DT 29673 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29673

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29673

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

A grey drizzly day as we write this but the forecaster tells us that it should improve towards evening. It is  good that we have indoor activities (like putting together a crossword blog) on today’s list of things to do.
 All the usual Wednesday fun once again.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Animal doctor tense after sheep rejected (6)
MARMOT : The reversal of a male sheep is followed by a medical officer and T(ense).

5a     Minister sees train regularly taken by nuisance (6)
PRIEST : The second and fourth letters of train are inside a nuisance or annoyance.

10a     Level, yet still at the start (5)
EVENS : A synonym for yet and then the first letter of still.

11a     Robust binding (9)
STRAPPING : A double definition. The first is often used in relation to youth or young men.

12a     Perform better, needing expenditure to cover parking (7)
OUTPLAY : The letter signifying parking is inside another word for expenditure.

13a     Macho guards fighting source of cyber invasion? (7)
MALWARE : Macho or relating to men contains fighting, often between nations.

14a     Drink mint tea, we hear — right with vichy water (9)
COINTREAU : String together mint or make solid pieces of money, then the letter that sounds like ‘tea’, R(ight) and finally the French word for water.

17a     Boasts of loads welcoming Republican (5)
BRAGS : Loads or sackfuls surrounds R(epublican).

18a     Runs for son in selected task (5)
CHORE : Start with a word meaning selected or picked and substitute its S(on) with R(uns).

19a    Speak on British fruit tree (9)
BUTTERNUT : The single letter abbreviation for British, then speak or declare, and finally a solid type of fruit or seed.

21a     Raging fire following a question getting source of water (7)
AQUIFER : ‘A’ from the clue, then Qu(estion) and an anagram (raging) of FIRE.

23a     Vegetable that’s a hot pick cooked with no end of effort (3,4)
PAK CHOI : An anagram (cooked) of A HO(t) PICK once the last letter of effort has been removed.

25a     Need Juliet in support for game (9)
BLACKJACK : Support or stand behind encloses need or shortage and the letter that ‘Juliet’ represents in the phonetic alphabet.

26a     Oil producer‘s old tale about volume (5)
OLIVE : O(ld) and then an untrue tale contains V(olume).

27a     Tries tucking in top of trouser suit (6)
HEARTS : the first letter of trouser is within tries in a court of law.

28a     European province involved in strike (6)
DANISH : The offshore province of the UK is inside strike or hit violently.


2d     Distant relation needs to be up, keeping on the ball (5)
ALERT : A reverse lurker, hiding in the clue.

3d     Lost time moving on English parasite (9)
MISTLETOE : An anagram (moving) of LOST TIME plus E(nglish).

4d     Attractive old volunteers remain without answer (5)
TASTY : The now obsolete initials for the volunteer army and then a word meaning remain without its A(nswer).

5d     Principal lover cut knot occasionally (9)
PARAMOUNT : A word for a lover borrowed from the French without its last letter (cut) is followed by the second and fourth letters of knot.

6d     Urge Independent politician to oppress the Spanish (5)
IMPEL : I(ndependent), then a Member of Parliament and the Spanish definite article.

7d     Tell story and turn on article about fish rising (4,1,4)
SPIN A YARN : Turn or rotate, then the two letter indefinite article surrounds the reversal of a flat fish.

8d     Undaunted, the girl’s voice is without limits (6)
HEROIC : The personal pronoun meaning belonging to the girl and then the three central letters (without limits) of voice.

9d     Birds, for example, rest in flight (6)
EGRETS : Two letters from the Latin signifying for example, and then an anagram (in flight) of REST.

15d     Inject iodine and clean out after surgery (9)
INOCULATE : The chemical symbol for iodine is followed by an anagram (after surgery) of CLEAN OUT.

16d    Humiliate Hebridean island in terrible mess (9)
EMBARRASS : An anagram (terrible) of MESS contains the Hebridean island where ‘Whisky Galore’ was filmed. (We needed to check this one).

17d     Analyse nervous collapse (9)
BREAKDOWN : When the answer is split 5,4 we have a phrase meaning analyse.

18d     Ill-tempered taxi driver having to cross river (6)
CRABBY : A familiar name for a taxi driver contains R(iver).

20d     Worked endlessly needing time for facilities (6)
TOILET : A word meaning worked hard loses its last letter (endlessly) and this is replaced with T(ime).

22d     Holy man seeing a king hiding in tree (5)
FAKIR : ‘A’ from the clue and the chess abbreviation for king are inside a conifer.

23d     Fine during exercise on day, getting jabbed (5)
POKED : The two letter common expression for fine is enclosed by physical exercise and finally D(ay).

24d     People who succeed in getting tunes broadcast (5)
HEIRS : A homophone (broadcast) of tunes or melodies.

Quickie pun    mince    +    horse    =    mint sauce

99 comments on “DT 29673

  1. Cracking puzzle, I thought that the wordplay throughout was outstanding and have no hesitation in awarding it top marks.
    Clues that particularly stood out for me were 13,14&25a along with 5&15d.
    Many thanks to setter and the 2Ks.

      1. My thought exactly Merusa. Perhaps Bertie should switch to The Times or some other journal more suited to his abilities.

  2. I didn’t enjoy this Wednesday puzzle as much as I usually do, although it took the same time as usual to complete it (2*/1.5*). Some of the clues were difficult to fathom and the guesswork/ reverse engineering technique was all that enabled me to finish the puzzle. Thank you to the Kiwis for the hints and thanks to the compiler (sorry but it .wasn’t my cup of tea).

  3. What a super puzzle, the best Wednesday in weeks–it’s just got Jay written all over it. I agree with Stephen L above and would add only 20d to his five special clues. A most enjoyable treat. Thanks to the Kiwis and to Jay.
    ** / *****

  4. A thoroughly enjoyable Jay Crossword. Even the two words I did not know 13a and 21a were readily deducible. Laughed at my initial misdirection by taking the limits off three words and getting hiroic for 8d. Also got the ending of 5d by occasionally getting unt which was a coincidence when I realised the u was from the cut lover! Many thanks Jay and 2ks. 2*/5*

    1. Ah, re 5d, I just lopped the end off (cut) a synonym for lover and then added the nt.
      I think it might mean the same, but I’ve misunderstood your syntax….

      1. I guessed the answer by looking for a word ending in unt, the occasional letters from cUt kNoT and did not realise my error until parsing it.

        1. No probs with that – I bung quite often (incl several today) and then parse. Sometimes – sshhh – I can’t even be bothered to parse.

  5. Interesting puzzle but without any fizz. 13a, 14a, and 2d deserve honourable mentions.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and the setter.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable stretching of the grey matter.
    Great clueing, eg 14a and 25a.
    And a very well hidden lurker.
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks Jay and the 2Kiwis for the nicely illustrated review.

  7. I’m in the Robert & Stephen camp with this one. Very enjoyable indeed though not overly taxing. 14a was my pick of a selection of fine clues. Now back to the south of yesterday’s Donny Toughie which I’m finding very tough so quite pleased to see Bertie reckons today’s offering is a breeze.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks

    1. Yes, Toughie today is doable; I left you a very late-night response to your earlier query about the Graun’s Prize Puzzle, last night–just in case you haven’t seen it.

      1. Just read it Robert. I’m with you on Eliot. Did the Waste Land for A Level & loathed it. I vaguely remember quite liking Pope’s Rape of the Lock & Marvell & Donne, which was the poetry on the syllabus, but only really enjoyed the play (Lear) & the novels (Tess, The Go Between & Mansfield Pk). Re the puzzle I’m still 2 short (9&24a)despite Jean-Luc’s nudge making me realise I couldn’t get ED because I’d bunged in a tasty Swiss dish for a poet (GR) & had an incorrect checker. 16a, if I have it correct, is a variant of a word I only knew as 10 letters (y&w absent). Your checker is N for the poet (3 letter synonym for new, 4 letters for closer as in to shut) & needless to say I hadn’t heard of him either nor the French fella either.
        Think I’ll surrender with Donny & seek MP’s help & move on to Hudson for hopefully some light relief…..

        1. Hudson might provide ‘light relief’ but only if your cricket knowledge is up to muster – I waded through it………..

        2. 9a: we have dependent and independent ones–those words, I mean
          24a: One of the poets who died in WW1–“These I have loved”; the Tennyson poem (which I hadn’t read in probably 50 or more years) is the one that ends “But I go on forever”

          I can’t even remember ever reading anything by 17d, but I just read his (famous?) cricket poem
          The Y and W helped me — thanks and cheers!

          1. Cheers Robert. Had forgotten Rupert had an E on the end & my Tennyson doesn’t extend beyond that lass from Shalott & the unfortunate valley bound 600 (Tony Richardson’s film with Gielgud & Howard is rather good if you’ve not seen it). How I didn’t see the other heaven knows – I’d have had a better chance with Santa’s surname……

  8. That was simple but fun with liberal use of synonyms however somehow it didn’t seem to have Jay’s usual challenge. Tree as opposed to squash in 19a was a new one on me and I have only vague recollections of 21a and 22d. 14a was my Fav. Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis.

    1. I have grown both 19 and 23 on my allotment, a weird coincidence being that the former was next to my neighbour’s beautiful black walnut tree, which has a white trunk. The tree in the puzzle is a white walnut, but still has a white trunk. Legend has it that things don’t like growing in its shade,
      The 19 squash went crazy and roamed 15 feet across its black plastic under-blanket (for heat retention) but only produced 3 or 4 fruit. It was fun though.

      1. Wow Bluebird you must have a large allotment to house a butternut (white walnut) tree. I have in the past successfully grown butternut squash and indeed acorn squash from the pips taken from purchased vegetables! But have never seen the tree and wonder if they exist in Europe. I now gather there has been a canker problem with the trees.

        1. The black walnut is my neighbour’s, Angellov, not mine and is about 12ft high and same across. It has spherical fruits. The white walnut (butternut) has more oval shaped husks and probably grows bigger and is North American. I don’t know much about them (I don’t even like nuts) but I understand that a hybrid of the two might be more resistant to the infection. I’ve now given up the allotment; it’s about 15ft x 75ft and is classed as a quarter plot. Our allotments are 170 yrs old and have perfect soil and drainage and countryside views on two sides.

      2. Perhaps I am wrong but I seem to remember you are across the Pond Bluebird or am I wrong on that re growing a white walnut?

        1. We crossed posts!
          No, I am UK. If you note my reply above, you’ll see the gen on the tree…..

          1. Bluebird, Have just read your comment and afraid I wasn’t thinking clearly yesterday re the black and white walnut trees but still wonder if the white ones do survive in Europe.

  9. Well I certainly didn’t find it simple or easy. I took a full **** to complete this one. My last in was 3d, I wasn’t of course thinking of that type of parasite.

    The ‘Old Volunteers’ threw me, too, what are they called now?

    Many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

    1. The volunteers are now called Army Reserve – the acronym for the South East region is a bit embarrassing.

          1. In my day the TA was referred to as the Toy Army at least that was the polite version!

  10. A gentle Jay this morning but none the less enjoyable for that. I admired the wordplay for 14a and 18d made me laugh – when I lived in London many moons ago, the evening taxi drivers got decidedly 18d if you wanted to go cross the Thames. I suppose it was more profitable for them to make several short journeys around the city centre.

    Thanks to Jay for a pleasant start to the day and to our 2Ks for the review – if it’s of any consolation, the weather here is positively dismal!

    1. I recall that too, Jane. None of them ever wanted to go south of the river. That was like another country to them although I lived only miles from Charing Cross!

  11. 2.5*/4.5*. Great fun with a few answers needing a bit of teasing out. 21a was a new word for me.

    I was misled initially into thinking that F—R in 22d must be “friar”, which fitted the definition nicely and had all the right wordplay elements but in the wrong order a bit like Eric Morecambe’s piano playing.

    Podium places today go to 14a, 25a & 15d.

    Many thanks to Jay (?) and to the 2Ks.

  12. After a few weeks of ‘Who set the Wednesday back pager?’ I am sort of confident that this very enjoyable puzzle was by Jay, or a Jay impersonator – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 14a – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  13. A good puzzle, quite straightforward but did not light any fires for me. Good range of clue types and most read well with smooth surfaces, but only one stood out for me, let alone as a COTD, 8d – not because it was particularly challenging, but it reads so smoothly and made me smile.

    Unfamiliar with 19a as a tree as well as a vine, and I note with concern that we’re down to our last bottle of 14a and have entirely run out of Grand Marnier!


    Many thanks to setter and to 2Ks for the review.


  14. All over a bit quickly but what a delight while it lasted. The quality throughout was excellent, and in 14a there was a clear favourite for top clue. Great fun.

    My thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  15. I’m afraid I did not get on with this at all. Perhaps my brain has failed to join up a few synapses but I got nowhere to begin with and had to resort to Mr. G to get a foothold. Even then I found quite a number of clues unsolvable.

    Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid.

    Many thanks to the setter (Jay?) for the beating. Grateful thanks to the 2Kiwis for the much needed hints.

  16. I enjoyed it. Easiest offering of the week so far.
    As beautifully clued a puzzle as always, perhaps.
    Interesting that everyone is saying how easy the Toughie is today. I completed (as near as damn it) three last week, yet I can get only two answers to today’s offering. I did better with Elgar last week! I will have another look later.
    Thanks Jay and 2xK’s

  17. I found this quite difficult for some reason. I missed the lurker completely in 2d so didn’t understand the answer until I read the hints just now. The Hebridean island took some unraveling and 14a, my favourite,I solved backwards starting with the French for water and r for right before the correct mint occurred to me. It may be the fact that the local council have spent the last few nights resurfacing the road outside my house with the attendant lack of sleep that has addled my brain. ***/*** Thanks to all.

    1. I suffered that a few week ago on top of maintenance work to the nearby railway line. The worst aspect of it was that despite obviously blocking off access they insisted on keeping a flashing light on immediately adjacent to my bedroom window which they refused to turn off for health & safety reasons. You have my sympathies. It was akin to the sleep deprivation torture I imagine they inflicted on the Guantanamo inmates & rendered me considerably grumpier than usual.

      1. That happened to friend of mine some years ago so after 14 days of little sleep he sprayed it with black car paint and no one noticed!

        1. Wish I’d thought of that. Trouble was there some chap sitting in the truck doing sod all.

          1. There always is a chap doing sod all, often leaning on a shovel and chatting with a couple of like-minded ‘workers’.

  18. Lovely puzzle today…I wondered if it was Jay too.

    Needed the 2Kiwis help with parsing of 25a and 28a but otherwise got it all sorted out myself.
    Spent far too long saying pri-est to myself at 5a ….doh!
    Thanks to the 2 Kiwis and to the setter.
    Weather miserable up here too but at least a bit milder.

  19. As so often, when the majority say it was simple, I struggle… Very enjoyable nonetheless; of course, I missed the lurker.

    We retrieved H’s car yesterday afternoon – suddenly it seems to have become eye-wateringly expensive to replace an exhaust system. In other news, Lola is eating less now that her steroid intake is reduced and I feel I really need to follow her example. I’m still feeling (mildly) the after effects of the second vaccine, but a small price to pay, of course. Five days since the jab now so it should all wear off soon (ever the optimist).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Woodstock – The Original Soundtrack

    Thanks to Jay (?) and the Two Ks.

    1. Woodstock. The original soundtrack is one of the many CDs I have that have never been played. The Joe Cocker and Jimi Hendrix tracks are brilliant. Canned Heat and Country Joe ok. The rest – No thanks

      1. Reminds me of Matthew’s Southern Comfort one of whose members I once met who told me that that one record was his pension!

      2. Is that where Hendrix played the American national anthem on the guitar? Because that is utterly brilliant.

        1. I was in Toronto staying with friends when Woodstock was on. They asked me what I would rather do – go to Woodstock or Niagara Falls. I chose the falls!

          1. Good choice!

            Even on a grey February day in 2017 they are impressive (well, the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls are).

            1. I have to say they were amazing. Many years later there was a “Guess the Sound” competition on Midlands radio. I guessed it immediately, rang the station and told them. The guy on the desk was amazed I had guessed it so quickly. I told him it was a sound I will never forget.

              Standing in the cave right behind Niagara Falls and seeing and hearing the raging torrent.

      3. Woodstock was the first X cert movie I managed to get into – the fleapit cinema down near Pool Meadow. What was that called? Ritchie Havens singing Motherless Child was my favourite.
        What do you make of Van’s latest ?

        1. The Alexandra later Theatre One. Not heard Vans latest yet. I’m on a permanent Tom Waits loop this month

        2. Judging by the apparent content, the reviews, and his interviews… I will be swerving this latest Van marathon!

  20. I think I was lucky today – one or two people had wavelength issues with this – I just happened to be familiar with gardening, alcohol and gambling terms ……..
    My only difficulty with a few was deciding which bit of the clue referred to the solution and which was an indicator.
    Thanks to the Kiwis and to ?Jay.

  21. It all seemed to come together smoothly, I needed the hints for 2d – too busy thinking of aunts and grans to spot a lurker! And 11a stumped me as well. Many thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis.

      1. Dammit. They look better than mine after four weeks in a propagator.
        I had to get the seeds on line, none of the garden centres around here seem to have them
        but I guess if I sow some more I”ll put them straight in the ground.
        Thanks MP, they look quite sturdy – do you live in the balmy south?
        Balmier and souther than Cambridge?

          1. Oh, I thought you lived IN a barrel. Truth is I am such an ignoramus I don’t know where Barrel is. I shall Google at once, better still I’ll ask Alexa. – oops, she doesn’t know either!

    1. Don’t know whether you noticed my reply to your comment yesterday about the hotel carpet, DG? Still can’t remember the name of the place but I do recall that the highlight of their entertainment was a bingo session each day!

  22. Thought this was going to be another impenetrable Jay puzzle but starting from bottom proved the way to go.
    As always his clues are difficult to unpick but this must be one of his gentler (!) ones.
    No particular favourites but no horrors either for which I for one am profoundly grateful.
    Thx to all

  23. I agree about the Toughie, far easier than this cryptic I thought. Some excellent clues inc my fav 9a.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you comment on a Toughie blog before – do pop over there and make my day

  24. Really happy I could complete this one, slowly, but before the end of the day and without hints. So this made fun for me… **/***** 25a my pick of the day. 27a was my last one in, though it was obvious once i realised it couldnt be an anagram given that only gave me tetris. Huge thanks to the setter for getting onto my wavelength! And thanks for the hints that explained fully the ones i only knew were right by gut…

    I saw someone said the toughie is doable today. I rarely get more than 6 or 7 so going there next with my new found confidence…😎

  25. Gosh! This was a slog for me. Put the vowels in the wrong place in 21a, didn’t know 19a was a tree, blank squares at 13a and 28a so all in all a complete failure on my part. Must be getting worse at this! Thanks to the 2K’s for the help and to Jay for his mastery as ever. (Also couldn’t do 11d in the Quick without cheating despite starting my career in it).

  26. **/****. A very enjoyable puzzle with a few a-ha moments. I haven’t had a 14a for a long time but I have discovered that Crown Royal (Canada’s smoothest whiskey IMHO) now make a peach flavoured version which is dangerously quaffable. Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks for the hints.

  27. Another wonderful puzzle that fell nicely into place. I too got the water part of 14a first and worked backwards from that. Very clever clue in fact a very enjoyable puzzle all round. Went to my accident black spot to take a couple of photos for the EA as it is part of the flood defences apparently. A lovely gentleman came up and asked me how I was as he had been there at the time – don’t remember him at all unsurprisingly, but kind of him to ask. Hope the EA do something as they are spending thousands building a boardwalk in my village which will be nice but totally unnecessary. Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  28. I’m definitely in the “not my cup of tea” camp, having struggled with this one. I did really like 13a and 24d though. Had trouble with 23a as that is called Bok Choy over here, which didn’t work. As a non gambler 25a was a total mystery and don’t understand how 10a level = evens? Level = even, or levels = evens? I’m sure someone will correct me. Best news is that Merusa is home with her furry friends. Thanks to setter and to the 2Kiwis for helping me fill in the boxes.

    1. I had trouble with 23a too, but I remembered that ours is a different spelling, so I put it in an anagram solver and it was one of my first solved!

  29. Made more of a meal than I should have done with this one. Not sure why. ***/*** for me today but I should have been closer to ** for time. When the answers were revealed couldn’t figure out why I had difficulty. One of those days I guess. Used too many hints for my liking today.
    Clues I liked were 5a, 11a, 24a & 7d with 7d winner
    Must be 18d today

    Thanks to Jay(??) and 2K’s

  30. I did not find this as easy as the majority 😳 but solved none the less 😃 ***/**** Favourites were 1 & 26a and 9d. Thanks to the 2xKs and to Jay 👍

  31. Heads up, y’all: Phoebe is home! I noticed a black wraith moving in the half light at 0300h, so I called to her and she promptly settled into her favourite spot next to me. She ate a huge breakfast and is sticking around. Family is now complete with the addition of the aide, but I can’t help that, I know why they insist I have company for safety reasons.
    My fave Jay, I did find him tricky but that’s because I’m rusty. I didn’t get 27a but lack of lateral thinking has always been my problem.
    Loved it all, 21a was easy for me, I live on one, I laughed at 18d. Isn’t the island at 16d where aeroplanes have to land on the beach when the tide’s out? I dunno, hard to choose a fave, maybe 14a?
    Thank you Jay for the fun, and huge thanks to the 2Kiwis for unravelling a couple.

    1. So pleased that Phoebe has returned home, Merusa. Are you hoping to be allowed to resume your dips in the pool ‘ere long?

      1. Sore point! I have the best cure for what ails me just outside my back door, yet I’ve got to wait for the physio to give me permission. Imagine, 95F water, flinging my legs and arms around, bliss!

        1. How frustrating – time to have words with that physio of yours. Surely you’d be totally safe with your aide at hand?

          1. The aide won’t allow until she gets the OK. The aide is 5’10” and 200+lbs, she wins, hands down!

  32. Morning all.
    Quite surprised at the range of opinions expressed about this week’s puzzle. Obviously it was not to everyone’s taste, but guess that’s life. We had to check on the Hebridean island as we mentioned in the blog and the tree was one we were not familiar with but we thought both were able to be deduced from the wordplay.
    Great to have you back on board with all your ‘family’ Merusa. We have all missed you.

  33. After last night’s thunderstorms we enjoyed better weather in the Peaks today. I always enjoy a Jay puzzle and this one didn’t disappoint. I got a little held up in the north east and 13a was my last one in with a penny drop moment. Favourite clues today 14a and 21a. Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis.

  34. No sleep at all last night, for no obvious reason, so feeling a bit fuzzy round the edges today.
    I think that means that it wasn’t a very difficult Jay as I could do it and found it as enjoyable as ever.
    I didn’t know that 19d was a tree, but I do now.
    Being a complete technotwit I was quite proud of getting 13a.
    I thought 14a was a pretty smart clue.
    Thanks to Jay and to the K’s.
    Have spent most of today ‘helping” (watching) the Younger Lamb do things in their tiny garden – I have to say that it reminded me of Margo picking the beans in “The Good Life”. :roll:

    1. :) That was pretty much my favourite Good Life episode….
      Do you mean they were wearing heavy duty gardening gear, or was it that they carried things one at a time across the garden and returned to get the next item?

  35. Only two never heard ofs. The tree in 19a easily solved from the clue and the vegetable in 23a which was an anagram and I’ve probably eaten but never realised. No other major problems. Favourite was 3d for the misdirection, I know where there are numerous clumps of it, always in the ovoid shape and in oak trees. Never kissed a girl under any of them ….. yet. Thanks to Jay and 2K’s.

  36. Hmm. I normally love Jay’s puzzles but I just couldn’t get to grips with this one. I’m
    really bad at coming up with synonyms and I needed to do that a lot here (you might say you need to do that with every crossword clue!) and they just weren’t coming to me. That along with the usual misdirection had me stumped. I struggled home with the aid of the 2Ks excellent hints but after playing some fantastic bridge tonight (I got good cards) this was a bit of a damp squib. ****/**

  37. Very enjoyable. I’m not in the too easy or the too hard camp. I’m in the just right camp. Done in bed this morning having been out all day yesterday. 14a seems to be the favourite of the majority and I agree. For me the U at the end was my way in. 5d was very good too and I got the parsing right which was the icing on the cake. Glad I did not have to go through words ending with “unt” although I can think of some. Other favourites were 26a for simplicity and 9 and 24d. I quickly got the parasite even before I spotted the anagram which was a very good anagram. Last few in were in the NE and I surprised myself by getting 13a. Thank you so much Jay and to the 2Ks. Did not need hints but always read and find they answered my dubious 28a. I used the In from the clue, totally missing the province.

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