DT 29513 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29513

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29513

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Good morning from locked down Barrel where a few wispy clouds glow pink from the sunrise in an otherwise clear sky.

A little bird has confirmed my inkling that the alternate Thursday puzzles which I review are compiled by Giovanni who set the Friday back pagers for many years.

RayT and Giovanni join the great double acts of modern times. Something for all solvers to praise or complain about on Thursdays.

Today’s clue at 7 down contains an element that equally divides America and has the world teetering on the edge of their seats. Who is the greatest American composer of all times. Burl or Charles?

Cast your vote here today

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Collected essential item before start of day (8)
MUSTERED: A word that can be either a verb or a noun meaning essential or not to be missed is followed by the poetical form of the word before and the initial letter of the word day. Phew!

5a Rule-breakers in Civil Service full of passion (6)
CHEATS: The abbreviation for Civil Service has a synonym of the word passion inside

9a Fat and very sweaty? (8)
DRIPPING: A double definition. The first being a dish to relish in my childhood when spread on hot toast

10a Endlessly noisy revolutionary seen as sinister (6)
LOUCHE: A word meaning noisy but minus its last letter is followed by a long dead revolutionary warrior. Castro’s oppo

12a First day during which army officer meets a ruler (6)
SULTAN: The first day of the week (some might say) contains the abbreviation of lieutenant and the letter A from the clue

13a Searching for silver and fashionable glitter (not rubbish!) (8)
FORAGING: Do as the clue says in the order in which I says it. Begin with the word FOR from the clue. Add the chemical symbol for Silver. Add a two-letter word meaning fashionable. Add the word glitter from the clue except for the part which means rubbish

15a Rebrand drunk as saintly man (7)
BERNARD: Anagram (drunk) of REBRAND

16a Laze around to show this? Yes and no! (4)
ZEAL: Anagram (around) of LAZE

20a Staff provided with something spicy (4)
MACE: A double definition, the second being nutmeg

21a Group of stars being quiet, say, like you and me (7)
PEGASUS: A similar clue to 13 across. The musical notation for quiet. The Latin abbreviation for say or for example. A two-letter word meaning when. Another two-letter word meaning you and me

25a A new name on a rota — one keeps a record (8)
ANNALIST: Start with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviations for New and Name. Add a second letter A from the clue. Now to finish off add a rota

26a Cat getting round church parking area? (6)
OCELOT: The roundest of letters is followed by the initials for The Church of England and a short word used to denote a parking area

28a Make clothes for dog with yellow attachment (6)
TAILOR: A word meaning to dog or follow is followed by the heraldic term for yellow

29a Female style of Sixties attire facing quiet decline (8)
DIMINISH: A short girls name which has been of great use to setters over the years is followed by a type of skirt made fashionable in the sixties (but welcome in any era) and a short sharp sound used to silence noisy people

30a Sort of beetle group found in coastal county (6)
DORSET: The beetle is Geotrupes Stercorarius. Find its common name and add a group of similar items (any similar items not just beetles)

31a Stern of this boat is less sturdy (8)
SLIGHTER: Begin with the last letter (stern) of the word this. Add a type of flat bottomed boat used to transfer goods to and from ships in harbour


1d Some Parisian in test shown to be of limited ability (6)
MODEST: The French word for some sits inside the annual car test for cars over three years old

2d More than one upset disappears finally with tablets (6)
SPILLS: The final letter of the word disappears is followed by the tablets we all seem to be taking

3d No longer very good, a fellow must be paid for (8)
EXPIATED: A short word meaning no longer or former is followed by a short word meaning very good. This is followed by the letter A from the clue and a man’s name

4d Wise, releasing one bird (4)
ERNE: Remove the letter that looks like the number one from the Christian name of a man with the surname Wise

6d Old soldiers covered in grass cheer (6)
HOORAY: The abbreviations for old and other ranks (soldiers) are surrounded by dried grass

7d Cunning US composer making records (8)
ARCHIVES: Two four-letter words are required here. One meaning deliberately cunning and one being the Christian name of an American composer. I suspect our setter means Charles but I’m sticking with Burl

8d Bad musician sang — vile wobbling (8)
SVENGALI: The name of a corrupt musician in a novel from 1894 by George Du Maurier’s can be found using an anagram (wobbling) of SANG VILE ,

11d Little woman with trophy given a line in diary (7)
JOURNAL: The name of one of Louisa M Alcott’s little women, a trophy similar to a cup, the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for line

14d How poetry may be written upside down (7)
INVERSE: Split 2,5 how poetry is written

17d Confession of one who has left spouse gets communicated (8)
IMPARTED: Split 2,6 now one might say one is divorced

18d Have a quick look at part of stadium? It’s barer (8)
SCANTIER: A four-letter word meaning to peruse quickly is followed by a row of seats in a stadium

19d Shivering, having caught cold? Don’t trust charlatan doing this! (8)
QUACKING: A word meaning shivering or shaking like the earth might needs the abbreviation for cold inserting

22d Place in which one may hide a sweetheart, roughly bundled in! (6)
ALCOVE: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a word for your sweetheart which includes the Latin abbreviation for around or about (roughly or circa)

23d Obvious time for mournful song (6)
PLAINT: A word meaning obvious or clearly has the abbreviation for time placed after it

24d One sort of designer, a hundred in number (6)
ETCHER: The number here is an early anaesthetic which contains the Roman numeral for one hundred

27d Bard’s expression of final wishes (4)
WILL: The Bards first name is also a bequeathment list to be executed after ones demise

Quickie Pun: comment+hutch=common touch


105 comments on “DT 29513

  1. Some of clues in today’s puzzle left me very unsure of whether I had the right answer or not. I spent some time on 8d wondering why any one would call the multi-instrument playing Vangelis a bad musician, unless ‘bad’ was being used inthe modern way, where anything bad is wickedly good. Finally, I got the right answer. Then there is the question of Burk or Charles for the American composer. It took a long time (3*) and was moderately enjoyable (3*) if confusing at times. 19d was the COTD for me. Thanks to MP for the review and to the compiler.

    1. I wondered about Vangelis for a moment or two as well but quickly ruled it out because I couldn’t see 5a ending in a v.

  2. This is one of the most difficult puzzles I’ve done. *****/ *** I did, however, have a real sense of achievement having finished it. Quite a few hmms! American spellings and terms, 25a and 26a, and an obscure(to me) American composer didn’t help. Doubtless many of us (good morning Senf) will have completed it at a fast gallop so it may well be a wavelength thing. It’s used up all my remaining brain cells for the day. Thanks to all.

  3. A tricky puzzle today, I was thinking that the Thursday crossword has taken the place of the old Friday one as the weeks most difficult and surprise surprise MP informs us that the Thursday setter Giovanni used to be the Friday Compiler!
    Going for a ***/***.Liked 7d-.Like MP Burl came to mind
    Some excellent charades like 1a,7d26a,26a,29a. and my favourite 21a’
    Really enjoyed teasing out the parsing-thanks to setter and MP

  4. I realised that 8d was an an anagram, but resisted putting in “Vangelis”. First, he wasn’t a bad musician. I rather liked his electronic music, along with that of Jean-Michel Jarre. Second, it would have left 5a ending in a “v”. I left the NE corner to the end. Thank you Giovanni and Miffypops. I spent yesterday catching up with a friend before lockdown, then last night my husband and eldest son asked if I wanted to go to the village pub with them. How could I resist. Last chance saloon. Maybe I’ll catch up with yesterday’s crossword sometime in the next four weeks.

  5. I found this quite difficult at first, but once I got going it was a steady solve starting NE and finishing in the NW.
    COTD for me 10a
    Thanks to MP and Giovanni

  6. Real mixed bag for me and quite difficult with 30a& 7d (poor clues IMHO) a bung in. With Jo, Ted and Di, I expect RD would be tearing his hair out if he had any (all said in good humour). Also, I think the word “one” is surplus to requirements in 24d?
    Anyway I did like 10a, 11d and the amusing 19d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and to MP for the entertainment.

    1. I agree about Ted and and Di but Jo is an exception. She and one of her sisters are not infrequent visitors to Crosswordland from the book Little Women by Louisa M Allcott. Used to be much loved by little girls and recently released as a new film.

  7. Oh my goodness, I found this very tricky! Anyone who pops up to say they strolled through it has my admiration. I needed quite a few of Miff’s invaluable hints. Poor old Vangelis sharing his name anagrammatically with the other bloke. However he may have enjoyed less success if he had stuck with his original name of Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, Try getting that on a record sleeve.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Miffo.

    1. I have the word Dylan tattooed inside my bottom lip. I was ever after grateful that I wasn’t obsessed by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

      1. I know a smutty joke based on your comment – it’s definitely NOT suitable for here although I think that most of you would appreciate it, knowing you all as I do.

          1. No – I don’t think so!! My persona probably wouldn’t be very grata. Shouldn’t really have mentioned it.

            1. Perhaps to be left for the next Big Dave’s Birthday Bash. Don’t know when that will be but I shall definitely get drunk.

  8. I made this a pangram so will have to check my answers against MP.
    Very tough some clues quite contrived.
    Thanks to setter & MP. Found review as entertaining as ever

    1. Now that you have mentioned it, yes it is a Pangram. I would always need to have that pointed out for me

    1. Agreed. Impossible. Only got five correct without hints and assistance. Hadn t heard of a couple of words let alone Burl Ives… I ask you.

      A poor crossword indeed that can only be aimed at a small minority of crossword experts.

      If they were all like this I wouldn t bother.

  9. The only word I could come up with to describe this crossword, was BRUTAL. The hardest mid-week back-pager that I can recall.

    Most of the NW was still blank after ***** time. I needed MP’s hint to get me 1a, which then provided the rest of the NW, but still there werre quite a few ‘unusual’ words, by which I mean rarely found in common conversation: 10a, 25a, 3d, 8d, 23d, the beetle in 30a and so on.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    1. Pleased to have finished this before I came to see Big Dave and Miffypops. Needed electronic help to get the flying horse so it has been a learning day for me. After the flying horse the SW corner fell into place. So many good clues but 7d and 9a deserve a mention.

      Thanks to Miffypops and Giovanni for excellent work today.

  10. I thought this was a pangram, but perhaps I am wrong, since no one has mentioned it. The beetle in 30a appeared in yesterday’s Times cryptic. Thanks to Miffypops and setter.

        1. I didn’t notice either, too busy going round in circles like a toy train on a track trying to get my mind off Vangelis and think of something that didn’t end in ‘v’ for 8d.

  11. At the trickier end of the back page spectrum and a pangram to boot.

    I don’t suppose we’ll hear from RD today, but I did think of him when the word ‘female’ appeared in 29a

    Thanks to Giovanni for the brain exercise and MP for the entertaining blog

  12. Tough but fair I thought for this testing and challenging Giovanni puzzle. Some difficult constructions but ultimately rewarding to complete. This would not have been out of place as a Toughie. 14, 17 and 19d are on my podium.

    Thanks to The Don and MP.

  13. Boy, that was hard! I had to throw in the towel in the end and look at MP’s hints. Not a huge amount of enjoyment today for me but the cluing was fair if beyond my pay grade.

    Thanks to Giovanni – I yield to your greatness. Thanks also to Miffypops for the much needed hints.

  14. Excellent puzzle. Had to be solved quite slowly and steadily, which always makes for more satisfaction when I finish. Charles Ives gets my vote, surely! 10a had to be confirmed in the dictionary. 19d was my last in which had the two letters I needed to confirm the pangram. The clever 8d gets my top marks today. Thank you Giovanni and MP.

  15. The NE put up a fair bit of resistance for me in what was a pedestrian solve in ****time but unlike some others I thought it a really good one today. Completely missed that it was a pangram (certainly would have helped at 11&19d) & needless to say wasn’t familiar with the beetle but otherwise all parsed. Not sure that I’ve ever considered 10a as being sinister but guess someone will confirm it doesn’t warrant a hmm. I thought it was full of rather clever clues of which 1,13 & 31a plus 1,7 & 24d stood out for me.
    Many thanks to Giovanni & to MP for the review & witty intro to it.
    Ps Has anyone else noticed that the DT app seems to drain the iPad at an alarming rate or am I imagining it?

    1. The DT app is notoriously memory hungry and drains iPads at a rate. When you have finished be sure to close the app completely or it sits in background continuing the drain.

    2. You are not imagining it. I just thought it was because my IPad is elderly. Have stopped using it for this reason.

  16. Doubtless the annoyed individual in the Roman numerals example above would have been as irked trying to remember:
    999, 50, 4 and 499
    999, 50, 1, 5, and 499
    999, 50, 4, 1 and 500
    999, 51, 6 and 500
    999, 51, 5 and 499
    999, 51, 5, 1 and 500

  17. Difficult one to start and didn’t really get much easier as you went along. Never really knew the meaning for 10a, not a word that crops up in conversation very often! 30a was easy to solve but impossible to understand unless beetles are your speciality, poor clue.
    Overall tricky and not a lot of fun.
    Thx for the hints for explaining some of my answers.
    Just seen that it was a Giovanni, he was always my favourite setter but I thought todays was well below his normal high standard.

  18. I found today’s puzzle a real chore . Not being familiar with species of beetle , I needed a U.K. map to find a fit for the coastal county . Quite liked the 9a answer , but not being of the persuasion , I’d have tried shmaltz ( except it’s 7 letters ) . Knock off a further * for less enjoyment

  19. I’m so relieved to find I am not the only one to be beaten by this and having to resort to the hints.
    After all, I finished the Toughie in, for me, reasonable time so was quite totally unprepared for the difficulty this puzzle presented.

  20. Way above my pay grade. The week started well and I thought the DT had listened to Tilsit and the rest of us. This one is totally beyond me, and not at all enjoyable. I could do it if I looked at all of the hints, but that kind of defeats the point. Thanks anyway Miffypops, and hats off to you for being able to do this today.

      1. BL did say she was unable to solve it, that means she could have all the time in the world and still not solve it. Speaking for myself, I could work on this till the end of the pandemic and I’d still only have solved one clue.

      2. And I thought you were busy sorting out your new house? Not much else to do? You mean other than painting the main bedroom and bathroom, digging up a flower bed, and replanting it with new shrubs, making batches of decaf coffee and vanilla ice cream, and I’ve not even had time to tackle a jigsaw lately. And that’s on top of housework, cooking and laundry. I am sure Saint Sharon has told you that a woman’s work is never done 😊

        1. We are getting on with it BusyLizzie. We’ve done a great deal since we left the pub on August 24th. You can get a lot done living on site. I’ve been boxing in the metres which involves placing a large heavy mirror onto sliders. The precision engineer in me spills over into the carpentry which means longer spent doing the job and great satisfaction when it all comes together.

  21. Didn’t enjoy this much. But I had time so persevered and finished after lots of checking.
    Where does “item” fit in on 1a. My dictionary doesn’t include Louche as sinister. 16a across had to be but I don’t get it. Isn’t it about time we dropped the female in 29a, 11d and the sad monk in 8d. Since when has an urn been a trophy. I think that’s all. Found the beetle as it is very common at certain times.
    Regards to all.

    1. Agree with some of your points Bob.
      In 1a I think essential item can be justified when using “must” as a noun and I thought 16a a rather good clue as laze around (as in anagram) does produce zeal but laze around as in the phrase doesn’t result in zeal, hence yes and no.

      1. I agree with you – it’s not what I thought it meant either but it is in the thesaurus (and if I were you I’d probably hesitate to argue with Giovanni!!)

        1. I noticed his absence yesterday! S. Carolina went red but I think that was to be expected. I’m totally shattered and stressed out!

          1. Not like him, hope all OK
            I did notice yesterday but thought his post was waiting to be counted or he fell asleep watching / listening to CNN saying the same thing every 30 minutes about the States yet to declare for 12 hours.

        2. He’s in the same boat as Merusa and I, living in red states. But the strange thing is, I could count on one hand those that vote that way. And least those that I know of.

  22. Now I learn that this was a Giovanni product I realise why I enjoyed it so much (welcome back DG). SE brought up the rear. Overall it was quite challenging but fun to gradually complete it in a few sessions during the morning. 29a rather loose however the female does occur regularly in various contexts. Beetle in 30a new one on me. Too many goodies to single out a Fav. Thank you DG (really look forward to more of your bi-weekly fun) and thanks also to MP.

      1. I hadn’t clocked that fact or perhaps it’s a case of another memory block. Anyway he’s my Fav.

  23. So pleased to see the Don returning to the back page – a thoroughly absorbing puzzle and somewhat more difficult than most of late – no ‘finishing at a canter’ here, but something more akin to a climb up Cader Idris – but so pleased to have reached the summit, so to speak. Thanks to Giovanni and also to Leicestershire’s recent ‘aquisition’.

  24. One of the main reasons I buy The Telegraph is the Crossword, which is generally challenging and enjoyable. This was neither. What is the point in this, given that the Toughie already exists for those who want a more difficult challenge?

  25. Very difficult but I never did really get on with Giovanni.
    I think I knew that he sometimes sets the non-Ray T Thursdays but I’d forgotten until I got to 11d – I do remember him being quite keen on the ‘little women’ and that jogged my memory.
    Needless to say I missed the pangram – I always do.
    The bottom left corner caused me the most trouble and, rather stupidly, 20a was my last one.
    My favourite was 9a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks, well done and ‘rather you than me today’ to MP.
    It’s our Elder Lamb’s birthday today and it’s the first time in her forty-two years that we haven’t seen her, if not on the actual day then within a day or two of it – very sad. :cry:

  26. Not a lot of fun – when I was much younger I used to do the DT cryptic with work colleagues in our lunch break after lunch – well, we would generally get half way. Were they always this hard? Difficult to recommend to younger people starting out now. Sorry – yes it was fair but there is the toughie for crossword nerds.

  27. I object to your use of the word ‘nerd’ – if you haven’t the ability to complete the crossword puzzle please don’t insult those of use who can. I’m no ‘brainbox’ – I left my school two weeks after my 15th birthday in 1958 with sweet bugger all as far as school certificates are concerned. What I have picked up since then is via some graft and some seft teaching and lots of cryptic crossword puzzles – you either understand the cryptic crossword language or you don’t. As for me? I can’t complete the simplest of Soduko, but I would never dream of insulting ‘them that can’.

    1. It really was pretty tough today. When I first looked at sudokus I thought I’d never be able to do them because I am relatively rubbish at maths. Maths has nothing to do with it, it’s finding the patterns and eliminating. Not unlike the cryptic really. Maybe worth persevering?

  28. I am sorry you were offended. I didn’t intend the use of the word nerd to be derogatory – I am a cycling nerd perhaps that’s why I don’t want to spend hours on a crossword that I think would be better as a toughie. What I love about the DT crosswords generally is the pleasure of learning its language and its conventions (as I am sure you do). I would like to hope that many younger people can enjoy this too. The DT started me off and I want others to follow in my footsteps. Perhaps we can agree on that.

    1. Oh yes, we can agree on several fronts, but I do have to tell you that as for Toughies, especilly Elgar and several other setters I am waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. I manage most Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s Toughie, but it is a bonus for me if I can do a Thursday or Friday too :-) I still try though. Harking back to the word ‘nerd’, I dislike that one as much as I do ‘anorak’. We all have pet subjects which we like to think we a little bit expert in, or should I say ones that ‘we particularly enjoy’, but that really shouldn’t make us nerds or anoraks. Bores maybe ;-) ;-)

      1. I really don’t like the picture regularly used to illustrate the words anorak and trainspotter. Other than that all is well with the world

      2. Totally agree about nerds, Shropshirebloke. I spent years as a church bell ringer but never considered myself the nerd others thought I was.

  29. Some of clues in this Thursday offering left me questioning of whether I had the right answer or not. The clues were somewhat confusing and some not so cryptic I felt. Some of the answers just didn’t match with the clues IMHO.
    Definitely and tough one for me and not a very enjoyable solve. Just not on this setters wavelength.
    Only one favourite for today and that is unusual for me … and that is 14d.

    Thanks anyway to setter and MP for hints I used … which was all but a couple.

  30. Took a while get on the wavelength today – thx to MP for some help parsing. SE corner was my last in. Favourites for me 21a and 19d

  31. Quite a bit of head-scratching involved but we did get everything sorted in reasonable time.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and MP.

  32. Found this enjoyable and not quite as hard as others may have done, but I was rather sad when DG’s Friday reign came to an end. Held up with parsing 6d as I had the soldiers as the RA and not the ORs. Really liked 17d and also didn’t spot the pangram. A warm welcome back to the Don, and thanks to MP for the Burl Ives clips (I had not known there was another Ives) and the Roman numerals meme.

    1. When Giovanni was the regular Friday setter, I enjoyed most of his puzzles, only beaten from time to time, but this offering today was waaay out of my league.

  33. Oh dear, not a puzzle for me today, and I’ve really tried. Giovani is way too clever for me.
    Thanks to all.

  34. Way too hard for me! Not much more to say. Thanks to MP for the clues and one of the few I did get was Charles….maybe that’s the Unanswered Question!

    1. I was going to use a clip of The Unanswered Question alongside a Burl Ives clip but it went on and on going nowhere like a Pink Floyd track so I didn’t use it

  35. Isn’t 2020 bad enough without posting a crossword which has to be the worst of the year by far. Flat, funless, pointless and probably of amusement only to the setter.

  36. As with others, I am glad to not be alone in finding this very hard. I needed the answers for six clues and the hint for one. One of my worst attempts in a long while.

    I still don’t understand how essential item is must. “Must have” maybe, but must…?

    As I don’t take to memorising every composer since time began, 7d was always going to be impossible – two obscure and little known composers IMHO.

    Pi to mean very good. Is this a quirky, only used in crossword land, meaning? No dictionary I have access to mentions this meaning of pi. Or am I missing something?

    Funnily enough I didn’t struggle with 10a nor 8d.

    Google was required to confirm many of the ones I did get.

    A long and not particularly enjoyable slog.


    1. On vacation in the Sahara Desert, plenty of fresh drinking water is a must
      Pi is kind of derived from pious I seem to remember from somewhere in crosswordland, probably a previous DM puzzle

  37. Well if the Don is doing alternate Thursdays now, that explains a lot. I found this much harder than yesterday’s Toughie (took longer than yesterday’s toughie and backpager combined) and suggests we are in for a continued tough time. I find finishing Giovanni’s very satisfying (when it happens) but I’m not sure “fun” is really part of it.

  38. Hmm! A lot of different comments, but I’m in the “more difficult than enjoyable” camp this evening. I finished it so, hey ho! I shouldn’t complain. Favourite was 9a and I agree with MP, an absolute treat when we were young. Thanks to the setter, Giovanni?, and MP.

  39. Yuk.
    Never could do Giovanni’s crosswords. Note to self, avoid every second Thursday.
    Thanks all.

  40. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I enjoyed the challenge, I only had five answers on the first pass. Then gradually whittled it down until I was missing six in SW corner. Then penny finally dropped on 28a, and the rest followed. Last in was 17d, which was also my favourite. Realised that it was probably a pangram after my last clue in the NE corner, 6d. Had never heard of the beetle or 23d. Was really pleased to eventually finish without the hints. Didn’t have an inkling it was created by Giovanni. Was 4* /4* for me.

  41. Thank you, Miffypops. This is exactly why it’s the Telegraph crossword that I attempt — because I know that if I get stuck, there’ll be hints available. And I certainly made good use of them today: I only managed 5 answers by myself before needing a hint, and even getting a few answers that way didn’t suddenly unlock the crossers for me; it was pretty much hints all the way to the end.

    The hardest crossword I can remember engaging with since the dawn of time†. I am so impressed by everybody who got even most of the answers unaided.

    I’ll go for the upside-down poetry (14d) as my favourite.

    I also liked the wordplay in 17d but not the sentiment. On Wednesday I bought my spouse’s Christmas card, before the shop was closed by lockdown, and was asked “Would you like a receipt?”. I know it’s a while to go, but I declined; I think I’m safe in thinking I’ll still want that card by Christmas Day.

    I wouldn’t want the crossword to always be like this, but it isn’t, so that’s fine.

    † March 20th this year.

  42. Well to anyone still looking what an array of opinions! I found this much more solvable than some others recently. Proves it is a wavelength. Struggle for me was SW except for 3d which was my last in. I must remember pi as short for pious as we have had this recently. Nothing wrong with 30a. There are not many coastal counties beginning with D. Devon didn’t fit and didn’t have a group in it! Favourite 21 and 26a and 6 11 19 and 22d. 10 was easy to solve but I agree with others and do not associate the word with sinister. I’m upstairs and the BRB is downstairs but no doubt it would confirm this meaning. All in all a very satisfactory and satisfying solve and I look forward to more. Thanks Giovanni and MP ( where is Barrel?)

  43. Have to confess I didn’t enjoy this. I managed to get about half in before resorting to Miffypops’ excellent hints.
    Some of the answers slotted in nicely although clues such as 10a and 25a just feel awkward rather than challenging. I can understand why it has caused some emotional responses but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to have one at this level from time to time. Makes me realise that despite my huge improvements since I started in earnest at the start of lockdown that I’ve made progress but there’s a way to go yet!!
    Anyway on to today’s offering. Thanks to MP and the setter.

  44. I completed this on the second day. Very difficult, in my opinion, yet, with little else to do, I welcome the challenge. No enjoyment, as such, but great satisfaction.
    *****/0. Thanks for hints, used, thankfully, only to confirm my three iffy efforts.

  45. Got cornered in the SE for a while until everything unfolded.
    Two Giovanni in a row as he was on duty for Wednesday’s toughie and in both, Jo appeared. Made me wonder if Little Women was the only book the Don ever read.
    Thanks for the fun and to MP for the review.

  46. I expect Thursday’s to be difficult but just thought this was not very Daily Telegraph. Didn’t enjoy at all.

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