Toughie No 1489 by MynoT
Hints and tips by Toro
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
MynoT makes a rare but most welcome Tuesday appearance with a satisfying puzzle that tested and expanded my vocabulary.
Definitions are underlined. 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 Refrain from embracing European grandparent, for example (8)
FOREBEAR To refrain or show restraint, around E(uropean). (Not really ‘refrain from’.)
6a Set limits to Queen’s dances (6)
CAPERS To put a ceiling or upper limit on + the Queen’s, if written using her regnal initials.
9a Amazon area’s protected by maiden … (6)
VIRAGO A(rea) inside a constellation and star sign representing a maiden.
10a … one like this, perhaps, popular during loudly disturbed times (8)
FEMINIST Popular or fashionable inside the letter denoting loudly in music + anagram of TIMES.
11a American volume on alternative technology is primarily for intellectual elite (8)
LITERATI American spelling of a measure of volume + A(lternative) T(echnology) I(s).
12a Root for other fresh boxing unknown (6)
EXHORT Anagram of OTHER around a letter denoting an algebraic unknown. (In my book – not BRB as I don’t have a dictionary handy – the solution means to urge [someone to do something], not to root for [someone] or urge [someone on].)
13a Gismo that’s narrow stick on my appliance (12)
THINGUMMYJIG Narrow or slender + to stick or glue + MY + a device for guiding an object being worked with a tool.
16a Account of graduate female getting first for essay in medical journal (7,5)
BALANCE SHEET Letters after a graduate’s name, then a female + E(ssay), both inside a famous medical journal.
19a Learn to follow author’s thought (6)
PENSEE Literary word for an author + to learn or discover.
21a Engrossed with second ball found in a bit of garden (8)
ABSORBED S(econd) + a ball or sphere, inside A + a patch of garden where plants are grown.
23a Three notes have connected (8)
RELATIVE Three notes from the do-re-mi scale + shortened spoken form of have.
24a Desert that woman? Yes! (6)
RATHER To desert + pronoun meaning that woman.
25a European spirit for example lies in backing arts (6)
STREGA Latin abbreviation meaning for example inside ARTS reversed.
26a Murderer’s criminal objection (8)
DEMURRER Anagram of MURDERER.
2d Source of old gear at home (6)
ORIGIN O(ld) + a piece of equipment or gear + at home.
3d A Borgia returned not about to destroy (5)
ERASE One of the Borgia family from Renaissance times, reversed and with the letter meaning about or approximately deleted.
4d Bighead, say, going to Gulf state on international account (9)
EGOMANIAC Latin abbreviation meaning say or for example + a country in the Arabian Gulf + I(nternational) + AC(count).
5d Searching for grooving (7)
RIFLING Searching or ransacking, and the grooves inside the barrel that give a type of gun its name.
6d Search eastern valley (5)
COMBE To search thoroughly + E(astern).
7d Tea in cooking vessel variable at Indian village council (9)
PANCHAYAT A word for tea in-between a shallow cooking vessel and an algebraic variable + AT.
8d Hold back and wait in the face of bad weather (8)
RESTRAIN To wait or pause + a kind of bad weather.
13d Vehicle’s departed? One’s going to get express, clearly (9)
TRANSLATE A rail transport vehicle + S + departed or dead, then delete the Roman numeral one.
14d Frantic alerts given to mother in whirlpool (9)
MAELSTROM Familiar form for mother + anagram of ALERTS.
15d Frame traitor? (8)
CASEMENT A windowframe, and the surname of Sir Roger ________, human rights advocate and UK diplomat-turned-Irish revolutionary, hanged for treason in 1916.
17d Sow around wonder that grows in pools … (7)
SEAWEED To sow, around a word for wonder or amazement.
18d … go back and again sow, broadcast (6)
RECEDE Sounds like a verb meaning to sow again.
20d Heather‘s anger over accountant (5)
ERICA A word for anger or wrath, reversed, then an acronym for a qualified accountant.
22d One who makes estimates back to back? About time (5)
RATER A word for back or hind part, reversed, around T(ime).
15d, which rang only a distant bell, was my last in.
Loved 7d for cluing an obscure word fairly while conjuring a marvellous image. Others I liked a lot included 16a, 4d (I wonder which 4d he has in mind?) and 13d.
On the down side, there were a couple of imprecise synonyms that, if this were a rookie puzzle, I would guess were due to unthinking use of a thesaurus.
Over to you – please rate and comment on this puzzle below.