Toughie No 1657 by MynoT
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment **
It’s turning out to be a funny old week in Toughieland – yesterday we had what I thought was the trickiest Tuesday puzzle for ages and today we have what, for me, was not far off a walk in the park (though I appreciate that the 1a phrase may cause some problems for non-cricket fans). The four peripheral phrases were a great help in providing checking letters and my only slight hold-up was with 14d where I didn’t know that the answer could mean to make light.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a To have always been in base, contrary to order (5,4,3)
CARRY ONE’S BAT – this is a phrase used in cricket to describe the achievement of an opener who has been in throughout an innings and remains ‘not out’ at the end. It’s an anagram (to order) of BASE CONTRARY.
9a Drink with only one very large group of birds (4)
BEVY – an informal word for an alcoholic drink with one V[ery] deleted. The answer can mean a large group of feathered birds but is also used onomatopoeically for a collection of bathing beauties.
10a Imperfect thread dropped in ink gets left out of the loop (2,3,4)
IN THE DARK – an anagram (imperfect) of THREAD has to be dropped into INK.
12a Introduction to open country noise (4-2)
LEAD-IN – charade of an open rural area and a loud noise.
13a Backbone of Green support in Europe? On the contrary (8)
VERTEBRA – the first letter of Europe goes between a noun meaning green, as an heraldic tincture, and a support garment. E is the abbreviation for European (in E-number) but not, as far as I know, for Europe.
15a Take in pan to festival in centre of Cracow for obsessive employee? (10)
WORKAHOLIC – the abbreviation for ‘take’ (as used once in medical prescriptions) goes inside a cooking pan. After that we have to insert a Hindu festival into the central two letters of Cracow. The surface is not great.
16a River of reported repute (4)
ODER – this European river sounds like a word meaning repute or regard (usually preceded by ‘good’ or ‘bad’).
18a Finished cut below (4)
NEAT – a poetic preposition meaning below without its final letter.
20a Gradually diminish dubious credo and account for it magnetically (4-6)
TAPE-RECORD – a verb to diminish gradually is followed by an anagram (dubious) of CREDO. I don’t like the definition much.
23a Cast off sin? Not her (3-5)
SHE-DEVIL – a semi-all-in-one. It’s a verb to cast off followed by a word for sin or wickedness.
24a Note about a distant expedition (6)
SAFARI – an old word for the seventh note of tonic sol-fa contains A and an adjective meaning distant.
26a I am the answer to your prayers, existing to have time for learner’s copying (9)
IMITATIVE – string together a phrase meaning “I’m exactly what you’re looking for” (1’1,2) and an adjective meaning existing or breathing with the L replaced by T. I can’t see that the surface means anything at all.
27a In a frenzy in the morning’s all right (4)
AMOK – the abbreviation for in the morning followed by an informal response meaning ‘all right’.
28a Lizard’s taken Ecstasy to measure delay (4,4,4)
DRAG ONE’S FEET – start with a type of lizard, plus the ‘S, containing E(cstasy) and add an imperial measure.
2d Play ‘Act I’ to be cast — that’s unusual (8)
ATYPICAL – those who’ve solved today’s back-pager will have a sense of déjà vu here. It’s an anagram (to be cast) of PLAY ACT I.
3d Check broadcaster’s rule (4)
REIN – this sounds like a verb to rule.
4d Grinding teeth, lions having a good time (2,3,5)
ON THE TILES – an anagram (grinding) of TEETH LIONS.
5d Leaves river on wartime service (6)
EXEATS – the definition (leaves) is a noun meaning formal leaves of absence. A Devon river is followed by the abbreviation for the women’s branch of the British army during WWII.
6d Law graduate, joining sailor’s plot, spilled the beans (7)
BLABBED – the letters identifying a law graduate in some countries (though not, apparently, in England) are followed by one of the abbreviations for a sailor and a plot or growing area.
7d Welcome Lions at home and maintain high standards (4,1,5,2)
TAKE A PRIDE IN – cryptically this could mean to welcome a group of lions to one’s home.
8d Fix engineers’ item (6)
REPAIR – charade of the abbreviation for the army engineers and an item or couple.
11d Maybe take a trip winsome blonde mainly organised (4,4,4)
BLOW ONE’S MIND – an anagram (organised) of WINSOME BLOND[e].
14d Make light of vocalise not about two notes in it (10)
VOLATILISE – remove a 2-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately from ‘vocalise’ and insert two notes from tonic sol-fa.
17d In Kent perhaps, Norm dined apart (8)
SEPARATE – string together the abbreviation for the part of the UK where Kent lies, a word meaning norm or standard and a verb meaning dined.
19d A minute type of heather found in the country (7)
AMERICA – assemble a country from A, the abbreviation for minute and a word for heather.
21d Eloquent person in church mostly (6)
ORATOR – drop the final letter from a chapel used for private worship.
22d On beginning of action turn over smoothly (6)
LEGATO – stick together another word for the ‘on’ side of the wicket in cricket, the first letter of action and an abbreviation meaning ‘turn over’.
25d Grumble about insect that’s loud (4)
BEEF – an insect’s followed by the musical abbreviation for ‘loud’.
The clue that I liked best was 23a. Which one(s) lit your fire?