DT 30070 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30070

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30070

Hints and tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good Morning from North Yorkshire. Deep Threat is otherwise engaged today. I am back for another go at the Friday back pager. I continue to enjoy writing hinty blogs and hope to see some of you next on a Sunday Toughie. Play nicely. I am sure my fellow bloggers and commenters will help with any problems.

Thanks to Miffypops for thinking of me when Deep Threat asked for a day off, it fits in nicely with my own day off work to take Mama Bee for her post cataract op check-up. I may go missing for a couple of hours this afternoon but if needed, I will respond as soon as possible. First cataract cleared as good to go, second one booked for the 9th Sept

I have no real idea of gauging ratings so have left them unaltered. I also don’t think it is a Zandio production but my setter detector is spotty at best, maybe proXimal. I had a bit of trouble parsing a couple of the short ones and I hope I have got the gist. If you have other ideas please feel free to enlighten me.

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.

Across

7a Jersey police officer’s instruction to motorist? (8)
PULLOVER: What a policeman may say when he wants a motorist to stop at the side of the road is also a Jersey or Jumper.

How I Won the Yellow Jumper: #1 | The Road Book
9a Palace broadcast gets heard (6)
CAUGHT: In the middle of the newspaper there is a column of goings on for various members of the Royal Family. A homophone (broadcast) of the palace of a sovereign is also an informal term for hear.

10a Dread faux pas by leader of Tories (6)
TERROR: A faux pas follows the leading letter of Tories.

11a Convent installing computer technology is most pressing matter (8)
PRIORITY: A convent of monks or nuns subject to an abbey contain a group of geeks who keep computer technology working in the office.

35 Funny Work Memes You'll Totally Understand - SayingImages.com
12a Delayed changing stair carpet on landing essentially (14)
PROCRASTINATED: Don’t delay working on this anagram, it is the thief of time. Start with stair carpet on and when you have worked out that that only has 13 letters include the central or essential D from landing.

15a Individual investment ultimately college must attract (4)
UNIT: The ultimate letter of investment is appended to the college at which a degree may be studied for.

17a Inclined to fear brief prison sentence one day (5)
TIMID: The duration of a prison sentence is shortened by one letter and adds two suggested by one day.

19a Parliamentary constituency Swansea teacher captures (4)
SEAT: A lurker is indicated by captures, and as the first two words are the definition that just leaves the Swansea teacher to contain said lurker.

20a Republican trapped by flagrant lie he wildly exaggerated (6,4,4)
LARGER THAN LIFE: Another anagram (wildly) with a missing letter, trap the letter that Republican suggests to the flagrant lie he [told – don’t they all!] for an exaggerated character.

23a Dance orchestra backing alternate pieces from usual artist (8)
SARABAND: Some investigoogling required here but if you do what the clue tells you you should get to the right answer even if you haven’t heard of this dance before. Start with the even letters of uSuAl  SA, add an artist who has displayed at the Royal Acadamy RA.and put a group of musicians at the back.
The meaning of SARABAND is a stately court dance of the 17th and 18th centuries resembling the minuet.

 

25a Part requiring European to be intense (6)
SEVERE: To part or cut adds an E for Europe to be rather intense.

27a Crave unlimited wealth? Get away! (6)
BEGONE: A synonym of crave and some wealth or cash, without the limiting letters.

28a Fabric from China ready for Iranian (8)
MATERIAL: A bit of Cockney rhyming slang and the “readies” that they spend in Iran.

Down

1d Plunged naked into river (4)
OUSE:  To have plunged a Herring in Vinegar and spices perhaps, loses its outer letters (naked) to be a River. DouseD would be better synonym of plunged, and it is the one that Silvanus intended but at least I got some seafood to go with the tortilla roll. There are several rivers with this name but I am most familiar with the one that flows through York. I will be there for Elgar’s S&B bash in October and hope to meet some fellow cruciverbalists there.

2d Father possibly angry giving up house (6)
CLERIC: A slightly obscure synonym of angry that is derived from the yellow bile, one of the four bodily humours, an imbalance of which was thought to produce irritability, loses a two-letter abbreviation for House.

3d Maybe gin duty is raised (4)
TRAP: Maybe gin is a definition by example. A role or duty is reversed (raised in a down clue) to give us this gin.

Gin Trap: British Made Gin TrapsI much prefer the liquid version. I love the duck in the flat cap – So Yorkshire.
BOSTON SPA WILDFLOWER YORKSHIRE DRY GIN

4d Fighting lawsuit (6)
ACTION: A double definition.

5d Perhaps Scot eats game served up with large tortilla wraps (8)
BURRITOS: The game is Rugby Union, it is served up (in a down clue) and put in the nationality that Scots share with us and a rather Out Size tortilla wrap. BURRITOS, chimichangas, tacos, tortillas are pretty much the same thing it is just a matter of how you fold it!

6d Spot Queen’s son endlessly meeting female star (5,5)
WHITE DWARF: The smallest particle imaginable adds most of the Queen’s youngest son and replaces the last letter of his name with f for female.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_dwarf

8d Green politician’s bottom appearing in new advert (7)
VERDANT: The last letter of politician is inserted into an anagram of advert, to be an adjective of green when applied to landscape or vegetation.

13d Surround student, leftist revolutionary, inspiring each main troublemaker (10)
RINGLEADER: To surround or encircle, the letter that a student driver must display, and an abbreviation for each is followed by a reversal (revolutionary) of a leftie.

14d Seek to persuade trial to dismiss case of assault (5)
TEMPT: A trial or endeavour to achieve a goal loses the case letters of AssaulT.

16d Herb is awfully arrogant (8)
TARRAGON: This herb is an anagram of arrogant.

18d Determined Spooner’s supposed amount owed (4,3)
DEAD SET: A supposed amount that the Reverend Spooner claims is owed becomes a synonym of determined.

21d Overjoyed when told to go topless (6)
ELATED: A story told goes topless to be overjoyed.

22d Uniform from start of last year I’ve right to wear (6)
LIVERY: I’ve from the clue and R for right go into the starting letters of last year, to be the fancy uniform worn by officials of various guilds.
Home | The Worshipful Company of Distillers

24d Protest over Germany imprisoning this writer mounts (4)
DEMO: The IVR code for Germany and a cricketty over contain a reversal (mounts in a down clue)of how this write may refer to himself.

26d Wide bowled going for drive? (4)
ROAD: This final clue caused me quite a bit of grief last night and because of the cricketty previous clue along with wide and bowled led me up the garden path that the setter intended. This has little to do with cricket, something that is wide or majestic, loses (going) the B for bowled to be a drive.

 

 

As I write this the dead tree has yet to arrive so without the aid of the italics I assume this is the only pun today.
The Quickie Pun:   
GONE:   DOE:   LEAR:   =   GONDOLIER

 

 


 

121 comments on “DT 30070
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  1. Oh dear another escaped Toughie and for me one of the poorest puzzles for some time. Requires vast leaps of faith, clumsy clues and just plain verbosity.
    No idea who the setter is but personally I hope I don’t see them again.
    *****/0
    Thx for the hints

    1. I can tell that you didn’t enjoy the puzzle, Brian, and you’re perfectly entitled to say what you think (and you usually do!) but I’m not going to accept the accusation of verbosity, sorry. The average clue length of the Across clues is just under 6.5 words per clue and the average for the Down clues is 6.33 words per clue. Criticise my puzzle however much you like providing the criticism is fair and balanced, but please don’t come up with untruths to justify your arguments.

      You obviously managed to negotiate the “vast leaps of faith” sufficiently well to become the first poster and finish the puzzle well before 10.30, so was it that hard, or did you just emerge from the wrong side of bed this morning, I wonder?

      1. Thanks for coming in and claiming this fine puzzle. Don’t worry about our Brian. I was fond of the long ones but some of the little ones stretched my brain a bit. I must improve my setter spotting skills.

        1. Thank you, John. I’ll formally thank you and others later but I felt it important to challenge an incorrect assertion, especially when it appears in the first comment and, left unchallenged, it can encourage others to think it’s true.

        2. Brian has taken to getting up early to inflict his misery on the rest of us. There are days when I like the Crosswords more and days when I like them less but this is down to me not the Crossword. DT cryptics are one of the things that keep me going from day to day. Thank you, Silvanus, and all your colleagues.

      2. Wow! What an opening to today’s blog.

        The compiler going toe to toe with Brother Ian.

        Sublime surfaces…..as always.

    2. Brian, my first thought, in the form of a question, when I read a comment such as you have made today is ‘when will we be able to enjoy the challenge of solving a puzzle set by you?’.

      1. This blog gives a star rating for enjoyment for every puzzle, actively encouraging users to think about how much fun each puzzle has been. Responding with “well you do better then” perhaps reveals why a score of less than *** is so rare. As a Yeovil Town fan I know a thing or two about moaning about performances I couldn’t better.

      2. Hear hear, Senf. I have made similar comment in the past, but I am yet to see one of Brian’s puzzles in print. From my point of view this was a puzzle to savour and enjoy over a late light lunch after what has been quite a heavy morning working to help tidy one of our local infants school’s gardens – two overgrown buddleias brought to heel and numerous drought affected plants and weeds cleared, leaving the place looking a little more loved. It did take me a little while to enter my first answer, which was 11a, followed by 1d, after that the answers went in fairly quickly to result in what I felt was a vary satiffying solve. My favourites included, 5d, 7a and 11a, but for me the top clue was 6d. Thanks to both setter and hinter. Most enjoyable.

      3. My hope is that one day we shall enjoy another Birthday Bash and that Brian will attend and show his face. He can then then attempt to justify himself and perhaps listen and learn from if the esteemed setters, hunters and bloggers present. 10.29 am and he had given up!

    3. Oh Dear!

      Brian, your solving skills don’t seem to have improved much since you posted as “Barrie” many moons ago.

  2. Only finished with help from my iPad. Thanks SJB for the needed explanations . Pleased to finish , admired but not enjoyed . Look forward to reading other reactions especially from Brian !

  3. I found rhis puzzle a bit of a struggle from first to last. There was an awful lot of guesswork involved and I finished it but my satisfaction is diminished by the number of clues I have had to look up in the hints because I didn’t understand them. So my guess is that it’s Proximal as I usually have that problem with that compiler’s clues. To say i am not on the same wavelength would be an understatement. The best of the clues were 7a, 2d andthe 12a anagram. Many thanks to the compiler and to SJB for the hints

  4. 2*/5*. A perfect finish to the week.

    Every clue has a story to tell and, for me, 10a, 20a and 6d were the best of the best in this respect.

    S for smooth, S for surfaces, and S for Silvanus surely. Many thanks to him and to stand-in SJB.

  5. Great stuff, really enjoyed this, full of wit and misdirection typified I thought by the excellent 1&26d, the former which only came to me while swimming!.
    A couple of “jump out at you” anagrams gave lots of welcome checkers to get a foothold. I laughed at the Spoonerism, and particularly liked 27a and 14d too. Only slight negative, the homophone at 9a, which doesn’t work for me but I’m sure will for others.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to John for the top notch entertainment

  6. Sorry Silvanus, I found this too tough to be enjoyable. Just a wavelength thing, I know but I can’t seem to get on yours! And (nothing personal) I loathe Spoonerisms! I did like 7a and the quickie pun.
    Thanks to SJB for the hints and tips, couldn’t have done it without you.

    1. Yes far too hard for me but that’s my problem not the setter’s. It’s not often that I cannot complete a 4 letter clue with two letters known, as happened with 1d.

  7. A wide variety of cluing today and agree with SJB on a ***/***.and thanks also for his parsing of last in 26d which alluded me.
    Favourite was 28a for the surface,followed by 1d and 2d which were of similar ilk ie removing letters.
    23a was a new dance.
    Pleasant start to the day and time for cricket.

  8. Let me echo Stephen again with ‘Great stuff’! Solving this splendid puzzle took me almost into ***** time, but I enjoyed every moment of it, beginning with 1a, which made me laugh, and ending with 26d, which was my LOI, and which is probably my COTD. Along the way, I especially liked 5d, 6d, & 23a, which harked me back to my piano-playing days and performances. Thanks to SJB (see you on Sunday) and Silvanus. 4.5* / 5*

  9. A Silvanus special which pushed me to my limit and a wild lucky guess for 23a got me over the line at ****/***. It is nice to be tested occasionally and there were a few anagrams to light the way. I thought the topical 6a and 20d clever but my favourite was one of the easier clues being 11a. Thanks SJB and our illustrious setter today.

  10. Difficult to parse in places. So thanks to SLJ. I always, find this sort of crossword over convoluted. Which is to my detriment. 9a can’t possibly work for a man from Bristol as there is no R in it. Too much of a slog to be enjoyable for me

  11. Sometimes I agree with Brian; sometimes I don’t.
    I don’t concur with his analysis today, but I do admire his brio and vim.

    This was a little stretch beyond my limited ability and I fell upon a couple of hints to get me rebooted.
    7a is a delight.

    Thanks to Silvanus and The Beach Boy.

    1. I have some sympathy with Brian as i found this over complicated and a bit obtuse in places. The word count may be just over 6 per clue but it felt worse and as i did not finish it has to be *****/**. Thanks for the hints.

      1. I do sympathies with Brian and his frustrations. While I never have a problem with wordy clues, and I didn’t see any today, I do feel quite despondent when the DT fields two Toughies on the same day, one masquerading as a Cryptic.

        1. As a fellow solver who found today’s puzzle more than usually challenging (and Toughie nigh-on impossible so far) forgive me please for stating the obvious that there’s no masquerade, BL, as both are of course cryptics. And as I noted earlier, below, just because someone finds a puzzle tough does not make it a DT Toughie. Today’s backpager may be beyond some solvers, but it’s not a Toughie, just a backpager at the Friday end of the scale.

          1. Agreed, and for my solving mind and ability it was far more straightforward than ever most Sunday Prize cryptic puzzles have been – wavelengths indeed ;-)

  12. Very difficult for me today, so less enjoyment. As others have said, a wavelength thing.
    I needed a lot of SJB’s help to parse my answers…..a lot of bung-ins .
    I hesitate to say this, but the homophone at 9a is possibly the worst ever for me. But I appreciate that I am in a minority coming from north of the border.

    Thanks to Silvanus and to SJB.

    (And to Brian. His posts give me a laugh. They remind me of my son when he was wee being outraged at some homework set that he thought would take far too long …..almost every night. Became a family joke/tradition.)

  13. Another cracking puzzle, perfect for a Friday (while one might describe a puzzle one is unable to solve as ‘tough’, that does not make it a DT Toughie, and this one certainly wasn’t IMV) with 80% going in very swiftly but the final few clues taking it to 2.5* time, with some real head-scratching.

    Silk-smooth surfaces, great wit and humour. “Investigoogling” the dance resulted in references to it having an ‘e’ afterwards, but of course in the BRB the sans ‘e’ spelling is approved. Not sure the bowler Chris ***** would entirely approve of being an unwitting synonym of wide, either personally or in his deliveries! Initially pencilled in ‘dove’ for 1d (it nearly works if you ignore the ‘naked’), while I have been 10a’ing (my COTD by a country mile) for several years now and expect no change whoever wins next month.

    2.5* / 3.5*

    Many thanks indeed to Silvanus and of course also to SJB

  14. What a diverse selection of opinions on this one and such a shame that Brian’s rant appeared as the first comment. I found it to be a really enjoyable Friday level puzzle from the master of surface reads which was certainly tricky in places but contained just enough straightforward clues to give the solver some toeholds. I think it was 27a & 5d that took me the longest time to work out.
    I had ticks alongside 7,10,12&28a plus 16&22d and much appreciated the humour running through the clues.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to SJB for manning the fort in DT’s absence.

  15. I line up with the Anti’s as there are a number of synonyms I found difficulty with . Souse / Plunge [ 1d ] , Duty / Part [3d]
    , Individual investment / Unit [15A] , Spot / Whit [ 5d ] , and as for the Scots being Brits [ 5d ] – better not say any more but would be the least obvious of my four choices !

    1. Ahh but being less obvious is what a clever setter tries to be, particularly later in the week.
      I did have to look a long way down the BRB for the right definition of part (15th of 26 from memory) but had no doubt that it would be there.

      1. Just out of interest, I took the synonym in 1d to be DOUSED not SOUSED. Either way you end up with the correct answer but it would be interesting to know what Silvanus had in mind.

              1. So am I and glad I was right. I liked the Spoonerism. Just not on my wavelength. I have not looked at hints but got no more than 5 each way. I’m not complaining.

        1. We think alike, Stephen! I had in mind “doused” (the first of its definitions in the BRB is “plunge”) not “soused”.

          1. Thanks, after looking so far down the BRB for the right part I guess I started at the bottom of the plunge pool.

    2. Also, it’s individual = unit, not individual investment. Spot = whit is a sraightforward direct synonym as in spot/whit/speck of dust. The Scots are, a least for the time being, British – but I know what you mean. My late mother didn’t like “British”. She often used to say emphaically things like: “I’m not British! I’m English, me, and proud of it!”

      1. G273. Sorry, I’ve repeated what you said. Never mind, as the saying goes: Two rectifications are better then one.

        1. Tell me, Vilsanus, do you strive to make your clues as short as the Thursday wizard?

          I’m sure the compiler’s mantra is shorter the better. However, if they’re too short, you’re often left with a double definition, not giving any room for your wonderful surfaces.

          You should put them into a bottle and sell it, btw. You’d make a fortune!

          1. No, but you might recall that, last year, as an experiment really, I produced a puzzle where all the clues consisted of six words or fewer (puzzle 29,855). It was in no way meant to challenge the master of brevity, Mr Terrell, but I did find the experience less than satisfactory as the self-imposed restriction meant that I was forced to cut corners and use shorter constructions than I would ideally like to have done.

            To some extent, I think you are right to say that some very short clues (I won’t include two-word double definitions in that) don’t necessarily have the best surfaces, but then neither do the very long clues!

            1. Thanks for that,

              I love finding out how compilers approach crosswords.

              One day I will compile one. One day…..

  16. For me, some head scratching required and not the most enjoyable challenge from this member of the Friday triumvirate but perhaps it was me rather than him – ***/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 5d, and 26d – and the winner is 26d.

    Thanks tom Silvanus and SJB.

      1. Sorry, I’ve left you ‘hanging.’ Belatedly I looked in the BRB and saw that ‘y = year’ so I made a rapid edit, deletion actually, to my comment – but not rapid enough for you or Gazza.

  17. Rain stopped play this morning so gave me some time to solve this very good crossword. Yes, it was difficult but I couldn’t agree more that Brian’s comments were unjustified. And good of you to step in Silvanus.

    Thanks to SLB for the blog (and sorting out the parsing of 5dn) and to Silvanus

  18. An excellent Friday puzzle! Fine clues, a decent enough challenge and a very enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked a few and my favourite is 23a – I found it a bit tricky to parse, had to do some googling to confirm and learned a new word. I also rather liked the nifty little 1d. 3*/4.5*.

    *Not sure how this puzzle could be descibed as verbose? The clues are mostly from 2 -7 words, which is not at all untoward and is perfectly normal. Also not sure how you could describe it “obtuse” either? A very strange claim …

  19. Not a good Friday for me. I found the clues for the Toughie sheer gobbledygook and this one i only managed a half. I must pull myself together!

  20. Struggled on with this, and got all bar 1 and 9, can’t say I enjoyed it much. New word for me at 23, but couldn’t be much else from the clue so bunged it in regardless!

      1. Because it is a Friday puzzle. They are supposed to get gradually harder through the week. I commend the setters and editors for mostly getting it right and providing a fair test for solvers of a wide range of skills. I personally wouldn’t have improved without being stretched occasionally.

  21. I managed about half of this puzzle today. My favourite was 7a. Many bloggers seem so grumpy this week I can only imagine how the setters must feel. I think they mostly accept criticism which must be hard. Thankyou both setter and hinter.

      1. And we can’t even blame the heatwave this week! Although the England Cricket Team’s performance is enough to make anyone grumpy!!

  22. Back on solving form today, very much got my money’s worth with this enjoyable stretch. Yes, some synonyms required a longer think, and my Grade 1 Pianoforte featured a massacred 23a with an e. But this was worth every moment of mental strain for the smiles and satisfaction.
    Thanks SJB and Sylvanus.

    1. I massacred a Paul Hindemith dance “with an e” for my Grade 6 Viola exam.
      Hindemith was a virtuoso on the viola and the examiners loved adding his pieces to test us lesser viola players

  23. Many thanks Silvanus, top stuff Certainly tricky in places but excellent throughout, a very satisfying challenge. Faves 17a & 18d. Thanks too to SJB

  24. Thank you to John Bee for stepping in for DT and to all commenters, be they positive or negative! All contributions are read with interest I can promise.

    A good weekend to all.

    1. Thank you, Silvanus, for this week’s best puzzle. It took all I had, just about, and, for this often doddering old man, such a huge pleasure to finish! Good weekend to you, too!

  25. It is annoying for all concerned, in my view, where the first comment seen is somewhat less than even-handed :D This occurred earlier in the year on a thread at 225, and ruined the blog really, which ended up discussing the rant rather than the puzzle (which was a good one). And absolutely everyone got involved, more’s the pity. Oh well.

    Quite a hard puzzle by daily standards I thought, but Silvanusis a safe pair of hands, I feel, and if I was not elevated to rapture by it, I certainly enjoyed the puzzle. ***/***.

  26. Almost fell off my chair laughing at 7a, although I suspect overseas solvers might be unfamiliar with that term for a sweater. But I only managed 10 answers after that, and would need too many hints to finish, so not the most satisfying of days. Brian and Miffypops are both entitled to their opinions and I would miss them greatly if they were not here every day, We are asked for our thoughts after all. It would be a dull old world if we all agreed. But that is not to say I enjoy seeing the thought police questioning said comments. Thanks to Silvanus for the challenge, for 7a in particular and a very clever 26d, and also to Sloop John Bee stepping into the breach. Hope the cataract appointment went well.

    1. Well said BL. Apeople should be able to gve their opinions freely, whether it’s Brian or Silvanus. What is equally important is that we should be able to balance any negative comments with a comment or two on what we enjoyed, as indeed you have today. Certainly, I could do without some of the derogatory personal conments about otther individual commenters by people who have very differentdifferent views .

    2. Thoughts and opinions are of course most welcome. I love Brian’s posts as he certainly shoots from the hip. When he likes a crossword, he can’t praise it highly enough. More power to him.

      Miffypops clearly doesn’t like dissecting a clue until it’s on its knees which is absolutely fine. However, it’s not right to try to stop, dead in its tracks, a conversation between people who enjoy doing it.

  27. Found this to be a tough puzzle for this Friday but then that is my issue and not down to the setter, in this case Silvanus.
    Found some clues tricky and others hard to parse, but when all said and done, there was nothing that didn’t make sense.
    Just a wavelength thing. My rating 2.5*/4* overall.

    Favourites include 7a, 11a, 20a, 26a & 18d with winner 7a … that made me laugh when the PDM happened!

    Glad to see Silvanus popped in early and had a few words for Brian. I agree with Silvanus comments 100%
    Brian needs to realise that even if he can’t get into a puzzle or solve the clues, that is just the way it is some days. I have my days too when I find a puzzle or the setter hard to read. It is absolutely *not necessary* to insult the setter in the blog … that is just not ‘cricket’ as it were.

    Thanks to all setters that set puzzles here.

    Today thanks to Silvanus for the challenge I had with the puzzle and to SJB for helping get to the end.

  28. Well I found this enjoyable, difficult but enjoyable. I managed to parse everything too, always a bonus. Favourite was the splendid 7a. Thanks to Silvanus and SJB.

  29. I started this before we set off for Aldeburgh and it looked v tricky. But having arrived restarted on my iPhone as my kindle was in the car and it went in steadily over a lovely fishy snack lunch by the sea. I for one enjoyed it so thanks to Silvanus. I agree, why all the grumpy people suddenly?!

      1. We shared a Noon tart and a smoked salmon and cream cheese on an open roll from Ashes Smoked Fishes by the beach, fantastic little place with scrummy bits of deliciousness!

  30. I enjoyed today’s crossword very much, for lots of reasons – the main one, for me, was that I managed near of all the answers!
    Most Fridays are now too difficult for my rather pathetic brain – absolutely infuriating – drives me mad!!!
    Anyway, onwards – I did all but about the last four answers or so I’m perfectly happy with that – not that I would have been fifteen months ago.
    I appreciated the very long 12a and also a few of some of the shorter ones which pushed me to keep going as far as I did.
    My favourite was 7a – loved it – brilliant.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the crossword and to SJB for the hints that the brain couldn’t cope with!

    1. It always gladdens me to see a comment from you, Kath, and your brain is not “pathetic” in the least. I think everyone on the Blog has huge admiration for you and do please stick with my Friday puzzles, many are easier than this one! Thank you.

    2. Hi Kath – I’ve not been on the blog for a while – but it’s good to see you posting again.
      Brain’s are a law unto themselves – and hopefully yours will continue to improve

  31. I came to this late as we went to the Fitz to see the David Hockney and also saw the new full length portrait of the Cambridges, which I liked and disliked in equal measure. George said he would take me to lunch but didn’t have his wallet – clever! Then came home to sit in the still dry and arid garden and tackle the crossword. Jolly tricky I thought and I had to do a reveal for 26a as I thought it was an out-of-my-comfort-zone crickety clue. 9a was also too hard for me. But what a lot of cross patches we have seen this week! All those lovely people sweating blood and tears to bring us our daily injection of brain exercise not to mention the hinters who carefully explain the ones we don’t understand. And it amazes me the number of times people say they have never come across words ( I am not counting this weeks mondegreen that WAS arcane) Mind you, I am pretty ignorant about sport so I will just shut up and get ready for our film night (£5 with free soft drink and snack) which is Death on the Nile. Huge thanks to Silvanus and John and keep going ‘cos most of us love you unreservedly (well, with just an occasional little moan sometimes) ❤️

    1. Did you see the article in the magazine about the Winslow Homer exhibition at the National Gallery? I have loved his work since seeing the Cullercoats paintings. Great Aunt Doris lived there and I spent much time on the beach as a child.

  32. Dealt with this before a busy day so don’t in fact recall exactly how the solve went but I certainly wasn’t left with any reservations about the setter’s clue construction or content – just a question of staying with the purport.
    My goodness many Comments do these days seem to be beside the point and/or hitting below the belt . Thank you Silvanus for putting your head above the parapet and to SJB for your help in case of need.

  33. I found this puzzle the proverbial “curate’s egg” 😬 Whizzed through most of it 😃 but 5d, 23a and 28a had me flummoxed 🤔 ergo ****/*** I would never have thought of Scot and Brit as being interchangeable but from now I will 👍 Favourites 7 and 9 across and a big thank you to the Sloop John Bee for his blog which could not have been easy to say the least, and of course to Silvanus for his stout defence of his very clever puzzle 🤗

  34. A dnf simply because I am a muppet and spelt 16d wrongly which made 23 and 27a impossible to solve.

    This was a shame as this was otherwise a difficult but enjoyable crossword.

    I heartily disagree with Brian today.

    Thanks to all.

  35. Can usually peg a puzzle from perhaps my favourite setter pretty quickly but not the case with this one. If yesterday was a gentle stroll today was an arduous (though still extremely enjoyable) trek that extended into **** time due to a chronic case of brain fog. Nobody has admitted to trying to parse Bergerac at 7a which this muppet tried to do as his opening entry. I was unfamiliar with 23a as a courtly dance but knew the word from the title of Ingmar Bergman’s final film, a sequel to the wonderful Scenes From A Marriage. The 3 downs at 1,2 & finally 26, where the wordplay involved subtraction, were the pennies that took longest to drop but all correctly parsed eventually. Appreciated the quality of the clueing far more reading back through after completion. Favourite (& felt sure it would be Robert’s) was the Trumpian surface read at 20a with plenty of big ticks elsewhere at 11,17&27a plus 2,5,6,13,14&22d.
    Thanks to Silvanus & SJB

    1. We nearly had a clip of the Bergman film but YT had the answer plastered all over it.
      This cyclist didn’t have a problem with the Maillot Jaune but 1d and 26d gave the parsing engine a workout.

  36. Great puzzle and challenge.
    Left with 9a and 5 and 6d.
    Took on and off half a day for the proverbial pennies
    And 5d needed dictionary aid.
    So, *****/*****
    Many thanks Silvanus and SJB.

  37. Thanks to Silvanus and to Sloop John Bee for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I found really tough, but enjoyed the challenge. I needed seven hints to finish, and I must say that I would never have got any of them. Fair play to Silvanus. I definitely do not like Brian’s comments, unfair criticism of any puzzle he cannot solve doesn’t add any value to the discussion / dissection of the puzzle. Favourite was 7a. Was 4* / 3* for me.

  38. Wow! Hold your horses everyone!
    Been very busy and hardly had time for crosswords but managed to do today’s and tuesday”s.
    Going on the blog was quite a sad experience on both occasions.
    Miffypops on tuesday and Brian today.
    All this bickering is one of the reasons why I rarely post nowadays.
    I have always learned that people didn”t change and that we have to accept them as they were.
    We all know that Brian will blame the setter if he can’t solve his crossword smoothly. We all know that Rabbit Dave will complain about americanisms, that Jane and Robert will talk about books from unknonw authors, that Terence will talk about Lola, that Gazza will groan at homophones, that Crypticsue will have time to do the ironing, bake three lemon drizzle cakes and prepare 6 pounds of marmelade while solving a single crossword and that Miffypops will say the opposite of what he thinks.
    We are all part of this wonderful family, somewhat disfunctional, which is totally natural and we should all make an effort to forget and forgive.

  39. I for one thought this fitted the Friday back page slot to a T. I felt the sprinkling of stretched (if I may use that term) synonyms with a fine mix of inventive clues put this puzzle at the tough end of backpagers without quite getting to Toughie level.

    I managed to convince myself on the viability of the few stretched synonyms but did fail to get either of the two viable options for plunge in 1d, so a DNF by one! Overall I really enjoyed the workout. Many thanks Silvanus for an excellent compilation and the smooth surfaces and SJB for the needed hint.

  40. I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog. The odd comments about the grumpies made me smile. Does no one remember the posts of the supercilious Bertie? How glad we were when he disappeared!

  41. Only managed to finish this, this morning, after completing the Saturday one to to check my brain was still working. Even then I needed the hints to fully parse 26d, my LOI. That said I enjoyed completing this and do enjoy the challenge of the harder offerings towards the end of the week.
    Thank you (as always) to both the setter and provider of hints.

  42. With regard to Brian’s comment and the subsequent discussion, |I too found this puzzle almost impossible and just gave up. There is no reason to blame the setter (thank you Silvanus) but those who choose to put a Toughie in the place of the backpager. We really don’t need two Toughies on the same day. Thanks also to SloopJB for standing in.
    I have not been making any comments for some time as I have very sadly recently lost my husband. During his illness and subsequently I have had neither the time or inclination to comment, but I have attempted the backpager every day and most days I have read the hints and comments. Thanks to everyone who contributes.
    I should also like to say how good it is to see Kath’s great improvement, and to send very best wishes to Bis Dave.

    1. What a miserable and difficult time for you to get through. I’m glad that the crosswords have given you something different to think about and hope we’ll hear more from you when you feel ready.

  43. Only just got around to this one and I have to say I’m appalled by some of the comments. Just because a crossword is too hard for you doesn’t make it a bad puzzle – it’s you who is a bad solver.
    Personally I thought it was a really excellent puzzle and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I agree it might have been better placed as a Tuesday Toughie.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the tussle but please do me a favour and leave out the Spoonerisms.

    Ta also to Sloop John Bee for the blog.

  44. Thanks to Silvanus and to Sloop John Bee for the review and hints.
    We were doing a change-over on the apartment on Friday when it was blumin’ roasting, so only got round to this today.
    What pommers didn’t say was that we really struggled with the across clues (only manage 3 on 1st pass) but the downs came to the rescue. And we solved it – if a tad slower than normal.
    We had a bit of a head-scratch on 23a – from my musical days I’d heard of it too as the dance “with an e” immediately came to mind – but I’ve never seen it spelt “without an e”.
    I was sad to see that Brian/Barrie was off on one of totally unnecessary rants again when it was probably just too difficult for him.

    1. Me too. As discussed in the blog I struggled to decide whether I was starting with doused or soused, I should have seen the river sooner as I virtually live on the banks of the Ouse!

  45. A few days late, I received all last week’s papers this Sunday and am working through all the back pagers. This was undeniably tough, a great challenge which I actually completed, not embarrassed to say it was a 5*
    for difficulty, so pleased to have finished.
    A challenge met, keep ‘em coming, Silvanus, great work.

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