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DT 29632

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29632

Hints and tips by Miffypops and Saint Sharon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Gdanga, gdanga, gdanga from the outskirts of Barrel where today’s bloggers Miffypops and Saint Sharon reside in marital bliss. The sun is shining, Giovanni has set a tough puzzle to tease and beguile us. What’s not to like about a day like today?

A quick peep at the national day calendar suggests that today is National Waffle Day. I’m ignoring the foodstuff and going for the lengthy but vague and meandering trivial guff I normally come out with. No change there then

It is also a special day for those described in the answer at 1 down. A co-incidence our setter is surely unaware of, or is he? Who knows?

There are an abundance of anagrams today to help those persevering with mental solving and those resolutely sticking to writing the letters out. Either way anagrams will provide a helpful way into this puzzle 

Breaking news. After the Six Nations Tournament here is the proposed  British and Irish Lions logo for 2021

Here we go then, are you ready for this?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


8a        What could be too unfeeling as a worldwide organisation (6,2,7)
LEAGUE OF NATIONS: An easily spotted anagram (What could be) of TOO UNFEELING AS A. The definition should give this answer away so surely no pencils necessary yet

9a        Tease  fellow (3)
GUY: A double definition, the second being the most accessible

10a      Polite padre awkward with ‘flighty’ types (11)
LEPIDOPTERA: Another anagram (awkward) of POLITE PADRE. Still no pencils needed especially if you have a couple of checking letters

11a      Old political group ultimately deficient in style (2,3)
OP ART: The abbreviation for old is followed by a description of a political party minus its last letter (deficient). In the United Kingdom our main three political groups are Labour Conservative and Who knows these days? In the United States we have the Democrats and The Republicans. I have no idea what they have anywhere else in the world other than Dictators 

12a      Once again picks up a learner to offer practice (9)
REHEARSAL: This practice is done by entertainers before performing in front of an audience in order to sharpen their act. The letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for learner follow a phrase meaning to pick up again with ones organ of hearing. Perhaps what ones ears do after asking somebody to come again. Don’t forget the letter S indicated by the plural in picks

15a      Yours truly will entertain poet, being a person of fashion (7)
MODISTE: Our regular personal pronoun for ‘yours truly’ has inside it (entertains) a poet. Not a named poet like Auden or Keats but a writer of odes. Hopefully not the ghastly geezer from That’s Life

17a      Wild ground in home counties offers cover (7)
SHEATHE: The regular abbreviation for the south east (Home Counties) has inside it some wild ground like that found in Hampstead 

19a      Vehicle meeting arch losing its front — one may be charged (9)
CARTRIDGE: A vehicle that might be pulled by a horse is followed by an arch such as one providing a river crossing but minus its first letter (losing its front)

20a      Island offering some music or fun (5)
CORFU: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. As indicated by the word some. Here is a photo of Saint Sharon and our eldest daughter on this island

21a      Bringing diverse people together maybe for a mathematical exercise (11)
INTEGRATION: A double definition. As a multi cultural island we should be proud of our success at the first definition 

24a      Holy person drinks nothing — I drink too much (3)
SOT: The regular abbreviation for a holy person is split by the letter suggested by the number nothing

25a      One making a point, taking the lead? (6-9)
PENCIL SHARPENER: The word lead in this clue does not mean to be in advance or to go ahead. It is what is incorrectly said to be found in a writing implement and is actually graphite. The implement suggested by the clue puts a point on this writing implement used by many solvers for help with anagrams. Way back in time a Mr Percy Shaw was driving at night when he saw a cat. The reflection of his headlamps in its eyes gave him the idea for cats eyes which undoubtedly make our roads safer. Had the cat been facing the other way he may have found the inspiration for the answer here


1d        Terrible army, one coming down — I’m in a state (10)
MARYLANDER: An anagram (terrible) of ARMY is followed by one who comes down in an aeroplane perhaps. The answer is an inhabitant of one of the United States of America. The one whose state crustacean is The Blue Crab and this is one of their most famous musicians 

2d        A little bird, you might surmise, in a passage getting food? (6)
GULLET: At a loss for an answer here I turned to Saint Sharon for help and true to form she came up trumps. She really is a star. The passageway here is the oesophagus. That is the easy bit. If a baby owl is an owlet then a baby nuisance seabird might be known as this. Life is too short to consult dictionaries so I’m not sure if this definition really exists. The question mark at the end of the clue might suggest not

3d        Snake reached ground, circling round very quietly (10)
COPPERHEAD: An anagram (ground) of REACHED surrounds the roundest of letters and the musical abbreviation for very quietly 

4d        Woman showing purpose, the first person to get stuck in (4)
ENID: The single letter first person is inserted into a word meaning an aim or purpose

5d        Spot unruly servant creating trouble at work? (8)
STOPPAGE:  An anagram (unruly) of SPOT is followed by a young male servant 

6d        Linger endlessly in south coast location (4)
HOVE:  A verb meaning to linger close at hand, especially in a hesitant or uncertain manner needs to lose its last letter (endlessly). I did so want the answer to be Looe

7d        King’s one to upset country (6)
ISRAEL: The plural of a Shakespearean king, the father of Regan, Goneril and Cordelia is followed by the letter that looks like the number one. All is then reversed as indicated by the word upset

8d        Space in which a member can feel comfortable? (7)
LEGROOM: The member here is a lower limb and the space in the clue is never enough in an aeroplane unless you fly first class or by private jet

13d      Very emotional leader of Conservatives appearing in absurd hairstyle (10)
HYSTERICAL: An anagram (absurd) of HAIRSTYLE also contains the initial letter of the word conservative 

14d      One on the up — was model first to be taking off? (10)
SATIRISING: A three part charade. 1 The letter that looks like the number one. 2 On the up. Getting out of bed perhaps. 3 To have posed or modelled for an artist. Arrange in the order suggested by the clue 

16d      Community of women in Algiers sadly having nothing (8)
SERAGLIO: Anagram (sadly) of Algiers followed by the letter represented the word nothing

18d      A band going across Africa and many other places (7)
EQUATOR: A cryptic definition of an imaginary band encircling the earth and crossing thirteen countries

19d      Irritable Charlie, a drop-out (6)
CHIPPY:  The abbreviation for Charlie is followed by a 1960s flower power drop out

20d      Covering article smuggled aboard by pirate (6)
CANOPY: The word AN from the clue is surrounded by a word meaning to pirate something as a plagiarist might do

22d      Fish — a bit of food served up (4)
TUNA: The letter A from the clue is followed by a small morsel of food, an edible kernel

23d      Moral slip-up first ignored in part of the church? (4)
APSE: A brief or temporary failure of concentration needs its first letter removing (first removing)

Quickie Pun Steppe + Dorter =  Step-daughter


109 comments on “DT 29632

  1. I thought 14d was a terrific clue, the rest alas a bit of a mixed bag. I didn’t actually find it that difficult at all, any obscurities could easily be guessed and Googled, my biggest quibble is that it could quite easily have sat on the back page of The Telegraph 50 years ago (4d…yuk!).
    I did quite like1&20d and thought 2d clever, where I think the “you might summise” indicates that the bird is “questionable”.
    2/2.5 *
    Many thanks to Giovanni, MP &SS for the entertainment.

    1. Surely 13d pretty topical ? I don’t recall Ted Heath’s barnet being particularly unkempt….

      1. Hairstyle is obviously (part of) the anagram fodder and absurd the indicator but in view of the ridiculous mop on the head of the PM I take your point!

  2. On the friendly side for Giovanni- well I thought so – as MP says, there were quite a lot of anagrams

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP and SS too

  3. Quite a hard puzzle and just went into *** time.
    What one might describe as a reasonably steady plod with COTD being 14d. Enjoyment factor *** Many thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops and Saint Sharon. My word – what a colourfully named trio!

  4. That was a really hard slog and I am surprised that I managed to finish it with only 4 bung-ins (3.5*/1.5*). I found some of the clues a bit clumsily worded and had to do quite a bit of guessing. There were a few good anagrams (8a and10a), which I quite enjoyed but this puzzle wasn’t really my cup of tea. Thanks to MP for the hints andto the compiler.

    1. Thank you to Saint Sharon too. I think I read somewhere that ‘c—-y ‘as a word for bad-tempered is a favourite term for the Queen and the Royal family.

  5. A tad anagram heavy (no pen required) & perhaps a bit of a mixed bag but still pleasant enough & probably the toughest of the week so far without being particularly difficult. 14d was also my pick of the bunch but also liked 3&13d plus 25a in what was a steady solve in 2.5* time. Had to check on the 2nd word of the Quickie (nice pangram) pun which was new to me.
    With thanks to Giovanni & to MP – enjoyed the Steve Earle clip. Often listen to his stuff & also to that of JT, his lad. Don’t know whether you’re familiar with his stuff but Ruarri Joseph & his current band William The Conqueror may be right up your strasse & well worth a listen to.

    1. Steve Earl quote “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that” I was trying to remember William The Conquerer in the car yesterday while Saint Sharon was driving. We played Peter Gabriel instead.

      1. Pancho & Lefty is a wonderful song of his although I reckon the cover of it by Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook is my favourite version.

      2. There’s a ready mixed concrete outfit near Hastings called William the Concreter. No, really there is!

    1. I think it’s C for Charlie as in the nato alphabet and hippy for “drop out”. Chippy meaning irritable. Much as MP & SS suggest.

      1. Ah the phonetic alphabet with the interesting history. I missed that.I’ll alter my hint forthwith. Thank you

  6. I didn’t find this one too difficult although I was confused about 1d. My last one in. For some unknown reason I couldn’t get Myanmar for the state and some combination of “I’m a” out of my head. The penny dropped in the end. **/*** Favourite 14d. Thanks to all.

  7. Always happy to tackle a DG challenge and today was no exception – good fun as usual. 25a perhaps a bit too clever and struggled to parse 7d and 20d. Re 10a never sure significance of single or double quotation marks. Thank you Giovanni and MP.

  8. Must have been a very gentle Giovanni as I finished it having my morning coffee break. Heath was very emotional about the witch who succeeded him and it was hysterical to see his discomfort. 19d reminded me of a surf shop in Saltburn called ‘Charlie Don’t Surf” and 25a was worth the hard work of parsing.

  9. More fun in retrospect than it was at the time. Spotted 8a from the enumeration straight away but never spotted the anagram despite spending a long time trying to see what was going on. GK stretched again, this time with regard to snakes, trendy people, types of poets, calculus, Ottoman apartments, names of people from states and visual arts. Had to say the butterfly word a few times to see where to put the vowels. More reliance on cluing than solutions for trickiest would have upped my enjoyment by a star or two.

  10. Further to MP’s musings on 25ac, I heard that the man who invented the tea towel holder was driving the other way.

  11. I am astonished that no one has mentioned Signore Corleone’s gargantuan howler of omitting a whole word!!!!!

    6d is actually (4,8) not (4)

    But, as it was such a fab crossword (loved 13d), The Don can have a mulligan.

      1. It’s known as ‘Hove Actually’ to differentiate it from Brighton.

        I put a hint in my second sentence.

        1. Ah! I see what you mean. Trust me to take your comment literally! :grin:

          Hope The Don enjoys his mulligan.

        2. I have a friend who lives in Lytham Actually, they do not like to be associated with St Anne’s.

          1. Love it

            What a golf course.

            Squeaky bum time on the par 3 1st.

            No nudging the ball down the middle of a generous faiirway with the gentleman’s persuader.

          2. :)
            Chorlton Actually seems to have dispensed with Upper and cum-Hardy.
            Having lived in both Hove A and Brighton (B), they seem to have changed places in the class stakes since the mid C20.

  12. Sorry if this has been pointed out, MP but shouldn’t the second word in the Quickie Pun be “dorter”?

    Again, apologies if I have been guilty of repetition.

  13. Lovely to see the two of you.
    Just amend the Toughie reveal. 8a is dorter.
    Did no one else feel 8a was sadly out of date?
    I always thought 19d referred to chipper, therefore enthusiastically upbeat. How wrong can you be!

  14. Not-so-straightforward for me, even though I had the two long clues on the first pass. Mostly just me being a bit slow on the uptake though. *** / ***.
    14d my COTD.
    Had heard of chippy in the context – I thought it came from someone who is always chipping in to make a point (not to contribute to the drinks kitty)!
    Thanks to setter & the blissful couple in the Midlands.

    1. PS. MP I know it is obvious but you forgot to include St Sharon’s point about the reversal in 22d.

  15. What a fabulous puzzle this was from Giovanni. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Some great clues and my favourites are 25a and the delightful 4d, which took a while for the penny to drop, I have not heard of 15a but it could be nothing else given the checkers.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment. Thanks to Miffypops for the usual witty hints. Thanks also to Saint Sharon – great picture of you both.

  16. Praise be and hallelujah – I never thought I’d see the day that Frank Zappa makes it onto the blog
    Thank you Miffypops & Saint Sharon, that really has made my day
    (but what do you mean, ‘second best’??)

      1. FZ wrote stuff in Mixolydian, Dorian, Phrygian and even Locrian modes whilst sarcastically dismantling the commercialism of the industry – Rory Gallagher knew the pentatonic rock scale in E/G and not much else
        “Some people like cupcakes better. I, for one, care less for them.”

      2. I agree with you MP. FZ is a fine “technical” guitarist but I prefer Rory Gallagher, or better still Johnny Winter. But all 3 together don’t make a Jimi Hendrix!

        1. Have you seen/heard the Denny Ilett Electric Lady Big Band? In case you haven’t, it was on The Ronnie Scott live web stream on YouTube last week. JH always said he wanted a big band to do his music and now it has! Mainly that album.
          Not for everyone, but interesting all the same. Buy them a “drink”….live musicians have been short this year.

      3. I met Rory Gallagher a number of years ago. I used to write a newsletter for my patients and I included a feature entitled “From the Horse’s Mouth”. I interviewed celebrities and asked about their dental experiences.

        I secured an interview with Paul Jones who, if you recall, was the singer with Manfred Man. I interviewed him at Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham and he was the most charming guy.

        I also knew that he and “The Manfreds” were appearing at Ronnie Scott’s so we booked tickets for the show.

        I went backstage after the show and that’s when I met Rory. He was the friendliest of men.

    1. Excited to see FZ mentioned on the blog, as I’m an FZ fan. But where is the reference please? I can’t find it.

  17. I was getting along OK with no major problems until I crashed and burnt in the NW corner.
    2D murdered me, thanks for the hint by the way. Struggled with 8D and1D as well.
    I thought there were a couple of quirky ones 1D and 3D come to mind.
    Time to go and lie down in a darkened corner.

  18. I found this one quite a battle – but an enjoyable one. I particularly warmed to 13d.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack (Joni sur Jeudi): Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon
    and Lola didn’t walk out as she so often does when I play music. She settled down under a table and snoozed peacefully.
    Every window in the house is open as I burned the crossword toast (I do this regularly) and set the smoke alarms off. Lola didn’t take to that so well, legging it to the stairs until I flapped a towel to stop the shrieking alarm. Well it keeps everyone on their toes.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Miff ‘n’ The Saint.

        1. No, I am a porridge girl, being an Angus, actually. But I DO make the toast on Boiled Egg Saturday and no, I do not burn it because I watch it
          and do not go off into another room and fiddle around with something else! ( Sharon is not the only saint).

          1. That’s EXACTLY what I do – meander off into another room, and get distracted, forgetting all about the toast until the smell of burning becomes impossible to ignore.

            1. We are now in the twenty-first century, they make toasters that pop-up, avoiding burning it, or are you cooking on a wood stove?

      1. Haven’t you people heard of toasters?
        I understand they’ve been around for a few years now……..

  19. Always educational, tough and enlightening Mr Manley and his blogger(s) do make an entertaining team. I think 13d deserves a place in the premier league of clues if there is one, and I liked the whimsy of 2d.

  20. Rattled through this but was left with 6d. Having failed to parse Looe I had to run through the alphabet before the penny finally dropped.

    8d and 25a were my favourites today.

    Thanks to MP, SS and Giovanni.

  21. Very disappointed with this offering from Giovanni who is usually my favourite setter but I thought this was on the whole poor. It was only rescued from abject by 18a and 25a. Not up to his usual standard in my opinion.
    Thx to all

    1. Poor as I found this one it’s nothing compared to the ‘Quickie’ which dominated by religious clues and contains a weird word.

      1. I can’t agree with you about the Quickie, Brian. There was really only one religious clue as the other had an anagram to help. Anyway, are two religious clues a domination? I enjoyed it.

        1. I suspect that B would consider 2 religious clues not a domination but an abomination. :-)

  22. Well, as always, I found the Don pushing me into **** time, though I did finally finish (with the electronic largesse of 5 letters, alas). I rather liked 15a and 14d, but no COTD. That’s the bad news; the good news is that I finished my third straight Toughie this week all by my lonesome. Yippee! Thanks to MP, who always brightens my day, and to the Don. **** / ***

  23. If this is a Giovanni puzzle, I am amazed as I never seem to be able connect to his wavelength. I was quite surprised as the solving went well and with no issues on Wednesday night (me being on the west coast of Canada thus with no hints available in my time zone), that I got through this puzzle and rate it 1.5*/***** Can this really be a Giovanni??
    If it is, I am very pleased with myself for having solved it with no hints AND in the the time I did it. A first for a Giovanni offering.
    COTD for me are 15a, 17a, 21a, 1d & 19d with co-winners 17a &19d

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP & SS for hints (as I said, not used)

  24. 13d my favourite clue from this very accessible and enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni. His crosswords are always fun and challenging, and this was no exception. Today’s Toughie is good too.

    My thanks to The Don and to SS and her helper.

  25. Just finished The Toughie with a modicum of help. For a Thursday it is a good one.

  26. Not my favourite puzzle. Couldn’t unravel 11a, never run across 15a, 16d nor the use of 9a to mean tease. A bit of a slog overall. But can’t complain because it’s been a good run this week, just disappointed I didn’t do better with this one. Thanks to Giovanni and the highly esteemed pair in Barrel.

  27. Very enjoyable, I always get on well with anagrams and they gave me a good base to work on. George got 25a straight away which also helped so we pretty much sailed through. 11a was last one in and hard to parse. Thanks to MP and the setter.

  28. I don’t know why people are sniffy about anagrams – perhaps it’s because they are finite, rather than the spirit-sapping, interminable search for obscure synonyms…… if you are a master at them like Mr G, they hide behind the curtain, just to tease you and then, when they jump out, you appreciate the hit.
    So, 8a and 13d, yes!
    It was slightly easier and a lot more fun than his last couple of entries, so thanks to him.
    And thanks to SS and her devoted handler.

  29. Quite a decent challenge, quite satisfying to finish it. Did need to clarify 2d as was toying with a ‘p’ word !
    Thanks to setter and MP, nice Lions gag, after England’s less than great 6 nations.


  30. Trickier than usual but still good fun aided by quite a few anagrams. 2d my last one in (I had initially put in titbit which seemed quite reasonable at the time). 7d also took me quite a while. Someone out there on this blog sent me the most beautiful flowers via our lovely little shop in Salthouse yesterday. They are absolutely gorgeous and really bucked up my spirits so thank you so much. Are you going to reveal yourself, or at least where you live? Please do!

      1. Well I’m flummoxed! How did you know my name and how did you find Naomi? If it is you MP, thank you! My nurse yesterday was very hostile and extremely unprofessional so it was really appreciated.

        1. Well Manders. Your email address gave your name away. You told us about Salthouse stores delivering your newspaper when you were snowed in. Salthouse stores have a web page. I have nothing much to spend my money on, less than a tenner last week so two minutes on a website and a bunch of flowers to cheer a blog member up is easy peasy. Enjoy the flowers which should have had a card with a message. The ones I ordered before Christmas had a free pack of Sweet Pea seeds as well so check the packaging carefully

          1. A regular Sherlock Holmes, M’pops. Ribbing aside, you are the kindest person alive! Love you.

          2. A very kind gesture, MP and I applaud you for it. Mind you, be careful. If we all used the same sleuthing techniques we could send anything we want to whomsoever we wish.


            I’m partial to a good malt, my friends!

            I joke of course. That was a very kind act, sir and I salute you.

        2. If they are as good as the ones I got at Christmas, you’ll be amazed how long they last. Sweet pea seedlings are doing well too

  31. This didn’t feel like a Giovanni – finished quickly and no obscure words. Over too soon. Thanks to all.

  32. Nice to finish a Giovanni, probably more by good luck than good judgement 😬 ***/*** Favourites 17a & 18d 😃 I found the Quick Crossword very tricky, especially the phrase 🤔 Thanks to MP, St Sharon and of course to Giovanni who so often leaves me non-plussed

  33. Would you believe I studied (my tutors might dispute that definition) maths for 4 years at University and 21 across took me all day! I think all the lockdown alcohol is dulling whatever faculties I had. I quite liked 18 down, but then you have all probably seen its like any number of times.

    1. I think I only remembered it because I had such difficulty mastering it, when I did my Maths O level, 50 odd years ago. Even now, the word strikes fear into my heart!

  34. A mixed bag for me ***/*** had to look up 10a and 15a . Going with 20a today reminding me of happy times with longtime Greek friends and their home on Ereikoussa a small island off Corfu’s north coast.
    Thx to the setter and MP/SS.

  35. 19d was something new to us but got it from checkers and wordplay and then searched BRB.
    We found it quite tricky but got there in the end.
    Thanks Giovanni and MP/SS.

  36. I felt that this was a bit of a mixed bag for me too. 14d was my favourite, but I wasn’t keen on 16d. The only word I could make was Girasole, but once I had some checking letters I knew that it couldn’t be right. 25a was a bit of an old chestnut, but it made me smile. Thank you setter, Miffypops and Saint Sharon.

  37. Not one that I particularly enjoyed – don’t know why but I just didn’t.
    Mental block made me put in ‘legion’ for the first word of 8a which played havoc with that top corner (and is what happens when I don’t write down the letters of anagrams).
    My favourite was 25a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, MP and SS.

  38. I only managed to solve about half before I got side-tracked.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and much appreciation to Saint Sharon for unravelling it, with thanks to M’pops for his help.

  39. Well, I usually grumble about Giovanni’s puzzles and struggle with them but not today! A very enjoyable solve. 25a made me chuckle, so my clue of the day. And although the quickie was a bit light on clues, it was an entertaining pangram.
    Thanks to Giovanni and SS & MP, for once, I didn’t need your help!

  40. Battled this one out in reasonably good form. LOI 7D. I really must remember this Shakespeare King! No excuse – I did him for A-Level! ***/***

  41. Very strange not to see a comment from both Jane and Rabbit Dave today.

    A coincidence or a conspiracy?

  42. Fell into place fairly easily, aside from my bung-in at 11a was wrong (I’ve never heard of that style) and had to use an anagram solver for 16d.
    Like others though there was not a huge amount to enjoy, though 25a and 2d made me laugh when the penny dropped.
    LOI was 14d, which came after 17a gave me the final checker and I remembered that other synonym for model.
    Thanks to all

  43. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops and Saint Sharon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but found it very tricky. Needed the hints for 17a and 14d. Had 5d wrong as “stophand”. Favourite was 25a. Was 4* /4* for me.

  44. Not on the wavelength today.

    11a, 15a (the odist bit), 16d and 19d all defeated me.

    I particularly dislike mathematics having suffered the school maths project across various different schools. Awful subject. No surprises I would never have got 21a in a millions years.


    Thanks to all.

  45. I’m in the “I’ve never seen the drop out in 19d spelt that way” camp this evening. All in all I preferred the Beam toughie but hey ho! This was good enough fun. Favourite was 21a, but never my favourite at college, no university for me. The teachers at school. would have laughed their heads off if I’d applied for the sixth form, any road up I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Thanks to Giovanni and MF and SS.

  46. I got on well with this one, only needing a teeny bit of help with 17 across.
    2 down – remember The Goodies?
    “Anyone seen my gauntlets?”
    “What’s a gauntlet?”
    “A baby gaunt.” :-)

    1. That about sums up The Goodies! 🙄

      Tommy Cooper would have made it funny. Not by the telling but by his desperate exasperation.

  47. I have a grudging respect for Giovanni as I find his puzzles really hard but think a lot of the clues are clever. This was no exception and I needed a lot of help via electrons and the MP/SS supercombo. ****/***. Thanks to everyone.

  48. Only managed to suss twelve answers in *** time, life is too short so gave up, not my cup of tea at all but that’s my fault not the setters. Thanks to all.

  49. 2d defeated me completely and I needed the help of our esteemed bloggers (how lovely to see a picture of them). Other than that completed this unaided except confirmation from Mr. Th that I had the right answer to 21a. Difficult to select the best from a great selection of clues, possibly LOI 2d but perhaps also 25a. Many thanks to Giovanni Miffypops and the Saint.

  50. Favourites 19 and 25 across and 20d. Only difficulties were with 2 and 16d. Problem with the latter was that I imagined an A at the end do my letter shuffling did not work. Saint Sharon is clearly a genius and MP should do his best to hang on to her. Having gone through all possible combinations for 2d (I thought) the best I could come up with was cutlet. I was thinking of a passage as something you walk through and a foodstuff as the answer. Nevertheless an excellent puzzle. Thank you Giovanni, St Sharon and her sidekick the wandering minstrel. Wish I’d told him about my severely lacerated shin in November!

  51. Could not finish this yesterday and still failed today.

    Just not my cup of tea.

  52. 3*/4*….clever clues & entertaining hints…
    liked the topical 13D “Very emotional leader of Conservatives appearing in absurd hairstyle (10)”

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