Times 28389 – getting your bearings

My PDF print out says this was set by a gentleman called Antony Lewis. A new thing, for me, to see a Times setter named, but perhaps it’s a new policy; it happened on Monday but not yesterday. Anyway, thank you, Mr Lewis, for a pleasant challenge today. Clearly you know more about Old Testament tribal kings than I do, but everything else was crystal clear. I particularly liked “bear up” as one definition, and the homophone at 1 down. EDIT since I printed my copy early doors, it seems the setter’s name has been expunged. A Trussian policy u-turn, perhaps?


Definitions underlined in bold, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, anagrinds in italics.

1 Drink which exceptional soprano aspires to reach? (4)
TOPE – a soprano could try to reach TOP E, or E6, which is not unusual.
3 A quiet chum joining a Greek character at a US location (10)
APPALACHIA – A, P (quiet), PAL (chum) A, CHI, A.
9 Trouble about to be noticed in posh vehicle or more ordinary one (7)
RAILCAR – R R (Rolls Royce) has AIL (trouble) and CA (about) inside.
11 Jerky movements when somersaulting in authentic performance (7)
RECITAL – REAL (authentic) has TIC reversed inside.
12 What’s disgraceful in Blue Eton man is not to be spoken of (13)
14 Wooded area once part of Arthur’s territory (5)
HURST – hidden as above.
15 I explain model being kept by former lover without much money (9)
EXPOSITOR –  EX (former lover) POOR (without much money) with SIT (model, for artist) inside.
17 Stuff awfully pure worn by composer (9)
UPHOLSTER – (PURE)* with HOLST the composer inside.
19 Available set of books collected by pensioner (2,3)
ON TAP – NT (set of books) inside OAP a pensioner.
21 Boring teacher struggling with class — headmaster finally intervenes (13)
CHARACTERLESS – (TEACHER CLASS)* with R the end of headmaster inserted.
24 Girl crossing the French islands gets extremely cold (7)
GLACIAL -GAL (girl) has LA (the French) CI (Channel Islands) inserted.
25 Weird and horrible experience involving black vehicle? (7)
MACABRE – MARE being a bad experience, insert CAB being a black (usually) vehicle.
26 Grassy area in UK holiday region protected by special gardener (10)
GREENSWARD – (GARDENER)* has SW inserted; I suppose the South West is more a holiday region than some others.
27 Ineffective folk to worry about (4)
WETS – to STEW is to worry, reversed.
1 What’s said to be dismissed at all times and everywhere (10)
THROUGHOUT – sounds like “threw out” = dismissed.
2 Maiden buried in textbook is more stuffy (7)
PRIMMER – a PRIMER is a textbook, insert M for maiden.
4 Like saucy specialist nurse maybe, getting to the point (9)
PERTINENT – PERT meaning saucy, then IN ENT being (a nurse) specialising in the ear nose and throat department.
5 Stage garment (5)
APRON – double definition.
6 Absurdly rich parish starts to build other churches in York maybe (13)
ARCHBISHOPRIC – (RICH PARISH B O C)* where B O C are the initial letters of build other churches.
7 Water penetrating hotel beyond acceptability — challenging situation (3,4)
HOT SEAT – H for hotel, OTT = over the top, beyond acceptability, insert SEA = water.
8 Colleague in compound being loveless (4)
ALLY – I think the setter means ALLOY for compound with the O removed, but an alloy is a mixture of metals not a compound.
10 Bear up, whether great or little? (13)
13 Bias of journalists probed by legal team (10)
PREPOSSESS – PRESS = journalists, insert POSSE being a sort of legal team, I suppose.
16 After trick is set up, maybe watch worker not doing all the hours (4-5)
PART-TIMER – TRAP (trick) reversed, then TIMER could be your watch.
18 Area of land is hell — endless weed (7)
HECTARE – HEC(K) = hell endless, TARE is a sort of vetch type weed.
20 Shake a big drink to get male drunk (7)
TREMBLE – a treble whisky would be a big (but acceptable) drink, insert M for male.
22 A learner restricted by paltry grant (5)
ALLOW – A, LOW = paltry, insert L for learner. I think I’ve seen this one before.
23 King of the Amalekites is a joke! (4)
AGAG – A GAG being a joke, Wiki tells me this chap was indeed King of the Amalekites who were a fierce tribe in Biblical times.

100 comments on “Times 28389 – getting your bearings”

  1. Never heard of AGAG, despite being pretty familiar with the Bible. I rather liked Mr Lewis’s offering (he’s obviously learned a bit from Morse), even if I did indulge in a fair amount of biffing to reach my scorching time of 22 minutes.

      1. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but things appeared to take an upward turn after a pleasant sojourn in Wiltshire.

  2. 13m but with TOPS

    After you’ve accepted that Hurst is some kind of forest and that Agag was some kind of probably biblical king, Tops sounds totally plausible as a kind of drink

    Knowledge of opera would have helped, I suppose. But is it possible to actually enjoy opera?

    1. Mr. Weed, you perhaps tend towards lighter opera, in your own tongue?
      Hundreds of thousands of folk, of all ages, attend operas all over the world on an annual basis. ‘La Scala’ is quite an experience, as is New York, Paris, Sydney, Shanghai and Covent Garden.
      Operas are further enjoyed on TV and on-line, l can assure you.

      But is it possible to actually enjoy cauliflower?

      1. The last time I was made to go to the opera, I was 7yo and my father assured me it would be enjoyable. But the seat was uncomfortable, the singing ridiculous, the story dull, the words incomprehensible.

        The last time I was made to eat cauliflower was a couple of weeks ago and my wife assured me that roasted, with a sprinkling of cumin, salt and olive oil was the way to go. And it certainly tasted better than the limp, pale cauliflower that 7yo me had to suffer.

        I wonder if the opera could be improved in a similar way.

        1. It has been!

          As for cauliflower, when I was 7yo, three of those at ‘five-to-five’ on Friday’s ‘Crackerjack’ meant expulsion from the show. No kid ever took said vegetable home for Mum! They were left on the floor!

          The Devil’s Kitchen – an update.
          I am assured that l won’t be going to Heaven, where the ‘Choir of Angels’ indulge in some fabulous choral work. But will be descending to another place where cauliflower cheese is served three times a day, seven days a week by the aging, wrinkly dinner ladies who do the catering. On Christmas Day Brussels Sprouts are an option. I am told by my grandfather, that they can’t lay their bony hands on cumin, any time soon, and that the benches in the refectory are ‘devilishly hard’!

                1. Thank-you Sandy! I deliberately didn’t put it inverted commas, but no problem for you and the American bar!
                  Last night, after watching one his films, ‘er indoors’ referred to Denzil Washington as ‘Denzil Washingmachine’! I folded!

                  In fairness to Lilian, she has only been speaking English for twenty-five years on a daily basis, and that very, morning she did get a man in to fix the heating unit on our normally reliable Siemens washing machine. Meldrew

        2. I used to hate opera when I was a kid, but now I love it. Unfortunately my wife doesn’t so we very rarely go. This is a shame but it does save a lot of money.

          1. Have a go at Beijing Opera! A cacophonous, hideously bright, endless, pantomime nightmare! Served with dainty iced-buns and green tea from long-spouted tea pots! Only once!

    2. Hurst is a common suffix indicating a wood where I come from in East Sussex -Wadhurst; which is next door to Ticehurst…

          1. Gorrathurst Castle lies up by Loch Angover, just a few miles from Balmoral. Legend has it that said ‘malady’ was a mysterious neuralgic affliction, suffered by French prisoner’s of war, held in the dungeons by King Gaga the Backward. The Swiss alchemist Fr. Fernet Branca devised a herbal remedy, which is still used today the world over.

            Gorrathurst was the setting for E. Phillips Oppenheim’s libretto, for his only comic opera ‘Pizzicato’ – with music from Messrs. Brahms and Liszt.

            1. With your encyclopaedic knowledge of history, I am tempted to set out my theory about the history of the Hanseatic League in the hope you could fill in some gaps. Most people believe it was a medieval confederation of merchant guilds and towns in Northern Europe but I believe it was more than that. I think it was were the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Robert Lewandowski and Franz Beckenbauer started their careers. But for the present I have a dog to walk…..

              1. I was due to visit some of the major Hanseatic Ports, but was foiled by various lockdowns. My interest derives from the Hansa communities that thrived in, Lowestoft, Bishop’s Lynn (King’s Lynn), Boston and other East Coast havens. The ‘Steelyard’ in London had become an important shipbuilding centre for The League. It was destroyed in the
                Great Fire of London. The loose cannon was Antwerp, which had set its sights in trade with the Dutch East Indies. As was London who looked to India and China for trade in tea and opium. (Germans drank coffee, but eschewed tea.)

              2. Martin I just sent you a lengthy reply, but the moment I posted, I had a note saying ‘your comment has been deleted!’ I have no idea why! Jack?

                1. I’ve seen your post because it came to me in e-mail form but, as you indicate, it’s not appeared here. I’ve no idea why. Off topic? If there is a censor at work, in the words of Private Eye, I think we should be told.
                  I will respond in an e-mail….or should that be email?

      1. The Hurst residences at the University of Warwick were what sprang to mind for me. From memory they were towards a fairly woody edge of the campus, and developers often name their concrete boxes after the pretty things they’ve cut down to build them… Of course, for all I know they were named after a famous mathematician or something!

  3. 20:04
    No name on my (club) copy. NHO AGAG (has anyone here?) but not too difficult to get from _G_G. Never parsed TREMBLE, PERTINENT, or GREENSWARD. Biffed CHARACTERLESS & UNMENTIONABLE without bothering to check the anagrists. I spent much too long on RAILCAR because I wouldn’t let go of U for ‘posh’.

  4. 36 minutes. I may have missed it, but I didn’t notice a setter’s name on the online version when solving, and no name is shown on the completed grid. Thanks to wordplay, I had a crack at the NHO AGAG which turned out to be successful. Just remembered HURST but had no hope of parsing HECTARE.

    I wasn’t sure about it, but I parsed THROUGHOUT as a double def – ‘at all times’ and ‘everywhere’ – plus wordplay.

    1. “At all times” is definitely part of the definition, or, as you suggest, another definition.
      A phrase like “throughout European history” would seem to encompass both times and places relevant to that category.

  5. Of course I’d NHO AGAG or HURST, but they seemed reasonable bets given the wordplay, and so it proved. So all green today after yesterday where we had “obscure artist clued by anagram” that I failed to get in the correct order. Or maybe it was a composer. Or a poet. In memory of Jimbo, let’s have lots more scientists, that’s much more in my domain.

    I took my kids to see some operas (Marriage of Figaro, I remember, was one). They loved it. Especially when people are singing loudly enough to fill the theater, but they are hiding behind a bush so nobody else can hear them because they are “whispering”. Almost anyone will love Gilbert and Sullivan, although I don’t think that truly counts as opera.

    1. Dear Paul, Hurst is decidedly OE (Saxon) but lives-on through hundreds of English place names and surnames., from Billinghurst to Wadhurst and beyond.
      An equal balance of the arts and science if you please! One mention of an eighteenth century artist and there is a stampede for the exits! Not so with eighteenth century musicians!?

      Light Opera’ as I note hereunder?

      1. Thank you, David…..I was brought up in Wadhurst, East Sussex…..which is next door to Ticehurst…

  6. A bright and breezy Wednesday puzzle from one Tony Lewis, who does not appear on my PDF print out? I was over the line in 33 minutes. The top half was far easier than the bottom.

    FOI 3ac APPALACHIA – where folks reside in the red neck of the woods
    COD 10dn CONSTELLATION- mine’s Capricorn.
    WOD 26ac GREENSWARD – I spent ‘the summer of love’ working in an hotel in Frinton, facing ‘The Greensward’, with not a pub in sight!

    I assumed that 23dn AGAG was referring to a character from ‘Noggin the Nog’!
    I always enjoy the euphemistic use of the plural of 12ac! Hilda Baker and Freddie Frinton anyone!?

    1. Lewis is the developer of the crossword software. I reckon this one might be by the Church Times setter!

  7. Hard time starting but it got easier and easier.
    HURST came fairly early; it appears in numerous place names.
    I’m from APPALACHIA.
    The clue for CONSTELLATION is cutely coy.
    AGAG was a guess.
    LOI PREPOSSESS, as I was slow to connect that word to the definition here.

    1. Researching the region of Appalachia on Wikipedia I was intrigued to learn that writers Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving among others campaigned in the early 19th century to ditch the insipid America from the name U.S.A. and replace it with the much more evocative Appalachia. Imagine a United States of Appalachia- it might have had a different history!

    2. I spent my entire working life in civil aviation so I know there used to be an airline called Allegheny but I don’t think there was ever an outfit called, for example, Appalachian Airlines.

      1. The Monongahela National Forest is in the Allegheny Mountains (part of the Appalachians) in eastern West Virginia, the very neck of the woods where I grew up. My dad was a lineman for the Monongahela Power Company.

  8. A few short at the one hour mark.

    I went for AGOG, as I thought maybe the Amalekites were based in the same zone as “Gog and Magog”.


  9. Only 24 minutes here, so I was pleased about that. I biffed 4dn PERTINENT and worked out the parsing afterwards; I don’t think I’d have found it from wordplay. I was sorely tempted to write AGOG at 23dn as I had no idea who the Amalkites might be but decided to trust to wordplay for the unknown AGAG, unlikely as it may seem.

  10. No setter’s name on my on-line edition. Is this the Antony Lewis who developed Crossword Compiler? If so, he’s a cosmologist so CONSTELLATION is no surprise.

    Just WETS left after 30 minutes. Not sure why the setter didn’t use AGOG instead of AGAG. Got it anyway with a shrug.

  11. Gave up on this one—half an hour for everything else, then ten minutes spent staring at _E_S and not coming up with WETS. Just couldn’t see it.

    1. Liked this.
      Staplehurst is just down the road from me, so no problems there. Kent is riddled with names that mean something.
      Nho AGAG of course, or the Amalekites, but a very kind clue.

  12. FUSELI was tough yesterday
    AGAG scarcely better today
    But I did not frown
    When I got to 10 Down
    No rather, I shouted hooray!

    1. In the words of Liz Truss just yesterday:-

      But I did not frown,
      When I got to 10 Downing Street.
      No rather, I shouted ‘hooray!’

  13. DNF
    Couldn’t see prepossess, and I didn’t know it meant bias, which made it trickier 🙁
    thanks, pip.

  14. The hare limp’d Trembling through the frozen grass,
    And silent was the flock in woolly fold:

    20 gentle mins pre-brekker notwithstanding the NHO Hurst and Agag and Tare.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  15. 29m 58s
    Thanks, Pip, especially for EXPOSITOR and HECTARE (Not to be confused with Hector from The Magic Roundabout)
    Objection, M’lud! Shouldn’t the clue in 11ac read ‘movement’ in the singular?
    As I’ve intimated elsewhere, I had no problem with 14ac. I come from WadHURST in East Sussex… which is only a few miles from TiceHURST. PensHURST is not far away either.
    Joint COD to TOPE, THROUGHOUT and PREPOSSESS. I enjoyed ‘legal team’ = posse.

    1. Tic seems Ok to me. If you describe someone as having a tic they would have repeated jerky movements rather than a one off convulsion.

    2. I was with you on movement(s) but Messrs Pootle and piquet have swung me over. it’s like coughing a lot; you have a cough. But I still think it’s a bit sneaky. You don’t expect that sort of thing

  16. 9:00. Quick one for me, finishing with a hopeful AGAG. Like jackkt and merlin I was tempted by AGOG as it sounded like some relation to Gog and Magog but the cryptic seemed unambiguous.

  17. 11:42. Like others I didn’t know King AGAG or that TARE is a weed. LOI PERTINENT, for which I needed the blog to understand the parsing. Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. Perhaps you did not go to Sunday school. I vaguely remembered the parable of the wheat and the tares.

  18. 6:32. No problems this morning, although going with wordplay rather than familiar words for 23dn was a bit of a leap of faith. It’s almost always the way to go though.
    At 14ac the word ‘once’ is part of the definition. We can argue about whether the word is archaic (Collins says it is) but ‘once’ can’t be part of the wordplay.
    ‘Compound’ for ALLOY is an interesting one. The former has a more general sense (Collins: ‘any combination of two or more parts, aspects, etc’) which I guess qualifies it on a technicality but the latter is a technical term that isn’t used in this general sense so it’s hard to imagine that anyone would ever actually use them as synonyms. And if two words are never used as synonyms, then they aren’t, really.

  19. 24 minutes. The unknown king AGAG was worked out from wordplay, HECTARE went in completely unparsed, HURST was an oh-so-that’s-what-that-suffix-means moment, and then I spent 5 or 6 minutes staring at the _E_S in the SE corner before finally seeing WETS.

    FOI Tope
    LOI Wets
    COD Characterless

  20. No time to offer as I sit here amidst packing boxes after completing the move yesterday. I’m continually interrupted by being asked where something is, as if I’d know. An enjoyable offering by Antony Lewis, if it be he. The printable version on the link gave no name. My OT studies didn’t cover AGAG as they weren’t a laughing matter. I struggled between noun and verb on PREPOSSESS. COD to CONSTELLATION, which took most of the puzzle for the penny to drop. Thank you Pip and setter.

  21. 13.18 with LOI expositor after realising I should look for sit rather than pose. DNK Agag but easy enough to work out. The rest went in reasonably quickly.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  22. Despite getting a namecheck in this puzzle, I made my way through it at a fairly sedate pace, slowing down to a crawl in the SE for the completion. PREPOSSESS is a word I’m familiar with only from its derivative, “unprepossessing” (definitely my favourite polite way of saying “ugly”), and LOI WETS took some fairly extensive alpha-trawling.

    51m ET, including interruptions for coffee at a local shisha bar, and a phone call to offer me a job. When I took voluntary redundancy in late April ’21, I thought I might be retired – but the prospect of winter in a collapsing economy in Truss’ Britain has prompted me to seek gainful employment again. Consequently not sure whether I’ll be posting here regularly for much longer…

    …and the solving malaise continues – I didn’t bother doing the pre-sub typo-check, and was rewarded with a fail due to a stray “A” in 10d, even though I 100% know the correct spelling.

    1. In the 1970s my English teacher said, apropos of possessives: Write the word. Add an apostrophe. If you’d add another S when you speak it, add another S. Giving for instance:
      Gauss’s Law
      Truss’s Britain
      Jesus’ disciples (how I’d say it, but would accept Jesus’s disciples)
      St James’s in London (though I’d leave off the last S, personally)
      Not sure how that goes with various organisations’ style guides, but it works for me.

      1. Thanks Isla – good advice and spot-on examples – “Truss’s” looks and reads a lot better than my earlier effort.

      2. There was for a long time a convention that the names of the ancients and of biblical characters did not take an S in the possessive. Achilles’ heel, Socrates’ daemon, Jesus’ disciples.
        Strange but true.
        Some house styles still follow this.

  23. 31 enjoyable minutes. No name on my pdf. Last two in PREPOSSESS and WETS.

    I particularly liked the meaty anagrams in the long clues, good fun. CONSTELLATION and UPHOLSTER also appreciated.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  24. 28 minutes. Nho of AGAG or the Amalekites of course but put it in and hoped. Likewise PREPOSSESS, which I never knew had a sense of bias. I suppose tic = jerky movements (just), but the clue would I think have been much more sensible if he’s said just ‘jerky movement’, and the surface would have been as good. Was a bit vague about APPALACHIA but the Copland music suggests that there is indeed a place by that name (apologies for my insularity, Guy). The compound/alloy clue looks wrong for the reason piquet gives, but looking up ‘compound’ gets the setter off the hook I think.

    1. I was also put in mind of Copland. I don’t know much classical music but I do like a bit of Copland (via Emerson, Lake and Palmer).

    1. Me too! I’m atheist but went to all church schools. I was surprised about the vetch precision as I just assumed tare was unwanted plants (which exactly means weeds), just as the tare weight on your shopping is the stuff you had to buy but didn’t want to.

  25. Got off to a quick start in the NW with TOPE and made rapid progress towards the finishing line. Took HURST, AGAG and PREPOSSESS on trust from the wordplay. Took a moment or two to SIT rather than POSE, but got there eventually. Liked CONSTELLATION. 15:56. Thanks setter and Pip.

  26. 16 minutes, which was my best time for a while without typos.
    No real hold-ups : having vague memory of someone (Jeeves?) ‘walking delicately, like Agag’ was sufficient to assume there was such a character, presumably from an unknown Biblical anecdote. I think ‘compound’ for ‘alloy’ might be justifiable by taking them as verbs, used figuratively, but am not keen.

  27. Pleased with 23 minutes today, quickest in a while. Never heard of AGAG but wordplay was straightforward. APPALACHIA was quick to go in after dismissing APPOMATTOX with its start of AP.

  28. 18:30. No problems in a top-to-bottom solve though I had never heard of AGAG. Assumed he was begot by Gog and/or Magog and didn’t think any more about it. HURST went in on reflex, being both my surname and the commonest prefix and suffix of place names in this part of the SE.

  29. My quickest time at 22.00 for a while also. The same brief doubt as others about the possibility of there being an AGOG, but trusted the cryptic direction.

  30. A very enjoyable 15 minutes. Tony Lewis was a distinguished columnist for the NY Times but alas he is no longer around to set crosswords (if he ever did). Could this be a trial run to see how naming the setter goes down in Crosswordland? Some excellent surfaces here – I particularly liked the unmentionable Etonian (I had a cousin who left the place “under a cloud”) and the boring teacher struggling with his class. And special mention to the biased journalists and the legal team (the setter is clearly well-informed on the current political climate in the US). My only pause was to wonder what “drunk” was doing in the TREMBLE clue because it seemed superfluous but now I see that it wasn’t.

    1. I hope we’re not going to have named setters for the main puzzle, and the fact that today’s byline has now been been removed suggests that it was a human error or a glitch in the system rather than a sudden reversal of policy. Also there was no named setter yesterday although Richard Browne was named on Monday. The last time Richard was credited as setter (about a year ago) both Richard Rogan and David Parfitt turned out to tell us that it was an error, and he wasn’t the setter that day anyway.

  31. 22 mins, but left with the difficult-E-S at the end. These days WORRY in a clue nearly always translates as EAT, so it took me a while.

  32. Had to think hard to finish this one, dragging up v dim memories of childhood bible readings for ‘tare’. Enjoyed PERTINENT and THROUGHOUT. LOI was WETS, which made me wonder if all the tedious Truss/Thatcher invocations in the media had put the word in the setter’s head.

  33. 22 minutes, which is decent for me. Interesting to learn that Hurst also used to mean a sandbank in the sea or river. I wonder if this is why so many of them are still called the Horse or Horse Sands or similar.

  34. 24.43

    Also struggled with WETS at the end but persevered with the alpha trawl

    PREPOSSESS POI. Still not sure it’s meant to be a verb or noun but it emerged notwithstanding another legal reference that makes no sense to a lawyer (apologies to all) but seems obvious to everyone else.

    Liked the Bear clue and the rest of it as well

    Thanks Pip and setter

  35. Same same. Agag, that meaning pf prepossess, and tare unknown, but hectare obvious. Bottom half harder. Alloy and compoumd definitely not the same, as per keriothe. Interesting/unusual that all the four long words were single words rather than multi-word answers. Constellation straight in, albeit with fingers crossed, so one of the better clues. Otherwise serviceable, without being a superb puzzle.

  36. For me at least, one of the smaller joys of The Times cryptic is precisely that setters are not named. Knowing who the compiler was (as I know from The Other Place, when my politics were that way inclined) often turned me off – either because I knew it would be too difficult, or too easy.
    Note to Crossword editor: please retain anonymity !

  37. A very slow 26’42”, but I was being interrupted by the wife showing me pictures of farmhouses near Fontainebleau. Tempted by TERF at 27 across. It’s a new, nasty word, but I dare say it’ll be regarded as normal soon enough. As for Agag, here is the good book (King James): “Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amal’ekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.” Apparently the translation “came unto him delicately” is now disputed, but Agag-like was a recognised idiom meaning walking cautiously or delicately. Samuel then hacked Agag to pieces.

  38. 20.13. Not too difficult, though -e-s at the end caused my spirits to sink a little. Nothing came to mind so I had to alpha-trawl. Started at the S and worked back looking for worry which seemed an easier proposition than starting at the front and looking for ineffective folk.

  39. Crossed fingers for AGAG, PREPOSSESS and HURST so pleased when they all turned out correct. COD: CONSTELLATION

  40. Hi @piquet, could you let me know when and how you printed out your PDF? The appearance of a byline was apparently the result of a bug in Crossword Compiler which we are dealing with at the moment, and while I appreciate it gave everyone a laugh, it is not the first time I have corrected an error the morning before publication, only to find that about the only person for whom the wrong version has still materialised is the T4TT blogger, which can be a little frustrating.

  41. Failed with TOPE- went with topA , guessing that would be the highest note! Didn’t recall the meaning of drink required-but managed to spell CONSTELLATION correctly in vain!

  42. Ditto almost everyone else, but delighted with the PDM at 10d. Had ‘forgotten’ the term WETS, but took a punt at AGAG, fortunately. Pleasant crossword.

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