Toughie No 1370 by Shamus
Here’s Looking at You, Kid
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
I found most of this fairly straightforward and I would have given it ** for difficulty but then I was held up by my final clue 9d, a phrase I didn’t know, so it merited an extra *. I did enjoy it so many thanks to Shamus.
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 Dish cooked best for e.g. a number no longer available (4,10)
BEEF STROGANOFF – an anagram (cooked) of BEST FOR E.G. is followed by A, the single-letter abbreviation for number and an adverb meaning no longer available or no longer on the menu.
10a Fellows in fancy store vacated establishment avoiding traffic? (9)
OFFSTREET – put two F(ellows) inside an anagram (fancy) of STORE and add the outer (vacated) letters of establishment. Chambers prefers this word to be hyphenated.
11a Exalt architecture in part or section of church (5)
ALTAR – hidden (in part) in the clue.
12a Outline clubs playing matches abroad? (7)
CONTOUR – the abbreviation for the card suit clubs followed by ‘playing matches abroad’ (2,4).
13a Odd characters in home seen corruptly in tangle (6)
ENMESH – an anagram (corruptly) of H(o)M(e) and SEEN.
15a Florid or pretentious suits principally characterise them? (4)
FOPS – semi-all-in-one. Take the first letters (principally) of four words.
17a Scholar favoured master that’s developed standard (10)
MAINSTREAM – string together a scholar with an arts degree, an adjective meaning favoured or popular and an anagram (that’s developed) of MASTER.
18a Restaurant is going after collapse by southern lake (10)
ROTISSERIE – IS follows a verb to collapse or disintegrate. After that we need S(outhern) and a North American lake.
20a Arrogance first to last in ill-fated time (4)
IDES – start with a word for arrogance or airs and graces and move the first letter to the end to get an ill-fated time (for Julius Caesar, at least).
22a Trainee one after another addressed (6)
INTERN – split 2,4 this sounds like one after another.
23a Pride got worse showing off degree in selfish display (3-4)
EGO-TRIP – an anagram (worse) of PRI(d)E GOT with the abbreviation for degree being shown the door.
26a Tearful female returning home with award (5)
NIOBE – this lady was a princess in Greek mythology who was turned into a rock which appeared to weep continuously (due to the snow melting on it). Reverse an adverb meaning at home and add one of the awards which are handed out twice a year.
27a A paper kept by dish for nurse (4,5)
LOOK AFTER – the paper is not, as I originally thought, the sort kept in the first three letters of the answer. We have to insert A and the pink newspaper inside an informal word for a dish or attractive young lady.
28a Peer and lawyer gripped Left and Right by unknown passage in parliamentary item (5,3,6)
EARLY DAY MOTION – this is a procedure in the House of Commons – it’s a proposal by an MP for a debate on a specific topic on a day when the House finishes its business before the scheduled time. In reality these rarely get debated but are a means of gaining publicity for a cause. Start with a peer (one ranking above a viscount but below a marquess), then insert the abbreviation for a US lawyer between two mathematical unknowns and finish with a passage or movement.
2d Small spaniel finds boxes (5)
ELFIN – hidden (boxes) in the clue.
3d Work out depth of water (6)
FATHOM – double definition. This works out to be six feet.
4d Sound of Asian wave? It’s decisive (10)
TIEBREAKER – a charade of what sounds like a citizen of Bangkok, say, and a wave.
5d Meat the writer avoided in old hotel? It could be ruddy when minced (4)
OATH – ‘minced’, according to the BRB, can mean spoken affectedly. Take away the objective pronoun identifying the writer from meat and put what remains between O(ld) and the letter that Hotel represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
6d Foreign commander this month is opposed (7)
AGAINST – charade of a Turkish commander and the abbreviation used in business correspondence to mean the current month.
7d Where there’s a display of uniform diamonds undergoing recovery? (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND – this seems a bit weak and I may be missing something (I’m sure someone will tell me if I am). Those serving in the armed services wear a uniform so where it’s displayed is … (2,3,3). Finish with the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds.
8d At present, initiate is taking in piano chiefly (3,3,4,4)
FOR THE MOST PART – start with a phrase meaning ‘at present’ (3,3,2) then add a verb to initiate containing the abbreviation for piano.
9d Indolence after working? (5,3,6)
DOLCE FAR NIENTE – this was my final answer and the reason that I’ve given the puzzle three stars for difficulty rather than two. With F_R in place for the middle word I assumed it would be ‘for’ but couldn’t get anywhere – then I realised that all the checking letters I had were in the first two words of the clue. So I played around fitting in the other letters and checking the BRB until I hit the jackpot. So, the clue is an all-in-one, the answer is an anagram (working) of INDOLENCE AFTER and it’s an Italian phrase meaning sweet doing-nothing or pleasant idleness.
14d Source of strength gone in Rome sadly (6-4)
ENGINE-ROOM – an anagram (sadly) of GONE IN ROME.
16d Biscuit, favoured thing with bridge players (5,4)
PETIT FOUR – string together an adjective meaning favoured or cherished, the pronoun used for a thing or inanimate object and bridge players (not North, East, etc., but the total number of people in the game).
19d Penitent about church in spells etc? (7)
SORCERY – an adjective meaning penitent or apologetic contains one of the usual abbreviations for church.
21d Slough’s put on pictures showing American actor (6)
BOGART – a slough or swamp followed by a generic word for pictures or paintings.
24d Liquor taken up, not soft, suggestive of past (5)
RETRO – reverse a dark beer without the musical abbreviation for soft.
25d Fold clipped in suit (4)
PLEA – this suit is a petition or entreaty (as in the phrase “press one’s suit” meaning to propose marriage). Drop the last letter (clipped) of a fold in cloth.
My top clues today were 12a and 27a. Which ones made you sit up?