Toughie No 2220 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
I think I’m right in saying that Hudson has always appeared on Thursdays in the past but he’s slumming it today in my bailiwick with this reptilian-themed puzzle. There are lots of topical references and I thought it was great fun.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Permit kiss outside Buxton? (3,4)
BUS PASS: a word for a kiss surrounds a resort (such as Buxton) offering health treatments.
5a One appearing head over heels to be accepted by ‘Cantab’ — or Cambridge — in retirement (7)
ACROBAT: hidden in reverse.
9a Moving, self-aware, mortal work by earnest-sounding individual (1,8,2,4)
A FAREWELL TO ARMS: an anagram (moving) of SELF-AWARE MORTAL gives us a novel whose author had an earnest-sounding forename.
10a Auntie swings both ways (4)
BEEB: a palindromic nickname for the organisation known informally as Auntie.
11a Six through 14? (5)
VIPER: stick together the Roman numeral for six and a preposition meaning through or ‘by means of’.
12a Blackout frequently cut off capital city (4)
BAKU: the odd letters of blackout provide the capital of Azerbaijan.
15a Officer classes left (7)
GENERAL: a word for biological classes followed by the abbreviation for left.
16a News: sergeant’s back to guard one with certain kind of connection (7)
TIDINGS: the reversal of an abbreviation for sergeant contains the Roman numeral for one and an electrical connector originally specified by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (the German national standards organisation).
17a Kept these dust covers off ancient temple site (7)
EPHESUS: strip the covers (outside letters) from the first three words.
19a Hurricane’s tip would have hit this in Sheffield? (3,4)
CUE BALL: Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins was a famous snooker player who often appeared in the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield (which, as it happens, is on currently) and his chalk-covered tip would have regularly hit this.
21a Punk movement rejecting old Republicans (4)
POGO: this was (apparently) a form of punk dancing in the 1970s. Combine the abbreviation for old and the abbreviation used for the Republican party in the USA then reverse it all.
22a Mother’s keeping black serpent (5)
MAMBA: a child’s word for mother contains the abbreviation for black (as used in the grading of pencils).
23a Free-trade agreement covering European cheese? (4)
FETA: the abbreviation for free-trade agreement contains an abbreviation for European.
26a Theresa’s Euro writ: I must leave shambles and show some leadership? (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS: an anagram (shambles) of THERESA’S EURO WR[i]T (without the I). A clever clue which not only relates to the Brexit debacle but also hints at Mrs May’s predilection for expensive leather garments of the relevant type.
27a Savings book (7)
RESERVE: double definition, the first possibly something set aside for a rainy day.
28a Like locum Edward, having been whistled at? (7)
TEMPTED: an informal name for a locum or stand-in followed by one of the short forms of Edward.
I think the answer means whistled at in the sense of ‘attracted the attention of’ but it seems weak and any better suggestions would be welcome. Hudson has kindly explained (in a comment below) that the clue is a whimsical cryptic ref to the phrase “opportunity knocks but temptation whistles”.
1d Headcase split support for student? (7)
BEANBAG: split indicates that we need to find separate synonyms for head and case and then join them together.
2d Assange rethinks getting new disguise — as Judas? (5,2,3,5)
SNAKE IN THE GRASS: an anagram (getting new disguise) of ASSANGE RETHINKS.
3d Assist American (Yankee, possibly) (4)
ABET: the single-character abbreviation for American and what a Yankee is a type of when you’re down the bookies.
4d Dish of the day seen regularly in Pigalle: starter of tossed mushrooms (7)
SPECIAL: regular letters from Pigalle are preceded by the reversal (tossed) of types of mushroom.
5d Complaint made by the German escaping train crash (7)
AILMENT: remove a German definite article from the start of a word for a serious train crash.
6d Space to tie up, travelling north (4)
ROOM: reverse a verb to tie up (your cabin cruiser, perhaps).
7d The cut-price seller’s seller, so to speak? (7,8)
BARGAIN BASEMENT: this place to get snips could be found in a homophone of seller.
8d Time magazine copies not to be sneezed at? Au contraire! (7)
TISSUES: stitch together the abbreviation for time and copies of magazines (or other publications produced on a regular basis).
13d Take firm hold of king cobra? (5)
GRASP: stick together the regnal cipher of a king (our most recent one, for example) and a venomous snake of which a type of cobra is an example.
14d 2 could be more furious when losing head (5)
ADDER: a comparative meaning more furious without its first letter.
17d Authorise one with debts to pursue English politician (7)
EMPOWER: someone with debts follows an abbreviation for English and our usual elected politician.
18d Messi going on a mazy run outside area, the ultimate in balance, like a cat (7)
SIAMESE: an anagram (going on a mazy run) of MESSI contains the abbreviation for area. Finish with the last letter of balance.
19d Note placed in pop-up shop selling Gitanes in Folies Bergère? (7)
CABARET: insert a note from tonic sol-fa into the reversal (pop-up) of a French tobacco shop.
20d Established contacts edited dailies (7)
LIAISED: an anagram (edited) of DAILIES.
24d One guiding southern sailor? (4)
STAR: the abbreviation for southern and an informal word for a sailor.
25d Overturn vintage sports car smuggling gold in US territory (4)
GUAM: the identity of a vintage British sports car contains the chemical symbol for gold. When that’s reversed we get the name of a US territory in the Pacific. Here’s why a sports car may not be suitable for all:
I especially liked 10a (LOL), 17a, 26a (for its topicality) and 18d (for the superb surface). Do let us know which clue(s) had you in ‘tick’ mode.