Toughie No 1705 by Dada
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
I finished this puzzle without any problems but with a feeling of mild disappointment (not connected with the depressing overnight news – another triumph for the pollsters!). There’s nothing wrong with the crossword but it seems rather tame and lacking in the sort of d’oh-producing clues which Mr Halpern brings to so many of his creations. He’s also responsible (as Paul) for the Guardian Cryptic today so I’d be interested in your views on how the two compare.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Talk in article consumed by fire and wind (5,3,6)
SHOOT THE BREEZE – this is a (mainly American) phrase meaning to chat casually. An article is contained between a verb to fire and a light wind.
9a After tea, one after some butter for bread (7)
CHAPATI – string together an informal word for tea, a small portion of butter and the Roman numeral for one.
10a Far end of pond most slippery, most precarious (7)
DICIEST – the last letter of pond followed by a superlative meaning most slippery.
11a Shakespearean villain, adult dispensing with morals, primarily (4)
IAGO – remove the first letter of morals from an adult insect.
12a Very little liquid in tub fell out with him (10)
THIMBLEFUL – an anagram (out) of TUB FELL and HIM.
14a Just about to embrace U-turn in government department? Absolutely not! (2,4)
NO FEAR – an adverb meaning ‘just about’ or almost contains the reversal of the old abbreviation for the government department currently headed by Boris. The department has had a different abbreviation since 1968 when it was merged with the Commonwealth Office.
15a Revolutionary line taken by Marx briefly in old flier (8)
ZEPPELIN – an anagram (revolutionary) of LINE follows the name of the youngest Marx Brother without his last letter.
17a Serious turns in power sport (8)
SPEEDWAY – reverse an adjective meaning serious or profound inside a synonym for power or influence.
18a Selection of food in batter (6)
BUFFET – double definition. Batter, here, is a verb.
21a Digit applied to angle, something to digest (4,6)
FISH FINGER – append a handy digit to a verb meaning to angle.
22a Pellet — for this pest? (4)
SLUG – double definition.
24a Town on the water, type harbouring each launch in Portsmouth? (7)
SEAPORT – a word meaning type or kind contains the abbreviation for each and the first letter (launch) in Portsmouth.
25a One lacking faith on the crime scene? (7)
ATHEIST – split the answer 2,5 and it could mean ‘on the scene of a robbery’.
26a Intimate issue, drunks being imprisoned by old Argentine leader (6-2-6)
PERSON-TO-PERSON – a male issue and another word for drunkards go inside Evita’s old man.
1d Part cut back to hold it up (7)
SECTION – drop the final letter from a verb to back or endorse and insert a reversal of IT.
2d Former British colony in fruitless situation? (6,4,5)
ORANGE FREE STATE – cryptically this could be a place lacking citrus fruits.
3d Obnoxious type pulled along by the ears? (4)
TOAD – this sounds like ‘pulled along’.
4d Peak, first place for black rook? (6)
HEIGHT – split the answer 1,5 and it’s the square on which one of the black rooks sits at the start of a chess game.
5d One mile beneath ocean floor, sea darkened (8)
BEDIMMED – the Roman numeral for one and M(ile) follow the ocean bottom. After that we need the abbreviation for a named sea.
6d Source of medicinal oil in treatment of upset with uranium and clay (10)
EUCALYPTUS – an anagram (treatment) of UPSET CLAY and the chemical symbol for uranium.
7d The ultimate in pizazz, stories following female dressed in gold I feel made for old Broadway shows (8,7)
ZIEGFELD FOLLIES – these were revues on Broadway in the early twentieth century. Start with the last letter of pizazz and finish with some fabricated stories. Between the two insert F(emale) inside (dressed in) an anagram (made) of GOLD I FEEL.
8d Hot German bread, middle hollowed out (6)
STOLEN – remove the middle letter from some fruity German bread.
13d Sticky confection in edges of cavity? Then clean teeth! (10)
CANDYFLOSS – the outer edges of cavity (1,3,1) and a verb to clean one’s teeth.
16d Chap assuming good school is a measure of the quality in drawing power? (8)
MAGNETON – a chap containing G(ood) is followed by our usual public school. The BRB says this is ‘a natural unit of magnetic moment’ – if I had the slightest idea of what that means I’d expand further.
17d Most conservative party in Pretoria, possibly? (6)
SAFEST – split 2,4 this could be a party or celebration in Pretoria or Capetown or even in the old 2d.
19d Wind up Cronus, maybe one might say (7)
TIGHTEN – this sounds like what Cronus was in Greek mythology (which coincidentally appears in today’s back-pager).
20d Try to wrap pork pie up in ice (6)
GELATO – a try or attempt contains the reversal of a porkie.
23d Perhaps Oxford graduates wish to celebrate, every one concludes? (4)
SHOE – the last letters of four words in the clue.
The clues I liked best were 3d and 13d. Which one(s) had you cheering?