DT 30123 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30123

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30123

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty **** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Thursday. Fresh snowfall on the mountains across the valley last night indicates that our summer is most definitely over. That also means it’s flu shot time. I decided to go all in and get both a flu shot and a third covid booster this afternoon. I’ve therefore been trying to get this puzzle solved and hinted before the expected side effects kick in tonight. Today’s crossword felt more challenging than the Thursday norm. While that might just be me and my vaccine impairment, my feeling is that it reflects a lot of skilled misdirection and disguising of both definitions and clue structure. It was certainly a lot of fun unravelling it all. I do hope its creator takes a bow later. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.

 

Across

1a    Correspondence, some enclosing a journal (7)
ANALOGY:  A synonym of some containing (enclosing) both A from the clue and a journal or record 

peanuts analogy

9a    Airline service cross about supposedly unmissable target? (4,4)
BARN DOOR:  Link together an abbreviated airline, a military service, and the reversal (about) of a type of cross 

the 9a was not missed

10a   Skill of primarily kind old doctor in Cumbrian area (4-3)
KNOW-HOW:  The initial letter of (primarily) of KIND is followed by the abbreviation for old and a TV doctor inserted together in the compass direction associated with Cumbria 

11a   Greek character visits second gravestone, possibly (8)
MONUMENT:  A Greek letter is inserted in (visits) a second or short interval of time. The possibly indicates that the definition is by example 

12a   Little old man retired, lacking in desire (6)
PETITE:  The reversal (retired) of an informal PA for old man or father is deleted from (lacking in) a APPETITE of desire

13a   Dicky wearing black tuxedo composed love letter (6-4)
BILLET-DOUX:  Dicky or not right contained by (wearing) the pencil abbreviation for black and an anagram (composed) of TUXEDO 

15a   Rum, maybe from Italy, son left half-finished (4)
ISLE:  Assemble the IVR code for Italy, the genealogical abbreviation for son, and one half (half-finished) of LEFT. The maybe indicates that the definition is by example. Click here for more about it 

16a   Entering southern strait, Norman occasionally is sleepy (9)
SOMNOLENT:  Alternate letters (occasionally) of NORMAN are inserted in (entering) a strait lying south of the UK mainland 

21a   Got a load of fish, we're told (4)
EYED:  A homophone (we’re told) of a three-letter fish

22a   Traipses around externally impressive food shop (10)
PATISSERIE:  An anagram (around) of TRAIPSES followed by the outer letters (extremely) of IMPRESSIVE 

24a   Issue anaesthetic (6)
NUMBER:  A double definition. The second definition is cryptic 

25a   What fencers may use for protection? (8)
CREOSOTE:  Cryptic definition of a protective material used by people who build fences of wood 

27a   Caught golfer making embarrassing error (7)
CLANGER:  The cricket scoreboard abbreviation for caught is followed by Bernhard the golfer 

28a   Took over from daughter behind console (8)
RELIEVED:  The genealogical abbreviation for daughter placed after (behind) a verb synonym of console 

29a   Travelling a lot is origin of extended quarantine (7)
ISOLATE:  An anagram (travelling) of A LOT IS followed by the initial letter (origin) of EXTENDED 

 

Down

2d    Tripe small number in Essex noshed regularly (8)
NONSENSE:   An abbreviation (small) of number followed by alternate letters (regularly) of IN ESSEX NOSHED 

3d    Fellow is working for disreputable types (3,5)
LOW LIFES:  An anagram (working) of FELLOW IS 

4d    Signs of fear perhaps as some pubs go bust (5,5)
GOOSE BUMPS:  An anagram (bust) of SOME PUBS GO 

a goose with a bump

5d    PM over in Irish county (4)
MAYO:  A recent Prime Minister with the cricket abbreviation for over 

6d    Abuse left for one during current legal action (6)
INSULT:  Current or modern is followed by a legal action with the abbreviation for left being substituted for the Roman one 

7d    Understands it's stated patient individual requires cosmetic surgery (4,3)
NOSE JOB:  A homophone (…’s stated) of a word meaning “understands it” is followed by a patient individual mentioned in the New Testament

8d    Excuse company essentially about mobile phone message (7)
PRETEXT:  Join together the centre letter (essentially) of COMPANY, a short word meaning about or concerning, and a mobile phone message 

11d   City Spice Girl barely missed (9)
MELBOURNE:  The stage name of one of the Spice Girls is followed by missed or grieved minus its outer letters (barely

14d   Prime student to limit pressure before American exam (6-4)
ELEVEN-PLUS:  Putting all of the bits in order, we are instructed here to concatenate a prime number, the physics symbol for pressure, the letter indicating a student or learner driver, and an abbreviation for American 

17d   Ultimate plan I'm reticent somewhat to take up (8)
TERMINAL:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of the remainder of the clue (… somewhat to take up, in a down clue) 

18d   Respectful First Lady has tear succeeding Republican (8)
REVERENT:  The first lady in the bible and tear or rip are both placed after (succeeding) the single letter for Republican 

19d   Cook recipe accessed by upper-class gourmet (7)
EPICURE:  An anagram (cook) of RECIPE containing (accessed by) the letter indicating upper-class 

20d   Play and series of books attracting magazine (7)
OTHELLO:  A series of biblical books followed by (attracting) a magazine focussing on royals and celebrities 

23d   Staunch supporter of extremely shady organisation (6)
SYSTEM:  Staunch a flow of something is placed after (where in a down clue, it would be a supporter) the outer letters (extremely) of SHADY 

26d   Approaching leader in race, draw level (4)
TIER:  A draw in a sporting event followed by the initial letter in (leader in) RACE 

 

Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was 11d. Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  VENICE + WHALER = VENEZUELA


101 comments on “DT 30123
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  1. Really tough today, have got an answer for 12a (from the French for little), but can’t see why from the clue! Also can’t fathom 21a despite having two letters in it already.
    Ah well, did better than with the thing served up yesterday…

    1. If you add Ap to the front if solution for 12a you have a desire… a homophone of Ide in 21a. I had to check the definition and solution were synonyms in the latter but it’s in Collins

    2. I hope to avoid the naughty step .
      12 a – you have the correct answer . It is the last 6 letters of another word for “desire” without the “retired old man “.
      2 a – I think it is homonym for a 2 letter fish but ……
      Both puzzled me

      1. Hello, KFB. The naughty step sanction applies only to Prize Puzzles. For regular puzzles, blog readers should not be surprised to find detailed discussion of particular clues down in the comments.

  2. WOW !!
    Has a tough toughie been slipped in by mistake or is just me having a bad day ?
    12a & 21a in particular needed a lot of thought to appreciate and understand .
    5* & 5* for me mainly as I was so pleased to finish after a slow start but I expect some complaints .
    Thanks Mr K and Setter please take a bow .

  3. I thought this was a stonkingly good puzzle with some of the cleverest wordplay I’ve seen for a while.
    I would have preferred “ex PM” in 5d and didn’t like the magazine reference in 20d but they are small quibbles
    Reflecting my opening sentence my picks are 10a&11d with top spot shared by the LOL 9a&7d.
    Congratulations and many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  4. 4*/4*. Wow! Another Toughie puzzle on the back-page, but at least today’s was very enjoyable.

    I got there in the end, although I failed to parse 12a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.
    .

  5. A really testing back-pager that took a while to finish, mainly because I was trying, and failing, to parse 12a. 10a was my top pick from a very solid list of contenders. Thoroughly enjoyable and very rewarding.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  6. Like Mr K I found this a oretty difficult puzzle, with very convoluted and complex clues. Like others, there were some clues in which i couldn’t parse the complex wordplay (6d, 9a, 12a and the second half of 11d) although the solution was clear. It was verging on a Toughie. I liked 20d, 19d and 17a as rhey were neater, simpler and more effective than many of the clues. Thanks to Mr K for the hints (hope the side effects of your jabs aren’t too bad). Thanks to the compiler, who onbiously put a lot of effort into the presentation of a challenging puzzle.

  7. I reckon Stephen’s ‘stonkingly good assessment spot on. Thought it might be a Silvanus puzzle on the wrong day but probably not. Had to confirm the Hebridean isle but otherwise straightforward until 21a – my last in & was getting seriously worried as I mentally worked through the alphabet for the 2nd letter. A whole host of big ticks – 1,9,10,12&13a plus 7,11&23d. If pressed to pick just one it’d be 10a.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K.
    Ps very accessible & enjoyable Beam Toughie too so we’ve been spoilt.

  8. Best back pager for quite a while. Clever misdirections and clue constructions. Thanks setter and Mr K.

    Remember the **** if you do the Toughie. Another DT “use this word again soon” clue.

      1. Please don’t comment at all about the Toughie. The difference between the Toughie and the Cryptic is measured in galaxies not stars. I have tried several Toughies highlighted as doable by Toughie stalwarts but those of us who find the Cryptic hard enough as it is, making any sense of the clues is difficult let alone solving the damn thing.

        1. I used to think that too Corky. Was lucky if I got a half a dozen or so when I started attempting them. Fair enough a lot are much tougher than the back-page puzzles (Friday for the experts only) but there are a good few that are no more difficult than today’s puzzle. Today’s Beam one is no more than a tricky Ray T back-pager with no anagrams.

  9. Brilliant! Difficult in parts but so enjoyable. First one in 7d and immediately thought we may be heading for a pangram, but it was not to be. Some fantastic misdirectional clues with clever surface reads. I especially liked 10a, 16a, 7d and 14d. Thanks to the compiler and Mr K, whose guidance I needed to parse 12a.

  10. Needed help with 12a, 25a and 20d.
    Very tough for me. Satusfying to work out the ones I got but a DNF is always disappointing now.
    Thanks to the setter. Huge thanks to Mr K for his explanations and his great cartoons etc.

    Miserable day here…..rain and cold.

  11. A definite step-up in enjoyment after yesterday’s grind (IMHO). Steady if slowish progress until I hit the buffers in the SW corner… which took as long as the rest of the puzzle. Just couldn’t see 25a – probably because I was trying to justify “sunset” as the answer for 23d. LOI was 12a (which I couldn’t parse). Lots of great clues with, as others have noted, skilful misdirection but particularly liked 9a, 2d, 11d and 7d (COTD).

    I rarely stick my neck out as to setter identity but my ten bob is on NYK Doorknob for this one.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the blog (and the explanation for 12a).

  12. A really enjoyable puzzle – many thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    From a long shortlist I’ve selected 9a, 7d and 11d for my podium.

    Those many fans of Ray T may like to know that he’s on duty (as his alter ego Beam) in the Toughie slot today and the puzzle is not really any trickier than his back-page puzzles (but remember that Beam doesn’t do anagrams).

  13. 12a beat me, but otherwise no problems. Apart from that it was very enjoyable, although without 12a I thought 2*/4*. 10a and 13a my favourites. Thanks Mr K and the setter.

  14. Another vote for ‘stonkingly good’! A fine example of a Thursday back pager – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 15a, 23d, and 26d – and the winner is 23d.

    Always a bit of a problem for ‘guess the setter’ when Jay and Ray T are on Toughie duty in the same week, which seems to be happening more and more frequently. Kath suggested Giovanni for yesterday’s back pager and, like a couple of others, I am inclined to agree with her. So, for today my five bob is saying that this is a NYDK production.

    Thanks to him, hopefully, and thanks to Mr K. Now, assuming I keep my five bob, which member of the Friday triumvirate will be entertaining us tomorrow?

  15. I’ll go along with Stephen and his ‘stonkingly good’ assessment although I might have worded it slightly differently!
    I did take a slight detour to investigate fencing equipment along the way but no problems encountered elsewhere.
    The excellent construction of this puzzle suggests a particular setter’s art, hopefully he’ll pop in later.
    Top clues for me were 1,12&25a plus 7d with a mention for the Quickie pun which made me smile.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Mr K who’s obviously left all the felines in the 22a food shop!

    1. I also investigated fencing equipment, as in the sport! Distinct lack of catty pics today. Just arrived on WhatsApp following notice: ‘Carpenters urgently required – Cabinet falling apart. Apply to 10 Downing Street (no tools required, the building is full of them). Sums up the shambles neatly.

        1. Please remember rule no. 8 in the site comment etiquette:

          Don’t discuss sensitive subjects like Religion, Sex or Politics. This is a crossword site and there are other fora available if you do want to express your views on these subjects.

          1. You are, of course, quite correct, Gazza, and my apologies for having been a party to contravening the site rules.
            However, there are times when it’s very difficult to hold back…………

                    1. I am not he but it was he to whom I was referring. Green Man. Enough said it was only a joke.

  16. Hardest puzzle so far this week but finished with some electronic help. Like most others 12a was a mystery but only only one word fitted any possible answer but I was puzzled to know why some would call their old man a tit.

    Thanks to the setter for a puzzle where in the main I could parse the clues even if in a few cases I needed electronic help.

    Thanks to Mr K as well for his blog which confirmed my ideas. I especially liked the Peanuts cartoon.

  17. I’m sorry to say that Senf and bjs have lost their stake money and, not for the first time, Huntsman has sussed me out! Well done to him.

    Thank you to everyone taking the trouble to leave comments. I’m especially pleased to have crossed paths finally with Mr K and hope that he has no adverse reactions to his jabs. Many thanks to him for his decryptions, illustrations and cartoons.

    Hope to see you all again soon.

    1. Thank you for popping in, Silvanus, and for another of your excellent puzzles – we really are being spoilt today with the dream team bringing us both of the DT puzzles and two of our finest bloggers in charge of the reviews.

    2. You’d have been no offers had it been a Friday but might have got some tempting odds today from Senf.
      Cracking puzzle. Thanks.

    3. Well, bless my soul. Thank you Silvanus.

      It seems that our beloved editor is doing everything in his power to bamboozle us. Presumably, tomorrow is reduced to a two horse race but, mixing metaphors and using one that Robert Clark will appreciate, CL could easily throw us a curve ball. I will have to start looking down the side of chair cushions for loose change!

      1. Lots of those curve balls last night in the San Diego Padres’ win over the Phillies from the City of Brotherly Love!

    4. Thanks for popping in Silvanus. And thanks for a fantastic puzzle – very happy to lose ten bob all day and every day for that standard of back-pager.

    5. Thanks for commenting Silvanus, and thanks for a very fine puzzle to solve and to blog.

      I’m similarly pleased to finally get the opportunity to blog one of your puzzles. I hope that my wait for the next one will be much, much shorter.

    6. Golly Moses that was hard, but I loved it. 13a was my first in so my favourite but 21a,4,14,19 and 20d were pretty smart. Thank you so much. These puzzles are a wonderful antidote to real life!

  18. Another one in the 12A “got the answer but failed to parse” camp here. I did drag up the 21A fish from the depths of my memory, though, so there is that. I certainly found the puzzle challenging but at least more enjoyable than yesterday’s offering. No favorites today. Thanks to Mr. K and the setter.

    I might download the Toughie just in case I have a few hours to spare later.

    1. I didn’t find the Toughie quite as easy as Gazza seems to have done but it was certainly well worth the effort. Do give it a try, Chris.

      1. Will do. In the last couple of years, I’ve rarely ventured into Toughie territory but I’m slowly finding my way back.

        1. Quite understandable, Chris, but it’s good to see that you’re venturing back – I always enjoyed your comments and asides.

  19. A challenging puzzle with some quite brilliant clues. For me it had to be Silvanus, which I see he has just confirmed.
    Yesterday’s puzzle was also challenging but it hardly raised a smile.
    In today’s masterpiece, however, we had nouns masquerading as verbs and vice versa, bits taken off and added on, clever misdirection and super smooth surfaces.
    I had no problems with the golfer, but the Spice Girl required a bit more head scratching. I could not parse the B in that clue, until I remembered that it was part of her stage name.
    Fantastic. Many thanks, Silvanus!

  20. Further fuel to my previous comments that Backpagers are getting increasingly difficult and Toughies easier.
    Doesn’t make sense when you can’t choose between them. Parsing of some – 1a,11a,12a,21a,28a,26d- I just thought wasn’t quite fair. Hope, like yesterday, to find solace in Toughie later!

  21. Glad it’s not just me. I needed hints at the end plus Mrs GD to get me to look beyond Sporty, Scary etc.
    Hard to call a favourite but the homophone/not homophobe at 7d made me laugh.
    Many thanks Silvanus and Mr K.

  22. Thought I was never going to get going on this but once underway it gradually came right round and I very much enjoyed the enigma. 24a is becoming a bit of a chestnut. 9a new one on me but it had to be. Needed help to fully parse 10a and 14d. Favs 12a, 25a and 7d. Thank you Silvanus for identifying yourself and for your pleasurable puzzle.

  23. Going against the grain today regarding difficulty as I didn’t find this very cleverly clued, excellent puzzle, too hard. Must be the old wavelength thing, either it clicks or it doesn’t.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the misdirection feast and MrK for confirming my only bung-in at 12a which proved surprisingly easy to parse after all!

  24. Managed half before admitting defeat. For anyone of my standard these type of puzzles are utterly pointless. I hope the experts enjoin their double Toughie day.
    No fun and no point.
    *****/0

  25. A slow but steady and altogether enjoyable solve for me this morning. Recovering from some kind of gastric event, I am more cruciverbally minded today than I was yesterday, thanks goodness. Loved the misdirect in 25a, with 11d and 9a winning the top prizes. Thanks to Mr K and to Silvanus for a cracking good challenge. ***/****

    Reading Kate Atkinson’s new delight, Shrines of Gaiety. Such a fine story-teller!

  26. The first time I came to the blog to see what people thought of this puzzle, having fair raced through it, I couldn’t understand Mr K’s difficulty rating, nor on glancing at them, the first two clues .. I then realised I’d tackled the Beam Fluffy-Toughie first!

    So, some time later I sat down to this wonderful, wonderful puzzle. An absolute cracker. I must have tuned into Sylvanus’s wavelength quite speedily as I didn’t find it as stiff a challenge as appears to have been the case for many, and put it on a par with a typical end-of-week backpager. LOI was 12a, which I just could not parse; 25a had me thinking of the sport of fencing (as the setter intended) before the answer dawned: what a shame one can no longer get proper [answer] these days.

    Hon Mentions were legion – 1a,10a, 21a, 7d, 11d, and COTD by a short head to the super 9a.

    2* / 4.5*

    Many thanks to Sylvanus and to Mr K

    (Sorry for going into pre-mod, I’ve changed laptops and forgotten which email address is associated with this site!)

      1. It has been totally banned here in the US due to health concerns. Our garden club is often consulted to dispose of old railroad sleepers.

        And thanks to Sylvanus for a delightful puzzle (and Mr K for the pointers).

        Mr & Mrs T

  27. Phew what a scorcher – that was really too hard for me with far too many bung ins. Good to have Mr K’s explanations for so many of the clues (which were very clever as others have said). Not very satisfying really when it’s so hard. Still don’t get 21a – never heard of any homophone like the answer.

      1. It’s worth tucking that one into the card index (possibly once it’s been dr-ide out a bit) as this particular fish makes regular cruciverbal appearances.

  28. Absolutely excellent! Great clues, a good/tricky challenge and a very enjoyable tussle. I got 13a immediately just from the definition – it’s one of handful of French words/terms that I know (mostly from solving cryptic crosswords). Personally, I don’t mind unindicated foreign words/phrases but it always amuses me that some people mention it/complain when unindicated Americanisms appear (even well-known ones) yet don’t bat an eyelid if it’s an unindicated French-ism! I have ticked quite a few clues but will mention 12a and 11d. 3.5*/4.5* – a cracking puzzle!

    *I’d have to agree with Jane that today’s brace of bloggers is indeed the “dream team”.

    1. I think many of us object on the grounds that we view most Americanisms as being abortions of our perfectly good English language. The French have their own language which is perfectly acceptable and we feel entitled to poach words and phrases that have no succinct English equivalent. Maybe that argument wouldn’t stand up in a court of law these days but we are what we are – warts and all!

      1. That’s fair comment, Jane, but many of these Americanisms are very well-known here in the UK and it often seems ludicrous/totally unnecessary to specifically indicate them in a cryptic clue (of all places). It’s treating solvers with kid gloves to the Nth degree. Also, there are one or two bloggers on here who insist that ALL foreign words/phrases should be indicated properly. That’s how I see it, but I’m sure plenty will disagree.

        1. Good discussion… and we do have the enjoyingest time reading the Americanisms comments.

          Seriously though, reading a little on the work of Noah Webster reveals some of the work that helped spread the language and increase literacy. He invented words that have been adopted by even the most reluctant… and was relentless in documenting words that had never appeared in any written form.

          Americanisms are just like any other foreignism: loved, hated, ignored, embraced… the real question is where is the boundary to that far country. Todmorden, Twickenham, Tennessee or Taipei… they are all viewed as foreign by someone.

          Mr & Mrs T
          Boston

  29. I’ve just woken up feeling enough impact from yesterday’s covid booster to know that it’s working. I see that many of today’s commenters also found this to be a challenging puzzle. Since two clues in particular get a lot of mention up above, I’ve added a couple of spoiler buttons to the hint for 12a and a hyperlink to the hint for 21a to provide additional assistance with parsing those clues.

  30. Well this was another tough puzzle today, but far more logical than Wednesdays’ offering.
    3*/4* for me today.

    Favourites were plentiful, including 9a, 10a, 18a, 24a, 2d & 14d — with 14d the winner … remember taking that *many* years ago!

    13a not a familiar word in my lexicon and neither was 16a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and Mr K for the great hints

  31. This was way, way too hard for me – not a hope in hell!
    Never mind – I’ll hang on to today’s Beam Toughie so that I’ve got something to have a go at for tomorrow.
    We seem to be a bit up the spout at the moment – never quite know what to expect who the setter might be or the difficulty level may be.
    Thanks everyone today.

    1. Hi Kath,
      Think you may well have been accurate in your guess about yesterday’s back-page setter. None of the other suspects turned up to accept responsibility and the Don rarely pops in unless it’s to set us straight about something!
      As you said, we don’t really know what or whom to expect these days – time was when we could set our watches by various setters.
      Enjoy the Beam Toughie – there isn’t much to trip you up and it’s definitely of his usual high standard.

      1. Just a couple of things that made me think it could have been him – on that happy note I might keep quiet I think we may never know.

        1. I’d be happy to pay you out at the winners desk – if it had been Donny he’d have fessed up so reckon your hunch spot on.

  32. No after-effects from my joint Covid and influenza vaccinations two weeks ago, but my pneumococcal jab yesterday left me with a very sore and almost immovable right arm, which made completing this Cryptic a pain, but not a mental one.

  33. Thought it might be just me as I had a very late one last night (meal and drinks with family followed by last-minute blogging, because why do things in plenty of time?). I found this very much on the tricky side for a back pager, so glad to have company.

    Lots of smiles; I’m going to go with 9a and 12a as my picks.

    Many thanks My K and Silvanus.

  34. Working out the setter is akin to guessing who the next British Prime Minister will be.

    There was a joke among Italians, that they awoke every morning with the following question on their lips: “Chi è il Primo Ministro oggi?” The Brits have gone all Queen Victoria over this.

  35. Thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K for the review and hints. I had a good try at this, but in the end I just ran out of patience and looked up the 8 missing answers. Too difficult for me to get much enjoyment out of it. All very well constructed. Was 6*/ 2* for me. No particular favourite.

  36. Clever crossword but a trifle too clever for me 😳 *****/*** even when I obtained the solution a few of them still left me puzzled 🤔 Favourites 27a and 14d 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the unknown Compiler, although I can hazard a guess. Always tomorrow to get back on the 🏇

  37. What a lot of comments! I have already said thank you to Silvanus and thanks also to Mr K for explaining 28a which baffled me. Not enough cats, but I shall forgive you as you have been proper poorly. What a day! Buckets in the conservatory where the rain came through where we lost a finial in the gales. There is always something….,

  38. Managed to solve all but 6 clues which were the kind that a thousand years to solve wouldn’t have helped.

    Many of the clues I did get, I couldn’t parse.

    A second day in a row of 2 toughies and no enjoyment from either day.

  39. At least today’s was error free after yesterday’s difficult and flawed puzzle which I finally managed to finish this morning but declined to comment, Ididn’t want to sound like Brian. Today’s was difficult in parts and boy were they difficult. I was left with three unparsed answers which I needed the hints for, 12a, 21a and 26d. Favourite by a country mile was 9a. Thanks to Silvanus and Mr. K. I too had the dreaded + back.

  40. Cor! That was the hardest back pager for a very long time.

    Can’t remember the last time it took me all afternoon and evening to finish one.

  41. I began to think my mental faculties were on the decline today having ground to a halt for the second day running. I found some of the comments today supercilious and I certainly don’t expect people to express their political views on this site.
    The DT is expensive these days if more and more toughies start to appear on the backpagers my local newsagent will loose another customer.

  42. By jingo, that was a Toughie.
    Great stuff, defeated by just one,12a, which, on reflection, I may have solved if I had lingered longer.
    Many thanks, indeed, Sylvanus for the terrific challenge and thanks Mr K.
    Totally agree Fran, above, I do not expect political views on this wonderful site.

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