Toughie No 2435 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***/****
There’s quite a bit of GK in this puzzle but I don’t think any of it is too esoteric. I enjoyed unravelling it all. Thanks to Hudson for the entertainment.
Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Tipsy chef downing spirit (6)
PSYCHE: hidden (indicated by downing, i.e. imbibing) in the clue.
5a Slash price of Honiton product (8)
LACERATE: mash together the fabric for which Honiton is known and a synonym for price.
9a Tethers donkey; always a drag to do this (5-5)
CHAIN-SMOKE: charade of a verb meaning tethers and an informal word for a donkey.
10a Fine underwear (women’s) (4)
BRAW: the answer is what precedes ‘bricht, moonlicht nicht’ in an old Scottish cliché. Stick together our usual female underwear and the abbreviation for women’s.
11a Hmm … but to recast the subject of folklore tales … (3,5)
TOM THUMB: an anagram (recast) of HMM BUT TO. I wonder if the setter has been reading Senf’s blogs?
12a Hare-brained plan going around Washington aborted at the start (6)
MADCAP: put a plan or chart round a metonym for the US capital (and an abbreviation of the District where it’s located) and the starting letter of ‘aborted’.
13a The church introducing order to the teaching of scripture (4)
ROME: insert an honour in the personal gift of the sovereign into the abbreviation for scripture teaching.
15a Imprisoned legendary King losing old city, victim of the Punic Wars (8)
CARTHAGE: remove our usual old Biblical city from the name of a legendary British king and put what you have left into a synonym for prison to get the name of the North African city destroyed by the Romans in the Punic Wars.
18a New in: silver dollar that is back as part of the service (5,3)
AGNUS DEI: insert the abbreviation for new between the chemical symbol for silver and the abbreviation for the dollar across the pond. Finally reverse the abbreviation for ‘that is’ to get the name of a prayer used in the Mass.
19a Shopping centre‘s public transport withdrawn (4)
MART: reverse a public service vehicle.
21a One hoping to net Boston assassin straight away (6)
ANGLER: the nickname given to a notorious US serial killer in the 1960s was ‘the Boston *********’. Remove the abbreviation for straight. I spent some time trying to find out in what sense the abbreviation is used for straight. My initial thought was that it is used in horse racing to mean the final furlongs of a race but I can’t substantiate that and it could also mean heterosexual. If you know where it’s used please let me in on the secret.
23a Mad somersaults aboard his flying carpet (8)
ADMONISH: weld together an anagram (somersaults) of MAD, a preposition meaning aboard and a further anagram (flying) of HIS.
25a Prising the lid off troublesome Aussie’s beer cooler (4)
ESKY: troublesome here is the adjective that we often use for tricky 4-letter clues (just like this one). Remove the initial P to leave a term used down under for a portable cooler.
26a Puffy character planning a blowout pork feast? (3,3,4)
BIG BAD WOLF: cryptic definition of the villain in a classic fairytale.
27a Great quality conveyed by Sterling, Rand, Euro (8)
GRANDEUR: hidden in the clue.
28a Long-awaited character returns, holding lead of young Yorkie? (3,3)
TOY DOG: reverse the name of the long-awaited character in the Samuel Beckett play and insert the leading letter of young.
2d Fool Louis Armstrong forgetting a finale for trumpet! (5)
SCHMO: start with Louis Armstrong’s nickname and take away both the A and the final letter of trumpet.
3d Emirates served up cocktail of citron, first liqueur (9)
COINTREAU: reverse the abbreviation for a state on the Persian Gulf (capital Abu Dhabi) and precede that with an anagram (cocktail) of CITRON. Here’s a spoof on the long-running series of adverts about this liqueur (you need to watch it to the end):
4d Relax, popping ecstasy in each drink (4,2)
EASE UP: insert the abbreviation for the drug ecstasy into the abbreviation for each and a verb to drink.
5d ‘Barcelona King’ Messi reportedly OK to enter play (4,4,2,5)
LOOK BACK IN ANGER: an anagram (indicated by what sounds like Messi) of BARCELONA KING with OK inserted. A clever surface because Lionel Messi is a top player at Barcelona FC.
6d My career working in the dairy business (8)
CREAMERY: an anagram (working) of MY CAREER.
7d Barking pub rejected proof of age (5)
RABID: reverse a synonym for pub and add what you may need there to prove your age.
8d American flag abused in Turkey/Arab battle (9)
TRAFALGAR: an abbreviation for American and an anagram (abused) of FLAG go between the IVR code for Turkey and the abbreviation for Arab.
14d One planning newspaper lives on the fringes of Exmoor (9)
ORGANISER: concatenate another word for a newspaper (especially one which promotes a specific set of views), a verb meaning lives or exists and the fringe letters of Exmoor.
16d Writer‘s block, age-weary every now and again (9)
HEMINGWAY: assemble a verbal phrase (3,2) meaning to block and regular letters from age-weary.
17d Lovely winding road on Med isle heading north (8)
ADORABLE: an anagram (winding) of ROAD precedes the reversal of a Mediterranean island.
20d Communicate the writer’s role (6)
IMPART: how the writer says that ‘he is’ followed by another word for a role in a film, say.
22d Store performing without PG Tips (3,2)
LAY IN: start with a present participle meaning performing or acting and then remove the letters P and G at either end of it.
24d Small avion regularly fired shots (5)
SALVO: regularly selected letters from the first two words.
My contenders for the podium today were 9a, 26a, 5d and 16d. Which one(s) made you sit up?