DT 29520 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29520

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29520

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a sunny South Staffs now the overnight rain has cleared.

We have a pangram today with three Xs. I thought at first that I was going to struggle, then solved 3d and the rest fell into place with no real difficulty.

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

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a           Current difficulty that involves very old tree (7)
AVOCADO – A two-letter abbreviation for a type of electric current and another word for difficulty or trouble are put together, and Very and Old are inserted.

Why Our Avocado Plant is Unlikely to Ever Yield Fruit | by Sam Westreich,  PhD | Sharing Science | Medium

10a         Former partner given more than enough warning? (7)
EXAMPLE – The usual former partner followed by ‘more than enough’.

11a         Delighted about little woman meeting Yankee journalist (9)
OVERJOYED – Put together another word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’, one of the characters from Little Women, the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO alphabet, and the usual crossword journalist.

12a         Article stolen from dirty relative (5)
UNCLE – Remove one of the forms of the indefinite article from another word for ‘dirty’ to get this male relative.

13a         Recall number virtually abandoned convicted offender (5)
FELON – Put together a two-letter abbreviation for ‘number’ and another word for ‘abandoned’ minus its last letter (virtually). Then reverse (recall) the result.

14a         Painting technique chimp astonishingly possesses (7)
IMPASTO – Hidden in the clue.

17a         Old monarch, her hat edged with swirls (6,3,6)

Edward VIII believed the monarchy had no future

19a         Returning extremely defective rug, Greek character is wild (7)
UNTAMED – Put together the outside letters (extremely) of D(efectiv)E, another word for a rug, and a Greek letter, then reverse (returning) the result.

21a         Check car temperature (5)
AUDIT – A German car followed by Temperature.

24a         On air, force to get reward (5)
PRIZE – This word for a reward sounds like (on air) a word meaning ‘force open’.

26a         Oscar and Dorothy struggling to embrace unknown doctrine (9)
ORTHODOXY – The letter represented by Oscar in the NATO alphabet, followed by an anagram (struggling) of DOROTHY wrapped round an algebraic unknown.

27a         Some disquiet an American’s shown about issue (7)
EMANATE – Hidden in reverse (about) in the clue.

28a         Cloth from Grandma having a fine edge (7)
NANKEEN – A familiar word for Grandma followed by a word applied to the fine edge of a knife or sword.


1d           Lady occasionally entering shed for break from work (3,3)
DAY OFF – Start with a verb meaning ‘shed’ – usually used in reference to one’s hat – then insert alternate letters (occasionally) of lAdY.

2d           Pass Europeans on vacation coming to order salad (8)
COLESLAW – Put together a mountain pass, the outside letters (on vacation) of E(uropean)S, and something which ensures order in society.

Basic Creamy Coleslaw Dressing Recipe | Brown Eyed Baker

3d           Criticise judge initially, and strange potentate (10)
PANJANDRUM – Put together a three-letter word for ‘criticise’, the first letter (initially) of Judge, AND (from the clue), and another word for ‘strange’ or ‘odd’.

4d           Act topping bill I learned trashed hotel previously (9)
HEADLINER – The letter represented by Hotel in the NATO alphabet, followed by an anagram (trashed) of I LEARNED.

5d           Reported dilemma for voters in capital city (4)
BAKU – The capital city of Azerbaijan sounds vaguely like a phrase (4,3) which could be asking ‘who should I vote for?’

Karate European Championships

6d           Spots King wearing glasses (6)
SPECKS – A short word for glasses, with the chess notation for a king inserted.

7d           Live male insect, enormous thing (8)
BEHEMOTH – Put together another word for ‘live’ or ‘exist’, a male pronoun, and a nocturnal flying insect.

9d           Steer around really discontented antelope (4)
ORYX – Another word for a castrated male bovine, wrapped round the outside letters (dis-contented) of R(eall)Y.

Celebrating the scimitar-horned oryx this World Wildlife Day | Zoological  Society of London (ZSL)

15d         Pardon main criminal, temperamental type (5,5)
PRIMA DONNA – Anagram (criminal) of PARDON MAIN.

16d         Sport duke plays is game with many variations (4,5)
STUD POKER – Anagram (plays) of SPORT DUKE.

17d         Provided with everything necessary, European told jokes (8)
EQUIPPED – An abbreviation for European, followed by ‘told jokes’.

18d         Element that’s essential in alchemy? (8)
HYDROGEN – The middle letter (essential) of alcHemy is the chemical symbol for this element.

20d         One old man becoming enthralled by brown snake (6)
TAIPAN – ‘To brown’ (in the sun) is wrapped round the Roman numeral for onei and a familiar way of addressing ‘the old man’.

Taipans (<em>Oxyuranus</em> sp.) : School of Biomedical Sciences

22d         Distressing time — telephone about closure of factory (6)
TRYING Time followed by another verb for ‘telephone’ wrapped round the final letter (closure) of factorY.

23d         Shock as bottom falls out of hamper (4)
STUN – Remove the final letter from a word meaning ‘hamper’ or ‘restrict (growth)’.

25d         Periods in history are brought up by son (4)
ERAS – Reverse (brought up) ARE (from the clue), then add Son.

The Quick Crossword pun ODOUR + CLONE = EAU DE COLOGNE

119 comments on “DT 29520

  1. 2.5*/5*. It’s Friday, it’s a pangram, it’s beautifully clued, the surfaces are super-smooth, and it was super-enjoyable. Many thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) and to DT.

    My podium comprises 14a, 17a (it’s very rare for me to select an anagram in my top three but this was a great example of that ilk) & 18d.

  2. After the relative ease of yesterday , if that can every be said about a Thursday – Jay , this was another wade through thick treacle. Completed in 2.5* and *** for enjoyment. Google needed to confirm , 14a, 28a,3D, 5d and 20d. I am unable to completely parse about 40% of the answers so I am desperately in need of our friendly “hinter”. To me this was more like a Toughie , so expecting everyone to describe this as a breeze and the easiest for along time. I was smug yesterday and humbled today. Thanks as always to the contributors to my daily torment.

    1. I too found this to be more like a Toughie and so, almost impenetrable to me. Certainly not a ** difficulty!
      I must add that I find the difficulty rating system to be rather off-putting (and various other words). I appreciate that it is simply the view of the reviewer, but wonder if it is really necessary to put it at the top of the review, rather than perhaps including the rating within the body of the hints: “ I found this to be quite easy” [but realise that this could be quite hard].
      Please be aware of the sensibilities of those of us out here who are not expert solvers. I have noticed some quite patronising-seeming replies recently.

    2. Totally agree.

      I would regard myself as quite literate and reasonable at cryptic crosswords but I have never heard of Panjandrum, Nankeen, Impasto or Taipan which makes for a difficult day at the office.

      I also found 5d and 18d impossible in terms of parsing. Back Who ??? And to guess the element from a cryptic reference to one letter in the middle of a word ??. Without getting most of the crossing letters virtually impossible to deduce. Well, for me anyway.

  3. This puzzle had an interesting variety of clues, some of them quite cunning (2.5*/4*), which was very enjoyable. I particularly liked 3d, which was very witty and also appreciated the long anagram at 17a. Thank you to DT for the review and to the compiler.

  4. As good as the previous two days were, this topped them with three strong candidates for clue of the week in 3,5&18d. Not overly difficult but hugely enjoyable
    Many thanks to the setter (not going to guess this week!) and to DT for your excellent works.

    1. Check out the letter X on Fridays. All of the letters of the alphabet except the letter X. Four times the letter X. A pangram with several times the letter X. Probably ProXimal.

  5. Great fun, not overly taxing but beautifully clued throughout, this was a real treat to complete. Of many outstanding clues I think I liked the clever 18d the best. I also thought 17a was a very smooth anagram.

    Many many thanks to Silvanus or proXimal and of course to DT.

  6. Think RD has summed this cracker up rather well. Brisk solve with no real difficulty other than needing to remind myself exactly what 14a was (yet again) & predictably last in was the 4 letter homophone at 5d but it was a beauty so it makes it onto my podium along with 11&17a.
    Very enjoyable so thanks to the setter & to DT

  7. I struggled to get going on this one, but as I gained momentum, it was a case of sprinting over the line in **/*** time. For a change, I had spotted the pangram early on, that proved my theory for 3d, and the floodgates opened.

    Many thanks to the setter, and DT.

  8. Having now read DTs hints it all seems so easy (thank you) , as I expected others have found this more straightforward. It all seems to be a question of wavelengths. Think my favourite is the homophone pun 5d …that’s going to make me chuckle all day, and also 18d which is just pure genius.
    Off to clear the garage now and mix a lot of old paint with sawdust so it can go to the tip.

    1. I’m with you, NeilO – I got East quite quickly but struggled mightily with West, for reasons I can’t now understand. Oh, and 2d led to an education for me – unable to see where the ‘on vacation’ came into it, I was trying very hard to fit in Hol or Hols. So hard, that I googled the alternative beginning with an H… cue maidenly blushes… 😳

    2. I think that it’s always all about wavelength – plus other outside influences – how well you slept, are you worrying about ‘stuff’, should you really be doing other more pressing things etc etc.

  9. An interesting mix of clues and, of course, I didn’t notice it was a pangram. 8a took me a while to unravel – I think of an avocado as a fruit rather than a tree. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to think what they grow on which is daft. I had to check Mr. G to make sure I had the correct snake in 20d and I needed the hints to explain 2d. The Europeans on vacation part escaped me. I’ll nominate 17a as favourite because it was pretty well disguised in the clue. ***/*** Thanks to all.

  10. Forgot to add a question to my post. Could someone please tell me what a pangram is? …and is it a particular trait of this setter or Fridays?

    1. That’s a Frequently Asked Question – see the tab at the top of the page.

      A pangram is a crossword with all the letters of the alphabet in it

      1. Neil has only asked it once Sue. We haven’t been asked about the BRB or how we know who the setter is for a while. What I want to know is how Big Dave managed to recruit such a dedicated and long serving bunch of bloggers

  11. Quite straightforward, very enjoyable, and, unusually, for a Friday, completed at a fast gallop – **/****.
    Quite a big Hmm over the 5d homophone – the way I have heard the capital city pronounced (more like baa-coo) is not the same as the voters’ dilemma.
    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 27a, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. To me “baa-coo” does sound like the voter’s dilemma (unless you add an “m” to the second word, of course!).

      But I’m not sure I’ve ever said the city. Wikipedia gives 5 different IPA pronunciations (4 English and 1 Azerbaijani, with a different middle consonant), so presumably one of them works.

      No, Miffypops, not that sort of IPA ..

    2. 5d is truly superb.

      I don’t get people who pick holes in homophones: of course accents can make it sound slightly different but let it go.

      Yes, the h sound of ‘who’ isn’t mentioned but so what.

      It’s hilarious.

    3. I went to Baku last year and I never heard it pronounced other than the homophone suggests. I know people across the pond have a tendency to pronounce As either long or with a very nasal ea sound (I remember reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to my kids and having to rhyme “aunts” and “pants” which doesn’t work without using an American accent). By the way Baku is one of the loveliest cities I’ve been to – well worth a visit.

  12. Thanks, Deep Threat and setter (proXimal?).

    The quick crossword felt a bit different today (it seemed a bit like the one in the Guardian Weekend magazine): lots of ‘item in a category’ clues like “Musical instrument”, “Fruit”, “Bird”, and “African capital”, where the knowledge required is something that a passing child would have (I checked), but there are so many options to choose from, you really have to think about what crosses with what to find a combination that works.

    I liked it — possibly my favourite quick crossword ever!

    The pun was good, too, and kind-of works as a definition of its answer.

      1. Neither do I or Peter. Clearly we are all dumbos together. Next time, I’ll look for a passing child 😊

  13. As usual, I didn’t spot the likely pangram – maybe that’s why this took me far longer to complete than it seems to have done for our reviewer.
    To judge by the large number of ticks on my sheet, I’ll go with RD and suggest Silvanus as our setter – such smooth surfaces.
    The enormous male insect gets my vote today for its entertainment value and I don’t think I want any of that particular Quickie pun for Christmas!

    Many thanks to our setter and to DT for the review.

  14. Very enjoyable – apart from 20d where i had tioman – obvious for myself having once visited this malaysian island, although never saw any snakes.

  15. That was a real roller coaster of a crossword! High point for me was 3d, never heard of the word before but the wordplay led me through building it up such that there was no other answer. Enjoyed the big anagram of 17 across too.

    Thanks to DT and setter – whoever you are!

  16. Setter here, many thanks to Deep Threat for his usual excellent Hints and Tips and to everyone who has taken the trouble to comment.

    I always use Scrabble tiles to construct all but the simplest anagrams and 17a was no exception, although a female friend of mine has suggested that “ruffles” might have been better as the anagram indicator than “swirls”. I confess that my knowledge of female hats isn’t extensive, but she may have a point. I invite any ladies or milliners (or anyone else, frankly!) to cast their votes, swirls or ruffles?

    My own personal favourite clue is probably one that, so far, nobody has mentioned, i.e. 4d. Perhaps bands these days no longer trash hotels like they once did?

    I wish everyone a good weekend.

    1. Hi Silvanus, thanks for popping in as usual. Re: 4d – I wonder whether it no longer occurs or is it simply that it happens so often that it’s no longer newsworthy!

    2. Oddly enough I nearly nominated that one Silvanus. Watched Brian Johnson interviewing Roger Daltrey the other day on Sky Arts & Daltrey said that the owners of the cheap run down hotels that they stayed in early doors loved having the band staying with them because they paid cash for the rooms that Keith Moon wrecked. He was therefore always put in the one most in need of a refurb. Great crossword today.

    3. Many thanks for an enjoyable puzzle. I feel like I’m beginning to make some progress at last. I suspected that it was a pangram from the start too.

    4. A very high class puzzle. Many thanks, Silvanus.
      Great surface reads throughout and plenty of smiles. Take a bow!

    5. Thanks Silvanus for a very enjoyable Friday puzzle.
      Apologies for delay in responding to you, I had to ‘pop out’ for a colonoscopy this (my) morning.

  17. Very enjoyable. I had not heard of 3d but it could be nothing else given the checkers and the brilliant clue. Of course, I missed the pangram – I always do. However, putting the wrong fourth letter for 24a didn’t help.

    There were so many good clues that it was not easy to pick one out for COTD but if pushed I would go for 11a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the enjoyment. I’m not sure it’s proXimal, I thought he did pangrams without an X. Thanks also to DT for the hints.

    Just seen the post from Sylvanus so at least I was right about it not being proXima.

  18. Thank you for the fun, Silvanus. Couldn’t parse 1d because I’d put L—/— instead of D—/— (and am still wondering about 24d in the Quick) but thought 18d was quite brilliant. Not sure if ruffles were ever found on hats so I’ll take the swirls. Thanks to DT for the blog and for sorting out 2d; I thought the second half of it was the Europeans 😳, clearly not enough thought!

    1. I certainly had a couple of Ascot hats which sported ruffles – one in cream and one in pale green if I remember correctly. Such a long time ago now!

  19. I found this puzzle dreadful mainly because i could not understand about 1/4 of the clues. A real slog from start to finish.
    Two words that had me reaching for the BRB 14a and 28a and 3d I had heard of but had no idea what it meant.
    For me one of the worst for a while.
    Thx for the hints

      1. Totally agree.

        I would regard myself as quite literate and reasonable at cryptic crosswords but I have never heard of Panjandrum, Nankeen, Impasto or Taipan which makes for a difficult day at the office.

        I also found 5d and 18d impossible in terms of parsing. Back Who ??? And to guess the element from a cryptic reference to one letter in the middle of a word ??. Without getting most of the crossing letters virtually impossible to deduce. Well, for me anyway.

        1. Nankeen and Impasto are frequent visitors to the DT back-pager.

          Wish I had Mr K’s database to confirm how often they appear.

  20. Super puzzle, if rather mild for a Friday. I went on pangram alert after my first two in, which were 6a and 9d. 5d made me smile but I will put 18d atop the podium today. Nice one Silvanus.

  21. My thanks to Silvanus for an excellent puzzle which ticked all the boxes for good clues. The anagrams were good, the lurkers too, but 3d is my favourite today. What a lovely word it is and I haven’t heard it used for a long time. Thanks to DT for his blog and the brilliant Tom Letter.

  22. (Good old Brian – I do enjoy his contributions!)

    This was great fun, and very satisfying to see the word at 3d which is very enjoyable to say out loud.

    The Telegraph has published a lovely little book – excellent stocking filler – ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up…!: Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph’.
    Oh… did I mention? I’m featured in it… *mentions it every day until Christmas Eve*.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

    1. Thank you, Terence, that’s one Christmas present sorted!
      What are you getting for your faithful friend – no, I don’t mean the missus.

      1. Jane – Lola is so laid back, it is hard to think of a suitable gift for her. She hates any attempt at games or stimulation. Her hobbies are eating, sleeping, and being fussed over. She already has more cushions than the furnishings department at Liberty of London. Any ideas welcomed!

        1. There’s a company called Funkiepigeon who are advertising a Christmas bauble which you can have made up with a photo and name check for your favourite feline. Could bring a smile to your face in years to come and it’s not outrageously expensive.

        2. Have you already got her a cat tower, with ramp, hanging pom-poms, scratching post, box-like house with windows etc? I have one for my son’s family cat, Tibbles, who is my guest whilst they are away. He makes a beeline for it as soon as they open his travelling basket and seems very comfortable, as it is covered in warm, fleecy material.

          1. She has exactly that, Chris, with the scratching post and the little house. She uses the scratching post but treats the rest of it with disdain!

            1. Tibbles loves to curl up in the little house, poking his little white nose through the round window occasionally. I have made him a present of some sardine shaped catnip treats at Christmas.

  23. Started at 25d as is my habit these days as I nearly always find the bottom half easier. Breezed through to the top half which I found a little more tricky. I was trying to include OO for glasses but that obviously didn’t work especially as I had put in neice for 12a. No idea why. Last in 8a and needed the hints to parse. I also needed the hints to parse 18d. I think that I now understand “essential” after several years of solving. I don’t like it though. Nor do I like audi for car or esc for key. Too contrived. I did know all the words except how to spell backoo. Anyway very enjoyable completed in ** time.

  24. A very entertaining solve after lunch,,, got to do a crossword before 8pm ,, hooray.
    I thought the clues were worded superbly & the grid fell nicely into place.
    In fact one could say I was 11ac.
    Grateful thanks to DT & Silvanus

  25. When I was small, and being trying, my mother would bring me down a peg or two at times and tell me I was not The Great Panjandrum. It was nice to meet him again today.

    1. I had always thought that 3d was of Indian origin, like juggernaut, but I find that the word was invented by an 18th century Englishman.

  26. Late today because I kept trying to finish the Toughie but wore myself out doing so, and so I finally collapsed into sleep instead of joining my friends on the blog. But here I am now to salute another brilliant Silvanus work of art, and even though I didn’t know the Australian snake (and IAP is not ‘familiar’ to Americans, despite what DT says above), I thought this was the week’s topper. I actually finished in 2.5* after getting an electronic assist for 20d. So many great choices for the podium but I settled on 3d, 17a, & 4d. Thanks to DT and to Silvanus. 2.5* / 5*

    No, I didn’t finish the Toughie, but I loved it anyway. And thanks, DT, for the Tom Lehrer!

    1. Hi Robert,
      Don’t know whether you noticed my note to you yesterday but I was asking for your opinion of the Booker shortlist. I don’t feel inclined to rush out and buy any of them!

      1. Sorry I missed your note yesterday, Jane. I really haven’t been inspired by the Booker shortlist, though I remember that John Bee spoke favourably of Shuggie Bain. I think I’ll wait a while for the paperback editions to emerge. (I still have the Moyes novel waiting for me, but right now I have two more volumes of the Bill Slider series to finish before I can move on.)

    2. Yesterday would have been my mother’s 104th birthday, and in my comment on the Toughie blog it may have appeared that she–Saint Lois, she was, and is–is still with us. Well, she certainly is in spirit but otherwise no. Thanks to those who wished her well. She would have loved this blog.

  27. A superb ending to the week, where I had ups and downs with crosswords, still if they were all simple then where would the fun be. Favourite clue 26a. I will await tomorrows prize pizzle withn interest. Thanks again to Silvanus and DT.

  28. I’ve been waylaid by some texting marathons. But I thought it was a fine puzzle, leaving only the three hardest GK answers – 5d, 9d, 28a to be looked up.
    Thanks to our resident experts.

    1. Another fab puzzle today so thank you. East easier then west but most completed in bed with early morning cuppa. Sometimes I find that looking at a clue with, say, 4 out of 6 letters already filled in, I see what word works and it is often the case. This is such a fantastic site. Can I ask, do the setters start out with an empty grid that they fill in? There is no way on earth that I would have the skill to do this and my admiration is huge, so many thanks to Silvanus today. Complely missed the Pangram, as usual!

      1. Hi,

        Thank you!

        To answer your question, and speaking just for myself, I do start with a blank grid (the Telegraph has a library of approved grids from which to select an appropriate one) but usually I have one or two words that I have already decided I want to fit into it somewhere. The rest of the words are added individually thereafter, despite the existence of a computer program that will “auto-fill” the grid, if required. I see no fun whatsoever in using that facility though, to me it would feel a little like sub-contracting the compiling to a third party. I hope that helps your understanding, Manders.

  29. 3/5. Excellent puzzle which I started quickly but finished slowly. My favourites were 3d which I had to look up because I had only come across this many moons ago as a weapon of war and 19a which was so well crafted. 11a tipped me off to expect a pangram. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  30. Oh dear, I didn’t enjoy that much particularly – 8a described as tree, 17a ruffles better for hat trim but do accept swirls probably better in clue context, 28a Nan=Grandma is a no no for me!, 5d debatable, 6d new one on me. North went in first but SW corner was my stumbling-block. Anyway I am obviously in a minority (not for the first time!) so I will just say thank you to Silvanus whose wavelength I hope to find in future and to DT for explaining my bung-ins.

  31. Well I never knew there was such a thing as a tioman snake, which fits with 20d and alas that’s where I came unstuck today. Thanks to Silvanus for great clues and DT for explanations

  32. I found this difficult, but I have always struggled with Silvanus’ puzzles. Much harder than ** for me. Needed a couple of hints to finish.
    Thanks all.

  33. Finished alone and unaided but definitely needed help to parse several of the clues.
    Overall an excellent puzzle if a bit hard for me….exception being 5d which I am not keen on…but then I am never keen on homophones.

    Thanks to DT and to the setter.

  34. I loved this, for once I spotted the pangram which helped a lot. I didn’t know 3d or 20d, but they were both so well clued, I worked them out easily and confirmed in the dictionary. I had a couple of bung ins, I’m glad to see they’re right. I needed a hint for 4d, dunno why.
    There’s so much to like here, not sure I can pick a fave, maybe 7d for the sound of it?
    Thanks Silvanus, that was super entertainment, and thanks DT for unravelling a few.

    I’m off to call the DT to see if I can sort out my sub and password problems. I’m my own worst enemy, I always have a problem renewing my sub, so every time it comes around I create a new email and new name and sign up with a fresh start every time. At this point they have no idea who they’re dealing with!

  35. What strange times we live in! After not managing to complete the puzzle on both Wednesday and Thursday 😟 Today’s was like a breath of Spring ***/**** 😃 ( one man’s meat is Brian’s poison😬) Favourites 21 & 28a and 9d 🤗 Big thank you to Silvanus and to DT, especially for the Tom Lehrer

  36. Just what a. Friday back pager should be. Full of fun while teasing out the answers. I never did get 5 down and have a feeling that I never will. Thanks to Deep Threat and Silvanus for the entertainment and to the landlord of the pub I had a couple of beers in today. One out of three – could have been better but it will do me. Play nicely over the weekend folks. I will see you all on Monday

  37. When solving we noted the Xs appearing in each quadrant and went searching in vain for one in the SW to confirm proXimal as the setter. How wrong we were!. Did find the pangram though. Thoroughly enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

    1. I was very proud of myself for seeing for the first time an X in three corners, and then wasted a lot of time trying to find a 20d with an X in it. How clever of Silvanus to fool me like that! Having learnt about pangrams since contact with Big Dave, I was also pleased that I noticed this. I did quite well with this puzzle, leaving 3 unfinished clues, 5d and 20d through lack of GK. I couldn’t parse 5d until Mr. Th had inspiration and explained it to me. For the second time this week I really felt on the same wavelength as the setter – so thanks to Silvanus. Although I did not use the hints (but as always read them all through afterwards) many thanks to DT for all the hard work.

    1. No – have I got round to emailing her? No. I’ve had a very long walk and only just finished the crossword. I thought I’d wait until I looked at the blog to see if there’d been an appearance.
      I will do so now, as soon as I’ve planted a comment on the crossword.
      Does anyone know what her real name is? I have an idea but not sure if I’m right. I think it’s the lesser known name of a bird. Back later.

      1. She mentioned that her name was the Scottish version of the bird’s name. Hope she is all right.

      2. Hi Kath,
        Think the bird you’re talking about is a Mavis but I’m not sure whether that’s her real name or just what her family choose to use.

      3. Hope it’s good news from Daisy. Peter and I have a dear friend of 30+ years, Eileen, who fell and broke her femur recently, aged 90. Been in rehab following surgery. Yesterday, after 4 weeks in ICU, they told her loose metal is showing up on the X-rays and they will have to redo the surgery… She is refusing to do it again. Given all of this, will be relieved to hear that Daisy is home and back on the mend.

  38. I’ve been lurking here for some time although I’ve never commented before. What a brilliant crossword!
    Thank you to Silvanus and to all of you for teaching me so much about solving cryptic crosswords.
    Being a fluent speaker of Estuary English I had no problems with 5d!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Alison.
      Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.

  39. Found this one a real struggle today. Maybe a short night and being up at 4:30am didn’t help. Did this puzzle mostly clockwise starting at the NE. Several new words added to my vocabulary today. 3d, 9d, 14a, 28a and I didn’t know the snake either.
    Have to rate this ****/*** today. Maybe with all the words not in my DTD vocab, no wonder I had trouble.
    Favourite clues include 8a, 17a, 21a, 6d & 15d with winner 21a for the elegant simplicity.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT for the hints I made good use of today

    1. Thought it was rather randomly placed! In answer to your question, I think all setters have their own ways of working – don’t think there’s any set pattern that they use. Whatever, they’re darned clever!

  40. Absolutely brilliant crossword. I’d not heard of 3d but the clue made it perfectly clear what the answer was and I simply looked it up. Obscure answer plain clue, perfect, so my cotd. I couldn’t parse 18d, hey ho! It had to be that. I failed to spot the pangram as usual. Many many thanks to Silvanus and DT. I wonder what life is like on planet Brian?

  41. I found this really difficult – I hope it’s because I didn’t start it until late afternoon!
    Had a long walk then a very long phone call with my sister so didn’t even look until 5.00 – being out of routine always messes me up – I usually do the crossword in the morning.
    I still thought it was difficult even allowing for all of that and my difficulty rating is always a million miles from DT’s.
    At one stage Giovanni was a suspect, if only because of the ‘Little Woman’, but that was the only reason!
    I did enjoy it – I’m glad I’ve done it – I’m glad I’ve finished it and now I need food and wine and I don’t really care in which order!
    Thank you Silvanus and thank you DT.

  42. Thanks to Silvanus and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. Fantastic puzzle, great stuff, really good clueing. 5&7d made me laugh. Had vaguely heard of 3d, but the wordplay was clear. Had never heard of 20a, but again the wordplay led me to the answer. Last in was 23d. Favourite was 18d, I really enjoy seeing science-based clues. Was 2* /4* for me.

  43. When I saw the little woman, the doctrine and a strange wwii contraption, I immediately thought of Giovanni.
    It appears that this is not the case.
    Thanks to Silvanus for a great workout and to DT for the review.

  44. Unusual day for me starting it around 6am and not finishing till 8pm due various work/family issues. Some interesting wordplay and words for me – favourites 3D,5d & 14a.
    Thx to Silvanus and DT

  45. Typically late getting to the Friday crossword, I struggled today. Would not have got 14a, 28a, 3d, 5d, 9d and 20d if I had sat here all day staring at the clues. Clearly gaping holes in my GK, probably because I left school early. But that’s another story. I’m mu own worst enemy as I’m loath to go looking for electronic help, but prefer to sit here and play the strain the brain game. On the plus side, I do increase my GK from these puzzles, so the day is not a waste. Now if I can just remember next time they pop up. Hope we hear from Daisy soon. Thanks to Silvanus and Deep Threat.

  46. In case anyone other than me is still awake I’ve just had a reply from DG. It’s quite a long story and I will tell all in detail tomorrow but she’s OK. She’s in Addenbrookes – I’ve replied to her reply and told her that I, as an ex ward sister, speaking to her, as a convalescent patient, have to tell her that she really should be asleep by now. She sounds in pretty good spirits but hasn’t had the best of weeks! She’s delighted to know that people had noticed her absence.

  47. I loved this puzzle. Just tricky enough to have a great feeling of satisfaction at having completed it without help.

  48. Really struggled with this, and after revisiting it this morning was still left with five to do. Finally read the hints and comments and was left foaming at the mouth by the “mild” comment ( see 21 ). Still, thanks to all ,today’s another day😁

  49. It perplexes me somewhat when some bloggers here describe a particular crossword as straightforward, or similar description and then thanks others for their hints and tips or reference googling clues etc.
    I do not resort to external help until I give up and resort to this site for walking me through what I missed.
    Fine for others to get external help, but please do not then describe the crossword as easy or straightforward.

    1. I have often thought a crossword is straightforward but I might have sought help for one clue. Am I supposed to now say it was difficult because I couldn’t get one clue? :grin:

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