Toughie No 1894 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Deep Threat
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment ***
Good afternoon from South Staffs, where I’m doing an extra shift this week to cover for Bufo’s absence.
This is the second Toughie set by Stick Insect (the first was Toughie 1873) and I find myself echoing the comments Gazza made when blogging that one. This was a gentle Toughie which I finished in the sort of time I give ** to when blogging the Friday back page, so clearly at the easier end of the spectrum.
In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Engine inlets for gas producers (11)
MOTORMOUTHS – Another word for engine followed by the sort of inlets people take food through, producing a figurative expression for those who talk too much and too fast.
7a Web being rejected by Welshman creates strain (7)
TENSION – Reverse (being rejected) another word for web, then add a Welsh first name (no, not Dai).
8a Drag fish westwards, in wind’s direction (7)
LEEWARD – Put together another word for drag and a notoriously slippery fish, then reverse the lot (westwards, in an Across clue). You get a nautical term for the direction in which the wind is trying to blow your boat.
10a Pay hike is secured by overturning hearing (5)
RAISE – IS (from the clue) placed inside the reverse (overturning) of another word for hearing.
11a Thinks too much of bowlers’ statistics (9)
OVERRATES – Split this (4,5) and you have a cricketing term for the speed (or lack of it) with which the bowling side gets through the required number of deliveries.
12a Travel back in grief, upset and more gloomy? (7)
FOGGIER – Anagram (upset) of GRIEF wrapped around the reverse (back) of a word for ‘travel’.
14a Reduced payments, discounting fine for tenants (7)
LESSEES – Another word for ‘reduced in quantity’, followed by some payments with the abbreviation for ‘fine’ removed from the front.
15a Thoroughly awkward about daughter and husband (2,5)
IN DEPTH – Wrap a word for ‘awkward’ or ‘clumsy’ around the abbreviation for Daughter, then add the abbreviation for Husband.
18a Sorcerer involves idiot in manipulation (7)
MASSAGE – An Eastern sorcerer (or possibly one of the Three Wise Men) wrapped around an idiot.
20a Spur factories to produce purple fruits (9)
EGGPLANTS – A verb meaning ‘spur’ or ‘incite’ followed by some industrial installations, giving us some purple fruits which don’t go into a fruit salad. We had the French word for the same fruit in Toughie 1892, and I don’t think I can improve on the picture Kitty used then.
21a Beat the never-ending cheat (5)
THROB – TH(e) (from the clue) without its final letter (never-ending) followed by a word for ‘cheat’ or ‘steal’.
22a Lacking O? (5,2)
SHORT OF – Double definition, the second referring to what ‘o’ can be used as an abbreviation for.
23a Occasionally, finches followed maritime feature (3,4)
ICE FLOE – Alternate letters (occasionally) of fInChEs FoLlOwEd. A maritime feature to be found in Arctic or Antarctic waters.
24a Remarkably, VIP swaps starter of carpaccio for centre part of cutlet (11)
EXCELLENTLY – Start with part of the formal way of addressing a VIP such as an ambassador, then remove one instance of the first letter of Carpaccio and replace it with the middle letters of cutlet.
1d Blokes with ring — that’s improving (7)
MENDING – another word for blokes followed by a ringing sound.
2d Ibert composed for some people (5)
TRIBE – Anagram (composed) of IBERT.
3d Managed most of royal household in enmity (7)
RANCOUR – Another word for ‘managed’ followed by the general term for those surrounding the monarch with its final letter removed.
4d Painting skilfully, one might gush (3,4)
OIL WELL – A painting medium followed by another word for ‘skilfully’.
5d Nothing comes up after article speculates … (9)
THEORISES – Put together a definite article, the letter which looks like a zero or nothing, and a verb meaning ‘comes up’.
6d … surprise celebrity story — article’s dropped (7)
STARTLE – Put together a celebrity (especially one who has had a leading role in a film or play) and a story, then remove one of the instances of the indefinite article.
7d Isn’t he first off in economy? (11)
THRIFTINESS – Anagram (off) of ISN’T HE FIRST.
9d Take apart second answer in disguise (11)
DISASSEMBLE – Insert the abbreviations for Second and Answer into a word for disguise of one’s intentions.
13d Short-sighted minx with band in charge of sandwiches put on (9)
IMPOLITIC – Put together a minx or naughty child, the letter which looks like a band or ring, and the abbreviation for ‘In Charge’, then wrap the result around ‘put on’ (the gas or a lamp).
16d Party getting good’s over — that’s annoying! (7)
DOGGONE – Put together one of the usual crossword parties, Good, and a word for ‘over’ or ‘finished’, to get an expression of annoyance from the USA, the sort of expletive seen in cowboy films in days gone by, when real swearing was not allowed.
17d Henry adopts fund, exchanging halves to make a small number (7)
HANDFUL – Start by swapping the two halves of the word FUND, then put the result into a diminutive form of Henry.
18d Model Eva is M&S great (7)
MASSIVE – Anagram (model) of EVA IS M and S. The surface obviously refers to that advertising campaign, so how can I resist…
19d Gold to recover value, according to what’s heard (7)
AURALLY – The chemical symbol for gold followed by the sort of recovery of value you may see on the stock market.
21d Male and female in race crime (5)
THEFT – A male pronoun and Female, with an Isle of Man motorcycle race wrapped around the result.