Toughie No 2300 by Samuel
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
This is pretty gentle but very enjoyable with little bits of humour throughout. Lots of clues have ‘sporting’ surfaces (especially football) but sporting knowledge is not really necessary in order to solve the puzzle.
Thanks to Samuel for the enjoyment.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Mineral mixture in jug runs out (11)
PITCHBLENDE: insert another word for a mixture into a large jug without the abbreviation for runs. Not a word that I knew.
9a/27a Act selfishly, as suggested by goalkeeper John King (4,5,6,3)
LOOK AFTER NUMBER ONE: this is rather clever. It’s easier to understand if you change the last three words to ‘John King following goalkeeper’. Another informal word for a John and the chess abbreviation for king follow (indicated by the second word of the answer) how a goalkeeper is listed on a team sheet.
10a Good relationship: one might have a hand in it (5)
GLOVE: the abbreviation for good and an amatory relationship.
11a Either half of perfect 24 (6)
TWENTY: double definition, the second relating to 24d and the first being either half of a hyphenated word meaning perfect.
12a Want somebody wise to describe hotel by harbour failing to open (8)
SHORTAGE: a wise person contains the letter that hotel is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and a synonym for harbour without its opening letter.
13a Curse marred gripping finale for Jack Straw? (6)
SUCKER: an anagram (marred) of CURSE contains the final letter of [Jac]K.
15a Mad Queen interrupts jokes (8)
CRACKERS: our Queen’s regnal cipher goes inside an informal word for jokes or quips.
18a Family member caught non-sailor removing prow of dinghy (8)
CLANSMAN: assemble the crickety abbreviation for caught and someone happier on terra firma than on a ship then remove the leading letter of D[inghy].
19a Satirical press about to take over Independent (6)
IRONIC: a verb to press or smooth and the single-letter abbreviation for about or approximately contain an abbreviation for independent.
21a The best place to be on Boxing Day? (8)
RINGSIDE: a weakish cryptic definition. Boxing Day is falsely capitalised.
23a With temperature dropping, knock boy in river (6)
HUDSON: string together another word for knock or bang without the abbreviation for temperature and a male child.
26a Who might cheer, backing United in chaos (5)
SNAFU: a repeat appearance of the acronym from last Wednesday describing a customary state of chaos (originating in the US forces during WWII). Stick together the abbreviation for united and a word for supporters (who might cheer) and reverse it all.
27a See 9a
28a Prepare to follow rock musical with English rock’n’roller (5,6)
TOMMY STEELE: a verb to prepare or brace (oneself) follows the name of the rock musical about a pinball wizard. Finish with the single-letter abbreviation for English.
1d Upset Ali, passing over boxing exercises (7)
PILATES: if all else fails look for a lurker (and if it’s a down clue containing ‘over’ the lurker may be reversed).
2d Perhaps Rio brought up Ferguson’s second figure of speech (5)
TROPE: ignore the Man United references. Reverse what Rio in South America is and add the second letter of Ferguson.
3d Cold, like Dean compared to Declan? (9)
HEARTLESS: how do you transform Declan into Dean?
4d Instrument — and another, not loud (4)
LUTE: to get an old instrument remove the musical abbreviation for loud from a modern one.
5d Line from the other side of Watford? (8)
NORTHERN: this is the name of one of the London Underground lines (I don’t know what it’s like these days but when I used it regularly in the mid-Sixties it had a well-deserved reputation for being unreliable and overcrowded). It is also the direction from Watford used (in a semi-humorous way) by the metropolitan classes to dismiss the large areas of the country that they have no interest in.
6d Barman held in Kiel garrison (5)
7d Article medical writer apparently abridged for king (7)
THESEUS: a definite article is followed by the abridged last bit of the pen name of a children’s author. The first part of his pen name might give the false impression of his being a medical man.
8d Stick up European bank, ignoring what’s outside, getting zilch (3,1,4)
NOT A BEAN: fuse together the reversal of the sort of stick used by a conductor, an abbreviation for European and the inner letters of ‘bank’.
14d Tool murderer spotted in hospital — quite the opposite (8)
CHAINSAW: put the abbreviation for hospital into the first Biblical murderer and append a verb meaning spotted.
16d Large clubs put loner off (9)
CORPULENT: the abbreviation for the card suit clubs precedes an anagram (off) of PUT LONER.
17d Praise a group of underground workers finding drug (8)
LAUDANUM: concatenate a verb to praise, A and the abbreviated name of the union once led by Arthur Scargill.
18d Bob‘s short and oddly seedy (7)
CURTSEY: an adjective meaning short or terse followed by the odd letters of ‘seedy’.
20d Admit summary is being replaced by journalist (7)
CONCEDE: start with an adjective meaning summary or condensed and replace the IS with our usual senior journalist.
22d Short team? In the middle, Peter Crouch! (5)
SQUAT: a team or group of sports players without the last letter is followed by the middle letter of Peter. The exclamation mark is there because Peter Crouch, rather than being short, is exceptionally tall.
24d Hear this result could make racehorse upset (5)
SCORE: I reckon that this is one of perhaps only two clues in this puzzle that we wouldn’t expect to see in a Telegraph back-pager. It’s a compound anagram – an anagram (upset) of HEAR plus the answer (i.e. ‘this’) will produce RACEHORSE.
25d The setter lifted the setter’s award (4)
EMMY: stick together the reversal of the objective pronoun used by the setter of himself and his possessive pronoun.
The clues which I liked best were 9a/27a, 5d, 7d and 22d. Which one(s) had you applauding?