DT 29608 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29608

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29608

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty  – Enjoyment

Oh how I love to see a bung in at one across. A mood setter and a boost to ones confidence. It provides a generous donation from the setter of initial letters to the first few down clues. Well tough tit Miffypops. No such luck today. Furthermore Robin Goodfellow at one down didn’t turn up to help either. Too busy girdling the earth to give poor little orphan boy Miffypops the first letters of 1 and 9 across. 

But fear not. Checkers to the rescue came. (A line of iambic pentameter inspired by Mr Goodfellow and steered by Shakespeares repeated use of subject, object verb) which allowed the last three answers to be tapped neatly into the grid. Well two of them. I never could see the point of writing in the last answer

Today’s puzzle sits comfortably in the ‘Almost A Toughie’ Thursday slot to provide a tricky test of ones resolve. Giovanni at his mischievous best

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a        Old rubbish men spotted in the course of walk or fun run (6,4)
POTATO RACE: A charade of several parts. Here they are in  the order they appear in the clue. 1 The abbreviation for old. 2 A three-letter word meaning tasteless rubbish. 3 The abbreviation for men or other ranks in the armed forces. 4 A single step taken when walking. The fourth charade wraps around the other three to provide an event that I don’t think I have ever heard of.

6a        Fellow presenting information on time (4)
GENT: A three-letter noun meaning information precedes the abbreviation for time

9a        What is long and yellow with no tail? (5)
CRAVE: Remove the last letter from a word meaning yellow or cowardly to leave a verb meaning to long for or feel a strong desire for something

10a      Odd male entertaining a European that is very bright (5,4)
LASER BEAM: An anagram (odd) of MALE surrounds the letter A from the clue and a four-letter European citizen. Not a Dane or a Pole.  Try a chap from a landlocked Balkan state

12a      Greediest man’s involved in arguments (13)

14a      Something in soap is given attention in the country (8)
STEARATE: A word (also a body part) meaning to give attention to sits inside a nation or country 

15a      One with inclination to go to river? (6)
ANGLER: A cryptic definition of one who sits around waiting for fish to nibble at his bait

17a      Attacks on TV the ultimate in nastiness? (6)
ONSETS: The answer can be split 2,4. Begin with the word ON lifted from the clue. Add a word we used frequently for our television or wireless back in the olden days. This word is not used so frequently nowadays. Your answer needs to be in the plural to match the grammatical tense of the clue so complete your answer by adding the last letter of the word nastiness 

19a      Be full of sickness, having dry bread (8)
BAGUETTE: An old word for a fever and the abbreviation for teetotal sit inside a verb meaning to live or to exist 

21a      Possibly vote in haste, eh? This brings a negative decision (3,4,4,2)
THE NOES HAVE IT: Anagram (possibly) of VOTE IN HASTE EH

24a      Clear individual pursuing old lover, gaining speed (9)
 EXONERATE: A single individual sits after the abbreviation used to describe an old lover or spouse and is followed by a synonym for speed

25a      Fuss with Religious Education and Worship (5)
 ADORE: A three-letter word meaning fuss is followed by the abbreviation for Religious Education

26a      One waited for returning? No good fussing (2-2)
TO DO: The fellow Estragon and Vladimir are waiting for in Samuel Beckets acclaimed play is reversed and loses the abbreviation for good

27a      Determined person not getting on is needing shelter (10)
PERSISTENT: Sixty percent of this answer is provided by the clue. Remove the word on from the word person. Add the word IS from the clue. Now add a shelter used by campers


1d        Fairy bringing up vessel before king (4)
PUCK: A vessel used for drinking tea in England plus the regular abbreviation for ones King

2d        Rabbit to walk like a duck south of road junction (7)
TWADDLE: A word describing the walk of a duck follows the letter used to describe a road junction where one road joins another at right angles but does not cross it

3d        What could be ever so true — art being seen as a valuable collection (8-5)
TREASURE TROVE: Anagram (what could be) of EVER SO TRUE ART

4d        Put down attendee at conference wanting new leader (8)
RELEGATE: A word meaning an attendee at a conference needs its first letter changing to suit the definition in the clue.

5d        A saint in church group (5)
CASTE: The letter A from the clue together with the abbreviation for Saint sit inside the abbreviation for the Church of England 

7d        Enduring out in space, learn to adapt (7)
ETERNAL:  A word meaning out in space or not of this earth is followed by an anagram (to adapt) of LEARN. It might help to think not of printers spaces which won’t help. Think instead of a very successful Steven Spielberg film with a bittersweet ending. Thanks to CrypticSue and Gazza for guidance here

8d        Opportunist who looks after the enemy? (10)
TIMESERVER: A four letter word that precedes the words ‘is the enemy’  is followed by a word referring to one who looks after such as a waiter might. A person whose behavior is adjusted to the pattern of the times or to please superiors. Big Dave’s team of bloggers perhaps 

11d      Symbols of the past to be reckoned with (5,8)
ROMAN NUMERALS:  These symbols M D C L X V I are the ones referred to in the clue and which should lead to your answer

13d      No smart set — jumbled collection of various items (10)
ASSORTMENT: Anagram (Jumbled) of NO SMART SET

16d      Creatures making bloke rested, we hear (8)
 MANATEES: A phrase split 3,2,4 perhaps describing a soldier not standing to attention also sounds like (we hear) some sea creatures also known as sea cows

18d      Heavenly body doesn’t need a body-building chemical (7)
STEROID: A small rocky object orbiting the sun needs its letter A removing. (Doesn’t need a)

20d      Tube to deter travelling around? (7)
TETRODE: Anagram (travelling around) of TO DETER

22d  Storyteller’s first yarn lacking originality (5)
STALE:  The first letter of the word storyteller is followed by another word for a yarn or rambling story

23d      Money HQ about to be demolished (4)
 CENT: A word describing the headquarters, core or heart of an organisation needs the abbreviation for about removing to leave the smallest monetary unit of many countries

Quickie Pun Queue + Tease = Cuties

112 comments on “DT 29608

  1. I’m afraid I really couldn’t get on with this puzzle. I struggled to get going, and even after ***** time I was far from finished. I had to use a few electrons to put myself out of my misery. 

The words at 8d and 20d were new to me. The space in 7d isn’t one of the ones I know and the overall feel just didn’t sit comfortably with me.

    19a was my last in, I do admit it is clever.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

    1. First and foremost, MP, absolutely brilliant hints. Although I still don’t understand 8d. A lot of this puzzle was actually quite straightforward but a lot was pretty obscure. Even when I finally got the answers, it took me just as long to work out the explanation. I’d never heard of 1a or 20d. ***/* I didn’t really find much enjoyment here. Favourite 16d. Thanks to all.

  2. A very clever puzzle with a good few convoluted clues. Like Malcolm I had to seek electronic help with 2 clues to break the NE corner of the puzzle and finish it. It took me into 4* time, much of it spent on 8d and 20d and like MP, I had never entered the1a ( with these knees?!)or knew such an event existed . It was a worthy challenge, if a bit close to a Toughie for me. COTD was21a, followed closely by 2d.

    1. I forgot to thank Giovanni for the puzzle and MP for the blog. Sorry about that, it must be the severe case of brain burn I am sufffering from.

  3. I thought most of this was perfectly pleasant and straightforward, if a little dated, with a couple of curve balls (as you expect from this setter) thrown in. 14a was completely new to me but was just about derivable from the checkers as were16d&20d. I had to check the sickness in 19a too to confirm the wordplay. I did like plenty though, thought the anagram at 21a was good fun, along with 2,7&22d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the entertainment.

  4. Sorry Miffypops but I must query the answer to 20d. The letters do not match the anagram fodder and the last letter does not fit in with 27a.
    Thanks for all the rest though.

  5. A great puzzle thank you to the setter and Miffypops. I am sure everyone will have noticed that the answer to 20 d does not equate with the answers given. I know I can be wrong very often but I don’t think so this time! Some super clues, but I noticed not yet any star ratings. Thank goodness the cricket will improve the husbands despair.

        1. Beginning to look like that’s
          Red with embarassment
          White the colour of the kit and
          Blue with the result

            1. No I was referring to Malcolm’s note, which I felt was pretty unnecessary. The replies seemed to share my view. His post is after yours

              Take a look

  6. I found this to be a tricky solve, particularly in the NE corner where I could not parse 7d for the life of me. It was, however, fairly clued and good fun, rewarding to complete and a great tussle. 19a was my favourite.

    Thanks to The Don and MP.

  7. Excellent start to the day in India-will it last?
    I too found this puzzle tricky and MP must have had good day!-going for a ***/***.
    Thanks MP for the parsing of 7d which eluded me-I was thinking of the printers spaces!
    Last in was 28a ,my D’oh moment when the penny dropped and has to be my favourite for originality.

  8. Think this might divide opinions a bit. Quite a few headscratchers and theSE corner held me up well into *** time. As always, when the penny dropped it was hard to see why.
    16d raised a “Doh” but my LOI 19a was my COTD.
    Thanks to Giovanni (?) for an enjoyable and satisfying puzzle also MP and the “team” for the hints, needed to parse 7d.

  9. Completing this puzzle was almost as exhausting as watching the cricket.

    The Lola update is aggravating news, followed by encouraging news: Due, apparently, to new Brexit regulations, Lola’s samples haven’t even left the country, awaiting clearance, and are certainly not in Germany. Riled that we had been misinformed and worried for Lola, my neighbour made a fuss and as a result, Lola is seeing one of the country’s leading feline dermatologists on March 8th (earliest appointment). Although this continues her ordeal, at least she is seeing someone who really should be able to determine what is causing her issues. I should stress that little Lola does not appear to be in any pain and she is eating and drinking at about 50%. However, she is not using up any energy so this isn’t too bad. It’s just a question of hanging in there (again).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Steely Dan – Gaucho (with the cricket on in the background)

    Thanks to Giovanni and Miff (particularly for his splendid intro).

    1. So sorry about your sample troubles, Terence. Another unexpected consequence.
      Hope you finally get some answers after the next appointment.
      Good that she doesn’t seem to be in any pain, though and is still eating a bit.

    2. Glad to hear that Lola is happy enough & that she’s pencilled in to see a top bod. Re Gaucho my favourite story about the tortuous recording process was that Becker & Fagen made Knopfler play over 10 hours of stuff for about 15seconds of inclusion on Time Out Of Mind – he wasn’t best impressed.

    3. Poor Lola. She is going through the mill at the moment. So will you be, as well, Terrence. I hope there is good news from the dermatologist. Good to hear that Lola is not in any pain.

    4. So sorry that your wait for a diagnosis for Lola is unlikely until next month. A sorry state of affairs, but at least she sounds to be coping ok. Perhaps daily calls to specialist asking about any cancellations might be helpful, squeaky wheel and all that?

      1. I agree – most frustrating for you all. My mother used to say it is a squeaky gate which gets oiled, although I have been squeaking at our
        surgery since beginning of January for the result of a 24 hour heart monitor I had at the end of December!! It is good to know that she does
        not appear to be in pain anyway.

  10. I found this quite straighforward although did need to check the definition of my constructions for 1a and 20d which were new to me. 26a was my last in as it took a headscratch before the penny dropped on the parsing. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  11. Miffypops spot on as usual for me – I had never heard of 1a and struggled overlong with 23d despite having two letters. 14d and 20d were new to me too. Despite my limitations very enjoyable.

  12. Gave up. No pleasure in constantly using the electronics . Stearate? Tetrode ? Potato race ? Bah!
    Thanks to Miffypops for the hints.

    1. I have empathy with you Ora. I’m not a fan of obscure answers, or those requiring specialised knowledge.

  13. Much harder than recent days, but fair enough I thought. It’s good to learn new words.
    The cricket has certainly slowed down the solve. I’ll wait til later to do the Toughie.
    Thanks to the setter and MP

  14. Goodness me toughness of this not helped by putting ——lamp at 10a. Definitely feel Mr Manley is on a very different academic level to me these days, however seemed to manage him ok when he was published on Fridays! Thanks to all who provided the hints.

  15. Not a very enjoyable puzzle because there were too many obscurities. I have never heard of 1a, 8d and 20d. A bit of a slog I’m afraid but I did manage to finish with a bit of help from Mr. G. However, there was little satisfaction – for me anyway – in the completion. However, I do like 19a and that is my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops for the great hints.

  16. A brilliant puzzle, had to be a Giovanni as the clueing was superb. Never heard of a 1a before or indeed 20d but the wordplay was obvious. So many great clues its difficult to pick a favourite but I must go for 9a and 10a.
    Very enjoyable and so nice to see the master of puzzles return.
    Thx to all

  17. Someone once told me a nice way to remember that D is 500 and L is 50:

    Drop the vowels of the word MeDiCaL to get the four biggest in descending order.

    I also find it apt that an anagram of medical is decimal as well as declaim, claimed and camelid, of course.

  18. In desperation, as I neared *** time and had solved about half of this wickedly clever Giovanni conundrum, I closed my tablet, returned to my bed, slept two hours, awoke, had coffee, opened this gizmo, and finished the puzzle–but not without considerable angst. G. has always been tough for me, but today’s seemed even wilier and denser. I did, however, finish without any aids and felt like shouting at the end. Enjoyment is not what one seeks in a challenge like this, but satisfaction for endurance with a positive result. 19a is my runaway favourite, with 21a and 1d close contenders. 20d was new to me. Thanks to MP, whose reviews always make me feel better, and to Giovanni for the workout. 4* / 3*

    1. I should add that 20d was new to me but had to be what it was, as was that soapy thing. Also, I’ve heard of 8d only in cryptic puzzles (is it a common term in the UK?). I did, for some antique reason, know 1a; it’s
      probably because I’m becoming ‘old rubbish’!

      1. Funny, I knew 1a as well, from where I have no idea or even what it is, is it possibly American?

  19. Certainly the most demanding of the week so far by some margin. Bit of a case for me of spot the definition, find a synonym & then figure out the wordplay (1,10,19&27a) other than 14a & 20d where the opposite was the case & Mr G required to confirm. Last in was 16d & for a while all I could fit in from the checkers was cadavers (well they’re resting) until the penny dropped for a finish in just shy of 3.5* time. Enjoyed the puzzle & I’ll single out 11d ahead of 8d & 19a as my favourite. Today’s albums: First Step (Faces) & Five Leaves Left (Nick Drake)
    Thanks to Giovanni & to MP for his typically entertaining review.

    1. I love Nick Drake. He had such a pure voice and his guitar skills were superb. However, I find it such a shame that on a lot of his records it was thought necessary to smother his singing and playing with over produced orchestration.

        1. Such a great talent. I especially like Riverman. What would he have produced had he lived?

  20. That was tough! Not often I need the hints but did here…..a lot of clever clues but for me the whole experience was marred by some obscure answers…..

  21. Thank you Giovanni and Miffypops. Quality clues – particularly liked 1a, 21a and 16d. Like LROK, it was all going swimmingly until the SE corner which took longer than everything else put together. I had no mental image of what a 1a might entail – balancing one on a teaspoon, perhaps? – so thanks Miffypops for the picture!

      1. Poor kids! It was hard enough with eggs, at least for those children who hadn’t heard of chewing gum.

        1. At primary school, our potato race consisted of about 8 potatoes spaced out in a long line behind a flowerpot. You had to collect each potato in turn and pop it into the flowerpot. The secret was to go for the furthest first so that when you started to run out of puff, you were closer to the flowerpot. Well it worked for me!

          1. That actually sounds quite fun! And cheaper, as potatoes can be used for multiple races whereas the eggs in egg and spoon tend to be single use only …

          2. Being utterly non-sporting, I was entered for this race at primary school and used just those tactics – furthest first. I was disqualified for cheating, as everybody else took nearest first.

      2. MP, from the T shirts the picture is of an Australian Rules Potato race
        Like Australian rules football it probably has different rules.
        Certainly the version played by our cub pack didn’t involve their mothers carrying sacks of spuds.

  22. Obviously never heard of 14a or 20d but they were doable from checkers and clue. Otherwise a great puzzle with only 27a and 23d needing the generous help of Miffypops. Two very honourable mentions for 19a and 16d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops.

  23. I crashed and burnt with this one, but sheer persistence got me through,
    I have never heard of a 1a or the answers to 14a and 20D and I thought that a 8D was a convict.
    Five Leaves Left is a wonderful album but I think I’ll go with Santana’s Supernatural today.

  24. I quite enjoyed this 😃 ***/*** plenty of clever clues, 14a was new to me 😳 Favourites 19 & 21a and16d 👍 Thanks to Miffypops and to Giovanni

  25. Quite a stretch today ****/**** completed top to bottom whilst watching one of the shortest test matches!
    14a,16d,20d needed to be looked up whilst others waltzed in. I’m going with 1d in memory of our last dog of the same name. Mrs T names our dogs after Shakespeare characters, our current one Cassandra (Cassie) a Dalmatian bitch 16 months old .
    Thx to the setter and Miffypops.

  26. I didn’t think I would ever prefer a Ray T puzzle, but I do today. This was a slog from start to finish, and only finished with too many hints. To add insult to injury, I didn’t even get 16d, and we have them here in South Florida. They love to gather in the water around the Fort Lauderdale power station during cold spells, as that discharged water is warmer. I usually put a smiley face by great clues and sad face by those with unhelpful clues. My print out is covered in sad faces. But I am encouraged that several of the brighter solvers also found this heavy going. But thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for rescuing me.

  27. This puzzle took me quite a bit longer but still found it enjoyable. Several words I hadn’t heard of but doable except for 8d. When I had the first 5 letters I resorted to looking it up in the dictionary. 23d was a bung in so am grateful to Miffypops for telling me how I did it! Oh dear, the Test Match was a bit embarrassing.

  28. I thought that an 8d was a convict?! Anyway, everyone has said it all by this time, I had to go straight from lunch to a
    Zoom lecture on the History of Hobson’s Conduit. I thought I knew all about it – oh, no! I did like19a and I love
    it when an anagram just jumps out at me as in 12a. I did not know 14a or 20d but they had to be what they were
    so many thanks MP for confirming that for me and to the setter for the mental exercise. Such a shame about little Lola’s
    protracted malaise. I do hope it gets sorted. Every now and then I remember that I have yet to tell junior grandson that
    we no longer have Thompson. On the other hand, it is ages since he asked about her !

  29. Quite a challenge for me today. Most of it went in reasonably comfortably with a fair amount of head-scratching every now and then but failed the last 3 hurdles. Managed to get 1a from the checkers but only with MPs explanation did I untangle it. Likewise for 8d which I’d not heard of before despite it being way up there on the options consulting the thesaurus.
    Ah well, progress being made with 3 out of 4 so far this week. Let’s hope for a goodie tomorrow.
    Many thanks MP for the detailed explanations and thanks to setter.

  30. Well this one put me in my place, I was getting too confident after a good run over the last few weeks. The culprits were 9a,19a, 8d and 16d. Sorry setter but I found MPs comments more entertaining than the puzzle.

  31. I can’t believe the comments today. Must be a wavelength thing. This was right up my street. Id was straight in. I did Midsummer Night’s Dream for English “O” level. It was quickly followed by 1a, as aged three, I took part in my first race with the said vegetable on a spoon. The rest of the crossword all slotted in nicely after that. Many thanks to The Don and to Miffypops.

    1. I don’t know why 1 down held out for so long. Four lettered fairies are always either Peri or Puck. I discounted Peri immediately but Puck just didn’t turn up until the end.

  32. I found this very tricky, but I put it down to the fact that I had my second jab today and am feeling painfully tired!
    First mistake was putting “peri” in at 1d, the Persian fairy was the only one I could think of with 4 letters. It gave me the start to 1a but failed me at 9a. I also failed at 23d.
    Fave and way ahead of the pack is 16d, second is 26a, a real smiler.
    Thank you Giovanni, and much gratefulness to M’pops for unravelling so many solved with e-help that I didn’t understand.

  33. For me this was a typical Giovanni puzzle that was really tough to get through. I find some his clues really hard to fathom and at times impossible to get. 3.5*/*** for this one today. Firstly, I never knew 1d was a synonym for the underlined word in the hint and 20d a new word for me. However, some clues like 21a, 3d, 7d & 13d and several others jumped out at me. Clues for favourites include 15a, 17a, 27a, 2d & 16d with favourite being 2d with 17a being a close second.
    Found it hard to parse 19a, 8d & 23d amongst others, but for the most part a difficult solve for me today.
    But as I said at the start, I have trouble with Giovanni’s offerings.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops for many of the needed hints.

  34. :phew: Well, this one has put me right back in my box – call me a ‘hinty person’? You must be having a laugh.
    This one has taken me for ever and I’m not even sure if I enjoyed it much.
    I’ve never heard of 14a or 20d.
    My favourite was 19a.
    Thanks to Giovanni (who I always find difficult at the best of times) and thanks and admiration to MP.

  35. I well and truly struggled today. Usually I persevere until late into the evening by which time most bloggers have sensibly gone to bed! I didn’t get 1a yet vaguely remember them mentioned. I don’t recall ever playing them at primary school sports days. Managed the anagrams which helped considerably but decided to call it quits and seek electronic help. Thanks to the setter and Miffypops.
    Terence, so sorry to hear about the continuing frustration re Lola and test results etc You have the patience of a saint. Fingers crossed for 8th March. Does she have to make a long journey to see the specialist? Hope not for all concerned.

    I have kept up-to-date with the blogs but very sadly we said a final farewell to Doodles our Whippet / Lab cross, aged 17 last Monday afternoon. She had such a gentle and sensitive nature. We adopted her well over 12 years ago and in that time we have travelled the country with her and our Jack Russell. She had such a love for exploring the hills and moors at home and beyond. Scotland, Northumberland and especially Shropshire provided endless delights. She was certainly born to be free and appreciate what was around her. So sadly missed but accept they cannot live forever.

    1. It’s always so sad to say goodbye to a pet. I’m glad he had a good innings and that he managed to find a loving family and enjoy life. He’ll live forever in your minds and hearts, Hilary.

    2. It’s almost unbearable when they cross the rainbow bridge, they are such a huge part of our lives. Godspeed Doodles!

    3. Hilary,
      So sorry for the loss of Doodles. Not much consolation I know, but she had a good long life, none of our labs have gone beyond 13.
      At least you had the Jack Russell to mitigate the sadness a little.

      1. I sympathise with your loss of Doodles. I lost my two old boys last year neither of them making 17 years, only 14 and 16. Sad time.

          1. I still have two aged 5 and 3 now. I always have another one “coming along”. I haven’t been without a dog of my own for 55 years.

            1. Oh, I’m so in agreement with you. I’ve always had one “coming along” so that I’m never alone. I’m now of an age where I’m not allowed to have more than one, but that’s OK, Sadie is her Mum’s special. I’d like to get another cat or two, I’m so used to having cats lounging around in various nooks, and there are so many who need homes.

    4. Very sorry to hear of the loss. In the last 18 months we have lost two of our three dogs, mini schnauzer age almost 17 and our sheltie just 3 weeks shy of 14. We now have a lonely springer spaniel that needs a new friend.

  36. Did you know there are 83 possible four letter words with the checkers -e-t, according to crosswordsolver.org. I looked at all of them and still couldn’t see the 23d answer until I read the hints. Took me into 3* time. Unlike some above, I still enjoyed the solve, so thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  37. 4*/4*…..etymologically challenging I found….
    liked 11D “Symbols of the past to be reckoned with (5,8)”

  38. I’m in the “I have issues with this” camp this evening. This was harder than the Beam toughie in places. Never heard of 1a, 14a, 8d or 20d obscure or what? 20d is an unindicated Americanism, it’s a valve in this country. I have a 30 Watt valve amp and it’s exponentially louder than a 30 Watt transistor amp, so much so I have to use a heat soak to suck the volume out and turn it into heat so I can overdrive the valves and cause then to “clip” without bursting my eardrums. Enough technical stuff. Favourite was 21a. Thanks to the setter and MP.

      1. I’m not often right, except on technical issues, according to my girl friend but that another issue.

  39. This was really tortuous and tricky. Biffed 26A and 19A – I would never have got the parsings – incredibly ingenious. Full admiration for MP’s virtuosity both in solving and the hinting. ****/***

  40. My husband summed this crossword up when he said “I don’t want to spend hours of my life trying to solve a clue when the answer is a word I’ve never heard of.” It was a long slog to get three quarters of this done (although bizarrely my years of studying ingredients on shampoo bottles meant I got 14a) and then I had to give up in the SE corner and resort to the hints. Bring back Ray T!! ****/**

  41. Think I love Giovanni. It all went in so easily and I can tell you that that is not often the case. Liked that we had some science based clues.

  42. Completed last night before bed (VA, USA) and pre-blog! But wasn’t sure if my ‘parsing’ was right in several cases so came late to see MP’s hints to check….I was close enough apparently to get the successful completion!
    Quite a few new words in there that I did need online help…but, as we say, everyday’s another school day! Thanks to Giovanni today for the education and to Miffpops for the excellent explanations.

  43. Tricky but enjoyable puzzle. 19a and 21a were my favourites. Last ones in were 8d and 9a. With the checkers for 9a I struggled to overcome the idea that something long and yellow should be ‘crane’ (a mechanical one not the bird) but eventually the penny dropped.

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