Toughie No 2071 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Mr K
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BD Rating - Difficulty **** - Enjoyment ****/*****
Hello, everyone. I'm standing in for Dutch today. I thought that this puzzle was a masterclass in misdirection and subtlety. With a couple of exceptions, I believe that the hints themselves would be right at home in one of my Tuesday back-page blogs. The difficulty with the clues mostly came from the use of clever synonyms that had me going down the wrong path several times. It's easy to make a puzzle difficult by using obscure vocabulary and complex wordplay, but to construct head-scratching two-ingredient charades, container and contents, etc., using well-known words must take real skill. The abundance of such clues here meant that there were a lot of penny-drop moments, so the struggle to fill the grid and parse the clues was most definitely worth it. I was impressed and entertained.