Toughie No 1410 by Shamus
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
This is an enjoyable puzzle which I’d have completed a bit faster if I hadn’t originally put in the wrong answer for 18a, which caused problems on the left-hand side. I’m extremely dubious about my thoughts on the definition of 8a so any better suggestions there would be welcome.
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1a Solid amount that woman’s pocketed as mentor (6,6)
FATHER FIGURE – an adjective meaning solid or thick (3) and an amount or number (6) with a feminine pronoun (that woman) inserted.
8a Only right to seize wife‘s property (5)
OWNER – an adjective meaning only or solitary and R(ight) contain W(ife). The only way I can explain how the answer matches the definition is if we take “‘s property” (has property?) as the definition, but I don’t like it and if it’s correct I would have expected a question mark at least. So I’m expecting someone out there to come up with a much better explanation!
9a Straightforward discipline under a don (9)
UNADORNED – an anagram (discipline) of UNDER A DON.
11a Agents in film location with backing of French in parts (9)
SEGMENTED – insert FBI agents (1-3) in a place on which filming takes place, then reverse ‘of’ in French.
12a Drive out European in old place (5)
EXPEL – the abbreviation for European goes inside a prefix meaning old and the abbreviation for place.
13a Prepare to attack invention during stay (3,2,4)
LIE IN WAIT – string together an invention or fabrication, a preposition meaning during and a verb to stay or hang around.
16a Mum needs energy to visit SA capital, missing nothing (5)
QUIET – insert E(nergy) in the capital of Ecuador but drop the letter that resembles nothing.
18a Not straight like some gardens? (5)
ASKEW – this was the cause of my problems on the LH side. Having got the K in place I confidently wrote in ‘raked’. When I couldn’t sort out either 7d or 14d I revisited this clue – it’s a preposition meaning like followed by the name of some botanical gardens in London.
19a Character after publicity finding elevated post? (3,6)
AIR LETTER – a character or symbol follows a word for publicity or exposure.
20a Inspire nationalism partly in woman (5)
IRENA – hidden (partly) in the clue.
22a A current do typical of noted statesman? (9)
PERICLEAN – string together a synonym for ‘a’ (as in ’50p a kilo’), the symbol for electric current and a verb to ‘do’ (like Mrs Mopp the charlady).
25a One dubbed in speech a rookie around Latin spot (9)
NIGHTCLUB – start with what sounds like (in speech) a man who’s had a sword tapped on his shoulder then add a rookie or young trainee containing L(atin).
26a Smears ex-PM in Liverpool with son (5)
BLURS – what the surname of an old Prime Minister sounds like in a Scouse accent is followed by S(on).
27a Military advisers refasten flag at sea (7,5)
GENERAL STAFF – an anagram (at sea) of REFASTEN FLAG.
1d Plant posh European’s put under marshy land (9)
FENUGREEK – the letter that means posh and a southern European follow a marshy area of land.
2d Short chapter selected shorn of trappings (5)
TERSE – hidden (shorn of trappings) in the clue.
3d Be joyful with former partner in the last month (5)
EXULT – the short word for a former partner is followed by the abbreviation of an adjective meaning in the last (preceding) month.
4d Criminal German lady, one revered in German article (9)
FRAUDSTER – start with a German married lady then insert the abbreviation for someone revered inside one of the German definite articles.
5d Bizarre bit once on Cumbrian river, we’re told (9)
GROTESQUE – this is a double homophone (we’re told) – what sounds like an old coin (bit once) worth four old pence is followed by a homophone of a river in Cumbria.
6d Construct hurriedly an approach (3-2)
RUN-UP – an approach prior to delivering the ball could also be (as 3,2) a phrasal verb meaning to make something quickly (using a sewing machine, say).
7d Old magistrate assigned place without sun for meeting (12)
CONSULTATION – charade of a magistrate in ancient Rome and an assigned place with the S(un) removed from the latter.
10d Sort ladies in ground being slow (12)
DILATORINESS – an anagram (ground) of SORT LADIES IN.
14d A Celt’s maybe emerging from this English city (9)
NEWCASTLE – this is a reverse anagram – split the answer (3,6) and obey it to get A CELT’S.
15d A place pal restored without accompaniment (1,8)
A CAPPELLA – an anagram (re-stored) of A PLACE PAL.
17d International fan carrying explosive that’s uncovered? (2,3,4)
IN THE BUFF – string together the 3-letter abbreviation for international and a fan or enthusiast and insert the 2-character abbreviation for an explosive.
21d Standard dog slipping lead (5)
EAGLE – a breed of dog without its first letter (slipping lead) is a military standard depicting this creature (especially one carried by a Roman legion). A new twist on an old chestnut.
23d Puzzle about transport for detective (5)
REBUS – there are two definitions here with some wordplay in the middle. A preposition meaning about or concerning is followed by a form of public transport.
24d Firm support for beer of Asian origin (5)
COBRA – charade of the abbreviation for a firm and crypticsue’s favourite support.
The clues I liked best were 22a and 14d but I have to give special mention to 26a which made me laugh. Which one(s) entertained you?