Toughie No 1275 by Sparks
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Sparks for an entertaining puzzle quite fitting for a mid-week Toughie. There were several answers that were new to me (the Nobel Laureate, the beatnik, the Far-Eastern boat, the landlord and the stroke) but all of them were clued so well that they didn’t pose great problems.
There is a Nina and, unusually for me, I spotted it without any prompting. I’ve explained it at the bottom of the review so that those who haven’t already found it can search for it before scrolling down, if they wish. Suffice to say here that we now have a good idea where Sparks spent his Summer holidays!
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 Copper, perhaps, to follow soldiers in TV western (5,7)
TRACE ELEMENT – start with a verb to follow or track then put ordinary soldiers inside an abbreviated word for television which has to be reversed (western).
9a Hot-headed Einstein, say, having arrived before Nobel laureate (9)
ARRHENIUS – with the help of the checkers I worked out what the answer should be, looked it up on Google and, somewhat to my surprise, there he was. A person of brilliance, of which Einstein was an example, has the initial G replaced by H(ot) but before that we need the abbreviation for arrived.
10a Push end of finger into joint (5)
DRIVE – the last letter of finger goes inside a seedy joint.
11a Failing to keep record about crime (6)
LOSING – the official record of a voyage, for example, contains a crime or moral lapse.
12a Lewd game in Pinter novel (8)
PRURIENT – the abbreviation for a team sport goes inside an anagram (novel) of PINTER.
13a Blue rinse is, at first sight, obvious (6)
RIBALD – the first letters of Rinse Is followed by an adjective meaning stark or obvious.
15a Beatnik clutching old reference book cried (8)
BOOHOOED – an informal term for a beatnik or Bohemian contains O(ld). After that we need the abbreviation for the comprehensive reference work which in its last ‘dead tree’ edition required twenty volumes.
18a Fantastic sonnet cut by extremely nasty old poet (8)
TENNYSON – an anagram (fantastic) of SONNET with the outer letters of nasty inside it.
19a Puzzle jerk with proverb (6)
JIGSAW – charade of a verb to jerk or bob up and down and a proverb or adage.
21a Very loud poet is playing around on unfamiliar tracks (3-5)
OFF-PISTE – the musical abbreviation for very loud with an anagram (playing) of POET IS around it.
23a Noise made by Far-Eastern boat entering old city (6)
UPROAR – a type of boat in Malaysia and Indonesia goes inside the usual old Biblical city.
26a Tie in some races (5)
ASCOT – double definition, the second where horse-racing and ludicrous hats are to be seen.
27a Dish — note cook sees to it (9)
NOISETTES – start with N(ote) and follow with an anagram (cook) of SEES TO IT.
28a Quiet ways ended in turmoil after a fast start (3,9)
ASH WEDNESDAY – an exhortation to keep quiet is followed by an anagram (in turmoil) of WAYS ENDED. That all comes after A.
1d Craft raised skill on West Bank, mostly viewed from the south (7)
TRAWLER – reverse (raised) a word for creative skill, add W(est) then reverse (viewed from the south) a verb to bank or depend without its last letter (mostly).
2d Tapestry mounted in disarray (5)
ARRAS – hidden in reverse (mounted).
3d Missing introduction, discourage new friend forever (9)
ETERNALLY – string together a verb to discourage without its introductory letter, N(ew) and a friend or comrade.
4d Prostrate, face up (4)
LAID – reverse (up) a face.
5d Grow vegetable (8)
MUSHROOM – double definition. Some people don’t classify the second as a vegetable – I don’t care how they’re classified, I think they are delicious (wild ones, not the tasteless factory-grown ones) and I shall be scouring the fields for them in the next few weeks.
6d Primarily run into debt and navigate around rock bottom (5)
NADIR – the initial letters of five consecutive words, with a slight twist – you have to use them in reverse order (around).
7d Not all of Wings I spotted in New Orleans (8)
AILERONS – the letter I can be spotted inside an anagram (new) of ORLEANS.
8d Fused magazine’s front cover let out by its boss? (6)
MELTED – string together the first letter (front cover) of magazine, an anagram (out) of LET and the magazine’s boss.
14d VIP turning up whenever first-rate landlord appears (8)
BONIFACE – reverse a VIP or grandee and add a conjunction introducing a conditional clause (whenever) and an adjective meaning first-rate. This word for a landlord comes from the name of the innkeeper in The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar (1678–1707).
16d One repeatedly cutting tatty cheaper little rug? (9)
HAIRPIECE – insert I (one) twice into an anagram (tatty) of CHEAPER. This is the second use of cut as an insertion indicator.
17d One who can’t decide where to cross? (4-4)
DON’T-KNOW – gentle cryptic definition of someone who can’t, or won’t, tell the pollster where he or she intends to place a cross.
18d Trunk call reservation initially restricted by levy (6)
THORAX – a call to attract someone’s attention and the initial letter of reservation are contained inside a levy.
20d Lazy attempt to undermine Labour (7)
WORKSHY – an attempt or shot follows (to undermine, in a down clue) labour or toil.
22d Stroke, cut wildly, is making the boundary (5)
ICTUS – an anagram (wildly) of CUT with IS placed round it (making the boundary). The answer is a medical term for a stroke.
24d Crew possibly caught in boatyard, dropping the odds (5)
OCTAD – the single-letter cricket abbreviation for caught goes inside the even letters of boatyard.
25d Turn using unexpected good fortune, avoiding defeat (4)
WIND – start with a piece of unanticipated good fortune (often a sum of money that comes unexpectedly) and drop the 4-letter word for a defeat or overthrow.
My top clues today were 28a, 16d and 20d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.
The Nina is spread over three rows in the grid which contain three of the ‘sights’ of the island of Hoy in the Orkneys.