Toughie No 1311 by Petitjean
Even Homer Nods
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment **
I’m usually a big fan of Petitjean’s puzzles but I found this one a bit flat. There is a trademark music-related clue but not much of his usual quirkiness. Am I just being a Mr Grumps? – Do let me know.
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1a Conference is one that’s held over in outskirts of Warsaw (6)
POWWOW – the abbreviation for someone held (in Colditz, perhaps) is followed by the cricket abbreviation for an over inside the outer letters of Warsaw.
4a Reflector‘s red top (6)
MIRROR – double definition.
8a Against further ridicule about old Republican (8)
YUGOSLAV – string together a letter used to mean against (in a sports fixture), an adverb meaning further or additionally and a verb to ridicule or send up. Finally reverse the lot (about).
10a Top-less rock group putting on Slade’s glitter (6)
the first two words here appear to be doing double duty. Initially we have to remove the word “Top” from the name of an American rock band. Then the two remaining letters go inside (putting on) a small valley which is what a slade (with no capital) is [Thanks to pommers for that – please ignore the rest of my ramblings on this clue] an anagram (rock) of (s)LADE (topless). The only thing that tells us to re-use topless and rock appears to be the ‘S. I don’t like this much but I don’t have a better explanation – do you? Anyway, here’s a track by Slade that includes the answer in its title:
11a Hard to puncture enthusiastic expression, it’s clear (4)
GHEE – insert H(ard) in an enthusiastic expression.
12a Get better treatment needed for repeat cure (10)
RECUPERATE – an anagram (treatment needed for) of REPEAT CURE.
13a Smooth clue set: hollow-eyed and tight-lipped (5-7)
CLOSE-MOUTHED – an anagram (set) of SMOOTH CLUE followed by the outer letters (hollow) of eyed.
16a Waste of popular expertise (12)
INEFFICIENCY – charade of an adverb meaning popular or trendy and a word for expertise or competence. Not one of Petitjean’s better clues?
20a Mo runs at pace eventually that’s substandard (6-4)
SECOND-RATE – string together a short period of time (mo), the cricket abbreviation for runs, AT (from the clue) and the final letter of pace.
21a Buffoons regularly identify alien craft (4)
UFOS – craft, in the sense of vessel, is the same in the plural as in the singular. We need to extract regular letters from buffoons.
22a Dam antelope confronts male showing a lot of bottle (6)
MAGNUM – a female parent (dam) is followed by a large African antelope and M(ale). I was going to comment that ‘dam antelope’ didn’t make much sense but I see from the BRB that dam is an alternative spelling of damn.
23a Mending cables perhaps (8)
KNITTING – double definition, the first relating to the healing of a fractured bone, say. Cables are types of stitches.
24a Goody-goody with smutty illicit reproduction (6)
PIRACY – a charade of an informal adjective meaning goody-goody or holier-than-thou and an adjective meaning smutty or risqué.
25a Poem about husband’s hard-core outpouring of despair (2,4)
OH DEAR – a poem containing H(usband) followed by the core letters of hard.
1d Entry of pipe organ underpinning piano (8)
PLUGHOLE – an informal word for a bodily organ follows P(iano).
2d With half hour left note total (5)
WHOLE – build the answer from W(ith), half of the word hour, L(eft) and a musical note.
3d Barrel is round and filled now and then with strong drink (3,4)
OIL DRUM – the round letter precedes regular letters (now and then) from the word filled. Finally we need a tot of strong drink.
5d Not floundering or searching (2-5)
IN-DEPTH – searching here is an adjective meaning thorough (an investigation, for example). The answer, with space instead of hyphen, could also mean in the water but not flailing around in the shallows.
6d R for risky situation? (5,4)
RAZOR EDGE – the answer could be a cryptic clue for the letter R.
7d Quarrel a teeny bit — but get on (6)
RELATE – hidden (bit) in the clue.
9d After brief holiday, sulk and fume endlessly about acquiring a thermos (6,5)
VACUUM FLASK – start with the abbreviation for a holiday and follow this with an anagram (about) of SULK and FUM(e). Finally insert (acquiring) A. Should there not be some indication that Thermos is just one example of the answer?
14d Tycoon given black eye boxing … jump to draw conclusions (9)
SHIPOWNER – an informal word for a black eye contains (boxing) the concluding letters of three words in the clue.
15d He croons at sea in ship (8)
SCHOONER – an anagram (at sea) of HE CROONS.
17d Scholar with ambition to displace a rat found in a particular area (7)
ENDEMIC – start with a scholar (or teacher) in higher education and replace the A and the rat or rotter with an ambition or goal.
18d Nouveau riche approaching sheikh’s banks for value (7)
CHERISH – an anagram (nouveau) of RICHE followed by the outer letters (banks) of sheikh.
19d Escape city shrouded in mist (6)
DECAMP – the postal area of the City of London is contained in mist or moisture.
21d Free broadcasting service not the answer in short (5)
UNTIE – the affectionate nickname used for a UK broadcasting service without the single-letter abbreviation for answer.
The clue I liked best today was 1a. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.