Toughie No 1561 by Elkamere
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
This enjoyable Elkamere puzzle was a mixture of some easy clues (25a, 26a, 27a and 1d, to identify just four consecutive ones) and others requiring intense pen sucking. As always Elkamere is very good at disguising his definitions.
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1a One’s rights might be very limited (10)
SHOESTRING – an anagram (might be) of ONE’S RIGHTS.
6a Possibly flat hook (4)
GAFF – double definition, the first a slang term for one’s accommodation.
9a About to re-establish belief (5)
CREDO – the single character abbreviation meaning about or approximately is followed by a verb to re-establish or repeat.
10a Split in their pants — could be more careful (9)
THRIFTIER – insert a split or breach into an anagram (pants) of THEIR.
12a Unworthy meal for us? No time for that (13)
DISHONOURABLE – start with a meal that’s placed in front of us (4,2,3,5) then remove the T(ime).
14a Heading off trader, visit bill recipient (8)
ENDORSEE – remove the first letter from a trader or retailer and add a verb to visit.
15a Focus of Truffaut, European filmmaker (6)
AUTEUR – we need the focus or central bit of Truffaut European.
17a Personal comment, writing about two-wheelers (6)
MOPEDS – a newspaper article expressing the writer’s personal opinion (2-2) has the abbreviation for (hand)writing placed around it.
19a Approach musical group around piano (4,4)
GAME PLAN – I had vague memories of the word for a traditional musical ensemble in S-E Asia (and so I should have, because it was an answer in a Giovanni back-pager, blogged by me, in 2010). Put it around the abbreviation for piano.
21a Film‘s cast to act honestly (3,4,6)
THE LAST TYCOON – I don’t know the film so I needed the checkers to work out the anagram (cast) of TO ACT HONESTLY. The 1976 film was based on an unfinished novel by F Scott Fitzgerald.
24a Business knowledge gathered by court reporter? (5,4)
CLARK KENT – insert an informal word for a business or activity (as in “I’m dabbling in the antiques ****”) and a Scottish word for knowledge into the abbreviation for court. There was a loud clang when the penny dropped.
25a Boat outline, prow not visible (5)
KETCH – remove the first letter (prow) from an outline or rough drawing.
26a Deceit in connection with university place (4)
LIEU – a deceit is followed by the abbreviation for university.
27a Pointers tricky without point (10)
NEEDLESSLY – pointers (in a compass, say) and an adjective meaning tricky or cunning.
1d Rifle discharge (4)
SACK – two definitions, both verbs.
2d Exaggerated force used to catch composer (7)
OVERDID – the answer was fairly obvious from the Italian composer but I had to look up the two outside letters containing said composer. This is the BRB’s definition: “Reichenbach’s arbitrary name for a force he supposed to manifest itself in light, magnetism, chemical action, hypnotism, etc.”.
3d This tramp wants money (9,4)
SPONSORED WALK – cryptic definition of a charity event which doesn’t sound too strenuous.
4d Dives in river to heal poorly son (8)
RATHOLES – dives here are cramped, squalid and often disreputable places. String together the abbreviation for river, an anagram (poorly) of TO HEAL and S(on).
5d A US cop charged over business (5)
NARCO – reverse a verb meaning charged or rushed and add the abbreviation for a business.
7d Can I like a friend? (7)
AMIABLE – split the answer into three words to make a question (can I?).
8d Moderate use of compass? (10)
FORBEARING – split the answer 3,7 to get why you’d use a compass.
11d A little sweet with a lot in it? (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE – lot here means fate or destiny.
13d Cracked the miracle? Shut up! (10)
HERMETICAL – an anagram (cracked) of THE MIRACLE.
16d It always turns up in eccentric sort of column (8)
CARYATID – reverse IT and a Scottish word for always inside an eccentric person.
18d You need to be earlier for hunt (7)
PREDATE – double definition, the second a verb to hunt (we’re more used to its nounal form).
20d Medicine was our bond, you might say (7)
LINCTUS – this sounds like a phrase (6,2) meaning ‘was our bond or connection’.
22d Not just any number one tune (5)
THEME – start with a word identifying something definite (not just any) and add an objective pronoun defining ‘number one’.
23d What a sailor may call a cyclist (4)
AHOY – A and the surname of a retired Scottish track cyclist.
10a, 3d and 22d all vied to be favourite but the clear winner for me today is 24a. Which one(s) were read out of the sealed envelope for you?