There’s nothing really wrong with this puzzle (if you disregard a couple of dodgy anagram indicators) except that it’s not really a Toughie. All the clues, with the possible exception of 12a, could have appeared in a daily cryptic, and not one of the harder ones at that. So, what’s going on? Surely, with the luxury of having two cryptic puzzles in the paper, it should be possible to arrange it such that there are two distinct ranges of difficulty?
Let us know what you think! – please leave a comment.
Having completed this puzzle, I felt that it had taken me longer than it should have done. It’s a good solid Toughie with a couple of new words (to me, at least) thrown in, and enough classical, literary, floral and geographical references to delight any polymath. There is an error in the version on Clued Up which has the wrong length for 9d.
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Some setters appear more often than others on the Toughies and Campbell, known elsewhere as Ascot, is certainly one I would like to see more often. On my usual scale this rated only three stars for difficulty, but I have increased it to four to compensate for some lucky guesses on 1, 15 and 27 across and 9, 14 and 16 down!
This is an average sort of Toughie with a man’s name, a woman’s name, a river, an English town, a couple of Greek mythological characters, a historian, a poet and a festival all making an appearance. As usual you can reveal the answer by selecting the white space between the curly brackets if my hints are not good enough.