DT 29453 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29453

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29453

Hints and tips by Bill Brewer.

Not the academic. The one from around Gazza’s way

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Only twenty eight clues to sort out today folks which should give us all extra time in our day. Use it wisely. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Tell somebody you hold dear that you love them. Indulge yourself in a guilty pleasure. Never forget what comes next after breathe out.

Time travel will be of use solving this pleasant puzzle but there is no need for stout footwear or suitable clothing. Just you and your imagination should suffice.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a School does something to get mutual agreements (8)
COMPACTS: Begin with the shortened name of a school which takes pupils of all abilities and add a word meaning does something or takes action

6a Fantasies? Daughter has lots (6)
DREAMS: The abbreviation for daughter is followed by a word meaning a great deal of something. Paper maybe

9a Army officer’s spoken with heart (6)
KERNEL: A regular type of army officer sounds like the central or most important part of something. Or the soft edible heart of a nut

10a Modest collection of two notes and a coin? (8)
RETICENT: Two notes from the solfa scale are followed by a coin of little value found all over Europe and the USA

11a Planned action creating a bit of a scene (3,5)
SET PIECE: A planned action in a sporting fixture such as a free kick or corner in soccer and a line out or scrummage in Rugby is also a part of what the scenery might be known as in the theatre

12a Report of broadcast relocated (6)
RELAID: A homophone based on a synonym of the word broadcast nicely sums up what your blogger has done with his pathways recently. Here is one I made earlier

13a Village to be excited about store finally offering something for the kitchen (9,3)
VEGETABLE OIL: Anagram (excited) of VILLAGE TO BE which also includes the final letter of the word store

The answer prompts questions best not put to a child at bathtime

What do we make Linseed Oil from?

What do we make Rape Seed Oil from?

What do we make Olive Oil from?

And Baby Oil?

16a Member of royal family can rebel with trip abroad (6,6)
PRINCE ALBERT: Anagram (abroad) of CAN REBEL with TRIP the answer was obvious from the checking letters. Saint Sharon and I once stayed in a hotel of the same name in Kingston Ontario

19a High flier in trouble heading off to meet old singer (6)
CARUSO: The high flier who flew too close to the sun and lost his feathers needs his first letter removing and the abbreviation for old adding

21a A tin hat I designed for islander (8)
TAHITIAN: Anagram (designed) of A TIN HAT I. Hello to any tin hatters from Hinckley who might be reading this. Why not say hello back?

23a It sounds like Mrs Fawlty had to make a hissing sound (8)
SIBILATE: Mrs Fawlty was a character in an obscure sitcom from the last century. Her first name was Sybil. The clue works by using a homophone of this name together with a synonym of the word had (ingested food) to suggest a word meaning to make a hissing sound

24a Observe one of estranged couple in film rolling over (6)
REMARK: Way back in the last century we had a film about a divorcing couple who fought over the custody of their child. Dustin Hoffman (he cannot be far off the obits page) played the male lead. Who knows who played the female lead? Anyway take their fictional surname and reverse it (rolling over)

25a One promising not to start book (6)
LEDGER: One making a promise, plight, vow, oath, commitment, compact, agreement, contract or covenant needs to have their first letter removed to leave a book of accounts

26a I’d hissed — terrible bit of food on the table! (4,4)
SIDE DISH: An anagram (terrible) of I’D HISSED leads one to something which may be placed on the table as well as the main meal. In a restaurant it appears on the menu (where it should stay) in an attempt to ramp up the price of ones meal. At least it’s something more to eat


2d Nothing well-balanced in old-style qualification (1,5)
O LEVEL: The letter that looks like the number nothing is followed by a word meaning well balanced to reveal an exam introduced in the middle of the last century. My results in these examinations spelled out the word FUDGE

3d Picture of little dog that’s kept at home (3-2)
PIN-UP: A word for a baby dog contains a word meaning at home

4d Fellow traveller maybe three miles south of mountain pass (9)
COLLEAGUE: An outdated length of three miles follows (south of in a down clue) a mountain pass

5d Snake now more than half twisted (7)
SERPENT: Take a word meaning now. As in at this moment in time.. Make an anagram (twisted) of Reverse (twisted) the first four letters (more than half) of this word to give the answer which suits the underlined definition 

6d Resolute, not half, or put off? (5)
DETER: The first half of a synonym of the word resolute is all you need for the answer to this clue

7d Old church getting fifty in season? Wonderful! (9)
EXCELLENT: A straightforward charade. Do as you are instructed and all will be revealed. 1. A word meaning old like an old lover. 2. The Church of England 3. The Roman numeral for fifty 4 A season. The one preceding Easter. Ok the season needed a bit of thought but what else could it be?

8d Fellow with UK country relations is a model (8)
MANNIKIN: A three part charade. 1. A fellow, chap, geezer or adult male. 2. The initials of a country within the United Kingdom. 3. Ones family or relations

13d Guessing discharge has uranium? Get on the phone! (9)
VENTURING: A three part charade. 1. Discharge. One’s spleen perhaps 2. The abbreviation for Uranium (Cornwall’s next mining boom) 3. Make a phone call

14d Bishop guided around that place chatted (9)
BLETHERED: Begin with the abbreviation for Bishop. Add a word meaning guided which sits around a word meaning that place. The answer is a fine word. I’ve done a bit of it in my time and I’ve been on the receiving end of it as well

15d Jazz fan hanging round about — I have to be artistic (8)
CREATIVE: A regular term for a jazz fan sits around a word meaning about. This is followed by the diminutive form of I have

17d Learning the alphabet? (7)
LETTERS: A double definition. The second being more accessible. The first may be preceded by the words Man of (or Woman of)

18d One of three in a boat somewhere off the Scottish mainland (6)
HARRIS: One of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat is also the name of a Scottish Island

20d Happily puffed up? (2,3)
ON AIR: A very suitable definition of being happy

22d Cautious little girl turning up to support little boy (5)
TIMID: Two shortened names, one a girl and one a boy need to be reversed (turning up) Doncha just love this sort of clue which makes you think that little bit more?

The peace here in Barrel is about to be shattered by the arrival of my daughter and my two grandsons. Bring it on. It will set me up for a beer with my mate Craig later on

The Quick Crossword pun: auks+Hilary=auxiliary

124 comments on “DT 29453

  1. A tricky little beggar today, I thought. I promise I will keep my perennial whingeing about GK to a minimum, (19a, 18d).

    The two long anagrams across the centre certainly helped it along, and I have to say that the parsing of 5d was beyond me; and looking at the hint above, it still is. All in all it took me ***/**** time.

    My favourite will have to be 21a, because my lasting memory of that island was seeing very young, very drunk French sailors being beaten senseless by the French military police and thrown unconscious and bloodied into the backs of ten ton trucks. Paradise eh?

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

    1. I have tweaked the hint for 5d. It gave me as much trouble writing it as it did working out what was going on there

  2. Enjoyable with the right amount of trickiness for a Thursday morning – I will say those islanders in 21a are in an awful lot of crosswords these days- perhaps to remind us they exist so that we’ll remember to visit if we are ever allowed out of the country again

    Thanks to the setter and to MP

    PS: if you only solve one clue in today’s Guardian, make it 7d ;) :)

  3. Going for a ***/**** today, as other bloggers have said a tad tricky.
    Really enjoyed the solve and the diverse cluing.
    Last in was 19a and raised a smirk when the penny dropped- my favourite CLUE, remembered K v K for 24a.Failed to parse 5d-thanks MP.

  4. A lovely little puzzle today. ***/*** Meryl Streep was the wife in 24a. I remember the film because the little boy in it was the spitting image of my eldest son who was 3 at the time. 19a is even older than that and I suppose there are a few people who’ve never seen Fawlty towers but that one made me laugh. Favourite today 18d. Yes, more ancient gk. A different flavour all round today. Thanks to all.

  5. A very good challenge, this little gem of GK and wiliness, which took me into *** time but was very enjoyable. I especially liked 19 and 24a but my COTD is 14d (my first one in, oddly) because I just liked the image I drew from it! I did double-check on one of the three men in a tub and Mrs Fawlty’s first name, just to be sure, since it had been years and years, y’know. Thanks to MP (aka whatever today) and today’s setter. *** / ****

    It was Meryl Streep vs DH in ‘K vs K’, her first Oscar, if I remember correctly.

    1. DH reputedly got hacked off because MS had input in changing the script to beef up her role.

  6. An enjoyable and quite tricky puzzle (***/****) which had some nice anagrams and GK which was up my street (no sportsmen that I have never heard of this time). I bunged 5d in but was at a loss on how to parse it so thank you to Bill Brewer for the hint and the review. There were lots of clever clues to enjoy and I particularly liked 9a. 19a, 7d and 14d. Thank you to the setter for an entertaining puzzle.

  7. Bit by bit it all came together and provided plenty of fun along the way. East was more straightforward than the West. Came near to bunging in a wrong prince for 16a. Had forgotten the name in the film referenced in 24a but certainly hope that at a mere 83 MP is wrong about Dustin Hoffman not being far off the obits page. 5d parsing rather tortuous but I gave up worrying about it and settled for an anagram. Is 22d a veritable cautious synonym? Fav was 4d when the 3 miles came to mind. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  8. Excellent puzzle today. I surprised myself identifying the references in 23a, 24a and 18d which made it quicker that it might have been. Cleverest clue for me was 10a. Is it my imagination or do the same words tend to appear for a return visit after just a short time? (I seem to remember that “wyvern” appeared twice within a week or so recently). Today 11a and 25a feel very familiar. I am tempted to think that compilers come up with two good clues and don’t want to waste the spare one so work it in at the next available opportunity.
    **/**** for me today. Thanks to all involved!

  9. Much to my surprise I finished in ** time. Having been held up by most of the top half. Worked my way around the bottom and it all gradually came together. Could not parse 5d and 24a. So thanks for that. Enjoyment quotient despite the antedeluvian elements was ****

  10. A most enjoyable puzzle that required some brainwork and had its fair share of lightbulb moments. I liked 18a and 23a but my COTD is 24a. I got the correct answer for 5d from the checkers but even with the explanation I don’t understand it.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Bill Brewer for the hints.

      1. Put -ine on the answer, and you get a word meaning twisted, of which a snake is more than half of it. But that doesn’t account for the inclusion of “now”. That’s how I got it anyway!

        1. Looking at the other comments I don’t think “ine” has anything to do with it. Now = present. More than half of it is twisted (turned round). The last three letters are the same in both words and not twisted.

          1. I didn’t intend to suggest that the -ine was right, as clearly the solution fully explained is correct. Mine was simpler and even though incorrect, it lead to the right answer Serpentine = twisted, and more than half of that word is a snake. I just thought I might share it, but there seems to be so much negativism, criticism, and put downs on this blog, as well as comments that are incomprehensible to a less regular contributor, that I don’t think I will be joining again.

  11. I started off really well and then got slower and slower but finished eventually – trickier than it seemed to begin with.
    5d was one of those that had to be what it was but I really had no idea why.
    The two long and reasonably easy anagrams – ie I saw them quickly – helped.
    I had to look up Basil’s wife’s first name and also the names of the men in the boat.
    The general style felt unfamiliar – anyone got any ideas about who set the crossword today?
    I liked 19 and 23a and my favourite was either 24a or 22d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to MP.

  12. Well for some reason we sailed through this in double quick time! Don’t know why. I even knew the three in a boat, surprising because my blood is running cold here in Cambridge with the wind coming off the Steppes. I feel a vest coming on. My mother, Lillian the wise, sewed me into a vest when we went back to school in September and cut me out of it at the end of May. Great arguments ensued about Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out – did it mean the month? I maintained it meant the flower. Besides the vest there was the dreaded Liberty Bodice with it’s fleecy lining, reinforced seams and rubber buttons. Now I am a little older, I have realised the sense in a good vest although now they are either silk or thermolactyl and may be hidden discreetly beneath all sorts of evening wear. So you see Mother Did Know Best. (she didn’t ACTUALLY sew me in but might just as well have done so)

    1. There is only flat land betwixt you and the Urals. It’s the same for us. Raining and cold now here in Barrel. The sun held out while the grandsons were here at a mile a minute

      1. Is there really a place called Barrel or are you just in one? Perhaps that is where Zelda has gone, drowned in Malmsey.

        1. I have issued a unilateral Declaration of Independence to the British Government. I have petitioned The Queen and I have told the EU where to park their bicycles. I cannot expect that any of these will declare war so we will wait and see. At the moment and until persuaded otherwise I live in the independent state of Barrel

          1. Bit like Passport to Pimlico then, or are you too young to have seen that? I bet it is a barrel of laughs in your village.

            1. Have you looked at the Talking Pictures television channel. Just the place where Passport To Pimlico would be shown. It’s full of wonderful old films and programmes

    2. Chilly, grey and wet in ‘the other place’ too. Even when it’s arctic I can’t ‘do’ layers of clothing – can’t move and just feel like a stuffed earwig!

      1. How do you know what a stuffed earwig feels like Kath? Do you also know other stuffed invertebrates feel? I just feel like a beer.

    3. Oh my goodness Daisy, the Liberty bodice, what memories, particularly the little rubber buttons. I can remember fidgeting and complaining as I was dressed and told by my Mum “it doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you are warm”.

      1. The Liberty Bodices were a real faff, when we were taken to the local swimming baths for lessons once a week. Those horrible little rubber buttons were a pig to undo. When we were getting dressed after the swimming lesson, our teacher would be hurrying us to get in the bus and I always fastened them crosswise.

    4. Well Daisygirl, this follows on from yesterday. The lady replies ‘It’s not for under my arms, if you really must know it’s for my schnauzer’. The pharmacist looks a bit taken aback and after a moment says ‘in that case I would suggest you don’t use your bicycle for a couple of days’! Boom boom. I hope no-one is offended.

      1. I visited an animal sanctuary recently but all they had was one dog – it was a Shih Tzu

      2. Now you see I was afraid of this. I must lead a sheltered life because this term is new to me although I can see it is funny if you know the word. Is it an Americanism? I know you have to be careful talking about erasers in the US. I’ll see if no. 2 daughter understands it!

        1. Daisygirl, no, it’s not an Americanism or anything else, it’s a dog! The pharmacist makes the wrong assumption. Read it to your daughter in full! Mr Manders loved your reply, as did I. I wouldn’t put a rude word on this site.

          1. Now I feel like a complete idiot. I thought I was a girl about town, a Femme du Monde, sophisticated and soignee – well, at least I amused Mr. Manders !
            I shall let you know what Sarah says about it!!

            1. Dear Girl, absolutely no need to feel anything. Mr Manders was thrilled because he had the same problem as you, but I have huge respect for you both. He doesnt understand the joke either.

  13. A steady solve until I got stuck on 19 and 21a. Tried to access the hints but the blog was temporarily down so I had to work very hard to cross the finishing line. Very pleased that all is now well as I, too, needed the hints to parse 5d.
    Thanks to the setter for a very pleasant Thursday puzzle and to Bill Brewer for the hints. I hope that you enjoy the family visit (and the peace that descends once they all go home!)

  14. I see that MP has started using pictures of cats in his hints and tips. (6a)

    I’ve always wondered how the Great Nobelist remembers all the words.

    ps. I think you’ve underlined the wrong word for the definition.

    1. The incorrect underlining was soon sorted so thanks for pointing it out. I usually leave the animals to the pet shop boy But this little feller slipped through from yesterday where I told the pet shop joke

        1. The Nobel Laureate has the lyrics printed out. As yet I have not seen him use an autocue as did Lou Reed last time I saw him.

  15. Further to the full stop debate, there is a good letter in the DT today from Ann Brooke-Smith on the subject.

  16. Most tricky. Completed after much angst and a small KitKat. Never more grateful to ‘Bill’ for the explanations, as I couldn’t fathom how and why with quite a few answers.
    The garage that was supposed to be fitting the new Apple Car Play device about five weeks ago, telephoned to advise the missing part has now arrived and I am now booked in for Sunday (well the car is booked in, not me), so let us see what goes wrong this time. H is otherwise engaged this afternoon, and it is yet another grey old day in Surrey, so perhaps we shall put the new gazebo up tomorrow. I fear Lola is getting impatient.
    Thanks indeed to ‘Bill B’, and the setter.

  17. This took me a while to work through but it was very satisfying. I liked 9a and 11a, plus a lot of other clues. I needed the hint to explain 5d (the snake clue). Thank you to the setter, and to Bill Brewer for the hints.

  18. About what I’d expect. I needed a little help, which is usual, and seemed to like all clues about equally.

    My favourite was the photo of Miffypops’s path, which is impressively neat. As is CrypticSue’s clue in The Guardian.

    We’re still in local lockdown here, despite not having had any Covid-19 cases for weeks. The government have indicated local lockdowns will become more localized, not entire districts. But our district council issued a bizarre statement yesterday saying releasing some towns from lockdown (those without Covid) but not others (those with it) could cause “confusion” and be “unfair”! Apparently infectious diseases must obey boundaries defined by the Local Government Act 1972.

    It’s the final week of the school holidays and the children were supposed to have a friend visit tomorrow, but lockdown means we can’t meet inside, and the weather forecast suggests not meeting in the park either.

  19. With regards to 8 down, a “model” is a “mannequin”, NOT “mannikin” is a small bird!

    1. It grates when I read posts such as this. The setter sets and checks. His or her test solvers test and check. The Daily Telegraph assistant puzzles editor test and checks Our puzzles editor tests, checks and gives approval to publish. But you assume that you know better. A Mannikin is an anatomically correct jointed model as well as some sort of bird. I don’t suppose an apology will be forthcoming though

  20. I stared off slow as the solutions trickled in and made pace from there, my likes were 10 across, 19 across, and 17 down, the clue in 23 across had me thinking of the great series one of Britain’s top 5 comedies and I agree with the rating of ***/***. Thank you to the setter and Miffypops

  21. 17d the big problem in this one. Once explained I could see how it was arrived at but dislike it’s tenuous relation to reality. 19a and 13d my favourites today. Thanks to the setter and Bill Brewer for an enlightening blog.

  22. An excellent way to part fill a wet afternoon.put consents for 1 a which made life difficult for quite a while.Serves me right for thinking M.P.would parse it for me.Got there in the end and many thanks to setter and the Widdecombe Fair traveller.

  23. Hurrah a Thursday and I have solved the crossword without too much help 😃 ***/*** Favourites 10a & 4d 👍 Thanks to the Setter and to Bill Brewer especially for the Jake Thackeray clip, his Sister Josephine is an all time great

  24. 5d was my only hold up this morning in this otherwise pleasantly straightforward and enjoyable puzzle. It was what it had to be, but the parsing took an age. No particular favourite just good all round fun.

    Thanks to MP for the laughs and to our setter for the challenge.

  25. Late to the show today as sometimes life gets in the way of crosswords.
    I don’t know whether soving over a couple of cups of tea rather than coffee gave it a different dimension but this felt a little unorthodox and a touch dated. I haven’t counted but there seemed to be a surfeit of homophones (two indiactors in one clue, 12a!), and I thought the wordplay of 5d a little strange.
    Having said all that I enjoyed it, my only problem being the parsing of 24a, which I just couldn’t fathom at all.
    Favourite 11a or 13d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for his usual entertaining blog.

  26. Pretty enjoyable as Thursdays go, thanks to setter and Mr. Brewer. Good job on the path. Favourite clue was 7d. Don’t agree that 23a was an obscure sitcom – but the answer certainly is obscure. So many of us watched it every week, with several phrases entering into common use. One we liked best was “Brahms 5th racket” which my husband likes to quote when I play anything classical. And we called one of our cats Basil, so we could call him in with our best Sybil voice. That’s three good days in a row, fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    1. The photo doesn’t quite show the last slab laid is ever so slightly off. I was tired but determined to finish. Only another 30 metres to go. Plus goodness knows how many metres of fencing and a large shed to build. And a hard standing that grass can grow through for one of our cars. Saint Sharon made lunch today. Whoopie Doo. One day at a time sweet Jesus. I’m off for a beer

      1. Take care. I hurt my hip about 20 years ago on a similar project, and it wasn’t big slabs like yours. It’s when it isn’t quite level and you have to heave it up again, and again until that darn bubble gets right in the middle.

        1. I rarely have to lift a slab BizzieLizzie. One soon learns to avoid that. Getting them flat is the easy bit. Following linefall is the tricky one where you want water to run towards a gully or drain so want the bubble touching the line or halving it.

  27. Another cracking puzzle which just took me into *** time. Did not know the name of the man in the boat but easy to guess. Thanks to all from a very chilly North Norfolk coast which is still heaving with holidaymakers – oh for the end of next week!

  28. Thanks to the setter and to The Alias King for review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found it quite tricky in places. I didn’t read 16a properly and just bunged in “prince regent”. Had the wrong ending in 23a too, thus making 17d impossible. Needed the hints to parse 19&24a and 5d. The latter is perhaps sailing close to the wind with regards to indirect anagrams? Favourite was 4d for it’s originality. Was 3*/3* for me.

  29. That’s better! Much easier than yesterdays horror and with some excellent clues in 9a and 13d.
    Lovely puzzle, very enjoyable.
    Thx to all

  30. This was beyond my ken and I quit when I got to a standstill after only solving seven. I did solve the man in the boat, an oldie but a classic.
    Thanks to our setter, just me being dim, and to Bill Brewer for doing the solving for me. Was that the first visit since lockdown? I’ll bet there was lots of excitement! They’re really growing up.

    1. That was the first visit since lockdown Merusa. The drawbridge I built into the fence that leads into the park was a great success with Harrison. Ethan enjoyed it but spent most of his time following our cat Itchy around. Great fun all round.

  31. Forgot to say how much I liked the Quickie pun. It is now thunder and lightening (very very frightening, mama Mia) and pouring with rain but jolly nearly gin o’clock!

    1. Ooh no Daisygirl although their are no rules I would prefer no mention of that awful ditty

      1. I can’t remember the name of the film I went to see just before my holiday and I can’t remember the name of the one I am going to see tomorrow. However I can remember the name of the one I saw 41 years ago.

  32. The joy of coming to the blog late (a dryish day back on the golf course where the heavens opened as we walked off the 18th) is in reading the comments & banter plus of course the conclusion to the risqué joke – very good Manders & can just imagine Victoria Wood doing justice to it. As for the crossword (done early this morning) well it was another slow start but eventually flowed to a conclusion. Was nowhere near parsing 5d but couldn’t be anything else, 24a parsing only dawned on me after a read through later & got to 8d via the wordplay but checked with Mr G. Firm favourites were 4d & 19a. Back is now pretty sore so think a stiff drink & a hot bath may be sensible though unlike Daisy I won’t try to do the Toughie at the same time as I’m likely to nod off & drop the iPad
    Thanks to the setter & to MP – thoroughly approve of the Van track – great song of a wonderful album.

    1. Try a good handful of Epsom salts in the bath water. And I can Recommend PhorpaIn gel.

      1. Good choice – remember Tom Paulin on Late Review chaired by Mark Lawson selecting the compilation as his cultural highlight of whatever year it came out & not surprisingly it was his favourite track too.

  33. Very late in today. Hope I don’t lose a housepoint. I’m only halfway through but I’ve become well and truly stuck. After a rather delicious socially distanced lunch to celebrate a friends special birthday ( before the thunderstorm started), I’m not sure my brain can work out the remainder of the crossword. I may have to succumb to looking up all the answers. Thank you setter, and Miffypops. I tried my best.(No, I didn’t)

  34. A few tricky bits that caused a bit of head scratching but all eventually sorted and good fun to solve.
    Thanks Mr Ron and MP.

  35. I’m in the minority today it seems as I had quite a number of hmms. 1a, I’ve never heard heard of a school called a com and I was one of the first age groups to go to a comprehensive. 19a, I couldn’t parse at all, thanks MP. obscure or what? 5d, just obscure. 7d, season? A bit of a stretch. 8d, just plain wrong. 14d, never heard of that blathered yes must be a regional thing. With regard to this full stop nonsense, it seems this latest generation are offended by everything, they should grow up and get over it. No favourite. Thanks to the setter and MP. I’ve finished with a full stop. And again……..

        1. Local comp? Surely you have. I rarely hear such a school being called by its full name.

    1. Re 7d, our church definitely uses phrases such as “this season of Lent”. I appreciate that’s of no help to non-churchgoers, but with ‘Lent’ being a churchy sort of word, if it’s going to be used at all, it seems fair to use it like that.

      (‘Harvest’ and ‘Advent’ could also be seasons, but are probably less useful to those setting crosswords.)

      For what it’s worth, I guessed the answer early on from the leading ‘E’ and the definition, but couldn’t make it fit so left it (I’ve fallen for that kind of thinking before). At some point later, with more crossing letters, I saw ‘Lent’ would fit at the end and worked backwards from there. Things massively improved once I stopped trying to force ‘O’ = ‘old’. (And, for that matter, trying to force ‘ex’ = ‘one of estranged couple’ in 24a — which, now Bill Brewer has admitted his path is wonky, I’m promoting to being my favourite.)

      1. Hardly wonky. I’m just not happy with the last one I laid. Saint Sharon says nobody will notice, (which they don’t) but I see it every time I pass. Now I have worked out how to match the levels in the back garden I will get going on that. How to achieve Saint Sharons exact placing of the necessary step may take a little more thought

  36. Managed by myself today but struggled to parse the snake.
    Loved the music, esp Mr Thackray. I have fond memories of watching him on Parky or That’s Life and his Bantam Cock is a Proustain memory in this house.

    See that big daft bugger up there… He’ll be down in a minute or twoooo…

    Thanks to Bill Brewer from Barrel and setter too

  37. Thanks setter and our man from Barrel. I found it interesting. Favourites 9 10 19 and 24a and 4d. SE last corner to crack. I did not know the hissing word but guessed it. First name of Mrs Fawlty unforgettable as is the whole series which had remarkably few episodes. 8d spelling was unfamiliar to me as I would use the one with a “q” or the one who is having a pee in the centre of Brussels. I was too lazy to go upstairs to consult the BRB as the answer had to be what it was. Enquiries on line told me it was a mis-spelling. Most people had trouble with the same clues. 5d was unnecessarily convoluted when it could have been clued as a straightforward anagram. However on balance all very fair and solvable with more “gimmes” than difficult clues.

  38. Very well explained save for the fact that if you think Fawlty Towers is obscure then xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [redacted] !!! It is one of the very best comedies EVER.

    1. Hello Brian. 90% of what Bill Brewer says is best taken with a pinch of salt. The other 10% might or might not be true.

  39. Well didn’t get on with the puzzle at all, so resorted to the helpful hints and some of the helpful answers.
    Loved the Jake Thackeray track, so funny. Thank you MP and thank you setter.

  40. Found this fairly straightforward, apart from 5d and 19a. Instructions puzzling for the former and my lack of General Knowledge for the latter. Notice there is more GK creeping into cryptic crosswords.

    1. You are not alone in finding the hint for 5 down puzzling Janet. Try reading Weekend Wanda’s post at thread No 11. It’s one of those where the hint Almost needs to reveal the answer to explain how it works

      1. Yes. I got the answer long before I worked out how it was formed. More of a Toughie clue I feel.

  41. 8 d- no one seems to have picked up the incorrect spelling in the answer,should be Manikin, surely, not Mannikin, which is apparently, a small bird

    1. Try looking in Chambers dictionary. The one the crossword editor uses. You will find that he is right.

  42. Surprised you think Fawlty Towers is “Obscure”. It came on the screen in 1975 and has rarely been off to this very day. The very opposite of ‘obscure’ !
    I do hope Dustin Hoffman doesn’t follow this blog…poor man!

    1. Welcome to the blog

      According to the dictionary the version with an I is correct

      When commenting on a particular puzzle, it helps to comment on the blog post for that puzzle rather than the comments page

Comments are closed.