DT 29734 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29734

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29734

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The sun has got his hat on. My Daughter who I have not seen for two years is coming to visit along with my other daughter and the two grandsons. What is not to like about such a day? Just the trivial matter of a blog to write first. A gentle RayT offering today. A pleasant way to pass or waste some time. Nothing to get upset over. So chill out and enjoy the day. Rejoice and be glad in it

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Show from stripper for man celebrating (11)
PERFORMANCE: Golly bongs. A well hidden included word. The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word from. Hidden in plain sight

10a      Maybe heart of gold with plague over (5)
ORGAN:  The heraldic gold is followed by the reverse (over) synonym of the word plague. To plague by harassing somebody constantly to do something they may be averse to. Why does this short word make me think of married life as it applies to other people. Not me though. I married a Saint

11a      Musical Oliver! finally worked reflecting story (9)
NARRATIVE: Begin with the stage musical about the life of a lady from Argentina. Add the final letter of a the musical Oliver! (about a street urchin where every other character has a better part than the wishy washy lead character) add a synonym of the word worked or managed. Reverse what you have as indicated by the word reflecting 

12a      Green site turning plain (9)
SERENGETI: Anagram (turning) of GREEN SITE

13a      This compiler’s occasionally obtuser fill (5)
IMBUE: How a compiler would say I am followed by the alternate letters of the word obtuser

14a      One sketches design, originally more basic (6)
DRAWER: The initial letter of the word design is followed by a word meaning more basic

16a      Old relative seen in romance story (8)
ANCESTOR: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words seen in

18a      Denial from victim with concrete overcoat (8)
REBUTTAL:  The person at which ridicule is directed sits inside an adjective meaning not artificial 

20a      Labour leader of Sunday Express? (6)
STRAIN: The leading letter of the word Sunday is followed by the type of transport that might be described as express

23a      Returning, did test again: shocker! (5)
TASER: A term used to describe having taken exams for a second time needs to be reversed to find a cruel weapon of torture overused by our police force

24a      Sailor messed with crew before temperature drop (9)
ABATEMENT: A four part charade. 1 the abbreviation for an able bodied seaman 2 A verb meaning messed with 3 A word meaning those males making up a crew 4 The abbreviation for temperature 

26a      Working day kept by choice (9)
OPERATION: A choice or thing that may be chosen contains a rather stretched synonym of the word day. This day may stretch out to become a long and distinct period of history 

27a      Company embraces revolutionary ideology (5)
CREDO: The abbreviation for company contains the colour associated with left wing revolutionaries

28a      Number Ten ace has it refurbished (11)
ANAESTHETIC: Anagram (refurbished) of TEN ACE HAS IT


2d        Lug around empty garbage getting impatient (5)
EAGER: The lug one has on the side of ones face contains the outer letters of the word garbage

3d        Intended to hold name back (7)
FINANCE: Ones intended when engaged to be married sits around the abbreviation for name

4d        About right checking finish for plaster (6)
RENDER:  The two-letter word meaning about and the abbreviation for right sit around a word meaning the finish 

5d        A Queen reportedly governs charges (8)
ARRAIGNS: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation for ones Queen or Regina. Now add a word that sounds like a word meaning rules as a Queen might

6d        Some fancy an idea to give poison (7)
CYANIDE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

7d        Mislead party on quota issue (13)
CONSIDERATION: Begin with a word meaning to mislead, trick, or dupe. Add a synonym of the word party. Finish off with a quota or allowance

8d        Reportedly warm flour mixture making bread (8)
CIABATTA: Two homophones required here. One meaning to warm or give comfort to. The other a mixture of flour and water best used for making Yorkshire puddings or pancakes

9d        Travel from airport with engine loose (13)

15d      American President covers oddly easy attacks (8)
AMBUSHES: A two-letter abbreviation for American plus the name of two of its former Presidents is followed by the odd numbered letters of the word easy

17d      Single’s in line for ecstasy (8)
PARADISE: Two letters that look like ‘ones’ sit inside a line or public procession

19d      Series including Queen and Country (7)
TERRAIN: A series of things contains the regnal cypher of Queen Elizabeth the Second

21d      A cereal’s covering in, say, maple syrup (7)
TREACLE: The letter A from the clue and the outer letters of the word cereal sit inside the large organic wooden plant that is a Maple

22d      Draw girl’s head captured by artist (6)
MAGNET: The first letter of the word girl sits inside an artist who was a pivotal figure in the transition from realism to Impressionism. Married to a lady named Susan

25d      Resin extract largely employed making ink initially (5)
ELEMI:  The initial letters of five consecutive words in the clue will give you your answer

Quickie Pun Bard + Mist + Ache = Bad mistake


99 comments on “DT 29734

  1. I took a while to get going on this fairly typical Ray T – I blame the heat – but finished in less time than I usually take for one of his puzzles

    Thanks to Mr T and the lucky family man – haven’t been in the same room as our sons and grandchildren since Christmas 2019 :(

    1. It was a glorious morning CS. Harrison beat me by 21 goals to 20 in the most exciting World Cup Final ever and my eldest daughter taught me a new phrase ‘Linguistic prescriptivism’

      1. I looked “Linguistic prescriptivism” in Oxford Bibliographies. I didn’t understand it! :grin:

        1. I didn’t either, totally at sea. You must be over the moon M’pops, enjoy the moment.

  2. I enjoyed this backpager and found it more of a challenge than usual. Lots of clever clueing. Good workout for today’s Toughie – which was!

  3. I found this a bit of a struggle in places although it was high on the enjoyment side. I thought the lurker at 1a was very well hidden and I didn’t see it for ages. I had not heard of 25d but it could be nothing else. However, I still checked the answer. My COTD is 8d.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the challenge and to Miffypops for the hints. Enjoy your day with the family.

    1. SC. I sent my clue off this morning, composed in bed at 5am – couldn’t sleep due to the stifling heat. Not sure that it’s much good, though. I saw your “Bit of a do” – a cracking clue and a worthy winner!

  4. Most enjoyable and very cleverly clued throughout I thought, it took me a while to to be confident of all my parsings. My only problem was the first homophone in 8d.
    Three superb lurkers but my ticks go to 11, 18&23a plus 15,19&23d.
    Many thanks to Mr T and MP for the top notch entertainment. Have a great day with your family .

  5. This was subtly tricky and I too took a while to get going on it (3*/4*). 11a was my COTD, a very clever concoction. 18a was another fine clue with great misdirection. I had heard of 25d but the answer came from the dust and fluff at the back of my brain so I needed to check it. There were some superb lurkers and anagrams, too many to mention really. So thanks to MP for the hints and enjoy your family visit, we’ve waited so long to see family members that it’s a real treat. Thanks too to Ray T for another fine puzzle. It’s, blisteringly hot here in the Vale of White Horse 81 degrees in old money and far too hot to be transplanting leeks but thank goodness it’s done.

    1. If we had 81F here we’d all be turning off our air conditioners! Your homes are built to retain heat, it must be unbearable.

    2. 86 degrees in our part of Shropshire but in our sun trap of a garden it is 98.6!

      Or 30 and 37 degrees Celsius.

  6. Quite tricky today as Thursday puzzles tend to be, more lurkers than usual from our setter.
    A pleasant solve in the sun and a ***/*** for me.
    Thanks MP for the parsing of 21d which eluded me, looked like an anagram from the letters of cereal plus T gave the definition-never mind !.Favourite was last in 11a .

  7. I really really struggled with this one – completely missed that 1a was a lurker and wondered how I got the answer. In fact wondered how I got quite a lot of the answers so thanks to MP for the explanations. Perhaps the heat is getting to me too. Unfortunately the whole afternoon will be spent in a grotty little room printing our monthly Glaven Valley magazine. There’s about 1500 copies of some 40 pages, all pages photocopied individually, first the odd pages and then they are reversed and the even pages copied. Then there is a weird machine that collates about 20 pages at a time if it doesn’t go wrong – this all takes 6 people doing a morning or afternoon shift 3 days, then 2 ladies staple it together and a third lady hammers the staples so they are flat! This is the year 2021 and a modern machine would do the whole lot in less than an hour but unfortunately they cost a lot of money and we do it for free.

    1. I would post it all online Manders. Those without internet access or those not tech savvy will be helped by those who are. It is the year 2021 after all. I’m sure there would be protests at first but any furore would soon settle down.

      1. As you will see below MP covid did get them to do just that but the July edition seems the first to be hard copied again.
        A quite interesting read.

    2. Manders, my son played in the British Boy’s golf Championship at Hunstantanton over 30 years ago. I remember the course was as hard as a rock andflaxen-coloured. We stayed for the week with HM at Sandringham .
      I found your newsletter on line . It provided a very interesting view of what English country life is all about. Sea rowing, yachting even carpet bowls. 3 sudokus a wordsearch but no crosswords, tut tut! T produce such a comprehensive newsletter monthly is dedication.
      For anyone else interested I found the site at glavervalleynewsletter@weebly.com.

      1. You need to put https:// in front, LROK. What you have given is the email address.

      2. I’m really chuffed you enjoyed our newsletter LROK. Yes, we had to put it on line during lockdown but after the first one, they asked people if they really wanted the paper version back and yes they did. You would be amazed at how many people complain about incredibly trivial things, print too dark or too light, a page missing (as sometimes the printer does take 2 pages but you can’t see it happen), someone cut themselves on a staple which is why we have to have a ‘staple hammerer’ – honestly you couldn’t make it up! Look out for the next issue around the 28th of the month.

        1. Finished my printing. Will try and insert a picture I’ve just taken of the antiquated equipment!

          1. Well I would say that if you are tech savvy enough to insert a picture into a post then you should be able to introduce your own avatar. See frequently asked questions number 22. I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose

  8. Another great puzzle from Ray T. Excellent clues, a good challenge and very enjoyable. The expertly concealed (spanning 4 words) lurker at 1a is terrific! My favourite: 11a. 3.5*, 4.5*.

  9. Ray T was at his best this morning. Concise clues, great misdirection and a superb lurker. Everything a cryptic crossword should be.

    My thanks to Mr T and MP.

  10. I can’t really blame the heat because Ray T is often a challenge for me. The lurkers at 1a and 16a were extremely well hidden even for allowing I’m overdue a visit to spec savers. Thanks for the explanation of 11a, MP. Having come up with the answer, I couldn’t fathom out why. ***/*** 15d favourite. The word always reminds me of a particular Latin lesson where one of the girls actually thought it was a kind of fruit tree! She was a bit ditsy. Caesar’s Gallic wars being littered with vocabulary relating to weapons and skirmishes, she brought us some light relief. Enjoy your visit, MP. Best wishes to Kath. I’d love to have seen your explanation for 11a. Thanks to all.

  11. Slow start as somehow this had a rather unfamilar feel about it but I really enjoyed every minute of the solve. 1a went straight in (although question whether it is exactly celebrating) which helped to complete North section before turning South. 25a new to me. Joint Favs 2d and 21d. Thank you Mysteron (gather it’s RayT) and MP.

    1. Don’t understand your comment re 1a as the defination is “show” and celebrating is simply part of the wordplay that forms the lurker Angellov.

      1. Oh dear, it must be the heat I had read clue in haste and had of course sussed the lurker but failed to make show equal the solution – how stupid. Thanks Stephen.

  12. Right on the extreme edge of my capabilities – but as enjoyable as ever. 1a is wonderful.

    How lovely to see and hear Joni right at the very peak of her career. I adore the way she strolls on stage with such elan and confidence. Yet this was the relatively brief period when Joni was imbibing bucket-loads of coke, and you can see it in her skeletal appearance here.
    Apart from H, Joni is obviously the greatest woman to ever walk among us. I do wish I had seen her perform live.

    Thanks to Ray T and The Miff.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeaO5UZ5OcI&w=420&h=240%5D

    1. I’m a huge JM fan – a brilliant musician, songwriter and especially lyricist. I’m so envious of Graham Nash, who lived with her for several years. I love good/emotive song lyrics. From Harry’s House/Centrepiece:

      A helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof
      Like a dragonfly on a tomb

      From C, S & N’s Wooden Ships:

      If you smile at me, I will understand
      ’cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language


  13. I don’t usually get on with Ray T so today he must have been more benign. The 1a lurker was well hidden and didn’t you just love the anagram at 9 d?
    I’ve just finished the Toughie where, once one has solved one clue it opens the door to others. I usually hate this but once the penny dropped it was quite entertaining. Took all morning though.
    I’m not holding my breath but I do think today is marginally cooler than yesterday. It’s the nights that are so uncomfortable despite a ceiling fan. How those in BC coped I’ll never know!

  14. Tough, and like Terence, near the upper limit of my (admittedly limited)solving ability. Near 4* time but also 4* fun factor.
    Typical RT, pushes some obscure synonyms but fairly in my view.
    Unusually I missed the lurker in 16a which I solved unexplained, so thank you MP.
    Both 1a and 16a are excellent of their type I think, and are joint COTD.
    Thank you to Ray T and MP. Have great family day.

  15. What a cracking puzzle! Very enjoyable, and I found it a little more challenging than recent RT grids – but what consistently excellent cluing, with superb red herrings and a great range of clues.

    The lurkers in 1a and 16a read so smoothly it took me ages to spot them; the anagram in 9d was ingenious; chuckled at 10a and 23a but groaned at 14a; thought the reversals in 11a were very clever. While all these were contenders, my COTD has to be the wonderful homophone of 8d.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to Ray T and to MP.

  16. Only gentle by Ray T standards but nonetheless very enjoyable. Some very clever clues of which my fav was 20a.
    Not too sure about the slang term for ear😀
    Thx to all

    1. I, too, am concerned about this. Is it slang? I remember as a child being told on radio to “pin back my lugholes” so I always felt it was vulgar. Is it? No doubt one of our erudite contributors knows!

      1. The BRB says that lug is a (chiefly Scottish) informal term for the ear. A lughole is literally a ‘hole in the ear’

      2. Lug or lughole for ear is used a lot in these parts. Some pottery containers have flat, rounded protruding handles on their sides also called lugs and they often very much resemble ears. Lug for ear is informal or even slang, but hardly “vulgar”.

        1. I’d better elucidate quickly before some wag jumps in to mock. Those pottery lugs don’t resemble human ears, more like teddy bears’ ears. Can’t be too careful … :-)

          1. Yes, I thought it was maybe Scots. I just remember the “pin back” expression on the radio as a child but it is too far back in the mists of time for me to remember which programme.

            1. At school, my classmate, George Cross had outrageous ears, a la Gareth Bale or Martin Clunes.
              His Mum took him for the pin back surgery. Six weeks later, the doc took the stitches out.
              Doyoyoyoyooiinngg !!!!
              A complete failure.

          2. I remember a friend having a lop-eared rabbit as a pet, which was named Loppy Lugs.

  17. I found this one of those where you put in the answer and then spend more time working out why. Had problems with 9d, which I should not have, because in my career as an Aeronautical Engineer I gained fame (or notoriety) by being named as the only person who had ever used that word in a report written for the Ministry of Defence. As for Lug, I grew up thinking it was normal polite language – in our house anyway. Thanks RT and MP.

  18. I always find Ray T puzzles hard and today was no exception, although I did better than I normally do with his, only five left unsolved including 28a, once again caught out by the other number😡. Thanks to all.

  19. Terrific Ray T today! Classic clues, laconic and catchy. Top clues: 3d and the three lurkers. Thanks to MP and Mr T. ** / ****
    Best wishes to Kath. Love MP but always think of Kath on Ray T Thursdays.

  20. What a delightful crossword! Very clever lurkers and anagrams, I loved it especially after the paucity of a
    cerebral challenge yesterday. Thanks to MP for sparing the time to give the hints when you must have been
    anxiously awaiting your family, and to the setter for the challenge. Somebody may notice that today another correspondent
    has said exactly what I said about hand in front of mouth speakers – only in my humble opinion, with no offence to
    today’s letter writer who I am sure is a noble and upright person, it was not put as interestingly as in my letter !!!
    Oh well, I keep on trying. We geared ourselves up to going into John Lewis this afternoon to buy a new fridge/freezer
    but then George decided it would be cooler to go first thing in the morning. Procrastinator.

    1. Order it on the Internet. AO do next day delivery if you need one urgently. (Appliances online)

  21. Way beyond the solving capabilities of this tiny brain! I only got about ten or so and an embarrassing number of those with e-help. Some solved by checking letters but a complete mystery, e.g., 8d and 21d. On the plus side for me, I knew 25d and solved the anagram at 9d without help. I’ve had a good run of blissful enjoyment, so don’t take this as a complaint, more a lack of nous on my part.
    Thanks RayT, maybe I’ll get there one day, and to M’pops for unravelling that lot.

    1. Hi Alexander,
      Nothing to do with crosswords but I have to say how much I love your name. Had I ever had a boy child that is the one I would have chosen for him. As it was, I tried to talk my daughter into using it when her firstborn was a boy – she gave him the middle name of Xander so I’ll have to be content with that!
      Do you get known as Alex?

      1. I remember not liking the name Alexander very much as a young child, but I’m perfectly happy with it now. I do go by Alex. I’ve only ever met one Xander – an American that I was at school with.

        1. I think my daughter must be a fan of short forms of names – her son’s first name is Theo. Mind you, she’s actually Candice Louise although has always been known as Candy Lou, so perhaps she’s simply followed tradition.
          At the moment, he’s tall, slim and blonde so maybe he’ll get away with the names bestowed upon him!

  22. Found this the trickiest puzzle of the week so far. Hard to get it going too. ***/**** Clues to like include 10a, 20a, 28a, 5d & 22d with winner 28a and 23a runner up
    New word in 25d and a forgotten word in 9d
    Thanks to Ray T and MP

  23. Gentle or difficult a Ray T crossword remains a mystery to me except for his few clues for simpletons. Miffypops once again brought light where darkness rules and I have to say my inability to solve Ray T troubles me far less than my inabilty to understand the poetry of Geoffrey Hill.

    No favourites today but many thanks to Miffypops for his expert help and Ray T is, I am sure, aware that you cannot please all of the people all of the time and that some people cannot be pleased at all.

  24. That lurker in 1a was so well hidden, the most challenging I have ever seen.
    So, my last in in a truly great puzzle.
    So, ***/*****
    Many thanks, Ray T and MP for the review.

      1. The lurker at 1 across was indeed my last one in. Solved only by realising that if all else fails look for a lurker which I believe was coined by Gazza but is often wrongly attributed to me

  25. Took a while to parse 21d in this very enjoyable crossword.
    Hardly have any time to solve puzzles at the moment but glad I printed this one.
    Might not be able to post until September as I am very very busy this summer.
    Thanks to RayT for the fun and to MP for the usual excellent review.
    Have a great time with Ethan and Harrison and all the family.

    1. Being that busy is a good thing, isn’t it jean-luc? We’ll miss you of course but hope this makes up for the COVID hiccup.

    2. Good to hear from you, JL, and I do hope that you have a successful season. You certainly deserve it.

    3. Thank you ladies. The restaurant is doing extremely well and we are full lunchtime and dinner. A record year despite all the restrictions but very tiring. The seven months of inactivity take it’s toll.

    4. Delegation Delegation Delegation. Do little and watch the workers offering advice when necessary. They will thank you for it

    5. Great to hear from you, jean-luc and pleased to hear the restaurant is doing well. :good:

    6. I’ve always thought owning and running a restaurant must be one of the most exhausting careers. Here’s wishing you a profitable busy season, and a well earned break afterwards.

  26. A tricky puzzle, but most enjoyable.
    I had abasement for 24a, but corrected myself just in time!
    As also mentioned above, I don’t think the first homophone in 8d works.
    Good fun.
    Thanks to Ray T and MP.

    1. Please don’t start homophone discussions. At best they are boring. Our language and dialects are diverse. Rejoice and be glad of it

      1. Yes! Let’s add homophones to politics, religion and sex on the list of taboo subjects.

    2. I agree with you, Shabbo, although having spent a lot of time working in Italy I don’t think either homophone in 8d works.

  27. Evening all. My thanks to Miffypops for the review and to everybody else for your observations.


    1. Thanks for popping in, Ray T and for the puzzle. I found it tricky but enjoyable. I think the lurker at 1a is the best I have seen.

    2. Good evening, Mr T and thank you for another great Thursday puzzle. You had me worried for a while with 24a & 17d but I eventually saw through your subterfuge. Loved 9d, such a delicious word!
      How are things on the other side of the migrant route – are you melting away in the heat as we are?

      1. Thank you both. I don’t know if it’s the temperature or the effects of the Janssen jab I had yesterday! The good news is that I now have my ‘Pass sanitaire’ on my phone. It’s not mandatory to have one, you just can’t go anywhere without one from the beginning of August. It’s the French way…


    3. Very late over there but still daylight here in the Carolinas, Mr T. Thanks for a great puzzle and for joining us.

  28. The decision to multi-task and try to solve this whilst sitting in a hot office watching mandatory compliance training videos (with tests) lead to a rather slow solve. Great puzzle but I needed electrons to get across the line.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP.

  29. Super puzzle & a bit tricky in places. Took ********* time to complete though I did nod off for ****** of that due to the effects of golf, sun, beer & a hearty lunch (some nutters played a further 18). I must pronounce 8d incorrectly because the homophone works perfectly for me & was one of my picks along with 1,11&28a plus 3,9&21d from a very strong selection.
    Thanks to Ray T & MP – pleased to hear that you had a nice family visit. Van gig report ?

  30. There are days when I can almost finish a Ray T puzzle, but this wasn’t one. I would go so far as to say gentle and RayT is an oxymoron, at least for me, but I am happy that he pushes me to my limits. There were some where I got the answer without understanding the clue at all. Having spent the morning at younger daughter’s house so Peter (Mr Fix It) could install her Ring doorbell and repair the kitchen cabinet door that was falling off, I’ve now decided I cannot spend any more time trying to fill in the remaining boxes. Thanks to Ray T and to Miffypops.

    1. Hi BizzieLizzie. Many years ago I would battle with this setter. Taking all day to grind out a finish with my Fathers advice ringing around my brain ‘never ever lose a fight.’ Indeed it was one of RayTs Beam toughies that sat around for an age with one four-letter clue unsolved that led to me eventually typing the clue into the Google search engine and discovering this wonderful blog (and of course the answer) Seven years of reviewing puzzles for the Big Dave community has led me to a place where I think RayT is a bit of a pussycat but I fully understand why others find him to be a difficult solve. There are a lot of humorous Ring doorbell clips on TikTok and YouTube and quite a few terrifying ones too

      1. When I was with PanAm, I was calling a passenger and got his answering machine: “wha’ d’ya want” growled the answering machine. I thought it was so funny.

        1. My gast is well an truly flabbered that people have heard of 9d before. I had all the checkers and the letters to make up the word and was still clueless.

          Also defeated by the stretched synonym in 26a despite getting the answer.

          Thanks to all.

  31. My favourite crossword pen has vanished. It was on the table next to my chair and now it is not. I’m slightly upset because it was given to me by a grateful student after I supervised her dissertation.

    Things vanish a lot in our house.

    1. Steve, they vanish here too and I live alone! Nothing in the kitchen is in the same place I put it. I’ve got duppies! I

      1. This is not a ghost, Merusa if I understand Duppies correctly. We had a ghost in a house we lived in a while back. A lady in white but I won’t bore everyone with the tale.
        I would blame the disappearance of things in our house on something like gremlins.

        Or Hudson. Mind you, why would a dog need a pen? 😈☠️

  32. I didn’t find this easy but it was accessible enough to be fun teasing out the answers. Never heard of 9d, why would I have? As for favourite I’ll go for 1a or 16a, take your pick, as I spotted both of them were lurkers after I got the answer. Thanks to Rayt and MP. I haven’t finished the toughie yet despite spending half the day on it intermittently whilst filling up our leaky pond.

      1. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears. This is not a garden pond it’s a large field pond and it’s not actually ours we just have access to it. The owner reckons it would cost him £15000 to have it re-puddled, he’s looked into it. It takes about a day to fill it using a 5.5 hp pump once a year using about 6 gallons of petrol and the water level is deep enough for our purposes for long enough. Some years nature does it for us.

  33. Mr. Ray T challenged me a lot with this – it’s really a bit too hot weather for such a difficult puzzle! Managed to finish in the end with e-help, but need to look at the hints because some of the parsing has completely mystified me. Thanks to setter for supplying some excellent brain exercise and to MP for the hints. Too many good clues to list them, although perhaps 9d should be COTD – it made me laugh when the penny dropped.

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