Toughie No 1701 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
There’s nothing too difficult today (though if you’re not well versed in cricket terminology 9d may be tricky) but I thought the surfaces were really excellent and I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks to Messinae.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Appeal for mate perhaps through healthy food catching on (8,2)
PERSONAL AD – start with a preposition meaning through then insert ON into some healthy food.
6a Find fault with fish (4)
CARP – two definitions.
10a Sound of strings conducted by Furtwangler (5)
TWANG – our first lurker.
11a Stay and drink beer (9)
SUPPORTER – ‘Stay’ here is a noun. A verb to drink is followed by a dark beer.
12a Doctor who might have described himself as a bird-watcher (7)
SPOONER – Crosswordland’s favourite word botcher. Even those who normally dislike such clues will, I think, appreciate this one.
13a Two pennies crossed (7)
CENTRED – ‘crossed’ as a football winger might have done to kick the ball infield. A penny is an informal way of referring to the smallest US coin – we need to join together two words for this.
14a Devious colonialists making waves (12)
OSCILLATIONS – an anagram (devious) of COLONIALISTS.
18a Tourist having punch round lido getting drunk (12)
HOLIDAYMAKER – a swinging punch (pugilistic rather than alcoholic) contains an anagram (getting drunk) of LIDO.
21a Engineer exhausted went to bed (7)
RETIRED – the abbreviation for the army engineers followed by an adjective meaning exhausted. I’m not at all sure that the abbreviation can mean a single engineer as opposed to the corps as a whole.
23a I can put back entering test for college (7)
TRINITY – insert I and the reversal of a can into a verb to test.
24a Wolf almost caught in Timor’s erupting volcano (9)
STROMBOLI – a verb to wolf or gulp down without its last letter goes inside an anagram (erupting) of TIMOR’S.
25a Sauce cropping up in a boat (5)
KETCH – crop UP from a type of sauce.
26a Variety of naan bread in India once (4)
ANNA – an anagram (variety) of NAAN gives us an old Indian coin.
27a He headed South to steal before catching the tube (6,1,3)
ROBERT E LEE – this is the general who headed the Southern armies in the American Civil War. Start with a verb to steal then insert an abbreviation for ‘the tube’ into a conjunction meaning before.
1d Volunteers to get in superior plant food (6)
POTASH – put the old abbreviation for our volunteer soldiers into an adjective meaning superior or swanky.
2d Blow up without a cause (6)
REASON – reverse a blow to the centre of the face around A.
3d Scratch the skin of America and you may find such mafia activity (9,5)
ORGANISED CRIME – this is a reverse anagram which results in the word [a]MERIC[a] after we’ve scratched off the skin or outside letters. The surface here is excellent but anagrams should really lead to real words and meric is not one although it is apparently (as Meriç) a place name in Turkey.
4d A dirty bus crashed, stupid thing (9)
ABSURDITY – an anagram (crashed) of A DIRTY BUS.
5d Preserve snake I caught (5)
ASPIC – string together the snake that reputedly did for Cleopatra, I and the abbreviation for caught.
7d A northern cafe without a foyer (8)
ANTEROOM – follow the A and N(orthern) with a genteel café without its A.
8d A day in romantic city, earth’s ideal place (8)
PARADISE – insert A and the abbreviation for day into a romantic European city then finish with the abbreviation for earth.
9d Batter tricked out when bowling thus? (5,3,6)
ROUND THE WICKET – an anagram (batter) of TRICKED OUT WHEN gives a way of bowling in cricket which involves the bowler running up on the opposite side of the stumps to normal. It’s much easier to solve this than to explain what the answer means to non-cricket fans!
15d Most stupid in any case (9)
LEASTWISE – split the answer 5,4 and it could mean most stupid.
16d Personality pours tea after tea (8)
CHARISMA – a facetious phrase (2,2) meaning pours tea follows an informal word for tea.
17d New York building providing accommodation above club (8)
FLATIRON – a type of accommodation precedes a golf club.
19d One’s fired religious Southern multitude up (6)
PISTOL – abbreviations for religious or holier-than-thou and Southern are followed by the reversal of a word for multitude or large quantity.
20d Some smelly cheese for dessert (6)
LYCHEE – our second and final lurker.
I liked 12a, 25a and 9d but I’ll nominate 27a as my favourite. Which one(s) earned a kiss on your ballot paper?