DT 29487 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29487

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29487

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday.  Filling the grid fill on today's puzzle was straightforward, but parsing everything to my satisfaction extended my solving time enough to warrant 3* for difficulty.  I liked it, but I wonder if this will turn out to be one of those puzzles that divides opinion. 

This week's wildlife photo was taken last Saturday on a hike a few miles from my home.  While ambling along I was surprised by a sudden hissing sound coming from ground level.  I turned to see this disgruntled rattlesnake slithering off from the spot near the trail where he'd been sunbathing before I disturbed him:


I then watched from a safe distance while he found a sheltered spot under a rock and assumed the rattlesnake pose:


Exciting, because it's the first one I've seen in the wild and now I have the perfect illustration for the next time RATTLER appears in a grid.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the ANSWER buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration, and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might reveal more about the picture.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    One adult inside removes moisture in logs (7)
DIARIES:  The Roman one and the single letter for adult are inserted together in a word meaning "removes moisture" 

5a    Sad action at the end of a concert that's done by violinist? (7)
DOWNBOW:  [Edited 3pm] A synonym of sad followed by what a performer does at the end of a concert

9a    Looked towards fine, dazzling diamonds (5)
FACED:  Put together the pencil abbreviation for fine, dazzling or excellent, and the playing card abbreviation for diamonds 

10a   Schemes in gutsier novel (9)
INTRIGUES:  An anagram (novel) of IN GUTSIER 

11a   Feel tense leaving specialist with niece at sea (10)
EXPERIENCE:  The single letter for grammatical tense is deleted from (leaving) a generic specialist, and he's then followed by an anagram (at sea) of NIECE 

12a   Cigarette around noon -- it's in the mouth (4)
FANG:  An informal word for cigarette containing (around) the single letter for noon 

From the first vampire movie, FW Murnau's 1922  production "Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens" starring Max Schreck as the vampire

14a   Gathering everyone by yard from time to time (12)
OCCASIONALLY:  Link together a gathering or function, a synonym of everyone, and the single letter for yard 

18a   Incidents involved Devon temples (12)
DEVELOPMENTS:  An anagram (involved) of DEVON TEMPLES 

21a   Some opera I'd attended (4)
AIDA:  The wordplay tells us that the answer is hidden as some of the remainder of the clue.  The only legal way I can see to avoid double duty is to assume that our compiler has seen this opera and hence also take the entire clue as the definition.  Perhaps they'll drop in and tell us whether that's true 

New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess in Figaro

22a   I, ludicrous? Ludicrous! Ludicrous! (10)
RIDICULOUS:  An anagram (ludicrous) of I LUDICROUS 

25a   Supervised behaviour by editor (9)
CONDUCTED:  A synonym of behaviour is placed by the usual abbreviation for editor 

26a   Former lover, with skill, turned over (5)
EXTRA:  A usual former lover is followed by the reversal (turned) of skill or craft 

27a   Satisfied to admit you and I worked hard (7)
SWEATED:  A synonym of satisfied containing (to admit) a pronoun for "you and I" 

28a   Stammered, leaving female to get changed (7)
ALTERED:  Stammered or hesitated with the abbreviation for female deleted (… leaving female) 



1d    Sillier daughter behind the Queen (6)
DAFTER:  Assemble the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, the nautical behind, and the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth 

2d    Say yes to account, with 100 European banks in protest (6)
ACCEPT:  Concatenate an abbreviation for account, the Roman hundred, the single letter for European, and the outer letters of (banks in) ProtesT 

3d    Accidentally in court after awful tips from lawyer yesterday (10)
INDIRECTLY:  Cement together IN from the clue, awful or terrible, the map abbreviation for court, and the first letters of (tips from) Lawyer Yesterday 

4d    The woman goes round home to polish (5)
SHINE:  A pronoun for "the woman" contains (goes round) a usual word for homeClick here for information on the image

The tomb of Victor Noir in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris has become a fertility symbol

5d    Policeman evicted the vagrant leaving hotel (9)
DETECTIVE:  An anagram (vagrant) of EVICTED THE minus (leaving) the letter represented by hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet 

6d    Tan wide part of leg (4)
WHIP:  The cricket scoreboard abbreviation for wide is followed by the very top part of the leg 

7d    Caesar's killer you and I dismissed with partner, harshly (8)
BRUTALLY:  The killer of Julius Caesar has a pronoun for "you and I" deleted (dismissed) and a partner or supporter appended 

8d    Ropes supporting clever, arrogant chaps (4,4)
WISE GUYS:  Ropes used to steady something come after (supporting, in a down clue) clever or learned 

13d   Tool, it turns out, captivates blokes (10)
INSTRUMENT:  An anagram (out) of IT TURNS contains (captivates) a synonym of blokes 

15d   Chosen tart with a soft topping (9)
APPOINTED:  Tart or cutting preceded by (with … topping, in a down clue) both A from the clue and the musical abbreviation for soft or quietly

Pumpkin tart with a soft whipped cream topping

16d   A trip to secure five small loans (8)
ADVANCES:  A from the clue is followed by trip (the light fantastic) containing (to secure) the Roman five, and the clothing abbreviation for small is stuck on the end

17d   I've taken over sanctum on church grounds (8)
EVIDENCE:  Chain together the reversal (taken over) of I'VE from the clue, a sanctum or retreat, and the abbreviation for the Church of England

19d   Caught teal's head in entrance -- quack! (6)
DOCTOR:  The cricket abbreviation for caught and the first letter (… 's head) of Teal are together inserted in the entrance to a room 

20d   Jersey perhaps is put on boy around November (6)
ISLAND:  IS from the clue is followed by (put on, in a down clue) a synonym of boy that's containing (around) the letter represented by November in the NATO phonetic alphabet.  The definition here is by example (perhaps)

Jersey Island 

23d   State said Nile keeps rising (5)
INDIA:  The answer is hidden reversed (… keeps rising, in a down clue) in the remainder of the clue 

24d   Give up completely? Not completely (4)
QUIT:  All but the last letter (not completely) of an adverb meaning completely or utterly 


Thanks to today’s setter for an entertaining solve.  My favourite clue was 22a.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  BARBER + QUEUES = BARBEQUES (at time of writing the Quick Crossword available on the Telegraph Puzzles site has a terribly mangled grid, so this is my best guess for the pun after considering possible solutions to the first two across clues)

114 comments on “DT 29487

  1. A standard offering for a Tuesday, I thought. I progressed steadily, and just hesitated for a short while at the last couple of fences in the SW, but after a breather to do the Quickie, a revisit soon had the last few completed, in a *** time.

    COTD has to be the quite excellent 22a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  2. The Quick Crossword has been corrected on the Telegraph Puzzles site. Chris Lancaster updated after I e-mailed him earlier this morning.

  3. Nothing too outlandish today – thanks to setter and Mr K.

    Am I being pernickety to suggest that ‘you and I’ in 7d should be ‘we’ (as used correctly in 27a) not ‘us’? ‘Us’ should be ‘you and me’.

    The clues I liked best were 22a and 15d.

  4. I thought this was cryptic and quirky and on the whole good fun. Like Mr K, the main difficulty came in parsing it all, and in my case by spelling 14a incorrectly. I did have to check 5a but guessed it from the wordplay.
    I thought 22a was a 22a clue (in a good way) and I particularly liked 27& 28a, plus 17d too, but my top spot goes to 11a.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

    1. I really agree with your comments totally! And made the same mistake. I’m sure 14a was spelt with one cuff and 2 sleeves.

  5. Failed to start in the top half so moved south and completed the bottom half at a decent rate then, having tuned in, the top half fell into place.
    .Some difficult parsing and a ***/*** for me as per Mr K,
    A wide variety of clues and an enjoyable solve.
    Liked the clever surfaces of 7d and 8d, 22a was most imaginative and of course deserves a mention, last in was 5a which was new to me, favourite was 1a .

  6. I must have been really on wavelength with this puzzle, which I thoroughly enjoyed and whizzed through quite quickly (*/****). There were some delightfully quirky clues, the most outstanding being 22a, although 7d was also amusing. Thank you for the review Mr K and thanks also to Mister Ron for an entertaining puzzle.

  7. No real difficulty today **/*** I did have to check google for 5a because it’s not a term I’ve come across but it couldn’t be anything else. No real favourite. 20d gives a thoughtful bit of misdirection. I expect I wasn’t the only one to start thinking of some form of garment first. Thanks to all.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyable and a pleasure to solve with the excellent 22a my top clue. I have seen this construction several times with different answers but this was one of the best. Like our blogger, a couple of parsings pushed out the solving time a tad.

    Thanks to Mr K and our Tuesday setter(Prolixic?)

    1. You flatter me, but I have not reached those exalted ranks. However, if Chris Lancaster is reading the comments…!

  9. For some strange reason I found this a bit tricky. Getting the spelling wrong for 14a didn’t help and using the wrong tense for 9a didn’t either. Still, most enjoyable and my COTD is 5d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the hints and kitties.

  10. A shining (tea, a shiny!) example of a first-rate Tuesday cryptic equaled by a sparkling set of hints and comments and pictorials by our illustrious host. 22a would seem to be today’s big clue, but I also enjoyed the entire NE corner, with 5a a brilliant example of our compiler having it both ways. Thanks to Mr K for giving us a shot of the great Kiri te Kanawa as our ‘Diva du Jour’, though I would have preferred seeing Leontyne Price there; she was the definitive Aida for my generation of opera-goers. Medallists today: 22a, 5a, 7/8d (a draw). Plaudits to Mr K and today’s fine setter. 2* / 4*


    1. Sorry folks for the typo. I was trying to be cute with (Yea, a shiny!). Curses, foiled by my typing!

    2. Robert – re Nicola Walker whose performance you like in LTIH. If you’ve not seen it she stars in a rather good cold case detective series called Unforgotten. Series 1& 3 are particularly good & feature great performances from Tom Courtenay & Alex Jennings. Think it’s available on Netflix.

    3. Hi Robert,
      I did reply to your question about crawdads/birds (silly me) but not until this morning as I stayed up until stupid o’clock to see Cromwell off to his execution. Mightily relieved to have got to the end of that one and intend to start on ‘The Go-between’ later today. The crayfish should be here by the end of the week.

      1. You’ll enjoy The Go Between Jane – have read it every year since doing it for A level many years ago. The best opening line in literature for my money.

    4. I hope these threads don’t turn political so I won’t mind if this gets deleted but I think *******.

      1. Hear hear, I have been saying since the beginning that history will show this as the greatest example of mass hysteria ever seen. I was going to make further comments but I don’t feel this is the right platform for political debate.

        1. Mass hysteria! You are mistaken, Brian. This is not a political debate; it’s a matter of simple humanity.

        2. Brian,
          I wish I had the information you must have to make your statement. To be able to have said it “from the beginning” shows you to be wise beyond your years.
          It is a bit of “GK” I certainly can’t find!
          Perhaps if you were vulnerable like many of us you may have a different perspective.
          I am not hysterical nor, in this instance political.
          My view is that it is an apolitical problem so the debate and solution should be apolitical also.

      2. That’s all very well, but for those of us who are very vulnerable and are behaving sensibly and responsibly it is very alarming to see so many others behaving stupidly and thoughtlessly. I would love to go into a shop if I thought other people were going to respect my space. Just a comment.

        1. A very valid comment, Daisygirl. I have been given strict instructions by my consultant to stay in isolation because the virus is not going away for a long time. It irks me to see people gathering in groups with no regard at all for the precautions. No wonder we are getting thousands of new cases a day.

          1. My husband is in the same position, Steve. If I were to ignore the restrictions, then caught the virus and passed it to him, with dire consequences, I’d not be able to live with myself. As far as history is concerned, we will never know how many additonal lives would have been lost without the restrictions, so any judgement would be speculative.

          2. I was in Shrewsbury market this morning, and a man near me started coughing – a lot. When he had finished his wife looked at him and said ‘Bless You’. Hmmmmm…….

      3. **********
        I do wonder from time to time how many members of our puzzle-solving community have been lost to COVID. The fifty or so commenters visible here are a tiny fraction of the thousands who visit the blog each day. The UK and US death rates imply that so far several of them must have died from it and many more been sickened.

        1. Gosh Mr. K – that is A- MAZE- ING. Really? There was me thinking what an exclusive little group we are and you say thousands visit the site daily! Just as well
          they are not all as verbose as we are or we would NEVER be able to assimilate the blog!
          You make a very serious point there, so many people seem to be slipping through the net despite track and trace etc. And as for not living our lives afraid, I have already spent six years of my life being afraid, several hours terrified, buried underground on my own when I was nine, but I am more afraid now because the enemy is unseen and amongst us.

          1. Hi, DG. The site logs show that each back-page blog gets several thousand visitors. I did a survey on the blog readership a few years ago (http://bigdave44.com/2017/10/24/survey-results/) where 1500 readers cared enough to respond. What we see here is the tip of the iceberg.

            I agree with everyone saying that you can’t live your life being afraid of what might happen (I have my own reasons for reaching that conclusion, but your story about being buried underground sounds especially terrifying). I also agree with the sentiment that we should be doing everything we can to reduce the risk that we infect somebody else.

          2. So, Daisygirl, you and I have lived through bombs, V1s and V2’s.? Yes it was a scary childhood but I’m always glad I was allowed to stay in London for the duration, What worries me is that last time we endured 6 years while today everyone is dispirited after a mere 6 months. We girls must lead by example DG and dust off our stiff upper lips – to go with our even stiffer elderly limbs!
            Seriously, I do hope your knees are sorted soon. You must find the constant pain very lowering.

            1. Yeay, we obviously have something in common! Doodlebug on Banstead Village August Bank Holiday 1944, at breakfast time. My mother had left me to sleep in the ‘safety’ of the Anderson shelter, It could have been yesterday – never forgotten – the dead silence and the smell of earth. We got our stiff upper lips then, I reckon.

        2. I’m with Daisygirl on this one. It may well be something we have to learn to live with and thats fine if we all play fair. I agree that the doom mongers are going over the top BUT, it IS serious. Here in Norfolk there are still literally hundreds of tourists all flouting the guidelnes. I keep being told ‘We are on holiday,so there’ – a truly awful breed of tourists have come here this year and made the life of residents miserable and taking our GP appointments. I just want to yell Go Home!

        3. As part of the silent majority of visitors, just wanted to say thanks to all for the contributions to this Blog. I do, as must many other silent site visitors, appreciate all the work that must go in to compiling all the clues and of course the crosswords themselves. After a couple of years skulking on the blog, I now usually just need to read the comments and occasional help with parsing so Thanks Again.


        1. Bluebird, I was really writing in response to Aldhelm and Brian. I suppose I envy those people who feel they can cope with the situation and forge ahead. I don’t feel I can – My weakness.

          1. Yes, I was prompted to comment by their replies too, DG. We must all as individuals do what feels safe to us. It’s OK for private citizens to be optimistic – I am myself, as a disposition, but not to behave in a way that might put others at some risk, in their eyes, if not in mine.
            We’re well into the naughty crater now so await the Redacting Angel that is BD.

    5. This post has turned into a bit of a Covid/Trump fest – two very divisive issues
      Let’s not go there, or much wailing and gnashing of teeth shall come to pass

  11. Am afraid I’ll break ranks with the comments thus far & say I didn’t overly care for this one. Not really sure why but perhaps because I found some of the surfaces a little clunky – 7d & 22a examples for me. That said I did enjoy 8d & 27a & found it a fairly straightforward solve despite taking far longer than I ought to have on the 10a anagram.
    With thanks to the setter nevertheless & to Mr K for the review.

  12. I found this very straight forward today and completed in 1* time and 4* for enjoyment, 5a I parsed as sad (down) and action at the end of a concert as the artist bowing (bow)
    22a fav clue.
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

      1. Me too. I also parsed it as sad = down and action at the end of a concert = bow, as in taking a bow.

  13. I quite enjoyed this crossword but enjoyed Mr K’s comments and tips more. Fascinated by your rattlesnake photos. Do take care! Xx

  14. No problems encountered today beyond checking on 5a, a term that was unfamiliar to me.
    For some reason I didn’t particularly enjoy this one but Mr K’s feline frolics and the wonderful performance by that young violinist soon set things to rights. Very pleased to report that I’m unlikely to meet a rattlesnake on Anglesey!

    Thanks to our setter and to our excellent reviewer.

    1. I have met an Adder on a couple of occasions – Once on The Cheviot on the last day of the Pennine Way, and also when they flooded Kielder Water in the early eighties

  15. What a change from yesterday, brain must have been switched on today. Completed well within my two cafitierre time limit. I still cannot understand why one day is a stinker and the next completed in good time. Favourite clues 11a and 15d. Dog walking now braving strong winds.
    Thanks to MrK and setter.

  16. Beautiful picture of Lola, Terence. She has the look that says, “You are doing that wrong”.

  17. What a difference a day makes – today was painless and fun but hence presented no excuse for delaying attending to chores. SE last corner to acquiesce. Haven’t previously come across 5a. 22a amused. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  18. Another great puzzle today with some smashing clues. The little 24d held me up for ages, I often find the small ones much more difficult than the longer ones. I hadn’t heard of 5a either but quite easy to work out. Strangely rather a nice day here in N Norfolk. New double oven arriving Thursday, yippee. They (AO on line) tried to flog me a policy for 6.99 a month. Ths oven has lasted 18 years so do the maths – some 1000 quid would have been wasted if I had taken out such policy last time!

    1. I never take out such insurance policies with appliances. They are just a rip off. We would have paid £1000 extra for our fridge. :sad:

      1. We tend to use John Lewis who automatically give a two year guarantee on most things. (Other brands are available – no, we don’t have any connection with them!)

        1. John Lewis were the same price but much later delivery. I think 2 years guarantee is standard. Interestingly the girl asked if we had used AO before. Yes we had, a built in fridge a couple of years ago (amazingly we managed to install it ourselves). Later in the conversation she said we had taken out the same cover on our fridge in2016. Checked back in my bank account – oh no we hadn’t!! Alarming sales technique for elderley not quite so savvy people.

          1. I always go to John Lewis. In some items the warranty is extended free beyond two years. They have replaced small electrical items for me when out of warranty on the basis they should have lasted longer. How long they will be able to keep it up I don’t know but still honouring “Never knowingly undersold”

      2. We never take them either. They are always a hard sell when you are buying something. And our credit card doubles all warranties anyway.

        1. When I get a new phone, as I had to the other week, they always offer me a 2 year warranty. I always point out that I can get a new phone after 2 years, they never pursue it after that.

  19. Very enjoyable but 5a pushed it into *** for difficulty as it is not a term I am familiar with and the all-in-one clue didn’t help much.
    Only got it by a process of elimination. Poorly clued in my opinion, if you are going to use an odd or less familiar term, then at least give the solver something to work with. Shame because everything else was well clued.
    I did like 8d and 2 particularly.
    Thx to all

  20. Nothing too difficult today although a few held me up for a bit and I found the top trickier than the bottom.
    I’d never heard of 5a and 3d took ages because I was trying to fit an anagram of ‘tips’ into it somehow.
    I don’t want to be picky but I don’t think that the word used in 6d is ‘part of the leg’.
    I liked 2d and my favourite was either 22a or 15d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K.
    Still haven’t done the Sunday crossword or Mr Rookie so going to have a go at one of those after some ‘useful stuff’ – always nice to have a reward.

    1. I kind of agree with you Kath, about 6d – hell, it’s after 6pm, so I’ll say “hip”.
      But then I thought what a vague term it is, together with its counterpart “shoulder”. Some people think of it as a fleshy area generally at the side below the waist and to some people it’s an actual bone sticking out (pelvis) at the side. Same with shoulders. They’re really just a conjugation of bones forming more or less complicated named joints. So, strictly speaking not part of the leg, but not part of anywhere else above it much either. I’ve spent the day considering the poor Geraint Thomas’s injury…..
      I think you are entitled, in your professional hat, to be as picky as you like. It’s just your natural modesty holding you back.
      It just make me realise that the whole of today’s puzzle was rather violent, not to say deviant in tone.

  21. I never did understand the difference between me, I, we and us. Ah well that’s what comes of passing English language O level at 14 to get it out if the way and allow me to concentrate on more important things. Easy peasy today but just as enjoyable. I was going to quibble about 3d where I took “in” to mean in-between but I hadn’t read the clue properly. In 1d I think the first three words are sufficient.

  22. Anyone tried Donnybrook’s Toughie? I’m quite encouraged by what I have solved so far. Doubt I’ll finish but will persevere.

  23. A lot to enjoy here, 1a amused me as I am a compulsive diarist, George was familiar with 5a with his musical expertise, 21a one of my favourite operas especially when seen in Verona where George was lucky enough to have to visit frequently. I thought the cat with big teeth was rather scary and the young violinist – what a showman! So thank you Mr K (you can keep your rattlesnakes) and Mr Ron, the sun is shining at the moment and the sheets blowing on the line,Trump has conquered Covid so all is well.

    1. I saw the 21a opera at the Caracalla Baths in Rome, I still remember that as if it happened yesterday.

  24. Tougher end of the Tuesday spectrum for me. Satisfying solve with a number of good clues.
    COTD was 22a.
    Steady if unspectacular progress with lack of concentration to blame so meandered into *** time.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for the review.

  25. A nice Tuesday Cryptic lots of good clues but the ones that stood out for me wee 22a, 8d & 2Od, I had some trouble with the grid on the web site for the quickie(living in Vancouver I get the puzzles at 4pm local time), this was a nice Tuesday solve.

    My thanks to the setter and to Mr. K(Please stay away from the rattlers)

  26. My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, because my outstanding, Pulitzer Prize winning (potentially) comment from this morning has disappeared. Oh, I am weeping, and, indeed, wailing. Additionally, I am bereft.

    1. Hi, Terence. I don’t know why your comment disappeared, but it did go out in the email feed and so it was not lost forever. Here it is (and I do like the new pic of Lola):

      “I really like this puzzle because it is very direct – you follow the wordplay and the answer is there. My favourite puzzle for some time (*Voice from the side: “Does this mean you solved this one unaided and thus you’re full of the joys of autumn?” Me: “Well… yes… but how did you know…?”).
      A new photo of Lola adorns my icon thingy. Now we have to go and retrieve the bin as the dustcart has just noisily departed the area. Where are my footmen when I need them?

      Thanks to the setter and the celebrated Mr. K.”

      1. Ironic that part of the inscription on Keats’ gravestone said “Here Lies One whose Name was writ in Water”.

      2. Thanks Mr K. I shall cease my weeping now. As we can see it was a work of great importance on a par with the Great Bard and Chaucer at the very least.

    2. Ah, Terence, but “tender is the night” and my hope is that your day will end quite joyously now that Mr K has delivered your prize-winning comment.

  27. Thanks Mr K and the setter; this was a ** for difficulty although I blundered with 25a assuming ‘concert’ as the first part of clue … I also thought that 21a was unusual.

  28. Nice crossword 😃 ***/*** 5a was new to me but straightforward clueing 🤔 Favourites: 1a & 17d Thanks to Mr K for his always excellent blog and to today’s Setter 🤗

  29. As is the norm for a working day I arrive here after most has been said already
    22a brilliant, I had to wait for 24d to reveal its checker before I could pick the right start to 25a
    I managed this all by my self leaving lots of lunchtime for the toughie but sparse progress there brought me here for Mr K’s excellent blog and I will read the blog and comments after I have taken Mama Bee to the supermarket
    Thanks to Mr K and setter
    Lola looks like she wants you to put that puzzle down and give her some attention!

  30. Found this puzzle right up my alley and completed at a fast canter (to quote Senf) 1.5*/**** NW area last to complete with 2d last in.
    Some really nice clues including1a, 12a, 14a, 7d & 19d with 19d the winner and 1a close second.
    1d & 22a caused me to smile!

    Thanks to setter and Mr K for the hints.

  31. Loved 22a but I need to learn to spell the answer as for some entirely nonsense reason I had an E blocking 15d which was my last in. It took me an age to realise my error. Otherwise quite gentle and enjoyable. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  32. I really enjoyed this once I’d found the wavelength. I agree, unravelling some was a problem, but Mr. K provided the parsing.
    Fave was the ludicrous 22a. I can’t believe how long it took to solve the anagram at 18a, I needed all the checkers.
    Thanks to our setter for the fun, and to Mr. K for the sorting out. If I had those reptiles anywhere near my house, I’d emigrate.

  33. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. Found it very tricky in places. Needed electronic help for 25a, just couldn’t think of the synonym of behaviour. Also needed the hints for 1a and 24d. I thought 22a was quite original, but my favourite was 19d. Didn’t care much for 5a. Had 6d wrong, I put “whit”. A new anagram indicator in 5d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  34. What a delightful puzzle. Started late today as we were out for breakfast (outside and socially distanced) trying to support one of our coffee shop haunts. Everything went together smoothly, although I do have to confess I solved most of them from checkers rather than the clues. I think it was MP who said to look for the definition at the start or end of a clue, and that has helped me immensely. COTD was 7d, closely followed by 8d. Thanks to setter and Mr K. Could do with more puzzles like this.

  35. An enjoyable solve for us too. 5d was a term that was new to us but easily obtained from the wordplay.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  36. I’m in the “good crossword apart from the hmms” this evening. They are 28a, 6d, 15d and 16d. Having said that it was saved by the absolutely brilliant 22a. I was sorely tempted to join in the Covid 19 comments earlier but I’ll settle for saying “believe nothing of what you hear or read and only half of what you see”. We are not being told the truth. That’s a euphemism for we’re being lied to, I’ll leave it there. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  37. Just back home after playing my last game of cricket of a very truncated season. Here’s hoping that the 2021 season can proceed normally.

    2.5*/3.5*. This was a strange solve. I started as usual in the NW corner and made almost no headway. The other three corners then went in smoothly and, when I returned to tackle the NW for the second time, I couldn’t see why I had found it so difficult at the outset.

    Like many others, 5a was new word for me but one which easily derivable from the wordplay.

    22a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  38. 3*/4*….
    liked 19D “caught teal’s head in entrance — quack! (6)”….
    have to mention 22A though “I, ludicrous? Ludicrous! Ludicrous! (10)”

    1. I forgot to mention 22a in my comment, which was very remiss of me. I thought it a terrific clue.

  39. Romped through most of this effortlessly Leaving three in NE and falling asleep and missing All Creatures Great and Small on Channel 5. Waking during the night and polishing off 5a 6d and 10a in that order. Like others I had not heard of the 5a word but got the second half and liked the play on words bow/bow – same spelling different pronunciation. I realised I was looking for an anagram in 10a but just could not see it until I wrote it down and juggled the missing letters. I do not agree with Mr K about the parsing. I solved it by the parsing from the clever wordplay eg 1 10a and 2 17 and 19d. I agree with the majority about the brilliant 22a. Thanks setter and enjoyed Mr K’s contribution especially the snake.

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