Toughie No 1353 by Shamus
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BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment ***
Shamus, in his occasional capacity as Mr Ron, gave us an excellent back-pager this time last week, and this week sees him back in the Toughie seat. This puzzle was perhaps not quite as polished, but it was nonetheless enjoyable, and like his last Toughie contained clues on a wide spectrum of difficulty.
Do let us know how you got on and what you thought. First-time commenters welcome!
Definitions are underlined. 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 A learner succeeded expert in French region (6)
ALSACE A+L(earner)+S(ucceeded), then a word for expert.
4a Chained wild animal initially in farm (8)
HACIENDA An anagram (wild) of CHAINED, plus the first letter (initially) of A(nimal).
9a One in field grabbing large plant (6)
CLOVER A fielder in cricket goes round (grabbing) L(arge)
10a Reprimand graduate entering part in base for drink? (5,3)
PLACE MAT A verb meaning (when followed by into) to attack verbally or reprimand, plus the letters of a degree title, all going inside the two-leter abbreviation for part.
11a A male embodying unusually sour comic book creation (9)
SUPERHERO A in the sense of for each and the male personal pronoun, all going inside (embodying) an anagram (unusually) of SOUR.
13a Cultured man from a Scottish team back to front (5)
SAHIB A from the clue, then a Scottish football team, with the last letter moving to the front of the solution (back to front).
14a Top marks to do with record fish of unimpeachable quality (5,8)
ABOVE REPROACH The two top grades in an exam marking scale, a preposition meaning to do with or concerning, a vinyl record, and a fish.
17a Sound of plain foul tone I deployed to depart from norm (4,3,2,4)
STEP OUT OF LINE A homophone (sound of) a vast Eurasian plain followed by an anagram (deployed) FOUL TONE I.
21a Fine achievement on course standard (5)
EAGLE Two under par on a golf hole, and a word for a military standard (referring to the emblem it carries).
23a Revolutionary English head engaged in drive forward, exemplary type (4,5)
ROLE MODEL E(nglish) and a word for the crown of the head (especially when bald or shaven), all reversed (revolutionary) and put inside a word for drive or be driven forward, like a car.
24a Cheeky device to open absurd talk (8)
MALARKEY A word meaning of the cheek (which you may need to be a birder to know), and a device used to unlock a door, for example.
25a Leader of suspects of course in heist (6)
SNATCH S(uspects) plus a colloquial shortened version of a word meaning of course.
26a Go off in due time, and seen coming back (8)
DETONATE An acronym of a measure of when a train (say) is expected to arrive based on latest information, then a word for seen or remarked, all reversed (coming back).
27a Pandemonium from restricted night-time illumination? (6)
BEDLAM What you might use to read by before going to sleep, minus its last letter (restricted).
1d Retrieve information from entry (6)
ACCESS A verb meaning to retrieve records or other information is also a noun meaning entry or admission.
2d Place for exhibiting variety of cheap wools with centre removed (9)
SHOWPLACE An anagram (variety) of CHEAP and WO(o)OLS, after removing the central letter from the second word. (I only noticed on writing the explanation that part of the definition appears in the solution.)
3d Expression used when leaving meal, say, I love (7)
CHEERIO A word than can mean food or fare in old use, the I from the clue, and the letter denoted by love in customary crosswordese.
5d Awful role play, not half creatively challenged? On the contrary (3-8)
ALL-POWERFUL An anagram (creatively) of AWFUL ROLE PL(ay), where not half tells us to take only half of the word PLAY.
6d Cutter in a trap? (7)
INCISOR Cryptic definition of a cutting tooth, in which trap means mouth.
7d Echo, perhaps, from priest in fantastic hymn (5)
NYMPH P(riest) inside an anagram (fantastic) of HYMN.
8d Development of a hub, not a high-speed route (8)
AUTOBAHN An anagram (development) of A HUB NOT A.
12d Means to bail out from an elevated position? (7,4)
EJECTOR SEAT Cryptic definition of a mechanism for releasing a pilot from a plane with a parachute, the surface suggesting bail money for a person of high standing.
15d Cockney worker round financial district a lot turning garrulous (9)
ANECDOTAL A word for a worker or labourer, with the aitch dropped Cockney-style, goes round the postcode district of the City of London, and is followed by an anagram (turning) of A LOT.
16d Art in Versailles was in abundance, attracting veneration (8)
ESTEEMED The second person singular form of to be in French (equivalent to art as in thou art), and a word meaning abounded or was in abundance.
18d Go beyond schedule in aspects of cricket (7)
OVERRUN Two cricketing terms strung together.
19d Large quarters adopting small measure at front (7)
IMMENSE Three compass points (quarters) going round (adopting) (S)mall, and preceded by a unit of length or distance. (Hmmm...) [Edit: Others have read this as four quarters, with a small measure at the front -- they're probably right]
20d One-time poor performer in Northern town (6).
OLDHAM Former or one-time, plus a poor performer on stage.
22d Jacket, boring item with marks removed (5)
GILET A manual tool for boring holes in wood, minus M(arks).
9a, 8d and 22d, though not the most difficult, were my pick of the clues today. What about yours?
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