DT 29498 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29498

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29498

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja on a cool but sunny morning.

I didn’t find today’s puzzle too tricky but that might be because the four 15 letter answers all fell fairly quickly to give lots of checkers.  I think if you don’t get them early on then the puzzle may turn out to be made of sterner stuff.  There seems to be a larger than usual helping of anagrams which will please many of you.  I found it quite enjoyable so I’ll be interested to see if you agree.

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           What to broadcast about opening of public walkway (7)
TOWPATH:  Anagram (broadcast) of WHAT TO placed around a P  (about opening of Public).

5a           Couple of pages penned by marvellous American film director (7)
COPPOLA:  A couple of P’s for pages placed inside (penned by) a slang term for marvellous and followed by A(merican).

9a           Is this what produces the nation’s heavyweights? (3,3,2,3,4)
THE FAT OF THE LAND:  A cryptic definition of what might produce some overweight people.

10a         Disadvantaged, English journalist in New York (5)
NEEDY:  E(nglish) and the usual two letter journalist placed inside New York.

11a         Spend money freely in spot abroad (6,3)
SPLASH OUT:  This is a spot as in a spot of water or other liquid.  Follow it with a word meaning abroad or not in.  Took a while before I connected the answer with spot, d’oh!

12a         Church altar misused by an impostor (9)
CHARLATAN:  The abbreviation of church followed by an anagram (misused) of ALTAR and finally the AN from the clue.

14a         Court official, that woman, is behind us (5)
USHER:  This court official isn’t a tennis umpire but an official in a court of law.  Start with the US from the clue and behind it put a word meaning that woman.

15a         False stories in case later circulated (5)
TALES:  This is a lurker hiding in (in) CASE LATER but it’s backwards (circulated).

16a         Evergreen song about a posh vehicle (9)
ARAUCARIA:  Start with the A from the clue.  Add to this the single letter for posh and a vehicle and around that lot put an operatic song and you’ll get a monkey puzzle tree.  It’s also the pseudonym of one of my favourite crossword setters, the late, great John Graham.

18a         Trained osteopaths losing face immediately (9)
POSTEHASTE:  Anagram (trained) of STEOPATHS  (osteopaths losing face).  I always thought this was hyphenated.

21a         Apportion a return of tax (5)
ALLOT:  A from the clue followed by a reversal of (return of) a sort of tax.  There’s one of these taxes on the Tamar bridge at Plymouth.  You can go into Cornwall for free but you have to pay to get out.  I wonder if there’s a point being made?

22a         At home, everyone’s against school discipline, to be fair (2,3,10)
IN ALL CONSCIENCE:  The usual words for at home and everyone give you the first two words of the answer.  The last word is a charade of a word meaning against or anti and a subject studied at school.

23a         Gold for one member (7)
ELEMENT:  Something that gold is an example of could just about be a member.

24a         Barge  carrying less weight (7)
LIGHTER:  Double definition.


1d           Enormous, person of great importance in charge (7)
TITANIC:  A giant or person of great importance followed by the usual two letters for in charge.

2d           Welsh are agreed, unusually, welcoming English film (5,6,4)
WHERE EAGLES DARE:  Anagram (unusually) of WELSH ARE AGREED with an E inserted (welcoming E(nglish)).  I wonder if this film will be on the telly again at Christmas.

3d           A foolish strike arising in plant (9)
AMARYLLIS:  Start with the A from the clue.  After this you need a reversal (arising in a down clue) of a word meaning foolish and a word for strike or run into.

4d           Rings hotel over my mistake (5)
HOOPS:  H(otel) followed by what you might say when you make a mistake.

5d           Left wearing a coat in a rocky region of Spain (9)
CATALONIA:  L(eft) placed inside (wearing) an anagram (rocky) of A COAT IN A.  This took a tad longer than it should because I would naturally use the Spanish spelling and it don’t fit!

6d           Iron  clasp (5)
PRESS:  Double definition.

7d           Flying separately, heading for Tinseltown, not in touch with reality? (2,7,6)
ON ANOTHER PLANET:  A phrase meaning flying separately followed by T (heading for Tinseltown).

8d           Amazingly adroit employing university examiner (7)
AUDITOR:  Anagram (amazingly) of ADROIT with a U(niversity) inserted (employing).

13d         Before game, troop’s leader organised wheels? (9)
TRANSPORT:  Take another word for a game and before it put a T (Troop’s leader) and the usual word for organised or managed.

14d         Endless nuisance playing golf (9)
UNCEASING:  Anagram (playing) of NUISANCE  followed by the letter represented by the word golf in the phonetic alphabet.

15d         Joint best team (7)
TOPSIDE:  Not a joint as in an ankle but a joint of beef you might have for Sunday lunch.  Split it (3,4) and you get a phrase meaning best team.

17d         A new snag involving black burrowing animal (7)
ANTBEAR:  Take the A and N(ew) from the clue followed by a word meaning to snag or to rip with a B(lack) inserted (involving) and you’ll get another name for an aardvark.

19d         Own around fifty split down the middle (5)
HALVE:  A word meaning to own or be in possession of placed around the Roman numeral for fifty.

20d         Stand when cutting fish (5)
EASEL:  An artist’s stand is another word for when placed inside (cutting) a long thin fish.

As usual on a Monday there’s some good stuff here but my favourite is 2d for it’s surface.  Also on the podium are 7d and 9a.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:           WEAR     +     DOUGH     =     WEIRDO

Bottom line:     STRAY     +     TOFF     =     STRAIGHT OFF

100 comments on “DT 29498

  1. First daily puzzle I’ve had time to do for a while (combination of work busy-ness and EVs taking up several days’ worth of puzzling time!) so I was pleased it was so straightforward. I got 3 of the long ones straight away, which was enough to be getting on with.

    It’s always nice to be reminded of 16a. My top few clues today were 3d (foolish strike), 4d (mistake), and 23a (gold).

    Thank you Campbell for an enjoyable puzzle, and Pommers for the hints that I’m about to read to parse the couple I bunged in.

  2. A first class Monday offering I thought. The two plants were the last to fall, both obtainable from the checkers and wordplay.
    I don’t normally choose anagrams/partial anagrams for podium places but I thought both 12&18a were excellent and great words to boot. I also like 23a& 13d
    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for their excellent works.

  3. Not a very taxing start to the week. **/*** The only one that gave me any trouble was the monkey puzzle tree but it is solvable from the checkers and breaking down the clue as described in the hints. I had to google the answer to check because my knowledge of trees is sadly lacking, especially of those not native to this country. Favourite 22a. Thanks to all.

  4. This was a very straightforward but, nonetheless, enjoyable (4*) puzzle, which I completed in 1.5 * time. I really liked 9a, which was witty and clever, whilst 22a was well put together with good misdirection. 16a was similarly wellput together. My main problem was spelling 5a, until I got a few chec3kwrs in. Thanks to Pommers for the hints and to the compiler ( Campbell).

  5. An enjoyable Monday puzzle, made even more so by the fact that I couldn’t resist buying a paper when I was in our local post office earlier today. Having spent so many years solving in the newspaper version, it isn’t quite the same on a piece of A4 paper!

    Pleased to see that the link to one of today’s news stories (1d) is much nicer than the one on Saturday

    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers

  6. An excellent start to the solving week, with some outstanding surfaces. 7d was my favourite of many. Campbell is fast becoming a firm favourite with me as the quality hardly varies from week to week.

    Many thanks to the man himself and to pommers.

  7. The long clues provided amusement to start the day. I was a little bit puzzled over the “member” in 23a, but it was what it was. All in all, good fun to start the working week. Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    1. 23a works for me in the context of mathematical sets. The symbol ∈, a stylized letter ‘E’ for ‘element’, is used to indicate something is a member of a set.

      It works less well for, say, a member of a golf club.

    2. Florence, without needing specialist mathematical knowledge, one of the definitions of “member” in the BRB is “a distinct part of a whole”, which is an equally good definition for 23a.

      1. Quite so, RD. As the (made-up) saying goes: why use a simple, basic explanation when a complicated, obscure, contrived scientific one will do.

  8. Lovely start to the week. Not overly taxing though it was a good job the wordplay led you to 3d & 16a. Last to fall was 17d where again the wordplay got me there as I wouldn’t have known it was an alternative name for an aardvark. Particularly liked 7d & 9a and enjoyed 2d, a film I haven’t seen for many a year – Broadsword calling Danny Boy……
    Thanks to Campbell & to Pommers

    1. 2d was the first film I went to with my Dad- I always try and see it when it crops up on the telly and I probably know the dialogue off by heart now

  9. Lots to like in this top-notch Monday offering, especially the long answers which took a bit of sorting out for me. Still, my favourites include only one of them, 7d, as well as 12a, 16a, 3d, and 13d. Thanks to pommers for the hints and to Campbell. 2.5* / 4*

  10. Yes, a very enjoyable start to the week! My rating is 2*/4* with 7d my favourite.

    I’ve never heard of 17d but it was easily derivable from the wordplay.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  11. Finished in ** with *** for enjoyment. Best clues for me were 9a and 15d. I was held up by 15d by looking for words like hipster so the rekrul at 15a did not occur to me.

    Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  12. A nice gentle start to the week, although 16a wasn’t one that immediately came to my mind. Lots to like and so for me a most entertaing Monday puzzle. Thanks to all. :-)

  13. Managed to make speedy progress through this once the 4 long answers were in and was only held up on 16a and 17d both of which needed a quick check via google to confirm. A very enjoyable and satisfying start to the week especially after yesterday’s ST cryptic which left me somewhat bewildered…:-)..
    Top marks to 12a, 2d, (a great film from my youth), 7d and 15d
    Thanks to setter and Pommers….. **/****

  14. Enjoyed this. Largely straightforward although did need to confirm I had constructed a tree in 16a. 4d was my favourite. Thanks to the setter and Pommers.

  15. A bit more of a challenge than most recent Monday puzzles, but no less enjoyable, completed at a gallop – 2.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 3d, and 7d – and the winner is 16a.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  16. Had to resort to the hints for 23a.
    Otherwise OK. Liked 16a ….a great setter…..and laughed at 7d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    Dreich here today…….

  17. A great start to the week with lots to like. The SW corner held out the longest and 23a was my LOI because, like Florence, I stayed too long working on arms and legs. My favourites are two of the long ones, 9a and 7d with the latter being my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the hints.

  18. An enjoyable start to the week completed relatively quickly ( before lunch) and after getting up very late -shame! 3 new bits of knowledge today 24a 16a and 17d. Got stuck on 22a – couldn’t get detention out of my head for “school discipline” – so suspect I fell completely into the setters trap. ( And no that isn’t a reflection of mis-spent youth – i was a goodie two shoes at school); Last in 6d – I just didn’t see it -doh!
    Thanks to Pommers for the hints for a couple of bung ins and 16 a which i couldn’t parse. Is U the single letter for posh?
    I think ** a fair reflection of the difficulty thanks to the setter for getting it spot on and *** for then enjoyment. No standout clues they were all good in their own way.

    1. Yes, U is the letter for posh as in U and non-U. Worth remembering as it’s a crossword regular.

      1. There was a well known book written on the subject by, I seem to think, Nancy Mitford. For instance serviette is non-U as being a word imported by the pesky french invaders in 1066 supplanting the native word napkin. I think it was my mother’s bible. Lavatory instead of toilet and pardon was a big Nono. Is it any wonder I am the way I am?

        1. Over here, they often call the bathroom sink a lavatory? The mind boggles at the confusion for some tourists ….

          1. When I visited Toronto with a girlfriend many years ago, she accidentally dropped her handbag into the harbour. There was a guy in a boat so I shouted at him “Could you get that handbag, please? He looked at me puzzled. “Get the what?” “The handbag” I shouted and pointed to it. “Oh, you mean the purse!” He replied.

            1. Pommette once dropped her handbag into the harbour at Conwy while boarding our boat and, against all known laws of physics, the damn thing floated!

          2. Even more confusing in France where Le lavabo is sink or wash basin but can also mean lavatory.

        2. Yes, Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love, her sister Jessica also wrote about her family, calling her parents Aunt Sadie and Uncle Matthew. Mirror was non-U, you must say looking-glass. Their books were all hilarious.

        3. I too, remembered the u and non u expression as being from one of the Mitford sisters. It never really made much sense but it’s something that’s stuck in my memory bank. So thanks for that, Daisy.

  19. Another reliably good puzzle from our Monday setter and it was the four long answers that earned my ticks today. I also liked 14d which really made me smile!

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review and the reminder of the film that made me weep buckets at the time…….

      1. It made me cry with laughter. The Germans only fired blanks. Every shot fired by our side killed somebody. Highly unlikely!

        1. Also, with these type of war/adventure films where a daring mission is involved, the raiding party seems to travel very lightly but on arrival at the venue all sorts of previously invisible equipment and weaponry miraculously materialises.

    1. Sorry to mislead you all – I was referring to the film about the survivor from the Titanic as shown in pommers’ clip.

  20. Brilliant Monday puzzle I had to resort to hints for 16a got there in the end with a bitbif head scratching. Pommers quite right snout the long clues, got them sorted quickly it certainly helped. I quite liked 12a and 7d. Not many people about today, very few cliff walkers but most sensible, although dogs greet people carefully but usually get a stroke.
    Thanks to Pommers, always entertaining and to setter Cambell.
    I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

    1. I let Hudson run free while we walk across the fields but I call him to me and put his lead on if we meet someone. Everyone else does the same so dogs don’t get touched by people or other dogs.

      Strange times.

      1. Mine are very well behaved, a whistle will bring them to my sude where they sit. If people want to stroke them I make sure thst they know its their rusk, and that they have a check every two months. It was quite a task to train two boxers ” boot” and ” defer” boot because he is brown and defer, d for dog. Daft I know but there you go,both three years old to It was hard to train them to sit in a sensible manner! They do get a treat after sitting quietly.
        I hope Hudson enjoys his walks.

        1. He does, Spook. Trouble is – and I think this is true of all dogs – I could walk him all day and we would both get back exhausted. Thirty minutes later he would be up and ready to go again as I lay exhausted.

      2. That’s great. Our Toby, a super yellow lab, could never be let off leash. Despite all best attempts to get him to return, he thought it was all one huge game. Rushing up to you, just out of reach, a wag of the tail, and off he went again. The same if he managed to push past us when we opened the front door to anyone. Our trainer said he was an incurable “runner”. Such a character.

        1. Biggles thinks anyone walking near his path must have a dog and therefore have a treat in their right coat pocket. This in spite of years never carrying treats & telling other owner never to feed him.
          He has now started a new “game” after our walk we open the back & he runs off. Went on for 10 minutes with Mrs LrOK on Saturday.
          Such an idiot (probably applies to me more than him)
          His birthday Thursday. What do you buy a dog that has everything (except brains)?

          1. The trouble is that you should all have had collies – you’d never have had such problems. Right, I’m off now . . . sorry pommers, I know you’re not a dog person.

        2. A pocket of biscuits helps with training them to come when called. Once they know there are treats available they will immediately come when called. The trick is to not give them a biscuit every time but just fuss and pat them when they return.

  21. Enjoyable puzzle to start the week. As said above, finding the fifteen letter answers speedily is key here. 16a and 17d were new to me but were gettable due to the checking letters.
    Chatting to H yesterday I remarked that I had looked at my diary for the weekend exactly one year ago. We went to watch Chelsea on the Saturday, and then on the Sunday we had afternoon tea in Shere (Surrey) and went for a walk. If one of us had said to the other then, that in a years time, only the walk would be available to us due to a worldwide pandemic, we would have thought the other one had lost their marbles. Where on earth will we be in another year’s time?

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. I went to my handbag diary the other day and found the ribbon marking August! My eldest grandson was supposed to be getting married on Saturday, our whole world has been turned upside down since that date was fixed.

      1. Went to write a date in my 2021 diary this morning (only a haircut, nothing exciting!) and suddenly realised that I hadn’t even ordered my refill for next year. Says it all really………..

        1. I have just counted 13 diaries on my desk, each one for a specific purpose
          My main scribble pad diary looks like the author is a lunatic (enough said…)
          Most of the entries appear to be meaningless – goodness knows what I was thinking at the time, but the reason is probably in one of the other diaries

    2. As I sit looking at my box of Christmas cards waiting to be written, I can’t help but think back to last year when I sent them out, when none of us had any idea what was lurking round the corner. Fingers crossed this will all be a distant memory at some point.

    3. I have just re-read your comment and the word Shere jumped out at me. Shere and Gomshall (is that right?) Took me straight back to just after the war when my father got the car off the
      blocks and with our precious petrol ration we drove to Shere and Gomshall – they were always linked, to take our Alsation for a walk.. I haven’t thought of that for half a century!

      1. Yes, Gomshall is just before the Shere turning on the A25 from Dorking – I play (against) their snooker team in the local league, TVSL

      2. Shere, Gomshall, and the Surrey Hills are beautiful and unspoilt (yet!). There has been little change since your visit in the 1940s, I suspect.

  22. Nice combination of various levels of difficulty. North was first in. Afraid had forgotten 5a and also proper name for 16a plus 17d is new to me. The long ones were all fun to work on. Took a while to tumble to au being a 23a. Thank you Campbell and Pommers.

  23. A late start after rising early to fill a skip that was being collected today, building a step, digging out the runner beans and planting several shrubs. I found the puzzle slightly trickier than most Mondays but still at a Mondayish level. The members held me up for a while and I too could not get detention out of my mind for 22 across which was my last one in. I got many of them at school but never attended a single one.

      1. We have no chickens here. We are waiting for some bantams to hatch. Itchy is our cat. Yesterday morning he climbed into my shirt cupboard at 9.30am. We had no idea where he had got to as he is almost always within sight. Still missing at bedtime. He meowed at 6.30am this morning and came out as if nothing had happened which I suppose nothing had during the twenty one hours he was shut in there

        1. Many years ago, a scruffy wild tabby “adopted” us. He became quite a feature of the house but he went out every night. One night, I decided to follow him to see where he went. He was crossing a log that spanned a river recently flooded by rain. When I put my foot on the log, it broke and the cat fell into the raging water and was carried away.

          Mrs. C and I were bereft. We spent ages walking the length of the stream but we didn’t find him. After two weeks we gave up. The poor thing had obviously drowned and I felt terrible.

          The next night, the cat flap goes and there he is, bold as brass, demanding food. :grin:

  24. A very nice Monday puzzle sitting here in glorious sunshine! Line full of washing blowing in the breeze, you would almost think things were hunky dory. Many thanks to Pommers and Mysteron for keeping our brains occupied.

    1. It’s nice here in Barrel too Daisygirl. So nice that beer o clock was brought forwards.

      1. Damp, dreich and miserable up here, not that Biggles will mind when it’s walkies time.

        1. Neither does Hudson mind the weather too much. He has to drag me out if it’s pouring with rain! Having said that, there was one night when rain came down like Niagra Falls and lightning and thunder crashed. He refused to go out and I can’t say I blamed him.

      2. Just had a short walk on The Ridgeway in a stiff, very bracing breeze and glorious sunshine, with lovely views across the Vale of White Horse and towards Lambourn ( no racehorses on the gallops today though). It’s so nice to get out and there were few other folk about.

        1. Walked the circular route from the White Horse fort up onto the gallops the weekend before last and got caught in a biblical downpour . However, the compensation was a succession of double rainbows, the photos i could share with you if I knew how to do it.

      1. I, too, was bewildered by the laundry revelation. I thought for a moment I had slipped through a mysterious time shift into Tuesday.

      2. I do wash on OTHER days of the week you know! In fact a neighbour once said to me you do an awful lot of washing, you must be a very dirty family. I couldn’t work that out, because I thought we were squeaky clean. Tuesday is sacrosanct for changing the bed and Whites and a 53 min wash. Today it was towels (quick wash, 15 mins) which, thank goodness, all dried in the sun.
        Tomorrow will be awfully busy, plus I have to fit in a Reading Group Zoom at 2 p.m. but my case is all packed and Wednesday at 12 noon, fingers crossed everyone please!
        Sorry BD, just realise I shouted. I do envy all you people talking about your lovely walks, cannot wait to get going again.

        1. I knew Tuesday was your bed changing day, Daisygirl. When you say “whites” do you mean the sheets etc? Now our daughter Faye and our son in law, Sami live in Melbourne, she has started calling sheets etc Manchesters.

          I will give our family variation of fingers crossed. Imagine a priest giving a blessing.

          “Fongers Christ!”

          All the very best of wishes to you and I hope all goes well.

  25. Average Monday fare that provided a pleasurable distraction whilst it lasted.
    7d, a sort-of, “that’s obvious now I see it” clue was my COTD.
    No real problems but had to check16a which I know as the Chilean Pine & 17d
    Thanks to Campbell & pommers.
    Look after yourselves everyone

  26. A very wet day here in South Florida, brightened by 3d, which I stick in the garden after they have finished indoors, and they do even better out there. Didn’t know 16a, nor 17d. Thanks to setter and Pommers.

  27. A pleasant puzzle for a Monday morning in the overcast westcoast weather today. **/*** for me. The four long clues gave a good foot hold to the rest of the puzzle. Did not know the word in 16a and needed the hint for that one to work out the word. Also hadn’t heard the term for 17d either. Learnt something new today.
    Favourites for clues were 1a, 11a, 12a, 4d & 19d with winner being 4d with 11a runner up

    Thanks to setter and pommers for hints

  28. No problems until I reached the bottom left which held me up for a while.
    I know we have had before but i needed a bit of electronic help.
    Pleasant puzzle.
    Thx to all

  29. Nice Monday fare. Three of four long answers helped but 22a final word took some thinking about, I had canes and lines and detention and until I put a pause between against and school discipline I was stumped. I knew 16a as an evergreen and when I remembered it is also known as The Monkey Puzzle tree Mr Graham’s psudonym made more sense.
    Thanks to pommers and Campbell

  30. Late here today so it’s all been said already.
    My last one was the very long 9a – just couldn’t see it even with alternate letters in – I’d fixated on the wrong second word which scuppered any further thought, as that kind of thing does – to me, anyway.
    I think my favourite was probably 22a but lots of other good clues too.
    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  31. Nice start to the week 😃 ***/*** (16a being the problem 😬) Favourites 9a, 4d & 15d) Thanks to Pommers and Campbell 🤗

  32. Am I the only one who remembered 16a from a previous crossword? My Dad had a monkey puzzle tree in the house he grew up in Glos. I loved the long clues, though 22a was the last one in. This was really a fun puzzle, so many to like I can’t possibly choose a fave. I never did solve 17d, truthfully I never noticed it. Dodgy eyes! I didn’t know it anyway, though I could probably have got a hint with a little e-help.
    Thanks to Campbell for the fun and to pommers for unravelling a few, e.g. 23a!

  33. This is ridiculous! There you all are saying how easy the puzzle was and there was me struggling. I got the film but the other long clues defeated me. Better luck tomorrow?

  34. As a complete ignoramus when is comes to plants, 3d and 16a were last ones in.

    I worked out 16a from the checkers, but had to google to confirm. Do people really memorise the latin names for every plant in existence? You all obviously have much bigger brains than I do!

    I don’t think I have ever heard of 3d but, even if I had, I was convinced the strike arising was “sally” and was trying to find a 3 letter word meaning foolish. Gave up and checked the answer here. Muppet!

    When I worked out 17d I had to google to make sure – never heard of the name before. Seems the sort of thing a child would name an animal…

    Enjoyed the non planty clues.


    1. Hi, bananawarp. No — 16a may literally be the only Latin plant name that I know! And that’s only because of the crossword setter who used that alias. It’s the monkey puzzle tree — something which explains its appeal to a setter, but is largely useless for solving this clue, other than it’s a type of tree, and some trees are evergreen.

      I didn’t know 16a was evergreen, but having got the crossing letters C_R while looking for a vehicle, then stuck “a posh” before it for AUCAR, it couldn’t be anything else.

      I hadn’t heard of 3d, either. I loved it simply for managing to get ‘silly’ in it backwards — a fun word, and not a sequence of letters that look like they could be used backwards. It was one of my last in, after all the crossing letters.

      So please don’t be disheartened or think that you need to memorize lists of Latin to solve these things. Working a word out from the crossing letters and wordplay and then looking it up to check (whether with a web search or in a book) is what you’re supposed to do with obscure words. Don’t feel that you “only” got it because you checked; you did successfully solve it!

  35. I’m firmly in the “straightforward but enjoyable” camp this evening. Favourite was 9a. Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  36. I found this a bit tougher than most of you, with a couple of (for me) obscure answers…9a made me laugh, though….

  37. Thanks to the setter and to Pommers for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, and didn’t get any of the long clues straight away. This did make it more difficult. I got there in the end. Needed the hints to parse 7d. Favourite was 20d. Was 2* / 3* for me.

  38. Bunged in Where Eagles Land in 2d as I didn’t write the letters in a circle before trying to solve the anagram.
    Didn’t know the movie either. Never watch war movies. My military papers clearly state that I am an “Insoumis”.
    I always like when Araucaria pops in. What a wonderful setter he was. And not the kind of setter which took a large part in today’s blog.
    I had a dog too when I was in London. A border collie cross that didn’t need a lead. Only escaped once. Retrieved from Muswell Hill police station a few hours later.
    Thanks to Campbell for the fun and to Pommers for the review.

  39. Interesting. There is a lot of agreement as to the best clues. Mine are 9 18 22 and /4a and 7d. I did not solve the long clues instantly apart from 9a. I needed some checkers first. Three of the words were unfamiliar – two plants and one animal all beginning with A. However they could be built up from the clue. I did not know antbear was another name for aardvark. All I could think of was anteater. It was my last one in. Managed it all without aids but thanks setter and Pommers. I love it when the parsing comes before the answer.

  40. I was so interested to read your comments about my brother John Graham (Araucaria)
    Thank you very much for your kind remarks. He was my older brother(we are one of six) and very much missed when he died aged 94. Although nowhere his high standards I do produce a written Cryptic Christmas Quiz for Charity each year. The next edition will be coming out in mid-November and I am just wondering if any of your BigDave colleagues might be interested! With all good wishes and many thanks for YOUR help with the Telegraph crossword! Stephen Graham

    1. I’m sure several of us would be interested. I also have a quiz from Cephas. Next month would prbably be the best time to make them available.

    2. Welcome, Stephen. I for one would love to see your charity cryptic. A donation to the charity would be in order, I think. Anyone else agree?

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