Toughie 1861

Toughie No 1861 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Thanks to Firefly for a puzzle which was fairly straightforward though I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed it a great deal since it didn’t seem to have much in the way of sparkle. Do feel free to point out what I’ve missed and call me grumpy!

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

Across Clues

1a Where you may find the pets, possibly — and l’enfant terrible! (3,7,4)
THE NAUGHTY STEP – THE followed by a reverse anagram which gives us ‘pets’.

9a Vessel‘s quicker without check (8)
SCHOONER – a comparative meaning quicker or earlier contains the chess abbreviation for check.

10a Pasty left from supper eaten by a bird (5)
ASHEN – the leftmost letter of supper goes inside A and a domesticated bird.

12a Finished bronze from the East, with Eastern content (4)
NEAT – reverse a verb (or noun) meaning bronze and insert the abbreviation for Eastern. I was a bit dubious about ‘finished’ but it is one of the meanings given in Chambers.

13a Spring resort routine is to don outers for esplanade, and footwear (10)
ESPADRILLE – insert a resort with a mineral spring and a word meaning routine or a repetitive procedure into the outer letters of esplanade.

15a One article’s retrieved from spilt tea leaves – cheers! (8)
ELEVATES – an anagram (spilt) of TE[a] LEAVES after we’ve removed one of the indefinite articles.

16a Centre of stabiliser split by sailors (6)
KERNEL – the bit of a ship that stops it rolling over is split in two by the abbreviation for our senior service.

18a Devotion shown by star adopting gutless Etonian (6)
NOVENA – we had this Roman Catholic devotion as recently as last Wednesday’s back-pager. A star that suddenly increases in brightness contains the outer letters of Etonian.

20a General is in tears (8)
SWEEPING – the single-letter contraction of ‘is’ followed by a present participle meaning ‘in tears’.

23a Pipes playing Tam’s new air (5,5)
WATER MAINS – an anagram (playing) of TAM’S NEW AIR.

24a Compass points bracketing centre of Sao Paulo (4)
SPAN – two cardinal points contain the central letters of Sao Paulo.

26a Spray in season when nitrogen’s short (5)
SPRIG – one of the four seasons without the chemical symbol for nitrogen.

27a Peevish omission that goes against the grain … (8)
CROSSCUT – charade of an adjective meaning peevish or irritable and an omission or excision.

28a … in deleting Kent after redraft — this can create rows (8,6)
KNITTING NEEDLE – an anagram (after redraft) of IN DELETING KENT.

Down Clues

2d Rising, oddly drained, leave all I can see in Vatican City? (7)
ENCLAVE – reverse ‘leave all I can see’ then take away the odd letters to leave what Vatican City is an example of.

3d Criterion’s to lose its upper tier soon (4)
ANON – start with a word meaning criterion or yardstick and lose its first letter.

4d Dread being trapped by German desperado (8)
GANGSTER – a word for dread or anxiety is held inside one of the abbreviations for German.

5d Utter thanks to unknown American for treatment en route? (6)
TARMAC – what sounds like a short word of thanks (to some people perhaps, but not to me) is followed by an informal way of addressing an unknown male person in the USA. I do wish that setters would recognise that half the native English speakers in the world do pronounce the rhotic R.

6d Lag protected by seedy criminal — it’s unrealistic (6-4)
STARRY-EYED – a verb to lag or loiter goes inside an anagram (criminal) of SEEDY.

7d Level with Alec — he longed to take part (7)
ECHELON – hidden in the clue.

8d Inform chappie I may be in after one — then finally all there? (11)
INTELLIGENT – put together a verb to inform and a posh chappie and insert an I. Precede all that with the Roman numeral for one and the final letter of ‘then’.

11d New bunks not damaged? Not to anyone’s knowledge (11)
UNBEKNOWNST – an anagram (damaged) of NEW BUNKS NOT.

14d Expert in the carriage trade? (10)
WAINWRIGHT – mildly cryptic definition of someone who might have manufactured the subject of Constable’s most famous painting. I didn’t know the term ‘carriage trade’ which is a North American term for the wealthy clientele of a business (those who, in earlier times, could have afforded a private carriage).

17d 10’s offspring boarding vacant swing for a final effort (4,4)
SWAN SONG – a synonym for 10a and a male offspring go on board the outer letters of swing.

19d Warhorse medic managed to corral easily at first (7)
VETERAN – the abbreviation for an animal medic and a verb meaning managed contain the first letter of ‘easily’.

21d The setter’s bash is appropriate (7)
IMPOUND – join together “the setter’s” put into the first person and a verb to bash.

22d Exercise characteristically energetic, but not made crystal clear (3,3)
T’AI CHI – an anagram (energetic) of CHARACTERISTICALLY after we’ve removed the letters of ‘crystal clear’. ‘Made’ is the indicator informing us that the letters to be removed are not in the order specified.

25d Man perhaps gets footloose girl to do a handstand (4)
ISLE – a girl’s name (the late Ms. Tanner of Weatherfield, perhaps) loses its last letter then what’s left is reversed.

The best clue for me was 1a. Which one(s) gave you a lift?

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7 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Average Wednesday Toughie. 1a was my favourite too as it made me think of weekends on this blog

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza

  2. Sheffieldsy
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We’re in Gibraltar for a short break. We bought the Telegraph in a nearby newsagent’s shop at £2.40. The international edition here is rather slimmer than the real McCoy and we were sad to find there was no puzzle page near the middle. But, hang on, inside the back page of the Sport supplement, there it was.

    I suspect we enjoyed this more than Gazza. We liked 1a but our COTD was 22d. How Firefly would ever discover that removing the letters of crystal clear from characteristically would leave, as residue, an anagram of that form of exercise just beggars belief. Brilliant, and worth an extra star for that alone – 2*/3.5*.

    Thanks Gazza and Firefly.

  3. jane
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Looks as though 1a is going to sweep the board today – must suggest the one in the cartoon to my daughters!
    Like Sheffieldsy, I thought Firefly did an excellent job with 22d – I was quite proud of myself as well when I finally worked out the parsing. I also rather liked 20&27a.

    Sorry you didn’t particularly enjoy this one, Gazza – I reckon that 5d (which made me smile) got you off on the wrong foot!

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Gazza
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Shamus tomorrow.

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1a was one of our last ones in as it needed several checkers before we could see where it was heading. Not a quick solve for us but as it was interrupted by other things that needed to be done, a bit hard to get a true measure of difficulty Probably a bit harder than Gazza found it though and a bit more fun. We agree with 1a for favourite too.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  6. Kath
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did quite enjoy this and I did find it quite difficult so more than Gazza’s 2**/2** for me.
    I was so slow to get 1a – it held me up with the rest of it as I had no first letters across the top – oh well.
    I think 1a was my favourite but it did take me a very long time.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for all his efforts.

  7. Jon_S
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1a was my last one in, and very nicely done it was too. I solved this online thinking this was the back pager, and couldn’t believe how difficult it was. It was only when I clicked submit and glanced at the top… OK, it’s been one of those days.

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