DT 29861 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29861

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29861

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. Seven more sleeps before the big day, and the Grinches in Whitehall are preparing a great big package of misery for everyone. It’s probably just as well that our setter today got 1a in before such references are banned again.

Today’s crossword took me a fairly standard Friday time, with 2d one of the last in.

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.


1a           Cinders swept up by this rake? (6,8)
PRINCE CHARMING – It’s panto season (nearly) and this is a cryptic definition of someone who weds Cinders.

9a           Report showing a noble going round clubs (7)
ACCOUNT – A (from the clue) and a foreign nobleman, placed either side of the abbreviation for the club suit in a deck of cards.

10a         Many a groom wishes he was speechless (4,3)
BEST MAN – This is the man who traditionally ‘supports’ the bridegroom by giving an embarrassing speech at the wedding reception.

11a         Money remitted via the phone? (4)
CENT – A small piece of money which sounds like (via the phone) another word for ‘remitted’.

12a         Landlady maybe had to conceal electronic address? (10)
LETTERHEAD – Another word for a landlady or lessor, followed by HAD (from the clue) wrapped round the usual abbreviation for Electronic.

14a         Notice was about something found in the playground (6)
SEESAW – Another verb for ‘notice, followed by the reverse (about) of WAS (from the clue).

15a         Fresco Manchester’s exhibiting from an old American society (8)
COMANCHE – Hidden in the clue.

Learn about the history of the Comanche Indians

17a         Officers riding free within two seconds (8)
MOUNTIES – These Canadian police officers are appearing for the second Friday in a row. Another word for ‘free’ or ‘release from bonds’, placed between an informal word for a second and an abbreviation for Second.

18a         Blasted bugle — a thing known for its delicacy? (6)
BELUGA – Anagram (blasted) of BUGLE A.

Acipenser Huso, or Beluga sturgeon. Date: 1862 (Print #14227612)

21a         Part of house daughter, newly-wed, will hide in twice (6,4)
DINING ROOM – An abbreviation for Daughter and a newly-wed man, placed either side of two instances of IN (from the clue).

22a         This hotel accommodating Charlie and Oscar’s parrot? (4)
ECHO – All four letters of the answer are represented by the words used in the NATO alphabet. ‘This’ is the answer itself. ‘This’ and Hotel are placed either side of Charlie, and Oscar brings up the rear.

24a         Covers hid less when rearranged (7)
SHIELDS – Anagram (when arranged) of HID LESS.

25a         Flashy entertaining knight gets decoration (7)
GARNISH – The chess notation for a knight is inserted into another word for ‘flashy’ or ‘gaudy’.

26a         Hide blade, embracing with spy (5,3,6)
CLOAK AND DAGGER – Here we have another word for ‘hide’ or ‘conceal’, another word for ‘with’ and a short-bladed weapon, producing the traditional image of a spy.


1d           Busted open (lead-free) car’s struts (7)
PRANCES – Anagram (busted) of (o)PEN (lead-free – having the leading letter removed) and CAR’S.

2d           Minor ordered to accompany in swindle (15)
INCONSEQUENTIAL – Put together IN (from the clue), another word for ‘swindle’, and another word for ‘ordered’ or ‘listed in order’.

3d           Ace driver? (4)
CLUB – I think this is a double definition, the first being one of the four aces in a pack of cards, the second being a golf implement.

4d           Something to eat, sweet, when eating left tons (6)
CUTLET – Another word for ‘sweet’ (perhaps applied to a small child) wrapped round Left, with Tons added at the back.

5d           Design sort of mini boat (8)
AMBITION – Anagram (sort of) of MINI BOAT.

6d           Walked all over in fog looking hot, had a bite inside (10)
MISTREATED – Another word for ‘fog’, followed by the colour you may go when you’re hot wrapped round another word for ‘had a bite’.

7d           Calculating anaesthetic needed with crisis in middle of night (6-9)
NUMBER-CRUNCHING – Put together crosswordland’s favourite synonym for ‘anaesthetic’, another word for a crisis (when it comes to the ——), IN (form the clue) and the middle letter of niGht.

8d           Nervous individual going to Germany, for instance getting a lift (2,4)
ON EDGE – Split the answer (3,1,2) and you have another word for an individual, the IVR code for Germany, and the reverse (getting a lift) of a Latin abbreviation for ‘for instance’.

13d         Rise of long-tail gnats aerially covering part of Britain (4,6)
EAST ANGLIA – Hidden in reverse (Rise … covering) in the clue.

16d         Bear sank at sea somewhere in America (8)
NEBRASKA – Anagram (at sea) of BEAR SANK.

17d         Humble in more than one way (6)
MODEST – Another word for a way of doing something, followed by an abbreviation for something which is a way or road.

19d         One more adult — him, apparently! (7)
ANOTHER – An abbreviation for Adult, followed by a phrase (3,3) which may indicate ‘him’ by excluding an alternative.

20d         Registered, determined to follow Liberal Democrat out (6)
LOGGED – Start with an abbreviation for Liberal, then add a word for ‘determined’ or ‘persistent’ minus one of its instances of an abbreviation for Democrat.

23d         Motorists circling about neighbourhood (4)
AREA – One of the motoring organisations wrapped round the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’.

The Quick Crossword pun EYE + KNEAD + EWE = I NEED YOU

107 comments on “DT 29861

  1. Very enjoyable end to the working week, light and breezy, great fun from start to finish.
    My page is littered with metaphorical ticks but I’ll highlight 5,7,8,13&19d as podium contenders
    Many thanks to the setter (going for Zandio) and DT for the top notch entertainment.

  2. Another quite tough proposition and I agree with Deep Threat’s rating. With thanks to him for the hints which I needed to fully understand the answers to 6 and 19d. I thought 10a amusing and my last one in was 12a which I thought COTD. Thanks to the setter.

  3. Tremendously enjoyable end-of-week backpager, the best of this week’s bunch. Pretty straightforward for a Friday, with smooth surfaces, polished composition and plenty of humour. LOI 6d owing to the excellent red herring. Biffed 1d, so thank you DT for the review and parsing – the anagram was invisible to me until now.

    I could have given Hon Mentions to most of the clues but will limit to 1a, 10a, 12a, 17a, 2d and 13d (the other lurker was a bit special too), with COTD to 19d, which raised a chortle of delight when the penny dropped.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to the Setter, and to DT

  4. Came here because the Elgar Toughie drove me away. He is for aficionados only.
    A pretty straightforward puzzle with my COTD being the very clever “rekrul “ that is 13d

    1. I didn’t notice it was a lurker util I saw your post, JB. The answer just “leapt out at me”.

  5. I found this quite tough but it is Friday so fair’s fair. It took me a long time to break into it but I made steady progress once I had. This was helped by getting 1a quite early on. Plenty to like provided the head could stand the scratching and my COTD is 17a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to DT for the hints.

  6. A thoroughly enjoyable and accessible puzzle for a Friday that certainly felt like the work of Zandio. It was one of those crosswords where I put in the answers then reverse-engineered the parsing. I thought the reverse lurker at 13d was outstanding, and that became my favourite.

    Thanks to Zandio for the challenge, and to DT.

  7. Tough is rhe word and not particularly enjoyable, (4*/*). Least said soonest mended about a puzzle that was just not my cup of tea. Thanks to DT for the hints. They were much needed as there were 8 bung-ins where my parsing was uncertain. Thanks to the compiler for his efforts.

  8. Very enjoyable. I thought 22a was a bit devious. 19d gets my vote.

    Thanks to today’s setter and DT.

  9. A nice puzzle with 4 good long ‘uns to get stuck into. 2d was my pick of them & possibly COTD. Both 13d&15a neat lurkers but the latter edges it with the better surface read in my view. 17a another tick on my page. A couple of head scratches extended the solve to an enjoyable 2.5* time.
    Thanks to the setter (Zandio seems a fair punt to me also) & to DT
    Ps The Picaroon puzzle in the Graun is excellent & well worth a gander.

  10. Only 22 across gave me any trouble today. Not the answer but the parsing. Ah well move on. Life’s too short. Thanks to DT for untangling it. Is the character at 1 across a rake? Who knew? And why so? Thanks to Zandio (possibly) for the puzzle. The reversed included word answer at 13 down is on a par with that by DJango that I can’t remember now

    1. May have been this one MP, it’s certainly a cracker!

      In retirement some days I ‘ad a spoonful — it’s said to help after a fall (4-1-5)

    2. I think 1a loosely uses rake in the sense of a bit of a charmer. Not entirely sure about that but it was the only connection I could come up with.

      1. I think so too. The one in the pantomime is not a rake. However, the term can be used in a derogatory way.

        1. Sorry I put this in without reading all of the other comments!. I’m on Jose’s side on this occasion.

    3. Oh dear, MP, you’ve committed the cardinal sin of posing not one but 3 questions about 1a! I’m duty-bound to respond, obviously. I suspect the setter has used “rake” (probably a little strong) because it fits the general theme of the clue perfectly. I’m not sure the original character was a true rake, but the term Prince Charming has latterly sometimes been used to describe a “ladies man” or possibly a “bit of a rake”. Don’t disagree or we’ll be at it for ruddy hours! :-)

      1. cardinal sin
        (in Christian tradition) any of the seven deadly sins.

        And which of the seven deadly sins did I commit?

          1. Pride – Occasionally when I feel I deserve it
            Greed – Rarely
            Wrath – I’m not perfect you know
            Envy – Never
            Lust – All the time. Saint Sharon is so beautiful
            Sloth – Extremely rarely

            1. Their initials spell a made-up word ‘slapage’ that sounds like a sin I’m itself:


              Don’t thank me. Thank our chivalrous chum, Sir L.

        1. Are you referring to MP’s question about which deadly sin Jose was alluding to when saying ‘cardinal sin’?

          If so, Jose was clearly being figurative which I’m sure MP knew. The latter was just having some friendly bants. Well, I hope he was…

          Apologies, if you were referring to another question.

      2. Maybe I was right (perish the thought) with my modern usage theory about the term Prince Charming, a comic book character. Here, he is certainly a rake:

        Modern Usage.
        Prince Charming is a prominent character in the Fables comic book (2002–2015). Polygamy is explored again: in that version, he successively married Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella with each marriage ending in divorce due to his compulsive womanizing. He himself comments: “I always truly love a woman when I first pursue her…I’m just no good at the happily-ever-after part.” He parlays his charm into election as the mayor of Fabletown, the underground “Fable” community, and finds the job more difficult than he had anticipated. He died in the Battle for the Homelands by activating a bomb to End the War

  11. 2.5*/3.5*. This was an enjoyable solve and the usual smattering of strange surfaces led me to the conclusion that this is a Zandio puzzle.

    I couldn’t see where the E came from in 22a, so thanks to DT for the explanation, and I am not totally convinced by 3d.

    19d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to DT.

    1. There are two parts to a clue, the parsing and the surface, both of which a compiler hopes to nail.

      For the last month or so, quite a few people have commented that Zandio’s surfaces are not good, a reputation that I’m sure he/she wouldn’t want.

      RD has said today ‘the usual strange surfaces’ which would crush me if I was a compiler. Can’t people just say ‘a couple of surfaces didn’t quite do it for me today’ as a compiler will get the message.

      Someone said a couple of weeks ago (I forget who) ‘’Zandio’s scant regard for surfaces saddens me’’ – a truly bizarre verb to use. It’s only a crossword!

      A couple of regular solvers used to lay in to The Don on a regular basis but have now, thankfully, seen the light.

      Positive reputations like Ray T’s brevity or Silvanus’ silky smooth surfaces are fine but can’t we bin the negative ones as it will discourage people from becoming a setter?

      I certainly wouldn’t throw my hat into the ring!

      (the point still applies even if today’s isn’t Zandio’s)

      1. I agree wholeheartedly, I think it’s the frustration of not being able to complete certain compilers puzzles or fully parse a clue that leads to these comments. I usually find RayT’s offerings a complete mystery but that’s my failing not his.

        1. Whether you regret your actions or not doesn’t concern me one iota.

          All I care about is that you have got off The Don’s case as has the other solver who has stopped commenting on his creations.

          Works for me.

      2. I agree, as long as we don’t lapse into sycophancy.
        I call a spade a spade, if Giovanni’s crosswords are good, I say so, in the same way that yesterday’s was rotten.

        1. That is perfectly okay HYD and is my point.

          By all means have a pop at a specific crossword but not at a compiler’s style or approach, week in week out.

          These absolute legends can take a few punches but not a constant pounding.

          Put yourself in, say, Zandio’s shoes. Every other Thursday, he/she jumps on to the blog to read people’s constructive comments but, at the same time, hides behind a cushion, waiting for the wrecking balls from the usual suspects.

          You can see how he/she feels with their post today.

          1. Well said, G273! There’s one or two regulars on here who need confronting, enlightening and/or knocking down a peg or two (politely of course). Keep up the good work.

  12. A bright end to the week,started in the NW corner as usual and 1a was my favourite for its top class surface.
    A wide variety of cluing, last in was 20d which took a while to parse, 10a was my D’ oh moment and a elicited a smile, not sure about 22a, a tad clumsy in my opinion.
    Going for a ***/****

  13. An enjoyable end to the (non-)work week of cruciverbalism – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 17a, 26a, 2d, and 13d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  14. It’s invariably the clues this setter chooses to add a ‘?’ to that don’t gel with me and today was no exception. Not to worry, just have to accept the fact and move on! However, I very much doubt that 1a was considered to be a rake………
    10a amused the most although it didn’t seem to be particularly cryptic.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review.

  15. Enjoyable throughout.
    Very satisfying to finish, unaided, in just ** time.
    Loved 12a, one of many clever clues.
    And a certain lurker eluded me for a little longer than I liked.
    Last in 4d, must commit to memory a certain synonym.
    Many thanks to the setter and to DT

  16. I am in accord with Chris (above). I found this rather tricky.

    We were at Stamford Bridge last night to witness another lacklustre performance from ‘my’ Chelsea. The highlight was a splendidly taken goal by Mason Mount. The journey home was not improved by the decision of somebody to shut off all but one lane of the A4 section leading to the start of the M4, for roadworks, on a night when thousands were heading westwards and homeward after the football. The hot chocolate and crumpets we had when we got home were well earned.

    Thanks to the setter and the splendid DT.

  17. I had no great difficulty filling today’s grid, but a couple of the parsings took me into *** time. 22a in particular, I thiught was a bit much.

    Nevertheless, fun times were had by all, thanks to the setter and DT.

  18. I wondered whether the fourth word of the Quickie was meant to be included in the pun to make it a plea for heightened passion? :D

    1. Gazza, I don’t get the Quickie relayed to me so can you please tell me what the 4th word is – sounds rather amusing. Cheers.

    2. Reminds me of the old Indian restaurant joke. Try a Chicken Tarka. The same as a Chicken Tikka but a little otter

  19. A bit tough but doable and eminently enjoyable. 1d was my breakthrough solve, opening the way for 1a (we don’t have pantos over here, alas, so I went back to Massenet’s Cendrillon), and the heavens just opened up after that. The entire bottom preceded all that, however. Ticks everywhere, with kudos to the 4 long ones and the rekrul, with COTD to 12a, my LOI. Finished this week’s best puzzle with a great deal of satisfaction last night after giving up on the Elgar. Thanks to DT and today’s setter (does feel like Zandio, doesn’t it?). *** / *****

    Boosted and flu-jabbed yesterday…both arms sore this morning, but small price to pay.

  20. I found this straightforward for Friday. Just over ** difficulty with **** enjoyment.
    22a was a bung-in but DT’s explanation made everything clear & it gets my COTD. Like Jane was amused by 10a.
    Thanks to setter and DT for the review.
    Lovely windless sunny day here so looking forward to the afternoon walk on the beach.

  21. Great puzzle, what a relief after yesterdays struggles (I used to love Giovannis puzzles but he’s def gone a bit odd).
    Some great clues today but my favs were 20d and my COTD 1a. Did think that 15a was a little stretched but hey ho!
    Thx to all.

  22. An enjoyable exercise. **/*** I often have trouble with Zandio’s puzzles so this one was quite a surprise. Favourite 2d. Nicely put together. Thanks to all.

  23. Concur with the notes of delight. 10a for me is cotd because, notwithstanding it’s just a penny-dropping clue, the accuracy of the answer is in the finest tradition of wit. Ta very, setter.

  24. This puzzle was more like it. After yesterday’s horror show, this was a challenging yet eminently do-able puzzle that left one with some self satisfaction and self respect. My rating 2*/4*
    Some great clues in this one with favourites being 1a, 14a, 1d, 2d, 7d & 13d with my winner having to be 13d as that is where we lived for a good part of my childhood yonks ago … well 1963-69 before emigrating to Canada.
    1a hit me right away, so I felt this was going to be a good puzzle solving day … and it was.

    Thanks to setter and DT for blog and hints

  25. Hello, compiler here. Thanks for the analysis and discussion. Regarding Gordong273’s point: I think the main reason why compilers don’t say hello is not so much the criticism, as the repetition of the criticism. If you don’t like a compiler’s style, you won’t like it every week. Not wishing to equate crossword compilers with other creators, but a novelist or a film-maker or a singer may get reviewed once a year. Crossword compilers get reviewed every week (or fortnight). So it can become repetitive. If that’s a problem, I don’t know what the answer is, as it’s obviously the solver’s right to say what they want. In my case, I greatly appreciate that most comments about my Friday puzzles tend to be positive, which is very nice. But if Chris Lancaster were to move me to another day, I might think about becoming even more anonymous than the setter’s pseudonym allows me to be — though I hope I wouldn’t take that option. Have a good weekend and a happy Christmas.

    1. Hello Zandio. Well, I like your puzzles and setting style, so keep up the good work and Merry Christmas. Personally, since they’re Friday puzzles, I’d be happy if you ratcheted the difficulty up a notch or two.

    2. Thank you Zandio, I enjoy both yours and every other setters crosswords.. Some are more difficult than others, but all give so much enjoyment and satisfaction. I think possibly criticisms is too hard a word and just take them as comments.
      A Merry Christmas to all you regular bloggers whose comments I enjoy daily.

    3. You crack on Zandio as I love your creations, though I’m desperate to know how you arrived at your pseudonym!

      I ain’t holding my breath…

    4. Well I like your puzzles too because they usually stretch me quite a bit so its a BIG thank you from me!

    5. Thanks for popping by and another superb offering today Zandio. You’re one of the setters whose puzzles I always look forward to (in fact we have a terrific trio on Fridays) but we all have different things that float our “cruciverbal boats” I guess.
      Happy Christmas to you too.

    6. I look forward to your puzzles, Zandio, and as a relative newcomer to the blog and trying to identify compilers (I’m close to finishing my second year here), I’ve come to appreciate different styles for different ‘compiles’. Thanks to joining us and Merry Christmas to you.

    7. Your puzzles flummox me, Zandio but are all the more the enjoyable for it when I solve them. Keep right on the way you are please, sir. :good:

    8. I usually find your puzzles challenging but – hey – that’s a good thing for my ageing brain and hopefully keeps it going! Keep up the good work.

    9. The crossword is an important part of my day, but thank goodness I have many other interests and loves so I don’t waste energy in over analysis. I am just so happy that all you clever setters produce entertainment day after day, and since I found Big Dave and his gnomes I am able to understand the whys and wherefores. Onwards and upwards!

  26. A nice Friday puzzle from (I am told) Zandio. Mostly fine clues of average-ish difficulty providing a pleasing solve. Best 2 for me, 1d and 13d. 3*, 3.5*.

  27. A strange puzzle for me, some answers leapt off the page, 2,7 and 16d, I then had to justify the answers. One of the few I’ve completed unaided recently, found it very enjoyable (obviously 😊) because of that. Thanks to all.

  28. Another good brain teaser for me today which I finished unaided and enjoyed the tussle. To my enormous embarrassment I am not the proud spotter of a Water Rail in my garden. I managed quite a good picture today and sent it to a seriously world renowned bird expert in the village. I didn’t mention the Water Rail but asked him if it was a Moorhen and if it was why did it not have a red beak? Because dear Manders, its a young one that actually lives the other side of the lane at a neighbours, but he’s away and you (me) are a better option at the moment! Oh the shame of it, so apologies for misleading everyone.

    1. Really proud of you for being so honest, Manders, we all make honest mistakes – me more than most!

    2. No need to apologise, Manders. As you know, I occasionally ask our friends on here to identify a bird I have seen on the feeder after I discovered I was calling a Dunnock a Sparrow for years. :grin:

        1. Easiest from their jazz, Daisygirl. Dunnock skulk about on the ground. Sparrows flock and speed most of their time in bushes, trees.

    3. We used to have several moorhens on our canals here, I loved them, but they’ve not been seen for some years. I blame the rotten iguanas, an invasive species and huge, for eating the eggs. We were having a preprandial libation here in the sitooterie one evening and my guests spotted an iguana in here, just a baby, must have been brought in by that darned cat.

        1. They aren’t native, all are the result of “pet” iguanas being released into our environment when they can’t be bothered to take care of them. They grow to be up to four or five feet. Not as bad as the pythons now inhabiting the Everglades, they’ve captured some as long as 18 feet.

    4. I have answered a couple of you Water Rail entries – I have spent a lifetime struggling to identify birds all over the world so please remain 17d and definitely no apology needed

  29. I really like your puzzles Zandio e.g. 19d is a tremendous clue as is 10a. I still don’t understand where the e comes from in 22a but thank you DT for trying to explain!

  30. Yes an enjoyable end to a week full of good crosswords 😃 ***/*** Favourites 1 & 14a and 13d Thanks to DT and to Zandio 🤗 I must admit to on some days enjoying the comments contained in the blog nearly as much as solving the puzzle 😳 I feel for you Manders the bird identification world is full of traps for the unwary 🤔 I once identified an albino Reed Bunting as a Snow Bunting, I was not very popular for some time as quite a few of my “friends” rushed off to see it 😟

  31. Two DNFs in a row. Form is temporary but class is permanent they say. Well I ‘m not sure I have either. Let’s just hope Joe Root is not so inflicted by self-doubt.

    Can’t blame the setter, what I didn’t get was quite gettable. And 22a was a little gem once DT gave the parse.

  32. I enjoyed this. Any problems were of my own doing and not caused by Zandio. I expected 17a to begin and end with an ess and forgot the Canadian Policeman. Thanks to DT for explaining a few not least of which was the E in 22a.
    As Mama Bee is one of the folks from Shields she would want me to put 24a on a pedestal but as 16d is my soundtrack today I would like to pick the Springsteenesque. 16d for myself – It is not the most cheerful collection of songs but I am feeling a bit blue about a Parking Ticket Grrr…

    Both my Podiums are anagrams so I will add the clever 13d too I didn’t see the reverse until after bunging it in. It is up there with Ooops a Daisy

    Thanks to Zandio and DT

  33. I thought this was going to be another Toughie, it took forever to get on wavelength, but when I did I wondered why I’d made such heavy work of it. I did need some e-help and a quick peek for help from DT in the NE to get going again. I had a wrong answer at 6d that threw me off. C’mon, it is Friday after all, we expect it to be a bit trickier. The recent appearance of 17a was a huge help. My fave was the upside down lurker at 13d, clever that.
    Thanks Zandio, I’m not sure but I think this was my first completion of your offerings, maybe I’m getting better. Thanks also to Deep Threat for unravelling quite a few for me.

  34. Late today for various inconsequential reasons, most testing has been the search for an Angel for our Crib Service which this year is going to be HELD OUTSIDE. Yes I know I am shouting but how this is going to work I have no idea and it is giving me sleepless nights. The church is always packed for this, I am sidesman in charge and it is always a challenge. Does anyone know what the weather is going to do on 24th? Nightmare scenario. Anyway, enough. Great crossword, I love 13d both the clue and living here, 17a,26a and 27d. Thanks as usual to Messrs Setter & Hinter.

  35. Late getting to this as usual on a Friday and pleasantly surprised to find I was right on wavelength. A relief after yesterday. 1a just had to be, although I can’t say he would have qualified as a “rake”. Almost passed the finishing post on my own, but just couldn’t fathom 17a or 13d until I read the hints. Thanks to Zandio for a much enjoyed puzzle, and to Deep Threat for those two much needed hints.

  36. Must have been that my mind was elsewhere as I had a host of Christmassy things to which to attend and I simply could not begin to get to grips with this so I chickened out and threw in the towel but have just enjoyed a quick read through the hints and comments. TVM anyway Zandio particularly for coming into the open thanks also to DT for being there for us.

  37. Really enjoyed this one. Needed your help to understand 20d and 22a, but a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I can’t usually solve the Friday crossword, so I must be on the setter’s wavelength this week.

  38. Looked at this last night. Only 1a sprang to mind immediately. Looked again this morning and all wrote themselves in apart from 12a which was the last in but a goodie. Thanks Zandio. Other thanks due to DT. Got 22a but not the parsing. I missed the relevance of the E which was hiding in plain sight. 7 and 19d also get an honourable mention.

  39. 3*/4*…
    liked 13D ” Rise of long-tail gnats aerially covering part of Britain (4,6) “….one of my last ones in-so well hidden !

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