Toughie No 1247 by Notabilis
Mean, Moody and Magnificent
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ****
We have a rare visit to Wednesday territory by one of my favourite setters, Notabilis. This is not that difficult but packed with clever and entertaining clues. When I first printed the grid I was on the lookout for a Nina but if there is one it’s eluded me.
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7a No oil painting needs fine pair of experts to grip hearts (4-4)
FACE-ACHE – I always thought that this slang term just meant a disagreeable or annoying person but the BRB confirms that it also means one who is ugly. Start with F(ine) then add a pair of experts with the second containing H(earts).
9a Disreputable bunch who’ll turn up (6)
SHOWER – double definition – a bunch of people deemed to be worthless or despicable (a term which became part of the catchphrase of the comedy actor Terry-Thomas) and someone appearing or turning up.
10a An affair absorbing Conservative in recess (6)
ALCOVE – an affair (1,4) containing the abbreviation for Conservative.
11a Towelling robes in the same place, left in a bad way (8)
TERRIBLY – a fabric used for towelling goes round (robes) an abbreviation meaning in the same place and L(eft).
12a British sailor’s hint of being in proper order? (7,7)
BRISTOL FASHION – this is a superb all-in-one clue. The phrase was used by British sailors as a standard of excellence, relating to the efficient way things were done in a West Country port. Start with B(ritish) and add an anagram (being in proper order) of SAILOR’S HINT OF.
15a Recessive feature of Lemuel’s in Lilliput, say (4)
ISLE – hidden (feature of) and reversed (recessive) in the clue.
17a Eclipse mostly loyal politician (5)
TRUMP – an adjective meaning loyal or staunch without its final letter followed by the usual elected politician.
19a Son with seaman making deck cleaner (4)
SWAB – string together three abbreviations – those for son, with and seaman.
20a Change opinions, hit with a pair of taps? (4,3,3,4)
BLOW HOT AND COLD – a hit followed by two taps.
23a To start penultimate section of Macbeth, for example, was worrying (8)
ACTIVATE – Macbeth has five main sections. We want the penultimate one (3,2) followed by a verb meaning was worrying or gnawed away.
25a Commercial rent out of control? (6)
ADRIFT – charade of a commercial and a rent or break.
27a Turned to the other side, lieutenant in mutiny (6)
REVOLT – reverse (turned) a preposition meaning to the other side and add the abbreviation for lieutenant.
28a A white lining for vest that’s irritating to wear (8)
RIESLING – the definition is cleverly disguised. The inside (lining) of vest goes into (has … to wear) a present participle meaning irritating or infuriating.
1d Savage half of African secret society line (4)
MAUL – half of the name of the secret society which caused Britain problems in Kenya in the 1950s is followed by L(ine).
2d Pertinent to vessels is shape of orbit when captured by planet (6)
VENOUS – the letter that has the shape of an orbit (sometimes – many orbits are elliptic) goes inside (captured by) one of the planets in the solar system.
3d Skilful Dutch earthenware’s not large (4)
DEFT – a kind of earthenware originally made at the Dutch city of the same name loses its L(arge).
4d Old Style goddess of rainbows, chief Egyptian deity (6)
OSIRIS – the abbreviation for Old Style (describing dates using the Julian calendar, as used in Britain up to September 1752) followed by the Greek goddess of the rainbow.
5d Intriguing images involving unusual toil (8)
POLITICS – the abbreviation for images contains an anagram (unusual) of TOIL.
6d City division set up grassed area, one ringed by lines about Brandenburg’s opening (6,4)
BERLIN WALL – a semi-all-in-one. A grassed area (where you may play your croquet!) and the Roman numeral for one are ringed by two L(ines). Now add a preposition meaning about or concerning and the opening letter of Brandenburg. Finally reverse it all (set up).
8d Codger grabbing the woman’s cigar (7)
CHEROOT – it must be all of a week since we last had this word – I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms! A codger (usually old) contains a female pronoun.
13d Rickety truck, bus and (Continental) car barely held together? (4,6)
RUST BUCKET – an anagram (rickety) of TRUCK and BUS is followed by a Continental word for and.
14d Sin of Devil-dealer giving up soul at the outset for start in life (5)
FAULT – the man who made a pact with the Devil in a play by Goethe with the first letter of S(oul) replaced (giving up) by the starting letter of L(ife).
16d Number 101 in my view, flipping moody image (8)
EMOTICON – string together the abbreviation for number, 101 in Roman numerals and a phrase (2,2) meaning in my view then reverse (flipping) it all. I do like ‘moody image’.
18d Slap concertina (7)
PANCAKE – double definition. A type of make-up (slap) especially one that’s used in the theatre and to collapse concertina-style (a building, for example).
21d Enthusiastic judge, judge waiving right for outdoorsy type (6)
HEARTY – we seem to have two definitions here, the first an adjective and the second a noun. We want two verbs to judge in court with the R(ight) dropped from the second one.
22d Form a solid mass in ringlets, perhaps, raising daughter (6)
CURDLE – start with an adjective meaning ‘in ringlets’ and elevate the D(aughter) a bit.
24d Last of five regular instalments of quartos for 100 cents (4)
EURO – the last letter of five followed by the even letters of quartos.
26d Playful king’s soulful music (4)
FUNK – an adjective meaning playful or providing enjoyment is followed by one of the abbreviations for king.
I liked 28a, 6d and 16d very much but my runaway favourite today is 12a. Let us know which one(s) you liked.