Toughie No 1438 by Messinae
Only one beef today
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Messinae for a very pleasant puzzle with some good surface readings and several d’oh moments.
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1a Singer gives support for plain folk? (5-5)
GRASS-ROOTS – someone who sings (to the police, say) followed by a verb meaning gives support or cheers on.
6a Some colossal bones (4)
OSSA – hidden.
9a Cut leading sportsmen (7)
TOPSIDE – split the answer 3,4 to get a leading team.
10a Resolution to knock off to get train before new job (7)
RESKILL – the abbreviation for resolution is followed by a verb to knock (or bump) off.
12a Bemoan atheist’s appalling suffering likewise (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT – an anagram (appalling) of BEMOAN ATHEIST.
14a Continue being out of mind (6)
EXTEND – a prefix meaning ‘out of’ followed by a verb to mind or look after.
15a Model office worker departed (8)
TEMPLATE – charade of an office worker who may not stay long and an adjective meaning departed or deceased.
17a Tramline winds up here (8)
TERMINAL – this is a semi-all-in-one. It’s an anagram (winds up) of TRAMLINE.
19a Cram studying books when one’s left for university (6)
ENGLUT – this was my last one in and I definitely needed the checking letters. Start with the abbreviation for an academic subject (3,3) which involves a lot of reading, then replace the Roman numeral for one with U(niversity).
22a Singapore went crazy for Nick once (7,6)
NEWGATE PRISON – an anagram (crazy) of SINGAPORE WENT. Nick is falsely capitalised.
24a Audio unit‘s message requesting reply (7)
PHONEME – I’ve come across this word in a crossword before but I had to look it up to check what it means – it’s the smallest significant unit of sound in a language (not the same as a letter – for example f, ff and ph in English can all sound the same). Split the answer 5,2 to get a message requesting a reply.
25a Glower was worrying young baby (7)
NEONATE – glower here is something that glows, so it’s a type of light. Add a verb meaning was worrying or was gnawing at.
26a Steal recording (4)
TAKE – double definition, the second being an amount of film or music recorded in an uninterrupted episode.
27a What holds name in bad esteem unfortunately (10)
DEBASEMENT – another semi-all-in-one. An anagram (unfortunately) of BAD ESTEEM contains (holds) N(ame).
1d Draws bottle (4)
GUTS – double definition, the first has the meaning of draws as in ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’.
2d Settle with a large beer round river (7)
APPOINT – put a large glass of beer (1,4) around an Italian river.
3d Estimating pig to be about double (8,5)
SPITTING IMAGE – an anagram (to be about) of ESTIMATING PIG.
4d Cook maybe being more honest? (6)
OPENER – double definition. I know some people who won’t like this clue but it is appropriate for the first day of an Ashes Test Match. Cook is not only the England captain but he bats at the start of an innings.
5d Like Sikh from town beset by rowdy youngster once (8)
TURBANED – an adjective meaning ‘from town’ is contained inside a rowdy youngster from the 1950s.
7d Philosopher takes short drive round South Africa (7)
SPINOZA – the name of this 17th century Dutch philosopher is built from a short drive for pleasure, the round letter and the IVR code for South Africa.
8d Plots to get army surrounding them informally, number killed rising (10)
ALLOTMENTS – an army here is a multitude of insects. Put them round the reversal (rising) of an informal contraction of ‘them’ and a word for the number killed in a natural disaster, say.
11d A couple of streets round Essex town this person means to cross (8-5)
STEPPING-STONE – put two abbreviations for street round a market town in Essex (best known outside Essex for having a forest), then finish with the pronoun used in formal speech to mean this person or the person speaking.
13d Perhaps Smith can put on good snooker shot for the Crucible? (7-3)
MELTING-POT – string together the forename of the late comic actor Mr Smith, another word for can, G(ood) and a (normally successful) snooker shot. Crucible is falsely capitalised to mislead us into thinking of the venue in Sheffield where the World Snooker Championship is held each year.
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16d Yankee Doodle heartlessly played with absence of instruments (5,3)
NAKED EYE – an anagram (played) of YANKEE and the outer letters of D(oodl)E.
18d Wise one with hazard to shipping around gets support for boat’s propeller (7)
ROWLOCK – a creature deemed to be wise goes inside a hazard to shipping. The propeller here is what’s used to propel a rowing boat.
20d Bond‘s occupation including killing and gadgets primarily (7)
LINKAGE – a word for occupation or profession includes the primary letters from three words in the clue. Good, funny surface.
21d Brainboxes sought office in US protected by secret service (6)
CRANIA – a verb meaning sought office or stood as a candidate goes inside a US government agency or service that operates clandestinely. The clue implies that the verb meaning sought office relates to the US and Chambers does say it’s North American, but it’s certainly used here – perhaps it started over there and floated across the pond.
23d Let rip (4)
RENT – double definition, the first what someone purchasing a ‘buy to let’ property is intending to do.
There are some good clues here – I’d pick 10a, 17a, 13d and 20d as the best of them. Which one(s) took your fancy?