Toughie No 1521 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Toro
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
A rock solid puzzle with a fair bit of sparkle. I found it a pleasure to solve.
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 Go into school square — find something poisonous (10)
STRYCHNINE A go or attempt inside SCH(ool), then a square number.
6a Nick heading off for island (4)
INCH To nick or steal, minus the first letter.
9a Notice graduate in work following right plan (4,3)
ROAD MAP R(ight), then a word for work around (both of) a notice + an academic degree.
10a Mary runs, coming in sixth out of twelve — one to swear? (7)
JURYMAN Anagram of MARY inside the sixth (abbreviated) in a certain series of twelve. (Not the twelve pictured, though!)
12a Many a gunboat may be deployed to protect a harbour (10,3)
GUANTANAMO BAY Anagram of MANY A GUNBOAT around A.
14a Cockney gets duck, Poplar’s no. 2 being caught in gully (6)
ARROYO A man’s name in Cockney pronunciation + duck or zero, around (P)O(plar).
15a Panic about potassium in cosmetic treatment (8)
SKINCARE Chemical symbol for potassium + IN, all inside a panic or alarm.
17a Presentation rude, not one to entertain old women (8)
BESTOWAL Rude or brutish, after deleting Roman numeral one, and with O(ld) W(omen) inserted.
19a State of senselessness in places after retreat by soldiers (6)
STUPOR Reversal of places or lays down, + one of those military abbreviations.
22a New teacher to help rival educational establishment? (3,5,5)
THE OTHER PLACE …what Oxford and Cambridge Universities call each other. Anagram of TEACHER TO HELP.
24a Essential Conservative charm lacking heart? (7)
CENTRAL C(onservative) + to charm or captivate minus the middle letter.
25a Dire expression when first hint of fear is expressed? (7)
GRIMACE Dire + a visual expression minus F(ear). (Expressed here means squeezed out, i.e. deleted.)
26a Weak material (4)
LAME Weak or unconvincing, and a kind of fabric.
27a Captivity of any number in underground activity (10)
INTERNMENT Letter meaning any number or umpteen, inside a word for burial.
1d Person that is dumped by Sally (4)
SORT A military raid minus the two-letter Latin abbreviation meaning that is.
2d Mineral in concrete covering over half of growing area (7)
REALGAR Concrete or not abstract + first half of a small cultivated plot.
3d This health professional may briefly suggest an Italian lake (7,6)
COMPANY DOCTOR Each word of the solution suggests a two-letter abbreviation familiar in crosswordese, which together spell an Italian lake.
4d Catmint eaten by one pet apparently (6)
NEPETA Hidden in ONEPETAPPARENTLY.
5d Dancer terribly skinny I judge should be tucking in (8)
NIJINSKY Anagram of SKINNY around I J(udge).
7d Excellent bishop, this person’s a name for revolutionising country (7)
NAMIBIA An excellent grade + B(ishop) in chess + the grammatical first person + A + N(ame). Now reverse the lot.
8d Spooner’s name for pet rabbit, similar creatures being wild animals (5,5)
HONEY BEARS Cute word for a pet rabbit + a word for relatives of rabbits. Then Spoonerise.
11d Turning violently on traitors, men protest (13)
REMONSTRATION Anagram of ON TRAITORS MEN.
13d Working at basic lab giving fresh opportunity for university don? (10)
SABBATICAL Anagram of AT BASIC LAB.
16d Good girl protected by fellow explorer (8)
MAGELLAN G(ood) + a girl’s name, all inside a fellow or chap.
18d Something bony presents problem when eating bird (7)
STERNUM A problem in arithmetic around an elegant gull-like bird.
20d Signal before appearance of wise man (7)
PRESAGE Prefix (whoops, there it is) meaning before + a wise man.
21d Highest point of a river leading to exclamation of surprise (6)
APOGEE A + Italian river + US exclamation of surprise.
23d Brutal person won’t want son round (4)
BEAT Someone who’s a bit of an animal, minus S(on).
Lots to enjoy here, including the very tidy &Lit (all-in-one clue) at 25a and the Spoonerism at 8d. I thought the anagrams at 12a and 22a were excellent.
The sting in the tail for me was the 2d/14a combo. Being pressed for time today I resorted to aids after a minute or two of headscratching and am glad I did, as I’m not sure I’d have got them otherwise.
Over to you – please rate and comment on this puzzle below.