DT 29462 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29462

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29462

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where summer is coming to its end – the temperature hasn’t got over 30°C since last weekend and the humidity has dropped big time.  It’s really very pleasant!

Either I’m on the top of my game today or this puzzle is the easiest for quite some time.  It was my fastest solve ever when in the blogging seat which is the only time I solve against the clock.  Still, it was enjoyable while it lasted. I’ll be interested to see if you found it the same.

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


1a           Needle match shown in pub against City? (5,5)
LOCAL DERBY:  A word for your nearest pub followed by a city in the midlands.  Always nice when 1a goes straight in, but this is a bit of a chestnut.

6a           Returning at eleven in cab (4)
TAXI: Take the AT from the clue and reverse it (returning) and follow with the Roman numerals for eleven.

10a         Play in short trousers (5)
SLACK:  A word for casual trousers without its last letter (short).  My dad used to wear these but I don’t think I’ve heard the word since he died 35 years ago .

11a         Hector heard entering English hospital department full of enthusiasm (9)
EBULLIENT:  Start with E(nglish) and the usual hospital department and insert (entering) five letters which aren’t a word but if pronounced would sound like (heard) another word meaning to hector.

12a         Wealthiest heading off, one refusing to face unpleasant facts (7)
OSTRICH: A phrase (4,4) meaning wealthiest without its first letter (heading off) gives a word for a person who refuses to face unpleasant facts by burying his head in the sand.

13a         Lecture room: initially adjust temperature in there (7)
THEATRE:  Start with THERE from the clue and insert (in) the first letters (initially) from Adjust Temperature.  This clue is particularly hard if you key 8d wrongly and get an R as the last letter, D’OH!

14a         Unusual ‘Toughie’ word describing unknown folk singer (5,7)
WOODY GUTHRIE:  Anagram (unusual) of TOUGHIE WORD placed around (describing) an algebraic unknown.  I used to have a couple of albums by this guy but ¡where they’ve got now to I’ve no idea.

18a         Child prodigy? It’s hardly surprising (6,6)
LITTLE WONDER:  A phrase meaning it’s hardly surprising could also be read as a cryptic definition of a child prodigy.

21a         Daughter to take part in ramble — father reviewed plan (4,3)
ROAD MAP:  A word for to ramble or wander with a D(aughter) inserted (to take part in) followed by the usual two letter father, but he’s reversed (reviewed).

23a         Available for one worried about onset of flu (2,5)
ON OFFER:  Anagram (worried) of FOR ONE around (about) an F (onset of Flu).

24a         Medium blocking conscious feeling (9)
SENTIMENT:  T conscious or aware and insert (blocking) an M for medium.

25a         Out of place at home, a pint (5)
INAPT:  The usual “at home” followed by the A from the clue and then an abbreviation of pint.

26a         Man-eating monster in fairy tale therefore repelled (4)
OGRE:  The Latin word for therefore is reversed (repelled).  I didn’t know Shrek was a man eater!

27a         Anger badly managed, on the whole (2,3,5)
BY AND LARGE:  Anagram (managed) of ANGER BADLY.


1d           Not as busy in practice (6)
LESSON:  Split the answer (4,2) and you get a phrase meaning not as busy.

2d           Modest order cut by husband (6)
CHASTE:  A word for your order in the social scale with an H(usband) inserted (cut by).

3d           You have no choice, I put to killer I’m to reform (4,2,2,4,2)
LIKE IT OR LUMP IT:  anagram (to reform) of I PUT TO KILLER I’M.

4d           Watch programme that includes ad for make-up item (9)
EYESHADOW:  Start with a word for to watch (3) and follow with a TV programme and into that lot insert (that includes) the AD from the clue.

5d           Outspoken, a Parisian tucking into sandwich? (5)
BLUNT:  Take a sandwich that includes bacon, lettuce and tomato and insert (tucking into) the French or Parisian indefinite article.

7d           Mouth of a brisk Yorkshire river (8)
APERTURE:  A (from the clue) followed by a word meaning brisk or cheeky and finally crosswordland’s favourite Yorkshire river, not the Ouse but the other one.

8d           Owing money their end, abroad (2,3,3)
IN THE RED:  Anagram (abroad) of THEIR END.

9d           Monument marble male trio sculpted (6,8)

15d         Explosive piece about too much working (9)
GUNCOTTON:  What piece might be a slang term for followed by a single letter for about, three letters meaning too much and finally a two letter word meaning working or in operation.  Hand’s up all those who, like me, put GUNPOWDER at first as it fits the first three checkers.

16d         A student painting outdoors (8)
ALFRESCO:  A (from the clue) followed by the usual student and the a painting on a wall.

17d         Riddle of diamonds finally found on coach (8)
STRAINER:  This riddle isn’t a puzzle but a sieve. Put the last letter (finally) from diamondS on a coach.

19d         Incident in a fine bazaar (6)
AFFAIR:  A (from the clue) followed by F(ine) and then a bazaar or market.

20d         Feel acute embarrassment having legal document served on ambassador (6)
WRITHE:  Start with a legal document and follow with the two letters for an ambassador.

22d         Sad thing about ending of one religious devotion (5)
PIETY:  A word for something sad placed around (about) an E (ending of onE).  For no particular reason this was my last one in.

I think 20d was my favourite but not by a lot as it’s all pretty nice stuff.

Quick crossword pun:   SPEY     +     SLABS     =     SPACE LABS

If there’s a pun across the bottom I can’t see it. Maybe someone will enlighten me.  I don´t know if there’s any significance to it but every one of the across answer begins with the letter S.

107 comments on “DT 29462

  1. Found this a nice workout for Monday morning **/**** fav clue 11a with 15d and 18a on the podium.I nearly put Gunpowder but couldn’t parse it.

  2. After a slow start, the clues began to get more straightforward as I moved away from the NW corner, giving a quick groan as 12a fell into place. I was finished in1.45* time with 3* for enjoyment. There were some really good clues and I enjoyed 11a and 18a. I imagine it might be a bit tricky on the GK front, if you were not well up on folk singers. Thanks to pommers for the hints and to the setter.

  3. A ** for me but highly enjoyable with very good clueing in my opinion. Definitely one for those of us who find Ray T too gnomic with clues able to be parsed with a little careful thought. I liked the two anagrams at 14a and 9d but my clue of the day is 18a.

    My thanks to Pommers and to the setter. Never hazarded a guess for the setter before. I think it might be Chris Lancaster not because I finished it but for the very honest clueing.

  4. I agree with everything Pommers said. Quickest solve for a while. Only one slight holdup when I bunged “gunpowder” straight into 15d. That was sorted pretty promptly when I read the other clues. Thank you setter and Pommers. I have been informed that we are going to have a heatwave starting tomorrow. Let’s wait and see.

  5. Fast and fun, with some enjoyable long answers, as well as a couple of new terms for me (15d; 1a–the term ‘needle match”, i.e.). Took me a while to solve 10a, since the unshortened form of the answer once connoted only women’s apparel in the States (but what do I know about such things anyway?). I particularly enjoyed 18a (my COTD), 11a, and 20d (cringingly). Thanks to pommers and to Campbell. 2* / 3.5*

    It’s Labo(u)r Day over here–and what a joke that is.

    1. Yes not much labor going on, except I am clipping a large fountain grass and hope to dig it up afterwards.

    2. The workers are working hard trying to catch COVID, amassing by the thousands at beaches, parks and so on.

  6. A gentle start to the week. I had never heard of the singer in 14a, which I left to the very end before guessing at a couple of anagram permutations with the remaining letters.

    Thanks to the setter and to pommers. We touched 30 degress yesterday in our part of Valencia, but today is slightly overcast with a maximum of 26 expected. Hopefully that is the end of almost 3 months of extreme heat, and we can look forward to 9 months of a mixture of spring and summer temperatures.

    1. I, too, stumbled at the folk singer, Ok, it was an anagram but who has ever heard of him? Neither young or old in this household!

        1. Oh yes. Very much enjoyed “Girl from the North Country” at the Old Vic. Did you see it? A very clever play.

      1. I’m old but I have heard of him. I think his son Arlo was active about the time of Woodstock so you’d need to be knocking on a bit to have heard of either of them!

        1. His set opened with Coming into Los Angeles – bringing in a couple of keys, don’t touch my bags if you please mister customs man. Still active now I believe.

          1. Saint Sharon and I saw Arlo Guthrie at Warwick Arts Centre many years ago. Alice’s Restaurant was so funny.

  7. The acrosses were very slow to start for me, but the downs came to the rescue. I’ve never heard of 14a, but it was gettable with all the checkers in place.

    I have a small point to make about the Quickie pun. As far as I can remember, there was only ever one Spacelab, so it really shouldn’t be plural. Spacelabs with the ‘s’ is an American Medical Electronics company. (Making products far inferior to those made by my old firm, naturally).

    Thanks to all.

    1. There are two spacelabs. The other one (which didn’t go into space) hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.

  8. I didn’t find this quite as easy as Pommers but I guess that’s why he’s doing the reviews and I’m not. I did find it very entertaining though with some clever clues.
    I particularly liked the liked 10a (though the trousers synonym is a bit dated) 1&3d but my top spot goes to 18a, where I was hoping for a bit of Bowie.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the entertainment.

  9. One of the best Monday crosswords for a while and I really enjoyed it, I think Pommers had a good day – certainly worth at least a ** difficulty and for me a **** enjoyment.
    Last in was 26 a , the answer was obvious but the parsing eluded me for ages, have to make it my favourite followed by 18a, thought of Stevie for a while!-also a special mention for 5d for originality.

  10. 1.5*/4*. I agree this very enjoyable puzzle was at the easier end of the Monday spectrum but 10a, my last one in, held me up slightly and pushed me above my normal 1* time.

    I too was tempted by gunpowder for 15d.

    With lots of goodies to choose from, 10a, 12a, 18a, 27a & 1d made it onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  11. Enjoyed that lighthearted way to kick off the cruciverbal week. Agree with commentators above including finding NW corner the most challenging and never heard of 14a or 15d but always happy to live and learn. The riddle for my 17d bung-in didn’t occur to me. 1d and 5d were a couple of simple Favs. Thank you Mysteron and pommers.

  12. Very enjoyable and straightforward for me completed at a fast gallop, just what I needed for the start to my Sunday evening solving – 1.5*/4.5*.
    No gunpowder for me!
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 18a, and 16d – and the winner is 18a.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  13. Pleasurable reasonably straightforward solve for me.
    Like many was in the gunpowder camp but nothing controversial, although if it hadn’t have been a partial anagram I don’t know whether I would have dredged up 14a.
    12a / 7d joint COTD.
    Thanks to setter & pommers for the review.

  14. Nice Monday level puzzle with the only hitch being to christen the flagstones in the Quickie pun!
    My favourite was 18a and reserve places went to 27a & 20d.

    Thanks to Campbell and also to pommers for the review. Don’t know a great deal about the work of 14a but have to say that I much prefer The Animals version of that particular track. I’d completely forgotten that Alan Price was their original keyboard player until I played the YouTube clip just now!

  15. Quite pleased to finish the crossword but had to look up “unknown folk singer”. He is certainly unknown to me. I do not think crytic crosswords should include obscure names this makes them General knowledge crosswords. This is unfair to s cryptic solver like myself with little genersl knowledge.

    1. I have to say I was a bit surprised when that particular folk singer crawled out of the anagram fodder.

      1. Sorry Pommers but Woody Guthrie never crawled out of anything. He was a spokesman for the underdogs in America and stood tall for them.

        1. Yes, Corky. Guthrie is a giant hero of American legend, and I am surprised that so few of today’s commentariat seem even to have heard of him. Sic transit Gloria! But I guess that he would not necessarily appeal to those whose sympathies are to the right of centre.

          1. I’m also surprised how few knew him. He died before I came to the US, so I think I must have known about him when I was living in UK!

          2. My political views are definitely right of centre but that’s immaterial when it comes to standing up for the downtrodden and the less fortunate. It’s not the sole preserve of the left, despite the picture they like to paint. I’ve always championed the cause of the less well off, I’ve been that too, as long as they’ve been prepared to get off their backsides and work. I loved Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and the rest and played at many a folk club. Rant over.

  16. Like many above getting going was a bit of a worry but once under way the answers flowed at ** pace. I really liked this setter and would rank it **** for enjoyment. A satisfying solve.

  17. How nice it was to meet Mr Woody Guthrie today. The writer of America’s unofficial national anthem ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and hundreds of other songs too. A typically Mondayish puzzle to start the week. It just sort of fell into place bit by bit until the grid was full (well apart from the last answer. I can’t see the point of wasting time putting the last one in) thanks to the setter and to Pommers. More shed building now.

    1. Great to see Van playing live at the Electric Ballroom – he may be 75 but Covid isn’t going to stop him. Disappointed with Mick Brown referring to Lonely Avenue as a Ray Charles song in his DT review today given it’s a Doc Pomus composition.

      1. I have tickets to see Van Morrison in November postponed from March. I hope the concerts go ahead

    2. Somewhere there is a phone video of me singing “This Land is your Land” with a bunch of …….let’s call them “radical”…..musicians. It’s also on our set list in the Uke band.

  18. I thought this the best Monday offering in a while. Pretty straightforward although I found it maybe a tad trickier than Pommers did. No issues with 14a – surprised WG is referred to as an obscure folk singer given he’s cited as an inspiration to so many (Pastures of Plenty is one of his great & much covered songs). Last in was 15d where the wordplay got me to the answer as I’d not heard of it. Plenty of good clues to choose from but 18a narrowly shades 11a as my pick.
    Thanks to Campbell (if it is he) & Pommers for the review.
    Ps COTD for me to be found at 12d in Rookie Corner despite some far knowledgeable than I of the view that it doesn’t quite work.

  19. I enjoyed a relatively quick romp through this waiting for my melted chocolate to cool whilst making brownies . However , if the very first thing you fill in is 15d Gunpowder and worrying about the parsing later – you’ve started with a handicap. Managed all the across clues thereafter but couldn’t see how 10a was parsed as I had convinced myself that someone must have written a play called slack! I also know SLACK is a chat room used I think some businesses- but that didn’t fit the clue. 10a my favourite clue therefore as it made me metaphorically hit my head against the wall when it dawned on me. 17D and 4D were the last fill ins. Learning my lesson from 10a I wasn’t going to get caught trying to find a TV programme to go after Eye but it took me ages to get show. I simply didn’t know a riddle was a sieve so that is to Pommers for the education and I agree with the ratings. Disappointed that there were no lurkers – I always enjoy spotting them particularly when reversed.

  20. A quick but enjoyable solve. I too thought slacks were women’s trousers from yesteryear. My mum used to call them that circa 1960. Good clue. Favourite 11a. **/*** Thanks to all. I’m sure Robert must know of Woody Guthrie. In fairness, I possibly wouldn’t if I hadn’t spent time in the US in my youth.

    1. I think most oldies who went to folk clubs in the 50s, 60s, and 70s would have heard songs written by Woody Guthrie. My favourite was Deportee (plane wreck at Los Gatos) a haunting song about Mexicans who had helped with the fruit harvest but were killed in the place crash.

      A great American folk singer who is well worth remembering.

      1. I am a fan of Guthrie too – mainly because I grew up with Bruce Springsteen. If Woody isn’t the soundtrack in your head to every Steinbeck story it should be!

        1. …especially as The Grapes of Wrath comes to an end, whether it’s the novel or the film–either way, it’s Woody’s music. And yes: In Dubious Battle too.

    2. I GREW UP with Woody, Greta. And I should have paid tribute to him–and thanked today’s setter to boot for the acknowledgment–in my initial comment this morning. Instead, Corky has stepped in and done the honours, and so I want to thank him for his gallantry–and his nobility of expression.

  21. A nice straightforward start to the week with nothing much to frighten us. Some really classic clues and some good anagrams.
    We will see what the rest of the week brings. By the way read Richard Osmans book over the werkend. Try it, I will say no more.
    Many thanks to Pommers and setter.

    1. I too bought the Richard Osman book but haven’t opened it yet. Still ploughing my way through some Booker nominees. The one I am reading at the moment is Shuggie Bain – It is a bit bleak, but I am hoping for some redemption for the title character soon.

      1. It’s been on my mind to read Shuggie Bain, John. Do you recommend it? I’ve read three of the shortlisted Bookers–the novels by McCann, Tyler, and Mantel–and don’t know which one to read next.

        1. I haven’t read the others you mention yet but Shuggie Bain is a good story about one families struggles in a depressed time and place. (hints of Steinbeck and Guthrie perhaps) Lots of Scottish dialogue that may not be obvious ( even to me, I have never heard of a cigarette butt being a doubt) as I said earlier it is quite bleak but as other characters escape to better lives the title character is left caring for his alcoholic mother. I do hope he gets his own redemption eventually but not got there yet. I think the overall tone is that families have love or they have nothing.

  22. Had to go to the dentist and some shopping this morning so I didn’t expect to be able to finish before I left…..how wrong I was!

    Re the quickie – I couldn’t find a bottom pun, but I did notice that every Across answer and 5 of the Downs began with the letter S……..

  23. I agree with most of what has been said, except that I would say it is the setter’s prerogative to make up the content of his puzzle as he thinks fit. I am sure the Crossword editor would not include it if it didn’t have a significant cryptic element. Just do the puzzle and enjoy it. I am not very good on folk singers and wanted to fit in Roger Daltrie (?) now someone is going to jump on me and say he’s not folk. Oh well, I soon saw the error of my ways and I had heard of Woody. My father wore slacks AND plus fours or plus twos. He was very put out when my mother wrote and told him in 1944 that she had made a dear little tweed coat for my young brother from his plus fours! Thanks to Pommers and setter. 18a brought a smile.

    1. Oh how I so agree about the setters job and the editor’s chance to edit. If it gets through the editorial process it must be ok. Complaining about this and that is simply rude to the editors and their staff

  24. Not quite the cinch for me but an enjoyable romp to start the week. Set myself on the wrong course with ‘gunpowder’, but figured it out despite having never heard of the correct answer. The short trewsers – haven’t heard them called 10a since the 1960s when perhaps a fellow who played golf might avail himself of a pair.

    Once again, we have gale force winds in Surrey, which is testing the patience of the new-ish gazebo.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  25. Bit more tricky than a * but a pleasant workout for a Monday. No real favourites but I did dislike 9d which I though was clumsy. We used to make this stuff at school then hit it with hammer when dry, Cool!
    Thx to all

  26. Thank you for this blog and post. I attempt the crossword every day, always failing to complete it! I used this post to help with the clues I couldn’t get, first looking at the structure of the clue to see if that got me further (often it did), then your more in-depth analysis/hints, then if I still didn’t get it, the answer so that I could work out why I couldn’t get it.

    Hopefully if I can keep doing this I’ll get better at understanding the clues and get more of them right without needing help! Count today: 16 me, 5 with your clues, 7 that I needed the answer..

    Thank you for the work you put in!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Mark W.
      That sounds like a good technique. It’s always helpful to check what the blogger has underlined as the definition – knowing which bit of the clue is the definition is often half the battle.

    2. Absolutely the right way to do it Mark. I did the same & you’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve. This site is a real gem & not just for the help with the crossword. The off topic threads are often very amusing & you feel as though you’ve got to know the regulars (& their animals) plus it’s great to read contributions from around the globe.

  27. Yes hands up here, I fell right into the gunpowder trap (never heard of guncotton), quickly realized my error when I got to 27a. I was very slow to get going today, and definitely found it harder than a * difficulty. My own fault, as I didn’t even get 9d at first, despite having taken some pictures of it on a visit in 2018. How quickly we forget. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  28. Straightforward and enjoyable start to the week. I was also new to the folk singer. 1d was my favourite. Thanks to today’s setter and Pommers.

  29. Started slowly because I thought I was suffering a surfeit of cruciverbalism after yesterdays EV but I soon got into my stride and finished at a trot. I was going to challenge the setter for describing Mr Guthrie as Unknown :o but realise that was just to get the y in the fodder. I will pick 14d as COTD
    Thanks to pommers and setter

  30. Felt more like a harder Monday puzzle for me so I rate it **/***. No real issues, just some convoluted clues. Favourites were 14a, 18a, 7d, 15d & 19d with winner being 18a.
    The singer in 14a also had a son that was a singer who was born in 1947 and his most popular album was Alice’s Restaurant. A cult favourite.

    Thanks to setter and pommers

    1. Oh yes to the album. One side a wonderful set of songs. The other Alice’s Restaurant a wonderful lampoon on the draft system during the Vietnam War

  31. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. A very nice start to the week. I found this mostly straightforward, but had a mental block at the end, and needed the hints for 10&12a and 1&2d, the latter was the only one that I should have got, just couldn’t see the other three. Very enjoyable puzzle. Favourite was 18a. Was 3* /3* for me.

  32. Very late on parade today as Mrs YS and I took the ferry across from Mevagissey to Fowey to spend the day in that delightful Cornish town. We saw dolphins on the way over and gannets on the way back. It turned out to be an expensive day out as we bought a painting whilst there.

    The puzzle was completed in double quick time yet was still hugely enjoyable. 18a was my clear favourite. Thanks to Campbell for the entertainment and to pommers for a fun blog.

  33. Delightful! Loads of fun. I had the first letter of 15d so got the “piece”, OTT had to be there, a quick google and I learnt a new word.
    I had no idea what 1a meant, I had to use a word search for that.
    So much to like here, fave is either 14a or 18a, a tossup. Oh, 12a, deserves honourable mention.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for his hints and picks.

  34. A good start to the solving week, a couple held me up… could not believe the artist at 14 ac, had to check the letters again.
    Thanks to setter & Pommers for the review

  35. Unless I’ve missed something, no posts from Steve Cowling for a number of days: hope it’s just that there are other priorities & all OK Steve.

    1. We had a discussion about this the other day, when one goes missing you can’t help wondering if they’re OK. Maybe someone could email him?

    2. Because of other priorities I haven’t been around on the blog much for the last few days so I haven’t noticed his absence. I hope that’s his reason too.
      Merusa is right – we did have a discussion about this on the blog quite recently but I’m not sure that anyone has put it into practice yet. I will now.

      1. I was aware of the discussion, about Carolyn as I recall.
        It was because of that & how many discussions Steve normally contributed to that made me wonder.

    3. Don’t quite know where to ‘plant’ this reply to the relevant people but have put it here.
      Had a reply from Steve Cowling who says he’s OK now and is touched by everyone’s concern. He hopes to be back on the blog today.

  36. Many years ago when I was just starting to do some hints and was an awful scaredy-cat pommers was the one who ‘held my hand’ – thank you, again, pommers. I once asked him what determined the number of stars he gave for difficulty and he said that it was how long it took him. I can confirm that today’s crossword took me much longer than it did pommers!!
    I’m not saying it was tricky but . . .
    Apart from that quick ramble I pretty much agree with others – there were a few that held me up but not too many.
    I’d never heard of the ‘explosive’ and wondered for a little while if it was an anagram indicator – wrong, but I didn’t fall into the gunpowder trap although I did think about gelignite but that wouldn’t work either.
    I certainly know 14a although not personally of course.
    I think my favourite was 18a.
    Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  37. Thanks Gaza, John Bee and Hunstman for the encouragement, although I don’t think 28-0 is on the cards for a bit, and I confess that guncotton wasn’t something I’d even heard of, so that may have eluded me even if I was at that level. You’re completely correct about knowing where the definition is being a help, and that it did on a few. I’m pretty good at spotting anagrams, which is usually where I begin, so hopefully I can build on that over the coming weeks. I look forward to being a regular visitor!

    1. Mark
      I have been doing the backpager for over 50 years & words still crop up I don’t know.
      About 6 years ago I started my daughter off, she found this site & daily went through the hints. She knocks spots off me & now I consult her when I’m stuck. This site will speed up the 28-0 believe me.
      I knew guncotton. I started work in textile laboratory in 1960. The first day I was sent to the stores fetch a sky hook and a reel of guncotton, which I innocently did.

      1. I guess that’s the equivalent of the airline initiation in my day. The poor newbie was sent to the hangar for “prop wash”, but be very careful carrying it as it explodes spontaneously if treated roughly. I suppose propeller bit dates me somewhat!

  38. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Couldn’t finish as I put gunpowder for 15d. Still it was good to know I’m not alone in liking Arlo Guthrie. Thanks to all

  39. Not particularly late on parade for me by my own shoddy standards and as usual most things of consequence have already been said. I’ve probably said too much this evening anyway. I enjoyed this with my favourite being 14a. Many thanks to the setter and Pommers

  40. 3*/4*…. found this not as easy as some commenters…
    liked 18A “child prodigy? It’s hardly surprising (6,6)”

  41. I always feel particularly stupid when I have an almighty struggle with the crossword only to find that the experts have given the crossword a rating of *.
    Still its only a crossword.
    Thanks all.

    1. I m with you. I usually complete 50 to 100 % if given enough time. I struggled to get 25 % of this completed and as I never seek assistance that was that. Not heard of guncotton or ebullient. I have heard of Woody Guthrie but a bit niche for my liking.

      Overall I found it a little bit slanted to those who perhaps have experience of the nuances of the setter. Coming in blind so to speak it’s a beast..

  42. Sorry for the * but I can only say it as it happens. The only time I ever look at a clock when solving is when I’m in the chair and I can safely say that I solved this puzzle in nearly a minute quicker than my previous best time.. So what can I do but give it a * ?
    It’s all relative though. I give it one star because it’s at the quick end of my solving times. Someone who routinely takes five times as long as me to solve a puzzle could still give it * even though his time, to me, would be *****.

    Anyway, off to bed now and the weather forecast is for the return of the heat for the end of the week, drat!

  43. Had to have two goes at this so definitely not a * but heaps and heaps of enjoyment and got there eventually. Woody was lurking quietly in the back of my brain somewhere. Cannot remember when I enjoyed a puzzle so much, thank you Campbell. Great blog, Pommers. I didn’t know the Bowie track and found the video really weird.

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