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Toughie 1801

Toughie No 1801 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **/***

Thanks to Firefly for a midweek Toughie that was pleasant enough and not ubertricky.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with the puzzle and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

6a To some extent heat’s on affair — like this? (5,1,7)
AFTER A FASHION – what we need is an anagram of HEAT’S ON AFFAIR with the indicator being the answer itself.

8a Flight direct from States swallows overdraft (6)
EXODUS – a preposition meaning ‘direct from’ and an abbreviation for the States contain an abbreviation for overdraft.

9a Buck a trend — stupidly dumping R & D — thus fail to progress (8)
STAGNATE – a male animal (buck) followed by an anagram (stupidly) of A T[r]EN[d] without R & D.

10a Runner visits Sikkim from time to time (3)
SKI – the odd letters of Sikkim.

11a To lighten, quarter of load’s dumped in sand (6)
BLEACH – insert a quarter of the word ‘load’ into a synonym for sand.

12a Saucy clothing? (8)
DRESSING – a weakish cryptic definition.

14a May perhaps briefly possessing strong arguments shows vast … (7)
MAMMOTH – a 3-letter abbreviation for what May is an example of contains a metaphor for strong supporting arguments.

16a … skill as Conservative avoiding awkward glitches (7)
SLEIGHT – an anagram (awkward) of GLIT[c]HES without the C[onservative].

20a Canines inspect patch of grass and the endless … (3,5)
EYE TEETH – string together a verb to inspect or contemplate, a patch of grass on a golf course and ‘the’ without its last letter.

23a … drive — undesirably let off (6)
TOOTLE – an adverb meaning to a greater extent than is desirable is followed by an anagram (off) of LET.

24a First half’s missed in smash performance (3)
ACT – drop the first half of a smash or collision.

25a Tidal turbines for the USA, possibly? (3,5)
SEA POWER – double definition, the first a bit cryptic. Tidal turbines harness the strength of the waves to produce electricity.

26a Shrubs seen in western continents — not before noon, though (6)
ERICAS – continents in the west without the abbreviation meaning before noon.

27a Serving on board in advance of the fruit (6,3,4)
BEFORE THE MAST – charade of a preposition meaning ‘in advance of’, THE and the fruit of the oak and other trees.

Down Clues

1d Boss markedly masculine where breeding’s a concern (8)
STUDFARM – concatenate a boss or knob, an adverb meaning markedly or considerably and an abbreviation for masculine.

2d Officer supports hush over airman’s first hint of treachery (5,3)
BRASS HAT – assemble our usual supporting garments, an instruction to hush and the first letters of airman and treachery.

3d GB right or wrong in the game? (7)
OFFSIDE – double definition. It looks as though the editor’s having a little joke this week (this may be “confuse Kath” day!). The first is on the right of a vehicle in Great Britain (although if the vehicle is driving towards you it’s on your left!).

4d Slice of meat? Look out for 8! (6)
ESCAPE – start with a cut of meat and take out the archaic interjection meaning ‘look!’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d ‘Sherlock’ is under water, topless, getting supplies (6)
VIANDS – Sherlock is an informal (often ironic) name for a detective. Put the abbreviation for a detective in the CID after a brand of mineral water without its first letter. Uniformed officers often have a pretty low opinion of the investigative capabilities of those in the CID; a uniformed inspector once told me that if two CID officers were in a phone box and one of them farted they wouldn’t be able to detect which one had done it.

6d In modifying part of speech, I left in gold cross surmounting intricate breviary (9,4)
AUXILIARY VERB – insert the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for left into the chemical symbol for gold, the cross-shaped letter and an anagram (intricate) of BREVIARY.

7d Never out of cash? Time he allowed a touch of selflessness in (3,2,3,5)
NOT IN THE LEAST – start with a laconic way of saying ‘out of cash’ (2,3) and add the abbreviation for time, HE and a verb meaning allowed containing A and the first letter of selflessness.

13d Date in York, maybe? (3)
SEE – double definition. Date here is a verb.

15d Single topped the chart, we hear (3)
ONE – this sounds like a verb meaning topped the chart or triumphed.

17d Showing type, Latvian took wrong turning leaving centre (8)
LETTERED – an old-fashioned term for a Latvian followed by a verb meaning ‘took a wrong turning’ or ‘screwed up’ without its central letter.

18d Press controlling nearly everything? That’s wry (8)
IRONICAL – assemble a verb to press, an abbreviation meaning controlling and a synonym for everything without its last letter.

19d Handout of tea and sympathy quietly suspended (7)
CHARITY – an informal word for tea followed by another word for sympathy or compassion without the musical abbreviation for quietly.

21d Warning in argument about surgery coming up (3-3)
TIP-OFF – a minor argument contains the reversal of the abbreviation for a surgical procedure.

22d Tie up trailing ends of rope loosened in Lear, maybe? (6)
EDWARD – reverse a tie or dead heat after the end letters of rope and loosened. This Lear is not the Shakespearean king but the writer of nonsense verse.

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear, 
Who has written such volumes of stuff. 
Some think him ill-tempered and queer, 
But a few find him pleasant enough.

I bestowed my ticks today on 1a, 3d and 13d. Which one(s) made you gruntled?

14 comments on “Toughie 1801

  1. A little trickier but good fun.

    I missed the water in 5d so thank you Gazza for that.

    wouldn’t you expect ‘first quarter’ or some such in 11a? though the answer was clear enough.
    took me a while to find the first half of smash (24a) – not my favourite clue type.

    I quite liked 22d – simple construct yet tricky to parse, and i like the wordplay surface.

    Many thanks Firefly and Gazza

  2. Goodness, it’s quiet on here today. I’ve been out for lunch and fully expected to be well down the list of comments.
    Obviously I found this a great deal more tricky than Gazza did – I still maintain that Firefly has upped his game difficulty wise over the last few puzzles.
    25a surprised me a little as it wouldn’t be my first thought for the US – nuclear would be my most likely option.
    1d bothers me a little as one word. BRB puts an apostrophe between the two – I’m not sure what that implies.
    3d – oh dear, if Kath gets round to doing this one as well as the back-pager, she’ll certainly think that someone’s got it in for her today. You obviously had the same thought, Gazza!
    6d – I needed to read this several times, have a drink and sit down in order to digest the clue. I was SO proud of myself for actually parsing it, which was more than I managed with its oppo in 7d. I’ve never heard anyone use that expression for cash and it refuses to stick in my brain.
    15d is not in any way a homophone as far as I’m concerned – rather like Gazza and the ‘R’ factor I guess.
    17d went unparsed as I didn’t know the old-fashioned Latvian.

    I rather liked 27a once I’d retrieved the phrase from the murky grey depths and both the 14/16 & 20/23 combos earned ticks. I do like the word at 23a – makes me smile.

    Thanks to Firefly (please don’t get any more tricky!) and to Gazza for the explanations – the still shot at the start of the 4d clip had me worried as to which particular ‘slice of meat’ we were going to be shown but that chiselled jawline gets the thumbs up from me!

    1. It doesn’t apply exclusively. It’s a definition by example – the ‘possibly’ indicates that the USA is just one example of a sea power.

  3. Too tough for me, but strangely intriguing, so I stuck at it with the hints. Even when I had found a way of justifying my answers, the parsing was elusive. Of the ones I did fill in, I have never heard of 2d, 20a, 27a what 22d is all about. 4d & 5d remain unsolved. *****/***

    Totally off wavelength for me. Thanks Firefly, you win; thanks Gazza for nursing me to ones I could twig.

    1. That telephone box crime in your anecdote would indeed be undetectable – unless, of course, they recruited the help of a sniffer dog :-)

  4. I did enjoy this, but disappointingly I was a scant handful short by the time I ground to a halt. I had heard of neither the expression in 27 ac. nor the fruit reference. I had 4 d. but could not parse it (either before or after Gazza’s hint). I should have had 9 ac. but didn’t, although I was on the right track, and the water escaped me in 5d. Many thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  5. I also had trouble with the water part of 5d but had got the right answer from the definition and checkers. A slowish steady solve that eventually all came together. I particularly liked the square made by the four long answers, 6d being the last of these to fall.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  6. The right hand side cooperated but the lower left hand side put up more resistance .
    Solving 6d and 5d gave me fantastic feelings of achievement , having looked long and hard at them .Together with 27 a they are my top picks.
    Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  7. Enjoyable, and tough, but not too tough. That said I failed miserably on 27ac where I didn’t know the phrase or the fruit, so resorted to Chambers.

  8. I definitely agree that it was tricky in places. I came unstuck on 23 and 26A. I don’t get what the first half missed is in 24A is either. I always thought 1D was two words. Liked 14A and 22D but loved 6A and 3D. Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  9. I found this not too tough for the most part, but then came across some harder bits and did end up reaching for my trusty electronic device a few times to help me finish. Like looking up the start of 27a to find the term and then verifying that the last word is a fruit. Also had to search for something to fit 5d, though when I had an answer I did at least extract the water from it. I will also admit that after scratching my head awhile I shrugged and searched ???act to get the smash.

    Some good stuff, but it seems I have used up all my ticks on the backpager.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza – brilliant illustrations as usual, especially the Little Red Riding Hood.

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