Toughie No 1426 by proXimal
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
I found the bottom half trickier than the top today, but it was all very enjoyable with some lovely bits of misdirection.
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 Bustier person admired in Gladstone’s historical romance (6-6)
BODICE-RIPPER – this is a charade of a woman’s garment like a bustier and a slang word (used in the city of Gladstone in Queensland, i.e. in Australia) for an admirable person. I got the answer here pretty quickly but spent time trying to find someone called Gladstone who wrote fiction of this genre. I did find two (Maggie and Eve) before the penny dropped that Gladstone here is not a surname but a place name identifying where the word for ‘person admired’ is used.
8a A place where we’d find captain’s contract (7)
ABRIDGE – A and where we’d expect to find a ship’s captain.
9a Appreciative comments for building feature (7)
CORNICE – split the answer 3,4 to get two separate expressions of appreciation.
11a Protractor left in boxlike container (7)
DRAWLER – this is someone who stretches out his words. Insert L(eft) in a boxlike container.
12a Mistreat leaderless gang — I’m disgusted to take part in that (5,2)
ROUGH UP – insert an expression of disgust in a gang or crowd without its leading letter.
13a Laurels in country turf separately turned over (5)
KUDOS – the abbreviation for a country (2) and a piece of turf (3) are separately reversed.
14a Tense situation in trial, be composed (4-5)
NAIL-BITER – an anagram (composed) of IN TRIAL BE.
16a Asked to accept everything about backing singer (9)
BALLADEER – a verb meaning asked or invited contains a word meaning everything. After that we need a preposition meaning about or concerning which is reversed (backing).
19a Drove south, close to concealed quarry (5)
SWARM – drove here is a noun meaning a herd or large number. S(outh) is followed by an adjective which tells you that you’re close to your target in ‘hide and seek’, for example.
21a Article about large extent of mount and moors (7)
ANCHORS – string together an indefinite article, an abbreviation meaning about or approximately and a mount without its final letter.
23a Continue to dig to reveal West Country settlement (7)
TAUNTON – split the answer 5,2 for a phrasal verb which could mean (if it were ever used) to carry on digging or provoking.
24a High density — how crags can be described (7)
DRUGGED – the abbreviation for density followed by an adjective meaning rough and uneven.
25a Inventor‘s container feeding pig with tongue (7)
BABBAGE – to get the surname of the inventor of the first mechanical computer we have to insert a container into the name of a talking piglet.
26a Bonn, perhaps, or thereabouts (6,6)
PRETTY NEARLY – bonny is an adjective meaning attractive or beautiful, so without its last letter it could be described cryptically as …
1d One serving British fleet virtually surrounding island (7)
BARMAID – B(ritish) followed by a fleet of warships without its last letter but containing I(sland).
2d Daughter with topless posers cheats (7)
DIDDLES – the abbreviation for daughter and posers or puzzles without the first letter.
3d Defender might make this play (9)
CLEARANCE – double definition, with the second meaning play or slack.
4d Content to scupper a certain competitive person (5)
RACER – hidden.
5d Forward book bearing ‘URGENT’, saving man bother (7)
PERTURB – an adjective meaning forward or cheeky and B(ook) containing ‘urgent’ save for the man.
6d Descriptive term from English article penned in bed (7)
EPITHET – start with E(nglish) and then insert (penned) a definite article into an informal word for a bed.
7d Naked drunk with very bad hairy feature (7,5)
VANDYKE BEARD – an anagram (drunk) of NAKED with VERY BAD.
10d Former wife edges around new one that’s adventurous (12)
EXPERIMENTER – the usual former wife is followed by edges or a boundary containing N(ew).
15d Impatient bishop entering couple on register (9)
IRRITABLE – the abbreviation for the title of a bishop goes aside a couple in Roman numerals and that’s followed by a register or systematic arrangement of facts or figures.
17d Need to drop King and two Queens for finish (7)
LACQUER – a word for need or deficiency loses its K(ing). After that we have two Queens, the first an abbreviation and the second a regnal cipher.
18d In the midst of uneasiness, gulping a short time (7)
AMONGST – a word for uneasiness or worry contains an abbreviation meaning a short time.
19d Rest spades on wood (7)
SLUMBER – the abbreviation used in card games for spades is followed by a word meaning wood or timber.
20d Financial man really has two pounds to exchange for rand or rupees (7)
ACTUARY – start with an adverb meaning really or in point of fact and swap both instances of the abbreviation for a pound sterling with the single-letter abbreviation for rand or rupee(s).
22d Alas, poor Yorick, a decidedly Shakespearean line, primarily (5)
SADLY – I don’t remember having seen a construct like this before. We have to extract the primary letters of five words from the clue then make an anagram (poor) of them.
I liked 1a and 25a but my standout favourite was 26a. Which ones took your fancy?