Times Cryptic No 28445 — C’est la fête!

Hello! I am honored to be one-half of the new Friday blogging crew. As some of you know, I am currently finishing my Master’s in mathematics here in New York, so it’s been weeks since I’ve attempted a puzzle. Thankfully, this was a gentler affair, as Fridays go. I noticed that my anagram game is not quite where it was, which could have helped my time. But I’m content with 23:37, especially as I notice there are many scores with errors on the leaderboard.

1 Anglican character has idiot getting in stew (9)
6 Glue ear’s picked up and measured (5)
PACED – homophone of PASTE
9 Beefeater, market trader or squealer heading home? (7)
TOOTSIE – reference to This Little Piggy
10 Fish around island proving source of energy (7)
11 Greeting that boy will love (5)
12 Dear — a thousand for instrument that’s not the largest (4,5)
14 Lumière’s partner and child (3)
SON – son et lumière

Son et lumière (show)

I thought perhaps this was a reference to Lumière from Beauty and the Beast. Now I realize I think I was thinking of Mrs. Potts and Chip. In any case, C’est la fête is the official Disney translation of “Be Our Guest”.

15 Way of getting fit name, a nicest variety (11)

I prefer calisthenics, but I highly recommend watching about ten seconds of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3tetm2d6qY

17 Arranged diamonds in elaborate decoration (11)

This anagram took me forever.

19 Singular dad’s resort (3)
SPA – S + PA
20 Creates spaces to accommodate sexual identity (9)

No comment from me about the fitness of the definition of GENDER.

22 Backing for official nabbing team’s dodgy dealer? (5)
FIXER – REF around XI, reversed
24 Charge bloke and partner in restaurant? (7)
26 Gem pedlar emerging from behind pockets (7)
EMERALD – hidden reversed (“from behind pockets”) in PEDLAR EMERGING
27 Discharge a lot leaving hospital with you and me (5)
28 Creator of lines, dissolute chap penning bad poem meets resistance (4,5)
ROPE MAKER – RAKE around anagram of POEM + R
1 Hear of snag in contract (5)
CATCH – triple definition
2 Sell now after adjustment indicating effect of inflation? (7)
SWOLLEN – anagram of SELL NOW
3 All sides except West admit defeat, mostly settled (9)
ENSCONCED – E + N + S (no W) + CONCED(E)
4 Tip exceeding funds available? (11)
5 Go out live: revolutionary start for broadcast (3)
EBB – BE reversed + first letter of BROADCAST
6 Second of spoons incorrect — not with fork (5)
PRONG – second letter of SPOONS + WRONG – W
7 Tea ready — and one gets bread (7)

PAT as in a easy/ready answer

8 Hurry after some food: a habit in Arab world (9)

A long one-piece Arab garment.

13 Peach with skins served up, and rest of refreshment? (6,5)
14 One hitting on record producer who’s driving force behind Kids in America? (6,3)
SOCCER MOM – homophone of SOCKER + MOM?

I guess MOM is a producer because she’s produced kids?

16 Labour’s conclusiongovernment must call an election now (3,2,4)
END OF TERM – double definition

I confess I don’t really know what either of these means, and I can’t really find their meaning online. Help?

18 No cigar processed without chemicals (7)
ORGANIC – anagram of NO CIGAR
19 Beer / belly after working out? (3-4)
SIX-PACK – double definition
21 Released by wingers, Arsenal shot comes close (5)
NEARS – anagram {a}RSENA{l}
23 Easy with this to make movie stars’ demands? (5)
25 Slip into Ferrari every so often (3)
ERR – {f}E{r}R{a}R{i}

117 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28445 — C’est la fête!”

  1. I think the first definition for END OF TERM must refer to pregnancy. At the end of a political official’s time in office, a vote is held.

    My LOI was CALLANETICS, after trying for too long to make “cal(l)isthenics” work, and finally cheating to check the spelling (my second guess was right). “Calisthenics” seems more a real word, with Greek roots and all, whereas the answer word is more arbitrary, just tacking a suffix onto someone’s name. -NETICS makes it sound modern, I guess. NHO, of course. I wonder how many here have… Also didn’t know DISHDASHA before.

    Pretty darned clever, overall. 14 is genius, for one. Not a legendary Friday bear, but a good workout.

    1. Sitting here feeling quite dumb
      I also essayed soccer mum
      Still don’t get all the clue
      Which is why I feel blue
      And it broke a long streak. Bum, bum, bum!

    2. Do please explain. Neither of these means anything to me in this otherwise great, but slightly chewy, puzzle.

  2. Nearly completed a Friday puzzle, which would be a first. I had HITCH (= snag, =contract) for CATCH which made a mess in the NW.

    Also tried to make Calisthenics work somehow, and had to Google alternatives. Also had DASHDISHA. Couldn’t parse SOCCER MOM. And for “released by wingers” was convinced wingers=birds somehow.


  3. 17:36, but an unnoticed typo–a checker, of course, so 2 errors for the price of one.
    LOI CALLANETICS, NHO of course. I read END OF TERM as Guy did, though I thought that the setter specifically had Parliament in mind, when dissolution occurs at the end of a 5-year term and a new election must be called. I can’t think of any better explanation of ‘producer’ than Jeremy’s. I put in RIDER without thinking, forgetting that I had recently learned the relevant meaning here. I also put in EMERALD and forgot to parse it.

    1. 10:37 here, but maybe with the same typo? The annoying thing is I didn’t even need to type the last letter of COORDINATED as I already had END OF TERM in place, but I fat-fingered an S and didn’t notice.

  4. 46 minutes but I had MUM at 14dn. I had noted ‘in America’ indicating US usage but had assumed that was a reference to SOCCER which is the favoured named for the game on the other side of the pond. Of course it’s English English for it too (derived from Association Football) but anyone here who calls it that now is liable to be treated with derision.


    I came up with TOOTSIE at 9ac for no other reason than it fitted the checkers but I didn’t write it in until I had used Chambers Wordsearch to confirm it as the only word that did so. It was some time later that the penny dropped.

  5. Also a bit bemused by MOM = producer; and unthinkingly entered MUM not MOM to boot. Saved my blushes for an unfilled tootsie – didn’t see it on first run through and forgot to go back to it. Only knew the squealing piggy, never knew the beefeater or trader, so trying to make a charade rather than seeing the cryptic definition.
    Despite my egregious errors it was another excellent puzzle. Thanks setter and new blogger.

  6. DNF. At time of typing 2/3 of leaderboard entries have errors. I’m guessing many of those had a biffed ENGINEERS in place of ENGENDERS 🙄

    1. I did. Assumed that GINEER was some neologism that I had missed. Doh.
      Also forgot to return to TOOTSIE, which I now see was an ace clue, and COD (too late.)

  7. 39m 13s The third puzzle in a row I really enjoyed and one where I felt I was on the same wavelength as the setter.
    I did, though, think that all the 3-letter clues were very easy.
    In 9ac, what dictionaries give Beefeater and market trader as definitions of TOOTSIE? I’ve never heard those definitions…or am I missing something completely?
    I’m familiar with dishdash but not with DISHDASHA. Nor have I ever heard of CALLANETICS but both were gettable.
    I’m guessing many of those with errors will have put MUM for MOM in 14d despite the American reference. I guess things are different in Alaska; wasn’t it Sarah Palin who once referred to ‘hockey moms’?
    And a belated welcome to +Jeremy!

    1. This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, … as Jeremy indicated.

      1. Of course, thanks Kevin. I was right: I had missed something, even though I know the rhyme well enough. Staring me in the face!

      2. Thank-you – I remember the rhyme now, too. I did know the beef-eater and the market trader. Though I thought he was a market porker, being sold for bacon and ham; and that a beef-eater ate beef while a Beefeater wore a funny costume at the Tower.

      3. Good grief! I asked for this to be explained above, so thanks for explaining. Still an insoluble clue for my household in which the rhyme refers to toes and ‘tootsie’, if ever used (which I doubt, at least since infancy) means ‘foot’.

  8. A 54 minute DNF. I had the N and T the wrong way round in the NHO CALLANETICS (like Guy I was thinking of a variant of “callisthenics”) and had zero idea about TOOTSIE which I bunged in as a no more than a guess.

    Loved SOCCER MOM, even more so with the authentic US spelling.

    Thanks to setter and thanks & welcome to Jeremy

  9. As kingfishers Catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
    As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
    Stones ring; …

    25 mins mid-brekker. Not keen on the Tootsie, Dishdasha nor Mom/mum. But made up for by the excellent Coordinated, Six-pack and (Easy) Rider.
    Thanks setter and PJ.

  10. Welcome Jeremy. I didn’t find this easy and never got SOCCER MOM. Still am missing something on ‘record producer’ equalling MOM.

      1. Thanks. Of course it is. I was caught up trying to add something to ‘producer’ to get MOM. Not my favourite clue.

        1. Merriam-Webster: “:a typically suburban mother who accompanies her children to their soccer games and is considered as part of a significant voting bloc or demographic group”

          Typically, she transports her progeny to the games in a station wagon or SUV…

  11. Very slow start, picking off a few 3 and 5-letter solutions, before finally gaining some momentum, enjoying it quite a lot. and finishing all but 9a in around 32m. For ten minutes I had CINCH at 1d (why is that a snag? – think I had a “senior moment”) I couldn’t find any word to fit the grid, and eventually went for emergency Somali brekkie..

    …even that didn’t do the trick for another 5 mins or so, but I eventually tried CATCH, and guessed TOOTSIE from the checkers, no inkling of why it might possibly be correct. I’ve *never* been so surprised to see a green tick. 45:47 – thanks setter, welcome Jeremy as our new part-time Friday blog-meister.

  12. Beaten by this one with 1d—which I wasn’t sure might be CINCH—and 9a still to get. In my defence, it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard This Little Piggie

  13. 34 mins so not hard for a Friday but…. I’m another MUM. Well, of course I’m not a mum, I’m a father, but you know what I mean. I saw the TERM bit as Kevin did. TOOTSIE bunged in like Jack, the only word that fit, and never parsed. DISHDASHA entered from the cryptic.

    Definite WOD ENSCONCED, as I am most days with the crossword and my coffee in the morning.

    Thanks and well done Jeremy on your first Friday.

  14. Pleased with having TOOTSIE as POI, not completely parsed (thanks to all who helped work this out), like others I fell down with SOCCER MOM, being from London. Tough to have an unchecked letter there. Otherwise about 23′.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  15. 11:58, but another MUM. I still don’t understand the clue. I can’t believe ‘producer’ is meant to be a standalone indicator for MOM, but even if you accept the idea that a mother ‘produces’ kids, it would indicate MUM in an English crossword. If all the words after ‘producer’ are the definition, there’s no indication of the word MOM in the wordplay. What am I missing?

  16. Well I thought if the kids were in America the mum probably was as well, and SOCCER MOM is a common expression over there. However, the clear cryptic at 15a led me to CALLATENICS and a DNF.

  17. I don’t think soccer mum is a thing. The phrase exists only in Murcan, where mums don’t exist.

    Anyway, throughly enjoyed this as I actually do some Callanetics and have spent enough time in the GCC to know about dishdashas. LOI TOOTSIE took ages but the PDM raised a smile.

    Thanks setter and welcome Jeremy!

    1. Yes I accept that SOCCER MUM isn’t a thing (as Collins and Chambers confirm) but I can’t see any wordplay indication for the word MOM in the clue.

      1. Setting aside that “producer” isn’t a great indicator of MUM or MOM, it’s still the wordplay indicator. At 13a “skins” could be PEELS or RINDS, but BEAUTY SDNIR isn’t a thing.

        1. ‘Not great’ is an understatement! Even allowing for that though MOM isn’t an English word, which ought to be indicated IMO.
          In a similar vein I wouldn’t be happy with ‘Revolutionary I replaced with quality officer’ for COMMODORE.
          I completely accept by the way that I should have got this right, because I know perfectly well that SOCCER MUM doesn’t exist. I just don’t think the wordplay works.

          1. Interestingly, we do have the term “soccer mum” in Australia – it’s in the Macquarie Dictionary here. I see that it’s not in Chambers, so not in a standard reference for The Times, but it’s definitely an Australian usage along with the American variant.

          2. It seems to me that if we object to Mom rather than Mum in a (known) American phrase, shouldn’t you also be objecting to Son instead of Sound in a (known) French phrase?

            (I do agree that producer = either one is weak)

            1. I’m not objecting to it in the American phrase. I’m objecting to it in the wordplay, where there is no American phrase nor any other indication of an American term.

              1. I took the “in America” to indicate an Americanism, both for the use of the term and for its spelling.

                I am still troubled by ‘record’ not figuring anywhere in the parsing. It’s an important work, not a connector such as ‘and’ or ‘is’ (plus it doesn’t connect anything or contribute to the surface). That plus the weakness of Producer = either Mum or Mom kind of makes me think I’m missing something.

                David, well below, found an actual (EP, LP, etc) record producer named MOM, which would solve everything, but if that’s it that is a mighty arcane reference.

                1. “In America” is part of the definition. The wordplay indication for MOM is just ‘producer’, which is inadequate both as a standalone definition of mother and in its lack of any indication that we need an American word (MOM not MUM).
                  ‘On record’ is a homophone indicator.

                  1. You’re right about ‘record’. Don’t know what I was thinking. I still agree mom = producer is suspect. Since I got it correct, I still think ‘in America’ is fine doing double duty.

  18. After a disappointing couple of DNF days, this was a real encouragement as completed in 9.32 with just a silly fat finger EESCONCED typo which is about as good as I can get for a more challenging one.

    Liked TOOTSIE.

    On to next week with a spring in my step.

    Thanks for taking on the blogging duties Jeremy and thanks setter

  19. 18 minutes. I managed to force myself to write SOCCER MOM despite having to use two verboten words. I only saw the brilliance of TOOTSIE after the event but it still gets COD. I didn’t know DISHDASHA and needed the crossers to be certain. I toyed with CALISTHETICS, trying in vain to make it fit. Excellent Friday puzzle. Thank you Plus J and setter.

  20. Mostly straightforward, some nice clues.. loved the tootsies.
    But I *very* much disliked 14dn, mum vs mom. Which coincidentally, I got wrong…

  21. DNF. Another MUM and failed to get TOOTSIE, resorting in the end to a wordfinder to get it. NHO DISHDASHA or CALLANETICS. COD to END OF TERM. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  22. 45 mins for a stop start effort
    Several answers went in OK but struggled with the parsing especially 9a
    Not sure why 24a needs a restaurant; could be any location

  23. Made errors and didn’t enjoy it. ‘Mom’ as producer doesn’t convince me, and I’d never heard of ‘callanetics’. Thankfully, The Grauniad puzzle was a cracker.

  24. Welcome Jeremy, very big blog boots to fill (or as there are two halves I guess it’s just one blog boot) but you have done admirably. I think you and I were two halves of the Monday QC blog weren’t we? Having left that gig I usually just hang out here now although there were lots of good ‘friends’ back there. And having stopped blogging I just don’t seem to get around to posting much any more.

    Anyway, welcome, a good crossword to kick off with and a fine blog. As everybody else says, I loved TOOTSIE and SOCCER MOM.


      1. And I remember now. jackkt was my other half. The connection with you was I think that you were just ahead of me in the queue when they advertised for QC bloggers.

    1. Not everyone. I thought both were awful – and, for me, insoluble and still incomprehensible.

  25. Actually, reading back it seems not everybody liked SOCCER MOM. I guess I just liked it because it came quickly to me and I knew to spell it the American way so felt good about avoiding a trap.

  26. Tripped up on ENGENDERS where I carelessly bunged in ENGINEERS.

    In the version of This Little Piggy that I grew up with, the third one had ‘bread and butter’ so couldn’t make the clue work. I guessed there must be another verse I never knew. Turns out my family has been spreading fake news.

    Otherwise very enjoyable puzzle. Liked SIX-PACK and BEAUTY SLEEP.

    Thanks plusjeremy and setter

  27. Even though all the checkers were there and the wordplay suggested it was the answer, I still had to look up DISHDASHA to make sure that there was such a thing. SOCCER MOM seemed a bit vague although I suppose it’s OK, just didn’t lift and separate properly, and TOOTSIE was a bit of a mystery since it’s many years since I knew the nursery rhyme, even if I did know it anyway. 50 mins. Some nice clues, answers pleasant to get after being initially misled.

  28. 14:28

    Knowing the American singer who styles herself Soccer Mommy certainly helped with 14d, although the “producer” bit feels a bit flaky.

    There seemed to be an awful lot of lifting and separating needed, but that’s one of the devices I like in a puzzle. Examples include record producer, glue ear, gem pedlar, beer belly.

    I didn’t know DISHDASHA or CALLANETICS but the wordplay was helpful.

  29. 35 minutes with a wrong MUM for 14d. Given the number of seasoned solvers who made the same error, I don’t think it was a clear clue. DISHDASHA and CALANETICS both unfamiliar. It was a long time before I entered CATCH because I thought the clue indicated a homophone. It was only when I saw what ‘squealer heading home’ indicated that I got TOOTSIE,giving me confidence to enter CATCH (my LOI).

  30. 25 mins. Fortunately was pretty sure that they don’t have Mums in America.
    Only vaguely heard of a DISHDASHA, needed all the help for that.

  31. 11:25, so apparently up my strasse. Agree that some things felt a bit loose, so perhaps I was lucky to be familiar with the concept of the SOCCER MOM, and feel pretty confident there was no British equivalent in the dictionary; also to have grown up when CALLANETICS was big and the best-selling video (yes, that long ago) was often somebody’s keep-fit routine. I’d only heard of DISHDASH without the A, but that wasn’t a stretch, so the main delay was waiting for the penny to drop on TOOTSIE, a memory which goes back even further than video recorders in the recesses of my mind. Welcome aboard, J+

  32. SOCCER MUM. Boo Hiss!! And that after spending 15 minutes coming up with TOOTSIE as the only word that fitted. £$%^*&^. 45:29 WOE. Welcome and thanks Jeremy.

  33. A very enjoyable 37 mins. Like many others, LOI and COD to Tootsie. Very clever. I don’t understand all the fuss about Soccer Mom – the clue clearly states “in America”, and neither of the constituent words or the complete phrase really exist in British English. I thought it was not only fair but a brilliant clue – sour grapes from those who screwed up I guess. 😬

    1. Apologies in advance if I have misunderstood, but if by ‘constituent words’ you are including SOCCER you are wrong. ‘Soccer’ is an English word derived from ‘Association Football’ which was for many decades dating back to the mid-19th century (and possibly still is) the official name of the sport.

  34. 33 mins. I thought fairly easy; only PACED and EBB held me up at all. I was fine with SOCCER MOM, because the America reference seemed clear enough – and ‘soccer mum’ isn’t a UK thing, but ‘soccer mom’ in the US certainly is.

  35. 17:53 – loved lots of this, except TOOTSIE! I got the reference to the nursery rhyme straight away, but I would never associate that word with it. Briefly flirted with TOENAIL…

  36. My take on the MOM/MUM debate is that this is simply of those clues where the surface reading is needed to make full sense of the wordplay. ‘Producer’ is not meant to stand in isolation, but rather “producer (who’s driving force behind Kids in America)”.

    I have gotten tripped up on many clues like this in the past where a bit of wordplay seemed utterly vague, only to zoom out and see that the surface reading is necessary for full context.

    That being said, the clue reads a bit like a “wanna-be” &lit.

    1. I don’t think that sort of clue is a thing. Semi-&Lits are a bit like this in that technically the definition (i.e. the bit that isn’t wordplay) is often a vague word (like ‘this’ for example) so you need the wordplay to make sense of it. But this clue is a standard [wordplay], [wordplay], [definition] clue. In that sort of clue the wordplay elements conventionally stand on their own.
      Again to be clear I don’t think this clue is really unfair: the definition is absolutely clear that an American usage is required so there’s no real excuse for putting in SOCCER MUM. But I do think it’s flawed because ‘producer’ just isn’t up to snuff as an indicator of MOM.

      1. Perhaps it isn’t an “official” clue type by whatever that metric is, but this type of thing comes up frequently: sometimes the wordplay doesn’t make sense without sense from the surface. (Same goes for the literal definition.)

        1. I’d be interested to see an example of this: I can’t remember one, other than in sem-&Lits, and I would normally notice (as I did today!)
          Incidentally it’s much more common for precisely the opposite to be the case – the setter tries to use a sense in the wordplay that is different to that in the surface reading for the purpose of misdirection!

      2. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
        The OED has “ 4. A quality, institution, place, etc., that produces, protects, nurtures, or sustains people, ideas, etc.”; Britannica, “a cause or origin of something”; Collins offers “a female or thing [!] that creates, nurtures, protects, etc, something”; and Dictionary.com in effect splits that definition into two to give, separately, “something that gives rise to something else; origin or source: Idleness is the mother of possibility.”

          1. Ha, right. But I don’t know if this qualifies as a “three-point dictionary turn.” The whole phrase is slang and clearly refers to the kids’ (female) “producer.”

  37. Another MUM here but also failed to write in TOOTSIE even though I had written it next to the clue, once I had all the checkers (couldn’t think how Dustin Hoffman’s film could be relevant). Have to admit now that it was quite clever.

  38. Well, grr, I was another soccer mum, which definitely exists (google it) and I thought this was the ToL. I knew soccer, having grown up in NZ, where football is something else, as it is also in the US. Poor clue IMHO. Otherwise a good xword. Thanks for the blog!

      1. Then you’re not using it properly. You have to click on “search only for ‘soccer mum’”. You’ll get wiktionary and nearly 5000 pics on gettyimages, for instance.

        1. You can find just about any combination of words you care to mention on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean they’re legitimate phrases for the purposes of the Times crossword. For that reason, Chambers, Collins, and Lexico are deemed reputable sources rather than, say, a site that anyone can edit or a bunch of stock photographers who use scatter-gun tagging in the hopes of getting their photos discovered.

  39. Yep. I’m another “Soccer Mum” and another who didn’t fully understand “Tootsie” until coming here. Those two aside, this seemed a bit easier than a typical Friday puzzle.

    1. ORGANIC can mean “processed without chemicals” so I don’t really know what you’re trying to say. It’s like saying the setter has never heard of cats if he uses PET to clue DOG.

      1. That is a cliched popular usage: one expects a little more precision from the Times.

        1. Whether it’s cliched popular usage or not it’s in the dictionary, and that’s as precise as The Times needs to be when it comes to crosswords.

          So your beef is not with the setter but with the dictionary publishers (not to mention The Soil Association, His Majesty The King, and others).

        2. Lots of words have both precise technical meanings and broader meanings in general use. They are linguistically equally valid and fair game for crossword setters.

  40. 43:05

    Had biffed a fair few but on reading the blog, enlightenment!

    Didn’t parse:
    CASSEROLE – got the ASS bit but forgot Anglican = CE; I was born RC for my sins
    TOOTSIE – from the T and O checkers, had written in TROTTER initially (Del Boy Trotter being a market trader and pigs (implied by squealer) have trotters)…. then I saw the light…. well, a third of it, squealer heading home must be from This Little Piggy…. but completely failed to twig that Beefeater and Market Trader were references to the same – clever, setter, very clever!
    ENGENDERS – forgot about ENS for spaces
    SOCCER MOM – from checkers, and understood that SOCCER sounds like ‘socker’ and that it should be an American MOM rather than MUM, but didn’t get the record producer bit until I read jackkt’s comment reminding one to lift and separate… again, hat tip to the setter.

    Took some time to work out CALLANETICS which I hadn’t heard of – eventually realised that name wasn’t part of the anagrist…

    NHO DISHDASHA either, but the parsing was kindly.

  41. 34:14. Another with MUM, but as Wiktionary.com lists it as a valid alternative to MOM, I’m claiming a win. TOOTSIE was clever, but apart from that it was a steady solve, without too much Fridayish drama. A sight easier than Wednesday’s.

  42. I’m another pink square for SOCCER MUM. I’ve lived in the US for decades, so no excuse. But a big unfair having it unchecked. Otherwise, no problems LOI TOOTSIE when I finally realized what the clue was about and stopped trying to put YEOMAN in.

  43. All correct in 42.30 with the exception of … you’ve guessed it, SOCCER MOM. I did consider both options, but in the end went for the British version MUM. I didn’t really get the clue, and reasoned that because I’d heard of a SOCCER DAD in this country (i.e. a father who shouts advice to his offspring from the touch line during a juvenile football game, often to the annoyance of other spectators), there may be such a thing as a SOCCER MUM.

  44. FAIL. Put in MUM without giving it sufficient thought (and don’t think it is clear anyway which is required, until you submit an answer). Put in TOOTSIE as the only word that fits but didn’t actually know a tootsie was a name for a toe, although the piggy reference was clearly about the rhyme.
    Otherwise all good in 35 minutes.
    Welcome aboard plusjeremy to the weekly team.

  45. The one arguably dodgy clue (yes I kept Mum as well) was more than made up for by so many goodies.
    It has certainly made a few commentators get a bit tetchy! Steady on chaps.
    The parsing of TOOTSIE was masterly, ie I couldn’t see it for anything.
    Thankyou and a great start Jeremy! It can only get harder….

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