DT 29544 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29544

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29544

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a damp, grey day.

Today’s puzzle took a little while to start unpacking itself, but once I got going things fell into place. The top half seemed harder than the bottom half.

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           Bad-tempered type of dog, dog men exercised outside university (10)
CURMUDGEON –A pejorative term for a dog, followed by an anagram (exercised) of DOG MEN wrapped round University.

6a           VAT on a musical instrument (4)
TUBA – There’s some false capitalisation here to mislead you. Another word for a vat, followed by A (from the clue).

9a           One always desperate to discover what’s in store? (10)
SHOPAHOLIC – Cryptic definition of someone with a compulsive need for retail therapy.

10a         Appeals lacking involvement from church members (4)
ARMS – Remove the abbreviation for CHurch from the beginning of a word for the appeals of desirable persons, to get some members of the body.

12a         Correct instruction to footballer from East-ender? (4)
EDIT – A homophone of a phrase (4,2) giving a footballer an instruction to play the ball in a certain way, but with the initial aspirate dropped because the speaker is a crossword Cockney.

13a         Grand operas by Wagner inspiring adult group (9)
GATHERING – An abbreviation for Grand and a cycle of operas by Wagner, placed either side of (inspiring) Adult.

15a         Non-commissioned officer material (8)
CORPORAL – Double definition, the second being ‘material’ as opposed to ‘spiritual’.

16a         Current cricketer finally breaking into Second Eleven (6)
STREAM Second followed by another word for an eleven wrapped round the last letter (finally) of cricketeR.

18a         Expose story, essentially controversial, Greek character rejected (6)
UNVEIL – Put together a false story, the middle letter (essentially) of controVersial, and a Greek letter, then reverse (rejected) the result.

20a         Lucky mascot of Dutch explorer crossing large island (8)
TALISMAN – A Dutch explorer who had a large island off Australia and a stretch of sea named after him, wrapped round Large and Island.

23a         Struggling for idea, as previously mentioned (9)
AFORESAID – Anagram (struggling) of FOR IDEA AS.

24a         Good initial main point (4)
GIST Good, followed by a representation of the alphanumeric expression for ‘initial’ or ‘first’.

26a         Spiritual leader, one attending mass before noon (4)
IMAM – Put together the Roman numeral for one, an abbreviation for Mass, and the Latin abbreviation for ‘before noon’, to get a Muslim spiritual leader.

27a         Cheap unsold books produced by Brexit opponents, around 500 (10)
REMAINDERS – The Roman numeral for 500 is inserted into the term used for those who opposed the UK’s departure from the EU.

28a         Now and again angered by daughter making demand (4)
NEED – Alternate letters (now and again) of aNgErEd, followed by Daughter.

29a         Looking old perhaps, her edgy air is awkward (4-6)
GREY-HAIRED – Anagram (is awkward) of HER EDGY AIR. I prefer ‘distinguished’ as the description!


1d           Point crockery’s price initially is lowered (4)
CUSP – Start with some items of crockery, then move the P (Price initially) to the bottom.

2d           Transpose heading of case that’s dismissed by judge (7)
REORDER – Start with the term for a lawyer who has been appointed a part-time judge (in England), then remove the C (heading of Case that’s dismissed).

3d           Like certain biographies describing North America I rushed out to order (12)
UNAUTHORISED – Anagram (to order) of I RUSHED OUT wrapped round the abbreviation for North America.

4d           Style of architecture, one from the southern US (8)
GEORGIAN – Double definition, the second being a citizen of a US state that has been the focus of many of the shenanigans resulting from the US presidential election this year.

5d           Drug topic was item repeatedly not covered (6)
OPIATE – Remove the outside letters (repeatedly not covered) from (t)OPI(c) (w)A(s) (i)TE(m).

7d           Bad weather visiting these islands and European country (7)
UKRAINE – Put together a two-letter acronym for our home nations, some bad (wet) weather, and European, to get an Eastern European country.

Ukraine Flag, National Flags, And Free Printable International Maps

8d           Worker receives small hint before note getting job (10)
ASSIGNMENT – Put together Small, a hint or omen, and one of the notes of the sol-fa scale, then wrap a worker insect round the result.

11d         State tries waiving reforms (4,8)
WEST VIRGINIA – Anagram (reforms) of TRIES WAIVING.

14d         Case involving scam oddly undermining copper in charge (10)
ACCUSATION – Put together the chemical symbol for copper and alternate letters (oddly) of ScAm, then wrap a case or lawsuit round the result.

17d         Accommodating woman with young man in outskirts of Londonderry (8)
LANDLADY – Another word for ‘with’ and another word for a young man, with the outside letters of LondonderrY wrapped round them.

In remembrance of the 17d of the Queen Vic

In Pictures: Carry On star and Queen Vic landlady Barbara Windsor | Jersey  Evening Post

19d         Heard disgusting group rowing, being profane (7)
VIOLATE – The definition is a verb. This is a rather poor homophone of another word for ‘disgusting’ or ‘repellent’ and another word for a particular sort of rowing crew.

21d         One easing tension in crowd over French street uprising (7)
MASSEUR – Another word for a crowd, followed by the reverse (uprising) of the French word for a street.

22d         Gallop from Aintree racehorse when mounted (6)
CAREER – Hidden in reverse (when mounted) in the clue.

25d         Finishes off impromptu stories, some indeed not new (4)
USED – Take the final letters (finishes) of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth words of the clue.

The Quick Crossword pun ROW + STIR + QUAY = ROAST TURKEY

106 comments on “DT 29544

  1. A quite benign challenge for a Friday, I thought. I’ve even made a start on the Friday Toughie.

    I’m beginning to feel more and more of a 1a every time I hear the phrase “It’s because of Covid”. I didn’t think the homophone in 19d worked very well either, and got stuck on SERGE… for 15a.

    Overall completed in **/*** time. Perhaps I should attempt more with only three hours sleep.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  2. What a difference there was from yesterday’s puzzle, with its brevity and simplicity and today’s with its tortuously worded clues. As DT says, it took a while to get used to it and the NW was a lot harder than the rest (two of the clues were a mystery to me and I had to resort to electronic help). It was good intelkectual exercise but not a lot of fun (3*/2.5*). There were two nice geographical clues, 7d and 20a. Thanks to DT for his explanations and to the compiler.

  3. Although quite tough I really enjoyed unpicking this gem. Frustratingly I just couldn’t parse 2d but other than that I was fine though I thought 27a a tad weak.
    My page is littered with ticks, 1&12a plus 1,17&21d foremost amongst them
    Many thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) and to DT for the entertainment

  4. Sound end to the week ,nothing obscure ,just a well clued puzzle throughout.
    Favourite was 20a for its excellent surface followed by 1a,what a splendid word.
    Going for a **/***.
    Most apposite quickie pun.
    Thanks to DT for the pics.

  5. Another game of two halves, with the top two quadrants taking twice as long as the rest. It certainly needed some thought to unravel and parse a few of the clues, but I still enjoyed the tussle. 20a and 5d share my top spot this morning.

    Many thanks to our setter and DT.

  6. I found this one to be the most difficult inside-back pager of the week so far and without DT’s hint I would never have solved 10a. An enjoyable workout with a good mix of clue types. I like 6a for its misdirection, well it misdirected me at least, and I did like 2d and 7d. Slow going, but I enjoyed the challenge. Thanks to setter and DT

  7. 3 clues held me up for longer than it took to complete the rest of it & elevated this from tricky to a real head scratcher. Took forever to twig the 19d homophone & agree with MalcolmR that it didn’t quite work. That left the NW where 2d & finally 9a also proved particularly stubborn. Like SL I too enjoyed unpicking it & unusually for me very much liked the 4 letter ones. 9a was my favourite for no other reason than the length of time it took to figure it out having been sure Dan (desperate) was involved.
    Thanks to the setter & to DT.

      1. I’ve only just done the Quickie and I really like the pun.

        Incidentally, I see that everyone so far who has commented about the homophone in 19d has described it as not quite working. To redress the balance, I think it’s perfect – probably because Silvanus and I both hail from London!

        1. No complaints about 19d here, thought it was an excellent clue, not only for the homophone but for the very clever surface read.

          1. As a Cockney, I found no difficulty getting 19d. I thought it was quite adequate as homophones go.

        2. I’m certainly not a Londoner but it didn’t take a huge leap of faith to get the homophone to work for me.
          The detractors should try getting their heads around some of the Welsh words that I’m constantly confronted with these days!

        3. I also thought it was a very good homophone, and I speak with a northern accent, modified by time in the South.

          19d was a good clue among a lot of other good ones.

          Thanks to setter and DT

  8. 2.5*/5*. What a splendid selection of back-pagers we have been treated to this week, all very different and all extremely enjoyable. This one, undoubtedly from Silvanus, provides the crowning glory for the week.

    I didn’t know that “profane” could be used as a verb, and the answer to 27a was a new meaning for me.

    My page is littered with ticks, and making it onto my crowded podium are 1a (what a wonderful word!), 9a, 20a, 17d & 25d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

  9. I thought that the definition in 1a was “bad tempered”, then read “type of dog”. I really wanted to put in “pugnacious” but resisted as I couldn’t parse the clue. Well done setter for throwing me with the capitals in 6a. I know most musical instruments but I’d never heard of a “taxa”. I put that one right by working out 7d. My favourite clue was 12a, although I think that footballers may be banned from the instruction in the near future. Thank you setter and Deep Threat.

    1. What threw me off the scent with 1a was that bad-tempered is a descriptive or adjectival phrase, whereas the answer is a noun. I had to get a few checkers before the wordplay became clear enoyghto give me the answer.

    2. I think you and I must have similar brains. I tried for far too long to put in pugnacious. The capitals in 6a had me fooled for sooo long even though I know there’s no such musical instrument as a taxa! So long in fact, I’ve only just finished.

  10. I certainly made heavy weather of the NW, as it took me forever to discover the desperado (I kept looking for a neurosis to reveal itself) in 9a! And once I realised that ‘colonial’ wouldn’t work for 4d (though it makes more local sense here in Carolina than the answer), I thought this a quite proper Friday puzzler. Top choices: 18a, 23a,13a (as a Wagnerite, I’m obliged), and 17d. Thanks to DT and to today’s compiler. 3.5* / 4*

    Lacking two in the Toughie….

  11. Hardest puzzle for a while for me.****/**
    Top half twice as hard as the lower and needed the hints to understand 18a the answer to which was obvious but I couldn’t quite see why. Thanks Deep Threat. 27a a new meaning of that word for me so added to the list.

  12. Very hard and I needed help with it. Consequently, I did not enjoy this much. I did think the lurker at 22d was well hidden and I nearly missed it. Other than that, nothing grabbed my imagination although I thought the Quickie pun was very clever and raised a smile.

    Many thanks to the setter (Sylvanus?) and to Deep Threat for the hints, which were needed a great deal today.

  13. No sweat but much fun today. East came through first. 1d and 2d were bung-ins as was 18a plus 20a explorer and 27a term both unknown to me. Fav was 13a. Surely 12a will soon be unacceptable and boxing likewise perhaps. Thank you Silvanus (identified for me by RD) and DT.

  14. Oh dear yet another puzzle that fails to meet expectations. I found 28a, 1d and 19d all very poor clues indeed.
    Still at least I did better than yesterdays horrific Ray T offering in that I managed to complete it if not totally understand this one.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Brian, could you explain why you found 28a, 1d and 19d very poor clues?

      What are these “expectations” that crosswords fail to fulfill?

  15. A bit of a struggle especially putting in oncorrect answer to 15a at the time my answer made perfect sense, but alas not correct thanks to DT for helping. Also got confused with 7d, but having looked at hints I understand now. Favourite 5d and 27a but all In all very enjoyable.
    Thanks to DT and setter

  16. What a delightful and appropriately challenging puzzle to end the (non-)work week with, I only needed to use the white space on my printed sheet once for completion at a gallop – 2.5*/5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 20a, 5d, 7d, and 17d – and the winner is 1a.
    It’s not often that I choose a winner which is an anagram but 1a is such a delightful word which always makes me smile when I hear it – it must be because I am one occasionally.
    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  17. Tough but fair….took a while to gather momentum then it gradually revealed itself…..very satisfying solve

  18. Yes, RD and Stephen L were correct, it is me! Many thanks to Deep Threat for his Hints and Tips (with a thoughtful nod to the late Dame Barbara Windsor in 17d) and to everyone who has taken the trouble to comment.

    When compiling the puzzle, I did briefly wonder if I could get away with clueing 1a as merely “Brian?”, but I’m sure the editor would have vetoed that! A lot of you would have got the answer though, I suspect.

    As this is my final back-page puzzle before Christmas, I hope it’s not too early to wish everyone Season’s Greetings.

    1. Hi Silvanus
      Thanks for a marvellous puzzle and a “laugh out loud” moment re your comment on the possible cluing 1a!!

    2. Given today’s comment number 14, your thought on 1a would have been very appropriate, but I suppose those unaware of ‘the world’s biggest and best crossword blog’ would, at the very least, have been somewhat puzzled (sic).
      Thank you for a very good puzzle and wishing you a very Happy Christmas.

    3. Thank you for popping in, Silvanus, and also for the excellent puzzle.
      I should think your comment about 1a & Brian has at least brought a smile to his face!

      1. Your comment about 1a made me hoot with laughter, in fact I’m still chuckling as I write.

    4. Season’s Greetings to you too Silvanus. I look forward to more of your offerings in the New Year.

  19. For some reason, the acrosses were almost done before the downs had started. It wasn’t a case of solving in order as I was dotting about while Mama Bee was at the dentist. I made a bit of a boo-boo with 11d too – one that I am sure Robert wouldn’t have done. I picked the wrong compass point despite all the recounts. It slowed the solving of 13a.
    I liked the dog in 1a (I think we have seen him recently)
    I have found a few nice looks at 27a stores but generally, they are left behind for a reason but it doesn’t hurt to have a look.
    The quick pun was a mystery mainly because 2 out of 3 words were wrong and I didn’t know who RowFuss Dock was.
    Thanks to setter and DT

    1. John: There’s a Charleston there too (it’s the state capital) but mine here (in SC) is the older, more historic one. A few times over my many years of air travel, my luggage went to CHS WVA. Great fun to deal with! I felt like RowFuss Dock then.

      1. I think it was just a slip of the pencil that caused me to put East Virginia (I blame a bit of the Miffypop Maxim that one should save pencil lead by doing clues on the fly) but I have always wondered if one lived in the east of West Virginia (Harpers Ferry say) are you East/WestVirginian Whereas those Virginians who live to the east of WV are just Virginians?

  20. As RD commented, we’ve been treated to a splendid run of back-page puzzles this week with this one to complete the set.
    I did initially try to make pots/stop work for 1d and thought 9a might concern a fortune teller but once those were sorted I managed to avoid any further pitfalls.
    Fairly squashed podium here with 1,12,20&23a standing alongside 7&21d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT for the musical review.
    PS Bet several of us have turned into 29/1a’s over this past year!

  21. Just into three star time for me, which made it harder to complete than yesterday’s. Many thanks to Silvanus, and especially to DT for the pic and reminder at 17d.

  22. I finished this OK but had to wait for the blog to understand how I got there. At least 4 clues – all short ones – got the answer but had to read the hints later to see why. An engineer looked at my washing machine (which wouldn’t spin) and said I needed a new one – only 4/5 years old. Young man came today and fixed it inside 20 minutes for £40. Moral: Pays to get a second opinion. As a matter of interest he said Calgon was a waste of money and if you use the three in one dishwasher tablets (Fairy or Finish) don’t add salt or rinse-aid as the tablets have enough.

    1. That’s interesting – I don’t add salt but find that if I don’t keep the rinse-aid topped up, nothing dries properly.

    2. I’ve had 3 Zanussi dishwashers, of which one caught fire. Luckily I was in the kitchen at the time. There was a callback for certain batch numbers and I got a free replacement. I fell for a John Lewis sales push and got a Siemens which has proved hopeless, but at present, with no guests and a water meter (which has saved 50% on the bills) we now use our hands and the sink. No sweat.

      1. You’re lucky with your water meter – I moved from Cheshire, where I had no meter, to Anglesey, where I do have a meter. My water bill has risen by about 50% despite the fact that neither of my daughters now live at home. Can’t quite figure that out – we’re hardly short of water in N. Wales!

        1. Jane, have your water meter checked. We too couldn’t understand why our bills were high, we got it checked and the meter was leaking where it had been connected.

  23. Very challenging but great fun to complete. I do hope Brian takes his description in good heart. Brian’s comments generally add a delightful sprinkling of pepper to the day.

    Thank you to everyone who commented on the topic of printer ink yesterday. I am particular grateful to Weekend Wanda, as, following her advice, I have signed up to receive HP ink cartridges ‘on demand’ for £1.99 per month. As I was previously shelling out about fifteen quid a month (on average) on the wee essentials, this is good news indeed.
    The cost of these little ink cartridges is a scandal. The manufacturers more or less give the printers away so we are stuck into buying the ink cartridges at astronomical cost.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT. Bah! More John Denver! <- said in a 'Brian' voice.

    1. I might do that option as well Terence but its a bit spooky that ‘they’ know when your cartridge is running low. These days you feel that little eyes are watching from everywhere. I had to get a webcam for this computer so that I can Zoom and it gives me the creeps watching me all the time!

      1. Yes, it is a little peculiar handing over control to HP but I think that in order to get along in this era we have to cede a certain amount of tasks! I feel that most cameras and security measures are for the common good, but I do see how they could be used by ne’er-do-wells for less positive purposes.

      2. Have you read Dave Eggers’ novel ‘The Circle’. It certainly left me feeling very uneasy about some internet companies abd their eyes being everywhere.

          1. “I have miles and miles of files,
            Pretty files,
            Of your forefathers fruit,
            And, now, to suit our great computer,
            Your magnetic ink.”

            1. My son, who is a software developer himself, recommended the book as one of the most chilling he had ever read. If I mention ordering from a certain large company he reminds of May, the main character in The Circlen

      3. I use the HP instant ink service and find it works well. If you recommend a new customer, HP say they give you and the new customer a free month’s supply.

      4. We had an Amazon Alexa for less than one day. Principally so we could listen to BBC Berkshire. Every time we asked her she provided BBC Hertfordshire. In frustration, I asked “her” why she was being so difficult. The reply was quite indignant and not very polite. As we were already feeling uneasy that the thing was listening to us, back in the box it went and sent back for a refund. Yet when visiting with family in Berkshire we asked for our local south Florida radio station on their Alexa, and it was found and provided easily.

        1. I would not entertain Alexa or any other such device in our home. I get all the music I need from internet radio stations, none of which ask me to “sign up”. I have no desire to put a robotic spy in the house that reports back to its masters on all that I do.
          Orwell was right. They are watching you.

          1. Yes we do via the Internet also. We just thought it was so easy when over in England visiting family. But the poor results we got here were disappointing, and you are right, the feeling of being spied on was just too much. Made us feel very uncomfortable.

        1. Further to the ‘spying’ element, I had a horrid email 18 months ago from someone in the US saying he had been watching my computer and I had been looking at porn and had downloaded evidence from my webcam and wanted thousands in bitcoins not to send it to my contacts. 1. I didnt have a webcam then, 2. I’ve never watched porn (not my bag). I took a screen shot and forwarded it to the relevant authorities, deleted it and forgot about it. 2 or 3 days later I read a young man in his late teens had received the identical email. He killed himself. So, people, stay alert to these scams and never pay up, just report it. Unnervingly this person used one of my passwords in the subject line so it was a bit worrying.

  24. Glad you got your machine sorted Manders, that was the ultimate nightmare- a tub full of wet linen. I enjoyed today’s puzzle Sylvanus, especially the anagrams which are my forte! And thanks to Deep Threat for explaining 19d, I thought the essentially controversial was cl and the Greek character was Pi so I was well adrift there. I confess to being a 9a and do miss being able to browse around Cambridge or the occasional trip to London. Thank goodness for the crossword to keep us sane!

    1. Nothing wrong with being a shopaholic Daisy, especially if you are like me and can enjoy a day spent browsing without actually buying anything. Don’t do it now of course, on line browsing just isn’t the same.

  25. I had the same issues as many. The anagrams helped me to finish most without help, even if I needed help with parsing (latter part of 19d and 24d).
    I usually use “corporeal” for 15a, (is that wrong I’m now wondering?) but it had to be what it was – there aren’t that many NCOs out there, after all.
    Re 9a, I kept trying to get Dan in somewhere, as we’ve had that connection a couple of times recently.
    I liked 5d and 17d.
    Altogether I enjoyed it and thanks to Silvanus and DT.

    1. ‘Corporal’ is usually interchangeable with ‘corporeal’ these days, but like you, Bluebird, I prefer the latter for matters non-spiritual.

      1. I don’t think I said what I meant to say because I was interrupted while typing the above, and I do apologise. Having read Corky’s comment below, I then re-read mine–and couldn’t believe what I’d written. A decidedly SENIOR moment, I guess. Anyway, ‘corporeal’ to me means ‘spiritual, non-material’ even numinous perhaps, whereas ‘corporal’ means ‘bodily’ or ‘physical’–as in corporal punishment. Please ignore what I said above!

        1. Hi Robert,

          Rightly or wrongly, Chambers would appear to agree with your earlier comment, i.e. that the two words are interchangeable, whilst Collins seems to concur with your second comment, saying that “corporal” in the sense I have used it is an obsolete alternative for “corporeal”. If dictionaries can disagree, then so can Blog commenters!

  26. Too wordy, too much stretching of meaningd, and in the end not worth the trouble of finishing. Corporal rather than corporeal is a result of the general dumbing down of the language as with disinterested and others. It was realising that corporal was the only possible answer that I tore my printout of the crossword and used it to light the fire.

    Sorry Silvanus and DT.

  27. Some marvellous misdirection especially 9a
    First i settled on Dan as in desperate then I was convinced it was some sort of fortune teller or seer.maybe its because I’m definitely not a shopper. I only go in town for the ice hockey or the theatre and may enter Lakeland on the way but that’s it. Obviously not been in town for a long time. Ice hockey October 2019 I think.
    Had to laugh when DT provided the answer.
    An enjoyable head scratcher
    Thanks Silvanus and DT

  28. Pretty impenetrable at first and only got a foothold in the SE to make my way back up slowly but surely.
    Had to tease out quite a few answers which made the experience an interesting challenge.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

  29. A tough puzzle for Friday and not for me today. Not really enjoying it so will leave if for now. May come back to it, but far too convoluted for me to struggle with today. More like a Toughie.
    Haven’t got the patience today.

    Thanks to setter and DT for the hints I used to get anywhere.

  30. We thought this was a particularly good puzzle and really enjoyed it. Lots of clever wordplay but the biggest guffaw came with 12a.
    Thanks Silvanus and DT.

  31. Enjoyed this with no real hold ups. Favourites were 1d and 19d (sorry Brian). Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  32. Didn’t do very well on this one at all. Gave up in fact. Just not on the wavelength at all today.

    Still cold here as the Gas Men have still failed to fix the boiler. Sigh…..
    So we have the delight of them coming back again on Monday. Fortunately we have alternative sources of heating.

    Thanks to Deep Threat and to the Setter.

    1. Hopefully not the start of a Flanders & Swann week OM.
      “Twas on Monday morning the gasman came to call etc”

  33. Over average Friday toughness for me. East side went in smoothly but West, especially NW, proved much trickier. Overall *** time. *** for the satisfaction of crossing the line
    1a COTD. Silvanous’ alternative clue would have raised a laugh but would have been a gimme.
    Thanks Mr S and DT. The Danny Kaye reminded me of Children’s Favourites on radio.

  34. Not for me this one. Struggled to really get going and I’m not in the mood to carry on with less than a half completed. I did like the quickie pun, very seasonal! Thanks to DT for the hints.

  35. Revisited this puzzle after rotten walk in the pouring rain after starting out dry. Drenched again. Grrrrrr!
    Managed to finish the last half of the puzzle at least, but still needed the hints.
    Don’t like the 19d clue/answer at all, but did like 12a and is my COTD

  36. Quite disappointed with today’s puzzle, after doing so well with Ray T’s yesterday. I was hoping I was on a roll. Sadly, I needed far too many hints to find this one from Silvanus enjoyable, I am clearly not on his wavelength. I found 13a and 19d particularly hard to unravel. At least I was able to dig up 27a from somewhere deep in my brain. Thanks to Silvanus and to Deep Threat.

  37. I’m about with the average comments for difficulty, a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging puzzle. Favourite was 1a because of Silvanus’s alternative clue, I’m still chuckling. I hope Brian takes it on the chin and carries on, I can be a bit of a grump myself on occasions. Many thanks to Silvanus and DT. P.s. thanks for the comments re the Chequers pub sign yesterday I’m going with Jose’s answer as the most convincing. I’ll try and notice if there are any draughtsmen on the sign.

    1. I’m sure he can’t expect to dish out his regular brickbats without occasionally getting one or two in return, TG!

      1. I would expect he wouldn’t say what he says without expecting kickback. We sure give him some on occasion. Long may Brian reign – he adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the blog.

  38. Hard this, much harder than yesterday, but I always struggle with Silvanus’ puzzles
    Weird that certain setters are much harder than others.
    Thanks all.

      1. Even though I am a londoner through and through, I have always struggled with the cockney clues, a bit like the dreaded Spoonerisms.
        One day I will get on your wavelength, Silvanus, stay safe, and I hope the heating is fixed…

  39. Managed to complete this but needed six answers explained so grateful thanks to Deep Threat. I enjoyed the puzzle as a whole but thought 19D was a bit weak.

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