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DT 29722

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29722

Hints and tips by Miffypops 

Like strawberries without cream

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Rating by CrypticSue  Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

Well done England

Today we have a nifty little puzzle from RayT who is one of our favourite setters. The effort of solving will bring its own rewards if you stick with it. Kath had something to say in yesterday’s blog in the thread at comment number seven in case you missed it. 

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Housing is excessive in prison (7)
COTTAGE:  The initial letters of a three word phrase commonly used to mean excessive sit inside a synonym of the word prison

5a        Reportedly catch a disease (7)
CHOLERA: A homophone (reportedly) of a word meaning to catch is followed by the letter A from the clue. To catch as a policeman might when apprehending a suspect

9a        Hurt embracing single with a husband? (7)
MARRIED: Insert the letter that looks like the number one into a word meaning hurt, impaired or spoiled in appearance or quality

10a      Check promotional stunt? (7)
PREVENT: Begin with the two-letter abbreviation for promotional. Add a stunt or planned public occasion

11a      Dead prisoner clutching a nail, oddly (9)
INANIMATE: Place the letter A from the clue plus alternate letters of NAIL inside a person confined to a prison

12a      Caught in constant ceasefire (5)
TRUCE: Place the abbreviation for caught inside a word meaning constant. Like your real love for your partners boys and girls. Eternal and everlasting

13a      Divine man cut curvy shape (5)
GUESS: A three-letter word for a man, chap or bloke minus his last letter is followed by the way we might spell the letter S as a three-letter word. Divine here is verb meaning to discover by intuition

15a      Stink over splits about Queen watchers (9)
OBSERVERS: A personal smell (who remembers the Lifebouy soap ads?) is reversed. The abbreviation for or Queen or Regina sits inside a word meaning splits or cuts into two

17a      Rendered   senseless from drink (9)
PLASTERED: A double definition. The first having applied a covering to a wall

the second being ….

19a      What has oddly round loop, originally? (5)
WHORL: The initial letters of five consecutive words in the clue

22a      Old wound gets you trophy (5)
OSCAR: The abbreviation for old is followed by a wound or what is left after a wound heals

23a      Department carrying the French range (9)
SELECTION: A department of a company perhaps or a part of a whole contains the French word for the (masculine)

25a      Sign of life going after gold (7)
AUSPICE: The heraldic term used for gold is followed by a synonym of the word life. What variety is said to be 

26a      Provide backing following black musician (7)
BASSIST: A word meaning to provide help by sharing a workload follows the abbreviation for black

27a      Attend lessons having boring content (7)
ENDLESS: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word content

28a      Good when device reduced stomach (7)
GASTRIC:  A three part charade. 1. The abbreviation for good. 2 A two-letter word meaning when. 3 a device or deception minus its last letter 


1d        Arranging birth holding baby’s head (7)
COMBING: The initial or head letter of the word babies sits inside a word meaning arriving. Here is a poem by W B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

2d        Bank record contains error after vacation (7)
TERRACE: A record of something’s existence contains the outer letters (after vacation) of the word error. Her Majesty is on duty at 15 across and cannot be in two places at once

3d        Excuse of a party, formerly one (5)
ALIBI: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation of one of the former political parties in England, now allied hopelessly with another group. Add the word that looks like the number one 

4d        Trouble over a nude shot (9)
ENDEAVOUR: Anagram (trouble) of OVER A NUDE

5d        Grabs end of one wood (5)
COPSE: Begin with a verb meaning to seize or catch. Add the letter S as the clue suggests plurals. Add the final letter of the word one

6d        Put down husband in public squabble (9)
OVERTHROW: Begin with a word meaning open or public. Add the abbreviation for husband. Add a quarrel, tiff or disagreement

7d        Perform with former sweetheart? Sweet! (7)
EXECUTE: Begin with the usual former person or thing. Add the middle letter (heart) of the word sweet. Add a word meaning, of a person, sweet or attractive and pretty in an endearing way. Saint Sharon to a tee

8d        Frank possibly callous in EastEnders (7)
ARTLESS: How a cockney might say a word meaning lacking a heart (callous) after dropping the letter H

14d      Placed vase that is covering new grave (9)
SATURNINE: A word meaning placed (on a chair perhaps) is followed by a tall rounded vase with a stem and base. This is followed by the abbreviation for that is which is split by the abbreviation for new

16d      Excess weight put on ass? (9)
SADDLEBAG: A word describing excess fat on ones hips or thighs is also what might be placed behind on an equine beast to carry stuff

17d      Old man in flat producing gas (7)
PROPANE: An endearing term for ones father sits inside a word meaning flat, often used to describe the position of someone lying down

18d      Top detective’s first admitting copper’s charged (7)
ACCUSED: The word top here is the same as a high ranking playing card. The detectives first is the initial letter of the word detective. Coppers refers to the periodic table symbol for copper. Don’t forget the plural use in the wording of the clue. The three components suggested above now need to be placed in the order suggested by the clue

20d      Musical introducing current and former actor (7)
OLIVIER: A favourite musical by Lionel Bart surrounds the abbreviation for electrical current. Here is the old boy outside Matterson Huxley and Watson in Coventry City Centre

and here he is laying the foundation stone at The Belgrade Theatre Coventry

21d      In a cult, turning bonkers (7)
LUNATIC: Anagram (turning) of IN A CULT

23d      Small dachshunds say, going up stairs (5)
STEPS: The abbreviation for small is followed by what dachshunds or most dogs and cats are to people who care for them. All reversed. The words dachshunds and stairs lead me to this delightful poem by Mr Les Barker

24d      Performing groups succeeded in musical (5)

CASTS: The abbreviation for succeeded sits inside a ridiculously awful musical based loosely on a work by T S Eliot

Quickie Pun Sin + Curs + Whim = Sink or swim


121 comments on “DT 29722

  1. Exactly as Miffypops has said – this tricky production did yield with perseverance. I completed in *** time just with the clever but devious 13a being my last one in. My COTD was 25a but there were many close seconds. A real quality puzzle from the great RayT! **** for fun and satisfaction.

  2. **/**. Thanks Ray T.

    ** Thanks England. Bloody lucky.

    ***** Thanks MP for the Freud gag and for giving Kath the picture of the man.

    Enjoyable pangram Toughie today.

    1. Have a listen to the story about the lovelorn dachshund in the clip at 23 down. Les Barker at his mischievous best

  3. Very enjoyable. A slight hold up in the SE when I entered 23d into 24d by mistake, I’m blaming last night.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP.

  4. Like pulling teeth, this puzzle was positively tortuous to complete . In terms of my usual ranking for difficulty, about 6*, I suppose. As for enjoyment, it wasn’t that great, but I got some satisfaction out of finishing it, even if I had to leave it and go back to it later. I had 2 possible answers for both 17a and 17d and, since I couldn’t manage any checkers, it held me up considerably. Thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler for his efforts.

    1. Once upon a time tortuous and like pulling teeth were terms I would have happily applied to RayT puzzles although I would not have recognised them as the work of this setter until I happened upon Big Dave’s crossword blog. The help received here slowly made his puzzles less scary until gradually I started to look forward to them. Now I find them a delight. It helps to know that if the regular synonym for a definition doesn’t lend itself to the clue one needs to dig deeper into the definitions to find a match.

      1. I used to find Ray T puzzles really daunting but have come to enjoy them more and more as time goes by. The SW corner really foxed me and I fiddled around for ages trying to get checkers for 17a and 17d to find out if it was the gas and word for drunk beginning with B or the alternative. Live and learn.

        1. Ray T was my nemesis for a long time. I’ve gradually got better and look forward to them now. Perseverance has paid off.

  5. If it hadn’t been for the two anagrams I’d have been convinced this was a Beam, the most difficult backpager in a long while, particularly the NW where I did eventually complete it but failed to parse 13a.
    As usual with this setter lots to like, my ticks go to 1,5,9 and 25a plus 7&8d.
    21d appeared yesterday.
    Many thanks to the Mr.T and MP for the fun.

    Well done England, we deserved it 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  6. Ray T on top form. Some clues took more teasing out than others. 13a, my last one in, and 2d among them. ****/*** Favourite 14d. Thanks to all and best wishes to Kath.

  7. Sorry, didn’t enjoy this at all. Completed but as Chriscross above said, like pulling teeth. I just felt relief when my device said ‘all answers correct’ and the struggle was over. Didn’t watch the match last night but sad to hear on the radio this morning that some chap ‘fell over’ in order to get a penalty. Don’t understand these things myself, but sorry if we cheated. Has that set the cat among the birdies?

  8. An excellent and pleasantly tricky puzzle for a sunny Thursday full week of concise and accurate clueing. 17d made me laugh but my favourite was 25a, my final entry.

    My thanks to Ray T for the challenge and to MP for the laughs.

  9. I’m probably in the minority but I didn’t enjoy today’s exercise at all and thought several clues a bit iffy – 1a (housing?), 25a (sign of life?), 1d (arranging?), 14d (placed?). No Fav to pinpoint. Thank you RayT and MP.

    1. The definition for 25a is just “sign”…not “sign of life” Angellov. One of my favourites!

          1. Hmm, I saw it more as something like “lets add a little spice/life to the proceedings” Mustafa

            1. Would that not be spice = enliven? That’s the only one I can see in Mrs Bradford for spice and nothing corresponding for Life.


            2. Your interpretation certainly works for me, Stephen – I was looking at the combined “of life”. Two roads, one destination!

            1. I like to put a bit of life into my reviews to keep them from being boring.
              I like to put a bit of spice into my reviews to keep them from being boring

            2. I’m with you. I agree that those are valid examples above, however, I would call them stretched synonyms, and that’s an understatement!

        1. Synonyms of spice include pep, gusto, vitality. Synonyms of life include pep, vigour, sparkle. I think spice = life is OK. Obscure perhaps and not one’s first choice, but OK.

    2. 1a. A definition/synonym by example, I reckon. “What type of housing are you interested in?” “A nice cottage.”
      1d. “I’m just arranging/combing my hair”.
      14d. I sat/placed my shopping down on the kitchen table.

      Any good? Convinced?

  10. Took ages, but a pleasant solve.
    Thanks to MP for blog with entertaining interludes.
    Thanks to CS for the ratings…spot on IMO.
    Thanks to RayT for an enjoyable stretch.

  11. Wow, either that was tough or the Ruby Hobgoblins took their toll last night.

    All finished, in ***** time, but 13a and 15a went unparsed.

    Thanks to Ray T, MP and the referee.

  12. Excellent puzzle, a slower solve for me than most recent backpagers, with the E falling before the W, and the SW well before the NW. Such precise and brief cluing, with deeper level synonyms and lateral thinking required, but all entirely fair. When 9a finally dawned, 1d followed closely and then my LOI, 13a – which I had thought might be the answer but could only parse when I saw it written down. Wonderful range of clue types.

    Hon. mentions to 17a, 19a, 23a;14d and 20d; COTD to 8d.


    Many thanks indeed to RayT for this absorbing challenge, and to MP for the review.

  13. Finished this tough Ray T offering amid torrential rain, sharp lightning, heavy winds, and a leaking chimney last night as T.S. Elsa roared its way trough the Carolina Lowcountry. Many tornadoes too, though the damage has apparently been relatively minor. Daylight, now upon us, will tell the tale. Mr T helped keep me relatively calm, as he pushed my solve into *** time. Favourites: 25a, 8d, and 14d. Thanks to MP for the review and Ray T for the enjoyable workout. *** / ****

    Solved all but four in the Toughie. Await Gazza’s help to finish.

    1. Don’t give up yet Robert. Keep at it. Or do a Homer Simpson. If at first you don’t succeed give up.

    2. I thought about you last night, I hope you didn’t get any flooding. Let us know if you had any damage.

      1. Only water damage around the chimney, I think. Must call the roofers. Downtown Charleston, however, is pretty much flooded everywhere, not unusual when it receives upwards of 8 inches of rain. Thanks, Merusa, for the kind thoughts.

  14. Agree this was at least ****difficulty, and thanks MP for some parsing help. I actually found the Toughie easier today (a first for me). Grim weather here in Sussex – anyone have a view on when the promised fine spell will arrive? Off to Lewes to stimulate the economy with some unnecessary spending.

  15. Phew! That was a battle – completed with the help of Miff for a couple.

    Great to see England through to the Euro final, although I did feel we burgled the win rather than achieved victory with valour.

    Most importantly – fantastic to hear from The Lovely Kath.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Steely Dan – Katy Lied

    Thanks to Ray T and The Miff.

    1. She gets about does our Katy/Katie. A right old heartbreaker

      Katie’s been gone since the spring time;
      She wrote one time’n sent her love.
      Katie’s been gone for such a long time now.
      I wonder what kind of love she’s thinkin’ of.

      Dear Katie,
      If you can hear me,
      I can’t wait to have ya near me.

      Oh, Katie, since ya caught that bus,
      Well, I just don’t know how things are with us.
      I’m still here and you’re out there.

      Katie laughed when I said I was lonely.
      She said, There’s no need t’feel that way.
      Katie said that I was her only one,
      But then I wonder why she didn’t wanna stay.

      Dear Katie, if I’m the only one,
      How much longer will you be gone?
      Oh, Katie, won’t ya tell me straight:
      How much longer do I have to wait?

      I’ll believe you,
      But please come through.
      I know it’s wrong to be apart this long;
      You should be here, near me.

      Katie’s been gone and now her face is slowly fading from my mind.
      She’s gone to find some newer places,
      Left the old life far behind.
      Dear Katie, dont ya miss your home?
      I dont see why you had to roam.

      Dear Katie, since you’ve been away
      I lose a little something every day
      I need you here, but you’re still out there.
      Dear Katie, please drop me a line,
      just write, Love, to tell me you’re fine.

      Oh, Katie, if you can hear me,
      I just cant wait to have you near me.
      I can only think
      Where are you,
      What ya do, may be there’s someone new

    2. Excellent musical choice Terence, as you know I’m very partial to a visit to the den of the Dan. Have you listened to Walter’s two solo albums? If so, what do you think? They have a very different sound (logical I guess as Donald handled virtually all of the vocals on the Dan albums) but are equally as brilliant, especially his second, Circus Money.

      1. Oddly, I’ve listened to the Donald solo albums (I love ‘Nightfly’) a lot, but have never heard Walter’s albums. I shall put that right this afternoon!

        1. Great, I’d be interested to know what you think. I actually prefer them to Donald’s, though they do need a couple of listens.

    1. I’ve seen many fine productions through the years but hardly ever go now. It’s more of a variety theatre than a serious playhouse. Dumbed down too much for this poorly schooled orphan boy

  16. With the help of you good people over the last year I have reached the point where I can have a decent crack at most of these puzzles but…Thursdays…I can rarely even get started. MP’s comments at the outset today give some encouragement and I’m going to try again before giving in to the hints…wish me luck please🤞

    1. Good luck Alfie. Thanks for acknowledging the help that this blog has provided. RayT nearly always has an acrostic clue which uses the first letters of several words in the clue. These are usually clued using the word initially or originally. One of the five letter answers is such a clue today. I hope that helps

          1. Quite well in the end, thanks to the prompt. Managed all but 4 and finished it off with the hints…much perseverance needed, I found this one very hard but it was super clever

  17. I’ll call this one an education, I think, completed thanks to the hints, supplementing my own efforts. My favourite (and last in) was probably 14d.

  18. Absolutely excellent from the best back-page setter by far, Ray T. Great clues, a good stiff challenge which is what a cryptic puzzle should always provide and much enjoyment. And also a sense of real achievement when the last one went in. Far too many very good clues to isolate a favourite. 4*, 4.5*

    1. * Here’s one for the ladies. A street version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game by the Indonesian musician Jacob Koopman, who now resides in Dublin. Have a look girls – this guy is too good-looking for his own good!

      1. Great Jose. Of course Chris Isaak himself is no slouch in the handsome stakes.

        1. He’s no slouch at singing/playing the guitar, either. He also plays various other instruments too. I love watching street musicians perform.

      2. Someone should sign them up, a lot better than some we have around at the moment, the young lady just needs to buy a belt or tighter jeans 🤪

  19. Yet another Thursday Toughie on the back page!
    Gradually solved the puzzle in quadrants, the NE was the last to fall, all came together after 5d yielded ,liked the surface of 10a.
    Going for a ****/*** as per MP,
    Favourite was 17d-plenty still recovering if the rotten driving is anything to go by.
    Did not look so difficult when I read the finished article!
    A pleasure to solve, thanks to MP for the pics, especially the 17d anecdote-worth a try.

  20. I found this tough and not as enjoyable as I usually find Ray T. It was fairly clued but I struggled with it from the start. I did like 4d because I could not work out which word was the anagram indicator – “over” or “shot”. My COTD is the “sweetheart” clue, which I tight was quite clever.

    Many thanks, Ray T for the brain mangling. Thanks to MP for the much needed hints.

      1. Nope, Jose. I usually managed to remove them quite easily. Anyway, teeth are not “pulled” out – they are “pushed” out.

          1. I was always taught that separating the ligaments and widening the socket does indeed mostly involve pushing. And when the tooth is nice and loose it’s finally “pulled” free/removed. It’s that ultimate act of actually extracting it from the gum that laypeople mean by “pulling”, not the various procedures undertaken to loosen it.

            1. I still pushed, Jose. The last part is pushing the tooth sideways unless it is a single rooted tooth. They can be pulled.

              Unless, of course, you used one of these!

              1. Absolutely, SC. I was just countering DG’s assertion that you “cannot pull anything” and also mentioning why laypeople use the term “pulling”, as in the comments above. I’ve never heard anyone say: “I’m dreading tomorrow, I’ve got to have a tooth pushed out.” But maybe some do, I don’t know.

                1. Well, with the “tooth key” above they would most definitely have been pulled. It would also break the tooth and, sometimes, the jaw. I get your point about lay folk still saying “pulling” a tooth. Rather like they still think the anaesthetic is coccaine.

  21. No hope of me completing this on my own, instead of giving up I worked my way through it using MPs hints, just to see how they all worked. A complete mystery to me how anyone completes these RayT puzzles. Methinks you are sailing close to the wind today Miffy, some of a more delicate nature might be offended, not me I hasten to add. Thanks to RayT for bringing me down to earth with a thud , and to MP for the explanations and entertainment.

      1. Saint Sharon has been trying for forty years. No nearer succeeding as yet

      2. I’ve just read DaveG’s comment and was a little puzzled as I hadn’t read the hints so I scrolled back and had a look! Absolutely hilarious. Covered up the picture and showed Mr Manders the chap’s comment and then revealed the picture. His huge guffaw nearly blew me off my seat.

  22. Absolutely brilliant puzzle.
    Worked steadily unaided to its completion.
    Spent too long until the penny dropped on parsing 13a.
    So, ***/*****.
    Many thanks Ray T and Miffypops for the review.

  23. Ray T – 32 clues, 169 words, at an average of 5.3. Clever, clever, clever.
    My favourite setter stretched my abilities today but I got there in the end, with big d’oh when I finally cracked 13a, my LOI and COTD.
    Thanks to Ray T and MP for the entertainment.

  24. Very hard for a backpage cryptic and probably nearer the easy end of toughies.
    I didn’t resort to hints but did check several answers en route before I could work out the logic.
    Can’t say I really enjoyed this one

  25. A typical Ray T solved early this morning before Mr CS and I went over to see the new Delos Mediterranean garden at Sissinghurst Castle. Thanks to Mr CS, Mr T and Mr MP

    1. How lovely! Isn’t that Vita Sackville -West territory? I was always sorry I never got there. Thanks for sharing?

      1. It is indeed Vita territory. I’ll send you a couple more pictures when I’m back on the proper computer tomorrow

    2. How well I remember my first trip to Delos (1972), and five trips to Greece later, it remains one of my most sublime experiences. Thanks, CS, for the lovely picture.

  26. Way beyond my ken but I did manage about half. I liked 14d, one of those I solved, and 17a tickled my fancy. I tried solving with one eye on the Ladies at Wimbledon, so major distractions. I’m never on RayT’s wavelength anyway, always have to use e-help so not much fun.
    Thanks RayT for the bits I could do and to M’pops for filling in the rest.

    1. Struggled with a few clues up North, no problems down south. A game of 2 halves like last night!
      Doubt England can beat Italy. They’re up and down the field like a bunch of 7 year olds while we have a kick about at the back.
      Spain would have been better. They could have given them a ball each and they could both have stayed near their own goal.
      Still, fingers crossed.
      Thanks to Ray T and MP

      1. I agree with your analysis. Do we not need some more speed and forward movement or is that how things were when I watched the ‘66 Final?

        1. Apparently football has moved on. We got to the semi final without a single player needing a shower. Whatever wins the games will do me. I’m glad the last one is on Saturday it’s been costing about £90 a game so far to watch it at the local gin distillery.

          She’s coming home
          She’s coming home
          She’s coming home
          Rosie’s coming home

          My daughter flies in from Sardinia on Saturday.
          Oh happy day

          1. A strange day when even Rees-Mogg talks about soccer in the Commons. I guess that is happiness expressed.

            I loved my one visit to Sardinia about 20 years ago. Lucky lady.

  27. Stop start stop start in awful traffic on the M42 coming out of Birmingham and now it is pouring with rain. Been to visit DD1 in her care home and this great puzzle has been a bit of a distraction on the way home. Only the second time we have seen her since last August. This time I only found about 15 spoons in her pockets and handbag. From 1a to 24d a series of masterly clues. Thanks MP for explaining 13a to me. I liked 19a because it is such a lovely word. Thank you RayT, if it was thee, now only about an hour away from a gin and tonic😊

  28. Tough as usual for Ray T day, but enjoyable nonetheless. Needed a good few of Miffypops excellent hints to finish. Always a learning curve on Thursdays. Particularly liked 4d which I suspect Ray T provided just for Kath – nice touch 😊.

  29. Not the easiest Ray T but not his usual incomprehension. Needed the hints to explain 2d. Must admit I did resort in places to filling in words to fit the checking letters and then seeing if I could get anything at all from the clue.🤭
    I think he has a most unusual mind!
    Thx to all

  30. Evening all. My thanks to Miffypops for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Good evening to you too sir and thanks again for a top class (but tough!) puzzle.

    2. Many thanks, Ray T. A bit of a teaser for me but enjoyable nevertheless.

  31. Defeated by 13a. Maybe this will be a week of me failing to complete by one clue every day.


    Thanks to all.

  32. Did not like this at all … not up my alley again for a puzzle this week. Unusual that I don’t like a Ray T puzzle too. DNF … just to obscure today.
    ThNs to Ray and MP

  33. A very late stab at this & for the first time in quite a while with RT sadly no unaided finish. Like Bananawarp 13a, & in my case 2d, were the problem & only twigged after going to the puzzles website & revealing the E checker. The correct context of divine immediately dawned on me but still didn’t parse it. 19a was unfamiliar too & took an embarrassingly long time to spot. A top notch Ray T puzzle that certainly could easily have been plucked from his Beam drawer – challenging but very entertaining. 5&25a were my picks.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Miffs for his usual typically entertaining review & most importantly for highlighting Kath’s comment yesterday, which I’d missed. Lovely to hear from her, sending good wishes & hoping the fortnightly duo will be reunited some time soon.

  34. Not a good puzzle for me. Only managed about half a dozen unaided, so not a pleasurable experience .
    Thanks to MP and to RayT.

  35. Having once said that I don’t find Rayt that hard this is the second one on the trot that I’ve needed a couple or three hints for. Open mouth, insert foot. Having had a sneaky look at 5a and 9a hints, I then solved clues all over the place! How does that work? I think the gold in 25a is element rather than heraldic. Favourite was 11a. Thanks to Rayt and MP for the hints.

    1. Quite right about Au being the chemical symbol for gold. Or is the heraldic term I confused it with. Well spotted TG.

  36. Thanks to Ray T and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but very tricky. Needed 6 hints to finish. Was 4* /3* for me.

  37. Just finished after all day tussle so Milky Way stars for me. Not being able to concentrate for 5 minutes at a time didn’t help with this Ray T(oughie). As others have said got pleasure from completing.
    Thanks Ray T and MP.
    And so bed hoping to get some much needed sleep.
    PS Thought of Kath when I put in 4d.

  38. Very difficult but I finished with e-help for 2 clues. Did not understand some parsing but will look at the hints now to find out. COTD 14d. Many thanks to Jay T for a very difficult but very enjoyable brain exercise and to Miffypops for the hints which I will also enjoy. Never mind about the parsing, the puzzle was finished!!

  39. Sorry – typing error – should be Ray T. Poor brain exhausted after completing puzzle!

  40. Just a small comment about 25a. The letters AU are the chemical term for gold not the heraldic term which is OR.
    Otherwise very enjoyable

    1. Hello Andrew. This was mentioned at comment 37 above. I’m just a poorly schooled orphan boy doing my best to get on. But I do like a bit of fun and a pint or two

  41. 4*/4*
    liked the topical 5A ” Reportedly catch a disease (7)” & MP’s cartoon in the hint to 9A.

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