Toughie No 2272 by Musaeus
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **
I thought that this was rather a strange puzzle – we have four 5-letter words at the centre, each with only one unchecked letter and we have no less than twelve of those 4-letter words usually referred to as ‘pesky’. There are a number of ‘gimmes’ here (e.g. 4d, 6d and 21d) to get one started but in spite of that I still ended up taking some time to finish the left-hand side. All-in-all I didn’t find many laughs.
Thanks to Musaeus for the puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Delicate matters inflamed idlers (3,8)
HOT POTATOES: stick together an adjective meaning inflamed and a slang term for indolent people (the sort for whom the invention of the TV remote was a godsend).
9a Do avoid peripheral parts of seafront (4)
AFRO: chop off the four outer letters of seafront.
10a School with church by East Street (11)
WESTMINSTER: start with the abbreviation for ‘with’ and add abbreviations for east and street and a type of church of which there’s a famous example in York.
11a Item of dress half of clergy discarded (4)
MINI: drop off the last half of a word for clergy or ‘holy orders’.
14a Reorganise a horse pound (7)
ANAGRAM: assemble A, an old horse and a verb to pound or thrust.
16a Give the green light to rendezvous with bloke (7)
MANDATE: split the answer 3,4 for a romantic rendezvous with a bloke.
17a Left to make new opening for said watering hole (5)
LOCAL: start with an adjective meaning said or spoken and change its first letter to L(eft).
18a Stop turning round to avoid a trip hazard? (4)
KERB: reverse a word for a stop or rest and remove the A.
19a Mediterranean dough — stop if nothing goes right (4)
FILO: this dough really is dough and not money. We need a verb to stop or thwart with the letter resembling zero moved right to the end.
20a Foundation is after graduates (5)
BASIS: append IS to some arts graduates.
22a Major unit of currency — bar won’t accept one (7)
CENTRAL: charade of a small coin in many currencies and another word for a bar or fence without the Roman numeral for one.
23a Break a saucer in pieces (7)
CAESURA: an anagram (in pieces) of A SAUCER.
24a Sports stadium back where one goes over? (4)
OVAL: bring together an informal word for a place where one goes or relieves oneself and the crickety abbreviation for over then reverse it all.
28a EU admitting faults for disaster of this sort? (11)
UNMITIGATED: an anagram (faults) of EU ADMITTING.
29a So many Muses over the moon being on this cloud (4)
NINE: double definition, the first identifying the number of Muses in Greek and Roman mythology.
30a Rise with dawn? Have an epiphany (3,3,5)
SEE THE LIGHT: I suppose this could mean to watch the sun coming up at dawn but it seems a bit weak. EDIT: Having thought a bit more I think there’s some wordplay here – a verb meaning to rise or surge is followed by a synonym for dawn or daybreak.
2d Old pound is unfolded (4)
OPEN: the abbreviation for old and a pound or enclosure.
3d Papa got stuck into rich spread of fish, say (4)
PATE: the letter that Papa represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by a verb meaning ‘got stuck into’ or devoured.
4d Insignificant six in case (7)
TRIVIAL: insert the Roman numeral for six into a legal case.
5d First of these canvass for Labour (4)
TASK: knit together the first letter of ‘these’ and a verb to canvass or solicit an opinion.
6d English learnt haphazardly is never-ending (7)
ETERNAL: the single-letter abbreviation for English followed by an anagram (haphazardly) of LEARNT.
7d New CIA offices accommodating upper-class operative (11)
EFFICACIOUS: an anagram (new) of CIA OFFICES contains the letter used to mean upper-class.
8d Force person in control to meet graduate — had success about that (11)
POLICEWOMAN: concatenate a verb to control or enforce and a verb meaning ‘had success’ containing an arts graduate. There seems to be a fair amount of overlap between the first part of the wordplay and the first part of the answer.
12d Rely on a constant number to access this? (4,7)
BANK ACCOUNT: a semi-all-in-one. String together a verb to rely on, A, a constant for the speed of light and a verb to number or tally.
13d Spot on! Queen recast nation’s figurehead (6,5)
PATRON SAINT: weld together an adverb meaning ‘spot on’ or exactly (as in ‘know it off ***’), the single letter abbreviation for queen and an anagram (recast) of NATION’S.
15d ‘Right,’ Mike said, … (5)
MORAL: the letter that Mike represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by an adjective meaning said (as opposed to written).
16d ‘… being in charge is ludicrously busy‘ (5)
MANIC: join a being or person and an abbreviation meaning ‘in charge’.
20d Steady airline about to enter prescribed course (7)
BALANCE: an airline (2) followed by the single-letter abbreviation for ‘about’ inserted into a prescribed course (e.g. for motorway traffic). Steady here is a verb.
21d Sarnie on the hoof packed with last of tinned fish (7)
SARDINE: an anagram (on the hoof) of SARNIE containing the last letter of tinned. The anagram is pretty pathetic with only one letter needing to be moved.
25d Manifest slope (4)
LIST: double definition, the first a document containing the names of passengers on a ship for instance.
26d Who managed India? (4)
RANI: a semi-all-in-one. A synonym for managed and the letter that India represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
27d Connect with this writer beginning to study hard (4)
MESH: solder together the pronoun by which ‘this writer’ would refer to himself, the first letter of study and the abbreviation for hard (in pencils).
None of the clues stood out for me today. Do let us know which one(s) appealed to you.