Toughie No 2419 by Messinae
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
I’ve given this puzzle four stars for difficulty because although I didn’t have any great difficulty in coming up with the right answers I did struggle to understand the full ramifications of a few clues (notably 19a and 27a).
I did enjoy most of the clues (mainly the ones where my scientific and golf knowledge was not found wanting). Thanks to Messinae.
Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Cans with rings on top (10)
HEADPHONES: a verb meaning rings or calls follows a synonym of top.
6a Staunch scientific subjects (4)
STEM: double definition. I’d not heard of the acronym for scientific subjects and it’s not in the BRB so I had to consult Collins to find out that it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
9a Researcher has job over in Washington (7)
POSTDOC: I’d never heard of this informal term either (I’m not doing too well, so far) – it’s used for someone who’s already gained a DSc, say, and is doing research. Stick together a synonym for job or appointment and the location of Washington (the capital city, not the state) containing the crickety abbreviation for over.
10a Temporary feature of football (7)
PASSING: double definition.
12a See 26 Across
14a Check mate for Eeyore? (6)
ASSESS: two meanings, the second a cryptic definition of a male donkey’s mate.
15a I’d return rolls to get butter in (8)
INTRUDER: an anagram (rolls) of I’D RETURN.
17a Recording established in Slough base (8)
CASSETTE: insert an adjective meaning established or fixed into a verb to slough or shed and the letter used for the base in logarithms.
19a Predecessor of SI encapsulated by metres and things like that (6)
METRIC: the name of the international system of units used prior to the introduction of SI units
is an adjective relating to metres and similar. I’ve a feeling that there’s more to this than I can see – can any scientist help? Thanks to Malcolm R, Taking 5 and CS for explaining that the answer comes from the abbreviation for metres followed by ‘etc’ (things like that) containing R (the predecessor to S) and I.
22a Crazy Magpies choir’s making earth-shaking records (13)
SEISMOGRAPHIC: an anagram (crazy) of MAGPIES CHOIR’S.
24a They may learn to operate as groups of three (7)
INTERNS: a word for trainee doctors means made up of groups of three when it’s split 2,5.
25a Overwhelming force gripping North America, I have to retreat (7)
TSUNAMI: reverse ‘I have to’ (1,4) and insert abbreviations for North and America.
26a/12a Work could produce gloominess in monks (4,8,5)
KING SOLOMON’S MINES: this adventure novel by Rider Haggard is an anagram (could produce) of GLOOMINESS IN MONKS.
27a Early KP’s to burst into this? (10)
STROKEPLAY: the simple bit of this clue is to work out that the answer is an anagram (burst) of EARLY KP’S TO.
It took me a lot longer to find that KP is a ‘closest to the pin’ contest on 3-par holes in golf – why is it KP rather than CP I hear you ask (nobody knows!) – so I’m assuming the surface means that the answer can incorporate such a contest. If you’ve read this far through the hint you’ll have realised that I’m stuck in a bunker here – can any golfer help? Ignore all that rubbish – it’s nothing to do with golf. Thanks to Rabbit Dave and others for pointing out that KP is the batsman Kevin Pietersen and that the surface relates to his becoming an attacking batsman,
1d Massive build-up of earthy peat (4)
HYPE: hidden in the clue.
2d Provides backing musicians but no leader (7)
ASSISTS: guitarists without their first letter.
3d What could transport adept dealers round Mississippi primarily? (6,7)
PADDLE STEAMERS: an anagram (could transport) of ADEPT DEALERS containing the first letter of Mississippi.
4d Maker of razor with unknown alloy (6)
OCCAMY: this is a silvery alloy. I didn’t know that but I did know the name of the chap who formulated the principle known as Occam’s Razor. Append one of the algebraic unknowns.
5d The power of mathematics (8)
EXPONENT: cryptic definition of the power to which a given number is raised.
7d Watered-down like some cheap beer served round hotel (7)
THINNED: a description of how some cheap beer (bought in a supermarket perhaps) is served contains the letter that hotel is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. Did anyone else try to make characters 3-5 of the answer be the hotel?
8d Birds pecking one with tip of their sharp beaks (10)
MAGISTRACY: a short form of the name of black-and-white birds contains the Roman numeral for one. Follow that with the first letter of ‘their’ and an adjective meaning sharp or zestful.
11d Old record store certain others dubiously exploit (8,5)
SOMERSET HOUSE: this is the building in London where all birth, marriage and death records for England and Wales used to be housed. Bring together a determiner meaning certain, an anagram (dubiously) of OTHERS and a verb to exploit.
13d Very slender support for striker (10)
MATCHSTICK: double definition, although there’s a considerable overlap. The first describes very slender people or objects such as Lowry’s characters.
16d Scenery that should not change over centuries (5,3)
STAGE SET: the direction to leave something unchanged in an item of text contains a word meaning centuries or long periods of time.
18d In tennis, unsuccessfully hit Henman’s returns, losing to love! (7)
SMITTEN: a verb meaning make an unsuccessful hit in tennis is followed by Mr Henman’s abbreviated forename plus the S. The whole lot then gets reversed,
20d Island venue for Bill ‘Aley fans? (7)
ROCKALL: an island that we all tend to know only from the Shipping Forecast could, when split 4,3, be the Cockney version of where Bill Haley’s type of music might be played.
21d Players run out in famous red (6)
CASTRO: knit together a word for all the players in an artistic production and the cricket abbreviation for ‘run out’.
23d 54 year old historian (4)
LIVY: the Roman numerals for 54 and the abbreviation for year give us the name of a Roman historian.
I ticked 1a, 14a, 8d and 21d. Which one(s) did you like?