Toughie No 1378 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ***
I’m giving this three stars for difficulty with an optional additional one if I count the extra time I spent trying to parse 19d (and I’m still not sure that I fully understand it).
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.
7a Very reasonably, sonar’s on the blink in 10 (3,1,4)
FOR A SONG – an anagram (on the blink) of SONAR goes inside one of the meanings of 10a.
9a Oscar is tough at heart, but one of the best (6)
ARISTO – hidden at the heart of the first three words.
10a Notes separator causing worry (4)
FRET – double definition, the first being one of the ridges on the neck of a guitar, say, used by the player to fix the position of the fingers in order to produce the required notes.
11a Trouble for me plotting ‘The Crucible’ (7-3)
MELTING-POT – an anagram (trouble for) of ME PLOTTING.
12a Twin sons welcome credit for basic furniture (6)
STICKS – S(on) and S(on) with between them (welcome) an informal word for credit.
14a Old coin (English) stuck between points; trains … (8)
EDUCATES – an old gold or silver coin used in Europe and E(nglish) go between two cardinal points.
15a … jerkily moving, shoot back into station initially, then proceed (4-2)
STOP-GO – reverse (back) a verb to shoot something for dinner, say, and append it to the initial letter of station. After that we need a verb to proceed or travel. The answer normally describes an economic policy where demand is alternately restricted and stimulated.
17a T, maybe, sadly lamented -– not this setter! (6)
DENTAL – this is a noun, used in phonetics for a consonant produced by moving the tip of the tongue against the upper front teeth or gums. It’s an anagram (sadly) of LA(me)NTED without what the setter calls himself.
20a Crystal mainly negative about beginning to signal openness (8)
GLASNOST – drop the last letter (mainly) from what crystal is a superior type of, then add a negative indication containing the beginning letter of S(ignal).
22a Harbour hurt at article (6)
MARINA – charade of a verb to hurt or spoil, a preposition that can mean at and an indefinite article.
23a Litter scattered in charades (5,5)
SEDAN CHAIR – an anagram (scattered) of IN CHARADES.
24a Figure indicates economic collapse (4)
BUST – double definition, the first a figure or sculpture and the second what often alternates with ‘boom’.
25a ‘Grass‘ is fine for king in recovery (6)
FESCUE – start with a recovery or saving from danger and replace the single-letter abbreviation for king with the abbreviation for fine.
26a Exercise little — it can be boring (5,3)
DRILL BIT – bring together a training exercise and a small amount.
1d Note: bangers may incorporate sage from Greece (8)
SOCRATES – a note from tonic sol-fa followed by an informal word for bangers or old and dilapidated vehicles.
2d Plump around stomach? Just a bit. This might help (4)
FAST – an adjective meaning plump or well padded goes round just the first letter of stomach.
3d Every second, in echoes, a moon’s embodying creation (6)
COSMOS – every second letter in “echoes, a moon’s”.
4d Guy one has to heal, giving attention to extremities (8)
MANICURE – string together a guy or bloke, the Roman numeral for one and a verb to heal.
5d Sauron, maybe, who cracks the whip? (10)
RINGMASTER – double definition, the second the chap who cracks his whip in a circus ring. I did consult Google as to who Sauron might be but as soon as I saw the dreaded word Tolkien I stopped reading.
6d Galumphed and trampled in midst of Japanese garden (6)
STRODE – insert a verb meaning trampled or crushed between the central two letters of ‘Japanese garden’. Isn’t galumphed a wonderful word?
8d Proof of legality? Unfortunately it’s missing (6)
GALLEY – what we want here is a printing term for a trial impression (proof). It’s an anagram (unfortunately) of LEGAL(it)Y without the ‘it’.
13d One of 16 where husband for Penny is put in shade (10)
CROSSHATCH – start with an ill-natured person (a singular form of 16d) and replace the P(enny) with H(usband). I had this the other way round, i.e. I had ‘one of 16’ as the definition, until I was shown the error of my ways by the on-line site.
16d Bellyaches and coughs RE are suffering (8)
GROUCHES – an anagram (are suffering) of COUGHS RE.
18d Outfit for a beanpole showing talent? (4,4)
LONG SUIT – cryptically this could be an outfit for a beanpole or tall person. I knew what the answer means in a card-playing context but I didn’t know that it can also mean (thanks to the BRB) “a particular talent, good quality, or advantage that one has”.
19d Frontispiece, that’s read when spaced out, in maroon? (6)
STRAND – I’m not totally convinced that I’ve got this right but I think what we’re meant to do is space out frontispiece into 5,2,5 which gives us two further meanings (in the first and third words) of the answer. That would make the clue a triple definition. If you have a better explanation or can explain how the ‘is’ fits in do let me know.
21d Songs which will be written by Ed, reportedly (6)
LIEDER – these German songs sound like the editorial that an editor may write in his newspaper.
22d Sea roamer Clay’s home … (6)
MARLIN – charade of a type of clay used as a fertiliser and an adverb meaning at home. I’m not sure who the falsely-capitalised Clay is meant to be in the surface – perhaps this naval officer?
24d … trunk to deliver, we hear (4)
BOLE – this tree trunk sounds like a verb to deliver a cricket ball.
The clues I liked best today were 1d and 2d. Which ones impressed you?