DT 29719 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29719

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29719

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where we have just marked a subdued and sombre Canada Day. While our remarkable progress on vaccinations and the easing of health restrictions would otherwise have been a cause for celebration, the continuing almost weekly revelations of atrocities committed against our indigenous peoples by past governments and the Church (primarily, but not entirely, the Catholic Church) put a damper on festivities.

I would say that today’s puzzle from Campbell leans well toward the easier end of his scale and perhaps is a bit lower on the enjoyment scale than usual. I hope I have the top Quickie pun correct. If not, I am sure someone will quickly set me straight.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


7a   Man’s clue, written cryptically, for powerful nation’s government (5,3)
UNCLE SAM — an anagram of the first two words of the clue gives a character whose initials match those of the government he personifies

9a   Initially doing English, checked by stern university lecturer (6)
READER — the initial letter of Doing and E(nglish) surrounded by stern or hind end

10a   Increase got by former partner — harshly criticised, we hear (6)
EXPAND — the usual former partner and a syllable that sounds like a word meaning harshly criticized (as might be a theatrical production in an uncomplimentary review)

11a   Boss in Boeing over Norway (8)
GOVERNOR — hidden in (in) the final three words of the clue

12a   The horizon may be this, according to my understanding? (2,3,2,1,3,3)
AS FAR AS I CAN SEE — given an unobstructed view, a literal interpretation of the answer would define the horizon

15a   Very happy to find bird’s nest, say (4)
SOUP — link together synonyms for very or extremely and happy or having raised spirits to get what bird’s nest is an example of in culinary terms

17a   Computer device in fashion, foremost from Microsoft (5)
MODEM — a fashion or style followed by the initial letter of Microsoft

19a   Northern beer knocked back in style (4)
ELAN — a reversal of N(orthern) and a type of beer

20a   Legendary knight’s useful book (8,6)
TRISTRAM SHANDY — string together the legendary knight who stole his uncle’s intended bride (including the trailing ‘s) and a word meaning ready to use and conveniently placed to get an epic 18th century novel published in nine volumes over eight years

23a   Large glass   sailing ship (8)
SCHOONER — double definition; the first a glass for sherry (in Britain) or beer (in North America, Australia and New Zealand)

25a   Take in a small circle, including bishop (6)
ABSORB — start with a charade of the A from the clue, S(mall), and the three-dimension figure for which a circle is a two-dimensional representation; then wrap this around the chress notation for bishop

27a   A weird tale following Victor’s dance (6)
VALETA —the A from the clue and an anagram (weird) of TALE, all following the letter represented by Victor in the NATO phonetic alphabet

28a   Outrageous, senior relative in apartment (8)
FLAGRANT — an informal name for an elderly relative contained in the common (British) name for an apartment


1d   Stone from nursery’s borders carried by cattle … (4)
ONYX — place the initial and final letters of NurserY in a bovine setting; this clue would work if cattle were not a plural noun

2d   … a large bundle, mostly put on a llama- like beast (6)
ALPACA — line up the first A from the clue, L(arge), all but the final letter of a bundle arranged for carrying, and the second A from the clue

3d   Complacent, son, gullible person (4)
SMUG — S(on) and a gullible person or dupe

4d   Unimportant stuff provided by four during short hearing (6)
TRIVIA — place the Roman numeral four into a court hearing from which the final letter is removed

5d   A pass intercepted by the French in game (8)
LACROSSE — the A from the clue and a type of football pass embedded in a masculine French definite article give a game invented by the indigenous peoples of North America

6d   Earlier, in front of worker (10)
BEFOREHAND — link together synonyms for in front of and worker (as symbolized by a portion of an upper appendage)

8d   Team member’s weapon (7)
SIDEARM — string together synonyms for team and the remainder of the appendage from the previous clue

13d   Wears fur jacket (6,4)
SPORTS COAT — wears proudly followed by another name for an animal’s fur gives a North American, Australian and New Zealand name for a garment known in the UK by a slightly different name

14d   Country home on telephone, endlessly (5)
INDIA — the usual (at) home followed by a verb meaning to call on the telephone without its final letter

16d   Inmate rips off one close to warder (8)
PRISONER — concatenate an anagram (off) of RIPS, the ONE as gifted by the setter, and the final letter of wardeR

18d   A blemish hidden by mother’s cosmetic (7)
MASCARA — the A from the clue and a blemish surrounded by an informal name for one’s mother

21d   Heartless film character‘s time on popular island (3,3)
TIN MAN — a charade of T(ime), popular or trendy, and an island in the Irish sea gives a flim character who was literally without a heart

22d   Tell positively, when certain (6)
ASSURE — string together common synonyms for when and certain

24d   Crack appears in glacier, if thawing (4)
RIFT — hidden in the final three words of the clue

26d   Draw a circle round   item of jewellery (4)
RING — double definition; a verb meaning to surround and a digital item of jewellery

As my three top clues, I will nominate 15a, 20a and 21d with highest honours going to 20a.


Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : PARLOUR + MEANT = PARLIAMENT

153 comments on “DT 29719

  1. A great start to the cryptic week with just the right amount of straightforward clues and brain teasers. I managed to finish unaided so feel good about that. I was unsure about 21d but it could be nothing else from the parsing. However, I still checked my answer with Mr. G. My answer was correct but it wasn’t until a long time after that I realised which film it was. COTD for me was 13d with 12a a close runner up.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the workout. Thanks also to Falcon for the hints.

  2. Agree fully on * claassification. Very gentle. My only problem was spelling of 22ac.!

    1. R. The standard rating is supposed to be a grading of up to 5*. Here, the rating for difficulty states */** which is equivalent to 2.5*/5* (average difficulty) using the standard system, not 1*. Unless I have interpreted it wrongly?

      1. Jose, */** means 1.5*. Using the scale of 1-5 where 0 is not allowed, I believe that 3* is considered as average difficulty, but it’s all very subjective of course.

          1. Thank you RD – I will have to take your word for it. But in my world (I’m no academic mathematician) 1* out of a possible 2* = 50% or the same as 2.5*/5* or an average/mean score. If */** is the same as 1.5* why not just put 1.5*? Please, what is **/*** equivalent to and what does Reggie’s * on its own mean?

              1. Thank you LBR. I understand that **/*** is 2-3, or 2.5 what? If it’s 2.5*, then my simple, straightforward question is why not just put 2.5* instead of the confusing **/***?

            1. */** is one TO two, not one out of two Jose. Similarly **/*** as LBR says is two to three. Reggie is rating the difficulty level only, one on a scale of one to five.

              1. SL. Reading these comments you can see the confusion when people veer from the convention/standard. To me, the wrong symbol is being used. One TO two should be *-** not */**. / is the symbol for division – 1/4 = one quarter. To many people */** means 1* divided by 2** = 1/2 = a rating of 50% of a scale from 1 – 5 (not 1/5). Reggie (at #2) was agreeing with the reviewers rating of * for difficulty (at #2 there was no-one else he could be agreeing with). But did he think that his * was the * in the */** which really means 1.5* or your suggestion that his * is 1* on a scale of 1* – 5* which means only 1*? (See the confusion?). LBR asserts that **/*** is 2.5. Falcon says **/*** is anywhere between 2 and 3. How are newcomers or casual users of the blog supposed to make sense of all this?

                  1. All I can say is: Silence is the best tactic for they who distrust themselves!

                1. I doubt that most of us are as analytical as you choose to be, Jose. **/*** is readily accepted by regular contributors as implying ‘somewhere between two and three stars’ – why try to muddy the waters for the sake of perceived accuracy?

                  1. Yes Jane, but I’m not speaking on behalf of “regulars”. This site receives up to 20,000 views per day, a tiny proportion of which is us regulars. One person gives a combined rating of, say, 1.5*/3* and another might give a separated rating of */** – **/*** for the same puzzle. Most people visiting the blog will be confused, I can tell you! That’s the point I try to make.

                    1. I think it’s reasonably fair to assume that the majority of folk who just pop into the blog but never leave comments are those who are simply seeking the answer to a particular clue without going to the expense of using the DT hotline. I would doubt that many, if any, of them even look at our ‘ratings’ and comments, so I wouldn’t get yourself exercised about it, Jose.

                    1. What a load of waffle! Just enjoy the crossword and pay tribute to the one clever enough to compose it!

            2. For me, **/*** means more than two stars but less than three stars. Yes, one could put 2.5* (or 2.75* or 2.875*) but that implies a level of accuracy far beyond reality. So, I think “more than two but less than three” suffices for the purposes here.

              1. F, with the greatest respect. Giving a rating of **/*** (= anywhere between 2* and 3*) is quite inaccurate and a little ambiguous/meaningless – it could mean 2.01* or it could mean 2.99*. Which is a significant discrepancy when the scale is only 1* – 5*. Please, let’s all stick to a simple/straightforward rating scale of 1*- 5* with increments of 1* or 0.5*. Increments of 0.5 on a rating scale of 1 – 5 isn’t a level of accuracy beyond reality, is it?

                1. Jose, I’m curious as to your use of / between two words eg ambiguous/mesningless which seems to make a nonsense of your original protest that it means divided by. Of course if someone had used – would that have implied minus? Thank you so much for the entertainment that you sparked. I’ve hardly been able to read this out to Mr NJ for laughing.

              1. Well it was getting a bit convoluted! :smile: Lovely picture of your garden, DG. You obviously put in a lot of hard work.

  3. More proof that a puzzle doesn’t have to be difficult to be very entertaining. In a strong field my stars go to 7,11&28a plus 21d.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the fun. Top pun works for me.

    1. Reading the review, and it passed me by on solving, I agree with you Falcon that 1d doesn’t quite work.

      1. It gave me a slight pause for thought too, Stephen but it couldn’t be anything else.

  4. A day off means an early attack. Completed without alarm. Struggled with 21d but when the penny dropped it became my COTD. And FWIW, Falcon I agree with your parcing of the quickie pun.

  5. A gentle start to the week which, after yesterday’s puzzle, came as a welcome relief to me. Nothing obscure about it, except perhaps the dance at 27a which is doable from the clue and checkers. I did like the legendary knight at 20a and 15a is an unusual and amusing interpretation. A bit of an American flavour in the north west. No real favourite. Thanks to all.

    1. I think the dance at 27a is mentioned in the Marry Widow, somehow that seems to ring a bell.

    1. Solving without entering any answers ups the difficulty level somewhat. Today’s Rookie might suit your tastes better. Was your pub the one with no customers?

    2. Bertie, with the greatest respect, I was wondering if you suffer from acute amnesia? That’s twice recently you have claimed having no recollection of crosswords you must have solved just a few short hours earlier.

      * That was a near thing – I almost made a berk of myself (again) by writing “insomnia” instead of amnesia. :-)

        1. It’s always meant “stupid fool” to innocent little ol’ me. But I’ve just researched it to find it’s roots are in Cockney slang! S’pose that makes me a double berk?

  6. The small amount of GK required for 20a and 27a was fortunately within my grasp so this was a */** for me. I thought 11a was a nice lurker so that was my COTD. With thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  7. 1.5*/3*. This was light and fun, just right for a Monday, and a great antidote for an over-complex Rookie Corner puzzle.

    15a was my last one in and favourite with 20a my runner-up.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  8. 11a was a terrific lurker but my top clue was the legendary knight at 20a. Campbell has a very happy knack of producing pleasantly solvable puzzles without stinting on the enjoyment, so many thanks to him and of course to Falcon.

  9. I can only endorse what everyone else has said about this light and entertaining puzzle (1*/3.5*). 12a and 20a were favourites for me. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell for another enjoyable Monday puzzle.

  10. A very enjoyable Monday solve. I think Campbell is perfect for this slot. A confidence boost for newer solvers and enough to make us smug old stagers think a little. Thanks to Campbell for the puzzle and to Falcon for the review. I’m not envious of anybody living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at the moment. The weather seems to have gone mad. For those who like a little extra complication with their puzzles Rookie Corner may float their boat today.

    1. Sister-in-law in Calgary had temperatures minus 35 or so earlier this year & 45 or so last week. Not many places on earth would have that range in the same calendar year.

  11. Well I loved this after yesterday’s head scratcher. Yes, it was on the easier side but still most enjoyable. 20a was my COTD. Having just hung my washing out, torrential downpour – oh well. A nice afternoon watching Wimbledon awaits – come on Emma! Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

    1. Were my mother here, she would certainly relate her oft-told story of a woman in the community where I grew up who always did her wash on a rainy day as then she didn’t have to rinse it. (This in the days long before modern automatic washers, probably even before electric washing machines).

  12. Campbell has certainly eased us gently but enjoyably into the cruciverbal week. Didn’t know 5a pass but bunged it in unparsed as with 21d. 15a Fav even though it was last in. The Quickie also was nicely challenging. Thank you Cameron and Falcon. Now for a continuation of the Wimbledon-fest.

    1. A cross in soccer is, loosely I guess, a pass. At least that is how I took it.

      1. … and so does the online Chambers, defining cross as (in sport, especially football) a pass of (a ball, etc) from the wing to the centre.

      2. Mr. Google tells me “a cross is a medium-to-long range pass from a wide area of the field towards the centre of the field near the opponents’ goal” – no wonder I didn’t know that!!!

  13. A nicely engaging Monday puzzle and I wonder how many of us have actually read 20a – I certainly haven’t!
    Liked the reminder of the heartless character and my top three were 9&28a plus 3d. I’d also mention the top line pun which I thought was cleverly contrived.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the blog and the dancing class!
    PS I do hope DG pops in to let us know how she went on yesterday.

        1. Forget about Bertie, DG, he’s only interested in tough crosswords! Any chance you might have a little video of the garden that you could share with us?
          By the way, don’t know whether you saw the comment from Manders on Sunday or my reply to her but I do hope I didn’t overstep the mark.

          1. I really was too exhausted to do the crossword yesterday although I did have it on the table outside thinking I might have a few quiet moments. Haha. No I didn’t see what you said, I was disappointed not to meet her but realistically it’s a hell of a long journey and the weather was not flagged up as settled. But if Manders is visiting Cambs at any time ( or indeed any of our other lovely friends) I am sure I could raise a cup of tea and a tour. But don’t forget photographs can be deceptive- I don’t have a vast garden!

            1. It is not necessary to have a large garden for it to be beautiful, DG. Ours is small but we love it. It’s not as nice as yours but does that matter? As Thomas Edward Brown wrote “A Garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!”

              He didn’t say it had to be a big garden or that it had to be neat. He did declare that we should love them, whatever.

              While I was working, our garden became neglected because Mrs C cannot work in it. Now I am retired, I am gradually restoring it.

              I love your use of “features” and you have inspired me to explore that area.

              Again, many congrats to you and George for a successful day.

    1. Re 20a, I haven’t read it either, why not? But I just love the title name.

  14. Early comments would seem to concur with my difficulty rating but most would seem to place the enjoyment level higher than my rating. As for the top Quickie pun, although I could see no other possibility, my concern was that the solution contained simply a different tense of the first word in the pun.

    1. Sue
      She is probably lying down in a darkened room with vinegar poultice on her forehead.

      1. I thought that was what you did if you’d gone up the hill to fetch a pail of water, and had fallen down and broken your crown? :D

        1. I guess if you broke your crown you would have a headache. It was mum’s remedy for a headache. Afterwards wash with Imperial Leather (hair and all) to remove the acetic acid smell.

    2. I have no idea why my comments always seem to be posted with no number. And now comments to Jane above have attached themselves to this one.

      1. I take it you are using the “Leave Your Comment” box at the bottom of the page and not just pressing the reply arrow attached to a post, Falcon? :smile:

        1. Yes, Steve, you are correct. The comment goes into the list as a new comment but without a number. However, today, replies to Jane’s comment just previous to mine are attached to my comment rather than to hers.

          1. Falcon,
            Probably myerror sorry.
            Problem is by the time you (well I) have realised it is in the wrong place you can’t put it in the right one.

      2. F. I’ve noticed comments initiated by the reviewer having no number several times before. I nearly commented on it the other week but thought better of it. Is it deliberate or just a software quirk/whatever. Anybody know?

        1. Perhaps the creators of the software never anticipated that we would comment on our own review. ;)

  15. A pleasant start to the week not over-taxing but enough difficulty to shake the cobwebs if not blow them away.
    I had “coup” for 15a (being a (very loose) homophone for a bird’s nest). The dreaded”some answers wrong” flagged up my mistake. Then it dawned .
    It would be my COTD except 27a was one of the few “proper” dances I could do passably & so played an important part in our courting days (the church dances we went to in the middle 50s didn’t feature any Rock & Roll) so gets my vote.
    Thanks Campbell and Falcon.
    Another day dominated by a haar which even an easterly breeze can’t shift.

    1. I can do all those dances and I have medals in them. The military two-step, the Empress Tango etc. I was quite young and I think it was just an excuse for my mother, a dancer and dance teacher in one of her many incarnations, to make some lovely dresses for me. They weren’t like the ones in the video, though (too long to see if the footwork was correct) …. Much more modern…
      But I’m about a decade behind you LROK, so my teenage years were the 60s – fab.

      1. We had a double lesson once a week,, where we learned to do those sort of dances. As well as the ones you mentioned, Bluebird, there were the Boston Two-Step and the Gay Gordons. I can still remember/ hum the tune for the 27a.

        1. Rather late to contribute to the thread now but I well remember having ballroom dancing lessons at school. Unfortunately, as I grew like a weed until the age of about 17, in an all-girls school I was invariably designated to be ‘one of the men’. Years later, when I occasionally partnered my dear old dad at various ladies evenings, he would whisper to me ‘don’t forget that I’m supposed to lead’. Happy memories…………

        2. Ah, The Gay Gordon’s! I remember taking a young lady (young is correct – we were both 12) to a dance at a community centre. I wasn’t very romantic. When we swapped arms over all I wanted to do was show my new Timex to everyone. 🤣

  16. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: – 1.5*/4.5* (except for 1d’s plural error)

    Standout favourite 12a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  17. I liked this so much I thought it was Chalicea.
    Completed quickly but a relief after yesterday.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  18. Well I can’t believe it. I have managed to look at and complete today’s puzzle in my late coffee break. Really enjoyed it but think it was also largely the smug satisfaction of being able to complete it and blog so early! Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    Daisy Girl hope all went well yesterday despite the rain?!

    To any of you IT wizards can you please help solve the following problem which keeps coming up every few seconds on my Medion tablet? “Unfortunately, process.android.acore has stopped” Well over 40 interruptions! I would reallyl like to know what is causing it. Many thanks.

  19. To answer Jane’s query, I have read 20a but it’s not among my favourites. A very pleasant start to the week, though I had never heard of that bird or that nest it builds. Is it a particular delicacy in the UK? The clue, however, was very clever. 7a had a big day yesterday on the 4th of July, and I’ll call it my COTD. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. ** / ***.

    1. Bird’s nest soup is a far eastern delicacy Robert.
      Mr G says that edible birds nests are one of the most expensive animal products consumed by humans.
      Put politely it is hoped the birds are aware of the expression and have used the bathroom elsewhere!

      1. I discover that the nest, built by the male on the wall or a cliff or cave, is constructed from dried saliva and can take 35 days to construct. As for using the bathroom, consider the nest is home to a brood of hatchlings who I am sure do not wear nappies.

        1. Being restricted French Onion soup by Les Halles and Cawl as soup adventures I can’t imagine how bits of straw, twigs or whatever stuck together with bird spittle can be a delicacy beats me.

          1. Particularly as I believe the harvesting of these nests is causing these birds to be endangered. When will we humans ever learn?

          2. Like you, I imagined that the dried saliva must be used to glue together bits of straw, twigs, etc. However, pictures I have found don’t seem to show this to be the case. I think the bird may work like a 3-D printer, depositing thin layers of saliva and allowing them to dry before depositing the next layer until it has produced a nest made entirely of dried saliva. I haven’t been able to verify that observation but, if true, would make the nest something of an engineering marvel.

    2. Robert, never heard of the bird or the nest it builds😂, I fear your attempt at humour has fallen on deaf ears.

      1. Hearing aid batteries failed again. Complaint to Phonak on it’s way. :smile:

      2. The bird I hadn’t heard of is the Southeast Asian Swiftlet, according to Google. I didn’t mean for my comment to be an attempt at humour, but so be it! Seriously, I’d never heard of the soup before. Led a sheltered life.

  20. Haven’t crossworded for a few days, so today’s Mondayish puzzle was fine for me. I faffed around with more obvious Arthurian knights, but the Handy bit resolved that – not that I’ve read it – 9 volumes?
    I liked 12a.
    I slow down if I see 2ds in fields. I’m a bit obsessed with them, as I am with meerkats – I think it’s their general perkiness and deportment.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell.

      1. Thanks MP. I see these two have been sheared apart from their mop tops. They produce lovely yarn – I have a cardigan.

  21. In general agreement with the comments above. My main hold up was trying to justify the answer to 15a as a homophone for “super” as the synonym for “very happy”. Thanks to Falcon for putting me right and thanks to Campbell for a gentle easing into the week.

    1. I thought it was so up! Plus, of course, the bird’s nest soup connotation. Has anyone ever sampled this?

      1. I have never sampled the soup (and must say I have little desire to do so). Lexico says it is made from “the dried gelatinous coating of the nests of swifts and other birds”. I shudder to think what bodily orifice produced that substance.

        1. Presumably, it’s the throat/beak since the consensus is that the substance in question is saliva.

  22. Another dnf for me, 20 & 27a defeated me. I’m afraid my education is sadly lacking , never heard of the book or the dance. Finished the rest in my normal Monday time so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Thanks to all.

  23. Found this puzzle to start the (non) work week a little trickier than a normal Campbell offering. Caused more head scratching than normal. My rating **/**** for today. Some clever clues that required some digging too. Favourites for me include 11a, 12a, 20a, 13d & 14d with winner 12a with 13d runner-up.
    28a made me laugh as did 14d (as long as you are of the age to remember such things!)
    Also liked 20a

    Thanks to Campbell (?) and Falcon

  24. All done and unaided so it must be a * for me. Managed the book from the checkers later confirmed by Mr G. Always raises a smile when there is beer in the grid, speaking of which as I am having to self isolate this week Mrs 2P will be doing the beer run so am expecting a lucky dip from the tinnies aisle.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell

  25. I agree that this was very doable which is just as well as we are somewhat fragile. I had not thought of the vinegar compress but the gin came out as soon as the last visitor left. We had about 180 people through in 5 hours, including dogs and quite a number of children for whom I had made what proved to be a popular treasure hunt – and we even had a couple who spread out their picnic and ate it in the garden! I kept an eye out for Manders but unless you came incognito I didn’t spot you. I was on my feet all day then at 4 o’clock it seemed to morph into ten of us sitting round celebrating the end of a very busy day and a friends birthday or another two hours. I must say the garden has never looked so good and probably never again, but at least now I can go and pick my strawberries! We had one short sharp shower lasting about 15 minutes the rest of the day was sunny and hot. Phew. Were we tired! And my yoga class restarted this morning and then I went with another couple of WI members to the surgery with cakes, shortbread etc as a WI thanks to the NHS. I am now going to have a siesta – many thanks to Falcon and Campbell? for entertaining us and for all your kind thoughts. (NB I am sparing you all the times I was asked to perform my party trick. It is so boring)

    1. So pleased it was a success for you, DG. Did you take any pics or were you too busy?

    2. To think 3 or 4 months ago you were wondering if the pain from the knee was going to go away!
      Well done DG!

    3. I am gobsmacked that someone would sit down and have their picnic in your garden! Surely not a local family. Wish I lived nearby so that I could have visited.

    4. Well done Daisygirl and George. You got a really good attendance and relieved to hear that the rain wasn’t too bad as to mar the day. Can’t help being amused by the idea of someone settling down to their picnic! Do hope you can send us some photos of the garden as it helps to give inspiration to us lesser mortals.

    5. Well done, Daisy, it seems to have been a resounding success. I’ll add to the plea for pics, hopefully you took some!

  26. As Mr Geldof and his Rats did not quite sing, “I *do* like Mondays” – it’s a Monday, it’s a Campbell, it’s strightforward, witty, and very enjoyable. Generally smooth surfaces with a wonderful range of clue types, all very fairly posed.

    COTD the wonderful 20a (a loud groan when that P dropped), with HMs to 9a, 15a, 5d, 13d and 21d.

    1.5* / 4*

    Very many thanks to Campbell, and to Falcon for the review.

    (Not sure if there’s been a reference to this upthread, but the online-only Monday prize puzzle is also good fun today and well worth visiting.)

  27. Just had a message conversation with Kath

    She thanks everyone for their good wishes. She is absolutely OK and can do everything apart from being frustrated by not being able to remember some words. She is back doing the quick crossword but really misses the cryptic crossword. As I said to her, it’s early days and things could have been so much worse

    1. That’s very good news. Here’s hoping that the progress continues and that Kath is able to resume blogging in the not too distant future. A Ray T without Kath is like strawberries without cream.

      1. Glad to hear Kath is doing well. My husband, who has short-term memory loss, after suffering from encephalitis, found the Quick Crossword hard at first but is now completing them most days. He never has done the Cryptic so his aim now is to remember people’s names, which he still finds tricky. So keep plugging away Kath and I wish you a speedy recovery.

    2. Wonderful to hear that Kath is doing well. Take your time, Kath and I totally agree with Gazza’s sentiments.

      1. Congratulations Steve. I see you got an honourable mention in the crossword email

        1. Thank you, Toni. I got an HM last week as well but thinking up one cryptic clue a week is a far cry from filling a grid. I find it enjoyable to have a go.

    3. Good to hear news from Kath. The Quickie is an excellent start, and sometimes it can be more puzzling than the cryptic. Love the strawberries without cream…

    4. Thank you for the news CS
      So pleased things are returning to normal for Kath and her family.
      Continued best wishes.

    5. Thank you for the update, Sue. Every time I come to this blog I think of Kath, it sounds like she’s doing very well. We must be thankful for small baby steps, she’ll get there soon!

    6. Excellent news about Kath. As for forgetting words I had an earnest conversation yesterday about Astrantia Major and an hour later someone said how pretty it was and what was it called. Could I remember? Oh no. He wandered on and I remembered about 10 minutes later and ran round the garden shouting Astrantia like a maniac. Lots of love to Kath.

      1. Someone gave me a couple of agapanthus bulbs, and I got so excited when they bloomed. But for some reason I couldn’t remember the name when I was talking about them. Then I told myself to remember that it started with a lovely old cooker (aga), and I’ve never forgotten again. Sometimes one’s brain puts a mind block in front of certain words.

    7. Good to hear news of Kath and so pleased her progress continues. Come back soon Kath but in the meantime enjoy the Quickies of which there have been some goodies recently.

  28. A perfect start to the week. Only holdups were 20a and 15a where I was slow on the uptake. COTD for me was 7a, quite a funny anagram, closely followed by 12a which got me off to a good start. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the help with the two two holdups. Oh well, back to painting the bathroom now.

  29. Really good news to hear that Kath is continuing to recover well. She is very much missed and we send lots of love and hugs for a speedy and complete recovery. Many thanks to CrypticSue for your message.

  30. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. I felt I was making rather heavy weather of this but I seem to have (nearly) finished it unaided in quick time so perhaps it’s just me feeling a bit grumpy today (thanks to a few interrupted nights, my dear toddler). I put in 11a without being able to work out why it was right; not spotting a lurker even when you have got the answer is pretty poor work so that tells you everything about my state of mind!
    The only one I didn’t get was 15a. I could only think of “Coop”, this being an example of a bird’s nest, and was hoping that maybe this word was a contraction of “cock-a-hoop” meaning very happy. Wouldn’t that have been lovely?!
    So heart-warming to read all the messages between the regulars, what a community. With good wishes to Kath and congrats to Daisygirl.

    1. I toyed with “coup” for 15a, BL. Thought it sounded like a pigeon! What strange paths our mind wander when trying to solve cryptics! 🤔

  31. I just posted something and it has vanished!
    Hope it won’t repeat.

    Anyway, solved everything except the oriental bird’s nest one. Wrestled with the sports coat and the novel but got there in the end.

    Thanks to Falcon and to the setter.

  32. This took me much longer than it should have, been sidetracked by the BigW! I’m sorry Gauff is out but Kerber certainly played better, and I do like her. Where was I?
    I loved this puzzle, what more can you want, Wimbledon and a Campbell offering. I solved 20a on reading “useful” and is my fave, but honourable mention goes to 12a.
    Thank you Campbell for all the fun and Falcon for the hints and pics.

  33. Set off at a cracking pace and thought it was going to be a read write Monday. Not so as the SW held me up a bit with my knowledge of dancing and literature requiring confirmation. Enjoyable start to the week even if it is a rest day on the Tour de France.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Falcon.

  34. Finally got round to tackling this one. The usual gentle Monday offering with nice clues and certainly enjoyable while it lasted. No stand-out favourite. 1.5*, 3*. I must say this blog provides perennial amusement and intrigue. Discussing whether a cross is a type of pass and speculating about engineering nuances in the construction of birds’ nests! Very entertaining! I’m now waiting to watch Emma Raducanu on TV but play is retarded and now it’s raining, so further delay.

  35. Without 20a, this was */***

    Having not heard of the knight or the book, the hint for 20a was of no help to me.

    With 20a, this was *****/*

    Thanks to all.

  36. Blimey, tornado warning!! I suppose I’d better move to an indoor room. I wonder if BusyLizzie has this as well?

    1. Elsa? She’ll be on the west coast. I thought you and BL were on the east? Or is it local?

      Gentle puzzle. Ta.

      What’s Jose been on?

      Customers at Berties used to queue for miles…..until miles left working there

      Nice one DG – love astrantia


      1. I think that storm we had yesterday was at spin-off of the unsettled weather, probably caused by Elsa. I’m not even putting up shutters but expecting buckets of rain.

  37. Very late tackling this & later still commenting after 120 posts to read. Thought the puzzle a tad trickier than the last couple of Mondays (1.45673 difficulty rating to be specific) but entertaining as ever. The dance required confirmation & the soup was clear pick of the clues for me. Did try once to read the first volume of Sterne’s 20a once but never finished it.
    Comments as interesting as the puzzle. In batting order – great news about Kath’s progress, pleased to hear DG’s open garden was such a success, another Jose inspired let’s have a debate & sufficient info to ensure I swerve the soup in the unlikely event of ever being offered it. Oh & a lovely acidic riposte from MP to Bertie’s insightful contribution.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon.

  38. I never find Monday puzzles as easy as others seem to, but got there in the end – 15a last in, tho’ I was kicking myself once I saw it…

  39. Jolly good start to the week 👍!
    Thanks Campbell for a very pleasant workout, and of course to Falcon for the blogging ‘n clueing

  40. Late start therefore late finish = been to the pub after dog training and so grateful for a gentle one. All perfectly straightforward and enjoyable. Favourite was 12a, even though I got it straight away, most amusing. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Not for the first time on this this site my phone ‘blinked’, everybody’s avatar disappeared and I lost the internet, so I had to restart my phone. Anyone else had this problem?

  41. Knew the Knight but not the book.
    Knew the soup but never tried it.
    Reading the comments gave me a headache at first and almost went directly to the bottom but glad I persevered.
    Good news about Kath.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  42. Coming in late after a very long drive yesterday left me absolutely knackered and I was only a passenger!
    I do feel a lot of the above comments are deliberately confrontational and perhaps we shouldn’t rise to the bait?
    I’m impressed that Kath can do the Quickie. Yesterday’s beat me. I found the Cryptic was easier. Best wishes to her.

    1. The quickie beat me too and I’m delighted that Kath was able to do it. All very best wishes to her for a speedy and complete recovery.

  43. Slow start, speeded up a bit, then dead stop with 15a and 13d. Needed help from Falcon and was then able to get the book. Had heard of this but not the knight. Fav clue 7a, a suitable moment for this. Thanks to setter and Falcon, ***/**

  44. 3*/4*….(lack of some GK on my part)…
    liked 16D ” Inmate rips off one close to warder (8)”

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