DT 29637 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29637

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29637

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.
The weather system that caused so much flooding in Australia recently has now made its way to us but fortunately has lost most of its sting in crossing the Tasman. So, dampish and warm here which we can easily cope with.
 Quite a tricky puzzle again with a couple of clues that non-UK solvers like us might struggle with, and an even more excruciating Quickie pun than last week’s one.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Finally, zookeepers nervously fed larger pride (4-6)
SELF-REGARD : The last letter of zookeepers and an anagram (nervously) of FED LARGER.

6a     Impressive stone Pict houses (4)
EPIC : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

9a     One might be painting destroyer? (10)
ICONOCLAST : A cryptic definition of a person who destroys religious art works.

10a     Bitterness caused by broadcast of Asterix, perhaps (4)
GALL : A homophone (broadcast) of the tribal name associated with Asterix.

12a     Four in five answer test (4)
VIVA : The Roman numeral four is surrounded by the Roman numeral five and A(nswer).

13a     Staff leave vegetables (9)
MANGETOUT : Staff or ‘supply workers for’ and a 3,3 phrase meaning leave.

15a     Italian food: tackle a lot, then second helping of pizza! (8)
RIGATONI : Tackle or equipment, ‘A’ from the clue, a large weight and then the second letter of pizza.

16a     Barman‘s shake Mr Bean regularly sent back (6)
WAGNER : Shake as a dog might its tail, then the reversal of alternate letters in Mr Bean.

18a     Fool that’s got a good grip? (6)
SUCKER : The good grip could be applied by something on an octopus tentacle.

20a     Harbour oddly deep and steep (8)
MARINADE : A harbour or safe anchorage for pleasure craft and the first and third letters (oddly) of deep.

23a     Put fizz into cabaret with no cast (9)
CARBONATE : An anagram (cast) of CABARET and NO.

24a     Catch sight of in wife’s pyjamas (4)
ESPY : A lurker hiding in the clue.

26a     Ancient poet seen back in Vladivostok (4)
OVID : A reverse lurker, hiding in the clue.

27a     Make weak argument about Lilith going naked (10)
DEBILITATE : The four central letters (going naked) of Lilith are enclosed by a formal argument.

28a     Only crack when victor departs (4)
SOLE : Crack as you are trying to do with this clue, loses V(ictor).

29a     Berkshire town‘s first leader (10)
MAIDENHEAD : First, perhaps of a ship’s voyage, and then leader or most senior person.


1d     Son gets syrup drink (4)
SWIG : S(on) then a thing for which might be called a ‘syrup’ in London’s East End.

2d     Head of facilities on the hunt? (7)
LOOKING : Monarch of facilities that might be ‘conveniently’ placed.

3d     Film in attic? (4,2,3,3)
ROOM AT THE TOP : The answer is a cryptic description of an attic.

4d     Dig melon out — get rich from this! (4,4)
GOLD MINE : An anagram (out) of DIG MELON.

5d     Begrudge gift quietly set aside (6)
RESENT : Remove the musical letter for quietly from the beginning of a gift.

7d     Soldiers also included in scheme (7)
PLATOON : A scheme or design contains a synonym for also.

8d     Daughter in possession of coke truly suffering withdrawal symptoms (4,6)
COLD TURKEY : An anagram (suffering) of COKE TRULY contains D(aughter.

11d     Senate giving criminal something to take away? (8,4)
NEGATIVE SIGN : An anagram (criminal) of SENATE GIVING.

14d     Type of grid that could make Christopher reportedly angry (5-5)
CRISS-CROSS : A homophone (reportedly) of the short form of Christopher and then angry or irate.

17d     Reread if novel somewhat lacking in atmosphere? (8)
RAREFIED : An anagram (novel) of REREAD IF.

19d     My face is friendly (7)
CORDIAL : My, or a different three letter expression of surprise and then the face of a timepiece.

21d     Placate monkey eating small round things (7)
APPEASE : Small round vegetable things are inside a primate.

22d     Picture maker turned up with Academician (6)
CAMERA : Turned up or arrived plus a member of the Royal Academy.

25d     Drop live commercial (4)
BEAD : A two letter synonym for live and then a commercial promotion.

Our favourite today is 11d because of the penny-drop moment when we twigged the definition, but 2d was running it a close second.

Quickie pun    Handel    +    Palma    +    stash    =    handlebar moustache

103 comments on “DT 29637

  1. 2.5*/4.5*. Another lovely Wednesday puzzle for our delight.

    My one slight reservation is that the definition for 11d doesn’t seem quite right. Wouldn’t “… indication to take away?” be more accurate?

    There’s not enough room on the podium for my ticked clues so I’ll just mention 9a, 12a, 13a, 2d & 19d.

    Many thanks to the three birds.

  2. Jay in very impish mood today I thought (15a&2d in particular) giving a light and fun puzzle. In that vein I thought 13a was very clever, and it’s joined on the podium by 27a & the Quickie Pun. 16a my LOI and very fiendish!
    Many thanks to the aforementioned Jay and our Kiwi bloggers for the top notch entertainment.

  3. Another fine Wednesday – and not just the lovely Jay crossword and 2Ks review. The sun is shining and up on the coastal walk, the skylarks are enjoying the day as much as we did. We didn’t realise until this week that they start singing the moment they leave the ground – wonderful.

    PS Fans of our previous Sunday setter will find him in fine form in today’s Graun.

    1. “Blithe spirits”, as Shelley says: “Teach me half the gladness / That thy brain must know”! (And isn’t it true that they sing only when aloft, never on the ground?)

      1. Based on our observations on Monday and today, I’d say once they get to about a foot above the ground

  4. I found this the toughest Jay yet for me, and 1d just threw me altogether until I took a lucky guess, and then googled the last three letters to see what materialised. Voila! Cockney rhyming slang that I could have sat here until Doomsday and never twigged (pardon the semi-pun). Elsewhere, 9, 13, and 16a took much pondering, as did 11 and 8d. But what cracking clues everywhere, and what contorting of my wits it took to solve them. Podium-rich winners: 8d, 9a, 11d, with an honourable mention to 14d. I did have to check to see where 29a was located. Many thanks to the Kiwis and to the ever-clever Jay. **** / ****

    1. If you haven’t seen it yet, Robert, I rather think the theme of Brendan’s Guardian puzzle today will appeal to you. I think it is one of the finest cryptic crosswords I have ever solved.

      1. The comments on the 15sq blog for this puzzle are as splendid as the Brendan crossword

      2. Thank you, RD, for the Brendan. I just finished it. Very nice. 13a, very clever; 29a, LOI. (All week long, my earworm has been “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner / That I love London town”, bringing back happy days at Music Hall shows.)

  5. Beaten by the three-letter synonym for shake at 16 across. Therefore the ‘barman’ eluded me. I have seen barman used in this way before so no excuses. The rest went in rather too quickly for a Wednesday Jay puzzle. Off out into the garden now to resume squabbling about Calendula with The Sainted One

    1. I’ve never seen barman used this way and still don’t get it. Could you please explain it?

  6. Another ghastly effort from my second least favourite setter. I have really struggled with most of this weeks puzzles, just cannot get on the right wavelength to understand most of the wordplay. Not helped by 1d which was a dreadful clue.
    Still at least I understood more of the wordplay than yesterdays effort.
    Just not my week!
    Thx for the hints
    16a as a barman, awful!!

    1. Absolutely agree about 16a. Had to look at the answer and wouldn’t have got it in a month of Sundays!

  7. 4 clues caused me a good deal of head scratching with this one & doubled the solve time to a very long ***** time solve. Thankfully Stick Insect’s Toughie took considerably less time. Both 1&2d didn’t come easily & I wasn’t familiar with the test at 12a but got them all eventually. That left 16a which I stared at blankly unsure as to what the definition was until the wordplay finally dawned on me. A struggle it may have been but an enjoyable one. Pretty sure it’s coincidental but there are a few movies in the down clues in addition to 3d – Oliver Stone’s Oscar winner at 7d, a film noir starring Burt Lancaster at 14d (plus Christopher Cross won an Oscar for the theme to Arthur), a Dick Van Dyke comedy at 8d & a David Cronenberg short at 22d.
    Thanks to Jay & to the 2 Ks

    1. The Lancaster film also starred the divine Yvonne De Carlo, whom I had the great good fortune to see live on stage in Sondheim’s masterpiece ‘Follies’. I had a schoolboy’s crush on her, once upon a time.

  8. I enjoyed this Jay puzzle, which had half a dozen elusive clues, that took me as long as the rest of the grid (3*/5*). Like MP I was stumped by the shake in 16a. I laughed at 13a as it always makes me think of David Jason practising his Franglais and 2d was amusing too. 11d was another wily clue too. Thanks to the Kiwis for the hints and to Jay for a good challenge.

  9. A much harder puzzle today, I struggled in several places particularly NW corner.
    Could not make sense of 1D or 12A . I also had a lot of trouble breaking the anagram at 11D
    Loved the clue for 21D
    Got to go, I have a turntable to build.

  10. Very enjoyable puzzle! Favourite 2d. Just a little niggle re 21d – a monkey is not an ape.

    1. You’ve used your full name instead of your usual alias, which is why you went into moderation

    2. Glad you enjoyed today’s puzzle; just popping in to say that Chambers gives ‘an ape’ as its second definition of ‘monkey’:

      monkey n (pl monk’eys) any mammal of the Primates except man and (usu) the anthropoid apes; an ape; a sheep …

      1. Whenever I (rarely) question a clue I always think that the setter is confident that the clue stands up. The setters test solver is confident that the clue stands up. The puzzles editor is confident that the clue stands up. So I trust these people and stop the negative thoughts.

  11. Managed this with the need to check a few hints but other than that a fine puzzle with Jay almost tuned into my wavelength ; or should that be the other way round. Too many good clues but the smile when 13a just had to be the solution and the penny dropped as to why makes it my favourite today among a host of contenders.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks. Now back to the garden.

  12. Another very enjoyable head scratcher from Jay completed in more or less the same time as the Stick Insect Toughie. Most head scratching caused by the W*G elements of 16a and 1d. 3.5*/4.5*.
    Like RD, I don’t think ‘something’ quite works in 11d.
    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 29a, 3d, and 5d – and the winner is 27a.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  13. Failed at 16a. Couldn’t think of the shake and was not aware of ‘barman’….though I am sure it will have been used before.

    Struggled with 20a too. So not my best day.
    Great puzzle, though…particularly liked 13a.

    Thanks to Jay and to the 2 Kiwis.

  14. What a wonderful puzzle from Jay. 1d was great. I spent ages trying to find a three letter synonym of syrup to go beneath “S” but could only come up with “sgum”, which is no way near. Cockney rhyming slang was needed and I totally missed it but enjoyed the tussle. Lots to like today with there being an abundance of good clues such as 27a and the delightful 28a. However, my COTD is 13a.

    Many thanks to Jay for the amusement and to the 2Kiwis for the hints.

    Beautiful day here in Shropshire so it’s in the garden I go after lunch. I will have to figure out the new air fryer on a rainy day.

  15. Another little gem from Mr Wednesday although I share RD’s reservations about 11d.
    Plenty of podium contenders but my final choice was 13a plus 2d.

    Many thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review – for once we’re bathing in the sunshine but I don’t think it’s forecast to stay with us for the Easter weekend.

  16. Oh my word – what a tricky little b****r and no mistake, Guv’nor.
    That was a 3.5 in my book and would have been a 4 if cheating on 27 hadn’t loosened up a lot of the SE corner. Not that 27 wasn’t straightforward, just that there are so many words ending in i*a*e.
    So, I did finish apart from 16. Ironically I stuck to that composer for ages at 1a on the quickie, before considering Mahler and the one I still think of as English.
    I suppose the fun of puzzles like this is that, as soon as you’ve done 3 or 4 which have only a distant relationship to what some might call “accuracy”, you know you’re in for a bit of a bashing. 13a, 2 and 19d – honestly!
    Light? No. Fun? Only if you like pain.
    Thanks to all our birds today. My little robin came to say hello yesterday as I was clearing branches. I say “my” – I’ve no idea if it’s the same one – he seems to live in the garage in the winter.

    1. Oh George is convinced that the robin who appears in our garden is ‘his’ robin, he says it has a slight cast in one eye!

        1. “My” robin is my regular companion when I’m working in the garden. She laid some eggs just over a week ago in one of the hanging baskets under our gazebo, cleverly hidden out of sight of any potential predators. It shouldn’t be too long now before they hatch …

          1. My robin coms for a chat whenever I am in the garden. In fact, if I call “Robbie” he soon appears.

            1. I wasn’t sure if mine was male or female until it laid eggs, which was a bit of a giveaway.

              1. I just mowed my lawn and ‘my’ robin has been pulling out beakfuls of worms, presumably to make a sandwich with the home made bread I put out for him/her earlier.

  17. Great puzzle from the Wednesday Wizard. Last one in was 16a as it took some time for Wilhelm Richard to make himself known.

    We are re-mortgaging the house to raise the funds to pay the plumber who came today to fix a faulty tap. I worked out his hourly rate would bring him in over £150,000 per annum for a normal working week. He probably has holiday homes scattered around the globe.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Neil Young – On The Beach. I was a little spooked as 3d pops up in the lyrics to the last track on the album.

    Thanks to Jay ‘n’ the Two Kays. <- sounds like a pop group that might have scored two minor hits in 1962 and then spent the next 60 years on the cabaret circuit.

    1. Cheaper to buy a new tap, turn off the water & fit it yourself Terence.
      I find it fatal to work out hourly rates for skilled tradesmen especially when the job lasts less than one hour. Longer jobs you add in that they are on their mobile talking about another job for 20 minutes, have to pop down to radiatorsr’us or whatever to get a widget ( plus a cup of coffee & a chinwag with a mate) hey presto an arm & a leg gone.
      Don’t think plumbers have holiday homes – why bother with holiday homes when you can afford a yacht?

  18. Some great clues today with 11d and 13a my favourites.
    Was only listening to John Lennon’s 8d yesterday, which came up on my random Spotify selections.
    Didn’t care much for 16a at first – thought it a bit too tenuous – but after reading comments above it has grown on me. Must look out for that barman in future.
    Wasn’t aware of the type of test at 12a but the wordplay made it obvious with just a Google check to confirm

  19. 1a first in, but it set the standard for the rest of the crossword. Great surfaces which make just reading the clues a delight! Lots of misdirection. Just loved it ***/****. Held up by putting carbonise into 23a ( with no justification), which made 22d difficult to say the least. Thanks aplenty to Jay and the 2 Ks

  20. I agree with Bluebird that this was a tricky one, but I got there in the end. At the beginning of the Cold War my father’s company moved lock stock and barrel to the ‘country’ and took over Wellington Lodge in 29a. I was just 5 and it seemed enormous. In the entrance hall was a huge seated Buddha with a pile of foreign coins and notes in its lap. My mother told me I must never, ever touch the money it would be very unlucky. I was the only child there and very spoiled, I remember going to sleep on a sofa to the sound of the grownups playing cards waiting for the bombs to fall. After six months they decided to go back to London and that of course is when the raids started. I have often wondered if Wellington Lodge still exists? I digress, thanks to Jay for a
    Diverting puzzle and to the two Kiwis for unraveling 1d which as a Cockney I should have known! I was hors de combat yesterday, hope LrOk is ‘OK’.
    (And Lola too of course. How could that beastly man in the DT have drowned a cat?)

    1. Not only did he drown his neighbour’s cat, DG, it was the only companion of a person who lives alone and has been solitary throughout the pandemic. He then disposed of the body somewhere! I was so glad the judge was going to consider a custodial sentence. I was spitting feathers, when I read the article.

      1. The phrase Spitting feathers has been the subject of a thread in the letters pages recently. Does it mean thirsty or does it mean angry?

        1. I got the impression that, in the North of England and/or Scotland, it meant thirsty. I have always used it to mean angry or even furious and heard others use it in the same way, but I grew up in the East End of London. I don’t think it’s related to rhyming slang at all.

        2. Like many of these old sayings, it means what it means in the area you were born and raised. Often, the meaning is pretty universal; sometimes not. Round here, it means angry/furious but elsewhere it can mean thirsty/dry.

  21. Was this really a Jay puzzle today? He can be tough sometimes, but this didn’t feel like one of his. Have to agree with Brian about awful 16a. Didn’t care for 12a and 10a either. A bit of a let down after yesterday’s. Definitely above my pay grade today. Perhaps they took some brain cells when they took my blood this morning 😊. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

      1. I’m no expert, but some of these clues just didn’t seem like Jay to me. Nice to be right for a change. I even had a go at the Tuesday Toughie, which was easier than this one.

  22. Barman was a first for me – needed that clue from 2Kiwis and hadn’t heard of the cockney rhyming slang for syrup. But very enjoyable – Jay always lets you in with a few easy clues – “come into my parlour said the spider to the fly” – then I’m hooked for however long as it takes to finish. So good stuff again and thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

  23. A musical barman appeared in Toughie 2584 by Osmosis blogged by Dutch on January 29th this year.

    16a Member divided just over three pounds, maybe for barman (7)

    BERLIOZ: The second half (divided) of memBER, plus 51 ounces (phew!). Barman as in composer, one preoccupied with putting notes into bars

  24. Amazingly I managed to finish this without any help. I had not heard of syrup meaning wig but it had to be to make drink. The barman was clever and once I had the last three letters the first three fell into place. I hobbled into our little shop in Salthouse to thank them for delivering the flowers – which are going from strength to strength, the tulips are now HUGE. Thanks to Jay and the 2 Kiwis – great puzzle.

  25. Quite enjoyed it with 1a and 6a going in immediately **/**** the exceptions being 16a and 11d taking a little longer to figure on a lovely sunny afternoon.
    Thx to Jay and the 2K’s

  26. Late to the puzzle today and so can agree with many of the above sage comments. Tricky but doable I thought at ***/***. COTD was 16a which I spent a long time on dreaming of men (and women of course) who serve drinks at bars until the penny dropped. Less than two weeks and the aforementioned will be doing just that alfresco of course!

  27. Perhaps 1D ought to be “ship”. That is Son, SIP and HIP as in rose-hip syrup. We aren’t all fans of Eastenders!!

    1. Me too with 1d Perry. Had “s” plus “hip” from the syrup gave “ship” ( I shipped a lot of ale last night). To me common Rhyming slang is OK but using more obscure ones (yes I know when does common become obscure) indicates a south of the Watford gap bias – have northern dialect words like “laiking” ever cropped up I wonder?

  28. Earlier commenters have probably said it all in praise of this excellent puzzle, but I will add my support for the excellent 16a as my favourite and thank Jay for another Wednesday masterpiece and the 2Ks for their usual comprehensive blog.

  29. Just nicely challenging with the NW holding out ‘til last. Silly me had to bung in 23a – d’oh! Surely 13a clue should refer to vegetable(s)? My rhyming cockney slang knowledge hadn’t previously included syrup of figs as per 1d. My Fav was 2d with 19d running up. Thank you Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  30. ****/****. Very tricky but enjoyable in a masochistic sort of way. My favourite was 16a which was excellent misdirection. I also spent far too long on 27a. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for the review.

  31. I found this really tough but definitely worth the effort. Despite spending many student years in the East End I failed to get 1a. Didn’t know 16a but will try to remember for next time, COTD definitely 13a. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  32. Totally forgot about the syrup of fig in 1d and failed on 9a.
    Tougher than the toughie for a change.
    Favourite 23a.
    Thanks to Jay and to 2 kiwis for the review.

  33. Definitely a tougher than normal Jay puzzle today ***/*** for me today. Needed the help of the 2K’s hints today more so than I like to use, but time was a factor in time to work on the puzzle. One of the brain dead days I suppose. Clues I liked and managed on my lonesome were 29a, 1d, 2d, 8d & 21d with winner 1d and runner up 8d.
    Lots of confusion and switching tactics today in Canada regarding the AstroZeneca vaccine. Very troublesome. First don’t give to over 65 year olds but younger people are fine to have it. Now, it can’t be given to those under 55 but older than 55 is now fine. What the heck ???
    Not putting my arm out for this vaccine that’s for sure.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s for the much needed help today.

  34. I’m in the tricky but doable camp, with some excellent clues in my book, notably 13a, 2d, 11d.
    Like many others my LOI was 16a, pleased that my perseverance paid off when the penny finally dropped.
    Thanks to Jay and the Kiwis

  35. Morning all.
    Just enjoyed reading about everyone’s ‘pet’ robins. How appropriate on the three birds blog.
    So we weren’t the only ones to have found this one a trickier solve than usual and obviously also had company in not knowing the Cockney rhyming slang.
    Lots of heavy rain here overnight but forecast to clear up this morning.

  36. Afternoon all – I must reveal that today’s excellent crossword was not a Jay production. However I am delighted to see that it has been (almost) universally much appreciated ! best wishes to all

    1. Thanks for popping in Jay.
      Must admit that we had our suspicions so carefully avoided mentioning your name in what we wrote.
      Now the guessing game will start about the real setter. We have one name in mind but won’t mention it yet.

      1. Do you think it’s significant that Chris Lancaster popped in to clear up the monkey/ape query?

        1. Yes, I do think it’s significant which is what I put in my comment but you beat me to it – sorry, Gazza.

            1. PS Do you think it could be Navy? Or should I just get back into my box where I belong and wait and see?

  37. Have to go out so am commenting now and will finish reading later.
    I didn’t finish in the NW, 1d beat me but I would never have solved that anyway. This was a tricky Jay, but wotta lotta fun! I laughed at 13a, that’s my fave. I solved 3d as I saw it, old age has its uses.
    Thanks to Jay for this quality puzzle and to the 2Kiwis for helping me to the end.

  38. Tough for me today, but not only character building but a learning experience with 16a and 1d. Keep forgetting about ‘cor’, ageing I guess.

  39. Failed miserably today. 1d was a non-starter, as were three others. It’s a long time since I’ve needed the review for four clues. Tomorrow’s another day. Thank you setter and the 2Ks.

  40. Gosh, unexpected barmen and very obscure Cockney slang, this was decidedly on the tricky side.

  41. Very tough for me. Pleased to see it wasn’t Jay as I thought I was getting better at tuning in to his wavelength. However the after effects of another medical morning complete with internal video (pleased that all seemed OK again) could well have contributed to my mental lethargy.
    Thanks to setter and the 2Ks your “setter radar” was obviously well-tuned. An example of my old boss’s adage “Never assume anything”.

    1. Dangerous things, assumptions.

      The owner of an off-licence gave his girlfriend a present for her birthday in a large box. She noticed it was leaking and wiped her finger across the liquid to taste it. She guessed, “Is it wine?”.

      The man shook his head, so she tasted some more. “Whisky?”

      “Wrong again”, came the reply. “It’s a puppy”.

      1. Not an off licence to visit RD if the girlfriend was conditioned to think that both the wine & the whisky tasted like dog pee!


  42. 20a – the wordplay gives MARINADE (n. a substance used to MARINATE something). “Steep” is a verb (= MARINATE) and this clue thus has a mismatched, incorrect solution. Lots of chefs/cooks get this wrong too, but check it out for yourselves. Good workout otherwise.

    1. Welcome to the blog Phil

      Before pontificating it is always a good idea to check the BRB where you will have found that to marinade can also be a verb (Collins and the ODE concur).

      1. Clearly, but appearance in esteemed dictionaries doesn’t mean they’re right; they are just reflecting increasing misuse which gets promoted to ‘normal’. Well not in my book.

        1. It was normal to use marinade as an alternative spelling for marinate back in 1895 when one of our dictionaries was published

  43. Late again today – been busy helping the Younger Lamb and her fiancé hacking back a very large hedge at the front of their house because it’s been pinching all their light.
    Given that we now know this wasn’t a Jay Wednesday (not spotted by me, not even a suspicion) could it be Chris Lancaster – only wondering as he ‘popped in’ earlier which is quite unusual?
    I found this difficult – only a couple of answers having been through all the across clues once and I never did get 16a.
    No particular favourite but lots of good clues and I enjoyed it all.
    Thanks to Mr whoever set this one and to the K’s.

  44. Hi,

    Just popping in again to own up as the compiler responsible for today’s puzzle. I’m glad that most enjoyed it. Jay fans can rest easy; he’ll be back next week as normal. After so many years of producing such brilliant crosswords every single week, he’ll be taking a very occasional (and very well-deserved) week off from the back page every once in a while. I’ll try to live up to his superb standards when I fill the odd gap.

    Meanwhile, RayT fans can bask in the knowledge that he’ll definitely be appearing tomorrow!

  45. Just couldn’t work out the anagram at 11d. Thanks for the solution to that 2 Kiwis. Then the vegetables and barman surrendered quickly. 15a favourite. Was 14d deliberately there for a regular contributor to the blog?
    Thanks setter, whoever you may be.

  46. I’m getting fed up of ads popping up when I click on a link in the site. I just clicked on a comment on the Toughie and got an advert for a camera. I don’t want an advert for a camera or anything else for that matter. I want to read the comment made by a member of this blog.
    Is there an explanation for this?

    1. I get a full page ad when I open up the comments page – I close it instantly and reopen and it’s gone – should I be worried? I’d appreciate some advice. It only started yesterday.

  47. I’m surprised this is a Chris Lancaster puzzle as I don’t normally like his. This started off really easily as I threw the clues in then ground to a halt with a fair few to go. I thought some clues were brilliant – 2d made me laugh and I thought 13a was a great clue too. But 1d and 16a let the side down – just too obscure definitions. ***/***

  48. Sorry for lateness (damned work getting in the way of my BD blogging! 😜) but…
    Hi to Chris and thanks for the challenge…but I managed to complete this last night while y’all were still in slumberland and pre-blog! 👍
    Must admit that I sat looking at 16A as the composer for ages until Mrs H casually says “well he wrote bars didn’t he??”…doh!
    9A was a newish word but couldn’t be anything else really, but my COTD by a long way…made me LOL 🤣 – was, of course, 13A…can only be Del Trotter telling his younger brother to “Mange Tout Rodney…Mange Tout!”

  49. I was born in the East End of London, but have needed to read through all the comments before I found that wig (presumably) means syrup of figs. This was quite a difficult puzzle but I finished in the end with help including one inspiration from Mr. Th. Thanks to the Kiwis and to Chris Lancaster, whose “across and down” Crossword in the Sunday Telegraph helps pass the time at the weekend.

  50. 3*/4*…..the rhyming slang in 1D was new to me….
    amused by 2D “Head of facilities on the hunt? (7)”

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