Toughie No 2447 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment **
Thanks to Stick Insect for a workmanlike puzzle which didn’t cause too many problems although I did spend a fair amount of time looking for a better explanation of the 13a wordplay (for which I added half a difficulty star).
Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Helpful maxim, not in favour of mood changer (9,4)
AUXILIARY VERB: an adjective meaning helpful or supporting is followed by a maxim without the prefix meaning ‘in favour of’. The mood is grammatical.
9a Misbehave excitedly in audition in place of worship (9)
SYNAGOGUE: join together homophones for words meaning misbehave and excitedly.
10a Compound starts to affect me, infecting nerve endings (5)
AMINE: initial letters.
11a Cavity appears in useless bottles (5)
SINUS: a hidden word indicated by ‘bottles’.
12a Motor race among leaders of drivers yesterday (4)
INDY: stick together a preposition meaning among and the leading letters of the last two words to get the short name of an annual motor race in the USA (even more boring than Formula 1 in my opinion).
13a Heartlessly ruined sketch (4)
SKIT: I’m puzzled by this one. Heartlessly must mean without the central letter(s) but here (I think) we have to remove the fourth letter of a 5-letter informal adjective meaning ruined or penniless. Anyone with a better idea?
15a Newton’s overwhelmed by genius somehow succeeding (7)
ENSUING: the abbreviation for newton (the SI unit of force in physics) is contained in an anagram (somehow) of GENIUS.
17a Dangerous to change sides in supper to make room (7)
PARLOUR: start with an archaic adjective meaning dangerous and change the letter that starts ‘supper’ to the letter that ends it.
18a Beat a touch upset in dance (7)
LAMBADA: a verb to beat or strike is followed by the reversal of A and a verb to touch or press lightly.
20a Consider old folio trailing poor Yorick’s finale (5,2)
THINK OF: abbreviations for old and folio follow an adjective meaning poor or scanty and the final letter of Yorick.
21a Struggle with expectation (4)
VIEW: a verb to struggle and the abbreviation for ‘with’.
22a Count half of wall drawings (4)
GRAF: this count is a German nobleman. It’s the first half of (usually unauthorised) wall drawings.
23a Burning coal ends in climate doom, bishop fears occasionally (5)
EMBER: glue together the final letters of climate and doom then add the chess abbreviation for bishop and regular letters from ‘fears’.
26a Lousy rental returns housing Welsh girl (5)
NERYS: hidden in reverse.
27a Picked up about firm taking on third of executives (9)
OVERHEARD: knit together a preposition meaning about or concerning and an adjective meaning firm containing the third letter of executives.
28a Criminal trap con laid in one of four ways (8,5)
CARDINAL POINT: an anagram (criminal) of TRAP CON LAID IN.
1d What church supporter did in care home? (8,6)
ASSISTED LIVING: the church supporter might have helped to augment the income due to a church in return for the spiritual care of its flock.
2d Periodically, 54 times nothing mounts up (5)
XENON: reverse a synonym for nothing and the mathematical sign meaning ‘times’. I recently watched an excellent programme by Jim al-Khalili about Dmitri Mendeleev so I knew what ‘periodically’ meant here.
3d Key point one found in pub relating to supply of men (10)
LOGISTICAL: insert a word meaning the key point or the main thrust and the Roman numeral for one into a neighbourhood pub.
4d Claiming a belt fits around most of gut (7)
ARGUING: A and a synonym for a belt or band contain two-thirds of ‘gut’.
5d Surrender the result of cows producing more? (5,2)
YIELD UP: this could be the result of an increased production of milk from a dairy herd.
6d Style displayed in cycling lane (4)
ELAN: cycle the last letter of lane around to the front.
7d Something Bob the Builder might do in two different books involving twist (9)
BRICKWORK: two different books (the first an abbreviation, the second a synonym) contain a verb to twist.
8d Any character involved in direct payment authorisation? (6,2,6)
LETTER OF CREDIT: the answer could mean any of the characters in the word ‘direct’. I don’t think that this works very well.
14d Goes in search of fashionable holiday boat (6,4)
CRUISE SHIP: graft together a verb meaning drifts around in search of something (possibly a sexual partner) and a dated adjective meaning fashionable or trendy.
16d Balanced my crimes out over time (9)
SYMMETRIC: an anagram (out) of MY CRIMES containing the abbreviation for time. I don’t like the use of ‘over’ as a containment indicator in a down clue.
19d April Fools’ Day or beginning of idiocy from first principles (1,6)
A PRIORI: string together how April Fool’s Day may appear when written down as a date (3,1), OR and the first letter of idiocy.
20d American sweet almost made a hole round fabric (7)
TAFFETA: all but the last letter of a North American sweet is followed by the reversal of a verb meaning ‘made a hole’ or ‘wore through’.
24d Revolutionised India with box containing hot appetiser (5)
BHAJI: assemble the letter that India represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and a verb to box or punch containing the abbreviation for hot then reverse the lot.
25d Rodent catcher spends little time for employer (4)
USER: a rodent catcher of the type favoured by Mr K loses the short word for a little time.
My top clue today was 1a. Which one(s) did the business for you?