Toughie No 1382 by proXimal
“I am not strange. I am just not normal.”
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
I thought that this was spot on for the level of difficulty for a Wednesday Toughie and I enjoyed solving it. There may, possibly, be a Nina in the grid – see hint for 6d.
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1a Snatcher with crew put time into con (12)
WEIGHTLIFTER – W(ith) is followed by the traditional number of oarsmen in a rowing crew. After that insert T(ime) into a long-term convict.
9a Maestro knocked back lush cold sandwiches, abandoning piano (9)
TOSCANINI – reverse a lush or toper and add C(old) and Italian-style sandwiches without the P(iano).
10a Toddler does this better after outsiders leave (5)
AMBLE – toddler here is not necessarily a young child but anyone who toddles or saunters. We have to remove the outside letters from a better (one who likes a flutter).
11a Being married in ill-will must become ultimately repellent (6)
ENTITY – start with a word for ill-will or antipathy and change the M(arried) into the ultimate letter of (repellen)T.
12a Around fine iron, seal gift (8)
OFFERING – put a type of seal or gasket (1-4) around F(ine) and the chemical symbol for iron.
13a Helping to squeeze uniform that’s really wet (6)
SLUICE – a helping (of pie or cake, say) goes round the letter that uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
15a Interjection of joy interrupting old master from island (8)
TAHITIAN – an interjection of joy goes inside a 16th century Italian painter.
18a Disorganised start to school fair opened by knight (8)
SLOVENLY – the starting letter of school is followed by an adjective meaning fair or good-looking which contains (opened by) the chess notation for knight.
19a Disclose revolutionary French article after work pressure (4,2)
OPEN UP – reverse one of the French indefinite articles after the usual abbreviation for an artistic work. Finally, add the abbreviation for pressure.
21a I slap leg wound, causing upset (8)
SPILLAGE – an anagram (wound, in the sense of meandered) of I SLAP LEG.
23a Swimmer’s opening letters of abuse thrown in water (6)
SUBSEA – the opening letter of swimmer is followed by an anagram (letters of … thrown) of ABUSE. The answer is an adjective used in the oil industry, for example, to describe offshore operations.
26a Busy boss, possibly? (5)
MANIC – split the answer 3,2 and it could describe a male boss.
27a Note height borne by tag on collar (9)
APPREHEND – a note from tonic sol-fa and H(eight) go inside a verb meaning to ‘tag on’.
28a Try avoiding a number gripped by clear primal urge (4,8)
HERD INSTINCT – a verb to try, as a judge, loses its A. Follow that with an adjective meaning clear or well-defined containing the single-letter abbreviation for number.
1d See weight condition when topless (7)
WITNESS – W(eight) is followed by a word for condition or physical trim without its leading letter.
2d Ready after hip implant (5)
INSET – an adjective meaning ready follows an adjective meaning hip or trendy.
3d Consider characteristic of Dali’s Agony of Love (9)
HEARTACHE – charade of a verb to consider or adjudge and an informal term for Dali’s most notable facial characteristic. Superb clue!
4d Left hand spread on a surface (4)
LAID – L(eft) and a (helping) hand.
5d Slight criticism when each son gives way to female deception (8)
FLIMFLAM – start with a charade of an adjective meaning slight or slender and an informal word for harsh criticism. Now replace each S(on) with F(emale).
6d Hail upset daughter on eastern bypass (5)
EVADE – reverse (upset) the Latin for hail (the greeting, not the little white balls) and add D(aughter) and E(astern). While we’re doing Latin translation I’ve noticed what may be a Nina (or may be a complete coincidence) in rows 6 and 8 of the grid where we have the Latin for welcome and what looks like a person’s nickname.
7d Double vision could result from rum used with such forgetfulness (8)
OBLIVION – what we have here is a compound, or composite, anagram. If you make an anagram (rum) of USED plus the answer you may end up with ‘double vision’. An easier way to get the answer is to remove the letters of ‘used’ from double vision and make an anagram of what you have left.
8d Going north, say, in European city to find another (6)
BERGEN – insert the reversal of ‘say’ in a Swiss city to make one which is indeed further north, in Norway.
14d Idealists cast out instruments with no love (8)
UTOPIANS – an anagram (cast) of OUT followed by musical instruments without the letter that looks like love or zero.
16d Fresh sandwiches lead to red rash (9)
IMPRUDENT – an adjective meaning fresh or lippy contains (sandwiches) the leading letter of red.
17d Dinosaurs go off with adult, after shaking T Rex died (3,5)
OLD GUARD – an anagram (off) of GO and ADUL(t) (after shaking off the T) followed by abbreviations for Rex and died.
18d Part of code for opening plant (6)
SESAME – double definition, the first being part of the magical phrase used to open the cave of treasures in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
20d Acclaim place to be above scrutiny (7)
PLAUDIT – the abbreviation for place (as a street name) precedes a scrutiny, usually one of a financial nature.
22d Philosopher to engage in conversation (5)
LOCKE – the surname of an English philosopher sounds like a verb to engage or fasten.
24d Gangster nearly covers back (5)
STERN – it’s noticeable how often there’s a hidden word to be found, as here, amongst the last few clues.
25d Drive second leg (4)
SPIN – I did so want this to be moon, but I couldn’t make that mean drive. The drive is actually what you may take the car out for – it’s S(econd) followed by an informal word for a person’s leg.
I liked 10a and 27a but the standout clue for me is 3d. Which ones ticked your boxes?