Toughie No 2117 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
This is a pretty gentle but enjoyable puzzle which shouldn’t take solvers too long, giving them plenty of time to carve their pumpkins. Thanks to Messinae.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Brushing up on foreign language, improving appearance in table? (6,9)
FRENCH POLISHING: a present participle meaning brushing up or honing follows a European language.
9a Performance dropping tango for string instrument (9)
ACCORDION: start with a synonym of performance, remove the letter that tango identifies in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and replace it with another word for string.
10a Playwright with digestive condition needing nurse (5)
IBSEN: join together the abbreviation for an digestive disorder (3) and the abbreviation for a qualified nurse (no longer used in the UK, but used elsewhere in the world).
11a Sounds like what you need to drive off in military style (5)
KHAKI: this sounds (to some people) like what you need to get your vehicle going (3,3).
12a Dark Blues set off in racing boat (9)
OUTRIGGER: the abbreviation for the British university whose sporting teams wear dark blue and a verb to set off or activate.
13a Does perhaps cut across vehicle going over repeated route (8)
RETRACED: put what ‘does’ are in the animal world round a towed vehicle and reverse it all.
14a Lethal weapon finally changes hands (6)
MORTAL: start with a weapon used for firing shells and change the final letter from one hand to the other.
16a Lots of pipes providing note backing crooner (6)
TUBING: reverse an old term for what is generally called doh in tonic sol-fa and follow that with the forename of an old American crooner.
18a Spies dog out of control — was rabbiting (8)
GOSSIPED: an anagram (out of control) of SPIES DOG.
22a Showy insect flying round university — one makes a lot of noise (9)
LOUDMOUTH: stick together an adjective meaning showy or garish and a nocturnal insect containing an abbreviation for university.
23a Tongue and groove primarily used in flooring (5)
LINGO: insert the first letter of groove into the short form of a type of floor covering.
24a An Olympic medallist going round in small boat (5)
CANOE: this Yoda-like construction requires us to place the surname of a British middle-distance runner around ‘an’.
25a Fattening food’s given relative inflammation (9)
CARBUNCLE: bring together the short form of a food type and a male relative.
26a Trite manifesto’s concocted by member of government (8,2,5)
MINISTER OF STATE: an anagram (concocted) of TRITE MANIFESTO’S produces the title of a politician who has started climbing the greasy pole but not yet reached the top.
1d France needs taller rugby player (7)
FLANKER: the IVR code for France and a comparative meaning longer or taller give one of two back-row forwards in a rugby union team.
2d Model can then charm (7)
ENCHANT: an anagram (model) of CAN THEN.
3d One or two perhaps count in conclave (8,7)
CARDINAL NUMBERS: cryptically this could be the total of men (it’s always men) gathered to elect a new pope.
4d One’s detained someone snooping around boy (8)
PRISONER: a snooper surrounds a male offspring.
5d Lots let off at first when one’s accepted clemency (6)
LENITY: start with a word meaning lots or ‘more than enough’, drop the first letter and insert the Roman numeral for one.
6d First US pilot is somehow crossing over in this (6,2,2,5)
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS: this is a very neat semi-all-in-one identifying the vehicle used in a famous ocean crossing. It’s an anagram (somehow) of FIRST US PILOT IS containing the cricket abbreviation for ‘over’.
7d Things I worked out? (7)
INSIGHT: an anagram (worked out) of THINGS I. It’s meant to be an all-in-one but I’m not convinced by the definition – what do you think?
8d Wide-ranging groups of organisms by lake (7)
GENERAL: a word for groups of organisms (ranking above species and below families) followed by the abbreviation for lake.
15d Loose woman cycling I love, being ladies’ man (8)
LOTHARIO: start with a loose woman and cycle the last three letters round to the front then append the Roman numeral for one and the letter resembling a score of love.
16d Broadcasting to millions consuming little electricity (7)
TELECOM: TO and the abbreviation for millions contain an abbreviation for electricity.
17d Brand of wine to get sister down? The reverse (4,3)
BLUE NUN: so what we need is a charade of a synonym for down or depressed and a religious sister.
19d Criticise expert over a wonder cure (7)
PANACEA: weld together a verb to criticise, an adjective (or noun) meaning expert and A.
20d Takes risks besieging old eastern bishop’s territory (7)
DIOCESE: a verb meaning ‘takes great risks’ contains the abbreviation for old. Finally append the abbreviation for eastern.
21d Hippopotamus clearly shows strength (6)
MUSCLE: our one and only lurker brings up the rear.
The clues which stood out for me were 3d and two very good anagrams (26a and 6d). Do let us know which one(s) were a treat for you.