Toughie No 2296 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **
There’s nothing too tricky here but I did find, especially when writing the hints, that a significant number of the clues require lots of little bits to be assembled including many abbreviations.
Thanks to Stick Insect.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Panic about a court reversing working-class symbol (4,3)
FLAT CAP: a verb to panic or dither contains A and the abbreviation of court reversed.
5a Lance and Jack have topless work cut short (7)
JAVELIN: string together the abbreviation for Jack in card games, HAVE without its first letter and someone’s work or occupation without the last letter.
9a Virginia’s spotted flier is bad, ugly criminal (7)
LADYBUG: an anagram (criminal) of BAD UGLY gives us the North American word for a spotted insect.
10a With difficulty, I caught it under the table (7)
ILLICIT: assemble an adverb meaning ‘with difficulty’ (as in ‘she can *** afford to lose her job’), I, the cricket abbreviation for caught and IT.
11a Anxious and hopeful with child (9)
EXPECTANT: triple definition, the first meaning anxious or ‘on tenterhooks’.
12a Nun maybe accepts university entrance (5)
MOUTH: what a nun is a type of in the insect world contains an abbreviation for university.
13a Saint Oscar in charge of a philosophy (5)
STOIC: build the answer from an abbreviation for saint, the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and the abbreviation meaning ‘in charge’.
15a Gossiped and giggled, wife getting involved (9)
TWITTERED: a synonym for giggled with the abbreviation for wife being inserted.
17a Year in poverty after horse is worn-out (9)
HACKNEYED: insert the abbreviation for year into a word for poverty or deprivation and precede all that with a horse kept for riding.
19a Gambles made by Romeo, first to make advances in smooch (5)
RISKS: start with the letter that Romeo stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and add a verb to smooch with its first letter advanced. ‘Advanced’ can be ambiguous in constructs such as this but here it means ‘moved further along’.
22a Squadron emptied with man flu regularly produces chaos for Patton’s army (5)
SNAFU: the outer letters of squadron are followed by the even letters of ‘man flu’ to get an acronym (used originally in the US army during WWII) describing a common circumstance which is (to put it politely) completely fouled up.
23a In the morning, after first of beers, drink absorbs student fool (9)
BAMBOOZLE: the abbreviation for ‘in the morning’ follows the first letter of beers. After that we need a slang word for alcoholic drink containing our usual abbreviation for a student.
25a Cover’s provided by one batting with certain runs (7)
INSURER: concatenate a cricket word meaning currently batting, a synonym for certain and another cricket abbreviation, this time that for runs.
26a In prime locations, ninth American took charge and inspired (7)
INHALED: extract the letters corresponding to the first three prime numbers from the word ‘ninth’ and append an abbreviation for American and a verb meaning ‘took charge’.
27a X squared in division (7)
HUNDRED: a bit of maths is required on the Roman numeral at the start of the clue. The answer is an old term for a subdivision of an English county – a word still used in a typically archaic procedure by which an MP can resign from the House of Commons.
28a Produce cry like a dog over lost duel (5,2)
YIELD UP: a verb to give a short, sharp cry contains an anagram (lost) of DUEL.
1d Sieves messy trifles (7)
FILTERS: an anagram (messy) of TRIFLES.
2d A direct debit prepared for total (3,2,2)
ADD UP TO: bolt together A, the banking abbreviation for direct debit and a phrase meaning ‘capable of and ready for’.
3d Little bear beginning to indicate cold — it’s about three degrees (5)
CUBIC: a young bear is followed by the first letters of ‘indicate cold’. I think that degrees here means powers – I’m sure that the mathematicians amongst our number will correct me if I’m wrong.
4d Attendant and soldier supported by ridiculously empty pomp (9)
PAGEANTRY: knit together a young male attendant, a soldier insect and the outer letters of ridiculously.
5d Beam is taken in by hint (5)
JOIST: insert IS into another word for a hint or small amount.
6d Elector arrests lieutenant, this person showing measure of force (9)
VOLTMETER: a synonym for elector contains the abbreviation for lieutenant and the objective pronoun by which a speaker identifies himself or herself.
7d Japan perhaps replacing one Republican with Conservative in mad quarrel (7)
LACQUER: an anagram (mad) of QUAR[r](C)EL after we’ve replaced one of the abbreviations for Republican with that of Conservative.
8d Nicked revolutionary diamonds following retro fashion (7)
NOTCHED: our ever-present friend the South American revolutionary and the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds follow the reversal of a word for fashion or style.
14d Victor and Conor protecting queen twice (9)
CONQUEROR: CONOR contains an abbreviation for queen and the regnal cipher of our current one.
16d In study about motorway condition, technology’s ultimate guarantee (9)
INDEMNIFY: weld together IN, a study containing the abbreviation for motorway, a conjunction identifying a condition and the ultimate letter of technology.
17d Obtains the man’s hospital drug (7)
HASHISH: collate a verb meaning obtains or keeps, a possessive pronoun meaning “the man’s” and the cartographical abbreviation for hospital.
18d Fixing one’s car is dull (7)
COARSEN: a verb to dull or blunt comes from an anagram (fixing) of ONE’S CAR.
20d Well confused, without turning up drunk (7)
SOZZLED: well is an interjection introducing resumed narrative – we want another similar word (one which is now used by most people under thirty to start their answer to every single question they’re asked – how did they all get into this very annoying habit?). Follow that with an adjective meaning confused without the reversal of the word ‘up’.
21d S-low?? Go faster (5,2)
SPEED UP: start with the S from the clue then add a cryptic instruction (4,2) to get an adjective meaning low or far down.
23d Browned off? Yes, if two points ignored (5)
BORED: an anagram (off) of BRO[wn]ED without the two cardinal points.
24d Scots tut about money (5)
OCHRE: a Scottish word of rebuke such as ‘tut’ followed by a preposition meaning about or concerning. The answer (new to me) is a slang term for money, especially gold.
The clues I liked best were 22a and 21d which stood out by being a bit different. Which clue(s) made your podium?