DT 29538 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29538

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29538

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a grey December day in Tier 3.

A slow start for me today, but I picked up pace as the first few answers began to appear, and finished in *** time.

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.


1a           Most unadventurous Rio carnival, possibly (6)
SAFEST – The first two letters of the answer are an abbreviation for the continent where Rio is to be found. The last four make up a shortened word for something like a carnival.

4a           What’s black and smooth that goes superfast? (3,5)
JET PLANE – A black mineral followed by a way of smoothing the surface of a piece of wood.

9a           Graphic passport in possession of university student (6)
VISUAL – A passport, or more accurately a stamp in a passport granting access to a particular country, wrapped round University, followed by the usual letter indicating a student or learner.

10a         Cabinet in Cuba drop off (8)
CUPBOARD – Anagram (off) of CUBA DROP.

12a         Transports slate, then steers up to turning now and then (8)
RAPTURES – Another word for ‘slate’ or ‘criticise’, followed by alternate letters (now and then) of StEeRs Up To, read from right t left (turning).

13a         Cafe first in Belgium, or needing backing? (6)
BISTRO – The IVR code for Belgium and the reverse (needing backing) of OR (from the clue) are placed either side of three letters which look like the alphanumeric contraction for ‘first’.

15a         One should stop drips hanging with horrible lot (6,7)
SHOWER CURTAIN – The first word is, like ‘horrible lot’, a disparaging term which a drill sergeant may apply to a group of soldiers on the parade ground. The second is a fabric hanging found at many windows.

18a         They bring you round marketing to house married sailors (8,5)
SMELLING SALTS – A synonym of ‘marketing’ has the abbreviation for Married inserted, then we have a familiar term for sailors.

20a         Elbows out a Victorian protagonist — British and old (6)
AKIMBO – Put together A (from the clue), the eponymous hero of a novel by Rudyard Kipling set in 19th-century India, British, and Old.

22a         Burned-out setter maybe attempted swapping couple of letters (3-5)
DOG-TIRED – The sort of creature of which a setter is an example, followed by a synonym of ‘attempted’ with its second and third letters swapped over.

24a         Incomes, sadly suffering a setback, rise unexpectedly (8)
SALARIES – Reverse (suffering a setback) an exclamation for ‘sadly’, then add an anagram (unexpectedly) of RISE.

25a         Animal seen around in estate, ill occasionally (6)
COLLIE – Hidden in reverse in the clue.

Border Collie | Small, Medium and Big Dog Breeds | Pedigree UK

26a         The state of Wendy after mingling with Lew? (5-3)
NEWLY-WED – This is an all-in-one clue where the answer is an anagram (after mingling) of WENDY and LEW.

27a         Leak in skip (6)
ESCAPE – Double definition, the first relating to a liquid or gas leaving a container unexpectedly, the second to a person fleeing confinement.


1d           Runner‘s number during run — that’s the other way round! (6)
SEVERN – The runner here is, like the crossword ‘banker’, a river rather than an athlete. To get the answer, insert the abbreviation for Run into a cardinal number. The clue starts by referring to a number inside a run, then tells you to do it the other way round.

2d           Sturgeon maybe finished with English food (4,5)
FISH PASTE – The sturgeon here is not the First Minister of Scotland, but an example (maybe) of the type of creature in the first word of the answer. The second word is a synonym of ‘finished’ or ‘over’, followed by English.

3d           The most prominent figure in a US city (6,2,7)
STATUE OF LIBERTY – Cryptic definition of a well-known landmark in New York.

Undoing the Promise of the Statue of Liberty | The Nation

5d           This person raised you and me as natives of 16 (4)
EMUS – Reverse (raised) a pronoun for ‘this person’, then add the pronoun for ‘you and me’ to get some creatures native to the country which is the answer to 16d.

The Great Emu War of 1932 | Everything You Need to Know!

6d           Well-known family generates hype (6,9)
PUBLIC RELATIONS – Another word for ‘well-known’ as opposed to ‘private’, followed by a word describing one’s wider family.

7d           A monstrous thing Long John Silver said (5)
AVAST – A (from the clue) followed by ‘monstrous’ or ‘enormous’, giving us a word of command in the days of sail, telling a ship’s crew to stop pulling on a rope.

8d           Don’t need being involved in a row (3,2,3)
END TO END – Anagram (being involved) of DON’T NEED.

11d         Provide me answers incorporating ‘humbles’ (7)
DEMEANS – Hidden in the clue.

14d         I chose to adapt with performance on the slide (3,4)
ICE SHOW – Anagram (to adapt) of I CHOSE, followed by an abbreviation of With.

16d         Land somewhere in America to climb in country (9)
AUSTRALIA – The two-letter abbreviation for a West Coast city in America is reversed (to climb) and inserted into a European country, producing another land or country.

17d         Butcher takes two animals in (8)
ASSASSIN – Two examples of a draught animal, followed by IN (from the clue).

19d         In this era try, people say, and stick together (6)
ADHERE – The two-letter abbreviation used in dating to indicate the current set of year numbers in the (Christian) calendar, followed by a word which sounds like (people say) another word for ‘try (a case in court)’.

21d         One’s relatively connected with the union (2-3)
IN-LAW – Cryptic definition of someone who becomes a relative by marriage.

23d         Summer event involving walkers with twisted toes? (4)
FETE – The ‘walkers’ here are what you walk on or with. The last two letters are exchanged (twisted) to give the answer. We know that the last two letters are involved because they are the ‘toes’ – the end of the ‘walkers’.

The Quick Crossword pun SON + DAZE + COOL = SUNDAY SCHOOL

102 comments on “DT 29538

  1. I laughed out aloud with 5 and 16d, which were my first two in, closely followed by 3d, which I thought was slightly too obvious. Small complaint though as I really liked this back pager very much indeed. Lots to enjoy with favourites that included 4a, 6d, 15a & 18a. Tops for me has to be 5d coupled with 16d. Thanks to both setter and DT.

  2. I loved this, perhaps not one for the purists, but I thought it was great fun with some terrific misdirection (25a for instance) and a slight nautical theme. My last one in was 7d where I was reduced to going through the alphabet before the penny finally dropped
    Podium places go to 20&25a plus 14d among several excellent clues
    Many thanks to DT and to Zandio?, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t he.

  3. I found this slow going at times and , as is often the case on Friday, found myself finding a word to fit the checkers and reverse engineering the whys and wherefores(3*/3*). There were some clever, well-disguised clues and my two picks are the ones that made me chuckle on this grey December day, 2d and 18a. My thanks to the compiler, humour is so appreciared in these dark times. Thanks to DT for help with the few I couldn’t parse and commiserations on Tier 3.

  4. Enjoyed this Friday puzzle and a **/**** for me ,unfussy cluing throughout.
    My favourite was 15a, took a white to get the first word then the penny dropped and was reminded of Terry Thomas., also liked the surface of 18a.
    Thanks to setter and DT for the pics ,clever Quickie Pun.
    Dare I attempt my nemesis Elgar today after solving Beam’s excellent 4* offering of yesterday-do I have the time!

    1. Elgar isn’t as ‘fiendish’ as he has been in the past – give him a go and see how you get on

          1. I didn’t think there was much to chose between these puzzles. Definitely not the usual killer Elgar!

            1. Hallelujah to that! May even warily tip my toe in the water though still expect the temperature to be icy

  5. Really enjoyable although I had to check 22a and 27a with Deep Threat’s hints to understand them. Thanks Deep Threat. I can just about see the two types of the latter but a bit of a stretch I thought. So even though I was dim on understanding why I completed in ** time and thought **** for fun – the lengthier solutions were really satisfying and came quite easily. The rain has cleared Plymouth now and blue sky is appearing so the moors beckon…..

  6. 3*/4.5*. I thought this was great – nicely challenging, quirky in places and good fun throughout. I’m pretty sure that it must be the handiwork of Zandio.

    I’ve got too many ticks on my page to come up with a podium choice today, but a selection of goodies is: 1a, 26a, 2d, 6d & 7d and many more.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  7. At last I have a printer working so I can use a paper copy for the crossword. It’s useful having a son in law who can do these things from a distance of 250 miles.

    An enjoyable puzzle today which took some time to parse many of the clues. I liked 18a and 2d, and the lurkers.

    Thank you to DT and the setter.

    1. I like to print mine out too and use a fountain pen. A nice special way to start the day.

      1. A solver after my own heart. My left handed 14 year old son just finds it incomprehensible that I should love fountain pens as I do and reminds me of it every evening.

  8. Quite a tricky assignment for me, this one. Not a criticism -> I found a few clues a bit vague, which is a wavelength thing, no doubt. I didn’t help myself by blundering in with ‘oil slick’ as the first answer I pencilled in (for 4a).
    Very happy to have DT there to help me with a couple, especially 1d, which I really should have found flowing into my consciousness.

    ‘For never-resting time leads summer on, To hideous winter and confounds him there; Sap cheque’d with frost and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o’ersnow’d and bareness every where.’
    Cheery old soul, Billy Shakespeare, but to summarise his thoughts – it’s bloomin’ cold! Similarly, I too have found my sap is cheque’d and my lusty leaves have left.

    Thanks to the setter and the splendid DT.

    1. I do look forward to your witty comments Terence. You’ve summed up how I’m feeling after yesterday’s incarceration precisely

    2. Thanks for the quote Terence. We never got beyond Henry IV, Part I at school unfortunately. Shakespeare should have come to South Florida, he would have a different opinion about winter then, more like a good English summer. I do like the cold however, bundling up, wintry walks and log fires. Happy memories.

  9. A very entertaining puzzle today. ***/**** It took me a little while to get going but the clues were well put together. I needed the hints to understand 1a. It didn’t cross my mind that SA stood for South America. The lurkers at 11d and 25a were well disguised. 22a made me laugh and 20a is quite ingenious. Favourite 18a. Thanks to all. This one brightened my morning.

  10. Very enjoyable puzzle today, last in 7d *** time and **** for enjoyment some really good cluing and misdirection, fav was 2d with 4a and 20a on the podium.
    Thanks to DT and the setter.

  11. This was a strange one, fairly rattled in most clues quickly, most unusual for me. I then came to a sudden stop at 18a and 16d. I had to refer to hints I don’t know why as this was as some of the more complicated answers went in easily. Last one in 20a. No real favourites as all pretty good.
    Thanks to DT and setter.

  12. Very enjoyable and just about right for a Friday, completed at a gallop – 2.5*/4.5*.
    With three of four clues left I decided to do a ‘pangram check’ but found three letters missing, one of them ‘X’, and all three stayed missing so no guidance there on the setter so, like others, I will say it is a Zandio.
    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 3d, and 6d – and the winner is 3d.
    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  13. I too found parts of this a bit of a struggle. Maybe it is a wavelength thing. 20A took me ages and I did read kidnapped in my youth!

    There were a few bung ins and trying to work out the why. Thanks to DT for the whys!

    1. It’s almost always a wave-length thing and, just occasionally when it isn’t that, it’s a general state of mind thing – well, that’s what I think anyway, for what it’s worth.

  14. A bit different but I enjoyed it. We have lots of the white stuff falling out of the sky here in the Vale of Belvoir Thankfully I have a goodly supply of King Goblin Ruby Ale to keep me going.

    1. The marvellous Saint Sharon bought me some King Goblin Ruby Spidrift, blooming lovely it was too. Also lots of other beers most of which have been suitable for me. She knows me well. I’d rather be drinking in the pub though.

      1. I would also recommend “Black Sheep Ale” brewed in Yorkshire by a renegade member of the Theakston family. I’m starting to feel thirsty…

  15. Raised an eyebrow over a couple of the surface reads and definitions so I would think the guesses as to today’s compiler are probably correct!
    Enjoyable Friday fare and my top two were 22a & 7d.

    Thanks to Zandio (?) and to DT for the review – nice to hear John Denver again, such a melodious voice.

  16. Tricky in places but otherwise fairly straightforward and most enjoyable. Not sure about the second part of 7d being a noun. I have now seen 13a clued in so many ways that when I see the word “cafe” in a clue I see if that word fits. My COTD is 26a because of the great surface.

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

    No white stuff here in Shropshire but the wind is bitterly cold and cuts like a knife through all layers of clothing.

    1. It’s not a noun – it’s an adjective. It’s the synonym for “monstrous”. Thing refers to the thing LJS said (I had no idea what that was however and has to cheat!). À at the start of the clue is just for the letter A in the answer.

  17. Thoroughly enjoyable with a lot of very clever ‘smile’ clues and quite tricksy in places. Best for me was 4a but MiD for 18a and 22a.
    Never heard of the Kipling book so that’s something I have learned today. Last in was 19d as I couldn’t make the wordplay fit my answer so thx for the hint for the explanation.
    Many thx to all

  18. I managed to rattle this one off without too much trouble. Thanks entirely to the amiable checking letters. Thanks to Zandio for the puzzle and to Deep Threat for the review but not the John Denver. I fear the nightmares will begin again if I give it a Listen

    1. He reminds me of the Milky Bar Kid (John Denver that is, not Deep Threat or Zandio).
      Milky Bars were very sickly; some may say the same about the late Mr Denver.

        1. Well, blow the pair of you – I liked John Denver. We could have had another of his for 25a – Annie’s song – our 25a was called Annie.

          1. I’ve spent the best part of 46 years trying to eradicate John Denver from my memory. 46 years trying to forget Annie Song both by John Denver and that flutey geezer. Down in the depths of awfulness with Bohemian Raphsody and Comfortably Dumb

            1. Louise by Barry Ryan grates on me along with Lovely Day by Bill Withers. The latter recalls horrible memories of childhood nightmares.

  19. Thought this was great fun.Cotd 20a although reading ‘Kidnapped’ would be no help. Liked 26a as well. Thanks to DT and setter.

    1. Yes I wondered why a previous comment mentioned Kidnapped and also why Brian could possibly not heard of Kim in the Jungle Book. Thought I might be climbing up the wrong tree with my arms akimbo but apparently not.

  20. As I said above, I felt this was on a par with today’s Elgar which, for a change, was amusing rather than fiendish. I ground to a halt here in the NW corner. Doubt I’d ever have got 1a or 1d. I felt 15a was stretched but did like 18a.

  21. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. In retrospect, I feel that 1a should have used “South American” rather than “Rio”, as I think secondary abbreviations should be avoided apart from commonplace examples such as “business” for “co”. Brian Greer won’t use “student” for L — if every setter followed that rule, it would affect half of all cryptic crosswords! (Speaking of Brian, it would be great to see one of his ‘Jed’ Toughies, wouldn’t it?) Have a good weekend.

    1. Thank you for a lovely crossword – which for me was pitched in the middle of the back page ‘spectrum’. Difficult to pick just one favourite so I won’t

    2. Everyone on the blog appreciates it when the setter says hello, particularly after such a fine puzzle Zandio.

      1. Hear hear – very few setters do call in and it’s lovely and much appreciated by all when they do.

    3. Z, thank you for coming on to comment – it’s great to hear directly from the setter. But I don’t agree about 1a – as a veteran solver, I’m very happy for setters to come up with new ways/devices and rule-bending to make us all think and scratch our heads a bit more. Cheers!

  22. Unlike most on here today, I really didn’t get on with this one. Sorry – it’s not a criticism of the setter – it just took me far too long to fathom the wordplay. And I didn’t have the GK needed for 15a and 20a, (although they were obvious from the checkers).
    ****/** from me.
    Thanks to Zandio (nice of you to comment here) and Deep Threat for the review :))

  23. I really struggled with this one for some reason & even the easy ones didn’t come easily to me today – like Terence my mental sap is most certainly cheque’d which doesn’t augur well for a stab at the supposedly benevolent Elgar Toughie. Finally stumbled over the line in a disgracefully long time albeit unaided & enjoyed it despite my labours. As usual I was slow to twig the lurkers & even slower to parse a few once I’d got the answer. Some very clever clueing throughout with 6d along with 15&18a my picks – not the trickiest maybe but nice surfaces.
    Thanks Zandio & for popping in & to DT for the review.

  24. Thanks to everyone for another wonderful week of puzzles. The weather has been dire so the diversion very welcome. Changing the dressing on George’s head every other day as I do and then photographing it and sending the photo in to the plastic surgery unit, I told them I thought I was being asked to act way above my pay grade and would they consider promoting me. I duly got a reply appointing me Matron in Charge (they didn’t say what I was in charge of – George’s head I suppose) isn’t it marvellous that such a busy unit can find time for a sense of humour. Back to the crossword, last one in was 2d possibly because I’m not fond of the stuff as little jars come to mind. Thanks to Deep Threat and Zandio, so many clever clues and misdirections.

    1. I wonder whether you’d have had to be matron even if we weren’t in the midst of the pandemic? Still it must be better than using all that petrol driving back and forth to the hospital

      Have a :rose: for you excellent nursing care

      1. Safest place at home right now. I’ve been to 3 different doctors this week (routine stuff) and all their offices are spotless, and staff scrupulous. It’s the other patients who are the problem. First office, one woman insisted on removing her mask to speak to the receptionist, and again when having a phone conversation. Sigh. Second office, bickering elderly couple, with husband covering only his chin with his mask. When reminded to wear his mask he insisted he was. Double sigh. Third office, doctor and patient chatting in narrow hallway. Doctor moved aside, but other patient hardly moved, Surprised when I refused to pass between them. I give up.

          1. I went to get petrol from the local garage. When I went to pay, I put my mask on and entered through the automatic doors. There were about six other people. None were wearing masks. When I went to pay I asked the guy why he didn’t insist his customers wore a mask. He looked at me and just shrugged.
            I have never been back.

        1. For the first time since August I have to go this week, not just one, two of them, and I dread it. When I watch the news I can’t understand all these people crowding together with no mask! It’s only a cold doesn’t work for me when I see the death toll.

  25. Pretty much everything has been said about this excellent puzzle so I will simply add my thanks and admiration to Zandio and my thanks, too, to DT.

  26. Thanks CS for e-mailing me the puzzle when the DT website was misbehaving! Thoroughly enjoyed this so thanks to DT and the setter. Having read the comments, I think I’ll give Elgar a whirl for once.

    1. I know Merusa has been struggling endlessly with the DT over not been able to access the puzzles. Apparently they’ve suspended phone support as well. Hope it all gets fixed very soon.

  27. Relatively easy puzzle to finish up the week. **/****
    Clues of note 15a, 18a, 22a, 1d & 2d (which made me laugh!)

    Thanks to setter and DT for hints (that I did not have to use)

  28. Definitely a *** today, but I actually did quite well, certainly considering I have trouble getting on Zandio’s wavelength. 1a, 12a, 27a and 7d gave me grief. Only got 15a after I realised the second half of the answer. Of all the horrible lots I came up, none were right. Spent too long trying to thing of a three named US city for 3d, oops. But in the end I quite enjoyed it. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  29. I love Zandio’s mischief, and the fact that he bothers to come and engage us with his thoughts. Very much enjoyed this puzzle, but I would not have found the reverse bit of 12a without DT’s help. Good weekend all, and thanks to setter and blogger.

  30. I don’t think I’ve ever been on Zandio’s wavelength and today was no exception. Most of my solving involved Deep Threat! I was totally at sea.
    Thanks Zandio, I’ll keep trying, and thanks DT for the help.

  31. May I ask for some help from our techie chaps here? I’ve been having endless trouble with the DT site, first started with a popup that said I need to pay to play. I checked and I subbed on 18 January 2020, even so, I decided to pay again and jettison the last two months, which I did. This made no difference and they refunded the money. Declan Hayes sent me an email telling me what to do, deleting cookies and changing browsers, this was done by Godson and my young helper as I didn’t even know what they were. This made no difference at all, in fact, my computer is now haywire! I called the DT puzzle office but a recording said that they had suspended the telephone service due to COVID.

    I’ve no idea what to do now. When I log in, it says that I have successfully logged in, but a split second later, a popup asks if I’ve ever logged in before and I need to pay to play. I can’t get past that popup. I’ve tried accessing from my iPad but I get the same result. Does anyone have any ideas? Do you think getting an IT would help? I’m not eager to do that as I only have essential workers in here. Thanks in advance.

      1. Click on Safari on the top left hand corner of the browser (or whatever browser you are using). Pick Preferences. Pick Privacy. Click on Manage Web Site Data. Scroll down the list until you get to the Daily Telegraph. Delete the cookies. I usually find this lets me back in.

        1. I’m not sure I know what a browser is, is that what was called the search engine? I think mine is Google but not sure. My iPad is safari but I couldn’t find anything called safari on my computer. I also couldn’t find preferences. I think that is what Declan told Richard to do, delete cookies. I get signs on the blog that tells me to agree and accept cookies, which I do, but I don’t know what they do. Maybe if I win the lottery I should buy a new computer!

          1. The browser is what helps you use the internet. There are a number but it sounds like you are using Safari so I guess you have an Apple product. If it’s a MacBook you can change cookie settings. If it’s an iPad, I’m not sure how it can be done.

            1. I have a Dell computer with Microsoft (Bill Gates offering), that’s the limit of my knowledge. I expect I’ll have to get an IT. I had the plumber in for half the day today, I might as well get the IT! I’ll call him this weekend.

  32. I really struggled to solve & enjoy today’s offering. Possibly because none of the long answers involved anagrams.
    In my grumpy mood, “setter maybe” for dog seems to have been used a few times recently.
    Can conclude a chemo sessions is probably not the best time to solve Friday crosswords. It did pass the time better than watching daytime TV but I felt I did not do the setter justice.
    Probably needed a good whiff of my COTD, 18a. Remember when a soccer injury involved the trainer and bucket with the cold wet sponge and a bottle of smelling salts stuck under the nose.
    Thanks to Zandio and DT for the review.

    1. Most of my Rugby injuries were miraculously healed just before the bucket and sponge arrived.

      1. Sorry to hear you are having chemo. I can recommend ‘The GCHQ Puzzle Book’ and Puzzle Book 2 m, published by Penguin. When I fractured my femur last year, I had a metal plate installed. This means there is no plaster cast and one is only allowed to move from bed to chair to bathroom, and back, hopping with a walker, for about 8 weeks. Seeing that I was very bored, my son bought me this varied and intriguing book of puzzles. It might help to keep your mind occupied and you can move on if you dont like one.

        1. Thanks for the recommendation CC
          My daughter has bought me the book. To do it I could do with them transplanting my 78 year-old brain whilst trying to zap the other b*****d thing. I seemed to be skipping 3/4 of the book finding ones I could do.
          Watch “Only Connect” every week & remember Tilsit dressed in “avatar” outfit & the Cruciverbalists’ team on the programme last year. Sadly I just don’t know enough GK to be able to get to grips with the questions. Seems to me MP & two others from our number should form a BD44 team.
          Your femur job seems excruciating. Remember breaking my tibfib badly & seeing all the guys in traction for weeks with broken femurs.

          1. Aren’t we lucky to have thoughtful and supportive children? I skipped a good few questions too. Between jigsaws, cryptic crosswords, my Kindle reader, knitting, water colours and GCHQ, I did manage to muddle through. Keep your spirits up LROK.

            1. Yes CS,
              My problem was I answered a few.
              I don’t knit, but my daughter is an avid knitter who used to spin & dye her own wool.
              Thanks for your good wishes

      2. Just wish they would chuck iced water over the soccer players who hardly get touched but roll around in agony ’til they get play stopped. It would have to be the opposition trainer, or a new use for VAR, which would become Very Appropriate Resuscitation.

    2. Sorry to hear you are in chemo, LROK. I agree with Chris, the GCHQ puzzle book will keep you occupied and your mind diverted. Mrs. C bought it me for Christmas and it is fascinating. If I remember rightly (if I don’t look at a book for a few months I forget what’s in it! ) it has the infamous DT “D-day landings” crossword.

      Take care and my offer of rants remains.

      1. Thanks Steve,
        Didn’t say before but it was session 3. Need a scan to know, I desperately want to be told things are working but equally dread to be told they aren’t. Strange times.
        Doing the backpager & visiting this site do help to divert the mind but more sleep would be welcome.

    3. Oh dear, sorry to hear you are having to go through the trials and tribulations of chemo. Hopefully you will soon get good news on your progress. Retirement would be so great if we didn’t have all the problems that go along with aging. Cancer has run rampant through my grandparents, parents and one brother, so I know it is a hard road to hoe. Perhaps a good mystery thriller would help get you through your sessions, but it needs to be a page turner. Take it one day at a time, and keep doing the puzzles.

      1. BL
        Thanks for the good wishes. The sessions are only a problem for a couple of days up to now.
        On the the book front I am awaiting the new Rebus (my son’s traditional Christmas present). Problem is I can’t put it down & finish it on Boxing Day!

  33. Well. In this one I failed on 7d looking for a monster after the A. Didn’t help by thinking that Long John Silver was a cowboy.
    The first word in 15a was a bit of a bung in as I didn’t understand the connection and still don’t.
    20a was the same as it couldn’t be anything else.
    Thought that Dog would change in God in 22a until the penny dropped.
    All in all, quite a struggle but that’s what makes crosswords so interesting.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

    1. shower – slang or familiar term. They’re a shower -would refer to your low opinion of a group or family.

  34. I thought this was jolly difficult but now that I know that it was set by Zandio I’m not going to beat myself around the head as I know that I find him difficult – just as difficult as yesterday’s setter but a lot more fun.
    I admit that it’s taken me a very long time.
    I also admit that I missed the ‘ordinary’ lurker and the reversed one for too long and seemed to have forgotten that a ‘runner’ is a river – I’m used to ‘flower’ etc.
    Good fun and has taken a decent amount of time out of a cold, dismal and ‘now what am I going to do with myself’ kind of a day.
    My favourite, needless to say, has to be 25a – but so many good clues (better than that one, I know).
    Thank you Zandio for the crossword, and to DT for sorting it all out.

  35. After my first pass through I’d only done half a dozen or so but I slowly got on wavelength and the answers came in clusters. I was left with the NW corner, why it took me so long to spot the lurker in 11d I’ll never know. All jolly good fun though. Favourite was 15a closely followed by 18a. Many thanks to Zandio and DT. The + sign hasn’t reappeared in my name since I deleted it the other day, so hopefully it’s sorted.

  36. Nothing to do with crosswords. Son who lives in Edinburgh just phoned to say he was awakened at 4.30am by “thundersnow.” Said the second one sounded like a bomb. Never heard of it before, Mr G says they are pretty rare.

    1. I heard on the news about the thunder snow in Edinburgh. I looked it up but the explanation was rather obscure. Sounds rather James Bondish – Thunder(snow)ball.

  37. This started slowly, then speeded up and then I ground to a halt and needed some help. Great crossword though. To be honest I’m only really commenting today because I changed my avatar yesterday and wanted to see it. Possibly the most exciting thing that’s happened this week.

  38. Great to hear from Zandio. I tend to do the crossword at bedtime. This one stumped me last night and I could only do the South West corner and some sporadic clues. Woke for a gentleman’s walk at 4am, looked again and it finally fell in to place and completed without electronics but 25a was a guess as I’d missed the lurker. COTD 4a. Lovely!

  39. Ps. Just finishing the puzzle this morning…. can anyone explain 15a? I have the answer (“one should stop drips” yes indeed) and I think “hanging” is the synonym for the second word but what has “horrible lot” got to do with the first word????

    1. The first word is an informal term for a worthless group of people. It was popularised by the comedian Terry-Thomas whose catchphrase was “You’re an absolute shower”.

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