Toughie No 1841 by Dada
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Dada for a really enjoyable puzzle with lots of witty clueing.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
8a Star runner going backwards (4)
NOVA – the runner is sometimes a flower in Crosswordland.
9a Location in which to find South American plant (3)
OCA – hidden in the clue. I didn’t know the plant but with two checkers out of three it became obvious.
10a Capital that’s in order in Belfast, Brasilia and Tashkent? (6)
ATHENS – split the answer 1,4,1 to get what may be found in order in the three cities mentioned.
11a Female coming in close, I look round (6)
SHUFTI – insert the abbreviation for female into a verb to close then append I. The answer is an old slang term, from Arabic and originally used by the RAF from about 1925, for a quick look round or reconnoitre. *****-kite was an old RAF slang term for a reconnaissance aircraft and *****-scope was used informally for an invasive medical instrument.
12a Rather outstanding captain and helmsman both launching ship (8)
SCHOONER – a synonym for rather or preferably goes outside the initial letters (both launching) of captain and helmsman.
13a Rule scaled down in support for politician (7,8)
FOREIGN MINISTER – a word for a period of rule and an adjective meaning scaled down or small-scale go inside a verb to support or nourish.
15a Order potential bromance? (7)
MANDATE – split the answer 3,4 and it could be the precursor to a bromance.
17a Cushion on the floor reportedly for a large animal (7)
BUFFALO – put together homophones of another word for a cushion or bulwark and an adjective meaning ‘on the floor’ or at ground level. Well, I’m happy with the second homophone!
20a Emotional support in reality bunk fabricated within religious cult (8,7)
SECURITY BLANKET – insert an anagram (fabricated) of REALITY BUNK into a religious cult.
23a Caught feeding stray lately, a wild thing (5,3)
ALLEY CAT – the cricketing abbreviation for caught goes inside an anagram (stray) of LATELY A.
25a Victim in pit (6)
QUARRY – double definition, the first being the potential victim of a predator, say.
26a Five elected initially to enter parliament — I for one, and four others (6)
VOWELS – this was my last answer and it took some time for the penny to drop even with all the checkers. Start with the Roman numeral for five then insert the initial letter of elected into what parliament is a collective noun for.
27a For starters, love essentially is symbol of Polynesian affection (3)
LEI – the starting letters of three words in the clue.
28a Beat with good smack (4)
TANG – a verb to beat and the abbreviation for good.
1d I’m sad British hospital has rings run around it (3-3)
BOO-HOO – start with single-letter abbreviation for British then put a series of ring-shaped letters around the abbreviation for hospital.
2d Tease over speciality for US president (8)
GARFIELD – reverse a verb to tease and add a speciality or discipline to get the name of an assassinated US president.
3d Jerk got in massive car, US people carrier (6,9)
MOVING STAIRCASE – an anagram (jerk) of GOT IN MASSIVE CAR. I’m a bit perplexed by the ‘US’ – the answer is, if anything, a British term. I wonder if ‘US’ was a late addition to the previous clue and it somehow got inserted into this clue as well?
4d Orange pots (7)
SATSUMA – double definition, the second a type of Japanese pottery.
5d Cleaner whips a gun out, left with very little money? (7-2,6)
WASHING-UP LIQUID – start with an anagram (out) of WHIPS A GUN then add L(eft) and a small amount of money (1,4).
6d Auden, oh dear, oh dear! (6)
WHOOPS – the initials of Mr Auden the poet followed by an exclamation recognising that one’s made a boo-boo.
7d Stake, pole piercing goddess of folly (4)
ANTE – the abbreviation for one of the geographic poles goes inside the Greek goddess of mischief.
14d Fish skin not soft (3)
EEL – skin (of a 4d, say) without the musical abbreviation for soft.
16d Wicked one (3)
ACE – double definition. Wicked is being used in its informal sense meaning excellent.
18d Beautiful things approaching amid uncontrollable laughter (4,4)
FINE ARTS – insert an adjective meaning approaching or impending into a word for periods of uncontrollable laughter.
19d Gutless story took a heartbeat (7)
SYSTOLE – the outer letters of story are followed by a verb meaning took illegally.
21d Rough — as are odds? (6)
UNEVEN – a cryptic description of all the odd numbers.
22d Job in foreign currency under a sovereign (6)
ERRAND – a foreign currency follows our current sovereign.
24d Upside-down puppet in sack (4)
LOOT – reverse another word for a puppet, pawn or poodle.
There are honourable mentions for 10a, 15a, 1d and 6d but I’m awarding my prize to 26a. Which one(s) had you cheering?