Toughie No 2208 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
An enjoyable puzzle which is not too soft, not too hard – thanks Messinae.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
7a Drive a ship like Titanic heading off — it will be next to sink (7)
DRAINER: string together the abbreviation for a drive, A and a passenger ship without its first letter.
8a Type inclined to show stress (7)
ITALICS: cryptic definition.
10a Put down creature with fearsome teeth that’s bitten one man in suit (9)
LITIGATOR: assemble a verb meaning put down or landed and an informal word for a toothy reptile with the Roman numeral for one being inserted.
11a Teacher’s maybe coming through this subject with start of term set back (5)
OPTIC: start with a subject and move the first letter of term along a bit.
12a Old leftie welcomes independent African country (5)
BENIN: the surname of an old Labour politician (whose son is a current Labour politician) containing an abbreviation for independent.
13a Alternative charts compiled featuring electronic musicians (9)
ORCHESTRA: solder together a conjunction identifying an alternative and an anagram (compiled) of CHARTS containing the abbreviation for electronic.
15a Stag week to end after heartless bouncer’s thrown out (7)
ROEBUCK: the final letter of week follows an anagram (thrown out) of BOU[n]CER without its middle letter.
17a Nelson lengthily detained ship of the French (7)
MANDELA: charade of a type of warship and French words for ‘of’ and ‘the’.
18a Irritability of bowels lacking in symptoms at first (9)
TESTINESS: remove the IN from another word for bowels and append the first letter of symptoms.
20a Colourful old singer vacillates somewhat (5)
CILLA: an old singer (who began White and ended up Black) is hidden in the clue.
21a Chemical making leather without using hydrogen (5)
OXIDE: remove the chemical symbol of hydrogen from leather made from a bovine animal.
23a Entertainer illicitly intercepted reply on telephone (3-6)
TAP-DANCER: homophone (on telephone) of an illegally intercepted or bugged reply (6,6).
24a Reflective one among ‘Friends’ accepting short refusal to be godfather? (7)
SPONSOR: I never watched ‘Friends’ but I do know the name of this male character because he pops up from time to time in crosswords. We need his forename with an informal (originally North American) refusal without its last letter inserted. Finally, it all has to be reversed.
25a Making stealthy moves, keen to trap bishop (7)
LAMBENT: a verb to keen or wail in grief contains the chess abbreviation for bishop. I didn’t know this adjective which apparently means flickering or moving lightly like tongues of flame.
1d They may serve one a wallop, one finishing up in hospital (10)
BARTENDERS: insert a synonym for finisher into the common informal name of a London teaching hospital. Wallop, as used here, is a mass noun so I don’t think ‘a wallop’ works.
2d Duelling Russian character‘s single shot (6)
ONEGIN: this is Eugene, the eponymous hero of a Pushkin novel (and a Tchaikovsky opera based on it) who killed his opponent in a duel. Stick together a synonym of single and the sort of shot that may come from an 11a.
3d Have kittens till it’s traced (8)
FRETWORK: a verb to ‘have kittens’ or feel uneasy is followed by a verb to till (the land).
4d Fruity reviewer right to move south (6)
CITRIC: start with another word for a reviewer and move the abbreviation for right a bit towards the end (move south in a down clue).
5d Soft margarine put in granny’s cake (8)
NAPOLEON: insert the musical abbreviation for soft and a colloquial name for margarine in the USA into an informal term for one’s grandmother. The answer (new to me, as was the margarine) can be, according to Chambers, ” a small, rich iced cake with layers of puff pastry filled with cream, custard or jam”.
6d Meet to frame a decree (4)
FIAT: meet here is an archaic adjective meaning suitable or proper. One of its synonyms contains A.
7d Pensées? French composer has penned fair share (13)
DELIBERATIONS: the surname of a French composer of ballets and operas contains a word meaning fair share or allocation.
9d Suffering food poisoning perhaps when a fowl is badly gutted (4,2,1,6)
SICK AS A PARROT: string together an adjective (4) meaning ‘suffering food poisoning perhaps’, a conjunction meaning when, A and type of fowl or bird.
14d In short, County Cricket Club departed abruptly heading for bar (6,4)
TREBLE CLEF: how the abbreviation for County Cricket Club may be described (6,1) is followed by a verb meaning departed shorn of its last letter.
16d Everything that is superior in uplifting poetry (8)
UNIVERSE: cement together the single letter used to mean superior or posh, the reversal of IN and another word for poetry.
17d Having some dodgy characters present could make young girl hide (8)
MISSPELT: concatenate how a young girl is addressed and the hide of an animal.
19d Go in with American showing guts (6)
ENTERA: a verb to go in and a single-letter abbreviation for American.
20d Stewing like some seafood apparently (6)
CLAMMY: stewing here means warm and sweaty. Cryptically the answer could mean ‘like a shellfish’.
22d Press club (4)
IRON: double definition (and a very old chestnut) to round off an enjoyable puzzle.
My podium today features 17a, 3d and 9d. Do let us know your choices.