Toughie No 1440 by Notabilis
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Ha! By pure chance I just came across a week-old email from the Telegraph with a £50 amazon voucher for winning the Sunday Prize crossword – it was in my spam folder! Anyway it’s valid till February 2024 (8 and a half years?). Sure comes in handy, since the kids have been loading their Kindles before we leave for Parga (Greece) tomorrow. I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of sunshine, although the weather in Macclesfield doesn’t look too bad today. Todays puzzle I would suggest is ***/***, though there were three clues that I still had to parse once the grid was full (11a, 20a, and 9d). I notice the first line across is interesting and there is a connection between 7d, 14d and 16d – can you see other clues that fit the pattern?
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7a Tutor prepared scripture class for martyr (7)
TORTURE: Martyr here is a verb. Anagram (prepared) of TUTOR plus the abbreviation for R(eligious) E(ducation)
8a Church warning signal is hollow (7)
CHAMBER: The abbreviation for ch(urch) plus the traffic light colour than signals warning
10a Maybe floats over in French river are freezing out (9)
OSTRACISE: Reversal (over) of a word meaning floats (as in milk floats or carnival floats) inside (in) the name of a French river (tributary of the Seine). I am confused about the present continuous (plural) in the clue apparently translating to simple present (singular) in the answer, not sure if I am missing something.
11a Fact regularly buried in incomplete computer memory printout? (5)
DATUM: The even letters of fact (regularly) inside (buried in) a 4-letter word used for the transfer of memory content onto disk or paper, normally to help analyse a problem, without it’s final letter (incomplete). I first imagined fact was the definition, but since it is used in the word play, we must have an all-in-one, or an extended definition.
12a Sports car bringing 22 back in a flash (5)
GLINT: reversal of another word for the quantity described in 22d inside (bringing 22 back in) the 2-letter abbreviation associated with a sporty car version.
13a Separate sulphur in faintly glowing coal (9)
DISMEMBER: Place the chemical symbol for sulphur inside (in) a 3-letter adjective for faintly glowing (as in a lightbulb) plus a piece of coal that has been burning (and might well also be faintly glowing)
15a More orderly foreign gentlemen detained by judge? (7)
TRIMMER: the plural abbreviation for Messieurs (foreign gentlemen) goes inside a 5-letter word that would describe a judge (or someone who is attempting something)
17a Drain that’s essential to sniff at, I guess (7)
FATIGUE: Hidden (that’s essential to) sniff at I guess
18a Flanders battle site scattered Rouen dead (9)
OUDENARDE: An anagram (scattered) of ROUEN DEAD gives this place in Belgium which was the scene of a major battle in the War of the Spanish Succession fought on 11 July 1708.
20a Stop recalling short fashion (5)
FORGE: Take a 6-letter verb meaning to stop recalling, i.e., the opposite of remember, and remove the last letter (short)
21a Dogs and Man, say, one inferior, carrying tail forward (5)
ISLES: Dogs and Man are examples of this. Take the Roman numeral for one, then add a four-letter word mean inferior or smaller from which the last letter is moved to the front (carrying tail forward)
23a All-round experts brewing malty hops (9)
POLYMATHS: Anagram (brewing) of MALTY HOPS
24a Surround six within energy corporation in scandal (7)
ENVIRON: Place the Roman numeric notation for six inside a disgraced energy company
25a Spanish agreement, liberal and pretty clearly resounding (7)
SILVERY: Spanish for yes, plus the abbreviation for L(iberal), and a 4-letter word meaning pretty, as in extremely
1d Having excess embellishment in various colours holds installer up (10)
PRETTIFIED: A 4-letter word meaning in various colours (think of a piper from Hamelin) contains (holds) the reversal (up) of a person who installs (eg a kitchen)
2d Turn of Britain and NI to stand by oil exporter (6)
KUWAIT: Two-letter abbreviation of the country consisting of Britain and NI, reversed (turn of), plus a verb meaning to stand by in anticipation (or bring food to a table in a restaurant)
3d British monarch comprehending Irish quipster’s puzzle (8)
BEWILDER: Abbreviation for B(ritish) and the usual abbreviation for our queen, into which is inserted (comprehending) the name of a famous and much-quoted Irish playwright
4d Dismiss letter read out in fit of passion (6)
ACCESS: Homophone (read out) of a word meaning to fire or dismiss plus the nineteenth letter of the alphabet gives a word meaning a fit of illness or passion, but more usually means having the ability to enter or be admitted (eg to a building, or a computer account)
5d Socialist faction was already gone, outflanking Republican (4,4)
HARD LEFT: Two words (3,4) describing someone who has already gone, surrounding (outflanking) the abbreviation for R(epublican)
6d An objection to touch (4)
ABUT: The 1-letter indefinite article plus a word used as an objection
7d Suppressors of dissent for all that concocted plot to kill in US (7,6)
THOUGHT POLICE: A six letter word meaning for all that, or nevertheless, plus an anagram (concocted) of PLOT, plus a 3-letter word in US criminal slang meaning to kill.
9d Stopping upcoming prophet, a bit underhand, without compunction (13)
REMORSELESSLY: A 4-letter word for prophet or soothsayer is reversed (upcoming) and filled with (stopping) a 6-letter word meaning a bit, as in a bit of food perhaps, all followed by a 3-letter word for underhand or foxy
14d A show of reducing captive population’s surveillance? (3,7)
BIG BROTHER: A clever cryptic definition for one of the worst reality TV shows ever, unfortunately invented in Holland.
16d The cloth tax behind skimpy dresses (8)
MINISTRY: Take a word for very short dresses and follow it with (behind) a word meaning to tax (someone’s patience)
17d Most inadequate wages brought happiness (8)
FEEBLEST: A 3-letter word for wages or retainer, followed by a past participle meaning brought happiness
19d Feel sorry for doing wrong, being confined again? (6)
REPENT: This word can also be read as re-confined
20d Smoke-covered skin of brill or flounder (6)
FUMBLE: A 4-letter word for smoke surrounds (covered) the outer letters (skin) of brill
22d Left almost too much to be sold on (4)
LOVE: The abbreviation for L(eft) plus the first 3 letters (almost) of a 4-letter word meaning too much (or a series of balls in cricket)
Many nice clues, but the one that brought the biggest smile for me was 17a. How did you like the puzzle, and which were your favourite clues?