Toughie No 2216 by Musaeus
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
Just like a travelling French rugby team one’s never quite sure which Musaeus will turn up. Today he (or is it she?) has got a gentle hat on and I didn’t have many problems here, although 21d did make me stop and think when I realised that ‘upset’ didn’t work as a reversal indicator.
Some of the surfaces (e.g. 26a) are not that great.
Thanks to Musaeus – it would be great if you popped in to introduce yourself.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
5a Rough clubs with a beery whiff? (6)
CHOPPY: the abbreviation for the card suit clubs and an adjective describing the smell of beer.
8a Courtesy in conflict when church replaces leader (8)
CHIVALRY: start with a word meaning conflict or contention and replace its leading letter with an abbreviation for church.
9a Who’ll crack you up or, around noon, blow you away? (7)
GAGSTER: if you insert the abbreviation for noon into the answer you’ll get a thug who might blow you away.
10a Little hooter is what gets one going, feeble learner admitted (5)
OWLET: assemble the starting letter of ‘one’ and an adjective meaning feeble (in a political sense) with the abbreviation for a learner inserted.
11a Bored clerk shut up dealer (3-6)
PEN-PUSHER: charade of a verb to shut up or corral and an informal term for a drug dealer.
13a Watch broadcast with Nile flowing (8)
SENTINEL: concatenate a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted and an anagram (flowing) of NILE.
14a Person in service I have to bring round (6)
REVIVE: the abbreviated title of someone officiating at a service and the contracted form of ‘I have’.
17a Member from the east to stiffen (3)
GEL: reverse a bodily member.
19a Union making part of accusation (3)
USA: this union with fifty members is hidden in the clue.
20a Party law in Rome is twofold (6)
DUPLEX: stitch together a political party from Northern Ireland (much in the news recently) and the Latin word for law.
23a Betraying utter legend (8)
TELLTALE: the answer here is an adjective. Join a verb to utter and another word for a legend or story.
26a Summit mostly delightful about old thick fog (3-6)
PEA-SOUPER: stick together a synonym for summit without its last letter and an adjective meaning delightful or great containing the abbreviation for old.
28a Label daughter put on healthy stuff? (5)
BRAND: append the abbreviation for daughter to healthy food which is supposed to keep you going.
29a Frank popping in energy sweet (7)
CANDIED: pop the abbreviation for energy into an adjective meaning frank or plain-spoken.
30a Just like the Commons — beyond compare (8)
PEERLESS: an old chestnut. The Commons is full of ‘honourable members’ but has no lords or ladies.
31a Sneer upset English still (6)
SERENE: an anagram (upset) of SNEER followed by an abbreviation for English.
1d A peevish over (6)
ACROSS: A is followed by an adjective meaning peevish or annoyed.
2d BA, say, would be fine if husband were at the top (7)
AIRLINE: when preceded by the abbreviation for husband the answer would mean fine or very thin.
3d Carry saddle round (9)
CARTRIDGE: cement together a verb to carry on a vehicle and a saddle or low point between two peaks.
4d Chilled French fruit left ignored (6)
FRAPPÉ: stick together an abbreviation for French and a fruit without the abbreviation for left.
5d Cold sliced meat and a last drop of this drink (8)
CHAMPERS: weld together the abbreviation (sliced) for cold, a type of meat, “a” as in ’50p a kilo’ and the last letter of this. I thought at first that the ‘sliced’ related to the meat but that doesn’t make sense so I’ve opted for it being an indicator that we need to cut down ‘cold’ to its abbreviation.
6d On active service, one’s watering hole (5)
OASIS: draw together the abbreviation for ‘on active service’ and the Roman numeral for one with its accompanying ‘S.
7d Quietly order kipper? (8)
PRESERVE: the musical abbreviation for quietly precedes a verb to order or book. The definition here is a verb.
12d What’s seen in parks in Chelmsford? (3)
ELM: hidden. Hmm.
15d Like a noble flier, one with time to spare? (5,4)
EARLY BIRD: we start with an adjective which, cryptically, could mean ‘like a noble ranking between a marquess and a viscount’ then we add something that flies.
16d Blend drink mostly for body (8)
FUSELAGE: glue together a verb to blend or amalgamate and an alcoholic drink without its last letter.
18d Come again! Plea made vacuously (6,2)
EXCUSE ME: a plea or alibi is followed by the outer (vacuously) letters of ‘made’.
21d ‘ostility upset Greek goddess (3)
ATE: triple definition, the second being an informal verb meaning upset or irritated.
22d Outrageous act going about in the raw here (7)
CABARET: this is a semi-all-in-one. Put an anagram (outrageous) of ACT around an adjective meaning ‘in the raw’.
24d What a poor artist needs is ages with Queen (6)
ERASER: ‘poor’ here presumably means ‘not very good’ rather than strapped for cash. Stick together a word for ages or long periods of time and the Queen’s regnal cipher.
25d Such as Cain, say, led astray then set free (6)
ELDEST: two anagrams, firstly one (astray) of LED then another (free) of SET.
27d Marsh-dweller with small advantage (5)
SEDGE: the abbreviation for small and a synonym for advantage or ‘upper hand’ give us a plant found in boggy ground.
My favourite clue was 15d which made me chortle. Do let us know which one(s) had you exercising your laughing muscles.