Toughie No 1394 by Firefly
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
This is an enjoyable Toughie with a mini-theme relating to animals’ bits (no, not those bits).
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1a Party’s lost initially; it’s located in ‘Arrivals’ (8)
CAROUSEL – a noun or verb meaning party with drink and a lot of noise is followed by the initial letter of lost.
5a Flexible insert in ‘Independent’? On the contrary (6)
PLIANT – the abbreviation for independent goes inside a verb to insert (in the ground, for example).
9a Champ’s relation? Bow’s on the way to his home (8)
MUNCHKIN – charade of a verb to champ or chew and someone closely related. The (rain)bow’s seen on the way to the Emerald City.
10a Container, misdirected in Carolina, bypassing Arkansas (6)
OILCAN – remove the two-letter abbreviation for Arkansas from Carolina and make an anagram (misdirected) of what you have left.
12a Check feet also — toe and heel for starters (4-5)
DOG’S-TOOTH – this is a check pattern used in cloth. String together a slang word for feet, an adverb meaning also and the starting letters of toe and heel.
13a Despaired of simple conveyance (5)
MOPED – double definition.
14a Encoded instructions listened to in recess (4)
APSE – this sounds like a short word for programs.
16a Spring in California, with temperature warm at first, and a light breeze (4-3)
CAT’S-PAW – insert a mineral spring between a) the two-letter abbreviation for California with T(emperature) and b) the first letter of warm. I didn’t know this meaning of the answer but it’s there in the BRB as a nautical term meaning a light breeze forming ripples on the water’s surface.
19a Wasp on sorbet — look out and get back! (7)
SPONSOR – look out or select what’s hidden inside the first three words.
21a Allowed to remain in port (4)
LEFT – double definition.
24a Husband arrogating lead from eccentric shows bottle (5)
HOTTY – change the leading D of an adjective meaning eccentric to an H to get an informal term for a type of bottle.
25a Excitedly get out gateleg table; set up for game (9)
BAGATELLE – remove the jumbled (excitedly) letters of GET from (g)A(te)LEG TABLE and make an anagram (set up) of what remains.
27a Fury to last indefinitely? (6)
DRAGON – fury here is a violent, intimidating woman. Split the answer 4,2 for a phrasal verb meaning to last indefinitely.
28a Urgent step by National Trust (8)
STRIDENT – I wouldn’t have said that this adjective means urgent but Chambers disagrees with me. It’s a long, decisive step followed by the abbreviation for the National Trust.
29a Red-letter warning of disc overdue (1-5)
L-PLATE – split the answer 2,4 and you have disc overdue.
30a Interfere at peril; time to step back, offering carte blanche (4,4)
FREE REIN – withdraw T(ime) from IN(t)ERFERE and make an anagram (at peril?) of what remains.
1d Humour this setter, in costume of Buffalo Bill? (6)
COMEDY – a pronoun used by the setter goes inside (in costume of) the surname of Buffalo Bill.
2d Engineer’s heartlessly sacked for default (6)
RENEGE – drop the middle letters of ENG(in)EER and make an anagram (sacked, in the sense of plundered) of the rest.
3d Tuna cooking; hot in there? Lift the lid! (5)
UNHAT – an anagram (cooking) of TUNA has H(ot) inside. I thought that this was a made-up verb but (wrong again) it’s in the BRB.
4d Embodiment of mostly impressive feline energy (7)
EPITOME – string together an adjective meaning impressive or grand without its final letter (mostly), a male feline and E(nergy).
6d Theme foolishly I felt introduces aphorism on Italy (9)
LEITMOTIF – an anagram (foolishly) of I FELT contains a word, from French, meaning an aphorism or pithy saying and the IVR code for Italy.
7d Nearly every officer downs other people’s drinks (8)
ALCOPOPS – string together a word meaning every without its last letter, the abbreviation for the senior military officer in a unit and a verb meaning downs or shoots other people.
8d Moderate D to C, perhaps? (4,4)
TONE DOWN – I initially thought we were dealing with Roman numerals here, but this cryptic definition actually relates to music.
11d Conservative, this style (4)
CHIC – the abbreviation for Conservative followed by ‘this’ in Latin. Can anyone who was taught Latin at school forget the joys of declining ***, haec, hoc?
15d Hedge 16? (9)
PUSSYFOOT – cryptically this could be a 16a.
17d Lily headed up past snake house (8)
ASPHODEL – reverse (up) a verb meaning headed or came first after a small snake and the abbreviation for house.
18d Commercial patronage of sport lacking breadth but therein gaining following (8)
FOOTFALL – a round-ball sport losing the B(readth) but in its place gaining F(ollowing).
20d 3 investigate habit (4)
ROBE – start with a verb meaning investigate or scrutinise and apply the verb at 3d to it.
21d Fire-raiser‘s craft (7)
LIGHTER – double definition, the second a boat used to transfer goods from ship to shore and vice versa.
22d Rob split the Church (6)
FLEECE – a verb to split or scarper is followed by the abbreviation for the established church in England.
23d Did rabbit owner not moan, having regular losses? (4,2)
WENT ON – lose every other letter from three words in the clue.
26d Garbage thrown in tipper less quietly (5)
TRIPE – an anagram (thrown) of TI(p)PER minus one of the letters meaning quietly.
The clues I liked best were 12a, 29a and 23d. Which one(s) appealed to you?