Toughie No 1381 by Excalibur
Hints and tips by Toro
+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment ***
A nice puzzle in the Excalibur style. Apologies for a hurried review.
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 Not a prodigy and that's hardly unforeseen (2,6)
NO WONDER A phrase that could mean not a prodigy or nothing special.
6a Copper in case prepared to make charges (6)
ACCUSE Chemical symbol for copper inside an anagram of CASE.
9a Is surprised to find sharp points on both ends (6)
STARTS Sharp or acidic inside two compass points.
10a By which car was shut up in garage? (8)
SILENCER Cryptic definition of a muffler or device for 'shutting up' the engine noise of a vehicle.
11a Golf, according to Tiger Woods's child, is the open sesame (8)
PASSPORT How said child might refer to golf.
12a Pelt that's revealing? (6)
SHOWER A verb meaning to pelt (with rocks, say) that could be someone or something which reveals.
13a Why former nun still dresses like one? (5,2,5)
FORCE OF HABIT A form of inertia involving a pun on a nun's garb.
16a What you get from water pistol held by nasty brat?(6,6)
LITTLE SQUIRT A phrase for an unpleasant child that could mean a small blast of water.
19a Pesters to form groups (6)
BESETS To form or constitute, plus a word for groups.
21a Conversion of a flat back into building (8)
ADAPTION The A from the clue, a flat or other small dwelling reversed (back), and an anagram (building) of INTO.
23a Spotted almost four weeks after, somewhere in Italy (8)
PIEDMONT A word for spotted (to my mind it means black and white, not necessarily spotted) plus a period of four weeks (or so) minus the last letter (almost).
24a Still miss one (6)
SINGLE A word meaning solitary or one, as a woman who is not yet married (still a miss) would once automatically have been thought of.
25a You are silly, retiring shamefaced (6)
READER Anagram (silly) of ARE, plus a word for shamefaced, reversed (retiring).
26a Walking with great wobbling, carrying racket (8)
TREADING Anagram (wobbling) of GREAT around a racket or noise.
2d For cost, provide better return than other hens (6)
OUTLAY The solution suggests a verb meaning 'to yield more eggs than'.
3d Bugbears, creating havoc in rose garden, for a start (5)
OGRES Anagram (creating havoc in) ROSE G(arden).
4d Daughter is taking lessons in conversation (9)
DISCOURSE D(aughter) plus IS plus a word for a series of lessons.
5d Setter romping, trapping ball, gets award (7)
ROSETTE Anagram (romping) of SETTER around the ball-shaped letter of the alphabet.
6d Book finally almost complete (5)
ATLAS A (2,4) phrase meaning finally, minus the last letter (almost complete).
7d Can't round on child -- not I, nor you, one hears (9)
CONSONANT CAN'T around ON and a child.
8d Reform, wicked woman! (3-5)
SHE-DEVIL Split (4,4), this could be an exhortation to such a woman to mend her wicked ways.
13d Washed out the 'a' coming in 'brainless' (3-6)
FAT-HEADED THE A inside a word meaning washed out.
14d Awfully fierce animal's gobbled food (9)
FRICASSEE An animal inside an anagram (awfully) of FIERCE.
15d Having large one. Week is disastrous. Yours, too? (8)
LIKEWISE Anagram (disastrous) of L(arge), the Roman numeral one, and WEEK IS.
17d A pair of braces -- some like a string one? (7)
QUARTET Two twosomes (a pair of braces) make a foursome, in this case a musical one.
18d After being brought up, love dad? That's the stuff! (6)
POPLIN ...stuff as in fabric. Love or zero, plus word for dad, all reversed (brought up).
20d Turn upside down to clean (5)
SCOUR A verb meaning to scrub can also be used figuratively to mean search thoroughly.
22d Got engine right on song (5)
TUNED I think this just a cryptic definition of a word meaning 'tweaked the performance of (an engine)' that is borrowed from music.
I enjoyed 8d and 15d among others but felt that several of the cryptic definitions were a little imprecise. I may of course have misread them!
Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.