Toughie No 1549 by MynoT
Strictly for the Birds
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **
A few years ago MynoT embarked on a series of Toughies where all the answers contained one specific letter of the alphabet. He ran out of steam somewhere around M or N (so we couldn’t find out how he was going to deal with Q) for which most of us were grateful at the time as it was getting a bit predictable. His puzzles since then have been at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum without being wildly exciting and this one conforms to that pattern.
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1a Starts to read one’s palm in an artistic style (6)
ROCOCO – the starting letters from ‘read’ and ‘one’ followed by a type of palm tree.
4a Heavenly body the result of a hormone? (8)
ASTEROID – A and a class of chemical compounds which include hormones.
9a Is a road fit to lie that’s destructively fabricated? (6)
CANARD – split the answer 3,1,2 and it could be a question asking whether a road is fit to …
10a Old very loud male beginning to expostulate in the wings (3-5)
OFF-STAGE – the abbreviations for old and very loud are followed by an adjective meaning male and the first letter of expostulate.
11a Called in faltering steed to be removed (9)
ESTRANGED – a verb meaning called on the phone goes inside an anagram (faltering) of STEED.
13a Frost broadcast jingle (5)
RHYME – this sounds like a type of frost. My initial reaction was that a jingle is not necessarily this but the BRB has jingle (as a verb) meaning to be full of alliteration.
14a Traveller excitedly grabs ideas with silly fop needing accommodation (4,2,7)
BIRD OF PASSAGE – an anagram (excitedly) of GRABS IDEAS contains another anagram (silly) of FOP.
17a Deviously sack Burke? Done to notch up the first score (5,4,4)
BREAK ONE’S DUCK – where would setters be without recourse to cricket terminology? This is an anagram (deviously) of SACK BURKE DONE.
21a Mark for insertion in Building Act to cover engineers (5)
CARET – an anagram (building) of ACT contains the abbreviation for army engineers.
23a Obtained work on saints to be printed (2,2,5)
GO TO PRESS – string together a verb meaning obtained, the abbreviation for an artistic work, a preposition meaning on or concerning and an abbreviation for saints.
24a Two notes followed by double rest (8)
RESIDUAL – rest here is a noun meaning the remaining part of something. Start with two notes from tonic sol-fa (the second a superseded version of what is now usually called te or ti) and add an adjective meaning double or twofold.
25a Bird one’s seen to bob, or duck (6)
WEAVER – this could describe a person who bobs or ducks.
26a What Arab sports might involve ‘bowl’ and ‘run’? (8)
DISHDASH – this is one of many colloquial names for the ankle-length, usually white, garment worn by men in the Arabian peninsula. It’s a charade of a flat-bottomed bowl and a verb to run or hurry.
27a Not accustomed to see posh nudes cavorting (6)
UNUSED – the letter used to signify posh or upper class is followed by an anagram (cavorting) of NUDES.
1d Rise in some salad (6)
ROCKET – double definition, the second a (revolting as far as I’m concerned) green leafy plant that may be served as part of a salad.
2d Artist‘s studies shown on chart (9)
CONSTABLE – a verb meaning reads or studies followed by a chart or list.
3d One who’ll raid the deck bearing clubs or spades, leading (7)
CORSAIR – a bearing or mien is preceded by the abbreviation for clubs, OR and the abbreviation for spades.
5d Vault sofa despite wavering (4-7)
SAFE-DEPOSIT – an anagram (wavering) of SOFA DESPITE.
6d Makes certain of space on steamship crossing river (7)
ENSURES – a space (in printing) followed by the usual steamship containing the name of a river in North Yorkshire.
7d Row about very variable organ (5)
OVARY – a verb to row or scull contains the abbreviation for very. After that we need one of the algebraic variables.
8d Further hollowed out bank, requiring energy to dig in twice (8)
DEEPENED – a verb to bank or rely with the abbreviation for energy inserted twice.
12d Mirror supporting plot? It sheds light but it’s not clear (6,5)
GROUND GLASS – this is a product which is translucent but not transparent. Another word for a mirror follows a plot of land.
15d Rowling’s kept up European following since days before search engine (3,6)
ASK JEEVES – the reversed initials of the author Ms. Rowling and E(uropean) follow a conjunction meaning since. To finish we need a word for ‘days before’. Apparently the search engine changed its name some years ago and it no longer contains the name of the Wodehouse character.
16d Hidden and preserved by old boys (8)
OBSCURED – a verb meaning preserved or treated food to prevent its decomposition follows the abbreviation for old boys.
18d Girl acted as grasshopper (7)
KATYDID – split the answer 4,3 and we have a girl’s name and acted.
19d Many a ref’s adolescent (7)
UMPTEEN – the abbreviation for a referee or arbitrator followed by an informal word for an adolescent.
20d Employ free codename (4,2)
USER ID – two 3-letter verbs, the first meaning to employ and the second to free or purge.
22d Wines needing pinch of salt in eggs (5)
ROSÉS – insert the first letter (pinch) of salt into fish eggs.
My favourite clue, for the misleading definition, was 26a. Which one(s) exercised your chuckle muscles?