Toughie No 2009 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Stick Insect’s previous Toughies have been on the easy side prompting Bufo to say (Toughie 1926) “I’d like something more challenging next time”. Kitty maybe had a premonition of harder things to come in her review of his most recent Toughie (1984) asking “Are things about to get stickier?”. Well, the wordplay in this one is still fairly straightforward but some of the vocabulary is more obscure (including the use of more unusual meanings for common words) which meant that I had to make considerable use of Chambers and Google. Thanks to Stick Insect for the challenge.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
6a Mass producers maybe trick star with pompous speeches (13)
CONCELEBRANTS: glue together a word for a trick or hoax, an informal term for a star or well-known personality and pompous or bombastic speeches. The answer means two (or more) priests sharing the workload at a religious ceremony such as a mass.
8a Cab provided to return port (6)
FIACRE: reverse a conjunction meaning provided and add a port in Israel.
9a Library book I loaned out (8)
BODLEIAN: the abbreviation for book followed by an anagram (out) of I LOANED produce the name of the main Oxford University library.
10a Letter from island with half missing (3)
RHO: just half of the name of a Greek island.
11a Those sliding on snow risk crashing around end of the slope without leap (6)
SKIERS: an anagram (crashing) of RISK contains the end letter of [th]E. Finish with what remains of ‘slope’ after you’ve removed a verb which can mean to leap (thanks Chambers).
12a Veneered dial? (8)
OVERLAID: if you split the answer 4,4 and treat it cryptically you’ll end up with ‘dial’.
14a Nude’s odd bits left in genuine spin (7)
TRUNDLE: insert the odd letters of ‘nude’ and the abbreviation for left into an adjective meaning genuine or correct. The answer usually means to move slowly and ponderously but the BRB came to my aid once more – it has an archaic meaning of ‘to spin’.
16a Child adopts old approach this evening (7)
TONIGHT: another word for a very young child contains an obsolete verb meaning to approach.
20a Ben’s rose is twisted, short and stiff (2,6)
EN BROSSE: an anagram (is twisted) of BEN’S ROSE.
23a Move soldier after final month (6)
DECANT: a soldier insect follows the abbreviated final month of the year.
24a Notes in teachers’ paper (3)
TES: double definition, the first being notes from tonic sol-fa.
25a Feature polished off, followed by a drink (5,3)
CHINA TEA: bring together a facial feature, a verb meaning polished off and A.
26a Blast soot is unlimited and gushing (3-3)
TOO-TOO: a short blast on a horn is followed by the word ‘soot’ without its outer letters.
27a Energy shown by very loud cute lass excited about north-east success (13)
EFFECTUALNESS: start with the abbreviations for energy and very loud then add an anagram (excited) of CUTE LASS containing the abbreviation for north-east.
1d Unit of land held by nameless Greek poet (8)
ANACREON: a unit of land equivalent to 4,840 square yards is held inside an abbreviation meaning nameless or unidentified. I’d never heard of this Greek lyric poet.
2d Backing engineers against sort of laser (8)
REVERSAL: fit together an abbreviation for army engineers, the abbreviation for ‘against’ used in sports fixtures and an anagram (sort) of LASER.
3d Court guide‘s piece that includes editor and bishop (3,4)
RED BOOK: the wordplay here is straightforward (a chess piece containing abbreviations for editor and bishop) but how the answer means court guide had me Googling a lot. I eventually settled on its meaning the term used for the ‘bible’ providing authoritative information for solicitors, barristers and judges involved in the murky world of family law.
4d Dickens character after old penny for tedious task (6)
DRUDGE: the abbreviation for a pre-decimalisation penny and the surname of a Charles Dickens character. The answer usually means a person having to do hard and dull work but the BRB reveals that it can also mean the dull work itself.
5d Disclose university five seized by backward property right (6)
UNVEIL: start with an abbreviation for university and then insert the Roman numeral for five into the reversal of a legal term for a right to property. The surface doesn’t mean a great deal.
6d Crack sovereign measure to bear down on East European plant (13)
CHINKERINCHEE: I’m not very good on plants at the best of times and this one seems more obscure than most but once again the wordplay is fairly straightforward. It’s a charade of a crack or narrow opening, the cipher of our current sovereign, an imperial measure of distance and the abbreviations for East and European.
7d Vegetables in small utensil, roughly adding nuts (7,6)
SPANISH ONIONS: string together the abbreviation for small, a kitchen utensil and a suffix meaning roughly or somewhat. Now add a slang word for nuts or heads.
13d Drunk, lacking limits, produces leak (3)
RUN: simply remove the outer letters of ‘drunk’.
15d Origins of Darwinism upset orthodox pair (3)
DUO: the first letters of three words in the clue.
17d Badly lost, Del embraces variable dates Julius arranged (3,5)
OLD STYLE: an anagram (badly) of LOST DEL containing one of the algebraic variables. This refers to the outdated Julian calendar which was replaced by the Gregorian one in Scotland in 1600, but not in England and Wales for another century and a half. If you want to see what happened at the time of changeover Google ‘September 1752 calendar’.
18d Confined lion’s calm, on speed occasionally (8)
INCLOSED: select the even letters from the four word phrase at the centre of the clue.
19d Festival band discovered with American disease (7)
TETANUS: knit together the name of the Vietnamese New Year festival (best known in the West for the accompanying offensive during the Vietnam war), the word ‘band’ without its outer letters and one of the abbreviations for American.
21d Tie-breaker arranged for fun (3-3)
RUN-OFF: an anagram (arranged) of FOR FUN.
22d Patter disturbed this heartless cook (6)
SHTICK: an anagram (disturbed) of THIS followed by ‘cook’ without its inner letters.
Top clues for me today were 9a and 7d. Which one(s) did you pin your rosettes on?