2d was first in, but then I just couldn’t get my brain into gear for the rest of the top half. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I didn’t have any problems filling it in. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review. Thank you too for the Nimrod clip.

  13. I also had “in ” instead of “at” in 12a and so I couldn’t solve the first word of 13d.
    The word play in 20 a is approaching the toughie level .
    Re 22d , is Nim a game ?Not one I ever heard of.
    I really enjoyed this .
    Thanks to pommers andthe setter.

      1. I didn’t even understand the explanation, so I’d be unlikely to be able to play the game!

        But what is that game where we used to put matchsticks in “squares” in a chain an then remove one stick at a time, whilst still maintaining the chain? I’d forgotten that until today….

  14. I thought this was a very gentle start to what used to be the working week. I agree “laureate” in 9a is very misleading and irrelevant to the answer. Perhaps deliberately misleading? I didn’t like 4d and I’m not convinced by an “s” for succeeded. It’s probably just my own thought process out of kilter. I’d solved 13d before 12a so missed that trap! Favourite 20a. Thanks to all.

    1. Surely ‘laureate’ indicates that this is no run-of-the-mill poet and ‘perhaps’ should stop you looking for specific Poet Laureate names.

  15. */*** for us, we too put ‘in’ for the first word of 12a but soon saw the error of our ways. Favourite clue 6d, it made us laugh. We really enjoyed this, thanks to setter and Pommers, best wishes for full recovery to Pommette.

  16. A very enjoyable solve early this morning. Lots to like especially the two longer answers. Thanks to Campbell for the brain workout. Thanks to pommers for a nicely personal blog and the picture of the worlds finest cathedral.

  17. I also put the wrong first word for 12a. Quite a poser today but agree that it was most enjoyable. There were many good clues making it difficult to choose a favourite although 4d deserves a mention IMHO.

    A great start to the week.

    Thanks to the setter and also to Pommers for the hints

  18. Unlike Pommers, I thought we were back to the old Monday standard today. Nothing at all to frighten the equine contingent, I was done and dusted in */** time. 

I didn’t know the game in 22d, but I do know my aircraft.

    Many thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  19. Pommers you are not alone, I also found this one of the trickiest Monday back pagers for a while. Nevertheless (an interesting word, I wonder if it has ever appeared in a crossword :wink: ), it was very enjoyable. Completed at a gallop.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 25a, and 13d – and the winner is 25a.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  20. 17a. I don’t think “measure” really fits, here. The answer is something used to assist in drawing a straight line. Without the “r”, it could possibly be described as a “measurer”, but that wouldn’t make sense in this clue.

  21. I liked this one, some good clues that took a little thinking about. 25a simple but effective and 6d gets the biscuit today. Thanks to setter and reviewer.

  22. I’m another who is far more familiar with a different first word in 12a and did scurry to ask Mr G about the 22d game – saw the word ‘mathematical’ and decided it’s probably not for me!
    Reasonably plain sailing elsewhere and I awarded podium places to 10,19,25&27a plus 6d.

    Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle and to pommers for the review. Probably not much jealousy where your weather forecast is concerned as it’s expected to be a somewhat scorching week here. Thankfully for those of us who are ‘delicate flowers’ the heat hasn’t hit yet!

  23. Brighten up your day sort of puzzle to me. Easy enough in some places and tested my level in others. Wrong word start in 12a camp, if there is the wrong end of a stick to be grabbed I always do.
    Liked 5d but 6d my COTD.
    Thanks Campbell, keeping a constant standard for such an eclectic bunch cannot be easy. Thanks pommers, hope pommette’s recovery stays on track.
    Still April here, showers and all. Mum always used to say ne’er cast a clout ’til May is out. Up here this year it is ne’er cast a clout full stop.

  24. I have almost run out of printer ink (a substance apparently rarer than the rarest of hens teeth) and so am being very careful to only print off essential things until a new (more expensive than usual) supply arrives in the post later this week. I do hope it comes soon as not being able to print off crosswords is playing pot with my crossword addiction :cry:

    Solving this crossword online, I find that while I know exactly how long it took me to solve it (and I’m in disagreement with Senf about the difficulty level for the second day running) but I don’t remember an awful lot about it. Having read the blog, I think I agree with Pommers’ favourites. Thanks to him and Campbell

    1. I have never looked back since I bought at HP printer with a constant supply of ink. I pay £1.99 per month for 50 copies (larger amounts are available). Taken by direct debit every month and a bill arrives by email. You automatically carry over from one month to another. To prove what a rip-off printing ink is this ink rarely runs out! The printer came with normal sized ink cartridges which quickly ran out. They send you the next lot well before they see you are ready for it and the “free replacements” are much larger but still fit. It is a complete mystery to me but since last November when I print I get a message “Low on ink”. Next box is by the printer ready but not needed yet. My husband now has one for his small business – buying a larger amount per month.

      1. Tried to set it up several times but it won’t recognise my printer so I gave up. I’ll have another try

        1. That’s a shame because it is really amazing. I cant get over the never-ending ink! I’ve probably had it for about three years now and only a handful of refills!

  25. Like others I too enjoyed the Monday solve ,straightforward except for 13d due to my putting IN for the first two letters of 12a- ok when the penny dropped. A **/**** for me.
    Well clued throughout, liked 5d for its misdirection, not quite the’ obvious’ anagram !
    Thought Pommers might have included a pic for 25a of the the Ali-Foreman jungle romp.

  26. I’m blogging a Donnybrook Toughie tomorrow. It would be nice to hear from a few of you however you coped. Tuesdays Toughies are often on the gentle side so have a go and let me know

    1. I always give the Toughie a go, VEB but I’m not promising to complete it! :grin:

    2. I’m so scared of getting hooked on yet more puzzles, but, just for you, I’ll give it a try tomorrow!

  27. This was no walk in the park but a bit of a relief after coming to it immediately after doing battle with yesterday’s Cryptic. NE last quadrant to acquiesce. Multi-word solutions which are much in evidence today are not my favourite thing. I too came near to using wrong first word in 12a but either way it would have been my Fav. Thank you Campbell and pommers (funnily enough your weather forecast doesn’t induce a feeling of jealousy as forecast for UK is unusually good too ☀️!)

    1. You see if, like me, you’re not bright enough to figure out 12a going through the acrosses, you sweep up 13d on the downs thus removing any potential confusion on the first word when you get back to it. 😁 Other than that I made pretty steady progress a couple of crossing clues 15a and 16d and 22 and 25 the only ones that put up a fight for me.

      1. I may be, as you say, “not very bright” but I do usually go through the acrosses before venturing into down territory!

        1. Always acrosses first. Downs next. Repeat until crossers suggest answers. Job done

            1. And for the avoidance of doubt Angelov any doubts about intelligence were only directed in my own direction. No intention to suggest any thing otherwise for others.

  28. Compared with the last couple of days found this a walk in the park. 6d last in and my COTD. However failed to spot the underwear concerned – silly as it crops up quite often. Thanks to all and personally, I rather enjoy the snippets of info other people put forward so long as its not offensive.

  29. Campbell pitches at my level so I found this one very enjoyable (even though I followed pommers and others by placing the wrong first word for 12a, which caused a delay and some brain whirring before it became clear). I’d never heard of the 22d game but it couldn’t have been anything else really.
    Lovely to hear the Elgar.
    A still day in Surrey interspersed with occasional gale force blasts of wind so unusually it’s a four paperweight day; one at each corner of the printed out puzzle (quickie on one side, cryptic on the other).
    Lola, of course, has retired for the afternoon to recline amongst the wallflowers under the ivy. She likes a routine.
    Thanks and a cheery thumbs up to Campbell and pommers.

  30. Made life difficult for myself by putting clear sky for 7a and l can’t remember how many different thoughts l had on 4 d..However light dawned at last and able to finish without outside help.Congratulations to M.P. On Coventry promotion and hope Stoke do not have to play them next season.Hope that is not too far off the main purpose of this site.Thanks to setter and Pommers.

    1. Thank you. I last saw Coventry City play in 1995 and before that in 1973 but I do listen to the commentary at the end of their matches after watching Coventry Rugby Club on Saturdays. I don’t think Big Dave is a fan though

  31. Lovely crossword sailed through it with no probs despite never having heard of Nim (and we have always been big on word and card games) but it was an obvious answer. I cannot believe the dedication of you folk who carefully vet our comments so that we don’t overstep the mark. Your commitment to this site is amazing. I love feeling part of a world wide community of DT Xworders – all the old timers are so welcoming. I do wonder whether the personal comments have become even more prolific as lockdown has progressed? I am building up an intriguing picture of you all. Thanks to everyone.

    1. You can see what some of us look like by clicking on The Gallery in the Miscellaneous header at the top of this page.

  32. I’m with you Pommers. It took me a while to get into this one, definitely at the more difficulty end for a Monday. There were some well crafted clues. My COTD, 25a. Thanks Pommers for the clips and to the setter🦇

  33. Finished but rather tricky. Needed two sessions to complete and the hints to sort out some of the wordplay. I liked 11d but thought 8d was just awful.
    Bit too wordy for my taste, nothing really wrong with it but just couldn’t take to todays I’m afraid. Ah well can’t please all the people all the time!
    Thx to all
    PS Have mixed feelings about the politics (we get quite enough from the left wing BBC) but I agree it is nice to hear from other parts of the world. I’m sure we would all miss the 2 Kiwis bulletins from NZ.

    1. Oh my goodness yes, I really enjoy the details of the 2Kiwis beachside walks.

    2. Paid you a nice compliment the other day when you beat me: new slogan, “Beaten by Brian!” I guess the BBC is left-wing just like ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN over here.

  34. i like 9 and 10 across it took me a while to get 15 across but when I did I wondered why, 1 down raised a smile but my own COTD was 11 across, as always thank you to the setter and Pommers.


  35. ***/***. Pretty tough for a Monday and not my favourite either. Liked 12&20a but wasn’t keen on 4d. Thanks to the setter and Pommers. Re your weather it reminded me of the Fast Show weather forecast – Scorchio!

  36. I enjoyed this, though, like others, had to look at the hint for 25a and added the first part of 22d without knowing why. If it’s a mathematical game, I’ll probably never be any the wiser. Loved the photo of Coventry Cathedral! I actually watched the angel on the top flying in by helicopter prior to being fixed in position.
    Many thanks, as ever to the setter and Pommers and to all who contribute to this very interesting and informative blog.

    1. How fascinating. I, too watched the rebirth of Coventry cathedral and remember the angel.

      1. I remember that too, I was living in London then and took a day trip with friends to Coventry to see it one April, it snowed bushels that day!

  37. Not the easiest start to the crossword week IMO. I had trouble with the second word of 7a rather than the first of 12a. The hover text on the pic tells me that pommers may have had the same first thought too. 20 a nice nod to Cov but I have to put in a pitch for York as a Cathedral of note. 6d my fave moment as that supporter appeared again. As usual, I spent too long looking for too many doctors and 5d and 25a were amongst the last in.
    Thanks to pommers and Campbell.
    I love hearing all the snippets from foreign parts and wouldn’t want to change anyone’s views (or mine)

  38. Solved alone and unaided ….on my wavelength for a change.

    Had not heard of the game at 22d, though the answer had to be Nimrod. Once I looked it up I realised that I had played it many many times but never knew its name…..now filed away awaiting its next crossword outing.
    So a near hurrah today for me.

    Thanks to Pommers for his review and to the setter.

  39. I enjoyed doing this crossword, with plenty to think about. Not sure about 15a to mean appearance, but the clue was clear. Whilst I was confident about the answer to 22d, I didn’t know the game – so something learned. Favourite clue 23a – on a par with ribald rebel rabble (thanks to Ronnie Barker). Also, thanks to the compiler and Pommers for his excellent review. I’ve read through all the comments at No 7 and must say that I like the blog just the way it is. Long may it continue!

  40. Enjoyable start to the week yet again **/**** 😜 Favourites 9a & 8d. Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell 🤗 I must confess to liking the International flavour of the blog and the input we get from all over the globe, if some is political so be it 😳

  41. Late getting to the blog, but had to say how much I loved this one. After yesterday’s struggle, it was such a treat to be dead on wavelength.
    I wasn’t sure of the first word of 12a so waited to get 13d before penning it in. Last in was 11a, couldn’t unravel it, missed the “other” anagram.
    I’m going to award the whole puzzle to fave status, loved it all.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the hints and pics. Thinking of Pommette!

  42. Too late now to join in the “discussion” from earlier on so I’ll just say that I’m all for a bit of general chit-chat about absolutely anything – families, weather, gardening, cooking and recipes, dogs and cats etc etc.
    Now I’ll shut up.
    Ah, the crossword – I really enjoyed this one.
    To begin with I thought I was going to be in trouble but a lot of the downs came to the rescue.
    My last two were 4d and 9a – one of those where once I got one then the other was obvious.
    Lots of good clues so just a few of them are 11 and 20a and 3 and 5d.
    My favourite was 12a – our Elder Lamb is a real Mrs Malaprop – if she can get something wrong she will and she used to say “one ‘foul’ swoop.”
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  43. Thanks to setter for a though provoking puzzle today, not as gentle as some Mondays, but not impossible either. Those I needed help with were all my own fault. I fell at 12a, but not because of the first word like others, but because I was sure the second word was and, and of course it wasn’t. Sadly my 6d let me down today. All done and enjoyed, and off to tackle the latest jigsaw.

  44. Congratulations to LetterBoxRoy and Prolixic who were joint winners (with two cracking clues) in the clue writing competition in this week’s Puzzles Newsletter.

  45. Some great clues and a straightforward solve for me. Loved all the Fs in 23a which immediately fell into place. However 4d, 11a, 21d I bunged in, but couldn’t work out why until reading the Hints. Thank you Pommers. I only started contributing to the blog recently, having read it for months, but decided to join in because the trans-world, extra curricular chat was so good. So keep that going!

  46. Completed early this morning with minimum of fuss.
    I didn’t have a problem with 12a, the correct first word was the natural one for me.
    Thanks to Pommers for the hints and an interesting and amusing blog.

  47. I guess we radical lefties and supporters of the United Nations will have to expect some pushback from the readers of the Telegraph. We have no choice because the puzzles and the people In this blog are the best. However I should mention it’s all in good fun and after the revolution any cruciverbalists will be spared.

    1. “Comes the revolution, everybody’s going to have peaches and cream.”
      “But what if we don’t like peaches and cream?”
      “Comes the revolution, everybody’s going to like peaches and cream.”

  48. 2*/3*…..
    liked 23A “foolish friar receiving fine, leading very loud mob (4-4)”

  49. I’m in the “I usually struggle with Campbell but not today” camp this evening. I too had never heard of the game in 22d but it had to be the answer so I Googled it and found it was indeed a game. Re making political comments on the blog I’m with SL and Senf on this one. I have said previously that I’ve stopped watching the BBC because of it’s obvious bias but that doesn’t say which side of the divide I sit on, just that I don’t like biased reporting although it’s not hard to work out. Any road up I really enjoyed this one, favourite was 12a and I put the correct first word in, agreed was the giveaway. Many thanks to Campbell and Senf.

  50. Well what an interesting & lengthy read today’s comments were. Enjoyed the crossword which was a quick solve very early this morning. 4d was last & a bung in (didn’t even bother to try & parse it) & like others had never heard of the game of nim but the answer was obvious. No issues with the first word in 12a but I’m not too embarrassed to admit that the third word (hadn’t looked at 14d at that stage) caused me to pause – so many people mispronounce it. Also agree that the inclusion of Laureate in 9a was a bit naughty – whilst an A Level student I was fortunate to be in the company of the incredibly charismatic Ted Hughes. My friend’s very bohemian mother had him round for tea & a private reading of his latest works most of which went way over my head. As an old Coventrian 20a had to be my favourite – thank heavens the two lower tiers couldn’t afford to restart without fans which meant we were promoted as champions.
    Thanks to Campbell & to Pommers.
    Ps – just rewatching series 1 of HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend before looking at series 2 & had forgotten just what a great realisation it is – highly recommended

    1. I am still vibrating five years after reading all four volumes of My Brilliant Friend, and when we have watched the ongoing adaptation (over here), my partner and I agreed it has been splendidly done. I think your phrase “a great realisation” is most apt. (Wasn’t this some kind of Red Letter Day for the blog, eh?) My goodness.

      In 2004, by the way, I made a return, memorial visit to Coventry and lit candles for both my then-recently deceased mother and my best friend, both of whom had just died, two months apart. My mother and I had first visited Coventry in 1972 and were both thrilled, exhilarated, and even saddened by the juxtaposition of the new and old Cathedrals. She never forgot Coventry, and nor did I, nor can I ever. The two visits–the first and the memorial one–have now fused, and the result is…well, you said it: Coventrian, with a difference. You supped with Ted Hughes! (Do you know Browning’s wonderful tribute to Shelley? It’s called “Memorabilia” and you must read it to get my reaction to you and Hughes and the fact that you remember it so vividly!)

  51. Just a word from someone who writes these blogs.

    Alternate Mondays I solve the crossword over the breakfast cuppa or two and then write the blog, find some suitable or sometimes unsuitable piccies and videos and hopefully something a bit amusing. All that takes a couple of hours and then I set it to publish at 1100 UK time and sit back to see what happens.

    The comments are what makes it worthwhile and the off-topic ones are the best so please keep them coming. I love to hear thoughts from around the world be they political, religious or just about the weather or the price of beer and elephants. It’s what makes this place so much fun and makes it a totally different environment from the rather sterile other crossword blog where off topic comments are actively discouraged and everyone is so po-faced serious.

    BD should be congratulated for having had the vision to create an environment where this blog could evolve into what it now is. Long may it continue.

    1. Totally agree with you, Pommers! I have looked at other blogs and they are not a patch on Big Dave. The friendliness of this blog is what keeps me coming back. It has even inspired me to have a go at compiling and it has certainly improved my solving skills.

      I bless the day I found Big Dave. 👍

      1. No, thank you. Without the comments the job isn’t worth doing and your comments are always well thought and a view of life over the pond. Keep safe.

    2. Hear hear. Thanks to all. Enjoyed this puzzle and managed to finish it unaided for once (and on the right day … just)

    3. Amen to all that, pommers, and many thanks for your support and your invigorating reviews and comments on life in Spain, where I have spent a total of three months of my life. Loved the night I spent in Valencia (July 20, 1969) where three of us touring Americans watched the Moon Landing in a hot, crowded, excited bar. Made a memorial visit to The Prado and Las Meninas on my last visit to Madrid. And I just mentioned Sagrada Familia to Jean-Luc, which I would love to see NOW. So I always look forward to your and pommette’s updates on life in Spain. The flood nearly drove me crazy with worry and I followed your gallant recoveries with much interest. Hope pommette is doing well now, less radiatingly so!

  52. Found this a nice puzzle for a Monday, even if a little tricky in some spots. 2.5*/**** for me. Several mentionable clues like12a (took a while to fill in the first word as there were 2 to pick from in my mind, but the rest was obvious), 20a, 25a & 13d…and I pick 20a the winner.

    Thanks to setter and Pommers

  53. Lovely Monday crossword.
    Went rather smoothly.
    Liked the Upset in.18d. We so often see it as a reversal indicator. Nice one.
    In France we also have a town called Limoges to which we refer when ostracising somebody. One becomes Limogé.
    My favourite cathedral is in Pommers country. I think the Segrada Familia is most fascinating.
    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

    1. Oh, I love that, j-l–and I wonder what had happened there to cause someone to be sent to Limoges, where in August of 1969 I spent my first night ever in France! A lovely auberge right in town, with a most obliging landlady who, at midnight, prepared a scrumptious meal for three weary motorists. We had left Denia, Spain, early that morning and made it to Limoges just before 12. We were three old university friends bound for Edinburgh…drove all the way…some of it on the wrong side of the road (our first experience of that). I have about 10 favourite cathedrals, my latest being Durham. (Yes, we did stop in Chartres the next day after leaving Limoges: seems like just yesterday. And a month later, on our return trip to Denia, we spent a day at Sagrada Familia, which was a revelation even then; I’d love to see how it looks NOW. Drip, drip, drip….) Oh, I do run on, don’t I? It’s about 0200 Tuesday your time. Bonjour!

  54. As I usually come to the crossword a day late I am normally talking to myself when the rest have moved on, but I have to write what I think. I am amazed by our differences of opinion on solving difficulty and our brains must be fascinating. Sunday for me was a nightmare. Several sittings but never finished without this help. This one – the answers slotted in as if an invisible hand was guiding me. Sunday – I found the long answers difficult but this was the opposite. 20a for example I got after reading the first word of the clue. I did wonder about the first word of 12a so solved 13d (a doddle) which gave me the right answer. Like John Bee I thought of Clear Sky for 7a but refrained from inserting as the last letter was unlikely. I have a haphazard way of solving as if I get one across I will see if I get get the downs which link. On this occasion I had all the left hand side complete and then went to the SE which was similarly quick. The NE took a little more sorting out but not much. I was however left with 4d. Ordinarily I would have persisted until I got it, but having raced through the rest I had recourse to the hint. My first thought of a crime writer was P D James so difficult to get out of my head. Total solving time less than I would ever have dreamed possible and about 10% of Sunday’s. Did not note a lot of favourites in my rush through but liked 11a and 5 and 6d. I have to say that the comments have taken me three times as long to read than solving the puzzle.

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