DT 29404 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29404

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29404

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

The new month has brought in winter with a vengeance. There is some sunshine but a biting Southerly wind and fresh snow on the ranges to our East combine to keep us well and truly chilled.

Fortunately, we've got the wood-burner and the regular crosswords to keep us warm and diverted.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Authority on courses in for training (11)
CONNOISSEUR : Anagram (for training) of ON COURSES IN.

9a     Customs may see performance cutting costs (9)
PRACTICES : A performance or deed is inside costs of things one buys.

10a     Drama seen in Europe rarely (5)
OPERA : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

11a     Shakespeare's world could be this pink (6)
OYSTER : How Shakespeare, in a quote from Pistol in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', compares the world to this tasty seafood.

12a     Women must have a way with liquid fuel being uneconomical (8)
WASTEFUL : String together W(omen), 'A' from the clue, the abbreviation for street (way) and an anagram (liquid) of FUEL.

13a     L. S. Lowry occasionally chanced sweet course (6)
SORBET : Alternate letters (starting with the second one) in L.S.Lowry, plus chanced or wagered.

15a     Little indication of sadness? (8)
TEARDROP : A cryptic definition of something shed in sadness.

18a     Some foreign aid is bought back as result of volcanic activity (8)
OBSIDIAN : A reversed lurker, hiding in the clue.

19a     Plant a bulb with no end of soil (6)
AGARIC : 'A' from the clue, and then a bulb that is crushed and used for flavouring without the last letter of soil.

21a     Mock, eating one's hot and cold food (4,4)
FISH CAKE : Mock, possibly in the sense of made-up news, surrounds one's written as a Roman numeral and 'S, and the letters found on hot and cold taps.

23a     Tastes discovered by sailors at the back (6)
ASTERN : Remove the first and last letters (discover) of 'tastes' and then sailors in one of the armed services.

26a     A look that inwardly may be a greeting (5)
ALOHA : 'A' from the clue, a two letter word for look and then the two internal letters of 'that'.

27a     Sleep sees the brain changing shape, ultimately (9)
HIBERNATE : An anagram (changing) of THE BRAIN, and then the final letter of 'shape'.

28a     Mammal seeing reptile slip off (11)
PIPISTRELLE : An anagram (off) of REPTILE SLIP.


1d     Ample evidence of debt impounded by police (7)
COPIOUS : The three letters indicating a debt are inside an informal word for police.

2d     Comes close to being under arrest, regularly (5)
NEARS : Alternate letters found in two words in the clue.

3d     Those people after working with purpose must be improving (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND : Start with a two letter word for working, next a pronoun meaning those people, and finally a purpose or aim.

4d     Rifle fire (4)
SACK : A double definition. Fire is dismiss from employment.

5d     Bound to find European in unexpected need (8)
ENSLAVED : An anagram (unexpected) of NEED surrounds someone from a major European ethnic/language group.

6d     Settle on tubers, twisted at the end (5)  
ROOST : Underground parts of plants have their last two letters transposed.

7d     Marine food concession may welcome visit (7)
SCALLOP : A visit or 'dropping in' is enclosed by concession or appeasement.

8d    Salt produced by burn covering food (8)
SEAFARER : Burn or scorch surrounds a word for food generally.

14d     Current device succeeded in dispersing rioters (8)
RESISTOR : An anagram (dispersing) of RIOTERS contains S(ucceeded).

16d     Doctor gets air circulating between runs (9)
REGISTRAR : The cricket abbreviation for runs occurs both before and after an anagram (circulating) of GETS AIR.

17d     Skip following lectures and discuss business (4,4)
TALK SHOP : Lectures or orations and then skip or jump on one foot.

18d     On holiday, writing becomes casual (7)
OFFHAND : On holiday or away and writing executed manually.

20d     Gather religious establishment mostly suppresses ecstasy (7)
CONVENE : A religious establishment populated by nuns loses its last letter which is replaced by E(cstasy).

22d     Vice seen in cold light (5)
CLAMP : The abbreviation for cold and then a device for producing light.

24d     Correspondence making half of them sicken (5)
EMAIL : The second half of the word 'them' and sicken or be unwell.

25d     Goes out seeing poor babe's missing area (4)
EBBS : An anagram (poor) of B(a)BES without the abbreviation for area.

Quickie pun    will    +    dub    +    east    =    wildebeest

109 comments on “DT 29404

  1. We seem to have had a run of more gentle puzzles recently, and this was no exception. The only answer which I gave a “hmmm” to was 11a, mostly because I have never had the chance to study Shakespeare.

    It took me **/*** to complete today, there seeming to be quite a few anagrams which speeded the process. I couldn’t even find a favourite for COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and the 2 Ks.

    1. Open learn from The Open Universty has a few free Shakespeare based short courses.

  2. A lovely Wednesday puzzle that I found mainly straightforward but with a couple of new words (18&28a) that were obtainable from the wordplay and checkers.
    I’m having 21a for lunch but my podium places go to 13a, the mildly topical 5d along with 17d
    Many thanks to the 3 birds for the entertainment.

  3. Jay in very gentle mood this week – I did know the Shakespearean connection to 11a although I do more often quote Arthur Daley in Minder whose world was his lobster!

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

    It may be ‘just me’ but I found today’s Toughie surprisingly gentle too

  4. Early start and early finish. I really enjoyed this some great clueing I particularly liked 8d and 12a. Great lurker at 18a. 11a LOI had a bit of a wait for the penny to drop but got there. Thanks to setter – Jay? and the 2Kiwis

  5. Needed two heads and a lot of thrashing about. Favourite clue 18 a because we worked it out without knowing much about the definition, thus learning something in the process. We had never heard of 19 a but eventually realised what kind of bulb was meant, which gave us the answer. ***/*** for us. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis: stay warm! 🙂

  6. Another great puzzle from Jay with a good mixture of anagrams, a great lurker and other clever clues like 11a, 12a and 8d to name but a few. I agreed with the Kiwis rating of 2*/4*. The Shakespeare reference was cleverly camouflaged, I thought. Thanks to the 2 Ks for the hints and to Jay for another winner which, whilst not over-challenging , was very enjoyable.

    1. George and I are having an argument. He says Hamlet I say Merry Wives. Describing the dawn? Someone will put us right!

      1. Looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and it is definitely The Merry Wives of Windsor.

        1. Thanks. I lent my big annotated Shakespeare to grandson for A levels and it has never come back!

  7. The setter has been very kind to us today. I only stalled slightly on a couple. I spent too long trying to think of a chemical salt for 8d, having had “niter” a week or two ago, and I convinced myself that the definition in 22d was “light”. I took a synonym for vice (sin) and tried to see if I could make “light” from adding “cold” to it in some way. I hope someone can see where I was going with these, even though I was wrong. 28a was straight in, as my old fiend from university is a member of the “Small Mammal Society”. Every time she comes to my house she brings her bat machine with her. She picks up the different sounds from the bats in the orchard. Fortunately, she hasn’t picked up any noise inside the house. Long may that last. Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

    1. A friend of mine rented a house with bats in the attic. They are messy little things but she wasn’t allowed to interfere (ie clear up) with them in any way as they were a protected species

    2. Funnily enough, I was reading an article the other day about bats and how beneficial they are, and that word came up and I had to look it up in the dictionary. I still had to check the spelling!

  8. Enjoyable and strightforward although I only got a few on my 1st pass. 21a was my favourite amongst the various seafood dishes today. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  9. It felt like a Jay puzzle and very enjoyable it was too. I’ve never read “The Merry Wives of Windsor” but the world as one’s oyster is quite a well known saying in 11a. Arthur Daley’s version is even more memorable. A clever reverse lurker in 18a and an interesting construction in 12a but favourite is 17d. I’d say the Kiwis have the rating spot on. Thanks to all.

  10. No real aggro today but just enough challenge. 19a and 28a are not exactly words which spring immediately to mind! 23a unparsed as meaning of discovered didn’t occur to me. Thanks Jay and 2Kiwis – stay safe and warm.

  11. Another fine effort from Jay. I do like a Jayday. I’m up for all of the seafood but will not be biting the head off the offering at 28 across. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to the 2Ks for the review. After three relatively easy puzzles so far this week I’m hoping for a stinker tomorrow.

  12. Two joy-filled puzzles for me last night, this brilliant Jay wonder and the Toughie, both of which I finished in ** time, alone and unaided. Glory be! 28a and 19a were in fact new to me but solvable with the clever clues and checkers. Hard to pick favourites from this embarrassment of riches, but I’ve settled on 18a (COTD, great rekrul!), 21a, and 22d (nice misdirection–and for some reason, we perverse Americans spell it with an ‘s’). Thanks to the Kiwis and to the ever-resourceful Jay. ** / ****

    Oh, but that Pistol’s world could be ours, for good and for aye! Stay safe, everyone!

  13. Definitely spoke too soon yesterday about the difficulty of this weeks puzzles. This was very tricky I thought with some involved wordplay. Too many clues that I didn’t understand the wordplay such as 11a (pink?) and 21a. Didn’t help that I have seen the Merry Wives twice in the last year and found each one awful, it really is the weakest of all the comedies. Just not on the setters wavelength at all. Managed to complete but really due to stubbornness not with any great enjoyment.
    Thx for the hints.

  14. Jay at his brilliant best, slowed down a little by the European in 5d, my LOI, for completion at a gallop – **/*****.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 21a, 1d, and 17d, plus a few more, and the winner is 11a.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

    1. I could cut and paste this comment. it was my experience to a tee. Ensnared came to mind first and was wracking my brain around Danes and various other Europeans until the penny dropped. 11a was a latecomer too as they don’t feature too highly in my diet.
      Thanks to Jay and 2K’s

      1. I would let you copy and paste but if you start cutting and pasting you might find yourself what we both got for 5d to begin with!

        1. Very witty Wilde. Very very witty.
          I would only ever copy your Bon Mot’s. Monsieur Senf. (with credit of course)
          T’was a mere slip of the keyboard. I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.

          Credit M.Python Esq

      2. Hi John,
        If you’re still around, Gazza has posted a superb cover version of your signature tune at the end of the Toughie review.

        1. ooh I will away to the toughie. just been to the garden centre to stock up on fat balls for the feeders.

  15. Must be a more straightforward Jay as it caused me few hesitations. As usualcan’t find fault with cluing. To raise a Hmm as a clue references our greatest wordsmith is a bit much. That from a metallurgist who hasn’t much knowledge of the arts.
    Another 4 word lurker, today reversed is my COTD.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.
    Article in DT today highlights the CV dilemma up here. Population about to over double. As it says we have only had 370 odd confirmed cases to date But we only have one hospital with an ICU to cover an area the size of Wales. In reverse of everywhere else we two vulnerable old fogies will be more at risk next week than we have been up to now.
    But there are two sides to every coin. The economy here relies on tourists more than any other so the economic fall-out of not opening up will prpbably be even greater. As an example the municipal car park in Inverness took £200K lasy May this year £75!
    Don’t envy the decision makers !

    1. It would be a nice gesture to your new community if you made up the shortfall

      1. It certainly would VEB. Altruism hasn’t come up too often in the backpager & had forgotten what it meant. I would be willing to put in our share (about £420 per head apparently).

  16. Found this enjoyable but tricky. 8d clue had a misprint in my copy. Burn was printed as the three letter word for hobo. It still works – I thought there must be something wrong somewhere. Thanks to Kiwis and Jay

  17. Very annoyed with myself for not getting 11a without the hint but must admit I’d quite forgotten the derivation.19a was also a bung in -the plant’s existence requiring Mr G confirmation & I missed the wordplay removal of the L. Other than those two I found it pretty straightforward for Jay but entertaining as always. Any number of the clues worthy of podium consideration but I’ll plump for the reverse lurker at 18a as my favourite probably because I clocked it immediately. Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks.
    Ps re Pistol in 11a – it’s funny how some things just stick in the memory. I played the boy in Henry V in the school play (aged 10 at boarding school in Wolverhampton) & can still recite his monologue about Nym, Pistol & Bardolph. My mother’s rather uncharitable (I thought) critique of my stage debut was that my lines in French were spoken with a Midlands accent.

  18. Fairly gentle Jay today although I did have my usual dither over the spelling of 1a and surprised myself by remembering 18a. Lovely smattering of flora and fauna which reminded me of the old corn mill I lived in some years ago. We had the privilege of housing a maternity roost for 28a’s and one of their number would regularly spend the nights sleeping on one of the exposed beams in my bedroom. Fortunately, they were quite a disciplined bunch and all their droppings were deposited on the stone flags in the porch which made the clearing up quick and easy in the mornings and the flowerbeds certainly benefitted from the rich manure. 19a’s grew in profusion alongside the mill race in the garden as did Shaggy Inkcaps – the latter being delicious when lightly fried in butter.
    Back to the puzzle and I found it hard to play favourites but maybe 1&17d just had the edge.

    Thanks to Jay for my trip down memory lane and to our 2Ks for the review – no bracing walk today?

    1. What a marvellously lyrical and enjoyable comment, Jane. Thank you for the scene.

      1. And a very good reason to stray from the subject of crossword puzzles

    2. Hi Jane. We actually did have our usual walk (including the ‘chat’ with the dabchick) and as you suggest, it was bracing.
      Overnight frequent heavy showers have been added to the mix so today might be a stay in the warm day.

  19. I thought the reverse lurker at 18a was quite brilliant so I have selected that as my COTD. Overall a fairly friendly and benign offering from Jay but high quality and great fun as usual. Thanks to him and the 2Ks.

    Went into Shrewsbury this morning for the first time since mid-March and it was depressingly quiet. Several shops have disappeared, and there were more council workers standing around acting as sentries to make sure we were social distancing than there were shoppers.

  20. I am off form this week because, again, I struggled with this and needed a few hints. However, I agree it is a great Jay puzzle and there was lots to like. 18a was a great reverse lurker but 11a was my COTD. I had forgotten it was a shade of pink so it took me a while to put the answer in.

    Many thanks for the challenge, Jay and to the 2Kiwis for the hints.

  21. 2*/4.5*. Brilliance again from our wonderful Wednesday wizard. I found this at the easier end of his spectrum but no less enjoyable for that. My biggest struggle was in getting the right number of Ns and Ss in 1a.

    18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Jay and the chilled 2Ks.

  22. I was surprised to find 11a rated as pink. They don’t look it and I always linked it with “satin” which comes in a range of colours.

    I presume the 2 Kiwis liked 26a?

    Try the Toughie. It is more interesting.

  23. Definately a pick up and put down puzzle,at first I couldn’t get a start in went a couple but I then struggled. Picked it up again found my spelling in a couple of instances incorrect corrected and that made all the difference. All in all a cracking puzzle, never mind that head scratching is now the norm, wholly enjoyable.
    Truro and Wadebridge quiet, I haven’t ventured over to Padstein yet, so will save that.
    Thanks to the 2Ks and to Jay.

  24. With several words outside my vocabulary, this felt more like a Toughie for me at times, but I did just about finish it (albeit with dictionary help) unaided, so it can’t’ve been that hard. Thanks, Jay.

    For 21a when the crossers were –S-/–K- I immediately thought of a phrase for an instance of mocking somebody … but it didn’t seem likely that would be in The Telegraph!

    Thank you to the Kiwis for explaining 26a’s “that inwardly” (which I feel I should’ve got, given I managed “tastes discovered” elsewhere).

    I still don’t understand what “suppresses” is doing in 20d; I tried to make it indicate the letter to exclude, or possibly surrounding it (preventing it escape), but here it just seems to mean ‘followed by’ (which is what we’d do anyway without any instruction). And I’m not sure what’s cryptic about 15a; I presumed I’d got it wrong at first, falling for a misleading surface reading of something else!

    Lots of clues I liked. I think I’ll pick the twisted 6d for my favourite.

    The 5-year-old’s science home-schooling this afternoon involves a bag of Skittles. We’d better get on with it before my nibbling a few here and there means there aren’t enough left …

    1. 20d is a Down clue and if you look at your solution, most of the religious establishment is suppressing or pressing down on the ecstasy

      This sort of thing happens quite often with Down clues and their solutions with a variety of indications that something is on top of something else

    2. In 20d ‘suppresses’ means ‘bears down upon’ (i.e. precedes, in a down clue).

      1. Thanks, both. That makes sense.

        I shall endeavour to pay more attention to clues’ orientation in future. They all look like across clues on the page!

  25. Pleased to both finish and enjoy a super Jay puzzle.Messed around trying to get 11a to include some reference to Globe before the right answer popped into my head.Also l had not heard of 19 a but the anagram could only be that.Will have my first ever look at the Toughie but really am not hopeful.Still nothing ventured nothing gained.Thanks to all.

  26. Not a canter, but a fairly gentle trot. Found the east side harder than the west, but got there in the end. Favourites 21a, 27a and 3d. Did not like 13a and 26a much.
    Here we have now had two complete months without a single Covid-19 case. An advantage of an island is that the borders can be strictly controlled. My daughter and granddaughter are coming next week from Egypt and will be isolated (with us) for a week, then tested and if negative will be free of all restrictions. Can’t wait to see them after so many months!

        1. I had wondered. I’m coming home in a week’s time on the Condor Covid Express (I probably shouldn’t call it that) after self isolating in Scotland since mid-March. Looking forward to my seven day imprisonment and Covid test. I’ll try not to bring anything with me…🇬🇬😎🇬🇬😂

      1. Mainland UK is also an island and what a shambles we have made – allowing literally thousands of people in without being tested. Something like 50 flights a day from China alone at the beginning.

        1. According to the news the PM has just offered 3 million Hong Kong British passport holders or those who are eligible to be access to escape to the UK. I feel sorry for them but hope they will all be quarantining.

        2. ….and Guernsey’s population is about 65,000 with one airport and passenger harbour. They’ve done superbly well but it does help 😎

  27. “Why then the world’s mine 11a, Which I with sword will open.”
    I found a few quite challenging but in a good Jay way. 19a was new to me. Of course, I missed the lurker at 18a for an absolute age until I had checking letters.
    A rewarding hour – though the last twenty minutes were spent inside as the ferocity of the rain shower was too much even for me. Oh how I tried to convince Lola to follow me indoors, but with an answering ‘meep’ she elected to remain in her ivy/wallflower haven. I have to respect her decision, even if it seems thoroughly eccentric.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  28. South went in quickly but the same couldn’t be said of the north. I had to resort to the hints for 1a and 11a which, of course, were obvious once I saw them!
    As children, we stayed in an old cottage in Wales where my sister and I discovered a bat hanging up in the cupboard in our bedroom. It took our father ages to encourage it to leave as he eventually worked out that he had to flail around in the dark as every time he put the light on, it returned to its roost! I love watching them in the garden but their droppings create an awful mess in our church.
    Thanks go to the Jay for another enjoyable tussle and to the Kiwis for much needed explanations. Stay warm – it’s not anywhere near July temperatures here today.

    1. We had a bat in our house last year. Despite opening all outside doors and windows it still took an hour of frantic flying to find its way out. How it ever echo-located insects I don’t know.

  29. Good offering from Jay today with the natural world and culinary themes going. 28a required a bit of research. I must have missed that David Attenborough episode. 18a was my COTD. Thanks Jay and Kiwis x 2🦇

  30. Not sure why, but I struggled with 11a and 13a but got there in the end.

    6d (right down to the punctuation) was an identical clue in the latest Oldie Genius Crossword – same setter?

    1. 6d went straight in for me too, as I had solved it in the Oldie a few days ago!

  31. Before we downsized here we lived in a preNorman moated farmhouse where the barns housed bats. We kept old tennis racquets in the bedrooms to encourage them out of the windows – very gently of course. Pretty little things but not wanted indoors. Quite a gastronomic feel to this lovely crossword. Many thanks to J and KK.

  32. One of those Wednesdays when starting with the down clues would have been better, for me anyway.
    Jay in a fairly gentle clue setting mood – definitely all a bit fishy!
    I’d never heard of 18a but for some reason it jumped out at me.
    I confess to looking up a list of mammals before I got 28a and didn’t quite dare to put in 15a before I had lots of checking letters as I thought I might be being taken for a walk up the garden path.
    As so often on a Wednesday there were too many good clues to single out any in particular.
    Thanks to Jay and to the K’s.
    I came back into the kitchen from the garden having been picking some veggies and met a pigeon coming out of the door – not sure who was more surprised me or him.

  33. Nice crossword, learnt another new word to forget! 😃 ***/*** Favourites 8d & 27a 🤗 Thanks to Jay and to the 2x Ks

  34. I really struggled with this and was glad for the help and parsing of the 2Kiwis, my PDM was when it dawned on me that i made this difficult, I thought everything was clued fairly according to me,my thanks to the setter and The 2Kiwis.

    As i live n Vancouver a happy Canada Day to whoever it applies to, off to toughie land.


  35. My wife and I waste most afternoons doing the puzzles happily.
    1. How much time relates to each difficulty star
    2. Does everyone use a machine to do the anagrams.
    3. We presume using a machine to fill in the blanks is banned

    1. Welcome to the blog R&J

      1. All ratings are relative to your own ability, so if the crossword usually takes 30 minutes, that’s 10 minutes per star, if 1 hour then it’s 20 minutes, etc.,
      2. No,
      3. Use whatever you wish, nothing is banned.

    2. Welcome to the blog. In my little crosswordland world there are only two rules.

      Rule one. There are no rules.
      Rule two. If in doubt see rule one.

    3. Welcome from me too and please keep commenting.
      I have to confess that when I do the hints (alternate Thursdays) my number of stars for difficulty has nothing to do with the time the crossword takes me, mainly because I never time myself. I just go on how I’ve felt while I was actually doing it and afterwards too! If I’m totally worn out and have very little hair left I’d probably give it 4*+ – I don’t think I’ve ever gone as far as 5* and rather hope I never need to.
      I’m not sure I’d call doing crosswords a waste of time – they’re fun, they keep your brain working and sometimes they’re very funny so you can have a good laugh.

      1. That’s interesting to hear, Kath. I feel how easy/hard a crossword is is just that — a feeling. Maybe (loosely) based on how many clues ‘tricked’ me, or how many obscure words are in it, or how many answers I got on the first pass, or how few hints I need, or how many clues I reckon our 7-year-old could understand.

        So it surprised me when I came here and saw that for most people difficulty is a simple function of time — it had literally never occurred to me to grade it like that.

    4. Welcome from us too R & J.
      Nice to hear from solvers,like us, who do the puzzles as a twosome.

  36. Very enjoyable while it lasted. Definitely at the gentler end of the Jay spectrum. 11a was last in with the proverbial penny drop and I will vote it my favourite of the day.
    If anyone’s interested the Toughie is particularly mild today as well

  37. Found this puzzle a little more troublesome than the first two of this week. New words for me were 18, 19 & 28a so that slowed the solving a bit. 11a took some research and parsing of 21a took some brain wracking too. 3*/4* for me today.
    COTD was 27a for me, and on my local trail walk in Minnekhada Park yesterday, they were definitely not doing that! Got some great photos though!

    Happy, (and stay safe), Canada Day.

    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis

  38. 2.5/4. Very enjoyable puzzle. The reverse lurker in 18a was my favourite. 11a brought back memories of George Cole. I needed to look up 19a and I got held up for a while until I looked up the spelling for 1a which freed up 5&6d. Thanks to the 2Ks and Jay. Our weather has been very mixed with the upside being very few forest fires. Happy Canada Day!,

  39. Happy Canada Day to our northern friends!
    A very friendly puzzle from our Jay today. I had all the checkers for 1a and knew it was an anagram and I still couldn’t spell it, so I looked it up.
    I’d never heard of 19a but being so fairly clued, natch, it’s by Jay, I could work it out and look it up.
    I can’t believe I couldn’t solve 13a, especially as I worked out the first three letters, I needed help with that.
    Fave was 11a, but I thought 7d came a close second.
    Thank you Jay for the fun and 2Kiwis for the hints and pics.
    Last night a bufo dropped a load in my pool, judging by the size it must be a HUGE one. My pool man has sorted the pool but I hate the thought of something so large, which is deadly to my pets, in my garden.

    1. , a kind of toad? I didn’t know that. Google didn’t say how big they are but you say they are a danger to your pets. Poisonous if touched I suppose, your pets wouldn’t eat them would they? Sounds very unpleasant.

      1. Yes, a toad, ugly brutes. They have poison sacs behind the eyes, dogs will usually be attracted to them as they hop, particularly retrievers like Sadie, and as they grab them they get a mouthful of the toxin. The dogs froth at the mouth, look like they’ve got shaving cream on, and you have to take them immediately to the vet. They usually wash them thoroughly and put them into an induced coma for 24 hours. I’ve been to the vet at midnight or so far too many times.

        1. Bloomin’ heck! Sounds nasty. Come and live in Cambridge all we have is wasps and the odd mosquito or horsefly.

  40. I guess I need to put the Dunce’s cap on, as unlike almost everyone else, I struggled today. I don’t always find Jay easy anyway, so partly a wavelength thing. We only covered Henry IV Part 1 in school, and I was never inspired to read any more after that. I just answer Falstaff to all Shakespeare questions 😊. Never heard of 19a, nor the mammal in 28a. Well the mammal yes of course, but not that name. Needed help from Mr BL on 14d, always a good source for all things tech or tool related. My sad excuse is that I am making a batch of bolognese sauce at the same time, so not really concentrating,
    Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis, without whom I could not have finished.

    1. I have a complete mental block on Shakespeare, Lizzie. I find it unintelligible.

      1. Such a shame Hoofit, there are so many sublime bits of Shakespeare, it’s for that reason he’s lasted for hundreds of years.

        1. I’m sure that you are right Merusa…

          To be, or not to be, that is the question:
          Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
          The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
          Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
          And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
          No more; and by a sleep to say we end
          The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
          That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
          Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

          Means absolutely nothing to me, Hamlet may as well be speaking in Chinese.

          1. I don’t get on with Shakespeare either, Hoofit, but it seems he’s somehow managed to sneak a number of well-known phrases into our language.

            I do like Brian Bilston’s take on it though, which starts:

            For goodness’ sake,
            what a way to break the ice.
            This is all Greek to me.

            It may sound like treason
            but I cannot make rhyme nor reason
            of his words.

            1. This is great though

          2. It was in no way meant as a censure, Hoofit, I enjoy his language so much, I thought it a shame that you missed that enjoyment. However, I’m sure you get enjoyment from much that I miss out on completely.

            1. I think it is a real shame that people do not understand it, or even mock it. The problem was that many of us were segregated at school at the age of 11 and the lucky ones learnt umpteen Shakespeare plays, comedies and tragedies and even acted in them. My first was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The problem now, I suspect, is that there is very little time for Shakespeare in the National Curriculum. So many sayings we use in more or less every day language come from the Bard.

              1. I don’t mock it, I just don’t understand it. To those who do, I’m sure its brilliant.

  41. Morning all.
    As mentioned above in a reply to Jane our conditions here have become even more wintry than yesterday. This weather system is forecast to move away later today, thank goodness.
    Interesting that lots of people found 1a slow to solve. That was our experience too and, as it is an uncomplicated anagram, no obvious reason why that should have happened.
    Jay looks to have kept most of his fans happy once again.

    1. There is a reason which is the unusual combination of letters. I always find this when an answer is a word deriving from the French or another language. When I am stuck on an anagram and have a few checkers I often look to see what letters are left to fill in the ending e.g. ing or ant.

  42. Not an easy solve for me today. For some reason most of the top half went in fine but then I seemed to come to a halt. Slow going and definitely needed the hints today.
    Thanks to Jay and 2 Kiwis

  43. Beyond me as didn’t know:=
    The Shakespeare quotation
    The greeting
    The toadstool
    Thanks all

    1. We were almost the same, except I did know the greeting, but didn’t know the bat name.

  44. Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Jay as usual, very entertaining. I was beaten by 5d, could only think of “ensnared”. Couldn’t get the correct middle four letters, could only think of Pole for European. Also needed the hints for 11a, didn’t know the quote in full, and didn’t know there is a pink oyster. Live and learn. I hate to knit pick, on such a good puzzle, but surely 19a is a fungus, and not a plant? Favourite was 23a,which was so clever and original. Was 2*/5* for me.

  45. Thanks to all. Very enjoyable. Small whinge last clue accross, birds are not mammals.

  46. I’m in the “I thought parts of this were in toughie territory” camp this evening. Dear me, some of this was so convoluted. I think I’ll leave it there. Maybe I wasnt on the right wavelength. Hey ho! Tomorrows another day.

  47. We struggled all day with this one. Could not get 5d (Not “ensnared”) or 11a. Seemed quite tricky to me but very enjoyable. This time we didn’t miss the lurkers. I particularly liked the misdirection of 8d. Thanks to Jay and 2Ks.

  48. Brilliant crossword and entertaining contributions from our merry band of contributors. Thank you Jay for providing much needed entertainment and an education. Thanks 2Ks for hints, happily not needed but always worth reading.

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