DT 30130 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30130

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30130

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A very good Friday morning from Winnipeg.

As he was on Toughie duty yesterday this is unlikely to be a Silvanus production; it can happen, we did have him for Thursday Toughie/Friday back pager 6 weeks ago but, according to the myth, lightning never strikes in the same place twice.  Neither of proXimal’s ‘trademarks’ are present.  So, my five bob is going on this being a real head scratcher of a Zandio production which, for me, is probably an escapee from the Sunday Toughie envelope.

Candidates for favourite – 1a, 18a, 27a, 1d, and 16d.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the Click here! buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Second toady produces pen, hastily (6)
SCRAWL: The single letter for Second and a verbal synonym of toady.

4a One’s tied with Chelsea — managed to let in nil (8)
SHOELACE: An anagram (managed) of CHELSEA containing (to let in) the letter that can represent nil in the score in the round or oval ball games.

10a Drink using mint tea-strainer, emptying out French water (9)
COINTREAU: A verbal synonym of mint (associated with money), Tea-straineR with the interior letters removed (emptying out), and the French word for water.

11a Stop by six and rest (5)
VISIT: The Roman numeral for six and a synonym of rest.

12a Groups once more seen in Ibiza and Magaluf? (7)
RESORTS: A verbal synonym of groups with a two letter prefix added to indicate that it is a repeat operation (once more).

13a Nature scene’s composed to show east/west of Spain (7)
ESSENCE: An anagram (composed) of SCENE’S placed before or after (east/west) of E the IVR code for Spain (thanks to StephenL).

14a Commander conceals socialist beliefs (5)
CREDO: A two letter abbreviation for Commander contains (conceals) a colourful three letter term for socialist – the abbreviation for Commander is more correctly an abbreviation for two words that can be considered equivalent to Commander.

15a Scheming to cuddle sweetheart, nude and dishevelled (8)
SLOVENLY: A three letter synonym of scheming containing (to cuddle) all of a synonym of sweetheart with N from aNd with the first and last letters deleted (nude) (thanks to Jezza).

18a Made a satire about knight being treated like a child (5-3)
SPOON-FED: A single word for made a satire containing (about) the chess notation for knight.

20a Guard won’t open door (5)
ENTRY: A synonym of guard with the first letter removed (won’t open).

23a Something big crashes into microcar I bought (7)
CARIBOU: A lurker (crashes into) found in three words in the clue.

25a Delicate creature resides in college — no men allowed over (7)
ANEMONE: The 23a lurker is followed by a reversed lurker (resides in . . . over) found in the words sandwiched by the indicator.

26a Beast oddly dropped down his horn when retreating (5)
RHINO: Remove the odd-numbered letters (oddly dropped) from dOwN hIs HoRn and reverse what remains (when retreating) – actually, it looks as though the reversal could be done first, then the deletion and the correct answer would still be obtained.

27a Different doctors, one from the East in lesser sleeveless uniform (5,4)
DRESS CODE: A two letter abbreviation and a three letter abbreviation for doctor (different doctors), reverse the three letter abbreviation (one from the East) and insert it into (in) lESSEr with the outer letters removed (sleeveless).

28a Infectious, with a higher temperature initially causing brooding (8)
HATCHING: A synonym of Infectious which starts with a letter one might see on a tap for low temperature; replace said letter with one that might be seen on a tap to indicate a higher temperature (with . . . initially).

29a Advantages some may see in cliques (6)
ASSETS: A (2,4) term which could be a descriptive term for how cliques are organised.


1d Contest in which every competitor’s bagged first (4,4)
SACK RACE: The illustration should help – a contest in which all the competitors step into a large ‘bag’ before the start (bagged first).

2d Charge following on one’s second release? (7)
REISSUE: A three letter synonym of charge (legally, in a civil court) placed after (following) all of the two letters equivalent to on (as in with reference to), the Roman numeral for one and S from the clue.

3d Game with pool players having a ball (5,4)
WATER POLO: A game played in a (swimming) pool with a ball being passed between the players.

5d Royal family maybe have means to develop as public figures (9,5)
HOUSEHOLD NAMES: A term for a Royal Family (in line of descent, maybe), a synonym of have, and an anagram (to develop) of MEANS.

6d Short seasonal workers who pack up before Christmas? (5)
ELVES: Father Christmas’s little helpers.

7d Ace learns after transfer they could face Chelsea (7)
ARSENAL: The single letter for Ace (that appears on a playing card) and an anagram (after transfer) of LEARNS.

8d Encounter’s upsetting after Everton’s opener brings prize (6)
ESTEEM: A synonym of encounter reversed (upsetting) and placed after the first letter (opener) of Everton.

9d Transport workers whose motion is carried by four members (6,2,6)
BEASTS OF BURDEN: A descriptive term for animals (with four members for their ‘personal’ motion) that carry loads.

16d Chelsea and Everton, say, opponents at Bridge getting half-time break? (9)
ELEVENSES: The plural term for the number of players from two teams such as Chelsea and Everton (say) on the pitch at any one time and two of the (directional) opponents playing Bridge.

17d Composes for Telegraph, perhaps taking class positions (8)
TYPESETS: Synonyms of class and positions – the clock would have to be turned back decades to find this process in use at the Telegraph or any other newspaper.

19d Behind in group, relative cycled repeatedly, last (7)
PERSIST: The last letter (behind in) of grouP followed by a (sibling) relative with the last letter moved to the front twice (cycled repeatedly) – i.e. the ‘original’ last letter is moved to the front and then the ‘new’ last letter is moved to the front.

21d Couple married in Soweto separated (7)
TWOSOME: The single letter for Married inserted into (in) an anagram (separated) of SOWETO.

22d Get too hot having drink — time to go for run (6)
SCORCH: A type of drink, that I should probably have had while solving and blogging, that is the amber nectar from North of the border with its letter for Time replaced by the single letter for a crickety Run.

24d Starter one signed up to order without hesitation (5)
BROTH: A member (one signed up to) of a religious order with the two letters that can indicate hesitation deleted (without).

The Quick Crossword Pun:



111 comments on “DT 30130
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  1. Great fun today, a real mind-bender. Took me quite a while to get a foothold,
    but after about half a dozen clues, I got onto the right wavelength, whole thing
    took about ******* (don’t know how many *s that is, is there a hard and fast rule?)
    my favourite today was 10a. Well done to the setter, very clever puzzle!

    [The convention is that we don’t quote solving times. Gazza]

    1. I really struggled with 10a as I had it firmly fixed that it was an anagram of using mint tea with eau removed! Hopeless!

  2. I thought this was a little tricky in places, but excellent!

    I think 15a, the N is derived from nude aNd

    Many thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. Unfortunately this was totally beyond me and I solved only 6 clues( 8 if you include the ones I wasn’t sure of) before giving up. It definitely belonged on the Toughie page as far as I was concerned but, then, I have always found Zandio’s puzzles rather impenetrable and this looked like one of his. Thanks ro the compiler, whoever it was. I shall now enlighten my darkness by reading Senf’s hints for which many thanks.

    1. Had I not been ‘blogger of the day’ my printed sheet would have been consigned to the shredder very early on and I would have reached for the amber nectar I mentioned in the hint for 22d!

        1. Just wondering? Has anyone who subscribes to the DT puzzles site been informed why there is a major change to what we are paying for? They keep saying it’s wonderful, but I wonder if it’s been fully tested. Obviously NOT when the font size in many of the puzzles is far too small.

          And, that woman waving her flag is beginning to annoy me!

            1. The old site is still available but some bits are missing …

              … What happened to the Monday “Win Prizes” competition?

              I was not informed that it had finished!

              I wonder how long it will take to “unsubscribe”?

              Rant over!

              1. I’ve written to the puzzles editor and team about the shortcomings of the new site several times but received no replies. I am very grateful to have been directed to the old site by one of you wonderful people.

                1. Your comment went into moderation because your name had a random ‘+’ inserted between your first and last names by the site software. Both versions of your name should work from now on.

                  You are not alone in writing to the puzzles editor and not receiving any reply. There is never any comment in the weekly puzzles newsletter. All we see is high praise for the new site.

                  As I said above, the fact that the old site is still available, but for how long, must be an indication of something – but what?

    1. I don’t often comment but follow the blog most days. I must say that I am finding the back pagers much harder than they were.
      I have both a print and puzzles subscription and wrote to Telegraph support with a copy to the Puzzles editor asking whether the print sub now included the puzzles sub and expressed my concerns about the lack of history on the new site.
      The reply confirmed that I no longer needed a Puzzles sub and my renewal has been cancelled. It also said that over time all archived puzzles will be moved to the new site but that my personal history of solved puzzles cannot be transferred. Hopefully the old site will remain available in the meantime.
      Can I suggest that the new website deserves a separate blog post so that all readers can raise concerns and be aware of any news.
      The lack of info in the Puzzles newsletter is bizarre!

      1. Your comment went into moderation because:

        1. You used a lower case ‘t’ in your alias which I have taken the liberty of changing to an upper case ‘T’ as used previously.

        2. You used a different e-mail address – both should work from now on.

  4. Great puzzle full of crafty misdirection and creative clueing throughout, loved the mini football theme in particular. The only clue I perhaps didn’t care for was 17d, and I thought the parsing of 27a a little convoluted, but tiny quibbles
    Ticks all over the place but I’ll highlight 4&10a plus 5,7&9d with top spot going to the brilliant 16d, though a little sporting knowledge is necessary to fully appreciate it… there’s a reason why “Bridge” is capitalised. Top stuff

    In 13a Senf we have an anagram of SCENES which is shown East or West of Spain (E).
    Many thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  5. I am finding this terribly difficult and still have 3 left to do in SE corner which I will attempt again after lunch – in fact its made me rather grumpy. This may be part caused by David having to have a severely reduced diet prior to two unpleasant procedures at the hospital and me feeling that I ought show solidarity and keep to the same tiny diet. Back later if I finish.

      1. I did finish in the end but it was a slog. DG shush but I do have a secret stash of liquorice which I shouldn’t eat at all as it raises blood pressure. D has actually lost half a stone on his micro diet and looks better for it.

  6. I loved this. Rarely have time to do the back page after staggering through most toughies. But after a gentler toughie today I sat down with this. Enjoyed it much more than the toughie. ***** for enjoyment from me. Loved the misdirection of the soccer teams with only one clue turning out having anything to do with soccer. If this is Silvanus then more please. Thanks also to Senf

        1. Zandio has been compiling back pagers since June 2019 and is now a regular member of the Friday Triumvirate (with proXimal and Silvanus) and is also a member of the Sunday Toughie Triumvirate since its introduction in January of this year. He will probably be ‘around’ for quite a while.

  7. Took everything I had, as well as five letter-reveals (the online option), to finish this manically brilliant, toughie-level doozy. Can’t say that I really enjoyed the journey last night, but I stuck with it, with 28a, 1a, & 15a (though I worried about the ‘n’ for ‘nude’) duking it out for podium spots. I gave up trying to parse 27a (it had to be what it was), so thanks to Senf for that assist, as well as the 4*/5* rating, and thanks to Zandio for the tussle. 5+*/3*

    Ah, I see that Jezza has solved the mystery of the ‘n’ in 15a. Makes good sense now.

    1. Hi RC sorry for the delay in replying about what I’ve been reading but have been knocked for six by the Covid jab. I’m really looking forward to buying the new Ian Rankin book which hopefully will be tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be able to concentrate enough to absorb the content. I haven’t started the cryptic yet as I’m waiting for my neighbour to get the paper. I’ll comment later – usually tomorrow!

      1. Good to hear from you again, GH! I’ve been receiving Mr Rankin’s newsletters about the new Rebus and look forward to it, but the American release is not until after the first of the year–April, I think–so you’ll have to enjoy it for me until I can catch up. After reading new novels by Ian McEwan and Kate Atkinson, I am now enjoying an older William Boyd novel, Any Human Heart. Hope you recover soon from the Covid jab.

  8. A good puzzle, and I agree, quite tough, maybe even unusually so, for a daily. But it’s that wonderful day in the working week, is it not, and I set forth undeterred towards a ***/**** completion.

    Many thanks to the creator (the compiler I mean :)) and Senf.

  9. I enjoyed this a lot but thought it was rather tricky for a back-pager, even a Friday one. Thanks to Zandio(?) and Senf.
    I’ve selected 28a, 1d and 24d for my podium.

  10. Really enjoyed this. Steady, if slow, progress until I hit the SW corner where I struggled with 19d, 22d and 28a. COTD was the outstanding 16d. Agree with the consensus that this was a Zandio production so many thanks to him and to Senf for the blog.

  11. Is this a joke? For once I actually managed to finish a Friday toughie (well, it wasn’t an Elgar!) only to not be able to even start this.

    1. Hi, I’m a few days adrift. Just spent most of Tuesday on this, only needed two hints to complete. I’d say this is possibly the toughest back pager in my memory.
      I may exaggerate slightly, but it was a true slog, not enjoyable as its taxation level is too high for comfort.

  12. Hmm. I must have been on wavelength, then, because I didn’t find the grid too hard to fill, though thankful as always for parsing help/clarification. SW corner was the last to be competed, with 24D holding out for a while until the penny dropped. I’ve ticked 27A and 24D (in reverse order) as my top two picks.

  13. I don’t think I’ll bother with Friday crosswords, they just seem to be getting more and more difficult (and, therefore, less and less enjoyable). This one is way to hard for this bear of little brain! I’ve been doing the DT cryptic for nearly 40 years, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with them. Fortunately, I have a couple from earlier in the week to keep me amused.
    Thanks to Senf for the answers which I’ll look at later and I should be polite and thank the setter, even though it was a complete drubbing today!

    1. You’ve beaten me, I’ve been doing the Telegraph crossword for a mere 35 years, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, until perhaps the last 5 years, during which time it has become more and more difficult to the point where I feel like giving up.

  14. What a complete and utter waste of time for 99% of people attempting the crossword. I could say more but it would be both rude and inflammatory.
    Not even worth scoring.

    1. 99% seems like a slight exaggeration…

      We loved it until our 3d “explorer” answer crippled our finish: Mrs T did ask how did the British compiler knew about the Marco Polo game? They didn’t.

      Hoisted by my own Americanismest petard!

      Mr T

  15. This took me ages to get into but I really enjoyed the challenge once I got going. I was not helped by the fact that many of the checkers were vowels which always makes solving more difficult. Don’t usually go for anagrams but loved the misdirection in 4a and completely failed to equate ‘managed’ with an anagram indicator. Also liked 9d, 28a and 16d. Thanks to the compiler and Senf whose hints I needed today.

  16. Boy, what a mind-bender.
    But with never giving up, got there in the end.
    Brilliant clueing.
    Last in 19d, but parsing took an age.
    Many thanks to the setter for this near-Toughie puzzle and to Senf for his excellent review.

    1. I usually do the back pager as I go to bed, I find it sends me to sleep but this took Friday evening and Saturday evening before finishing over Sunday breakfast with a little help to finish 17d. A Toughie on steroids. COTD for me was 27a.
      Thanks (I think) to the setter and definitely Senf.

      1. You’ve changed one letter of your alias so this required moderation. Both versions of your alias will work from now on.

  17. Very clever puzzle! I needed the hints to get across the finish line. Glad it had the four/five star rating – I thought it was just me!!

  18. Hello, compiler here. Thanks for taking the trouble to solve, analyse and discuss.
    Sorry that some found it too hard. I am a huge fan of the great Roger Squires (Rufus), who set the Monday Telegraph crossword for 30 years until he retired not long ago. Although it may not seem it, I share Roger’s approach in some ways, including no obscure answers, a minimal range of one-letter abbreviations, few first/last letter clues, and a love of cryptic definitions.
    Roger is the master of the CD, of course, but whereas many solvers love them (Gazza for instance often seems to tick them), others would grumble that they made Roger’s puzzles harder. Here there are four (1d, 3d, 6d, 9d, which I would fully underline in the hints) so perhaps for some solvers that makes the puzzle harder.
    One thing about a cryptic definition is that you don’t need to have ever done a crossword to solve it — it’s a Christmas cracker riddle. Unfortunately, by the time you read this you’ve already had a go at the puzzle, so it’s a bit late to say this, but for some solvers the four CDs could be a starting point.
    Thanks again for the feedback. Have a good weekend.

    1. Oh you really got me here Zandio, I only got 50% before I had to turn to Senf for some help. I did really like 1d though. I wondered what Brian would say. I suppose I should say thank you for knocking me back down to size.

    2. Zandio, should you pop in again….please take note that quite a few people found this really hard. I really appreciate your skills as a compiler but a back pager on a back page would be appreciated rather than an escaped toughie!!

  19. If I was a fair bit brainier I’d have loved this. As it was I had to abandon with lots of gaps. Quite enjoyed filling them in with the help of the hints and ‘reveal’ later though. Would have needed checkers for two of the cryptic definitions and couldn’t get enough crossers from the others to get going. Delighted to see it had so many stars – self-esteem restored!

  20. Slow start and then several breaks which helped to get me on stream. NW last to acquiesce but now can’t think why. Several were only partially parsed e.g. 15a, 27a and 19d or perhaps I was just too lazy to 19d with unravelling. Not sure where creature comes into 25a or indeed what the picture hint is – or am I missing something. Thank you Zandio and Senf – now for the easier (?) Toughie!

      1. D’oh thanks Senf. Perhaps I should have recognised the marine organism/creature which certainly doesn’t look like a flower anenome.

  21. As I have just said, I struggled although one E you know, it is all fair and square. I did half before turning to the hints, then I just copy the underlined words to see if that focuses me more then finally when I am really struck I read the hints. Thank you Senf , have a good weekend everyone.

  22. Thanks Zandio for popping-in to give your side of the picture, like the general consensus I found this rather “toughie territory” but an enjoyable solve all the same. SE corner was the last to fall requiring Senf to confirm my bung-ins at 25a & 27a which I was unable to parse.
    Now for the Proper Toughie!

  23. I found this quite challenging, but still a steady solve. Loved the references to my favourite football team – I’ll leave you guessing which one.
    Idly wondered about 8d. Is it legitimate to apostrophise ‘Encounter’s’ when the synonym you’re looking for doesn’t have one? The hint doesn’t account for the ‘s’.
    Hope that makes sense to someone …

    1. Apologies, the hint does ‘fall short’ – the S is required and, as is quite common, the punctuation should be ignored.

  24. I found the puzzle very difficult and needed too much assistance to solve it 😬 but there were so many brilliant clues ergo *****/****Favourites were 1a, 10a and 16d 😃 Big thank you to Senf and to Zandio especially for taking the time to explain his method

  25. Phew what a scorcher!
    I completed the crossword reasonably quickly but with a lot of bung ins which is almost as bad as a DNF.
    Many thanks to the setter and special thanks to Senf and his colleagues for explaining my bung ins.
    Apologies if I have missed any updates about Terence but I remembered him fondly today with three references to his beloved Chelsea.

    1. I thought the same Khalid. Terence would have loved the reference to his favourite team. I struggled today to make any inroads into the puzzle, so a huge thanks to Senf for making sense of it for me. Thankyou also Zandio.

  26. Late coming to this and the SW corner held out for a time but it was a genuinely good tussle and well worth the effort. The compiler’s comments at #20 are fascinating and a great insight into his thought process.

    My thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  27. *****/*. Sorry Senf when it’s this hard even your excellent explanations are no fun. Can we have it easier next week please – I have a lot to do and would appreciate the daily giving me a a bit of a boost which it hasn’t once this week. Shouldn’t this have been a toughie?

  28. Firstly can I say I have nothing but respect and admiration for those setters who can produce puzzles of this complexity.
    My gripe is not with them in any way. It is with the …… people at the DT who are so arrogant in their approach to those of us who have neither the time or inclination to sit in in a darkened room with a cold wet towel around our head. FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME AND FOR THE LOVE OF WHICHEVER DEITY FLOATS YOUR BOAT – LEAVE THIS LEVEL OF PUZZLES TO THE TOUGHIE WHICH IS FREELY AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO WISH TO PROGRESS TO MORE FIENDISH CROSSWORDS.

      1. I agree. Friday is such a depressing day with every DT puzzle striving to be difficult. Why cannot we go joyfully into the weekend?

    1. Well said, Brian, a lone voice crying in the wilderness. However, I doubt it will make any difference, so expect the puzzles to keep getting harder and harder.

      1. I’m glad some people are enjoying the challenge, but, for me, all the puzzles seem to be getting more and more difficult. It’s a waste of paper and ink for me at the moment. My subscription is due for renewal soon, but if the puzzles continue as they have recently I don’t think I’ll renew it. It’s no fun any more.

        1. Glad it’s not just me…..the number of occasions when I sit down and really enjoy the crossword seem to be getting fewer and fewer. And I almost despair of Fridays these days. I know there are many people on this blog who enjoy the challenge but, for me, there’s not much fun to be had!

  29. Definitely struggled with this on Thursday night and continued to struggle, after a nights sleep, on Friday morning.
    4*/3* for me today, when the last one went in.

    Needed the hints today very much so, so thank you Senf.

    Favourites after much hair pulling and head scratching were 4a, 10a, 18a, 27a, 1d & 19d with winner 10a, but I prefer a 22d with a wee drop of water.

    Thanks to Zandio and Senf

  30. Another cracker from Z. Great clues, certainly a tough challenge and an enjoyable tussle. Too many good ‘uns to pick a favourite. 4.5*/4.5*.

  31. 5*/1*. I have been out all day since trying but failing to complete what must be the toughest and most disappointing Friday puzzle for some considerable time. This was most definitely a wrong envelope day.

    Very well done to anyone who managed to complete this.

    Thanks to the setter. Perhaps I’m just having a bad day but sorry I couldn’t do this justice. Thanks too to Senf.

  32. Must say I do have a degree of sympathy with Brian. This was definitely a case of a cock up at the sorting office & far more suited to the Sunday Toughie slot. I often struggle with Zandio & that was certainly the case here – thought it harder than yesterday’s Silvanus Toughie which was plenty hard enough for me. That said thought it an excellent puzzle full of deviously clever clues & very satisfying to eventually stagger across the line after 3 real head scratchers in the SE. 4&18a my top 2. I too thought of T & his beloved Chelsea – miss both his comments & his listening material.
    Thanks to Zandio & Senf

  33. I don’t regard myself as particularly good at cryptic puzzles, usually requiring this site’s wonderful help to parse a few clues. But I managed this one fairly easily, at one point thinking ‘this is OK for a Friday puzzle’. Thank you to Zandio, and Senf for the hints.

  34. I don’t normally comment on the day the puzzle is issued because my solving time is with my bedtime cup of tea and my morning cup of tea. Quite often I have a quick glance at the BD rating and some of the comments before starting to solve. As a result of the array of stars Senf has awarded I had a look at a few of the comments, and now feel it not worth the time to attempt this at all. WHEN WILL THE POWERS THAT BE UNDERSTAND THAT TOUGHIES ARE NOT FOR THE BACK PAGE BUT ELSEWHERE FOR THOSE WHO ENJOY THEM. THERE ARE QUITE A FEW OF US WITH LESSER BRAINPOWER WHO DO ENJOY CROSSWORDS NEARER TO THEIR OWN PAY STATION. Thanks to Senf. I shall read his hints in the hope that I might gain some understanding from them. In courtesy thanks also to Zandio who has obviously produced an excellent piuzzle.

    1. I’m with you ToniHaha on solving with bedtime and morning cup of tea. I usually rely on my morning brain to get the best results. Tonight I’m a bit overwhelmed but put that down to bad reaction to Covid jab. However it’s interesting that so many regular solvers are having a problem with the crossword. I’m so grateful to Senf for the extra help and I thank Zandio for the crossword even though I’m not up to it today. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone as it’s so interesting to hear from you all.

  35. Managed 13 before throwing in the towel with head battered into submission and no desire for more punishment. Reading the hints serves two purposes :

    to show one how it should be tackled,

    to show one how limited one’s solving ability is.

    Thanks to Senf for taming this nest of vipers and to Zandio for presenting it. I hate snakes like Winston Smith hates rats ; hang on I hate rats too.

  36. Coming in late having given up on this earlier. I’m not surprised I was beaten by it. I only have one point to make, if it has not been said already, the answer for 5d should be pluralised.
    Here’s hoping for a friendlier day tomorrow.

  37. Fair play to all those for whom ‘the harder the better’ but it really irks me when I find the Toughie more accessible than the back pager. This has happened much too often recently and I am now giving up on Telegraph crosswords. I wandered in to a old school pub in Folkestone recently and a friendly guy was at the bar with a Times crossword. Between us we nailed it and I was so much happier because the clues were not only logical and well parsed but reasonable for an old bar fly like myself. The Telegraph has become too elitist and you are all very welcome to it.

  38. Thanks to Zanido and to Senf for the review and hints. I only managed to solve 13 of the clues. I normally manage to complete the back pager. Surely this belonged on the Toughie page? No problem with the setter, it was all good, just too difficult. No fun at all.

  39. I completed this with difficulty but I completed it. Needed the hints to parse 28a and 9d although my parsing of 13a and 19d was a little woolly it made sense to me. Any road up happiness is a completed grid. Favourite was 27a. Thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  40. I found this an very challenging solve, but managed to complete without help. At first glance, I thought this was going to be a dnf, but gradually got it completed.

    Having said that, I needed the hint to parse 10a.

    I sympathise with those that found this too difficult, but I personally got immense enjoyment from solving this crossword without help.

    Thanks to all.

  41. I had to spend so much time on this that I lost most of the feel good factor that I normally get when completing a crossword. I propose and second Brian’s comments.

  42. 5/1. The 1 is generous. This was a frustrating puzzle way above my pay grade. I agree with Brian that these sorts of puzzles are not for the back page. To those who solved this, congratulations. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  43. Been battling with the back pagers for a few years now and I’d got to the stage where I could usually complete them (often after much struggling and sighing), But recently a lot of them seem to have moved into a completely different stratosphere. Way out of my reach. Really disappointing!

  44. Picked this up working over in Malawi. Half way through with no mistakes so far. NW and NE corners done but can’t get into SE corner at all – its a real bugger or a real ‘VUTO’ as we say here!

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