This puzzle was originally published Friday, September 4, 2009 in The Daily Telegraph
I found it difficult to find a starting point in today's puzzle; although, once I had solved a few clues, others began to fall into place. However, it took me forever to see the wordplay in 7d, the wordplay in 19a was not entirely clear to me and I eventually gave up on 23d.
Some possibly unfamiliar abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions used in today's puzzle
duck1 - noun 5 cricket a batsman's score of zero
East Coker - a village in Somerset, England and the title of a poem by T.S. Eliot
livery - adj. liverish (3. disagreeable; crabbed; melancholy: to have a liverish disposition)
pi2 - Brit slang adj a short form of pious (by extension, very good)
rocket1 - noun 4 Brit colloq a severe reprimand
rover - noun archaic a pirate
Sark - a small island in the English Channel, one of the Channel Islands
River Stour - any of several rivers in the UK
Gazza's review of today's puzzle may be found at Big Dave's Telegraph Crossword Blog [DT 26025].
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
19a Company deficit - one's dealt with huge figures (7)
The wordplay is CO (company) LOSS (deficit) I (one) and the definition is COLOSSI (huge figures). I have no idea how "dealt with" contributes to the clue - and Gazza offers no explanation.
23d Woman in English society, this person (6)
Having totally failed to recognize the appearance in this clue of Esme, perhaps I should add to Big Dave's well-known distaste for clues involving people's names, my distaste for solutions that are people's names. Although I have a dim recollection of having encountered this name at some point in the past, it is certainly not one that comes readily to mind. I threw in the towel not being able to decide whether the solution was ESSE or ESNE - with neither being correct, as I was to discover.
Signing off for today - Falcon
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