DT 29620 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29620

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29620

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **  – Enjoyment ***

Gdanga and be grateful for small mercies. Today’s puzzle has only 27 clues to wrestle with. Some grids have as many as 32. I found today’s puzzle typically Thursdayish. Fair but tortuous to grind out. On the bright side the sun is out and Nirvana are entertaining me


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Pet’s   strips of leather (6)
STROPS: A double definition. The strips of leather used to sharpening razors are also fits of temper

4a        Crowds of men housed in rickety shed (6)
HORDES: The abbreviation for men or other ranks sits inside an anagram (rickety) of SHED

8a        London borough being indecisive (8)
HAVERING: Another double definition. This time the name of a London Borough and a word meaning being indecisive just as the clue says. The London Borough is on the east and its principal town is Romford

10a      Excellent journalist set about cruel person (6)
DESPOT: Begin with a four-letter plural word for excellent (Nothing to do with the clue but if it helps it sounds like the name of a national  tile selling company with 333 branches) Add our usual journalistic abbreviation and reverse (set about)  what you have

11a      Soft mass, mostly something fruity (4)
PLUM: The music notation for soft is followed by a noun (minus its last letter) meaning a compact mass of a substance, especially one without a regular shape

12a      Prepare a place like 8, we hear for a bird (10)
KOOKABURRA: Two homophones (we hear) separated by the letter A from the clue. One a word sounding like what we do when we prepare by heating, something for eating. The other a soundalike for one of  the words used in the clue for 8 across

13a      Sect’s purpose laid out in brochures (12)
PROSPECTUSES: Anagram (laid out) of SECT’S PURPOSE

16a      See beginner glow excitedly in sporting venue (7,5)
 BOWLING GREEN: Anagram (excitedly) of BEGINNER GLOW

20a      Ships — more than one coming to shore during vacations (10)
HOLLANDERS: Of vessels, one that comes to shore is surrounded by an abbreviated word for our holidays

21a      Son needs mature person with wisdom (4)
SAGE: The abbreviation for son is followed by a verb meaning to mature or grow old 

22a      A sound of bells heard — giving a message asking for help (6)
APPEAL: A cry for help sounds like what you have if you add the sound of bells ringing to the letter A from the clue 

23a      One of four children in short panic in special vehicle (5,3)
SQUAD CAR: A word meaning to panic or alarm minus its last letter sits around one of four children born at the same time

24a      Knight in doleful song expressing sorrow (6)
MONODY: Insert the chess notation for a knight into a word meaning doleful, sullen or gloomy

25a      Sixty minutes to get university award (6)
DEGREE: A double definition given away by the award given at the end of a university course 


1d        Youngsters getting minimal eggs and bacon? (5,3)
SMALL FRY: A cryptic description of a tiny breakfast

2d        Chamber said to be cold once (5)
RHEUM: A homophone (said to be) of a chamber which sounds like an archaic word for a cold

3d        Something sharp has king in difficulty (7)
PRICKLE: The common abbreviation for king is inserted into a word meaning a difficulty or scrape

5d        Nothing right with transactions — distressing experiences (7)
ORDEAL: The letter that looks like the number nothing, the abbreviation for right and a business transaction should lead you to this answer

6d        Audibly rubbish treasurer who shells out cash (9)
DISBURSER:  A three-letter homophone (audibly) of a four letter word meaning to rubbish or disrespect somebody is followed by the treasurer of a college or school 

7d        Trails not good with double bends at either end (6)
SPOORS: The double bend here refers to the letter S. A reference I’ve not seen for some time. There are two of them separated by a word meaning not good

9d        Eerie quality of grand welcomers swallowing words on stage (11)
GHOSTLINESS: The abbreviation for grand and a word meaning welcomers or receivers of guests sit around the words spoken by actors on stage

14d      Officer is a star, beginning to bring change internally (9)
SUBALTERN: Our nearest star has inside it the first letter of the word bring and a verb meaning to change 

15d      Impresario rude about good artist with little energy (3,5)
LEW GRADE: The name taken by impresario Louis Winogradsky can be found by placing a rhyming synonym of the word rude around the regular abbreviations for good and an artist. Finish off with the abbreviation for energy

17d      Little wife cornered and manipulated (7)
WANGLED: The abbreviation for wife is followed by a word describing something as cornered as opposed to rounded

18d      Signal gets half-confused on river (7)
GESTURE: An anagram (half-confused) of GETS is followed by a three-lettered river

19d      Repeatedly clean up a decorative item (6)
POMPOM: A verb meaning to clean or soak up liquids by wiping is used twice and reversed

21d      Sweat in the south of Picardy, along with fighting men (5)
SUDOR: The French word for south is followed by the same fighting men encountered in the clue for 4 across

Quickie Pun Fission Cheeps = Fish and Chips

119 comments on “DT 29620

  1. I thought this tricky. Had to guess 1a, 24a and 7d and didn’t really understand those so many thanks Miffypops. Although I lived in London for 12 years I had never heard of 8a so had to guess that too! COTD for me was 12a which amused. Thanks to the setter for a ***/*** offering.

  2. In my opinion this was the hardest backpager for a while, with some new words and some tricky parsing. In fairness, the wordplay was sound so even those new words were entirely gettable. Like NAS, 12a was my runaway favourite.

    My thanks to our setter for the enjoyable challenge and to MP.

  3. The last few weeks have seen me fail by a single clue or two on more occasions than I care to remember.

    Today I am short by a handful, and some of those I have answers for were questionable. It turns out I was one letter wrong in each of 1a and 8a never having heard of the latter and I had never heard of the term at 21d.

    My guess for 17d (WRINGED) was wrong, and that threw the rest of the SW. Not knowing the words at 20a and 24a didn’t help. A full ***** time spent and no result. Too many unusual words for me to enjoy.

    Thanks to the setter, and MP.

  4. A pretty tricky puzzle with some clever clues and a bit of General Knowledge involved (3*/4*). I did know 12a and 15d, which were well constructed but 20a across was a new one on me, thankfully easy to get from the wordplay. 1d made me laugh but my COTD was 9d. Thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. As often seems to be the case with this setter a bit of a mixed bag for me, with a bit of a dated feel to it.
    I do remember the impresario but should he be appearing in clues in 2021? 24a plus 2&21d were new words to me but very fairly clued. The double bends at 7a was a new device too but easily derivable and quite a clever clue. I also liked the double definition at 25a, the amusing 3d and 10a but easily my favourite was 12a
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the entertainment.

  6. We didn’t much like this crossword, too many obscure words and nothing raising a smile ***/*

    1. Agree with you AEvans. At least 5-6 very obscure words or meanings – spoils the enjoyment for me *****\** for me

  7. A difficult Thursday puzzle which has become the new norm it would seem, anyway not pushed for time and a real challenge.
    Two new words for me 21d and 24a, I struggled with the SW corner mainly due to a misspelling of 13a which gave me the incorrect first letter of 14d-never mind got there in the end, last in was 20a ,I think I had heard of the ship somewhere before and Chambers confirmed my supposition .Favourite was 1d with 12a a close second, glad i remembered Mr 15d.
    Going for a ****/****.
    A difficult Quickie too! has to be the same setter- excellent pun.

  8. Tricky today. 8a might be a bit obscure for people who don’t know London but it works beautifully with 12a. It took a while for the penny to drop with 15d. 24a and 21d were bung ins checked on Google. I’ve never heard of a monody. I unravelled 20a as MP describes but I did wonder if the answer referred to the famous Flying Dutchman. The Dutch call it the flying Hollander. ***/*** Favourite 9d. Thanks to all.

  9. This took about the time I’d have spent when Giovanni’s puzzles appeared on a Friday. Once again my ‘word knowledge’ matched the crossword’s requirements. The repetition radar did beep but not as loudly as it did with the Toughie!

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  10. I had to google London boroughs for 8a. I know most of them, including the one required, it just didn’t spring to mind. The answer was obvious once I’d gone through the list. Unfortunately I made a mess of 12a, as I had the right ending, but misspelt the first letter, forgetting that the “we hear” referred to both parts of the clue. No excuse really, as I do normally know how to spell the name of the bird. 25a also threw me as I put “honour” into the grid. I just thought of hour and added “on” without reading the clue properly. Serves me right. Still, the whole thing was completed well within my normal time, so despite my mistakes, it didn’t cause too much head scratching. 19d was my favourite clue. Thank you setter and Miffypops. Have I missed something? We don’t have pictures. I enjoyed the pun today.

  11. Tough & not really my cup of tea I’m afraid. Not heard of 24a, 21d nor pet in the context of 1a. I had no problem with 15d but thought it far too dated ( and parochial) to be a fair clue. Use of “men” twice gave me the feeling that it was a pot boiler.
    12a COTD at least it raised a smile.
    ****/** for me
    Thanks to setter & MP for the succinct review.

  12. Another fine crossword to exercise the old brain cells, some new words and some favourites. Favourite 6d and 23a.
    Just getting to grips with new varificals.
    Thanks to Pommers and setter.

  13. Would someone be kind enough to explain to me what the connection is between the answer and ships?

    1. As I’ve just said to Tincantel below, it is simply what they used to call a ship from Holland

  14. I had the devil of a time with this puzzle.
    Like many others I have never heard of the answers to 24a and 21d.
    Also I cannot relate the answer to 1a to pet, animal or otherwise. or the answer to 20a to a ship.
    My favorite is 12a.
    Not really a very enjoyable crossword, sorry.

  15. Two grids have 34 clues. They have used recently in the Sunday Telegraph General Knowledge crosswords.

  16. This one was not for me. I did not enjoy it all. There were too many obscure words such as 20a and 21d. I’m afraid this was far too much of a slog to be enjoyable. However, I did like 12a, which was quite slick.

    Many thanks to the setter for the beating! :grin:

    Thank you, Miffypops for the much needed hints.

  17. Found this somewhat harder than ** especially with two obscure words in 20a and 24a whose wordplay didn’t really help.
    No real favs as by and large this was a bit of a trudge.
    I have begun to dread Thursday puzzles.
    Thx for the hints

  18. It was such an effort to get started. I got 2 or 3 in the top half, most of the bottom half and then had to check electronically on the 2 very obscure items @21d and 24, before returning up top to finish.
    My guess is that people under 65 and nonUK folkses will have a few complaints about several of the answers.
    What is it with these new names for metropolitan and rural boroughs? Was Tower Hamlets the first? That seems to have been around the longest, but most of them don’t give you a clue where they are.
    Despite all that, I feel like I’ve had a bit of a mental workout. So many thanks to Giovanni and MP.

    Smells like Teen Spirit is now played by pensioners in Uke Bands…..Kurt Cobain must be turning in his grave. I’ve still got a ropy old Nirvana sweatshirt that one or other of the offspring left behind. I’ve a feeling it cost £16 and that was in the early 90s. It all had to be authentic, although neither of them have been interested in “labels” since. Searching for the exact shade of venous blood red DMs in Camden to suit my daughter nearly drove me spare……….those were the days.

    I just loved 2d, which I got once I worked out that “once” signalled archaic usage. I then started saying it over and over in the tones of Inspector Clouseau……… I don’t know how they ever got through those scenes…….

    1. The old London County Council was replaced by a new Greater London Council in 1963 by the London Government Act. Parts of Essex were incorporated into the new county, including Newham, where I lived. 8a was created from the amalgamation of Romford, where one of ny uncles lived, and Hornchurch, pteviously part of Essex.

      1. Thanks Chriscross. Looks like renaming of local government areas has been continuous for the last 60 years.
        I can’t always be bothered to google stuff, but this time I did. The images section showed a picture of 8a Town Hall…. I thought, surely that is a picture of Birmingham Medical School? Then I browsed further and discovered many more lookalikes, dating from mid 30s. Municipal architecture turns out to be quite fascinating, some has been turned into apartment complexes, like North Sefton Magistrates Court. I’ve assumed that the 8a Town Hall used to belong to either Romford or Hornchurch?

  19. Small it may be but definitely a stretch for me, failing at the two already mentioned 21d and 3d. But the quick pun was a real giggle. Thanks to Mr Manley and to M for the very helpful hints.

  20. ‘Tortuous to grind out’. You ain’t kidding MP. For my money easily the toughest back pager since the letter writers had their moans about Thursday difficulty. I eventually managed to get within a vowel of an unaided completion (2nd letter of 21d) before resorting to Mr G for enlightenment though he had been employed earlier to refresh my memory as to exactly where 8a was & to confirm 24a. Can’t say I knew the 20a nautical connection but the answer couldn’t be anything else. 15d took far longer than it ought to have for the penny to drop as I wrongly tried to put an anagram of rude rather than a synonym round the good artist. Anyway still found it an enjoyable tussle if a tad light on humour. Pick of the clues for me: 8/12a combo plus 6&14d – the latter prompting me to dig out my Betjeman & read about Miss Joan Hunter Dunn & once you’ve read one you start looking up others.
    Today’s album: Urban Hymns (The Verve)
    Thanks to Giovanni & to MP

    1. I had to go out early today so had no time for illustrations today. Betjeman’s Love Song would have been top of the list though. I’ve used it before and it always goes down well

    2. Thanks for the Betjeman reference, Huntsman. I’ve just read the poem but for the life of me can’t remember ever seeing it before. It’s quite the lark, isn’t it?

      1. I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to poetry. Betjeman is about my level because you don’t have to spend time figuring out what hell it’s all about…..

        1. I don’t think of you at all when I think of the philistines of my acquaintance. Decades ago, I remember enjoying JB’s poetry–had a Modern Poetry prof in grad school who loved him–but haven’t read him in years and years.

    1. I’m guessing that you don’t ever attempt the Toughie. Those more accurately fulfill your comment.

      1. The comments perfectly describe how Smardonian feels about this puzzle. I suspect that like me he steers clear of the Toughies or perhaps only looks in perplexity at the clues and solutions and then lies down in a quiet room. As he does when he reads comments like yours.

  21. Similar comments to those above. A tough challenge with a few obscure words and not particularly satisfying.
    I convinced myself that 25a had to be honour, which slowed me up a bit, even though it made no sense at all!

    1. Ditto your first line, Shabbo
      Thanks to DG & Miffypops for the review, which must have been hard work

          1. They say hard work never killed anybody Daisygirl, but women seem happier to take the risk anyway

  22. Gawd ‘elp us! Thank goodness for Miff in all his glory for I fell a good half dozen short with this one and without Miff’s tips I would be in need of therapy by now. As mentioned by Bluebird, the only highlight was the Clouseau reference in 2d.

    It’s taken a month but Lola has finally figured out what lies within the Pill Putty and is now refusing to even look at it, so I have ordered emergency ‘Pill Pockets’ which are in different flavours, to try and trick her, once again, to take her meds; anything to avoid a return of the bath towel imbroglio.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Brahms – Violin Sonatas

    Thanks to Giovanni and a special shout out to Miffo.

  23. Never heard of 24A and think 15D would be very difficult for younger solvers. 12A definitely the clue of the day if not the week.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to MP.

  24. My goodness gracious. Do you mean ‘tortuous’ or ‘torturous’, MP? I found this one to be a bit of both, quite frankly. Even though it took me what seemed like three days to finish it, using all the electronic gifts available to me online (all 5 letters), I had no real sense of enjoyment while doing so. Nor of satisfaction. It was a grind. The impresario was my LOI and it was purely a lucky guess, having been told that ‘low-grade’ wasn’t on. (‘Rude’ = ‘lewd’? Really?) I thought that ‘wavering’ made sense for for ‘indecisive’ but knew that I had never heard of such a borough (I know London pretty well), so that one wasn’t on, either. I did enjoy 1d, 9d, and 24a, but not much else. Thanks to MP and the Grinder. ***** / **

      1. Loosely related, yes – but rude does not mean the same as lewd Jose; lewd falls on the sinister side

        1. LBR. See item 2 below, from Chambers Thesaurus – that’s good enough for me and near enough to be valid in a cryptic clue.
          1 impolite, discourteous, disrespectful, bad-tempered, impertinent, impudent, insolent, offensive, insulting, abusive, ill-mannered, ill-bred, unpleasant, uncouth, uncivilized, unrefined, unpolished, uneducated, untutored, uncivil, curt, brusque, abrupt, sharp, short colloq. cheeky
          2 a rude joke obscene, vulgar, coarse, improper, indecent, indelicate, dirty, filthy, risque, ribald, lewd, bawdy, naughty, gross colloq. near the bone
          3 get a rude shock unpleasant, harsh, disagreeable, nasty, unexpected, sudden
          4 simple, rough, crude, primitive, rudimentary, rough-and-ready
          5 ignorant, illiterate, uncivilized, unrefined, uneducated, untutored, unpolished, uncouth, rough
          ANTONYM 1 polite, courteous, civil 2 clean, decent 3 pleasant 4 advanced, well-developed 5 educated

          1. All right. I concede. I think perhaps, however, that ‘rude’ meaning ‘lewd’ is to be found more often on the European side of the Pond than over here. Jose has gone to a lot of trouble to make his point, and I will gladly accept the strength of his rebuttal.

            1. A touch of thesauritis perhaps; the two words have distinctive, separate meanings in the dictionary
              There is a difference between a rude gesture and a lewd gesture

              1. Not in Collins Online Dictionary they don’t, LBR. See list 3 below, relating to “Rude”:

                3 (adjective) in the sense of vulgar
                vulgar or obscene
                He made a rude gesture with his finger.
                See examples for synonyms

                1. Exactly, ‘relating to’
                  lewd: obscene, sensual, lustful, unchaste, ignorant
                  rude: uncultured, unskilled, discourteously unmannerly, vulgar, harsh, crude, undeveloped, unwrought, coarse, rugged, rough, violent (of health) robust – Chambers Dictionary 2014 rev ed and Collins Big Blue Book agrees
                  I can find a website that insists the world is flat, doesn’t mean it’s correct my friend

                  1. Absolutely! You do my work for me. Lewd = unchaste/ignorant. Rude = uncultured/vulgar/coarse. Unchaste/ignorant = uncultured/vulgar/coarse. I could go on! How many “exact” common synonyms do the two words need to share before they become evidently synonymous with each other (especially when used in particular contexts/circumstances)? The phrase “Hoisted with his own petard” comes to mind…

                    1. No need to be, er, lewd(?) Jose, I’m just telling you what the dictionary to which we are advised to refer says
                      Yes, they are similar and related, but their precise definition is not quite the same
                      A = B and B = C does not mean A = C
                      Never mind, it’s only a word
                      Have a good weekend

                  2. LBR. I note that the Reply button is missing from your last comment (below) [in fact, above now] preventing my answer there. Presumably, the thread expired at that point? So, I’ll have to reply here instead. I do take your points but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. And no. I wasn’t being “lewd”, just echoing your slight sarcasm (thought I took it as friendly sarcasm). As you say, they are only words in a crossword clue – but I do tend to get hot and bothered about semantics. Have a good weekend yourself, my friend, and good luck with everything :-)

                  3. PS. Sorry, but just as a parting shot, the two words don’t need to have the same “precise definition” because neither of them is the definition in the clue, nor the only word in the answer. Being “synonymous” is the only requirement.

    1. I was Wavering about Havering too. I had heard of Havering and got that pretty quickly as the London Borough but instantly thought of Wavering when being indecisive. Toyed with the idea of it being one of those with a swapped letter but clue did not provide for that. I will look up havering in the dictionary. When writing this my spellchecker gave me a capital H! Hovering would be another choice for being indecisive for me. They were hovering outside wondering whether to go in.

  25. A typical Giovanni in my view, which as usual, left me with a couple of intersecting obscurities short of a solution, and without having much enjoyed the journey. On the plus side, at least there were no 14th Century religious assemblies to deal with.

  26. No pleasure today even with only needing four hints from Miffypops. But I did need quite a few more hints to find out the relationship of the words on the page to the solutions I had found.

    Thanks to Miffypops, you were certainly needed today, and to the setter.

  27. Seems like we are all agreed – disappointing that nothing today raised a smile – it was a slog but I learned another meaning for pet and remembered an impresario I had forgotten. Thanks MP – I needed your help today.

  28. My goodness, that was a double whammy. First a very tough puzzle with some strange words thrown in for good measure. Second, no picture clues, the only help I allow myself over my breakfast solve. I had to cave on that today. Never heard of 20a, 24a or 8a. COTD is 1a, as I have fond memories of my Dad using his razor on one before shaving. Will have to settle for those I could solve, and give up. Too much like hard work today, above my pay grade for sure.

  29. Phew! That was jolly hard. Many thanks to MP for the guidance. I usually go through and underline the word/phrase I am looking for but that didn’t speed me up much. I also fell into the honour hole for 25a and I put Lou so that sent me off course. Quite good for the psyche to be cut down to size after a run of feeling cockahoop. Anyone who did not know 1a has not had a teenage daughter! Finished it in the end without having to do a reveal but it was a struggle. Many thanks to MP and the setter.

  30. Giovanni at his most devious. I like to think of the obscure words as new ones for my vocabulary … (er, not really!) Took me 4* time, though I have a feeling I may have dropped off in the middle, only awakened by the doorbell.
    One query – I parsed 21a slightly differently, having ‘person with wisdom’ as the definition, and son (s) with mature (age) as the fodder. Guess it works both ways. But I prefer mine ;-)

    1. I think MP has parsed it the same way as you – he just forgot to underline the word “person” as part of the definition.

  31. I found or made this tough going,I have heard of 8a but did not know it was n London, no real COTD thank you to Giovanni and Miffypops

  32. A pleasantly tough one today. 24a, 30a and 21d new words for me and needed the dictionary to confirm. I always enjoy the Don’s puzzles. 1d was my pick of the day.

    1. I think the ‘s might be there just to make a sensible surface reading. A pet and a strop are both words used for (fits of) bad temper

      1. I couldn’t get the pet bit either. I’ve never heard it used as such, but assume it comes from petulant.

      2. Shouldn’t the clue read Pets’ instead of Pet’s? Then the Pets’ would work as a plural possessive in the surface and also serve as a plain plural required for the answer.

      3. Or, in the clue given, the Pet = a single strop and adding the s (‘s) from the clue gives strops for the answer.

  33. First time that I have not finished a back pager in months! In truth, came nowhere near it! 6 short! I thought it was just me having a post vaccination day…

  34. Wow, I can’t remember when last we had such a consensus of opinions like today! I did horribly, I only solved five clues before having to quit, it was like wading through molasses.
    I didn’t solve it but my fave was 12a, remembering Girl Guides of my youth, when we sang “kookaburra sit in the old gumtree, merry, merry king of the woods is he, laugh, laugh, kookaburra laugh …” in rounds!
    Thanks Giovanni, suggest you take your foot off the pedal a bit. Well, M’pops, I know you’re brilliant, now the whole world knows, how you solved that lot is a mystery.

    1. Same for me Merusa but our Kookaburra was in a bush. I’m still a Guide, in the Trefoil Guild, and love the songs we used to sing.

      1. He was definitely in a tree because it has to rhyme with ‘king of the bush was he’

  35. I don’t normally read through the other comments but having endured the dull grind through this I thought I would see if others thought the same as me – my own knee jerk reaction was that it was ‘arrogated’ and not clued – having read the comments above It appears that view is not far from the mark – and like all forms of arrogance it evidently fell flat on its face!! The DT letter writers will soon be back flexing their collective muscle!!

  36. It sounds as if we’re all agreed about this one – I can admire Giovanni’s skill as a setter but I need something to laugh at to really enjoy a crossword.
    I never did get the first bit of 15d – I didn’t have any idea what was going on – and 24a and 21d were new words for me.
    My favourite by a long way was 12a and the quickie pun.
    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks and well done to MP.
    An impossible day in Oxford – very very windy – a bit of sun, just enough to get lulled into a false sense of security and get gardening stuff out then torrential rain/hail and then the same again on and off all day.

  37. Blimey that was hard.
    Got there eventually unaided except for checking and guessing one or two spellings.
    24a a new word for me.
    So, *****/****.
    Always, though, look forward very much to Thursday’s tussle.
    Many thanks to the setter and to MP for the review.

  38. Maybe it’s just the fact I know it is a Giovanni puzzle today and that I just don’t sync to his wavelength, I am giving it a skip today.
    Just getting nowhere with it and having to look at hint after hint, no fun.
    Thanks to Giovanni anyway, and MP

  39. Sorry no fun today I simply gave up; the hints were more entertaining than the answers

  40. I think everyone has said it – I found it incredibly difficult and there were several words I had never heard of. I did finish it without resorting to the hints but I did use an anagram solver for the ships as I couldn’t think what the first 3 letters were. Can’t say I enjoyed this much and feel bad writing this when a setter has gone to a lot of trouble to compile it, but you can’t win them all.

  41. Having looked at the answers, just ***far too many*** obscure and largely unknown words in this puzzle … at least to me anyway.
    Glad I didn’t waste my time on this as it would have wasted the sunny day.

    Just my opinion.

  42. I was very taken with 12a. Did no one else sing it at school as a round like Frere Jacques? Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree etc? I’ll spare you the rest but it is incredible what the old brain can recall!

  43. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I didn’t enjoy this one bit. Too many obscurities and no laughs whatsoever. Was 4* / 1* for me.

  44. Thanks for this, very helpful. My first time here. I agree, too many obscure words! Can someone tell me what “Sixty minutes” has to do with the solution for 25A? I know I’ll kick myself when I learn it. Thanks.

    1. Sixty minutes equals one degree. There are 360 degrees in a circle. Welcome to the blog. If you are unsure about anything to do with a puzzle, a question here will yield a quick response.

      1. Thanks Steve! I saw a mention of this site in The Chambers Crossword Dictionary, and I’m finding it very friendly and helpful. Nice to learn I’m a cruciverbalist after all these years! Re-discovering the joys of cryptic crossword at 63, after a gap of maybe 20+ years. Chris Lancaster’s “How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword” has been very helpful.

  45. Found this very difficult today. Not come across 20a, 21d, and 24a before nor that meaning of pet. Please can someone explain where ‘more than’ is used in 20a? Otherwise it seems the final ‘s’ is on double duty. Thanks to MP for the hints.

    1. Ships more than one is the definition
      Lander, one coming to shore, inserted into hols

      1. Thanks! Still seems to me that the ‘more than’ is superfluous as ‘ships’ indicates plural anyway.

  46. Made hard work of this – agree with Brian that it was “a bit of a trudge”!
    Definitely needed Miffypops explanations on a few occasions – as a retired sailor I’d never heard of a “Hollander” being a ship! 24A was a new word to me as was 21D…makes it pretty difficult to solve if you’ve never even heard words before 🙄 thanks for the ‘lesson’ Giovanni…
    My sole moment of satisfaction came from knowing that 60 minutes equals one degree in navigation…but that was about it!
    Roll on the weekend puzzles to cheer us all up!

  47. This has been the least enjoyable week of DT crosswords I can remember and we haven’t even had the Friday challenge yet. I hope normal service resumes next week or i will take up thrashing myself with nettles instead.

  48. I’m with Eeyore on 20a. It already says “ships” so “more than” one is confusing. It had to be based on the rest of the clue, but the word seems to be used of the people, rather than their vessels. Although there’s probably an entry in the BRB about it. Pleased to have finished unaided despite the silly word count. All fairly clued (apart from the 20 grumble) which helps. 12 and 24 my favourites. Thanks to DG for the workout. Now to face the terror of a ProXimal toughie….

  49. 3*/3*…..the answer to 20A “Ships — more than one coming to shore during vacations (10)” does not appear in any of the online dictionaries I use-even Chambers….
    liked 1D ” Youngsters getting minimal eggs and bacon? (5,3)” and the quickie pun.

  50. 2 stars Miffypops?? This was the hardest I’ve done for a long time and although I eventually finished it with the aid of the hints, as others have said it wasn’t much fun. I knew the council but didn’t know the word meant that and hadn’t heard of 21d and 24a. I wish the Telegraph gave the name of the setters so I could give Giovanni a miss. We clearly don’t get on. ****/**

  51. Not as enjoyable as usual, although I did learn two new words Sudor and monody

  52. No doubt there is a simple explanation, but I don’t get the parsing of 3d … sure, K for king, and something sharp = priceless, but the rest? Would somebody be so kind as to oblige?

    1. A difficulty is a pickle as in: you seem to have got yourself into a bit of a pickle over 3 down. I hope that helps. Also the definition is always underlined in the hint

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