DT 29871 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29871

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29871

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ********** due to Saint Sharon not checking that I had my glasses and phone with me when she picked me up from the pub last night. She really should know better Enjoyment ***

The excellent newspaper app allows me to alter the font size of all articles but not the size of the font used for the Quick and Cryptic Crossword clues. However a screen shot and a photo edit allowed me to toggle between the newspaper and the photo to read the clues. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Most probably Giovanni today but who knows?

I have two free subscription codes to give away. Let me know in the comments if you want one of these and I’ll see what I can do. First come first served. Now taken by Fez and Malcolm R

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

1a        Satisfied drink’s withdrawn — point made? (4,4)
FULL STOP:  Begin with a word meaning satisfied as one might be after eating. Add the reversed plural of a verb meaning to drink. The phrase meaning point taken is often used to mean that no further discussion is welcome. Sometimes I think that about things mentioned over and over again on this blog

5a        A church removed from God? Count on it! (6)
ABACUS:  Begin with the letter A which has been gifted to us by todays setter as is right and proper at this time of the year. Add the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit but remove an abbreviation for church first or you will have too many letters to fit the space provided

9a        Rambling rector and his endless oratory (8)
RHETORIC:  Anagram (rambling) of RECTOR and HI

10a      Fool around with poem in Ukrainian city (6)
ODESSA:  Reverse one of crosswordlands most used fools and add it to a lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular metre

12a      Drive away to enter plain and go too far? (9)
OVERSHOOT:  Place an exclamation used to frighten or scatter unwelcome persons or animals inside a noun meaning open or plainly apparent

13a      Could she be Ernie after transformation? (5)
IRENE: Anagram (after transformation) of ERNIE

14a      Light touch from one X represents (4)
KISS:  The word used to describe the light touch of snooker balls perhaps is also what is represented by the letter X at the end of a letter or text message

16a      Love can mean this on flipping stormy night (7)
NOTHING:  Flip the word ON from the clue add add an anagram (stormy) of NIGHT

19a      One caught it sitting by poorly criminal (7)
ILLICIT: A four part charade. 1 The letter that looks like the number one 2 An abbreviation of the word caught 3 The word IT from the clue. Another Yuletide gift from today’s setter 4 A word meaning poorly. Arrange as suggested by the clue to suit the underlined definition

21a      Dead good with United (4)
GONE:  The abbreviation for good is followed by a small number which means united

24a      Digit so short, doctor must attend (5)
THUMB:  On of three bodily digits. Not you fingers or your toes. A word meaning so needs to lose its last letter. One of many abbreviations for a medical man follows

25a      Crouchback say thrown in road by king (9)
LANCASTER: A guess and Google clue. Edmund the fourth son of Henry the third was known by this soubriquet. Place a word meaning to throw inside a narrow country road and add the R (Rex) for king. If I’d have been around in this geezers time I would have nicknamed him Bomber

27a      Corrupt legality when two learners go merrymaking (6)
GAIETY:  An obvious anagram (corrupt) of LEGALITY minus both letter Ls with a less than obvious spelling

28a      Distinctive theory about alternative map line (8)
ISOTHERM: A word meaning an alternative is surrounded by a distinctive theory or a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement

29a      Potatoes very cold in London? (6)
TATERS:  This general term for spuds can also be used to describe cold weather. Why London comes into the equation I don’t know. We used this term in Coventry when I was but a whippersnapper

30a      Journalists in tea shop regularly drink (8)
ESPRESSO: Place a well known term for journalists inside the alternate letters of the words tea shop

Down

1d        Female on flight bringing piglets (6)
FARROW:  The single letter abbreviation for female is followed by a synonym of the word flight. Something fired from a bow

2d        Do we hear number one songs? (6)
LIEDER: The word for the person at number one sounds like (Do we hear) some German songs

3d        Is it berth suggested for Glaswegians? (5)
SCOTS:  Split 1,4 how a Glaswegian might say “is it babies beds?” In this setters way of thinking or as today’s setter Donnybrook says – A berth is a bed on a ship y’see. COT (a hammock-like bed with a stiff frame) in SS. It wasn’t an attempt to imitate a Scot!

4d        Sinister old male in the States accepting Oscar (7)
OMINOUS:  Begin with the abbreviations for old and male (A fair description of your blogger today) Add the word IN from the clue. (A third act of festive generosity from our setter God bless his little cotton socks) Add the letter suggest by the word Oscar in phonetic alphabets. Add the abbreviation for the United States

6d        Bishop dominant having moved in game (9)
BADMINTON: The chess abbreviation for a Bishop is followed by an anagram (having moved) of DOMINANT

7d        Firms paid in charge for appearances only (8)
COSMETIC: A plural abbreviation of companies is followed by a word which means (of an amount due) paid. Add the abbreviation for In charge

8d        No guts for chase, vegans sabotaged hunt (8)
SCAVENGE: An anagram of the outer letters of the word chase together with the word VEGANS

11d      Fanatics taking lift to floor (4)
STUN:  Reverse a word meaning fanatics as the clue suggests

15d      Visiting communist land, Tory almost sitting duck? (9)
INCUBATOR: Begin with a rather stretched two-letter synonym of the word visiting. Add a communist land. One of many. This one is an island, possibly in the Caribbean. Add three quarters of the word Tory The definition sitting duck might refer to a duck sitting on a clutch of eggs waiting for a brood of ducklings

17d      Having no weak point, excellent fitting secures tons (8)
AIRTIGHT:  Begin with a term used to define perfect fitness (a letter followed by a number) add a word meaning fitting, correct or proper into which the abbreviation for tons has been inserted

18d      Musician‘s shortcoming discussed is evident in tangos (8)
FLAUTIST: A homophone based on a shortcoming or fault is followed by the word IS from the clue sandwiched between two letters denoted by the word Tangos. Note the plural form of Tango

20d      Order to  have noticeable effect (4)
TELL:  A difficult double definition. The first being a verb

21d      Start  progressive rock band (7)
GENESIS: A double definition the second being correct at the bands beginnings but they soon metamorphosed into exponents of pop pap once Peter Gabriel departed

22d      Capital A followed by S? (6)
ATHENS: It’s the capital of Greece. Split it 1,4,1 to see how the clue works

23d      Messiah, initially seen in manger, given 16 for his birthday? (6)
CRIMBO:  Place the initial letter of the word Messiah inside another word for a manger (ignore the lack of one of these in Away In A Manger). Add the letter represented by the answer to 16 across

26d      Powerless minister? Pioneering MP! (5)
ASTOR:  Remove the abbreviation for power from a minister in charge of a Christian church or congregation, especially in some non-episcopal churches

Quickie Pun   Corn + Few + Shun = Confusion


145 comments on “DT 29871
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  1. Certainly a challenge Miffypops! I thought ****/*** with the north hard enough and the south in parts very tricky. I needed your hints to fully understand the answers I managed to get to 1a, 25a, 3d and 17d. Some obscure GK required in parts which I didn’t have so was lucky with my guessing on the parsing. I thought 12 and 24 a both well constructed and my COTD goes to the former. With thanks to M and the setter.

  2. Very enjoyable, in fact I’d go as far as to say the best Giovanni back pager for quite some time, had to work quite hard to complete it.
    As ever with this setter for me, a couple needed checking, the god at 5a and the the Crouchback at 25a, but attainable from the checkers and wordplay.
    I think it’s time for the overworked “progressive” band to have a rest (they appear more here than on the road these days!) and the two characters at 13a would have been more at home in a puzzle 70 years ago but the rest was top notch. 3d a bung in.
    My ticks go to 19,24a plus 7,15,17&26d.

    Many thanks to both Giovanni and MP for the A1 entertainment throughout the year.
    Ps…29a…Taters in the mould (cold)!

  3. Very tricky indeed, even with my mobile phone and both pairs of glasses. Some of the clues were so odd that I had to check the answers in MP’s hints (5*/2*). Thanks for the challenge to the compiler and to MP for the hints. Im not sure enjoyment is the right word for this sort of puzzle. I did gain much satisfaction from finishing it and not giving up, as I was tempted to.

  4. Soundly beaten by this one.
    What on earth is a crimbo ?
    I never heard of taters as a word meaning very cold.
    Unsatisfactory.
    Thanks to all concerned with this blog for putting me out of my agony.

    1. 23d was easy for me as an ex-pat Scouser, Crimbo = Christmas in Liverpool patois.
      Enjoyable crossword only needing Mr Google for 25a.

      Thanks to setter and MP

    2. Unfortunately “crimbo” is in the BRB Una. Only one day to go & it puts the setter as 2d in the “Ugliest word of 2021 competition” for me.

      1. I get the Cockney rhyming slang part but why “taters in the mould”? Having a Ruby – meaning curry – is obvious but what mould are taters put in? :scratch:

        1. I was wondering if it was another word for the ‘clamp’ that used to be employed for keeping root vegetables out of the frosty weather.

          1. It would seem that way. I found this via Google
            Here’s an explanation: “When potatoes are nearing their time for harvest, the earth is in a pile. This heap is a ‘mould’. we then have taters (potatoes) in the mould …”

        2. We say taters meaning very cold up here. A popular interpretation is: “It’s cold enough to freeze yer taters off!” Similar to the “brass monkeys” one.

          1. Rhyming slang is used all over the country and should be known as English rhyming slang, but best known in London so I suppose that’s fair. I doubt the phrase originated in London as I don’t think they grow many potatoes there. We grow lots of them in Leicestershire and keep them in a mould as I’m sure they do in many other places.

            1. When I was working I travelled the length and breadth of this sceptred isle and rarely heard rhyming slang outside the south-east. The DT is London based and the rest of the country, despite being in the huge majority, are used to being ignored by them.

                1. Is that just recently? Since everyone moved out of London to WFH during Covid? I used to work in Glenfield, Leicester Royal & General and BUPA Oadby hospitals and don’t recall it at all.

                  1. It’s used a lot in the building trade and elsewhere in society here, at least in the parts that I mix in. I’ve used and heard it used throughout my life, I’m 70 next year. I don’t suppose it’s used much in hospitals. I think Google confirms that it’s use is widespread throughout England.

          2. Brass monkeys are where cannon balls were stacked on a fighting ship. When it was really cold these would contact and the balls fall off, a dangerous situation on a ship, hence cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

            1. The square that the Canon balls sat in was made of brass and called a monkey. It had a different rate of thermal expansion to the iron balls.

    3. My goodness, I spent my childhood hearing people saying it was taters during the winter. On the other hand crimbo is a word I have never heard before.

  5. Tale of two halves for me, I found the top half relatively easy but completely stumped by the bottom half. Really not sure about this one at all. Thanks to MP and the setter

  6. This was an odd one. I finished the SE corner first, then completed the NW corner and then the NE without finding anything in the SW to help. Finally 27a gave me the G in 17d and slowly finished with 29 being a guess as I couldn’t see the very cold. I enjoyed this though despite having to google crouchback. Didn’t spot the God in 5a either. Perhaps you should have borrowed St Sharon’s glasses MP? Anyway thanks to all on a much nicer, warmer and pleasant day.

    1. I seem to have misspelt my own name! It’s a chess reference…….and should read Patzer-For-Life……can you guys change it……?? Many thanks …….

  7. I got there in the end but, boy, what a tussle!
    Apart from mistakenly wondering why a Yorkist was a Lancastrian in 25a, was OK with the parsing.
    Must be this revived interest in Richard 111 who was shoulder challenged.
    So, ****/*****.
    Too many brilliant clues to select one from.
    Many thanks indeed, Giovanni and Miffypops

  8. Well, as MP would say, Golly Bongs! What a doozy this one was, eh Pips? No, I did not finish on my own again today (having the worst week of my cruciverbal career, I believe), but with MP and Google and finally substituting ‘tell’ for ‘toll’ (at 20d), I filled the grid. What a great Giovanni production, though, and I tip my hat to anyone who finished this one unaided. Winners galore: 15d, 23d (had to google this one), 25a (I sort of remembered him), and many runners-up. Thanks to MP and Giovanni, and Hapy New Year to both of you and everyone else in BD Land. ***** / *****

  9. This started off in quite a friendly manner and then the bottom half turned into a Toughie for all those people who wanted something tricky to solve but couldn’t face Elgar today. I’m not entirely sure this is the work of Giovanni as, although it is in the BRB, the solution to 23d doesn’t feel like the sort of work he’d include in one of his crosswords.

    Thanks to whoever did set it and to MP – who should look on the bright side – he’ll have to go to the pub again in order to rescue his glasses and phone

  10. Not knowing any obscure earls, 25a beat me and I absolutely hate the term at 23d. What 29a has to do with London or any other city escapes me. All in all, too obscure to be enjoyable for me.

    Many thanks to the setter for the puzzle and to MP for the hints.

  11. Second day in a row of thankfulness for the hints, which I drew upon somewhat heavily. I just didn’t get on with this puzzle at all.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack is inspired by 16a.

    Thanks to the setter and The Mighty Miff.

  12. Some tricky and clever clues, a fun challenge, thanks Giovanni(?) and Miffypops. Not convinced by 3d, and in 23d surely the point is that a manger isn’t a crib … but minor quibbles in an excellent puzzle. Favourite 15d for the definition – I think reading the first two words together as a phrase makes the parsing less ‘stretchy’ than the review suggests.
    (If the subscription code offer is available I’d be interested, though wouldn’t wish to deprive more established members of the BD community!)
    Thanks again to setter and Miffypops

  13. 23d and 25a stumped me and the rest wasn’t too easy either – a lot of Homer Simpson “doh” moments. Thanks Miffypops for your ever cheerful input – I needed it today. Happy New Year to you and St. Sharon who I am beginning to recognise as everywoman?

  14. Well, I finished the grid unaided, but was a few short on the parsings, including 25a, obviously. Slang words such as 23d and 29a belong in the Sun crossword, not the DT.

    Now, if I can only work out what a Priviledged Pupil is, I might even finish the Quickie.

    Thanks to all.

    Am I too late to claim a free subscription? I baulk at paying for one when I already pay the best part of £3 a day for the dead tree version.

        1. Not sure about that as I collect mine, I’m afraid you would have to investigate that yourself ,unless others here have the answer.

          1. I have a subscription to the newspaper app. The paper is delivered to my iPad each morning. It also goes to Saint Sharon’s device and I have three free digital subscriptions which I have gifted to members of this blog. My old newsagent in L I gets my vouchers for a hard copy newspaper which she can cash in with the DT.

            1. I get the Telegraph free each morning from PressReader curtesy of my membership to my local library.

              Loads of other papers and magazines available each day.

        2. Yes indeed I have had a subscription for the dead tree version for years and merely give the vouchers which I receive by post to the village shop which arranges the deliveries to me. Obviously they are able to recover the value of the vouchers. Works like clockwork.

          1. You can arrange to have the vouchers delivered to your village shop. Mine still go to Gita in Long Itchington. She is a star

        3. The beauty of the newspaper subscription is that it works out cheaper than the £2.50 a day and much cheaper for a new subscriber. It covers the on- line paper also. I don’t have mine delivered as I like to pick one up wherever I am. When I’m in Cornwall on holiday I give them all the vouchers at once and order a paper for the duration so they save it for me. It’s a win, win so far as I’m concerned.

  15. A cracking puzzle from G (if it is he?). Great clues providing a stiff challenge and plenty of enjoyment. Too many good clues to pick a favourite. 4*, 4.5*.

    *I went a really nice walk earlier, in and around Chinley in Derbyshire. Nothing strenuous or rushed just a nice, long stroll for about an hour and a half. Plenty of pauses; leaning on farmers’ gates taking in the fresh air and gazing at the splendour of the English countryside (I must get myself another dog, I kept thinking). And the highlights of the walk? Maybe when I was confronted by a monkey’s face staring out at me from the middle of a drystone wall. Some wag had stuffed the head off an old cuddly toy into a gap in the stonework – quite realistic and very amusing! Or perhaps watching a large blackbird splashing about and having a good old wash in a deep puddle. Ah well, must press on – have lunch to prepare. I think I’ll have a baked potato with butter, cheese and beans. Yes, that will do nicely…….

    1. Is the family-run grocery/deli still open in Chinley? Sadly, I can’t remember the name but it was situated in the small run of shops on the left-hand side as you approach from Buxworth. Used to call in there every week and the aromas of the various cooked meats, cheeses and freshly ground coffee have stayed with me ever since.

      1. Yum, that baked potato was delicious! No, that shop is no more. I think you mean the first shop (approaching from Buggy) in that main row of shops – which had been a smallish grocer’s for years. It is now a Londis store and when you go in it’s like entering the Tardis – seems to go on for ever. (It’s been much extended at the rear).

        1. I’m really sad to hear that – it was such a delightful place to visit and I always spent far more than I’d intended to!

  16. I agree with earlier commenters that this was most certainly at the tougher end of the setting spectrum for a backpager, but no less enjoyable as a result. The NW quadrant was the last to fall. It is always more rewarding to solve a grid that has a punch to it, and some of the clues were pleasingly difficult. I particularly liked 26d.

    Thanks to our setter and MP.

  17. I found it a bit of a grind and average to tough – I must have slept well as I didn’t find this as much of a struggle as some.
    Found it quite enjoyable and definitely satisfying having read others’ comments.
    12a gets my COTD & 23d my worst word of 2021.
    Thank you to setter q
    To MP my grateful thanks for brightening up alternate Thursdays. BD’s answer to Matt!

  18. A slog with the south being more impenetrable than the north. 23d my last one in wasn’t so much a doh moment as an ‘oh please’. ****/** I did know the rhyming slang for cold and I suppose that’s where the London reference comes in. Mp, always have at least two pairs of specs – you stand a chance of being able to lay your hands on one pair. Favourite 15d when I finally put that together. Thanks to all. I’d love to know how Kath got on.

  19. Last in was 29a, the definition is also an archaic word used in Cheshire ,but nothingto do with cold-l assuime the cockney rhyming slang!
    I thought that 25a was a’ royal’ hunchback -all was revealed with the checking letters in place.
    Favourite was 15d,nicely misleading, thanks to MP for the pic.
    A ***/*** for me

  20. Howdy from Spain.
    We (as in pommers too) didn’t find this too difficult so would give it ***/***
    Never heard of 29a meaning cold though, nor Crouchback but worked this out easily enough. Not keen on the word for distinctive theory in 28a but otherwise ok with everything else.
    Thanks to miffy and setter

  21. Quite a struggle, took ages but managed without the excellent hints.
    If 23d really was from Giovanni he should have known better. Yuk.

  22. A tremendous *** puzzle with 14a and 18d as outstanding clues (less so 3d?) … thank you setter and MP – had a good chuckle when reading your difficulty rating!

    1. 3d should I think be parsed as a bed ‘on board a ship (ie in SS}, suggesting a “berth” – not the iffy homophone interpretation. When penny finally dropped, I liked this clue!

  23. Clue 25a ‘Taters’ from the Cockney rhyming slang, ‘taters in the mould’. London of course home of the cockneys.

  24. That was a struggle. I had to use lots of electronic stuff and the review to get through it. More annoyingly, it took so long that I watched a flock of fieldfare descend on one of my trees and completely strip the top half of berries. They were scared off when a red kite swooped down. Back to the puzzle. Taters and crimbo not my cup of tea I’m afraid, but thank you setter and Miffypops.

  25. Season Greetings from Ireland (outside Brexit zone).
    Two clues definitely offside because of obscurity or regional usage.
    23 CRIMBO – hmmmm.29 Across – London slang not in use where I live.
    Can I expect to see other regional slang terms like bugs marla (marbles) or gobdaw (eejit) in crosswords in future?

  26. Found the north hard but manageable ,and the south impossible , had to resort to hints. Thanks to all especially for the much needed hints.

    1. Absolutely MP just as Jackson Pollock paintings are just an arrangements of colours.
      Up here we lead pretty sheltered lives, oh for the excitement of Barrel
      Anyway you only have yourself to blame for inviting comments.

    2. I did giggle when I saw Crimbo, MP, waiting for the tsunami of ‘Grrrrrrs’.

      I’m cool with all these but ‘pants’ will never pass my lips.

      It hurts too much.

  27. Not my cup of tea at all today.
    Slogged on to the end with some electronic help but with little enjoyment.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  28. I found this quite friendly in the north, and I liked 3d, what’s wrong with it? The SW was pretty tough, though I did like 15d, lots of bung ins. BUT, the SE was a different story! Crimbo? Really? As everyone knows, my knowledge of rock bands is zilch, so 21d was a DNF. I wanted to put the right answer to 28a but couldn’t parse it, I shot myself in the foot there and left it blank. It might have given me some checkers and helped. I liked 5a and 12a.
    Thank you Giovanni, and much gratefulness to M’pops for your help, I was totally lost in the SE.

  29. Found this Giovanni puzzle very much a head scratcher again today. Took lots of thought on many of the clues yet a few just popped in easily. 3*/3.5*
    SE last area in today.
    Favourites today include 10a, 25a, 29a, 11d & 15d with co-winners 25a & 29a

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  30. I could not describe what I thought of this crossword without being very rude!
    Suffice to say a very poor backpager. The DT should be ashamed.
    ***************************/0

  31. Found it almost as hard as the toughie and also failed on a couple.
    Thanks to the Don and to MP for the review.

  32. That was tough but I enjoyed getting to the end with Miffs help. I liked quite a few and have ticks against 9a 30a but the ultimate accolade goes to 15d.
    It doesn’t seem like a Giovanni to me and I know Donnybrook moonlights in a prog band maybe it is he?
    I learned a bit about Kings with deformities and rhyming slang so not a wasted day.
    The day was wasted trying to park in Whitby but at least I managed a pint and a pitstop at the Moors Inn Steve!
    Thanks to setter and Miffs ( is that your grandson with the dinosaur quilt? )

    1. There are plenty of double yellow to park on in Whitby and the Wardens will be taking the week off so the odds are good. Yes it is Ethan. He went to bed under his small quilt on Christmas Eve and woke up to a new quilt, pillow case and covers delivered and put in place by Father Christmas

    2. Pleased you stopped off at the Moors Inn, John. Did you manage lunch?
      Actually, if you look at their website you will see Mrs. C and yours truly in the gallery section. They always reserve us the seat by the fire and there is a picture of us sitting in it having a laugh.

      Great place. We hope to be back in April for our 11th visit.

      1. no we arrived after the lunch service and too early for the evening, we wouldn’t have had room for anything more that the quick half as we had filled up on F&C in Sandsend ( As I said parking anywhere near the Magpie was impossible.)
        Mama Bee’s legs are not up to a major hike these days and she would have never made it down the Abbey Steps. We only called into the Moors Inn for a splash and a dash ( Mama Bee’s bladder was fit to burst)
        We actually sat in that little chair in the Inglenook and I had time to bung a few answers in the Shooting Times’ by the fire.
        Pig traders change to dealing in Game (8) … Partridges
        I will have a look in their Gallery again

        There you are and the dog is there too but looking more interested in what’s for dinner!

  33. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. An absolute stinker. I gave up trying to understand the wordplay, and guessed quite a few from the checkers. Way too difficult, no fun at all. Was 6*/0* for me.

  34. I’m glad I kept that Chalicea toughie from a couple of weeks back….just for days like today! Thanks to Miffypops for the blog….I might look at the answers later but for the moment I’m going to enjoy the delights that are a Chalicea puzzle!

    1. I can relate to that, Mikep. Chalicea is the solvers’ setter whether backpager or Toughie. Having said that, she can bite! 😆😆

  35. I spent too long trying to justify Doncaster into 25a as I had tidy in for 20d, a visit to Google soon sorted that out. I hadn’t heard of him even though he was also earl of Leicester and we have the last of the Plantagenets here. Oh well! Favourite was 18d. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  36. I was off and running at first, with most of the top half going in rather quickly. But then reality set in as I struggled with the bottom half. Except for 29a of course having spent my early childhood in Twickenham where taters was a very common word for cold. Unlike 23d for which I really needed help. Never heard of crouchback but easily solved aided by Mr Google, and confirmed when Peter (of course) recognised the plane. Did find 3d a bit stretched. Overall an enjoyable puzzle, with thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops.

  37. If this was a Giovanni offering I am completely disheartened as he has always been my Fav setter but I didn’t enjoy this at all and in fact have thrown in the towel – not even any incentive to seek help. Had a busy day playing hostess (with the mostest?) to a family gathering and looked forward to unwinding with the DT Cryptic but alas no such luck. Anyway thank you to whomever (do hope it wasn’t DG) and MP.

  38. Late to this & not a quick solve by any means. As near as dammit a Toughie so happy to finish but can’t really claim an unaided one as I looked up Crouchback. 18d my pick of a number of extremely tricky clues.
    Thanks to the setter & MP.

  39. I am on the verge of cancelling my subscription to the DT. My main reason for having it is the crossword. Either the crosswords have become significantly more difficult recently or I am going prematurely senile.

  40. Really late to the game today and I’m always slow at this time of night. Had a feeling all those struggling with 29a yesterday would be mad with 23d. I picture Giovanni lighting the blue touchpaper and standing back

  41. Some splendid clues here. I have circled circled too many to mention. Mostly finished early but rest left till bedtime. I got the SE then without too much bother. Like most people I had to look up Crouchback but that’s fine. I was left with 14a and 15d. This was made worse as I had previously confidently put Spot for 14a as in X marks the spot. I realised it was wrong when I solved 4d. I looked at MP’s hint for 14a after which 15d went straight in. Thank you setter and congrats to MP for solving in order to provide the hints. If you weren’t a poor orphan boy I’d ask for a note from a parent to say it was your own unaided work! Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

  42. Love having found this blog. Very, as in three days, started to attempt cryptic cw.
    Hooked having almost nothing behind small church (6)
    Finding it useful to have the tips:

  43. Ouch.
    If I had started this first thing in the morning, it would probably have been OK.
    After golf, a late start, so no chance of finishing.
    Odd, I enjoy Giovanni’s puzzles in the Guardian, but not in the Telegraph.
    Thanks both.

  44. A very hard crossword (****) but got ther eventually thanks to a lot of help from Miffypops. Thanks to everyone that contributes to this blog as solving the DT crossword wouldn’t be the same without it. Happy new year to all.

  45. A berth is a bed on a ship y’see. COT (a hammock-like bed with a stiff frame) in SS. It wasn’t an attempt to imitate a Scot!

    1. woohoo – I predicted a NY doorknob production at comment (39) above and no one picked up on it.
      Many thanks for this and all your other puzzles this year and those to come.

    2. A step too far for me Paul. Thanks for dropping by and confirming the thoughts of Fez mentioned somewhere up above. Thanks for the Crimbo clue too.

  46. As is my wont, I printed off the crossword yesterday and the answers today, then I see what I can do and help myself along with looking at answers. Even so, this was way beyond my grade!

    Could someone please explain to me why the printed answer for 28a had8 letters (beginning ISO) and the Thursday grid only had 6 squares? I hasten to add this would have made no difference to my inability to do the crossword!

    1. I really can’t see your problem, Susan. The clue says the answer has eight letters and the grid gives room for eight letters. You’ve not picked up MP’s glasses by mistake have you?

      1. Thank you for your reply, MalcolmR. I have found my mistake – I was reading clue 29a thinking it was 28a! That’s one of the problems having to use a large screen CCT^V to work on and only being able to see part of a clue at a time!!

        I look forward to tomorrow’s crypptic which I do try to do unaided.

        1. I’m just checking to see if my replies are here but my thank you to you does not appear to be here. As you will see from my reply to MalcolmR, it was my mistake!

  47. Have been a lurker, using this site for many years to help me understand some of the clues. I’ve heeded BD and decided to break cover. Thank you to all the setters, reviewers and other bloggers. A Happy New Year to you all 😊

  48. Hated to see the word CRIMBO Found this quite difficult never having heard Taters meaning cold, being a northerner. Got there in the end but couldn’t do 25 and 28

  49. Definitely a toughie that found the back page. Took me two days to complete, but had not heard of taters, s(cots) or crouchback! Thanks to all compilers in 2021 for keeping me sane.

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