Toughie No 2415 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
I hope that you are all keeping safe in these increasingly scary times.
Hudson has given us a very entertaining puzzle which I enjoyed a lot. However, those solvers who have little knowledge of football and/or Hollywood actors may struggle with a few clues.
Thanks to Hudson for the entertainment.
One of the by-products of the lockdown seems to be that we are getting more comments on the Toughie blogs – do let that trend continue today and leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
7a Top-of-the-table game crowd left enthralled by Wales star (9)
BAGATELLE: a word for the paying spectators at a sporting event and the abbreviation for left are contained inside the surname of a star footballer (Gareth Bale) who plays for Wales and Real Madrid.
8a Exclusive odds about Bill’s partner? (5)
SCOOP: Bill’s partner is not Ben (which was my initial thought) but the verb that goes with bill in a phrase meaning to talk in a lovey-dovey manner. Put an abbreviation for betting odds around that.
10a Argue with socialite Matthew regularly spurned (6)
DEBATE: start with the abbreviated (and dated) word for a socialite “coming out” into society and add what’s left of Matthew after discarding regular letters.
11a 27 tormented in hell somewhere below the Alps (8)
PIEDMONT: put an anagram (tormented) of 27a inside a metaphor for hell to get the name of an Italian region at the foot of the Alps.
12a Writer acquiring street cafe (6)
BISTRO: the proprietary name of a writing implement contains the abbreviation for street.
14a Bird, fabulous bird, travelling west crossing over northern Germany (6)
CONDOR: reverse the name of a gigantic mythological bird which featured in The Arabian Nights and insert the crickety abbreviation for over, the abbreviation for northern and the IVR code for Germany.
16a Five overs left; England’s opener shows all the tricks! (4)
VOLE: string together the Roman numeral for five, the abbreviation for overs (as used in the previous clue), the abbreviation for left and the opening letter of England. I didn’t know this word which means taking all the tricks in some card games such as écarté.
17a Boycott, holding firm — this could be streaky (5)
BACON: a verb to boycott or prohibit contains the abbreviation for a firm.
18a Gutted — only got a point (4)
DREW: gutted here is a verb meaning eviscerated and the answer is used as in the phrase “hanged, drawn and quartered“. In football this means that a team only got a single point (other sports have different scoring rules).
19a All sorts going topless repeatedly around promenade (6)
STROLL: remove the initial letter from each of the first two words and reverse what remains.
21a Spirit drink knocked back in chaotic scene (6)
RUMPUS: knit together an alcoholic spirit and the reversal of a verb to drink.
24a Bloody best bitter bottles in Yorkshire beauty spot (8)
AIREDALE: there’s a bit of Yoda-speak here. Put a 2-letter abbreviation for best and another word for bitter beer round a synonym of bloody.
26a Part of Spitfire has hasty makeover (6)
REHASH: hidden in the clue.
27a Expert lecturer welcoming the writer back (5)
DEMON: a university lecturer contains the reversal of the objective form of the pronoun used by the writer to mean himself.
28a Tee off with 17d’s iron? (4,5)
BASE METAL: an anagram (off) of TEE and the answer to 17d.
1d Oasis fan arrived before the end of Wonderwall (5)
CAMEL: a synonym for arrived precedes the last letter of Wonderwall.
2d Bug a pirate’s mobile? (8)
PARASITE: an anagram (mobile) of A PIRATE’S.
3d Fed up with English court inadequacy (6)
DEFECT: reverse ‘fed’ and append abbreviations for English and court.
4d Sound made by coach and horse! (4)
CLOP: the sound made by a horse’s hooves on a hard surface is also a homophone of the surname of the current manager of Liverpool FC.
5d Nous avons choisi une maison en Normandie. First impressions? (6)
ACUMEN: the letters printed at the start of six consecutive words in the clue. How clever is that!
6d Heartless boatswain Channel port legally constrained (5,4)
BOUND OVER: join together one of the informal spellings of boatswain without its middle letter and a Channel port in Kent.
9d Light Tory slogan? (6)
BEACON: split the answer 2,1,3 to get what might be a Tory recruitment slogan.
13d Stretch limo that’s owned by 17d but not 17a? (5)
OSCAR: split 2,3 this could be a very large automobile. One of these was won by the 17d actor in 1966 but the 17a actor has never won one, in spite of being labelled as one of the best actors never to have been nominated.
15d Caught De Niro TV broadcast … rather forced (9)
CONTRIVED: the cricket abbreviation for caught followed by an anagram (broadcast) of DE NIRO TV.
17d Mum’s research facility set up medicinal product using resin (6)
BALSAM: weld together an affectionate word for one’s mum, the ‘S and an abbreviated place of research. Now reverse the lot.
18d Anything to feed the German girl? (8)
DAUGHTER: an archaic word meaning anything is placed inside one of the German definite articles.
20d Shakespearean king bestowing honour on naked crone (6)
OBERON: an honour or award precedes the inner letters of crone.
22d Kill lots of black birds (6)
MURDER: the collective term for crows.
23d Paper reported downsizing of Brownshirts (5)
ESSAY: this sounds like the abbreviation for Hitler’s Brownshirts, the Sturmabteilung.
25d Invented cheese? (4)
EDAM: something invented or fabricated is **** up.
I ticked 7a, 8a, 5d and 13d. Which one(s) earned your applause?