Toughie No 1522 by Elkamere
It Helps if You Watch the Telly
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Elkamere for a proper Toughie which is very enjoyable. There’s a reasonable amount of general knowledge required here (some of which is a lot easier if you watch British TV) and I suspect that some of the clues (10a, 1d and 5d, for example) will cause difficulty for non-Brits. As always Elkamere is the master of hiding the definitions in plain sight.
This is my last blog before Christmas so may I wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas.
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1a Out of order lift wanted – she’s being thick (4-10)
HALF-WITTEDNESS – an anagram (out of order) of LIFT WANTED SHE’S.
9a Building where Holy Mother swaddles Jesus? (7)
MASONRY – the name of the mother in the Christmas story contains what Jesus was to her.
10a Elected American sent over article taken from Rear Admiral? (7)
INSURER – string together an adverb meaning elected, the reversal of an abbreviation for American and the word ‘rear’ without its indefinite article. Admiral is a company which is an example of the answer.
11a Newcastle‘s very nice, no formality (4)
TOON – an adverb meaning very or extremely followed by ‘nice’ without the word for formality or reserve is how Newcastle upon Tyne (and especially its football club) is referred to by its inhabitants.
12a Crimean port does not let through returning Israeli actor (10)
SEVASTOPOL – reverse a verb meaning ‘does not let through’ (like a goalkeeper) and add the name of an Israeli actor best known for his role in Fiddler on the Roof. I got this primarily from the Israeli actor but it took me some time to parse the first bit since I’ve only ever seen the place spelt with a B.
14a Light colour on desert palm (6)
RATTAN – a light brown colour follows a verb to desert or betray.
15a Whimsical about Earth, possibly how it feels to touch down (8)
FEATHERY – an adjective meaning whimsical or vaguely unworldly contains an anagram (possibly) of EARTH.
17a Religious jerk, about 18 (8)
THEISTIC – put a facial jerk around a verb which has a similar meaning to 18a but usually on a much more serious scale.
18a Turn again, going back to lift (6)
PILFER – reverse a verb to turn again or spin (something, such as a coin or a pancake) in the air once more.
21a Its procedure may imprison you? (10)
COURTHOUSE – a semi-all-in-one. A procedure or method contains an old word for ‘you’.
22a About to wind up pirate (4)
CRIB – an abbreviation meaning about or approximately followed by a verb to wind up or tease.
24a Huge old lady — gypsy? (7)
MAMMOTH – an affectionate word for one’s old lady is followed by what gypsy is a type of in the insect world.
25a With strong accent, hurt censor (7)
MARCATO – this is a musical term meaning strongly accented (I didn’t know it but BD obviously does because it’s in The Mine). A verb to hurt or damage is followed by the name of the Roman statesman and orator known as the Censor.
26a Singer fled capital, a horrible(!) fan being around (7,7)
FRANKIE VAUGHAN – string together a verb meaning fled, the capital of Ukraine, A and an exclamation meaning “that’s horrible”, then put FAN around the lot.
1d Top Gear presenter — one that can’t take over writing (7)
HAMSTER – although I avoid Top Gear like the plague I was aware of the nickname of Richard Hammond. Put someone who can’t take or detests around the abbreviation for (hand)writing.
2d/3d Somewhere a film stunt is shot for sitcom (4,2,3,6,4)
LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE – an anagram (shot) of SOMEWHERE A FILM STUNT. This was my first answer which I got from the enumeration.
3d See 2d
4d Some mints will get you by when you’re talking (6)
THYMES – these sound like ‘by’ (in multiplications).
5d Old record company values stadium (8)
EMIRATES – an old British record company is followed by a verb meaning values or esteems to form the name of a football stadium in North London.
6d Carries on lifting a single pound — very heavy? (4,2,4)
NOSE TO TAIL – a verb meaning carries and ON are reversed. Add A, the Roman numeral for a single and the abbreviation for a pound sterling and we have a phrase that may be used by a traffic reporter to describe very heavy congestion.
7d Short hit, most of strength kept in reserve (8,3,4)
STRAPPED FOR CASH – put a verb meaning hit or banged and a word meaning strength or power without its last letter inside a reserve or secret store.
8d Wheel cuts through mushroom (6)
BROLLY – a verb to wheel goes inside a preposition that can mean through to make what mushroom is a slang term for.
13d Clarinet delivered, plus hard parts (6,4)
BASSET HORN – a plus or something advantageous and the abbreviation for hard go inside a past participle meaning delivered (into the world).
16d Cut up OK-ish minced Russian delicacies (8)
PIROSHKI – reverse a verb to cut or tear and add an anagram (minced) of OK-ISH. Another new word for me.
17d Future book about military chap (2,4)
TO COME – put a large book around the abbreviation for a senior military person.
19d Black and blue after game — what’s needed? (7)
RUBDOWN – the abbreviation for black and an adjective mean blue or depressed follow the abbreviation for the fifteen-a-side game.
20d Foundation provider when I go short (6)
ASIMOV – this is the prolific (and my favourite) science-fiction author who wrote the Foundation series of books as well as lots of excellent stories about robots. A conjunction meaning when is followed by I and a verb to go or proceed without its final letter.
23d Wife‘s endless cheating (4)
FRAU – a word for cheating or swindling loses its last letter.
At the top of the tree for me were 9a, 15a, 21a and 19d. Which ones got your festive lights flashing?