DT 29596 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29596

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29596

Hints and tips by Miffypops

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be me

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

G,Danga. Whatever that means. A fortnight ago our setter hit us with a sledgehammer. He has calmed down since and today wraps us in cotton wool and sings softly to us. After a couple of passes either mysterious wavelengths or checkers should lead you to a filled grid. Maybe a couple of clues will cause some angst. If so the hints below should help
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

7a Visits doctor before work with something bad (5,2)
DROPS IN: The abbreviation for doctor sits before the abbreviation for a musical opus. They are followed by an offence against divinity. It’s good to start with a straightforward shoe in. A simple easy clue that gives a bit of confidence, a lift to the spirit, a feeling of ‘I can do this’. And so we do today

8a Sign of hope in part of London led by artist (7)
RAINBOW: A three part charade. 1 The word in, from the clue. A part of London associated with Cockneys. The abbreviation for an artist or Royal Academician. Arrange as directed by the clue

10a Hoodlum grabs cricket trophy and behaves aggressively (6,3)
LASHES OUT: A well known series of cricket matches played between England and Australia sits inside a hoodlum or thug or uncouth and aggressive man. One who might play in the aforementioned cricket matches

11a Book finally appearing? Not quite (5)
ATLAS: A phrase split 2,4 meaning in the end, or after much delay minus its final letter

12a Puzzles like this one not half making you angry (5)
CROSS: The plural of a puzzle such as this needs half of its letters removing

13a      Policy document that is easy to see? Nothing to it! (9)
MANIFESTO: The letter that looks like the number nothing sits after a word meaning clear or obvious to the eye or mind

15a      Worker in bar to become thin — reduced stones within! (7)
TAPSTER: Place an abbreviation for the word stones inside a word meaning to narrow down to a point

17a      Illness making one conk out when traversing oceans? (7)
DISEASE:  A word meaning to conk out, pass away, shuffle off this mortal coil, go to meet your maker, snuff it or kick the bucket sits around a word describing the worlds oceans. My mates lad has just got his exam results and can now join The Navy. He got seven Cs

 

18a      Carol, having eaten rich food, is yelling (9)
SCREAMING: A verb meaning to carol as we do at Christmas contains a rich foodstuff produced in a dairy

20a      Worker stealing poet’s gold (5)
 SMITH: The Irish poet who wrote The Vicar of Wakefield needs his gold taking away

21a      Get on when provided with a coach? (5)
EMBUS: An unusual and little known word here. Begin with a prefix to a noun, a variant spelling of en meaning to put on. (Possibly, I’m winging it here) add a type of public transport. Or just get on said type of public transport

23a      Mechanical tool tangles up when broken (6,3)
STAPLE GUN: Anagram (when broken) of TANGLES UP

24a      Boy harbours desire to be a manual operator (7)
SURGEON: Ones boy surrounds a strong impulse or desire to find this manual worker from the medical profession

25a      They come together on musical stage, giving signs to the audience (7)
CYMBALS: These cylindrical brass plates that may be struck together by a member of the percussion section of the orchestra sound like (to the audience) marks or characters used as a conventional representation of an object

 Down

1d        Sweet gents maybe heading up north of Cork? (10)
GOBSTOPPER: A word describing a cork in a bottle sits below a reversed (going north in a down clue) vulgar word for the gents used by schoolchildren and grown ups. The etymology of this word is difficult to assess because being considered vulgar it wasn’t used in documents or literature

2d        Idiots beginning to startle judge (6)
ASSESS: A word derogatory to donkeys and mules used to mean idiots is followed by the first letter of the word startle

3d        Collaborator with police popular earlier (8)
INFORMER: Our regular word meaning popular is followed by a word meaning earlier or previously

4d        Magical Bronte language (6)
BRETON: Anagram (magical) of BRONTE

5d        Wild animals making mistakes crossing one river (8)
GIRAFFES: A word meaning a mistake or a blunder (often verbal) contains the letter that looks like the number one and the abbreviation for river

6d        Competent-sounding son of leading man (4)
ABEL: A homophone based upon the name of a son of Adam and a word meaning competent 

7d        Bizarre citadel overlooking German city’s shops (13)
DELICATESSENS: an anagram (bizarre) of CITADEL is followed by a German city plus the letter S

9d        Hans now dashes out to have a comfort break? (4,4,5)
WASH ONES HANDS: Anagram (out) of HANS NOW DASHES

14d      Name of city once recollected in a grand list (10)
STALINGRAD:  The old name (once) of a Russian city is formed by an anagram (recollected) of A GRAND LIST

16d      Movement of football player? Ref rants if it’s foul (8)
TRANSFER: Anagram (if it’s foul) of REF RANTS

17d      Cad, revolting man, leading church? Look out now! (8)
DOGWATCH: Begin with a three-letter synonym of the word cad. Add a chap who led a revolt of peasants in 1381. Finish off with an abbreviation of church

19d      Anne is unstable, mad (6)
INSANE: Anagram (unstable) of ANNE IS

20d      Only chap losing heart is unsmiling (6)
SOLEMN: A word meaning one and only is followed by a male person minus his middle letter

22d      Flowing water to be hot (4)
BURN:  A Scottish word for a run of flowing water, a small stream

Quickie Pun Wrist + Oaring = Restoring


 

113 comments on “DT 29596
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  1. I will have to admit defeat today, with three to go. I saw the obvious worker at 20 across that fits the checkers, but was nowhere near the parsing.

    17d and 25a are the other pair which had to have electrons applied. I didn’t know the revolting man and when I saw 25a, I had to give it my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  2. This solid Ray T offering was a rewarding start to a warmer but blustery day here in Plymouth. 25a, 1d and 17d were all outstandingly devious clues. I see my guess at 21a proved to be correct although I hadn’t come across that word before. Altogether a ***/**** offering with thanks to the compiler and Miffypops.

    1. RayT
      Only uses single word clues in the quickie puzzle
      Only uses single word answers in the Cryptic puzzle

      (Usually both The quick crossword and The Cryptic Crossword are compiled by the same setter each day

      Has a maximum count of eight words per clue
      Often includes The Queen or Her Majesty in a clue
      Nearly always has an acrostic or initial letters clue
      Nearly always uses the sweetheart indicator for the letter E
      Likes to stretch a synonym and use some innuendo

      Sets every other Thursday. He is Kath’s delight

      1. You have confirmed by thoughts, it is unlikely to be a Ray T on the grounds you quote and because I a) enjoyed this one which I do rarely for his puzzles and b) understood most of the clues.
        I know he is Kaths delight but he is my nemesis.

  3. This was such a friendly offering for a Thursday I did wonder whether it was actually the work of Mr Manley and I’m still not entirely convinced. My only real hold up was the ‘setter’s painted himself into a corner’ word at 21a

    Thanks to the setter and MP

  4. I found this puzzle a bit disappointing. A lot of the clues were remarkably straightforward and the main challenge came from 3 clues, which might have been better placed in a Toughie (3*/1.5*). I had never heard the word in 21a before but it could be found from the word play. The same could not be said for17a, another word I’d never heard of, where it took me ages to work out the mediaeval revolutionary’s function. 24a was very clever but manual operator for surgeon was a very unusual synonym. The anagrams were quite good, however. Thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. I was really enjoying this puzzle until I reached the SW quadrant with 22d and 21a which took ages to parse!
    The Do’ H moment eventually arrived for 22d when checking rivers in Chambers and this enabled me to guess 21 across with either EN or EM prior to the coach .
    Apart from this some excellent cluing, thanks to MP for the revolting man in 17d Mr Tyler I presume.
    Going for a ***/**** favourite was 25a for the surface

  6. This started as a read and write but I ended up defeated with three to go 21a 17d and 25a, still very enjoyable.
    COTD will go to 25a
    Thanks to the setter and MP

  7. A bit (well a lot) of a mixed bag for me.
    I’d never heard of 21a and took it to be a mildly cryptic definition of boarding a coach.
    I didn’t particularly care for 1or 17d either but bunged them in as did 20a. I did however like 8,13& 25a plus 20d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    Shouldn’t 22d be a double definition?

  8. A fairly gentle offering today apart from the sticking points already mentioned in earlier comments. I am a little surprised that the word in 1d got through the censor, but that aside, this was a solid and enjoyable solve. 25a my top clue.

    Many thanks to our setter and to MP.

  9. Most of this puzzle was relatively straightforward. The clues already mentioned are the ones that held me up. 20a and 21a were bung ins. As Malcolm says, I can see the worker in 20a too but the poet’s gold escapes me. 21a had to be but I’ve never come across the word. 25a took me an age before the penny dropped but it’s my favourite today. I couldn’t get get curtains out of my head even though it doesn’t fit! ***/*** I always thought 17d was two words for some reason, referring to the early morning shift on a royal naval vessel. All good fun. Thanks to all.

        1. No he’s Oliver Goldsmith – mind you I think of him more as a playwright than a poet – he wrote She Stoops to Conquer and The Vicar of Wakefield

          1. ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ is a novel, and ‘The Deserted Village’ is quite a famous pastoral poem. Sometimes old English teachers used to assign all three genres (including the drama ‘She Stoops…’) in one fell swoop. My old favourite prof at Clemson University did, but I broke the mould.

          2. About 2 hours later that penny finally dropped. Brain freeze day! I recall “she stoops to conquer from school”. I don’t think I ever read “the vicar of Wakefield” but I may have done back in the mists of time.

  10. Enjoyed this although it did take a second sitting to unravel 21a, 25a, 17d and 22d. I hadn’t heard of the poet in 20a. Favourite clue is a toss up (aka game of chance) between 8a and 15a. Thanks to today’s setter and MP.

  11. An enjoyable rare Thursday solve.l think my imperfections are greater than yours M.P. but would wish to express thanks for all your help and humour over the years.Thanks also to the the mystery setter.

  12. Failed at 17d 20a and 25a today, so not my finest hour.
    17d took me a long time to get too.
    I knew the word at 21a but could not see the parsing of the ’em’ bit…..but maybe I am being too rigid.

    Thanks to MP and to the setter.

  13. Needed the hints for 21a then 22d was obvious even though I’d wanted to put warm. Changing the subject, would the clue for 19d work without the word mad? Ta to all.

  14. Pleasant enough but nothing for me to write home about. Was surprised to find 21a bung-in word actually exists. Not too keen on 17d especially as it relies on a first name (even if that’s the name of the game these days!). My Fav was 20a when the penny dropped – very clever. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

    1. Decided to replace my very dog-eared Chambers Crossword Dictionary with Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary (cheaper) – what a mistake!

  15. After yesterday’s Michelin starred fare from Jay & Hudson I’m afraid I thought this a bit pasty & chips, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Very straightforward until 4 head scratchers. Not familiar with the Irish poet so the parsing of 20a escaped me & for some reason I thought Mr Tyler’s first name had 2 Ts so missed that too as well as having to check on the word. Took a correct stab at 21a, new to me, once the penny finally dropped with 22d. On the subject of 22d remember playing the excellent Dunbar links in scorched conditions en route to watching the Mickelodeon triumph at Muirfield in 2013. Having won 3&2 decided to showboat & just for the hell of it putt from a tight uphill lie on the 17th ridiculously short of the green & couldn’t understand why my playing partner was in fits of laughter. Gave the ball an almighty wallop & all became apparent as it climbed the incline then promptly disappeared into the burn, which I hadn’t realised was there. Pick of the bunch today for me a toss up between 1d & 25a.
    Today’s albums: Oh Mercy (Dylan) & Other People’s Stuff (John Mellencamp)
    Thanks to the setter & to MP.

      1. And how you can go from playing at the top of your game to being virtually unable to hit the bloody thing in a heartbeat. Remember playing the wonderful Machrihanish many years ago (Jack reckons best opening hole in the world) in very blustery conditions – 23pts on the front 9 & just 4 on the back once we’d turned back into the wind.

    1. ‘People don’t live or die people just float’ What does that line mean Bob? Nothing I just needed a word that rhymed with coat.
      Good choices Huntsman

  16. I have come to approach the crossword on a Thursday in the manner of a wounded gazelle taking its morning stroll through a pride of hungry lions. However, today I felt as if I had the freedom of the Serengeti! Even so, I am grateful to Miff for the parsing of several as I felt as though I had tiptoed a few answers in, without quite knowing why.

    Lola – in short, the vet says the biopsy of her paws shows an infection that should have been cleared up by antibiotics (but hasn’t). More results expected back today – it’s possible that antibiotics will be combined with antiviral meds (to be confirmed today). More tests may be necessary.
    Lola is a little chirpier today but I have reported false dawns before so any upward trend in health must be treated with caution!

    Today’s soundtrack: Steely Dan – The Royal Scam

    Thanks to the setter and, of course, to Miff.

    1. What wonderful symbolism! I usually approach a Thursday if it is a Ray T with the same fear and trepidation as your wounded gazelle. Mrs B says she likens Ray T puzzles to that teacher at school who one could never please if you were not one of her favourites.

    2. Bearing in mind the fact that dear Lola does not wander far from her comfort zones, you wonder where she has picked up this allergy/infection? Have you or your neighbours used a weed killer or something? Maybe the vet will find out. Glad she is still hanging on in, as they say.
      (A wounded gazelle? 🧐)

  17. Is this a Ray T? I thought his quick puzzles only had single word clues and that both puzzles were by the same setter.. Whoever it is I enjoyed it immensely even if I did not know the synonym for cad in 17d or who the obscure poet was in 20a. 15a was a word I don’t recall seeing before but the clueing was good. I did like my fav 25a.
    All in all an enjoyable puzzle, so much better than yesterdays dull thing.
    Thx to all
    ***/****

  18. This was just an “ok” puzzle for me. I really didn’t like 20a. I too thought of Goldsmith as an author rather than a poet. I got the answer from the checking letters, but not without trying to remove the “Au” from Auden first. Thanks to the setter and to MP. At long last we have been able to get a plumber to the house. Our central heating packed in a few days ago and I’m now really feeling the cold, despite fan heaters strategically placed, and the fire on. I’m not as tough as I used to be. I remember as a child, the family home didn’t have central heating upstairs, and I often woke up in the morning with Jack Frost on the inside of my bedroom window.

    1. You poor thing do hope your hearing gets fixed. I remember winter of 46 or was it 47 and the magical beauty of the green crystals which had formed in a bottle of Sylvikrin shampoo on the bathroom windowsill!!

      1. I can still conjure up the smell of Silvikrin shampoo…and Vosene and Nivea cream.
        The smell of lilacs, the silk in old handbag linings, libraries.
        You can’t describe these old olfactory memories in words, but they’re still there in their little grey matter boxes.
        I’ll stop before I get too “temps perdu”

        1. I can still smell the nivea….that’s because I still use it. My mother swore it kept wrinkles at bay, and she still looked good at 90.

        2. Libraries always have their own atmosphere. I,too remember silvikrin shampoo. Quite how we strayed so far off subject, I’ve no idea!

      2. Thanks DG. The plumbers are coming back on Monday with new bits for the boiler. In the meantime, we’ll have to keep the fan heaters running and suck up the cost of the electricity.

  19. Bit of an odd one for me, most of it went in fairly smoothly and at a reasonable pace apart from a few stragglers which needed online verification but couldn’t be much else once the checkers were in. Despite having frequented many of the drinking establishments in 15a I’d never come across that term before, ditto for 21a which I didn’t realise was an actual word. Never heard of the Irish poet in 20a or the term in 17d. Still I was spared my Thursday struggle through a Ray T. :-)
    Thanks to MP and the setter.

  20. I found this to be a very enjoyable puzzle, and after a slow start managed all but 20a 21a and 17d. I have a slight issue with the quickie pun, as in my paper edition, 4a has 6 letters !,

    1. As is often the case the Quickie Pun was added as an afterthought after a nasty wrestle with WordPress. I thought it so easy and obvious that I didn’t think anyone would even look at it today. I did it from memory. I fear that one day I will forget what comes next after breathe out and that will be that.

  21. Thanks to Miffypops for parsing a few I needed and as stated they gave checkers which helped me with the rest.

    25a the standout clue for me today with not even any honourable mentions.
    Thanks to the setter whomever they may be.

  22. We had a slow start on this because George (who is not usually allowed the pen) filled in ‘Board’ for 21a which is feasible, and seeing the B in that position I confidently said it would be a word ending in ‘able’ and filled that in. However, soon realised our mistakes and all fell into place. I did like 8a but 25 had to be the pick of the day. With EMBUS does the m not replace n in front of b, m, p those consonants whose name I have forgotten but it is to do with the way your mouth forms them. Help me someone. Thanks to the setter and MP

      1. Then there’s the voicing….so, you can only voice the M with the mouth shut, but you can only voice the B by opening the mouth.

    1. Thanks, as always, for your kind words, Daisy. The peculiar aspect of the allergy theory is that Lola has barely left ‘her’ room for over a month. There have been no cleaning products used (only damp cloths for dusting) and yet the condition persists despite antibiotics and steroids.

  23. PS I have just done the quickie pun and have to say that never in a million trillion years would an oarsman say oaring. It just ain’t done.

    1. Verbing, or what grammarians refer to as denominalization, is the act of converting a noun into a verb. If you can’t find an existing verb to describe what you’re doing, just verbify the nearest noun! The purpose of verbing is to make what we say immediate and to-the-point.

        1. Unfortunately it is also creeping in with organisations such as the BBC.

          If the quick crossword and the cryptic one are set by the same person, is this really the work of Mr Manley?

      1. When I went to school, admittedly a lifetime ago, my English teacher had a hatred of turning a noun into a verb. I think, if I remember rightly, her favourite hate was hospitalization! She was a fabulous ranter! I also recall something about “home town”, can’t remember why that was offensive.

  24. Grr. I really made a hash of this one towards the end. Does anyone really say 21a? Not only that, but I’d forgot my Willy Wonka and couldn’t remember the Everlasting sweet. After finishing the Toughie just a bit earlier and relishing my victory there, I found this one a bit of a letdown. (Sic transit gloria.) Lot to like, though: 13a, 20a, and 25a on the podium. Thanks to MP for the review and to…Giovanni, is it? **** / ***

      1. And no one says debus as the opposite, or rebus for getting on again, because that means something else. I wonder if nimbus could mean getting on in a sprightly way, as opposed to a dark cloud?

        1. I think debus is used in the army when telling people to get out of the tank. That is where I have heard it used, in Soldier, Soldier.

    1. Read your reply from yesterday today Robert. Shadow of a Doubt is probably my favourite Hitch. Love the Hume Cronyn character & the billowing black smoke from the train as Uncle Charlie pulls into town. Re Greene I think The End of the Affair would be the pick of the one’s I’ve read & Neil Jordan’s film of it is well worth catching if you’ve not seen it.

  25. Quite enjoyable today. COTD was 16d and last one in for me.Strangely enough in my print out copy 23a gave the answer rather than the words to be used for the anagram. Thanks to MP and the setter.

  26. Well I got there, but couldn’t parse 20a. So thanks for that MP. Definitely harder than previous day’s, with a handful of clues tough enough for the middle pages.
    Thanks to setter and MP.
    Looking forward to playing golf anywhere. Only managed two rounds last year

  27. This was definitely a *** puzzle for me today. Think embus is a horribly clunky word. Kept trying to start 1d with loo which didn’t work at all but that was a very clever one. At least the sun is out today. Had a zoom WI meeting/chat yesterday and 3 ladies mentioned seeing a woodcock in their garden. Well blow me, half an hour later we had one in our garden which was a first for us. It was making a pretty good job of shoving its long beak through the snow to grab worms. I managed to get rather a bad photo of it. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  28. Anything more than half the clues solved unaided and I feel it has been a good day! Thanks MP for bailing me out. Background sounds here are a slow cooked rice pudding in a double boiler gently bubbling away on the hob and the wind rattling loose bits on the house. I put the wrong homophone spelling in for 6D and pulled a face at 21A – can’t say it’s a word I ever expect to hear someone use in real life!

  29. Fairly straightforward, except for 21a which I had not heard & was not, for me,clearly signposted as to how to exclude “enbus”. Reference to Jay #39 yesterday this makes it a poor clue to me. But fhe rest was a pleasurable Thursday solve with lots to like so overall little to spoil the enjoyment.
    Our outside temperature was -17C for the morning dog walk but beautiful sunshine now so a bit of an alpine “staycation” feeling.
    Thanks to setter and as always MP not quite as warming as the sunshine but close.

  30. Agree with Stephen L regarding 21a and 22d.
    Didn’t check the poet in 20 a, but being such a common name, one had to fit the job.
    17d was a bung in as my original parsing was: Revolting man leading church = god upside down followed by look out now = watch. The answer was nowhere near a Cad so I gave up.
    At least the grid was completed and that was the aim when I started.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP for the fun review.

  31. A splendid Thursday brain tester that really filled the Bill for me. Quite a lot to work out but not overmuch to scare!
    Favs 13ac & 7d, in more ways than one.
    I had fortunately come across 21ac in a crossword in a pink paper last year, eventually the penny dropped.
    3*/4.5*
    Many thanks to setter & MP for review

  32. So, Wat Tyler – what was he called for long?

    Anyway, lots of bunging which didn’t work at 15, which I’d never heard of. I mean, I can see it’s perhaps a more specialist skill than getting the top off a bottle, or pushing an optic, but making up a word for it? Well, really……I suppose MP would know though. I quite liked the surface at 1d, because of the innate charm of the first 3 letters, in either direction.
    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  33. For the first time ever, I have completed four crosswords in a row, this week, so feeling very happy.The last one in today, held me up, until I thought to board a ship one embarks, so could one embus? Very ugly word, never heard it before, or will again I guess.Like everyone else, I wasn’t keen on oaring in the quick crossword.Otherwise, very enjoyable once again.

  34. This was a trickier puzzle than last week so I am assuming is is a Giovanni as I seem to find them quite challenging … wavelength thing. ***/**** for this one. Solver right to left with the left being more challenging I thought.
    Some clever clues that really did require some thought and several where I needed the hints to make the proverbial penny drop.
    Favourite clues were 8a, 10a, 24a, 1d & 22d with winner 22d for its sheer simplicity and 10a a great runner up.
    Found 21a was a new word for me and I had trouble for a long time with 20a … that was tricky.

    Thanks to Giovanni(?) and Miffypops

  35. Quite tricky but enjoyable 😬 I had not come across 15a before ***/*** Favourites 9 & 24a 😃 Thanks to MP and to the Setter

  36. Started this later than usual today, but for a good reason. We had to go and get our second jabs today, and very relieved to have passed this milestone. I was pretty sure this was not a Ray T as solving was going pretty well, but had problems with three words I have never run across, 15a, 21a and 17d, and was reluctant to pen in Smith for 20a, but it was right. Otherwise enjoyed very much, particularly the nostalgic reference in 1d. Quite often spent my sweetie money on those. Thanks to setter and to MP.

  37. Had to admit defeat at 21a which I hadn’t heard of. Also failed to get 17d and 25a. I dislike surplus words in a clue that don’t add anything: thinking of 14d here – why ‘name of city’ when just ‘city’ would work? Laughed at the ‘gents’ in 1d when I finally twigged.

  38. Enjoyed most of today’s offering at a canter, slowed to a trot and came to a sudden stop at 21a. New word to me but that’s what makes these puzzles so interesting (though sometimes frustrating if you are not on the same wavelength). Many thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

    Disappointed to hear that Lola still hasn’t responded well to the treatment. But if she is enjoying her food and looking perkier then fingers crossed. I do sympathise Terence with the prolonged cost and vague diagnosis. We are experiencing something simular with our 17yr old dog but you just can’t put a price on their lives.

  39. Late again with no reason – it’s not as if I’m busy at the moment.
    I found this very difficult which would fit with its having being set by Giovanni – I always find him almost impossible but I’m not sure that he’d be able to bring himself to use the first bit of 1d.
    The 9d ‘comfort break’ sounded a bit American to me – not sure we’d call it that on this side of the pond.
    I liked 17a and 24a (but don’t think they would appreciate being called the definition – it’s rather like calling nurses ‘bedmakers’) and 4 and 5d. My favourite was 25a.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to MP – yet another ‘rather you than me’ Thursday.

  40. We’re definitely in the ‘found this quite tricky’ camp with this one. Still not sure that the definition in 17d quite works although we did get all the wordplay.
    Thanks Giovanni and MP.

  41. I sweated bullets with this one, way beyond my abilities and needed far too much e-help. Even so, I didn’t finish. I’ve heard of 1d but not sure I’ve ever met it. Others like 15a and 21a are completely new to me.
    Some were a pleasure, 20a and 25a were pure gems.
    Thanks to our setter and to M’pops for solving the rest for me. Off to the pool for my workout.

  42. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Needed the hints for 20a, had never heard of the poet, 21a had never heard of it, and 25a, just couldn’t get it. Favourite was 1d. Was 3* /3* for me.

  43. Let me start with a true and humble apology. This question has absolutely nothing to do with today’s puzzle. I haven’t even looked at the cryptic crosswords since Monday. I don’t know where else to ask this and get a sensible answer. If someone could also tell me of a better location then please do so, nicely!

    Okay, I have recently received a copy of the Chambers Crossword Manual, bought before Christmas, yay! I have only reached page 32 and I am already lost, on Crossword 10. It was bad enough with 9a which is a term I have never used but at least I have heard of it. With 15a though, it is a different matter. “Red wine seen in the marquee perhaps”. I understand the latter half but what does red wine have to do with a tent? I’m feeling somewhat dejected and demoralised as well as inadequate …

      1. Thank you. This is the only place I feel safe enough to ask these things. What is the explanation please? What does red wine have to do with a tent because that is the answer.

        1. Thank you, Mary. When you talk about historical novels are you referring to old novels or those written recently on historical subjects?

        1. I will be back (though on a different blog page) when I hit the next stumbling block. It looks like this can be a learning exercise for more than me! Perhaps Mr Bigdave could start a new section for this sort of discussion?

          1. Before anyone suggests otherwise, I heartily encourage you all to buy a copy of this book for yourselves. It is far beyond any other out there about solving crosswords and I have already learnt so much. It is only that sometimes it expects me to already know things that I don’t. Though I have searched, I have yet to find a resource (other than ‘The Internet’ and ‘The [old fashioned] Library’) where that knowledge is to be found. It certainly wasn’t my school!

      1. Is it? Count me in to the number of people who drink enough of it but had no idea,! Enlighten us, please. Where does the tent come in?

        1. Ooh, I now know the answer to this! Tent wine is an archaic term for a type of wine of a deep red colour, chiefly from Galicia or Malaga in Spain. And, apparently, it comes up regularly in crosswords. Presumably it was used in the same way as claret, burgundy, and the like. I have seen all sorts of terms in old books for various drinks but I don’t remember seeing this before. Let’s see what else my new magic book will reveal!

  44. A crossword of 2 halves if there ever was one. Top half fine, bottom half not quite so. I highlighted 6 clues that I’d either never heard of, couldn’t parse or or thought really? Any road up life’s to short to quibble. Favourite eas 13a. Thanks to the setter and MP for his possessions and confirmations.

  45. Interesting how yesterday and today were *** for difficulty yet I bombed yesterday and did OK today.

    17d had me stumped. Had the first 3 and last 2 letters but needed the hint to get the answer. Never heard of the revolter and this was also a new word for me.

    21d also a new word for me.

    Favourite clue 25a.

    ****/****

  46. I found this tricky. My husband joined in and we got onto a bit of a roll then ground to a halt with the last few. I’m not a fan of clues with obscure words (unless I know the word of course) and I thought there was some pretty obscure parsing too (20a). Not my cup of tea today I’m afraid. Bring back Ray T! ****/**

  47. I usually join these threads two or three days late as I put the crosswords down and pick them up again over a couple of days rather than in one session.

    I complete a few without help and then vary between hardly getting going or falling up to half a dozen or so short. I don t like to use hints other than googling a spelling or word meaning occasionally but rather get to failure point and then try and work out what I missed.

    I have to say that checking into this site and the excellent explanations from the more experienced really improves your cross wording ability. Thanks to all as it really improves the enjoyment to get better at them.

    Strangely, I found this offering achievable and got to about four short between checking the answers. So, surprised that some of the better solvers struggled. Embus is a familiar term for police, military etc and quite common parlance in those circles.

    20 across I wouldn t get in a month of Sundays. Vaguely heard of the poet when flagged up but a bit too cryptic for me……

    17 d would probs still have me stumped.

    25a is a really clever clue in my humble opinion.

    Anyone seen this clue? Gegs (9,4). Had me stumped for over an hour…….

    1. Hello BM – I’m afraid the scrambled eggs clue is a bit of a chestnut
      Always good to hear from improving solvers though, so keep going

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