DT 29441 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29441

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29441

Hints and tips by Zelda Fitzgerald

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD’s Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the bottom of the barrel in South Leicestershire where the sun is threatening a breakthrough once again so sweltering city here we come. I’ve confidently prepared and seeded a lawn at our new house. Maybe not the best timing but needs must.

Today’s puzzle had me more perplexed than usual especially 11 and 12 across for which I had to call in the troops. I should have concentrated more on the answers than the clues in order to suss out the workings.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Meal — I get it cooked, OK? (10)
LEGITIMATE: An easy anagram starts us off today. Cooked is the anagram indicator which fits nicely with the meal in the anagram fodder that consists of MEAL I GET IT

6a    Stone or piece of broken glass possibly hard to remove (4)
SARD: What should be an easy answer to work out will have a lot of solvers searching to see that such a word fits the definition. A sliver of broken glass has the letter H (abbreviation for hard) removed. What is left is actually a word and does indeed fit the definition

10a    Joy in church always (5)
CHEER: The abbreviation for church is followed by the poetic form of a word meaning always

11a    Astronaut switching components using a lot of force (9)
STRONGARM: Pick an astronaut, not any astronaut, try one born on 5th August 1930. Reverse the two components of his name. Thank you CrypticSue for your help. I was stuck on Dan Dare

12a    One of the 19 against entering that foreign city (8)
SANTIAGO: A word meaning against sits very comfortably inside a type of 19 across only ever served as a cheap pudding in school canteens

13a    Native seen as upright type (5)
ROMAN: A printers’ type or font is also a native of an unspecified place within the pan galactic universe

15a    Leader of people inclined to be flexible (7)
PLIABLE: The leading letter of the word people is followed by an adjective meaning inclined to do something

17a    One beloved Scotsman maybe about to come into money (7)
FIANCÉE: Our regular Scotsman is followed by a Latin abbreviation for about and placed into monies paid for professional advice or services

19a    The Archers and such, say, on the radio? We gobble them up! (7)
CEREALS: The Archers are indeed on the radio although I stopped listening when they brutally and unnecessarily killed off Nigel Pargetter. On the radio is a homophone indicator for what a long running soap opera type of programme is known as. The answer is eaten for breakfast

21a    Changed key before band’s final piece (7)
ALTERED: A key on a computer keyboard is followed by the poetic form of before and the final letter of the word band

22a    Way of looking at something that could be right (5)
ANGLE: A double definition the second being ninety degrees

24a    Looking embarrassed about condition being mentioned again (8)
RESTATED: A word meaning the condition of something is surrounded by the colour of embarrassment

27a    Learner is not half timid type going around in mini? No! (9)
LIMOUSINE: A multi part charade which I hope I have parsed correctly. Here we go then. 1. The abbreviation for Learner. 2. Half of the word IS 3. A timid type of person 4. The word IN from the clue. Arrange as per instructions within the clue to find a vehicle much larger than a mini

28a    Male about 101 — young member of family! (5)
SCION: Dad’s lad surrounds the Roman numerals for 101

29a    Second method to gain supremacy (4)
SWAY: The abbreviation for second is followed by a means of doing something

30a    Female always quiet with desire shows great excitement (5,5)
FEVER PITCH: 1 the abbreviation for female 2. A word meaning always (already used in 10 across) 3. The musical notation for quiet 4. A desire or yearning. No need for shuffling anything about. Simply follow the instructions


1d    Want some special acknowledgement (4)
LACK: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

2d    Soldier to be in Caribbean location shortly? That is right (9)
GRENADIER: Begin with an island in the Caribbean. Remove its last letter (shortly) Add the Latin for that is and the abbreviation for right

3d    Sailor with old books that may have mystical signs (5)
TAROT: A regular crosswordland sailor is followed by some regular crosswordland books. Those at the beginning of the bible

4d    Doctor, wise man accommodating fool (7)
MASSAGE: A fool or a clot sit inside a wise man. One of three who visited Joseph Mary and Jesus. The Doctor here is a verb

5d    Performance cancelled — something discouraging (4-3)
TURN-OFF: A theatrical term for a performance is followed by a word meaning cancelled

7d    Panic in the manner of fighting corps (5)
ALARM: Split 1,2 we have a term meaning in the manner of. This is followed by an abbreviation of the Royal Marines

8d    Musical instruction gets unintelligent one undone, confused (10)
DIMINUENDO: A three-letter term meaning unintelligent is followed by the letter that looks like the number one. This is followed by an anagram (confused) of undone

9d    Fashionable top female to rave, never able to be wrong (8)
INERRANT: Begin with a word meaning fashionable or trendy. Add the initials the wonderful lady at the top in England is known by. Add a verb meaning to rave

14d    Spot when king leaves castle — fantastic things worth looking at (10)
SPECTACLES: A tiny spot of something needs an abbreviation of the word king removing. Add an anagram (fantastic) of CASTLE

16d    Suffering from a bruising defeat? (6-2)
BEATEN-UP: A cryptic definition of how one might be described after losing a fight

18d    Race to get first for keen professional? (9)
CAREERIST: A word meaning to move swiftly in an uncontrolled way is followed by first as written thus 1st

20d    Artists turned up to eat fish (7)
SARDINE: Food for the Gods. Note the plural in artists and reverse those members of The Royal Academy. Add a word meaning to eat (usually used when eating out) the answer is the subject of an article by Felicity Cloake on page 79 of the online Daily Telegraph (that now contains The Toughie) and somewhere in the features section in your dead tree copy

21d    American sitting in a tree, unusually ascetic (7)
AUSTERE: An anagram (unusually) of A TREE sits around our usual American

23d    Endless sport leading to graduate getting low grade? (5)
GAMMA: A sport or pastime minus its last letter is followed by one holding a degree in the arts

25d    Greek author upset water on work (5)
AESOP: Upset or reverse a large expanse of water and place it upon a musical piece of work

26d    Distance spanned by mountain chain (4)
INCH: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words spanned by

Quickie Pun: nude+Ellie=New Delhi


94 comments on “DT 29441

  1. I couldn’t give any kind of rating for this one. The north east corner defeated me and I gave up. I’m sure it’s really easy but not for me today! Thanks to all anyway.

  2. I thought it a bit harder than **. Got stuck on 6a and 9d particularly as my vocabulary is sadly lacking. The rest was an enjoyable exercise. Thank you.

  3. I needed a touch of electronic help for this, mainly for confirmation, (6&28a, 4d&8d) but thoroughly enjoyed it, quirky and cryptic with some great clues. I particularly liked 11,22, 29 &30a plus 1&4d .
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for the top notch entertainment

  4. Well a game of two halves for me. First half went in quite easily and then it slowed up to a trickle but did finish OK. Thought 11a was excellent. Thankfully as a lifelong Archers fan stopped listening at lockdown and feel a great sense of relief. With regard to getting letters published in the DT (which was mentioned at length a couple of days ago) I had one because I accidently saw a picture of ‘Lillian’ and ‘Matt’ in the DT and they most certainly did not look like that. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops. Sadly the freezing cold sea fret has appeared again in North Norfolk so back in a jumbly.

    1. Is that a jumper, Manders? Haven’t heard that before. It woz me wot raised the subject of letters to the editor (as a matter of fact one was published in the end of year book they produce) and funnily enough I am about to screech off another! Watch this space.

      1. Yes it is Daisygirl, it’s absolutely freezing here and we are only an hour and a half from you in Cambridge with your lovely sunny weather! I’ve had 3 letters published in the DT over the years, all on terribly trivial subjects. One was about which way the loo roll should face – I had agreed with someone who had said it should roll down the back and it led to a furious exchange of letters for days, bonkers.

        1. Well I hate to tell you but you are quite wrong! The paper should run over the top and down the front so that your hand does not touch the wall. Sorry. !!!😀

          1. I’m with you Daisygirl! I hate scrabbling around the back of the roll to find the loose end.

  5. More like 3* for me. Made staccato progress starting with SW corner progressing anti-clockwise with NW last to fall. Nothing horrendous, as reviewer predicted, check needed to confirm 6a, obvious though it was (seemingly too obvious).
    Enjoyable with 11a my COTD, took time for the penny to drop I admit.
    Thanks to setter and MP (aka super-sub). for the review.

  6. This was like ordering a nice steak in a restaurant, then finding it to be incredibly tough. The NW corner was beguilingly straightforward but the rest was very difficult and not so enjoyable (****/*). Although I nearly gave up, just as I would have doggedly persevered with the chewy steak, I stuck with this until it was finished. There was a little bit of electronic help and two bung-ins but it appears from Ms. Fitzgerald’s excellent review that I succeeded. Thank you for that. Thanks to the compiler too. 8d was quite good and there were some good anagrams but it was all a bit of a slog.

  7. **/*** for me. 11a last one in (having earlier spent too long trying to make an anagram or moving two letters) and then reversed engineered the answer with a big grin. 27a and 30a also up there for smiles. Thanks to setter and MP.

    Someone was talking recently about words reappearing on close, but different, days. Today one of the answers here is also in today’s Toughie, but, IMHO, with a better clue.

  8. Like Greta, I found this to be a real struggle. However, I loved 30a: the surface reading is brilliant and the solution raised a smile. Definitely my COTD

  9. Found this one pretty tricky in places but got there in the end in a shade over 3.5*time. Last in was 6a, a new word to me but couldn’t be anything else from the wordplay. Thought there were a number of good clues but the clear favourite was 11a.
    8d brought back happy memories of the 1988 Oaks where I’d had a nice touch on Henry Cecil’s superbly bred filly of that name, backed ante post the previous season the day she made her 2-y-o racecourse debut – the great man was an absolute genius with fillies.
    Many thanks to the setter & MP (hope that you’re both settling in nicely in your new abode)

  10. Very tricky and I needed a fair portion of electronic help. I can’t say I enjoyed it mudhbecause I found it hard work with the checkers I did get not helping much. I have never heard of 6a but now I have. I will no doubt forget it rather quickly. I did like 11a despite needing the hint to help me solve it.

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day!

    Many thanks to the setter – you beat me today. Thanks to the first American flapper for the hints.

  11. I did not find it as relatively straightforward as our blogger, and the last few in the SW corner took some teasing out. For me, this was not particularly enjoyable but I am sure thousands of others will disagree.

    Thanks to our Thursday setter and MP.

  12. Sailed through three-quarters of this fun challenge but, like Greta, came up against problems in the N E mainly centred around my failure to come up with 8d where I sought electronic help however finally two of my Favs (7d and 8d) are located there plus 13a. 12a took me back to school meals with that pudding served with a spoonful of raspberry jam plonked in the middle – yuck! Thank you Mysteron and MP.

    1. I’m not sure about sago…is it a cross between semolina and tapioca?
      At school, we had the former with prunes (50s/60s obsession with constipation) and the latter, called frogspawn, was never touched by me or about 80% of the other girls……didn’t they get the hint?

      1. It’s certainly not a grain, which is the thing that foxed me about this clue. I think it’s a starch that is derived from processing tropical palm stems or roots.

      2. Semolina with a spoonful of jam was either blood on the mountain or blood and pus. Nice creatures, grammar school gals. Favourite trick if you were first sitting was to refill the water jug from all our half empty glasses so that the jug looked unused and was left for the second sitting. 🤭

        1. Our happy little band of grammar school girls was not allowed to leave leftovers. So, since we sat in the corner of the dining hall, a conveyor belt of little hands took the leftovers on plates down to be tipped into the fire bucket. As summer progressed our crimes were revealed by the evil smell.

          1. Certainly no leftovers allowed at my boarding institution so sometimes, hoping the housemistress wasn’t looking, a large handkerchief came in useful as for the fat on meat. Neither sago nor frogspawn are 19a anyway. 🤮.

            1. Oh, Angellov, how I remember that awful beef blubber, so revolting. We had custards which they always cooked on high heat and curdled! I was always the last at table, everyone else left to go to do prep and I sat in front of this curdled mess trying not to upchuck. I do remember some fun times at boarding school, but the meals are what I remember most.

      3. Bluebird
        From school dinner memories:
        What is a a cross between tapioca & semolina? (10)

  13. Gave up.
    It is no fun for me when I have to use lots of electronic aids and at least half of the hints.
    6a and 9d are completely new words to me.
    Well done to all of you who completed it.

    Thanks to Miffypops

  14. I really enjoyed this rather tricky but rewarding puzzle, especially 11a, which seems everyone’s COTD, certainly mine. But much else to enjoy too, especially 12a, 8d (a horse, Huntsman?), 9d, and 18d. One of the best non-Ray T puzzles in a while, I thought. Thanks to Zelda and to today’s setter. ** / ****

    Save Me the Waltz, please, Zelda!

  15. Rather eccentric, I thought…
    7d – really? This conjured up an image in my head that was a bit like the Python “fruit” sketch.
    One of those where I was off message for some of the time and had to take refresh breaks, and I don’t mean the liquid kind, more the “look away, now look back” kind.
    I liked 30a though.
    Thanks to setter and Zelda. I worry that your lawn seed is drowning…….

  16. I have had two short bursts at this, but have found it really difficult. I decided to look at the review, not for the answers, but to see how others coped. I’m half way through, but have chores to do. I hope to come back to it later, if I can find the enthusiasm.

  17. On 6a I took “ piece of broken glass “ and removed one letter from “ glass “ . I was then able to reconstruct the remainder into “ slag “ , which is stone hard to remove . I’d never have found the word “ sard “. 🤔

  18. Very tricky indeed. I had to call upon the American flapper for help with a few. 6a – the answer was a peculiar word to select when a number of alternatives for the first and third letters is available.
    I couldn’t sleep last night due to the searing heat, and the humidity, so sat outside with little Lola until 3am. I’m rather feeling that now and a snooze may be imminent.
    Good to see dear old Henry Cecil get a mention above.

    Thanks to the setter and the lovely Zelda.

    1. Did you see anything of the Perseid Showers? I was in the garden during the night but the pesky things eluded me the sky just was not right in Cambridge.

      1. We have watched Saturn and Jupiter most nights this month but it has clouded over for the last couple of nights so no meteors

        1. Such a shame, I do look forward to them every August. Best sighting of all was one year when were on a Nile cruise.
          I am sure Scott used to watch them with you?

      2. I did look skywards but didn’t see the Perseid Showers, Daisy. By that time of the night I would have been grateful for any sort of shower.

  19. One of those crosswords that seemed quite tricky while solving but took about the right time for a Thursday, and on reviewing the clues, they actually are less difficult than they seem, as MP’s hints illustrate

    Thanks to whoever set this one and to ZF

  20. Managed a few in the NW & SE but then came to a grinding halt where the challenge was to see if I could get the answer from Zelda’s hints, a few of which helped but, for the most part I had to give in and click. 6a & 11a meant nothing to me!
    An interesting exercise but a bit frustrating! Many thanks to Zelda for doing his best but a win for the setter today.

  21. I am in the loved it brigade especially 11a which was brilliant. 12a was a bung in and it was only afterwards I realised it was anti sago. Lovely thunderstorm this morning and an hour of glorious rain. I think I must go and look for a jumbly. Thank you everyone.

  22. Overall I liked this puzzle but had 2 that caused problems ie 12 and 19a. I’d worked out the right answer for 12a (as it turned out) but couldn’t connect it to 19a, which for a long time I thought was something to do with warriors/infantry types. As for so many others, 6a was a new word for me. I’ve made a note of the keyboard key used here at 21a; there was another one used in recent days. I liked the clue at 21d: it conjured up an amusing image. It’s not hot today in Leeds at all so maybe that aided my powers of concentration, and I had a very good night’s sleep. Thanks to the setter and Zelda F for her review.

  23. I think this is the Toughie under another guise. How can it possibly be rated at **!
    Far too tough for me and I suspect many others.

      1. Miffypops never touches the star ratings. I think Big Dave plays with them on the days I write the hints

        1. Ah, understood. It must be hard for experts to rate what, for them, must be easy puzzles.

  24. This was challenging, but I enjoyed it, as I eventually worked it out. Sago has never formed part of my diet, and I thought 12a was a part anagram of ‘against’, with ‘o’ from the first word. I did not understand how the clue worked until I saw the explanation; I had the right answer but the wrong reasoning. My favourite, when the penny dropped, was 11a. I had not heard of 6a either, but it could be worked out from the clue, with a subsequent check in Google to see if such a word did exist. 28a “Scion” appears as an answer in today’s Toughie too. I wonder if anyone uses this word outside of crossword puzzle land? I don’t imagine I will be dropping this word into my conversation anytime soon. Thank you to the setter, and the reviewer.

  25. Thanks, Zelda — your hints are so fun to read whether they’re needed or not. (And today they were needed.) And thank you to the setter.

    Talking of setters, it’s A-level results day, and happily Navy (Luca Evans, the teenager who occasionally sets on Tuesdays) has announced he’s got into the course he wanted at Reading. The Reading/reading heteronym makes that an appropriate university for a crossword setter, but Navy denies that’s why he chose it.

    1. Is it the heat? Zelda has been called a male and now Navy has had a name change. Oh dear!

      1. ZF
        I blame this new-fangled sex education and the reviewer who used Lola (not Terence’s cat) the other day. It’s just confusing for oldsters like me.

      2. Navy’s Twitter bio makes it clear that ‘he’/‘him’ are the correct pronouns to use for him, and Luca is now the name on his account. So, being a civilised bunch here, that’s what we should all use.

        PS: Definitely not the heat here in Whitby! Yesterday we were enjoying the sunshine on the beach in Sandsend; today it’s like walking through cloud.

        1. Smylers,
          Not being a facebook “fan” it was something I missed. I hope the University course allows Navy to continue giving us his puzzles to enjoy. Wishing him the best of times and success.

  26. I didn’t like this at all. I actually gave up which I rarely do and even with electronic help didn’t make much progress. I normally enjoy the Thursday puzzle but not this time. Thanks to the setter and ZF.

  27. I felt this a challenging but enjoyable puzzle and felt it was ***/***, 6 & 28 across were new to me and 8 down I had heard of but had to check before entering, my favourites were 11 & 12 across, PDM’s were 13 across & 21 my thanks to the Setter and to Zelda Fitzgerald.

  28. Around a ***/*** today, as others have said some tricky cluing ,the NE segment for example.
    6a was new to me-not even in my chambers!
    Favourite was 11a which took a while to parse-originally trying to anagram astronaut-never mind.
    Clearing up after the Tarporley flood,4 inches of rain in an hour or so, adjacent neighbour’s son was splashing about in it and aptly his name is Noah.

  29. Made a good start but after about 50% progress was stodgy and like others got stuck in the NE corner, 6a and 9d were a challenge, thought 9a was a fab clue.
    Overall a ***/***

  30. At least the clues were logical and therefore if you could unravel them, get the answer. Completed three quarters starting in the NW going clockwise. Went food shopping. Completed, on return in short order. Quite a few could only be sorted out after getting the answer. Only needed recourse to a synonym for 29a. Which “define” followed by the word in Google search nearly always comes up trumps. Who needs a BRB eh! Personally I think half the words in said tome should be deleted except for historical purposes. And while we’re at it ditch all the Roman and Greek gods. Now having upset most of you lovely commentators, I’ll say thank you for the hints and the crossword and all the comments which I thoroughly enjoy. Well done Big Dave.

  31. I found this tricky ****/*** 😳 Surprisingly no one has mentioned who the Setter might be, proXimal is it he?, or after all could be Ray T?, without a touch of Majesty 😬 Favourites were 11a and 2d. Fortunately it was very wet and thundery here in the East so had lots of time to ponder 🤔 Thanks to Zelda and to the Setter

    1. Another reason that it’s not Ray T is that he’s responsible for today’s Toughie, so if you’re missing him you can have a go at that.

  32. Trickiest puzzle of the week so far ( busy week at work has denied me the time to tackle toughies) I needed quite a few nudges from Zelda to get me over the line but I did like 8d 11a and 30a.
    Thanks to Zelda and setter
    I too have nightmares about variations on Sago/Tapioca/Frogspawn but my nickname for the abomination served at my school is not fit for publication.

  33. Thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Way more difficult than 2* in my humble opinion. I couldn’t see the definition for 17a, so got it all wrong and put in “finance” for my answer. Needed the hints for 9d too, have never seen this word. Also needed the hints to parse 12a & 14d. An enjoyable puzzle, with good clueing. Had never heard of 28a, but managed to get it from the wordplay. Favourite was 20d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  34. Not too difficult, I thought, until I got to 27a which eluded me and needed help from Ms Fitzgerald, otherwise great fun and thanks to all. I do hope Navy will find the time to continue compiling his crosswords whilst studying at uni.

  35. Never heard of 6a and needed to look up hints for both 11a and 12am’s where I had the answers but couldn’t work out why. Other than that I thought this was pretty straightforward.

  36. Late again today.
    I haven’t quite decided what I think about this one yet – I’ll carry on thinking about it for a bit longer.
    I would have given it at least one extra star for difficulty based on just two or three clues.
    The 1a anagram took much longer than it should have done – don’t know why – it just did so I didn’t have any starting letters for the down clues for ages.
    My favourite was either 27 or 29a.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to ZF.
    Much much cooler here today it hasn’t been above 22C all day – what a relief. Haven’t spoken to either of the Lambs yet so no idea what it’s been like in London.

  37. I’m giving up with about a third clues left, mainly in the south, and four or five bung ins that I didn’t understand. I had the correct answer for 11a but failed to think of the astronaut, that is how stupid I am.
    I had to look 6a up, wasn’t aware that was even a word but it just had to be.
    Fave was 30a with 25d close behind.
    Thanks to our setter and to Zelda for her help in reaching the finish line.

  38. My experience much the same as others. I had 12a, my penultimate insertion but was not sufficiently confident to go through the alphabet to solve 9d. I had almost succumbed to looking at the hint when the word appeared. Main problem was that I could not decide whether the top female was Her Majesty or the first letter. I don’t think I know the word but realised at the 11th hour that rant = rave. I solved 11a without help and this must be the best clue. Solved it before I parsed it I must admit. Like another commenter I solved 12a but could not properly parse. I too thought it was an anagram but did not know where the O came from. I also struggled with fiancée v finance and got it right but not properly parsed. The only other one I have circled as a stand-out clue is 30a. Thanks Setter and MP (walked to St Just in Roseland Churchyard yesterday which I might have already mentioned to visit good friend who would have been 70 had he lived). We had rain for about 30 mins while we took shelter in Miss V’s tearoom followed by more sun but a lot of humidity. Drizzly morning today but beautiful afternoon..

    1. We always take a walk to the prettiest churchyard in England, possibly the world. Usually do The Toughie on the way back on the Tresanton terrace with Cornish Orchards Cider for me, Pimms for the sainted one and Ice Cream to take away. Enjoy your stay Wanda and thanks for jogging my memory

      1. We took the same cottage in Porth-en-all’s for three weeks every year from 1965 , our younger daughter still goes but just for a week now. We got to know many local people over the years and one day in the Queen Victoria in Perranuthnoe we said that we would like to retire to Cornwall. They all chorused please don’t. We have too many old people, all our youngsters want to go to London. I have never forgotten that. A fabulous county, why go abroad? And St Just in Roseland is as you say, just lovely. Happy memories.

      2. It truly is the most beautiful churchyard I have ever seen. In the sun it was glorious this week. Our friend who lived in Sutton Coldfield wanted his ashes there and it was poignant to visit on the 12th which would have been his 70th birthday. May get on to the Tresanton terrace today or, if not, the Idle Rocks, It has been an odd week though – should have been Fal week

  39. I found this straightforward and enjoyable.
    Would have been * for difficulty but for my stupidity in not being able to spell 17a.
    Loved 11a.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  40. Finished after a third attempt and lots of electronic help which took away the joy of the puzzle. 12a was my favourite clue, but the cereal will never be a favourite. I managed to work out 6a but had to check it. Thanks to the setter and the famous flapper. I’ve been helping my husband in the garden ….I took him a cup of tea.

  41. A bit of hesitation with 11a and 6a was new to us but it all went together in reasonable time for us.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and MP.

  42. Not on the wavelength today. ****/* for me.

    9d was one of those clues I could spend weeks on and still not solve. Has anyone ever used that word outside of crossword land?

    Still do not understand 22a and think 21d and 23d are above **.

    Thanks to the setter and Zelda (who is apparently much much cleverer than me…).

  43. Urgh. I made heavy weather of this. Glad to hear it puzzled even Miffypops at points and that others also found it tricky!
    I had quite a few answers which I wanted to put in but needed the hints to confirm. Too many grumbles for me to pick out every one but I did like 11a and 8d.
    Am still flummoxed by the sport And parsing of 23d. Can anyone reveal?!
    I wonder if the setter is American? I’ve never heard anyone in the UK refer to a grade as “gamma”?

    1. take the E off the end of GAMe (sport) and follow with an MA (graduate) – GAMMA is a third grade classification (no mention of it being American in the BRB)

      1. Aha! Thanks Crypticsue. I was trying to think of all sorts of weird and wonderful sports and missed the obvious.
        I use dictionary.com (I know I know not BRB, the Bible!) and although it says Gamma is Chiefly British to indicate a third class student I have never ever heard that phrase, not in school, not in uni either at undergrad or postgrad level, not in law school. We’d say someone’s a C-grade student or going to get a Third or something like that but not a Gamma. Am I alone?!

        1. Probably not alone but it is well-known to me although I did not study at Oxbridge. The Greek alphabet is useful for crossword solvers. It’s all Greek to me!

          1. Hohum, you live and learn! I’d heard of Gamma, just never in the context of grading students. Perhaps grade talk is a bit sensitive right now; how many Alpha students have now been deemed Gamma by the Almighty Algorithm?! I have just started on Stephen Fry’s excellent book Heroes which I’m hoping will make some of those Greeks a bit less “all Greek“ to me!

  44. Boat lady,
    When my daughter studied at Oxford tutors used Greek letters, explained here with US equivalents for overseas students:


  45. I’m in the “straightforward until it wasn’t” camp this evening. I hadn’t heard of 6a, the wise man in 4d or 9d. I had heard of 21d but only in a toughie some time ago and thought 13a, 22a, 16d, 18d and 23d a bit of a stretch to say the least. I don’t mind a couple of obscure clues but a quarter of them is pushing it a bit. On the plus side I got 8d straight away. No favourite. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  46. Half done at breakfast but didn’t enjoy at all. Took one look at lunch time and decided life was too short. The Gamma clue finished me off. Just silly. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.

  47. A rare DNF for me.
    NE corner was my undoing.
    Thanks for the hints. No problem with the puzzle, just beyond me but I did enjoy it.
    Thanks all.

  48. A bit of a challenge, not helped by putting in “aside” for 22 across. Got there in the end.

  49. Don’t understand 4 d.
    Get Sage = wise man
    accommodating fool Ass.

    But where does the M come from

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