Toughie No 2280 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **/***
Stick Insect’s last Toughie was a double (verging on a triple) pangram and I thought we might be heading in the same direction today having solved 7d and 14d but it was not to be and we’ve got just a single pangram. Thanks to Stick Insect.
I wasn’t overly keen on some of the clues where lots of small bits needed to be added, deleted or swapped (1a and 16d, for example, both of which require five separate bits for a 9-letter word) but my mood was lifted by the amusing 12a which made me add half a star to my enjoyment rating.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a The setter’s ace trap — a set of lines that’s not real (9)
IMAGINARY: string together “the setter’s” in the first person, the abbreviation for ace in card games, a banned animal trap, A and the abbreviation for a set of parallel lines.
9a Tax that’s for everyone replacing current indulgence (6)
EXCUSE: start with a type of tax and replace the symbol for electric current with the letter used to label films as suitable for all to see.
10a Expired guarantee — have Focus scrapped (9)
VOUCHSAFE: an anagram (scrapped) of HAVE FOCUS gives a verb with an obsolete (hence “expired”) meaning of to guarantee.
11a Notice blogger? (6)
POSTER: double definition.
12a Satisfying base, Johnson initially hides in outrageous baloney (9)
ENJOYABLE: start with the letter used for the base in logarithms then insert the first letter of Johnson into an anagram (outrageous) of BALONEY. It’s amusing for this bit of critical political commentary to appear in the Telegraph which is Boris’s cheerleader and house journal.
13a Coat with brown material (6)
TARTAN: stick together a substance used to coat and preserve timber, for example, and a verb (or noun) meaning brown.
17a Couples can’t be this rum (3)
ODD: … because couples must make a multiple of two.
19a Release posh new prison officer (7)
UNSCREW: collate the letter used to mean posh, the abbreviation for new and a slang word for a prison officer.
20a Regular habit, perhaps (7)
UNIFORM: double definition, the second being an example of a habit or something worn.
21a British remain revolutionary in decline (3)
EBB: join together an abbreviation for British and a verb to remain or continue unchanged. Now reverse it.
23a Smart bar is headed by Charlie (6)
CLEVER: a type of bar or jemmy is preceded by the letter that Charlie is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
27a Australian pit contains single air gap (5,4)
OZONE HOLE: a slang term for Australian and a pit or cavity contain a synonym for single.
28a Remarkable island is overlooked in sailing about (6)
SIGNAL: an anagram (about) of SAIL[i]NG without one of its single-letter abbreviations for island.
29a Place to observe royalty acquiring small estate (5-4)
CROW’S-NEST: insert the clothing abbreviation for small into a metonym for monarchy or royalty then finish with the abbreviation for estate.
30a Having discovered menu, Little Richard to get fatter (6)
ENRICH: remove the outside letters (covers) from [m]EN[u] and append a diminutive form of Richard. The BRB says that the intransitive form of this verb, meaning ‘to become richer’, is rare.
31a Queen flips, spoiling vile art restoration (9)
RETRIEVAL: reverse the Queen’s cipher and append an anagram (spoiling) of VILE ART.
2d In early part of day, Navy departs for old Jersey sound (6)
MOOING: start with the first part of the day and replace the abbreviation for our Navy with the abbreviation for old.
3d Good parrots reported sticky creatures (6)
GECKOS: the abbreviation for good followed by the homophone of a verb meaning parrots or repeats.
4d Marina’s saucily concealing capital (6)
5d Drew by chance ran after service (7)
RAFFLED: a verb meaning ran or legged it follows one of our armed services.
6d Assumed type of car holding eleven just regularly goes (9)
AXIOMATIC: start with a type of car and replace the even letters of jUsT with the Roman numeral for eleven.
7d Too quaint novel reference (9)
QUOTATION: an anagram (novel) of TOO QUAINT.
8d Encountered city containing no indicator of time (9)
METRONOME: weld together a verb meaning encountered and a European city containing NO.
14d March segment of flight follows without delay (9)
QUICKSTEP: a discrete segment of a flight of stairs follows an adjective being ‘without delay’.
15d Southern stereotype dancing six reels to win introduction to gentleman (5,4)
ESSEX GIRL: an anagram (dancing) of SIX REELS contains the introductory letter of gentleman.
An Essex girl goes to the council to register for child benefit. “how many children?” asks the council worker.
“10” replies the Essex girl.
“10???” says the council worker, “what are their names?”
“wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne and wayne”.
“doesn’t that get confusing?”
“naah…” says the Essex girl, “it’s great because if they are out playing in the street I just have to shout waayne, yer dinners ready or waayne go to bed now and they all do it”.
“what if you want to speak to one individually?” says the perturbed council worker.
“that’s easy,” says the Essex girl “I just use their surnames”.
16d Following dance, a northern church is self-supporting? (9)
FREELANCE: string together the abbreviation for following, a Scottish dance, A and abbreviations for northern and church.
17d Concede authority when undressed (3)
OWE: remove the outer letters from a word meaning authority or strength. The BRB says this verb means “to concede or be bound to concede as a handicap” but I can’t think of an example of this usage – can you?
18d Add sound effects to smooth reggae music (3)
DUB: triple definition (two of which I didn’t know before consulting the BRB!). As a verb the answer means to smooth with an adze and as a noun it’s a type of reggae music with bass and drums prominent.
22d Funny business location, mostly around river (7)
BIZARRE: stick together an informal word for business and a synonym for location or district without its last letter but with the abbreviation for river inserted.
24d Return out of the question? (6)
ANSWER: cryptic definition of a response to a question.
25d Opportunity bottled by Dutch ancestor (6)
CHANCE: our second lurker.
26d Unhappily Kelvin advanced the coldest state (6)
ALASKA: an exclamation meaning unhappily is followed by abbreviations for kelvin and advanced.
2d and 15d were amusing but my runaway favourite, for the surface reading, was 12a. Do let us know how many ticks you recorded and the clues against which you recorded them.