Toughie No 1291 by proXimal
Getting Off at Haymarket
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to proXimal for an enjoyable puzzle and one with no obscure words. It took me longer than it should have to unravel a few bits of wordplay.
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1a Polish car with rag initially in neutral area (6,5)
BUFFER STATE – a verb to polish followed by a type of car with the initial letter of rag inserted.
10a Open conflict of 2 characters (5)
UNBAR – an anagram (conflict?) of the letters in the answer to 2d.
11a Trivial being duck, small bird in big city (9)
NONENTITY – a word meaning nothing (a duck in cricket) is followed by a small songbird inside the abbreviation for a big US city. It took me ages to sort out the wordplay because I originally assumed the city was the first and last letters.
12a Length cut back on edge to make key parts (9)
LINCHPINS – start with L(ength) and add a verb to cut or clip reversed (back) following (on) a verb to edge along slowly and tentatively.
14a Give confidence to don, having right to succeed master (6)
ASSURE – start with a verb to don or put on (a disguise, for example) and change the M(aster) to R(ight).
16a Container of mouth organ snags grand clothing (8)
HEADGEAR – the part of the human body that contains the mouth and a bodily organ contain (snags) G(rand).
18a Drug mostly employed in theatre (8)
WARFARIN – this anticoagulant drug is all except the final letter of a present participle meaning engaging in hostilities (this theatre being a scene of military action rather than surgery).
20a Ferrari’s entry, not fully developed (6)
ARISEN – hidden (not fully) in the clue.
23a One on bail prepared defence (5)
ALIBI – the Roman numeral for one follows (on) an anagram (prepared) of BAIL.
24a Passage about man getting cut — medic’s former province (9)
LANGUEDOC – a narrow passage or thoroughfare contains an informal word for a man without its final Y (getting cut). After that we have a common abbreviation for a medic.
26a Show frustration filling in manifest, making careless mistake (9)
OVERSIGHT – insert a verb meaning to give voice to frustration into an adjective meaning manifest or unconcealed.
27a Character in voice-to-text conversion of browser (5)
HEART – I think that this is just a homophone (voice-to-text conversion) of a male adult deer.
28a Theatre with instrumental piece in which cast performed (11)
REPRESENTED – the informal word for a type of theatre with a permanent company of actors is followed by the vibrating piece of a musical instrument inside which we have a verb meaning cast or directed.
2d SA city, no capital city (5)
URBAN – SA here is South Africa. Remove the capital letter of a city there. SA is an abbreviation for South Africa but not (as far as I can see) for South African, which is what is really needed here.
3d Hearts given access to returf ground to help forward (7)
FURTHER – the abbreviation (in card games) for hearts is inserted (given access to) in an anagram (ground) of RETURF.
4d Possibly the best new writer (6)
RANKIN – the best would be the top level (4,1) – add N(ew).
5d Metal container with good catches mounted (8)
TUNGSTEN – string together a large container for beer or wine, G(ood) and the reversal (mounted) of a verb meaning catches or captures.
6d Vessel, ship moving out east for a day (7)
TANKARD – start with a large commercial ship, change the E(ast) to A and add D(ay).
7d What could be devastating characteristic of charmer? (7,6)
NUCLEAR WEAPON – what’s at the centre or nucleus of chARMer?
8d Ill-prepared shopper is so unenthusiastic (8)
LISTLESS – a shopper without the essential aide-memoire could cryptically be this.
9d Southern yard and northern yard admitting persistent Italian is coincidence (13)
SYNCHRONICITY – we need abbreviations for southern, yard, northern and yard again with, between the last two (admitting) an adjective meaning persistent or incurable and the abbreviation for Italian vermouth.
15d Soldiers carrying on about racket game (8)
SARDINES – this children’s game comes from the abbreviation for our elite soldiers containing the preposition meaning about or concerning, which in turn contains a racket or loud noise.
17d One forcibly taking one beer after another, endlessly (8)
PILLAGER – put one fizzy beer after another with the first losing its final S (endlessly).
19d A paper under discussion (2,5)
AT ISSUE – split (1,6) this would be a paper.
21d Make coarse mat layer with ordinary inlay (7)
ROUGHEN – put together a mat and a female layer then insert (with … inlay) the abbreviation for ordinary.
22d Distinguished men on board listened to allies (6)
UNITES – the letter that’s used to mean distinguished or upper-class is followed by what sounds like (listened to) men on a chess board.
25d Ancient mariner‘s bird (5)
DRAKE – double definition, the ancient mariner being an Elizabethan sea captain and explorer.
My favourite clues today were 4d and 7d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.