Toughie No 1259 by Sparks
Please, Ladies – No Hertrionics!
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Sparks for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I’ve bumped the difficulty rating up from three to four stars purely on account of the time I spent trying to come up with a better explanation for 16a.
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.
1a Section of social club volunteers basic food (8)
CIABATTA – stitch together part of the word social, a club or stick and the old abbreviation for our volunteer soldiers.
9a After sign of hesitation, girl carries right form of protection (8)
UMBRELLA – start with an expression of hesitation and add a girl’s name containing R(ight).
10a Pancetta regularly sliced in minutes (4)
ACTA – regular letters from pancetta give us a word for minutes or formal record.
11a Cleaner engine part having coils fixed by granddad? (8,4)
CARBOLIC SOAP – an abbreviation for the part of an internal combustion engine where air is mixed with fuel is followed by an anagram (fixed) of COILS and what granddad may be (but only if he’s over 65).
13a Agree to fare (3,5)
GET ALONG – double definition.
15a Bracket that’s dry, about to split (6)
TRIVET – dry, in the sense of abstaining, contains a verb to split. I only knew this word as a stand for supporting a pot or kettle but it’s also an iron bracket designed to hook on to the bars of a grate for a similar purpose.
16a Side that may follow on in old field? (4)
HAND – I’m not at all sure about this one. I think it’s a double definition with the second describing a farm**** following the oxen or horses ploughing a field in times past. If that’s right then the ‘on’ is probably only there to bolster the illusion that the clue is all about cricket. If you have any better suggestions then please let me know.
17a Stop cook hiding recipe (5)
BRAKE – a verb to cook in the oven contains R(ecipe).
18a Go from Italian city, but not Italian capital (4)
TURN – remove the capital letter of Italian from an Italian city.
20a Plunders arms (6)
RIFLES – double definition and old chestnut.
21a By any standard, a position of respect (4,4)
HALF MAST – cryptic definition of where a standard may be positioned to show respect.
23a Girlfriend left after drunk wrote concerning failure to communicate here? (5,2,5)
TOWER OF BABEL – an informal term of affection for a girlfriend and L(eft) follow an anagram (drunk) of WROTE and a preposition meaning concerning.
26a Right-hand man delaying appearance of first plan (4)
IDEA – this is the mirror image of Virgilius’s clue of 10 days ago ‘Assistant’s back to front idea (4)’. Today we have to move the first letter of a right-hand man to the end.
27a Comes across criminal intrusions on the inside (4,4)
RUNS INTO – an anagram (criminal) of the inner letters of [I]NTRUSION[S].
28a Relations literally return small good deed (8)
KINDNESS – a charade of relations, a literal interpretation of return (**** back) and S(mall).
2d Artist entered privately (2,6)
IN CAMERA – split the answer 2,4,2 for ‘artist entered’.
3d Livid, want to stop group having fight down under (5-3-4)
BLACK-AND-BLUE – insert (to stop) a verb to want or need into a musical group and finish with a slang term in Australia and New Zealand for a fight.
4d Twenty-four hours taking day off over in Scottish town (6)
THURSO – a day of the week without the DAY but with the cricketing abbreviation for over.
5d Uninitiated quota for developing US estate, maybe (4)
AUTO – an anagram (for developing) of [q]UOTA without its first letter (uninitiated) gives us the general term in the US for what an estate is a type of on this side of the pond.
6d Drink habit regularly needs to be reviewed (8)
ABSINTHE – an anagram (to be reviewed) of HABIT and the odd letters of needs.
7d In seconds, cook plucked pigeon for a savoury dish (4)
OLIO – pick out the second letters of four consecutive words in the clue.
8d Monk‘s spades placed in bucket (8)
RASPUTIN – the abbreviation for the card suit spades and a verb meaning placed go inside a verb meaning bucket or pour down.
12d Red toenails clashing with mini (5-7)
SAINT-EMILION – an anagram (clashing) of TOENAILS and MINI.
14d Charge husband after start of gunpowder plot (5)
GRAPH – a slang term (mainly North American) for a criminal charge and H(usband) follow the first letter of gunpowder.
16d Others hacked lines in PC account? (8)
HERSTORY – this is a (somewhat facetious) word for a study of the past from a feminine viewpoint. It’s an anagram (hacked) of OTHERS followed by the abbreviation for lines or tracks.
17d Idiot opening gifts reveals instruments (8)
BASSOONS – an idiot gets inserted (opening) in gifts or favours.
19d Uneasy order to work more? (8)
RESTLESS – if you’re ordered to work more then you have to … (4,4).
22d North African having minor alteration of a house (6)
LIBRAN – the house referred to is in the celestial sphere. Start with a native of a North African country and change just one letter.
24d Achieve nothing, being drunk (4)
WINO – a verb to achieve or acquire followed by the letter resembling nothing.
25d Retiring old boy certainly showing reserve (4)
BOOK – reverse the abbreviation for old boy and add the abbreviation meaning certainly or right!
Top clues for me today were 21a, 12d and 16d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.