DT 29509 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29509 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29509 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from a drizzly and gloomy Tier-3 Warrington. Newly liberated from work, though still searching for something to replace it, here we go with another Saturday blog. And apologies for a little lateness – we have a fire alarm go off in our block and I had to go and stand in the drizzle for 50 mins (well, sit in my car!).

Over the past few weeks I have found the puzzles increasingly less enjoyable and have been surprised that most of you have seemed to enjoy them. I’m afraid today’s seems to sustain my feelings. Felt like a Wednesday/Thursday Toughie rather than the normal light and cheerful make-you-smile efforts we have come to know and love. Maybe it’s just me feeling a bit off as I’ve had a fairly difficult few weeks with redundancy and looking for a new role. The double unchecked letters or ‘unches’ in Crosswordese, don’t help either. As a final help, the pictures I have put in relate to answers that I haven’t hinted at but go in sequence in the puzzle!

I shall leave St Crypticsue to do the detailed explanations. I could probably have given hints for almost every clue, but I’m not allowed to. So, remember the usual instructions and do not ask for explanations. Last week, the naughty step was full by 12:27pm. The best advice is to study the clue, definition is always at one of the two ends (unless it’s an all-in-one) and the rest are your indications. Quite a few container clues today as well, not too many anagrams.

Enjoy the music at the end – today’s is really special and will no doubt uplift you.

I’ll see you next Saturday.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a Weak sense about black and white’s last piece (6)
A word meaning to sense goes around the abbreviation for black. Add the last letter of white to complete the answer.

5a Bust on returning fresh funds for election? (3,5)
The slang name for money that political parties hold for campaigning is found by placing the location of your bust after reversing a word meaning fresh, uncooked.

11a Bishop buzzing with energy in gown (8)
The abbreviation for bishop and then a word meaning buzzing – if it was shining it would be ‘aglow’ – this is similar. Add the abbreviation for energy to get the answer.

19a Widely shared image includes fibre layer (8)
The name for one of these images with words on them that people think other people find them funny (I don’t – and never share – Gosh, I am grumpy today!). Inside this goes the name of some fibre you have at breakfast time.

23a Brave husband left to introduce Beethoven symphony (8)
A slightly unusual word – never heard this style before. Inside the abbreviations for husband and left gores the name of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony.

25a Cover point with erstwhile Prime Minister (6)
The name of a former UK Prime Minister goes after a compass point in brief.


2d Say Arab initially abhors narcissism (8)
After an abbreviation for say goes a Middle Eastern nationality and the first letter of abhors.

4d Complex Greek character has mug with beer raised (9)
Take the name of the 7th letter of the Greek alphabet, a word meaning to mug someone and a name for beer. Now reverse the lot!

5d Film director ad-libs the moves around set (4-11)
The name of a film director and actor (Think Rosebud!) and then add an anagram of ‘ad-libs the’.

7d Being timeless, The Prince somehow reveals code (8)
An anagram of The Prince, minus T (timeless).

14d Such weapons as come shortly to hand? (5,4)
A cryptic definition for weapons such as hand guns, grenades, etc.

16d Notice cut in smart cloth (8)
Inside a word meaning to smart goes almost all of a word meaning to notice or pay attention to.

17d Roman’s possession in this case? (8)
A cryptic definition referring to the declension of Latin nouns (remember that at school?) that refers to possession. A chance for me to recall the wonderful Gilbert Burrows, my Latin master at Prescot Grammar School, who got me into the love of words and crosswords.

18d Operate reciprocally having Virgin Queen inside (8)
Inside something that may be described as virgin or unsullied goes an abbreviation for HM.

19d African leader forced to hold northern city (7)
A word meaning forced has N (northern) inside. Add to this the abbreviation for an American city.

Well, are you as grumpy as me? Or did this float all your boats. Have your say but remember the rules and play nicely.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Now for some music. I promised you something special today, and here it is. If this doesn’t fill your Saturday with joy, I’m not sure what will. A family that are rapidly becoming the most famous around, and have more talent than many of their contemporaries, and actually look as though they are enjoying themselves hugely.

And this is their version of one of my very favourite pieces of music ever:-

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD

The Quick Crossword pun: raita+weigh=right of way

129 comments on “DT 29509 (Hints)

  1. Very enjoyable with just the right amount of head scratching for a SPP and no need for using any of the white space on my printed sheet, completed at a fast canter – 2.5*/4.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 8d, and 14d – and the winner is 11a, what a delightful word the synonym for buzzing with energy is.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.
    Almost time for the ‘Full Monty’ as part of the preparation for the 6 Nations marathon!

  2. Cheer up Tilsit old pal. I’ll try this to help
    What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
    Pumpkin Pi.

    I dare not comment at the weekends as I always end up being chastised.

  3. Cheer up Tilsit old pal. I’ll try this to help
    What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
    Pumpkin Pi.

    I dare not comment at the weekends as I always end up being chastised.

  4. A tough but very enjoyable puzzle, in which the NW corner remained impregnable, almost to the last (4*/5*). 5d and 9a were outstanding clues, both with superb misdirection, but there were so many good clues that it was difficult to choose. Many thanks to Tilsit for the hints, produced against the odds, and to the compiler for a most entertaining puzzle.

  5. Really tough today which required a modicum of electronic help but some really clever clues as in 5a. My fav was 20a. The answer to 17d rang very small bell harking back some 60 years to my days of schoolboy Latin. Still can’t define it!
    Overall tough but enjoyable.
    Thx to all

    1. Cheer up Brian old pal. I’ll try this to help
      What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
      Pumpkin Pi.

      pp Miffypops

  6. Well I enjoyed this one. I thought it was pleasantly challenging and not too straightforward, as perhaps it should be for a Saturday Prize Puzzle. 5d was my top clue this morning.

    Many thanks to our setter for the fun, and to a somewhat downcast Tilsit.

    1. Ha! Didn’t even get to the end despite Tilsit’s help. For me the best part was the music, for which sincere thanks to Tilsit!

  7. Should have reply to 3, don’t know what happened
    Amusing MP though perhaps not in the “so good I said it twice” category

    1. I hope the double comments aren’t going to return.

      A word of warning. There are hundreds of pumpkin recipes out there. Do not try them out. You WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.
      If you are tempted to try cooking something up this is the only pumpkin recipe that works.

      Place you pumpkin into the oven exactly as it is.
      Do not turn the oven on
      Order a takeaway
      Throw away the pumpkin
      Enjoy your takeaway.

      1. Pumpkin and pernod scones for you in the naughty corner! Delicious. (And good for the proverbial gearbox).

        Thanks to Mr Ron? And Tilsit (Brian?). A delightful start to the morning. Wife is still doing her Scottish accent… maybe it is some form of possession ? But it is still quite useful to not understand what she is saying.

        And Happy Halloween – and a foot of snow yesterday here in Boston has tricked everyone (300mm in new money).

        The Tantali

  8. Fully agree with you Tilsit. Struggled with this for too long to have any enjoyment and only 14d provided a smile. Came to your blog with only three to do and your hints helped me on two but the last one is beyond me even with all the checkers and electronic help. Thank you for your help Tilsit, and I hope there is more light for you in the future.

    Thanks also to the setter.

  9. Another “Toughie in disguise” for me, not a complaint though. Like yesterday answers came slowly in fits and starts but got there in the end. Rate as *** / ***
    Dread seeing “film director” in clues as I know so few but 5d was clever & gets my COTD.
    As Tilsit says not many clues that made me smile but a satisfying exercise nonetheless.
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit.

  10. This was a bit of a slog at the beginning, but got easier as I got the old brain cells working. Thank you setter and Tilsit. I didnt attempt yesterday’s crossword, but having just read the review for it, I guess it might have been a non-starter for me. Glad to see that Daisygirl is back with us. I was worried about you all week DG. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit. My time has been taken up this week by sorting out the family tree. It’s been so addictive, I decided last night to stop all the searches, and put everything away.

    1. Thanks for your concern Florence. I was on a high yesterday and planning to have a tiny walk round the block today but the weather is foul and I am very low. Don’t seem to be progressing sufficiently. And of course george is glued to the rugby all day!

      1. Give yourself time, Daisy. Try to remember that you’re not a teenager any more and adopt a little of the softly, softly approach. It’s huge progress that you are even able to contemplate taking a ‘tiny’ walk round the block – don’t push it!

          1. There’s better weather in the offing, Daisy. It’s so wet and slippery outside that walking on crutches is a bit dicey, especially with all the fallen leaves. You’re doing all the repetitive but useful physio exercises. That’s the main thing. Onwards and upwards.

          2. If it’s any consolation, I had the same operation over a year ago, and despite over here being sent for three weeks after it to a recuperation home complete with physiotherapy courtesy of the Social Security, it still took an age to get over. But it does recover in time – though I’m still not at my best on slopes, up or down. However I’m probably older than you (I am older than most people!) and having a fall 6 months after it was no help (Grandchildren’s comments “But you tell Us to look where we’re putting our feet …) So don’t get down, it really will get better,

  11. Everything east of the long 5d was done before the east. When the Chef and the fish dropped the SW fell. As ChrissCross the NW was most stubborn and needed Tilsit’s help. I got there in the end
    It seems like yesterdays back pager was a bit tougher to prepare us for this but no complaints from me I have enjoyed tussling with all the puzzles this week. A return to the daily grind next week will no doubt lead to a reversal on many fronts.
    Thanks to the setter and the liberated Tilsit – I loved the Kanneh Masons and they have replaced my favourite Marley cover song from the French version of The Voice
    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CC08tJ2Ekc&w=853&h=480%5D

  12. Have to agree with your second para . Thursday’s 29507 was extremely difficult for me ,and I found it monotonous . I couldn’t finish it , even with your hints . I’m reasonably new at this , so perhaps it’ll improve

  13. Like yesterday, this one was a hard slog. I didn’t find it especially enjoyable either, Tilsit or, more likely, I’m just grumpy. I didn’t really understand 19a until I saw the hints. Not up to speed with modern idioms. I hope it’s ok to say that. I liked 24a and 9a. *****/** Thanks to all.

  14. Cheer up Tilsit.if it’s any consolation I have not been enjoying the recent puzzles either! Must be Anno Domini!

    1. You’ve changed your alias again – you used to be Cassandra back in 2016 and 2017, and used your full name in February!

      1. Isn’t that one of the objectives of using aliases – so that we can hide behind some pseudonym? Or is Brian actually Tilsit?

        Mrs T

  15. As mentioned by Senf and YS, this was probably about the right level for a prize puzzle. I liked the use of ‘skyline’ in 9a and ‘come shortly to hand’ in 14d but my top three were the short but sweet 17a plus 6&8d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints, pics and music. Watched the documentary about that amazingly talented group of siblings – how astonishing to learn that neither of their parents has ever had musical ambitions of their own.

    1. Hi Jane, I’ve just ordered the Moyes book, though I must say I’m now a bit worried about its ‘connection’ with the Book Woman…., and I’ll comment further on that matter once I’ve received my copy and am reading it. Thanks to you and DaisyGirl and others for pushing me forward a bit during my unsettled Days of Angst, Sturm und Drang, and Absolute Horror in America.

      1. I’m with you on the Quickie pun, Steve. Makes far better sense to me.
        Oops -that was intended as a reply to Steve @22, not sure how it finished up here, doubtless my own fault!

      2. Hi Robert,
        This was the answer I intended to send to you!
        I’m not sure whether you’re referring to a possible comparison between the Moyes book and Kim Richardson’s? All I can say is that I really enjoyed the former but, given that I’m only halfway through the latter, it isn’t thus far shaping up to be anything like as riveting.

  16. Am having a Weston ( not a nightmare a super mare) NE complete but only 3 others complete. Only pride prevents me from going to the hints so shall give it a while before going back to it. Either this is very tough or a substantial number of my brain cells have perished overnight……
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit in advance for your help which it looks like I will eventually need.

    1. Huntsman, I felt the same way at first last night when I started today’s effort, but slowly the cobwebbed cells disappeared and pennies dropped [probably the worst mixed-metaphor in Christendom ever].

  17. I am afraid this beat me and I ended up by bunging in or cribbing extensively. It was a relief to come across a straightforward Fav in 22a. The saving grace as usual was Tilsit’s musical offering by the supremely talented Kanneh Mason family – absolutely beautiful. To digress slightly – just this week I have watched a fascinating online interview from the Petworth Festival with their mother, Kadiatu, who was promoting her new book “House of Music” which I now can’t wait to read. Thank you Mysteron for the cerebral work out and Tilsit for hints and particularly music to soothe the fevered brow.

    1. I agree with you about the music Angelov. They are just a couple of miles away from me so have followed their progress with interest and have seen a number of performances.

  18. I’m with Tilsit on this one, really didn’t enjoy it at all. Lots of head scratching. Took ages to get the cloth. I got 2d straight away but had no idea why. On the plus side my R registered car passed the MOT first time having not been driven for 10 years. Can’t wait for tomorrow to drive it again. I used to think ancient people driving soft tops were pathetic and now I am one!

  19. A proper Prize-cum-Toughie challenge today, which like yesterday’s Cryptic pushed me into *** time. But also like yesterday’s, I found this most enjoyable, especially the big podium stars: 23a, 11a, & 5d. I had to be sure I was right with 20/22a by googling them since neither was familiar to this very nervous, overwrought, & neurotic American right now. (Tilsit, be glad you are where you are, young man!) That SW corner was the last to yield, with 16d my LOI. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the moody review and the New Age-y-ish music. *** / ****

    New Covid cases over here at the rate of one per second yesterday, an all-time high. 228,000 lives lost to tragic mismanagement.

    1. As a movie buff (directors very much my thing) I couldn’t believe I was struggling with 5d but just twigged it putting the kettle on & having abandoned the crossword for a while. Definitely my clue of the week.

      1. I think I was writing to you as you were writing to me. Big Dave electronic phone-tag or something like that?

        1. A tad heretical maybe. Oddly enough I watched it for the first time in a while a couple of weeks ago. Not my favourite of his mind you – Touch of Evil & that great opening tracking shot.

          1. So did I (watch it again a week or so ago), and YES, about Touch of Evil. (And then there’s The Magnificent Ambersons!)

        2. Yes for me Robert.
          However a visit to Hearst Castle brought the whole thing to life for me. The building & the film just merged together.

    2. You really need to pay attention. Didn’t you hear Der Gropenfürer explain yesterday that the increase is due to the fact that doctors get paid more for each patient who dies? They inflate the numbers to be able to earn more.

  20. Difficult and I couldn’t finish it even with the hints. That, of course, is down to me and my fading brain cells.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the hints, which I relied on heavily.

    By the way, I took the Quickie pun to be “Right away” as in “I’ll do it immediately”.

  21. I hated this one. I slotted in some answers as the only sensible word that fited without seeing how it answered the clue.

    1. I have a friend in Pangbourne that does exactly that – and is happy as long as she completes it. Another way the skin the cat.

      Mr T

  22. 4*/1.5*. I found this quite a slog and not particularly enjoyable.

    I learnt two new words in 9a & 20a, and, although I can see what the setter is driving at with 17d, I am not sure it really works.

    On the plus side I did like 3d & 18d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  23. As a cryptic newbie (I’ve been doing the Saturday telegraph with relative success for about 6 months) I hated this. Far too difficult and couldn’t get any traction at all.

  24. Thank you Tilsit, you said what I’ve been thinking. For me, the doable and enjoyable puzzles have been in the minority recently and making me grumpy too. I’ve said it before, but the daily cryptic doesn’t need to be so tricky, there is already the Toughie to fill that need. Best day this week was the lovely puzzle from Jay. Perhaps I am my own worst enemy, as I only allow myself the picture hints, then the remaining hints, and thesaurus as necessary. Today’s definitely above my pay grade. Was hoping for something better after the stinker yesterday. Oh well off to the garden to see if brain cells will wake up.

  25. Dear Tisit
    Was glad to hear I’m not the only one who have found the past few weeks not as
    enjoyable as usual. For us ‘second-class brains’, finishing the Saturday crossword has always made us feel jolly clever, now we feel dim-witted on Saturdays, too.
    Please bring back the cozy old Saturday crosswords of yester-months. Surely you brain boxes out there can tut and sigh over how too easy the crossword is (or rather ‘was’) for at least one day of the week?
    Yours sincerely
    A fervent fan of the ‘old style’ Saturday crossword, with all its anagrams, etc.
    Ps. Good luck with your job hunt.

  26. I’ve read with interest the comments about puzzle difficulty and ‘experts’ and ‘brain boxes’ and so on.

    I was thinking lately I’d lost all interest in and ability to solve cryptic crosswords as I was finding them tough for the wrong reasons and generally not enjoyable. I was blaming it on the general situation the world finds itself in, plus having great disappointment at not being able to make plans for anything at all, especially not being able to be with the family – we were supposed to be in Northern Ireland now having half-term with our grandchildren, and then a special trip to Dublin was planned for a couple of weeks’ time.

    I didn’t enjoy the two very tough crosswords yesterday and thought it was ‘just me’ but then I tested solved two crosswords by different setters, one intended for the Guardian and one for the Independent. Both were a pleasure to solve and left me with a big smile on my face. I have similar thoughts on today’s DT inside back pager as others, and again wondered whether perhaps it was just me, but I’ve solved several puzzles today in ‘other’ places and enjoyed them thoroughly, so I’m sad to conclude (especially as I’ve been solving them for 50 years) that I think it might be the DT crosswords themselves.

    1. Amen! Perfectly said, as usual your command of the language allows you to say it all in a nutshell. Thank you.

    2. First Tilsit, then RD, & CS with similar observations.
      After the Thursday Zoom call hopefully this is a day when CL “pops in”. (spellchecker’s version was “poops in”!).
      Certainly the Saturday prize was always sprinkled with LOL and DOH moment clues that raised a smile.
      I derived my enjoyment today from the satisfaction of completing a difficult puzzle unaided, and could parse it.
      I can see that very able solvers don’t get that satisfaction from the backpager so need the quality and humour in the clues that seems in short supply currently.

      1. Having read CS’s comment earlier with great interest & not being quite sure what to make of it I suspect that you’re probably bang on the money LBROK. Certainly the difficulty level can’t be the issue & my overwhelming thought after reading it was how in the hell has she the mental energy to solve a few more after that beast.

    3. I think the DT crosswords have been going down hill for some time. With the exception of Ray-T and Dada, I look at the Guardian first now then look at the DT if time allows.
      I think an attempt has been made to make the crosswords harder, but in the process they have lost a lot of their charm. Amusing moments are now few and far between.
      Crosswords don’t have to be hard to be fun.

      1. You traitor Hoofs! I thought, as a Millwall fan you had learned to stick with things through thick and thin!
        Never mind one of today’s clues should bring a real groan – there’s no Grun today so no excuse.

        1. On a roll this season, win away at Preston then lose 0-3 at home to Huddersfield. The joys of being a football fan.
          Sunday = Dada, and today is a cracker, nearly finished.
          Looks like the golf has gone down the Old Kent Road too.😠😠

  27. Oh dear I am really losing the plot. I thought I had put my twopennorth in earlier but it has gone into the ether and I really don’t have the energy to write again. Just thanks to everyone.

  28. I knew it would happen. It always does. I have been having a lovely time over the past week or so, finishing, or almost finishing most of the crosswords. I was beginning to think, again, that I was getting quite proficient. Then suddenly yesterday’s and today‘s arrived and cut me off at the knees! Sigh.

    Sorry you are feeling a bit low, Tilsit, not surprising in the circumstances, but thank you very much for the hints – as ever, much appreciated.

  29. And I thought yesterday tough. After twigging 5d things thankfully started to fall into place slowly & like RD 9&20a were new words to me requiring Mr G’s confirmation. After reading the review it also looks like I have 16d correct, also new to me & got from the wordplay. 17d was last in & unlike Brian & Tilsit I can remember absolutely nothing of the Latin I was briefly taught at boarding school. 5d my clear favourite today but also thought the downs at 2,3 & particularly 18 very good. The longest, over 2 sittings, I think I’ve ever spent on a DT non Toughie but having got there by sheer bloody mindedness more than a little satisfying & think I quite enjoyed it in a masochistic sort of way. Has stopped hosing it down with even a glimpse of sunshine so will chance a stroll & hope it stays dry for a bit at least.
    Thanks to all.

  30. I found this very challenging but enjoyable- eventually!… thank you Tilset for the lovely music- just what we need 15 mins before Boris announces a full Lockdown!

  31. Really struggled with the south west. Needed dan word to help me.
    Much harder than yesterday for me.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter

  32. I found this quite taxing in part. Some clever clues and wordplay, 4d particularly. Thanks to all.

  33. Not the nice sort of crossword that used to be. Find Dada on Sunday more fun to solve. Today’s was a toughie for me ****/** that was finally finished but not with the sense of satisfaction normally found. Some good clues I liked were 10a, 13a, 17a, 25a, 7d & 8d Winner 1a with 25a a close second.
    NE last in with 12a last entered.
    A struggle, I must say, for today.
    Off to blow the leaves around and into the green bin

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

    1. We have a ludicrously noisy vac thing with an elephants trunk nozzle that mulches the leaves. I have just spent half an hour sucking up every leaf in the vicinity. I have just come in to thaw out with a coffee and their buddies have all congregated in our front yard again!
      Bugger that they can stay until I can be bothered to resume the fight

  34. I’m with Tilsit on this one. Got through it alone and unaided and understood the clues so a hurrah day, but not a very satisfying one.

    For Smyler if he’s about…..a gey snell wind the day……

    Thanks to Tilsit and to the setter.

  35. I was delighted with today’s hint for 17d. It’s 58 years since I passed my Latin O-level and the first time I’ve found it useful!

    1. Welcome to the blog from me too.
      Sometimes I wish that you adopted such a case.
      I’m forever wondering whether I should put an apostrophe with or without an S to make it possessional. Even if that word doesn’t seem to exist according to my autocorrect.

  36. Well, another tougher than toughie day. Frankly, I couldn’t be bovvered. I don’t often post very negative reviews but today I have to say a mouthful.
    I’m old, on the downhill slide, getting mentally and physically less agile. I want to be able to enjoy a crossword, not feel that I’m swotting for a life-changing examination. Toughies masquerading as back pagers do no favours to the old folks here, as BusyLizzie says, the Einsteins amongst us can have the toughie all to themselves.
    Saturdays used to be such a joy, I looked forward to them. I’m suggesting they bring them back, I hope others agree with me. I didn’t enjoy anything in today’s or yesterday’s, I feel I’ve been ripped off and want my money back.
    So there, that’s what I think, and if you don’t agree with me, so be it.

    The only salvation today is Tilsit’s music. Thank you, Tilsit, I love you for that heavenly music.

    1. I have just posted my comments below and have now just seen Merusa – Hear!! Hear!! – I agree with every word.

  37. Thank you to the setter for introducing me to new words in 9a, 20a and 23a, and for reviving old memories of Latin classes in 17d, which was my favourite. Thanks also to Tilsit for the Seal Lullaby, which we sang last December in the Sidmouth Choral Society as part of our Christmas concert (remember those?). Roll on 2021!

  38. Finished with 16d in this rather hard crossword.
    A real challenge for a prize.
    Liked the skylines too in 9a.
    11a made me laugh and as it is often the case, it becomes my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the club.

  39. Yes, Friday’s and Saturday’s cryptic crosswords have got harder. It’s good to know I’m not the only one to struggle.

  40. Oh dear – yet another just me day. I quite enjoyed it although I do agree with others that it was jolly difficult.
    It’s taken me a very long time but as we’re pretty much locked up again, or are about to be, and it’s been chucking down with rain all day and really cold I’m just happy (well, not exactly happy but marginally less grumpy than I was yesterday) to have something to do.
    The first quick read through of all the clues produced only eight answers and I didn’t think I was ever going to get anywhere – the rest eventually got done but I’m not quite sure how.
    I do now at least know what the thingie in 19a is – not the fibre but the other one – and I’ve never heard the answer to 23a or the 20a fish.
    When my sister and I were little we used to think that 9a’s were the aeroplanes tearing the sky.
    I liked 3d and my favourite was either 24a or 14d – 14d made me laugh which is nice!
    Thanks to the setter and thanks too, to Tilsit.

  41. So far I’ve only got the NE and SW. admittedly I’ve not been concentrating and have watched last night’s The Last Leg at the same time. No doubt it would help if I could get the long one but I have not resorted to the hints. Not sure whether to do so and use other aids but fear it will give me no satisfaction whatsoever.

    1. As soon as I had sounded off above I picked up the paper and got 2d straightaway. Thought of the word before but just could see how it worked. Now I can.

      1. Quickly followed by the rest of that corner and the long one. My problem with 4d was where to put the Greek character. One corner to go although my dinner’s calling

  42. I take it all back. Take a bow setter. All finished without hints which I look forward to. Oddly 18d last in, preceded by 17d. I had a grammatical term I thought was correct but I was one square short so had to go back to the drawing board. Lots circled being 10 22 and 23a and 4 5 8 14 and 15d.

    1. Didn’t realise he’d gone until you mentioned it – that makes me really sad. I think that for many of us who are old enough to have been there at the beginning, no other Bond actor quite captured his je ne sais quoi.

      1. I agree, Jane, no one quite like him. I like Daniel Craig but he just never reached Sir Sean Connery.

  43. Oh please let there be a good solvable Dada tomorrow! That’s three days on the trot now that the recycling bin has seen an unfinished crossword. Thanks for the tips Tilsit but I’m afraid I can’t summon up the enthusiasm to even contemplate the puzzle!

  44. One of the reasons I love the Telegraph crossword is that you usually don’t need to understand the gobbledygook that surrounds 17d.

    16d and 17d defeated me in an otherwise hard but enjoyable crossword.

  45. Unless it was me, that was the hardest Saturday crossword for ages – took theee of four sittings to finish it. 1d was my favourite.

  46. Abandoned before I went into a coma.
    Editor – Any chance we can have a crossword us mortals can do that is not the cruciverbal equivalent of attempting to climb a mountain without a rope?
    Thanks Tilsit, I feel your pain.

  47. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit for the hints. I couldn’t do this for toffee. Needed the hints or electronic help for 13 of the clues. Had never heard of 17d, didn’t do Latin at school. Didn’t enjoy this one bit. Was 5* / 1* for me.

  48. I have read Tilsit’s preamble but fast forwarded through the hints and comments.
    I know I was tired before starting this, but dear, me I’ve failed to do easier Elgar toughies than this so I’ve given up. I was starting to lose the will to live. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m taking one of my dogs to a training class run by one of my proteges, mainly to say hello, so if I get time I’ll try and finish this and comment further. If not, who cares?

  49. This was quite a lot of hard work, but satisfying when I finally worked it out. I have trouble with clues requiring knowledge of British comedians/actors etc as in 20a, and I had not heard of the actual fish. Thank goodness for Google. I have the same problem with film directors, but nevertheless I liked 5d which I thought was a clever clue. I also liked the bishop clue at 11a. Re the Quick Crossword pun, I read this as “right away” as in “straightaway”. Thank you to the setter, and Tilsit for your enlightening explanations to the clues. Thank you to all the commentators. I enjoyed the pumpkin pie joke which I have copied and pasted to pass on.

  50. Interesting how we solvers find different puzzles difficult. I enjoyed this one again, completed all bar a couple in the SE corner between watching the England and Ireland rugby last night. Light bulb moment this morning that I had the wrong answer for 28a and all sorted now.

  51. Needed Some help but found it amusing in places. 14d made me chuckle. And thank you for the pumpkin joke and the advice.17d also took me back to my school days 60 or more years ago

  52. Been doing this xword for over 60 years. BUT, cannot for the life of me relate the clue to the answer of 10A apart of course the mode of travel, so gave up on the rest.

    1. It is all there. Don’t think I can say too much , it being a prize one. You have the taxi reversing, and you have the answer. There are two other words in the clue, synonyms of which complete the wordplay.

  53. With you 100% on the Saturday crosswords. Our weekly challenge together, hubby and I, although I sometimes print off the more enjoyable Tuesday ones. Big ‘cheer up’ hug and thank you for helping us to ‘unstick’ with them. Hoping you find work soon. I am loving the music at the end too. Xxx

  54. I’m also of the majority opinion here. This one just had too many forced, far-fetched and clumsy clues to be anything more than a largely unsatisfying and pleasure-free grind. I’m glad to have seen the back of it. I realise that will sound churlish, but there were far too many answers built out of unlikely small fragments, eg 11a (seriously?) as a prime example. Wasn’t enamoured with 2d, 4d or 5a either.

  55. Please can the standard of DT crosswords be lowered a bit, so that they are as enjoyable as they used to be, and not just a hard slog. In these days of lockdown we need something to cheer us up. I have been doing DT crosswords for at least 40 years and am becoming very disappointed – maybe I will have to change my newspaper after a lifetime of being a DT addict. Like others on this blog I am grumpy and still wondering when I shall be allowed to see my two month old great grand-daughter. In spite of Tilsit’s hints (for which thanks) and much electronic help I still have eight to do and have just given up – its not worth it. Please think of the cruciverbalists who are not in the first division. As I am so late sending this hopefully no-one will read it!

  56. Only got round to doing Saturday’s today on Sunday and it was a definite *** for difficulty and a **** for enjoyment. Thought 2d very good. Currently pondering our plight as we sold our house last Thursday and have moved into a holiday let for three weeks pending our next home being available. Will Boris throw us on to the street??😢😢

  57. I am with Tilsit on this one. In fact I haven’t enjoyed any of the last few puzzles because they were too difficult.
    While I’m feeling grumpy, I also feel that clues like 18d are not inclusive, as most people including myself, were never taught it.
    Thanks to Tilsit and the electronics for the solve.

  58. No, too difficult for me. I just cannot get going on this at all. Now I’m sad.
    Roll on Monday.
    Thank you Tilsit

  59. Well I had a stab at this yesterday evening and didn’t get very far, thought maybe I was distracted by the all the gloomy news but had another go today and struggled badly. Thought it was just me until I read the blog. Afraid I’m also in the haven’t enjoyed for some time camp. Thank you the hints Tilsit and as ABBA would say thank you for the music.

  60. It seems that many agree that this was not a very enjoyable puzzle. It baffles me that so many either gave up or made up words to fit!
    I’d never heard of 9, 20, or 23a! Not the only one…
    There were a number of entertaining clues to compensate but I look forward to a return to normal soon. Thanks to Tilsit for trying and Sue for support!

  61. Completed this one after a bit of a struggle, particularly with 16d. My favourites were 5d and 11a. Having said I struggled with it, l did enjoy the challenge – I don’t get a great deal of enjoyment from a crossword that’s too straightforward.

  62. Totally agree, Tilsit. Blocks off those less ept, like me. Best of luck with the quest for gainful employment.

  63. 3/4 was fine but stalled on NW corner. Mist cleared when I got 9a – new word for me. Also acknowledge my Latin master master – best teacher at Rydens, my secondary school! Got a 1 but sadly failed English!

  64. Hooray I’ve finished it at last! I did say it wasn’t worth struggling on, but when in lockdown there are many hours available to spend on almost impossible crosswords, and thus learn to be more persevering. My e-gizmo (not to mention my brain cells) now need a long period of time to rest and recover. Sorry to have let you down Merusa.

  65. Sorry to hear of your redundancy. All the best with finding a new job. Thank you for all your hints. Andrew

  66. Several tough ones and stretches but agree with the reviewer the Saturday puzzle crossword should be more enjoyable than this.
    Ps well at least we got our first home win of the campaign tonight 👍

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