DT 29484 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29484

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29484

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a damp, grey, October day.

I found today’s puzzle quite tricky, with 1a my last one in for some reason. Anyway, it took me well into my *** bracket for difficulty.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Ostentatious display of spectator refreshments at sporting event? (7)
FANFARE – Split the answer (3,4) and you get another word for a spectator at a sporting event, and a generic word for refreshments.

9a           Resort area discovered on voyage (8)
RECOURSE – Remove the outer letters (dis-covered) from (a)RE(a), then add a voyage or path.

10a         Deeply impress European with northern accent (7)
ENGRAVE – Put together European, Northern, and one of the accents used in French spelling.

11a         Expecting Portugal to introduce ruling (8)
PREGNANT – the IVR code for Portugal followed by a term describing the current monarch.

12a         Bird identified by some beautiful markings (6)
FULMAR – Hidden in the clue.

Fulmar - BirdWatch Ireland

13a         Cheaply produced lace? (10)
SHOESTRING – Another word for a lace in footwear, which also describes something produced on a small budget.

15a         Plays cards, requiring time for conclusion of game (4)
ACTS – Start with a word for some playing cards, then replace the last letter of gamE with an abbreviation for Time.

16a         Food seasoning at intervals usually going into flattish cake (5,4)
TABLE SALT – Here we have a word for a flattish cake of soap or medicine, with alternate letters (at intervals) of uSuAlLy inserted.

21a         Touch musical instrument all over (4)
ABUT – Reverse (all over) a large brass instrument to get a word describing properties which are built touching each other.

22a         Waste time attending clubs, perhaps in formal wear (6,4)
LOUNGE SUIT – A word for ‘waste time’ or ‘idle about’, followed by something which can apply to clubs (or diamonds, hearts or spades).

Lounge Suit Dress Code Guide for Men | Man of Many

24a         Show court information that must free murderer essentially (6)
EVINCE – Remove the middle letters (essentially) of murDErer from a word for the information provided to a court by a witness.

25a         Reportedly express disapproval of furniture material in shop (8)
BOUTIQUE – The first syllable of the answer sounds like a vocal expression of disapproval, the second like a tropical hardwood used for furniture.

27a         Around an hour after midnight, sees stray cat (7)
SIAMESE – The three letters which look like a way of writing the time which falls an hour after midnight, with an anagram(stray) of SEES wrapped round them.

100+ Best Siamese Cat Names | Female and Male | Pawsome Kitty

28a         I heard ultimately charming young woman supplies optical equipment (8)
EYEGLASS – Put together a homophone of ‘I’, the last letter of charminG, and another word for a young woman.

29a         Worry easing somehow surrounding Leader of Opposition (7)
AGONISE – Anagram (somehow) of EASING, wrapped round the first letter (leader) of Opposition.


2d           Little weight behind American news report (8)
ANNOUNCE – Put together American, two examples of the abbreviation for New, and a small non-metric weight.

3d           Principal way of working cutting wood (8)
FOREMOST – The initials of the Latin phrase for ‘way of working’ are inserted into a large wood.

4d           Like a certain jacket, maybe label that Hannah has? (10)
REVERSIBLE – I think this is a sort of double definition, the second being a way of describing the characteristics of the word ‘Hannah’ which recognises that it is a palindrome.

5d           Picked up beloved animal (4)
DEER – An animal which sounds like (picked up) a word for ‘beloved’.

Red deer | Somerset Wildlife Trust

6d           Round figure recorded every so often playing cricket? (6)
NOUGHT – Cryptic definition of the score every cricketer is likely to make at some time or other, but nobody wants.

7d           British family covering up each burglary (5-2)
BREAK-IN – An abbreviation for British and another word for ‘family’, placed either side of an abbreviation for ‘each’.

8d           Scrap, initially overlooked, vet gives for recycling (7)
VESTIGE – Anagram (for recycling) of (v)ET GIVES, without the first letter (initially overlooked).

11d         Sue starts to party early, imbibing wine with Nick (9)
PROSECUTE – Put together a colour of wine and a verb for ‘nick’ or ‘slice’, then put the first letters of Party and Early at either end of the result.

14d         Superficial knowledge of subject Carol possesses (10)
SMATTERING – A synonym of the verb ‘carol’ wrapped round a subject or issue.

17d         Oriental is managing to maintain charm (8)
TALISMAN – Hidden in the clue.

18d         Exposed groups of players, those regarded as rejects (8)
OUTCASTS – Split the answer (3,5) and you have words for ‘exposed’ (as opposed to ‘hidden’) and ‘groups of (theatrical) players’.

19d         Student wearing Australian mate’s gear (7)
CLOBBER – An informal Australian term for a mate or colleague, wrapped round the usual letter indicating learner status, to produce an informal word for ‘clothing’ or ‘gear’.

20d         Tense son traded securities (7)
FUTURES – A grammatical tense followed by Son.

23d         Frightful girl is silly from time to time (6)
GRISLY – Alternate letters of GiRl Is SiLlY.

26d         Peacekeepers on somewhat empty Shetland island (4)
UNST – The usual international peacekeepers followed by the outside letters (empty) of SomewhaT.

The Quick Crossword pun TACK + TITIAN = TACTICIAN

146 comments on “DT 29484

  1. I’m afraid I failed to finish, even after ***** time. I didn’t fill 6d in, even though I had the answer, because I felt that the compiler must have had a deeper meaning than I could see. The other two left unanswered were 9a and 20d, for which I have no excuse other than I was never taught formal English.

    Many thanks to the compiler and DT.

    1. I’m slightly puzzled by your comment as to why you would need “formal English” in order to solve 9a and particularly 20d Malcom?

      1. Despite learning English, French and Latin at school, we were never taught the formal terms of “pluperfect”, “preposition”, “indicative” and so forth. As a result, the main part of 20d just didn’t spring to mind. (I have just Googled those terms as examples).


Many years ago on a European training course a Polish lad asked me “What is the pluperfect of ‘running’ in English?” (or suchlike), he was shocked when I answered “How the hell would I know?”

        1. I can see where your’re coming from, but If you were taught Latin and French surely you were taught how to form the “future” tense of the verbs in those languages? No disrespect intended.

          1. Nope, they were called the ‘B’ form of the word or the ‘E’ form and so on. They tried not to trouble us with technicalities. They believed firmly that there was absolutely no need to be able to translate into a foreign language, but occasionally we might have to translate from one. I failed my Latin O level (grade 8), scraped a pass in English (6) and somehow managed a 3 for French. That was at the age of 14, and I never spoke French again until I went to France on business at the age of 28.

            1. I feel for you. There was a period in the 1980’s and 90’s, most notably in newly formed comprehensive schools, when teaching the building blocks of language went ‘out of fashion’. I felt, at the time, that it was very unfair to the students. While my son was ver small, I took on private tuition in English and saw how badly itheld some students back.

              1. I hate to disillusion you, but this was in the late 60s / early 70s, and, perversely enough, I was at one of THE leading Grammar schools in England.

                1. Oh it definitely started in the 60’s. I started teaching in 1969 and everything formalised from times tables to English grammar was being thrown out. Somehow I thought you were younger but then so many people are younger than me!

                  1. I attended school in the 80s and was taught almost nothing, how to push a wheelbarrow was considered high brow
                    As a curious child I was always asking mind-boggling questions, so my father filled up the bookshelf with all sorts of reference books and would answer ‘Go and look it up’
                    I’m glad he did, because the habit stuck and I realised the joy of learning rather than watching TV
                    Seem to remember the was a Saturday morning show called Why Don’t You? (Switch off your TV set and go and do something more interesting instead), so I did

                    1. Paul & Anne – both of us found this nigh impossible without help. UNST ! FUTURES etc and so many words not in common usage.

            2. I always admired the girls who mastered the English grammar, I found it so boring. I got a distinction in French High School certificate and never used it again. My problems with English Literature was taking the book apart and “discussing” it, I was a voracious reader and would finish the book “toot sweet” and get thoroughly bored going through it again.

              1. My french is not great so i could be in error here Marusa, but its ‘tout suite’ ain’t it?
                Meaning quickly or right now. Oh well…

                1. I once saw that bastardization of the French phrase by a Brit and loved it, don’t you?

                  1. I cant say I love it but for the record I think I first came across this phrase when Jimmy Young used it when reading out listeners recipes back in the 70s/80s.
                    As for today’s xword, I found it tricky to say the least, only ¾ done.

                    1. I’ve banged on about my education before, about being in such a low streamed class I didn’t do foreign languages or take GCE’s despite being the vice captain of the school chess team, so I won’t bang on about it again. Oh! I just have done. Needless to say I agree with you.

  2. This was quite difficult and I found it a bit of a slog, to be honest (****/**). As is usual with this compiler, after a few checkers were in, I had more success, as I could guess the answer and reverse engineer the parsing. The clues were impenetrable at times because I am not on the compiler’s wave length, although 13a was quite good. Thanks to DT for helping me to parse a couple of bung-ins and thanks to the compiler for a good mental workout.

  3. Nicely challenging and very satisfying to solve. I had to check the Scottish isle at 26d but it was sympathetically clued and the parsing of 14d was tricky as I’d never heard of “carol” as a verb. Packed podium but I’ve squeezed 11&27a plus 4&11d
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT for the top notch entertainment

    1. Just think what carollers do, either on your doorstep at Christmas (but not this Christmas!) or outside the pub at closing time (10pm these days). 😉

    2. A minor point Unst is in Shetland, politically joined to Scotland, maybe, but geographically and otherwise well removed.

  4. Wow, this was tough. Pushed me well into *** time, but I did finish and parse them all, I think, without any hints, so I am quite pleased with that. Like DT, my LOI was 1a, which really is quite brilliant. My podium, congested but sparkling, consists of 13a, 9a, 3d [with 1a, my last four in], and 25a, for its cuteness. Thanks to DT for his review and to today’s very demanding setter.
    3.5* / 5*

    Osmosis’s Toughie today deserves its name.

  5. I found today’s Toughie easier than this back pager. Now it is finished I cannot see why that should be. Heigh-Ho it’s the way it goes. Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat. Play nicely children. See you after the weekend

  6. Well, after Ray T’s “Monday” puzzle yesterday, this was a definite reminder that a Friday puzzle should be the most challenging of the work week. Like DT, 1a was my LOI although I am reasonably certain that we have seen it, or a close approximation, before. Completed at a fast canter 3.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 13a, and 14d – and the winner is 13a.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. I think you’re right about 1a. I’m sure it was in a toughie puzzle very recently and included the words supporters and a pie and a pint.

  7. I found this the right level of difficulty for a Friday and enjoyable too. Just me or does the grid seem very ‘filled’ with lots of words today?

    Thanks to our setter and to DT

    My views on the Toughie reflect those of Robert Clark rather than Miffypops

  8. I had one of those mornings where I went off on tangents. I had 5d as a vole, reverse lurker which completely stuffed up solving the NE corner. For some reason for 26a I wanted to put in glasseye?? which was giving an unparseable Skye for 26d. I googled and found Skye is not a Shetland island and Unst was obvious if one knew that such an island existed. There were several others where I had the answer but took a while to parse and that is why 24a is my favourite. I needed DT’s help to understand 9a and 15a. Some excellent surfaces such as 23d and 27a. Many thanks for the fun setter and the explanations DT.

  9. 3*/5*. This was a perfectly pitched Friday back-pager which I really enjoyed.

    20d was my last one in, and I needed to check that 26d really is an island.

    My podium today comprises 1a, 13a & 27a.

    Many thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) and to DT.

  10. Certainly the toughest back pager that I can remember, just like the puzzles of old.
    I am going for a *****/**** some of the parsing was of a toughie standard.
    Not sure about the two N,s in 2d for the plural of new ,I suppose it works.
    Last to be parsed was 16a ,the solution was obvious with the checking letters in.
    Favourites were 13a and 1a / 24a for the surfaces.
    Thanks to the setter and DT for the pics, nice to see an Australian get a duck!

      1. Surfaces refers to the way the clue makes a sensible and pleasing sentence on ‘surface reading’

  11. Agree with the above comments that this is not one for the faint hearted . My iPad confirmed everything was correct but needed DT’s explanation for some clues .
    However , as the terrible weather stops any outdoor activities it kept me occupied for a while with a good brain workout.
    My favourite 13A , last in 8D .
    Thanks to the Setter and DT .

  12. Got off to a smiling start with 1a and really enjoyed working through this one. Took a little while to sort out the parsing of 16a and tried to make a different expression of disapproval fit into 25a, which it obviously wouldn’t! My only query was over 22a which I wouldn’t refer to as ‘formal wear’ but that’s doubtless a generational ‘thing’.
    Top of my pile today were 1,11&13a – the latter reminded me variously of Trevor Eve and the uniform of Teddy Boys back in the day. I also gave a mention to 8d which is a word I rather like.

    Many thanks to our setter and also to DT for the review and the stirring rendition of Mr Copland’s work.

    1. I too was working around dinner jacket, morning coat, etc. for 22a formal wear but these days it’s some kind of jacket with an open-neck shirt!

    2. I have always thought of a 22a as the alternative to formal wear on invitations that you have to RSVP to.

    3. Hi Jane (and others),

      Chambers defines 22a as formal everyday wear, but clearly that can mean different things to different people!

  13. Very much a slog today, didn’t enjoy much at all *****/*, nothing more to say.
    Thanks to DT for getting me through this one.

  14. No real hold ups today although I wish I could say the same for the toughie. 1a was my last one in and I did need to check my geography on 26d. Enjoyable stuff. Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  15. Agree this was rather a slog with, again, the Toughie being the more pleasurable. I really do not see where cricket comes into 6d. Aren’t noughts called “ ducks”?

  16. I found today’s offering too difficult and, although I filled the grid, I needed a lot of help from the hints. Not a very enjoyable crossword as far as I am concerned but I realise that is down to me not the setter. I’m pleased to see that others did enjoy it. Just goes to show that we are all different.

    Many thanks to the setter – you beat me fair and square. Grateful thanks to DT for the much needed hints.

  17. Relieved I wasn’t alone in finding that a bit of a struggle but it was worth it for the enjoyment factor. West came on board ahead of East. 27a and 16a were unparsed and likewise 9a where discovered didn’t ring a bell. My Fav was 13a. Thank you Mysteron and DT.

  18. This was a real head scratcher for me. NE corner held me up but there were some cracking clues. Last one in 20d because i thought it would start with an s. Just had to plunge my hand into my wormery to unblock the nozzle, absolutely disgusting! Now to prepare lunch! Thanks to all.

    1. Hope you sang Jerusalem all the way through whilst washing your hands! I’ve never had a wormery – we have four compost bins
      behind the garage and after a couple of years, in rotation, they produce beautiful tilth – but do you reckon a wormery is worth getting?
      I don’t think I’d be very good at de-plugging wriggling worms. Quite excited – I have ordered a cold frame which is on its way.
      As someone said yesterday, do hope Big Dave does not mind us using his blog for gardening hints, etc. Do let us know if we should desist!

        1. Oh Merusa, I was hoping to catch you. The ‘on-dit’ in these parts is that this is fake news looking for sympathy.
          Is that very cynical?

          1. I’ve wondered myself if this is grounds for postponing the election, but I have a black mind. God will forgive me in light of history. Wouldn’t it be awful if he gets really sick and I’m condemned for putting my “goat mouth” on him.
            I recommended an article in the London Daily by Nate White, did you read it? I’d give you the URL but I don’t know how to do that.

            1. No, I went onto their website and could not see it and there was not a search facility. I don’t know what a goat mouth is, but I must
              admit that I can feel my Calvinistic Grandma Angus scowling at me for bad thoughts!

              1. Google “London Daily Nate White” it should bring it up, select the “British writer pens the best description of Trump I’ve read.”

                Sorry, “goat mouth”, means putting a whammy on something!

  19. This was quite a tricky back-pager, which is as it should be on a Friday.
    It’s very enjoyable. There are some great clues here including 1a, 11a and 11d, although I thought that 6d was rather weak.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat for the review.

  20. I tried long wave, short wave, FM, digital, even CB radio, but couldn’t get on the wavelength at all. With only three solutions I felt certain about, and two and a half possibles, after four sweeps I gave up and came here.

    Some of the solutions seemed both stretched and arcane although I am sure the BRB would have revealed all if I had the time and patience to go through each clue with a tooth comb. Life is too short for that, and with this puzzle time is certainly too short for me even to bother trying to unravel the anagrams I missed.

    11a has to be a lone favourite as it was the first of the three I was certain of the solution. My thanks to DT for unravelling this obscure offering but I fear if a casual Telegraph buyer bought it to see what the crossword was like they would not buy it again.

    1. After two separate attempts and only fifteen answers achieved, I was so exhausted with the effort that I couldn’t be bothered even to look at the hints. Anyway thanks to the setter, who beat me completely,
      and to Deep Threat even though I ignored his help.

  21. 27a was my outstanding clue of the day from this demanding, tricky but ultimately rewarding puzzle. It took me well beyond my normal solving time but I enjoyed the challenge throughout. Probably the hardest back-pager for some time.

    Many thanks to our Friday setter and to DT.

  22. Setter here (RD was correct!), thanks for all your comments so far and to Deep Threat for his Hints and Tips.

    I tend to agree that it was at the trickier end of my range for back-page puzzles, but that won’t always be the case, I promise!

    1. Thanks Silvanus. As far as I am concerned, no need to apologise, although others may not agree with me, I thought that this was what a Friday puzzle should be.

      1. Thank you, Senf.

        I was endeavouring to give some encouragement to those who found it tough going. Certain future puzzles will be equally challenging but not harder, I think, whilst some will be easier.

    2. Thanks for dropping in, Sylvanus. You beat me today but I have finished a number of your offerings before. A puzzle not solved is not the fault of the setter. Strangely, that makes me feel better about my effort today.

    3. Hi Silvanus, thank you for popping in. I have to agree with Senf over this one, it is a Friday puzzle when all’s said and done and at least we didn’t have to reach for the reference books as we used to have to do in days of yore!

      1. Hello Silvanus, it was a very challenging puzzle, which pushed me to my limits. However it is Friday and it’s good to be pushed out of one’s comfort zone occasionally. Unlike Jane, I stilluse reference books and had recourse to a well thumbed copy of Chambers Crossword Dictionary today.

        1. Hi Chris,

          I regret that, more than most, you have consistently found it hard to get on to my “wavelength”, but I do hope you will do so eventually. My copy of the CCD 3rd Edition is very well-thumbed too with its cover only intact thanks to Sellotape! I consider it invaluable for both setting and solving, and earlier this year I bought online a copy of the 4th Edition, which I shall use once my original book finally falls to pieces. I’m led to believe that Chambers has no current intention to produce any further editions.

    4. You can please some of the people all of the time..etc etc.
      I thought it was pitched just right for a Friday back pager and enjoyable to boot. How boring it would be if everyday were a walk in the park.

    5. Nice one Silvanus – agree with Gazza re 6d but otherwise lovely stuff, thanks for the entertainment

      1. I really loved it too and we are dead chuffed to have finished it on reading that others had difficulty. On18d I had castoffs initially but when that corner proved difficult I realised my mistake which put everything right. Great entertainment on a lousy day – 27a my favourite! Thanks also to Deep Threat for the confirmation.

    6. Excellent puzzle, Silvanus. Just what we all need to keep us sharp in these rotten times. And with the atrocious weather here in East London, this was a good way to pass the day.

    7. Thank you, Silvanus, for the best Friday Cryptic in memory (my memory, of course) and for your joining us.

    8. Yes, why not have a good challenge. Some of the backpagers lack spark because of their level. This was a challenge and all the more satisfying to complete.

  23. Have to say I found this not only tricky but on the whole dreadful, so many contrived clues. It was possible to finish by finding the definition and ignoring the complex wordplay in so many. I did enjoy one clue 27a.
    Very little fun, just an exercise in a setter showing off IMHO.
    Thx for the hints in explaining the wordplay.

    1. Brian, I hope you don’t mind me saying this as I enjoy your contributions very much – but I always picture you shaking your fist at the screen as you write your responses to each day’s puzzle!

      1. I see a red-faced man fulminating at the world’s unfairness, like our sad, beleaguered leader over here.

    2. I am struggling with the concept of exactly how a setter shows off
      There are no obscurities, GK references or alternative spellings etc, so what’s the problem Brian?
      I look forward to your debut in Rookie Corner so you can show us all how it should be done… good luck with that

    3. I’ve been waiting an hour and a half to get some tyres changed, so at least I’ve had something to do. But today’s not for me, even when I did tune into the right wavelength. Too many too contrived clues … e.g. 24a, which I’m surprised others haven’t mentioned. At least I didn’t pay for today’s as I’ve paid a subscription! Well done to those Charlies who use a fulcrum to wear Dutch shoes (6, 5)

        1. Very good Roy.
          Also like your occasional withering responses to some (increasing it seems to me) needlessly critical comments of some compilers in the Graun.

    4. Brian, more difficult certainly, but no contrived clues beyond what cryptic clues are supposed to be.

  24. Glad to see the writer of this help found it hard. I struggled and gave up. I am looking forward to seeing what the answers are! The clues I have solved are few and far between, certainly don’t need toes as well as fingers to count them all up :-(

  25. Blimey, you don’t hold back do you! I think all the setters area amazing and I love the challenge when we get a trickier one.

  26. Thanks so much for doing these clues for us mere crossword mortals. I’m starting to learn how to unravel the clues. We finished with just a few of your hints, but boy was that hard today! Again – much appreciated.

  27. My giddy aunt, this was beyond my skill level – but a good learning experience, especially when ‘solved’ with DT’s excellent hints.

    In a moment of madness (as politicians say) I did consider sitting outside as usual this morning, but Lola and I stood at the back door and she made the decision an easy one by sniffing the air a couple of times and heading straight back indoors to relax on one of her multiple cushions. I sat at my desk (with the light on at midday!) and mused and mulled before seeking hints from DT.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  28. I needed lots of hints today, just could not get a toe hold in it. So I am afraid its in the Stinker pile. I agree that there were some slightly contrived clues. Last one in for me 20d. I have to admit not the greatest puzzle.
    Thanks to DT without whise hints I would have been completely lost and of course the setter.

  29. Agree with the comments regarding its difficulty but overall found it a good *** challenge and **** for enjoyment. I parsed 18d in a different way thinking groups uncovered was ou and came to the same conclusion that the answer was outcast. That of course left me with a t to explain. The explanation from Deep Threat is both simpler and more elegant. Thanks to DT and Silvanus.

  30. A year ago I would never have been able to complete that. I realise what a lot I have learned – and when I tackle the toughie I realise how much further I have to go. Such fun. Bring it all on.

    1. I echo your comment 100% Daisygirl. After reading a few clues from the start and not working out one single answer, I turned to the ‘Shetland Isles’ and worked my way northwards, where the answers began to flow fairly easily. I do own up to using my electronic dictionary to help solve a couple, but on the whole I was pleased to finish without needing to resort to uncovering any of DT’s answers. I actually welcome and enjoy these mental tussles – keeps my aging brain active. Thanks to setter and DT.
      PS, Daisygirl, if you happen to read this, go online and check out “Helix Original”. I have been using these tablets for a week now and my knee pain disappeared by the fourth day of using – it’s quite phenomenal really – the tablets have also solved arthritic pains in my hands and neck. I highly recommend. :-)

        1. You’re very welcome Manders. Am more than happy to help as many co-sufferers as I can. Arthritis is no holiday as you are clearly aware, so if I can avoid painkillers, joint replacements etc by using what afterall is a very natural remedy, then I’m equally happy to share any solace that I can. It certainly seems to be working for me. :-)

          1. On you recommendation, Shropshirebloke, I bought some for Mrs. C. I will let you know the verdict.

            1. I really hope that Mrs C experiences similar relief to that which I have recently enjoyed.

          2. Thanks for your concern, Shropshire Lad (I am sure you are more of a lad than a bloke) – I am a bit of a wuss about trying new things at this stage when my condition is so far advanced, but I did look it up and see that it contains TURMERIC – which I have been taking for some years now on the advice of my Indian yoga teacher so I am on the right track. I will certainly look into it further. I have just had a telephone consultation (!) with my doctor about another complication concerning side effects and he greatly cheered me by saying despite the warnings on the packet, it will not do me too much harm to have a small gin and tonic. Roll on six o’clock.

            1. Lol, only three birthdays to go before my 80th, so sadly no longer a lad, but I steadfastly refuse to ‘act my age’. The turmeric factor is relatively incidental; it’s the snail element which seems to work the magic. Keep the gins going, we need some pleasures in life, especially during these sad days.

      1. I’ll have a look to see if we have it here. I take turmeric every day on the recommendation of my rheumatologist but can’t say I notice much difference, I’ll keep trying.

      2. Thanks for the tip with Helix Original, SB. Sounds like what Mrs Monk could do with for the knee to which she’s a martyr.
        I checked it out, bit suspicious as all retailers seem to be overseas ? I found one selling it for £11.24, but postage £4.99, is this about right ?
        Thanks again.

        1. Sounds okay to me. When I bought my two (60 tablets) I paid about £17 for one bottle with the second one at half price.

          1. Thanks mate. The site I found is called “Carethy”. Lord knows where they’re based, but I’ll try it.

        2. Got mine on Amazon. 30 capsules for about £13 so not cheap. However, if Mrs. C benefits from them, I will gladly buy more.

          1. I ordered it here and it was $30 for 30 capsules. I call that pretty expensive. I hope it works!

  31. I remember when first attempting the back pager many years ago, that the clues were all gobbledygook (to me that is) but having persisted and learnt to understand many of the common indicators I do get a lot of pleasure from the daily attempt and attempt it is as they are rarely completed. If they all came with the same (or higher) level of difficulty then I would need to find an alternative pursuit, doubtless I would feel the same if I could complete them in 1* time.
    Today was a school day so thanks to DT for the hints and to Sylvanus for the lesson

    1. Well said, J2P. A mixture of difficulty is to be encouraged. We need the easier ones to boost our confidence and the hard ones to make us work. As you say, if they were all hard we would give up crosswords but, equally, we would give up if the were all solvable in five minutes. Like Daisygirl, I would have struggled with all cryptic puzzles before joining this blog. I cannot believe how I have improved since finding Big Dave so I agree with her, bring everything on!

    2. Hi J2P. Well commented! I learned how to do them by cutting out the crossword in the college library’s newspaper and then fathoming it out from the solution the next day. Slowly the satisfaction came. Today’s Crossword from Silvanus is there to remind us that there’s always another step to climb.

      Thanks for the help DT and Silvanus for the challenge.

  32. Well I thought Jay was demanding on Wednesday but this Silvanus head scratcher upped the difficulty level by a good few notches. I think sheer bloody mindedness got me to the finishing line in ****** time albeit with the need to reveal the 6d/9a letter O checker. These 2 were the last to fall & once I had seaborne in my mind for 9a, which I knew was wrong, I just couldn’t see beyond it. I’m inclined the agree with Gazza that 6d was a rather lame clue & like DT the penny took longer to drop than it ought to have for 1a. Needed Mr G to confirm the Shetland isle & the review to parse 4d which for that reason is my pick of many great clues.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the workout (absolutely no need to apologise for the difficulty) & to DT for the review.
    Ps Have done my money before but would definitely have gone all in on Brian’s critique today…..

    1. There’s a lot to be said for dogged persistence, Huntsman. It’s served me well over the years and eventually one learns and progresses.

  33. I agree, a definite slog today. Felt like a puzzle written by two people, some reasonable clues, but many that defeated me. I too have never seen the word carol used as a verb, and a lounge suit was definitely not regarded as formal wear in my day, hence the name. Throw in a cricket clue, and I am up the creek. My brain hurts right now 😊. Well done Deep Threat for solving this.

  34. Ditto ditto ditto – but it’s nice when one can get just a few clues under ones belt in one as hard as this. Had it not been raining I would have given up. Just had to mention the De Havilland Museum we went to this morning which used to be the Mosquito Museum. Very good, staffed by volunteers and just off the M25 near St Albans. Sorry I know you aren’t supposed to do this and I won’t again but the crossword and cycling are so good to do in this age of Covid and so was this remarkably empty little museum.

    1. It’s wonderful isn’t it! You can almost feel the passion and dedication of those who run it when you walk through the door 😊

  35. A little longer than average for me but the last minute was spent looking at 6 and thinking, “Really? Just that?” and wondering what I was missing.

    But, not to grumble, nice answers at 8, 14, 19, 23 and a nice construction at 16. Thanks setter.

  36. I can’t believe what I’ve just read. Yesterday I was holding my head up in shame at how pathetic I was, yet again, at my attempt at a RayT puzzle. Lots of people commented on how easy it was. Today, I sailed through this one after breakfast and then headed out for a bit of retail therapy. I really enjoyed all of this puzzle but particularly 25a. It was my absolute favourite. Thanks to Silvanus and Deep Threat. The retail therapy didn’t work. I got quite a shock. I haven’t been to my nearest shopping mall since before Christmas. The two main department stores ( which were both anchor stores at either end of the mall), John Lewis and Debenhams have both closed. I will not visit the mall again. Goodness knows what is going to happen to it. House of Bruar here I come. It always delivers.

    1. Oh lordy, it is the thought of a good shopping trip that is keeping me going. John Lewis Closed!? Whatever next. The sheer smell of walking in through the make up department – yumyum. I keep getting the House of Bruar catalogues but as yet have not bought from them – though the clothes are right up my street. On the other hand, where am I going? I never throw anything away so have clothes coming out of my ears and realistically do not need anything.🤔

    2. House of Bruar for my money best cafe on the A9. Well worth dropping in.
      Biggles loves the break there with the walk up to the falls.
      Gourmet Fish & Chips ( not available by mail order DG).

    3. Love House of Bruar. Not bought any of their country clothing as yet but give me time.

  37. My printer ran out of ink this morning halfway through printing, and seeing as I do not particularly enjoy solving puzzles online, I did not get to look at this one. Reading the clues and answers above, I think I would have struggled today.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the puzzle, DT for the review, and my printer for saving me from (probably) a lot of cerebral effort :)

  38. Thank you Silvanus as I learned a lot from this ordeal – and DT deserves a medal for providing such clear explanations.

  39. A real struggle for me today and I eventually gave in and looked at the hints for 6d and 9a……isn’t it always the way, if you have 2 you cannot solve they cross…..

    Reassuring that I was not alone in finding it difficult.

    Thanks for the workout, Sylvanus, even though you defeated me.

    Thanks to Deep Threat for the hints.

    1. They were the 2 that I was left with too & needed to reveal the checker to solve so you weren’t alone.

  40. Didn’t mean to reply to another comment above… I’ve been waiting an hour and a half to get some tyres changed, so at least I’ve had something to do. But today’s not for me, even when I did tune into the right wavelength. Too many too contrived clues … e.g. 24a, which I’m surprised others haven’t mentioned. At least I didn’t pay for today’s as I’ve paid a subscription! Well done to those Charlies who use a fulcrum to wear Dutch shoes (6, 5)

  41. Total solved, six! Way beyond my capabilities.
    The theory is that the puzzles get more difficult as the week progresses, ergo, Friday is the most difficult. I can find no fault in that. A lot of us love the challenge, so I wouldn’t pander to us laggards, Silvanus.
    Thank you Silvanus, now to do something more constructive. Thanks DT for unravelling that lot.

        1. Thanks, Merusa. My European friends are all emailing me with ‘Fake News!’ ‘Fake News” ‘Fake News’! I wouldn’t worry about a goat-mouth if I were you. Your heart always seems to be in the right place.

  42. Thank you for this oeuvre Silvanus, it was somewhat above my pay grade but finished it (apart from 6d) eventually. Delighted to know it was one of your hardest! Didn’t envy DT for having to solve this and blog it by 11am, so thank you and for the very beautiful pic of 27a.

  43. Phew! Just finished this with a combination of hubby’s help and hints. I found this a stretch but pleased to have finished.

  44. Certainly had to work hard but slowly and surely we managed to get everything sorted. Lots of ticks on our papers but we’ll go with 1a as favourite and one of the last to solve.
    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

  45. It’s a bit of a relief that others found this on the tough side! I’ve managed just about a quarter of the puzzle and have lost the will to do any more! A beer calls, I think….

  46. I’m in the “at least everyone else found this difficult” camp this evening. Despite an early start, for me, I made slow if steady progress. But hey ho! Perseverance paid off and I got there in the end. Favourite was 1a. Thank to Silvanus, and for popping on, and DT.

  47. Late today, made even later by reading the comments.
    Found the puzzle a tough solve but finished as much due to dogged determination as anything. However it turned into a pleasing and satisfying solve.
    COTD 27a. Used to breed them & Mrs LROK’s favourite cat. Remember selling kitten in the 70s to woman who came in a new BMW. Cheque bounced. All Mrs LROK was worried about was how would a woman who paid with a dud cheque be able to afford to look after the kitten properly!
    Thanks to Silvanus & DT
    Took nearly as long to read a lively set of posts.
    Think some post from time to time just to “chuck a brick in the pond to watch the ripples”. No problem with that as I can ignore them.
    However posts that show pointed rudeness by obviously omitting to thank the setter should be removed in my view. Setters are genuinely erudite and intelligent individuals who provide us with entertainment & pleasure. They should not visit us to find posts by solvers who, out of apparent pettiness are bereft of common decency.

    1. You seem in good form, LROK and hitting right between the eyes! Good for you. I agree with your comments and it is unforgivable to blame the setter. If I cannot solve a puzzle, I blame myself.

      I hope you are feeling better.

      1. Thanks Steve,
        Not been a good week I’m afraid.
        Complicated future lies ahead with lots of unknowns.
        Like they say you can’t stop the ticking clock just hope to get it to tick more slowly.

        1. Understood, mate. Just hope you keep posting to let us know how things are with you. Biggles will understand so take comfort in him and, it goes without saying, the lady you asked to marry you when you were twenty, Mrs LROK.

          I wish you well, my friend.

          Oh, and keep doing crosswords! 🙂

        2. Well said and very fair. Regarding the future, I hope it’s not too difficult and, as you say, the clock ticks slower. Luckily, we are in the age of communication and we can keep in touch with friends far and wide, so important.

  48. Some folk are clearly willing to give a back page crossword more time than me. This was a ‘bin job and move on with your life’ puzzle for me

  49. Only had a few minutes last night to pick this up. so managed to finish this over breakfast this morning, Found it challenging to begin with but made steady progress and once checkers started to appear it made the finishing strait a little smoother. Like DT 1a was my last one in. On the whole I found this a really enjoyable challenge (I must be getting better with more chance to have a go at the daily cryptic at the moment) and the right level to get the grey matter working.
    Hats off to the setter and DT. ***/**** for me.
    Too many good clues for a COTD award.

Comments are closed.