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DT 30075

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30075
A valedictory set of hints and tips by Miffypops 

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good Morning from South Leicestershire. I found today’s puzzle pitched just right for a Thursday back pager. For some unknown reason the four long clues needed many checkers before they fell but those friendly checkers did their job. Some call it wavelength. I call it checkers.

Please leave a comment about this puzzle


1ac.  On journey, endures uncovered berth in Asian region (4,6)

GOBI DESERT:  A two-lettered verb meaning to leave or depart is followed by a  word meaning endures, waits, or stays. This is all followed by the central letters of the word berth

6ac.  Partially open a beer (4)

AJAR:   begin with the letter A from the clue. Add an informal but well used term for a glass of beer. I don’t mind if I do mate. Mine is a bitter

9ac. Ex-PM: alternatively, former role of Boris (5)

MAYOR:  A former prime minister of the UK (possibly the one immediately before Boris Johnson) is followed by a word meaning alternatively.

10ac. Gladiator perhaps rashly downs arms (9)

SWORDSMAN: Anagram (rashly) of DOWNS ARMS

12ac.  They organise speakers to go round river vessel (13)

ORCHESTRATORS:   A three part charade. In the middle we have the abbreviation for river and a vessel. This vessel is not a boat but a large container. Surrounding this we have some public speakers well known in crosswordland

14ac. Meal of a sort circulating in large belly (3,5)

POT ROAST:   An anagram (circulating) of A SORT sits inside an informal noun describing a large belly. My Google dictionary (weightless, cost nothing, easy to use, takes up no space) gives the following example of this words use “men pat their pots proudly and talk of how they must have got through a few skinfuls”

15ac.   Creature that’s scaled high, guy can’t say is totally wingless (6)

IGUANA:   The inner letters (is totally wingless) of four of the words in the clue

 18ac.  Among party, soldiers occupying building (6)

INDOOR:   The first three words of the clue will provide your solution. A word meaning among or enclosed by. A regular word for a party. The abbreviation for the soldiers known as the other ranks

19ac.  Blue tit’s fancy secondary name (8)

SUBTITLE:  Anagram (fancy) of BLUE TITS

 20ac.  Greeting idiot eating more nuts and duck leg (4,9)

GOOD AFTERNOON:  A lovely four part charade. 1: An idiot. (Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, or Peter Sellers) 2. A word meaning more nuts, more silly or more foolish. 3. The letter that looks like the number scored by a cricketer said to have made a duck. 4. One of the two sides of a cricket pitch. Arrange as per the instructions within the clue

 24ac.  Going with those people, almost finished travelling (2,3,4)

ON THE MOVE:   Begin with a word meaning going. (The engine is going, the engine is on). Add a word meaning those people. Add a word meaning finished minus its last letter as indicated by the word almost.

25ac.  Lift beams in auditorium (5)

RAISE: A homophone (in auditorium) of what the suns beams are known as

 26ac.  I know it’s incorrect king is cruel (4)

SICK: Begin with an adverb usually used in brackets especially by journalists following a misspelled word. Add an abbreviation for king

27ac. Tireless gulper, half-cut sibling with wine (10)

PERSISTENT:  Cut away half of the word gulper. Add a shortened name for a female sibling. Add a wine that I’ve only seen in crosswordland.


1d.  Golf celebrity abandoning fine sport (4)

GAME:   Begin with the letter suggested by Golf in the NATO phonetic alphabet. Add a word meaning celebrity or stardom but minus the abbreviation for fine

2d.   Avoided lad on bed with cuddly toy (9)

BOYCOTTED:  Begin with what a lad is as opposed to a girl. Add a child’s bed. Add the shortened name for a teddy bear

3d. Drunk cook had claret and bitter food (4,9)


4d.     Excited uncertainty in South American author’s start of epic (8)

SUSPENSE:  Begin with the abbreviation for south. Add the usual two letters suggested by American (United States) Add a word meaning author’s where authors is used as a verb. Add the starting letter of the word epic

5d.   Perch and carrots perhaps with seconds coming up (5)

ROOST: The type of vegetables that carrots are  (along with parsnips, beets and turnips) need the abbreviation for seconds moving up one space.

7d. Massive endless vault with nasty smell (5)

JUMBO: A verb meaning to vault loses its last letter. The abbreviations for body odour follow what you have left

8d.  Is frightened knight overwhelmed by marauding crusaders? (4,6)

RUNS SCARED:   An anagram (marauding) of CRUSADERS surrounds the chess abbreviation for the piece known as the horsey

11d.  Drink gets on chequered surfaces (13)

DRAUGHTBOARDS:   A word for a drink often used to describe real ales is followed by a word meaning gets on to a train or ship.

13d.  Antelope start fight, we heard (10)

SPRINGBOKS:  A rather stretched synonym of the word start is followed by a homophone (we heard) of the word fight (in a ring with gloves on)

16d.  Reducing din before screening popular movies regularly (9)

ANTINOISE: Begin with a Latin term meaning before which is often used in betting. This word sits around (screening) a word meaning popular and the alternate letters of the word movies

17d.  Money for American   accommodation (8)

QUARTERS:   The American term for 25 cents is also a word often used to describe military accommodation

 21d.  Operation on convulsive movement of eye (5)

OPTIC:   The abbreviation for operation is followed by an involuntary convulsive jerky movement

22d.   Some retro vehicles in prized collection (5)

TROVE:  Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

23d.  Last letter in French is showing enthusiasm (4)

ZEST:   The last letter of the English alphabet is followed by the French for is

Quickie Pun   Shack + Era = Shakira.  Possibly Shakira Isabel Meberak Ripoll. The Queen of Latin Music

Crossword solving the MP way

Free checkers.

In Crossword 30071 we have the clue at 26 across Lack’s Necessities. (5]  The presence of the letter S in both words strongly suggests that the answer will also end in the letter S. Even without solving the clue that letter S provides a valuable checker for 17 down.

At 19 across we have the clue Chopped down and fired (4). The presence of the letters ed at the end of two of the words in the clue suggests that the answer will end with the same two letters. Again without solving the clue this gives a useful checker to 8 down.

Use these free checkers as a solving tool

I have been told to apologise for recent comments. I’m sorry to those I offended.

So long. Good Luck and Goodbye

119 comments on “DT 30075

  1. A bit of a headscratcher and I did need help with 16d, which I have not come across before. I’m now getting used to the “take the outer letters off” clues such as 15a. No doubt they have been around for ages but I have only just sussed them. My COTD is 1a with 20a a close second.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and Miffypops for the hints.

    Grateful thanks to all those who wished me well after my fall yesterday. I feel a lot better today but still have reduced mobility in my right arm and my whole body aches. Oh well!

    1. I echo your conerns Steve – this site would not be the same without MP’s wit. Besides who else am I going to brag about my grandchildren’s exploits?

        1. If he has left because of what happened then the wrong person has gone. I am now definitely thinking of leaving the blog.

          1. Please don’t do that Steve. I share your thoughts about MP. His reviews are consistently entertaining & witty as well as being pitched at the right level for the less able solvers like me. His comments may on occasion be overly provocative but I can’t believe they are intentionally offensive & I thought the recent furore was blown out of all proportion. Forget & move on I say.

          2. Encouragement to participate in the blog activities has always started with Miffypops.He even encouraged me to do the Sunday Toughie blogs when he doesn’t have access to them. He also organised Deep Threat’s holiday cover and had discussed arranging next years Big Bash if Big Dave is still incapacitated.
            I think for many he is the beating heart of the blog. I hope he can be persuaded to change this decision but the valedictory tone suggests otherwise.
            I may join SC in considering my future here.

            1. This is just awful! We cannot lose you and others because of some heated and stupid inappropriate words. Please don’t go

              1. Please all stick around. If there is a foe to be stood up to, then let’s stand together.

    2. I was so happy to see Miffypops back blogging today, and overlooked the title. Please let it not be so. We cannot lose Miffypops. Like you Steve, I’m not sure I will stick around if he goes. And if he goes, then definitely the wrong person has been pushed out. Someone who makes us laugh, someone who has worked tirelessly for years providing the hints here and on the Toughie.
      I started reading this so happy to see his name at the top, and now I feel quite miserable.

      1. I agree with the comments above but don’t think we should leave en Masse. I’m not going to comment on the crossword later in protest but I will read the posts. Don’t go Miff, don’t go. Meet me for a drink next week.

    3. I sincerely hope Miffy is not thinking of leaving, he has been a mainstay of this blog and should be receiving praise not condemnation. He has provided entertaining and amusing hints and comments and I am sure the vast majority would wish him to stay. Everyone should be urging him to stay as he would be a sad loss.

  2. 16 was the last one in for me, took me a while trying all the different permutations I could think of, and finally arrived at the correct word ( is it really a word, or is it just very rarely used?) my dictionary hasn’t got it, but that doesn’t mean much as it’s not that comprehensive! Roll on tomorrow……….

  3. A head-scratcher indeed, but some satisfaction in completion.
    Dictionary.com calls that crosswordland -only wine ‘noun, obsolete ‘!
    Favourites 1a and 3d, LOI 17d. Not the toughest clue but my brain would not move on from currency.

    I hope you make progress SC, having had a frozen shoulder immediately followed by shingles in the same area you have my sympathy. Take all the drugs you’re offered. And I echo your concern about the blog title.

  4. Nothing to scare the horses today, agree with you MP regarding checkers and the long clues.
    Thanks to you and the setter for the fun workout.

  5. Another good crossword this week. It was another headscratcher for me, but I got there in the end.
    Had to look up 16d …another new word for me to forget.
    I liked 2d.

    Thanks to MP and to the setter.

    Lovely day up here today. The apples and plums are just at the point of being ready to pick…..and we are about to go on hols for 2 weeks. Bad planning. Have told the neighbours to help themselves and hope they will.
    Every cloud has a silver lining, though, as I will be spared stoning and freezing millions of plums…..

  6. A pleasingly tricky and rewarding puzzle for what is now a sunny Shropshire morning. A fair bit of Lego but still fun, with 1a my top clue. England have just taken a second wicket so all is well with the world. Or is it? I have just read the preamble to today’s blog and would be most upset if comments meant to be humorous or pithy have resulted in a mainstay of the site going into self-imposed exile.

    Thanks to our Thursday setter and MP.

  7. An unusual set of clues, tefreshing and original but it took me a while tto get into them. Still, it doess no harm to have one’s ideas shaken up at my age. There was quite a bit of guesswork involved and some clues that I wasn’t completely sure of the parsing but MP ‘s well-explained hints (please don’t jump ship MP) soon sorted me out. I loved the well-misdirected anagram at 3d and the double meaning at 17d and the honophone at 13d was quite good too. I too wasnt sure I’d got the first part right. Many thanks to the compiler and special thanks to MP for the hints. I contemplated leaving the blog myself a few months ago after being on the wrong end of some patronising comments froma certain person but decided that Merusa’s advice to me was wise. If you respond to that sort of remark, by your actions or your words, you are just giving them the unwarranted attention they are seeking.

    1. Perhaps, you and Huntsman are right, Chriscross but getting rid of Miffypops will tear out one of the most loved commentators on this blog as far as I’m concerned and it will be the worse for it.

    2. I too felt like throwing in the towel when a certain person kept “correcting”, criticising and nitpicking my comments. But then I thought, no, then he has won. Miffypops was only trying to stick up for those of us who were being picked on. This is just not right that he is going.

  8. I have been a regular visitor to this site over a long period. I have never joined as I do crosswords for pure enjoyment and have never felt the need to comment. However I am making my first and last comment today. I think it is a travesty that Miffypops has felt it necessary to leave. I feel that he has been badly treated for making remarks that many would agree with and has faced an excessive backlash. The site will be the poorer for his loss.

  9. Seem to be a bit off my game at present where crossword solving is concerned so pleased that this one fell in a respectable completion time & with all parsed. No real favourites but a pleasant puzzle & partial to a 14a & some 3d.
    Thanks to the setter & Miff – who I sincerely hope will reconsider quitting the blog if indeed that is what he intends to do.

  10. Needed the hint for 11d. Spent an inordinate amount of time on it.

    Also would not have been able to parse 16d without the hint. A rather clumsy word which I dismissed as not a real word for a while.

    Quite a challenge today, to say the least.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Interestingly, I have just finished the toughie unaided in less time than it took to do this crossword.

      I recommend giving the toughie a go if you finished this crossword.

  11. Well that was hard work, but a very pleasant puzzle.
    12a held me up because I was sure it was an anagram. The clever misdirection makes this my CotD.

  12. Phew! I thought I was never going to get off the mark so did surprise myself when I eventually fathomed all (bar 16d) of that which turned out to be a really entertaining puzzle. Favs 20a and 3d. Thank you Mysteron and MP to whom farewell 🙋‍♀️🌈 and my thanks for all your past contributions to the BD blog.

    1. So sad this is all happening during BD’s indisposition – steady “boys” steady please.

  13. Psyched up for a Thursday and wasn’t disappointed.
    Loved the Lego long ones, eg 27a and 13d.
    16d was a new word for me and only solved after accidentally glimpsing 1 of its missing letters.
    Otherwise, an unaided completion.
    Certainly 4*/5*.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  14. It all fell in nicely once I’d adjusted the wavelength knob! A few of the clues, eg 26a, reminded me of Colin and Sue Parsons, the ST setters of many years ago.
    Very sorry you’ve decided to hang up your keyboard MP. Your hints and comments have enlightened me on many many occasions, and I shall miss them.

  15. First to the puzzle. An enjoyable X-less pangram (but I’d be surprised if it was a proXimal production) with some very much “do as it says on the tin” charades.
    Top clues for me 7&26a.
    Many thanks to the setter.

    If this proves to be the final blog from Mark I know that he will be missed by many, not least me. The support and encouragement he gave me when I started blogging is something I’ll always appreciate and be grateful for.
    MP was here when I joined the blog quite a few years ago now so almost feels part of the furniture. I feel sad that recent events could have resulted in his possible departure and hope that it doesn’t happen.

      1. I totally agree. MP if you’re still reading then just look at how much support there is for you to stay with us. Remember – “non illegitimi carborundum”.

        1. Completely agree.
          Have a break if you need it but your loss will be greatly felt if it’s permanent.

  16. Quite a challenge but I stuck at it whilst South African wickets fell at Old Trafford. Some very clever clues – very enjoyable to unravel.

    The Miff is a terrific contributor, and he has been kind to me throughout my time here. Further, he has taken time to send me the puzzle newsletter, when the (less than enthusiastic) Telegraph team could not do so. I like him immensely.

    Thanks to the setter, and The Mighty Miff (lovely photo!).

  17. A great puzzle! Good clues, a quite tricky challenge and very enjoyabe. Fav: 20a. 3.5*/4*.

  18. Don’t go MP. Enjoy your wit and stories especially about St Sharon who bears a remarkable resemblance (I suspect) to everywoman! Very enjoyable crossword (the right amount of head scratching) and agree about the word for wine in 27a. Well done setter and MP.

  19. An excellently crafted puzzle which mid moving from the Plymouth coastline to a farm on Dartmoor for a few weeks pending completion of our house in Tavistock I managed to scrape through just at ****. The enjoyment factor was only a ** I’m afraid. The setter should not take that personally as it was a clever test and more a reflection of my frustration at feeling so inadequate.

    As to the MP saga I can feel his pain but do hope he continues and in particular to express what many of us I am sure feel at times but unlike him do not have the courage and wit to express.

    The withdrawal of a valedictory can be an honourable and in this case would be a very popular move.

  20. As a regular reader if not contributor to this blog I must have missed or been unaware of Miffypops having anything to apologise for.
    Please stay – your hints and wit have been much appreciated over the years by us – the generally silent majority.
    Thanks to the setter for a head scratching puzzle and MP for the parsing when i couldn’t

    1. I too am a bit of a lurker. I read the blog everyday after attempting the puzzle and have found Miffypops’ hints and tips invaluable. The preamble often brings a smile to my face. Without your help and assistance a lot of triers like me would just give up.
      Please reconsider your decision – you will be sorely missed.

  21. Had a bit of a struggle with this. Some of the solutions when they fell had me scratching my head, wondering if they were correct 12a and 18a particularly. Last one in 16 D when, despite having all the checkers I could only get attentive to fit.
    Thanks MP for the hint. Yours are always the reviews that give us the most smiles. Hopefully there will be many more to come….please!

  22. For the second day running the puzzle has proved so far above my pay grade that management have move me on to codewords and the quick crossword. They wanted me to be on waste paper collection as I waste a lot doing this puzzle but I successfully fought that.

    Miffypops there is no need to leave. Whether your words were I’ll considered or someone found them unnecessarily harsh is irrelevant to your importance on this site. Besides which, John Lennon made a great contribution to the necessity for conflict in human relationships (just imagine what it would be like without it). Them that don’t like it can park their butts elsewhere.

  23. I don’t know what the hoo-ha is/was about since I don’t check in here regularly these days, but I’m distressed that it appears to have resulted in the departure of one of my favorite bloggers. Thanks for all the smiles and hints over the years, MP!

    I did finish the puzzle, even 16D (LOI by a long chalk), so thanks also to the setter.

  24. A well-crafted and enjoyable puzzle. I share everyone else’s concern about the possible departure of Miffy Pops who has been one of the main sources of insight and humour during the years that I have followed this blog.

  25. Oh Miffypops – don’t leave us
    Your loss would be a blow.
    Let all and sundry rant and rave,
    It’s just hot air, you know.
    So take a breath, count up to ten
    And pour yourself a gin.
    To leave us after all these years
    Would really be a sin.
    And thanks to the setter – this one was a bit tricky. Rain at last – hurrah.

    1. Brilliant DG! If that doesn’t change his mind nothing will, but I suspect MP is quite stubborn and won’t be persuaded liightly, unfortunately.

    2. Couldn’t have put it better !
      Please don’t go MiffyPops .
      As you have often said “it’s only a crossword ”
      Besides I was enjoying your crossword solving tips

  26. I do not comment on this blog but feel I must today . Miffypops is the only reason I’m still doing crosswords because he explains everything so well. He will be a great loss to this site and I join everyone else in begging him to stay.

  27. Sad to see MP leaving this site, have always enjoyed his hints, tips and humour.
    A counter to the more academic and technically couched reviews…not a criticism of them…balance is a good thing.

  28. Solid back-pager which was nicely challenging without being overly so. Particularly liked the food- and drink-related clues 27a, 3d and 5d and did wonder whether this was deliberate on the part of the setter given who was in the bloggers seat? Suspect just coincidental…

    On the subject of the blogging seat, I agree with the earlier comments that MP has been an overwhelmingly encouraging and positive presence on this site and it would be very sad to see him no longer blog or post. Whilst I rarely have time to post these days (due to work / family commitments), I remember that it was MP who responded (in a welcoming and encouraging fashion) to my first post on this site. And I have seen many similar posts to subsequent newbies since. A sad state of affairs.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  29. Thanks to MP for the review and to commenters for comments. Farewell to Miffypops and thanks for all the help you have given to solvers tackling the Telegraph crosswords over the years.

    1. Ah! So it was you with the X-less pangram even though it’s a Thursday. Many thanks for popping in and for a fun puzzle.

      1. Thanks to setter and hinter (cannot be his last, surely – can’t things be patched up somehow?) … Anyway, on a lighter note, maybe I spotted an X in the last two letters of the answer to 13 down?

  30. From the Acting Moderators

    We would like to comment on today’s events.

    As mentioned elsewhere, there were several unpleasant incidents last week.

    The most serious of these involved MP and another poster.

    After investigation and discussion by the acting moderators, MP was invited to reflect on the incident, and a suggested course of remedial action was put to him on several occasions. An apology was offered and accepted by the poster concerned. Attempts to discuss the matter further were declined, and even on Tuesday, Dave discussed the matter with MP and it now seems from the tone of things that he has decided to cease involvement with the blog. This was never an option considered by the team, nor was it sought as a remedy.

    We would like to record all the team’s appreciation of MP’s efforts with the blog over the years and wish him well in the future.

    The issue has been discussed at considerable length and Tilsit spoke with BD about the matter at the weekend. He is in full agreement with the way the moderators have acted.

    In the post on Sunday, Tilsit asked that we move on and that request is now repeated. Tilsit is happy to be contacted by email at crosswords@btinternet.com if you are troubled by events, but it seems that Miffypops has made the decision to sever ties.

    Dave, Sue, Michael, Gary and Malcolm

    1. Dear Moderators, I just think a word of thanks (well several really) should go to yourselves for keeping the blog up and running, especially in Big Dave’s absence. The events of the past week are a real shame. I’m guessing you’ll be a little disheartened with everything that has happened and you probably have a myriad of things going on outside of the blog.
      Thanks for everything, Mike

      1. Thanks Mike

        I have a lot of things going on outside the blog, including imminent major surgery.

        The moderating team has tried to do the best for all members on the site and we have tried our best to ensure things are managed in as fair and friendly a way as we can. It is disappointing when things happen that bring about disruption, but we have to manage these things in as fair a way as possible. No one person has made a decision, things have been discussed reasonably and with respect to all parties concerned and consensus has been agreed at every stage.

        I respect his decision not to choose to accept what was put to him, but that is his right.

        1. I’m sure youve all done your best Tilsit but we have had wooden spoon-wielding pests on the blog before and the most recent one has been targetting various members of the community for a while now. Perhaps we should be thinking carefully of how we deal with provocative and derogatory comments from one member to another in the future. Miffypops has been most patient with this individual for some while, coming to my defence and that of others. It is no wonder Miffy finally let fly. We should 4hink carefully about how we prevent such a sad event happening again. How do we nip it in the bud

          1. Well said, it seems these “wooden spoon-wielding pests” are more important than a blogger we all appreciate and enjoy. I feel really bad as I am one of those whom Miffypops was trying to defend.

        2. I hope all goes well with the surgery Tilsit, your health is a far more important thing to be concerned with. Best wishes, Mike

  31. No idea what the brouhaha has occurred to precipitate MP’s valedictory, nor care. It does seem to be a great shame that he feels he has been put in a position that he is stepping away from explaining the intricacies of the cryptic crossword to followers of BD’s blog. Certainly his comments can be acerbic, sometimes with the appearance of irritability, but, to us, the smiles provided are well worth it. Sadly in these times, some folk are too easily “offended”. We appreciate the time and effort all the bloggers put in to help make the crossword understandable, and improve our solving skills, and MP’s manner has been very enjoyable. It’s only a crossword! We hope you reflect and reconsider, the blog is better for having you in it.

  32. Quirky but nice puzzle ***/*** 16d was new for me 🤔 Favourites were 9a, 7d and 13d. Thanks to Miffypops and to the Compiler 😃 I hope that MP is not leaving the blog it will be a different place without his acerbic wit and constructive remarks 😟

  33. A bit of a head scratcher with some of the clues today, but nothing that couldn’t be worked out in the long run.
    2.5*/4* for me today, with a few PDM moments.

    Favourites include 1a, 20a, 2d, 7d & 11d — with winner 11d

    Thanks to setter and MP

  34. Thanks to the setter ( Silvanus?). Very enjoyable puzzle, quite an unusual feel. Needed the hints for 2&17d. Favourite was 15a. Was 3* / 3* for me. Please don’t go MP I always look forward to reading your contributions which always light up the blog.

  35. I was quite enjoying this today, especially as Miffypops was back at the top, providing all needed hints for us. I had overlooked his title. Now I just feel very sad that a long serving contributor is leaving, yet the main perpetrator is still around. Our loss, and a very sad day.

    Thanks Miffypops for all the help you have given me, improving my skills, and helping with side issues such as the DT subscription and other concerns. You will be greatly missed.

  36. Please reconsider, Miffypops. I echo all that has been said. You are incredibly special to this site and all who read and benefit from it. As someone said above, you personally are its beating heart. Bringing so much help, but also your delightful wit and a lightness that I look forward to each and every day. I appreciated so much your welcoming me to the blog, and have never failed to read every word you write. Your cryptic tutorials are wonderful, and I am always in awe of your solving skills. Please, please don’t go.

  37. :phew: Oh dear – no wonder I couldn’t do today’s crossword! Who’s going to be tucked up their sleeves for tomorrow!
    Thanks to proXimal for the crossword, to MP for the hints and well done to whoever managed to do this little piglet.
    Off to see if I can do Beam’s Tougie.

  38. 6a and 9a made me chortle!

    I’ve not followed the comment-based events, but am sorry to see Miffypops leaving as I’ve found his hints to be very useful.

    I’ll be off to try the toughie now as suggested.

  39. Miffypops has been absolutely wonderful to me. He and I have communicated by email for over two years, on a multitude of subjects, and he has brightened my days with his wit and wisdom. MP is indeed the ‘sine que non’ of this very vital activity in my life, and I cannot imagine the blog without him. I say this most sincerely: please reconsider your valediction, Mark!

    I am too upset right now to comment on proXimal’s excellent puzzle except to say that I enjoyed it very much, but my finishing it has become a bittersweet achievement for me now.

  40. I’m a regular reader and occasional contributor. I enjoy the general cameraderie i see and the support you offer each other. I certainly feel unqualifed to dip into the management of the site, done by all the volunteer bloggers and moderators. I’m just grateful it happens. I do find some comments irksome and probably some find mine the same, but then I put it out of my mind. I think the site runs on kindness tolerance and forgiveness. With that in mind, and to the degree that my views are of any interest, I hope MP reconsiders, we draw a line and think the best of each other.

  41. As a crossword enthusiast of mediocre ability I have always been very grateful for the explanations and humorous insights provided by MP. I do not know the background to any conflict and bruised feelings but know for sure that this site and the world of crosswords will be poorer if we lose him. Please reconsider.

  42. I very much respect and admire MF as a silver, hunter etc of crosswords BUT I have often thought his comments on the blog were very close to being offensive. Like others, I am sorry to see him go but I am not altogether surprised…as regards the crossword, hard but rewarding though like others I was flummoxed by 16d and also wonder if it is really a word….

    1. I believe antinoise is a method of using soundwaves to cancel out background noise on a transmission. Sometimes hyphenated

  43. Should have read ‘MP as a solver, hinter etc’……combination of fat finger syndrome and auto-correction!

    1. Too late: I shall now always remember Miffypops as a silver hunter: dashing through the countryside, hiding behind bushes, stalking his prey — waiting, ready to pounce as soon as some silver appeared in his eyeline …

  44. As a daily reader of this blog and very occasional commentator I am perplexed with the happenings of the past week and couldn’t believe what I was reading at the end of MP’s blog today. He has made his decision which is his right but that is a great shame. Even though we know little about each other (I met some of you at the gathering the other year) it has always been seen as a group of friends helping each other solve those devilish clues. Let us hope MP reconsiders when he feels able to but in the meantime let us cast this acrimony out of here so it remains that friendly place.

    It took me a while to get into today’s offering and I needed quite a few of the hints but did eventually finish it.

  45. Finally got round to the crossword. I often struggle with Proximal but did manage to complete today – well, all bar one – 16d, of course! I’m not averse to learning new words, there are often some goodies but antinoise is a horrible word! As X-type mentioned the other day, sometimes you don’t have much choice although I suppose ‘attentive’ would have worked?
    Thanks to proXimal for the workout and a good crossword. And thanks too to Miffypops, Bon chance!

  46. I for one am completely devastated at the turn of events. What has happened seems to be happening everywhere. People getting upset about everything. MP was wonderful when I had my accident last year and I will never forget it. He did all these things not in his own name but as the Big Dave Blog and it took some time to unearth him as the ‘culprit’. As/others have said he has a unique way of explaining to the newbie with great patience. I won’t have a word said against him. Please come back Miff.

  47. Oh dear what is happening? I’ve always loved Miffypops especially as he always answers my post the following day as I’m always in the next morning club. I don’t understand what’s going on as I’ve been away for my 70th birthday surprise holiday in Devon. It all seems so sad. Please be aware MP that you’re really loved and appreciated by me and I’m sure lots of other people. Many thanks to you for supporting me over the last two years and I will miss you enormously.😢

    1. I said I wasn’t going to comment on the crossword which I haven’t. I also said I was going to read all the comments which I have. Everyone is asking you to reconsider Miff, I’ll add my name to that list. Then I forgot to press send. Oh dear! There’s no hope for me.

  48. I said I wasn’t going to comment on the crossword today and I’m not. I also said I was going read all the comments and I have. Everyone has asked you to reconsider Miff, I’ll add my name to that list in spades.

  49. Further to my earlier comment regarding today’s back pager, have just returned to sample the comments of others as I often do.
    I am not aware of the hoo-ha that has resulted in MP (the life and soul of the party as far as I am concerned) deciding to take the fire exit, but as a relatively recent active addition to the club, I wish to add my name to those recording their obvious dismay that MP feels it necessary to quit. There is no doubt that his comments can have a sting in the tail, but as far as I can tell they have always been given in a friendly way with plenty of good humour. If indeed, MP’s input is no longer to be part of the blog, it will be much the poorer from his absence. We often speak of wavelength when commenting, I have always felt on the same wavelength as MP, we share the same sense of humour.
    Please listen MP, we need you!

    1. Talking of MPs humour, I have appropriated at least 2 of his gags as my own:

      1. In response to the question “What have you got your wife for Christmas this year?” A: A prosthetic leg… it’s not her main present, just a stocking filler.

      2. After a particular hard Winter, “What, statistically, have been the UK’s 2 worst Winters? A: Mike and Bernie.

      Not necessarily very PC… but none the worse for that.

  50. In my opinion:
    (a) Sick does not mean cruel (26 across).
    (b) Springboks means antelopes, not antelope (13 down).
    (c) Antinoise is not an English word (or if it is, means against, not reducing, noise) (16 down).

    1. Sheep and, sheep.

      Pheasant and, pheasant.

      Antelope and, well, antelope.

      Singles can be plurals.

    2. If you’re still up in the UK time zone…sick can mean cruel, as in a sick sense of humour. To the young ones here in Oz and NZ, sick can mean ‘really cool’. EG, how was the concert last night? It was totally sick! English is a living language…

    3. Can antelope (no-S) be used as a mass noun, like ‘cattle’ is?

      So you can not only say: “I saw a cow/an antelope”, but also: “There were some cattle/some antelope in the field.”

    4. JC. I was about to answer this at 9.15 last night but, due to recent events, I didn’t because I’m not sure if disagreeing (even politely) with a new commenter is now going to be regarded by some sensitive readers as rude or sniping or whatever! Here’s what I was going to say:

      a. Sick can mean cruel (similar to Flyingfox’s explanation, below).
      b. Antelope and antelopes are both OK for the plural.
      c. Antinoise can mean sound generated for the purpose of reducing unwanted noise by interference. Some hearing-aid devices use antinoise to reduce/counter the noise/effect of tinnitus.

  51. A puzzling puzzle for me today, as I got quite a few answers straightaway but had to spend a awful lot time working out the parsing to make sure they were correct.
    Like so many others I am really sad the Miffypops is leaving the blog. I’ve been an avid reader for several years and have always appreciated his clear and humorous hints. Please reconsider MP – it will be a poorer blog without you :(

  52. I never look at the crossword until I take it to bed with my night-time cup of tea, when I try to solve it and possibly drop off to sleep in the process. Occasionally I look at the blog during the evening, as I have now, but have never had such a shock as this. Having been a “lurker” for some months while trying to recover from the loss of my husband, I now learn the we are losing the wise words of wisdom and great sense of humour of Miffypops. Some of his humourous remarks may seem a little forthright to some – is “wokery” penetrating this blog..?
    Please have rethink and come back Miffypops – I can’t be the only one who will desperately miss the pleasure of reading your hints and comments.

  53. Bertie(remember him?) or the boss of the GMLI?

    I know who’d I have. Ta MP. Continue to enjoy the Barrel. Move on to the 225 like others have. You’d be great there.

  54. Late on parade here in Brisbane but I have to say I’m sad to see Miffy Pops go, especially under the circumstances. I with Daisy Girl and I hope MP is only on a sabbatical. Please send a post every now and then. Thanks very much MP and all the best. Cheers Flyingfox 🦇

  55. Please don’t go, Miffypops. The blog wouldn’t be the same without you and you would be greatly missed.

  56. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a DT so I’ve been off the crossword radar for a while but my saggy brain managed a good portion of this and I just dropped in for help with a few clues and to parse some I had pencilled in. And what a help it was, thanks Miffypops! So I’m sorry to see you go; like others I think you were an early encourager and always had a supportive word. I’ve missed the fracas but sadly they do seem to break out in the webworld with many people using it as a forum to vent antagonistic behaviours and you have to decide whether it’s worth it. I’ve only recently engaged in social media and just left a Facebook group (Academic Archers) after discovering how ugly some people can be. Sometimes you have to protect your own mental health! Wishing you the best and I hope the spirit of friendly helpfulness and encouragement, which is surely the main purpose of the BD blog, survives and thrives here.

  57. Dear Miffypops I have read today’s comments and am so saddened to gather that you intend to leave this marvellous site. Your contribution has been much appreciated by me and such an overwhelming majority that perhaps after a well deserved break you might change your mind. I’m sure the door will always stay open for you. In the meantime, many thanks and take good care. All the very best to St Sharon!

  58. I have totally missed whatever it was that happened re Miffypops. I’ve struggled with the Telegraph back pager since first getting access to in in the senior boys’ common room at the age of 16 (50 years ago for heaven’s sake!). I find Miffypops’ hints so helpful in guiding my thinking and it would be tragic to lose such a great cruciverbalist. Let the storm die down in the teacup and kbo!

  59. I have been a lurker for many, many years without plucking up the nerve to comment.
    However, the idea that Miffypops has been driven out is too much.
    Please don’t go forever. Miffs. You are the life and soul of the blog

  60. It’s certainly a shame that potentially MP won’t be commenting or blogging. I rarely comment these days but I always try and look in day to day and read the blog as I’ve always found it informative and also interesting to read various opinions.

    I remember when I started this dark art and found MP incredibly helpful regarding the Monday Rufus circa 2013. Yes he’s a wind-up merchant and I think even Gazza once referred to him as the blogs’ “Resident Humorist”. He’s certainly witty and may rub a few the wrong way but it’s really only banter.. He clearly means well by virtue of his consistency in producing helpful and amusing blogs which are a valuable aid to both the novice and the seasoned solver.

    Don’t go mate, just take a breather.

  61. I haven’t posted for a long time but frequently come to this wonderful site for the very welcome and admirable hints on the superb cryptic puzzles which we all enjoy so much even when they drive us nuts (but hopefully in a wryly good way).
    Today’s situation is very sad indeed. Somebody suggested it is all down to the heatwave and they are probably right. We will all be better for a good downpour which the east coast at least is well overdue for!

  62. Miffypops the world is falling apart the centre cannot hold we need you to help put it back together again please don’t leave us

  63. Once again can I please ask that we do not have a Toughie in the backpager space. I foud tbis virtually impossible and gave up after solving a handful of clues. Thanks to the setter, who is well above my pay grade, and also to Miffypops who must have had hard work producing the hints.
    Please come back Miffypops – you might even miss us as much as we will miss you..?

  64. Did xword and it was OK. 109 comments and mostly in support of MP. I fear he won’t come back. He is a man of principle. Sadly this ship is sinking without its Captain Big Dave. Many of us have met over the years at Big Dave’s Birthday Bash. MP was the life and soul, kind and generous. I read that he was thinking of organising another bash if BD is still indisposed. I could think of no better person to do it. Prisoners who are innocent are refused parole if they refuse to confess. MP is in this position although left to roam free to inflict his wit and wisdom on St Sharon.

  65. Cripes. Who’d have thought that the comments in DT 30,065 would have taken on a Facebook mantle. (Er, does the latter sentence need a rhetorical questionmark or an exclamation mark, to indicate the jaw-dropping developments? Pedantry rules, OK)
    FWIW, I used to be a volunteer on a steam railway, heavily involved in commercial matters. Some of the nit-picking and back-stabbing was, IMHO, just the hallmark of some people’s strange attitudes in a social environment.
    Had this been a workplace, the boss would have said something like “Draw breath – you do yourself no favours. Move on”. End of the matter.

  66. Am a day late doing this puzzle, and am gutted to realise that MP has decided to leave. There are obviously 2 sides to any story, and I’m not in a position to comment – I just find it incredibly sad that it has come to this. Thank you Miffypops for your clear and entertaining hints. You will be sadly missed.

  67. I love this site and am in awe of Big Dave and all the bloggers.. Sadly (or maybe not) I’m a late joiner re the recent goings-on pre-dating and surrounding the departure of Miffypops. I am in Greece right now (though it’s actually raining, so you’re all probably less wet than me!) On the subject of which, please can I say that I have always found his blogs a total joy. But also that I totally understand the responsibilities of site managers, and respect their collective decision-making. (I told you I was wet!). But surely there’s a way back from all this aggro in these hard times. Come on, MP … you now know how much we all value you? And I’m sure you’d be welcomed with open arms by the moderators if you reconsider and ask to rejoin. Put your Big Girl Pants on, as my gran always used to say to me. I am already missing your brilliant music clips!.

  68. 4*/3*….appreciated MP’s hints for some clues.
    liked 14A “Meal of a sort circulating in large belly (3,5)”.

  69. I’ve just got through this blog although not the puzzle alas. I have now researched the background to the spat that occurred some time back and, I have to say, with dismay. I don’t read or use this noble site everyday but have always found it a useful tool in improving my solving skills. It reminds me very much of watching the conduct on a MENSA site which became, in my view, toxic. There needs to be much more tolerance on this site (which I always thought existed) and would implore the protagonists to agree to disagree and equally respect their different opinions. Living in this world today, crossword puzzles are surely a great distraction rather than the horrors that pervade our daily lives. Nuff said?

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