Toughie No 1979 by Elkamere
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Today is turning out just fine. School is cancelled so I got a lie-in, and then instead of bracing the cold I get to blog an Elkamere. It’s also my wife’s birthday – I’m waiting for my son to surface before we give her presents. Looking forward to a meal out tonight, though we’ll likely walk into town instead of driving. My car likes to go sideways if it can smell any snow. Typical Elkamere today, a joy to solve, very satisfying without being OTT difficult, a few old friends to get us started (8d, 18a), great concise and accurate clueing throughout, plenty of smooth surfaces and a few chuckles on the way. Hard to imagine what more you could possibly want.
As always, definitions are underlined and the hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can always click the TICK TOCK buttons to reveal the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Hell created by Elgar’s first puzzle (6)
EREBUS: The first letter of Elgar plus a kind of picture puzzle
5a Given one’s apparently sleeping, given a name (8)
BAPTISED: A 3-letter word meaning given (as in given to, prone to or inclined to) plus the Roman numeral for one together with the apostrophe S are apparently sleeping, i.e., they are in ***.
9a One type of junction in the neighbourhood (10)
ROUNDABOUT: Two meanings
10a We should set about following new driver (4)
LET’S: An anagram (about) of SET comes after the abbreviation seen on the car of a new driver
11a Turning over child, say ‘Here we go!’ (8)
GERONIMO: Reversal (turning) of the cricket abbreviation for Over, a person who is not an adult, and the Latin abbreviation for say or for example
12a Bend a hot pipe (6)
HOOKAH: Another word for bend, A from the clue and the abbreviation for Hot
13a Order parts for old wind instrument (4)
OBOE: An order or honour parts to allow insertion of the abbreviation for Old
15a Cook drowned in boiling water (8)
IRRIGATE: A 3-letter word meaning cook or fix (eg the books) is immersed in (drowned in) a word for boiling or angry
18a Prospect of soldiers invading country (8)
PANORAMA: An abbreviation for soldiers goes inside (invading) a central american country
19a What a shame — line’s crooked (4)
AWRY: An exclamation meaning what a shame plus the abbreviation for Railway (lines)
21a Scottish Presbyterian announced strikes (6)
KNOCKS: A homophone (announced) of a Scottish Presbyterian John ****.
23a Cavers abandoned first pair to search abyss (8)
CREVASSE: An anagram (abandoned) of CAVERS plus the first two letters (first pair) of SEarch.
25a A biological group‘s exact area (4)
TAXA: A verb meaning to exact or demand (money-wise, perhaps) plus the abbreviation for Area. Hm, isn’t the answer plural..?
26a Habitual criminal runs enemy over, then guard (10)
REOFFENDER: The cricket abbreviation for Runs, the reversal (over) of a 3-letter enemy, plus a guard in front of a hearth (or in the US, a mudguard or wing of a car)
27a Around 1pm, block squirrel (8)
CHIPMUNK: Another word for block or a thick piece goes around IPM (where the one is converted to the Roman numeral)
28a Reveal story about leaders of the Tories (6)
TATTLE: A 4-letter story goes about the first letters (leaders) of The Tories
2d River — perfect river (5)
RHONE: The abbreviation for river and a verb meaning to perfect
3d Robber‘s waistcoat with cuts (9)
BANDOLERO: A short Spanish jacket or waistcoat is cut by another word for ‘with’
4d Still over the moon when City’s lost (6)
STATIC: Take an 8-letter word meaning over the moon and remove the 2-letter postode for the London area known as the city from the front.
5d Wound that may affect fertility? (10,5)
BIOLOGICAL CLOCK: Cryptic definition with a play on wound. When this is “wound”, you may be past it! I sort of have to read it with a comma after wound.
6d Many drove to see part of China (8)
POTSHERD: A 4-letter word that could mean many plus a drove of cattle
7d Grunt about facilities in northern house (5)
IGLOO: The reversal (about) of an American soldier, plus a word for facilities
8d Fan of old farming equipment (9)
EXTRACTOR: A prefix meaning old plus a farm vehicle
14d To convert drunk in bar used to be hard (9)
BRAINWASH: An anagram (drunk) of IN BAR, plus a verb meaning ‘used to be’ and the abbreviation for Hard
16d Gets to break up dirty old man’s fight (2,7)
GO AGAINST: Another word for gets or obtains goes inside a 4-letter word for a dirty old man
17d Catch a US fraudster’s secret wife? (8)
HAUSFRAU: Hidden (…’s secret)
20d Want deposit — banking price raised (3,3)
SEE FIT: A 3-letter verb for deposit contains (banking) the reversal (raised) of price or charge
22d Charlie’s light grip (5)
CLAMP: The letter represented by the international radio code word Charlie, plus a light
24d Pull or stretch (5)
SPELL: Two meanings, the first as in charm or attraction, the second as in a period of time
My favourites today included “drunk in bar” (14d), the drowned cook (15a), the long cryptic definition, the smooth football surface in 4d, and more – which clues did you like?