DT 29573 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29573

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29573

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs and another dull, grey day of lockdown.

In contrast to the last couple of Fridays, I rattled through today’s puzzle at some speed, hence the * marking.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

1a           Common to find extra starting price studied (10)
WIDESPREAD – A cricket extra, followed by the abbreviation for Starting Price and another word for ‘studied’.

6a           Scoffs as regatta’s jettisoning odd entries (4)
EATS – The even-numbered letters from the third word of the clue (jettisoning odd entries).

9a           Reserve suite but confused about street briefly (10)
SUBSTITUTE – Anagram (confused) of SUITE BUT, wrapped round the short form of ‘street’.

10a         Film finishes early — drive away (4)
SHOO – The term for the act of making a film, minus its last letter (finishes early).

12a         Love and desire gripping student — would that be wise? (6)
OWLISH – The letter which looks like a love score at tennis, followed by another word for ‘desire’ wrapped round the letter which usually indicates a student or learner. The result is a word for someone who looks like a bird reputed to be wise.

Owlish wonder | Baby owls, Animals, Cute animals

13a         Second person with no starter to eat? Most immature (8)
YOUNGEST – The second person pronoun, followed by another word for ‘eat’ minus its first letter.

15a         Two groups of politicians to accommodate or a lot of researchers here (12)
LABORATORIES – OR A (from the clue) placed between an abbreviation for one UK political party and a familiar name for the party opposing them.

18a         Building engineer scorning TUC needing time to break (12)
CONSTRUCTING – Anagram (engineer) of SCORNING TUC, with Time inserted.

21a         Going on and on, getting cross inside and outside (8)
EXTERNAL – Put a cross-shaped letter inside another word for ‘going on and on’ or ‘endless’.

22a         Investigation of lariat rope-running heading to the West (6)
REPORT – Hidden in reverse (heading to the West) in the clue.

24a         This person’s popular, being embraced by yours truly (4)
MINE – Another word for ‘popular’ or ‘fashionable’, inserted into the pronoun for ‘yours truly’.

25a         The fairy-tale king Hans had one, being Christian (6,4)
MIDDLE NAME – The fairy-tale king was Hans Andersen. The answer is what ‘Christian’ was in relation to him.

26a         Title that reads the same backwards (4)
DEED – A property title which is a palindrome.

27a         Objects, seeing lies getting Victor kicked out for tango (10)
INTENTIONS – Start with a word for ‘lies’ or ‘made-up stories’, then remove the letter represented by Victor in the NATO alphabet, and replace it with Tango from the same alphabet.

Down

1d           You know if you’ve got it (6)
WISDOM – Cryptic definition. Someone who has this characteristic will also have knowledge – though the opposite is not necessarily true!

2d           Flirt with depression in Yorkshire? Book twice for lodging (6)
DABBLE – A Yorkshire valley with two instances of Book inserted.

3d           Posed with one’s works, revealed as adequate (12)
SATISFACTORY – Put together another word for ‘posed’, the Roman numeral for one plus the ‘S from the clue, and another word for a works or mill.

4d           Estimate speed toll (4)
RATE – Triple definition, the first a verb, the other two being nouns.

5d           They could be redirected to a star/sun? (10)
ASTRONAUTS – An all-in-one clue with an anagram (could be redirected) of TO A STAR/SUN.

7d           Fit it up in renovated chalet (8)
ATHLETIC – IT (from the clue) is reversed (up) and inserted into an anagram (renovated) of CHALET.

8d           Quiet before and after riot — disorderly but not very long (8)
SHORTISH – Two instances of an instruction to be quiet, placed either side of an anagram (disorderly) of RIOT.

11d         Release article on part of speech — stick with it (12)
ANNOUNCEMENT – Put together an indefinite article, a part of speech, and something used to stick things together.

14d         I invested in mobile top-up loan for residents (10)
POPULATION – Anagam (mobile) of TOP-UP LOAN with I (from the clue) inserted.

16d         Southern elite journalist was crying? (8)
SCREAMED – Put together Southern, another word for the elite, and the usual crossword journalist.

17d         Case of Clarins tan certain to cover it (8)
INSTANCE – Hidden in the clue.

19d         Work over short speech of gratitude before getting to food (6)
POTATO – Put together the reverse (over) of the Latin abbreviation for a (musical) work, a short word of thanks, and TO (from the clue).

The Pros And Cons Of Eating Potatoes | KERA News

20d         Notebooks unopened? They’re probably out swimming and running around (6)
OTTERS – Remove the initial letter from a word for a notebook, and you get a mammal which lives on the riverbank and catches fish.

Otter | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants

23d         Incisiveness, let’s say, of French revolutionary (4)
EDGE – Put together the Latin abbreviation for ‘say’ or ‘for example’ and the French for ‘of’, then reverse (revolutionary) the result.


The Quick Crossword pun MAR + TIN + SHORE = MARTIN SHAW

 

121 comments on “DT 29573
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  1. For a Friday, I fairly flew through this, only getting slowed down by the SE. Getting 11d from the few checkers that I had was the key, and the rest soon followed. All over in ** time. 20d was my last in, I was trying to make much more of the clue than necessary.

    COTD was 25a, a very cleverly constructed effort.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  2. Sorry, Senf but, as with many Friday puzzles lately, I found this a bit of a slog. It wasn’t as long-winded as some and, after a while, I got somewhere close to the compiler’s wavelength (3*/3*). 15a and 25a were the best clues for my money and I did manage to finish the puzzle, so I suppose that’s a win. Thanks to Senf for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. Excellent! Back pager of the week for me, even though I didn’t think 26a very cryptic. Plenty to like but I’ll highlight 12,15 and 27a plus the charade at 11d with 25a taking top spot.
    2/4.5*
    Many thanks to the setter (I’m going for Zandio) and to DT.

  4. SE corner really held me up too, so I’d have to go at least **
    A couple of the anagrams (partial or otherwise) took a little longer to spot than should’ve been the case, but enjoyable nevertheless.

  5. What fun! Especially the SE, with 20d, my LOI, and 25a, my COTD. That corner held me up a bit, but after running through some of the Dane’s fairy tales in my head, I suddenly had a Damascus Moment, and I laughed out loud. I really enjoyed the whole puzzle, which went quite quickly until the little bottleneck at the end. I rather liked 1d, which I wish I had after all these decades, 19d, 11d, and 23d–how clever is that? Thanks to DT and today’s setter. 2.5* / 4*

  6. 2*/3.5*. This was as others have suggested enjoyable not too tricky. I did think however that several of the surfaces were not the smoothest.

    My podium places today go to 10a, 15a, 25a & 11d with 25a taking first place.

    Many thanks to, I’d guess, Zandio and to DT.

  7. A smooth puzzle this morning. The south east corner held me up slightly. Like Malcolm, I was over complicating 20d and then wondered if it could really be that simple! **/**** The lurker at 17d was well disguised. 15a and 11d were well constructed clues. Favourite is 25a. Thanks to all.

  8. An enjoyable, not too difficult for a Friday (or even a Thursday) crossword.

    My favourite was 25a – thanks to Zandio and DT

  9. A fast run through today for this very enjoyable puzzle. There was certainly nothing to delay the solving process, and the clueing was generally straightforward. Like others, I did like 25a the most.

    I agree with RD that this felt like a Zandio grid, so many thanks to him and to DT.

  10. I think * for difficulty is a bit harsh, I found it a little tougher than that esp my last in 25a.
    Thx for the hints to explain 12a and 14d neither of which I could fully parse.
    I thought this puzzle very pleasant despite the harsh rating. My fav was 15a which I thought was clever clueing.
    Thx to all
    **/****

  11. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and the comments so far. Thank heavens most solvers at this early stage have liked 25a. When trying to write the clue, I thought, oh dear, was it a mistake putting that in the grid — is there any well-known example that could have another use? Ah, yes — an obvious one maybe but the only one I could think of! Have a good weekend.

    1. I’m really chuffed that I almost finished one of your puzzles, they usually defeat me. I did enjoy 25a, and particularly 15a. Thanks!

    2. 25a was the only one I couldn’t get without electronic help and then I kicked myself. I’m a huge fan of his work and can’t believe I didn’t spot the connection between Hans and Christian. D’oh!! A great clue!

  12. Just right level of complexity for me with a few lighter moments thrown in. SE corner presented biggest challenge particularly as 20d held out to last – didn’t think they could run but now gather they move at up to 15 mph on land and 9 mph in water. My joint Favs were 1a and 25a. Thanks Mysteron and DT.

  13. What a cute little thing.
    It wasn’t that much of a slog, but there were enough wild and crazy surfaces and tampered-with road signs in the clues to make it very entertaining.
    My last one in was 20d and that was also my favourite.
    Thanks to DT and Zandio.

  14. I confidently bunged in ANSWER to 1d as my first one in, but fortunately I soon realised my mistake!
    A pleasant puzzle – thanks to Zandio and to DT

    1. So did I, but I never got round to realising it was wrong. Even when I wanted to use the correct first letter for 12 across. (Must try harder, as my Head Master frequently
      advised.)

    2. I had “answer” for 1d and never did solve 1a, totally missed out there. How many times am I going to be foxed by a crickety clue before I learn? O

  15. I’d agree that this feels like a Zandio compilation as he never seems to bother overly about surface reads – such a shame but I suppose that’s just his style.
    Top three for me were 10&25a plus 20d.

    Thanks to our setter and to DT for the review.

  16. Very straightforward and average fun completed at a gallop – **/***.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 15a, and 1d – and the winner is 1d.
    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  17. Found this Friday puzzle a breezy walkthrough (read fast canter Senf!!) except for a couple of word options up in the NW area. */**** for today. Some nice clueing including 10a, 15a, 25a, 2d & 20d with winner being 2d with runner up being 15a but all were winners in my mind.
    I note 15a has that horrible ‘americanism’ spelling without the ‘u’ … and another beef I have about the North American language spelling is with tyres, dykes and … ok, ‘nuff said.

    Thanks to setter and DT

    1. Isn’t “or a” in the clue responsible for what comes after the first three letters. Not Americanism, but abbreviation.

  18. Very enjoyable puzzle today which I solved alone and unaided and could parse all the clues.
    Nice start to the weekend for me.

    Have to admit that I had to look up Martin Shaw…..:-(

    Thanks to Zandio and to Deep Threat.

  19. I didn’t find this as straightforward as others have. I had to resort to the hints a couple of times but, on the whole, it was most enjoyable even if it was a tussle for me. I liked 16a but what happened to the “U” in the first party? I haven’t read the posts yet so if this has been mentioned, my apologies. Too many good clues to pick a favourite although 25a edges in front.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT for the helpful hints.

    1. Steve
      As DT said
      First 3 letters of answer are the abbreviation for Labour then OR A from the clue followed by Boris’ lot. The dropped U is just a coincidence.
      Word play to indicate the dropped “u” would probably have lengthened the clue somewhat.

  20. A different ‘feel’ with this Friday offering and I note that Jane mentions Zandio ,a wde variety of clues and I enoyed the solve, going for a **/***.
    Liked 25a ,last in and my favourite for its originality also the surfaces of 12a and15a.
    Thanks to DT for the animal pics.
    Not looked at the toughie yet, is it my nemesis Mr E?

  21. Cant help feeling todays puzzle like yesterdays was on the easier side. I usually get stumped by the offerings on those days, but finished both without any help. Still a very enjoyable solve, especially liked 25a.

  22. On the easy side of the Friday spectrum I thought but enjoyable nonetheless.
    As others all smooth until the SE corner.
    Although very straightforward 15a my COTD as I spent my working life in them. Best memory was the Director’s face when I turned down a rise from £15 to £20 a week so I could finish my Associateship exams! Sadly the works closed two or three years later.
    Thanks to Xandio for both the puzzle & looking in on us. Plus DT for the review. The clip of Danny Kaye took me back to the records we heard on Children’s Favourites every Saturday morning. “There once was an ugly duckling…”, “The King was in his altogether…” ah happy innocent days.

  23. All good, except (as others found) the SE corner, with 25a and 20d the last ones in after much thought and pondering.

    Lola news – biopsy shows no serious concerns and no cancer (hooray!) so her condition still remains a mystery. The vet has a theory that it may be an extreme reaction to an allergy but we are all puzzled in relation to how this could happen so suddenly (we have not undertaken any deep cleaning or changed any products). It could be that she stuck her nose into something during her travels (but she doesn’t go far). So… more antibiotics and now steroids too. The vet said he doesn’t need to see her today; she has an appointment on Monday.
    All this after a sad conversation with the neighbours yesterday, when we were reconciling to the concern that the vet may say… “it’s time…”.
    On we go!

    Today’s soundtrack: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy And The Poor Boys.

    Thanks to Zandio, DT, and everyone here for your kindness.

      1. Thanks Jane – she drinks the liquid and leaves the main substance of the soup! Continuing to try all different flavours and types of senior cat food to coax her into eating, and now hoping the steroids may provide some magic.

      2. Glad to hear that Lola has emerged from the biopsy with no sinister diagnoses. Nevertheless, as a sufferer with chronic nasal allergies myself, I can affirm that it might make a poor little cat pretty mopish. One of the worst culprits for me is tree pollen from silver birch catkins that appear in January or February. Fragrances are another, particularly in fabric conditioner. Steroid sprays help, so perhaps they’ll help Lola

        1. We just can’t think what it might be, Chris. We can only guess that she stuck her nose/face into something ‘interesting’ and it has set her off.

        2. Chris, I also suffer from allergies with painful sinuses at night, probably from cats and dogs who sleep in my bed. I have masks galore in the house due to the pandemic and decided to try sleeping in one. It works! I’m not totally free of sinus symptoms but so much better at this time, I’ll keep the mask at night.

      1. Yes Terence, we are all concerned about the collar, it must be so disconcerting for her – maybe it feels like a punishment, we just don’t know. Hope it at least comes off on Monday

        1. Thanks Daisy. I hope the collar is removed on Monday, but she does seem a lot less stressed by it now. The vet took it off, briefly, on Monday of this week, and she immediately starting pawing at her ears and nose, so it went straight back on!

      2. Steve – no… the collar remains but she is more composed about it now, and I don’t think it is bothering her so much.

    1. Good news and not so so good I guess Terence. Always hard to take when the vet says they can’t identify something. Of course the animal can’t tell them the source of the illness so they start with antibiotics then work up.
      Keep up the tender ministrations. I’m sure Lola will be picking up strength from them and hopefully the conversation you contemplated will be far distant.
      Thoughts with you all.

    2. Good news for Lola. Perhaps she just feels like hibernating. I can relate to that. Booker T today, Green onions. Haven’t listened to that in years!

    3. Good news that it’s not any of the things you feared. Hopefully she will get back on track now. I know we bought just about every make and flavor of senior cat food when Rupert was refusing to eat. Cooking liver in gravy, and then blending it was the only thing that he would touch, and after a few days he started getting back to normal. And he made it to the ripe old age of 17.

    4. I’m late here today but just had to scroll through all the comments to find one from you about Lola. I know that this is really a crossword blog, but thanks BD for being so liberal. I think it has meant a lot to many people this year.
      I wouldn’t blame Lola if she were choosing to hibernate but something that only just occurred to me was that she might have disturbed a hibernating hedgehog and got a spike up her snout?
      Good luck with, and to, you and her.

  24. The only problem, when crosswords are so straightforward, is that I have nothing to do for the rest of the day.
    The toughie and the Graun were of the same caliber.
    My only pleasure is to read the blog every now and then.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

    1. Saint Sharon. ‘What are we going to do today?’
      MP. ‘Nothing at all my love’
      Saint Sharon. ‘We did that yesterday’
      MP. I know. We haven’t finished yet

      1. MP
        Won’t get that coffin finished with that attitude.
        Surely yesterday and today you have been reading about the new features of the Lexus (if you are like me at least 75% of which you may well never use).
        Hope you liked the colour!

        1. They call it Sonic Titanium. All of their colours are ok. Our salesman likes our laid back approach which is something like sort us a car, call us when it’s ready. The car is the same model as the last one. So I know what most of the bits do but I have never opened a manual. I know the sound system inside out and synced both of our phones while Saint Sharon drove it home. The last car was used as a builders van from day one making several trips to the tip, wood yard or builders merchants each day. I’ve yet to order the wood for the coffin

              1. Only thing that wears out on a Lexus are the tyres & the owner I’ve heard tell.
                Sonic Titanium sounds like a video game! 🤔

  25. Think my brain must still be frazzled from yesterday’s struggle with Kcit’s Toughie because I certainly didn’t find this easy & particularly so in the SE where I took an age to gain a foothold. Nicely clued & very enjoyable, as always from this setter. 12a was last in & was sure lust was involved (ollust briefly seemed plausible). Thought 1a&d were nice starters but 25a was my favourite. The rain has finally relented so looking forward to a bit of fresh air this afternoon while listening to Meddle (Pink Floyd) & Mule Variations (Tom Waits)
    Thanks to Zandio & to DT.
    PS Fingers crossed for Lola’s biopsy results. Still waiting for Brian to tell us more about Dustin & Meryl (anything to do with Kramer v Kramer?)

  26. I thought this puzzle was going to be a breeze and then ground to a halt in the SE corner. Dropped by for help with explanations for 1a and 13a, and to solve 25a, but the latter was so clever and original that it gets a 👏 from me. Devotions to DT and Zandio.

      1. Pleased to hear I wasn’t the only one, Angellov. Mind you, do the rules state that the Quickie has to be GK?

  27. Same as yesterday. Slow to fill in the top half, then a race to the finish. I needed the review to check 15a, as I was having a wobbly over the spelling of the first set of MPs. I thought that there was a “u”missing. I now realise that I needed the abbreviated word for the group plus the “or” from the clue. Favourite clue was 25a. Thank you Zandio and Deep Threat. I had to google who the person was in the quick pun. I thought I hadn’t heard of him, but in fact I had. I saw him at the VE Day 70 concert in Horse Guards Parade where he read “For the Fallen”.

  28. I still can’t believe that I failed to see that lurker in 17d. Thank you DT for explaining, and Zandio for much enjoyment.

  29. This took me longer than it should have done because I put ‘second’ name instead of middle which of course completely threw me. However, we got there in the end and it was a lovely puzzle to end the puzzling week. Many thanks to Deep Threat and Zandio. I liked the misdirection of the title deed and also liked 3d. Jolly cold here in Cambridge, not conducive as we say in our family. I managed to get my elder daughter to answer the telephone at lunchtime and she sounded very bright, which was good, but she chatted for a quarter of an hour and it was all complete nonsense. All upside down and disconnected. She used to love playing her piano (which her horrid husband smashed up) and I asked if she would like us to get her a keyboard but she said it would be hard to balance it on the stairs? We have not been able to see her since last August thanks to this b…y virus. Hey ho.

    1. There is a letter in today’s paper entitled Censored Shanties. Whilst reading it I was convinced it was from you Daisygirl. I bought a new Yamaha PSR F50keyboard from EBay for fifty rats. Same as the one in the music store for nearly £200. It does all I want it to. I can see one for £65. What do you have to lose?

      1. Oh the letter does sound all too familiar. When I first met George there was one end of the bar at the rowing club where ladies never ventured (It was exactly the same at Remenham Club where the LHS of the bar was men only) At the end of a Regatta, all the wives/girlfriends would be seated together and the men would start to sing these scurrilous songs it was years before I was privy to the words. I remember A. A long. A long strong. A long strong black etc each man having to add another word without ever coming to any conclusion but convulsed with laughter. My husband was such a gentleman (still is, of course) and the first time he kissed me was when he took me one weekday evening after work to Twickenham Rowing Club on Eel Pie Island, we had to pay 6d to go across on the chain ferry. He showed me the clubhouse, the boats and the training area and I asked if I could have a go on the rowing machine. Oh no, he said, ladies do not use that – it would give them all the wrong muscles! Then on the way back to the chain ferryman, he stopped on the path, planted his rolled umbrella in the mud, placed his bowler hat carefully on top of the umbrella and kissed me for the first time. How sweet is that. 1955 and I remember the thrill as if it were yesterday. All changed later, of course !!!

        1. A lovely story as usual Daisygirl. You should write a book. It would be more interesting than the one I am ignoring at the moment. Every time I go to Twickenham for the Rugby I go to The Barmy Arms for a beer. I’ve never made it across the bridge to Eel Pie Island. One day Daisygirl. One day.

        2. Thank you for the story, Daisygirl.

          In the middle of reading it I scrolled up to see what the answer to 6 down was, before realizing what “6d” means. D’oh!

      2. Sorry I got carried away. Yes, good plan – I had of course thought of getting one second hand. There is no guarantee that she would actually use it so a new one would be a waste of money.

  30. * for time suggests solving was a breeze. Well not for me squire. SE corner proved a hold up plus missing the anagram at 18a and constructing my own answer which had the wrong last thee letters. In the SE I was not helped by Hans who may only have had two forenames but those of us blighted by three forenames call the second one our second name. What s mess requiring *** time .

    But good fun until then so many thanks to the setter and DT.

    I thought 10a could have been improved for film buffs by clueing it “Drive away as a film loses a politician.”

  31. Very nice crossword 😃 ***/*** Favourites were 25a (last one in) 😬 and 20d Thanks to Deep Threat and to Zandio

    1. Ape,
      I too found it hard….you are not alone 🙁👍. I was doing well until I hit the the SE corner which defeated me and I had to go to the hints.
      Let’s hope tomorrow brings more joy.
      Thanks to the setter and for the hints.

  32. ** for difficulty **** for enjoyment there were so many neat clues with 1d and 25a my favourites. I seem to have a problem when the use of ‘unopened’ in a clue ( eg 20d) means take the top off … always think it should just be ‘opened’! Thank you Zandio and DT

  33. Yesterday was a *** puzzle but today’s * was far, far harder for me and I didn’t finish. As is usual, when I start employing too much e-help, I get bored and concede. My answer to 1d totally discombobulated me. I need to get things done, like getting in the pool this sunny day for my exercises.
    Fave was 25a, one I managed to solve on my own!
    Thank you Zandio, and thanks for unravelling that lot DT.

  34. **/****. Very pleasant crossword with a couple of clues that took me too long to latch on to which in retrospect baffles me. My favourite was 25a. Thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat.

  35. Got there in the end but had to use electronic help for 20d. I could have hit myself when I saw the otters picture!

    Daisygirl how did George get on re his vaccination at Epsom Racecourse?

    We have a distant friend, aged 89, who no longer drives and his wife doesn’t. He lives North of Manchester and was offered Birmingham or the Etihad stadium. Their daughter who lives down south tried looking online for an alternative centre. His appt was earlier today and they were having to get the bus to the nearest tram station. It seems crazy to me that after being told to shelter, shelter, shelter – come out and get on public transport on a freezing, foggy day? It just takes my breath away. Do hope you both had a reasonable journey there and back. Had visions of you doing the crossword whilst waiting for him?!

  36. I was really surprised when Zandio popped in to confirm that this was indeed one of his puzzles, as I am usually totally lost on Fridays. Today I very nearly finished, just a few hints to get me to the finish line. I had satisfaction for 3d which made 31a impossible. What an adorable picture for 12a, I have never seen a picture of a young one before. 15a was one of my first entries, my COTD, and I just assumed the setter had chosen to use the American spelling for Labor. Of course the cricket connection held me up in 1a, silly really, as I had the last half of the word, duh. Thanks to Zandio for a great Friday, and to Deep Threat for the hints.

  37. Oh – I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one to find this really really difficult although those of us who did are few and far between.
    !* for difficulty DT – you must be having a laugh.
    Having now seen who set this one I’m going to let myself off – I always find him tricky but I’m going to let him off too for the sake of 25a which I loved and was my favourite clue.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT.

  38. I don’t want to upset or annoy any of the wonderful people here but since nobody will read this so late in the day, I will say it anyway!

    I find it quite disheartening to come here after spending quite some time wrestling with the crossword only to find it rated at the simplest level. Is today’s puzzle really easier than, say, Monday’s? If I go by many of the comments then it should have been a walk in the park. I did complete it unlike Wednesday’s but it took some time and thought. Given that many of you seem to complete multiple crosswords each day it is quite possible that the basic cryptic is at the low end. That is not the case for many others so perhaps you could all bear that in mind in some of your assessments? Surely the aim should be to encourage us lowly people rather than discourage?

    1. I understand what you’re saying, Cypher. I did not find today’s puzzle very easy but I don’t begrudge those who found it so. I have learned a great deal about solving cryptics since joining this site and have found everyone to be most supportive and helpful. However, when I first joined, I was, like you, slightly overwhelmed by the expertise I found.
      Please don’t be discouraged by comments such as “completed at a canter” or “very easy”. Such comments are subjective and, while it is good to see how others rated a puzzle, I go by my own rating of it.

      This site exists to help. All you have to do is ask, which is what I did. The help given to me by blog members has led me to solving back pagers most days and also the occasional Toughie. That would have been unthinkable before I joined Big Dave.

      1. I laboured over one in the Graun not so long ago & then read a comment from some modest chap who claimed to have solved it before his cup of tea had gone cold……
        You got to laugh

    2. Check my comment earlier and Kath’s directly above you. I’ve been doing these puzzles for about 65 years and I still have hiccups. In fairness, I’m not a pro like so many here, but I do expect to do a bit better than I did today. I sailed, sort of, through yesterday, a *** rated puzzle, and generally failed the test today. You’ll find that a setter who appeals to you will not appeal to me and so on, we call it wavelength. Just keep plodding along and you’ll find a setter who floats your boat, but don’t get discouraged!

    3. You would be surprised who is reading this blog at all hours of the day. You won’t be alone. One thing about the blog though is that it encompasses all. We have dustmen and directors. Those like me who gained no qualifications at school and professors. If you read all of the comments you should notice a complete mix from those who breeze through to those who struggle along. In amongst the talk about puzzles you will find chit chat about a varied kaleidoscope of subjects. Join in and be comfortable with what and who you are. Wherever it is that you fit in you do fit in. Solving is a solitary pastime so finding a ready made bunch of likeminded people should spark your interest. Join in, lighten up and let rip

    4. Today’s blogger Deep Threat has written the reviews for nearly 400 puzzles. That’s around 12,000 clues he has solved, dissected and explained. No wonder he can rattle through a puzzle in short time.

  39. Cypher I would like to reiterate what Steve has just said. I have only recently started to drop in for a quick comment. I can’t remember exactly when I started to look at this website, possibly a couple of years ago but I have found it invaluable. True there are days when I scratch my head at some of the clues and parsing but on average I manage to complete the cryptic 3/ 4 times a week. I usually do the quickie mid morning and dip in and out round the chores in the afternoon but often don’t finish until most people have gone to bed!

    Please don’t be discouraged I have been there on numerous occasions. My knowledge of English grammar leaves much to be desired so when I achieve success you can’t imagine how I feel. There are many lovely people on this site and it is lovely and sometimes sad to hear of their challenging lives. Please stay and don’t let achievement times blur your enjoyment. There are some days I barely get off the starting block.

  40. Very late to the party today, due to evening work (no, not ironing!) commitments.
    I loved today’s offering from Zandio – loads of anagrams, and some amusing clues and surface reads.
    **/*****
    25a definitely COTD – what a cracker!
    Many thanks to Deep Threat and Zandio.

  41. Just the right amount of trickiness (is that a word?) for me. As with others, the SE corner held me up ans I needed help for 25a, my last one in. Normally if I can’t get a clue I automatically don’t like it but I thought this one was brilliant. **/*****

  42. Thank you Deep Threat for rating this as *. I didn’t find it as straightforward as that, but it was only because of that rating that I gave it a go at all (having had to pretty much give up doing crosswords to fit in working at odd times of the day, to fit in hmoe-schooling during working hours) — and I’m so glad that I did! Thank you Zandio for such a fun crossword — I guessed it was you from about a quarter of the way through solving, as the ticks were mounting up.

    I love your clues just the way they are. I know surface readings matter to some solvers, but I don’t tend to notice them much, and I’d be concerned that constraining your clues for different surface readings would compromise whatever it is that I currently like about them so much!

    While it took me a few passes, I did manage to solve without any hints, though. (Apologies to DT; I’m sure your hints are lovely, and I’ll read them in a moment.) Also opposite to some other commenters, I filled the bottom-right corner first and struggled with the top-left, especially with 1d — which probably indicates that I don’t actually have it. (And to further demonstrate my lack of 1d, I put ‘mainstream’ for 1a, which matches the definition and 3 of the crossing letters but nothing else.)

    I particularly liked 10a (driving away), 15a (the politicians), 21a (cross inside and outside), 8d (quiet before and after), and 20d (unopened notebooks). My favourite was 2d, with the depression in Yorkshire, which I’m pleased to report I definitely don’t have.

    Happy weekend, all. For exercise yesterday we enjoyed some sledging in this snow. It hasn’t melted yet, but the sledge didn’t survive. Please remind me to buy a new one once lockdown ends and the shops are open again!

    Bradford Council are coming round later doing doorstep covid tests. We don’t have any symptoms; they’re just mass-checking the area (or at least, that’s what they’ve told us).

  43. I feel really stupid. After nearly finishing the Toughie I just couldn’t get a handle on either this or the Quickie. I’ve given up and am reading the hints with my morning coffee. I must say I’ve found the ensuing correspondence far more entertaining than this puzzle. I did at least recognise Martin Shaw!

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