Toughie No 1857 by Elkamere
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
I made rather heavy weather of this though when I’d finished I couldn’t really see why because there were a handful of ‘old favourites’ to give a way in. Elkamere has, as usual, come up with a thoroughly entertaining puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
6a Life is tough without mum joining a foreign fleet (7,6)
SPANISH ARMADA – start with a word for the duration of one’s life and add IS and a synonym for tough containing an affectionate word for mother. Finish the whole thing with A.
8a Fix shed before end of June (6)
SCRAPE – a verb to shed or discard precedes the last letter of June.
9a Spider finally moving on fruit fly (3,3,2)
RUN FOR IT – the last letter of spider is followed by an anagram (moving) of ON FRUIT.
10a Right to invade military establishment (3)
YES – hidden.
11a Time to cover up informer’s mistakes (6)
ERRATA – a period of time contains an informer or snitch.
12a Boiling, as current when crossing river (8)
TROPICAL – an adjective meaning current or newsworthy contains the abbreviation for river.
14a Bring-a-bottle party? Impossible (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO – cryptically there might be no metallic containers at this party. This is a bit of an old chestnut but neatly done.
16a I go to see pair entering rally (7)
IMPROVE – I and a verb to go (in a board game perhaps) contain the abbreviation for pair.
20a Row on river that’s very high (8)
FALSETTO – a row or argument (3-2) follows the name of a river in Cornwall.
23a Passion starts to replace glory (6)
LUSTRE – a word for passion or ardour and the starting two letters of ‘replace’.
24a 1 in 10 is a peasant (3)
OIK – a less formal way of saying 10a contains the Roman numeral for one.
25a Husband actually hugs her, ultimately frustrated (8)
HINDERED – start with the abbreviation for husband and add an adverb meaning actually containing the ultimate letter of ‘her’.
26a Small dog, the most important you have heard? (6)
YORKIE – this sounds like ‘the most important you have’ (your key).
27a If in shock, stop show (13)
MANIFESTATION – insert IF into a shock (of hair) and append a stopping place.
1d Painter of ancient people with a Hindu epic (8)
RAMAYANA – this is an old Indian epic poem (I didn’t know this so thanks to Mr Google). String together the usual abbreviation for artist, an adjective relating to an ancient people of Central America and A.
2d A plantation in a very irregular delta (8)
VINEYARD – an anagram (irregular) of IN A VERY followed by the letter for which delta is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. I’m somewhat puzzled by the A which starts the definitions in both this clue and 4d – in neither clue does it seem necessary or improve the surface reading.
3d XXX will keep spades dry (7)
THIRSTY – the number for which the Romans used XXX contains the abbreviation for the card suit spades.
4d A foreigner‘s smile, having to fit in (6)
GRINGO – a smile or smirk followed by a verb meaning to fit in or be in harmony.
5d Going north, I see rubbish in Italian city (6)
NAPOLI – bring together I, an exclamation meaning ‘see’ and a verb to rubbish or criticise. Now reverse it all.
6d Priestly devotion admits oracles must be reinterpreted (13)
SACERDOTALISM – an anagram (must be reinterpreted) of ADMITS ORACLES.
7d Rebuke cuckoo, wild type (13)
ANIMADVERSION – assemble a South American bird of the cuckoo family (not one I knew), an adjective meaning wild or crazed and a type or variety.
13d Clay perhaps, not quite stone (3)
PIP – what clay is an example of without its final letter.
15d Born, or rather ‘delivered’ (3)
NÉE – this sounds like a word which could replace ‘rather’ in a sentence such as ‘It will take years, rather decades to get rid of the deficit’.
17d Song featuring variety stars (5,3)
MILKY WAY – the song performed at every opportunity by Frank contains a word meaning variety or type.
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18d Stand, fall, stop (8)
RESTRAIN – charade of a verb to stand or position and a fall (of water).
19d Yucky fare, but not bad (7)
GOODISH – split the answer 3,4 and it could be describing yucky or messy food.
21d Small branch I had found in grass (6)
SIDING – insert the contracted form of ‘I had’ into a verb to grass or rat.
22d Answer hidden in awesome sentence (6)
TARIFF – the single-letter abbreviation for answer goes inside a slang word meaning awesome or excellent. This defines the limits of what a judge may hand down.
I had 6a, 24a, 27a and 17d in my list of likes. Which one(s) grabbed you?