Toughie 1113

Toughie No 1113 by Firefly

Ghosts and Demons

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

Not a lot of fire in this puzzle, just an occasional spark.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

1a    Recommendations about faith teaching need backing, in essence (6)
{SPIRIT} – some recommendations, perhaps about racehorses, around a two-letter abbreviation for Religious Instruction, all reversed – various alternative meanings of this answer provides the definitions for five other clues

4a    Regrettably Kenya’s borders are in a state (6)
{ALASKA} – a four-letter word meaning regrettably and the outer letters (borders) of KenyA give a US state

8a    He probed deeply — to cause upset with university (8)
{COUSTEAU} – the name of this French oceanographer is derived from an anagram (upset) of TO CAUSE followed by U(niversity)

10a    Artist enters accompanied by 1ac (6)
{WRAITH} – the usual artist inside (enters) a word meaning accompanied by

11a    Call  sheet? (4)
{PAGE} – two definitions – to call or summon and a sheet of paper

12a    So in Mensa I managed 1ac (10)
{ENTHUSIASM} – a word meaning so inside an anagram (managed) of MENSA I

13a    School serves up great dinner to knight (12)
{KINDERGARTEN} – an anagram (serves up) of GREAT DINNER preceded by K(night)

16a    Parlance of elderly nerd about right (7,5)
{ANCIENT GREEK} – this parlance or language is derived from an adjective meaning elderly followed by a nerd around R(ight)

20a    Speed of Scotsman hot copy (4,6)
{MACH NUMBER} – to get this measure of supersonic speed start with a name used for a Scotsman and follow it with H(ot) and a copy or edition

21a    Show up regularly on Lake 1ac (4)
{SOUL} – the odd letters (regularly) of ShOw Up followed by L(ake)

22a    Piece of echo-location equipment scaled down by volunteers (6)
{SONATA} – some echo-location equipment without its final letter (scaled down) followed by volunteer soldiers

23a    Prevailing record’s the same with international clubs (8)
{EPIDEMIC} – a 4-track vinyl record followed by the Latin for “the same”, I(nternational) and C(lubs)

24a    Moderate adjustment needed in repayment — any variable removed (6)
{TEMPER} – this verb meaning to moderate is an anagram (adjustment needed) of REP(AY)ME(N)T after dropping (removed) the assorted (variable) letters of ANY

25a    1ac has query about ‘No Entry’ hazard (6)
{WHISKY}- a query around a hazard without (no) its initial letter (entry)

Down

1d    Occasional slight lisp or a diction … (8)
{SPORADIC} – hidden (slight ??) inside the clue

2d    … problem can have boundless Aussies misconstrued (5)
{ISSUE} – an anagram (misconstrued) of (A)USSIE(S) without their outer letters (boundless)

3d    Worker put in fermented rice to make strong drink (3,4)
{ICE BEER} – a worker insect (but not the usual ant) inside an anagram (fermented) of RICE

5d    Utilize lay power, harassing our prevaricating political centres into action (7)
{LAWSUIT} – the middle letters (centres) of seven words in the clue

6d    Negotiators go out to deal for tradesman (9)
{STATIONER} – an anagram (to deal) of NE(GO)TIATORS after dropping (out) GO

7d    Expert playing sitar on pinnacle of temple (6)
{ARTIST} – an anagram (playing) of SITAR followed by the initial letter (pinnacle) of Temple

9d    International organisation’s chart about ethnic grouping’s vanished (11)
{UNTRACEABLE} – an international peacekeeping organisation and a chart around an ethnic grouping

14d    Mrs Behn’s good in dull film (9)
{DIAPHRAGM} – I had to read about Mrs Behn, a prolific dramatist of the English Restoration, to understand this clue – put her first name and G(ood) inside an adjective meaning dull

15d    City sure to organise cover (8)
{SECURITY} – an anagram (organise) of CITY SURE

17d    Top off occasion in Enclosure with 1ac (7)
{COURAGE} – drop (off) the initial letter (top) of an occasion or period of time and insert what remains inside an enclosure for an animal

18d    Sully‘s unopened lacquer on view next to last vestige of paint (7)
{TARNISH} – drop the initial letter (unopened) from a lacquer and place the rest after the final letter (last vestige) of paint – which is a roundabout way of saying replace the first letter of a lacquer with a T

19d    ‘Avant-garde‘ means unpopular? (3-3)
{WAY-OUT} – this adjective meaning avant-garde or innovative could also be what happens to something that is unpopular

21d    Channels announced for litigants (5)
{SUERS} – sounds like (announced) some drainage channels

Tilsit is away for a week in Wasdale, Cumbria but should be back next week.

13 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    2* Toughie difficulty (the backpager took me longer to solve). – nice mix of 1a’s. Thanks to FIrefly and BD.

    I had to look up Mrs Behn too – Given her birthplace, I probably ought to have heard of here before today http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    • Posted January 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      They always take me longer when I’m bored!

  2. Pegasus
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Very gentle offering for a Friday 5d probably the best on offer, thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. WhirredPLAY
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    You may know I’m not a fan of clues where general knowledge is required in order to solve a clue such as 14d. Why would the man on the Clapham Omnibus know who Mrs Behn is? Also any reason why Enclosure has a capital ‘E’ in 17d?

  4. Steve_the_beard
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I rather liked this, but found it harder than you good people seemed to! Defo four star…

    Surely the two-word answer to 19d is merely a synoym of “means” followed by another of “unpopular”?

    • Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes it does – in my defence I was losing the will to live by the time I got to that one!

  5. neveracrossword
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Rather easier than usual for a Friday. 3.5*/ 2.5* for me.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    We found this a delightful solve. Carol actually knew of Mrs Behn and her rather odd name so no problems with 14d. A bit harder than some we have had from this setter but we thought it was good fun. Liked 16a.
    Thanks Firefly and BD.

  7. Tstrummer
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Much easier than the back-pager, although I too had to look up Mrs Behn. Good fun throughout, 16a being my favourite. I got 5d (my last in) from the existing letters but thanks to BD for the explanation. 3* difficulty, 4* enjoyment for me

  8. Peter Fry
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I think your interpretation of 19 down is lacking:
    Means = way
    unpopular = out

    • Posted January 5, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Peter

      See comment #4 above!

  9. Charles Crawford
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on making some sense from many of these over-complicated if not ridiculous clues!

    • Posted January 5, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Charles