DT 30064 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30064

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30064

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Staffs on another baking day.

I was held up for ages in the SE corner of today’s puzzle, and resorted in the end to revealing a letter or two, hence the **** difficulty marking. The unfriendly grid, with four more or less unconnected sections and the double unches didn’t help. It was only when the penny finally dropped on 18a that I was able to complete.

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           Creature cages cannot bottle (8)
DECANTER – A wild animal  wrapped round (cages) the short form of ‘cannot’.

decanter - Wiktionary

5a           Back part of flat is debutante’s accommodation (6)
BEDSIT – Hidden in reverse (back part) in the clue.

8a           Exercise involving oxygen 50/50 with nitrogen, this helps growth (6)
POLLEN – The two-letter acronym for the physical exercise inflicted on schoolchildren is wrapped round the chemical symbol for oxygen and two examples of the Roman numeral for 50, then the chemical symbol for nitrogen is added at the end.

9a           Trendy bearing case (8)
INSTANCE – A two-letter word for ‘trendy’ followed by another word for ‘bearing’ or ‘posture’.

10a         That guy’s rise in command should be celebrated (8)
HISTORIC – Put together the pronoun for ‘that guy’s’, a rise or high point typically found on Dartmoor, and the abbreviation for In Command.

11a         Bring in substance (6)
IMPORT – Double definition, the first a verb, the second a noun, as in ‘the substance of an allegation’.

12a         Tango dancing in smart broadcast (8)
TRANSMIT – The letter represented by Tango in the NATO alphabet, followed by an anagram (dancing) of IN SMART.

13a         Sweet and sour to be embraced by supporter (6)
TOFFEE – A supporter of a golf ball is wrapped round another word for ‘sour’ (milk, perhaps).

Bonfire Toffee – The Oldest Sweet Shop In The World

15a         One’s to bring in Conservative by southern entrance (6)
ACCESS – Start with another word for the ‘one’ in a pack of cards, with the ‘S from the clue. Insert an abbreviation for Conservative, then add Southern at the end.

18a         A first for this series — no getting into it halfway through (8)
ALPHABET – A cryptic definition of a series of characters that starts with A, and has NO halfway through (in 14th and 15th place, to be exact).

20a         Distressed, failing to start rocket (6)
EARFUL – The definition hear (rocket) is a sort of telling-off. Start with a word that might describe someone in a distressed state, then remove the first letter.

21a         Breadhead’s snack? (8)
DOUGHNUT – ‘Bread’ here is a slang term for money. Replace it with another such slang term, then add a slang word for ‘head’.

Jam doughnuts recipe | BBC Good Food

23a         Slur coming from bar, nude, frolicking with nothing on (8)
INNUENDO – Put together a bar or pub, an anagram (frolicking) of NUDE, and the letter which looks like zero or nothing.

24a         Blame accepted by doctor having a drink (6)
GRAPPA – Another word for ‘blame’ (as in ‘taking the —‘) has the acronym for a doctor in general practice wrapped round it, then A (from the clue) is added.

25a         Clock, £10 maybe, one with carbon inside (6)
NOTICE – Something which in the UK may be £5, £10, £20 or £50 has the Roman numeral for one and the chemical symbol for carbon inserted.

26a         Clocking out (8)
STRIKING – Double definition: ‘clocking’ is a slang word for ‘hitting’ or ‘punching’; ‘out’ refers to industrial action.


1d           Sort of measure that’s beyond Department G (5)
DEPTH – An abbreviation for ‘department’ followed by the letter which follows G.

2d           Unexpectedly together (3,2,4)
ALL AT ONCE – This phrase for ‘unexpectedly’ could also describe a group of people arriving together.

3d           Article in Times on alcohol rage (7)
TANTRUM – Put an indefinite article between two instances of the abbreviation for Time, then add an alcoholic drink.

4d           Outsiders from Romania wearing varieties of animal pelt (4,4,3,4)
RAIN CATS AND DOGS – Put together the outside letters of RomaniA, another word for ‘wearing’, and some domestic pets.

5d           Beatle originally featured on ‘Help!’ — McCartney? (7)
BASSIST – The first letter of Beatle followed by another word for ‘help’, giving us a musician such as Paul McCartney was in the Beatles.

6d           If it gets too hot, one may go back in the car (7)
SUNROOF – Cryptic definition of something which may be slid back to provide more ventilation in a car.

7d           Enter Matt, comically giving us therapy (9)
TREATMENT – Anagram (comically) of ENTER MATT.

12d         Two boys, one hosting uni event, one on stage (9)
TRAGEDIAN – Two three-letter names of boys or men, the first wrapped round a rowdy student event which in my day raised large sums for charity by engaging in various silly activities, and selling a magazine filled with decidedly off-colour jokes. Probably banned these days. Anyway, putting these together gives us an actor who is not a barrel of laughs.

14d         Glamorous retreat that brings the past to life (9)
FLASHBACK – Another word for ‘glamorous’ or ‘showy’, followed by a verb for ‘retreat’. The answer is a device used in narrative in a film or novel.

16d         Seen in disco, ‘Ronettes’ sparkly top (7)
CORONET – Hidden in the clue.

17d         Mum about 100, sort of senile! (7)
SILENCE – Anagram (sort of) of SENILE with the Roman numeral for 100 inserted.

19d         Traveller turns up clutching organ pipe cleaner? (7)
PLUNGER – A commercial traveller is reversed (turns up) and is wrapped round an organ of the body.

Force Cup Sink Plunger 140mm x 22mm

22d         In hold-up, gunman with regularly veiled accent (5)
TWANG – Alternate letters (regularly veiled) of GuNmAn WiTh, read from right to left (or bottom to top).

The Quick Crossword pun PEAT + TERSE + CELLARS = PETER SELLERS

117 comments on “DT 30064
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  1. The excellent 1&5 access set the trend for this very enjoyable work out.
    Tricky in places, not helped by the double unches (my last three in all contained one) but mainly through ingenious clueing and misdirection.
    18a plus 6&14d were other highlights but winner for me and clue of the week the brilliant 5d. Great stuff
    Many thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat

  2. I found this to be an absolute stinker and have only just finished it. Funnily enough it was the SW corner that held me up the longest. I got 5d quite early but didn’t put it in because I was pronouncing it wrongly and didn’t think it was a real word. A proper workout today with some very clever clues so thanks to the setter and DT.

  3. Slow to get going today, but as soon as I got the first one (5d) I knew it was going to be great fun!
    The rest followed nicely, but for the life of me I couldn’t get the last one 18a, tried coming back to it after a break but still no joy. Had to revert to my little solver machine which yielded the only word that fitted, so obvious when you know the answer! favourite was the aforementioned 5d.

  4. ADNF for me Im afraid. I don’t know if it was the effect of a sleepless night but it took ages to complete most of the clues and, by the time I got to the last four, I’d lost the will to live it was all very clever but just not my cup of tea and a bit of a grind. 14 d was the best of the clues for me and 21a made me laugh. Thanks to the compiler and to DT for the hints.

  5. I found this very tough indeed, especially the SE corner which–as with DT–held me up forever. I took a long break (read a new short story by Ian McEwan–so nice to read him again!–in The NYkr), and when I returned to the grid, the pennies slowly dropped, beginning with 24a and ending finally with 19d. 18a is my LOL COTD, which clicked with me quite early, with 23a, 14d, 5d, & 4d all vying for pole positions. But what a workout this was! Thanks to DT and today’s setter. ***** / ****

  6. For the first minute or so I thought this was going to be an absolute swine, but I found a toehold in the SW and despite all those double unches it all then fell into place very swiftly in a clockwise direction – my fortune was finding myself on the setter’s wavelength, making it one of the quickest solves of the week for me.

    Great and fair clueing throughout and my Hon Mentions list comprised 21 & 24a, 1, 3, 4, 5 & 12d, with COTD to my LOI, the superb 18a.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter (yes, it does feel rather Zandio-ish), and also to DT of course.

    1. MG. I can’t take that 1* seriously, but to each his own …

      *There are some regulars on here who say that the rating system is from 1* to 5* – because rating 0* is considered taboo and it was never envisaged/expected that people would use increments of less than a full * (1*). So, the medium rating using 1* – 5* is 3*. My take on it is that the system is 0* – 5*, but 0* is taboo (but still exists in theory) and increments of .5* can be used – with a medium rating of 2.5*.

      1. As I said, it was entirely my good fortune to tune into Zandio’s wavelength very quickly – one of those occasions when directions were spotted almost instantly, any/all anagrams were seen and solved without scribbling down letters, where words (eg 12d) just leapt out at me. By comparison I found Monday’s OPP much tougher. The comments from others on this blog had me wondering whether we’d completed the same puzzle.

        Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket today! I know that Elgar will bring me crashing back down to earth.

        Edit to add: yes, I use 0.5 increments to have a ladder where 50% is at 2.5, whether perceived difficulty or enjoyment factor.

  7. A bit of a slugfest but eventually made it with North getting there first. Suppose case is appropriate for 9a. 12d rather convoluted. 4d Fav once animal skin had been discounted. The multi-talented Two Ronnies and Angela Ripon provided a welcome lighter moment. Thank you Zandio and DT.

    1. We also enjoyed the clip with Morecambe and Wise with Angela Ripon. Good old fashioned comedy and she was a great dancer.

  8. very hard today I usually have no problem completing the crossword but today was a stinker resorted to find answers for 18 A 19 D

  9. 4*/3*. This was a puzzle of two halves for me, with the bottom half taking more than three times as long as the top half.

    We had to play guess a boy’s name twice in one clue and the pedant in me thinks that 18a should have said “partway” rather than “halfway”.

    5d was my runaway favourite.

    Thanks to presumably Zandio and to DT.

    1. ‘Getting into it halfway through’ means it enters the series once the first half is finished.

      If a footballer got subbed at half-time, the commentators would say that the substitute did ‘get into it (the game) halfway through’ the match.

    2. 18a you get halfway through (to 13th position) and then, there it is … (ok can see argument either way but I think we can forgive the setter given such a clever clue?)
      [edit: sorry gordong, I failed to refresh page before posting so missed your response]

      1. No problem Fez. There is no argument.

        A truly superb clue. A candidate for podium of the year *

        I am not worthy, Zio


        * Mr K should soooooooo organize a ‘Clue of the Year’ in December, selecting, say, 50 clues, letting us pick our gold, silver and bronze.

        In the words of a TV resident of Peckham, Mr K (or someone else)…..you know it makes sense.

    3. “Halfway through” doesn’t necessarily mean exactly/precisely 50% of the way through. In general conversation/written reports, it nearly always means roughly halfway through or somewhere in the middle section.

      1. It is a very odd one from RD (halfway through).

        We know his take on US states (abbreviations), countries, world capitals, boys and girls names, Americanisms etc.

        In a strange way, I actually look forward to him saying ‘Grrr’ which I can’t explain. I think I like to see how he’s going to phrase it each time.

        Today’s was a goodie.

        1. Gordon, I know my memory is not what it used to be but I can’t recall ever having had a problem with US State abbreviations, countries and world capitals, but a thorough search might well unearth some examples.

          1. Forgive me.

            What I meant to say is….

            Why do you okay the 50 US state abbreviations and the scores of short cities, countries and capitals but grumble when it’s a girls or boys name?

            Mr K maybe able to help here but I reckon I’ve only seen between 10 and 20 girls and boys names over the years which is way less than the other categories.

            Why are you okay with much bigger categories when, like names, you have nothing to work with, especially the US states abbreviations?

            1. Gordon, my feeling is that there are many, many times more first names than there are cities and countries using five letters or fewer as a practical guideline. Looking at Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Lists seems to confirm this, although obviously not all the names will lend themselves for inclusion in a puzzle. US State abbreviations are a finite and easily referenced set.

              1. There are probably hundreds or three and four letter names but, as you say, a huge percentage are not common. So, we can discount those as they’re never used in crosswords.

                We see the usual 10 or 20. Ian and Ted are classics as they often end many words.

                There really aren’t as many that get used as you think (this is where it would be nice to get statto’s numbers)

                That’s why I think you need to make your peace with it.

                Btw, there’s nothing easy about referencing a set of 50 things if you can’t recall them which would be the case with many people here.

                And referencing this to solve a clue is what I would never do though, as MP say, do what you’ve got to do to finish the grid. I learnt all 50 yanks ago – sorry – yonks ago but not their abbreviations.

                I’m still reeling from your halfway comment.

                1. Eh?

                  RD contributes a lot to the blog and I always like to hear people’s backgrounds. I’m sure he won’t mind saying…unless he has to kill me once he’s told me, of course.

                  What a bizarre thing to say.

                  You do have a habit of getting involved in other people’s conversations.

                  What is your career, I wonder?

                  1. Gordon, I suspect that Merusa’s comment was aimed at me not you although I am at a bit of a loss as to why. The answer is that I find cryptic crosswords hugely enjoyable most of the time. That includes this one which I gave 3* for enjoyment despite its toughness.

                    I don’t understand the relevance of my career – I retired from the chemical industry years ago and seem to be busier than ever now with hobbies and five granddaughters.,

                    1. Splendid

                      It would have been great if you were in a career where pedants excel, none of which I will suggest as I don’t want to offend anyone on this blog in those fields.

                    2. I’ve only just seen….five granddaughters.

                      Any chance of a grandson or is it all done and dusted?

                    3. Please read and follow the Comment Etiquette of the blog (written by BD and available on the main page under the ‘Comment’ heading). All 16 items of the Etiquette are well worth reading but item 2 which I reproduce below is particularly relevant.

                      2. Don’t leave comments which are rude, insulting or give offence, including, but not limited to, personal insults and religious preferences.

                    4. Personal?

                      What I said isn’t personal….in the way its meant. Of course it isn’t.

                      RD is cool with it, I’m sure.

          2. Just ignore the unfounded criticisms Rabbit Dave. Coming as they do from someone who never actually posts his own comment regarding the cryptic, but prefers to find fault with comments of regular solvers.

      2. Jose

        I see that you have chosen not to quote chapter and verse from the BRB today! :wink:

        Halfway (adjective)
        – Equidistant from two points

        It is a very good clue though.

        1. For example. You write a message: We set off for Oxford at 8pm but broke down halfway through the journey [which was, incidentally, exactly 83.5 miles]. If you didn’t break down after exactly 41.75 miles, are you saying that the message phrased so wouldn’t be allowed? There’s literal and there’s figurative!

    4. Just imagine if all those nebulous girls and boys were properly indicated – we’d get clues like this:

      12d Two boys (a young Mr Rogers perhaps and a young Mr St John maybe), one hosting uni event, one on stage (9)

      Is that the sort of thing you want? :-)

  10. Just like Manders said, a real stinker that needed some e-help for completion although I would rather guess two boys’ names than the name of an obscure geographical feature. Not enough ‘*’ on my keyboard to provide ratings.

    The double unches did not bother me as I didn’t notice them until I had finally achieved completion. I presume this is one of the grids that has now been purged from the ‘library’ and we won’t see it again. I can’t remember which setter told us about that.

    No standout favourites but 13a and 3d did raise smiles.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  11. Extremely tricky and I only completed this one after referral to DT’s hints. So my method today was ‘wisely, and slow; they stumble that run fast’ but without the ‘wisely’ bit.

    Thanks to the setter and Threat Of The Deep.

  12. A tough one for me too. Had to resort to the electronic gizmo for 18a…then thought how good a clue it was. Got the rest with a lot of head scratching and coffee.
    A lot of good clues in this difficult puzzle.
    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

  13. Having taken all morning to fill in the left hand side and only 7d solved on the right, I’m giving up.
    Life’s too short and it’s too hot. Who is going to join me in a “dark and stormy”, Bermuda’s national drink?

  14. I was going to use the word “stinker” but saw that Manders had used it together with “absolute”. Not a good end to what has been a great week of solving for me but I suppose it is a Friday and a curve ball should be expected. I did have two favourites. One was 7d with its reference to the DT’s cartoonist and the other was 3d, which is my COTD.

    Thank you to the setter for the thrashing and to DT for making sense of it.

    30 degrees in The Marches at the moment so gentle pottering in the garden with frequent pints of water being consumed is the order of the day. Mind you, I am grateful to Severn Trent Water Board who keep texting me to tell me it’s hot and to drink water. How did we ever manage before?

  15. Compared to some Fridy puzzles, this was relatively tame and straight forward with some great clues,
    2.5*/3-5* for me today.

    Favourites include 5a, 18a, 1d, 4d & 5d with winner 5d
    Thought that 8a, 23a, 25a 6d & 22d were all clever clues some with mis-direction too.

    Thanks to setter and DT

  16. This was really tough but really good fun with so many “oh yeah!!” moments and many smiles. Only got 18a with DT’s assistance but was then annoyed at myself. Like so many, obvious when you know.

    Question please – “double unches”??? Not sure what that means. Do tell.

  17. Toughie territory.
    Last in, after an age, 18 and 24a and 19d,
    Fooled previously by 18a, never again!
    Many compete for COTD.
    19d it is.
    An enjoyable struggle throughout.
    Many thanks, Zandio and DT.

  18. Far from straightforward for me, but all the better for it. I really enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle which had some excellent clues and several rewarding penny drop moments.
    Thanks to both the setter and DT.

  19. I thought this excellent puzzle gave Jay a run for his money as best of the week so far. Like others the SE proved the trickiest since it remained blank other than 21a&22d for some time.
    Lots of ticks for me – 18,20,21&24a along with 4,5,6,12&14d. Another vote for 5d as clear fav.
    Thanks to Zandio (I guess) & DT

  20. What a suberb crossword puzzle – lots of humour and excellent entertainment all round. I particularly liked 5 down, especially as I originally wondered how Mr Best could fit into the answer, before the penny finally dropped. 18a gets my vote for CotD. Thanks to today’s setter and to DT, who’s hint I needed for 21a thus aiding a way in to the SE corner.

  21. Something of an unremitting slog for me as is often the case with this setter’s puzzles – don’t really understand why I can’t find his wavelength or enjoy his compilations.
    Light relief to be found in 13a & 14d – and the Quickie pun appealed.

    Thanks to Zandio and definitely to DT for all his efforts.

  22. On page nine in today’s Telegraph is an article about mental effort poisoning the brain.
    After today’s puzzle, mine must be full.

  23. A rather you than me day today Deep Threat. A very slow but steady solve. Lots to like though as usual from Zandio (if it is he). Needed DTs help to understand 22 down. 12 down’s ‘one on stage’ was only ever going to be a thespian (not enough letters) or the answer that it was so no need to search for boys. They just turn up on their own. Thanks to Deep Threat and to the setter.

  24. Found this very tough but very enjoyable – 5d and 18a the stand-outs from a great selection – many thanks to setter and DT

  25. Really excellent puzzle; clever and definitely needed to dig deep. Spent ages trying to work 18a out and when I did, wow, isn’t it fab?! 👏👏👏👏

  26. An excellent Friday puzzle. Great clues, a good/tricky-ish tussle and an enjoyable solve. Best two for me: 23a and 5d. 3.5*/4*.

    *I’ve never, ever really noticed or bothered about double (or even treble) unches (or grid patterns). If they make the puzzle a little more tricky to solve, then that’s a good thing in my book!

    1. Thank you for popping in Zandio. Would it be possible to make your puzzles harder so I can indulge my masochistic side by failing to solve any clues?

      1. Who needs Brian when you’ve got Corky!

        Don’t worry about it, Zio. It’s just wind.

        If you haven’t seen my post above, 18a is outstanding. What a clever spot by you.

        Possibly your best ever clue.

        I am in awe.

        Bravo 👏 👏

  27. Bought the paper heading off to my favourite beach Trebarwith Strand near Tintagel and secured the said item in my rucksack heading over the cliffs. Got there and paper gone! Bah. Expected to find it fluttering about everywhere on my return. No sign. Looks like I missed a toughie. The sea was a lovely temperature. Why do all millennials and below wimp out and wear wet suits? Wimps.

  28. Stinker is obviously code for something far worse and unprintable in a family newspaper. Thank goodness for DT and his excellent hints. I will have to be less literal in my consideration of the meaning of and synonyms for, the words in the clues. I am sure MP has remarked on this in his words of wisdom on Thursday.

    Let’s hope the weekend doesn’t bring anything worse but as everyone knows – hope is the last refuge of an idiot.

  29. Phew what a scorcher! Very glad to see DT’s comments about difficulty. After a very pleasant early morning cycle ride this was a DNF for me. Good to read DT’s explanations (many thanks) and this was one I’m sure I would have enjoyed on a rainy day.

  30. I agree this was a tough one, I had begun to think the sun had got to my brain. 5a and 2&d brilliant – thanks to Zandio and DT. I’ve had a tough morning. I went to MnS early ish and did a big shop I had checked my ‘offers’ before I went – amongst others a £1 off smoked salmon not to be sniffed at. I pointed out to the checkout lady that I was redeeming my offers but when I got home and looking up the price of some items I had bought for my neighbour I found that none of the discounts had been applied. So I rang the number on the receipt and was put through to various people and eventually got a credit note. I told the young lady that in this heat I did not want to drive back to the store. Is it hot there, she said we have a thunderstorm. Where are you ? I asked. South Africa she replied. Has the world gone mad or is it me? And reading that Joan of Arc is gender neutral….

    1. As my grandmother used to say to me, Daisygirl – “The world is mad ‘cept thee an’ me an’ I’m getting worried about thee.”

    2. I love to see long posts from you Daisygirl. They are always interesting although sometimes sad. The blog is a richer place thanks to the personal content most people offer. Just talking crossword puzzles would be very limited and boring. One day I might enter an M&S. Possibly. Unlikely though. Nope. It’s not going to happen. It would send Nurse Ninepence into a state of shock

  31. I thought this was like drawing teeth, although I did get there eventually (with some cheating). Thanks, none-the-less, to Zandio and to DT for help with some parsing. I did like 18a when the penny finally dropped. I shall now go and put my head in the fridge.

      1. I wondered if you’d ask me that, MP! The only thing I really consider cheating is going to the online newspaper version of the puzzle (I normally solve the dead tree version, which I know you won’t approve of), putting in what letters I have and then random other letters. I then go to the menu and click on “reveal mistakes”. I’ve been known to work my way through the alphabet that way until I get to the right letter. It is very time-consuming and I have to be desperate. All other help, like the BRB, the SRB and other dictionaries (and occasionally Google), I think is fine. I suppose I probably also think of using the hints on this site as verging on cheating, although I often use them to help with parsing when I don’t understand my answer. Probably not very logical but there we are.

        1. I do ascribe to MP’s dictum that the aim is to fill the grid by any means and nothing is “cheating”. However, if I have to look at the hints, use Google or even Danword – which I avoid as much as I can – I feel somewhat “disappointed” that I have not managed to fill the grid under my own steam.

          1. Thank you both. I’m not keen on the word cheating unless you fill in the whole grid by clicking the spoiler that hides the answer on this site or looking at Danword. I do say that having reverted to reference books and our hints and tips over the years it’s nice to solve without recourse to outside help because you just understand how this all works and have a good memory

          2. In the olden days, we had a dictionary if we were solving at home, but commuting to London on the train, we only had our brains. If you didn’t solve a clue, you’d look at the solution the next day and compare the word to the clue, quite often being none the wiser!

            1. Exactly, that’s how I solved at home – I was convinced that using a dictionary was cheating. It was a quick stab in the morning while the girls watched Play School, and then another stab in the afternoon when it was time for Blue Peter or Jackanory. Then a look next morning to try to figure out the reasoning behind the answers,

              1. Entirely agree about the dictionary. I bought the shorter OED, 2 volumes, for £1 in the 70s when I joined a book club. Still prefer using it today, but not as often. Back then I didn’t know about Chambers being preferred by the setters!

  32. Way above my pay grade, after only solving three clues I decided it was best to leave this to the professionals, glad to see lots enjoyed it and some even found it easy🤷‍♂️. Thanks to all.

  33. Glad to find I’m not the only one to struggle with this one! Lots to enjoy in this superb puzzle with all the features of a toughie on the back page, plenty of misdirection and great clues. Solved clockwise from the SE.
    Thanks to Zandio for the workout and DT for the review.

  34. Great challenge Zandio with 18a and 5d as stand out clues … whilst 12d beat me so thank you DT for explaining things so well … and I so agree with the rating – (but on reading some of the above how on earth can this get a 1* ?!?)

  35. Thanks to Zanido and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but really difficult. I managed three quarters of it, but was completely stuck in the SE Corner, needed the hints for 18,24,26a & 19d. Favourite was 1d, very subtle. Was 4*/3* for me.

  36. A very tough daily that would have been tougher than many a Toughie, but not tougher than today’s Toughie, which was properly tough.

    My radar was still up after yesterday, but detected nowt. As for the two boys, I too thought such indication banned these days after many a complaint on these boards. I was wrong!

    1. I don’t think anything mentioned in these posts counts for a fig in Telegraph Towers. It wouldn’t influence my train of thinking either. We ain’t that important and if certain folk were heeded – oh dear

      1. You may well be right MP, and you are funny for sure regarding ‘certain folk’. What I do note is that such Teds, Ians, Dons and other girls are to be found in abundance in other fine crosswords such as The Times. And all the others, as far as I know. Long may it be so.

  37. Well I did manage to complete it in a bit longer than normal without coming here for the hints. A little bit of guidance from Chambers Words but that was all. Yes, tricky, but certainly do-able even with today’s heat.

  38. Very difficult to get started, but not too bad once I got going, albeit with a good handful of hints to help me along, I wish I had more time to spend on this today, which might have brought me closer to finishing more unaided. I don’t think there is any such animal as an easy Zandio puzzle, but I can only keep trying. 1d and 18a had me chuckling. Thanks for the challenge Xandio, and hats off to Deep Threat for blogging this tricky back pager today.

  39. I finished this with difficulty earlier but didn’t have time to post. Yes done easier toughies. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to Zandio and FT.

  40. Having stared at the screen and muttered to myself ‘this looks way too hard’, I decided not to bother with this one and had a go at Chalicea’s NTSPP instead. What a delight that was! I’m afraid Zandio is just too hard for me. Thanks to Deep Threat, I’ll have a look at the answers now and be in awe of your solving abilities!

  41. Very pleased to complete this very challenging crossword unaided.

    Needed the hint to parse 22d which was my last one in.

    18a definitely clue of the day!

    Thanks to all.

  42. Blimey, this one seemed to be about 14 pages too far back in the paper ! All last evening and part of this morning, well pleased to get within 3, solved via the essential hints.
    I’m surprised Brian didn’t go into meltdown !
    Thanks for my hints, thanks also to the fiendish Zandio.

  43. Gave up last night with 12D and 20A to go, finally got 12D whilst out for a run this morning, and then 20A fell into place, took a long time to complete but satifying to do it unaided.

  44. Only just got to this one after working all day yesterday and finding myself too hot and overserved to be much use in the evening. Thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and will encourage pals to seek it out. Looked for you in the market today Gazza, but didn’t see you.

  45. Hi. I have only just discovered this solution helper and blog. As to the latter so gratifying to see not one spelling or punctuation error. Must be unique among blogs. Thank you Big Dave.

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