Toughie No 1405 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Toro
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BD Rating - Difficulty ** - Enjoyment *****
Four English novelists, an English philosopher, at least three saints, Oxford shoes (and academics), a cathedral city, a classical language and a Tribe of Israel. Yes, folks, it's the Don, who is all over the papers today on the occasion of his 70th birthday. (Mind you, there is a piece of multicultural English slang in there too!)
[EDIT: Not just all over the papers, but all over this puzzle too -- look carefully!]
Happy birthday, Don Manley, and thank you for a characteristically flawless puzzle pitched just at the right level for a Tuesday Toughie.
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 Funny male involved with his pig primarily -- a bit of Wodehouse? (6)
PELHAM ...one of Wodehouse's forenames. Anagram (funny) of MALE and H(is) P(ig). The surface cleverly alludes to Lord Emsworth, a recurring character in the Blandings stories, who is above all devoted to his pig.
5a Fast-moving to catch evil drug supplier (8)
PHARMACY Fast-moving (as of a novel, say) around a word for evil or mischief.
9a Sloppy dons in faculty not working properly (13)
DYSFUNCTIONAL Anagram (sloppy) of DONS IN FACULTY.
10a Letter that's the reverse of funny -- and piercing (8)
LANDLORD A word for funny or witty, in reverse, and 'pierced' by AND.
11a Dorothy? A philosopher among saints (6)
SAYERS Surname of a British philosopher (d.1989) inside the abbreviation for saints.
12a One will have let the French find out (6)
LESSEE 'Let' here must be read as a noun. One the definite articles in French plus a common word meaning find out.
14a Causes to divert sports official -- right little performances! (8)
REFRACTS A charade of a judge in a sports match, R(ight) and performances in a comedy night or variety show, say. (Rooney's little performance below annoyed me because it helped knock Preston out of the FA Cup!)
16a One to remove defences or ridicule protection, we hear (8)
DISARMER A relatively recent slang word for ridicule or offend plus a soundalike of protective wear.
19a Cordial Conservative given inadequate help (6)
CASSIS C(onservative) plus a word for help minus its last letter.
21a African city offers atmosphere in which old tribe can settle (6)
AGADIR A word for atmosphere or aura around one of the Tribes of Israel.
23a Big mammal placed on a vast continent reportedly (8)
CETACEAN A double soundalike of a word meaning placed and a now quaint pronunciation of the adjective meaning of the largest continent.
25a Meat dish that could do for a US VIP eater, OK? (5,2,6)
STEAK AU POIVRE Anagram (that could do for) A US VIP EATER OK.
26a Language of saint carrying a new and terrible risk (8)
SANSKRIT The abbreviation for saint around A N(ew) and an anagram (terrible) of RISK. (Solution below!)
27a Waifs bringing glimmers of sunshine to street (6)
STRAYS The abbreviation for street plus sunbeams.
2d Board action when BBC boss intercepts English celebrity (7)
ENDGAME The acronym of the head of the BBC inside E(nglish) and a word for a celebrity.
3d Orthodox Jew can prove who he is, it seems (5)
HASID Split (3,2), the solution reads like a phrase meaning can prove who he is.
4d Silence engulfing a superior part of Oxford? It's a gloomy place (9)
MAUSOLEUM A word for silence around A + crosswordese for superior + part of an Oxford or other shoe.
Your blogger (left) in August 1989, with a young Soviet woman, laying a wreath in front of the Georgi Dimitrov mausoleum in Sofia having been nominated to do so by the organisers of the 26th Summer Seminar in Bulgarian Studies. Communism ended a few months later and the mausoleum was abandoned, defaced and eventually bulldozed.
5d Fighter to choose love, from what we hear (7)
PICADOR Another double soundalike involving a word for choose and a verb meaning love.
6d Writer's or writer's writing son's out of order (5)
AMISS The surname of either of two English novelists who are father and son, with possessive 's,
7d Rich man goes by man suffering (9)
MONEYBAGS Anagram (suffering) of GOES BY MAN.
8d Copper came down, having caught pair who did the dirty deed? (7)
CULPRIT The chemical symbol for copper, then a word for came down or landed around the abbreviation for pair.
13d Sober quality of Thames-side town restricting daughter and son (9)
STAIDNESS A town within the M25, now officially styled as being "-upon-Thames" in reaction to its association with the fictional Ali G (pictured), goes round D(aughter) and is followed by S(on).
15d Joking and argumentative about source of energy (9)
FACETIOUS Argumentative or quarrelsome around E(nergy).
17d Nourishment provided by catering establishment (7)
INGESTA An obscure word but easily spotted inside CATERINGESTABLISHMENT.
18d Maybe convert ground and it can hold game (7)
RECRUIT Acronym of a sport in between the abbreviation for recreation ground and IT.
20d Favoured an exceptionally small city in a silly way (7)
INANELY A word for favoured + AN + one of England's small cathedral cities.
22d Soldier abandoning battalion finally to become gardener? (5)
RAKER An army private minus (battalio)N.
24d Explorer to get cold, say (5)
CAVER C(old) + say, state or declare.
He may be prone to 13d, but this Don is never sloppy, and the close attention to surface readings and use of double meanings in today's puzzle produced some particularly nice clues, such as 1a, 9a, 14a, 16a, 4d, 7d and 18d. It's worth re-reading them to appreciate just how thoughtfully crafted they are.
Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.