Toughie No 1330 by Elkamere
A Gaggle of Old Comedians
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Elkamere has given us a proper Toughie today packed with his usual sneakiness. I really enjoyed it but I wonder whether the inclusion of two comedy acts from about 25 years ago (who weren’t that well-known even in the UK) was really fair for expats and non-Brits solving the puzzle on the DT Puzzles website.
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 Free to start in 24, it ends in 2015 (14)
TRANSPORTATION – 2015 here means 20a/15a. It’s an anagram (free) of TO START IN and the answer to 24d.
10a 15 13 – stupid clue (9)
MINUSCULE – the word for the mathematical sign ‘-‘ followed by an anagram (stupid) of CLUE. I’ve reproduced the clue here as it appears in the paper – in the online version there are two ‘-‘ characters instead of one which confuses the issue.
11a Note it could be 1 millimetre (5)
MINIM – split the answer 1/2/1/1 and obey it to end up with the abbreviation for 1 millimetre.
12a Diamond-shaped crib, broken in short parts (7)
crib is being used twice here. The answer is an anagram (broken) of CRIB with what crib is an informal word for a word meaning ‘in’ (e.g. “I’m in to visitors”) without its last letter (short) getting inserted (parts). [Thanks to BD for sorting this out]
13a Not much is heartfelt till partly rejected (6)
LITTLE – hidden (partly) and backwards (rejected) in the clue.
15a Going topless all the same (4)
VERY – an adjective meaning all goes without its first letter.
17a Rab C’s little princess almost helped out (3,4,3)
DID ONE’S BIT – if Rab C (the Glaswegian character played by Gregor Fisher) had a daughter named after the Princess of Tyre in Greek mythology this would be her name (4,7) but we have to drop the last letter (almost).
18a Using best pipe to chase work-shy? Not quite (10)
OPTIMISING – a verb to pipe or warble follows the abbreviation for an artistic work and an adjective meaning shy without its last letter. The surface is not great.
20a In shop, they were all behind me, facing the wrong way (4)
DELI – if everyone lagged behind me then … (1,3). Reverse it.
22a Work is accepted by film’s number one fan (6)
EGOIST – a verb to work or function and IS go inside the usual Spielberg film.
23a Fine European soldier will hold on (7)
ELEGANT – E(uropean) and the usual soldier insect contain another word for the on side in cricket.
26a No right to make certain of result (5)
ENSUE – a verb to make certain of without the R(ight) gives us a verb to result.
27a Where to eat cheese, keeping protest short (9)
BRASSERIE – a French cheese contains a verb to protest or be insistent without its last letter.
28a In clink, anger of criminal being held to account (5,9)
FINAL RECKONING – an anagram (criminal) of IN CLINK ANGER OF.
2d One of The Management has to play a piece of music (5)
RONDO – The Management (also known as The Two Rons) were characters played by the comedians Hale and Pace in their TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. Follow one of their names with a verb to play or perform.
3d When to invade Newcastle area in battle (6)
NASEBY – this was a very significant battle in the English Civil War. Insert a conjunction meaning when into the area of England where Newcastle-upon-Tyne is found. Finish with a preposition that can mean ‘in’ (‘It looks lovely in moonlight’, for example).
4d Fattest man/woman admits desire to eat, but starter’s off (10)
PAUNCHIEST – I spent ages trying to parse this utilising a verb to eat a meal at midday – wrong! It’s a 3-letter forename which can apply to either a man or woman containing (thanks to the BRB for this) a slang term for an alcohol- or drug-induced craving for food without its starting letter. I’m not sure that this is entirely fair because the BRB says that this desire to eat is preceded by ‘The’.
5d One of two in a 25‘s study, say (4)
REED – this sounds like (say) a verb to study.
6d A monarch’s silk in fancy wardrobe (7)
ARMOIRE – string together A, a single-letter abbreviation for a king or queen and a silk fabric with a rippled effect.
7d As one being lit, perhaps? (9)
IGNITIBLE – a semi-all-in-one coming from the Roman numeral for one followed by an anagram (perhaps) of BEING LIT.
8d Where there’s little this might be unlucky (6,8)
NUMBER THIRTEEN – where might you find ‘little’ in the grid?
9d To get better life, move 21 out (7,7)
IMPROVE ONESELF – an anagram (out) of LIFE MOVE and the answer to 21d.
14d Return to normal pad? (6,4)
BOUNCE BACK – if you apply the second word of the answer to a synonym of the first you end up with pad.
16d Reason French guards pick up a killer (3-6)
RAT-POISON – the French word for reason contains a reversal (up) of a verb to pick or choose.
19d Right hand that isn’t spread across one’s diamonds (7)
MISDEAL – the definition here is somewhat Yoda-ish – it’s a hand of cards that’s not been distributed correctly. Put a spread or repast around the Roman numeral for one, the ‘S from the clue and D(iamonds).
21d A child or anyone else (6)
PERSON – a preposition meaning ‘a’ (as in ’50p a kilo’) followed by a male child.
24d A voting system, when standing (5)
APRON – standing here means the hard-surfaced place where planes are parked on an airfield. It’s a charade of A, a voting system much favoured by the LibDems and a preposition that can mean when.
25d Order that secures old musical instrument (4)
OBOE – an order commonly said to stand for Other Buggers’ Efforts contains O(ld).
I liked 20a and 7d but my favourite today was 22a. Let us know which one(s) earned your plaudits.