DT 29867 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29867

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29867

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


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Good morning from South Staffs on a foggy Christmas Eve. Best wishes to all those who form part of the Big Dave community, especially the many thousands of people who look at this site every day but don’t post a comment. It would be nice to hear from some of you.

I found today’s puzzle reasonably straightforward, and had the grid filled in ** time. The only real hold-up was in parsing 9d (though the answer was obvious).

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           Detective emerging from helicopter with our suspect (7,6)
HERCULE POIROT – This fictional detective is an anagram (suspect) of HELICOPTER and OUR.

10a         Trial engulfs European politician in storm (7)
TEMPEST – The sort of trial that the England cricket team is failing in Australia, wrapped round an abbreviation for European and the usual politician.

11a         Student requiring support to install shower (7)
TRAINEE – A support for a golf ball at the start of a hole, wrapped round what you get from a shower.

12a         Detected by auditors, hiding-place for money (4)
CASH – The answer sounds like (detected by auditors) a hiding-place.

13a         Spirit voice (5)
TENOR – Double definition: the spirit or general trend of some remarks; or a choral voice.

14a         TV show that gets one into a lather? (4)
SOAP – Cryptic definition of the sort of TV serial originally sponsored in the US by makers of a product which produces a lather.

17a         Cricket teams in prime fitness at last (7)
ELEVENS – A prime number followed by the last letter of fitnesS.

18a         Fifty tucking into hot Christmas food (7)
STOLLEN – ‘Hot’ here is slang for something which had not been acquired legitimately. Wrap that word round the Roman numeral for fifty, to get a German cake popular at Christmas.

Stollen - Patisserie Makes Perfect

19a         Club perhaps provided source of financial capital (7)
CARDIFF – Put together something which may be a club (or a heart or spade…), the conjunction meaning ‘provided’, and the first letter (source) of Financial, to get the capital of one of the parts of the UK.

22a         Exhibition of setter’s skills displayed here? (3,4)
DOG SHOW – Cryptic definition of something where a setter (but not a crossword compiler) may appear.

24a         A little optional something in addition (4)
ALSO – Hidden in the clue.

25a         Single redundant worker being released (5)
UNWED – Start with a word for ‘redundant’ or ‘not needed’, then remove one of the usual crossword worker insects to get the answer.

26a         Herb swallowed finally with difficulty (4)
DILL – The final letter of swalloweD followed by a difficulty or disease.

Dill Plant Pods | Click & Grow

29a         Energy needed by snooker player possibly in decline (2,2,3)
GO TO POT – The first word is another term for ‘energy’, the second and third what a snooker player aims to do, so the whole phrase could be read as the energy needed to do that, but actually means to fail or decline.

30a         Mum loves employing rag mop regularly as cleaner (7)
SHAMPOO – An instruction to keep mum, and two instances of the letter which looks like a love score at tennis, placed either side of alternate letters (regularly) of rAg MoP.

31a         State running Austrian school, having sacked Head (5,8)
SOUTH CAROLINA – This US state is an anagram (running) of AUSTRIAN (s)CHOOL, after removing the first letter of ‘school’ (having sacked head).


2d           Graduates seen cavorting outside, all together (2,5)
EN MASSE – Anagram (cavorting) of SEEN wrapped round the letters found after the name of a senior Arts graduate plus the S because there are more than one of them.

3d           Boasted in company (4)
CREW – Double definition, the first being a verb for the sort of boasting a cockerel might indulge in.

4d           Young son scatters rubbish untidily about (7)
LITTERS – A collective noun for the young of an animal, followed by the abbreviation for Son.

5d           Customers of SPAR not fickle (7)
PATRONS – Anagram (fickle) of SPAR NOT.

6d           Country, near ruin at intervals, that’s on the rise (4)
IRAN – Alternate letters (at intervals) read in reverse (on the rise) of NeAr RuIn.

7d           Confess on purpose action proving personally disadvantageous (3,4)
OWN GOAL – The first word is another word for ‘confess’ or ‘admit’, the second another word for ‘purpose’ or ‘aim’.

8d           Standard conversation in market with traders (5,8)
STOCK EXCHANGE – Another word for ‘standard’ or ‘routine’, followed by another word for ‘conversation’.

9d           Sound almost excited feeding small, sad-looking tree (7,6)
WEEPING WILLOW – A three-letter word for ‘small’ and a three-letter word for ‘sad-looking’ form the two ends of the answer. Inside there is a four-letter word used these days for the sound you don’t want to hear from Test and Trace, and the first three letters (almost) of a four-letter word for ‘excited’.

15d         One granting wishes of a German, say, to go north (5)
GENIE – Put together the German for ‘a’ and the Latin abbreviation for ‘say’ or ‘for example’, then reverse (go north) the result to get the grantor of wishes who emerges when Aladdin rubs his lamp.

16d         Not entirely neglect fashion (5)
FORGE – Remove the final letter (not entirely) from a word for ‘neglect’ or ‘overlook’, to get a verb for ‘fashion’.

20d         Dish, excessive starter of olives, gentleman served up (7)
RISOTTO – A three-letter acronym for ‘excessive’, the first letter (starter) of Olives, and the form of address for a gentleman. Then reverse the result (served up).

Classic Spinach Risotto Recipe (VIDEO) | COOKTORIA

21d         Zealot is in fact a criminal (7)
FANATIC – Anagram (criminal) of IN FACT A.

22d         Article of furniture, one found backstage in theatre (7)
DRESSER – Double definition, the second being someone who looks after one of the stars in a theatrical cast.

23d         Reportedly Berlin chap’s address has identity code that secures locks (7)
HAIRPIN – A homophone (reportedly) of the way you would address a man in German, followed by the sort of identity code that goes with your credit card.

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27d         Quarrel that’s quick blows over (4)
SPAT – Another word for quick, light, blows is reversed (over) to get the answer.

28d         High time Rosalind essentially left (4)
TALL – Put together an abbreviation for Time, the central letters of RosALind, and the abbreviation for Left.

The Quick Crossword pun MINT + SPIES = MINCE PIES

133 comments on “DT 29867

  1. Very enjoyable indeed, right up my street in fact. Three superb puzzle on the bounce with this possibly being the best of the bunch.
    Who’d have thought that 3d was the past tense of crow (not me) but got it from the the other definition and checkers and that was my only problem other than taking a little while to see how 25a&9d worked.
    12,19&25a plus 2&7d were my highlights.
    Many thanks to the setter, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t Silvanus, and DT and a happy Christmas Eve to all.

    With a nod to 12a here’s the man himself covering a great Springsteen song.

    1. We have had that past tense of ‘crow’ before and, if memory serves correctly, there was some lively discussion about its validity.

      1. My daughter and I have always used what we thought was a made up word for the past tense of “snow”. We say “it snew yesterday”. It was in the paper recently that “snew” is an old word for the past tense of to snow.

      2. Hi Senf,

        The BRB seems to accept both “crew” and “crowed” as equally valid options for the past tense of “crow”. Merry Christmas to you in Winnipeg.

        1. For no logical reason that I can divine, I would use “crew” when referring to a cockerel and “crowed” to mean that someone had been boastful. In practice I feel sure they are interchangeable.

          Merry Christmas, Silvanus, and thank you for all your wonderful puzzles.

          1. Perhaps you went to Sunday School when I did c70 years ago when we were taught (in the King James Version) that the cock crew twice re Peter’s denial etc

          2. Never thought about it, but I think that’s what I would say. Because of the biblical reference, the “cock crowed” sounds wrong.

  2. Another festive DNF from me. I had guessed 25a, but was so far from parsing it that I didn’t even bung it in; 16d was the other fence that I failed to clear.

    A very Merry Christmas to all cruciverbalists everywhere.

    1. We must be on the same wavelength. These were also my last two in, although I did manage to parse 16D. The parsing of 9D was beyond me. Thanks to Deep Threat for the explanation.
      I really fancy a piece of 18A now!

  3. I enjoyed this one. My only quibble was with 31a; sacked head could have referred to either of the two words in the anagram fodder.

    Many thanks and Merry Christmas to all.

      1. No need to apologise :)

        My query was why “having sacked Head” refers to the second word. Normally I would expect the (A)(ustrian) to be missing, as it is the first letter (Head) of the anagram fodder, unless there is an implied link between Head and School.

        Just asking……

        Happy Christmas!

        1. I agree with you Jezza. I think the comma is unnecessary and what causes the conflict! As you say though, a small quibble! Merry Christmas x

  4. What a lovely way to start a cheerful Christmas Eve. A terrific puzzle full of some great misdirection and guile. I particularly liked 25a once I had parsed it successfully. It wouldn’t be a festive crossword without some 18a.

    Many thanks to our setter for the fun, and to DT. The Toughie is very enjoyable too. Merry Christmas to all, and see you on the other side…….

  5. So, Zandio Last Friday, neither of proXimal’s ‘trademark’ uses, or not, of ‘X’, unless CL has used a Joker in the pack, that means this is a Silvanus production – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 29a, 8d, 15d, and 22d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT and Happy Christmas to all.

  6. Bright start for Christmas and a pleasure to solve, thanks to our setter and DT’Going for a ***/****
    Last in was 25a,wanted to remove ant from redundant, as in the clue, but this left 6 not 5 letters to play with,arrived at the defination -thanks DT for the explanation!
    Favourite was 15d, nearly put ball for the high time in 28a until the dreaded penny dropped.
    Remembered 18a ,the german bias to the puzzls helped.

    1. Thank you, what about the Quick Pun? Doesn’t 13a remind you of A Christmas Carol and 15d of Aladdin? Oh well.

  7. Most impressed by our setter’s ability to turn 1a into an anagram whilst keeping a good surface read, the mark of real talent.
    I had a few parsing hiccoughs – 13&25a plus 9d but eventually sorted those out and greatly enjoyed the solve.
    From a very long list of candidates, 8&15d claimed the Christmas stars here.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for this and all his other puzzles during the year and thanks to DT for the words and music. Very best of festive wishes to both of you, not forgetting ‘Even deeper Threat’ as well!
    PS I’m sure it doesn’t bother some and I do understand that BD has more than enough on his plate, but I do miss having the Christmas snow falling on the blog……..

  8. A little gentle for a Friday I though but entertaining, in fact the best of the week for me.
    Like Senf my COTD was 8d.
    Thank you to setter & DT. Merry Christmas and a Happy safe New Year to BD, all reviewers and everyone who helps make this site what it is.

  9. As one who logs in every day, huge thanks for all the fun, tips and enjoyment we share…. greatly appreciated.

    Warmest season’s greetings .

  10. A very friendly puzzle with some nice anagrams at 1a ansd 31a andd agreat geographical clue at 18a. I thought it was very enjoyable (2.5*/4*). Many thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone and to Kath a apecial mesage for Good Health and good Hope in 2022.

  11. A really enjoyable solve, but needed my better half to get 18A.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to DT for the hints and pictures.

    Went carol singing last night so now really in the Christmas mood. Best wishes to everyone.

  12. Despite a massive backlog of undone crosswords, I decided to have a go at today’s puzzle in order to access the blog on the actual day and wish everyone a very happy Christmas.
    Thanks to all the team of bloggers and to BD for their continued and well needed services to the crossword community.
    Best wishes to all.

    1. Hi J-L. We were just commenting very recently that we had missed your contributions. Good to have you back with us!

    2. How nice to hear from you again, JL, your contributions have been sorely missed. I do hope that business is booming but also that you get plenty of opportunity to spend time with your daughter over the festive season.
      Love and best wishes from all the ‘gang’ – take good care of yourself.

      1. Hi Jane,
        It’s been a very busy year and we are taking a bit of a break until mid January. Charlie is down from Paris for Xmas.
        Have a lovely time with your family too.
        Lots of love.

    3. It is so delightful to see you back, Jean-Luc, it’s been too long! Have a very Happy Christmas.

  13. A wonderful puzzle although I will admit to needing the hints for a couple. A pity there wasn’t a more Christmassy feel to it but it was slightly easier for a Friday so maybe that was our present. No real favourites, just a most enjoyable solve.

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

    Mrs. C and I wish everyone on this wonderful blog, whether you comment or not, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year.

  14. Yes, ’tis me! Many thanks to DT for his Hints and Tips today and for all his explanations of my clues throughout the year, and many thanks also to everyone for their comments, both today and for my other back-page puzzles and Toughies during 2021. All are read with interest and are greatly appreciated.

    Last night I finished reading “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case” which brought to and end my quest to read all the 1a stories. This year is the centenary of his first appearance in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and I thought it only fitting to include him as a solution in a puzzle of mine before 2021 ends.

    I also hope Robert C will like 31a, I dedicate the clue to him as a thank you for all his erudite contributions and unfailingly generous comments.

    Finally, I’ll leave you with a piece of seasonal music by the genius that is John Williams, who will celebrate his ninetieth birthday in a few weeks time, coincidentally a fortnight before another genius (Roger Squires, a.k.a. Rufus) reaches the same milestone. A very Merry Christmas to you all and I hope to see you again early in 2022.

    1. Thanks for another great puzzle Silvanus, and all your others, enjoyed every one. You will no doubt have made Robert’s day too.
      Happy Christmas 🎄

    2. So nice of you to pop in as usual, Silvanus, and what a beautiful piece of music from John Williams to round off a year of exceptional puzzles from you. My wish is that we will get to see much more of your work in 2022.
      Thank you for being such a ‘hands-on’ setter, it’s very much appreciated.

    3. Thank you, Silvanus, from The Palmetto State, 31a. How kind of you to dedicate that clue to me and how flattering of you to say such nice things about this old octogenarian ex-professor. I love your puzzles, and this one just soared for me.

  15. 2*/5*. What a delightful puzzle to finish the week and get us all in the right mood for Christmas.

    I enjoyed the mini-tussle to sort out the parsing for 9d. My podium comprises 1a, 19a & 8d.

    Many thanks presumably to Silvanus and to DT.

    Merry Christmas and warmest wishes to all the setters, bloggers and commenters, and particularly to BD for providing us with this wonderful site.

  16. Can’t believe 1a was my last but one to go in but that was certainly due to the clever wording of the clue and my slowness in the uptake for 3d although I do doubt its validity. Prime synonym in 17a is a bit weak. Fav was 9d for which I enjoyed the musical hint (perhaps rather than using rhyming slang equivalent!). Think 27d clue might have been more friendly with light instead of quick. 🎄🎄Thank you to Silvanus and DT and indeed thanks to all the DT setters and BG hinters for continuing to enhance our cruciverbal fun. Happy Christmas everyone 🎄.

    1. Apologies for saying “BG setters” – I of course meant BD setters. More importantly I am so sorry to see you have had a fall BD and I just want to send you very best wishes for a speedy recovery and to send you and your family warmest Christmas greetings.

  17. Very enjoyable. Was held up parsing 21a, D’oh ! Love 1a. Thanks to Silvanus and DT, Seasons Greetings to all.

  18. A pleasing challenge for a Friday back pager and suitably Christmassy for me, I feel it is very easy to overdo it.
    Managed a couple of stabs at it in between the usual last minute dash for odds and ends, including a second dash out for a replacement pack of chicken livers for Mrs 2P’s festive patè breakfast.
    Many thanks to all the bloggers and to Sylvanus and Merry Christmas to all.

  19. Day after day you all work to publish the clues and hints which I am still needing. Love trying to work it out. Thank you to you all and Merry Christmas, to one and all. Happy, Safe and Healthy New Year too !

  20. I cannot believe this was a DNF. One left, 16d, with all the checkers in place and I hit the ‘reveal’ button by mistake. All in all a good fun puzzle so thanks to Silvanus and DT. Indeed thanks to all our marvellous setters and this fantastic site in general. It’s such fun reading all the comments as well, it feels like one big family. I’m terribly excited, my birthday present to myself is arriving between 3 and 5 today, only 4 days late – I wonder what it can be! Have a lovely Christmas.

  21. A very enjoyable puzzle from Silvanus – thanks to him for this one and all his entertaining puzzles throughout the year. Thanks also to DT for the review and to Stephen L for the 12a.
    My podium is adorned by 19a, 25a and 21d.

  22. Lovely crossword. I needed a couple of tips (25a & 16d) but most enjoyable to solve.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – River

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  23. Mainly straightforward although 25a was a bung in. Favourite was 29a. Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  24. A nice puzzle for the end of the non-work week. 2.5*/3* for me
    Candidates for favourite include 1a, 18a, 22a, 9d & 23d with winner 1a

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT

    Happy Christmas to all on the blog.
    Enjoy the day and unfortunately again this year we have to remember to “stay safe” due to the world virus issue. Very disheartening almost two years into this.

  25. These days I don’t attempt Friday crosswords – a bit tricky and consequently rather discouraging but just popped in today to say hello and Happy Christmas to all.
    How lovely to ‘see’ Jean-Luc – what a long time!!
    Thanks to everyone and Happy Christmas – don’t imagine that we’ll get a crossword tomorrow.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

    1. Great to see you too and very happy that you’re recovering so well.
      All my love to you and your family.

    2. I believe we have an on-line (non-prize) cryptic tomorrow as well as the Elgar Christmas Double Toughie, but I’m sure you’ll be having too much Christmas fun to bother with a crossword!

      1. I think you’re right – the crossword will be impossible – not necessary because of its difficulty (or my inability) but more of its ‘company’ – mainly its age!!

        1. Happy Christmas Kath, so nice to see you again. And a wonderful Christmas to all the others on here helping my brain cells to fathom the crosswords, a really great community.

    3. Kath
      Hope you get the Christmas you deserve. Thanks for all the pleasure I get from getting to grips with Ray T via your reviews.

    4. My best wishes to you Kath and your family. Please stay safe and continued improvement in the memory department! Love. .

  26. Yes, Robert is delighted to see 31a celebrated by Silvanus on Christmas Eve! And what a lovely puzzle. Very late this morning because I worked at the Toughie until the wee hours and nearly finished it, and as good as it is, I do think that this Silvanus is even more enjoyable: the master at his peak of craftiness and wit. I especially liked those two 5-letter posers, 16d & 25a, but the entire grid is just loaded with gems. Many thanks to DT and Silvanus. Merry Christmas to you both–and to all of my wonderful friends here on this sublime blog. All the best from 31a! ** / *****

  27. Most enjoyably satisfying puzzle.
    Time on 22a pushed me into ***
    Loved 9d, just one of many brilliant clues.
    Many thanks, indeed, Silvanus and DT.

    1. There we are, I thought this was a poor week for puzzles. Glad you enjoyed you enjoyed this weeks offerings.

  28. My wife and I share the puzzle over lunch each day! She has been a “fanatic” since her grandfather got her into it as a young girl, I sort of “joined in” as we sped to the City of London on the commuter train from Chatham. Now retired it is much nicer doing the parsing together! So Happy Christmas to all the commenters and setters, and a special one to the * “hinters”
    Two fingers for Covid and a Happy Christmas to all

  29. Thank you for all your hints; my crossword skills are improving (some days!)

    Happy Christmas to you all xx

  30. A dnf as I just bunged in North rather than South for 31a without checking.
    Light for a Friday.
    Need to check some parsings.
    Happy Christmas all.

  31. Finished quite quickly today, but with 5 answers unparsed. Thanks to Deep Threat for the explanations.
    A Happy Christmas 🎄 to all

  32. An OK puzzle saved by 1a as my COTD.
    I have no idea what the German for A is as I don’t speak German, still don’t understand the wordplay for 25a and the first definition in 13a is very weak.
    Not the best but not the worst puzzle this week.
    Thx for the hints

  33. Happy Christmas to everyone from a somewhat murky Macclesfield! Thank you Silvanus for a hugely enjoyable crossword, and to Deep Threat for your hints. We do the cryptic and toughie every day and give it our star rating before coming onto the blog to see how we compare (except on Elgar days where we do not expect to come close!). We do so enjoy all your comments and laughs along the way (Brian) but have pretty much remained lurkers as we are relative newbies. I wish we had discovered this blog before you came to Macclesfield for a get together at the Snow Goose – can’t believe you were here and we missed you! Very best wishes to all :-)

  34. Happy & hopefully a Xmas to all
    I am one of the many thousands…..
    Always enjoyable to read & use your knowledge

  35. Just calling in to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. I am on a refresher course on Cryptic Crosswords and have so far read Stuart Lancaster’s fine book on the subject. I have learned a lot and the book can be recommended fully. I am not going on to the Toughie bits until I feel confident to report again on this page.

    Next part of the course is to work through the Chambers guide to Cryptic Crosswords written by Don Manley. After that perhaps, I will feel I can mix with all you clever people. I do visit most days to see what you are writing and look at hints and reveals.

    Best wishes especially to Kath.

    Have a lovely end of December everyone.

    1. I think it was you who wrote to me when I first had the brain haemorrhage in May 16th 2021.
      As you can probably imagine I was pretty scrambled at the time and managed to lose what you wrote so that I couldn’t reply back to you then as you asked me to.
      If you email to me again here it will probably find me in which I can reply.

      1. Thanks Kath. So good to hear you are getting unscrambled and hope you enjoy the Christmas season. In my absence I always look to see if you have posted and look forward to seeing many more.

  36. I loved 9d, particularly as we have just bought the last sad-looking tree at our local garden centre.
    I have not posted much on the blog but have found the hints and other people’s posts useful, informative and fun. Thanks for helping to improve my cryptic crossword skills.
    Happy Christmas to setters, hinters, posters and readers.

  37. A fun puzzled which went slower and slower until I ground to a halt at 16 and needed help – thanks DT and thank you Silvanus
    Merry Christmas everybody

  38. A puzzle harder than I first thought, slowed to a halt in the NE & SW corners. But eased it out eventually!
    Favourites 9d & 19ac.
    Many thanks to the setter & DT . In fact thanks to all the team at DT puzzles & of course to BD & reviewers of this blog.
    A safe restful Christmas to everyone.

  39. Another DNF thanks to 13a. I either move in different circles to everyone else here or tenor for spirit is one of those “only used in crossword land” words you have to commit to memory.

    I also put North for 31a. No wonder I couldn’t parse…

    Also couldn’t parse 9d or 25a so thanks for the hints.

    Ironically I initially thought this was going to be really easy. Oh how wrong I was with 3 or 4 clues taking the majority of the solve time.

    Many thanks to all and have a Merry Christmas!

  40. Would have enjoyed this puzzle more had it not been for 3d. I had to Google it to see if that was indeed past tense for crow. Must have missed the previous occasion when this cropped up. Felt the clue was unfairly tricky and could have easily been worded a tad more benevolently. Was also hoping for more festive clues today. 9d just had to be but I couldn’t parse it for the life of me. 8d was COTD. Thanks to Silvanus and Deep Threat.

  41. So very late today, last-minute shopping and a trip to get Mama Bee’s barnet chimped. Thanks to Deep Threat and his even deeper better half for explaining my unparsed.(25a and 9d) What a lovely blog too
    Nice to hear from Silvanus and lots of old friends popping in especially Jean Luc, Kath, Robert, LBR, LROK, Corky, Jane, Bizzy Lizzy both Steve’s, even Brian, and this list is too long you know who you are and what you mean to this cruciverbalist I wish you all a very merry Christmas and good luck at the Elgar Double toughie.

    1. John
      Thank you.
      All the best to you and Mama Bee.
      As far as the Double Toughie, there is more chance of Santa coming down our chimney than me getting any answers. After we have finished comparing the bottles of the cheapest Champagne we could find I doubt if I will be in a fit state anyway
      Stay safe.

      1. I suspect my attempts at the Elgar are also subject to alcohol consumption. I have been blessed with two rather nice malts to sample this Christmas – Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair, both Islay malts with different degrees of peatiness. I am looking forward to giving them a good go tomorrow. All the best to you and yours especially to Hudson.

        1. I’m sitting here with a Talisker, which has just the right amount of peatiness for me. I have a Lagavulin but there is too much peat flavour in that for my taste but I will have a snifter on the odd occasion.

            1. I haven’t tried it LROK but I will one day. Trouble is, I’m teetotal most of the year so I only get to try malts on high days and holidays. I don’t mind a hint of peat and Talisker gives me that.

        2. John
          We have got some local Highland malts, Glenmorangie, Balblair and a Dalmore. Then a couple of Speysides (Tamnavulin and our favourite Glenfarclas) for variety.
          I’ll be forgetting I’m on the wagon for a couple of days.

  42. Excellent puzzle today, though a DNF due to 25a, “unwed” and 16d, “forge”. I’ve recently, as of 2 weeks ago, moved across from The Times QC to the Telegraph and have enjoyed what has largely been a successful transition. I have posted a few times as Stephen Mitchell and Joamon (I’ve now settled on StephenGM as my nom de BD’sCB) and have only received positive comments back, so thank you. Many thanks also to Silvanus and DT. A Merry Christmas to all.

  43. I enjoyed today’s puzzle in-between the usual last minute Christmas Eve chores and present drop-offs. I didn’t get 3d or 25a (thanks to Stephen L for explaining the parsing to Brian. I understand now!).

    Many thanks to Silvanus for today’s offering and for all his crosswords during the year (also thanks to DT). Indeed, to all our marvellous setters, hinters and especially BD. This site has helped me so much and I do enjoy the banter. I’m no academic but gosh I’ve learned a lot and it’s been fun along the way.

    Best Wishes to Everyone for a very Happy Christmas and PLEASE may 2022 be a much better year for you All. To dear Kath especially so. I do think today’s puzzle should tempt you a little?! Take good care xx

  44. Greetings from sunny Miami; sunny but a little chilly for my taste! I really enjoyed this, 1a went in immediately, talk about an anagram solving itself! Like so many, 25a and 16d gave the most trouble, 25a was a bungin, thanks DT for unravelling that, and 16d was unsolved. I also needed help with the parsing of 9d. I choose 31a as fave as a tribute to Robert, but there was lots to like.
    Thank you Silvanus for the fun, and, natch, Deep Threat for his explaining not just a few.
    Wishing all our friends here a Merry Christmas and a safe one. I shall be going out socially for the first time in well over a year for a late Christmas lunch, heavily into our Jamaican cuisine, rice and peas (really red beans), bacalao and ackee, breadfruit and Jamaican Christmas pudding. My mouth waters just thinking about it! I appreciate the friendship here, you all brighten my day!

    1. That sounds like a wonderful Christmas meal, Merusa. Enjoy! For our part, we are having seafood – lobster, mussels, crayfish, cockles and prawns. I do all the cooking chez Cowling so it was decided that I should have a break on Christmas Day. As Mrs. C and I love seafood (wonderful memories of camping in Brittany) it was an easy decision.

      The seafood was delivered today from The Magpie in Whitby. Prepared by them this morning and sent by refrigerated van to be with us by mid morning.

      Bon appetite!

      1. Oh, Steve, the seafood sounds sublime, I’d go for that on New Year’s Day! I don’t eat much meat; no mammal, bird rarely and fish by preference. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, good health and good luck!

    2. Very, very late but I must wish you, Merusa, a very happy Christmas Day outing. The Jamaican cuisine sounds indeed mouth-watering, and I hope it’s a great day for you. All the best from up here about 600 miles or so north of you.

    3. I couldn’t decide whether to go to Merusa’s house for the Jamaican food or to Steve’s for the seafood. So I’m at home awaiting Saint Sharon’s slop on a plate. That’ll do me fine.

      1. We’ve got crackers and all, with funny hats and corny jokes, are you sure you don’t want to join us? St. Sharon is more than welcome to join us.

  45. Excellent piece of work from Silvanus.
    I completed it, though hadn’t parsed 25a, the hint cleared it up !
    Merry Christmas and a preposterous New Year, one and all. (Not a spelling mistake) !

  46. Currently watching and listening to Carol’s from King’s always a moving service. Thinking of Daisygirl and the Nativity outside tonight. Hope all goes well, especially with the donkey. Perhaps you could lend it to the Archers theirs has been head-hunted!

  47. I must confess I have not looked at the puzzle, I am saving it for breakfast tomorrow morning – it has been a manic day. The rain held off for the crib service although Noah the donkey was in a bad mood and could not be trusted in the tableau with the baby. Here we are. A very happy Christmas to all our
    anonymous friends.

      1. Oh, thanks for remembering to send a pic. It must have been great fun, even though Noah decided to be Bolshi? But what a handsome man Noah is? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Nice picture, and you did well getting Paul Whitehouse to appear, 2nd from right, rear.
      Merry Christmas 🎅

    1. Well done Daisygirl and team. Don’t forget to contact Radio 4. Perhaps Noah could earn his keep?!

  48. A very good puzzle with 25a as a real challenge. Thank you everyone for keeping me going through an awful year all best wishes Xxx

  49. A happy Christmas to everyone. I’ve so enjoyed attempting the crosswords with much needed hints and then reading the comments from everyone. It’s been such fun and as an only occasional contributor I can’t tell you how uplifting it’s been to read everyone’s comments after I’ve completed the crossword- usually in the early hours of the following morning. Many thanks.

  50. Happy Christmas to all. A late solve (half asleep) but once I knew It was by Silvanus couldn’t not do it. Excellent puzzle as per. 16d&25a the head scratchers for me also otherwise nicely straightforward
    Thanks all.

  51. Very late on parade today, for which many apologies.
    I had been advised that today’s puzzle was going to be by Silvanus (thank you Jane), so I had to give it a go, even this late in the day.
    It did not disappoint. Silvanus never does.
    So much to enjoy, but the brilliant anagram at 1a probably wins the day for me.
    Best wishes to BD for a speedy recovery from his fall – get well soon, big man.
    A very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy new year to all fellow cruciverbalists.

    1. Welcome, Carla Jo and a Merry Christmas to you as well. Please come back and comment again – it’s “all the more the merrier” on here. :good:

  52. Last as usual but got there in the end. Excellent puzzle. 16d was brilliant and last in. Hopefully improve times next year as retirement beckons

  53. I am very happy just to come to cryptic crosswords later in my life and to find help with finding the answers, while improving “zee little grey cells” as Hercule would say.

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