DT 29560 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29560

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29560

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Rating by Manders – Difficulty  **/***   – Enjoyment ****

Good morning from behind two face masks and a Perspex visor. Please keep at least two metres of distance between us. Your beshingled blogger in Barrel went to bed in Tier three and woke up in Tier four. Bugger! I have survived so far and would like to survive some more.

Actually I stayed up past midnight watching Billy Elliot on stage which I recommend to all.  It’s on Sky Arts which we should get for free and is a joy from start to finish and from restart to finish. 

Today’s puzzle is a bit Thursdayish but don’t give up too easily. Every teased out answer usually provides extra checking letters somewhere else

Thanks to the puzzles editor Chris Lancaster for keeping things going this year. Thanks to all of The Daily Telegraphs setters for entertaining us so well. Thanks to all who comment each week and make this blog so much more than a simple exchange of views on a simple crossword puzzle. A global Book Club. Gardening club. Doctor’s surgery. Vets surgery. Agony Column,  Music (and Muzak) club, Poetry corner, Schools association, TV critics corner, Car club, well you name it we have it much to our credit.

Happy new year to one and all, yes one and all, that’s what I said. One and all.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Gathered in a gym, looking embarrassed about it? (6)
REAPED: Place the letter A from the clue together with the initials of the activity known as Gym on a school timetable inside the colour of embarrassment. Here’s hoping the grim one who has done this many times keeps his distance this coming year. Social or otherwise

5a        Playful nonsense outside station (8)
PRANKISH: A dated exclamation synonymous with nonsense or piffle surrounds ones station or standing

9a        Gem of a baby (10)
BIRTHSTONE: A gem, associated with the month or astrological sign of a persons birth that might be given to a baby shortly after its arrival into this world

10a      Saintly December traveller briefly in prison (4)
NICK: A double definition. The second being a slang term for prison

11a      Name is given to satellite of Jupiter (8)
CALLISTO: Begin with a word meaning to name something. Add the words is and to from the clue. The answer is one of Jupiter’s four largest moons. Jupiter and Saturn have been visible by eye in the southern sky for most of the year. Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s four largest moons have been visible at times with decent binoculars. Why wait for a single event like the great conjunction on a single day when the planets in question are visible for months. Mars and Venus have also been prominent this year

12a      Hard rain sometimes will be too much for such (6)
DRAINS: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. I’m not sure what tells us so. It just is

13a      Study accommodating a person who sometimes writes sermon? (4)
DEAN: On of crosswordlands study’s contains the letter A from the clue

15a      Got old boy schooled, having missed one of three basic subjects? (8)
OBTAINED: The abbreviations for Old Boy are followed by a word meaning schooled (at a sport perhaps) without the letter representing the three most important educational subjects despite being the actual abbreviation for only one of them

18a      A very quiet repose, right for one avoiding conflict (8)
APPEASER: A four part charade. 1 The letter A from the clue 2 The musical notation for very quiet 3 Ones rest or repose 4 The abbreviation for Right

19a      Maiden given River, a strong perfume (4)
MUSK: The cricketing abbreviation for Maiden is followed by the name of a river. I know of one in Wales and one in Yorkshire. Our setter today does not distinguish which. Good job they both have the same spelling then

21a      Twins maybe left in car (6)
COUPLE: A car with a sloping roofline and impossible seats in the back contains the abbreviation for left

23a      A busy type getting sent inside — has one escaped? (8)
ABSENTEE: With the letter A and the word sent our setter has generously given us five eighths of the answer to this clue. All we need to find is a busy type and insert it. One that makes honey will do. Careful you don’t get stung

25a      Enthusiast embraces upper-class character of godlike nature (4)
FAUN: An enthusiast contains the letter that represent upper class. Don’t overthink this clue. There is nothing special here, the enthusiasm might be for a sports team or a musical group or a hobby

26a      Finery for Jack the Lad? (6,4)
SAILOR SUIT: What a Jack, a salt, a mariner or a tar might wear. A cute outfit for a small boy. Pass the sick bag

27a      Short sad poem penned in vehicle gives urgent message (8)
TELEGRAM: A sad poem (as written by Thomas Gray in a country churchyard) is cut short by one letter and inserted into a type of car that runs on rails in San Francisco, Blackpool, Birmingham and scarily in Nottingham

28a      Retro function held in gallery until now (2,4)
TO DATE: The reverse of a two-letter function or party sits comfortably inside an art gallery. The one in St Ives was headed up by Michael Tooby when it first opened. Michael and his wife came with us to see Bob Dylan in Cardiff in May 2017


2d        Heather being entertained by Americans (5)
ERICA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words being entertained by tell us so

3d        ‘Downtown’ performer pleasant, not one for sulkiness (9)
PETULANCE: Way back when I was a little guttersnipe a song used to be played on the wireless set which I quite liked. It was called Downtown. Take the singers first name (does anyone else in the world have this name) and add a rather boring word meaning pleasant but without the letter that looks like the number one 

4d        Stop revolutionary rocker grabbing girl (6)
DESIST: Even further back in time than the song at 2 down we had the age of Rock and Roll and Teddy Boys. Reverse the nickname for a Teddy Boy (Rocker) and insert a girl. Your female sibling will do

5d        In which every picture tells a story? (15)
PHOTOJOURNALISM: A cryptic definition of the practice of communicating news by pictures taken with a camera

6d        Story enacted fantastically, full of love (8)
ANECDOTE: An anagram (fantastically) of ENACTED which also contains the letter that looks like the love score in tennis

7d        Sort of informal relations joined by a daughter turning up (5)
KINDA: An informal way of saying ‘sort of’ which is becoming more popular in usage can be found by placing one’s family members before the reverse (turning up) of the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for daughter. As I wrote this in I could imagine the blood boiling in a percentage of solvers. The word exists. It is in the dictionary. The setter has set. The editor has approved. Let it be

8d        Supporters of Elizabeth II, so to speak (9)
SECONDERS: My last one in aided by checkers. In the phrase Elizabeth 11, what the numbers 11 are to the word Elizabeth. It’s a great pleasure to see Her Majesty in full in today’s clues rather than peeping out somewhere in the middle of a clue on alternate Thursdays

14d      Page is one trained for secret work (9)
ESPIONAGE: Anagram (trained) of PAGE IS ONE

16d      Wriggling inside mum, as many a baby will be (9)
IMMUNISED: Anagram (wriggling) of INSIDE MUM

17d      Examiner of idiots, upset no end (8)
ASSESSOR: Idiots similar to donkeys are followed by an informal adjective meaning upset or angry without its last letter

20d      Sector abroad providing bodyguard (6)
ESCORT: Anagram (abroad) of Sector

22d      Country’s number two making little money (5)
PENCE: The surname of the Vice President of The United States of America is also the United Kingdom’s smallest unit of currency. Thank you Google. I’d never heard of the American geezer

24d      Be unfair to a woman maybe in want of a roof (5)
EXIST: A word meaning characterised by showing prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of gender loses its first letter. Who on Earth would be unfair to such delightful woolly headed creatures? Certainly not me

That’s all for this year folks.

Quickie Pun Knock + Turns = Nocturnes


178 comments on “DT 29560

  1. A couple of (very)dated cultural references apart I really enjoyed this.
    Lots of podium contenders, 15,18 &28a plus 7&24d standing out for me.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP and a Happy New year to both

  2. A bit of a struggle but then it is Thursday. Not sure about the almost slang word at 7d but it was enjoyable and well clued. My favourite and COTD was 8d but I also like 9a, 11a and 27a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the hints. Happy New Year to you both and to everyone on this blog. Let us hope 2021 is far better.

  3. This was a mix and match puzzle for me this morning. Mostly straightforward clues but a couple of serious hmms. As you have already mentioned one of them, MP, I shall keep quiet. I didn’t know the name of the VP in America so that answer now makes sense. I’m almost surprised to find Donald Trump had a VP! 5d took some teasing out. I would have taken that as two words but doubtless it’s in the bible as one. Favourite 9a. ***/*** Many thanks to all the setters and those of you who write the blogs. Great entertainment all round. For Terence, whom I suspect has got my play list, add Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Same vintage as Al Green.

    1. Astral Weeks is my favourite album of all time Greta. The live version from The Hollywood Bowl is stunning

      1. Mine too, Greta and Miffypops. Incredible album, although the words may have been subject to cancellation these days.

        1. I still have the original recording on vinyl. Sadly nothing to play it on now but it’s been with me all this time so have to keep it. Still have good memories of the man at the Finsbury Park Rainbow. Nothing like living in the past right now,lol.

      2. I’m so out of the loop, the only time I’ve heard of Van Morrison is when M’pops waxes lyrical about him. I know nothing about him and never heard his music, I’ll have to visit YouTube and check him out. But I do know Pet Clark! I’m that old.

        1. You can get the Hollywood bowl concert on you tube and play it on your tv. It’s absolutely up there, promise.

  4. A very long one today. I don’t know whether Christmas has taken it’s toll or whether it was just a toughie today!
    Convinced that 20d was a bodyguard of a different nature (one a woman might wear) for a while which definitely didn’t help.
    Favourite was 9a.
    Thanks to setter for the challenge and MP for the clues (wouldn’t have finished without you!).
    Have a happy new year all!

    1. I was so convinced of that answer that I refused to consider an alternative……….
      I still prefer it, but it did interfere completely with the SE region, a bit of a variant really.

  5. Hands up all those who had corset for 20d . Other than that, a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle,
    Thanks and a happy new year to setter, Miffypops and all in crosswordland.

    1. I never thought of corset! I was thinking more in the line of armour, shields, even those things men wear when playing with hard balls. Fortunately nothing I thought of fitted apart from the answer

  6. Would have been **/****, but my inability to get 24d took me into 3.5 for time. Even after Miffypops’ help, I sat there trying all the letters in front of the answer… Obviously I’m now feeling a complete chump, but hoping to do better next year! Thanks to all here – finding this blog was definitely one of the better things about 2020😊

    1. Hi Lorna. I have amended the hint at 24 down. (decides against suggesting that I’ve altered it to make it easier for the fairer sex. Bless them)

          1. MP : Your “woolly headed creatures” comment earned a poke in the ribs from Mrs T.

            We have enjoyed the puzzles and the banter all year – one of our constants in these uncertain times.

            It is also nice to see you lot learning about our government and language.


            Mr & Mrs T

  7. Off to play golf – must be mad as it’s chuffing cold out there & will struggle to swing the club with the number of layers I have on. Will comment later but suffice to say a slog from start to finish – the Toughie is much easier.
    Great intro to your review MP….

  8. A really enjoyable puzzle with enough if a challenge to be absorbing (2*/5*). I quite enjoyed the outdated cultural reference at 3d and a word that I’ve never heard used in anger, despite 40 years as a secondary school teacher at 5a. 11a and 26a were also good. 7d was a bit weak, but all in all this was great fun. Thanks to MP and welcome to Tier 4 Land, which we drifted into on Boxing Day; commiserations to every one else in the same situation. Thank you to the compiler and a Happy (or at least better) New Year to all.

    1. I’m interested to know why you think 7d is a tad weak, CC?

      It is, of course, a shocking informal word that will never pass my lips, along with ‘gotten’ (doh!), but it’s, regrettably, in common parlance and therefore a word.

      1. I think the quality of the clues was so consistently good that 7d stood out like a sore thumb. On another day, with a less polished set of clues, it probably wouldn’t have caught my attention so much. It just seemed to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar.

        1. I’m not so sure. My guess is you hate the word with a passion and I’m with you there. But, I’m totally cool with it appearing in crosswords along with other howlers like pants and guestimate.

          Susie Dent and Stephen Fry are all for the language evolving which I get.

          I even said the noun lol recently (loving the lols) which my children couldn’t believe but it surprised me more.

          1. It’s quite true that language is constantly evolving. Some newly evolved language is appealing, some isn’t and I don’t find ‘kinda’ appealing. I guess that whatever word survives the melting pot is the outcome of the consensus of what most of us find appealing. The rest sinks into oblivion or goes out of fashion. There will always be a variety of opinions on each newly coined word and so there should be. It makes life interesting.

            1. It’s an Americanism that has been around on their side of the Atlantic for decades. It’s still has no place in the English language.

      2. I agree, and I’m one of the worst offenders! I sprinkle my comments with “wotta”, “shudda”, “orta”, and all “kinda” appalling sins against the English language. I sorta do it tongue in cheek, too old to break the habit!

      3. I think ChrisCross is not alone in disliking 7d. It earned a sad face and “awful” penned in at the side. It wasn’t up to par with the rest of the puzzle.

      1. Nothing to do with today’s crossword, but Sky Arts is now available (and has been for several weeks) without paying a subscription on both Freeview and Freesat.

        1. So we discovered recently. Some excellent stuff. Some mediocre. Some crap. Billy Elliot, Les Miserable, Twelfth Night, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jane Eyre and Phantom of the Opera were all really good.

  9. Well, I rather made heavy weather of this little toughie of a Thursday, but I did finish and parsed them all, I think, though it was a struggle at the end, with 8 and 24d (that little verb has thrown me before!). I did, however, enjoy the tussle immensely, and thought that 8d, 3d, and 24d / 9a (a tie) were podium-worthy. I also thought that ‘corset’ would have been a better answer to 20d than the true one. Thanks and the best of the New Year to Miffypops and today’s setter. Happy New Year to all of my fellow members of the commentariat. *** / ****

    My three Books of the Year: Hamnet, Homeland Elegies, Shuggie Bain! (with an honourable mention to The Thursday Murder Club for the sheer delight of it).

    1. 20d not a good clue. Is an escort a bodyguard rather than a person who merely accompanies? I could not see beyond ‘corset’ – a real bodyguard! 😊
      Anyone else share my view?
      Steve – frustrated by the clue today and by a number of corsets half a century ago or more!

      1. The BRB says “escort /n anyone or anything accompanying another or others for protection”. Having been in the long distant past a wearer of a corset I would not have described its main purpose as a bodyguard.

        I take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with this blog, which thankfully I discovered at the beginning of the first lockdown, and to wish a better year in 2021 to all.

      2. My view is that a corset is worn to shape the body. I don’t believe it is worn as a protective device or to guard the body.I think the clue is fine

  10. Too hard for me today. Gave up.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.
    Still very cold here …and the fridge has joined the boiler in going on the blink. Fortunately we have a backup fridge….wish we had a backup boiler.
    Must get on with the pre-Hogmanay house cleaning.

    Happy New Year when it comes to everyone .

    1. I’m with you O+M, I gave up too.

      I got about a dozen in my first pass, then very little. After a full ***** time I am still only two thirds complete.

      I put it down to having had snow on the ground for four full days, a very rare occurrence round here, my brain cells have frozen.

      Many thanks to Giovanni & MP and the very best of the season to you all.

  11. I thought the difficulty level was about right for a Thursday. 3d made me think of my mum who couldn’t stand the performer from the days when she was a child star

    Thanks to the setter and to MP – stay warm and safe and Happy New Year

  12. Went into **** for this because of 24d. Only clicked with Miffypops hints. Otherwise I enjoyed it with 9 and 26a my podium winners.

    A Happy New Year to all the setters for a year mainly of struggles but with plenty of enjoyment and the same to all who visit this site with good wishes for a better life in 2022.

    My book of the year is English Pastoral for reminding us of our debt to the land and those in whose charge it is.

  13. A slow start, but as the clues fell I managed to speed up. A pleasant puzzle to finish a not so pleasant year.
    Thanks to setter & MP for review.
    Best wishes & Happy New Year to setters, reviewers, BD & of course fellow bloggers.

  14. No real hold ups although I did briefly get diverted into learning more about Jupiter’s moons. Didn’t think of corset but think it’s a much better answer. Thanks to today’s setter and MP.

  15. I am relieved to find I was not alone in finding this quite difficult. 8d was my final entry and a favourite, along with the simple (not that I saw it for ages) 2d. All told a good challenge for a Thursday.

    Thanks to our setter and to MP for a year of amusing blogs.

  16. This was an enjoyable struggle to end the year. Many thanks to the setter and MF. Thanks to all those involved with bringing us this excellent website, it has been such a welcome distraction this year. Happy New Year to everyone.🥂

  17. In my Kindle version Miffypops has not given any stars for enjoyment or difficulty. I think I would give 2.5 for diffficulty and 4 for enjoyment. A few slight holdups but finished unaided. Had to read the hints to parse 22d (never heard of him) and 24d, probably because I am one of those feeble, female wimps beholden to the superiority of MEN! I don’t think so. Happy New Year everybody and see you all in a better 2021.

    1. I once set the difficulty star rating as one as was told I must have a brain the size of Leamington Spa. I don’t. I haven’t touched the star ratings since. BD usually throws something in. If you tell me what you graded the puzzle at I will put that in if BD doesn’t beat me to it

  18. Gosh it is a Thursday and crossword completed correctly before “lights out” 😳 **/*** Favourites were 23a & 27a 😃 promise I won’t mention 7d 😬 Big thanks to Miffypops and Giovanni and a Happy New Year to all bloggers, commenters and setters a really worldwide gathering and not forgetting Chris Lancaster, thank you one and all🥂

  19. I really enjoyed that challenge including the odd detour into GK territory and in spite of a few hmmm instances e.g. 5a, 13a, 7d, & 8d (unusual if it’s a DG). SE held out due to bunging in 20d wrongly but that finally joined 24d as joint Favs. Thanks DG and MP for today’s fun and to both for your efforts on our behalf during 2020 plus warm good wishes for a better, healthy 2021. (MP, nothing appears under “click here” for 26a hint). 🍾🌈🤞🙂

  20. Must be one of my more lucid days as I managed this and the Toughie without any help. Clues like 3d and 4d are much easier for those of us of a certain age, my BSA Road Rocket and I had a great mis-spent youth.
    Thanks to setter and MP for the entertaining but unneeded hints.
    Happy New Year to all.

    1. Penky
      To me a Ted is not a rocker. Teddy boys were late 50’s. They had long jackets often blue with black shawl velvet collars, drainpipe trousers and brothel creeper suede shoes. Not the garb one would wear as a rocker on a Beezer or Norton in the 60’s.

        1. Thanks DG.
          As well as can be expected would be appropriate I guess. Each treatment seems to bring new problems.
          So sorry for Mrs LROK having to put up with the world’s worst patient.
          Hopefully, if things work out it is not a pyrrhic victory, haven’t got any fingers left to cross!
          No head scratchers, more head polishers these days, at least I save on shampoo & razor blades.

          1. Oh dear. George has ongoing problems from four operations on his scalp for squamous cancer, one of the skin grafts did not take and he has a large area about 2″ square of exposed skull, not very pretty but fortunately he is tall and unless sitting down in a restaurant (where it gives the waiter a queer gunk but does not happen at the moment anyway) is not too noticeable! He, as it happens, is the perfect patient, always sweet tempered and uncomplaining. Very irritating! I am sure Mrs LROK can take it – and the dogs love you!

            1. Keep on hanging in there LROK. The sky is always darkest before dawn, they tell me. I think my husband would give you a good run for your money as grumpy patient of the year. The steroids and immuno-suppressants have side-effects which make him bad tempered at times but I know it’s not his fault. I’m sure Mrs LROK knows that about you too

          2. I’m so relieved to see you back but sorry about the side effects. It’s worrisome when someone falls off the radar. Glad you have Mrs. LROK to take care of you, get well soon.

          3. Glad to see you back commenting. Chemo is a tough road, and best of luck to you. I’m sure Mrs LROK is used to having a grumpy patient and will take it in her stride.

      1. You are right, the Mods and the Rockers came later. I remember the Teddy Boys as my dad’s name was Ted, sometimes called Teddy Boy, and my Mum was worried at the time that people would think he was one. Although of course he wasn’t, just a hard working parent, working two weeks days, two weeks nights most of his working life.

  21. A tough one to end the year on but my solving buddy (Bangalore King) and I finally got there. A few hmmms in there but COTD candidates; 5d, 7d and 22d. Thanks MP for the extra dimension, Giovanni for the puzzle. Happy and safe New Year to you all🦇

  22. Nothing to do with today’s crossword, but Sky Arts is now available (and has been for several weeks) on both Freeview and Freesat without paying a subscription.

  23. The sort of assignment we are used to on Thursdays – I needed a couple of hints from Miff (in the lion’s den in Barrel) to help me on my way.

    Thanks for so many kind comments yesterday, which I saw very late after a long day. The latest:
    H’s surgery was successful (for her privacy I won’t go into detail) and she rested on the sofa until bedtime. She continues to recover today, with everything being done for her, of course. A mixed experience at the hospital from my perspective (when I picked her up) in that there was an excellent system on arrival – temperature checks, new masks handed out, hand gel; but poor social distancing and inconsistent mask procedures in the ward reception. A man later identified as a key member of the surgery team walked through reception with his mask under his chin.

    Lola – no worse; no better. She is eating a little but sleeping a lot (even more than usual) and is generally very lethargic. Tricky for me because, as many know, although she lives here, she ‘belongs’ to my neighbours (who are lovely and couldn’t be more supportive and kind) so I must involve them in everything that happens (they took her to the vet the other day). I will keep a close eye on her – it is awful seeing her struggle.

    Today’s soundtrack: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young – Deja Vu.

    Thanks to the setter, and to Miff. Thanks to all setters, hinters, and contributors; particularly for the kindness shown to others when times are tricky.

    1. At least Lola is no worse and sleep is good and healing. Pleased that H continues to rest and I am sure you are attending to her every need. Please keep us informed on both H and Lola. Happy New Year to you, Terence.

    2. Best wishes to Lola and H, and that they are both soon back up and about. You’ll no doubt have earned a big gold star for your nursing abilities 😊

  24. I assume this is a Ray T but one which I really enjoyed. Nice to see a bit of astronomy and no religious references.
    Last in was 24d which ,ad eye smile when the penny dropped.
    Thx to all

    1. I don’t think it’s RayT, Brian. He was on last week and there are clues with more than seven words. I go with the majority and think it’s Giovanni.

  25. i enjoyed this puzzle. Thanks to all involved. Thanks also everyone who makes comments on this site.

    I am surprised how many did not know the person at 22d. His name has appeared on the news pages of this paper probably every other day for the last 8 years. But I am weak on “celebrities” !

  26. One wrong, one I couldn’t get, the rest were completed quite quickly. I got Evict instead of exist – thinking of a woman called Evi but of course the CT weren’t explainable. The long word, ‘photo-something’, had me thinking of Victorian contraptions ending in -ium and so of course the answer was assumed to be a word I didn’t know. A d’oh moment when I saw the answer. Should have stared at it longer!

  27. Took me a while to get on the wavelength today making it a ***/***. Last in 24d which seems on a par with earlier comments. 27a had me looking up the said poet albeit I got the “tram” bit immediately having much experience of the yellow trains on wheels on our Manchester streets.
    Thx to the setter and MP
    A safe & healthy New Year to all.

  28. A rather mundane puzzle – all good and fair, but not a great deal of fun
    MP – in 12a I thought the ‘will be too much’ equates to ‘some of’
    Paul off in his very own wibbly-wobbly world in the Graun today too, so I’m of to get a copy of The Times
    Thanks to DG & MP

  29. Found this a bit tough in places today and needed a couple of MP’s hints. Getting the wrong anagram for 20D initially didn’t help…doh!
    Was I the only one surprised by the 4-letter word being used in 5A outside the station….as a Scotsman, it’s generally taken as a bit of a sweary word…as in “whit a load of a p**h!”? Anyway, made me smile…unlike some of the more obscure ‘clueage’.
    Cheers to y’all on Hogmanay and a Happy New Year for 2021 when it comes…got to be better than 2020!

  30. I struggled to get going on this, and it felt like answers were dribbling not flowing. Did little to brighten up a cold damp miserable day for me. Sad that 7d appeared, in spite of MPs comment. Given the outside temperature it did not make my blood boil though
    Toothache and no dentist no doubt contributed to my woes.
    LOI was 24d, needed electronic help but a good clue.
    Thanks to setter & MP for your usual Barrel of laughs.

    1. Ouch! My commiserations. Toothache is a pain you cannot sooth. Any other part of the body and it can be rubbed, ointments and soothing salves applied but toothache is a pain you cannot get at without a dentist. Are there no emergency services, LROK?

      1. Bongela teething gel can ease the pain, so does novocaine/lidocain sore throat spray; but then again, so does a wee dram of the good stuff – take your pick

        1. It depends on what is causing the toothache. If it’s an abscess, nothing other than opening and dressing the tooth will help. If it’s a pulpitis (infection in the pulp cavity) then a dentist needs to remove the decay and place a dressing.

          It’s why I asked LROK if there was an emergency dental service available.

          1. Thanks for advice guys. Am not registered yet so can’t get an emergency appointment a month before I can get an “assessment”
            Rang NHS Highland Dental. Told only treating “acute emergencies” so take pain killers for 48 hours if no easing, ring back. Ironically next door neighbour is an NHS dentist too much to hope he has kitted out his garage!

            1. What, exactly, is the pain you’re getting LROK? Is it a dull throb? Is the tooth reacting violently to hot and cold? What, if anything, relieves the pain? Do pain killers work?

              1. Thanks Steve
                Remarkable about this site. Can’t get to see an NH dentist, or get a private appointment for a month but BigDave comes up trumps.
                Can’t get the string round the tooth so DIY job not avaliable.

  31. Hi L Rok.

    Further to my comment to Chriscross (post no 8), may I ask why its appearance in a crossword is sad?

    1. Hi G,
      Yes, you may ask. I just think it it is a nothing word that, for me, kinda doesn’t do anything other words don’t already do.
      It indicates a lack of wanting to pronounce “kind of” properly and therefore is an example of slack practice that has come into common usage by default.
      In Chambers it is listed as “Kind’a” short for “Kind of” which seems to support the argument.

      1. See my response 30 mins ago to CC’s reply.

        Basically, we all abhor these words but need to make our peace with them otherwise we’ll express our disapproval until we draw our last breath.

        I got my head around it a couple of years ago.

        1. I often get hot under the collar about the subjunctive case – people saying “If I was” instead of “If I were”. I tend to berate my post grad essay writers about it. Then there are times when I think “What the heck! Does it really matter?”

          1. ‘We was sat’ is most definitely on the all-time ‘Yikes!’ schmodium (the opposite of podium)

  32. I started in the NE corner and worked my way clockwise round the puzzle. Last one in was 2d. I didn’t see that it was a lurker until after I’d finished. 10a was my favourite because it made me smile. He must have been in prison for breaking the Covid rules on travel. Thank you setter and Miffypops. My house is rather noisy at the moment. My husband had to buy a new vacuum cleaner after the old one gave me an electric shock on Christmas Eve. It arrived this morning. He told me that it came with special instructions that it could only be used by a woman. I told him to crack on…so that I could sit and do this very enjoyable puzzle. Happy New Year to all.

  33. Found this one tricky as usual. Had to rely on the excellent hints. Last one in was 8d. Also my COTD. I love the blog. Used some of the book recommendations for Christmas presents. Thanks to MP and setter. HNY to everyone.

    1. I remember the old days when MP posted a deliberate mistake to see if we had read the review.
      Perhaps he has revived the habit. However there is a least one other.
      Bit like Spot the Ball used to be in the NOW!
      HNY Hoofs and everyone who visits this site, reviewer, contributor or lurker.

  34. Thanks to Giovanni if it be he, and to MP although I do not know what is scary about the Nottingham tram. I found this quite difficult but crackable without hints or other aids. I did fail to parse two (so thanks MP. I knew Erica was a heather as well as my first choice of Ling but failed to spot the lurker. I did however spot the lurker not identified in the clue. I also did not know the Vice President but the answer was obvious. I was left with the NE and like many others 8d was my last one in. Suspenders did not fit! It had taken me a time to get 5a, having tried to fit in ry somewhere for station. I’m on the fence with 7d. Favourites 9 26 and 28a and 3 5 and 24d. The last mentioned would be my top favourite followed by 9a. Once achieved 5d did open the door to a number of others – it did take me a while being sure there was some technical name for a posh comic which uses pictures rather than words. I will end by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and hoping we all come out of the other side.

    1. Having grown up and lived close to Coventry all of my life I am used to a traffic free shopping centre. Whenever I go to any other city centre I am always wary of the roads. The trams in Nottingham seem to appear silently from nowhere travelling far too fast. I’m absolutely certain that the death rate from tram accidents in Nottingham exceeds ten per hour. Thankfully I only need to go there for gigs. Fortunately when we do go Saint Sharon makes me hold her hand tight

  35. 3/4. Another excellent Thursday puzzle and a high note to finish the year. The puzzle went in west to east and then south to north. Didn’t spot the lurker in 12a so that’s my favourite. Thanks to the setter and MP. I start the new year in the cardiac ward of Royal Columbian Hospital so in a week I’ll have a refurbished heart. The procedure has the acronym CABG known by the medical staff as cabbage – which if they screw up will be what I become 😀. Stay healthy.

    1. The very best of luck from me too – as an ex-cardiac nurse the acronym now referred to as ‘cabbage’ (CABG) stands for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. They won’t screw it up – trust me – although I do understand how scary the prospect must be.

  36. We did this over lunch completed within the hour too. I did know 22d and 11a although I did check with the hints that I was correct. I will be a good girl and not say anything about 7d a word which I think I can honestly say I have never/would never use. Thank you MP and the setter, I really liked 9a and 15a.
    So let us say a loud farewell to such a horrid year, not a lot to make us laugh and much to bring a tear. Here’s to all our setters who have helped to keep us sane and thanks, too, to the ‘Hinters’ who so carefully explain. And all the other readers of this very friendly site – I hope you all will join me as I raise a glass tonight. I SHALL put on my tartan sash saluting the New Year – and hope that twenty twenty one will bring us all more cheer.

  37. I was shocked and surprised at the solution to 5a. The ‘nonsense’ part has a very different definition in Scotland, being a variation on a word more commonly having a double S at the end! It meant that I had difficulty finishing this one as I couldn’t believe it could have been used!

    1. It just goes to show how English English and Scottish English differ. I say embrace the subtle nuances

    1. Dunno. I took it as referring to the appendage 11. I’ve been wrong before and hopefully I will be wrong again. It keeps you all on your toes.

    2. No I don’t think so IB. I took it that a supporter of Elizabeth the first could be a “firster” of Elizbeth the second a “seconder” which is also a supporter of a proposer

  38. I enjoyed that and I didn’t find it too difficult. I surmised at work that 5a and 7d would raise a few eyebrows, mine included. I did have a wrong answer pencilled in for 24d – To EVICt would deprive one of a roof but I couldn’t see what the saintly sex had to do with my answer.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Gio if he.
    I too watched Billy Elliott last night and realised at the end I had that very same DVD as they were the cast of the live version I saw with Mama Bee!

    1. Commentus Interruptus
      My first comment was interrupted by the smell of dinner burning!
      Leftover curry and refried Sprouts will no doubt cause a disturbance under the duvet tonight – maybe the charcoal round the edges will tone it down a bit!
      I toyed with BLING for 2d for a while I did like 16d though I am more concerned with getting Mama Bee 16d ASAP.
      Only wore a 26a the once and never put in it again after disgracing the family at the opening of Harewood Bird Garden 🤮

      1. Harewood House bird garden was opened 50 years ago John Bee. I bet you looked a real cutie. I was watching Otley v Coventry about ten years ago when a Red Kite took off nearby. Probably from the breeding programme at Harewood House.

        1. There is a nice cafe in Harewood Village Hall where they regularly feed the Kites. I have seen as many as 20 there recently. They are a real success story and have been moving out from Harewood and Eccup. They often overfly the house and I think there may be nesting pair up at Tad Grammar School.
          Yes it is 50 years ago that HBG opened – I was 7 going on 8. cuteness is relative when one has just upchucked Sunday Lunch. I was hosed down and returned to the car before The Earl saw me

  39. I’m in the difficult camp, in fact I never did finish the NW corner. I’m surprised that I missed 9a, it seems so obvious now.
    I thought I did quite well but it was a struggle. In the end I had to use a word search for 5d, I find words of more than one syllable rather difficult.
    I kinda liked 11a, remembered from a discussion not long ago, but fave was 26a.
    Thanks Giovanni, and huge thanks to M’pops for helping me finish.
    Wishing all our friends a happy new year for 2021, you’ve brought so much comfort during the year, so thank y’all.

  40. Thank you to all the people Miffypops mentioned, plus Miffypops himself. This blog and its community is wonderful. December has been crossword-light for me, but I should have time to do more in January.

    I’d love to watch Sky Arts, but we still need a satellite dish to get it round these parts, despite the adverts claiming it’s now free everywhere. They could’ve at least made it free on their website to let us see it.

    Commiserations to all those who’ve moved tiers. I’ve panic-booked haircuts for me and the 8yo on Monday, to make sure we get them in while it’s still still allowed. Less than a fortnight ago, West Yorkshire was in the highest tier in England (Tier 3). Now we’re one of the few areas lucky enough to be in the lowest tier in England (Tier 3). Keep surviving, everybody.

  41. A thoroughly enjoyable end of year crossword in the Frog household. Agree 7D was a tad sloppy. Favourites today 8D and 3D. Happy New Year to one and all.

  42. The golf course wasn’t as cold as I’d feared though all on temps as the greens were frozen. As for the crossword I found it comfortably the hardest of the week other than Tuesday’s Toughie. 5a&d took a while & corset put a spanner in the works in the SE. All sorted eventually & parsed with the irritating exception of the NCE after Petula. 24d was my pick of the clues.
    Thanks to the setter & to MP for his usual witty review & provocative comments. Finally wishing all a substantially better new year than this awful one & hoping all not currently hale & hearty a speedy return to improved health. The variety of comment really do make this a very special site & long may it continue & can we all have the jab soon please….
    Ps Sky Arts is the best channel about – masses of good stuff on catch up.

  43. Thank you Miffypops for your entertaining summary of this blog and for your help in unraveling these clues. I am in admiration of your cross wording skills. Also thank you to all contributors and I would like to wish you all the best for the New Year. Looking forward to meeting you all again in 2021!

  44. :phew: not to the crossword but just to the extraordinary number of comments there were to read before adding my own.
    Now that I can add my own I’m not sure that there’s anything to say that hasn’t been said already.
    This didn’t quite feel like a Giovanni to me – I usually find him far more difficult but if everyone says it is then I’ll give in – not in the mood to argue!
    I’m with the only other couple of twits who had “evict” for 24d – I did wonder why doing that to someone in need of a roof would be more unfair to a woman than it would be to a man! Oh dear – seriously dim.
    No particular favourite clue today because nothing made me laugh.
    On that happy note I’m off but thanks to Giovanni and thanks also to MP.
    I wish everyone on this blog – setters, all the other “hinty people” and everyone who comments – a considerably better 2021 than 2020.
    I’ll just leave you all with something someone sent me today – lots of you may already have seen it, in which case apologies.
    2021 . . .
    When Corona is a beer again
    When Donald is only a duck
    When tiers sit on cake
    And when bubbles only exist in champagne

  45. Like Kath says, it’s all been said above. I did find this tough, but easier than a Ray T Thursday. Need a fair amount of hints to keep me going. 5d jumped off the paper once a few checkers went in. 7d, enough said. And I was one of the twits who first put in evict for 24d. COTD goes to 3d, clever clue and I loved listening to Petula Clark. Happy New Year to one and all. Never have so many people been so glad to see a year end. Here’s hoping 2021 will be remembered as the year we all got the jab and got our lives back.

  46. Took a while before posting as I kept being interrupted and it took ages to read all the comments and threads.
    Was listening to King Emmanuel’s new year speech while writing this.
    22d held me up a bit thinking that the answer was Rupee. RU for the country like Royaume Uni or Russia maybe and Pee for the number two.
    Thought 5d would end in Album which slowed me down again.
    Quite a tricky little blighter but I enjoyed the tussle.
    You might not care, but I am wearing Pierre Cardin underwear in memoriam.
    Rest in peace.
    Earlier this year I did the same for my lovely Kenzo.
    What a year this has been. Glad it’s over
    2020 makes forty or quarantine!
    Wishing all of you the best for 2021.

  47. A long slog for me and still needed the answers to 2 clues.

    5d was impossible for me even with all the checkers.

    I don’t recall the “in want of a roof” to mean remove the first letter before.

    3d I got without having a clue about the downtown performer. I assumed is was to do with Downtown Abbey, a show I don’t watch.

  48. Over 160 comments? Is it New Year or something?

    I wish you all you wish for yourselves and your friends and families along with the very best for 2021.

    2021 could be good. There is a vaccine. Let us hope and pray it kicks this damn virus in the teeth.

    Keep safe, everyone.

  49. Extremely late to the party but I’m told by my Scottish wife that you shouldn’t wish people a Happy New Year until it actually happens so here I am.
    “2020 – I remember it like it was yesterday…” 😎
    Oh, by the way I enjoyed the crossword. Thank you as always to everyone involved

    1. I’m even later to the party. Got stuck on 5a till I realised what sort of word 7d was! But it was a nice puzzle and worth the effort to finish it

  50. Last as usual. Not enjoyable at all. Gave up on day and came back to it today – no progress. Excuse is brain still addled with COVID! Used your clues which helped a bit but corset threw me at end. Hopefully will get easier this year.

Comments are closed.