Toughie No 1506 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment **
I had a bit of a struggle with this one so no complaints from me that it’s not a real Toughie, but I thought that some of the surfaces (e.g. 21a and 4d) weren’t terribly smooth. It’s good to see ‘on’ in across clues being used correctly (i.e. A on B leads to BA) but there are no less than five uses of this construct here, which does seem a bit excessive.
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1a Soldiers reportedly capture Scotsman’s province overseas (12)
SASKATCHEWAN – string together the soldiers normally called part of our ‘special forces’, a homophone of a verb to capture and a Scottish male forename.
8a Secretly not shocked, base infiltrated by English close to midnight (2,3,2)
ON THE QT – an anagram (shocked) of NOT is followed by the two letters used for a base with E(nglish) inserted between them. Finish with the closing letter of midnight. Although there’s agreement that the last ‘word’ of the answer comes from the outer letters of quiet, nobody seems to know how this usage came about.
9a Two stage productions nearly a failure (2-5)
NO-HOPER – firstly a traditional Japanese drama then a musical production without its last letter (nearly).
11a Wearing pattern that’s appropriate (2,5)
IN ORDER – a preposition meaning wearing and a synonym of pattern or sequence.
12a One in church on seat of old poet (7)
HOMERIC – insert the Roman numeral for one in the abbreviation for a church or Christian denomination and append that to what seat means when applied to an aristocratic family.
13a Upright piano scratched from lever meeting resistance (5)
RISER – a verb to lever or wrench without the abbreviation for piano is followed by R(esistance).
14a Flash around cash for foreigner’s ambitious contract (5,4)
GRAND SLAM – an abbreviation meaning flash or smart goes round a South African’s cash.
16a Article on imperialist acquiring posh lover (9)
COURTESAN – an indefinite article follows the name of the Spanish imperialist who overthrew the Aztec empire and colonised what is now Mexico, with the letter used to mean posh inserted.
19a Layer on skirt of Angus for pasty (5)
ASHEN – a laying creature comes after the outer letters (skirt) of Angus. Skirt of Angus in the surface is presumably a cut of meat from an Aberdeen Angus cow.
21a Regularly ignored tapioca on a sheep’s tongue (7)
ARAMAIC – ignore regular letters from tapioca and append what’s left to A and a sheep. How much more tapioca can we stomach?
23a European set on a piercing to stud back (7)
LATVIAN – the abbreviation for a set or receiver follows A and that all goes inside (piercing) the reversal of a verb to stud or fix.
24a Vigour gives life to non-European revolutionary (7)
STAMINA – drop the E(uropean) from a verb meaning gives life to and reverse it.
25a Aged fellow on stand, not the last to relent (4,3)
EASE OFF – an alternative for ‘aged’ in a phrase such as ‘he was a man aged 42 years’ and the abbreviation for fellow come after a stand without its final L (not the last).
26a Follow street and go round the bend to keep hospital engagements (3-9)
GET-TOGETHERS – a verb meaning to follow or understand is followed by an anagram (round the bend) of STREET and GO containing the abbreviation for hospital.
1d Month after month one’s put up with Sweden’s programmes (7)
SITCOMS – the abbreviation of month, the abbreviation for one specific month, the Roman numeral for one and the ‘S are strung together and then reversed (put up). Add the IVR code for Sweden.
2d Source of message about learner driver’s fine (7)
SLENDER – the person from whom a message comes contains the usual learner driver.
3d Relate badly and upset extremely good confidants (5,4)
ALTER EGOS – an anagram (badly) of RELATE is followed by the reversal of an adverb meaning extremely and G(ood).
4d One’s sometimes pulled in to beach child’s play — I must be old (5)
CONCH – start with a word for child’s play or a doddle and replace the I with O(ld).
5d Missing one part, exhibit originally under sea brought to surface (7)
EXHUMED – the word exhibit without one and part is followed by the original letter of under and the abbreviated name of a sea.
6d With note for installation, alarm kit (7)
APPAREL – a verb meaning to alarm has a note from tonic sol-fa installed inside it.
7d Secretive types turned up gold, mostly testing in faults (12)
ROSICRUCIANS – these secretive types are members of a sort of secret society whose symbol is a rosy cross. Reverse the usual tincture of gold then insert an adjective meaning testing or pivotal without its final letter into faults or vices.
10d Composer‘s note in arrangement for harmonica — fortissimo (12)
RACHMANINOFF – insert an abbreviation for note into an anagram (arrangement for) of HARMONICA and finish with the musical abbreviation for fortissimo.
15d Countermand an admirer hugging large people (9)
ANNULMENT – countermand here is a noun, not a verb. String together AN and an informal word for an admirer or obsessive fan, then insert the abbreviation for large and a word for people.
17d Ignorant Frenchman’s one with sore over in A&E (7)
UNAWARE – start with a French word for ‘one’ then insert the reversal of an adjective meaning sore or chafed between A and E.
18d One supporting ruler‘s flowing garments in case of torrent (7)
TSARIST – flowing garments from Asia go inside the outer letters of torrent.
19d Player‘s heart is tested to some extent (7)
ARTISTE – today’s lurker.
20d Loathsome hot woolly is one stifling uniform (7)
HEINOUS – the abbreviation for hot followed by an anagram (woolly) of IS ONE containing the letter that uniform is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
22d Sound collective noun — origin of genealogists? (5)
CLANG – a collective noun (I had to look it up to find what creatures it’s a collection of – hyenas, apparently) followed by the original letter of genealogists. I thought that the collective noun for hyenas ought to be a giggle.
My choice of favourite today is 20d. Which one(s) appealed to you?