Toughie No 1480 by Sparks
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
This was nicely difficult without being fiendish, and I hope it will satisfy both those looking for a challenging Friday Toughie as well as those of us who want the puzzle to remain accessible to mere mortals. Sparks gives us some lovely disguised definitions, although there is a lot of single-letter and outer-letter manipulation. This is not my favourite grid, amounting to four mini-puzzles.
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1a Visitors’ centre covered in technicolour designs (7)
LOURDES: lurking in technicolour designs
5a Stuffed permit into fabric without getting caught (7)
REPLETE: A three-letter verb meaning permit or allow goes inside (into) a 5-letter wrinkled fabric from which the letter C has been removed (without getting caught)
9a It’s easy not to entertain wife in the main (2,5)
NO SWEAT: Not from the clue includes (to entertain) the abbreviation for W(ife) inside a 3-letter word for main
10a Good ending for dreadful action film (7)
COATING: The abbreviation for G(ood) comes after (ending for) an anagram (dreadful) of ACTION
11a Endlessly assured upset customers (5)
USERS: An anagram (upset) of (a)SSURE(d) without the first and last letters (endlessly)
12a Reduced time for news update after not getting paid (9)
ATTENUATE: The first five letters in the answer, split (2,3), indicate a time for a televised news broadcast, then add u(pd)ate (from the clue) without the abbreviation for paid. Seems to me the definition should be ‘Reduce”
13a Princess set to stop backing leaders of Eurovision Song Contest (7)
DISPUTE: The Princess of Wales, then a 3-letter verb meaning set or place goes inside (to stop) a reversal of the first letters of (backing leaders) Eurovision Song
14a Report of rapid expulsion announced in question? (7)
ATISHOO: Homophone of (announced) a (2,5) expression meaning “in question”
16a King near two such at the start? (7)
KNIGHTS: An all-in-one (the whole clue is the wordplay and the whole clue is the definition), where “such” is a reference to the answer. The abbreviation for King in cards or chess is followed by a 4-letter word meaning near and the first letters of (at the start) two such.
19a Bank invested in very good new cheese (7)
STILTON: A 4-letter word for bank or lean goes inside a 2-letter word that can mean very good (def 19 in brb), followed by the abbreviation for new
22a Free supplement about vice following exposure, note (9)
EXTRICATE: Place a 5-letter word meaning supplement or additional around (about) (v)ic(e) from the clue with its first and last letters removed (following exposure), all followed by a 2-letter musical note.
24a Accordingly regret going round capital of France (5)
EUROS: A 2-letter word for accordingly (the same word that was used for “very good” in 19a) is followed by a 3-letter verb meaning regret – then reverse the whole lot (going round)
25a Indian taking strike, adding single following entertaining play? (7)
PUNJABI: A three-letter word for strike or punch, with the letter that looks like one (single), all follows a three-letter word for an entertaining (or not) play on words.
26a Desire resistance to stop underground activity (7)
CRAVING: The abbreviation for R(esistance) goes inside (to stop) a pastime which involves underground exploration. “To stop” was also used in 13.
27a Infantile pop music’s introduction is included within movement (7)
DADAISM: What an infant might call their father (infantile pop), followed by the first letter of music (music’s introduction), with the insertion (included) of “is” from the clue.
28a Game animal with extremely leathery exterior (7)
LOTTERY: An aquatic mammal is surrounded by (with extremely) the first and last letters (exterior) of l(eather)y
1d Slow network underwritten by director getting cut off (7)
LANGUID: A network of the local area variety is followed (underwritten is a down clue) by a 5-letter word for director, as in someone who shows the way, with the last letter omitted (getting cut off).
2d Coats left in 11 — about time (7)
ULSTERS: The answer to 11 contains L(eft) + T(ime).
3d Race for lift adjoining public hotel somewhere near Mexico (4,5)
DEEP SOUTH: Reversal (for lift, in a down clue) of a 5-letter word for race, followed by a 3-letter word for public or published and the abbreviation for h(otel) gives a part of the USA that is closest to Mexico.
4d Set under tension, one’s going over the top of Everest (7)
SITUATE: a 4-letter adjective meaning “under tension” followed by the letter that looks like one together with the apostrophe ‘S, all reversed (going over), followed by the top of E(verest).
5d Dairy product is mostly full-flavoured, having too much fat in the middle (7)
RICOTTA: A 4-letter word meaning full-flavoured (normally because it is full of calories) without the last letter (mostly), followed by a three-letter abbreviation meaning too much and the central letter in fat.
6d Flat open country (5)
PLAIN: Double definition, with the whole clue as a third.
7d What may be on stone heap abandoned outside mine (7)
EPITAPH: An anagram (abandoned) of HEAP outside another word for a mine
8d Artist and composer missing a writer from Italy (2,5)
EL GRECO: English composer (Enigma Variations) without the letter a (missing a), plus a modern Italian writer (The Name of the Rose)
15d Migrant worker seen south of Italy with money about to be returned (9)
ITINERANT: Our 3-letter insect worker follows all of (seen south of, in a down clue) the abbreviation for I(taly), a 3-letter slang term for money, and the reversal (to be returned) of a 2-letter word for about or concerning.
16d Finally thank father in call for joint protection? (4-3)
KNEE-PAD: Start with the last letter in thank, and follow it by a 2-letter word for father inside a 4-letter verb meaning “call for” or require
17d Chanted, enthusiastic about Kelly (7)
INTONED: Split (4,3), the answer could mean enthusiastic about or interested in the first name of the revered Australian outlaw Mr Kelly
18d Unnamed substitute Man United initially rejected in ground (7)
STADIUM: A (5,2 or 5-2) phrase for substitute with all the letters N removed (nameless), followed by the reversed initials of Man United
19d Core elements of council estate misrepresented in print (7)
STENCIL: An anagram (misrepresented) of the central 7 letters in “council estate”
20d Dry up current source of nuclear energy, getting power generator (7)
TURBINE: The reversal (up, in a down clue) of a word meaning dry (as in Champagne), the physics symbol for electric current, and the first letters (source) of nuclear energy
21d Bouquet wrapping for grandma? Yes and no, after a fashion (7)
NOSEGAY: An anagram (after a fashion) of the first and last letters (wrapping) of G(randm)A + YES + NO
23d Starts to interrogate refugee, angling questions in a foreign language (5)
IRAQI: First letters (starts) of five words in the clue
My favourite was the lovely all-in-one 16a. Which were yours?