Toughie No 1233 by Elgar
Kipper Me Capstans!
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment *****
Tilsit is on his hols giving me a rare opportunity to tussle with Elgar – and a thoroughly enjoyable tussle it was. He’s possibly not yet back to full ‘Cloggie’ mode but this puzzle is chock full of wonderful penny drop moments.
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1a/26a Opportunity for all (but nothing for one retired) given to you by Bill King, financier (10,2,3,9)
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER – start with an opportunity or possibility then reverse (retired) FOR ALL first replacing the A (one) with what looks like nothing. Now (after taking a deep breath) add an old word for you, the mathematical symbol meaning ‘by’ or times, what North Americans call the bill in a restaurant (but not spelt the way they would) and an abbreviation for king.
8a Pluck possessed by nurse finally lacking bottle (7)
AMPULLA – a verb meaning to pluck goes inside a nursemaid without the final H (finally lacking).
9a ECB distracted in desire for Cambridgeshire town (7)
WISBECH – an anagram (distracted) of ECB inside a desire.
11a Take food fish to be stuffed in new arrangement (5-2)
SHAKE-UP – a dated verb to eat has a fish stuffed inside it.
12a Lilac band, say? One’s depressed about it (7)
SYRINGA – this is a lilac plant. A band or circle has SAY placed about it but the letter that can mean one (the same one referred to in 1a) is demoted (depressed) to the end. Depressed would probably be more meaningful in a down clue.
13a Another beer needed, evidently — and some wine! (5)
PINOT – if there’s nothing in your tall glass then you’re obviously in need of a refill.
14a Property viewed on sarcastic flier at Newmarket? (4,5)
GOOD START – what a horse getting out of the stalls at Newmarket races very quickly may be said to have made is a charade of property or chattels and an adjective meaning sarcastic or cutting.
16a Des, it could be, charged by constables wanting claim back (9)
REPOSSESS – in estate agents’ jargon what invariably goes with ‘des’ contains (charged by) constables or groups of citizens brought together to enforce the law.
19a Feeling of slight resentment, seeing this 30-0 scoreline (5)
PIQUE – double definition – the second (which I didn’t know, never having played this game) is the scoring of 30 points without response in a card game for two people.
21a Vigilant amateur breaking new ground (2,5)
ON GUARD – the abbreviation for amateur goes inside an anagram (new) of GROUND.
23a For Cambridge University, it’s difficult to accept limited change (7)
HARVARD – an adjective meaning difficult contains a verb to change without its final letter (limited).
24a Con out of Cup, maybe, having rand planted in players’ coach (7)
TRAINER – start with what a cup is an example of, take away the CON and insert R(and).
25a From back of menu, put in order still in fridge? (7)
UNEATEN – the final letter of menu followed by a verb to put in order.
26a See 1 Across
1d/17d Horatio of the high seas was patching up a junk (7,7)
CAPTAIN PUGWASH – this cartoon pirate (first name Horatio) is an anagram (junk) of WAS PATCHING UP A. The popular belief that the names of the characters in these programmes all had rude double meanings is, alas, totally untrue. For example the cabin boy was called Tom, not Roger.
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2d Trouble caused by numbers ten and eleven? Ten’s first to be dropped (7)
AILMENT – having discarded clues 10d and 11a and then the addresses of 1a/26a and his boss I finally got round to cricket. It’s a cryptic description of numbers 10 and 11 in the batting order with the first letter of T(en) dropped to the bottom.
3d Reported fraud, suffering: whine emitted? (9)
CHAMPAGNE – lots of homophones here. This is a type of what sounds like (emitted) whine and it’s a charade of homophones (reported) of a) a fraud or pretence and b) suffering or discomfort.
4d Detective show‘s obscene ending is replaced (5)
LEWIS – an adjective meaning obscene with IS replacing its end letter.
5d That’s inferior, being slightly unwell, missing out (2,5)
OF SORTS – as it stands the answer means inferior or not quite up to the mark in a slightly disparaging way (‘he was an actor ** *****’) but preceded by OUT it means slightly unwell.
6d/20d In 4, with 5 lined up — as single comic narrated about (3,3,1,7)
ONE AND A QUARTER – if you write down four as a number with five underlined up above it you have a vulgar fraction equivalent to the answer. A conjunction from Latin meaning as or in the capacity of has around it an adjective meaning single or sole and an anagram (comic) of NARRATED.
7d Old hat mostly covered versatile opener (5-7)
PASSE-PARTOUT – start with an adjective meaning old hat or no longer in fashion. If something is mostly covered then a bit of it is exposed so add a phrase (4,3) to this effect.
10d Have news viewed by many on Twitter that’s very sad (5-7)
HEART-RENDING – a charade of a verb to have news or be informed is followed by a term used by the Twitterati to mean popular or viewed by many.
15d Wet spots finally turning up in which you may stay drier with hood (9)
OASTHOUSE – wet and fertile spots in the desert with their last two letters reversed (finally turning up) contain (in which … may stay) an old word for you. Chambers gives the answer as two words rather than one.
17d See 1 Down
18d Abuse on tour of Northern Ireland turning to cheers for The Dubliners (7)
SLAINTE – a verb to abuse or criticise harshly contains (on tour of) the reversal of the abbreviation for Northern Ireland.
19d Normal rendezvous banning a European arriviste (7)
PARVENU – string together a word meaning normal or standard (especially on a golf course) and a rendezvous without one of the E(uropean)s.
20d See 6 Down
22d Party wealth cut by this man’s order (5)
DORIC – a festive party followed by another word for wealth with the final three letters (a contracted form of ‘this man has’) cut off.
It’s difficult to pick out individual clues but I’ll choose 2d, 4d and 5d as the ones I liked best. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.