Toughie No 1484 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Today is my son’s birthday, he is now a teenager. He has a new phone. Tomorrow I take him and his friends paint-balling (I’ll just take my kindle, thank you), so I will miss all of you going to the get-together in London – I hope you have loads of fun and good luck to all those entering the Times competition, CS?
Today proXimal gives us plenty of fun wordplay that makes for a most entertaining puzzle. It took me a while to parse 1a, 1d and 7d after the grid was full.
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1a Pass, possibly, due to expire soon (5-5)
SHORT-DATED: First word = not long, second word = put a time to. The answer could be interpreted as a cryptic clue for “pass” (by removing the last letter from a 5-letter word)
6a Quarterly, aeroplane in Essex takes off (4)
APES: Every fourth letter in “aeroplane in Essex”
9a Greek goddess to fail endlessly going after cunning European (7)
ARTEMIS: a 3-letter word for cunning or skill, the abbreviation for E(uropean) and at the end (going after) a 4-letter word meaning fail, or fail to hit without the last letter (endlessly)
10a Not unknown in Olympiad to struggle for qualification (7)
DIPLOMA: Anagram (to struggle) of OL(Y)MPIAD without the Y (not unknown)
12a Girl trapping big cat in den close to snare she’s loaded (13)
MILLIONAIRESS: Russian dolls. An unmarried girl, into which (trapping) we place a big cat who is king of the jungle that is already found inside its 4-letter den to which we have added the last letter of (close to) snare.
14a King getting amorous outside was exhausted (3,3)
RAN DRY: A 5-letter word for amorous or sexually excited goes around the Latin abbreviation for King
15a Lounge layout disheartened artisan (8)
RESTORER: A 4-letter verb meaning to lounge or relax plus a 5-letter word for layout or sequence from which the middle letter is omitted (disheartened)
17a Confess about team cheating (8)
SCREWING: 4-letter verb meaning confess or squeal goes about a word for team, on a boat for example.
19a Drink might become cold if rejected (6)
COGNAC: Split (3,2,1) when read backwards (if rejected), this drink “might become C(old)”
22a Curses to that swimming pool with couple of females bare (4,3,3,3)
BLOW THE LID OFF: Bare here is a verb, as in uncover or reveal. Split (4,3,4), the first part of the answer is what someone might say when they are cursing the swimming pool. This is followed by a couple of (2) abbreviations for F(emale).
24a Scores owned by revolutionary? On the contrary (7)
NOTCHES: On the contrary suggests not owned by revolutionary – i.e., “not ***’s”
25a Relief to get back into gear (7)
REDRESS: Double definition, gear being clothing.
26a Missing nothing, adds cleaning material to drains (4)
SAPS: Remove the “O” (missing nothing) from a verb meaning rubs with a bar of cleaning material
27a United, twice ignoring wingers in side, target nine to back (10)
INTEGRATED: A lurker (twice ignoring wingers), a backwards lurker (to back). Found in “side target nine”.
1d This brown dog barking could become so raged (4)
SEAR: Brown as in cooking. An anagram (barking) of the answer together with DOG would give SO RAGED
2d Writing found on arms after overturning a new seat (7)
OTTOMAN: The writing you might find on a crest of arms (or perhaps on a tattoo on your arms!) is reversed (after overturning) and followed by A N(ew).
3d Woman of strange power under acrobat’s control (7,6)
TUMBLER SWITCH: This controller for turning electricity on or off comes from a word for acrobat or gymnast, together with the ‘S, followed by a word for a sorceress
4d Gold and other metal found beneath South American city (6)
AUSTIN: The chemical symbol for gold, then another metal underneath the abbreviation for S(outh).
5d Risk death — drive up the wall (8)
ENDANGER: a 3-letter word for death or finish, and a 5-letter word for infuriate (drive up the wall)
7d With support around, I open up (7)
PIONEER: Place a 4-letter word for support or jetty around the number I. This took me ages to parse because I first thought the letters came from “I open”.
8d Bowled over by big hitter, son admitted to beginning fight (4-6)
STAR-STRUCK: Put the abbreviation for son inside (admitted to) a 5-letter word for beginning, followed by a 4-letter prison-slang word for fight
11d Nerd is troubled with 18 questions about procedure (6,2,5)
POINTS OF ORDER: Anagram (troubled) of NERD IS together with the letters in the answer to 18.
13d Image beneath skull generally frustrated doctor (10)
CROSSBONES: A 5-letter word for generally frustrated followed by a 5-letter nickname for doctor.
16d Fashionista not using an agent (2,6)
IN PERSON: A fashionista is a trendy someone, and if you are not using an agent you are acting by yourself.
18d Mounted low-grade brackets frequently for upper side of structure (7)
ROOFTOP: Reversal of a 4-letter word for low-grade or lacking surrounds (brackets) a 3-letter word meaning frequently
20d Groupie upset, party is least worthwhile (7)
NAFFEST: reversal of a 3-letter word for groupie or admirer, followed by a word for party or gathering
21d Hot skewer with starter removed under force (6)
FIERCE: A 6-letter verb meaning skewer has its first letter (starter) removed and is placed under the Physics symbol for F(orce)
23d Scratching so, drunk gets treated (4)
USED: A 6-letter word meaning drunk has “so” removed (scratching so)
Once I eventually parsed them, 1a and 1d became my favourites – which were yours?