DT 29618 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29618

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29618

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I'm blogging today with a fresh armful of Moderna's finest. So far, so good. I thought that today's puzzle was trickier than the usual Tuesday fare. A mix of crafty misdirection and well-disguised definitions made for a most enjoyable solve, and so I have added extra stars to the BD rating. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.

 

Across

1a    Shield nurse carrying a head covering backwards (8)
CARAPACE:  A verb synonym of nurse (minus the "for" that I'd include) containing (carrying) both A from the clue and the reversal (backwards) of a head covering

Tortoise couple with some of their 45 babies, all wearing a1a

5a    Grim and unhappy maids facing student (6)
DISMAL:  An anagram (unhappy) of MAIDS followed by the single letter indicating a student or learner driver 

10a   Cola nut roasting, cooked and well done (15)
CONGRATULATIONS:  An anagram (cooked) of COLA NUT ROASTING 

11a   Tanned skin -- it's ecstasy in soapy water (7)
LEATHER:  The single letter for the drug ecstasy is inserted in a foam made from water and soap 

Too much sun makes skin like 11a

12a   Learned English: ill-mannered about it (7)
ERUDITE:  The single letter for English with a synonym of ill-mannered containing (about) IT from the clue 

13a   Driving dangerously in Sierra? Only joking! (8)
SKIDDING:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by sierra is followed by "only joking" or teasing 

Drifting in a Ford Sierra

15a   Cheer with echo delayed (5)
ELATE:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by echo with delayed or not on time 

18a   Demand gold, returning flushed (5)
ORDER:  The heraldic abbreviation for gold with the reversal (returning) of flushed or florid 

20a   Spice price is steep (8)
MACERATE:  Join together a spice that's the outer layer of nutmeg and a synonym of price 

Whole nutmegs with their outer covering of mace

23a   Fish left in hat? (7)
BLOATER:  The single letter for left inserted in a type of straw hat 

25a   Gigantic flying creature captures a minute male (7)
MAMMOTH:  A small flying creature drawn to flames contains (captures) the fusion of A from the clue, the single letter for minute, and the single letter for male. The albatross is a gigantic flying creature. Here's one nesting near Dunedin NZ getting the landing all wrong in front of a chick. And then walking off like it never happened 

26a   To get this protocol, rearrange a nine-letter code (7,8)
ENTENTE CORDIALE:  An anagram (to get … rearrange) A NINE-LETTER CODE. Read about the answer here 

27a   Cooked and pickled? (6)
STEWED:  A double definition.  The first is culinary, the second is informal slang 

28a   This is the end of the line, birdbrain! (8)
RAILHEAD:  Since birdbrain is not the same as bird brain, I believe we have here what is known in crosswordese as a "lift and separate" clue (see page 3 of Prolixic's most excellent Brief Guide to the Construction of Cryptic Crossword Clues. I recommend reading it cover to cover while you're there).  Applying that operation to the wordplay in the clue, we follow a wading bird by a synonym of brain to get the end of the line for a train 

 

Down

1d    Male (and half male) shellfish (6)
COCKLE:  A male bird with one half of MALE 

2d    Thoroughly searched, charged and then let go (9)
RANSACKED:  Charged or rushed with let go or fired 

3d    Outside church, cut and dried (7)
PARCHED:  Cut or "removed the outer surface of" containing (outside) the map abbreviation for church

A dried out landscape

4d    Provide food for domestic pet (queen) (5)
CATER:  The best domestic pet is followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth. It's been written that HM does the Telegraph crosswords over breakfast every day, so you have to wonder if she ever drops in here to get the odd hint 

6d    UN tried desperately to enter uninvited (7)
INTRUDE:  An anagram (desperately) of UN TRIED 

Uninvited kitty

7d    Thelma or Ian sheltering a New Zealander (5)
MAORI:  The first three words of the clue are hiding (sheltering) the answer 

8d    Ship concealing most of gun, I hear (8)
LISTENER:  A big ocean-going ship containing (concealing) all but the last letter (most of) a type of machine gun. I fell into the trap laid by the setter here and spent far too long looking for a homophone that could be part of the wordplay

9d    Grace ill, badly suffering from a reaction (8)
ALLERGIC:  An anagram (badly) of GRACE ILL 

14d   Ducks cook gently when lid's removed, son sees occasionally (8)
IMMERSES:  Concatenate "cook gently" minus its first letter (when lid's removed, in a down clue), the genealogical abbreviation for son, and alternate letters (occasionally) of SEES

A ducking stool

16d   Stargazing device from earl's boat rebuilt (9)
ASTROLABE:  An anagram (rebuilt) of EARL'S BOAT 

17d   Old clothes: a couple of shirts perhaps? (8)
DOUBLETS:  If one undershirt is a singlet, then whimsically two such shirts might be?  [EDIT: 4:30PM] Or it's a word meaning "a couple of" followed by the plural of a single letter that can be a basic type of shirt

A tailor in 17d and hose

19d   Regret having base metal in train (7)
RETINUE:  A verb synonym of regret containing (having) both the usual letter for the base of the natural logarithms and a common metal 

21d   Change design and sit once more (7)
REMODEL:  The answer split (2-5) could mean sit once more for an artist, perhaps

22d   If you lose this, you won't know what's going on (6)
THREAD:  A cryptic definition. The lost object is not your mind, but something else that if lost could make it hard to follow a conversation or argument

This cat has not lost the 22d

24d   Not in right end of queue? That's weird! (5)
OUTRE:  Link together "not in", the single letter for right, and the last letter of (end of) QUEUE 

25d   A weaving machine set up to make money (5)
MOOLA:  The reversal (set up, in a down clue) of both A and a machine for weaving 

 

Thanks to today’s setter. My list of top clues included 13a, 26a, 2d, 17d, 22d, 24d, and 25d. Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun: [EDITED 4:30PM] FARM + ASS + HUGH +TICKLE = PHARMACEUTICAL


123 comments on “DT 29618
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  1. Typically Tuesdayish. Everything solvable. Last one in 27 across. The Quickie Pun is four words making pharmaceutical

  2. Very enjoyable so well done setter. A nice mix of clues and difficulty.
    I thought 26a, although an obvious anagram was clever (unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of it from “our friends and partners” in the EU at the moment ), liked 28a plus 1&24d too but probably 13a was my favourite.
    2/4*
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment

        1. My Dutch cousin tells me the news coverage for the UK is always doom and gloom with a lot of emphasis on how we should never have left the EU. The way the Eurocrats have behaved, it’s a wonder there isn’t a queue of countries wanting to do the same. I suspect their press is designed to deter others.

  3. Darn it, another ‘close but no cigar’. It was the long anagram at 26a that was the stumbling block. With a word like ‘protocol’ in the clue, I was ready for a foreign answer, but my word building skills just don’t work in any language except English. I also didn’t have 17d and 22d which hampered my response.

    I found that the top half was a lot quicker than the bottom to solve, a trait of the Quickie as well. (And yes, the pun is four words)

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  4. Pleasantly entertaining if not especially taxing. **/*** 14d gave me a short pause for thought as I was expecting a couple of o’s in there for the ducks. Good clue. Favourite is 20a. That’s nearly a Ray T in brevity and very concise. Thanks to all.

    1. Yes, Mike. The first four across clues are italicised in the paper. Poor Mr K has to rely on the online version in which there is no indicator as to how many words form the pun.

      1. I’ve often wondered why this is not done in the online version too. Surely it can’t be that difficult.
        I suppose it wasn’t in the statement of requirements when the Telegraph outsourced the puzzles site redevelopment so it didn’t get coded in.

        1. The redevelopment team didn’t write code for the crosswording part of the new site, they just incorporated a free javascript package that’s been available on github for years. It’s not very capable and presumably DT puzzles doesn’t have anybody who can modify it to support basic features like styled text.

          I’ll update the pun to add the fourth word.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Sally. I’m sure it wasn’t just you who noticed. Everyone solving the version of the Quick Crossword printed in the newspaper would have been able to see that the first four clues were in italics. Unfortunately those of us overseas who have to solve on the Telegraph Puzzles site don’t get italicised clues, and so we just have to guess how many answers must be combined to form the pun.

        1. We who use the Daily Telegraph App and not the Telegraph Puzzles site do not get the italics either. If the pun isn’t obvious I look for more words.

  5. Fairly straightforward as Tuesday crosswords go with some good long anagrams (2*/2.5*). I wasn’t keen on the slang used in 25d, which was practically obsolete, when I was a child but it’s probably in the BRB. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler.

  6. Strange (but good) how we are all different. I switched onto the right wavelength from the word go and was looking at 1* completion time when a couple of clues in the SW corner held me so my rating for a very enjoyable puzzle is 2*/4*.

    I would have said that 25d is an American term. As seems to be the case quite often, Collins agrees with me but Chambers doesn’t.

    It’s not often that anagrams get onto my podium but both today’s long ones, 10a & 26a, made the cut and were joined by 17d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  7. Very much enjoyed this one although I always struggle to get the vowels in the right order where 16d is concerned and it took me quite a while to nail 22d.
    Packed podium comprising 12,13,20&28a plus 2&17d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for the most informative review. Hope you don’t suffer any side effects from your armful – I’m dreading having my second dose.

    1. Jane. I’m not sure which vaccine you had. 30% of AZ vaccinated have had systemic side effects, rarely lasting beyond 24-36 hours. No real world data yet for second dose outcomes, as these haven’t taken place, but trial data as well as theory suggests second dose will be much less of a problem. I hope so anyway.
      Pfizer is the reverse, with 15% having systemic after effects on first dose, with second dose causing more. The Zoe webinar last week explains the science if you’d like it.

      1. I had the AZ vaccine and it took a painful 4 days to get over it. Interestingly, my chiropodist, who was amongst the first to get both her jabs, being an NHS worker, tells me that a straw poll amongst her colleagues suggests that regardless of which vaccine they were given, those who had a reaction to the first dose breezed through the second and vice versa.

        1. Well, at least we know that our immune systems, once poked, have a bit of life still in them!
          I had no pain, but did have chills, a temp of 38.5 and anorexia. I’m glad of the enforced time gap, which I think helps, but worth having the booster, even if it only adds another 10% protection.
          Come September, more stabbing to come…….

      2. I had AZ. My husband had Pfizer and no particularly noticeable side effects. Certainly no headaches. None of our friends has been laid up with either. However a friend’s daughter in her 30s was very poorly for a day or so. Bad flu like symptoms. The word is that is affecting the young in this way but why that should be I don’t know!

    2. Re the vaccine side effects, so far nothing beyond beyond very mild soreness at the injection site. I’ve heard that the second dose can produce more side-effects. I suppose that will be evidence that it’s actually doing something.

      1. Glad to hear you are feeling fine. We both had first and second doses of the Moderna, and our reactions were quite different. The first round, Peter had a red, sore arm for days, me hardly anything. After the second dose, he had zero reaction, while I had chills that had me shaking badly, then sweats, nausea and needed to sleep all day. Then I developed a bacterial infection at the site of the injection. I suspect that happened when I changed my mind about which arm to use, and the nurse laid the syringe down briefly on a white pad, while she wiped the second arm. But all better now, and anything is better than getting Covid.

  8. Totally on the setters wavelength today. Very enjoyable with some clever clues esp 25a and 1d. Interesting comment about 25d being an Americanism, I would have said this was an old English term especially common in Londons East End so Mrs B tells me and she is a true Cockney (born within the sound of Bow Bells).
    Thx to all
    **/****

    1. I’m also a Cockney and remember a few people using 25d, when I was quite small but it has gone out of fashion, together with a few others like spondulicks.

  9. I absolutely loved this puzzle, from first to last clue. Entertaining, good fun and moderately challenging, it was a delight to solve. Like RD, anagrams rarely make it to the top of the pile but 26a was a gem. 28a was a worthy runner up.

    My thanks to our Tuesday setter, (take a bow, you deserve it), and Mr K.

    1. I will take a bow – thank you (BTW, it’s X-Type here, not Chalicea, as someone guessed earlier…)! It’s been a while since I’ve been allowed out to play: but I guess many of you will think it was worth it, judging by the comments and the (long) list of favourite clues. I love long anagrams, when they work well (though I was never a fan of Araucaria’s – I always felt they were very contrived and had no proper surface reading – sorry if that sounds like heresy!). I’ll keep trying to earn the occasional **** rating…

      1. You got your coveted **** from me
        X-Type and well deserved it was too. Thanks once again for a great puzzle

      2. Great puzzle thank you X-Type. Enjoyed it very much. As for the slang The Spectator allows it in that dreadful Taki column.

  10. A splendid workout.

    I could be wrong here but could ‘a couple of shirts’ me ‘two T-shirts’, ie ******Ts?

    1. Yes, as a standard cryptic clue, with a definition and some wordplay, it must be a synonym of “couple” + Ts = shirts. But if the clue was all underlined, wouldn’t it (just about) work as a cryptic definition of the answer? Especially with the ? at the end of the clue.

    2. Yes, that on its own works. But parsed that way I could not see a role for the “perhaps” in the wordplay, so I opted for a cryptic interpretation. IMHO neither are 100% satisfactory.

      I’ve edited the hint accordingly.

  11. No real surprises today, the only snag came in the SW corner I just didn’t twig 17D but 27A was the last man standing.
    Vinyl of the day Dire straits – Love over Gold. It’s a beautiful day so I’ll be gardening all afternoon.

      1. They never bettered their debut for a complete album in my view. Often happily listen to the whole of it but only selected tracks from the remainder.

    1. Mark Knopfler has improved with age. The stuff he has released lately surpasses most of the Dire Straits output

  12. Another example of a Tuesday puzzle that is somewhat less tricky than the previous day’s, enjoyably completed at a fast gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 12a, and 17d – and the winner is 12a, a delightful word which always brings back a memory from my time serving HM.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

      1. :lol:
        Thanks X-Type for an enjoyable puzzle. I missed your claim to ownership, at comment 11, while I was writing my comment.

  13. I could not, for the life of me, unwrap 17d, probably the cleverest of many really classy clues in X-Type’s uncommonly witty offering today. Like Young Salopian, I too absolutely loved it, but had to settle for two electronic letters to finish, with 17d my LOI, just after the other winning clues 22d and 28a (which I’d never heard of before). Also loved the ‘protocol’ answer. Great puzzle, with thanks to Mr K and to X-Type. **** / **** (I always give myself 4* when I have to succumb to electronic gifts.)

  14. Wonderful puzzle with only 17d holding me up. If I’m not mistaken we had 1a recently but clued differently. I always spell 16d incorrectly by placing two of the vowels in the wrong place, which held me up in the SE corner for a while. 13a raised a smile and is my COTD. I loved the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to X-Type for an enjoyable workout and, of course, thanks to Mr K for the hints.

    A great pity that 26a no longer seems to apply as I was told I could not get seeds because our neighbours across The Channel were refusing to send them.

  15. I can only assume it was the influence of Moderna’s finest that enabled you to stomach (literally) loading the alternative picture clue to 11a 😝 But thanks for the hints anyway!

    1. Must have been completely on X-types wavelength. Lots of lovely clues today.
      Beautiful sunshine here today but the next two days sound awful.
      Thanks to setter and Mr. K.

    2. I was watching the Great Pottery Throw Down last night in which the contestants were asked to create a decorated chamberpot, emphasising that the inside should also be decorated. I immediately knew whose face I would put in mine…….. I realise that is both crude and insulting, but, you know, if the cap fits……..

  16. Very enjoyable puzzle diverse cluing and nicely misleading, going for a **/****.
    Liked 17d, thanks to Mr K for The Tailor portrait, I’ve seen the Moroni somewhere maybe the National eons ago.
    Favourite 26a for the surface, not much going round with Brexit and Mexit.
    16d was new to me I think.
    Missed the fourth word in the pun, no wonder it did not quite work for me, never mind.
    Cracking Tuesday Toughie by Donnybrook-best get on with the ironing!

  17. I was breezing to a speedy finish in comfortably under 1.5* time until 3 head scratchers in the south. 17d, my COTD, yielded after a wee bit of thought but 22d & 28a caused a major hold up. With the former I just couldn’t come up with anything other than shield, which looked improbable, until eventually the penny dropped which left only one realistic option for 28a but the birdbrain connotation was a new one on me. Anyway an excellent Tuesday puzzle that was very enjoyable indeed. Will need to make the most of the last day of sunshine before a few days of grotty weather forecast. Today’s albums: Smoke & Noise (Chris Jones/Steve Baker) & See The Light (Jeff Healey Band).
    Thanks to X-Type & to Mr K

    1. Like you, I tried for a long time to make ‘shield’ work for 22d – my last one in.
      Grotty weather has already hit here so you can be reasonably sure it’s heading your way!

  18. Another delightful crossword, nicely clued. I liked the two long anagrams, as that is my forte and they were a great help. I wanted 27a to be soused so that and 24d were last in. Many thanks to setter and Mr K. Glorious here in the conservatory but I shall go for a short walk soon. I gather you are still suffering Manders, if that wound is on the front of the leg you must keep it moisturised as it heals as I believe you become vulnerable to ulcers. Golly, so many of us, two and four legged, are in the wars! In passing, I must just say I had not realised that Meghan was such a wonderful actress.

    1. I have always said that about Meghan, Daisygirl. The picture on the front page of the DT shows her “crying” but can you see any tear tracks on the face covered in make up? As a beautifully short and to the point letter from Jane Campbell says in today’s Letters Page “She’s an actress, darling!”.

      I also thought the cartoon by Blowers was so true.

    2. There might still be time for it to be submitted for “best performance by an actor in a leading role” (Biopic category).

      I’m sitting on the fence – not many participants in this drama have come out with much credit (one exception).

    3. I had quite a mouthful to say at the end of yesterday’s blog, blowing up like that was quite cathartic but I’m still not happy.

    4. Thank you Daisy. You have cheered me up no end. I am so surprised that none of the talking heads on the TV have reminded people that she is an actress by trade. I am glad to know I was not alone in noticing the wiping of a phantom tear. Amazing how some people can manage to weep from one eye only, hah… I am not a fan of Piers Morgan but I am very thankful for his take on the ghastly event, and those DT columnists who weren’t taken in by this dreadful charade.

      1. I read an online article, with an old photo of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The actress’s dress and middle parting hair style were a dead ringer for those of the Duchess and the heavy black make up around her eyes was strangely reminiscent of Princess Diana’s at the Bashir interview. Coincidental?

        1. Vitriol even in a crossword blog? No wonder the poor woman left. She has had nothing but negative press since the day she got married. Being rich doesn’t make you immune from mental health problems and with the amount of bile she’s endured from the British media it’s absolutely not surprising she felt suicidal. Bryony Gordon’s piece today is the only sensible thing I’ve read about her in a long while. And unlike most of the journos pontificating about her, Briony actually knows the Sussexes. None of the cast and crew of Suits, where she worked for seven years, has a bad thing to say about her either.

  19. Some learning points for me today – didn’t know the spice and certainly didn’t know it was the outside of nutmeg and I’ve not come across 27a to mean tipsy but all fun and fair. Top half flew in, second half required effort!

  20. I found this pretty good, well thought out clues,some nice anagrams to get started. I also wanted 27a to soused. Thanks for the hints Mr K. Battening down the hatches here in light of the approaching storm.
    Another fantastic Tuesday offering.
    Thanks to X Type and Mr K.

  21. Very entertaining puzzle but, and I think I’m in the minority here, I don’t like so many anagrams – not really a complaint just a preference.
    My favourite was 28a.

  22. Thank you X Type for a fun challenge where 17d outfoxed me – great clue! Thanks also Mr K for the reference in 28a which I’ll try to read

  23. I have heard of 25d, but I always assumed it was spelt with h at the end. I recall hearing a saying “the moolah is in the coolah”, but I have no idea what they were referring to (or what the coolah was!).

    Thanks to the setter, and to Mr K.

  24. Took me ages to get 26a mainly because I was doing it electronically and had mistyped and put i as the last letter in the first word. 17d was a really clever clue. Last one in 27a. Off in half an hour to get my dressing changed. Rang surgery repeatedly yesterday and on the last call was told rather huffily that my appointment was 4.24 today, trouble was that no-one had bothered to tell me so I’m glad I rang. Terribly painful so rather dreading what they might find and yes, DG, I too am very worried about ulcers but heavily bandaged at the moment – I shall take advice. Many thanks to the setter and Mr K. That picture at 11a is revolting!

    1. I am a great believer in moisturising, E45, Nivea, Clinique – whatever, bring it on. About 18 months ago I had an argument with the spout of an old plastic watering can – not, you would think, a serious weapon, but boy did I have a bad leg and had to go to the nurse as it was infected. It was she who told me of the danger and I still have a discolouration where the wound was. Bio oil is another good one. Fingers crossed. You’ve got to be fit to meet me at the Raptor Centre!

    2. Your Pecks arrived today and, yes, it’s delicious! I think the Gentleman’s Relish is just a shade better. In Jamaica we have a similar thing called Solomon Gundy, but that is made with smoked herring. Thanks for the tip.
      Of course the pic at 11a is revolting, isn’t he?

  25. Very late today (haven’t attempted the crossword yet) as I had to drive H to her Covid test prior to her operation on Friday. Lengthy delay due to what looked like a serious accident and we had to make a substantial detour.

    The report from the specialist vet runs to two full pages of A4 (and we also now have the German results) so I will condense it:
    It is mainly reporting on what has been ruled out. She does not have cat herpes, or anything viral, or anything very sinister. The belief is an echo of the local vet – a strange immune system failure that they have never seen before. So… there were more biopsies and more tests. In the meantime, Lola is to have increased strength of steroids, and they may be increased further, with a continuation of antibiotics. This is all to keep her ticking over until the latest results emerge. She continues to be cheery and stoic, but unable to lead a normal feline life, at present.
    I apologise in advance but I may repeat this tomorrow as I have posted so late today.

    Thanks for all good wishes, and thanks in advance to the setter of today’s puzzle, and the Celebrated Mr K.

    1. It goes on and on Terence. You and Lola must be pretty fed up. Getting the steroid dose just right in cases of human autoimmune malfunction can certainly work as we have found with Mr CC. I hope it works for Lola.

    2. Not exactly the news you wanted to hear, Terence. I suffer with an autoimmune problem (lupus) and steroids do seem to be the only way forward. Sadly, the best they can do is bring about periods of remission, there isn’t a known cure.

    3. Oh dear, poor Lola’s trouble seem continuous. I hope they get the steroid dosage right in the end.

    4. You might get a syndrome called after Lola as this seems such a rare thing. Give her pats from the furry friends in Miami.

  26. I’m late doing puzzle today as I’ve been out sawing branches, lopping and clipping before nests and foliage are started (although the latter has begun). It’s late really, but the last few weeks, if it wasn’t frozen, it was windy and if it wasn’t windy, it was raining. It’ll be raining again tomorrow……. and 40mph wind on Thursday morning………
    I quite liked the puzzle, but I failed to get 27, which I’ve not come across as that synonym and although I guessed the second half of 28 and had the two checkers before, I still didn’t get it because I’d never heard of the bird, nor the answer itself…….
    Liked the anagrams and 22d.
    Thanks to Mr K and X-type.

  27. Really enjoyable puzzle today about which all has been said that needs saying. Favourite is 20a.

    Thanks to Mr K and X-Type to whom thanks for dropping in.

  28. Some really witty and intricate cluing but within my solving abilities so particularly enjoyable and finished at a steady jog. LOI was 26A mainly because i was busy doing the checkers and when those were in, didn’t need the anagram fodder at all. 14D was my favorite – delightful misdirection with ‘ducks’. I went through all the possible non-obvious meanings before the ducking-stool version came to mind. Many thanks to X-Type and Mr K. 2.5*/****

  29. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. What a super puzzle, really enjoyed it. Top half went in quickly, but the bottom half was a bit more tricky. Took me a while to get 26a, needed most of the checkers. LOI was 17d. Favourite was 28a. Was 3* /4* for me.

  30. I agree this was a to harder than the recent Tuesday puzzles. In addition, this was like two different puzzles for me. Did the top half in * time and in the end the whole thing was ***/***. The bottom took forever to get going, (and took a couple of hints), and even then it was still slow going. Would have been **** for enjoyment but the tough struggle took it down a notch.
    Clues for favourites include 12a, 20a, 23a (mostly associated from place In Norfolk where I resided as a child), 28a & 8d … with top clue being 23a!

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  31. I loved it all, this was right up there with favourite crosswords of all time! I only needed e-help with 28a, I hadn’t heard of it. I waited until I had checking letters before trying to work out the long anagrams, my page has letters written all over it.
    There was nothing 24d to complain about and there was so much to like, it’s impossible to choose a fave. The 17d was clever, 16d was too, I was misled by the stargazing bit … oh, those stars!
    Thank you X-type for all that fun, and thanks to Mr. K for the usual giggle-worthy review; loved the albatross, the cats in 6d, and, natch, the sub-pic at 11a.

  32. Goodness me, 90% of this was a write-in, then I got to the SE corner…LOI was 28a, very clever.
    I thought that was one of the best for a while, congrats to the setter and thanks to Mr.K, now for the blog…

  33. That was a fun puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed. 16d was last in, never heard of it, and clearly telescope wasn’t going to work. We did chuckle at 26a, never having seen that actually put in action. I recently made a mental note to remember 1a, and it paid off today. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  34. Phew! Just made it in the nick of time 😬 Such a nice day today had to spend a lot of it outdoors. Lovely crossword ***/**** 😃 Favourites 1a & 1d Thanks to the Setter and to Mr K 🤗 Must scuttle off now to read the comments

  35. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle and was romping through it until I got to 25D. It had to be moola but neither of the currency sections in my two reference books listed it! Many thanks to the setter X-type and Mr K.

    Terence so sorry to hear about Lola but she’s obviously well-loved and receiving the best of care available. Fingers-crossed.

  36. A big tick from me. I managed to solve it without help. I got a bit stuck on 28a but once I’d worked out that the first half was a bird I got it (despite not coming across the word before) and that allowed me to get the brilliant 22d. More from X-type please!! **/****

  37. “If you lose this, you won’t know what’s going on” Well, memory seemed like a perfectly reasonable answer to me, so that slowed me down a bit!! But once I picked up the right thread, it all fell into place. Like many, I enjoyed the long anagrams but especially 10a.
    An enjoyable crossword, thanks to X-type and Mr K.

  38. I was going to put that I made harder work of this than I should have but it seems everyone else did as well. Nonetheless enjoyable though. Favourite was 13a thanks ti X-Type and Mr. K.

  39. I was interrupted by a Zoom call so have largely forgotten what I was going to say. Great first half for me – the top half. I got a muddle in the bottom half due to putting the answer to 19d also in 21d. Also confidently put in memory at 22d which slowed me down with our friendly relations at 26a. 27 and 28a were my last two in and I did not particularly enjoy the latter.1d is my favourite. Thank you XType and Mr K.

  40. Very late posting today as day just seems to have disappeared.
    Unlike most I found this straightforward with everything going in smoothly.
    Reading the posts and seeing it was X Type explained it as I always seem to be on his wavelength.
    26a my COTD
    Thanks to X Type and MrK.

  41. Also late posting again on this side of the Atlantic, but having rattled through this at a fine pace last night before my slumbers (next day’s DT downloads about 10pm ish here!)
    Thoroughly enjoyed this and see it’s from a setter not encountered before – well, I’m glad to meet X-Type (Jag ref?) with whom I clearly share the same wavelengths!
    Thanks also to Mr K for the great blog’n hints.
    Cheers! 👍

    1. Hi Bruce….Yes, the pseudonym is indeed a reference to the (now discontinued) Jaguar model – one of which I owned a few years ago. And it seemed to fit nicely with both X (as in X-words, or even Ximenes – for those with long memories) and Type-setting, etc. Thanks for noticing the allusion!

  42. An enjoyable puzzle with the North being fairly friendly and the South putting up a fight. Never come across 25a before. 27a was my last one in – I was determined to make ‘seeped’ work until the penny dropped. Favourites were 11a and 22d. Now off to get some well earned shut eye, and looking at the UK weather forecast it is probably not worth getting out of bed tomorrow except to print off the crossword.

  43. Thank you to Mr K and X-Type. The quickie pun was definitely my favourite today: I spent ages trying to pronounce the 3 words along the top line in various accents before trying out the 4th answer on the off-chance.

  44. 2*/3*….nice illustrations in the hints…
    liked 26A “To get this protocol, rearrange a nine-letter code (7,8)”

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