DT 30218 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30218

Daily Telegraph No 30218

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone from a beautifully sunny South Devon coast. For those of you who did the Toughie yesterday you’ve got me again!… as the Ks are on vacation. Another blogger will cover next week

The setter, I assume it’s Jay, has given us a very fine puzzle with a few easy anagrams to get you started and provide some useful checkers.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Stop consuming German sausage loudly — it’s what losers do (4,3,5)
COME OFF WORST: Piece together a phrasal verb that could mean stop consuming or taking and a homophone (loudly) of the name of a German sausage.

8a Perform inadequately, caught by all-rounder D’Oliveira (7)
UNDERDO: Hidden in the clue as indicated cleverly by “caught by”. I vaguely remember the elegant batsman/bowler in the clue. Excellent example of this clue type.

9a In France, the man of the match is in space (7)
LEGROOM: A charade of a French definite article plus the “man of the match” where the match is a wedding.

11a Be brilliant in golf, then rubbish (7)
GLITTER: The abbreviation for Golf plus some rubbish or trash.

12a Tourist double parking in German city (7)
TRIPPER: Insert the abbreviation for Parking twice in a SW German city. I think this is fantastic

13a Majestic king, for example Albert (5)
REGAL: Start with the Latin abbreviation for King, add an abbreviated “for example” from the clue and a shortened form of ALbert.

14a Mention coming back on green, struggling with drive (9)
ENERGETIC: Append a reversal (coming back) of a synonym of mention to an anagram (struggling) of GREEN.

16a One good cutting hair for catty females (9)
TIGRESSES: Insert (cutting) the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one plus the abbreviation for Good into some locks of hair.

19a Sultanas extracted from Danish are mushy (5)
HAREM: Hidden in the clue, the indicator being “extracted from”

21a Characters displaying a certain inclination? (7)
ITALICS: Cryptic definition, the characters being letters.

23a Empty residence let for free (7)
RELEASE: A charade of the outer letters (empty) of ResidencE plus a verb meaning to let.

24a Don’t seem half-hearted, playing in final (7)
ENDMOST: Anagram (playing) of DON’T plus SEeM (half hearted….this telling us to remove one of the central letters)

25a Falls in this river? (7)
NIAGARA: Cryptic definition, the “falls” being a noun and not a verb. Somewhat topical and unfortunate surface read given current events on the River Wyre but that’s not the setter’s fault.

26a French girl produced white wine around Italy (12)
MADEMOISELLE: Start with a synonym of produced or created and add a white wine into which is inserted the IVR code for Italy.


1d Apple computer programming absorbs learner (7)
CODLING: Apple here has nothing to do with the company as the surface read would suggest. A word that describes writing computer programmes goes around the abbreviation for Learner

2d Concerning a union, almost spoil the entire thing (7)

MARITAL: When the solution is split 3-2-2 we have a verb meaning to spoil or impair, a third person pronoun and all but the last letter of a word meaning in its entirety.

3d Forged euros sold, not creating a stink (9)
ODOURLESS: Anagram (forged) of the following two words.

4d Providing revolutionary service for meat dish (5)
FILET: A synonym of providing as a conjunction is reversed (revolutionary) and is followed by a type of service in tennis.

5d When we say goodbye, not stopping (7)
ONGOING: If we split the solution 2-5 (a preposition plus a participle) it describes a time when we say our farewells

6d Try overturning ram in field event (4,3)
SHOT PUT: Try here is a noun in the sense of a go. We need to follow it with a reversal (overturning) of a male sheep used for breeding.

7d Thinkers with urge to move around fast (6,6)
HUNGER STRIKE: Anagram (to move around) of THINKERS and URGE

10d Wise partner on horse in English coastal area (9,3)
MORECAMBE BAY: The wise here is a proper noun not an adjective and refers to one half of a seventies comedy duo (it hasn’t aged well!) We need to follow his partner with (on in a down clue) a type of horse.

15d Reformed sinners he holds sacred (9)
ENSHRINES: “Reformed” is an obvious anagram indicator. Here the fodder is SINNERS HE.

17d Family member has a thousand pounds per year (7)
GRANDPA: An informal word for a thousand pounds and the abbreviation for Per Annum.

18d Great example of mathematical ratio in e-book (7)
EPITOME: Insert a mathematical ratio (one you need to determine the area of a circle if I remember rightly) between E from the clue and a large book.

19d Travelling bag in ancient lobby, according to Spooner (7)
HOLDALL: A simple synonym of ancient plus a lobby or vestibule are given the Spooner treatment to give us the solution.

20d All are excited, drinking energy drink in pubs (4,3)
REAL ALE: Anagram (excited) of the preceding two words around (drinking) the abbreviation for Energy.

22d Second part of tennis match, losing with a fight (3-2)
SET TO: How we would refer to the second of a group of games in a tennis match “loses” the abbreviation for With.

Quickie Pun:  Rack + Mann+ In + Off = Rachmaninoff

Very enjoyable. My favourite was the terrific lurker at 8a. Which ones did you like?






105 comments on “DT 30218
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  1. 2*/4.5*. Continuing the week with yet another fine puzzle. My podium comprises 9a, 12a & 7d.

    Many thanks to Jay and to SL for stepping into the breach.

  2. A very friendly grid from Jay with four long ‘uns around the outside and some shorter long ‘uns inside – 2.5*/4.5*

    Favourite – a toss-up between 9a and 18d – and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to Jay and Stephen L picking up the reins for the first week of the 2Kiwis holiday.

  3. Loved all of it, not difficult but very enjoyable. 1a went straight in,which always gets me in a good frame of mind. I enjoyed the penny drop moment at 10d and my LOI, the cleverly disguised anagram at 7d, but my favourite was 18d for the great surface read. Thanks to Jay and to StephenL for standing in and the great tiger pic, reminding me of being lucky enough to see a tigress and two cubs in the wild, while on a pre- pandemic Indian holiday.

  4. I enjoyed this but DNF and I am pressed for time so sought help elsewhere. 1a doesn’t hold water German pronunciationwise! I always forget ram as per 6d. Joint Favs as far as I went 21a and 22d. Thank you Jay and StephenL.

  5. A fairly standard Jay puzzle with some very good clues and a few playful ones I enjoyed the Spoonerism at 19a, the geographical clues at 10 and 12a, the 7d anagram and 26a. Thanks to Jay and to SL for the hints.

  6. This one came together quite fast for me — but only by dint of ignoring parsing difficulties! For instance at 7d I was convinced that ‘urge’ was a synonym of ‘hunger’ so couldn’t rationalise the ‘strike’. Many thanks to the setter for an enjoyable and accessible puzzle and StevenL for casting light where there was darkness. */****

  7. Eventually got a foothold in this excellent offering from Jay! The NE held me up before the final few fell into place.

    2.5* /4*

    Fav for me 10d for referencing his birth place. LOI 5d

    Thanks to Jay & StephenL

  8. Another cracking puzzle off the Jay production line, with the excellent 9a taking top honours from the equally brilliant lurker at 8a. Great entertainment.

    Thanks to the lone bird and SL.

  9. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Jay (?) and SL.
    I’m rather shocked at the ‘homophone’ in 1a – in German the letter W is pronounced like our V.
    My ticks went to 12a, 23a and 1d.

    1. which reminds me of an old (spoken) joke:

      “If the answer is 9W, what’s the question?”

      “ Tell me, Mr Wagner, do you spell your name with a V? “

    2. A German would be apt to pronounce the first letter of each word the same — but I expect the vowel sound might differ.

  10. Thanks SL for your hints as I needed these to understand why 4d was what it obviously was. Very clever. I thought pick of the bunch was 10d with 9a being a close second. My rating **/***. Thanks to the setter.

  11. Very good. Finished in good time.
    Some amusing clues. E.g.9a. 26a. Needed the hints to completely parse 2d, doh, and 10d. I had completely forgotten the comedy duo. I agree that there humour had not aged well.
    Thanks both.

  12. Agree with RD’s fine puzzle,we seem to be in a good run, a **/**** for me.
    Favourite was the excellent 7d, liked the surfaces of 21a and 25a-always thought that the honey moon hotel should be at Viagara falls!
    Excellent quickie pun, very original, watched a recorging of Beethovens 9th last night has to be my favourite.

  13. Really enjoyed this – the sporting theme much more suited to my abilities than yesterday’s artistic version. I got 1a and 7d in on first reading, opening up most of the puzzle to a fast and problem-free solve. I didn’t think 24a worked personally, with the indicator away from the anagram and it not being very clear to remove the E. However there were far more excellent clues, especially 1a, 9a and 10d, which got my COTD. **/****

    Thanks to Jay and SL for stepping in

    1. I have to disagree with you re 24a Wiggler, it worked perfectly well for me with the indicator being right next to the “half hearted” second word of the fodder.

  14. An enjoyable puzzle with favourites 1a (despite pronunciation), 9a and 18d.

    No problem with 1d as I have just finished cataloging the fruit trees at Fyvie Castle walled garden.

    1. We used to have a Beauty of Bath in our garden when I was small. First apple of the summer as I recall and delicious. They seem to have disappeared except maybe in one of the Heritage Orchards in Kent.

  15. Feeling very grateful that I had this to do on a journey round the circular car park with FUH (Fairly Useful Husband) trapped and therefore having to help. I had real trouble with understanding some of my answers. I now know a new ram name and missed the anagram indicator in 24a, my favourite was 1d, so simple but took a while to drop.
    Thank you to Stephen for putting me out of my misery and the setter, this is the first time I have managed to finish a Wednesday puzzle.

  16. First run through, this is too difficult!
    But, eventually, managed to start ant the very bottom and slowly worked my way up.
    Smiled at 1a and 5 and 10d.
    The last, one of many brilliant clues.
    In summary, **/*****
    Many thanks Jay and StephenL.

  17. No problems with this Jay puzzle today. 9a was my favourite, followed by 19d, though I know that not everyone likes spoonerisms. Thanks to Jay and to SL for the review. Heading up to Northumberland for a few days. I’ll have to get up early if I want a paper copy of the DT. I have to drive to the local garage to collect it, but it doesn’t stock many copies of the DT. I can use my iPhone for puzzles, but reception where I’m going is not always great.

  18. Was fortunate that a glance at 22d as I started to sip my coffee helped me tune into Jay immediately, and from there was off at a canter. Super puzzle while it lasted, from start to finish. Special mentions abound, from 12a, 26a, 10d & 18d through to my top three, 1a, 9a and 15d.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks to Jay, and to SL for the review.

  19. I don’t get round to the crossword until lunchtime, but the news is preying on my mind. August Bank Holiday 1944 a doodlebug fell on Banstead village. The family had all gone into breakfast leaving me fast asleep in the Anderson shelter at the end of the garden. After the bomb fell I was trapped underground for four hours not knowing if any one else was alive, or if anyone would ever find me. In fact they were all huddled under the sturdy dining table with the house collapsed around them, quite safe. I was lucky, it was only 4 hours and my mother knew where I was. But the memory has never left me and I am really upset especially thinking of the children. Men can be vicious but nature can be equally cruel. Sorry, I understand if this post is too miserable to publish.

      1. Wow – what a story, what a memory. Hope you’re OK Daisygirl. Thoughts go out to everyone affected in Turkey and Syria. Nature makes us feel so small and helpless at times like this.

        1. What we experience, when very young, stays with us Daisy. I was almost swept away by surge in the crowd watching a carnival procession, when I was 4. I can still see the forest of adult legs all around me, although it was only a minute or two before my strong and burly dad hauled me out and up onto his shoulders. I’m still nervous in crowds and can only imagine what those tiny children are feeling, trapped under the rubble, with no adult they know to help .

    1. How traumatic and awful for you DG, I am not surprised the news is upsetting you. The situation in Turkey and Syria is a reminder of the devastating power of nature. Take care.

    2. What an awful experience DG. I’m not surprised the memory has lingered. How awful for you and your family.
      Fortunately I have never experienced anything like this but do join with you in your concern for those trapped .

    3. I can’t claim a similar experience, but we were horrified to see news clips of people in Turkish villages, where they can hear trapped ones in the collapsed buildings, but no help has yet arrived in their area. The extreme anguish of that is beyond bearable.

    4. How the news from Turkey must bring back dreadful memories. I can’t get my mind around over 11,000 people killed and the count isn’t over yet. The children, those poor children, I can’t stop crying for them.

  20. Having read Daisy’s recollection just above, and its relationship to the horrors in Turkey and Syria, it seems futile to be waffling on about a crossword in a newspaper.

    However, we need distractions to stop us all going mad worrying about the insanity of man and nature.

    A cheery crossword with 10d my clear favourite.

    Thanks to Jay and Stephen L.

  21. What a fantastic puzzle! I got off to a good start before slowing down considerably but managed it all unaided. Last one in was 24a. I had pondered it for ages and was about to give up when the answer tapped me on the shoulder with a grin. Putting “leaving” in at 5d held me up for ages until solving the excellent 1a showed me the error of my ways. The lurker was very well hidden and the misdirection “in French” at 9a threw me totally as I tried to make sense of “engroom”. I didn’t know the apple at 1d. My absolute favourite and COTD is 10d.

    Many thanks to Jay for the fun challenge. Many thanks to SL for the hints and for standing in.

    Trying to fill in a crossword grid with a young Perks batting the pen every five seconds is challenging!

    1. Totally agree. All finally fell into place, but needed help for 24a, LI, as I just could not justify that with the definition.

  22. Haven’t looked at the cryptic yet but thought the quickie pun was excellent. His All Night Vigil is one of my favourite pieces of choral music.

  23. A steadier solve than usual for a Jay crossword I thought. No problem with the 1a homophone. It is a German sausage but Brits pronounce it with the English sounding W. The clue doesn’t ask for German pronunciation, so fine by me. Really liked the well hidden anagram for 7d and big hurrah for 20d.
    Thanks to Jay and Stephen L for holding the fort for the Kiwis

  24. At first pass, I thought I was going to 1a in my attempt at this crossword, but finally got going in the NE and everything came together. Thought 8a was a brilliant lurker and did like 25a , even if the connection to the River Wyre news story is unfortunate. Some sad and terrible news around at the moment, especially in Turkey and Syria. However, 10d did bring me sunshine and as Terence says, the daily crossword helps as a distraction. Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the hints.

  25. I particularly liked 1a, 9a, 7d & 10d in this most enjoyable Wednesday puzzle, but I will opt for 12a as my favourite – the German location is also one of our twin towns. I thought 19d was a candidate for one of the easiest Spoonerisms to solve that I have ever come across, as it usually take me an age to unravel them.. Thanks to both Jay and SL

  26. Tricky little devil not helped by not knowing the apple. Great to see the picture of Doly, saw him play a couple of times, what a great all-rounder and a true gentleman.
    I enjoyed this far more than yesterdays even though it took me longer to finish. Loved the Spoonerism!
    Thx to all

    1. I spent a few months living in digs with his brother Ivan, whilst he looked for a permanent place to live when he played for Leicestershire – Ivan that is, not Basil.

      1. I remember Dolly’s first innings for England. He scored 27 and was run out in a peculiar way by, I think, Holding or Marshall. The batsman (probably Boycott😎) hit the ball straight to the stumps at the other end. The bowler gathered the ball and pulled out a stump. Dolly was out of his ground!

        I met Dolly on the Paddington-Hereford express (also known as late!) once. He was propping up the bar – a larger than life figure. I had the privilege of buying him a G & T and chatting about that first test.

          1. It was Wes Hall, SW, and it was an interesting and very unusual dismissal.

            The batsman was Jim Parks. His drive hit D’Oliveira’s foot and then the stumps, which is not out of course. However, with Dolly still out of his crease, Hall was quick thinking enough to pick up the ball and pull a stump out of the ground with the same hand, which is the necessary method of effecting a run out after the bails have been dislodged.

            1. I didn’t realise he had to do it with the same hand! That must be quite difficult. But anyway your memory is better than mine😎

  27. Completed the puzzle over breakfast but real life interfered before the blog was published.
    Some humorous touches in this one – 9a along with 17&19d all raised a smile here.

    Thanks to Jay and to Stephen for undertaking holiday cover for our 2Ks.

  28. Found this puzzle easier than last Wednesday’s offering. Seemed relatively straightforward with a couple of head scratchers and PDM’s

    2*/3.5* for me today

    Favourites include 1a, 12a, 21a, 25a, 10d & 19d with winner 19d
    Groans for the PDM’s 1a, 9a, 11a & 17d

    A fun and enjoyable solve

    Thanks to Jay & StephenL

  29. This fitted neatly into the 2* category for us – using the classic test of how many cups of tea after breakfast a crossword takes this one was well into the second! Tricky in parts, but some really nice clues…. Thanks to the setter (we can only rarely work them out) and to StepehenL and happy holidays to the Ks.

  30. Hurrah for guzzles! Some answers just jumped, in others, like 6d and 24a I needed Stephen to decode. 9a was a stand out favourite but lots to like on the way. Thanks to Jay. The fast at no 7 reminded me of UCL wanting to do away with Lent Term. Sent my blood pressure up again. I was shouting at Newcastle to beat them in University Challenge on Monday and was really upset when UCL won by 10 points. George sits and laughs at me, I wonder why?

  31. Delightful, most enjoyable for a couple of weeks for me. Some very clever clues, spoilt for choice, the lurker at 8a and 7, 10 and 19d tickled me but COTD has to be 18d.
    By the way, I didn’t know the German City so had to check it existed! ***/****

  32. What an excellent workout from the midweek maestro. Bravo!

    I love the grid and the two obscure bits of knowledge were gettable…..or is it getable? Hmm. My money is on the former.

    Any compiler who manages to get a comedic legend on the grid gets an extra star from me.


  33. I did better than I have done of late with this Jay guzzle.
    Managed to complete it alone and unaided, but needed help with a couple of parsings and had to check that 24a was a word and that Trier was a German city.
    Not keen on either 4d …I suppose a let is a service, though, or 25a…..didn’t seem very cryptic to me.
    That being said the rest of the clues were great, especially 1a and 9a …and I even got the Spoonerism!

    Thanks to Jay and to StephenL.

  34. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle – a bit more lateral thinking involved. The only clue that I needed help with was 1 across – not very knowledgeable about German sausages! Even so a great clue. My rating was ***/****. Many thanks to Jay for a great puzzle and Stephen L for the excellent blog.

  35. I did better on this than yesterdays, but defeated by 17 and 18 ,although looking at the answers I don’t know why. Bunged in grandma for 17🤷‍♂️. I thought filet was a cut of meat not a meat dish. Thanks to all.

  36. I’m still working on it, but today’s is proving a tad more doable than a lot of Wednesdays. Getting 1a and 26a at first pass has helped. But I have to disagree with StephenL that the comedy duo in 10a have not worn well. Perhaps it is our age group, but we still remember roaring with laughter, along with our parents, when first shown on the TV, and still do when an old clip comes our way.

  37. A very well clued puzzle as usual from Jay. The NE held me up for a while, especially 4 dn. I had never thought of a tennis service in that way before but it was the only answer. 9 ac and 5 dn get my vote.

    Thanks to Stephen L and Jay.

  38. Coming in late after almost finishing the Toughie
    Amusing situation. My Canadian grandson is with me and hopes to move to France. The red tape is amazing. He is being asked to prove that he hasn’t got a criminal record either here or at home!

    1. When our daughter and son in law moved to Australia, we were asked to provide proof that we had had the waistcoats for the Groom, Best Man and myself made at a shop in Shrewsbury and I had to produce the receipt. We also had to prove the Christmas presents we had given five years before.

  39. Lovely amusing puzzle with plenty of humorous and clever clues😃 Favourites 1a, 9a, 16a and 10d 🤗 Thanks to Stephen L and to Jay 👍 A week (so far) full of back pagers of this quality certainly softens the blow of the sudden rise in price to £2.00 but to be fair a half 🍺 can cost that 😳

  40. Just bestirred myself from the Land of Nod and haven’t read Stephen’s review or the comments yet. Finished this very engrossing Jay gem late last night, then stayed up until dawn to read another Lawrence Osborne novel (this one, Beautiful Animals, set on the island of Hydra mostly, is the fifth work of his I’ve read since On Java Road less than a year ago). He’s become my new Graham Greene.

    Oh yes, the puzzle: Jay never lets me down, with 7d, 12a, & 18d just the tip of the iceberg, and many ticks elsewhere. Best puzzle this week so far. Thanks to Stephen for doing double-duty and to Jay for another crackerjack of a cryptic. **/*****

      1. I’m afraid I couldn’t stay up that late and have it DVRed to watch later. Of course I’ve seen the clips of Joe flattening the “rowdies”, can’t wait to watch it later.

      2. So Jay has just announced (see below) that he is not today’s compiler! Certainly fooled me and lots of others. I wonder who the excellent setter is.

  41. Good evening
    An enjoyable puzzle, and thanks Stephen for the hints. Had to consult Dr Google for 1d and the German city in 12a, so I’ve learned something this afty!

  42. A Wednesday Jay puzzle is always a treat and this didnae disappoint.
    Best of a great big bunch of juicy ones, for me, we’re 7d and 10d.
    **/***** rating from me
    Thanks to Jay and SL

  43. I had to work hard for this, but the reward was great. I was stuck in the SW, when I had an epiphany and saw I’d spelt 26a “madam…” wrong, it should be “madem…”, so I was able to complete that corner. I needed help with a lot of parsing, I missed the anagram at 7d but that was my fave, 9a deserves mention too. Truly, I don’t know why I made such hard work of this, the answers are pretty straightforward.
    Thank you Jay for the fun and StephenL for unravelling a few for me.

  44. A really enjoyable crossword with lots of clues to raise a smile. My clue of the day has to be 10d…we live close by and were enjoying tea and cakes overlooking the Bay and across to the Lakeland Fells this afternoon.
    There’s a link to the quickie too, our local railway station, Carnforth, is where Brief Encounter was filmed and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto featured in the film.
    Thanks to Jay and Stephen.

    1. Spent all school holidays in Lancaster, it was like second home, know Morecambe, aunt used to work at Carnforth and have been to railway station.

  45. Completed this one on the phone back in the club house as the hooter had sounded just as we were about to tee off on our second 9 at Ebotse links – shortly followed by a torrential downpour, deafening thunder & impressive lightning. A new guy played with us today & he has been doing the DT Quickie for a number of years online without ever realising the phonetic pun gimmick (good one today). Told him all about Big Dave & enjoyed explaining the rudiments of solving cryptic crosswords. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. Top 3 for me 1&9a with best of all 18d.
    Thanks to Jay & Stephen for subbing.

    1. I have sympathy for the new guy you met today, Huntsman. I did the Quickie for twenty years without realising there was a pun. I never understood why the first two or three clues were in italics!

      Hope he joins BD and gets involved. 👍

      Pleased to hear you are enjoying your golfing holiday.

  46. As usual not on the same wavelength at all as Jay but stumbled over the line eventually, in fact, I found this harder than the toughie which, I might add, was excellent. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to Jay and SL.

  47. I don’t like to pedantic, as I’m sure you all know, but I’ve just done the quickie pun and checked it above. 9a actually a legitimate Billiards shot but a foul shot in snooker so not really a snooker shot.

  48. Much as I’d love to take the credit for this excellent crossword….I fear t’was not I who compiled it! I am reducing the number of backpagers I’m doing, but will be supplying the odd Cross American puzzle (they’re essentially British in character, though)

    1. Hi Jay, thanks for the comment. When I was doing the puzzle it didn’t particularly strike me as one of yours. I guess it’s a bit late now but it would be nice if the true setter popped in to claim it.

    2. Very sad to read that, Jay – have always enjoyed your puzzles and a reduction in the number you compile is a Bad Thing. At least we will still get to enjoy your grids for some time yet. I have not warmed at all to the CrossAtlantic puzzle: they are neither Arthur nor Martha, which I guess makes them very appropriate for this day and age!

    3. So very sorry to hear that you are scaling down, Jay. I am a relative newbie, and rising to your challenges has been a real achievement, not to mention the enjoyment you have provided. Thank you so much.

    4. Extremely sorry to hear. Your puzzles are often the pick of the week for me & consistently excellent. Wednesdays won’t be the same without you

  49. Whoever compiled it, it was excellent. 10d favourite. I admit to hesitation on 4d as I think of this as a French spelling. 21a brought back dreadful memories of my girls’ school making me write in this style. I had to have an Isliroid pen which was cheap and nasty when I had received a perfectly good Parker 51 for my 11th birthday.

  50. A day late, but definitely worth the wait! Thank you to our mysterious setter, and to StephenL for clarifying a few things.

    20a featured yet another wine I hadn’t heard of — how many of these are there?!

    Special mentions to 19d for possibly being the first Spoonerism I’ve ever got straight away; to 9a (“man of the match”), 21a (“characters”), and 5d (“goodbye”) for making me laugh; and to 20d for evoking fond memories of a certain publican who used to bring such joy to these comments.

    18d (“ebook”) just loses out on being my favourite to the very clever 22d (“tennis match”). Cheers to anybody still reading this — and if you’re here because you’ve only just completed the puzzle, why not try leaving a late comment as well?

    1. All comments made on my blog, however late, are read Smylers so don’t feel they are not worth it. One poster invariably comments weeks after the initial publication (he says he likes “to have the last word”!) but his comments are always appreciated.

    2. I always look at the comments the next day in case someone has added something momentous that I wouldn’t want to miss.

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