Toughie No 2240 by Zandio
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ****/***** – Enjoyment ****
A warm welcome to Zandio, a new Toughie setter. He (or she) has given us a proper Friday-level Toughie which gave me a bit of a shock and jolted me out of my usual Wednesday comfort zone. I usually take no notice whatsoever of the grid but even I couldn’t fail to notice that this one really gives us four mini-puzzles (which contributed to the difficulty). I did enjoy the struggle and look forward to more puzzles from Zandio (preferably with a slightly friendlier grid).
It would be excellent if Zandio introduced himself/herself here with a comment.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Short break that some get for good behaviour? (4-4)
HALF-TIME: I thought I’d got off to a good start by confidently writing in half-term – 10a (as Kath might say). The correct short break is one during which oranges are traditionally sucked. Prisoners might get this for good behaviour.
5a Walk through church, having mislaid a key (4)
ISLE: start with a walk or passage through a church and remove the A.
9a Cursed spirit that won’t keep quiet? Not so (8)
LUCKLESS: stick together a synonym for spirit or valour without the abbreviation for quiet and an adverb meaning ‘not so’ or ‘to a reduced extent’.
10a Try to accept daughter going along with nothing I say (2,4)
OH DEAR: a verb to try (in court) containing the abbreviation for daughter is all preceded by the letter that resembles nothing.
11a Flash application with notebook that’s for making points (8)
MOUSEPAD: string together a flash or short time, a synonym for application or employment and another word for a notebook.
12a Maybe setter is smart — stick around! (6)
CANINE: an adjective meaning smart or trendy with a stick or staff around it.
14a Fitting officers out, apparently, after promotion time (10)
ADJUSTMENT: a phrase indicating ‘no officers’ (4,3) follows a short word for a promotion or plug and precedes the abbreviation for time.
18a Retro model bat I’m initialling to keep unique (10)
INIMITABLE: hidden and reversed in the clue.
22a Giving a little sound like another little sound that’s audible (6)
CREAKY: cryptically this could be a homophone of ‘like a little sound or inlet’.
23a Vicar returned, initially sober, playing organ on Sunday (8)
OBSERVER: reverse the usual abbreviated title of a vicar and precede that with an anagram (playing) of SOBER.
24a Difficult not to get hot keeping scarf on (6)
ABOARD: an adjective meaning difficult without the abbreviation for hot contains a type of scarf made from feathers or fur.
25a Like a slob, knowing there’s nowt new in that (8)
SLOVENLY: an adjective meaning knowing or arch with another word for nowt (in a sporting sense) and the abbreviation for new inside it.
26a Stiff group (4)
BODY: double definition. Stiff, here, is a noun.
27a At one, one’s free? One’s not yet decided (5,3)
LOOSE END: when you’re at one of these you have no commitments.
2d Secure quiff perhaps? (4,2)
LOCK UP: this could be describing the vertical nature of a quiff.
3d One records cash one gives relation (6)
TELLER: double definition. Relation here means narration.
4d Armed gust circulating as base is lost? (7,3)
MUSTARD GAS: this is an all-in-one where the definition is the whole clue. We need an anagram (circulating) of ARM[e]D GUST (without the number used as the base in logarithms) followed by AS.
6d Display of emotions unknown after Southern church clamps down on liquor (8)
SCHMALTZ: one of the algebraic unknowns follows abbreviations for Southern and church and a type of unblended liquor.
7d Dark marks left by this surfacing in entire Nile yesterday (8)
EYELINER: our second reversed lurker.
8d Tournament venue put up with old soldiers holding small gatherings (8)
HARVESTS: reverse the abbreviation for a tournament venue (?) in London and append American ex-servicemen containing the abbreviation for small. The ‘tournament venue’ is where the Proms are held but it also hosts sporting events including tennis. However, the required abbreviation for it is not in Chambers (or in other dictionaries I’ve consulted).
9d Put up with ‘Sgt Pepper’, say, without hesitation (4)
LUMP: what Sgt Pepper is an example of (in vinyl perhaps) contains one of our usual expressions of hesitation.
13d Racket made by half-hearted pop group penetrating port facilities (10)
HULLABALOO: a Swedish pop group without one of their central letters go between a North Sea port and facilities provided for bodily relief.
15d Cheap shot undermines the writer’s grand opening (8)
GIMCRACK: an informal word for a shot or attempt follows the contracted form of “the writer is” in the first person. Before all that we need the abbreviation for grand ($1,000).
16d Scheduled report is grave about energy put into scaling second-class road (4,4)
TIME BOMB: another word for a grave contains the reversal of the letter used for second-class and the designation of a North-South motorway with the abbreviation for energy inside it.
17d Was meddling Democrat supporting woolly revolutionary before? (8)
TINKERED: the abbreviation for Democrat comes after the reversal of a woolly (garment produced using needles) and a poetic word meaning before.
19d Pulls out sheets — they add to a bed, as does a bunk (6)
LEAVES: I take this to be a quadruple definition (although there’s not much difference between the first and last definitions). I assume that the bed is a flower bed.
20d Something like a rook seen on French road — no rooks would give way (6)
AVENUE: stick together a black bird similar to a rook and the French word for street then remove the letters that are used in chess to identify rooks.
21d Battle for lady to get old parts lifted (4)
FRAY: start with ‘for lady’ and remove the letters that make up ‘old’.
The clues I liked best were 18a, 23a and 20d. Do let us know which one(s) made your shortlist.