Toughie No 1271 by Beam
Here’s Another Nice Mess
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ***
I thought that this was on the easyish side for a Beam puzzle and my only hold-ups were in the NW corner. The Queen appears to have gone walkabout but, that apart, all his usual characteristics are on show including a shortage of anagrams and several bits of amusing innuendo.
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7a Willing English before Lord’s in duck, practically (8)
DESIROUS – the straightforward parsing of this has E(nglish) preceding a 3-letter word for lord inside a verb to duck or plunge into water without its final letter (practically). However I can’t see how sir equates to lord so I wondered if we were meant to use a 4-letter word for lord with the final E moved to the front (English before) but that doesn’t really work either. I spent more time thinking about this clue than the rest of the puzzle put together and I’m not keen on it, not least because the cricket-related surface doesn’t mean anything.
9a Just Oliver eating last of gruel (6)
HARDLY – the surname of Oliver (not the gruel-eating orphan but the comic actor) contains the last letter of gruel.
10a Boil pan on top of stove (4)
SPOT – a pan follows the top letter of stove.
11a Going red I entertained, accepting part (10)
INGREDIENT – hidden (accepting) in the clue.
12a Scattered shot, rifle and weapon emptied (6)
STREWN – three words in the clue are gutted.
14a Eager bird flipped boyfriend head to toe (8)
ANIMATED – reverse (flipped) one of the spellings of a bird that can be taught to imitate human speech then add a boyfriend (or girlfriend) with the initial letter moved to the end.
15a Vulgarly cheap restaurant’s carrying hard ribs (6)
CHAFFS – vulgarly here means in the speech of common people so we want a slang term for a cheap restaurant or greasy spoon plus the ‘S. Finally we have to insert (carrying) the abbreviation for hard.
17a Little one‘s quiet, softly gripping apron (6)
SHRIMP – an exhortation to be quiet and the musical abbreviation for softly contain an apron or border.
20a Takes off small pieces with half-naked back (8)
UNSTRAPS – string together S(mall), a word for pieces or bits and the first half of an adjective meaning naked, then reverse it all.
22a Heavy vehicle hit side of road, missing tail-end (6)
TANKER – a charade of a verb to hit or beat and the side of the road without its final B.
23a Consort with fellow and bird in lift (10)
FRATERNISE – start with the abbreviation for a fellow then insert a seabird in a verb to lift.
24a Starts to criminally operate nefarious sting (4)
CONS – an all-in-one clue requiring us to use the starting letters of four words. The Pedants’ Club won’t like the wording of the clue!
25a Flush endless swirl in unfinished burst (6)
REDDEN – insert a swirl or circular movement without its final letter inside an adjective meaning burst or torn, also without its final letter.
26a Insignificant affair on short voyage (8)
TRIFLING – an affair or sexual relationship follows a voyage without its last letter (short).
1d Dictatorial of the French head, revolting in charge (8)
DESPOTIC – string together the French for ‘of the’ (plural), the reversal (revolting) of a word meaning head or summit and the abbreviation for in charge.
2d Food fixed up with insides upset (4)
DIET – reverse (up) a verb meaning fixed or fastened and switch round the inner letters.
3d It’s unacceptable to hold single belief (6)
NOTION – unacceptable (3,2) with the Roman numeral for one or single inserted.
4d Ashamed, and second, rather humble? (8)
SHEEPISH – S(econd) followed by a cryptic description of an ‘umble Dickens character.
5d Pique irregular case with sex in short supply (10)
IRRITATION – the outer letters (case) of irregular are followed by a 2-letter informal word for sex inside a short supply or fixed allowance.
6d Drop exercise taking breather (6)
PLUNGE – the abbreviation for physical exercise contains (taking) one of our two breathers.
8d Glorious return of US soldiers nearly odds on (6)
SIGNAL – the reversal (return) of the abbreviation for US ordinary soldiers followed by the odd letters of nearly. I presume that ‘on’ here means ‘following’.
13d Care for former wife feeling cold, not tense (10)
EXACTITUDE – the definition means care in the sense of punctiliousness. The two-letter informal word for a former spouse is followed by a feeling or way of thinking with the first T(ense) replaced by C(old). Since there are three Ts in the word for feeling some indication of which one to replace would have helped.
16d Sweet female’s harangue suppressing anger, oddly (8)
FRAGRANT – F(emale) precedes a harangue containing the odd letters of anger.
18d Gasp keeping control, not one with child! (8)
PREGNANT – a verb to gasp or wheeze contains a verb to control or govern without the Roman numeral for one.
19d Pass is taken, involving support for goal (6)
ASSIST – hidden (involving) in the clue.
21d Stress seeing number’s up around end of war (6)
NERVES – reverse (up) a single-digit number around the end letter of war.
22d Subject of article poses wasting time (6)
THESIS – a definite article is followed by a verb meaning poses without (wasting) T(ime).
24d Inexperienced person, inexperienced person in bed (4)
COLT – the letter that signifies that someone is inexperienced goes inside a small bed.
My top clues today were 12a and 4d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.