DT 29549 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29549

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29549

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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                                          BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

There is not a cloud in the sky today here in the independent Bubble of Barrel. Will we ever see another human being again? Do we care? Answers on a postcard please.

In my opinion today’s puzzle would have graced the Toughie slot, but only just. It was a fair tussle with 25 across and 22 down holding out for far too long despite the presence of all three checkers in both. Perhaps only having 28 clues to fathom is a blessing

We have a couple of homophones and a Spooner clue. These along with the quickie pun provide chances for our setters to provide groan worthy clues and answers. The more groan worthy the better. I care not for polished perfection in these clues. I’m happier when laughing

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Makes supplications audibly in worship (6)
PRAISE: A homophone based upon the meaning of the words supplication and worship or express approval 

4a        Food to consume — bravo! — in shopping centre? (8)
 MEATBALL: A verb meaning to consume something is followed by the phonetic alphabet letter denoted by bravo. What you now have sits inside a modern shopping centre

9a        Like special road system? Nothing unexpected before a journey’s end (3-3)
ONE WAY: The letter that looks like the number zero (nothing) is followed by a stretched synonym of the word unexpected. This is followed by the letter A from the clue and the last letter of the word journey

10a      The French fellow and companion going to a Spanish location (2,6)
LA MANCHA: Begin with the feminine French word meaning the. Add a fellow. Add the abbreviation for companion of honour. Add the letter A from the clue 

11a      What’s nasty in goody-goody, first to expect entitlement (9)
PRIVILEGE: A synonym of the word nasty sits inside a word describing a goody two shoes or a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if they are superior to others. The initial or first letter of the word expect completes your solution

13a      One very small bird by church (5)
TITCH: A small bird often seen on garden feeders is followed by the abbreviation for church

14a      Bring manager round for screening of film finally — film director too (6,7)
INGMAR BERGMAN: An anagram (round) of BRING MANAGER screens or surrounds the final letter of the word film

17a      Bird making carrycot sheet messy (6-7)
OYSTER CATCHER: Anagram (messy) of CARRYCOT SHEET. This bird has been overworked in crosswordland recently but not clued like this

21a      Assignments with questions provided by teacher initially (5)
TASKS: A verb meaning questions sits next to the initial letter of the word teacher. The plural quality of this clue suggests that the answer will end with the letter S which means that even with no solution to this clue you still have a checking letter for 18 down

23a      Be non-committal in a catty sort of way? (9)
PUSSYFOOT: A cryptic definition using a reference to cats describing how one may act in a non-committal or cautious manner. I thought Tuesday was cat day

24a      The top dog, not the last to get something to eat (8)
NOISETTE: Oh golly bongs. I’m tempted to suggest waiting for checkers and bunging in what fits but that won’t be ‘explaining the clue in plain English’ Oh well, your top of anything is Number One. Begin with the abbreviation for number and add the letter that looks like the number one. Now add a dog which could be English or Irish, Red or white minus its last letter

25a      Special attire making one irritable (6)
LIVERY: A double definition. The first being a special uniform worn by a servant, official or member of a city company

26a      Most stony streets in which flier will settle (8)
STERNEST: Start and finish with the abbreviations for street as indicated by the plural. Insert a flier, a bird, a sea eagle

27a      This writer coming to outdoor loo? It’s engaged! (6)
MESHED: Begin with a pronoun that your setter might use to describe himself. Add what an outhouse or outside loo might be called


1d        Exercise to have concert starting on time (6)
PROMPT: A concert of classical music is followed by the abbreviation for physical training

2d        Provison of excellent neckwear worn by soldiers (9)
AMENITIES: A three part charade with instructions 1 A three-letter word for soldiers 2 A term consisting of a letter and a number meaning excellent or first class 3 Decorative neckwear (plural) Arrange as instructed by the clue

3d        Water group drying up (7)
SEARING: The water is an expanse of. The group is of people engaged in a shared enterprise, especially one involving illegal or unscrupulous activity

5d        Fans the flames of old lover with super breast naughtily shown (11)
EXACERBATES: Our usual former lover is followed by a word meaning super. This is all followed by an anagram (naughtily shown) of BREAST

6d        One vehicle and another overturning on pile of rocks (7)
TRACTOR: A reversed horse drawn vehicle precedes a rocky outcrop

7d        A UK citizen in a place with many races (5)
ASCOT: Begin with the letter A which is a given. Add a uk national from north of the border

8d        Ill feeling of Heather keeping promise (8)
LOATHING: A promise or pledge sits inside another name for the plant Heather

12d      Head’s sinking after new cinema releases (11)
EMANCIPATES: A word for heads follows an anagram (new) of CINEMA

15d      One hermit seen wandering in county no longer (9)
MERIONETH: Anagram (seen wandering) of ONE HERMIT

16d      Harbour stops giving signals (8)
PORTENDS: Another name for a harbour is followed by a word meaning stops. Possibly today’s easiest clue to solve

18d      Plant in the middle of Kent facing direction of sunrise (7)
 EASTERN: A daisy like perennial flower sits inside the middle letters of the word Kent

19d      Spooner’s manner, superior and crazy (7)
HAYWIRE: A spoonerism based upon the words Way Higher. I would never have solved this without checking letters

20d      Remained solemn in conversation (6)
STAYED: A homophone based upon a word meaning remained sounding like a word meaning solemn

22d      Stand out, showing a measure of pushiness (5)
 SHINE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words showing a measure of. If all else fails …. Look for a lurker. My last one

Quickie Pun.  Steele + Banned = Steel Band


111 comments on “DT 29549

  1. I’ll make all my excuses first. I only got 7 hours sleep, I got no bath this morning. I am freezing cold, with front and back doors open. I have plumbers banging, drilling and soldering all over the house. My boiler is lying on the front path.

    I found this tough, really tough. Unknown GK doesn’t help, and some very stretched synonyms. The parsing of some clues is well beyond me. I marked 10a, 14a, 27a, 3d, 12d, 15d and 19d as “ummms”

. I have a different answer from MP to 3d, my water is more enclosed and probably warmer. (Unlike in my house).

    I’d be very interested to hear what others have to say. I did finish, in **** time, but that was aided by some electronics.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

    1. Nice to see you so cheerful Malcolm. I solve on my iPad which tells me that all is correct. I do like alternative answers though.

    2. Oh, Malcolm, you have my sympathies, it doesn’t seem fair, does it? Surely work like that should be done in the summer!

  2. I thought this was excellent, very enjoyable throughout. My only problem was the complete parsing of 10a but I had the correct solution.
    I’ve ticked 23&24a plus 12& 1st9d for podium places with special mention to 5d for being a lovely word.
    Many thank to the setter (Giovanni?) and to MP for the entertainment

    Ps..the solution to 10a needs a tickle MP

  3. I would agree that this was at the harder end of a back pager setting spectrum, but very solvable nonetheless. Like our blogger, 25a proved to be my final entry. Of many fine clues I liked 12d the best. I suspect the GK may not be G for everyone.

    Many thanks to our setter for the challenge and to MP.

  4. Yes indeed, Malcolm. All of the above. Curiously, 15d was my first one in and came readily to mind. The only one that did. 19d I guessed from the checkers but didn’t understand it. 3d I thought was sparing. Spa for the water part, ring for the group and sparing (loosely) for drying up. Oh dear. 24a I managed to work out but it’s hardly the most likely “something to eat”. Taxing and not entirely satisfactory in the enjoyment department. ****/**. Favourite, if I had one, would probably be 23a. Thanks to all.

  5. I have difficulty with most of this compiler’s puzzles and today was no exception. I guessed a lot of the clues, once a few checkers were in and reverse engineered the parsing (3*/2.5*). Thanks to MP for enlightening my darkness on the parsing of 24a and confirming that the strange idea that I had about parsing 19d was actually correct. I quite liked15d because it was a good geographical clue. Thanks to the compiler, it wasnt my cup of tea but lots of people wl like this puzzle.

  6. I agree with MP that some of the clues were of Toughie standard, the Thursday crossword is regularly the most difficult of the week. Really enjoyed the puzzle and going for a ***/****
    Last one in was 15d, I needed all the checking letters to find the county.
    Favourite was 22a and the SE quadrant generally, never sure of Spoonerisms and again needed all the checking letters.
    Special mention of the surface of 24a.
    Many thanks to setter and MP.

  7. Very, very tough indeed. (The Toughie itself is much easier. Did the wires get crossed?) I agree with poor, cold Malcolm above that some of the synonyms were strettttttched a bit too far for me, though I kept at the grid until I’d finished and parsed them all, I think, though I needed some electronic assistance. 17a has just made its third appearance in two days, such ubiquity becoming rather suspect, eh? (And the answer is differently enumerated at least twice. Can we retire the poor thing?) 24a is my COTD, though it’s not something that is common fare over here in these backwoods; I also liked 11a and 14a (just for the unusual pleasure of seeing such a radical auteur in a DT puzzle). I did not like 2d at all, my LOI: for me singular forms do not easily beget plural offspring. Thanks to MP for the hints, which I’ll read now, and to today’s setter: Phew! **** / ***

    1. Perhaps I’m missing something here, Robert, but I’d say neckwear could be singular or plural. After this morning, what do I know, lol.

      1. Sorry, Greta, I meant ‘provision’ (which I sensed as something singular) yielding the plural answer. At the time, I guess I thought that ‘provisions’ would have been better. I was just being a bit grumpy.


    2. I had Ingrid Bergman in at 14 across on my first read through Robert. Far easier on the eye than the correct fellow.

  8. On the cusp between a Friday backpager and what I’d like to see in a Tuesday Toughie. Perhaps because I knew the things we were supposed to know/work out from the wordplay, I certainly wasn’t as grumpy as previous commenters – although this does seem to be the general trend of comments on alternate Thursdays.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP – 4a has suggested the answer to my ‘what shall I get out of the freezer for dinner today?’ question

    1. Most people fill their freezers and then spent the rest of their lives rootling around the top four inches cooking the stuff that was only put in the freezer last week. Dig deeper Sue. Release that Brontosaurus Steak you put in just after your honeymoon

        1. I am not a particularly well organised person EXCEPT in the freezer department. ~Everything is labelled with the date it goes into the freezer and then in which drawer (1 – 7) I put it in is written in my freezer book. Only trouble is Mr Manders sometimes rootles round and takes something out and then puts it back in the wrong drawer! When I came out of hospital last year the freezer was stuffed with pizzas, bangers, and all manner of unhealthy stuff!

          1. Our freezer is large but mostly contains lots and lots of things like tomato sauce, fruit etc that we’ve preserved from our garden produce. So if MP were to come and inspect, he’d find all the things we need for meals such as packets of 4a living in the baskets at the top

            1. We have a chest freezer in the garage, which is not attached to the house. In freezing weather, (no sniggering at the back there) it’s too cold to do much rooting about – currently I wear rubber gardening gloves and a woolly hat, but can’t be bothered to go lower than the top layers.
              This might become necessary as we’re struggling today to find a supermarket delivery slot before Dec 27th.

              1. I find your delivery delays so unbelievable. I add stuff to my list as it comes up, then when I’m ready I just click “place my order” and it arrives under two hours, once it arrived in 40 minutes. I don’t see why they can’t do that over there.

                  1. Beg to differ Hoofs, we are struggling to get the trains to run full stop (or not if it offends)

                1. We can normally get slots within a few days, Merusa , but next week is clearly a different matter. Your response times would never apply in the UK – I’m not sure where you are – perhaps it’s a population size issue?

                  1. I’m in Miami. I clicked on place my order five minutes ago and I can already see my shopper attacking my list! I’ll watch him as he does it so that I can control his substitutions, sometimes they can be quite bizarre.

            2. Only MP could get away with craftily suggesting you are old enough to have a “brontosaurus steak” in the bottom of your freezer! :-)

          2. I’m not a well organised person at all, let alone in the freezer – I’m not sure whether to say fortunately or unfortunately but husband is one of those ‘if it sits still for long enough it’s either eaten or frozen’ types. It’s probably why I’m not fat – there’s never anything to eat in the fridge. I do get a bit hungry sometimes though . . .

  9. Well this one should get the letter writers sharpening their pencils. Certainly worthy of a Toughie in places but very fairly clued I thought. The SE was the main hold up for me. Never heard of the county (initially read as country for the umpteenth time) but fortunately it was an anagram, the rev always causes me problems & the excellent 23a took an age for the penny to drop.
    I really enjoyed it & parsed all correctly other than the companion bit of 10a. Agree with Robert that 24a was the clear pick of the bunch but also very much liked 5&12 down & good to see 14a crop up (never a barrel of laughs)
    Thanks to the setter & to MP.
    PS came across the following clue last night while doing an old Everyman puzzle from last year which made me smile as the surface made think of a beleaguered Boris having had just about enough of it all
    PM having shag and a lie down (9,3)

    1. I must have missed that one in the Everyman……I can’t see it being as funny pre July 2019 as post July 2019!

      Re the synonyms, I’ve seen nap used a lot in puzzles as a “surface” to something, e.g. velvet, but rarely alongside shag (as in carpets).
      I remember staying in the Swiss Cottage Holiday Inn in the mid 70s, when it was a haunt of rock bands, and it was my first encounter with a cream shagpile carpet and two double beds – very American at the time. Unlikely to have been seen at Claridges, I’m sure.
      I know for a fact that American girls were always going into British hairdressers and asking for a shag, which in those days was a medium-length layered style, although not in the UK!

  10. Very, very tough and I’m afraid I gave up on it. Mind you, it takes a puzzle such as this to prevent my becoming complacent.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the hints.

    1. Me too Steve regarding dnf. My fault but maybe too many things going on to cope with obtuse clues. I am not grumpy about it.
      Grumpy is travelling 68 miles to have canula put in by a near relative of the Maquis de Sade then 68 miles back straight into the sun. Then you get home, sun clouds over & it rains. Crosswords are still a fun way to pass the time even of they beat you
      Having Ingrid for 14a messed me up for 12d. Don’t like Spoonerisms so combined with a homphone as in 19d was beyond me.
      Certainly tough, & very much the stuff of letters to the editor. Br
      Thanks to setter & MP for the usual explanations & lifting of spirits.

        1. Thanks M.
          Tuesday next week (I hope) I will be told. To say I wait with apprehension would be the understatement of the year.
          The consolation was that the drive up the A9 from Dornoch to Wick on a gloriously sunny day almost rivals the coast routes in California or Victoria.

          1. I can vouch for that. I’ve driven from Glasgow up the west coast, over to Skye, up to Ullapool, across the top bit to John o’ Groats and down the other side to Edinburgh. One of the most beautiful trips I’ve done.

  11. Is there not a problem between the ‘A’ in Loathing (8d), and the final ‘e’ in La Manche (10a)?

    1. The answer to 10 across was written into the blog incorrectly by Miffypops. It is now corrected. Well spotted though and thank you for pointing it out

  12. I thought that “bravo!” pointed to the letter in the NATO alphabet. But perhaps that’s what you meant.

      1. Not me on a non-Ray T Thursday . . . . well done to you. One of those ‘rather you than me days’.

  13. I was delighted with myself for having completed this crossword eVen though it took me ages……what a mighty fall after such pride when I looked at the review and found that I had 3 wrong…..3d, 21a, and 25a.
    Had the spa instead of the sea for 3d. Then, unaccountably inserted tasks for 21a and finery for 25a. Poor.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

    I feel your pain MalcolmR. We are still shivering here waiting for the men to finish fixing our boiler…….and no doubt the answer will be……you need a new boiler.

    1. I know how you feel. We had our windows changed last year. They promised that it would take them two days which I thought was very reasonable. The old widows were removed on November the fifth and the new windows put in on April 1st. Your answer to 21 across is correct

  14. Far too obscure and did not provide any satisfaction for me. Should have been a Toughie, not for the average reader!!

    1. Welcome to the blog Baker. Comment 10 above is similar to your comment but puts a more positive take on puzzles of more difficulty

  15. I really enjoyed this puzzle very tough but certainly solvable, last in 25a fav was 24a with 5d and 23a on the podium ***/****
    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  16. Loved this and managed it without electronic help, must be one of my more lucid days. Held up a while by putting La Coruna in for 10a, seemed to fit the clue. I often feel that some answers are a lot easier for us oldies, such as 14a.
    Thanks to the setter and MP for the entertaining though unneeded hints.

  17. Took a very long time and needed all the electronic aids. Some days hard, some easy. But thank you setter and MP.

  18. Thanks to setter but sadly above my pay grade, which is not unusual for a Thursday. Started ok, but quickly ground to a halt. Moved along a bit with Miffypops hints, but throwing in the towel now as I would clearly need too many more hints to finish, removing any enjoyment. I would never have got 24a, nor 25a. (By the way, MP, there is no 24d.). Oh well, that’s ok. I’ll just have a go at Monday’s bonus cryptic instead. Hats off to all those able to complete on their own.

    Never seen a 17a. But enjoying sitting here watching hummingbirds visiting my newly planted garden. They are so amazing and entertaining. Pure bundles of energy.

    1. How wonderful to be able to watch hummingbirds in the garden – we are lucky living so near to the coast we do get to see lots of 17a and other wading birds

  19. This was tough and on my first read through I just had 4 random letters. Eventually worked out a few more which gave some checkers which then gave me some bung ins which I could then parse and everything eventually fell into place. I really enjoy Thursday’s when i finish it and hate it when I don’t.
    I also had MalcolmRs 3d which you can also get (wrongly according to the ipad) from a type of water that is fresh and usually fizzy and a group that some of the population have circulating in their bloodstream, with the first surrounding the second i.e water.
    Thanks to the setter and MP for the hints . Have to disagree that 16d was the easiest to solve … it was my last in…. the problem with Thursdays is you assume that nothing will be easy so you can over think everything.
    Favourite clue 1a and 19d….I like a homophone and a spoonerism.

  20. I enjoyed this a lot – 24a and 25a held me up for ages. I had not idea how I got 24a until I read the hints but it was the only word that seemed to fit. Some great clues and now about to attempt the Toughie as it only has one star for difficulty. Thanks to all.

    1. Agree, Manders – I was trotting along quite nicely until sticking at 24&25a. Thanks for the hints, Miffypops! Enjoyed it very much – 10a pleased me the most, but can I venture to suggest that “The Spanish” rather than “The French” would have made an even sleeker surface?

  21. I think this was the toughest yet for a back pager. I have to admit to defeat with about 3 answers to go. The brain has just about given in. Then again if they were all easy or easier where would the fun be.
    Thanks to MP and setter.

  22. I came up short by 4 today – needed MP’s excellent hints to finish it off. I agree with him that this could have graced the Toughie page. Loved the film director clue. Thanks to MP and the setter.

  23. I gave up long before. Actually, I gave up the quickie, too.
    I used to love DG too, it it be him.
    Too many other tasks now to get on with.
    Good luck to any stragglers, you are better people than I.

    Thx to MP and ?Mr M.

  24. Far far too tough for a backpager in my opinion. Seems the DT is determined to ignore those who wrote to the paper complaining about Thursday crosswords. How arrogant! Overall a thoroughly unpleasant puzzle.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Arrogance would be not to publish the letters and throw them in the bin.

      I don’t think a handful of letters, or however many there were, will change a compiler’s style. Hundreds may make them think about it.

      I loved it. Hard work but I always look forward to this fortnightly tussle and learning some new words.

      1. I agree totally Gordon. Every Thursday puzzle is eagerly looked forward to here. I didn’t have time comment yesterday, but I was more than happy with what was provided. It took me about an hour or so longer than maybe it ought to have taken me to solve, but I’m not going to complain. Thanks setter, I enjoyed your challenge and thank you Miffypops too. Today’s one is looking interesting too.

      2. No the arrogance comes from publishing them and then ignoring them, the subtext being they are too arrogant to care.
        Yet again it is equivalent to having 2 Toughies. If you look forward to a challenge like this then stick to the Toughie and leave the backpagers to us lesser mortals.

  25. Beyond tricky – more like brutal. I found the Quickie very taxing too. I managed about half of the cryptic but then turned to Miff for help with a couple and that got my batteries going once more.

    Soundtrack – Connie Converse – How Sad, How Lovely (what a strange tale her life is, Miff!); and Steely Dan – Countdown To Ecstasy.

    Thanks to Miss Terri Setter, and Miffo.

  26. I am with Brian. Fed up with having my time wasted by the Thursday and all too frequently the Friday crossword. Solvable yes, eventually, but no satisfaction so why waste money on them as well as time. I am out for Thursdays and fridays, far more satisfaction spending the £5,00 per week on the grand children!

    1. I never bother with alternate Thursdays I always save the online prize puzzle.
      I always go through MP’s hints though.

  27. Well. Completed it with a little help. Thanks MP
    However, little enjoyment, took a long time and I thought the grid for the quickie was ridiculous. It means that some people will have no crossword today.
    Thanks to the setter too, but please take your foot off the pedal. I abandoned the quickly half done.

  28. This took me longer than the toughie, but as seems the case with most of the harder back page offerings it all looks perfectly straightforward in retrospect. Am I the only one who had to reverse google the quickie pun, or is everyone else au fait with 17th century journalistic partnerships?

  29. Great tough puzzle and a brilliant blog – it is so good to laugh after listening to the news in Wales. Thank you setter and MF.

  30. This was definitely toughie standards, being with a tiny brain I needed copious e-help, but I did manage all except the SE corner. I’d never heard of 15d so not surprised I missed that, but I feel I should have got 25a. My word search gave me 19d but I’m no good with the Rev. Spooner and didn’t write it in.
    I did solve 23a from the checking letters, I’m going to choose that as fave to honour Phoebe. I rather liked10a as well.
    Thanks to our setter, I hope tomorrow is friendlier, and to M’pops for getting me over the finish line.

  31. It’s a great thing, a mid- afternoon nap! I dropped off , swirling about with 17a, and woke up with the answer!! Highly recommended strategy for anagrams!! Zzzzzzzz!

  32. Definitely a much harder puzzle ****/**** for Thursday and my guess is a Giovanni(?) offering given the trouble I had with this one. Lots of hints were needed and even then 15d was completely elusive until I tried various spellings to get a positive response from the “G” word.
    Clues of note were 9a, 14a, 7d & 19d with 19d winner

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for much needed hints

  33. This was really tough and I needed hints to finish. Apropos the comments about the difficulty level I think having to struggle and use the hints leads me to improving my solving ability. May I also say that I am in awe of Manders freezer tidiness!!

    1. I know three things about our freezer
      It’s location. I installed our kitchen so I should know this
      Ice cubes live in the second drawer down
      Somewhere there is ice cream. Sometimes Saint Sharon gives me some

  34. Right on wavelength for a change.
    Even put the letters of 15d in the correct order straight away and checked it on Google.
    Liked the Spooner and 5d made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  35. Surely there is a misprint in the clue for 2d. We can’t find PROVISON in any dictionary. The clue would work for us if PROVISIONS was there.
    25a was our stumbling point in what we found a fairly tough challenge.
    Thanks Giovanni and MP.

  36. Hope Senf is ok … he is usually one of the first on the list of commenters…usually at a fast canter at a minimum.
    Maybe “Winterpeg” got a big dump of snow and he is out there snowblowing!

  37. Apart from inputting *finery* at 25a and looking at the hints for the other definition, no real problems except it took a long time to unravel. For 9a, I thought “nothing unexpected” = “o new”, rather than both words being clued independently (if that makes any sense). I would never make a good hinter, for me it would be much too difficult to make succinct explanations, so I think you’re all brilliant. Oh and thanks to DG, if it is he.

  38. If I ever see another Spooner clue…aaahhhhhhhh! That’s better, I’ll try and do the crossword now but that looks like it’s going to be a bit of an ordeal by the sounds of it. The quickie was quite a toughie too.

    1. Not quite as bad as I thought it was going to be! Completed with the exception of the Spooner which I’m afraid I did look up. It was nice to see the smart waders putting in an appearance again, I’m sure they were there only a couple of weeks back. We regularly see them on our local walk along the fringes of Morecambe Bay, today being no exception. Thanks to the setter for stretching the grey cells and MP for the blog.

  39. All went well until just 25a which I eventually bunged in as finery even though it didn’t parse. Not my favourite puzzle although I liked 4a, 24a and 27a. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  40. Even though I don’t always post, I always read the blog and am constantly amazed how the difficulty of the puzzle affects us all differently. Sometimes I’ve given up only to find it given **. Other times I’ve finished in a canter to find it’s ***. Would it help if the compiler’s identity was published?
    As for today 5d favourite. Ta to all.

  41. Well – here I go.
    Really tough for me today as it was for others too which I’m relieved to see.
    I spent most of the day splitting logs then stacking as many as possible inside in case we get cold weather – can you see how bored I am?
    Not one for me today – I don’t mind difficult but I do mind nothing to smile at.
    I would have said that 23a was more ‘treading carefully’ in a sensitive kind of way rather than being non-committal.
    Thanks to the setter – I could guess but don’t quite dare to – and well done to MP for tackling and beating this one.

  42. Personally I find Rayt much easier than this setter but hey ho! That’s just me. Being a Leicester City fan I had heard of 10a, but moving on swiftly ….. Never heard of the obscure ancient Welsh county. Favourite was 12d as it allowed me to dismiss Ingrid in 14a although she did give me the right surname. Thanks to the setter and MP. Who knows when we’re going to have that beer the madness is not over yet.

  43. Ghastly – I threw in the towel and in view of bloggers’ comments above don’t think I will bother with the Quickie either and so to an early bed 😨😴.

  44. Well my husband and I completed this with a lot of electronic help which he sniffily calls “cheating”. We still got 25a wrong. A bit of a comedown after a couple of nights of more successful crosswording. ****/***

      1. I thing that most people tried to make FINERY work once the checkers were in DaveG. On my first run through I considered an anagram of attire because of the word special. It didn’t jump out so I moved on

  45. I do wish some of our esteemed company would not be so dismissive of Thursday crosswords. It would hardly be a brain workout if they were easy: it’s why we do it, or so I thought. As it happens, husband and I found this one came together fairly well. Thankyou, all setters – we take your offerings as they come and appreciate and enjoy your efforts.

  46. Let the setter set, fine. But I am finding giovanni’s Thursdays to be more annoying than his old Friday’s. And not much different to his Toughies. Oh, and no birder puts a hyphen in 17a – that seems to be a peculiarity of crosswords. Did not enjoy this much.

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