Toughie No 2065 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **/***
There’s nothing too tricky here today but my enjoyment was spoiled somewhat by the fact that a number of the surfaces (e.g. 23a and 1d) don’t really mean a great deal. Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
[Apologies for the late publication which was due to technical problems]
1a Shrewd dean’s embracing company people in a higher office (11)
ARCHDEACONS: our editor’s playing a little joke because this is pretty much the same as 1a in the back-pager. Stick together an adjective meaning shrewd or cunning and DEAN’S containing the abbreviation for company.
7a Looking at rear, Donne’s animated (3-2)
END-ON: an anagram (animated) of DONNE.
8a Stick fast with Susan, possessing a surfeit with no backer (9)
SUPERGLUE: the diminutive form of Susan contains “a” (as in ’50p a kilo’) and a synonym of surfeit without its last letter.
10a To idolise cat is ailurophile’s end (7)
LIONISE: string together a big cat, IS and the trailing letter of ailurophile. No prizes for guessing that this may be our very own blogging ailurophile’s favourite clue.
11a Girl takes on commander-in-chief of the highest rank (7)
CLASSIC: a word for a young girl goes inside the abbreviation for commander-in-chief.
12a Clever St Martin extracts broken metal (5)
SMART: remove a silvery white metal (broken, i.e. in two parts) from ‘St Martin’. “extracts” doesn’t seem right since it’s the solver that has to do it, not the subject, so “extracting” might be better.
13a Insensitive person vacantly read my cheap novel (9)
PACHYDERM: an anagram (novel) of R[ea]D MY CHEAP gives us a thick-skinned person.
16a Offered protection, the woman left note, apparently ashamed (9)
SHELTERED: assemble a female pronoun, the abbreviation for left, a note from tonic sol-fa and the colour associated with shame or embarrassment.
18a A blue jean occasionally can be capital (5)
ABUJA: start with A and add the odd letters of ‘blue jean’ to get the capital of Nigeria. Hands up those, like me, who if asked for the capital of Nigeria would have said Lagos.
19a A risk is diverted with this greeting? (3,4)
AIR KISS: an anagram (diverted) of A RISK IS.
22a Uncovered Greco paintings for kicks (7)
RECOILS: weld together the inner letters of [G]REC[o] and types of paintings.
23a Food not off, no opening for bitter disgrace (9)
DISHONOUR: bring together a word for food or course, the opposite of ‘off’ and an adjective meaning bitter without its first letter.
24a Repair ships trapped in centre of Sweden (5)
EMEND: insert a word for ships (more often seen followed by ‘of-war’ or preceded by ‘merchant’) between the central letters of Sweden.
25a First of July gone, fly if nice jet’s arranged economically (11)
EFFICIENTLY: an anagram (arranged) of FLY IF NICE [j]ET without the first letter of July.
1d Way of recording gold stamp involves old bug (9)
AUDIOTAPE: start with the chemical symbol for gold and add a stamping device containing the abbreviation for old and a verb to bug or listen in.
2d Sentence in chapter applied to winner, or not? (7)
CONVICT: cement together the single-letter abbreviation for chapter, a preposition meaning ‘applied to’ and a synonym of winner without “or”.
3d Rage follows Sid reversing former confusion (9)
DISTEMPER: a synonym of anger or petulance follows the reversal of Sid to get an old word for a state of disorder (thanks to Chambers).
4d A reduced flavour in jelly (5)
ASPIC: A and a word for flavour or seasoning without its final letter.
5d Madonna is frequently topless without notice (3,4)
OUR LADY: an adverb meaning frequently or at regular intervals without its first letter contains an abbreviation for a notice or poster. I was going to object that the adverb doesn’t necessarily mean frequently only to find that the BRB lists that very word.
6d Betrays sex, surrendering kiss for 50 pound settlement at first (5)
SELLS: replace the letter used for a kiss in ‘sex’ with the Roman numeral for fifty and the abbreviation for a pound sterling. Finish with the first letter of settlement.
7d Immigration site‘s measure is repeatedly light (5,6)
ELLIS ISLAND: I remembered this from a boat trip around New York bay – it’s the place where immigrants to the USA from Europe were processed. Start with an old measure of length (originally linked to the length of the human arm), add ‘IS’ twice and finish with a verb to light or alight.
9d Space commander flew by and circled (11)
ENCOMPASSED: fuse together a word for a space in printing terminology, an abbreviation for commander and a verb meaning flew by or elapsed.
14d Plant weapon concealed by church freemen every now and then (5,4)
CEDAR TREE: a pointed missile is contained between one of the usual abbreviations for church and regular letters from ‘freemen’.
15d In a deceptive way, have little in silly EU supply (9)
ELUSIVELY: insert the short form of ‘have’ which normally follows an apostrophe into an anagram (supply) of SILLY EU.
17d Become less trouble when aristocrat’s around (4,3)
TAIL OFF: a verb to trouble goes inside an informal term for an aristocrat.
18d Old soldier consumes nice bubbly (7)
ANCIENT: our usual soldier insect contains an anagram (bubbly) of NICE.
20d Laurie’s girl discovered crook (5)
ROSIE: a crook or hooked staff carried by a bishop without its outer letters (dis-covered). Laurie here is the forename of an English writer who wrote of enjoying alcohol with the named girl.
21d Philosopher enthralled by trips to Iceland (5)
STOIC: a member of an old philosophical school is hidden in the clue.
My favourite clue was 20d. Do let us know which one(s) floated your boat.