DT 29611 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29611

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29611

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where the vaccine drought is apparently behind us and (according to reports) we are about to be swamped with the stuff. There are currently some four dozen countries ahead of us when it comes to vaccine rollout performance but, if our leaders are to be believed, we should soon be rocketing up the charts.

A solid offering from Campbell today that is not too difficult but is a lot of fun to solve. For an overseas solver such as myself, both the Cryptic and the Quickie were a bit of a lesson in English geography though.

Happy St David’s Day to all the Welsh among us.

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

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


1a   Genuine article secured by relative, almost 100 (9)
AUTHENTIC — a grammatical article inside mommie’s sister without her final letter (almost) followed by a Roman’s 100

6a   Mark‘s small vehicle (4)
SCAR — S(mall) and an automobile

10a   Splendid point female ignored, being silly (5)
INEPT — link together a synonym for splendid and the abbreviation for point; then remove F(emale) from the result. I would think the answer is more clumsy than silly.

11a   Feisty old woman‘s protest about limited hearing (9)
MATRIARCH — A protest that involves walking surrounds a hearing before a judge from which the final letter is removed (limited)

12a   Put on ring, gold, in players’ entrance (5,4)
STAGE DOOR — a charade of a word meaning put on (a performance), a letter shaped like a ring and the heraldic term for gold; don’t forget that “put” can be either present or past tense

14a   Line dance? (5)
CONGA — this dance is performed in a line – just not necessarily a straight line!

15a   Hear cop shot criminal on estate? (7)
POACHER — an anagram (shot) of the first two words in the clue

16a   Fast train  clearly indicated (7)
EXPRESS — double definition; the second referring to “clearly indicated” wishes, for instance

18a   Motorcycle company opening new store (7)
SCOOTER — the abbreviation for company inserted into an anagram (new) of STORE; at best, I would say the answer is a vehicle with pretensions of being a motorcycle

20a   Remarkable bistro associated with large English city (7)
BRISTOL — an anagram of BISTRO followed by L(arge)

21a   Good-looking police officer retiring (5)
DISHY — a senior plain clothes officer and an adjective meaning retiring or timid

23a   Old soldiers Manet’s shown adrift crossing inlet (3-2-4)
MEN-AT-ARMS — an anagram (adrift) of MANETS surrounding an inlet of the sea (a thank you goes out to Stephen L. for spotting the production error in this hint)

25a   Make neither profit nor loss in holiday flat (5,4)
BREAK EVEN — another word for holiday and an adjective meaning flat and smooth

26a   Indefinite number in region’s theatre (5)
ARENA — a mathematician’s indefinite number in a region or part; the answer is a better match to the definition when used in a figurative sense (e.g,, a theatre of war)

28a   Child’s toy failing to start? Current required (4)
EDDY — a cuddly child’s toy without its initial letter

29a   Half-hearted, Democrat and Conservative after outcome, both sides having been ousted (9)
DESULTORY — the abbreviation for Democrat and a nickname for a Conservative envelope a word meaning outcome or consequence from which the initial and final letters must be removed


1d   Section of diagram is surely wrong (5)
AMISS — a lurker (indicated by section of) hiding in three words of the clue

2d   Draw level, briefly (3)
TIE — a level (in a stadium, for instance) without its final letter

3d   Leap, then react unsteadily (9)
ENTRECHAT — an anagram (unsteadily) of THEN REACT

4d   A doctor during excursion produces drum (7)
TAMBOUR — the A from the clue and one of the usual two-letter doctors inside an excursion that is often guided

5d   Exclusive group from lake bed, originally (7)
COTERIE — a North America lake preceded by (initially) a British child’s bed

7d   Anger in vandalised crescent in Cotswolds town (11)
CIRENCESTER — a literary term for anger in an anagram (vandalised) of CRESCENT

8d   Tries in proper practice session (9)
REHEARSAL — a synonym for tries (we’re back before the judge again) inside a word meaning proper or genuine

9d   Starts to dispute it, so-called course record (4)
DISC — the initial letters of (starts to) four words from the clue

13d   Bored, a nurse going round a Cornish resort carrying son (2,1,5,3)
AT A LOOSE END — in this “Russion doll” clue, the first A from the clue and a verb meaning to nurse or care for go round the second A from the clue and a Cornish seaside resort into which S(on) is inserted; in North America, we use a slightly different version of this idiom (AT LOOSE ENDS) that splits (2,5,4) where the final word is plural – perhaps we just find more things to be bored with

15d   Steps taken with school accepting a second old boy, the Parisian (4,5)
PASO DOBLE — start by wrapping a school of whales around the A from the clue and S(econd); to this, append the abbreviation for old boy and a French definite article (with a thank you to LabradorsruleOK for pointing out the lost time)

17d   Describe spherical object in war game (9)
PAINT BALL — link together a verb meaning to provide a vivid description and a spherical object used in many sports

19d   Looking embarrassed about turn taken off (7)
REMOVED — the colour of embarrassment round a turn when playing a board game

20d   Fruit  bats (7)
BANANAS — double definition; a noun and an adjective

22d   Couple in generally OK environment (4)
YOKE — the second lurker of the day hiding in the final three words of the clue

24d   Gibe involving a daughter of doubtful honesty (5)
SHADY — a colloquial term for a gibe or taunt surround the A from the clue and the abbreviation for daughter

27d   Conceit, for example, on top of obnoxiousness (3)
EGO — the Latin abbreviation for ‘for example’ followed by the initial letter (top) of Obnoxiousness

For special mention, I will single out 15a, 3d and 17d all of which display very smooth surface readings and well-disguised definitions. Of these 15a takes top honours.

I think there are only two puns in the Quickie today.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): LOCHS + MYTHS = LOCKSMITHS

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : THYME + PHEWS = TIME FUSE

117 comments on “DT 29611

  1. A great start to the crosswording week with some great clues. I’m not sure whether or not I have the right answer for 10a. If I have, I cannot see the parsing. Favourite clues are many but I give special mention to 1a, 23a and 17d. My COTD is 14a because of its neat simplicity.

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

      1. It is, Toni and the moment I saw Falcon’s hint I wondered how on earth I hadn’t seen it! Mind you, it’s comforting to see others having similar problems with 10a.

  2. My rating is 2*/4* for the usual light but very pleasant start to the week. 3d was my last one in as it took me a while to unravel the anagram fodder to make a sensible word.

    My podium comprises 1a, 16a, 7d & 27d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  3. The only problem I had today was completing the puzzle on my mobile phone. I woke up at an unearthly hour, so thought that I’d tackle the crossword, but didn’t want to switch the printer on. Next time, I will just go ahead and face the consequences. I was thoroughly frustrated trying to see the numbers on the grid on my phone. The crossword itself was pleasant enough, but no standout favourite. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon. Today, the daffodils in my garden have opened. Rather fitting. Happy St David’s Day to all the Welsh readers.

      1. My mate was rushed into hospital after eating daffodil bulbs he mistook for onions. The Doctor says he will be out in the spring

  4. 7d my favourite from this light and very enjoyable Monday puzzle. Campbell rarely uses obscurities and his clues are generally well constructed with a smattering of humour. This was no exception.

    My thanks to him and to Falcon.

  5. Similar to most Monday puzzles with some tricky clues in the West (2.5/2.5). I liked 7d but found 15d and 29d too wordy and convoluted. I’ve never had ballet lessons but I would think 3d is more about a jump with intricate footwork and leap is a not such a good synonym. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and I hope you get your vaccine soon. Thanks to the compiler.

  6. I have to report a failure, again. 10a was my downfall today, I just couldn’t see it. Other than that I would have been complete in ** time.

    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon.

    Good to see in the papers that the over-40s are to be vaccinated. I’m over 60 and haven’t even had an invitation yet.

    1. If you go on the NHS Covid vaccination website you can book if you are 60 or over. Don’t need a letter.

      1. Thanks, but they are only offering jabs at the big sites, miles away. I don’t think an hour each way on public transport (and again in 12 weeks) is a good idea. There are at least two centres within a mile of my house. I’m supposed to get an invite this week.

  7. A very good Monday puzzle which just pushed me into *** difficulty but had **** for enjoyment. Falcon’s hints also had an excellent rating for although I had correct solutions for the clues the hints enabled me to see the reason. Many to like including 1a, 29a, 13d, and 17d, but my favourite is 27d. The clue’s first and last words excellently describes someone with too much of it.

    Thank you to Falcon who is quite right about the inferior 18a. Surprising how the Mod’s music was so good with such a pathetic form of transport.

    Thank you to our setter too for an enjoyable puzzle which has kept me inside until the temperature has risen slightly so it won’t be so cold for path laying.

  8. A nice start to the week in a Mondayish sort of way – in other words not difficult but over a bit too quickly.
    I had trouble working out why 10a was what it obviously had to be.
    Clues that I noticed particularly included 1 and 11a and 7d (because I like the town!) and 15d. I’m 13d so that’s my favourite.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  9. Silly and clumsy just about describes 10a both clue and answer.
    For the rest, as everyone is saying, a gentle start to the week.
    Thanks to Campbell and an unvaccinated Falcon. I had my jab at the National centre outside Exeter as I was away from home. No waiting, no pain and absolutely no side effects. Brilliant. I just hope it does what it says on the tin!

  10. It took me a while to get this sorted and fully parsed but possibly distracted by medical matters. I would say tougher than the average Monday, however I often find Monday’s offerings the most difficult of the week. The “leap” was a new word for me.
    My mother (bless her heart) was the archetypal 11a so that goes on the podium along with 5d and the clever 29a
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the entertainment

  11. A light but entertaining puzzle for the start of the week. 10a was a bung in for me because I couldn’t see the reason for it either. I’d have to agree with Falcon about the mode of transport in 18a. My brother had a lambretta and it wasn’t the fastest thing on wheels! Nobody bothered with crash helmets in those days either. Favourite today is 7d. I can see that might pose a slight problem for overseas solvers but should be workable from the clue. I did have to check the meaning of 3d. Who knew such a move existed? Does the English translation have any relevance? **/*** Thanks to all.

    1. I know the 3d answer looks like a French word with a rather strange (given the context) English translation. However, the term actually comes from from Italian (via French). The original Italian term is (capriola) intrecciata meaning ‘complicated (caper)’.

  12. For some reason beyond me – having failed to complete my last puzzle – this one fell in * time with some old favourites and just slightly more brain searching for 3&4d. Very enjoyable at **** so I am all fired up for the rest of the week. Thanks to the excellent setter and Falcon of course: may the jabs be with you👍👍

  13. Suitably Mondayish providing a gentle start to the puzzling week. If only Saturdays referee had been equally 10 across to both teams. Thanks to Falcon who now has the extra task of searching for a possible third quickie pun. Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle

    1. Hear hear re the “referee” MP (I use inverted commas as he only seemed to “referee” one side)

      1. However, if the opposition scored what I considered to be unfair points my response was go all out to score double the points they had unfairly gained. It rarely worked but it was a good way to diffuse the anger

  14. Tricky for a Monday, I thought, with 3d last one in. I knew the word but it was in a fog at the furthest reaches of my memory.

    Regarding motorcycles – ban them all! Every variation of them! Noisy, dangerous; ban them all! (A view I might not have held fifty years ago).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: J.S. Bach – Goldberg Variations.

    Thanks to Campbell, and Falcon (I hope your vaccination rates gather much speed).

    1. Love the Goldberg Variations, Terence. I’ve never been keen on motor cycles, since, riding pillion for the first time, the young man who owned the bike, set off so fast the I failed to find the foot rest with one cork-soled sandalled foot, and rode all the way home with it resting on the exhaust.😡 Love to little Lola.

      1. Thank you Chris. Lola is ‘ok’ today – it feels like a long seven days until her appointment with the dermatologist.

    2. 60 years ago I was riding pillion on Peter’s Cotton motorcycle, two young teenagers clad in leather and helmets. My first ride was 60 miles round trip, in the snow, to visit my Gran in Twickenham. That wet and cold winter dampened his enthusiasm and it was soon traded for a 1936 Morris 8. I shudder today when I see the motorcyclists over here roaring around, wearing shorts, flip flops and no headgear. Big ouch if they fall off.

  15. I find Campbell has got a fair bit trickier over recent weeks & today was no exception. Completed in just over 2.5* time with 10a the last in & a head scratcher to parse. Not one of his best for me but pleasant enough with a toss up between 13d & 29a as my pick of the bunch. Today’s albums: Journeyman (Clapton) & Jagged Little Pill – Acoustic (Alanis Morissette)
    Thanks to Campbell & to Falcon.
    Ps no DT Toughie but Bungo in Rookie Corner provides one instead.

  16. Straightforward and at the easier end of Campbell for me. Just into ** time & *** entertainment.
    Solid clues but nothing outstanding.
    Whilst an 18a has two wheels & a motor I would say it is not technically a motorcycle. You sit astride the frame on a bicycle & a motorcycle. You sit on a scooter.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    Falcon, although obvious, I think you may have omitted the role of “second” in the parsing of 15d.

    1. Hear hear, Scooters are definitely not motorbikes being amongst other things very unstable esp in the wet. Tread on the foot break and be prepared for the taste of gravel. Really miss my last bike, a fully faired Suzuki 400, lovely! Mrs B has banned me from two wheels probably sensibly at my age, I always was a hooligan on a real bike. Best one ever was a 500cc Triumph Speedtwin, amazing.

      1. I had a Bandit 1200 the original hooligan bike but didn’t go in for wheelies except on one occasion. We had been to visit family in London and were returning via M11, A14, A1. Stopping for petrol on the A14 and realising on the way out that it was a very short run in to the road on a busy Sunday morning I waited ages for a possible gap. Forgetting about Liz on the back, and the effect of the back box and panniers I twisted the throttle hard and was over two lanes before I got the front wheel down. Didn’t stop till we were home to give time the memory to fade.

        1. Different generation to you both
          I’m a “grandad” biker really. My last “serious” bike was a 650 Triumph Thunderbird in the early 60’s.
          Must admit I see the power & performance of modern machines and wonder just how riders control them.
          Interesting to think what will happen to bikes in the electric / hydrogen future.

          1. I think motorbikes and scooters are entirely different beasts. You might as well compare fish and chips and ice cream.
            When I think of scooters, I don’t think of Quadrophenia (and I used to live in Brighton).
            I think of Italy, sunglasses, pedal pushers and pumps, sparkling seas and pavement cafes – all the things we haven’t got in the UK on a chilly, dull winter day.
            I’ve been on proper (as the lads on here call them) bikes, having been lent jackets that could stand up by themselves in a corner and always got off with a rigid back and jelly legs.
            They each have their own glamour, in their own way, but today I’d rather the Vespa to the Vincent Black Lightning.

            1. Bluebird
              Wrong choice if I may say.
              Have Black Lightning, sell it buy a Vespa if you want and use the rest of the money to buy a villa in Italy to put the Vespa in!

              1. Haha! You may think of it as the wrong choice, LROK, and I respect your POV and I probably noticed the glamour more as a teenager, but after decades of treating the myriad after-effects of motorbike trauma, from head to foot, these days I have a different view.
                I’d definitely take the villa et al.
                I wonder what has happened to Stonewaller(?) our friend in Marche/Puglia?

                1. The olive grower as I recall
                  He was a little infrequent but now you mention it I think it has been some time since he last posted.
                  Hope everything OK.

    2. Yes, it does seem that a bit of time was lost in production. It has now been recovered.

      1. This comment refers to the error in the hint that LROK pointed out and not to Brian’s bike.

        1. The S appears to have “got lost in production” in the hint for 23a too Falcon! 😉

  17. I really enjoyed Campbell’s handiwork today, though I thought that 10a was rather odd (silly? really?). But the rest of the puzzle more than made up for that little oddity, especially 3d, 29a, 15d, and 13d. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. ** / ****

    I have just finished reading Edmund de Waal’s remarkable The Hare with Amber Eyes, one of the most absorbing and moving books I have read in a long time. Many thanks to Jane for the recommendation!

    1. I’ve been looking for some reading material. I’ll try that next. Thanks for the tip, Jane.

    2. The Hare With The Amber Eyes is indeed a fascinating read. The Rothschild Rockefeller and Morgan families made better choices than the Ephrussi family.

  18. A ‘flying’ start to the (non-)work puzzling week by following the Wednesday ‘philosophy’ of going Up the Downs. Almost, but not quite, * for difficulty so 1.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 5d, and 19d – and the winner is 25a.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon – you seem to be more optimistic about vaccine distribution than I am, although I am pleased to see your parenthetical qualification.

  19. Nice start to the week 😃 **/**** if a touch geographical 😬 Favourites were 13 & 17d Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell 🤗

  20. All the usual Monday fun, I particularly liked the ‘feisty’ description of 11a – a perfect description of my late grandmother!
    My top three were 21a plus 7&27d although several others came into contention.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.
    A very happy St. David’s Day to everyone – no doubt the Welsh rugby fans are still celebrating from the weekend!

      1. I just sent John Bee an email, letting him know that we miss him on the blog. He and I exchanged emails back when Shuggie Bain was all the rage. Hope that we hear from him soon and that he and Mama Bee are all right.

      2. Nothing back from John – very unlike him not to respond. I do hope that he and his Mama are OK – keep hoping that it’s just a problem with his computer.

  21. A rather odd mixture today with many clues almost R&W whilst others are somewhat trickier. I though 10a was an awful hopeless clue on all levels but I did like 15d. Enjoyable if you exclude 10a.
    Thx to all

  22. As a longtime lurker I am at last taking the plunge. I do enjoy reading the comments from around the world. Thanks everyone for cheering up my lockdown days. Thanks too to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      Now you’ve de-lurked, we hope you will come back and comment again regularly

  23. Also enjoyed it, */***. I didn’t have a problem with 10a. Both clumsy and silly are in the BRB. Happy March everyone. And thanks.

  24. White rabbits. (For the 1st of March). A very pleasant start to the week after a morning spent in Plastic Surgery where they peeled the scab off poor old george’s head and have left him pulsing like a new born’s fontanelle. Oh glory. Strictest instructions not to bang his head or the direst of consequences. So good to come home to a bowl of soup and distraction. I thought 12a was neat, the only one I struggled with was 23a for some reason, LOI. Thanks to the setter and to Falcon. And a message for Jules, no, have not sorted the email problem yet but will try and get round to it when my brain is working. Sunny but very cold. PS glad to hear my grandson at uni in Aberystwyth was shouting for England!

  25. All went well except for 3d and 15d which pushed this into *** territory. Thank you Campbell and Falcon; happy StDavids Day which one day will be a bank holiday (but not in Covid times)

  26. Fun puzzle to start the week with. COTD 11a which works on every level and leaves me wondering if Campbell has actually met my mother-in-law. Thanks to both Falcon and Campbell.

  27. A nice way to start the week. **/**** Fairly straightforwards with some nice clues I thought. COTD candidates for me include 12a, 15a, 21a, 99 & 13d with winners a tie with 13d and 21a
    Two words not in my everyday vocabulary were 3d and 5d. Had to be what they were but I needed to check BRB for definitions.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon
    B.C. gets information on jab roll-out at 10:30 this morning … bring it on!

  28. A steady pleasing solve today, although I was held up by two dancing clues. Vaguely remembered 15d, but 3d was new to me, despite having a very talented ballerina granddaughter. At least I knew 14a, more in line with my dancing ability. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Hope to have a go at #645 at lunch time.

  29. This was loads of fun. 20d made me a giggling twit but I do love corny jokes. Thanks to Falcon and BD and all here.

    Our day has started off on a slippery slope, literally. We still have about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground and it rained overnight. Our driveway is about 300 yards long and very steep. The propane gas delivery guy tried his best but for the first time in over 20 years he could not back up the tanker. We use propane (Calor? in the UK?) for central heating, fireplace, stove (cooker) and hot water, we haven’t run out but we will need some soon. So Alan is out there breaking the ice, LOL but not with a joke and a drink! Once he can safely get our car down he will go and buy some salt and sand. I’m staying put, holding down the fort, my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

    1. I had imagined, Carolyn, that a geodesic home would be all singing all dancing solar and wind energy. Where does the geodosic bit come into play? I am interested to know. We had Mercedes Benz tubes fitted on our roof twenty years ago, long before the panels which are now on practically every roof and provide electricity – our panels just give us constant hot water which is quite useful. At our age it would not pay us to have the modern solar panels, we’d never see a return on the outlay!

      1. For some reason I can’t reply to you. I’ll try again later.

  30. A very enjoyable start to a solving week, with some thoughtful clues.
    Favs 4d & 11ac
    Many thanks to setter & Falcon for his review
    Stay safe everyone, it’s not over yet!

  31. Confidence restored today after a torrid struggle with the previous three days. LOI was 10A which had to be what it is but it took ages to see the parsing. I agree with Falcon that ‘clumsy’ would have been a better definition. **/****. Thanks to Falcon and Setter.

  32. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, a very nice start to the week. Not as tricky as recent Mondays. I liked 15a, but my favourite was 29a. LOI was 14a. Was 2* /4* for me.

  33. My mother taught dance, so I knew about that ballet move, although I always assumed it was French, without ever questioning the direct translation – between cat(s)? I agree that “leap” would be much more suited to those massive moves that Nureyev used to get round the stage. It reminds you how those men and women were more athletic than most athletes…

    As to the puzzle, it was okey dokey, pig-in-a-pokey. LOI was the old soldiers and I found 29 a bit excessive.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Re: the name of the dance move

      If you haven’t done so already, see my response to Greta at Comment #11 above.

      1. Oh yes, I did thanks Falcon. Fascinating. That’s why I realised it wasn’t a French origin. Complicated caper sounds much more logical than between cats………

  34. Enjoyed today’s puzzle except, like others thought 10a rather weak. Didn’t know the ballet term but it was doable. I was taken to see Fonteyn and Nureyev when I was about 15 and did not enjoy it very much. Still don’t like classical ballet but Matthew Bourne’s ballets are fantastic, seen them all in Norwich. At the end of one, Swan Lake I think, he came up to the circle to do a Q & A session, so interesting. Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

      1. I saw him dance once. He was very……..striking ;-)

      2. I saw Wayne Sleep in The Wine Bar at Fortnums where I’d gone for a quick lunch. Very Enjoyable. The lunch.

      3. I shook his hand when he was in Charleston, ca. 1986. Didn’t wash mine for days afterward.

    1. I remember going to see Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands at the Lowry Centre in Manchester and mentally berating the chap sitting next to me who’d arrived late and then took to writing copious notes instead of revelling in the production. I assumed he was a critic until, just as the performance was ending, he left his seat, walked up onto the stage and proceeded to host a Q&A session!

  35. I really enjoyed this, right up my alley. It’s hard to choose a fave, so much to like, but I think I’ll pick 7d as my cousin lives there and I solved it right off. I must mention 15a and 21a as well, but many others qualified.
    I like Gentleman’s Relish and found out the other day that there’s a 15a Relish as well, has anyone tried it?
    Thank you Campbell, pure enjoyment, and to Falcon for his hints and tips.

    1. We love Gentleman’s Relish, Poachers Relish is nice but not as good. If you get the opportunity try Pecks Anchovette from South Africa, absolutely delicious. Mates always bring me back jars of it.

            1. Welcome to the blog, Mike.

              For example – The Bristol Channel is an arm of the North Atlantic.

    2. When we used to stay at the RAF Club in London the first stop was always Fortnum and Mason for a ceramic pot of Patum Peparium or “Gentleman’s Relish”. Wonderful on toast!

  36. Surely the hint for 1a is wrong? Isn’t it mommies sister and almost 100, ie 99?

    1. Mummies sister is your Auntie. Almost is Aunti. 100 is C.
      Au(the)nti(c) as the hint suggests

    2. Word to self – check facts first. It’s XC1X and of course mommies sister can be spelt ie.🤭

    3. Miffypops has explained the parsing. The reason for ruling out the Roman numeral for 99 is discussed at Comment #33 above.

      I also realize from reading Miffypops’ comment that I allowed a bit of North American dialect to slip into my hint.

      1. After living in America for 45 years, it’s the one thing I can’t get used to! All I can think of is Mommie Dearest!

        1. I know what you mean Merusa. We moved to the US in 1989 and then to Canada in 1996. When I do go back to the UK I switch to UK English, in the USA I use American English and here it’s a funny sort of blend. I do it mostly automatically though I use specific words just to avoid confusion. Especially as I still have a very British accent. Mainly because I worked from home and only interacted with the computer and the cat whereas Alan sounds more Canadian because he worked out in the world.

          Trouble is I have a terribly smutty sense of humour so I have developed quite a poker face especially in the USA and manage to curb my tongue most of the time. For instance very sweet little old lady in Iowa complaining about a very long drive and commenting “My fanny is killing me.” and again in Iowa a nice young man bounded up and said “Hi! I’m Randy.”
          On the other hand I got a very alarmed call from one of our son’s school because he announced that he had a collection of rubbers and I had to explain they are erasers.

      2. Sexist also. It could have been your father’s sister. But it’s not life or death, it’s a crossword puzzle

        1. I wanted to use the -ie ending to give a hint that the solver needed more than just “aunt”. I had actually written “mommie or daddie” but the latter was not to be found in the dictionary.

  37. Brilliant!
    Many thanks to Campbell for an enjoyable puzzle and Falcon for the blog ‘n hints.

  38. I’m in the “harder to parse than solve” camp this evening. Obviously never heard of 3d so I made something that was likely to be a word and Googled it, and hit pay dirt at my first attempt. A pleasant solve. Favourite probably 29a and definitely not 15a as I’m plagued with them. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. You’re plagued with 15a, Taylor? You must invite us all to your estate! 🤣

      1. Hardly an estate just a small collection of farms. It’s run on a shoestring. The travelling community run their lurchers where they like after hares and a couple of local ne’er-do-wells raking over the place are enough to cause lots of unwanted disturbance.

  39. 3*/4*…..found the quickie rather tough…
    liked 28A “Child’s toy failing to start? Current required (4)”

  40. Failed to finish last night with just 15a, 3d and 10a outstanding. A morning coffee break provided all the inspiration I needed. Not sure why 15a took so long; 3d is a new word for me and 10a was the last one in. How can a clue with three checkers in a five letter word prove so tricky? Had to resort to going through the alphabet to find words then see if they parsed in order to stumble on the answer. Still, it is always a great feeling when the last one goes in, regardless of how long it took.

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