Toughie No 2328 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
This was a game of two halves for me – the left-hand side went in without too many problems but the right held out for longer (partly because I was trying, in vain, to think of the name of a novel for 9d). It was only when I was writing the hints that I realised just how many abbreviations and first/last letter constructs I was having to document.
It’s a pangram – I did think at one stage that it was going to be a double pangram but that didn’t materialise. Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a He likes a light macaroni cooked after pastry is scooped out (10)
PYROMANIAC: an anagram (cooked) of MACARONI follows the outer letters of pastry.
6a Conservative charity almost collected (4)
CALM: an abbreviation for Conservative and a word for charity or handouts without its last letter.
10a Losing head, refuse bail out (5)
EJECT: a verb to refuse or dismiss without its first letter.
11a Fighting on board, making a start to impound stores (9)
SQUIRRELS: insert a word meaning fighting or falling-out into our usual abbreviation for a ship then change the A to the starting letter of Impound. When it means stores the answer is usually followed by ‘away’.
12a In a vet, bats have ultimately too much trust (7)
NAIVETE: an anagram (bats) of IN A VET followed by the ultimate letter of ‘have’.
13a Stupid people cross motorway by ice regularly, slipping at first (7)
ZOMBIES: string together one of the ways of spelling a hybrid (cross) of a cow and a yak (a very useful word for Scrabble players), the abbreviation for motorway, regular letters from ‘by ice’ and the first letter of slipping. I didn’t think that the answer means stupid people but Chambers confirms that it does.
14a Continent holds difficulty for dictator suspiciously into failure of vital functions (12)
ASPHYXIATION: the name of a continent contains a homophone (for dictator) of a difficulty or predicament. Finish with an anagram (suspiciously) of INTO.
18a Summarise yield again? (12)
RECAPITULATE: with a hyphen inserted this word would mean to surrender once more.
21a Nearly jet south to net minute worms (7)
SQUIRMS: stick together a synonym for jet or spray without its last letter and the abbreviation for south and import the abbreviation for minute.
23a Brittle conclusion of inquiry after Democrat enters government (7)
POWDERY: insert the abbreviation for Democrat into a word for government or authority then append the last letter of inquiry.
24a Stew a time over controversial issue (3,6)
HOT POTATO: a type of stew (especially in Lancashire) is followed by A and the abbreviations for time and an over in cricket.
25a Wine variety turned bottles black (5)
RAVEN: hidden in reverse. It took me ages to see this.
26a Leaders in training ambassadors can teach diplomacy (4)
TACT: the first letters of four words in the clue.
27a Seed is light red around Spain, navy in East European lake (4,6)
PINE KERNEL: a light red colour contains the IVR code for Spain. After that insert the abbreviation for our navy into abbreviations for East, European and lake.
1d Lose one’s temper over receiving abominable vacuous lyrics (6)
PAEANS: reverse a verb to lose one’s temper or fly off the handle and insert the outer letters of abominable.
2d Land river fish by empty pub (4,2)
REEL IN: glue together the abbreviation for river, a slender fish and another word for pub without its inner letter.
3d Head of house? Presumably dad’s subordinate (6,8)
MOTHER SUPERIOR: if father (is) subordinate or inferior then …
4d Shelter in north is closed around end of June and November (6,3)
NISSEN HUT: knit together the abbreviation for north, IS and a synonym for closed then insert the end letter of June and the letter that November represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. The definition here seems rather vague.
5d Answer call showing excitement (5)
ABUZZ: one of the abbreviations for answer precedes an informal word for a telephone call.
7d Drink vermouth provided after topless frolic (8)
APERITIF: the abbreviation for vermouth and a conjunction meaning provided follow a frolic or escapade without its first letter.
8d Behaving badly to young lady in graduation initially entertains university (8)
MISUSING: assemble the title of a young lady, IN and the initial letter of graduation with an abbreviation for university contained inside.
9d Even more terribly mad for opening of Bertie Wooster novel (4,3,2,5)
FROM BAD TO WORSE: an anagram (novel) of MAD FOR B[ertie] WOOSTER.
15d Axes cut more than 50 per cent of upright instrument (9)
XYLOPHONE: axes here is the plural of axis – add a verb to cut or clip and four letters (out of six) of an adjective meaning upright or virtuous.
16d Officer supports second pillbox perhaps (5,3)
BRASS HAT: start with our usual female support garments and add the abbreviation for second and what a pillbox is an example of.
17d A cost cut stupidly, swapping toaster’s lead for current that’s not electric (8)
ACOUSTIC: an anagram (stupidly) of A COS[t > I] CUT after we’ve swapped the leading letter of toaster for the symbol used for electric current. The definition relates to a guitar, say.
19d K Bacon perhaps adopts student (6)
KELVIN: the forename of the actor Mr Bacon contains the letter used to identify a student on the road.
20d Religious book in hotel converted many on left (6)
HYMNAL: collate the letter that hotel identifies in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, an anagram (converted) of MANY and the abbreviation for left.
22d Guru succeeded with friend (5)
SWAMI: weld together the genealogical abbreviation for ‘succeeded’, the abbreviation for ‘with’ and a friend from across the channel. The word for friend is in the BRB but do you think an indication that it’s a foreign word should be given in the clue?
My top clues today were 25a and 3d. Which one(s) beguiled you?