DT 29563 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29563

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29563

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are into the second week of Lockdown 2.0. At the time it was imposed, Ottawa was an oasis of low infection amidst a sea of contagion and many questioned the need for the city to be subjected to these measures and were calling for at least an early end to the lockdown. However, in the past week, the situation seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket with infection rates soaring and authorities now speculating that not only will the lockdown not be lifted early but may even be extended.

Now on to a more pleasant topic, today’s very enjoyable offering from Campbell. I got off to a very swift start but, before long, progress slowed to a crawl. I found much of the wordplay a bit tricky to unravel — but I did enjoy the challenge.

Given this is my first appearance since the calendar rolled over, I will take this opportunity to wish solvers, setters, bloggers and management (aka Big Dave) a Safe, Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Tasteless cool sauce is sent back (7)
INSIPID — start with a sauce for finger food and the IS from the clue; then reverse this and place it after a word meaning cool or trendy

5a   British head of church absorbed by such a dissolute god (7)
BACCHUS — start with B(ritish) and then append the initial letter (head) of Church inside (absorbed by) an anagram (dissolute) of SUCH A

9a   Communist bound by firm set of beliefs (5)
CREDO — the colour symbolic of Communism inside an abbreviated business enterprise

10a   Play  patience (9)
TOLERANCE — double definition; the play in question would be a matter of interest to a mechanic rather than a thespian

11a   Fern in Madeira spread across hotel (10)
MAIDENHAIR — an anagram (spread) of IN MADEIRA containing (across) the letter represented by hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet (a tip of the hat to Stephen L. for pointing out the omission in the original hint)

12a   Bucket of friend I put inside (4)
PAIL — I put inside a chum or mate

14a   Sweet alcoholic drink taken by bishop, say (12)
BUTTERSCOTCH — after assembly, you should have the components in the order of the chess notation for bishop, a verb meaning to say or speak and an alcoholic drink from a northern part of the UK

18a   Understand editor and businessman did the same thing (8,4)
FOLLOWED SUIT — link together a verb meaning to understand or grasp the meaning of, an abbreviated editor and a businessman metonymically represented by his customary attire

21a   Whirlpool: two daughters dropping in extremely eagerly (4)
EDDY — two instances of D(aughter) between the initial and final letters of EagerlY

22a   To deal an effective blow, refuse to work in the house (6,4)
STRIKE HOME — a word denoting to engage in a labour action and where authorities currently mandate us to stay

25a   The very same change in dialect (9)
IDENTICAL — an anagram (change) of the final two words in the clue

26a   First of runners entering dog track (5)
TRAIL — the initial letter of Runners in a verb meaning to dog or follow

27a   Dawn and English band in book (7)
GENESIS — triple definition; a beginning, a musical group and a book of the Old Testament

28a   Satellite: household name after brief mention (7)
TELSTAR — a verb meaning mention or inform minus its final letter followed by an accomplished and well-known figure; the first of this family of satellites was launched nearly 59 years ago, the most recent less than three years ago


1d   Revenue from popular show (6)
INCOME — popular or trendy and a verb meaning show or make an appearance; the northwest certainly proves to be a very trendy spot today

2d   Awfully nice in South Carolina, picturesque (6)
SCENIC — an anagram of NICE inside the postal designator for South Carolina

3d   DA quietly got up, then misled court? (10)
PROSECUTOR — string together the musical direction to play quietly, a verb meaning got up or stood, and an anagram of COURT to get a US state official who institutes and conducts legal proceedings against a defendant in criminal court

4d   Drop it in opening of Dominican church (5)
DITCH — IT (from the clue) sandwiched between the initial letter of Dominican and the map abbreviation for church

5d   Game birds, all I shot (9)
BILLIARDS — anagram (shot) of the three words in the middle of the clue

6d   Complain about bum rap (4)
CARP — the one-letter Latin abbreviation denoting about or approximately and an anagram (bum) of RAP

7d   No men do? (3,5)
HEN PARTY — a cryptic definition of a social gathering to which males are not invited

8d   Stone rich wife shed in secret (8)
STEALTHY — the abbreviation for stone followed by a synonym for rich from which the abbreviation for W(ife) has been removed

13d   Unexpected, a western missing out on Oscar (10)
ACCIDENTAL — the A from the clue followed by a word meaning western (as contrasted with oriental) from which the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet has been removed

15d   Beginning to target male bears in rural areas (3,6)
THE STICKS — the initial letter of Target, a male personal pronoun, and a word meaning bears, endures or perseveres

16d   Gift of iron bell (8)
OFFERING — concatenate the OF from the clue, the chemical symbol for iron and a bell or telephone call

17d   Playing bugle, Don in club (8)
BLUDGEON — an anagram (playing) of BUGLE DON

19d   ‘Whaam!’ is an example of this work, in part (3,3)
POP ART — an abbreviated musical work inserted into PART

20d   Stock of wine merchant picked up (6)
CELLAR — sounds like (picked up [by the ear]) a synonym for merchant

23d   Small body of land one’s leased (5)
ISLET — the Roman numeral one, the contracted S, and a word meaning leased or rented gives a small piece of land with no bordering properties

24d   US inventor who gave us a lift? (4)
OTIS — a mildly cryptic definition of the inventor of a vertical transport system (What he invented was not the lift itself — Archimedes had apparently done that in 236 BC — but a safety device that prevented the platform from falling in the event the cable supporting it were to break. This led to public confidence in and the resulting widespread use of lifts).

I got a real chuckle out of 5a and then 14a seemed to build on that theme. I am glad the bishop didn’t have to drink alone being joined by the editor and businessman in the juxtapositioned 18a — I think the setter missed a golden opportunity in not linking these two clues by ellipses.

I’m afraid I have been soundly defeated by the Quickie Pun. I suspect there may be only one today, but whatever it may be totally eludes me [now amended, thanks moonrider.  BD].

Quickie Pun (Top Row):Burr+canned+hair=Burke and Hare

156 comments on “DT 29563

  1. Slightly slower than most Mondays, this took me a full *** time to complete the grid and parse each clue.

    I cannot say that I am familiar with 19d, indeed I wondered whether there was a movement called Pin Art (Work ‘in part’), but completing 22a put paid to that idea. I thought that the synonyms in 1d (show) and 15d (bears) were somewhat stretched, but I have no doubt that they will be in the BRB.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Falcon, and a Happy New Year to all.

    1. For “show” at 1d, how about “I sent her an invitation but I don’t think she’ll show” and “bears” at 15d, “The procedure is a bit complicated, but bear with me.”.

      1. I must confess to not having read the rest of the blog yet 😟 “ in the sticks” means to live in rural areas e.g. I used to live in town but now I have moved out into “the sticks” i.e. a rural area!

        1. I believe the issue was whether “bears” is truly a synonym of “sticks”.

          The wordplay parses as T (beginning to Target) + HE (male) + STICKS (bears)

          “Bears” and “sticks” are being used in the sense of perseveres.

          A better usage example than the one I used above might be The piece is difficult to play but if one bears with it, one can master it..

  2. I loved this puzzle because I almost managed to finish it at a Senf canter and unaided. It was a delightful solve and a great start to the week. I’m not sure about the parsing of 6d but I can’t get anything else to fit given the checkers. I also don’t think 24d is very cryptic. Still, lots of wonderful clues such as 18a, 14a and 16d but my COTD is 5a.

    Many thanks to the setter for a satisfying puzzle. Thanks also to Falcon for the hints, which I will now read.

    The Quickie pun was nice and groan-worthy. I couldn’t get a bottom line pun.

    1. Hmm – I don’t think that I have ever revealed any time(s) associated with my steed’s canter. I’m not sure that I even know what they are!

      1. I wasn’t assuming a time of yours , Senf. Let us say I did it at a Steve canter, which means faster than norma for me. :good:

  3. Nicely Monday-ish – there did seem to be quite a few anagrams while I was solving but I haven’t gone back to count. I thought 24d was more GK than cryptic

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon

  4. My experience was the opposite to Falcon’s – thanks to him for his hints – as my first sweep down the across clues was worryingly grim. Selecting a few of the down clues at random I cheered up and then it just all unfolded in a very pleasant and stress free way. Last one in was 5a after I had all the available letters in. COTD for me was 3d which I thought rather clever. Thanks to Campbell for a **/*** start to the week.

  5. Must be my quickest ever even for a Monday. This could be because I got a paper early and I am usually doing late in the day. However, I found they all went more or less straight in. I also thought it was very clever although some may not like it because it was quick to solve. I confess I have not yet read the hints or checked my answers to I may have to come back and eat humble pie if I misunderstood anything! Last three in were 19d 22a and 15d. Favourites were 18 and 28a and 3 13 and 20d. Thanks Campbell and to Campbell in advance.

    1. And a thank you from me as well. I did try using three words (even up to five words, involving the entire second line) but I’m afraid I was ignorant of this pair and their gruesome deeds. It seems my Scottish forebears could be very resourceful in finding ways to generate income.

      1. Falcon, if you like modern thrillers / detective novels try The Falls by Ian Rankin. Lots of reference to Burke & Hare & the Rebus series for me are excellent reads.

        1. I have his “A Song For The Dark Times” sitting on my coffee table, and plan to start it today.

          1. Son always buys me the latest Rankin for Christmas, last year’s was the biggest disappointment ever. A Song for the Dark Times” just the opposite, back to vintage Rebus plot finished in 2 days.

  6. A well clued start to the week and a **/**** for me.
    Thanks to Falcon for the hints particularly the 19d pic, remember seeing a Warhol exhibition at The National Museum in the 70’s containing the very same ‘Whaam’ jet picture-covered a large area,
    Favourite was 18a for the surface followed by the 27 a ‘triplet’
    Liked the top pun , the bottom one eluded me!

    1. Whaam was produced by Roy Lichtenstein. His work is an excellent comment on 60s culture and the girls’ side of relationships

  7. The excellent surface read of 5a made that my top clue in this fun and rewarding puzzle. I probably spent most time trying to work out a second pun than on any other individual clue.

    Thanks to our setter and of course Falcon.

  8. A fairly standard Monday puzzle, similar to the ones we have had recently, with a certain amount of challenge and some dubious synonyms. It was moderately enjoyable (2*/2.5*). 14a was the best clue. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to the compiler.

  9. I whizzed through this and was sad when I finished. Last one in 8d but lots to like. Chilly and miserable so I am sorry there is no Toughie on a Monday although they are usually above my pay grade! Thanks to all.

    1. Rookie Corner is great & there’s also both the Quiptic & Cryptic (usually the one day closest to DT standard) freely available online in the Guardian.

  10. Soved before getting a pre lockdown haircut, I thought this was good fun and mainly straightforward. I had to check 5a, but was easily obtainable from the checkers and wordplay.
    Clues that stood out for me were 14&22a plus 6&7d .
    Many thanks to Campbell and to DT.
    Ps…your hint for 11a has omitted the preposition from the anagram fodder.

  11. Another good start to a weeks puzzling, another great crossword. I am finding mondays to be on the easier side, now I know that I will regret that in the coming week. Still keeps the little grey ells working. Favourite clues 5d and 14a
    Thanks to Falcon and setter

  12. I have been following for a while and crossword hints and tricks must be being absorbed because I finally completed a cryptic without needing help! 😁

  13. I thought this a bit more demanding than the norm for Campbell’s Monday output but still done & dusted in a shade over ** time. 11a was unfamiliar but fortunately an anagram & quite a descriptive name I thought. 24d was bizarre & maybe needed involving Nat King Cole’s regretful miss to make it cryptic. I’ll plump for 5d as my pick of the bunch. Like a similar clue yesterday the anagram indicator added to the cleverly misleading surface (well it misled me briefly) plus it’s also a great game to play if you know what you’re doing with the cue ball.
    Thanks to Campbell & to Falcon for the review, which I’ll now read.

  14. An enjoyable start. Have a reproduction of 19d in my son’s bedroom so that was sorted. I did need to check 24d to confirm. As a student we had a paternoster in the Engineering block which was a source of endless amusement riding over the top despite warnings it might fail. 14a was my favourite. Thanks to Falcon and today’s setter.

    1. City of London! Paternosters two of! Five office equipment engineers decide both have too be circumnavigated!! Pub lunch and off we go, single file and spaced out, two doorman avoided and complete circuits of each accomplished. Company reprimand! One of our number recognised!! Still gave us a giggle!!! But worrying as you go over and under!!! Happy New Year one and all!

    2. We’re you at Leicester, Jonners? I well remember the more agile students doing handstands as the lift disappeared at the top, and emerging upside down for the descent. The tutors rolled their eyes, having seen it all before, but the memory still makes me grin over 40 years on!

  15. Sorry my above comment should have included Falcon – I thanked Campbell twice. Having now looked at the hints I am pleased that I made no silly errors in my haste to complete at a Senf gallop. I even got the right spelling for 20d. I think 24d is cryptic as it leads you to think of being given a lift such as in a car or a lift of spirits – rather than an elevator.. I don’t usually do the quickie but looked today at the pun in view of Falcon’s comment. I don’t think there is a bottom one as it is not italicised in the paper. The top one I got straight away. I well remember going to see the said musical in 1970 when it was considered by many as being outrageous.

    1. You have clearly identified the cryptic trap that the puzzle’s creator has set at 24d. Of course, the clue only appears cryptic to those solvers who fall into the trap. Those who manage to avoid the trap often dismiss the clue as not being cryptic.

      As to the underlining of the bottom pun, it is my understanding that it is never underlined. Thus those solving the version appearing in the paper have no advantage over online solvers — unlike the situation with the top pun.

      1. Oops. “italicised” not “underlined”

        (For some reason, I can’t edit comments. The post button is outside the edit window and inaccessible.)

  16. A straightforward solve today. **/*** I was expecting a clip of Ella Fitzgerald singing “Miss Otis regrets” to illustrate 24d. 3d and 22a were good clues but top spot for me goes to 14a. Thanks to all.

    1. From the comments, it appears you weren’t the only one disappointed.

      Let’s see if this works:

      1. I had never heard that tune before. My god, it’s nearly as gruesome as the Quickie pun!

        1. I’d never heard the Nat King Cole version. I think it’s pretty good, but he was a master anyway.

  17. 3*/4*. I found this tougher than usual for a Monday but it was as enjoyable as ever and at least the back-pager was on the back page.

    I didn’t know the fern in 11a and I didn’t find 24d cryptic because I spotted the GK meaning before the supposedly misleading interpretation.

    I had a lot of ticks: 5a, 10a, 14a, 18a, 3d, & 13d with 7d just topping them as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  18. Nice start to the week.
    Only had to wait to have all the checkers in place in 5d as I didn’t know the game.
    I adore Roy Lichtenstein and in Hyeres, we have the biggest collection of his works at the Fondation Carmignac. No less than 15 of them. A real joy.
    This has to be my favourite clue.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

    1. So do I jean-luc. I especially like the drowning girl. ” I don’t care! I’d rather sink than call Brad for help!” The desperation and awfulness of young love. Thank goodness there is no going back to it.

  19. Very enjoyable typical Monday fare completed at a fast gallop (just) – **/****.
    I thought that 24d was pure GK. The answer seemed to be so obvious that I looked for something more ‘devious’ in the clue, that wasn’t there, before writing it in.
    No standout favourite, but I did like 10a and 27a.
    Thanks to Campbell(?) and Falcon.

  20. A terrific start to the week, largely as this one was right at my level… I left Senf’s horse way behind me as I galloped home to win by a substantial margin.

    H continues to improve; Lola still moping, but eating and drinking ok – keeping a watching brief.

    Today’s soundtrack: Aretha Franklin – Aretha Now (though perhaps it should have been Peter Gabriel and colleagues; or maybe ‘Dock Of The Bay’.

    A round of applause for Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Today’s walking Bs are Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks & Boz Scaggs – his eponymous 2nd album featuring a great version of Loan Me A Dime with superb guitar work by the great Duane Allman & well worth a listen to if you’re not familiar with.

      1. H-man – Thank you – I’ve lined up Boz for tomorrow (I’m not familiar with that album).

    2. I’ll take the Peter Gabriel but I’ll do what he did and leave his mates behind. Was the Aretha prompted by watching Amazing Grace on Saturday night. Superb. Any Dylan will do me.

      1. Miff – another ‘interesting’ profile picture…
        The longest night of my life was spent watching Genesis perform the whole of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. They are not playlist-worthy in this house.
        Woe! I missed Aretha. I will watch it on catch-up, for sure.

        1. I still listen to The Lamb & Trick of the Tail occasionally. Remember seeing them at Stafford Bingley Hall in the mid 70s in the first post PG tour. Certainly agree TLLDOB is a load of old nonsense really though I still like the opening 3 tracks & remember smoking Winston cigarettes because they were name checked in Broadway Melody – impressionable teenager that I was.

        2. The Lamb is a bit sprawling and self indulgent but has some magical moments, the Title Track, Cuckoo Cocoon, Counting out Time and the truly magnificent Carpet Crawlers, to mention but a few.
          Genesis followed it with Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, both beautiful albums and creative masterpieces.

          1. Some of the Lamb is brilliant, some is rubbish. You missed out The Lamia above.
            I knew Ant Phillips well many years ago.

            1. Thanks for letting Coventry nick it at the weekend Hoofs – we probably need the points more than your mob.
              Due for a game of golf tomorrow but Boris has predictably put the kibosh on that. Shame there isn’t a fast forward button & we could skip the next 4 months.

      2. The longest night of my life would be listening to any 5 minutes of the band checked at 27a.
        Weirdly, I only listened to Blood on the Tracks last night.

      1. I may have been a late starter but have come up on the outside and forced a photo finish. For me this was one of the more straightforward for a while. Thanks to Falcon and our setter and slightly tardy greetings for a happy, and above all healthy, new year to all.

  21. Last in 14a and 8d despite having all the intervening letters with both I was completely off track until the usual “doh” moments. Very enjoyable thanks to Campbell and Falcon. How good it is to be kept up to date from the great city of Ottawa on the COVID situation – having relatives there.

  22. Definitely a *** today but with plenty to enjoy. 11a my favourite as seeing the said fern reminds me of the learning of my teenage dating years. My thanks to Falcon and Campbell for a good morning’s fun.

    1. The picture isn’t actually a maidenhair fern. The foliage on the maidenhair fern is much finer. But the picture gives you the general idea so no real worries.

      1. Hi Greta,

        As I mention in my reply to Florence at Comment 34, I discovered there are about 250 species of maidenhair ferns with vast differences in appearance among the various species. So, to the best of my knowledge, the picture is a species of maidenhair fern. The one shown is Adiantum aleuticum (Aleutian maidenhair or western five-fingered Fern). One with a markedly different appearance — but from your description still not the one with which you are familiar — is Adiantum aethiopicum (common maidenhair or true maindenhair)

        1. That’s more like it, Falcon – very delicate and needs a lot of attention to grow successfully in the UK

          1. That species is native to Africa, Australia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand. The species that is commonly cultivated as a garden fern or houseplant would appear to be Adiantum capillus-veneris (popularly known as Southern maidenhair fern, black maidenhair fern, maidenhair fern, or venus hair fern):

            1. By the way, I didn’t use that image in the review as I thought the fronds bore no resemblance to hair!

          1. They certainly are, I had a conservatory once and grew all kinds of tropical plants – adored it with a passion
            Now, in a North-facing flat I’m reduced to forest floor plants and unhappy succulents; only thing that really thrives is mould

  23. I found this harder than usual for a Monday – I had to scrap to get to the end. I felt it didn’t quite hang together today ***/***
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell, and a Happy New Year to all.

  24. Must have been on the setters wavelength today as I sailed through this one. Very enjoyable thought and especially liked 5a and 28a.
    I’m sorry if I upset Senf yesterday I do appreciate the effort that goes into providing the hints, its just that I get a bit frustrated that the ones I fail on are seldom hinted, do you have an insight into my ability to solve crosswords that I know not of?
    Thx to all

  25. I don’t know what it is about Monday’s Mondayish puzzles. I start. I finish. That’s it. The rest of the week I smile a lot more during and after the solve but not on Mondays. Sorry Campbell that’s just the way it is. I blame this blog.

  26. A pause where the 1d synonym was concerned but plain sailing otherwise. Apologies to JL and Corky but I’m not an admirer of 19d – each to their own I suppose!
    Top two for me were 14&18a with a nod to 1a.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for both the review and the blast from the past in 28a.

  27. That was a jolly way to start the week with just a slight hiccup in the SE. Having failed to apply metonymy I had to succumb to help in order to parse 14a and second part of 18a and lastly to completely solve 28a. 26a is a neat clue. Thank you so much Campbell and Falcon.

        1. As in “England” for the English cricket team? Yep!

          However, there is a slight difference between the two but it is hardly worth it and the two can be interchanged.

  28. Ran out of general knowledge with the fern but with all checkers it became unavoidable and surprised myself by knowing the lift man once the checkers were in. GK also stretched by the god – not helped by some good disguise in the clue.

  29. Slow, even pedesteian prgress through this after promising start. As MP said typical Monday although I do think there is fun in there. *** / ***
    7d took ages to see it but it is my COTD.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon.

  30. LROK I absolutely agree about 7d, it was a real laugh out loud moment. I used to think that lol meant lots of love until my grandsons put me right.
    Hope you are feeling on top of things, by the way. I have to go to Addenbrookes on Thursday to have a 24hour heart monitor put on and, of course, back on Friday to have it taken off. I really don’t want to go near the place – unless they can give me the vaccine at the same time. I am a Trustee of our Community Hall and we have offered it to our surgery to use as a vaccination point, right in the centre of the village, large and modern it is ideal but the nurse told George this morning at his INR test that their local syndicate is insisting that half a dozen practices all use the same premises and so far they have not agreed on anything. Maddening.
    Anyway, enough of that. I spent ages trying to make melody myth into a phrase then gave up. A lovely, funny Monday puzzle although I agree about 24d being GK, I thought of it straight away but had no idea that Mr. Otis was an inventor – obviously his daughter Miss Otis had an exciting lifestyle.14a was nice and 18a – it was all nice and I am all for having an easy entry into the week. Thanks to Campbell (as I am told it is you) and Falcon.

    1. Thanks DG, not really with it at all.
      Don’t think “vaccine” is in the Ginger Whinger’s BRB.
      Matt Hancock’s lot couldn’t organise a p*** up in a brewery. Letting first wave get into care homes a joke, setting up Nightingale hospitals a joke, the testing programme, a joke, the tracing app a joke vaccine roll-out a joke. Pity the poor foot soldiers on the front line wearing themselves out trying to keep us alive.

      1. I have just red ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay – it is a miracle that we have any doctors at all.

    2. A lot of over 80s are getting the offer of a vaccine at their OP appointments DG (and you have two on consecutive days…).
      You may be lucky. You could be offered either of the two vaccines currently on offer in the UK.
      I wish you luck!

  31. What a relief after yesterday for me…..definitely on the wavelength for this one which I enjoyed very much.

    Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell.

    Just watching the local lifeboat after coming back from a rescue….doesn’t look good as the ambulance has been beside the lifeboat shed for at least 45 minutes. Local news feed says a kayaker fell into the Tay…..not a good place to be at this time of year. Hope they are OK.

  32. I have to admit that I was never into Genesis and picked the clip in the review merely on the basis that the album went to No. 1 in the UK. I was considering using a different video but decided to use the “official” one. However, I think this one is worth having a view just for the amazing footwork:

  33. I had to google the fern in 11a after I’d worked it out from the checking letters. 7d was my last in and raised a smile when the penny dropped. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

    1. I had heard of the fern. My difficulty came in choosing a picture as the appearance of the fronds differed so much in various pictures that I thought I might not have the correct plant. I discovered there are about 250 species of the fern and there really is a vast difference in appearance among the various species.

      1. It is a funny thing about ferns – I have never, never planted one in my garden and yet I have huge plants by
        two of my water butts and several others elsewhere in the garden! Not pretty ones like Maidenhair though, just
        bog standard. (is that somehow a joke?)

  34. Thank you, Campbell, for the 2d plug. Yes, it’s a lovely but chilly day in 2d Charleston, though we can’t get out and really enjoy it, locked-down as we are, so we rely on such clever and tricky puzzles as today’s 16d for our amusement and fresh view of the world. Finished it in a jolly mood after sussing out 7d (I don’t think we call such events by that name but what would I know?). 7d, 27a and 13d were my favourites today. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. ** / ****

    I really do want to comment on a Saturday phone call to Georgia but I dare not.

      1. There was an hourlong phone call from the White House to the Georgia Secretary of State (in the state of Georgia, USA) on Saturday. It is now dominating the news on American TV, as well as on BBCWorld coverage over here. I’m afraid I can’t say anything more. Perhaps British coverage is lagging a bit, DG.

        1. It was given quite good coverage on News at Ten last night, Robert. I did think of you at the time!

        2. I’m steaming here, but nothing will be done, except more joining “the cause.” Sorry, BD, this is important to everyone, don’t think the pond is going to protect you.

        3. Yes, I have caught up with it now RC. I wonder what the history books will have to say in 50 years?

        4. I saw an interesting report yesterday speculating on what one might find in the future Trump Presidential Library when it is eventually built. Apparently the “history” that these institutions portray is totally under the control of the person in whose honour they are erected.

    1. Hi Robert,

      I hope I chose an appropriate illustration for 2d.

      As for 7d, it was not a term with which I was familiar before encountering it in British crossword puzzles. However, it does appear in several US dictionaries with no indication of it being a British term. I have heard the terms “doe party” and “bachelorette party” for such gatherings. I am even seeing them referred to as “stags” (which is surely carrying equality of the sexes beyond the pale).

      1. Yes, you did, Falcon. Twin Falls is way up in Pickens County, in the S C Piedmont, where I spent four blessed years as an undergraduate at Clemson University. About 250 miles away from where I sit right now. We have palmettos and the beach; they have mountains and waterfalls–a very diverse state, naturewise. As I said about 7d, what would I know about such gatherings? But thanks for the scoop.

    2. I agree that this is serious and unprecedented. It could have implications for us all.

      I fear the lunatics are taking over the asylum.

      I will say no more on the topic because of blog rules.

  35. All done in medium time without needing to resort to Falcon’s hints. Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable Monday puzzle, cheers!

  36. Very much enjoyed this offering today. Falcon rating it as a *** difficulty made it even sweeter, as I passed the final post with just two hints. Annoyingly, I had the first part of both (14a and 18a) and felt really daft when I read them. Such a relief as I struggled for,the last two days. No real favourite, they were all great clues. Big thank you to Campbell and to Falcon.

  37. Finished with no hints or look ups….I even spelt 5a without help. I know it’s a Monday puzzle but still happy. My favourite was 7d. I thought 24d was OK but maybe, given I am English, I have stood staring at the maker’s signs in lifts trying to avoid conversation too often.

  38. Excellent start to the week😃***/**** my favourites are 27a, 13 & 15d 🤗 thanks to Campbell and to the Falcon especially for the Genesis video 👍

  39. Nice puzzle to start the week for the most part. 2.5*/*** my rating. SE corner was the last area to complete with 26a last in.
    Clues of note 14a, 3d, 6d, 28a & 7d with 14a my favourite, and 6d a runner up

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  40. I’m commenting without reading the comments as I’m expecting company. I’ll read the comments later.
    This was a very enjoyable offering, nothing terribly outré or obscure and lots to enjoy.
    I didn’t think maidenhair fern looked like that,Falcon, so I googled it and it seems to come in various forms. Fern Gully in Jamaica was full of the stuff, but I’ve heard the car fumes have killed most of it.
    I was amused by 24d, I always say “Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to dine …” and so on when I get in a lift. Everyone thinks I’m quite mad. I think Falcon might have included a clip, I’ll check it later.
    My company is here. Thank you Campbell for the fun and Falcon for the hints and pics.

  41. Started late today. It looked bleak going across and then almost all downs went in 1 pass.

    For 24d I bunged in the answer. I never knew he invented them. I do travel a lot and you see his name as much as Schindler.

    I had to check 11a – I am brown fingered.

    Cotd for me was 14a

    Thanks to setter & falcon

  42. Great puzzle, really enjoyed it, but while tricky in parts I whizzed through it….either a wavelength thing or the beneficial effects of Dry January on my cognition….

  43. Really enjoyed today’s offering because I managed to complete it unaided and in between taking down the Christmas decorations!☺️. Next challenge being to pack said items back into their storage boxes in the right order without any stragglers. Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    Could not get the Quickie pun despite best endeavours and reading it out aloud a few times. Then other half agreed with the answer from the blog. He knew it all the time!!

    1. You pack you decorations in a correct order, Hilary? Mrs. C and I just bung em in bag!

      1. Some of our oldest decorations are kept in the same boxes my mother used to keep them in

        1. I do have some lovely boxes for the tree baubles from Betty’s in Harrogate courtesy of a generous sister-in-law sending birthday food gifts to my other half! The said boxes then go inside even larger storage boxes!! Managed to get all 6 storage boxes completed earlier this evening.

          1. Mrs. C and I love Betty’s and we make a point of visiting whenever we are in that neck of the woods. I didn’t know they sold tree decorations. By the way, just because I said we bung ours in a bag does not mean we don’t treasure them. Each and every one reflects the story of our life together along with memories of friends and places we have visited. Our Christmas tree is a veritable history of Les Cowlings! :grin:

            1. I interpreted Hilary’s comment as being that the Bettys† boxes arrive containing food gifts then are re-used for storing baubles.

              We have a Bettys in walking distance, so the challenge is not to make a point of visiting whenever we’re in the area! I was really impressed with their social-distancing when we were buying Christmas presents though: a queue outside under their canopy, and if you knew exactly what you wanted from the shop, somebody with a clipboard took your order then brought the items (and a contactless card-reader) out to you — so you got to jump the queue, and no need to even step inside.

              † They were originally Betty’s, but dropped their apostrophe a few decades ago.

              1. Late replying but just to confirm Smylers that you did interpret the storage correctly!
                My sister-in-law lives in Harrogate hence the convenience of using Bettys and we are not complaining!

  44. Elisha Otis invented the mechanism that prevents a lift from falling if the hoisting cable snaps. The song ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ deserves more respect
    Maybe the beer I’ve poured will cheer me up

    1. I’ve added a note to the review to clarify that Otis did not invent the lift — apparently that had been done by Archimedes in 236 BC. Otis’ invention instilled public confidence in the lift enabling its widespread incorporation into buildings. So he did “give us a lift” in the sense that people were no longer afraid to step into one.

      1. What led to the widespread use of lifts was the widespread building of multi storey buildings.

  45. Late to the party but I enjoyed this. A lot of not v general Knowledge required but I am familiar with the lift bloke and the artist did like 8d and 13d when the penny dropped.
    I was a big fan of 27a but I agree they could be a bit self-indulgent at times. Selling England by the Pound would be my favourite album and Steve Hackett’s guitar on Cinema Show is sublime.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  46. I’m on the middle of the comments above as I found it not particularly hard nor easy. Good clues and fun. Favourite was the triple definition in 27a. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  47. Very late here today so everything has already been said so I just popped in to say hello.
    I enjoyed this one.
    Back tomorrow.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  48. I found this pretty straightforward for a Monday, where I sometimes struggle.
    I’m sure everything has been said, so looking forward to reading the extensive blog.
    Thanks all.

  49. Hey, all — thank you for such interesting comments, which have been enjoyable to work through.

    I finished the crossword this morning, but didn’t have time to comment till now. Thank you to Falcon for blogging: there were a couple where I did have the answer but I wasn’t sure about the synonym, so it was useful to take a peek and confirm before trying to use the crossing letters in other answers.

    Thank you to Campbell for the puzzle. I was impressed by 10a’s ‘Play patience’ double definition, and my favourite is 19d’s “Whaam!”.

    This might be my last crossword for a while: the sudden resumption of home-schooling means working will move to before breakfast and after teatime. Understandably, with the complete lack of notice, school hasn’t been able to send us any work yet, so tomorrow’s home-schooling will be, erm, interesting.

    It was a Baker Day today. The 8yo was so excited to be going back to school and seeing their friends, so the first task will be breaking the news that that isn’t happening …

    1. Oh dear, Smylers. Sounds as though you are going to have an interesting time. I admire folk, such as yourself, who are tackling home schooling. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Good luck and I hope 8yo is not too upset at having to be taught by Dad.

      1. Thanks. It went quite well during the first lockdown (except for being tired all the time), but then school had a few days to prepare some materials. Today I’m making it all up. It is interesting to see what they are learning, and nice to spend more time with them.

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