Toughie No 2363 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **/***
Although there were a number of clues that I liked there were also a number of niggles for me here so I’ve removed half a star from the enjoyment score.
Thanks to Messinae for the puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Place to eat trifle (4)
MESS: double definition, the second a verb to trifle or meddle.
3a Like the Common Market originally, time engaged in endless orgies (10)
SEXPARTITE: insert the abbreviation for time into orgies (3,7) without the last letter. The answer relates to the number of countries which signed up to the original Treaty of Rome.
8a Long Island invested in fundamental American church (8)
BASILICA: the abbreviation for Long Island is contained in a synonym of fundamental. Finally append an abbreviation for American.
9a Racer has green light and skill to impress thousands (2-4)
GO-KART: splice together what a green light signals and a synonym for skill or craft then insert an abbreviation for a thousand. The clue says ‘thousands’ but the abbreviation means a single thousand.
Here’s an example of the answer (in more than one sense):
10a Was behind given protection? (6)
LAGGED: double definition, the second meaning given protection from a severe frost perhaps.
11a Entertaining rider runs in at rodeo, bucking (8)
TOREADOR: insert the cricket abbreviation for runs into an anagram (bucking) of AT RODEO. I’d describe this character as barbaric rather than entertaining!
13a Arraigns rebels in settlement of Kashmir (8)
SRINAGAR: an anagram (rebels) of ARRAIGNS gives the name of a city in Kashmir. Not the easiest place to spell!
14a Singer and boxer linked in religious festival (6)
DIVALI: fuse together a top-rated female opera singer and the ‘greatest’ boxer. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the clue to tell us that the last letter of the first and the first letter of the second are shared, unless ‘linked’ is meant to imply that, which doesn’t work for me.
16a Rank works of art with lowest class excluded (6)
STATUS: remove the letter used to mean the lowest socio-economic class from some works of art.
19a Woman illicitly ran vice ring inside (8)
VERONICA: an anagram (illicitly) of RAN VICE containing the ring-shaped letter.
21a Fool entertaining TV etc (8)
COMEDIAN: an all-in-one clue. A verb to fool or hoax contains a word meaning mass communication collectively (TV etc.).
22a Camp Hollywood parts for men (6)
STALAG: the abbreviation for the city which is synonymous with Hollywood is contained inside an adjective meaning ‘for men (only)’.
23a Big Brother producer‘s alternative source (6)
ORWELL: charade of a conjunction used to introduce an alternative and a word for a source or plentiful supply.
24a One catches fish round that place (8)
GATHERER: a freshwater fish contains a word meaning ‘that place’.
25a Pad retiree disposed of? (4-1-5)
PIED-À-TERRE: an anagram (disposed of) of PAD RETIREE. Either pad is doing double duty or the setter intends the whole clue to be the definition – neither of which seems very satisfactory to me.
26a Bring down hill (4)
FELL: double definition, the second a hill, especially one in the Lake District.
1d Leader of exiles suppressing one liberal uprising prepares for war (9)
MOBILISES: an Old Testament exile leader contains the reversal of the Roman numeral for one and an abbreviation for the Liberal Party.
2d Fronting group enthralling wife taking time off work (8,3,4)
SWINGING THE LEAD: a phrase meaning fronting a group as the vocalist (7,3,4) contains the abbreviation for wife.
3d Nudge under the table in party (7)
SHINDIG: split the answer 4,3 and it could be a nudge under the table or even an off-target attempt to play footsie.
4d TV show throws mother off the scent? (1,6)
X FACTOR: start with the name of a line of cosmetic products (originally started by a beautician from Poland) and remove the affectionate name for mother.
5d Upset with film star butting in (7)
ANGERED: a synonym for ‘with’ contains the surname of an American film star.
6d Win game after deuce by dishonour (4,9,2)
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF: in tennis the point after deuce will always enable one side or the other to 4,9. Append a synonym of ‘by’ (as in ‘a work by Lowry’).
7d Product of a tree that needs cooking? Yes and no (5)
EATER: yes, because it’s an anagram (needs cooking) of A TREE. No, because it can be consumed without being cooked.
12d Hooter essential for slow Lada (3)
OWL: ‘essential’ normally means ‘at the centre’ but here it just means that the hooter is found ‘near the centre’ of the last two words of the clue. Hmm!
15d Member of government predicting speech of new leader (9)
INAUGURAL: join together an adverb meaning elected or ‘member of government’ and an adjective meaning predicting or divining.
17d Pipe up in philosophical way (3)
TAO: reverse a poetic term for a pipe or flute made of straw.
18d Transatlantic vessel on course round ice (7)
SKILLET: put an adjective meaning on course or prepared round what ice is a US slang verb for.
19d Versace’s first in fashion, revolutionary dressing (7)
VINEGAR: string together the first letter of Versace, IN and the reversal of a word meaning fashion or vogue.
20d Favour Romeo over compiler mostly (7)
Paper version: Favour Romeo over Messinae mostly (7)
ROSETTE: assemble the letter that Romeo represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, the cricket abbreviation for over and another word for a crossword compiler without its last letter.
21d Big bite from maiden tucking into piece of meat (5)
CHOMP: insert the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over into a thick slice of meat.
The clues earning my ticks were 2d, 4d and 7d. Which one(s) starred for you?