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DT 29681

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29681

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on a wet and windy day.

I found today’s puzzle a mixture of easy and much more difficult clues. Three crossing entries in the NE corner were the last to fall, and held me up quite considerably.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           What you’ll need if you cry in dispute? (2,5)
AT ISSUE – Split the answer (1,6) for something to dry your tears.

5a           Assumed one’s invited for speech (7)
GUESSED – The answer is a homophone (for speech) of a word for an invited person.

9a           Instrument that could make mobile ring (5)
CELLO – The American term for a mobile phone, followed by the ring-shaped letter.


10a         Prepare to cut leave, reluctantly (3,3,3)
GET THE AXE – Double definition: what you need to do before chopping a tree down; or another way of referring to being fired from one’s job.

11a         City Road in revised A-Z (10)
DICTIONARY – Anagram (revised) of CITY ROAD IN.

12a         Group of women wearing two costume sizes for pool activity (4)
SWIM – The initials of an organised women’s group famed for ‘jam and Jerusalem’, with two different clothing size indications placed before and after.

14a         Laura, girl cut out for farming (12)

18a         Lacking way to get square (3,2,7)
OUT OF FASHION – Another way of saying ‘lacking’, as in ‘— — stock’, followed by another word for ‘way’ or ‘method’.

21a         Male hero, no maiden (4)
CHAP – Remove the abbreviation for a maiden over at cricket from a shortened form of a word which could indicate a hero.

22a         Conflict caused by man mostly seen in jumper going to church (10)
DIVERGENCE – Start with someone jumping into water. Add another word for a man, minus its last letter (mostly). Finish with the abbreviation for the church of England.

25a         Son entertained by silly ‘alien’ pun — ‘one that sticks out on Earth’ (9)
PENINSULA – Anagram (silly) of ALIEN PUN, with Son inserted.

26a         Love meeting when one’s well (5)
OASIS – Put together the letter which looks like a love score at tennis, another word for ‘when’, and the Roman numeral for one plus the ‘S from the clue. The answer is a well in the desert.

Man in desert sees sign by oasis "Jacket Required". - New Yorker Cartoon'  Premium Giclee Print - James Stevenson | Art.com


27a         Street with field at the end, not common (7)
STRANGE – An abbreviation for ‘street’ followed by a field or extent.

28a         Reports occasional sightings of third fiend — gosh! (7)
TIDINGS – alternate letters (occasional sightings) of the last three words of the clue.


1d           Little group of shops are broken into by villain (6)
ARCADE – ARE (from the clue) wrapped round a villain or bounder.

London's historic Burlington Arcade goes on sale for £400m - The Spaces

2d           Fortunate having two kinds of spirit left by GP initially (2,4)
IN LUCK – An alcoholic spirit and another word for spirit or courage have their initial G and P removed.

3d           His gown is ruffled — rotten exhibitionism! (7-3)
SHOWING-OFF – Anagram (ruffled) of HIS GOWN, followed by another word for ‘rotten’.

4d           Drive from Winnipeg, go north (3,2)
EGG ON – Hidden in the clue.

5d           Bear became hot and wild (2,7)
GO THROUGH – Put together another word for ‘became’, an abbreviation for Hot, and another word for ‘wild’ (like a stormy sea, perhaps), then split the result (2,5).

6d           Imitate character on the radio? (4)
ECHO – Double definition, the second being one of the letters of the NATO alphabet.

7d           Old reliable with coastal wartime housing (8)
STALWART – Hidden in the clue.

8d           Idle army deployed in visionary fashion? (8)
DREAMILY – Anagram (deployed) of IDLE ARMY.

13d         Keep what wrestler wants? (10)
STRONGHOLD – The definition is a noun. Split the answer (6,4) and you get what a wrestler wants to subdue an opponent.

In the Shadow of the Krak des Chevaliers - CounterPunch.org

15d         Ian drunk? Tiddly before you know it! (2,1,6)
IN A MINUTE – Anagram (drunk) of IAN, followed by another word for ‘tiddly’ or ‘small’.

16d         Thoughts formerly admitted by upstanding pious person, politically correct (8)
CONCEPTS – Put together the abbreviated title of a holy person and the acronym for ‘politically correct’. Then reverse (upstanding) the result and insert a word for ‘formerly’ or ‘on one occasion’.

17d         On the way to getting drunk, leaves stick here (8)
STRAINER – Cryptic definition of a device used to keep tea leaves out of your cup (no, not a tea bag!).

19d         College boy offers togetherness (6)
UNISON – An abbreviation for college or university, followed by a boy child.

20d         Things people sing against upper class being overthrown by English (6)
VERSES – Start with the full version of the Latin word for ‘against’ found in football fixtures lists, then replace the letter which signifies ‘upper class’ with an abbreviation for English.

23d         Former band, say, bang on (5)
EXACT – The usual prefix for ‘former’, followed by a generic word for an entertainer or group of entertainers on the variety stage.

24d         Article about author seeking privacy? (4)
ANON – One of the forms of the indefinite article, followed by a word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’.

The Quick Crossword pun READ + LEANT + TILLS = RED LENTILS

168 comments on “DT 29681

  1. I promised yesterday to contact Kath as she hadn’t commented for several days.

    I am sad to say that I heard from her husband this morning to say that Kath had a stroke on Sunday and, although progressing well in hospital, it will be a while before she is able to join us again on the blog.

    Knowing all the lovely people on this blog, in addition to all the hospital treatment, I’m sure the love and positive messages we all send her will do much to boost her spirits and aid her recovery :rose:

    1. That is such distressing news. Get well soon, Kath, and hurry back to the blog. We’ll miss you while you are recuperating. :rose:

      1. I’m so sorry to hear the sad news. I hope Kath is on the road to recovery soon.

    2. Oh, no! So sorry about Kath. Best wishes for her recovery.

      Well done to those being attentive enough to spot her absence, and thank you CrypticSue for getting in touch.

    3. That’s distressing news. Best wishes to Kath for a full and speedy recovery and a quick return to the blog – it won’t be the same here until she’s back.

    4. 💐 Dearest Kath, please get well soon and come back and join us. You will be much missed in the meantime. 💐

    5. Such upsetting news.
      Get well and come back to us soon Kath.
      You are someone who has supported me through tough times please accept all my thoughts and best wishes for a swift and full recovery.

    6. So very sorry to hear this news – all my best wishes too for a speedy recovery, the blog looks forward to having you back on the site.

    7. Very best wishes to Kath for a speedy recovery. No one else can dissect Ray T like Kath.

    8. Oh dear. What horrible news. Wishing Kath a full & speedy recovery & hoping the collective power of the good wishes of all who post on this site help in some way.

    9. Such sad news about our lovely Kath, I do hope she makes a full and rapid recovery. No doubt her two lambs will be on hand to give her plenty of the same TLC that she has lavished on them over the years.

      1. Wishing Kath a speedy recovery and looking forward to her incisive blogs again🦇

    10. Oh poor Kath! Mrs. C. and I wish her well and are sending lots of love. Please get well, Kath and return to us soon.

    11. Really sorry to hear that. My very best wishes for a speedy recovery. Who else am I going to irritate with my cricket references👍

    12. Well if that’s what blogging RayT puzzles does to you I’m glad I get the alternate weeks Kath. Or was it the gardening? Either way, get well soon. We will all be thinking of you and spurring you on.

      1. My best wishes too go to Kath and her family.
        Hope her recovery is speedy.

    13. I have only just picked this up. Desperately sad news this afternoon. I can only add my good wishes for a speedy and full recovery. Get well soon Kath.

    14. Just arrived and am staggered by this news. Best wishes to Kath with hopes for a full recovery and best wishes to her husband too who has to bear this load. I will hold Kath in the light as Friends say.

    15. My thoughts are with you Kath and all of your family … wishing you a speedy recovery

    16. That’s terrible news! I have to say I’m very sad and upset to hear it. Get well soon, Kath, and return to this blog as soon as you can.

    17. I’m terribly sorry to hear this news – I hope her recovery and rehab will go well. She’s in a good place for it and her family will make sure she gets great input. My OH had a stroke a few years ago and positivity and determination should see her through. We will miss her wit and wisdom for now and hope that we’ll hear from her before too long, even if not hinting.

    18. So very sorry to hear about our stalwart blogger Kath. Sending best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. We will keep your seat warm and can’t wait for you to rejoin us. Thinking of you and all your family. Thanks to Crypticsue for letting us know.

    19. Thinking of you Kath as you get better and return to helping us with those Thursday clues

    20. This news is very distressing, Kath was the first person I met on the blog a while ago and I always looked forward to her comments and posts. My best wishes for a complete recovery and hope to see you unravelling RayT again soon. I send best wishes to your husband and Lambs, I can’t imagine how shattered they must be. Bundles of love coming to you.

      1. So sorry to hear this news, my thoughts are and will remain with you.

    21. Dearest Kath, Keep progressing well and I hope it will not be too long before you are back in the comfort of your own home. Just to say thinking of you and your husband and lambs, and sending warmest wishes.

    22. I would love to send you a few of those roses you like so much but can’t remember the wordpress code.
      Do get better soon.
      Lots of love.

    23. Oh my goodness, so sorry to read this, hoping and praying Kath makes a complete recovery. She is one of our best and brightest, and will be sorely missed in the meantime. My very best wishes to her and her lambs. A lovely lady, and not only because she tackles and solves Ray T for all us.

    24. What shattering news to wake up to.
      All our best wishes and love Kath and to Chris and all the family too. We’re thinking of you all.

    25. I am an infrequent visitor to the blog, but I certainly offer my very best wishes to Kath who is clearly highly regarded in this community.

    26. Sorry, just picked this up. Terrible news, let’s hope she makes a full recovery.

    27. We don’t often comment on the blog as we do the crossword the day after most people and all has been said, but we feel we know Kath through the blog, and also have an Oxford connection, so this comes with a heartfelt ‘Get better soon, Kath’ and hope to see you back on the blog in double quick time. Love and best wishes from me and my OH.

    28. Just seen this awful news, I hope she make a full and speedy recovery. Please give her my very best wishes ,we need her back.

    29. So sorry to hear the horrible news about poor Kath. Very best wishes to her (and her family) for a speedy and complete recovery. I’ll miss her, especially on Thursday.

    30. I’m so very sorry to hear this news this morning. Wishing you a speedy recovery Kath, I always look forward to your comments and RayT Thursday blogs, sending you very best wishes 💐

    31. I apologize for being so late in discovering crypticsue’s note on Kath’s distressing news, and may I add my very best wishes for a speedy recovery. In her blog comments, she so often reflects exactly what I have been thinking, and, along with others, very much look forward to her return to good health, and to this blog.

  2. I think this crossword marks the return of Zandio with a proper Friday level puzzle which caused quite a lot of head scratching along the way

    Thanks to him for the enjoyable crossword and DT for the blog

    PS: If you think you’ve scratched your head and strained your cryptic grey matter with this one, wait till you look at the Elgar!

    1. Another Zandio, so soon? Seems like only a fortnight since we last had one. A really treat to get Zandio and Django in the same week. (Apparently I have a thing for 6-letter setters ending in “o” with “an” in the middle of their names)

      I haven’t even looked at this one yet, but now I’ve learnt who the setter is, I’ll try to make time to fit it in. Thanks in advance to him and Deep Threat.

      1. I am so very sorry to hear this news. I don’t often comment but most days read the blog and know how much love and admiration we bloggers have for Kath .I wish you a speedy recovery.

  3. I thought this was an excellent Friday puzzle, not too tricky but with a fair bit of lateral thinking required. Anyway, all done and fully parsed in just short of 3* time.
    Podium contenders aplenty, I’ve ticked 9,21&26a plus 2,7(excellent lurker)17&20d.
    Good stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter (I suspect Zandio) and DT for the entertainment.

        1. Before being drunk (consumed) the (tea) leaves stick in the solution. Hope that helps Huntsman.

          1. It does. Appreciate the clue much more now.
            I was thinking what had rainer got to do with drunk/tight having thought on the way was the st & still didn’t cotton on after DT’s hint.

            1. You are in good company Huntsman. I’ve been struggling with that answer too. There is only one drunk in my book and that is blotto

              1. I still cannot see the drunk bit. Presumably the way is St but where does rainer come in? I did get the answer but don’t understand how!

                1. Manders you’re welcome to come & join me on the dunce’s step when the penny drops. I read DT’s hint 3 times & still couldn’t see how it was a double definition until Stephen led me by the hand & I was drinking a cup of tea (a bag though) at the time.

                  1. I just saw this as an all-in-one cryptic definition where there was no ST and not even a double definition – they were red herrings and distractions. Before (on the way to) getting drunk (the cup that cheers is consumed), the leaves remain (stick) in the answer.

                    1. B. I read it as a straightforward cryptic definition, not an all-in-one (or & lit), because there is no hidden word-play.

                  2. H. Now I’m confused! Have you concluded that this cryptic definition is a double definition or are you saying that you initially thought it was a d.d. but SL has convinced you that it isn’t?

                    1. I think I need a lie down! I was trying to make ‘drunk’ an anagram indicator – at last I get it.

  4. Like DT, I spent a lot if time stuck on some of the difficult clues in the NE and it was a real slog to finish in 3* time. I got great satisfaction from finishing but would not call this puzzle enjoyable. Thanks to DT for explaining the Cryptic Definition at 17d. Now that I understand, I nominate it for COTD. I have to say, as a geography teacher for nearly 40 years, I have never come across such a lame description of the geographical feature in 25a. Thank goodness it was an anagram! Thanks to DT and the compiler.

  5. Very enjoyable with enough challenges to kickstart the brain. Likewise the Toughie – which wasn’t really!

    1. I apologise for this error. I did my crosswords in a different order this morning so the supposed toughie I refer to is actually from today’sTimes.
      Elgar is a somewhat different kettle of fish!

      1. Must say I’m somewhat relieved to read that, Bertie – as I spent my first 15 minutes poring over the Toughie at lunch, I recalled your comment and was wondering why I was finding it such slow-going. Not only were the horses not trotting, they resolutely remained in their stables. You are mortal after all!

  6. Agree with DT that the cluing was easy in parts with some difficult parsing thrown in-definitely toughie standard, If my memory is correct last Friday’s puzzle was the same- Zando again!
    Anyway an enjoyable challenge ,liked the 16d charade and the surface of 13d, last in and my favourite was 10a when the penny dropped-Going for a ****/****

  7. Really enjoyed this puzzle: not an unfair clue among them, a good scattering of clue types, some very clever constructions. Plenty of ticks, and hon. mentions to 5a, 28a, 2d and 7d, but podium is for me shared by 13d for the smile and smooth surface, and 15d for the wit and subsequent laugh.


    Many thanks to Zandio, and to CS.

  8. No real problems in the North but ground to a temporary halt in the South however got a second breath and hey presto. IMHO 25a is too clever by half and I’m not too keen on “things people sing” in 20d. Thank you Zandio and DT.

    1. I agree about 25a, but I’ve no problem with 20d. I’m always singing verses, and choruses too!

  9. Lured in by a sitter(1a), this puzzle then revealed its true character, tricky with a lot of misdirection.
    First morning puzzle for ages that I haven’t been able to finish.
    Still it was fun trying.
    Thanks to setter, and to DT for the review.

    1. No – it still isn’t me – Deep Threat provided the hints, I just provided the news about Kath

        1. I blame the weather – the wind today is beyond a joke but I suppose it hasn’t rained (yet)

        2. Tough puzzle for me, got through and enjoyed it BUT not keen on 22a (ie the synonym for jumper doesn’t really work for me)

  10. That was the hardest back-pager I have tried in a long while. The SW was virtually barren until the electrons gave assistance. Definitely not on my wavelength.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  11. I too found this very difficult but it was the SE corner that held me up, 19d and 20d last in. I bunged in 20a but had to wait for the hints to see why. Not sure that jumper and diver are the same thing – one goes feet first and the other head first? Perhaps I am being pernickity (what a nice word but it says I have not spelt it right). Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. Chambers has it as “ety” so perhaps you haven’t Manders (I had to check). As you say a lovely word but “fussy” is much easier to spell!

    2. I thought it was persnickety – there, it accepted that version! I found the SE very difficult, copious use of internet for that one.

  12. A puzzle of two halves – North and South. Difficulty – 1.5* for North, 3.5* for South, so 2.5* on average and then 3.5* for enjoyment.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 26a, 4d, and 5d – and the winner is 4d – well it had to be, didn’t it. I just ‘padded’ the candidate list with some random numbers.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  13. As DT found some easy clues and some (really) tough ones. Too many periods spent staring at Biggles for inspiration for it to be really enjoyable so ***/**** time and *** pleasure.
    Unlike DT my nemesis was rhe SW where I (stupidly on reflection) resorted to e help for 16d.
    17d my LOI, very clever, gets my COTD.
    Thanks to setter and DT for the review.
    Miserable dreich cold day with no let up forecast. Watching the golf from “just down the road” from Robert explains why we have no blue skies SC has them all! Envious.

  14. Great puzzle, maximum brain power required.
    Completed without assistance, SW corner took some time, though.
    Especially 17d until the penny dropped. Brilliant clue.
    So, ****/*****.
    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  15. Thanks for the hints, DT. 22a was my last one in and I still couldn’t work out why! ***/*** Favourite 13d, Thanks to all.

    1. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Kath, you have always been such a big part of this blog!

  16. Invariably have a few ‘well, I suppose so’ moments with this setter and today was no exception. It also occurs to me that maybe 1a in its various forms should be given a rest for a while.
    No particular favourite today but I could have put money on Senf’s choice!

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  17. The NW was a write in & the SE fell reasonably quickly but it was a real struggle elsewhere & took me into Toughie time to complete while resisting the temptation to reveal a letter. The last word of 10a stubbornly refused to yield & only did so when the 7d lurker penny dropped. As for the SW it was like pulling teeth but with a good yank they all came out in the end. Can’t say it was my favourite of the week but I have them parsed as it was fairly clued throughout so no complaints on that score. I thought the wordplay to 2&5d rather clever but 10a was my pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to Zandio & DT

  18. On the whole a super puzzle with a great clue in 1a which made me grin. Thx to Deep T for the explanations of 5d, 26a and 28a. Still a bit stuck with 16d in terms of explaining the fairly obvious answer.
    Such a relief after fighting yesterdays Giovanni who seemed to have been in a grump when he wrote it.
    Thx to all

    1. Saint (st),politically correct (pc), upstanding (up in a down clue) all containing once (formerly) .

  19. I’m pleased to see I was not the only one who struggled with this. I found some clues impenetrable and had to resort to the hints, which I do my best not to do. Like Colin, I was tired into a false sense of security after getting 1a straightaway. That was the only one I got on the first pass. Despite finding some of it very tricky I did find it enjoyable. No COTD, just pleased to finish.

    Thank you to the setter (Zandio?) and to DT for the much needed hints.

  20. I thought this was a mix of easy, difficult and clunky clues, and overall a bit of a slog. Satisfied to have finished though.
    I’ll go with 17d as COTD, but wonder why it doesn’t have a question mark at the end, as it seems pretty cryptic.
    Thanks to the setter and DT

    1. I agree with you about the question mark in 17d. I bunged it in and had to have DT’s help to parse it.

  21. Took a while to get going but then found it a great puzzle with a good mix of straightforward and head-scratcher clues.
    11a my favourite because once I got ‘road’ and A-Z I was looking for something that wasn’t there and totally missed the obvious anagram 😏

  22. Great puzzle, thanks to Zandio. Minor guffaw at 15d and forehead slap at 17d, so equal CsOTD. ***/*** Thanks to DT for the hints which I didn’t need but still enjoyed.

  23. 17d, my LOI, held me up forever but when the penny dropped, I was over the moon! What a brilliant puzzle–every corner has its masterpiece, but it was the SW altogether that makes it to the crowded podium, with a special honourable mention to 13d. Many thanks to Zandio for the best backpager this week, and to DT for the review.
    *** / *****
    We haven’t heard from DaisyGirl in a few days, have we? I hope that she and George are doing all right.

    1. Daisygirl bought petrol yesterday and a tree branch fell onto their newly planted and expensive plants.She really should be more careful.

      1. Thanks, CS. I had some online outages, off and on, yesterday and didn’t get back to the blog. I guess the news about Kath, which upset me badly, suddenly had me worried about DG. I somehow associate the one with the other. (I know, it’s funny how the mind works at times…must be the Oxbridge Connection.)

      2. I nearly cried during beautiful Jacqueline’s playing of the Elgar. The Concerto is sad enough in its conception, writing and performance – but the talent of J du P exceeds belief. Sadness and poignancy and memories reign.
        The Crossword was several notches up.
        Thanks to all

        1. Yes, i, too, was also in tears at the JduP performance. So sad, so young, and so much talent.

  24. 2*/4.5* This was great fun. I’ve said it before and will probably do so again, but we are spoilt royally now on Fridays with three superb setters, all with very different styles to enjoy.

    It was quite tough trying to pick a favourite, but 5d finally got the nod.

    Many thanks to, I am pretty sure, Zandio, and to DT.

    1. RD. What’s afoot? I still can’t see a comment from you on yesterday’s back-pager (apart from the short one in the thread at #4). Is there something wrong with my laptop or eyesight?

  25. Like other I found the too half reasonable but really struggled with he bottom half.
    Had to resort to some electronic help and definitely needed the hints for some of the parsings.
    Liked it better than yesterday’s , though, so I may yet get on to Zandio’s wavelength.

    Thanks to the setter and to DT

    Chucking it down here …and cold to boot. We had just turned the heating down too…..it’s back up again now.

    1. Surprisingly, since it’s very windy and chilly here, there have been a number of birds taking a bath in our bird bath today, including two delightful blackbird chicks, which mum and have ‘hidden’ under the foliage in my borders between feeds and baths.

      1. The first thing I do at 7.00 every morning is to refill my stone bird bath, located in the back garden opposite the kitchen window. It is very entertaining to watch the birds using it; sometimes there are 3 or 4 sparrows squabbling with each other to get in the water. Nearly every morning there is a big blackbird who comes and spends several minutes vigorously dipping and thrashing its wings about, having a jolly good time in there. Usually, I have to go and fill it up again after his visit (it is quite shallow) because nearly all the water has been splashed out.

  26. A good tussle this afternoon as I sit and watch the rain fall outside my hotel window in the Yorkshire Dales. The puzzle certainly cheered me up and was entertaining and rewarding to complete. A lot of really fine clues, but 5d stood out above them all for me.

    My thanks to Zandio and DT.

  27. Thanks for the news CS and lots of love to Kath for a speedy recovery.
    A gentle trot through most of this, with a few that needed several visits.
    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  28. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for the analysis and discussion. Best wishes to Kath.

  29. Only managed 13 of these by myself but some of the clues, ie the ones already mentioned, are outstanding! Thanks Zandio and to Deep Threat for doing the explanations.

  30. What a great puzzle. Some wonderful clues but 17d is absolutely outstanding. My clue of 2021 to date.

    Can’t stop thinking about the news of Kath. I do hope we hear better news soon.

  31. Minutely less enjoyable than solving the clues is understanding the clever hints on this unique page. Thanks Big Dave & he rest. Special thanks for Elgar, Jacqueline and Daniel

  32. So sorry to read the news about Kath who has helped me a lot. Get well soon.

  33. Very difficult in places and very enjoyable thank you Zandio and DT
    1 and 2a as the best two opening clues I have seen!

  34. Well I almost completed it today which would have been a huge achievement but had to resort to DT’s hints for 22a despite having 5 letters in. I was thinking of sweaters and fleas! At 24a I was looking for anything but chap. Oh well there we go. Many thanks to DT and Zandio. Another get well wish to Kath and sending lots of positive vibes.

  35. Thanks goodness for the hints. I started quickly but ground to a halt and had to resort to the excellent help from DT – many thanks. 2&17d were my favourites. Thanks also to the setter.

  36. I’m in the “hard but fair camp” this afternoon. So I was happy to complete. Favourite was 13d thanks to Zandio and DT.

  37. Sorry you’re poorly, Kath. Sending best wishes for a good recovery. X Very much enjoyed today’s puzzle.

  38. Such sad news about Kath. Get well soon.
    While on the subject of missing bloggers, I haven’t seen John Bee recently. I notice him because his “call sign” is so similar to mine.

    1. Hi JB – in answer to your recent question, yes it was an Art Society/NADVAS zoom – I am the minute secretary for our local group. We have had 2 fantastic live walking tours of Venice, really terrific. If you are interested I will send you a link as our guide was first class and very entertaining.

    2. I did email John a few times and even rang his mum who said that he’s fine, so we can only assume that he’s chosen to take a break from crosswords for a while.

      1. Thank you for this. How refreshing to hear he still has a mum! Good to know there are younger people who blog on crosswords. Let’s hope he returns soon.

    3. Manders..Lovely to meet a fellow AS member. Yes please to the Venice walking tours. Other societies recommendations are always worth while. We’ve had Peter Medhurst mixing music with Venice. He’s always good value.
      Hope the leg has finally healed.

  39. I found this unbelievably hard, yet I found some clues that were right up my straße. A lot of my unravelling was done by DeepThreat, I was totally lost most of the time. I did eventually get 17d on my own, I loved it, very clever. I’m glad to say I completed it, sheer mule-headed determination, not being clever. I used my word-search programme until I was sure it’d wear out. I also thought 12a pretty clever, but I’m going to pick 17d as fave.
    Thank you Zandio for our Friday puzzle and to Deep Threat for all your very welcome hints and tips.

    1. Whatever fills your grid Merusa is ok by me. All of the right letters in all of the right places. Any way you can get there. That’ll do me nicely thanks.

  40. Wow. Easy peasy then flummoxed. Wendy and me (or is it I? I never know) are on hols away in the Peak District climbing so I am probably less focused on matters textual.

    Really enjoyed it though so for me a ***/****

    Thanks to all

    Looking forward to getting back to Plymouth tomorrow and attempting the crossword every day.

      1. Me too: actually Wendy was born in Greenbank Hospital which sadly had to give way to a housing development some years back. The Hoe is still as enervating as ever and we are lucky enough to live beneath it by the ever changing sea.

        1. My brother lived in Plymouth in the early 1980s. I visited often and grew very fond of the place.

    1. Here’s the way I do it, “Wendy and me are” … cut out Wendy, so it’s just me, you would say “I am away on hols …”, so it would be “Wendy and I are …”. I’m sure the cognoscenti will have a simpler and more professional way of doing it.

      1. I had a boss once who always got it wrong. I was forever telling him to take out the (usually long list of) other people, make the sentence work correctly with just him in it, and then put the other people back

        1. That works and is way simpler than mine. See, the professional gets it every time.

  41. I was a bit tired when I started but now I feel exhausted.
    The top went in rather smoothly but the bottom was really tough.
    A real workout and a well deserved victory.
    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  42. What a relief, after a few poor efforts on my behalf, I must have had my contrary hat on today, as I sailed through most of this one. I was just thinking there were going to be a lot of complaints that this one was too gentle when I ran into the roadblocks, including the crickets one. But a couple of hints got me back on track. Thanks Zandio, this was definitely my cup of tea today, and thanks to Deep Threat.

    Still shocked and fed up with the news that Kath is in the hospital. But I’m sure she will soon have them all licked into shape and back home with husband and lambs. I certainly hope so.

  43. Crossword of 2 halves today. Top was easier than the bottom, but was a delight to solve.

    So sad to hear about Kath – love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  44. Very late start on this puzzle … and even later finish. ***/*** for me.
    Clues of note 9a, 10a, 18a, 17d & 20d with winner 10a

    Thank to Zandio and DT

  45. Found the top half much easier than the bottom but all very enjoyable.
    I don’t often post on the blog but always read it so feel I know Kath even though I don’t but would love to send her all my good wishes for a speedy recovery.
    Thanks Zandio, I always enjoy your crosswords.

  46. So sorry to hear about Kath being in hospital – much love for a speedy recovery.

  47. This was way beyond me. Even with DT’s hints I still had to look at the answers, and sometimes couldn’t understand the parsing. I didn’t know the cricket reference at 21a, nor the expression at 10a. Fav 11a. Thanks to DT for much needed hints, and to setter.
    Best wishes to Kath and hope you are better soon.

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