Toughie No 1559 by Elgar
I’ll huff and I’ll puff…
Hints and tips by crypticsue
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***** – Enjoyment *****
The long-awaited first Elgar Toughie for 2016 brings us a lovely themed crossword with the level of difficulty we expect from him, and always hope for in a Toughie, particularly on a Friday.
There was indeed a lot of huffing and puffing, not to mention muttering and head-scratching, but once I’d solved 11a, I got a toe-hold (sorry!) on that part of the theme, solving 7d provided the other part and after that everything fell into place, although I have to say that parsing/writing the hints for a few of the clues did take longer than others.
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6a Writer’s left second 7 in shelter for pigeon and rook (5,6)
COLIN DEXTER A well-known crime writer can be found by inserting the abbreviation for Left and the second “7” into a shelter for a pigeon, the result then finished off with the abbreviation for Rook in a game of chess
9a & 21a Current means to identify criminal on the Rock turning antagonist to 11 (3,3,4)
BIG BAD WOLF Reverse (turning) the movement of, for example, water (current), a slang fingerprint (means to identify criminal) and the abbreviated way we refer to the British Rock on the tip of Spain.
10a ‘Double O’ assumed by wily secret agent stopping the rot (8)
CREOSOTE A wood preservative is obtained from an anagram (wily) of O O (double O) and SECRET.
11a Beastly triad split and leg it when alarmed (6,4)
LITTLE PIGS An anagram (when alarmed) of SPLIT and LEG IT
14a See 27
15a After the last 7, Little Britain’s personal anti-hero (6,5)
PINKIE BROWN The anti-hero in Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock – The abbreviation for Britain and an adjective meaning personal go after the American and/or Scottish way of referring to the last “7”.
21a See 9
22a Fourth 7, months back, not quite the showman (10)
RINGMASTER The fourth “7”, an abbreviation for months, and not quite all of the nautical term for something towards the back of a ship.
25a It’s critical, like a 11 home city lacking hospital (8)
BRICKBAT Like the home of one of the 11 followed by a West Country city without the H (lacking hospital).
27a & 14a Modified old EEC grain from which retinol vitamin is derived? (6,4)
GOLDEN RICE A genetically-modified grain from which retinol (Vitamin A) can be derived is an anagram (modified) of OLD EEC GRAIN once you have removed the A (derived here meaning drawn off or removed).
28a English region means to raise water drowning first 7 on river (11)
NORTHUMBRIA Insert the first “7” and the abbreviation for river into a machine activated by water power and used for lifting water into a small aqueduct, either for the purpose of irrigation or for the use in towns and villages
1d Absolutely nothing in beauty missing a beat? (3,3)
YOU BET Insert O (nothing) into BE
AUTY, remove the A (missing A) and then ‘beat’ into an anagram to get a slang way of saying absolutely.
2d & 20 C-grade pupil in French class heading off with lecturer after third 7 (6-5) Online clue C-grade, perhaps, exposed intelligent lecturer after third 7? (6-5)
MIDDLE LEVEL A French school pupil without its first letter (heading off) and the abbreviation for Lecturer go after the third “7”
Online: A synonym for intelligent without its outside letters (exposed) and the abbreviation for Lecturer go after the third “7”.
3d Poetical fairy skips from time to time (4)
ODIC Remove a beautiful fairy (fairy skips) from an adjective meaning from time to time.
4d Old mate’s all fingers and thumbs – and toes? Instead, perhaps, muscle (8)
EXTENSOR Any muscle that stretches – an abbreviated way of referring to a former partner (old mate) , the number of fingers and thumbs, or indeed toes, that you have, and OR (instead, perhaps). The clue contains quite a heavy hint as to the theme of today’s Toughie which is reflected in the illustration which I thought much nicer than any of the options for the muscle in question.
5d Like a 11 home stylish newbie’s set up over plant (8)
BEDSTRAW A young lady presented at court (stylish newbie) is reversed and put over a description of one of the 11’s home.
7d 2 for one is very much like sexual attraction (5)
DIGIT the Arabic numeral 2 would be an example (for one) of this – Split 3, 2 you’d very much like some sexual attraction.
8d See 24
12d Pool league’s popular (3)
LIN The abbreviation for League followed by another way of saying popular gives us one way of spelling a pool at the foot of a waterfall.
13d In time, a note to clarify (1,4)
I MEAN Look carefully and the “lurker” will be clarified!
16d Virus maybe in corrupted force, taking little time (8)
INFECTOR IN (from the clue) and an anagram (corrupted) of FORCE into which is inserted (taking) an abbreviation (little) for Time.
17d A country singer performing opera’s a bit strange (8)
KIRIBATI The Christian name of an opera singer from New Zealand and an anagram (strange) of A BIT go together to make a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean..
18d More than one opening for topless American singer (3)
ORA Removing the first letter (topless) from fOR and adding the abbreviation for American gives us both the plural of a zoological mouth/opening and the surname of Rita the British singer, some of the illustrations of whom would definitely almost fall into the topless category – fortunately it is me illustrating this one!
19d See 26
20d See 2
23d President Lincoln’s face stands aloft (6)
MUGABE A slang term for the face goes before the informal way we might refer to President Lincoln.
24d & 8 Tanned by sun, I feel like a 11 home camera accessory (6,5)
SELFIE STICK S (sun) is followed by an anagram (tanned) of I FEEL and then a description of the material used to make a home for another of the 11a.
26d & 19 Repeatedly act as solicitor’s brief (4,5)
TOUT COURT Briefly, simply or without further clarification – Repeatedly indicates that you need two of the many words that we might use instead of saying act as one who solicits.
Thanks to Elgar for an entertaining brain-stretcher and for Dutch for letting me win the virtual arm-wrestling contest.