Toughie No 2017 by Shamus
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
The answers to this one all went in fairly painlessly (though I had to check that what I’d worked out for 15d was a real word) until I reached 28a which held me up for ages and which pushed the difficulty rating up from 1.5 to 2 stars. I’m still not really convinced that the first definition there matches the answer.
Thanks to Shamus for the entertainment.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Taster with seconds more than sufficient (6)
SAMPLE: the abbreviation for seconds and an adjective meaning more than sufficient.
4a Item by soldiers? It’s laid on trophy (6)
EGGCUP: something laid followed by a trophy.
8a In Sikkim, odd characters go downhill (3)
SKI: the odd letters of Sikkim. Possibly the easiest ‘Toughie’ clue ever?
10a Old bishop likes crumbling four-sided pillar (7)
OBELISK: start with abbreviations for old and bishop (on a chessboard) and add an anagram (crumbling) of LIKES.
11a Endlessly bringing up origin of sweet dried fruit (7)
RAISINS: a word meaning bringing up or rearing without its last letter is followed by the first letter of sweet.
12a Bike races in island surroundings, like the Manx? (5)
CATTY: put the abbreviation for the annual bike races on the IOM inside a low island.
13a Stride nervously round Lakeland feature first off — like some climbers? (9)
TRELLISED: an anagram (nervously) of STRIDE contains the word for a hill or high moorland in the Lake District without its first letter.
14a Bad risk men met after flying and landing (13)
DISEMBARKMENT: an anagram (after flying) of BAD RISK MEN MET.
17a Standard complaint about one on a railway regarding diet? (13)
PARLIAMENTARY: string together a synonym for standard or average, a complaint or whinge, A and the abbreviation for railway. Finally insert the Roman numeral for one. Diet here is not related to food – I, like many others I suspect, first learnt this meaning in a history lesson when coming across the Diet of Worms – oh how we laughed!
22a This person enters service with support over papers etc (4,5)
MASS MEDIA: insert a pronoun identifying ‘this person’ between a religious service and the reversal of a verb to support or assist.
23a Put in a nutshell, it’s acceptable to be in depression (3,2)
SUM UP: insert the abbreviation meaning acceptable or classy into a depression or hollow.
24a Secret affair is in operation after trouble in retreat (7)
LIAISON: IS and an adverb meaning ‘in operation’ or working follow the reversal of a verb to trouble.
25a Spotted animal that won’t keep quiet with time in circus outfit? (7)
LEOTARD: remove the musical abbreviation for quiet from a spotted wild animal and insert the abbreviation for time.
26a Golf sometimes leads to this surprised expression (3)
GEE: spell out the letter that golf is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
27a Man or woman collecting chief exec to go round part of Oxford? (6)
TOECAP: put one of the forenames that can be used by both men and women round the 3-letter abbreviation for a chief exec and reverse the lot.
28a Torch singer offering something special? (6)
BELTER: this was my last answer and, faced with ?E?T?R it took me ages (until I lost patience and revealed the first letter) and is solely responsible for the extra half-star on my difficulty rating. I knew the term torch song but didn’t really know its meaning so I consulted the BRB which defines it as ‘a popular song of the 1930s giving lugubrious expression to the pangs of unrequited love’. The answer here is both a singer performing with gusto and an informal term for something outstanding. I have difficulty in equating vigorous singing with lugubriousness.
Here’s what’s been described as the most well known torch song of all time:
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1d Put an end to function in school (6)
SCOTCH: insert the abbreviation for a mathematical function into the abbreviation for school.
2d A term is concocted for expert players (7)
MAESTRI: an anagram (concocted) of A TERM IS.
3d Carelessness having cross obscured for those in a congregation? (5)
LAITY: a word for carelessness or sloppiness has the letter that looks like a cross taken away.
5d Bird round island in my view recalled as a diver (9)
GUILLEMOT: put a seabird round the single-letter abbreviation for island and append an expression (2,2) meaning ‘in my view’ reversed.
6d Carpenter at home makes a contribution (5,2)
CHIPS IN: join together the usual nickname for a carpenter and the adverb meaning ‘at home’.
7d Spanish inn? It’s found in school area (6)
POSADA: put an abbreviation meaning ‘it’ or sexual magnetism inside a fishy school and finish with the abbreviation for area.
8d Sabotage drink for refreshment in park activity? (13)
SKATEBOARDING: an anagram (for refreshment, lovely indicator) of SABOTAGE DRINK.
9d Ever irritable after programming what purged data may become? (13)
IRRETRIEVABLE: an anagram (after programming) of EVER IRRITABLE.
14d Decline in food at reception? (3)
DIP: double definition, the second being what you might plunge your breadstick into whilst waiting for the waiter to come round with the Ferrero Rocher.
15d Lights in city and capital erected as a condition (9)
ECLAMPSIA: this is a condition affecting pregnant women (not a word I knew). Insert some devices for giving light between the postal zone for the City of London and the reversal of an abbreviation meaning capital or excellent.
16d Award on stage not new in sport (3)
TOY: remove the abbreviation for new from the name of a theatre award.
18d Temper shown by idiot for all to see over period (7)
ASSUAGE: weld together another word for an idiot, the film classification meaning ‘for all to see’ and a period of time.
19d A figure occupying seat in outburst that’s unrestrained (7)
RAMPANT: insert A and the abbreviation for someone having a seat in the Chamber (although, bizarrely, if they all turn up there’s not enough room for them all to sit) into an outburst or tirade.
20d Greek character in tale embroidered for charm (6)
AMULET: put a Greek letter inside an anagram (embroidered) of TALE.
21d Support for cue kept by thesp I’d erased (6)
SPIDER: our only lurker of the day.
23d Son to manage range (5)
SCOPE: the abbreviation for son and a verb to manage or get by.
The clues which were highlighted for me were 4a, 27a and 8d. Which one(s) did it for you?