DT 29843 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29843

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29843

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

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

We have an X-less pangra this morning , which gives us hefty clue about the setter. I was held up in the end by three interlocking clues in the NW corner, which pushed the solving time into **** territory for me.

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

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

1a           Excellent way to make theme music (10)
SOUNDTRACK – Another word for ‘excellent’ or ‘solid’, followed by another word for ‘way’ or ‘path’. The theme music is only part of the answer, which also encompasses dialogue and sound effects.

6a           German sure was heartless Bond baddie (4)
JAWS – A German word of assent, like ‘sure’, followed by the outside letters (heartless) of W(a)S.

Jaws (James Bond) | Total Movies Wiki | Fandom

9a           Pronounced damage to fruit plots (5)
BREWS – A word which sounds like the sort of damage frequently found on, for example, apples.

10a         Quit Euros playing in blue (9)
TURQUOISE – anagram (playing) of QUIT EUROS.

12a         Large type of bricks covering major city (5,8)
BLOCK CAPITALS – A major or chief city of a country is inserted into some building bricks.

14a         New bug going round, caught in gym with child (8)
PREGNANT – Put together New and another word for ‘bug’ or ‘annoy’, reverse the result and insert it into a two-letter acronym for the lesson known as ‘gym’.

15a         Where E is given in senior course (6)
AFTERS – This course of a meal is reached by looking at the position of E in sEnior.

17a         Councillor casual and not pressed (6)
CREASY – An abbreviation for ‘councillor’, followed by another word for ‘casual’

19a         Joining transport heading off on motorway (8)
MARRIAGE – The usual letter denoting a motorway, followed by a word for the transport of goods or passengers, minus its first letter (heading off).

21a         Nightingale had maple to fly around (4,2,3,4)
LADY OF THE LAMP – Anagram (around) of HAD MAPLE TO FLY, giving us a sobriquet of Miss Nightingale.

24a         Friendly porter seen regularly when working (9)
PRESEASON – This is a friendly football match played before the competition begins. Alternate letters of PoRtEr SeEn, followed by another word for ‘when’ and ‘working’.

25a         Device used in writing club successfully in the end (5)
IRONY – A literary device made up of a type of golf club and the last letter (in the end) of successfullY.

26a         One against South European wine ignoring Italy (4)
EAST – One of those opposing South at the bridge table. An abbreviation for European followed by crosswordland’s favourite sparkling wine minus the IVR code for Italy.

27a         Burrow fast incorporating space for colony (10)
SETTLEMENT – The sort of burrow occupied by badgers, followed by a Christian period of fasting, wrapped round a printer’s space.

Down

1d           Lacking credit, cancels membership fee (4)
SUBS – Remove the abbreviation for CRedit from another words for ‘cancels’ to get a short version of the word for one’s annual membership fee to a club or organisation.

2d           Blue novel about marine in service (7)
USEABLE – Anagram (novel) of BLUE, wrapped round something described as ‘marine’.

3d           Ignores rent for cheap shop (8,5)
DISCOUNT STORE – Split the answer (9,4) and you have a word for ‘ignores’ or ‘disregards’, followed by a verb meaning ‘rent’ (which is itself a verb in the past tense).

4d           Queen scoffed about male monarch sitting again (8)
RETAKING – Put together the Latin abbreviation for a queen, the reverse (about) of another word for ‘scoffed’, and a male monarch.

5d           No time in Arctic to stray around (5)
CIRCA – Anagram (to stray) of ARC(t)IC, missing the abbreviation for Time.

7d           Living in centre of Southampton upset friend (7)
ANIMATE – Put together IN (from the clue) and the middle letter of SouthAmpton, reverse (upset) the result, and add an informal word for a friend.

8d           Pet resists bouncing around relative (10)
STEPSISTER – anagram (bouncing around) of PET RESISTS.

11d         University resident gathering class is not educational (13)
UNINFORMATIVE – A short word for ‘university’, followed by a resident or local of a place wrapped round a class of schoolchildren.

13d         See LA police officer turning up after a catastrophe (10)
APOCALYPSE – Put together a four-letter word for ‘see’ (one of those words found more often in crosswords than in real life), LA (from the clue), and a short word for a police officer. Reverse (turning up) the result, then put A (from the clue) at the front.

16d         Foodstuff in steam on large overturned barrel (8)
HAZELNUT – Put together another word for ‘steam’ or ‘mist’, an abbreviation for Large, and the reverse (overturned) of a word for a barrel.

Australia a Possible Goldmine for Hazelnut Production | Technology Networks

 

18d         Unlimited lenses ordered and worn by daughter (7)
ENDLESS – Anagram (ordered) of LENSES wrapped round an abbreviation for Daughter.

20d         A really quiet ramble is OK (7)
APPROVE – The definition is a verb. Put together A (from the clue), the musical symbol for ‘really quiet’, and a word for ‘ramble’ or ‘wander’.

22d         Sample foremost of sculptures where it might be displayed? (5)
TASTE – The first letter (foremost) of Sculpture is inserted into a place in London where a sculpture might be on show.

23d         Growth in fancy stationery (4)
CYST – Hidden in the clue.


The Quick Crossword pun MEN + ICED + RATE = MENAI STRAIT

98 comments on “DT 29843
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  1. This was tough but well crafted. I somehow got but needed Deep Threat to fully understand 15a, 27a, 1d, 3d and 4d in this ****/*** challenge. Some great clues though and I particularly liked 12a my COTD and the misdirection in 24a. With thanks to the setter for a real challenge.

  2. At the more difficult end of the backpage spectrum which is as expected for a Mr X crossword and always hoped for on a Friday generally. Thanks to him and DT

    Fans of our old Sunday setter Virgilius will find his alter ego Brendan in fine form in today’s Graun

  3. Enjoyed this, it was quite testing in places, but no need for any hints. 13d my favourite, but there were a few close contenders as well.
    Thanks to DT, and presumably to ProXimal for the enjoyment

  4. Three in a row, where I’d place the enjoyment level between 4&5*
    Took me a while to break into this but a high quality puzzle from The X Man.
    My biggest problem was parsing the Bond villain though the solution was obvious.
    My podium consists of 14a plus 7&13d… brilliant.
    4/4*
    Many thanks to ProXimal and DT (on a rather you than me day)

  5. This is a really good Friday-level puzzle – thanks to proXimal and DT.
    I ticked loads of clues including 12a, 14a, 15a, 24a and 22d.

  6. Easy as pie! A snap! Ha! About as poorly as I can ever remember doing since I joined the blog nearly two years ago. A DNF in 12a! I needed all kinds of electronic help. and even then, as in 24a and 1d, I would have sat here until Doomsday and never found the definitions since we do not have such ‘concepts’ over here. On the other hand, this is just quite brilliant, and most worthy of its being a Friday backpager. I’ll opt for 13d as my COTD, though I suspect that 24a or 14a truly deserves it. I also liked 5d and 6a. Thanks to DT and the Xless-man. ***** / ****

  7. That was hard! However, it was well clued and most satisfying when the answers fell. Favourites are the very clever 6a, 12a and 21a. I had two contenders for COTD – 15a and 26a and the clear winner was 15a.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the challenge and to DT for the hints, a couple of which were needed and most welcome.

  8. Boy, that was tough but got there in the end.
    Excellent clueing eg 11d and 13d, which certainly stirred the grey matter.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks to ProXimal and DT for the review.

  9. This certainly required some cerebral effort with NE proving most troublesome and requiring some prompting. Never like chestnut 15a course. 24a was a bung-in as unfamiliar with friendly synonym and also 27a as always forget that space. Fav was 21a parsing when feathered friend had been discarded. Thank you proXimal and DT.

  10. A really good and testing challenge to brighten and cheer up a ghastly Friday morning here in Shropshire. High quality clueing throughout made selecting a favourite somewhat tricky, but I will go for 12a.

    My thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  11. Well, what can one say? Very difficult. ****/** If it had taken any longer I would have given up! I needed DT’s hints to explain a few. 24a, my last one in with the only word I could think of that would fit, was a complete mystery to me. I didn’t know 17a was even a word but it had to be. Favourite 1a. One of the few straightforward clues in the grid. Thanks to all.

  12. Very challenging, but enjoyable to work through (I needed DT’s help for a few).

    Even though the circumstances were unusual (meeting a surveyor to look over my mother’s house following her death in June this year; probate and so on), it was lovely to have my sister and niece ‘down here’ yesterday; we had a long lunch at the Runnymede Hotel, which was a respite from the bitter weather outside.

    Jose I was lucky enough to see CSN perform Lee Shore live at Hammersmith Odeon.

    Thanks to the setter and DT. Great to see The Lovely Kath drop in yesterday.

    Now to return to the marathon ‘Get Back’ viewing session! (Pictured – The Beatles wondering when I’m returning)

    1. I enjoyed listening to some of Terry Reid’s stuff after your album choice the other day. His output had passed me by & reading about him was interested to find out he’d put JP into touch with Plant & Bonham. I’ve been trawling through The Black Keys back catalogue putting together a playlist – another band that sort of passed me by. Their album El Camino is excellent & really worth a listen if you don’t know it.

    1. I certainly did although it doesn’t look very inviting today – miserable weather and even the ‘white horses’ look a gloomy shade of grey!

  13. A really great Friday puzzle! Excellent clues, a toughish challenge and a very enjoyable tussle. I’ve ticked quite a few but can’t isolate a favourite. I’d be happy with one like this every day. 4*, 5*.

    * DT, 1a. The answer can be as you describe when referring to a film generally/in its entirety, but in the context of an album/CD the answer is “a recording of the musical accompaniment of a film” only. I think that is a fair/balanced explanation of the setter’s intended meaning.

    *I returned from shopping at Morrisons a while ago and I’d looked purposefully for Paxo stuffing. And there it was, half a shelf full of it at £1.40. Mind you, next to it was Morrisons own brand, the same size for only 45p. I’d probably go for the cheaper one – with those basic ingredients, I can’t really see how you can make a silk (or even canvas) purse out of a sow’s ear.

  14. A real head scratcher but very enjoyable – ****/****.

    During the solve I was flip-flopping between Silvanus and proXimal but the post-solve letter census pointed towards proXimal.

    Candidates for favourite – 6a,25a, 4d, and 11d – and the winner is 25a.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  15. Hardest backpager in living memory!
    Last in was 9a, a new word for a fruit bed for me, toughie standard for much of the parsing, tried to put Paris in 12a ,took ages until the penny dropped.
    Favourite waqs 6a-elicited a smile-thanks to DT for the pic.
    Liked the surface of 25a and the ‘friendly’ in 24a
    Has to be a ****/**** will we ever get a *****?

    1. Beaver, in 9a the fruit is part of the wordplay (a homophone of “damage to fruit”), and the definition is just “plots” as a verb, in the sense of “plans”. Clever disguise.

  16. 5*/5*. This was a really tough but really enjoyable challenge for a Friday from the x-less pangram man. I wasn’t able to get started on it until some hours later than normal as the newspaper girl left The Times for me this morning, which put me in a bad mood. However, after the correct paper had finally been delivered, this wonderful puzzle lifted my spirits considerably.

    My top selection was 12a, 15a, 25a & 4d but plenty more came into consideration.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to DT.

  17. A satisfying challenge and maybe the most enjoyable puzzle of the week, My only problem was not understanding the answer to 15a for which I needed DT’s hint – thank you. Lots of clever clues, but I will give top marks to (the too clever for me) 15a.

  18. The third cracker in a row & certainly a tricky one. Can’t really claim an unaided finish as my last in was 24a & bizarrely it took me 2 stabs to identify 6th letter having twigged the wordplay but not the correct definition context. Went through the alphabet twice & initially put in I (working = is on). I think it’s because I’d be inclined to hyphenate the word. Was also surprised 17a (surely your shirt is *****ed rather than *****y) was a word – a bit like in yesterday’s Toughie where the only merman I’d ever come across was called Ethel here it was Stella, the Labour member for Walthamstow. The Bond baddie was my clear favourite from a fine selection.
    Thanks to proXimal & DT.
    Ps After today’s news I’m thanking my lucky stars that I’m not stuck in Somerset West just outside of Cape Town which is where we would have been had the loads on BA (my buddy is a retired captain) not become difficult for staff travel.

  19. I promised you another rural bus journey anecdote and I think you’ll find this one truly engrossing. I was returning home on the 190 the other week and right behind me were seated two old chaps, in their 80s I’d guess. One was telling the other about a whist drive he’d attended recently at a village hall in some remote settlement in the backwaters of the Derbyshire countryside; I think it was Biggin. Now, I remember my parents going to whist drives in the 50s and 60s but I thought they fizzled out in the 70s – apparently not! After a while, the listener asked: “Were there any prizes?” The narrator replied: “Oh yes – the winners got a bag of sugar!” Can you believe that – a bag of sugar as a prize in 2021! Quite provincially quaint, I suppose…..

    1. Biggin by Hulland or Biggin by Hartington ? Ones nearer than the other and I may go (post Covid) for old times sake to a Whist Drive. Does the MC still have to initial the card if anyone gets tricks in double figures ?

  20. Thought I’d landed on the wrong film set with 6a and struggled to get the 24a ‘friendly’ – from what I’ve heard they’re often more like grudge matches! Thumbs down for 17a – would anyone actually say it?
    Think my top three were 1&21a plus 13d with a bonus point to our setter for correctly naming the Quickie pun in the singular – why do so many people insist on sticking an ‘s’ on the end?

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review.

    1. I agree with 17a I would never say that and I didn’t even need the Y for the Xless pangram – there are 2 others 22d 25a and 13d.
      I hope the storm on the northeast coast doesn’t move over there as those white/grey horses will be in your front yard!

  21. An excellent and entertaining Friday back pager that was for the most part on a wavelength that I could fathom, stuck on 7d?, 16d and 25a which I thought more of a style or type than device, heigh ho, as in, it is what it is.

    Thanks for the needed hints and to the setter for the challenge

  22. Whew, I really thought I was heading for another DNF, but I crawled over the finish line in **** time. As others have mentioned, some answers didn’t sit comfortably with me, 17a and 24a in particular. But a filled grid is what was called for, so I’ll pat myself on the back.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  23. A fine end to the week, difficult but so satisfying when solved, I ticked 7 as favourites ****/**** 😃 26a across was the little 🐒 that held me up Favourites: 9a, 12a and 22d. Thanks to Deep Threat and to the Setter who despite all the clues I have not discovered🤔

  24. Having starved (including no coffee) for blood tests this morning, I made almost no headway with this puzzle. Got a little better after a bacon bap and my usual poison with an extra shot but I still needed historic levels of help from DT, thank you.
    Reading today’s obituary of Pee Wee Ellis I was surprised to hear he’d worked in Bath and lived in Frome. Somehow that doesn’t fit with long time James Brown collaborator and inventor of funk. Staying in Bath, you can find Robert Plant bass-player/composer (son in law) Charlie Jones whose magnificent album Love Form would pose a challenging backdrop to solve to. (Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.)

  25. A tough Friday puzzle that required quite a few hints. Thanks to DT for decrypting those. The puzzles are supposed to get harder as the week progresses and this one certainly fits the bill in that respect. I am not complaining though as we have to be stretched to get better.
    I hope Steve C and Hudson are not blown off the coast by the storm warning on the North East coast.
    A quickie pun for Jane too
    Thanks to ProXimal and Deep Threat. Time to go and see if the practice at the backpager helps with the toughie.

    1. Fortunately, John we are inland today where the wind is fairly gentle at the moment. I think we’re in for it tomorrow though.

        1. I was snowed in at the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge once – When we had to leave the bar eventually we hunkered down in a half-finished barn conversion opposite. Looking at Google Maps it is now a very posh residence

  26. A faltering start, but after the first three or four answers the rest started to flow very smoothly, and ultimately found this a pretty straightforward and immensely enjoyable puzzle – early-week fare, rather than a Friday. Was surprised to be so against the grain on reading these blog comments.

    Some outstanding clues – I cannot choose between 6a, 15a and 22d as my COTD. Good surface reads by and large, plenty of humour: frazzle-free Friday fun!

    2* / 4.5*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to DT for the review.

    1. You must be the top of the Mensa bracket. I’ve noticed that you find it easier than a lot of us most days. How do you do it?

  27. I’ve got about 5 left to do which I will try and do later. As my Kindle kept going bonkers and the crossword kept disappearing I was reduced to resetting it to factory settings. So now I have lost all my photos, screenshots, bookmarks, etc.. Added to that I had to supply passwords for my 2 email accounts. Not a blinking clue what they are but I have managed to download the Telegraph app OK. How do you remember a password from some 20 years ago? Need a lie down and roll on 6 pm for a G and T. Thanks to the setter and DT – hopefully will come back later to say I finished.

    1. Can’t beat an iPad Manders. Mine has a Kindle app on it. And it delivers the right newspaper while I’m asleep and so so so much more. Not turned the desktop on in a couple of years now

      1. I’ve been looking at iPads MP but there is such a huge choice – what do recommend? My iPhone needs upgrading as it only holds its charge for a couple of hours but, again, there is such a huge choice and I don’t use it a lot and I only pay about £14 a month – a new one seems to bump it up to more like £44 a month.

        1. That’s because you are paying £30 a month for the phone Manders, presumably over 24 months. Cheaper to buy the cheapest SIM free model I find.

        2. I’ll second Miff’s comment re the iPad – they’re marvellous pieces of kit & you really don’t need one of the top notch models with all the bells & whistles on. It downloads the digital paper overnight, I can store my Spotify playlists on it & control my streamer & play music in the car plus plenty of app capacity & good for watching downloaded stuff on long flights. Get one & you’ll wonder how you managed without….

        3. I agree with Huntsman that you don’t need all the bells and whistles and what do I know as Saint Sharon has bought all of ours. She says to go for the highest spec you can afford. Ours are 8th Generation iPads. I do my Big Dave blogs entirely on my iPad from wherever I am in the country. I run Microsoft Office on it. It stores my photos, and as much music as I want. I cannot speak highly enough of this piece of kit. The Daily Telegraph arrives every day before I awaken

          1. I have an iPad and I keep getting a message my storage is full. I’ve followed all the instructions given by Apple but the memory stays almost full. I have no idea how to free loads more space so that the device works properly. It’s a real pain because I’m prevented from downloading loads of things. Because of this, I use my MacBook most of the time. Just using the iPad while on holiday and hoping the memory doesn’t fill up totally.

            1. You can go into settings and request the latest update. They don’t automatically tell you about this. You put the request in and about 3 hours later they will notify you that it’s available. That should sort it out.

                1. I am told I cannot update my iPad because it hasn’t got enough memory! I am in despair- soon my iPad will cease to work. Not impressed given the cost of iPads.

                  1. I am in the same position as you. I can’t get the latest download as I don’t have enough storage. I phoned Apple and was told to delete several apps which I did but somehow there still isn’t enough storage! I phoned Apple again and was told I needed a computer (which I don’t have) to right the problem. Am waiting for the right moment to get help with this from my children and/or their partners. Never seems to be a right moment as everyone seems to be lurching from one crisis to another!
                    As for the crossword I couldn’t fathom 50% of it, but thanks to DT and the setter.
                    I have just finished reading Child A. I wouldn’t recommend it..

                    1. At least I now know that it’s not just me, GH. I do have a computer but have no idea how to use it to free up space on my iPad.

        4. Blimey, that’s a steal! I pay $35 a month for unlimited with an obscure server that no one has ever heard of! If I go with the big boys, like AT&T, you’re into the nearly three figure charges. That’s not buying the phone, I own my own.

        5. You can get a new battery fitted to an iPhone for as little as £30 and I only pay £3-19 per month – but I’m a bloke and never use the 500 mins per month, never mind the 500 texts etc !

  28. A bit of a tough ask this morning to finish off a fine week of puzzles. Thanks to ProliXic for the entertainment and DT for the botheration of sorting it out. Play nicely over the weekend children. I’ll see you on Monday if I survive

  29. At the limits of my ability & just managed it without hints in **** time. It was very satisfying especially when I read the experts’ views.
    My COTD was 15a, clever and produced a Doh moment.
    Thank you ProXimal & DT for the review.
    Well winter has arrived up here with the Dornoch bridge closed to high-sided vehicles.
    Went to my first whisky auction this morning and got a selection of Speyside, Highland and Islay Malts at bargain prices. Some “investment” bottles went for well over £3K. Can’t see buying a chunk of glass filled with a liquid that looks like cold tea that you aren’t going to drink is an investment but apparently it is.

    1. In batting order my Islay favourites are –
      Lagavulin
      Caol Ila
      Bunnahabhain
      Bruichladdich
      Ardbeg
      Bowmore
      Mind you they’re all great though can’t say I ever quite developed an appreciation for Laphroaig. Sadly I’m only allowed to sniff the nectar nowadays.

  30. My first thought was this should not have been a back pager, but then again if we are not tested sometimes how are we to improve. Got there in the end after using far too many hints so I’ll put it down as a DNF. Thanks to all.

  31. Like others above I found this hard & needed a little help from Deep Threat. Thanks. Favourite 11d which took some putting together. Definitely not what university should be. This was equalled for a different reason by 21a. As a long retired Midwife it was good to see Flo getting an honourable mention.

  32. Ridiculous tough for a backpager! I only completed it by using letter substitution as most the clues were completely inaccessible.
    Please DT no more of these ones, save them as I have pleaded ad nauseam for the Toughie. There is no pleasure in this level of crossword for the average reader.
    ********/-infinity for pleasure.
    PS I was late in doing yesterdays puzzle so I was not able to add my compliments to Ray T for an excellent crossword.

  33. Good grief! I felt I was battling proXimal the whole way, alas, I’m a lover not a fighter so I gave up with just a few solved. My first solve was 21a, so that’s my fave. Congratulations all you chaps who solved this and enjoyed it!
    Thanks proXimal, let’s try some fun next time, and to Deep Threat for solving this for me. Roll on Saturday, meantime the sun is shining and the pool calls.oo

  34. Too difficult for me , therefore didn’t enjoy this at all . Be nice if DT could set some easier puzzles for relative beginners like me

    1. Ha! I’m not a beginner, I’ve been doing these a long time and it beat me! I think my brain is not capable, you’ll probably learn to whizz through these in no time.

    2. They almost always do Michael on Monday & Tuesday. Traditionally things have got more difficult as the week progresses. Using this site as a resource should see you progress to successfully complete the Thursday / Friday puzzles.
      I am of fairly modest ability & have been doing the backpager for over 50 years. Fridays (and the occasional Thursday) still beat me sometimes

      1. Michael, I echo LROK’s comments. Stick with the site and you will improve gradually. Monday is usually a fairly straightforward day but the occasional curve ball can appear.

        1. No! I have been doing this crossword for more than 30 years and it is definitely true that it has got more and more difficult, especially in recent years. Ha! I hear you say, my brain is deteriorating. But could it be that the editor has allowed toughies to become the norm? Please please please Mr Crossword Editor return to enjoyable crosswords on the back page.

          1. Interesting observation, Kell. I would like to know the evidence that brought you to this conclusion. Was it qualitative research or a systematic review? Citations of the relevant papers would be welcome. 🤣🤣🤣🤣😅

          2. Not so, Kell! I have been tackling the DT back-pager since 1970 and it is generally somewhat easier now than in the past, especially since the introduction of the Toughie (12 years ago?). I’d say that today’s Thurs and Fri puzzles are usually about average difficulty compared to (say) 20 – 40 years ago and Mon – Wed (especially Mon) are certainly easier – and they’ve been specifically designed to be so in latter years. I possess lots of DT crossword books from decades ago, which I return to often (some puzzles are still unfinished), and this bears out my opinion. But, I suppose, the degree of difficulty is in the individual eye of the beholder.

  35. I agree that they get more difficult as the week goes on and I expect that, but I think this is out of the realm of a backpager, there’s the toughie for those who want to tear their hair out. Today’s toughie was rated at *****, aren’t the clever clogs happy with that? As usual I’m putting my two cents in, “cockroach don’t business in fowl fight!” I’ll probably get myself banned soon.

  36. Wow! what an enjoyable puzzle. Complete spectrum of challenges for me , from the straight forward to the …….WHAT?!

  37. This was very tricky and a head scratcher. Did this in three sittings, but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy it as nearly every single clue took forever to figure out the parsing when I had a word I thought may be the right answer. 5*/2* for me today.
    Favourites sparse today but liked 12a, 15a & 21a with 12a the clear winner.
    Hope Saturday is more fun and inspires me more.
    Nothing against setter but just not my cuppa today.

    Thanks to proXimal and DT for the hints of which I needed 90% of them.
    Not a good puzzle day for me today, it would seem.

  38. For starters I missed the X-less pangram. I fared better in the south mainly due to lightbulb moments then reverse engineering them. The north was (for me) toughie standard but I got there the end. I needed the hint to parse 14a. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  39. Sadly, didn’t enjoy this at all today. It seemed to be definitely Toughie material, but that one was rated even more difficult. I don’t find much pleasure if if have to look at more than a handful of hints, and this one was off the charts. Not my cup of tea. Congrats to all who were bright enough to finish. My teenage grandson was asking me about the cryptics just yesterday. But I would hate for him, or any newbie, to have tried to tackle this as their first attempt. Anyone new to these and lurking out there, don’t despair. Some days are much more doable. I even manage to occasional Toughie. Thanks to ProXimal for the challenge, and to Deep Threat.

  40. I completely agree with Brian and Kell above. Please put the Toughie where it belongs and leave something just a little bit easier for the rest of us. I solved four clues and gave up – life’s too short. Thanks to setter and hinter.

  41. I thought this was a fantastic Friday backpager. All fairly clued, but with wonderfully well disguised definitions, and top notch surfaces. Thanks ProXimal.

  42. Have done this today having seen comments about it on today’s blog. I had a quick look yesterday which revealed nothing. We all work things out differently and have different brains. I was however left with only 26a unfinished. My best guess was Eise for wine but obviously no Italy to discard. I finished without aids. 15a is a favourite but the last in. I had thought of before F but that didn’t make a word! Other favourites 25a and 4 13 and 16d. Thanks Setter and DT.

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