Times 27,071: The True North Strong And Free!

An excellent crossword, I thought, which packed a lot of brilliance into some very concise clues, and also seemed in places to be celebrating a large country I’m quite fond of, perhaps a week or two early, but who’s counting? I started out of the gates fast on the right-hand side of the grid, but got bogged down on the left, partly due to entering BRIER semi-confidently for 1dn (a bier is a type of counter for laying coffins on, right?) and so didn’t quite make it home inside of the 10 minute mark, hitting stop on my stopwatch at 10m20.

Plenty of Clue of the Day contenders today: I was most tickled by 24dn in the actual process of solving, but with the added wisdom that subsequent full parsing confers I think that 1ac with its sublime use of “scrapping” is a splendid clue. I might have to award the laurels today to 16dn as it took me so long (as a sportsball imbecile) to realise that “golfing handicap” could possibly be divisible. Well played, setter, well played: definitely a crossword quite a few strokes under par, unless that’s an insult, in which case the opposite. Gosh I really don’t understand how sports work… now can anyone explain to me the difference between rugby union and rugby league?

1 Reason for scrapping cue balls: one’s defective (5,5)
CASUS BELLI – (CUE BALLS I*) [“defective”].

6 Guinness maybe cold after beer (4)
ALEC – C after ALE [cold; beer]

10 Home bird, ultimately reserved, and kind with it (2-5)
IN-CROWD – IN CROW [home | bird] + {reserve}D. The kind of people who are “with it”.

11 Reaction to bad weather maybe in the country (7)
BAHRAIN – Punctuate differently to get “bah, rain!”

12 Not altogether calm when speaking at dinner? (9)
PIECEMEAL – homophone of PEACE [calm “when speaking”] at MEAL [dinner?]

13 Admitted being drunk, losing head (5)
OWNED – {d}OWNED [drunk, “losing head”]

14 Girl, see, with ball that’s burst (5)
SALVO – SAL V with O [girl; see; ball]

15 What’s swiped from fashionable club? (5,4)
SMART CARD – a synonym for fashionable, plus something that could be a club, if it’s not a diamond, heart or spade.

17 Adult who changes with time? If only! (5,4)
WOULD THAT – (ADULT WHO + T*) [“…changes with…”]

20 You reflected about business graduate’s place in recess (5)
EMBAY – YE “reflected about” MBA [you; business graduate]

21 Backing out of tortuous final passage (5)
OUTRO – hidden, reversed, in {t}ORTUO{us}

23 Kept company in order, after fraud (9)
CONSORTED – SORTED, after CON [in order; fraud]

25 Greek character’s caught insulting old PM (7)
TRUDEAU – TAU’s caught RUDE [Greek character; insulting]. Hands up if you went through your mental list of British PMs at any point…

26 Irish in the end slack, not everyone trying (7)
IRKSOME – IR [Irish] + {slac}K + SOME [not everyone]

27 What to put on archbishop’s back (4)
ROBE – EBOR [Archbishop (of York)] reversed

28 Entrances on ships yet to be constructed (10)
HYPNOTISES – (ON SHIPS YET*) [“to be constructed”]

1 Pipe runs inside counter (5)
CHIRP – R inside CHIP [runs; counter]

2 Gracious of Nancy and Charlie scattering reusable bags (5,4)
SACRE BLEU – C [Charlie] that (REUSABLE*) [“scattering”] “bags”. “Gracious of Nancy” has to be parsed as “how they say ‘Gracious!” in (the French town of) Nancy”.

3 Fully alert, one distant cry caught in the back, briefly (5-4,5)
STONE-COLD SOBER – ONE COLD SOB [one | distant | cry] “caught in” STER{n} [the back, “briefly”]

4 Unbroken object? Not so (7)
ENDLESS – END LESS [object | not so (much)]

5 One in bed with a bit of ear and back trouble (7)
LOBELIA – LOBE [a bit of ear] + AIL reversed [“back” trouble]

7 Master driving pupil to achieve (5)
LEARN – L EARN [driving pupil | to achieve]

8 Preserve double bill always for date of national importance (6,3)
CANADA DAY – CAN [preserve] + AD AD [“double” bill] + AY [always]

9 Cast work to carry out punishing act? (5,3,4,2)
THROW THE BOOK AT – with a more literal-minded definition also provided

14 Tooth specialist attended surgery, perhaps (3,6)
SAW DOCTOR – double def the past tense of “see a doctor”. I only think of Saw Doctors as a band really, but that’s only because I’ve never had to get a saw fixed..

16 Exploit golfing handicap (9)
ALBATROSS – making sure to separate this clue in the right place, which I didn’t for the longest time, it’s a very clever double def: an albatross is either an exploit while golfing (coming in three under par for a hole) or a handicap (“an albatross around your neck”)

18 Husband freezing, drinking some tea, maybe needing glass of water? (7)
HICCUPY – H ICY, drinking CUP [husband; freezing; some tea]. Drinking a glass of water quickly is one of those things they suggest you try to cure a bout of the hiccoughs.

19 What can bring butterflies: no net is used (7)
TENSION – (NO NET IS*) [“used”]. Metaphorical butterflies in the stomach, of course.

22 Page that’s next to index (5)
THUMB – double def, as in “thumb through a book”, plus the digit that’s next to your index finger.

24 Busy collecting something on plate that drinker’s left? (5)
DREGS – a lot to unpack here. Busy = police officer = detective sergeant = DS, “collecting” REG = registration number = something on (a licence) plate. And dregs are the remains of a drink, so that which a drinker has left behind.

88 comments on “Times 27,071: The True North Strong And Free!”

  1. 23:13 .. great stuff. Tricky, but everything made sense after enough thought.

    SACRE BLEU! my favourite

    1. Sacre bleu was rather good, I balked at CODding it because while that “of Nancy” device is rather brilliant it runs the risk of becoming a chestnut these days, much like eg “pants” as an anagrind. If you’ve done enough crosswords the warning bells go off straightaway…
      1. I don’t disagree about Nancy, which I did clue into very quickly. I just love the expression, even if I’m not sure anyone really says it in France (do they?) They certainly don’t seem to say it on Spiral/Engrenages, which is where I get most of my French from these days.

        I was pleased with myself, as well, for seeing the ‘reusable bags’ thing, which I might have missed at one time.

        1. I quite like the word “salerlipopette!” which I cannot imagine I learned anywhere else than Tintin books.
        2. In 11 years here, I have yet to hear a French person say it. Or indeed, “zut alors!” which school taught us. The word ‘merde’ covers every eventuality exclamation-wise it seems.
          1. Thanks, Pip. I’ll add it to the list of French expressions the French don’t use (I think c’est la vie is in there, n’est ce pas?)
            1. Indeed they don’t. They do however say “on verra” and “pas de souci” a lot. And “bon courage”.
              1. If I can find where I saw it last week (the Canard, most likely), I’ll pass it along. But “c’est la vie” gets an entry in Wiktionnaire—(frDOTwiktionaryDOTorgSLASHwikiSLASHc’est)_la_vie)—
                with two definitions (the first, of course, being the Gallic shrug of resignation) and citations, the latest being from 2014 for the first sense (Le Nouvel Obs.com) and from 2018 (Le Parisien.fr) for the second.

                Edited at 2018-06-22 04:59 pm (UTC)

              2. Le Canard enchaîné, 6 juin, 2018m p. 7, Prises de Bec: “Stephane Travert: Les feux de labour.”
                « …Le ministre de l’Agriculture est donc un macroniste de choc. Il défend le patron bec et ongle, n’a jamais une nuance à formuler, jamais un joker à sortir. La réforme du statut des cheminots, c’est oui, la baisse des APL [aides personnalisées au logement], oui évidemment, pas un sou pour les banlieues, mon Dieu c’est la vie, la refonte à venir des aides sociales, mais où est le problème ? »
            2. Actually, as I demonstrated here a while back, it’s not unheard of for a French person nowadays to say (or write in a blog post, whence came most of my examples) “c’est la vie,” often preceded by “hêlas,” though it’s used perhaps more by Anglophones who don’t know much other French. In fact, I came across the phrase in the French press just this week. “Sacré bleu,” though… in my experience, that’s only Hercule Poirot.
              1. I was in the pub last night with my former music biz workmates and they’d hired a young French girl since I’d left – she was able to confirm in no uncertain terms that nobody ever says “sacre bleu”, “zut alors” or “salerlipopette”, only “merde”. Very disappointing really, apart from the opportunity afforded to chat about nonsense to a young French girl.
                1. As a 14 year old on a school trip I was on a train in France chatting to a young Frenchman who advised that bon sang was a good swear word in French. I’ve never put it to the test. As you say merde seems to fit everything and has a grammatical part for all occasions:-)
                2. I know “salerlipopette” (remark of astonishment, according to Wiktionnaire) from the great Georges Brassens’s “La rond des jurons,” where he regrets the passing of so many colorful phrases. The refrain:

                  Tous les morbleus, tous les ventrebleus
                  Les sacrebleus et les cornegidouilles
                  Ainsi, parbleu, que les jarnibleus
                  Et les palsambleus
                  Tous les cristis, les ventres saint-gris
                  Les par ma barbe et les noms d’une pipe
                  Ainsi, pardi, que les sapristis
                  Et les sacristis
                  Sans oublier les jarnicotons
                  Les scrogneugneus et les bigr’s et les bougr’s
                  Les saperlottes, les cré nom de nom
                  Les pestes, et pouah, diantre, fichtre et foutre
                  Tous les Bon Dieu
                  Tous les vertudieux
                  Tonnerr’ de Brest et saperlipopette
                  Ainsi, pardieu, que les jarnidieux
                  Et les pasquedieux

            3. Le Canard enchaîné, 6 juin, 2018m p. 7, Prises de Bec: “Stephane Travert: Les feux de labour.”
              « …Le ministre de l’Agriculture est donc un macroniste de choc. Il défend le patron bec et ongle, n’a jamais une nuance à formuler, jamais un joker à sortir. La réforme du statut des cheminots, c’est oui, la baisse des APL [aides personnalisées au logement], oui évidemment, pas un sou pour les banlieues, mon Dieu c’est la vie, la refonte à venir des aides sociales, mais où est le problème ? »
  2. 30 mins with yoghurt, granola and blueberries.
    What a brilliant crossword. I think we can forgive Embay and Hiccupy among all the other gems.
    Mostly I liked: scrapping, bah!, Lobelia, Can-ad-ad, Abatross, butterflies and the surface of 17ac. But COD to 2dn which has it all.
    Next week I am in with the in-crowd in Ile de Re.
    Thanks brilliant setter and the inimitable V.
  3. Indeed a fine offering today, notable for some great surfaces. I particularly enjoyed the neatness of THUMB. BAHRAIN was pretty good as well. I’ve only ever seen CASUS BELLI in Crosswordland and having checked, we last saw it here last March.

    As Verlaine I only think of SAW DOCTOR as in the band (The?) Saw Doctors. I can’t remember anything they did though.

    1. In all fairness I mostly remember the Saw Doctors as being “not the ones who did Pocketful of Kryptonite, that was the Spin Doctors”.
    2. Their most catchy, if not necessarily biggest, hit was probably “I Useta Love Her”, which is now ear-worming me like crazy.
  4. I considered ROBE but couldn’t see any reason to put it in beyond the definition, since EBOR was obviously nonsense. I wasn’t entirely sure about ‘page’ for THUMB, which didn’t help.
    Good to see the references to my adopted second home country though. The word ‘old’ in 25ac is unnecessary other than for compliance with the usual rule of course.
    1. I didn’t even think about Justin, only Pierre! Maybe that was a cunning ruse to throw people whose general knowledge only extends to current affairs off the scent.
    2. Haven’t you heard the old joke:

      Q) Why did they make Edward Woodward the Archbishop of Canterbury?

      A) Because otherwise he’d be Ebor Woowar

      Sometimes I think my brain might run a bit surreal, but on the other hand, kaleidoscopic giraffe.

        1. The actual (funny) (ish) joke is: Why does Edward Woodward’s name have 4 D’s in it? Because otherwise he’d be Ewar Woowar…
          1. Would wood? Craftwood would. Or my name’s not Ed wood wood wood.
            www. youtube. com/watch?v=X5ZMqK3s-Ho
          2. It was Olivier who commented about the young Edward Woodward that it sounded like passing wind in a bath – Ebwub Wubwub. He was called Ebwub by many of his friends.
      1. It does if you’re familiar with that meaning of ‘page’! It seemed logical but it’s not something I remember hearing or seeing before.
        1. Did that not come up very recently, but the other way round, in the past week or three? Thumb clueing page?
          1. We had ‘thumb’ for LEAF a little over a week ago. Well remembered! That wouldn’t have caused me a problem, but ‘paging through a book’ is not an English usage I recognise (or rather recognised: I do now of course, partly because I looked it up once I’d given up on the puzzle!).
            For the avoidance of doubt though I’m not complaining about any of this: the clues are perfectly gettable and I’m certain I would have bunged in ROBE in competition conditions, faute de mieux. It would have cost me at least five minutes though.
  5. Having battled my way through this very clever puzzle, I was dismayed to find I’d entered DREGS as DRESS thus nullifying my 38:50. I knew dregs as the remains of a drink, but only saw the parsing when confronted with the pink square. ALBATROSS had me baffled for a while even though I knew both meanings. I was unsure about the archbishop, although I did spot EBOR, so it went in as my LOI with a shrug. I Liked SACRE BLEU and CASUS BELLI. Should’ve gone to Specsavers! Thanks setter and V.
  6. Good stuff, in almost 25 minutes. Despite being stone cold sober, I wasn’t alert to 3d until late on, and I’m not wholly convinced of the match between definition and answer, though I can’t really think of anything better.
    BAH! RAIN obviously my chucklesome CoD.
    Now then: Rugby.
    League: played by gritty Northern blokes after a day down t’pit. No noticeable rules.
    Union: played by ageing southern public schoolboys as an excuse for getting absolutely bladdered at the club bar.
    Way too many rules that no-one understands to allow for frequent breathers.
    I think that’ll do.
    1. Are you from the north by any chance?

      I was going to suggest the difference was – as anyone will tell you – one is great the other is crap. Which way round those definitions lie is almost wholly determined by geography.

      1. North, by a short distance, of the M25. Does that count?
        I wasn’t too sure about who would be more offended by the descriptions, though I have more experience of the Union version, pretty much as described.
        1. My only experience is also of Union, although that was from the perspective of enforced participation at school.

          I soon came to learn that the ball was a) the wrong shape, and b) way too big, and that cricket was far more my thing. Maybe it’s just that I only really wanted to be out in nice weather.

          1. Your experience mirrors mine. I was small and light, and could be picked bodily up by any of the gentleman thugs opposite, so I was put out on the wing where the action passed me by. The downside was that I ended up with extremities just this side of frostbite.

            Edited at 2018-06-22 01:24 pm (UTC)

  7. A lovely crossword once I got past my considerable annoyance at my iPad autonomously submitting the puzzle with 20 answers blank! Grrr.i agree with V -many delightful clues.

    “Robe” went in on faith, and only now have I discovered “Ebor.” is in the dictionary as an abbreviation for Eboracum.

    A little cheeky to call Justin Trudeau “old”, I thought!

    Edited at 2018-06-22 08:00 am (UTC)

    1. Well it’s the job, isn’t it, it ages a person…

      I thought of ROBE early but must admit it was my LOI as the penny finally dropped much later on.

  8. Lovely puzzle. So many candidates for COD but 1ac (‘scrapping’) gets my vote. I don’t recall hearing ‘sacré bleu’ either from when we lived in France.
  9. 27 minutes, which felt slow, probably because I struggled with the final few. Much to like throughout.
    The difference between league and union? Two players and these days not a lot else – alas.
  10. I had a few problems along the way but finished in 39 minutes which I count as a reasonable time for me these days, missing my target by only 9 minutes.

    I seem to have a blind spot with CASUS BELLI as it gives me trouble every time, despite still being able to decline Bellum through all its parts of speech having learned this by rote at school some 65 years ago. I can still do Mensa as well, but that’s about my limit.

    I looked twice at 14dn, wondering if it could possibly be JAW DOCTOR, but the checker eventually provided by SALVO put an end to that speculation.

    Intro is common enough but OUTRO less so, and I first learned of it via the Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band track “The Intro and the Outro” featuring Ay-dolf Hitler on vibes.

    EMBAY? Really?

    Top marks go to the DREGS clue.

    Edited at 2018-06-22 08:21 am (UTC)

    1. EMBAY was a MER for me too, but of course it comes up fairly often in barred puzzles…
  11. 30 min, but really DNF as after several minutes being unable to think of anything to fit checkers at 12a, resorted to aid when solution became obvious. Also delayed trying to parse LUMBAGO at 5dn, and wondering whether 21ac was a real word.
  12. Completely blanked on SAW DOCTOR and had to go and get another cuppa. I found this very hard although for some reason I did know the York/Ebor thing. The unfortunate Miss Gregson was the domestic science mistress at my school (do they still teach it?) and of course we called her DREGS – good clue that. 24.47
  13. Excellent puzzle. Several of those clues which you have to shake a bit and examine carefully from a number of different angles before it becomes clear what you’re looking for. In Tripadvisor mode, I can recommend the Ebor pub in Bishopthorpe, which would be the Archbish’s local, if he ever ventures into the community to meet his flock over a pint of Sam’s Old Brewery.
    1. THe current Archbish, the excellent John Sentamu, I knew when he was Bish of Stepney. The Ebor pub might well find he’s worth an invite.
  14. Loved it, like everyone else. But a monumental failure, I feel like the Argentina of the cruciverbal world. In a hurry misspelled BLEU and had to find something to fit S_E_O. Eventually fixed that, but I’d also misspelled LOBELAI (the voluptuous and slightly wobbly siren of the Rhine) from parsing it while entering it, and in desperation put in an obviously wrong SWIFT CARD in my haste. Swift is something to do with banks? Do they have cards?
  15. Took forever, having only got about half done in the online half-hour; finished over dinner a couple of hours later, with PIECEMEAL LOI, after ROBE. I had ROBE early on, of course, but it seemed both too obvious and inexplicable. At long last I recalled Eboracum=York, although I wondered if it applied the Archbishop as well. NHO SAW DOCTOR, DNK SMART CARD (had ‘debit card’ for a while). Lots of goodies, but I think COD to SACRE BLEU.
    1. 27.26. It’s Pierre the PM of course. Embay and outro news to me but not too outlandish. Agreeable jaunt overall though gave up parsing the dregs of dregs. I suppose 3 and 18 (good word) taken together comprise the solver’s outlook. Less so the nation’s one hopes. C. Day not C. Dry.
  16. Phew. I found this one very difficult, finishing in just a whisker over the hour – long, even for me.

    The northleft corner held me up for the longest, not helped by my being convinced that 3d had to be “stone-eyed something”. Probably because “stone-cold sober” isn’t a phrase I use much. CASUS BELLI took a while too, because I thought it was “causa”, which of course would not work at all. SAW DOCTOR also took some time – I kept thinking “it looks like SAW DOCTOR but that makes no sense”, until I realized where the “teeth” were coming from. I also spent a long time trying to justify “ambitious” for 16d.

  17. So a decent last couple of days of the week.

    DNK EMBAY but trusted the wordplay, and ROBE from definition only.

    Also a BRIER smoker for a bit but didn’t feel right, also had SALLY for a while (no, me neither) which led to a lot of consideration as to whether STONE-EYED SOBER was actually a thing. Luckily the veil of stupidity fell and I spotted the parsing, which led directly to LOI SALVO.

    Next week sees me indulging in a little corporate hospitality* in London so I suspect the brain may not always be fully functioning, which may well lead to some comedy answers.

    *getting plastered courtesy of a supplier

      1. Got to love iPads on public WiFi saying they haven’t posted when they have really. Triple post now reduced!

        Edited at 2018-06-22 05:44 pm (UTC)

      2. Got to love iPads on public WiFi saying they haven’t posted when they have really.
  18. John Wyndham, in ‘Trouble with Lichen’, has a pretentious discussion about bishops in which they are referred to by the old names, hence my knowledge, which helped with 27ac.

    Like others, I was taught at school that the French say ‘Zut alors’ and ‘Sacré bleu’ but have never heard either.

    34′, thanks verlaine and setter.

    1. One of my embarrassing pleasures as an early reader was the Mallory Towers series from (I confess) Enid Blyton). The French mistress, Mam’zelle Rougier, I think, frequently cries “tiens!”. Of course, I read it “teens” but even so I’ve never heard it for real.
      1. Often doubled up in real usage, expressing some surprise: ‘Tiens, tiens’. Pretty common.
  19. COD for me is the lovely work for ALBATROSS, one of several clues today that required a bit of careful thinking (or, as in the case of STONE-COLD SOBER, biffing and hoping). EBOR took a long time to trigger in my memory, and my LOI was SMART CARD. 12m 38s.
  20. great puzzle, 35 minutes, lots to praise, didn’t understand ROBE and wondered why the Canadian clues were there today especially (or not).

    See above top under Sotira on Sacre bleu.

  21. Talking of “sacre bleu” and “zut alors”, one of our longstanding lurker members Francois Faverot De Kerbrech, who I believe has a French connection, is interested in doing some social things while visiting London and we were thinking of going to the pub a week on Saturday possibly (ie June 30th). Should probably have put this in the main body of this post but if anyone sees this and is interested… save the date!
  22. 14:05. Unusually for me I recalled the Latin nonsense at 1a from somewhere and seeing as we live on John S’s ecumenical manor as it were Ebor was no problem. I wonder if, when he wants to freshen his breath, the Archbish chews Ebor gum.

  23. I played in the front row of the scrum for 30 years and I simply do not recognise Rugby Union these days compared to what I played.
    1. Says a lot about life in general, no? (No offense intended to anyone who quickly recognizes ‘Saw Doctor’ as the name of a band, of course)

      Edited at 2018-06-22 05:59 pm (UTC)

  24. Please can someone explain the connection between “see” and V? I may be missing something very obvious, but not for the first time. Interested also to learn that “busy”, meaning “police officer”, is now acceptable. I haven’t heard it anywhere outside Liverpool, and I’ve not been there since about 1984.
    1. Without checking, I think it’s short for “vide”, the Latin imperative meaning “see”; as in q.v.
      1. Thank you, Mr V. I’ll try to remember that.

        Love this site – thanks to you and all the other regular contributors for your work.

    2. On the subject of “busies” – I’d be surprised if you’d heard “AB”, “tar” or “salt” meaning sailor anywhere outside of crosswords for many years… but crosswords have a habit of taking useful words into its bosom and keeping them there many years after everyone else has forgotten them!
      1. Indeed! I don’t think I’ve seen the busies in crossword-land before now though.
        1. I’ve seen them more than once, but certainly agree that they’re an uncommon device. I think there may be a Times setter or two that is fond of using them!
  25. Eventually completed this in the midst of a tour round Anglesey. As a golfer myself I was flummoxed by the golf clue, but there again albatrosses aren’t quite in my repertoire. I was trying Ambitious for ages but it just didn’t bear any resemblance to the clue.
  26. It’s been a good week here, and this was the capper. I was looking forward to commenting, but it seems everything’s been said already at this hour.
  27. To late to say anything significant except that this puzzle was hugely enjoyable. 35 minutes. Ann
  28. 44 minutes here, with a minor worry over whether 27a was really ROBE. At least I’m not alone in that one… FOI 1a CASUS BELLI, LOI oddly the long STONE-COLD SOBER at 3d, just after PIECEMEAL. WOD HICCUPY. Enjoyed too many to pick a favourite.
  29. DNF. Bah! RHS went in ok but lots of trouble in the LHS. Eventually had everything sorted out except 27ac where I knew neither Ebor nor Eboracum and so could not justify robe. Terrific stuff though, sacre bleu, albatross, Bahrain, casus belli, the list goes on. BTW blogger, I think you have a typo at 1ac, your anagrist is missing an “s” – I parsed “one’s” as 1S rather than just 1 to account for the second S.
  30. DNF. Tried Alb (too short); Clear-Eyed ?? (no finish); Debit Card (smart debs are It-girls?); ambitious/tion – (no excuse). A big W in the setters column today.
  31. 23:06.

    COD Casus Belli

    LOI Outro.

    Agree with all of you. A very nice puzzle.

  32. I enjoyed the puzzle until the end, where I had no idea what an ‘ebor’ might be and let it confuse me for some time. Eventually I shrugged and threw ROBE in as the only thing that remotely meant anything that could be the definition. Everything else was very well done, thanks setter, and regards.
  33. There are so many comments that I suspect someone has already mentioned this, but I can’t see anything: the clue for OUTRO has the word ‘out’ in it, which is surely very inelegant. I was slow to put the answer in because I couldn’t believe a Times setter would do such a thing.

    Edited at 2018-06-22 09:44 pm (UTC)

  34. I managed to complete the crossword correctly but couldn’t see the justifications for 3 down (one cold sob, cold = distant?), 4 down (not so = less? tried ENDORSE for a while), and 24 down particularly (busy? something on collection plate?). Most enjoyed clue was 17 across anagram.

    From jeepyjay.

    1. She had a cold demeanour = she had a distant demeanour (more or less)
      Not so = less as in “he was not so unfriendly” = “he was less unfriendly”

      I will agree that 24dn had multiple rather oblique things in it.

Comments are closed.