Toughie No 1573 by Petitjean
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Petitjean is one of my favourite setters and I really enjoyed this puzzle. Usually I’d whinge about the number of anagrams (10) but the whole thing is so enjoyable that I’ll keep quiet about that today. There were two words that were new to me but both were gettable from the wordplay.
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7a I crave first taste of southern fried offal (7)
VISCERA – an anagram (fried) of I CRAVE and S(outhern).
8a Checking old lecher is unwell — what you might expect with fish soup (7)
ROUILLE – an adjective meaning unwell has to go inside (checking, in the sense of stopping or interrupting) an old word for a lecher. I didn’t know this word for a Provençal sauce often served with bouillabaisse.
10a Breakwater in sound is coniferous barrier (3,7)
SEA DEFENCE – split the answer 5,5 and it sounds like a coniferous (i.e. having seed-bearing cones) barrier.
11a Rag trade’s missing out in recovery (4)
CURE – start with a posh word for the rag trade (often preceded by haute) and take away the ‘out’.
12a Art lover — he’s Tate mad and English (8)
AESTHETE – an anagram (mad) of HE’S TATE followed by an abbreviation for English.
14a Cover a second replacement for alternative in 21 (6)
ENCASE – the answer to 21d has its ‘alternative’ replaced by A and the abbreviation for second.
15a Saving face, Neil Innes sat out, surplus to requirements (11)
INESSENTIAL – an anagram (out) of [n]EIL INNES SAT.
19a Bitter zealots surrounding European chamber (6)
CAMERA – the acronym of the organisation that’s passionate about proper bitter contains the single-letter abbreviation for European. I love ‘bitter zealots’.
20a Approach open river (8)
OVERTURE – charade of an adjective meaning open or unconcealed and the name of a river in North Yorkshire.
22a About to hold drink (4)
CHUG – an abbreviation meaning about is followed by a verb to hold or clasp.
23a Tail off dace and eels cooked over half heat (2-8)
DE-ESCALATE – an anagram (cooked) of DACE and EELS contains half of the word heat.
25a Flipping nuisance nets northern game fish (7)
GURNARD – an informal word for a nuisance or tedious experience contains N(orthern) and the abbreviation for the 15-a-side game. All that has to be reversed (flipping). I didn’t know this bottom-dwelling fish but it sounds quite interesting. It has six finger-like appendages which it uses to explore the bottom of the sea for food, which make it look as though it’s walking along the bottom.
26a Pair set out for long tiring walk (7)
TRAIPSE – an anagram (out, for the second time) of PAIR SET.
1d Japanese worship refurbished wide screens showing lots of old lines (7)
WIZENED – an anagram (refurbished) of WIDE contains (screens) a type of Japanese worship. Nice surface, albeit the wordplay is a bit Yoda-like.
2d It could be ‘Fatty’ is hurtful (4)
ACID – when preceded by fatty this is something which may be essential to our diet.
3d Flirt? Not only appalling flirt but heart of steel too (6)
TRIFLE – an anagram (appalling) of FLIRT is followed by the letter at the heart of steel.
4d It’s clear flawed hero’s in the money (8)
COHERENT – insert an anagram (flawed) of HERO into the name of a monetary unit in many countries.
5d Magic broomstick? (10)
WITCHCRAFT – double definition, the second a cryptic definition (5,5) of a broomstick.
6d Dealer in stocks? (7)
FLORIST – cryptic definition. These stocks are not shares or investments.
9d Inexpert engineer pounded lever endlessly (11)
UNDEVELOPED – an anagram (engineer) of POUNDED LEVE[r].
13d Perhaps Thomas Brown gets terribly keen about drink (4,6)
TANK ENGINE – a verb (or noun) meaning brown is followed by an anagram (terribly) of KEEN containing an alcoholic drink. I really wanted to include a picture of Thomas Waldrom, star of the mighty Exeter Chiefs, who uses the answer as his nickname but I reluctantly decided that it would be a bit too ‘niche’.
16d Of regular quality, and advanced in more ways than one? (8)
STANDARD – insert AND and A(dvanced) into two different ways or routes.
17d One in seven workers is retiring (7)
BASHFUL – double definition, the first being the name of a small miner. Heigh-ho!
18d Somewhat dry and lacking in sophistication? (7)
BRUTISH – cryptically this could describe a somewhat dry wine.
21d More demanded from Poulenc or Elgar (6)
ENCORE – hidden in the clue.
24d Great North Road in both directions a safe destination (4)
LAIR – what looks like the designation of the Great North Road (running from London to Edinburgh) goes inside opposite directions.
There were lots of clues I liked, including 1d, 13d and 16d, but I’m presenting today’s hot cross bun to 19a. Which one(s) had you salivating?