DT 29812 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29812

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29812

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from Barrel where the weather is best described as typical English changeable. We have moved from  fierce winds and rain to bright sunshine in a cloudless sky with no wind at all. A bit like this puzzle from Giovanni where the range runs from easy peasy bung it in to needing to think about this a bit. Suitably Thursdayish. Miffypops take on cheating is at the end of the blog should anybody want to read it

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a        Act gloomily, troubled by this study of global warming etc? (11)
CLIMATOLOGY:  Giovanni has kindly offered up an easy anagram to start us off. The word troubled indicates the anagram and the two words preceding it provide the anagram fodder. As usual the definition is underlined

9a        Manage to come through cardiac operation (4)
COPE: Unless you see it differently I can only suggest the single letter abbreviation for cardiac and a three letter abbreviation for operation. If you do see it any other way please let me know in the comments. Update. It is a lurker as pointed out by StephenL. Hidden within the words of the clue. Oh the shame of it. Oh the ignominy  whatever happened to if all else fails?

10a      In favour of attacking and advancing (11)
PROPOUNDING: A three letter proposition meaning for is followed by a repeated and heavy striking or hitting of someone or something

11a      The music coming from birds? The opposite! (4)
EMUS: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words coming from. The last sentence in the clue suggests that we are looking for birds

14a      Form of rap embraced by this unconventional musician (7)
HARPIST: An anagram (form of) of RAP is surrounded by a second anagram (unconventional) of THIS. Although these musicians are quite conventional they have been illustrated here previously with a picture of one playing while naked. That’s a bit unconventional. One never sees female accordionists in a nudist colony though

16a      Strain to bite around hard bit of food (4,3)
PINE NUT: We have had some music and a player of music in the previous two clues. This musical theme continues with a synonym of the word strain. A synonym of the word bite follows. All is reversed as indicated by the word around. The foodstuff in the answer appeared on many early gastropub menus where everything was nestled in or drizzled on and chips were thrice cooked

17a      Girls with a misplaced and greedy king (5)
MIDAS: The girls here may be either female domestic servants or (archaic) unmarried girls or young women. The position of the letter A needs to be moved

18a      Relax and laugh out loud by lake (4)
LOLL: The text speak abbreviation for laugh out loud is followed by the abbreviation for lake

19a      Lass having left — a source of irritation (4)
GALL:  An informal noun meaning a girl is followed by the abbreviation for left

20a      High-ranking woman to ask for alms with hesitation (5)
BEGUM:  A three letter word meaning to plead for charity is followed by a two letter hesitation. Not er. The other one

22a      Like some rocks beast knocked over by river (7)
LAMINAR: A beast or creature (dictionary definition – a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli) is reversed (knocked over) and followed by the abbreviation for river

23a      Cease to be involved with one section of newspaper? (4-3)
PULL OUT: A double definition the second being an unread nuisance on the weekend to those who still take a physical copy of the newspaper. Here is a risqué joke that contains the answer.  My wife and I practice the pull out method of contraception. We pull our phones out and ignore each other all night

24a      One makes a noise disappearing — one unseen (4)
GONG: A synonym of disappearing needs to lose the letter that looks like the number one

28a      Is Ruth’s son one sunk in depression, being like Adam? (11)
DISOBEDIENT: A four part charade which you can arrange to suit the wording of the clue . 1 The word IS from the clue. 2 The son of Ruth and Boaz from The Bible. 3 The letter that looks like the number one. 4 A depression or hollow

29a      Resentful soldiers stuck in home counties (4)
SORE: The abbreviation for the compass direction where the Home Counties are to be found contain the abbreviation for some soldiers or other ranks

30a      Abused tradesmen to walk out in protest? (11)
DEMONSTRATE: We finish off the across clues just as we started them. An anagram (abused) of TRADESMEN TO


2d        Transport vehicle with central bit set aside for bird (4)
LORY:  A freight carrying form of transport loses its middle letter

3d        Be apathetic as doctor needing exercise (4)
MOPE:  Two abbreviations are required here. A medical orderly and some physical education

4d        Old city is gone round by Thomas — contributing to this? (7)
TOURISM:  An old city from southern Mesopotamia (now modern day Iraq) and much favoured by cryptic crossword setters is followed by the word IS from the clue. Together these two words are surrounded by the shortened form of the name Thomas

5d        Some ore? A good deal, by the sound of it (4)
LODE: A rich source or vein of a metal ore and a good deal or a lot of something can both be defined by words which sound alike. They are homophones of one another. The words ‘by the sound of it’ indicate that the clue is based upon a homophone. All you need to do now is work out the two words which sound alike and decide which one to use. If the third letter is checked you can be in like Flynn. Otherwise you need to separate the wordplay in the clue from the definition. Some homophones are amusing as they don’t quite sound exactly the same with different dialects which can lead to the comments section sounding like a broken record

6d        Book  group (7)
GENESIS: A double definition. One a book of the bible and one a group of musicians who lost a genius but ploughed on past their time becoming less inventive and more and more poppy. Here is the lost genius at play

7d        ‘Let’s hear it for the ordinary potato’ — one expressing opinion (11)
COMMENTATOR: Split 6,5 we need a word meaning occurring, found, or done often (ordinary) and a slang term for a potato. Placed together these two words sound like (let’s hear it for) one who expresses an opinion on a sporting contest perhaps where their opinion would often be better replaced with silence

8d        New list with variety and flexibility (11)
VERSATILITY: Anagram (new) of LIST and VARIETY

12d      Classical scholar, I go up into hilltops distractedly (11)
PHILOLOGIST: Anagram (distractedly) of HILLTOPS which contains the letters of the words I GO in reverse order. A great subject to study. I wish more would do so

13d      Initial pain merrily dealt with (11)
PRELIMINARY: Anagram (dealt with) of PAIN MERRILY. Ok setter you can stop now. Three anagrams in a row is enough

15d      River bank with black content (5)
TIBER: A bank or row of something contains the abbreviation for black

16d      Meet one’s obligations and, by implication, yap (3,2)
PAY UP:  Meet one’s obligations by settling ones bills perhaps. The answer is obvious. The wordplay can be worked out by looking at the last word of the clue

20d      Queue at the pub? Musician will be familiar with it (3,4)
BAR LINE: A pub and a queue?  Need I say any more?

21d      Actors given holiday seasons with new introduction (7)
MUMMERS: The preferred season for holidays needs its initial letter changing to form a group of actors known for performing very old traditional plays. Usually in the open air and often hilarious. Coventry have a long standing group of these players, all of whom are bonkers

25d      Crazy Conservative entertained by gents? (4)
LOCO:  A regular term for the smallest room contains the abbreviation for Conservative

26d      Alternative to road on the rise? One’s given false account (4)
LIAR: One alternative to a road is the permanent way. One term for this needs to be reversed to find a storyteller or fibber

27d      Insect occupying dung naturally (4)
GNAT: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word occupying

Quickie Pun  Piece + Ticks = Pea Sticks

Following recent discussion on what is and isn’t cheating here is my take on solving

The rules of completion according to Miffypops

Rule 1. There are no rules

Rule 2. If in doubt see rule one

There is much satisfaction gained upon completion of a cryptic crossword puzzle whatever your level of competence. Grizzled old campaigners will need little or no help due to their expertise having been gained over many years. Newcomers may be baffled by the simplest of clues.

A completed grid is a completed grid and I don’t much care howsoever anybody gets there. The more experienced you are the less help you should need.

Beginners should feel free to use to anything and everything to achieve completion, dictionaries, encyclopaedia, an atlas, books of crossword lists, and of course the internet. I have spent a couple of hours looking with amazement at just how much help is out there on the World Wide Web including this very blog itself.

Scribble away in the newspaper margins or use a notepad. Make little circles of anagram fodder. Write a succession of dashes, put in your checkers and play with the clues to your hearts content

Regard these aids as crutches, helping you along. With time and experience and a good memory it should be possible to throw these crutches away little by little as one becomes more proficient. For example, once someone learns to recognise how anagrams work i.e. Indicator, fodder and definition they really ought to stop using the online anagram solver and work them out for themselves. One by one the aids should fall away until you sit there with a quickly self-completed puzzle and think “Now what shall I do” as you reach for the toughie and contemplate volunteering to review puzzles for Big Dave.

Happy solving to you all however you do it


119 comments on “DT 29812

    1. How many exclamation points is too many?
      Generally, any more than one exclamation mark is left to semi-professional writing at best. Adding multiple exclamation marks does not magically increase the emotional impact of what is being said, and runs the risk of making your writing look unprofessional
      Random website

      “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes” F Scott Fitzgerald

      Exclamation marks “You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” Elmore Leonard

      Thank you for your terse comment.

      1. Few of us are professional writers, MP. I think an exclamation mark is an indication not to take something too seriously or an indication of mild surprise – think Homer Simpson.

          1. I’m not sure why the exclamation marks are there. Is it meant to be ironic, sarcastic or some other ic? Is the writer simply pointing out that at just after 11am he has realised that the answer is clearly hidden in the clue.

      2. Alas, I’m a guilty party. I use them liberally and I’m sure my readers say “enough already”. (Was tempted to put one there, and here.) I agree with Greta.

      3. !!! are a bit Marmitey, aren’t they. Some people really like them and use them often, others hate them and avoid their use. But I guess most folk aren’t bothered either way. I like them and probably use them too much. I can’t really see how you can write effectively without using them. Gyles Brandreth is apparently regarded as a expert grammarian (he’s mentioned as a member of the Editorial Board in the list of contributors at the front of the BRB) and in his book Have You Eaten Grandma? he explains:

        To add emphasis: Bugger off!
        To underline emotion: I adore you!
        To express surprise: Fancy meeting you here!
        To covey, in direct speech, a shouting voice or clear command: I said, “Bugger off!”

        The exclamation mark is not a subtle piece of punctuation, but it is expressive:

        ! on its own can mean “Wow!”
        !! can mean “Wow!” “Wow!”
        !!! can mean “Yes!”
        !!!! means “Oh my God!”
        !!!!! means “Aaaaargh!”

        And remember, I’m just the messenger!

  1. I thought on first reading this was going to be very tricky but it ended up only being tricky! An enjoyable ***/**** with some clever clues and excellent anagrams some difficult to spot. I laughed when solving 7d and that is my COTD. Thanks Miffypops and Giovanni for distracting me from a rather noisy boiler inspection and the bad news that I need a new one😪

    1. I too needed distraction. Mine from noisy men on roof, also expensive. Good luck to you.
      Some bits of this went in quickly but I needed help with far too many. Thanks to Miffypops & the setter.

  2. A typical Giovanni puzzle that took me a little while to get into. I thought the anagram at 30a was clever as were 16a&16d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the fun on a brilliantly sunny South Devon morning

  3. Altogether lots of Giovanni fun with 7d stand out lol Fav. Did I say I am always happy to extend my vocabulary well today’s Quickie did that for me with two four-letter new words but actually doubt they are likely to prove useful to me in the future! Thank you Giovanni and MP. Now I will look to see what MP considers to be cruciverbal cheating – not that I really care!

    1. We’ve spoken (written) about this before!
      I think the difference is between trying to complete a puzzle in half an hour with no help, as if in a competition setting, or completing it any way you like. The choice is yours. So it doesn’t matter really

  4. An enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky but with a bit of a challenge (2.5*/4*). I liked the anagram at 12d, although I had to check that I had spelled it correctly. 28a was a great clue too, although I had to check Ruth’s son and 8d kept me guessing a bit. COTD , however, was7d, which, however many times I hear it, always makes me laugh. Thanks to MP for the hints and your thoughts on crosswords. On the whole I agree with you, although I do hate it, when I can’t work out the wordplay but can guess the answer. We all have ou quirks! Thanks also to Giovanni for another great challenge

  5. Lots of fun with a a couple of crutches deployed. 30a gets my vote today for a super smooth surface. Thanks to MP and Giovanni.

  6. Steadily worked through this excellent puzzle without any long pondering.
    Always gratifying when I construct a word, hitherto unknown, correctly eg 21d.
    so, ***/*****
    Many thanks Giovanni and Miffypops

        1. He might have been then, or it might just have been the availability of ale while performing! He hasn’t been a 21a for about 30 years or more

  7. Typical Giovanni but slightly friendlier than usual – or was that because I knew things like the son of Ruth?? Nice to see the 27d insect clued in another way than the usual reversed taste

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  8. I have to admit that Giovanni is my favourite setter. Must be a wavelength thing. I just seem to know what to do with the clue. Favourite was 7d, even if I had to revisit it because I bunged in ‘tater’, thinking of the first part of the clue, and not the definition. Silly me. Many thanks to Don and to Miffypops.

  9. How I suffer when it’s not a Ray T. Thursday!
    It always takes me an age to get on Giovanni’s wavelength.
    I managed only about two-thirds of this without online help. ‘Ruth’s son’?!!
    Not much fun here.

      1. Thanks for the tip. I’ve put my thinking cap on, brushed myself down, poured myself a strong coffee and I’m heading off there now…

  10. Well I thoroughly enjoyed this fairly challenging and entertaining puzzle. No doubt for me that as soon as 7d went in that it would be my favourite clue; excruciatingly brilliant.

    Thanks to The Don and MP. I heartily agree with your Rules of Completion. Well said.

  11. A great puzzle and most enjoyable with some straightforward clues and head scratchers – just the right amount of each. It was the long ones that held out for me until I had a few checkers. I had the answer to 16a quite early on but could not get the parsing so did not write it in. When the penny finally dropped it was with tremendous satisfaction. My COTD was 24a until I solved 7d and that took the spot because it gave me a laugh. Most enjoyable and finished unaided.

    Grateful thanks to Giovanni for the fun and to MP for the hints. I also agree totally with your Rules of Completion.

    Bright and windy here in the Welsh Marches with rain threatening. A watercolour day.

  12. Gentle Giovanni? Well yes, and for me a change as I sometimes struggle with his grids, but I rather breezed through this one and enjoyed the fun, especially with 7d, 28a, and 12d. Thanks to MP and to Giovanni. ** / ***

    I always think of Kath on Thursdays. So hello, Kath, and I hope you’re coming right along.

    A good, testing Toughie today.

  13. I learned a bit about Australasian parrots, biblical sons and Muslim women but they were eminently workoutable.
    I did like 12d, as an anagram, it wasn’t too difficult to work out but it brought to mind the Stephen Fry alter ego, Sir Donald Trefusis the St Matthew’s College professor of philology at the University of Cambridge.
    I don’t think I parsed16a correctly but bunged it in to get the full grid satisfaction that MP talks about.
    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  14. I agree with you entirely Miffypops. Had I not used aids and crutches years ago now at my great age I would not have the great satisfaction and enjoyment of finishing a cryptic puzzle.
    Having said that,
    this one took me quite a while but gave great enjoyment on completion. My thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops.
    As a point of interest whilst playing bridge yesterday I took out my telegraph notebook to write down someone’s address and they immediately said “ did you win that for the cryptic” when I said yes as a runner up great conversations took place about the merits of cryptic crosswords,

    1. Congratulations on your runner up prize.
      Do you think there is a correlation between cryptic crossword solvers and Bridge players ? I have often wondered.

          1. Not at all. Jen came equal first in a competition based upon a successful solve of a cryptic crossword competition. I do not see how being second out of the bag makes one a runner up in the crossword competition. Just the runner up in the being picked out of the hat.

            1. Yes, of course, that is almost certainly the reality of the situation. But if it says “runner up” on the notebook, that’ll be good enough for Jen I expect. I will say no more.

  15. Completed this one with some bung ins, so thanks to MP for the parsings, particularly 16a which I found impenetrable.
    Also had to look up Ruth’s son.

    All the homophones worked for me today, in fact I particularly liked 7d.
    Possibly my best stab at a Giovanni ever.
    I agree with everything MP said about solving cryptics.
    Thanks to the setter.

    Distinctly cold here today, but lovely sunshine.

  16. Thanks Miffypops for review and thoughts on ‘cheating’. 9a is a lurker (“to come through”) [Edit: sorry Smardonian @3 already mentioned this! Not sure why, but comments were blank and the review not updated, before I posted]

    1. At least your explanation for 9 across was put kindly. Thank you. I couldn’t see it for looking or follow the advice I give out so often.

  17. This was an absolute grind for me so not a lot of fun. ****/* The best clue is the well constructed 28a, but only if you happen to know Ruth’s son which by some fluke, I did. 7d was a bung in for me and didn’t see what it had to do with potatoes until I read the hints. I still don’t understand 16a though it had to be what it is. Not my day today. Thanks to all.

  18. Strange one today. Completed most of it at a gallop and then got held up by the simpler clues, like 11A and 24A. Never heard of 22A and didn’t understand 15D until I saw the answer.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Giovanni

  19. Tremendous fun while it lasted, and for me – fortunately tuning into the wavelength from the first clue – I found this the most straightforward Giovanni puzzle I have yet knowingly tackled, with pen barely leaving page. The rocks were new and I did not know Ruth’s son, but neither clue needed that knowledge, both were very fairly clued, and I have happily added two items to my lexicon.

    Plenty of ticks, so HMs to 24a, 28a (broad smile), 16d, 21d, and 25d, and COTD shared today by the wonderful 11a and laugh-out-loud 7d.

    1* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the Don, and to MP for the review.

  20. A very nice puzzle from my joint favourite (along with Ray T) setter. I’d say average-ish difficulty for a back-pager, with fine clues giving a reasonable challenge and plenty of enjoyment. I’ve ticked a few and will pick 4d as my favourite today. 2.5*, 4*.

    *The review is very entertaining too and if I was 50 years younger I’d be using all those methods to complete myself. As I’ve been solving these things every day since 1970, I don’t need them very often now. I don’t use the Hints & Tips on here to help my solving but I always read them after to check if I’ve got the parsings correct – and sometimes I haven’t quite.

    1. That’s normally the case for me too although today nothing short of the encyclopaedia Brittanica for breakfast would have helped. I don’t recall that there was much in the way of help back in the day to assist with crosswords. Dictionaries obviously but no electronic wizardry.

    2. I’m the same Jose and although I always thank the hints person for their amazing efforts it is very rare I actually look at them before during or after the puzzle these days. I did when I was learning the craft a lot and that is when they are so very valuable – and in a way satisfying when you don’t need them.

  21. Excellent fare today and a ***/**** for me, a steady solve except for the SE corner which took a bit of head scratching!
    Favourite has to be 28a for its origanality struth Ruth what a charade.
    Liked 21d and 7d brought a smile’
    Thanks to MP the pics especially 21d- the mummers and the papas and our setter.

  22. I do struggle with the Don & today was no exception. I was so far off the pace I’d have been tailed off after the first circuit & likely pulled up but I did eventually limp home only for the no all correct completion message to appear. With a gentle expletive I hit reveal mistakes – 2d was wrong as I’d bunged in the only 4 letter feathered friend at 2d I could think of with the 2 checkers so can’t claim an unaided finish even though I did then figure out the wordplay. Never heard of the bird so along with 20&22a +21d & Ruth’s son Mr G was getting fed up with doorbell constantly ringing. Oh & couldn’t parse 16a either. Everyone else seems to have found it none too difficult so must just be me. That said I suppose there was a satisfaction in finishing & 7d, which I’d not come across before, was great. COTD was 30a.
    Thanks to Giovanni & Miffs – liked/agree with your rules for completion.

      1. Thought that the other day when the Ten Commandments appeared but he has been silent for a few days. Hopefully he is OK: it may well just be wearing two hats at St James’ Park last Sunday gave him a headache.
        Certainly won’t have run out of enjoyment stars of late!

      2. So am I. He’s either done in 10 minutes flat or given up in disgust. I suspect the former because when I struggle, Brian finds it a doddle.

  23. Not my favourite setter and a few clues that I found went over my head in terms of sorting out why. All-in-all a bit of a soggy sandwich that I didn’t find over satisfying..
    Some good clues though of which 7d was COTD and 11a R/U.
    Thank you to Giovanni and MP.
    To me a solve is a solve. If I get all answers correct and can explain my answers that is satisfying whether I know all the words or not. If there are some I have to bung in that is slightly less satisfactory. If I have to resort to e help less again and if I complete using the hints that is a DNF to me.
    As you say there are no rules for solving crosswords. It follows therefore that you can’t cheat!
    I echo Robert’s sentiments re Kath.
    Biggles traumatised today. With “breakers” on his beach walk he ventured in to get his ball only to be hit by a wave just as it broke, got flipped onto his back and submerged. He gave up the pursuit and afterwards wouldn’t venture in beyond halfway up his legs, turning tail when he saw a wave approaching. I felt so guilty as he loves his morning dip.

    1. Don’t feel guilty, you didn’t cause the breaker, Big Massa is in charge of the waves! Sadie doesn’t like water, that must be from the other bit of her that’s not Labrador. She sends sympathies to Biggles.

  24. Found this nicely straightforward 😳 **/**** Favourites 22a, 6d & 7d 😃 Thanks to MP and to Giovanni

  25. An enjoyable battle with this one with only 2d failing. I bunged in a feathery fellow but kinda knew in my heart it was wrong.
    Miff is on top form today and his hints (and music choices – dear old Copey) are worth reading even if you solved the crossword without his assistance.

    From the sublime to the soaking last night. We had a great evening at Stamford Bridge – a 4-0 win over Malmo. Living it up in hospitality; the full works.
    Then got thoroughly soaked walking back to the car in a monsoon. Back to life, back to reality.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Emerson, Lake, & Palmer – Pictures At An Exhibition.

    Thanks to Giovanni, the splendid Miffo, and how wonderful to see The Lovely Kath drop in here yesterday.

    1. I loved ELP as a youngster but I grew out of them and can’t understand what I saw in them at all. Great gigs in 1972 and 1974 though

      1. I was at the Empire Pool gig, same day as you! I’m not much of a devotee – I often listen back to albums for the nostalgia value…

        1. I tried Terence I really tried on the way to the pub. The only track I let run all the way through was Nutrocker. In the end I turned to Lucinda by Tom Waits from the Glitter and Doom album. Almost doubled my speed in an instant

    2. Your musical tastes are wonderfully eclectic T. I’m with Miffs on ELP & doubt I could manage an album….
      Have been listening to Van’s marvellous Duets; Reworking The Catalogue while doing Ray T’s excellent Beam Toughie. Not sure if you’re a fan as don’t recall him featuring on your solving soundtrack of the day but well worth a listen if you don’t know it as there are some unexpected collaborations.

      1. I have tickets (tempted to put tix) to see Sir Van Morrison for the third time this year in Oxford in early November

        1. I was so tempted Miffs for that but bottled it at the last minute. I’m still not comfortable at the thought of indoors with large numbers. Didn’t feel comfortable in the cinema the other night which was my first venture. I watched Van’s virtual gig from Bath on You Tube last night. The current band are excellent & he’s certainly in great voice – amazing really given his age.

  26. MP’s email arrived on my iphone during my monthly stint of printing the Glaven Valley Newsletter and I thought ‘could be tricky’. Well it was and thoroughly enjoyable but quite curious too. There a few ones that were so easy I didn’t initially put them in and then there were the headscratchers. Last in and absolutely the best one 7d. I rushed into the garden and read the clue to David and Alex our gardener who both looked nonplussed but when I told them the answer they agreed it was a terrific clue. Thanks to Giovanni and MP, especially for the hints on how to not cheat. I must admit that I am much better at anagrams than I used to be and don’t resort to the little circles very often.

  27. A steady slow solve for me but got there in the end and the biblical reference In 28a suggests The Don as the setter. Thank you MP

    1. Well done Brian. Knew you wouldn’t let me down. Am in the payout queue at the bookies……

      1. Why humour him or his idiotic comments. Enough is enough I say. Time to say goodbye Brian in my opinion which may not be the opinion of all.

        1. Oh M’pops, get rid of Brian? You blaspheme! There goes my exclamation mark … only one now, no more.

        2. I love Brian; he’s a top man.

          When he sees a religious reference, he twitches a la Commissioner Dreyfus in the Clouseau films (gotta luv Herbert) or when our Malcolm sees an obscure word.

          It is a bit strange that he refuses to acknowledge any nods to the bible but each to their own.

          He’s consistent, honest and, in my eyes, a big sweetie.

          I just want to give him a fat, overlong hug.

            1. Childish?

              This blog is more like a bog today with the mud being chucked at this guy.

              Why do you feel the need to get personal?

              Can’t we just bin this playground malarkey?

              There are about six people who are letting the side down.

              One day they will wise up.

          1. Village idiot?

            Goodness me.

            Only say things that you’re happy to say to someone’s face and please don’t hide behind the classic ‘I am only joking and was taking the mick out of myself’ nonsense.

            1. On reflection it was probably not wise to make such a comment, but it was meant light heartedly, and I apologise to Brian for any offence caused.

          2. I was scrolling down earlier and was wondering why nothing from Brian. Glad to see it was just timing. Don’t always agree (infact rarely) but love the way he cuts to chase and shares an opinion.

        3. Definitely not all. Brian just doesn’t sugar coat things and I suspect there are days when some of us agree with him. At least in part. If we all agreed all the time it would be very dull.

    2. And there’s a perfectly felicitous example of the double exclamation mark! But I’ve only used one because mine is just a mild exclamation, whereas Brian is emphasising significant disgust.

  28. Found this the hardest puzzle of the week. Rate this 3.5*/4* today.
    Three new words for me in 20a, 2d,& 21d
    Candidates for favourite 14a, 23a, 6d, 15d.& 25d with winner 25d

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for hints

  29. My first day of trying every weekday crosswords – a few answers were OK and lots weren’t but I expected because of the setter – I always struggled with him.
    Onwards and upwards, I’d say . . .
    Thanks to Giovanni and to MP (and to all of you)

    1. Great news, Kath! As you say, “Onwards and Upwards”. It is good to hear you sounding upbeat. Keep up the good work.

    2. Trust that you will have a stab at Ray T’s Toughie – am sure he’d be delighted to see a comment from you – a sight easier than this one too.

    3. A visit two days in a row? My cup runneth over … I don’t dare put another exclamation mark, but your appearance deserves four.

    4. Well done Kath. I can’t think of anyone who unites our sentiments more than you.
      All my best wishes

  30. I had lark for 2d thinking of Mr Noah.
    Wasn’t 7d delicious? So awful.
    A bit of Sunday School with Ruth’s son. Had to look that up.

  31. Far and away beyond my ken. Yes, I agree, there were a lot of gimmes, thank goodness, at least they got me started. I completed a little more than half and then struggled, eventually I decided it might as well be in Sanskrit and no fun, so I conceded. I did enjoy the ones I solved, fave was 7d, not surprised it was chosen by most. I knew Ruth’s son and working out 28a was fun.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and hat off to M’pops for his help unravelling the rest.
    I did enjoy your homily on cheating. As someone who can’t manage without my thesaurus and dictionary, with a little e-help thrown in, you made me feel better about myself. I do get bored if I need too much e-help, ergo today, and tend to give up. My Dad taught me to do cryptics in my teens, so I’ve probably been doing them longer than most here, so I think I might be just 19/6 to the £, but I do enjoy trying! (Darn, there goes that !)

    1. You can use as many exclamation marks as you like Merusa. You only ever use them singly. My niggle earlier was about the three marks used together which is pointless and rude. I was also annoyed at the terse comment after spending a considerable amount of time solving, explaining, and posting the blog. It doesn’t happen in an instant as most of you realise.

  32. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. My first Giovanni completion for ages. I’d never heard of 2,12&20d, but the wordplay led me there, and all confirmed by Google. LOI was 19a, favourite was 22a. Was 3* / 3* for me.

    1. Not as average as your comment. Perhaps you might explain your feelings and possibly show some gratitude to those who set these puzzles.

      1. You need to get a sense of humour, Miffypops. It was obviously a dig at your po-faced and high-handed response to Kevin McFarlane at the beginning of the comments. Hence the FOUR exclamation marks.

        1. Aldheim you are rude beyond belief.

          MP I realise your patience has been tested. Thanks for blog and a thankyou to the Don for befuddling me again👀

          Oh, and I agree with you about Brian! Does he have no capacity to understand that if he doesn’t get the setter it is his fault?

  33. This put an end to my run of successes this week. Failed on 11 and 24a , and 2d(lark). But I always enjoy the challenge win or lose. 27d made me smile, must be my schoolboy humour, the clue not the answer that is. As for people complaining about people complaining, I say as long as it’s not offensive, or a personal attack say what you like, that includes disagreeing with others comments. Thanks to all, oh and a tip for Miffy, when all else fails look for a lurker🤪.

  34. Ooh! That was all a bit feisty! Obviously any biblical references had to be looked up! Never really heard of 20d or 21d for that matter! Favourite was 12d because I spotted it straight away! Sorry MP I couldn’t resist it, thanks to Giovanni and MP.

  35. It is time to draw a line under all of the above comments and move on. James has just proposed to Helen in All Creatures Grunt and Smell. Helen has accepted. Tristran is returning to Animal School. All is well with the world. Thank you and good night

    1. Good night, Miffypops. You’ve had quite a testing day. I hope that you sleep well and dream happy dreams.

      1. And sweet dreams from me too. We really do value your input you know. It must be very hard work at times.

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