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DT 29577

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29577

Hints and tips by Rahmat Ali

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ***

Rahmat Ali has provided reviews for two of last year’s MPP puzzles, but this is his first time in the hot seat. BD

Greetings from Kolkata, the City of Joy and a Happy, Healthy and Harmless New Year 2021 – a year having both the concatenation of consecutive integers 20 and 21 and the product of two consecutive primes 43 and 47. Happy, exciting, adventurous and memorable holidays to the 2Kiwis. This is my first venture at the Hints and Tips and I have the pleasure of writing the same for this Wednesday, so I may please be enlightened if there happen to be any error. In the hints below, the underlining identifies the precise definitions and cryptic definitions, with indicators wherever required.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle and the review.


1a Present tense used in log that’s passed down (10)
HEREDITARY: Another word for present followed by the abbreviation for tense inside (used in) another word for log.

6a Hero may see nothing left after one day (4)
IDOL: An abbreviated letter each for one, day, nothing and left, sequentially.

10a Subject to snap (5)
TOPIC: TO and a short, colloquial name for snap.

11a Challenge from group of monks of high standing? (4,5)
TALL ORDER: Difficult assignment of two words from the collective noun for monks (group of monks) preceded by (of) an adjective indicating high standing.

12a Doctor means I must go before a complaint (7)
AMNESIA: An anagram (doctor) of MEANS, then I is followed by (before) A.

13a Cell walls of course keeping line by university writer (7)
CUBICLE: The exterior letters (walls) of course having inside (keeping in) the abbreviation for line coming after or beside (by) an abbreviation for university and another word for writer or ball pen, called by the introducer himself as a shortened and more memorable version of his own last name.

14a Drugs could be a new philosophy of good taste (12)
ANAESTHETICS: A charade of A from the clue, the abbreviation for new and one word for philosophy of good taste.

18a Free trader even up, perhaps (12)
PERADVENTURE: An anagram (free) of TRADER EVEN UP.

21a Justify international being taken in by former scheme (7)
EXPLAIN: An abbreviation for international inside (being taken in by) the combined two words involving an abbreviation for former and a synonym for scheme.

23a Issue label returning with a note (7)
EMANATE: Another word for label in reverse order (returning) plus A from the clue and a two-letter word for a musical note.

24a Criminal‘s sort of rail about reformed peers (9)
DESPERADO: A bar attached to a wall (sort of rail) around (about) an anagram (reformed) of PEERS.

25a Most of journey with a learner will be an ordeal (5)
TRIAL: Three out of four-letter word (most) for journey followed by A from the clue and the abbreviation for learner.

26a Transient lodger accommodating fool going west (4)
DOLT: The first two words hiding (accommodating) the required word reversely (going west), or rather the west-going fool.

27a A Green’s bid to change coats (10)
GABERDINES: An anagram (to change) of A GREENS BID.


1d Killer‘s hot Italian mother beginning to network (6)
HITMAN: A charade involving an abbreviation each for hot, Italian, mother, followed by the first letter (beginning) of Network.

2d Regret being right about European writer (6)
REPENT: The two-letter abbreviation for ‘honorary’ right around (about) abbreviation for European and another word for writer.

3d Avoid smooth doctor and speak out, missing start of party game (5,3,6)
DUCKS AND DRAKES: Another word each for avoid and smooth, followed by an abbreviation for doctor and an anagram (out) of SpEAK without (missing) the letter p (start of party).

4d Heads for France to cover area for confidential talk (4-1-4)
TETE-A-TETE: French words for head and head (heads) hide between them (cover) the abbreviation for the word area.

5d Memento of priest found in church (5)
RELIC: The Biblical priest inside (found in) the abbreviation for Roman Catholic (Church).

7d Instructive and accomplished performance in charge (8)
DIDACTIC: Another word for accomplished followed by another word for performance and an abbreviated in charge.

8d Generosity shown by the capital of Sweden, reportedly? (8)
LARGESSE: The capital S of Sweden is heard so (reportedly).

9d Questioned about suspicious rebel as seeing such a jacket (6-8)
DOUBLE-BREASTED: Another word for questioned around (about) an anagram (suspicious) for REBEL plus AS from the clue.

15d Hamlet perhaps right — terrible loser with no heart (5,4)
TITLE ROLE: A word meaning right is followed by an anagram (terrible) of LOsER without the middle letter (with no heart).

16d Added a couple of pages and finished (8)
APPENDED: A from the clue followed by an abbreviation for (a couple of) pages and a synonym for finished.

17d Suggestion in favour of concession set up on a lake (8)
PROPOSAL: A Latin word for ‘for’ or in favour of followed by a down reversal (set up) of a word meaning concession, then A from the clue and an abbreviation for a lake.

19d Betray trust, holding current allowance (6)
RATION: A three-letter word for betray and a two-letter word for trust as in bet with the conventional symbol for electric current in between (holding) the two.

20d Nice girls that are fetching? (6)
BELLES: Girls that are very attractive, lovely or fetching in Nice (or in any place in France); can also be used as an adjective (for feminine plural) in French meaning beautiful or lovely.

22d Creature from US city unfortunately docked (5)
NYALA: Two-letter abbreviation for a US city and a word indicating unfortunately without the last letter (docked).

Tonnes of thanks to today’s setter.  Honourable mentions are 24a, 3d, 4d and 9d, but the crème de la crème for me is 20d, which I take as a double definition, as the word ‘belles’ also serves as an adjective (in French, though) that can somehow be connected to fetching.  Tell us about your favourite ones.

Quickie Pun: CHEW  + KNEE  + SEAR  =  TUNISIA


148 comments on “DT 29577

  1. Another thoroughly enjoyable puzzle for a miserably wet Shropshire morning. With so many fine clues as always on a Wednesday, picking a winner is always difficult, but 15d was my choice.

    Many thanks to Jay for the fun and to RA (and a warm welcome to the blogging chair).

  2. I thought for the first time in many many months I may have to resort to the hints to finish this but a flash of inspiration on the wordplay of 3d allowed me to guess the game and complete the NW. Phew! Had to check 7d but was derivable from the checkers and wordplay. Some may not like 10a but was fine to me.
    I’ve ticked 11, 14 and 24a plus 15d as worthy of special mention but top spot goes to 8d.
    Many thanks to Jay and a big welcome to Rhamat.

  3. 2*/3.5*. Some of the surfaces seemed rather iffy, but, that aside, this was good fun and I didn’t find it too tricky.

    My podium comprises 11a, 1d, 4d & 7d, and the Quickie pun is magnificent.

    Many thanks to Jay, and a warm welcome to the blogging chair to Rahmat Ali.

  4. Strayed into *** difficulty with this puzzle. 14a and 15d worthy of mention along with the anagram at 16a which made me wonder if this was a clue from the first Telegraph puzzles.

    My thanks to the setter and Rahmat Ali for the review which was fine. A very good start and look forward to seeing you again here.

  5. This was rather more challenging than the usual Wednesday puzzle, particularly in the SE (3.5*/4*). I was a bit puzzled by 20d and thank you to Rahmat Ali for a fine review and some reassurance that I had the right answer. Perhaps I was over-complicating things. There were some great clues; 11a and 8d made me laugh and I thought 14a and 3d were cleverly put together. Thank you to the compiler. I thought it was a bit different to Jay’s usual style so it migh be someone else today?

  6. Congratulations RA on your first hints session.

    I thought this was a solid **/*** although I did make an error on first filling in 20d as although I thought it might be the actual answer I couldn’t fathom the fetching angle unless a mere repetition of nice. So I went for Dollys. That made 23a rather impossible. Eventually I got that so then filled in 20d reluctantly but correctly.

    COTD for me whilst not tricky was 11a which I thought amusing.

  7. I didnt find this as tricky as a usual Wednesday offering. Never heard of 7d and 18a before but managed to work them out, A good and enjoyable challenge. Thanks to the setter and welcome to Rahmat Ali and thanks for your hints.

  8. Not too tricky for a miserable Wednesday morning and some clever clues. I hope all of you further north and west manage to keep your feet dry – I think we will be OK here. Well done RA, excellent hints which I looked at after I had finished to make sure I was on the right track. Don’t you think it would be nice if a person’s location was added next to their name (voluntarily of course) as it would be so interesting to see where everyone was from? I remember myself and Daisygirl being astonished some months ago when it was revealed just how many people join this wonderful site. Food for thought?

    1. Missed that. How many are there? As for putting the location, I often say I’m in Shropshire.

        1. Yet only a few comment. Mind you, I lurked for ages before posting. Everyone seemed so clever!

          1. Try clicking on about on the toolbar above. Select Statistics from the drop down menu. You will probably be astounded by the numbers

            1. Steve, I see you managed the Toughie OK today. Although I finished it yesterday I could only do about half a dozen today – too hard for me!

              1. Well, I did need some help but managed most of it, Manders. I couldn’t get anywhere with yesterday’s.

      1. Yes indeed – it is interesting to see where people live from their comments. How widespread we are. We live in deepest Surrey….

        Enjoyable crossword today – loved 8d.

        Thanks to setter and RA – needed your help to justify 13a.

          1. I’m afraid I was being a bit tongue in cheek with “deepest”. Are in Camberley, about as far as possible from you in Surrey. On the “non-u” side of the Hogs Back divide.

  9. Didn’t get the subtlety of Nice this time 🤦🏻‍♀️ so thank you for pointing that out, Rahmat. Thought this was going to be a bit tough but all fell into place nicely once my FOI 21a was solved. Now what to do on a rainy Wednesday?!

  10. A very enjoyable start to the day.
    Well done and welcome Rahmat Ali.
    My favourite clue by a long chalk was 8d. It raised a smile on this miserable dreich day in Dundee….the city of jute, jam and journalism…..sadly now just journalism remains.

    Thanks to the setter and to Rahmat Ali .

      1. Cakes a bit too effete for our Dan DG. He defined Macho before they needed a word for it.

      1. I have just emerged from a Worldpay drama. My card had expired, so payment was refused. Their email was less than helpful, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a scam, so I changed all my passwords. That was several hours of my life I won’t get back.
        Worldpay wouldn’t let me update my details, so I emailed them and the Telegraph. Nothing from Worldpay, but the really helpful Declan at the DT told me that if your payment is refused you have to go to the DT site and pretend you are a new user, and start from the beginning again. After a tussle with which email address and password that it would accept, this worked! So now I am back in.

        Thank you BD for this blog, Jay for the puzzle and Rahmat for the hints.

  11. Good job there’s a Jay crossword to temporarily brighten up a thoroughly miserable Wednesday. Good fun as ever & about middling in his difficulty range I’d reckon. Other than not quite fully parsing 3d no particular problems & all over in a just short of 2.5* time. Of the usual array of clever clues I thought 18a rather clever as initially thought the definition was the anagram indicator (but maybe that’s just me) but 15d is the clear pick for me.
    Today’s music & with plenty of great Rs to choose from : The Royal Scam (Steely Dan) & The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars (Bowie). May play Revolver (Beatles) & Reunions (Jason Isbell & 400 Unit) also as it looks odds on a day of confinement, I have a touch of the Kath blues & heaven help me if I succumb to watching indoor bowls on the TV.
    With thanks to Jay & to RA – welcome & congrats on your back page hints debut.

    1. With you on The Royal Scam, along with Pretzel Logic, my favourite Steely Dan album, and also Revolver, along with Rubber Soul, my favourite Beatles album.

      1. The Scam just shades it for me because I love Larry Carlton’s guitar but love all 7 of them to the break up. It’s Abbey Road for me with the Beatles.

    2. I’ve tried indoor bowls and it is surprisingly good fun, with an entertainingly diverse clientele.
      Here are the plusses for me compared with the outdoor version:
      you can play all year round (although most outdoorsers don’t play inside during the summer)
      you don’t need someone to mow your surface
      you never need a white anorak
      or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes
      there’s less tutting

      1. I’ve only tried it once indoors & agree it was good fun & jolly difficult (murder on the knees) but not so sure about watching it

        1. Played all forms of bowls from a very young age, both indoors and out, crown green and flat. The advent of indoor facilities greatly extended the interest. H however it is an outdoor game and all the principle honours World Championships, Commonwealth Games etc are outdoors
          At the highest level bowls is as competitive a sport as there is. Believe me “fun” it is not.
          Watching on TV still holds a fascination for me although I gave up playing for golf 40 years ago & haven’t played since.
          The “experts” were my contempories – makes me feel my age!

          1. Our new neighborhood has an active bocce team, which we joined in the fall of 2019. Just as we were getting in the swing of things, the pandemic arrived. So now the two lanes sit empty. We really miss the games and the company of the other players. Some of whom occasionally brought a couple of bottles of white wine along for us all to enjoy,

              1. It’s an outdoor French game, where players try to throw their ball nearest to the pallino (a small ball thrown out first). Sometimes you have to try to knock the nearest ball out of place with your ball to get closer. I think it is similar to lawn bowls, except it is played on a slightly rough, ashy surface. Great game for young and old alike.

  12. An enjoyable outing with Jay. Didn’t need the hints to explain anything today but I thought they were extremely well outlined. ***/****
    My top spot goes to 24a with musical accompaniment from the Eagles. I did have to check the meaning of 18a but there was nothing else it could be. Thanks to all.

  13. That’s three in a row completed without help so feeling quite chuffed. Ray T will no doubt bring me back to earth tomorrow. This was a most enjoyable puzzle from Jay with lots of good clues. 3d reminded me of my childhood when we used to hold competitions to see who could get the most jumps. Finding the correct pebble became almost a science. Difficult to pick a favourite but 15d edges to the front.

    Many thanks to Jay and to Rahmat Ali together with a welcome.

      1. Thanks, Terence but it won’t last. Still, it’s the first time I’ve scored a hat trick.

    1. RayT is a pussycat. Once the gimmes are in, the anagrams solved, the acrostic clue sorted, the hidden words found, you will have enough checkers to guess at the rest of the answers. Then it’s a case of streeeeettttchiing those synonyms until they fit. Not reading the clues helps too

  14. A very pleasant mid-week puzzle completed at a fast gallop (just) – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 24a, 7d, 8d, and 9d – and the winner is 7d.
    Thanks to Jay and thanks and welcome to Rahmat.

  15. Today was like putting on a well loved and comfortable coat, compared to yesterday, which felt slightly alien.
    Straightforward to bung and just a little extra thought to get some of the parsings.

    In my head, 27a were always spelt with A as the 5th letter. Wiki has the E as the garment and the A as the fabric, although they seem to be interchangeable. You live and learn, although we don’t see that term a lot these days.
    My favourite was 8d. Silly but funny. Or silly and funny.

    Welcome to Rahmat Ali!
    Thanks to the setter.

      1. Me too, certainly discombobulated me with 15d. I should learn to use the letters given when it’s an anagram. I get a bit cocky, thinking I know how to spell it.

        1. Yes, I second (fourth?) that. Welcome and thanks to Rahmat – definitely needed your help today.

  16. A very pleasant way to forget about the relentless rain for a while. The 3d game was always simply referred to as ‘skimming’ when I was young so that’s something new learnt today.
    Top of my pile were 11a & 15d with, like Greta, a nod to the Eagles at 24a. That’s my earworm sorted for the day!

    Thanks to Jay and to RA for stepping in to man the fort whilst the lucky 2Ks are on their holiday.

    1. Skimmers for me too Jane.
      We used to find old bits of slate that were perfect & with the right angle they would go for ever. Never heard of Ducks & Drakes not a Northern term I would have said.

  17. Miserable day down here too and even if we are allowed to go out until 6pm, I certainly don’t feel like it.
    Staying indoors solving crosswords shall be my main activity.
    Had to check a couple of things like the concession in 17d and the rail in 24a, originally thinking of the bird.
    Listening to Claude Francois singing Belles! Belles! Belles! and the original version from the Everly Brothers.
    Thanks to the setter and to Rahmat Ali for the review.
    Hope your internet tutorials on how to solve crosswords is gathering more adepts.

  18. Terrific puzzle. My last one in was 26a and then I felt a complete 26a for not figuring it out sooner.

    The positive news continues: Lola has eaten well, without any need for me to mash up her food. For the first time in two weeks she found her own way to the litter tray (sorry if you are about to start luncheon). She jumped up on to a sofa unaided; and is getting so annoyed about the tablet routine I am going to have to try and hide them in her food. She is snoozing now, she says, in order to be awake for the inauguration at 4pm (UK time).

    Today’s soundtrack: The Teardrop Explodes – Wilder (daft but fun!).

    Thanks to Jay and a cheery welcome and thanks to Rahmat Ali.

    1. Great to know Lola is still improving. Long may it continue.
      I meant to post this yesterday but I couldn’t work out how to do it. Anyway, I was talking to Mrs. C. about the fact Lola was rallying. I was telling her how Lola had been and what you were doing for her when Hudson suddenly ran up to me as if to ask “Is it true? Lola is ok?”


        1. I used to squash tablets into quite strong cheddar which all my cats have loved although my little Widget, the one with the cat food allergy, would give me the evil eye and spit out the tablet after eating the cheese!

          1. Sometimes hidden in butter, sometimes wet food, sometimes raw meat. All sorts of ruses.
            Why they colour some tablets so they stand out from the food mystifies me. Why aren’t they all brown?

            1. I never had any problems with giving our cats tablets. I would press the cheeks between my thumb and forefinger, which opened the mouth, pop the tablet in then gently hold the jaws together while rubbing the neck. When the tongue came out the tablet had been swallowed.

      1. Typical Labrador “ascribe whatever mood you want look”. Butter wouldn’t melt & all that.
        Biggles would appear to second except his owner still uses a Box Brownie & can’t upload the images onto Dropbox!

    2. Good luck with hiding the tablets in her food. Our Rupert would walk away from his bowl, licked clean apart from the tablet left behind. If we crushed them up or they had any sort of smell to them, he just sniffed in disdain, and gave us a withering look as if to say “nice try”. Cats are much harder than dogs to fool. When our Labrador Toby needed pills, sticking one inside a lump of cheese or peanut butter always did the trick.

      1. We used to crush tablets up in Petit Filous (any flavour) . Our Basil, who has long since departed to the great hunting ground in the sky, used to lick it off a spoon. (He was a cat.)
        I think you have to find the favourite food then find a way of getting the pill into it.
        So glad to hear that Lola is improving. Long may it continue.

        1. Rupert’s brother was called Basil. We always imitated Prunella Scales when calling him 😊.

    3. Great news on the Lola progress front, Terence. I wonder whether you could construct a ‘Dreamies’ sandwich for those pesky tablets?

    4. Terrific Lola news; did she enjoy Lady Gaga’s singing? I surreptitiously tuned in to BBC during a Zoom meeting to watch it, and my colleagues were treated to a loud blast of the US national anthem…

  19. Not one of my favourites but pressed on regardless with the SE presenting the biggest challenge. Failed to parse 15d. Not too keen on nice = French although it does appear quite regularly. Thank you Mysteron and welcome Rahmat Ali.

  20. I agree with Rabbit Dave that some of the surface readings are (more then) a little iffy. But disagree about the Quickie pun which is awful. An OK puzzle.
    Thx to all

  21. Spelling was the only problem today. Soon sorted. It’s dismally grey here, raining and windy. Bits are falling from the roof which will be replaced in the spring. What else is there to spend our money on? This is the day our Lord hath made. Rejoice and be glad in it. Or quit the moaning and find something to do. This is the best you have got. Having dismantled the kitchen clock I am now going to clean each part carefully. It was last done forty eight years ago when I was an precision engineering apprentice. I had the help of a chap called Eddie Glover then. He put the movement back together without a thought. I have the benefit of photographing each part as I dismantled it. Therefore I should be able to remantle it. Shouldn’t I? Now where is that palm oil? Thanks to Jay for the puzzle. Thanks to Rahman Ali for the blog. Welcome to the team

  22. A very pleasant diversion, as others have said, on a miserable day here on the edge of the fens. Drove to Barrington yesterday for our walk, just 3m away, but the river Mel was flooded and some of the lanes closed and I am jolly well not going out today! Their village green is reputed to be the largest in Britain and is certainly very beautiful with some delightful thatched cottages. Favourite clue is 18a because it is a lovely word, does anyone use it nowadays in conversation, other than Gyles Brandreth or David Mitchell perhaps? Anyway, thanks to J and RA – is it obligatory for Wednesday’s people to rhyme? I shall be joining Lola on the sofa at four.

    1. Is that pub still there run by a woman with the weirdest make-up I have ever seen, scary in fact? There was a very low aperture to go through to get to one part of the pub, OK for me at 5.3 but hell for David 6.2!

      1. Oh absolutely, what a character! She died a few years ago after having handed the Three Horseshoes over to her son and taking over the King William IV in Chishill. She stood behind me in the bank once (when we HAD a bank in the village) and leaned over and whispered in my ear in her dark, gravelly voice ‘Daahhling, you smell divine’ Scared the living daylights out of me, but she was actually very pleasant and ran a tight ship. Perhaps not the best simile for a pub, well organised may sound better. Then of course we had Squire Tickell, who ran the Tickell Arms in Whittlesford, in the 60’s and 70’s he ran the bar wearing a leopard skin loincloth – that is now a gastro pub. He hated smoking and the undergrads used to torment him by lighting up, whereupon he would extinguish the cigarette with a soda syphon, I remember him sweeping into the Arts Theatre in an opera hat and huge cape, wonderful people to have known.

        1. We went to the King William IV once – the food was terrible but it transpired the chef had been stabbed the night before and they had some rookie chef on. I think it had hanging tables! We also went to the Tickell Arms a couple of times just to watch the Squire get fired up by the students. Also the Queens Head at Newton with that damn great goose that pecked people behind the knees, hard! They had it stuffed when it died – it may be still there.
          Happy Days.

        2. Well remember “Squire Tickell” as we used to stop weekly at the Tickell Arms on our drive from London to our cottage near Newmarket – fascinating character and pleasant pub.

  23. For a change, I’m going to award two of the long anagrams top marks since they were both among my last ones in, 18a and 27a, along with 15d. Perhaps it’s because my mind is not altogether fixed on puzzles this morning–there’s a Big To-Do in DC right now–I thought that this was Jay with a difference for me and a bit tougher than usual, as I crept over into *** time, just. I also liked 14a and 24a. Many thanks to our Kolkatan guest Rahmat Ali and to the ever-resourceful Jay. *** /****

    God Bless President Joseph R Biden, Jr.

    1. What about Lady Gaga! She certainly brought some levity. Great ceremony, what a delightful feeling that we now have some decency and honesty in the White House.

    2. We very much enjoyed watching today’s ceremony. It was so refreshing to listen to someone who talks like an adult, and so glad everything went well.

  24. Very gloomy day here in the East but the crossword soon brightened it up 😃 ***/*** Favourites we’re 1a & 3d 👍 Thanks to Jay and a warm welcome to Rahmat. Learn something new every day, Calcutta is now Kolkata 😳

  25. Another tougher version of the Wednesday puzzle and definitely not up my street as I had too many bung-ins and a good deal of reverse engineering. Nevertheless my thanks to Jay and Rahmat for the hints.

  26. Not much to add here – I was astounded to see the stats about how many visitors this site receives – what a testament to how valuable it is!
    COTD was 8d, and the only one I had to confirm with the hints was the coat in 27a, of which I had not heard before.
    Thanks to the setter, and to Rahmat Ali for the review – may there be many more :))

  27. First of all apologies to anyone who caught my attack of the miseries yesterday – so far it sounds as if Huntsman is the only one infected.
    A tricky Jay, I thought – nothing in particular just generally quite slow to get into, for me anyway.
    I don’t think I’ve ever come across 18a but once alternate letters were in there wasn’t much else it could have been.
    I was thinking of the wrong kind of ‘cell’ for 13a and both 3 and 9d took a long time to untangle.
    My favourite was either of the two with a French influence.
    Thanks to Jay and welcome, thanks for the hints and well done to RA.
    Another utterly horrible day in Oxford – pouring with rain and although the temperature ‘says’ that it’s not too chilly I don’t believe it – think it’s fibbing.

  28. Very wet north of Manchester cheered up by today’s Jay offering. Some nice word play, 24a ‘rail’ came easily enough as I look at the example in my living room whilst doing the crossword today. 1a, 18a and 7d were my favs with 7d getting my vote.
    Thx Jay and welcome Rahman Ali

  29. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – finished in fairly good time for me. Thanks indeed to Rahmat from Kolkata – I thought I was fairly geographically distant being here on a clear & chilly day in Virginia Beach, USA!
    Watching the inauguration of the 46th POTUS – thank goodness and very many congratulations to the new President and Vice-President. Brilliant!!

    1. I thought the lady with the trump placard said that there wouldn’t be an inauguration. She seemed to be such a level headed lady

    2. Also watching the inauguration I would think those Souzaphone (?) players would qualify as super – super spreaders. If they are allowed to play that is.

  30. ** / *** for me. Somewhat lacking the usual Jay sparkle but I struggle a bit with Jay so satisfied to get thete in reasonable time
    Always associate 27a with good quality raincoats.
    Don’t normally have anagram for COTD but like DG I like the word so 18a takes gold today.
    As I said never heard of Ducks & Drakes, it’s only been around since the 1580’s so it just hasn’t reached me yet!
    Thanks to Jay & Rahmat Ali you should be pleased with the debut review (and the cricket news – soften them up for us). They will be twinning Kolkata with Barrell next

  31. Rather challenging today, needed three hints to finish. I always spelled 27a with a as the fourth letter.
    The quickie puns are often a real stretch but today’s offering is outrageous ! IMHO, of course.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  32. No paper today so couldn’t play. Hmmph – I can’t even thank Jay really
    Well done and thank you Rahmat Ali for the review; having an interest in maths, particularly primes, I appreciate your 2021 observations (semiprime?)

      1. MP
        Did you fire off a Toughie email to me too?
        Sorry to ask but can’t too careful these days with all these phishers infiltrating our laptops etc.
        (PS: If you did a 4* Toughie is about 3.5* too far for me but thank you anyway).

  33. Hello. You’ve shamed me into commenting today as I have been lurking in Hertfordshire for over a year now. When I retired one of my goals was to become more proficient at the DT cryptic crossword and I have made considerable progress, thanks to the great hints on this blog. I have also taken heart from your comments. I rarely finish without some kind of help but I can certainly complete a lot more on the first pass than before. Many thanks to all the setters and reviewers.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Mel.
      Now that you’ve bitten the bullet and de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

    2. Welcome from me too, Mel,
      Good heavens – that must be the longest time lurking that I’ve ever come across – I thought my three months, probably about ten years ago now – might be the record!

      1. I think I lurked for about 2 years before breaking cover, Kath.

        Welcome, Mel. I do hope we hear more from you. 👍

        1. As a PS, Kath, I am mighty glad I did break cover.
          My solving ability has come on in leaps and bounds since joining the blog. They didn’t do so while I lurked in the background. They got better, admittedly but it’s only since I began to interact with you all that I now find myself solving the DT back pager more often. Even the Toughie is becoming friendly. 😁

  34. Setter here – thanks to all for your comments, and a warm welcome to Rahmat Ali on your first (very well done) analysis of the puzzle

    1. Thanks for taking the trouble to drop in his evening. As always my thanks for yet another terrific puzzle.

    2. Thank you, Jay, for another sweet challenge. Your ‘perhaps’ in 18a threw me, then thrilled me.

    3. Thanks for not stopping my run of unaided solves, Jay :grin:

      Great puzzle thank you and thank you for dropping in.

  35. Hi Rahmat, nice job.
    By my count the hinters now spread over 4 continents. I’m sure there will be candidates from Africa and South America, but is there anyone from the Antarctic Survey on the blog?

      1. Rishi is still very much alive in crosswordland as you probably know
        Kitty seems to have disappeared though

  36. A trickier puzzle than normal for a Wednesday I found. 2.5*/*** Lots of bung ins today until proven as the puzzle proceeded.
    Favourites 1a, 12a, 14a, 3d & 8d with winner 8d for its simplicity (and a groan too!)

    Thanks to Jay & Rahmat for hints

  37. I thought this was a trickier Jay, but you’re still my fave. I needed hints for a couple. I was sure that 22d had three “a”s, and that 27a had two “a”s, held me up for such a long time. When I decided that 15d had to be what it was, I revisited 27a.
    Lots to like here, both 18a and 24a get special mention as I just like the words.
    Thanks to Jay for the fun, and welcome to Rahmat Ali for your debut, good job.

  38. A big thank you to all for the warm welcome, comments, compliments and words of encouragement on the review. Once again, tonnes of thanks to Jay for setting such an enjoyable puzzle and, of course, my special thanks to BD for the encouragement and publication.

    To Gryphon and Mel, a warm welcome to the blog.

    To Davidbev, referring to 13a, the exterior letters or walls of CoursE ‘keeping in’ L(ine) ‘by’ U(niversity) and BIC (writer), thus C(U)(BIC)(L)E. The writer is the ball pen under the brand name BIC which is a shortened version of the last name of its founder, Marcel Bich.

    To jean-luc cheval, the tutorials on crosswords are slowly but steadily gathering steam, et ainsi sont ceux sur la langue française.

  39. A very enjoyable Wednesday puzzle this (southern California) morning. Particularly after the joyous and historic Inauguration Day events earlier. Without doubt my COD was 8d. Very clever and amusing.

    Thank you to Rahmat Ali for the analysis and observations and congratulations on your debut. And of course thank you to the setter for the wonderful entertainment.

  40. Thanks to Jay and RA. I greatly enjoyed the crossword. My purpose here is only to comment on the game of “Ducks and Drakes”. Many years ago I did on open University course in Mathematics. Just as an illustration somebody posted a video of a stone being “skipped” an incredible number of times across a lake or pond -well into a dozen skips or more as I recall. (Well worth watching if you can find it). And to cap it all somebody else put up a paper analysing the whole proceedings in mathematical language. Well, yes, at that point I decided that there were some (many) areas of mathematics that would forever elude me!
    best wishes to all


  41. I got quite excited at the start, as I thought I was on a solving streak this week. However this one proved to be too tricky for me as I got deeper into the clues. I’ve never seen or heard 18a, had the right answer for 27a but didn’t put it in as I was positive it was spelt differently. Never heard of 3d either, not really a girls game when I was growing up. Thanks to Jay and to RA for the needed hints.

  42. Having filled in most of the top half in fairly short order, interrupted by a long zoom meeting, I thought I’d have this done in no time at all until I didn’t. A lot of head scratching, plus several penny drops later, I got there. Phew! It wasn’t that hard when I look back, ah! The benefit of hindsight. Favourite was 14a mainly because I remembered how to spell it. Thanks to Jay and RA for the hints, welcome.

  43. Well done RA for the blog. I certainly needed your help to parse a few answers.
    Trickier than normal, but a good, enjoyable challenge which I won, just.
    Thanks to J too.

  44. A big thank you also to the rest for the comments, compliments and words of encouragement on the review.

    To davidbev, you’re welcome.

  45. Definitely trickier than usual. SE corner was an epic fail, as my kids would say. 9d was my COTD but many other enjoyable if slightly obscure clues. I’m reading the Bletchley Park Puzzle book which says that the wartime code breakers could complete the DT crossword in 12 minutes. I was about 200 times slower this time. Great work Mr Ali and the setter. Thank you both.

  46. Not the politest way to introduce myself to this hallowed group but please may I query the explanation of 19d? My justification for the answer being ‘ration’ was a 3/2 meaning betray trust (rat on) with the ‘I’ inside. Firstly, am I mistaken and secondly, why does ‘I’ define ‘current’?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Robin.
      As you say to betray trust is “Rat on” containing I (symbol for electric current).

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