Toughie No 1518 by Sparks
A Trip along the A55
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Sparks for a very enjoyable midweek Toughie which brightened up my day in spite of the seemingly never-ending rain that we’re having here. As usual he’s supplied us with a Nina (it will help if you know the pseudonym that he uses in other publications).
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 TV viewed outside many shops accepting credit (5,6)
SMALL SCREEN – a past participle meaning viewed contains multiple shopping areas and the abbreviation for credit.
7a Around end of Lent, make fast or move fast (5)
MOTOR – a verb to make fast or tie up goes around the end letter of Lent.
8a Don’t upset this old man, returning with outline record for retirement (5-4)
APPLE-CART – reverse an affectionate term for one’s old man then reverse (for retirement) a verb to outline and an old record format.
10a Marched or walked round eastern Europe (7)
TROOPED – a verb meaning walked contains the rightmost (eastern) bit of the word Europe.
11a Assume current puzzle is rejected following month’s late delivery (7)
IMAGINE – start with the symbol for electric current then add the reversal of a puzzle or conundrum which has had its M(onth) delayed to the end.
12a Distinctive character embraced by Internet host (5)
ETHOS – hidden.
13a Confound committee panel in 7 Across (9)
DASHBOARD – charade of a verb to confound (one’s hopes, say) and a committee or council.
16a Disheartened Iraqi orator reforms, introducing force more conclusively (1,8)
A FORTIORI – an anagram of I(raq)I ORATOR with the symbol for force inserted.
18a Double prize-winner, one entering preserve (5)
CURIE – the Roman numeral for one goes inside a verb to preserve.
19a Entrance old French painter with dominant element of expressionism (7)
INGRESS – the name of a French painter, best known for his portraits, is followed by the most frequently occurring letter (dominant element) in the word ‘expressionism’.
22a Pay reluctantly because of fine, about to get extremely upset (4,3)
FORK OUT – string together a preposition meaning ‘because of’, the reversal (about) of a short adjective meaning fine or satisfactory and the outer letters of upset.
23a Runner fell into place going before former baton holder? (9)
STOKOWSKI – this is a musical conductor who had a long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I did wonder why there is a question mark in the clue but some investigoogling revealed the fact that he preferred to conduct with his hands so that he wasn’t normally a ‘baton holder’. A runner on the snow is preceded by the abbreviation for a verb to fell or floor inside a verb to place or stash.
24a Financier having name-dropped one who produces waffle? (5)
BAKER – a financier without the abbreviation for name.
25a Gathered to catch moving trains by main route in a channel (5,6)
MENAI STRAIT – a verb meaning gathered or assembled contains an anagram (moving) of TRAINS and the designation of a main north-south road in the UK.
1d Not turning to cut south, going west before old heritage site (6,3)
SUTTON HOO – this is a site, in Suffolk, where significant Anglo-Saxon remains were excavated in the last century. Reverse ‘not’ inside (to cut) an anagram (going west) of SOUTH and finish with O(ld). I do like ‘going west’ as an anagram indicator.
2d By the way, stay in Faroes off and on? (7)
APROPOS – insert a stay or support amongst the even letters of Faroes.
3d Estate feeding game outside new resort (9)
LLANDUDNO – an estate or grounds go inside (feeding) a board game containing N(ew).
4d Semi-changeable island (5)
CAPRI – the first half of an adjective meaning changeable or unpredictable.
5d British man wept pointlessly over little beast (3-4)
EWE-LAMB – join together an abbreviation for British, a masculine person and ‘wept’ without the abbreviation for point. Now reverse it all (over).
6d Sneak affair after regular visits in canteen (5)
NAAFI – take regular letters from the first two words.
7d It’s used to sum up outrageous hammiest act (11)
MATHEMATICS – an anagram (outrageous) of HAMMIEST ACT. An interesting surface given the compiler’s day job.
9d Maybe Westwood runs in to take care of me (11)
TRENDSETTER – insert the cricket abbreviation for runs into a verb to take care of, then add ‘me’ (i.e. the role of the person writing the clue).
14d Hide a source of Sparks who’ll never 22 (9)
SKINFLINT – 22 means 22a. Charade of a hide or pelt and what might be used to produce the falsely-capitalised sparks.
15d Cause of falling pressure in top-notch projectile (3,6)
AIR POCKET – the abbreviation for pressure goes into an abbreviation that looks like a description meaning top-notch or first-rate and a projectile or missile.
17d That is out of order, appearing after time limit (3,4)
TIE DOWN – the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ and an adjective meaning out of order or broken come after the abbreviation for time.
18d Brains of Britain caught before going ahead with answer (7)
CEREBRA – one of the abbreviations for Britain is preceded by a cricket abbreviation for caught and a poetic word meaning before. At the end we need an abbreviation for answer.
20d Despondency of union member after swapping sides? (5)
GLOOM – this union has only two members (unlike Princess Diana’s which reportedly had three). Change the side in one of them from right to left.
21d Food mentioned in petition by female (5)
SUSHI – a double homophone, firstly of a verb to petition or plead and secondly of a feminine pronoun.
Making my shortlist today were 11a and 15d. Which one(s) appealed to you?