DT 29878 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29878

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29878

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs. Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for the year ahead.

I found this a fairly gentle Friday puzzle to start the year. It looked as though a pangram was on the cards, but both X and Y appear to be missing.

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           Advising company, French one trading (11)
COUNSELLING – Put together an abbreviation for ‘company’, the French for ‘one’, and one of the components of trading.

7a           Spy James going round large fair (5)
BLOND – The surname of 007 is wrapped round Large.

8a           Tackle some horrible quip men told (9)
EQUIPMENT – Hidden (some) in the clue.

10a         Noted space in hospital department (7)
EMINENT – Put together a printer’s space, IN (from the clue) and the usual hospital abode of otorhinolaryngologists.

11a         Cabin’s not opening with a turning tool (7)
HACKSAW – Another word for a cabin or rural dwelling, minus its first letter (not opening), followed by A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for With. ‘Turning’ in the clue tells you that ‘with a’ needs to be turned into ‘a with’ to get to the answer.

12a         Coming west, regularly seen sweet dinky birds (5)
KITES – Alternate letters (regularly seen) of SwEeT dInKy, read from right to left (coming west).

Red Kites at Harewood

13a         Changes school subject with dreams of the future (9)
REVISIONS – The abbreviation for the school subject also known as Scripture, followed by a word for dreams of what may come to pass.

16a         Vetoed backing of Republican president, Democrat brought in (9)
FORBIDDEN – Put together the reverse (backing) of OF (from the clue), an abbreviation for Republican, and the surname of the current US president with an abbreviation for Democrat inserted.

18a         Announced means of paying store (5)
CACHE – This secret store sounds like (announced) a means of paying for goods.

19a         Body oddly peculiar after sport massage (7)
RUBDOWN – Put together the initials of a sport played 15-a-side, the alternate letters (oddly) of BoDy, and a word for ‘peculiar’ or ‘personal’.

22a         Strike to fasten joint in arrangement of boards (7)
SHIPLAP – A word for ‘strike with an open hand’ is wrapped round a major joint in the body.

Shiplap Timber Pine T&G Ship lap Cladding Board Shed / Summer house 4.2m -  NEW | eBay

23a         Name of female doctor in theatre (9)
HENRIETTA – Anagram (doctor) of IN THEATRE.

24a         Pronounced noses treasured (5)
PRIZE – A homophone (pronounced) of a word for ‘noses’ or ‘looks into’.

25a         Bad smell around fish, odour on the way out (11)
OBSOLESCENT – Reverse (around) the acronym for a bad bodily smell, then add a flat fish, and another word for ‘odour’ or ‘perfume’.


1d           Score hit playing with right singer (9)
CHORISTER – Anagram (playing) of SCORE HIT, followed by Right.

2d           Get one’s kit off university doctor wearing cape (7)
UNDRESS – A single-letter abbreviation for University, followed by a cape or headland wrapped round an abbreviation for doctor.

3d           Under cover, sheepdog scratching head in its shade (9)
SHELTERED – A type of sheepdog, minus the first letter of Its, followed by a shade or colour.

4d           Fun activity that’s unpleasant after lady gets half-cut (5)
LAUGH – If you remove the first half of LAdy from the answer you get an exclamation which means ‘that’s unpleasant!’.

5d           Consequences of rogue deeds (7)
IMPACTS – A rogue or rascal, usually of tender years, followed by another word for ‘deeds’.

6d           Divine having time away from visitors (5)
GUESS – Remove the abbreviation for Time from some visitors to your house, to get this verb for ‘to divine’.

7d           Issues from holidays on Scottish river (6,5)
BREAKS FORTH – Some holidays from work, followed by a major Scottish river.

9d           Urban residents won’t sleep agitated about work (11)
TOWNSPEOPLE – Anagram (agitated) of WON’T SLEEP, wrapped round the Latin abbreviation for ‘work’.

14d         Aliens from one star base turned up in transport (9)
VENUSIANS – Start by putting together the Roman numeral for ‘one’, our nearest star, and a logarithmic base. Reverse (turned up) the result, then wrap somecommercial transport around the result.

M is for Marcus Morris - Shooting Parrots

15d         Supernatural fiend awfully stoic protecting sect (9)
OCCULTIST – anagram (awfully) of STOIC wrapped round another word for a sect. ‘Fiend’ here is being used in the sense of a fan rather than a demon.

17d         Welshman lies after losing leader’s keys (7)
IVORIES – The answer is an informal word for piano keys. A typically Welsh forename (though with English spelling), followed by (l)IES from the clue minus its first letter.

The actor singing in this clip had the right first name:

18d         Takeaway with baked food beneath counter (7)
CHIPPIE – The sort of counter used in a casino, followed by a baked item, typically meat or fruit in a pastry case.

Rab's Chippie | Rab's Chippie is in Cammletoun ('Campbeltown… | Flickr

20d         Instrument is article used in tricky job (5)
BANJO – Anagram (tricky) of JOB, wrapped round an indefinite article.

21d         Beat up Capone, perhaps, in early days (5)
NATAL – Reverse (up) a word for ‘beat’, than add Mr Capone’s first name.

The Quick Crossword pun FARE + ELAND = FAIRYLAND

125 comments on “DT 29878

  1. Very enjoyable, I had this down as a ProXimal production and X-less pangram but the Y is absent too so all bets are off!
    I found the top friendlier than the bottom but overall a 2* for difficulty with the entertainment factor top notch.
    Top three for me were 25a plus 20d with top spot going to the superb 16a. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter and DT

    1. Just reading the excellent review, an alternative way of parsing (and my initial thought)10a would be an (enclosed) space in(side) the hospital department.

      1. That was how I had it. SL, being ex NCB.
        Although having been down some pits in South Wales with 3ft coal seams “mine” and “space are not synonyms. Falcon’s parsing is much more plausible one.

  2. Like StephenL I found the too half read and write, but took considerably longer on bottom half, but can’t really see why. After getting 18d it all fell into plaice! (Sorry!)
    Thanks all

  3. Like the first two commenters, I found this friendlier at the top than at the bottom but finished in quite a good time for a Friday

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  4. This was certainly tricky in places with one or two delays in what was otherwise a fairly typical and most enjoyable Friday grid. It is hard to look beyond the magnificent 16a for a favourite; quite superb.

    A big thank you to our setter and to DT for his review.

  5. I’m another who found this a crossword of two halves, but thoroughly enjoyed both.

    Many thanks to the setter. And thanks to DT for explaining the w in my answer to 11a (one of these days I’m going to remember to watch out for ‘with’) but mostly my thanks for the sublime ‘Men of Harlech’ it hits me right in my Welsh girl roots.

  6. Like Stephen I had this pegged as an X-less pangram & the elusive search for the missing Y was a real distraction in the SE. Can’t recall coming across 22a before. It was my last in & it took longer than it ought to have to spot that I’d carelessly spelt 14d with a T rather than an S. With 16a I immediately saw Gerald & Joe & moved on so can’t claim all parsed correctly. My lengthiest back page solve of the week so clearly didn’t find it that gentle though reading back through it not sure why as there wasn’t anything particularly obscure & the wordplay wasn’t overly complicated. 25a gets my vote for pick of the bunch for the excellent surface read – nowt worse than the pong of fish remains. Off back to the Apple store so the Toughie will have to wait.
    Thanks to the setter & to DT

    1. Good luck! All these negative comments have got me worried as I have a mountain of photographs to move around and had been thinking of braving the store for help. Sounds as thought I am likely to lose the lot!

        1. All our lost photos were on the iCloud MP & the ” genius” lost them and the top “genius” couldn’t get them back again.
          He recommended in future we back everything onto the iMac then back that up to a 1Tb second hard drive (bought from Apple of course). His words “you can’t always trust iCloud & your data is your responsibility not Apples”. (He had obviously been on Apple’s advanced Customer Relations course)
          Unfortunately Mrs LrOK had an iMac, an ipad, iwatch, iphoneetc etc etc so we just had to lump it & soldier on They are great while they are working I will admit.

          1. I have a backup drive on my computer, can I get one for my iPad? Not sure I’d know what to do with it, maybe I’d be better off quizzing Godson on things like that.

            1. Unfortunately, Merusa, the 5Tb hard drive cannot back up my iPad. It will only connect to my MacBook.

              If your Godson can come up with a way to back up iPad please let me know.

          2. Food for thought. Every picture we take on iPhone or iPad we can automatically see on the iMac, a great feature. But I will have a talk with my techie other half and suggest we also back up on a thumb drive. I think he already does back them up in a separate folder, but can’t hurt. Thanks for the info. They don’t call them “genius” here any more, and no longer have the Genius Bar.

  7. All over in */** time. Just the SE stopped it being a *. I didn’t know 22a, but it was obvious from the wordplay, thought the ‘fiend’ in 15d somewhat misleading and was trying to fit either a Y or both X&Y to achieve the relevant pangram. I probably shouls have got 15d sooner, as I had watched Live and Let Die for the umpteenth time last night.

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  8. The hold-up came in the SE corner for me, where a cluster of clues foxed me (4*/3*). Once a few checkers went in, things speeded up a lot, although I still couldn’t parse 3d, 5d and the second half of 11a, which were bung-ins. I always find Proximal difficult to fathom. Thanks to DT for the hints a d to Proximal.

  9. A cheerful puzzle that held me up in a few places, then Mrs GD looked over my shoulder and effortlessly pencilled in the last couple (keys and smells).
    Thanks DT especially for the Treen

  10. Are we allowed to have a quick discussion about the Quickie?

    The clue for 23a is ‘Elapsed’ with ‘P-S-‘ as the answer. I’m guessing the compiler wants PAST, but surely it should be PASSED. Or, the clue should be ‘Elapse’ and the answer ‘PASS’.

    Any thoughts?

    1. MR. Not sure about this but as adjectives can’t past and passed mean the same thing – having completed the act of passing/elapsed/over and done with/finished?

      The danger is now past. The danger has now passed.

          1. Malcolm R thank you so much – early this morning I mentally questioned that – thought I would be alone in thinking that

        1. I think ‘times past’ are ‘times elapsed’ in the sense required. Chambers 21st has it in its ‘adj 3’ synonyms list along with things like ‘bygone’ and ‘ancient’. I’m okay with it, though it did warrant a Paddington stare.

  11. Sorry but I needed far too many hints to finish this one so enjoyment was low. That is down to me, of course, and not the setter. Tomorrow is another day.

    Many thanks to the setter for the puzzle and DT for making sense of it all.

    1. I tackled Wordle again and got a right answer first time! Pure luck, not claiming any credit. Perhaps it is that easy. I enjoy doing the Polyword and the word ladder on the toughie page – always letters rather than numbers, sudoku leaves me cold.

      1. I managed Wordle in 5 goes today, DG. The trouble with getting the correct word on your first go is that it makes you think the puzzle is easy. As you say, it is pure luck. Actually, Sudoku is not really a game of numbers. It could be done with nine letters or symbols. :good:

      2. I’m in awe of anybody that solves a Sodoffku. I’ve always got too many letter A’s

      3. Well done. I still haven’t managed to understand what is required of me. Not sure I should take on another puzzle, the cryptic and codewords take up most of my time!

        1. Oh, come now fair lady! Forsooth, tis but one puzzle a day and all done at the click of a peacock’s tongue! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  12. A real head scratcher for me which I put down to brain befuddlement as part of the after effects of my third jab on Wednesday afternoon.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 14d, and 18d – and the winner is 10a.

    Thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) and to DT.

  13. Like several above me, I found Hampshire, Sussex and the Surrey borders the trickier areas to explore. The mists cleared a little when I solved 14d.

    Yesterday I had to trek to the major shopping mall in Kingston-upon-Thames to have a new battery fitted in my iPhone. The Apple Store people were lovely, but such a soulless experience visiting this enormous cathedral of commerce. Shop after shop empty of customers; the assistants usually gathered around the tills chatting. Security guards leaning against vast glass walls overlooking the centre of the mall and staring into the abyss. I asked one why there was not one chair or bench to be found anywhere in the public areas. “I know… I get asked that a lot… They don’t want people loitering.”
    I hope I don’t ever need to go back there.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

    Thanks to the setter and the ever-reliable DT.

    1. Hi Terence – I also need a new battery for an iphone but it was going to cost over 100 quid – is that what you paid if its not a rude question? Thanks.

      1. Do it yourself. Look on Amazon, I got a replacement for £23 including all the tools. Some words of advice.

        Watch a few videos on YouTube.
        Make sure you are buying the right battery.
        Identify each screw as you remove it. They are many different sizes. Draw a diagram of the phone and mark where each screw came from.
        You need to have a steady hand.
        Be careful, there is no need to use any force anywhere.

        If you have any experience of taking electricals apart (and successfully reassembling them!) you can do it.

          1. Glory be Malcolm. I have just watched the Utube video of replacing the battery – way above my pay grade, I will have to get a new phone I think.

            1. I just found out that my iPhone 6 can no longer get updates. So rather than be insecure looks like another expensive purchase is lurking. A shame as I am happy with it otherwise.

        1. That sounds good to me, will have to pluck up the courage to venture into Norwich – thanks Terence.

    2. Oh Terence, Kingston upon Thames how I loved thee. Poking round Bentalls (is it still there?) on a Saturday afternoon and then a cream tea. So much more fun than a trip to Sutton or Epsom. Putney was nice too there was a very smart tea shop at the top of the High Street, the name was the make of cakes they sold. This is going to worry me until I remember. Oh happy days.

      1. I still have a celophane-wrapped bottle of a Georgian red wine that I bought in Bentalls back in the very early 90s – beautiful cyrillic script on the label, classic soviet-era design, hand-written bottle number, still unopened and doubtless quite undrinkable. Down the road in Richmond I recall a wonderful patisserie near the underground station, an excuse for getting off the train there even if that wasn’t the destination!

      2. DG, yes indeed Bentalls does still exist. I too remember it well from happy shopping days of yore when we lived in Kingswood. It is now owned by Fenwick and is a slightly upmarket but rather dull store comprising just womenswear, menswear, cosmetics (mainly designer labels etc.) and homeware departments in the “Bentall Centre” (75 stores!). There is no longer the super food department, etc. All that of course is a long way from the drapery shop opened by Frank Bentall in 1867.

    3. The Cure … what a brilliant start to a weekend, thank you Terence. I know what I’ll be playing on YouTube for the next hour or so!

  14. A great end to the week with this */*** which suited me right down to the ground. I don’t know how I knew 22a but it makes up for all the times when I feel an idiot not knowing words that everyone else seems to! Whilst not at all tricky I did like the flow of 7d which gets my COTD. With thanks to DT and the setter.

  15. Greetings
    First time posting here for me.
    Have used this excellent resource for some months and am finally getting back into the crossword groove after an absence of some 40 years for a “Career Break”!
    At just under xxx, today was probably one of my quickest unaided finishes, which leads to my question re. the time star ratings that posters use, are they generally defined anywhere on site or are they purely individuals own comparative self assessment?
    Thanks for all the help so far.

    1. Welcome to the blog Rusty1960.

      I’ve edited your comment, because we don’t mention solving times here, in order not to discourage people who may be taking a lot longer.

      The *** system for difficulty and enjoyment is purely subjective for the person posting. In broad terms, *** represents an average time, with quicker or longer times shown by fewer or more stars.

    2. Welcome, Rusty to the Merry Band. As for star ratings, I never use them. What might be *** for one could well be * for another. To me, star ratings are meaningless.

      Hope to hear from you again.

  16. Well I enjoyed this one immensely. It felt like an old-style Giovanni with elegant clues that contained everything needed to give the answer. However if it was a Giovanni where was the weird word?
    My favs were 6d, 18a and 17d.
    Thx to all esp to CS for pointing me to yesterdays comments. Sorry I didn’t reply but I seldom get the opportunity to go back to the blog.

  17. I didn’t enjoy this much either although I did finish. Have never known ‘own’ to mean ‘peculiar’ – only solved it because nothing else fitted. Tom Kerridge’s baked celeriac was a Disaster Dahling! Not worth trying. Anyway thanks to the setter and DT

    1. I did wonder about the celeriac recipe. Not a vegetable I have ever taken too. As tripe is to meat so celeriac is to vegetables. :grin:

      1. Celeriac Remoulade is orobably the best use I have found for it. However the quality of Celeriac has to be good to get the texture right and it seems to vary a lot.
        My one attempt grow them was a disahster as the cekeriac were undersized and riddled with insect damage

          1. I would say look for one about size of grapefruit or smaller and of reasonably unblemished appearance (particularly if using raw e.g. as remoulade). I put slices/matchsticks into acidulated water as I cut up to avoid discolouration.

    2. Aha I was going to ask you about the celeriac. I saw some in D….. Dora’s this morning but resisted it until I had quizzed you on the outcome. I obviously won’t bother! And by the way, I like tripe!

  18. I’m another who found North gentle and South rather more enigmatic but enjoyably so. Took a while to figure out peculiar in 19a however in the end made it my Fav in spite of the game becoming somewhat of a bad penny. Surprised 18d can be spelt as per hint illustration. Thank you setter and DT.

  19. Seemed like a gentler Friday puzzle than recent offerings, 2*/4* today.
    Favourites include16a, 2d, 7d, 14d & 18d with co-winners 7d & 18d

    Thanks to setter and DT for hints

  20. Only slightly easier than the Friday norm as I meandered up a few garden paths on the way.
    Is the spelling of 18d a regional thing? It was always “chippy” in Oldham.
    As DT 14d reminded me of Dan Dare & rhat gets it my COTD
    Thank to setter and DT for the review.
    Unbelievably Covid iInfections in the Highlands went from 870 to 1750 / 100,000 in one day. We are so sparsely populated it defies logic to me.

    1. Always been “chippy” with me, LROK. As for Dan Dare, I am in the process of collecting issues of The Eagle from the first edition. The very first issue in reasonable condition is quite elusive.

        1. I used to work on Eagle in the early 60s…….Friday was press day, and we all rushed to get the thing done after a very long lunchtime drink
          in the pub next to the stage door of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

    2. LROK, 611,000 new Covid cases in the US yesterday, with over 300 in my county alone. Looks like I’m locked-down for the duration.

      1. Robert
        The population of the US is about 5 times the UK, so pro rata on yesterday”s data you would have been 120,000 we were 180 000 France over 200,000. It seems as contagious as the common cold. “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” is more true today than it was in 194x.

  21. This one posed a few problems, I think it is because I am so cold, despite lots of layers. My dear husband says ‘You cannot be that cold’ which certainly heats something in me but doesn’t warm my fingers. I put the towels on the line although I guess they are frozen. 14 and 15d were my sticking points but I really liked 16 and 22a and 7 and 9d. Many thanks to Messrs Setter and Hinter. I can hardly believe that we are a week into the New Year already. Yoiks.

    1. I put towels and sheets on the line when I know they will freeze. A pointless exercise but it reminds me of my childhood.

  22. Cracking and for me, as for others, a game of two halves, but I’m certainly not as sick as a parrot! Brian’s call could be spot-on: it felt Giovanni-like to me, too.

    Some splendid red herrings and plenty of humour along the way, no assistance required and everything parsed. I found it difficult to stay on the setter’s wavelength and it took me a while to tease out a number of southern answers, taking me over 3* time and making this my longest backpage solve of the week by a considerable margin, but what a great puzzle with which to end the week.

    3.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter (the Don?) and to DT for the review.

  23. Am I the only one to think that the answer to 24ac should be in the past tense as indicated by the clue? Now if it had read “pronounced noses treasure” I would have been a bit happier (but surface would disappear) and it would maybe have enabled me to solve 18d where I couldn’t get “chinese” out of my head and definately couldn’t parse it either👀

    But, that said, I enjoyed the challenge. Thought 16ac the pick!

    Thanks to setter and DT for sorting out the parsing of 3dn for me. Duh!

  24. I seem to have fallen into a very deep ravine of sleep the past two nights, knitting “up the raveled sleave of care,” I guess (actually, it was the Toughie that ravelled me), so I am very late again. I very much enjoyed this Friday teaser, with only 22a holding me back from a fast finish (the clue was fair enough for me to work it out, though it’s a new term for me). 16a, however, was the runaway winner, with 14d & 25a taking the other medals. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. **/****

    1. I just heard: RIP Sydney Poitier, dead at 94. Goodbye, Mr Tibbs. What a classy person, first-class actor, first-class human–a star all the way.

        1. One of cinema’s most memorable lines

          “They call me Mr. Tibbs.”

          As you say, Robert, a first class actor.

        2. We’re having trouble trying to confirm this news about Poitier, which came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas. There has been no other coverage confirming it.

      1. I can still hear him saying ‘They call me MR Tibbs’. Brilliant film with excellent actors.

      2. What a classy gent he was !
        Robert, I like home improvement TV shows and Chip and Jo Gaines are faves. They often use 22a, only I thought they were saying “t” instead of “p”, glad to have been corrected.

        1. 😂I prefer your version Merusa, in fact I will call it that from now on. I assume you meant the middle p not the end one.

      3. In the heat of the night is one of my favourite films, he was brilliant in it ,as was Rod Steiger. Very sad but it comes to us all. To look on the bright side he left a good legacy of films.

        1. I still remember the scene where Steiger is trying to recall a word for a particular atmosphere. The word was “Miasma”. The way Steiger made his character play the scene showed that the presence of Tibbs was anathema to him.

          A great film that challenged conceived ideas of the time.

  25. A very nice puzzle, best of the week for my money. Good clues, a reasonable challenge and plenty of enjoyment. I’ll pick 25a as a favourite, though I have ticked a few. 3.5*, 4*.

  26. Well after much back slapping for finishing one unaided, first time this week, I looked at the hints and found I had 24a wrong😩. I had pride, noses = pried. So my ego was deflated with whoosh ,at least I think it was my ego🤪. But at least it was better than my other efforts this week. Thanks to all.

        1. Sorry, re-reading your comment properly I quite see what you mean! Late in the day, a bottle of Negroamaro etc😎🍷

    1. Not that bad a shout DaveG. It wasn’t the easiest of clues and the checkers left several options

  27. I completed this as usual over breakfast but I have been busy since then so I am posting later than usual. My rating is 2.5*/4.5*.

    This was a puzzle in more ways than one. Like other commenters, I suspected this was a proXimal creation after the first three quarters went in very smoothly and provided 23 letters with no X, Y or Z to be seen, so I was anticipating an X-less pangram with only the SE corner left to solve. That corner took me longer than the rest of puzzle put together as, not only was it significantly more difficult, I kept trying to fit a Y in somewhere. My obsession with the possible “pangra” however did help me with the Z in 24a.

    The brevity and quality of the clueing still has me leaning towards proXimal, who may have made a New Year’s resolution to tease us!

    My favourite was the superb 16a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

  28. The South finished me off after a relatively easy North start – just could not get 19 and 23a … but very enjoyable thank you setter and DT

    1. Happy New Year to you too. Many thanks for popping in and for such an excellent puzzle for the first Friday of the year. What happened to the Y?!

    2. So it was you! Thank you for popping in to confirm and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022.

    3. Rules is rules – either it’s an X in each quadrant or an X-less pangram. Teasing is strictly 16a.
      Ta for popping in & for a great puzzle.

  29. Even later posting than RD, my excuse being that a girlfriend came over and whizzed me off for lunch – the food didn’t take long but the nattering went on for hours! Sadly, the restaurant has now returned to giving everyone forms to fill out for the purposes of ‘track & trace’ – just when we thought we’d seen the back of it……….
    Got held up somewhat in the SE corner where the checkers suggested ‘chinese’ and I couldn’t see how that could work – didn’t help that 22a was an unknown despite the fact that the illustration leads me to believe that I’ve seen it plenty of times.
    Favourite was 16a with a nod to 12a for its description of the answer being ‘sweet, dinky birds’!

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review.

  30. Happy New Year Proximal and thank you for popping in. I made a valiant effort but eventually had to resort to the hints. COTD 16ac. Thank you Deep Threat for the hints which were much needed after giving it my best shot.

  31. Wow! Five great crosswords in a row 😃 ***/*** The only draw back was that I was sure that 18d was “Chinese” 😳 which slowed me down for some time, any way 18d is one of my favourites along with 1a and 17d. Thanks to DT and to ProXimal

  32. I was enjoying this a lot until I came to the south, very, very tricky and needed a huge amount of e-help and hints. Parsing was also tricky, I wanted to put rubdown in 18a on reading the clue but couldn’t get it, so left it blank until the end. Likewise 14d, I think you have to be a nuclear scientist to solve that. Fave was 16a, natch, but quite liked 1a as well.
    The extensive discussion about iPads put a goozu on my phone, which has now gone kaput. I need it so badly, I’m pretty shaky, I have to have it with me at all times in case of a fall! Rats!
    Thanks proXimal, you had us all looking for nonexistent letters. Your help was much appreciated DT, particularly liked the Clancy Brothers, now, why do I think they should be Australians?

  33. I spent all my free time earlier in a fruitless attempt to de-grease and clean an integrated cooker hood. 20 odd years of baked-on bacon fat really gets to you after a bit. However, after several hours of scraping and soaping the damn thing still blew a fuse. I have tracked down a replacement but can’t collect it until tomorrow so I came here for a calm down and a nice puzzle.
    Thanks to DT and Proximal. The kitchen is in bits so if I want anything to eat I 6d (Guess) it’s the 18d (Chippie) for me.
    Thanks to DT and Proximal.

    1. Mark’s & Spencer do a very tasty line in ready meals, John.

      Hope the kitchen is sorted soon.

      1. We have a cracking chippie just down the road. Wetherby Whaler have bought our local takeaway and they do a mean “Whaler” ( a large piece of prime Haddock)

        1. Aye lad thaat reet knocks spots off anything M&S can offer.
          Add some Dutch Fritesaus for truly international cuisine.

  34. Perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t, it’s a while since I’ve said that but this fits the phrase perfectly. The SE being the stumbling block in question. I needed the hint to parse 15d. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  35. Oh dear, I really didn’t get on with this one at all. Barely managed half of it unaided. Nowhere near on the wavelength.
    Never mind, there’s always tomorrow.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  36. This led me on a bit of a dance… quick, quick, slow, slow, quick. A mix of gentle and tricky clues. 14d ☹️, but loved 5d and 6d. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

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