Toughie No 1510 by Firefly
Let them eat Cake
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
I thought that the down clues here were easier than the acrosses so those who always start with the downs had a bit of an advantage.
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.
8a/9a/10a Self-important — like the Sun, perhaps? (4,3,6)
HIGH AND MIGHTY – two attributes that could apply to the sun (the star that is, not the tabloid in spite of the false capitalisation).
9a See 8a
10a See 8a
11a Exercise clout about charities lacking resolution (3,3)
T’AI CHI – an anagram (clout about) of CHA[r]ITI[es] once you’ve subtracted the abbreviation for resolution.
12a Treasure — Henri nefariously stashes part to keep quiet (8)
ENSHRINE – a lurker with a twist. Once you’ve extracted the required letters you have to insert (keep) the usual exhortation to be quiet.
13a Drug in scales turning me cold; inform party person (7,8)
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT – insert the abbreviation for the drug ecstasy into the astrological sign meaning scales, add an anagram (turning) of ME COLD and finish with a verb to inform or sing.
15a Convert about to take up chair in Cambridge, perhaps? (7)
VARSITY – a verb to convert or adjust contains a verb to take up or occupy a chair.
17a Queen’s on second retreat — check? (7)
SNOOKER – our Queen’s regnal cipher follows the abbreviation for second and a retreat or hidey-hole.
20a Pole’s band put by standard retrospective fee for disputatious associate (8,7)
SPARRING PARTNER – this is a charade of a pole or bar, a band or disc, a standard or norm and the reversal of a fee or periodic payment. I like ‘disputatious associate’.
23a Choppers sometimes offered in exchange for benefit? (8) [3,5 in the paper]
EYETEETH – there’s a saying “I’d give my *** *****” for something – meaning that I’d put up with a lot of pain to get it. Chambers and other dictionaries have the answer as two words (3,5) so the enumeration in the paper is better.
25a Greyfriars Bob‘s new ball? (6)
CHERRY – this is a very neat clue. The surface is about Greyfriars Bobby, a very loyal little doggy with his own statue in Edinburgh. The two definitions relate to a) the surname of Bob, the classmate of Billy Bunter at the fictional Greyfriars school, and b) a slang term used in cricket for a brand new shiny red ball.
26a/27a/28a Inserting of false drops in last account (6,3,4)
PROFIT AND LOSS – insert OF into an anagram (false) of DROPS IN LAST. I don’t know what the surface means.
27a See 26a
28a See 26a
1d Festival‘s uplifting part of Hindi law, I daresay (6)
DIWALI – hidden and reversed in the clue.
2d They scrutinise those on board (8)
CHECKERS – double definition, the second what North Americans call the pieces in the board game that we call draughts.
3d Termination at extremes of extravagance ordained for her? (5,10)
MARIE ANTOINETTE – an anagram (ordained, i.e. ordered) of TERMINATION AT and the outer letters of E(xtravaganc)E.
4d Snake’s short and twisted appendages (7)
ADDENDA – a small snake without its last letter (short) is followed by an anagram (twisted) of AND.
5d America’s inspirational lady servants surprisingly traced going round a gambling haunt (9,6)
AMUSEMENT ARCADE – string together a single-letter abbreviation for America, an inspirational goddess, a word for servants and an anagram (surprisingly) of TRACED containing A.
6d Stove’s on … cereal shortly, and mushroom (6)
AGARIC – the proprietary name of a large stove is followed by a type of cereal without its last letter.
7d Blow potty over (4)
STUN – an old chestnut but amusingly worded. Reverse an adjective meaning potty or bonkers.
14d Catcher regularly dropped hotshot (3)
ACE – drop regular letters from catcher.
16d Reptile decapitated insect (3)
ASP – cut the top letter off a stinging insect.
18d Honestly inclined, in private (2,3,3)
ON THE SLY – an anagram (inclined, in the sense of deviated) of HONESTLY.
19d Loaf topped with protein source for the brain (7)
EGGHEAD – what loaf is Cockney rhyming slang for is preceded by a food rich in protein.
21d Endorse note slipped into fliers yesterday (first thing) (6)
RATIFY – insert a note from tonic sol-fa into our flying servicemen and finish with the first letter of yesterday.
22d Birds short of time gaining seconds as leaving (6)
EGRESS – starts with types of heron, take away the T(ime) and replace it with S(econds).
24d The solver’s spoken long ago (4)
YORE – this sounds like a possessive adjective relating to the solver (from the setter’s viewpoint). I don’t like clues like this where a checking letter is needed to show which bit of the clue is the definition and which the wordplay.
Top of the charts for me today is 25a with 3d a close second. Which one(s) appealed to you?