Times Cryptic 28922


Solving time: 40 minutes

Not the easiest of puzzles but after a couple of stinkers last week I found this an enjoyable and absorbing solve.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. “Aural wordplay” is in quotation marks. I usually omit all reference to juxtaposition indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Biblical character appearing in different accounts (5)
ISA, AC (different accounts). The first is a UK abbreviation for ‘Individual Savings Account’ on which interest is not subject to tax.
4 Main views of America’s capital — son flies around it (9)
S (son) + ESCAPES (flies) containing [around] A (America’s capital)
9 Politicians follow this pretentious Liberal with long clothing (5,4)
PINE (long) containing [clothing] ARTY (pretentious) + L (Liberal)
10 Girl in part of Lorraine’s territory (5)
Two meanings. NANCY in France is the former capital of the Duchy of Lorraine. I lost a lot of time over this as I thought ‘part’ indicated containment and the girl was ESTER. Not the usual spelling as that’s Esther, but it does exist.
11 Two newspapers with good quality info on music (4,9)
TIMES + I (two newspapers), G (good), NATURE (quality). Usually two numbers, one over the other, at the beginning of a piece of music or in the course of it, indicating the number of beats per bar and the value of each beat. Despite what I have seen in some dictionaries this has no bearing on the tempo of the piece; that’s covered by words such as Allegro, Adagio etc.
14 Tuber is more peculiar, cut the wrong way (4)
ODDE{r} (more peculiar) [cut] reversed [the wrong way]. AKA ‘taro’ apparently, or more interestingly ‘elephant’s ear’. In keeping with  tradition, whenever EDDO appears I assert that I never heard of it before. The TfTT archive confirms I said this in December 2021 and re a puzzle I blogged myself in 2009.
15 Driver‘s encouraging utterance, injecting a gas (10)
CHEER (encouraging utterance) containing [injecting] A + RIOT (gas – both slang for ‘fun’)
18 Having extraordinary perception, possibly I elect to maintain course (10)
Anagram [possibly] of I ELECT containing [to maintain] PATH (course)
19 Tips from arty quintet unoriginally aping Kind of Blue (4)
A{rty} + Q{uintet} + U{noriginally} + A{ping} [tips from …]
21 Swell financier in case of enquiry for charlatanism (13)
MOUNT (swell), then BANKER ( financier) contained by [in] E{nquir}Y [case of …]
24 Child beginning to suck kind of rock (5)
S{uck} (beginning to …], PROG (kind of rock music). I really didn’t want to be reminded so soon of last Wednesday’s ‘sprig / sprog’ debacle!
25 Quite slowly, run through poor part of Los Angeles? (9)
R (run) contained by [through]  LA GHETTO (poor part of Los Angeles). Another of the musical tempo directions referred to at 11ac.
27 Addressing persistent problem with temperance, drained drink again (9)
RE (addressing – on the subject of), HYDRA (persistent problem), T{emperanc}E [drained]. Hydra was the mythical monster that kept regrowing its multiple heads as they were chopped off.
28 Circe’s heart captured by enchanter one linked with Homer (5)
{Ci}R{ce} [‘s heart] contain [captured] by MAGE (enchanter – wizard). A reference to The Simpsons, a TV programme I have never seen. We had Bart Simpson only yesterday when I remarked on these puzzles dumbing down
1 People getting treatment join in wearing underwear (2-8)
TIE (join) contained by [in] IN + PANTS (wearing underwear)
2 You might inspire this  song (3)
Two meanings, the first vaguely cryptic
3 Most retiring from business having OK time (6)
CO (business), YES (OK), T (time)
4 Bandage put on tot, one firing missiles across the pond (9)
SLING (bandage), SHOT (tot e.g. of spirits). ‘Across the pond’ indicates the American origin of the word. I looked twice at ‘bandage / SLING’ but found support for it  in most of the usual sources.
5 Fake laugh takes in Wolves’ captain? (5)
Hidden [takes in] {f}AKE LA{ugh}. Akela is a wolf in Kipling’s Jungle Book stories and the word was used by the Boy Scouts Association when they introduced their Wolf Cub programme in 1916 for boys too young to be Boy Scouts. In that context Akela was an adult leader of a pack of Wolf Cubs. The ‘wolf’ element was dropped sometime during the 1960s but I don’t know whether Cub Scouts retained Akela.
6 Entertainer to practise deception in court? (8)
CON JUROR (practise deception in court?)
7 Like a playwright‘s irritation about Sterne novel (11)
PIQUE (irritation) containing [about] anagram [novel] of STERNE. My AI assistant advises that typical components of Pinter’s style are a sense of menace, dialogue with pauses, minimalism and a general air of mystery and ambiguity, especially about his characters’ motivations.
8 Feature of underworld crook’s perhaps reaching our ears (4)
Aural wordplay [reaching our ears]: STYX (a river in Hades) / “sticks” (crook’s). Collins: crook – a staff with a hooked end, such as a bishop’s crosier or shepherd’s staff.
12 Late winter period possibly framing occasionally duller literary setting (11)
MID-MARCH (late winter period possibly) containing [framing] D{u}L{l}E{r} [occasionally]. Middlemarch is the setting for the book of the same name by George Eliot.
13 Challenge for climbers changing gear on sides of slippery, icy area (6,4)
Anagram [changing] of GEAR, S{lipper}Y [sides of …], POLE (icy area)
16 Make good rum — and beer is drunk (9)
Anagram [drunk] of RUM BEER IS
17 Touring Portugal on vacation, Rose was extravagant (8)
SURGED (rose) containing [touring] P{ortuga}L [on vacation]
20 It’s doubtful absorbing books will show number of patriots (6)
AHEM (it’s doubtful) containing [absorbing] NT (books – New Testament).  Collins: ahem – a clearing of the throat, used to attract attention, express doubt, etc. ‘Number’ here as in ‘song’.
22 US city tours, at intervals, covering large area (5)
T{o}U{r}S [at intervals] containing [covering] L (large), then A (area). Known to me courtesy of Gene Pitney.
23 Person at sea embraces Saint Nicholas, say (4)
TAR (person at sea – sailor) contains [embraces] S (saint)
26 Go off climbing — this peak? (3)
ROT (go off) reversed [climbing]

87 comments on “Times Cryptic 28922”

  1. MOUNTEBANK is a favourite word of mine; MOUNTEBANKERY less so. Those who enjoyed MIDDLEMARCH might consider George Eliot’s two later novels: Daniel Deronda, which explores Zionism, and Romola – the only one of her books not set in England. Both rather good.

    24 minutes for the puzzle.

    1. I think MOUNTEBANK is a splendid word and I think I would enjoy saying to someone’s face: “You, sir, are a mountebank!

  2. I read MIDDLEMARCH, online, two or three years ago, and I got that right after PINTERESQUE. Rather liked this one.
    So who will it be tomorrow? Maggie? Lisa? Flanders?

    1. For a minute I thought the fake laugh at 5d was going to give us Beavis. That would definitely be dumbing down.

  3. thanks, jack, nice blog. I wasted time on Ester too; lucky for me I was sure of Styx.

  4. Yes, nice to see Bart’s mum following him into the grid. 28.28 for me, which is not far off a Zager&Evans song. Even though I’d never heard of EDDO and recoiled a little at MOUNTEBANKERY I thought this was a puzzle of great quality overall. The north-east held me up, mainly CONJUROR (is that actually a chestnut?), NANCY (another Ester here) and LOI STYX. Many thanks to Jack for doing the grunt work on ISAAC, SEASCAPES, SLINGSHOT and ANTHEM. Ahem, who knew?

    From Murder Most Foul:
    Play Tragedy, play Twilight Time
    Take me back to TULSA, to the scene of the crime
    Play another one, and Another One Bites the Dust
    Play The Old Rugged Cross and In God We Trust.

  5. Around an hour. Got caught with ESTER like like our blogger. At times I was just putting words in with not a clue whether they were correct. Badly needed parsing info to understand why I was correct with some. Put in MARGE but not a clue it related to the Simpsons. Never actually watched the Simpsons as the promotional ads really put me off as I cannot stand that sort of contrived humour. I agree with Jackkt that it is dumbing down the crossword.

    1. Mmm as one of our more lowbrow correspondents I take issue with the dumbing down comments which I believe are a bit patronising. Whatever anyone thinks of The Simpsons it is certainly not dumb and it has a broad impact in popular culture so references to it can be classed as general knowledge. I think one’s knowledge or not of the items in crosswordland relate to one’s own personal interests. I have no interest at all in classical music, flora or fauna so clues relating to composers, musical directions, plants or birds are always a struggle for me but I don’t complain as it is just a bit of general knowledge I don’t have. Jack knows Tulsa from Gene Pitney – had the clue referenced the song would that be dumbing down?

  6. Enjoyable all round, but I’m unsure of the reason for the apostrophe in crook’s for sticks/styx.

    1. I think one has to think of a context such as ‘the crook’s end needs constant cleaning.’

  7. 31 minutes. Avoided the ESTER trap by already having the second crossing N from PINTERESQUE. I remembered EDDO and a few other unusual words like MOUNTBANKERY were helped by wordplay.

    The one that gave me most trouble was TIME SIGNATURE, both to identify the def and then to come up with an unfamiliar term; thanks to Jack for the further detail. As already commented on, good to have MARGE making an appearance after Bart yesterday.

  8. 34.51. enjoyable solve, with enough tricky words to keep me scratching my head towards the end. started at NW corner and thought it was going to be all write-ins like yesterday for a while. LOI NANCY which I changed at the last moment from NANNY.

    I liked STYX as a clue, and MARGE too…

  9. Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx;
    A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.
    (Don Juan, Byron)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I liked it. Didn’t remember Eddo, but helpful wordplay. COD to the lovely Pinteresque.
    Ta setter and J

  10. 11:00
    I thought this was going to be a pangram after getting CONJUROR and PINTERESQUE, but even LOI STYX left me a few letters short.
    COD MARGE – LISA tomorrow?
    Earworm of the Day: ‘Farewell NANCY’ by Martin Carthy – Happy 83rd birthday, Guv’nor!

  11. 13.08. I was misled not only by Ester, but also, um, NTACC (who he?).

    There was an Akela in my Cubs – real name Wayne, which is less evocative. MARGE raised a smile.

    Thanks Jack & setter.

  12. 36 minutes with LOI AKELA. DYB DYB DYB. ESTER tickled my fancy before the conjuror produced NANCY. EDDO was constructed, no doubt seen before but forgotten. You can’t forget MARGE Simpson’s blue hair though. COD to PINTERESQUE. I liked the GREASY POLE too. I found this hard until it wasn’t. Thank you Jack and setter.

    1. Thanks for that revelation BW – I have always wondered why scouts say Dib dib dib and dob dob dob! Now I see it’s thrice Do Your Best and Do Our Best. My world is that little bit richer this morning. 🤓

        1. I didn’t find out about dyb & dob til a year down the track when Mum told me; Akela (Mrs Davis) never did.

  13. 18:37. ESTER for 10A gave me a lot of trouble with the anagram at 7D. Having found a clash and seeing STYX pointed me to NANCY which I didn’t know was in Lorraine.. but I do now. Held up at the end by MARGE… doh! Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  14. As noted, AKELA was the person to whom we promised to do our best (dob dob dob).

    Perhaps we can have Mr Burns next, cluing his resemblance to a well-known cricket commentator?

    Liked ANTHEM, also banged in ESTER, and worked hard on LARGHETTO (I’d heard of Handel’s Largo).

    16’55”, thanks jack and setter.

  15. About 20 minutes.

    Put me down as another who bunged in ‘Ester’ for 10a, and it was only after staring blankly at S_R_ for 8d, combined with thinking that 7d surely had to be PINTERESQUE, that I realised it might be wrong (also, my French geography is terrible so I couldn’t have told you that NANCY is in Lorraine).

    Didn’t know EDDO but the cluing helped; MOUNTEBANKERY was dredged up from somewhere in the recesses of my mind; didn’t realise that SLINGSHOT is of American origin; spent a while trying to justify ‘Hyena’ for 5d, thinking of ‘ha’ as a kind of fake laugh (in text speak/social media, a single ‘ha’ can be an indication that something wasn’t actually that funny); and didn’t fully parse MIDDLEMARCH.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Isaac
    LOI Conjuror
    COD Splurged

  16. 17.47

    Nice puzzle. PINTERESQUE was very good. Seen the Homer thing a few times now, which helped, even though more familiar with the older version.

  17. Steady solve today, no untoward problems. Had forgot EDDO, but it didn’t matter.
    EDDO turns out to be quite the regular.. 2021, 2019, 2013, 2009, 2007 twice .. most of us hadn’t heard of it, each time. Not a memorable little tuber 🙂

  18. 26:11

    EDDO and MOUNTEBANK were the only unknowns and I liked GREASY POLE. Otherwise as per our resident trotter, I found this hard until it wasn’t.

    Thanks to both.

  19. 36m 48s
    Very pleasant puzzle so thanks, Jack, for your blog. I started with ESTER as well.
    I think it would be fun to say to someone: “You, sir, are a MOUNTEBANK!”
    I look forward to that other splendid word which means much the same thing, ‘saltimbanco’, also turning up in a cryptic.
    Never been there so what is special about TULSA that there are at least three songs that I know of about the place? There’s Gene Pitney’s “24hrs from…” (which, these days, puts you anywhere in the world). Than there’s the superlative Emmylou Harris’ “Tulsa Queen”; and then there’s Danny Flowers’ “Tulsa Time”, sung most memorably for me by Eric Clapton.

    I think we’ve seen the ‘Homer’ trick pulled often enough now to know where it’s headed.

    1. Tulsa these days is home to the Bob Dylan Centre, a massive archive containing all sorts of Dylan clobber going back 70 years. It stages all sorts of events, films etc and is internationally acclaimed as a magnificent resource. I might get there one day, it’s only 24 hours…

      1. Do you know why the Centre is in Tulsa? Without any other knowledge of the subject, I would have thought somewhere in Minnesota, where he was born, would have been more appropriate.

        1. Here is an extract from the centre’s website – it’s all to do with Woody G apparently!

          Why, one might ask, did Dylan—who is most often associated either with New York’s Greenwich Village, where he first became famous, or the tiny town of Hibbing, Minnesota, where he grew up—choose Tulsa? The answer, my friend… is Woody Guthrie. Dylan originally came to New York in the early ’60s in part to seek out the legendary Oklahoman songwriter (who was then hospitalized in New Jersey with Huntington’s disease), and in 2016 he sold his archive to the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which also owns Guthrie’s archive and in 2013 built the Woody Guthrie Center mere steps from the site of the Dylan Center.

          “I think he got a look at the Woody Guthrie Center and was impressed, and started thinking, ‘Maybe something along the lines of this could work for my own archives,’” says Jenkins. “This is quite possibly the largest archive in existence devoted to the life and work of a living artist. We’re talking about more than 100,000 artifacts.”

          1. Thanks, Lindsay, that’s very enlightening and makes perfect sense. Now, I must get back to ‘selling postcards of the hanging…’

    2. I think like Amarillo, it just fits the lyrics well ..
      I watched Bananarama last night saying they wrote a song about Al Pacino, but changed it to Robert di Nero because it rhymed better. Fickle..

  20. 23.47. I must have become jaded because I did not enjoy this puzzle as much as other commenters. I found some of the definitions rather loose, and I don’t expect to encounter the word ‘mountebankery’ in normal life any time soon: perhaps if I tackle a Mephisto.

  21. Well, that was a challenge. Just scraped in under 30 in 29.46. LOI styx which was a teaser until I realised my earlier ( and only) entry of Ester should have been Nancy!

    Really good puzzle I thought , one that made me feel enthused to have finished.

  22. 27:44

    A relatively enjoyable breeze today compared to recent turbulent performances. My FOI was 1D and this resulted in an anti-clockwise tour of the grid, although I revisited 17D where I had previously entered UPSURGED knowing it would need further attention towards the end. I was pleased to see SPROG feature after I had incorrectly used it last week.

    Thanks to jacket and the setter.

  23. Beaten by TSAR, which I stared at for at least 15 mins after finishing the rest in 14 mins. Irritating, because the rest of this I found just the right side of difficult, and enjoyed it. Fell into the cleverly disguised ESTER trap, but reverted to NANCY (a beautiful town) when STYX had to be right.

  24. I managed this in 18:36
    LOI was MARGE which must have added a minute or two to my time as I thought wildly about wine dark seas and pigeons, then an alphabet trawl starting with A got me Mage, then I realised it’s the ***** Simpsons again!!!
    Apart from that, NHO EDDO so was quite pleased that one was correct, AKELA rang a vague bell and was in the clue.
    Thanks setter and Jack

  25. Harder than average for a Tuesday and I had rather a lot of answers left before I had to start cheating. I didn’t get MARGE but unlike some grumps here I liked the clue and I have heard of EDDO. I also fell for the ‘Ester’ trap!

  26. Curses, as I pressed submit, I saw that I had mistyped SPLURGED as SPLRUGED, which ruined both that and MOUNTEBANKERY.

    Apart from that, I really enjoyed this puzzle, though there was a bit of biffing, parsed post-submission – e.g. TSAR, SEASCAPES.

    16:22 but..

  27. Had to retrofit Ester to Nancy so got jammed up in the NE. Thought all was then well but DNF. I’d guessed an unknown acquaintance of Homer (not the cartoon one) to be Murse – enchanter muse (can an artist be enchanted by their muse?) around R.

  28. 19.06, so quite a contest. Our clever setter threw in at least two fake hiddens as well as the Kipling one: I was pretty sure there was no TACCO in the Bible, and less sure that NESTE was not some Greek myth miss. I’m pretty sure that Goliath found out about SLINGSHOTs the hard way: Americans surely use the term for getting Apollo 13 back from the Moon.
    I was thrown a bit by some of the left-field definitions: swell for MOUNT, and crooks for sticks, and TSAR, my last, should have been more obvious but I got stuck on USER.
    Terrific and engaging blog today: nice one Jackkt!

  29. 31 minutes but with a couple entered without full understanding: it looked very much like MIDDLEMARCH, but I didn’t realise that it was mid-March and not the middle of March. And ANTHEM had to be but goodness knows why until I came here and it was pretty obvious. I wasn’t an Ester but a Neste, thinking of Netta and possibly therefore Nesta and possibly therefore Neste. The Simpsons is outstandingly clever stuff, full of allusions and written by very intelligent people: you mustn’t think that because it’s dressed up in the form of a children’s cartoon that The Times is dumbing down. I welcome it.

  30. I was also tempted by ESTER for a nanosecond but can’t quite see why so many fell for it, as it’s always been spelt ESTHER (except in chemistry textbooks). Talking of the motivations or Pinter’s characters, I have often felt for the poor actor who, during rehearsals, conscientiously asked Harold himself (who was directing) about exactly that subject, and was told “Mind your own f***ing business!” I have ever since found it useful to keep in mind when attending his plays.

    1. Pinter once famously answered “The weasel under the cocktail cabinet” when asked what his plays were about.

  31. Couldn’t parse 1a ISAAC; DOH! It’s easy when you know how.
    Failed to parse 9a PARTY LINE. Clever it was.
    10a NANCY toyed with embedded Neste, like Zabadak and Wil above, possibly a version of Nesta? But no.
    24a toyed with Scrag, child, like Astonvilla1. No, it is the (S)PROGressive Rock that I never remember.
    4d SLINGshot, couldn’t parse, didn’t think of a tot=shot of spirits DOH! Did sort-of-know that slingshot is US for catapult so in it went.
    Liked having MARGE at 28a; yesterday’s BART made sure I got the right Homer quickly.
    Had forgot 14a EDDO, but it was a write-in. Resisted the temptation to say NHO.

  32. Very enjoyable, all done in 25 minutes. It helped that I found 1ac and 4ac very early. Plenty of clever clues as described above. Did not expect the Simpsons to reappear so soon, but life is full of surprises. NHO HYDRA as a persistent problem, but I can see why it would be.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  33. Pretty sure that I wouldn’t have spotted MARGE so quickly if it hadn’t been for yesterday’s Simpsons clue pointing me to the correct Homer.

    I daresay others have noticed that NANCY Cartwright provides the voice for Bart Simpson.

    I wrote in and deleted H-YEN-A several times for 5d before things clicked into place. As the E and final A appeared I grew increasingly convinced that I was missing the parsing.

    Ended up with my second fastest time ever today, luckily I didn’t spot ESTER which would have cost some time.

    Thanks jackkt (and all the bloggers on this great site).

  34. I enjoyed this one.

    I can honestly say that I had never heard of ‘EDDO’, but I entered it in a leap of faith based solely on wordplay and the checkers that I had. It wasn’t my last one in though – that was SPLURGED.

  35. 14:40 – despite a brief dalliance with the not-quite-right-looking Ester, which made me wonder if Dennis Potter was celebrated or distinctive enough to have an -esque appended to his name. Perhaps the people who bestow these honours don’t consider those who write for television. I remember his last interview with Melvyn Bragg – in which, terminally ill, he chain-smoked throughout and revealed that he had christened his tumour Rupert. They didn’t make many like that even then.

  36. 25′ and pretty straightforward for much of the solve (before and after a successful golf match… ). I had PINTERESQUE in early so didn’t have the “Ester” issue, instead wondering if “Aines” was maybe a French name, but STYX came to my rescue. A couple of successful biffs towards the end; for some reason not being able to parse the now obvious TSAR and NHO EDDO being a more calculated guess. For the tomorrow’s Simpsons clue, maybe Milhouse, or Sideshow Bob? Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  37. No time as I complete in bits and pieces. Before noon though – so quicker than many.
    I had not heard of EDDO before yesterday when I found a pristine copy of the i cryptic from 7th September 2023 in a pile of old newspapers. I rarely “play away” but gave it a go. It is clued as “Plant fodder not limited to rear (4)”. Quite friendly cluing to get EDDO that I NHO. Today, that helped me find (R)EDDO from “more peculiar cut the wrong way”. I might have struggled otherwise.

  38. Another sucker delayed by ESTER until the conjuror and styx had to be, otherwise a smooth and pleasant solve in 20 minutes. I see we have a SPROG today after a sprig the other day. GREASY POLE was nice.

  39. 3m 53s for this one, an easy but well-constructed puzzle that allowed plenty of biffing. I finished on EDDO, which I also didn’t think I’d seen before but clearly must have.

  40. 41:51 and all green. Slowed down by quite a few that needed some thought. I was happy to bung in EDDO thinking I’d seen it here before, but I now think I’d seen EDDA which is not the same thing at all. I’m not sure about CONJUROR, I somehow feel tricked, so COD to CHARIOTEER

  41. 30:30

    Appalling start, thankfully interrupted by lunch. Resumed on my lunchtime walk, brain reset did the trick and normal service was resumed. MOUNTEBANKERY has been here before otherwise I should not have thought of it as easily. NHO EDDO, did not parse SEASCAPES. LOI CHARIOTEER beaten by a nose by REIMBURSE.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  42. Another held up by ESTER until Harold came along. Didn’t know NANCY was in Lorraine, but I do now. Most of this puzzle went in quickly, but several clues delayed me considerably. Couldn’t see CONJUROR until NANCY arrived after STYX finally loomed through the murk. CHARIOTEER took ages and needed GREASY POLE which I should’ve seen much earlier. My penultimate arrived when I traded mage for muse and got Bart’s mother. Pressing submit at that point revealed 98% completion so I backtracked and inserted TSAR, which was suddenly obvious after being left as not obvious at all. 30:35. Thanks setter and Jack.
    On edit: I have a friend in Amsterdam who is called Eddo. Never thought he would help me out with a crossword!

  43. 54 minutes, whilst watching the first knockout game of the IPL. And I was very pleased with that.
    The last few needed full concentration, and I missed two important wickets.
    CHARIOTEER remained unparsed – I just didn’t see riot as a gas. Oops, there went another wicket.
    Lorraine, Ester and NANCY diverted me for far too long.
    Music not a strong point, so I was particularly pleased that TIME SIGNATURE went in so easily with no checkers, but LARGHETTO a NHO, so constructed from wordplay. Was pleased to find it correct.
    Much more satisfying than yesterday’s puzzle ,which was completed in a selection of hospital waiting rooms.
    And another wicket missed.
    Time to concentrate on the cricket.

  44. 58.52 The snitch reckons this is about as hard as yesterday’s but it took me three times longer. EDDO was new. ESTER held me up for a good while. Last two were AKELA and SEASCAPE. Oh, that kind of main! One day I’ll remember. An enjoyable solve anyway. Thanks Jack.

  45. Tush tush, there’s nothing dumb about The Simpsons, and if you’ve never watched it then you’ve a treat in store.

    Fun, humorous puzzle. I particular liked the MARGE, SPROG and AQUA clues. 27 minutes.

  46. Valiantly resisted ESTER for the longest, but it was so appealing
    Bought some EDDOs from Tesco years ago, stick to spuds!
    Our AKELA was also the local Postmistress and was always quick to challenge any request for withdrawals from my Post Office Savings book which currently has 17/11d in it. Interest (a halfpenny a pound a month I think, but only on complete pounds, so I’ve earned nothing in the intervening nearly 70 years.
    My late wife would say that I’ve learned even less
    A proper midweek puzzle, thanks all


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