Toughie No 1492 by Notabilis
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ****
Excellent puzzle from Notabilis today with crisp clueing and great surfaces. With X, Y & Z appearing in the first 3 solutions, I thought we were destined for a pangram, but Q is absent – instead, we have a Nina! Not too hard for the most part, but a few clues had me foxed for a while, pushing it into 4* difficulty for me. But someone else might not have the same difficulties, and I had previously promised not to let my own outliers affect the overall ranking so mainly, it’s a 3*. Ok, it’s 3*/4*, and definitely 4* for enjoyment.
It’s been a busy week – mid-term break, both kids’ birthdays with paintballing and aerial adventures (just a kindle for me, thank you), and a visit from my 29-yr old daughter from Holland. Halloween 50th birthday party for a friend at the Snowgoose tomorrow. An enjoyable sloggers-and-betters in York last Saturday: as a by-product of getting a lift home with Elkamere, a decision has been made – we will brave the open-Mic night again at the Snowgoose on Thursday Nov 5th.
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1a Whenever fire’s edging around, guy that’s gutted? (6)
EFFIGY: A timely all-in-one clue. Two-letter conjunction meaning whenever plus the first and last letters (edging) of fire, all reversed (around), followed by g(u)y with the central letter removed (gutted)
4a Chuck set joint out of whack (8)
JETTISON: Anagram (out of whack) of SET JOINT
9a Imitation recalled piece from Liszt as Requiem (6)
ERSATZ: lurking backwards in (recalled piece from) Liszt as Requiem
10a Died, not quite alive, having nothing in extinction (8)
OBLIVION: The whole clue acts beautifully as an extended definition. Two-letter Latin abbreviation for died, the central 3 letters of (not quite) alive, followed by “in” from the clue including the letter O (having nothing)
12a Irishman possibly linking Europe and Ulster, all about working together (2,6)
IN LEAGUE: Two-letter abbreviation for Europe and a two-letter abbreviation for Ulster, connected by a general word for a Celt (Irishman, possibly), all reversed (all about)
13a Ring church group and hide? (6)
OCELOT: Hide refers to a fur here. A charade of a letter that looks like a ring, an abbreviation for Church of England, and a word for group or large quantity
15a Perhaps has-been shows more than one side, dishonest one, in bustling Avebury (9,4)
AUXILIARY VERB: “Has-been” includes two examples of the answer. A Roman numeral that might represent a side or team plus a person who is dishonest in their stories, all embedded (in) an anagram of (bustling) AVEBURY.
18a Motion failed? If so, once disheartened, pare down computer department (3,4,4,2)
THE NOES HAVE IT: A 4-letter word for “if so” or “in that case”, “once” with the central letters removed (disheartened), a 5-letter verb for pare down (as one might one’s stubble) and a two-letter abbreviation for computer department gives this expression for no-voters having the majority
22a Junior reporter exemplifies medium’s fractured style (6)
CUBISM: a 3-letter word for a junior or inexperienced reporter, a 2-letter verb meaning exemplifies or has the quality mentioned, and the abbreviation for medium
24a Annoyed about United, one follows good tip (8)
GRATUITY: a 5-letter adjective for annoyed or grumpy surrounds (about) the abbreviation for United and the Roman numeral for the number 1, and all of this follows the abbreviation for g(ood).
26a Lacking heat, dish chilled with double energy saving? (8)
PLATONIC: Take a (5,2,3) phrase that could mean a chilled dish and twice (double) remove the abbreviation for e(nergy) to get a boring kind of love.
27a Nation misspelt as ‘Grease‘? (6)
ANOINT: Anagram (misspelt) of NATION
28a The authorities taking maid back in Aegean region (8)
THESSALY: A 4-letter pronoun for the authorities (as in **** oughta sort out the hospitals and fix the roads) into which is inserted the reversal of a young girl (taking maid back)
29a Odd loose stone that gives a bumpy ride (6)
DODGEM: anagram (loose) of ODD plus a word for a precious stone
1d ‘Sickening’ quote first person brought up (6)
EMETIC: Four-letter verb meaning quote plus a first-person pronoun, all reversed (brought up)
2d Broadside showing America badly in decline (9)
FUSILLADE: 2-letter abbreviation for America and a 3-letter word meaning badly or poorly, all inside a 4-letter verb meaning decline or slowly disappear gives a word meaning a simultaneous discharge of firearms, perhaps from all the guns on one side of a ship, or any barrage in general
3d What are grand with an afternoon meal and posh times? (7)
GATEAUX: To see “what” this all-in-one is referring to, take the abbreviation for g(rand), a 1-letter indefinite article (an), a meal you might have in the afternoon (in the UK), the abbreviation for posh or upper-class, and the arithmetic symbol meaning times.
5d What’s held by Continental banks? Euro’s first, pound sterling’s third (4)
ELBE: First letter of Euro, the abbreviation for pound in weight, and the third letter of sterling gives us the name of a German river
6d Tense your Bible uses involves understanding chapter (7)
TWITCHY: An old 3-letter version of “your” that the Bible uses, contains (involves) a 3-letter word for understanding or intelligence and the 1-letter abbreviation for c(hapter). I struggled with this for ages as I had latched on to a 2-letter abbreviation for chapter and spent ages trying to find evidence for a strange biblical 2-letter version of “your”. I couldn’t find the 1-letter abbreviation for chapter in brb or Collins [It’s there under caput in my BRB. BD].
7d Leave after second large drink (5)
SWILL: The abbreviation for second followed by a verb meaning to leave or bequeath
8d Cube cannot reform without any carbon in its cylindrical form (8)
NANOTUBE: Anagram of CUBE CANNOT without any occurrence of C (carbon). The “its” in the definition refers back to Carbon
11d Survive having had Revelations after all the rest? (7)
OUTLAST: A 3-letter word meaning in the open or no longer secret (having had revelations) and a 4-letter word meaning “after all the rest”
14d Complicated chart covers Arabian disorder (7)
CATARRH: Anagram of (complicated) CHART covers the abbreviation for Ar(abian)
16d Weaving for example keeps National Theatre triumph popular (9)
ENTWINING: The Latin abbreviation for “for example” includes (keeps) the abbreviation for National Theatre, a 3-letter verb or noun meaning triumph, and a 2-letter preposition meaning popular or current
17d Animals being bred on grass that’ll provide base for soup (8)
STOCK: A 5-letter word for farm animals and a 3-letter word for grass or dope
19d Outsize Asian capital’s wanting Liberal made of hard stuff (7)
OSSEOUS: Take the 2-letter abbreviation for a very large size, plus the capital of South Korea without the L (wanting Liberal) but remember to include the apostrophe ‘S
20d Take pieces from each container before fully closed (3,4)
EAT INTO: The 2-letter abbreviation for each, a 3-letter metal container, plus a 2-letter word that means fully closed (as with a door or window)
21d Method supporter going after extreme characters in screenplay (6)
SYSTEM: A supporter (of a plant or flower) goes after the first and last letters (extreme characters) of screenplay
23d Stop giving the audience an interval (5)
BRAKE: Stop as you might in a car sounds like (giving the audience) an interval or a rest
25d Essential to drop core temperature in bottle (4)
VIAL: A 5-letter word for essential dropping the central T (core Temperature)
Plenty to like in today’s puzzle. I ticked 1a, 10a, 15a, 27a, 28a, 5d and 21d, and I think my favourite is 28a, for inventive clueing and a good surface. Which are your favourites?