Toughie No 1869 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Messinae for a pleasant puzzle with a mini-theme. We could perhaps have done with a bit more variety in the types of clue since nearly half of them involved a container/insertion type construct.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
8a Burial site round ancient city means to make an impression (7)
GRAVURE – put a place of burial around our usual old Biblical city. I didn’t know this procedure which is apparently a way of producing an image from a photographic negative and then etching it in.
10a Condition of volume penned by Nick mostly (7)
PROVISO – abbreviations for ‘of’ and ‘volume’ are contained in a nick without its last letter.
11a Reactionary state cut down monster, 17 (2,2,5)
ET TU BRUTE – to get an example of 17a (according to Shakespeare) reverse a verb to state without its last letter and add a monster or fiend.
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12a Start where film is made (5)
ONSET – split the answer 2,3 to get where a film is shot.
13a Whit, time for this composition? (5)
MOTET – start with a word for whit or tiny piece and append T(ime).
14a Summon archdeacon to tuck into ice-cream (7)
CONVENE – the abbreviated title of an archdeacon goes inside an ice-cream (or, more accurately, its container).
17a Star’s awful moods could produce ironic comment (6,4,5)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS – an anagram (could produce) of STAR’S AWFUL MOODS. An example of this might be “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distan…”.
19a Russian transport tsar arranged to carry common type (7)
TROIKAS – an anagram (arranged) of TSAR contains an informal and derogatory term for a common or uncouth person.
21a Birds finally in flight move energetically (5)
ROUST – I knew this word as a transitive verb meaning to get someone out of bed but Chambers reveals that it’s also an intransitive verb to move energetically. Insert the final letter of birds into another word for a flight or disorderly retreat.
24a See 6d
26a Couple at Buckingham Palace are flirting (9)
PHILANDER – an oldie but goodie – split the answer 4,3,2 to get the royal pair.
27a New climb under development (7)
NASCENT – the abbreviation for new followed by a synonym for a climb (of a mountain, say).
28a Insurgent’s ultimate cause — this? (7)
TREASON – the ultimate letter of insurgent and a cause or motive.
1d Education officials in formal meeting becoming incandescent (6)
AGLEAM – put the abbreviation for the body responsible for administering education in a particular area inside the abbreviation for the mandatory yearly meeting of a public company.
2d Work out manoeuvring to break into radio as dogsbody (8)
FACTOTUM – put a verb meaning to work or function and an anagram (manoeuvring) of OUT into the abbreviation for a method of radio transmission.
3d Amazed finding doctors involved in some French business (10)
DUMBSTRUCK – insert one of the abbreviations for doctors between a French word meaning ‘some’ and a synonym for business or dealings.
4d Left out of exotic place, Peru’s capital (5-4)
UPPER-CASE – an anagram (exotic) of P[L]ACE PERU’S after we’ve removed the abbreviation for left.
5d Cracked engine (4)
LOCO – double definition, the first an informal adjective meaning cracked or crackers.
6d/24a 17 misheard Sky broadcast (4,2,5)
KISS ME HARDY – an example of 17a comes from an anagram (broadcast) of MISHEARD SKY.
7d Goes aimlessly around Sweden, stumped! (8)
FOOTLESS – this was my last answer and I stared at it for some time before this meaning of stumped hit me. A verb meaning potters about contains the IVR code for Sweden. Not exactly PC perhaps but rather amusing.
9d Items of dance music they won’t take off (4)
EMUS – lurking in the clue.
15d Stormy Red Sea — Wren gets anchor maybe (10)
NEWSREADER – an anagram (stormy) of RED SEA WREN.
16d Host’s pelf dissipated in dens of iniquity (9)
FLESHPOTS – an anagram (dissipated) of HOST’S PELF.
17d Fine work of art, very attractive (8)
FETCHING – the abbreviation for fine (a category of pencil) and a work of art which may have involved 8a.
18d Love to be embraced by career girl that’s attractive and rather plump (8)
ROUNDISH – insert the letter resembling a score of love into a verb to career and add an informal term for an attractive girl.
20d Monster so upset Nazi troops (6)
OGRESS – reverse an adverb meaning so or therefore and add the abbreviation for an elite corps of Nazi troops.
22d Personnel detained by criminal organisation, the mob (6)
THRONG – the current abbreviation for what used to be called the personnel department goes inside a Chinese criminal organisation. I don’t know why we have ‘the’ there other than to improve the surface but ‘mob’ (without ‘the’) could easily have been moved to be the first word of the clue.
23d Blame having lost university safe investment (4)
GILT – take the single-letter abbreviation for university away from a word for blame or culpability.
25d Frenchman certainly very engaging (4)
YVES – a positive response with the abbreviation for very taken inside.
I liked 17a (for the excellent anagram) and 16d (just because the answer is one of my favourite words, which rolls off the tongue) but my favourite is 7d (for the ‘penny drop’ moment when I realised what stumped meant). Which one(s) earned your approbation?